Imatges de pÓgina

we have just narrated-a siege in which the actual fighting was not only daily and hourly, but almost unintermitting, acts of individual heroism were numberless, and must remain for ever unrecorded. However, very many of these little Homeric episodes became extremely popular, and obtained their immortality of a day, and some even found their way into print. We believe that we are acquainted with most of them, having repeatedly had the tedium of a middle watch changed into four hours of pleasurable excitement, by a full description of this siege, with all its attendant anecdotes, from a brother officer, an eye-witness. These anecdotes it would be amusing to preserve, and we would willingly give them a place in this biography, were they not foreign to our subject. One, however, we cannot refrain from shortly narrating, as many versions of it have appeared, and we believe that ours only is the true one. It is succinctly this.

The seamen of the squadron took each their turn for the military service on the walls of Acre. One of them, belonging to the Tigre, had observed, in his spell ashore, the body of a French general, splendid in his uniform, that lay exposed in the very centre of the ditch. This dwelt on the mind of the honest, though—the truth must be told--somewhat obtuse-minded tar. Indeed, he


had never shown himself remarkable either for intellect or activity, and held no higher office in the ship than a waister. Yet, by some unexplained mental process, the fate and the unburied corpse of the French general had fixed themselves so strongly on his imagination, that he was determined, at all risks, to give his glittering dead opponent the rights of sepulture. The next day, though out of his turn, he asked and obtained permission to take his spell on the walls. Nothing divided the hostile entrenchments but this same ditch, and so closely placed were the foes to each other, that a moderate whisper could be easily heard from one embankment to the other. Nothing appeared above these embankments but a serried line of bayonets, for if a hat or a head, or anything tangible, appeared on either side, it was saluted with a volley of perforating balls. It was about noon, and the respective hostile lines were preserving a dead silence, anxiously watching for the opportunity of a shot at each other. Our seaman--without informing any one of his intention, had provided himself with a spade and pickaxe-suddenly broke the ominous silence by shouting out, in a stentorian voice,

Mounseers, a-hoy! 'vast heaving there a bit, will ye? and belay over all with your poppers for a spell.” And then he shoved his broad unmean

ing face over the lines. Two hundred muskets were immediately pointed at him, but seeing him with only the implements of digging, and not exactly understanding his demand for a parley, the French forbore to fire. Jack very leisurely then scrambled over the entrenchment into the ditch, the muzzle of the enemy's muskets still following his every motion.

motion. All this did not in the least disturb his sang froid; but going up to the French general, he took his measure in quite a business-like manner, and dug a very decent grave close alongside the defunct in glory. When this was finished, shaking what was so lately a French general very cordially and affectionately by the hand, he reverently placed him in his impromptu grave, then shovelled the earth

upon and made all smooth above him. When all was properly completed, he made his best sailor's bow and foot-scrape to the French, shouldered his implements of burial, and climbed over into his own quarters with the same imperturbability that had marked his previous appearance. This he did amidst the cheers of both parties.

Now, our friend the waister seemed to think that he had done nothing extraordinary, and only remarked that he should sleep well. A few days after, another gaudily decorated French general came on board the Tigre, on some matters of negociation, which when completed, he anxiously expressed a desire to see the interrer of his late comrade. The meeting took place, and Jack was highly praised for his heroism in a long speech, not one word of which, though interpreted to him, could he comprehend. Money was then offered him, which at first he did not like to take; but he at length satisfied his scruples by telling the French officer he should be happy to do the same thing for him as he had done for his brother general—for nothing. The French general begged to be excused, and thus ended the interview.

Apologising for this somewhat simple digression, we return to our biography; and it is with unfeigned pleasure that we relate that the world was not, at that time, wholly deficient of gratitude, and that splendid services were splendidly rewarded, without distinction of clique, creed, or party. When the Grand Seignior received the news of the horrible carnage in and before Acre,

, he shed tears. This grief, however, for the slaughter of his subjects did not prevent his rejoicing at the signal defeat Bonaparte sustained, and sustained wretchedly. His Imperial Majesty, to testify his satisfaction, presented the messenger with seven purses, containing altogether three thousand florins, and immediately sent a Tartar to Sir William Sidney Smith, with an aigrette and sable fur (similar to those bestowed upon Lord Nelson) worth twenty-five thousand piastres. He afterwards conferred upon him the insignia of the Ottoman order of the Crescent.

The loss on the part of the British, in this glorious achievement, was comparatively small. The British squadron consisted of the Tigre, the Theseus, and the Alliance ; and these ships together had fifty-three killed, thirteen drowned, and eighty-two taken prisoners. We have already mentioned the death of some of the officers.

The English estimation of Sir William Sidney Smith's eminent services nobly kept pace with Turkish gratitude. The enthusiasm of his country in his favour was general, and a reference to the parliamentary reports of the time bear a lasting and unequivocal testimony to the feelings of approbation with which his spirited as well as wise conduct was viewed. George III. himself, on the opening of the parliamentary session, on the 24th of September, 1799, noticed the heroism of Sir Sidney Smith, and the advantage that the nation were deriving from his success before Acre. Not only did the king's ministers and friends, but even their opponents, forgetting the rancours of party feeling in their enthusiasm for a military victory so splendid, when military victories

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