« AnteriorContinuar »
Rol. If thou art yet irresolute, Alonzo, now mark me well. Thou know'st that Rolla never pledged his word and shrunk from its fulfilment. And here I swear, if thou art proudly obstinate, thou shalt have the desperate triumph of seeing Rolla perish by thy side.
Alon. O Rolla! you distract me! Wear you the robe, and, though dreadful the necessity, we will strike down the guard, and force our passage.
Rol. What, the soldier on duty here?
Alon. Yes, else, seeing two, the alarm will be instant death.
Rol. For my nation's safety, I would not harm him. That soldier, mark me, is a man! All are not men that wear the human form. He refused my prayers, refused my gold, denying to admit-till his own feelings bribed him. I will not risk a hair of that man's head, to save my heart-strings from consuming fire. But haste; a moment's further pause and all is lost.
Alon. Rolla, I fear thy friendship drives me from honour and from right.
Rol. Did Rolla ever counsel dishonour to his friend? (Throwing the friar's garment over his shoulders.) There! conceal thy face-Now God be with thee.
GENERAL WOLFE'S ADDRESS TO HIS ARMY.
I CONGRATULATE you, my brave countrymen and fellow-soldiers, on the spirit and success with which you have executed this important part of our enterprise. The formidable Heights of Abraham are now surmounted; and the city of Quebec, the object of all our toils, now stands in full view before us.
2. A perfidious enemy, who have dared to exasperate you by their cruelties, but not to oppose you on equal ground, are now constrained to face you on the open plain, without ramparts or intrenchments to shelter them.
3. You know too well the forces which compose their army to dread their superiour numbers. A few regular troops from Old France, weakened by hunger and sickness,
who, when fresh, were unable to withstand British soldiers, are their general's chief dependence.
4. Those numerous companies of Canadians, insolent, mutinous, unsteady and ill disciplined, have exercised his utmost skill to keep them together to this time; and, as soon as their irregular ardour is damped by one firm fire, they will instantly turn their backs, and give you no further trouble, but in the pursuit.
5. As for those savage tribes of Indians, whose horrid yells in the forest have struck many a bold heart with af fright, terrible as they are with the tomahawk and scalping knife to a flying and prostrate foe, you have experienced how little their ferocity is to be dreaded by resolute men upon fair and open ground. You can now only consider them as the just objects of a severe revenge for the unhappy fate of many slaughtered countrymen.
6. This day puts it into your power to terminate the fatigues of a siege, which has so long employed your courage and patience. Possessed with a full confidence of the certain success which British valour must gain over such enemies, I have led you up these steep and dangerous rocks; only solicitous to show you the foe within your reach.
7. The impossibility of a retreat makes no difference in the situation of men resolved to conquer or die; and, believe me, my friends, if your conquest could be bought with the blood of your general, he would most cheerfully resign a life which he has long devoted to his country.
FOSCARI, THE UNFORTUNATE VENETIAN.
THE most affecting instance of the odious inflexibility of Venetian courts, appears in the case of Foscari, son of the doge of that name. This young man had, by some imprudences, given offence to the senate, and was, by their orders, confined at Treviso, when Almor Donato, one of the Council of Ten, was assassinated, on the 5th of November, 1450, as he entered his own house.
2. A reward, in ready money, with pardon for this, or any other crime, and a pension of two hundred ducats, revertible to children, was promised to any person who would discover the planner or perpetrator of this crime. No such discovery was made.
3. One of young Foscari's footmen, named Olivier, had been observed loitering near Donato's house on the evening of the murder ;. he fled from 'Venice next morning. These, with other circumstances of less importance, created a strong suspicion that Foscari had engaged this man to commit the inurder.
4. Olivier was taken, brought to Venice, put to the torture, and confessed nothing; yet the Council of Ten, being prepossessed with an opinion of their guilt, and imagining tha the master would have less resolution, used him in the same cruel manner. The unhappy young man, in the midst of his agony, continued to assert, that he knew nothing of the assassination.
5. This convinced the court of his firmness, but not of his innocence; yet, as there was no legal proof of his guilt, they could not sentence him to death. He was condemned to pass the rest of his life in banishment, at Canea, in the island of Candia.
6. This unfortunate youth bore his exile with more impatience than he had done the rack: he often wrote to his relations and friends, praying them to intercede in his behalf, that the term of his banishment might be abridged, and that he might be permitted to return to his family before he died. All his applications were fruitless; those to whom he addressed himself had never interfered in his favour, for fear of giving offence to the ob'durate Council, or had interfered in vain.
7. After languishing five years in exile, having lost all hope of return through the interposition of his own family or countrymen, in a fit of despair, he addressed the duke of Milan, putting him in mind of services which the doge, his father, had rendered him, and begging that he would use his powerful influence with the state of Venice that his sentence might be recalled.
8. He intrusted his letter to a merchant, going from Canea to Venice, who promised to take the first opportu
nity of sending it from thence to the duke; instead of which, this wretch, as soon as he arrived at Venice, delivered it to the chiefs of the Council of Ten.
9. This conduct of young Foscari appeared criminal in the eyes of those judges; for, by the laws of the republic, all its subjects are expressly forbidden to claim the protec tion of foreign princes, in any thing which relates to the government of Venice.
10. Foscari was therefore ordered to be brought from Candia, and shut up in the state prison. There the chiefs of the Council of Ten ordered him once more to be put to the torture, to draw from him the motives which determined him to apply to the duke of Mil'an. Such an exertion of law is, indeed, the most flagrant injustice.
11. The miserable youth declared to the Council, that he wrote the letter in the full persuasion that the merchant," whose character he knew, would betray him, and deliver it to them; the consequence of which, he foresaw, would be his being ordered back a prisoner to Venice, the only means he had in his power of seeing his parents and friends; a pleasure for which he had languished, with insurmountable desire, for some time, and which he was willing to purchase at the expense of any danger or pain.
12. The judges, little affected with this generous instance of filial piety, ordained, that the unhappy young man should be carried back to Candia, and there be imprisoned for a year, and remain banished to that island for life, with this condition, that, if he should make any more applications to foreign powers, his imprisonment should be perpetual. At the same time, they gave permission that the doge and his lady might visit their unfortunate son.
13. The doge was, at this time, very old; he had been in possession of the office above thirty years. Those wretched parents had an interview with their son in one of the apartments of the palace; they embraced him with all the tenderness which his misfortunes and his filial affection deserved.
14. The father exhorted him to bear his hard fate with firmness. The son protested, in the most moving terms, that this was not in his power; that, however others could support the dismal loneliness of a prison, he could not;
that his heart was formed for friendship, and the reciprocal endearments of social life; without which, his soul sunk into dejection worse than death, from which alone he should look for relief, if he should again be confined to the horrours of a prison. And, melting into tears, he sunk at his father's feet, imploring him to take compassion on a son who had ever loved him with the most dutiful affection, and who was perfectly innocent of the crime of which he was accused.
15. He conjured him by every bond of nature and religion, by the feelings of a father, and the mercy of a Redeemer, to use his influence with the Council to mitigate their sentence, that he might be saved from the most cruel of all deaths, that of expiring under the slow tortures of a broken heart, in a horrible banishment from every creature he loved. "My son," replied the doge, "submit to the laws of your country, and do not ask of me what it is not in my power to obtain."
16. Having made this effort, he retired to another apartment; and, unable to support any longer the acuteness of his feelings, sunk into a state of insensibility, in which con dition he remained till some time after his son had sailed on his return to Candia.
17. Nobody has presumed to describe the anguish of the wretched mother. Those who are endowed with the most exquisite sensibility, and who have experienced distresses in some degree similar, will have the justest idea of what it was.
18. The accumulated misery of those unhappy parents touched the hearts of some of the most powerful senators, who applied with so much energy for a complete pardon for young Foscari, that they were on the point of obtaining it; when a vessel arrived from Candia, with tidings, that the miserable youth had expired in prison, a short time after his return.
19. Some years after this, Nicholas Erizzo, a noble Venetian, being on his death-bed, confessed that, bearing a violent resentment against the senator Donato, he had committed the assassination for which the unhappy family of Foscari had suffered so much.
20. At this time the sorrows of the doge were at an