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er squadron in case of casualties. That mission was not only nobly accomplished, but, through the agency of our minister, Mr. Roberts, important and new avenues for trade were opened in several dominions, and the necessity of establishing a naval station in the East made quite apparent and conclusive. Accordingly it was determined by the government to send one or more ships of war every three years to cruise about the East India trading stations, and thence, returning by the opposite cape, to complete the circuit of the world. The Peacock and Enterprise, under commodore Kennedy, once more bearing Mr. Roberts as our agent to complete the diplomatic work he had commenced with eastern courts, proceeded in 1835 from the United States, as the first regular squadron for the new station. The Columbia, with the John Adams as her consort, were commissioned in 1837 to follow in the same round, and to touch at as many other ports as occasion might require, or time permit. It is of this last cruise that the writer has undertaken to narrate his impressions.
Respecting his style, the writer makes no pretensions, although he is aware that so much depends upon it, that the simplest incident is embellished by it; and the naked truth of many topics entirely fail to interest when ungraced by its drapery. The walk of an insect across a lady's neck, by the magic pen of Burns, has the charm of a romance; and the stories of Sam Weller or Sam Slick tickle the mind with far more delight, on account of their style, than much worthier subjects swaddled in mere dry details. Still the writer feels assured that the simplest account of a voyage has such indiscriminate popularity at the present day, that he may safely rely upon the interest of his subject, without special reference to style. Something, however, should perhaps be said in apology for defects in this particular.
In the first place, the book was written on board ship; and any one, who has been at sea, must know full well that,
“A ship is a thing that one never can be quiet in.” Bishop Heber in his voyage to India says: “I find two circumstances for which, at sea, I was by no means prepared, namely, that we have no great time for study; but for me, at least, there is so much which interests and occupies me, that I have no apprehension of time hanging heavy on my hands." A ship of war is worse than a merchant-man: boatswains, and boatswain's mates are whistling and roaring their orders about the ship at all times ; holy-stones are often grating over the sanded deck with the grit of a thousand files
in a machine shop; the rattling cogged wheels of the “rope wenches,” are as frequently clattering with the noisy din of a cotton factory; while of the five hundred persons on board, some are learning to play on violins, flutes, or bugles - others whistling, singing, sky-larking, or chattering; and cocks are fighting, pigs squealing, ducks cackling; and there are many other annoyances that form but the common affairs of every day -- aside from the general quarters, musters, and gangway exhibitions and yet, amid such “confusion worse confounded," was this book written, and that too without the privacy of a room, or a retreat of any kind.
Nevertheless, the writer has endeavoured to “pick up the wee things about the deck," that might serve for incident; and also to "tak notes" of affairs and objects abroad as well as the limited time of flitting visits ashore would allow. It might probably have been better had he followed more exactly the excellent directions of good Mas. ter Bayle, who in a rule for Concord says, by way of illustration : “I come into a coffee-house, or some other place where witty men resort; I make as if I minded nothing ; but as soon as any one speaks ---- pop, I slap it down, and make that my own;" and in his prescription for invention he adds: “Why, when I have anything to invent, I never trouble my head about it, as other men do, but presently turn over my book of commonplaces, and there I have, at one view, all that Persius, Montaigne, Seneca's tragedies, Horace, Juvenal, Claudian, Pliny, Plutarch's Lives, and the rest, have ever thought about the subject : and so, in a trice, by leaving out a few words, or putting in others of my own, the business is done." But although these sage rules have not been the guide for the writer of this book, yet whenever he has had a statement to make, in connection with his subject, that belonged to the common stock of history or science, or has had views and sentiments to convey which another has better expressed than himself, he has not hesitated, without further acknowledgements, to use such materials, in part or entire, and to blend them with his own into a kind of mosaic, in which he admits that his part is little more than the cement. But he has not carried this freedom to so very great an extent as many authors who have been more infected with the dreadful - cacoethes scribendi;" and the reader need not expect to find, as in more learned travels, the history of each place run back to primeval dates, including complete treatises upon the Botany, Mineralogy, and Zoology of every place; for the writer has only