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fought with were to be taken to Cadiz. There were 770 persons in the island, but 350 of them were negroes, who, so the Spaniards alleged, had been carried off by the English in their raids on the coast. Maurice Thompson arrived too late to save the island. Yet he took some satisfaction next year- - if indeed he was the "Guillermo Tanzon' who threatened La Guayra, and sacked Maracaibo with eight vessels in the December of that year. Tanzon has much the look of a Spanish attempt to write Thompson.
enta who had some credit at Lepanto. Don Juan was in command of the warships which protected the vessels employed to carry the treasure from Carthagena to Portobelo. He had orders to clear out the island as a preliminary to bringing on the trade. The spirit of the man was shown by the fact that one of his vessels having been reported too leaky to be seaworthy, he hoisted his flag in her in order to cut short all complaints from her captain, and perhaps also to guard against the risk of desertion. One of his vessels did, as a matter of fact, part company, carrying away a portion of his battering train. Spain was breaking down morally and morally and physically. It is characteristic of the state of the monarchy that part of the force under his command consisted of impressed Portuguese, whose country was then in revolt against Spain, and whom he had to keep in order by sheer terror. But an energetic man will triumph over much. Pimienta appeared off the island on the 7th May, and attacked with vigour. The colonists made a good fight, by the confession of their enemies, but Pimienta could land 1400 men, and he led them well. The barrier erected to protect the landing place was stormed, with sharp loss to the Spaniards, and the colonists were driven into the fort. Here they were bombarded with the cannon captured from them on the beach. Finally, they surrendered on condition that they
So ended the colony of Providence. Some memory of it lingered for a time, and the Spanish capture of the island was one of the grievances which Cromwell's expedition to the West Indies was meant to revenge. The Protector regretted the loss of Providence, but the taking of Jamaica turned our attention elsewhere, and it was never reoccupied except as a haunt of buccaneers. The story is not without interest on various grounds. It shows, for instance, how persistent were the efforts of the chiefs of the Puritan opposition to find safe homes for their political and religious principles out of England during the years before the downfall of King Charles's Government. It is obvious that the company of adventurers, at least the element among them represented by Pym, were seeking for something other than profit, though for that they had no contempt. Their failure was probably inevitable in the circumstances, even if the colony
had not shown rather the weak than the strong points of the Puritan character. But chiefly the brief history of the settlement goes to show that the kind of expeditions which were begun by Hawkins and Drake never really ceased in the West Indies. Record of them is lost, because they were undertaken by private persons who had commonly no motive for publishing a record of what they
did, but, on the contrary, many reasons for preserving a judicious silence when King James and King Charles wished to remain on friendly terms with Spain. A certain piquancy is given to the tale by the old combination of the Puritan and buccaneer elements. It stands alone in the strange pirating, smuggling, adventurous history of the Spanish Main.
SORROW once wearied of his sad estate,
Doing him homage as a kingly guest
Till, as the music and the mirth increased,
One peered beneath his hood, and saw with wild surprise
AN IRISH BOSWELL.
SAID an optimist once, "Every man and woman carries in his (or her) head the material of an interesting novel." One is inclined to dispute this judgment; but it might be argued with greater truth that in every life there is the material of an entertaining biography. No two men, unless they be priggish conformities to a type, pass through the same experience, and nothing is necessary to create an interest save a sincere personality. Grandeur, genius, courage, have a stately value, which we estimate apart from their possessors; and a hero may be far less romantic, when his trappings are laid aside, than the impecunious clerk who, at five o'clock, rides back to his suburb on a 'bus. In his own brain the clerk is as little conscious of romance as the hero, since romance is always and for all men that which happens to somebody else. But the clerk's experience and reflection may be more whimsical and curious than the epic, in which statesmen and warriors take part. Drum and trumpet biography, indeed, may become as tiresome as drum and trumpet history: it is right and proper that the lives of great men should be written for our amusement and instruction, but these lives are too often written with a wrong method and for an unsound reason. The achievements of a valiant commander, for instance, are set forth by some patient
admirer who forgets that the valiant commander was also a man. The bravery and skill which the commander shares with all his class are scrupulously described, but all the intimate tricks and features which mark him off not only from his own class but from the rest of mankind are clumsily slurred over. The result is rather the photograph of a dressed-up dummy than an individual portrait. We understand the rude outline by a kind of habit, but all the finer shades of character and aspect escape us.
For biography depends less upon its subject than upon its method, and the life of the greatest king would appear insignificant if it were written without talent and without sympathy. On the other hand, a Boswell could make the adventures and table - talk of a costermonger for ever memorable. able. Intimate knowledge and quick sympathy, of course, are necessary, but above all the biographer must possess the art of selection. He must discard no incident, no aphorism, which is characteristic of his subject, and he must remember that insignificant traits are generally of higher importance than the common proofs of distinction. All generals fight battles, but all do not use snuff nor pray on the eve of a contest. Now, it so happens that the two great biographies in the languageBoswell's 'Johnson' and Lock
hart's 'Sir Walter Scott' ton, a rival in the pulpit to reveal to us the lives and the Dean of St Patrick's, and characters of two great men. author of a pamphlet once But that is an accident, and ascribed to the great man, the same admirable methods of need not escape our compreportraiture, applied to lesser hension and regard. For there men, would produce a no less he is drawn by Samuel Burdy human and distinguished result. with the touch of truth and A fine biography, then, is as sincerity which Boswell himrare an event in the history of self might well have envied. literature as a fine tragedy; and even of the few we have, some still escape notice. Who, for instance, knows the admirable Life of Philip Skelton,' which was penned a century century ago? In all essentials this forgotten book is a masterpiece of the art, and though Macaulay counted it among his favourites, it has since sunk into a sad obscurity. This obscurity is the more to be regretted because Samuel Burdy, A.B., the biographer, was after his fashion a man of genius. The very name has a strange and simple look more fitted to raise a smile than to inspire respect. But for all the simplicity of the man and the name, Samuel Burdy, A.B., not only knew his model intimately, but he understood the difficulties of portraiture; and the result is that, though Philip Skelton was but the clergyman of an Irish parish, we may enjoy a better acquaintance with him than with the most of his more exalted contemporaries. Swift, the greatest satirist of his century, remains a puzzle for the critics. His character is befogged by prejudice unto the present day, and so loud is the voice of posthumous slander that it is perhaps too late to explain the truth. But Skel
Of course he was a man of force and character. But the Ireland of the eighteenth century was rich in modest heroes, and Skelton would never have lived beyond his death had it not been for the skill and intelligence of Samuel Burdy, who has been as foolishly misunderstood as his eminent rival. The ancient theory that James Boswell was an imbecile drunkard, who happened by chance to compose a work of genius, was long popular, and the many excellences of his famous biography were but excuses for cheap ridicule and facile misapprehension. But at last it is realised that Boswell sacrificed himself to his ambition, that in order to enhance the truth of his portrait he would cut antics before the whole world, and no critic of the future dare say that his success was not com
plete. So in a lesser degree
hurled at all the dignitaries of the Church; and he tells the truth in so austere a spirit of impartiality, that at the first glance you recognise the verisimilitude of the portrait. Here, indeed, is no "plaster saint," but a real man, whose temper was as violent as his orthodoxy was strong, and who never could be tamed, even in the shadow of the Church, to withhold his fist or to chasten his tongue.
put the composer of chap-books to shame. And, in truth, the chap-book was to Burdy a potent influence. He wrote his authentic biography of an ancient clergyman as the hacks of the eighteenth century composed the lives of Freney and Barrington. Nor is there anything astonishing in this imitation. Ireland a hundred years since depended for her literature upon the pedlars the real circulating libraries of old-who carried their pamphlets to the distant corners of that wild land, and picked up their modest bread and butter in cottages which knew not the meaning of the things we call books. So that, while on the one hand Burdy rivals Boswell, on the other he imitates the simple bundles of jest and anecdote which the pedlars carried in their pack. Yet the result is not incongruous, because the biographer, with his genuine sense of humour and proportion, keeps the picture within its frame.
In 1781 Burdy, still student, was infatuated with the stories, which all Dublin repeated, of Skelton's vigour and skill in argument. So as Boswell sought Johnson in Davies's bookshop, Burdy sought the Irish divine in his humble lodging. He went with the avowed purpose of asking advice; but curiosity was stronger within him than interest, and his retentive memory was already prepared to feed a notebook. His reception was not so brusque as was Boswell's, yet it might have dismayed a less pertinacious admirer. Burdy
And Burdy has succeeded in the task of portraiture, because he was born with the talent of biography. One work was allotted for his accomplishment, and he accomplished it like a master. Skelton, no doubt, was the single man who fired his imagination, and as deep a sympathy united the two men, different though they were in temper, as united Johnson and his biographer. Burdy's other works are merely merely commonplace; his career was merely commonplace: once only did opportunity confront him, and he deserves to be remembered, because he seized the opportunity with both hands. His style is vigorous, and sometimes even dignified; he gathered his material by the Socratic method, and no doubt he put as many questions as the laird of Auchinleck; the authority for his most outrageous statements is always Skelton; and while he makes no attempt to soften his model, it is obvious that he has never put a too harsh edge upon the reverend gentleman's features. Above all, he has cultivated the anecdote with a zeal that might