Billeder på siden

mind calculated to inspire a high degree of confidence and friendship. But perhaps I am anticipating too much of some of the subjects of the following sheets : it appears to me, however, proper to state these things, that the mind of the reader may be prepared, without mistrust, for the quantity of interesting matter which so young a man has collected and remembered.

It is now four years since Mr. Mariner's arrival from the West Indies; during which period he has been situated in the counting-house of a respectable merchant in the city, where he is still. His health is by no means good : this and other circumstances have occasioned the work several times to be suspended for above two months together; for, as I have before stated, not a single page of it has been written, even from his own memoranda, without his presence, which, in general, I could only have in the evening, or at night, after the hours of business, and his health did not always admit of such additional employment of his attention. He resides at No. 5, Edwards-place, Hackney-road.

In regard to my own labour in the present work I shall say but little. I am sensible there are many faults, and though I am by no means disposed to trouble the reader with unseasonble apologies, I beg leave to state, that the following pages were not written in the order they were destined to assume, but at very uncertain and irregular periods, as the result of various conversations; that sometimes the vocabulary, at other times the narrative matter; at one period the grammar of the language, and at another the descriptions of ceremonies, formed the subject of discourse, indiscriminately, as opportunity offered : consequently, many phrases may have been used which the judicious critic will perhaps think too familiar and conversational, and which, under other circumstances, would easily have been avoided. In short, it is the excellence of the materials, tolerably well arranged, not aný supposed merit in the composition, which is here offered as a subject of claim to the honour of public attention.

In respect to natural history, not much has been inserted, and that with little or no attempt at scientific distinctions of terms; for this being a branch of knowledge with which Mr. Mariner was but little acquainted, such distinctions might only lead to error and confusion; besides, this subject has been in some degree handled by other travellers, whilst the topics with which Mr. Mariner is intimately conversant are those upon which we have hitherto had least information, and to such we have accordingly thought it best to confine our subject. It is hoped, therefore, that all deficiencies in regard to botany, zoology, and mineralogy, will be thought amply compensated by abundance of information in respect of the religious and political, moral and domestic habits of an interesting portion of the human species, in whose character there is undoubtedly much to be admired, and a vast deal that lays a just claim to our attentive observation.

The piece of music which is noted down in the second volume, p. 338, I am indebted for to an intelligent friend, who did me the favour to express it upon paper, from Mr. Mariner's voice.—A note ought to have been inserted in Vol. I. p. 68, referring to the “ transactions of the missionary society," from which it appears that only a few of the missionaries were killed, and not the whole, as stated by the king to Mr. Mariner.

J. M.


Dec. 1816.

« ForrigeFortsæt »