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lessly endeavoured to quit. At the place where he landed, he perceived a canoe drawn up on the beach. This he immediately seized, and was dragging it down to the river, when two men rushed out upon him, and endeavoured to hinder his purpose.
By dint, however, of threats, persuasions, and force, Wilson induced them to convey him across.
He now hastened on with all his might, feeling that he should not be safe till he had put the Coleroon between himself and his pursuers. By break of day he reached the greatest arm of the river, the branches of which he had previously been crossing. Exhausted by fatigue (he had travelled forty miles since sunset,) and dismayed at the width of the mighty stream, he hesitated for a few moments and then plunged in. When about the middle, he came in contact with a piece of floating timber, to which he clung and rested for some time, how long he could not tell, for insensibility came over him. When consciousness returned, the sun had risen and he had drifted some distance down the stream. Refreshed by his repose, he struck out for the opposite bank, which he reached in safety. Had he known, at the time, the dangers he braved in his passage, it is probable
that even his lion-heart would have been appalled, for the river abounded in alligators, which were so numerous that, in ordinary circumstances, a slight noise would have brought them round any individual who attempted to ford the stream : an invisible Power on this occasion had, apparently, restrained them.
Having crossed this river, he believed his dangers to be over, and making his way through a jungle he reached the sea-coast. There he mounted a sand-bank to reconnoitre the surrounding country, when, to his consternation, he saw, and was seen by, a party of Hyder Ally's cavalry, who were engaged in scouring the district. They speedily seized him, stripped him naked, bound his hands behind his back, fastened a rope round his waist, and began to drive him, under a blazing sun, to head-quarters. The officer in command proceeded to interrogate him as to who he was and whither he was going? Captain Wilson ingenuously told him of his escape from Cuddalore, and the events of the past night. When he came to describe the passage of the Coleroon, the chief interrupted him, exclaiming, “ That's a lie; no man ever did, or ever could pass the Coleroon by swimming. It is all alive with
alligators. You could not dip the tip of your finger into that river and escape being seized by them and torn to pieces." When they found that he had really spoken the truth, they lifted up their hands and cried out, “ This is God's
He was, however, forth with marched back to Cuddalore, naked, bleeding, and covered with blisters ; and thence sent on to Seringapatam, a distance of five hundred miles, still on foot and naked. His sufferings on the journey were dreadful. Insufficient and disgusting food, want of clothing, fatigue, intense heat, the cruelty of his captors, who goaded him with their lances till his flesh was covered with ulcerated wounds, and the loathsome dungeons into which he was thrust at night, made life an intolerable burden. The design of these cruelties was to break his spirit, and induce him to take service under Hyder Ally. The repeated and urgent offers to this effect were accepted by some of his fellow-prisoners, but were by him rejected with indignation and disdain.
Even greater sufferings awaited him at Seringapatam. For nearly two years he was confined in a noisome prison, suffering from dysentery, which rapidly carried off his fellow
prisoners, to whom he was chained day and night. Frequently a dead corpse was removed from his arm in the morning, that another living sufferer might take his place, and sink and die in turn. Throughout this period his only bed was the bare earth, his only covering the few rags wrapped around him, his only food a pound of rice a day, and that so full of dirt and stones as to be almost uneatable, and utterly insufficient to supply his raging hunger. Like his fellow-sufferers, he was exposed to the cutting night-wind, the raging storm, the fierce noontide heat; he was infested, too, with vermin, and his fetters ate into his flesh. Yet he lived through it all.
After twenty-two months of this dreadful torture—this living death—the conclusion of a peace
with the British government threw open the doors of Hyder's prison-house. One hun154
dred and fifty-four persons had entered it,
most of them the finest men in the British 2 army, being the grenadier company of colonel
Macleod's regiment of Highlanders. There 122 came out only thirty-two emaciated, naked
creatures, covered with ulcers, unable to stand, and looking more dead than alive.
Their liberation exposed them to a new
peril, to which many of those who escaped from the dungeon fell victims. They were unable to appease their craving for food, or to restrain their appetites. Along with others, captain Wilson was thrown into a violent fever, became delirious, and for a fortnight his life was despaired of. Yet God, who had purposes of mercy toward him, and who had guarded him amidst so many perils, brought him safely through this danger also ; and ere long he regained his former health and vigour.
Still throughout this period his heart continued hard, and he knew not the Hand that had preserved him ; he lived, emphatically, 16 without God in the world.” After a most prosperous and successful course of mercantile enterprise in India, he was returning to England, to sit down and enjoy his competency, when he had as a fellow-passenger the rev, Mr. Thomas, one of the Baptist missionaries to Serampore, who was revisiting his native land. Captain Wilson, who was still an infidel, had repeated debates with him on the subject of religion, during the voyage ; but so inveterate did his unbelief seem, that Mr. Thomas remarked to the chief officer of the ship, that he should have much more hope of converting the