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remarks (offered with extreme diffidence, though with great sincerity,) on corporal punishment in the army, and on other subjects upon which I deem myself privileged to avow my sentiments, with the conviction that I cannot possibly give offence to any one.
If, among the anecdotes which I have introduced, the eye of criticism may detect many which may be deemed of too trivial a nature, and devoid of that piquancy which can alone confer a value on such light and unimportant materials, I can only plead that I may have been led to over-estimate their merit, from the hearty laughter which they created when they were first noted by me ; and I trust it will be recollected that it is a rough soldier who has ventured to think them worthy of publicity. So, also, if in my account of the battles and sieges in which I have had the honour to participate, my details shall appear flimsy or meagre, more especially as concerns the objects of the government of India in the various campaigns in which I have been engaged, be it re. membered that I do not profess to know their designs; that my constant occupation in my professional duties afforded me no time to study them; and that it is the subaltern's duty to act, and not to reason.
It is with considerable pain that I feel myself bound to confess that my principal object in submitting these memoirs to the notice of the public, is the hope of attracting attention to my present unfortunate situation. Inured, I may almost say from my infancy, to the pursuits of war; having always been an enthusiastic admirer of the profession of a soldier; and having attestations that on many perilous occasions I have performed the duties of that profession to the satisfaction of my superiors; I cannot but admit that I teel with intense severity the sentence which condemns me to be no longer an aspirant in the field of glory. To the justice of that sentence I bow with humility, for it seems to be the opinion of my best
friends that I acted intemperately under mistaken notions; but its effect I must ever feel acutely, and I cannot refrain from expressing a hope which I can never cease to indulge—that I shall not be permitted, at the age of forty-three, and in active and vigorous health, to linger out my days an outcast from that profession in which my life has hitherto been spent; for which I am qualified by nature and babit ; and to which I am enthusiastically attached by inclination.
My memoirs, such as they art, I leave to the indulgent consideration of a liberal public.
In the ponderous mouldy register of the little markettown of Saxmundham, in the county of Suffolk, covered with the red remnants of the old worn-out velvet pulpit. cushion of the said village churchi, into which the Christian religion had been beaten and enforced, both with clenched fist and pointed elbow, and which now plainly told the congregation that it had at last yielded only to Parson Brown's impressive manner and arguments; in this prodigious volume,---protected by huge brass clasps, which naught but the rough hand of the man of skulls* could force to obedience, after the oft-wetted thumb had aroused some hundreds of gigantic leaves from their peaceful slumber, and the book had opened wide its time-worn pages, there was (and I doubt not is still to be) discovered, a plainly-written record, setting forth, in most intelligible terms, that I, John Shipp, the humble author of these mémoirs, came into this wicked and untoward generation, on the 16th day of March, A. D. 1785. If this register be an authentic enrolment, which I have neither reason nor inclination to doubt, I was the second son of Thomas and
* The sexton of the parish.
Letitia Shipp,--persons of honest fame, but in indigent circumstances, who had both “ drank deep” of the cup of
Of the latter of those dear parents I was bereft in my infancy; and, as my father was a soldier in a foreign clime, thus was I thrown on the world's tempestuous ocean, to buffet with the waves of care, and to encounter the breakers of want.
At the death of my poor mother, I was left, with my elder brother, in utter destitution. The advantage which other children derive from the support and good counsel of an affectionate father, we had never known; and we were now suddenly bereft of a fond mother's fostering care, and, with it, of our humble paternal home. Where, under such circumstances, could we look for protection ? Friends we had few, if any; and those who might have been generously disposed to assist us, were, unfortunately, incapacitated, by their own distessed circumstances, from extending a helping hand towards us. Need I feel shame, then, in avowing that there was one place of refuge, and one place only, in which two helpless orphans could obtain, at once, food, clothes, and shelter ; and that that one asylum was-the village poor-house!
At the age of nine I was deprived of my brother, who was pressed on board a man-of-war. He was a remarkably fine youth of about fourteen; and, being of a wildspirited disposition, I have every reason to believe that but little pressing was required to induce him to go to sea; but rather, that being, like myself, bomeless and dependent, he gladly availed himself of the opportunity which offered of setting his youthful heart free from bondage, by becoming a volunteer in the service of his country. Since that period (now upwards of thirty years) I have never heard of him! Whether he early met a watery grave, or still lives, I know not; but this I know, and cannot restrain myself from stating, that the uncertainty of his fate haunts me day and night, and stands an eternal barrier between me and peace
Could I but again see him, though it were even as a wandering mendicant, in the tattered garb of poverty, it would afford me comparative happiness to what I now feel from entire ignorance of his doom. Should this simple narrative, by any possible chance, happen to