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the language of his memoir, * " was about six feet wide, and about eighteen feet in length; in the midst of which he would sit on his stool, with his last or lapstone on his knee, and other implements by his side, going on with his work, and attending at the same time to the pursuits of the whole assemblage; some of whom were reading by his side, writing from his dictation, or showing up their sums; others seated around on forms or boxes on the floor, or on the steps of a small staircase in the rear. Although the master seemed to know where to look for each, and to maintain a due command over all, yet so small was the room, and so deficient in the usual accommodations of a school, that the scene appeared, to the observer from without, to be a mere crowd of children's heads and faces. Owing to the limited extent of his room, he often found it necessary to make a selection, from among several subjects or candidates, for his gratuitous instruction; and in such cases always preferred, and prided him, self on taking in hand, what he called the little blackguards, and taming them. He has been seen to follow such to the townquay, and hold out in his hand to them the bribe of a roasted potato, to induce them to come to school. When the weather permitted, he caused them to take turns in sitting on the threshold of his front-door, and on a little form on the outside, for the benefit of the fresh air. His modes of tuition were chiefly of his own devising. Without having ever heard of Pestalozzi, necessity led him into the interrogatory system. He taught the ehildren to read from hand-bills, and such remains of old schoolbooks as he could procure. Slates and pencils were the only implements for writing, yet a creditable degree of skill was acquired ; and in ciphering, the Rule of Three and Practice were performed with accuracy. With the very young especially, his manner was particularly pleasant and facetious. He would ask them the names of different parts of their body, make them spell the words, and tell their uses. Taking a child's hand, he would say, 'What is this? Spell it.' Then slapping it, he would say,

What do I do? Spell that.' So with the ear, and the act of pulling it; and in like manner with other things. He found it necessary to adopt a more strict discipline with them as they grew bigger, and might have become turbulent; but he invariably preserved the attachment of all. In this way some hundreds of persons have been indebted to him for all the schooling they have ever had, and which has enabled many of them to fill useful and creditable stations in life, who might otherwise, owing to the temptations attendant on poverty and ignorance, have become burdens on society, or swelled the calendar of crime.”

Will the reader credit the fact, that this excellent individual never sought any compensation for these labours, nor did he ever receive any? Of no note or account, his weather-boarded

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* A small pamphlet, published by Green, Newgate Street, London.

establishment was like a star radiating light around; but of the good he was doing, John scarcely appeared conscious. The chief gratification he felt was the occasional visit of some manly soldier or sailor, grown up out of all remembrance, who would call to shake hands and return thanks for what he had done for him in his infancy. At times, also, he was encouragingly noticed by the local authorities; but we do not hear of any marked testimony of their approbation. Had he been a general, and conquered a province, he would doubtless have been considered a public benefactor, and honoured accordingly; but being only an amateur schoolmaster, and a reclaimer from vice, John was allowed to find the full weight of the proverb, that virtue is its own reward. And thus obscurely, known principally to his humble neighbours, did this hero—for was he not a hero of the purest order?—spend a long and useful existence; every selfish gratification being denied, that he might do the more good to others. On the morning of the 1st of January 1839, at the age of seventy-two years, when looking at the picture of his school, which had been lately executed by Mr Sheaf, he suddenly fell down and expired. His death was felt severely. “The abode of contented and peaceful frugality became at once a scene of desolation. He and his nephew had made provision on that day for what was to them a luxurious repast. On the little mantelpiece remained, uncooked, a mugful of fresh sprats, on which they were to have regaled themselves in honour of the New-Year. The children were overwhelmed with consternation and sorrow: some of them came to the door next day, and cried because they could not be admitted ; and for several succeeding days the younger ones came, two or three together, looked about the room, and not finding their friend, went away disconsolate.” John Pounds was, as he had wished, called away, without bodily suffering, from his useful labours. He is gone to await the award of Him who has said, “ Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto me.”

In drawing these biographic notes to a conclusion, the remark naturally arises, that no position in life, however humble, is an actual bar to intellectual or moral improvement-that where there is a will there is sure to be a way! Independently of all chance of rising in the world, which is at best a secondary consideration, the self-examining and self-instructing youth will eagerly strive to improve his mental capacities, on the plain consideration that it is his duty to do so, as well as from the reflection, that the ignorant and the demoralised can never attain anything like pure enjoyment even in the present life. Besides, as in the case of the worthy John Pounds, how much satisfaction will arise from the consciousness of devoting acquirements to a purpose useful to our fellow-creatures !




N the 1st of August 1809, a day I shall ever have cause to remember, I went on a pleasure excursion, in a small vessel belonging to my father, from Marseilles

to Nice. At this time the coast of France was strictly watched by English cruisers; and to elude these, we kept as much as possible close in-shore. This precaution was, unfortunately, useless. When off the isles of Hyeres, we

were observed, and chased by an English cutter, which soon came up with us. Resistance was of course useless, and, foreseeing the result, we at the first shot yielded ourselves prisoners. Before going on board the enemy's vessel, I concealed about my person as much money and other valuables as I could; and of this property I was not afterwards deprived. We were, mdeed, treated with less severity than we had reason to expect. On the day after our capture, we were removed, with many other prisoners, into another vessel, with orders to make the best of our way to England. What my sensations were on being thus torn from my beloved country, my friends and relations, may be easily conceived.

In a few days we arrived on the coast of England, and were immediately ordered round to an eastern port-Lynn in Norfolk—whence we were forwarded, to the number of some hundreds, in lighters and small craft, to the depôt of prisoners of war at Norman Cross-I think about fifty miles inland. Arriving at Peterborough-a respectable-looking town, with a handsome cathedral—apparently a gay and thoughtless set, we were marched to our destination. On reaching Norman Cross, we all underwent the usual scrutiny by the inspecting officers; and an exact description was taken of each individual as to his age, size, colour of hair and eyes, &c. which was entered in a book kept for that purpose. All these preparations gave a fearful presentiment of what we were afterwards to expect, and raised emotions in my breast of a nature I cannot define, but which several times, whilst the examination was going on, made me shudder with a kind of convulsive horror, not at all lessened on our admittance into, and review of our prison. The English had here upwards of seven thousand prisoners of war, of one nation or other, but chiefly Frenchmen. I will endeavour to describe a few particulars of the place, as well as I can recollect, which may at the same time also serve to illustrate my escape from it.

The whole of the buildings, including the prison, and the barracks for the soldiers who guarded us, were situated on an eminence, and were certainly airy enough, commanding a full and extensive view over the surrounding country, which appeared well cultivated in some parts; but in front of the prison, to the south-east, the prospect terminated in fens and marshes, in the centre of which was Whittlesea Mere, a large lake, of some miles in circumference. The high road from London to Scotland ran close by the prison, and we could, at all hours of the day, see the stage-coaches and other carriages bounding along the beautiful roads of the country with a rapidity unknown elsewhere; and the contrast afforded by contemplating these scenes of liberty continually before our eyes, only served to render the comparison more harrowing to our feelings.

There was no apparent show about the place of military strength, formed by turreted castles, or by embrasured battlements; in fact it was little better than an enclosed camp. The security of the prisoners was effected by the unceasing watch of ever-wakeful sentinels, constantly passing and repassing, who were continually changing; and I have no doubt this mode of security was more effectual than if surrounded by moated walls or by fortified towers. Very few, in comparison of the numbers who attempted it, succeeded in escaping the boundaries, though many ingenious devices were put in practice to accomplish it. However, if once clear of the place, final success was not so difficult.

The space appointed for the reception of the prisoners consisted of four equal divisions or quadrangles; and these again were divided into four parts, each of which was surrounded by a high palisade of wood, and paved for walking on; but the small ground it occupied scarcely left us sufficient room to exercise for our health, and this was a very great privation. In each of these subdivisions was a large wooden building, covered with red tiles, in which

dormitories, or sleeping-places, where we were nightly piled in hammocks, tier upon tier, in most horrible regularity. One of these quadrangles was entirely occupied by the hospital and medical department. A division of another quadrangle was allotted to the officers, who were allowed a few trifling indulgences not granted to the common men, amongst whom I unfortunately was included. In another division was a school, the master of which was duly paid for his attendance.

It was conducted with great regularity and decorum, and there you might sometimes see several respectable Englishmen, particularly those attached to the duties of the prison, taking their seats with the boys to learn the French language. Another small part was appropriated as a place of closer confinement or punishment to those who broke the rules appointed for our government, or wantonly defaced any part of the buildings, or pawned or lost their clothes; these last were put, I think, upon two-thirds allowance of provisions, till the loss occasioned thereby was made good; and I must confess this part was seldom without its due proportion of inhabitants. The centre of the prison was surrounded by a high brick wall, beyond which were the barracks for the English soldiers, several guard-houses, and some handsome buildings for both the civil and military officers; whilst a circular blockhouse, mounted with swivels or small cannon, pointing to the different divisions, frowned terrifically over us, and completed the outside of the picture.

With respect to the interior economy of the prison, we were not treated with any particular degree of harshness or of unnecessary privation, further than the security of so large a number of men required. On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, we had one pound and a half of bread, half a pound of beef, with a proportionate quantity of salt and vegetables; or, if no vegetables could be procured, we had in lieu pearl barley or oatmeal. On Wednesdays and Fridays we had the usual quantity of bread, one pound of cod-fish or herrings, and one pound of potatoes. No ale or beer was served out to us, but we were allowed to purchase it at the canteen in the prison. To insure to us no fraud or embezzlement, each department or division sent two deputies to inspect the weight and quality of the provisions, which, if not approved by them and the agent to the prison, were invariably rejected and returned; and if any difference of opinion existed between the agent and the deputies, a reference was made to the officers on guard at the time, and their decision was final. A regular daily market was held in the prison, where the country people brought a variety of articles for sale, and where every luxury could be purchased by those who had money. Our cooks were appointed from amongst ourselves, and paid by the English government, so that, in regard to diet, we had not much to complain of. The hospital

, or medical department, I have heard—for I was never an inmate of it, except to visit a sick comrade-was


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