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849 aee-memo THE BOSTON REVIEW.
--librum tuum legi & quam diligentissime potui annotavi, quie commutanda, qua
Nam ego dicere vero assuevi.
Neque ulli patientius
reprehenduntur, quam qui maxime laudari merentur—PLINY. --
2Travels in Louisiana and the Floridas in the year 1802, giving a correct ficture of those countries. Translated from the French, with ymotes, &c. by John Davis. Aspice et extremis domitum cultori. bus orbem, Eaosque domos Arabum, pictosque Gelonos : I)ivisa arboribus patriae. VIRG. New-York, Riley & Co. 12mo. fift. 18.1. 1806.
The immense price, we have already paid for a part of the country, described in this book, and the value, attached to the rest both by its owners and by our government, renders every account of it interesting in a higher degree, than other travels. The knowledge of the author might have been acquired by a two-months’ residence at New-Orleans ; but there are few men of education and leisure, who are desirous of a pilgrimage into that region, so little known to its possessors, and we must, therefore, acquiesce many years in the relations of men, who enjoy few opportunities for inquiry, and exhibit little minuteness of investigation. The author was, as is conjectured by his translator, a planter of St. Domingo, driven by the blacks to seek a refuge on the continent, with any Vol. III. No. 12. 4K
part of which he seems better pleased, than with Louisiana. In the title-page we are informed that the work is an account of travels in 1802 ; yet in the first sentence of the first chapter the writer tells us he has dwelt two years and a half in the colony. The Frenchman considers Louisiana and WestFlorida as one colony, but he was never a surveyor of boundaries, and politicians must look elsewhere for the demarkation of our sovereignty. We learn only, that on the west we are bounded by ‘New
Mexico, and vast countries unex
plored.” The President of the United States, in a message to Congress, says, that Spain would confine our territory to a narrow strip of land on the west bank of the Mississippi; but, as we have long since sent a company across the continent, even to the Pacifick Ocean, it is presumable, that our government lays claim to all that tract, traversed by Capts. Lewis and Clarke. Yet it seems matter of very little concern in this quare ter, whether our rights extend fifty or fifteen hundred leagues beyond the Mississippi. But the translator, in one of his notes, attempts to raise a doubt, where we had thought ourselves most secure.
• It is a matter of mirth, what erroneous notions the world has
relative to the cession of Louisiana .
to the United States. A thousand people imagine at this moment that New-Orleans belongs to us ; whereas New-Orleans still belongs to his Catholic Majesty the King of Spain; it is comprehended in the tract reserved by him.’ P.165.
But, however ignorant of the extent of our domain, we are willing to learn its value.
* If we take into consideration the whole extent of the tract, comprehended in the boundaries that have been just exhibited, the colony, under that point of view, includes an immense territory. But appreciating things by their real value, and considering the country in another point of view, both with regard to the nature of its soil and other local circumstances, without including Upper Louisiana, which begins at the thirty-first degree of latitude, and extends to the north and the east, an immense territory, wild and uncultivated, with a few partial exceptions, I am disposed to believe that this part of the colony, composed of Lower Louisiana and West Florida, situated at the thirtieth and thirty-first degrees of north latitude, and at the sixty-eighth or sixty-ninth degree of east longitude, from the rneridian of Ferrol, where the principal settlements of the colony are established ; this immense tract, I insist, comprehending a space of four thousand leagues, affords only five hundred square leagues of land adapted to the purposes of agriculture : of these too, seventy-five are upon the banks of the Mississippi, a hundred and twenty-five in the interiour of the country, and three hundred in the tract bounded by the Atacapas and the Apclousas ; from which the
inference is manifest, that only the eighth part of this vastcountry cafe be appropriated to the labours and residence of man, the remainder being covered with lakes, forests, and swamps, and dry and sandy deserts.” P. 4.
Im the second chapter we learn, — The Mississippi, which divides the colony, and whose real name, in the language of the aborigines of the country, is Messachipi, which signifies the Father of Waters, is one of the most considerable rivers in America.’ P. 7.
Of the impediments to navigation, the rapidity of the current, the variation of the channel, and the bar at the mouth, we have all the information, we can desire.
The 3d chapter is chiefly occupied by a minute description of the city and island of New-Orleans. Was it ever thought, that, in the hands of Spaniards,that city would have been a difficult conquest? The President of the United States talked of the rashness of attacking a place, whose walls were covered with cannon. But the traveller contemptuously asks, “ Must I make mention of Fort St. Charles, and its pretended ramparts It would provoke the risibility of an engineer.”
• Such is New-Orleans at the present era. It deserves rather the name of a great straggling town, than of a city; though, even to merit that title, it would be required to be longer. In fact, the mind can, I think, scarcely image to itself a more disagreeable place on the face of the whole globe ; it is disgusting in whatever point of view it be contemplated, both as a whole, separately, and the wild, brutish aspect of its suburbs. Yet it is the only town in the whole colony, and, in the ardour of ad
miration, it is called by the inhabitants the capital, the city l’ P.35.
We are, however, told, and we believe it, that it is destined by nature to become one of the principal cities in North America. In a note upon this subject the translator quotes from another work, published at Paris, a political estimate of the importance of New-Orleans.
“But the grand advantage, which flows to the American states from the possession of the Mississippi, is, that the door is open to Mexico, and the valuable mines and provinces of Spain are exposed to an easy invasion. The Spanish possessions he on the west and south. The road to them is easy and direct. They are wholly defenceless. The frontier has neither forts, nor allies, nor subjects. To march over them is to conquer. A detachment of a few thousands would find faithful guides, practicable roads, and no opposition between the banks of the Mississippi and the gates of Mexico. The unhappy race, whom Spain has enslaved, are without arms and without spirit; or their spirit would prompt them to befriend the invader. They would hail the Americans, as deliverers, and execrate the ministers of Spain, as tyrants.’ P. 38.
The manners of the inhabitants are described in the 4th chapter, and the subject is continued in the next, where their inhumanity is contrasted with the conduct of the inhabitants of the United States. The animation of the writer is here exhausted, and he concludes...
* May this page, while it transmits with infamy to posterity the conduct of the Louisianians, be a
master, not even the productions of the waste lands allowed them.” Surely their tender mercies are cruelty. From the remainder of the volume, which treats of the tribes of Indians, of the diseases, of the animals, of the principal settlements, of the population, commerce, and government of the country, we need not extract anything, as these circumstances have become of little consequence to us by the cession of the country to our government, or they may be found at greater length in the publick state papers since that event. On the whole, this volume af. fords a great fund of information of that kind, which we most wanted, a complete character of the new subjects of our government. There is, also, a part, that may be serviceable to the mere merchant, and much of the characteristick levity of thought, united with vioHence of language, that will please every one. ART. 66. Biographical Memoirs of Lord Viscount Metson, with observations critical and er/ilanatory. “Sharsa coegi.” By John Charnock, JEsq. F. S...M. author of the Biograsihia Wavalis, and the History of Marine Architecture, &c. &c. Second American edition. Boston, published by Etheridge & Bliss. 1806. T. M. Pomroy, printer, Northampton. 8vo.
This publication is merely a narrative of Lord Nelson's victories, diligently collected and compiled from the various official statements. It is a work, that must be ever particularly interesting to Englishmen, as it comprises a history of their greatest naval engagements, and the most impor
naval hero, whose name will descend in glory to the latest posterity of Britain. The original part of Mr. Charnock's labours in this production (the only part, perhaps, which can be justly considered amenable to criticism) is very limited ; the events themselves having been previously related, and their arrangement following the order of time. This, however, is not so dignified, as might have been expected in the execution of such a task. His style is indigent; his collocation oftentimes impure. In many instances he obviously evinces a disposition to give importance to trifles, which tends rather to lessen, than augment the splendour of his subject. We can say little only in praise of the “observations” in these memoirs, and it would be unjust to judge them with all the rigour of criticism, since the author himself claims nothing but the merit of a faithful collector and reporter of that authentick information, which before was widely scattered under the publick eye.” His only design is, “by this miniature representation of Lord Nelson, to correct the defects and mistakes of such miserable sketches as have already appeared, and to furnish an outline to those, who may in future be inclined to amplify on a subject, which affords such boundless space.” In conclusion he assures the reader, that if : a work of this kind should not be undertaken by any one else, he may, at some future time, produce his best endeavours to such effect; to which he intends devoting all the leisure hours, which indisposition and private concerns may leave him.” In the performance of such a plan, should Mr. Charnock retain
Sant anecdotes of their greatest his resolution, we wish much sue