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Lord Selkirk, however, has no intention of entering the lists as a rival trader with the North-west Company, his grand object being that of establishing a body of industrious farmers in the interior of the Indian territories; to create an increased population, an effective police, and a regular administration of justice, than which, he says, nothing can be a greater object of dread to those who maintain a commercial monopoly by the habitual exercise of illegal violence; and who never will be fully satisfied unless the extensive regions in the north-west of America continue in the exclusive occupation of the savage Indians, the wild beasts of the forest and themselves.'
We have strong doubts, we confess, of the policy as well as the efficacy of Lord Selkirk's plan of colonization. While we have such valuable possessions as the Cape of Good Hope and Ceylon, (perhaps, politically speaking, the most valuable of all others,) almost without a population, we cannot observe without the deepest regret the tide of emigration setting so strongly to the North-westward—but leaving the consideration of this point for the present -We can discover little to be gained on the side of morality.' Even the decent, quiet, sober-minded Highlander, and the welldisposed Canadian, after a few years service in the 'fur trade,' part with the 'innoceuce of their habits,' and return home much corrupted:' and does Lord Selkirk suppose that the discharged soldiers from Meuron's regiment will preserve their innocence ' that they will sit down quietly where he inay choose to fix them, labouring, ‘in the sweat of their brows, merely to gain a subsistence?' Placed, as they must necessarily be till a population has been created, far beyond any market to receive their surplus produce, and scattered, as they would take especial care to be, at a wide distance from each other, is there not every reason to apprehend that they would quit the plough and the spade to engage in the “fur trade ??this alone, according to Lord Selkirk's maxim, would at once convert their innocence into brutal ferocity, and render them fit associates for the subjects of the back settlements of a neighbouring
Like the inhabitants of Pittsburgh, they would soon learn to hunt Indians during the shooting season, and scalp them for their profit or their amusement.
But if England cannot profit from the colonization of these remote regions, it may not be amiss to consider what advantage she is likely to derive from their produce. The whole concern of the 'fur trade,' which has occasioned the disgraceful proceedings here stated, never exceeds, by Lord Selkirk's account, 300,0001.m'a branch of commerce which gives occasion to the exportation of 40 or 50,0001. of British manufactures,'--and in which three ships are employed! Even this miserable trade, according to Lord
Selkirk, is verging rapidly towards its ruin. The system of the North-west Company, he says, is to obtain a great immediate return of furs, without any regard to its permanent continuance, and with this view a war of extermination is waged against all the valuable fur-bearing animals; the beaver, the most valuable of them, will, he tells us, in no long period of time, be nearly extirpated by the ' gigantic system of poaching carried on by the North-west Company. It may be so; though we confess our fears incline rather towards the extermination of the Indians, than of the furbearing animals ;' the former are confessedly disappearing in a rapid progression, while the latter will, from that circumstance, as rapidly increase. The enumeration of one year's supply to the North-West Company, as given by Sir Alexander Mackenzie, will afford some estimate of the number and kind of animals annually destroyed. They are as follows:-Skins of the beaver, 106,000; the bear, 2,100; the fox, 5,500; the otter, 4,600; the musquash, 17,000; the marten, 32,000; the mink, 1800; the lynx, 6,000; the wolverine, 600; the fisher, 1,650; the raccoon, 100; the wolf, 3,800; the elk, 700; the deer 1,950. By doubling those numbers in order to take in the consumption of the native Indians, those lost and destroyed on the passage, and those exported by the Hudson's Bay Company, we shall perhaps come pretty nearly to the actual number destroyed every year : nor is there any thing very surprizing in this great slaughter, when we consider what quantities of game are consumed even in well peopled countries, without the smallest risk of extirpating the breed. The only remarkable feature here is the vast multitudes of various animals to be found within the cold and apparently barren regions of the Arctic circle. Mons. Jeremie, once governor of Fort Bourbon, (now York,) says, that when the rein-deer are driven out of the thickets by the clouds of mosquitoes wbich, on the return of summer darken the air, they fly to the shores of Hudson's Bay, in herds of ten thousand, scouring across these bleak and naked plains, untrodden perhaps by ten human beings in the course of as many years.
We learn from the same authority, fully corroborated by the testimony of travellers, that the flocks of geese and swans, of cranes, cormorants, bustards, pelicans and ducks are so numerous as to obscure the sky, and so noisy, in rising from the ground, as to deafen the byestanders. M. Jeremie, and his garrison of eighty men, caught and consumed, in one winter, ninety thousand white partridges, and twenty-five thousand hares. The rein-deer are the most numerous of the larger animals, but elks, bears, buffaloes, the musk ox and the moose deer are all abundant. Nor are the waters less productive. The sea and the straits are amply stocked with the whale and the narwal, the grampus, the seal, and the sea-horse
the lakes and rivers with salmon, sturgeon, trout, pike, and carp; 80 successfully are animals enabled to struggle against every inconvenience of soil or climate, and to increase and multiply, and replenish the earth, when undisturbed by the presence of 1. an. As far however as the beaver is concerned, Lord Selkirk's apprehensions may not be unfounded. His haunts are known, and his habitation, constructed with such wonderful industry and skill, is easily discovered : most of the others have a retreat beyond the reach of man.
In taking leave of Lord Selkirk, we shall just observe, that his “Sketch of the Fur Trade’ is in no respect equal, as to information, to the History of that trade, by Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Its character, indeed, is less that of a history, than of a Bill of Indictment against the North-west Company--an angry attack on the provincial administration of justice—and a panegyric on the Hudson's Bay Company. The points at issue between the conflicting parties are matters not for us to intermeddle with; we have no desire to prejudice or prejudge the case of either ; but we cannot join in the praise ascribed to the Hudson's Bay Company, whose only merits (if they have any) are, at any rate, of the negative kind. Their total disregard of every object for which they obtained, and have now held, a Royal Charter for nearly one hundred and fifty years, entitles them to any thing but praise. The great leading feature on which their petition for an exclusive charter was grounded, the discovery of a North-west Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, has not only been totally neglected, but, unless they have been grossly calumniated, thwarted by every means in their power. The examination of the work, whose title stands, at the "head of this article, will lead to a few observations on their conduct in this respect.
The Spaniards cannot disavow the name of Maldonado, as they have done that of Fuente. It has been registered with applause by their most authentic bibliographers; and consecrated, as it
ere, by assigning to it the best port in their possessions on the east side of South America: nor can they deny the existence of the journal of such a voyage, as the one in question; having sent so recently as 1789, the corvettes la Discubierta et l'Atravida, under the orders of Malaspina, to examine the passages and inlets, which might be found to break the continuity of the line of coast of North-west America, between 539 and 60° of N. latitude; ' in order to discover the strait by which Laurent Ferrer Maldonado was supposed to have passed in 1588, from the coast of Labrador to the Great Ocean. That this was the main object of the expedition appears from a letter of a friend of Malaspina, employed on the voyage, which was seen by Amo
retti, and which states that the journal of Maldonado was in the hands of the Duc de l'Infantado: the same circumstance is mentioned by the writer of the Introduction to the voyage of Le Sutil and Mericana, published at Madrid in 1802, who says that the Commander of this expedition was furnished with a copy of it, taken from that of the Duc de l'Infantado.— It is sufficiently clear, therefore, that the Spaniards of the present day are disposed to believe that some such voyage was made: they have, in fact, very strong testimony concerning it. In the Bibliotheca Hispana of Nicolao Antonio, under the article Laurent Ferrer Maldonado,' we are told that he was well skilled in nautical matters and in geography; that he published a book entitled. Imagen del Mundo, &c.'—and that he (Nicolao Antonio) had seen in the hands of Masscarenas, bishop of Segovia, the manuscript of a Voyage, “being the Relation of the Discovery of the Strait of Anian, made by the author in the year 1588.'* Antonio de Leon Pinelot also bears testimony to his talents as a navigator, and tells us, that he presented to the Council of the Indies (of which Pinelo was a member) two plans, one relating to rendering the magnetic needle not subject to variation, the other, to finding the longitude at
Now Pinelo, Antonio, the Bishop of Segovia, and Maldo. nado, were contemporaries; so that all doubt of the co-existence of such a person and such a manuscript is removed ; and it is to be presumed that the members of the Consejo de las Indias' had the latter in their keeping, Mascarenas being a member and senator of that board. The question is, whether the manuscript, of which Amoretti has published the translation, in Italian, and afterwards in French, is the identical one mentioned by Antonio, and written by Maldonado ?
The account which Amoretti gives of it is this: and we have always found so much good faith in the Italian publishers of voyages and travels, from Ramusio to the present time, that we are inclined to yield implicit credence to his story. He says, that in examining the manuscripts of the Ambrosian library of Milan, of which he is librarian, with a view to publish (agreeably to the intention of its founder, the Cardinal Boromeo) such of them as should be found to contain new and instructive matter, his attention was arrested by a small volume written
* Laurentius Ferrer Maldonado militiæ olim, &c.— Imagen del Mundo sobre la Esfera, Cosmografia, Geografia, y arte de Navigar, compluti apud Johannem Garsiam, 1626.
• Relacion del Descubrimiento del Estrecho de Anian hecho por el Autor. Quam vidi M.S. apud D. Hieronymum Mascareñas regium ordinum militarium, deinde Conciliæ Portugalliæ Senatorem, Segoviensem nunc Antistitem. Expeditionem autem hanc nauticam se fecisse anno 1588 autor ait.'-—Bib. Hisp. tom. ii. p. 2.
+ Epitome de la Biblioteca Oriental y Occidental, Nautica y Geografica, Madrid. 1629. VOL. XVI. NO, XXXI.
in the Spanish language, and entitled A Relation of the Discovery of the Strait of Anian by Captain Laurent Ferrer Maldonado, towards the end of the 16th century,' &c. At first he considered it only as a tale to amuse the curious; but on reading it with attention, he found it stamped so strongly with the character of authenticity and veracity, that he determined to translate it, and to add to it some notes and a treatise to prove the truth of the · Relation;" and as M. de Humboldt and others had consigned it to the rank of geographical impostures, before they knew what it contained, he conceived himself called upon to justify the manuscript and his own researches, by giving to the world the present volume. He states fairly that he has not been able to trace, nor can he conjecture, how this manuscript had come into the possession of the founder of the Milan library; but the writing, he observes, is that of the end of the sixteenth, or beginning of the seventeenth century; and from the paper having on it le filigrane du Pèlerin,' a common mark on the paper of that period, he conjectures it was written at Milan; concluding from the frequent omissions and the faults in the orthography, that it must have been copied in haste. How far this document may be entitled to the character of veracity or authenticity'a brief examination will enable us to judge.
The memoir, or · Relation' as it is called, consists of thirty-five paragraphs.
The first eight are employed chiefly in enumerating the advantages that would result to Spain from the navigation to the Indies by the North-west passage; as the shortness of the voyage-the monopoly of the spice trade--the facility of sending troops to the colonies—and the opening of a new door for the conversion of pagans. To secure these advantages, the necessity is pointed out of Spain being the first to get possession of the Strait of Anian; and the king is reminded that, the year before, the English had sent some ships in search of it,-all of which might just as well have been written by a clerk in the India Board of Madrid as by Maldonado. The last observation, however, is so far important that it determines the date of the memorial to be that of the voyage, the expedition of Davis in 1587 being that of the preceding year alluded to.
The ninth to the sixteenth inclusive contains general instructions for the navigation. They inform us, that by steering N.W. and running 450 leagues from Lisbon, the navigator will reach Friesland, anciently called Thyle, an island somewhat less than Iceland, lying in 60° N. latitude, and by continuing on that parallel 120 leagues, he will open the Strait of Labrador, 30 leagues in width; the land, on the left, low; on the right, mountainous; the latter forming two straits, one running to the N. E., the other to the N.W.--that to the north-west inust be taken, and when the navi