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To stay in England was impossible, without exposing my pli to the terrors of the law. In this dilemma a fortunate circumstance occurred. There had lain at my brother's house, some of the principal officers of a privateer that was preparing for a cruize, and just then ready to sail. The captain took me on board with him ; and proper necessaries being provided for me, my sister giving me ten guineas in my pocket, recommended me to the protection of God and the worthy commander, who received me in the light of his clerk, and a sort of under-assistant to his purser.
Having been six months out upon a cruize, and having had but indifferent success, being on the coast of Florida, then in the hands of the Spaniards, we fell in with a squadron of their men of war; and being consequently taken without striking a stroke, we were all brought prisoners into the harbour of St. Helen's. I was now really tired of my life, and should have been glad to have ended it in the dungeon, where, with forty others of my countrymen, the enemy had put me ; but after three years confinement, we were let out, in order to be put on board transports, to be conveyed to Pennsylvania, and from thence to England. This was a disagreeable sentence to me, taking it for granted that a return home would be a return to the gallows. Being therefore, a tolerable master of the Spanish language, I solicited to be left behind; which favour I obtained, by means of the master of the prison : who not only took me into his house, as soon as my countrymen were gone; but, in a short time, procured me a small salary from the governor, for being his deputy.
Indeed, at this particular time the office was by no means agreeable. The coast had been long infested with pirates, the anost desperate gang of villains that can be imagined ; and scarce a month passed, but one or other of their vessels fell into the governor's hands, when the crew as constantly was put under my care. Once I very narrowly escaped being knocked on the head by one of the rutians, and having the keys taken from me: another time I was shot at. It is true, in both cases the persons suffered for their attempt, and in the last, I thought a little too cruelly; for the person that let off the carbine, was not only put to the torture to confess his accomplices, but afterwards troke on the wheel where he was left to expire, the most shocking spectacle I ever beheld.
I hari been in my office about three months, when a ship arrived from Port Royal, another Spanish settlement on the coast, and nine English prisoners on board. As they were coming from the port, to the governor's house, I thought something struck me in the face of one of them, that I had been before ac
quainted with. I could not then stop them; but in aboui an hour after, they were brought to the prison, till the governor signified his further pleasure.
As soon as the poor creatures found I was an Englishman, they were extremely happy. I now had an opportunity of taking notice of the man whose face I thought I knew, when I was more confirmed that I was not mistaken. At last it came to my mind, that this was the man for whose supposed murder I suffered so much in England.
The next morning I told them, if any of them had a mind to go about the town I would procure them permission, and go with them. This man said he would go. The three other prisoners that went along with us, walked a little before. I then looked him in the face, and said, Sir, were you ever at Deal? At that instant, putting his hand on my shoulder, tears came into his eyes. Sir, said I, if you are the man I take you for, you here see one of the most unfortunate of humankind. Pray, is your name Richard Collins ? He said, Yes. I replied, then I was hanged and gibbetted on your account in England.
After our mutual surprise, he made me give him a circumstantial account of every thing that happened to me, from the time we parted. When I came to the circumstance of my being hanged, and afterwards hung in chains, I could hardly prevail on him to believe my relation, till backed by the most solemn asseverations, pronounced in the most serious manner.
When I had done, Well, said he, young man, (for I was then but in my 25th year; he might be about three and forty) if you have sustained misfortunes on my account, do not imagine, (though I cannot lay them at your door) that I have been without my sufferings. God knows my heart, I am exceedingly sorry for the injustice which has been done you ; but the ways of Providence are unsearchable. He then informed me by what accident all my troubles had been brought about.
When you left me in bed, said he, having waked with an oppression I could not account for, I found myself exceedingly sick and weak, I groaned and sighed, and thought myself going to die, when, accidentally putting my hand to my left arm, in which I had been bled the morning before, I found the bandage having slipped, the orifice was opened, and a great flux of blood ensued. This immediately accounted for the condition I found myself in. I thought however, I would not disturb the family, which had gone to bed very late. I therefore mustered all my strength and got up, with my night gown loose about ine, in order to go to the man who had bled me, to have my arm tied up again. When I got into the street, a band of meu, armed with cutlasses and hangers, came and seized me, and hurried me to the beach. I begged and prayed, but they soon silenced my cries, by clapping a gag in my mouth. At first, I took them for a press gang, though I soon found they were a gang belonging to a privateer, aboard which they immediately hurried me. But before I got thither, loss of blood occasioned me to faint away. The surgeon of the ship, I suppose, tied up my arm ; for when my senses returned, I found myself in a hammoc, and somebody feeling my pulse. The vessel being then under way, I asked where I was? They said I was safe enough. I immediately called for my night gown, which was brought mę ; but of a considerable sum of money that was in the pocket, I could get no account. I complained to the captain of the robbery his men had committed ; but he laughed, and said I should soon have prize-money enough : so I was obliged to submit, to and for three months was forced to work before the mast. At last we met the same fate that you did : and by adventures parallel to your own, you see me here, on my return to our native country; and if you will accompany me I shall think myself happy.
There was nothing now to prevent my returning to England; and the ship being to sail in ten days, Mr. Collins and I determined to embark in it. When I told my master my resolulution, he did not dissuade me from it; because it gave him the opportunity of getting the office I held for a kinsman of his, to whom that very day I delivered up my trust. And here Providence was no less remarkable to me than in other particulars of my life ; for that night the pirates seized on the young man, while locking up the wards, took the keys from him, and left him for dead : and before the alarm could be given, five of them made their escape, by means of piratical boats that kept hovering about the coast.
On the 13th of November, 1712, I sent my trunk on board the Nostra Senora, Michael Deronza, master. About seven o'clock that evening, being in company with Signor Gaspar, my master, a lad came up, and said, the boat had been waiting for me; and that Mr. Collins was on board. I ran into the house to take leave of the family. I then made what haste I could to the quay, but found the boat had put off, and left word that I should overtake them at a little bay. I ran along the shore, and imagined I had a sight of the boat, and halloed as loud as I could; they answered, and put about to take me in : but we had scarce got fifty yards from land, when, on looking for Mr. Collins, I missed him; and then I found that instead of getting on board my own boat, which I could see a considerable way
the body had been long reduced to earth ; and it exhibited the appearance of a thick piece of well tanned leather.
In the art of embalming the Egyptians excelled all nations in the world: with them it was a common practice. Instances of the perfection to which they carried this art, may be seen in the numerous mummies, as they are called, which are found in dilferent European cabinets, and which have been all brought from Egypt. This people not only embalmed men and women, and thus kept the bodies of their beloved relatives from theempire of corruption, but they embalmed useful animals also. I have seen the body of the Ibis thus preserved ; and though the work had been done for some thousands of years, the very feathers were in complete preservation, and the colour of the plumage discernible. The account of this curious process, the articles used, and the manner of applying them, I subjoiu from Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, as also the manner of their mournings and funeral solemnities, which are highly illustrative of the subjects in this chapter.
"When any man of quality dies, says Herodotus, all the women of that family besmear their heads and faces with dirt; then leaving the body at home, they go lamenting up and down the city with all their relations; their apparel being girt about them, and their breasts left naked. On the other hand, the men, baring likewise their clothes girt about therr, beat themselves. These things being done, they carry the dead body to be embalmed; for which there are certain persons appointed who profess this art. These, when the body is brought to them, show to those that bring it, certain models of dead persons ia wood, according to which any of the deceased may be painted. One of these they say is accurately made like to one, whom, in, such a matter, I do not think lawful to name; (probably Osiris, one of the principal Gods of Egypt, is here intended,) then they shew a second inferior to it, and of an easier price; and next a third cheaper than the former, and of a very small value; which heing seen, they ask them after which model the deceased shall he represented. When they have agreed upon the price, they depart; and those with whom the dead corpse is left, proceed to embalm it after the following manner: first of all, they with a crooked iron draw the brain out of the head through the nostrils, next with a sharp Ethiopic stone, they cut np that part of the abdomen called the ilia, and that way draw out all the bowels, which having cleansed and washed with palm-wine, they again rinse and wash with wine perfumed with pounded odours: then filling up the belly with pure myrrhi and cassia grossly powdered, and all other vdours except frankincense, they sew it np again. Having so done, they salt it up close with nitre.