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friends and relations, 'merely because they would not submit to oppression ; and his cause was gained. Speaking to the passions, is ever sure to succeed on the uninformed.
Men of integrity are generally pretty obstinate, in adhering to an opinion once adopted. Whether it was owing to this, or to the weakness of Mr. Martin's arguments, I will not pretend to say; but he never could make a convert of my father : he continued an American, and so staunch a one, that he would not have suffered his best friend to drink success to the king's arms at his table. I cannot give the reader a better idea of his obstinacy in this respect, and of the length to which this difference in sentiment was carried in England, than by relating the following instance.
My father used to take one of us with him every year, to the great hop-fair at Wey-Hill. The fair was held at Old Michaelmas-tide, and the journey was, to us, a sort of reward for the labours of the
It happened to be my turn to go thither, the very year that Long-Island was taken by the British. A great company of hop-merchants and farmers were just sitting down to supper as the post arrived, bringing in the Extraordinary Gazette, which announced the victory. A hop-factor from London took the paper, placed his chair upon
the table, and began to read with an audible voice. He was opposed, a dispute ensued, and my father retired, taking me by the hand, to another apartment, where we supped with about a dozen others of the same sentiments. Here Washington's health, and success to the Americans, were repeatedly toasted, and this was the first time, as far as I can recollect, that I ever heard the General's name mentioned. Little did I then dream, that I should ever see the man, and still less, that I should hear
some of his own countrymen reviling and execrating him.
Let not the reader imagine, that I wish to assume any merit from this mistaken prejudice of an honoured and beloved parent. Whether he was right or wrong, is not now worth talking about: that I had no opinion of my own is certain ; for, had my father been on the other side, I should have been on the other side too; and should have looked upon the company I then made a part of as malcontents and rebels. I mention these circumstances, merely to show that I was not “nursed in the lap of aristo“ cracy," and that I did not imbibe my principles, or prejudices, from those who were the advocates of blind submission. If my father had any fault, it was not being submissive enough, and I am much afraid, my acquaintance have but too often discovered the same fault in his son.
It would be as useless as unentertaining, to dwell on the occupations and sports of a country boy; to lead the reader to fairs, cricket-matches, and harehunts. I shall therefore come at once to the epoch, when an accident happened, that gave that turn to my future life, which at ląst brought me to the United States.
Towards the autumn of 1782, I went to visit a relation who lived in the neighbourhood of Portsmouth. From the top of Portsdown, I, for the first time, beheld the sea, and no sooner did I behold it, than I wished to be a sailor. I could never account for this sudden impulse, nor can I now.
Almost all English boys feel the same inclination : it would seem that, like young ducks, instinct leads them to rush on the bosom of the water.
But it was not the sea alone that I saw : the grand fleet was riding at anchor at Spithead. I had heard of the wooden walls of Old England : I had
my ideas of a ship, and of a fleet; but, what I now beheld, so far surpassed what I had ever been able to form a conception of, that I stood lost between astonislıment and admiration. I had heard talk of the glorious deeds of our admirals and sailors, of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and of all those memorable combats, that good and true Englishmen 'never fail to relate to their children about a hundred times a-year. The brave Rodney's victories over our natural enemies, the French and Spaniards, had long been the theme of our praise, and the burden of our songs. The sight of the fleet brought alļ these into my mind; in confused order, it is true, but with irresistible force. My heart wąs inflated with national pride. The sailor's were my countrymen ; the feet belonged to my country, and surely I had my part in it, and in all its honours : yet, these honours I had not earned'; I took to myself a sort of reproach, for possessing what I had no right to, and resolved to have a just claim by sharing in the hardships and dangers.
Į arrived at my uncle's late in the evening, with my mind full of my sea-faring project. Though had walked thirty miles during the day, and consequently was well wearied, I slept not a moment.' It was no sooner day-light, than I arose and walked down towards the old castle, on the beach of Spithead. For a sixpence given to an invalid, I got permission to go upon the battlements: here I had à closer view of the fleet, and at every look my impatience to be on board increased. In short, Í went from the castle to Portsmouth, got into a boat, and was in a few minutes on board the Pegasus man of war.
The Captain had more compassion than is generally met with in men of his profession : he represented to me the toils I must undergo, and the punishment that the least disobedience or neglect
would subject me to. He persuaded me to return home, and I remember he concluded his advice, with telling me, that it was better to be led to church in a halter, to be tied to a girl that I did not like, than to be tied to the gang-way, or, as the sailors call it, married to miss roper. From the conclusion of this wholesome counsel, I perceived that the captain thought I had eloped on account of a bastard." I blushed, and that confirmed him in his opinion ; but I declare to the reader, that I was no more guilty of such an offence, than Mr. Swanwick, or any other gentlemen who is constitutionaliy virtuous. No; thank heaven, I have none of the Franklintonian crimes to accuse myself of; my children do not hang their hats up in other men's houses ; I am neither patriot nor philosopher.
I in vain attempted to convince Captain Berkley, that choice alone had led me to the sea; he sent me on shore, and I at last quitted Portsmouth; but not before I had applied to the Port-Admiral, Erans, to get my name enrolled among those who were destined for the service. I was, in some sort, obliged to acquaint the Admiral with what had passed on board the Pegasus, in consequence of which, my request was refused, and I happily escaped, sorely against my will, from the most toil. some and perilous profession in the world.
I returned once more to the plough, but I was spoiled for a farmer. I had, before my Portsmouth adventure, never known any other ambition than that of surpassing my brothers in the different Jabours of the field; but it was quite otherwise now; I sighed for a sight of the world ; the little island of Britain, seemed too small a compass for me. The things in which I had taken the most delight were neglected; the singing of the birds grew insipid, and even the heart-cheering cry of the hounds, after which I formerly used to fly from
my work, bound o'er the fields, and dash through the brakes and coppices, was heard with the most torpid indifference. Still, however, I remained at home till the following spring, when I quitted it, perhaps, for ever.
It was on the sixth of May 1783, that I, like Don Quixotte, sallied forth to seek adventures, I was dressed in my holiday clothes, in order to ac, company two or three lasses to Guildford fair. They were to assemble at a house, about three miles from my home, where I was to attend them ; but, unfortunately for me, I had to cross the London turnpike road. The stage-coach had just turned the summit of a hill, and was rattling down towards me at a merry rate. The notion of going to London, never entered my mind, till this very moment, yet the step was completely determined on, before the coach came to the spot where I stood. Up I got, and was in London about nine o'clock in the evening.
It was by mere accident, that I had money enough to defray the expenses of this day. Being rigged out for the fair, I had three or four crown and half-crown pieces, (which most certainly I did not intend to spend), besides a few shillings and halfpence. This, my little all, which I had been years in amassing, melted away, like snow before the sun, when touched by the fingers of the inn-keepers and their waiters. In short, when I arrived at Ludgate-Hill, and had paid my fare, I had but about half a crown in my pocket.
By a commencement of that good luck, which has hitherto attended me, through all the situations in which fortune has placed me, I was preserved from ruin. A gentleman, who was one of the passengers in the stage, fell into conversation with me at dinner, and he soon learnt that I was going, Į knew not whither, nor for what. This gentle