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that all the strength and majesty of such a subject should be preserved by a person so well acquainted with it, and that we should have something more worthy than the medleys compiled by fable-dealers in their garrets, calculated only to exhaust the patience and mislead the understanding of the reader.
In this just and reasonable expectation we have hitherto not been disappointed; but the author has in some degree been frustrated in his own purposes, which were, as appears by the advertisement to the second volume, in the next to carry the discoveries in the South Seas to the commencement of the reign of his present Majesty (1760). In this third volume he is 72 years short of his proposed date, and even in that now under our immediate review, he is 31 years deficient of the time he intended to dispose of in its precursor; so that the transactions are brought down only to 1722, terminating with the circumnavigation of the Dutchman Roggewein.
Under these circumstances, it behoves us to advert briefly to the plan of the work, the execution of which has been so prolix, contrary to the original design of the author; and if our remarks shall assist him in taking a shorter course, his readers we think will attend' him both with more profit and pleasure to the end of bis voyages.
There appears to us to be a radical defect in the scheme, on wbich however the author seems to have taken so much pains to inform his mind and to obtain the best advice, that it is with great reluctance we notice the misconception of his project : “ To you," he says, in his dedication to Sir Joseph Banks," my plan was first communicated, and the encouragement it received from you determined me to the undertaking.” But before we state our objection, we think it to be right to except from it so much of the arrangement as refers to the classification according to the hydrographical division of the globe, of which we entirely approve. · Our objection is of this kind: the author has proposed to himself to give a progressive history of the discoveries in the South Seas, instead of furnishing his readers with a distinct account of the ultimate state of things according to the discoveries in those waters made up to the present time. In art or in science we do not desire to know the natural or moral causes or accidents which alternately disturbed and obstructed the successive inquirers before they arrived at the conclusion they sought, so in these cosmographical pursuits we are indifferent as to which side or portion of an island, continent, whirlpool, or current first attracted the attention of the navigator, and we are anxious only to know the reach and extent of the discovery to its utmost limits for the purposes of future utility. The course pursued by the author appears to us like that of the teacher of mathematics who would, in explanation of the proposition, detail the difficulties the human mind had to encounter before the great Pythagoric theorem was invented; or the instructor in surgery, who would, in illustration of the arterial system, dilate on the impediments which for ages interrupted its disclosure; both the one and the other leaving to remote and uncertain contingency the exposition of the ultimate truth established by those splendid discoveries in science and nature.
But it is due to the author that we should not hazard this general remark without some qualification. The history of cosmography (or voyages and travels) is divided by Lord Bacon, in his discourse on the Advancement of Learning, into three parts-national history in respect to the regions themselves, civil history in reference to the “ habitations, regimens, and manners of the people," and mathematics in regard“ to the climes and configurations towards the heavens." The observation we have just made in no view applies to the second part of this compounded sort of history, and we need not remark on the worth of civil history all its minute and progressive circumstances. So far as the labours of Captain Burney have been applied to this department, they will be fitly esteemed, and will be considered as affording an accession to the mass of information obtained on the nature and character of man under very different influences and situations from those to which we are accustomed in civilized and polished society.
We object then not to the scheme of chronological development, inasmuch as the publication refers to civil history; but we do object in what regards natural history and mathematical science, as explained by Lord Bacon, and we think that the former should have been supplied in a compressed shape, and is by no means so intimately interwoven as not to be conveniently separated. The hint we give might have been taken by the author from a work long since published, in which the philosophical part of the voy. ages of Cook, with which Capt. Burney is so conversant, is separated from that which is more immediately of a mari
time character. Under these views, if we may presume again to give advice, it would be that the ingenious author would complete his undertaking by a little variation in the plan, selecting the civil history of remote situations of which he treats for a succinct and separate disquisition down to the time when he himself becomes personally concerned as a navigator, and then enriching the stock of knowledge with all that is new and valuable among his own papers, or from his own recollections as to the ultimate discoveries which have brought this branch of inquiry to the improved state in which it may now be exhibited. If the former part be briefly stated, the latter division may with the more convenience be as ample as the materials and the acknowledged ability of their possessor may render expedient for the purposes of navigation. We are extremely interested in this recommendation to the author, not only because we object generally to the extended character of his plan, but because, with respect to him as well as others, life is short if art be long, and we fear that the usual period of human existence not allowing him to fulfil his comprehensive designs, the rising generation will be deprived of an important acquisition to nautical science.
In the volume before us, more than the half of the contents is applied to the history of the Buccaneers and Flebustiers. These partisans originated in some English and French, who, by the consent of their respective governments, landed on the island of St. Christopher, which, have ing never been settled by the Spaniards, was inhabited by Caribbe Indians When accounts of this event reached Europe, West India companies were formed, and licences were granted to take out colonists. In 1629, these intruders on the natives were in their turn driven out by the Spaniards, but they re-established themselves on the island the following year, and also obtained possession of Tortuga, at the north-west extremity of Hispaniola. At about the same period, the adventurers began to be known by the names of Buccaneers and Flebustiers, the former being more commonly applied to the English, and the latter to the French. The first was derived from an Indian word Boucan, a term applied to cured meat, an article in which a considerable trade was conducted, and the knowledge of the preparation of which had been derived from the Caribbes. The term Flebustiers is the corruption by the French mariners of the English word freebooter.
These persons continued without any immediate connection with the countries to which they originally belonged, but in 1641 they had somewhat changed their situation, as is explained in the work.
Now, they were considered in a kind of middle state, between that of Buccaneers and of men returned to their native allegiance. It seemed now in the power of the English and French governments to put a stop to their cruisings, and to furnish them with more honest employment; but politics of a different cast prevailed. The Buccaniers were regarded as profitable to the colonies, on account of the prizes they brought in; and even vanity had a share in their being countenanced. The French authors call them nos braves, and the English speak of their unparalleled exploits. The policy both of England and of France with respect to the Buccaneers, seems to have been well described in the following sentence: On laissoit faire des avanturiers, qu'on pouvoit toujours desavouer, mais dont les succes pouvoient etre utiles : i. e. ' they connived at the actions of these adventurers, which could always be disavowed, and whose successes might be serviceable.' This was not esteemed friponnerie, but a maxim of sound state policy.
“ It was a powerful consideration with the French and English governments, to have at their occasional disposal, without trouble or expense, a well-trained military force, always at hand, and willing to be employed upon emergency; who required no pay nor other recompense for their services and constant readiness, than their share of plunder, and that their piracies upon the Spaniards should pass unnoticed." P.52 and 53.
In the 9th chapter is given a curious itinerary of the Buccaneers across the isthmus of Darien, when they first visited the Pacific Ocean in 1680. On the 5th of April they began their journey, each man provided with four cakes of bread called dough-boys, with a fusil, a pistol, and a hammerThree hundred and thirty-one of them were marshalled in divisions, with distinguishing flags, under their several commanders. They commenced the expedition from the neighbourhood of Golden Island, and captured in their progress Santa Maria. From this place they, with some allies they had collected, embarked in canoes and a small vessel which was found there at anchor; and having descended the river which passes that fort in its descent to the ocean, they in a few hours reached the mighty Pacific.
In the 10th chapter we have the first Buccaneer expedition in the South Sea, and it appears that on the 23d of April, two Spanish ships which stood towards these adventurers were taken by them, and a third was saved only by fast sailing. The Spanish commander fell with many of his people. Subsequently they captured several ships in the
Bay of Panama, and continued these depredations for five years. At length the viceroy of Peru having determined to get rid of such mischievous neighbours, fitted out a squadron of fourteen ships, six of which were provided with cannon, six with musketry only, and two were equipped as fire-ships. The force of the Buccaneers was much inferior, and they could rest their hopes of success only on elose fighting and boarding. The Buccaneers may at this time be considered as more formidable than ever; and if vice tory had been acquired by them, the entire dominion of the South Seas would probably have been obtained with it. Nothing more than partial actions took place, and the enemy not being defeated, great disagreements were pro. duced between the Buccaneers, which in the sequel frustrated all their magnificent projects, and left Spain in the complete possession of this watery world and all the golden treasures on its shores.
Thus thwarted in their purposes, the Buccaneers divided into inefficient parties, and this change of circumstances led the author to a new modification of his plan of recital,
“In this, and in other separations which subsequently took place among the Buccaneers,” says he," it has been thought the most clear and convenient arrangement of narrative, to follow the fortunes of the Buccaneer Commander Edward Davis and his adherents, without interruption, to the conclusion of their adventures in the South Sea; and afterwards to resume the proceedings of the other adventurers.” P. 184.
Whether this Davis were an Englishman or a Dutchman is not ascertained, but some importance has been attached to the place of his nativity, and a long dispute subsisted among geographers with regard to the discovery of what has been called Davis's Land, of which no accurate account was originally given, Davis having been deterred from making a minute examination under the apprehension of being late in the season for the passage round Cape Horn. But be this as it may, he arrived in the West Indies in the spring of the year 1688, at a fortunate time when a proclaination had recently been issued, offering the British pardon to all Buccaneers who would renounce their mode of life; and they thus were enabled to terminate a long course of piratical adventures with repose and security.
In the 23d chapter we have an account of the French Buccaneers or Flebustiers, under Francois Grogniet and