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Supported, however, by his own merit, he acquired a competency, which enabled him to live, if not in splendour, at least in independence. For hi' courage as a soldier, and his prudence as an officer, having recommended him to the attention of the greatest men in the army, by their influence, when the party of Charles was ruined, he obtained a commission in the French service.
"After remaining a few years in this situation, he married the only child of an old French officer, who had always behaved to him with the greatest regard, and who died soon after the celebration of their nuptials. By this event he became possessed of 5000I. and, wishing to spend the remainder of his days in his native country, he sold his commission, and with a fortune of 6000I. embarked with his wife for Scotland. Here he purchased a small, but elegant villa; and there they resolved to dedicate their future hours to retirement and happiness, when I appeared the first pledge of their mutual loves —but, alas! I was also the last. It was not granted to a fond mother to embrace her only child. Never did the maternal benediction descend on my unhallowed head; never did my infant tongue lisp the endearing name of mother. In fact, she died in the very agonies of child-birth, and such was her untimely fate, that it was with the utmost difficulty my life was preserved.
"Thus Providence frowned upon riie at my birth, and seemed to mark it strongly as a presage of my future woes and misfortunes. What I lost by the death of my mother, was, in a great measure, compensated by the care, the solicitude, and the vigilance of the best of fathers. His paternal tenderness watched over my infant state; and his sound judgment directed my early youth.
- " I soon discovered a strong inclination for a military life; and this my father appeared rather to
encourage than repress. Often had he been solicited by men in power to accept a commission in the British army; and, as he was now convinced that the interest of the House of Stuart was completely ruined, and being still a steady advocate in the cause of his country, he resolved to gratify my inclination for the military life, at the same time that he acceded to their proposals.
"Accordingly we both entered the army in the beginning of the last German war i he in the rank of colonel, and I in quality of an ensign. Never could I have entered with nobler prospects or success—never with better opportunities of improvement. All the care of a father, and all the abilities of a general, were devoted to my service. To me he communicated whatever knowledge or experience he had treasured up, and whatever admonitions his prudence could suggest. Through his influence and respectability 1 enjoyed the friendship of my superiors, and the universal acquaintance of my brother officers. P'or his reputation as a soldier, gained him the esteem of. the old; and his easy manners made his company courted by the young.
"I was always taken notice of (think not, sir, that I repeat this from a principle of vanity,) for a peculiar delicacy and correctness of taste, and for a certain happy genius for the mathematical sciences. These, under so excellent a tuition, I improved to the best advantage; and, in consequence, was soon advanced to the emoluments of an engineer, and the rank of a captain.
"There was hardly an engagement of note, during the whole war, in which I was not present; but the most glorious, and the most dreadful of all, was the battle of Fontetioy. It is needless for me, sir, to attempt to describe to you this terrible scene of carnage and heroism; when prowess was overpowered by numbers, and, as the poet nobly says—
"Threatening warriors stoop'd to kiss the ground."
Suffice it to say, that I survived the death of many a braver man, and saw that field of glory died with British blood. There, in the foremost ranks of a regiment, who so eminently distinguished themselves on that occasion by their prodigious efforts of valour, my father fell amid the brave, and paid the last purchase for the wreath of eternal fame. To his corse I offered all the honours that filial piety could bestow; and to his memory was paid the tribute of universal regret. After the battle I was preferred to his post, and, at the conclusion of the war, was permitted to return to my paternal estate.
"I had been married for some years, and already the happy father of two most beautiful daughters. These, with my wife, and one of her sisters, a maiden lady, composed my little family; whereiit the most harmonious peace and happiness always reigned. But we did not long enjoy this virtuous retirement undisturbed. A contagious distemper, which raged in the neighbourhood, cut off first my youngest daughter, and then my wife, whose humanity always led her to administer comfort to the afflicted, though at her own hazard. My feelings, upon that occasion, are unutterable; and though time and various objects have abated the keenness of my sorrow, a melancholy gloom still hangs on my soul, and there is a void in my mind, which hath rendered all posterior enjoyments incomplete.
"My whole care was now confined to my eldest daughter, Maria; and all my hopes were concentrated in her prosperity. Her education and her morals I most assiduously cultivated; and, in re-' turn, had the pleasure of beholding that every day
added something to the graces of her mind, or the beauties of her person. I always had a breast susceptible of the charms of female excellence, and had enjoyed opportunities of surveying fair ones of every description; but, without indulging a fond partiality, I can safely say, that, in all my travels, her equal never struck mine eye. Every virtuous accomplishment of her mother she possessed, heightened, if possible, by still greater luxuriance of beauty, and elegance of manners. Improved by the vigour of health and the bloom of youth, in her were united whatever is delightful in good humoijfc, or captivating in sensibility—whatever is spr:ghtly in wit, or amiable in simplicity—all that is engaging in modesty, or dignified in virtue. Oh t pardon, sir, my anguish, at the hopeless recollection, of what is forever gone !" .
Here a flood of tears interrupted his discourse, his bosom swelled, and, felching a deep sigh from the bottom of his heart, he wiped from off his face those tears of sorrow which his affecting tale had excited. When he had composed the agitation of his mind, the old man thus proceeded—
"Such an assemblage of charms, sir, could not fail to attract a multitude of lovers; but, of all that numerous group, distinguished by birth and accomplishments, Henry alone made an impression on Maria's heart.
"He was the son of a neighbouring gentleman, with whom I was upon the most friendly terms, and whose ancestors had shewn the greatest kindness to my father. I was no stranger to their mutual passion; for my daughter had not even a wish which she would conceal from me; and, as the young gentleman was of extraordinary merit, and descended of a worthy and illustrious family, I gave it my warmest assent. His friends were equally propitious to the match.
"Henry had always betii anxious to spend some of his earlier years in ihe agreeable exercise of travelling, thinking that the best field whereon to reap instruction and improvement, and was just deliberating upon the route which he should pursue, and the method that he should adopt, when the prospect of the late unhappy American war obliged me to return 10 the duties of my office. As he travelled trom other motives than a blind regard to fashion, and with nobler views than of mere amusement, he resolved to accompany me whithersoever the regiment should be destined; and to be a witness for some time, to the hardships and delights of a military life.
"His father, ever anxious to contribute to the happiness or his son, embraced the proposal with joy; for to whom, with more safety, could he think to commit his son? I myself, alas! was fond enough to imagine that my experience might be of some little service to the youth, to direct his curiosity to objects of importance, and to regulate his conduct by the laws of equity and honour.
"Accordingly I accepted the charge without hesitation; and in a few days we set off for the metropolis. The parting scene was indeed highly pathetic. It was marked with strong lines of paternal and filial affection; but the traits of virtuous love were most conspicuous. Imagine to yourself, sir, a heart warm with sensibility—overflowing with affection—eager with solicitude —actuated by the most delicate impressions of female tenderness— anxiously mustering up in imagination every possible scene of futurity, and earnestly recommending to a favoured lover, regard to his safety, and circumspection in the hour of danger. On the other hand, behold a youth of noble principles and generous soul, almost overcome by the fond endearments and animated beauty of the fair, promiiing