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than seven or eight, he thought himself bound to indict a much more severe punishment. That if these gentlemen had modestly and ingeniously said that they had too hastily given a judgment on a matter which they did not understand,—that they knew nothing of old hand-writing, and nothing of old language, (which he conceived they might have done without any impeachment of their understandings) he should have had great tenderness for them. But inasmuch as they had pertinaciously adhered to error aster it had been made as manifest as his own fun at noonday, and clung to an opinion because they had once given it, which they were unable to maintain and unwiling to retract, he thought they ought to be made a public example. That in every sentence he pronounced he kept in mind the rule of a great judge of their own nation," always remembering when he found himself swayed to pity, that there was also a pity due to the countryj" and that he wished the tribunals of that nation, (which on account of the eminent poets it had produced was extremely dear to him,) whether confisting of one, or of one dozen, would always keep that just rule before their eyes. That the pity to the country, in the present instance, was, by the punishment of these offenders,
(who, though not so guilty as th« undiscovered principal, yet, as aceef*. fories after the fact, had a considerable degree of guilt) to maintain and establish truth and honesty, the best supporters of all human dealings, and to prevent the propagation of error, and the success of forgery and imposture.—The pains and penalties however of that court extending only to that kind of chastisement which men of wit best know how to indict, he ordered that Butler, Dryden, Swift, and Pope, should forthwith compose four copies of verses on the subject, either ballad, epigram, or satire, as their several fancies might direct; and that, after he had affixed his sign manual to them, they should be conveyed by Mercury to England, and inserted for one month in the Poets' Corner of all the loyal morning and evening news papers of London, to the end that each of these credulous partisans of folly and imposture should remain "Sacred to ridicule his whole,life long, <* And the fad burden of some merry « song."
On this mild and just sentence being pronounced, all the poetic tribe who were within hearing gave a loud shout of applause, which drew Shakspeare and his companions from their game, and awakened me from my dream.
ACCOUNT OK THE INDIAN WOMEN.
FROM MtARNE's JOURNEY TO THB NORTHERN OCEAN.
'I 'AKE them in a body, the wo- though there are some few of them,
■*• men are as destitute of real when young, who are tolerable; but
faeauty as any nation 1 ever saw, the care of a family, added to their
ry worthy friend, who presides at one of our revenue-boards, with great credit to himself and advantage to the public j a scholar, a man of excellent taste, and much various knowledge; all of whom, though at first, and on a cursory view, they w«re dazzled by the auantity and specious appearance.of this mass of imposture, always expressed themselves with great moderation and reserve on the subject, and never gave a decided opinion on hand-writing and pharaseology, to which the course of their studies had net led them to pay any particular attention.
constant hard labour, soon make the "most beautiful among them look.old and wrinkled, even before they are thirty ; and several of the more ordinary ones at that age are perfect antidotes to love and gallantry. This, howeyer, does not render them less dear and valuable to their owners, which is a lucky circumstance for those women, anda certain proof that there is no such thing as any iule or standard' for beauty. Aik a nor"them Indian, what is beauty ? he will answer, A broad flat face, small eyes, high cheek - bones, three or four broad black lines across each cheek, a low forehead, a large broad chin, a clumsy hook-nose, a tawney hide, and breasts tanging down to the belt. Thfise beauties are greatly heightened, or at least rendered more valuable, when the possessor is capable of dressing all kinds of flsins, converting them into the different parts of their cloathing, and able to Carry eight or ten stone * in summer, or haul a much greater weight in winter. These, and other similar accomplishments, are all that are sought after, or expected, of a northern Indian woman. As to their temper, it is of little consequence; for the men have a wonderful facility in making the most stubborn comply with as much alacrity as could possibly be expected from those of the mildest and most obliging turn of mind: so that the only real difference is, the one obeys through fear, and the other complies cheerfully from a willing mind; both knowing that what is commanded must be done. They are, in fact, all kept at a great distance, and the rank they hold in the opinion of the men cannot be better expressed or explained, than by observing the method of treating or serving them at meals, which would appear very humiliating to an European woman, though custom Ed. Mag. June 1796. 3
. makes it sit light on those whose lot it is to bear it. It is necessary tp observe, that when the men kill any large beast, the women are always sent to bring it to the tent: when it is brought there, every operation if undergoes, such as splitting, drying, pounding, &c. is performed by the women.
When any thing is to be prepared^ for eating, it is the women who cook it; and when it is done, the wives and daughters of the greatest captains in the country are never served, till all the males, even those who are in the capacity of servants, have eaten what they think proper j and in times of scarcity, it is frequently their lot to be left without a single morsel. It is, however, natural to think they take the liberty of helping themselves in secret; but this must be done with great prudence-, as capital embezzlements of provisions in such times are looked on as affairs of real consequence, and frequently subject them to a very severe beating. If they are practised by a woman whose youth and inattention to domestic concerns cannot plead in' her favour, they will for ever, be a blot in her character, and few met) will chuse to have her for a wife.
It may appear strange, that whil« I am extolling the chastity of the northern Indian women, I should acknowledge that it is a very common custom among the men of this country to exchange a night's lodging with each other's wives. But this is so far from being considered as an act which is criminal, that it is esteemed by them as one of the strongest ties of friendstu'p between two families; and in cafe of the death of either man, the other considers himself bound to support the children of the deceased. Those people are so far from viewing this engagement as a- mere ceremony, like most of our M christian
christian god-fathers and god-mo- ble than falls to the sot of a northern thers, who, notwithstanding their Indian, few widows or orphans are vows are made in the most solemn ever unprovided for among them, wanner, and in the presence of both Though the northern Indian men God and man, scarcely ever after- make no scruple of having two or •ward remember what they have pro- three sisters for wives at one time, raised, that there is not an instance yet they are very particular in obof a northern Indian having once serving a proper distance in the conneglected the duty which he is sup- sanguinity of those they admit to the posed to have taken upon himself to above-mentioned intercourse with perform. The southern Indians, with their wives. The southern Indians all their bad qualities, are remaika- are less scrupulous on those occasions \ "bly humane and charitable to the among them it is not at all uncom■widows and children of departed mon for one brother to make free friends; and as their situation and with another brother's wife or daughxnanner of life enable them to do ter; but this is held in abhorrence by more acts of charity with less trou- the northern Indians.
A NEW DESCRIPTION OF THE REAVER,
FROM THE SAME,
'"T'HE situation of the beaver-houses *■*■ is various. Where the beavers are numerous they are found to inhabit lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as thole narrow creeks which connect the numerous lakes with which the NorthernOcean abounds; but the two latter are generally chosen by them ■when the depth of water and other circumstances are suitable, as they have then the advantage ofa current to convey wood and other necessaries to their habitations, and because, in general, they are more difficult to be taken than those that are built in standing water.
There is no one particular part of a lake, pond, river, or creek, of %vhich the beavers make choice for building their houses on, in preference to another; for they sometimesbuild on points, sometimes in the hollow of a bay, and often on small islands; they always choose, howe\er, those parts that have such a d- p h of water as will resist the frost in winter, and prevent it from freezirg to the bottom.
The beaver that build their houses in sinail rivers or creeks, in which
the water is liable to be drained off when the back supplies are dried up by the frolt, are wonderfully taught by instinct to provide against that evil, by making a dam quite across the river, at a convenient distance, from their houses. This I look upon as the most curious piece of workmanfliip that is performed by the beaver; not so much for1 the neatness of the work, as for its strength and real service; and at the same time it discovers such a degree of sagacity and foresight in the animal, ot approach? ing evils, as is little inferior to that of the human species, and is certainly peculiar to those animals.
The beaver-dams differ in shape according to the nature of the place in which they are built. If the water in the river or creek have but little motion, the dam is almost straight; but when the current is more rapid, it is always made with a considerable curve, convex toward the stream. The materials made use of in those dams are drift-wood, green willows, birch, and poplais, if they can be got; also mud and stones, intermixed in such a manner as n-.vA evidently evidently contribute to the strength pnated to various uses-; such as eat
of the dam; but in these dams there ing, sleeping, storehouses for provi
is no other order or method oblerv- sions, and one for their natural occa
ed, except that of the work being sions, &Sc. must have been very little
carried on with a regular sweep, and acquainted with the subject: or,
all the parts being made of equal strength.
In places which have been long frequented by beaver undisturbed, their dams, by frequent repairing, become a solid bank, capable of resisting a great force both of water and ice; and as the willow, poplar, and birch, generally take root and stioot up, they by degrees form a regular-planted hedge, which I have seen in some places so tall, that birds have built their nests among the branches. ,
Though the beaver which build their houses in lakes, and other standing waters, may enjoy a sufficient quantity of their favourite element without the assistance of a dam, the trouble of getting wood and other necessaries to their habitations without the help of a current, must in some measure counterbalance the other advantages which are reaped from such a situation; for it must be observed, that the beaver which build in rivers and creeks, always cut their wood above their houses, so that the current, with little trouble, conveys it to the place required.
The beaver-houses are built of the fame materials as their dams, and are always proportioned in size to the number of inhabitants, which seldom exceed four old, and 6 or 8 young ones; though, by chance, I have seen above double that number.
These houses, though not altogether unworthy of admiration, fall very stiort of the general description given of them; for instead of order or regulation being observed in rearing them, they are of a much ruder structure than their dams.
Those who have undertaken to describe the inside of beaver-houses, as having several apartments appro
which is still worse, guilty of attempting to impose on the credulous, by representing the greatest falsehoods as real facts. Many years constant residence among the Indians, during which I had an opportunity of seeing several hundreds of those houses, has enabled me to affirm that every thing of the kind is entirely void of truth; for, notwithstanding the sagacity of those animals, it has never been observed that' they aim at any other conveniences in their houses, than to have a dry place to lie on ; and there they usually, eat their victuals, which they occasionally take out of the water.
It frequently happens, that some of the large houses are found to have one or more partitions, if they deserve that appellation; but that js no more than a part of the main building, left by the sagacity of the beaver to support the roof. On such occasions it is common for those different apartments, as some are pleased to call them, to have no communication with each other.but by water.
To deny that the beaver is possessed of a very considerable degree of sagacity, would be as absurd in me, as it is in thole authors who think they cannot allow them too much. I (hall willingly grant them their full share; but it is impossible for any one to conceive how, or by what means, a beaver, whose full height when standing erect does not exceed two feet and a half, or three feet at most, and whose fore-paws are noc much larger than a half-crown piece, can "drive stakes as thick as a man's leg into the ground three or four feet deep.11 Their "wattling those slakes with twigs," is equally absurd; and their " plaistering the inside as, their houses with a compo
fition of mud and straw, and swimming with mud and stones on their tails," are still more incredible. The form and size of the animal, notwithstanding all its sagacity, will not admit of its performing such feats; and it would be as impossible for a beaver to use its tail as a trowel, except on the surface of the ground on which it walks, as it would have been for Sir James Thornhill to have painted the dome of St Paul's cathedral without the assistance of scaffolding. The joints of their tail will not admit of their turning it over their backs on any occasion whatever, as, it has a natural inclination to bend downwards; and it h not without some considerable exertion that they can keep it from trailing on the ground. This being the cafe, they cannot sit erect like a squirrel, which is their common posture, particularly when eating, or when they are cleaning themselves, as a cat or squirrel does, without having their tails bent forward between their legs, and which may not improperly be called their trencher.
So far are the beaver from driving stakes into the ground when building their houses, that they lay most of the wood crosswise, and nearly horizontal, and without any other order than that of leaving a hollow or cavity in the middle: when any unnecessary branches project inward, they cut them off with their teeth, and throw them in among the rest, to prevent the mud from Tailing through the roof. It is a mistaken notion, that the wood-work is first completed and then plaistered; for the whole of their houses, as well as their dams, are from the foundation one mass of wood and mud, mixed with stones, if they can be procured. Tru- mud is always taken from the eds;.- of the bank, or the bottom of the cr»ck or pond, near the door of the house; and though their fore part's are so small, yet it is hsld close
up between them, under their throat, that they carry both mud and stones, while they always drag the wood with their teeth.
All their work is executed in the night: and they are so expeditious in completing it, that in the course of one night I have known them to have collected as much mud at their houses as to have amounted to some thousands of their little handfuls: and when any mixture of grafs or straw has appeared in it, it has been most assuredly mere chance, owing to the nature of the ground from which they had taken it. As to their designedly making a composition for that purpose, it is entirely void of truth.
It is a great piece of policy in those animals, to cover, or piaister, as it is usually called, the outside of their houses every fall with fresh mud, and as late as possible in the autumn, even when the frost becomes pretty severe: as by this means it soon freezes as hard as a stone, and prevents their common enemy, the quiquehatch, from disturbing them during the winter." And as they are frequently seen to walk over there work, and sometimes to give a flap with their tail> particularly when plunging into the water, this has, without doubt, given rife to the vulgar opinion, that they use their tails as a trowel, with which they poster their houses j whereas that flapping of the tail is no more than a custom, which they always preserve, even when theybecome tame and domestic, and more so when they are startled.
Their food chiefly consists of a large root, something resembling a cabbage-stalk, which grows at the bottom of the lakes and rivers.— They eat also the bark of trees, particularly that of the poplar, birch, and willow ; but the ice preventing them from getting to she land in winter, they have not any barks to feed upon during that season, except that