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THE AUTHOR'S LIFE.
FAMILY PORTRAITS.-CHARACTER OF THE
My ancestors, on the father's side, were Tories and Cavaliers, who fled from the tyranny of Cromwell, and settled in Barbadoes. For several generations, himself included, they were clergymen. My grandfather was Rector of St. Michael's, in Bridgetown, Barbadoes. He was a good-natured man, and recommended the famous Lauder to the mastership of the freeschool there ; influenced, no doubt, partly by his pretended repentance, and partly by sympathy with his Toryism. Lauder is said to have been discharged for misconduct. I never heard that; but I have heard that his appearance was decent, and that he had a wooden leg: which is an anti-climax befitting his history. My grandfather was admired and beloved by his parishioners, for the manner in which he discharged his duties.
He died at an early age, in consequence of a fever taken in the hot and damp air, while officiating incessantly at burials during a mortality. His wife was an O'Brien, very proud of her descent from the kings of Ireland. She was as goodnatured and beloved as her husband, and very assiduous in her attentions to the
negroes and to the poor, for whom she kept a set of medicines, like my Lady Bountiful. They had two children besides my father; Anne Courthope, who died unmarried ; and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Dayrell, Esq. of Barbadoes, father by a first marriage of the barrister of that name. I mention both of these ladies, because they will come among my portraits.
To these their children, the worthy rector
and his wife were a little too indulgent. When my father was to go to the American Continent to school, the latter dressed up her boy in a fine suit of laced clothes, such as we see on the little gentlemen in Hogarth ; but so splendid and costly, that when the good pastor beheld him, he was moved to utter an expostulation. Objection, however, soon gave way before the pride of all parties ; and my father set off for school, ready spoilt, with plenty of money to spoil him more.
He went to college at Philadelphia, and became the scape-grace who smuggled in the wine, and bore the brunt of the tutors. My father took the degree of Master of Arts, both at Philadelphia and New York. When he spoke the farewell oration on leaving college, two young ladies fell in love with him, one of whom he afterwards married. He was fair and handsome, with delicate features, a small aquiline nose, and blue eyes. To a graceful address he joined a remarkably fine voice, which he modulated with great effect. It was in reading, with this voice, the poets and other classics of England, that he completed the conquest of my mother's heart. He used to spend his evenings in this manner with her and her family,-a noble way of courtship; and my grandmother became so hearty in his cause, that she succeeded in carrying it against her husband, who wished his daughter to marry a wealthy neighbour.
My father was intended, I believe, to carry on the race of clergymen, as he afterwards did; but he went, in the first instance, into the law. The Americans united the practice of attorney and barrister. My father studied the law under articles to one of the chief persons in the profession; and afterwards practised with distinction himself. At this period (by which time all my brothers, now living, were born) the Revolution broke out; and he entered with so much zeal into the cause of the British Government, that, besides pleading for Loyalists with great fervour at the bar, he wrote pamphlets equally full of party warmth, which drew on him the popular odium. His fortunes then came to a crisis in America. Early one morning, a great concourse of people appeared before his house. He came out, --or was brought. They put him into a cart prepared for the purpose, (conceive the anxiety of his wife!) and, after parading him about the streets, were joined by a party of the Revolutionary soldiers with drum and fife. The multitude then went with him to the house of Dr. Kearsley, a staunch Tory, who shut up the windows, and endeavoured to prevent their getting in. The Doctor had his hand pierced by a bayonet, as it entered between the shutters behind which he had planted himself. He was dragged out, and put into the cart, all over blood; but he lost none of his intrepidity ; for he answered all their reproaches and outrage with vehement reprehensions; and, by way of retaliation on the “Rogue's March,” struck
up “God save the King.” My father gave way as little as the Doctor. He would say nothing that was dictated to him, nor renounce a single opinion; but, on the other hand, he maintained a tranquil air, and en. deavoured to persuade his companion not to add to their irritation. This was to no purpose. Dr. Kearsley continued infuriate, and more than once fainted from loss of blood and