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plies, you are surprised I am not taller!-Ah, Nessy! let me ask you this-suppose the last two years of your growth had been retarded by close confinement,-nearly deprived of ail kinds of necessary aliment-shut up from the all-cheering light of the sun for the space of five months, and never suffered to breathe the fresh air (an enjoyment which Providence denies to none of his creatures) during all that time-and without any kind of exercise to stretch and supple your limbs-besides many other inconveniences which I will not pain you by mentioning-how tall should you have been, my dear sister?-answer, four feet nothing; but enough of
Nessy Heywood had expressed a strong desire to see her brother, but was told the rules of the service would not allow it; also, that it would agitate him, when he ought to be cool and collected, to meet his approaching trial. This was quite enough:-" But as for myself," she says, no danger, no fatigue, no difficulties would deter me-I have youth, and health, and excellent natural spirits-these and the strength of my affection would support me through it all; if I were not allowed to see you, yet being in the same place which contains you would be joy inexpressible! I will not, however, any longer desire it, but will learn to imitate your fortitude and patience."
Mr. Heywood of Maristow, and his daughter, Mrs. Bertie, had intimated the same thing. These excellent people, from the moment of young Heywood's arrival, had shown him every kindness, supplied him with money, and, what was better, with friends, who could give him the best advice. To this worthy lady, Miss Nessy Heywood thus addresses herself.
"Overwhelmed with sensations of gratitude and pleasure, which she is too much agitated to express,
permit me, dearest madam, at my mamma's request, to offer you hers and our most sincere acknowledgments for your invaluable letter, which, from the detention of the packet, she did not receive till yesterday. By a letter from my beloved brother of the same date, we are informed that Mr. Larkham (who I suppose to be the gentleman you mention having sent to see him) has been on board the Hector, and has kindly offered him the most salutary advice relative to his present situation, for which allow me to request you will present him our best thanks. He also speaks with every expression a grateful heart can dictate of your excellent father's goodness in providing for all his wants, even before he could have received any letters from us to that purpose.
"Ah! my dear madam, how truly characteristic is this of the kind friendship with which he has ever honoured our family! But my beloved Peter does not know that Mr. Heywood has a daughter whose generosity is equal to his own, and whose amiable compassion for his sufferings it will be as impossible for us to forget, as it is to express the admiration and gratitude it has inspired. It would, I am convinced, be unnecessary, as well as a very bad compliment to you, madam, were I to presume to point out any thing particular to be done for our poor boy, as I have not the least doubt your goodness and kind intention have long ago rendered every care of that sort on our part unnecessary. I shall only add, that my mamma begs every wish he forms may be granted; and sure I am, he will not desire a single gratification that can be deemed in the smallest degree improper.
"In one of my brother's letters, dated the 23d, he hints that he shall not be permitted to see any of his relations till his trial is over, and that he therefore does not expect us. I have, however, written to Mr. Heywood (without whose approbation I would by
no means take any step) for permission to go to him. If it is absolutely impossible for me to see him (though in the presence of witnesses), yet even that prohibition, cruel as it is, I could bear with patience, provided I might be near him, to see the ship in which he at present exists-to behold those objects which, perhaps, at the same moment attract his notice to breathe the same air which he breathes. -Ah! my dearest madam, these are inestimable gratifications, and would convey sensations of rapture and delight to the fond bosom of a sister, which it is far, very far beyond my power to describe. Besides, the anxiety and impatience produced by the immense distance which now separates us from him, and the uncertainty attending the packet, render it difficult and sometimes impossible to hear of him so often as we would wish; and, may I not add (though Heaven in its mercy forbid it-for, alas! the bare idea is too dreadful, yet it is in the scale of possibility), that some accident might happen to deprive us of my dearest brother: how insupportably bitter would then be our reflections, for having omitted the opportunity when it was in our power of administering comfort and consolation to him in person. For these reasons I earnestly hope Mr. Heywood will not judge it improper to comply with my request, and shall wait with eager impatience the arrival of his next letter. Think not, my dear madam, that it is want of confidence in your care and attention which makes me solicitous to be with my beloved brother. Be assured we are all as perfectly easy in that respect as if we were on the spot; but I am convinced you will pardon the dictates of an affection which an absence of five years, rendered still more painful by his sufferings, has heightened almost to a degree of adoration. I shall with your permission take the liberty of enclosing a letter to my brother, which I leave open for perusal, and at the same time request your pardon for mentioning you to him
in such terms as I am apprehensive will wound the delicacy which ever accompanies generosity like yours; but indeed, my dearest madam, I cannot, must not suffer my beloved boy to remain in ignorance of that worth and excellence which has prompted you to become his kind protectress.
"I have the honour to be, with every sentiment of gratitude, &c. &c. &c.,
Among the numerous friends that interested themselves in the fate of this unhappy youth was his uncle Colonel Holwell. The testimony he bears to his excellent character is corroborated by all who knew him while a boy at home. About a fortnight before the trial he writes to him thus :
“21st August, 1792.
66 My very dear Peter,
"I have this day received yours of the 18th, and am happy to find by its contents, that notwithstanding your long and cruel confinement you still preserve your health, and write in good spirits. Preserve it, my dear boy, awful as the approaching period must be even to the most innocent, but froni which all who know you have not a doubt of your rising as immaculate as a new-born infant. I have known you from your cradle, and have often marked with pleasure and surprise the many assiduous instances (far beyond your years) you have given of filial duty and paternal affection to the best of parents, and to brothers and sisters who doted on you. Your education has been the best; and from these considerations alone, without the very clear evidence of your own testimony, I would as soon believe the Archbishop of Canterbury would set fire to the city of London as suppose you could, directly or indirectly, join in such a d-d absurd piece of business. Truly sorry am I that my state of health will not
permit me to go down to Portsmouth, to give this testimony publicly before that respectable tribunal where your country's laws have justly ordained you must appear; but consider this as the touchstone, my dear boy, by which your worth must be known. Six years in the navy myself and twenty-eight years a soldier, I flatter myself my judgment will not prove erroneous. That Power, my dear Peter, of whose grace and mercy you seem to have so just a sense, will not now forsake you. Your dear aunt is as must be expected in such a trying situation, but more from your present sufferings than any apprehension of what is to follow," &c.
With similar testimonies and most favourable auguries from Commodore Pasley, the Rev. Dr. Scott of the Isle of Man, and others, young Heywood went to his long and anxiously expected trial, which took place on the 12th September, and continued to the 18th of that month. Mrs. Heywood had been anxious that Erskine and Mingay should be employed as counsel, but Mr. Graham, whom Commodore Pasley had so highly recommended, gave his best assistance; as did also Mr. Const, who had been retained, for which the commodore expresses his sorrow, as sea officers, he says, have a great aversion to lawyers. Mr. Peter Heywood assigns a better reason; in a letter to his sister Mary he says, that "Counsel to a naval prisoner is of no effect, and as they are not allowed to speak, their eloquence is not of the least efficacy; I request, therefore, you will desire my dear mother to revoke the letter she has been so good to write to retain Mr. Erskine and Mr. Mingay, and to forbear putting herself to so great and needless an expense from which no good can accrue. No, no! Mary, it is not the same as a trial on shore; it would then be highly requisite; but in this case I alone must fight my own battle; and I think my telling the truth undisguised, in a plain,