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Memoir of William Scoresby, Jun. Esq.
land. Under the protection of a man water rose above the cabin deck. Inof war, and with a crew of six seamen, fluenced by these persuasions, the he left Copenhagen, at the time of its sailors returned to their duty, and evacuation by our troops : but after providentially, as the tide advanced, sustaining part of a heavy gale of the smack beginning to float, soon wind, the gun-boat not being sea- got under way; and, by the vigorous worthy, filled with water and founder- exertions of the passengers, who coned, immediately after the crew had tinued working at the pumps, remainbeen taken on board the Alfred. From ed above the waves until they had this ship he was drafted to the Scy- passed the Nore. The water then eren, a prize line-of-battle ship; jn gaining upon them, they ran the vessel which, having drifted over the Galloper upon a bed of mud, a little after high Sand in a storm, he had again a nar water, on the bank of the Thames, row escape from shipwreck.
where she lay while the tide retired, The following year, while on a pas- and before its return the leak was sage from Leith to London in a smack, overcome. Mr. Scoresby bad an opportunity of As soon as Mr. Scoresby could displaying his presence of mind on a legally take charge of a vessel, namedisastrous occasion, and of rendering ly, at the age of 21, he was appointed essential service to 25 passengers on to the command of the Resolution, of board ; who, in all human probability, Whitby, one of the Greenland whalers. were indebted to his vigorous exertions He entered on the arduous duties of for their lives. The vessel in which this station with great diffidence, but they sailed grounding on the Maplin with competent ability; and the result Sands, the crew were about to seize was most prosperous, his labours being the boats, and provide for their own crowned by one of the largest cargoes safely, by making for the shore, and that had ever been taken into the leaving the remainder to their fate. port. After this trial, he continued If this measure had unhappily been annually to prosecute the whale-fishcarried into effect, about twenty lives ery as a profession, and, in a general must inevitably have been lost, as way, his exertions have been very this number exceeded what the boats successful. could possibly carry. The confusion On returning from this voyage, in which prevailed on board, it is more which for the first time he had filled easy to imagine than to describe. The the station of commander, Mr. S., in captain's orders were disregarded ; all 1811, married Miss Mary Eliza, second authority was at an end; and the daughter of Mr. Lockwood, of Whitby, sailors thought of nothing but provid- a gentleman of amiable manners, of ing for themselves.
honourable character, and of a comAt this critical juncture, Mr. Scores- prehensive mind. By this lady he bas by, who had previously passed for a several children. landsman, authoritatively commanded In the year 1816, he met with one the men to return to their duty, and of those trying adventures to which endeavour to get the vessel afloat; but vessels in the whale-fishery are conto this they replied, that they were de- tinually exposed ; the ship being artermined not to perish with the ap- rested in a calm between two improaching wreck, while the boats were mense flakes of ice, by which, part of within their reach.
the keel was carried away, and one of Authority having awakened their the lowest planks torn from its bed ; attention, Mr. S. next proceeded to the consequence was, that the vessel expostulation, and requested them to filled with water, and the captain and await the floating of the vessel to crew had to flee to the ice for refuge. clear her of the anchor, and to set the The exertions made use of on this ocsails, after which they were at liberty casion, and the successful and unexto act as their own judgments might pected issue, are detailed in his Acdirect. He also urged, that should count of the Arctic Regions, vol. 2, p. the vessel happily float, himself and 438;-a work which has gained him, as the passengers should be able to take an author, and a scientific observer of her up the Swin; and as they (the nature, a considerable share of renown. sailors) were in possession of the During his numerous voyages to boats, they could not expose them- these extraordinary regions, Mr. S. selves to any real danger, until the omitted no opportunity of noting
Interment of Major Andre.
down the various phenomena in na- teresting matter, and animated detural history and general science, scriptions of polar phenomena, conwhich came within the range of his tain more valuable information reobservations. This enabled him to specting these frozen regions, than any, contribute several important papers other work extant. . Throughout the to different philosophical journals and whole, the depths of scientific resocieties, in which he detected many search are decorated with the charms errors in the theories that had been of novelty, constantly exhibiting spepreviously received as accurate. His cimens of the marvellous, without investigations also extended to several transgressing the rules of probability, original and important inquiries.- or infringing upon the empire of truth. Among these may be reckoned, the Mr. Scoresby and his family now temperature of the sea at great reside in Liverpool, from which port depths; the nature of the polar cur- he has latterly sailed on the whalerents and ices; the temperature of the fishery, as commander of the Baffin, a atmosphere in summer; the mean large ship launched about two years anngal temperature of the arctic seas ; since, and purposely fitted out for this the positions as to latitude and longi- arduous employment. In these voy, tude of different parts of Spitzbergen, ages, he has thus far been preserved Jan Mayer, and other far northern from the dangers with which he is anislands; together with surveys and nually surrounded, by the protecting delineations of extensive lines of care of Divine Providence, which on coast, in which he has corrected se- / all occasions he does not blush to veral important errors found in our acknowledge. best charts. The cause also of that peculiar colour by which the Greenland seas are distinguished, became INTERMENT OE THE REMAINS OF an object of his inspection. This, on
MAJOR JOHN ANDRE.. examination, he discovered to arise from innumerable animalcules. He AWARE that some measures had been has also furnished accurate drawings taken to remove from America the reand descriptions of whales, and other mains of this brave but unfortunate inbabitants of thesc regions, which, British oflicer, which event, in .contill his day, had been either erroneous- junction with his melancholy fate, ly delineated or imperfectly described. had awakened in some degree the
The services thus rendered by Mr. public attention, we inserted in col. Scoresby to these branches of science, 1169, some account of the circumprocured for him, in the beginning of stances in which he was placed, and the year 1819, the honour of being which led to his capture and final elected a fellow of the Royal Society execution. Since that sheet was printof Edinburgh. He has also been pre- ed, his mouldering ashes have been sented with the diplomas of several deposited among those whose exits other scientific and literary institu- have been more illustrious, but not tions.
more interesting. But it is not on diplomas or honour- The death of Major Andre was of able elections, that Mr. Scoresby such a complection, as to forbid na-, founds his claim to literary and scien- tional bonours to accompany him to tific fame. His various observations his final vault. He had violated the of nature, his philosophical know- laws, which nations, in a state of hosledge, and nautical skill, enabled him tility with one another, have engaged to present to the world in 1820, his to hold sacred ; and although many justly celebrated work, in two volumes mitigating circumstances appeared in octavo, on the arctic regions. Of this his favour, the letter of the law was work an extended review was honour-against him, and therefore every effort ably given in the Literary Gazette, made to preserve his life was ren-, shortly after its appearance; and an dered ineffectual. analysis of its varied contents, and a National honours under such cir.. delineation of its character, may be cumstances would indicate a national found on record, in No. 8, p. 285-294, approval of his conduct, and indirectof the Edinburgh Philosophical Jour- ly sanction a breach of these rules nal.
which humanity and honour must pres These volumes, abounding with in- serve from violation. Such a deed
Gibbon and Whitaker.
would have been circulated through- / acquainted both with Macpherson and out Europe, and perhaps have pro- with Gibbon, and it has fallen to my duced a retaliation in case of any lot to write against both. Against the future rupture with foreign powers. former I asserted “the Genuine His
To rescue his name from oblivion, tory of the Britons ;" and the latter I and his bones from the land in which attacked in my Review of his“Decline he felt, every thing has been done that and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Gibprudence, compassion, and honour, | bon, Sir, was a disingcnuous man : could suggest, without a forfeiture of and it was owing to a circumstance national dignity. The procedure that which I am about to relate, that I enhas been adopted respecting his inter tered the field against him. The liment,' is included in the following | terary pride of Gibbon knew no paragraph:
bounds. It was the ambition of that The remains of the lamented Major man to rival Tacitus ; and justice Andre have been lately removed from compels me to confess, that he has the spot where they were originally succeeded. interred in the year 1780, at Tappan, “When his Decline and Fall of the New-York, and brought to England in Roman Empire was prepared for the the Phaeton frigate, by order of his press, as we had always been in habits Royal Highness the Duke of York. of intimacy, he politely requested me Yesterday the sarcophagus was depo- to examine his manuscripts, marking sited in front of the cenotaph in West- such places as I thought erroneous in minster Abbey, which was erected by point of historical accuracy, as defihis late Majesty to the memory of this cient in interest, or redundant in exgallant officer. The re-interment took pression, or as otherwise susceptible place in the most private manner, the of any emendation. This task I most Dean of Westminster superintending gladly undertook, as an act of friendin person. Major-General Sir Her- ship, and especially as it referred to a bert Taylor attending on the part of department of history to which I had his Royal Higbness the Commander- paid some degree of attention. On in-Chief ; and Mr. Locker, Secretary perusing this work, I was quite enato Greenwich Hospital, on behalf of moured with his style, with the dignity the three surviving sisters of the of his expressions, and with that exdeceased.
pansion of mind which he had every where displayed, so that I became at
once one of his enthusiastic admirers. GIBBON AND WHITAKER.
“ Pleased with the work, and happy
in having an opportunity of congratu(Disingenuousness of Mr. Gibbon, the lating my friend on his successful la
celebrated Historian; with an Extract bour, I wrote him a letter without any from Whitaker's Review of his “ De reserve, expressing in warm language, cline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” the result of my feelings and judgment the latter communicated by Mr. W. on the occasion. Of this letter he Bishop.)
availed himself, and introduced its The Editor of the Imperial Magazine contents to the notice of his numerous had the honour of being personally ac- friends, by whom we were both comquainted with the late Rev. John plimented on the sanction which I had Whitaker, rector of Ruan Lanyhorne, given to his work. in Cornwall, the celebrated historian “In this state, things continued of Manchester, and of various other with me until his “ Decline and Fall” valuable works.
was announced to the public, and acOn one occasion, being in his com tually made its appearance in the pany, the conversation turned on the world. But it was not long after it writings of Macpherson and Gibbon, had been thrown into circulation, bewith both of whom Mr. Whitaker had fore an intimate friend of mine called been personally acquainted ; and he on me, and asked whether I had really thinks, that both had been his fel given my sanction to the work? I low collegians, but of this latter replied without hesitation in the affirpoint he is not certain. In this con mative, and added verbally to the enversation he mentioned the following comiums I had previously given in singular incident:
writing. My friend listened to me " It was my lot to be personally with some degree of astonishimer
Gibbon and Whitaker.
and at length asked in plain terms, with the usual perfunctoriness of cr how, as a clergyman of the Church of ticism, they consider the wide range « England, I could recommend a work reading in it, the splendour of the ser which directly tended to sap the foun-timents, the depth of the reflections dations of Christianity? I repelled the and the vivacity of the language. Bu charge, by denying that it had any such they must lament, when they come t tendency. But, rejoined my friend, scrutinize it with a stricter eye, ti I think I can speedily convince you of mark the harsh and false language the contrary. Then turning to the ob- the distraction occasioned by the pa noxious chapters, and reading a few rade of reading, the obscurity in the paragraphs, I plainly saw through the meaning, the contradictoriness of the whole affair.
parts, the endless labyrinth of digres“ The truth, Sir, was, that Gibbon, sions, and the careless or wilful unwilling to avail himself of my appro- | faithfulness in the narrative. The bation, but well knowing that I should friends of religion also, must grieve never sanction his attacks on Cbris- with a juster sorrow, over the despetianity, kept back those more repre-rate profligacy of all. But let not one hensible parts, when he submitted the friend to religion be weak enough to MS. to my inspection ; and having ob- fear. There is not a particle of formitained my favourable opinion, sent dableness in the thousand strokes that forth the whole into the world as have this blasted arm of infidelity has been ing received my approbation,
laying upon the shield of Christianity. “Exasperated at this dishonourable That shield is the immortal ægis of conduct, I resolved immediately to wisdom. Against such a cover, if we commence a review of his work. My are not scared with the glitter, we need critique had scarcely appeared, before not dread the edge, of Mr. G.'s sword. I received from him a letter begging Mr. Gibbon is angry at Christianity, for quarter, and apologizing for what only because Christianity frowns upon had taken place. He well knew from him. He has been long endeavouring what source the criticism came, from to shake off the terrors which his my style and manner of writing. In Christian education has impressed this letter he begged me to forbear; / upon him ; but he cannot do so. stating, that I should ruin the sale of “He scorns them, yet they awe him.” his work, and blast his literary repu-l « Heis therefore acting toward Chris. tation. But I owed more to Christianito lile
tianity like a bull caught in a net; tianity than to Mr. Gibbon; and there
making every desperate effort to break fore told him in reply, that I would
the cords that encompass him ; and pursue him through every part, and
straining every nerve in an agony of give him no more quarter than he had
exertion to burst away into the undisgiven to Christianity.
quieted wilds of animal enjoyment: “ Such were the circumstances
and I think I cannot better conclude which led me to review Gibbon's De
| my review of his history, than by apcline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
plying to him this character in Milton; These papers were afterwards collect
as, equally in the praise and in the ed from the Review, and published in one octavo volume, as they now ap- |
censure, truly descriptive of him.-
Belial, in act more graceful and humane :
A fairer person lost not heaven; he seem'd tor received from the lips of Mr. Whi For dignity compos'd and high exploit, taker, respecting that work whence the But all was false, and hollow; though his tongue following extract is taken.
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
Maturest counsels; for his thoughts were low, " The friends of literature may To vice industrious, but to noble deeds equally triumph and lament, at a work Timorous and slothful; yet he pleased the ear, like this. They may triumph, when, Aud with persuasive accent thus began.”
LONDON: PRINTED AT THE CAXTON PRESS, BY H. FISHER.