Obrazy na stronie

the Sieur Savary. This Minister of Police 'se rend propriétaire, he makes himself the owner of the manuscript, by getting possession of it on pretence of purchasing it; and satisfied with this kind of ownership, his morality will not allow him to pay the price of so infamous an article. This is just such morality, such justice, and such reasoning as we are prepared to expect from Buonaparte's Minister of Police; but we will just observe, that however unwilling M. Savary might be to reward the author of the libel, we see no reason why he should have cheated the poor bookseller, who was certainly not the author, and who appears to have behaved with great propriety in the whole affair. M. Savary, however, proceeds to tell us how he dealt with the manuscript. .

I nevertheless submitted it to the Commission of Censorship, which was established near me. I have been often indebted to these gentlemen for having guided me to proper measures, and in this case they condemned the manuscript, which was thenceforward classed with other works of a similar nature in its proper place, in the archives of my office.'

This looks as if Savary, after having seized the manuscript as unfit for publication, made some attenipt to publish it-probably on his own account. This, it would seem, he was prevented from doing by the Commission of Censorship, which was one of the appendages of the police office. He goes on

M. Salgues wonders, and the world may well wonder with him, that this manuscript should have got out of my possession. To this I answer, the manuscript was not in my hans; it was in the archives of my office, which were delivered over to my successor. It will, I think, be admitted, that when I left Paris, at the end of March 1814, I had something else to think of than burning M. de Lauzun's Memoirs; and I own that the last work I should have expected to see published after the restoration would be the work of M. de Lauzun; and now its publication is to me incomprehensible, and could not have been accomplished if the interests of public morals had been sufficiently guarded. During all my administration, I never ceased to struggle against such abuses of the press; and this new instance proves how necessary some repressive legislation on this point has become.'"Honest, honest Iago!

No doubt can, we think, remain that the work now offered as the · Mémoires de Lauzun' is a fraud. M. Savary, we observe, alludes to 'genuine memoirs in the possession of persons who will make no improper use of them. This phrase, and the character of the unhappy Biron himself, lead us to conjecture that his genuine memoirs may be very discreditable to him and to others; and it is not impossible---indeed M. Salgues seems to suspect that these spurious memoirs are rather alterations and falsifications than an absolute forgery: but whether they are a complete fabrication, or


only a partial falsification, they are equally stupid, immoral, and indecent; and we trust that the person who has been so ill advised as to translate them will find his speculation disappointed. The women of England will not look into such a book; and, thank Heaven! no book can have any vogue which is disavowed by then.

Art. VIII.- A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior

of North America, between the 47th and 58th degrees of North Latitude, extending from Montreal nearly to the Pacific Ocean; including an Account of the Principal Occurrences, during a Residence of Nineteen Years, in different Parts of the Country, &c. &c. By D. W. Harmon, a Partner in the North-west

Company. Andover, Vermont, North America. 1820. W E always take up with peculiar pleasure the labours of tra

vellers which open to our view new countries and new people. The little volume now before us (the only copy, we believe, in England) does this; though it by no means justifies the expectations held out in the lengthy title-page, about one half of which we have suppressed: but we are the more desirous of introducing into our Journal the new matter which it contains, as it happens to relate to that particular portion of the north-western regions of North America, to which we alluded, (p. 345.) as likely to become a subject of discussion, unless priority of discovery, and an uninterrupted civil, and military possession for the last fifteen years, shall be admitted to be sufficient grounds for establishing our claim to the territory in question.

The author (Mr. Harmon) has spent nineteen years in the Northwest Company's service, eight and a half of which were passed beyond the Rocky Mountains, and between them and the Pacific; and being a plain, unaffected, unambitious, and, withal, a pious man, we consider his statements to be entitled to implicit credit. Some of our readers, perhaps, may be inclined to call his piety in question on perusing the following paragraph, which has the merit at least of great naiveté :-it should be added, however, that the transaction took place when, to use his own words, he was ignorant of his lost condition by nature, and of the necessity of being clothed in a better righteousness than his own ;' and that, after instructing the amiable squaw in the principles of the Christian religion, he made her an honest woman. .. “This day a Canadian's daughter, a girl of about fourteen years of age, was offered to me; and after mature consideration, concerning the step which I ought to take, I have finally concluded to accept of her, as it is customary for all gentlemen, who remain for any length of time in this part of the world, to have a female companion, with whom they can pass their time more socially and agreeably, than to live a lonely DD 3


life, as they must do if single. If we can live in harmony together, my intention now is to keep her as long as I remain in this uncivilized part of the world ; and when I return to my native land, I shall endeavour to place her under the protection of some honest man, with whom she can pass the remainder of her days in this country, much more agreeably than it would be possible for her to do were she taken down into the civilized world, -to the manners, customs, and language of which she would be an entire stranger. Her mother is of the tribe of the Snare Indians, whose country lies along the Rocky Mountains.'-p. 150. · That such a custom should prevail among men totally secluded from all society, scattered thinly over a territory of many thousand miles in extent, covered with endless forests, intersected by immense rivers, half occupied with large lakes, interminable to the view,mshut up sometimes for months together-is not surprizing, whatever may be thought of it by a rigid moralist. The consequence, however, of these connections is, that in the numerous and dispersed establishments of the North-west Company, there are from twelve to fifteen hundred women and children, who, from a feeling of humanity which cannot be too highly commended, are taken care of by them, when those who ought to be their natural protectors have left the country, and returned to society. In addition to these are also found, at all their establishments, many superannuated Canadians, who having spent the flower of their days in the service of the Company, and having nothing to attach them to the civilized world, continue with their families under their protection, and are liberally supplied by thein with all the necessaries of life. Missions and schools are, we believe, not only in contemplation, but in progress; and we trust that the persons employed in the conduct of these important concerns, will not, for an instant, lose sight of the absolute necessity of enforcing habits of industry, and of subduing as much as possible that rambling propensity of the native Indians, to whom they are closely allied. This mode of life must, in fact, cease, as the clothing and subsistence, which were derived from the chace, are every year rendered more difficult and precarious, as population increases, and the wild animals become more scarce. The climate, it is true, is not very favourable for agricultural pursuits ; but, intensely cold as the winters prove, the summers are dry and warm; and barley will ripen, and potatoes and many of the ordinary kind of vegetables thrive pretty well, at the most unpromising of the settlements. The union of the Hudson's Bay and the North-west Companies will greatly facilitate the cultivation of the country, which, we understand, is even now in a flourishing condition at the Red River settlement, established by the genius and enterprize of the late "Lord Selkirk.


No spurious race however has yet grown up behind the Rocky Mountains, where alone our present business lies. Here the natives still wander about in primitive simplicity; unconscious, till a few adventurous North Britons, not many years ago, made their appearance among them, of the existence of other human beings besides themselves; or of lands, lakes, and rivers, beyond the rocky ridge which bounds their territory on the one side, and the Great Water on the other. Of this territory and its native inhabitants, we now proceed to sketch an imperfect outline from the scanty materials afforded us by Mr. Harmon. : The descent of the Peace River through a deep chasm in the Rocky Mountains first opened a passage to the adventurers abovementioned, into the unexplored country behind them, to which they gave the name of New Caledonia,-a name however wbich, being already occupied by the Australasians, might advantageously be changed to that of Western Caledonia. This passage lies in lat. 56° 30'. Mackenzie had crossed the rocky chain many years before in lat. 541°, and descended a large river flowing to the southward, named Tacoutche Tesse, which he conceived to be the Columbia; but it is now known to empty itself about Birch's Bay of Vancouver, in lat. 49°; whereas the mouth of the Columbia lies in 46° 15'. Another river, (called the Caledonia,) holding a parallel course to the Tacoutche Tesse, falls into the sea near the Admiralty Inlet of Vancouver, in lat. 48°, and forms a natural boundary between the new territory and that of the United States, falling in precisely with a continued line on the same parallel with the Lake of the Woods, and leaving about two degrees of latitude between it and the Columbia. Its northern boundary may be taken in lat. 57°, close to the southernmost of the Russian settlements. The length therefore will be about 550, and the breadth, from the mountains to the Pacific, from 300 to 350 geographical miles.

The height of the passage is estimated at not more than 1000 feet; but the two cheeks are so lofty, as to be generally (Mr. Harmon says perpetually) covered with snow. The river is not very rapid; few falls occur, and the portage is not more than twelve miles. Two branches, one from the north, the other from the south, unite at the mouth of the passage; the latter having held its course along the foot of the mountains about two hundred miles; the former, or Finlay's branch, having its source in the Musk-qua Sa-ky-e-gun, or the Great Bear's Lake, nearly west from the junction, at the distance, as is supposed, of 150 miles. This lake has not yet been visited, but it is represented as of an immense extent, stretching far away to the northward and the westward.

The whole of this vast country is in fact so intersected with rivers and lakes, that Mr. Harmon thinks one-sixth part of its surᎠ Ꭰ Ꮞ


face may be considered as water. The largest of the latter yet visited is named Stuart's Lake, and is supposed to be about 400 miles in circumference. A post has been established on its margin in lat. 54° 30' N. long. 125° W. Fifty miles to the westward of this is Frazer's Lake, about eighty or ninety miles in circumference: here, too, a post was established in 1806. A third, of sixty or seventy miles in circumference, has been named M‘Leod's Lake, on the shore of which a fort has been built, in lat. 55® N. long. 124° W. The waters of this lake fall into the Peace River; those Howing out of the other two are supposed to enıpty themselves into the Pacific, and are probably the two rivers pointed out by Vancouver, near Port Essington, as we had occasion to observe in a former article. The immense quantities of salmon which annually visit these two lakes leave no doubt whatever of their communication with the Pacific; and the absence of this fish from M‘Leod's Lake makes it almost equally certain that its outlet is not into that ocean. The river flowing out of Stuart's Lake passes through the populous tribes of the Nate-ote-tains, who say that white people come up in large boats to trade with the A-te-nas, (a nation dwelling between them and the sea,) which was fully proved by the guns, iron pots, cloth, tar, and other articles found in their possession. .

Most of the mountains of Western Caledonia are clothed with timber trees to their very summits, consisting principally of spruce and other kinds of fir, birch, poplar, aspin, cypress, and, generally speaking, all those which are found on the opposite side of the Rocky Mountains. The large animals, comuion to North America, such as buffaloes, elks, moose, reindeer, bears, &c. are not numerous in this new territory; but there is no scarcity of the beaver, otter, wolverine, martin, foses of different kinds, and the rest of the fur animals, any more than of wolves, badgers, and polecats. Fowls, also, of all the descriptions found in North America, are plentiful in Western Caledonia ; cranes visit them in prodigious numbers, as do swans, bustards, geese and ducks.

A small animal, peculiar to the Rocky Mountains, is noticed by Mr. Harmon. It is called by the natives, quis-qui-su, or the whistler, from the noise it makes, when surprized. Its size is that of the common badger, it has a long bushy tail, and is covered with a beautiful coat of silver-grey hair. It burrows in the ground and feeds on roots and herbs; the flesh is considered as a great delicacy, and the skin is used for clothing.

The temperature is higher than in the same parallels on the eastern side of the mountains. « The weather, Mr. Harmon says, • is not severely cold, except for a few days in the winter, when the mercury is sometimes as low as 32° below zero;' on the opposite side, in the same degree of latitude, it is frequently from 40° to

50° below

« PoprzedniaDalej »