Page images

It is not impossible that I have a prejudice upon the subject, having experienced religion' under unfavorable circumstances. Whether this be so or not, I am sincere in the opinion, that all revivals, got up in a pre-concerted way, are a kind of blasphemy. They act upon the physical nature alone, and pervert to their use those holy and reverential thoughts, that dwell alike in the child of nature, living in the forests, and in the object of education and care. I appeal to all those who have witnessed these scenes, if he ever saw a high-minded, intellectual man freely yielding his influence and his heart to these designs ? Why is it, that among the intelligent and enlightened, we find so few converts, unless they go for the express purpose of being made converts ? Why is it that these men stand aloof from all show of religion - beyond that of being good moral men - except the common Sabbath ordinance ? It is because they are disgusted with shallow artifice, and surface-piety; and find no sympathy, and receive no benefit, from a religion founded in ignorance, and supported by misrepresentation.

[blocks in formation]

“A short distance from the scene of conflict, we saw an Arab lying by the side of his wounded barb, with one arm thrown affectionately over his neck. He was lamenting, even with tears, the fate of the faithful animal.'



The blood wells through thy silver mane,

And down thy panting side;
No more those hoofs shall spurn the plain,

That broad chest cleave the tide;
No more, as fies the swift djerreed,

Shalt thou the Giaour pursue : My trust for safety was thy speed

My trust for vengeance too!


No more, my barb, at Zela's call,

Shalt thou to meet her spring
No more my boys their reinless thrall

Shall gallop at the ring;
Curse on the spoil !- what worth to me

Is every plundered gem ?
My household, when they ask for thee,

How shall I answer them?

Though wealth to buy a hundred steeds

Weighs down my caftan's fold,
Not mid Morocco's choicest breeds,

Not in the Tartar's fold,
Is there one steed, however fleet,

Could be to me as thou,
The music of whose trampling feet

No more shall cheer me now!

1. R,

[blocks in formation]

"I was born,' said the unhappy man whom we had taken from the wreck, ‘in a small village, on the banks of the noble Hudson, and being an only child, received from infancy more indulgence than would otherwise have fallen to my lot. My parents were in middling circumstances only, but well educated, and genteel, and enabled, in a place where none were rich, and all the necessaries of life were cheap and abundant, to maintain a very respectable establishment. I grew up under my mother's eye, a wild, reckless, and spoiled child. I was fond of books, notwithstanding, and being a youth of some genius, advanced rapidly in my studies, with but little exertion; and it often astonished my teacher, that one whose time appeared wholly devoted to mischief and play, should maintain the head of his class, despite the exertions for superiority on the part of his more plodding and studious, though less talented associates. As I grew up, unchecked by my parents, my passion for mischief increased, and the sober villagers, who were frequent sufferers from my pranks, remarked, with a prophetic shrug, that young De Veaux would certainly come to the gallows at last, in case the state prison did not prevent the sad catastrophe. My heart was not naturally a bad one, and my faults arose rather from the too great license yielded them by over-indulgent parents, than from any innate disposition to crime. Constant intercourse with a couple of medical students, whom our village practitioner was educating, gave me a taste for that calling; and when urged by my father to embrace the study of one of the learned professions, 1 selected that of medicine, being not a little inclined thereto by the idle life my associates appeared to lead, and the prospect of passing a winter in the city of New York. I had been upward of two years a student, and had already drank deeply from the cup of sensual pleasure, while attending a winter's course of lectures in the city; and had returned home deeply skilled in vice and dissipation, when a change suddenly came over my spirit, and a total alteration was wrought in my habits and morals.

• The father of the girl whom you saw on board the ship, a wealthy merchant in the city, was unexpectedly much reduced in circumstances by the villany of a pretended friend, for whom he had largely endorsed; and becoming disgusted with the world, and wounded deeply by the perfidy of one in whom he had placed most implicit confidence, and who owed all he possessed to his friendship and countenance, he determined to retire from business, with the wreck of his fortune, and to seule himself in our quiet village, in the neighborhood of my father, who had been his school-mate in youth. His daughter, like myself an only child, was the agent in effecting this reform ; and from the first moment we met, I felt myself a different being. To mild and gentle manners, a sprightly and amiable disposition, which had been highly improved by the tuition of a judicious mother, she added the fashionable accomplishments of the day; and

although surpassing all our village belles in loveliness, she seemed wholly unconscious of her superiority. The affectionate regard she entertained for her parents, and her heavenly smile, first won my attention: and day after day the sight of her added fuel to the flame she had so unconsciously kindled in my bosom. I perceived, soon after our first acquaintance, that my constant visits were any thing but agreeable to her parents, who had received the most exaggerated picture of my follies and vices from the neighbors, by whom I was looked upon as a perfect outlaw. From the intimacy existing between the two families, however, they were forced to tolerate my presence ; and although my advances were met with timidity on the part of the young lady, it was not long before I flattered myself that I could discover strong proofs of reciprocity of feeling in her disturbed and anxious glances. Matters continued in this state for some time

uncertainty as to the lady's attachment, and want of opportunity, preventing me from declaring my passion - when my father suddenly died, from a stroke of apoplexy, and my mother, who had long been in delicate health, quickly followed him to the grave, having never recovered the shock she received at his loss.

“ The merchant no longer thought it worth his while to keep up any show of terms; but plainly told me, that he could not admit a person of my character into his house; and that it was only from the respect he had borne my parents, that he had refrained from excluding me, hitherto. Burning with shame and indignation, I left the house, determined no longer to remain in a place so full of gloomy associations, but to sell my property, and to depart for the city as soon as possible. I was led, furthermore, to this conclusion, by the circumstance that there was then a young merchant, of some fortune, and a cousin of the dear girl who was now but a part of myself, passing a few weeks at her father's, with the obvious intent, seconded by her parents, of demanding her hand in marriage. I left the village soon after, with a heart torn with anguish, and with many a sigh for a loss which nothing could repay. She is gone now,' continued the unhappy man, with a groan, and I possess not the slightest memento to recall her image.'

“Oh, by the by,' said I, 'I cut off a lock of her hair, and have it still with me. I thought that at some future day you might be glad to receive such a treasure.'

God bless you!' he cried give it to me!' And as I drew it from my purse, and handed it to him, he grasped it convulsively, and pressed it again and again to his lips, while a tear glistened in his eye, and his bosom beaved as if it would have burst. A silence of a few minutes ensued.

• To continue my narrative,' said he, again addressing me. soon arrived in New York, and sought out my old haunts and companions. Here I plunged headlong into the wildest scenes of dissipation ; and in the midnight revel, and at the gaming-table, endeavored to efface all remembrace of the past, and to forget the gentle being who had enchained my heart. In this wild course of life, my money soon melted away, and before six months had passed, I was penniless. In vain I sought aid from those who had feasted at my expense, and who had made me a thousand protestations of


friendship. Every purse was closed, and I myself was shunned as one whose touch was contamination. Hungry and weary, I one day strolled down to the wharf, and while listlessly gazing at a brig then about to sail, I heard her captain regretting the loss of one of his crew, who had met with an accident, and whom he would be forced to leave behind, while he had not time to procure another to fill the vacancy.

“I'll go with you,' said I, starting forward.

"Jump aboard, then, my man,' cried he, mistaking me for a sailor, as I wore a jacket, in the place of my coat, which I had pawned, two day's before, for food.

* We sailed immediately, and were soon clear of the Hook, on our way to Havana, whither the brig was bound. The captain, quickly discovering that I was a perfect novice at sea, would have sent me back in the pilot boat, had he not been short-handed, and thought my presence necessary to work the ship. As it was, he treated me most brutally during the passage, and I was too inexperienced in nautical discipline not to resent it as far as I dared. Finding my obstinacy but little inferior to his own, and looking on me as a desperado, on our arrival in port he permitted me to leave the vessel. With feel. ings of utter loneliness, I wandered about, until night had closed around me, when, on turning the corner of a street that led from the square, I saw a person raising a poniard, and about to plunge it into the back of a tall man who had stooped, immediately in front of him, to raise something from the earth. I darted forward as quick as lightning, and dashed the weapon from his hand, while the other, hearing the noise, and turning in time to observe what had passed, struck the assassin a furious blow with a sheathed sword which he carried in his hand, and laid him breathless on the pavement, muttering at the same time some words through his teeth, which I took for Spanish curses. He next addressed me in the same language, but finding my replies were made in English, drawled out, with a twang that savored strongly of Cape Cod :

“You 've done me a friendly turn, young man, and I thank you for it. D-n that lubberly scoundrel! - he promised me as much; but I thought him too great a coward to attempt it. I've settled his hash, though, and it won't cost much hereafter for his messing.'

" While he was running on in this style, I had an opportunity of observing his person more closely. He was full six feet in height, with great breadth and depth of chest, and long sinewy arms, that looked disproportioned to his legs, which were rather small, than otherwise. His face was almost bid by a redundancy of whisker and moustache, and his sunken eyes glared out like meteors from beneath a pair of dark and heavy brows. • But who are you ? and which way are you going ? said he, looking me full in the face, when he had finished his malediction. I frankly explained my desperate circumstances; and when my narrative, to which he had listened attentively, was concluded, he said : "I can serve you.

You are just the man I want. You say you have studied medicine. My craft lacks a doctor. I command a schooner, which you may have seen lying off the market-wharf, just under the Moro Castle. Will you go with me ?

“In what trade are you ? inquired I.

"Why,' said he, hesitating a moment, 'may be I'm a smuggler ; may be a slaver.'

• Be it either,' I added, “I will go with you. • Necessity has no law; and if I remain here, I shall starve.'

“Come along then,' said he ; ' if we stay along side this d-d carrion much longer, the guard will catch us, and clap us in limbo.'

'Starting off at a rapid pace, we quickly approached the water side. Drawing a boatswain's call from his bosum, he blew a long, low note, when a small boat; pulled by one man, in obedience to the signal, shot from the schooner, and ran alongside the wharf.

" Is all ready, Diego ?' interrogated my companion of the boat


Ay, ay, Sir,' was the reply.

Jump in, then, shipmate,' said he to me; and stepping in together, we were quickly on board the schooner. She was a large pilot-boatbuilt craft, and sat on the water like a duck ; but otherwise, she possessed nothing remarkable in her appearance. A few men were lolling about, or lying listlessly on deck, when we arrived, who sprang up at an order from my companion, and commenced getting the vessel under weigh. We were soon under all sail, and ran rapidly out past the castle, which, to my great surprise, did not even offer to hail us, although I had heard it asserted that it was a standing order, enforced there, never to permit a ship to pass after sun-down. When we had gained some distance from the land, I observed a number of persons coming up from below, by the fore-hatch, who swelled our crew from ten to at least fifty men. Orders were next given by the captain to get the gun up from below; and all hands busied themselves, for some time, in hoisting a long eighteen-pounder out of the hold, and mounting it on a pivot, which had been before concealed by a tarpaulin. The suspicion that she was a pirate now for the first time flashed across my mind, and must have displayed itself in my countenance; as the captain, who had been closely watching my motions while these occurrences were passing, said to me, with a chuckling laugh:

“We're a free trader, you see, my boy, and are forced to go well armed, to look down all resistance. We

pay for our goods in iron, most times ; and generally seal the bargain with blood. You look pale, though. Do my words frighten you? Come, cheer up. You saved my life just now, and I owe you something for that: so, if you fear the sight of blood, you may stay below, and dress the wounded. That's the doctor's place, too, on board a man-of-war.'

• We cruised for some days off Cape Antonio, and made several rich captures, putting, as I afterward learned, the crews of all to death, without an exception. Some of them made a stout resistance, but all were eventually overcome, and treated alike, without mercy. Neither age nor sex was respected. Many of the pirates were wounded in these rencontres, and I had soon gained their good will by the skill and kindness I displayed in the treatment of the sick when under my charge. I saw none of the murders that were perpetrated, for I kept below; but often have I felt my blood boil within me, when the shrieks for mercy of the unfortunate females, who fell into their hands, reached my ears. I dared not, however, VOL. IX.


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »