Page images


When the duke waited upon him at Dresden, he was warm in her praises; he added, however, "But your soldiers are the worst I ever saw; two-thirds of them deserted before the contingent joined my army." The duke might have replied, "Sire, when my soldiers were fighting against you, not one of them deserted."

When the treaty, which secured the nominal independence of Weimar, and declared its territory to be a part of the Rhenish league, was brought from Buonaparte to the duke by a French general, and presented to him, he refused to take it into his own hands, saying, with more than gallantry, "Give it to my wife: the emperor intended it for her."

Capture of the late Captain Wright

and Sir Sidney Smith.

The following is an extract of a letter from the lamented captaių Wright, the celebrated companion and fellow-prisoner of sir Sidney Smith, and who, it continues to be believed, was murdered whilst a prisoner in the Temple. It gives a more detailed account than any that has yet appeared, of the manner in which sir Sidney Smith and captain Wright became prisoners:

"Paris, Dec. 6, 1796. "Seven months of captivity has indeed broken off almost all means of intercourse between us, but it has not blunted the remembrance of my friends at home. I still retain a grateful sense of the sincere interest which I know you all feel in whatever personally concerus me. For nearly three months previous to my capture, VOL. XLIX.

I had few opportunities of writing to my friends. Many interesting events, therefore, which have occurred since we parted, must remain undescribed till we meet, or at least till I shall be under less inauspicious influence. It may be useful, however, to give you some idea of our expedition and misadventure; it will correct some false impressions which have gone abroad, and which, in fact, have been circu lated by the enemy.

"Sir Sidney and myself are treated in a manner which has no parallel in military history. The enemy endea vour to justify this treatment by affixing to our expedition a motive and character incompatible with the laws of war.

"The following is the manner in which we fell into the hands of these barbarians:

"Having anchored on the morning of the 17th of April, in the outer road of Havre-de-Grace, with the Diamond alone, we discovered at anchor in the inner road an armed, lugger. A project was immediately conceived of boarding her in the night by means of our boats. In justice to the merit, and indeed necessity, of this project, in a national point of view, it is necessary to inform you, that this was the only remaining vessel which continued to annoy the English trade within the limits of our squadron. She had been recently equipped at Havre; carried ten three pounders and forty-five men; was commanded by a bold, enterprizing man, with a private commission; and sailed so well in light winds as to have more than once eluded the pursuit of our frigate, when returning from the English coast. Her first depredations on our trade were of a magnitude to warrant the risk of a small sacrifice in her capture; and sir Sidney had esta30

[ocr errors]

blished it as a point of honour in his squadron, that an enemy's vessel, within the limits of his command, should not even pass from port to port.

"The force employed in our enterprize consisted of the launch, armed with an eighteen-pounder car ronade and muskets, four other boats with muskets, including a two-armed wherry, in which sir Sidney commanded in person, and carrying in all fifty-two persons; viz. nine officers, six of which were from twelve to sixteen years of age; three servants, and forty seamen. We were all volunteers; were disposed to surmount all obstacles that should oppose our purpose; not a breath of air-not a ripple on the water; the oars were muffled; and every thing promised the happiest success. We quitted the ship about ten o'clock, preceded by sir Sidney Smith in his wherry. Arrived within sight of the Vengeur, we lay upon our oars to reconnoitre her position, and to receive definitive orders. This done, we took a broad sheer between her and the shore, in order to assume the appearance of fishing-boats coming out of the harbour, and thereby protract the moment of alarm: in this we succeeded beyond expectation, and afterwards rowed directly towards her, reserving our fire till she should commence the action. This happened after hailing us within about half-pistol-shot;— the boats returned it in the instant, and within less than ten minutes we had got possession of the vessel.

"It was now that we first discovered our difficulties. The enemy had very wisely cut their cable during the action, the vessel had therefore been drifting towards the shore all this time. On perceiving it, we sought in vain for a second anchor,

heavy enough to hold her against the strength of a very rapid tide, that rushed into the Seine. All the boats were sent a-bead to tow, and every sail was set, but it was all in vain. After all these fruitless efforts, we tried the effect of a small kedge, without hope of its holding. The vessel dragged it a long way, and at length brought up.

"Here, therefore, we lay anxiously expecting day-light, to discover the extent of the evil we had to encounter, or for a propitious breeze to assist our escape. Day-light at length appeared, and terminated our suspense. Our position was in the last degree critical: we were half a league higher up the river than Havre, the town and harbour of which was now in motion, in hostile preparation. Nothing now remained for us, but to make every possible preparation on our parts for a desperate and unequal conflict. The vessel, however, was destitute of every material article of defence, such as grape-shot and match. There was not a single round of the former, and the latter was so bad, that it would never fire upon the first application. It was resolved, however, to fight as long as the lugger would swim, in the expectation that, by protracting our surrender, a prosperous wind might deliver us, even in the last extremity. All Havre was now in motion to attack us; some shot had reached us whilst we were in the act of discharging our prisoners, and sending them on their parole to Honfleur; for, with his usual humanity, sir Sidney Smith proposed to send them away clear from the dangers of a battle in which they could not co-operate. They received his kindness with gratitude.

"The attack now commenced. We got under weigh to attack a large


ngger that was advancing, whilst the boats were detached to rake her with grape shot and musquetry. The result was, that she sheered off. We ad not, however, escaped clear: her grape and musquetry had greatly disabled our rigging, and wounded some of our best men: your young friend, Charles B. was amongst the cumber. This action was scarcely over, when we were surrounded on all sid by a variety of small craft, crowded with troops; and another action immediately commenced, more desperate, and more unequal than the former. Sir Sidney ordered all the musquets to be collected, and loaded, and made such a distribution of them, that each man was enabled to fire several rounds without the necessity of releading; the midshipmen reloaded them as fast as they were discharged. In this manner an incessant fire was kept up for some time. No breeze, however, appeared, and resistance was evidently in vain, as the country was assembling.

evening. He said, when he put the pot to his mouth, something rose in his throat and choaked him. He swallowed, as he thought, about a tea-spoonful, and then was seized with a trembling, and cramp in his arms and legs, and a sensation of pricking, as if pins or needles were run into his flesh. His appetite failed him on Saturday last. Yesterday he ate a small piece of mutton, which made him sick at his stomach. He has eaten nothing this day; though he said he could swallow any thing, except it were in a liquid form; but has no desire for food. He said he was attacked on Thursday last with a violent pain in his right arm, from his shoulders to the ends of his fingers. This pain left him on Saturday night. He rubbed the arm with haitshorn and oil, and wrapped it up with flaunel, on Saturday. Mrs. Metcalf informed me, that on his seeing any liquid poured out for him to drink, even before he takes hold In a of the pot, he begins to tremble, and the choaking seizes him. She said, in attempting to drink, he becomes convulsed, his eyes look glassy, and he s'ares in an unusual and frightful manner. The case thus clearly demonstrated, I desired Mrs. Metcalf to go with me into another room. I did this that I might not alarm her son, by questions necessary for further information. Neither Mrs. Metcalf nor her son had the slightest suspicion of the cause, or the nature of this dreadful calamity.

word, we were compelled to surrender."

Dr. Moseley's Account of a singular

Case of Hydrophobia.

Chelsea Hospital, Monday Evening,
Nov. 9, 1807.

This afternoon, at three o'clock, Mrs. Metcalf, No. 2, Comptonstreet, brought her son, Mr. Frederic Michael Metcalf, to me for advice, at my house in Albany, Piccadilly.

He informed me, that he was attacked about four o'clock yesterday morning with a difficulty in swallowing any liquid, which he first perceived when he attempted to drink some porter, the remains of a half pint which he had on the preceding,

[blocks in formation]

in the summer. As soon as she became calm and composed, we returned to her son.

On interrogating him, he informed me that in the beginning of July last there were two dogs fighting desperately in the street, opposite his mother's house; and he, observing one of them had one of his eyes torn out, and the other dog likely to kill him, endeavoured to part them; but on taking hold of the dog he wished to rescue from the fury of the other, he received a bite from him on his right hand. Two of the dog's teeth penetrated the outside of the hand, but the palm of the hand was considerably wounded. This wound was dressed with Friar's balsam and poulticed, and was cured in a week or ten days.

I examined his hand. There was a small degree of redness remaining, but no heat, or pain, where the wound had been in the palm of his hand, and no vestige whatever on the outside where the teeth had been. There was nothing observable in his throat, differing from its natural state; nor any increase of saliva. Pulse S8, rather feeble, and not quite regular. He had no thirst. He told me his choaking seemed to him as arising from wind; and that he always discharged a great deal from his throat whenever he attempted to swallow. He said he took some dill-seed water last night, and thought it relieved him; but never could get down more than a tea-spoonfull at a time, and that with great difficulty. In one attempt to swallow some of this water, he was so choaked and convulsed, that he would have fallen into the fire, his mother told me, if she had not saved him. I gave him some water in a pint pot twice; each time he swallowed about a tea-spoonfull,

and both times was choaked and convulsed, with a wild staring in his eyes, and a trembling all over him and immediately after the effort of swallowing, he made a hideous noise. The second time I gave him the water, I was much alarmed; I thought it would have occasioned a fatal covulsion. It is impossible to describe a sound; and I can compare the noise he made, which was from repeated spasmodic contraction of the organs of respiration, to nothing but to that sort of stifled barking which dogs sometimes make when disturbed in their sleep; or to the hoarse short barking of a drover's dog. When he took the pot in his hand, he fell into a tremor, held down his head, and was in great distress; he kept the pot in his hand a few seconds before he could summon courage to lift it to his mouth; after which I took it from him, as from his agony he could not hold it. He bore the sight of the water in the pot, while it was in my hand, when it was not offered him to drink; but when I brought a large bason filled with water, and put it before his eyes, he seemed frightened; and when I agitated the water near him, he was instantly at tacked with what he called "the wind rising in his throat," trembling, and that hoarse faucial noise before mentioned. He entreated me not to order any medicine for him in a liquid form, as he said he could not take it; and the attempt, he was certain, would kill him. He said he could swallow any solid substance. I put this to the proof; and, as he had been costive for several days, I gave him four aperient pills, which he swallowed one at a time, but with some difficulty. He had now been with me three quarters of an hour, when he and Mrs. Metcalf left Al



bany, with the best advice I could give, and walked back to Comptonstreet. From his appearance and conversation, no person would have thought there was any indisposition about him. His voice and speech bad suffered no alteration. He was in the eighteenth year of his age; a fine youth, in mind as well as in person. His humanity here was his misfortune. With what grief did I see him depart from Albany with his poor mother, knowing, as I did, that he had but a few hours to live! I visited him at eight o'clock in the evening. Pulse 110, and very feeble. I gave him some water. In attempting to drink, the usual consequences -choaking, wildness in the eyes, and the noise in the throat, followed. The pills operated about nine o'clock, several times. About ten o'clock he became so violently convulsed, that four young men, his brothers, could scarcely keep him in his bed; but he made no attempt to bite any person. He began also to foam at the mouth, with white froth. The quantity of this froth was so great, as to require many towels and handkerchiefs, in wiping it from his mouth. At this period he likewise became delirious at intervals, but at times in his perfect senses; and complained, though in a very warm room, of being cold, and begged to be kept warm. In this condition he continued until one o'clock on the following morning, when, from his violent convulsive exertions and struggling, he was entirely exhausted, and remained calm and quiet afterwards. He expired at a quarter before two, 18 weeks from the accident; 46 hours from the commencement of the hydrophobia, and ten hours after I first saw him.

R. M.

Report of the Royal College of Physicians of London, on Vaccination. Presented to the House of Commons.

The royal college of physicians of London, having received his majesty's commands, in compliance with an address from the house of commons, "to inquire into the state of vaccine inoculation in the United Kingdom, to report their opinion and observations upon that practice, upon the evidence which has been adduced in its support, and upon the causes which have hitherto retarded its general adoption;" have applied themselves diligently to the business referred to them.

Deeply impressed with the importance of an enquiry which equally involves the lives of individuals, and the public prosperity, they have made every exertion to investigate the subject fully and impartially. In aid of the knowledge and experience of the members of their own body, they have applied separately to each of the licentiates of the college; they have corresponded with the colleges of physicians of Dublin and Edinburgh; with the colleges of surgeons of London, Edinburgh, and Dublin; they have called upon the societies established for vaccination, for an account of their practice, to what extent it has been carried on, and what has been the result of their experience; and they have, by public notice, invited individuals to contribute whatever information they had severally collected. They have in consequence been furnished with a mass of evidence communicated with the greatest readiness and candour, which enables them to speak with confidence 303


« EelmineJätka »