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1227 Review—Captivity and Escape of Captain Knox. 1228
21st of January, 1657, with a design to trade one year from port to port, and then return to England. On taking in her cargo for this country, a violent tempest compelling them to cut away their main-mast, and preventing them from pursuing their voyage, they sailed to Cottair Bay, on the eastern shores of Ceylon, to trade with the inhabitants, while their ship was undergoing repairs. On their arrival, they were treated with apparent kindness, until their suspicion was lulled to repose, when being decoyed ashore, they were surrounded with the natives, made prisoners, and carried up into the interior. Of the treatment which the author and his companions in misfortune received, during the long period of their captivity, their manner of life, and various efforts to regain their liberty, we have a detailed account; but it is such as will admit of no epitome.
On February 9th, 1060, the author's father, who had previously commanded the vessel, died, and himself being sick and weak, and unable to bury him, he applied to a native for assistance ; but the only aid he could procure without paying for it, was, to have a rope tied round the neck of the corpse, by which it was to be dragged naked into the woods. This, however, was refused; and by some trilling property a grave was procured, into which he placed the body with his own hands. Shortly after the death of his father, the author relates the following remarkable incident:—
"Provisions falling short with me, though rice, I thank God, 1 never wanted; and money, also, growing low, as well to help out a meal, as for recreation, sometimes 1 went with an angle to catch small fish in the hrooks, the aforesaid boy being with me. It chanced, as 1 was fishing, an old man passed by, and seeing me, asked of my boy, if I could read a book? He answered, "Yes." "The reason I ask," said the old man, " is, because I have one I got when the Portuguese lost Colmnbo; and, if your master please to buy it, I will sell it to him." Which, when I heard of, I bid my boy go to his house with him, which was not far off, and bring it to me, making no great account of the matter, supposing it might he some Portuguese book.
"The boy having formerly served the English, knew the book; and as soon as he had got it in his hand, came miming with it, calling out to me, "It is a BIBLE!'' It startled me to hear him mention the name of a Bible, for I neither had one, nor soarcely could ever think to see one; upon which, I flung down my angle, and went to meet him. The first place the book opened in, after I took it in my hand, was the 16th chapter of Acts; and the first place my eye pitched on, was the thir
tieth and one-and-tbirtieth verses, where the Gaoler asked St. Paul, "What must I do to be saved?" And he answered, saying, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and thou, shalt be saved, and thine house."
"The sight of this book at once so rejoiced and affrighted me, that I cannot say which passion was greater ; the joy, that I had got sight of a Bible, or the fear that I had not enough to buy it: having, then, but one pagoda (Ss.) in the world, which I would willingly have given for it, had it not been for my boy, who dissuaded me from giving so much; alleging my necessity for money many other ways ; and undertaking to procure the book for a far meaner price, provided I would seem to slight it in the sight of the old man. This counsel, after I considered, I approved of; my urgent necessities earnestly craving, and my ability being but very small to relieve the same ; and, however, I thought I could give my piece of gold at the last cost, if other means should fail.
"The sight, indeed, of this bible, so overjoyed me, as if an angel had spoken to me from heaven ; to see that my most gracious God had prepared such an extraordinary blessing for roe, which I did, and ever shall look upon as miraculous ; to bring unto me a bible in mv own language, and that in such a remote part of the world; where His name was not so much as known, and where an Englishman was never known to have been before. I looked upon it, as somewhat of the same nature with the Ten Commandments, he had given the Israelites out of heaven ; it being the thing, for want whereof, I bad so oftei mourned, nay, and shed tears too ; and, than the enjoyment whereof, there could be no greater joy in the world to me.
"Upon the sight of it, I left off fishing; God having brought a fish to me that my seal had longed for . and now, how to get it, and enjoy the same, all the powers of my soul were employed. I gave God hearty thanks that he had brought it so near to me, and most earnestly prayed that he would bestdw it on me. Now, it being well towards evening, and not having wherewithal to bny it, about me, 1 departed home, telling the old man, that ia the morning I would send my boy to buy it of him.
"All that night I could take no rest for thinking of it, fearing lest I might be disappointed of it. In the morning, as soou as it was day, I sent the boy with a knit cap, be had made for me, to buy the book, prayiug in my heart for good success, which it pleased God to grant; for thai cap purchased it; and the boy brought it to me, to my groat joy: which did not a little comfort me over all ray afflictions."
To the narrative of Captain Knox. Mr. Harvard has prefixed a judicious preface, in which he has included such testimonies, as must remove all doubt of the author's veracity. We cannot conclude our remarks in language more appropriate, than that which has already expressed tbe character of this work. The author's narrative exhibits " a lively picture of the state of
t lie country, and the manners of the people; and the account which he has given of what relates more immediately to himself, and particularly of his extraordinary escape from such a vigilant enemy, and in such difficult circumstances, combines the accurate details of a real transaction, with the glowing interest of a romance."
Review. — Sancti/iealum through the Truth, Sfc. a Sermon by the Reverend Thomas Brown. l2nio.p.58. Nisbet, Castle-street, Oxford-street, London. 1821.
So far as the fetters of the author's creed will allow, he every where inculcates experimental and practical godliness throughout this pamphlet. He informs his readers, that, " The high importance of sanctification appears from its necessity to qualify us for eternal blessedness. A man may go to heaven without wealth, without power, without learning, without eloquence, without all or any of those things by which secular and worldly men estimate his character, but "without holiness no man can see the Lord." But lest they should become righteous over much, he adds in the next paragraph, "that the holiness of saints in the present life is imperfect. Perfection, though the ambition and aim of all the truly pious, is not the positive attainment of any. We have heard of some such pure, and perfect, and spotless beings; wc have never seen any snch; and we look in vain for them in the historical record of the Old and New Testaments. Where shall we find this boasted perfection?" —p. 5.
These passages fairly dcvclope the character of this discourse. It is a pretty little dish of Antinomianism, rendered palatable to the taste by the seasoning that has been used in the cookery.
BRIEF MEMOIR OF WM. SCORESBY, JUN. ESQ. F. R.S.E. &C. LATE OF WHITBY, YORKSHIRE, BUT NOW OF LIVERPOOL.
In our number of the Imperial Magazine for June, 1821, we prefixed a portrait of this enterprising and scientific navigator. This was accompanied with the expression of a hope, that in
the ensuing number we should be able to furnish a memoir of his life. That wish, however, we were prevented from accomplishing, through causes in which the reader can have no particular interest. From that period until the present, we have been exerting ourselves to collect materials to redeem our pledge with the public ; and although we have not been ablo to succeed to that extent which would at once gratify our subscribers and ourselves, we have been able to trace the general outline of his life; and we now present to our friends a narrative which we flatter ourselves will be neither destitute of interest, nor unworthy of their acceptance.
In our number for September, col. 780, we introduced a paper inserted in tho Transactions of the Wernerian Society, written by this gentleman, on the possibility and practicability of reaching the North Pole. This paper is replete with sound and manly sense, containing observations founded upon actual experience, and conducting the reader on tho ground of analogical reasoning, through the only practicable methods that appear to be placed within tho reach of man, of accomplishing that great object,which would be hailed with joy by every nation in Europe. In this paper,thc necessary equipments for such an arduous undertaking are briefly given; and the various difficulties which the daring adventurers would have to encounter, so far as probability can extend her views, arc faithfully stated. Few papers contain within the same compass a greater fund of information, or display a more vigorous and comprehensive mind.
In the life of such a man, every incident, however trifling, becomes interesting; and perhaps there is scarcely a reader who does not feel a wish to peruse the journals of his numerous voyages into the Greenland seas, to catch those emanations of science which associate with the various objects which arrested his attention, and excited his observations.
Mr. William Scorcsby, Jun. was bom at the village of Cropton, near Pickering, in Yorkshire, October 5tb, 1789. His grandfathers were both farmers ; and his father was originally intended for an agriculturist: but his active and enterprising mind finding itself cramped in such a limited scene of employment, he left bis paternal
1231 Memoir of William Scoresby, Jan. Esq.
roof while yet a youth; and at Whitby, the nearest sea-port, commenced a sea-faring life.
At the age of three years, Mr. Scoresby, Jun. was removed from the place of his nativity to Wliitby, in which town his father, from his maritime employment, had found it convenient to take up his abode. Here the son received the rudiments of his education ; but this consisted only in the acquirement of such common branches of knowledge as are regularly taught in country schools.
In the yeflr 1800, when the subject of this memoir was only in his Uth year, his father, then commanding a whale fishing vessel from London, put into Whitby Roads, and invited him off to see the ship; and he, not being unwilling to undertake the enterprise, remained on board throughout the voyage. The first consideration of his father was, to furnish him with suitable clothing for resisting the severities of the climate in the region to which they were bound. Fortunately, there were several persons in the ship, who, previous to their engaging in the sea service, had been regularly trained to different handicraft occupations. These, being supplied with the requisite materials, most of which were luckily on board, soon equipped the young adventurer in a complete sailor's garb; and every thing being ready, they departed on their hazardous expedition. The voyage proved an arduous one. Owing to the uncommon perseverance of the commander, the ship became involved in the ice of Spitsbergen, where it lay immoveable, notwithstanding every exertion of the sailors to free themselves, for eight successive weeks, During this period the limit of the ice was never discernible from the mast-head ; and the field into which the ship was frozen, accumulated to the thickness, in many places, of more than 14 feet.
The following year Mr. Scoresby remained in England with his mother, to improve himself in learning, while his father navigated the Greenland seas. This interval, however, afforded him no other opportunity of improvement than what a common day-school regularly supplies.
In 1802, Mr. S. joined his father in London, after his return from his usual voyage. During their stay, which was about 3 or J months, he enjoyed the
privilege of an excellent seminary of instruction, conducted by Mr. Stock, of Poplar, from which he derived great advantages.
The next year he repeated his voyage to Greenland, along with his father; who having himself proved eminently successful in this occupation, was solicitous to train up his son to the same profession. He accordingly now pursued it year after year, and was progressively entrusted with the important and arduous duties of chief-mate and harpooner. In his 16th year, he had an accidental opportunity afforded him of attacking an unentangled whale. He was successful in harpooning it by a throw of the weapon, and in this first adventure succeeded in the capture.
His education, thus interrupted by professional duties, could only be promoted during the winter of each year; his summer months being regularly spent among the icebergs and whales of Spitzbergen. In these intervals of his voyages, he attended a school in Whitby; but his opportunities of improvement being very much abridged, he was sent in 1806 to the university of Edinburgh, and again in 180i), where, for about two-thirds of each session, he attended various classes, calculated for expanding the mind, and inculcating philosophical knowledge. In this famous seminary, the development of his talents so far excited the attention of the learned and scientific, that, as a testimony of their approbation, and an encouragement to perseverance, on the latter occasion he was elected a member of the Wernerian Society.
In the autumn of this year, (1800) there was a call made upon all British seamen, especially upon those engaged in the Greenland trade, by the Government, for assisting in bringing the fleet captured from the Danes into a British port. On this occasion, the seamen of Whitby being unwilling to come forward, Mr. S. was the first to offer his services in the national cause. This stimulated many others to follow his laudable example; and the services which, on this memorable occasion, they rendered to their country, will not be soon forgotten.
On his arrival in Denmark, he was appointed to take charge of one of the gun-boats, which it was deemed practicable to deck and transport to Bng