« ForrigeFortsæt »
heart. Should my nephews and nieces read it, when I am again with her, they will the better know her worth, whose tender regard fostered their infancy, in those dear islands where with her I found an earthly Paradise, and lived in a sacred happiness, without alloy.
"10th Feb. 1756-7."
At the earnest desire of my friend the possessor of this interesting manuscript, I cheerfully undertook the task of being its editor; but my task has been light, being chiefly confined to alterations in the old style of orthography to that of the present standard; and a little similar change, where the antiquated grammatical, or rather anti-grammatical, construction presented any awkwardness. I have also divided the Narrative into chapters, for the convenience of resting pauses for the reader; and, to facilitate reference, have given a table of contents annexed to each volume.
In the earlier part of the Diary, from the 1st of January to the middle of March, the date of the past, and what was very soon after fixed on for that of the present year, are both preserved at the head of the pages: a mode of dating, which, I believe, arose out of an ancient custom of beginning the year at the vernal equinox; and we see in the Spectator that Addison, who lived a little before
Sir Edward Seaward's time, used the double dates during the three early months of the year. The original Diary, and consequently this published Narrative, copied almost word for word from it, is very precise in its dates; noting even the days of the week by name in their regular passing, not only as to private but public occurrences. It is also equally correct in the topography of places on land, and in their maritime positions on the ocean.
The islands which form so large an object of interest in the work, may be found in old charts in the neighbourhood of the Seranillas; but until Sir Edward Seaward, on being cast ashore there, discovered them to be habitable, they had been marked down as a cluster of barren rocks only, whose dangerous reef warned ships to avoid them. The important consequences of this discovery, may be subjects of useful reflection to British statesmen, even in the present day.
It would be forestalling the interest of the reader, were any closer remarks made here on the events of the Narrative; but I cannot refrain from pointing attention to the home-policy of the upright Governor of Seaward Island, with regard to its engrafted negro population. It appears so competent, with some modifications, to meet the united demands of the right of property in the (it may be hoped) last race of imported slaves in our pos
sessions, and the brotherly pleadings of a general humanity, that I would venture to recommend it to the particular consideration of all sincere friends to the poor sons of Africa, whether those friends be in England or the Western World.
Besides this predominant feature, there are some other circumstances in the Narrative, so full of a peculiar interest, by leading us behind the curtain, both in the court and cabinet of George II.; and likewise on the famous scenes of battle, whether under tent or sail canvass, on the Spanish Main, nearly a hundred years ago; that I can hardly forbear from expatiating on their admirable painting, both with regard to the events themselves and the living personages to whom they introduce us. These parts remind me of the pictures of Hogarth and of Wilkie; bringing before us the incident and the actors just as they were, simple, natural, and true to the fact.
There is a circumstance connected with the integrity of the Narrative, which I do not deem necessary to mention to the reader in this preface: he will learn it in its proper place, towards the conclusion of the work; and there, his own judgment will at once recognise the advantage of not having had it anticipated here.
Esher, March, 1831.
CONTENTS TO VOL. I.
ceed apprehension of savages they venture
alarm preservation of the surviving live stock,
Their first Sabbath on the island Seaward's subse-
quent occupations. A cavern discovered in the
near the rocky point. A variety of incidents.-
Various arrangements on board the vessel. Their
on the awful occasion.
weather their employments on board-the sky
The rising sun The beach covered with deposits