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affairs which they describe. A Cambridge student is in a very different predicament, and his communications are not entitled to the name of authentic political information.
The two Charles's and James II. have contributed very little; and Mr. Ellis will do good service if, on some future occasion, he can supply the deficiency. A letter, describing the death of the second Charles, has led Mr. Ellis into one of the greatest errors in his work. It is written, as he supposes, by a chaplain of Dr. Turner, bishop of Ely; and he speaks of it as conclusive evidence against Burnet's account of the same transaction. When the reader has perused the first sentence, he will hesitate at condemning Burnet upon the chaplain's evidence. Yesterday evening, I do believe the most lamented prince that ever satt upon a throne, one of the best of kings, left this world, translated doubtless to a much more glorious kingdom than all those which he has left behind him, none bewailing of their losse."
The last portion of the work is principally occupied by letters from Bishop Nicholson to Archbishop Wake. Nicholson was Bishop of Carlisle in the year 1715, and gives a good account of the rebellion that happened at that time, and of the proceedings for high treason at Carlisle; but we have by no means so high an opinion of him as Mr. Ellis appears to entertain. The Scotch bishops are spoken of in these letters in very disrespectful terms, and considering what they had undergone for conscience sake, they were entitled to better treatment from an English prelate. But there is stronger evidence against Bishop Nicholson in other parts) of this same correspondence. His letters to Wake, after he had been promoted to the see of Derry, were printed some years ago in the Christian Remembrancer, and from them he appears to have been much more attached to his own interest, than" to the civil and ecclesiastical government of his country." In fact, he was one of a bad school, from which the church both in England and Ireland has severely suffered.
We take leave of Mr. Ellis, with many thanks for his valuable publication. The Manuscripts, of which he is keeper, are of much importance, and could not be placed in better hands. The interesting selection from them which he has now made creates a demand for more, and we shall hail the appearance of another portion with great pleasure and sincerity.
ART. IV. Historical Notes, respecting the Indians of North America; with Remarks on the Attempts made to convert and civilize them. By John Halkett, Esq. Hurst, Robinson & Co. 1825.
THIS is the work, we perceive, of a mere fireside traveller. The object of it is good, and the execution respectable, but it bears no proof of a personal acquaintance with the various matters which it contains. Mr. Halkett, it should seem, has studied the Indians of America in the libraries of Europe, rather than in their native forests; and his "Historical Notes," accordingly, have a closer reference to times that have long gone by, than to the actual condition of the "red children" of the woods at the present moment.
The annals of the white men on the great western continent are, we must confess, deeply stained with the misery and oppression which they have inflicted upon the Indians, since the first day that a European ship touched the trans-atlantic shores. The Spaniards, the French and the Dutch, have respectively much to answer for in regard to the mode in which they planted their several colonies in that part of the world; and we wish we could assert, that our own countrymen had no arrear of guilt chargeable upon their memories, and that no compensation were due at our hands to the unfortunate tenants of the American wilderness. Fraud and cruelty marked too long all the intercourse of the Europeans with the simple Indian; and, in order to justify their worst actions, they propagated every where the groundless calumny that the aboriginal inhabitants of the extensive countries to which their cupidity had directed them, were not superior in intellect to brute beasts, but were stupid, ungrateful and ferocious. The reports of interested traders and inhuman commanders were at length made the foundation of a theory by a certain class of philosophers at home; who, as is amply proved by the writings of Buffon and De Pauw, took pleasure in representing the natives of the New World as vicious, despicable and brutish, and far inferior to those of the Old, in mental as well as in corporeal qualities.
The good missionary, Le pere Lafitau, in his work entitled "Mœurs des Sauvages Americains comparés aux mœurs des premiers Temps," was among the first who boldly opposed the calumnies of his countrymen, in relation to the character of the Indians. In the face of the impudent statements made by several of his contemporaries, he maintained that the na
tives of America were possessed of sound judgment, lively imagination, ready conception, and wonderful memory. All the tribes, he adds, retain at least some trace of an ancient religion, handed down to them from their ancestors, as also a form of government. They reflect justly upon their affairs; they prosecute their ends by sure means; they evince a degree of coolness and composure which would exceed our patience; they never permit themselves to indulge in passion, but always, from a high sense of honour and greatness of soul, appear masters of themselves. They are high-minded and proud; possess a courage equal to every trial; an intrepid valour; the most heroic constancy under torments; and an equanimity which neither reverses nor misfortunes can shake. Towards each other they behave with a natural politeness and attention, entertaining a high respect for the aged, and a consideration for their equals, which appears scarcely reconcilable with that freedom and independence of which they are so jealous. They make few professions of kindness, but yet are affable and generous. Towards strangers and the unfortunate, they exercise a degree of hospitality and charity which might put the inhabitants of Europe to the blush.
In those extensive regions, bounded by the lakes and the river St. Lawrence, the French, as is well known, exercised a severe and treacherous rule over the native inhabitants; imitating the latter in the most barbarous acts of revenge, in torture, and cruel deaths. This policy was strongly reprobated by the more judicious of the missionaries, who were soon made to feel the terrible effects of such an ill-timed retaliation. But our limits prevent us from entering into details on this early period of American colonization; suffice it to say, that the reader will find in Mr. Halkett's historical notes a valuable selection of most important information on that head, drawn from very authentic and impartial sources. We pass over, in like manner, the transactions of the Dutch in their infant establishment at New York, and proceed to give some account of the English settlers in America, whose descendants have made greater encroachments upon the birthright of the Indian, than all the other nations of Europe beside.
There is a romantic story, connected with the name of Captain John Smith, which gives a view of the state of society among the natives, as well as a striking picture of female generosity, and which on these accounts, cannot fail, we think, to engage the attention of the reader. Captain Smith was a hero by nature. Granger says that he "deserves to be ranked with the greatest travellers and adventurers of this
age. He was some time in the service of the Emperor and the Prince of Transylvania, against the Grand Seignor, when he distinguished himself by challenging three Turks of quality to single combat, and cutting off their heads; for which heroic exploit he wore a chevron between three Turks heads on his arms. He afterwards went to America, where he was taken by the savage Indians, from whom he found means to escape. He often hazarded his life in naval engagements with pirates, Spanish men of war, and in other adventures, and had a considerable hand in reducing New England to the obedience of Great Britain, and in reclaiming the inhabitants from barbarism."
It was while exploring the country, and examining some of the principal rivers, that Captain Smith was taken prisoner by the Indians. Having resolved to put him to death, his savage enemies were already in the act of fastening him to a tree, that they might shoot him with arrows, when he, with great presence of mind, pulled out a pocket compass, and presented it to their chief. The astonishment felt by the Indians at the movements of the needle, and the extraordinary appearance of the whole instrument, induced them to postpone his execution. They probably looked upon Smith as a magician; at all events they determined forthwith to carry him to their king, whose name was Powhatan.
This prince, at that period, ruled over a vast extent of country, and mustered under his banners from two to three thousand warriors. The appearance of his court is thus described by the Captain, in the simple style of his age, now fast becoming obsolete. "Here were more than two hundred of these grim courtiers who stood wondering as he had been a monster, till Pohatan and his trayne had put themselves in their greatest braveries. Before a fire, upon a seate like a bedsteade, hee sat covered with a great robe of rarowcan (racoon) skinnes, and all the tayles hanging by. On either side did sit a young wench, of about sixteen or eighteen years, and along on each side the house as many women, with all theyre heades and shoulders painted red; manie of theyre heades bedecked with white down of birdes, but everie one with something, and a greate chayne of white beades about theyre necks."
At his entrance before the king, all the people gave a great shout. The queen of Appamatuck was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and another brought him a bunch of feathers instead of a towel, to dry them. After these and other Indian ceremonies, Captain Smith was invited to partake of an entertainment, and a council being
VOL. XXIII. JANUARY, 1825.
now held, it was determined that he should be immediately put to death. He was accordingly dragged forward before the king, and his head placed on a large stone which rested on the ground, in order to have his brains beaten out by two men armed with clubs. This sentence was on the point of being executed, when to the astonishment of the whole assembly, the king's favourite daughter Pocahontas, then about twelve or thirteen years of age, rushed forward, and throwing herself down, folded her arms round the head of the captive, to save him from the blows of his fierce executioners. Such was her generous and persevering resolution, that Powhatan at length ordered the Captain to be released. From that time he was treated with distinguished regard by the king, as well as by his sons, and was soon afterwards sent back to the settlement at Jamestown, under an escort of twelve trusty Indians. Peace, too, was immediately established between Powhatan and the English; and the young princess, having become their avowed friend and patron, was allowed to visit the colony with her attendants, and to carry provisions and presents to them whenever they were in want.
Nor were her services confined to mere civilities. On the contrary, when war was unhappily renewed, and a stratagem formed for surprising Captain Smith and his party, she made her way through the forest in the dead of the night, gave him notice of the designs which were about to be put in operation against him, and thereby enabled him to provide for his safety. The Captain meeting with an accident from the explosion of gunpowder, returned soon after to England: and Pocahontas, unable to preserve peace between the white strangers and her father's subjects, lived with some, trusty friends, in a state of concealment, on the banks of the Potowmac.
Captain Argale, who commanded an English ship on that station, hearing that the girl was in the neighbourhood, contrived to seize her person and carry her on board, with the view, it is said, either of procuring from Powhatan, more advantageous terms of peace, or of compelling him to pay a high ransom for his daughter. A negociation ensued under the auspices of Sir Thomas Dale, who was at that time entrusted with the government of the Virginian colony; but the Indian monarch, not finding it expedient to comply with the terms which were proposed to him, the treaty broke off, and the princess was detained two years in the English settle
It was during this very questionable captivity, that a young Englishman, named Rolfe, formed an attachment to Poca