Surprising adventures and sufferings of Frederick Baron Trenck

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Surprising Adventures and Sufferings of Frederick Baron Trenck  (1829) 

THE

SURPRISING ADVENTURES

AND SUFFERINGS

OF

FREDERICK

Baron Trenck,

GIVING AN ACCOUNT

OF HIS BEING CONFINED IN A DUNGEON, WITH

CHAINS OF 68 POUNDS WEIGHT; AND

AFTERWARDS GULLOTINED IN

FRANCE, IN THE TIME OF

THE REVOLUTION, 1796.



Surprising adventures and sufferings of Frederick Baron Trenck - Title.png

KILMARNOCK:

PRINTED BY H. CRAWFORD, BOOKSELLER.

1829.

THE

LIFE AND ADVENTURES

OF

Frederick Baron Trenck.



I was born in the year 1726, at Koenigsberg Prussia. My father, descended from an ancient family, was general of cavalry. He died in 1741 after having received eighteen wounds in the service of Prussia. My mother was daughter of the President of the Supreme Court of Koenigsberg; one of her brothers was Minister of State and two others, generals of infantry. After my father’s death, she married Count Loftang, Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment of Cuirassiers of Kiow. I had two brothers and a sister. One of my brothers remained with my mother, the other was Cornet in the regiment of Kiow; and my sister married the only son of old General Waldow, and settled in Brandenburgh.

My father sent me at the age of thirteen to the university of Koenigsberg, where I made a rapid progress in my education. At the end of 1740 I had a dispute with a gentleman named Wallenrod, who boarded in the same house. He was much taller and stronger than me ; and despising my weakness, thought proper to strike me. I demanded satisfaction, which he refusing contemptuously, I took a second, and attacked him in the open street. We fought; and I had the good fortune to wound him in the hand and arm.

** ***

This affair was much talked of; and Dr. Kow(illegible text)wski, our professor, making a complaint to the university, I was sentenced to three hours confinement; but M. Warschaw, my grandfather, pleased with my spirit, took me out of the house, and placed me as a boarder with Professor Chris(illegible text)na. There, for the first time, I began to enjoy entire liberty.

Three days after, a professed bully forced me (illegible text) a manner to fight. I wounded him in the hip. These successes so puffed me up, that I appeared in public with a sword of enormous length, and all the appendages of a prize fighter.

I should certainly have become a duellist, if the goodness of my heart, and my misfortunes, did not soon after brought me to reason. A fortnight had scarcely elapsed from my last quarrel, before I had another with one of my friends, a Lieutenant of the garrison, whom I insulted. We fought, and I wounded him in two places.

Duelling among the students was not punished at this period. It was looked upon as an honour to send a challenge.

In November 1742, Baron Lottum, the King’s Adjutant General, a relation of my mother, was sent by his Majesty to Koenigsberg. He dined at my grandfather’s, chatted a good deal with me; and after having sounded me by a variety of questions, asked me if I should not be tempted to serve my country as my ancestors had always done; adding, that in the army I should find more convenient opportunities of giving challenges than at the university. I accepted this proposal without hesitation ; and a few days after, set off for Potzdam.

I was presented to the King, to whom I was known since the year 1746, as one of the best scholars in the university. He was much pleased with the pertinence of my answers; my stature for I was tall; and my manly assurance. I obtained permission to enter into the Life Guards in quality of cadet, with promises of speedy promotion.

The Life Guards were at that time the pattern and school of all the Prussian Cavalry. They consisted only of one squadron of men chosen from the whole army. Their uniform was the most brilliant in Europe; the dress and accoutrements of an officer costing two thousand crowns. The cuirass, which was covered with silver, its appendages and the horses’ furniture, amounted alone to seven hundred.

This squadron consisted only of six officers and an hundred and forty-four men; but we had always fifty or sixty supernumeraries, and as many spare horses; for the King took all the handsomest men he met with into his guards. The officers were the best in the army. The king instructed them himself, and afterwards ordered them to drill the rest of the Cavalry.

The duty of no other soldier in the world is so hard as was that of a Life Guardsman. At the time I was in this service, I had not eight hours rest in eight days. The exercise used to begin at four o’clock in the morning, when we tried all the new evolutions the King was desirous of introducing. We leaped ditches, three, four, five, and six feet wide, and even more, till somebody or other broke his neck. Sometimes, in a morning’s exercise, we had several men and horses killed or wounded. The horses were kept in the King’s stables; and he who could not dress, arm himself, saddle his horse, mount, and fall into his rank in eight minutes, was put under arrest for a fortnight.

The trumpet frequently sounded before we had scarcely got into bed, by way of giving the young men a habit of vigilance. The Life Guards lost more men and horses in a time of profound peace, than they would have done in two battles.

I had been scarcely three weeks Cadet, when one day, after the parade, the King took me aside, examined me for near half an hour, on a variety of subjects, and ordered me to wait on him tomorrow. He was desirous of seeing whether the favourable accounts he had heard of me were well founded; and to ascertain their truth, gave me the names of fifty soldiers to learn by heart, which I did in five minutes. He then gave me the subjects of two letters, and I composed them immediately in French and Latin, writing one and dictating the other. He afterwards desired me to draw the plan of a piece of ground, by the eye, and with all the dispatch possible; which I did with the same success. He then appointed me Cornet in the Life Guards. He spoke to me like a King and a father; and from that moment became my tutor and friend.

I was a Cadet only three weeks. When thus made an officer, the King gave me two horses from his own stables, and a thousand crowns to assist in purchasing my arms, uniform, &c. I was highly satisfied to find myself a courtier and an officer, in the handsomest, bravest, and best disciplined corps in Europe. My military fortune seemed to have no bounds.

We passed the winter in garrison at Berlin where the officers of our regiment lived with the Court; and as my reputation had preceded me thither, nobody passed the time in a more agreeable manner than myself.

In 1743, I was six feet three inches high; till then I was a stranger to love. The shocking spectacle of the hospital of Potzdam, made me dread its illusions. In 1543 the King’s sister was married to the King of Sweden, whose widow she now is. On this occasion I mounted the guard of honour in quality of Officer of the Guards, and was ordered to escort her as far as Stettin. In the tumult inevitable in the crowd, I lost my watch; and a sharper was also dexterous enough to cut off part of the gold fringe from my waistcoat. My loss was the subject of much pleasantry among the other officers; and a great lady took occasion to say, that she would make it her business to console me. I felt all the meaning of this; and in a few days I was the happiest man in Berlin. It was on both sides the first tribute paid to Love. Her affection for me was without bounds; and while I exist I shall never forget her kindness; but the secrets of our intimacy is one of those that I will carry with me to the grave. She is still alive, and an absence of forty-three years has not been capable of making any change in her sentiments. My children alone shall know the name of the person to whom they are indebted for their father’s preservation.

I lived happy and respected at Berlin. The King on every occasion gave me marks of favour; fair mistress supplied me with more money than I could spend, and my appearance was soon more brilliant than any officer in the corps. My (illegible text)ences attracted notice, for I had only inherited from my father the estate of Scharlack, which (illegible text)duoed about a thousand crowns a year; and I sometimes spent more than that sum in a month.

In the beginning of September 1743, war was declared between Prussia and the house of Austria. We marched hastily towards Prague, and passed through all Saxony without meeting with the smallest opposition. I dare not relate here, what the Great Frederick said sorrowfully to us the very morning of our departure from Potzdam, when all the officers were assembled about his person. This time Frederick took the field with regret, as I was witness.

If I do not mistake, the King’s army invested Prague on the 14th of September; that of General Schwerin, who had marched through Silesia, came a day later from the other side of the Mul(illegible text), and we were obliged to wait eight days longer for pontoons, to open a communication between the two armies.

General Harsh was obliged to capitulate, after twelve days resistance. Eighteen thousand men were made prisoners of war: the number of the garrison killed and wounded during the siege not exceeding five hundred.

So far we met with no obstacle; however, the Imperial army, under the command of Prince Charles, who had left the banks of the Rhine, advanced to save Bohemia. His light armed troops being thrice as numerous as ours, prevented our foraging. Famine and want therefore obliged us to retreat, having no relief to hope for from the country behind us, which we had laid entirely waste on our march. The severity of the season in November made the soldiers very impatient; in six weeks we lost forty-two thousand men, either by sickness or desertion. In short, we were obliged to abandon Bohemia. All the cavalry was dismounted for want of forage; the severity of the weather, the broken roads, continual marching and repeated alarms, diffused a general spirit of discontent, and a third of the army deserted.

Prince Charles followed us as far as the frontiers of Bohemia and halted there, to put his troops into winter quarters. This gave the King time to recruit his army, especially by the return of his deserters, whom the Austrians were imprudent enough to dismiss.

In this campaign, I passed few nights in my tent; and my indefatigable activity procured me the favour and entire confidence of the King. Nothing contributed so much to keep up my resolution, as the public praises I received, when I returned to head quarters from foraging, with sixty or eighty waggons loaded, while others came back empty.

I was sent one day from Beneschen on a foraging party, with a detachment of thirty Hussars and twenty Rangers. I posted my Hussars in a convent, and went with the Rangers to a gentleman’s seat, to procure a sufficient number of waggons to bring off hay and straw from an adjacent farm. But a Lieutenant of Austrian Hussars, who lay concealed in a wood with thirty-six horse, having remarked the weakness of my escort, took advantage of the moment, when my people were employed in loading the waggons, and surprising my sentinel, fell suddenly upon them, and took the whole party prisoners in the farm-yard. I was sitting quietly in the gentleman’s seat, with the mistress of the house, and saw from the window what happened.

I was afflicted beyond measure, and the good lady was proposing to hide me, when I heard a firing at the farm. The Hussars posted at the convent, had been told by a peasant, that there was an Austrian detachment in the wood; they saw us go into the farm-house, hastened to our assistance, and came up a few minutes after the surprise. It is impossible to express the pleasure with which I joined them. Some of the enemy’s Hussar's escaped by the back door; however we made twenty-two prisoners, among whom was a Lieutenant of the regiment of Kalnockichen. They had two men killed and one wounded, and I lost on my side two Rangers, who were killed in the hay loft where they were at work. After this reincounter we continued to forage with greater precaution, the horses we had taken served in part to draw waggons; and having laid the convent under contribution to the amount of a hundred and fifty ducats which I distributed among my soldiers to purchase their silence, we set off to rejoin the army. The King was at table when I came into his tent. As I had been absent the whole night every body had supposed me taken, which had that day been the fate of many others. The instant I came in the King asked me if I returned alone: ‘No, Sire’ answered I ‘ I bring with me five and twenty waggons loaded with forage, and twenty-two prisoners, with their officers and horses.’ The King immediately made me sit down: and turning to the English Ambassador, who was sitting beside him, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “ This is one of my youthful Matadors!” The horse intended to reconnoitre the enemy was already waiting before his tent, he consequently asked me a few questions, and to those few I could not answer without trembling. Some minutes after he rose from table, cast his eyes on the prisoners, and putting the Order of Merit round my neck, ordered me to go and rest myself. As I was not without money, I gave each non-commissioned officer twenty ducats, and each private soldier a ducat, to induce their silence. I determined, however, to embrace, the first opportunity of making the King acquainted with the truth and found a convenient one two days after. We were on a march, and in quality of Cornet, I was at the head of the troop. The King rode on before the drums, and beckoning to me to come to him, addressed me in these words: ‘ Now, Trenck, tell me the particulars of your late success.’ When I heard this question, I did not doubt my being betrayed; but the King asked with such apparent good humour, that I related the matter exactly as it had passed, I observed marks of astonishment in his countenance; but I saw at the same time that he was not displeased with my sincerity. He talked with me half an hour, more like a father than a King, praised my candour and concluded with these words, which I shall never forget: ‘Depend upon me, and follow my advice, and I will make a man of you.’ It was not long before I perceived the confidence the King placed in me after this explanation, I received many marks of it in the course of the following winter which we passed (illegible text) Berlin.

In our retreat from Bohemia, the King entered Kolin with his horse Guards, the piquets Horse belonging to head quarters, and the second and third battalions of Guards: we had but four pieces of cannon, and our squadron was posted in the suburbs. Towards the evening, our advanced guards were driven in; the Hussars entered with them pell mell into the suburbs, and the enemy’s light troops swarmed in all the environs.

Our commandant sent me immediately to receive the King’s orders. After having sought him a great while, I found him at last on the top of a steeple, with a perspective glass in his hand. I never saw him so uneasy and undetermined as on that day. We were ordered to retreat immediately and to retire through the town to the opposite suburb, when we were directed to halt without taking the bridles or saddles off our horses.

We were scarcely there when a dark night came on, accompanied by a deluge of rain. Abut nine o’clock, Trenck (an Austrian commander, and a relation of mine) appeared with his turkish music, and set fire to several houses. As soon as we perceived it, we began to fire musketry out of the windows. The tumult was terrible. The town was so full of people that we could not force an entrance; the gate was shut and our field pieces kept firing from above. Trenck stopped the passage of the water; by midnight it was as high as our horses’ bellies, and we were almost entirely abandoned. We lost six men, and my horse was wounded in the neck—It is certain that the King as well as the rest of us, would have been made prisoner, if my cousin could have continued the attack. But receiving a wound in the foot with a cannon ball, he was obliged to be carried off, and the Pandours retired. The day following Nassaw’s corps came to our assistance. We left Kolin, and while on the march the King said to me, ‘Your cousin might have played us an unlucky trick that night; but according to the report of the deserters, he was killed.'

About the middle of December we arrived at Berlin, where I was received with open arms. It was less prudent then in former years, and perhaps more observed. A Lieutenant of the Foot Guards jesting indecently on the secret of my amours, I drew upon him, and wounded him in the face. The Sunday after I went to pay my court to the King: ‘Sir,' said he, ‘the thunder roars and, if you do not take care, may fall upon your head.’

Some time after I came a few minutes too late to the parade; the King remarked it, and sent me under arrest to Potzdam, where I remained upwards of three weeks, owing to the artifices of Colonel Warteslaben.

I did not recover my liberty till three days before our departure for Silesia; towards which we marched only in May to begin our second campaign. I will here relate an incident that happened to me this winter, which became the source of all my misfortunes.

Francis Baron Trenck, who commanded the Pandours in the service of Austria, having been dangerously wounded in Bavaria in the year 1743, wrote to my mother to tell her it was his intention to make me his heir. This letter, to which I made no answer, was sent to me at Potzdam. The 12th of February 1744 I was at Berlin and went to pay a visit to Captain Isachinzki, commandant of the Life Guards, in company with Lieutenant Studnitz, and Cornet Wagnitz, who lived with me in the same apartment. The conversation turned on the Austrian Trenck, and Isachinzki asked me if I was related to him. I answered yes, and said that he had made me his heir. He asked me, what answer I had made, I told him none. On this the whole company observed that in such circumstances, I should be much in the wrong if I did not answer his letter. 'Write to him,' added our commandant, ‘and desire him to send you some handsome Hungarian horses for chargers. Give me your letter and I will have it delivered by M de Bossart, Secretary of Legation to the Saxon Ambassador, on condition that you give me one of the horses. This correspondence is a family concern, and not an affair of state; besides I will take the whole upon me, &c.’ I sat down to write immediately, in compliance with the advice of my commanding officer. I gave my letter open to Isachinzki; he sealed it himself and sent it away.

This letter, with the following incident, was the sole cause of all my misfortunes.

In the campaign of 1744, one of my grooms with two saddle horses was taken, as well as several others, by Trenck’s light troops. On my return to camp, I was ordered to accompany the King, who was going to reconnoitre. My horse being fatigued his Majesty immediately made me a present of a beautiful English race-horse. A few days after, I was astonished to see my groom come back, with my two horses and a trumpet from the enemy; who brought a note, in nearly these terms:

‘The Austrian Trenck is not at war with the Prussian Trenck, his cousin. On the contrary, he is very happy to have it in his power to send him back his horses, which he has recovered from the hands of his Hussars.’

That day I waited on the King, and was very cooly received. 'Since your cousin, said he, has sent you back your horses, you have no longer any occasion for mine.’

We marched into Silesia to begin the second campaign, which was to us as destructive as glorious to Prince Charles, instead of waiting for us in Bohemia, imprudently advanced and posted himself in the Plain of Strigan.

Our army was drawn in haste, from its cantonments in the neighbourhood of Kamenz, and in twenty four hours was in order of battle. The 14th of June eighteen thousand dead bodies covered the plain of Strigan; and the imperial army, and that of Saxony, its ally, were totally defeated.

The Life Guards were on the right: before the attack, the King said to our squadron, ‘ Now my friends prove that you are my Guards, and spare no Saxon!’ Three times we changed the Cavalry, and the infantry twice. We alone took seven standards and five colours, and in less than an hour all was over.

I received a pistol shot in the right hand; my horse was badly wounded, and at the third charge I was obliged to mount another. The following day all the officers received the order of Merit; for my part I remained near a month in the hospital at Schweidoitz. More than sixteen thousand wounded men were dressed there; some of whom could get no assistance till the third day.

The campaign passed in marching and counter-marching: we were the most fatigued, because the Guards encamped round the King's tent, which, placed in the middle of the camp, always formed the van-guard.

The famous battle of Sora(illegible text) was fought on September 14th. The King had sent such large detachments into Saxony, Silesia, and Bohemia that the grand army consisted at most of twenty six thousand men, had surrounded the small number of Brandenburgh and Pomeranian troops with more than eighty six thousand men, and was in hopes of taking them all prisoners.

About midnight the King came into my tent and went likewise into those of the other officers to wake them; he ordered the horses to be saddled without noise, the baggage to be left behind, and the whole army to hold themselves in readiness for action.

Eight field pieces were placed behind a rising ground opposite the defile through which the King meant to pass, and where it was intended to begin the action. He must have received information of all the designs of the Austrian General, for he had called in all the advanced posts on the heights to inspire him with greater confidence.

At the dawn of day, the Austrian artillery planted on the heights, cannonaded our camp, and the cavalry, advancing to attack us, entered the defile.

We immediately drew up in order of battle, and in less than ten minutes began the attack; notwithstanding our small number of men, (there were only five regiments of cavalry with our army,) and fell with the greatest rapidity on the enemy, at that moment employed in slowly forming their squadrons in the front of the defile. We drove them back into the defile, which was crowded full of men. The King immediately ordered the eight field pieces to be unmasked, and they made terrible havoc.

Nadaste Trenck, and the light troops that were to have attacked us in the rear, stopped to pillage our camp; it is worthy of remark, that when news was brought to the King, that the Croats were pillaging the camp, he answered, 'So much the better, they will have something to do, and will not prevent us from carrying the principal point.’ We were completely victorious, but lost the baggage. The head-quarters, left without defence, were entirely pillaged; and Trenck had for his share of the plunder, the king’s tent, and all his silver plate. A few days after the battle of Soran, the post-man brought me the following letter from my cousin Trenck dated from Essex, and written four months before.

‘I find by your letter from Berlin, of date Feb. 12th, that you desire me to send you some Hungarian horses, that you may employ them against my Hussars and Pandours. I perceived with pleasure in the last campaign, that the Prussian Trenck was a good soldier. As a proof of my attachment I sent you back your horses, which my people had taken. But if you want Hungarian horses, try next campaign to carry off mine by open force; or else come and join your cousin, who will receive you with open arms, will treat you like a son and his friend, and will procure you all the advantages you can desire,’ &c.

Cornet Wagnitz and Lieutenant Gratthauson who are both alive were present; I gave them the letter, we laughed at its contents; and it was resolved that we should shew it to Colonel Isachinzki, commandant of the corps, on condition that he should not speak of it. An hour after we did as we had agreed. When he had read my letter with an appearance of astonishment, we all began to laugh; and as there was a report that a body of troops would be sent to Hungary, Isachinzki said, ‘we will go ourselves and take Hungarian horses.’ Here the conversation dropped. I cannot help making the following observations on the subject.

1. I had not observed that the date of the letter was four months anterior to its receipt: this my Colonel did not fail to do.

2. It was probably a snare laid by Isachinzki. The sending back of my horses in the preceeding campaign had made a noise. Perhaps I had been persuaded to write, that I might be entrapped by a forged answer; for it is certain that my cousin maintained till his death, that he never received a letter from me, and that consequently he had sent no answer. I still think, and shall always continue in the same mind, the letter was forged.

Without the liberty of making any defense, or of being tried by a court-martial, I was confined I was confined as a criminal in the citadel of Glaiz, I was not in a dungeon but in the officer’s guard-room, I was permitted to walk upon the ramparts, and was waited on by my own servants.

I wrote to the King, and demanded a court-martial, offering to submit to any punishment whatever if found guilty. So determined a style, in so young a man did not please him, and I received no answer.

From my female friend at Berlin, I received some consolation, and a thousand ducats.

‘Here the Baron enlarges on the different schemes he tried to effect his escape from the prison of Glaiz, his adventures in Bohemia and Poland, with Lieutenant Schell, who deserted along with him; the barbarous treatment he received from the Austrian Trenck at Vienna; and gives a recital of the causes of that General's disgrace and imprisonment, which ends with the following strange relation of the manner of his death.’

It was not in Trenck’s power to prevent my inheriting his father’s fortune, which was entailed on me; wishing however, to give me marks of his hatred after his death, he made a will full of absurd and contradictory clauses, which served the with-holders of his fortune, as a pretext to strip me of it.

Though Trenck was an atheist, nobody had a more ardent desire than he to acquire an extra-ordinary reputation; he therefore resolved to put an end to his existence; and to make himself pass for a saint at his death.

For this purpose, three days before his death, when he was in the best of health possible, he requested the commandant to send to Vienna for a confessor; St. Francis having, as he said, declared to him that he would die on his birth-day at noon precisely. Though every body laughed at his prediction, the Capuchin Friar was sent for.

The day after Trenck had confessed himself, he exclaimed, ‘God be praised! my end approaches; my professor is just dead and has appeared to me.’ Upon inquiry it was found that the monk was really dead. Trenck then begged all the officers of the garrison to come to his prison: took the tonsure, dressed himself in the habit of a Capuchin Friar; made a public confession and preached an hour, exhorting his audience to think of their salvation. He then took leave of them, knelt down to say his prayers, fell into a sound sleep, rose and prayed again. Oct. the 4th, he looked at his watch, at seven o’clock in the morning, and cried out, 'God be praised, my last hour is not far off.' Every body present was much entertained at seeing a man of his character play so ridiculous a comedy. However it was remarked that his face was pale on the left side. He then seated himself beside a table, leaned his head upon his hand, and after saying a prayer, continued motionless, with his eyes shut.

In the month of March, 1754, I received news of the death of my mother, and asked the Board of War for six months leave of absence to go to Dantzick, in order to concert with my brothers and sister the steps necessary to be taken, relative to any possessions that had been confiscated in Prussia. I obtained it; and in the month of May, set off for that city, where l fell a second time into the hands of the Prussians.

The people of Vienna concerned in my cousin’s effects, by several base schemes and false insinuations, endeavoured to get me again into the hands of the Prussians, that they might quietly enjoy that fortune which was justly my due.

My brothers and sister came to me at Dantzick, in May. We passed a fortnight together, and shared my mother’s fortune.

‘The Baron’s pleasures were short lived; the Magistracy of Dantzick, intimidated or bribed by the King of Prussia, whose revenge was still unsatisfied, when he was on the very eve of departing from their city, arrested and surrendered him into the hands of that despot: and with a strong escort, he was conducted to the Garrison of Madgeburgh in Prussia.’

The King ordered a new dungeon to be built on purpose for me, and prescribed the form of the chains I was to wear. When I was led to it, good Heaven! what did I perceive; but two locksmiths, with their hammers and anvil, and the whole floor covered with chains of about 68 pounds weight. They went immediately to work; my feet were fastened to a ring sunk in the wall, at about three feet from the ground, so that I could only take two or three steps on each side. They then girt my naked body with a broad iron girdle, from which descended a chain, fastened at the other extremity to a bar of iron two feet long. At each end of this bar was a handcuff that confined my hands; and a collar was added in 1756. As soon as the work was completed, every body retired in silence; and I heard the dreadful creaking of four doors, which shut close upon one another.

The name of Trenck had incrusted on the wall, with red bricks; and under my feet was a tomb intended for me, on which also was my name and a Death’s head. There were two oaken doors into the dungeon; and in the way to it a kind of lobby, into which a window had been opened, which was likewise secured by two doors of the same kind. It was the King’s intention that this dungeon should be built in such a manner, as to put it out of my power to have the least communication with the sentinel; it was surrounded with pallisades twelve feet high, forming a kind of park; and the key was deposited with the guard-officer. I had tamed a mouse so perfectly, that the little animal was continually playing with me, and used to eat out of my mouth. One night it skipped about so much, that the sentinels hearing a noise, made their report to the officer of the guard. The Town Major arrived early in the morning, accompanied by locksmiths and masons. The floor, the walls, my chains and my body, were strictly examined: but finding all in order, they asked me the cause of last evening’s bustle. I frankly told them by what it had been occasioned; on which they desired me to call my little favourite. I whistled and it immediately leaped upon my shoulder. I solicited its pardon, but the officer of the guard took it into his possession, promising, however, to give it to a lady, for whose care he would answer. Turning it afterwards loose in his chamber, the mouse soon disappeared, and hid itself in a hole. But at the usual hour of visiting my prison, when the officers were just going away, the poor little animal darted in, climbed up my legs, seated itself on my shoulder, and played a thousand tricks, to express its joy. Every one was astonished at this striking instance of animal sensibility. The Major carried the mouse away, and gave it to his wife, who had a little cage made for it; but the little animal refusing to eat, was, in a few days after, found dead.

In this seclusion the Baron remained about nine years, when the King probably tired of punishing, consented to his release. After which, he retired to Vienna, where he was confined a short time at the instigation of those who enjoyed his property, under a false charge of madness. He found himself necessitated to withdraw his pecuniary claims, and for all his losses, only received the brevet rank of Major in the Austrian service.

No doubt the Revolution in France pointed out that country as a place where he might finish his days in liberty and peace. What then must be the reader’s astonishment at the tragical fate which the Baron at last met in that nation! It does not appear what part he took in politics; or upon what specific charges he was sentenced to the Gullotine, upon the downfall of Robespierre's party.

God, who hitherto has enabled me, amidst a thousand perils, to act the part of an honest man, and of a real martyr to the cause of Truth, will, I trust, protect and strengthen me in the last scene of tragedy, nor suffer my fortitude to fail me, when I meet with obstacles insurmountable.’

THE COMMON LOT.

Once in the flight of ages past,
There liv’d a man;—and who was he?
Mortal! howe’er thy lot be cast,
That man resembles thee.

Unknown the regions of his birth,
The land in which he died unknown;
His name hath perish’d from the earth,
This truth survives alone;

That joy, and grief, and hope, and fear,
Alternate triumph’d in his breast;
His bliss and woe,—a smile, a tear;
---Oblivion hides the rest.

The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
The changing spirits rise and fall;
We know that these were felt by him,
For these are felt by all.

He suffer’d—but his pangs are o’er;
Enjoy’d,—but his delights are fled;
Had friends—his friends are now no more,
And foes—his foes are dead.

He lov’d, but whom he lov’d the grave
Hath lost in its unconscious womb:
O! she was fair! but nought could save
Her beauty from the tomb.

The willing seasons day and night,
Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main,
Ere while his portion, life and light,
To him exist in vain.

He saw whatever thou hast seen,
Encounter’d'all that troubles thee;
He was—whatever thou hast been;
He is—what thou shalt be.

The clouds and sun-beams, o’er his eye,
That once their shades and glory threw,
Have left, in yonder silent sky,
No vestige where they flew.

The annals of the human race,
Their ruin since the world began,
Of him afford no other trace
Than this,—there lived a man


FINIS.


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.