Prospectus for the First Edition
OR THE WARRIOR OF THE WEST.
A Poem, in Four Cantos.
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BY AN ENGLISH OFFICER
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(Author of the Canadian Campaign.)
The name and actions of Tecumseh must be familiar to every inhabitant of Canada: and a desire to see the memory of so distinguished and extraordinary a man perpetuated by any writer, however humble, must be a sentiment co-equal with the admiration so universally excited during his enterprising career, not less among his enemies than among his allies and his friends.
The Author of this Epic Poem, which is illustrated by copious notes, is himself a Canadian, and has often combated [sic] at the side of Tecumseh, to whom he was more immediately known. On that memorable day which deprived nature of one of her brightest though rudest gems, and the nearly now exterminated Indian tribes of a leader devoted to their interests and their liberties, he beheld the remains of that glorious Chieftain mangled and disfigured even as he has described them. Scarcely an Officer of the division on that untoward occasion failed to pay the just tribute of regret to his memory, and but few there were who did not lose sight of their own personal feelings in the depth and sincerity of their grief for the noble and unfortunate Tecumseh.
The principal and original view of the Author, in composing his Poem, was to rescue the name of this truly great man from the unmerited oblivion to which it had been consigned; but aware of the difficulty under which, as an unknown writer, he labours in giving his work all necessary publicity, he has adopted the suggestions of numerous literary friends, to print the volume by subscription among naval and military men. He trusts moreover that by his own countrymen some encouragement will be afforded, not simply in his character of Poet, the first of his native soil who has adventured on the dangerous shoals of verse, but also in that of the Historian, the panegyrist of him who is now no more, but whose name and whose memory there can be few Canadians unwilling to see transmitted to posterity.
The Poem opens with a description of the action on Lake Erie, where the gallant and unfortunate Barclay, after essaying all that human courage and resolutions could attain, was compelled to strike to a superior enemy; and on this leading feature the several other incidents of the Poem are made to hang.
The Third Canto contains the celebrated speech made by Tecumseh at the council of Chiefs convened by General Procter, when, after the capture of the little squadron, he proposed retreating from Amherstburg to the Moravian Village.
Captain Barclay, to whom, in common with the other Officers of the Right Division, the Poem is inscribed, has been pleased to express his entire approbation of the work in terms the most satisfactory and gratifying to the Author. It remains for his own countrymen to decide how far successful he has been in delineating the scenery of the Land, and the habits, occupations and warlike exercises of the natives.
Should any palpable omissions or errors be noticed, it must be recollected, in extenuation, that the Poem has been composed almost wholly from memory, and that fourteen years have elapsed since the Author last beheld the wild scenery of his native clime.
The price of the Poem in boards, printed on the best paper, and with the best type, will be two dollars.
The Subscribers copies will be forwarded to their respective addresses.
London, March 1st. 1828.
Preface to the First Edition
|The following Poem is the production of a Soldierof one who
aspires not to the high pinnacle of poetical fame; but
whose ardent wish it has been to rescue the name of a hero from oblivion. Few of those who
knew Tecumseh will read these stanzas without interest; those who knew him not, must, of
course, be incapable of judging how far, and with what fidelity, the original character
has been preserved. By the former, the Author feels assured, the imperfect efforts of his
undistinguished muse will be viewed as evincing less of thirst for literary distinction
than generous anxiety to preserve the memory of one of the noblest and most gallant
spirits that ever tenanted the breast of man.
Considered as a mere work of imagination, this Poem might be found deficient in incidentbut a mere work of imagination it is not; and the Author has presumedwith what judgment, it remains for his readers to decidethat a greater degree of interest would be excited by a strict adherence to the wild poetry of the character, than could possibly be elicited by having recourse to that of the imagination. Tecumseh, such as he is described, once existed; nor is there the slightest exaggeration in any of the high qualities and strong passions ascribed to him.
It has been suggested to the Author, that the introduction of some female character would have given a more general interest to the Poem; but this would have been in violation of that consistency he has been anxious to preserve.Nothing can be more sentimentalnothing more picturesque, than the pretty Indian love-tales with which the Viscomte de Châteaubriand is pleased to entertain our European novelists; but those who are well acquainted with the character of these people are aware, that the sentiment of love is almost wholly unknown among the Indian tribes, by whom the sex is held in the utmost inferiority and contempt.
Many of the notes to Tecumseh [sic] betray its Author to be that also of the "Canadian Campaign," several passages in both being written nearly in the same words. The fact is, that the Poem was composed five years ago, and before he had thought of compiling the latter narrative. In the hurry of composition, he had recourse to his notes for matter which he felt too indolent to dress in a new garb. Hence the necessity for explanation.
In relation to the naval action which forms a principal incident in the Poem, it may be observed, that if any thing could tend to enhance the glory of Commodore Perrys victory, or to render that gentleman more alive to the importance of his advantages, it must be the generous testimony of his noble, though less successful adversary, whose voice is still loud to proclaim the gallantry of his opponent in action, and his kind and courteous bearing to a fallen enemy. This high and generous tribute of Captain Barclay lives not more in the public despatches, in which were detailed the events of this interesting engagement, than in the private professions of his esteem,professions springing from the warm impressions of a noble mind, and which, I am authorised to state, exist not less powerfully now than at that period. Should these pages, which will shortly find their way across the Atlantic, meet the eye of Commodore Perry, this tribute, emanating from such a source, will be doubly gratifying.
London, May 18th, 1828.