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visit it severely on his head. I then, with the view of impressing still more deeply on his mind the verity of my statement, entered into minute details of the campaign, mentioned the names of individuals whom I had personally known at Java, &c. &c.
He was considerably agitated, and undecided what part to take. To compel him to decision, I drew out my watch, "Sir, I give you ten minutes for deliberation, if, at the expiration of that time, you are not decided, I
am." "I shall then return on
board." His inquietude increased. I saw that he was inclined to obey the summons, but the fear of committing himself would not allow him to act. I whispered to my Dutch interpreter to proceed to the fort, which was in sight from the portico of the government-house, where the conversation was held, and endeavour, by feigning himself to be the bearer of orders to that effect, to haul down the flag. He executed his commission so well, that before the ten minutes were expired, and while the governor still was hesitating, the flag of Holland was lowered, and the British ensign waved in its stead. It was too late for him to retract. I thanked him for his promptitude, and immediately established him in due form as vice-governor provisionally, till the ulterior orders of the British government were received; and I then promised him, that provided he would answer for the fidelity of his colonists, that I would not run the risk of disturbing the harmony which I hoped would reign in the settlements, by landing a single Englishman, excepting my own boat's crew, as a body guard for myself. He acquiesced entirely in my views. You will easily conceive what were really the motives of my apparent delicacy, viz. the almost total impossibility of garrisoning the fort, not having more than 30 or 35 efficient men, who were scarcely sufficient for the ordinary duty of the ship. Our measures were now all amicably arranged. I received and returned the official visits of the chief personages of Copang. Fresh provisions, &c. were sent off in abundance to the ship, and I procured a pilot to place her in the anchorage, which I learnt with pleasure was at a considerable distance from the place, as by that means I should have less difficulty in preventing coininunica
tion, and letting the real state of our force be known, till my authority was securely established. But feeling that that authority could only be maintained by public opinion, my grand aim now was to procure conciliation and attachment. With the governor himself I had no difficulty, for the more we lived together, the more reason he had to be convinced that he was not deceived; but I soon found the case was far different with those who had not the same opportunity of investigation. The public mind was in a state of great ferment. Weeks had elapsed since my first arrival, and no vessel had arrived from any quarter, bearing the confirmation of the capture of Java, and the overthrow of their empire in the east, which were looked upon as equally chimerical as the destruction of one of the great powers of Europe.
I had a Malay slave, who was much attached to me. This man brought me continually reports of what passed in the societies of Copang. They had already more than suspected the distressed and sickly state of our force, and exclaimed loudly against what they termed the pusillanimity of the governor, in lending I credulous ear to the improbable story I had told him. My trusty slave also informed me, that a report was abroad of a conspiracy entered into by the governor and principal inhabitants, and the four native rajahs in the neighbourhood; who, on a preconcerted signal, were to unite their forces, make myself prisoner, and re-hoist the Dutch flag. I was the more inclined to give credit to his story, as my dwellinghouse had been beset lately, during the night, by parties of the natives and slaves, who had startled me from my sleep by repeated howls and warcries. The activity and alertness of my trusty guard prevented any thing unpleasant occurring.
It now appeared to me that matters were drawing to a crisis, and that some decided measure must be taken. I repaired on board my ship early the following morning, without making my intentions known. I left orders with the commanding officer to bring the ship immediately as close to the town as was consistent with her safety, and to have all clear for action. I myself proceeded with my boat's crew,. with the intention of making myself master of the person of the governor, as a hostage and a security for the good conduct of the inhabitants. I chose mid-day for the enterprise: in the tropics it is the season of tranquillity and repose. I entered the inner harbour, which led to the very door of the governor's house. No alarm was given; not a soul was stirring. I was in the inner apartment with my trusty men, who planted themselves at the door. The governor appeared. He was alarmed and agitated. I explained to him the report which had reached my ears, of a conspiracy against us, and that he himself was supposed to be not perfectly free from taint. He was excessively distressed—called on every thing sacred to witness his perfect innocence—but admitted, that for some days past he had not been perfectly satisfied with the conduct of some individuals, who had talked to him in a manner very indiscreet. In reply, I stated to him my extreme dissatisfaction at the want of confidence of the colonists, who appeared to have mistaken my hitherto mild manner of treating them for a want of force and authority. It was now necessary to undeceive them. (At this moment a gun was fired from the Hesper, which was the signal to me that she had taken her station close to the town.) I directed a call of the principal inhabitants immediately, and they were informed to prepare themselves to take the oath of allegiance the following morning, in the castleyard. In the mean time, the governor was to remain a state prisoner in his own house; and it was understood that his person was responsible for any tumult or outrage that might take place. This sudden cull and declaration, the appearance of the Hesper's broadside within three hundred yards of the beach, checked at once the rising seeds of disaffection. They renewed to me their promises of fidelity and attachment, and professed themselves perfectly ready to take the oath of allegiance to his Britannic Majesty. The night passed without any thing extraordinary. In the mean time I had thrown into the battery every disposable man from the ship, leaving the convalescents and boys to do their best in keeping a constant fire on the town, in case it should be necessary. Asiatic indolence was astonished and alarmed at the promptitude and ilcci
sion of the measures of the men of the north; they felt and acknowledged their inferiority.
At nine the following morning, the
Erecession moved from the governor's house towards the fort. I could scarcely keep my gravity at the spectacle. The governor, secretary, and suite, had ransacked their wardrobe to make up gala dresses, and never were seen such originals. However, the solemnity was well preserved; and we entered the castle-yard, after a military salute from the troops and the detachment of seamen. I had forgotten to mention, that the four native princes whom I spoke of attended the ceremony at the head of their respective councils. The Malay corps were in line, the principal inhabitants assembled around me. The governor advanced in the middle, and read aloud the oath of allegiance, which was answered by all present, amidst a salute of twenty-one guns fired by our detachment. All seemed to pass off well, when an unlucky peal of thunder seemed to waken the superstitious feelings of my demi-civilized friends. I determined to anticipate the evil augury, and my interpreter exclaimed, that Heaven likewise joined in the solemnity we were celebrating. It was answered by a viva; and we assembled in the evening to a ball and supper, prepared under the portico of the government-house, adorned by some fine old banyan-trees, which had stood there for ages, and whose successive branches, having taken root, formed a most singular and picturesque shelter from the heats of day or dews of night.
Universal harmony prevailed. Keisar, the chief of the princes, paid his devotions most earnestly to the brandy bottle which was placed before him. His attachment to his new masters increased at every glass. He embraced me, fell on his knees, embraced me again, and swore to follow me through this world. All present seemed to feel the effects, more or less, of their hearty libations. I gave the signal to rise; and in the same instant, an officer whom I had stationed with some fireworks discharged the rockets. From that moment I felt myself perfectly secure of the fidelity of my subjects. With few exceptions, almost all, ereoles and natives, fell with their faces on the ground; and several moments elapsed before the consternation had
Nothing of any moment occurred after this affair, till the arrival of some visitors on the island, whom, being of a race and character perfectly distinct from the native Timorese, or other islanders in the neighbourhood, I beg leave to introduce to your notice. I had been informed by the governor, that between Timor and Sandalwood island lay the small island of Savu, the king of which came annually, with two or three large boats, to do homage to the Dutch power, and left a detachment of men for the year, who assisted in all the public works, and were particularly useful for the harbour seaduties, as they were bold and enterprising seamen, in contradistinction to the native Timorese, whom nothing could ever persuade to trust themselves to the treacherous element. The arrival of these islanders was daily expected, as the westerly monsoon now was at its height. In fact, we were surprised, early one morning, by the arrival on the beach of three or four large launches, full of men. One of my seamen had gone down early in the morning to bathe. The strangers were landing—who, of course, were ignorant of the change of affairs at Copang. He was pointed out by some evil-disposed person as an Englishman and an enemy. One of the chiefs immediately advanced to him with his ereesse in his hand, and my fellow was glad to escape from the threatened danger, by taking to his heels. He ran to my apartment, and awakened me with his tale of invasion and attack. I repaired to the governmenthouse; and a few minutes afterwards the newly-arrived rajah entered, and a scene truly dramatic ensued.
I never shall forget the noble, manly, dignified appearance of this savage. He stood upwards of six feet high, well proportioned, and his loosely-flowing robes shewed him like a model from the antique. His countenance, and those of his countrymen, had none of the Malay features, which generally express the presence of the worst passions. His face was Roman, nose somewhat aquiline, eye full and open; and his hair, unlike that of the Malay, was short and thick-curled, but without the woolly texture of the African negro. We saluted, and the governor explained to him the new relationship )which existed between the Dutch and
English, and which consequently affected him. We were no longer enemies. I then desired that they would make known to him my displeasure at the menace given by one of his subjects to a man of mine. His eye was lighted up with fury; he ordered the culprit into his presence; when arrived, in an instant he seized him with his left hand, dashed him to the ground, placed his foot on his body, and, raising his right arm with his naked ereesse, exclaimed, turning to me, " Shall I strike?" The action, the attitude, the gesture, was so fine, that, had not the life of the trembling victim been at stake, I should have remained gazing at him. I staid his arm, and interceded for the offender; he was allowed to rise, and then threw himself at my feet. The chief then turned to his followers, and, in a discourse accompanied with the most powerful and expressive action, declared his determination to punish with instant death the man who should henceforth disturb the harmony that existed between his new friends and him. This individual I found, during the rest of my stay on the island, of a character most superior. In him were united all the noble virtues of the savage, with few or none of the vices; and I parted from him with regret.
I am now drawing near my departure. The monsoon had begun to relax; and towards the month of March, light and variable airs announced the return of the fine season, I took my leave of my new friends, leaving them in a state of tranquillity and perfect submission to the British authority; as, in the interim, a Chinese junk had touched at the island, and confirmed the news of the downfall of their empire. I returned to Java without accident or difficulty, and was hailed with satisfaction by the rest of the squadron, who had long given us up for lost.'
q The Bibliotheque Univeraelle, in which Professor Pictct's translation of the above narrative appeared, is distinguished among all the continental journals, as that which affords the best and most copious information respecting English literature. It is, besides, enriched with the literary and scientific communications of all the first men in Switzerland, and is, upon the whole, one of the most interesting and useful miscellanies in Europe. liwios.
rtTKAHCH S LETTER TO POSTERITY. MR EDITOR,
As I am not aware that the following autobiography, the work of a most ilbtstrious man, has yet appeared in English, I venture to offer it to your acceptance, and remain yours, &c.
F. H. S.
Francis Petrarch to Posterity,
It is barely possible that you may have heard me slightly mentioned, though it may reasonably be doubted whether a name, so lowly and obscure as mine, is likely to extend over any considerable interval, either of space or time. In that case you will probably wish to learn what kind of a man I was, and what success attended my literary labours; particularly those, of which the character (in terms more or less favourable,) has reached your ear. Upon the first head, representations will of course widely differ, as men generally speak under the impulse rather of passion than of truth, and are seldom moderate either in their commendations or their censures.
I was one of your own class, a petty human being, of a lineage neither splendid nor vulgar, but (to adopt an expression of Augustus Cesar's,) of an ancient family! My disposition was not naturally, till tainted by the contagion of bad example, either vicious or immodest, Age, however, corrected the errors of my boyhood and youth, by impressing upon me, experimentally, the truth of my early lessons,—that " youth and pleasure" are empty sounds; and that the great Creator of times and seasons occasionally permits his wretched creatures, buoyed up by bubbles, to float at random, in order to teach them, even by a late discovery of their transgressions, the knowledge of themselves!
Of a frame, when young, rather active than athletic, I may say without too much vanity, that in earlier life it was not ill formed to please. My complexion was blooming, and inclined to brown ; my eyes full of fire, and my sight, for a long period, intensely keen, till by its unexpected failure after my sixtieth year, I have been reluctantly compelled to make use of spectacles. But age, though it found me sound Vol. III.
and strong, has not failed to introduce its usual train of disorders. My parents, inhabitants of Florence, of respectable extraction, but of moderate (or to speak more correctly, of decayed) fortunes, amidst the troubles of the times had been driven into exile. During this exile, I was born at Area- zo, early on Monday morning, August 1,* 1304. A determined despiser of wealth, not from indifference to its comforts, but from a hatred of the toils and anxieties which are its inseparable companions, and a disrelish of its pampered festivals. I have spent my days more happily at a frugal board, and with temperate fare, than the whole tribe of Apicii with all their luxuries. Banquettings indeed, and revelries, are equally unfriendly to modesty and to morality; and, as such, have always been my horror. Hence I have invariably shunned the giving and receiving of formal invitations; though the casual dropping in of a friend has always enhanced the enjoyment of my table, nor would I ever by choice sit down to a solitary meal. Of all things, parade displeases me the most; not only as criminal in itself, and adverse to true humility, but also as harassing and vexatious. Victim in my youth of a single and honourable, but most passionate attachment, I should longer have endured its violence, had not the flame, which age had already mitigated, been extinguished by the severe, but salutary, hand of death. Much as I could wish to represent myself unstained by sensual indulgences, I will not do so at the expense of truth; but I can truly affirm, that, even when hurried into them by the impulse of youth and constitution, I constantly reprobated them in my heart; and on the approach of my fortieth year, without having experienced any abatement of appetite or vigour, I as totally renounced the pleasures and memory of the sex, as if I had never looked upon a woman in my life. This, indeed, I class among my principal blessings; and most devoutly do I thank my Creator, that before the period of languor and decrepitude, he rescued me from
* Kal. Aug.—But axiii. seems to have been by mistake omitted, as he elsewhere says, (Ep. ad Boccac viii. 1.) he was born July SO j and in 1304 that day would fall on » Monday, not August 1. 8 R
so degrading and hateful a thraldom. But to proceed.
Pride, the infirmity of other minds, was never mine. Little as I was in reality, my self-estimate always stood at a still lower point. This, though I frequently felt its ill consequences myself, never injured any body else. Of respectable friendships,—I speak it with honest exultation, because I know that I am speaking the truth,—I was always most covetous; vehement in my resentments, but ever ready to forget their cause; and religiously tenacious of the memory of kindnesses. Enviably fortunate, however, as I was in the condescensions of princes and sovereigns, and the intimacies of the great, I could not escape the penalty of age, the surviving of numbers most dear to me. Why my royal and noble contemporaries thus respected and loved me, it is for them, not me, to explain. I scarcely seemed, indeed, to be more with them, than they with me ; and their station, of which I often felt the benefit, was in no instance irksome or oppressive. Yet numbers thus distinguished, much as I regarded them, from my innate love of liberty I studiously shunned, as implying by their very title something hostile to that blessing.
My talents arc rather equable than acute; but though not disinclined to any respectable or useful study, they seem peculiarly adapted for the cultivation of moral philosophy and poetry. The latter, however, in process of time, I laid aside, or reserved for occasional embellishment, from my passion for sacred literature, in which I found a hidden and long neglected delight. Among my various pursuits, I engaged ardently in the investigation of the remains of antiquity, having ever entertained such a dislike for the present age, that, were it not for the bonds of love and friendship, I should have preferred being born in any other, as I was always, in idea, transferring myself to some of its nobler predecessors. This made me partial to the works of historians, though I could not but be revolted by their discrepancies. In such cases, however, I regulated my belief by the robability of the fact recorded, or the authority of the chronicler.
My eiocution, as many have asserted, was loud and clear: to myself it always appeared feeble and indistinct.
In the ordinary course of conversation with friends or acquaintance, I never studied eloquence ; and I am surprised that an Augustus ever did. But under particular exigencies of circumstance, or place, or person, I failed not to exert myself in this respect,—with what success, others must decide. In my own judgment, the merit of the lips, compared with that of the life, is of very inferior account. The glory arising from mere splendour of diction, is nothing more than a breath.
My past life has been distributed by chance, or inclination, as follows: The greater part of my first year I spent at Arezzo, where I was born; and the six which ensued, in my father's house at Ancisa, (distant only fourteen miles from Florence,) with my mother, who had been recalled from banishment; the eighth at Pisa; the ninth, tenth, &-c. in France, on the left bank of the Rhone, at Avignon, where the Roman pontiff holds (and has long held,) the church of Christ in disgraceful exile; although Urban V. appeared, not long before, to have re-established her in her ancient seat. But the attempt failed; the Pope himself, (for he was still alive,) I am sorry to observe, apparently repenting his honourable effort. Had he survived a little longer, he would undoubtedly have learned my opinion upon that subject. I had already taken up my pen for the purpose, when the unhappy old man quitted his glorious project and his existence nearly together. I say " unhappy," because he might have died by Peter's altar, and in his own Vatican. For had his successors continued there, to him would have been referred the credit of their restoration; and if they had again seceded, their misconduct would have served as a foil to his magnanimity. But this is prolix and querulous digression.
At Avignon then, on the bank of a gusty river, I passed my boyhood under the sway of my parents, and subsequently (with many interruptions indeed,) under that of my follies, I wasted my youth. For at this period, Carpertras, a small town situated a little to the east of Avignon, possessed me full four years; during two of which, I gave as much attention to grammar, logic, and rhetoric, as my age admitted, or rather as schools usually exact. That this is to a very mo