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in consuming their valuables by fire; and every man, fearful of trusting to the timid and irresolute hand of the women, first destroyed his wife and children, and then himself. Jocenus and the Rabbin alone remained.
Their life was protracted to the last, that they might see every thing performed, according to their orders. Jocenus, being the chief Jew, was distinguished by the last mark of human respect, in receiving his death from the consecrated hand of the aged Rabbin, who immediately after performed the melancholy duty on himself.
All this was transacted in the depth of the night. In the morning the walls of the castle were seen wrapt in flames, and only a few miserable and pusillanimous beings, unworthy of the sword, were viewed on the battlements, pointing to their extinct brethren. When they opened the gates of the castle, these men verified the prediction of their late Rabbin; for the multitude, bursting through the solitary courts, found themselves defrauded of their hopes, and in a moment avenged themselves on the feeble wretches, who knew not to die with honour.
Such is the narrative of the Jews of York, of whom the historian can only cursorily observe, that five hundred destroyed themselves; but it is the philosopher who inquires into the causes, and
the manner of these glorious suicides. These are histories which meet only the eye of few, yet they are of infinitely more advantage than those which are read by every one. We instruct ourselves in meditating on these scenes of heroic exertion; and if by such histories we make but a slow progress in chronology, our heart is however expanded with sentiment.
I admire not the stoicism of Cato more than the fortitude of the Rabbin; or rather we should applaud that of the Rabbin much more; for Cato was familiar with the animating visions of Plato, and was the associate of Cicero and of Cæsar. The Rabbin had probably read only the Pentateuch, and mingled with companions of mean occupations, and meaner minds. Cato was accustomed to the grandeur of the mistress of the universe, and the Rabbin to the littleness of a provincial town. Men, like pictures, may be placed in an obscure and unfavourable light; but the finest picture, in the unilluminated corner, still retains the design and colouring of the master. My Rabbin is a companion for Cato. His history is a tale,
" Which Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear."
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE SEAS.
The sovereignty of the seas, which foreigners dispute with us, is as much a conquest as any one obtained on land; it is gained and preserved by our cannon, and the French, who, for ages past, exclaim against what they call our tyranny, are only hindered from becoming themselves universal tyrants over land and sea, by that sovereignty of the seas without which Great Britain would cease to exist.
In a late memoir of the French Institute, I read a bitter philippic against this sovereignty, and a notice adapted to the writer's purpose of two great works: the one by Selden, and the other by Grotius, on this subject. The following is the historical anecdote useful to revive.
In 1634 a dispute arose between the English and Dutch concerning the herring-fishery upon the British coast. The French and Dutch had always persevered in declaring that the seas were perfectly free; and grounded their reasons on a work of Hugo Grotius.
So early as in 1609 the great Grotius had published his treatise of Mare Liberum, in favour of the freedom of the seas. And it is a curious fact, that in 1618, Selden had composed another treatise in defence of the king's dominion over the seas; but which, from accidents which are known, was not published till this dispute revived the controversy. Selden, in 1636, gave the world his Mare Clausum, in answer to the treatise of Grotius.
Both these great men felt a mutual respect for each other. They only knew the rivalry of genius.
As a matter of curious discussion, and legal investigation, the philosopher must incline to the arguments of Selden, who has proved by records the first occupancy of the English; and the English dominion over the four seas, to the utter exclusion of the French and Dutch from fishing, without our licence. He proves that our kings have always levied great sums, without even the concurrence of their parliaments, for the express purpose of defending this sovereignty at sea. А copy of Selden's work was placed in the councilchest of the Exchequer, and in the court of admiralty, as one of our most precious records.
The historical anecdote is finally closed by the Dutch themselves, who now agreed to acknowledge the English sovereignty in the seas, and pay a tribute of thirty thousand pounds to the King of England, for liberty to fish in the seas, and consented to annual tributes.
That the Dutch yielded to Selden's arguments is a triumph we cannot venture to boast. The ultima ratio regum prevailed; and when we had destroyed their whole fishing fleet, the affair appeared much clearer than in the ingenious volumes of Grotius or Selden. Another Dutchman presented the States-General with a ponderous reply to Selden's Mare Clausum, but the wise Sommelsdyke advised the states to suppress the idle discussion; observing that this affair must be de-cided by the sword, and not by the pen:
It may be curious to add, that as no prevailing or fashionable subject can be agitated, but some idler must interfere to make it extravagant and very new, so this grave subject did not want for something of this nature. A learned Italian, I believe, agreed with our author Selden in general, that the sea, as well as the earth, is subject to some states; but he maintained, that the dominion of the sea belonged to the Genoese !
ON THE CUSTOM OF KISSING HANDS.
Mr. Morin, a French academician, has amused himself with collecting several historical notices of this custom. I give a summary, for the benefit of those who have had the honour of kissing his