Page images
[ocr errors]

the patricians, by standing up in defence of what I have myfelf done.

Obferve now, my countrymen, the injustice of the patricians. They arrogate to themfelves honors, on account of exploits done by their forefathers, whilst they will not allow nie due praise for performing the very fame fort of actions in my own person.

13. He has no ftatues, they cry, of his family. He can trace do venerable line of anceltors. What then ? - is it matter of more praise to disgrace one's illustrious anceftors, than to become illustrious by one's own good behavior?

140 What if I can show no statues of my family. I can show the standards, the armor, and the trappings, which I have myself taken from the vanquished; I can thow the scars of those wounds, which I have received by facing the enemies of my country.

15. These are my statues. These are the honors I boast of. Not left me by inheritance, as theirs ; but earned by toil, by abstinence, by valor; amidst clouds of duit and seas of blood ; scenes of action, where those effeminate patricians, who endeavor, by indirect means, to depreciate me in your esteem, have never dared to show their faces,



In the beginning of the fixteenth century, the Portuguefe carracks failed from Lisbon to Goa, a very great, rich, and flourishing colony of that nation in the East-Indies. There were no less than twelve hundred fouls, mariners, paffungers, priests, and friars, on board one of these vessels.

The beginning of their voyage was prosperous ; they had doubled the fouthern extremity of the great continent of Africa, called the Cape of Good Hope, and were steering their courfe northeast, to the great continent of India, when some gentlemen on board, who, having studied geog. raphy and navigation, found in the latitude in which they were then sailing, a large ridge of rocks laid down in their fea charts.

3. They

3. They no sooner made this discovery, than they acquainted the captain of the ship with the affair, desiring him to communicate the fame to the pilot, which requelt he immediately granted, recommended him to lie by in the night, and flacken fail by day, until they should be past the danger.

4 It is a cufton always among the Portuguese abso. lutely to commit the failing pårt, or the navigation of the vessel to the pilot, who is answerable with his head for the safe conduct or carriage of the king's ihips, or those belongo ing to private traders ; and he is under no manner of die rection from the captain, who commands in every other respect.

5. The pilot being one of thofe self-sufficient men, who think every hint given them from others in the way of their profeffion derogatory from their understandings, took as an affront to be taught his art, and instead of complying with the captain's request, actually crowded more fait than the vefiel had carried before.

6. They had not failed many hours, when, just about the dawn of day, a terrible disaster befil them, which would have been presented if they had lain by. The ship struck

I leave to the reader's imagination, what a scene of horror this dreadful accident mult occasion among twelve hundred persons, all in the same inevitable danger ; beholding, with fearful astonishment, that instantaneous death which now stared theny in the face.

7. In this distress, the captain ordered tlre pirinace to be launched, into which, having tosled a small quantity of biscuit, and fone voxes of marmalade, he jumped in him. felf, with nineteen others, who with their swords prevented itie coming in of ariy more, left the boat should sink.

8. In this condition they put off into the great Indian ocean, without a compass to steer by, or any fresh water but what might fall from the heavens, whose mercy

alone could deliver them. After they had rowed four days in this miserable condition, the captain, who had been for some time very

fick and weak, died. 9. This added, if posible, to their misery; for as they now fell into confusion, every one would govern, and none would obey. This obliged them to elect one of their own


upon a rock.



company to command them, whose orders they implicitly agreed to follow. This person proposed to the company to draw lots, and to cart every fourth man overboard ; as their small stock of provisions was so far spent, as no! to be able at a very short allowance to sustain life above three days longer.

10. There were now nineteen persons in all; in this number were a friar and a carpenter, both of whom they would exempt, as the one was useful to absolve and comfort them in their last extremity, and the other to repair the pinnace in case of a leak or other accident.

The same compliment they paid to their new captain, he being the odd nian, and his life of much coníe. quence. He refused their indulgence a great while ; but at last they obliged him to acquiesce ; so that there were four to die out of the fixteen remaining persons.

The three first submitted to their fate ; the fourth was a Portuguese gentleman who had a younger brother in the boat, who, seeing him about to be thrown overboard, molt tenderly embraced him, and with tears in his eyes

bes, fought him to let him die in his room ; enforcing his arguments by telling him that he was a married man, and had a wife and children at Goa, belide the care of three fisters, who absolutely depended upon him; that, as for himself, he was single, and his life of no great importance ; he therefore conjured him to suffer him to supply his place.

13. The elder brother, astonished, and melting with this generosity, replied, that, fince the divine providence had appointed him to suffer, it would be wicked and unjust to permit any other to die for him, especially a brother, to whom he was fo infinitely obliged. The younger, perlifting in his purpose, would take no denial; but throwing himselt on his knees, held his brother fo fast, that the company could not disengage them.

14. Thus they disputed for a while, the elder brother bidding him to be a father to his children, and recommend ed his wife to his protection ; and as he would inherit his eftate, to take care of their common sisters; but all he could say could not make the younger delilt. This was a fcene of tenderness that must fill every breaft, fufceptible of generous impresiions, with pity. At last the conitancy of the

15. He acquiesced, and suffered the gallant youth to supply his place, who, being cast into the sea, and a good swimmer, soon got to the stern of the pinnace, and laid hold of the rudder with his right hand, which being perceived by one of the failors, he cut off the hand with his sword; then dropping into the sea, he presently caught hold again with his left, which received the same fate by a second blow. 16.

Thus dismembered of both hands, he made a shift, notwithstanding, to keep himself above water with his feet and two stumps, which he held bleeding upwards.

17. This moving fpectacte so raised the pity of the whole company, that they cried out, “ He is but one man, let us endeavor to save his life ;” and he was accordingly taken into the boat, where he had his hands bound up as well as the place and circumstances could permit.

18. They rowed all that night; and the next morning, when the sun arose, as if Heaven would reward the piety of this young man, they descried land, which proved to be the mountains of Mozambique, in Africa, not far from a Portuguese colony. Thither they all fafely arrived, where they remained until the next thip from Lisbon passed by and carried them to Goa.


A RIGHT education of children has ever been esteemed by the best pbilosophers and wisést legislators, as the most certain source of happiness, not only to families, but to states and kingdoms; and is, on all moral and civil considerations, the first blessing in order and de. ceffaty, the highest in value and importance, and, in these united republics, the grand basis on which their future happtness and prosperity depend.

Of such inestimable worth was right education held by the ancients, that when they were in all their glory, and long after, the tutorage of youth was accounted the moft honorabla enployment; and many of noble birth and easy



fortines became preceptors, and took youth under their tuition.

3. It is well known that the Romans, as well as Greeks, carefully applied themselves to the study of their own language, and were carly able to speak and write it in the greatest perfection. Masters taught them, betimes, the principles, the difficulties, the subtilties and the depths of it. And to that it was chiefly owing, that they made more early advances in the most useful sciences, than any youth have fince done.

4. The French have been beforehand with us in this important particular. They have long imitated the Greeks and Romans, and have had the good policy to prefer their own language to every other ; disdaining the study of any foreign tongues, unless driven by necessity into other countries. And the political advantages they have derived from such a conduct are visible all over Europe.

5. Policy, then, were there nothing else, cries aloud for our exerting ourselves in the cause of a too long neglected English education; and for wiping off that charge of barbarity, with which not only we, but those of England have been, on that account, fo long stigmatized by the very nian tion whom we fo much venerate, and whose language we are so ridiculously fond of, to the reproach and degradation of a better, eren our own.

6. There is, perhaps, no language the grammatical knowledge of which can be learned with so much ease, or with less difficulty than ours. And as the freedom, the libexty, and the life of our country depend upon it, shall America deprive her sons of this most valuable birthright, the right of nature ?

7. It appears to me a thing very unaccountable, that masters, and those who fuperintend public schools, should neglect this important part of an education, and fuffer youth to trifle away their time, when it might be employed to so much advantage to themselves and to future generations. And what is still more fo, is, that parents, who love their children, fhould connive at this unpardonable neglee.

8. Without a common school education, which is the anchor of liberty, the 'pporter of our rights, we can be

« PreviousContinue »