Benyowsky, Count Mauritius Augustus De

, an adventurer of very dubious, but not uninteresting character, one of the Magnates of the kingdoms of Hungary and Poland, was born in the year 1741, at Verbowa, the hereditary lordship of his family, situated in Nittria, in Hungary. After receiving the education which the court of Vienna affords to the youth of illustrious families, at the | age of fourteen years, he fixed on the profession of arms. He was accordingly received into the regiment of Siebenschien, in quality of lieutenant; and joining the Imperial army, then in the field against the king of Prussia, was present at the battles of Lowositz, Prague, Schweidnitz, and Darmstadt. In 17,38, he quitted the Imperial service and hastened into Lithuania, at the instance of his uncle the starost of Benyowsky, and succeeded as his heir to the possession of his estates. The tranquillity, however, which he now enjoyed was interrupted by intelligence of the sudden death of his father, and that his brothers-in-law had taken possession of his inheritance. These circumstances demanding his immediate presence in Hungary, he quitted Lithuania with the sole view of obtaining possession of the property of his family; but his brothers-in-law by force opposed his entrance into his own castle. He then repaired to Krussava, a lordship dependant on the castle of Verbowa, where, after having caused himself to be acknowledged by his vassals, and being assured of their fidelity, he armed them, and by their assistance gained possession of all his effects; but his brothers, having represented him at the court of Vienna as a rebel and disturber of the public peace, the empress queen issued a decree in chancery against him, by which he was deprived of his property, and compelled to withdraw into Poland. He now determined to travel; but after taking several voyages to Hamburgh, Amsterdam, and Plymouth, with intention to apply himself to navigation, he received letters from the magnates and senators of Poland, which induced him to repair to Warsaw, where he joined the con?­federation then forming, and entered into an obligation, upon oath, not to acknowledge the king, until the confederation, as the only lawful tribunal of the republic, should have declared him lawfully elected to oppose the Russians by force of arms and not to forsake the colours of the confederation so long as the Russians should remain in Poland. Leaving Warsaw, in the month of December, he attempted to make his rights known at the court of Vienna; but disappointed in this endeavour, and deprived of all hope of justice, he resolved to quit for ever the dominions of the house of Austria. On his return to Poland, he was attacked, during his passage through the county of Zips, with a violent fever and being received into the house of Mr. Hensky, a gentleman of distinction, he paid | his addresses and was married to one of his three daughters, but did not continue long in possession of happiness or repose. The confederate states of Poland, a party of whom had declared themselves at Cracow, observing that the count was one of the first who had signed their union at Warsaw, wrote to him to join them and, compelled by the strong tie of the oath he had taken, he departed without informing his wife, and arrived at Cracow on the very day count Panin made the assault. He was received with open arms by martial -Czarnesky, and immediately appointed colonel general, commander of cavalry, and quarter-master-general. On the 6th of July 1768, he was detached to Navitaig to conduct a Polish regiment to Cracow, and he not only brought the whole regiment, composed of six hundred men, through the camp of the enemy before the town, but soon afterwards defeated a body of Russians at Kremenka rechiced Landscroen, which prince Lubomirsky, who had joined the confederacy with two thousandregular troops, had attempted in vain and, by his great gallantry and address, contrived the means of introducing supplies into Cracow when besieged by the Russians but the count, having lost above sixteen hundred men in affording this assistance to the town, was obliged to make a precipitate retreat the moment he had effected his purpose; and being pursued by the Russian cavalry, composed of cossacks and hussars, he had the misfortune to have his horse killed under him, and fell at last, after receiving two wounds, into the hands of the enemy. Apraxin, the Russian general, being informed of the successful manoeuvre of the count, was impressed with a very high opinion of him, and proposed to him to enter into the Russian service but rejecting the overture with disdain, he was only saved from being sent to Kiovia with the other prisoners by the interposition of his friends, who paid 962 1. sterling for his ransom. Thus set at liberty, he considered himself as released from the parole which he had given t the Russians; and again entering the town of Cracow, he was received with the most perfect satisfaction by the whole confederacy. The town being no longer tenable, it became an object of the utmost consequence to secure another place of retreat and the count, upon his own proposal and request, was appointed to seize the castle of Lublau, situated on the frontier of Hungary; but after visiting the commanding officer of the castle, who was not apprehensive of the least | danger, and engaging more than one half of the garrison by oath in the interests of the confederation, an inferior officer, who was dispatched to assist him, indiscreetly divulged the design, and the count was seized and carried into the fortress of Georgenburgh, and sent from thence to general Apraxin. On his way to that general, however, he was rescued by a party of confederates, and returned to Lublin, a town where the rest of the confederation of Cracow had appointed to meet, in order to join those of Bar, from which time he performed a variety of gallant actions, and underwent great vicissitudes of fortune. On the 19th of May, the Russian colonel judging that the count was marching towards Stry, to join the confederate parties at Sauok, likewise hastened his march, and arrived thither half a day before the count, whose forces were weakened by fatigue and hunger. In this state he was attacked about noon by colonel Brincken, at the head of four thousand men. The count was at first compelled^ to give way but, on the arrival of his cannon, he, in his turn, forced the colonel to retire, who at last quitted the field, and retreated towards Stry. The advantage of the victory served only to augment the misery of the count, who iivthis single action had threahundred wounded and two hundred and sixty-eight slain, and who had no other prospect before him than either to perish by hunger with his troops in the forest, or to expose himself to be cut to pieces by the enemy. On the morning of the 20th, however, by the advice of his officers and troops, he resumed his march, and arrived about ten o‘clock at the village of Szuka, where, being obliged to halt for refreshment, he was surprised by a party of cossacks, and had only time to quit the village and form his troops in order of battle on the plain, before he was attacked by the enemy’s cavalry, and soon, after by their infantry, supported by several pieces of cannon, which caused the greatest destruction among his forces. At length, after being dangerously wounded, the Russians took him prisoner. The count was sent to the commander in chief of the Russian armies, then encamped at Tam’pool, who not only forbade the surgeons to dress his wounds, but, after reducing him to bread and water, loaded him with chains, and transported him to Kiow. On his arrival at Polene, his neglected wound had so far endangered his life, that his conductor’was induced to apply to colonel Sirkow. the commanding officer at that place, | and he was sent to the hospital, cured of his wounds, and afterwards lodged in the town, with an advance of fifty roubles for his subsistence. Upon the arrival, however, of brigadier Bannia, who relieved colonel Sirkow in his command, and who had a strong prejudice against the count, he was ac^ain loaded with chains, and conducted to the dungeon with the rest of the prisoners, who were allowed no other subsistence than bread and water. Upon his entrance he recognized several officers and soldiers who had served under him and their friendship was the only consolation he received in his distressed situation. Twentytwo days were thus consumed in a subterraneous prison, together with eighty of his companions, without light, and even without air, except what was admitted through an aperture which communicated with the casements. These unhappy wretches were not permitted to go out even on their natural occasions, which produced such an infection, that thirty-five of them died in eighteen or twenty days; and such were the inhumanity and barbarity of the commander, that he suffered the dead to remain and putrefy among the Ining. On the 16th of July the prison was opened, and one hundred and forty- eight prisoners, who had survived out of seven hundred and eighty-two, were driven, under every species of cruelty, from Polene to Kiow, where the strength of the count’s constitution, which had hitherto enabled him to resist such an accumulation of hardships and fatigue, at length gave way, and he was attacked with a malignant fever, and delirium. The governor, count Voicikow, being informed of his quality, ordered that i-.e should be separately lodged in a house, and that two roubles a day should he paid him for subsistence but when he was in a fair way of recovery, an order arrived from Petersburgh to send all the prisoners to Cazan, and this severity bringing on a relapse, the officer was obliged co leave the count at Nizym, a town dependant on the government of Kiow. At this place, a Mr. Lewner, a German merchant, procured him comfortable accommodation, superintended the restoration of his health, and on his departure made him a present of two hundred roubles, which he placed for safety in the hands of the officer until his arrival at Cazan, but who had afterwards the effrontery to deny that he had ever received the mont.y, accused the count of attempting to raise a revolt among the ^riauners, and caused him. to be loaded with | chains and committed to the prison of Cazan, from which he was delivered at the pressing instances of marshal Czarnesky Potockzy, and the young Palanzky. He was then lodged at a private house, and being invited to dine with a man of quality in the place, he was solicited, and consented to join in a confederacy against the government. But on the 6th of November 1769, on a quarrel happening between two Russian lords, one of them informed the governor that the prisoners, in concert with the Tartars, meditated a design against his person and the garrison. This apostate lord accused the count, in order to save his friends and countrymen, and on the 7th, at eleven at night, the count not suspecting any such event, heard a knocking at his door. He came down, entirely undressed, with a candle in his hand, to inquire the cause; and, upon opening his door, was surprised to see an officer with twenty soldiers, who demanded if the prisoner was at home. On his replying in the affirmative, the officer snatched the candle out of his hand, and ordering his men to follow him, went hastily up to the count’s apartment. The count immediately took advantage of his mistake, quitted his house, and, after apprising some of the confederates that their plot was discovered, he made his escape, and arrived at Petersburgh on the 19th of November, where he engaged with a Dutch captain to take him to Holland. The captain, however, instead of taking him on-board tho ensuing morning, pursuant to his promise, appointed him to meet on the bridge over the Neva at midnight, and there betrayed him to twenty Russian soldiers collected for the purpose, who carried him to count Csecserin, lieutenantgeneral of the police. The count was conveyed to the fort of St. Peter and St. Paul, confined in a subterraneous dungeon, and after three days fast, presented with a morsel of bread and a pitcher of water; but, on the 22d of November 1769, he at length, in hopes of procuring his discharge, was induced to sign a paper promising for ever to quit the dominions of her imperial majesty, under pain of death.

The count having signed this engagement, instead of being set at liberty, was re-conducted to his prison, and there confined till 4th December 1769, when, about two hours after midnight, an officer with seven soldiers came to him and he was thrown upon a sledge to which two horses were harnessed, and immediately driven away with | the greatest swiftness. The darkness of the night prevented the count from discerning the objects around him but on the approach of day-light he perceived that major Wynblath, Vassili Panow, Hippolitus Stephanow, Asaph Baturin, Ivan Sopronow, and several other prisoners, were the companions of his misfortunes and after suffering from the brutality of their conductor a series of hardships, in passing through Tobolzk, the capital of Siberia, the city of Tara, the town and river of Tomsky, the villages of Jakutzk and Judorua, they embarked in the harbour of Ochoczk, on the 26th October 1770, and arrived at Kamschatka on the 3d December following. The ensuing day they were conducted before Mr. Nilow, the governor; when it was intimated to them that they should be set at liberty on the following day, and provided with subsistence for three days, after which they must depend upon themselves for their maintenance that each person should receive from the chancery a musket and a lance, with one pound of powder, four pounds of lead, a hatchet, several knives and other instruments, and carpenter’s tools, with which they might build cabins in any situations they chose, at the distance of one league from the town but that they should be bound to pay in furs, during the first year, each one hundred roubles, in return for these advantages; that every one must work at the corvee one day in the week for the service of government, and not absent themselves from their huts for twenty-four hours without the governor’s permission and after some other equally harsh terms, it was added, that their lives being granted to them for no other purpose than to implore the mercy of God, and the remission of their sins, they could be employed only in the meanest works to gain their daily subsistence. Under these regulations the exiles settled the places of their habitations, built miserable huts to shelter, themselves from the inclemency of the weather, formed themselves into a congress, and after choosing the count de Benyowsky their chief or captain, they swore with great solemnity mutual friendship and eternal fidelity. Among the number of unhappy wretches who had long groaned under the miseries of banishment, was a Mr. Crustiew, who had acquired considerable ascendancy over his fellow-sufferers; and to obtain the particular confidence and esteem of this man was the first object of the count’s attention in which he sogn succeeded,. The pains and perils incident to the | situation to which these men were reduced, were borne for some time in murmuring sufferance, until the accidental finding an old copy of Anson’s Voyage inspired them with an idea of making an escape from Kamschatka to the Marian islands; and the count, Mr. Panow, Baturin, Stephanow, Solmanow, majors Wynblath, Crustiew, and one Wasili, an old and faithful servant of the count’s, who had followed his master into exile, formed a confederacy for this purpose. While these transactions were secretly passing, the fame of count Benyowsky’s rank and abilities reached the ear of the governor and as he spoke several languages, he was after some time admitted familiarly into the house, and at length appointed to superintend the education of his son. and his three daughters. “One day,” says the count, ft while I was exercising my office of language-master, the youngest of the three daughters, whose name was Aphanasia, who was sixteen years of age, proposed many questions concerning my thoughts in my present situation^ which convinced me that her father had given them some information concerning my birth and misfortunes. I therefore gave them an account of my adventures, at which my scholars appeared to be highly affected, but the youngest wept very much. She was a beautiful girl, and her sensibility created much emotion in my mind but, alas, I was an exile" The merits of the count, however, soon surmounted the disadvantages of his situation, in the generous mind of miss Nilow, and the increasing intimacy and confidence which he daily gained in the family, joined to the advantages of a fine person and most insinuating address, soon converted the feelings of admiration into the flame of love; and on the llth of January 1771, madame Nilow, the mother, consented that her daughter should do the honours of an entertainment then in contemplation, and be publicly declared his future spouse. But the count, though he had cultivated and obtained the affections of his fair pupil, had acted more from policy than passion, and, intending to use her interest rather as a means of effectuating the meditated escape of himself and his companions, than as any serious object of matrimonial union, contrived to suspend the nuptials, by persuading the governor to make an excursion from Kamschatka to the neighbouring islands, with a view or under pretence of establishing a new colony. During these transactions the exiles were secretly at work; and in order to | conceal their design from all suspicion, Mr. Crustiew and Mr. Panow were on the 30th of March deputed to wait on the governor with five and twenty of their associates, to request that he would be pleased to receive the title of Protector of the new colony; and the embassy was not only favourably received, but orders were given to prepare every thing that might be necessary for the execution of the project. At this crisis, however, an accident occurred which had nearly overturned the success of the scheme; and as it tends to discover the disposition of the count, we shall relate it in his own words.

"About flen o’clock this day (1st of April, 1771), I received a message from miss Nilow, that she would call on me in the afternoon, requesting at the same time that I would be alone, because she had affairs of importance to communicate. As I supposed the latter part of this message to be mere pleasantry, I was far from expecting any extraordinary information; and my surprise at the event was much greater, as I had not the least reason to suppose she had made any discovery of my intentions. Miss Nilow arrived at three in the afternoon: her agitation on her first appearance convinced me that she was exceedingly afflicted. At sight of me she paused a moment, and soon after burst into tears, and threw herself into my arms, crying out, that she was unfortunate and forsaken. Her sighs and tears were so extreme, that it was more than a quarter of an hour before I could obtain a connected sentence. I was extremely affected at her situation, and used every expedient to calm her mind, but this was extremely difficult, because I was entirely ignorant of the reason of her affliction. As soon as she became a little composed, she begged me to shut the dcor, that no one might interrupt us. I came back, and on my knees intreated her to explain the cause of her present situation, which she did to the following effect:

"She informed me that her maid had discovered to her, that a certain person named Ivan Kuclrin, one of my associates, had proposed to her to share his fortune, and that this indiscreet person had assured the girl, that he was about to quit Kamschatka with me, to make a voyage to Europe, where he hoped to place her in an agreeable situation. The maid had first related the circumstance to her. mistress; but as she could never believe me capable of such base and treacherous behaviour to her, she was | desirous of hearing the account herself, and had, for that purpose, persuaded the maid to appoint a meeting with Kudrin, in order to question him more amply, while she herself might hear the whole, by being concealed behind a curtain. In this manner, she said, she became convinced of her unhappiness and my treachery, and that she would have spared me the confusion of hearing this, if, from a conviction that she could not live after such an affront, she had not been desirous of bidding me a last farewell.

"On finishing these words she fainted, and though I was exceedingly alarmed and distressed on the occasion, yet I did not fail to arrange a plan in my mind, during the interval of her insensibility. When this amiable young lady recovered, she asked if she might give credit to what she had heard. I then threw myself at her feet, and entreated her to hear me calmly, and judge whether 1 was to blame or not. She promised she would, and I addressed her in the following terms:

You may recollect, my dear friend, the account I gave you of tny birth, and the rank I held in Europe I remember the tears you shed on that occasion. The misfortune of being exiled to Kamschatka would long since have compelled me to deliver myself from tyranny by death, if your acquaintance and attachment had not preserved me: I have lived for you, and if you could read my heart, I am sure I should have your pity; for the possession of your person is become as necessary to my existence as liberty itself. The liberty I speak of is not that which your worthy father has given me, but implies the possession of my estate and rank. J have hoped for the possession of your person, with a view of rendering you happy in the participation of my fortune and dignity. These views cannot be accomplished at Kamschatka. What rank can I bestow on rny lore but that of an exile The favours of your worthy father may be of the shortest duration. His successor may soon recal his ordinances, and plunge me again into that state of suffering and contempt, from which I was delivered for a short moment. Represent to yourself, my dearest friend, the affliction and despair that would overwhelm my soul, when I beheld you a sharer in my pain and disgrace; for you well know that all the Russians esteem the exiles as dishonoured persons. You have forced me to this declaration of my intentions, in which I have been guided by the attachment and sincerity of my heart. I deferred the | communication to you, but I swear that such was my resolution.” “Why then,” interrupted she, “did you conceal your intention from me, who am ready to follow you to the farthest limits of the universe?” This assurance encouraged me to proceed, and engage this charming young lady in my interests. I told her, therefore, that I was prevented only by the fear lest she should refuse my proposals on account of her attachment to her parents; but that, as I now had nothing to fear in that respect, I could inform her, that my intention being to leave Kamschatka, I had determined to carry her off; and in order to convince her, I was ready to call Mr. Crustiew, who would confirm the truth. On this assurance she embraced me, and entreated me to forgive her want of confidence, at the same time that she declared her readiness to accompany me.

This degree of confidential intercourse being established, I persuaded her to dismiss every fear from her mind. Many were the trials I made of her resolution, and the event convinced me that she was perfectly determined to follow my fortunes. The secret being thus secure, by her promise to keep it inviolably, I had no other uneasiness remaining but what arose from the communication having been made to her servant. I mentioned my fears to miss Nilow, who removed them, by assuring me that her servant was too much attached to her to betray her secret, and had, besides, an affection for Kudrin, so that she could answer for her discretion. Thus agreeably ended our conversation, though the commencement was rather tragical, and I received the vows of attachment and fidelity from an artless and innocent mind.

On the 23d of April 1771 however, “Miss Aphanasia,” says the count, “came to me incognito. She informed me that her mother was in tears, and her father talked with her in a manner which gave reason to fear that he suspected our plot. She conjured me to be careful, and not to come to the fort if sent for. She expressed her fears that it would not be in her power to come to me again, but promised she would in that case send her servant and she entreated me at all events, if I should be compelled to use force against the government, I would be careful of the life of her father, and not endanger my own. I tenderly embraced this charming young lady, and thanked her T^ the interest she took in my preservation and as it appeared important that her absence should not be discovered, I | begged her to return and recommend the issue of our intentions to good fortune. Before her departure I reminded her to look minutely after her father, and to send me a red ribband in case government should determine to arrest or attack me and, in the second place, that at the moment of an alarm, she would open the shutter of her window which looked to the garden, and cause a sledge to be laid over the ditch on that side. She promised to comply with my instructions, and confirmed her promises with vows and tears.

The apprehensions of this faithful girl for the safety of the man she loved, were far from being without foundation; and on the 26th of April she sent the count two red ribbands, to signify the double danger to which she perceived he was exposed. The count, however, coolly prepared to brave the impending storm, and gave orders to the leaders of his associates, amounting in all to fifty-nine persons, to place themselves at the head of their divisions, and station themselves round his house, in readiness to act in the night, in case an attack should be made by the cossacks of the town, and soldiers of the garrison, who, it was rumoured, were busied in preparing their arms. At five o’clock in the evening, a corporal, with four grenadiers, stopped at the count’s door, demanding admittance in the name of the empress, and ordered him to follow the guard to the fort. The count, however, proposed, from a window, to the corporal, that he should enter alone and drink a glass of wine; but, on his being admitted, the door was instantly shut upon him, and four pistols clapped to his breast, by the terror of which he was made to disclose every thing that was transacting at the fort, and at length obliged to call the four grenadiers separately into the house, under pretence of drinking, when they were all five bound together, and deposited safely in the cellar.

This measure was, of course, the signal of resistance, and the count marshalling his associates, who had secretly furnished themselves with arms and ammunition by the treachery of the store-keepers, issued forth from the house to oppose, with greater advantage, another detachment who had been sent to arrest him. After levelling several soldiers to the ground, the count, by the mismanagement of their commander, seized their cannon, turned them with success against the fort itself, and, entering by means of the drawbridge, dispatched the twelve remaining guards who | were then within it. “Madame Nilow and her children,” says the count, “at sight of me implored my protection to save their father and husband. I immediately hastened to his apartment, and begged him to go to his children’s room to preserve his life, but he answered that he would first take mine, and instantly fired a pistol, which wounded me. I was desirous nevertheless of preserving him, and continued to represent that all resistance would be useless, for which reason I entreated him to retire. His wife and children threw themselves on their knees, but nothing would avail he flew upon me, seized me by the throat, and left me no other alternative than either to give lip my own life, or run my sword through his body. At this period the petard, by which my associates attempted to make a breach, exploded, and burst the outer gate. The second was open, and I saw Mr. Panow enter at the head of a party. He entreated the governor to let me go, but not being able to prevail on him, he set me at liberty by splitting his skull.” The count by this event became complete master of the fort, and by the cannon and ammunition which he found on the rampart, was enabled, with the ready and active assistance of his now increased associates, to repel the attack which was made upon him by the cossacks; but flight, not resistance, was the ultimate object of this bold commander; and in order to obtain this opportunity, he dispatched a drum and a woman as a sign of parley to the cossacks, who had quitted the town and retired to the heights, with a resolution to invest the fort and starve the insurgents, informing them of his resolution to send a detachment of associates into the town to drive all the women and children into the church, and there to burn them all to death, unless they laid down their arms. While this embassy was sent, preparation was made for carrying the threat it contained into immediate execution; but by submitting to the proposal, the execution of this horrid measure was rendered unnecessary, and the count not only received into the fort fifty-two of the principal inhabitants of the town, as hostages for the fidelity of the rest, but procured the archbishop to preach a sermon in the church in favour of the revolution. The count was now complete governor of Kamschatka; and having time, without danger, to prepare every thing necessary for the intended departure, he amused himself with ransacking the archives of the town, where he found several manuscripts of voyages made to the eastward | of Kamschatka. The count also formedt chart, with details, respecting Siberia and the sea-coast of Kamschatka, and a description of the Kurelles and Aleuthes islands. This chart has not survived the fate of its composer.

The conspirators, previous to their hostilities against the governor, had prudently secured a corvette of the name of St. Peter and St. Paul, which then rode at anchor in the port of Bolsha, and their subsequent success afforded them the means of providing her with such stores as were necessary for the intended voyage. On the llth of May 1771, the count, as commander in chief, attended by Mr. Crustiew as second, by sixteen of his fellow-captives as quarterguards, and by fifty-seven foremast men, together with twelve passengers and nine women, among whom was the lovely Aphanusia, disguised in sailor’s apparel, went on board this vessel; and on the next day weighed anchor, and sailed out of the harbour on a southern course, intending to continue their voyage to China. On the 20th of May, they anchored their vessel in a bay on the coast of Beering’s island, where they found the celebrated captain Ochotyn and his followers, who had also escaped from exile in Siberia, and were wandering in search of that settlement which, from their restless dispositions, they were doomed never to find.

The count, however, was not to be detained by the blandishments of friendship he departed from this island, and arrived, after experiencing many hardships and dangers at sea, at the harbour of Usilpatchar in Japan on the 2d of August from whence, not meeting with a very friendly reception, he again immediately set sail, and arrived oirSunday the 28th of August at the island of Formosa. The inhabitants of Formosa at first appeared inclined to treat him with respect and civility, particularly don Hieronymo Pacheco, formerly captain at the port of Cavith at Manilla, who had fled from that employment to the island of Formosa, in consequence of his having in a moment of rage massacred his wife and a Dominican whom he had found in her company but these professions were soon found to be deceitful; for on sending his men on shore to fetch water, they were attacked by a party of twenty Indians, many of them dangerously wounded, and Mr. Panow, the count’s most faithful friend, killed. Don Hieronymo, however, contrived to exculpate himself from any concern in this treachery, and to advise the count to seek revenge by a> | conquest of the island but he contented himself with provoking the natives to a second attack, and repulsing them with considerable slaughter. His men, however, insisted on going in quest of the Indians, in order to make them feel their further vengeance. The remonstrances of the count were to no effect; and at length, complying with their desires, he requested don Hieronymo to guide them towards the principal residence of the nation who had given him so bad a reception, where, after a short and unequal conflict, he killed eleven hundred and fifty-six, took six hundred and forty-three prisoners, who had prostrated themselves on the ground to beg for mercy from their assailants, and set fire to their town. The prince of the country, notwithstanding this massacre of his subjects, was introduced to the count by his Spanish friend, and a cordiality at length took place between them to such a degree, that the count entered into a formal treaty for returning and settling at Formosa; but his secret motives for making this engagement appear to have been, the execution of a project he had silently conceived of establishing a colony on the island.

On Monday the 12th of September, the count and his associates sailed from Formosa on the Thursday following the coast of China appeared in sight; and two days afterwards his vessel was piloted into the port of Macao. At this place he was treated with great respect by the governor and the principal men of the town and on the 3d of October 1771, captain Gore, then in the service of the English East-India company, made an offer of services to him on the part of the directors, and a free passage to Europe, provided he would bind himself to entrust his manuscripts to the company, engage to enter into their service, and make no communication’of the discoveries he had made. But having accepted proposals from the French directors, the offers of captain Gore were rejected, and the count soon afterwards returned from. Macao to Europe on board a French ship.

He arrived on the 8th of August 1772, in Champagne, where the duke d’Aiguillon, the minister of France, then was “and he- received me,” says the count, “with cordiality and distinction, and proposed to me to enter the service of his master, with the offer of a regiment of infantry which I accepted, on condition that his majesty would be phased to employ me in forming establishments | beyond the Cape.” In consequence of this condition, the duke his patron proposed to him from his majesty to form an establishment on the island of Madagascar, upon the same footing as he had proposed upon the island of Formosa, the whole scheme of which is published in his memoirs of his own life, and discovers vast knowledge of the interests of commerce, and a deep insight into the characters of men.

To a romantic mind and adventurous spirit such as the count possessed, a proposal like the present was irresistible and after receiving the most positive assurances from the French ministry, that he should constantly receive from them the regular supplies necessary to promote the success of his undertaking, he set sail on the 22d of March, 1773, from Port L‘Orient for Madagascar, under the treacherous auspices of recommendatory letters to Mr. De Ternay, governor of the isle of France, where he landed with a company of between four and five hundred men on the 22d of September following. Instead, however, of receiving the promised assistance at this place, the governor endeavoured by every means in his power to thwart the success of his enterprise and no other step remained for him, to take, than that of hastening for Madagascar. He accordingly set sail in the Des Torges, a vessel badly provided with those stores that were most likely to be of use, and came to an anchor at Madagascar on the 14th of February 1774. The opposition which he met from the several nations placed him in a dangerous situation but he at length, with great difficulty, formed an establishment on Foul Point, entered into a commercial intercourse, and formed treaties of friendship and alliance with the greater part of the inhabitants of this extensive island. But whether the count, whose commission only extended to open a friendly intercourse with the natives, was abandoned by the minister from the cruelty of neglect, whilst he was in the regular execution of the ’commands of his sovereign, or because his exorbitant spirit and ambition began to soar to more than an ordinary pitch of power and greatness, the following curious and extraordinary narrative of his subsequent conduct will manifestly shew.

The island of Madagascar, as is well known, is of vast extent, and is inhabited by a great variety of different nations. Among these is the nation of Sambarines, formerly governed by a chief of the name and titles of Rohandrian | Ampansacab6 Ramini Larizon whose only child, a lovely daughter, had, it seems, been taken prisoner, and sold as a captive and from this circumstance, upon the death of Ramini, his family was supposed to be extinct. “On the 2d of February,” says the count, “M. Corbi, one of my most confidential officers, with the interpreter, informed me, that the old negress Susanna, whom I had brought from the isle of France, and who in her early youth had been sold to the French, and had lived upwards of fifty years at the isle of France, had reported, that her companion, the daughter of Ramini, having likewise been made a prisoner, was sold to foreigners, and that she had certain marks that I was her son. This officer likewise represented to me, that in consequence of her report the Sambarine nation had held several cabars to declare me the heir of Ramini, and consequently proprietor of the province of Manahar, and successor to the title of Ampansacabe, or supreme chief of the nation. This information appeared to me of the greatest consequence, and I determined to take the advantage of it, to conduct that brave and generous nation to a civilized state. But as I had no person to whom I could entruLo the secret of my mind, I lamented how blind the minister of Versailles was to the true interests of France. On the same day I interrogated Susanna on the report she had spread concerning my birth. The good old woman threw herself at my knees, and excused herself by confessing that she had acted entirely upon a conviction of the truth. For she said that she had known my mother, whose physiognomy resembled mine, and that she had herself been inspired in a dream by the Zahanhar to publish the secret. Her manner of speaking convinced me that she really believed what she said. J therefore embraced her, and told her that I had reasons for keeping the secret respecting my birth; but that nevertheless if she had any confidential friends she might acquaint them with it. At these words she arose, kissed my hands, and declared that the Sambarine nation was informed of the circumstances, and that the Rohandrian Raffangour waited only for a favourable moment to acknowledge the blood of Ramini.

The fallacy to which the old woman thus gave evidence, feeble as the texture of it may appear to penetrating minds, was managed by the count with such profound dexterity and address, that he was declared the heir of Ramini, | invested with the sovereignty of the nation, received ambassadors and formed alliances in the capacity of a king with other tribes, made war and peace, led his armies in person into the field, and received submission from his vanquished enemies. In this situation it is not wonderful that he should forget the allegiance he was under to the king of France; and, representing to his subjects the difficulties he had experienced from the neglect of the minister, and the probable advantages that might result by forming a new and national compact either with that or some other powerful kingdom in Europe, he persuaded them to permit him to return to Europe for that purpose and “on the llth of October, 1776,” says the count, “I took my leave to go on board and at this single mofnent of my life I experienced what a heart is capable of suffering, when torn from a beloved and affectionate society to which it is devoted.

This account concludes his narrative; but among the memoirs and papers which fill the remaining part of the volume, it appears, that on his arrival in Europe his proposals to the court of France were rejected that he made subsequent offers of his service to the emperor of Germany, which met with no better success; and that on the 25th of December, 1783, he offered, in the character of sovereign of the island of Madagascar, terms for an offensive and defensive alliance with the king of Great Britain but this proposal was also declined. The ardour of the count, however, was not abated by these disappointments he pretended to look with contempt on kings who could be so blind to^the interests and advantages oftheir people and, sending for his family from Hungary, he sailed from London with some of his associates for Maryland, on the 14th of April, 1784, with a cargo of the value of near 4,00p/. sterling, consisting, it seems, of articles intended for the Madagascar trade. A respectable commercial house in Baltimore was induced to join in his scheme, and supplied him with a ship of 450 tons, whose lading was estimated at more than 1,000l. in which he sailed from that place on the 2.5th of Oct. 1784, and landed at Antangara on the island of Madagascar, on the 7th of July 1785, from whence he departed to Angouci, and commenced hostilities against the French by seizing their storehouse. Here he busied himself in erecting a town after the manner of the country, and from hence he sent a detachment of one hundred men | to take possession of the French factory at Foul Point but they were prevented from carrying their purpose into execution by the sight of a frigate which was at anchor off the Point. In consequence of these movements, the governor of the isle of France sent a ship with sixty regulars ‘on board, who landed and attacked the count on the morning of the 23d of May 1786. He had constructed a small redoubt defended by two cannon, in which himself, with two Europeans and thirty natives, waited the approach of the enemy. The blacks fled at the first fire, and Benyowsky, having received a ball in his right breast, fell behind the parapet whence he was dragged by the hair, and expired a few minutes afterwards.

Such is the abridgment of the history of this singular adventurer, taken from his Memoirs published in 1790, 2 vols. 4to, and inserted in the preceding edition of this Dictionary. We have reduced the narrative in some parts, but are yet doubtful whether accounts of this kind strictly belong to our plan, and still more, whether the space allotted to this is not disproportionate. The story, however, is interesting,’ and although the evidence is chiefly that of the adventurer himself, the two volumes of his memoirs may hereafter be found useful as far as they describe the hitherto almost unknown island of Madagascar. Of his character, it is not easy to form a decided opinion. Even from his own account, he appears to have been unsteady, ambitious, and cruel in his expedients, but how far his natural disposition may have been altered by his sufferings, and the love of life and liberty may have predominated over that of truth and humanity, from what some are pleased to call a fatal necessity, we shall not presume to determine. 1

1 Memoirs as above.