Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

misery would but ill express my complicated wretchedness and that on his fate my own and (shall I not add ?) that of a tender, fond, and alas ! widowed mother depend, I am persuaded you will not wonder, nor be offended, that I am thus bold in conjuring your lordship will consider with your usual candour and benevolence the observations" I now offer you, as well as the painful situation of my dear and unhappy brother.

“ I have the honour, &c.

“ Nessy Heywood."

Whether this letter and its enclosure produced any effect on the mind of Lord Chatham does not appear; but no immediate steps were taken, nor was any answer given: and this amiable young lady and her friends were suffered to remain in the most painful state of suspense for another fortnight. A day or two before the warrant was despatched, that excellent man Mr. Graham writes thus to Mrs. Heywood :

My dear Madam, “ If feeling for the distresses and rejoicing in the happiness of others denote a heart which entitles the owner of it to the confidence of the good and virtuous, I would fain be persuaded that mine has been so far interested in your misfortunes, and is now so pleased with the prospect of your being made happy, as cannot fail to procure me the friendship of your family, which, as it is my ambition, it cannot cease to be my desire to cultivate,

“ Unused to the common rewards which are sought after in this world, I will profess to anticipate more real pleasure and satisfaction from the simple declaration of you and yours, cept of your services, and we thank you for them," than it is in common minds to conceive; but, fearful lest a too grateful sense should be entertained of the friendly offices I have been engaged in (which,

that 66

we ac

however, I ought to confess I was prompted to, in the first place, by a remembrance of the many obligations I owed to Commodore Pasley), I must beg you will recollect, that by sending to me your charming Nessy (and if strong affection may plead such a privilege, I may be allowed to call her my daughter also) you would have overpaid me if my trouble had been ten times and my uneasiness ten thousand times greater than they were, upon what I once thought the melancholy, but now deem the fortunate, occasion which has given me the happiness of her acquaintance. Thus far, my dear madam, I have written to please myself. Now, for what must please you; and in which, too, I have my share of satisfaction.

“The business, though not publicly known, is most certainly finished; and what I had my doubts about yesterday I am satisfied of to-day. Happy, happy, happy family! accept of my congratulations; not for what it is in the power of words to express, but for what I know you will feel, upon being told that your beloved Peter will soon be restored to your bosom with every virtue that can adorn a man, and ensure to him an affectionate, a tender, and truly welcome reception."

At the foot of this letter Nessy writes thus :“ Now, my dearest mamma, did you ever in all your life read so charming a letter? Be assured it is ex. actly characteristic of the benevolent writer. What would I give to be transported (though only for a moment) to your elbow, that I might see you read it? What will you feel, when you know assuredly that you may with certainty believe its contents ? Well may Mr. Graham call us happy! for never felicity could equal ours! Don't expect connected sentences from me at present, for this joy makes me almost delirious. Adieu ! love to all I need not say be happy and blessed as I am at this dear hour, my beloved mother, 6 Your most affectionate,

“N. H."

On the 24th October the king's warrant was despatched from the Admiralty, granting a full and free pardon to Heywood and Morrison, a respite for Muspratt, which was followed by a pardon; and for carrying the sentence of Ellison, Burkitt, and Millward into execution, which was done on the 29th, on board his majesty's ship Brunswick, in Portsmouth harbour. On this melancholy occasion Captain Hamond reports that the criminals behaved with great penitence and decorum, acknowledged the justice of their sentence for the crime of which they had been found guilty, and exhorted their fellow-sailors to take warning by their untimely fate, and whatever might be their hardships, never to forget their obedience to their officers, as a duty they owed to their king and country.” The captain adds, “ A party from each ship in the harbour and at Spithead attended the execution, and from the reports I have received, the example seems to have made a great impression upon the minds of all the ships' companies present."

The same warrant that carried with it affliction to the friends of these unfortunate men was the harbinger of joy to the family and friends of young Heywood. The happy intelligence was communicated to his affectionate Nessy on the 26th, who instantly despatched the joyful tidings to her anxious mother in the following characteristic note :

Friday, 26th October, four o'clock. “Oh, blessed hour !-little did I think, my beloved friends, when I closed my letter this morning, that before night I should be out of my senses with joy! -this moment, this ecstatic moment, brought the

enclosed.* I cannot speak my happiness; let it be sufficient to say, that in a very few hours our angel Peter will be FREE! Mr. Graham goes this night to Portsmouth, and to-morrow, or next day at farthest, I shall be-oh, heavens! what shall I be ? I am already transported, even to pain; then how shall I bear to clasp him to the bosom of your happy, ah! how very happy, and affectionate,

“ Nessy HeYWOOD." “I am too mad to write sense, but ’tis a pleasure I would not forego to be the most reasonable being on earth. I asked Mr. Graham, who is at my elbow, if he would say any thing to you, 'Lord !-said he, "I can't say any thing; he is almost as mad as myself.”+

Information that the pardon was gone down to Portsmouth. † She had received, previous to this, information of what the event would be, and thus gives vent to her feelings. On receiving certain Intelligence that my most aniable and beloved Brother, Peter Heywood, would soon be restored to Freedom.

“Oh, blissful hour!-oh moment of delight!
Replete with happiness, with rapture bright!
An age of pain is sure repaid by this,
'Tis joy too great—'tis ecstasy of bliss!
Ye sweet sensations crowding on my soul,
Which following each other swiftly roll, --
Ye dear ideas which unceasing press
And pain this bosom by your wild excess,
Ah! kindly cease--for pity's sake subside,
Nor thus o'erwhelm me with joy's rapid tide :
My beating heart, oppress'd with wo and care,
Has yet to learn such happiness to bear :
From grief, distracting grief, thus high to soar,
To know dull pain and misery no more,
To hail each op'ning morn with new delight,
To rest in peace and joy each happy night,
To see my Lycidas from bondage free,
Restored to life, to pleasure, and to me,
To see him thus-adorn'd with virtue's charms,
To give him to a longing mother's arms,
To know him by surrounding friends caress'd,
Or honour, fame, of life's best gifts possessid,
Oh, my full heart! 'tis joy-tis bliss supreme,
And though 'tis real-yet, how like a dream!
Teach me then, Heav'n, to bear it as I ought,
Inspire each rapt'rous, each transporting thought;

Mr. Graham writes, “ I have however my senses sufficiently about me not to suffer this to go without begging leave to congratulate you upon, and to assure you that I most sincerely sympathize and participate in, the happiness which I am sure the enclosed will convey to the mother and sisters of my charming and beloved Nessy.'

This " charming" girl next writes to Mr. Const, who attended as counsel for her brother, to acquaint him with the joyful intelligence, and thus concludes: “I flatter myself you will partake in the joy which, notwithstanding it is so excessive at this moment as almost to deprive me of my faculties, leaves me however sufficiently collected to assure you of the eternal gratitude and esteem with which I am, &c."

To which Mr. Const, after congratulations and thanks for her polite attention, observes, “ Give me leave, my dear Miss Heywood, to assure you that the intelligence has given me a degree of plea. sure which I have not terms to express, and it is even increased by knowing what you must experience on the event. Nor is it an immaterial reflection, that although your brother was unfortunately involved in the general calamity which gave birth to the charge, he is uncontaminated by the crime; for there was not a credible testimony of the slightest fact against him that can make the strictest friend deplore any thing that has passed, except his sufferings; and his uniform conduct under them only proved how little he deserved them."

Mr. Graham's impatience and generous anxiety to

Teach me to bend beneath thy bounteous hand,
With gratitude my willing heart expand :
To thy omnipotence I humbly bow,
Afflicted once-but ah! how happy now!
Restored in peace, submissive to thy will,
Oh ! bless his days to come-protect him still;
Prolong his life, thy goodness to adore,

And oh ! let sorrow's shafts ne'er wound him more. " London, October 15th, 1792, midnight. “ NESSY HEYWOOD."

« FöregåendeFortsätt »