« AnteriorContinuar »
Majesty's ship Calcutta, should be a bar to the promotion he so highly merits; his courage, cool intrepidity, and superior abilities as a seaman and an officer, entitle him to my warmest gratitude, and render him most worthy of the attention of the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.'
In 1806, Mr. Tuckey married a fellow-prisoner, Miss Margaret Stuart, daughter of the commander of a ship in the East India Company's service at Bengal. She also had been taken by the Rochefort squadron on her passage, to join her father in India. In vain Mr. Tuckey and his friends exerted themselves in procuring his release, by exchange or otherwise; and it was not till after repeated refusals that he even obtained permission, in 1810, for his wife to visit England to look after his concerns. Her object accomplished, she procured passports to return to France by way of Morlaix: here she was detained, and after six weeks sent back to England.
On the advance of the allied armies into France in 1814, Mr. Tuckey was ordered to Blois, and, with his two little boys, obliged to travel in the most severe weather, he says, that he ever experienced. His youngest son fell a victim to fatigue and sickness. 'I had indeed,' says the father, 'a hard trial with my little boy, for after attending him day and night for three weeks, (he had no mother, no servant, no friend but me to watch over him,) I received his last breath, and then had not only to direct his interment, but also to follow him to the grave, and recommend his innocent soul to his God: this was indeed a severe trial, but it was a duty, and I did not shrink from it.' But one still more severe awaited him shortly after his arrival in England: he had the misfortune to lose a fine child, a girl of seven years of age, in consequence of her clothes taking fire, after lingering several days in excruciating agony.
On account of Mr. Tuckey's meritorious services in the Calcutta, and his sufferings and long imprisonment in France, Lord Melville promoted him, in the year-1814, to the rank of commander; and in the following year, on hearing of the intention of sending an expedition to explore the Zaire, he applied, among several others, to be appointed to that service. His abilities were unquestionable: he was an excellent surveyor, spoke several languages, and during his confinement he had stored his mind with such various knowledge, and had turned his attention so particularly to the subject of nautical discovery and river navigation, that he appeared to be in every respect eligible for the service, and accordingly was entrusted with the command, of which his narrative is the best proof that he was not undeserving. His zeal to accomplish the objects of the expedition appears to have been without bounds, and his unwearied exertions eTidently brought on his old disorder. He returned to the ships
from his river excursion in a state of extreme exhaustion; he had no fever, however, nor pain during the whole of his illness, from the 17th of September, wheu he reached the Congo, till the 4th of October, when he expired. We insert with pleasure the following testimony of his merits.
'The few survivors of this ill-fated expedition will long cherish the memory of Captain Tuckey, of whom Mr. Fitzmaurice, the master, who succeeded to the command, observes, in reporting his death, "in him the navy has lost an ornament, and its seamen a father." But his benevolence was not confined to the profession of which he was so distinguished a member. A poor black of South Africa, who, in his youth, had been kidnapped by a slave-dealer, was put on board the Congo, while in the Thames, with a view of restoring him to his friends and country, neither of which turned out to be in the neighbourhood of the Zaire, and he was brought back to England. This black was publicly baptized at Deptford church, by the name of Benjamin Peters, having learned to read on the passage out by Captain Tuckey's instructions, of whom he speaks in the strongest terms of gratitude and affection. He was generous to a fault. A near relation has observed, " that a want of sufficient economy, and an incapability of refusal to open his purse to the necessities of others, have been the cause of many of the difficulties which clouded the prospects of his after life;"—that "he knew nothing of the value of money, except as it enabled him to gratify the feelings of a benevolent heart."
'In his person Captain Tuckey was tall, and must once have been handsome; but his long residence in India had broken down his constitution, and, at the age of thirty, his hair was gray, and his head nearly bald: his countenance was pleasing,but wore rather1a pensive cast; but he was at all times gentle and kind in his manners, cheerful in conversation, and indulgent to every one placed under his command. In him it may fairly be said, the profession has lost an ornament; his country has been deprived of an able, enterprising, and experienced officer; and his widow and children have sustained an irreparable loss.'—Intro, p.lix.lx. Lieutenant Hawkey had been a fellow prisoner with Captain Tuckey in France, where, under the inhuman system of Buonaparte, he had suffered an imprisonment of eleven years: every prospect of rising in his profession being clouded and lost in a hopeless captivity, limited only by the duration of the war, and aggravated hy the cruel reflection, that, after having spent the early and best years of life in the active service of his country, and the middle part of it in a prison, he would have to begin the world anew, if ever the day of liberation should arrive—such was the condition to which a number of gallant officers in the navy and army were reduced by this malignant tyrant.
Lieutenant Hawkey was an excellent draughtsman; he sketched in a bold and artist-like manner; and, to a general knowledge of natural history, he united the talent of pamting the minuter sea and land ani
z 2 mals mals with great spirit and accuracy, and in an exquisite style of colouring. A number of specimens of this kind were found in a small pocketbook, accompanied with some slight memoranda; but his papers, containing descriptions of those sketches and drawings, and other remarksmade in the progress up the river, have unfortunately been lost. < He proceeded with the captain to the farthest point of the journey, and, though employed in the most active manner, and exposed to the same weather and the same hardships as the rest of the party, he had no complaint whatever when he returned to the vessel on the 17th September; his case was therefore somewhat singular. He continued in good health, and without any complaint till the 3d October, when the ship was at sea; he then expressed a sense of lassitude about his loias, and irritability of stomach; but there was no apparent febrile action; the pulse being about the natural standard, which with him was only 65°, without the body undergoing any increase of temperature. The only symptoms were irritability of stomach, with extreme languor and debility; the next day, however, he was seized with vomiting; on the 6th became insensible, the pulse scarcely perceptible at the wrist, and the extremities cold; and he continued thus till 11 o'clock in the evening, when he expired without a struggle,'—Introd. p. lxi. lxii.
Mit. Eyiie, the purser, was a young man of a corpulent and bloated habit; he had no illness while in the river; had not been on shore for three weeks, and never exposed himself either to the sun or fatigue during the whole voyage. He was attacked with, fever after leaving the river, and, on the third day, breathed his last. His disease appears to have had all the symptoms of the Bulam fever.
Mu. Christian Smith, professor of botany, the son of a respectable landholder near Drammen in Norway, was born in October 1785; he studied botany under Professor Hornemann, and more particularly that branch of the science of which his native mountains afforded such ample stores—the mosses and lichens. Brought up to the profession of physic, and appointed physician to the great hospital at Copenhagen, he could not resist the temptation of accompanying his friends Hornemann and Wormskiold on a botanical tour into the mountains of Norway, in which he particularly distinguished himself. In 1812 he made a second excursion across the mountains of Tellemarck and Hallingdut, ascertained their heights, examined their productions, and in short traversed those solitary regions not only as a botanist but as a natural philosopher. He published a narrative of his observations, which, to use the words of his friend Von Bueh, 'must always be considered as one of the most curious and instructive documents of physical geography.' 'In a third scientific expedition, on which he was engaged by the Patriotic Society of Norway, he extended his travels into remote regions ' untrodeven by the hunters of the rein-deer. Here he assembled the scattered
peasantry, explained to them the characters and the valuable properties of the lichens which covered their mountains, instructed them how to convert their mosses into bread pleasant to the taste, nourishing, and wholesome, and prevailed on them to adopt it instead of the miserable bark bread, which affords but little nourishment, and that little at the expense of health.'
After this he came to England, traversed its northern mountains and those of Scotland, visited North and South Wales, and scoured the mountains of Ireland. On his return to London, in IS 14, he met, at the house of Sir Joseph Banks, the celebrated geologist Baron Von Buch, whose habits and feelings being congenial wilh his own, they soon formed an inlimacy, and projected a voyage to Madeira and the Canaries. In this expedition Professor Smith was enraptured with the luxuriance of the vegetable world, which far surpassed any idea he could have possibly formed of it from the languid and stunted vegetation of his northern climate. He returned to England in December 1815; and when the expedition to explore the Zaire was mentioned to him by Sir Joseph Banks, he most readily and unconditionally accepted the offer of the appointment of botanist from a pure love of science, and the hope of being useful to mankind. The zeal and qualifications of Professor Smith are apparent from his journal, though it seems this interesting document had undergone no revision, but was found, as we before mentioned, as originally written, in a small pocket memorandum-book. He was first taken ill on returning with Captain Tuckey to the vessels, and pertinaciously refused all nutriment and medicine, except cold water. On the 21st of September, four days after they reached the ship, he became delirious, and died on the following day.
Me. Cranch, collector of subjects in natural history, was one of those extraordinary self-taught characters, to whom particular branches of science and literature are sometimes more indebted, than to the efforts of those who have had the advantage of a regular education. He was born at Exeter, in the year 1785, of humble but respectable parents; having lost his father at eight years of age, lie was turned over to an avaricious uncle, who scarcely allowed him a common education, and, at fourteen, put him out as an apprentice to learn ' the art and mystery of shoe-making.' In this situation every moment that could be stolen from his labour was either devoted to the few books which he had been able to collect, or to the study of natural history, and particularly that branch of it which relates to entomology. At the expiration of his apprenticeship he repaired to London. That great mart of human knowledge inspired him with higher objects, and better hopes than those of advancement in the art of shoe-making.
On his return to his native spot his circumstances were favourably improved by marriage. Every thing was now left to his journeymen, while he was sedulously and successfully employed iu collecting objects of natural history. The ardour with which he prosecuted his inquiries is thus described:—
'No difficulties nor dangers impeded his researches: he climbed the most rugged precipices—he was frequently lowered down by the peasants from the summits of the tallest cliffs—he waded through rapid streams—he explored the beds of the muddiest rivers—he sought the deepest recesses. He frequently wandered for whole weeks from home, and often ventured out to sea for several days together entirely alone in the smallest skiffs of the fishermen. No inclemency of weather, no vicissitudes of "storms and sunshine," ever prevented his fatiguing pursuits; the discovery of a new insect amply repaid the most painful exertions. Several papers in the " Weekly Entertainer," a little work which accompanies one of the most popular of the western newspapers, were written by him; and by these, and his collection of subjects in natural history, he gradually became better known, and his talents duly appreciated by the most able naturalists.'—Introd. p. lxxiv.
Dr. Leach was so well pleased with the accuracy and intelligence of this self-educated and zealous naturalist, that he engaged him to collect insects, and particularly marine productions, for the British Museum. This was the height of his ambition,—
'He immediately discharged his journeymen, and converted his manufactury of boots and shoes into apartments for the reception and preservation of such objects of natural history as his daily excursions might procure. He kept up a continual communication with the fishermen of Plymouth, and constantly received from them baskets filled with the rubbish they dredged from the bottom of the sea; and this he examined with diligence and attention, preserving all the new objects that he discovered, and making descriptions of them. He visited occasionally the Brixham, Plymouth, and Falmouth fishermen, and made excursions with them. He very often left Kingsbridge in an open boat, and remained absent for a long time together, during which he dredged, when the tide was full, and examined the shores when it was out. At night he slept in his boat, which he drew on shore; and, when the weather was too stormy for marine excursions, he would leave his boat and proceed to examine the country and woods for insects, birds,' &c.—Introd. p. lxxv. lxxvi.
When the expedition to the Zaire was in agitation, Mr. Cranch was thus employed in the collection of subjects of natural history for the British Museum; and was recommended by Dr. Leach to Sir Joseph Banks, as particularly fitted for the situation of collector on this voyage of discovery. Mr. Cranch was taken ill between Cooloo and Inga; was carried back on the shoulders of the natives to the former place, from thence in a hammock to the foot cf the first cataract, where he was put into a canoe, and on the