Page images
PDF
EPUB

and virtue and mind,' takes place, and coronet, mitre, ermine and crown' acknowledge themselves beaten in the struggle, Mr. Buckingham will, doubtless, once more come forward with his claims, invested with all the irresistible power of the highest moral attributes, and the British Parliament, the British Ministry and the British East India Company, so obstinate at present in a wrong course, and so ignorant of right duty and virtue, will be driven before the power of his 'surpassing eloquence, like chaff before the storm. He may then, but not before, obtain that 'justice, mercy' and 'truth' (at the hand of England, which, for reasons best known to herself, are now denied him.

In the meantime, we do not think that. Mr. Buckingham, as he is rather unpopular at present in England, could do a wiser or a better thing, than, in imitation of Captain Cook, and other great navigators, to prosecute that'voyage round the world for the purposes of Discovery, Civilization and Commerce combined, which he projected in 1830, when the French Revolution of that year, and the passage of the Reform Bill' by the British Parliament, producing an agitation of the public mind, and an entire absorption of the public thought and interest in political affairs,' occasioned as sudden and as blasting an overthrow of his delicious and brilliant reveries about civilization,' as the milkmaid experienced, when the pail toppled down from her head, and the enchanting prospect of eggs, chickens, gowns, gewgaws and suitors vanished from her delighted vision, like water spilt upon the ground, not to be gathered up again. Mr. Buckingham, no wise daunted by slight difficulties, thinks it can be gathered up again. All he wants, he says, of the British Parliament, is a ship and £20,000 outfit. He should be perfectly willing, he declares, though now ele ven years older, to take the command of such an expedition, if it could be prepared and equipped for sea.' Mr. Buckingham has now arrived nearly to the venerable age

of sixty. We are glad that his courage yet glows like the noonday sun, and that the fires of youthful enthusiasm and hope are not quite extinguished in his bosom. If is a small word, a very small word, and, although an obstinate one at times, and uncertain in the prospects it holds out, even to enterprising adventurers, we do not think it ought to stand, like a Chinese wall, between Mr. Buckingham and Discovery, Civilization and Commerce combined.' The British Government, which wields a powerful arm, can certainly remove it out of the way by a single bold stroke, and we hope, for the sake of Mr. Buckingham, who lost his property in the East Indies; and for the sake of the civilized world, which is to be rendered far more civilized and knowing than it now is, by his wonderful discoveries, that without more ado, it will give him the ship he asks for, and the £20,000 outfit. If he fails in his application to Eng. land, let him go, once more, to generous, chivalrous France. The Revolution, which lasted only three days, is now over, and if the Chamber of Deputies will not open its bureau, and give him the needful supply, he may be able, perhaps, to touch the heart of Louis Phillippe, the citizen king, who has abundant wealth at command, and who will, doubtless, be solicitous to immortalize his reign by wreathing around his brow the undying laurels of Discovery, Civilization and Commercecombined!

As the world is much interested in this matter, it may be as well to state, as far as practicable, what this great genius and explorer intends to do for it. Every body in the universal orbis terrarum is, of course, to derive some essential benefit from his researches and discoveries, but more particularly the subjects of the crown of England. He gives, it is true, 'the mere outline of the plan; but the statement of these,' he thinks, 'will enable every reader to fill up much of the details,' more especially, we conclude, if he calls in imagination, the castle-builder, to assist him in the operation. He pledges himself to do the following things:

“The objects that I pledge myself to keep constantly in view during the whole of this expedition, and the benefits I may hope to effect by it of a public and general nature, will be the following:

“I. To add to the existing stock of knowledge every new fact that can be collected respecting the geography and hydrography of the coasts and islands visited, and to make the most ample researches that can be effected respecting the statistics, productions, manners, and wants of every particular place, as well as to collect specimens of whatever may be found to deserve preservation in natural history, botany and mineralogy, as well as of the artificial products and native wares, where any such exist.

“ II. To introduce into all the ports visited specimens in small quantities, but in infinite variety, of all the various descriptions of goods

manufactured in England, whether in woollens, silks or cottons, in metals, glass or earthenware, so as to ascertain by actual experiment what particular description of goods are suited to particular markets, and what are the quantities, patterns, textures, prices, and other peculiarities best adapted to each, for the want of which knowledge all the evils of overtrading have happened.

“ III. To add to this distribution of the specimens of English manufactures, the introduction of the useful arts of civilized life, in the shape of models, drawings, and descriptions of all the various implements, utensils, and conveniences of agriculture, husbandry, and domestic comfort in use among ourselves, as well as seeds, plants, and materials of improvement of every kind; and to lay the foundation for the establishment of schools of instruction, for increasing, perpetuating, and diffusing useful knowledge in every branch.” Vol. i., p. 511.

He expects aid and coöperation from the following classes of the community, who are to be benefitted by the voyage :

“1. From the members of both houses of Parliament: Because the information collected in such a voyage would be more copious and more accurate than the desultory evidence of accidental and often unobservant and indifferent witnesses, on whose imperfect testimony the Legislature is now too often obliged to rely for the facts and opinions which form the basis of their commercial measures.

2. From the clergy and gentry of England, from the learned and liberal professions, and from persons not engaged in any mercantile business: Because the abolition of ignorance, idolatry, and slavery, and the advancement of the great interests of humanity, morality, and knowledge, will be promoted thereby.

“ 3. From the bankers, capitalists, and moneyed interests of the country: Because every extension of the channels and marts of commerce, and every improvement in the condition of distant nations and people, create additional employment for capital, and increase the value of their wealth.

4. From the general merchants : Because every addition to the number of places to which they may trade lessens the chance of evil from the shutting up or suspension of their operations in any single quarter, and consequently multiplies their chances of gain; and because every improvement in the charts of unknown coasts and seas increases the safety of navigation and trade.

“ 5. From the manufacturers : Because the stagnation under which all classes now labour from the increased power of production by means of machinery, can only be relieved by the opening new sources of consumption, and discovering new articles of commercial return.

“ 6. From the ship-owners : Because the extreme depression of the shipping interest arises from the competition of foreign vessels sailing cheaper than English ones, and occupying the carrying trade of Europe; which can only by relieved by extending our maritime trade to distant parts of the world, where, from the imperfect knowledge of navigation and seamanship, no such competition will be met, but the superiority of British skill and experience will secure to British ships by far the largest portion of the maritime conveyance.

“7. From the ladies of England generally : Because one of the most distinguishing as well as the most revolting features of Eastern manners, and of semi-barbarous life everywhere, is the enslaved and degraded condition of women; and because it has been universally found that, wherever nations of people become improved in their knowledge, or advanced in the scale of civilization by intercourse with a superior race, there the condition of women is ameliorated; and this effect becoming again a cause, creates a farther improvement in the condition of men; thus augmenting and reproducing good, until at length wives become the intellectual and honoured companions, instead of being the degraded slaves of their husbands, and mothers become the cultivated instructers, instead of being the mere nurses of their children.

“8. And, lastly: From public literary institutions, and from the conductors of the public press; because every acquisition made to the stores of knowledge increases their power and importance, as the great directing engine by which public opinion is regulated and swayed, and because all the preceding classes already enumerated are under the influence of their dominion and control.” Vol. i., p. 511, 512.

To effect these great objects, he admits, is difficult. He insists, that an association cannot do it, because, an association of four or five hundred members only,' cannot furnish the requisite funds, and because, even if they could, they would be likely to quarrel among themselves about the control and disposition of them. He maintains, therefore, that 'the ship being once floated from the shores of England and the outlay supplied at the public expense,' a single directing mind,' (videlicet his own), 'assisted only by the scientific companions and fellow-officers of the voyage, who will be selected with reference to their skill in each department of knowledge, will unite energy and prudence with promptitude, decision and dispatch. A fair prospect of a fine speculation for Mr. Buckingham, and as good an one, we fancy, for the people of England, as the South Sea scheme, and somewhat less expensive.

The “single directing mind' of such an expedition ought to be a man of rare powers and accomplishments, and such Mr. Buckingham insists that he is,-a person every way

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

fitted for so eminently responsible a function ; for he tells
us, that he was a sailor 'at nine years of age,' a sea-captain
even before he was free; that he has visited, in that capa-
city, almost all parts of the world;' that he has adopted the
costume, learned the tongue, and accustomed himself to the
manners of almost all countries;' that he is sufficiently
strong, healthy, vigorous and energetic;' that he has written
a great many books, and delivered a greater number of
'discourses and lectures, and that 'not less than one hun-
dred thousand individuals, in various parts of England,
stand ready to confirm' his 'capacity. We think such a
certificate, from so large a number of persons, of where he
has been, of what he has seen, done, thought and written,-
all going to 'confirm' his 'capacity, ought to be sufficient to
satisfy the British. Parliament, Queen Victoria and Prince
Albert, of his unparalleled fitness for this expedition. The
ship once floated from the shores of England, at the public
expense,' let it go in the name of Discovery, Civilization
and Commerce combined with colours flying and all sails
spread, under a fresh breeze, with a noble band of music
playing all the while, "God save the Queen !" and a sup-
plement to the same, of "God save the Honorable Joseph
Silk Buckingham, and prosper his excellent enterprize !"
And when he returns, let him not forget his 'pledge, that
after this voyage round the globe has been performed, and
the objects accomplished, as far as may be found practicable,
according to the plan detailed above, a faithful narrative of
the proceedings of the expedition, from its departure to its
return, shall be published for the honor of those who may
contribute to its formation, and, it is hoped, for the benefit of
the world at large. What a prospect of honor and benefit
is here unfolded to the people of England, 'aye, and to the
great globe itself, including the United States of America,
and the whole Republic of Letters, all of whom are, sooner
or later, to rejoice in the narrative! What rich mines in
the hitherto untravelled regions of Discovery,' are to be
brought to light ! What an infinite number of new relations

Commerce is to assume, lessening the chance of evil from
the shutting up or suspension of the operations of merchants,
in any single quarter, and conseqnently multiplying their
chances of gain? And for the clergy, Mr. Buckingham is
to accomplish more than all the missionaries have done for

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

6

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »