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ming, were frozen in the middle of the river, or perished by placing themselves on pieces of ice, which sunk to the bottom. Thousands and thousands of victims, driven to despair, threw themselves headlong into the Beresina, and were lost in the waves. One female was seen hemmed in by the ice in the middle of the river. Being able neither to proceed nor to retreat, she held her infant above the water, into which she was gradually sinking, and uttered the most piercing cries for assistance.
The division of Girard forcibly made its way through all the obstacles that retarded its march; and, climbing over the mountain of dead bodies which obstructed the way, gained the other side. Thither the Russians would soon have followed them, if they had not hastened to burn the bridge.
Then the unhappy beings who remained on the other side of the Beresina abandoned themselves to absolute despair. Some of them attempted to pass the bridge, enveloped as it was in flames; but, arrested in the midst of their progress, they were compelled to throw themselves into the river, to escape a death yet more horrible. At length the Russians were masters of the field of battle, our troops retired, the uproar ceased, and a mournful silence succeeded.
As we marched towards Zembin, we re-ascended the right bank of the Beresina, whence we could distinctly see all that passed on the other side. The cold was excessive, and the wind blew in loud and hollow gusts. The obscurity of the night was dissipated only by the numerous fires of the enemy who occupied the heights. At the foot of these hills were our unfortunate companions. Their destruction was now inevitable, and amidst all their former disasters, never were they exposed to, nor can imagination conceive, horrors equal to those which encompassed them during that frightful night. The elements let loose seemed to conspire to aftlict universal nature, and to chastise the ambition and the crimes of man. The conquerors and the conquered were alike overwhelmed with sufferings. Round
the encampment of the Russians, however, we saw enormous masses of burning wood, but on the spot which held our devoted companions there was neither light nor shelter. Lamentable cries and groans alone marked the place which contained these miserable victims.
More than twenty thousand sick and wounded fell into the power of the enemy. Two hundred pieces of cannon were abandoned. All the baggage of the two corps which had joined us was equally the prey of the conquerors; yet when we contemplated the deplorable fate of the wretched beings who were left on the other side of the Beresina, the consciousness of our safety rendered us insensible to the loss of all our riches. They were for ever deprived of the hope of revisiting the land that gave them birth, and were doomed to pass the sad remnant of their days amidst the snows of Siberia, where they would water with their tears the black bread which would be the only wages of the most humiliating servitude.
November 29th.-Setting out on the morrow for Zembin, and endeavouring to rejoin what remained of the fourth corps, we again commiserated the fate of the numerous friends who were no longer with us. We eagerly embraced those who had returned, whom we had feared we should never again have beheld, and congratulated each other on surviving a day more terrible than the bloodiest battle. We mutually recounted the dangers we had run, and the difficulties with which we had struggled to escape with life. “I have lost every thing," said one,“ servants, horses, baggage; but I think not of it; I rather esteem myself most fortunate that I have preserved my life, that I have escaped from the inclemency of the weather, the horrors of famine, and the arms of the enemy.”—“I have nothing but what I carry about me," said a second, “and of all that I had, I only wish for some shoes to defend my feet, and some bread to eat: these are the truest riches."" I have lost all,” exclaimed a third, “ but do not regret it, since the sacrifice of my baggage has enabled
me to save my wounded brother.” Such was the language which we heard, during several successive days; and those who were silent deeply mused on the dangers which they had passed, and rendered their secret but fervent thanks to Providence for a preservation almost miraculous.
EXISTENCE IN NORTH RONA, One of the most remote and inaccessible of the Hebrides.
This island, says Dr. Macculloch, is now inhabited by one family only, consisting of six individuals, of which the female patriarch has been forty years on the island. The occupant of the farm is a cotter, cultivating it and tending fifty sheep for his employer, to whom he is bound for eight years: an unnecessary precaution, since the nine chains of the Styx could afford no greater security than the sea which surrounds him, as he is not allowed to keep a boat. During a residence now of seven years, he had, with the exception of a visit from the boat of the Fortune, seen no face but that of his employer and his own family. Twice in the
that part of the crop which is not consumed on the farm, together with the produce of the sheep, and the feathers obtained from the sea-fowl, which he is bound to procure, are taken away by the boat from Lewes, and thus his communication with the external world is maintained. On the appearance of our boat, the women and children were seen running away to the cliffs to hide themselves, loaded with the very little moveable property they possessed, while the man and his son were employed in driving away the sheep. We might have imagined ourselves landing on an island in the Pacific ocean. A few words of Gaelic soon recalled the latter, but it was some time before the females came from their retreat, very unlike in look to the inhabitants of a civilised world. In addition to the grain and potatoes required for the use
of his family, the man is allowed one cow, and receives for wages two pounds sterling annually, in the form of clothes. With this the family, consisting of six individuals, must contrive to clothe themselves. How they are clothed, it is scarcely necessary to say: covered they are not, nor did there appear to be a blanket in the house; the only substitute for a bed being an excavation in the wall, strewed, as it seemed, with ashes and straw:Such is the violence of the wind in this region, that not even the solid mass of a Highland hut can resist it. The house is therefore excavated in the earth, the wall required for the support of the roof scarcely rising two feet above the surface. The entrance to this subterranean retreat is through a long, dark, narrow, and tortuous passage, like the gallery of a mine, commencing by an aperture not three feet high, and very difficult to find. With little trouble it might be effectually concealed; nor, were the fire suppressed, could the existence of a house be suspected, the whole having the appearance of a collection of turf stacks and dunghills. Although our conference had lasted some time, none of the party discovered that it was held on the top of the house. The interior strongly resembled that of a Kamschatkan hut; receiving no other light than that from the smoke hole, being covered with ashes, and festooned with strings of dried fish, filled with smoke, and having scarcely an article of furniture. Such is life in North Rona; and though the women and children were half naked, the mother old, and the wife deaf, they appeared to be contented, well fed, and little concerned about what the rest of the world was doing.–The only desire that could be discovered, after much inquiry, was that of getting his two younger children christened, and for this purpose,
he intended to visit Lewes, when his period of residence was expired. Yet I shall not be surprised, if, after the accomplishment of his only wish, he should again long for his now habitual home; and expect that some future visitor will, twenty years hence, find Kenneth M'Cagie wearing out his life in the same subterranean retreat of his better days.
SHERIDAN ON OATH.
In the trial of the Earl of Thanet, Mr. Fergusson, and others, for an attempt to rescue O'Connor, at Maidstone Assizes, in 1799, the celebrated Richard Brinsley Sheridan appeared as a witness for the defendants. The following are extracts from the examination of this distinguished individual.
Mr. Erskine. Do you know Mr. Fergusson ?
Q. If he had been upon the table, flourishing and waving a stick in the manner that has been described, in his bar dress, must you not have seen it?
A. Yes; it must have been a remarkable thing indeed, for a counsel in his bar dress to have a stick flourishing in his hand; he had a roll of paper in his hand.
Q. Does that enable you to swear that Mr. Fergusson was not in that situation ?
Q. Do you think if he had taken such a part in the riot, in the presence of the judges, that you must have observed it?
A. I must have observed it.
Cross-examined by Mr. Law, (afterwards Lord Ellenborough).
Q. You have said you saw Lord Thanet going towards the judges, as if he was going to complain; did you hear him make any complaint to the judges ?
A. I did not hear him, certainly.
Q. I will ask you, whether you do or do not believe that Lord Thanet and Mr. Fergusson meant to favour O'Connor's escape, upon your oath.
A. Am I to give an answer to a question which amounts merely to an opinion ?
Q. I ask, as an inference from their conduct, as it fell under your observation, whether you think Lord Thanet or Mr. Fergusson, or either of them, meant to favour Mr. O'Connor's escape, upon your solemn oath ?