Графични страници
PDF файл

were more remarkable for this superstitious folly (to call it by nos worse name) than other nations; and have long been much less addicted to it, than most other Europeans. But when he talks of the English attacking the innocent natives of West Green-, land, unprovoked, he forgets that he had himself related, but a few pages before, that ' after he [Frobifher] had made them some presents, the inhabitants came on board the ship (this was evidently before any quarrel had happened), and the next day one of them came on board in the ship's boat, and was taken ashore again j but the five sailors who were with him, went to the natives, contrary to orders, and neither they or the boat were ever seen again. Upon this, he seized on a native and took him along with him,' &c. , With what propriety then does Dr. F. call them the c innocent natives,' and talk of ihe ' unprovoked attacks* which were made on them by the English? But we wish to call the attention of our Readers to the mode of expression which the Doctor has thought proper to make use of on this occasion. From it we are left to suppose, that the people might have run away with the boat, or that it might have been lost with the people in it, without the natives being to blame at all in the matter; but in the original account of this voyage, written by Best, who was Frobijher's Lieutenant, and printed by Bynnyman, in 1578, immediately after these voyages were completed, it is expressly said that "the boat was intercepted by the natives." This is not urged with a design to excuse the English for retaliating on these poor people ; they were utterly inexcusdble for doing so; but it is meant to (hew Dr. Forster's want of candour to the English nation, from whom he has received so many favours, and where he and his family might have been well and comfortably provided for, if his own unhappy disposition had not rendered it impossible for any person to keep upon terms with him.

This affair, though sufficiently censurable, is but a trifle to what the Doctor has done in his account of the very extraordinary voyage which was performed by M. Hore and others to Newfoundland, in 1536, p. 293. We call this an extraordinary voyage, because we cannot conceive how any but the most depraved of human beings could be driven to the necessity of murdering, and feeding upon, their fellow-creatures, in such a place as Newfoundland, where fish abounds ; and where, by their own account, there are great numbers of birds and other animals. But let this be as it may, Dr. Forster has thought it necessary, in order to throw a greater degree of odium on his good friends the English, to render the horrid business yet more horrible by a direct falsification of the account which he found in Hackluyt. Dr. Forster's relation runs thus: 'One of them (the English) came behind another who was digging up some roots, and killed him, with a view to prepare himself a meal from his sellow

creatuie's creature's flssti; and a third, smelling the delicious odour of broiled mear, went up to the murderer, and by threats and menaces extorted from him a share in this (hocking meal.'

Hackluyt fays, "And it fortuned that one of the company, driven with hunger to seek abroad for relief, found out in the fields the savour of broiled flesh, and fell out with one for that he would suffer him and his fellows to starve, enjoying plenty as he thought: and this matter growing to cruel speeches, he that had the broiled meat, burst out into these words; If thou wouldest needs know, the broiled meat that I had was a piece of iuch 4 man's buttock. The report of this brought to the strp, the Captain found what became of those that were miffing; and was persuaded that some of them were neichcr devoured with wild beasts, nor yet destroyed with savages." ,

Here, so far from the third person forcing from the murderer a part of, and partaking with him in the horrid repast, knowing what it was, it is manifest that he was totally ignorant of what it consisted; anJ only expressed his anger, that he should enjoy, as he thought, plenty, and at the fame time suffer his companions to starve. He could not be a partaker of it, because, it is plain, the murderer hat! finished his meal before the altercation began, from his words, "the meat which J had." It is farther evident, that the third man was impressed with a proper idea of the enormity of the other's crime, by his making a report of it to the Captain, whose horror on the discovery is very fully shewn by his conduct on the occasion, as related by Hackluyt. But the idea which Dr. Former's account conveys is, that they were all equally guilty, and equally ready to perpetrate those horrid and detestable crimes. But farther,

Very few English readers, and perhaps few of any other nation in Europe, will read with pleasure what Dr. Forster has said relative to hissriettd Capt. Cook, as he every where affects to call him. His conduct on this head reminded us very forcibly of Dangle, in the Critic, who assents, in the most unequivocal terms, to a long catalogue of the most ridiculous follies which Sir Fretful is charged with, one after another, adding to each assent, "Notwithstanding he is my friend." The Doctor takes great pains to exculpate himself from the reflections which have been made on his conduct in some of his late writings, where it was presumed he had endeavoured, as far as he could,, to tear the well-earned laurel from Cook's brow, in consequence of thei.r quarrels in the voyage whtn the Doctor went with them. He talks also of * the tear which sricndjbip pays to his memory;' and bestows on his ' dear friend' many general commendations; but, in the midst of all this, he more than insinuates that he wa» guilty of some of the meanest and basest crimes, such as treating his officers and midshipmen with rudeness (p. 407}, and doing

X 4- «U ill offices at the Admiralty, on his return home, to those who did not submit in silence to his bad treatment of them. He accuses him, in pretty express terms (p. 4O4), of want of conduct; and asserts, positively, that his death was occasioned by giving way to his disorderly passions; modejih lamenting, 'that, in this last voyage, he should have had no friend with him, who by his wisdom and prudence might have w:ih-held and prevented him from giving vent to them.'

It may be asked where the proofs are which support these accusations of imbecillity and criminality in such a character as that of Cook. We think th.it the Author, in regard to his own reputation, should not have advanced one, without bringing the others forward at the fame time; but, at present, the whole rests on Dr. Forster's word. On the other hand, we have the express testimony, as well of his officers as of others who failed with him, in direct opposition to the Doctor's imputations. We were ourselves intimately acquainted with Mr. Pickersgiil, the person whom he mentions to have suffered in regard to his preferment by Capt. Cook's malicious resentment, and can affirm that Mr. Pickersgiil never knew, or ever thought that he had been misreported of, or otherwise injured by him, as he continued to speak of Capt. Cook with respect and attachment, to the day of bis death.

The Doctor's second chapter, 'On the Discoveries made in the North by the Dutch,' begins with assigning the motives which first induced the Dutch to attempt voyages on discovery; and he concludes that their principal inducements to it were, ' interest, and the powerful motive of revenge.' The settling of this account does not concern us. He adds, ' It cannot be denied, that the Dutch have, in former times, contributed (next to the Englijh) more than any other nation, to the knowledge of the different countries and nations of the North.' As Englishmen, we return the Doctor thanks for this piece of civility; which, though said in a parenthesis, we are willing to accept in part of payment for the many cruel lashes he has laid on the English in his first chapter; and having thus quitted scores with him, as it were, on the spot, we shall proceed to enumerate the contents of the second. The voyages recorded in it are,

I. That by William Barents Cornelius Cornelijson Nay and Brand Ysbrandsy in search of a North-east passage by Nova Zembla, in 1594.

II. A voyage, made in 1595, toward the fame parts, and for the fame purpose. The name of the Commander is not mentioned j but it appears, from Purchase, that IViUiam Barentz was the chief Pilot, and James Heemsherke chief Factor.

III. A third voyage toward Nova Zembla, in search of a North-east passage, was undertaken in 1596. The chief command «rtsnd was given to Jacob von Heemskcrhe, and the place of chief Pilot to William Barentz. After saving traced the coast of Spitzbergen as far as 80 degrees North, they went to that of Nova Zembla, where they were beset with ice, and the ship was lost; in consequence of which, the voyagers were obliged to pass the winter on Nova Zembla. Here they suffered innumerable and inconceivable hardships. In the following summer, they went from thence, in two open boats, to Kola, in Lapland—a distance of near 400 Dutch miles, or 1200 English miles. During this dreadful navigation, they lost their whole trust, and dependence, by the death of William Barentz, who was, without doubt, one of the most skilful navigators which those times afforded.

IV. A voyage made in the Dutch service, by the celebrated Henry Hudson, in 1609.

V. A short account of the discovery of Jan Mayen's Island, and of seven men who were lest to winter there in 1633, but who were all found dead on the 7th of June following. 1 heir journal was. brought down to the 30th of April 1634.

VI. A note from the Philosophical Transactions, No. 118, concerning some Dutch ships which had sailed to 80 degrees of North latitude, and about 120 East longitude.

VII. VIII. and IX. Notes concerning Dutch Greenlandmen, but which contain very little information, except that some Dutch sailors wintered at Spitzbergcn, in 1633, and returned safe to Holland in 1634.

X. The celebrated voyage of the Castricom and Breskes, two Dutch (hips, which sailed from the island of Tcrnate, one of the Moluccas, in 1643, to examine the North-east coast of Tartary, and that part of the Pacific Ocean which lies to the eastward of it. These ships were separated by a gale of wind off the Southeast point of Japan, and sailed, in different tracks, along the eastern side of that island. Having pasted the northern extremity of it, they proceeded singly on their intended expedition, and both fell in, as they thought, with a very extensive tract of land, called by the natives Jeso; but which has since been found to consist of several islands, being the most southerly and westerly of those called the Kuriles. The difference between the accounts given by these two ships, and the modern Ruffian discoverers, has been the occasion of great disputes among geographers; and many have been inclined to think the two lands different: but there appears to be very little reason for this supposition, as lands of the magnitude which the Dutch represent that of Jeso to be, could not exist in these seas without having been discovered long before this time. Dr. Forster, in order to reconcile the two accounts, is willing to suppose, as M. Muller had done before, that the land which now forms the Kurilian isles might, at the time When the Castricom and Breskes saw it, be one continued land; which, since that time, has been rent asunder by earthquakes, and parcelled out into small islands, as it appears at present. Forming hypotheses is one great trait in our Author's character; and there is a way of doing these things which is well enough; but Dr. F.'s are generally on a scale too vast to come within our comprehension, the narrowness of which may, perhaps, be the cause of our aversion to the practice of calling in the grand and terrible operations of nature to reconcile the petty differences of opinion between men of science, or to account for the ordinary occurrences which pass under their observation. Not a single circumstance, similar to what must have happened here, is to be met with in history. The most dreadful ravages by earthquakes which are on record, are those of Lima, Lisbon, and the late one in Italy: but notwithstanding the effects of these are as dreadful as can well be conceived, they will not bear any degree of comparison with the consequences of that which Mr. Muller and Dr. Forster suppose to have taken place to the North-east of Japan. But granting that earthquakes had happened, as dreadful in their consequences as that must have been which these gentlemen call in to their affiltance, it may, we think, be asked, with great propriety, why we have recourse to these extraordinary means of resolving a difficulty, while others, much more simple and equally efficacious, are at hand? Captain King, who, we make no doubt, had Wiizen, the first, as tar as we know, who published the account of this voyage, before him, though we have not, fays, p. 388 of the Continuation of Capt. Cook's Account of his last Voyage, that the Castricom " failed along the South-east coast [of this land] about sixty leagues, in a constant fog." Can any thing farther be wanting to convince persons, who have been in such a situation, how easy it was for the people of the Castricom to be deceived, and to take that for a continued land, which, had it been clear weather, they would have seen consisted of a number of islands lying near one another, as the Kuriles do?

XI. The account of a Dutch ship which was sent to Smearemberg for train oil; this article being then manufactured there, and brought home afterwards. Not finding a sufficient quantity of oil ready for her, she sailed, as it is said, "straight on. to the northward, and at the distance of two degrees from it *, went twice round it." Of another Dutch (hip which "had navigated under the very Pole, and found the weather as warm there as it used to be at Amsterdam in summer." And, lastly, of two other Dutch ships which had failed to the 89th degree of latitude, and found no icej and that the variation of the compass was there 5 degrees. w —■——•

* We suppose the Pole it meant, but the word is omitted.

'. The

« ПредишнаНапред »