« EelmineJätka »
We read in Rapin's History, that during Monmouth's rebellion, in the reign of James II. a certain person, knowing the humane disposition of one Mrs. Gaunt, whose life was one continual exercise of beneficence, fled to her house, where he was concealed and maintained for some time. Hearing, however, of the proclamation which promised an indemnity and reward to those who discovered such as harboured the rebels, he betrayed his benefactress; and such was the spirit of justice and equity which prevailed among the ministers, that he was pardoned and recompensed for his treachery, while she was burnt alive for her charity.
The following instance is also to be found in the same history. Humphry Bannister and his father were both servants to, and raised by, the Duke of Buckingham; who, being driven to abscond, by an unfortunate accident befalling the army he had raised against the usurper, Richard III. he, without footman or page, retired to Bannister's house, near Shrewsbury, as to a place where he had all the reason in the world to expect security. Bannister, however, upon the king's proclamation, promising 10001 reward to him that should apprehend the duke, betrayed his master to John Merton, High Sheriff of Shropshire, who sent him under a strong guard to Salisbury, where the king then was; and there, in the market-place, the duke was beheaded. But Divine vengeance pursued the traitor Bannister; for, demanding the 10001 that was the price of his master's blood, King Richard refused to pay it, saying, “He that would be false to so good a master, ought not
to be encouraged.” He was afterwards hanged for manslaughter; his eldest son soon ran mad, and died in a hog-sty; his second became deformed and lame; and his third son was drowned in a small puddle of water.
His eldest daughter was pregnant by one of his carters; and his second was seized with a leprosy, whereof she died.
The following barbarious instances are from ancient history.
When Xerxes, King of Persia, was at Celene, a city of Phrygia, Pythius, a Lydian, who had his residence in that city, and, next to Xerxes, was the most opulent prince of those times, entertained him and his whole army with an incredible magnificence, and made him an offer of all his wealth towards defraying the expences of his expedition. Xerxes, supprised and charmed at so generous an offer, had the curiosity to enquire to what sum his riches amounted, Pythius made answer, that, having the design of offering them to his service, he had taken an exact account of them, and that the silver he had by him amounted to 2,000 talents (about 255,000l sterling,) and the gold to 4,000, 000 of darics (about 1,700,000l sterling,) want. ing 7,000. · All this money he offered him, tel. ling him that his revenue was sufficient for the support of his household. Xerxes made him very hearty acknowledgments, and entered into a particular friendship with him, but declined accepting this present. The same prince who had made such obliging offers to Xerxes, having desired a favour of him some time after, that out of his five sons, who served in the army, he would be pleased to leave him the eldest, in order to be a comfort to him in his old age, the king was so enraged at the proposal, though so reasonable in itself, that he caused his eldest son to be killed before the eyes of his father ; giving the latter to understand, that it was a favour that he spared him and the rest of his children. Yet this is the same Xerxes who is so much admired for his humane reflection at the head of his numerous army,
- That of so many thousand men, in one hundred years' time there would not be one remaining; on which account he could not forbear weeping at the uncertainty and instability of human things.” He might have found another subject of reflection, which would have more justly merited his tears and affliction had he turned his thoughts upon himself, and considered the reproaches he deserved for being the instrument of hastening the fatal term to milions of people, whom his cruel ambition was going to sacrifice in an unjust and an unnecessary war.
Basilius Macedo, the Emperor, exercising himself in hunting, a sport he took a great delight in, a great stag, running furiously against him, fastening one of the branches of his horns in the emperor's girdle, and, pulling him from
his horse, dragged him a good distance, to the | imminent danger of his life; which a gentle.
man of his retinue perceiving, drew his sword and cut the emperor's girdle asunder, which disengaged him from the beast, with little or no hurt to his person. But observe what reward he had for his pains: “He was sentenced to lose his head, for putting his sword so near the body
of the emperor,” and suffered death accord 2
THE UNGRATEFUL GUEST.
pearance of life.
A certain soldier in the Macedonian army had, in many instances, distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of valour, and had received many marks of Philip's favour, and
approbation. On some occasion, he embarked on board a vessel which was wrecked by a violent storm, and he himself cast on the shore helpless and naked, and scarcely with the ap
of life. A Macedonian, whose lands were contiguous to the sea, came opportunely to be witness of his distress; and, with all humane and charitable tenderness, flew to the relief of the unhappy stranger. He bore him to his house, laid him in his own bed, revived, cherished, comforted, and for forty days supplied him freely with all the necessaries and conveniences which his languishing condition could require. The soldier thus happily rescued from death, was incessant in the warmest expressions of gratitude to his benefactor, assured him of his interest with the king, and of his power and resolution of obtaining for him, from the royal bounty, the noble returns which such extraordinary benevolence had merited. He was now completely recovered, and his kind host supplied him with money to pursue his journey In some time after, he presented himself before the king; he recounted his misfortunes, magnified his services: and this inhuman wretch, who had looked with an eye of envy on the possessions of the man who had preserved his life, was now abandoned to all sense of gratitude, as to request that the king would bestow upon him the house and lands where he had been so tenderly and kindly en
tertained. Unhappily, Philip, without examination, inconsiderately and precipitately granted his infamous request; and this soldier, now returned to his preserver, repaid his goodness by driving him from his settlement, and taking immediate possession of all the fruits of his honest industry. The poor man, stung with this instance of unparralleled ingratitude and insensibility, boldly determined, instead of submiting to his wrongs, to seek relief; and, in a letter addressed to Philip, represented his own and the soldier's conduct in a lively and affecting manner. The king was instantly fired with indignation : he ordered that justice should be done without delay; that the possessions should be immediately restored to the man whose charitable offices had been thus horridly repaid ; and, having seized this soldier, caused these words to be branded on his forehead,The ungrateful guest ;-a character infamous in every age, and among all nations; but particularly among the Greeks, who, from the earliest times, were most scrupulously observ. ant of the laws of hospitality.
JUSTICE, EQUITY, &c.
“CIVILIANS distinguish justice into two kinds: one they call communicative ; and this establishes fair dealing in the mutual commerce between man and man, and includes sincerity in our discourse, and integrity in our dealings. The effect of sincerity is mutual confidence, so necessary among
the members of the same community; and this mutual confidence is sustain