Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

Le Picard, and in the 24th the particulars of their retreat across New Spain to the West Indies, when the South Seas were finally quitted by all these marauders. On reaching the Gulf of Mexico, they found an English vessel at anchor belonging to Jamaica, from which they learnt that the French government had also proclaimed an amnesty in favour of those who since the peace of Spain had committed acts of piracy, upon condition of their claiming the benefit of the proclamation.

Steps were subsequently taken to facilitate the admission of these Buccaneers and Flebustiers to the advantages of regular government. The Carthagena expedition in 1697 was the last transaction in which they made a conspicuous figure, and in that year was signed the Treaty of Ryswick; but we find them in 1702 nder a commission from the Governor of Jamaica landing on the isthmus of Darien, near the Samballas Isles, where they were joined by some old companions, who lived among the Indians, and also by 300 of the natives. They marched to several mines, from whence they drove the Spaniards, and took seventy negroes. The negroes were employed for twenty-one days in these mines, but only about 80lbs. weight of gold were obtained as the reward of the enterprise.

The author concludes this part of the work with the following just censure on the conduct of those who assume to themselves the character of regular and legitimate authority.

“ In the history of so much robbery and outrage, the rapacity shewn in some instances by the European governments in their West India transactions, and by governors of their appointment, appears in a worse light than that of the Buccaneers, from whom, they being professed ruffians, nothing better was expected. The superior attainments of Europeans, though they have done much towards their own civilization, chiefly in humanizing their institutions, have, in their dealings with the inhabitants of the rest of the globe, with few exceptions, been made the instruments of usurpation and extortion.

“ After the suppression of the Buccaneers, and partly from their relicks,” he adds, “ arose a race of pirates of a more desperate cast, so rendered by the increased danger of their occupation, who for a number of years preyed upon the commerce of all nations, till they were hunted down, and, it may be said, exterminated. Of one crew of pirates who were brought before a Court of Justice, fifty-two men were condemned and executed at one time, in the year 1722." P. 325 and 326.

We have seen every where displayed in our progress thus far the benignity of the author, and his anxiety at all times for the triumph of liberty and happiness. The duration of these freebooters was something more than three-quarters of a century, and their depredations extended on both sides the isthmus to the Phillippine and Caribbean Islands. As circumstances required, they either crossed the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific, or encountered all the difficulties and dangers of the navigation of the southern Cape, neither the mountainous solitudes of the one, or the icy rocks of the other, obstructing their bold designs. We do not say that there have been no vagrant warriors of the same description with those which are the subject of this narrative; but we may assert, that there are none whose adventures are recorded with the same accuracy and precision, and certainly none in which the agents themselves, by their observations and writings, have supplied so large a portion of the materials of which their history is composed.

All Europeans in these remote situations, if they were not Spaniards, whether peace or war prevailed between their respective countries, considered themselves as friends and allies, to whom the Spaniards were the common enemy

Of such emigrants the greater portion was probably French, and the English the second in rank as to numbers. The first hunting parties of these intruders was at Hayti, and the object was to provision the ships. Afterwards they engaged in the chase to procure skins, and to cure the flesh, which would be in a more advanced state of society; and it is certain, that the appellation of Buccaneer was not at all known in 1575, at the time of Oxnam's expedition across the isthmus of America to the South Sea.

Of the early events at Hispaniola there is no particular account, but the war which took place with the Spaniards was of the most sanguinary character, the regular government not being at all behind hand in this respect with its irregular opponents. It was in 1586 that the English Captain

Francis Drake plundered the city of St. Domingo, and then it was that the French and English in the West Indies increased so rapidly, that the Spaniards were under the nečessity of abandoning all the western and north-western parts of Hispaniola, and as we have seen, soon after that period, began the confederacy of the Buccaneers.

We shall now shortly dispose of the second part of this Cait. Rev. Vol. IV. July, 1816.

K

fourth volume, which treats of the voyages and discoveries in the South Sea after the Buccaneers had withdrawn; and we in this place must object to the detail of unsuccessful expeditions, which the author introduces with the view, as he supposes, to render bis production more complete. Of this we have an example in the voyage of M. de Gennes, who, on the 3d June, 1691, sailed from Rochelle with six ships, three of them of considerable force, and whose object was to pass through the Streight of Magellan, and who, after a merciless adventure in the Slave Trade, and long and useless delays, returned to the port of departure in 1697, without accomplishing a single purpose of his expedition.

In the third chapter of this division, we have the details of the proceedings of the Spaniards in California, and the conquest in 1697. In the fourth chapter, the promising enterprise, undertaken by a commercial company in Scotland, is stated, when a colony was formed at Darien, which would have opened new sources to the Indian trade, but out of which, we are told, the settlers were starved at the request of the East India Company, and it was finally abandoned in the year 1700. The fifth chapter supplies the voyage of M. Beauchesne Gouin, when an association was entered into in France for establishing colonies in the parts of South America not occupied by Europeans. Here the preparations were on too large a scale for the means, which was precisely the contrary in the voyage of Capt. William Dampier, recorded in chapter seven, who was provided only with an old worn-out vessel called the Roebuck, which foundered through the infirmity of age at the island of Ascension.

The last voyage recorded here is the circumnavigation by Jacob Roggewein, and according to our view of the nature of the undertaking, this, as well as that of M. de Gennes, ought to have been excluded, and especially as the author has admitted, that the voyage of Jacob Roggewein, from the obscure manner in which his track is described, has been productive of more geographical discussion than any other voyage in the history of maritime discoveries.” Much, he adds, has been cleared up by later voyages; and why the modern reader is to wait for the light these afford until a future uncertain period, instead of having the obscurity removed under the advantages of the present state of know. ledge, we can in no way imagine. If this extensive publi. cation were alone intended for amusement, like the tales of fictious writers, we should not perhaps object to such a scheme; but as it is designed to exhibit a full view of the present state of cosmographical science within the range of the South Seas and their several ramifications, we cannot at all approve of this useless and mortifying delay.

Art. VIII.-Memoir of the early Life of William Cowper,

Esq. written by himself, and never before published; with an Appendix, containing some of Cowper's religious Letters, and other interesting Documents illustrative of the

Memoir. London. Edwards, 1816, 12mo. Pp. 126. The works of the subject of this interesting piece of selfbiography, have been frequently considered in our former numbers. In our 53d and 60th volumes we reviewed his Original Poems ; in the 74th and 107th, the different editions of his Translations of Homer; and in the 108th and 113th, the three quarto volumes of the Life and Posthumous Writings of the same author by Mr. Hayley. With regard to the last, we objected to the expensive form of printing, when so small a portion of the work was applied by the editor to the private history of his friend.

The deficiency we have just alluded to, is in some degree, and under the best authority, supplied in the little production before us; yet it is more the history of Mr. Cowper's feelings than of his actions. Mr. Hayley divided his life into three sections: first, to his 50th year, when he appeared before the public as an author; secondly, to the appearance of his translation of Homer; and lastly, from that period to his death. We do not at all impugn the reserve and delicacy of this gentleman, which led him so soon after the decease of Mr. Cowper to withhold the narrative in what respected the early situation of his friend; but now that so long an interval has elapsed, we are extremely glad to have the vacuum filled up, for no doubt, should unnecessarily remain with regard to a character of such importance to taste, literature, and morals.

We may in a very few words state the simple facts or incidents of the life of Mr. Cowper, as they are related by himself, to the year 1765, with which period this publication concludes. At six years old, he was taken from the nursery, and sent to a considerable school in Bedfordshire. At eight he was committed during one year to an oculist for the cure of a weakness in his eyes. From thence he went to Westminster School, and at twelve or thirteen was attacked

by the small-pox. At eighteen years old he was withdrawn from Westminster, and having staid nine months at home, he was placed with an attorney to acquire the practice of the law. When he was of age he entered on chambers in the Temple, and being seized with a dejection of spirits, he made an excursion of some months to Southampton. A place being offered him after his return, connected with the conduct of the journals of Parliament, he studied their contents, with the view to prepare himself for the duty; but it being required that he should be examined at the Bar of the House of Lords, that his competency might be ascertained, he made several attempts at suicide; death being inore tolerable to him than such a public exhi. bition. In a state of complete derangement he was, in 1763, conveyed to Dr. Cotton's establishment at St. Alban's, where he remained for eighteen months, and one third of that interval under the immediate care of the physician. About this time he resigned his situation of commissioner of bankrupts, on the conscientious ground of his being inadequate to the duties of it; and being now disengaged from all business, in June, 1765, he repaired to private lodgings at Huntingdon; and in November of the same year he was received as a boarder into the family of the Rev. Mr. Unwin of that place.

He gives the following melancholy account of himself prior to the time appointed for the public examination to which we have alluded.

“ One evening in November, 1763, as soon as it was dark, affecting as cheerful and unconcerned an air as possible, I went into an apothecary's shop, and asked for an half ounce phial of laudanum. The man seemed to observe me narrowly; but if he did, I managed my voice and countenance so as to deceive him. The day that required my attendance at the bar of the House, being not yet come, and about a week distant, I kept my bottle close in my sidepocket, resolved to use it when I should be convinced there was no other way of escaping. This, indeed, seemed evident already; but I was willing to allow myself every possible chance of that sort, and to protract the horrid execution of my purpose, till the last moment; but Satan was impatient of delay.

“ The day before the period above mentioned arrived, being at Richaris's coffee-house at breakfast, I read the newspaper, and in it a letter, which the further I perused it, the more closely engaged my attention. I cannot now recollect the purport of it; but before I had finished it, it appeared denionstratively true to me, that it was a libel, or satire, upon me. The anthor appeared to be acquainted with my purpose of self-destruction, and to have written that letter

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »