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state of friendship and affection, deploring the calamities of war, and the reverse of fortune which befall mankind.
The aged Prisoner. 1. No where else on earth, perhaps, has human misery, by human means, been rendered so lasting, so complete, or so remediless, as in the late despotic prison, the Bastile of France. This the following case may suffice to evince; the partiulars of which are translated from that elegant and energetic writer, M. Mercier.
2. The heinous offence which merited an imprisonment, sur. passing torture, and rendered death a blessing, was no more than some unguarded expressions, implying disrespect towards the late Gallic monarch, Louis XV. Upon the accession of Louis XVI. to the throne, the ministers then in office, moved by humanity, began their administration with an act of clemency and justice. They inspected the registers of the Bastile, and set many prisoners at liberty. Among these, there was an old man who had groaned in confinement for forty-seven years, between four thick and cold stone walls.
3. Hardened by adversity, which strengthens both the mind and constitution, when they are not overpowered by it, he had resisted the horrours of his long imprisonment, with an invincible and manly spirit. His locks, white, thin, and scattered, had almost acquired the rigidity of iron ; whilst his body, environed for so long a time by a coffin of stone, had borrowed from it a firm and compact habit. The narrow door of his tomb, turning upon its grating hinges, opened not as usual, by halves, when an unknown voice announced his liberty, and bade him depart.
4. Believing this to be a dream, he hesitated; but at length rose up and walked forth with trembling steps, amazed at the space he traversed.
The stairs of the prison, the halls, the court, seemed to him vast, immense, and almost without bounds. He stopped from time to time, and gazed around like a bewildered traveller. His vision was with difficulty reconciled to the clear light of day. He contemplated the heavens as a new object. His eyes remained fixed, and he could not even weep.
5. Stupified with the newly acquired power of changing his position, his limbs, like bis tongue, refused, in spite of his efforts, to perform their office. At length he got through the for midable gate. When he felt the motion of the carriage which was prepared to trånsport him to his former habitation, he screamed out, and uttered some inarticulate sounds; and as he could not bear this new movement, he was obliged to descend:
Supported by a benevolent arm, he sought out the street where he had formerly resided : he found it, but no trace of bis house remained ; one of the public edifices occupied the spot where it had stood.
8. He now saw nothing which brought to his recollection either that particular quarter, the city itself, or the objects with which he was formerly acquainted. The houses of his nearest neighbours, which were fresh in his memory, had assumed a new appearance. In vain were his looks directed to all the objects around him; he could discover nothing of which he had the smallest remembrance. Terrified, be stopped and fetched a deep sigh. To him what did it import, that the city was peopled with living creatures ? None of them were alive to him; he was unknown to all the world, and he knew nobody ; and whilst he wept, he regretted his dungeon.
7. At the name of the Bastile, (which he often pronounced and even claimed as an asylum,) and the sight of his clothes which marked his former age, the crowd gathered around him; curiosity, blended with pity, excited their attention. The most aged asked him many questions, but had no recollection of the circumstances which he recapitulated. At length accident brought to his way an ancient domestic, now a superannuated porter, who,confined to his apartment for fifteen years, had barely sufficient strength to open the gate. Even he did not know the master he had served: but informed him, that grief and misfortune had brought his wife to the grave thirty years before ; that his children were gone abroad to distant climes, and that of all his relations and friends, none now remained.
8. This recital was made with the indifference which peo. ple discover for events long passed and almost forgotten. The miserable man groaned, and groaned alone. The crowd around, offering only unknown features to his view, made him feel the excess of his calamities even more than he would have done in the dreadful solitude which he had left. Overcome with sorrow, he presented himself before the minister, to whose humanity he owed that liberty which was now a burtben to him. Bowing down, he said, “Restore me again to that prison from which you have taken me. I cannot survive the loss of my nearest relations, of my friends, and, in one word, of a whole generation. Is it possible, in the same moment, to be informed of this universal destruction, and not to wish for death ? This general mortality, which, to others, comes slowly, and by degrees, has to me, been instantaneous, the operation of a moment. Whilst secluded from society, I lived with myself only; but
here I can neither live with myself, nor with this new race, te whom my anguish and despair appear only as a dream.'
9. The minister sympathized; he caused the old domestie to attend this unfortunate person, as he only, could talk to him of his family. This discourse was the single consolation which he received; for he shunned intercourse with the new race, born since he had been exited from the world ; and he passed his time in the midst of Paris, in the same solitude as he had done, whilst confined in a dungeon, for almost half a century. But the chagrin and mortification of meeting no person who could
to him, • We were formerly known to each other,' soon put an end to his existence.
Androcles and the Lion. 1. ANDROCLES was the slave of a proconsul of Africa. He had unfortunately been guilty of a crime for which he was sentenced to die. He, however found an opportunity of escape, which he effected at midnight, and fled into the deserts of Numidia. Wandering through a vast and trackless forest, his flesh torn by thorns and brambles, hungry, and exhausted with fatigue, he entered a cavern, which he accidentally discovered, and threw himself on the ground in despair.
2. He had not remained long in this situation, before he was roused by a dreadful noise, which he thought was the roar of some beast of prey. He started up in terrour, and with an intention to fly; but on advancing to the entrance of the cave, he beheld a prodigious lion, which entirely prevented a possibility
3. The unfortunate Androcles now believed his destruction inevitable; but, to his great astonishment, the beast approached him with a gentle pace, without any indication of enmity, or rage, uttering a mournful noise, as if he wanted some assistance. Androcles, who was naturally of a courageous disposition, immediately recovered firmness sufficient to examine his tremendous visitant. The lion, with a limping pace, approached him, and began immediately to lick the hand of Androcles, holding up a large and swelled paw. Acquiring still more fortitude from the gentle behaviour of the beast, he took hold of his paw, and perceived a very large thorn had penetrated deeply into the ball of the foot.
4. Androcles finding the lion receive this familiarity with the greatest satisfaction, he proceeded to extract the thorn, and af terwards, by a gentle compression, discharged a considerable quantity of matter, which had been the cause of much uneasi.
ness and pain. As soon as the lion found himself thus relieved, he began to express his joy and gratitude by jumping about like a young cat, by wagging his enormous tail, and licking the hands and feet of his surgeon. Nor were these demonstrations of kindness all he expressed.
5. He sallied forth in quest of prey, and brought home the produce of his chase, sharing it with his friend. In this savage state of hospitality, and frightful solitude, did Androcles live, during the space of several months. At length, wandering unguardedly in the woods, he met some soldiers, by whom he was apprehended, and conveyed a prisoner to his master.
6. The proconsul of Africa, was at that time collecting the largest lions that could be found, in order to send them as a present to Rome, for the purpose of furnishing a show to the people. The proconsul ordered that his refractory slave should be sent at the same time, and that he should be exposed to fight with one of the lions in the amphitheatre. A lion, for this savage exhibition, was kept several days without food; and when the destined moment arrived, the unfortunate man was exposed unarmed in the middle of a spacious area, enclosed on every side, around which many thousands of spectators had assembled to be amused by the mournful spectacle. At length a huge lion darted from bis place of confinement, and advanced furiously towards the man.
9. All eyes were turned upon the destined victim, whose destruction was instantly expected. But the pity of the multitude was converted into astonishment, on beholding the lion crouch submissively at his feet, fawn on him like a faithful dog, and caress him as a long lost and dearly beloved friend. Androcles immediately discovered in the lion his old Numidian companion, and renewed his acquaintance with him. Their mutual congratulations were surprising.
8. The governour of the town was present, who beholding one of the fiercest and most unrelenting of animals forget his disposition, and become harmless and inoffensive, ordered Androcles to explain the unintelligible mystery. Androcles then related every
circumstance of his adventures in the forest. Every one present was delighted with the story, and unanimously joined to entreat the governour to pardon the unhappy man, which he immediately granted, and directed also that the lion should be given up to him.
9. This story is said to have been related by Aulus Gellius, and extracted by him out of Dion Cassius, who saw the man leading the lion about the streets of Rome, the people repeating to each other, This is the lion who was the man's host; this is the man who was the lion's physician,
Pocahontas. 1. Perhaps those who are not particularly acquainted with the history of Virginia, may be ignorant that Pocahontas was the protectress of the English, and often screened them from the cruelty of her father. She was but twelve years old, when captain Smith, the bravest, the most intelligent, and the most humane of the first colonists, fell into the hands of the savages. He already understood their language, had traded with them several times, and often appeased the quarrels between the Europeans and them. Often had he been obliged also to fight them, and punish their perfidy.
2. At length, however, under the pretext of commerce, he was drawn into an ambush, and the only two companions who accompanied him, fell before his eyes ; but though alone, by his dexterity he extricated himself from the troop which surrounded him, until unfortunately imagining he could save himself by crossing a morass, he stuck fast, so that the savages, against whom he had no means of defending himself, at last took and bound him, and conducted him to Powhatan. The king was so proud of having captain Smith in his power, that he sent him in triumph to all the tributary princes, and ordered that he should be splendidly treated, till he returned to suffer that death which was prepared for him.
3. The fatal moment at last arrived. Captain Smith was laid upon the hearth of the savage king, and his head placed upon a large stone, to receive the stroke of death ; when Pocahontas, the youngest and darling daughter of Powhatan, threw herself upon his body, clasped him in her arms, and declared, that if the cruel sentence was executed, the first blow should fall on her. All savages (absolute sovereigns and tyrants not excepted) are invariably more affected by the tears of infancy, than the voice of humanity. Powhatan could not resist the tears and prayers of his daughter.
4. Captain Smith obtained his life, on condition of paying for his ransom a certain quantity of muskets, powder, and iron utensils ; but how were they to be obtained ? They would nei. ther permit him to return to Jamestown, nor let the English know where he was, lest they should demand him sword in hand. Captain Smith, who was as sensible as courageous, said, that if Powhatan would permit one of his subjects to carry to Jamestown a leaf which he took from bis pocket-book, he should find