The Algerine captive; or, The life and adventures of Doctor Updike Underhill: six years a prisoner among the Algerines. [Three lines from Shakespeare] : Vol. I[-II]. : Published according to act of Congress.
Tyler, Royall, 1757-1826., Humphreys, David, 1752-1818, dedicatee.
Page  184

CHAP. XXIX.

But endless is the tribe of human ills,
And sighs might sooner cease than cause to sigh;

YOUNG.
ARGUMENT.

The arrival of other American Captives.

RETURNING from a jaunt into the city, I was immediately com|manded to retire to my room, and not to quit it, till further orders, which it was impracticable to do, as the doors were fas|tened upon me. The next morning my provisions were brought me, and the doors again carefully secured. Surprised at this imprisonment, I passed many rest|less hours in recurring to my past con|duct, and perplexing myself in searching for some inadvertent offence, or in dread|ful apprehension, lest the present impris|onment should be a prelude to future and Page  185 more severe punishment. The stone quar|ry came to my imagination in all its hor|rours, and the frowns of Abdel Melic again pierced my soul. I attempted in vain to obtain from the slave, who brought me provisions, the cause of my confinement. He was probably ignorant; my solici|tations were uniformly answered by a melancholy shake of the head. The next day, the director of the hospital ap|peared. To him I applied with great earnestness; but all the information he would give was, that it was by the Dey's order I was confined; and that he, with the physicians and my friend the Mollah were using all their influence to obtain my release. He counselled me to amuse myself in preparing and compound|ing drugs, and promised to see me again, as soon as he could bring any good news. About a week after, an officer of the court, with a city judge, entered my apartment, and informed me of the cause of my im|prisonment. Page  186 From them I learned, that several American vessels had been cap|tured; and, it was suspected, I had been conversing with my countrymen; and, from my superiour knowledge of the coun|try, I might advise them how to escape. If a man is desirous to know how he loves his country, let him go far from home; if to know how he loves his countrymen, let him be with them in misery in a strange land. I wish not to make a vain display of my patriotism, but I will say, that my own misfortunes, upon this intelligence, were so absorbed in those of my unfortunate fel|low citizens, thus delivered over to chains and torment, many of them perhaps sep|arated from the tenderest domestic con|nexions and homes of case, that, I thought, I could again have willingly en|dured the lashes of the slave driver, and sink myself beneath the burthens of slave|ry, to have saved them from an Algerine captivity. I could readily assure the Page  187 Dey's officers, that I had not conversed with my miserable countrymen; but, while I spake, the idea of embracing a fellow citizen, a brother christian, per|haps some one, who came from the same state, or had been in the same town, or seen my dear parents, passed in rapid suc|cession, and I was determined, betide what would, to seek them the first opportunity. We were soon joined by the Mollah, who repeatedly assured my examiners, that, though an infidel, I might be believed. By his solicitation, I was to be released; but not until I would bind myself by a solemn oath, administered after the chris|tian manner, that I would never speak to any of the American slaves. When this oath was proposed, I doubted whether to take it; but, recollecting that, if I did not, I should be equally debarred from seeing them, and suffer a grievous con|finement, which could do them no ser|vice, I consented and bound myself never Page  188 directly or indirectly to attempt to visit or converse with my fellow citizens in sla|very. It was, at the same time, intimat|ed to me, that for the breach of this oath I might expect to be impaled alive.—Often, when I have drawn near the places of their confinement and labours, I have regretted my submitting to this oath, and once was almost tempted to break it, at seeing Captain O'Brien at some distance.