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and afterwards a premature marriage, terminated his studies, and blasted his prospects in the Church: and, although the latter step put him in possession of a woman, who made him one of the best and most affectionate of wives, yet an increase of family, and the uncertainty of any adequate ecclesiastical provision, caused him to adopt the creditable though gainless profession of a public parish schoolmaster; to which he was regularly licensed, according to the custom that then prevailed, in order to ensure a Protestant education to the youth of the country, and prevent the spread of Popish principles. By virtue of such license, all teachers in the parish had their nomination from the master; and without such could not legally perform the function of public teachers.
Before I proceed in this narrative, it may be necessary to state that Mrs. Clarkę, was a descendant of the Mac Leans, of Mull; one of the Hebrides, or western isles of Scotland: and her great grandfather Laughlin More Mac Lean, called by others Neil, who was chief of his Clan and Laird of Dowart, lost his life, as did twenty of his nearest relatives and his own son, in a battle with the clan Mac Donald, in September, 1598. But their deaths were shortly after revenged by Eachin, or Hector Oig, his son and successor; who in a pitched battle defeated the Mac Donalds, and thus terminated all feuds between these two clans.*
Shortly after Mr. John Clarke's marriage, a circumstance occurred which had an embarrassing effect upon himself and family during his life. About the year 1758 or 1759, the rage of emigration to America was very prevalent in Ireland. Heavy taxation, oppressive landlords, and the small encouragement held out either to genius or industry, rendered Ireland, though perhaps on the whole, one of the finest islands in the universe, no eligible place for men of talents of any kind, howsoever directed and applied, to hope for an adequate provision or decent independence for a rising family.
America, thin in her population and extensive in her territory, held out promises of easily acquired property, immense gains by commerce, and lures of every description, to induce the ill provided for, and dissatisfied inhabitants of the mother country to carry their persons and property thither, that by their activity and industry they might enrich this rising and even then ambitious state. Mr. Clarke was persuaded among many others to indulge these golden hopes, with the expecta
* In the Diary of Robert Birrel, this feud is thus mentioned: " About yis tyme,” (between Aug. 3, and Oct. 23, 1598,) “Neil M'Lane slaine, and twentie of hes narrest freindis, and hes awen sone be M'Connel, yai being at ane tryst under trust.” That is, they had engaged under a particular penalty to fight this battle. See Fragments of Scottish History, Edinb. 1798, 4to. p. 47, of the above mentioned Diary.
tion, if not the promise, of a Professorship in one of the nascent, or about to be erected universities in the new world. In an evil hour he broke up his establishment, sold his property, and with his wife and an infant son, went to the port and city of Londonderry, and took their passage in one of these merchant transport vessels then so numerous, bound for the United States.
At that time, and for many years after, this rage for emigration, was so great, that many young men, women, and whole families, artificers and husbandmen, who were not able to defray the expenses of their own passage, were encouraged by the ship-owners to embark, the owners providing them with the most miserable necessaries of life for their passage, and throwing them together like slaves in a Guinea ship, on the middle passage; they went bound, as it was called,—the captain having the privilege of selling them for five or seven years, to the trans-atlantic planters, to repay the expenses of iheir passage and maintenance! A supine and culpable government, which never sufficiently interested itself for the welfare of this excellent Island, and its hardy and vigorous inhabitants, suffered this counterpart to the execrable West India Slave Trade, to exert its most baneful and degrading influence, among its own children, without reprehension or control ; and thus, many of its best and most useful subjects were carried away to people states, which, in consequence, became their rivals, and since that time, their most formidable enemies.
Among these, as we have already seen, Mr. J. Clarke, his wife, and infant son, had embarked, and were on the eve of sailing, when Mr. Clarke's father arrived from the country, went on board, expostulated with his son, and by the influence of tears and entreaties, enforced by no small degree of parental tenderness, and duly tempered with authority, prevailed on him to change his purpose, to forfeit his passage, and to return with him to the country.
Whether this, on the whole, was the best thing that could be done in such circumstances, is hard to say. What would have been the result had he gone to America, we cannot tell: what was the result of his return, the following pages will in some measure show. The immediate effects were however, nearly ruinous to the family and its prospects.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Is bound in shallow's and in miseries.” The “Shallows and Miseries" in which Mr. Clarke was bound, almost through life, proved that he omitted to take the tide at flood.
We have already observed that, in order to go to the conti
nent of America, he had broken up his establishment, and converted his property into cash. Much time, and not a little of this property, had been spent in preparations for their voyage, and expected settlement in a strange country : but he found, to his cost, on his return, that it was much easier to unsettle than to establish. He was undetermined for a considerable time what mode of life was most eligible, for many projects appeared fair at a distance, which, on a nearer approach, eluded the grasp of his expectation; and others, if well-digested and cautiously and perseveringly pursued, promising honor and wealth, resembled the horizon which ever appears at the same distance to the traveller, though he have already passed over some thousands of miles in order to reach it. Thus,
“Disappointment laughed at hope's career,” till his remaining property was expended, and alternately elated and depressed with promises and disappointments, he was obliged to begin the world anew, equally destitute of advantages and means. In this state of things, nothing presented itself to him but a choice of difficulties : friends and internal resources, had equally failed; and he went and settled in an obscure village called Moybeg, township of Cootinaglugg, in the parish of Kilchronaghan, in the barony of Loughinshallin, in the county of Londonderry. In this obscure district, thé names of which almost bid defiance to enunciation, his second son Adam, the subject of this Memoir, was born, either in the year 1760 or 1762, most probably the former, but neither the year nor the month can be ascertained. He was baptized in the parish church by his uncle, the Rev. John Tracy, the Rector, who had married his mother's sister. On application to the late worthy incumbent, the Rev. Mr. Bryan, to obtain a copy of the baptismal register, the following answer has been obtained :-“The archives of the church have been carefully searched, but no register during Mr. Tracy's incumbency has been found ; none having been kept during that period ; or if kept, since irrecoverably lost.”
As Mr. Tracy died sometime between 1760 and 1762, and Adam Clarke was baptized by him, he must have been born within that period. The day and month are as uncertain as the year, only I have understood it was sometime in the spring.
At the request of his grandfather and grandmother Clarke, he was named Adam, in memory of a beloved son, who had died of the small pox, when only six years of age; and they engaged that, as soon as he could walk alone, they would take him as their own, and be at the whole charge of his education.
It may not be improper to say a few words here of his brother, who was born about three years before him. He was called Tracy, at the instance of his uncle the Rev. J. Tracy, already mentioned; who, having no child, promised to be at the expense of his education, &c. Such promises are rarely fulfilled; but this pledge would probably have been redeemed, had Mr. Tracy lived, for he had already taken the child to his own house, but dying shortly after, the young lad, already spoiled by indulgence, was restored to his parents.
His father gave him a classical education, and when but a: young man, he was appointed and licensed by the Consistorial Court of Derry, a schoolmaster, in a parish contiguous to that in which his father had a similar appointment, (see p. 45.) Getting weary of this mode of life, which held out but faint promises of comfort or emolument, he expressed a strong desire to study medicine, to which he had in some measure already directed his attention. His parents consented, and he was bound apprentice to Mr. Pollock, a surgeon and apothecary in the town of Magherafelt,-a gentleman equalled by few in his profession, for various and sound learning, much skill and deserved eminence in the practice of medicine; and a mind highly cultivated by his classical attainments, and by every solid principle of politeness or good breeding. Having terminated his apprenticeship with credit to himself and his master, he went to Dublin, and studied anatomy under the celebrated Dr. Cleghorne, who was professor of that science in Trinity College.
Having received letters of recommendation to some merchants in Liverpool, whose interest he hoped would obtain him an appointment in the Navy, he sailed for England.
This expectation however failed, and he went out surgeon in a Guinea ship, made their voyage, laid in 813 negroes, who were exchanged to them for guns, gunpowder, knives, and trinkets of different kinds, and sold in Tortola to the highest bidder, as sheep or oxen in the open market. He went a second voyage, kept a journal of the way, in which he made entries of all particulars relative to the mode of procuring, treating, and disposing of the slaves; with several other matters of high importance, relative to this inhuman and infernal traffic. The captain noticing this, pretended one day to have lost some plate, all the vessel must be searched, the seamen first, then all the officers were requested to give up their keys, with an apology that no suspicion attached to them, but merely for form's sake, lest there might be any ground left for the charge of partiality, &c. Surgeon Clarke immediately yielded his key, which was restored after some time; but when he next visited his chest he found that his Journal had been rifled, and every leaf and page that contained anything relative to the traffic, torn out, or mutilated, so that from this documena-, not one entry was left, nor could be produced in evidence against this infamous traffic, and the diabolical manner in which it was carried on. This mutilated Journal I have seen and examined; and was informed of se
veral curious particulars by the Writer, some of which I shall take the liberty to relate.
When at Bonny in Africa, Surgeon Clarke had gone a good deal on shore, and travelled some way into the country, and as he was a man of pleasing manners, and amiable carriage, he gained the confidence of the natives, accommodated himself to their mode of living, and thus had the opportunity of making several valuable remarks on their civil and religious customs. From observing the males to be universally circumcised, he was led to think that this people might be descendants of the ten lost Jewish Tribes. He observed farther, that each of their huts was divided into three apartments; one served to dress their food in, one as a place of repose, and the third was for the Juju, the serpent god, which was the object of their worship. Thus every hut had its Temple, and every Temple had its Altar and worshippers.
He has informed me that, from the bodies of many of the slaves that were brought from the interior to the coast, he was obliged to extract balls, as they had been wounded in the attempts to deprive them of their liberty; their kidnappers hunting them down like wild beasts, firing upon all they could not suddenly seize, no doubt killing many, and bringing those down to the coast, whose wounds were of such a nature as to promise an easy cure. In his excursions into the country, he has seen the wives of the chiefs, king Peppel, and king Norfolk, as they were called, going out to the plantations to labour, their young children, (princes and princesses) on their naked backs, holding themselves on by their hands, grasping the shoulders of their mothers, and when arrived in the field, laid down on the bare ground naked, and when weary of lying on one side, turn on the other, without ever uttering a cry; their mothers giving them the breast at such intervals as they deemed proper. The following instances of inhumanity, from among many others, I shall select for the Reader's reflections. A stout young negress, with an infant at her breast, was brought on board, and presented to the captain by one of the black dealers, who by long trafficking in flesh and blood with the inhuman European slave-dealers, had acquired all their unfeeling brutality. The captain refused to purchase her, saying “He could not be troubled with children aboard.” The dealer answered, “Why massa is she no good slave? is she no able work ?! “Yes," answered the captain, “she would do well enough, but I cannot receive children.” “Well massa, would massa buy slave if she no had child ?" "Yes," said the captain, “I should have no objection to her.” On this the black dealer stepped up to the woman, snatched the child out of her arms, and threw it overboard ; on which the captain without expressing the least concern, purchased the mother. I should add, what will per