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No. 349 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

There is no great danger of Imitation from this Example. Mens natural Fears will be a sufficient Guard against it. I shall only observe, that what was Philosophy in this extraordinary Man, would be Frenzy in one who does not resemble him as well in the Chearfulness of his Temper, as in the Sanctity of his Life and Manners.

I shall conclude this Paper with the Instance of a Person who seems to me to have shewn more Intrepidity and Greatness of Soul in his dying Moments, than what we meet with among any of the most celebrated Greeks and Romans. I met with this Instance in the History of the Revolutions in Portugal, written by the Abbot de Vertot. [2]

When Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, had invaded the Territories of Muly Moluc, Emperor of Morocco, in order to dethrone him, and set his Crown upon the Head of his Nephew, Moluc was wearing away with a Distemper which he himself knew was incurable. However, he prepared for the Reception of so formidable an Enemy. He was indeed so far spent with his Sickness, that he did not expect to live out the whole Day, when the last decisive Battel was given; but knowing the fatal Consequences that would happen to his Children and People, in case he should die before he put an end to that War, he commanded his principal Officers that if he died during the Engagement, they should conceal his Death from the Army, and that they should ride up to the Litter in which his Corpse was carried, under Pretence of receiving Orders from him as usual. Before the Battel begun, he was carried through all the Ranks of his Army in an open Litter, as they stood drawn up in Array, encouraging them to fight valiantly in defence of their Religion and Country. Finding afterwards the Battel to go against him, tho he was very near his last Agonies, he threw himself out of his Litter, rallied his Army, and led them on to the Charge; which afterwards ended in a compleat Victory on the side of the Moors. He had no sooner brought his Men to the Engagement, but finding himself utterly spent, he was again replaced in his Litter, where laying his Finger on his Mouth, to enjoin Secrecy to his Officers, who stood about him, he died a few Moments after in that Posture.


[Footnote 1: Plutarch’s Life of Epaminondas.]

[Footnote 2: The Abbe Vertot–Renatus Aubert de Vertot d’Auboeuf–was born in 1655, and living in the Spectators time. He died in 1735, aged 80. He had exchanged out of the severe order of the Capuchins into that of the Praemonstratenses when, at the age of 34, he produced, in 1689, his first work, the History of the Revolutions of Portugal, here quoted. Continuing to write history, in 1701 he was made a member, and in 1705 a paid member, of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.]