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town besieged, was established and perfectly maintained. Every precaution was taken to avoid a rupture; every means were employed to repel an assault. We cannot enter into the particulars. Suffice it to say, that the crew of the Alceste, after seeing their vessel burnt before their faces, reduced to very short allowance, in great doubt of ever escaping from the island, were exposed to daily attacks, from very superior numbers of the most merciless and perfidious savages in existence ; at the same time that they were annoyed by the presence of serpents, wild beasts and monkies; and that not a single instance of bad fellowship, not a single breach of discipline occurred during a detention of 19 days upon this miserable island. Church service was regularly performed; and the Malays were no less surprised than gratified at seeing one of their dead companions, who had been brought on shore, decently buried.
• Awful as our situation was, and every day becoming more so, starvation staring us in the face on one hand, without a hope of mercy from the savages on the other, yet there were no symptoms of depression or gloomy despair. Every mind seemed buoyant; and if any estimate of the general feeling could be collected from countenances, from the manners and expressions of all, there appeared to be formed in every breast, a calm determination to dash at them, and be successful, or to fall, as became men, in the attempt to be free.'
A sail, however, the Fernate, sent out to their relief, was at length discovered from the look-out tree. On the 5th of March, Messrs Ellis and Hoppner two of their former companions, returning from Batavia, came on shore; and were received, with heartfelt acclamation, by the whole garrison under arms; and on the 7th Capt. Maxwell, after seeing the last man of his crew out of the island, arrived safe on board the Fernatë. And here the sufferings of the crew of the Alceste terminated.
But it was far otherwise with the miserable creatures who had escaped from the raft of the Medusa; and we have events to relate, which, though not so terrific, are if possible more disagreeable.
The survivors, from all quarters which the shipwrecked of the Medusa had reached, being now collected at St Louis, it was expected that the colony should be evacuated by the English. But the Governor, Mr Beurthonne (Burton ?) refused so to do; and ordered all the French away to the mainland. Our authors exhaust a large store of uncharitable conjectures, in search of the cause of his refusal, which, like true Frenchmen, they refer to the habitual Machiavelism of the British government; and to which ve shall make no answer-because we are very well convinced it would be an easy matter to refute them. It was resolved, however, to despatch a ship to the Medusa, to carry
away the money and provisions And the men also,' obseryed Mons. Correard to the French Governor Schmaltz.
• Bah, il n'en reste pas trois. '- N'en resta-t-il qu'un; sa vie est prea ferable à tout ce qu'on peut retirer de la fregate,' replied Mons. Correard; ' et il sortit indigné de la chambre.' A goalette sailed in search of the Medusa; but being prudently furnished with provisions only for eight days, she was forced to return, She put to sea again, but in such a disabled state, that, after beating about for 15 days, she came back a second time. Ten days were employed in repairing her; and, at length, having lost 33 days to no purpose, she reached the Medusa, on the 52d day after the frigate had struck upon the bank of Arguin; when, dreadful to relate, three miserable sufferers were found alive. Our readers will recollect that Captain Chaumareys had made his escape furtively out of the Medusa. As soon as he was in safety he sent a boat to take away a few men, who, he said, still remained in the wreck. But what was the surprise of the lieutenant, when he found that sixty men had been abandoned there! All of these, however, were carried off, with the exception of 17, some of whom were drunk, and others refused to leave the frigate. As long as their provisions lasted, these 17 remained at peace. Twelve of them embarked on a raft of their own construction, the remains of which were thrown upon the coast of Sahara ; but the persons on board were never heard of. Another ventured to sea in a chicken-coop; but sunk immediately. Four remained behind; one of whom had expired of hunger and fatigue. The other three lived in separate corners of the wreck, and never met, but to run at each other with drawn knives. They were put on board the goalette, with all that could be saved from the Medusa.
This little vessel was no sooner seen returning to the island, than every heart beat high with joy at the hope of recovering some property. The men and officers of the Medusa jumped on board, and asked whether any had been saved ? • Yes,' rereplied their brother officers of the goalette, but it is all ours now-tout cela est maintenant de bonne prise ; '-and the naked Frenchmen, whose calamities had found pity from the Moors of the Desert, were now deliberately plundered by their own countrymen. A ship, bearing the commission of his most Christian Majesty, and which had been despatched by the governor of one of his colonies to save all she could from the wreck of one of his own royal frigates, turned pirate, and robbed the shipwrecked crew of all their property -We should not believe this upon any foreign testimony.
A fair was immediately held in the town, and lasted eight days. The clothes, furniture, and all the necessary articles of life, belonging to the men and officers of the Medusa, were publickly sold before their faces. We could not avoid smiling to find, in the midst of this barbarous scene, some ludicrous ejaculations, in the true bombast style of French honour and glory. Mais une chose sacrée, respectée de tout homme qui sert avec honneur, ce signe de ralliement, sous lequel on doit trouver la victoire ou la mort, le Pavillon enfin, qu'est-il devenu?-Il a été sauvé-Est-il tombé entre les mains d'un Français ? Non; celui qui avilit ce signe ne peut être Français.'Eh bien--this precious rag fell, by right of purchase, into the hands of Sophia, the governor's negress, and of Margaret, his scullion, from whom none of the Frenchmen thought fit to redeem it, and who consequently employed it to scour their dishes! Captain Chaumereys was as severely handled as the others; and he recognised, at the French governor's table, two of his own vases, which had been presented by the plunderers to the wife and daughter of Mr Schmaltz, who thus became an accomplice in the public robbery.
Such of the French as were in a condition to do so, proceeded to the camp at Daccard, and the sick remained at St Louis. The French governor had promised them clothes and provisions, but sent none; and, during five months, they owed their existence to strangers-TO THE BRITISH. Here, again, are some complaints against Mr Beurthonne, whom we shall leave to clear himself
, as we have very little doubt he can. His faults, however, if any such there were, were redeemed by the rous efforts of the other British officers; who no sooner heard of the situation to which the French had been reduced, than they gave them
every necessary comfort; and, with the most refined and delicate attentions, constituted them inmates of their mess. Mr Correard alone was, by some accident, forgotten; and although, as he ingenuously tells us, he had many friends among the French officers and passengers at the camp of Daccard, he was left in the most wretched state. Major Peddy, however, who commanded the British expedition to the interior of Africa, came to his relief; as did Major Campbell, Captain Chemme, (James ?) Lieutenant O'Mara, Adjutant-Major Grey, and Ensign Beurthonne (Burton ?)--no relation to the governor-and Addam (Adams?)-On the 24th of August a French officer died, and was buried with military honours and religious decency by the English; which surprised the French, no less than a similar occurrence had astonished the Malays.-- But while the ntmost harmony reigned at St Louis between the two nations, dissension raged at Daccard.
Mr Savigny returned to Europe in July. Mr Correard remained in the colony till November. We shall conclude our
account of these men by one more instance of the good faith and humanity with which they acted towards each other. The vessel in which Mr Correard, who boasts of having so many friends at Daccard, had embarked, was becalmed as she passed the bar; and the passengers, who were exposed to every kind of inconvenience, agreed to go on shore till the wind should permit them to sail. Mr Correard was, at that moment, in the last stage of a fever, lying on the deck, exposed to a tropical
Il éprouvoit avec cela, des vomissements douleureux, produits par la chaleur, et par une indigestion de poisson dont il avoit fait son dejeuner, avant son depart.' As he was lying in this situation, he heard his companions say among themselves-· Here is one who never will see France. Yet they went on shore to take shelter and amuse themselves; and had not the charity to help him to accompany them, or even to raise an awning over him; but left him to expire upon a bed of pitch and cables. He, however, did reach France in tolerable health; and is since recovered. On finding himself in the hospital at Rochefort, he exclaimed, Enfin j'ai trouvé des hommes sensibles à mes malheurs; '--so soon did this grateful Frenchman forget the English of St Louis, the presents, and the still more noble offers of Major Peddy and his brother officers. • We must do the French nation the justice to say, that they seemed to be heartily ashamed of the figure they made in these transactions, and to have used every method to prevent their publication; and Messrs Correard and Savigny, by making them known, incurred the displeasure of their superiors; which, like all the spiteful displeasure of the petty powerful, had very serious consequences. Answers and counter-memorials were drawn up, to refute them; signatures were extorted, by promises and threats, from their fellow-sufferers, who afterwards retracted them with very little shame, or remorse, or loss of public esteem. The return of the crew had been preceded by various defamatory reports, of which Mademoiselle Schmaltz is accused of being a principal author Humani ingenii proprium est odisse quem leserit : '-And Mr Dubouchage, the then Minister of Marine, cannot be expected to have forgiven the men, who exposed to the public the incapacity which had caused their misfortunes.
The very abridged extracts we have given of our originals, present so much matter for reflection, that we know not where to begin. Never was there a contrast so striking, as in the conduct of the English and French sailors. On the one side, all is great, and calm, and dignified. On the other, page rises above page,
and event towers above event, in horror and dem pravity. We shall, however, attempt to bring together, in one point of view, the objects which may be the best confronted with each other.
In making this estimate, we most conscientiously declare, that we are actuated by no malignant feelings; and that we adopt this mode of investigation, because we hold comparison, in general, to be one of the surest roads to knowledge. The whole system of daily intercourse, throughout the world, is carried on by it. The most exact of the sciences obtains its positive results by no other means. It is so general in practice, that men unconsciously refer to it, upon every occasion ;--so accurate in its conclusions, that, in a condition where nothing is absolute, it is the ultima ratio rerum. To say that comparisons are invidious, unless when they are invidiously pursued, would be puerile. No man, when he learns that the three angles of every triangle are equal to two right angles, ever thought of saying, that the series of comparisons by which that truth is deinonstrated was invidious; neither has the fate of those interesting portions of space ever been deemed particularly hard, for having been subjected to such an investigation.
It might indeed be invidious and unfair, to bring under comparison events which had happened at distant periods in the history of mankind, when the progress of civilization may not have been alike. But, when occurrences of the same date, in two neighbouring and rival countries, are examined, no such charge can be made. The presumption is, that knowledge and humanity are upon a similar footing in both; and, should they not, the least enlightened, and the least humane nation of the two, can excuse itself, only upon the plea that it had played the truant, or squandered away its time and efforts in a wrong direction. A general debility of mind might, as well, be pleaded in mitigation for a single act of weakness; or habitual intemperance, as an excuse for casual intoxication.
It is by comparison with the Medusa that the conduct of the officers and crew of the Alceste have become so striking; for the British navy have made acts of heroism so familiar to us, that little room is left, in our minds, for surprise at any thing great or good on their parts. In the whole naval history of Europe, perhaps, no example could be found which could so well have taught us the advantage of courage, discipline and order, by showing the misery which must result from a want of them, as the narrative of Messrs Correard and Savigny.
All who, for the last 20 years, have been in the habit of admiring the campaigns and prowess of the French, from the 40th to the 60th degree of latitude, will be not a little surprised, to