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Friday, 7 August 2009

Winsor arrives in London

Winsor seems to have arrived in England in the early 1790s, since he claimed that in 1792 he spoke no English at all. He may, however, have had another reason for arriving since the marriage registers of St.Peter Cornhill record the marriage of an F.A.Winzer to Harriet Wilkinson on 15th January 1791. Was she perhaps also a daughter of the banking house of Bloxham, Wilkinson and Taylor?

His first known work was published in England in 1795 and was:
‘The sympathy of souls’. A translation from the French of a German poem by G.M.Wieland. Published in London.

Wieland was a currently fashionable romantic poet but a translation from the French seems an odd choice for someone whose first language is said to have been German. Winsor dedicated his work to Queen Charlotte - an appropriate choice given his future dealings with the Royal family. His son, also Frederick Albert, was born in 1797 and his wife may have died around the same time, perhaps in Hamburg.

Winsor’s next pamphlet was published in 1798 in Brunswick - demonstrating, if nothing else, how much he travelled around Europe at this time. It was:

Memorial delivered at Rastadt by Frederick Louis de Berlepsch against his British Majesty as Elector of Hanover’. By Obadia Prim. In English, French and German. Published Braunschweig.

The leaflet concerns a speech made by Friedrich Louis von Berlepsch, a Hanovarian jurist, at the Congress of Rastatt held in the same year. Von Belespsch supported a good relationship with France and Winsor attacks his arguments – its publication implies that Winsor was closely following, and possibly embroiled in, the politics of the various German states and their dealings with Napoleon.

However, it should be noted that from this stage onwards Winsor frequently used the pseudonym ‘Obadiah Prim’. Obadiah Prim’ was the name of a character, ‘a hypocritical Quaker’ in Susannah Centlivre’s 1717 play ‘A Bold Stroke for a Wife’ - a strange and rather obscure reference for someone from abroad to take up, although the play was revived and performed at Drury Lane in the late 1820s. Was Winsor serious? Or was he laughing at himself? Elsewhere he described himself as ‘one of the people called Quakers’. Was he a Quaker? There is no other evidence for this but it is possible that he might have had some connection with the movement.

Memorial delivered at Rastadt contains an advertisement for three other publications - none of which have been traced and may not even have been written. They are:

History of some great Mandarins. Political Review of the present and future state of Europe.

Energetic Address of the Rev. Mr.Lavater

Oh My Country. Political Confessions of a true Briton

Nothing is known of these leaflets. Johann Kaspar Lavater was a Swiss writer, Protestant pastor, and the founder of ‘physiognomics’, an anti-rational, religious, and literary movement. Winsor’s third work ‘Oh My Country’ might signify that he had decided to become British. It appears that he changed his name to ‘Winsor’ around this time and published another pamphlet in French and English, as Obadiah Prim.

‘Address to the sovereigns of Europe’, by Obadiah Prim. Published London.

The leaflet is an appeal to take action against the French and includes an attack on Napoleon. It urges the need to address grievances which might lead to a revolutionary movement elsewhere. His next leaflet was more identifiably British and with an economic, rather than a political, theme - it is published however, using the German version of his name.

‘The Prosperity of England midst the clamours of ruin’ by a Merchant of London, published London. Preface by F.A.Winzer.

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