Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

sively at Paxo, Santa Maura, Cephalonia, and Ithaca, and, on an occasion of duty, he visited the island of Zantè. It was during his residence in Cephalonia, in the year 1823, and under circumstances which will appear in the body of the present work, that he became acquainted with Lord Byron, and that the following conversations and discussions took place.

In all the places where he was stationed, Dr. Kennedy took a lively interest in the condition of the native inhabitants, and was active, both in his official and private capacities, in endeavours, by all the means in his power, to raise and improve it. He zealously co-operated in the circulation of the Scriptures, the establishment of schools, and other useful and benevolent undertakings; and by a very simple method, too seldom resorted to by Englishmen, namely, that of associating with them on a friendly footing, he succeeded, to a remarkable degree, in acquiring the esteem and confidence of the Greeks of the Ionian Islands. The Greeks have been sometimes accused of being insensible to kindness, and deficient in gratitude, an accusation which

may probably, with equal justice, be made against any other nation as against them. Dr. Kennedy at least could not complain of this; and he received many pleasing proofs, and at seasons when no interested motives could have operated, of the affection and respect with which his character and benevolent exertions had inspired the inhabitants of these islands, and of the sincere regret they felt at his departure.

Shortly after his return to England, in February, 1826, Dr. Kennedy was ordered to Ireland, where, however, he did not long remain; as in December of the same year, he was sent to the West Indies, from whence it was the will of Providence that he should never return. The summer of 1827 was peculiarly fatal to the troops in Jamaica, and numbers were swept off by the yellow fever, to which disease Dr. K. himself, after most faithfully discharging his trying duties among the sick committed to his charge, fell a victim, He died on the 18th of September, 1827, at Up Park Camp, near Kingston, after an ill: ness of only three days. Some extracts of his correspondence, during the above-mentioned period, illustrative of his mind and feelings, under very painful circumstances, will be subjoined in the Appendix, and will, it is hoped, not be perused without interest, when the reader has become better acquainted with his valuable character, as displayed in the present work.

His death,” says á brother officer of the Medical Department in a letter from Kingston,

“ caused a general feeling of sorrow. He was highly esteemed, and sincerely regretted by officers who had known him but a short time; they were astonished at the degree in which this feeling was excited, and they acknowledged that their regard was not mea. sured by the time they had known him, but by his superior worth.” On this latter topic, deeply as it may

be felt, it might not be becoming to dilate; nor is it necessary, since the general nature both of his talents and sentiments will, in the most natural manner, be developed in the succeeding pages. Let it only be said, that as the temper of his mind was ever candid and manly, so from the time when serious views of the truth and importance of religion took possession of it, he openly professed them before the world, and by a consistent life so adorned his profession, that even those who were unable justly to appreciate the principles on which he acted, could not help respecting his conduct. Firmly settled in a conviction of the truth of Christianity by evidence which brought it home to his own understanding and heart, and intimately persuaded that it was the best boon of God to man, he was ever ready, when called upon so to do, “ to give a reason of the hope that was in him ;" whilst no man more deeply felt that all religion was vain, which was not evidenced by the influence it exercises over all the daily actions and relative duties of life. And it may be here mentioned, as a circumstance honourable both to Lord Byron and Dr. Kennedy, that his lordship was frequently heard to say, that he never felt so high an esteem for any man as he did for Dr. Kennedy. In him, Lord Byron thought he perceived a man acting up to the principles he professed ; and whatever effect Dr. Kennedy's endeavours might have had upon his lordship’s religious sentiments and character, which it is much to be feared was not all that could have been desired, he manifestly honoured the manliness, sincerity, and disinterestedness evinced by Dr. K. in his communications with him on the subject of religion, and of the union which appeared in his character of the Christian, the gentleman, and the man of letters. The following pages will, indeed, shew the warm sympathy and concern felt by Dr. Kennedy for Lord Byron, and his death affected him much. He was not deceived as to the degree of impression produced upon Lord Byron's mind by these conversations ; but it was at least a subject for self-satisfaction that he had so strictly discharged his duty in pressing on him the truths of Christianity, and the awful realities of an eternal world.

It now only remains, that something should be added respecting the present work, in venturing to bring which before the public, she, upon whom this painful task has devolved, has the great consolation of knowing, that she is only carrying into effect the matured purpose of her departed husband. During the progress of the Conversations here recorded,

« PoprzedniaDalej »