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EXCURSIONS

NORTII AMERICA,

FTER Mrs. Middleton had concluded the A tour of the British Empire, she laid a plan for the completion of her children's education, adapted to the situations she intended for them.

Arthur had always shown a disposition for an active life, and a desire for novelty, which in. clined her to accept the offer of a friend, to pro. cure for him a writer's place in the East Indies ; but several circumstances combined at the same time to unsettle his mind, and excite an eagerness to undertake a voyage to America, much earlier than she approved of his abandoning his studies, or being released from the paternal care of Mr. Franklin. In the hours of relaxation, both Arthur and Edwin were indulged with a variety of books, calculated at once to instruct and enter. tain : amongst these, none delighted Arthur so

much

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much as travels, and the description of foreign countries, which he read with the greatest avidity, always placing himself, in idea, in the situation of the hero of the tale, and declaring that, as soon as he should have the direction of himself, he would make a voyage round the world. It happened that Robertson's History of America, amongst others, -fell into his hands, which, though he was shocked at the barbarities inflicted on the natives, interested him extremely, and made him earnestly wish to see a country, that had been the scene of such extraordinary exploits; and where the rivers, the mountains, and forests are upon a grander scale than those in Europe. This work inflamed him with curiosity to visit the Indian nations that inhabit the interior of that extensive continent: he longed to see their warriors, and partake with them the pursuits of the chace.

Whilst these wishes engaged his attention, Mr. Henry Franklin arrived in England, and having been unaccustomed to the confinement of domestic life, and free from all connexions but his brother, had no inclination to sit down inactively at home. Soon after his return, a proposal was made to him by a nobleman of high rank, to explore North America, with a view to procure authentic information concerning the customs of the natives, as well as those of the European settlers; the productions of the soil, the animals, the face of the country, and in short, every thing that

could

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could contribute to a complete description of that vast portion of the terraqueous globe. This was an undertaking for which he was particularly qualified by his natural endowments, habits, and ac. quired knowledge. His understanding was clear, his constitution strong, his courage undismayed, his pursuit of knowledge insatiable, and he was in the prime of life. He had read a great deal, travelled much, and observed accurately what he had seen : with a mind so enriched, and a disposition congenial to the task, he was the man peculiarly adapted to his patron's design. The offer was no sooner made than accepted; for how could he refuse a scheme so agreeable to his taste. Dur. ing the short time that was necessary to arrange his private affairs, he was a frequent visitor at Mrs. Middleton's, where the conversation generally turned upon his voyage, or some circumstance relative to it. Arthur always listened attentively to this subject, would often bring the map, and request him to trace his intended route; his eyes sparkling with pleasure, whilst he mentioned different objects likely to occur in various parts of the country.

His desire to accompany his friend at length became so ardent, that Mrs. Middleton changed her views for him, and yielded to his inclination; a measure in which she more easily concurred, from the high confidence she placed in the character and conduct of Mr. Franklin. Her consent once

obtained,

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