'BY the hand of a soldier I will undertake it.'
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
Prince Maurice of Nassau
Let Him that Loves Me, Follow Me
The Great Duke of Argyle
Earl of Derby
A Douglas! A Douglas!
Philip of Macedon
Bridge of Inspruck
Speckbacher, Tyrolean Leader
Passage of the Granicus
Passage of the Somme
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Capture of the Island of Sark
Capture of Sardis
Capture of Fort Borgie
Siege of Jerusalem
Race for a Crown
Reward of Industry
Fisher-Boy of Naples
Magdalene de Saint Nectaire
Countess de Montfort
Siege of Aleppo
Royal Female Pirate
Sir Richard Arkwright
Slide of Alpnach
Hannibal's Passage over the Alps
Passage of the Desert
Escape from Indians
Tiger in his Den|
Guyton de Morveau
Origin of the Percys
Sir Walter Raleigh
Battle of Malplaquet
The Great Conde
King of Tristan d'Acunha
Escape of the Pretender
The New River
Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo
Capture of the Chesapeake
Descent on Cape Breton
The Serpent of Rhodes
Paul, the Tiger Hunter
Canal of Languedoc
Running for Life
Obedience of Orders
Siege of St. Sebastian
Equality in Danger
Joan of Arc
Surprise of Breda
Surprise of Schenek
Bold Coup de Main
Bridge of Wich
Sir Francis Drake
Siege of Haerlem
Charles the Twelfth
Prince of Enterprise
Sir James Yeo
Sir Alexander Ball
Isaaco, Park's Guide
The 'Ne Plus Ultra.'
Of Ohio, late Captain of Infantry
A Trifling Exception
A Veteran Highlander
AT the siege of Tortona, the commander of the army which lay before the town ordered Carew, an Irish officer in the service of Naples, to advance with a detachment to a particular post. Having given his orders, he whispered Carew, 'Sir, I know you to be a gallant man
I have therefore put you upon this duty. I tell you in confidence, it is certain death to you all. I place you there to make the enemy spring a mine below you.' Carew made a bow to the general, and then led on his men in silence to the dreadful post. He there stood with an undaunted countenance: and having called to one of his soldiers for a draught of wine, 'Here,' said he, 'I drink to all those who bravely fall in battle.' Fortunately at that instant Tortona capitulated: and Carew escaped that destruction which he had so nobly displayed his readiness to encounter at the call of honour.
Prince Maurice of Nassau.
At the battle of Nieuport in the year 1600 Prince Maurice sent away his ships, that there might be no means of retreat for his troops: in leading them to engage he said 'My friends, you have Nieuport behind you which is in possession of the enemy, the sea on your left; a river on the right; and the enemy in front: there is no other way for you to pass, but over the bodies of these men.' By this heroic resolution he gained a battle which saved the republic, and did himself the highest honour.
Let Him that Loves Me, Follow Me.
'Armies of fearful harts will scorn to yield, If lions be their captains in the field.' ALLEYN.
Francis I. of France had not reached his twentieth year, when he was present at the celebrated battle of Marignan, which lasted two days. The Marshal de Trivulce, who had been in eighteen pitched battles, said, that those were the play of infants: but that this of Marignan was the combat of giants. Francis performed on this occasion prodigies of velour; he fought less as a king than as a soldier. Having perceived his standard-bearer surrounded by the enemy, he precipitated himself to his assistance in the midst of lances and halberts. He was presently surrounded, his horse pierced with several wounds; and his casque despoiled of its plumes. He must have been inevitably overwhelmed, if a body of troops detached from the allies had not hastened to his succour. Francis hazarded this battle against the advice of his generals, and cut short all remonstrance by the celebrated expression, which became afterwards proverbial, 'Let him that loves me, follow me.'
The Great Duke of Argyle.
At the siege of Mons during the glorious career of Marlborough, the Duke of Argyle joined an attacking corps when it was on the point of shrinking from the contest; and pushing among them, open-breasted, he exclaimed, 'You see, brothers, I have no concealed armour; I am equally exposed with you; I require none to go where I shall refuse to venture. Remember you fight for the liberties of Europe, and the glory of your nation, which shall never suffer by my behaviour; and I hope the character of a Briton is as dear to every one of you.' This spirit animated the soldiers; the assault was made, and the work was carried.
Earl of Derby.
In the memorable reign of Edward III. when feats of valorous enterprise were so frequent, the Earl of Derby, one of the bravest warriors of the age, was sent with an army to France. Count de Lisle, the French commander, had ordered twelve thousand men to assemble secretly in the neighbourhood of Auberoche; and immediately invested the place. With four engines they threw showers within the walls, and forced the garrison to take shelter under ground. The Earl of Derby, with three hundred men-at-arms, and six hundred archers, advanced through byeways to its relief. At supper time they burst into the French camp: the general and principal officers killed or taken at table, and the archers with their arrows instantly dispersed every small body of the enemy as soon as it was formed. The news had now reached the other half of the besieging army and the conquerors had still to conted against an enemy six times their number. The victory was secured by the garrison from the castle, who in the heat of the contest charged the rear of the French. Of the twelve thousand men, very few escaped. Nine earls and viscounts were made prisoners, nor was there a man-at-arms among the English, who did not return with two or three barons, knights, or esquires, as his share of the captives.
A Douglas! A Douglas!
When Edward III. made his first expedition against the Scots, and had proceeded as far as Durham, and was for several days unable to find them, he offered a free pardon, and a -reward of £100 for life, to any person who would bring him intelligence of the Scots. The first account which he did receive of them was in a way little expected. While the two armies were laying on opposite sides of the river Wear, in the middle of the night an alarm was created by shouts of 'A Douglas! a Douglas! die, ye English thieves.' That gallant chieftain had passed the river at a distance with two hundred followers, and entering the rear of the camp, galloped towards the king's tent, the cords of which he cut with his own hand. He killed about three hundred men, and then effected his retreat in safety.
Shere Afgun, or the Overthrower of the Lion, so dignified from his having in his youth killed a lion with his own hands, was born of noble parents in Turcomania. He first served with uncommon renown under Shaw Ismael, the third of the Sufveye line, and afterwards with increasing reputation in the wars of the Emperor Akbar of India. He distinguished himself in a particular manner under Khan Khanan, at the taking of Suid, by exhibiting prodigies of personal strength and velour Preferments were heaped upon him, and he was in high esteem at court during the life of Akbar, who loved in others that daring intrepidity for which he himself was renowned.
When at the height of his reputation, Shere married Mher ul Nissa, or the Sun of Women, the daughter of Chaja Niass, the high treasurer of the empire. This lady, who excelled in beauty all the damsels of the East, had captivated the heart of Selim, the prince royal; and the prince had even gone so far as to apply to his father, Akbar, for permission to espouse her; but the emperor, aware that she had been betrothed to Shere, sternly refused to commit a piece of injustice, though in favour of the heir to his throne. The prince retired abashed, and Mher ul Nissa became the wife of Shere.
Akbar died, and Selim ascended the throne. The passion for Mher ul Nissa, which he had repressed from respect to his father, now returned with redoubled violence. He was afraid to go so far against the current of popular opinion, as openly to deprive Shere of his wife, but he resolved to leave no base act untried to get his rival out of the way, when he reckoned upon his triumph being secure. The first plot which he laid against the life of the brave Shere, was distinguished for the depth of its perfidy. He appointed a day for hunting, and ordered the haunt of an enormous tiger to be explored. News was soon brought that a tiger of immense size was discovered in the forest Nidabari. This savage, it was said, had carried off many of the largest oxen from the neighbouring villages. The emperor directed thither his march, attended by Shere Afgun and all his principal officers, with their train of dependents. Having, according to the custom of the Mogul Tartars, surrounded the ground for many miles, they began to move towards the centre on all sides. The tiger was roused his roaring was heard in all quarters, and the emperor hastened to the place
The nobility being assembled, the emperor called aloud, 'Who among you will advance singly, to attack this tiger?' They looked on one another in silence; then all turned their eyes on Shere Afgun. He seemed not to understand their meaning. At length three Omrahs started forth from the circle; and sacrificing fear to shame, fell at the emperor's feet, and begged permission to try singly their strength against the formidable animal. The pride of Shere Afgun rose. He had imagined that none durst attempt a deed so dangerous. He hoped that after the refusal of the nobles the honour of the enterprise would devolve of course on his hands. But three had offered themselves for the combat, and they were bound in honour to insist on their prior right Afraid of losing his former renown, Shere Afgun began thus in the presence: 'To attack an animal with weapons, is both unmanly and unfair. God has given to man limbs and sinews, as well as to tigers; he has added reason to the former, to conduct his strength.' The other Omrahs objected in vain, 'that all men were inferior to the tiger in strength, and that he could be overcome only by steel.' 'I will convince you of your mistake,' Shere Afgun replied; and throwing down his sword and shield, prepared to advance unarmed.
Although the emperor was in secret pleased with a proposal full of danger to Shere, he made a show of dissuading him from the enterprise. Shere was determined. The monarch with feigned reluctance yielded. Men knew not whether they ought most to admire the courage of the man, or to exclaim against the folly of the deed. Astonishment was painted on every face: every tongue was silent. Writers give a particular, but incredible, detail of the battle between Shere Afgun and the tiger. This much is certain, that after a long and obstinate struggle, Shere prevailed; and though mangled with wounds himself, laid at last the savage dead at his feet. The thousands who were eye-witnesses of-the action, were almost afraid to vouch for the truth of the exploit with their concurring testimony. The fame of Shere was increased, and the designs of the emperor failed for the moment. But the determined hate of the latter stopped not here, other plans of destruction were contrived by his parasites against the unfortunate Shere; and to one of these he at last fell a victim.
He had retired from the capital of Bengal to Burdwan. He hoped to live here in security and safety with his beloved Mher ul Nissa. He was deceived. The Subahdar of Bengal had received his government, for the purpose of removing the unfortunate Shere, and he was not unmindful of the condition. Settling the affairs of his government at Rajeinabel. which was at that time the capital of Bengal, he resolved with a great retinue to make the tour of the dependent provinces In this route he came to Burdwan. He made no secret to his principal officers, that he had the emperor's orders for despatching Shere. That devoted amyr hearing that the Subahdar was entering the town in which he resided, mounted his horse, and with two servants only went to pay his respects. The Subahdar received Shere with affected politeness. They rode for some time side by side, and their conversation turned upon indifferent affairs. The Subahdar suddenly stopped, he ordered his elephant of state to be brought; which he mounted, under a presence of appearing with becoming pomp in the city of Burdwan. Shere stood still while the Subahdar was ascending, and one of the pikemen pretending that Shere was in the way, struck his horse, and began to drive him before him. Shere was enraged at the affront, he knew that the pikeman durst not have used this freedom without his master's orders, he saw plainly that there was a design laid against his life. Turning therefore round upon the pikeman, he threatened him with instant death. The man fell on the ground, and begged for mercy. Swords were drawn. Shere had no time to lose; he spurred his horse up to the elephant on which the Subahdar was mounted, and having broken down the ambhary, or castle, cut him in two: and thus the treacherous Cuttub became the victim of his own zeal to please the emperor. Shere did not rest here: he turned his sword on the other officers. The first that fell by his hands was Aba Khan, a native of Cashmire who was an amyr of five thousand horse. Four other nobles shared the same fate: death attended every blow from the hand of Shere. The remaining chiefs were at once astonished and frightened, they Red to a distance, and formed a circle around him. Some began to gall him with arrows; others to fire with their muskets. His horse at length having been shot with a ball in the forehead, fell under him. The unfortunate Shere, reduced to the last extremity, began to upbraid them with cowardice. He invited them severally to single combat, but he begged-in vain. He had already received some wounds; he plainly saw his approaching fate. Turning his face towards Mecca, he took up some dust with his hand, and for *ant of water, threw it by way of ablution upon his head. He then stood up, seemingly unconcerned. Six balls entered his body in different places before he fell. His enemies had scarcely courage to come near till they saw him in the last agonies of death. They praised his velour to the skies; though in adding to his reputation, they took away exceedingly from their own.
Who that pities the fall of the brave and unfortunate Shere can help feeling doubly sorry, when they learn that the woman whose beauty was his ruin, had not a tear to shed to his memory? The officer who succeeded the deceased Subahdar in the command of the troops, hastened to the house of Shere, afraid that Mher ul Nissa, in her first paroxysms of grief, might make away with herself The lady, however, bore her misfortune with more fortitude and resignation. She showed no willingness whatever to follow the fashion of her countrywomen on such tragical occasions; she even pretended, in vindication of her apparent insensibility, that she was acting in obedience to the injunction of her deceased lord. She alleged that Shere, foreseeing his own fall from the machinations of the emperor, had conjured her to yield to the desires of the monarch without hesitation. The reasons which she said he gave, were as feeble as the fact itself was improbable - he was afraid that his own exploits would sink into oblivion, without they were connected with the remarkable event of giving an empress to India.
Empress, the faithless widow became; and for many years, under the celebrated name of Noor Jehan, she, conjointly with Selim, ruled the empire of India. A circumstance so uncommon in an Asiatic government is thus recorded on the coin of that period 'By order of the Emperor Jehangire, gold acquired a hundred times additional value by the name of the Empress Noor Jehan' ( Light of the World).
Philip of Macedon.
'--A commander must Use pretty cheats; dark stratagems devise.' ALLEYN'S CRESSEY.
Philip of Macedon won Prinassus by the following stratagem. He attempted first to undermine the city, but found the ground so rocky as to resist his most vigorous and repeated attempts. He still however persevered and commanded his pioneers to make a more than ordinary bustle and noise below ground. In the night he caused earth to be secretly brought from a distance, and raised enormous mounds at the entrance of the mine, in order to inspire the besieged with the belief that the work went forward with astonishing rapidity, At length he informed the townsmen that two acres of their wall were undermined, and stood upon wooden props, to which if he set fire and entered by a breach, they might expect no mercy. The Prinassians were deceived, and surrendered at discretion to an enemy, who could not with his utmost exertions have taken the town by real force.
The Romans beaten by Porsenna, King of the Etrurians, fled in disorder to Rome, with the enemy close at their heels. When they reached a bridge over the Tiber, which gave them an open entrance into Rome, the Etrurians pressed so hard on them, that there was the most imminent danger of both friend and foe entering the sacred city together. One man alone of all the Romans conceived the possibility of stemming the tide of pursuit, and discarding all considerations of personal hazard, he nobly resolved to devote himself to the glorious achievement. He turned round on the pursuing host as they were entering on the bridge, and with his single arm maintained the pass against them; he fought with incomparable skill and velour, laid several of the enemy dead at his feet, and wounded many more. Meanwhile his countrymen were actively employed in cutting down the wooden bridge behind him; and keeping up the fight till he saw this accomplished, he then leaped into the Tiber, armed as he was, and swam in safety to the opposite bank, having only received one wound in his thigh from an Etrurian javelin. The name of this patriot and hero was Horatius Cocles. The consul Poplicola, in gratitude for the service he had performed, proposed to the Roman people, that each of them should give him as much as would maintain him for a day, and that he should besides have as much of the public lands as he could compass in one day with a plough. Not only were these rewards cordially granted him, but a statue was ordered to be erected to his honour in the Temple of Vulcan.
Bridge of Inspruck.
An instance of daring enterprise somewhat similar to the preceding, but differing in its result to the individual, occurred at the bridge of Inspruck in the Tyrol, during the late war. Steep rocks, fringed with brushwood, rose above the bridge on the southern side, which the Tyrolese occupied. From these rocks they kept up an irregular fire on the French infantry, who were endeavouring to make their way through the defile; and so great was the slaughter, that in a very short time the road was literally blocked up with dead bodies. In this emergency an officer of the Bavarian dragoons volunteered to gallop over the bridge with his squadron, and dispossess the peasantry who occupied the cliffs. The Tyrolese, perceiving the cavalry winding up the ascent, set fire to the bridge, and, in a very short time, the flames spread rapidly along the fir beams on which it was supported.
Not deterred, however, by this circumstance, nor by the dreadful fire which the peasantry directed towards this point, the brave horseman pressed forward, and spurring his horse with much difficulty over the dead bodies of his comrades, dashed into the midst of the flames. The eyes of both armies were anxiously turned upon this brave man, and the hoofs of his horse were just touching the rocks on the opposite side, when the burning rafter broke, and he was precipitated from an immense height into the: torrent beneath. A momentary pause, and a cessation from firing ensued, till the heavy splash in the deep ravine below announced his fate, and instantly a loud shout from the whole Tyrolese army re-echoed through the impending rocks, announced to the neighbouring valleys, that the French army was stopped at the important defile.
Speckbacher, Tyrolean Leader.
When the Austrians abandoned the Tyrol to the merciless invasion of the French in 1809, Speckbacher and Hofer, the two leaders of the Tyrolese, retired to their respective valleys, and roused the peasantry to a continuance of the war by their eloquence and their example. Speckbacher undertook himself to convey the intelligence of the ardour which prevailed in his valleys across the Inn, that was then occupied by the French troops. He set out accordingly, accompanied by his tried friends, George Loppell and Simon Lechner, and endeavoured to penetrate across that part of the valley which seemed most weakly guarded
But in the middle of the night, while they were treading softly through a broken tract of rocks and underwood, they came upon a detachment of one hundred Bavarian dragoons. They had gone too far to recede . but nevertheless they hesitated for a moment before they ventured to attack their opponents, who were leaning on their arms round a blazing fire, with their horses standing on the outside of the circle. Being determined, however, to risk everything rather than abandon their purpose, they levelled their rifles, and by the first discharge killed and wounded several of the enemy. During the confusion which ensued upon this unexpected attack, they loaded their pieces, and hastily mounting the cliffs, fired again before their numbers were perceived. The Bavarians, conceiving that they were beset by a large body of the peasantry, fled in all directions, and Speckbacher, with his brave associates, succeeded in penetrating before morning to the outposts of their countrymen.
Passage of the Granicus.
When the Persians under the generals of Darius had assembled a great army, and taken post on the banks of the Granicus, Alexander the Great was under the necessity of engaging them in the very position they had selected, in order to open his way into Asia.
Many of his officers were apprehensive of the depth of the river and the rough and uneven banks on the other side. Others thought that a proper regard should be paid to a tradition with respect to the time: for the kings of Macedon never were acccustomed to march out to war in the month of Daisius. Alexander cured them of this superstition, by ordering that month to be called the second Artemisius; and when at last Parmenius objected to his attempting a passage so late in the day, he exclaimed, 'The Hellespont would blush, if after having passed it, I should be afraid of the Granicus.' He immediately threw himself into the stream with thirteen troops of horse, and in spite of the enemy's arrows and of the rapidity of the river, which often bore him down or covered him with its waves, he persevered with undaunted resolution till he gained the opposite bank, which was extremely slippery and dangerous. He now was compelled to an engagement with the enemy under great disadvantages, as they attacked his men as fast as they came over, before he had time to form them. The Persian troops charged with great fury: numbers pressed hard on Alexander, whom they distinguished by his buckler and his cret; his cuirass was pierced by a javelin at the joint, and two officers of greet distinction, Rhoesaces and Spithridates, attacked him at once. One of them cut off his crest with a battle-axe, and was going to repeat the stroke, when the celebrated Clitus prevented him by running him through the body with his spear. Alexander despatched the other.
While the cavalry was fighting with so much fury, the Macedonian phalanx passed the river, and joined in the conflict. The enemy did not make much longer resistance but soon fled, all but the Grecian mercenaries, who making a stand upon an eminence, desired Alexander to give his word of honour, that they should be spared. Alexander however, instead of giving them quarter, advanced to attack them, had his horse killed under him, and in this rencontre lost more men than in all the rest of the battle.
The Persian army is said to have consisted of 600,000 men, while that of the Macedonians did not exceed 30,000. The Persians lost in the battle 20,000 foot, and 2500 horse; whereas Alexander had no more than thirty-four men killed. To do honour to their memory, he erected a statue to each of them in brass, the workmanship of Lysippus; and that the Greeks might have their share in the glory of the day, he sent them presents of the spoil. To the Athenians in particular he sent three hundred bucklers. Upon the rest of the spoils he put this pompous inscription, Won by Alexander the son of Philip and the Greeks (excepting the Lacedemonians) over the Barbarians of Asia.
Passage of the Somme.
The Passage of the Somme, by Edward III. was a feat of gallant enterprise. The English marched at midnight, and arriving before the water was sufficiently low, had the mortification to behold, a little after sunrise, the opposite bank lined with twelve thousand men under the command of Godemar du Fay. In this distressing situation they waited for some hours. About ten o'clock it was reported that the tide was out: Edward gave the word of command in the name of God and St. George; and the men at arms plunged into the river. About the middle they were met by the French cavalry, but the English fought with the courage of despair and the enemy were routed with the loss of two thousand men
Retreat of the Ten Thousand.
Xenophon accompanied Cyrus, the younger, in the expedition against his brother Artaxerxes, King of Persia. In the army of Cyrus, Xenophon showed that he was a true disciple of Socrates and that he had been educated in the warlike city of Athens. After (he decisive battle in the plains of Cunaxa, and the fall of young Cyrus, the prudence and vigour of his mind were called conspicuously into action. The ten thousand Greeks who had followed the standard of an ambitious prince were now at a distance of above six hundred leagues from their native home, in a hostile country, and surrounded on every side by a victorious enemy, without money, without provisions, and without a leader. Xenophon was selected among the officers to superintend the retreat of his countrymen, and though he was often opposed by malevolence and envy, yet his persuasive eloquence and unceasing activity convinced the Greeks of the justness of their choice, and that no general could extricate them from every difficulty better than the disciple of Socrates. To every danger he rose superior; across rapid rivers, through vast deserts, and over lofty mountains exposed continually to the attacks of a vigilant enemy; without any other resources than his own prudence and the devotion of his troops; he succeeded at last, after a perilous march of two hundred and fifteen days, in restoring his countrymen to their native home.
Capture of the Island of Sark.
Sir Walter Raleigh relates that the island of Sark, adjoining to Guernsey, was surprised by the French, and could never have been recovered from them by force, being inaccessible on all sides, and having plenty of corn and cattle upon it to feed its defenders. In the reign of Queen Mary, however, an ingenious gentleman of the Netherlands succeeded in restoring it to the English Crown, by the following happy expedient: - 'With one ship of a small burden,' says Sir Walter, 'he anchored in the roads, pretended that his supercargo had died on board, and besought the French, who were only about thirty in number, to permit that the deceased should be buried in, hallowed ground, in the chapel of the isle, offering a present to the French of such commodities as were on board. The French consented, upon the express condition that the captain and his mourners should come on shore without any weapon, not even so much as a knife. Matters being thus far arranged, the Flemings put a coffin into their boat, not filled with a dead carcase, but with swords, targets, and harquebuses. The French received them at their landing; and after searching them every one, so narrowly, that they could not hide a penknife, gave them leave with great difficulty, to draw their coffin up the rocks. Meantime some of the French took the Flemish boat, and rowed on board the ship to fetch the commodities promised, and what else they chose. But to their great surprise, on boarding the ship, they were seized and put in irons. The Flemings had by this time carried their coffin to the chapel; shutting the door of which they armed themselves with weapons from the coffin, and sallied forth on the few remaining French who ran to the cliffs, and called to their companions on board to hasten to their aid. But seeing the boat return filled with Flemings, they gave up all idea of resistance, and yielded up themselves and the place.'
Capture of Sardis.
Polybius, in his seventh book, gives a remarkable account of the capture of Sardis. This town had been blockaded two years by Antiochus the Great, when Lagoras of Crete suggested the idea of carrying it by scaling a wall, built on the top of a rock extremely high and steep, at the bottom of which the people threw down the carcasses of their dead horses. Lagoras asked for two officers to assist him in the scheme. The three waited one dark night, and took fifteen of the stoutest and bravest men of the army to carry the ladders and scale the walls; with thirty more to lay in ambush in the ditch and assist them. Lagoras and his party scaled the rock, and reached the nearest gate, and let in an army of two thousand men, who took the town in an instant
Capture of Fort Borgie.
During the time that the English army was encamped before Fort Borgie, in the East Indies, one Strahan, a common sailor belonging to the Kent, one of the ships in Admiral Watson's fleet, having been rather elated with grog, strayed by himself towards the fort in the night, and imperceptibly got under the walls. Being advanced thus far without interruption, he determined to scale the breach that had been made by the cannon of the ships, and having luckily got upon the bastion, he there discovered several Moors sitting on a platform, at whom he flourished his cutlass and fired his pistol; and then after having given three loud huzzas, cried out, 'The place is mine.' The Moorish soldiers immediately attacked him: he defended himself with incomparable resolution; but in the rencontre had the misfortune to have the blade of his cutlass broken about a foot from the hilt. This misfortune, however, did not happen till he was on the point of being supported by two or three other sailors, who had accidentally straggled to the same part of the fort. On hearing Strahan's huzzas, they immediately ascended the breach, and echoing the triumphant sound, roused the whole army, who presently fell on pell mell, without orders and without discipline, following the example of the sailors. This attack, though made in such confusion, was attended with no other ill consequences but the death of Captain Campbell. Captain Coote commanded the fort for that night, and at daylight saluted the admiral.
Strahan, the hero of this adventurous action was brought before Admiral Watson, who, notwithstanding the success that attended it, thought it necessary to show himself displeased with a measure in which the want of all discipline so notoriously appeared; he therefore angrily asked Strahan what he had been doing? The poor fellow, after making a bow, scratching his head with one hand, and twirling his hat upon the other, replied, 'Why, to be sure, your honour, it was I who took the fort . but I hope there was no harm in it.' The admiral, with difficulty, was prevented from smiling at the simplicity of Strahan's answer, and the whole company were exceedingly diverted with his awkward appearance and his language in recounting the several particulars of his daring exploit. The admiral expatiated on the fatal consequences that might have attended his irregular conduct, and then, with a severe rebuke, dismissed him, hinting that he should be punished for his temerity. Strahan, amazed to find himself blamed where he expected praise, had no sooner gone from the admiral's cabin than he muttered, 'If I am flogged for this here action, I'll never take another fort as long as I live.' Poor Strahan received the admiral's pardon, but not being qualified, as we are told, for any higher function than that of a common sailor, he served in that capacity in all Admiral Pococke's engagements; and after receiving a severe wound, became a pensioner on the chest at Chatham. He was living in 1773, and acting as a sailor in one of the guard ships at Portsmouth.
Siege of Jerusalem.
When besieging Jerusalem, the Emperor Titus encouraged his soldiers to attack a wall of the tower Antonia; but dismayed at the greatness of the danger, all declined. At last, a Syrian, named Sabinus, remarkable for strength and courage, but of so small stature that he was deemed unfit to appear in the ranks, volunteered to make the assault, and was joined by eleven more, who were emulous of his heroic daring.
'This man,' says Josephus, 'holding his shield in his left hand above his head, and with his drawn sword in his right, approached the wall about the sixth hour of the day. On every side the Jews threw darts and stones at him, which struck to the ground some of his associates; but Sabinus himself reached the top of the wall in safety, and put the Jews to flight. In the moment of victory he was, however, levelled to the ground by a huge stone; on perceiving which the Jews rushed upon him in every direction; and though he long and nobly defended himself, even in that unfavourable posture, he fell at last a sacrifice to his impetuosity and courage.'
More Romans having, in the meantime, ascended the wall, the Jews were compelled to retire into the Inner Temple, where they sustained the combat from the ninth hour of the night to the seventh hour of the following day, when the Romans were ultimately forced to retreat. Julian, a Centurion, who was standing at Titus's side, beholding this disaster, instantly leaped down from the wall on which he stood, and attacking with his single arm the pursuing foe, he filled them with such sudden astonishment as if some more than mortal being had descended in the midst of them to decide the combat, that they instantly fell back on all sides, and many in the confusion were trodden under foot by their terrified companions. The brave Centurion, however, having his shoes covered with nails, his feet slipped when running upon the pavement, and his armour in the fall making a noise, his enemies turned round, and before he could recover himself, pierced him to death with their spears.
Columbus, after his discovery of America was persecuted by the envy of the Spanish courtiers, for the honours which were heaped upon him by the sovereign; and once at table, when all decorum was banished in the heat of wine, they murmured loudly at the caresses he received, having (as they said), with mere animal resolution, pushed his voyage a few leagues beyond what anyone had chanced to have done before. Columbus heard them with great patience and taking an egg from the dish, proposed that they should exhibit their ingenuity by making it stand on an end. It went all round, but no one succeeded. 'Give it me, gentlemen,' said Columbus, who then took it, and breaking it at one of the ends, it stood at once. They all cried out, 'Why, I could have done that.' 'Yes, if the thought had struck you,' replied Columbus, 'and if the thought had struck you, you might have discovered America.'
After the death of Montezuma, the Mexicans took possession of a high tower in the great temple which overlooked the Spanish quarters and placing there a garrison of their principal warriors, not a Spaniard could stir without being exposed to their missile weapons. From this post it was necessary to dislodge them at any risk. Juan de Escobat thrice made the attempt, but was repulsed. Ferdinando Cortes, sensible that not only the reputation, but the safety of his army depended on the success of this assault, ordered a buckler to be tied to his arm, as he could not manage it with his wounded hand, and rushed with his drawn sword into the thickest of the combatants. Encouraged by the presence of their general, the Spaniards returned to the charge with such vigour that they gradually forced their way up the steps, and drove the Mexicans to the platform at the top of the tower. There a dreadful carnage began, when two young Mexicans of high rank, observing Cortes as he animated his soldiers by his voice and example, resolved to sacrifice their own lives in order to cut off the author of all the calamities which desolated their country. They approached him in a suppliant posture, as if they had intended to lay down their arms, and seizing him in a moment, hurried him towards the walls, over which they threw themselves headlong, in hopes of dragging him along to be dashed to pieces by the same fall. But Cortes, by his strength and agility, broke loose from their grasp, and the gallant youths perished in this generous, though unsuccessful attempt to save their country.
Race for a Crown.
In the year 776, on the death of Premislaus, or Lescus I., King of Poland, the people, to determine who should succeed, appointed a race, and declared whoever won it should be king. On this, one of the candidates secretly strewed iron hooks - in certain parts of the course, by which on the day of competition, the horses of ail the other candidates were lamed, while he, knowing how to avoid them, came first to the goal. The fraud, however being discovered, he was killed on the spot, and a poor fellow called Lescus, who had run the race on foot, being next to the impostor, the people saluted him prince. It is said that he always kept his mean clothes, to remind him of his humble origin. The throne descended to his son and grandson, when a new election taking place in 820, the Poles exalted to the royal dignity Piastus, a wheelwright.
Reward of Industry.
'This is the only witchcraft I have used.' SHAKSPEARE
Pliny tells us of one Cressin who so tilled and manured a piece of ground, that yielded him fruits in abundance, while the lands around him remained extremely poor and barren. His simple neighbours could not account for this wonderful difference on any other supposition than that of his working by enchantment, and they actually proceeded to arraign him for his supposed sorcery, before the justiceseat. 'How is it,' said they, 'unless it be that he enchants us, that he can contrive to draw such a revenue from his inheritance, while we, with equal lands, are wretched and miserable?' Cressin was his own advocate: his case was one which required not either ability to expound, or language to recommend. 'Behold,' said he 'this comely damsel, she is my daughter my fellow-labourer; behold, too, these implements of husbandry, these carts, and these oxen. Go with me, moreover, to my fields and behold there how they are tilled, how manured, how weeded, how watered, how fenced in! And when,' added he, raising his voice, 'you have beheld all these things, you will have beheld all the art, the charms, the magic, which Cressin has used!'
The judges pronounced his acquittal, passing a high eulogium on that industry and good husbandry which had so innocently made him an object of suspicion and envy to his neighbours.
Fisher-Boy of Naples.
In the year 1647, there lived at Naples a poor fisherboy of the name of Tomaso Anello, vulgarly corrupted into Massaniello. He was clad in the meanest attire, went about barefoot, and gained a scanty livelihood by angling for fish, and hawking them about for sale. Who could have imagined that in this poor abject fisher-boy, the populace were to find the being destined to lead them on to one of the most extraordinary revolutions recorded in history? Yet so it was. No monarch ever had the glory of rising so suddenly to so lofty a pitch of power as the barefooted Massaniello. Naples, the metropolis of many fertile provinces, the queen of many noble cities, the resort of princes, of cavaliers, and of heroes. Naples, inhabited by more than six hundred thousand souls abounding in all kinds of resources, glorying in its strength. This proud city saw itself forced, in one short day, to yield to one of its meanest sons such obedience as in all its history it had never before shown to the mightiest of its liege sovereigns. In a few hours the fisher lad was at the head of one hundred and fifty thousand men; in a few hours there was no will in Naples but his, and, in a few hours it was freed from ail sorts of taxes, and restored to all its ancient privileges. The fishing wand was exchanged for the truncheon of command, the sea-boy's jacket for cloth of silver and gold. He made the town be entrenched; he placed sentinels to guard it against danger from without, and he established a system of police within, which awed the worst banditti in the world unto fear Armies passed in review before him; even fleets owned his sway. He dispensed punishments and rewards with the like liberal hand: the bad he kept in awe: the disaffected he paralysed: the wavering he resolved by his exhortations; the bold were encouraged by his incitements: the valiant made more valiant by his approbation.
Obeyed in whatever he commanded, gratified in whatever he desired, successful in whatever he attempted, never was there a chief more absolute, never was an absolute chief for a time more powerful. He ordered that all the nobles and cavaliers should deliver up their arms to such officers as he should give commission to receive them. The order was obeyed. He ordered that men of all ranks should go without cloaks, or gowns, or wide cassocks, or any other sort of loose dress, under which arms might be concealed; nay, that even the women, for the same reason, should throw aside their farthingales, and tuck up their gowns somewhat high. The order changed in an instant the whole fashions of the people, not even the proudest and the fairest of Naples' daughters daring to dispute in the least the pleasure of the people's idol. Nor was it over the high and noble alone that he exercised this unlimited ascendancy. The 'fierce democracy' were as acquiescent as the titled few. On one occasion, when the people in vast numbers were assembled, he commanded, with a loud voice, that everyone present should, under pain of rebellion and death, retire to his home. The multitude instantly dispersed. On another, he put his finger on his mouth to command silence, in a moment every voice was hushed.
The reign of this prodigy of power was indeed short, lasting only from the 7th to the 16th of July, 1647, when he perished, the victim of another revolution in affairs. It was a reign marked too with many atrocious excesses, and with some traits of indescribable personal folly; yet as long as it is not an everyday event for a fisher-boy to become a king, the story of Massaniello of Naples must be regarded with equal wonder and admiration, as exhibiting all astonishing instance of the genius to command existing in one of the humblest situations of life, and asserting its ascendancy with a rapidity of enterprise to which there is no parallel in history.
Magdalene de Saint Nectaire.
Magdalene de Saint Nectaire, the widow of Gui de Saint Exaperi, was a Protestant and distinguished herself very much in the civil wars of France. After her husband's death, she retired to her chateau at Miremont, in the Limousin, where, with sixty young gentlemen, she used to make excursions upon the Catholic armies in the neighbourhood. In the year 1575, M. Montel, governor of the province, having had his detachments often defeated by this extraordinary lady, took the resolution to besiege her in her chateau with fifteen hundred foot and fifty horse. She sallied out upon him, and defeated his troops. On returning, however, to her chateau, and finding it in the possession of the enemy, she galloped to a neighbouring town, Turenne, to procure a reinforcement for her little army. Montel watched for her in a defile, but his troops were defeated, and himself mortally wounded.
In the eleventh year of the Hegira, the Mahommedan Arabians carried the success of their arms so far, as to lay siege to the famous and populous city of Damascus. The Grecian emperor, Heraclius, made however such preparations for its relief, that the Arabians were shortly induced to raise the siege. The inhabitants of Damascus were so elated at the departure of the enemy, that they despatched a strong force to harass them in their retreat. This force fell with great fury on the rear guard of the Mahommedan army, and succeeded in carrying off all their women, children, and treasure. The Christian officers having divided the women and booty among them, retired to their tents to take a tattle refreshment. In the meantime the prisoners, who were all placed in one tent, discoursed on the extraordinary allotment which had been just made of them in their own presence. One of the chief women, named Caulah, addressed her fellow prisoners in the following terms: 'What think you of the wretched fate we are threatened with? Shall we suffer ourselves to be given up to these infidels? Ah! why shall we not rather choose to die, than become the slaves of such idolaters?'
'Alas! what can we do?' answered Offeirah, another of the prisoners. 'We are quite defenseless, and have no hopes of getting arms into our possession.'
'How!' replied the bold Caulah, briskly; 'what prevents us from seizing the pickets of the tents, and making use of them to repel these infidels? Come, let us forthwith take up the only weapons we can procure. Let us stand close to each other, and dispose ourselves in a circle, that we may make head on all sides. Perhaps heaven will assist us to beat our enemies; but if our prayers are not heard, we shall however die nobly.'
The prisoners unanimously came into Caulah's design: they instantly tore up the pickets of the tents, and made ready to repel all who should dare to attack them.
A Grecian soldier was the first that felt their fury. Not imagining that these women could seriously think of defending themselves, he jeered them for their display of resistance; but, to his misfortune, having approached too near them, Caulah gave him a blow with her picket which laid him lifeless at her feet.
Some comrades of the unfortunate soldier, in order to revenge his death, fell on the women sword in hand; but were repulsed with a velour which filled them with astonishment and shame.
The noise of the affray brought the Grecian general and his officers out of their tents: the general ordered a party of horse to surround the Amazonian band, and feign an attack, with a view of intimidating them. The first that advanced, however, fell victims to their fury: they smote the horses on their fore legs, and the greater part of them either falling or rearing on end, threw their riders, who perished under the hands of these heroines. The general, transported with passion at the spectacle, ordered his men to dismount, and attack them sword in hand. He set the example himself, alighted from his horse, and advanced in order to give the first blow. The women stood the attack with the bravery of the most intrepid soldiers. The Greeks, ashamed of meeting with a repulse, returned to the charge, and would doubtless have cut the gallant band in pieces; when all at once a great noise was heard in the camp. It was the noise of a large detachment of Arabians, who had made a forced march, in the hopes of retaking the prisoners and booty. I he Grecians were now doubly attacked; and after losing their general, who was transfixed with a lance by the brother of Caulah, they were finally obliged to abandon in disgrace the field where they had pitched their tents as conquerors.
Countess de Montfort.
When the dispute arose concerning the succession to the Dukedom of Bretagne, in the middle of the fourteenth century, the interests of John de Montfort were supported by the courage and perseverance of his wife, Jane, sister to the Earl of Flanders. As soon as she heard of her husband's captivity, she presented her infant son to the citizens and garrison of Rennes, and exhorted them to defend the cause of the child, the only male issue, besides his father, of their ancient princes. During the winter, she retired to the fortress of Hennebon; and in the spring, when Charles de Blois, with a numerous army, invested the fortress, the heroine on horseback, and in armour, directed and encouraged the garrison. On one occasion during an assault, she sallied out at the opposite gate, set the camp of the besiegers on fire, retired to the neighbouring castle of Aurai, and shortly after fought her way back into Hennebon. The same lady afterwards, with a small force of archers and men at arms, besieged and took the city of Vannes.
Siege of Aleppo.
When the Mahommedan army was besieging Aleppo, during the reign of Caliph Omar, they lay a long time before the place without being able to force the walls, from their great strength. A man, whose name was Dames, of gigantic stature and remarkable cunning, requested of the commander, Abu Obediah, the assistance of thirty other men; which being granted, he then requested the commander to raise the siege, and to remove with his army to about a league's distance.
In the night Dames went out several times, and brought in five or six of the besieged.
He afterwards takes from his knapsack a goat's skin, with which he covered his back and shoulders; took a dry crust in his hand, crept as near to the castle as he could; if he heard any noise, or suspected any person to be near, to prevent being discovered he made such a noise with his crust, as a dog makes that is gnawing a bone. The rest of his company came after some time, skulking, and often creeping along, at other times walking. About sunrise, he sent to his commander to send him some horse, when they came to the castle, they found it inaccessible. However, Dames was resolved to leave nothing untried and before the next night surveyed the walls, and having found a place where he thought he could easiest get up, he sat down upon the ground, ordered another to sit on his shoulders, and so on, until seven of them had got on each other's shoulders, the uppermost then stood up, as did the rest; till at length Dames himself stood up, and bore the weight of the whole. The man who was uppermost reached by this means the battlement, where he found a watchman drunk and asleep whom he seized and bound hand and foot. Dames and his. whole party then got quietly up, and thus eventually gained the city.
During the war which Edward III. maintained in Scotland, part of the English army, led on by Montague, besieged Dunbar, which the Countess of March, commonly called Black Agnes, defended with uncommon courage and obstinacy. This extraordinary woman exhibited her scornful levity towards the besiegers, by ordering her waiting maids to brush from the walls the dust produced by their battering engines, and this in sight of the English; and when a tremendous warlike engine, called a sow, approached the walls, the countess called out, 'Montague, beware! your sow shall soon cast her pigs:' which she verified, for an immense mass of rock, thrown from a lofty tower, accompanied her threat, and crushed the ponderous missile, and the besiegers which it contained.
Royal Female Pirate.
Avilda, daughter of the King of Gothland, contrary to the manner and disposition of her sex, exercised the profession of piracy, and was scouring the seas with a powerful fleet while a sovereign was offering sacrifices to her beauty at the shrine of love. King Sigar perceiving that this masculine lady was not to be gained by the usual arts of lovers, took the extraordinary resolution of addressing her in a mode more agreeable to her humour. He fitted out a fleet, went in quest of her, engaged her in a furious battle, which continued two days without intermission, and thus gained possession of a heart to be conquered only by velour.
That hazardous undertaking, as Dr. Robertson has justly termed a voyage down the river Maragnon, to which ambition prompted Orrellana, and to which the love of science led M. Condamine, was undertaken in the year 1769 by Madame Godin des Odonais from conjugal affection. The narrative of the hardships which she suffered, of the dangers to which she was exposed, is a singular and affecting story, exhibiting in her conduct a striking picture of the fortitude which distinguishes one sex, mingled with the sensibility and tenderness of the other.
On the 1st of October, 1769, Madame Godin departed from Riobamba, the place of her residence, for Laguna, on her way to France to join her husband, accompanied by her brothers, Sieur R. a physician, and his servant; her faithful negro, and three female Indian domestics; together with an escort of thirty-one Indians to carry herself and her baggage, the road being impassable even for mules. Scarcely had Madame Godin reached Canclos, when the Indians deserted her, but she still determined to brave every danger. There remained only two Indians in the village who had escaped the small-pox which lately raged there. They had no canoe, but they offered to construct one, and to conduct her to the mission of Andoas, about twelve days' journey lower on the river Bobanaza, a distance of about one hundred and fifty leagues. Madame G. paid them in advance; and the canoe being finished the party quitted, Canclos. Having sailed two days, they stopped to pass the night on shore. Next morning the two Indians disappeared: they were now not only obliged toproceed without a pilot, but the canoe began to leak, which obliged them to land, and erect a temporary hut, within five or six days' journey from Andoas, to which place Sieur R. proceeded with his servant, assuring Madame Godin and her brothers, that in less than fifteen days they should have a canoe and Indians. After waiting twenty-five days in the utmost anxiety, and losing all hope of relief from that quarter, they made a raft, upon which they placed all their provisions and effects, and proceeded slowly down the river; but the raft striking against a tree, the whole party were plunged into the river; happily, however, no one perished. They now resolved to pursue the banks of the river on foot. What an enterprise! The borders of this river are covered with a wood, rendered impervious to the rays of the sun by the herbs, brambles, and shrubs that creep up the trunks, and blend with the branches of the trees. Taking all their provisions, they commenced their melancholy journey: but observing that following the course of the river considerably lengthened their route, they entered into the wood, and in a few days lost their way. Though now destitute of provisions, oppressed with thirst, and their feet sorely wounded with briars and thorns, they continued to push forward through immeasurable wilds and gloomy forests, drawing refreshment from the berries and wild fruits they were able to collect. At length, exhausted by hunger and fatigue, their strength failed them; down they sunk, helpless and forlorn. Here they waited impatient for death to relieve them from their misery. In four days they all successively expired, except Madame Godin, who continued stretched beside her brothels, and the corses of her companions, for forty-eight hours, deprived of the use of all her faculties. At last Providence gave her strength and courage to quit the melancholy scene, and attempt to pursue her journey. She was now without stockings, bare-footed, and almost naked; two cloaks, which had been torn to rags by the briars, afforded her but a scanty covering. Having cut off the soles of her brother's shoes, she fastened them to her feet, and took her lonely way. The second day of her journey she found water, and the day following, some wild fruit and green eggs; but so much was her throat contracted by the privation of nutriment, that she could hardly swallow such a sufficiency of the sustenance which chance presented to her, as would support her emaciated frame. On the ninth day she reached the borders of Bobanaza, where she fortunately met two Indians, who conveyed her in a canoe to Andoas; thence she proceeded to Laguna; and there procured a passage for France; where she at last arrived in safety and-found in the approving smiles of that husband for whom she had undertaken so dangerous an enterprise, an ample consolation for all the toils and hardships she had undergone.
The hero of this little narrative was a Hottentot, of the name of Von Wyhk, and we give the story of his perilous and fearful shot in his own words: 'It is now,' said he, 'more than two years since in the very place where we stand I ventured to take one of the most daring shots that ever was hazarded; my wife was sitting in the house near the door, the children were playing about her. I was without, near the house, busied in doing something to a waggon, when suddenly, though it was mid-day, an enormous lion appeared, came up, and laid himself quietly down in-the shade upon the very threshold of the door. My wife, either frozen with fear, or aware of the danger attending any attempt to fly, remained motionless in her place, while the children took refuge in her lap. The cry they uttered attracted my attention, and I hastened towards the door; but my astonishment may be well conceived, when I found an entrance barred in such a manner. Although the animal had not seen me, escape, unarmed as I was, appeared impossible. Yet I glided gently, scarcely knowing what I meant to do, to the side of the house, up to the window of my chamber, where he knew my loaded gun was standing. By a happy chance, I had set it in a corner close by the window, so that I could reach it with my hand; for, as you may perceive, the opening is too small to admit of my having got in; and still more fortunately, the door of the room was open, so that I could see the whole danger of the scene. The lion was beginning to move, perhaps with the intention of making a spring, there was no longer any time to think: I called softly to the mother not to be afraid, and invoking the name of the Lord, fired my piece. The ball passed directly over my boy's head, and lodged in the forehead of the lion immediately above his eyes, which shot forth as it were sparks of fire, and stretched him on the ground, so that he never stirred more.'
Sir Richard Arkwright.
When Sir Richard Arkwright went first to Manchester, he hired himself to a petty barber; but being remarkably frugal, he saved money out of a very scanty income. With these savings he took a cellar, and commenced business; at the cellar head he displayed this inscription: 'Subterranean shaving with keen razors, for one penny.' The novelty had a very successful effect, for he soon had plenty of customers, so much so, that several brother tonsors, who before had demanded twopence a piece for shaving, were obliged to reduce their terms. They also styled themselves subterranean shavers, although they all lived and worked above ground. Upon this, Arkwright determined on a still farther reduction, and shaved for a halfpenny. A neighbouring cobbler one day descended the original subterranean tonsor's steps in order to be shaved. The fellow had a remarkably strong, rough beard. Arkwright beginning to lather him, said he hoped he would give him another halfpenny, for his beard was so strong it might spoil his razor. The cobbler declared he would not. Arkwright then shaved him for the halfpenny, and immediately gave him two pair of shoes to mend. This was the basis of Arkwright's extraordinary fortune: for the cobbler, struck with this unexpected favour, introduced him to the inspection of a cotton machine invented by his particular friend. The plan of this Arkwright got possession of: and it gradually led him to the dignity of knighthood, and the accumulation of half a million of money.
We extract the following interesting narrative from a private letter from India: 'For some days before our arrival at A - , we had intelligence of an immense wild male elephant being in a large grass swamp within five miles of us. He had inhabited the swamp for years, and was the terror of the surrounding villagers, many of whom he had killed: he had only one tusk: and there was not a village for many miles round, that did not know the Burrah ek durt ke Hathee, or the large one-toothed elephant: and one of our party, Colonel S-- , had the year before been charged, and his elephant put to the right-about by this famous fellow. We determined to go in pursuit of him; and accordingly, on the third day after our arrival, started in the morning, mustering between private and government elephants, thirty-two, but seven of them only with sportsmen on their backs. As we knew that in the event of the wild one charging, he would probably turn against the male elephants, the drivers of two or three of the largest were armed with spears. On our way to the swamp, we shot a great quantity of different sorts of game that got up before the line of elephants, and had hardly entered the swamp, when, in consequence of one of the party firing at a partridge, we saw the great object of our expedition; the wild elephant got up out of some long grass, about two hundred and fifty yards before us, when he stood staring at us and flapping his huge ears. We immediately made a line of the elephants with the sportsmen in the centre, and went strait up to him, until within a hundred and thirty yards, when fearing he was going to turn from us, all the party gave him a volley, some of us firing two, three, and four barrels. He then turned round, and made for the middle of the swamp. The chace now commenced, and after following him upwards of a mile, with our elephants up to their bellies in mud, we succeeded in turning him to the edge of the swamp, where he allowed us to get within eighty yards of him, when we gave him another volley in his full front; on which he made a grand charge at us, but fortunately only grazed one of the pad elephants. He then again made for the middle of the swamp, throwing up blood and water from his trunk, and making a terrible noise, which clearly showed that he had been severely wounded. We followed him, and were obliged to swim our elephants through a piece of deep stagnant water, occasionally giving shot; when making a stop in some very high grass, he allowed us again to come within sixty yards, and got another volley, on which he made a second charge more furious than the first, but was prevented making it good by some shots fired when very close to us, which stunned and fortunately turned him. He then made for the edge of the swamp, again swimming a piece of water, through which we followed with considerable difficulty, in consequence of our pads and howdahs having become much heavier, from the soaking they had got twice before: we were up to the middle in the howdahs, and one of the elephants fairly turned over, and threw the rider and his guns into the water., He was taken off by one of the pad elephants, but his three guns went to the bottom. This accident took up some time, during which the wild elephant had made his way to the edge of the swamp, and stood perfectly still, looking at us, and trumpeting with his trunk. As soon as we got all to rights, we again advanced with the elephants in the form of a crescent, in the full expectation of a desperate charge; nor were we mistaken. The animal now allowed us to come within forty yards of him, when we took a very deliberate aim at his head, and on receiving this fire, he made a most furious charge in the act of which, and when within ten yards of some of us, he received his mortal wound, and fell as dead as a stone. Mr.B -- , a civilian, has the credit of giving him his death wound, which, on examination, proved to be a small ball from a Joe Manton's gun over the left eye, for this was the only one of thirty-one that he had received in the head, which was found to have entered the brain. When down, he measured in height twelve feet four inches; in length, from the root of the tail to the top of the head, sixteen feet; and ten feet round the neck. He had upwards of eighty balls in his head and body. His only remaining tusk, when taken out, weighed thirty-six pounds, and when compared with tame ones, was considered small for the size of the animal. After he fell a number of the villagers came about us, and were rejoiced at the death of their formidable enemy, and assured us, that during the last four or five years he had killed nearly fifty men. Indeed, the knowledge of the mischief he had occasioned, was the only thing which could reconcile us to the death of so noble an animal. Colonel S -- , an old and very keen Indian sportsman, declared, that he had never seen or heard of anything equal to this day's sport.'
Slide of Alpnach.
For many centuries the rugged flanks and deep gorges of Mount Pilatus were covered by impenetrable forests: lofty precipices encircled them on all sides. Even the daring hunters were scarcely able to reach them, and the inhabitants of the valley never conceived the idea of disturbing them with the axe. These immense forests were therefore allowed to grow and perish, the most intelligent and skilful considering it quite impracticable to avail themselves of such inaccessible stores.
In November, 1816, Mr. John Rulph, of Reutingen, in Switzerland, and three Swiss gentlemen, entertaining more sanguine hopes, drew up a plan of a slide founded on trigonometrical measurements; and having purchased a certain extent of the forests from the Commune of Alpnach for six thousand crowns, began the construction of it.
The slide of Alpnach is formed of about twenty-five thousand large pine trees deprived of their bark, and united together without the aid of iron. It occupied about one hundred and sixty workmen during eighteen months and cost nearly one hundred thousand francs (£4166). It is about three leagues, or forty-four thousand English feet long, and terminates in the lake of Lucerne. It has the form of a trough about six feet broad, and from three to six deep. Its bottom is formed of three trees, the middle one of which has a groove cut out in the direction of its length for receiving small rills of water, for the purpose of diminishing the friction. The whole of the slide is sustained by about two | thousand supports, and, in many places, is attached in a very ingenious manner to the rugged precipices of granite. The direction of the slide is sometimes straight and sometimes zig-zag, with an inclination of from 10 degrees to 18 degrees: it is often carried along the sides of precipitous rocks, and sometimes over their summit; occasionally it goes under ground, and at others over the deep gorges by scaffoldings one hundred and twenty feet high.
Before any step could be taken in its erection, it was necessary to cut several thousand trees to obtain a passage through the impenetrable thickets; and as the workmen advanced, men were posted at certain distances in order to point out the road for their return. Mr. Rulph was often obliged to be suspended by cords, in order to descend precipices many hundred feet high to give directions having scarcely two good carpenters among them all the rest having been hired as occasion offered. All difficulties being at length surmounted, the larger pines, which were about one hundred feet long, and ten inches thick at their smaller extremity, ran through the space of three leagues, or nearly nine miles, in two minutes and a half, and during their descent appeared to be only a few feet in length. The arrangements were extremely simple Men were posted at regular distances along the slide; and as soon as everything was ready, the man at the bottom called out to the next one above him, 'Lachez' (let go:) the cry was repeated and reached the top of the slide in three minutes . the man at the top of the slide then cried out to the one below, 'Il vient,' (it comes;) as soon as the tree had reached the bottom and plunged into the lake, the cry of 'Lachez' was repeated as before. By these means a tree descended every five or six minutes.
When a tree, by accident, escaped from the trough of the slide, it often penetrated by its thickest extremity from eighteen to twenty-four feet into the earth; and if it struck another tree, it cleft it with the rapidity of lightning.
Such is a brief account of a work undertaken and executed by a single individual, and which has excited the wonder and astonishment of everyone who has seen it.
We regret to add, that this magnificent structure no longer exists, and scarcely a tree is to be seen on the flanks of Mount Pilatus. Political events having taken away the demand for timber, and another market having been found, the operation of cutting and transporting the trees necessarily ceased.
Hannibal's Passage over the Alps.
The passage of Hannibal over the Alps in Italy, has always been considered as one of the greatest achievements that an enterprising commander ever accomplished. To attempt to transport an army of twelve thousand men, at an inclement season of the year, over mountains hitherto considered as impassable, could only have suggested itself to a mind which no danger or difficulty could appal.
In the first part of the ascent, Hannibal was led by some hostages, which the treacherous Gauls had given him as pledges of their pacific disposition. For two days these hostages marched at the head of the army . but when it had got into a hollow way, overlooked by steep and craggy rocks, faithless to their engagement, they in concert with others of their countrymen, who had lain concealed fell suddenly upon the troops in front, flank and rear. The greatest number attacked the rear; and the army would have been utterly destroyed, says Polybius, if Hannibal, who all along retained some doubts of these barbarians, had not taken his precautions to guard against them, by placing his baggage and his cavalry in the van, and his heavy armed infantry in the rear guard, who received the shots of the enemy. Notwithstanding this, he lost a great number of men, horses, an; beasts of burden: for the Gauls having possessed themselves of the cliffs, rolled upon the Carthaginians huge stones, which occasioned exceeding terror among them. Hannibal was obliged, with one half of his army, to remain all night in the open air, upon a rock, to defend the horses and beasts of carriage as they filed along through the straight below. The next day, the enemy having retired Hannibal rejoined his horse and baggage, and continued his march. At length, after nine days, from the commencement of the ascent, he gained the summit of the mountains. Here he stayed two days, that those of his men who with infinite toil had climbed to this height, might take breath; and that his sick and wounded, who were still behind, and moving slowly on, might have time to crawl up. While the troops continued here, they had the agreeable surprise of seeing many of the horses and beasts of burden which had fallen in the way, or had by fear been driven out of it, and were thought lost, arrive safely at the camp, having followed the track of the army
It was now the end of autumn, and abundance of newlyfallen snow covered the top of the mountain.- Hannibal perceiving his soldiers to be extremely discouraged by the sufferings they had already undergone, and by the apprehension of those that were to come called them together, and led them to a convenient spot for taking an extensive view of the plains below. 'There,' said he, 'cast your eyes over those large and fruitful countries. The Gauls who inhabit them are our friends. They are waiting for us, ready and impatient to join us. You have scaled not only the rampart of Italy, but the walls of Rome itself. What remains is all smoothness and descent. One battle gained, or two at most, and the capital of Italy will be ours.'
The next day he broke up his camp, and began to descend. The way was so steep and slippery in most places, that the soldiers could neither keep on their feet, nor recover themselves when they slipped; and the ground being covered with snow, it was difficult to keep the right path, while if they missed it, they fell down frightful precipices, or were swallowed up in depths of snow. The soldiers bore all these dangers and difficulties with great fortitude; but at length they came to a place much worse than any they had before met with, and which quite took away their courage. The path, for about a furlong and a half, naturally very steep and craggy, was rendered much more so by the late falling of a great quantity of earth, so that neither elephants nor horses could pass. Here, therefore, their progress was arrested, when Hannibal wondering at this sudden halt, ran to the place, and having viewed it, plainly saw there was no possibility of advancing further that way. His first thought was to try another route, was found equally impracticable, for though the newly-fallen snow yielded good footing for the soldiers and horses that marched foremost, yet, when it had been so trampled upon that the feet of those who followed came to the hard snow and ice under it, they could not keep their feet, but were often lost in pits and precipices. It was necessary therefore to seek some other expedient.
Hannibal next caused all the snow to be removed that lay upon the ground near the entrance of the first way, and there pitched his camp. He then gave orders to cut out a winding path in the rock itself; and this work was carried on with such diligence and vigour, that at the end of one day, the beasts of burden and the horses were able to descend without much difficulty. He immediately sent them forward, and removing his camp to a place that was free from snow, put them to pasture. It now remained to enlarge the way that the elephants might pass. This task was assigned to the Numidians, and it took up so much time, that Hannibal did not arrive with his whole army in the plains below, on the confines of Insubria, till four days after he began to descend. He had been fifteen days in passing the Alps.
Livy tells us, that Hannibal softened the rock by pouring vinegar upon it, after it had first been made hot under flaming piles of huge trees. M. Rollin credits this story, and quotes Pliny to prove that vinegar has the force to break stones and rocks. That this story is fabulous few will doubt; for not to mention the difficulty of procuring vinegar in sufficient quantity, a better authority than Livy, Polybius, assures us that Hannibal had no wood to make a fire with; that there was not a tree in the place where he then was, nor near it.
Passage of the Desert.
Colonel Capper, in his Journal of the Passage to India, through Egypt, and across the Great Desert, relates the following interesting anecdote: 'January 24th, in the morning, Captain Twyss came and told us he should salt for Bassora the next day. He had six English passengers with him that were going over the Desert, also M. Borel de Bourg, the French officer, who had been plundered and wounded in the Desert. M. Borel wishing to hear the latest news from Europe, and, perhaps, being desirous of conversing with a person who had lately travelled the same route as himself, came and spent the evening with me at the broker's house. I told him that I was no stranger to what had befallen him in the Desert, and easily prevailed upon him to give me an account of his adventures.
'The particulars of the business upon which he was sent, he of course concealed; but, in general terms, he informed me, that soon after the engagement between the two fleets near Brest, in July, 1788, Monsieur Sartine, his friend and patron, ordered him to carry dispatches over land to India. I think he said he left Marseilles on the third of August; but owing to the stupidity of the captain of the vessel, and to contrary winds, he did not arrive at Latchiea before the end of the month, whence he immediately proceeded to Aleppo. The French consul could not collect more than twenty-five guards to attend him across the Desert, with whom, on the 14th of September, he commenced his journey. He met with no serious molestation until he was within fifteen days of Bassora, when, early one morning, he perceived himself followed by a party of about thirty Arabs, mounted on camels, who soon overtook him. As they approached, he, by his interpreter, desired them either to advance or halt, or to remove to the right or left of him, for he chose to travel by himself They answered, that they should not interfere with him, and went forward at a brisk rate. M. Borel's people then suspected them of some hostile design, and told him to be upon his guard. In the evening, between four and five o'clock, he observed them halted, and drawn up, as if to oppose him; and in a few minutes, three other parties, consisting also of about thirty each, appeared in sight in opposite directions, seemingly inclined to surround him. From these appearances naturally concluding their intentions to be hostile, and of consequence, his situation desperate, he thought only of selling his life as dear as possible. He was armed with a double-barrelled fuzee, a pair of pistols, and a sabre. As he kept marching on, he first fell in with the party in the front, who fired at him, which he returned as soon as he came within musket shot of them, and killed the Sheick. When he had discharged his firearms, before he could load them again, several of the Arabs broke in from different sides, and cut him down. Stunned with the violence of the blow, he knew nothing of what passed afterwards, until about an hour before day-break next morning, when he found himself entirely naked on the ground, a quantity of blood near him, and part of the flesh of his head hanging upon his cheek. In a few minutes he recollected what had passed; but as he could feel no fracture nor contusion in the skull, he began to hope that his wounds were not mortal. This, however, was only a transient gleam of hope, for it immediately occurred to him, that without clothes or even food, he was likely to suffer a much more painful death. The first objects which attracted his attention when he began to look about him, were those who had been killed on both sides in the action; but, at the distance of a few hundred yards, he soon afterwards perceived a great number of Arabs seated round a large fire. These he naturally supposed were his enemies; he nevertheless determined to go to them, in hopes either to prevail upon them to spare his life, or else to provoke them to put an immediate end to his miseries. Whilst he was thinking in what manner, without the assistance of language, he should be able to excite their compassion, and to soften their resentment against him for the death of their companions, which he had heard that people seldom forgive, it occurred to him that they paid great respect to old age; and also, that they seldom destroy those who supplicate for mercy, whence he concluded, that if he should throw himself upon the protection of the oldest person among them, he might probably be saved. In order to approach them unperceived, he crept towards them upon his hands and knees; and when arrived within a few paces of their circle having singled out one who had the most venerable appearance, he sprang over the head of one of the circle, and threw himself into the arms of him whom he had selected as his protector. The whole party were at first astonished, not having the least notion. of his being alive; but when their surprise subsided, a debate arose, whether or not they should allow him to live. One of them, who had probably lost a friend or relation, drew his sword in a great rage, and was going to put him to death; but his protector stood up with great zeal in his defence, and would not suffer him to be injured; in consequence of which his adversary immediately mounted his camel and, with a few followers, went off. The Sheick, for so he happened to be, perceiving Monsieur Borel entirely without clothes, presented him with his abbe, or outer cloak invited him to approach the fire, and gave him coffee and a pipe; which an Arab, when he is not on the march, has always prepared. The people finding Monsieur Borel did not understand Arabic, enquired for his interpreter who was found asleep, and slightly wounded.
'The first demand the Arabs made, was for his money and jewels, which, they observed, Europeans always have in great abundance but which are concealed in private drawers that none except themselves can discover. He assured them these opinions were erroneous with respect to him, for that he was not a rich merchant, but only a young soldier of fortune employed to carry orders from his government in Europe, to their settlements in India, but if they would convey him to Graine, a place near Bassora, on the sea coast, on their arrival there, and on the receipt of his papers, he would engage to pay them two hundred sequins, about one hundred pounds sterling. After a few minutes' consultation with each other, they acceded to his proposals, returned him his oldest Arabian dress, and during the rest of his journey treated him with kindness and attention.'
Julius Caesar was on one occasion obliged by a sudden eruption of the enemy into Alexandria, to fly for safety to his ships. He leaped into a boat, but was followed by such numbers of his men, that the boat was in danger of sinking. Caesar immediately threw himself into the sea, and swam to one of his ships at a considerable distance, cutting the waters with one arm, and holding his writings with the other above water, to preserve them from injury: drawing at the same time his general's coat after him with his teeth, that the enemy might not have to boast the possession of so honourable a spoil.
Escape from Indians.
In the year 1759, the Mikmak Indians, who inhabited the province of Nova Scotia, committed great barbarities upon the then recently settled colony of Chedebuctow. All the English residents whom they could lay hands on, were tormented according to their savage customs. Some of the tribes, on a particular night, having defeated the militia party of Captain Pike (whom they scalped and tomahawked), assembled with the prisoners they had made on the Dartmouth shore, and there began their horrid rites in view of the opposite town of Halifax. The victims were successively stretched in their frames, called squares, stuck full of lighted pine splinters, and thus miserably destroyed. One of the prisoners, of the name of Wheeler, had already suffered greatly by their cruelty, and was nearly half scalped. Whilst he waited his own turn of death, with the execution of his companions before his eyes, he determined to make an effort to avoid their fate, and desired permission to draw on one side, avowing a cause of urgent necessity. This being a request that the savages never refuse, an Indian was appointed to guard him. The bleeding and almost naked sufferer having concealed a knife, diverted the attention of the Indian, and plunged it into his body. This being done, he hastened into the adjoining woods, wildly flying through such thickets, as in that country are scarcely penetrable except by Indians. His escape soon dispersed his exasperated enemies and their dogs in various directions after him. Exhausted as he was with pain and fatigue, he still contrived to keep them at a distance, being aided by the darkness of the night. He had gone several leagues, when he came to the mouth of the inlet to the sea, known by the name of Coleharbour. Over the entrance to this inlet runs a bar, with, at all times, a dangerous surf, which at this moment was increased by the commencement of a heavy gale. The raging of the sea was prodigious: his pursuers gained upon him. The unhappy fugitive was hemmed in. With the mingled energy of hope and despair, he threw himself into the surf, and most miraculously reached the opposite shore while some of his enemies perished in attempting to follow him. He lay for a long time on the beach, almost dead with fatigue and loss of blood. His courage however soon revived, and he persevered through the woods towards Lauren's Town Fort, commanded by Lieut. Newton, of the 46th regiment. Daylight discovered itself, when Wheeler came up to the pickets of the Block House, and at the same instant, some of his pursuers made their appearance at an opposite point, having vainly taken a circuitous route to intercept their intended victim.
Earl Howe, when not more than eighteen years of age, was lieutenant of a sloop of war. An English merchantman had been captured at the Dutch settlement of Eustatia, by a French privateer, under the guns and protection of the governor. Lieutenant Howe, at his own earnest request, was sent with orders to claim her for the owners. This demand not being complied with, he desired leave to go with the boats and attempt cutting her out of the harbour. The captain represented the danger of so adventurous a step; and added, that he had not sufficient interest to support him in England, on a representation of the breach of neutrality. The lieutenant then requested that he would quit the ship for a short time, and leave the command to him. This being done, the gallant lieutenant went with the boats, cut out the vessel, and restored it to the proprietors.
In 1775, Lord Hawke gave the following seamanlike testimony to the merit of Lord Howe, in the House of Lords. 'I advised his majesty,' said he, 'to make the promotion (to be Vice-Admiral of the Blue). I have tried my Lord Howe on important occasions, he never asked me how he was to execute any service, but always went and performed it.'
Tiger in his Den.
While the British army was laying at Agoada, near Goa, in the East Indies, in 1800, a report was one morning brought to the cantonments, that a large Cheetur had been seen on the rocks near the sea. About nine o'clock, a number of horses and men assembled at the spot where it was said to have been seen, when, after some search, the animal was discovered to be in the recess of an immense rock, dogs were sent in, in the hope of starting him, but without effect, having returned with several wounds.
Finding it impossible to dislodge the animal by such means, Lieutenant Evan Davies, of the 7th regiment, attempted to enter the den, but was obliged to return, finding the passage extremely narrow and dark. He attempted it, however, a second time, with a pick-axe in his hand, with which he removed some obstructions that were in the way. Having proceeded a few yards, he heard a noise, which he conceived to be that of the animal. He then returned, and communicated with Lieutenant Threw, of the artillery, who also went in the same distance, and was of a similar opinion. What course to pursue was doubtful; some proposed to blow up the rock, others smoking him out. At length a port-fire was tied to the end of a bamboo, and introduced into a small crevice which led towards the den. Lieut. Davies went on his hands and knees down the narrow passage which led to it; and, by the light of his torch, he was enabled to discover the animal. Having returned, he said he could kill him with a pistol; which, being procured, he again entered the cave and fired but without success, owing to the awkward situation in which he was placed, with his left hand only at liberty. He next went with a musket and bayonet, and wounded the animal in the loins, but he was obliged to retreat as quick as the narrow passage would allow, the tiger having rushed forward, and forced the musket back towards the mouth of the den. Lieut. Davies next procured a rifle, with which he again forced his way into the cave, and taking a deliberate aim at the tiger's head, fired, and put an end to its existence. The gallant officer afterwards fastened a strong rope round the neck of the tiger, by which he was dragged out, to the no small satisfaction of a numerous crowd of spectators. The animal measured seven feet in length.
When Nelson was second lieutenant on board the Lowestoffe, they came up with an American letter of marque. The first lieutenant was ordered to board her, and immediately went below to put on his hanger; but it was mislaid, and could not immediately be found. In the meantime Captain Locker came on deck, and extremely anxious that the prize should be instantly taken in charge, as he apprehended it must otherwise founder, he exclaimed, 'Have I no officer in the ship will board the prize?' Lieutenant Nelson, with his usual goodness of heart, still waited for the return of his superior officer, but on hearing the master volunteer his services, immediately hastened to the gangway, and getting into the boat, said, 'It is my turn now; if I come back, it is yours.' The opportunity did not occur to the master, as Nelson took possession of the prize.
At the siege of one of the forts of Tippoo Sultan, the breach was found practicable, and the storming party ordered for two o'clock in the morning. General Meadows determined to be one of it, but when he came to the breach, finding it impossible to get up without assistance he called out to the soldiers, 'Bravo, my fine fellows, well done; but is there none of you that can stop to help up your little general?' 'Oh!' replied an Irish grenadier, 'is it you, general? then, by the powers, we'll not go without you. I'll help you up, let what will come of it!' And he was as good as his word.
The same general, with a small army, was once surrounded by a superior force, in the Coimbator country, and all his communications cut off. Colonel, afterwards General, Sir John Floyd, was despatched in quest of him, and so arduous was the enterprise, that actually passed three days without eating. He at length met two native horsemen of General Meadows' body-guard, from whom he received such information of the general's situation, as enabled him to join him at Velladi. The meeting of these officers may well be conceived, after each had foreboded the worst fate for the other: General Meadows flew into Floyd's arms, and exclaimed, with his usual wit and spirit, 'My dear colonel, ours is the feat, and mine the defeat.'
General Meadows gave out in general orders, that the word difficulty was unknown in the military dictionary, and among such troops as he then had the honour to command. He did but justice to his gallant comrades; for led on by the brave Floyd, they cut their way through Tippoo's grand army, and before their swords all difficulties vanished.
At the siege of Pondicherry, Major Rennel, then a midshipman, discovered the first symptoms of his enterprising genius. Some sloops of war belonging to the enemy having moored beyond reach of our guns in shallow water, Mr. Rennel requested of the captain of his ship the use of a boat; which, as the night was far advanced, was at first refused, but the young midshipman repeating his importunity, and being a great favourite, the commander at length consented. Mr. Rennel accordingly departed, no one knew whither, and accompanied, according to his desire, by only a single sailor. After some interval he returned, and eagerly informed the captain that having observed the tide was unusually high, he thought that there might be sufficient depth of water to reach the sloops of the enemy; and that he had borrowed the boat to make the experiment, which had fully answered his conjecture. Having implored his superior officer to lose no time in availing himself of this discovery, the former complied, and the attempt was crowned with success.
Guyton de Morveau.
On the 25th of April, 1784, M. Guyton de Morveau, accompanied by the President Virly, ascended from Dijon in a balloon, which he himself had constructed, and repeated the experiment on the 12th of June following, with a view of ascertaining the possibility of directing aerostatic machines by an apparatus of his own contrivance.
When Prince Henry of Prussia passed through Dijon, he begged Guyton to tell him frankly what had been his sensations during the ascent. 'We felt as tranquil,' answered the philosopher, 'as when sitting in our cabinets.' The prince thought he knew mankind too well to believe this assertion, and quitted the room with some tokens of displeasure at what he considered as ostentatious fortitude: but he was soon reconciled when Guyton explained the difference between the sensations experienced in the case in question, which were the effect of personal resolution, and of the confidence placed in the means of safety, and those he felt in looking down from a high steeple, when his head invariably became giddy, and he trembled for his existence.
'Thus did of old the adventurous Cretan dare, With wings not given to man attempt the air.'
Knolles, in his history of the Turks, gives the following relation, ludicrous enough in everything but the termination, of an attempt of flying made at Constantinople about the year 1147, during the visit of Clisasthlan the Turkish sultan, to Emanuel the Greek emperor.
'Amongst the quaint devices of many for solemnizing of so great a triumph, there was an active Turk, who had openly given it out, that against an appointed time he would from the top of a high tower in the tilt yard, fly the space of a furlong; the report whereof had filled the city with a wonderful expectation of so strange a novelty. The time prefixed being come, and the people without number assembled, the Turk, according to his promise, upon the top of a high tower showed himself, girt in a long and large white garment, gathered into many plaits and foldings, made on purpose for the gathering of the wind; wherewith the foolish man had vainly persuaded himself to have hovered in the air, as do birds upon their wings, or to have guided himself, as are ships with their sails. Standing thus hovering a great while, as ready to take his flight, the beholders still laughing, and crying out, 'Fly, Turk, fly! How long shall we expect thy flight?' The emperor in the meantime still kept dissuading from so desperate an attempt; and the sultan, betwixt fear and hope, hanging in doubtful suspense what might happen to his countryman. The Turk, after he had a great while hovered with his arms abroad (the better to have gathered the wind, as birds do with their wings), and long deluded the expectation of the beholders, at length finding the wind fit, as he thought, for his purpose, committed himself with his vain hope into the air, but instead of mounting aloft, this foolish Icarus came tumbling down with such violence, that he broke his neck, his arms his legs, with almost all the bones of his body.'
A similar attempt is related in Scottish history to have been made from the battle. meets of Stirling Castle; but the adventurer in that instance was less unfortunate; he fell upon a dunghill.
More recently, a Saxon clergyman, enlightened doubtless by the aids of modern Sciences, is said to have actually succeeded in accomplishing the apparently chimerical project. In the foreign journals of 1817, there was the following announcement: 'FLYING MACHINE A clergyman in Lower Saxony has been so happy as to succeed in accomplishing the invention of an airship. The machine is built of light wood, it is made to float in the air, chiefly by means of the constant action of a large pair of bellows of a peculiar construction, which occupies in the front the position of the lungs and the neck of a bird on the wing. The wings on both sides are directed by thin cords. The height to which a farmer's boy (ten or twelve years of age) whom the inventor has instructed in the management of it, has hitherto ascended with it, is not considerable, because his attention has been more directed to give a progressive than an ascending motion to this machine.'
Origin of the Percys.
It is related in Speed's history, that the Castle of Alnwick being besieged by Malcolm, King of the Scots, and in imminent danger of falling into his hands, a young English gentleman rode forth from the town, holding a bunch of keys suspended from the end of a small spear, which he carried in his hand. His appearance with such a token of submission was exultingly hailed in the enemy's camp, and on being introduced to the Scottish sovereign, he lowered the lance, as if, intending to make his majesty-a tender of the keys of the castle; when all of a sudden he made such a home thrust at Malcolm, that running the spear into his eye, he laid him dead on the spot. Amidst the momentary astonishment and confusion which this daring action occasioned, he found an opportunity to remount his horse, and favoured by its swiftness, escaped back to Alnwick Castle in safety. 'And from this desperate action,' says Speed, 'came the name of Percy,' or Pierce-eye.
All this is very curious, but unfortunately for the credit of Speed in this instance, it happens to be nothing more than a witty fable; nor is there anything so highly honourable in the story as to make a Percy regret that it should be so. It is true that a disaster of the kind here described is said to have happened to King Malcolm III. in the year 1093; but the officer that slew him was, according to the ancient chronicle of Alnwick Abbey, in the Harleian MSS. at the British Museum No. 692, named Hammond, and had no connexion or affinity with the Percy family, which had not the least interest in Northumberland till near two hundred years after, in the reign of King Edward II. The Percy family, so renowned not only in the annals of England, but also in the history of Europe is descended from one of the Roman chieftains, who came over with William the Conqueror in the year 1066. This family has preserved the memory of their ancestors for two centuries earlier, deriving their descent from Mainfred, a Danish chieftain, who made irruptions into France before the year 886, which was the era of Rollo's expedition that ended in the conquest and peopling of Normandy in 912. The grandson of Mainfred like other Roman families, derived his name from his principal residence in France. In Lower Normandy, are three towns, or villages, of the name of Percy, the chief of which is situated near Villedieu, in the district of St. Lo, and from these it was that the family took the name of DE PERCY.
Sir Walter Raleigh.
Fuller, in his 'Worthies,' gives the following account of Sir Walter Raleigh's first rise in life.
'This Captain Raleigh,' he says, 'coming out of Ireland into the English court in good habit (his clothes being then a considerable part of his estate) found the queen walking till meeting with a dirty place, she seemed to scruple going over it. Presently Raleigh cast and spread his new plush cloak on the ground? whereupon the queen trod gently, rewarding him afterwards with many suits for his so free and seasonable tender of so fair a foot-cloth.
'An advantageous admittance into the first notice of a prince, is more than half a degree of preferment. When Sir Walter found some hopes of the queen's favour reflecting on him he wrote on a glass window obvious to the queen's eye:-
"Fain would I climb, but fear I to fall."
'Her majesty, either espying or being showed it, did under-write -
"If thy heart fail thee, climb not at all."
'How great a person in that court this knight did afterwards prove to be, is scarcely unknown to any.'
A minstrel called Blondel, who owed his fortune to Richard Coeur de Lion, animated with tenderness towards his illustrious master (who on his return from the crusades had been imprisoned by the emperor), was resolved to go over the world, until he had discovered the destiny of this prince. He had already traversed Europe, and was returning through Germany, when at Lintz, in Austria he learnt that there was near that city, at the entrance of a forest, a strong and ancient castle, in which there was a prisoner who was guarded with great care. A secret impulse persuaded Blondel that this prisoner was Richard: he went immediately to the castle, the sight of which made him tremble; he got acquainted with a peasant who often went there to carry provisions, and questioned him; but the man was ignorant of the name and quality of the prisoner. He could only inform him, that he was watched with the most exact attention, and was suffered to have no communication with any one but the keeper of the castle and his servants. He told him that this castle was a horrid abode, that the staircase and the apartments were black with age, and so dark, that at noon-day it was necessary to have lighted flambeaux to find the way along them. He added, that the prisoner had no other amusement than looking over the country through a small grated window, which served also for the light that glimmered into his apartments.
Blondel listened with eager attention, and meditated several ways of coming at the prisoner; but all in vain. At last, when he found that from the height and narrowness of the window he could not get a sight of his dear master, for so he firmly believed him to be, he recollected a French song, the last couplet of which had been composed by Richard, and the first by himself. After he had sung with a loud and harmonious voice the first part, he suddenly stopped and heard a voice which came from the castle window, 'Continue, and finish the song.' Transported with joy, he was now assured it was the king, his master who was confined in this dismal castle. The chronicle adds, that one of the keeper's servants falling sick, Blondel got himself hired in his place; and thus at last obtained personal access to Richard. The nobility of England were informed with all expedition of the situation of their monarch, and he was released from his confinement by the payment of a large ransom; though but for the extraordinary perseverance of the grateful Blondel, he might have wasted out his days in the prison to which he had been treacherously consigned.
Battle of Malplaquet.
In this celebrated battle, so glorious to the British arms, the Prince of Orange was the most daring of all the commanders engaged in the dreadful conflict. He led on the first nine battalions under a tremendous shower of grape and musketry. He had scarcely advanced a few paces, when the brave Oxenstiern was killed by his side, and several aides-decamp and attendants successively dropped as he advanced. His own horse being killed, he rushed forward on foot; and as he passed the opening of the great flanking battery, whole ranks were swept away; yet he reached the entrenchment, and waving his hat, in an instant the breastwork was forced at the point of the bayonet by the Dutch guards and highlanders. But before they could deploy, they were driven from the post by an impetuous charge from the troops of the French left, who had been rallied by Marshal Boufflers. At this moment the corps under Dohna moved gallantly against the battery on the road, penetrated into the embrasures, and took some colours; but ere they reached the front of the breastwork, were mown down by the battery on the flank. A dreadful carnage took place among all the troops in this concerted attack; Spaar lay dead upon the field of battle; Hamilton was carried off wounded; and the lines beginning to waver, recoiled a few paces. Calling up fresh spirit to recover from this repulse, the heroic Prince of Orange mounted another horse, that was also shot under him; still his energy remained unshaken, on foot he rallied the nearest troops: and seizing a standard from the regiment of Mey, marched almost alone to the entrenchment. He planted the colours upon the bank, and called aloud, 'Follow me, my friends, here is your post!' His gallant troops followed their leader. Again the onset was renewed, but it was no longer possible to force the enemy; for the second line had closed up, and the whole breastwork bristled with bayonets, and blazed with fire. Although again repulsed, the Prince of Orange would not be dissuaded from returning once more to the charge; and at length actually carried the seemingly impregnable entrenchment.
The Great Conde.
The military life of this great commander was a succession of enterprises. He was always on the offensive, braving every danger, and yet always successful. He commanded at the battle of Rocroi, when he was not more than twenty-one years of age; and by his quickness in perceiving at once both the danger and the remedy, and by an activity which carried him to all places at the very instant when his presence was wanted, he in a manner gained the battle himself. It was Conde who, with the cavalry, attacked and broke the Spanish infantry till then invincible. As strong and as closely united as the -celebrated ancient phalanx, It opened itself with an agility which the phalanx had not, and thus suddenly made way for the discharge of eighteen pieces of cannon that were placed in the midst of it. The Prince of Conde surrounded and attacked it three times; and at length victory decided in his favour.
In the attack on the camp of Merci at Fribourg, the following year, which was renewed three successive days, the prince threw his staff of command into the enemy's trenches, and marched, sword in hand, to regain it at the head of the regiment of Conti. This bold action inspired the troops with ret doubled ardour, and the battle of Fribourg was gained.
King of Tristan d'Acunha.
In the year 1811, an American sailor of the name of Jonathan Lambert, accompanied by two other Americans, and an English sailor of the name of Thomas Currie, and a boy, a native of Minorca, took possession of the three islands named Tristan d'Acunha, situated midway in the South Atlantic, between the Cape of Good Hope and the Brazil coast. Lambert took possession of the islands in a very formal manner; but after remaining some months, he and the two Americans, under presence of fishing and collecting wrecks, took the boat and left the island. he quitted, he left on the island a document, by which he constituted himself sole monarch of this group of islands. The following is an extract from this curious manifesto: -
'Know all men by these presents, that I, Jonathan Lambert, late of Salem, in the state of Massachusetts, United States of America and citizen thereof, have this fourth day of February, 1811, taken absolute possession of the island of Tristan d'Acunha, so called, viz. the Great Island, and the other two, known by the names of Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands, solely for myself and heirs for ever with the right of conveying the whole, or any part thereof, to one or more persons, by deed of sale, free gift, or otherwise, as I, or they (my heirs) may hereafter think fitting or proper.'
King Jonathan then proceeds to give new names to the islands, which are to be denominated the Islands of Refreshment; fixes the seat of government, and adds:-
'And I do further declare that the cause of the said act set forth in this instrument, originated in the desire and determination of preparing for myself and family a house, where I can enjoy life, without the embarrassments which have hitherto constantly attended me; and procure for us an interest, and property by means of which a competence may be ever secured, and remain, if possible, far removed beyond the reach of chicanery and ordinary misfortunes.'
Few men have been more remarkable than General Putnam for the acts of successful rashness to which a bold and intrepid spirit frequently prompted him.
When he was pursued by General Tyron at the head of fifteen hundred men, his only method of escape was precipitating his horse down the steep declivity of the rock called Horseneck; and as none of his pursuers dared to imitate his example, he escaped.
But an act of still more daring intrepidity was his venturing to clear in a boat the tremendous waterfalls of Hudson's river. This was in the year 1756, when Putnam fought against the French and their allies, the Indians. He was accidentally with a boat and five men on the eastern side of the river, contiguous to these falls. His men, who were on the opposite side, informed him by signal, that a considerable body of savages were advancing to surround him, and there was not a moment to lose. Three modes of conduct were at his option - to remain, fight, and be sacrificed; to attempt to pass to the other side exposed to the full shot of the enemy; or to sail down the waterfalls, with almost a certainty of being overwhelmed. These were the only alternatives. Putnam did not hesitate, and jumped into his boat at the fortunate instant, for one of his companions, who was at a little distance was a victim to the Indians. His enemies soon arrived, and discharged their muskets at the boat before he could get out of their reach. No sooner had he escaped this danger through the rapidity of the current, but death presented itself under a more terrific form. Rocks, whose points projected above the surface of the water; large masses of timber that nearly closed the passage; absorbing gulfs, and rapid descents, for the distance of a quarter of a mile, left him no hope of escape but by a miracle. Putnam however placed himself at the helm, and directed it with the utmost tranquillity. His companions saw him with admiration, terror, and astonishment avoid with the utmost address the rocks and threatening gulfs, which they every instant expected to devour him. He disappeared, rose again, and directing his course across the only passage which he could possibly make he at length gained the even surface of the river that flowed at the bottom of this dreadful cascade. The Indians were no less surprised. This miracle astonished them almost as much as the sight of the first Europeans that approached the banks of this river. They considered Putnam as invulnerable, and they thought that they should offend the Great Spirit if they attempted the life of a man that was so visibly under his immediate protection.
Soon after Mr. Putnam removed to Connecticut, the wolves, then very numerous, broke into his sheepfold, and killed seven fine sheep and goats, besides wounding many lambs and kids. This havoc was committed by a she-wolf, which, with her annual whelps, had several times infested the vicinity. The young were commonly destroyed by the vigilance of the hunters; but the old one was too sagacious to come within gunshot; upon being closely pursued, she would generally fly to the western woods, and return the next winter with another litter of whelps
This wolf at length became such an intolerable nuisance that Mr. Putnam entered into a combination with five of his neighbours to hunt alternately until they could destroy her. Two, by rotation, were to be constantly in pursuit. It was known that, having lost the toes of one foot by a steel trap, she made one track shorter than the other. By this peculiarity the pursuers recognised in a light snow the route of this destructive animal. Having followed her to Connecticut river, and found she had turned back in a direct course towards Pomfret, they immediately returned, and by ten o'clock the next morning the bloodhounds had driven her into a den, about three miles from Mr. Putnam's house. The people soon collected with dogs, guns, straw, fire, and sulphur, to attack the common enemy. With these materials several unsuccessful efforts were made to force her from the den. The dogs came back badly wounded, and refused to return to the charge. The smoke of blazing straw had no effect; nor did the fumes of burnt brimstone with which the cavern was filled, compel the wolf to quit her retire meet. Wearied with such fruitless attempts, which had been continued until ten o'clock at night, Mr. Putnam tried once more to make his dog enter, but in. vain He proposed to his negro servant to go down into the cavern and shoot the wolf, but he declined the hazardous enterprise. Then it was that Mr. Putnam, declaring that he would not have a coward in his family, and angry at the disappointment, resolved himself to destroy the ferocious beast or perish in the attempt. His neighbours strongly remonstrated against the perilous undertaking; but he knowing that wild animals are intimidated by fire, and having provided several slips of birch bark the only combustible material which he could obtain that would afford light in this deep and darksome cave, prepared for his descent. Having divested himself of his coat and waistcoat, and fixed a rope round his body, by which he might, at a concerted signal, be drawn from the cave, he entered head foremost with the blazing torch in his hand.
The aperture of the den, on the east side of a very high ledge of rocks, was about two feet square; thence it descended obliquely fifteen feet; then running horizontally about ten more, it ascended gradually sixteen feet towards its termination. The sides of this subterranean cavity were composed of smooth and solid rocks, which seem to have been driven from each other by some earthquake. The top and bottom were of stone, and the entrance in winter, being covered with ice, exceeding slippery. The cave was in no place high enough for a man to stand upright, nor in any part more than three feet wide.
Having groped his passage to the horizontal part of the den, the most terrifying darkness appeared in front of the dim circle of light afforded by his torch. It was silent as the tomb! None but monsters of the desert had ever before explored this solitary mansion of horror. Mr. Putnam cautiously proceeded onward, came to the ascent, which be mounted on his hands and knees, and then discovered the glaring eyeballs of the wolf, which was sitting at the extremity of the cavern; startled at the sight of the fire, she gnashed her teeth and gave a sullen growl. As soon as he had made the discovery, he gave the signal for pulling him out of the cave. The people at the mouth of the den, who had listened with painful anxiety, hearing the growling of the wolf, and supposing their friend to be in the most imminent danger, drew him forth with such celerity, that his shirt was stripped over his head, and his body much lacerated. After he had adjusted his clothes, and loaded his gun with nine buckshot, with a torch in one hand and his musket in the other, he descended a second time; he approached the wolf nearer than before, who assumed a still more fierce and terrible appearance, howling, rolling her eyes, and gnashing her teeth. At length dropping her head between her legs, she prepared to spring on him. At this critical moment he levelled his piece, and shot her in the head. Stunned with the shock, and nearly suffocated with the smoke, he immediately found himself drawn out of the cave. Having refreshed himself, and permitted the smoke to clear, he entered the cave a third time, when he found the waif was dead; he took hold of her ears, and making the necessary signal, the people above, with no small exultation, drew Mr. Putnam and the wolf both out together.
The character which the Scotch have acquired, beyond almost any other people, for the art of pushing their fortune abroad, was never perhaps more singularly illustrated than by the following anecdote, which Dr. Anderson relates in his 'Bee,' on the authority of a baronet of scientific eminence.
The Russians and Turks in the war of 173,0, having diverted themselves long enough in the contest, agreed to treat of a peace. The commissioners for this purpose were, Marshal General Keith, on the part of Russia; and the Grand Vizier, on that of the Turks. These two personages met, and carried on their negotiations by means of interpreters. When all was concluded, they rose to separate; the marshal made his bow with his hat in his hand, and the vizier his salam with his turban on his head. But when these ceremonies of taking leave were over, the vizier turned suddenly, and coming up to Marshal Keith, took him cordially by the hand, and in the broadest Scotch dialect, declared warmly that it made him 'unco happy to meet a countryman in his exalted station.' Keith stared with astonishment, eager for an explanation of this mystery, when the vizier added, 'Dinna be surprised mon, I'm o' the same country wi' yourself. I mind weel seeing you, and your brother, when boys, passin' by to the school at Kirkaldy; my father, sir, was bellman o' Kirkaldy.'
What more extraordinary can be imagined, than to behold in the plenipotentiaries of two mighty nations, two foreign adventurers, natives of the same mountainous territory; nay, of the very same village! What, indeed, more extraordinary, unless it be the spectacle of a Scotchman turned Turk for the sake of honours, held on the tenure of a caprice from which even Scotch prudence can be no guarantee!
Escape of the Pretender.
After the battle of Culloden, which terminated all his hopes of success, the Pretender determined to endeavour to effect his escape to France. Having dismissed the two troops of horse by which he was attended, and parted with his friends he made the best of his way to Long Island where he expected to find a ship that would carry him to France. After encountering many difficulties, and often suffering for the want of provisions, he reached it, but here his situation became still more dangerous; his escape had become known to the king's army, and troops were sent out in every direction in quest of him. The condition of Charles then seemed to be altogether desperate; a number of men in arms, said to be fifteen hundred or two thousand, were marching backwards and forwards through the Long Island in search of him; and it was surrounded on every side by cutters, sloops of war, frigates, and forty-gun ships. A guard was posted at every one of the ferries; and no one could get out of the island without a passport. In this perilous state Charles remained from the first week of June to the last; but informed of every movement of the troops, he often passed and repassed them in the night, and his hair-breadth escapes were innumerable. From perils so imminent, he was at last delivered by a young woman moved with compassion, the characteristic of womankind. Her name was Flora Macdonald the daughter of Macdonald of Melton, in the Isle of South Uist. Miss Macdonald, who was related to Clan Ronald, had come to visit his family at Ormaclade, and was living with them, when Colonel O'Neil came there, and talking of the distresses of Prince Charles, whom he had constantly attended since he came to the Long Island, Miss Macdonald expressed the most earnest desire to see him saying to the colonel, that if she could be of the smallest service in preserving him from his enemies, she would do it most gladly. Colonel O'Neil said that she could be of the greatest service, if she would take him with her to Skye as her maid, dressed in woman's clothes. Miss Macdonald thought the proposition fantastical and dangerous, and positively refused to agree to it. Soon after this conversation, Colonel O'Neil brought Charles to her brother's farm, where Miss Macdonald was. Charles seemed to be in bad health; he was thin, and emaciated, but possessed a degree of cheerfulness incredible to all but such as saw him. Miss Macdonald seeing him in this condition, instantly agreed to conduct him to the Isle of Skye in the manner Colonel O'Neil had proposed; and set out for Clan Ronald's house, to provide everything that was necessary. From her stepfather, who commanded the Macdonald militia in South Uist, she procured a passport for herself, a man-servant, and her maid, who in the passport was called Betty Burke, and recommended by Captain Macdonald to his wife as an excellent spinner of flax, and a most faithful servant. A boat with six oars was procured; and about eight o'clock in the evening they embarked, and reached Skye in safety. From Skye where Miss Macdonald left him, Charles sailed to Lochnevis, a lake in the mainland where he was put on shore on the 5th of July. Here a great number of the king's troops were stationed, the officers of which were acquainted with the landing of Charles, and determined to prevent his escape. Charles having made himself known to Macdonald of Glenaladale, he, in company with another Macdonald, after consulting with Charles, resolved to attempt bringing him through the line of posts. Along this line sentinels were placed, so near one another in the day time, that nobody could pass without being seen; and when it began to grow dark, fires were lighted at every post, and the sentinels crossed continually from one fire to another, so that there was a time when both their backs being turned, a person might pass unseen. Between two of these fires there was a small brook, which had worn a channel among the rocks. Up the channel of this brook Charles and the two Macdonalds crept; and watching their opportunity, passed between the two sentinels. After having crossed the line of posts, the Macdonalds had determined to conduct Charles to the Ross-shire highlands; but were advised by a friend whom they met to take him to the great hill, Corado, which lies between Kintail and Glenmoriston, where they would find seven men, upon whom the prince might absolutely depend, for they were brave and faithful, and most of them had been in his army. They did so, and found the men living in a cave: they immediately recognised Charles, and fell upon their knees, and gave him a most hearty welcome. Charles was then in great distress: he had a bonnet on his head, and a wretched yellow wig; a clouted handkerchief about his neck; and a coat of coarse dark coloured cloth; a Stirling tartan waistcoat, much worn, a pretty good belted plaid; turban hose; and highland brogues, tied with thongs, so much worn, that they would scarcely stick upon his feet. His shirt, and he had not another, was of the colour of saffron. With these people Charles stayed some time, and they very soon provided him with clean linen; for a detachment of the king's army, commanded by Lord George Sackville, being ordered to march from Fort Augustus to Strathglass, the attendants of Charles were informed of it, and knowing that the detachment must pass at no great distance from their habitation, they resolved to place themselves between two hills near the road to Strathglass. The detachment passed; and some officers' servants following at a considerable distance, the highlanders fired at them, and seized some portmanteaus, in which they found everything that Charles stood in need of.
Charles remained in the cave with these men five weeks and three days; and they then conducted him in safety to a place called Corineuir, and from thence to Lettermlik, a remote place in the great mountain Benalder, where a habitation called the Cage was fitted up by Cluny, in which he and Lochiel had lived some time. Charles remained here until the 13th of September, when a message came from Cameron of Clunes, to acquaint him that two French frigates were arrived at Lochnanuagh, near Borradaile, to carry him to France. Charles set out immediately, and travelling by night only, arrived at Borradaile on the 19th of September. The next day he embarked with about a hundred other persons who had been engaged in the rebellion, and reached Morlaix in nine days.
The name now inscribed, presents an eminent instance of the force of persevering talent. The minuteness of the following extracts from Mr. Hutton's diary of his own life. is necessary to develope fully the excellent and encouraging example which they afford,
1746. - An inclination for books began to expand, but there, as in music and dress, money was wanting. The first article of purchase was three volumes of the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' 1742, 3, and 4. As E could not afford to pay for binding, I fastened them together in a most cobbled style. These afforded me a treat.
I could only raise books of small value, and these in worn-out bindings. I learned to patch. procured paste, varnish, &c. and brought them into tolerable order; erected shelves, and arranged them in the best manner I was
If I purchased shabby books, it is no wonder that I dealt with a shabby bookseller, who kept his working apparatus in his shop. It is no wonder too, if by repeated visits I became acquainted with this shabby bookseller, and often saw him at work; but it is a wonder and a fact, that I never saw him perform one act but I could perform it myself, so strong was the desire to attain the art.
I made no secret of my progress and the bookseller rather encouraged me, and that for two reasons: I bought such rubbish as nobody else would, and he had often an opportunity of selling me a cast-off tool for a shilling, not worth a penny. As I was below every degree of opposition, rivalship was out of the question.
The first book I bound was a very small one, Shakspeare's 'Venus and Adonis.' I showed it to the bookseller. He seemed surprised. I could see jealousy in his eye. However he recovered in a moment, and observed, that though he had sold me the books and tools remarkably cheap, he could not think of giving me so much for them again. He had no doubt but that I should break.
He offered me a worn down press for two shillings, which no man could use, and which was laid by for the fire. I considered the nature of its construction, bought it, and paid the two shillings. I then asked him to favour me with a hammer and a pin, which he brought with half a conquering smile and half a sneer. I drove out the garter-pin, which being gaffed, prevented the press from working, and turned another square, which perfectly cured the press. He said in anger, "If I had known, you should not have had it." However I could see that he consoled himself with the idea that all must return in the end. This proved for forty-two years my best binding press.
I now purchased a tolerably genteel suit of clothes, and was so careful of them, lest I should not be able to procure another, that they continued my best for five years.
It was now time to look out for a future place of residence. A large town must be the mark, or there would be no room for exertion. London was thought of, between my sister and me, for I had no soul else to consult. This was rejected for two reasons, I could not venture into such a place without a capital and my work was not likely to pass among a crowd of judges.
My plan was to fix upon some market town, within a stage of Nottingham, and open a shop there on the market day, till I should be better prepared to begin the world at Birmingham.
I fixed upon Southwell as the first step of elevation. It was fourteen miles distant, and the town was as despicable as the road to it. I went over at Michaelmas, took a shop at the rate of twenty shillings a year, sent a few boards for shelves, a few tools, and about two hundred weight of trash, which might be dignified with the name of books, and worth perhaps a year's rent of my shop. I was my own joiner, put up the shelves end their furniture, and, in one day, became the most eminent bookseller in the place.
During this rainy winter, I set out at five every Saturday morning, carried a burden of from three pounds to thirty; opened shop at ten, starved in it all day upon bread, cheese, and half a pint of ale, took from one to six shillings, shut up shop at four, and by trudging through the solitary night and the deep roads five hours more, I arrived at Nottingham by nine, where I always found a mess of milk porridge by the fire, prepared by a valuable sister
Nothing short of a surprising resolution, and rigid economy, could have carried me through this scene.
On the 10th of April, 1750, I entered Birmingham for the first time, to try if I could be accommodated with a small shop. If I could procure any situation, I should be in the way of procuring a better. On the 11th I traversed the streets, agreed with Mrs. Dix for the lesser half of her shop, No. 6, in Bull Street, at one shilling a week, and slept at Lichfield, in my way beck to Nottingham.
It happened that Mr. Rudsdall, a dissenting minister of Gainsborough, with whom my sister had lived as a servant, now declined housekeeping, his wife being dead. He told my sister that he should part with the refuse of his library, and would sell it me. She replied, 'He has no money.' 'We will not differ about that. Let him come to Gainsborough, and he shall have the books at his own price.' I walked to Gainsborough on the 15th of May, stayed there the 16th, and came back on the 17th.
The books were about two hundred pounds' weight. Mr. Rudsdall gave me his corn chest for their deposit, and, for payment drew the following note, which I signed:
'I promise to pay to Ambrose Rudsdall, one pound seven shillings, when I am able.'
Mr. Rudsdall observed, 'You need never pay this note, if you only say you are not able.' The books made a better show, and were more valuable than all I had besides. My brother came to see me about six weeks after my arrival, to whom I observed, that the trade had fully supported me. Five shillings a week covered every expense, as food, rent, washing, lodging, &c. Thus a solitary year rolled round, when a few young men, of elevated character and sense, took notice of me. I had saved about twenty pounds, and was become more reconciled to my situation. The first who took a fancy to me was Samuel Salte, a mercer's apprentice, who, five years after, resided in London, where he acquired £100,000. He died in 1797. Our intimate friendship lasted his life.
In this first opening of prosperity an unfortunate circumstance occurred, which gave me great uneasiness, as it threatened totally to eclipse the small prospect before me. The overseers, fearful I should become chargeable to the parish, examined me, with regard to my settlement, and with the voice of authority, ordered me to procure a certificate, or they would remove me. Terrified, I wrote to my father, who returned for answer, 'That All-Saints, in Derby, never granted certificates.'
I was hunted by ill nature two years. I repeatedly offered to pay the levies, which was refused. A succeeding overseer, who was a draper, of whom I had purchased two suits of clothes, value £10, consented to take them. The scruple exhibited a short sight, a narrow principle, and the exultations of power over the defenseless.
In 1756, Robert Bage, an old and intimate friend, and a paper maker, took me to his inn where we spent the evening. He proposed that I should sell paper for him, which I might either buy on my own account, or sell on his by commission. As I could spare one or two hundred pounds, I chose to purchase; therefore appropriated a room for the reception of goods, and hung out a sign, 'The paper warehouse.' From this small hint, I followed the stroke forty years, and acquired an ample fortune.
Mr. Wilson, a gentleman of Cornwall, who inherited an estate of about £1000 per annum in that county, at the age of twenty-three, and in the year 1741, the year after his father's death, set off for the continent on his travels. He rode on horseback, with one servant, over the greatest part of the world. He first viewed every European country, in doing which, he spent eight years. He then embarked for America: was two years in the northern part, and three years more in South America; where he travelled as a Spaniard which he was enabled to do, from the facility with which he spoke the language. The climate, prospects, &c. of Peru, enchanted him so much, that he hired a farm, and resided on it nearly twelve months. His next tour was to the East; he passed successively through all the territories in Africa, to the south of the Mediterranean, Egypt, Syria, and all the dominions of the Grand Signior; went twice through Persia, through the northern and southern provinces: over Hindostan, and part of Siam and Pegu, and made several excursions to the boundaries of China. He afterwards, on his return, stopped at the Cape of Good Hope, and penetrated some distance into Africa; and on his return to the Cape, he took the opportunity of a ship going to Batavia, and thence visited most of the islands in the Great Indian Archipelago. Returning to Europe, he landed at Cadiz, and travelled over land to Moscow, in his way to Kamschatka. In 1783, he was at Moscow, healthy and vigorous, and though then in his sixtysixth year, was preparing for a journey to Siberia.
The New River.
During the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James I. acts of parliament were obtained for the better supplying of the metropolis with water; but the enterprise seemed too great for any individual, or even for the city collectively, to venture upon, until Mr. Hugh Middleton, a native of Denbigh, and goldsmith of London, offered to begin the work. The Court of Common Council accepted his offer; and having vested him with ample powers, this gentleman, with a spirit equal to the importance of the undertaking, at his own risk and charge, began the work. He had not proceeded far, when innumerable and unforeseen difficulties presented themselves. The art of civil engineering was then little understood in this country, and he experienced many obstructions, from the occupiers and proprietors of the lands through which he was under the necessity of conducting this stream.
The distance of the springs of Amwell and Chadwell, whence the water was to be brought, is twenty miles from London; but it was found necessary, in order to avoid the eminences and valleys in the way, to make it run a course of more than thirty-eight miles. 'The depth of the trench' says Stowe, 'in some places, descended full thirty feet, if not more; whereas, in other places, it required as sprightfull arte againe to mount it over a valley, in a trough betweene a couple of tails, and the trough all the while borne up by woodden arches, some of them fixed in the ground very deepe, and rising in height above twenty-three foot.'
The industrious projector soon found himself so harassed and impeded by interested persons in Middlesex and Hertfordshire, that he was obliged to solicit a prolongation of the time, to accomplish his undertaking. This the city granted, but they refused to interest themselves in this great and useful work although Mr. Middleton was quite impoverished by it. He then applied, with more success, to the king himself, who, upon a moiety of the concern being made over to him, agreed to pay half the expense of the work already incurred, as well as of the future It now went on without interruption, and was finished according to Mr. Middleton's original agreement with the city; when, on the 29th of September, 1613, the water was let into the bason, now called the New River Head which was prepared for its reception.
By an exact admeasurement of the course of the New River, taken in 1723, it appeared to be nearly thirty-nine miles in length: it has between two or three hundred bridges over it, and upwards of forty sluices in its course, and in divers parts, both over and under the same, considerable currents of land waters, as well as a great number of brooks and rivulets, have their passage.
This great undertaking cost half a million of money, and was the ruin of its first projector, some of whose descendants have received a paltry annuity of £20 from the City, that was so much benefited by the work, by which they were rendered destitute.
The property of the New River is divided into seventytwo shares; for the first nineteen years after the finishing of the work, the annual profit upon each share scarcely amounted to twelve shillings. A share is now considered to be worth £11,500, and they have been sold as high as £l4,000.
Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo.
The capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, in the late war in Spain, deserves to rank with the proudest deeds of the British army; it being probably the only well authenticated instance of a retrenched breach, fully manned, and prepared for defence, being carried by an effort of cool and deliberate courage, against a brave and skilful enemy. Lord Wellington, who directed the siege, observing strong indications of an immediate advance of the enemy to relieve the place, decided upon giving the assault as soon as the breaches should be judged practicable. In consequence, such were the exertions made to push forward the attack, that two good breaches were effected on the thirteenth day, notwithstanding the garrison fired above 11,000 large shells, and nearly an equal number of shot, without a single round being fired against the defences in return. General Picton's division was directed to assault the larger, and General Crawford's division the lesser; whilst the demonstration of an escalade, to divert the attention of the garrison, was directed to be made on the opposite side of the place, by a body of the Portuguese, under General Pack. At 9 A.M. the leading brigade of each division most cheerfully moved forward, preceded by parties of sappers, carrying some hundred of bags filled with hay, which they threw into the ditch, to lessen its depth. Major General M'Kinnon's first descended opposite the great breach; at which moment hundreds of shells and various combustibles, which had been arranged along the foot of the rubbish, prematurely exploded, and exhausted themselves before the troops arrived within the sphere of their action. The men gallantly ascended the breach against an equally gallant resistance; and it was not until after a sharp struggle, that the bayonets of the assailants prevailed, and gained them a footing on the summit of the rampart. There, behind an interior retrenchment, the garrison redoubled their defensive efforts; but nothing could long resist the ardour of the attacking columns, and the French gave way at the very moment that the lesser breach was forced, then being attacked on both flanks, they took refuge in the town, where they were pursued from house to house, till all the survivors were made prisoners.
Capture of the Chesapeake.
The national vanity of the Americans never received a rebuke more severe or merited, than in the engagement between the Shannon and the Chesapeake. This action was fought off Boston, and was witnessed by thousands of the inhabitants; and so confident were these good citizens of the success of their countrymen, that a supper was ordered, to welcome them on their victory, to which the captured British officers were to be invited, no doubt to give additional grace to the triumph.
The commander of the Shannon, Captain Broke, had long been anxious to engage the Chesapeake, although she was superior in tonnage, number of guns, weight of metal, and complement of men. Accordingly, while laying off Boston, in June 1813, Captain Broke sent a challenge to Captain Lawrence, of the Chesapeake, to meet, 'ship to ship, to try the fortune of their respective flags.' The letter was written in a very gentlemanly style, with great candour and spirit; it concluded in the true spirit of a British sailor anxious only for a battle, 'Choose your terms, but let.
Before the challenge reached the Chesapeake, she was observed to be under weigh. She came down upon the Shannon's quarters with three ensigns flying. She had also flying at the fore, a large flag, inscribed with these words: 'Free trade and sailors' rights;' upon a supposition that this favourite American motto might paralyse the efforts, or damp the energy of the Shannon's men. The vessels were soon in action; the shot of the Shannon was very destructive. After ten minutes' fighting, Captain Broke perceived that the Chesapeake's quarter-deck division were deserting their guns, he instantly called out, 'Board!' end accompanied by the first lieutenant and twenty men, sprang upon the Chesapeake's quarter-deck. Here not an officer or a man was to be seen; upon her gangways about twenty Americans made a slight resistance. These were instantly driven towards the forecastle, where a few endeavoured to get down the fore hatchway, but in their eagerness, prevented each other; a few fled over the bows, and reached the main deck, and the remainder laid down their arms. The Chesapeake's fore top was now stormed by Midshipman Smith and his top men, about five in number, who either destroyed or drove on deck all the Americans there stationed. This gallant young officer had deliberately passed along the Shannon's fore-yard, which was braced up to the Chesapeake's, also braced up, and thence into her top.
After those on the forecastle had submitted, Captain Broke ordered one of his men to stand sentry over them; and sent most of the others aft, where the conflict was still going on He was in the act of giving them orders to answer the fire from the Chesapeake's maintop, when three treacherous Americans seeing they were superior to the British then near them, had armed themselves afresh. Captain Broke parried the middle fellow's pike, and wounded him in the face: but instantly received from the man on the pikeman's right, a blow with the butt-end of a musket, which bared his skull and stunned him. Determined to finish the British commander, the third man cut him down with his broadsword; and at that very instant, was himself cut down by one of the Shannon's seamen. Captain Broke and his treacherous foe now lay side by side; each, although nearly powerless, struggling to regain his sword, when a marine despatched the American with his bayonet. Captain Broke was severely wounded by this affair, and while a seaman was tying a handkerchief round his commander's head, he called out (pointing aft), 'There, sir, there goes up the old ensign over the Yankee colours.' The captain saw it hoisting, and was instantly led to the quarterdeck, where he seated himself upon one of the carronade slides.
Even after the British colours were flying on board the Chesapeake, some of her men kept firing up the mainhatchway, and killed a British marine. It was then, and not till then, that Lieutenant Falkiner, who was sitting on the booms, very properly directed three or four muskets that were ready, to be fired down. Captain Broke told him to summon them to surrender if they desired quarter He did so, and they replied, 'We surrender,; and all hostility ceased. Between the discharge of the first gun, and the period of Captain Broke's boarding, eleven minutes only elapsed; and in four minutes more, the Chesapeake was completely his.
In the year 1700, the ship Good Intent, from Waterford, was taken by a French privateer off Ushant, who took out all the crew, except five men and a boy, over whom they placed nine Frenchmen. While navigating the vessel to France, four of the English formed the design of regaining possession of the vessel. One Brien tripped up the heels of the Frenchman at the helm, seized his pistol, and discharged it at another; making at the same time a signal to his three comrades below to follow his example; they did so, and soon overcame them, the Frenchmen crying for quarter. None of the British sailors could either read or write, and were quite ignorant how to navigate the vessel; but Brien steered at a venture, and arrived safe at Youghall, in Ireland, in the gaol of which place he lodged his prisoners.
In 1794, the Betsey of London, in her return from Jamaica, parted from her convoy in the Gulph of Florida, and was captured off the Lizard by a French frigate. The captain and crew, with the exception of the mate, carpenter, cook, and boy, and Mrs. Williams, a passenger, were taken out of the Betsey by the Frenchmen, and a lieutenant and thirteen men put on board to take charge of the prize. Three days after, the ship being driven by heavy gales of wind in sight of Guernsey, a plot was laid for securing the Frenchmen, and retaking the ship. Mrs. Williams counterfeited being ill, on purpose to draw the attention of the lieutenant, while the cabin-boy removed the fire-arms, &c. This being effected, she prepared herself with extraordinary resolution for the event. At eleven o'clock at night when the lieutenant was asleep in his berth, and others of the French were between deck, in the fore part of the ship, the signal was given, and Mrs. Williams locked the lieutenant in the cabin, and stood at the door with a pistol in her hand, to prevent its being opened by force. In the meantime, the French on-deck were thrust down the fore hatchway by the three men. A fine breeze brought them into Cowes Road in twelve hours; and Mrs. Williams was found standing sentinel, with a pistol in her hand, at the cabin-door, when a boat's crew went on board. Thus, by the spirited exertions of a woman and three brave fellows, a ship and cargo, worth £20,000, was rescued from the enemy.
'The Argonautic vessel never past With swifter course along the Colchian main Than my small bark, with fair and steady blast Convey'd me forth, and reconvey'd again.' STORER.
When the treaty of marriage was pending between Henry VII. and Margaret, the Dowager of Savoy, Thomas Wolsey, Rector of Redgrave, in the Diocese of Norwich, was proposed as a fit person to be sent on the business to that princess's father, the Emperor Maximilian. The king had not before particularly noticed Wolsey; but after conversing with him on the subject, he was satisfied with his qualifications, and commanded him to be in readiness for the embassy.
The court was then at Richmond; from which Wolsey proceeded with his despatches to London, where he arrived about four o'clock in the afternoon. He had a boat waiting, and in less than three hours was at Gravesend. With post horses he got next morning to Dover, reached Calais in the course of the afternoon, and the same night arrived at the imperial court. The emperor, informed that an extraordinary ambassador had come from England, immediately gave him audience; and the business being agreeable, was quickly concluded. Wolsey without delay returned. He reached Calais at the opening of the gates; found the passengers going on board the vessel that brought him from England; embarked, end about ten o'clock was landed at Dover. Relays of horses having been provided, reached Richmond the same evening. Reposing some fume, he arose, and met the king as he came from his chamber to hear the morning service. His majesty, surprised, rebuked him for neglecting the orders with which he had been charged. 'May it please your highness,' said Wolsey, 'I have been with the emperor, and executed my commission to the satisfaction, I trust, of your majesty .' He then knelt, and presented Maximilian's letters. Dissembling the admiration which such unprecedented expedition excited, the king inquired if he had received no orders by a pursuivant sent after him? Wolsey answered that he had met the messenger as he returned but having preconceived the purpose for which he was sent, he had presumed of his own accord to supply the defect in his credentials; for which he solicited his majesty's pardon. The king, pleased with this foresight, and gratified with the result of the negotiation, readily forgave his temerity; and commanding him to attend the council in the afternoon, he desired that in the meantime he would refresh himself with repose.
Wolsey at the time appointed reported the 'business of his mission with so much clearness and propriety that he received the applause of all present; and the king, when the deanery of Lincoln became vacant, bestowed it on him unsolicited.
From being dean, Wolsey became bishop; from bishop, archbishop; from archbishop, cardinal; and as cardinal, the proudest subject of one of the proudest monarchs that ever swayed the sceptre of England.
Brodeau, a learned critic of the sixteenth century, gives a curious account of the enterprising schemes practiced by a ventriloquist who was valet de chambre to Francis I. The fellow, whose name was Louis Brabant, had fallen in love with a young, handsome, and rich heiress, but was rejected by the parents as an unsuitable match for their daughter, on account of the lowness of his circumstances. The young lady's father dying, he paid a visit to the widow, who was totally ignorant of his singular talent. Suddenly, on his first appearance, in open day, in her own house, and in the presence of several persons who were with her, she heard herself accosted in a voice resembling that of her dead husband, and which seemed to proceed from above, exclaiming, 'Give my daughter in marriage to Louis Brabant; he is a man of great fortune, and of an excellent character. I now endure the inexpressible torments of purgatory, for having refused her to him. If you obey this admonition, I shall soon be delivered from this place of torment. You will at the same time provide a worthy husband for your daughter, and procure everlasting repose to the soul of your poor husband.'
The widow could not for a moment resist this dread summons, which had not the most distant appearance of proceeding from Louis Brabant, whose countenance exhibited no visible change, and whose lips were close and motionless during the delivery of it. Accordingly, she consented immediately to receive him for her son-in-law. Louis's finances, however, were in a very low situation, and the formalities attending the marriage contract rendered necessary for him to exhibit some show of riches, and not to give the ghost the lie direct. He accordingly went to work upon a fresh subject, one Cornu, an old and rich banker at Lyons, who had accumulated immense wealth by usury and extortion, and was known to be haunted by remorse of conscience on account of the manner in which he had acquired it.
Having contracted an intimate acquaintance I with this man, he one day, while they were sitting together in the usurer's little back parlour, artfully turned the conversation on religious subjects, on demons and spectres, the pains of purgatory, and the torments of hell. During an interval of 'silence between them, a voice was heard, which to the astonished banker seemed to be that of a deceased father, I complaining, 'as in the former case, of his dreadful situation in purgatory, and calling upon him to deliver him instantly thence, by putting into the hands of Louis Brabant, then with him, a large sum for the redemption of Christians then in slavery with the Turks; threatened him at the same time with eternal punishment if he did not take this method to expiate likewise his own sins. Louis Brabant affected a due degree of astonishment on the occasion; and further promoted the deception by acknowledging his having devoted himself to the prosecution of the charitable design imputed to him by the ghost. An old usurer is naturally suspicious. Accordingly the wary banker made a second appointment with the ghost's delegate for the next day; and to render any design upon him utterly abortive, took him into the open fields, where not a house or a tree, or even a bush, or a pit, was in sight, capable of screening any supposed confederate. This extraordinary caution excited the ventriloquist to exert all the powers of his art. Wherever the banker conducted him, at every step his ears were saluted on all sides with the complaints and groans, not only of his father, but of his deceased relations, imploring him in the name of every saint in the calendar to have mercy on his own soul and theirs, by effectually seconding with his purse the intentions of his worthy companions. Cornu could no longer resist what he conceived to be the voice from heaven, and accordingly carried his guest home with him, and paid him down ten thousand crowns, with which the hones! ventriloquist returned to Paris and married his mistress.
'For some time past,' says a letter from Ostend, of the 10th of January, 1819, 'we have seen in our ports the most intrepid mariner perhaps that ever existed. He is an Englishman, who - in a small and frail boat, about sixteen feet in length, and from four to seven in breadth - undertakes alone the voyage from England to Ostend, where he takes on board a cargo of the produce of the country, which he carries to England in his boat. What is most astonishing is, that, neither the high sea nor the inclemency of the season, stops this hardy mariner. Let us imagine a man entirely alone in the open sea, guiding a little boat which hardly rises six inches above the surface of the ocean, exposed to the rain to the winds, and above all to the intense cold, and then we may form some judgment how far the habit of industry, or the love of gain will operate on the human mind. In his last voyage hither he was three days in the passage, and did not stop the whole time. He has contrived an ingenious method to steer his frail vessel. Placed in the front of the boat with his back to the prow, he guides the helm by means of two ropes which go the whole length of the boat, and thus manages his sculls without leaving his place. As the ice might accumulate against the sides of the boat, he has taken care, before putting out to sea, to grease all the sides, so that the water may not adhere to them. In this manner he traverses the ocean, without troubling himself about the many dangers to which he has been, or may in future be, exposed.'
Descent on Cape Breton.
While General Wolfe was busy superintending the embarkation of the troops, he ordered Major Scott to support a detachment of one hundred men, who had been sent forward to climb the rocks. The major pushed on with the division under his command; but his own boat arriving before the rest, and being staved to pieces on the rocky shore, he was obliged to land, and climb the steep by himself. He was in hopes that the hundred men who had been sent before him were engaged by this time with the enemy; but on ascending, he found no more than ten, who had stopped short in their career till their comrades should join them. Small as this number was, Major Scott resolved with them to get to the top of the rocks. On reaching the pinnacle, he found himself opposed by about sixty Frenchmen and ten Indians; and before he could establish a footing, two of his men were killed, and three wounded. Still the brave major would not even in this extremity abandon a post on which the success of the whole enterprise depended. He desired his five remaining followers not to be dismayed . and even went so far as to threaten that he would fire upon the first man that flinched. In the meantime he had three balls lodged in his clothes, and would have had all the enemy upon him at once, had it not been for a copse that was between them, and through which he kept them at bay. At length some of his detachment joined him; and advancing on the enemy, he drove them before him and took possession of the battery.
The Serpent of Rhodes.
In the fourteenth century, an amphibious animal, a sort of serpent or crocodile, caused much disorder in the Island of Rhodes by its depredations, and several inhabitants fell victims to its rapacity. The retreat of this animal was in a cavern, situated near a morass at the foot of Mount St. Etienne, two miles from Rhodes. It often came out to seek its prey, and devoured sheep, cows, horses, and even the shepherds who watched over the flocks.
Many of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem had essayed to destroy this monster; but they never returned. This induced Phelion de Velleneuve, the grand master of Malta, to forbid all the knights, on pain of being deprived of their habit, from attacking it, or attempting any further an enterprise which appeared to be above human powers.
All the knights obeyed the mandate of the grand master, except Dieu Donne de Gozon, a native of Provence, who notwithstanding the prohibition, and without being deterred by the fate of his brethren, secretly formed the daring design of fighting this savage beast, bravely resolving to deliver the isle of Rhodes from such a calamity, or to perish in the attempt. Having learnt that the serpent had no scales on its belly, upon that information he formed the plan of his enterprise. From the description he had received of this enormous beast, he made a wooden or paste" board figure of it, and he endeavoured to imitate its terrific cries. He then trained two young mastiffs to run to his cries, and to attach themselves immediately to the belly of the monster, whilst he mounted on horseback, his lance in his hand, and covered with his armour, feigned to give it blows in several places. The knight employed himself many months, every day, in this exercise, at the Chateau de Gozon, in Languedoc, to which he had repaired; and when he had trained the mastiffs sufficiently to this kind of combat, he hastened back to Rhodes.
Having first repaired to church, and commended himself to God, he put on his armour, mounted his horse, and ordered his two servants to return to France, if he perished in the combat: but to come near him if they perceived that he had killed the serpent, or been wounded by it. He then descended from the mountain of St. Etienne, and approaching the haunt of the serpent, soon encountered it. Gozon struck it with his lance, but the scales prevented its taking effect.
He prepared to redouble his blows, but his horse, frightened by the hisses of the serpent, refused to advance, and threw himself on his side. Gozon dismounted, and accompanied by his mastiffs, marched sword in hand towards this horrible beast. He struck him in various places, but the scales prevented him from penetrating them. The furious animal by a blow of his tail knocked down the knight, and would certainly have devoured him, had not his two dogs fastened on the belly of the serpent, which they lacerated in a dreadful manner. The knight, favoured by this help, rejoined his two mastiffs, and buried his sword in the body of the monster, which being mortally wounded, rushed on the knight, and would have crushed him to death by its weight, had not! his servants, who were spectators of the combat, come to his relief. The serpent was dead, and the knight had fainted. When he recovered, the first and the most agreeable object which could present itself to his view was the dead body of his enemy.
The death of the serpent was no sooner known in the city, than a crowd of the inhabitants came out to welcome their deliverer. The knights conducted him in triumph to the grand master, who however considered a breach of discipline as unpardonable, even on such an occasion; and regardless of the entreaties of the knight, and the important service Gozon had rendered, sent him to prison. A council was assembled, who decided that he should be deprived of the habit of his order for disobedience. This was done but Velleneuve repenting of his severity soon restored it to him, and loaded him with favours.
Nothing could exceed the joy of the inhabitants in being delivered from this monster whose head they stuck on one of the gates of the city, as a monument of the victory of Gozon, whom they regarded as their deliverer.
Paul, the Tiger Hunter.
Of such importance has the search for tigers and their consequent destruction, proved, in some parts of Bengal, that large tracts of country, once depopulated by their ravages, or by the apprehension to which the proximity to such a scourge naturally must give birth, have by persevering exertion been freed from their devastations. The accomplishment of this change has been chiefly attributed to a German of the name of Paul, who was for many years employed as superintendent of the elephants at Daudpore, generally from fifty to a hundred in number.
Paul possessed a coolness and presence of mind, which gave him a wonderful superiority in everything relating to tiger-hunting. He rarely rode but on a bare pad and ordinarily by himself, armed with an old musket, and furnished with a small pouch, containing his powder and ball. His aim was at the head or heart of the tiger, and in general his shots took effect. He is believed to have killed more tigers than any hundred persons in India. He once killed five in the same day; four of these were shot in less than an hour, in a patch of grass not exceeding three or four acres, where only one was supposed to be concealed. He was remarkable for killing such tigers as charged; on these occasions he always- aimed at the thorax or chest; and he was so dexterous that he never had an elephant injured under him.
During the American war, eighty old German soldiers, who after having long served under different monarchs in Europe, had retired to America, and converted their swords into ploughshares, voluntarily formed themselves into a company, and distinguished themselves in various actions in the cause of independence. The captain was nearly one hundred years old, and had been in the army forty years, and present in seventeen battles. The drummer was ninety-four, and the youngest man in the corps on the verge of seventy. Instead of a cockade, each man wore a piece of black crepe, as a mark of sorrow for being obliged at so advanced a period of lift, to bear arms. 'But,' said the veterans, 'we should be deficient in gratitude, if we did not act in defence of a country which has afforded us a generous asylum, and protected us from tyranny and oppression. Such a band of soldiers never before perhaps appeared in a field of battle.
During the-last campaign in Portugal while the French were on the banks of the Zezere, a Portuguese peasant from the neighbourhood of Thomar, of amazing muscular strength, became so annoying to them, that they offered a very high reward for his head. This man was accustomed to penetrate by night to their very encampment at Thomar During one month he killed with his own hand upwards of thirty French soldiers, and carried off at different times, fifty horses and mules. He lived in a cave, in a retired and unknown part of the mountains, but regularly brought his booty to Abrantes, where he sold it. He was a man of most determined ferocious look, and of uncommon daring. The poor inhabitants of the neighbourhood used to flock to his habitation, with the secret of which they were well acquainted, and then thought themselves in perfect security under his protection.
Canal of Languedoc.
The canal of Languedoc, or as it is sometimes called, the canal of the Two Seas, forms a junction between the Ocean and Mediterranean, and was first projected under Francis 1. but begun and finished under Louis XIV. This amazing undertaking, which does honour to the able minister Colbert, and to Riquet, the engineer, who conducted the work, was begun in 1666, and finished in 1681. It reaches from Narbonne to Thoulouse, and has established a ready communication between the two fertile provinces of Guienne and Languedoc.
Above 12,000,000 cubic feet of earth, and more than 30,000 cubic feet of solid rock, have been removed, to excavate the bed of this canal; it has on it one hundred and fourteen locks; sixteen prodigious large mounds have been raised to divert the course of useless waters, and twentyfour spacious drains have been made to empty it, when in danger of being too full. On a moderate computation, there are above 240,000 cubic feet of stonework in these erections, including a projection into the sea of 200 fathoms, and a pier of 5,000 fathoms more, which secures the port of Cette, and renders it a very commodious harbour.
In some places the canal is conveyed by aqueducts, over bridges of incredible height and strength, which give a passage to other rivers under them. But what seemed most extraordinary at the time was that near the town of Beiziers, it was conveyed under a mountain, by a tunnel 720 feet in length, cut into a lofty arcade, principally lined with freestone, except towards the ends, where it is only hewn through the rock, which is of a sulphurous substance.
The expense of this great work was 13,000,000 of livres, about £540,000 sterling; of which the king contributed 7,000,000, and the Province of Languedoc the rest.
In August, 1777, a vessel from Rochelle, laden with salt, and manned by eight hands, and two passengers on board, was discovered making for the pier of Dieppe. The wind at the time was so high, and the sea so much agitated, that a coasting pilot made four fruitless attempts to get out, and conduct the vessel safe into port. Boussard, a bold and intrepid pilot, perceiving that the helmsman was ignorant of latent danger, endeavoured to direct him by a speaking trumpet and signals; but the captain could neither see nor hear, on account of the darkness of the night the roaring of the winds, and the extraordinary swell of the sea. The vessel in the meantime grounded on a flinty bottom, at the distance of thirty toises from the advanced mole.
Boussard, touched with the cries of the unfortunate crew, resolved to spring to their assistance, in spite of every remonstrance, the entreaties of his wife and children, and the apparent impossibility of success. Having tied one end of a rope round his waist and fastened the other to the mole, he plunged headlong into the boisterous deep. When he had got very near the ship, a wave carried him off, and dashed him on shore. Twenty times successively was he thus repulsed, rolled upon flinty stones, and covered with the wreck of the vessel, which the fury of the waves tore rapidly to pieces. He did not, however, abate his ardour. A single wave dragged him under the ship - he was given up for lost, but he quickly emerged, holding in his arms a sailor who had been washed overboard. - He brought him on shore motionless and just expiring. In short, after an infinity of efforts and struggles, he reached the wreck, and threw his rope on board. All who had strength enough to avail themselves of this assistance, tied it about them, and were successively dragged to land.
Boussard, who imagined he had now saved all the crew, worn down by fatigue, and smarting from his wounds and bruises, walked with great difficulty to the lighthouse, where he fainted through exhaustion. Assistance being procured, he began to recover. On hearing that groans still issued from the wreck, he once more collected the little strength that was left him, rushed from the arms of those who succoured him, plunged again into the sea, and had the good fortune to save the life of one of the passengers, who was lashed to the wreck, and who, in his languid state, had been unable to profit by the assistance administered to his companions.
Mons. de Crosne, the Intendant of Rouen, having stated these circumstances to M. Neckar, then director-general of the finances, he immediately addressed the following letter to Boussard, in his own handwriting:
'I was not apprised by the Intendant till the day before yesterday, of the gallant deed you achieved on the 31st of August. Yesterday I reported it to his majesty, who was pleased to enjoin me to communicate to you his satisfaction, and to acquaint you, that he presents you with one thousand livres, by way of gratification, and an annual pension of three hundred livres. Continue to succour others when you have it in your power: and pray for your good king, who loves and recompenses the brave.'
Running for Life.
On the arrival of the exploratory party of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, at the head waters of the Missouri, one of their number, of the name of Colter, observing the appearance of abundance of beaver, got permission to remain and hunt for some time, which he did, in company with a hunter named Potts. Aware of the hostility of the Blackfeet Indians, one of whom had been killed by Lewis they set their traps at night, and took them up early in the morning, remaining concealed during the day. They were examining their traps early one morning in a creek, about six miles from that branch of the Missouri called Jefferson's Fork, and were ascending in a canoe, when they suddenly heard a great noise, resembling the trampling of animals; but they could not ascertain the fact,- as the high perpendicular banks on each side of the river impeded their view. Colter immediately pronounced it to be occasioned by Indians, and advised an instant retreat; but was accused of cowardice by Potts, who insisted that the noise was caused by buffaloes, and they proceeded on. In a few minutes afterwards their doubts were removed, by a party of Indians making their appearance on both sides of the creek, to the amount of five or six hundred, who beckoned him to come on shore. As retreat was now impossible, Colter turned the head of the canoe to the shore, and at the moment of its touching, an Indian seized the rifle belonging to Potts; but Colter, who is a remarkably strong man, immediately retook it, and handed it to Potts, who remained in the canoe, and on recovering it pushed off into the river. He had scarcely quitted the shore when an arrow was shot at him, and he cried out, 'Colter, I am wounded.' Colter remonstrated with him on the folly of attempting to escape, and urged him to come on shore. Instead of complying, he instantly levelled his rifle at an Indian, and shot him dead on the spot. This conduct, situated as he was, may appear to have been an act of madness, but it was doubtless the effect of sudden, but sound enough reasoning; for if taken alive, he must have expected to be tortured to death, according to the Indian custom, He was instantly pierced with arrows so numerous, that, to use the language of Colter, 'he was made a riddle of.' They now seized Colter, stripped him entirely naked, and began to consult on the manner in which he should be put to death. They were first inclined to set him up as a mark to shoot at; but the chief interfered, and seizing him by the shoulder, asked him if he could run fast? Colter, who had been some time amongst the Kee Katsa, or Crow Indians, had in a considerable degree acquired the Blackfoot language, and was also well acquainted with Indian customs; he knew that he had now to run for his life, with the dreadful odds of five or six hundred against him, and these armed Indians; he therefore cunningly replied, that he was a very bad runner; although he was considered by the hunters as remarkably swift. The chief now commanded the party to remain stationary, and led Colter out on the prairie, three or four hundred yards, and released him, bidding him save himself if he could. At that instant the war whoop sounded in the ears of poor Colter, who, urged with the hope of preserving life, ran with a speed at which he was himself surprised. He proceeded towards the Jefferson's Fork, having to traverse a plain six miles in breadth, abounding with the prickly pear, on which he was every instant treading with his naked feet. He ran nearly half way across the plain before he ventured to look over his shoulder, when he perceived that the Indians were very much scattered, and that he had gained ground to a considerable distance from the main body: but one Indian, who carried a spear, was much before all the rest, and not more than a hundred yards from him. A faint gleam of hope now cheered the heart of Colter, he derived confidence from the belief that escape was within the bounds of possibility, but that confidence was nearly fatal to him; for he exerted himself to such a degree, that the blood gushed from his nostrils, and soon almost covered the fore part of his body. He had now arrived within a mile of the river, when he distinctly heard the appalling sound of footsteps behind him, and every instant expected to feel the spear of his pursuer. Again he turned his head, and saw the savage not twenty yards from him. Determined, if possible, to avoid the expected blow, he suddenly stopped, turned round, and spread out his arms. The Indian, surprised by the suddenness of the action, and perhaps at the bloody appearance of Colter, also attempted to stop, but exhausted with running, he fell whilst endeavouring to throw his spear, which stuck in the ground, and broke in his hand. Colter instantly snatched up the pointed part, with which he pinned him to the earth, and then continued his flight. The foremost of the Indians, on arriving at the place, stopped till others came up to join them, when they set up a hideous yell. Every moment of this time was improved by Colter, who, although fainting and exhausted, succeeded in gaining the skirting of the cotton wood trees, on the border of the Fork, to which he ran, and plunged into the river. Fortunately for him, a little below this place there was an island, against the upper point of which a raft of draft timber had lodged, he dived under the raft, and after several efforts, got his head above water, amongst the trunks of trees, covered over with smaller wood to the depth of several feet. Scarcely had he secured himself, when the Indians arrived on the river, screeching and yelling, as Colter expressed it, 'like so many devils.' They were frequently on the raft during the day, and were seen through the clinks. by Colter, who was congratulating himself on his escape, until the idea arose that they might set the raft on fire. In horrible suspense he remained until night, when hearing no more of the Indians, he dived from under the raft, and swam instantly down the river to a consider. able distance, when he landed, and travelled all night. Although happy in having escaped from the Indians, his situation was still dreadful; he was completely naked, under a burning sun; the soles of his feet were filled with the thorns of the prickly pear; he was hungry, and had no means of killing game, although he saw abundance around him, and was at a great distance from the nearest settlement.. Almost any man but an American hunter would have despaired under such circumstances. The fortitude of Colter continued unshaken. After seven days' sore travel, during which he had no other subsistence than the root known by naturalists under the name of psoralea esculenta, he at length arrived in safety at Lisa's fort, on the Bighorn branch of the Roche Jaune river.
Few object of commercial enterprise are attended with greater danger and fatigue than fishing for pearls, as practiced in the bay of Condatschy in Ceylon. The pearl fishery begins in the month of February, and ends early in April. All the barks being assembled in the bay, they depart together on the firing of a gun about six o'clock in the morning and return the same day. Each bark carries twenty men, and a tindal or master, who acts as pilot. Ten of the crew are attached to the oars, and assist the divers in coming up again. The divers descend five at a time; and when the first five are up, the others replace them, diving alternately, merely taking sufficient time to recover their breath.
To hasten the descent of the diver, a large piece of granite is tied round his waist, when he enters the water. Accustomed to this exercise from their earliest infancy, the divers are not afraid to dive from four to ten fathoms. When one of the divers is on the point of going down, he seizes with the toes of the right foot the cord attached to one of the stones just mentioned, while upon those of the left he takes a bag net. Being thus prepared he takes another cord in his right hand, and closing his nostrils with the left, descends into the ocean, to the bottom of which he is rapidly drawn by the stone. He then puts the bag net before him, and with as much promptitude as address, he collects as large a number of oysters as possible during the time he remains under the water, which is generally about two minutes, there are some who can stay five minutes; and a diver from Anjango, engaged in this fishery in 1797, was able to remain six minutes under water.
When the diver wishes to ascend, he gives the signal for assistance by pulling the cord which he holds in his left hand. By these means he is up in a moment, and is received into the bark. The stone which the diver leaves at the bottom is drawn up after him, by means of the cord attached to it.
The efforts made by the divers are so great, that when they come up, blood frequently gushes from their mouths, ears, and nostrils. This, however, does not prevent them from diving again in their turn, they frequently dive from forty to fifty times a day, and bring up a hundred oysters each time.
What the divers fear most, is to meet with a shark while at the bottom. This terrible creature is common to the seas that line the coasts of India, and is an object of continual alarm to those who venture into the water, though some divers have the address to evade the shark, and continue their time underneath. But the terror which they labour under is generally so great, and the chance of escape so rare, that guided by superstition, the Indians are never content without having recourse to supernatural means, to secure themselves from an enemy so formidable.
Few individuals have exhibited the passion of adventure in a higher degree than the unfortunate Ledyard, and still fewer who in the indulgence of that passion have gone through greater hardships and perils.
Capable of strong endurance; enterprising beyond all ordinary conception, yet wary and considerate; calm in his deliberations, guarded in his measures, attentive to all precautions, he appeared to be formed by nature for achievements of hardihood and difficulty. 'My distresses,' said he on one occasion, 'have been greater than I have ever owned or even will own to any man. I have known hunger and nakedness to the utmost extremity of human suffering: I have known what it IS to have food given me as charity to a madman; and I have at times been obliged to shelter myself under the miseries of that character to avoid a heavier calamity. Such evils are terrible to bear, but they never have yet had power to turn me from my purpose.'
In the humble situation of a corporal of marines, to which he submitted rather than forego an opportunity of rare occurrence, he made with Captain Cook the voyage of the world; and feeling on his return an anxious desire of penetrating from the north-western coast of America, which Cook had partly explored, to the eastern coast, he determined to traverse the vast continent from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. With no more than ten guineas in his purse, he departed from England on this arduous enterprise towards the close of the year 1786 ¥ and after more than a year's hard travel, he had reached the coast of the Kamtschatkan sea; when, for reasons never explained, he was seized by order of the Empress of Russia; stripped of his clothes, money, and papers; conveyed in a sledge through the deserts of Northern Tartary to Moscow; and thence to the town of Tolochin, on the frontiers of the Polish dominions where, at parting with his conductors, he was advised to make the best of his way home to England, if he wished to escape hanging in Russia.
On his arrival in England, he immediately waited on Sir Joseph Banks, on whose generosity he had repeatedly drawn in the course of his travels for his means of subsistence. Sir Joseph, knowing his disposition, and conceiving that he would be gratified by the information, told him that he could recommend him, he believed, to an adventure almost as perilous as that from which he had just returned. He then communicated to Ledyard the wishes of the Association for Discovering the Inland Countries of Africa. Mr. Ledyard replied, that it had always been his determination to traverse the continent of Africa as soon as he had explored the interior of North America. Sir Joseph accordingly furnished him with a letter of introduction to Henry Beaufoy, Esq., an active member of the association. On waiting upon Mr. B. that gentleman spread before him a map of Africa; and tracing a line from Cairo to Sennar, and thence westward in the latitude, and supposed direction, of the Niger, informed him that this was the route by which he was anxious that Africa might, if possible, be explored. Mr. Ledyard expressed great pleasure at the prospect of being employed in this adventure. Being asked 'when he would be ready to set out?' 'To-morrow morning,' was the answer of this bold and indefatigable man.
A young man, a native of the island of Saint Croix, in the course of the summer of 1817, swam over the Sound from Cronenburgh to Graves, and thus considerably outdid the unfortunate Leander, whom love nightly tempted to traverse the Hellespont. The direct distance from Abydos to Sestos is only an English mile, and allowing for the drifting effect of the current, not more to a swimmer than four miles. But the distance between Cronenburgh and Graves is at least six English mile&
When Lord Byron and Lieutenant Ekenhead repeated the feat of Leander, they took an hour and ten minutes in doing it; the Dane did not accomplish his task in less than two hours and forty minutes. A Danish officer and three men followed him in a boat, and never lost sight of him. In the middle of the Sound he had to contend with a high sea which dashed over him.
Obedience of Orders.
A naval commander, in the reign of Queen Anne, was ordered to cruise with a squadron within certain limits on the coast of Spain. Having received information that a Spanish fleet was in Vigo, beyond his limits, he resolved to risk his personal responsibility for the good of his country, he accordingly attacked and defeated the Spanish fleet with uncommon gallantry. When he joined the admiral under whom he served, he was ordered under arrest, and was asked 'If he did not know that, by the articles of war, he was liable to be shot for disobedience of orders? He replied with great composure, that he was very sensible that he was but added, 'The man who is afraid to risk his life in any way when the good of his country requires It, is unworthy of a command in her majesty's service.'
Siege of St. Sebastian.
On the 31st of August, 1813, a little before noon, the columns of the British army advanced to the assault of St. Sebastian. The enemy on their approach exploded two mines on the flank of the front line of works, which blew down a wall under which the assailants were passing, luckily, however, the troops not being in very close order, few were buried, and they reached their point of attack with little loss. Many desperate efforts were made to carry the breach; but each time, on attaining the summit, a heavy and close fire from the entrenched ruins -within destroyed all who attempted to remain, and those at the foot fell in great numbers from the flank fire. To supply these losses, fresh troops were sent forward with laudable perseverance as fast as they could be filed out of the trenches; and a battalion of Portuguese gallantly forded the Uremea, in face of the enemy's works; the whole of which were strongly lined with men, who kept up an incessant fire of musketry, particularly from a rampart more elevated than the spot where the breach had been formed. Sir Thomas Graham (now Lord Lyndoch) seeing this, trusted to the wellknown accuracy of the artillery to open upon that spot over the heads of the assailants. This they did with much effect; nevertheless two- hours of confined exertion had fruitlessly passed away, and the troops were yet on the face of the breach falling in great numbers, without being able to establish themselves on its summit; when a quantity of combustibles exploded within, which shook the firmness of the defenders; they began-to waver, and the assailants redoubled their efforts to ascend. The most advanced works were successively abandoned by the garrison, and ultimately the retrenchment behind the breach. The troops immediately pushed up in great numbers, assisted each other over the ruins, and descended into the town; after which every attempt to check them behind various interior defences was in a moment defeated, and the garrison were driven into the castle.
On the 9th of September heavy batteries of mortars opened on the castle of St. Sebastian; which being too small to admit of any cover being thrown up to lessen the effects of the shells, did not long resist. After enduring the bombardment for two hours, the garrison, reduced to thirteen hundred effective men, with five hundred sick and wounded, surrendered prisoners of war.
Equality in Danger.
The French General Cherin was once conducting a detachment through a very difficult defile. He exhorted his soldiers to endure patiently the fatigues of the march. 'It is easy for you to talk,' said one of the soldiers near him; ¥ you who are mounted on a fine horse - but we poor devils!' On hearing these words Cherin dismounted, and quickly proposed to the discontented soldier to take his place. The latter did so; but scarcely had he mounted, when a shot from the adjoining heights struck and killed him. 'You see,' says Cherin, calling to his troops, 'that the most elevated place is not the least dangerous.' After which he remounted his horse, and continued the march.
Stow, the famous historian, devoted his life and exhausted his patrimony in the study of English Antiquities; he travelled on foot throughout the kingdom, inspecting all the monuments of antiquity, and rescuing what he could from the dispersed libraries of the monasteries. His stupendous collections, in his own handwriting, still exist, to provoke the feeble industry of literary loiterers. He felt through life the enthusiasm of study; and seated in his monkish library, living with the dead more than with the living, he was still a student of taste, for Spenser, the poet, visited the library of Stow, and the first good edition of Chaucer was made so chiefly by the labours of our author. Late in life, worn out by study and the cares of poverty, neglected by that proud metropolis of which he had been the historian, yet his good humour did not desert him; for being afflicted with sharp pains in his aged feet, he observed that 'his affliction lay in that part which formerly he had made so much use of.' Many a mile had he wandered, many a pound had he yielded, for those treasures of antiquities which had exhausted his fortune, and with which he had formed works of great public utility. It was in his eightieth year that Stow at length received a public acknowledgment of his services, which will appear to us of a very extraordinary nature. He was so reduced in his circumstances, that he petitioned James I. for a licence to collect alms for himself! 'as a recompense for his labour end travel of forty-five years in setting forth the 'Chronicles of England,' and eight years taken up in the 'Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster,' towards his relief now in his old age having left his former means of living, and only employed himself for the service and good of his country.' Letters patent under the great seal were granted. After a penurious commendation of Stow's labours, he is permitted 'to gather the benevolence of well-disposed people within this realm of England to ask gather, and take the alms of all our loving subjects.' These letters patent were to be published by the clergy from their pulpits; they produced so little, that they were renewed for another twelvemonth; one entire parish in the city contributed seven shillings and sixpence! Such, then, was the patronage received by Stow, to be a licensed beggar throughout the kingdom for one twelvemonth! such was the public remuneration of a man who had been useful to his nation, but not to himself!
One of the finest actions of a soldier of which history makes mention, is related in the history of the Marechal de Luxemburg. The Marechal, then Count de Boutteville, served in the army of Flanders in 1675, under the command of the Prince of Conde. He perceived in a march some soldiers that were separated from the main body, and he sent one of his aide-de-camp to bring. them back to their colours All obeyed, except one, who continued his road. The Count,. highly offended at such disobedience, threatened to strike him with his stick. 'That you may co,' said the soldier with great coolness, 'but you will repent of it.' Irritated by this answer, Boutteville struck him, and forced him to rejoin his corps. Fifteen days after, the army besieged Fumes and Boutteville commanded the colonel of a regiment to find a man steady and intrepid for a coup-demain, which he wanted, promising a hundred pistoles as a reward. The soldier in question, who had the character of being the bravest man in the regiment, presented himself, and taking thirty of his comrades, of whom he had the choice, he executed his commission, which was of the most hazardous nature, with a courage and a success that were incredible. On his return, Boutteville, after having praised him highly, counted out the hundred pistoles he had promised. The soldier immediately distributed them to his comrades, saying, that he had no occasion for money; and requested that if what he had done merited any recompense, he might be made an officer. Then addressing himself to the Count, he asked if he recognised him and on Boutteville replying in the negative 'Well,' said he; 'I am the soldier whom you struck on our march fifteen days ago. Was I not right when I said that you would repent of it?' The Count de Boutteville, filled with admiration, and affected almost to tears, embraced the soldier, created him an officer on the spot, and soon made him one of his aide-de-camp.
Joan of Arc.
'My courage try by combat, if thou dar'st And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex. Resolve on this: thou shalt be fortunate If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.' SHAKSPEARE: Henry VI.
Among the extraordinary events that are recorded in history, few can equal those that respect Joan of Arc, who was the immediate cause of that astonishing revolution in the affairs of France, which terminated in the establishment of Charles VII. on the throne of his ancestors, and the final expulsion of the English from that kingdom. At the time the heroine first made her appearance, so low was the power of the Dauphin that not a single place belonged to him, but the town of Orleans alone, which was then closely besieged by the English, nor did there appear the slightest probability that ever he could procure an army strong enough to raise the siege of that city, on which alone his all depended.
Joan of Arc was born at Dauremy, a village near Vancouleurs in Lorraine, about the year 1412. Her father was a peasant, and gave her an education suited to her rank in life. She left her parents at an early age, and became servant at an inn, where she acquired a complete knowledge of horsemanship. It was here, too, that the first thought of her mission and it arose from all the news she had heard of the affairs in France at the inn. Her imagination took fire, and she looked upon herself as a girl destined by heaven to rescue France out of the hands of the English.
After much difficulty and applications to various individuals, she at length got access to the king, before whom she appeared dressed as a warrior. The king heard her with patience, and then sent her to his parliament at Poictiers, where she was closely examined by many doctors in theology. At length they determined to advise his majesty to put confidence in her, and attempt to execute what she proposed. She now completed her equipments, appointed Jean Dolan, as famous for his courage as his prudence, her squire, and Louis de Comptes her page. She then asked for a sword which had been-more than a century in the tomb of a knight, behind the altar of St. Catherine at Feirbois. She pretended to have had a knowledge of it by revelation, and that it was only with this fatal sword she could extirpate the English. She ordered a banner to be made for her, on which was represented God coming out of a cloud, holding a globe in his hand; it was ornamented with fleursde-lis. Her helmet was surmounted with a plume of white feathers, her horse was also white, and she surpassed all by her beauty, and the skill and address with which she managed him.
On the 28th of April, 1429, Joan of Arc appeared before Orleans with twelve thousand | men. She wrote a letter to the Duke of Bedford, then Regent of France, warning him to give up France to its rightful heir; but the English were so enraged at seeing a girl sent to fight them, that they put the heralds in prison. The Count de Durois, who commanded in Orleans, made a sally with all his, garrison, in order to facilitate the entry of provisions; and the French, persuaded that this heroine was sent from heaven to their assistance, resumed fresh courage, and fought with so much vigour, that she and her convoy entered the town.
The English sent back one of the heralds, of whom she demanded, 'What says Talbot?' (Sir John Talbot) and when he informed her I that he, as well as all his countrymen, spared no abuse in speaking of her, and declared if they caught her they would burn her, 'Go back again,' says she, 'and doubt not but thou wilt bring with thee thy companion; and tell Talbot, that if he will arm himself, I will do the same, and let him come before the walls of the town, and if he can take me he may burn me; and if I discomfit him, let him I raise the siege, and return unto his own native I country.'
Soon after her arrival at Orleans, she made an attack on fort St. Loup, which she carried sword in hand, as well as the bulwarks of St. John, and of the Augustins. In one of the assaults on the English, she received a dangerous wound in the neck, and as a large quantity of blood issued from it, her followers began to fear for her life; but she, to reanimate them, said, 'It was not blood, but glory, that flowed from her wound.'
The siege of Orleans was raised the 8th of May Joan of Arc carried the news to the king, and entreated him to come and be crowned at Rheims, then in possession of the English. The siege of Gergeau was next undertaken, when after laying eight days before the town, which was most vigorously defended, Joan of Arc went into the ditch with her standard in her hand, at that part where the English made the most vigorous defence; she was perceived, and a heavy stone thrown upon her, which bent her to the ground; notwithstanding which she soon got up, and cried aloud to her companions, 'Frenchmen, mount boldly, and enter the town, you will no longer find any resistance.' Thus was the town won.
She next took possession of Auxerre, Troyes, and Chalons, thus opening for the king the road to Rheims, which city flung open its gates as soon as he appeared before it; and the next day, the 17th of July, he was crowned. The maid of Orleans assisted at the ceremony in her armour, with her standard in her hand. The judges interrogated her, 'How she dared to come to the coronation with her banner in her hand? 'To which she answered, 'That it was but justice that the banner which had had Its share of the labour, should also share in the honour.'
Joan of Arc having accomplished the object of her mission, raising the siege of Orleans, and crowning the king at Rheims, wished to return to her parents; but her presence inspired too much confidence, and had been attended with too great success, for this to be permitted. She therefore accompanied the king to Crepi, to Senlis, and afterwards to Paris. Here she displayed her wonted courage, but received a severe wound. In the siege of Compiegne in 1430, she made a sally at the head of a hundred men over the bridge, and twice repulsed the besiegers; but seeing a very strong reinforcement coming against her, she began her retreat; and although it was late, and she and her troops were surrounded, yet after performing prodigies of courage, she disengaged her company, who fortunately re-entered the town. The heroine remained at the rear to facilitate their retreat, and when she wished to enter, the gates were shut; she immediately turned round to her enemies, and charged them with a courage worthy of a better fate. She seemed not to expect any assistance, and suspected some treachery, for when she made the sally she exclaimed, 'I am betrayed!' During the time she was defending herself, her horse stumbled, and she fell. This obliged her to surrender herself to Lionel Vasture of Vendbme, who gave her up to John of Luxemburg. This nobleman, forgetting the respect a brave man should show to courage, and regardless of the sex of his captive, basely sold her to the English for ten thousand livres From the moment she was a prisoner, this heroine was forgotten. The king made no attempts to redeem her; and although at the time he had many English prisoners of the highest rank, he did not offer one of the in exchange for her. This neglect of Joan of Arc will be an eternal blot on the memory of the ingrate Charles VII.
On Joan being made a prisoner, the English indulged in as great rejoicings as if they had conquered the whole kingdom. The Duke of Bedford thought it proper to disgrace her, in order to reanimate the courage of his countrymen; and this heroine was condemned at Rouen by Cruchon, Bishop of Beauvais, and five other French bishops, to be burnt alive for magic and heresy. During her confinement in prison, she leaped from the top of the tower of Beaurevoir, in hopes of escape; but she was retaken, and her cruel sentence put in execution on the 24th of May, 1431. She was quite undaunted at the sight of the stake and scaffold, which she mounted as boldly as she had formerly done the breach at an assault.
Thus perished this extraordinary girl, in the nineteenth year of her age. Her execution was as disgraceful to the English, as the cold neglect with which she was treated in her misfortunes was to the French monarch.
Surprise of Breda.
Prince Maurice of Nassau, in 1590, formed the design of surprising Breda. To accomplish it, he filled a vessel with turfs, which for want of wood, they burn in the Low Countries. Under these turfs were concealed sixty-eight chosen men, commanded by Herangieres, a gentleman equally brave and intelligent. The vessel arriving at the canal at the foot of the citadel, is visited, the inspectors find nothing but turfs, of which the garrison was in want, and therefore gave permission for their being landed. It was time that the expedition was finished; for the vessel began to take water on all sides, and the soldiers, who were at the bottom of the hold, suffered great inconvenience. One of them not being able to suppress his cough, and fearing to discover his companions by the noise that he made, had the courage to present his sword, and to beg of them to run him through the body. But to prevent the garrison hearing anything. the sailors put themselves to work the pump without intermission, until the porters had- finished their work, and the soldiers were out of the place where they had been confined. Nothing then obstructed their enterprise; the Spaniards were surprised, and the place taken.
Surprise of Schenek.
In 1702 some French marauders plotted together before the opening of the campaign, to surprise the fort of Schenek, where the inhabitants of the country had deposited their most valuable effects. For this purpose they separated into two troops, of which one pretended to be Hollanders. They marched by different roads, and managed so well that they met in sight of the fort. They appeared to charge on each other with great vigour and animosity. The false Hollanders gave way, and left many of their comrades as dead; the rest fled towards the fort, and prayed the Flemish to save their lives. On the gates being opened, they rendered themselves masters, introduced their comrades, and gained an immense booty.
This hero, who rescued his country from a foreign yoke, was allied to the royal family of Sweden. On the invasion of that country by Christiern II. in 1518, Gustavus Vassa was one of the six hostages whom he took back to Denmark, and failing in detaching him from his allegiance to his country, he gave an order for his death, but afterwards changed it to imprisonment in the castle of Copenhagen. Eric Banner, a Danish nobleman, feeling compassion for the sufferings of the young Swede obtained leave to take him to a fortress in Jutland, of which he was the governor. Here Gustavus passed his time in comparative satisfaction, until he heard of the accession of Christiern II. to the Swedish Crown, when his heart burnt within him, and he was resolved to use every effort to recover the lost liberties of his country. He escaped to Lubec; but soon found that the Danes were in quest of him, which obliged him to assume the habit and manners of a peasant . In this disguise he passed through all quarters of their army, in a waggon loaded with hay until he reached an old family castle at Sudermania. He despatched letters hence to his friends, hoping to rouse them to an attempt for the recovery of their liberty, but meeting with little success among the great, he next tried the peasantry; he visited their villages by night, harangued them at their festive assemblies, but without effect, as they uniformly told him it was in vain for them to attempt to better their condition, for 'peasants they were, and peasants they must remain.' Gustavus next determined to try the miners of Delecarlia. He penetrated the mountains of that remote province, and was obliged for a scanty subsistence to enter himself as a common labourer at a mine. Here he worked within the dark caverns of the earth; but the fineness of his linen soon led some of his fellow-labourers to suspect that he was more than what he seemed
By the advice of a friend, at whose house he concealed himself, Gustavus repaired to Mora, where an annual feast of the peasantry was held. There, as his last resource, he displayed with so much nature, eloquence, and energy, the miseries of his country, and the tyranny of Christiern, that the assembly instantly determined to take up arms, and adopted him as their leader. While their hearts were glowing with an ardent patriotism
Gustavus led them against the governor's castle, which they stormed, and took or destroyed the whole garrison. Success increased his forces; multitudes were eager to list under the banner of the conquering hero, Gustavus At the head of his little army he overran the neighbouring provinces, defeated the Archbishop of Upsal, and advanced to Stockholm. Christiern, who had in vain attempted to stop the progress of Gustavus by the threat of massacring his mother and sisters, at length put the dreadful menace into execution. The cruel deed animated Gustavus to a severer revenge. He assembled the states of Sweden at Wadstena, where he was unanimously chosen administrator; and after a variety of military transactions, he laid siege to Stockholm. Stockholm surrendered. The Danes were completely expelled from Sweden. Gustavus was raised to the throne in the year 1523, and peace and order restored to his long afflicted country.
Bold Coup de Main.
The Great Conde, speaking of the intrepidity of soldiers, says that, laying before a place that had a palissado to be burnt, he promised fifty louis to any one who should carry it by a coup de main. The danger was so apparent that the reward did not tempt anyone. 'Sir,' said a soldier more courageous than the rest, 'I will relinquish the fifty louts that you promise, if your highness will make me sergeant of my company.' The prince, pleased with the generosity of the soldier, who preferred honour to money, promised him both. Animated by the reward that awaited his return, he resolved to gain it, or die a glorious death. He took flambeaux, descended into the ditch, reached the palissado, and set it on fire in the midst of a shower of musketry, by which he was slightly wounded. All the army, witnesses of this action, seeing his return, cheered him, and heaped on him loud praises; when he perceived that he had lost one of his pistols. A soldier offered him others. 'No,' said he, 'I will never be reproached that these rascals got my pistol.' He went to the ditch again, exposed himself to a hundred discharges of musketry; regained his pistol, and returned in safety.
Bridge of Wich.
The Spaniards, driven from Maestricht in 1576 by the inhabitants, still remained masters of Wich, a weak part of the town, and separated from the rest by the Meuse. The vanquished, humiliated at an affront which they attributed solely to their negligence, sought to repair it immediately. The only obstacle was a few cannon placed on the bridge, which connected the two towns. To avoid this danger, they determined to place in their front the women of Wich. With this rampart they entered upon the bridge; and under cover of these strange shields, fired on the citizens; who, unable to defend themselves without drawing on their parents, or at least on the women of their own party, quitted their post, took refuge in their houses, and abandoned the field of battle to the Spaniards.
Sir Francis Drake.
Besides his daring exploits/ against the Spaniards, Sir Francis Drake is renowned for having been the first Englishman who circumnavigated the globe. The expedition he proposed to Queen Elizabeth was a voyage into the South Seas, through the Straits of Magellan The project was favourably received at court, and the means of attempting it soon furnished. The fleet with which he sailed on this extraordinary enterprise consisted of the Pelican, of one hundred tons, commanded by himself, the Elizabeth, of eighty tons, the Marygold, a bark, of thirty tons; the Swan, a fly boat, of fifty tons; and a pinnace of fifteen tons. On board this fleet were embarked one hundred and sixty-four men. The fleet sailed from Falmouth on the 13th of December, 1577. On the 13th of March, Drake passed the equinoctial line, and on the 15th of April made the coast of Brazil, in lat. 30¡, and entered the river de la Plata. Here he took the crews and stores out of two of his vessels, and destroyed them. On the 20th of August he entered the Straits of Magellan; and on the 25th of September he also entered the South Sea, having separated from the rest of his squadron, which he never afterwards rejoined. But notwithstanding this diminution of his strength, he pursued his voyage with undaunted resolution, coasting along the rich shores of Chili and Peru, and taking all opportunities of capturing Spanish ships, or of attacking their settlements on shore, until his crew were satisfied with the booty they had made. He then coasted the shore of North America to the latitude of 48¡, endeavouring to find a passage northward into the Atlantic ocean: but being disappointed in his object, he shaped his course for the Moluccas, and thence homewards. On the 15th of June he doubled the Cape of Good Hope, having then but fifty-seven men on board his ship, and three casks of water. After having crossed the line, he steered for the coast of Guinea; which he reached on the 10th of July, and there watered. He finally entered the harbour of Portsmouth on the 25th of September, 1580. In this voyage he completely circumnavigated the globe, and brought home immense wealth.
In the month of April in the following year, the queen honoured Drake with a visit on board his ship at Deptford, and conferred on him the honour of knighthood, in testimony of her entire approbation of his conduct. The likewise gave directions for the preservation of his ship, that it might remain a monument of his own and his country's glory; but in process of time the vessel decaying, it was broken up, and a chair made of the planks was presented to the University of Oxford, where it is still preserved.
In the war of La Vendee, General Kleber with four thousand men was completely surrounded by an overwhelming force of the enemy; and saw no other way of saving his little band, except by stopping for a short time the passage of the Vendeans through a narrow ravine, which was all that was between the two armies. He called an officer to him, for whom he had a particular friendship and esteem. 'Take,' said he to him, 'a company of grenadiers, stop the enemy before that ravine, you will be killed, but you will save your comrades.' 'General, I shall do it,' replied the officer; who received the order to immolate himself with as much calmness as if it had been a simple military evolution. The prediction of Kleber was but too fatally verified. The brave officer arrested the enemy's progress, but perished in the achievement.
A similar instance of devotion was exhibited in the affair of Saumur, 3rd of June, 1793. General Coustard gave orders to a corps of cavalry to carry an enemy's battery, which prevented his going to the succour of the left of the army. Where are you sending us?' asked Weissen, the commander of the corps. 'To death!' replied Coustard; 'the safety of the republic demands it.' Weissen stopped to hear no more; but charging at the head of his cavalry, gained possession of the battery; I the infantry, however, refusing to advance to his support, the advantage was but momentary, the enemy returning in overpowering numbers, and the brave Weissen, and almost every one of his intrepid band, perished in She unequal conflict.
During the late war in Portugal and while the army was on its march from Almendralejo to Merida, an Irish soldier having drank rather freely, quitted the ranks. He had scarcely done so before he fell into a sound sleep, from which he did not wake till very late in the evening. Alone, and in an uninhabited part of the country, the poor fellow knew not whither to turn himself. He upbraided himself for his misconduct, and fancied himself already condemned by a court-martial and the sentence ready to be carried into execution. To a village on his left he directed his steps, to see if some friendly individual would plead for him at headquarters. In this village he was informed there were two French soldiers concealed. A thought darted across his mind that if he could get them secured, he would be able to carry them into Almeida as prisoners, and thereby procure his pardon. In an instant he loaded his musket, proceeded to the house where the Frenchmen lay, disarmed them, and in two hours after marched them off in triumph. Some officers of the 71st regiment seeing a British soldier with two Frenchmen, as prisoners, coming from the opposite side of the river, where none of the allied troops were at that time quartered, asked the soldier, 'What men are these you have got?' The Hibernian replied, 'By St. Patrick, your honours, I cannot tell, but I believe they are Frenchmen.'
The life of a British sailor may be said to be a life of enterprise, this character, however, belongs more particularly to some of our admirals, by whose noble daring, the most gallant exploits have been achieved, and the naval glory of Britain exalted to the highest pitch. Among those who, at an early period of our naval history, contributed much to this end, none was more distinguished than Admiral Blake, who, although embracing the profession of a sailor late in life, made the English feared and respected in every quarter of the globe.
Blake's first naval adventure was driving the remains of the revolted fleet, under Prince Rupert, from the coast of Ireland, and then following it into the Mediterranean. On his return from this service in February, 1751, he captured a French man of war, of forty guns. Blake first hailed the French captain to come on board his ship; which being complied with, he asked him if he was willing to resign his sword? The Frenchman replied, that he was not; upon which Blake generously told him to return to his own ship, and fight as long as he was able. The captain took him at his word, made dispositions for action, and after fighting very bravely for two hours, struck. He then repaired a second time on board Blake's ship, and presented his sword to the victorious admiral.
In 1656, Blake having received intelligence that the Plate fleet had put into the harbour of Santa Cruz, in the Island of Teneriffe, he immediately proceeded thither; and on his arrival discovered six galleons, with other vessels, lying in the port, before which a boom was moored. The port itself was well fortified, being defended by a strong castle, well supplied with artillery, and seven forts united by a line of communication, well manned with musqueteers. The Spanish governor thought the place so secure, and his own dispositions so excellently made, that when the master of a Dutch ship desired leave to sail because he was apprehensive that Blake would attack the ships, the Spaniard answered with great confidence, 'Get you gone if you please, and let Blake come if he dare.' Blake reconnoitred the position of the enemy, and seeing the impracticability of bringing off the vessels resolved to attempt to destroy them. Commodore Stayner was entrusted to lead this bold and desperate attack. With a small squadron he forced his passage into the bay, while some other ships kept up a distant cannonade on the castle and fort, and the wind blowing fresh into the bay, he was soon supported by Blake and the rest of the fleet. The Spaniards made a brave resistance; but all their efforts were unavailing, and they had the misfortune to see their whole fleet destroyed.
The very name of Gibraltar revives in the bosom of every Briton the spark of military ardour. It is justly considered as the brightest jewel of the British crown, which no boon, however splendid and valuable, could induce the nation ingloriously to barter.
The importance of this fortress, which is considered by Europe as the key to the Mediterranean sea, does not seem to have been duly estimated by the Spaniards until they lost it; not even by the English, who became masters of it more through accident than design. Sir George Rooke had, in the year 1705, been sent into the Mediterranean with a strong fleet, to assist Charles, Archduke of Austria; but was so limited by instructions, as to be unable to effect any enterprise of importance. Unwilling to return to England with a powerful squadron without having achieved something, he called a council of war, and it was determined to attack Gibraltar.
On the 21st of July, 1704, the fleet reached the bay, and 1800 men, English and Dutch, commanded by the Prince of Hesse d'Armstadt, were immediately landed on the Isthmus. On the 23rd, the ships commenced a brisk cannonade on the new mole, which in five or six hours, drove (he enemy from their guns in every quarter, but more completely from the New Mole head. Captain Whitaker, with the armed boats, was ordered to possess himself of that post; but Captains Hicks and Jumper, who lay with their ships nearest the mole, eager to share in every part of the glory, pushed ashore in their barges before the other boats could come up. On their landing, the Spaniards sprung a mine upon them, which blew up the fortifications, killed two lieutenants and forty men, and wounded sixty. The assailants, however, kept possession of the work, and being joined by Captain Whitaker, boldly advanced, and took a small bastion, halfway betwixt the mole and the town. The Marquis de Salines, who was governor, being again summoned, thought proper to surrender, and the British colours for the first time waved over the rock of Gibraltar.
No sooner were the Spaniards acquainted with the loss of this important fortress, than they made every effort -to regain it. Foiled in several attempts, they formed the extravagant and desperate-scheme of surprising the garrison, although a British admiral was then before the town. On the 31st of October, five hundred volunteers took the sacrament, never to return till they had planted the Spanish flag on the battlements of Gibraltar. This forlorn hope was conducted by a goatherd, to the south side of the rock, near the Cave guard. They mounted the rock, and during the first night lodged themselves unperceived in St. Michael's cave. On the succeeding night they scaled Charles the Fifth's wall, and surprised and massacred the guard at Middle Hill, By the assistance of ropes and ladders they got up several hundreds of the party appointed to support them; but being by this operation discovered, a strong detachment of grenadiers marched up from the town, and attacked them with such spirit, that one hundred and sixty of them were killed, or forced over the precipice; and a colonel and thirty officers, with the remainder, taken prisoners.
Since that period several attacks have been made on Gibraltar, with no better success; but the greatest of all was the memorable siege of 1781-2, when France and Spain brought before it the most tremendous force ever employed in any modern siege. General Eliott, whose name has been immortalized and identified with the event, was at this time Governor of Gibraltar, with a garrison of near 6000 men. The Spanish army, consisting of 14,000, was encamped within a mile and a half of the gates, and had constructed the most extensive works. These General Eliott determined if possible to destroy, and accordingly, on the night of the 27th of November, a sortie was made from the garrison, the enemy surprised, and their- works set on fire and blown up. All this was effected in less than two hours, and with the loss of one man only, who being the first to mount a battery encountered the Spanish captain of artillery, whom he wounded, but being wounded also, he could not be got off before the flames had reached him. The works thus destroyed had cost the Spaniards the enormous sum of thin teen millions of large piastres, equal to three millions sterling.
The Spanish monarch, mortified at the disgrace brought on his arms, and the great loss that he had sustained by this sortie, publicly declared his determination to have Gibraltar at all events, cost what it would. It was now determined to make the grand attack by sea and land, which had been so long projected; and the command of this mighty enterprise was given to the Duke de Crillon. From the arrival of this commander, the most active preparations were made in constructing batteries, which, however, were frequently destroyed by the garrison. The whole force of the allied crowns seemed to have been concentrated in this spot, and such a naval and military spectacle is scarcely to be equalled in the annals of war. Their naval force consisted of forty-four large ships of the line, three inferior twodeckers, ten battering ships, five bomb-ketches, a great number of gun and mortar boats, a large floating battery, many armed vessels, and nearly three hundred boats. The land batteries were furnished with two hundred and forty-six pieces of cannon, mortars, and howitzers; and the combined army now amounted to forty thousand.
On the 13th of September the grand attack was made by sea; and met by the garrison by a brisk fire of red-hot balls. After a few hours, the admirers ship was observed to smoke, and eight more of the ships took fire in succession. Several of the battering ships exploded in the course of the following day; the remaining eight ships also blew up with terrible explosions. Brigadier Curtis, with his squadron of gun-boats, exerted himself most gallantly in the cause of humanity, and saved upwards of three hundred persons from the ships which were on fire, who must otherwise inevitably have perished. Lord Howe afterwards arrived with a fleet, and reinforced the garrison. The Spaniards, after the failure of their grand attack, kept up a petty warfare until February, 1782, when the news of preliminaries of a general peace having been signed at Paris, terminated hostilities.
Dumont, whose 'Narrative of a Thirty-four Years' Slavery and Travels in Africa,' has recently been published, relates the following anecdote of a female during the siege of Gibraltar, in 1782: 'The Count d'Artois came to St. Roch, to visit the place and the works. I well remember that his highness, while inspecting the lines, in company with the Duke de Crillon; both of them with their suite alighted, and all lay flat on the ground, to shun the effects of a bomb that fell near a part of the barracks where a Frenchwoman had a canteen. This woman, with two children on her arm, rushes forth, sits with the utmost sang froid on the bomb shell, puts out the match, and thus extricates from danger all that were around her. Numbers were witnesses of this incident; and his highness granted her a pension of three francs a day, and promised to promote her husband after the siege. The Duke de Crillon imitated the prince's generosity, and insured to her likewise a payment of five francs a day.
Siege of Haerlem.
Haerlem, threatened with being invested by the Spaniards in 1573, found the means of ascertaining the efforts that other towns, their allies, were making in their favour. The inhabitants had by a precaution known to the ancients, and very common in the Levant, trained pigeons to pass between the cities of the confederation. Every time that it was necessary to convey information, a letter was attached under the wing of one of these birds, which was let loose. It never failed to fly direct to Haerlem. In this manner the citizens and the troops, to whom it announced prompt and powerful succours, were encouraged to make a brave defence.
In the war on the Rhine, in 1794, the French got possession of the village of Rhinthal by a very curious ruse de guerre of one Joseph Werck, a trumpeter. This village was maintained by an Austrian party of six hundred hussars. Two companies of foot were ordered to make an attack on it at ten o'clock at night. The Austrians had been apprised of the intended attack, and were drawn up ready to charge on the assailing party. On perceiving this, Werck detached himself from his own party, and contrived by favour of the darkness, to slip into the midst of the enemy; when taking his trumpet, he first sounded the rally, in the Austrian manner, and next moment the retreat; the Austrians, deceived by the signal, were off. in an instant at full gallop; and the French became masters of the village without striking a blow.
Charles the Twelfth.
When Charles had not as yet attained the years of manhood, his youth and inexperience encouraged the Kings of Poland, Denmark and the Czar of Russia, to enter into a confederacy against him, for the purpose of wresting from him those dominions which had been ceded to his father and grandfather. The youthful monarch was not disconcerted at the news of this powerful league, he seemed rather to rejoice that an opportunity would he afforded him of displaying his hitherto latent courage and abilities. When the designs of the confederates were certainly known, a Swedish council was convened, at which the king attended, and was for some time a silent spectator of their proceedings. In the midst, however, of their discussions he rose, and with a dignified air, declared that he had determined never to engage in an unjust war: but having been drawn into one by the ambitious views of an enemy, he would never desist till he had humbled and ruined him. 'It is,' says he, 'my resolution to go and attack the first who shall dare to avow his designs; and when I have conquered him I trust the others will be intimidated.' This declaration, so unexpected on the part of his council, was followed by a total change of conduct in the young prince. He gave up
I all his former amusements, and renounced those habits and indulgences which might seem to withdraw his attention from the more important concerns of his country
As soon as Charles was informed of the invasion of Livonia by a Saxon army, he quitted his capital, and embarking his troops at Carlscroon, sailed for Denmark, and proceeded at once to Copenhagen. The vessel had scarcely touched the ground when he leaped into the sea, sword in hand, followed by his guards and chief officers; and advancing in the midst of a shower of musket shot, he asked of the general who stood next to him, 'What the whistling was, which he heard?' 'It is the noise of the bullets fired at you,' replied his general. 'This then,' said the king, 'shall henceforth be the music in which I shall delight.'
How truly he spoke, his after life amply testified. The Danish capital submitted almost instantly to his arms; and in a few weeks the world beheld with surprise, a youth of only eighteen years of age dictating a peace on terms the most honourable to himself, and disgraceful to the confederacy against him.
Mr. Bruce was about to retire to a small patrimony he had inherited front his ancestors, in order to embrace a life of study and reflection, nothing more active appearing within his power, when the celebrated Lord Halifax represented to him, that nothing could be more Ignoble than at such a time of life, at the height of his reading, health, and activity, to turn as it were peasant, and bury himself in obscurity and idleness; that though war was then drawing fast to an end, full as honourable a competition remained among men of spirit which should acquit themselves best in the dangerous line of useful adventure and discovery.
Lord Halifax adverted then to the field which Africa presented for discovery, and it is not a little curious that though the discovery of the source of the Nile, Bruce's grand achievement, was also a subject of the conversation, it was always mentioned to Mr. B. with a kind of reserve, as if it were a thing only to be expected from a more experienced traveller. 'Whether,' says Bruce, 'this was but another way of exciting me to the attempt I shall not say, but my heart in that instant did me justice to suggest, that this too was either to be achieved by me, or to remain as It had done for these last two thousand years, a defiance to all travellers, and an opprobrium to geography.'
When Bruce arrived at the long-desired spot, the sources of the Nile, 14th of November, 1770, 'It is easier,' he says, 'to guess, than to describe the situation of my mind at that moment; standing on that spot which had baffled the genius, industry, and inquiry of ancients and moderns, for the course of near three thousand years. Kings had attempted this discovery at the head of armies; and each expedition was distinguished from the last only by the difference of the numbers which had perished, and agreed alone in the disappointment which had uniformly followed them all. Fame, riches, and honour, had been held out for a series of ages, to every individual of the myriads these princes commanded, without having produced one man capable of gratifying the curiosity of his sovereign, or wiping off this stain on the enterprise and abilities of mankind; or adding this desideratum for the encouragement of geography. Though a mere private Briton, I triumphed here in my own mind over kings and their armies.
From this-feeling of exultation, a. momentary transition took place in Bruce's mind to a sentiment of indifference, which he thus naturally and forcibly describes.
'Although at this moment in possession of what had for many years been the principal object of my ambition and wishes: indifference which, from the usual infirmity of human nature follows, for a time at least, complete enjoyment, had taken place of it. The marsh and the fountains, upon comparison with the use of many of our rivers, became now a trifling object in my sight. I remembered that magnificent scene in my own native country, where the Tweed, Clyde and Annan, rise in one hill, three rivers I now thought not inferior in beauty to the Nile, preferable to it for the cultivation of those countries through which they flow; superior, vastly superior, to it in the virtues and qualities of the inhabitants, and in the beauty of its flocks, crowding its pastures in peace, without fear of violence from man or beast. I had seen the rise of the Rhine and Rhone, and the more magnificent sources of the Soane. I began in my sorrow to treat the inquiry about the source of the Nile, as a violent effect of a distempered fancy.
'"What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her?"'
After all, the mere achievement of discovering the source of the Nile is nothing, compared with the extraordinary powers which Bruce exhibited among the savage nations, with whom he was obliged to sojourn, in the course of his undertaking. On this subject a recent traveller has left the following warm testimony, which is the more to be regarded, that it was the result of personal observation
'Acquainted,' says Burckardt, 'as I am with the character of the Nubians, I cannot but sincerely admire the wonderful knowledge of men, firmness of character, and promptitude of mind, which-furnished Bruce with the means of making his way through these savage inhospitable nations, as an European. To travel as a native has its inconveniences and difficulties; but I take those which Bruce encountered to be of a nature much more intricate and serious, and such as a mind, at once courageous, patient, and fertile in expedients, alone could have surmounted.'
Prince of Enterprise.
If ever there was a man who had a just title to this denomination, it was HORATIO NELSON. We mention him by the name in which he may be said to have 'put on Immortality.' Most truly was it once said, In apology for directing a letter simply to Hpratio Nelson, Genoa, - Sir, THERE IS BUT ONE HORATIO NELSON IN THE WORLD!'
The whole life of this extraordinary man was one continued blaze of heroic enterprise; he was ever panting after deeds of surpassing daring. He was never at ease, but in the midst of the battle and the tempest; he seemed to have no joy but in the mightiest of dangers, he made a sort of child's play of probabilities, and with a giant's strength wrestled with impossibility itself.
From the dispatches and letters of Nelson which are extant, a perfect text work for the philosophy of enterprise might be formed. The many noble impulses, many aspiring resolves, in which they abound - all so pure. so patriotic, so worthy of the dignity of our nature - present lessons which no commentary could exhaust, nor lapse of time depreciate
'Oh! how I long,' said he in a letter to his wife, while yet only a captain in that navy which he was destined to lead to so many unrivaled triumphs, 'to be an Admiral, and in I the command of an English fleet! I should soon either do much, or be ruined. Mine is not a disposition for tame measures.'
In the partial engagement to which Admiral Hotham brought the French fleet in April, 1795, Nelson went on board the Admiral's ship as soon as the firing grew slack in the van, and the Ca Ira and Censeur had struck, when he proposed to the admiral to leave his two crippled ships, the two prizes, and four frigates, to themselves, and to pursue the enemy. The admiral, however, much cooler than his captain, observed, 'We must be contented; we have done very well.' Now,' says Nelson in a letter, in which this interview is related, 'had we taken ten sail, and allowed the eleventh to escape when it had been possible to have got at her, I could never have called it - well done.'
The broad principle on which Nelson acted through the whole course of his professional career, and which all naval men ought to keep ever present in their memories, is thus empha tically laid down in another letter which he wrote to Count Mocenigo at Corfu. 'In sea affairs nothing is impossible, and nothing improbable.'
A presentiment of his future renown was always the predominant passion of his soul. 'One day or other,' said he, when writing to this wife, 2nd of August, 1795, 'I will have a gazette for myself; I feel that such an opportunity will be given me. I cannot if I am in the field of glory be kept out of sight.'
When it was resolved to withdraw our fleet from the Mediterranean, in consequence of the expected junction of the French and Spanish squadrons, the feelings of Nelson were much irritated at the idea of such a retreat; and in another letter to his wife he thus poured them forth. 'We are all preparing to leave the Mediterranean. They at home do not know what this fleet is capable of performing - anything and everything. Much as I shall rejoice to see England, I lament our present order in sackcloth and ashes, so dishonourable is it to the dignity of England, whose fleets are equal to meet the world in arms.'
A genius of the towering order of Nelson's was fitted to prosper only when left to itself. As his actions were beyond those of ordinary men, so were his notions of what could and ought to be acted. His mind created for itself opportunities of distinction, in what to others were situations of forlornness and despair. We find accordingly, that on the first occasion in which he signalized himself on a grand scale, he was, though in a subordinate command, the entire architect of his own glory. A great opportunity presented itself to him; and at the hazard of incurring the greatest penalty which a breach of discipline can entail, he had the noble daring to seize it. On the 14th of February, 1797, the signal was flying from the whole fleet to tack in succession; when it came to Nelson's turn, as commodore of the rear division, to obey the order, he saw at once that by doing so the whole advantage of cutting the enemy's line would be lost; without hesitation therefore he resolved to disregard the signal; he ordered his ship to be wore; and the other ships of his division following the example of their leader, eight of the enemy's ships were thus cut off, forced to come to an engagement, and four of them captured.
The late Mr. Clerk of Eldin, author of the admirable 'Essay on Naval Tactics,' and the undoubted inventor of the manoeuvre of cutting the line, to which the British navy owes so many of its triumphs, used to take great pleasure in quoting this achievement as an unanswerable exemplification of the excellence of his system. Indeed the manoeuvre of Nelson was no more than a very exact solution of one of the problems proposed in Mr. Clerk's Essay.
A similar thing occurred in the action off Copenhagen, 1st of April, 1801. Before victory had declared itself in favour of the British, and when to retire would have been discomfiture and disgrace, Admiral Farker made the signal (No. 39) for the engagement lo cease. When the signal was reported to Nelsen, then walking on deck, he continued his walk, and appeared to take no notice of it. The lieutenant meeting his lordship at the next turn, asked 'Whether he should repeat it?' Lord Nelson answered, 'No, acknowledge it.' On the officer returning to the poop, his lordship called after him, 'Is No. 16 (signal for close action, which had been flying from the beginning) still hoisted?' The lieutenant answered in the affirmative. Lord Nelson said, 'Mind you keep it so!'. He now walked the deck considerably agitated, which was always known by his moving the stump of his right arm. After a turn or two he said to Captain Foote, in a quick manner, ¥ Do you know what's shown on board the commander in chief? No. 39!' On Captain F.'s asking what that meant, Nelson answered, 'Why, to leave off action. Leave off action!' he repeated, 'No, never while an enemy's flag is flying.' He also observed to Captain Foley, 'You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.' And then with an archness Peculiar to his character, putting the glass to his blind eye, he exclaimed, 'I really do not see the signal.'
Immediately before the last great engagement, in which 'God gave us victory, but Nelson died,' he asked Captain Blackwood 'What he should consider as a victory?' Captain B. answered, 'That considering the handsome way in which battle was offered by the enemy, their apparent determination for a fair trial of strength, and the proximity of the land, he thought if fourteen ships were captured it would be a glorious result.' Nelson replied, 'I shall not, Blackwood, be satisfied with anything short of twenty.' 'I was walking with him,' continued Captain Blackwood, 'on the poop, when he said, "I'll now amuse the fleet with a signal;" and he asked me "if I did not think there was one yet wanting?" I answered, that I thought the whole of the fleet seemed very clearly to understand what they were about, and to vie with each other who should first get nearest to the Victory or Royal Sovereign. These words were scarcely uttered, when his last well-known signal was made, ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN TO DO HIS DUTY!
Sir James Yeo.
Sir James Yeo, when a lieutenant on board the Loire, in 1805, distinguished himself by landing and taking possession of the Spanish fort of Muros, by storm, with a force of only fifty men. This action is thus described by Captain Maitland:
'Having landed under the small battery on the point, it was instantly abandoned; but hardly had he time to spike the guns, when at the distance of a quarter of a mile, he perceived a regular fort, ditched, and with a gate, which the enemy (fortunately never suspecting our landing) had neglected to secure, opened fire upon the ship; without waiting for orders, he pushed forward, and was opposed at the inner gate by the governor, with such troops as were in the town, and the crews of the French privateers. From the testimony of the prisoners, as well as our own men, it appears that Lieutenant Yeo was the first that entered the fort; with one blow he laid the governor dead at his feet, and broke his own sabre in two. The other officers were despatched by such officers and men of ours as were most advanced, and the narrowness of the gate would permit to push forward. The remainder instantly fled to the further end of the fort, where from the ship we could perceive many of them leap from the embrasures upon the rocks, a height of above twenty five feet.'
Sir Alexander Ball.
Lord Nelson first became acquainted with Sir Alexander Ball at St. Omer in France, in 1783. They parted in some degree prejudiced against each other. After a long interval they again met, when Captain Ball was attached to the squadron, which Earl St. Vincent, in 1798, sent up to the Mediterranean under Sir Horatio. The prejudice which he had imbibed at St. Omer still remained; and on his first interview with Captain Ball, Nelson observed, 'What do you expect by going with me? do you wish to get your bones broken?' I did not, sir,' replied Captain Ball, 'come into service to save my bones, I know you are going on a perilous service, and I am therefore happy to go with you.' During the subsequent tempest in the gulf of Lyons, the talents and greatness of mind of Captain Ball won the heart of Nelson, and from that time the utmost intimacy and mutual regard existed between these officers.
The capture of Seringapatam was as important in its consequences, as it was glorious in its achievement. The strength of the fort was such, both from its natural position, and the stupendous works by which it was surrounded, that all the exertions of the brave troops who made the attack were required to place it in our hands.
On the 30th of April, 1799, the English batteries opened on the fort, and by the 3rd of May so much of the walls was destroyed that General Harris determined on assaulting the place on the following day. Accordingly the troops intended to be employed were stationed in the trenches, early in the morning of the 4th, that no extraordinary movement might lead the enemy to expect the assault. At one o'clock the troops moved from the trenches, crossed the rocky bed of the Cavery under an extremely heavy fire, passed the glacis and ditch, and ascended the breaches in the fausse braye and rampart of the fort, surmounting in the most gallant manner every obstacle which the difficulty of the passage, and the resistance of the enemy, presented to oppose their progress. Major-General Baird had divided his force for the purpose of clearing the ramparts to the right and lea. One division was commanded by Colonel Sherbrooke; the other by Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlop. Both corps although strongly opposed, were completely successful. Colonel Dunlop was disabled by a wound he received in a personal conflict with one of Tippoo's sirdars, who assailed him- with his scimitar about half-way up the breach, making a desperate cut at the colonel, which he was fortunate enough to pass, and return with a cut that laid the breast of his antagonist open. The sirdar, although mortally wounded, made another blow at Colonel Dunlop, which struck him across the wrist of the right hand, and nearly cut it through. The sirdar then reeled back, and fell on the breach, where he was bayoneted by the soldiers as they passed. Colonel Dunlop still went on at the head of his men, until he ascended to the top of the breach, where he fell from the loss of blood, and was carried off to the rear by some soldiers.
Resistance continued to be made for some time from the palace of Tippoo Sultan, after all firing had ceased from the works; but nothing could withstand the impetuosity of our troops, and every part of the city was soon in our power.
The forlorn hope in the assault was led by a sergeant of the light company of the Bombay European regiment, who volunteered his services on the occasion. He was a Scotchman, of the name of Graham. He ran forward to examine the breach; and mounting it, pulled off his hat, and with three cheers called out, 'Success to Lieutenant Graham!' (alluding to his having a commission if he survived). He then rejoined his party, and with them remounted, holding the colours in his hand. Upon reaching the rampart he stuck the colour-staff in it, exclaiming with enthusiastic ardour, 'I'll show them the British flag.' At this moment the gallant Graham received a shot through his head, and fell on the ramparts.
During this assault, Tippoo hurried along the northern ramparts to the breach, where he fired several times on the assailants with his own hands, and with considerable success; and when abandoned by his men, he did not attempt to escape, but rushing onward, received two musket balls in his body, his horse also being wounded, sunk under him, and he fell to the ground. It is related, that an English soldier offering to pull off the sword-belt of the Sultan, which was very rich, Tippoo, who still held his sabre in his hand, made a cut at him with all his remaining strength. The man wounded in the knee, put his firelock to his shoulder, and the Sultan receiving the ball in his temple, instantly expired.
At the attack on Kalunga in the Nepaul war,. after the retreat had been sounded a second time, Major Ludlow took post in some ruined huts immediately under the wall of the fort, and considerable apprehensions were felt for him and his party, who were likely to be cut off. At this instant General Gillespie saw that it was requisite to do something to save this little band of heroes, and being greatly vexed at the failures of the storming party, he turned to an officer standing by him, and said, 'Sir, I will take that post, or die before it.' He then gave some orders; and addressing himself to the brigade-major, said, 'Now, sir I am at your service.' After this he went on most gallantly, waving his hat and cheering the men, until he was shot through the heart, and fell without uttering a syllable.
The world have read with wonder the narrative of the extraordinary adventures, each of them sufficient to appal the stoutest heart, which the lamented Mungo Park encountered in the course of his first journey into Africa: and considering the well-known modesty and discretion of his character, the reader will not perhaps be surprised to learn, that many adventures still more extraordinary than any which he has related in his published narrative were, from a motive of prudence, suppressed.
We have been told by more than either two or three individuals who enjoyed the pleasure of an intimate intercourse with Mr. P. after he retired to Fowlshields, in the south of Scotland, that they have heard adventures recounted to them by Mr. P. which were altogether new to them, and exceeded in interest and singularity anything contained in his printed journal. Among the number was the celebrated Walter Scott, who was naturally induced to ask Mr. P. the reason of this omission. Mr. P. replied, 'that in all cases where he had information to communicate which he thought of importance to the public, he had stated them boldly, leaving it to his reader to give such credit to his statements as they might appear justly to deserve; but that he would not shock their credulity, or render his travels more marvellous, by introducing circumstances which, however true, were of little or no moment, as they related solely to his own personal adventures and escapes.' To a Mr. E., who made a similar inquiry, Mr. P.'s answer was more laconic, but equally to the purpose. 'Sir, they were too marvellous to be believed.'
Immediately on Mr. P.'s landing in England, he hastened to London, anxious to the last degree about his family and friends, of whom he had heard nothing for two years. He arrived in the metropolis before daylight on the morning of Christmas Day, 1797; and it being too early an hour to go to the house of his brother-in-law, Mr. Dickson, he wandered for some time about the streets in that quarter of the town where his house was. Finding one of the entrances into the gardens of the British Museum accidentally open, he went in, and walked about there for some time. It happened that Mr. Dickson, who had the care of these gardens, went there early that morning upon some trifling business. The reader may easily conceive what must have been Mr. D.'s emotions on beholding, at that extraordinary time and place, the vision, as it must at first have appeared, of his long-lost friend, the object of many anxious reflections, and whom he had numbered among the dead
When Mr. Park afterwards commenced business as a medical man in the south of Scotland, it was the constant observation of his friends, that his mind was set on some far different pursuit. Mr. Walter Scott calling one day at Fowlshields, and not finding him at home, walked in search of him along the banks of the Yarrow, which is there a romantic stream, running among rocks, and forming deep eddies and pools. In a short time he found Park employed in plunging large stones into the river, and watching with anxious attention the bubbles as they rose to the surface. On being asked by his friend the reason why he persevered so long in this singular amusement, 'This was the manner,' answered Park, 'in which I used to ascertain the depth of a river in Africa before I ventured to cross it; Judging whether the attempt would be safe by the time which the bubbles of air took to ascend.' It was not then known that Park had any thoughts of undertaking a second mission, but this left no doubt in Mr. Scott's mind that he had formed such an intention.
Notwithstanding his determination again to visit Africa, he acknowledged that the horrors of his captivity in the Moorish camp of Benowm had never ceased to be impressed upon his imagination. He used often to start from his sleep in great trepidation, supposing himself still a prisoner in the tent of Ali.
Mr. Scott declares in feeling terms the manner of his last parting with his friend. About the time of his quitting Fowlshields, never again to return to it, Park paid Mr. Scott a farewell visit, and slept at Ashesteil. The next morning Mr. Scott accompanied him part of the way on his return to Fowlshields, and they rode together over the wild chain of pastoral hills which divide the Tweed from the Yarrow. Park talked much of his new African expedition, and mentioned his determination of going straight from Edinburgh without returning to Fowlshields, as he could not venture to trust his own feelings, or those of his family, with a formal parting. They were then on the top of Williamhope ridges, a lofty hill which overlooks the course of the Yarrow; and the autumnal mist which floated heavily and slowly down the valley beneath them, presented to Mr. Scott's imagination a striking emblem of the troubled and uncertain prospect which Park's undertaking afforded. Mr. Scott pressed on his friend the danger likely to result from his being accompanied by a military force, which he then thought the most unsafe mode of travelling in Africa; the number of the troops proposed to be employed appearing to be inadequate for conquest, or even for serious defence, yet large enough to excite suspicion. Park answered these objections by describing the manner in which Africa was subdivided, among petty sovereigns, who were not likely to form any regular combination for cutting him off, and whose boundaries were soon traversed. He spoke also of the long journeys common in those countries, and the habit of seeing cofles, or caravans, of all nations pass through these territories, on paying a small duty; from which he inferred that the march of a small party, such as that which was to be placed under his command, would excite no serious apprehension. This interesting conversation occupied the two friends till- they had passed the hills, and came to a road where it had been agreed they should separate. A small ditch separated the Muir from the road, and in going over it Park's horse stumbled and nearly fell. 'I am afraid, Mungo,' said Mr. Scott 'that is a bad omen.' To which he answered, smiling, 'Friets, (i.e. omens) follow those who look to them.' With this proverbial expression, and afraid of a formal adieu, he rode away, and was speedily out of sight.
The eagerness with which Park set out on this second expedition, was probably one great cause of its melancholy termination. instead of waiting till the season of the rains was over, he trusted to the possibility of a march sufficiently rapid to enable him to reach the Niger before they set in: unhappily they overtook him in the midst of his journey, and the first night of rain struck one-fourth of his party with sickness.
Isaaco, Park's Guide.
Mr. Park's guide, Isaaco, as the party were passing one of the rivers, was very active in pushing the asses into the water, and shoving along the canoe; but being afraid that they would not be all got over in the course of the day, he attempted to drive six of the asses across the river farther down, where the water was shallower. When he had reached the middle of the river, a crocodile rose close to him, and instantly seizing him by the left thigh pulled him under water. With wonderful presence of mind he felt the head of the animal, and thrust his finger into its eye; on which it quitted its hold, and Isaaco attempted to reach the farther shore, calling out for a knife. But the crocodile returned, and seized him by the other thigh, and again pulled him under water; he had recourse to the same expedient, and thrust his finger into its eyes with such violence, that it again quitted him; and when it rose, it flounced about on the surface of the water as if stupid, and then swam down the middle of the river. Isaaco proceeded to the other side, bleeding very much: as soon as the canoe returned, Mr. Park went over, and found him much lacerated; but through the surgical assistance he was able to afford him, his: wounds were gradually healed.
The interests of science as well as of commerce, are indebted to no man more than to the illustrious but unfortunate Cook. Before his time almost half the surface of the globe was involved in obscurity and confusion; but since then such improvements have been made, all originating in his extraordinary exertions, that geography has assumed a new face, and become in a manner a new science; having attained to such completeness, as to leave only some less important parts to be explored by future voyagers.
After having twice circumnavigated the globe, in which assiduous and perilous service little short of six whole years had been employed, it was thought by his country but reasonable that he should be allowed to spend the remainder of his life in quiet, and to enable him to do this in the most comfortable manner, his sovereign made ample and honourable provision. When, however, another expedition was resolved upon, to solve the interesting question, whether there was a passage to the East Indies, between the northern parts of Europe and Asia, the nation could not help universally turning their eyes towards Cook, the only man in whom they could put their trust for the accomplishment of so important an undertaking. So perfectly did the Government feel that they were with out any claim on his services, that they would make no direct solicitation to Captain Cook on the subject; but they took care to put him in no doubt, that if he chose to volunteer his services, they would be most gladly accepted. They consulted him on everything relating to the equipment of the expedition, and at last requested him to name the person whom he judged most fit to conduct it. In order to settle this point, Captain Cook, Sir Hugh Palliser, and Mr. Stephens, were invited to the house of Lord Sandwich to dinner. The conversation at their meeting naturally branched into more things than the consideration of the proper officer for conducting the expedition. Lord Sandwich enlarged on its nature and dignity, its consequences to navigation and science, and the completeness it would give to the whole system of discoveries. Sir Hugh Palliser and Mr. Stephens did not fail to contribute their part to swell the tide of feeling. The enthusiasm of Captain Cook became at length so much roused by the representations he heard of the importance and glory of the undertaking, that starting up, he exclaimed, 'I will conduct it myself!' This was just what the parties present had desired; his offer was instantly laid before the king, and Captain Cook appointed officer of the expedition.
'No tombstone need his worth proclaim, Quebec for ever shall record his fame: Quebec for ever, shall with wonder tell, How great beneath her walls, her conq'ror fell.' ANON.
The fame which General Wolfe acquired at the siege of Louisburg, the surrender of which was principally owing to his bravery and skill, pointed him out to Mr. Pitt as the most proper to command the army destined to attack Quebec, although he was not more than thirty-three years of age.
Quebec was the capital of the French dominions in North America; it was well fortified, situated in the midst of country hostile to the English, and defended by an army of 20,000 men, regulars and militia, besides a considerable number of Indians. The troops destined or this expedition consisted of ten battalions, making together about 7000 men. Such was the army destined to oppose three times their own number, defended by fortifications in a country altogether unknown, and in a season of the year very unfavourable for military operations. But this little army was always sanguine of success, for it was commanded by General Wolfe, who had attached the troops so much to his person, and inspired them with such resolution and steadiness, in the execution of their duty, that nothing seemed too difficult to accomplish.
On the 13th of September, 1759, the grand attack on Quebec was made. General Wolfe landed his army on the northern shore of the river St. Lawrence. The difficulty of ascending the hill was so great, that the soldiers not being able to go two abreast, were obliged to pull themselves up by the stumps and boughs of trees that covered the declivity. The French commenced the battle with a brisk fire of musketry. Wolfe ordered his men to reserve their fire until they were within forty yards of the enemy. They then attacked with greet fury, and the French gave way. In the commencement of the battle, General Wolfe was wounded in the wrist by a musket ball; he wrapt his handkerchief round it, and continued to give his orders with his usual calmness and perspicuity. Towards the end of the engagement, he received another wound in the breast, which obliged him to retire behind the rear rank. Here he laid himself on the ground; soon after a shout was heard, and one of the officers near him exclaimed, 'See how they run!' The dying hero asked with same emotion, 'Who run?' 'The enemy,' replied the officer, 'they give way everywhere.' The general then said, 'Pray do one of you run to Colonel Burton, and tell him to march Webb's regiment with all speed down to Charles river, to cut off the retreat of the fugitives from the bridge. Now, God be praised, I shall die happy.' He then turned on his side, and immediately expired.
It is a circumstance not generally known, but believed by the army which served under General Wolfe, that his death wound was not received by the common chance of war, but given by a deserter from his own regiment. The cause of this treacherous act is said to have been as follows: The general perceived one of the sergeants of his regiment strike a man under arms, (an act against which he had given particular orders,) and knowing the man to be a good soldier, reprimanded the aggressor with much warmth, and threatened to reduce him to the ranks. This so far incensed the sergeant, that he took the first opportunity of deserting to the enemy, where he premeditated the means of destroying the general, which he effected, by being placed in the enemy's left wing, which was directly opposed to the right of the British line, where Wolfe commanded in person, and where he was marked out by the miscreant, who was provided with a rifle piece, and unfortunately effected his diabolical purpose.
After the defeat of the French army, the deserterswere all removed to Crown Point, which being afterwards suddenly invested and taken by the British army, the whole of the garrison fell into the hands of the captors, when the sergeant was hanged for desertion; but before the execution of his sentence, he confessed the facts above recited.
The 'Ne Plus Ultra.'
The following extraordinary advertisement has recently made its appearance in the American journals, one of which adds, that the advertiser is not only a respectable, but a sane man. He is said to have already got twenty volunteers for his expedition.
'Light developes light, ad infinitum.
'St. l Louis (Missouri Territory),
'North America, April 10, A.D. 1818.
'To all the world. - I declare the earth to be hollow and habitable within; containing a number of concentric spheres one within the other, and that their poles are open twelve or sixteen degrees. I pledge myself in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the concave, if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking.
'JOHN CLEVES SYMMES,
Of Ohio, late Captain of Infantry.
'I ask one hundred brave companions, well equipped, to start from Siberia, in autumn; with reindeer and sledges on the ice of the frozen sea. I engage we find a warm country, and rich land, stocked with thrifty vegetables and animals, if not men, on reaching about sixty-nine miles northward of latitude fifty-two degrees. We will return in the succeeding spring.
When they do return, we shall be happy to add in some future edition of our work an account of their marvellous enterprise.
A Trifling Exception.
In 1643, St. Preuil, the governor of Amiens, who depended much on a stratagem that he had conceived for seizing upon Arras, was anxious to engage a soldier named Courcelles to execute it. 'I have made choice of you,' said he to him one day, 'as the most prudent soldier that I know, for a blow that will make your fortune. The business is to surprise Arras, and hear how I have planned it. You shall disguise yourself as a peasant, and go and sell fruit in the place. After you have done this some time, you must quarrel with some person, and kill him with a poniard. You must suffer yourself to be taken, you will be tried on the spot, and be condemned to be hanged. You know the custom of Arras is,, to have their executions out of the city. It is on this circumstance that my design depends. I will place an ambuscade near the gate, by which you shall be brought out. My people will render themselves master of those who shall come out who belong to the spectacle. I will march in the instant to their assistance, and make myself master of the place; which as soon as I am, I shall rescue you. This is my project: what do you say to it?' 'It is fine,' replied Courcelles; 'but the thing deserves some consideration.' 'It does,' said St. Preuil, 'think of it, and tomorrow let me have your resolution.' The next day Courcelles waited on his commander. Well, my brave fellow,' said St. Preuil, 'what do you think of my project now?' 'Sir,' replied Courcelles, 'it is admirable only I should like that you would give me the command of the ambuscade, and take yourself the basket of fruit.'
The first campaigns of the French after the revolution, were remarkable for that sudden excitement which precipitated towards the frontiers of France a million of new and undisciplined men, to oppose by their courage and enthusiasm, the confederated force of the finest troops of which Europe could boast.
The campaign of Italy presented Europe with a spectacle still more astonishing; in this one campaign, which was nothing but one continued series of battles, three armies were successively destroyed; more than one hundred and fifty colours were taken, forty thousand Austrians laid down arms: the whole of Italy was conquered, and all these prodigies were achieved by no more than thirty thousand French, under a young general of twenty-eight years of age!
The rapidity with which the French army moved, far exceeded what Caesar reports of the Roman legions in his Commentaries. The Roman legions marched at the rate of twenty four miles a day; the French marched thirty and fought every day.
It was a common saying with the troops The general has discovered a new method of making war; he makes more use of out leas then of our bayonets.'
On a subsequent occasion, when the extreme fatigue which the soldiers: underwent was a subject of observation, Bonaparte observed, 'If I force them to march, it is to spare their blood.'
At the memorable passage of the Bridge of Lodi, it was not less the celerity and promptitude of movement than invincible heroism that carried the day. The fire of the enemy; who defended the passage with thirty pieces of cannon, was terrible; the head of the charging column of the French appeared to give way. 'A moment of hesitation,' says Bonaparte in his official dispatch on the occasion, 'would have lost all.' 'Generals Berthier, Massena, Cervoni, D'Allemagne; the chief of brigade, Lanne, and the chief of battalion, Dupat, dashed forward at its head and determined the fate of the day, still wavering in the balance.' Bonaparte does not include his own name in the list of this heroic band, though well known to have been one of the foremost in the charge; the modesty which dictated this concealment, even his revilers must admire. 'This redoubtable column,' he continues, 'overturned all opposed to it; Beaulieu's order of battle was broken; astonishment, flight, and death, were spread on all sides. In the twinkling of an eye the enemy's army was scattered in confusion.'
'Although,' he continues, 'since the commencement of the campaign we have had some very warm affairs, and although the army has often been under the necessity of acting with great audacity, nothing has occured which can be compared to the terrible passage of the Bridge of Lodi.
'Our loss has been small; and this we owe to the promptitude of the execution, and to the sudden effect which the charge of this intrepid column produced on the enemy.'
A Veteran Highlander.
In the battle before Quebec, which terminated in the reduction of that town, when the command of the army had, by the death of General Wolfe, devolved on General Townshend, he observed an old highlander in front of the army, laying about with the most surprising strength and agility, bearing down all opposition, till almost spent with fatigue, he retired behind a breastwork of dead bodies. After resting a short time, he stripped off his coat which encumbered him, and again returned to the charge with new vigour. The general, full of admiration at his intrepid behaviour, ordered him to be brought before him after the engagement, and having bestowed on him the encomiums which his gallant conduct merited, he asked him how he could leave his native country, and follow the for tune of war at such an advanced age! He replied, that his hatred to the French for their perfidious conduct on many occasions, had made him leave his family at seventy years of age, as a volunteer, in order to be revenged on them before his death; and he hoped on that day he had not disgraced himself, his king, or his country. General Townshend was so much pleased with the magnanimity of the brave fellow, that he brought him home with him, and presented him to Mr. Pitt, by whom he was introduced to his majesty, who immediately gave him a lieutenant's commission, with the liberty of serving in any corps he might choose, or to retire to his family and friends, with full pay during his life.
The name of this gallant highlander was Malcolm Macpherson, of Phones, in Badenoch. His broadsword, with which he so nobly revenged himself on his country's foes had descended from father to son as a particular legacy, for upwards of three hundred years.