FREEMASONS MONTHLY MAGAZINE - 1842
THE always talented, and sometimes eccentric, HARRIET MARTINEAU, in her Retrospect of "Western Travels," relates the following anecdote:- "Then came Captain L. with his five fine daughters. He looked too old to be their father; and well he might. When master of a vessel, he was set ashore by pirates, with his crew, on a desert Island, where he was thirty-six days without food. Almost all his crew were dead, and he just dying, when help arrived - by means of Freemasonry.
Among the pirates was a Scotchman, a Mason, as was Captain L. The two exchanged signs. The Scotchman could not give aid at the moment; but after many days of fruitless and anxious attempts, he contrived to sail back, at the risk of his life, and landed on the desert Island on the thirty-sixth day from his leaving it. He had no expectation of finding the party alive; but to take the chance and loose no time, he jumped ashore with a kettle full of wine in his hand. He poured wine down the throats of the few whom he found still breathing, and treated them so judiciously that they recovered. At least it was called recovery: but Capt. L.'s looks are very haggard and nervous still. He took the Scotchman home, and cherished him to the day of his death:'
It will probably be recollected by a portion of our readers, that while in this country, we believe in the year 1856, Miss Martineau, perhaps laboring under one of those fits of eccentricity which frequently lead her into acts of indiscretion, sided with the enemies of our Institution, and contributed of her talents and influence to bring it into disrepute and public contempt. It operated in her case, however, as did McFingal's gun, which "Being charged for duck, or plover, Shot wide and kicked its owner over."
Of the result of that exploit we do not complain. That which excites our surprise is, that she should have so far forgotten what is due to the character of an ingeuous and honorable opponent - a character that we had a right to expect to find in a lady of her intelligence - as to give publicity to an incident, the truth of which she does not doubt, so beautifully exhibiting the practical utility of the Order under its holier attributes - without the slightest reference to her previously expressed opinions. It afforded her an honorable opportunity to have acknowledged her error, and to have done tardy justice to an Institution, which, while writing the anecdote, she must have felt conscious she had wrongfully traduced. But her self-pride was permitted to triumph, even to the prejudice of her character for integrity and truth! Comment, however, was not necessary. The mere recital of the incident furnished a full refutation of all she had previously written against the Institution. She has given to her readers the evidence, that the heart of the renegade - dead to all other associations but that of crime - can be reached and awakened to a sense of the kindlier feelings of humanity, by the irresistible appeals of Freemasonry. The pirate-Mason, at the risk of his own life, saves that of his Brother! What a sweet spirit is here shown! - the pirate no more, but warmed by the benevolent affections, he pants to succor and to save. Even in such hands, the wine is blessed by Him whose ways are indeed mysterious.
Masonry superadds to our other obligations the strongest ties of connection between it and the cultivation of virtue, and furnishes the most powerful incentives to goodness. - DEWITT CLINTON.