« AnteriorContinuar »
'happiness, and be a strong instance of what I am per'suaded is the snrest truth, That Providence Will,
'SOONER OR LATER, PROCURE THE FELICITY OP THE 'VIRTUOUS AND INNOCENT.'
Mrs. Heartfree thus ended her speech, having before delivered to her husband the jewels which the Count had robbed him of, and that presented her by the African chief, which last was of immense value. The good magistrate was sensibly touched at her narrative. as well on the consideration of the sufferings she had herself undergone, as for those of her husband, which he had himself been innocently the instrument of bringing upon him. That worthy man, however, much rejoiced in what he had already done for his preservation, and promised to labour with his utmost interest and industry to procure the absolute pardon, rather of hi> sentence, than of his guilt, which, he now plainly discovered, was a barbarous and false imputation.
The history returns to the contemplation of Greatness.
But we have already perhaps detained our reader too long in this relation from the consideration of our hero, who daily gave the most exalted proofs of greatness in cajoling the Prigs, and in exactions on the debtors; which latter now grew so great, i.e. corrupted in their morals, that they spoke with the utmost contempt of what the vulgar call Honesty. The greatest character among them was that of a Pickpocket, or, in truer language, a File; and the only censure was want of dexterity. As to virtue, goodness, and such like, they were the objects of mirth and derision, and all Newgate was a complete collection of Prigs, every man being desirous to pick his neighbour's pocket, and every one was as sensible that his neighbour was as ready to pick his; so that (which is almost incredible) as great roguery was daily committed within the walls of Newgate as without.
The glory resulting from these actions of Wild probably animated the envy of his enemies against him. The day of his trial now approached; for which, as Socrates did, he prepared himself; but not weakly and foolishly, like that philosopher, with patience and resignation; but with a good number of false witnesses. However, as success is not always proportioned to the wisdom of him who endeavours to attain it; so are we more sony than ashamed to relate that our hero was, notwithstanding his utmost caution and prudence, convicted, and sentenced to a death, which, when We consider not only the great men who have suffered it, but the much larger number of those, whose highest honour it hath been to merit it, we cannot call otherwise than Honourable. Indeed those, who have unluckily missed it, seem all their days to have laboured in vain to attain an end, which Fortune, for reasons only known to herself, hath thought proper to deny them. Without any farther preface then^ our hero was sentenced to be hanged by the neck: but whatever was to be now his fate, he might console himself that he had perpetrated what
Nee Judicis ira, nee ignis,
terit ferrum, nee edtxx abolere vetustas.
For my own part, I confess, I look on this death of Hanging to be as proper for a Hero as any other; and I solemnly declare that had Alexander the Great been hanged it would not in the least have diminished my respect to his memory. Provided a hero in his life doth but execute a sufficient quantity of mischief; provided he be but well and heartily cursed by the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the oppressed (the sole rewards, as many authors have bitterly lamented both in prose and verse, of greatness, i.e. Priggism), I think it avails little of what nature his death be, whether it be by the axe, the halter, or the sword. Such names will be always sure of living to posterity, and of enjoying that fame which they so gloriously and eagerly coveted; for, according to a Great Dramatic Poet,
Not more survives from good than evil deeds.
Our hero now suspected that the malice of his enemies would overpower him. He, therefore, betook himself to that true support of greatness in affliction, a bottle; by means of which he was enabled to curse, swear, and bully, and brave his fate. Other comfort indeed he had not much; for not a single friend ever came near him. His wife, whose trial was deferred to the next sessions, visited him but once, when she plagued, tormented, and upbraided him so cruelly that he forbad the keeper ever to admit her again. The Ordinary of Newgate had frequent conferences with him, and greatly would it embellish our history could we record all which that good man delivered on these occasions; but unhappily we could procure only the substance of a single conference, which was taken down in shorthand by one who overheard it. We shall transcribe it, therefore, exactly in the same form and words we received it; nor can we help regarding it as one of the most curious pieces which either ancient or modem history hath recorded. ...
A dialogue between the Ordinary of Newgate and Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great: in which the subjects of death, immortality, and other grave matters, are very learnedly handled by the former.
Good morrow to you, Sir; I hope you rested well last night.
Jonathan. D -n'd ill, Sir. I dreamt so confoundedly of hanging, that it disturbed my sleep.
Ordinary. Fie upon it. You should be more resigned. I wish you would make a little better use of those instructions which I have endeavoured to inculcate into you, and particularly last Sunday, and from these words: Those who do evil shall go into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. I undertook to shew you, first, what is meant by Everlasting Fire; and, secondly, who were The Devil And His Angels." I then proceeded to draw some inferences from the whole0; in which I am mightily deceived if I did not convince you that you yourself was one of those Angels; and, consequently, must expect Everlasting Fire to be your portion in the other world.
Jonathan. Faith, Doctor, I remember very little of your inferences; for I fell asleep soon after your naming the text. But did you preach this doctrine then, or do you repeat it now in order to comfort me?
* He pronounced this word Hull, and perhaps would have spelt it so.
Ordinary. I do it in order to bring you to a true sense of your manifold sins, and, by that means, to induce you to repentance. Indeed had I the eloquence of Cicero, or of Tully, it would not be sufficient £to describe the pains of hell, or the joys of heaven. The utmost that we are taught is, that ear hath not heard, nor can heart coneeive. Who then would, for the pitiful consideration of the riches and pleasures of this world, forfeit such inestimable happiness! such joys! such pleasures I such delights! Or who would run the venture of such misery, which, but to think on, shocks the human understanding! Who, in his senses, then, would prefer the latter to the former?
Jonathan. Ay, who indeed! I assure you, Doctor, I had much rather be happy than miserable. But"|"
O O O 0 O C O O O
Ordinary. Nothing can be plainer. St. ° °
O O O O O O O C O 9
0 o o o o e o o o
Jonathan. ° ° ° ° ° • og once convinced ° ° ° ° * « a
° no man o o o o uveg of o 0
f This part was so blotted that it was illegible.