« ZurückWeiter »
do, as clearly as I just now heard you speak, and during that • night died Such a one. There was now an end of the cou. troversy; not only the existence of these aërial beings, but even the very errand on which they came was established; yet, still being somewhat infected with the scepticism of the day, I ventured to suggest that these dogs might have been part of some 'squire's pack, hunting, as is frequently the case, especially upon light nights; Oh Lord, Sir, (he replied,) their cry was nothing like • that of the hounds of this world, but like the short quick notes of
young gee e!!!! As I am not to doubt this man's veracity, I conclude that the noise proceeded from the nocturnal flight of some birds; and when I state that this conversation was in the latter end of August or beginning of September, the naturalist may perhapa be enabled to form a guess as to their species.". P. 647.
In the parish of St. David is Brecon gaol, which was visited by Mr. Neild, in 1804, and is described from his Letters in the Gentleman's Magazine of that year.. Ou that description, and on the remarks accompanying it, Mr. Jones makes the underwritten excellent observations.
“ Mr. Neild, in his report of his visit to Brecon gaol. 1804*, , describes it in general terms (or at least he is liable to be so understood) as the habit in Breconshire to half starve, half clothe, and double iron female convicts; and in his subsequent visit in 1306 he proceeds to stigmatise the gaoler, then in his grave, with the epithets of a man conversant in scenes of misery and seemingly steeled te every tender sensation.'
“ He will permit me to state the facts and circumstances which made it necessary to put irons on the women he saw in this gaol; for I am persuaded that it is unnecessary. I should controvert the charge of habitual cruelty which his assertions may seem to impute to this country; one of the viragaes, whose sufferings be so pathetically deplores, was a woman of great bodily strength, desperate in her, deterrninations, old in iniquity, and who had been convicted of" house breaking, accompanied with very aggravated circumstances. A day or two before Mr. Neild's visis, this amazon, assisted by another female prisoner, whom she contrived to corrupt, effected the escape of a male convict and a deserter, as Mr. Neild has stated; she also threatened to set fire to the prison and to murder the gaoler. It was not without some difficulty, anl caution she was restrained, nor were the irons which shocked his humanity put upon her legs with unresisting submission; I am well assured that it was necessary to call in the aid of more than one person to effect: the operation; in this stale however, he saw her and her assistant, half naked, as he says, that is, without shoes or stockings, and as negligent of her dress as she was of her character. The moment she and her accomplice expressed their contrition and proinised to desist from their desperate designs, the irons of both
« * Gentleman's Mag. 1804. p. 101.
money to general aim of the friends of humanity to ameliorate the condition
women were removed by this man of steel. Poor Watkins! thou hast ere this appeared before the throne of him to whom all hearts are open, and if the want of humanity with which thou hast been stigmatised was thy only crime, without seeking to fathom the secrets er decrees of that dread tribunal, I hope it is not presumption to pronounce thee happy, I appeal confidently to all who knew him, to all those prisoners who have ever been in his custody (not excepting those of the fair sex, whose cause Mr. Neild has espoused), to give their testimony upon this part of his character; assured that the result will be the unanimous confirmation of my opinion, that there never was a man in his office, and of course conversant in scenes of misery; more humane than the late Walter Watkins. He was not dismissed as Dr. Lettsom observes, he died keeper of the gaol; and I have reason to know his dissolution was bastened by his wounded feelings upon receiving a reprimand for an irregularity, incurred partly in consequence of his humanity and kind treatment of his prisoners.
What then shall we say of the correctness of those reports ? but even if they were more accurate, I object to the mode in wliich they acquire or convey information; it is the very charlatanism of hectic bumanity; dispersed through nearly the same medium as quack medicines; with this difference, that though neither the advertisement or the prescription is from interested matives, but intended for the good of the patients, the doses are administered by those who are ignorant of the constitution, and consequently not so well qualified to remedy the diseases which may exist as the
regular physicians, who alone ought to be apprised, and upon whose . general skill and attention I cannot without pain hear any reflexion
r imputation attempted to be thrown. And what after all are the general objections to our prisons? the want of mops, pails, brooms, towels, baths, &c.; to which Mr, Neild has lately added the want of a little carry the prisoners home when they
are acquitted or discharged. I shall by no means be surprised * to hear shortly a proposal to furnish every person with a small sum when he gets into gaol to enable him to live with greater comfort under a dry roof. I applaud cleanlitess, in which respect the county gaol of Brecon is certainly improved since the appointment of the present keeper; but when Mr. Neild talks of damp walls, confined rooms, bad lights, &c. &c., let hin visit the cottage of the honest industrious labourer, with nine or ten young children in one small apartment, into which the rain pours and adds diseases to poverty, and here let him feel for and attend to the distresses of the unoffending; not that I mean to insinuate that the prisoner should be forgotten or oppressed, but let the care of our gaols be exclusively consigned to the magistrates, those constitutionai guardians whom the law authorises to superintend them; let it be the of the honest labouring poor, and if their efforts be attended with success, our prisons will become less necessary.”
, come in contact with the to have perfectly understood his njeaning, and acted
A Narration of Circumstances attending the Retreat of the
British Army under the Command of the late Lieutenant General Sir John Moore, K. B. with a concise Account of the meinorable Battle of Corunna, and subsequent -Embarkation of His Majesty's Troops; and a few Remarks .connected with these Subjects; in a Letter to Lord Viscount Castlereagh, one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, &c. By H. Milburne, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and late Surgeon in the Spanish Service. pp. 133.
43. Egerton. 1309. WHEN we expressed our sentiments freely on the conduct of the late General Moore, in noticing Mrs. Cockle's spirited Ode to his memory, we did not then expect that the majority of the thinking class would have so soon adopted our opinions. There is something apparently ungeneraus in reflecting on a brave man who has recently fallen in the cause of his country, and of injured humanity. The multitude yield to this emotion, and the prudent submit even to the semblance of virtue. Those champions of imaginary generosity, however, must consider whether truth and justice should be sacrificed to useless respect, and whether a deceased man's errors should be venerated as virtues, to delude his successors. The real use of all past events is to make them subservient to the future. Perhaps General Moore acted as judiciously as many other generals would have done under the same circumstances; yet
this is no proof that his conduct was faultless or exemplary. On the contrary, the more we learn of his views and modes of acting, the more convinced we are that his whole system was founded on misconception and error. That he had formed his opinion of the French character from their own gasconade, must be evidenț to every person who duly examines his letters; that he considered the French not only inyincible, but irresistible, is also too apparent. He was, indeed, more their admirer than their enemy, and well may they raise a monument to his memory. His plan of landing at the utmost extremity of Spain, and marching over nine enemy, was only a prudent mode of saying, “ We have no business in such a country, or in such a cause." Mr. Frere appears accordingly. As to the idea of running away from the French, he certainly realised it, although not quite so dis. gracefully as he designed. Of the nature, manner, and
difficulties of his retreat, Mr. Milburne has furnished some particulars, which we shall briefly notice.
The author spent only about a month in Spain, having landed at Corunna on the 10th of December, and on the 27th arrived at Astorga (one hundred and seventy English miles), where he fell in with the English army on its precipitate retreat before the enemy. His intention was to join Colonel Murphy's Legion, in his professional capacity; but its capture rendering this impossible, he tendered his medical services to the wounded Spaniards, whom he found in Astorgai On this head, he furnishes his readers with carelessly transoribed copies of his credentials, with translations, which, as he has prefixed his name to the work, were not necessary to prove its authenticity. An excursion from Astorga to Manzanal and Bembibre (about twenty-six miles) cost him a “ valuable assortment of instruments, which he deplores as seriously as Fray Gerundio did his Florelegium, or his MS, sermons. So much has been said about the supineness and brutality of the Spaniards, their want of patriotism, &c. that we are happy to extract the following characteristic anecdotes, which challenge implicit belief.
“ A poor soldier's wife, who had been taken in labour, was, with the infant of which she had delivered herself, lying by the side of the road, but I had the satisfaction of seeing the poor woman and her child placed on a car, by the humanity of a Spanish officer, who was escorting a party of his sick and wounded compatriots.”
" It was expected that the army would have received consis
derable supplies of provisions, and other necessaries, at Villa Francas. EST but (they were unfortunately disappointed; great numbers of the in
habitants quitted their houses, taking with them every thing portable; and those that remained, were in such a state of terror and confusion, as to render them apparently incapable of discriminating between friends and foes, it being impossible for the British soldier's
to obtain from them, even by purchase, articles which thcir French $* visitors would not have scrupled to extort by force.”
The following facts will convey a tolerable just idea of the hurry, confusion, and fatigues experienced by the i retreat, which was so precipitate and so thoughtlessly
incautious, that neither the bridge of Lugo, ner that of Burgo near Coranna, were sufficiently destroyed to
obstruct the passage of the enemy's cavalry. Under the o's jufluence of such a panic, he was the best soldier who could
i run the fastest and longest.
“ The fatigues endured by the troops" (says Mr. M.) " were incredible, labouring under every species of privation; they had, also, to encounter with extreme inclement weather, and roads intolerably bad. The dragoons performed a march of seventy-two miles in twenty-six hours, twenty-four of which they were actually on horseback. At this period the stragglers constantly augmented; and as the enemy's cavalry kept close on our rear, numbers of them were either killed or taken prisoners. Several of the English were seen dead on the road, having perished from excessive fatigue, privations, and extreme cold; as well as niany of the Spanish mule teers. A report having got into circulation, that the French inhumanely massacred all the prisoners that fell into their hands during the march, occasioned additional terror and confusion amongst the sick : the women and children, for many of whom there was no conveyance, and being unable to keep pace with the Eroops, were unavoidably abandoned to their fate. The lamentations and cries of these unfortunate people, imploring assistance which it was impossible to render them, were truly distressing; and perhaps a scene more calculated to excite sympathy and compassion never occurred, than in the following instance : a poor woman, the wife of a soldier belonging to a Highland regiment, exhausted by hunger and fatigue, sunk lifeless on the road, with two children in her arms, where she remained, and when I passed the corpse, one of the litile innocents was still endeavouring to extract that nourishment from its parent's bosom, which nature no longer supplied."
“ On several parts of the road, walls of loose stones were thrown across, for the purpose of obstructing the progress of the cavalry, which also rded excellent cover for the riflemen to conceal themselves behind.
The houses and villages on both sides of the road were completely abandoned by the Spaniards, and of course taken ternporary possession of by the armies. As I was returning to Corunna, I overtook a Spaniard who bad just made his escape from the enemy,
and who related an anecdote of two young women, who having remained in a village disguised in male attire, were discovered and seized by a party, consisting of upwards of twenty French soldiers, and treated in a manner too brutal, and inbuman for me to describe."
We are sorry to say, that there were not a few English soldiers, also, who treated the Spanish women in a manner “ too brutal and inhuman to be described." Yet these very ruffiaus, in order to conceal their own turpitude, are now the loudest in their exclamations against the Spaniards. It was this infamous conduct wbich obliged General Moore to doom them to public execration, and if it is designed ever to send another ariny into Spain, or any other ally's country, if it is wished to make British soldiers men of honour, or improve their discipline, or if Generals Baird and Hope do