Imatges de pÓgina
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the Pasha. The French forces destined for this expedition amounted to about thirteen thousand men. The face of the country being entirely impracticable for artillery, the republican general had no other means of conveying it to the destined scene of operations but by sea. He therefore shipped his train at Alexandria. Rear Admiral Perrée was sent with three frigates to convoy the flotilla, having orders afterwards to cruise off Jaffa. It may not be here out of place to state that this town, Jaffa, had been stormed and taken by the French on the preceding 7th March, on which occasion the whole of the Turkish

garrison was put to the sword. The conquest was not worth the cost. In the assault the French lost above twelve hundred of the élite of their army. To show also the desperate policy and the extraordinary lengths to which Bonaparte would sometimes proceed, he announced that in this expedition to Palestine he purposed to take possession of Jerusalem, rebuild the Temple, restore the Jews, and thus disprove the prophecies of the divine Founder of the christian religion. But it must be remembered, in order to vindicate such boasting from the imputation of insanity, that, at that time, infidelity was the road to Gallic power, and the revilement of Christianity not unpleasing to his newly-acquired subjects.

After this digression, we must hasten to return to our commodore, and narrate the

progress

of the operations in which he was so materially concerned. Being apprised of the enemy's intentions, he left the Turkish capital, in the Tigre, on 19th February, 1799, and after making several needful arrangements with Hassan Bey, the Ottoman governor of Rhodes, who happened to be an old sea-captain, he sailed from that island, and arrived off Alexandria on the 3d of March. He here found in command Captain Trowbridge, whom he immediately relieved, and then despatched his friend and second lieutenant, Lieutenant Wright, to St. Jean d'Acre, to decide, with its commander, upon the necessary measures for the obstinate defence of that fortress.

We will take this opportunity of mentioning, that this brave officer, Wright, who honoured and was honoured with the friendship of Sir Sidney, was as unfortunate as he was brave. In the subsequent gallant and glorious defence of Acre, to which we shall shortly refer, he received a severe and dangerous wound, and was afterwards promoted to the rank of commander. Just as the great prizes of his profession seemed to be soliciting his grasp, he had the mortification of being made prisoner by the French, and died in that situation after a protracted, rigorous, and

cruel confinement. For these harsh measures the French authorities have some palliation in the very suspicious service on which he was employed when captured. At one time, it was generally supposed that he was assassinated, whilst in prison, by the orders of Bonaparte. This, however, turns out to be a malicious calumny. It proves, however, the value that public opinion placed upon Wright; for to be thought the object of personal fear to a man like Bonaparte is no mean commendation. His old friend and commander has given proof of his esteem, for he has, since the peace, caused a handsome monument to be erected to his memory at that Paris which was so long the scene of their mutual sufferings.

This gives us occasion to relate an anecdote of a very humble individual, connected with the fate of poor Wright, and alike elucidatory of the character of Sir Sidney. This anecdote, trivial as it may appear to the superciliously grave, ought not to be undervalued, since it affords us the enviable opportunity of placing upon record a single effort of our enterprising commodore to conciliate the Muses—an effort that possesses one most excellent quality, not usually met with in the poetical effusions of the day, yet no less to be desired—it is brevity.

When Wright received his severe wound, it

was reported to Sir Sidney that he was actually killed. The commodore's grief was excessive, and when, immediately after, Colonel Douglas, of the royal marines, reported the successful springing of a mine that had destroyed a vast number of the

enemy, Sir Sidney's principal thought was about his old companion and tried friend, Wright. “ Let the French,” &c. &c., was Sir Sidney's reply; “ but if you love me, and it be possible, bring in the body of poor Wright.”

. The colonel immediately called to one of his men, a gigantic, red-haired, Irish marine, who, by some singular means, had contrived to get himself named James Close. Pointing to the mass of carnage that lay sweltering in the ditch below, where the slightly wounded and the actually dying were fast hastening into mutual corruption under the burning sun,

66 the colonel said, “ Close, dare you go there, and bring us the body of poor Wright ?”

“ What darn't I do, yer honour ?" was the immediate reply, and exposed to the musketry of the enemy, wading through blood, and stumbling over dead bodies and scattered limbs, he, unhurt, at length found Wright, not killed, but only wounded, and he brought him away safely from these shambles of death and the plague. The French spared him for the sake of the heroism of the act. The rescue was complete, for Close conveyed him to the hospital, where he soon completely recovered, to find, not long after, a less honoured death.

This intrepid conduct brought the marine into especial favour with Sir Sidney, and had his education but have warranted promotion, his advancement would have been rapid. The commodore did for him all that he could ; he exempted him from the wearying routine of a private's duty, and made him his orderly, thus limiting his services to a mere personal attendance on Sir Sidney.

It would seem that James Close was not so great a hero in resisting the temptation of a naval life, grog, and the illegal means of obtaining it, as he was fearless of the

enemy, in the field. Indeed, it requires a most amiable believer in the intuitive integrity of our species, not to pronounce that, for a little peccadillo or so, he deserved to be hung; but of this we cannot judge, as the truth of the matter will ever remain in the deepest mystery.

Our gallant hero—not James Close, but his commander-in-chief–had received from the King of Sweden a beautiful and very valuable diamond ring, and which, amongst other jewellery, and with his orders, he always wore state occasions. At a grand dinner given at the

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