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of years are to the imagination as a kind of eternity, though in reality they do not bear so great a proportion to that duration which is to follow them, as an unit: does to the greatest number which you can put together in fiyures, or as one of those farids to the suppofed heap. Reason therefore tells us, without any manner of hefita. tion, which would be the better part in this choice. However, as I have before intiinated, our reason might, in such cafe, be so overset by the imagination, as to dilo pose fome perfons to fink under the contideration of the great length of the first part of this duration, and of the great distance of that fecond duration which is to fuc ceed it: the mind, I fay, might give itself up to that, happiness which is at hand, confidering that it is to very near, and that it would, lait fo very long. But when the choice we actually have before us is this-Whether we will choose to be happy for the space of only three score and ten, nay perhaps of only twenty or ten years, I miglit say of only a day or an hour, and milerable to all eternity; or, on the contrary, miserable for this short term of years, and happy for a whole eternity-what words are sufficient to express that folly and want of consideration which in such a case makes a wrong choice!
I here put the case even at the worst, by luppofing what feldom happens, that a course of virtue makes us miserable in this life : but if we suppose, as it generally happens, that virtue would niake us more happy even in this life than a contrary courfe of vice ; how can we fufficiently admire the stupidity or madness of those perfons who are capable of making fu absurd a choice!
Every wise man therefore will consider this life only as it may conduce to the happiness of the viber, and cheerfully facrifice the pleasures of a few years to those of an eternity
XIII. Uncle Toby's Benevolence. My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries-not
from want of courage. I have told you in a former chapier, that he was a man of courage ; and I will add here, that, where just occafions prelented or called it forih, I know no man under whose arm I woald have fooner taken fhelter. Nor did this arise from any intensi.
bility or obtufeness of his intellectual parts, for he felt as feelingly as a man could do. But he was of a peaceful, placid nature; no jarring element in lim: all was mixed up fo kindly within him, my uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly.
Go-says he, one day at dinner, to an overgrown one which had buzzéd about his nose, and tormented him eruelly all dinner-time, and which, after infinite attempts, he had caught at last as it flew by him--l'H not hurt thee-says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room with the fly in his handl'll not hurt a hair of thy head: Go-fays be, lifting up the fash, and opening his hand as he spoke to let it escape-go, poor devil; get thee gone ; why fhould I hurt thee! This world surely is wide enougla to hold both thee and me.
This lesson of universal good-will, taught by my uncle Toby, may serve instead of a 'whole volume upon the subject.
XIV, Story of the Siege of Calais. EDWARD III. after the battle of Cressy, laid siege to
Calais. He had fortified his camp in so imprego nable a manner, that all the efforts of France proved, Ineffectual to raise the fiege, or throw fuccours into the
city. The citizens, under Count Vienne, their yallant governour, made an admirable defence-France had now pụt the fickle into her second harvest, fince Edward, with his victorious army, fát down before the town.
eyes of all Europe were intent on the issue. At length, famine did more for Edward than arms.-After fuffering unheard-of calamities, they resolved to attempt the enemy's camp. They boldly fallied forth : the English joined baule ; and, after a long and desperate engagement, Count Vienne' was taken prisoner, and the citizens who furvived the daughter retired within their gates. The command devolving upon Euftace St Pierre, a man of mean 'birth but of exalted virtue, he offered to capitulate with Edward, provided he permitted them to depart with life and liberty. Edward, to avoid the inputation of cruelty, confented to spare the bulk of the plebejans, provided they delivered up to
him fix of their principal citizens with halters about their necks, as victims of due atonement for that fpirit of rebellion with which they had inflamed the vulgar. When his messenger, Sir Walter Mauny, delivered the terms, confternation and pale dismay were impressed on every countenance. To a long and dead silence deep fighs and groans succeeded, till Euftace St Pierre getting up to a liitle eminence, thus addressed the assembly :“ My friends, we are brought to great ftraits this day. We must either yield to the terms of our cruel and enfnaring conqueror, or give up our tender infants, our wives, and daughters, to the bloody and brutal lufts of the violating foldiers. Is there any expedient left, whereby we may avoid the guilt and infamy of delivering up those who have suffered every misery with you, on the one hand, or the desolation and horrour of a fack ed city on the other. There is, my friends; there is one expedient left; a gracious, an excellent, a godlike expedient! Is there any here to whom virtue is dearer than life. Let him offer himself an oblation for the safety of his people ! "He fhall not fail of a blessed approbation from that power, who offered up his only Son for the salvation of mankind.” He spoke ;- but an uni. versal silence ensued.-Each man looked around for the example of that virtue and magnanimity which all wished to approve in themselves, though they wanted the refolution. At length St Pierre resumed, “I doubt not but there are many here as ready, nay more zealous, of this martyrdom than I can be'; though the station to which I am raised by the captivity of Lord Vienne, imparts a right to be the first in giving my life for your fakes. I give it freely; I give it cheerfully. Who comes next?” “ Your fon," exclaimed a youth not yet come to maturity.--" Ah, my child !" cried St Pierre ; “ I am then twice facrificed. --- But, no: I have rather begotten thee a second time. Thy years are few, but full, my fun. The victim of virrue has reached the ut. most purpofe and goal of mortality. Who next, iny friends? This is the hour of heroes.”. “ Your kintman,” cried John de Aire. 6 Your kinsman," cried James Wiffant. “ Your kinsman,''cried Peter Wilfant. " Ah!” exclaimed Sir Walter Mauny, bursting in
to tears, " why was not I a citizen of Calais !" The fixth victim was still wanting, but was quickly fupplied by lot from numbers who were now emulous of so ennohling an example. The keys of the city were then delivered to Sir Walter. Ile took the fix prisoners into his custody ; then ordered the gates to be opened, and gave charge to his attendants to conduct the remaining citizens, with their families, through the camp of the English. Before they departed, however, they desired permission to take their last adieu of their deliverers.Wliat a parting! what a scene! They crowded, witli their wives and children, about St Pierre and his fellow-prisoners. They embraced; they clung around; they fell proftrate before them. They groaned ; they wept aloud ; and the joint clamour of their mourning paffed the gates of the city, and was lieard throughouc the Englih camp.-The Englih, by this time, were apprised of what passed within Calais. They heard the voice of lamentation, and their souls were touched with compaflion. Each of the soldiers prepared a portion of his own victuals to welcome and entertain the halffamilhed inhabitants; and they loaded them with as much as their present weakness was able to bear, in or. der to fupply them with sustenance by the way. At length St Pierre and his fellow-victims appeared under the conduct of Sir Walter and a guard. All the tents of the English were instantly emptied. The foldiers poured from all parts, and arranged themselves on cach fide, to behold, to contemplate, to admire, this little band of patriots as they passed. They bowed down to them on all sides. They murmured their applause of that virtue, which they could not but revere even in enemies; and they regarded those ropes which they had voluntarily assumed about their necks, as enligis of greater dignity than that of the Britih garter. As foon as they had reached the presence, “Mauny,” says the monarch, “ Are these the principal inhabitants of Calais ?"“ They are,” says Mammy : “ they are not only the principal men of Calais, they are the principal men of France, my Lord, if virtue has any share in the act of ennobling. “ Were they delivered peaceably," says Edward ? " Was there no resistance, no commotion
among the people ?” “ Not in the least, my Lord; the people would all have perished, rather than have delivered the least of these to your Majesty. They are selfdelivered, self-devoted, and come to offer up their inestimable heads as an ample equivalent for the ransom of thousands." ' Edward was secretly piqued at this reply of Sir Walter ; but he knew the privilege of a Britih subject, and fupprefled his resentment. “ Experience,” says he, “ has ever shown, that lenity only ferves to invite people to new crimes. Severity, at times, is indispensibly necessary to compel subjects to fubmiftion by punishment and example. Go,” he cried to an pificer, « lead these men to execution.“
At this instant a fouind of triumph was heard throughs. out the camp. The Queen had just arrived with a poweriul reinforcement of gallant troops. Sir Walter Mauny Hew to receive lier Majesty, and briefly informed her of the particulars respecting the lix victims.
As soon as the had been welcomed by Edward and his court, the desired a private audience. -"My Lord," said she, “ the question I am to enter upon, is pot touching the lives of a few mechanics—it respects the honour of the English nation ; it respects the glory of my Edward, my husband, my king.-You think you have sentenced fix of your enemies to death. No, my Lord, they have sentenced themselves ; and their exe. xution would be the execution of their own orders, not the orders of Edward. The Itage on which they would fuffer, would be to them a stage of honour, but a stage of thame to Edward ; a reproach to his conquests; an indelible disgrace to his name.-Let us rather disappoint these laughty burghers, who wish to invest themselves With glory at our expence, We cannot wholly deprive them of the merit of a sacrifice so nobly intended, but we may cut them short of their desires; in the place of that death by which their glory would be confummate, let us bury them under gifts ; let us put them to confufion with applauses. We shall thereby defeat them of that popular opinion, which never fails to attend those who suffer in the cause of virtue."I am convinced ; you have prevailed. Be it so," replied Edward: “ Prevent the execution ; have them instantly before us.”.