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For many succeeding weeks, tears were ready to flow if I did but speak of the Gospel, or mention the name of Jesus. To rejoice day and night was my employment: too happy to sleep much, I thought it was lost time that was spent in slumber.'
The above extract, for the length of which we make no apology, resembles many parts of our author's poems: we refer to the latter part of Hope' in particular, which evidently flowed from the selfsame feelings. After a narrative of some other occurrences, the work concludes with his settlement in the house of his excellent friends the Unwins. It is written in the easy English style of the days of Queen Ann; which, in its better parts, we would willingly see revived. To the larger edition is subjoined an Appendix, containing a few of Cowper's religious letters, some just remarks on his life from a periodical work, and extracts on the sin of suicide. One of these is from Cowper's letters, on Hume's arguments in favour of self-murder. It is indeed impossible not to observe, as in the case of Gibbon, that where Hume deserted the Gospel, it deserted him; and that the advocate of deism was the advocate of suicide and debauchery. The remarks from the American divine are worthy of universal perusal, to which we earnestly recommend them. The sentences which conclude the volume, though just in their contents, have rather a ludicrous air.
There are many things in this volume, which, on a hasty perusal, may be deemed extravagant. We consider this as unfortunate, so far as it may prejudice many against what does not in reality deserve it. Piety holds no parley with fanaticism, nor needs its alliance; religion disdains to be defended by other means than those of truth in the celestial armoury of Christianity,' says an excellent contemporary moralist, no such weapons as enthusiasm and error are to be found;' and it is on this principle that we wish to vindicate the present work from the imputation of enthusiasm; lest the enemies of Christianity should have it in their power to say, that the piety of any one had been increased, or his truth in the divine mercy confirmed, by a narrative of delusions. It was indeed our decided opinion, even before we read this book, that a change of life and sentiments so total, and of such a kind, as Cowper was known to have experienced; a system of religion so sublime, yet so rational, so spiritual, yet so practical, as he inculcates, could not by any possibility be the effects of fanaticism. Nor have these Memoirs altered our opinion. No miracles are alleged, no discoveries in religion broached; what was delirium, is called such; where he was under the influence of a mistake, he expressly mentions it; where his delusion exaggerated indifferent actions into gross crimes, he tells us. With a tinge from his own opinions, the work is pervaded and vivified by a spirit of rational awe, devotion,
and thankfulness. Providential interpositions, and divine influence, are indeed supposed. But the train of circumstances, by which his dreadful attempts at self-destruction were repeatedly prevented, was so striking, that even a man of sober sense, might, without in the least forfeiting his claim to rationality, gratefully suppose them to proceed from the special care of a benevolent Deity; and if an opinion, thus formed, may have led the author astray with regard to some less remarkable occurrences, it is not to be imputed to a superstitious taint, but to a human error in reasoning.
ART. VIII.-1. A Sketch of the British Fur Trade in North America; with Observations relative to the North-West Company of Montreal. 8vo. By the Earl of Selkirk. London: 1816.
Voyage de la Mer Atlantique à l'Océan Pacifique_par le Nord-ouest dans la Mer Glaciale; par le Capitaine Laurent Ferrer Maldonado, l'an 1588. Nouvellement traduit d'un Manuscrit Espagnol, et suivi d'un Discours qui en démontre l' Autenticité et la Véracité, par Charles Amoretti. Plaisance: de l'Imprimerie del Majno. 1812.
No O one will doubt that Lord Selkirk is an amiable, honourable, and intelligent man-but he has the misfortune to be a protector. We are persuaded, however, that his are not the deep-laid schemes of a sordid narrow-minded calculator, but the suggestions of an ardent imagination and a benevolent heart-such as are apt sometimes to overlook difficulties which it is not easy to overleap.
It will be remembered that his lordship, some years ago, made an attempt, in part a successful one, to divert the tide of emigration from the Highlands of Scotland to the United States, and turn it to Prince Edward's Island, within the territories of Great Britain. His intentions were, no doubt, benevolent and humane; but, an impulse was supposed to be given to them by the ruling passion of reviving, in North America, that species of feudal system which was finally extinguished in North Britain about 'seventy years since.' His lordship was thought to be ambitious of becoming the head of a clan the chieftain and founder of numerous families. For such expansive views an island was too confined a sphere: but the neighbouring continent had all the requisites that could possibly be wished-an indefinite extent of territory, abounding in woods and plains, and extensive lakes, and navigable rivers; with a soil capable of affording subsistence for millions, but nearly untenanted, save by the beasts of the forests, claimed as the exclusive property of some trading merchants under the grant of a Royal Charter, who would neither cultivate any part of it themselves, nor suffer others
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXI.
to do it; he set about devising the means of rescuing some of the best parts of it from so unprofitable a condition. For this purpose, it is said, and we believe truly, his lordship purchased, at a price far beyond its value, about one-third part of the stock of the Hudson's Bay Company;-the whole of which is only £100,000. A proprietor to such an extent could not well be refused a favour from the Governors of the Company; and they granted him, what we rather think the Law Officers of the Crown have decided they had no power to grant, a wide extent of country held, or supposed to be held, under their Charter, of which he proceeded to take possession.
'He was called away from England,' he says, to a remote part of the British dominions for the purpose, not only of defending his rights of property from threatened infringement, but also to give his personal support to a considerable body of individuals who, in a great degree, looked up to him for protection, and against whom a train of premedi> tated and violent aggression has been committed by their fellow sub: jects.'
On his arrival in Canada he found the territory which he was about to settle, and indeed the whole of America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes of Canada to the extreme North, overrun by the servants of an Association of Merchants in London and Montreal calling itself the North-west Company, between which and the Hudson's Bay Company there had long subsisted a deadly feud. At Montreal, we presume, he writes his
Sketch of the Fur Trade,' which is well calculated to bring down public indignation on the heads of those who conduct, or who are concerned in it. The pains that appear to be taken, and the plans that are laid, to seduce the inoffensive savages into habits of vice, in order that the traders' may the more easily exercise a brutal tyranny over them; and the ferocious and unfeeling conduct of the Canadian rivals in the fur trade towards each other, setting at de-. fiance all religion, morality and law, are stated in such terms and on such evidence, that they are not only deserving the early attention of the public,' but will command it, and, we doubt not, call forth the immediate interference of the legislature.
It would seem, however, that Lord Selkirk has not thought fit to await the decision of the legislature or the executive government. The. details of the extraordinary and atrocious transactions which have urged his lordship to the strange steps he has taken are not yet fairly before the public. Private letters, however, from interested individuals say, that Mr. Semple, recently appointed Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, while on a journey to inspect its forts and establishments in the 'Indian territories,' fell in with a party of natives carrying provisions to some of the trading establishments of the
North-west Company; that Mr. Semple, through a mistaken zeal for the interests of his employers, hesitated to let them pass; that a scuffle ensued, in which the unfortunate governor and about twenty of his people were put to death. Mr. Semple could scarcely have denied the right of a passage to the natives through their own territo ries. The account given in the Montreal Herald of the 12th October, evidently from one of the few persons who survived the massacre, is probably the true one. From this it appears, that a regular expedi→ tion was fitted out by the North-west Company, to drive away, for the second time, the people belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, who had re-possessed themselves of their establishment on the Red-river. Mr. Semple, observing their approach from the fort, said We must go and meet those people-let twenty men follow me.' They had only proceeded a few hundred yards, when several colonists came running towards them in great dismay, crying out, "The North-west Company-the "half breeds!" Having advanced about half a mile from Fort Douglas, a numerous body of cavalry appeared from behind a wood, and surrounded the Governor and his people, when one Bouché, a Canadian, rode up to Mr. Semple, demanding their 'fort.' The Governor answered, 'Go to your fort.' 'You,' retorted Bouché, 'have destroyed our fort, you damned rascal.' Scoundrel,' said Semple, laying his hand upon Bouché's bridle, dare you call me so?' Bouché sprang from his horse, and a shot was immediately fired, by which Lieut. Holt fell. The next shot wounded the Governor, who called out to his men,' Do what you can to take care of yourselves; but he was so much beloved that they affectionately gathered round him to learn what injury he had suffered; when a volley of musketry was poured into the group, which killed several and wounded the greater part of them.
'The cavalry galloped towards the survivors, who took off their hats and called for mercy. But this address for mercy was made to the servants of the North-west Company, and at their hands was immedi ately received by what must be presumed the accustomed measure of their compassion-a speedy termination of earthly calamities. The knife, the axe, or the ball, in able and willing hands, soon placed in lasting repose, those whom pain or terror had rendered clamorous. One only was spared, through the exertions of a Canadian to whom he had been intimately known-two others were providentially saved by escaping to a canoe, and two more, by swimming, in the tumult, to the other side of the river.'
Thus fell Governor Semple, a man of amiable and modest manners, and of a most humane and benevolent disposition,-his pri vate secretary, the surgeon, two officers, and fifteen settlers. Their bodies are stated to have been barbarously mangled to gratify the avage rancour of their murderers, commanded by a Mr. Cuthbert
Grant, who told the survivor, if the remainder in the fort shewed the least resistance, neither man, woman, nor child, should be saved.' The distress and horror of those who had been left in the fort, and of others who had fled thither for safety, is thus described by the prisoner sent to summon it :
''The wives, children, and relatives of the slain, were there collected, mourning for the dead, despairing for the living, and in agonies of horror, such as can be expressed in no language, nor even imagined, but by the minds of those on whom the Almighty may have permitted an equal visitation.'
The writer further states, that death was not the worst they had to dread, as one M'Donald had encouraged his people, by promising them, in addition to the plunder they had to expect, the wives and daughters of the settlers, for the gratification of their brutal desires.
When the account of this horrid transaction reached Montreal, Lord Selkirk, it seems, determined at once to secure the culprits or their employers, and for this purpose proceeded up the country, taking with him a considerable number of people, consisting chiefly of disbanded men from Meuron's regiment; marched them, as his enemies say, directly against Fort William, (the principal post of the North-west Company on Lake Superior,) and, having summoned the garrison in a true military style, which is said to have surrendered at discretion, sent the whole of the North-westers, including the Mac Gillivrays, the Mac Leods, Mac Kenzies, Frazers, and many other
'Scottish northern chiefs
Of high and warlike name,'
as prisoners of war to Montreal, where they were released from their parole, or, in other words, admitted to bail.
His lordship's friends, however, say that he took possession by the more peaceable process of a warrant issued by himself in his capacity of magistrate. Indeed we hardly can persuade ourselves that Lord Selkirk would venture to exercise, under any authority, such a stretch of power as is here imputed to him; at least his avowed political principles lead us to think otherwise. But we hasten to his pamphlet, which fully prepares us-not only for transactions like that just mentioned, but-for almost any species of outrage and aggression.
When Canada was a province of France, the fur trade was carried on under a system of exclusive privileges. The governor granted licenses to individuals to trade with the Indians, within certain prescribed limits; the persons who obtained these privileges being generally officers of the army or others of respectable familyconnexion; and this system, Lord Selkirk observes, established and extended