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he had to undergo that severest of mortifications, to haul down the English colours that had been floating over the French, and to render up himself, his boats, his prize, and his companions prisoners of war, to the number of somewhere
As all this passed fully in the view of the remaining officers and seamen of the Diamond, they were extremely mortified at not being able to render their captain and their companions the least assistance. They did, however, all that they could. They sent in a flag of truce to Havre, requesting to know if their highly-valued captain was unwounded, and entreating for him every indulgence compatible with his present unfortunate situation. The reply was courteous, and full of promise; but the courtesy was hollow, and the promise shamefully broken, as a detail of the indignities to which Sir Sidney was subsequently exposed will fully exemplify.
So daring was this act, and so little were the apparent advantages to be gained by the risk, that the French could not well understand it, and assigned a thousand contradictory motives for this conduct, not one of them, probably, the true
We have stated the facts as given to the world officially by Sir Sidney. There may have been some deep political design in thus venturing into “ the bowels of the land ”—some occult maneuvre that it would be treachery to reveal.
Among other vague surmises of the French, was one, that he himself, or in the person of Monsieur T., was on an extensive, and to the French dangerous espionage, and under this impression the French at first confined him in the Temple as a spy. How they could have come to this conclusion is somewhat difficult to determine, seeing that he came into Havre, though on a small scale, attended with all “ the pomp and circumstance of war."
So serious, however, did Sir Sidney find this conviction on the minds of those who then ruled the destinies of the French, that our hero thought it necessary to appeal to the good sense and generosity of Bonaparte, on his return from Italy; but even he, who, when not crossed in his ambitious views, had no deficiency of generosity and compassion, found the circumstances, as they were generally represented, so strong against him, and the manner of his capture so ambiguous, that he would not interfere in the prisoner's favour.
Others, who knew that he was actually taken in open war, with the command of men with arms in their hands, and in actual possession of
a capture, became ingenious in other explanations, which appear to us equally ridiculous and remote from the truth. Some said that it was to win a foolish bet, others that it was a female attraction; and not a few, for an overwhelming desire to go to the theatre at Havre. That he was taken in a very singular position is certain, but we believe ours to be the true account of the matter.
His justly deserved fame: his unceasing vigilance, and his courage bordering on rashness, had rendered him peculiarly obnoxious to the revolutionised nation, and the French Directors showed the respect they felt for his heroism by departing from the established system, consecrated by the law of nations, which humanely prescribes an exchange of prisoners during the continuance of war. Captain Sir Sidney Smith was not to be exchanged. He was conveyed to Paris, and confined in the Temple for the space of two years—a time truly dreadful when spent in rigid incarceration.
It would not be foreign to the subject, were we to pour out the vials of our indignation upon such unworthy and dastardly conduct as was then exhibited by these soi-disant renovators of human institutions, the republican French authorities. But abhorrent as were their proceedings towards
Sir Sidney Smith and several other distinguished captives, it was mercy and beneficence compared with that which they displayed to the best and bravest of their own countrymen. Truly the regeneration of the human race was attempted in the brazen furnace of cruelty, and fed with the flames of democratic and dastardly revenge.
The above-mentioned little skirmish, so awkward in its results to Sir Sidney Smith, furnishes us with an example of that which we have just advanced, that in naval operations the best conduct is often controlled and baffled by chance. When the privateer lugger was at first taken possession of, there was a steady breeze blowing from off the land, but before things could be well arranged on board of her by the captors, there fell a dead calm, and she began to drift rapidly up the Seine. It may be urged that she ought to have been abandoned after having been scuttled. But Sir Sidney had a right also to depend upon the chapter of chances. The night before him was long, and the tide would certainly turn, and the wind probably change. We do not think that there is a British officer in the service who would not have acted in a similar manner.
Sir Sidney Smith badly treated as a prisoner of war-Re
moved to Paris, to the prison called the Abbaye-Placed under unwarrantable restrictions—Opens a communication wiih some ladies to aid his escape.
We are now to consider our subject as a captive, and view him in the struggle against the oppression and tyranny of the French authorities. We see him no longer controlling and directing the energies of hundreds of seamen-warriors, with the boundless ocean for the scene of action -- the freest of the free, and with none other restraint, either upon deed or will, than the prudential dictates of his own magnanimous mind. No, for a space, we must view him no more in this glorious light, but consider him as concentrating all his mental energies within the walls of a strongly guarded prison, waging with unlimited power the war only of the mind, yet still glorious, still