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standing in a frame above it, and taking hold of a chain that was fastened thereto. “Dr. Hutton, of Birmingham, speaking of Topham, is right in asserting that he also kept a publick house at Islington; he likewise confirms what was said of him by Dr. Desaguliers; besides his lifting two hogsheads of water, heaving his horse over the turnpike gate, carrying the beam of a house as a soldier carries his firelock. These, Dr. Hutton observes, were the reports circulated respecting Topham in the country. But, however belief might be staggered, he observes, she recovered herself, when this second Samson appeared at Derby as a performer in publick, at a shilling each. Upon application to alderman Cooper, to exhibit, the magistrate was surprised at the feats he proposed; and as his appearance was like that of other men, he requested him to strip, that he might examine whether he was made like them, but he was found extremely muscular. What were hollows under the arms and hams of others, were filled up with ligaments in him. “From the jerk he received from the two horses, Dr. Hutton observed, that he limped a little in his walk; and though a well made man, had nothing singular in his appearance. “The performances of this wonderful man at Derby, in whom the doctor observes, the strength of twelve men were united, were the rolling up of a pewter dish of seven pounds, as a man rolls up a sheet of paper. Holding a pewter quart at arm’s length, and squeezing the sides together like an egg-shell. Lifting two hundred weight with his little finger, and moving it gently over his head. The bodies he touched seemed to have lost the power of gravitation. He also broke a rope fastened to the floor, that would have sustained twenty hundred weight; lifted the oak table with half a hundred weight to it; a piece of leather being fixed to one end for his teeth to hold, and while two of the feet stood upon his knees, he raised the end of it, with the weight, higher than that in his mouth. Mr. Chambers, then vicar of All Saints, in Derby, who weighed twenty seven stone, he took and raised with one hand, his head being laid on one chair, and his feet on another. Four people, also, fourteen stone each, sat upon Topham's body, and these he heaved at pleasure. At one blow he struck a round bar of iron, one inch in diameter, against his naked arm, and bentitlike a bow. Weakness and feeling seemed fled together. “Being a master of some musick, Dr. Hutton says he entertained the company
at Derby with Mad Tom. The Doctor also heard him sing a solo to the organ (then the only one in Derby) in St. Werburgh's church; but though he might perform with judgment, yet the voice, more terrible than sweet, scarcely seemed human. The ostler at the Virgin inn, where Topham put up, having insulted him, he took one of the kitchen spits from the mantlepiece, and bent it round his neck like a handkerchief; but as he did not choose to tuck the end in the ostler's bosom, the cumbrous ornament only excited the laugh of the company, until Topham undertook to untie his iron cravat. Had he not abounded with good nature, the men might have been in fear for the safety of their persons, and the women, for that of their pewter on the shelves. One blow from him would for ever have silenced; those heroes of the fist, who boast so much of boxing. “But the circumstances here related by Dr. Desaguliers and Dr. Hutton, were only the common place performances of Topham, when he went about purposely to show himself, some aged persons who knew him in his neighbourhood, relate a variety of pranks which he was occasionally in the habit of playing; for instance, one night finding a watchman fast asleep in his box, near Chiswell street, he took both, and carrying the load with the greatest ease, at length dropped the watchman and his wooden case over the wall of Tindall’s burying ground, where the poor fellow, only half awake, and doubting whether he was in the land of the living, in recovering from his fright, seemed to be waiting for the opening of the graves around him.— Another time, sitting at the window of a low, publick house, in the same street, while a butcher from a slaughter-house was going by with nearly half an ox on his back, Topham relieved him of it with so much ease and dexterity, that the fellow, almost petrified with astonishment, swore that nothing but the devil could have flown away with his load. A third time, thinking to enjoy a little sport with some bricklayers, by removing part of a scaffold just before they intended to strike it, from a small building, his grasp was so rude, that a part of the front wall following the timber, the fellows conceived it had been the effects of an earthquake, and immediately ran, without looking behind them into an adjoining field. Here, however, Topham was near paying dearly for his jest, as one of the poles struck him on his side, and gave him great pain. “Another time, being persuaded by one of his acquaintance to accompany int on board a West India-man in the river
and being presented with a cocoa nut, he threw one of the sailors into the utmost astonishment, by suddenly cracking it close to his ear, with the same facility as we crack an egg-shell: and upon some remark being made upon an observation dee ed rather insolent, by the mate of the ship, Tonham replied, that he could have cracked the bowsprit over his head; and of the truth of which there was not the least doubt “Another time, a race being to be run on the Hackney road, when a fellow with a horse ind cart would attempt to keep close to the contending parties, much to the displeasure of the spectators in general, Topham, who was one of them, steping into the road, seized the tail of the cart, and in spite of all the fellow’s exertions in whipping his horse to get forward, he drew them both backwards, with the greatest ease and velocity: and while the pleasure of the beholders was at the highest point of gratification, the surprise and rage of the driver seemed to be beyond ali expression; nothing preventing him from exercising his whip, upon the immediate cause of his chagrin, but the probable fear of his being pulled or crushed to pieces. “During the time he kept a publick house, two fellows, extremely quarrelsome, though patiently born with for a conside; a 'e time, at length proceeded so far, that nothing would satisfy them but fight
ing the landlord. But as they could be appeased no other way, Topham, at length, seizing them hoth by the nape of the neck, with the same facility as if they had been children, he knocked both their heads together, till perfectly sensible of their errour, they became as abject in asking pardon, as they had before been insolent in giving offence. “There is a report, that being opene after his death, the ribs, which are detached in other persons, were found in him in a manner connected into one solid substance. “He is said to have been extremely irritaile in his temper, but had sometimes such a command over himself, that, to prevent its effects, he would lock himself up in a rooin till he found himself calm. To his own violence, however, he at length fell a victim; his jealousy of his wife induced him to beat her so severely, that fear and remorse, as to the consequences, had such an effect upon him, that he rut an end to his own existence. A piate was engraved, representing him in the act of lifting the hogsheads of water in Cold Bath Fieldds; but this was the last feat he ever exhibited. “There were several signs some years ago in different parts of the metropolis referring to Topham’s strength; one of the last of these was in East Smithfield, where he was represented as “The strong man pulling against two horses.”
FROM THE QUARTERLY REVIEW.
History of Brazil. By Robert Southey. Part the First, 4to pp. 660. London, 1810.
IT is by no means easy to mention a style of composition which Mr. Southey has not attempted, and it would be still harder to point out one in which his talents might not be expected to raise him to distinguished eminence. Few authors, of the present age, have written so much as he has done, and still fewer of any age, have written so well. As a poet, we conceive his name has not yet arrived at the reputation which it is hereafter destined to attain; and, as a historian, the expectation excited by his previous and less important essays, will not be disappointed by the present, bulky
volume. With a share of genius and fancy equalled but by few; an honesty surpassed by none; and an extent and variety of information marked with the stamp of that industrious
and almost forgotten accuracy which
brings us back to the severer days of English study, he possesses a commanding knowledge of his mother tongue, which, though the ostentation of power sometimes produces pedantry, and its attendant negligence betrays him too often into antiquated homeliness, is strongly, however, and, we think, advantageously contrasted with the monotonous and unbending dignity which
distinguishes the greater part of modern historians. No author could be fixed upon to continue, with greater prospect of success, the task of American history, which Robertson left unfinished; and none is better adapted to correct and supply, by superiour minuteness, zealous research, and lively painting of nature and manners, the cold, and often inaccurate outline of that sensible and pleasing, but, certainly, superficial writer. That portion of American annals" which, in this literary colonization, has fallen to Mr. Southey’s share, has less, indeed, of the usual common places of history, less that is refined, or splendid, or illustrious, than is offered by the revolutions of Europe and of Asia, or even by the transactions of the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru.
“I have to speak,” are Mr. Southey's words, “ of savages so barbarous. that little sympathy can be felt for any sufferings which they endured, and of colonists, in whose triumphs no joy will be taken, because they added avarice to barbarity. Ignoble men, carrying on an obscure warfare, the consequences of which have been greater than were produced by the conquests of Alexander or of Charlemagne, and will be far more lasting. Even the few higher characters which appear, have obtained no famie beyond the limits of their own religion, scarcely beyond those of their language.”
With all these defects incidental to his subject, we agree with him in rating its importance highly. Much yet remains to be learned concerning the habits and character of savages, and it is a topick on which erroneous opinions have done such infinite harm, that a philosophick mind can hardly bestow its attention better, than in illustrating those barbarous manners and strange superstitions which, wild as they seem, are the rudiments, perhaps, and, as
it were, the grammar of political man. And, however inglorious the agents in the colonization of Brazil, the mariners, the missionaries, the exiles of one of the least of our European nations; it cannot be an unimportant labour to trace the process by which their slender means achieved effects so apparently disproportioned. In thrse rude efforts of an infant state, these struggles with their Savage neighbours, or the more important warfare which they have carried on against the beasts of the wood, the dragons of the fen, and the unkindly effects of strange and adverse climates, we are reading the
original history of every civilized
* The title of “History of Brazil” is hardly adequate to the subject, as Mr. Southey's work comprises the rise and progress of all the European colonies, from the Andes to the Atlantick, and from the Plata to the river of Amazon.
could catch, into exile and slavery. But this was all the profit which they derived from their discovery. The land was to the east of Pope Alexander's famous boundary line; and Pinzon had not yet brought the news of his success to Europe, when the fleet of Portugal, under Cabral, was driven, by a fortunate storm which befel them in their way to India, to that country which had been thus blindly allotted to their future empire. Cabral was followed by the famous Amerigo Vespucci, a really able navigator, who, while he narrowly missed the honour of discovering the Straits of Magellan, has, by a singular fortune, been recompensed far above his deserts, in imposing, perhaps unconsciously, his name on a mighty continent. The country thus partially explored, bore, according to Garcia, the native name of Arabutan. Cabral, however, called it Santa Cruz, and, within a few years after its discovery, both appellations were forgotten in the new one of Brazil, derived, as Mr. Southey thinks, from the valuable wood which was brought from thence, or, as appears to us also possible, from the Milesian Fables, introduced to our acquaintance in the notes to the poem of “Madock,” and to the present volume. Without, indeed, recurring to the Platonick Atlantis, or the lucky guess of Seneca, who foresaw, according to Garcia, the discovery of America, “como suelen adivinar los freneticos i poetas por calentarse demasiadamente el celebro;” it is a very perplexing and curious question, nor, as yet, by any means sufficiently explained, from what source, prior to Columbus, the suspicion arose, so prevalent in the darker ages, of countries
“Farre in the sea, beyond West Spayne.” To the voyage of St. Brandan and
his monks, and that of Mr. Southey’s Cambrian Herd, may be added the extraordinary expedition of Dante's Ulysses, whom the poet conducts in a second ramble, far more adventurous than the first, and, by the same track with Columbus, to suffer shipwreck on the dusky and mountainous shore of the Terrestrial Paradise.[Inferno, canto o Two fabulous, Atlantick islands, of the names of Brazil and Antilia, occur in maps anteriour to the Spanish voyage. The first of these may have been taken from an old Irish superstition, founded on a natural phenomenon, and a name once famous might have been easily transferred, as was at least the case with Antilia, to the discoveries afterwards made. But Chaucer, when he mentions the red die of Brazil, in the same breath with “graine of Portingale,” displays a premature knowledge of its produce which is very perplexing, and the more so, because we cannot find any sufficient authority to prove that the wood existed in the ancient hemisphere, or that Brazil has a meaning in any eastern or European language. Is it absurd to suppose that specimens of American timber may have been cast on the western shores of Europe in sufficient quantities to become a rare and valuable article in dying 2 Or that such arrivals may have been thought to proceed from the enchanted Island of O-Brazil This wood, however, which, except parrots and monkies, was the only article of exportation Brazil was then known to afford (for gryphons and tiger's wool, though mentioned in an old English statement, must have been very rare commodities indeed, and Pinzon was mistaken in his golden tales) was not of sufficient value to make the country of any great importance in the estimation of the “Lords of the conquest and commerce of India.” The land was neglected and left like a common to whoever chose to traffick there, and even when its value was better understood, the government of Lisbon was long more anxious to exclude the French from its commerce, than to profit by the possession themselves. Almost all which has been done in Brazil has been effected by private exertion. At first, a trade was carried on with the Indian inhabitants in the same manner, and for nearly the same commodities as that now maintained by the English and Americans with the savages of Polynesia. By degrees, occasional adventurers, thrown by shipwreck on the coast, or led by idleness and aversion to restraint, united themselves with the natives, and became interpreters or supercargoes. Of these, one of the first and most remarkable, was Diogo Alvarez, a young Portuguese, whose story might supplant Philip Quarl or Robinson Crusoe in the nursery, and set many an ardent boy on fire for voyages and discovery. “He was wrecked upon the shoals on the north of the bar of Bahia. Part of the crew were lost; others escaped this death to suffer one more dreadful; the natives seized and eat them. Diogo saw that there was no other possible chance of saving his life, than by making himself as useful as possible to these cannibals. He therefore exerted himself in recovering things from the wreck, and, by these exertions, succeeded in conciliating their favour. Among other things he was fortunate enough to get on shore some barrels of powder, and a musket, which he put in order at his first leisure, after his masters were returned to their village; and one day when the opportunity was favourable, brought down a bird before them. The women and children shouted Caramuru ! Caramuru ! which signified a man of fire and they cried out that he would destroy them: but he told the men, whose astonishment had less of fear mingled with it, that he would go with them to war, and kill their enemies. “Caramuru was the name which, from thenceforward, he was known by. They
* Him needeth not his colour for to dien With Brazil or with graine of Portingale.—Nomines Preest's Tale.
marched against the Tapuyas; the fame of this dreadful engine went before them, and the Tapuyas fled. From a slave, Caramuru became a sovereign. The chiefs of the savages thought themselves happy if he would accept their daughters to be his wives; he fixed his abode upon the spot where Willa Velha was afterwards erected, and soon saw as numerous a progeny as an old patriarch's rising round him. The best families in Bahia, trace their origin to him.”—P. 30, 31.
Caramuru, however, and persons in the same condition with himself, were not the only colonists. Many individuals founded little factories in different parts of the country; and small forts and establishments, resembling nearly those at present scattered along the coast of Guinea, appear, though this stage of Brazilian history is not very clearly told, to have been founded by government; yet the persons sent out to these feeble garrisons, were, of all others, least adapted to serve the real interests of their country, or to contribute to the advantage of the natives, a docile race, whom a wiser policy might have soon reclaimed.
A majority, at least, of these colonists were criminals, not sent as prisoners or labourers, like our convicts in New South Wales, but employed as soldiers, or as free settlers, and sometimes even as commanders and governours. But if the system of Port Jackson be erroneous, and tend to immorality, what must have been the effect of sending the same description of characters in responsible and important situations? Was there a Portuguese gentleman whose vices were intolerable in his mother country He was sent with arms in his hands to prey upon the wretched Americans. Was there an Indian governour, whose lust and cruelties had forced themselves on the notice of government? he was punished by the permission to tyrannize, with still less restraint upon his actions, in Brazil. For many generations this extraordinary policy was thc curse of the South Ameri