'If my abilities were equal to my wishes, there should be neither pain nor poverty in the universe.' ADDISON.
Judgment of the Areopagus|
Philosophy of Punishments
Beauty of Clemency
Siege of Cajeta
Triumph of Metellus
Way to lose an Empire
Alexander the Great
Henry IV. of France
Mercy better than Sacrifice
Humane Driver Rewarded
The Spanish Armada
Peter the Great
Emperor Joseph II
Emperor Francis II
Memory to do Good
Charles V. of France
The Widow and Bishop
The Begging Nun
The Prince Regent
Battle of Camperdown
The Monks of St. Bernard
Petition of the Horse
Reward of Constancy
How to prize Good Fortune
Rights of Hospitality
Friend of the Poor
Massacre of the Hugonots
The Caliph Omar
Duke of Orleans, Regent
Cardinal Du Bois
Filial Affection Rewarded
Siege of Calais
Peter the Great
A Good Soldier no Executioner
Bishop of Marseilles
The Black Prince
Plague at Malta
Abolition of Capital Punishments
Lesson to Conquerors
Frederick the Great
Prince of Orange
First Duke of Northumberland
Sir Philip Sidney
Poor Man's Mite
General Count Dalton
Good for Evil
The Insolvent Negro
Duke De Guise
Louis XI. of France
Origin of the Slave Trade
Weeping at a Play
Alexander, Second Duke of Gordon
Dr. Hugh Smith
Duke of York
Blanche of Castile
Worth of a Denier
Bishop of St. Lisieux
A Mimic Reclaimed
Irish Orange Woman
Earl of Ormond
Prince of Wales
Redemption of Captives
Duke De Montausier
Madame De Maintenon
Louis XVI. when Dauphin
The Skeleton of the Wreck
Edward, the Sixth Lord Digby
Sir Joshua Reynolds
Wheel of Fortune
Prisoners set Free
Deaf and Dumb Youth
Duties of a King
The Culloden Refugees
Earthquake at Lisbon
The British Tar
Weimar Society of Friends in Need
The Princess Charlotte
The Convent Dungeon
Rev. W. Mompesson
Lord George Sackville
Reign of Terror
Duchess of L -
Rev. Rowland Hill
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Christian II. of Sweden
Conflagration of Moscow
Wishart, the Scotch Reformer
Denial of Mercy in Cases of Forgery
Sir Samuel Hood, Bart
Music, the Handmaid of Mercy
King Robert of France
Loss of the Ship Wager
Live and Let Live
Earl of Ch - r
William Wilberforce, Esq., M.P
Judgment of the Areopagus.
THE decisions of the Areopagites of Athens, have long been famous for their wisdom. The learned Phocius, in his Bibliotheque, expatiates with delight on one decision, which shows that it was a wisdom tempered with an admirable spirit of humanity. The Areopagites were assembled together on a mountain, with no other roof than the canopy of heaven. A sparrow, pursued by a hawk, fled into the midst of them for refuge; it took shelter in the bosom of one of them, a man naturally of a harsh and repulsive disposition, who taking hold of the little trembler, threw it from him with such violence, that it was killed on the spot. The whole assembly were filled with indignation at the cruelty of the deed: the author of it was instantly arraigned as an alien to that sentiment of mercy so necessary to the administration of justice, and by the unanimous suffrages of his colleagues, was degraded from the senatorial dignity which he had so much disgraced.
Philosophy of Punishments.
Alvarez, in his History of China, gives the following anecdote of one of its emperors. When riding out one day, the emperor met a procession conducting some malefactors to punishment. His majesty stopped, and inquired what was the matter? On being informed, he immediately burst into a flood of tears. The courtiers in attendance endeavoured to comfort his majesty, and one among them addressed him in these words: 'Sire, in a commonwealth there must be chastisements - it cannot be avoided, so have the former kings, your predecessors, commanded it to be, so have the laws ordained it, so doth the government of the state require it.' The emperor replied, 'I weep not to see these men prisoners; nor do I weep to see them chastised. I know very well that the good without rewards are not encouraged, that without chastisement the wicked are not restrained; that correction is as necessary to the government of a kingdom, as bread is for the nourishment and sustenance thereof. But I weep because my time is not so happy as that of old was, WHEN THE VIRTUES OF THE PRINCES WERE SUCH, THAT THEY SERVED AS A BRIDLE TO THE PEOPLE, AND WHEN THEIR EXAMPLE WAS SUFFICIENT TO RESTRAIN A WHOLE KINGDOM!'
Beauty of Clemency.
Alphonsus, King of Naples and Sicily, so celebrated in history for his clemency, was once asked why he was so favourable to all men, even to those most notoriously wicked? 'Because,' answered he, 'good men are won by justice; the bad by clemency.' When some of his ministers complained to him on another occasion of his lenity, which they were pleased to say was more than became a prince: 'What, then,' exclaimed he, 'would you have lions and tigers to reign over you? Know you not that cruelty is the attribute of wild beasts - Clemency that of MAN?'
Siege of Cajeta.
The city of Cajeta having rebelled against Alphonsus, was invested by that monarch with a powerful army. Being sorely distressed for want of provisions, the citizens put forth all their old men, women, and children, and shut the gates upon them. The king's ministers advised his majesty not to permit them to pass, but to force them back into the city; by which means he would speedily become master of it. Alphonsus, however, had too humane a disposition to hearken to counsel, the policy of which rested on driving a helpless multitude into the jaws of famine. He suffered them to pass unmolested; and when afterwards reproached with the delay which this produced in the siege, he feelingly said, 'I had rather be the preserver of one innocent person, than be the master of a hundred Cajetas.'
Alphonsus was not without the reward which such noble clemency merited. The citizens were so affected by it, that repenting of their disloyalty, they soon afterwards yielded up the city to him of their own accord.
Triumph of Metellus.
When Nertobrigia was invested by Q. Caecilius Metellus, the Roman pro-consul, Rhetogenes, a chief lord of the place, came out and surrendered himself to the Romans. The inhabitants, enraged at his desertion, placed his wife and children whom he had left behind, in the breach which the legionaries were to mount. The Roman general hearing of this, and finding that he could not attack the city without sacrificing them, abandoned a certain conquest, and raised the siege. No sooner was this act of humanity known through Tarraconian Spain, than the inhabitants of the revolted cities strove who should first submit to him; and thus was a whole country recovered by one humane act.
Way to lose an Empire.
Cardinal Mazarine once observed to Don Louis de Haro, prime minister of Spain, that the humane and gentle conduct of the French government had prevented the troubles and revolts of that kingdom, and that the king had not lost a foot of land by them to that day; whereas the inflexible severity of the Spaniards was the occasion that the subjects of that monarchy, wherever they threw off the mask, never returned to their obedience but by the force of arms, as sufficiently appears in the example of the Hollanders, who are in the peaceable possession of many provinces that not many years ago were the patrimony of the King of Spain.
'This placed Caesar among the gods.' MAR. AURELIUS.
Julius Caesar was not more eminent for his valour in overcoming his enemies, than for his humane efforts in reconciling and attaching them to his dominion. In the battle of Pharsalia he rode to and fro, calling vehemently out, 'Spare, spare the citizens!' Nor were any killed but such as obstinately refused to accept of life. After the battle, he gave every man on his own side leave to save any of the opposite from the list of proscription; and at no long time after he issued an edict, permitting all whom he had not yet pardoned, to return in peace to Italy, to enjoy their estates and honours. It was a common saying of Caesar, that no music was so charming to his ears, as the requests of his friends, and the supplications of those in want of his assistance.
When Avidius Cassius had revolted from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and attempted to seize the government, the Empress Faustina, in a letter to her husband, pressed him to pursue the accomplices of Cassius (who had been killed by a Centurion) with the utmost severity. The emperor did not, however, suffer the entreaties of his wife to make him swerve from the path of humanity, and he returned her the following answer: 'I have read your letter, my dear Faustina, wherein you advise me to treat the accomplices of Cassius with the utmost severity, which you think they well deserve. This I look upon as a pledge of the love you bear to your husband and children, but give me leave, my dear Faustina, to spare the children of Cassius, his son-in-law, and wife; and to write to the senate in their behalf. Nothing can more recommend a Roman emperor to the esteem of the world than clemency: this placed Caesar among the gods; this consecrated Augustus; this procured to your father the title of Pius. I am grieved even for the death of Cassius, and wish it had been in my power to save him. Be therefore satisfied; and do not abandon yourself to revenge. Aurelius is protected by the gods.' Some friends of the emperor openly blamed his clemency, and told him that Cassius would not have been so generous, had fortune proved favourable to him. To this he immediately replied, 'We have not lived nor served the gods so ill, as to think they would favour Cassius!'
Titus Vespasian, the emperor, was deservedly called the Darling of Mankind. In taking upon him the supreme pontificate, he declared that his whole object in assuming so high a priesthood was, that he might be obliged to keep his hands free from the blood of all men. From that time forth, saith Suetonius, he never was the author of, or consenting to, the death of any man, although he had often too just cause for revenge. He was wont to say, that 'He would rather perish himself, than be the ruin of another.'
Alexander the Great.
Four thousand Greeks, who had been made prisoners by the Persians, were subjected to all the cruelties and mutilations that Persian tyranny could inflict. The hands and feet of some, the noses and ears of others, were cut off; after which, their faces were branded with hot irons. Alexander, on approaching Persepolis, saw these men, and could not refrain from tears. He assured them they should again see their families and native country. 'Alas!' answered they, 'how will it be possible for us to appear publicly before all Greece, in the dreadful condition to which we are reduced; a condition still more shameful than unhappy? The best way to bear misery, is to conceal it; and no country is so sweet to the wretched, as an oblivion of their past calamities. They therefore entreated that they might be permitted to end their days among those who were accustomed to their misfortunes. Alexander granted their request, and gave to each of them three thousand drachms, five suits of men's clothes, the same number of women's, two couple of oxen to plough with, and a quantity of corn to sow. He also commanded the governor of the province to protect them and to exempt them from all taxes and tributes.
The Emperor Nero, whose name has long been a synonyme for cruelty, was, during the first five years of his reign, comparable even with Augustus himself in the princely virtues of pity and compassion. When once requested to set his hand to a writ for the execution of a malefactor, he exclaimed, 'Quam vellem me nescire literas!' 'How much do I wish that I knew neither how to read nor write'
Henry IV. of France.
When Henry IV. of France was advised to attempt taking Paris by an assault before the King of Spain's troops arrived to succour the leaguers, he absolutely protested against the measure, on the principle of humanity. 'I will not,' said he, 'expose the capital to the miseries and horrors which must follow such an event. I am the father of my people, and will follow the example of the true mother who presented herself before Solomon. I had much rather not have Paris, than obtain it at the expense of humanity, and by the blood and death of so many innocent persons.'
Henry reduced the city to obedience without the loss of more than two or three burgesses, who were killed. 'If it was in my power,' said this humane monarch, 'I would give fifty thousand crowns to redeem those citizens, to have the satisfaction of informing posterity, that I had subdued Paris without spilling a drop of blood.'
Mercy better than Sacrifice.
When the Romans had ravaged the province of Azazene, and seven thousand Persians were brought prisoners to Amida, where they suffered extreme want, Acases, Bishop of Amida, assembled his clergy, and represented to them the misery of these unhappy prisoners. He observed, that as God had said 'I love mercy better than sacrifice,' he would certainly be better pleased with the relief of his suffering creatures, than with being served with gold and silver in their churches. The clergy were of the same opinion. The consecrated vessels were sold, and with the proceeds, the seven thousand Persians were not only maintained during the war, but sent home at its conclusion with money in their pockets. Varenes, the Persian monarch, was so charmed with this humane action that he invited the bishop to his capital, where he received him with the utmost reverence, and for his sake conferred many favours on the Christians.
Humane Driver Rewarded.
A poor Macedonian soldier was one day leading before Alexander a mule laden with gold for the king's use; the beast being so tired that he was not able either to go or sustain the load, the mule-driver took it off, and carried it himself with great difficulty a considerable way. Alexander seeing him just sinking under the burden, and about to throw it on the ground, cried out, 'Friend, do not be weary yet; try and carry it quite through to thy tent, for it is all thy own.'
The Spanish Armada.
After the dispersion and destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Joan Comes de Medine, who had been general of twenty hulks, was, with about two hundred and sixty men, driven in a vessel to Anstruther in Scotland, after suffering great hunger and cold for six or seven days. Notwithstanding the object for which this fleet had been sent, and the oppressive conduct of the Spaniards to the Scottish merchants who traded with them, these men were most humanely treated. Mr. James Melvil, the minister, told the Spanish officer first sent on shore, that they would find nothing among them but Christianity and works of mercy. The Laird of Anstruther, and a great number of the neighbouring gentlemen, entertained the officers, and the inhabitants gave the soldiers and mariners kail pottage and fish; the minister having addressed his flock as Elijah did the King of Israel in Samaria, 'Give them bread and water.'
Peter the Great.
The soldiers of Peter the Great, the Czar of Muscovy, were no sooner masters of the town of Narva, than they fell to plundering and committing the most enormous barbarities. The Czar ran from place to place, to put a stop to the disorder and massacre. He even turned upon his own victorious, but ungovernable troops, and threatened them with instant death if they did not immediately desist from rapine and slaughter, and allow quarter to their vanquished foes. He actually killed with his own hands several Muscovites who did not obey his orders.
The Empress Catherine I. of Russia carried humanity to a degree seldom equalled in the history of nations. She had promised that during her reign nobody should be put to death; and she kept her word. She was the first sovereign in modern times that ever showed this regard to the human species. Malefactors were now condemned to serve in the mines and other public works; a regulation not less prudent than humane, since it renders their punishment of some service to the state. In other countries, they only know how to put a malefactor to death with the apparatus of an execution; but are not able to prevent the execution of crimes.
Emperor Joseph II.
The Emperor of Germany, Joseph II., had once a petition presented to him in behalf of a poor superannuated officer, who lived with a family of ten children, in an indigent condition, at some distance from Vienna. The emperor inquired of several old officers whether they knew this man, and received from all of them an excellent character of him. His majesty gave no answer to the petition, but went, without any attendants, to the house of the poor officer, whom he found at dinner, with eleven children, upon some vegetables of his own planting. 'I heard you had ten children,' said the emperor, 'but here I see eleven.' 'This,' replied the officer, pointing to the eleventh, 'is a poor orphan I found at my door; and though I have done all I could to engage some persons, more opulent than myself, to provide for him, all my endeavours have proved in vain; I have therefore shared my small portion with him, and brought him up as my own child.' The emperor admired the noble and generous humanity of this indigent man, to whom he discovered himself, and said, 'I desire that all these children may be my pensioners, and that you will continue to give them examples of virtue and honour. I grant you 100 florins per annum for each of them, and 200 florins additional to your pension. Go to-morrow to my treasurer, where you will receive the first quarter's payment, with a commission of lieutenancy for your eldest son. Continue to be your children's careful tutor, and I will henceforth be their father.' The old man, with all his family, threw himself at the feet his sovereign, which he bedewed with tears of gratitude. The emperor shed tears himself, and after giving some small presents to the children, retired. When he joined his retinue, he said to Count Coleredo, 'I thank God for this days favour. He hath guided me to discover a virtuous man in obscurity.'
Emperor Francis II.
One arm of the Danube separates the city of Vienna from a large suburb called Leopold-stadt. A thaw inundated this suburb, and the ice carried away the bridge of communication with the capital. The population of Leopoldstadt began to be in the greatest distress for want of provisions. A number of boats were collected and loaded with bread; but no one felt hardy enough to risk the passage, which was rendered extremely dangerous by large bodies of ice. Francis the Second, who was then emperor, stood at the water's edge; he begged, exhorted, threatened, and promised the highest recompenses, but all in vain; whilst on the other shore, his subjects, famishing with hunger, stretched forth their hands, and supplicated relief. The monarch's sensibility at length got the better of his prudence; he leaped singly into a boat loaded with bread, and applied himself to the oars, exclaiming, 'Never shall it be said that I made no effort to save those who would risk their all for me.' The example of the sovereign, sudden as electricity, inflamed the spectators, who threw themselves in crowds into the boats. They encountered the sea successfully, and gained the suburb just when their intrepid monarch, with the tear of pity in his eye, held out the bread he had conveyed across at the risk of his life.
Memory to do Good.
Thomas Fuller, so celebrated for his great memory, had once occasion to attend on a Committee of Sequestration sitting at Waltham in Essex. He got into conversation with them, and was much commended for his powers of memory. 'It is true, gentlemen,' observed Mr. Fuller, 'that fame has given me the report of being a memorist; and if you please, I will give you a specimen of it.' The gentlemen gladly acceded to the proposal; and laying aside their business, requested Mr. F. to begin. 'Gentlemen,' said he, 'you want a specimen of my memory, and you shall have a good one. Your worships have thought fit to sequestrate a poor but honest parson, who is my near neighbour, and commit him to prison. The unfortunate man has a large family of children; and as his circumstances are but indifferent, if you will have the goodness to release him out of prison, I pledge myself never to forget the kindness while I live.' It is said that the jest had such an influence on the committee, that they immediately restored the poor clergyman.
Charles V. of France.
The last words of this patriotic monarch are memorable for the noble moral for kings which they contain. 'I have aimed at justice,' said he to those around him; 'but what king can be certain that he has always followed it? Perhaps I have done much evil of which I am ignorant. Frenchmen! who now hear me, I address myself to the Supreme Being and to you. I find that kings are happy but in this - that they have the power of doing good.'
This illustrious scholar, compelled to fly from his own country by the blood-seeking animosity of a priestly cabal, whose vices he had made the theme of his satire, sought refuge and protection under Henry VIII. of England. His appeal to that monarch was couched in terms of great pathos and elegance. 'Look not,' said the poet, 'with an unrelenting countenance upon the humble advances of a man whose soul is devoted to your service; one who, a beggar, a vagrant, and an exile, has endured every species of misfortune which a perfidious world can inflict. A savage host of inveterate enemies pursues him, and the palace of his sovereign resounds with their menaces. Over mountains covered in snow, and vallies flooded with rain, I come a fugitive to the Athenian altar of Mercy and exhausted by calamities, cast myself at your feet. Alas! London was not the Athens the fugitive sought, nor Henry the Pericles whose generosity was to succour him. But who can wonder that, after sacrificing to the axe that beauty on which he once reposed with delight, neither the misfortunes of greatness, nor the eloquence of genius, should have been able to make the least impression on the heart of the savage Henry.
The Widow and Bishop.
A poor widow, encouraged by the famed generosity of an ecclesiastic of great eminence, came into the hall of his palace with her only daughter, a beautiful girl of fifteen years of age. The good divine discerning marks of extraordinary modesty in their demeanor, engaged the widow to tell her wants freely. She, blushing and in tears, told him that she owed five crowns for rent, which her landlord threatened to force her to pay immediately unless she would consent to the ruin of her child, who had been educated in virtue; and she entreated that the prelate would interpose his sacred authority, till by industry she might be enabled to pay her cruel oppressor. The bishop, moved with admiration of the woman's virtue, bid her be of courage; he immediately wrote a note, and putting it into the hands of the widow, said, 'Go to my steward with this paper, and he will give you five crowns to pay your rent.' The poor woman, after a thousand thanks to her generous benefactor hastened to the steward, who immediately presented her with fifty crowns. This she refused to accept, and the steward, unable to prevail on her to take it, agreed to return with her to his master; who, when informed of the circumstance, said, 'It is true I made a mistake in writing fifty crowns, and I will rectify it.' On which he wrote another note, and turning to the poor woman whose honesty had a second time brought her before him, said 'So much candour and virtue deserves a recompense, here I have ordered you five hundred crowns; what you can spare of it, lay up as a marriage portion for your daughter.'
In a parish in the immediate vicinity of Dublin, the catholic curate was lately called on to administer the solemn rites of religion to a family in the last stage of typhus fever. On entering the hovel, he found them, in number six or seven persons, male and female, lying on a truss of straw scattered on the moist and muddy floor. The agonies of death were coming fast upon them. The confessions of each of them were to be heard. Lest one should overhear the confession of the other, he stretched himself on the straw, while the wretched sufferer breathed his or her transgressions into his ear. Thus inhaling the poison of their respiration, and separating them from each other successively, at the risk of his own life; he completed his sacred functions. What an union of humanity and religious feeling does the conduct of this curate exhibit?
Lord Mansfield, on making a report to the king of the conviction of Mr. Malowny, a catholic priest, who was found guilty in the county of Surrey of celebrating mass, was induced, by a sense of reason and humanity, to represent to his majesty the excessive severity of the penalty which the law imposed for the offence. The king, in a tone of the most heartfelt benignity, immediately answered 'God forbid, my lord, that religious difference in opinion should sanction persecution, or admit of one man within my realms to suffer unjustly; therefore issue a pardon for Mr. Malowny, and see that he is set at liberty.'
The virtue of humanity is one which his majesty was always particularly careful to instil into the minds of his children.
On one occasion at breakfast, whilst the king was reading a newspaper, one of the younger branches of the family, looking up in the queen's face, said, 'Mamma, I can't think what a prison is.' Upon its being explained, and understanding that the prisoners were often half starved for want, the child replied 'That is cruel, for the prison is bad enough without starving; but I will give all my allowance to buy bread for the poor prisoners.' Due praise was given for this benevolent intention, which was directed to be put in force together with an addition from their majesties, and thus many a heart was relieved that never knew its benefactors.
The six companies, or bodies corporate, of the City of Paris, set on foot, in the month of October, 1788, a subscription for the relief of the sufferers by a dreadful hailstorm, which had ravaged a part of the country, and totally destroyed all the hopes of the husbandmen. To the honour of these companies no less than 50,000 livres were collected in a short time and placed in the hands of M. Neckar, in order to be applied to the purpose for which they were subscribed. M. Neckar, on receiving the money, directed it to be sent to the Treasury. 'To the Treasury, my lord!' exclaimed the bearer. 'Yes, sir,' replied M. Neckar; '50,000 livres will do well for the Treasury, from which I drew yesterday 150,000 livres, to be distributed among the same husbandmen whom it is your object to relieve; feeling assured that the Treasury could never suffer from an advance made on the credit of the humanity of Frenchmen.'
The Begging Nun.
The late Mrs. General Lascelles, when more celebrated as Miss Catley the singer, was once entreated to contribute to the relief of a widow, whose husband had left her in a very distressed situation. She gave her a guinea, but desired to know the poor woman's address; and in three days called upon her with near fifty pounds, which she had in the interim collected at a masquerade in the character of a Beguine (a begging Nun).
The Prince Regent.
A captain Finucane, of the Gloucestershire Militia, died at Brighton, in the autumn of 1800. The troops stationed there attended his funeral, and nothing could be more mournfully impressive than the procession to his grave. The chief mourner walked with a charming boy in each hand, the one seven, the other eight years old, sons of the deceased. Fortunately for these infants, and the disconsolate mother, the Prince of Wales happened to be a spectator of the touching scene. His highness felt like a man for their bereavement, and like a prince he endeavoured to assuage its bitterness, by adopting the boys as his own.
Battle of Camperdown.
The Delft, one of the Dutch ships taken at the battle of Camperdown, was in so shattered a state, that after the greatest exertions for five days to keep her from sinking, all hope of saving her was given up. The English prize officer called aside Mr. Hieberg, who had been first lieutenant of the Delft, and who remained on board along with a number of the sick and wounded prisoners, who were not in a condition to be removed, and represented that it was impossible to save all: that he intended at a certain signal to throw himself with his men into the long boat, and he invited Hieberg to avail himself of the opportunity to effect his escape. 'What!' exclaimed Hieberg, 'and leave these unfortunate men? (pointing to his wounded countrymen, whom it had been necessary to bring on deck, as the hold was already full of water.) No, no! go, and leave us to perish together.' The English officer, affected by the generosity of Hieberg's answer, replied, 'God bless you, my brave fellow; here is my hand; I give you my word, I will stay with you.' He then caused his own men to leave the ship, and remained himself behind to assist the Dutch. The Russel soon sent her boats to their succour, which brought off as many as could leap on board them. The boats lost no time in making a second voyage with equal success. The Delft was now cleared of all but Hieberg and the English officer, with three subaltern Dutch officers, and about thirty seamen, most of them so ill from their wounds as to be unable to move. While still cherishing the hope that the boats would come a third time to their assistance, the fatal moment arrived, and on a sudden the Delft went down. The English officer sprang into the sea, and swam to his own ship; but the unfortunate Hieberg perished, the victim of his courage and humanity.
The Abbe Dupaty, who, after the commencement of the French Revolution, made particular inquiry into the manner in which the administration of the Galleys had been conducted during the old regime, furnishes us with the following among other affecting particulars.
'I looked over the Register of the Galleys. Children of thirteen years of age, sentenced to the galleys for having been found with their fathers engaged in smuggling! Yes, thus I read - for having been found with their fathers!! I saw many of these children, and tears gushed into my eyes; my breast hurried with indignation, nor could I appease my feelings, but with the hope of not dying before I had exposed all the crimes of our criminal legislation!
'A singular circumstance plunged the galley slaves on one occasion into the most profound despair. The Intendant of the Marine received orders to separate the deserters, the smugglers, and the malefactors into three classes. One would have imagined that criminals of such different casts would have blessed this separation: but the contrary was the case; all the galley slaves looked on each other in the same light, for misfortune, like death, reduces all men to a level. Many bitter tears of the heart flowed in abundance at the thought of the separation. What a subject for meditation! how wonderful are the yet unexplored recesses of the human heart!'
The Monks of St. Bernard.
The hospitality of the convent of St. Bernard, and the unwearied humanity of the monks, on every occasion that can possibly call for its exercise, have long been proverbial; and numerous instances occur every season, of persons saved by their interference, or relieved by their bounty. In the year 1818 alone, the meals furnished to travellers by this convent amounted to no fewer than 31,078.
An enterprising English party, consisting of men and women, took shelter in the convent of St. Bernard during a fall of snow. The monks fed them and their horses as long as they could, giving up their bread to the beasts, when they had no more crude grain to bestow on them. The guests had then no other alternative but that of departing: but how were they to get the horses over the snow, which was yet too soft to support them? The ingenuity and activity of the monks found an expedient. They turned out with their servants, and placing blankets before the animals, which were carried forward and extended afresh, as soon as passed over, conducted men, women, and beasts in safety over their mountain.
The breed of dogs kept by the monks to assist them in their labours of love, has been long celebrated for its sagacity and fidelity. All the oldest and most tried of them were lately buried, along with some unfortunate travellers, under an avalanche; but three or four hopeful puppies were left at home in the convent, and still survive. The most celebrated of those who are no more, was a dog called Barry. This animal served the hospital for the space of twelve years, during which time he saved the lives of forty individuals. His zeal was indefatigable. Whenever the mountain was enveloped in fogs and snow, he set out in search of lost travellers. He was accustomed to run barking until he lost breath, and would frequently venture on the most perilous places. When he found his strength was insufficient to draw from the snow a traveller benumbed with cold, he would run back to the hospital in search of the monks.
One day this interesting animal found a child in a frozen state, between the bridge of Dronaz and the ice-house of Balsora; he immediately began to lick him: and having succeeded in restoring animation, by means of his caresses, he induced the child to tie himself round his body. In this way he carried the poor little creature, as if in triumph, to the hospital. When old age deprived him of strength, the Prior of the Convent pensioned him at Berney by way of reward. After his death, his hide was stuffed and deposited in the museum of that town. The little phial, in which he carried a reviving liquor for the distressed travellers whom he found among the mountains, is still suspended from his neck.
Petition of the Horse.
In the days of John, King of Atri, an ancient city of Abruzzo, there was a bell put up, which any one that had received any injury went and rang, and the king assembled the wise men chosen for the purpose, that justice might be done. It happened that after the bell had been up a long time, the rope was worn out, and a piece of wild vine was made use of to lengthen it. Now there was a knight of Atri who had a noble charger which was become unserviceable through age, so that to avoid the expense of feeding him, he turned him loose upon the common. The horse, driven by hunger, raised his mouth to the vine to munch it, and pulling it, the bell rang. The judges assembled to consider the petition of the horse, which appeared to demand justice. They decreed that the knight whom he had served in his youth, should feed him in his old age, a sentence which the king confirmed under a heavy penalty.
When the Archduke Charles was on his way from Bohemia, to take the command of the Austrian army, he met near the scene of action a number of wounded soldiers who had been abandoned by their commander on the road, for want of horses to draw their carriages in the retreat. The prince, who on many occasions has exhibited striking instances of humanity, immediately ordered the horses to be taken from several pieces of cannon that were already retreating, saying, 'The life of one brave man is better worth preserving than fifty pieces of ordnance.' When General Moreau, into whose hands the cannon thus abandoned had fallen, heard of the motive that had prompted the sacrifice, he ordered the whole to be restored, observing that he should be unworthy of being the opponent of his imperial highness, if he took any advantage of so noble an act of humanity.
The Emperor Joseph II. walking one day on the Prater at Vienna, met a young woman who seemed in great distress. He inquired the cause, and found that she was the daughter of an officer who had been killed in the imperial service, and that she and her mother had supported themselves by their industry, but were now unemployed. 'Have you received no assistance from the government?' said the emperor. 'None,' was the reply. 'But why not apply to the emperor? he is easy of access.' 'They say he is avaricious, and such a step would then be useless.' The monarch immediately gave the young woman some ducats, and a ring, telling her, that he was in the emperor's service, and would serve her if, with her mother, she would come to the palace on a certain day. The appointment was kept, and the young woman recognised her benefactor in the person of the emperor, who bade her not be alarmed, as he had settled a pension on her and her mother, adding, 'At another time, I hope you will not despair of a heart that is just.'
Reward of Constancy.
Mr. Morier, in his Journey through Persia, relates an anecdote of the Serdar of Ecrivan, which is highly creditable to him, and shows that the most brutal of men are sometimes capable of a humane or generous action. The Serdar, who amuses himself from the windows of his palace in shooting the asses of the peasants who happen to be going along the road, in one of his predatory excursions into Georgia made prisoner, and placed in his harem, a Georgian maid who had been betrothed to a youth of her country: the youth followed her to Ecrivan, and having made known his arrival to her, they managed to escape for a short distance: but their steps were traced, and they were brought back. The lover was ordered to leave Ecrivan; and as he was crossing the Zengui, a river which flows between high precipices, his mistress espied him from the top of one of the banks, and immense as the height was, threw herself down, determining either to join him, or die in the attempt. Her fall was broken by the intervention of some willows, and she was taken up much bruised, though not dangerously hurt. To the honour of the Serdar, he did not carry his tyranny farther, but restored the couple to each other, gave them their liberty, and protection to return to their homes.
How to prize Good Fortune.
In the year preceding the French Revolution, a servant girl in Paris had the good fotune to gain a prize of fifteen hundred pounds in the lottery. She immediately waited on the parish priest, and generously put two hundred louis d'ors into his hands, for the relief of the most indigent and industrious poor in the district, accompanying the donation with this admirable and just observation, 'Fortune could only have been kind to me, in order that I might be kind to others.'
About the year 1735, a pamphlet was published, entitled 'The Cure of Deism.' The author, Mr. Elisha Smith, had the misfortune to be confined in the Fleet Prison for a debt of two hundred pounds. Fortunately for him, Mr. Benson, then auditor of the Imprest was much pleased with the work. He inquired who was the author; and on learning his circumstances, not only sent him a very flattering letter, but discharged the whole debt fees, &c., and set him at liberty. This was the same Mr. Benson who erected a monument in Westminster Abbey to the memory of Milton; and who gave one thousand pounds to Mr. Dobson, of New College, for translating Paradise Lost into Latin. He always preferred Johnson's Latin Psalms to Buchanan's. It was in allusion to these facts that Pope dragged Mr. Benson into the Dunciad:
'On two unequal crutches propp'd he came
Milton on this, on that one Johnson's name '
Rights of Hospitality.
Dr. Johnson, in his tour through North Wales, passed two days at the seat of Colonel Middleton of Gwynnagag. While he remained there, the gardener caught a hare amidst some potato plants, and brought it to his master, then engaged in conversation with the Doctor. An order was given to carry it to the cook. As soon as Johnson heard this sentence, he begged to have the animal placed in his arms: which was no sooner done, than approaching the window, then half open, he restored the hare to her liberty, shouting after her to accelerate her speed. 'What have you done?' cried the colonel; 'Why, Doctor, you have robbed my table of a delicacy, perhaps deprived us of a dinner.' 'So much the better, sir,' replied the humane champion of a condemned hare; 'for if your table is to be supplied at the expense of the laws of hospitality, I envy not the appetite of him who eats it. This, sir, is not a hare fer ae naturae, but one which had placed itself under your protection; and savage indeed must be that man, who does not make his hearth an asylum for the confiding stranger.'
The late Mrs. Achmet, the actress, was found at night, when an infant, enclosed in a basket in one of the streets of Dublin. A gentleman hearing the child's cries, humanely took it home, and resolved to rear it up as his own offspring. He spared no expense in giving his protegee an accomplished education; and at a suitable period conferred upon her at the altar his own name of Achmet.
Baron Von Stackelberg, in going from Athens to Thessalonica in an armed vessel, was taken by some Albanian pirates, who immediately sent the captain of the vessel to the former place, demanding 60,000 piastres for the baron's ransom, and threatening that if not paid, they would tear his body to pieces. They obliged him, at the same time, to write to Baron Haller, and another friend, to acquaint them with the demand. The time fixed by the pirates had elapsed, and Baron Stackelberg, who had become extremely ill, was expecting a cruel death, when the humane and generous Haller, who had borrowed 14,500 Turkish piastres at 30 per cent., appeared. The pirates refused to take less than the sum demanded. Haller offered himself as a hostage instead of his friend, if they would prolong his life, and suffer him to recover from his sickness. This noble deed contributed to convince the pirates that no larger sum could be obtained; they accepted it, and Haller returned to Athens with the friend whom his humanity had preserved.
A poor clergyman settled in London on a curacy of fifty pounds per annum, with a wife and numerous family, was known to Dr. Fothergill. An epidemic disease, at that time prevalent, seized upon the curate's wife and five children. In this scene of distress he looked to the Doctor for his assistance, but dared not apply to him, from a consciousness of not being able to pay him for his attendance. A friend, who knew his situation, kindly offered to accompany him to the Doctor's house, and give him his fee. They took the advantage of his hour of audience; and, after a description of the several cases the fee was offered, and rejected, but a notice was taken of the curate's place of residence. The Doctor called assiduously the next and every succeeding day, until his attendance was no longer necessary. The curate, anxious to return some grateful mark of the sense he entertained of his services, strained every nerve to accomplish it; but his astonishment was not to be described, when, instead of receiving the money he offered, with apologies for his situation, the Doctor put ten guineas into his hand, desiring him to apply without diffidence in future difficulties.
Dr. Hugh Smith, another eminent physician, made it a rule never to take a fee from any inferior clergyman, any subaltern officer, or any public performer judging these to be professions which could little spare their money. Why were not poor authors included?
Friend of the Poor.
During the great scarcity, or rather high price, of provisions in 1800, the Earl of Warwick distinguished himself for his humane interposition between the farmers under his immediate influence, and the starving poor. Finding his injunctions disregarded, he sent the following circular letter to his tenants: 'This is to acquaint you that I view your past and present conduct with abhorrence. After the total disregard which you have already shown to my particular request, it would not become me to renew it, if I had not been compelled by the miserably distressed condition of the poor, actually starving. I therefore hereby declare it to be my unalterable resolution, to provide another tenant for the farm you now occupy as soon as I can legally do so, unless you will directly engage to bring your grain to market, and to sell it there at such reasonable price as may enable your fellow creatures to exist, while it leaves you more profit than you have any title to claim as a tenant. 'WARWICK.'
Bonaparte, when Emperor of France, ordered letter boxes to be fitted up in all the churches of Paris, where the virtuous poor, without their delicacy being wounded, could, as they passed, deposit a note expressive of their wants. These boxes were only opened by the higher clergy, who were sworn to secrecy, and the wants of the parties were thus relieved without any of the humiliating circumstances of a public application.
Monsieur le Compte de Polignac had been raised to honour by Bonaparte; but, from some unaccountable motive, betrayed the trust his patron reposed in him. As soon as Bonaparte discovered the perfidy, he ordered Polignac to be put under arrest. Next day he was to have been tried, and in all probability would have been condemned, as his guilt was most undoubted. In the interim, Madame Polignac solicited and obtained an audience of the emperor. 'I am sorry, Madame, for your sake,' said he, 'that your husband has been implicated in an affair which is marked throughout with such deep ingratitude.' 'He may not have been so guilty as your majesty supposes,' said the countess. 'Do you know your husband's signature?' asked the emperor, as he took a letter from his pocket, and presented it to her. Madame de Polignac hastily glanced over the letter, recognized the writing, and fainted. As soon as she recovered, Bonaparte, offering her the letter, said, 'Take it; it is the only legal evidence against your husband; there is a fire beside you.' Madame de P. eagerly seized the important document, and in an instant committed it to the flames.' The life of Polignac was saved; his honour it was beyond the power even of the generosity of an emperor to redeem.
When Lavalette had been liberated from prison by his wife, and was flying with Sir Robert Wilson to the frontier, the postmaster examined his countenance, and recognised him through his disguise. A postilion was instantly sent off at full speed. M. de Lavalette urged his demand for horses. The postmaster had just quitted the house, and given orders that none should be supplied. The travellers thought themselves discovered, and saw no means of escaping, in a country with which they were unacquainted, they resolved upon defending themselves, and selling their lives dearly. The postmaster at length returned unattended; and then addressing himself to M. de Lavalette, he said, 'You have the appearance of a man of honour, you are going to Brussels, where you will see M. de Lavalette; deliver him these two hundred louts d'ors which I owe him, and which he is no doubt in want of,' and without waiting for an answer, he threw the money into the carriage and withdrew, saying, 'You will be drawn by my best horses; a postilion is gone on to provide relays for the continuance of your journey.'
In the year 1786, an order came to Mr. Simpson, the keeper of Norwich gaol, to send three female convicts under sentence of transportation to Plymouth. One of these unfortunate females was the mother of an infant about five months old, which she had suckled from its birth. The father of the child was likewise a felon, under a similar sentence. He had repeatedly expressed a wish to be married to the woman, and was much distressed at the order for her removal. Application was made to the Secretary of State, to permit him to accompany her, but without success. When Mr. Simpson arrived with his party at Plymouth the captain of the hulk refused to take the infant, saying he had no order to take children. Neither the entreaties of Mr. Simpson, nor the agonies of the poor woman, could prevail on the brutal captain even to permit the babe to remain till instructions from government could be received. The gaoler was therefore obliged to take the child, and the frantic mother was led to her cell. Determined if possible to restore the child to its parents, Mr. Simpson set off for London, carrying the infant all the way in his arms. When he reached town, he hastened to the office of Lord Sidney, the Secretary of State, but was denied admittance. But humanity is not to be restrained by forms, and Mr. Simpson, after waiting attendance for several days, at length saw Lord Sidney descend the staircase, to whom he made so pathetic an appeal that his lordship instantly gave orders that the child should be restored to its mother, and that the father should accompany them, directing at the same time that they should be married before they went on board. Mr. Simpson afterwards saw his lordship's direction carried into effect, and after travelling seven hundred miles with the child on his lap, returned home, amply rewarded by the approval of his own heart for all the trouble and solicitude he had undergone.
Massacre of the Hugonots.
When Catherine of Medicis had persuaded Charles IX. to massacre all the Protestants in France, orders were sent to the governors of the different provinces, to put the Hugonots to death in their respective districts. One Catholic governor, whose memory will ever be dear to humanity, had the courage to disobey the cruel mandate. 'Sire,' said he, in a letter to his sovereign, 'I have too much respect for your majesty, not to persuade myself that the order I have received must be forged, but if, which God forbid, it should be really the order of your majesty, I have too much respect for the personal character of my sovereign to obey it.'
My friend F. thus writes me, July 12, 1788. 'One instance of courage exerted in the cause of humanity, is more interesting to me (and so I know it is to you) than all the details of all the sieges and battles that ever happened since the creation of the world. Tuesday last presented a memorable' confirmation of this truth in the neighbourhood of St. Cloud, where, while a young man of the name of Francis Potel, twenty-two years of age, was at work in the fields, with his father and brothers, a cart with six persons in it was accidentally overset, and fell into the river. Moved by the cries of the seemingly devoted victims, he instantly plunged into the wafer, and being an excellent swimmer, brought one of them safely on shore. He then returned to save, if possible, the rest. In this attempt he was equally successful, though he experienced more danger, for on reaching two more of the party (a woman and a man), the former unfortunately seized him by the hair, the latter by the arm, and with both, in their despairing struggles, he thus sank to the bottom. At length, however, he rescued himself from their grasp; when having again reached the shore, and perceiving the unhappy creatures again floating upon the surface of the water he boldly plunged back to their relief, and brought them also on shore, though not without a perilous struggle, which lasted at least three quarters of an hour. Overcome with fatigue, he now found himself obliged to desist from his godlike enterprise. On this, his father, though much advanced in years, resolutely plunged in, and had the good fortune to save another woman and a boy. Of the whole number, only one little girl was drowned; and she, it is supposed, must have sunk under the horse, which, together with the cart, had sunk to the bottom of the river. An action like this requires no comment, for to a breast of sensibility amply does it illustrate its own glory.'
The Caliph Omar.
As the Caliph Omar, the successor to Mahamet, was on his way to Jerusalem, to take possession of that celebrated city, he met with a number of unfortunate men, who were bound fast to trees, and exposed to all the rigours of a vertical sun. The caliph inquired of them, wherefore they had been condemned to undergo so dreadful a torment? they answered that they were poor debtors, unable to satisfy their creditors. Omar immediately ordered them to be unbound; and having sent for those to whom they were indebted, he addressed them in these words: 'Cease to torment these poor men. Do not require of them more than they can perform, for I have often heard the prophet say, do not make men suffer affliction, for such as afflict men in this world, will most surely be punished in the next.'
The Emperor Angustus dining one day with Publius Vedius Pollio, a slave happened to break a crystal vase, and was immediately condemned by his master to be thrown to the lampreys, which he kept in a fish pond, and fed with human flesh. The slave threw himself at the feet of Augustus, and besought a less horrid death. The emperor knowing that by the Roman law masters possessed the most absolute authority over their slaves, interceded for him, but in vain. He then ordered all the crystal vases to be brought to him from the side table, and broke every one of them himself. Pollio was mortified, and the slave's life preserved.
It may here be remarked, that the Romans were very costly in their vases and drinking cups, which were often made or ornamented with precious stones. One that held only three pints and a half, cost six hundred and forty-five pounds, and Petronius broke one worth three thousand four hundred and fifteen pounds, on purpose to disappoint Nero.
In the year 1731, as an African youth, called Job Ben Solomon, son of the high priest of Bundo in Forta, was travelling on the south side of the Gambia, he was robbed, seized, and sold as a slave to an American captain, who carried him to Maryland.
Job, on his arrival in Maryland, was sold to a planter, who finding him a youth of very distinguished abilities, treated him with great respect, and at the expiration of twelve months undertook to forward a letter of Job's own writing, in the Arabic tongue, to Mr. Oglethorpe in England, whose fame as a friend of humanity pointed him out as the likeliest person to effect the restoration of an unfortunate captive to his native country.
Mr. Oglethorpe, on receiving the letter, immediately sent out instructions for the ransom of Job, and his conveyance to England.
Job soon after arrived in this country, and was introduced to court, where he was generously received by the royal family, and most of the principal nobility, who honoured him with many marks of their favour.
After he had continued in England about fourteen months, Job resolved to return to his native land, from an earnest desire which he had to see the high priest, his father.
On his leaving England, he was loaded with presents from the royal family, the nobility, and the African Company; the latter of whom ordered their agents on the African coast to show him the greatest attention.
Job arrived at James Fort on the 8th of August, 1734, at which time Mr. Moore, then in the service of the African Company, was at that place. A relation of what followed after the first interview between Mr. Moore and Job, has been published by the former, and from it we extract the following very interesting account.
'Job having a mind to go up to Joar to talk to some of his countrymen, went along with me.
'We arrived at the creek of Damofeusa; and having some old acquaintances at the town of that name, Job and I went there together.
'In the evening, as we were sitting under a great tree, there came six or seven of the very people who three years before had robbed Job, and sold him unto slavery.
'Job affecting not to know them, asked them some questions about himself, which they answered according to the truth.
'At last he inquired how the king, their master, did? They answered that he was dead. "Dead!" exclaimed Job, "how did he die?" "Among the goods," replied they, "for which he sold poor Job to the American captain, there was a pistol, which the king used commonly to wear suspended by a sling about his neck, and the pistol being loaded, one day accidentally went off, and the balls lodging in his throat, he presently died."
'Job was so transported at the close of this story, that he immediately fell on his knees, and returned thanks to Mahomet, for making his persecutor die by the very goods for which he sold him unto slavery.
'Job then turning to Mr. Moore, said, "You see now, Mr. Moore, that God Almighty was displeased at this man's making me a slave, and therefore made him die by the very pistol for which he sold me. Yet ought I to forgive him, because had I not been sold, I should neither have known anything of the English tongue, nor have had any of the fine useful and valuable things I have brought with me, nor have known that there is such a place in the world as noble England; nor such good and generous people as Mr. Oglethorpe, Queen Caroline, the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Montague, the Earl of Pembroke, Mr. Holden, and the Royal African Company."'
Duke of Orleans, Regent.
The Duke of Orleans, on being appointed Regent of France, insisted on possessing the power of pardoning. 'I have no objection,' said he, 'to have my hands tied from doing harm, but I will have them free to do good.'
Louis XV., when before the walls of Menin, in Flanders, was told that if he chose to risk an attack, the place would be taken four days sooner than it otherwise would be. 'Let us take it then,' replied he, 'four days later. I had rather lose these four days, than lose one of my subjects.'
During the mock trial of Louis XVI., he was asked what he had done with a certain sum of money, a few thousand pounds. His voice failed him, and the tears came into his eyes at the question; at length he replied, 'Jaimais a faire des heureux.' 'I had a pleasure in making other people happy.' He had given the money away in charity.
During the siege of Fort St. Philip, a young lieutenant of marines was so unfortunate as to lose both his legs by a chain shot. In this miserable and helpless condition he was conveyed to England, and a memorial of his case presented to an honourable board; but nothing more than half-pay could be obtained. Major Manson had the poor lieutenant conducted to court, on a public day, in his uniform; where, posted in the anteroom, and supported by two of his brother officers, he cried out, at the king was passing to the drawing-room, 'Behold, great sire, a man who refuses to bend his knee to you, he has lost both in your service.' The king, struck no less by the singularity of his address, than by the melancholy object before him, stopped, and hastily demanded what had been done for him to protect them; but basely sold them for slaves. Fortunately for the two princes their betrayer died on his passage home, and the officers related the circumstance when they arrived. On hearing this, government sent to pay their ransom; and on their being brought to England, they were placed under the care of the Earl of Halifax, who caused them to be kindly treated, and well educated. They were afterwards introduced to his majesty, and proved themselves worthy of the kindness they experienced. These facts gave rise to a short poem, supposed to be addressed from the prince in England, to Zara at his father's court, from which we select a passage:
'The wretch, the sordid hypocrite, that sold
His charge, an unsuspecting prince, for gold,
That justice marked, whose eyes can never sleep
And death commission'd smote him on the deep.
The generous crew their port in safety gain,
And tell my mournful tale, nor tell in vain;
The king with horror of th' atrocious deed
In haste commanded, and the slave was freed.
No more Britannia's cheek, the blush of shame
Burns for my wrongs, her king restores her fame.
Propitious gales to Freedom's happy shore
Waft me triumphant, and the prince restore.
Cardinal Du Bois.
M. Boudon, an eminent surgeon, was one day sent for by the Cardinal du Bois, Prime Minister of France, to perform a very serious operation upon him. The Cardinal on seeing him enter the room, said to him, 'You must not expect to treat me in the same rough manner as you treat your poor miserable wretches at your hospital of the Hotel Dieu.' 'My lord,' replied M. Boudon with great dignity, 'every one of those miserable wretches, as your eminence is pleased to call them, is a prime minister in my eyes.'
Filial Affection Rewarded.
A veteran worn out in the service of France, was reduced without a pension, although he had a wife and three children to share his wretchedness. His son was placed at L'Ecole Militaire, where he might have enjoyed every comfort; but the strongest persuasion could not induce him to taste anything but coarse bread and water. The Duke de Choiseul being informed of the circumstance, ordered the boy before him, and inquired the reason of his abstemiousness. The boy, with a manly fortitude, replied, 'Sir, when I had the honour of being admitted to the protection of this royal foundation, my father conducted me hither. We came on foot; on our journey, the demands of nature were relieved by bread and water. I was received, my father blessed me, and returned to the protection of a helpless wife and family. As long as I can remember, bread of the blackest kind, with water, has been their daily subsistence, and even that is earned by every species of labour that honour does not forbid. To this fare, sir, my father is returned; therefore while he, my mother, and sisters, are compelled to endure such wretchedness, is it possible that I can enjoy the bounteous plenty of my gracious sovereign?' The duke felt this tale of nature, gave the boy three louis d'ors for pocket-money, and promised to procure the father a pension. The boy begged the louis d'ors might be sent to his father; which, with the patent of his pension, was immediately done. The boy was patronized by the duke, and became one of the best officers in the service of France.
Siege of Calais.
When Sir Walter Mauny returned to the camp of the victorious Edward, with that mirror to patriots, Eustace St. Pierre, and his fellow hostages, the monarch inquired, 'Are these the principal inhabitants of Calais?' 'They are,' answered Mauny, 'not only the principal men of Calais, but the principal men of France, if virtue has any share in nobility.' 'Were they delivered peaceably?' inquired Edward. 'Was there no resistance, no commotion, among the people?' 'None in the least, sire. The people would all have perished, rather than have delivered the least of these to your majesty; but they are self-delivered, self-devoted, and come to offer their inestimable heads, as an ample equivalent for the ransom of thousands.' Edward was secretly piqued at this reply of Mauny; but he knew the privilege of a British subject, and suppressed his resentment. 'Experience,' said he, 'has ever shown, that lenity only serves to invite people to new crimes. Severity at times is indispensably necessary to compel subjects to submission. Go.' he cried to an officer, 'lead these men to execution.' At this instant a sound of trumpet was heard throughout the camp. The queen had just arrived with a reinforcement of gallant troops from England. Sir Walter Mauny flew to her majesty, and briefly informed her of the particulars respecting the six victims. As soon as Philippa had been welcomed by Edward and his court, her majesty desired a private audience. 'My lord,' said she, 'the question I am to enter upon is not touching the lives of a few mechanics, it respects the honour of the English nation, it respects the glory of my Edward, my husband, my king. You think you have sacrificed six of your enemies to death. No, my lord, they have sentenced themselves. The stage on which they would suffer, would be to them a stage of honour; but to Edward, a stage of shame; a reproach to his conquests; an indelible stain on his name.' These words flashed conviction on the soul of Edward. 'I have done wrong, very wrong!' he exclaimed; 'let the execution be instantly stayed, and the captives be brought before us.' St. Pierre and his friends soon made their appearance; when the queen thus addressed them: 'Natives of France and inhabitants of Calais, you have put us to a vast expense of blood and treasure in the recovery of our just and natural inheritance; but you have acted up to the best of an erroneous judgment, and we admire and honour in you that value and virtue by which we are so long kept out of our rightful possessions. Noble burghers! excellent citizens! though you were tenfold the enemies of our person and our throne, we can feel nothing on our part, save respect and affection for you. You have been sufficiently tried. We loose your chains; we snatch you from the scaffold; and, we thank you: for that lesson of humiliation which you teach us, when you show us that excellence is not of blood, of title, or station; that virtue gives a dignity superior to that of kings; and that those whom the Almighty informs with sentiments like yours, are justly and universally raised above all human distinctions.' 'Ah, my country!' exclaimed St. Pierre; 'it is now that I tremble for you. Edward only arms our cities; but Philippa conquers hearts.'
Peter the Great.
Peter the Great made a law in 1722, that if any nobleman beat or ill-treated his slaves, he should be looked upon as insane, and a guardian should be appointed to take care of his person and of his estate. This great monarch once struck his gardener, who being a man of great sensibility, took to his bed, and died in a few days. Peter, hearing of this, exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, 'Alas! I have civilized my own subjects, I have conquered other nations; yet I have not been able to civilize or to conquer myself.'
A Good Soldier no Executioner.
On the occasion of the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew's, many of the governors of provinces refused to execute the orders sent to them of destroying all the Protestants. The Viscount d'Orthe had, in particular, the courage to write from Bayonne to Charles IX. that he found many good soldiers in his garrison, but not one executioner; and begged him to command their lives in any service that was possible.
Bishop of Marseilles.
'Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath
When nature sicken'd and each gale was death?' POPE.
M. de Belsunce, Bishop of Marseilles, so distinguished himself for his humanity during the plague which raged in that city in 1720, that the Regent of France offered him the richer and more honourable See of Laon, in Picardy; but he refused it, saying, he should be unwilling to leave a flock that had been endeared to him by their sufferings. His pious and intrepid labours are commemorated in a picture in the Town Hall of Marseilles, in which he is represented in his episcopal habit, attended by his almoners, giving his benediction to the dying and the dead that are at his feet. Father Vanniere, in his Praedium Rusticum, alludes to the good bishop in these lines:
'Vitae qui Praesul et auri
Prodigus, assiduis animos et corpora curis
Sustinuit, mortem visus calcare metumque
Intrepido vadens per strata cadavera passu.'
'Profuse of life, and prodigal of gold,
The sacred pastor tends his sick'ning fold;
Repose of body and of mind disdains,
To calm their woes and mitigate their pains;
Bravely despises death and every fear,
With holy rites their drooping hearts to cheer;
Vast heaps of dead without dismay he views
And with firm step his gen'rous way pursues.'
But perhaps the most touching picture extant of the bishop's humane labours, is to be found in a letter of his own, written to the Bishop of Soissons, Sep. 27, 1720. 'Never,' he says, 'was desolation greater, nor was ever anything like this. Here have been many cruel plagues, but none was ever more cruel: to be sick and dead was almost the same thing. What a melancholy spectacle have we on all sides! we go into the streets full of dead bodies, half rotten through, which we pass to come to a dying body, to excite him to an act of contrition, and give him absolution. For about forty days together, the blessed sacrament was carried everywhere to all the sick, and the extreme unction was given them with a zeal of which we have but few examples. But the churches being infected with the stench of the dead flung at the doors, we were obliged to leave on, and be content with confessing the poor people. At present I have no more confessors. The two communities of the Jesuits are quite disabled, to the reserve of one old man of seventy-two years, who still goes about night and day, and visits the hospitals. My secretary and another lie sick; so that they have obliged me to quit my palace, and retire to the First President, who was so kind as to lend me his house. We are desolate of all succour; we have no meat; and whatsoever I could do going all about the town, I could not meet with any that would undertake to distribute broth to the poor that were in want. There is a great diminution,' he adds, 'of the mortality; and those that hold that the moon contributes to all this, are of opinion that we owe this diminution to the decline of the moon. For my part, I am convinced that we owe all this to the mercies of God, from whom alone we must hope for relief in the deplorable condition we have been in so long a while.'
The Black Prince.
At the battle of Poictiers, fought in the year 1356, the English army, commanded by Prince Edward, did not amount to twelve thousand men, while that of the French, under King John, exceeded sixty thousand. Notwithstanding so great a disproportion in point of numbers, the courage of the English, and the good conduct of the prince, gained the victory. The French forces were completely defeated; and King John, with many other persons of rank, was taken prisoner. Here commences the real and truly admirable heroism of Edward; for victories are vulgar things, in comparison with that moderation and humanity displayed by a young prince of twenty seven years of age not yet cooled from the fury of battle, and elated by as extraordinary and unexpected success as had ever crowned the arms of any commander. He came forth to meet the captive king with all the marks of regard and sympathy; administered comfort to him amidst his misfortunes; paid him the tribute of praise due to his valour; and ascribed his own victory merely to the blind chance of war, or to a superior providence, which controls all the efforts of human heart and prudence. The behaviour of John showed him not unworthy of this courteous treatment. His present abject fortune never made him forget that he was a king. More touched by Edward's generosity than by his own calamities, he said, that notwithstanding his own defeat and captivity, his honour was still unimpaired; and that though he yielded the victory, it was at least gained by a prince of the most consummate velour and humanity.
Plague at Malta.
Ail the other miseries of mankind have no parallel to the calamities of the plague. The sympathy which relatives feel for the wounded and the dying in battle, is but the shadow of that heart-rending affliction inspired by the ravages of pestilence. Conceive in the same house the beholder, the sickening, and dying. To help is death! to refuse assistance is inhuman! It is like the shipwrecked mariner striving to rescue his drowning companion, and sinking with him into the same oblivious grave. In 1813, such was the virulence with which the plague raged at Malta, such the certain destruction which attended the slightest contact with the infected, that at last every better feeling of the heart was extinguished in a desire of self-preservation; and nobody could be procured to perform the melancholy offices which make up the funeral train of sickness and death. In this woeful emergency, a band of daring and ferocious Greeks came over to the island, and clad in oiled leather, volunteered their services with very happy effect; but their number was so small that recourse was obliged to be had to some French and Italian prisoners of war, for assistance. What will not man for liberty perform! Tempted by the promise of a handsome reward and their liberation, at the disappearance of the plague, numbers of these unfortunate captives engaged in the perilous task of waiting on the sick, burying the dead, cleaning and whitewashing the infected houses, burning their furniture, &c. Providence appeared to have taken these children of despair under its special protection; few of them comparatively fell victims to their humane intrepidity. Mr. Murdo Young, in his notes to his poem of Antonia, mentions that he saw some of them, when duty led them near the prison where they had left their less enterprising companions confined, climb up to the chimney tops of the infected houses; and being
'Free from plague, in danger's dread employ,
Wave to their friends in openness of joy.'
In the summer of 1819, the yellow fever committed dreadful havoc among the British troops in Jamaica, particularly among some regiments recently arrived. The contagion, like that at Malta, was so virulent that nobody could attend on the sick without becoming infected by it; and great numbers fell victims solely to their humanity, in administering to the wants of their afflicted comrades. The soldiers at length, appalled at the inevitable destiny which awaited every man who entered the hospital as an assistant, refused in a body to supply the service of the sick any longer. Their officers represented to them in moving terms the claims which every soldier in affliction has on his brothers in arms. After a short pause, four privates of the grenadiers steps forward, and offered their services. Two of these in a short time fell under the pestilence, and the other two instantly withdrew their assistance. In this hopeless state of things, Colonel Hill, of the 50th regiment, heroically exclaimed, 'Then, my men, we must change our coats; since I cannot find a man in my regiment to attend a sick soldier, I must do it myself' Many days had not elapsed ere this noble-minded officer was himself attacked with the malady, and added one more to the number of its victims. Colonel Hill was the oldest officer in the corps, and had served for forty seven years.
At Abo, in Finland, a dog that had been run over by a carriage, crawled to the door of a tanner in the town; the man's son, a lad of fifteen years of age, first stoned, and then poured a vessel of boiling water on the miserable animal. This act of diabolical cruelty was witnessed by one of the magistrates, who informed his brethren of the fact. They unanimously agreed in condemning the boy to punishment. He was imprisoned till the following market day; then, in the presence of the people, he was conducted to the place of execution by an officer of justice, who read to him his sentence. 'Inhuman young man! because you did not assist the animal that implored your aid by its cries, and who derived its being from the same God who gave you life; because you added to the torments of the agonizing beast, and murdered it, the council of this city has sentenced you to wear on your breast the name which you deserve, and to receive fifty stripes.' He then hung a black board about his neck, with this inscription: 'A savage and inhuman young man!' And after inflicting on him twenty-five stripes, he proceeded: 'Inhuman young man! you have now felt a very small degree of the pain with which you tortured a helpless animal in its hour of death. As you wish for mercy from that God who created all that live, learn humanity for the future.' He then executed the remainder of the sentence.
In the year 1782, the war-chief of the Wyandot tribe of Indians of Lower Sandusky sent a young white man, whom he had taken prisoner, as a present to another chief, who was called the Half-king of Upper Sandusky, for the purpose of being adopted into his family in the place of one of his sons who had been killed the preceding year. The prisoner arrived, and was presented to the Half-king's wife, but she refused to receive him; which according to the Indian rule, was in fact a sentence of death. The young man was therefore taken away, for the purpose of being tortured and burnt on the pile. While the dreadful preparations were making, and the unhappy victim was already tied to the stake, two English traders, Messrs. Arundel and Robbins, moved by feelings of pity and humanity, resolved to unite their exertions to endeavour to save the prisoner's life, by offering a ransom to the warchief; which, however, he refused, saying it was an established rule among them to sacrifice a prisoner when refused adoption; and besides, the numerous war captains were on the spot to see the sentence carried into execution. The two generous Englishmen were, however, not discouraged, and determined to try another effort. They appealed to the wellknown high-minded pride of an Indian. 'But,' said they, 'among all these chiefs whom you have mentioned, there is none who equals you in greatness; you are considered not only as the greatest and bravest, but as the best man in the nation.' 'Do you really believe what you say?' said the Indian, looking them full in the face. 'Indeed we do.' Then, without speaking another word, he blackened himself, and taking his knife and tomahawk in his hand, made his way through the crowd to the unhappy victim, crying out with a loud voice, 'What have you to do with my prisoner?' and at once cutting the cords with which he was tied, took him to his house, which was near that of Mr. Arundel, whence he was conveyed in safety.
While Mr. Park was waiting on the banks of the Niger for a passage, the king of the country was informed that a white man intended to visit him. On this intelligence, a messenger was instantly despatched to tell the stranger that his majesty could not possibly admit him to his presence till he understood the cause of his arrival, and also to warn him not to cross the river without the royal permission.
This message was accordingly delivered by one of the chief natives, who advised Mr. Park to seek a lodging in an adjacent village, and promised to give him some requisite instructions m the morning. Mr. Park immediately complied with this counsel; but on entering the village, he had the mortification to find every door closed against him. He was, therefore, obliged to remain all the day without food, beneath the shade of a tree. About sunset, as he was turning his horse loose to graze, and expected to pass the night in this lonely situation, a woman returning from her employment in the fields, stopped to gaze at him; and observing his dejected looks inquired from what cause they proceeded? Mr. P. endeavoured, as well as he could to make known his destitute situation. The woman immediately took up his saddle and bridle, and desired him to follow her to her residence, where, after lighting a lamp, she presented him with some broiled fish, spread a mat for him to lie upon, and gave him permission to continue under her roof till morning. Having performed this beneficent action, she summoned her female companions to their spinning, which occupied the chief part of the night, while their labour was beguiled by a variety of songs; one of which was observed by Mr. Park to be an extemporaneous effusion, created by his own adventure. The air was remarkably sweet and plaintive, and the words were literally the following: 'The winds roared, and the rain fell. The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. He has no mother to bring him milk, no wife to grind him corn.' Chorus. 'Let us pity the white man; no mother has he to bring him milk, no wife to grind him corn.'
Abolition of Capital Punishments.
'May the new Continent, accustomed to receive from Europe that illumination which her youth and inexperience require, serve in her turn as a model to reform the criminal jurisprudence, and establish a new system of imprisonment in the old world - severe and terrible, yet humane and just.' DUKE DE LIANCOURT.
Formerly in Pennsylvania death was the penalty for a great variety of offenses; but in the year 1791, a change in the penal code took place, and, with the exception of premeditated murder, every crime heretofore capital, is now punished by a period of confinement, a certain portion of which is solitary. The good effects of this system have been extraordinarily manifessed, by a vast diminution both in the number and in the atrocity of the crimes committed. From January, 1789, to June, 1791, the number of crimes under the old system was 592, of which nine were murders; from June, 1791, to March, 1795, the number under the new system was 243, among which there was not one case of murder!
A discharged convict, who had been one of a desperate gang that had long infested Philadelphia before the alteration of the system, called afterwards on one of the inspectors of the prison, and addressed him in the following terms: 'Mr. -, I have called to return you my thanks for your kindness to me while under sentence; and at the same time to perform a duty which I think I owe to society. You know my conduct and my character have been once bad and lost, and therefore in most matters what I might say would have little weight; but it is of the feelings of bad men and abandoned characters that I wish to speak to you; and on that point I believe you will allow that I may know as much as most people. Be assured then, sir, on the word of one who has offended greatly, but who has suffered for his guilt, and profited much by his suffering, that if you steadily pursue your present plan, you will soon have neither burglaries nor robberies to complain of in Philadelphia.' The man then proceeded to describe the sentiments entertained by his old associates in iniquity, and the views and plans on which they commonly acted, and concluded in these words: 'The certainty that when detected they must suffer the punishment which the laws have annexed to their offence, and that long and solitary confinement make part of that punishment, does ten times more to deter them from crime, than all the hangings with which you before attempted to intimidate them. They fear going to the devil at once, a great deal less than being left for days, and months, and years, to the silent torture of their own consciences.'
'Father!' said the Indian chief, Captain Pipe, to the British commanding officer at Detroit in 1801, 'here is what has been done with the hatchet you gave me (handing a stick with a scalp on it). I have done with the hatchet what you ordered me to do, and found it sharp. Nevertheless, I did not do all that I might have done. No, I did not. My heart failed within me. I felt compassion for your enemy. Innocence (women and children) had no part in your quarrels; therefore I distinguished - I spared. I took some live flesh (prisoners); which while I was bringing to you, I spied one of your large canoes, in which I put it for you. In a few days you will receive this flesh, and find that the skin is of the same colour with your own. Father! I hope you will not destroy what I have saved. You, father, have the means of preserving that which with me would perish for want. The warrior is poor, and his cabin is always empty; but your house, father, is always full.'
Lesson to Conquerors.
When Edward the Confessor had entered England from Normandy to recover the kingdom, and was ready to give the Danes battle, one of his captains assured him of victory, adding, 'We will not leave one Dane alive.'
To which Edward replied, 'God forbid that the kingdom should be recovered for me, who am but one man, by the death of thousands. No: I will rather lead a private life, unstained by the blood of my fellow men, than be a king by such a sacrifice.' Upon which he broke up his camp, and again retired to Normandy, until he was restored to his throne without bloodshed.
Frederick the Great.
Frederick the Great of Prussia, during his last illness, endured many restless nights, which he endeavoured to soothe by conversing with the servant who sat up with him. On one of these occasions, he inquired of an honest young Pomeranian from whence he came? 'From a little village in Pomerania.' 'Are your parents living?' 'An aged mother.' 'How does she maintain herself?' 'By spinning.' 'How much does she gain daily by it?' 'Sixpence.' 'But she cannot five well on that?' 'In Pomerania it is cheap living.' 'Did you never send her anything?' 'O yes; I have sent her at different times a few dollars.' 'That was bravely done; you are a good boy. You have a deal of trouble with me. Have patience. I shall endeavour to lay something by for you, if you behave well.' The monarch kept his word; for a few nights after, the Pomeranian being again in attendance, received several pieces of gold; and heard to his great joy and surprise, that one hundred six dollars had been settled on his mother during her life.
The Prince de Montbarey presented a list of young gentlemen who were candidates for vacant places in the military school of Louis XVI. of France. In this list were a great number who were strongly recommended by persons of the highest rank, along with some who were wholly destitute of such recommendation. The king observing this, gave an instance of that goodness of heart which he exhibited on so many occasions. Pointing to the latter, he said, 'Since these have no protectors I will be their friend;' and instantly gave the preference to them.
A nobleman advised a French bishop to make an addition to his house of a new wing in the modern style. The bishop immediately answered him, 'The difference, my lord, that there is between your advice and that which the devil gave to our Saviour is, that Satan advised Jesus to change the stones into bread, that the poor might be fed; and you desire me to turn the bread of the poor into stones.'
Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in the time of King Edgar, sold the sacred gold and silver vessels belonging to the church, to relieve the poor people during a famine, saying, that there was no reason that the senseless temples of God should abound in riches, while his living temples were perishing of hunger.
Butler, Bishop of Durham, being applied to on some occasion for a charitable subscription, asked his steward what money he had in the house. The steward informed him there were five hundred pounds. 'Five hundred pounds!' said the bishop; 'what a shame for a bishop to have such a sum in his possession!' He ordered it all to be immediately given to the poor.
Prince of Orange.
The Prince of Mecklenburg Strelitz being on a visit to the Prince of Orange in the year 1792, the latter took him to Scheveling, to see the departure of the vessels destined for the fishery. The spectacle is thought a grand one in Holland; and the seamen vie with each other on the occasion in parade and dexterity. The Prince of Orange was standing near the water's edge as the vessels were about hoisting sail, when a boy on board one of them, in his eagerness to exhibit some feats of activity, fell overboard. The Prince of Orange no sooner saw this than he instantly plunged into the water, with the view of saving the boy. The generous effort was unfortunately unavailing, and the prince himself was in the utmost danger of being drowned. At length, having been rescued with difficulty, some of his attendants asked him why he thus hazarded a life so valuable to the public? The prince replied, 'At the instant the boy fell in, I felt as much interested to save him as if he had been my brother.' The prince afterwards settled a handsome pension on the parents of the boy.
Hawke, the noted highwayman, one evening stopped a gentleman, and bade him deliver his money; the latter protested that he had none, but he was flying from his creditors in order to avoid a gaol. Hawke pitying his unhappy situation, inquired how much would relieve his wants? He was answered, thirty guineas. Hawke then directed the gentleman to go to a house not far distant, and wait until nine o'clock next morning, and he would bring him something that would relieve him. The gentleman went; and before the time expired, Hawke made his appearance, and presented him with fifty guineas, saying 'Sir, I present this to you with all my heart, wishing you well. Hesitate not, for you are welcome to it.' The generous highwayman having done this, immediately took his leave.
While the celebrated Dr. Garth was one day detained in his carriage in a little street near Covent Garden, in consequence of a battle between two females, an old woman hobbled out of a cellar, and begged of him for God's sake to take a look at her husband, who was in a mortal bad way, adding, 'I know you are a sweet-tempered gentleman, as well as a cute doctor, and therefore make bold to ax your advice, for which I shall be obliged to you as long as I live.' The doctor, whose good nature was equal to his medical skill, quitted his carriage immediately, and followed the old woman to her husband, but finding that he wanted food more than physic, sat down, and wrote a cheque on his banker for ten pounds, which he presented to the wretched couple.
First Duke of Northumberland.
When the late Duke of Northumberland (then Lord Percy) was with the army at Cork previous to his departure for America, he observed a fine boy in the ranks as a cadet, on which he asked his name and connexions. The boy answered, 'My lord, I am the son of an old officer who, after many years' service both abroad and at home, is now a captain in the royal household near Dublin: I am his third son, and my two elder brothers are now in the army.' His lordship felt so much at seeing such a boy in the ranks, that he instantly wrote to his agent, Sir William Montgomery, to purchase for him an ensigncy in the fifth regiment. The commission was obtained; and at Bunker's Hill, Brandies wine, &c., his lordship's ensign behaved with a degree of courage that reflected honour alike on the regiment, and on the patron who introduced him to it.
Sir Philip Sidney.
In the battle of Zutphen, fought in the cause of liberty against the tyrant Philip of Spain, Sir Philip Sidney displayed the most undaunted and enterprising courage. He had two horses killed under him, and whilst mounting a third, was wounded by a musket shot out of the trenches, which broke the bone of his thigh. He had to walk about a mile and a half to the camp; and being faint with loss of blood, and parched with thirst, he called for drink, which was instantly brought him; but as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened to be carried by him at that instant, looked to it with wistful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the bottle from his mouth without drinking, and delivering it to the soldier, said, 'Thy necessity is yet greater than mine.' Sixteen days afterwards the virtuous Sidney breathed his last, in the thirty second year of his age.
In the year 1783, a poor woman in Dungannon, Ireland, went to a house where oatmeal was sold, and offered to pledge an essential article of female dress for some oatmeal for herself and children, of which she had four, one of them at her breast. The shopkeeper was not at home, and his wife refused to let the poor woman have any, but at night and when in bed, told her husband of the circumstance, adding that she feared the family was in a distressed situation. The husband got out of bed instantly, and hastened to the poor woman with a bowl of oatmeal; but it was too late. The unfortunate woman was dead in her wretched cabin, the infant sucking the corpse, and the other children crying around her!
Poor Man's Mite.
The fire at Radcliffe, in July, 1794, was more destructive, and consumed more houses, than any conflagration since the memorable fire of London in 1666. Out of one thousand two hundred houses where the fire raged, not more than five hundred and seventy were preserved. The distress of the miserable inhabitants was beyond description, not less than one thousand four hundred persons being thrown on the public benevolence; nor was it slow in their support. Government immediately sent one hundred and fifty tents for the wretched sufferers. The city subscribed £1000 for their relief, and Lloyds £700. The East India Company also gave £210. But more remarkable traits of that universal charity which is almost peculiar to this country, were exhibited on the Sunday immediately after the fire. On that day the collection from the visitants who crowded to see the encampment amounted to upwards of eight hundred pounds, of which £426 was in copper, including thirty eight pounds, fourteen shillings, in FARTHINGS! Each a poor man's mite!
General Count Dalton.
During the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa, a great scarcity of provisions prevailed in Bohemia, and multitudes of famishing people flocked to the capital, Prague, imploring relief. The governor of the city wrote to the court at Vienna, that the misery of the poor people was at length driving them to acts of turbulence and outrage, which he had not a sufficient force either to prevent or suppress. The Empress Queen immediately despatched General Count Dalton to take the command at Prague, to which several regiments were ordered to repair by forced marches. As soon as the Count found himself sufficiently reinforced, he ordered all the cannon on the ramparts to be turned against the city; and having so disposed his troops that it was impossible for any of the disaffected to escape, he walked alone into the midst of some thousands of them who were assembled together and addressing them with his hat in his hand, observed, that it was not by criminal modes they should seek relief, because by so doing they must necessarily draw on their heads the vengeance of government; he desired, therefore, nay, he begged that he might not be reduced to the fatal necessity of ordering his troops to disperse them. The people listened to the Count with great attention, and replied to him with a coolness which surprised him. They said, his artillery and his troops had no terrors for them; that what he threatened them with as rigour, they would consider as mercy, for a speedy death with a cannon ball, was infinitely preferable to the lingering death which they were suffering by famine. The Count was melted even to tears. He then addressed them again, and told them his heart bled for them, but it was his duty to preserve the peace of the city, and he would be censured if, by his forbearance and compassion, that peace was destroyed; he therefore entreated them as it were for his sake, to disperse, assuring them that he would immediately transmit a faithful representation of their distresses to the queen, from whose goodness they had reason to expect every kind of relief.
The people, whom the dread of death could not move, were filled with gratitude for the general's conduct; they instantly began to disperse, every man cheering him as he passed, and exclaiming, long live Dalton!
The representation which the Count sent to Vienna, drew tears from the empress. 'Good God!' exclaimed she, 'what have my poor people been suffering, without my knowledge! to what cruel miseries have they been exposed, through the ignorance I was in of their deplorable situation! How greatly am I indebted to the moderation and humanity of Count Dalton, who has saved me from the guilt of being the butcher of my poor starving subjects, and who has painted in such moving colours those distresses, which others whose duty it was to make them known to me, carefully concealed from my knowledge, representing the rising of the people as the effect of a seditious disposition!'
Her majesty immediately despatched eight hundred waggons loaded with corn to Prague; and sent a letter of thanks to General Dalton, in her own handwriting, on his meritorious behaviour on this trying occasion.
Good for Evil.
Juan de Esquivel, the first governor of Jamaica, was sent by Diego Columbus, son of the great Columbus, in 1509, with about seventy men, to enforce his claim to the government. He was one of the few Castilians who, amidst all the horrors of bloodshed and infectious rapine, were distinguished for generosity and humanity. One eminent instance of this is allowed by Herrera. About the time that he sailed from Hispaniola, to take possession of his new government of Jamaica, his competitor, Ojeda, was on the eve of his departure to the Continent. Ojeda violently opposed the intended expedition of Esquivel, and publicly threatened that if he should find him at Jamaica he would hang him up as a rebel. Ojeda in his voyage was shipwrecked on the Coast of Cuba, and in danger of perishing for want of food. He implored succour from the very man whose destruction he had meditated. Esquivel, thus acquainted with the sufferings of his enemy sent an officer to conduct him to Jamaica, received him with the tenderest sympathy, treated him with kindness, and provided him with the means of a speedy and safe conveyance to Hispaniola. How truly might it be said, that under him 'the ravages of conquest were restrained within the limits of humanity!' It is pleasing to add, that Ojeda was not ungrateful to his benefactor.
An Aga of the Janizaries having been engaged in a rebellion, fled from Damascus, and took refuge among the Arabian nation of the Druses. The Pacha was informed of this, and demanded him of the Emir, threatening to make war on him in case of refusal. The Emir demanded leave of the Sheik, Talbouk, who had given the fugitive shelter, but this Sheik indignantly replied, 'When have you known the Druses deliver up their guests? Tell the Emir, that as long as Talbouk shall preserve his beard, not a hair of the head of his supplicant shall fall.' The Emir threatened him with force, Talbouk armed his family. The Emir dreading a revolt, adopted a method practiced as judicial among the Druses. He declared to the Sheik, that he would cut down fifty mulberry trees a day, until the Aga was given up. He proceeded as far as a thousand; but Talbouk still remained inflexible. At length the other Sheiks, enraged, took up the quarrel, and the commotion was about to become general, when the Aga reproaching himself with being the cause of so much mischief, privately made his escape, without the knowledge even of the noble-minded Talbouk.
In the time of the Caliphs, when Abdallah, the shedder of blood, had murdered every descendant of Ommich within his reach, one of that family, named Ibrahim, the son of Soliman, had the good fortune to escape and reach Koufa, which he entered in disguise. Knowing no person in whom he could confide he seated himself under the portico of a large house. Soon after the master of the house arriving, followed by several servants, alighted from his horse, entered, and seeing the stranger, asked him who he was? 'I am an unfortunate man,' answered Ibrahim, 'and request from thee an asylum.' 'God protect thee!' replied the host, 'enter, and remain in peace.' Ibrahim lived several months in this house without being questioned by his host. But astonished to see him every day go out on horseback, and return at a certain hour, he ventured one day to inquire the reason. 'I have been informed,' said his host, 'that a person named Ibrahim, the son of Soliman, is concealed in this town; he slayed my father and I am searching for him in order to be revenged.' 'Then I know,' said Ibrahim, 'that God has purposely conducted me to this place: I adore his decree, and resign myself to death. God has determined to avenge the offended man: thy victim is at thy feet.' The host, astonished, replied, 'O stranger, I see thy misfortunes have made thee weary of life; thou seekest to lose it, but my hand cannot commit such crimes.' 'I don't deceive thee,' said Ibrahim; and he proceeded to explain the occasion on which the affair happened, and all the circumstances attending it. A violent trembling then seized the worthy host; his teeth chattered as if from intense cold; his eyes alternately sparkled with fury and overflowed with tears. At length, turning to Ibrahim, 'Tomorrow,' said he, 'destiny may join thee to my father, and God will have retaliated. But as for me, how can I violate the asylum of my house? Wretched stranger! fly from my presence. There, take these hundred sequins; begone quickly, and let me never behold thee more!'
The Insolvent Negro.
A Negro of one of the kingdoms on the African coast, who had become insolvent, surrendered himself to his creditor, who, according to the established custom of the country, sold him to the Danes. This affected his son so much, that he came and reproached his father for not rather selling his children to pay his debts; and after much entreaty, he prevailed on the captain to accept him, and liberate his father. The son was put in chains, and on the point of sailing to the West Indies when the circumstance coming to the knowledge of the governor, through the means of Mr. Isert, he sent for the owner of the slaves, paid the money that he had given for the old man, and restored the son to his father.
Duke De Guise.
After the celebrated battle of St. Quentin, a Spanish officer of rank wrote to the Duke de Guise, to request him to deliver up to trim one of his slaves, that had fled to the French camp with one of his finest war-horses. The duke immediately sent back the horse, and wrote to the Spanish officer, saying, he would never see the occasion of putting chains again upon a slave who had become free by putting his foot into the kingdom of France.
Louis XI. of France.
A poor priest came one day to this monarch when he was at his devotions in the church, and told him that the bailiffs were about to arrest him for a sum he was unable to pay. The king immediately ordered him the money; saying, 'You have chosen your time to address me very luckily. It is but just that I should show some compassion to the distressed, when I have been entreating God to have compassion upon myself'
A poor woman complained one day to the same monarch, that the priests would not inter her deceased husband in holy ground, because he had died insolvent. 'Good woman,' said he, 'I did not make the law, I assure you. Here is some money to pay your husband's debts, and I will order the priest to bury him as you wish.'
Louis IX., after his captivity among the Saracens, was, with his queen and children, nearly shipwrecked on his return to France, some of the planks of the vessel having started. He was requested to go on board another ship in company, and escape the danger; but he refused, saying, 'Those that are with me, most assuredly are as fond of their lives as I can possibly be of mine. If I quit the ship, they will likewise quit it; and the vessel not being large enough to receive them, they will all perish. I had much rather entrust my life, and the lives of my wife and children, in the hands of God, than be the occasion of making so many of my brave subjects suffer.'
At the siege of Oran, in Africa, Cardinal Ximenes led the Spanish troops to the breach, mounted on a charger, dressed in his pontifical robes, and preceded by a monk on horseback, who bore his archiepiscopal cross. 'Go on, go on, my children,' exclaimed he to the soldiers, 'I am at your head. A priest should think it an honour to expose his life for his religion. I have an example in my predecessors, in the archbishopric of Toledo. Go on to victory.' When his victorious troops took possession of the town, he burst into tears on seeing the number of the dead that were lying on the ground; and was heard to say to himself, 'They were indeed infidels, but they might have become Christians. By their death they have deprived me of the principal advantage of the victory we have gained over them.'
Queen Caroline, consort of George II., being informed that her eldest daughter (afterwards Princess of Orange) was accustomed, at going to rest, to employ one of the ladies of the court in reading aloud to her till she should drop asleep; and that on one occasion the princess suffered the lady, who was indisposed, to continue the fatiguing duty until she fell down in a swoon, determined to inculcate on her daughter a lesson of humanity. The next night the queen, when in bed, sent for the princess, and commanded her to read aloud. After some time her royal highness began to be tired of standing, and paused, in hopes of receiving an order to be seated. 'Proceed,' said her majesty. In a short time a second pause seemed to plead for rest. 'Read on,' said the queen again. The princess again stopped, and again received an order to proceed, till at last, faint and breathless, she was forced to complain. 'Then,' said this excellent parent, 'if you thus feel the pain of this exercise for one evening only, what must your attendants feel who do it every night? Hence learn, my daughter, never to indulge your own ease, while you suffer your attendants to endure unnecessary fatigue.'
When Stanislaus, King of Poland, was driven from his dominions by Charles XII. of Sweden, he took refuge in Paris, where he was supported at the expense of the Court of France. Some persons complained to the Duke of Orleans, then Regent, of the great sum of money which this exiled monarch's support cost, and wished that he should be desired to leave France. 'Sir,' replied the duke, nobly, 'France has been, and I trust ever will be, the refuge of unfortunate princes; and I shall most certainly not permit it to be violated, when so excellent a prince as the King of Poland comes to claim it.'
Origin of the Slave Trade.
It will to some appear singular, that the Slave Trade should have originated in an act of humanity; yet such was the fact, and exhibits an instance of one of the best and most humane men being guilty of cruelty, when his mind was under the influence of prejudice. Barthelemi de las Casas, the Bishop of Chiapa, in Peru, witnessing the dreadful cruelty of the Spaniards to the Indians, exerted all his eloquence to prevent it. He returned to Spain, and pleading the cause of the Indians before the Emperor Charles V. in person, suggested that their place as labourers might be supplied by negroes from Africa, who were then considered as beings under the proscription of their Maker, and fit only for beasts of burden. The emperor, overcome by his forcible representations, made several regulations in favour of the Indians; but it was not until the slavery of the African Negroes was substituted, that the American Indians were freed from the cruelty of the Spaniards.
In the year 1794, when the English and French troops were contending in St. Domingo, the former landed at Cape Tiburon, and defeated a very superior French force. On this occasion, an English sailor, named Allen, belonging to the Penelope, distinguished himself by his generous gallantry. Instead of returning to his ship with the boats, according to orders, after the troops were landed, the sailor jumped on shore, and seizing the firelock of a wounded soldier, swore that he too would have a dash at the brigands. But it was necessary the troops should follow up their success, and it being found impossible to take all the wounded men along with them, there was no alternative but to leave them on the beach, exposed in a dark night to the risk of being massacred by a savage enemy. The honest tar perceiving this, declared that it would be a more pleasing task to save the lives of these poor suffering men, than to kill half a score of rebels. He therefore plunged into the water, all the boats having pushed off, and by hard swimming reached the Hound sloop, laying near a mile from the shore, from which he was sent to his own ship, commanded by Captain (now Admiral) Rowley. The captain being informed of the situation of the wounded men, manned his barge, and brought them all off himself. Allen, the sailor, was reprimanded for his breach of discipline but rewarded with five pounds for his humanity.
Weeping at a Play.
It is a prevailing folly to be ashamed to shed a tear at any part of a tragedy, however affecting. 'The reason,' says the Spectator, 'is that persons think it makes them look ridiculous, by betraying the weakness of their nature. But why may not nature show itself in tragedy, as well as in comedy or farce? We see persons not ashamed to laugh loudly at the humour of a Falstaff, or the tricks of a Harlequin, and why should not the tear be equally allowed to flow for the misfortunes of a Juliet, or the forlorneness of an Ophelia?' Sir Richard Steele records on this subject a saying of Mr. Wilks the actor, as just as it was polite. Being told in the green-room that there was a general in the boxes weeping for Juliana, he observed with a smile, 'And I warrant you, sir, he'll fight ne'er the worse for that.'
Extract of a letter from a lady in Jamaica, dated June 14, 1765.
'I cannot help relating to you, on account of its singularity, a circumstance which happened to me not long ago in the midst of my distresses, which affected me greatly at the time, nor do I think I shall soon forget it.
'One morning taking an airing along the piazzas leading from Kingston to the fields, an old negro who was sitting there dressing his sores begged alms of me. I passed by him without taking any notice of him; but immediately reflecting on the poor fellow's situation, I turned back and gave him a bit, telling him at the same time that I had got but a few more remaining to myself.
'Some days afterwards having occasion to walk the same way, I again saw the same negro. As I was passing him he called after me, and begged earnestly to speak to me. Curious to hear what the man had to say, I turned back, when he delivered himself to the following effect. That as soon as I had left him the other day he concluded from what I had said when I relieved him, that I was myself in distress, it grieved him much to see a lady in want, nor could he have been happy without seeing me again. He then pulled out a purse, containing as he said, twenty-eight doubloons, and begged me to take it, telling me that he had collected this by begging, and that he could beg more to make him live; but that a lady could not beg, but must die for want of yam, yam, if she had no money. I thanked the poor fellow for his generosity, and told him that I had got more money since I saw him, and that I did not want it. I then asked him how his master suffered him to beg, seeing he was so old? He told me, that now he could work no more, his master had turned him out of doors to beg or starve; that he had been a slave from his infancy, and that his sores had been occasioned by constant hard labour. After giving him another bit, and cautioning him not to discover his money to anybody, lest he might be robbed of it, I left him.'
Alexander, Second Duke of Gordon.
A Protestant who rented a small farm under the duke, having fallen behind in his payments, a vigilant steward, in his Grace's absence seized the farmer's stock, and advertised it to be rouped; that is, sold by auction on a fixed day. The duke happily returned home in the interval, and the tenant went to him to supplicate for indulgence. 'What is the matter Donald?' said the duke, as he saw him enter with sad downcast looks. Donald told his sorrowful tale in a concise natural manner: it touched the duke's heart, and produced a formal acquittance of the debt. Donald, as he cheerly withdrew, was staring at the pictures and images he saw in the Ducal Hall, and expressed to the duke, in a homely way, a wish to know what they were. 'These,' said the duke, who was a Roman Catholic, 'are the saints who intercede with God for me.' 'My lord duke,' said Donald, 'would it not be better to apply yourself directly to God? I went to muckle Sawney Gordon, and to little Sawney Gordon; but if I had not come to your good Grace's self, I could not have got my discharge, and both I and my bairns had been harried (turned out from house and home).'
In the severe winter of 1784 - 5, his late majesty, regardless of the weather, was taking a solitary walk on foot, when he was met by two boys, the eldest not eight years of age, who, although ignorant that it was the king fell upon their knees before him, and wringing their little hands, prayed for relief. 'The smallest relief,' they cried, 'for we are hungry, very hungry, and have nothing to eat.' More they would have said, but a torrent of tears, which gushed down their innocent cheeks checked their utterance. The father of his people raised the weeping supplicants, and encouraged them to proceed with their story. They did so, and related that their mother had been dead three days, and still lay unburied; that their father, whom they were also afraid of losing, was stretched by her side upon a bed of straw, in a sick and hopeless condition, and that they had neither money, food, nor firing at home. This artless tale was more than sufficient to excite sympathy in the royal bosom. His majesty therefore ordered the boys to proceed homeward, and followed them, until they reached a wretched hovel. There he found the mother dead, apparently through the want of common necessaries, the father ready to perish also, but still encircling with his feeble arms the deceased partner of his woes, as if unwilling to survive her. The sensibility of the monarch betrayed itself in the tears which started from his eyes; and leaving all the cash he had with him, hastened back to Windsor, related to the queen what he had witnessed, sent an immediate supply of provisions, clothes, coals, and everything necessary for the comfort of the helpless family. Revived by the bounty of his sovereign, the old man soon recovered, and the king, to finish the good work he had so gloriously began, educated and provided for the children.
Dr. Hugh Smith.
The late, benevolent and eccentric Dr. Smith, when established in a practice equal to that of any physician in London, did what few physicians perhaps in great practice would have done. He set apart two days for the poor in each week. From those who were really poor, he never took a fee, and from those who were of the middling ranks in life, he never would take above half a guinea! yet so great was the resort to him, that he has in one day received fifty guineas, at half a guinea only from each patient.
Many unostentatious acts of humanity and benevolence are related of her majesty, whose truly laudable and praiseworthy ambition was to
'Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame!'
It is an undoubted fact, that her majesty distributed large sums of money in the service of private charity. One of the first acts of her humanity was the forming an establishment for the daughters of decayed gentlemen or orphans. A house and grounds were purchased in Bedfordshire, and a lady of high attainments placed there, with a salary of five hundred pounds per annum, to instruct the pupils. The institution formed at Bailbrook Lodge, near Bath, was also deeply indebted to her majesty. It is a fact also well known that the queen took charge of, and educated, the orphan child of an officer who died in the West Indies. The child was brought to England by the serjeant of the regiment. Her majesty's notice was attracted by an advertisement in the public papers from the serjeant. The queen also took under her protection the widow of an officer killed at Bunker's Hill, and educated the son. At Windsor, her majesty established a school for the children of poor parents, who were clothed and educated at her expense, and provided with situations when they were old enough. On the recovery of his majesty from his first illness, in 1789 she founded another school on the same plan. On the failure of the Windsor Bank, her majesty hearing that many of the inhabitants were distressed in consequence, ordered her deputy-treasurer to provide four hundred pounds in small Bank of England notes, and immediately to exchange all the Windsor notes for them. On another occasion a female presented a memorial to her majesty, stating that she was the widow of an officer left with twelve children. The queen, on making inquiries into the character of the applicant, who was an entire stranger, took the whole of the children, and sent them to school. And when the Rev. Francis Roper, one of the conductors of Eton College, died, and left a wife and ten children, her majesty commenced a subscription with five hundred pounds, which amounted to two thousand pounds the same day, for the family, provided for the daughter, and begged the Prince Regent to do the same for the sons.
Duke of York.
The Duke of York, when commanding the British army in Flanders, met a soldier's wife whose affection for her husband had induced her to follow him. She inquired her way to the Duke of York's regiment, unconscious to whom she was speaking. The duke endeavoured to persuade her not to proceed, but not being able to prevail on her, inquired into her circumstances, when he found that both she and her husband were of good family, but that, not having been very economical, their little fortune was exhausted, that her husband being unable to support her and four children, enlisted into the Duke of York's regiment, gave her the whole of the listing money except half a crown, and went to the wars, to which she, having confided her children to the care of a friend, had now followed him. The duke immediately gave her four guineas, hastened to the camp, promoted the soldier to be a serjeant, presented him with twenty guineas, and bade him return home to his wife.
Blanche of Castile.
During the regency of Blanche of Castile, Queen of France, and widow of Louis VIII., the chapter of Paris had committed to prison all the inhabitants of Cathenia and several other places, seized on their lands, and sold them as a dependency belonging to the chapter. A considerable number of those unhappy people languished in the prisons belonging to the ecclesiastics, destitute of the necessaries of life, and dying of hunger and misery. The queen hearing of this, sent to demand that they should be set at liberty, declaring she would inquire into the affair, and do justice. The chapter returned for answer, 'That no person had any authority over their subjects, and that they had a right to starve them to death if they thought fit,' and sent to seize the women and children whom they had spared before. The queen, shocked at their inhumanity, went in person with a strong guard to the prisons of the chapter, ordered the gates to be broken open and liberated the miserable inhabitants, men women and children, who flocked around her, threw themselves at her feet, and blessed her for their deliverance from hunger, cold, and nakedness.
When Dr. Brocklesby used the interest with his friends, and, in conjunction with that benevolent Jew, Sampson Gideon, procured a subscription to the amount of £100 a year for the support of old Captain Coram who had originated the Foundling Hospital, he applied to the good old man to know if he would accept it, he received this noble answer: 'I have not wasted the little wealth of which I was formerly possessed in self-indulgence, or vain expenses, and am not ashamed to confess, that in this, my old age, I am poor.'
The Duke de Montausier, preceptor to the dauphin, son of Louis XIV., is said to have been the only one of that monarch's courtiers who had the courage to speak the truth to him. When Louis one day told him that he had pardoned a man who had killed nineteen persons, after having been pardoned for the first murder he committed, 'No, sire,' said Montausier, 'he killed but one, your majesty killed the nineteen.'
Montausier was the first projector of the Delphin Edition of the Classics. The character of the Misanthrope of Moliere is said to have been taken from him.
When Marcus Brutus besieged Xanthus, the capital of the Lycians, the city caught fire, and the conflagration became general. Brutus ordered his soldiers to lay aside all thoughts of revenge, and assist the inhabitants in quenching the fire. Perceiving the flames blaze out in different parts of the city in a most frightful manner, he mounted his horse, and riding round the walls, stretched forth his hand to the inhabitants, begging that they would spare their own lives and save the town. But the Xanthians were determined not to outlive the loss of their liberty, and therefore repulsed with showers of arrows the Romans whom the goodnatured general sent to their assistance. This spirit extended itself to the women and children. When the city was almost wholly reduced to ashes, a woman was found who had hanged herself, with her young child fastened to her neck, and the torch in her hand with which she had set fire to the house. Brutus on hearing this burst into tears, and declining to see so tragical an object, he proclaimed a reward to any soldier who should save a Xanthian. With all his exertions, however, he could only preserve one hundred and fifty, and those much against their will.
When Brutus led his army against Patara, another city of Lycia, he conquered it by his humanity. Desirous of saving the lives of the inhabitants, he set at liberty such of the Xanthian captives as were in any way allied to them, and sent them as presents to their relations. Afterwards, a party of his soldiers took prisoners, some of the chief women of Patara whom they brought to Brutus. The general received them in such a manner as spoke his concern for their misfortunes; he treated them with delicacy and politeness, and dismissed them without ransom. The ladies, charmed with such conduct, returned into the city, and there extolling the generosity and virtue of Brutus, prevailed on their husbands and relatives to yield to so humane a general. The city was thus gained without either bloodshed or animosity.
Worth of a Denier.
When Henry IV. of France made excursions into the distant provinces, he used to stop the peasants whom he met, and inquire where they were going, what they sold, and what was the price. One of his attendants expressing his surprise at such familiarity, was answered by the monarch: 'The Kings of France, my predecessors, thought themselves dishonoured in knowing the value of a teston. With respect to myself, I am anxious to know what is the value of half a denier, and what difficulty the poor people have to get it, so that they may not be taxed above their means.'
When the Turks had invaded the Ukraine on the side of Russia, that empire sent two numerous armies to repel the invaders. The one commanded by Count Laski, an Irishman, broke through the Turkish entrenchments, and ravaged Crimean Tartary with fire and sword. The other army, under the command of Count Munick, was destined for the destruction of Oczakow. In this army Mr. Keith, then a lieutenant, but afterwards governor of Berlin, and field marshal of the Russian forces, served, and by his velour and skill, at the head of eight thousand men, contributed most materially to taking the place. In storming this city, Lieutenant Keith gave such instances of tenderness and humanity, as diffused additional lustre round his military glory; for while the furious Muscovites were sanguine in their revenge, he checked their ferocity, and exhorted them to spare the lives of their enemies. Among others, he rescued a child of six years of age from the hands of a Cossack, who had already raised his scymitar to cut off her head, as she was struggling to extricate herself out of some rubbish in which she had been entangled. The father of the child was a Turkish grandee of some eminence; but being now left an orphan, Mr. Keith took her under his protection, educated her in the most liberal manner, and treated her as if she had been his own daughter. When she grew up, he gave her the charge of his house, where she did the honours of the table, and proved herself worthy of the kindness she experienced.
Bishop of St. Lisieux.
The massacre of St. Bartholomew was not confined to Paris; orders were sent to the most distant provinces to destroy all the Protestants. When the governor of the province brought the order to Hennuyer, Bishop of Lisieux, he opposed it with all his power, and caused a formal act of his opposition to be entered on the registers of the province. Charles IX., when remorse had taken place of cruelty, was so far from disapproving of what this excellent prelate had done, that he gave him the greatest praise for his humanity; and Protestants flocked in numbers, to abjure their religion at the feet of this good and kind shepherd, whose gentleness affected them more than either the commands of the sovereign, or the violence of the soldiery.
A common female beggar once asked alms of Dr. Goldsmith as he walked with a friend up Fleet Street. He generously gave her a shilling. His companion, who knew something of the woman, censured the bard for his excess of humanity adding, that the shilling was much misapplied, for she would spend it in liquor. 'If it makes her happy in any way,' replied the Doctor 'my end is answered.' The Doctor's humanity was not always regulated by discretion. Being once much pressed by his tailor for a bill of forty pounds, a day was fixed for payment. Goldsmith procured the money, but Mr. Glover calling on him, and relating a piteous tale of his goods being seized for rent, the thoughtless, but benevolent, Doctor gave him the whole of the money. The tailor called, and was told, that if he had come a little sooner he would have received the money, but he had just parted with every shilling of it to a friend in distress, adding 'I should have been an unfeeling monster not to have relieved distress when in my power.'
A Mimic Reclaimed.
A generous act, or an act of humanity, will sometimes operate most forcibly on the minds of those who might not be expected to feel its influence. In the beginning of the last century, a comedian of the name of Griffin, celebrated for his talents as a mimic, was employed by a comic author to imitate the personal peculiarities of the celebrated Dr. Woodward, whom she intended to be introduced on the stage as Dr. Fossile, in Three Hours after Marriage. The mimic, dressed as a countryman, waited on the doctor with a long catalogue of complaints with which he said his wife was afflicted. The physician heard with amazement diseases and pains of the most opposite nature, repeated and redoubled on the wretched patient. The actor having thus detained the doctor until he thought himself completely master of his errand, presented him with a guinea as his fee. 'Put up your money, poor fellow,' cried the Doctor, 'thou hast need of all thy cash, and all thy patience too, with such a bundle of diseases tied to thy back.' The mimic returned to his employer, who was in raptures at his success, until he told him that he would sooner die, than prostitute his talents to render such genuine humanity food for the diversion of the public.
When the different tribes of Indians on the Ohio were compelled by the expedition of General Bouquet to deliver up all the Europeans whom they had taken captives for a series of years, the tender reluctance with which they made the surrender was singularly remarkable. The chief of the Shawanese addressing the English, said, 'Fathers, we have brought your flesh and blood to you; they have been all united to us by adoption, and although we now deliver them, we will always look upon them as our relations, whenever the Great Spirit is pleased that we may visit them. We have taken as much care of them as if they were our own flesh and blood. Many of them are now become unacquainted with your customs and manners, and therefore we request you will use them tenderly and kindly, which will induce them to live contentedly with you.' The regard of the Indians to their captive friends continued all the time they remained in the English camp. They visited them from day to day, loaded them with presents of corn, skins, and other articles; and displayed all the marks of the most sincere and tender affection. Nor did they stop here: for when the army marched, some of the Indians solicited and obtained leave to accompany their former captives all the way to Fort Pitt; and exercised their skill in hunting, to obtain for them every delicacy which the forest could supply.
Cruel and unmerciful in war as the Indians, through habit and long example, are, yet whenever they come to give way to the native dictates of humanity, they have exhibited virtues which Christians need not blush to imitate.
Irish Orange Woman.
During the last sickness of the late Mr. Trotter, once secretary to Mr. Fox, when deserted by his friends, the victim of actual want and the pauper patient of a dispensary, he was constantly visited by a poor old woman who sold oranges. She daily and anxiously inquired after his health, and insisted on leaving her best fruit for his use, for which she would not accept of any compensation. Though apparently in good health, she gradually pined away as his malady increased; and when poor Trotter quitted this mortal soil, the strength of this humane Irish woman sunk rapidly, and in six days after she died also, without any visible disease but that of excessive grief.
Earl of Ormond.
In the insurrection in Ireland in 1642, orders were given to the Earl of Ormond and Sir James Coote, who commanded the king's troops there, to pillage, burn, and destroy the possessions of the rebels. Coote executed these orders rigorously; but Ormond with more humanity and prudence, yet with a severity sufficient to afford the rebel leaders a pretence of complaint. Lord Gormanston (a rebel chief) remonstrated by letter against his proceedings, and threatened Ormond, if they were continued, that his wife and children should answer for it. Ormond, in reply, reproached Gormanston with his disloyalty, vindicated himself, and declared his resolution of prosecuting the rebels, at the hazard of everything dear to him, in pursuance of the king's command. 'My wife and children,' said he, 'are in your power. Should they receive any injury from men, I shall never revenge it on women and children. This would be not only base and unchristian, but infinitely beneath the value at which I estimate my wife and children.'
'This was the friend and father of the poor.'
Epitaph on Mr. Hanway's tomb in Westminster Abbey.
In the year 1764, a time of great public Scarcity, a letter appeared from the benevolent Jonas Hanway, pointing out to the poor how cheaply they might live well. 'When I was at school,' he says, 'at an obscure village in Hampshire, at a charge not more than double the price of three pints of porter a day for maintenance and education, I remember a bodger who had eight young children, and he maintained them all for less than one shilling and three pence a day, in prime health and spirits. I once,' he remarks farther on, 'fed on rice and parched peas for forty-eight days and did not consume a penny each day, and yet I was travelling, and in health, strength, and spirits. Do not imagine,' he observes in conclusion, 'that I am insensible of the wants of others. I neither insult a hungry belly nor flatter a full one. I wish to see, with all my heart, parks of deer converted into grazing ground for oxen; and lands on which horses only are fed, into fields of wheat for the food of men. If there are fewer buckskin breeches for jockeys to ride horses for pleasure, we shall be provided so much the cheaper with shoes.
If there are fewer venison feasts, there will be greater plenty of good beef for our support, and tallow for candles to work by. If we draw in less money for horses for foreign use, or to kill them by driving them wantonly to an end, we shall save more money in the price of the bread we eat, as well as keep our national riches in gold and silver at home for the great emergencies of war, which are now draining off our corn.' The final words of this letter deserve to be written in letters of gold: 'Let us indulge the noble passion of doing the most good to mankind with the least mixture of evil. We cannot long remain a free people without a large portion of virtue, or continue to be rich and happy without freedom.'
Prince of Wales.
In the year 1794, a French emigrant went into a jeweller's shop in St. James's-street, for the purpose of buying a sword, he saw one which, from its apparent goodness, pleased him, but his means were not equal to the purchase; he offered all the money he had, and a ring which he wore, in payment for the remainder; the man hesitated, and the unfortunate stranger endeavoured to strengthen his request by stating the motive which induced it - he was going to join the standard of Earl Moira. They were interrupted by the entrance of a third person, who hearing the conversation, called the jeweller aside, and directed him to let the foreigner have the sword, and he would reimburse him. He then left the shop, when the foreigner learned that for this act of kindness he was indebted to George, Prince of Wales.
Redemption of Captives.
The seventh century was distinguished for the passionate enthusiasm with which persons of all ranks and degrees of opulence engaged in the redemption of captives carried into slavery by the Huns and other barbarous tribes. The Emperor Pricus paid three hundred pounds weight of gold to Chagenus for prisoners he had taken. Commentiolus, another emperor, refusing to give five shillings English money for a large lot of captives, his subjects were so incensed at his inhumanity that they broke out into a general rebellion. These instances, however, are nothing to that of the Bishop of Nola, who having nothing left to purchase captives, actually pawned himself! and by this stretch of heroism, restored to a poor widow of mean rank, her only son!
Instances of humanity among the Algerines are rare; and therefore when they do occur, ought to be recorded. In 1776, when the Modeste frigate, bound from Marseilles to Cape Francois, was destroyed by lightning, fifteen of the crew fixed themselves on the foremast, on which they floated six days, des titute of clothes or victuals. Ten of these unhappy people perished, one after another. On the sixth day an Algerine galley approached them, the Reis of which took them on board, and treated them with the utmost humanity; and learning that there might be some more of the crew alive on the mainmast, or on the remains of the frigate, he traversed round in search of them, and testified the utmost regret that he could not save the whole of the crew. One of the five died a few days after. The remaining four were taken to Algiers, and presented to the Dey, who immediately sent them to the French Consul.
Shenstone was one day walking through his romantic retreat in company with his Delia (her real name was Wilmot), when a man rushed out of a thicket, and presenting a pistol to his breast, demanded his money. Shenstone was surprised, and Delia fainted. 'Money,' said the robber, 'is not worth struggling for; you cannot be poorer than I am.' 'Unhappy man!' exclaimed Shenstone, throwing his purse to him, 'take it, and fly as quick as possible.' The man did so, threw his pistol in the waters and instantly disappeared. Shenstone ordered his footboy to follow the robber and observe where he went. In two hours the boy returned, and informed his master that he followed him to Hales-owen, where he lived, that he went to the door of his house, and peeping through the keyhole, saw the man throw the purse on the ground and say to his wife, 'Take the dear-bought price of my honesty;' then taking two of his children, one on each knee, he said to them 'I have ruined my soul to keep you from starving;' and immediately burst into a flood of tears. Shenstone, on hearing this, lost no time in inquiring into the man's character, and found that he was a labourer oppressed by want and a numerous family; but had the reputation of being honest and industrious. Shenstone went to his house; the poor man fell at his feet and implored mercy. The poet took him home with him, and provided him with employment.
Duke De Montausier.
The Duke de Montausier one day represented to Louis XIV. the poverty of the celebrated Madame Dacier, and requested a pension for her. Louis told him that she was a Protestant, and on that account he did not like to distinguish her. 'Well, then,' replied the duke, 'I will myself give her three hundred louis d'ors in your majesty's name, and when you think fit, you shall return me the money.'
Montausier was governor of Normandy; and when the plague broke out in that province, he hastened there in spite of the remonstrance of his friends, to whom he nobly replied, 'I have always been firmly convinced in my mind, that governors of provinces, like bishops, are obliged to residence. If, however, the obligation is not quite so strict on all occasions, it is at least equal in all times of public calamity.'
Montausier often gave to his pupil, the dauphin, practical lessons of virtue. He took him one day into the miserable cottage of a peasant, near the superb palace of Versailles. 'Behold, sir,' said he, 'that it is under this straw roof, and in this wretched hovel, that a father, a mother, and their children exist, who are incessantly labouring to procure that gold with which your palace is decorated, and who are nearly perishing with hunger, to supply your table with dainties.'
Moliere was gifted with a generous and compassionate heart. One day Baron, the noted comedian, told him of an actor in extreme indigence and misery, whose name was Mondorge. 'I know him,' said Moliere, 'he was my school companion at Languedoc. He is a very honest man. How much do you think his necessities require?' 'Four pistoles,' answered Baron, with some hesitation. 'Very well,' said Moliere, 'here are the four pistoles and give him these twenty in your own name.'
When Hume was a member of the University of Edinburgh, and in great want of money, he was presented with an office worth about forty pounds a year. On the day when he got possession of the patent, or grant, he was visited by his friend Blacklock, the poet, who is much better known by his poverty and blindness than by his genius. This poor man began a long descant on his misery, bewailing his loss of sight, his large family of children, and his utter inability to provide for them or even to procure them the necessaries of life. Hume, unable to bear his complaints, and destitute of money to assist him, ran instantly to his desk, took out the grant, and presented it to his miserable friend, who received it with exultation; and his name was soon after, by Hume's interest, inserted instead of his own.
The miserable fate of Poland had a sad and fatal influence on the venerable and lamented Count Largorysky, whose estates, not very considerable, were devoted to making all around him happy. He built on his domains a house for the reception of the old and infirm who were fed and clothed by his bounty. Schools were also established for the education of the children of the peasants, and for fitting them for the useful employments of life. When Poland was overrun, his estates seized upon, his peasants dragged to serve in the army, and their wives and children left destitute of every friend but him, the noble-hearted Count, unable longer to brook the wrongs of Poland, and witness misery he could not relieve, formed the fatal resolution of putting an end to his valuable life. He previously assembled all his old peasants, and took an affectionate and tender leave of them. The next day the humane Largorysky threw himself on his sword and expired.
About five-and-twenty years ago a little institution was established at Leicester, which is equally worthy of imitation and praise. Adjoining the town, a gentleman erected on his paternal estate an elegant but modest structure in the Gothic style, to be occupied by those of his own relations as might at any time stand in need of such an asylum. It was therefore not inaptly called a Consanguinitarium. The several occupants were allowed coals, &c., and five shillings per week during life; and the estate is charged with these provisions in perpetuity.
Madame De Maintenon.
Madame de Maintenon one day asked Louis XIV. for some money to distribute in alms. 'Alas! madam,' said the king, 'what I give in alms are merely fresh burdens upon my people. The more money I give away, the more I take from them.' 'This, sire,' replied Madame de Maintenon, 'is true; but it IS right to ease the wants of those whom your former taxes to supply the expenses of your wars have reduced to misery. It is truly just that those who have been ruined by you should be supported by you.'
Mr. Wesley contrived to give away more money in charity out of a small income, than any man perhaps of his time. His mode, as related by himself, was this. When he had thirty pounds a year, he lived on twenty eight, and gave away forty shillings, the next year receiving sixty pounds; he still lived on twenty-eight, and gave away thirty-two; the third year he received ninety pounds, and gave away sixtytwo; the fourth year he received a hundred and twenty pounds, still he lived on twenty-eight, and gave to the poor ninety-two; and so on to the end of the chapter of this worthy man's benevolence. On a moderate calculation, he gave away in about fifty years, twenty or thirty thousand pounds!
When the revolution of France made exiles of all the clergy of the country, who did not perish on the scaffold, some thousands of them found refuge in England. A private subscription of £33,775 15s. 9 1/2d. was immediately made for them. When it was exhausted, a second was collected under the auspices of the king, which amounted to £41,304 12s. 6 3/4 d., nor is it too much to say, that the beneficence of individuals, whose charities on this occasion were known only to God, raised for the sufferers a sum much exceeding the amount of the larger of the two subscriptions. When at length the wants of the sufferers exceeded the measure of private charity, government took them under its protection; and though engaged in a conquest exceeding all former wars in expense, appropriated, with the approbation of the whole kingdom, a monthly allowance of about £8000 for their support: an instance of splendid munificence and systematic liberality, of which the annals of the world do not furnish another example.
This singular character, who distinguished himself when he was in France, by writing the celebrated dialogue on the free commerce of corn, sent from Vesuvius to Pope Benedict XIV. a box, containing specimens of its lava, thus inscribed, 'Da ut lapides isti panem fiunt.' The goodhumoured Pontiff replied by sending him an order for a pension on the Apostolic Charter for four hundred ducats, with a letter, in which he told him that as he had never doubted the infallibility of the Pope he should give him a new proof of it. 'It is,' added he, 'my province to explain texts of Scripture: and I assure you that I never explained one with more pleasure than that which you sent me.'
Louis XVI. when Dauphin.
In the crowd that took place to see the fireworks represented at Paris on the marriage of this Prince with Marie Antoinette, three hundred persons were stifled and left dead upon the spot. One entire family perished. There was scarce a house in Paris that did not lose a relation or a friend. The dauphin, on this melancholy occasion wrote thus to M. de Serpre, lieutenant of the police:-
'Sir,- I have heard of the sad calamity that has happened at Paris on my account; I am petrified at the account of it. I have received from the king my quarter's allowance for my amusements. It is all that I can with justice dispose of. I send it to you by the bearer, to dispose of in the way that you shall think best suited to those who have suffered on the occasion, and remain, sir, your obedient servant, LOUIS."
In the year 1645, a Portuguese, whose ship had been taken at Angola, was landed at Recipe, in Brazil, with scarcely any clothes to cover him. After soliciting in vain the charity of Gaspar Dias Fereira, the richest Jew in the province, he went with the melancholy story to Fray Manoel de Salvador, who advised him to apply to Joan Fernandes. The applicant found him in the act of mounting his horse, and received this answer: 'I am putting foot in the stirrup to return to my house, which is nearly two leagues off; and, therefore, sir, I have no leisure now to relieve you; but if you will take the trouble to follow me there, you shall find support as long as my means hold out; if they fail, and there should be nothing else to eat, I will cut off a leg, and we will feed upon it together. If you cannot walk, I will send a horse for you.' Fernandes was as good as his word.
The Skeleton of the Wreck.
While Sir Michael Seymour was in the command of the Amethyst frigate, and was cruising in the Bay of Biscay, the wreck of a merchant ship drove past. Her deck was just above water, her lower mast alone standing, Not a soul could be seen on board; but there was a cubhouse on deck, which had the appearance of having been recently patched with old canvas and tarpaulins, as if to afford shelter to some forlorn remnant of the crew. It blew at this time a strong gale; but Sir Michael, listening only to the dictates of humanity, ordered the ship to be put about, and sent off a boat with instructions to board the wreck, and ascertain whether there was any being still surviving, whom the help of his fellow man might save from the grasp of death. The boat rowed towards the drifting mass; and while struggling with the difficulty of getting through a high running sea close alongside, the crew shouting all the time as loud as they could, an object resembling in appearance a bundle of clothes was observed to roll out of the cubhouse against the lee shrouds of the mast. With the end of a boathook they managed to get hold of it, and hauled it into the boat, when it proved to be the trunk of a man, bent head and knees together, and so wasted away, as scarce to be felt within the ample clothes which had once fitted it in a state of life and strength. The boat's crew hastened back to the Amethyst with this miserable remnant of mortality; and so small was it in bulk, that a lad of fourteen years of age was able. with his own hands, to lift it into the ship. When placed on deck, it showed for the first time, to the astonishment of all, signs of remaining life; it tried to move, and next moment muttered in a hollow sepulchral tone, 'there is another man.' The instant these words were heard, Sir Michael ordered the boat to shove off again for the wreck. The sea having now become somewhat smoother, they succeeded this time in boarding the wreck; and on looking into the cubhouse, they found two other human bodies, wasted like the one they had saved to the very bones, but without the least spark of life remaining. They were sitting in a shrunk-up posture, a hand of one resting on a tin-pot, in which there was about a gill of water; and a hand of the other reaching to the deck, as if to regain a bit of raw salt beef of the size of a walnut, which had dropped from its nerveless grasp. Unfortunate men! They had starved on their scanty store, in they had not strength remaining to lift the last morsel to their mouths! The boat's crew having completed their melancholy survey, returned on board, where they found the attention of the ship's company engrossed by the efforts made to preserve the generous skeleton, who seemed to have had just life enough left to breathe the remembrance that there was still 'another man,' his companion in suffering, to be saved. Captain S. committed him to the special charge of the surgeon, who spared no means which humanity or skill could suggest, to achieve the noble object of creating anew, as it were, a fellow creature, whom famine had stripped of almost every living energy. For three weeks he scarcely ever left his patient, giving him nourishment with his own hand every five or ten minutes; and at the end of three weeks more, the 'skeleton of the wreck' was seen walking on the deck of the Amethyst; and to the surprise of all who recollected that he had been lifted into the ship by a cabinboy, presented the stately figure of a man nearly six feet high!
Edward, the Sixth Lord Digby.
The following interesting anecdote of this young nobleman is related by a gentleman who enjoyed his friendship, and like all who knew him, revered and loved him. 'Lord Digby came often to Parliament Street, and I could not help remarking a singular alteration in his dress and demeanour which took place during the great festivals. At Christmas and Easter he was more than usually grave, and then always had on an old shabby blue coat. I was led, as well as many others, to conclude that it was some affair of the heart which caused this periodical singularity. Mr. Fox, his uncle, who had great curiosity, wished much to find out his nephew's motive for appearing at times in this manner, as in general he was esteemed more than a well-dressed man. On his expressing an inclination for this purpose, Major Vaughan and another gentleman undertook to watch his lordship's motions. They accordingly set out; and observing him to go to St. George's Fields, they followed him at a distance, till they lost sight of him near the Marshalsea Prison. Wondering what could carry a person of his lordship's rank and fortune to such a place they inquired of the turnkey if such a gentleman (describing Lord D.) had not entered the prison? 'Yes, masters,' exclaimed the fellow, with an oath, 'but he is not a man; he is an angel, for he comes here twice a year, sometimes oftener, and sets a number of prisoners free. And he not only does this, but he gives them sufficient to support themselves and their families till they can find employment. This,' continued the man, 'is one of his extraordinary visits. He has but a few to take out to-day.' 'Do you know who the gentleman is?' inquired the major. 'We none of us know him by any other marks,' replied the man, 'but by his humanity and his blue coat."'
One of the gentlemen could not resist the: desire of making some further inquiries relative to the occurrence from which he reaped so much satisfaction. The next time, accordingly, his lordship had his alms-giving coat on, he asked him what occasioned his wearing that singular dress? With a smile of great sweetness, his lordship told him that his curiosity should soon be gratified, for as they were congenial souls, he would take him with him when he next visited the place to which his coat was adapted. One morning shortly after, his lordship accordingly requested the gentleman to accompany him on a visit to that receptacle of misery which his lordship had so often explored to the consolation of its inhabitants. His lordship would not suffer his companion to enter the gate, lest the hideousness of the place should prove disagreeable to him; but he ordered the coachman to drive to the 'George Inn' in the Borough, where a dinner was ordered for the happy individuals he was about to liberate. Here the gentleman had the pleasure of seeing near thirty persons rescued from the jaws of a loathsome prison, at an inclement season of the year, being in the midst of winter, and not only released from their confinement, but restored to their families and friends with some provision from his lordship's bounty for their immediate support.
Lord D. went some few months after these beneficent acts to visit his estates in Ireland, where he caught a putrid fever, of which he perished in the dawn of life, November 30, 1757
Mr. Howard embarked in the year 1756 in a Lisbon Packet in order to make the tour of Portugal when it was taken by a French privateer. 'Before we reached Brest,' says he, 'I suffered the extremity of thirst, not having for above forty hours one drop of water, nor hardly a morsel of food. In the castle at Brest I lay six nights upon straw; and observing how cruelly my countrymen were used, there and at Morlaix, whither I was carried next, during the two months I was at Carlaix upon parole, I corresponded with the English prisoners at Brest, Morlaix, and Dinan; at the last of these towns were several of our ship's crew and my servant. I had sufficient evidence of their being treated with such barbarity that many hundreds perished, and that thirty-six were buried in a hole at Dinan in one day. When I came to England, still on parole, I made known to the commissioners of sick and wounded seamen the sundry particulars, which gained their attention and thanks. Remonstrance was made to the French court; our sailors had redress: and those that were in the three prisons mentioned above were brought home in the first cartel ships. 'Perhaps,' adds Mr. Howard, 'what I suffered on this occasion increased my sympathy with the unhappy people, whose care is the subject of this book (On Prisons).'
To speak of Howard without calling to mind the eloquent eulogium in which Burke has embalmed his memory would be as impossible as it would be to read that eulogium without owning that human virtue never received more illustrious manifestation. 'Howard,' said the orator, 'was a man who traversed foreign countries, not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces or the stateliness of temples, not to make accurate measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur, nor to form a scale of the curiosity of modern art; not to collect medals or manuscripts, but to dive into the depths of dungeons; to plunge in the infection of hospitals, to survey the mansions of sorrow and pain; to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt; to remember the forsaken; and to compare and collate the distresses of all men under all climes.' In the prosecution of this God-like work Howard made 'a voyage of discovery, a circumnavigation of charity,' and at last fell a victim to his humanity; for in administering medicines to some poor wretches in the hospital at Cherson, in the Crimea, he caught a malignant fever, and died in the glorious work of benevolence. Thus fell the man who,
'Girding creation in one warm embrace
Outstretch'd his saviour arm from pole to pole
And felt akin to all the human race.'
The Emperor Alexander has, greatly to his honour, recently ordered a monument to be erected at Cherson to Howard's memory.
Sir Joshua Reynolds.
This distinguished painter having heard of a young artist who had become embarrassed by an injudicious matrimonial connexion, and was on the point of being arrested, immediately hurried to his residence to inquire into the truth of it. The unfortunate man told him the melancholy particulars of his situation, adding that forty pounds would enable him to compound with his creditors. After some further conversation Sir Joshua took his leave, telling the distressed painter he would do something for him; and when he was bidding him adieu at the door he took him by the hand and after squeezing it in a friendly manner, hurried off with that kind of triumph in his heart which the exalted of human kind alone can experience, while the astonished artist found that he had left in his hand a bank note for one hundred pounds.
A poor woman was once taken in labour in the streets of Dublin near Mr. Faulkner's door, who, as soon as he was informed of the circumstance, ordered her to be conveyed to a warm apartment, and procured for her the necessary assistance her distressing situation required. The Dublin journalist did not stop here; he extended his humanity still further by presenting her with twenty pounds to relieve her necessities. He afterwards stood godfather for the child, and appropriated one hundred pounds towards its future subsistence.
A Macedonian soldier, who had often distinguished himself by his valour, and received marks of Philip's favour and approbation, was once wrecked by a violent storm, and cast on shore, helpless, naked, and scarcely with the appearance of life. In this condition he was found by a stranger residing near the coast, who, with the utmost humanity and concern, flew to his relief, bore him to his house, laid him on his own bed, revived, cherished, and for forty days supplied him freely with all the necessaries and conveniences which his languishing condition could require. The soldier rescued from death was incessant in his professions of gratitude; and being furnished with a sum of money to pursue his journey, he left his benevolent host; but no sooner did the wretch return to court than he obtained from Philip a grant of the land of his benefactor, whom he immediately drove from his settlement. The poor man, stung with such an instance of base ingratitude, addressed a letter to Philip, representing his own and the soldier's conduct in a lively and affecting manner. The king was fired with indignation, he ordered that justice should be instantly done, that the poor man's possessions should be restored; and having seized the soldier, caused his forehead to be branded, 'The Ungrateful Guest;' a character infamous in every age, and among all nations but particularly among the Greeks, who were jealously observant of the laws of hospitality.
Wheel of Fortune.
'-The whirligig of time brings in its revenges.' CRABBE.
When the tributary kings of Sesostris came at stated periods to do him homage, he was in the habit of displaying the most ridiculous insolence. When he entered his capital, or went to the temple, he unharnessed his horses, and yoking these princes four abreast to his car, highly valued himself on being thus drawn along by the sovereigns of kingdoms. The following incident is said to have restored his majesty to a sense of justice and humanity. On one of these occasions, a king who was degraded in the manner now mentioned, was observed to look with peculiar earnestness at one of the wheels of the chariot; and being asked what it was that riveted his attention, he replied significantly, 'O king! the turning round of the chariot wheel reminds me of the vicissitudes of fortune; for as every part of the wheel is uppermost and lowermost alternately, so it is with men who sit on a throne to-day, and the next perhaps are reduced to the vilest degree of slavery.'
About the commencement of the Indian war in 1763, in America, a trading Jew, named Chapman, who was going up the Detroit river with a load of goods, which he had brought from Albany, was taken by some Indians of the Chippeway nation, and destined to be put to death. A Frenchman, impelled by motives of humanity, found means to steal the prisoner; and kept him so concealed for some time, that although the most diligent search was made, the place of his confinement could not be discovered. At last, however, the unfortunate man was betrayed by some false friend, and again fell into the hands of the Indians, who took him across the river to be burned and tortured. Tied to the stake, and the fire burning by his side, his last meal was presented to him, according to the Indian custom. It was broth, and so hot, that it scalded the Jew, who threw the bowl in the face of the man who had presented it to him. 'He is mad! he is mad!' exclaimed the Indians. The cords with which he was bound were untied, and he was suffered to go where he pleased.
Prisoners set Free.
Mr. Martroos, a respectable Armenian gentleman, who died at Calcutta in the year 1816, directed by his will that a considerable sum should be applied by his executors to the relief of poor prisoners confined in gaol for small debts. One twelfth part of the entire sum left, amounting to 2106 rupees, was immediately appropriated to the payment of the debts of unfortunate persons confined in prison; in consequence of which, one hundred and eight persons obtained their liberation.
This distinguished philosopher, and friend to the liberties of mankind, first became known to the public in the case of a poor and friendless negro of the name of Somerset. This person had been brought from the West Indies to England by a master, whose name we would, if in our power, gladly hand down to the execration of posterity; and falling into bad health, was abandoned by him as a useless article of property, and turned into the streets, either to die, or to gain a miserable support by precarious charity. In this destitute state, almost, it is said, on the point of expiring on the pavement of one of the public streets of London, Mr. Sharp chanced to see him. He instantly had the poor creature removed to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, attended to his wants, and in a short time had the happiness to see him restored to health. Mr. Sharp now clothed him, and procured him comfortable employment in the service of a lady. Two years had elapsed, and the story and name of the poor negro had almost escaped the memory of his benefactor, when Mr. Sharp received a letter from a person signing himself Somerset, confined in the Poultry Compter, entreating his interference to save him from a greater calamity even than the death from which he had before rescued him. Mr. Sharp instantly went to the prison, and found the negro, who in sickness and misery had been discarded by his master, sent to prison as a runaway slave. The excellent patriot went immediately to the Lord Mayor, Nash, who caused the parties to be brought before him; when, after a long hearing, the upright magistrate decided, that the master had no property in the person of the negro in this country, and gave the negro his liberty. The master instantly collared him in the presence of Mr. Sharp and the Lord Mayor, and insisted on his right to keep him as his property. Mr. Sharp now claimed the protection of the superior tribunals; caused the master to be arrested; and exhibited articles of the peace against him for an assault and battery. After various legal proceedings supported by him with the most undaunted spirit, the twelve judges unanimously concurred in opinion, that the master had acted criminally. Thus did Mr. Sharp emancipate for ever the race of blacks from a state of slavery while on British ground.
'Among the heroes and sages of British glory,' says an eminent review, 'we can think of few whom we should feel a greater glow of honest pride in claiming as an ancestor, than the man to whom we owe our power of repeating with truth, -
'Slaves cannot breathe in England: if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free:
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.'
Deaf and Dumb Youth.
The Countess Lichtenau relates the following interesting account of a young man, educated at the Establishment for Deaf and Dumb Children at Berlin. 'A Protestant minister at Anspach, named Hoffmann, had nine children, six of whom were deaf and dumb. But one, whom nature had not treated with so much injustice, was employed at Berlin in the department of the mines. He waited upon me one day, accompanied by one of his deaf and dumb brothers, described to me the distressing situation of his family, showed me several pictures which his brother had painted, and beseeched me to take him under my protection. I remarked in the works of this unfortunate young man the germ of real talent, and immediately gave him a commission to make me some copies; of which he acquitted himself admirably, and for which I paid him. His accuracy, zeal and good conduct, having augmented the interest with which he had first inspired me, I settled upon him a fixed salary; and I had shortly after the satisfaction of learning, that he appropriated the greatest portion towards assisting his poor parents. I then determined on sending him to Dresden, that he might there copy the most rare pictures in that celebrated collection; where he spent nine months in fulfilling with the greatest intelligence the commission entrusted to him. He returned to Berlin, and lived honourably on the fruits of his talents and industry. I set off for Italy, and on my arrival wrote to his Majesty, Frederic William III., requesting that he would permit Hoffmann to join me; which favour was granted: Hoffmann repaired to Rome, and there I left him on my departure for Germany. But no sooner did he learn my misfortunes, than he quitted Italy, and came directly to my house at Charlottenberg; and where he became convinced that he had not been imposed upon, but that I was really absent, and in captivity, he was seized with frenzy, and went and threw himself into the Spire. He was saved; but, alas! his reason never returned; and this victim of gratitude afterwards put a period to his existence during a paroxysm of insanity.'
In 1785, Dr. Pickard, Master of Magdalen College in the University of Cambridge, gave out the following subject for one of the University prizes: 'Anne liceat invitos in servitutem dare?'
'Is it right to make slaves of others against their will?'
Mr. Thomas Clarkson, who was then a student at the University, determined to become a candidate for the prize. He took great pains to obtain the fullest information on the subject, and had the happiness of attaining the object of his ambition. After reading his essay publicly as usual, in the Senate House, he set out for London on horseback. While on the road, the subject of the essay entirely engrossed his thoughts; he became at times seriously affected as he travelled on. He once stopped his horse, and dismounted, and sat down on a bank by the roadside. Here he tried to persuade himself, that the contents of the essay which he had read in the Senate House the day before were not true. The more, however, he reflected on the authorities on which he knew them to be founded the more he gave them credit, the more he was convinced that it was an imperious duty in some one to undertake the glorious task of putting an end to the sufferings of the unhappy Africans. Agitated in this manner, he reached London, where he shortly afterwards published an English translation of his essay. His mind, however, was not satisfied that this was all humanity required of him. To make the case of the Africans known, was desirable as a first step; but would this of itself put a stop to the horrors of the trade? He believed not; he believed there could be no hope of success, unless some one would resolve to make it the business of his life. The question then was, was he himself called upon to do it? His own peace of mind required that he should give a final answer to the question. To do this, he retired frequently into solitude. The result was, that after the most mature deliberation, he determined to devote his whole life, should it be necessary, to the cause.
Of the glorious fruits of this sublime act of devotion, the reader need scarcely be told. From the latter end of December, 1786, till the year 1794, Mr. Clarkson laboured with such unceasing assiduity to achieve the work of African emancipation, that his constitution was at length literally shattered to pieces, his hearing, memory, and voice, were nearly gone; he was, in short, utterly incapable of any further exertion, and was obliged, though with extreme reluctance, to be borne out of the field where he had placed the great honour and pride of his life.
After eight years' retirement, he felt his constitution so far recruited, that he returned again to the contest; and has had the proud satisfaction of living to see the noble object of his life's solicitude at length accomplished by the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade - the Magna Charta of Africa.
Among the many suffering emigrants at Liege in the year 179', was the family of the Marquess de M - t, who near Stenay had seen two of his sons, and two of his brother-inlaw, cut to pieces before his face: and who, after being wounded, was himself made a prisoner, and as such, guillotined by the republicans. His widow, with two young daughters and three infant sons, unacquainted with the cruel fate of persons so near and dear to her, had prepared, with the last louis d'or she possessed, a small feast for their return, expecting them with an anxiety more easily imagined than expressed. The late lamented Duke d'Enghein despatched his servant to her, dressed like a French dragoon, who presented her, as from her husband, ninety louis d'ors, and intimated that it was the marquess's desire that she would make use of the money to convey her instantly to Holland, having himself retired thither to repose a while after the fatigues of the campaign; adding that he was commissioned by the marquess to attend her on her Journey. Arrived in Holland, the duke's servant said, that he had heard from friends that the marquess had found means, with his sons and brothers-in-law, to return to France, and was enabled to remit to her, through secret channels, a yearly sum of one hundred louis d'ors though not daring to write to her, for fear of exposing himself. For four years the duke regularly sent this sum; and it was not until the death of the servant at Hamburgh, in 1796, that the marchioness knew she was a widow, and had to mourn two sons and two brothers, but at the same time, that she owed her own and her children's existence to the most liberal and delicate of benefactors, who in an age of dissipation had made humanity the first of his pleasures.
When this gallant veteran visited this country in the year 1814, and was giving audience at his apartments at St. James's, three females made their way into his presence, apparently much affected. They were the mother and two sisters of a seaman belonging to an English brig of war, who, with others, had been cast on shore on the coast of Pomerania during the short war between England and Prussia, and who, being obliged to surrender themselves, fell into the hands of the field marshal, who not only treated them with all possible kindness, but maintained them at his own expense for several weeks, clothed and supplied them with money, and finally sent them home to their own country. This grateful seaman was with his ship at Portsmouth, and not being at liberty to come to town to thank the gallant veteran himself, had charged his mother and sisters to wait upon him for that purpose. Blucher was highly pleased with this instance of a British sailor's gratitude, and declared that it more than compensated him for every act of humanity in his whole life.
'If there is a good man on earth,' Lord Thurlow was wont to say, 'it is William Cowper.' From his childhood, he possessed a heart of the most exquisite tenderness and sensibility. His life was ennobled by many private acts of beneficence; and his exemplary virtue was such, that the opulent sometimes delighted to make him their almoner. In his sequestered life at Olney, he administered abundantly to the wants of the poor; and before he quitted St. Alban's, he took upon himself the charge of a necessitous child, in order to extricate him from the perils of being educated by very profligate parents; this child he educated, and afterwards had him settled at Oundle, in Northamptonshire.
'The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath; it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mighty.' MERCHANT OF VENICE.
When Gustavus Adolphus was pressed to revenge on Munich the cruelties which the famous Count Tilly had perpetrated at Magdeburgh, by giving up the city to pillage, and reducing the Elector's magnificent palace to ashes, he replied, 'No; let us not imitate the barbarity of the Goths, our ancestors, who have rendered their memory detestable by abusing the right of conquest, in destroying the precious monuments of art, and doing violence to humanity.'
In 1685, Archbishop Tillotson avowed himself a warm advocate for affording charitable relief to the French refugees. On the repeal of the edict of Nantes, Dr. Beveridge, the Prebendary of Canterbury, having objected to reading a brief for this purpose, as contrary to the rubric, the Archbishop observed to him roughly, 'Doctor, Doctor, charity is above tall rubrics.'
While this truly great man was in a private station, he always laid aside two-tenths of his income for charitable uses; and after his elevation to the mitre, he so constantly expended all that he could spare of his yearly revenues in acts of beneficence, that the only legacy which he was able to leave to his family consisted of two volumes of sermons; the value of which, however, was such, that the copyright of them brought no less a sum than two thousand five hundred pounds.
The night before the battle of Raucour, M. de Senac, the physician of Marshal Saxe, observed his illustrious patient very thoughtful and asked him the reason of it. He replied in a passage from the 'Andromaque' of Racine -
'Songe, songe, Senac, a cette nuit cruelle Qui fut pour tout un peuple une nuit eternelle. Songs aux cris des vainqueurs, songe aux cris des mourans, Dans la flamme etouffes, sons le fer expirans.'
'Think, think, my friend, what horrid woes To-morrow's morning must disclose, To thousands, by Fate's hard decree, The last morn they shall ever see! Think how the dying and the dead O'er yon extensive plain shall spread; What horrid spectacles afford Scorched by the flames, pierced by the sword!'
Duties of a King.
When the town of Grifenberg was burnt to the ground, Frederick the Great of Prussia rebuilt the whole place at his own expense. The inhabitants sent deputies to the king, to thank him for this benevolent proof of his favour. 'You have no reason,' said he, 'to thank me; it is my duty to assist my subjects in distress. For no other purpose am I king.'
The Culloden Refugees.
'Ask the grey pilgrim by the surges cast On hostile shores, and numbed beneath the blast, Ask who revived him? who the hearth began To kindle? who with spilling goblet ran? Oh! he will dart one spark of youthful flame And clasp his withered hands, and woman name. BARRETT.
After the battle of Culloden, so fatal to the last hopes of the house of Stuart, Colonel Stewart, attended by his friend, Mr. Hamilton of Balgour, sought his personal safety in flight. They approached a lonely hut in the Highlands, to which Mr. H. went to ask shelter for an illstarred stranger. The good woman was opening her wattled door, and by his looks comprehending at once that a poor refugee was in distress, though she did not understand one word of English, she followed Mr. Hamilton to the spot where he had left Colonel Stewart, who addressed her in her native tongue; and as his case was desperate, confided to her their names and their peril. She told him the cattle were pasturing near her cottage; but if he would wait a little, she would send the herds out of view, and get him removed without exciting suspicion. Having succeeded in this, she kept them concealed for several days; and when they at length quitted their humane preserver, she loaded them with provisions, accompanied them for several miles, pointing out the unfrequented paths, or where they might venture to ask for a lodging, refusing, at the same time, the slightest remuneration. What adds to the merit of the action is, that the poor widow had lost two sons in the king's cause, to which she was strongly attached. Colonel Stewart pays a wellmerited tribute to the female sex. 'In all our wanderings,' says he, 'we have preferred applying to the gentler sex. They never rejected us; and if they could contribute to providing for our safety, after separating from them, we found they had a quick and clear perception of the means, and sympathy to stimulate their exertions, and to render them effectual. Even ladies who were keen partisans of the House of Hanover spared neither trouble nor expense in our behalf.'
Earthquake at Lisbon.
No sooner did the news of this dreadful calamity reach England, than the British parliament voted one hundred thousand pounds for the relief of the unhappy sufferers. This noble instance of national humanity was enhanced by the manner of conferring the benefit. A number of ships, laden with provisions and clothing, were immediately despatched to Lisbon, where they arrived so opportunely, as to preserve thousands from dying of hunger and cold, who, destitute of the means of subsistence, were obliged to take up their abode in the open air; and but for this seasonable relief, must inevitably have perished.
Mr. William Gordon, minister of Alvey, in Kincardineshire, was one of the most ardent of the Scotch royalists in 1745. During all the troubles previous to the decisive conflict of Culloden, he delivered from the pulpit every Sunday an animating exhortation to his flock to hold themselves in readiness for shedding the last drop of their blood in defending the throne, which formed the sole barrier between their religious privileges and sweeping destruction. He showed them his dirk girded on his thigh; and assured them that with that weapon in his hand, and the shield of scriptural truth on his heart, he himself would go before them to the field of martial glory, and whoso refused to follow, must be a traitor not only to his king, but to God Almighty. Yet when the rebels were scattered, wounded, outlawed, and pursued by the arm of justice, this benevolent pastor was the bold advocate and the agent of mercy, professing that, as gratitude for a signal deliverance from ecclesiastical despotism, and as Christians forgiving their enemies, every loyal subject should obliterate all remembrance of the injuries they suffered from the opposite party, and relieve their wants and distresses. When the hostile armies were known to have moved northward, Mr. Gordon ordered a large quantity of malt to be brewed into ale, and huge piles of oat cakes to be prepared, telling his wife that he was sure many unfortunate men must pass that way, and all ought to have meat and drink, with dressings for their wounds, whatever might be the side which they had espoused. After the battle of Culloden, immense numbers of officers and men received refreshments from Mrs. Gordon, and every part of the house, except one room, was filled with the wounded.
Mr. Gordon was in terms of very intimate Friendship with the late Principal Robertson, and had his valuable life prolonged to the age of one hundred and four years.
The British Tar.
During the siege of Acre, an old sailor of the name of Daniel Bryan, then on board Sir Sidney Smith's ship, Le Tigre, made frequent applications to be employed on shore, but his age and deafness were considered as insuperable disqualifications. At the first storming of the breach, one of the French generals was slain. The Turks struck off his head, and after inhumanly mangling his body, threw it out to be devoured by the dogs. Bryan heard his messmates describe this horrid spectacle; and when any boat's crew returned from the shore he often inquired if they had buried the French general. The answer he commonly received was 'Go and do it yourself.' At length Bryan got leave to go and see the town; and dressed in his best clothes, went with the surgeon in the jolly boat. He procured a pick-axe, a shovel, and a rope, and insisted on being let down from a port-hole close to the beach. Some young messmates begged hard to share his danger, for a slight circumstance enkindles the nobler and milder virtues that blend with invincible velour in the bosom of a British sailor. Bryan would not permit his young friends to risk their lives. He said they were too far from Old England to get new supplies of hardy fellows, and they must take care of themselves, as the honour of the British flag sat upon every single arm in their courageous band. He would go alone; he was old and deaf, and his loss would not be of any consequence. He was eloquent in the style best adapted for dissuading his hearers from giving the enemy an advantage, by reducing the number of champions for Old England; and the junior tars slung and lowered him down, with his implements for action. His first difficulty was to drive away the dogs. The French levelled their pieces; they were ready to fire at the veteran, who, as he professed, went to bury the French general, because his countrymen had treated him well when, twenty years ago, their prisoner. But an officer discerning Bryan's friendly intention, threw himself across the file. The din of arms was instantaneously suspended; and in the dead solemn interval, our British seaman performed the rites of sepulture for a general of his foes. A few days passed, and Sir Sidney being informed of Dan Bryan's achievement, ordered him into his cabin.
'Well, Dan I hear you have buried the French general?'
'Yes, your honour.'
'Had you any assistance?'
'Yes, your honour.'
'I understand you had nobody with you?'
'But I had, your honour.'
'Ah! who had you?'
'God Almighty, sir.'
Weimar Society of Friends in Need.
The founder of this society was the benevolent Johannes Falk. For many years past it has taken charge of neglected children, and brought up almost all of them to be good and useful members of society. The design on which its founder has acted has been that of enabling the poor to live by their own industry. 'It is no longer a mere idea,' says he, 'which can be banished into the regions of phantoms, but the idea sits embodied in the workshop of Master Buckner, at Weimar; the idea makes boots and shoes in the shop of Master Zwickel,' &c. Mr. Falk set out with the very just principle, that nothing but work, constant occupation, can correct a vicious mind, and his delightful triumph is, that during the late years of distress, two hundred workshops in the Duchy of Weimar have fed, employed, and brought up to an orderly life, two hundred orphans, and partly vicious boys. Among these, was one who ran away seven times; and when brought back for the seventh time, attempted to cut off his hand with a hatchet that he might pursue his vagabond course of life. He is now become an honest, steady, working artizan.
The life of Falk has been one continued course of humanity and benevolence. When the scarcity of 1816 had caused a deficiency of one thousand nine hundred and five dollars in the society's poor box, he not only put into it a present of six hundred and thirty-seven dollars, which the Grand Duchess of Weimar had intended for himself, but sold a MS. which had been for some years ready for the press, and gave the proceeds, amounting to six hundred and ninety dollars, towards supplying the deficiency.
But to show what a delightful reward Mr. Falk sometimes reaps even in this world, it is only necessary to notice the case of Charles Nusseck, who had learned the trade of cooper through the means of this society. Mr. Falk, in speaking of this boy, who after travelling four years, returned to Weimar neatly dressed and respectable, observes, 'It gave us great pleasure to reflect that this was the poor boy, who in rags, naked, destitute, and weeping formerly knocked at our door, and implored the Christian compassion of our pious society. Nusseck assured us of his love and attachment in the most affecting manner. "When," said he, "during my wanderings in a foreign land I knocked at a door, and found it closed, I said to myself, the generous Friends in Need would have acted otherwise, and let me in. But if goodhearted people opened the door and admitted me, I again thought of that Weimar where I had first experienced a similar kindness."'
When this gallant officer was entrusted with the perilous duty of conducting the fire-ships in the attack upon the French fleet in Basque Roads, he had lighted the fusee which was to explode one of these terrific engines of destruction, and had rowed off to some distance, when it was discovered that a dog had been left on board. Lord C. instantly ordered the men to row back, assuring them that there was yet time enough, if they pulled hard, to save the poor animal. When an act of humanity has been to be performed, it has always been enough for British tars that the thing was within the verge of possibility; they got back to the fire-ship just a few minutes before it would have been too late to save the animal, and when the dreadful explosion took place, were still so near the floating volcano, that the fragments fell in heaps around them.
On another occasion, when the same officer had captured a number of Spanish ships laden with the wealth of the New World, he was no sooner told that it belonged to persons who had made their fortunes, and were returning to Spain with their all, than he announced his resolution to abandon to them one-fourth of his share of the prize money; an act of generosity in which he was immediately followed by the whole ship's crew.
The Princess Charlotte.
A soul more spotless never claimed a tear;
A heart more tender, open, and sincere;
A hand more ready blessings to bestow
Beloved, lamented, and without a foe.
How prized in life, say ye who knew her well;
How wept in death, a nation's tears may tell.'
Epitaph on H R.H. Princess Charlotte.
During the last illness of an old female attendant formerly nurse to the Princess Charlotte, she visited her every day, sat by her bedside and with her own hand administered the medicine prescribed; and when death had closed her eyes, instead of fleeing in haste from an object so appalling to the young and gay in general, she remained, and gave utterance to the compassion she felt on viewing the remains in that state from which majesty itself cannot be exempt. A friend of the deceased, seeing the princess much affected, said, 'If your royal highness would condescend to touch her, perhaps you would not dream of her.' 'Touch her!' replied the amiable princess; 'yes, poor thing, and kiss her too, almost the only one I ever kissed except my mother!' Then bending her graceful head over the coffin of her humble friend, she pressed her warm lips to the clay-cold cheek, while tears of sensibility flowed from her eyes.
When on the marriage of the princess she retired with her consort to Claremont, she found a poor old woman, Dame Bewley, who had formerly lived with several families who had successively occupied this estate, but who, worn down with age and infirmity, was unable to labour any longer. She was now living on the occasional charity of the mansion, and the small earnings of her aged husband. No sooner did the princess hear of this than she visited Dame Bewley, whom she found endeavouring to read an old Bible, the small print of which to her enfeebled eyes was almost undistinguishable. The next day the princess sent her a new Bible and a Prayer Book of the largest print; her shattered cottage was soon after rebuilt, and she no longer lived on the precarious bounty of the successive lords of Claremont.
The emperor in one of his journeys through Poland being considerably in advance of his attendants, saw several persons assembled on the banks of the little river Wilia, and approaching the spot, found that they had just dragged out of the water a peasant who appeared to be lifeless. He instantly alighted, had the man laid on the side of the bank, and immediately proceeded to strip him, and to rub his temples, wrist, &c. The emperor was thus employed when his suite joined him, whose exertions were immediately added to those of the emperor. Dr. Wylly, his majesty's physician, attempted to bleed the patient, but in vain, and after three hours' fruitless attempts to recover him, the doctor declared that it was useless to proceed any further. The emperor, much chagrined, and fatigued with the continued exertions, entreated Dr. Wylly to persevere, and make a fresh attempt to bleed him. The doctor, though he had not the slightest hope of being successful proceeded to obey the positive injunctions of his imperial majesty, who, with Prince Wolkousky and Count Lieven (now ambassador at the British court), made a last effort at rubbing, &c. At length, the emperor had the inexpressible satisfaction of seeing the blood make its appearance, while the poor peasant uttered a feeble groan. The emotions of his imperial majesty at this moment could not be described, and in the plenitude of his joy, he exclaimed, 'Good God! this is the brightest day of my life.' while tears involuntarily stole down his cheek. Their exertions were now redoubled; the emperor tore his handkerchief, and bound the arm of the patient, nor did he leave him until he was quite recovered. He then had him conveyed to a place where proper care could be taken of him, ordered him a considerable present, and afterwards provided for him and his family.
During the assault of Commodore Thurot on the town of Carrickfergus in 1760, an incident took place reflecting at once the highest lustre on the soldier concerned and evincing the union of consummate courage with noble humanity. Whilst the combatants were opposed to each other in the streets, and every inch was pertinaciously disputed by the British forces, a child by some accident escaped from a house in the midst of the scene of action, and run, unawed by the danger, into the narrow interval between the hostile fronts. One of the French grenadiers seeing the imminent danger of the child, grounded his piece, left the ranks in the hottest fire, took the child in his arms; and placed it in safety in the house from which it had come, and then with all possible haste returned to resume his part in the fight.
Charles Brandon, from the early incidents of whose life Otway took the plot of his admirable play of 'The Orphan,' was in after life privately married to Henry the Eighth's sister, Margaret, Queen Dowager of France; which marriage Henry not only forgave, but created him Duke of Suffolk. He was a man alike remarkable for great personal intrepidity, and an extraordinary tenderness of disposition. Henry showed in his attachment to this nobleman that, notwithstanding his fits of capriciousness and cruelty, he was capable of a cordial and steady friendship. He was sitting in council when the news of Suffolk's death reached him, and he publicly took that occasion to express his own sorrow, and to celebrate the merits of the deceased. He declared that during the whole course of their acquaintance, his brother-in-law had not made a single attempt to injure any one. 'Is there any one of you, my lords, who can say as much?'
A French manuscript, by Bernier, in the Harleian collection, contains some interesting notices of the barbarous custom in India (now happily yielding through European influence to reason and nature) of widows immolating themselves on the funeral pile of their husbands. After exhibiting some almost incredible instances of the serene fortitude which the infatuated women have shown on such occasions, he proceeds. 'But nature will sometimes prevail. I have seen some of these victims, who at the sight of the fire and the pile would have gone back when it was unhappily too late; those demons, the attendant Brahmins, with their great sticks, astound them, and sometimes even thrust them into the fire, as I once saw them act to a young woman who retreated five or six paces from the pile perceiving her much disturbed, they absolutely forced her into the flames. For my own part, I have often been so enraged at these Brahmins, that if I had dared I could have strangled them. I remember, among other occasions, that at Lahore I once saw a very handsome and very young woman burnt, not more I believe than twelve years of age. This poor unhappy creature appeared more dead than alive when she came near the pile and shook and wept bitterly; upon which three or four of these executioners, the Brahmins, together with an old hag, who held her under the arm, pushed her forward, and made her sit down upon the wood; and lest she should run away, they tied her hands and legs, and so burnt her alive. I had enough to do to contain myself, but was obliged to be content with detesting this horrid superstition, and say to myself, what the poet once wrote in reference to the sacrifice of Iphigenia -
'Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.'
The Convent Dungeon.
While the French were besieging Mantua, a convent which lay exposed to the cannon of the garrison, it was evacuated by the nuns, and immediately occupied by the besiegers; who hearing groans issue from underneath the building, humanely followed the sound, and discovered in a damp and gloomy dungeon a female seated on a crazy chair, and loaded with fetters, but whose countenance, though deeply furrowed by misery, looked youthful. On seeing the soldiers, she earnestly petitioned for life and liberty, telling them that she had been four years confined in that cruel manner for attempting to elope with a young man who had long been master of her heart. The soldiers instantly struck off her fetters; upon which she besought them to lead her into the open air, they represented to her that on quitting the shelter of the convent she would be exposed to a shower of cannon balls. 'Ah !' replied the nun, 'mourir, c'est rester ici.'
M. de Montesquieu being at Marseilles, hired a boat with the intention of sailing for pleasure; the boat was rowed by two young men, with whom he entered into conversation, and learnt that they were not watermen by trade but silversmiths; and that when they could be spared from their usual business, they employed themselves in that way to increase their earnings. On expressing his surprise at their conduct, and imputing it to an avaricious disposition; 'Oh! sir,' said the young men, 'if you knew our reasons you would ascribe it to a better motive. Our father, anxious to assist his family, devoted the produce of a life of industry to the purchase of a vessel, for the purpose of trading to the coast of Barbary; but was unfortunately taken by a pirate, carried to Tripoli, and sold to slavery. In a letter we have received from him, he informs us that he has luckily fallen into the hands of a master who treats him with great humanity; but the sum demanded for the ransom is so exorbitant that it will be impossible for him ever to raise it. He adds, that we must therefore relinquish all hope of ever seeing him, and be contented. With the hopes of restoring to his family a beloved father, we are striving by every honest means in our power to collect the sum necessary for his ransom; and we are not ashamed to employ ourselves for such a purpose in the occupation of watermen.' M. de Montesquieu was struck with this account, and on his departure made them a handsome present. Some months afterwards, the young men being at work in their shop, were greatly surprised at the sudden arrival of their father, who threw himself into their arms, exclaiming at the same time that he feared they had taken some unjust method to raise the money for his ransom, for it was too great for them to have gained by their ordinary occupation. They professed their ignorance of the whole affair, and could only suspect they owed their father's release to that stranger to whose generosity they had before been so much obliged. Such indeed was the case, but it was not until after Montesquieu's death that the fact was known when an account of the affair, with the sum remitted to Tripoli for the old man's ransom, was found among his papers.
The venerable Archbishop of Cambray, whose hospitality was boundless, was in the constant habit of visiting the cottages of the peasants, and administering consolation and relief in their distresses. When they were driven from their habitations by the alarms of war, he received them into his house, and served them at his table. During the war his house was always open to the sick and wounded, whom he lodged and provided with everything necessary for their relief. Besides his constant hospitalities to the military, he performed a most munificent act of patriotism and humanity after the disastrous winter of 1709, by opening his granaries, and distributing gratuitously corn to the value of 100,000 livres. And when his palace at Cambray, and all his books and furniture, were destroyed by fire, he bore it with the utmost firmness saying, 'It is better all these should be burned than the cottage of one poor family.'
This divine, who from the severity of his criticisms has been designated as 'Slashing Bentley with his desperate hook,' and who is only known as a critic and a controversialist, was not wanting in some of the best qualities of human nature. A thief once robbed him of his plate, and was seized and brought before him with the very articles upon him. While Commissary Greaves, who was then present, and counsel for the college ax-officio, was expatiating on the crime, and prescribing the measures obviously to be taken with the offender, Dr. Bentley interposed, saying, ' Why tell the man he is a thief? he knows that well enough without thy information, Greaves.' Then turning to the culprit, said, 'Hark ye, fellow; thou seest the trade which thou hast taken up is an unprofitable trade, therefore get thee gone; lay aside an occupation by which thou canst gain nothing but a halter, and follow that by which thou mayest earn an honest livelihood.' Having said this, he ordered him to be set at liberty, against the remonstrances of the persons present, and insisting that the fellow was duly penitent for his offense, bade him 'Go in peace, and sin no more.'
Rev. W. Mompesson.
While France justly boasts of 'Marseilles' good bishop,' who was the benefactor and preserver of his fellow creatures, England may congratulate herself on having cherished in her bosom a parish priest who, without the dignity of character and the extent of persons over whom M. de Belsunce distributed the blessings of his pastoral care, watched over the smaller flock committed to his charge at no less risk of life, and with no less fervour of piety and benevolence.
The Rev. W. Mompesson was rector of Eyam in Derbyshire, in the time of the plague that nearly depopulated the town in the year 1666. During the whole time of the calamity, he performed the functions of the physician, the legislator, and the Driest of his afflicted parish; assisting the sick with his medicines, his advice, and his prayers. Tradition still shows a cavern near Eyam, where this worthy pastor used to preach to such of his parishioners as had not caught the distemper. Mr. Mompesson entreated his wife to quit Eyam at the time of the plague, and to take her two children with her; but although she suffered the children to be sent away, she would not quit her husband, but remaining, caught the infection and died. Mr. Mompesson, in a letter to his children, says, 'She never valued anything she had, when the necessity of her poor neighbours did require it, but had a bountiful heart to all indigent and distressed persons.'
Lord George Sackville.
This nobleman was always particularly attentive to the comforts of the poor cottagers who were his tenants. He generally purchased the produce of their gardens; and has been known to pay thirty shillings in a season, for strawberries alone, to a poor cottager, who paid him one shilling annual rent for his tenement and garden. This was the constant rate at which he let them to cottagers; and he made them pay it to his steward at his yearly audit, that they might feel themselves in the class of regular tenants, and sit down at table to the good cheer provided for them on the audit day. Upon the first report of the illness of any poor cottagers, they were instantly put on the sick list, regularly visited, and constantly supplied with the best medicines, administered upon the best advice. If a poor man lost his cow, or his pig, or his poultry, the loss was always replaced, and it was his lordship's constant custom to buy the cast off liveries of his own servants, which he distributed to the old and worn out labourers who were fed by his bounty.
This philosopher of humanity having in one of the later editions of his admirable work on Crimes and Punishments, in that part which relates to fraudulent bankruptcy, qualified some sentiments which he had originally expressed, but which on reflection appeared to himself too severe, he adds in a note, 'I am ashamed of what I formerly wrote on this subject. I have been accused of irreligion without deserving it; I have been accused of disaffection to the Government, and deserved it as little; I was guilty of a real attack upon the rights of humanity, and I have been approached by nobody.'
Reign of Terror.
During the Reign of Terror in France, a party of the revolutionary myrmidons went to the house of a gentleman in Marseilles whose name was on the proscribed list, in order to apprehend him. They found his wife, who said that her husband was not at home; he had been absent for several days and she did not know where he was gone. The party, however, insisted on searching the house; which they did without finding their intended victim. They then quitted it, and went to make some other visits with which they were charged. One of the party returned very soon, and finding the house door open went in. He looked about, and saw no one; and then hastening upstairs to a room on the first floor, he knocked at the panel of a wainscoat, and said, 'Open quickly!' The panel was accordingly opened, and at the same instant a doublebarrelled pistol was discharged from within. Happily it did no injury to the person on the outside. The master of the house, who had been concealed within the panel, came forth from his hiding place. 'How!' cried his visitor, 'I came to save you, and you would kill me.' Then addressing himself to the wife, whom the report of the pistol had brought to the spot. 'Hear me, madam,' said he; ' I have only associated myself with those men who were recently here, that I may save my fellow citizens as much as lies in my power. As we were searching your house, I observed a strong emotion in your countenance, and a tremor in all your frame as we passed this spot; and I had no doubt, therefore, that your husband was concealed within. This occasioned my speedy return, to warn you that your good man is not in safety so long as he remains in this house, or even in the town. It is not doubted but that he is here; and you will never cease to be troubled with like visits till he is found. I will, however, engage to procure you the means of escape,' added he, turning to the gentleman, 'provided you dare confide in me.' This was not a situation in which to hesitate about accepting such an offer; and with tears and thanks he was embraced both by the husband and wife. It was now dusk, and the benevolent visitor said he would return in about half an hour, and take the gentleman with him to his own house, where he might remain in perfect security till means could be found for his escape. This was accordingly done; and three nights after, he was consigned to a Genoese vessel which carried him in safety out of the republic.
Alderman Skinner, whom the satirical Peter Pindar celebrated as a man
'Who with a hammer and a conscience clear
Gets glory and ten thousand pounds a year,'
distinguished himself when Sheriff of London by several judicious regulations of the metropolitan prisons. To this humane interference also the inhabitants of the metropolis are indebted for the discontinuance of a spectacle which was at once revolting to the feelings of the beholders, and barbarous to the wretched victims of offended justice in their last and awful hour. We allude to the spectacle of dragging culprits condemned to death in carts or on sledges, from Newgate, through the most populous streets of London, to be executed at Tyburn. This most afflicting sight is now confined to the gates of Newgate.
Duchess of L - .
'How few, like thee, inquire the wretched out,
And court the offices of soft humanity;
Like thee, reserve the raiment for the naked,
Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan,
Or mix the pitying tears with those that weep!' ROWE.
Among those whose virtues shed a lustre on nobility may be named the Duchess of L - though she is always most anxious to prevent its being known. Not dazzled with the splendour of a court, or seduced by the routine of pleasure in the metropolis, she always feels most happy in retiring into the country, where, in the midst of a grateful peasantry, she dispenses those blessings to all around her which affluence alone could confer. Is there a cottager who has suffered pecuniary distress? Relief is immediately sent from the castle. Has fever or disease reached a family? The duchess is the first to visit it; to provide professional advice; and to supply medicines from a domestic dispensary, which is always stored with drugs, prepared by a skilful apothecary on her own establishment. The inclemency of winter will not prevent this truly estimable woman from paying her regular visits to the peasants, inquiring into their wants, and relieving them.
Rev. Rowland Hill.
Tne Rev. Rowland Hill, travelling alone, was once accosted by a foot-pad, who, by the agitation of his voice and manner, appeared to be young in his profession. After delivering to the man his money and his watch, curiosity prompted him to question him on the motives which had urged him to so desperate a course. The man candidly confessed that, being out of employment, with a wife and children who were perishing for want, despair had forced him to turn robber; but that this was the first act of the kind in which he had engaged. Mr. Hill, struck with the apparent sincerity of the man, and feeling for his distress, communicated his name and address, and told him to call upon him the next day. The man did so, and was immediately taken into the service of this humane divine, where he continued until his death. Nor did Mr. H. ever divulge the circumstance until he related it in the funeral sermon which he preached on the death of his domestic.
The same gentleman being called upon one evening to visit a sick man, found a poor emaciated creature in a wretched bed, without anything to alleviate his miserable condition. Looking more narrowly, he observed that the man was actually without a shirt; on which Mr. Hill instantly stripped himself, and forced his own upon the reluctant, but surprised and grateful object; then buttoning himself up closely, he hastened homewards, sent everything that was necessary for the destitute being he had just left, provided medical aid, and had the satisfaction of restoring a fellow-creature to his family, and of placing him in a situation to provide for its support.
In the report of the House of Commons on Mendicity, Mr. John Doughty, a gentleman much in the habit of visiting the habitations of the needy, was asked, 'In your opinion, do many worthy, honest, industrious persons have recourse to begging; or does this class of society consist chiefly of the idle and profligate?' Answer: 'The instances in which worthy, honest, industrious persons have recourse to begging are extremely rare. They will in general rather starve than beg. A person of veracity, who some time ago visited one thousand five hundred poor families in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields, affirms, 'that of full three hundred cases of abject poverty and destitution, and at least one hundred of LITERAL WANT AND STARVATI0N, not a dozen had been found to have recourse to begging. Many of the most wretched of these cases had been not long before able to support themselves in some comfort; but want of employment had completely ruined them. They were at that moment pressed by landlord, baker, and tax-gatherer; had pawned and sold everything that could be turned into money, were absolutely without a morsel of food for themselves or family; but still had not recourse to begging. As a general fact, the decent poor will struggle to the utmost, and even perish rather than turn beggars."
What an admirable foundation of virtue must be laid in those minds which will even thus endure the horrors of death, approaching with all the torments of hunger and cold, rather than seek to relieve themselves by courses reputed disgraceful. How truly has the poet said -
'An honest man is still an unmov'd rock,
Wash'd whiter, but not shaken with the shock
Whose heart conceives no sinister device,
Fearless he plays with flames and treads on ice.'
Frederick, Prince of Wales.
Frederick, Prince of Wales, the father of King George III., passing through the Park in a chair, saw a ragged soldier approaching him, and immediately ordered the men to stop. 'Where did you lose your arm, my friend?' said the prince. 'At Fontenoy,' said the soldier. 'You look pale; are you in bad health?' 'Yes, sir, since the loss of my arm I have remained so feeble that the least labour throws me into a fever.' 'And why have you not applied to be put on the list of out-pensioners?' 'I have been promised that,' said the soldier, 'but wanting a friend, many others less miserable have been preferred before me.' The prince immediately presented the poor creature with four guineas, saying, 'My friend, come and see me, and I will endeavour to get you provided for.'
Christian II. of Sweden.
Cicero has said, in speaking of the famous Dictator Sylla, Sullana confers, in quibus omnia genere ipso praeclarissima fuerunt moderatione paulo minus temperata.' This reflection is perhaps still more applicable to Christian II., the last sovereign of the three united Scandinavian kingdoms, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The object of the Dictator was to preserve and augment the power of the patrician order, and Cicero, one of that order, could not help judging tenderly of a tyranny which operated so much to its advantage.
Christian, on the contrary, had constantly in view the enfranchisement of the burgesses and peasantry from the oppressive yoke of the clergy and nobility. Sylla counted among his friends all who were distinguished by their education and knowledge. Christian had all that class of men for his enemies; for in his time none but nobles and ecclesiastics knew how to read or write.
The only contemporary history we have of Christian was, of course, furnished by men who were his enemies; and it is unnecessary to state the degree of credit which is due to the history of a dethroned prince, written by rebels to his authority, under the direction of the usurper of his throne. They have handed his name down to posterity with the surname of 'The Cruel;' and there is no sort of atrocity, however incredible, with which they have not endeavored to sully his memory.
The best criterion to which we can refer for the character of a monarch and of his government is undoubtedly the body of laws published during his reign. The defamers of Christian appear to have found it to their interest to use every possible exertion to consign this part of his history to oblivion. After Christian's fall the ambitious Frederick, Duke of Holstein, his uncle, and usurper of his throne, not content with abolishing all the laws passed by Christian, ordered them to be publicly burnt by the hands of the executioner. Neither the rage of man, nor the wasting hand of time, has however been able entirely to cut the remembrance of them from off the face of the earth. Some copies of a very rare edition of these laws, printed at Copenhagen in 1684, are still extant; and they may be referred to for positive evidence in favour of Christian's character, far outweighing all the loose and aggravated charges which prejudice and malignity have been able to heap upon it. In this collection, not one law is to be found which does not breathe a spirit of justice, and an earnest desire to make all his subjects participate equally in the national prosperity. A few examples which fall particularly under our present title, will suffice to show the spirit which animated the government of Christian.
Before the time of Christian, the peasants of Scandinavia were considered as a sort of merchandise, or rather as beasts of burden,belonging to the nobility and the clergy, exclusive proprietors of all lands. The lords had even usurped the right of selling their vassals and their offspring at pleasure. A law of Christian 'the Cruel,' freed the peasants from this shameful state of slavery; but his successor reestablished it, and it took three ages of incessant struggling before the peasantry effected that emancipation which Christian had spontaneously designed for them.
Among other innumerable abuses which originated in the night of time, we may also rank the law which adjudged to the owners of lands adjoining the sea the right of appropriating all shipwrecked goods and property. The exercise of this pretended right had given rise to the most horrible crimes. The bishops especially were accused of using it in a manner worthy only of the pirates of Tunis and Algiers. Christian 'the Cruel' issued an edict which guaranteed the lives and properties of persons shipwrecked. The Bishops of Zutland represented to his majesty that this regulation would cause a loss to the treasury of more than a hundred thousand crowns per annum. 'God forbid,' replied Christian, 'that I should enrich myself by the misfortunes of others.' One of the bishops insolently addressed a memorial to Christian, in which he said that he did not find that the Holy Scriptures contained anything which blamed the droit d'epave (right of wreckage). Christian, as a sufficient answer, returned him a copy of the following commandments of the Decalogue: -
'Thou shalt do no murder.'
'Thou shalt not steal.'
To vindicate all the acts of this monarch's reign is as foreign to our purpose as to our opinions. The 'massacre (as it has been termed) of Stockholm,' is a transaction of which it is impossible to speak without the deepest execration; but while such proofs of deliberate justice and humanity on the part of Christian are extant, they ought to incline us to be slow in believing that his share in that deed of iniquity was so personal as his enemies represent. It is quite certain that the enormity of the affair has been most grossly-exaggerated, and it is probable that impartial history may yet discover that Christian was involved in it more through the machinations of a wicked set of advisers, than from the natural impulses of his own breast.
Conflagration of Moscow.
During the conflagration of Moscow, a French family, consisting of a father, mother, and five children, were obliged to quit the smoking ruins of their habitation. They got outside the ruins, and protected themselves from the inclemency of the weather in the best manner they could. A party of Cossacks passing killed the father. The mother died next day from grief and the inclemency of the weather. A Russian courier going to St. Petersburg hearing that five children lay perishing of cold and hunger on the road humanely took them into his travelling vehicle and conveyed them safely to St. Petersburg. Here the poor fellow exhibited them in the market-place, telling every one their lamentable story, and begging for a father and mother to them. At length, a French merchant came; he took them home, supplied them with every comfort, and finally restored them to their friends in France.
About four years ago, Mrs. Fry was induced to visit Newgate, by the representations of its state made by some persons of the Society of Friends. She found the female side in a situation which no language can describe. Nearly three hundred women sent there for every gradation of crime, some untried and some under sentence of death, were crowded together in the two wards and two cells, which are now appropriated to the untried alone, and are found quite inadequate to contain even the diminished number. Every one, even the governor, was reluctant to go amongst them. He persuaded Mrs. Fry to leave her watch in the office, telling her that even his presence would not prevent its being torn from her. She saw enough to convince her that everything bad was going on. 'In short,' said she to her friend Mr. Buxton, in giving him this account, 'all I tell thee is a faint picture of the reality, the filth, the closeness of the rooms, the ferocious manners, and expressions of the women towards each other, and the abandoned wickedness which everything bespoke, are quite indescribable.' One act of which Mr. Buxton was informed from another quarter, marks the degree of wretchedness to which they were reduced. Two women were seen in the act of stripping a dead child, for the purpose of clothing a living one!
Circumstances rendered any effort on Mrs. Fry's part to reform this den of iniquity impossible at this time; but about Christmas, 1816, she resumed her visits, and succeeded in forming a Ladies' Committee, consisting of the wife of a clergyman, and eleven members of the Society of Friends, to whom the sheriffs and governor delegated every necessary authority for carrying into effect the benevolent plan which they had conceived, of restoring the degraded portion of their sex confined within the walls of Newgate to the paths of knowledge and virtue.
After a year of unceasing labour on the part of Mrs. Fry, and the other members of the committee, they had the noble satisfaction of exhibiting one of the most amazing transformations which was perhaps ever effected in the condition of a number of human beings. 'Riot, licentiousness, and filth,' says Mr. Buxton, 'were exchanged for order, sobriety, and comparative neatness, in the chamber, the apparel, and the persons of the prisoners. There was no more to be seen an assemblage of abandoned and shameless creatures, half naked and half drunk, rather demanding than requesting charity. The prison no longer resounded with obscenity, and imprecations, and licentious songs. To use the strong but just expression of one who knew the prison well, "this hell upon earth" exhibited the appearance of an industrious manufactory, or a well-regulated family.'
'It will naturally be asked,' says Mr. Buxton, 'how and by what vital principles was the reformation in Newgate accomplished? How were a few ladies of no extraordinary influence, unknown even by name to the magistrates of the metropolis, enabled with such facility to guide those who had baffled all authority, and defied all the menaces of the law - how was it that they
'Wielded at will this fierce democracy?'
How did they divest habit of its influence? By what charm did they transform vice into virtue, riot into order? A visit to Newgate explained all. I found that the ladies ruled by the law of kindness, written in their hearts, and displayed in their actions. They spoke to the prisoners with affection mixed with prudence. These had long been rejected by all reputable society. It was long since they had heard the voice of real compassion, or seen the example of real virtue. They had steeled their minds against the terrors of punishment; but they were melted at the warning voice of those who felt for their sorrows, while they gently reproved their misdeeds; and that virtue which discovered itself in such amiable exertions for them, recommended itself to their imitation with double attractions.'
'The world was sad, the garden was a wild,
And man, the hermit, sigh'd till woman smil'd.' CAMPBELL.
'I have always remarked,' says the celebrated traveller Ledyard, 'that women in all countries are civil, obliging, tender, and humane. To a woman, whether civilized or savage, I never addressed myself in the language of decency and friendship without receiving a decent and friendly answer. With man it has often been otherwise. In wandering over the barren plains of inhospitable Denmark; through honest Sweden, and frozen Lapland; rude and churlish Finland: unprincipled Russia; and the widespread regions of the wandering Tartar, if hungry, dry, cold, wet, or sick, the women have ever been friendly to me, and uniformly so; and to add to this virtue (so worthy the appellation of benevolence), these actions have been performed in so free and kind a manner, that if I was dry, I drank the sweetest draught; and if hungry, I ate the coarsest morsel with a double relish.'
Louis XVI., wishing to improve the state of the hospitals in France, sent a member of the Academy of Sciences to England, to inquire into the manner in which such establishments were conducted there. The commissioners praised them; but remarked that two things were wanting; the zeal of the French parochial clergy, and the charity of the hospital nuns. 'We have found, by sorrowful experience,' said M. Portalis, 'that mercenaries without any motive of feeling to attach them constantly to their duty, can never supply the place of persons animated by a spirit of religion; that is to say, by a principle which raises the individuals above the ordinary sentiments of nature, which encounters cheerfully every sort of sacrifice, and which is capable of braving all the perils and disgusts inseparable from attendance on a sick ward.
If there is one virtue more than another in which all the distinctions of country or religion are forgotten, it is that of humanity. The truly humane or benevolent mind seeks only to find distress, and to relieve it. A few years ago, a company of strolling players who had gone to a little village of the North Riding of Yorkshire, did not meet with encouragement sufficient to enable them to pay their expenses at the public house where they had taken up their abode. This coming to the ears of Mr., a rigid methodist, who had never seen a play in his life, and who had strictly enjoined his family not to go to one, he secretly sent for forty tickets, the price of which relieved the immediate necessities of the company. Another night's entertainments were announced, and attended with apparently no better success, as their generous benefactor every ticket, and ultimately they found themselves relieved without ever knowing to whom they were indebted.
The systematic murder of female infants by their parents was openly avowed and defended by the Jarejahs, a leading tribe in Guzerat, and practiced to a dreadful extent in India. The prevalence of so monstrous a custom was questioned, until full evidence of its truth was obtained by the East India Company in the year 1800. Colonel Walker, the British military resident at Guzerat, was then directed to interfere for the abolition of so much barbarity. With difficulty he prevailed on the Jarejahs to listen to him. The excuses they made were the trouble and expense of providing females with husbands of suitable rank. Affection, humanity, or a sense of duty were seldom found by Colonel Walker to be the inducements to the saving of the extremely few females who were permitted to escape the general fate. He met with only two instances that could be imputed to such motives, and the one of them was afforded by a professed robber of the name of Hutaji. The profession which he followed did not prevent Colonel Walker from conversing with him; and, with the aspect and manners of a barbarian, he found him possessed of all the feelings of natural affection, which led him to cherish two daughters, in opposition to the usages and prejudices of his tribe. They were between six and eight years of age when they were brought to Colonel Walker to be vaccinated. These girls wore turbans, and were habited like boys; and as if afraid or ashamed to acknowledge their sex, assured the colonel that they were not girls, and with infantine simplicity appealed to their father, who tenderly caressed them, to corroborate the assertion.
Colonel Walker, with the most humane and praiseworthy exertions, endeavoured to induce the Jarejahs of Guzerat to relinquish infanticide; but it was not until the year 1807 that he obtained from Jehaji, a Jarejah chief, the following letter
'You have often urged me to adopt some course to preserve my daughters, and I am convinced you look upon me as your own, when you desire me to do this; but the Jarejahs have from ancient times killed their daughters, and I cannot first set a new example. I am much annoyed by Mallia; if therefore you reduce Mallia, and keep it subject to the Company, or give it to me, as well as restore Horalla, if you should favour me so much, my present distress will be removed, and I will meet your wishes in preserving my daughters.'
By this paper, the inviolability of the principle was given up, and Colonel Walker was induced to apply to the mother of the chief, but she declared that the Jarejahs had never reared their daughters, nor could it now be the case. At length, he obtained from Jehaji himself a writing to the following effect: 'From motives of friendship, the Honourable East India Company have urged me to preserve my daughters; to this I consent, if the chiefs of Nowanaggar and Goudar agree.' By the influence of a Brahmin, the Goudar chief was at length prevailed upon to enter into a formal obligation, to renounce for ever the practice of infanticide. This was readily signed by all the chiefs, except one, who at length also consented, and the happiest effects were immediately experienced. The annual amount of female infanticides in Guzerat had been estimated at five thonsand; at the end of the year 1808, three only appeared to have been committed from the date of the above paper, and one of them rested merely on report.
In a subsequent expedition through that part of the country, Colonel Walker, on his halt at Dherole, had all the neighbouring Jarejahs who preserved their children brought to his tent. He well describes his emotions on the occasion, and the gratification he experienced in observing the triumph of nature feeling, and parental affection over prejudice and a horrid superstition; and that those who but a short period before would have doomed their infants to destruction without compunction, should thus glory in their preservation.
The Jarejah fathers who were with such difficulty brought to listen to the preservation of their daughters, now exhibited them with pride and fondness. Their mothers placed their infants in the hands of Colonel Walker, and called on him and their gods to protect what he alone had taught them to preserve; and these infants they emphatically called his children.
These, indeed, are conquests which do honour to the British name, and are the noblest employment of superior power and civilization. May the history of India continue to afford repeated instances of the same exalted use of victory and ascendancy on the part of Great Britain!
Wishart, the Scotch Reformer.
When Wishart was at one time in the neighbourhood of Ayr, he received intelligence that a contagious distemper had proved very fatal in Dundee. He immediately went thither, that he might administer consolation to the sufferers. He strengthened their fortitude by the prospects which religion discloses; he prevented all unnecessary intercourse between the healthy and the sick; and he relieved the urgent wants of those whose severe poverty rendered the visitation of disease doubly distressing. Such beneficence alleviating to multitudes the severity of pain, and the anguish of affliction, was repaid by the warmest gratitude; and the feelings with which he was now almost universally regarded gave an energy to his instructions, which alike impressed the understanding and affected the heart. His enemies, afraid to have recourse to open violence, attempted to assassinate him. A priest, impelled either by his own gloomy bigotry or employed, as has, though without any sufficient authority, been surmised by Cardinal Beaton, resolved to accomplish his destruction. For that purpose the priest placed himself one day that Wishart was preaching at the foot of the pulpit, with a dagger concealed under his robe. Either the agitation of his countenance, or the peculiarity of his appearance, happily fixed the attention of Wishart, and as he descended the steps of the pulpit, he with much presence of mind seized the hand which grasped the weapon intended for his destruction. The criminal, dismayed at this intrepidity, fell at his feet and acknowledged his guilt. The multitude, agitated and inflamed by such depravity, would at once have sacrificed the wretch to their resentment had not Wishart restrained their violence. He clasped the culprit m his arms, that he might ensure his protection; and calling out to the people, declared that since he had escaped injury, he ought to feel grateful for an incident which showed him what he had to fear from the inveterate animosity of his persecutors.
Denial of Mercy in Cases of Forgery.
'Earthly power doth then show likest gods, When mercy seasons justice.' SHAKSPEARE.
The first victims to the law making forgery a capital offence were the brothers Perreau. There were circumstances attending their guilt which might have been expected to produce a mitigation of their punishment; and had their crime been anything else than forgery, would most probably have done so; but the stern and unyielding counsels of Lord Chancellor Thurlow stopped the current of compassion in the breasts of the privy council; and the king, notwithstanding the natural mildness of his nature, was prevailed upon to let the law take its course.
The next most remarkable sufferer was Dr. Dodd a man whose great talents and amiable qualities had at once benefited and endeared him to society. The interest used to save his life was beyond all example; but no human interposition, it appeared, could avail. The execution of the Perreaus was held to be a precedent from which there was no possibility of departing, Lord Thurlow being reported to have said in his usual emphatic way, 'If Dr. Dodd be saved, the Perreaus have been murdered.'
Words of awful potency! greater surely than the speaker intended them to have, since not only was Dr. Dodd doomed to suffer, but mercy has, down to the present moment (June 1817), been uniformly denied to every hapless and unfortunate wretch against whom a verdict of guilty of forgery has been found.
Too much care cannot certainly be taken for the security of private property, especially in a commercial country like Britain; but might not a humane and enlightened legislature devise other means of punishment for the violation of it, equally salutary and efficacious, without involving the extinction of talent and of life? It has been a question of great doubt with many eminent philosophers, whether a human tribunal is justified in depriving a man of life in any case, save that of murder; and certain it is, that it can only be justifiable on the ground that it is politically necessary. But where can be the political necessity of putting to death for forgery, when we find that it has not prevented the crime from being one of more frequent occurrence than it ever was before?
Sir Thomas More, in his celebrated 'Utopia' expresses himself on this subject in the following just and forcible manner:
'Our way of punishing thieves (and forgers are but thieves) is neither just in itself, nor good for the public; for as the seventy is too great, so the remedy cannot prove effectual: simple theft not being so great a crime that it ought to cost a man his life; nor any punishment, how severe soever, being able to restrain those from robbery who cannot find out any other way of livelihood. In this not only England, but a great part of the world, imitates some ill masters that are readier to chastise their scholars than to teach them. There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves, but it were much better to make such good provisions by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing, and of dying for it.'
About forty years ago there lived in the highest farm of Glenorchay a singular character of the name of Angus Roy Fletcher. At a distance from social life, he had his residence in the wildest and most remote parts of the lofty mountains which separate the county of Glenorchay from that of Rannoch. The dog was his sole, though faithful attendant; the gun and dirk his constant companions. He made his livelihood by hunting and fishing. A few goats, the dog, the gun, the spear, and the dirk, a belted plaid hose and brogs, constituted the whole of his property. These were all he seemed to desire. While his goats fed among the rocks and wide-extended heaths, he would range the hill and the forest in pursuit of game. He would return to his little flock in the evening, lead them to his solitary hat, milk them with his own hand; and after making a comfortable meal of what game he had caught, and the milk of his goats, he would lay himself down to rest in the midst of them. He desired not to associate with any of his own species, either man or woman; and yet if the step of a wandering stranger happened to approach his little hut, Angus Roy was humane and hospitable to a high degree. Whatever he possessed, even to the last morsel, he would cheerfully bestow on his guest; at a time too when he knew not where to purchase or procure the next meal for himself. Strange that a man who apparently had no affection for society, should be so much disposed to exercise one of its noblest virtues!
Sir Samuel Hood, Bart.
This gallant officer, when commanding the Juno on the Jamaica station in 1791, exhibited a noble instance of intrepidity and humanity. The ship was lying in St. Anne's Harbour, when a raft, with three persons upon it, was discovered at a great distance. The weather was exceedingly stormy: and the waves broke with such violence as to leave little hope that the unfortunate men upon it could long survive. Captain Hood instantly ordered out one of his ship's boats to endeavour to rescue them; but the sea ran so high that the crew declared the attempt impracticable, and refused to expose themselves to what they considered certain destruction. The captain immediately leaped into the boat, declaring that he would never order them on any service in which he would not himself venture. The effect was such as might be expected; there is no danger that a British sailor will not share with his captain; all now were eager to offer themselves. The boat pushed off, and reached the raft with much difficulty, and saved the exhausted men, who still clung to it. The House of Assembly of Jamaica, to testify their sense of this undaunted exertion in the cause of humanity presented Captain Hood with a sword of the value of two hundred guineas.
A Russian, who was suspected of having wilfully set fire to a house, was doomed to undergo the torture, and expired under its torments, asserting his innocence with his last breath. Alexander was no sooner acquainted with the circumstance than he published an edict, by which the torture is for ever abolished in Russia.
Music, the Handmaid of Mercy.
'He chose a mournful muse
Soft pity to infuse. DRYDEN.
The citizens of Antioch, irritated by some exactions which the Emperor Theodosius had imposed on them, broke out into open revolt and among other excesses, pulled down the statues of the emperor and empress, and dashed them to pieces. Shortly after, when the heat of their fury was past, they began to repent their indiscretion, and to be filled with alarm for the danger into which they had brought themselves and their city. Flavianus, their bishop, took a journey to Constantinople, in order to appease Theodosius, but the emperor repelled indignantly all his supplications, and avowed that nothing but the most signal vengeance would satisfy him for the insult which he had put upon his crown and dignity. The good bishop was in despair at the danger which seemed impending over his flock; but being a man of lively fancy, and learning that the emperor was in the habit, while feasting, of having a number of young boys to sing to him, he conceived the idea of making yet another appeal, through the medium of music's almighty influence, to the sensibilities of the emperor's heart. He prevailed with those who had the charge of the songsters to place them under his direction for a short time; during which he taught them to sing in mournful strains the woes of the Antiochians; the sorrow they felt for their transgressions, and their despair at having fallen under the displeasure of their prince. A day was at length fixed, on which they were to try the effect of their lesson on the ear of the emperor. The attention of Theodosius was instantly arrested by the peculiar pathos of the strains addressed to him; he soon discerned the import of the supplication which they conveyed, yet continued to listen to them with undiminished fascination; and such at last was the effect they produced, that watering the cup of wine which he held in his hand with his warm tears, he forgot all the displeasure he had conceived against the Antiochians and called aloud, that 'the City of Antioch was forgiven.'
A young officer of the police who, at the setting in of the winter, was stationed on the quay at the Neva, to prevent any one from attempting the passage of the river until sufficiently frozen, discovered a person who had escaped the notice of the guard sink through the ice. Regardless of danger he plunged in and saved him. The Emperor Alexander passing at the time, addressed the officer in the most flattering terms, gave him a ring from his finger, and promoted him.
A letter from the Emperor Alexander to a nobleman on whom he had conferred a patrimonial estate, has this fine conclusion:
'The peasants of Russia are for the greater part slaves; it is unnecessary for me to enlarge upon the degradation and misery of such a state. I have sworn therefore not to increase the number of those wretched beings, and have laid it down as a principle, not to dispose of peasants as a property. This estate is granted to yourself and your posterity as a tenure for life, which is a tenure differing in this point alone; from the generality, that the peasants cannot be sold or alienated as beasts of burden. You know my motives. I am convinced you would act in the same manner were you in my place.'
A nobleman in the government of Woronesc had bought six thousand peasants of Prince Trubeczkoi; and at the instance of Alexander offered them their freedom, on condition of their making good the purchase money, which they did most joyfully, and built a church, to which they gave the name of their benefactor.
King Robert of France.
Cassaubon, in his treatise on the Passions, relates the following pleasing anecdote of Robert, one of the greatest monarchs that ever swayed the sceptre of France. Having once surprised a rogue who had cut away the half of his mantle, he took no other notice of the offence than by saying mildly to him 'Save thyself, sinner, and leave the rest for another who may have need of it.'
It is a melancholy reflection that the aboriginal tribes of North America have, with but a few exceptions, received at the hands of those who have usurped their domain, little else but reiterated wrongs and outrage. Whole nations of them have been already so entirely exterminated that no traces of them now remain except their names, and when we consider that the same system which has in so short a space of time produced such destruction, is still, with but little exception, in full operation, and must, if not speedily arrested, sweep from existence the few scattered tribes which yet survive, we think it cannot fail to excite the deepest regret in every benevolent mind, and to awaken a strong feeling of commiseration and tenderness towards this helpless and oppressed part of the great family of mankind. The voice of the oppressed never, perhaps, spoke to the ear of the oppressor in a tone of more sublime reproach, than is displayed in the following passages of an address which the Seneca Indians presented to Governor Clinton of New-York, on the subject of their condition and prospects, in the month of February, 1818.
Father - We feel that the hand of our God has long been heavy on his red children. For our sins he has brought us low, and caused us to melt away before our white brothers, as snow before the fire. His ways are perfect; he regardeth not the complexion of men. God is terrible in judgment. All men ought to fear before him. He putteth down and buildeth up, and none can resist him.
Father - The Lord of the. whole earth is strong; this is our confidence. He hath power to build up as well as to pull down. Will he keep his anger for ever? Will he pursue to destruction the workmanship of his own hand and strike off a race of men from the earth, whom his care hath so long presented through so many perils?
Father - We thank you that you feel anxious to do all you can to the perishing ruins of your red children. We hope, father, you will make a fence strong and high around us that wicked white men may not devour us at once, but let us live as long as we can. We are persuaded you will do this for us, because our field is laid waste and trodden down by every beast; we are feeble, and cannot resist them.
Father - We are persuaded you will do this for the sake of our white brothers, lest God, who has appeared so strong in building up white men and pulling down Indians, should turn his hand, and visit our white brothers, for their sins, and call them to an account for all the wrongs they have done them, and all the wrongs they have not prevented that was in their power to prevent, to their poor red brothers who have no helper.
In the year 1720, celebrated for the bursting of the South Sea Bubble, a gentleman called late in the evening at the banking house of Messrs. Hankey and Co. He was in a coach, but refused to get out; and desired that one of the partners of the house would come to him; into whose hands, when he appeared, he put a parcel, very carefully sealed up, and desired that it might be taken care of till he should call again, which would be in the course of a few days. A few days passed away; a few weeks; a few months; but the stranger never returned. At the end of the second or third year, the partners agreed to open this mysterious parcel, when they found it to contain £30,000, with a letter, stating that it had been obtained by the South Sea speculation; and directing that it should be vested in the hands of three trustees, whose names were mentioned, and the interest appropriated to the relief of the poor. A direction which, it is needless to say, has been most faithfully obeyed.
General Mina, who acted so distinguished a part during the late war in Spain, and was afterwards treated so ungratefully, gained as much the esteem of his countrymen by his amiable qualities as by his military achievements. When he was compelled to quit that country he had so nobly fought to liberate, he took with him a boy whom he had brought up. This boy was the son of a French subaltern who, in a sudden retreat from the Spaniards, had left the child behind. Mina passing by immediately afterwards with his staff, heard the cries of the child sitting on a rock by the side of the road; he went up to him, and finding that the boy was forsaken by his father, he felt compassion for him, promised to supply the place of a parent, took him along with him, and provided for his education. When Mina reached Paris, for he was obliged to seek refuge among the very people against whom he had valiantly contended, he was accompanied by this boy and four aides-de-camp. As soon as his name was known, he was placed under the superintendence of an adjutant-general of the National Guard. While he remained here, he related the manner in which he had found the boy whom he had brought with him. The adjutant-general interrogated the boy, his father was found out, and sent for. The boy recognised him, and exclaimed, 'Oh, that's my father!' rushing into his arms. The father now became sensible that it was his long-lost child. The whole company were deeply affected by this scene, and testified their sympathy in the raptures of the father and the youth. Mina sat for some time in silence, but when the French officer had somewhat recovered from the first tumult of his joy, he rose, and turning towards him, addressed him in an impressive manner on the duties of a parent, and at the same time delineated in such glowing colours his misconduct towards his helpless child, that the old soldier testified the severest sorrow for his hard-hearted behaviour, and promised, with tears, to atone for his cruelty by his future paternal attention, provided his son was given up to him again. 'You left him,' replied Mina, 'in the hands of an enemy, but I brought him up like my own child; I give him back to you: now complete what I have begun.' He thereupon delivered the boy to his father, while all present were moved by his dignity and humanity.
In the early period of the French revolution, when the throne and the altar had been overturned, and the infuriated spirit of devastation was wasting the distant provinces, a Benedictine monastery in the department of La Vendee was entered by a tumultuous band; the brotherhood was treated with the most wanton and unprovoked cruelty; and the work of demolition and plunder was pursuing an uninterrupted course when a large body of the inhabitants rallied, drove the despoilers from the place, and secured the ringleaders, whom they would have punished most promptly had not the venerable abbot, who had received the most wanton indignities from these very leaders, rushed forward to protect them. ' I thank you, my children,' said he, 'for your generous and seasonable interference. Let us show the superiority of the religion we possess by displaying our clemency, and suffering them to depart. The ruffians felt so overpowered by the abbot's humanity that they fell at his feet, and entreated his forgiveness and benediction.
Loss of the Ship Wager.
In the year 1742, the ship Wager, belonging to Admiral Anson's squadron was lost near Cape Horn. The captain, lieutenant, and two midshipmen, after travelling fourteen months through the country of the wild Indians, where they endured innumerable hardships and dangers, were made prisoners by the Spaniards, and carried to Valparaiso. The President no sooner heard of their misfortunes than he gave them a kind reception, allowing them eighteen reals a day for their maintenance, the liberty of the city upon their parole, with a general invitation to his table.
Live and Let Live.
Dr. Wilson, the late worthy Bishop of Sodor and Man, sent once for his tailor to make him a cloak, and desired it might have only one loop and button. The tailor submitted to his venerable customer, that if that fashion should become general, the buttonmakers would starve. 'Do you say so, John?' replied the bishop, whose revenues did not exceed £300 a year. 'Then button it all over.'
If the money that is often spent in idle superfluities was devoted to the cause of humanity, what a quantity of human misery might be alleviated! 'Passing through one of the most public streets in London,' says a friend, 'I observed a well-dressed girl, apparently not more than fourteen years of age, just entering a pastrycook's shop; at that very moment a wretched old woman solicited charity; the young lady no sooner cast her eyes on her, than giving her the money she had in her hand to spend, she exclaimed, "That is better!" and darted out of sight in an instant.'
Earl of Ch - r.
A few years ago, a once respectable solicitor was imprisoned for contempt of court. He had a wife and family of six children entirely dependent on his exertions. The case was made known to the Earl of Ch - r, to whom he was perfectly unknown, and who had never even heard his name. No sooner was his lordship acquainted with the fact than he sent the sum required for his liberation, with a surplus of some pounds to relieve the immediate wants of the family.
When this celebrated navigator was crossing the Atlantic, after his first discovery of America, he encountered a dreadful storm. No prospect of deliverance appearing, the sailors abandoned themselves to despair, expecting every moment to be swallowed up. The feelings of Columbus at the time are best expressed in one of his own letters. 'I would,' says he, 'have been less concerned for this misfortune, had I been alone in the danger, both because my life is a debt that I owe to the Supreme Creator, and because I have at other times been exposed to the most imminent hazard. But what gave me infinite grief and vexation was, that after it had pleased our Lord to give me faith to undertake this enterprise, in which I had now been so successful, that my opponent would have been convinced, and the glory of your highness and the extent of your territory increased by me, it should please the Divine Majesty to stop all by my death. All this would have been more tolerable, had it not been attended with the loss of those men whom I had carried with me, upon promise of the greatest prosperity, who seeing themselves in such distress, cursed not only their coming along with me, but that fear and awe for me which prevented them from returning, as they often had resolved to have done. But besides all this, my sorrow was greatly increased by recollecting that I had left my two sons at school at Cordova, destitute of friends, in a foreign country, where it could not in all probability be known that I had done such services as might induce your highness to remember them.'
'To Berkeley every virtue under heaven.' POPE.
Dr. Berkeley having conceived the benevolent project of converting the savage Americans to Christianity, by means of a colony to be erected in the Bermudas, published a proposal for this purpose in 1725, and offered to resign his own opulent preferment of the deanery of Derry, worth £1100 per annum and to dedicate the remainder of his life to the instruction of the Indians, on the moderate allowance of £100 a year. Such was the influence of his distinguished example, that three of the junior fellows of Trinity College Dublin, concurred with him in his design and proposed to abandon all their flattering prospects in their own country, for a settlement in the Atlantic ocean at £40 per annum.
The dean set sail for Rhode Island; but not meeting with the promised support from ministers, and after spending nearly all his private property, and seven years of his valuable life, in the prosecution of this laudable scheme, he returned to Europe. This was not however, until the Bishop of London informed him, that on application to Sir Robert Walpole, he received the following honest answer. 'If you put this question to me,' says Sir Robert, 'as a minister, I must and can assure you, that the money shall most undoubtedly be paid as soon as suits with public convenience: but if you ask me as a friend, whether Dean Berkeley should continue in America, expecting the payment of £10,000, advise him, by all means, to return home to Europe, and to give up his present expectations.'
Genius and eloquence are never more attractive, than when employed in supplicating mercy for the guilty. As soon as Mr. Burke was acquainted with the progress of the trials of the rioters in 1780, although he had, from his well-known solicitude for the Catholic cause, been a marked object of their vengeance, and had even made a narrow escape from their hands, he addressed the Chancellor the President of the Council, and Sir Grey Cooper, one of the Secretaries of the Treasury, transmitting to each a copy of his thoughts on the expediency of extending the arm of the law to as small a number of delinquents as possible. To the last of these persons he wrote as follows:
'For God sake entreat of Lord North to take a view of the sum total of the deaths before any are ordered for execution, for by not doing something of this kind, people are decoyed in detail into severities they never would have dreamed of, if they had had the whole in their view at once. The scene in Surrey would have affected the hardest heart that ever was in a human breast. Justice and mercy have not such opposite interests as people are apt to imagine. I have ever observed,' he adds, 'that the execution of one man, fixes the attention and excites awe, the execution of multitudes, dissipates and weakens the effect; men reason themselves into disapprobation and disgust; they compute more as they feel less, and every severe act which does not appear to be necessary is sure to be offensive.'
William Wilberforce, Esq., M.P.
Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignis,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.
THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE.