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River, to lash the two canoes together. As there was some suspicion that Benoit, who carried the canoe, had broken it intentionally, he having on a former occasion been overheard by some of the men to say that he would do so when he got it in charge, we closely examined him on the point he roundly denied having used the expressions attributed to him, and insisted that it was broken by his falling accidentally; and as he brought men to attest the latter fact, who saw him tumble, we did not press the matter further.'
This is altogether trifling compared with what they were compelled to endure; but we learn from this to give one instance among many of the devotedness of the officers, and their readiness not to share, but to take upon themselves, the greatest dangers. The canoe having been broken, a raft was made, but the paddle was not strong enough to move it.
'All the men suffered extremely from the coldness of the water, in which they were necessarily immersed up to the waists, in their endeavours to aid Belanger and Benoit; and, having witnessed repeated failures, they began to consider the scheme as hopeless. At this time Dr. Richardson, prompted by a desire of relieving his suffering companions, proposed to swim across the stream with a line, and to haul the raft over. He launched into the stream with the line round his middle; but, when he had got a short distance from the bank, his arms became benumbed with cold, and he lost the power of moving them : still he persevered, and, turning on his back, had nearly gained the opposite bank, when his legs also became powerless, and to our infinite alarm we beheld him sink. We instantly hauled upon the line, and he came again on the surface, and was gradually drawn ashore in an almost lifeless state. Being rolled up in blankets, he was placed before a good fire of willows, and fortunately was just able to speak sufficiently to give some slight directions respecting the manner of treating him. He recovered strength gradually, and, by the blessing of God, was enabled in the course of a few hours to converse, and by the evening was sufficiently recovered to remove into the tent. We then regretted to learn that the skin of his whole left side was deprived of feeling in consequence of exposure to too great heat. He did not perfectly recover the sensation of that side until the following summer. I cannot describe what every one felt at beholding the skeleton which the doctor's debilitated frame exhibited. When he stripped, the Canadians simultaneously exclaimed, "Ah, que nous sommes maigres !" I shall best explain his state, and that of the party, by the following extract from his journal: "It may be worthy of remark that I would have had little hesitation in any former period of my life of plunging into water even below 38° Fahrenheit; but at this time I was reduced almost to skin and bone, and, like the rest of the party, suffered from degrees of cold that would have been disregarded whilst in health and vigour. During the whole of our march we experienced that no quantity of clothing could keep us warm whilst we fasted; but, on those occasions on which we were enabled to go to bed with full stomachs, we passed the night in a warm and comfortable manner.”
"In following the detail of our friend's narrow escape, I have omitted to mention, that, when he was about to step into the water, he
put his foot on a dagger, which cut him to the bone; but this misfortune could not stop him from attempting the execution of his undertaking.'
We now come to the most distressing part of the narrative-the death of Mr. Hood, an active and highly accomplished officer, who had proposed to stay behind, in order to lighten the difficulty to the others, with Dr. Richardson, Hepburn, one of the expedition, and Michel, an Iroquois, while Captain Parry should proceed; and, having arrived at the port from which he set out, should send them relief. This proposal was acceded to, and the fatal result is given in Dr. Richardson's narrative:
On the 19th Michel refused to hunt, or even to assist in carrying a log of wood to the fire, which was too heavy for Hepburn's strength and mine. Mr. Hood endeavoured to point out to him the necessity and duty of exertion, and the cruelty of his quitting us without leaving something for our support; but the discourse, far from producing any beneficial effect, seemed only to excite his anger, and, amongst other expressions, he made use of the following remarkable one: "It is no use hunting, there are no animals, you had better kill and eat me." At length, however, he went out, but returned very soon, with a report that he had seen three deer, which he was unable to follow from having wet his foot in a small stream of water thinly covered with ice, and being consequently obliged to come to the fire. The day was rather mild, and Hepburn and I gathered a large kettleful of tripe de roche: Michel slept in the tent this night.
Sunday, October 20.-In the morning we again urged Michel to go a hunting, that he might if possible leave us some provision, tomorrow being the day appointed for his quitting us; but he showed. great unwillingness to go out, and lingered about the fire, under the pretence of cleaning his gun. After we had read the morning service I went about noon to gather some tripe de roche, leaving Mr. Hood sitting before the tent at the fire-side, arguing with Michel; Hepburn was employed cutting down a tree, at a short distance from the tent, being desirous of accumulating a quantity of fire-wood before he left A short time after I went out I heard the report of a gun, and about ten minutes afterwards Hepburn called to me, in a voice of great alarm, to come directly. When I arrived, I found poor Hood lying lifeless at the fire-side, a ball having apparently entered his forehead. I was at first horror-struck with the idea that in a fit of despondency he had hurried himself into the presence of his Almighty Judge by an act of his own hand; but the conduct of Michel soon gave rise to other thoughts, and excited suspicions which were confirmed, when, upon examining the body, I discovered that the shot had entered the back part of the head, and passed out at the forehead, and that the muzzle of the gun had been applied so close as to set fire to the nightcap behind. The gun, which was of the longest kind supplied to the Indians, could not have been placed in a position to inflict such a wound, except by a second person. Upon inquiring of Michel how it happened, he replied, that Mr. Hood had sent him into the tent for the short gun, and that during his absence the long gun had gone off, he did not know whether by accident or not. He held the short gun
in his hand at the time he was speaking to me. informed me that previous to the report of the gun Mr. Hood and Michel were speaking to each other in an elevated angry tone; that Mr. Hood, being seated at the fire-side, was hid from him by intervening willows, but that on hearing the report he looked up, and saw Michel rising up from before the tent-door, or just behind where Mr. Hood was seated, and then going into the tent. Thinking that the gun had been discharged for the purpose of cleaning it, he did not go to the fire at first; and when Michel called to him that Mr. Hood was dead, a considerable time had elapsed. Although I dared not openly to evince any suspicion that I thought Michel guilty of the deed, yet he repeatedly protested that he was incapable of committing such an aet, kept constantly on his guard, and carefully avoided leaving Hepburn and me together. He was evidently afraid of permitting us to converse in private, and, whenever Hepburn spoke, he inquired if he accused him of the murder. It is to be remarked, that he understood English very imperfectly, yet sufficiently to render it unsafe for us to speak on the subject in his presence. We removed the body into a clump of willows behind the tent, and, returning to the fire, read the funeral service in addition to the evening prayers. The loss of a young officer, of such distinguished and varied talents and appli cation, may be felt and duly appreciated by the eminent characters under whose command he had served; but the calmness with which he contemplated the probable termination of a life of uncommon promise, and the patience and fortitude with which he sustained, I may venture to say, unparalleled bodily sufferings, can only be known to the companions of his distresses. Owing to the effect that the tripe de roche invariably had, when he ventured to taste it, he undoubtedly suffered more than any of the survivors of the party. Bickersteth's Scripture Help was lying open beside the body, as if it had fallen from his hand, and it is probable that he was reading it at the instant of his death. We passed the night in the tent together without rest, every one being on his guard. Next day, having determined on going to the Fort, we began to patch and prepare our clothes for the journey. We singed the hair off a part of the buffalo robe that belonged to Mr. Hood, and boiled and ate it.'
Thick snowy weather and a head wind prevented us from starting the following day, but on the morning of the 23d we set out, carrying with us the remainder of the singed robe. Hepburn and Michel had each a gun, and I carried a small pistol, which Hepburn had loaded for me. In the course of the march Michel alarmed us much by his gestures and conduct, was constantly muttering to himself, expressed an unwillingness to go to the Fort, and tried to persuade me to go to the southward to the woods, where he said he could maintain himself all the winter by killing deer. In consequence of this behaviour, and the expression of his countenance, I requested him to leave us and to go to the southward by himself. This proposal increased his ill-nature; he threw out some obscure hints of freeing himself from all restraint on the morrow; and I overheard him muttering threats against Hepburn, whom he openly accused of having told stories against him.
He also, for the first time, assumed such a tone of su
periority in addressing me, as evinced that he considered us to be completely in his power; and he gave vent to several expressions of hatred towards the white people, or, as he termed us, in the idiom of the voyagers, the French, some of whom, he said, had killed and eaten his uncle and two of his relations. In short, taking every circumstance of his conduct into consideration, I came to the conclusion that he would attempt to destroy us on the first opportunity that offered, and that he had hitherto abstained from doing so from his ignorance of the way to the Fort, but that he would never suffer us to go thither in company with him. In the course of the day he had several times remarked that we were pursuing the same course that Mr. Franklin was doing when he left him, and that by keeping towards the setting sun he could find his way himself. Hepburn and I were not in a condition to resist even an open attack, nor could we by any device escape from him. Our united strength was far inferior to his, and, beside his gun, he was armed with two pistols, an Indian bayonet, and a knife. In the afternoon, coming to a rock on which there was some tripe de roche, he halted, and said he would gather it whilst we went on, and that he would soon overtake us. Hepburn and I were now left together for the first time since Mr. Hood's death, and he acquainted me with several material circumstances which he had observed of Michel's behaviour, and which confirmed me in the opinion that there was no safety for us except in his death, and he offered to be the instrument of it. I determined, however, as I was thoroughly convinced. of the necessity of such a dreadful act, to take the whole responsibility upon myself; and, immediately upon Michel's coming up, I put an end to his life by shooting him through the head with a pistol. Had my own life alone been threatened, I would not have purchased it by such a measure; but I considered myself as intrusted also with the protection of Hepburn's, a man who, by his humane attentions and devotedness, had so endeared himself to me, that I felt more anxiety for his safety than for my own. Michel had gathered no tripe de roche, and it was evident to us that he had halted for the purpose of putting his gun in order, with the intention of attacking us, perhaps, whilst we were in the act of encamping.'
The last sentence is the only part of the narrative which is in the slightest degree satisfactory. Dr. Richardson seems to entertain some doubt upon the right of killing this monster; for ourselves, we can see no more reason for hesitating than if it were a wolf instead of an Iroquois cannibal.
Nothing further occurred during the journey homeward, and in this long, fatiguing, and disastrous travel in North America, was comprised a distance by sea and land of 5,550 miles.
The volume is accompanied by highly interesting geognostical observations, by Dr. Richardson, a notice of the fishes, and a list of plants, with a zoological appendix, by Mr. Sabine. The plates are beautifully executed. We trust that the public sense of the meritorious exertions of these officers will be liberally manifested, for we know no undertaking in our times which has deserved so ample a reward as the journey to the shores of the Polar Sea,
Fables for the Holy Alliance, Rhymes on the Road, &c. &c.
THE ingenious Mr. Thomas Brown, the Younger, has published a volume of miscellaneous poems, which, although inferior to some of his preceding works, are yet highly amusing. The first part consists of Fables for The Holy Alliance, and here it must be confessed that his playful muse takes great liberties with the united sovereigns. So far from thinking them holy, he has the profane impudence to laugh at them, and to pronounce them and their pretensions to be equally contemptible.
It is a wholesome thing, that, in our country at least, a loud voice should be exerted against the encroachments upon liberty which the confederated kings would willingly make, and we are not sorry that it is by an Englishman they are told in what light their policy is regarded. Perhaps the whimsical style which Mr. Brown has adopted is better fitted for his purpose than a more serious one; at this time of day it would be waste of time indeed to argue against the right of kings to fetter public opinion, or to restrain individual liberty: their high mightinesses must submit to be laughed at. We do not think there is so much wit in the fables as might have been expected from the author, nor is he happiest when he most tries to be witty. He has acquired a bad habit of raising old jokes from the great Millar, the cotemporary of his ancestor, the great Brown: The following more serious effort is one of the best of the fables :
THE TORCH OF LIBERTY.
I saw it all in Fancy's glass-
To catch the coming flame in turn-
And lit a flame, like Albion's, steady.