A Norton Story . . .
Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver, (1841-1907)
This is the story of Daniel Norton1 of Northwood Hall’s youngest child and Daughter, Florence Norton and her husband, Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver.
The following story has taken me 37 years to bring together.
There are others descendant from the people in this story. Separately they had kept those newspaper clippings and their stories, which help fill in the gaps I had discovered in the books and biographies of a swashbuckling 19th Century public figure. They are also direct descendants of my 3x great grandfather, so it is their family history also. They did not know of each other, until now.
This is one small corner of our Norton history. It is about a harum-scarum young woman who took up with an much older man, who was a public figure, a notorious professional rake and all-round bad character – how she defied her families wishes, and brought them into public association with this notorious fellow - where every salacious details were seized upon and published in the national news papers, across the country.
For those Nortons, in to-days terms, it was like seeing your teenager daughter associating with a drug dealing motorcycle gangster.
The strangest thing is - not only the number of descendants that kept track of their family history - nor that many of them are in Australia and New Zealand - but one lives within a couple miles of me.
This is their story:
Of Daniel Norton of Northwood Hall’s, Middlesex England, his youngest daughter Florence Norton [b: 1857] and H R H MacIver. Florence is detailed in her fathers last will and testament, as wife of Colonel H R H MacIver.
The first time each name appears, it is highlighted in bold.
I first came across Daniel Norton (1806-1888) and his family, from Joseph William Perkins(1897-1990).
Joseph was a Grandson of my great granddad William Norton (1808-1891) [from Penzance, Cornwall] and a cousin of my Granddad William G Norton(1885-1955). Joseph first wrote to my Father William C Norton (1912-1980) in 1972 and this started my thirty-seven year search for our NORTON history.
Daniel (1806-1888) and William(1808-1891) Norton’s father was William Norton (1785-1857) - Daniel inherited most of his fathers business interests.
Florence Norton (1857-1932) was Daniel Norton’s (1806-1888) youngest child.
Ronald Michael MacIver (1880-1917) was Florence and Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver’s (1841-1907) son
- Magdalene MacIver (1881-) their eldest daughter
- Sybil Natalie MacIver(1883-1954) their youngest daughter, with a descendant in New Zealand.
Marguerite MacIver(1887-) daughter of Florence Norton (1857-
1932) and (possibly “the young farmer in the neighbourhood” in newspaper reports) Benjamin Ceasar.
Bertha Sophia Pamplin (1861-1949) nursemaid to Florence’s children prior to 1887.
Winifred Ada McIver(1889-1974) purported daughter of Bertha Pamplin(1861-1949) and Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver(1841-1907) – with descendants in Australia.
William Norton’s (1785-1857) younger son, William Norton (1808-1891) did not do to badly and was able to bring three of his children – Anne Norton (1850-1908); Algernon Norton (1855-1935) and Walter Norton (1857-1931) out to New Zealand in 1870 and spend 5 years setting them up before he returned to Penzance in 1875.
His children never returned - but Algernon’s sons Frederick Jason Norton (1893-1954) and Edwin (Ted) Alwven Bernard Norton (1896-1984) (my Dads Uncles) – and Walter’s (1857-1931) son Walter Norton (1890-1962) did return, as servicemen during the First World War.
Matilda Norton (1884-1930) was Anne, Algernon and Walter’s older and eldest sister. She never married and looked after their father William (1808-1891) until his death. There is a box of letters from her to her brothers and sister in law, Walter’s wife, which are in the possession of Walter’s descendants.
Florence was Daniels youngest daughter, and a first Cousin of Matilda (the gossiping letter writer) Anne, Algernon and Walter.
H R H MacIver turns out to be Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver, a reputed Soldier of Fortune, who claimed to have served in some 18 different armies and the son of Ronald MacIver (1815-1858) Ross-Shire, Scotland and Anna Douglas (1818-1859) of Virginia, of Scottish lineage.
He was born on board a ship on its way to Virginia on Christmas Day 1841. His father was a Scottish gentleman from Ross-shire, Scotland. His mother was the daughter of a plantation owner in Virginia, USA. MacIver spent the early years of his life in Virginia, learning to ride and shoot, and when he was 10 years old, he was sent to Edinburgh, Scotland, to be educated under the guardianship of a family friend, retired general Donald Graham. It was intended that MacIver would return to America and enter the United States Military Academy at West Point, but instead, General Graham used contacts to get MacIver into the British East India Company's army where he began his military career with the Indian Mutiny. His first campaign was very nearly his last, when his head was sliced open by a sword.
He consistently used only part of his initials in his signature, perhaps because of the connotations of H.R.H. with royalty - ‘His Royal Highness’ - pretentiousness was one of his failings.
H R H MacIver married Florence Norton in 1878 - and this notice from the "marriages" section of the London Times of Friday June 28, 1878, was probably the first her father may have heard of that ceremony:
"On the 27th June, at St Dunstan's Church West, by the Rev. Richard Earle, Brigadier-General McIVER to FLORENCE, youngest daughter of DANIEL NORTON, Esq. of Northwood Park and the Dell, Bonchurch, I.W."
I imagine Daniel Norton was upset when he first discovers from this, where his daughter was the previous day - her twenty-first birthday! He had sent Florence ‘up country’ with a trusted family friends to keep her away from MacIver. End note:
Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver was described in ‘The World’ Melbourne newspaper, Australia of Thursday, May 29, 1884, as “Tall, say six feet – an erect in bearing, weather-bronzed face, clean shaven, except for military moustache and imperial; brown, grey-tinged hair, close cropped to the well-set head; keen grey eves with quiet resolution stamped on every feature - such in appearance is Brigadier-General MacIver, the soldier who has fought ‘under fourteen flags’ and who has won his way from cadetship to command of brigade.”
He was allegedly involved in some of the major conflicts of the 19th century such as the Indian Mutiny and the American Civil War, the Serbo-Turkish War of 1875-76 and insurrections by Cuban nationalists against the Spanish. He was also allegedly involved in the Carlist wars in Spain, and served the Khedive of Egypt, the Argentine and Brazilians in the War of the Triple Alliance, and with Maximilian in Mexico.
Books and stories about him, say that during his long career, he won medals and collected wounds, diseases, and notches on his bedpost, yet little more was really known about him.
Rod MacDonald in 1990, republished the book "Under Fourteen Flags" written by Captain W.D. L'Estrange and first published in 1884 - and he is the Great great grandson of John W McDonald, a MacIver chronicler and friend. I corresponded over this book back in 1999 - and Rod kindly sent me a free copy of his reprinted book.
Since then, I have made contacts with:
· A great grandson and great great granddaughter of H R D H MacIver – Australia - who sent me details and copies of Newspaper reports and her grand parents recall.
· A researcher of the United States American Civil War Heroes – U.S.A. - who sent me a copy the file held in the USA National War Archives - beingof MacIver’s Confederate Army Military Service record during the American Civil war. The Confederate or Rebels in the conflict, lost the war, though not all the battles - as you know.
· A great grand daughter of Henry and Florence’ – in New Zealand - who provided many different copies of News Paper articles, birth certificates and detail from her families history.
These connections did not surface until after I had printed the last edition of the “The Nortons 1600 – 2000” book.
This is Henry MacIver’s and Florence Norton’s story
– And how, between them, they increased the cast by about 18, with at least 6 living direct descendants in Australia and New Zealand and with this, an entirely different picture emerges, along this time line and from the following commentaries:
1. 1806, 20 December: Born: Daniel Norton to William Norton and Mary Wilshin; Northwood Hall.
2. 1841,25 December: Born: Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver to Ronald MacIver & Anna Douglas; at sea Hampton Roads USA.
3. 1851 H R H MacIver sent to Edinburgh Scotland, for education, guardian/patron General Donald Graham an Uncle.
4. 1857,27 June: Born: Florence Norton the tenth child and youngest, to Daniel Norton (1. above) and Louisa Delves (first Wife), Northwood Park/Hall (now Denville Hall, Ruislip, Middlesex.
5. 1862 from May 29 to when he was discharged on August 2, MacIver was a private B coy. 24th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, Confederate State Army.
6. 1863 May 21 MacIver was authorised [by the Lieutenant General, Confederate Army] to raise a company of mounted Rangers in Louisiana - but no record that this company was indeed raised.
7. 1863 Nov 27th to 17 August 1864, MacIver was appointed “Drill Master with the Rank of First Lieutenant” in the Confederate Army of Brig, General Jackson.
8. 1864 August 17 “MacIver resigned on account of disability and for business of a family nature”. According to his medical certificate and discharge records, he had secondary syphilis – there is no record of battle wounds, indeed he was not in a position between his leave applications and hospitalization to have taken part in any of the major campaigns, let alone the consequential battles - according to his service record with the Southern (Rebel) Confederate army.
9. 1876: Serbia: H R H MacIver - Brig. Gen Serbian Cavalry. On August 6th 1876, he gained a commission in the Serbian Cavalry. According to Richard Harding Davis he formed a foreign Legion known as the "Knights of the Red Cross". Serbia was struggling to hold the better-trained and numerically superior Turks. They fought their first battle at Alexinatz on September 11th. The Turks were too strong but a one-week armistice was agreed between the two sides and MacIver was transferred to Chernaiev's staff as commander of the Serbian Cavalry. The Turks attacked at Ravinch (28th September) resulting in another Serb defeat, but pressure from the international powers forced the Turks to halt their advance. This Russo-Turkish War then led to the Congress of Berlin, which upheld Serbian sovereignty. After the war (1878) he and a General Chernaiv, commander of the Serbian army, holidayed in England.
10. 1878: UK: H R H MacIver on completing service with the Greek Government, spent time on the Isle of Wight where Daniel Norton had retired to 'The Dell', his estate on the Isle of Wight. MacIver mentions to biographer that he was nearly in a Duel about this time - MacIver also wrote a pamphlet of his experiences in Serbia. In it he described some of the atrocities that are still sadly to be found in the Balkans today.
11. 1878: Her father, who apparently did not approve of MacIver addresses to his daughter, sends Florence to Upper Bourne with a “lady companion”.
12. 1878: 27 June: Elopement and marriage: On Florence Norton’s [spinster] 21st birthday, to Henry Ronald Hislop MacIver [bachelor], Dunstan in the West, then to Paris.
13. 1880 Born: to Florence: Ronald Michael MacIver, in Scotland.
14. 1881 Born: to Florence, Magdalene MacIver.
15. 1881: Florence Norton and Henry Ronald Hislop MacIver return to England with three children born in France (this date conflicts with some accounts).
16. 1881, November: Florence sues for divorce, cruelty and adultery soon after their return to England. Around this time, MacIver is also in court, being “bound over with a surety of 100L to keep the peace towards Mrs. MacIver” after being “charged with using threatening language towards his wife (Florence)” Florence had been living apart at “Shirley Farm”, Knockholt and he had visited her there - at the present time she was staying with her brother (Daniel) at Northwood Hall, Uxbridge. MacIver said he had “heard her people were trying to procure a divorce. He had no objection, nor would he oppose them, but he requested them to be guarded in their actions, adding that, if he swung for it, he would inflict a cruel revenge on anyone who attempted to throw a stain on his darling boy”. He would have meant his son, Ronald Michael MacIver Born: 1880 - above.
17. 1882, March 20: the first H R H MacIver versus F MacIver divorce petition was dismissed by the Judge, while Florence was on the stand giving evidence. The Judge was also unhappy at what appeared as a 'connivance' or 'collusion' between the parties - a 'connivance' met that they may have worked together for the divorce and that the marriage was not beyond repair - this in a day when divorce was not just a matter of mutual consent, totally not, there had to have a breach of the marriage compact [before God] and divorce was not just a matter of convenience - they took their religious ceremonies seriously.
18.1883 13th June: Born: to Florence, Sybil Natalie MacIver
19.1883-87 MacIver is in Australia- on ‘the’ New Guinea business. He founded the New Guinea Exploration and Colonization Company in 1883 to colonize the eastern half of the island (the western half had been held for many years by the Netherlands). The proposals were attacked in the press as a filibustering expedition, and the British government refused to grant its consent to the enterprise. The position of Gladstone's government was one of consolidation of the Empire rather than continued expansion (this was the same time as Gladstone was trying hard to abandon Gordon to his fate in Khartoum). Providing the colonial backup and administration to new ventures was considered beyond the scope of the stretched government spending, despite MacIver's insistence that the expedition would be self-financing and the rewards would contribute to the public purse rather than draw from them. MacIver's previous exploits would also be well known to Her Majesty's Government. Lord Derby, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, was very clear; he threatened to have the Royal Navy blow MacIver out of the water if he attempted to land a force in New Guinea. MacIver went to Queensland, Australia, to drum up support for his planned colonization of its Northern neighbour. The governments of the various Australian colonies were broadly in favour of the annexation, particularly Queensland that feared the presence of another European power on her doorstep. Both the French and the Germans were thought to be interested in expanding their interests in the South Pacific. Sure enough, in October 1884, a German party landed from a gunboat on the north of the island and claimed it for Germany. Within days the British were forced to land in the South and claim what was left. Had MacIver's expedition been allowed to take place the previous year, Britain would have had the whole of the eastern half of the island. In Australia, MacIver published a book "Rivals for Supremacy in the Pacific" in 1885, which details the plan for colonisation and how the British Government thwarted it. It was dedicated, with much irony, to Lord Derby. MacIver rather cheekily applied for the post of chief of police in the new administration of the British portion. He did not get the job.
20. 1884: Bertha Pamplin of Farnham was nursemaid to Florence's Children.
21. 1884, 20 May: In Australia: H R H MacIver is interviewed by The World, Melbourne reporter. He was described in ‘The World, Melbourne, Thursday, May 29, 1884.’ as “Tall – say six feet – and erect in bearing, weather-bronzed face, clean shaven, except for military moustache and imperial; brown, grey-tinged hair, close cropped to the well-set head; keen grey eves with quiet resolution stamped on every feature - such in appearance is Brigadier-General MacIver, the soldier who has fought “under fourteen flags," who has won his way from cadetship to command of brigade.” This same report gives his reaction to a suggestion that he is a filibusterer - a vigorous denial.
22. 1886: Florence involved with a young farmer (Benjamin Caesar) in the neighbourhood.
23. 1886, November 1st – Daniel Norton makes his Will, in 25 paragraphs. The 9th paragraph defines a “MacIver trust legacy” – to benefit “the three children of my said daughter Florence MacIver by her present husband Colonel MacIver” until the youngest is aged 21 etc.. .
24. 1886, November 12th. Daniel Norton changes his will with a codicil which states in part, “ . . . by my previous will I had appropriated the whole of life interest in the MacIver trust legacy for the benefit of my daughter Florence MacIver but in consequence of her unnatural conduct I have thought it my duty to make a great change and I therefore reduced her interest to one half . . .” He also determines in this codicil, that the willed annuity to his brother (William - who was Algernon's Dad) to be given to Williams daughter Matilda (Algernon's eldest Sister) to apply to the ease of her father, was to cease on Williams death (which as it turned out, was just three years after his), and not as earlier willed, Matilda's death.
25. 1887, February: Born to Florence: Marguerite (MacIver).
26. 1887: H R H MacIver returns from Australia.
27. 1887: H R H MacIver was in Farnham, Wrecclesham and Bourne, carrying unlawful weapon for weeks hoping to meet wife and the 'co-respondent' together, to save one of them from appearing in a divorce court, according to MacIver’s reported (Newspaper) statement in court on the 1890, May 9
28. 1887, May: H R H MacIver hears of and contacts Bertha Pamplin, an ‘ex nurse’ to his and Florence’s Children. He may have had some difficulty finding her as she moved from job to job, Met from time to time and this is when Bertha alleges ‘intimacy took place’.
29. 1888, 16th February: Died, Florence’s father, Daniel Norton of Norwood Park, Middlesex and The Dell, Isle of Wight. His brother William died in 1891, Matilda never married - and kept most of her father’s assets to herself, as long as she could - according to Joseph Perkins who hated her anyway.
30. 1888, May: Bertha Pamplin tells H R H MacIver she is pregnant to him, he is alleged to promises to do the right thing when divorce (from Florence) is final. He actual newspaper report, ‘that in 1888 she told him of her condition. He took her to the Charing Cross Station and made her sign an oath. .’ Etc. Then later, ‘the child was born on June 17 1889’. It is difficult to believe that nobody in the court questioned a 13-month pregnancy. The case was adjourned for a fortnight, for some reason.
31. 1888, 4th November: H R H MacIver later admits he met with Bertha Pamplin at the Charing Cross Station on this day. If it was at this time that she told H R H MacIver of her pregnancy, (and the birth was a week or so overdue) this would be the correct timing for a birth in June 1889. The agreement to provide for her could have developed from this, this alleged ‘Oath’ and statement he made her sign could have been conditional on her giving evidence for him in the divorce and not tell any one he was the father of her child.
32. 1889, May 6. H R H MacIver petition for a divorce, MacIver versus MacIver and Caesar, heard in the Probate and Divorce Division of the Crown Court by it’s the President Mr. Justice Butt, MacIver obtains a Decree Nisi.
33. 1889, [abt. August]: Bertha Pamplin and her brother in law confront H R H MacIver and ask for the help he had promised. He says (at the later paternity court hearing 1890)“didn’t I say it was a mean advantage, because only three months had elapsed of the six months required’ and H R H MacIver had also asked ‘Why did you come?” – answer – “To get some support for your child” – the tone of his examination and following statements allude to black mail.
34. 1889. Before six months is up, the Queens Proctor intervention to the granted Decree Nisi’ is dismissed with costs (seventy pounds) to MacIver, against the petitioner (the Queens Proctor). From this courts comments, about the petitioners evidence referring ‘back 5 or 6 years’, it would appear that issues from the 1882/3-divorce case were put forward again (that MacIver frequented prostitutes).
35. 1889, June 17: Born: Winifred Ada McIver, alleged child of Bertha Pamplin and H R H MacIver.
36. 1889, November ‘decree nisi’ granted to H R H MacIver becomes ‘absolute’
37. 1890, H R H MacIver gives Bertha Pamplin a promise of money but only pays a couple quid and Bertha Pamplin sues him for support. - Later, contradictory statements recorded as to exactly what was transacted or promised at this time in newspaper court reports of this time.
38. 25th April 1890 [Friday] H R H MacIver appears for the first time in the Dalston Police Court to show cause why he should not be adjudged the father of the female child of Bertha Pamplin. He represents himself.
39. 1890, May 9 [Friday]. H R H MacIver appears second time Dalston Police Court to show cause why he should not be adjudged the father of the female child of Bertha Pamplin. He again represents himself. Cross examining Bertha, MacIver alludes to Florence’s family being behind the Proctors actions and putting her up to this accusation. He ‘believed it to be a thoroughly got up job by the same hand that forced the Queen’s Proctor against me’. He several times stands on his Honor, asking why a gentleman and a soldier such as himself would propose to marry, indicating Bertha, “Where were the attractions, in the first place?” - It is disclosed that he received a cheque for 70 pounds as costs from the Queen’s Proctor for that interventionist action as it was, that was dismissed in 1889. The Judge, Mr. Hayden Corser find for Bertha and H R H MacIver is ordered to pay her 5s per week until the child (Winifred Ada McIver) is sixteen years of age, with 3 guineas (63 shillings) to the witnesses and 6 guineas to Bertha’s lawyer. – When H R H MacIver gives notice of appeal it costs him another fifty pounds in surety.
40. 1890, June 9. Miss Pamplin is served with a citation to the Queen’s Bench Court of Appeal, for the case on appeal, which was expected to re-open in July.
41. 1893, September 9. Henry R. D. MacIver of New York was appointed USA consul at Denia, Spain. His nomination by the President of the U.S,A. was officially announced the same day the President sent the Senate the nomination, to be the Consul of the United States – Henry R D MacIver of New York – at Denia, Spain. This is also mentioned by Richard Harding [in ‘Real Soldiers of Fortune – the Life and Adventures of Henry Ronald MacIver’ New York, 1904’ ] says that the man he was to succeed declined to get out, and the soldier of fortune immediately suggested that they go to the outskirts of the city and settle the matter with pistols or swords. Stephen Bonsal, the present correspondent of The Times in St. Petersburg, who was then the Charges d'Affaires at Madrid, was sent to adjust matters. He adjusted them and MacIver was install ed without bloodshed]
42. 1897, January 20th - giving his age as 18 MacIver’s "darling boy" and Florence’s eldest, Ronald Michael MacIver, joins the British Army - he gives his birthplace as Midlothian, near Edinburgh - his mother is recorded as Florence Broadley of Quainton, Bucks - his physical details are recorded as 5 feet, 8+7/8th inches tall; weight 131 lbs; Scar on left ribs, fair complexion, blue/grey eyes, brown hair. He is attested into the 1st Corps of Dragoons of the Line”, [a line regiment readied for active service]. His regiment number is given as 4041 - His default sheet has five entries by October 1897 and a two shillings and thrupence fine for desertion on the 23rd November that same year.
43. 1895, H R H MacIver travels to America, from Le Havre, France. This would accord with his term as Consul.
44 1907, 7 May: Death of H R H MacIver in the U.S.A. recorded in the 'The New York Times: 10 May: U.S.A.: The New York Times: Coroners inquest\burial/location of H R H MacIver who 'left one daughter who lives in England' obituary, 22nd May 1907. The Coroner's inquest into MacIver's sudden death did not find that MacIver had killed himself but that he had died as a result of chronic nephritis. On May 10, 1907, MacIver was buried at Kensico cemetery outside New York, in a place, fittingly for an old warrior, called Valhalla. The New York Times gave his age as 61. His death certificate says he was 56. In fact, he was 65 years old. His grave is situated in "the Range", Lot C, Range 14, Grave 19. According to Rod MacDonald, there is no headstone.
45 1907, 27 May: Marriage James Lee (soldier) and Winifred Ada McIver – James joins Prison Service at Preston – 4 children born, eldest being father of correspondence (Australia) 2003.
46 1917, 1st May: Death of Ronald MacIver, Acting Corporal S/13263 A &S/H The British Army Medal Roll for WWI on page 786 list the Victory Medal to Ronald MacIver R&S H Private S/13263 - This must have been awarded posthumously, as the British WW1 casualty lists record on the 1st May 1917.
Notes on the above:
From the following, I received Photographs, and copies of Certificates, records, and newspaper cuttings - as well as their own thoughts, and what they were told by their grandparents.
From Rod MacDonald, Scotland, a free copy of his just (re)published 1999 book “Under Fourteen Flags – The remarkable story of a Victorian Soldier of Fortune” by Captain W .D. L’Estrange 1884.
From Jennifer Lee, Great Grand daughter of Winifred Ida – 2003 Hi, Yes I am in Australia, thank you so much for responding. I have forwarded your email to my father who has quite a few newspapers clippings from the UK regarding the General and various court cases. Florence is mentioned is a couple of them, I am sure you will enjoy them. He is scanning what he can and will forward them to you along with an Email. My fathers name is Richard Lee. I found a copy of Under Fourteen flags in Adelaide the other day so have bought that for Fathers day. I also located the other book at this Website; I think it is in the USA...Once again thank you for responding.
Richard Lee : Grandson of Winifred Ida
writes in 2003, from his recollections:
"We also have letters to Miss Pamplin (Winifred Ida’s Mother) from her family and some of her various employers over a few years, no doubt as children grew up her services were no longer needed, and in those days she would have needed good references. After the child was born (which interestingly I cannot find on the 1901 census Or birth records) Miss Pamplin married and her husband became a self employed carrier and they built a new house in a " good part" of the town of Farnham Which was itself a prosperous town. I grew up in that house. The child was named Winifred Ada and on her marriage licence on 27 7 1907 she was named as Winifred Ada McIver (note spelling) she married a James Lee a corporal in the 16th Lancers he died a sergeant in France on 30th Oct 1918 Just a bit of background for you, all for now. Regards Richard Lee – Australia” –
And further: “ . . . the date of death difference came from another bit of info I had about him and they got it wrong. He was in the army in 1907 and I have a letter he wrote to Mrs. Stannard (nee Pamplin) asking permission to court her daughter (the supposed daughter of MacIver via Mrs. Stannard Nee Pamplin). Permission was given and he left the army and they married 27/7/1907. He got a job as a prison warder at Preston prison, and it is the "Prison Service Monthly Circular" that gives his death as 30 Oct 1918, it also says he was twice mentioned in dispatches. My father was the first of 4 children they had, and after James's death Winifred left my father with his grandmother (Mrs. Stannard Nee Pamplin) and went to America with the other three children. She later remarried. My father stayed in England with his Grandmother in the house I mentioned that I grew up in. Hope this helps a bit. Richard Lee Australia” (deceased)
From Eddy Edison,
USA, [Southern Heroes of the American Civil War) a large bulky envelope with photocopies of what appears to be MacIver’s complete service file in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Apparently they had not closely studied these records until they received my request. Along with the records, was a note, MacIver had been expunged from their pantheon of heroes.
From Penny Jamieson – 2010
”I am a great granddaughter of Florence MacIver. Her youngest daughter (Sybil) Nathalie was my grandmother. She had three children Ronald probably born in Scotland. Magdalene, born in Kent and Nathalie born in the Isle of Wight. I believe that she and MacIver divorced around 1888. But I do not know the circumstances or what happened to Florence after that. I am very interested in anything you might be able to point me to. MacIver given the children’s custody in 1891-- and soon after "he was appointed US Consul to Spain"
A Summary of the Dissertations on The Florence Norton and Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver, saga
What the motives and machinations were behind the first divorce attempt 1881 by Florence can only be conjecture at this distance. One of the possibilities are the 30,000L (Eng.) pounds, that MacIver mentioned to Bertha Pamplin he expected to come into, was his compensation or on promise, for his leaving the Norton family alone. This could be the explanation - the judge saw something like this, when he dismissed the first  suit, he obviously thought it was in the nature of being contrived, with his finding of collusion.
Perhaps one or both parties became unhappy with the projected outcomes. Perhaps the Norton’s saw a cheaper and less public way to be rid of MacIver, or perhaps MacIver just wanted more. He may have reconsidered the value of being declared and adulterer. His proclamations [in the news paper court reports] of personal honor, would suggest such a slight on his name could not be taken lightly.
In any case, it is doubtful that he got anything, certainly not 30,000L.
Because later, during the Bertha Pamplin paternity suit, the prosecution was aware of the seventy pounds compensation from the Crown and even where he spent this sum, but contains no reference to anything received from the Nortons - and they were after his last penny.
Also, it would have been very foolish of him to risk any such amount if it was still on offer - against the far lesser sum it would have taken to ‘buy off’ Bertha, her mother and brother in law, before Bertha's suit got to court.
The Second Divorce suit went in Henry MacIver's favour, and he was granted a decree nisi. This second suit in 1888 is listed as “MacIver Vs MacIver and B. Caesar” in the newspaper reports, which had a field day with MacIver's statements in the courtroom. H. R. H. MacIver was suing for divorce on the grounds of his wife’s (Florence) adultery. MacIver loudly proclaims that he did not take being ‘cuckolded’ lightly, telling this to Bertha Pamplin and then repeating it in the Courtroom while giving evidence - further, as reported in the news paper cutting's, that "he said he had spent some time seeking ‘them’ out together with a ‘deadly weapon’ in his pocket and some one would not be making it into a divorce court".
The Newspaper comments that ‘this is scarcely poetic reading to the young farmer who replaced the general in the young wife’s affections”.
It could be supposed that Florence’s ‘Young Farmer’ (B. Caesar) was a single man and had the means to be called a Farmer. Further, that he was also the father of the child born in February 1887. There are several families of that name, with rural address in the Bourne area to this day.
Then the Queens Proctor intervened and the case was heard on appeal with the Proctor alleging that H R H MacIver's misconduct some years earlier, was sufficient to over turn the decree nisi awarded MacIver and award it instead to Florence. This appeal was based on evidence ‘by women of low repute’, and failed. MacIver was awarded seventy pounds in costs against the Proctor. But in this court case, the sure fire nature of Bertha Pamplin’s accusation was not raised in Court. Possibly, as Berha had given evidence in the earlier ‘MacIver v MacIver and Caesar’ suit against Florence, and the Norton’s were not in her confidence, she did not tell them.
It is interesting that getting the Queens Proctor to appeal a [civil] case was not a readily available option for everybody, in practice.
It is also interesting that Daniel (Snr) Brother, William Norton (Algernon's Father) also took a case to the Privy Council, and won a judgment against the Mayor of the Penzance City Council. I would argue, that this family better than most, knew its way about the legal system.
Paternity Suit: Bertha Pamplin.
Bertha Pamplin’s suit against MacIver followed the two (above) divorce court cases and the earlier Police Court action for threatening his wife, Florence. MacIver, who always represented himself, apparently thought that the Norton Family was behind Bertha Pamplin’s court action and were providing her the means to proceed with it. Indeed, it would appear some one from the Norton family was in Court the day he cross-examined Bertha. There may have been others present, that he associated with Government Officers, is suggested by the alternative questions he asked Berha about who was paying for her lawyer.
Bertha won her case, and was awarded support for the child by MacIver. Following the case, as reported at the time in the local and London News papers, one can wonder if reporting standards to-day are the worse compared to over 100 years ago. Bertha appears to have had a pregnancy of over 12 months, according to the newspaper. MacIver vigorously denied paternity, slandering her, but he admitted offering her help when she was known to be pregnant.
In the end, the Court settlement against him was about 20L more than he admitted to offering. It is quite possible he never paid it, or pursued the appeal he lodged against this judgment. By not paying Bertha Pamplin in the first instance, he ended up being ordered to pay more - and suffer the pain, the damage, to his 'honour' brought by this public exposure of his less than honorable actions and intentions.
It is most probable that he just did not have the money to pay off his promise to Bertha, or pay for a lawyer to act for his defense against Bertha Pamplin’s suit, and he may have worked out the dates.
Bertha Pamplin married and her husband, Stannard, became a self-employed carrier. They built a new house in a ‘good part of town’, Farnham which was itself a prosperous place. Correspondent Richard Lee grew up in that house.
The child, Winifred Ada Pamplin as registered at birth in 1890, married James Lee, a soldier, in July 1907 and she gave MacIver as her birth name on the licence. James joins the Prison Service, and at 38 yoa, was a Military Police man when he was killed in action, in France, on the 3rd October 1918.
They had four children by then, the eldest was the Richard Lee’s father. After James death, Winifred Ada Lee left him with his grandmother [Bertha Stannard nee Pamplin] and took the other three to the USA with her. She later re-married there.
The eldest boy stayed with his grandmother, and in due course it was his home, and home in turn to his children, including my correspondent, Richard Lee, now in Australia.
While Florence’s father obviously did not ‘approve’ of H. R. H. MacIver, he was still offended by Florence’s adultery in that marriage. His manner of expressing this would indicate that her happiness and safety was of lesser note than her moral behaviour.
Daniel Norton’s will of 1886 bequests "to my daughter Florence MacIver the wife of Colonel MacIver. . in formulating a ‘MacIver Trust Legacy’ of eight thousand pounds (8,000L) at 3% interest, for the benefit of "the three children of my daughter Florence MacIver by her present Husband with a life interest of ten pounds a month to Florence".
There is no way Daniel Norton would let MacIver could get his hands on any of his daughter’s money.
In a codicil, this life interest of a ten-pound monthly allowance is cut by half (to five pounds a month) because of her, quote "unnatural behaviour".
Perhaps this is a reference to her adultery and bearing a child (or two) out of wedlock. The careful wording of her fathers will in this section [of 30 paragraphs and codicils] indicates that the ‘present husband’ clause had specific meaning and intent. His careful wording in the rest of his will, locks up all other bequests until those to his wife have been met.
This is his second Wife - not that much older than his sons who are executing his will and it's as if he did not trust them in this regard.
From the News Paper's reportage, from Daniels will and from the various Biographies, it is clear that Florence’s father and brothers, did not agree with their youngest daughter and sister associating with some one of foreign mien, suspect motives, an object of public speculation, and doubtful social standing. MacIver mirrors such suspicion and ill will in his bold statements in court - and in the questions in his cross-examination of Bertha Pamplin, the children’s ex nurse. It is clear that Florence’s father and brother were not amused to have Florence drag the family, by association with MacIver, ‘through the mud’. This last codicil to her fathers will, tagging her behaviour as ‘unnatural’ has the echoes of a sermon about it.
As previously noted - one of the biographies of H. R. H. MacIver has a passing reference to a near ‘duel’ situation, and "a near thing", at about the time he could have been paying court to Florence. It is open to conjecture whether his relationship with the Father and Brothers of Florence deteriorated to the point it came to violence or the threat of it.
It appears H.R.H. and Florence would have met on the Isle of Wight, where he holidayed with General Chernaiv, commander of the Serbian army and where Daniel had retired to after the death of Florence’s Mother, and his increasing ill health, (though he lived to 80+) with his [second] wife and youngest children. It was evidenced that Florence was “sent away to Bourne under the care of a respectable Lady companion to keep them apart”. MacIver followed her there, and they married on her 21st Birthday, in what the newspapers report as an “elopement to Paris”.
The proposition that H. R. H. MacIver was the victim of a conspiracy to make an assault on his Honor, is the one he put forward in court, whilst defending himself against the suit of Bertha Pamplin, and is reviewed in the time line and Rod MacDonald’s dissertation, above.
Now, if the Bertha paternity suit was a paid for by the Norton’s, (and here the principle’s may have changed with the death of Daniel Senior in 1888 to her eldest Brother, Daniel) then knowledge of MacIver’s involvement with this ex nursemaid came to late be useful. So if they were involved in Bertha's suit, it could only be vindictive - against MacIver.
When challenging the decree nisi granted to H. R. H. MacIver with his successful ‘MacIver vs. MacIver and Caesar’ suit, the Queens Procter brought forward evidence of "what was alleged to have taken place five or six years ago" which failed to be convincing. Is was "the evidence of immoral women" - according to the Judge, and he then awarded 70L compensation to be paid to MacIver by the Crown for what he found to be a wrongful suit (the Queens Proctor being a Crown Office).
One or both the divorce suits may have been intended to be met by substantial settlement on the side to keep it quiet and away from the ‘lime light’. There is the matter of the 30,000L that MacIver is alleged to have mentioned to Bertha Pamplin as an expectation. There may have been a raising of the ante by H. R. H. MacIver that prompted the Norton camp to invoke the Queens Procter to appeal the decree nisi. MacIver was an experienced and wide publicist of his various political forays [the New Guinea fiasco] and made publications of his own exploits, as well, there were a number of others who lined up to write about him.
A strategy that recovered and or protected the Norton families’ good name from Florence’s ‘unnatural conduct’ and/or screened Florence and her ‘unnatural conduct’ must have been considered. When they tried this with the Queens Proctors intervention, they failed.
The Norton’s [or their known agent/s] were apparently attending the second day of the paternity suit hearing against MacIver, brought by Berha Pamplin, Florence’s children’s nurse/nanny. If it was a conspiracy, it was not successful, MacIver admitted to a proffered financial accommodation to Bertha, when he could have lied, or he could have paid up before it went to court.
The Paternity case of Bertha Pamplin the Nurse Maid, went against him, and in the face of contradictory evidence made in court (as to his possible paternity of the child) - there is a conflict of dates, that if correctly reported, most professional rake's would die for.
I do not think the Norton camp were aware of their nursemaids involvement with MacIver until it was to late to use it. It does not follow that there was any conspiracy involved in that issue. If it was a conspiracy, it was not a particularly clever one, and did nothing but give MacIver a stump from which to reiterate that he was injured party up against influential and wealthy protagonists.
MacIver, shortly afterwards, went to the America’s. According to a Great Grand Daughter (Penny J.), he was awarded care of his children to Florence before that. If this were so, it does not appear he exercised it - nor did he contribute to their support. This could be a misreading of the handwritten court order directing him to support his family. He apparently never returned to England, possibly traveling through France to and from his Diplomatic post as a U.S.A. envoy in Spain.
However - in all his autobiographies, biographies and in interviews with reporters and journalists, this part of his life is almost completely missed out.
MacIver biographer’s all write about the many duels he fought during his military career. The reasons for the duels were most often over women.
One “near duel” is recorded for 1878 on the Isle of Wight. This was about the time he was ‘paying court’ to Florence and Florence’s family, who were living there, and which included several able brothers. Florence’s family was not at all happy with MacIver’s attentions and Florence was sent away up country to separate them. If there was a ‘near duel” at this time, it was possibly his future father and/or future brothers in law and/or their retainers taking him on. However, MacIver’s books do not reveal any detail and are short on specific dates - further, none of them mention his marriage or what followed. They were written during his lifetime and before his obituary was written.
Some of MacIver's wounds reported by his biographers, were minor - others were quite serious. Given the nature of his wounds and recorded diseases, his death at a comparatively old age is a bit of a surprise. Author, Rod Mac Donald’s great grandfather was a friend of MacIver's who reported that when they holidayed in Dunbar together, MacIver took off his shirt to swim and his torso was covered in sabre slashes, bullet holes, and other wounds, allegedly the grisly result of his military exploits and his dueling.
One of the major causes of death amongst soldier was neither blade, bullet bomb nor shell - but disease. MacIver's medical history as far as it was known to his biographers, included: in 1858, Sunstroke; in 1862, yellow fever; in 1868, Cholera.
Not reported by any of his Biographers, are the details in his Confederate Army record – where recorded on a medical certificate, dated 19th August 1864 he had “Secondary Syphilis”. He was allowed to resign. Could MacIver have paid for that certificate to get him off and away from the loosing side – in 1864?
In those days, this was a fatal viral disease, there was no cure, and you would not live another forty years if that diagnosis were accurate. The Confederate side was the losing side in the American Civil War between the States - Army Doctors should have been familiar with that disease. As his ‘wives’ and descendants now know, MacIver had few scruples.
In the course of his career, MacIver and his biographers claim he was awarded or won a number of medals. An 1876 picture of him shows him wearing a Serbian uniform with a row of five medals on his chest, one round his neck and one on his lower chest. Although the picture is quite blurred a couple of the medals are quite distinctive. MacIver claims it was promised he would be made a Count, by Don Carlos, claimant to the throne of Spain.
Don Carlos did not win back his throne - MacIver did not become a Count.
MacIver had many "affairs". This is a claim repeated Under Fourteen Flags, but no details, no names or dates are revealed. There is mention of a Comtesse de la Torre, of whom MacIver was reported saying, he ‘would have punched her had she been a man’. While there is no mention of MacIver having married in any of the published books on him, his death certificate shows that he was a widower and his obituary in the New York Times refers to a surviving daughter in England.
His death in 1907 was caused by Chronic Nephritis - which means, apart from whatever else he may have suffered, he died of kidney failure.
Headlines from the: New York Times May 7, 1907
(abridged): “GEN. MACIVER DEAD; HERO OF MANY WARS
WAS ALMOST PENNILESS. Soldier of Fortune, Who Fought Under 18 Flags, Dies in Lodging House Coroner to Investigate the Death of the Man Who Was Honored by Many Nations. Major Gen. Henry Donald Douglas MacIver of the Servian Army, Major in the Confederate States army, and with rank varying from the highest to the lowest under eighteen flags, died yesterday morning in a lodging house at 228 West Twenty-second Street. His body was found just before noon by his landlady, Mrs. Mabel Campbell, who forced the door open after rapping on it in vain. The General had been heard to move about his room in the early morning. The night before he had complained of feeling cold, and Mrs. Campbell had sent him a drink of whiskey and later a cup of tea. A fellow lodger went to his room at midnight and asked him if he needed anything. ‘I thank you, Sir’ the General replied, ‘I need nothing’.
The police of the West Twentieth Street Station, taking an inventory of his belongings, wrote it down that the soldier of fortune, the warrior who had fought under eighteen flags for the mere love of fighting, had 46 cents in cash and his clothing. If the General hastened his end, it was done so carefully that no one suspected it. ‘Apparently natural death’ was recorded on the blotter at the station. The Coroner, however, will hold an inquest. Mrs. Campbell said last night that her lodger was ready to start for Washington several days ago, when he received a letter, which kept him in New York. Gen. MacIver was 61 years old, but showed few signs of his age. Gen. MacIver sought the lodging house of Mrs. Campbell two months ago, coming here from Washington. He had been a familiar figure in the city for years, but had gone to the capitol for some reason known only to himself. He had remained in his room for the most part since his return, but when he did greet his landlady or a fellow-lodger, he was always dressed with great care.
Mrs. Campbell said last night: ‘He was waiting for Richard Harding Davis, who has written so much about his fighting career. He was expecting Mr. Davis in a few days, and told me about it. We all knew that the old gentleman was a great soldier. He looked it’. Gen. MacIver's scant belongings consisted of uniforms, his well-cared-for street clothes, and a trunk full of papers telling of his life of adventure. Mrs. Campbell said last night that Gen. MacIver left one daughter, who lives in England.” New York Times May 7th 1907.
There is no mention here of his 1893 appointment by the President [of the USA] as Consul to Spain – yet this appointment was in the official gazette.
The Coroner's inquest into MacIver's sudden death did not find that MacIver had killed himself but that he had died as a result of chronic nephritis. On May 10, 1907, MacIver was buried at Kensico cemetery outside New York, in a place, fittingly for an old warrior, called Valhalla. The New York Times gave his age as 61. His death certificate says he was 56. In fact, he was 65 years old. His grave is situated in "the Range", Lot C, Range 14, Grave 19. According to Rod MacDonald (of Somerled Publishing in 1999) there is no headstone.
Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver –
What was he - a Fool or a Felon?
I have met many who can be both. He certainly misread the social interplay around him once he was separated from his Military comrades. He was a tall, well built man in his middle years in 1884, even by to days average. His accent and mannerism did not amuse the Judge in the Pamplin case. Perhaps because of his accent was ‘foreign’.
I am inclined to think of H. R. H. MacIver as a fool and ‘Hubris’ is the word that comes to mind.
Most likely he was socially inept in the England he returned to in 1878.
Perhaps he was intent of a career change, thought he could 'marry' money?
He was a principal ‘booster’ of moneymaking schemes thought up by others, much as today’s sports people ‘retire’ to promote and sponsor products. I think that both MacIver and the Norton family patriarchy/heads were products of their different social mores, the dust and dazzle of the day.
His idea of social graces may have been wanting in the Norton social circles. They all seemed to take themselves very seriously. His idea of social Honour, and theirs, could have been quite different. His was a much more ‘macho’ image, theirs, afraid of loosing social standing, perhaps just the ‘keeping up’ appearances and all that went with that Victorian mindset. While Daniels father was a sportsman and a Dragoon Officer, perhaps neither of the sons had ever had to have move fast, other than when closing a ‘till.’
Following contact with Rod Macdonald [Author - of Wigtownshire, south west Scotland], we exchanged what details we had of this marriage between Florence and Henry MacIver, or H.R.H. MacIver, as he preferred to style his self. From this we have reconstructed some of the events in their relationship, their descendants, and other people.
In questioning the nature of this fellow, I base my considerations on thirty years experience as a manager of people in hostile environments. An environment where there was the greater than normal amount of people presenting as reckless risk takers - where some people have the propensity to become violent to the point of taking human life recklessly and less often, callously, less often in calculating cold blood - where a large proportion of people exhibit behaviour that indicates they have little regard for others property and less for others feelings and rights - and where many of the younger, and not so young, present a macho image of a personal prowess, of unflinching bravery, with a bold and rugged ‘front’. And they see themselves, as men of Honor, just not ‘honour’ as we know it.
Now, Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver – 1841-1907 and his doings are extant in two known publications of his own - several by his comrades and contemporaries, and in some journalistic overviews, obituaries and first party reports and interviews.
None of these accounts or records questions the veracity of the other; none examine the claims to Rank, [past] favours and honours that Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver claims for him self.
Equally, none substantiate, beyond being repetitious of, these presumptions, either.
Except, where the 1990 edition (ISBN 0-9533168-2-3) is reviewed by Mike Hargreaves-Mawson. Here, this researcher has not found any record of a General Gordon Graham, nor MacIvor as an officer in the HEICo Army – and that there is no record of MacIver attending their officers school in Addiscombe, is remarked on as ‘strange’. Hargreaves-Mawson refers to another Victorian Mercenary, “Dawns and departures of a Soldiers Life” Vol III – by Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman. A much older man, his journal resonates strongly with that of H R H Maciver’s and this determined reviewer is unable to determine its facts from its fictions.
As a comparison of Official records, Historical facts and MacIver’s claims show he fabricated most, and left out more, of his experiences in the USA war between the States.
Following what we can of MacIver’s life from the above publications and then to get the opportunity to examine his reactions and behaviors in the circumstances portrayed in the news paper reports of 1887 – 1889, and you get the feeling that the cool, calculating professional Soldier, surrounded by staunch comrades was, in other situations, curiously bereft of those strengths, virtues and friends.
Considering Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver's interests in the promotion of settlements on the ‘fringes’ of society/western civilization, of which there were at least two, I am drawn to compare them with those earlier schemes that had similar promotional themes. The principal of these earlier over seas settlement schemes promised much, demonstrably fabricated more, and sent people to their untimely deaths. In the first, case they caused financial ruination to Scotland and all who put their money into those schemes. And not least, they shared MacIver’s ancestry.
In the late 18th Century, about a 100 years earlier, a settlement scheme that drew heavy investment from the national purse of Scotland and many of its social and financial elite, failed disastrously. It wrecked the capital base of Scotland and nearly beggared the country. It was a contributory factor in the negotiations leading to Scotland’s Union with the England. The Scots, not the least of many, grew up with this terrible story, of a disastrous venture in the 1690’s that was meant to establish a settlement on the eastern side of the Panamanian Peninsular. Of the 2,800 mainly Scottish, would-be settlers who were shipped there, two thirds succumbed to disease, starvation and attacks by Spanish troops. The Darien Scheme, as it was known, loomed large in the affairs of Scotland for the next century and a half.
In 1823 about 30 years earlier, in another falsely promoted scheme, (known as The Poyais scheme) sent two shiploads of settlers (the second sailing in the ‘Kennersley Castle”) for the country of Poyais, arrived on the ‘Mosquitia’ coast of South America. The second shipload landed and met the starving survivors of an earlier shipload of settlers. Nothing else, no settlement, no roads, no port, no rich rolling acres of green sward, and certainly not the civilization and developed trading society they had been led to expect. Just jungle and Swamp. Malarial swamp. Unfriendly natives. None of the things they had sold up their homes and business for. And no way of getting their money back - no way of getting back. Rescue when it came, was too late for several hundred of them. They never got Justice either.
This Poyais scheme was a promotion of a Gregor MacGregor, another soldier of fortune who wrote promotional material about himself, and his schemes. His acolytes, comrades in arms were dupes or villains, the jury is still out. Some, who did jail time, were still supporting Gregor 20 years later. Gregor had given himself an inflated genealogy [he was a genealogist?] and seniority in the clan MacGregor. He also gave himself exalted titles and rank in foreign armies. His service under English Arms was with a bought commission, which he was paid out for when he resigned, after several years’ service, and no fighting.
The Poyais scheme was based on fraud and false documents, as the country did not exist.
It was all in the head of Gregor MacGregor. It was based on a virtual unclaimed piece of coastal jungle between the Spanish in what are now Colombia and the British in Belize. Like the Darius scheme promoters, Gregor targeted Scottish folk for his settlers, but took money from all comers, His personal life and career was exaggerated to a degree that did not escape comment even then. He was the consummate bluffer and conman. His scheme did almost as much harm to his subscribers and general investors confidence in the bond market and ‘new’ stock market as the earlier, infamous ‘South Seas Bubble’. And the promoters of these schemes were variously described as ‘filibusters’
In our society today, they still operate, but are now known as Investment Companies and South Canterbury Finance. And the fiction will live on, like a multi headed thing that can resurrect itself no matter how many times it is cut down. Because twenty five Finance Companies collapsing in 2008/9, will not prevent or even slow the eruption of identical enterprises in 2018 - any more than the collapse of Investment Finance Companies in 1985 prevented them resurrecting themselves, before busting like soap bubbles in 2008 - and like soap bubbles, busting and disappearing in to thin air, taking the money of people who trusted them, into the thin air!
Where as today, the people fronting, advertising these enterprises have a background and previous positive public exposure television to get the pitch across. In MacIver’s day, it was to write or have a book written about their praiseworthy/noteworthy exploits.
What has this to do with Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver?
- It was before he was born surely? - Probably nothing directly, except perhaps as providing role models, with which Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver grew up. They are only universally displayed as reprobates on revision - at the time their swashbuckling; adventures filled lifestyles had quite a following. It could be that hankering after an adventurous lifestyle, MacIver tried to emulate those earlier adventurers, and this led him to support similar schemes for settlements in the West Indies and New Guinea. The similarity could be the reasons behind the unfavourable response to his foreign settlement schemes, why the British Navy threatened to “blow him out of the water”' if he attempted to land in New Guinea and why the Australian journalist asked him in an interview, if he was a ‘filibusterer’. This all indicates that he and his behaviour were viewed in that light, right around the globe.
The story of MacIver standing on the ramparts, coolly firing at the enemy, while their return fire pierced his clothing, is reported with an almost palatal breathlessness, he was so brave, so committed.
In truth, so bloody stupid that it is breathtaking in the least.
If we accept that this account is true, then this is the one eyewitness account of personal bravery, where the measure of danger is clear. It suggests he exposed himself to bullets aimed at him, while engaged in aggressive behaviour to wards the enemy. He was close enough to take bullets through his clothing and he was close enough to hit the enemy. We are asked to accept that the holes were put in his clothing during such an exchange and not earlier or later. We are asked to accept that no one noticed the holes until later and that they did not notice that a lead ball around .5 to .75 of an inch across, moving at 600 to 700 feet per second also moves a commiserate amount of air [or whatever medium it is in] out of its way. Though subsonic after several hundred feet [Musket smooth bore] - its passing would hardly be overlooked if you were standing still and it passed close enough to cut through your clothing.
We could expect that the witness would have made mention of these observations as fact, to support this otherwise detailed account.
So much wrong with this account, even if it was true.
Was MacIver drunk to the point he was insensible to the threat posed - because he allegedly performed this ‘daring’ act on a dare for a bottle of wine?
Does it matter?
Yes, because as a leader, this would hardly be inspirational behaviour to the more sober among his followers. If he behaved like this, as an unimaginative risk taker, a madman or a drunk, his comrades in their cooler moments must have rated him in the ‘nutter’ class, in today’s common classification terminology.
Who wants to follow a fool?
Or a suicidal maniac?
Neither survives to live long enough to collect the chest full of medals, awards and orders that MacIver claims.
The modern term for resolution of such folly on the part of an Officer, is called 'fragging' - where, in the dead of the night, a grenade is rolled under the bunk of the leader who no one wants to follow.
MacIver hardly had the time at the sharp edge to claim battle fatigue - and why is this the only personally brave thing he did that we have a detailed witness account of?
We have accounts of his duels, mutually supported by his acolytes/comrades. Did he always surmount physical challenges, calls on his Honour, fights he had?
We have no account of the beatings he took.
How many of the battles he claimed, armed service he claimed, honours and medals he wore, were in the same class as those claimed by Gregor MacGregor?
Some of MacIver’s claims are obviously fabrications when checked against his military record and historical facts. But how many of his other accounts are also fabrications and could one check now?
It appears it was difficult enough then - or is lying a qualification for all USA envoys?
His American Civil War records make up quite a bundle of paper. They contain photocopies of his administration, appointment, pay, medical records and his many applications for leave.
The later in his handwriting with his signature, and official designations/rank.
From this hospital, there is a written plea for an immediate return to active service, from his hospital bed very touching, such a brave, keen fellow.
This is followed, as he recuperates in the (Officers) VD ward In Uniontown, with a series of requests, (for other than for leave to visit his home on business) which read, in the order they were written, to go like this: "let me out of this hospital bed, I want to do my duty - I have personal business in Scotland that calls me, I must go now, I will return, after settling my business, with a bunch of Scottish recruits for your Army - can you book my transport to and a berth on a the next ship sailing to a Scottish Port? how about you pay for the travel?- here is a medical certificate that warrants my discharge".
The Confederate Army did pay MacIver’s travel to England, this after discharging him on medical grounds and after a promise he would return with recruits. It is noted on this files cover, that they never saw MacIver again, or his recruits.
The following is a comparison between Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver’s official service record with the Confederate Army
AND what is claimed in
“Under Fourteen Flags – The remarkable true story of a Victorian Soldier of Fortune”
by Capt. W.D. L’Estrange
1884 Tinsley Bros London
(2nd Ed. 1999 Pub. Somerled Publishing)
Confederate Army Records for H R H MacIver:
From The USA Federal Records Office - these are the file index, memorandum, requests and notes in the records that are not repetitious and have dates of origin.
H R H MacIver – Private B Coy. 24th Battalion VA CAR Ca served from 29 may to 2 Aug 1862 when he was discharged.
Pay record on file 1862 Nov 13 for $44.75 for 2 months 4 days at $11.0 a month – plus clothing allowance of $8.88.
1862 Nov 13 - H R H MacIver attesting oath certificate – age 24.
1862 Nov 13 - H R H MacIver pay records.
1862 Aug 2 - H R H MacIver service card – Private, Coy B – discharged there from – date of enlistment.
1863 May 21 - H R H MacIver authorised by Lt. Gen E K Smith to raise a Company of Mounted Rangers in Va – six mentions on file, of this authorization – and several notes that there is no record of this Coy was raised.
1863 Oct 20 - H R H MacIver ordered to transfer to Richmond Va. And is appointed to Va. T o Drill Master with the rank of 1st. Lieutenant – also letter that Lt Gen Smith signs the transfer of H R H MacIver to Richmond.
1863 Nov 23 - H R H MacIver’s formal acceptance of appointment to Drill Master with the rank of 1st Lieutenant of cavalry under Gen. S D Lee in Miss.
1863 Nov 27- M.510 formal notice ordering appointment of H R H MacIver as Drill Master with the rank of 1st Lieutenant – signed C S A 27/Nov 1863.
1863 Dec 22 - H R H MacIver’s orders to report to Brig. Gen. W H Jackson commander of 9 Division cavalry for assignment to duty as drillmaster and any other duty.
1863 Aug 7 – Memo from Gen Lee – special orders issued to join Gen. Jackson cavalry Division.
1863 Dec 22 - H R H MacIver claim for travel expenses from B? Miss. to Canton Miss. by coach.
1864 Mar 17 - H R H MacIver letter requesting two days leave of absence to go to Montgomery Alabama on special business.
1864 Mar 19 - H R H MacIver application for 10 days leave from Officers Hospital, Uniontown.
1864 May 11 – from H R H MacIver in Officers Hospital Uniontown requesting ‘some sort of duty’ where he could contribute ‘instead of lingering in Hospital’ signed 1st Lieutenant.
1864 July 10 – Uniontown Alabama – Hospital Board Examining Board on H R H MacIver - Certifying syphilis and “the disability to be limitless and necessary for H R H MacIver to avoid exposure for several months hence and recommend his application (for discharge) be granted, onset ‘about 5 months ago’ – signed by G ?C Gray Surgeon and asst Surgeons Moore and Kennedy.
1864 July 16 - H R H MacIver resignation to Sec for war (Southern States Confederacy) J A Seddon and appended support from the Medical Officer dated 1864 Jul 18th where is says, by H B Branham, that he found H R H MacIver to be suffering from syphilis and unable to perform field service - this is then approved by Gen. Lee’s adjutant on 1864 Jul 18 - H R H MacIver actual letter of resignation, from Gainsville Alabama, headed confidential, describes his ‘Physical disability contracted in this country” and it is appended on the bottom in large print signed by the Pres. Of the Medical Examining Board (H R Branham) as “suffering from Syhilea Consecrating”.
1864 Aug 17 – note on H R H MacIver’s resignation and quotes his reasons as “physical disability and (?) business and family maters compel me to leave the Confederacy for my home in Scotland of which country I am a native and citizen”
1864 Aug 19 – Medical certificate (printed letter head) by Hospital Examining Board, finding H R H MacIver unfit for military duty in consequence of Secondary Syphilis he had for 5 months – not fit for duty for 30 days – approves his leave of absence for 30 days to go to Mobile Alabama, his place of residence’’- signed Oliphant and Rours, Assistant Surgeons.
1864 Sept 6 - Confederate Letter headed Form - From Confederate Secretary of State, authorizing H R H MacIver transport to Scotland and his promise to return again a enter service - appended Note at bottom “ no later record has been found.”
Note in File Undated:
Wright’s Staff book gives him a vol. A.D.Coy - I K Trimble’s staff 27th Nov 1863 - appointed from Va. as 1st Lieutenant & Drill Master - to report to Gen S. D. Lee - resigned 1864 Aug 17 (report A.O)
Register of Payments and Appointments – service record file index cards: From 1862 Feb 5 – to his discharge in 1862 Aug 2 H R H MacIver listed as Private Scotts P Rangers.
From 1863 Nov 27 to 1864 Aug 17 with rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Extracted From “Under Fourteen Flags”
H R H MacIver recall of his service in the Confederate (Southern) States Army.
MacIver’s account rarely give dates, however, the history of this conflict is well recorded and agreed. Here, those known battles referred to by MacIver have their known dates added and highlighted. Significant conflict between history and MacIver’s accounts are detailed in Blue.
[p: 57]-Joins Colonel Scott’s own corps of rangers. Goes to city of Richmond.
[p:57]- The lieutenant was presented to Mr. Secretary Randolph who offers him commission the Confederate cavalry.
[p:57]- H R H MacIver was appointed an Officer in the Confederate States army the next day – in addition he was named cavalry instructor to commence his duties in Richmond. He was appointed 1st Lieutenant Drill-Master 27 November 1863.
[p: 59]- He diligence earned him the respect and thanks of Secretary Randolph.
[p:59]- After a few weeks he received orders to bear dispatches from Randolph to Gen. (Stonewall) Jackson commanding troops in the Shenandoah Valley. He was ordered to report to Gen Jackson on 22 December 1863.
[p:59]- On arrival placed him on his staff. Who assigned him as Drill-Master 7 August 1863
[p:59]- A few days later H R H MacIver was ordered to organise a small body of scouts from different cavalry regiments to operate with the brigade of General Trimble. Trimble was Gen Jackson Cavalry division head, MacIver was posted briefly, to his division on Aug 7th 1863
[p:63]- 1862 May 23 - Jackson’ campaign in the valley of Virginia – the battle of Fort Royal. H R H MacIver took part in the pursuit towards Strasburg – before Winchester. MacIver did not join the Confederate Army until 29 May 1862
[p:63-65]- MacIver carrying dispatches from Gen Jackson to commander of the brigade posted on the extreme right – was wounded in the side, grazing a rib but after being in surgeon’s hands was in the saddle again in a couple days. MacIver did not join the Confederate Army until 29 May 1862
[p:66]- Battles of Cross Keys(1862 June 8): H R H MacIver was scouting during destruction of the bridge at Conrad’s stone.
[p:71]- H R H MacIver was at the battle of Fort Republic. (1862 June 9
[p:72]- H R H MacIver did not accompany Jackson to Richmond.
H R H MacIver was sent on after him by Captain Brown, asst-adjutant to Ewell, bearing dispatches.
[p:72]- H R H MacIver slept in Jackson’s tent on the 26th June 1862, the night before the battle of Gaines’s Mills.
[p:73]- Jackson sent H R H MacIver to cavalry Major-Gen J E B Stuart, requesting Stuart “place H R H MacIver in any position which might benefit the cause in general”.
[p:74]- H R H MacIver was carrying dispatches during the 27th June 1862 battle of Gaines’s Mills (p73) – he nearly got mixed with the battle, “and he was obliged to ride off”.
[p:74]- “H R H MacIver took part in most of these desperate battles and saw real fighting on that one day as few men would like again”
(p75) Seven days fighting at Richmond – Savage Station, Fraziers Farm, Malvern Hill, Cedar Run and Manassas (1862 Aug 27). MacIver was discharged from service, as a Private, on 2 August 1862
[p:77]- On 9th August 1862 to Gardenville and Cedar Mountain to take part in the battle of Cedar Mountain.( 9 Aug 1862)
H R H MacIver Was struck in the head - wound proved to be slight –
H R H MacIver was then stationed at Hanover House for about three weeks.
Middle of August, H R H MacIver moved to Verdiensville.
[p:78]- 29 August 1862 battle on the Plains of Manassas - H R H MacIver wounded in the wrist of his sword arm by a pistol bullet. And taken prisoner.
The following morning was the 30th August. MacIver was discharged from service, as a Private, on 2 August 1862
In a day or two H R H MacIver was exchanged for Fed POW’s
[p:81]- H R H MacIver then went to Richmond to recuperate – then went to Harrisburg, and Lee falling back on Sharpsburg – then he was told to go to Winchester until his wound was quite healed.
[p:82]13 September 1862 Jackson invested Harpers Ferry and H R H MacIver was so dangerously wounded doctors had little hope for him (p82) as a pistol bullet had knocked out 4 of his upper front teeth, through his tongue and out the back of his neck. He was ill for 6 weeks and nearly a month before he was convalescent.
In the month of October 1862 H R H MacIver was in Winchester, Virginia.
[p:85]- H R H MacIver, after a month in Winchester, went to Richmond – then ordered to Shrieveport to join Gen. Kirby Smith. - Smith sent him back to Richmond as bearer of dispatches –where Mr. Randolph granted him leave of absence for one month. When his leave was up H R H MacIver was sent to the Mississippi to report to Gen Adams,(appt. Brig. Gen 1862 December - died 1864 Nov 30) the cavalry leader.
[p:88]- Adams ‘appointed’ H R H MacIver cavalry drill instructor and provost marshal.
[p:91]- H R H MacIver received his captaincy in due course– then a shell blew him up, but he was only superficially wounded – and invalided to Mobile for several months.
[p:91]- Then the ‘captain’ H R H MacIver, was ordered to Richmond and Mr. Randolph, the Secretary told him off to England on a mission – with dispatches for the Confederate Agent in London.
[p:91]- On the morning following this interview, he was handed the dispatches and before leaving Richmond received from Mr. Randolph his commission as a Major of cavalry.
In 1864 Aug 17 H R H MacIver’s resignation, which gives his reasons as “physical disability and business and family maters compel me to leave the Confederacy for my home in Scotland of which country I am a native and citizen” was accepted.
Dates of battles in the Civil War.
1862 May 23 - Jackson’ campaign in the valley of Virginia – the battle of Fort Royal.
1862 June 8-9th - Battles of Cross Keys and Fort Republic:
1862 Aug 25-27th - 7 days fighting at Richmond – Savage Station, Fraziers Farm, Malvern Hill, Cedar Run and Manassas.
MacIver served from 29th May 1862 to 2nd August 1862 – when he was discharged as a private with pay for his 2 months and 4 days service.
MacIver served from 21st May 1863 to 17th August 1864 – [he accepted his to appointment to Lieutenant Drill-Master on November 1863] and he resigned from the Confederate Army, as a Lieutenant, after 16 months and 7 days service.
H R H MacIver could not have taken part in the 23 May 1862 campaign on the Confederate side as he says he did.
H R H MacIver could not have taken part in the 25th –27th August 1862 campaign on the Confederate side as he says he did.
How many times was he transferred, with the instruction to his next boss, “to make the best use of this fellow, for the general good”?
Once, a favour - twice, a caution - thrice, and it is plain to all but him no one wants him – look at pages: 59,72,78,85,90.
From the earliest record of his promotion to Lieutenant in February 1864 to his resignation and discharge for medical reasons from the Confederate Army on 17 August 1864, is a total of 16months and 7 days service, of which he was in the Officers Hospital Uniontown with syphilis for 5 months – and from where he applied for several periods of leave.
He resigned on 17 August 1864 and did not return as promised on his resignation in support of his request for transport assistance back to Scotland (his claimed home).
MacIver handwritten resignations [in his file] claims a medical disability “contracted in this country” and reasons of family business in Scotland [where he claims to be “a native and a citizen”]. In none of the memorandums this generated, is there any mention of any dispatches.
The only disability recorded is ‘secondary syphilis’- there are no wounds recorded that needed hospitalisation.
On discharge he was still listed as a lieutenant, and there are neither recommendations for promotion recorded nor any commiserate increase in pay.
False claims - example the wound he alleges he received on page 82. History tells us that Jackson invested Harpers Ferry on the 13 September 1862. The book says H R H MacIver was there and had a pistol bullet knock out 4 of his upper front teeth, pass through his tongue and exit out the back of his neck, and he was only unfit for duty for a month.
And a pistol bullet of the calibre favoured in the 1860’s were heavy round lead ball, near ½” diameter. Now, even a thick neck carries several arteries and several veins aside, arranged around neck vertebrae supported by muscle tissue, tendons and ligaments. Miracles do happen, MacIver claims more than his share.
Concluding, as his service record shows no hospitalisation for wounds and as MacIver was discharged from service, as a Private, on 2 August 1862 - whatever miracle escapes he had, this one did not happen when or where he said and is an unlikely event in any case.
In defence, perhaps the published accounts are out of sequence, perhaps events are jumbled and mixed up - because we should remember that MacIver did suffer a number of head wounds over time and these could have affected his memory.
And the nine-month gap in his service, from August 1862 to May 1863 - perhaps MacIver was seriously injured or a Federal Prisoner of war from about September 1862 until May 1963 to explain the gap in his recorded engagement with the Confederate Army – or, he may have been engaged in other business, perhaps for a newspaper whose employees he mentions. Whatever, from most accounts, it appears he was a trusted dispatch rider.
We have a view of him in court, defending him-self against a paternity suit.
He presents in court as a blustering fellow and the Judge has to tell him to cut to the chase and to spare the ‘flowery language; by the Judge who is not impressed.
He appears to take umbrage at his ‘Honour’ being distained.
He takes umbrage at the court officer touching his arm to get his attention.
He goes on about his ‘Honour’ and threatens serious harm to anyone impugning it. He certainly appears to suffer from an excess of hubris - the newspaper reports make a comic of him - the Nortons must have curled up in a corner in shame.
He displays a paranoid tendency - to see enemies anywhere, even in court. While he need not be wrong about that, it is usually only the truly paranoiac who bother to seek to justify their obsession by using every opportunity to point it out.
He even considered the bank, while cashing his 70L cheque from the Proctor, was in a conspiracy to jerk him around.
How did he allow himself to get entangled in such a way with Bertha, if so much was at stake?
Why did he [as he admitted] offer her anything? Even if the Judge saw it from the dates that it wasn't likely to be his child [12 months gestation?] he did admit to a 'liaison' with the mother and admit to this offer - even if the offer was a bribe for Bertha's evidence against Florence.
Was he an enigma like that earlier Gregor MacGregor, subject to extreme conflicting impulses and feelings?
Was he any different in the rest of his life?
I some how doubt he was.
Was his Honour a shield or a burden to him?
Why would he voluntarily purport in an open courtroom, before a Judge, to have sought some one out to cause harm to them. As he does.
To threaten in court, to shoot some one dead. As he does.
He ‘dumps’ on the girl, Bertha - saying that she was not an attraction to marriage - "a gentleman doesn't marry his maid" whilst maintaining that this in itself was evidence enough that a gentleman [of his stature] could not be found guilty of considering marriage to her or some one of her social cast. Evidence that the Court may have considered him a puffed up clown, as the Newspaper the reporter relates the immediately following interjection by the judge, "But to marry their Cook is alright?"
MacIver goes on in the same vein, for several columns - standing on his dignity as a man of Honour, and if any one says [different] he will shoot them down. He lost this case, and he made to appeal it.
There is a possible clue to his later accepting this ruling, (he either lost the appeal, or voided his appeal) in that he appeared to have later acknowledged a daughter as a next of kin. According to a great great grand daughter, he had custody of his children by Florence in 1881.
MacIver left Britain shortly afterwards, and some years later are recorded leaving from a French port to go to the U.S.A. – possibly on the expiration of his time as U.S.A. consul to Spain.
He does no appear to have ever returned to Britain.
The only evidence that he met the obligation to maintain his putative daughter Ida Pamplin/MacIver/Lee is the recall of her grandson, that she (Ida) ‘had difficulty in getting support from MacIver’. Less directly, MacIver acknowledged a daughter to some one, perhaps in an official document, for coroner’s findings on his death and his obituary mention ‘one daughter who lives in England’. His death certificate describes him as a ‘widower’. Maybe he so described himself to explain his daughter and avoid having to detail a live wife or his divorced status - maybe he had another marriage or something like it.
Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver sense of Honour did not appear to get in the way of his appetites. Eloping with the daughters of the unwilling was almost an admitted pastime.
How many Bertha Pamplin’s escape mention, along with the Florence’s, in accounts of his life?
How many defeats, hidings went un-noted?
His daughter (to Bertha Pamplin) Winifred Ada MacIver/Pamplin, at age 18, was in the UK at that time he died and it’s unlikely he was acknowledging children from his first marriage to Florence Norton – not even his ‘darling boy’ Ronald Michael MacIver (then aged 27).
Henry Ronald Hislop Douglas MacIver dies virtually penniless in New York in 1907.
Winifred Ida Pamplin did not leave for the Americas until ten years later.
Florence Norton (MacIver/Broadley)
Florence remarried, had no further children. She married a Robert Broadley, he died in 1912 and Florence in 1932 in Wimbourne, UK. Her family knew her as Flora Broadley. I have just found one of her granddaughters living in New Zealand, just down the road.
How is that for co-incidences?
Howard Norton - New Zealand