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IS WIIICII, LIKE MOST PEOPLE WHO TELL THEIR OWN STORIES,
I BEGIN WITH THE HISTORIES OF OTHER PEOPLE,
I HAVE every reason to believe that I was born in the year of our Lord 1786, for more than once I put the question to my father, and he invariably made the same reply: “Why, Jack, you were launched a few months before the Druids were turned over to the Melpomene.” I have since ascertained that this remarkable event occurred in January 1787. But my father always reckoned in this way: if you asked him when such an event took place, he would reply, so many years or months after such a naval engagement or remarkable occurrence; as, for instance, when I onc day inquired how many years he had served the king, he responded, “I came into the sarvice a little aforo the battle of Bunker's Hill, in which we licked tho Americans clean out of Boston." As for Anno Domini, he had no notion of it whatovor.
I have since hcard a different version of the result of this battle.
Who my grandfather was, I cannot inform the reader, nor is it, perhaps, of much consequence. My father was a man who invariably looked forward, and hated anything like retrospection : he never mentioned cither his father or his mother; perhaps he was not personally acquainted with them. All I could collect from him at intervals was, that he served in a collier from South Shields, and that a few months after his apprenticeship was out, he found himself one finc morning on board of a man-of-war, having been picked up in a state of unconsciousness, and hoisted up the side without his knowledge or consent. Some people may infer from this that he was at the time tipsy; he never told me so; all he said was, “Why, Jack, the fact is when they picked me up, I was quite altogether non pompus." I also collected at various times the following facts,- that he was put into the mizen-top, and served three years in the West Indies; that he was transferred to the main-top, and served five years in the Mediterranean; that he was made captain of the fore-top, and sailed six years in the East Indies; and, at last, was rated captain's coxswain in the Druid frigate, attached to the Channel fleet cruising during the peace. Having thus condensed the genealogical and chronological part of this history, I now come to a portion of it in which it will be necessary that I should enter more into detail.
The frigate in which my father eventually served ius captain's coxswain was commanded by a Sir Hercules Hawkingtrefylyan, Baronet. He was very poor and very proud, for baronets were not so common in those days. He was a very large man, standing six feet high,