« AnteriorContinuar »
strings; yet I took particular notice of the firmness of his tread. The sigbt affected me with pleasure, and served at least to harmonize my spirits ; so that I awoke for the first time with a sensation of delight opon my mind. Still, however, I knew not where to look for the establishment of the comfort I felt.
• Within a few days of my first arrival at St. Albans, I had thrown aside the word of God, as a book in which I had no longer any interest or portion. The only instance in which I can recollect reading a single chapter, was about two months before my recovery. Having found a Bible upon the bench in the garden, I opened it upon the eleventh of St. John, wbere Lazarus is raised from the dead; and saw so much benero. Jence, mercy, goodness, and sympathy with miserable man, in our Saviour's conduct, that I almost shed tears even after the relation; little thinking that it was an exact type of the mercy that Jesus was upon the point of extending towards myself. I sighed and said, “Ob that I had not rejected so good a Redeemer, that I had not forfeited all his favour!” Tbus was my heart softened, though not yet enlightened. I closed the book without intending to open it again. Having risen with somewhat of a more cheerful feeling, I repaired to the room where breakfast waited for me. While I sat at the table, I found the cloud of horror, wbich bad so long hung over me, every moment passing away; and every moment came fraught with hope. I was continually more and more persuaded, that I was not utterly doomed to destruction. The way of salvation, however, was still hid from my eyes, nor did I see at all more clearly than before my illness.'
• But the happy period which was to shake off my fetters, and afford me a clear opening of the free mercy of God in Christ Jesus, was not arrived; I ilung myself into a chair near the window, and seeing a Bible there, ventured once more to apply to it for comfort and instruction. The first verse I saw was the twenty-fifth of the third cbapter of Ro. mans : “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” I jinmediately received strengtb to believe, and the full beams of the sun of righteousness shone upon me. I saw the sufficiency of the atonement he had made, my pardon sealed in his blood, and all the fulness and completeness of bis justification. In a moment I believed, and received the Gospel. Whatever my friend Madan had said to me so long before, revived in all its elearness, with der onstration of the Spirit, and with power. : . Unless the Almighty arm had now been under me, I think I should have died with gratitude and joy. My eyes filled with tears, and my voice choked with transport; I could only look to heaven in silence, overwhelmed with love and wonder.' How glad should I bave now been to have spent every moment in prayer and thanksgiving! I lost no opportunity of repairing to a throne of grace, but few to it with an eagerness irresistible, and never to be satisfied. Could I help it? could I do otherwise than to love and rejoice in my reconciled Father ja Christ Jesus? The Lord bad enlarged my heart, and “I ran in the way of his commandments."
• For many succeeding weeks, tears were ready to flow if I did but speak of the Gospel, or mention the name of Jesus. To rejoice day and night was my employment: too happy to sleep too much, I thought it was lost time that was spent in slumber.
The above extract, for the length of which we make no apology, resembles many parts of our author's poems : we refer to the latter part of • Hopein particular, which evidently flowed from the selfsame feelings. After a narrative of some other occurrences, the work concludes with his settlement in the house of his excellent friends the Unwins. It is written in the easy English style of the days of Queen Anne; which, in its better parts, we would willingly see revived. To the larger edition is subjoined an Appendix, containing a few of Cowper's religious letters, some just remarks on his life from a periodical work, and extracts on the sin of suicide. One of these is from Cowper's letters, on Hume's arguments in favour of self-murder. It is indeed impossible not to observe, as in the case of Gibbon, that where Hume deserted the Gospel, it deserted him; and that the advocate of deism was the advocate of suicide and debauchery. The remarks from the American divine are worthy of universal perusal, to which we earnestly recommend them. The sentences which conclude the volume, though just in their contents, have rather a ludicrous air.
There are many things in this volume, which, on a hasty perusal, may be deemed extravagant. We consider this as unfortunate, so far as it may prejudice many against what does not in reality deserve it. Piety holds no parley with fanaticism, nor needs its alliance; religion disdains to be defended by other means than those of truth : 'in the celestial armoury of Christianity,' says an excel. lent contemporary moralist, no such weapons as enthusiasm and error are to be found ;' and it is on this principle that we wish to vindicate the present work from the imputation of enthusiasm'; lest the enemies of Christianity should have it in their power to say, that the piety of any one had been increased, or his truth in the divine mercy confirmed, by a narrative of delusions. It was indeed our decided opinion, even before we read this book, that a change of life and sentiments so total, and of such a kind, as Cow. per was known to have experienced; a system of religion so sublime, yet so rational, so spiritual, yet so practical, as he inculcates, could not by any possibility be the effects of fanaticism. Nor have these Memoirs altered our opinion. No miracles are alleged, no discoveries in religion broached; what was delirium, is called such; where he was under the influence of a mistake, he expressly mentions it; where his delusion exaggerated indifferent actions into gross crimes, he tells us. With a tinge from his own opinions, the work is pervaded and vivified by a spirit of rational awe, devotion,
and thankfulness. Providential interpositions, and divine influence, are indeed supposed. But the train of circumstances, by which his dreadful attempts at self-destruction were repeatedly prevented, was so striking, that even a man of sober sense might, without in the least forfeiting his claim to rationality, gratefully suppose them to proceed from the special care of a benevolent Deity, and if an opinion, thus formed, may have led the author astray with regard to some less remarkable occurrences, it is not to be imputed to a superstitious taint, but to a human error in reasoning.
ART. VIII.-1. A Sketch of the British Fur Trade in North
America ; with Observations relative to the North-West Com. pany of Montreal. 8vo. By the Earl of Selkirk. London: 1816. 2. Voyage de la Mer Atlantique à l'Océan Pacifique par le
Nord-ouest dans la Mer Glaciale; par le Capitaine Laurent Ferrer Maldonado, l'an 1588. Nouvellement traduit d'un Manuscrit Espagnol, et suivi d'un Discours qui en démontre l'Autenticité et la véracité, par Charles Amoretii. Plaisance : de l'Im
primerie del Majno. 1812. N o one will doubt that Lord Selkirk is an amiable, honourable,
and intelligent man-but he has the misfortune to be a protector. We are persuaded, however, that his are not the deep-laid schemes of a sordid narrow-minded calculator, but the suggestions of an ardent imagination and a benevolent heart-such as are apt sometimes to overlook difficulties which it is not easy to overleap.
It will be remembered that his lordship, some years ago, made an attempt, in part a successful one, to divert the tide of emigration from the Highlands of Scotland to the United States, and turn it to Prince Edward's Island, within the territories of Great Britain. His intentions were, no doubt, benevolent and humane ; but, an impulse was supposed to be given to them by the ruling passion of reviving, in North America, that species of feudal system which was finally extinguished in North Britain about • seventy years since.' His lordship was thought to be ambitious of becoming the head of a clan,—the chieftain and founder of numerous families. For such expansive views an island was too confined a sphere : but the neighbouring continent had all the requisites that could possibly be wished, -an indefinite extent of territory, abounding in woods and plains,and extensive lakes, and navigable rivers; with a soil capable of affording subsistence for millions, but nearly untenanted, save by the beasts of the forests, claimed as the exclusive property of some trading merchants under the grant of a Royal Charter, who would neither cultivate any part of it themselves, nor suffer others
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXI.
to do it; he set about devising the means of rescuing some of the best parts of it from so unprofitable a condition. For this purpose, it is said, and we believe truly, his lordship purchased, at a price far beyond its value, about one-third part of the stock of the Hudson's Bay Company; the whole of which is only 100,0001. A proprietor to such an extent could not well be refused a favour from the Governors of the Company; and they granted him, what we rather think the Law Officers of the Crown have decided they had no power to grant, a wide extent of country held, or supposed to be held, under their Charter, of which he proceeded to take possession.
• He was called away from England,' he says, “to a remote part of the British dominions, for the purpose, not only of defending his rights of property from threatened infringement, but also to give bis personal sup. pori to a considerable body of individuals who, in a great degree, looked up to him for protection, and against whom a train of premeditated and violent aggression has been committed by their fellow subjects.
On his arrival in Canada he found the territory which he was about to settle, and indeed the whole of America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes of Canada to the extreme North, overrun by the servants of an Association of Merchants in London and Montreal calling itself the North-west Company, between which and the Hudson's Bay Company there had long subsisted a deadly feud. At Montreal, we presume, he writes his "Sketch of the Fur Trade," which is well calculated to bring down public indignation on the heads of those who conduct, or who are con. cerned in it. The pains that appear to be taken, and the plans that are laid, to seduce the inoffensive savages into habits of vice, in order that the 'iraders' may the more easily exercise a brutal tyranny over them; and the ferocious and unfeeling conduct of the Canadian rivals in the sur trade towards each other, setting at de. fiance all religion, morality and law, are stated in such terms and on such 'evidence, that they are not only deserving the early attention of the public, but will command it, and, we doubt not, call forth the immediate interference of the legislature.
It would seem, however, that Lord Selkirk has not thought fit to await the decision of the legislature or the executive government. The details of the extraordinary and atrocious transactions which have urged his lordship to the strange steps he has taken are not yet fairly before the public. Private letters,however, from interested ina dividuals say, that Mr. Semple,recently appointed Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, while on a journey to inspect its forts and establishments in the Indian territories,' fell in with a party of natives carrying provisions to some of the trading establishments of thọ.
North-west Company; that Mr. Semple, through a mistaken zeal for the interests of his employers, hesitated to let them pass; that a scuffle ensued, in which the unfortunate governor and about twenty of his people were put to death. Mr. Semple could scarcely have denied the rightof a passage to the natives through their own territories. The account given in the Montreal Herald of the 12th October, evidently from one of the few persons who survived the massacre, is probably the true one. From this it appears, that a regular expedition was fitted out by the North-west Company, to drive away, for the second time, the people belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, who had re-possessed themselves of their establishment on the Red-river. Mr. Semple, observing their approach from the fort, said, “ We must go and meet those people-let twenty men follow me. They had only proceeded a few hundred yards, when several colonists came running towards them in great dismay, crying out, * The North-west Company-the“ half breeds!”' Having advanced about half a mile from Fort Douglas, a numerous body of cavalry appeared from behinda wood, and surrounded the Governor and his people, when one Bouché, a Canadian, rode up to Mr. Semple, demanding their · fort.' The Governoranswered, 'Go to your fort.? • You,' retorted Bouché,“ have destroyed our fort, you damned rascal. “Scoundrel,' said Semple, laying his hand upon Bouché's bridle, dare you call me so ? Bouché sprang from his horse, and a shot was immediately fired, by which Lieut. Holt fell. The next shot wounded the Governor, who called out to his men, 'Do what you can to take care of yourselves ;' but he was so much beloved that they affectionately gathered round him to learn what injury he had suffered; when a volley of musketry was poured into the group, which killed several and wounded the greater part of them.
* The cavalry galloped towards the survivors, who took off their hats and called for mercy. But this address for mercy was made to the servants of the h-west Company, and at their hands was immediately received by what must be presumed the accustomed measure of their compassion-a speedy termination of earthly calamities. The knife, the axe, or the ball
, 'in able and willing hands, soon placed in lasting repose, those whom pain or terror had rendered clamorous. One only was spared, through the exertions of a Canadian to whom he had been intimately known-two others were providentially saved by escaping to a canoe, and two more, by swimming, in the tamult, to the other side of the river.'
Thus fell Governor Semple, a man of amiable and modest manDers, and of a most humane and benevolent disposition,-bis pri. pate secretary, the surgeon, two officers, and fifteen settlers. Their bodies are stated to have been barbarously mangled to gratify the savage rancour of their murderers, commanded by a Mr. Cuthbert