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reasons, you would ascribe it to a better motive

Anecdotes Home




Our father, anxious to
assist his family, devoted the produce of a life of industry to the
purchase of a vessel, for the purpose of trading to the coast of Barbary,
but was unfortunately taken by a pirate, carried to Tripoli, and sold as a
slave. In a letter we have received from him, he informs that he has
luckily fallen into the hands of a master who treats him with great
humanity; but the sum demanded for the ransom is so exorbitant, that it
will be impossible for him ever to raise it. He adds, that we must
therefore relinquish all hope of ever seeing him again. With the hopes of
restoring to his family a beloved father, we are striving by every honest
means in our power to collect the sum necessary for his ransom, and we are
not ashamed to employ ourselves for such a purpose in the occupation of
watermen." M. de Montesquieu was struck with this account, and on his
departure made them a handsome present. Some months afterwards, the young
men being at work in their shop, were greatly surprised at the sudden
arrival of their father, who threw himself into their arms; exclaiming at
the same time, that he feared they had taken some unjust method to raise
the money for his ransom, for it was too great for them to have gained by
their ordinary occupation. They professed their ignorance of the whole
affair; and could only suspect they owed their father's release to that
stranger to whose generosity they had before been so much obliged. Such,
indeed, was the case; but it was not till after Montesquieu's death that
the fact was known, when an account of the affair, with the sum remitted to
Tripoli for the old man's ransom, was found among his papers.





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