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farther we advanced. But at last the night closed upon us, before we had satisfied ourselves which was the proper bay to anchor in ; and therefore we resolved to keep in soundings all night (we having then from sixty-four to seventy fathom), and to send our boat next morning to discover the road : however, the current shifted in the night, and set us so near the land, that we were obliged to let go the best bower in fifty-six fathom, not half a mile from the shore. At four in the morning the cutter was despatched with our third lieutenant to find out the bay we were in search of, who returned again at noon with the boat laden with seals and grass ; for, though the island abounded with better vegetables, yet the boat's crew, in their short stay, had not met with them; and they well knew that even grass would prove a dainty, as indeed it was all soon and eagerly devoured. The seals too were considered as fresh provision, but as yet were not much admired, though they grew afterwards into more repute ; for what rendered them less valuable at this juncture was the prodigious quantity of excellent fish, which the people on board had taken during the absence of the boat.
The cutter, in this expedition, had discovered the bay where we intended to anchor, which we found was to the westward of our present station; and, the next morning, the weather proving favorable, we endeavored to weigh, in order to proceed thither; but though, on this occasion, we mustered all the strength we could, obliging even the sick, who were scarce able to keep on their legs, to assist us, yet the capstan was so weakly manned, that it was near four hours before we hove the cable right up and down: after which, with our utmost efforts, and with many surges and some purchases we made use of to increase our power, we found ourselves incapable of starting the anchor from the ground. However, at noon, as a fresh gale blew towards the bay, we were induced to set the sails, which fortunately tripped the anchor ; and then we steered along shore, till we came abreast of the point that forms the eastern part of the bay. On the opening of the bay, the wind that had befriended us thus far shifted, and blew from thence in squalls; but, by means of the headway we had got, we loosed close in, till the anchor brought us up in sixty-siz fathom. Soon after we had thus got to our new berth, we discovered a sail, which we made no doubt was one of our squadron; and, on its nearer approach, we found it to be the Trial Sloop. We immediately sent some of our hands on board her, by whose assistance she was brought to an anchor betwen us and the land. We soon found that the sloop had not been exempted from the same calamities which we had so severely felt ; for her commander, Captain Saunders, waiting on the cornmodore, informed him, that out of his small complement he had buried thirty-four of his men; and those that remained were so universally afflicted with the scurvy, that only himself, his lieutenant, and three of his men, were able to stand by the sails. The Trial came to an anchor within us, on the twelfth, about noon, and we carried our hawsers on board her, in order to moor ourselves nearer in shore; but the wind coming off the land, in violent gusts, prevented our mooring in the berth we intended. Indeed our principal attention was employed in business rather of more importance. For we were now extremely occupied in sending on shore materials to raise tents for the reception of the sick, who died apace on board, and doubtless the distemper was considerably augmented by the stench and filthiness in which they lay; for the number of the diseased was so great, and so few could be spared from the necessary duty of the sails, to look after them, that it was impossible to avoid a great relaxation in the article of cleanliness, which had rendered the ship extremely loathsome between decks. Notwithstanding our desire of freeing the sick from their hateful situation, and their own extreme impatience to get on shore, we had not hands enough to prepare the tents for their reception before the 16th ; but on that and the two following days we sent them all on shore, amounting to a hundred and sixty-seven persons, besides twelve or fourteen who died in the boats, on their being exposed to the fresh air. The greatest part of our sick were so infirm, that we were obliged to carry them out of the ship in their hammocks, and to convey them afterwards in the same manner from the water side to their tents, over a stony beach. This was a work of considerable fatigue to the few who were healthy; and therefore the commodore, according to his accustomed humanity, not only assisted herein with his own labor, but obliged his officers, without distinction, to give their helping hand. The extreme weakness of our sick may in some measure be collected from the numbers who died after they had got on shore ; for it had generally been found that the land, and the refreshments it produces, very soon recover most stages of the sea-scurvy; and we flattered ourselves that those who had not perished on this first exposure to the open air, but had lived to be placed in their tents, would have been speedily restored to their health and vigor; yet, to our great mortification, it was near twenty days after their landing, before the mortality was tolerably ceased ; and for the first ten or twelve days we buried rarely less than six each day, and many of those who survived recovered by very slow and insensible degrees. Indeed, those who were well enough, at their first getting on shore, to creep out of their tents, and crawl about, were soon relieved, and recovered their ealth and strength in a very short time; but, in the rest, the disease seemed to have acquired a degree of inveteracy which was altogether without example.
285.-IMITATION IN ART.
REYNOLDS, [It is as a writer that we shall here have to speak of the great English painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds. His lectures, delivered as President of the Royal Academy, are admirable examples of that species of composition. They unite enlarged principles with accurate knowledge, and are remarkable for their elegance and purity of style. Joshua Reynolds was the son of the Rev, Samuel Reynolds, Rector of Plympton, Devon. He was born in 1723, and, having exhibited a decided vocation for art, was placed as a pupil with Hudson, a celebrated portrait-painter. The course of his professional career has been detailed in his Life by Northcote. He died in 1792.]
The subject of this discourse will be IMITATION, as far as a painter is concerned in it. By imitation, I do not mean imitation in its largest sense, but simply the following of other masters, and the advantage to be drawn from the study of their works.
Those who have undertaken to write on our art, and have rep. resented it as a kind of inspiration, as a gift bestowed upon peculiar favorites at their birth, seem to ensure a much more favorable disposition from their readers, and have a much more captivating and liberal air, than he who attempts to examine, coldly, whether there are any means by which this art may be acquired; how the mind may be strengthened and expanded, and what guides will show the way to eminence.
It is very natural for those who are unacquainted with the cause of anything extraordinary to be astonished at the effect, and to consider it as a kind of magic. They who have never observed the gradation by which art is acquired; who see only what is the full result of long labor and application of an infinite number and infinite variety of acts, are apt to conclude from their entire inability to do the same at once, that it is not only inaccessible to themselves, bứt can be done by those only who have some gift of the nature of inspiration bestowed upon them.
The travellers into the East tell us that, when the ignorant inhabitants of those countries are asked concerning the ruins of stately edifices yet remaining amongst them, the melancholy monuments of their former grandeur and long-lost science, they always answer that they were built by magicians. The untaught mind finds a vast gulf between its own powers and those works of complicated art, which it is utterly unable to fathom; and it supposes that such a void can be passed only by supernatural powers.
And, as for artists themselves, it is by no means their interest to undeceive such judges, however conscious they may be of the very natural means by which their extraordinary powers were acquired; though our art, being intrinsically imitative, rejects this idea of inspiration, more perhaps than any other.
It is to avoid this plain confession of truth, as it should seem, that this imitation of masters, indeed almost all imitation, which implies a more regular and progressive method of attaining the ends of painting, has ever been particularly inveighed against with great keenness, both by ancient and modern writers.
To derive all from native power, to owe nothing to another, is the praise wbich men, who do not much think on what they are saying, bestow sometimes upon others, and sometimes on themselves; and their imaginary dignity is naturally heightened by a supercilious censure of the low, the barren, the grovelling, the servile imitator. It would be no wonder if a student, frightened by these terrific and disgraceful epithets, with which the poor imitators are so often loaded, should let fall his pencil in mere despair ; (conscious, as he must be, how much he has been indebted to the labors of others, how little, how very little of his art was born with him ;) and consider it as hopeless to set about acquiring, by the imitation of any human master, what he is taught to suppose is matter of inspiration from Heaven.
Some allowance must be made for what is said in the gayety of rhetoric. We cannot suppose that any one can really mean to exclude all imitation of others. A position so wild would scarce deserve a serious answer; for it is apparent, if we were forbid to make use of the advantages which our predecessors afford us, the art would be always to begin, and consequently remain always in its infant state ; and it is a common observation that no art was ever invented and carried to perfection at the same time.
But, to bring us entirely to reason and sobriety, let it be observed that a painter must not only be of necessity an imitator of the works of nature, which alone is sufficient to dispel this phantom of inspiration, but he must be as necessarily an imitator of the works of other painters : this appears more humiliating, but is equally true; and no man can be an artist, whatever he may suppose, upon any other terms.
However, those who appear more moderate and reasonable allow that our study is to begin by imitation ; but maintain that we should no longer use the thoughts of our predecessors, when we are become able to think for ourselves. They hold that imitation is as hurtful to the more advanced student, as it was advantageous to the beginner.
For my own part, I confess, I am not only very much disposed to maintain the absolute necessity of imitation in the first stages of the art, but am of opinion that the study of other masters, which I here call imitation, may be extended throughout our whole lives, without any danger of the inconveniences with which it is charged, of enfeebling the mind, or preventing us from giving that original air which every work undoubtedly ought always to have.