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Great benefactors of mankind, deliverers,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
MILTON. Paradise Regained.
CURS'D is the man, and void of law and right, Unworthy property, unworthy light;
Unfit for public rule or private care,
HE ought to be lightly esteemed of men, by whom men are so lightly esteemed, that, to gratify a brutal vanity, he would deluge the earth with their blood.
POPE. Homer's Iliad,b. ir.
Let those who fancy they are demigods, henceforth remember they are less than men; and let every succeeding age, by which they hope to be admired, hold them in execration.
IMPRESS OF SEAMEN.
AS I crossed Tower Wharf, a squat tawny fellow, with a hanger by his side, and a cudgel in his hand, came up to me, calling " Yo, ho! brother, you must come along with me." As I did not like his appearance, instead of answering his salutation, I quickened my pace, in hope of ridding. myself of his company; upon which he whistled. aloud, and immediately another sailor appeared before me, who laid hold of me by the collar, and began to drag me along. Not being of a humour to relish such treatment, I disengaged myself of the assailant, and with one blow of my cudgel laid him motionless on the ground; and perceiving myself surrounded in a trice, by ten or a dozen more, exerted myself with such dexterity and success, that some of my opponents were fain to attack me with drawn cut-lasses; and after an obstinate engagement, in which I received a large wound on my head, and another on my left cheek, I was disarmed, taken prisoner, and carried on board a pressing-tender; where, after being pinioned like a malefactor, I was thrust down
down into the hold, among a parcel of miserable wretches, the sight of whom well nigh distracted As the commanding officer had not humanity enough to order my wounds to be dressed, and I could not use my own hands, I desired one of my fellow captives, who was unfettered, to take a handkerchief out of my pocket and tie it round my head to stop the bleeding. He pulled out my handkerchief, 'tis true, but instead of applying it to the use for which I designed it, went to the grating of the hatchway, and, with astonishing composure, sold it before my face to a bumboat woman, then on board, for a quart of gin, with which he treated my companions, regardless of my circumstances and entreaties.
I complained bitterly of this robbery, to the midshipman on deck, telling him at the same time, that unless my hurts were dressed, I should bleed to death. But compassion was a weakness of which no man could justly accuse this person; who, squirting a mouthful of dissolved tobacco upon me through the gratings, told me, I was a mutinous dog, and that I might die and be damned. Finding there was no other remedy, I appealed to patience, and laid up this usage in my memory, to be recalled at a fitter season. In the mean time, loss of blood, vexation and want of food, contributed, with the noisome stench of the place, to throw me into a swoon; out of which I was recovered by a tweak of the nose, administered by the tar who stood centinel over us, who at the
same time regaled me with a draught of flip, and comforted me with the hopes of being put on board the Thunder next day, where I should be freed of my handcuffs, and cured of my wounds by the doctor.
When we came along side the Thunder, lying at the Nore, the mate, who guarded us thither, ordered my handcuffs to be taken off, that I might get on board the easier. After we had been all entered upon the ship's books, I inquired of one of my ship-mates where the surgeon was, that I might have my wounds dressed, and had actually got as far as the middle deck (for our ship carried eighty guns) in my way to the cock-pit, when I was mer by the same midshipman who had used me so barbarously in the tender: he seeing me free from my chains, asked, with an insolent air, who had released ine? To this question I foolishly answered, with a countenance that too plainly declared the state of my thoughts: "Whoever did "it, I am persuaded, did not consult you in the affair." I had no sooner uttered these words, than he cried, "Dainn you, you saucy son of a bitch, I'll teach you to talk so to your officer." So saying he bestowed on me several severe stripes with a supple-jack he had in his hand; and going to the commanding officer, made such a report of me, that I was inmediately put in irons by the
master at arms, and a centinel placed over me. Honest Ratlin, as soon as he heard of my condition, came to me, and administered all the
consolation he could, and then went to the surgeon in my behalf, who sent one of his mates to dress my wounds.
Roderic Random, vol. i. cb. xxiv.
RATHER than adopt any project hitherto invented [for manning the navy] we continue a practice seemingly the most absurd and unaccountable. and conAuthority, in times of full internal peace cord, is armed against law. A continued violence · is permitted in the crown, amidst the greatest jealousy and watchfulness in the people; nay proceeding from those very principles: liberty, is left entirely to its own defence, without any countenance or protection. The wild state of nature is renewed, in one of the most civilized societies of mankind and great violence and disorder are committed with impunity; while the one party pleads obedience to the supreme magistrate, the other the sanction of fundamental laws.
Essays, vol. i. p. 336.
JUDGE FOSTER, page 158. I think the crown hath a right to command the personal service of these
people, [seamen} whenever the public service calleth for it. The same right that it hath to require the personal service of every man able to bear arms in case of a sudden invasion or formidable insurrection. The right in both cases is founded on one and the same principle, the necessity of the case in order to the preservation of the whole.