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For the Literary Magazine.

a modern sampson.

AMONG instances of extraordi-
nary strength, the following, which
is well attested, seems to be one of
the most remarkable:

Thomas Topham, a man who kept
a public house at Islington, per-
formed surprising feats of strength:
as breaking a broomstick, of the
first magnitude, by striking it against
his bare arm; lifting two hogsheads
of water; heaving his horse over
the turnpike-gate; carrying the
beam of a house, as a soldier his
firelock, &c. But however belief
might stagger, she soon recovered
herself, when this second Sampson
appeared at Derby, as a performer
in public, at a shilling each. Upon
application for leave to exhibit, the
magistrate was surprised at the feats
he proposed; and, as his appear-
was like that of other men, he
requested him to strip, that he
might examine whether he was
made like them; but he was found
to be extremely muscular. What
were hollows under the arms and
hams of others, were filled up with
ligaments in him.

He appeared near five feet ten,
turned of thirty, well-made, but no-
thing singular; he walked with a
small limp. He had formerly laid a
wager, the usual decider of disputes,
that three horses could not draw
him from a post, which he should

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clasp with his feet; but the driver
giving them a sudden lash, turned
them aside, and the unexpected jerk
had broke his thigh.

The performances of this wonder-
ful man, in whom were united the
strength of twelve, were rolling up
a pewter-dish of seven pounds, as a
man rolls up a sheet of paper; hold-
ing a pewter quart at arm's length,
and squeezing the sides together
like an egg-shell; lifting two hun-
weight with his little finger,
and moving it gently over his head.
The bodies he touched seemed to
have lost their powers of gravitation.
He also broke a rope, fastened to
the floor, that would sustain twenty
weight; lifted an oak table
six feet long with his teeth, though
half a hundred weight was hung to
the extremity; a piece of leather
was fixed to one end for his teeth
to hold, two of the feet stood upon
his knees, and he raised the end
with the weight higher than that in
his mouth; he took a Mr. Chambers,
vicar of All Saints, who weighed
twenty-seven stone, and raised him
with one hand, his head being laid on
one chair, and his feet on another;
four people, fourteen stone each, sat
upon his body, which he heaved at
pleasure. He struck a round bar
of iron, one inch diameter, against
his naked arm, and at one stroke
bent it like a bow. Weakness and
feeling seemed fled together.

Being a master of music, he enter-
tained the company with Mad
Tom. He sung a solo to the organ
in St. Warburgh's church, then the
only one in Derby; but though he
might perform with judgment, yet
the voice, more terrible then sweet,
scarcely seemed human. Though
of a pacific temper, and with the
appearance of a gentleman, yet he
was liable to the insults of the rude.
The hostler at the inn, where he
resided, having given him disgust,
he took one of the kitchen-spits
from the mantle-piece, and bent it
round his neck like a handkerchief;
but as he did not chuse to tuck the
end in the hostler's bosom, the
cumbrous ornament excited the

laugh of the company, till he conde-
scended to untie his iron cravat.
Had he not abounded with good-na-
ture, the men might have been in
fear for the safety of their persons,
and the women for that of their
pewter-shelves, as he could instantly
roll up both. One blow with his
fist would for ever have silenced
those heroes of the bear-garden,
Johnson and Mendoza.

Frederick of Prussia, who took so
much pains to form a regiment of
tall men, was influenced by a very
childish freak. Had he turned his
attention to the collecting and en-
rolling men eminent for strength, he
would have really contributed to the
end of all military preparation. In
such a case, Topham would have
stood a good chance of being colonel
of a regiment of Sampsons.

This account affords a pregnant
hint to those philosophers who spe-
culate on man as a mere animal,
whose qualities, both personal and
mental, are liable to be affected by
insulating or crossing the breed.

A king of soldiers exercises pret-
ty much the same power, in the
same way, which a breeder of cat-
tle does over his vassals. Thus
Frederick, by chusing suitable
mates for his strong men, might
have gradually reared a Herculean

The advantage which an army
composed of strong men have over
a weaker, is in a greater proportion
than that which the strength of the
first bears to that of the last. A
man as strong as ten others is a
hundred times more serviceable,
since he only requires one tenth of
the pay and the provision of ten


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