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be to convey a moral lesson, and useful instruction; as in the present enlightened age, a volume without these adjuncts, would be read by few, and by none to permanent advantage.
The most superficial reader, even upon a cursory glance at the following pages, will behold the mysterious dealings of the Supreme with his creatures; he will be led to reflect on the perils of those who “ go down to the sea in ships, taught to believe the truth of the declaration of the royal prophet, that “the dark places of the earth are full of cruelty ;” and moreover, during his perusal, he will be led to admire the beautiful and heart-cheering effusion of Cowper, in his poem on Alex. Selkirk, who was cast upon the island of Juan Fernandez. *
* It would be almost superfluous to state, that the ingenious De Foe founded his history of Robinson Crusoe upon the misfortune of the above-named shipwrecked mariner; and perhaps this incident would not have been alluded to, had it not been for a statement lately made, that the island which was the theatre of Selkirk's ruminations, has, by a freak of nature, as some would term it, been engulfed in the sea ; but we would say, by the fiat of the Almighty Governor of the universe, by whose power“ valleys are exalted, and mountains brought low.”
Since penning the above reflection, the following account has reached us of the disappearance of the Island of Juan Fernandez, through an earthquake; and we avail ourselves of giving it an early and extended notice :-“ The Isle of Juan Fernandez has recently disappeared from the South Sea; it was doubtless produced at some remote period by a volcanic eruption, and it has been destroyed by an earthquake. Between the double catastrophe which marked its origin and its disappearance, no history in the world has made so little noise as the history of this island.
At the period we commence our task, the public have been informed of the perils and deaths of the captain and some of the crew of the Stirling Castle, and the sufferings of the survivors ; but a mere epitome only has been given, and it will be our object to narrate and arrange them link by link in the chain of melancholy recital. In doing this we shall not be under the painful necessity of contradicting the facts already before the public, but we shall be enabled to confirm them by unquestionable corroborative testimony, both oral and documentary
“ Countries, like men, have their personal glory; the Isle of Juan Fernandez has certainly had its share, in having afforded shelter to the shipwrecked mariner, to whom Daniel De Foe gave the immortal name of Robinson Crusoe. The island took its name from Juan Fernandez, a Spanish pilot of the sixteenth century. He was in the habit of sailing along the South American coast from Peru to Chili, meeting with no enemies but the south winds; these were, however, such redoubtable ones that they became a rude, although a sufficiently severe school of navigation. It occurred to him on one occasion whether by putting out further to sea he might not avoid these terrible winds. He made the trial, and found that it was crowned with success; his vessel glided over the sea as if by enchantment.
“During one of his voyages, about 1572, Fernandez discovered a coast, which he knew could not be that of Chili; and, happier than Columbus himself, he called it by his own name. He found that it was an island; and on his return he recounted wonders of the place; but when he proposed taking a colony out there, the Spanish government showed no disposition to favour his design. Fernandez, however, established himself there; but after some time he abandoned the island, leaving behind him only a few goats, which afterwards greatly multiplied. It has been doubted by some whether Spain allowed him to retain quiet possession of the place ; but it is more probable that the cause of his quitting it was a return of his passion for the sea, and the life to which he had been so long accustomed. To his adventurous life he then returned ; and it is by some authors asserted that he was the first to discover New Zealand.
It has been said that had the credence of the facts narrated depended upon the veracity of the ipse dixit of one person, doubts might have arisen as to whether it was possible that human nature (one a delicate female too), could have borne up under tortures so numerous and enduring, and insults so diabolical. In order to elicit truth, and as much as possible to chase away scepticism, we have been unremitting in our endeavours to obtain facts from the lips of such of the survivors as we could have access to ; and the result has been, that the "thrice-told tale” of misery and misfortune corresponds and harmonizes together, and a few contradictions, which at first view caught our observation, have been satisfactorily explained by reference to the time, place and circumstances under which the narrators were placed.
“ This island was situate in lat. 33° 40' S. and long. 78° 50' W., and about 300 miles from the Chilian coast. It was of an irregular oblong shape, the greatest length being twelve and its utmost breadth six miles. It abounded with sandal and yellow woods, together with great varieties of palm trees, and the coast supplied abundance of crustaceous and other fish. Among the celebrated navigators who have touched here was Lord Anson, who anchored in a port which he called “English Harbour.”
It will be the object of the compiler, as he progresses with the Narrative, to have recourse to such adventitious aid as he may deem essential to explain some facts connected with it which might otherwise be ambiguous, and perhaps inexplicable. The manners and customs of the barbarians, among whom the sufferers were cast, will be given as far as certainty will enable us, nor will the natural history of the soil, &c. be overlooked.
In order that the work may be interesting to the nautical reader—we shall present an account, from the most authentic charts, &c. &c., of the bays which will be often referred to, and their outlets, and point out the shoals, reefs, and quicksands, upon, or in which the mariner is liable to strike or to be engulfed. The geography of the continent, where the sufferers for a time located in a miserable captivity, will moreover be attended to.
In pursuing the detail, it will be our pleasing task to notice the chivalrous conduct of a British officer, and the brave men under his command, who, at the risk of their lives, volunteered their services to rescue a suffering lady from a horrible captivity, as well as her companions in misfortune.
It will be with pleasure that we shall detail the kind and hospitable attentions of Stephen Owen, Esq., the British Commissary at Moreton Bay, as well as his lady, and many of the principal inhabitants, not only to Mrs. Fraser, but also to those who had been under the command of her husband.
Before we commence our interesting narrative, we cannot refrain from indulging the hope that the perusal will act as a stimulus to Missionary exertions and that the various societies who have been long engaged in sending persons to preach the gospel to those who " sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; we trust that a holy emulation will arise among them, who shall be the first to send a missionary to the shore where the natives inflicted these unheard-of tortures.
The conduct of the gallant Lieutenant, we hope will act as a stimulus. If he, at the risk of his life, would venture to rescue four or five of his fellowcreatures from suffering, how much more important is it that the Christian soldier should leave all that is dear to him, and attempt to enlighten the minds of, and deliver from everlasting suffering the sons and daughters of ignorance and cruelty!