various stages, the history of every nation gives a more or less distinct ex. ample, in proportion to our opportunity of tracing it backward.

This distinction between the savage and barbarous state, which is indeed fruitful in consequences, bears upon the present question, in one important point, the willingness, we mean, with which barbarous tribes adopt, as it were at command, the changes in laws or religion, dictated to them by their leaders. Let no alarming zeal be betrayed: rather let the initiation into Christianity be held up as a distinction—as a favour to be bestowed; and it need not be doubted, that natural curiosity will prompt the chieftains, and most intelligent of the African tribes, to inquire into the particulars of a religion professed by a race confessedly so superiour to them, and that the sense of this superiority will act as a powerful motive toward their adoption of it. At ali events, a long trial has been given to injustice and cruelty, Surely justice and benevolence may claim, that one experiment should be made of their influence, and in their favour.

In the commencement of this review, we stated our purpose, not to examine these volumes as a mere work of literature. It is sufficient for us to say, in concluding, that the style, in general, is perspicuous, correct, and characterized by a sort of scriptural simplicity, well suited both 10 the author and the subject. Here and there, indeed, we have met with an incongruous metaphor, and occasionally felt a want of cement in the style, from the shortness and independence of the sentences; but we can with truth aver, that the only fault which remained in our memory, after the perusal of the two volumes, was the want of a third. Many interesting events, such as the trial of Somerset, should have been given at large; and of the last part of the second volume, the narration appeared to us rather hurried. We rise, however, from the perusal, with feelings of gratitude and veneration to Mr. Clarkson, and with pleasing and favourable impressions of human nature in general.

FROM THE MONTHLY REVIE'". A Voyage round the World, in the years 1900, 1801, 1:2, 1,115, and 1804; in which

the Author visited the principal Islands in the Purifie? Deoan, arad the English Settlements of Port Jackson and Norfolk Islanie By J2 Irunbull S vols Crown 8vo. 13s. 6d. Boards, London,

SOME centuries ago, Europe could loo! ut a little way into the varied state of society; and though 1: nation know those which were in contact with it, yet it could only gu. ss al the condition of those that were somewhat remote. France and Itais, in : hir! state of in grovement, were aware that the Laplanders and the viesi iics were comparatively rude and ignorant. but they looked through a lu'ch to Africa and the East, and fancied that they perccived nations in a sill lower state of progress. At the end of the 15th century, the discovery of an immense continent, with its islands, peopled by a strange and peciliar race of men, while it enlarged their knowledge, confouncled their theories. They had formed a scale of improvement; had arranged on it the various nations which they surveyed; and had fixed the lowest point of ignorance and rudeness :--but the view of the inhabitants of America forced them to reconsider the subject, and to enlarge their scale by adding many degrees to the lower end of it. They saw tribes far inferiour to the rudest with which they had been hitherto acquainted; some whose intellectual puwers were very little exercised; and others who seemed merely to vegetate on the earth, who strictly sur

[ocr errors]

veyed only the present moment, gloomy and spiritless, and in whom all hope seemed to be dead.

These, however, in their several stages of degradation, were human beings capable of advancement in the road to knowledge and happiness; and the philosophical mind naturally feels a desire to know whether, in a course of years they had made any progress towards civilisation. Curiosity cannot readily obtain this information ; since we have few inducements to revisit regions peopled by such inhabitants. Commerce expects there no gains, and conquest chooses other subjects. We are therefore much gratified when chance, as it were, leads navigators and traders to those coun. tries which had before been slightly known. We are solicitous to learn what effect time has wrought; and what kind of harvest the few seeds of Euro. pean improvement incidentally dropt may have produced.

The track in which the celebrated captain Cook moved is highly interesting to our feelings, because it led him among tribes which presented to view singular and simple manners, and because he paid them enlightened and benevolent visits. By means of his voyages, we contracted a kind of intimacy and friendship with them, and we feel a sincere concern in their fate. Nearly 40 years have now passed since that distinguished navigator first explored the islands in the south sea; and after such a lapse of time, we might naturally expect important changes in the condition of their inhabitants. This circumstance, therefore, among others, makes the voyage before us very attractive. It brings us minute tidings of people whom we had visited with captain Cook, and subsequently with Kirg and Vancouver; and it narrates very particularly their present condition, which Mr. Turnbull is enabled to detail by the lengthened stay that he made among them.. There is another set of friends, if it be safe to claim kindred with them, of whom also Mr. Turnbull speaks very minutely; we mean the colonists of Botany Bay; for here too his stay was considerable ; and this part of the work we must regard, froin the information which it gives, as of no small importance.

Mr. Turnbull thus describes his setting out, and the purpose of his voyage :

whilst ser ind office; Do Barwe , in hu last voyage to China, in the year 1799, the first ofner of tha :'!and self l levry reason to suppose, from actual obse*pention, ne mericans cirri 1. a most lucrative trade to the north west of that vasion story inp!.sed with this persuasion, we resolved on our return home initi

cars of well known mercantile enterprise. They approud som har sperulat :) and lost no time in preparing for its execution.

It was come tiine Lefore "culd vessel suited to the purpose of so long and perilous a routere. A new shop, till built wholly of British oak, was at length purchased, and the command of it given to the above mentioned gentleman, whilst the cargo and trading part was intrusted to the writer. Having each of us, as owners, considerable shares, we were erfully interested in the success of the voyage.

Having obtained the necessary permission of the honourable East India company, and completed all our preparations, we proceeded to Portsmouth in the latter end of May 1800; and having here joined our convoy and the East India fleet, finally left England on the first of July to push our fortunes in regions but little frequented by Europeans.

Their vessel was rather cousmall for such an expedition, not exceeding one hundred and twenty tons burthen : but in sailing she surpassed their most sanguine expectations. She was, says Mr. T. “ generally half under water, but dived into it like an arrow, and rose to the surface without straining a rope yarn "_They touched at Madeira; and afterward, from the prevalence of southerly winds, they were obliged to bear up for St. Salva

our own



dor, in Brazil; where they were very far from being satisfied with the treatment which ihey received in the port of our good ally-On their arri. val at the Cape of Good Hope, they were much pleased with the appear. ance and usages of this important British settlement.

Our time passed so pleasantly at the Cape that we should not have regretted even a longer stay. Our intercourse with the town's people was satisfactory on both sides. We were received at once with the civility due to strangers, and the confidence which only exists between those of the same country. The singular mixture of inhabitants has had one not unpleasing effect. The characteristick singularities of the natives of different countries, wliether by collision, or insensible and mutual imitation, are in a great degree polished away, and thus none of them are found to exist in any very re. pugnant excess. The Dutchman, indeed, still wears his hat in almost every assembly whether publick or private; and, in despite of every change of weather, the Frenchman of the Cape will still carry his umbrella; but the Dutchman of the Cape is still another creature from his countrymen of the Hague, and the Frenchman is here some degrees less frivolous.

The general character of the people, at least as it appeared to us, is made up of content, independence, and all those happy qualities which are the never failing scions of so fertile a root. Industry is here the certain means of fortune. There is commerce suited to every kind of capital, and a certain and profitable market for all produce and ininor manufactures. Hence independence, and hence (is it not need. less to mention a result so inevitable ?) cheerfulness, self-esteem, and social affection.

At Port Jackson, in New South Wales, they found various ships; among which were the Royal Admiral from Europe, the Trimmer from Bengal, and the Harbinger from the Cape; all of these being, with regard to this port, on the same speculation as themselves. The captain went with the vessel on a trading scheme to the north-west, and Mr. Turnbull remained in the settlement, where he continued ten months; and concerning which he details, in four chapters, much useful information and many just remarks. The colony was then making great advances, though in no settlement under his majesty's government was an explosion more to be dreaded. The factious and discontented were numerous, and the military establishment was small.

It is not a little surprising that the natives bordering on the settlement, and mixing with our colonists, should have gained absolutely nothing in civilisation ; and that they are still the same savages as when ground was first broken. The example set before them is certainly not, in many re. spects, the best; but still they are most perverse and inapt scholars.

These aboriginal inhabitants of this distant region are indeed beyond comparison the most barbulous on the surface of the globe The residence of Europeans has bere been wholly inefiectual. The natives are still in the sume state as at our first settlement. Every day are men and women to be seen in the streets of Sydney and Parumatta, naked as in the moment of their birth. In vain have the more humane of the officers of the colony endeavoured to improve their condition. They still persist in the enjoyment of their ease and liberty in their own way, and turn a deaf ear to any adiice upon this subject.

Is this to be imputed io a greater portion of natural stupidity than usually falls to the lot even of savages? By no means. If an accurate observation, and a quick perception of the ridiculous, be admitted as a proof of natural talents, the natives of New South Wales are by no means deficient. Their mimicking of the oddities, Iress, walk, gait, and looks, of all the Europeans whom they have seen from the time of governour Phillip downwards, is so exact, as to be a kind of historick register of their several actions and characters. Governour Phillip and colonel Grose they imitate to the life. And to this day, if there be any thing peculiar in any of our countrymen, officers in the corps, or even of the convicts, any cast of the eye, or bobble in the gait, any trip, or strut, stammering or thick speaking, they catch it in the moment, and represent it in a manner which renders it impossible not to recognise the original. They are, moreover, great proficients in the language, and Newgate slang, of the convicts, and in case of any quarrel, are by no means unequal to ben in the coxchange of abuse.

But this is the sum total of their acquisitions from European intercourse. In every other respect they appear incapable of any improvement or even change. They are still as unprotected as ever against the inclemencies of weather, and the vicissitudes of plenty and absolute famine, the natural evils of a savage life. In their persons they are meagre to a proverb. Their skins are scarified in every part with shells, and their faces besmeared with shell lime and red gum. Their hair is matted with a moss, and what they call ornamented with sharks teeth: and a piece of wood, like a skewer, is fixed in the cartilages of the nose. In a word, they compose altogether the most loathsome and disgusting tribe on the surface of the globe.

Their principal subsistence is drawn from the sea and rivers, the grand storehouse of nature in all the lands and islands of the Pacifick; and were it not for this plenteous magazine, the natives of these islands must have long ceased to exist. From this cause it is reasonable to infer that the seacoast is much better inhabited than the interiour. When a dead whale is cast on shore, they live sumptuously, flocking to it in great numbers, and seldom leaving it till the bones are well picked. Their substitute for bread is a species of root, something resembling the fern. It is roasted and pounded between two stones, and being thus mixed with fish, &c. constitutes the chief part of their food.

When all things are considered, we may still balance in our opinion of this settlement; which has been strongly reprobated by some, while others have prophesied that it will soon be the Poland of the southern hemisphere. The land is good: it has limestone for manure : the seas abound in fish: the cattle increase quickly: and coal has been discovered: but it is against mind, corrupt and depraved, that we have chiefly to contend; and the ques. tion is, how is it to be meliorated, and how shall the dregs of society be transformed into honest men and useful citizens? The great number of law suits in this colony is alınost incredible; gambling is excessively prevalent ; spirituous liquors are most eagerly sought; and a proneness to insubordination is but too frequent.

Leaving Norfolk island, our voyagers made in due time Maitai, and soon afterward Otaheite, and anchored in the well known bay of Matavai. They were speedily visited by king Otoo, and his consort, by Pommarie, father of the king, by the missionaries, and by multitudes of natives, who all wel. comed their arrival. At this time, they stayed in Otaheite only a month ; they then touched at Huaheine, and afterward at Ulitea, and found to their surprise a countryman in each of these islands. The former was satisfied with his situation : but the latter, named Pulpit, considered his life as in great jeopardy; earnestly solicited the protection of the voyagers for himself and an Otaheite wife ; and gave them a most unfavourable picture of the Uliteans. Here, indeed, the navigators were afterward in the greatest hazard, from the evil designs of the natives. The king and the chiefs, who visited the ship, acted treacherously. They induced four of the crew to desert, three of whom had been Botany Bay convicts; and a plan was formed between them and the deserters to cut the ship from her anchors, alıd, when she was thus driven on shore, to murder the crew and share the vessel with its contents. In the night before the intended departure of the navigators from this island, it was discovered that these men had deserted, and had ailured to their party iwo Otaheitans who were also in the ship. Mr. Turnbull instantly went singly on shore in quest of his men, and had a conversation with the king and chiefs ; who promised, on receiving some presents, to find the deserters and restore them : but they only dissembled well, and delayed the business, and he therefore returned on board.

Here again, says he, another difficulty awaited me. On entering the ship I found one of my fellows, the best seaman in the ship, haranguing the rest of his shipmates, recommending them to abstain from their duty till the rest of the crew were ri. stored. However, upon instantly adopting strong measures, that is to say, applying loaded pistols to bis head, and informing him at the same time, in a detcrmined tona,

[blocks in formation]

that another word should be his last, this spark of mutiny was suppressed, and the orator and his abettor being punished on the spot, good order was restored.

A whole day had been lost in this fruitless negotiation. About half an hour past ten o'clock at night, I was aroused from my sleep by the voice of the captain, who then held the watch, exclaiming, Turnbull, our ship is on shore, the ship is on ahore. Jumping instantly out of bed, and running upon deck, in my shirt, I found there was no wind to affect the slup; and it being too dark to see the shore, I sounded, and found upwards of twelve fathoms of depth, and no sensible motion of the ship or water. I was persuaded, therefore, that thic captain was in errour ; that his anxiety had overpowered his vigilance, and given reality to the object of his imagination. Examining the cables, I found them both lying slack on the deck, which confirmed me still more in the idea that the captain was mistaken; but the seamen being com. manded to haul the cables, the first puli brought the ends of both of them on board. It is impossible to describe the general sensation produced by this discovery, that our cables were cut, and we were drifting on shore. Another anchor, having an iron stock, was immediately ordered to be cleared away; but such was our alarm and confusion, that it was not till after repeated trials, that we effected the stocking of it. The old adage, the more haste the less speed, was never more truly verified. It happened very providentially, that there was not a breath of wind stirring, otherwise the ship must have gone to pieces very speedily, for she now lay with her broadside against a reef of coral rocks, the edges of which were as sharp as flints, having twelve fathoms of water on the outside. In addition to these circumstances, we had every thing to dread from the designs and practices of some of our crew, who were as little to be trusted as the savages on shore. It therefore demanded all our skill to keep their minds in proper order, and to maintain due authority in so critical a situation, and particularly into whose hands we trusted fire arms. It is but justice to say, that as far as we could judge from appearances, our representations and precautions on this trying occasion had the happiest effect.

It was fortunate for us also, in this distress, that for some slight offence given by individuals of the crew, the natives had threatened to murder them, whenever an opportunity should ofter itself. The apprehensions of these men were now extreme, and by communicating their fears to the other seamen, and persuading them that one common lot awaited them without distinction, they united all hands in the common effort of endeavouring to rescue the vessel from her present very perilous situation. It is, indeed, a remark which even my own experience has suggested, that however discontented from other causes, there is a generous sentiment in an English seaman which, in cases of difficulty and danger, retains them to their duty and fidelity, Thus it has not unfrequently happencil, that symptoms of a mutiny on board our vessels have been restrained by the appearance of an enemy, when all as unanimously united to defend their officers, as they had before conspired to resist their au. thority.

Having bent the remaining part of one of the cables, about thirty fathoms, to the anchor, it was carried out in the long boat to eighteen fathoms water, and the ship hauled seven or eight fathoms off from the reef Whilst this was doing, we suddenly heard a loud and clamorous noise amongst the natives on shore, and seemingly close under the ship's stern; the wretches were rendered outrageous by the disappointment of their bopes, the ship being now visibly moved from the rocks. They had hitherto maintained a profound silence, in the expectation that her bulging would give the signal for the commencement of their plunder. They now began an assault with stones in such quantities, and with such force, that in the hopes of inti. midating them, we were compelled to discharge some swivels and muskets over their heads. This however produced a volley of musketry from the natives stationed en different points of the shore. We now found it necessary to have recourse to our great guns, commencing a brisk fire ; with what success we knew not, as they still kept up an irregular discharge of musketry in various directions, though we conti: nued to play on those quarters whence the fire seemed to proceed. Their noise and clamour remained unabated, and we could discover, by the fury of their menaces, both their hopes of ultimate success, and the fate that awaited us in that event. Some of us were particularized as set aside to be roasted, while others were to be fayed alive to make tiaboolas, or jackets, of their skins, &c. with many similar ex. pressions, which were not without a salutary effect in encouraging the resistance of our sailors, who, of all things seemed to entertain the greatest horrour of being Toasted.-

« VorigeDoorgaan »