« ZurückWeiter »
that I should be indicted for a vagabond once more, so I did not much care to go down into the country, but kept about the town, and did little jobs when I could get them.
“I was very happy in this manner for some time, till one evening, coming home from work, two men knocked me down, and then desired me to stand. They belonged to a press-gang: I was carried before the justice, and, as I could give no account of myself, I had my choice left, whether to go on board a man-ofwar, or list for a soldier: I chose the latter, and, in this post of a gentleman, I served two campaigns in Flanders, was at the battle of Fontenoy, and received but one wound, through the breast here ; but the doctor of our regiment soon made me well again.
“When the peace came on I was discharged ; and as I could not work, because my wound was sometimes troublesome, I listed for a landman in the East India Company's service. I have fought the French in six pitched battles ; and I verily believe that, if I could read or write, our captain would have made me a corporal. But it was not my good fortune to have any promotion, for I soon fell sick, and so got leave to return home again, with forty pounds in my pocket. This was at the beginning of the present war, and I hoped to be set on shore, and to have the pleasure of spending my money; but the government wanted men, and so I was pressed for a sailor before ever I could set foot on shore.
“ The boatswain found me, as he said, an obstinate fellow. I knew nothing of sea-business, and he beat me without considering what he was about. I had still, however, my forty pounds, and that was some comfort to me under every beating; and the money
I might have had to this day, but that our ship was taken by the French, and so I lost my money.
“Our crew was carried into Brest, and many of them died, because they were not used to live in a jail ; but
for my part, it was nothing to me, for I was seasoned. One night, as I was asleep on the bed of boards, with a warm blanket about me (for I always loved to lie well), I was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark lantern in his hand: ‘Jack,' says he to me, 'will you knock out the French sentries' brains ?'—'I don't care,' says I, striving to keep myself awake, 'if I lend a hand.'— Then follow me,' says he, and I hope we shall do their business.'—So up I got, and tied my blanket (which was all the clothes I had) about my middle, and went with him to fight the Frenchmen. I hate the French, because they are all slaves, and wear wooden shoes.
“ Though we had no arms, one Englishman is able to beat five French at any time; so we went down to the door, where both the sentries were posted, and, rushing upon them, seized their arms in a moment, and knocked them down. From thence nine of us ran together to the quay; and, seizing the first boat we met, got out of the harbour and put to sea. We had not been here three days before we were taken up by the Dorset privateer, who were glad of so many good hands, and we consented to run our chance. However, we had not as much luck as we expected. In three days we fell in with the Pompadour privateer, of forty guns, while we had but twenty-three; and so to it we went, yard-arm and yard-arm. The fight lasted for three hours, and I verily believe we should have taken the Frenchman, had we but had some more men left behind; but, unfortunately, we lost all our men just as we were going to get the victory.
“I was once more in the power of the French, and I believe it would have gone hard with me had I been brought back to Brest; but, by good fortune, we were retaken by the Viper. I had almost forgot to tell you, that, in that engagement, I was wounded in two places : I lost four fingers of the left hand, and my leg was shot off. If I had had the good fortune to have lost my leg and the use of my hand on board a king's ship, and not on board a privateer, I should have been entitled to clothing and maintenance during the rest of my life; but that was not my chance : one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wooden ladle. However, I enjoy good health, and will for ever love liberty and Old England,-Liberty, Property, and Old England for ever, huzza !"
This saying, he limped off, leaving me in admiration at his intrepidity and content; nor could I avoid acknowledging that an habitual acquaintance with misery serves better than philosophy to teach us to despise it.
GOLDSMITH. Newgate.-The great central prison of London. The plantations.—The name given during the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries to those states of America where sugar and tobacco were cultivated. They were slave-holding states, and it was quite customary to send shiploads of criminals to these States, where they were
bound for a certain number of years to the planters. Fontenoy.—A Belgian village in the province of Hainault,
five miles south-east of Tourney, where, on the 11th of May, 1745, the Duke of Cumberland sustained a severe defeat at the hands of Marshal Saxe.
INTOLERANCE REBUKED. [JEREMY TAYLOR, Bishop of Down and Connor, born 1613, is best
known by his work entitled “ Holy Living and Dying.”
He died 13th August, 1667.] WHEN Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied an old man stooping and leaning on his staff, weary with age and travel, coming towards him, who was a hundred years of age. He received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, and caused him to sit down; but observing that the old man ate and prayed not, nor begged for a blessing on his meat, asked him why he did not worship the God of heaven? The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, and acknowledged no other God; at which answer Abraham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was? He replied, I thrust him away because he did not worship Thee : God answered him, I have suffered him these hundred years, although he dishonoured Me, and couldst thou not endure him one night when he gave thee no trouble ? Upon this, saith the story, Abraham fetched him back again, and gave him hospitable entertainment and wise instruction. Go thou and do likewise, and thy charity will be rewarded by the God of Abraham. JEREMY TAYLOR.
QUEEN ELIZABETH'S ADDRESS TO HER
ARMY. MY LOVING PEOPLE,— We have been persuaded of some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery ; but, I assure you, I do not live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself, that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you, as you see at this time, not for any recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die among you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman ; but I have the heart and stomach of a king-ay, and of a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm : to which, rather than dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and recorder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already for your forwardness you have deserved crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the meantime, my lieutenant-general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded more noble or worthy subject; not doubting, but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, my kingdom, and my people. Queen Elizabeth's Address.—This address was delivered to
the troops at Tilbury Fort on the Thames. Hume writes thus : “The more to excite the martial spirit of the nation, the Queen appeared on horseback in the camp at Tilbury; and, riding through the lines, discovered a cheerful and animated countenance; exhorted the soldiers to remember their duty to their country and their religion; and professed her intention, though a woman, to lead them herself into the field against the enemy, and rather to perish in battle than survive the ruin and slavery of her people.” See Sixth Reader, page 135.
JUNIUS TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF
BEDFORD. [On the 21st of January, 1769, there appeared in The Public
Advertiser the first of a series of political letters, written by an unknown writer, who signed himself Junius. For fierce invective, piercing brilliant sarcasm, and appropriate imagery, these letters remain unrivalled. Who Junius was is still a mystery, although Sir Philip Francis, who was chief clerk in the War Office between 1763 and 1772, is the man in
whose favour the evidence is strongest.] MY LORD,—You are so little accustomed to receive