صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

provocations are, in a great measure, accounted for or explained in the following extract.


Having noticed the very exalted notions of himself,' and the ill humour with which Dr. Forfter entered on the poffeffion of the cabin allotted to him in the Refolution, the scantiness of which produced part of this ill humour; Mr. Wales proceeds to obferve that the Doctor, he believes, never paffed a week on board, without a difpute with one perfon or other and in his part of thofe quarrels, he was feldom very choice either in the mildness or delivery of his expreffions. Matters of this nature, frequently repeated, foon gave both officers and people a bad opinion of him; and it is not to be wondered at, if, in confequence thereof, they fometimes treated him with lefs ceremony than he would otherwife have had a right to expect. This, at leaft, is certain, there were but few who would go much out of their way to oblige him, in things to which their duty did not compel them. In fhort, before we reached New Zealand the first time, there was scarce a man in the fhip whom he had not quarrelled with on one pretence or other.'

Under fuch circumstances, and in fuch a frame of mind, it is not to be wondered at if his relations of events should carry marks of his prejudices against the actors in them: nor can it be expected that he fhould defcribe their proceedings, fine ira odio, as becomes an impartial hiftorian. We are forry to obferve that the inftances of apparently wilful mifreprefentation, here collected, and moft feverely animadverted upon, by Mr. Wales, are very numerous indeed. We fhall however chiefly confine ourselves to one particular tranfaction, in which we have, in fome meafure, been made participes criminis; in confequence of the confidence we placed in the veracity and seeming. candour of the relator; and of the indignation excited in us by his recital of feveral other wanton acts of cruelty, the detail of which appeared to us to have been extorted from him by his feelings and humanity.

We allude to the horrible tale, which we abridged [M. R. June, 1777, page 462) according to which, a boat-hook was darted at a poor pilferer in the Friendly Ifles (who had purJoined a few trifles) by which he was catched under the ribs, and dragged into the boat, with lofs of blood, &c. Our blood boiled at the horrid recital, and in our wrath we could not refrain from ftigmatifing the actors in this as well as in other equally horrid and highly finifhed fcenes, with the title of European Savages; for which we fhall make them the amende bonorable, by giving Mr. Wales's account of the transaction at length:

I was an eye-witness, fays Mr. Wales, of every part of the tranfaction to which this heavy charge relates, and, as the best anfwer


anfwer to it, will give a full and fimple relation of it as it really did happen. I was coming out of my own cabin, and going upon deck to obferve the meridian altitude of the fun, when I met Mr. Hood, one of the midshipmen, going into the master's cabin, which was next to mine, I believe for Mr. Gilbert's quadrant, who was going to obferve also. When he opened the door, he started back, and faid, "There's a man just going out of the fcuttle." I faw his legs, and we ran both upon deck, and called to him to leave what he had stolen, or he would be shot. He paid no regard to this, and a mufket-ball was fired through the ftern of his canoe, for he was not twenty yards off. This, however, had no effect; and two boats were manned and fent after him; for, notwithstanding Dr. Forfter fays the things were but trifles, they were of too much value to be loft, as amongst these trifles there were both the ship's and the mafter's log-books. Finding that our boats came up with him, he threw the things overboard, which one boat picked up, and the other followed with orders to bring him back to the fhip; where it was intended to punish him with a dozen lafhes, as an example to deter others from making the like daring attempts. Finding himself still purfued, and that his canoe began to fill at the mufket-hole, and to paddle very heavily, he, and thofe that were with him, leaped overboard, and fwam towards the fhore. Our boat came up with him, but it is not eafy to catch a naked man in the water, especially one of those to whom the water feems a natural element. He dived feveral times, and at last unhooked the rudder of the boat, and rendered it thereby totally ungovernable. One of the people then threw the boat hook over him (not darted it at him, and pulled him to the boat's fide, when others got hold of his hair, arms, and legs, and pulled him into it. In doing this,(I cannot fay, unfortunately, for it was not of the leaft confequence) the returning part of the boat-hook, which every one knows is as blunt as one's finger, flightly fcratched his fide. By the accounts of the people when they came on board, and who alone could know any thing of the matter, it was barely fufficient to make him bleed. The man almost instantly sprung from them, dived away to a confiderable diftance, and before the time that they got the rudder hung, and could overtake him he swam very near a quarter of a mile to fome canoes, and got on fhore.


Who, after reading this ftate of the matter, which I moft folemnly declare to be true, will not defpife, and even deteft then, who, coolly and unprovoked, could charge another with darting fuch a thing as a boat-hook into his fellow-creauntil it entered fo far into his body, as for the hooked ture, part

part to catch under his ribs, and in that manner drag him into a boat? Or who will fuppofe that a man, wounded in this manner, would be able to escape from five or fix others, leap out of the boat, and swim to a confiderable distance? Or, that "fuch a difpofition for cruelty as had been (here) difplayed, (fuppofing Dr. Forfter's account to be true) would not have deprived us of the confidence and affection of his countrymen ?" Happy indeed is it for those who had the misfortune to fail with this man, that his intemperate heat, rafhness, and inattention, fo far counterbalance his difpofition to do ill, as to render it in a manner harmless, and every where afford fufficient materials to confute his moft cruel and unjuft afperfions.'

Mr. Wales having vindicated himfelf and his fhipmates against Dr. Forfter's manifold afperfions and mifreprefentations, is at length induced to break through the refolution he had formed not to recriminate. He affures us that this mighty advocate for the natives of the South Sea ifles, this detefter of every species of cruelty, and paragon of humanity, as he has represented himfelf, was twice confined, in the courfe of the voyage, for wanton and unprovoked acts of cruelty to the natives. Once by Capt. Cook, for fhooting, as I was told, at the natives of Uliatea; a fet of people who, he has himself affured us, are the moft harmless and inoffenfive, and, at the fame time, the moft hofpitable and generous that are any where to be met with, and whofe behaviour was, at all times, fo cautious and circumfpect, as never once to provoke even the failors to treat them ill, notwithstanding the known eafe with which (as the Doctor fays) they are provoked to port with the lives of their fellow-creatures. The fecond time was by Lieutenant (now Captain) Clerke, for fpurning with his foot, and spitting in the face of one of the natives of Tanna; and the provocation, as far as I could gather from his difpute with the man, was, because he had led him a long way to fhew him the nutmeg tree, and through misapprehenfion, as it appeared to me, had given him the name of the leaf for the name of the tree itself, and had afterwards the audacity to infift on fome reward for his labour.'

The Reader is not to fuppofe that Mr. Wales's Remarks' are folely confined to matters of a personal nature, or to the defence of himself and fhipmates. His performance may be confidered as an ufeful, and, indeed, necefiary companion and corrective to Dr. Forfter's work. At the fame time it contains feveral pertinent obfervations relating to fubjects of more general importance.



ART. IX. Owen of Carron; a Poem. By Dr. Langhorne. 4to. 3 s. Dilly. 1778.


HE characteristics of the English Muse, in the present age, feem to be eafe, elegance and harmony; in the last, he was nervous, but mechanical; and in the age preceding the laft, from whence, indeed, we may properly date the æra of poetry, in England, her more ftriking diftinctions were pathos, fublimity, and enthusiasm. It would be an interesting fpeculation to inquire into the caufes whence this difference of character hath arifen: but in difcuffing a queftion fo complex and extenfive, we might be thought to deviate too far into general criticism. To assemble and combine whatever is beautiful, magnificent, and affecting; to conceive with truth and justnefs; and to exprefs with energy and effect the bold conceptions of a mind expanding itself to its utmoft extenfion, require a much greater effort than to adjust fyllables, or modulate a period. Nor does the general taste, in any degree, inforce extraordinary exertion of talents: to accompany the flights of creative genius, and to fathom the depths of abftracted poetry, would be labours ill-fuited to levity and idleness. General as this cenfure may appear, it is not meant to be indiscriminate. True tafte hath ftill her votaries, though at the same time it must be acknowledged that in no period have they been numerous. The fame exception, which comprehends the select few who have judgment and feeling to relifh the effects of true poetry, must be extended to the few likewife who are capable of producing thofe effects. In this clafs is the well-known Author of the poem now before us. He has long held a diftinguifhed rank in the republic of letters; not higher, indeed, than might have been expected from a writer whofe genius is original, and whofe enthufiafm is not artificial or acquired, but the natural effect of a powerful imagination.

The story on which this poem is founded, though romantic, is interesting; and the more fo, as we are told there is reafon to believe it is, in fome measure, authentic. The rude outline of it may be traced in the ancient Scottish ballad of Gill Morrice. It is fomething fingular that the fame ballad has furnished a plot to one of our popular tragedies.

The opening of the poem prepares us for a tale of tenderness and diftrefs:

On CARRON's fide the primrofe pale,

Why does it wear a purple hue?
Ye maidens fair of MARLIVALE,

Why ftream your eyes with Pity's dew?

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

These are followed by four ftanzas of inimitable beauty

The evening ftar fat in his eye,
The fun his golden treffes gave,
The North's pure morn her orient dye,
To him who refts in yonder grave!
Beneath no high, hiftoric ftone,

Though nobly born, is OWEN laid,
Stretch'd on the green wood's lap alone,

He fleeps beneath the waving fhade.
There many a flowery race hath fprung,

And fled before the mountain gale,
Since first his fimple dirge ye fung;

Ye maidens fair of MARLIVALE!

Yet ftill, when MAY with fragrant feet
Hath wander'd o'er your meads of gold,
That dirge I hear fo fimply fweet

Far echoed from each evening fold.

The foregoing lines recal to us the plaintive and affecting harmony of COLLINS; between whom and our poet, were we not restrained by the limits of our Review, we might, indeed, trace a ftill further refemblance. To a fimilarity of tafte and genius it is probably owing that the public were originally indebted for the firft regular edition of COLLINS's works. Till Dr. Langhorne's republication of them, the writings of this wonderful and unfortunate man were, for reasons which the Editor has given, little known, or too much neglected.

As we are unwilling to anticipate the pleasure of the Public in the perufal of the poem, we fhall not enter into a minute detail of its feveral parts, but only felect fuch paffages as are moft detached, and may best serve to give our Readers a foretafte of the gratification they are to expect from the whole of this masterly performance.

There is fomething beautifully picturefque in the imagery of the following paffage :

'Twas when, on fummer's fofteft eve,
Of clouds that wander'd Weft away,
Twilight with gentle hand did weave
Her fairy robe of night and day.
When all the mountain gales were ftill,
And the wave flept against the shore,
And the fun funk beneath the hill,

Left his last fmile on LEMMERMORE,

A chain of mountains running thro' Scotland, from East to West.


« السابقةمتابعة »