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neighbours country, an aso at a contier eye-witneyes
known, and universally esteemed. Frezier never saw any of these savages himself; but he says, that being upon the coast of Chili, Don Pedro Molina, Governor of the isle of Chiloë, and many other eye-witnesses, told him, that there was, at a confiderable distance within the country, an Indian nation, called by their neighbours Cauehues, who fometimes came down to the Spanish settlements, that were more than nine feet high, and were the fame race with the Patagorians who live on the eastern coast, and have been mentioned in former relations. We are told by Reaveneau de Lussan, that the Spaniards who live upon the sea coaft in South America report, that certain white Indians inhabit part of Chili, with whom they are always at war : that they are of an enormous bulk and ftature, and that whenever they take a Spaniard prifoner, they force up the breast-bone, as they would the shell of a tortoise, and tear out his heart. Narborough, on the contrary, though he agrees that the Indians who inhabit the mountains near the Spanish settlements at Chili, and perpetually commit hostilities against them, are tall, expressly denies that their stature is gigantic. He had often measured the skulls and the prints of the feet of the favages on the coasts of the Streight of Magellan, which, he says, were of the common size : he had also several times seen numerous companies of them even at Port Saint Julian, and these he declares not to be taller or bigger than other men. Narborough is certainly a credible witness, and his evidence is direaly to the point : it is confirmed by that of L/'Hermite, who says, that the people he saw upon the coast of Terra del Fuego, tho' they were robust and well-proportioned, were not larger than the inhabitants of Europe; and lastly, M. de Gennes bears testimony that none of the people he saw at Port Famine were six feet high.
“ Those who diligently consider these different relations will find reason to believe, that all the parties have spoken truth, each of them faithfully reporting what he saw; and therefore that the existence of a gigantic race in these parts is a real fa&t, not to be questioned merely because they were not seen by every mariner chat visited the country'.
It appears to be of the Streight ared by the nam
It appears to be well established, that the inhabitants of the two borders of the Streight are of the common ftature; and that the race distinguished by the name of Patagonians, made their constant residence upon the desart coasts, either in some miserable hovels in the depth of the woods, or in some caverns of the rocks, scarcely accessible to any but themselves : and it appears from the account of Oliver de Noort, that when the Streight began to be frequented by European versels, they hid themselves as soon as the ships were in sight, which accounts both for their not being seen, and for the recent marks of inhabitants upon a coast that appeared to be a desart. Perhaps the frequent appearance of our ships upon this coast, at length determined them to quit it as a settled habitation, returning only at particular seasons of the year, and taking up their constant residence in the interior part of the coun. try. Lord Anson was of opinion, that they resided statedly on the western side of the Cordeliers, and visited the eastern side occasionally, but not often: so that if they have been rarely seen by the vessels which have touched at the coast of Pa:agonia for the last hundred years, the reason probably is, that being, like other Indian nations, desirous to conceal themselves from strangers, they retired to the mountains. It is indeed to be regretted, that no skeleton of these people has been brought into Europe; and it may at first seem strange, that no such evidence of their uncommon stature should have been produced, as it is known that several of them, who had been made prisoners by the Commanders of European vessels, died on board foon after they came into a hot climate ; but the wonder will cease, when it is considered that all mariners have a superstitious opinion, “ That the compass will not traverse, if there is a dead body on board the vessel.” Upon the whole, it may reasonably be presumed, that the concurrent testimony of late navigators, particularly Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, and Captain Carteret, Gentlemen of unquestionale veracity, who are still living, and who not only saw and conversed with these people, but measured them, will put an end to all the doubts that have been hitherto enter. tained of their existence.”
Having thus brought together the whole of the evidence for and against a fact, which has long been the object both of popular and philosophical curiosity, I shall not anticipate any opinion that the Reader may form concerning future navigations, in the tract which has been described by any of the vessels, whose voyages are here related, except that although it is the opinion of Commodore Byron, who spent seven weeks and two days in passing through the Streight of Magellan, that it may be passed in three weeks at the proper season, yet the passage cost Captain Wallis near four months, though he performed it precisely at the time recommended by the Commodore, having reached the eastern entrance about the middle of December.
I cannot however dismiss my Readers to the following narratives, without expressing the regret with which I have recorded the destruction of poor naked favages, by our fire-arms, in the course of these expeditions, when they endeavoured to repress the invaders of their country; a regret which I am confident my Readers will participate with me; this however appears to be an evil which, if discoveries of new countries are attempted, cannot be avoided : 'resistance will always be made, and, if those who resist are not overpowered, the attempt must be relinquished. It may perhaps be faid, that the expence of life upon these occasions is more than is necessary to convince the natives, that further contest is hopeless; and perhaps this may sometimes have been true: but it must be considered, that if such expeditions are undertaken, the execution of them must be intrusted to persons not exempt from human frailty; to men who are liable to provocation by sudden injury, to unpremeditated violence by sudden danger, to error by the defect of judgment or the strength of passion, and always disposed to transfer laws, by which they are bound themselves, to others who are not subject to their obligation; so that every excess thus produced is also an inevitable evil.
Ifit should be faid, that supposing these mischiefs to be inevitable in attempting discoveries, discoveries ought not to be attempted; it must be considered, that upon the only principles on which this opinion can be supported, the risk of life, for advantages of the same kind with
those those proposed in discovering new countries, is in every other instance unlawful. If it is not lawful to put the life of an Indian in hazard, by an attempt to examine the country in which he lives, with a view to increase commerce or knowledge; it is not lawful to risk the life of our own people in carrying on commerce with countries already known. If it be said, that the risk of life in our own people is voluntary, and that the Indian is brought into danger without his consent, the consequence will still follow; for it is universally agreed, at least upon the principles of Christianity, that men have no more right over their own lives than over the lives of others; and suicide being deemed the worst species of murder, a man must be proportionably criminal in exposing his own life, for any purpose that would not justify his exposing the life of another. If thegratification of artificial wants, or the increase of knowledge, are justifiable causes for the risk of life, the landing by force on a newly discovered country, in order to examine its produce, may be justified; if not, every trade and profession that exposes life for advantages of the same kind is unlawful; and by what trade or profesfion is not life exposed? Let us examine all the multitudes that art has employed, from the refiner who sweats at the furnace to the sedentary artificer who grows pale at the loom, and perhaps none can be found in which life is not in some degree facrificed to ihe artificial necessities of civil society. But will it therefore be said, that civil society, to which this sacrifice is made, is for that reason a combination contrary to the great original principles of morality, which are the basis of all duty? Will it be said, that to exercise the faculties which are the distinguishing characteristics of our nature is unnatural? and that being endowed with the various powers which in civil societies only can be brought into action, it was incongruous to the will of .' our Creator that any such society should be formed; and that it would be pleasing to him, if, still continuing in a savage state, these powers should lie torpid in our nature, like life in an embrio, during the whole of our existence? This surely nuit appear extravagant and absurd in the highest degree, especially as it must be allowed, that although commerce and arts in some inItances expose life, in others they preserve it; they sup
ply the wants of Nature, without rapine and violence,