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I called one Sunday evening on Dr. Cavil, a Presbyterian clergyman, who was congratulating himself on the completion of an elegant meeting-house, capable of containing a thousand sectaries. Engrave this motto, said I, over the door:
Mille habet ornatus, mille decenter babet.
I met Tom Vigil, last Monday morning, under the piazzas, swearing and scratching his elbow. What's the matter, Tom, said I. Matter! said he. Why, I lay last night at the Hummums, and could not sleep for the fleas. 'Pon my soul it is too bad, I'll tell it to the whole town. Do so, said I. Horace advises it:
Fle-bit, et insignis tota cantabitur'urbe. Now, Mr. Editor, the advantage of these classical quibbles over common English puns I take to be twofold. In the first place you secure a laugh from those who understand them, and in the second place from those who would fain be supposed to understand them. This comprehends about nineteen persons in twenty in all polite assemblies.
The proud Duke of Somerset employed Seymour, the celebrated painter to make some portraits of his running horses : one day at dinner, he drank to him with a disdainful sneer, Cousin Seymour, your health. The artist modestly replied, I really believe that I have the honour to be of your Grace's family. The fiery Duke immediately rose from table and sent his steward to pay and dismiss Seymour. Another painter was then sent for, who, finding himself unworthy to finish Seymour's work, honestly told the Duke so. On this the haughty Peer condescended once more to summon his cousin. The high-minded and independent artist answered his mandate in these words. My Lord, I shall now prove that I am of your Grace's family, for I WILL NOT COME.
Hull, the player, who is well known to have been the apologist general at Covent Garden Theatre for about five and twenty years,
took it into his head at the time of the dispute between Keppel and
The subsequent anecdotes are authentic and interesting. The manner in which this wretched victim of despotic power passed his prison hours is a noble proof of the elasticity of the human mind, and that fortunate power, which some men possess of complying, with the best possible grace, with the sternest mandates of relentless Adversity.
At the time of the first war between the king of Prussia and the house of Austria, Trenck being young and enterprizing, offered himself with a small band of determined men, to carry off the king of Prussia when he went out from his camp to reconnoitre the position of the Austrians. In fact he did attempt the enterprize; but succeeded so ill, that he was taken prisoner himself, and condemned to perpetual confinement in the castle of Magdebourg. The treatment he received was equally singular and cruel. He was chained standing against the wall; so that, for several years, he could neither sit, nor lie down. His guards had orders not to let him sleep more than a certain time; very short, but long enough to prevent his strength from being entirely exhausted. He remained four or five years in this dreadful situation, after which there being reason to fear he could not live long in that state, he was chained in such a manner that he might sit down, which appeared to him to be a great alleviation of his sufferings. He told me himself that after having suffered severe illness, during the first years of his imprisonment his constitution, which was strong and robust, was so unbroken that he recovered his health; and though he received no sustenance but bread and water, yet he was remarkably well and resumed his former gayety. In this state of mind he found means to sooth the tedium of so long an imprisonment by making verses, which he set to music, as well as he could, and sung for half the day. As he had nothing worse to dread, the king of Prussia was frequently the subject of his songs, and was not spared in them. He also had recourse
leines Amelia could give better account of liai fornemour, and found many times means to all
to the power of imagination, to sooth the horrors of his cell; and the whole time that he did not spend in singing, was passed in turning his ideas to all the agreeable conditions which it was possible for him to conceive. He was almost brought to consider these wanderings of his imagination as realities, and to regard his misfortunes as mere dreams. At last the empress queen, who for a long time had believed that he was dead, being informed of his miserable existence, solicited his liberty from the king of Prussia with so much earnestness, that she obtained his release. I saw him at Aix-la-Chapelle, enjoying very good health, having married a handsome woman, the daughter of one of the principal inhabitants of that imperial city, to which he had retired, that he might not be exposed to the power of any arbitrary government. He has published several German works, some of which are the fruits of the reflections he made, during his imprisonment;. some poetry against the king of Prussia; and some details, relative to the manner in which he passed his time at Magdebourg. He gave them to me himself; and though his works had no great merit in the style, yet the singularity of his thoughts, and the extraordinary fate of the author, rendered them interesting. What astonished me most in him, was the force of mind, the courage and the constancy which had supported him in a situation, in which there was no hope of his seeing better days. He appeared now to have forgotten the whole; or recalled the remembrance of his past sufferings, only that he might the better enjoy the happiness of his present condition. He was very gay; and there were even moments, when one might have supposed, without doing him great injustice, that his reason had been, in some degree, affected by his long confinement; but it was only surprising that this did not appear in a more eminent degree.*
TO READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. Owing to the violent indisposition of one of our most valued correspon. dents, the conclusion of the interesting biography of general Gates is unavoidably postponed, together with a great mass of valuable matter; for which temporary delay we crave the indulgence of our liberal friends.
* Poor Trenck, wishing to take a part in the French Revolution, went to Paris in the year 1793, and was guillotined, on the 25th of July, 1794, two days before the execution of Robespierre.
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