Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

و

schemes for serving the public, or for be- gratified to find among his papers, various nefiting my friends, occupied my whole evidences of religious feeling. Several attention.'

forms of prayer occur, adapted to his own “ At length a number of providential private exigencies, as well as to the politicircumstances combined to revive the holy cal aspect of the times. flame of early piety. Affliction overtook " In 1821, he drew up with his own him. Many of his best concerted projects hand a testamentary document, in which, failed. Acts of kindness were repaid with after solemn profession of his faith in the ingratitude. Disinterested actions were Jewish and Christian Scriptures as deascribed to selfish policy. Giving undi- clarations of the Divine will, he acknowvided attention to public business, he had ledges his unfitness as a fallen creature to too much neglected, not only his religious abide the scrutiny of Omniscient justice, but his family affairs ; debts rapidly accu- and humbly prays forgiveness through the mulated; his Indian claims, by which he mediation of his Redeemer. hoped to clear them, were rejected, and “ Another interesting paper is a short sales of property became necessary, which address, in 1823, to surviving connexions, it cost him much distress to part with. on the impropriety of indulging grief for " At home,' he says,

I enjoyed much do- the loss of near relations or particular mestic happiness, but every thing without friends. He contends that Christians, assumed a most gloomy aspect.'

when visited with bereavement, should " About this time, his constant friend, not withdraw in sullen despondency from Bishop Watson, died. The last letter of the duties of their station; but should that eminent man was a solemn warning manifest their Christianity by their pato prepare for futurity. Like himself, the tience, looking forward with cheerful Bishop had been engrossed too much by hope to re-union in a better world, and worldly cares, and actuated inordinately taking comfort from the reflection of by ambition. The two friends had been David I shall go to him, but he shall often and long associated in pursuits mere- not return to me."" ly political or literary; and the Bishop, at the time of writing his farewell, had Having, in the commencement of been visited with those presages of disso- this article, put the reader in poslution, which, however unavailing to the session of our own crude impressions foolhardy and the reprobate, are so wisely of the qualities which chiefly distinfitted to instruct mankind in the nothing- guished Sir John Sinclair, we shall ness of all pursuits but one. After de

now present him with the estimate of seribing the acute pain he suffered, and his public character and writings, the utter inability of the physicians to an- formed by one whose capacity for ticipate the result, he continues : there- just appreciation is undoubted, and fore I consult none, but wait with fortitude and humble trust the exit of this life, for close and accurate observation.

who enjoyed opportunities far greater and the beginning of another. Your affectionate friend. R. L.""

" In the intellectual character of Sir “ The death of my eldest sister, and John Sinclair, the leading features were the publication of her work on the Prin- fertility of invention and indomitable perciples of the Christian Faith, had also a

He was rather a man of talent great influence in drawing her father's than of genius : he occasionally amused him mind to considerations of a strictly re- self with poetry, but was not successful in ligious character.

that branch of composition. As a speaker “ The difficulties, indeed, to which I he was argumentative and empbatic, but not have referred, passed away--but mean- brilliant; better fitted to convince than to time the sufferer had profited by the persuade. During his career in Parliament painful but instructive lesson. He had the House of Commons was accustomed to learnt to look upon the trials and viccissi- the most magnificent efforts of rhetorical tudes of human life with the serene eye of power; to such he never aspired. Both his Christian wisdom, and to refer prosperity taste and his judgment led him to prefer and adversity alike to the all-merciful clear business-like statements and solid reas Disposer of both. 'I began once more,' sonings. Occasionally, indeed, we find a he says, 'to appreciate the value of de- passage in his speeches rising to great elo. votion, and to profit by the Scriptures as quence, but his ordinary style was calm, the only source of present, but more espe. argumentative, and unostentatious. His cially of future happiness.'

early writings are confessedly superior to his “ From papers written after this period, later compositions : they possess more enerit appears that Christian principles, Chris- gy, and are unencumbered by those minute tian hopes and consolations gradually ac- subdivisions, which, though adopted for the quired ascendancy over his mind. I am sake of perspicuity, sometimes embarrass and

severance.

fatigue the reader. His works are volumi. for encouraging meritorious individuals, how. nous, but notwithstanding this disadvantage ever obscure in station or depressed in for(for such it often is) they are redundant tune. About two hundred persons owed to rather in facts than in words. The infor- him their success in life. He never chemation he accumulated upon the various sub- rished enmity to those who opposed or injects of which he treats is immense ; for he jured him. He was even blamed for not disstudiously improved every opportunity of ac, tinguishing sufficiently between supporters quiring knowledge, and endeavoured to make and opponents, friends and enemies. He every possessor of it, to whom he could gain envied no mao's reputation, but was eager to access, a contributor to the general stock. advance it wherever it was well deserved-Few men knew so well how to elicit infor- generosity which he did not always himself mation from persons least habituated to com- experience. He was no violent partisan ; municate their ideas.

but admired talent and worth in men of all “ The value of his long.continued labours political sentiments; and although a hearty was acknowledged by all classes, both at and zealous patriot, he never permitted nahome and abroad. King George III. be- tional rivalries nor antipathies to bias his mo. stowed upon him the rank of baronet, admit- ral judgment in the case of individuals. His ted him a member of his Privy Council, and charities perhaps were too indiscriminate. was understood to have intended for him He was unable to resist importunity, even of higher marks of royal favour. Twenty-two suspicious applicants ; and although in theory counties in Scotland voted him thanks for a political economist, on the side of feeling his services to agriculture, and their example he was a Christian. was followed in various towns, by the inha- “ His piety shrunk from all display. He bitants of which he was regarded less as an cherished an habitual reverence for the Suindefatigable friend to husbandry than as a preme Being, and abhorred all approach to general benefactor to his country. He was profaneness. He had, indeed, at one time, received into a large proportion of the lite- partly substituted usefulness to mankind for rary, scientific, and agricultural societies at those high religious motives which are the home; and his list of foreign diplomas amounts only true foundation of beneficence; but he to twenty-five.

happily learnt afterwards to discriminate be“It was chiefly by adherence to the strict- tween external conformity to moral rules, est rules of temperance, that Sir John Sin- and a complete devotion of the soul to its clair, with unimpaired faculties, outlived the Creator ; he learnt to acknowledge that a ordinary term of mortal existence. During moral agent may even deserve applause from his long life, he never once transgressed the men, while in relation to the purity and marules of sobriety. Having ascertained the jesty of God, he stands guilty and conkind of diet best adapted to his constitution, demned. In the doctrines of Christianity he adhered to it from year to year, with un- my venerable parent saw the only ground of deviating regularity. His chief imprudence religious hope, and rising from the mere inregarded expenditure. He forgot limited timations of nature to the assurances of reve amount of means, when objects of great na- lation, anticipated, with humble confidence, tional interest were to be secured.

. the life and immortality brought to light by “ No patron could have greater zeal for the gospel.'" advancing the interests of his friends, or

THE PICTURE GALLERY.

CHAPTER VII.

Captain Davis-or the “gentleman shrewd, however, remembering the rover” as he was termed by his com- menaces he had thrown out, to calcurogues, from his superior address and late much at first on John's good-will, manner, on which he prided himself— but trusted that time and habit would was the only son of a small Devon- soften down his spleen ; and convince shire farmer, who having fallen into him that it was his interest to stand difficulties and been imprisoned, as well with his Captain. has been already shown, by his land- As Trevanion, at his request, took lord for sundry arrears of rent, &c., his seat beside him, he thought he had fell a victim to his disappointments- never seen a more imposing figure. died, in short, a madman ; a catas- He was of the middle height, admitrophe which so infuriated his son, rably proportioned, with broad, square whose mother soon followed her hus- shoulders and chest, indicating prodiband to the grave, that he murdered gious strength. The expression of his the author of these complicated cala- countenance was, on the whole, stern, mities; and then, after wandering and his complexion bronzed by the some weeks up and down the coun- winds of many winters ; but there was try, effected his escape, disguised at times a laughing good-humour in as a common sailor, in a merchant- his eye, which gave him a far from man, bound for the Bahamas ; joined repulsive aspect. Opposite the Capthe Bucaniers then headed by the tain, at the foot of the table, sat his ferocious Olonois; and in process of Lieutenant, a bull-necked, beetletime, by his courage and strict atten- browed rascal, sulky and splenetic, tion to discipline, was raised to a high with a desperate squint, a pot-belly, command among them.

and legs which parted company with At the period at which he is intro- each other at the knees, like the two duced to my reader's notice, he was diverging sides of an isosceles triangle. about forty years of age; was frank, Next him was old Tom, whose one cordial, and even affable in manner, eye glowed like a red-hot coal, by way when nothing occurred to render him of affording a lively relief to the black otherwise ; a keen observer of charac- patch which covered the other. The ter, for he had seen more of the world, rest of the crew presented nothing reand was better educated than the ma- markable. They were merely so many jority of the pirates; a thorough mas- coarse, hardy vagabonds, with little ter of nautical tactics ; patient and or nothing of the frankness of the self-denying when such sacrifices were sailor about them. Two or three required; but a drunkard and a liber- were Dutchmen, and as many more tine when on shore and at ease, and Spaniards; but the majority were of capable of the greatest atrocities when English extraction ; and all sat down once his passions were roused. In fully equipped with pistols, daggers, endeavouring to attach Trevanion to and sabres, in the brightest possible his interests, he exhibited tact of no condition, for the pirates were perfect mean order. His motive was not that dandies in these matters. which he had chosen to avow-namely, The table at which they sat, some that he was short of hands, but a far on benches, some on meat-casks, and deeper one. He imagined he saw in some on huge tea-chests, presented a the young man superior sagacity and rare, unleavened sample of the chaotic. strength of character, and persuaded Dried tropical fruits, cold meats, pies, himself that if he could once prevail biscuits, and other viands, were mixed on him to join the crew under his com- in loving fellowship together, with mand, he should in his intelligence, drinking-cans, horns, bottles, bladders, energy, and sense of gratitude—for he and small spirit.flasks; while each determined to conciliate him by all man helped himself, stretching half means in his power — find a sure across the table, and talking or singsupport in those mutinies which so ing at the very top of his voice, with. often took place between the pirates out the slightest deference to his neighand their commanders. He was too bour's auriculars. John eyed the

a

a

group attentively to see if he could actually afraid of a visit from a ghost read in the countenance of any one in- or two! For shame, Tom; what would dications of a friendly spirit; but he old Olonois say to this ? " could discern nothing, but, on the con- Before the superstitious sea-cyclops trary, manya distrustful glance direct could make any reply, the ship gave ed towards him, though no one took a sudden violent roll, which precipiany further notice of his presence. tated the pot-bellied Lieutenant head

* I wonder what can have become foremost into an empty meat-cask that of Morgan's squadron?” exclaimed stood upright beside him. the Captain, addressing old Tom; “it “ Huzza !” cried the pirate chief, should have heaved in sight long be- springing to bis legs," huzza, my lads, fore this."

the wind is getting up ; we shall have "Mayhap the Commodore has taken a spanking breeze shortly." a prize or two, Cap'n, and is busy Hardly were the words out of his with his prisoners."

mouth, when a loud voice shouted “ As you were with yours, Tom, at down the hatchway, “ The wind Vera Cruz," said the Lieutenant, freshens; she is making way again." “when you flung 'em overboard by the “ Then up with every sail you can score. I've heard say that one or two carry," returned the Captain, “ and of 'em threatened to visit you on your do you, Tom, stir your stumps, we dying day. Is that true?"

shall have work enough shortly. Go. “ No more of that, mess-mate," re- mez, look sharp to the helm-come, plied Tom, scowling on the speaker bustle, boys—no more tippling-busiwith an expression of countenance as ness is business-s0, huzza for the savage as that of Polypheme when he black flag ! ” with which words he woke and found his only eye put out, rushed upon deck, while the rest of “no more of that, it's what I don't the revellers followed his example, and approve of.”

John retreated to his berth, there to The Captain here burst into an up- dream of Mary, and the Dartmoor roarious laugh. “ And so Tom is witch's prediction.

66

CHAPTER VIII.

The time when Trevanion's fate was cision was to be made, a cry of land to be decided was now fast drawing was raised from the mast-head, followon. True to his word, the Captain ed almost immediately by a shout made no allusion to the circumstance, from the same quarter that a Spanish having evidently made up his mind galleon was heaving in sight. “In an that there would be no further squeam- instant all was bustle and uproar, and ishness on the part of the young man. the wild cheers of exultation raised by The crew appeared pretty generally the crew soon brought the Captain on of the same opinion, and no longer deck, who immediately began giving eyed him with the same undisguised orders to his men to see to the guns contempt as formerly, though there was and the state of the rigging, and, in still any thing but a good understand short, to make every preparation for a ing between them-especially on the desperate conflict. These orders were part of the first Lieutenant, who fan- promptly complied with, and, all sails cied he saw in John a formidable rival being set, the vessel soon came near in the good graces of his commander. enough to the Don to perceive that he Meanwhile the situation of the poor also was on the alert, and, confiding in youth was pitiable in the extreme. his superior weight of metal, cvinced Till now he had buoyed himself up not the slightest indisposition to come with the hope that the vessel might to close quarters. touch on some coast before his week 66 Bravo," exclaimed the pirate expired, which might afford him a re- chicf, eying the Spanish ship with a mote chance of escape; but time flew seaman's steady gaze, “ she carries a on, and still they were on the wide bold front; well, so much the better, ocean, unbounded save by a dim hori. it proves she is a prize worth tussling zon of sky.

then turning to his Lieutenant, On the morning, however, of the “ harkee, comrade, pipe all hands to day previous to that on which his de- prayers, and be dd to you."

a

a

for;

Scarcely was the order issued than “ Halloo, youngster," exclaimed the the whole ship's company made their Pirate, “ forward here, we shall have appearance on deck, while their com- need of your help to-day ; but how is mander, putting on an air of uncom- this, sir, sulking still ? I'faith, we have mon sanctity, seated himself on a gun, enough of this boy's play ; you must and began reading one or two chap- learn to be a man now. ters of the Bible. * 'Twas a strange “ Man!" said Tom, looking towards thing to behold these ruffians, who Trevanion with huge disdain, “ do were capable of the greatest atrocities, you call that jackadandy thing, a man? so far subdued by the force of con. Why, he arn't as much gumption in tinual habit, as to appear prodigies of him as would make a loblolly boy. In piety. While Captain Davis conti- the good old times of". nued reading, a reverential hush was “ Right, Tom," said the Lieutenant, maintained by all his congregation; interrupting him, “ the fellow's not of every head was bowed, and the few the true breed, I'll swear, tho'ff our Spaniards among them kept momently Cap'n do take to him so hugely." signing the cross on their foreheads, John felt that it was now become and giving out profound sighs, as if absolutely necessary for him to take a they were in the agonies of a heart decided part, for all eyes were on him, felt remorse. But decidedly the most and he could no longer temporize with pious of the squad was old Tom, whose safety: Advancing, therefore, towards aspect was quite picturesque, for his the pirate commander, “ hear me, one eye sprung such a leak as to Captain Davis," he said, “not an arm deluge his entire face, and his head will I raise to day against the crew of swayed from side to side like the pen- yonder ship." dulum of a kitchen clock, while ever “ Down with him—spy, traitor, and anon he cast a pathetic glance coward_down with him," shouted a towards his commander, as much as to dozen ruffians, rushing with drawn say, “ damme, it's too touching, I swords towards him ; « old Tom was can't abide it."

right ; he's chicken-hearted, after This farce continued for full half an all." hour, when Captain Davis, returning “ Stopper your jaws," roared the the Bible to his Lieutenant with a spe- Captain ; then turning to Trevanion, cial command that it should be depo- he added, “ do you dare refuse obesited in the securest part of the cabin, dience, sir? Do you remember who I started to his legs, and exclaimed with am, and who you are ? " a blasphemous oath, at the same time “ I am a man," replied John boldly, pointing to the galleon which was now “ and you are no more.

You can fast bearing down on them, “yon- brave death, so too can I. Hear, then, der, lads, is the enemy; twenty pias- and respect my determination. Till tres to him who first boards her ; ten the time when I was to have made my to him who kills the first man; and, decision has arrived, I will not fight d'ye hear, no quarter-down with under your flag. I have no quarrel them all ; dead men tell no tales, you with the Spaniard ; I have no wish for know."

plunder ; and I will not shed innocent While he thus spoke, his eyechanced blood. This is my fixed resolve, so do to fall on Trevanion, who stood some with me as you please, I am at your paces off gazing at the approaching mercy, and I scorn to supplicate your vessel with looks of mingled hope and pity. curiosity.

“ Kill the spy-hew down the trai

Notwithstanding that these robbers had scarcely any ideas of true religion, yet they prayed most fervently, and never began a single meal without previously repeating their prayers. The Catholics said the Song of Zechariah, the Magnificat, or the Miserere ; the Protestants either read a chapter in the Bible, or repeated a Psalm. Before a battle they vever failed earnestly to beseech God to grant them a victory, and a good prize ; and after it, they indulged in such debaucheries, as hardly to be able to stir hand or foot. On these occasions it was no uncommon thing for their vessels to be wrecked or captured by the Spaniards, not a man being competent to take the helm, or issue or obey the fitting orders. --Von ARCHENHOLTZ's History of the Pirates.

« PredošláPokračovať »