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which I had kept for myself.:-Captain Baudin* certainly appears to have been of a most unhappy and unaccommodating disposition, without one single qualification for conducting a voyage of discovery: he died at the Isle of France and was buried the day following with military honours, which is all that M. Freycinet, his first lieutenant, thinks proper to say of him.
M. Freycinet now continues the narrative of their operations on the second visit to the coasts of De Witts Land, the geography of which still remains precisely in the same imperfect state in which Dampier found and left it. The numerous and almost continuous banks of sand, and reefs of coral rocks, with which it is defended, prevented all access to the shore; but the same reefs and banks were favourable to their search for objects of natural history, and assisted very materially in the enlargement of their collections: among other marine productions was a great number of sea-snakes, of all colours and proportions; but what particularly attracted their attention, was a kind of greyish coloured dust which covered the sea for a space of more than twenty leagues from east to west. The same appearance under different colours has been observed by various navigators, and is mentioned by Banks and Solander on the coasts of New Guinea, where the sailors gave it the name of seasawdust. On examining it with a microscope every atom appeared to have so regular and constant a conformation, that no doubt could. exist of their being so many minute organized bodies; and they considered them to be the eggs or spawn of some species of marine animal. The seas of blood which are mentioned by several celebrated navigators are supposed to owe their tinge to a single species of microscopical crustacea.
On approaching the Isles of the Institute, an archipelago consisting of about twenty islets, and situated about the latitude 14 a boat was sent to examine the Isle Cassini; on its return the officer reported that, within the group of islands, he had fallen in with a flotilla of Malay proas, twenty-four or five in number, which, had come from Macassar for the purpose of fishing for a species of Holothuria, known by the several names of Tripan, Biche de mer, and Sea-slug. The proas were all under the orders of an old Malay Raja, and one little Chinese compass of two inches in diameter was the sole instrument that directed the fleet, sailing to its destination with the north-west and returning home with the opposite monsoon. It may be remembered that Captain Flinders met with a much more numerous fleet in the great Gulf of Carpentaria employed in the same fishery; and the
* The name led us into a mistake in our review of the first volume : It was another Baudin who fell in the battle of Trafalgar.
only difference we perceive between his account of preparing the 'tripan,' and that here given is, that in the former they are said to be dried by the fire of green wood, in the latter entirely by the
The two or three pages of trash connected with these' priupes marines,' decency demands of us to pass over; like the loves of the sea-elephant, they are only calculated for the meridian of Paris.
From De Witt's Land they proceed a second time to the Island of Timor, and from thence again towards De Witt's Land, which however they were unable to approach: they next tried to proceed to the south-west point of New Guinea; but finding the wind and the weather against them, and the sick list rapidly increasing, they bore up for the Isle of France. . On passing the Cape, they called at Table Bay, where a committee of MM. Péron, Le Sueur, and Doctor Raynier de Klerk Dibbez, sat in judgmentó sur un objet assez délicat-ce fameux tablier des femmes Hottentotes.' The result of an examination which we are assured was I attentif et prolongé,' is conveyed under ten distinct propositions, of which we shall content ourselves by asserting, on our own knowledge, that no less than seven of them are absolutely false. It is rather too much for a person who never set foot beyond Cape Town to tell the world that all the travellers into the interior of southern Africa, from its first discovery to the visit of M. Péron, have been mistaken; that the Houzuanas ( who have no existence but in Vaillant's book) are Boschimans, and that the Boschimans are a people totally distinct from Hottentots. But a French savant must either get rid of his conceptions in the shape of a theory, or burst.
On comparing the general chart of New Holland constructed by Captain Flinders with that which accompanies this volume of Péron, and which is in fact a copy of that published by M. Freycinet in the nautical and geographical account of the voyage, it must strike every one how very well those parts of the latter are filled up, which were surveyed by Captain Flinders, or laid down by him from the surveys of his predecessors, Cook, Vancouver, and Dentrecasteaux, and how meagre is the whole line of the west and north-west coasts, which none of these able navigators had explored, but which was visited twice, and part of it three times, by Captain Baudin. If we except the Baie du Géographe on the Land of Leuwen ; a more detailed but still incomplete survey of Shark's Bay on the Land of Endracht; a few clusters of reefs and islets along the extensive coast of De Witt's Land, with here and there a point of land or an undetermined gulph, the former seen at such a distance as to leave a doubt as to the continuity of the coast, and the latter purely conjectural; the whole of this extensive coast from Cape Van Dieman to Cape Leuwen of the old charts, or from Cape Leoben to Cape Gosselin
of the French, Découvertes
French, remains pretty nearly in the same state of uncertainty in which it was previous to this voyage of discovery, and may yet be considered as unexplored.
It is scarcely to be conceived that, with two ships and a small vessel, (the Casuarina afterwards added,) those who had the conduct of the expedition should not have made every exertion to determine that most extraordinary problem in geography—the existence or non-existence of some large river on the western side of New Holland. That there exists none deserving the name from Cape Leuwen on the west to Cape Howe on the east; nor from thence to Cape York, on the north; nor in the whole sweep of the Gulph of Carpentaria, is no longer a matter of opinion; but whether any river may discharge itself on the western and north-western coast from Cape Leuwen to Cape Arnheim still remains to be solved. The space to be explored indeed may almost be narrowed to the coast of De Witt's Land between Cape North-West (here impudently altered to Cape Murat) and Cape Arnheim ; and from the observations of that excellent old navigator Dampier it may be inferred that the opening behind the group of Rosemary Islands (changed with equal effrontery to the Iles de Montebello) holds out the most probable hopes of finding such a river.- Hitherto,' says Dampier, we had found but little tides ; but by the height, and strength and course of them hereabouts, it should seem, that if there be such a passage or strait going through eastward to the great South Sea, as I said one might suspect, one would expect to find the mouth of it somewhere between this place (latitude 18° 21') and Rosemary Island.' (vol. in. p. 150.) Unless,' he afterwards observes, the high tides and great indraught there abouts should be occasioned by the mouth of some large river; which bath often low lands on each side of its outlet, and many islands and shoals lying at its entrance.' (Contin. p. 6.)
M. Freycinet is about to proceed, or has already sailed, to endeavour to complete the discovery and survey of the western and north-western coasts of New Holland; but, we are glad to learn, that as Captain Baudin was anticipated by Captain Flinders, so will M. Freycinet be by Lieutenant King, who, under happier auspices, we trust, left England some months ago for this very purpose.
This however, we are given to understand, is but a secondary object of the French voyage; the first being that of collecting a number of facts, on various points of the southern hemisphere, for the purpose of ascertaining to a greater degree of precision than is yet known, two objects of no less importance to physical science than to geography—the first is, by a set of experiments on the declination and inclination of the magnetic needle, at
several places very distant from each other on the same parallels and the same meridians, to endeavour to discover the number and position of the magnetic poles in the earth, on the supposition that the present theory of its being one great magnet is the true onethe other, by a set of experiments at the same places, with an invariable pendulum, to ascertain to a greater degree of accuracy the figure of the earth in the southern hemisphere-In the prosecution of such an undertaking M. Freycinet must carry with him the good wishes of every lover of science.
ART. X. The Tragic Drama.-The Apostate; a Tragedy, in Five
Acts. By Richard Sheil, Esq. 8vo. London. 1817. No department of literature has found more
assailants and champions than the drama : this may in some degree be owing to the publicity of its claims. Most other branches win their way in comparative silence, amid the stillness of the closet, and the calmness of literary discussion; the pleasure which they give is wholly abstracted from the senses, and the impression which they leave is generally unaided by the passions. The drama, on the contrary, though it demands to be censured in judgment, awakes the senses to judge;' it addresses an assembled multitude, who, from physical and mental causes, are, for the most part, in a state of excitement that must be sustained by a continued and powerful appeal, and who require to be dismissed with feelings too various for distinct perception, and too rapturous for sober analysis.
Possessing and asserting this large share of influence, its importance has nevertheless been exaggerated both by those who have attacked and those who have defended it; and perhaps, as is often the
case, it has suffered more from the zeal of its friends than from the malignity of its enemies. By the latter it has been represented as operating to the pollution of morals, the relaxation of laws, and even the subversion of governments. By the former it has been praised as not only polishing the manners and refining the taste of a nation, but as essentially connected with the harmony of society, and the morals of mankind. 'The truth is, that the drama is not a cause, but an effect of the state of society. Men go to a theatre neither to be improved nor depraved, neither to learn nor unlearn the precepts of morality or the rules of life; they go to it as to a place where the mind is to be employed, while the senses are gratified, where genius is to appear arrayed in the graces of elocution, and the splendour of external decoration; they go to witness the representation of sufferings to which all are exposed, or of follies in which all have participated; and they return with their principles neither contirmed nor shaken, except by the operations of
the passions which they brought with them, and which would perhaps have operated if they had never entered the walls of a theatre. They go, in a word, to be amused, to seek, in the representations of fictitious life, a solace or a forgetfulness of the evils of reality; and if amusement can be obtained without mischief, though it is the lowest praise with which the admirers of the drama will be contented, it is, perhaps, among the highest that can be bestowed on any known mode of public recreation.
The Drama, which owed its origin in Greece to religion, is indebted to the same cause for its revival in modern Europe. The monks, anxious to interest their audience by sensible representations of the facts of religion, or, perhaps, to diversify the sullen and monotonous gloom of conventual life, exhibited the Mysteries, the first rude form in which the drama re-appeared.-In some respects we trace an involuntary resemblance between them and the Grecian tragedy; they were exhibited sub dio, and their foundation rested invariably on the national creed.
At the period of the Reformation, the teachers of the new religion, though professing and generally maintaining a greater strictness of demeanour, attempted to wrest this powerful engine from the hands of their adversaries, and to turn it against them; and controversy, after deluging every other department of literature, forced its way even into the indirect and impracticable channel of the drama. The comedies of Bale exhibited the most awful mysteries of religion clothed in the dark drapery of Calvinistic theology, and the audience with edifying patience sat out dramas, which extended from Adam to the commencement of the Gospel dispensation, and of which the characters were those whom it would now be justly deemed impiety to allude to on the stage, and irreverence even to name on ordinary occasions. Bale had numerous associates in the arduous task of dramatizing the Bible, and we must remember that at that time plays were acted more frequently in the halls of colleges and the palaces of bishops than in theatres, before we can believe that such subjects were selected for dramatic representation, or that actors could be found to personate them. The drama, however, was not much improved by this extraordinary coalescence; into which the tragic muse seems to have entered somewhat ungracefully :* the very means which her reverend teachers took to break her to their purpose tended (as might have been foreseen) to defeat it. To accommodate the drama to popular conception, they had
* The defence suggested by Warton of the Mysteries and Moralities, that they tended to abolish the barbarity of military games is, perhaps, the best that can be offered. But how can Warton seriously say, that they taught the great truths of Scripture to men who conld not read the Bible? They taught little but licentiousness and impiety, and the sacred names which they use, instead of consecrating, aggra. vate the profanation.