“Let every man remember that cause for courage, which may be most agreeable to his own habits and opinions,” concluded this imitator of the Hannibals and Scipios of old; “for that is the surest and the briefest method of bringing his mind into an obstinate state. In my own case, there is no want of motive; and I dare say each one of you may find some sufficient reason for entering heart and hand into this battle. Protests and credit! what would become of the affairs of the best house in the colonies, were its principal to be led a captive to Brest or l’Orient? It might derange the business of the whole city. I’ll not offend your patriotism with such a supposition, but at once believe that your minds are resolved, like my own, to resist to the last; for this is an interest which is general, as all questions of a commercial nature become, through their influence on the happiness and prosperity of society.”
Having terminated his address in so apposite and public-spirited a manner, the worthy burgher hemmed loudly, and resumed his accustomed silence, perfectly assured of his own applause. If the matter of Myndert’s discourse wears too much the air of an unvided attention to his own interests, the reader will not forget it is by this concentration of individuality that most of the mercantile prosperity of the world is achieved. The seamen listened with admiration, for they understood no part of the appeal; and, next to a statement which shall be so lucid as to induce every hearer to believe it is no more than a happy explanation of his own ideas, that which is unintelligible is apt to unite most suffrages in its favor.
“You see your enemy, and you know your work!” said the clear, deep, manly voice of Ludlow, who, as he passed among the people of the Coquette, spoke to them in that steady unwavering tone which, in moments of danger, goes to the heart. “I shall not pretend that we are as strong as I could wish; but the greater the necessity for a strong pull, the readier a true seaman will be to give it. There are no nails in that ensign. When I am dead, you may pull it down if you please; but, so long as I live, my men, there it shall fly! And now, one cheer to show your humor, and then let the rest of your noise come from the guns.”
The crew complied, with a full-mouthed and hearty hurrah!—Trysail assured a young, laughing, careless midshipman, who even at that moment could enjoy an uproar, that he had seldom heard a prettier piece of sea-eloquence than that which had just fallen from the captain; it being both ‘neat and gentleman-like.’
A charge too heavy for my strength; but yet
We’ll strive to bear it for your worthy sake,
To the extreme edge of hazard.”
All’s Well That End’s Well.