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Look about you, my friends, and fix
9. Is it your preservers, then, whom you would destine to destruction? You will not, you cannot do it. There is but one expedient left, a gracious a glorious, a god-like expedient. Is there any one here to whom virtue is dearer than life? Let him offer himself as a sacrifice for the safety of his people."
10. He spoke, but an universal silence ensued. Each man looked around for an example of that virtue and magnanimity in others which he wished to approve in himself, but had not resolution enough to put in practice. At length, St. Pierre resumed, "It had been base in me, my fellow citizens, to propose any sufferings to others, which I should have been unwilling to undergo in my own person; but I held it ungenerous to deprive any man of the honour which might attend the first offer on so glorious an occasion.
11. I am willing to be the first to give my life for your sakes; I give it freely, I give it cheerfully. Who comes next? Your son, exclaimed a youth not yet come to maturity. Ah, my child, cried St. Pierre, I am then twice sacrificed. Thy years are few, but full, my son, for the victim of virtue has fulfilled the great purpose of his being. Who next, my friends? this is the hour of heroes.
12. Your kinsman, cried John d'Aire! Your kinsman, cried James Wissant! Your kinsman, cried Peter Wissant! Ah! exclaimed Sir Walter Manny, bursting into tears, why was not I a citizen of Calais? The sixth victim was still wanting, and the number of those who pressed forward was so great, that he was supplied by lot.
13. The keys were then delivered to Sir Walter, who took the six prisoners into his custody, and ordered the gates to be opened. The English by this time were informed of what had passed in the city, and each of the soldiers prepared a portion of his own victuals to entertain the half-famished inhabitants.
14. At length St. Pierre and his fellow citizens appeared, with Sir Walter Manny, and a guard. The tents of the En
glish were all emptied, and the soldiers poured from all quarters to catch a sight of this little band of patriots as they passed. They bowed down to them on all sides, and murmured their applause of that virtue, which they could not but revere, even in their enemies.
15. As soon as they had reached the king, he said Manny, are these the principal inhabitants of Calais? They are, said Manny, not only the principal men of Calais, but of France, my liege, if virtue can ennoble them. Were they delivered peaceably, said Edward? They are self-delivered, self-devoted, said Manny, and come to offer up their inestimable heads as a ransom for thousands.
16. Edward was secretly offended at the praises which Manny so liberally bestowed upon enemies, whose obstinacy had so exasperated him; but concealing his resentment, he replied, "Experience has ever shown, that lenity only serves to incite the criminal to new crimes, which severity only can effectually punish and restrain."
17. Go, said the king to an officer, and lead these men to execution. Your rebellion, continued he, addressing himself to St. Pierre, is highly aggravated by your present presumption, and contempt of my power. We have nothing to ask of your majesty, said Eustace, save what you cannot refuse us. What is that? said Edward. Your esteem, my lord, said Eustace; and went out with his companions.
18. At this critical instant the queen arrived, with a powerful reinforcement, and Sir Walter flew to inform her majesty of the particulars respecting the six victims. She immediately repaired to the king, and persuaded him, with tears and arguments, to save the lives of those unhappy men. Be it so, cried Edward, who was convinced of his impolicy; prevent the execution, and bring them instantly before us.
19. They came, whes the queen with an aspect and accent of mildness, thus addressed them: "Natives of France, and inhabitants of Calais, you have put us to vast expense of blood and treasure, but you have, no doubt, acted up to the best of your judgement. We loose your chains, we snatch you from the scaffold, and we thank you for the lesson of humiliation you teach us.
20. You have shown us that excellence does not consist in birth or station; that virtue gives a dignity superiour to
that of kings; and that those whom the Almighty endows with sentiments like yours, are justly and eminently raised above all human distinctions. We give you freedom, and we offer to your choice the gifts and honours that Edward has to bestow."
21. Ah, my country, exclaimed St. Pierre, it is now that I tremble for you. Edward could only win your cities, but Philippa conquers hearts. Brave St. Pierre, said the queen, wherefore look you so dejected. Ah madam, said he, when I meet with such another opportunity of dying, I shall not regret that I survived this day.
ANECDOTE Of Montesquieu.
A GENTLEMAN, being at Marseilles, hired
a boat with an intention of sailing for pleasure. He entered into conversation with the two young men who owned the vessel, and learned that they were not watermen by trade, but silversmiths; and that when they could be spared from their usual business, they employed themselves in that way to increase their earnings.
2. On expressing his surprise at their conduct, and imputing it to an avaricious disposition; Oh! Sir, said the young men, if you knew our reasons, you would ascribe it to a better motive.
3. Our father, anxious to assist his family, scraped together all he was worth; purchased a vessel for the purpose of trading to the coast of Barbary; but was unfortunately taken by a pirate, carried to Tripoli, and sold for a slave.
4. He writes word, that he is luckily fallen into the hands of a master who treats him with great humanity; but that the sum which is demanded for his ransom is so exorbitant that it will be impossible for him ever to raise it. He adds, that we must, therefore, relinquish all hope of ever seeing him again, and be contented that he has as many comforts as his situation will admit.
5. With the hopes of restoring to his family a beloved father, we are striving, by every honest mean in our power,
to collect the sum neccssary for his ransom; and we are not ashamed to employ ourselves in the occupation of watermen. The gentleman was struck with this account, and, on his departure, made them a handsome present.
6. Some months afterwards, the young men being at work in their shop, were greatly surprised at the sudden arrival of their father, who threw himself into their arms; exclaiming at the same time, that he was fearful they had taken some unjust method to raise the money for his ransom, for it was too great a sum for them to have gained by their ordinary occupation.
7. They professed their ignorance of the whole affair, and could only suspect they owed their father's release to that stranger, to whose generosity they had been before so much obliged. After Montesquieu's death, an account of this affair was found among his papers, and the sum actually remitted to Tripoli for the old man's ransom.
8. It is a pleasure to hear of such an act of benevolence performed even by a person totally unknown to us; but the pleasure is greatly increased, when it proves the union of virtue and talents in an author so renowned as Montesquieų.
THE BENEVOLENT PAIR.
A POOR man and his wife at Vienna, who
had six small children, finding themselves unable to support them all, were reduced to the necessity of turning the youngest upon the publick. The husband carried it reluctantly to the foundling hospital, deposited it in the basket which was placed near the gate for the reception of the foundlings, and anxiously waited till the arrival of the inspector, that he might take a farewell view of his child.
2. When the inspector came at the usual time to examine the basket, he perceived two children therein. Observing the labourer, who stood at a small distance, he supposed that he had brought them both; and compelled the poor man, notwithstanding all his protestations to the contrary, to return with two children instead of one, which was alrendy more than he knew how maintain.
3. His wife, as well as himself, was exceedingly dejected at this increase of their expenses; but, unwilling to expose the little stranger in the street, they determined to use all their endeavours to support themselves and the seven children; and they hoped Providence would assist them.
4. On undressing the child, the woman found a paper sewed to its clothes, containing an order upon a banker for five crowns a month, to be paid to the person who took care of it. The good people were not a little rejoiced at their happy fortune.
5. But the story being circulated, and coming to the knowledge of the managers of the hospital, they claimed the child as their property. The labourer refused to relinquish it, and was assisted by some persons of distinction.
6. The cause being tried in a court of justice, it was decreed, that, as the foundling hospital had at first declined receiving the child, it of right belonged to the poor man who had shown such humanity in keeping it, when he was so ill able to afford any additional expense.
THE UNFORTUNATE PHILANTHROPIST.
IN the year 1775, a ship lying at anchor in Ta
ble Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope, was driven on shore in a violent storm, and the crew reduced to the utmost distress and danger. Their cries for assistance were distinctly heard by the inhabitants; but at first there appeared no prospect of relief from any quarter.
2. The swell of the sea, which broke over the ship with the greatest violence, made it impossible for them to save themselves in boats, and highly dangerous to attempt it by swimming. Some of those who ventured to swim to the shore, were thrown against the rocks and dashed to pieces; others, as soon as they had arrived at the shore, were carried back by another wave and drowned.
3. A Dutchman by the name of VOLTEMAD, who hap pened to be a spectator of this distressing scene, was touched with compassion of so noble a kind, and at the same time so operative, that, mounting a high spirited horse,