Imagini ale paginilor



DAMPIER. (DAMPIER, one of those intrepid English navigators who voyaged and fought in the old buccaneering spirit, was born in 1652. His early life was spent in the roving life of those lawless adventurers who were a terror to every flag. He was subsequently employed in the Royal Navy, and went upon a voyage of discovery to the South Sea. His voyages were published from time to time, between 1697 and 1709, and thus form three volumes in 8vo.]

March the 22nd, 1684. We came in sight of the island, and the next day got in and anchored in a bay at the south end of the island, in twenty-five fathom water, not two cables’ lengths from the shore. We presently got out our canoe, and went ashore to see for a Moskito Indian, whom we left here, when we were chased hence by three Spanish ships in the year 1681, a little before we went to Arrica; Captain Watlin being then our commander, after Captain Sharpe was turned out.

This Indian lived here alone above two years, and although he was several times sought after by the Spaniards, who knew he was left on the island, yet they could never find him. He was in the woods hunting for goats when Captain Watlin drew off his men, and the ship was under sail before he came back to shore. He had with him his gun and a knife, with a small horn of powder, and a few shot; which being spent, he contrived a way by notching his knife to saw the barrel of his gun into small pieces, wherewith he made harpoons, lances, hooks, and a long knife; heating the pieces first in the fire, which he struck with his gun-flint and a piece of the barrel of his gun which he hardened, having learnt to do that among the English. The hot pieces of iron he would hammer out and bend as he pleased with stones, and saw them with his jagged knife, or grind them to an edge by long labour, and harden them to a good temper, as there was occasion.

All this may seem strange to those who are not acquainted with the sagacity of the Indians; but it is no more than these Moskito men are accustomed to in their own country; where they make their own fishing and striking instruments, without either forge or anvil; though they spend a great deal of time about them.

Other wild Indians who have not the use of iron, which the Moskito men have from the English, make hatchets of a very hard stone, with which they will cut down trees (the cotton tree especially, which is a soft tender wood,) to build their houses or make canoes; and though in working their canoes hollow they cannot dig them so neat and thin, yet they make them fit for their service. This, their digging or hatchet work, they help out by fire; whether for the felling of the trees, or for the making the inside of their canoes hollow. These contrivances are used particularly by the savage Indians of Blewfield's River, whose canoes and stone hatchets I have seen. These stone hatchets are about ten inches long, four broad, and three inches thick in the middle. They are ground away flat and sharp at both ends : right in the midst, and clear round it they make a notch, so wide and deep that a man might place his finger along it, and taking a stick or withe about four feet long, they bind it round the hatchet-head, in that notch, and so twisting it hard, use it as a handle or helve; the head being held by it very fast. Nor are other wild Indians less ingenious. Those of Patagonia, particularly, head their arrows with flint cut or ground, which I have seen and admired. But to return to our Moskito man on the Isle of Juan Fernandez. With such instruments as he made in that manner, he got such provision as the island afforded ; either goats or fish. He told us that at first he was forced to eat seal, which is very ordinary meat, before he had made hooks: but afterwards he never killed any seals but to make lines, cutting their skins into thongs. He had a little house or hut half a mile from the sea, which was lined with goats' skins; his couch or barbecu of sticks, lying along about two feet distant from the ground, was spread with the same, and was all his bedding. He had no clothes left, having worn out those he brought from Watlin's ship, but only a skin about his waist. He saw our ship the day before we came to an anchor, and did believe we were English, and therefore killed three goats in the morning, before we came to an anchor, and drest them with cabbage, to treat us when we came ashore.

He came then to the sea-side to congratulate our safe arrival. And when we landed, a Moskito Indian, named Robin, first leapt ashore, and running to his brother Moskito man, threw himself flat on his face at his feet; who helping him up and embracing him, fell flat with his face on the ground at Robin's feet, and was by him taken up also. We stood with pleasure to behold the surprise, and tenderness, and solemnity of this interview, which was exceedingly affectionate on both sides; and when their ceremonies of civility were over, we also that stood gazing at them drew near, each of us embracing him we had found here, who was overjoyed to see so many of his old friends come hither, as he thought, purposely to fetch him. He was named Will, as the other was Robin. These

names given them by the English, for they have no names among themselves; and they take it as a great favour to be named by any of us; and will complain for want of it if we do not appoint them some name when they are with us : saying of themselves they are poor men, and have no name.

[The Editor of · Half-Hours,' in a little work which he wrote some years ago, entitled • The Results of Machinery,' gave the substance of this curious story; and he added the following remarks, which may not be out of place in connection with the above extract:

Here, indeed, is a material alteration in the wealth of a man left on an uninhabited island. He had a regular supply of goats and fish; he had the means of cooking his food; he had a house lined with goats' skins, and bedding of the same; his body was clothed with skins; he had provisions in abundance to offer, properly cooked, when his old companions came to him after a three years' absence. What gave him this power to labour profitably?—to maintain existence in tolerable comfort? Simply, the gun, the knife, and the flint, which he accidentally had with him when the ship sailed away. The flint, and the bit of steel which he hardened out of the gun-barrel, gave him the means of procuring fire; the gun became the material for making harpoons, lances, and hooks, with which he could obtain fish and flesh. Till he had made these tools he was compelled to eat seals' flesh. The instant he possessed the tools, he could make a selection of whatever was most agreeable to his taste. It is almost impossible to imagine a human being with less accumulation about him. His small stock of powder and shot was soon spent, and he had only an iron gun-barrel and a knife left, with the means of changing the form of the gun-barrel by fire. Yet this simple accumulation enabled him to direct his labour, as all labour is directed even in its highest employment, to the change of form and change of place of the natural supplies by which he was surrounded. He created nothing; he only gave his natural supplies a value by his labour. Until he laboured the things about him had no value, as far as he was concerned; when he did obtain them by labour, they instantly acquired a value. He brought the wild goat from the mountain to his hut in the valley

he changed its place; he converted its flesh into cooked food, and its skin into a lining for his bed-he changed its form. Change of form and change of place are the beginning and end of all human labour; and the Muskito Indian only employed the same principle, for the supply of his wants, which directs the labour of all the producers of civilized life into the channels of manufactures or commerce.]



IZAAK WALTON. [IZAAK Walton, whose character as an author is known wherever English literature is cultivated, was born in 1593. The Complete Angler' was the production of a haberdasher of Fleet Street, who was the friend of the truly eminent Dr. Donne. Pursuing his business through many years of his blameless life, his recreation was angling. His chief haunt was the river Lea. Of the old scenery and the old manners of a district within ten miles of London, he has left the most delicious pictures—the reflection of nature in the heart of a good

Walton was the biographer of Hooker, Donne, Wotton, and Herbert. He left his business after the death of his wife in 1644; and lived till the age of ninety, in the quiet enjoyment of literary leisure, beloved and respected by the worthiest men of his time.]


I will, as we walk in the cool shade of this sweet honeysuckle hedge, mention to you some of the thoughts and joys which have possessed my soul since we two met together. And these thoughts shall be told you, that you

also may join with me in thankfulness to the Giver of every good and perfect gift for our happiness. And that our present happiness may appear to be the greater, and we the more thankful for it, I will beg you to consider with me how many do even at this very time lie under the torment of diseases that we are free from. And every misery that I miss is a new mercy; and therefore let us be thankful. There have been, since we met, others that have met disasters of broken limbs; some have been blasted, others thunder-stricken; and we have been freed from these, and all those other miseries that threaten human nature: let us therefore rejoice and be thankful. Nay, which is a far greater mercy, we are freed from the insupportable burthen of an accusing tormenting conscience; a misery that none can bear: and therefore let us praise Him for his preventing grace, and say, every misery that I miss is a new mercy. Nay, let me tell you, there be many that have forty times our estate, that would give the greatest part of it to be healthful and cheerful like us. I have a rich neighbour who is always so busy that he has no leisure to laugh; the whole business of his life is to get money, and more money, that he may still get more and more money; he is still drudging on, and says that Solomon says, “The diligent hand maketh rich ;" and it is true indeed: but he considers not that it is not in the power of riches to make a man happy; for it was wisely said, by a man of great observation, “That there be as many miseries beyond riches as on this side them.” And yet God deliver us from pinching poverty; and grant that, having a competency, we may be content and thankful. Let us not repine, or so much as think the gifts of God unequally dealt, if we see another abound with riches; when, as God knows, the cares that are the keys that keep those riches, hang often so heavily at the rich man's girdle, that they clog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly. We see but the outside of the rich man's happiness ; few consider him to be like the silkworm, that when she seems to play, is, at the very same time, spinning her own bowels, and consuming herself; and this many rich men do, loading them. selves with corroding cares, to keep what they have, probably, unconscionably got. Let us therefore be thankful for health and a competence; and, above all, for a quiet conscience.

Let me tell you that Diogenes walked on a day, with his friend, to see a country fair; where he saw ribbons and looking-glasses, and nutcrackers, and fiddles, and hobby-horses, and many other gimcracks; and having observed them, and all the other finnimbruns that made a complete country-fair, he said to his friend, “ Lord, how many things are there in this world of which Diogenes hath no need!”

And truly it is so, or might be so, with very many who vex and toil themselves to get what they have no need of. Can any man charge God, that he hath not given him enough to make his life happy? No, doubtless; for nature is content with a little. And yet you shall hardly meet with a man that complains not of some want; though he, indeed, wants nothing but his will; it may be, nothing but his will of his poor neighbour, for not worshipping or not flattering him; and thus, when we might be happy and quiet, we create trouble to ourselves. I have

« ÎnapoiContinuați »