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sufficiently admire the stupidity or madness of those persons who are capable of making so absurd a choice ?
Every wise man, therefore, will onsider this life only as it may conduce to the happiness of the other, and cheerfully sacrifice the pleasures of a few years, to those of an eternity.
XIII._Uncle Toby's Benevolence.-STERNE. TTY uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries--not
from want of courage. I have told you, in a former chapter, that he was a man of courage ! and I will add here, that, where just occasions presented, or calied ii forth, I know no man under whose arm I would have sooner taken shelter. Nor did this arise from any insensibility or obtuseness of his intellectual parts, for he felt as feelingly as a man could do. But he was of a peaceful, placid nature; no jarring element in him; all was mixed up so kindly within him, my uncle Toby had, scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly.
Go--says he, one day at dinner, to an overgrown one which had buzzed about his nose and tormented him cry.. elly all dinner time, and hich, after infinite attemps, he had caught at last as it flew by him-l'll not hurt thée --says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room with the fly in his handm-I'll not hurt a hair of thy head : Go, says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape-go, poor devil; get thee gone: Why should I hurt Thee - This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me.
This lesson of universal good will, taught by my uncle Toby, may serve instead of a whole volume upon the Bubject. XIV.--Story of the Siege of Calais.--FOOL OF QUALITY. TYDWARD III. after the battle of Cressy, laid seige to
A Calais. He had fortified his camp in so impregnable a manner, that all the efforts of France proved inef fectua! to raise the seige, or throw succors into the city.
The citizens, under count Vienne, their gallant governor, made an admirabie defence-France had now put the sickle into her second harvest, since Edward, with his victorious army, sat down before the town. The eyes of all Europe were intent on the issue. At length
famine did more for Edward than arms.-After suffering unheard of calamities, they resolved to attempt the enemy's 'camp -They boldly sallied forth ; the English joined battle ; and, after a long and desperate engage. ment, count Vienne was taken prisoner, and the citizens who survived the slanghter, retired within their gates. The command devolving upon Eustace St. Pierre, a man of mean birth, but of exalted virtue : He offered to ca. pitulate with Edward, provided he permitted him to depart with life aod liberty. Edward, to avoid the imputation of cruelty, consented to spare the bulk of the Pie. bians, provided they delivered up to him six of their . principal citizens, with halters about their pecks, as victims of due atonement for that spirit of rebellion, with which they had inflamed the vulgar. When his messenger, Sir Walter Mauny, delivered the terms, consternation and pale dismay were impressed on every countenance.-To a long and dead silence, deep sighs and groans succeeded, till Eustace St. Pierre, getting up to a little eminence, thus addressed the assembly :- My friends, we are brought to great straits this day. We must either yield to the terms of our cruel and unsparing conqueror, or give up our tender infants, our wives and daughters to the bloody and brutal lusts of the violating sol. diers. Is there any expedient left, whereby we may avoid the guilt and intamy of delivering up those who have suffered every misery with you, or the one hand ; or the desolation and horror of a sacked city on the other? There is, my friends; there is one expedient left; a gracious, an excellent, a godlike expedient! Is there any here to whom virtue is dearer than life?- Let him offer himselt an oblation for the safety of his people! He shall not fail of a blessed approbation from that Porrer, who offered up his only Son, for the salvation of mankind." He spoke-but an universal silence ensued. -Each man looked around for the example of that magnanimity and virtue, which all wished to approve in themselves, though they wanted the resolution. At length, , St. Pierre resumed, “I doubt not but there are many here as ready, pay, more zealous of this martyrdom.than I can be ; though the station to which I am raised, by the çaptivity of Lord Vienne imparts a right to be the fist in
giving my life for your sakes. I give it freely :-) give it cheerfully. Who comes next ?? - Your son," exclaimed a youth, not yet come to maturity.- Ah, my child,” cried St. Pierre, “I am then twice sacrificed. But no : bave rather begotten thee a second time. Thy years are few, but full my son. The victim of virfue has reached the utmost purpose and goal of mortali. ty. Who next, my friends! This is the hour of beroes." " Your kinsman," ! cried John de Aire. 66 Your kinsman,” cried James Wissant. 66 Your kiosman," cried Peter Wissant.--"Ah !” exclaimed Sir Walter Mauny, bursting into tears, " Why was not la citizen of Calaja!" The sixth victim was still wanting, but was quickly supplied by lot, from numbers who were now emulous of so engobling an example. The keys of the city were then delivered to Sir Walter. He took the six prisoners into his custody ; then ordered the gates to he opened, and gave charge to his attendants to conduct the remaiping citizens, with their families, through the camp of the English Before they departed, however, they desired permission to take their last adieu of tbeir dē. liverers - What a parting! What a scene ! They crowd. ed, with their wives and children, about Si. Pierre and his fellow prisoners. They embraced-they clung around-they fell prostrate before them. They groaned—they wept aloud--and the joint clamour of their mourning passed the gates of the city, and was beard throughout the English camp. The English by this time, were apprised of what passed within Calais. They heard the voice of lamentation, and their souls were touched with compassion. Each of the soldiers prepared a portion of his own victuals, to welcome and enter. tain the half famished inhabitants; and they loaded them with as much as their present weakness was able to bear, in order to supply them with sustenance by the way. At length St. Pierre and his fellow victims appeared under the conduct of Sir Walter and a guard. All the tents of the English were instantly emptied. The soldiers poured from all parts and arranged themselves on each side, to behold, to contemplate, to admire this little band of patriots, as they passed. They bowed flown to them on all sides. They murniured their ap
plause of that virtue, which they could not but revere, even in enemies ; and they regarded those ropes which they had voluntarily assumed about their necks, as ensigns of greater dignity than that of the British garter. As soon as they had reached the presence, “ Mauny," says the monarch, “ are these the principal inhabitants of Calais ?:?_6 They are,” says Mauny: “ They are not only the principal men of Calais--they are the principal men of France, my Lord, if virtue has any share in the act of ennobling." "Were they delivered peaceably ?" says Edward. "Was there no resistance, no com- . motion among the people ?" "Not in the least, my Lord; the people would all have perished, rather than have delivered the least of these to your majesty. They are self delivered, self devoted; and come to offer up their inestimable heads, as an ample equivalent for the ransom of thousands." Edward was secretly piqred at this reply of Sir Walter : But he knew the privilege of a British subject, and suppressed his resentmeat. "Experience," says he,“ has ever shown, that lenity only serves to invite people to new crimes. Sewrity, at times, is indispensably necessary to compel subjects to submission, by punishment and example. Go," he cried to an offi. cer, “ lead these men to execution."
At this instant a sound of triumph was heard throughout the camp. The queen had just arrived with a powerful reinforcement of gallant troops. Sir Walter Mau. py flew to receive her majesty, and briefly informed her of the particulars respecting the six victims.
As soon as she had been welcomed by Edward and his court, she desired a private audience. 66 My Lord,” said she, 6 the question I am to enter upon, is not touching the lives of a few mechanics--it respects the honor of the English nation; it respects he glory of my Edward, my husband, my king. You think you have sentenced six of your enemies to death No, my Lord, they have sentenced themselves; and their execution would he the execution of their own orders, not the orders of Edward. The stage on which they would suffer, would be to them a stage of honor, but a stage of shame to Edward; a reproach on his conquests; an indelible disgrace
to his name. Let us rather disappoint these haughty burghers, who wish to invest themselves with glory at our expense. We cannot wholly deprive them of the merit of a sacrifice so nobly intended, but we may cut them short of their desires; in the place of that death by which their glory would be consummate, let us bury them under gifts ; let us put them to confusion with applauses. We shall thereby defeat them of that popular opinion, which never fails to attend those who suffer in the cause of virtue.” “I am convinced; you have prevailed. Be it se," replied Edward : 6 Prevent the execution ; have them instantly before us.”—They came; when the queen, with an aspect and accents diffusing sweetness, thus bespoke them;" Natives of France, and inhabitants of Calais, you have put us to a vast expense of blood and treasure in the recovery of our just and natural inheritance; but you have acted up to the best of an erroneous judgment; and we admire and honor in you that valor and virtue, by which we are so long kept out of our rightful possessions. You noble burghers! You excellent citizens! Though you were tenfold the enemies of our person and our throne, we can feel nothing on our part save respect and affection for you. You have been sufficiently tested. We loose your chains; we snatch you from the scaffold ; and we thank you for that lesson of humiliation which you teach us, when you show us that excellence is not of blood, of' title or sta. tion ;--that virtue gives a dignity superior to that of kings; and that those whom the Almighty informs, with sentiments like yours, are justly and eminently raised above all human distinctions. You are now free to de. part to your kinsfolk, your countrymen, to all those whose lives and liberties you have so nobly redeemed, provided you refuse not the tokens of our esteem. Yet we would rather bind you to ourselves by every endearing obligation; and for this purpose, we offer to you your choice of the gifts and honors that Edward has to bestow. Rivals for fame, but always friends to virtue, we wish that England were entitled to call you her sons.” Ah, my country!" exclaimed St. Pierre ; " it is now that I tremble for you. Edward only wins our cities, but PhilLippa conquers hearta.”'