Chapter IX
He is Imprisoned and Transported to Maryland, but Escapes

 

            This activity and ingenuity of their new king was highly agreeable to the community of the mendicants, and his applauses resounded at all their meetings; but, as fortune delights to change the scene, and of a sudden to depress those she had most favoured, we come now to relate the misfortunes of our hero, though we know not whether we should call them by that name or not, as they gave him a large field of action, and greater opportunities of exercising the more manly virtues—courage and intrepidity in dangers.

            Going one day to pay a visit to Mr. Robert Incledon, at Barnstaple in Devon, (in an ill hour which his knowledge could not foresee,) knocking at the door softly, it was, opened to him by the clerk, with the common salutation of How do you do, Mr. Carew? where have you been? He readily replied, that he was making a visit to Squire Bassar, and in his return had called to pay his respects to Mr. Incledon.

            The clerk very civilly asked him to walk in; but no sooner had he entered than the door was shut upon him by Justice Leithbridge, a very bitter enemy to the whole community of mendicants, who concealed himself behind it, and Mr. Carew was made a prisoner;—so sudden are the vicissitudes of life; and misfortunes spring as it were out of the earth.

            Thus suddenly and unexpectedly fell the mighty Caesar, the master of the world; and just so affrighted Priam looked when the shade of Hector drew his curtains, and told him that his Troy was taken.

            The reader will, undoubtedly, be at a loss to comprehend why he was thus seized upon, contrary to the laws of hospitality; it is therefore our business to inform him, that he had, some time before this, in the shape of a poor lame cripple, frightened either the justice or his horse on Hilton bridge; but which of the two it was, cannot be affirmed with any certainty. However, the justice vowed a dire revenge, and now exulted greatly at having got him in his power; fame had no sooner sounded with her hundred prattling tongues that our hero was in captivity, but the justice's house was crowded with intercessors for him:—however, Justice Leithbridge was deaf to all, and even to the entreaties of beauty,—several ladies being likewise advocates for him; whether it was that the justice was past that age when love shoots his darts with most success, or whether his heart was always made of that unmalleable stuff which is quite unassailable by love, or by his cousin-german, pity, we cannot well determine.

            Amongst the rest who came to see him, were some captains of collier vessels, whom the justice espying, very probably taking some disgust at their countenances, demanded who they were, and immediately discharging the guard which had been before placed over Mr. Carew, charged the captains with the care of him, though they affirmed their vessels were to sail the next tide; however the justice paying as little regard to their allegations as he had done to their petitions for Mr. Carew, they found they had no other hope but from the good-natured dame Patience; a good woman, who is always ready to render our misfortunes less, and was, in all his adventures, a great friend to our hero.

            At length a warrant was made out for conveying him to Exeter, and lodging him in one of the securest places in that city; but, as it was now too late to set forward on their journey that night, they were ordered to a public house at Barnstaple; and the justice remembering the old proverb, fast bind, fast find, would fain have locked the door of the room where Mr. Carew was, and taken the key with him; but the honest landlord offering to become security for his appearance in the morning, the justice was at last persuaded to be content without a jailor.

            Mr. Carew, notwithstanding his situation, was not cast down, but bravely opposed his ill fortune with his usual courage, and passed the night with great cheerfulness in the company of the collier captains, who were his guard.

            The next day Mr. Carew was conduct to Exeter, without anything remarkable happening on the road; here, to his great annoyance, he was securely lodged for upwards of two months, before he was brought to trial at the quarter sessions, held at the castle, when Justice Bevis was chairman; but that awful appearance,

 

The judges all met—a terrible show!

 

did not strike any terror into his breast; though loaded with chains, he preserved his usual firmness of mind, and saluted the court with a noble assurance. Being asked by the chairman what parts of the world he had been in? he answered Denmark, Sweden, Muscovy, France, Spain, Portugal, Newfoundland, Ireland, Wales, and some parts of Scotland. The chairman then told him he must proceed to a hotter country: he inquired into what climate, and being told Merryland, he with great composure made a critical observation on the pronunciation of that word, implying, that he apprehended it ought to be pronounced Maryland, and added, it would save him five pounds for his passage, as he was very desirous of seeing that country: but, notwithstanding, he with great resolution desired to know by what law they acted, as he was not accused of any crime; however, sentence of banishment was passed upon him for seven years; but his fate was not singular, for he had the comfort of having fellow companions enough in his unmerited sufferings, as, out of thirty-five prisoners, thirty-two were ordered into the like banishment.—Whether at that period of time mankind were more profligate than usual, or whether there was a more than ordinary demand for men in his majesty's colonies, cannot by us be determined.

            Mr. Carew was not, as is most commonly the case, deserted by his friends in adversity, for he was visited during the time of his imprisonment by many gentlemen, who were exceedingly liberal to him; and no sooner did the news of his captivity reach the ears of his subjects, than they flocked to him from all parts, administered to his necessities in prison, and daily visited him till his departure.

            This, and the thoughts of the many new scenes and adventures which he was likely to encounter, whereby he might have an opportunity of making his name as famous in America as it was already in Europe, often filled his mind with too-pleasing reflections to regret his fate, though he could have liked to have performed the voyage under more agreeable circumstances; whenever the thought of being cruelly separated from his beloved wife and daughters glanced on his mind, the husband and father unmanned the hero, and melted him into tenderness and fear; the reflection too of the damage his subjects might sustain by his absence, and the disorder the whole community would be put in by it, filled him with many disquietudes. Thus, between pleasing ideas and heartfelt pangs, did he pass his time till the day arrived that he was to be conducted on board the Julian, Captain Froade, commander. But how, gentle reader, shall I describe the ceremony of parting—the last farewell of that dreadful day!

            Leaving the reader, therefore, to suppose all these fine things, behold the sails already spread, and the vessel cutting the waves; but, as if fate had opposed itself to the banishment of our hero, the winds soon proved contrary, and they were obliged to stay more than a fortnight in Falmouth harbour for a fair wind, and from thence were in eleven weeks in their passage to Maryland.

            The first place they touched at was Hampton, between Cape Charles and Cape Henry, where the captain went on shore and got a pilot; and after about two days stay there, the pilot brought the vessel down Mile's River, and cast anchor in Talbot county, when the captain ordered a gun to be fired as a signal for the planters to come down, and then went ashore. He soon after sent on board a hogshead of rum, and ordered all the men prisoners to be close shaved against the next morning, and the women to have their best head-dresses put on, which occasioned no little hurry on board; for, between the trimming of beards, and putting on of caps, all hands were fully employed. Early in the morning the captain ordered public notice to be given of the day of sale; and the prisoners, who were pretty near a hundred, were all ordered upon deck, where a large bowl of punch was made, and the planters flocked on board; their first inquiry was for letters from old England, what passage he had, how their friends did, and the like. The captain informed them of the war being declared against Spain, that it was expected it would soon be declared against France; and that he had been eleven weeks and four days in his passage. Their next inquiry was, if the captain had brought them good store of joiners, carpenters, blacksmiths, weavers, and tailors; upon which the captain called out one Griffy, a tailor, who had lived at Chumleigh, in the county of Devon, and was obliged to take a voyage to Maryland, for making too free with his neighbour's sheep. Two planters, who were Parson Nicholas and Mr. Rolls, asked him if he was sound wind and limb? and told him it would be worse for him if he told them an untruth; and at last purchased him from the captain. The poor tailor cried and bellowed like a bell-wether, cursing his wife who had betrayed him. Mr. Carew, like a brave man, to whom every soil is his own country, ashamed of his cowardice, gave the tailor to the devil; and, as he knew he could not do without them, sent his shears, thimble, and needle, to bear him company. Wherefore all these wailings? said our hero: have we not a fine country before us? pointing to the shore. And indeed in this he was very right, for Maryland not only affords everything which preserves and confirms health, but also all things that are charming. The beauty of the prospect, the fragrancy of the fields and gardens, the brightness of the sky, and the serenity of the air, affect the ravished senses; the country being a large plain, and hills in it so easy of ascent, and of such a moderate height, that they seem rather an artificial ornament to it, than one of the accidents of nature. The abundance of rivers and brooks is no little help to the fertility of the soil.

            But to return.—When all the best tradesmen were bought up, a planter came to Mr. Carew, and asked him what trade he was of. Mr. Carew, to satisfy him of his usefulness, told him he was a rat-catcher, a mendicant, and a dog merchant. What the d—l trades are these? inquired the planter in astonishment; for I have never before heard of them: upon which the captain thinking he should lose the sale of him, takes the planter aside, and tells him he did but jest, being a man of humour, for that he was a great scholar, and was only sent over on account of having disobliged some gentlemen; that he had no indenture with him, but he should have him for seven years, and that he would make an excellent school-master; however, no purchase was made of him. The next day the captain asked him to go on shore with him to see the country, but with a view of getting a purchaser for him among the planters. As they were walking, several people came up to Mr. Carew, and asked him what countryman he was, &c. At length they went to a tavern, where one Mr. David Huxter, who was formerly of Lyme in Dorset, and Mr. Hambleton, a Scotchman, seemed to have an inclination to buy him between them; soon after came in one Mr. Ashcraft, who put in for him too, and the bowl of punch went merrily round. In the midst of their mirth, Mr. Carew, who had given no consent to the bargain they were making for him, thought it no breach of honour or good manners to seize an opportunity of slipping away without taking leave of them; and taking away with him about a pint of brandy and some biscuit cakes, which by good luck he chanced to put his hand on, he immediately betook himself to the woods as the only place of security for him.

            Mr. Carew, having found he had eluded their search, congratulated himself on his happy escape and deliverance; for he now made no doubt of getting to old England again, notwithstanding the difficulties which lay in his way, as he knew his courage was equal to every danger; but we are too often apt, as the proverb says, to reckon without our host, and are sometimes near danger when we think ourselves most secure: and so it happened to our hero at this time; for, amidst his joyful reflections, he did not know that none were allowed to travel there, unless when known, without proper passes, of which he was not provided; and there is moreover a reward of 5l. for anyone who apprehends a runaway; it therefore happened, that one morning early, passing through a narrow path, he was met by four timbermen, going to work; he would fain have escaped their observation, but they soon hailed him, and demanded where he was going, and where his pass was? These were questions which he would willingly have been excused from answering; however, as his wit was always ready, he immediately told them he belonged to the Hector privateer, (which he knew then lay upon the coast,) and that he was going on some business for the captain to Charles county; but, as he could produce no pass, this would not satisfy them, so they seized upon him, and conducted him to one Colonel Brown's, a justice of the peace in Anne Arundel county.—But here, most gentle reader, that thou mayest not form a wrong idea of this justice, and, as is too often the case, judge of what thou hast not seen, from what thou hast seen, it will be necessary to inform thee, that he was not such a one as Hudibras describes:

 

An old dull sot, who told the clock
For many years at Bridewell-dock,
At Westminster, and Hicks's-Hall,
And Hiccius Doccius play'd in all;
Where, in all governments and times,
Had been both friend and foe to crimes,
And used two equal ways of gaining
By hindering justice or maintaining;

            Neither was he such a one as that excellent artist, Mr. Hogarth, has depicted in his picture of a Modern Midnight Conversation; nor such a one as the author of Joseph Andrews has, above all authors, so inimitably drawn to the life; nor yet was he such a one as thou hast often seen at a quarter sessions, with a large wig, a heavy unmeaning countenance, and a sour aspect, who gravely nods over a cause, and then passes a decision on what he does not understand; and no wonder, when he, perhaps, never saw, much less read the laws of his country; but of Justice Brown, I can assure the reader, he could not only read, but upon occasion write a mittimus, without the assistance of his clerk; he was thoroughly acquainted with the general duties of his office, and the particular laws of Maryland; his countenance was an awful majesty, tempered with a humane sweetness, ever unwilling to punish, yet always afraid of offending justice; and if at any time necessity obliged him to use the rod, he did it with so much humanity and compassion, as plainly indicated the duties of his office forced, rather than the cruelty or haughtiness of his temper prompted to it; and while the unhappy criminal suffered a corporeal punishment, he did all that lay in his power, to the end that it might have a due effect, by endeavouring to amend the mind with salutary advice; if the exigencies of the state required taxes to be levied upon the subjects, he never, by his authority or office, excused himself from bearing his full proportion; nor even would he meanly submit to see any of his fellow-justices do so.

 

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