Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/322

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116 WILLIAM PATERSON.


preached on land, and one on board the Rising Sun, every Sabbath day. But, in addition to the unfavourable aspect of their affairs, the irreligion and licen- tiousness of the colonists oppressed their spirits and paralyzed their efforts. With the view of forming an acquaintance with the natives, they undertook a journey into the interior, accompanied by a lieutenant Turnbull, who had some slight knowledge of the Indian language. They spent several nights in the cabins of the natives, by whom they were received with great kindness ; and on their return, brought back to the colonists the first notice of the approach of the Spaniards. When apprised of all the circumstances, the directors felt highly indignant at the conduct of those who, upon such slight grounds, had left the settlement desolate ; and whose glory, they said, it ought to have been to have perished there, rather than to have abandoned it so shamefully. In their letters to their new councillors and officers, they implored them to keep the example of their predecessors before their eyes as a beacon, and to avoid those ruinous dissensions and shameful vices, on which they had wrecked so hopeful an enter- prise. " It is a lasting disgrace," they add, " to the memories of those officers who went in the first expedition, that even the meanest planters were scandal- ized at the licentiousness of their lives, many of them living very intemperately and viciously for many months at the public charge, whilst the sober and in- dustrious among them were vigilant in doing their duty. Nor can we, upon serious reflection, wonder if an enterprise of this nature has misgiven in the hands of such as, we have too much reason to believe, neither feared God nor regarded man." They also blamed the old council heavily for deserting the place toithout ever calling a parliament, or general meeting of the colony, or in any way consulting their inclinations, but commanding them to a blind and im- plicit obedience, which is more thin they ever can be answerable for. "Where- fore," they continue, " we desire you would constitute a parliament, whose ad- vice you are to take in all important matters. And in the meantime you are to acquaint the officers and planters with the constitutions, and the few additional ones sent with Mr Mackay, that all and every person in the colony may know their duty, advantages, and privileges." Alarmed by the accounts which they soon after received from Darien, the council-general of the company despatched a proclamation, declaring " that it shall be lawful to any person, of whatever degree, inhabiting the colony, not only to protest against, but to disobey and oppose any resolution to desert the colony ;" and, " that it shall be death, either publicly or privately, to move, deliberate, or reason upon any such desertion or surrender, without special order from the council-general for that effect. And they order and require the council of Caledonia to proclaim this solemnly, as they shall be answerable." Before this act was passed in Edinburgh, however, New Caledonia was once more evacuated. The men had set busily to the rebuild- ing the huts, and repairing the fort; but strenuous efforts were still made in the council to discourage them, by those who wished to evacuate the settlement. Veitch was with difficulty allowed to protest against some of their resolutions ; and for opposing them with warmth, captain Drummond was laid under arrest. Speaking of Drummond, Mr Shields says, " Under God, it is owing to him, and the prudence of captain Veitch, that we have staid here so long, which was no small difficulty to accomplish." And again, " If we had not met with Drum- mond at our arrival, we had never settled in this place, Byers and Lindsay being averse from it, and designing to discourage it from the very first ; Gibson being indifferent, if he got his pipe and dram ; only Veitch remained resolved to pro-