« AnteriorContinuar »
arms, and declared, that, if the cruel sentence was executed, the first blow should fall on her.
6. All savages (absolute sovereigns* and tyrants not excepted) are invariably more affected by the tears of infancy than the voice of humanity. Powhatan could not resist the tears and prayers of his daughter.
7. Captain Smith obtained his life, on condition of paying for his ransom a certain quantity of muskets, powder, and iron utensils; but how were they to be obtained? They would neither permit him to return to James-town, nor let the English know where he was, lest they should demand him swordt in hand.
8. Captain Smith, who was as sensible as courageous, said, that, if Powhatan would permit one of his subjects to carry to James-town a leaf which he took from his pocketbook, he should find under a tree, at the day and hour appointed, all the articles demanded for his ransom.
9. Powhatan consented, but without having much faith in his promises, believing it to be only an artifice of the captain to .prolong his life. But he had written on the leaf a few lines sufficient to give an account of his situation. The messenger returned. The king sent to the place fixed upon, and was greatly astonished to find every thing which had been demanded.
10. Powhatan could not conceive this mode of transmitting thoughts; and Captain Smith was henceforth looked upon as a great magician, to whom they could not show too much respect. He left the savages in this opinion, and hastened to return home.
11. Two or three years after, some fresh differences arising between them and the English, Powhatan, who no longer thought them sorcerers, but still feared their power, laid a horrid plan to get rid of them altogether. His project was to attack them in profound peace, and cut the throats of the whole colony.
12. The night of this intended conspiracy, Pocahuntas took advantage of the obscurity, and, in a terrible storm, which kept the savages in their tents, escaped from her father's house, advised the English to be on their guard, but conjured them to spare her family; to appear ignorant
* Pronounced sūvler-ins. sord.
of the intelligence she had given, and terminate all their differences by a new treaty.
13. It would be tedious to relate all the services which this angel of peace rendered to both nations. I shall only add, that the English–I know not from what motives, but certainly against all faith and equity-thought proper to carry her off. Long and bitterly did she deplore her fate; and the only consolation she had, was Captain Smith, in whom she found a second father.
14. She was treated with great respect, and married to a planter by the name of Rolfe, who soon after took her to England. This was in the reign of James the First; and it is said, that the monarch, pedantick and ridiculous in every point, was so infatuated with the prerogatives of royalty, that he expressed his displeasure that one of his subjects should dare to marry the daughter even of a savage king.
15. It will not, perhaps, be difficult to decide, on this occasion, whether it was the savage king who derived honour from finding himself placed upon a level with the European prince, or the English monarch, who, by his pride and prejudices, reduced himself to a level with the chief of the savages.
16. Be that as it will, Captain Smith, who had returned to London before the arrival of Pocahuntas, was extremely happy to see her again ; but dared not treat her with the same familiarity as at James-town. As soon as she saw him, she threw herself into his arms, calling him her father; but, finding that he neither returned her caresses with equal warmth, nor the endearing title of daughter, she turned aside her head, and wept bitterly; and it was a long time before they could obtain a single word from her.
17. Captain Smith inquired several times what could be the cause of her affliction. “What !" said she, “ did I not save thy life in America ? When I was torn from the arms of my father, and conducted amongst thy friends, didst thou not promise to be a father to me? Didst thou not assure me, that, if I went into thy country, thou wouldst be my father, and that I should be thy daughter ? Thou hast deceived me; and behold me now here, a stranger and an orphan.”
18. It was not difficult for the captain to make his peace
with this charming creature, whom he tenderly loved. He presented her to several people of the first quality, but never dared to take her to court, from which, however, she received several favours.
19. After a residence of several years in England, an example of virtue and piety, and attachment to her husband, she died, as she was on the point of embarking for America. She left an only son, who was married, and left none but daughters; and from these are descended some of the prinpal characters in Virginia.
SPEECH OF CA'IUS MA'RIUS TO THE ROMANS; SHOWING
THE ABSURDITY OF THEIR HESITATING TO CONFER ON HIM THE RANK OF GENERAL, MERELY ON Account OF HIS EXTRACTION.
It is but too common, my countrymen, to observe a material difference between the behaviour of those who stand candidates for places of power and trust, before and after their obtaining them. They solicit them in one manner, and execute them in another.
2. They set out with a great appearance of activity, humility and moderation; but they quickly fall into sloth, pride and avarice. It is undoubtedly no easy matter to discharge, to general satisfaction, the duty of a supreme commander in troublesome times.
3. You have committed to my conduct the war against Jugurtha. The patricians are offended at this. But where would be the wisdom of giving such a command to one of their honourable body? a person of illustrious birth, of ancient family, of inumerable statues, but- -of no experience!
4. What service would his long line of dead ancestors, or his multitude of motionless statues, do his country in the day of battleWhat could such a general do, but, in his trepidation and inexperience, have recourse to some inferiour commander for direction in difficulties to which he was not himself equal ? Thus your patrician general would in fact have a general over him ; so that the acting commander would still be a ple-be'ian.
5. So true is this, my countrymen, that I have, myself, known those who have been chosen consuls begin then to read the history of their own country, of which, till that time, they were totally ignorant; that is, they first obtained the employment, and then bethought themselves of the qualifications necessary for the proper discharge of it.
6. I submit to your judgment, Romans, on which side the advantage lies, when a comparison is made between patrician haughtiness and plebeian experience. The very actions which they have only read, I have partly seen, and partly myself achieved. What they know by reading I know by action. They are pleased to slight my mean birth; I despise their mean characters.
7. Want of birth and fortune is the objection against me ; want of personal worth, against them. But are not all men of the same species? What can make a difference between one man and another, but the endowments of the mind ? For my part, I shall always look upon the bravest man as the oblest man. 8. If the patricians have reason to despise me,
let them likewise despise their ancestors, whose nobility was the fruit of their virtue. Do they envy the honours bestowed upon me? let them envy, likewise, my labours, my abstinence, and the dangers I have undergone for my country, by which I have acquired them.
9. But those worthless men lead such a life of inactivity, as if they despised any honours you can bestow; while they aspire to honours as if they had deserved them by the most industrious virtue. They lay claim to the rewards of activity for their having enjoyed the pleasures of luxury. Yet none can be more lavish than they are in praise of their ancestors.
10. And they imagine they honour themselves by celebrating their forefathers; whereas they do the very contrary; for, as much as their ancestors were distinguished for their virtues, so much are they disgraced by their vices.
11. The glory of ancestors casts a light, indeed, upon their posterity ; but it only serves to show
what the descendants are.
It alike exhibits to publick view their degeneracy and their
rth. I own I cannot boast of the deeds of my forefathers; but I hope I may answer the cavils of the patricians, by standing up in defence of what I have myself done.
12. Observe now, my countrymen, the injustice of the patricians. They arrogate to themselves honours, on account of exploits done by their forefathers, whilst they will not allow me due praise for performing the very same sort of actions in my own person.
13. He has no statues, they cry, of his family. He can trace no venerable line of ancestors. What then! is it matter of more praise to disgrace one's illustrious ancestors, than to become illustrious by one's own good behaviour ?
14. What if I can show no statues of my family? I can show the standards, the armour, and the trappings, which I have myself taken from the vanquished ; I can show the scars of those wounds which I have received by facing the enemies of my country.
15. These are my statues. These are the honours I boast of; not left me by inheritance, as theirs, but earned by toil, by abstinence, by valour, amidst clouds of dust and seas of blood ; scenes of action, where those effeminate patricians, who endeavour, by indirect means, to depreciate me in your esteem, have never dared to show their faces.
In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese carracks sailed from Lisbon to Goa, a very great, rich and flourishing colony of that nation in the East Indies. There - were no less than twelve hundred souls, mariners, passengers, priests and friars, on board one of these vessels.
2. The beginning of their voyage was prosperous ; they had doubled the southern extremity of the great continent of Africa, called the Cape of Good Hope, and were steering their course northeast, to the great continent of India, when some gentlemen on board, who had studied geogra- . phy and navigation, found, in the latitude in which they were then sailing, a large ridge of rocks laid down in their sea charts.