Imagens da página

about much better than their critics do. 6 Twelve men conversant with life, and practised in those feelings which mark the common and necessary intercourse between man and man,” are far more likely to discriminate correctly between lying and truth-telling tongues, between bad and good memories, and to come to a sound, common-sense conclusion about disputed facts, than any single intellect is, especially if that single intellect has been “narrowed, though sharpened,” by the practice of the profession of the law.

I would also gladly draw attention to another eminent merit of our system of trial by jury, as compared with the system of trial of law and fact by a single person. Our method of trial gives peculiar guarantees that all who take part in deciding a cause, both the Judge and the jury, will exercise their best powers of attending and of reasoning, and will not give way to hasty impressions. According to our system, the Judge, at the close of a case, sums up the evidence to the jury; and, if he expresses opinions of his own on matters of fact for their consideration, he tells them not only what he thinks, but also why he thinks it. He is, therefore, obliged to take careful notes throughout the trial, and to reason out in his own mind the whole of the case. But, if he had to try the cause, and pronounce in favour of one of the parties, without the intervention of a jury, he would be under no such necessity. He might give way to laziness, and summarily make up his mind in accordance with the bias for or against one party, which is so apt to arise in our minds early in a trial, but which is also so often, as the trial proceeds, proved to be erroneous. Our system gives safeguards of a similar nature against hasty conclusions and imperfect observations on the part of the jury. Each juror knows it is not by him alone, but by him and his eleven fellow-jurors conjointly, that the verdict is to be given. Each juror, therefore, knows that, if any of the eleven differ from him in opinion at the end of the case, they must argue the matter out among them. Each juror, therefore, watches the entire progress of the trial with his reasoning faculties intent on every part of

each litigant's case, and thus prepares himself for a full and fair discussion and judgment of the whole.--Creasy.

A SOLDIER'S TRUST. To exhibit the most daring bravery in the field; to meet with an eye that quails not, and a will that falters not, the onset of the enemy; to grapple manfully with an array of difficulties; to make play against superior numbers, a wily foe, an exposed position; to dash onwards and make light of all obstacles amid the tumult and excitement of battle, is no light praise. But to endure; to endure while there is everything to depress, and nothing to cheer; to endure, while all around says, “ Yield and despair;" to endure, and hold fast one's integrity ; to endure, while there is nothing externally to support one's resolve ; to endure, and cling to hope ; to endure, and firmly to remember Him who has proclaimed Himself to be the God of hope, is a still nobler display of human forbearance, and faith, and fortitude. In the one case, the man is stimulated by the applause and co-operation of his fellows; in the other, he is thrown inward upon himself.

A noble instance of endurance is presented us in the life of Sir David Baird.

The early part of his career was passed in India; and while Captain in the 73d Highlanders, he had, at Perambaukum, with a mere handful of men, to sustain the combined attack of Hyder Ali and his son Tippoo. How severe was the onslaught, and how decidedly the fortune of war was against him, may be gathered from the fact that, while pressed by the foe, two of their (the British) tumbrils exploded, and in an instant they were deprived of their ammunition and the services of all their artillery.

The slaughter of the British began to be tremendous as the enemy closed in upon them on every side.

At length the case became hopeless, and Colonel Baillie, the Commandant, seeing that further resistance was vain, tied his handkerchief on his sword as a flag of truce, and

VOL. XVIII. Second Series.



ordered Captain Baird, who was second in command, to cease firing. Hyder's officers refused to attend to Colonel Baillie's signal, pointing to the Sepoys, who in their confusion were still continuing to fire: this, however, being explained, they agreed to give quarter, and Colonel Baillie directed Captain Baird to order his men to ground their

The order was, of course, obeyed. The instant this took place, the enemy's cavalry, commanded by Tippoo Saib in person, rushed

upon the unarmed troops before they could recover themselves, chopping down every man within their reach.

The greater part of Captain Baird's company were literally cut to pieces, and he himself, having received two sabrewounds on his head, a ball in his thigh, and a pike-wound in his arm, fell senseless to the ground. One of Hyder's horsemen, who found him wounded on the field, took charge of him, and, strange to say, had the humanity to give him a little water to drink. From loss of blood he fainted twice on his way toward the camp, and twice his guard and conductor stopped and waited for his recovery, in order to obtain the reward paid for bringing a prisoner ; but when the unfortunate sufferer a third time sank under pain and fatigue, the patience of the soldier was exhausted, and he left him to die.

How long he remained in this state is not known; but at length a Sergeant and private of his own company approached him. The latter was disabled in both arms, and the former, Sergeant Walker, in one. They had fortunately escaped, so far, from the field ; and as they could both walk, while the Captain, from the wound in his thigh, could not move without the greatest pain and difficulty, they raised him from the ground, and helped him along as well as they could, and procured him water to drink,-a luxury indeed to him who is enduring, under a blazing sun, parching thirst, caused by still reeking wounds.

The Captain crawled on, hoping to reach Sir Hector Monro's camp. Disappointed in this, and feeling perfectly convinced that their lot must be captivity, Baird and his companions took the direction of French head-quarters,


preferring to be made prisoners to the French, to falling into the hands of Hyder Ali.

At the French camp they were kindly received, a surgeon was summoned to attend to their wounds, and the officers gave them some of their own provisions. But all this kindness did not prevent their eventually being handed over to Tippoo as prisoners, and placed at his mercy. Their destiny, they were very speedily given to understand, was captivity in the fort of Seringapatam.

The march to that scene of Baird's protracted captivity and future glory was monotonous enough. At the different forts where they halted for the night, the natives seemed disposed to treat the prisoners with pity and respect. In truth, nothing could be more pitiable than their appearance ; nothing more hopeless than their position, marching to the horrors of a dungeon under the accumulated sufferings of pain and fatigue,--a dungeon whence, in all probability, death alone could release them. But Baird never despaired. He endured, but was never hopeless. At a later period of his life he was accustomed to say, that even then, never for one moment did he yield to despondency. A burden was laid upon him, and he bore it; but never doubted that somehow, and at some time, he should make good his escape out of the hands of his enemies.

On the captives reaching Seringapatam, they were conducted to the Durbar, and thence to their prison at the other end of the square. In lieu of provisions, or any of the necessaries of life, the prisoners were allowed one gold fanam, about sixpence a day! out of which they were to supply themselves with food, clothing, and everything they might require : as a further favour, a Frenchman, who called himself a surgeon, was permitted to attend and dress the still open wounds of Captains Baird and Lindsay. On the 23d of December, 1780, another detachment of English prisoners reached Seringapatam, and increased the number of captives to twenty-five. In January following, their number was augmented by the arrival of Captain Lucas, and Ensign Macauley. On the 8th of March, by that of Colonel Baillie, Captain Rumley, and Lieutenant Fraser.

The two former, in irons, were brought from Arcot, two hundred and forty English miles, to Seringapatam.

It is one of the most remarkable and beautiful features of this captivity, that every man during its continuance seemed more anxious for his fellow-sufferers than for himself; and that every opportunity was seized by the whole party to ameliorate the condition of those who were at times even worse off than themselves.

On the 10th of May, the French surgeon's visits were prohibited, and all the prisoners, except Captain Baird, were put in irons, weighing about nine pounds each pair. No reason could be adduced for this new act of severity; and it seemed to be generally considered as the first step of a deliberate system which had been adopted of ending their existence without absolute violence; and so it really proved to be. It were vain to attempt to describe the feelings of the captives, when the order for their being put in irons was announced to them. They remonstrated; but remonstrance was vain. The order was carried out.

When they were about to put the irons on Captain Baird, who was completely disabled in his right leg, in which the wound was still open, and whence the ball had just then been extracted, his friend, Captain Lucas, who spoke the language perfectly, sprang forward, and represented, in strong terms to the Myar, the barbarity of fettering him while in such a dreadful state, and assured him that death would be the inevitable termination of Captain Baird's sufferings, if the intention were persisted in. The Myar replied that the Circar had sent as many pairs of irons as there were prisoners, and they must be put on. Captain Lucas then offered to wear two sets himself in order to save his friend. This noble act of generosity moved the compassion even of the Myar, who said he would send to the Keeladar to open the book of fate. He did so; and, when the messenger returned, he said the book had been opened, and Captain Baird's fate was good; and the irons were in consequence not put on at that time.

On the 10th of November, however, Captain Baird was put in irons : and thenceforward cruelty was the rule, and

« AnteriorContinuar »