Слике страница
PDF
ePub

De Winza.

brought out a female apparently lifeless, and covered with blood; one of the shots, fired at random through the wipdows, had struck her in the breast, and she lay, to all appearance dead, upon the ground on which the soldier had flung her; the others stood around gazing in silence on their hapless victim, when a tall sepulchral figure habited in black, émerged from the rere of the cottage, and advanced slowly towards them; his eyes were bent upon the ground, and there was an air of awful grandeur about him that gave to his person and action the appearance of a sapernatural being. He gazed a moment on the scene before him, and turning with an air of commanding authority to those who stood near him, demanded who had done this deed ?-they were silent-apparently awed by the solemnity of his manner, when one more audacious than the rest, replied, “ 'Twas 1, and so perish all that would resist our conquering arms, --and seeing his unfortunate victim attempt to rise after a faint struggle, he plunged his bayonet into her body,-she sank, no more to rise, when the stranger suddenly drawing a dagger from beneath his cloak, buried it in the heart of the inhaman murderer, then holding the reeking blade on high, “ 'Tis thus" he cried, “that justice should avenge the blood of murdered innocence-let none presume to follow me !"--and

turning down a narrow passage which led through the garden, he was quickly out of sight.

The soldiers were so panic struck by the scene before them that they were unable to move for some time ; at length recovering from their trance, they searched the premises around, but no trace of the extraordinary stranger was to be seen, and they proceeded to revenge the death of their companion by burning and destroying all within their reach, and in a short time nothing remained of the cottage but a heap of ruins. They dug a hole in the garden in which they threw the body of IMMALINE, and flinging some loose clay on it, departed with their booty.

The stranger then proceeded to state, that after beivg confined some days in the camp, he was sent with other prisoners of war under an escort to Bayonne; but escaping from his guard on the road, he had wandered through the country in disguise, and at length reached the capital, where he took the first opportunity of finding out the residence of De WINZA, and acquainting him with what he knew concerning the loss he had met with.

Brief History of the Principal Attempts to Discover a North West Passage.

Such was the stranger's tale, and the impression it left upon DE WINZA's mind could not be easily effaced. After rewarding the peasant for his fidelity, he dismissed him, desiring him to observe strict secrecy on the subject, and to call on him in a few days. He then retired to his chamber, and indulged in privacy the fulness of his sorrow. The warning of the mysterious stranger was not forgotten, and he dwelt with peculiar anxiety on the conduct of that extraordinary being.

Time, who stills the wildest passions of the human breast, flung its soothing balm on the heart of De WINZA ; a tender melancholy succeeded to the violent sorrow that lately possessed him; the remembrance of his past happiness was like the rainbow coloring of a dream, from which he awoke in sorrow and disappointment; he gazed on the faded wreath of former joys, but hope pictured golden prospects of the future. He was yet in the dawn of life, an age when the spirit bounds elastic from the pressure of misfortune, and every succeeding trial serves to nerve with redoubled vigour, the fortitude which sustains it. Amid the gloom of despondency, which hung over his mind, thoughts of a brighter nature would obtrude,- the romantic visions of his youth floated on his pensive imagination, and fancy clothed them in her brightest colors. The reflection that he was loved well, warmly loved, contributed not a little to heighten the native enthusiasm of his disposition, and banish those corroding cares which prey upon the heart and rob existence of its warmest tints.

This pleasing sensation would steal on him in his hours of solitude, and breathe a holy balm around his heart; and cold and abandoned is the breast of him to whom such feelings are not dear, for

the veriest wretch on earth
Doth cherisb in some corner of his beart,
Some thooght that makes that heart a sanctuary
For pilgrim dreams in midnight hoar to visit,
And weep and worship there."-

(To be continued.)

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PRINCIPAL ATTEMPTS TO DISCOVER

A NORTH WEST PASSAGE TO THE CHINESE SEAS.

We need not offer an apology for the appearance of this article in the pages of the Inquisitor. The perilous history

Brief History of the Principal Attempts to Discover a North West Passage.

of the adventurer who braves the dangers of the ocean to supply our wants or gratify our curiosity, as in every age been a subject of deep interest to the closet reader; all ranks join in his enthusiasm, rejoice in his success, and sympathise in his sufferings, while in return for the pity and admiration they afford, they mentally assume to themselves some portion of the honor due to the courage they have acknowledged. But in the present day such information must be doubly desirable. A land of commerce has apportioned some share of her wealth to the extension of general knowledge, and her naval strength and experience has enabled her to give the attempt every chance, within human capability, of success. The spirit of enterprise is abroad, and has awakened our attention. It may therefore not be irrelerant to collect together and exhibit in one succinct view the principal voyages which have been undertaken to the north seas with such various fortune.

How far the ancients extended their discoveries in the early ages of the world, has been long a controverted point. The love of gain and the spirit of commerce allured the Phenicians, and their colonists, the Carthaginians, far beyond the pillars of Hercules; but their narrow-minded and jealous policy preserved inviolate the secrets of their discoveries; and nothing but vague rumors of their Atalantis and Ultima Thule have transpired through the writings of the Greeks. That the Phenicians visited the shores of Cornwall is almost undoubted—that they might have gone much farther to the North is far from improbability. But it cannot be material to our present purpose to form any decision.

The next who come forward as claimants for the honor of northern discoveries, are the Norwegians. Accustomed, like the Phenicians of old, fearlessly to launch their little barks into the ocean and to navigate every sea in quest of spoil or settlement, they reached Iceland and even Greenland, and expelled the dwarfish inhabitants whom they found in this in hospitable country. In a former number we have given an account of a settlement which they say they had es. tablished on the shores of America. But the warm regions of the south presented a more alluring field; and whatever credit they may have acquired by these expeditions, we find them soon abandoned, and their memory almost lost. About the same period, the expectation of a north-west passage to India induced Alfred the great to send two several expeditions to the north seas, to discover if any opening in the coasts of Norway or Lapland would admit its probability.

Brief History of the Principal Attempts to Discover a North West Passage.

The riches of India were the inducement to the gallant achievement of Columbus, and though he failed in his primary object, his partial success encouraged many to hope that subsequent attempts might be more fortunate. The lands of America had been interposed in low latitudes; but the north and south presented a fair field for speculation. John Cabot, a Venetian, who had been long settled in Bristol, hoping to emulate Columbus, sailed from thence in 1494 and discovered Newfoundland. And in consequence of his success Henry VII. granted a patent to him and his sons, allowing them the almost unreserved possession of the countries they should discover. John, however, died before the squadron set sail, and his son Sebastian proposed to Henry the discovery of a north-west passage, of which he appears to have been the original projector. He sailed in the year 1497, and reached the latitude 67° 30; but was obliged to return by the mutinous disposition of his crew.

The fame of Cabot's expedition excited many adventurers to follow his example; and from this date till the reign of Elizabeth we find that several attempts were made in the same direction. Among other names we recognise that of Sir Martin Frobisher, who afterwards gained such distinction at the destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588. None . of those voyages however atchieved any thing worthy of

competition with the perilous daring of Cabot, until in 1585 some merchants in the west of England uniting with others in London, fitted out two small vessels for the purpose of northern enterprise and gave the command to Captain John Davis.

This commander discovered the island of Desolation on the coast of Greenland in latitude 61o. He found the patives very kind and good natured. “They readily parted with any thing they were asked for, and were content with whatever was given them, shewing neither signs of covetousness nor deceit.” In this voyage he discovered the straits which bear his name, and having sailed through them to the latitude of nearly 67o, he considered them as the channel into the South seas; but the fogs and storms of a polar sea prevented the prosecution of his discoveries and he was obliged by stress of weather to return to England.

Mr. Davis's conduct in this voyage procured him the patronage of the celebrated Secretary Walsingham, who greatly approved the enterprise, and recommended a completion of the discovery. Under Such auspices, the

1

Brief History of the Principal Attempts to Discover a North West Passage.

merchants who were concerned in the former undertaking, fitted out a second squadron of greater force than the first; and Davis, to whom the command was entrusted, sailed from Dartmouth in May, 1586. When he came into the latitude of 60° he divided his squadron, and having ordered two of his ships to seek a passage northward between Greenland and Iceland, he proceeded through the straits he had navigated the preceding year and made some further discoveries. But the arctic summer was too short for the completion of his hopes, and a storm at length obliged him to steer for England. Of the two ships which he had sent to coast along the eastern side of Greenland, one was lostthe other had arrived at home a few days before him. In his second voyage he sailed into the latitude of 67o.

The following year he was again sent out, and reached the latitude of 73° N. where he found the sea still open and the strait 40 leagues broad. He here discovered the Frow jslands on the coast of Greenland, Captain Davis was confident to the last of the practicability of the north-west passage.

For some years subsequent to his failure no further attempt was made. At length in 1602 an expedition sailed under the command of Captain Weymouth, which was more than usually unsuccessful. In 1607, Captain Hudson attempted to reach the North Pole, or such a high northern latitude as would enable him to double the farthest extremity of Greenland and thus attain his passage. To effect this, he sailed between Greenland and Spitzbergen and reached the high latitude of 82° nearly; but he here met the barrier of ice which has hitherto baffled the hopes of the most intrepid navigators.

In the following year, he made another attempt in the same direction ; but it again disappointed his hopes. In 1609, he renewed his efforts—they were again fruitless. Determined that no want of exertion on his part should injure the project he had undertaken, but by repeated trials convinced of the hopelessness of a passage on the eastern side of Greenland, he sailed across the Atlantic in the ensuing year, and his unremitting efforts were rewarded with the discovery of the strait and bay which have received his name. He continued traversing this bay in every direction for the remainder of the season, and, at the approach of winter, intimated his intention of looking out for some situation of safety, where he might remain till the ensuing spring; but his stock of provisions had been only calculated

« ПретходнаНастави »