Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

“ Look to thy safety, and preserve thy health;
Have care into what company you fall;
Travel not late, and cross no dangerous seas:
For till Heaven bless me in thy safe return,

How will this poor breast suffer." P. 211.
Roused at length, he indignantly exclaims:-

« Falsest of all that ever man term'd fair,
Hath impudence so steel'd thy smooth soft skin,
It cannot blush? or sin so obdur'd thy heart,
It doth not quake and tremble? Search thy conscience,
There thou shalt find a thousand clamourous tongues

To speak as loud as mine doth,"
Wife. “ Save from your's,

I hear no noise at all."
Ger. “ I'll play the doctor,

To open thy deaf ears."
He then upbraids her with her crime: but, adds he,

“ I kept this from thy husband; nay, all ears;
With thy transgressions smothering mine own wrongs,

In hope of thy repentance."
Wife.

" Which begins,

Thus low, upon my knees."
Ger. “ Tush! bow to Heaven,

Which thou hast most offended: I, alas!
(Save in such scarce unheard-of treachery)

Most sinful like thyself."
He then abruptly leaves her; and thus awakened to the full
horror of her crime, she consummates it by self-murder. It
was necessary for the reader to feel the excellence of the pas-
sages we have extracted, to give this brief review of the whole
drama.

The Royal King and Loyal Subject is every way unworthy its author. As the editor observes, there is a considerable resemblance between the character of Isabella, in the Challenge for Beauty, and Honorio, in the Picture of Massinger. She has given a fine description of herself, which, after the above information, perhaps the reader needs not.

" I remember
There liv'd a Spanish princess of our name,
An Isabella too, and not long since,
Who from her palace windows, stedfastly
Gazing upon the sun, her hair took fire.
Some augurers held it as a prodigy:
I rather think she was Latona's brood,
And that Apollo courted her bright hair ;

Else,

Else, envying that her tresses put down his,
He scorch'd them off in envy; nor dare I,
For her deriv'd, expose me to his beams ;
Lest, as he burns the phenix in her nest,
Made of the sweetest aromatic wood,
Either in love or envy, he agree

To use the like combustion upon me.The description given of himself by Mons. Ferrers, when in slavery, is equally fine.

“ Are you a gentleman ?"
Mons. F. “ Not here; for I am all dejectedness,

Captive to fortune, and a slave to want;
I cannot call these clothes I wear mine own;
I do not eat but at another's cost;
This air I breathe is borrowed; ne'er was man
So poor and abject. I have not so much
In all this universe, as a thing to leave,
Or a country I can freely boast is mine:
Iu all the world I had but one true friend,
And he is ravish'd from me:
My essence and my being is another's.
What should I say? I am not any thing,

And I possess as little." There are many other passages of great merit, and some into genuity is displayed in unfolding the plot: indeed as'a whole, the play is well entitled to a place in this selection : but we were detained so long on the English Traveller, that we must hasten to a conclusion.

We had intended, before we finally closed this article, to have given a particular review of the manner in which this work has been edited; but the merit of the different plays tempted us to selection, which, we trust, bas been something more entertaining to the reader. We must now therefore confine ourselves to some brief and general observations.

In our first criticism, we were somewhat more lenient than was perhaps justifiable: our reasons were, that if in the earlier numbers, the editor had been, as he assuredly was, shamefully negligent, his attention had considerably increased in the progress of the work, and we were willing to encourage him to still further exertion. In these hopes, we have not been disappointed: the three last volumes are infinitely more correct than the preceding: and although almost every page bears evidence of a haste by no means creditable; for if it were found impos. sible to pay sufficient attention to it within the time originally stated for publication, it ought to have been delayed; still the errors are such as the attentive reader will be enabled to correct

as

as he proceeds. What we before ventured to assert, that the work must have been undertaken without sufficiently matured consideration, the editor has now confessed, (vide presace, p. aviji.) And as he has therefore laboured through ihe present work, “ wipt by his own follies," we have a right to suppose he will be something wiser, should he ever again-adventure on edit. iug Old Plays.

Art. VI. The Narrative of Robert Adams, a Sailor, who was

wrecked on the Western Coast of Africa, in the Year 1810, and was detained three Years in Slavery by the Arubs of the Great Desert, and resided several Months in the City of Tombuctoo. With a Map, Notes, and an Appendir. 4to.

232 pp. 11. 55. Murray. 1816. WE consider this as one of the most curious narratives ever presented to the public. The relation is so simple, the statement so clear, and the whole bears so much internal evidence of truth, that we should have no doubt of its fidelity. But when we consider the external evidence with which it is fortified, we feel a still stronger conviction of the veracity of its author.

Robert Adams, an American sailor, in the month of October, 1815, was recognized in London by a gentleman, who had met him before at Cadiz, and bad there heard of his extraordinary history. He was brought in a state of great poverty and wretchedness before the Committee of the African COMPAXY, not INSTITUTION. He was unable to read or write, and the his. tory which he gave of his adventures was such as did not at first cominand any credit. He was frequently examined, and his farrative committed to paper. His story was always consistent, and all the interrogatories put to him drew forth answers which created a strong presumption in his favour. He accounted for cvery circumstance in the course of his travels in the fairest manner, and all the concurrent testimonies which from time to time flowed in, served only to confirm the favourable impression thus created. The testiinony of the British Vice-Consul at Mogadore, so fully confirmed the truth of those parts of his story to which he was a witness, that the strongest reliance might reasonably be placed upon the remainder of his narrative. From his examination before the African Committee the history before us was compiled.

On the seventh of June, 1810, he, Robert Adams, a native of New York, sailed from thence in the ship Charles bound for

Gibraltar, Gibraltar, where the vessel arrived in due time. The captain, after discharging his cargo, and taking in wine, &c. sailed down the coast for the island of Mayo. By his ignorance the vessel was wrecked ou the western shore of Africa, at El Gayre. The crew was saved, but was enslaved by the Moors. They were all stripped and exposed to the heat of a scorching sun. The captain complaining of this in too menacing a style was soon put to death. After the wreck disappeared, and all the plunder that could be saved from her, was secured, the crew were divided among the captors. Adams, the mato, and a man of the name of Newsham, were left in possession of about twenty Moors, They were conveyed eastward along the desert at the rate of about fifteen miles a day. Soon after their arrival at Sondenny the Moors seized a Negro woman and two children, but in return were themselves surprized by a whole troop of Negroes, and the whole party were taken prisoners and conveyed towards Tombuctoo; during their journey fourteen Moors were beheaded at a small village, being suspected of an attempt to escape.

Upon their arrival at Tombuctoo, the Moors were imprisoned, but Adams and a Portuguese boy, who was taken with hini, were considered as objects of public curiosity, and kindly treated by all, especially by Woollo the king, a very old grey-headed man, and Fatima the queen, a lady en bon point. The Moors were ransomed in about sis months by a company of their trading brethren. The following is the description which Adams gives of Tombuctoo:

* Tombuctoo is situated on a level plain, having a river about two hundred yards from the town, on the south-east side, named La Mar Zarah. The town appeared to Adams to cover as much ground as Lisbon. He is unable to give any islea of the number of its inhabitants; but as the houses are not built in streets, or with any regularity, its population, compared with that of European towns, is by no means in proportion to its size. It has no walls, por any thing resembling fortification. The houses are square, built of sticks, clay, and grass, with flat roofs of the same materials. The rooms are all on the ground floor, and are without any article of furniture, except earthen jars, wooden bowls, and mats made of grass, upon which the people sleep. He did not observe any houses, or any other buildings, constructed of stone.

“ The river La Mar Zarah is about three quarters of a mile wide at Tombuctoo, and appears to have, in this place, but little current, Aowing to the south-west. About two miles from the town to the southward it runs between two high mountains, apparently as high as the mountains which Adams saw in Barbary : here it is about half a mile wide. The water of La Mar Zarah is rather brackish, but is commonly drunk by the natives ; there not being, 28 Adams believes, any wells at Tonbuctoo. The vessels used by the natives are small canoes for fishing, the largest of which is about ten feet long, capable of carrying three men : they are built of fig-trees hollowed out, and caulked with grass, and are worked with paddles about six feet long. The river is well stored with fislı, chiefly of a sort which Adams took for the red mullet : there is also a large red fish, in shape something like a salmon, and hav. ing teeth; he thinks it is the same fish which is known in New York by the name of “ sheep's head.” The common mode of cooking the fish is by boiling; but they never take out the entrails,

the 8

“ The principal fruits at Tombuctoo are cocoa-nuts, dates, figs, pine-apples, and a sweet fruit about as large as an apple, with a stone about the size of a plum stone. This latter was greatly esteemed; and being scarce, was preserved with care for the Royal Family. The leaves of this fruit resembled those of a peach.

" The vegetables are carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, negro beans, and cabbages ; but the latter are eaten very small, and never grow to a solid head.

“ The grain is principally rice and guinea-corn. The cultivation of the soil at Tombuctoo requires very little labour, and is chiefly performed with a kind of hoe which the natives procure from the Moors, and which appears to be their only implement of husbandry. Adams never observed any cattle used in agriculture.

“ The guinea-corn grows five or six inches high, with a bushy head as large as a pint bottle, the grain being about the size of a mustard seed, of which each head contains about a double handful. This they beat upon a stone until they extract all the seed, and then they put it between two flat stones and grind it. These operations are performed by one person. The meal, when ground, is sifted through a small sieve made of grass. The coarse stuff is boiled for some time, aiter wbich the flour is mixed with it, and when well boiled together it makes a thick mess like burgoo. This is put into a wooden dish, and a hole being made in the middle of the mess, some goats' milk is poured into it. The natives then sit on the ground, men, women, and children, indiscriminately round the mess thus prepared, and eat it with their fingers. Even the King and Queen do the same, having neither spoons, knives, nor forks. In the preparation of this food for the King and Queen, they sometimes use butter, which is produced from goats' milk; and though soft and mixed with hair, it appeared to be considered a great dainty. Some of the bowls out of which the natives eat are made of cocoa-nut shells; but most of them are of the trunk of the figtree hollowed out witb chisels.

“ The animals are elephants, cows, goats, (no horses), asses, camels, dromedaries, dogs, rabbits, antelopes, and an animal called heirie, of the shape of a camel, but much smaller. These latter are only used by the Negroes for riding, as they are stubborn, and unfit to carry other burdens : they are excessively fleet, and will travel for days together at the rate of fifty miles a day. The Moors were very desirous of purchasing these animals, but the Negroes refused to sell them.” P. 24.

The

« PreviousContinue »