Images de page
PDF
ePub

bat was fought, Pegun was defeated, and the prior lost his cause; at which he was so much chagrined, that he immediately resigned his office. This judicial combat is the more remarkable, that it was fought in the court of a spiritual baron, and one of the parties was a priest.'

[ocr errors]

We need scarcely add, that this detestable form of trial was the foundation of the no less detestable crime of duelling, which so much disgraces our age and nation, which is defended only by ignorance, false honour, and injustice; which is a relic of barbarous superstition, and which was absolutely unknown to those brave and generous nations, the Greeks and Romans, whom it is so much the fashion to admire, and who, in this particular, so well merit our imitation."-Encyclopedia Britannica, article Ordeal, Vol. xv. Part II. p. 406.

Triumph of the Feelings of Human

Nature.

THE people among whom he (Dobrizhoffen) was sent to labour, were the Abipones, a brave and terrible people, who had taken vengeance upon the Spaniards of Tucuman and Paraguay, for the wrongs of the Indians. The Spaniards brought this evil upon themselves, in consequence of their systematic tyranny. They had taken 'possession of a tract of country belonging to the Calchaquis, shortly after the marriage of Philip II. with our Mary of bloody memory; in honour of which event, they named the province New England, and founded a city which they called London. The infant settlement was destroyed, and the name soon perished. In the wars which ensued, one circumstance occurred worthy of relation, because facts which do honour to human nature are always worthy of record, and are peculiarly uncommon in the history of the Spanish conquests. The Spaniards had succeeded in winning the pass to a mountain settlement of the Calchaquis, who had relied upon the strength

of their situation; but hope having failed, the men of the horde ordered the women and children to secure themselves by flight, and determined to sacrifice themselves for the purpose of covering their retreat. The conquerors had pitched their camp, meaning presently to pursue their success, and complete the work, when an alarm was given, and they ran to arms;-to their astonishment, it was a troop of sixty boys, the children of the horde, the eldest not fifteen years of age. Hearing of the danger to which their fathers were exposed, they had broken away from their mothers, resolving to assist them in battle, and live or die with them. The Spaniards, bad as they were, were not so bad as to be unmoved at this; and their hearts being once open to humanity, overflowed with it. They caressed the boys, and loaded them with gifts; rapacity on their part, and resentment on that of the Calchaquis, gave way to gentle feelings: the Indians were soothed and reconciled, and the invaders departed as friends, and left the valley in peace, which they had come to lay waste.-Review of an account of the Abipones, an equestrian people of Paraguay, by Martin Dobrizhoffen, Article I. in Quarterly Review for January 1822; Vol. xxvi. p. 290.

ANECDOTES.

Of William Duke of Cumberland. WHEN William Duke of Cumberland halted at Preston in Lancashire, he was introduced to the Guild Hall, as the most appropriate place for his residence; this was after the defeat of the Scots, in the memorable year 1745. Several persons, male and female, went up the great stairs to view the Duke, and his nobles surrounding him; there were several young women, among whom was Sarah Abbott, the daughter of Robert Abbott, a Quaker. One of the noblemen left the door of the anti-chamber a little open, to give the different companies an opportunity to view the

[ocr errors]

tion to these annals, which I, in preference, carefully transcribed, as a thing unique in its kind." Add to the foregoing considerations, I had troops entirely prepared to act; this, the fulness of my treasury, and the vivacity of my character, were the reasons why I made war upon Maria Theresa, Queen of Bohemia and Hungary." And a few lines after he has these very words: “Ambition, interest, and a desire to make the world speak of me, vanquished all,and war was determined on."

Duke. A great part of the young curious paragraphs, in the introducwomen, upon being asked to walk in, ran precipitately down stairs; but Sarah Abbott stood still, upon which the Duke called out "Come in, my pretty Quaker, and tell me, what is the word of God." She immediately replied, "The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, to the dividing asunder of joints and marrow. It is a searcher and discerner of the heart, and of the intents of the heart." "Aye," said the Duke with great seriousness," that is, the truth, my pretty girl; for when I was at the battle of Dettingen, and my men fell on each side of me, I opened my bosom and cried aloud, Is there never a ball for me?' and a voice in the secret of my soul said intelligibly, Art thou prepared?" "

Of Phocion.

Phocion, general of the Athenians, did all he could to prevent them from declaring war against the Macedonians. Upon being asked, when he would advise them to make war "When the young men (said he) shall become grave and deliberate; when the rich shall voluntarily contribute to relieve the necessities of the poor; and when the orators shall refrain from speaking in public." Phocion knew that with such a change, the disposition to war would cease.

Leostenes having persuaded the Athenians to go to war, contrary to the advice of Phocion, demanded of him, with a haughty air, what good he had done his country, while he had been general of its forces? "More than ever thou wilt (answered he,) for I have made its citizens be interred in the sepulchres of their ancestors."-Plut. Life of Phocion.

Of Frederick the Great.

Voltaire, speaking of the King of Prussia's conquest of Silesia, says, He has written the history of that conquest, and he shewed me the whole of it. Here follows one of the

From the time that conquerors, or fiery spirits that would be conquerors, first were, to the present hour, I believe he is the only one who has ever done himself so much justice. Never man, perhaps, felt reason more forcibly, or listened more attentively to his passions; but this mixture of a philosophic mind, and a disorderly imagination, have ever composed his character.

It is much to be regretted, that I prevailed on him to omit these passages, when I afterwards corrected his work; a confession so uncommon, should have passed down to posterity, and have served to shew upon what motives the generality of wars are founded. The authors, poets, historians, and academician declaimers, celebrate these fine exploits, but here is a monarch who performs and condemns them."-Memoirs, ut supra, page 52-55. [From Dr. Towers's Life of Frederick II. Vol. i. p. 163.]

[blocks in formation]

Missionaries to this Island, were dead, and it being known that the latter would not quit their post, the government at Tranquebar required that always one of them should be appointed Danish Royal Resident, and hold, as it were, the Presidency of the Islands. The patent was always signed by the king. Among others in succession, John G. Haensel was appointed, who relates several difficulties and vexations to which this appointment exposed the brethren, and with other things the following remarkable preservation.

"The Nicobar swallow, (Firundo edulis, Linnæus) is the builder of those eatable nests, which constitute one of the luxuries of an Indian banquet. These brought a great number, both of Malays and Chinese, to our coasts in quest of them. In general, fifteen or sixteen, and in one year nineteen, large prows full of these vagabonds came to Nancauwary. The Danes, when they formed their settlement, conveyed a considerable number of cannon thither; but after the death of all the soldiers, the carriages rotted, and I saw.seventeen of these guns lying on the ground. By one or more at a time, the Malays kept stealing them away. A Nacata, or general of the king of Queda, arrived with a large prow, and being informed by the natives that he had no less than five of them on board, I thought it my duty, as Resident, to protest against this theft, and spoke to him about it He flew into a great rage, and began to use threatening language, pleading the orders of his king. I answered that his king must know very well he had no right to them, and that if he persisted I should give notice to the king of Denmark. I then left him, but heard that he afterwards threatened soon to prevent my reporting his conduct adding, that when I was dead, I should be quiet enough. The natives also assured me that it was his intention to kill me, but that they would stay with me for my defence.

:

I thanked them for their kindness, but that our hope and trust were in God our Saviour alone, who could and would protect us against all the designs of wicked men. We spoke to them again, on this opportunity, of the love of our Saviour, and desired them to return home, but could hardly prevail on them to leave us.

After they were gone, having attended to our usual evening devotions, we were preparing to retire to bed, when we heard a noise without, and, immediately after, a violent knocking at the door. On opening it, I was not a little alarmed to see a great number of Malays surrounding the entrance. I cried silently to the Lord to protect us from their evil designs, and kept my station in the door-way, as if determined not to let them enter: the foremost, however,. pushed in, and now the Nacata himself came up. He treacherously held out his hand, but on my offering him mine, he grasped it firmly, and dragged me with him into the house. The Malays immediately filled all the chairs, and I stood before them; having no hope but in the mercy of God, to whom I sighed for help in this trying moment. Meanwhile, more of them crowded into the room, and sat down on the floor closely watching me, armed with their creeses or daggers. Though I preserved a firm and undaunted appearance, I cannot describe my feelings, for I expected to be immediately sacrificed to their fury. The Nacata addressed me by saying, that he was come to know whose property the cannon were to be, his or mine? I answered," that he came to the wrong person to make that enquiry; for I was only a servant to the king of Denmark, as he, according to his own account, was only the servant of the king of Queda. He told me that he had received orders to fetch them. And I could assure him, that I had orders to protest against it: we both therefore had only done our All now depended on this

duty.

point, whether my king, or his king, had any right to give orders in these Islands, and to claim the property in question." At this answer he became quite furious, and began to talk about the ease with which the Malays might murder us all. Some of them drew their daggers, and showed how they were tipped with poison. They looked indeed more like a host of devils, than a company of human creatures. On a sudden, they all jumped up, and seemed to rush upon me. I commended my soul to the Lord, and called on him for deliverance, awaiting the issue in silence, when, to my surprise, they quitted the room, one by one, and left me standing alone, in astonishment at their conduct! I shall never forget the dreadful scene, and think

of it at this moment with shuddering. My brethren, who had very properly retired into the wood, when the Malays first burst into the house, now returned, and we wept for joy to see each other alive, with thanks to God, who had rescued us from these. savages.

The people told us afterwards, that the Nacata had said, that the Danish Resident, at Nancauwary, was a very great sorcerer, for he had tied their hands, and they could do nothing with him. It was not I who tied their hands, but God, who heard the cries of a poor defenceless and trembling child, trusting alone to his mercy and power."-Haensel's Letters on the Nicobar Islands, addressed to C. J. Latrobe, London, 1812, Letter 8th.

REVIEW.

Napoleon and other_Poems. By Bernard Barton. Boys, Ludgate Hill, 1822.

THE author of these Poems has been already before the tribunal of public opinion; and his former publication obtained a favourable reception with the admirers of poetical compositions. Whether the present work be equal, or superior to the former, in a display of genius and talent, we must leave to the more critical judgment of those writers who aim to instruct, and who do most powerfully direct the public feeling in this respect. We owe it, however, to our readers as well as to the author, to observe generally, that the perusal of the present publication has afforded us sincore pleasure, not merely on account of the amiable and excellent principles it contains, but also from the beauty of the imagery, and the superiority of the numbers he has occasionally employed.

We say occasionally, for truth requires us to state, that the genuine language of poetry does not every where pervade Mr. Barton's pages.

Disdaining, or neglecting the trammels of versification, like some other poets of higher name than himself, his stanzas sometimes degenerate into the verbal arrangement of prose.Upon this point, it is but fair to let the author speak for himself:

"It has not been from indolence that the

author has not bestowed more elaborate revision on his compositions; nor is it with any affected contempt of refined taste, or in wilful disrespect of critical opinion, that he ventures on publishing what he does, but, in his judgment, his poetry is not of a description which long and laborious revision would essentially improve what it might gain in elegance appears to him too contingent to be plausibly hoped; what it might lose in simplicity and unstudied earnestness, too probable not to be rationally feared. The matter he has been desirous of communicating to his readers, has been, in his hours of composition, of much more moment to him than the manner, provided the last were not positively repulsive. Should his prove so to those whose taste may have been formed on purer and more classical models, he certainly must regret the circumstance; for he pretends not to undervalue what he is unable to attain: but he has endeavoured to do the best which his education, circumstances, and situation have allowed him."

If any apology were necessary, this must be admitted as amply sufficient;

and we are sure Mr. Barton's readers would much rather excuse a laborious revision of his work, than that it should suffer any diminution in simplicity and energy.

The metre adopted for the principal poem, is that of the Farie Queen, which various authors (we may particularly instance Beatie in the Minstrel,) have successfully employed since the days of Spencer. It opens with the following very descriptive and poetic lines:

It was a lovely morning ;-all was calm,
As if creation, thankful for
repose,
In renovated beauty, breathing balm

And blessedness around, from slumber rose; Joyful once more to see the East unclose

Its gates of glory :-yet subdued and mild, Like the soft smile of patience, amid woes By hope and resignation reconciled, That morning's beauty shone, that landscape's charm beguiled. [streak, The heavens were mark'd by many a filmy Even in the orient; and the sun shone through

Those lines, as Hope upon a mourner's cheek
Sheds, meekly chasten'd, her delightful hue.
From groves and meadows, all impearl'd with,
dew,
by,-
Rose silv'ry mists,-no eddying wind swept
The cottage chimneys, half conceal'd from view
By their embow'ring foliage, sent on high
Their pallid wreaths of smoke unruffled to the
sky.

And every gentle sound which broke the hush
Of morning's still serenity, was sweet;
The sky-lark over head; the speckled thrush
Who had now taken with delight his seat
Upon the slender larch, the day to greet;

The starling, chattering to her callow young; And that monot'nous lay, which seems to fleet

Like echo through the air, the cuckoo's song, Was heard at times, far off, the leafy woods among.

pur

"Surrounded by such sights and sounds," the poet indulges in a strain of reflection upon "the power and goodness of the Great Supreme," and upon the fulfilment of the Divine poses, not only by the passive and subordinate parts of creation, but eyen by rebellious man; all whose aberrations will be overruled for the general good, though the result to the individual transgressors, may be wretchedness and woe. This leads him to consider the extended influence of those more powerful aggressors, VOL. I. NEW SERIES.

"Who wear the jewelled crown, and fill the splendid throne."

adding:

morn,

Such thoughts as these, on that delightful [birth From the unruffled aspect, sweetly worn Pass'd through my mind; partly deriving

By Nature's features, in her chasten'd mirth; Partly from tidings which had just gone forth, That He, the marvel of our latter age,

NAPOLEON! who had seemed to look on earth,

As does the actor on his scenic stage, Had now fulfill'd his part, and closed his pilgrimage.

In accounting for the influence which the practice of War possesses over the minds of mankind, the following observations occur :That they who in War's stormy element, And in its fiercer energies, can find That excitation, rude and violent,

Which satisfies the unreflecting mind,That these should be to war alone inclined,

Is natural; and still more, if such a state Of warfare with self-int'rest be combined;

"Twere strange, indeed, if these could hesitate, Nor eagerly admire the mischievously great. Nor is this all; for there exists in man,

In spite of better feelings, given to bless,
And truer wisdom, what is good to scan,
An appetite, a craving restlessness,
And vulgar sympathy, (nor more nor less

Can truth regard it), that extracts its food From poison; and is touched by no distress→

Unless the sufferer in its presence stood, By which the warrior's tale is as a pastime woo'd. Such must have moving accidents to stir [them, The current of their feelings; thought, with Calm thought, is not the wise interpreter

Of noiseless deeds; the conqueror's diadem Is sullied not, although its brightest gem

With innocent blood be stained: these ask not how

Was planted, water'd, rear'd, the laurel's stem Which gave the wreath that decks their idol's

[blocks in formation]
« PrécédentContinuer »