« AnteriorContinuar »
side, to behold, to contemplate, to admire, this little band of patriots as they passed. They bowed down to them on all sides. They murmured their applause of that virtue, which they could not but revere even in enemies ; and they regarded those ropes which they had voluntarily assumed about their necks, as enligns of greater dignity than that of the British garter. As soon as they had reached the presence, « Mauny," says the monarch, 6 are these the principal inhabitants of Calais ?”« They are,” says Mauny; “ they are not only the principal men of Calais, they are principal men of France, my Lord, if virtue has any fhare in the act of ennobling.” “ Were they delivered peaceably?” says Edward; “ was there no resistance, no commotion among the people ?" « Not in the least, my Lord; the people would all have perished, rather than have delivered the least of these to your Majesty. They are self-delivered, self-devoted, and come to offer up their inestimable heads as an 'ample equivalent for the ransom of thousands.": Edward was secretly piqued at this reply of Sir Walter ; but he knew the privilege of a British subject, and fuppressed his resentment. « Experience," says he, “has ever shown, that. lenity only serves to invite people to new crimes. Severity, at times, is indispensibly necefsary to compel fubjects to fubmission by punishment and example. Go," he cried to an officer, « lead these men to execution."
At this instant à sound of triumph was heard through out the camp. The Queen had just arrived with a powerful reinforcement of gallant troops. Sir Walter Mauny flew to receive her Majesty, and briefly informed her of the particulars: respecting the fix victims.
As soon as she had been welcomed by Edward and his court, the desired a private audience.ta! My Lord," said she, “the question I am to enter upon, is not touching the lives of a few mechanics-it respects the honour of the English nation; it respects the glory of my Edward, my husband, my king.--You think you have fentenced, fix of your prisoners to death. No, my Lord, they have sentenced themselves; and their execution would be the execution of their own orders, not the orders of Edward. The stage on which they would suffer, would be to them a stage of honour, but a stage of shame to Edward ; a reproach to his conquests; an indelible disgrace to his name. Let us rather disappoint these haughty burghers, who wish to invest themselves with glory at our expence. We cannot wholly deprive them of the merit of a sacrifice so nobly intended, but we may cut them short of their desires; in the place of that death by which their glory would be consum. mated, let us bury them under gifts ; let us put them to confufion with applauses. We shall thereby defeat them of that popular opinion, which never fails to attend those who suffer in the cause of virtue." "I am convinced ; you have prevailed. Be it fo,” replied Edward : « Prevent the execution ; have them instantly before us.” They came ; when the Queen, with an afpect and accents diffufing sweetness, thus befpoke them :-" Natives of France and inhabitants of Calais, you have put us to a vast expence of blood and treasure in the recovery of our just and natural inheritance : Bur you have acted up to the beft of an erroneous judga ment; and we admire and honour in you that valour and virtue, by which we are lo long kept out of our rightful poffessions. You noble burghers! you excellent citizens ! though you were tenfold the enemies of our person and our throne, we can feel nothing on our part, save respect and affection for you. You have been sufficiently tested. We loose your chains; we snatch you from the scaffold; and we thank you for that leffon of humiliation which you teach us, when you show us, that excellence is not of blood, of title, or station ;--that virtue gives a dignity superior to that of kings; and that those whom the Almighty informs with sentiments like yours, are justly and eminently raised above all human distinctions. You are now free to depart to your kinsfolk, your countrymen, to all those whose lives and liberties you have so nobly redeemed, provided you refuse not the tokens of our esteem. Yet we would rather bind you to ourselves, by every endeare' ing obligation; and, for this purpose, we offer to you your choice of the gifts and honours which Edward has to bestow. Rivals for fame, but always friends to virtue, we wish that England were intitled to call you her fons." “ Ah, my country !” exclaimed Pierre, « it is now that I tremble for you. Edward only wins' our cities, but Philippa conquers our hearts."
On betraying private Conversation.
ancient writers, of which I profess myself an admirer, there are none which strike me with more veneration, than the precepts they have delivered to us for our conduct in society. The fables of the poets, and the narrations of the historians, amuse and delight us with their respective qualifications, but we feel ourselves particularly concerned, when a moral virtue or a social obligation is set before us, the practice of which is our indispensible duty : And, perhaps, we are more ready to observe these instructions, or at least acquiesce sooner in the propriety of them, as the authority of the teacher is unquestionable, the address not particularly confined or levelled, and the censure consequently less dogmatical.
Of all the virtues which the ancients poflefled, the zeal and fidelity of their friendships appear to me as the highest distinctions of their characters. Private perfons, and particular affinities amongst them, have been long celebrated and admired; and if we examine their conduct as companions, we shall find that the rites of their religion were not more sacred, more strongly ratified, nor more severely preserved, than their laws of society.
The table of friendship, and the altar of facrifice, were equally uncontaminated : The mysteries of Bacchus were enveloped with as many leaves as those of Ceres; and the profanation of either deity excluded the offender from the assemblies of men : The revealer was judged accursed, and impiety was thought to accompany his steps.
Without inveighing against the practice of the prefent times, or comparing it with that of the past, I shall only remark, that if we cannot meet together upon the honest principles of social beings, there is reason to fear
that we are placed in the most unfortunate and lament. able æra since the creation of mankind. It is not the increase of vices inseparable from humanity that alarms us, the riots of the licentious, or the outrages of the profligate, but it is the absence of that integrity, the neglect of that virtue, the contempt of that honour, which, by connecting individuals, formed society, and without which fociety can no longer exist.
Few men are calculated for that close connection, which we distinguish by the appellation of friendship and we well know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance: The acquaintance is in a post of
progression; and, after having passed through a course of proper experience, and given sufficient evidence of his merit, takes a new title, and ranks himself higher. He must now be considered as in a place of confequence; in which all the ornaments of our nature are necessary to support him. But the great requisites, those without which all others are useless, are fidelity and taciturnity. He must not only be superior to loquacious imbecility, he must be well able to repress the attacks of curiosity, and to resist those powerful engines that will be employed against him, wine and resentment. Such are the powers that he must constantly exert, after a trust is reposed in him : 'And that he may not overload himself, let him not add to his charge, by his own enquiries ; let it be a devolved, not an acquired commiflion.
- They, who mysteries rcyeal,
There are as few instigations in this country to a breach of confidence, as fincerity can rejoice under. The betrayer is for ever shut out from the
out from the ways of men, and his discoveries are deemed the effects of malice. We wisely imagine, he must be actuated by other motives than the promulgation of truth; and we receiv