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First of two proofs beyond doubt that Wisden ... Plagiarised?
Or was it Partnership?
The First proof
Transcription and explanatory commentary of April diary
1 page of Ms. for Rackets
2 pages in Ms. of Horse Racing
The above page is a photograph taken from the 1864 Cricketers Handbook (First Edition of Wisden) belonging to Lords Library and is reproduced with the permission of Neil Robinson from Lords Library
The 2 pages illustrated above are taken from the Rowing Almanacks of 1863 and 1864 and are reproduced with the kind permission of Geoffrey Legget . They come from the Leander Trust collection held by the Leander Club Henley-on-Thames
The First Proof
Those who do not know what the 1st edition of Wisden's Almanack 1864 looks like may wonder just what this very neatly written and illustrated account of the 1863 boat race between Oxford and Cambridge and written by F.E.C. Elwes soon after the event in 1863 is doing here under the heading "First of Two proofs.... F.E.C. Elwes rowed for Magdalene College and that he should/would be interested in the University Rowing Match should be no surprise. Further down are 2 pages illustrated from the Cambridge University Intelligencer showing tables for the "Winners of the University Matches." Its no surprise either that Elwes would have access to this publication to copy from, whether his own copy or perhaps one in the O. and C. Club of which he was a member.
For those who do know what the page in the first edition of Wisden 1864 that shows the table of "university Rowing Matches" looks like will need only look at the reprinted page below the ms. page. The first edition of Wisden is a very odd thing consisting as it does of so much that has nothing to do with cricket. The page showing the University Rowing Matches is an example of such oddity. This ms. page to the side and the 2 illustrations from the Cambridge University Intelligencer page provides the first proof beyond reasonable doubt that to some extent the 1864 first edition of Wisden has been sourced from another man's work. This proof is to be found by comparing the table in the Ms. showing the University Matches From Their Commencement with the tables from the Cambridge University Intelligence for the years 1863 and 1864 showing the Winners of the University Matches and the table in the 1864 First Edition of Wisden showing the University Rowing Matches (both illustrated below).
A list showing the main differences and similarities between the tables in the Ms. and the first edition of Wisden 1864 and the tables in the CUI is given below.
The column in the CUI showing the year of the 2 races for 1849 is the same in both the 1864 first edition of Wisden and CUI, whereas the Ms. lists only 1 race in 1849 and also a race for 1850. This mistake could be Wisden just happening by coincidence to get the dates right but I suspect more likely especially given the neatness and apparent writing without correction that the author may have realised this mistake, told Wisden and he remembered to have it corrected.
The column showing the dates of the races in the CUI has been removed from both the Ms. and the first edition of Wisden 1864
The column showing the place where the race took place in the CUI comes after the table showing the winner whereas in both the Ms. and the 1864 first edition of Wisden this table comes before the table showing the winner.
In the CUI the place where the race took place is shown by initials only, whereas in the Ms. and in the 1864 first edition of Wisden the place where the race took place is written in full. Although where the race took place in the same place in succeeding years Wisden uses ditto marks.
The column showing the winners in the CUI comes after the column showing the dates the races took place, whereas in both the Ms. and the first edition of Wisden 1864 the column showing the winners comes after the column showing where the races took place.
The timing given for the 1842 race is the same in the ms. as in the CUI. A mistake created by Wisden.
The race timings for 1857 is different in all 3.
The use in the ms. and in Wisden in the column "Won by" of the expression "many lengths" instead of easy .
The Most Striking Differences and Similarities
between the CUI , the Ms. and Wisden 1st edition are to be found in the race timings particularly for the years 1861 ,1862 and 1863.The last 3 timings given in the Ms. are exactly the same as in the first edition of Wisden 1864 and all 3 are wrong when compared with the race times in the CUI. How are the same 3 mistakes that are made in an earlier text repeated in a later text in any other way except copying. It cannot possibly happen by coincidence.
Nor can it be just coincidence that the table in Wisden bears such an obvious closeness to the one in the ms. The only way Wisden could make those mistakes at the end and produce a table of the university rowing matches is surely by copying and then making /adding his own touch with a few economies using dittoes.
There are a number of ways of proving plagiarism/copying to have taken place. One way, difficult to argue with is when the mistakes made in an earlier text (1863 ms. page showing the university rowing matches) are repeated by a later text (First Edition of Wisden 1864 showing the university rowing matches) Given the repetition of mistakes made by Wisden and the the author of the manuscript FEC Elwes: How can Wisden not have copied this ms???
Elwes made the initial mistakes. There are mistakes elsewhere in the Almanack that have as their more probable source Elwes.
2 more such mistakes will be pointed out here . I have chosen these 2 mistakes because they could easily pertain to Elwes but not so easily to Wisden. The first mistake is the date given for the Battle of the Nile. In the first edition of Wisden the entry for the 1st of July reads "Battle of the Nile 1798" The actual date is 1 of August 1798. I have been unable to ascertain for sure whether Elwes had family or friends connected with this battle but he certainly had a strong naval connection. For example 2 of his half brothers Cary Charles and Dudley Christopher Cary married Elinor and Mary Ann Sophia daughters of Rear Admiral Peter Jekyll Rye of Culworth.Or his father in law who fought and gained a medal at the naval Battle of Navarino
The other mistake is with regard to the Battle of Dettingen which took place on the 27th June. In the first edition of Wisden 1864 the entry for this battle appears for the 16th of June and reads "Battle of Dettingen Bavaria 1743 ." There are many military connections both navy and army within the Elwes family. Whether there are any between the Elwes family and the Battle of Dettingen is unknown by me. But what is not in doubt is that there are many mistakes in the first edition of Wisden 1864 and somebody made them. As an initial source for these errors and there are more, Elwes has to be considered a possible/probable source for some of them, particularly as will be explained in much more detail later he was not a fully fit well man, as can be seen throughout his diary January 1863 to September 1863
Over the years there have been some people who really know their Wisden's who have suspected that the first edition of Wisden may not have been all Wisden's own work. Until now there has been no hard evidence to suggest or prove that it wasn't all his own work other than examining what is in the first edition, but it doesn't take a lot of studying by anyone who knows what the early Wisdens look like to wonder. The cricket yes that could easily be Wisden , but all the other stuff; the rowing the lists of horserace winners , the list of British Societies the canals etc." Was that really Wisden!"
This page showing the university rowing matches ms. proves beyond all reasonable doubt that the first edition of Wisden is not solely the work of Wisden as has been assumed up until now but to some extent is a joint effort. The question to be asked now is not "did Wisden really create the First Edition by himself?" because with the evidence that this ms. provides he so clearly didn' t, but "How much is Wisden's work and how much is someone else's?" (ie. F.E.C. Elwes)
However it needs to be said that in my opinion that whilst it may look like plagiarism/copying this is far to strong a way of viewing things. In my opinion at least there was almost certainly a partnership or agreement between Elwes and Wisden to produce "something" They clearly knew each other as the diary shows. Further secondary documentation proves they had known each other for several years. An invitation from an aristocrat as Elwes would have considered himsef to be, to Wisden, to "come Round" would have been highly unusual and indicates an unusual relationship between the two men. The many mentions also in the diary of going to Wisden's; of great cricket talk, grog and sandwiches demonstrates two people who knew each other well and probably very well. A 10 day stay shooting on the Elwes estate at Egton as the shooting diary indicates, says they knew each other very very well.
Therefore I propose that there must have been a partnership of some sort. Looking at the ms. I suspect that Elwes's idea may have been something along the lines of seperate annuals with reports for cricket, rowing, horse racing, rackets, and boxing each of which would have much of what went into the 1st edition of Wisden. As an aristocrat Elwes could not have wanted his name associated with such a production as an Almanack/s. So I think the way it would have worked is that Elwes would write the Almanack/s (this manuscript) and probably pay for the production whilst Wisden would look after the production and sales.
Elwes , however if the ms. is anything to go by was becoming increasingly ill from September 1863 onwards and almost certainly was not up to taking any further part from then on. The ms shows this by its increasing illegibility untidiness and errors in usage of the apostrophe.
What was to happen. Its impossible at the moment to say for sure but it is my belief that the missing pages from this ms. contained much of what was to eventually fill the 1st edition of Wisden together with the page illustrated here and another page aesthetically rearranged and illustrated in the next section, and maybe other stuff from who knows where. The logistics and expense of producing 5 possibly illustrated Almanacks in any significant quantity was a burden to heavy too bear. Economies had to be made and thus was the 1stc edition created .
An illustration of Riveaulx Abbey by the author See diary entry for April 5th
Went to Helmesley meeting with Larry Birch at Peterboro'- Got to Gilling at 6 - 2 most capital trains from town. 2 waters the "Black swan" - Read Midshipmam Easy
( Marryatt's ) again with delight again. Found that a good deal of blowing up and objurgations would have to be done to make the hostelry comfortable- toughness of meat being the great drawback.
On the big water - nobody did much - found my tackle in the most disgraceful state from not having been looked at since last year - I lose 4 or 5 - and one good one which broke me - Larry got a few - but the weather was very difficult only those who know it well had a chance of doing anything - felt I could not throw as good a line as last year - in (fact?) I was not well or half keen.
3. FRIDAY (GOOD)
- Big water again - Larry got a few as usual - I only one - river crowded with rods. Cast in a good many small ones as usual. found the living was most reprehensible. Phillips Secretary called and was very civil-
To Riveaulx - in the dog cart - wind sometimes made getting a line into the water almost impossible - Larry got 14 I got only 8- but I did not work very hard - in fact I began to care very little about it. Commenced a systematic reformation in the grub - it was really necessary -
5. SUNDAY. EASTER
To morning ch(urch) with Larry - service rather long - fine looking church rather. Heard from Rackham. papers came pretty regularly - I walked over to Riveaulx - and sketched - went a new way - it brought me out at the back of the Abbey. Began to read "Such Things Are"
6. MONDAY. (EASTER)
OLD LADY DAY. Div. due at BANK. We went Riveaulx - the last accident that could interrupt my fishing - did - The wading boots at least one of them was cut right through - Not daring to stay out all day without legs - I went home - and proffered a pair of overall shoes - to go over some - stockings- of Larry's - L.B. got about twenty - This little stream was crowded as usual.
Did not take the water at all today - I was waiting for my shoes- walked about - got through the day - Finished "Such Things Are" - Larry got a good basket at Riveaulx - a ceremony took place among the natives called "Riding the Stang " equivalent to Rough Music - Expressing the popular disgust at a man ill using ( & kicking an old creature of 80 - lodging in his house - three nights this took place.
Got one grayling on the Big River - Larry did rather better - but the water was getting more difficult every day - I was getting very tired of it indeed - Grub improved from constant admonitions - Commenced Maretimo a lively little story
Helmesley is a place in Yorkshire and it is a possibility that he and Larry Birch were fishing the River Rye where the Ryedale Anglers Club now fish. This club was set up by a group of friends in 1846 to fish for trout . Whether Elwes or members of his family were some of the original members is unknown.
"Objurgation" an unusual word to use, used perhaps by someone who might also use the term "bi-ssextile or leap year " The unusual expression for a leap year used on the title page of the 1864 first edition of Wisden.
"Read Midshipman Easy" In this book is a character named Mesty a former prince now slave.
Might this be the inspiration for the March 7th entry in the Almanack section of the 1864 first edition of Wisden
"Slave trade abolished 1807"
Wherever he is staying it is clearly not up to scratch
Rivaulx Abbey see pen and ink sketch above.
The day he sketched the pen and ink drawing above
"Such Things Are" A play 1787 by Elizabeth Inchbald
"Div. due at bank" The 1864 first edition of Wisden contains an entry in early April for "Dividends due at Bank" According to his banking records Elwes did receive dividends in early April.
"Riding the Stang" Several related meanings. Usually applied to a man mistreating his wife.
His "objurgations" at least seem to have worked satisfactorily even if the fishing didnt go so well.
"Maretimo" A book initially published in parts 1854-5 St. John Bayle
At RIVEAULX got about 1/2 dozen was a fool for not getting higher up - or then I should have got a deal more water to myself - Got over my stockings - and came home a good deal earlier than I intended - felt very anxious to leave - being thoroughly tired of it.
Felt very unwell but for the want of anything else to do - I flogged the river again - a grayling was all that found its way to my pannier but I found that Old Smith and others - from the want of water - & the cold air were doing no better - L.B. & Sturry went round Riveaulx & worked very hard for fish to take away they got a great lot between them
To town via Gilling and Malton. Fair train from York. In about 5-30 - Found George Murray at Kensington - did not feel particularly well - but more from disappointment in sport than anything else.
12. SUNDAY. LOW.S. 1. AFT.EASTER
in the morning - worked vigorously - at the backward diary - wrote letters - Met H.W.L. Misses and bull terrier in the Park Helen and spouse - looked in for tea Finished "Peter Simple" Miss Grueber in the evening.
To Rackham's - arranged about the notes of hand - in fact by a little judicious arrangement I might be called whitewashed. At Wisden's - Luncheoned at the club. Minnie as usual to Monday Pop vieux - temps . there again
Malton who I went to see was out he always is I think. Paid bills - Found Payne's much heavier than I thought it might be - Abud and Collinghwood's what we expected - made many calls - Carry Thompson also - Edith Alice saw Caroline at Cadogan Place - could not find Winsor.
Heard from C.C.B. - proposed that Minnie should have an allowance - We thought it over and agreed to it. it was not a new subject for consideration - Very seedy felt I - Got purged dreadfully - another tooth coming thro' of all horrid things. Oxford and Cambridge terms begin
Into town At Houghton's - George Murray and Mortlock dropped into luncheon - everybody always does when there is nothing to eat - went out for some air at Wisden's met old Tom Box who had set up a house in town-
Over the next few months there are many days spent working very hard over diary.
Peter Simple Another novel by Marryatt
"Vieux temps" How much French Elwes knew is unknown. But part of a gentleman's education would have been spent learning French and quite probably French culture and history perhaps. This together with some entries still to come may help to explain why there are a substantial number of French entries in the Almanack.Why or how Wisden put them in is anybody's guess. The puzzle of their inclusion has an explanation if Elwes were the source.
Unknown who these people were although Carry Thomson reappears .
Elwes's bank records do show money being paid from his account and to his wife.
The beginning of the Oxford and Cambridge terms is of enough significance to Elwes to include it in his day to day diary, and are event dates that occur throughout the year in the almanack section of the 1864 first edition of Wisden.
"Went for some air at Wisden's met old Tom Box who had set up a house in town"
As a boy soon after his father died Wisden went to live with Tom Box who was the wicketkeeper for Sussex. Tom Box for a while at least was a less than successful publican in London (town)
Went into town - Did find Malton at home for once - Douglas's - Met Drummonds - Houghton's Began Peregrine Pickle not having looked at it for 20 years - desperately hot and fuggy - got a white hat at Anche'l's I believe Carry's dog Romeo arrived
Abud and Collingwood's (small mendings) settled with Rackham Minnie's new allowance. I mean letters given to Goslings to carry out the new arrangements - Home early - Mr. Pitt Taylor and son called - a fine man Mr. P.T. Winsor, Caroline and Carry - came but we only saw the last two mentioned.
Minnie out all day To Zoological Gardens with one of H.W. L. orders. Met him and Misses there - alas no bull terrier (spoil at the Egyptians) Big baboon great fun - got hold of a man's stick nobody could get it off him. he managed it so cleverly - Saw Jack Masters - but not to speak too - Arthur Peel swaggering about. H.W.L.'s opinion of him quite coincides with mine - found Teddy at 39 on my return - Minnie arranged to go to Ryde while the house was doing out.
Into town very warm day indeed. Douglas Wisden's - Tom Box there - great cricket talk - Worked very hard at back diary - Beginning to get very tired of London again . yearned for country - and bracing air - not smoke and grease like the great Metropolis -
Minnie went to Ryde. Did several little odds and ends - in town - at Wisden's - trying to get the old Bell's lives - to make out omitted - sporting intelligence for the diary etc. called at C.C.B.'s not come home but Mrs. C.C.B. was expected that afternoon.
Refused an invite to L.B.'s by mistake. Into town - at 27 Conduit Street arranged to dine with (the Drummonds and co) luncheoned at home - at Abud and Collingwood's - walked out again and dined at 7 with Teddy - smoked 2 capital cheroots - beautiful night walked home - accepted my invite to the Birch's as I found it was Thursday not Wednesday -
Into town and did various odds and ends- above everything going to Wisden's to get my diary thro' the Bell's Lives. I dined with the Birch's Capital dry sherry- at the club afterwards and walked home -
Peregrine Pickle Novel by Tobias Smollet
"Arthur Peel swaggering about" Elwes appears not to like Arthur too much. Possibly the son of Sir Robert Peel who is joined to the 1864 first edition of Wisden by the entry for November 18 which reads "Metropolitan Police established 1829." It was Robert Peel who was responsible for its founding.
"Minnie Arranged to go to Ryde" Elwes had a number of relatives and connections living in Ryde and the Isle of Wight. Who she was staying with is not known.
What makes this interesting though is the fact that in 1871 it is known thanks to the 1871 census that Wisden was in Ryde and nobody knows why. Could he have been seeing other members of the Elwes family or is it just a coincidence that they also happened to live in Ryde.
"Douglas Wisden's Tom Box there" Tom Box was a former cricketer. After the death of Wisden's father Wisden lived with Tom Box as a "pot boy" . How interesting it would be to know just what the "great cricket talk" was.
At Wisden's again. Wisden is known to have had some sort of sporting library where old copies of sporting newspapers were kept. Presumably the "sporting intelligence" is for the pages either just preceding and or following the April diary
At Wisden's again. Still playing catch up with his diary but it would seem if these diary entries are to be believed as if the most important thing he has to do in life is this diary/manuscript.
Did a great deal of diary in the morning - then into town - looked over Bell's Lives at Wisden's - Went to Abud and Collingwood's Luncheoned and dined at home - house reappearing from chaos - carpets getting down - Commenced La Beata an Italian story among the artists.
Into town at the club - Abud and Collingwood's - at Wisden's did not see him BUT GOT some Bell's lives - Met Malton for a few minutes Arranged about gradually leaving off medicine. Heard that Minnie was not coming till later - finished La Beata - a little adjunct - Romeo and Juliet of Florence
26. SUNDAY- 3 AFT. EASTER
At the Zoological again with H.W. L's order . Took great notice of the bears which are magnificent . Saw carnivora fed- looked at the French way of breeding salmon- wh. - they say is most successful- Went by Baker Street & home by Bryanston sq. - Dont know wh. is the best.
Minnie returned in the afternoon rather to my astonishment - Enjoyed her visit to Ryde - a pretty place & muffins always offered (????? Fashions of chaff?) Did a good deal of back diary - in the morning - House nearly comfortable again -
Carry came to stay her Roman bow wow Romeo ( another sort of Spitz to Chow ) having preceded her - The Mortlocks - and Helen to luncheon - Town - at Abud and Collingwood's Douglas's - we all dined at home-
Carry and Minnie going over to Helen's - I dined at the club - had a capital dinner had a good bottle of still Moselle- but had to wait rather- the club like so many others was getting to small for the increasing no. of members- Met one very nice fellow a new member - Taylor-
Caroline and Charlotte to luncheon - Felt a little seedy - Malton called afterwards - Laurence Peel & Chapman - Minnie and Carry at Helen's again. Goslings book turned up better than I expected- Wrote to Walland with a view of going there to pay a duty visit ---
More Diary and to Wisden's to look over again at Bell's Live's
"Carpets getting down" is of some significance to the Almanack section of the 1864 first edition of Wisden . At the foot of the Amanack's entry for October is the legend "Kidderminster Carpets 1735 "I cant help thinking that one of the carpets that was being put down bore a label reading along the lines of " Kiddeminster carpets were first manufactured in 1735" and that this label provided the source for this entry at the foot of the October section of the Almanack
La Beata a novel by Thomas Adolphus Trollope
At Wisden's again and viewing more Bell's Live's
Another French reference, this time to a way of breeding salmon. Worthy of mention because of the significant quantity of French material in the Almanack section of the 1864 first edition of Wisden. Was this French material, some of which is shall I say a little esoteric, really inserted by Wisden
*In early 2021 I was to learn that FECE's father Robert Cary Elwes, together with his best friend companion tutor and executor of RCE's father's will Charles Drake Barnard was in Paris in 1790 for sure, where a portrait of RCE was painted by Ludwig Guttenbrunn a famous Austrian society portrait painter of the day. For some time I had wondered what the possible source family connection for the historical references to France and the French revolution in the latter years of the 18th century could originate. Robert Cary Elwes and his friend Charles Drake Barnard in Paris 1790 as first hand witnesses priovide a likely source. Family oral trtadition has it that these 2 men were some of the last to be able to freely leave Paris and it may well be they left with the ambassador at the time of his recall in August 1792.
More back diary
Whether Laurence Peel is, as Arthur Peel maybe, related to Robert Peel is unknown but quite probably not.
The End of This Section Apart from the Correction of Typos
or The Addition of Newly Uncovered Information
Click Here For Wisden's secret Part 2 Manuscript Diary for May the second proof that Wisden...Plagiarised? another man's work and the first of the
Cricket Match reports