« AnteriorContinuar »
classes of her own sex.
to apprehend that instead of being engines for the promotion of an elegant taste in poetry, and in every other species of light literature, the Annuals will sooner or later degenerate into a set of Albums, the pages of which will be exclusively supplied by the engraver. Art. IV.–Narrative of a Voyage to the Ethiopic and South At
lantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Chinese Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean, in the years 1829, 1830, and 1831. 1 vol. small 8vo. New York: J. and J. Harper. London: 0. Rich, Red
Lion Square. 1833. The lady whose adventurous career we are about to commence, is no other than the widow of the brave and generous sailor whose fortunes we described in our last number under the name of Morrell. It would seem, that though the subject treated of by both is the same, yet that to the narrative of the captain, which is essentially practical as well as fully descriptive, it would not be difficult for his lady to make an addition of a more reflective character, and which would convey to the world the impressions of an educated and accomplished female, who had witnessed such trying scenes. At all events the narrative from a lady, under such circumstances as she was placed in, freed as it necessarily is from technicalities, must prove acceptable to most persons, but especially to the reading
It is necessary to remind the reader that Mrs. Morrell was condemned to the painful task of enduring, immediately upon her marriage, the absence of her husband, and this being repeated beyond her capability of endurance subsequently, she determined, like true heroine, to accompany her husband in his ship. She departed with him accordingly on his voyage to the Pacific, in September, 1829.
On the 23rd of October the ship, the Antarctic, crossed the line, in longitude 22° 10' west. About 4 o'clock,P.M., she witnessed the amusing ceremony of a visit from Neptune. He came on board, not precisely with such a trident as he holds in classic paintings, nevertheless he did well enough for green-hands. With great goodnature he shaved a few of the crew who had never before crossed the equator; and the sailor thought for the first time in his life he made all merry, without being treated with one drop of ardent spirits. Although he did not pretend to have any power over a female sailor who had never crossed the equator, yet Mrs. M. thought it would be best to propitiate him with a few small presents, which seemed to be acceptable to the great monarch of the ocean. He understood English very well, although the Portuguese say that theirs is his mother tongue. The English language, from the use made of it by the seafaring-men of both the mother and the daughter, must have been far more familiar to him, for a century or two past, than any other tongue; and from all appearances, he is likely
VOL. III. (1833) NO. III.
to adopt it as his court language. She was, some time after this, seized with fever, which very nearly brought her to death's door; but she ultimately recovered, and pays a just tribute of gratitude to her husband for the kindness of his attentions. On the 6th of January, 1830, the Antarctic came in sight of the south Cape of New Zealand, and soon after had a visit from the natives, who came out in a war canoe, to the number of about fifty, two of them principal chiefs from Flat Point. These chiefs were whimsically tattooed; their ears marked, and their bodies stained with red or blue. From all that could be learned, their chief occupation is war. They carry about them a greater variety of offensive and defensive weapons than most other savages. Their looks are bold and fierce, and they have no small share of martial dignity. Like other savages they delight in the war-song, and carry their phrensy and fury to the greatest excess. They have been cannibals, and now, when prisoners are taken, they frequently cut from them, while alive, pieces of flesh, and masticate it, to show their fury and fiendish joy at their success.
Their dexterity in the use of their war-clubs, spears, &c., is said to be surprising. Their affections are strong; they mourn their dead with all those marks of phrensy so often described to us as belonging to savage life. They cut themselves-tear their flesh-and utter the most piercing cries. Polygamy is allowed among them; · a chief having two or three wives, or perhaps as many as he wishes to maintain; or it may be, that the number marks the rank of the warrior or chief. The females are generally quite young, many of them mothers at the age of twelve or fourteen. Ignorance is the mother of superstition, and these savages have it to a great extent. Their priests are arbitrary, and keep them in fear, being under that bondage themselves. She has remarked that they observe their fasts and their prayers from impressions of fear. Some of these superstitions make them vigilant and daring, as well as cautious; they believe that the spirit of him who was killed and devoured by his enemies suffers everlasting punishment in the world of spirits, but if rescued and buried, his spirit ascends to the abode of their gods. This opinion generally prevails throughout all the southern hemisphere among the savages. These savages have more curiosity than the North American Indians are said to have, for they examined the Antarctic with great scrutiny and apparent delight, and took their departure in the most peaceful manner.
Meeting with several whale ships from England in the Bay of Islands, Mrs. Morrell does not forget to communicate the hospitality with which she was treated by the captains of three of these vessels, the Royal Sovereign, Captain King; the Thetis, Captain Gray; and the George, Captain Gray. The lady, her husband, and the English captains, went on shore to visit the missionary establishment, and she appears to be quite pleased with what she witnessed. On the day of their departure, the native king Kippy-Kippy, with his queen, came out to pay them a visit. The queen thus approached
and extended her hand most courteously to welcome an American woman to her territory. Her appearance was affable and kind. After our greeting was passed, she waved a fan she held in her left hand, and at this signal more than seven thousand of her train, of both sexes, broke out into a song of joyous welcome: after which they gave three cheers that made the welkin ring. They then formed two double parallel lines, the females composing the inner, and the males the outer sections. As the strangers advanced the females fell on their knees, and the males on one knee. Mrs. M. was carried on a sort of stage or chair, by six of their principal warriors, who proceeded with great state and solemnity, decorated with feathers of different kinds. Some of their ornaments were of surpassing beauty. The women all bore a green branch in their hands, and the heads of the men were ornamented with branches and feathers. When Mrs. M.'s party came within fifty yards of the king's palace, the pathway was strewed with beautiful wild flowers, quite to the door, where they found elegant mats, spread for at least ten yards square. The king now spread before them a superb banquet of the choicest fruits of his clime, and the young women entertained them with many songs, of no ordinary melody; after which the warriors gave them a war dance for their amusement. There were at least two hundred of them. The king then came forward and made a speech, and he spoke very good English. The substance of the oration was in praise of the missionaries. He said that before these good men came they knew nothing, but that now they were good men; that they could now lie down and sleep without fear of being killed by their enemies; that now they could sleep in peace; and that before these good men came, they had eaten human flesh, and thought it acceptable to their gods. The queen embraced Mrs. Morrell at parting, and made her many presents of mats and shells, whilst the king almost outdid her in hospitality by splendid donations of hogs, &c. Nothing particular is related by Mrs. Morrell until she arrives at the island of Manilla, with the appearance and inhabitants of which she seems to have been well pleased. It appears from her account that the suburbs of Manilla are crowded with inhabitants, principally Chinese. These people are skilful, and more industrious than the Spaniards or the mixed breeds; and it is said that they are honest. The soil of this island is fertile and pretty well cultivated; the sugar-cane grows abundantly, and from it is drawn a great staple in their commerce. All the usual vegetables are plentiful; but a principal part of the food of the poorer classes consists of fish, of which the waters are full of various wholesome kinds.
The canoes, at all times of the day and night, are seen on the water with several fishermen in them, each carrying a light in the stern, which makes a most picturesque appearance. Physicians say that when the firefly and the glow-worm are seen, the evening air has no noxious vapour in it. These people on the water never think whether the air is wholesome or not; they were born to this task ; it is their sup
port, and they must meet it. The fish are so abundant that they are used for manure at certain seasons of the year, and are said to make the ground very fertile.
The palace at Manilla is a noble building, and was once the residence of a viceroy; but the hope of the Spanish nation in founding a great eastern empire was never realised, and never can be. The Spanish lady is always a high-bred woman, with no little of the spirit of chivalry about her. Some of them have splendid complexions of a bright orange tinge, with fine eyes, and beautiful hair, well turned limbs, and a graceful walk. If they had as much application as genius, they would have no superiors in the world. Continuing to dwell on the same subject, Mrs. Morrell, with the view of illustrating the influence of comeliness and tidiness in females, mentions an anecdote respecting a fair countrywoman of her own. An American female, some years ago, attended by her husband, a naval hero, took a voyage to South America. Being of an adventurous spirit, she travelled into the interior of the country, mounted on a milkwhite horse, of the beautiful South American breed; and being dressed in pure and elegant simplicity, and possessing a splendid form and face that would have been attractive anywhere, the inhabitants took her for the Madonna, and bowed the knee and fell upon the ground as she journeyed along. They followed her until she alighted from her horse, when they immediately questioned her divinity—there was nothing of the goddess in her movements--she had an awkward walk. It is not those who walk the most that walk the best: the spinner of street-yarn has seldom a majestic or a beautiful gait.
Mrs. Morrell relates another anecdote, in which she herself - was a very conspicuous person. It seems that the American consul at Manilla, after becoming acquainted with the Morrells, betrayed by his manner a partiality for that lady: and he contrived ultimately to prevent her from returning to the ship, so that she was under the necessity of remaining at Manilla until the voyage was executed, and the Antarctic returned. But the object of the consul was utterly frustrated, for the virtuous woman herself took care, with the knowledge of her husband, to make such arrangements respecting her temporary residence in the island, as would not only be a security in itself, but in the eyes of Mr. Morrell; also, that her fidelity would remain unbroken to the last. Indeed, the narrative itself is told with such simplicity and frankness, that no reader can entertain the slightest suspicion of her integrity. The return of Captain Morrell brought the sad intelligence of the fatal adventure which befell his party at the Massacre Islands, and of which we gave a full account in our last number. Whilst in Manilla, Mrs. Morrell had the satisfaction of witnessing an earthquake. The first thing, she observes, which struck her was the appearance of the people in the street, kneeling and saying their prayers wherever they could see a crucifix, or an image of the Blessed Virgin. The Chinese was looking around
with his little twinkling eye, half-amazed, yet unwilling to retire from the scene of business while any remained to buy or sell. The Christians were seen flocking to the churches, where mass was being celebrated; men, women, and children hurried to prostrate themselves before the altar, thinking that the prayers
of the clergyman could avert the Divine decree. I went with my English friends to visit the churches, which were full to overflowing, all prostrate before their favourite saint, imploring him or her to interfere with the Saviour to assist them. It was a solemn scene; the sobs and sighs broke upon the ear, and were indeed distressing. From the convents could be heard a low and solemn chant, and then it died away again. There was not a word of courtesy spoken in the streets, except what passed between the English and American people. As yet there was no noise or rumbling, but a frightful stillness in the air; the birds were silent, and the whole animal world seemed to partake of the terror. The fishing families took to their boats, but I could not see a single line thrown out for fish; they made the most melancholy spectacle of all. At first there was no motion of the water; it wore the glassy surface that seemed immoveable. At length a gentle agitation took place in the water, as if a heavy shower of rain was falling upon it, and shortly after a rumbling was heard, resembling the movements of heavy-laden carriages at a distance on frozen ground. This increased, and the feet as well as the ears were affected with a motion something like that felt by a galvanic battery, or a slight shock from an electric jar. The leaves of the trees had a tremulous motion, like that described of the aspen; the ground began to tremble, and some buildings at a distance were toppling down; but the one in which I stood was only severely shaken, the wall did not crack nor give way. The great mass of the people preferred being in the streets to keeping in their houses ; they thought that there would be less danger of being swallowed up in the streets than of being crushed by the falling of walls in their houses. There was no screaming, that I heard; every one was too much terrified to scream. Some few were killed by the falling of houses, even while in the street. The rumbling noise ceased, and the shocks that followed made a noise more like the blowing up of a magazine of powder than of the movements of carriages on frozen ground. Fire, it is said, was seen to burst from the earth in several places. The agony was not entirely gone for nearly two days; all business was suspended, and men, women, and children looked at each other as if it were the last time they were ever to see each other's faces. Sometimes a tear stood in their
eyes, but generally they were tearless as the marble statue. The great agitations of life, like its great griefs, are not relieved by tears. The Chinese are predestinarians, and I was informed that they were quite unmoved, though still and solemn while nature was in such throes and agonies. Brita
The next day, after all was over, cheerfulness took the place of dismay, and one just arrived could not have known that the people