Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

used every method to induce them to embrace and practise the true religion-except indeed that of setting them the example.

But notwithstanding all these complicated labours for their good, such was the unparalleled obstinacy of these stubborn wretches, that they ungratefully refused to acknowledge the strangers as their benefactors, and persisted in disbelieving the doctrines they endeavoured to inculcate; most insolently alleging, that from their conduct, the advocates of Christianity did not seem to believe in it themselves. Was not this too much for human patience?-would not one suppose, that the benign visitants from Europe, provoked at their incredulity, and discouraged, by their stiff-necked obstinacy, would for ever have abandoned their shores, and consigned them to their original ignorance and misery? But now so zealous were they to effect the temporal comfort and eternal sal. vation of these pagan infidels, that they even proceeded from the milder means of persuasion to the more painful and troublesome one of persecution—let loose among them whole troops of fiery' monks and furious bloodhounds—purified them by fire and sword, by stake and faggot; in consequence of which indefatigable measures the cause of Christian love and charity was so rapidly advanced that, in a very few years, not one fifth of the number of unbelievers existed in South America, that were found there at the time of its discovery.

What stronger right need the European settlers' advance to the country than this? Have not whole nations of uninformed savages been made acquainted with a thousand imperious wants and indispensable comforts, of which they were before wholly ignorant? Have they not been literally hunted and smoked out of the dens and lurking places of ignorance and infidelity, and absolutely scourged into the right path? Have not the temporal things, the vain baubles and filthy lucre of this world, which were too apt to engage their worldly and selfish thoughts, been benevolently taken from them; and have they not instead thereof, been taught to set their affections on things above? And, finally, to use the words

of a Reverend Spanish Father, in a letter to his superior in Spain-" Can any one have the presumption to say, that these savage Pagans have yielded any thing more than an inconsiderable recompense to their benefactors, in surrendering to them a little pitiful tract of this dirty sublunary planet, in exchange for a glorious inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven!"

Here, then, are three complete and undeniable sources of right established, any one of which was more than ample to establish a property in the newly discovered regions of America. Now, so it has happened in certain parts of this delightful quarter of the globe that the right of discovery has been so strenuously asserted, the influence of cultivation so industriously extended, and the progress of salvation and civilization so zealously prosecuted; that, what with their attendant wars, persecutions, oppressions, diseases, and other partial evils that often hang on the skirts of great benefits, the savage aborigines have, some how or another, been utterly annihilated; and this all at once brings me to a fourth right, which is worth all the others put togetber; for the original claimants to the soil being all dead and buried, and no one remaining to inherit or dispute the soil, the Spaniards, as the next immediate occupants, entered upon the possession as clearly as the hangman succeeds to the clothes of the malefactor-and as they have Blackstone, * and all the learned expounders of the law on their side, they may set all actions of ejectment at defiance--and this last right may be entitled the RIGHT BY EXTERMINATION, or in other words the RIGHT BY GUNPOWDER.

But, lest any scruples of conscience should remain' on this head, and to settle the question of right for ever, his holiness Pope Alexand VI. issued a mighty bull, by which he generously granted the newly discovered quarter of the globe to the Spaniards and Portuguese; who, thus having law and gospel on their side, and being inflamed with great spiritual zcal, shewed the Pagan savages neither favour nor affection, but prosecuted the

* Bl. Com. b. ii. c. 1.

work of discovery, 'colonization, civilization, and exter: mination, with ten times more fury than ever.

Thus were the European worthies who first discovered America clearly entitled to the soil; and not only entitled to the soil, but likewise to the eternal thanks of these infidel savages, for having come so far, endured so many perils by sea and land, and taken such unwearied pains, for no other purpose but to improve their forlorn, uncivilized, and heathenish condition-for having made them acquainted with the comforts of life- for having introduced among them the light of religion; and, finally, for having hurried them out of the world, to enjoy its reward!


Will's great crony for some time was Tom Stradale, to whom he really took a great liking. Stradlle bad just arrived in an importation of hardware, fresh from the city of Birmingham, or rather as the most learned English would call it, Brummagem, so famous for its manufactories of gimblets, pen-knives, and pepper-boxes, and where they make buttons and beaux enough to in. undate our whole country. He was a young man of considerable standing in the manufactory at Birmingham; sometimes had the honour to hand his master's daughter into a tim-whiskey, was the oracle of the tavern he frequented on Sundays, and could beat all his associates, if you would take his word for it, in boxing, bear-drinking, jumping over chairs, and imitating cats in a gutter, and opera-singers. Straddle was, moreover, a member of a catch-club, and was a great hand at ringing bob-majors; he was, of course, a complete connoisseur in music, and entitled to assume that character at all performances in the art. He was likewise a member of a spoutingclub; had seen a company of strolling actors perform in a barn, and had even, like Abel Drugger, “ enacted” the part of Major Sturgeon with considerable applause; he was consequently a profound critic, and fully authorised

to turn up his nose at any American performances. He had twice partaken of annual dinners, given to the head manufacturers at Birmingham, where he had the good fortune to get a taste of turtle and turbot, and a smack of Champaign and Burgundy; and he had heard a vast deal of the roast beef of Old England;—he was there. fore epicure sufficient to d-n every dish and every glass of wine he tasted in America, though at the same time he was as voracious an animal as ever crossed the Atlan tic. Straddle had been splashed half a dozen times by the carriages of nobility, and had once the superlative felicity of being kicked out of doors by the footman of a noble duke; he could, therefore, talk of nobility, and despise the untitled plebeians of America. In short, Straddle was one of those dapper, bustling, florid, round, selfimportant gemmen, who bounce upon us half-beau, half-button-maker; undertake to give us the true polish of the bon-ton, and endeavour to inspire us with a proper and dignified contempt of our native country.

Straddle was quite in raptures when his employers determined to send him to America as an agent. He considered himself as going among a nation of barbarians, where he could be received as a prodigy: he anticipated, with a proud satisfaction, the bustle and confusion his arrival would occasion; the crowd that would throng to gaze at him as he passed through the streets; and had little doubt but that he should excite as much curiosity as an Indian chief or a Turk in the streets of Birmingham. He had heard of the beauty of our women, and chuckled at the thought of how completely he should eclipse their unpolished beaux, and the number of despairing lovers that would mourn the hour of his arrival. I am even informed by Will Wizard, that he put good store of beads, spike-nails, and looking-glasses in his trunk, to win the affections of the fair ones as they paddled about in their bark canoes. The reason Will gave for this error of Straddle's respecting our ladies was, that he had read in Guthrie's Geography that the aborigines of America were all savages; and not exactly understanding the word aborigines, he applied to one of his

fellow-apprentices, who assured him that it was the Latin word for inhabitants.

Wizard used to tell another anecdote of Straddle, which always put him in a passion :-- Will swore that the captain of the ship told him, that when Straddle heard they were off the banks of Newfoundland, he insisted upon going on shore there to gather some good cab bages, of which he was excessively fond. Straddle, however, denied all this, and declared it to be a mischiev. ous quiz of Will Wizard, who indeed often made himself merry at his expense. However this may be, certain it is he kept his tailor and shoemaker constantly employed for a month before his departure; equipped himself with a smart crooked stick about eighteen inches long, a pair of breeches of most unheard-of length, a little short pair of Hoby's white-topped boots, that seemed to stand on tiptoe to reach his breeches, and his hat had the true translantic declination towards his right ear. The fact was—nor did he make any secret of it—he was determined to astonish the natives a few !

Straddle was not a little disappointed on his arrival, to find the Americans were rather more civilized than he had imagined :-he was suffered to walk to his lodgings unmolested by a crowd, and even unnoticed by a single individual ;-no love-letters came pouring in upon him ;-no rivals lay in wait to assassinate him;-his very dress excited no attention, for there were many fools dressed equally ridiculous with himself. This was mortifying indeed to an aspiring youth, who had come out with the idea of astonishing and captivating. He was equally unfortunate in his pretensions to the character of critic, connoisseur and boxer; he condemned our whole dramatic corpse, and every thing appertaining to the theatre; but his critical abilities were ridiculed ;-he found fault with old Cockloft's dinner, not even sparing his wine, and was never invited to the house afterwards; he scoured the streets at night, and was cudgelled by a sturdy watchman;ấhe hoaxed an honest mechanic, and was soundly kicked. Thus disappointed in all his attempts at notoriety, Straddle hit on the expedient which

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »