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was among the dead. The bodies were dragged out of the hole by the soldiers, and thrown promiscuously into the ditch of an unfinished ravelin, which was afterwards filled with eartb.
Mr. Holwell, Mr.Court, Mr. Walcot, and Mr. Burdet, were ordered into the custody of an officer, and the rest were immediately set at liberty, except poor Mrs. Carey, whose youth and beauty caused her to be detained for the conqueror, or some officer of state.
Mr. Holwell, when he came out of the prison, was in a high fever, and not able to stand; he was, however, sent for, to be examined by the viceroy, and was in this condition carried into his presence. It was some time before he could speak, but as soon as he was able, he began to relate the sufferings and death of his unhappy companions. The viceroy, without taking any notice of this tale of distress, stopt him short by telling him, that he had been informed there was treasure to a very considerable value secreted in the fort, and that if he did not discover it, he must expect no mercy. Mr. Holwell replied, that he knew of no such treasure ; and then began to remind him of his assurance the day before, that no hurt should come either to himself or his friends. To this remonstrance he paid no more regard than he had done to the complaint, but proceeded in his inquiry concerning the treasure; and when he found no intelligence could be got, he ordered the general of his household troops, whose name was Mhir Muddon, to take charge of Mr. Holwell as his prisoner.
Among the guard that marched before Mr. Holwell, when he went out from the presence of the viceroy, there was a man who carried a large Mahratta battle-axe on his shoulder, which occasioned a report, first, that his head was ordered to be struck off, and afterwards that the sentence was executed.
It happened unfortunately, that Mr. Holwell, in the hurry and
confusion of the siege, after the fort had been deserted by Drake, forgot to set Omychund, the black merchant, whom Drake had injuriously imprisoned, at liberty. This neglect Omychund resented as an act of wilful injustice, and Mr. Holwell is of opinion, that if it had not been for Omychund's insinuations, he should have been discharged with the rest, notwithstanding the offence he had given to the viceroy by defending the fort, and the notion that prevailed of his being privy to the concealment of money; and in this opinion he says he is confirmed by the confinement
of the three gentlemen who were detained with him, who were all of them persons against whom Omychund was known to have conceived a particular resentment.
Mr. Holwell and his associates in captivity were conveyed in a kind of coach, drawn by oxen, called a hackery, to the camp, where they were loaded with fetters, and lodged in the tent of a Moorish soldier, which being not more than 4 feet by 3 feet, they were obliged to lie, sick as they were, half in and balf out the whole night, which happened to be very rainy; yet the next day their fever happily came to a crisis, and boils broke out on every part of their bodies, which, though they were extremely painful, were the certain presages of their perfect recovery. The next day they were removed to the coast, and by order of General Mhir Muddon, were soon after sent by sea to Maxadavad, the metropolis of Bengal, to wait the viceroy's return, and be disposed of as he should farther deterinine.
At Maxadavad they arrived after a voyage of thirteen days in a large boat, in which they had no better provision than rice and water, and no softer bed than some bamboos laid on the bottom timber of the vessel; they were, besides, exposed alternately to excessive heat and violent rains; without any covering but a bit of old mat and some scraps of sacking. The boils that covered them were become running sores, and the irons on their legs had consumed the flesh almost to the bone.
When they arrived at Maxadavad, Mr. Holwell sent a let. ter to Mr. Law, the chief of the French factory, with an account of their distress, and Mr. Law, with great politeness and humanity, sent them not only clothes, linen, provision, and liquors, in great plenty, but money.
About four o'clock on the 7th of July they landed, and after marching a considerable way as a spectacle to the multitude that thronged round them, they were deposited under an open shed, not far from the palace.
In this place they received every possible relief, not only from the great kindness of the French and Dutch chiefs, but the Arabian merchants.
On the 18th of July the viceroy arrived, and the prisoners then learned that he had inquired for them, in order to set them at liberty before he left Calcutta, and was offended with Mhir Muddon for having so hastily removed them to Maxadavad. He did not, however, order their immediate discharge when he arrived, which it is natural to suppose he would have done, if they had been detained in custody contrary to his inclinations.
On the 15th they were conducted to the palace, to have an audience, and to know their fate, but they could have no audience that day, which, as it happened, was a favourable circumstance, for at night the viceroy's grandmother solicited their liberty, at a feast, to which she was invited on his safe return, and the viceroy promised that he would release them on the morrow.
On the morrow, about five in the morning, they were waked, and told that the viceroy would in a few minutes pass by to his palace of Mooteejeel. Upon this intelligence they got up, and when the viceroy came in sight, they paid him the usual homage, and uttered their benediction aloud. He looked at them with strong marks of compassion in his countenance, and ordering his litter to stop, he called them to him, and having heard a short extemporary petition, which was spoken by Mr. Holwell, he made no reply, but ordered two of his officers to see their irons instantly struck off, and conduct them safely wherever they chose to go, giving them a strict charge to see that they suffered no injury or insult by the way.
This act of mercy, however late, or from whatever motive, was the more meritorious, as great pains were taken by some time-serving sycophants to prevent it. They told the viceroy, that Mr. Holwell, notwithstanding' his losses, was still possessed of enough to pay a considerable sum for his freedom, to which the viceroy nobly replied, “If he has any thing left, let him keep it; his sufferings have been great, and he shall have his liberty."
Mr. Holwell and his friends being thus dismissed, immediately took boat, and soon after arrived safe at the Dutch settlement at Corcemabad, where he afterwards embarked for England.
XXVII. Account of a threatening Letter sent to the Duke of
Marlborough, and a Prosecution which his Grace carried on against William Barnard, supposing him to have written it.
ON the 29th of November, his Grace the Duke of Marlborough received the following letter from an unknown hand.
"To his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, with care and speed.
“Xxviltı November, "As ceremony is an idle thing upon most occasions, more especially to persons in my state of mind, I shall proceed immediately to acquaint you with the motive and end of addressing this epistle to you, which is equally interesting to us both: you are to know then, that my present situation in life, is such, that I should prefer annihilation to a continuance in it: desperate diseases require desperate remedies, and you are the man I have pitched upon, either to maké me, or to unmake yourself. As I never had the honour to live aniong the great, the tenour of my proposals will not be very courtly, but let that be an argument to enforce a belief of what I am now going to write; it has employed my invention for some time, to find out a method to destroy another, without exposing my own life; that I have accomplished, and defy the law;—now for the application of it. I am desperate and must be provided for; you have it in your power; it is my business to make it your inclination to serve me; which you must determine to comply with, by procuring me a genteel support for my life; or your own will be at a period, before this session of parliament is over. I have more motives than one for singling you out first, upon this occasion: and I give you this fair warning, because the means I shall make use of are too fatal to be eluded by the power of physic: if you think this of any consequence you will not fail to meet the author, on Sunday next at ten in the morning, or on Monday (if the weather should be rainy on Sunday) near the first tree beyond the stile in Hyde-park, in the foot walk to Kensington: secresy and compliance may preserve you from a double danger of this sort, as there is a certain part of the world, where your death has more than been wished for upon other motives; I know the world too well to trust this secret in any breast but my own; a few days determine ine your friend or enemy.
"You will apprehend that I mean you should be alone, and depend upon it that a discovery of any artifice in this affair will be fatal to you: my safety is insured by my silence, for confession only can condemn me.' In consequence
of this letter, his Grace went to the place
appointed at 10 o'clock on the Sunday morning: he was on horseback, had pistols before him, and as he was without a great coat, his star was easily to be seen. He was without any attendant, but had a friend in the park, who kept at such a distance as scarcely to be noticed. When he first came up to the tree he saw nobody either at it or near it, whom he could suspect to be the person : he continued some time about the same spot, but nobody appearing, he rode away. It happened, that when he came to Hyde-park corner, and turned his horse, he saw somebody stand loitering and looking at the water over the bridge, within twenty yards of the tree. This induced him to ride back, which he did very gently, and passing by the person expected him to speak to him, but was disappointed. He passed by him a second time, and the person still taking no notice, his Grace made him a bow and asked him if he had not something to say to him. He replied, No; I don't know you. His Grace then said, 'I am the Duke of Marlborough; now you know me I imagine you have something to say to me. He replied, No, I have not ; and his Grace then rode away.
The next day, or the day after, the Duke received a second letter, as follows:
“ To his Grace the Duke of Marlborough. “ MY LORD, “ You receive this as an acknowledgement of your punctuality as to the time and place of meeting on Sunday last, though it was owing to you, that it answered no purpose. The pageantry of being armed, and the ensign of your order, were useless, and too conspicuous; you needed no attendant, the place was not calculated for mischief, nor was any intended; if you walk in the west aisle of Westminster-abbey, towards 11 o'clock on Sunday next, your sagacity will point out the person, whom you will address, by asking his company to take a turn or two with you; your will not fail on inquiry, to be acquainted with the name, and place of abode, according to which directions, you will please to send two or three hundred pound bank notes the next day by the penny post. Exert not your curiosity too early: it is in your power to make me grateful on certain ternis. I have friends who are faithful, but they do not bark before they bite.
“I am, &c.