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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific.
crew performing duty before the mast.  The room allotted for the accommodation of the twenty men destined for the establishment, was abaft the forecastle; a bulk-head had been let across, and a door led from the forecastle into a dark, unventilated, unwholesome place, where they were all heaped together, without means of locomotion, and consequently deprived of that exercise of the body so necessary to health.  Add to that, we had no physician on board.  In view of these facts, can the complaints of the gallant Captain be sustained?  Of course Mr. Irving was ignorant of these circumstances, as well as of many others which he might have known, had some one suggested to him to ask a few questions of persons who were within his reach at the time of his publication.  I have (I need scarcely say) no personal animosity against the unfortunate Captain; he always treated me, individually, as well as I could expect; and if, in the course of my narrative, I have been severe on his actions, I was impelled by a sense of justice to my friends on board, as well as by the circumstance that such explanations of his general deportment were requisite to convey the historical truth to my readers.

The idea of a conspiracy against him on board is so absurd that it really does not deserve notice.  The threat, or rather the proposal made to him by Mr. M’Kay, in the following words—­“if you say fight, fight it is”—­originated in a case where one of the sailors had maltreated a Canadian lad, who came to complain to Mr. M’Kay.  The captain would not interpose his authority, and said in my presence, “Let them fight out their own battles:”—­it was upon that answer that Mr. M’Kay gave vent to the expression quoted above.  I might go on with a long list of inaccuracies, more or less grave or trivial, in the beautifully written work of Mr. Irving, but it would be tedious to go through the whole of them.  The few remarks to which I have given place above, will suffice to prove that the assertion made in the preface was not unwarranted.  It is far from my intention to enter the lists with a man of the literary merit and reputation of Mr. Irving, but as a narrator of events of which I was an EYEWITNESS, I felt bound to tell the truth, although that truth might impugn the historical accuracy of a work which ranks as a classic in the language.  At the same time I entirely exonerate Mr. Irving from any intention of prejudicing the minds of his readers, as he doubtless had only in view to support the character of his friend:  that sentiment is worthy of a generous heart, but it should not be gratified, nor would he wish to gratify it, I am sure, at the expense of the character of others.


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