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seas, and may therefore be called a Water-piece with as much propriety as the compositions of Handel bearing that name.
We were becalmed four weeks in the latitude of two degrees south of the Line. We were scorched under a tropical sun, till we were become irritable and alive to every foolish impression. Our stock and water were rapidly decreasing. We had been an unusual time without a breath of wind, and the sailors bad begun to throw out their superstitious hints that some ill luck was hanging over us : we became infected with their folly. We quarrelled with our captain for not having a steamengine on board. We did a thousand absurd things, and really began to think we never should stir again, when one morning at day-break I was awakened from a deep sleep by the noise of men trampling above my head. I thought I could distinguish the cheering voices of the sailors, as if they were bracing the yards, and that hissing sound which a ship makes in going through the water. Was it a dream ? No. I started up in ecstasy, and running upon deck, found many of our cumpagnons de voyage in the same picturesque dress as myself, to wit, en chemise, gazing in stupid astonishment at the sails that were actually filled and bellying with the wind. The glazed surface of the ocean that dreadful sameness which made the very eye-balls ache to look on it, was gone, and with it went our looks of gloomy despondency. We were really sailing five knots before the wind. There was a tone of bustle and animation from captain to cabin-boy. It was a fresh departure; and from that hour to the time of our landing in India, I do not know that we had half a dozen calm days to complain of. If you ever go to sea, pray to be delivered from a long calm-a gale of wind is nothing to it. Human beings are the worst of all luggage to carry when stowed closely together. If they have nothing wherewith to kill time, they immediately begin to think of killing each other; thanks to the devil, who, to spare us a world of ennui, always occupies a man whom he finds idle. Luckily for us, we had no duelling pistols on board ; but there was frequent " note of preparation” heard, and sundry arrangements were made for future bloody combats, which, like the silly petitions addressed to Jupiter, were all dissipated by the wind.
I made some experiments on books which may be interesting to you. It is related in some Life of Fox, that when he was travelling by the Treckshuyte, through the uninteresting flats of Holland, he chose that opportunity for reading aloud every day a portion of Tom Jones; the eternal bustle, life, and variety of which composition was rendered ten times more striking and enjoyable when contrasted with the monotony of such a stirless tour. However, one morning a sail was proclaimed, and all eyes and glasses were put in requisition. Some said it was a cloud —some a sun-beam—some a water-spout; and if old Polonius had been there he might with perfect safety have said it was a mountain or an elephant.” Long before we could satisfy ourselves upon these points, the sailors had made out her royals, and coursers, and flying jib, &c.; and in a word, a ship it most certainly was. looked at the strange sight with as much agitation as Robinson Crusoe at the print of a footstep in the sand. It might be a pirate :—we had ten
guns and plenty of fools to fight, but no ammunition. Whatever she might be, her intent wicked or charitable?"-all was uncertainty. There was scarcely any wind, but we gradually neared each other, and at eight o'clock at night (it was a beautiful moon-light night) the stranger had dropped close astern. We waited in breathless expectation. Presently a loud voice sounded along the water, demanding our name, &c. and was immediately answered by our captain.
There was something awful in the manner in which these stately preliminaries were flourished forth in the silent night. It was much above the tone and key of an ordinary address, and well suited to the element and the occasion. I could fancy Neptune trumpeting his orders to the winds in some such fashion.
“ Maturate fugam, regique hæc dicite vestro,
Non illi imperium pelagi sævumque tridentem,
Se: mihi sorte datum Surely one would suppose that a man on going to sea might pack up his hospitality, together with sundry other virtues, and reckon upon no inconvenience for the want of them ; but here, at one thousand miles from land, were strangers waiting for an invitation for supper. And supper they had, for she was a Liverpool vessel bound to Madras; and for two days, while the weather continued moderate, we continued interchanging visits with mutual satisfaction.
Before we bid good-bye to the sea, I have one more remark to make: a long voyage is an excellent preparative towards an accurate examination of men, manners, customs, and things. You are so long and so thoroughly abstracted from the business of life, that you come fresh to the task with all old prejudices and points of comparison fading away. You are half way towards the happy condition recommended by Des Cartes, who declares that (if you would attain true wisdom) you must begin by rubbing out all former opinions and principles; and when your brain is a perfect tabula rasa, then philosophy may begin to indite good sound matter thereon.
I shall not trouble you with the delights of landing after a voyage; I might as well talk to you of the delights of eating green cabbage, after having lived six weeks upon farinaceous matter, when I promise you you would be more in danger of gluttony than at any venison-feast. My first evening at Calcutta was a sort of fairy-like existence. Transported from a crowded cabin, white faces, and a noisy element, to a spacious and palace-like building the house of Mrs.
with a host of black attendants, and all the magnificence of the gorgeous East, I was for a time fairly bewildered. I envy a Russian his faculties, who can walk from a hot bath to a cold bath and then back again, and perhaps do a hundred other absurdities with equal facility. For my part, I sat after a late and sumptuous dinner, gazing first at the brilliant assemblage of Europeans, my own dear beautiful countrywomen, and then at the tall black forms that flanked this white assemblage, with their turbans, and eyes that flashed light at every moment,
“ Each giving each a double charm,
Like pearls upon an Ethiop's arm—"
And then the waving of punkahs—such a delicious breeze, and the silent hurrying to and fro in the distance of the lofty and ample apartmentit was too much for me--my brain grew dizzy_I thought of the Arabian Nights—the Sultana—the enchanters ; and a thousand wild and incoherent visions flitted before me; and in fine, I remember nothing till I awoke on the following morning. The light was streaming through the Venetian blinds. I started up, and hastily drawing them aside, bebeld (open your eyes well, I pray you) ten good miles of India. The Hoogley, a branch of the Ganges, was rolling beneath me its majestic volume of waters, glittering in the beams of the morning sun. Numberless vessels were plying to and fro; and in it a hundred Hindoos were performing their morning ablutions, washing and praying, and praying and washing, in all sorts of attitudes. Scrubbing seems at first view a singular act of devotion ; but we Christian good folks, and Englishmen of India in particular, are not without absurdities to rival those of the Hindoos. As an instance of this, though it is, as I have said, warm, and occasionally even unto scratching, for new comers (I wonder, by the way, they have not blacks to scratch as well as fan), though Nature here keeps a muslinshop on purpose, and says as plainly as she can say it, « make unto yourselves raiment of this commodity-loose bishop-like sleeves and wavy-pantaloons ;" yet our excellent countrymen must needs array themselves in Andrè's hats (helmets they might be called), and in Stultz's padded coats. When you dine out, you must appear in an English full dress ; but having made your appearance, and demonstrated to the company that you have a wardrobe of such useless things, you are then permitted (unless it be an occasion of state and ceremony) to retire and doff these horrible incumbrances for your white linen jacket, &c. A fashionable Englishman should certainly have his Hoby boots, his coat, and some new waistcoat patterns stuffed into his coffin with him, as some Indian tribes bury their dead with their hatchet, flint, &c.; for I am confident they will never be happy in this world or the next without such things. As for the military, I say nothing about their costume; first, because the red coat seems a necessary component part of a young soldier, and Heaven forefend that our army in India should want recruits; and, secondly, because in these latitudes it quickens promotions, and I have a younger brother a subaltern. But for us civilians-if the good lady of the house must be convinced that we have a coat, &c. why not send them upon a pole before us, and let them flourish free and fair like a Roman trophy ? Or, if it be absolutely necessary that ourselves and our garments should make one, why not do, at all events, as the Highland regiment did, when, with a view to doing away the national dress of petticoats and bare legs, they were ordered to appear the next field-day with breeches ?-They came, men and officers, with the breeches under their arms.
But I see my carriage and horses, that is, my palanquin, waiting below; therefore, for the present, adieu. You may, perhaps, hear from me shortly, when I can furnish you with more interesting details of what I shall have seen and heard in this country. I begin to be wonderfully impressed with the dignity of colours; and these palanquins are the most delightful things imaginable. Let them talk in England as much as they please about “trampling upon the heads of the people," and riding the people to death. and such like stuff; trust me it is only in India we have a true ascendancy over the “lower orders.” I will be free, however, to confess between ourselves (for it would be criminal to whisper such things here) that I am sometimes silly enough to imagine, that if there be any retribution in a future state, some of us will be turned into palanquin-bearers.
To other strains attune your strings,
But now-despair is all it brings !
Of budding joy-of promise blighted
Reminds me how that Love was slighted !
With passion-Aowers my forehead shaded;
And every flower of Love hath faded !
As o'er the fragrant bower he hovers,
Aud dreams not of the snake it covers.
Without one single tinge of sorrow
A night, alas ! without a morrow!
heart she buried lies,
But, ab! her falsehoods with it flourish.
she sang-like you she play'd,
like yours, with smiles would glisten ;
I fear I'm lost, and yet I listen.
Let not her words again be spoken-
Upon a heart already broken !
LETTERTO THE MOHAWK CHIEF AHYONWAEG HS, COMMONLY
London, Junuary 20, 1822. Sir,—Ten days ago I was not aware that such a person existed as the son of the Indian leader Brant*, who is mentioned in my poem “Gertrude of Wyoming." Last week, however, Mr. S. Bannister of Lincoln's Inn, called to inform me of your being in London, and of your having documents in your possession which he believed would change my opinion of your father's memory, and induce me to do it justice. Mr. Bannister distinctly assured me that no declaration of my sentiments on the subject was desired but such as should spontaneously flow from my own judgment of the papers that were to be submitted to me.
I could not be deaf to such an appeal. It was my duty to inspect the justification of a man whose memory I had reprobated, and I felt a satisfaction at the prospect of his character being redressed, which was not likely to have been felt by one who had wilfully wronged it. As far as any intention to wound the feelings of the living was concerned, I really knew not, when I wrote my poem, that the son and daughter of an Indian chief were ever likely to peruse it, or be affected by its contents. And I have observed most persons to whom I have mentioned the circumstance of your appeal to me, smile with the same surprise which I experienced on first receiving it. With regard to your father's character I took it as I found it in popular history. Among the documents in his favour I own that you have shewn me one which I regret that I never saw before, though I might have seen it, viz. the Duke of Rochefoucault's honourable mention of the chief in his travelst. Without meaning, however, in the least to invalidate that nobleman's respectable authority, I must say, that even if I had met with it, it would have still offered only a general and presumptive vindication of your father, and not such a specific one as I now recognize. On the other hand, judge how naturally I adopted accusations against him which had stood in the Annual Register of 1779, as far as I knew, uncontradicted for thirty years. A number of authors had repeated them with a confidence which beguiled at last my suspicion, and I believe that of the public at large. Among those authors were Gordon, Ramsay, Marshall, Belsham, and Weld. The most of them, you may tell me perhaps, wrote with zeal against the American war.
Well, but Mr. John Adolphus was never suspected of any such zeal, and yet he has said in his History of England, &c. (vol. ii. p. 110) “ that a force of sixteen hundred savages and Americans in disguise, headed by an Indian Col. Butler, and a half
The name has been almost always inaccurately spelt Brandt in English books. † The following testimony is borne to his fair name by Rochefoucault, whose ability and means of forming a correct judgment will not be denied. « Colonel Brandt is an Indian by birth. In the American war he fought under the English banner, and he has since been in England, where he was most graciously received by the king, and met with a kind reception from all classes of people. His manners are semi-European.' He is attended by two negroes ; has established himself in the English way; has a garden and a farm; dresses after the European fashion ; and nevertheless possesses much influence over the Indians. He assists at present (1795) at the Miami Treaty, which the United States are concluding with the western lodians. He is also much respected by the Americans; and in general bears so excellent a name, that I regret I could not see and become' acquainted with bim." -Rochefoucault's Travels in North America.
VOL. IV, NO. XIV.