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of the afternoon! April, May, June, and July, passed away, in the vain hope of a liberation from this frozen prison : vegetation appeared on the hills, in the shape of a few early flowers, and a little sorrel, which was of great service as an antiscorbutic. The process of thawing went on rapidly ; but there were eight feet in thickness of solid ice to melt, before Winter Harbour could be free. In June, Mr. Parry made an excursion across Melville Island, with
a party of bis men, and accompa. nied by Captain Sabine. They were gone fifteen days, and reached the opposite, or northern shore of the island. This was in lat. 75° 34' 47", long. 111° 35' 52" ; variation, 135° 03 55", easterly.
At length, on the 1st of August, the passage was sufficiently clear of ice, to induce them to get the ships under weigh once more. This was precisely the time when they had entered Lancaster Sound on the preceding year, and their hopes of effecting their passage to the Pacific, were strong ; but a little time dispersed them. The unfortunate Griper behaved so much worse than ever, that Mr. Parry convened his officers, to consult upon the propriety of abandoning her, and pushing on in the Hecla alone. She was probably only saved from this disgrace, by the unlucky circumstance, that her consort was unable to leave her
the ice completely putting a stop to their passage on the 16th, in lat. 74° 26' 25", and west long. 113° 46'43'. 5-being but a short distance farther west, than they had gone in the preceding September. Mr. Parry observed a current set. ting to the east, the day they left Winter Harbour, that slacked about seven o'clock in the evening; at half-past seven it was high water : hence he inferred that the flood tide, where they then were, came in through Behring's Straits. From this time, until the 1st of September, they were employed in working their way through the ice, to the entrance of Lancaster's Sound again. From this point, he sailed along the west coast, when the ice would permit; and, after landing once or twice, and making some valuable geographical observations, he finally left those seas on the 26th September; and made the best of his way to England, where he arrived in safety,—not without, however, as might be expected, giving the Griper the slip. The Hecla arrived at Leith on the 3d November, and the Griper got into Shetland on the 1st. We are happy to add, that Lieut. Parry was promoted, -and that he has been sent out on a third expedition, to the same seas, but in a different direction.
After reading this book, no doubt can exist that, but for the ice, a north-west passage was easily to be effected. We believe
that it can be made, in defiance of all impediments that do exist. In this opinion we are supported by Mr. Parry. That gentleman remarks, that as owing to the prevalence of westerly winds, he was able to make in six days the passage back, that occupied him five weeks in going—the most successful course would be, to enter Behring's Straits, and sail eastward. To this project there are many objections, which Mr. Parry himself seems to think unanswerable. There is one circumstance that seems to have escaped our navigator. In Lancaster Sound, the rise and fall of the tides was about seven feet; in winter harbour, it was not more than two and a half feet. Through Lancaster Sound, the flood sets to the westward; through Behring's Straits, to the east as well as west. Capt. Parry found Lancaster Sound much more free from ice, than the straits and passage between the islands, as he proceeded west: we attribute this to the rapidity of its currents, or tides. There must be a meridian, in the polar basin, where the tides, the one from the east, and the other from the west, meet : At this point, the rise and fail must be less than at other places, where the water has more time and space to diffuse itself on the ebb : consequently, there must be less current; and, we think, the ice, generally, less disturbed. The result would be, that, as it would have a power to maintain itself against the winds and currents, the ice, at that point, would be more impas able than in any other part of the sea. We are sensible, that where a variety of causes operate, that is a dangerous theory which confines itself to one. That Mr. Parry was stopped near the place where the tides meet, is evident from his owo facts. He reached to where the flood set to the eastward, and the rise and fall of the water was trifling : It is true, that his difficulties increased after he had passed this point, and he was finally stopped at a small distance beyond it. Let us examine the reasons. Melville Island had land, that was estimated to be a thousand feet high ; and some of its bills were ascended : No land could be discovered to the west ; therefore, it is to be presumed that it was the last of the groupe of islands, of which it made one. The passage between Melville Island and the continent, or whatever land exists to the south, could not be very great, as it was seen several times from the hills. That the ice should stop, and form its greatest barrier at the throat of such an inlet, aided by the circumstance of the meeting tides, and sluggish current, was to be expected. We believe, that Mr. Parry had actually passed the point, where the greatest difficulty would have been encountered, but for the formation of the land. What alteration in the chan
nel would have been caused by the absence of this island, it is impossible to say ; but we think the inference from the facts to be fair, when we conclude that it was not owing to the impenetrable barriers of the frozen ocean, that he was compelled to returo, so much as to an accidental combination of the absence of currents with the position of the land. The question now arises, whether the open sea, if we may use the expression when we mean the polar basin, or the vicinity of the American continent, will be the more likely to admit of the passage of a ship.
There can be nothing more uncertain than the position of floating ice; and although a theory may be established which will be true, yet the accidental interposition of a single floe, might as effectually stop a vessel, as if a frozen ocean intervened. We have no anticipation that any very important results can now arise from making the passage; yet it is difficult to place bounds to knowledge. Scientific facts are so intimately blended, that it is impossible to predict what a flood of light may not burst upon us by the possession of a single fact. It is therefore wisest, and certainly the most creditable, to push the advantages already obtained, to the utmost. This, the English government appear disposed to do, and Mr. Parry has already sailed on another expedition. Instead of going through Lancaster Sound, he bas, we believe, been making an effort to find a passage into the Polar Basin, by endeavouring to discover an inlet farther south, probably through Hudson's Bay, which, as yet, is very little known. He means to keep close to the American continent, and hopes to be able to make the passage, by so doing; we fear that he will be disappointed, but heartily wish him success.
It would be improper to close this account of his book, without saying something of the author. We know nothing of his history, or bis previous life. He held the same rank in his navy that Cook did on his first voyage ; but we presume, as we suppose him to be a young man, that his promotion was more rapid. If the performance of a single exploit, which surpasses in enterprise, importance, hardships, and success,a tissue of minor actions, can entitle one man to a name superior to that of another, then is Captain Parry a greater man than Captain Cook. Cook seems always to have been afraid of the ice; and the consequence was, that, notwithstanding his assertion to the contrary, a Terra Australis has been discovered by others. We know of no other claimant, to nautical honour of this kind, who can compete with Captain Parry. We believe him to be the first navigator, not only of this age, but for many preceding ones. Had chance
suffered him to get through to the Pacific, his reputation might have been higher, but we are by no means conscious, that he would have been more deserving of it.
ART. VI.-Ontwa, the son of the Forest. A Poem. Post Svo. pp.
136. Wiley & Halsted : New-York, 1822.
It is with pride and pleasure that we hail the native talent which is bursting out around us. American and Foreign reviewers had so long deplored the deficiency of our literature, that we had almost persuaded ourselves the goddess of dulness bad established her leaden empire over us, and that this fair land, the chosen abode of peace and liberty, was nevertheless the clime “ where fancy si kens and where genius dies.” Thanks however to the authors of the Spy, the Sketch Book, and Yamoyden, in our own state, and many others in the union, this reproach seems likely to be taken from us. We have it, on the authority of Dr. Beattie, that it is difficult to “climb tle steep ascent where fame's proud temple shines afar;" but there are some obstacles in the author's path, which are peculiar to this country. The continual importation of foreign works, and the lessened expense of their republication, naturally command the attention of the booksellers, who prudently prefer publishing books which have safely passed the ordeal of criticism, to adventuring upon the doubtful experiment of an unknown production. Another disadvantage to a native writer, is the decided taste for European works, and the ungrateful and unjust contempt with which American
productions are here regarded. It is a fact, that American writers meet with most discouragement, where they might reasonably hope to find most favour, even in their native land. Half of the trash which, sanctioned by the title of English novels, circulates through the union, paying its way as it goes, if it was of American origin, would meet with the contempt it deserves. A volume, of the sickly manufacture of Miss Porter, or one of the silly progeny of the Minerva press, will fill the republisher's purse:-while an American work of ten times the merit, struggles slowly into notice; or perhaps dies, leaving its unfortunate parent to defray the expenses of its short career.
We would not be understood as censuring the introduction of foreign works, but the indiscriminate praise that is accorded to them, and the hasty injustice with which native productions are condemned. Was the author of the Sketch Book so caressed and flattered till the English writers gave us the cue? How long would the works of Brown have slumbered on the shell, if an
English reviewer had not wiped the dust of neglect from their leaves, and given them the notice they merited? It is time to break the fetters of this mental vassalage, and while we enjoy the literary treasures of other nations, remember to cherish those of
There is also a disadvantage to authors, that applies too forcibly to this state, and in mentioning it, we confess a feeling of mortification. A work is praised or censured, as the politics of the author may happen to incline; as if politics had ought in common with works of imagination or that the elevating influences of literature should be debased, or destroyed, by the petty irritations of party squabbles.
Now, with these obstacles arrayed against him, an author must be bold to attempt, and fortunate to succeed in gaining public notice. A few stout hearts have, however, dared to enter the lists of fame, and while some have gone down to oblivion in silence, others are entitled from their merits to aid and commendation. That the author of Ontwa ranks in this class, we hope that our readers who have read, and those whom our extracts may tempt to read the poem, will agree with us.
The subject of the story is an Indian tradition, of the extermination of the Eries by the Iroquois. The poem was composed among the scenes, where the events are supposed to have occurred, of which circumstance the freshness and spirit of the descriptions give happy evidence. The subject was not without its difficulties: to render the narrative interesting, without trespassing on probability ; to give the character of the savage its Indian tints, without painting him ferocious; and to represent the softer shades without violating the keeping of the picture, required a skilful hand. We do not say that the author of Ontwa has done all this, for we do not mean to give our praise in unqualified terms, but we freely contribute our share of commendation for the beauty of this poem. The story, though simple, is interesting, the incidents are natural and appropriate, and the characters well drawn. The author has been unfortuaate in the cho of the measure, which, exclusive of its being hackneyed and worn out, neither admits of majesty, nor full-toned melody. Both in his descriptions and his verse, he has fixed his eye on Scott's writings; and we are sorry for it, because he is a faulty model. Young poets should especially beware of studying from inferior masters, or of acquiring the slip-slop, sloven air, of the poetry of the present day. Let them turn back to the vigorous, sparkling style of Dryden, and by making his art of poetry their manual, endeavour to escape the errors, which he well knew how to perceive, though he would not take the pains to correct them in his own poems. Nor has our author availed bimself of the only advantage