Dear Sir,

During a visit to Sandy Cove, I heard that a man who had lost both his legs a little below the knees had been found not far off, on the shore of the Bay of Fundy,--where he had been left by some part of parties unknown, --with only a few morsels of bread and a small bundle of clothes. It was also stated that he could not speak English, and could give no account of himself. Being anxious to see him and if possible learn something of so strange a proceeding. Rev. J.C. Morse and myself set out in search of him. After a short walk, we reached the house where he is taken care of , and found Matteo (Matthew—for such I think he wished as to understand is his name) sitting in the door way, with what remained of his lower extremities naked and exposed. They were perfectly healed. The amputation seemed have been done skilfully. We failed to learn how his loss was occasioned, —how or whence he came. From certain words we got him to utter, I judged him to be a native of Spain or perhaps Italy.

After a cruise around the shore in search of geological specimens, I called upon Matteo, and thinking that if the name of his country were mentioned, he would show signs of recognition. I called out Hispania! Hispania! His countenance lit up with pleasure, and bowing his head he uttered sise; which from observing his previous use of it, I judged to be yes. In like manner I mentioned Italia! Italia! He shook his head, and answered non.

From Mr. George Albright, the person who found and was still taking care of the helpless and abandoned stranger, I learned that about ten days preceding the 18th of Sept., (the time of our conversation) two schooners (fore-and-after), anchored in Sandy Cove, neither of which, so far as is known, had any communications with the inhabitants. In the morning both vessels were missing. But it seems certain that the stranger was brought by one of them, and left weak and helpless on the beach. Whether this poor man had been disabled in the army or navy, -Federal or Confederate, — and been thus sent on shore ,or got off as an incumbrance as soon as barely convalescent, is of course unknown; or whether from an unwillingness to support the poor cripple, he was thrust out from more peaceful and favoured scenes, we know not; but the writer suspects the latter to be the case. The man does not look warlike, --nothing about him indicated war experience, except the loss of his legs. The poor fellow when found seemed stupefied, either from drugs, terror, or cold (for he had been exposed to the rain which had been falling), and so continued for some days. When we saw him he seemed, --Mr. Albright told us, --better, and more disposed to observe and communicate or try, that he had been since found. In his weak state, it is no wonder if gear and exposure should produce a stupor. The poor man had had a very bad cough; but it was becoming easier when we saw him. I should think he was somewhat under 30 years of age. Mr. Albright’s children first discovered him lying on the shore, --they told their father; but he thinking it incredible paid no attention to what they said, --till his aged mother went down and ascertained the fact and informed her son. A few hours more of exposure might have proved fatal to him. What barbarity, inhumanity, cruelty and injustice does this act show in the perpetrators! Had the fear of God left their souls? Or love to man been expelled from their hearts? We hope the parties guilty of so mean and cowardly, so vile and wicked an act may be discovered, and made to feel the wrong they have done to this man, to Nova Scotia, to humanity, and to Christ;--repent and learn henceforth to discharge to their fellow creatures in need the ever-binding and pleasant duties of Christian benevolence.

Yours respectfully,

George Armstrong.

Bridgetown; Sept. 28th, 1863

[We remember seeing in a New Brunswick paper, a week or two since, an account of the removal of a person exactly similar to the unfortunate stranger mentioned in the above, from some part of that province. The person who took him in charge was paid, as we understood, to take him to New York or Boston, that he might be sent thence to his own country. Such shameful barbarity, but little less that murder, if the parties concerned can be discovered, should be severely punished. –Ed. C.M.]

Source: George Armstrong, "Barbarity.," The Christian Messenger, October 7, 1863.

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