صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

self met me: he called me a poacher and a villain ; and, collaring me, desired I would give an account of myself. I fell upon my knees, begged his worship’s pardon, and began to give a full account of all that I 11 knew of my breed, seed, and generation ; but though I gave a very good account, the justice would not believe a syllable I had to say ; so I was indicted at sessions, found guilty of being poor, and sent up to London to Newgate, in order to be transported as a vagabond.

“People may say this and that of being in jail; but, for my part, I found Newgate as agreeable a place as ever I was in, in all my life. I had my bellyfull to eat and drink, and did no work at all. This kind of life

was too good to last for ever; so I was taken out of 12 prison, after five months, put on board a ship, and sent off, with two hundred 'more, to the plantations. We had but an indifferent passage; for, being all confined in the hold, more than a hundred of our people died for want of sweet air: and those that remained were sickly enough God knows. When we came ashore, we were sold to the planters, and I was bound for seven years more. As I was no scholar, for I did not know my letters, I was obliged to work among the negroes; and I served out my time, as in duty bound to do. 13 “When my time was expired, I worked my passage home, and glad I was to see old England again because I loved my country. I was afraid, however, that I should be indicted for a vagabond once more, so did not much care to go down into the country, but. ķept about the town, and did little jobs when I could get them.

I was very happy in this manner for some time, till one evening, coming home from work, two men knock

ed me down, and then desired me to stand. : They be14 longed to a press-gang: I was carried before, the jus.

tice, and as I could give no account of myself, I had my choice left, whether to go on board a man of war, or list for a soldier. I chose the latter; and, in this post of a gentleman, I served two campaigns in Flanders, was at the battles of Val and Fontenoy, and received but one wound through the breast here ; but the doctor of our regiment soon made me well again.

“When the peace came on I was discharged, and as I could not work, because my wound was sometimes 15 troublesome, I listed for a landman in the East India company's service. I here fought the French in six pitched battles; and I verily believe, that if I could read or write, our captain would have made me a corporal. But it was not my good fortune to have any promotion, for I soon fell sick, and so got leave to return home again, with forty pounds in my pocket. This was at the beginning of the present war, and I hoped to be set on shore and to have the pleasure of spending my money; but the government wanted men,

and 16 so I was pressed for a sailor before ever I could set foot on shore.

“ The boatswain found me, as he said, an obstinate fellow : he swore he knew that I understood my business well, but that I shammed Abraham, merely to be idle; but God knows, I knew nothing of sea-business, and he beat me without considering what he was about. I had still, however, my forty - pounds, and that was some comfort to me under every beating; and the money I might have had to this day, but that our ship 17 was taken by the French, and so I lost all.

“Our crew was carried into Brest, and many of them died because they were not used to live in a jail; but for my hart, it was nothing to me, for I was seasoned. One nigh as I was sleeping on the bed of boards, with a warm iblanket about me, for I always loved to lie well, I was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark lantern in his hand. Jack, says he to me, will you knock out the French sentries' brains ? I don't care, says I, striving to keep myself awake, if I lend á 18 band. Then follow me, says he, and I hope we shall do business. So up I got, and tied my blanket, which was all the clothes I had, about my middle, and went with him to fight the Frenchmen. I hate the French because they' are all slaves, and wear wooden shoes.

“ Though we had no arms one Englishman is able to beat five French at any time; so we went down to the door, where both the sentries were posted, and, rushing, upon them, seized their arms in a moment, and knocked them down. From thence, nine of us ran to-



19 gether to the quay, and seizing the first boat we met,
got out of the barbor and pôt to sea. We had not been
here three days before we were taken up by the Dorset
privateer, who were glad of so many good hands; and
we consented to run our chance. However, we had
not so much good luck as we expected. In three days
we fell in with the Pompador privateer, of forty guns,
while we had but twenty-three ; so to we went yard-
arm and yardarm. The fight lasted for three hours,
and I verily believe we should have taken the French-
20 man; had we but had some more men left behind; but

unfortunately we lost all our men just as we were go-
ing to get the victory.

was once more in the power of the French, and I believe it would have gone hard with me had I been brought back to Brest : but by good fortune we were retaken by the Viper. I had almost forgot to tell you, that in that engagement I was wounded in two places: I lost four fingers of the left hand, and my leg was

shot off. If I had had the good fortune to have lost 21 my leg and use of my hand on board a king's ship,

and not aboard a privateer, I should have been entitled to clothing and maintenance during the rest of my life; but that was not my chanee: one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and goather with a wooden ladle. However, blessed be God enjoy good health, and will for ever love. liberty and Old England. Liberty, property, and Old England for ever, huzza !"

Thus saying, he limped off, leaving no in admiration, åt his intrepidity and content, nor cöüld: avoid acknowledging, that an habitual acquaintance with misery, serves better than philosophỹ to teach us to de


spise it.


[graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »