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ready shelter to the thieves; but the vigilance of our naval officers is too great to allow of their doing mischief to any very great extent. The vessels they use are generally fast-sailing schooners, with an immense lofty spread of canvass, and their crews are mostly an assemblage from all nations under the sun.
SAINT LO0 AND THE BOSTONIANS.
(With an Illustration.)
“O cunning enemy, that to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook.” It is well known that Massachusetts Bay, in the first stages of its colonization, was occupied by settlers who had quitted the mother country on account of persecutions for their religious opinions, and it might naturally be concluded that persons thus situated, would be the last to exercise an intolerant spirit towards those whose doctrines differed from their own.
But this was not the case—on the contrary, no sooner had they gained stability by the attainment of power, than they became fierce persecutors, and whipped, imprisoned, or banished all whose consciences induced them to dissent from one particular creed ; and to such a length did they carry fanaticism that almost every species of pastime, however harmless, was rigidly prohibited as criminal in the indulgenceand vice and amusement placed upon the same level, were punished by scourging. This was carried to the utmost extreme—even music and dancing were denounced, and the penalty of the stocks and a whipping inflicted upon all who were found engaged either on the one or in the other.
The town of Boston, about the year 1730, was greatly given to this species of frenzy, and the most rigid discipline prevailed, under what was styled “the covenant of grace;" and amongst many absurd regulations for the preservation of sanctity, was a law declaring that walking into the country or through the streets, except to a place of worship, on the Lord's day, should be punished by fine or imprisonment.
It so happened that the gallant captain of an English frigate, lying off Boston, was on shore one Sunday, and he was immediately apprehended by the constables, and put in prison till the next day, when he was carried before a magistrate, the fact proved against him that he was walking in the streets, and he was ordered to pay the fine.
This he indignantly refused to do, and treated the exaction as most scandalous and arbitrary. The magistrate would not remit the decree, and the captain swearing that he never would pay it, he was sentenced to
be clapped one hour in the stocks during 'change time; and this, without the slightest mitigation, was carried into execution. Captain St. Loo was of course very angry to be thus treated, but his misery did not end here, for the grave magistrates assembled round him, and with earnest exhortations for his spiritual welfare, admonished him in future to reverence and keep holy the Sabbath-day, and to respect the laws of the province. Reverend divines also crowded to the spot, and relieved each other in pious lectures, till the hour of confinement expired.
At the first, the angry seaman indulged in invectives; but to the astonishment of many, and to the great edification of the crowd, he suddenly became humbled towards the close, and as if convinced by the earnestness of the preachers, he joined them in their prayers. They did not, however, abate him one minute of the prescribed time, and when he was liberated, he not only thanked the magistrates for their having so impartially and ably performed the duties of their office, but he also greatly humbled himself before the clergy, expressing his sincere gratitude for their spiritual counsel, which had brought conviction to his mind-he professed himself deeply ashamed of his past life, and declared that he was now ready to put off the old man of sin and to put on the new man of righteousness, and that he should ever consider them as instruments, in the hands of Heaven, of saving his erring soul.
St. Loo was somewhat known in those parts as rather a wild slip of a seaman, and a determinedly brave man, who, at different periods, had commanded several frigates, and behaved extremely well in various encounters with the enemy. Such a sudden conversion rejoiced both the clergy and laity-it was considered nothing less than a miracle, and there were clapping of hands, and shouting, and gladness, as they embraced the new convert, and eagerly turned-to with fresh exhortations, which terminated in the most zealous amongst them inviting him to dinner. St. Loo accepted the invitation, and fared most sumptuously, whilst the pious divines eagerly pursued their good work of admonition and teaching
For several subsequent weeks, whilst the frigate remained in Boston harbour, St. Loo was the most assiduous of converts, and day after day he lived upon the fat of the land, at the tables of some one or the other of the elect, whose joy was so extreme that they held festival after dinner (as the number of empty bottles amply testified), and were not only lifted up by the spirit, but as frequently knocked down by its potency. The houses of the elect were constantly open to the captain, and their wives and daughters vied with each other in nourishing and cherishing such a handsome “babe of grace,” receiving and treasuring the presents which he made them, accompanied by a brotherly kiss, which set their lips tingling for an hour or two. Parties were arranged to visit the ship, where he entertained them with the best he had—there was a proposal to consecrate the stocks which had been the innocent means of performing such wonders, and the captain was compared to Jonah and Paul, and was considered truly happy in his surnameSaint Loo.
The honest and gallant seaman, however, had readily detected the most consummate hypocrisy under the assumed mask of religious fervour; and also ascertained that the restrictions enforced upon the population proceeded more from the desire of the leaders to exercise authority than any real wish to render the people pious. Persecutions of the most aggravated and cruel nature were constantly kept up against all who exercised the rights of conscience and searched the Scriptures for themselves—they were commanded to trust to no declaration of faith except it was pinned upon the sleeve of preachers under "the covenant," who likewise arrogated to themselves the power of the civil magistracy. All these things were duly noted by Saint Loo, who enjoyed himself in their peculiar way, and was a welcome visitor at all hours amongst the fair sex.
But this banquet of gratification could not last for ever. Orders were sent for the frigate to go to sea, and the gallant captain went round to bid his friends farewell. The men appeared sad at the thoughts of separation, though in reality they were glad to be rid of him; but the women hung round the neck of their favourite, and wept upon his breast, and to the day of his departure the time was spent in regrets, professions entertainments, and prayer. On that day about a dozen of the principal magistrates, including the select men, accompanied St. Loo to Nantasket Road, where the frigate laid in readiness for sailing. An elegant dinner up,
sorrow is dry,” the wine circulated pretty freely to moisten their clay, till the bowls and bottles were drained, and they drank toasts "five fathoms deep,” to the honour of their patron saintSaint Loo.
There is nothing like generous wine-unless it is whiskey punch-to unmask the heart and show it in its true colours. The captain appeared to be fully sensible of this, for though he preserved his demureness of manner, he so plied his distinguished visitors with the juice of the grape and the rectified extract of the cane, that hypocrisy could not withstand it; gravity--which somebody has defined to be “a mysterious carriage of the body to cover the defects of the mind,” gradually gave way—the jest, the song, the shout of revelry resounded, till the ship rang with the roar of their merriment. There were aụstere judges drinking out of