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reprinted from the edition of 1611. Its author was a gentleman of Elvas, who accompanied Don Ferdinand de Soto and his six hundred followers, of whose exploits he tells, in all their adventures. Hakluyt seems to have undertaken the translation of this book chiefly with the view of benefiting the unfortunate Virginian colony, being himself one of the patentees under the charter of King James. He hoped, by spreading the fame of the wealth of an adjoining country, to induce fresh adventurers to join those already stationed in those parts. The work was originally called Virginia richly Valued; but Hakluyt himself afterwards adopted the more appropriate title it now bears. Mr. Rye prefaces this work with a sketch of preceding travellers to Florida. Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, described by Peter Martyr as "a grave man, and of authority," visited the country in 1520, and from him we have the following "yarns." First, concerning the Indians of Duharhe:
"These people have a king of giant-like stature and height, called Datha, and they say that the queen his wife is not much shorter than himself. This lord, being demanded why he alone and his wife should attain to that tallness and height of body says, that it proceedeth from violent art, after this manner. While the infants are in the cradle, and under the breasts of the nurses, the masters of that art are sent for, who annoint the several members of the infant for certayne dayes with medicines of certayne herbs, which mollifie the tender bones, so that the bones being presently converted to the softnesse of lukewarme waxe, they so stretch them out in length oftentimes, that they leave the poor miserable infant halfe dead; and after that they feed the nurse with certaine meats of powerful virtue," &c.
The second story relates to a country called by Ayllon Inzignanin:
"The inhabitants, by report of their ancestors, say that a people as tall as the length of a man's arm, with tayles of a spanne long, sometime arrived there, brought thither by the sea, which tayle was not moveable or wavering, as in four-footed beastes, but solide, broad above, and sharpe beneath, as we see in fishes and crocodiles, and extended into a bony hardness. Wherefore, when they desired to sit, they used seats with holes through them, or, wanting them, digged up the earth a spanne deep or little more: they must convay their tayle into the hole when they rest them."
Of the three contemporary accounts of Soto's expedition, Mr. Jared Sparks, in his American Biography, gives the preference to the "gentleman of Elvas," the author of the work before us. "Yet," says Mr. Sparks, "whoever follows him closely will be likely to run into ten errors in arriving at a single truth, with the additional uncertainty of being able to distinguish the former from the latter. The narrative is, moreover, disfigured with de
scriptions of atrocious acts of injustice, oppression, and cruelty; in short, if this narrative is worthy of credit, few readers will be inclined to dissent from the remark of Philip Briet, in his Annales Mundi, that it is difficult to decide whether cruelty or avarice was the predominant trait in the character of Soto." Mr. Rye, however, defends the "gentleman of Elvas" and the other writers from the prevalent charge against them of extravagant "romancing," and shows that there are too many points of agreement in the three narratives to allow of the suspicion that they are not, in the main, faithful to fact. "The character of De Soto," says Mr. Rye, " as developed in his position of leader of this remarkable expedition, presents us with an amount of hardihood and courageous perseverance under the most fearful trials, unsurpassed perhaps even by Pizarro or Cortes." this testimony we have to couple that of Bartolome de las Casas, who, in writing of " the acts and gestes of the Spaniardes in the West Indies," says, "it loatheth me to recount those actes so cursed, ghastly, and bloodie, not of men, but of savage beastes." The general style of this work is a confirmation of Mr. Rye's good opinion of its veracity. From the stirring incidents and striking local characteristics of this volume we extract the following scraps. This tale of a slave-master in Cuba will not be new to all of our readers, perhaps; but all will like to have it in its original dress:
"A steward of Vasques Porcallo, which was an inhabitour in that island, understanding that his slaves would make away with themselves, staied for them with a cudgill in his hand at the place where they were to meete, and told them that they could neither doe nor thinke any thing that hee did not know before; and that he came thither to kill himselfe with them, to the end that, if he had used them badly in this world, he might use them worse in the world to come. And this was a meane that they changed their purpose, and turned home againe to doe that which he commanded them."
At a certain place, called Aymay, "were four Indians taken, and none of them would confess any other thing, but that they knew of none other habitation. The Governor" (Soto) manded one of them to be burned; and presently another confessed that two daies journie from thence there was a province called Cutifa-Chiqui," &c.
This province of Cutifa-Chiqui had a queen, who interchanged courtesies with the Spaniards:
"And the ladie, perceiving that the Christians esteemed the perles, advised the governor to sende to search certeine graves that were in that towne, and that hee should find many; and that if hee would send to the dispeopled townes, he might load all his horses. They
sought the graves of that towne, and there found fourteene rooves of perles, and little babies and birds made of them."
The Notes upon Russia are less popularly entertaining than most of the series. Mr. Major's Preface, which is the most readable part of the book, contains a life of the author, the Baron Sigismund von Herberstein, who was ambassador from the German court to the grand Prince Vasiley Ivanovich, the contemporary of our Henry VIII. Herberstein's notes give a full account of the religious, political, and social condition of the Russians at that time, together with such topographical information as it was in his power to acquire; but his style is not graphic, and his work is chiefly interesting to the historical antiquary.
The Geography of Hudson's Bay was written by Captain Coats, who made several voyages to that locality between the years 1727 and 1751. It is now published for the first time, by the permission of Sir Edward Parry, the possessor of the original manuscript, and is edited by John Barrow, Esq. Beyond what we learn from the diary of Captain Coats very little is known of him. He tells us that he was thrice shipwrecked on the ice, and proves by his hydrographical notes that he was an expert navigator. "These," he says, "are so adjusted, and with such care,' that he "willingly submits them to the test of time." And indeed it is found that they are accurate to a degree quite surprising, when it is remembered at what time and with what appliances they were written. In publishing this manuscript the Society carried out the expressed wish of the author; for though the "notes" were made chiefly for the use of his own sons, he also states that he has "committed them to writing least they be buried with him, and posterity be deprived of what may one day be thought of some use." The "notes" are by no means so dry to the unscientific reader as their title seems to promise. Captain Coats had a good eye for land-scenery as well as hydrographical phenomena, and seems to have taken fully as much pleasure in observing the natives of the shores he visited as in attending to the more immediate object of his voyage. There is little real technicality about his work. His remarks on many things are made pleasant by the obvious goodness of his heart. His graphic description of the "Usquemows," and his enthusiastic admiration of their moral qualities, though he allows that occasionally they did eat their enemies, are amusing.
"I have often," he says, "thought this people are of the linage of the Chinease, in the many features I think I see in them; their bloated, flatt faces, little eyes, black hair, little hands and feet, their listlessness to travailling, very fair when free from grease, very submis
sive to their men, very tender of their children, and indefatigable in the gewgaws to please their men and children. I have had some of those toys from the children brought to me by father and mother, to learn them to look at us without trembling. These toys are little pieces of ivory, made in form of all their fishes, all their fouls, all their beasts, all their men, women, and children; nay, some to imitate our ships, our boats, and our men. In short, nothing escapes their notice. It has been said that these are Anthropophagions. I answer, it is no otherwise than as all the Indians in America do, to sacrifice their enimyes to their god; and then, indeed, they do partake of human flesh. But to say it is a delicate, and that they do it at any time they can gett it, and that it is a favorite dish, I believe 'tis quite otherwise; for my own part, I see nothing in them to countenance such a hellish principle, and do think them as gentle and sociable, and more so, and more unanimous than we can pretend to. That they are idolaters I am perswaided; for I have had a bone deity, which they seldom are without in their canoes. The rising sun summons all on their knees, when you hear such a contrast of vocal musick as comes from the lowest recessis of the mind, with such energy and noble contempt, as lift these people, in idea, above the common level of all mankind; and I dare say they think themselves the favorite people of God, and look on us with more compassion and contempt than we do them. For to what reason can we ascribe that great confidence in them, when they singly and alone have put themselves in my hands, but a nobleness of mind, above the low conceits of mean earthly creatures?"
In matters of decorum and natural breeding Coats declares that his favourites, the Esquimaux, excelled his own countrymen; and, in proof, relates how his own people, rendered over-free by the kind familiarity of the natives, peeped into the abodes of the women, who were unprepared for such an intrusion. The women and children thereupon hid themselves quietly; but the men, proving that their usual gentleness was not stupidity or effeminacy, pointed their arrows to revenge the insult. They were not hasty, however, in letting them fly; and when the captain called off his men, and showed signs of regret, the arrows were put aside, and a perfect reconciliation at once effected. "How mean and contemptible," exclaims the enthusiastic Coats, "must we appear in the eyes of this people !"
In the same volume with the "notes" of Captain Coats, the Hakluyt Society have published Extracts from the Log of Capt. Christopher Middleton, on his Voyage for the Discovery of the North-west Passage through Hudson's Straits, and other memoranda of the same expedition; but these do not contain any additions to our ordinary knowledge of the arctic regions.
The True Description of three Voyages by the North-east towards Cathay and China is a volume abundant in interest.
It contains an account of the exploits of Barentz, who, in the fifteenth century, circumnavigated Spitzbergen, and made further way north-east than any navigator who preceded or succeeded him. The re-publication of this "Description," with the elucidatory comments of the editor, will redeem from long neglect one of the greatest heroes of arctic travel. Barrow, Scoresby, Beechey, and other writers on the subject of arctic discovery, have never examined this account of Barentz's voyage closely enough to arrive at the important conclusion of the editor, that Spitzbergen was circumnavigated by this Dutchman and his companions. "The first discovery of this country by our Dutch navigators," says Dr. Beke, "is now universally admitted, though formerly the idea was entertained that they had been anticipated by Sir Hugh Willoughby. But that Spitzbergen was actually circumnavigated by them is a fact which, as far as we are aware, has never been adverted to by any writer on arctic discovery. The details of this portion of Barentz and Rijp's voyage are neither full nor precise enough to enable us to follow them minutely in their course; added to which, the maps of Spitzbergen, especially of its eastern side, are still not sufficiently trustworthy to render us much assistance in laying down their track. There can, however, be no doubt that they sailed up its eastern shores, passed along its northern extremity, and returned by the western coast." This important conclusion is illustrated in a long and laborious introduction. The narrative of the ten months' wintering of Barentz and his companions in Nova Zembla is one of great interest. Perhaps none of those who have weathered the polar cold have suffered more than this heroic band, who bore all with perfect patience and cheerfulness, and submitted themselves during the whole time with the greatest willingness to their commander's discipline. After an imprisonment of eight months, when the weather seemed to favour the idea of sailing, the crew "agreed among themselves to speak unto the skipper, and to tell him it was now more than time to see about getting from thence;" but it was with great reluctance and diffidence that they put into execution even this modest resolution, and they were easily prevailed upon by their leader to postpone their return, which, wonderful to relate, was subsequently undertaken in two small open boats, under auspices thus described by Barentz himself in a paper written before setting out:
"There are three or foure of us that are not able to stirre to doe any thinge; and the best and strongest of us are so weake with the great cold and diseases that we have so long endured, that we have but half a man's strength; and it is to be feared that it will rather be worse than better in regard of the long voiage that we have in hand, and our breade will not last us longer than to the end of the month of August ;