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the case with not a few of the French or English men who accompanied the natives on their hunting and trading parties; for so attached did they become to the Indian mode of life, as to lose all relish for their former habits, and their native homes. Hence they derived the name of Coureurs Des Bois, and became a ready link of intercourse, of great use to the merchant employed in the fur trade, as well as to the traveller. And strange as it may seem to us to find men thus eager to discard civilisation and embrace a savage life, yet the same strong impulse has been constantly observed among the South Sea Islands, where it needs the utmost vigilance of the commanders to prevent desertion of the crews.
A march of no slight risk or labour brought Mr. Mackenzie and his guides towards the centre of the Northern Continent to Chepewyan on the south side of the "Lake "of the Hills." There, in a canoe constructed of birch bark, he commenced his voyage of discovery. First he steered into and around another vast expanse which is called the "Great Slave Lake," and which even then, in the month of June, was for the most part frozen over. Here he suffered from another hardship, which at first sight might be deemed scarcely consistent with the former. "We were pestered," says he "by musquitoes, though in "a great measure surrounded by ice." From this lake he entered a river flowing northward, which received from him, and which still retains, his own name of Mackenzie, "The current," he remarks, "is very strong, and the "banks are covered with large quantities of burned wood, "lying on the ground, and young poplar trees that have "sprung up since the fire that destroyed the larger wood. "It is a very curious and extraordinary circumstance "that land covered with spruce pine and white birch, "when laid waste by fire, should subsequently produce "nothing but poplars where none of that species of tree "were previously to be found."*
Proceeding on his voyage, Mackenzie allowed himself during the day to be carried forward by the stream, but at night he always landed and set up his tents until the dawn justly dreading the perils of falls and rapids as well
* Mackenzie's Journal, June 19. and 29. 1789.
as many others in a tract of country as yet wholly new to Europeans. The Indians of his party provided food by fishing, shooting, or hunting: this, however, was not his sole reliance, as he had some store in his canoe. Large, indeed, were the daily supplies which he required. According to his own account, his party, consisting of ten men and four women, had, within a period of six days, consumed two rein-deer, four swans, forty-five geese, and a considerable quantity of fish!" I have always observed," adds Mackenzie, "that the North-men possessed very "hearty appetites, but they were very much exceeded by "those with me, since we entered this river; and I should "really have thought it absolute gluttony in my people, "if my own appetite had not increased in a similar pro"portion." Among the fish which they caught most frequently was one well known to the Canadians, but still retaining among them the name which the first discoverers had given it: Poisson Inconnlt.
At length in July, 1789, after many hundred miles of navigation, the courageous perseverance of Mackenzie was rewarded, as he saw by degrees the river widen, and the Arctic Sea expand. So thickly was the ice piled along the coasts as to leave him for some time still uncertain whether that were indeed the ocean to which his course had tended; and his doubts were first dispelled by the sudden appearance in the current of huge white masses, which he discovered to be a troop of whales.* Toilsome as had been his progress, he found his return a matter of still far more labour and fatigue, since his canoe had to mount against a strong stream, which required constant exertion of paddling or of tracking with a line on shore. In one part of the river, where the breadth from bank to bank did not exceed three hundred yards, the depth of water was no less than fifty fathoms.f
* " The part of them which appeared above the water was alto"gether white. . . .At first we supposed them to be pieces of ice." (Journal, July 14. 1789.)
f This narrative of the voyage of Mackenzie, as also of another undertaken by him three years afterwards to the western coast of North America, was published by himself in 1801. A good summary of both appears in the Annual Register for that year. (pp. 545—558.)
It may be said with truth, both of the voyage of Mackenzie and the journey of Hearne, that as regarding the Arctic Circle, no discoveries in that age tended more to the progress of discovery in ours. Proving as they did that the North American Continent by no means, as some persons had supposed, extended to the Pole, but was bounded by a Polar Sea, they revived the hopes of a North-west passage, and animated the exertions of a Parry or a Franklin. In these men the spirit of Cook and Hearne was in our own day worthily renewed. But to these men that spirit was not confined. In every part of the world that spirit has been displayed. Not merely in the Tropic islands, where safe within their coral-reefs, the islanders may listen to the outer Ocean's roaring surges — not merely in the realm of eternal winter, where even the restless surges are bound fast by frost — but through the burning sands of Africa, the marshy jungles of Siam, or the tangled brush-woods of New South Wales — wherever the keel can glide, the sledge draw, or the camel carry, or the unassisted human footstep tread — in every clime, and on every soil, —wherever in the quest of knowledge or of conquest there is glory to be won, — there the indomitable spirit of Anglo-Saxon enterprise has overcome most obstacles, and is striving against all.
LITERATURE AND ART.
It seems no unfair pretension that some place in History, however humble, should be allotted to Historians. Those who have successfully chronicled great deeds, ought not themselves to be left unchronicled. On this supposition the Literature of the period now before us may deserve especial notice, since, so far as historical writers are concerned, it was in truth our Golden Era. Besides several of less distinction, as Dr. Watson and Lord Lyttleton, it comprised the three eminent names of Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon.
Of these three it is remarkable that two were natives of Mid-Lothian. David Hume was born at Edinburgh in 1711. He first attracted public favour — such was then the temper of the times — by a volume of sceptical Essays. These, if they did not induce, at least did not prevent, the choice which the Faculty of Advocates made of him for their Librarian. In that office he received little or no emolument, but had at his command a large and excellent collection of books, which suggested to him the design of writing the History of England. He commenced with the accession of the House of Stuart; and in 1754 published his first volume, continuing the narrative to the death of Charles the First. His volume was in quarto; which, till within these forty years, was the more common form of publication, both for Histories and Poems. At present a smaller size is so universally preferred, that, as a popular writer of our own day remarks, the remains of a quarto, if discovered in a future age, may create no less astonishment than the remains of a Mammoth!
In his expectations of success, Hume at first was greatly disappointed. His tendency to palliate the errors of the Stuarts, or to lament their fate, raised a general cry of reproach against him. That might be borne, but it was far more mortifying to observe that after the first ebullitions of anger, the volume seemed to sink into oblivion. The publisher, Mr. Miller, told him that in a twelvemonth he had sold only forty-five copies of it. "I "scarcely indeed," says Hume, "heard of one man in the "three kingdoms considerable for rank or letters that "could endure the book. I must only except the Pri"mate of England, Dr. Herring, and the Primate of "Ireland, Dr. Stone, which seemed two odd exceptions. "These dignified prelates separately sent me a message '• not to be discouraged." * Two more years enabled Hume to come forth with a second volume, and bring down his narrative to the Revolution. This volume was better received, and as he declares, not only rose itself, but served to buoy up its unfortunate brother. It served also to give fresh spirit and a wider scope to his labours. In 1759 he published his History of the House of Tudor. Next he applied himself to finish in two volumes the remaining first part of English History, which he gave to the public in 1761. Thus in Hume's narrative the earlier portions were the last composed. To go backwards is scarce less difficult in writing than in walking; and it is no small proof of his merit and ability as an historian, to have overcome that difficulty of his composition, and left it hardly perceptible to a common reader.
The volumes of 1761 were the last from Hume. In 1763 he was appointed Secretary to the Earl of Hertford, as ambassador at Paris, and in 1767 became UnderSecretary of State to General Conway. But in 1769 he finally retired to his native city, where, during his seven remaining years of life, he enjoyed in uninterrupted ease the fame and affluence which his works had brought him. William Robertson was born at Borthwick near Edinburgh, in 1721, and became a Divine of the Scottish Church. In February 1759 he published his History of Scotland, comprising mainly the events of Queen Mary's reign. The best judges promptly acknowledged the great merits of that performance. Thus writes Lord