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us by their rising occasionally to the surface, or by coming within the shallow reach of our nets and lines; but who shall assure me that the unfathomable abyss of ocean, an aqua incognita, into whose mysteries man has never even attempted to penetrate, is not tenanted by living monsters analogous-at least in their gigantic proportions-to the extinct mammoth, mastodon, and megatherium that once over-awed the earth?
In those unknown waters, "deeper than did ever plummet sound, may lurk, perchance, the stupendous sea-serpent, whose occasional apparition in our shuddering upper waters rests on the unimpeachable evidence of many an American skipper! There, too, half filling some ocean vastness, might possibly be found the mighty Kraken, whose immeasurable amplitude it were contumacious to doubt, since it has the episcopal authority of Pontoppidan: and from those depths, haply, may emerge some communicative mermaid, not only to confirm the fact of her disputed existence, but to reveal to us from what submerged Sheffield she procures the hand-glass and the comb, which are indispensable to her proper equipment.
Graceful and honourable was the classic tribute to the sea and to its tenants, when a Deity was presumed to be their monarch; when Neptune and Amphitrite, reclining in their pearly car, were surrounded by shell-blowing Tritons, and dolphin-riding Nereids, scarcely less beautiful than the froth-born Venus; and the waves, the snorting and foaming coursers of the god, arched their proud necks as they drew the triumph over the welcome-flashing waters. But these are dreams of imagination, the fond invention of Heathen mythologists—" a breath unmakes them as a breath hath made." Hey, presto, pass!-they are gone.
Let us descend in the safe diving-bell of fancy, to the unseen and untrodden floor of the deep sea, and we shall find, in the grandeur and beauty of the piscatory empire, a habitation worthy of its occupants. Here are the mingled wrecks of time and chance, and of a bye-gone world, which have lain undisturbed for thousands of years, and on which no human eye hath ever rested. Here, amid growing sea plants, and living corals, that vie with each other in the brilliancy of their hues, repose the ghastly remains of submerged fleets and armaments, the sailor's skeleton lying beside the still loaded, but innocuous cannon; the soldier's, beside the rusty sword which he once wielded; the skulls of both encircled, perchance, by floated weeds, as if in mockery of a laurel wreath. Here lie, in glittering heaps, the gold and silver treasures "won from a thousand royal argosies," the hands that would once have risked life to grasp them, now gleaming amid the doubloons and the dollars in bony immobility. Here are wrecked merchant ships from the Indian Isles, making the surrounding waters aromatic with their scattered spices and perfumes. Here are the skeletons of relations, lovers, friends, still locked in the death embrace of their sudden immersion; sad proofs, alas! of man's perishable nature, and of the mouldering processes that make death unsightly; but cheering evidence, also, of the imperishable affections that render life delightful. In these hidden repositories may still exist the bones of Sappho, the tenth Muse, who threw herself into the whelming waves from the Leucadian rock ;-of the murdered Orpheus, whose corse was carried-" down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore;"
―of Milton's friend, who by his watery death obtained immortality in the exquisite poem of Lycidas;-of the royal, the noble, the beautiful, the good, the gifted;-of the highest, the best, the proudest specimens of human nature.
And amid all this dead greatness of man, the most insignificant living fish may ply his fins at leisure, looking contemptuously down upon the wrecks beneath, and fastidiously declining to pasture upon any less delicate diet than a beautiful and newly-drowned sultana from the Bosphorus !
Reader! I have pleaded my cause, and if you can shake off the pride, prejudice, and esprit de corps of the featherless biped, I have little doubt of your deciding by your verdict that
"FISH" ARE THE REAL LORDS OF CREATION.
THE FIGHTING FAIRFAXES.*
EXPERIENCE has long shown that fair-haired men, and races of men, are more prone to contest than dark. It is not more common that gray locks are "pursuivants of death," than that iron-coloured hair is indicative of the propensity to fight. The red Esau was a daring hunter, while Jacob was a peaceful shepherd. The ancient and renowned family of Fairfaxes derived their name from a true Saxon peculiarity-their fairhair. There were also always one or more of the family ready to distinguish themselves by feats of arms.
"A military and a poetical spirit," says a biographer of Thomas Lord Fairfax, "had characterised the house of Fairfax for many generations."
There is no doubt, also, that that spirit was more characteristic of the gallant Parliamentary general, than an unworthy love of intrigue, or a corrupt ambition, or, when Derby stands unchallenged in the first rank of the martyrs of loyalty, Fairfax would not have followed in the rearguard of the confessors of republicanism.
The main feature in the character and disposition of that branch of the Fairfaxes from which Thomas Lord Fairfax descended, besides its hereditary military spirit, was a stern and unbending Puritanism, which originated primarily in the circumstance of the head of the family, Sir Thomas Fairfax, of Denton, having been disinherited by his father, Sir William Fairfax, of Steeton, and of Denton, because of his Protestantism, and his having engaged, after the manner of aspiring youths in that age, in the wars of Charles V. and Francis I. as a voluntary, and having assisted at the sack of Rome, with Bourbon, in 1527. In the case of Ferdinando Lord Fairfax, these sentiments and tendencies received a further impulse from the feelings imbibed in carrying on wars of religious propagandism abroad, and in the instance of Thomas Lord Fairfax, the Parlia
The Fairfax Correspondence. Memoirs of the Reign of Charles I. Edited by George W. Johnson, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. Vol. I. and II.
mentary general, there were superadded to all these, a union with a lady enthusiastically devoted, politically and religiously, to the cause of the Presbyterians. Always in extremes, Fare, Fac-say, do; as the name of the family is quaintly Latinised, after the fashion of canting heraldry, is singularly appropriate and expressive of the characteristics of its leading
Sir Thomas, although he was deprived by the above circumstances of numerous manors, including the family estate of Steeton, was not left wholly without provision. He inherited Denton in right of his mother, and from this source sprang that line of Fairfaxes who raised the historical reputation of the name to a greater height than it had ever reached before; and whose correspondence will occupy the important and interesting work, about to be given to the public by Mr. Bentley, and which correspondence the first two volumes now before us can only be said to open. There are indeed in this first portion of the correspondence, many letters of interest, but more curious than amusing, and more valuable as evidences of character, than instructive in an historical point of view. As the work advances, the interest of the correspondence will undoubtedly increase very much, especially when we enter more upon the stirring and eventful period of the Civil War. In the mean time we shall continue with our text of the " Fighting Fairfaxes" as the true key to the character of the family, and to the part which it was led to take in the great national struggle of puritanism succeeded by democratic turbulence and ambition, against sovereign rights and kingly errors.
In doing so we shall make the "Historical and Biographical Memoir of the Fairfax Family" attached to the two first volumes of the "Correspondence" our guide, commenting as we go on, but regardless of a disputed authorship, as it is evident that the materials are derived from the usual accredited sources; Clarendon, Burnet, Rushworth, &c., and still more particularly from the "Analecta Fairfaxiana," so invaluable in a research of this kind.
Thomas, eldest son of the first Sir Thomas Fairfax, of Denton, was knighted by Henry IV. of France, or rather, hy the Earl of Essex, for his valour displayed before Rouen, in the English force sent to the assistance of the French Protestant cause; and he afterwards signalised 'himself in the German wars against the House of Austria. Another son, Charles, was a captain, under Sir Francis Vere, at the Battle of Newport, fought in 1600, and in the three years' siege of Ostend, commanded all the English in that town some time before it surrendered. According to the "Memoir," Colonel Charles Fairfax was Governor of Ostend, and was slain at the siege by a wound in the face from a piece of the skull of a marshal of France, who was killed close to him by a cannon ball. This is not at all likely. It is more generally received that he was slain in 1604, and that at the siege of Ostend he only received a severe wound in the face from the splinter of the French marshal's skull.
Edward Fairfax, the translator of Tasso, was another son of Sir Thomas's. Collins says of Edward Fairfax, that "himself believed the wonders that he sung." He was indeed so much affected with the superstitions of his age, that it is related that he believed his children to have been bewitched, and that so firmly, that even the verdict of acquittal by a jury, little disposed as juries then were (or dared to be) to
favour witches, failed in convincing him to. the contrary, for he left behind him a manuscript, entitled "Dæmonologia: a Discourse of Witchcraft, as it was acted in the Family of Mr. Edward Fairfax, of Fugistone, in the County of York, in the Year 1621."
John and William Fairfax, also sons of Sir Thomas, repaired, in 1620, to the Low Countries, from whence the Prince of Orange was to furnish them with sufficient convoy of horse for their further transport to the Palatinate, and it appears from a letter from William Fairfax to his brother, that Sir Thomas himself joined the army on this occasion, and participated in the hardships of the campaign.
The report of Spinola's intention to prevent our passage, has brought my white-headed father into the Low Countries, who, since his coming amongst us, is grown forty years younger than he was before; he resolves to make one (of us), and to that end has provided himself of horse and arms, and all other necessaries. He is received here with very great respect; the memory of his former actions, as well in those parts as in France, being the chiefest cause thereof.
Sir Thomas returned, however, soon after to England, but John was wounded in an attempt made upon a bridge held by the enemy on the Rhine. He thus quaintly records it :-"There it pleased God I should receive so favorable a shot through my arm, and made no entrance into my side, but only bruised a rib, that in three weeks was well recovered, but that it is somewhat stiff and must be recovered by use." The fate of these brave, but unfortunate, young Englishmen, was singularly melancholy. They both fell in the defence of Frankenthale, and the manner of their death is contained in the following extract from a letter of Sir John Burrough's.
Your son, John Fairfax, on Friday night, the 5th of October, being in an outwork, which forty of your son's company and as many of mine did guard, and my ensign-bearer to command them. The work was, within a quarter of an hour after the shutting in of the day, assaulted by the enemy, and after being defended some half an hour, the enemy took it and put to the sword all they found there, except three of mine and five of your son's company, which they took prisoners, and some few others that escaped: myself was then a near eye-witness of this loss, which could not but afflict me; for I had many good friends there, besides some that were near me in blood. When I saw it was gone, and no hope of recovery, I retired from thence, and went to another side of the town, where I heard the enemy was continuing an assault. In the way upon the bridge into the town, I met your son, the captain who then executed the place of serjeant-major, and had been giving out of orders. I told him what had happened, and that I would go to the other side of the town to see what was a doing there. I told him I had left some musqueteers in the next work to that the enemy had taken from us, with a sergeant, and entreated him that he would take some pikes out of the next work where he then was, and go where I had left those musqueteers, for fear the enemy should advance further; whilst he was drawing out those pikes, some soldiers that had been at the work told him particularly of that which happened, and of his brother's death. He it seems, being moved with it, advanced forward towards the work the enemy possessed of ours, and in the way the enemy met him at the push of the pike, and gave him a blow with the pike in the body, and tumbled him down; but he was rescued by those who were with him, the chief whereof was one Foxcroft, his clerk, and a soldier of mine, one Carr, of both which I heard him give a great many of good words, and how much he was beholden to them. This wound in his body made him keep his lodgings a week, so as that Friday se'nnight which he was hurt, towards the evening he
came down into the ravelin the English guarded, and there meant to watch all night, though many persuasions were used to him to the contrary, for his strength was not fit for it, yet he would have his own will; and, to show he was strong and well, he would go to the wall to shoot off a piece; at which instant, one of the enemy's cannon gave fire and pierced the parapet, lighted on his thigh, and broke the bone; so as that night, towards the morning, he died.
A great assembly of the people, soldiery, magistrates, and burghers took place upon the occasion of a monument being inaugurated to the memory of the valiant brothers.
Sir Thomas Fairfax had the misfortune to lose two other sons in the same year, 1621. They were also serving abroad; Thomas, who was killed in Turkey, and Peregrine, who was slain under the walls of Montaban. The particulars of the fall of the latter, possess all the interest
of chivalrous romance.
During the siege of Rochelle, one Hicks, an Englishman, undertook the dangerous enterprise of conveying a letter from Rochelle to Montaban, through the camps of both armies, in order to encourage the garrison of Montaban to hold out against the assaults of the enemy, by apprising them of the good condition of the Rochellers, notwithstanding the large force by which they were surrounded. Hicks, who was a man of great nerve and daring, made clear his passage through the army before Rochelle, and arrived in safety at Thoulouse, where the Viscount Doncaster was ambassador from Charles the First. Here he joined the English, and fell in amongst the rest with Peregrine Fairfax, who belonged to the train of the ambassador. Finding young Fairfax of a bold and gallant spirit, and being anxious to have a companion with him in the perilous business he had undertaken, Hicks persuaded Peregrine to ride with him to Montaban. It being known that they were of the ambassador's train. they obtained free access to the works and avenues, Hicks all the time secretly watching his opportunity to fly into the town. According to the reports which reached England of this transaction, Peregrine Fairfax was entirely ignorant of the mission upon which Hicks was engaged, and was merely made use of by Hicks as an instrument through whose unconscious assistance, as a member of the ambassador's retinue, he would be the better enabled to effect his object. While they were both in the outworks amongst the troops, Hicks saw a favourable moment for the execution of his design; and, upon the instant, putting spurs to his horse, got off into the town through a shower of bullets, leaving Fairfax (astonished at the suddenness of the action) to fall a victim to the rage of the French soldiery. Their first impulse, after stripping him of his coat and pocket, was to kill him, but he drew his sword, and, making a desperate struggle for his life, was covered with wounds, and carried away into Montaban, where he lingered for a fortnight.
Charles Fairfax, the compiler of the "Analecta Fairfaxiana," was a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, but the family leaven was within him also, and in the Civil War he obtained the command of a regiment, in which situation he acquired the intimate friendship of General Monk, to whom he stood firm with his regiment in Scotland when the rest of the army wavered. He was subsequently made Governor of Hull (1659).
There are, however, no rules without exception. One of the sons of Sir Thomas (Henry) was more fortunate in his choice and mode of life. Having entered the Church, and been nominated by his father to the living of Bolton Percy, his quiet career offers a touching contrast to the turmoil and struggle in which the other members of the family existed. "He lived in seclusion, discharging the duties of his office with unremitting