Lithgow, William

, a Scotchman, born the latter end of the fifteenth century, whose sufferings by imprisonment and torture at Malaga, and whose travels on foot over Europe, Asia, and Africa, seem to raise him almost to the rank of a martyr and a hero, published a well-known account of his peregrinations and adventures. The first edition of this was printed in 1614, 4to, and reprinted in the next reign, with additions, and a dedication to Charles J. Though the author deals much in the marvellous, the accounts of the strange cruelties, of whioh he tells us he was the subject, have, however, an air of truth. Soon after his arrival in England from Malaga, he was carried to Theobalds on a feather-bed, that king James might be an eye-witness of his martyred anatomy, by which he means his wretched body, mangled and reduced to a skeleton. The whole court crowded to see him; and his majesty ordered him to be taken care of; and he was twice sent to Bath at his expence. By the king’s command, he applied to Gondamor, the Spanish ambassador, for the recovery of money and other things of value which the governor of Malaga had taken from him, and for a thousand pounds for his support; but, although promised a full reparation for the damages he had sustained, that minister never performed his promise. When he was upon the point of | leaving England, Lithgow upbraided him with the breach of his word, in the presence-chamber, before several gentlemen of the court. This occasioned their fighting upon the spot; and the ambassador, as the traveller oddly expressed it, “had his fistula contrabanded with his fist;” but the unfortunate Lithgow, although generally commended for his spirited behaviour, was sent to the Marshalsea, where he continued a prisoner nine months. At the conclusion of the 8vo edition of his travels, he informs us, that “in his three voyages his painful feet have traced over, besides passages of seas and rivers, thirty-six thousand and odd miles, which draweth near to twice the circumference of the whole earth.” Here the marvellous seems to rise to the incredible; and to set him in point of veracity below Coryat, whom it is nevertheless certain that he far outwalked. His description of Ireland is whimsical and curious. This, together with the narrative of his sufferings, is reprinted in Morgan’s “Phcenix Britannicus.” He published also an account of the siege of Breda, 1637, of which the reader will find a notice in the “Restituta.1


Granger. Restituta, No. II. p. 134.