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performing the passage. The freight of the oil from New Holland to England is estimated at only a tenth of the amount they can realize by being employed in the fishery during the time they would consume in going to and returning from England themselves. The New Hollanders anticipate a monopoly of the trade, and already British ships have gone to engage with them in the fishery, instructed to act upon the principle of shipping their oil homeward and refitting from the colony.
In 1784, the King of France endeavored to give an impolse to the whaling business in his dominions, by fitting out six ships at his own expense. Allured by peculiar immunities, several families from Nantucket settled ai Dunkirk. The business increased so rapidly, that forty ships were employed in 1793. With every thing else, this business was suspended and overwhelmed by the Revolution. Most of the Americans returned, and one of the gentlemen settled in New Bedford, where he became opulent by the prosecution of the business from his own country. Under similar inducements, an American gentleman is now deeply engaged in the French whale fishery. The French whale fleet at the present moment may be estimated at forty sail, three fourths of which sail from the port of Havre.
Taking into consideration the ships that sail from the German ports, with the English, French, and American fleets, we shall find that more than 700 ships are engaged in pursuing these mighty inhabitants of the deep. In one part of the world, they have been driven to the deepest recesses of Baffin's Bay, and in another to the very confines of the Pacific. Whether their mammoth bones shall indicate to the untaught natives of the shores they frequent, in some distant century, that such an animal was, or whether, lurking in the inaccessible and undisturbed waters north of Asia and America, the race shall be preserved, is almost a problem. Certain it is that subsistence can never fail, teeming as all waters do, with such profusion of life. That a squadron of 700 vessels scour every sea and bay, in the eager and unremitted pursuit, without exterminating or apparently diminishing the species, leaves us to wonder at the exhaustless resources of Qature.
ART. V.-Last Moments of Eminent Men.
C. F. H. MARX. 4to. Gottingae. 1826.
Life,' says Sir William Temple, is like wine ; he, who would drink it pure, must not drain it to the dregs.' Lord Byron often talked of death; and never with dread. I do not wish,' he would say, 'to live to become old. The sentiment of the ancient poet, “that to die young is a boon of heaven to its favorites,' was repeatedly quoted by him, with approbation. The certainty of death he would call the only relief against the burdens of life, which could not be borne, were they not of very limited duration
But the general sentiment of mankind declares old age to be honored and happy. After an active and successful career, the repose of declining life is serene and cheerful. All men by common consent revere the aged; grey hairs are a crown of glory; the object of respect, but not of envy. The hour of evening is not necessarily overcast; and the aged man, exchanging the pursuits of ambition for the quiet of observation, the strife of public discussion for the diffuse but instructive language of experience, passes to the grave, amidst grateful recollections, and the tranquil enjoyment of satisfied desires.
The happy, it is agreed by all, are afraid to contemplate death; the unhappy, it is often said, look forward to it as a release from suffering. “I think of death often,' said a distinguished but dissatisfied man ; and I view it as a refuge. There is something calm and soothing to me in the thought of death; and the only time that I feel repugnance to it, is on a fine day, in solitude, in a beautiful country, when all nature seems rejoicing in light and life.
This is the language of affectation. Man never despises death. Numerous as may be the causes for disgust with life, its end is never contemplated with indifference. Religion may elevate the soul to a sublime reliance on the benefits of a future existence; nothing else can do it. The love of honor may brave danger; the passion of melancholy may indulge in an aversion to continued being ; philosophy may resign itself
to death with composure; the sense of shame may conduct to fortitude; yet they, who would disregard death, must turn their thoughts from the consideration of its terrors. It is an instinct of nature to strive to preserve our being; and the instinct cannot be eradicated. The mind may turn away from the contemplation of horrors; it may fortify itself by refusing to observe the extent of impending evil; the instinct of life is still opposed to death ; and he, who looks directly at it and professes indifference, is a hypocrite, or is self-deceived. He, that calls boldly upon death, is dismayed on finding him near. The child looks to its parent, as if to discern a glimpse of hope; the oldest are never so old, but they desire life for one day longer; even the infant, as it exhales its breath, springs from its pillow to meet its mother, as if there were help where there is love.
There is a story told of one of the favorite marshals of Napoleon, who, in a battle in the south of Germany, was struck by a cannon ball, and so severely wounded, that there was no hope of a respite. Summoning the surgeon be ordered his wounds to be dressed; and, when help was declared to be unavailing, the dying officer, pushed into a frenzy by the passion for life, burned with vindictive anger against the medical attendant, threatening the heaviest penalties, if his art should bring no relief. The dying man clamorously demanded that Napoleon should be sent for, as one who had power to save; whose words could stop the effusion of blood from his wounds, and awe nature itself into submission. Life expired amidst maledictions heaped upon the innocent surgeon, whose skill was unavailing. This account would have seemed incredible, if we had not had occasion to know a similar case, though in humbler life; a sick man, vowing that he would not die, cursing his physician, who announced the near termination of his life, and insisting that he would live, as if in derision of the laws of nature. To some minds this foolish frenzy appeared like blasphemy; it was but the uncontrolled display of a passion for life; the instinct of self-preservation, exerted in a rough and undisciplined mind.
Even in men of strong religious convictions, the end of life is not always met with serenity; and the moralist and philosopher sometimes express an apprehension, which cannot be pacified. Dr. Johnson was the instructer of his age ; his works are full of the effusions of piety, the austere lessons of reflecting wisdom. It might have been supposed, that religion would have reconciled him to the decree of Providence; that philosophy would have taught him to acquiesce in a necessary issue; that science would have inspired him with confidence in the skill of his medical attendants. And yet it was not so. A sullen gloom overclouded his mind; he could not summon resolution to tranquillize his emotions; and, in the impotence of despair, taking advantage of the absence of his attendants, he gashed himself with ghastly and debilitating wounds, as if the blind lacerations of his weak arm could prolong the moments of an existence, which the skill of the best physicians of London declared to be numbered. So earnest was the passion for a continuance of life, that he, who had, during his whole career, been a monitor of moderation, who had acquired fame by enforcing the duties of morality, was now betrayed by a lingering desire of life into acts of imbecile and useless cowardice.
Is there any thing on earth, I can do for you?' said Taylor to Dr. Wolcott, as he lay on his death bed. The passion for life dictated the answer. “Give me back my youth.' They were the last words of the satirical buffoon.
If Johnson could hope for relief from self-inflicted wounds; if the poet could prefer to his friend the useless prayer for a restoration of his youth, we may readily believe what historians relate to us of the end of Louis XI. of France ; a monarch, who was not destitute of eminent qualities as well as disgusting vices; possessing courage, a knowledge of men and of business, a' powerful will, a disposition favorable to the administration of justice among his subjects; viewing impunity in injustice, as a royal prerogative. Remorse, fear, a consciousness of being detected, disgust with life and horror of death, these were the sentiments, which troubled the death-bed of the powerful king. The ignorance of physicians in those days was in part betrayed by the belief, that the blood of children could correct the defects of age and the weakness of decrepitude. The monarch, the first who bore the epithet of the most Christian,' was so abandoned to egotism, that he allowed the veins of children to be opened, and greedily drank their blood. He believed that it would renovate his youth, or at least check the decay of nature. The cruelty was useless. At last, feeling the approach of death to be certain, he sent for an anchorite from Calabria, since revered as St. Francis de Paule ; and when the hermit arrived, the monarch of France begged him to spare his life. He threw himself at the feet of the man, who was believed to be so powerful from the sanctity of his character ; he begged the intercession of his prayers; he wept; he supplicated; he hoped that the voice of a Calabrian monk would reverse the order of nature; and that the virtues of his intercessor could procure him a respite from death.
We find the love of life still more strongly acknowledged by an English poet; who, after declaring life to be the dream of a shadow, a weak built isthmus between two eternities, so frail, that it can sustain neither wind nor wave, yet avows his preference of a few days', nay, of a few hours' longer residence upon earth, to all the fame which poetry can bestow.
Fain would I see that prodigal,
Who his to-morrow would bestow, For all old Homer's life, e'er since he died, till now! We do not believe the poet sincere; for one passion may prevail over another, and in many a man's breast the love of fame is at times, if not always, stronger than the love of being. But if those, who pass their lives in a struggle for glory, may desire the attainment of their object at any price, the competitors for political power are apt to be doubly enamored of being. Lord Castlereagh could indeed commit suicide ; but it was not from disgust of life ; his mind dwelt on the precarious condition of his own elevation, on the unsuccessful policy in which he had involved his country. He did not love death ; he did not contemplate it with indifference; he failed to observe its terrors, because his attention was absorbed by objects which pressed themselves upon his mind with unrelenting force.
The ship of the Marquis of Badajoz, viceroy of Peru, was set on fire by Captain Stayner. The marchioness, and her daughter, who was betrothed to the Duke of Medina-Celi, swooned in the flames, and could not be rescued. The marquis resigned himself also to die, rather than survive with the memory of such horrors. It was not, that he was indifferent to life; his mind dwelt upon intolerable griefs; he preferred death, because death was out of sight; because his whole thoughts were absorbed by sorrows that left no room for reflection upon the nature of the event, wbich alone seemed to promise him a remedy. The natural feelings remained ;
foreif he ship or captain Sohled to the be rescu