« 前へ次へ »
sent state of the Indies. No European settlers have yet been actuated either by mercy or wisdom, in their dealings with savages. . The English in North America did not enslave the aborigenes, but they treated them with brutal neglect and impolicy, and they encouraged their wandering habits by the traffick in peltry: they stimulated their evil passions by employing them in war; and they communicated to them no other tincture of civilisation but European diseases, and European, spirituous liquors. The Spaniards and Portuguese were, at first, indeed, oppressive and inhuman; but they have at least taken pains to domesticate the remnant whom they spared, and we apprehend their missions have since more than paid the debt of their original CXCCSSes. In comparing, as every one who reads his work will naturally more or less compare, Mr. Southey with Robertson, the most obvious, though certainly not the most important difference, is the occasional quaintness, and affectation of the style of antiquity, which we shortly noticed in the beginning of the present strictures, and which are very opposite indeed, to the unfailing polish, the sweetness of diction almost to satiety, and the other “ dulcia vitia” of his elegant predecessor. A little homeliness, a few archaisms, and a style, for the most part, founded on that of our beautiful version of the Scriptures, possess, indeed, when introduced with judgment and moderation, a dignity of eloquence, which the periods of later days are altogether unable to equal; and many passages may be found in the present volume, which would not disgrace, in harmony, even the best of the authors that have been chosen as models. But if this familiarity with our elder classicks assume the appearance of art or pedantry; if their negligence be evidently studied, and their obsolete or unusual language be ostentatiously and un
necessarily brought forward, we are apt to turn with some displeasure from pages which almost require a glossary, and from ornaments which remind us of the artificial wrinkles worn by the triple-crowned lady in the Tatler. In poetry, such archaisms or uncommon words are, for obvious reasons, often beautiful; but why, in plain prose, and in ordinary narrative, is “ coronal” to drive out coronet from its established place 3 Will “plumery” weigh heavier than jeathers ? or will not our homely English drum raise a spirit as soon as “tambour?”—Then we have “napery” for mafikins and table-cloths, “ poitrals,” which it may be thought, is fully as well exprest by breastfilates, and “broads,” a plural substantive, which, whether it requires a censor to reform it, or an augur to interpret, may admit, perhaps, of a question. It is true, that amidst six hundred pages of eloquent and powerful writing, a few such flaws as these are hardly worth the noticing, except that they admit of so easy an amendment in a future edition. There is another defect, which we believe must be attributed also to system, and derived from the same familiarity with ancient chronicles, but which is a real impediment, not only to the popularity, but to the general usefulness of a historical composition. The want of broad and general views of his subject, and of those bird’s-eye recapitulations, which serve as a resting place to the attention, and bring at once before the reader's observation the relative harmony of the objects he has gone through in detail. The generality of modern historians have fallen into a contrary extreme, and have given us rather essays on historical subjects, than real and authentick history. Mr. Southey, on the other hand, gives us his facts as he finds them, and takes little pains to unite them in a connected or lucid arrangement. Nothing can exceed the accuracy of his detail, or the life and spirit of his representations; but these glowing scenes pass over the mind as insulated and disjoined as the shadows of a magick lantern, or as visionary kings in Macbeth, without a Banquo to connect and identify them. In more respects than one, his work reminds us of the defects and beauties of the great masters in the infancy of painting, in whose performances every hair was a portrait, and every feature seemed starting into life; but from the want of general effect and keeping, the eye roamed unsatisfied over the picture, and sought relief on slighter but better arranged designs. Robertson wrote only for effect, and gave us sums without their items. The result was inaccurate, indeed, but will always continue popular. Mr. Southey gives the items carefully, and leaves the reader to cast them up himself. Surely he may indulge a little more in those eneral speculations, which his arent mind must have often suggested, without relinquishing the advantages which are possessed by superiour accuracy, and the interest he never fails to excite in particular facts, and the conduct of particular individuals. It is partly, however, owing to this habit of viewing actions in detail, and partly, we should almost imagine, to a keenness of the moral sense superiour to that possessed by his predecessor, that Mr. Southey's individual characters possess an interest and value far superiour to those of Robertson. They are not mere links in the chain of events; they are something more than performers in a great political ballet. They are men, accountable men, whose virtues are held up to our imitation, whose vices we are taught to abhor, and the principal end of history, example, is applied on the widest scale, and to the very best of purposes. As a moral writer, Mr. Southey will leave behind him a name which few of his contemporaries will have equalled. In these respects, indeed, it is, perhaps, necessary to observe, that a gradual
but important change appears to have taken place in some of our author’s opinions. We no longer find in the productions of his pen that querulous discontent under the existing state of society, and that undefined aspiration after fair dreams of unattainable liberty; dreams, indeed, but “such as our Milton worshipped;” which, by the prejudice they excited against his earlier productions, retarded, we believe, the popularity he must otherwise have obtained, till long after maturer age and melancholy experience had subdued and sobered down the livelier tints of his youthful enthusiasm. At present, if we wish to educate in the minds of youth a lofty sense of national dignity, a temperate zeal in the cause of freedom, and a manly hatred for every species of oppression or cruelty; if we desire te raise in them that admiration of individual merit which speaks to the feelings, and stimulates the emulation of the soldier or the citizen, as well as the statesman or general, and makes the study of history a school, not only of national politicks, but of private virtues: if, in short, we wish to breed up such men in England, as England now most needs to preserve her, few better manuals can be found than the works of Robert Southey. There are some errours of the pen, or of the press, we know not which; but, in the prospect of another edition, Mr. Southey will excuse our mentioning them. In page 2, Vicente de Pinzon is said to have sailed with four caravels; page 7, we are told that “ out of his three ships he lost two.”—A Frenchman would not [p. 136] say “ d'être terrible,” but “ a fin d’être terrible.” The Dutch are said [p. 577 i to have instructed their Indian allies in Lutheranism; a very singular conduct in men who were themselves Calvinists. Does this errour proceed from excessive familiarity with Porguese authors, who designate all protestants as Lutherans?
SPIRIT OF THE MAGAZINES.
FRoM DR. Clarke’s TRAvels.
MOSQUITOES IN THE CRIMEA.
FEW situations could surpass Kopil [situated in the territory of the Circassians] in wretchedness. Bad air, bad water, swarms of mosquitoes, with various kinds of locusts, beetles, innumerable flies, lizards, and speckled toads, seemed to infest it with the plagues of Egypt. As we left Kopil, we quitted also the river, and proceeded through the marshes to Kalaus. In our way we caught some small ducks, and saw also wild geese. At Kalaus were two young elks, very tame; and we were told that many wild ones might be found in the steppes during the Spring. In the course of this journey from Ekaterinedara, as we advanced, the frequent stands of lances announced at a distance the comfortable assurance of the Tchernomorski guard; without which the herds of cattle in the steppes, amounting to many thousands, would be continually plundered by the Circassians. These guards pass the night on the bare earth, protected from the mosquitoes by creeping into a kind of sack, sufficient only for the covering of a single person, in which they lie upon the thistles and other wild plants of the steppes. At Kalaus there was rather a strong body of the military. From this place to Kourky the dis
tance is thirty-five versts [less than twenty-four English miles]. Night came on; but we determined to proceed. No contrivance on our part could prevent millions of mosquitoes from filling the inside of our carriage, which, in spite of gloves, clothes, and handkerchiefs, rendered our bodies one entire wound. The excessive irritation and painful swelling caused by the bites of these furious insects, together with a pestilential air, excited in me a very considerable degree of fever. The Cossacks light numerous fires to . drive them from the cattle during the night; but so insatiate is their thirst of blood, that hundreds will attack a person attempting to shelter himself even in the midst of smoke. At the same time, the noise they make in flying cannot be conceived by persons who have only been accustomed to the humming of such insects in our country. It was, indeed, to all of us a fearful sound, accompanied by the clamour of reptile myriads, toads and bull frogs, whose constant croaking, joined with the barking of dogs, and the lowing of herds, maintained in the midst of darkness an unceasing uproar. It was our intention to travel in all hours, without halting for any repose; but various accidents
compelled us to stop at Kourky
about midnight, a military station
like the rest; and no subsequent sen
sation of ease or comfort has ever
obliterated the impression made by
the suffering of this night. It was
near the middle of July. The car
riage had been dragged, for many
miles together, through stagnant
pools; in fording one of which, it
was filled with water; and the dor
meuse, seat, floor, and well, became,
in consequence, covered with stink
ing slime. We stopped, therefore,
to open and inspect the trunks. Our
books and linen were wet. The Cos
sack and Russian troops were sleep
ing on the bare earth, covered by
sacks; and beneath one of these a
soldier permitted my companion to
lie down. The ground seemed en
tirely alive with innumerable toads,
crawling every where. Almost ex
hausted by fatigue, pain, and heat,
I sought shelter in the carriage, sitting in water and mud. It was the
most sultry night I ever experienced;
not a breath of air was stirring; nor could I venture to open the windows, though almost suffocated, through fear of the mosquitoes. Swarms, nevertheless, found their way to my hiding place; and when I opened my mouth, it was filled with them. My head was bound in handkerchiefs, yet they found their
way into my ears and nostrils. In the midst of this torment, I succeeded in lighting a large lamp over the sword case, which was instantly extinguished by such a prodigious number of these insects, that their dead bodies actually remained heaped in a large cone over the burner for several days afterwards. And I know not any mode of description which may better convey an idea of their afflicting visitation, than by simply relating this fact; to the truth of which, those who travelled with me, and who are now living, bear indisputable testimony. The mortality occasioned by mosquitoes in the Russian army, both of men and horses, was very great. Many of those stationed along the Kuban, died in consequence of mortification produced by the bites of these insects. Others who escaped the venom of the mosquitoes, fell victims to the badness of the air. Sometimes they scoop a hollow in the ancient tombs, to serve as a dwelling; at other times, a mere shed, constructed of reeds, affords the only covering; and in either of these places, during the greatest heat of summer, they light large fires, in order to fill the air with smoke; flying to their suffocating ovens in the most sultry weather, to escape from the mosquitoes.
ANECDOTE OF CHARI.ES II.
THE licentiousness and thoughtlessness of our second Charles, has become proverbial; and his good nature, which qualifies these, but ill atones for his ingratitude to those who suffered forfeiture and persecution in his cause. When he remained in Scotland, suffering the rebuke and censure of austere presbyterianism, before the battle of Worcester, his chief confidant and associate was the laird of Cockpen,
called by the nicknaming manners of those times, “ Blythe Cockpen.” He followed Charles to the Hague, and by his skill in playing Scotch tunes, and his sagacity and wit, much delighted his merry monarch. Charles’s favourite tune was, “Brose and Butter.” It was played to him when he went to bed, and he was awaked in the morning by it. At the restoration, however, Blythe Cockpen was forgotten, and he wandered among the lanes, which he once owned in Scotland, poor and unbefriended. He wrote to court, but his letters were never presented, or were not regarded. Wearied and incensed, he travelled to London, and placed himself in all publick places, thinking that the eye of majesty might reach him, . But he was never noticed, and his mean garb did not suit the rich, laced, and embroidered doublets of court; so he was insulted, and pushed from the king's presence. At length, he attempted by cunning what he could not accomplish by plain dealing. He ingratiated himself with the king's organist, who was so enraptured with Cockpeñ’s wit and powers of musick, that he consented to his request of playing on the organ before the king, at divine service. He accordingly played with exquisite skill, yet never attracted his majesty’s eye. But at the close of the
service, instead of playing the common tune used, he played up “ Brose and Butter,” with all its energy, and characteristick merriment In a moment, the astonished organist was ordered into the king’s presence. “My liege, it was not me, it was not me !” he cried, and dropped upon his knees. “You’” cried his majesty, in a delirium of rapture, “ you could never play it in your life—Where’s the man : Let me see him " Cockpen presented himself on his knee. “Ah, Cockpen, is that you—Lord, man, I was like to dance coming out of the church 1” “ I once danced too,” said Cockpen, “but that was when I had land of my own to dance on.” “Come with me,” said Charles, taking him by the hand, “ you shall dance to Brose and Butter on your own lands again, to the tenth generation l’” And he was as good as his promise.
MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FROM A TIGER.
THE following miraculous escape from a tiger, is related by a gentleman in a letter to a friend, dated at Jaulnah, in the East Indies, May 19, 1810. “I arrived here this morning with colonel Conran’s force. “ There is good hunting and shooting about twelve miles from this place; but it is dangerous from the number of wild beasts. I had, yesterday a most miraculous escape, which is the talk and wonder of all the camp. “I usually go out on the flank, and yesterday was beating down a nullah parallel to our line, and about 300 yards distant; I had killed one hare, and was anxiously looking out for another. “The place appeared by no means dangerous, because the bushes were low and insulated; but yet, in one
of these did my beatee discover one of the largest tigers I ever SaW. “The circumstances were as follow:—I was passing on at my usual slow pace, and taking care that every bush was well beaten, I arrived at a low and narrow, but rather a long bush, and had passed to the farther end, when one beatee cried out Saheb, saheb Baugh! Baugh! I withdrew a few paces; put two balls into each barrel of my gun, over the shot; sent one man to call assistance from the line, and was endeavouring to get a sight of the animal, as the man who remained was pointing out his head, his legs, and his face, but my endeavours were vain. My bad eyes led me into the greatest peril; for finding that I could not see him, I unwisely concluded that he was further off than