Imatges de pÓgina
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which he had been deemed worthy, and to re. ceive the symbol of valour he had so justly merited.

The Lord Mayor, the Chamberlain, and several of the Aldermen were ready to receive him. He made his appearance between one and two, and was ushered into the Chamberlain's office. The Lord Mayor received him with the utmost courtesy, and introduced him to Mr. James Dixon, the gentleman who had done himself the honour of voting the thanks of the court of common council in his favour. The Chamberlain then addressed the distinguished officer in the following terms :

“ Sir Sidney Smith-I give you joy, in the name of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of the City of London, in common council assembled, and present you the thanks of the Court for your gallant and successful defence of St. Jean d'Acre against the desperate attack of the French army under the command of General Bonaparte. And, as a further testimony of the sense the Court entertains of your great display of valour on that occasion, I have the honour to present you with the freedom of the city and this sword. [Sir Sidney received the sword, and pressed it with fervour to his lips.] I will not, sir, attempt a panegyric

upon an action to which the first oratorical powers in the most eloquent assemblies have been confessed unequal; but I cannot help exulting on this happy occasion at the vast acquisition of national reputation acquired by your conduct at the head of a handful of Britons, in repulsing him who has been justly styled the Alexander of the day, surrounded by a host of conquerors till then deemed invincible. By this splendid achievement you frustrated the designs of the foe on our East Indian territories, prevented the overthrow of the Ottoman power in Asia, the downfall of its throne in Europe, and prepared the way for that treaty of peace, which it is devoutly to be wished

may long preserve

the tranquillity of the universe, and promote friendship and goodwill among all nations.

It must be highly gratifying to every lover of his country that this event should happen on the very spot where a gallant English monarch formerly displayed such prodigies of valour—that a celebrated historian, recording his actions, struck with the stupendous instances of prowess displayed by that heroic prince, suddenly exclaimed, * Am I writing history or romance ?' Had, sir, that historian survived to have witnessed what has recently happened at St. Jean d'Acre, he would have exultingly resigned his doubts, and

VOL. I.

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generously have confessed that actions, no less extraordinary than those performed by the gallant Cæur de Lion, have been achieved by Sir Sidney Smith.” This speech was followed by universal acclamations.

Sir Sidney Smith thus replied :

“ Sir-Unconscious that I should have been thought worthy of being addressed by you on the part of the city of London in terms of such high and unqualified approbation, I am but ill prepared for replying in a manner adequately to express the sentiments with which I am impressed. My confidence would be lessened, did I not feel that I was surrounded by friends who are dear to me, and whose approbation I am proud to have received. It shall be the object of my future life to merit the panegyric you have been pleased to pronounce in my favour. For the freedom of your city, with which you

have honoured me, I return you my sincere thanks, and shall implicitly conform to all the obligations annexed to it. Above all, I accept this sword as the most honourable reward which could have been conferred on me. In peace it will be my proudest ornament, and in war I trust I shall be ever ready to draw it in defence of my country, and for the protection of the city of London.”—[Loud applause.]

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Sir Sidney Smith then took the usual civic oaths; and having made a liberal donation to the poor's box, departed amidst the acclamations of the populace.

CHAPTER XX.

Sir Sidney Smith returned member of parliament for Ro

chester–His speech in the House of Commons, and at the anniversary of the Naval Institution–His appointment in the Antelope to the command of a squadron-His services in that command,

The grateful countrymen of Sir Sidney Smith, eager to testify their feelings for his almost universal talents, showed him, on every occasion, the most marked respect. Civic honours followed those of the battle, the ocean, and the court. At the general election of representatives for the second parliament of the United Kingdom, the citizens of Rochester evinced their good taste by choosing our officer, in conjunction with Mr. James Hulkes, to watch their own interests and those of the empire in the House of Commons. Sir Sidney accordingly took his seat for that ancient city on the opening of the session, on the 16th of November, 1802.

At this period, the country was in a state of

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