HOB.kRI PASHA'S life does not command our respect except, in- deed, for daring and manliness ; but of all autobiographies that have ever been published, this is the most entertaining. Except, perhaps, in the last chapter, there is not a dull page in the book. It is more like a novel of Captain Marryat's or Mayne Reid's than the staid and sober narratives which usually appear under the somewhat awe-inspiring title of autobiographies. It is one continual flow of adventures, told in a vigorous, idiomatic, and colloquial style, which in every line shows the man of action and activity overflowing with animal spirits. Whether the adven- tures all really happened, or happened as they are told, is no great matter. They are:ben irovati if they are not veri. Hobart began life in the Navy at thirteen, in the year 1835, and his experiences were not at all unlike those of Mr. Peter Simple The first thing he saw on board was a boat's crew savagely flogged with the " cat " for keeping the Captain waiting a few minutes. Hobart cried, or got into somebody's way, and was promptly ordered to the mast- head, never having been on a ship before. He went up, giddy and terror-struck, a sailor who gave him a hand was ordered below and instantly flogged, and Hobart had to stay for hours. When ordered down, he fainted directly he touched the deck. For three years he suffered most shameful treatment from this Captain, who, by the way, was a cousin. When the ship was paid off, the Captain offered him a seat in his carriage. He answered that "he would rather crawl home on his hands and knees ;" and so ended the acquaintance. If this was the kind of treatment given to the son of a lord, we can imagine the sort of life led by the sailors, one of whom, indeed, according to the author, was flogged one day merely to amuse a guest at breakfast. The treatment did not, fortunately, break the author's spirit, as the story of his leavetaking shows. A short time after his first voyage was over, he was sent to join the Naval Brigade in Spain, where he underwent his "baptism of fire," and "candidly admits" that he was in mortal terror, and at the first shell near him, fell down on his face, whereon Lord John Hay, who was close to him, gave him a severe kick, and told him to get up. By the end of the engagement he had forgotten all about fear, and was thirsting for blood. From Spain Hobart was sent to Rio and Monte Video. At the latter place, he telli an amusing story of how his ship was saluting two French ships, one on each side, on Louis Philippe's birthday, but unfortunately the " tompions," or wooden stoppers to the • S'retrlies from mu Life. By:the late Admiral Hobart Pasha. Lo adon': Long- man., Green, and Co.
mouths of the glans, had been left in, with the result of" spread- ing consternation on the decks of the French vessels, crowded with strangers, French merchants, &c., as those horrid tompions and their adjuncts," great pieces of wadding, "went flying' amongst them." Hobart, being the only officer who could speak French, was sent to apologise. "The French Captain, with the courtesy of his nation, took the mishap most good-humouredly, begging me to return the tompions to the Captain, as they had no occasion for them." At Buenos Ayres, to which the ship was shortly afterwards ordered, "that paradise of pretty women,"
every one, from the Captain downwards, fell in love. The author himself, then of the mature age of seventeen, ran away with a young lady of sixteen ; bat, unfortunately, the mother was in love with him as well as the daughter :— " I should have been married if the mother hadn't run after us. She didn't object to our being married ; but in the meantime she remained with us, and she managed to make the country home we- had escaped to, with the intention of settling down there, so unbear- able, that, luckily for me as regards my future, I contrived to get away, and went as fast as I could on board my ship for refuge, never landing again during our stay at Buenos lyres."
At Rio, when Hobart was there, yellow-fever was unknown, but. snakeswere painfully common, though there, as elsewhere, our hero's experiences were certainly not common. He remem- bered,— " At a villa almost in the town of Rio a lady jamping up from her seat with a deadly whip-snake hanging on her dress. I once myself sat on an adder, who put his fangs through the woollen stuff of my inexpressibles, and could not escape Once, while walking in the woods with some friends, we found a little Indian boy dead on the ground, one of these big snakes [anacondas, a sort of boa-con- strictor on a large scale] lying within a foot or so of him, also dead ; the snake had a poisoned arrow in his brain, which evidently had been shot at him by the poor little boy, whose blow-pipe was lying by his side. The snake must have struck the boy before it died, as we found a wound on the boy's neck. This reptile measured twenty-two feet in length."
In South American waters, the British ships were chiefly employed in suppressing the slave trade. The Pasha is of opinion (notwithstanding the hatred of tyranny and oppression which he says he learnt on his first man-of-war), that "the black man is an inferior animal," and "the dark races are meant to be drawers of water and hewers of wood. I do not deny that they have souls to be saved, but I believe that their role in this world is to attend on the white man ;" and he thinks that our efforts to put down the slave trade were an uncalled-for inter- ference with the designs of Providence, and an aggravation of the evils intended to be remedied. He thinks that the close packing of the negroes in the slavers, and the awful tortures inflicted thereby, were due to our efforts to capture them. But it is sufficiently well known that before these efforts began, the horrors of the middle passage were so great as to convert the English borough-mongering Parliament to the necessity of the suppression of the English slave trade ; and we may feel pretty confident that Portuguese slavers were not more generous of deck space, or sparing of whips and chains and knives. However, Hobart, as usual, did his duty gallantly, and tells some exciting stories of slave-captures. On one occasion, when sent with three boats after a large slave-brig, just as he was preparing for action it was discovered that the percussion-caps had been left behind. He nevertheless fired his small cannon with lucifer- matches, followed the vessel to the shore, and at night boarded with cutlasses, only to find the slaves landed and the vessel deserted. Hobart was sent in charge of the brig to Rio, and on the way ran right into another slave-schooner crammed with slaves. The sight on board was sickening :— "There were 460 Africans on board. The schooner had been eighty-five days at sea. They were short of water and provisions; three distinct diseases—namely, small-pox, ophthalmia, and diarrhoea in its worst form—had broken out On opening the hold, we saw a mass of arms, legs, and bodies all crashed together. Many of the bodies to whom these limbs belonged were dead and dying
and we found eleven dead bodies lying among the living freight. Water ! water ! was the cry. Many of them, as soon as free, jumped into the sea, partly from the delirious state they were in, partly because they had been told that if they were taken by the English they would be tortured and eaten The strangest thing amidst this confusion of horrors was that children were constantly being born. In fact, just after I got on board, an unfortunate creature was delivered of a child close to where I was standing, and jumped into the sea, baby and all, immediately afterwards. She was saved with much difficulty, the more so as she seemed particularly to object to being rescued."
It must be allowed that these freed slaves had not very much to be thankful for, as after having been cleaned, clothed, and fed, they were sent to a British Colony—e g., Demerara, which he describes as "one of the vilest holes in creation "—" to serve seven years as apprentices (something, I must admit, very like slavery)." But there does not seem to be any evidence in support of his statement that afterwards," I fear, they generally used their freedom in a way that made them a public nuisance wherever they went."
After South America, our hero took part in the Baltic fiasco, under Sir Charles Napier, when the finest fleet England ever sent out pottered away its time doing nothing. According to Hobart, Napier had lost his stomach for fight, and on one critical occasion confessed, "I haven't the nerve to do it, and I'm d—d well sure 0—hasn't." Such are the evil effects of superannuated commanders. By far the most exciting chapters in the book are those which give an account of the blockade-running daring the American Civil War, in which Hobart, being then a Post Captain ashore with nothing to do, took a prominent part, under the nom de guerre of "Captain Roberts." Jules Verne never invented a nautical tale half as fascinating as the voyages of the 'D—u' between Nassau and Wilmington. The stories depend too much on circumstance to bear reproduction; but the ways in which, sometimes by a rush, sometimes by stop- ping dead short, sometimes by recklessness, sometimes by cautious cunning, she evaded the American cruisers which crowded the sea, would furnish incidents enough for half- a-dozen naval novels. When we turn from blockade-run- ning at Wilmington to blockading at Crete, we cannot help regretting that any Englishman of Hobart's pluck and go, and of his hatred of tyranny, should have sold his sword to the Turks to coerce Crete. As for his anti-Russian performances in the Russo-Turkish War, they were all done in open warfare against a stronger Power; and though we may be glad that his advice to contest the Russian advance by land and sea on the first line of defence—the Danube—was not taken, we may yet feel a legitimate pride in the prowess of our countryman. His trip down the Danube, running the gauntlet of the torpedoes, was a splendid instance of the old Drake spirit ; while the suc- cessful way in which he kept the Russian fleet checkmated, and held his own fleet harmless against the Russian torpedoes, shows that pluck, and skill, and sailorlike readiness of resource are in- dispensable adjuncts to naval commanders even in these days. Most of these tales of torpedoes have been told by the writer in the magazines. We can only regret that his life was cut short while he was still engaged on these memoirs, and that this nine- teenth-century Raleigh will give us no more examples of audacity in action, or liveliness in literature.