Page:A Tour Through the Batavian Republic.djvu/19

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7
THE BATAVIAN REPUBLIC

were all natives of Dunkirk, and had never been at Paris, or I should have conceived they had been active in some of those scenes which, in the early stages of the revolution, outraged humanity, and disgraced that city. But that character of features which alarmed me, might easily be attributed to local circumstances. Dunkirk is the resort of desperadoes and outlaws from various nations, who in peace subsist by carrying on a contraband trade with England, in war by capturing vessels; and the occupations of smuggling and privateering being invariably attended with a very considerable degree of danger, and often with little concern for the claims of humanity, the persons so engaged acquire a cast of countenance, which I cannot otherwise distinguish than by saying, it partakes of the assassin and the robber.

Neither the countenance, however, of my prize-master, nor his sailors, gave me half the alarm that I felt at the discovery of their utter ignorance of navigation, and the art of managing a ship. The evening was stormy, and at midnight it blew a severe