« PreviousContinue »
north-easterly course, and falling into · Rainy Lake,' in latitude 48° 30', whose waters, after several rapids, are emptied into the Lake of the Woods, in latitude 491". On the west, north-west, and south-west of Cassino, and from Red Lake to the northward of it, in about 48°, the waters flow into the Great Red River, which is emptied into Lake Winnipeg, and proceed from thence into Hudson's Bay.
Now let us see what this grand discoverer of the true sources of the Mississippi has accomplished. With Schoolcraft's map before him he could not do otherwise than mark down the Cassino Lake in its proper place; but all beyond it he conceived to be fair ground on which to exercise his talent at · closet geography,' and visionary map-making, which he so much and justly reprobates, for he avows that he neither possessed any instruments to take the latitude and longitude, nor could have availed himself of them if he had. Here, then, he had a complete carte blanche on which to exercise his ingenuity—which he has done as follows. In the first place, he has thrown up the Lake of the Woods to 5040 to give more scope for his new discoveries. At 491°, where the Lake of the Woods actually is, he has fabricated a large lake, which he calls Kakokisciousibi, and is the same as the Red Lake, which is, in fact, in 481°, and the Red Fork, flowing out of it into the Red River, is converted into the Bloody River. Farther to the southward, in 481', the precise situation of Red Lake, is another new discovery of a large lake, with a hard name, which, it seems, implies Turtle Lake; and a few miles to the northward of this, is another, of a very extraordinary description, indeed a perfect nondescript, on which he has conferred the name of Julia. It is three miles round, and heart-shaped, situated on the summit of an eminence, from which may be the flow of waters—to the south, towards the Gulf of Mexico; to the north, towards the Frozen Sea ; on the east, to the Atlantic; and in the west towards the Pacific Ocean.' Its waters are stated to boil up in the middle,'—that is, he saw them at the distance of half a mile, which is a pretty sharp sight; his sounding lines could find no bottom-we suppose he swam with them in his teeth to the middle. The pilgrim asks 'how is this lake formed, and whence do its waters proceed ?'-leaving the grand Architect alone' to solve the questions; and he shows some signs of sense in so doing. Though this lake has no issue,' he was aware, no doubt, of the difficulty of accounting for a constant supply of water, where there are no steam-engines to force it up, as into the great reservoir on the top of Primrose Hill, or that at the head of Tottenham-Court Road, to the former of which Lake Julia bears a wonderful likeness,
M. Beltrami, after a page or two of rhapsodical nonsense, bethinks himself that it may be, after all, as well to 'conjecture' something as to the question he had left to the grand Architect alone;' and accordingly he has recourse to one of those powerful divinities to whom travellers of his description usually apply, when a knotty point arrests their progress—an earthquake or a volcano; his speculations go to the latter, and he comes to the conclusion, that the basin of the lake has been its effect and its crater.' But another question presents itself to our pilgrim, Whither do these waters go ?' This question he has solved to his entire satisfaction. At the northern foot of this mount of Nature's engineering, the water bubbles up into a little basin surrounded by rushes, having filtrated from the lake through the north bank of the mount:
They are the sources of the Bloody River.' On the opposite, or south side, and at the foot of the eminence, other sources bubble up and form a beautiful little basin, of about eighty feet in circumference. These waters likewise filtrate from the lake; AND THESE SOURCES ARE THE ACTUAL SOURCES OF THE MISSISSIPPI.'
When Bruce reached the source of the Nile, he felt proud of the triumph he had gained over kings, and armies, and philosophers, who, for three thousand years, had failed in their attempts; but it was a short-lived triumph. I found,' says he, . a despondency gaining ground fast upon me, and blasting the crown of laurels I had too rashly woven for myself.' M. Beltrami exults in a somewhat different style:
Oh! what were the thoughts which passed through my mind at this most happy and brilliant moment of my life! The shades of Marco Polo, of Columbus, of Americus Vespucius, of the Cabots, of Verazini, of the Zenos, and various others, appeared present, and joyfully assisting at this high and solemn ceremony, and congratulating themselves on one of their countrymen having, by new and success, ful researches, brought back to the recollection of the world the inestimable services which they themselves had conferred on it by their own peculiar discoveries, by their talents, achievements, and virtues.' - vol. ii. p. 414.
We have no desire to lessen the self-importance which is assumed by this grand discovery; and we have, therefore, followed the Pilgrim's example in putting it on record in Roman characters. We further wish to assure him, if it be any gratification, that we implicitly believe, nay more, are positively sure, that - neither traveller nor missionary, nor expedition-maker, ever visited this lake;' and still more, that none of them ever will, for the best of all possible reasons, because it does not exist-like the air-drawn dagger of Macbeth, “There is no such thing !' We fearlessly
pronounce the whole account of the Julian lake' and the Julian sources,' and the ' bubbles,' to be a palpable and clumsy fabri
and hope our pilgrim has been more sinned against than sinning, in this promulgation of the absurd story to the world. It would be a sufficient refutation to tell this Pilgrim, what he seems not to know, that the statement, which represents rivers as running in opposite directions, out of the same lake, is contrary to nature; and that, as Sneer, in the Critic, says, “ What is unnatural is a physical impossibility.' But we have positive proof of the fallacy of these pretended discoveries. The Northwest Company, and the North American Fur Company, have each of them a settlement near the southern corner of Rainy Lake, which occupies the very parallel of latitude on which this Pilgrim has placed his nonentity; and if he will take the trouble to consult the excellent map of Walker, published only last year, and to whom all the information collected by the North-west Company was given, he must blush to see in what a silly as well as shameful manner he has falsified the geography of this portion of North America. It is indeed quite ridiculous for a person, who confesses his total ignorance as to latitudes and longitudes, to pretend to lay down his discoveries on a chart already filled up by those, who had the means and the ability of ascertaining the true latitudes and longitudes.
We now take leave for the present of M. Beltrami, who may consider himself fortunate in having escaped with this light infliction of the birch-rod. If he be not too much in love with himself to listen to friendly admonition, we would advise him, should he still persist in getting up one or two more octavos, the result of his pilgrimage to Mexico, to abstain henceforth from abusing or ridiculing the sciences that are beyond his reach, and to set down nothing but what he actually sees, or knows from good authority; for he may be well assured, that if he should, aut per se aut per alium, preach up any more false doctrines, and, what is worse, disseminate any more false facts, we shall be tempted to give him a specimen of rather severer discipline. *
Silly levity and credulity may account for one such outrage as this publication presents; but a repetition of the offence, after warning, need entertain no hope of being so mercifully thought of or dealt with.
* Since this was printed, we have looked into Major Long's Second Expedition, compiled by Mr. Keating, in which we find the following note :- An Italian, whom we met at Fort St. Anthony, attached himself to the expedition, and accompanied us to Pembina. He has recently published a book, entitled, “ La decouverte des Sources de Mississippi, &c.;" which we notice merely on account of the fictions and misrepresentations which it contains.'- S. H. L. (Stephen H, Long.)
ART. VII.-Eighth Report of the Commissioners of Irish Educa
tion Inquiry, with the Appendix-Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. London, June 2nd, 1827. Ordered by the House
of Commons to be printed, June 19th, 1827. pp. 461. FEW questions have of late years more attracted the attention
of parliament, and none could have better deserved to do so, than the education of the people; and if little practical good has as yet been effected, we have at least obtained much valuable information. Two commissions on this subject have been sent to Ireland, the last of which has just completed its labours. It was directed to examine into all institutions connected with education, supported wholly, or in part, at the public expense; and thus, perhaps accidentally, the college of Maynooth came under a jurisdiction, which had been originally intended to embrace only the schools for the instruction of the lower orders. We are glad that this deviation from the original plan took place, as we had long been most anxious to receive some authentic statements respecting that very important seminary.
We have always considered the education of the clergy as a question of the highest moment. In a Protestant country their authority is greatly felt, but in a Catholic state it is beyond calculation increased; for there their influence enables them not only to direct the religious conduct, but also to interfere with the temporal affairs of their flock. There the system of auricular confession silently but powerfully augments their weight, and there the prostration of the understanding to the dicta of the church, so universally and peremptorily demanded, renders all attempt at resistance to unqualified obedience, an act of contumacy against religion, while the religious teachers are considered not as mere fallible mortals interpreting the word of God to mankind, but, in their collective capacity, almost as emanations from the Divinity himself.
Although education may diminish among the higher classes the evils produced by such a religion, the effects to which we have thus briefly alluded must occur wherever, as in Ireland, the very large majority of the Roman Catholic population consists of the lowest orders. There the instruction of the Catholic priesthood must at once be admitted to be an object of paramount importance, and more especially when we reflect upon the past and present state of that country. From the earliest period of its history, it has been the arena of discord, civil war, and rebellion; its annals have been stained with crimes of the deepest hue, among which murder is but too conspicuous ; every civil contest has been followed by the confiscation of the property of the vanquished;
and in almost every instance the Roman Catholics have been the sufferers. Thus the ancient Milesian families have gradually been reduced to the state in which we now find them—the poor tenants, or the wretched cultivators of the land, over which their ancestors once held undisputed sway. Hence we find the proprietors of nearly the whole of the surface of Ireland—almost the whole of the peerage, (with only eight exceptions, out of two hundred and twelve peers,) and a very large proportion of the gentry- Protestants ;* while the immense majority of the peasantry, the most influential of the clergy, and the leading demagogues, are Roman Catholics : th us arraying, on the one side, rank, property, and political power; on the other, numbers, clamour, and religious zeal. It may, indeed, be readily conceived, that where the Romanist inhabitants of a parish are composed almost entirely of the lowest classes, a priest, either through want of judgment, or (possibly) through evil intention, may easily mislead those committed to his charge, who, in many instances, consider their landlords as usurpers, and in the very great majority of cases have no community of feeling with them, either as to politics or religion. The education of clergymen, armed with such power, must needs be a question of vital importance. Were we to express our wishes, we should say, that they ought to spring from at least respectable families, wherein they might have had some intercourse with the world, some acquaintance with mankind. They would then proceed to their seminary, not imbued with illiberal ideas, but inclined to reject the rigorous principles of exclusion which it must ever be the desire of monastic bigotry to enforce. There they might be allowed reasonable liberty in all respects, without necessarily injuring their morals or impairing their religious principles. The pre-eminent necessity of strict allegiance might be inculcated, and obedience to their sovereign united with due submission to their ecclesiastical superiors —they would then go forth educated as loyal subjects and tolerant Christians, to be the teachers of the word of God, and the indi
* We are almost afraid to say what number of acres has been at different times con. fiscated in Ireland. We believe more than the whole country twice over. The result has been, if we may believe the late Lord Londonderry's assertion in the House of Com. mons, that 49-50ths of the land belong to Protestants. Even supposing this statement to be somewhat exaggerated, though we do not know that it is much so, still it leaves nearly all the soil in the hands of one party. The relative proportion of numbers which those of one religious persuasion bear to those of the other, has been a subject of much discussion. We cannot trust to the Catholic Association, when we remember how they have habitually falsified documents, and invented facts. It is impossible, therefore, to place any reliance on the census they have undertaken ; which besides, includes only some selected parishes in the south and south-west of Ireland, whereby to judge of the numbers in the whole country. In the north, where the Presbyterians are in great numbers, the Protestants predominate, Elsewhere they are in a minority, especially in the agricultural districts.