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with more rigour than on him. What a blessing it is, to all, that such a state of things has ceased! May we not hope, without the possibility of renewal, come what may?
But, in the contemplation of such events, how inexplicable does it appear to the mind that, malgré the excessive rigorous treatment endured, there should have been no abatement of the influx of youth into this so designated "hell afloat.” One is perfectly at a loss to account satisfactorily for such a singular circumstance; for the instinct of nature alone, without the aid of reason, would seem sufficient to deter the mind from the pursuit of a life so fraught with evil, when other occupations were open to the choice. To say that some occult and irresistible impulse predominated over the apprehension of a palpable and but too apparent consequence in the adoption, would be stretching a point to an unreasonable extent; and, which indeed, no exertion of reason could possibly make comprehensible to the understanding; it is a mystery, and that is all I can say about it. Happy for Old England it was so; and, I ardently hope now that the “hell afloat,” has been swamped; and there is a nearer approach to heaven, the charm will never leave us.
As discipline is the “soul of the service," I may be permitted to enlarge a little on so interesting a subject to the seaman. It has been much discussed of late. Confidence, devoid of arrogance, in a good cause, needs no apology; and, as a straight-forward course is one of honesty, I shall start off with the adoption of the words attributed to a gallant Admiral, that, “ The indiscriminate use of the cat bad the effect of spoiling a good man, and making a bad one worse."
If in the recollection of the victories gained, and the spoila opina won from the enemy, from 1793, to 1915, our senators find reason to deplore the rigorous means adopted to maintain discipline on ship-board, they should not be unmindful at the same time that, the officers had had no hand in framing the “martial laws," and that a portion of the blame attached to the adoption of a vicious system must go to those in power then.
Assuredly a very high panegyric belongs to the performers of the actions which occurred during the above stated periods, they, for near a quarter of a century, gave to an astonished world such displays of consumate skill, undaunted bravery, and perseverance, attended with success, as far to surpass most of the martial deeds recorded in ancient or modern history of a single arm of power.
I know that, as a successful people, the British are accused of “egotism;" if repeating the truth that, in future our sons may emulate their sires, be so, then the British are egotists; but the approach is harmless; everywhere, the winner will rejoice.
Since the peace, we have been in a progressive state of improvement, in almost every respect, but especially in the moral obligation of governing men by reason, and, therefore, with method and mildness.
To a great degree, let us bear in mind, the motives to actions take their tone from the manners and customs, the culture and opinion, prevalent at the period in which the actors live. It was, in times past, one
of the errors of our education to impress upon the mind, the delusion that, subordination could not be maintained by those intrusted with power without the assistance of despotic coercion, and the exercise of severity! Experience however, has shown its fallacy, and the expansion of our intelligence, combined with other causes, has happily nearly rid us of that crotchet.
It must be obvious to the least reflecting, that as improvement has proceeded, generally, men's minds, of all conditions, have taken a corresponding tincture of elevation; slowly, perhaps, but not the less sure. There are abundant evidences of that fact; then it is equally obvious, that as the happiest and the best interests of general society, are intimately connected with good government, that, in isolated associations (being portions of the general society,) where the power that commands is less divided than in large communities, how very essential it is to guard against the possibility of error, from caprice or passion, in those who wield authority, as in the Navy, for instance.
No doubt it is from this principle the Lords of the Admiralty have been, and are acting. I conceive that the nation at large, and the captains of the Navy in particular, ought to be gratified with the new 'arrangements; and I have not the least apprehension that our seamen will become more difficult to control on account of the ameliorations which may flow from those arrangements.
Some few months ago, I saw a published letter of Capt. Bruce, R.N. The remarks therein, express, in a few words, the proper line of conduct for sea-officers to pursue, to insure discipline and good order. Those words are worthy of attention, as coming from one who, not only has had experience in the art of governing seamen, but who also upholds his high station, as a Christian and a gentleman should do-by conduct and example.
They who, “ measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise;" this admonition of the “pride of self-importance," from station, officers of all degrees should endeavour to impress upon the tablet of their memory. Exclusiveness is not unattended with pain to the possessor; but, between haughtiness and familiarity, surely a line might be drawn?
I hold that the feeling of humility in all men, as mere men, leads to propriety of conduct; and the observance of strict obedience to authority as a duty of life also, as emanating from the highest source, is obligatory upon the individuals of every station, independently of the consideration of the social benefits arising therefrom.
These sentiments once imbibed, become incentives to good order in any, but especially in a small community; they are of the highest antiquity in the code of morality; yet, unless they carry the moral force with them, the mere habit of acknowledgment, will not guarantee the full and effective measure of good to be expected from their operation.
Among the high-minded, there is a spring to obedience far more noble than that which actuates from the consideration, that he who is remunerated is bound to the observance. Let an officer bear that in mind, the young officer especially; and farther, that a duty performed as a matter-of-course, and not from principle, will seldom be performed well; and negligence, in that respect, is scarcely separable from criminality.
With reference to the “foremast men,” some of the evils arising from their irregularities may be laid to the account of the State their early culture has been neglected.
It is remarkable that a country so dependent on her maritime supremacy, should not have, long ago, instituted national schools in all the principal sea-ports, for the moral and religious education of boys intended to be brought up in the sea-service. To the neglect of such a measure, and to the want of an established system of rotation of servitude in the Royal Navy, may be traced the deplorable necessity for the exercise of the consuetudo, constituting the lawfulness of impressment.
The annual expenditure of the Navy, both in its matériel and personnel, is costly indeed; but the outlay is imperative; our safety, as an independent nation, principally depending upon the efficiency of that branch of our colossal power; but, however much we may deprecate war, as we cannot control altogether the fiery passions of the other maritime nations of the world, and a very trifling incident may unwillingly plunge us into it, it behoves us be every way provided for such an evil; and this is to be done principally in perfecting our navy and sea-defences, dealing honestly and justly by the seamen, providing for the officers in their old age, and encouraging the young.
THE “CHARLES HEDDLE's” HURRICANE. SIR,-Your correspondent, “ Stormy Jack," adverts in your number for November last, in his letter on the contraction of the whirlwind, to the Charles Heddle's storm, and to my opinion as expressed in that memoir, that the diameter of that storm was a decreasing one. He farther says, that “ there has been no established proof of the contraction of the hurricane meteor.” Let me first express here my great satisfaction at finding this gentleman to agree mainly with me, in the long investigation of the Charles Heddle's storm, and say, that I hope to profit by his criticism on my new work on storms for all parts of the world, of which a copy will reach him through you, and then proceed to state upon what my views are founded.
With respect to the decreasing size of the Charles Heddle's hurricane, I think this is fairly inferred from the diminished number of hours and miles required to make a complete turn on the different days, coupled with the remark in the log for three days, that the wind was always about the same strength, and her run also being marked nearly the same. Nevertheless there may be a large zone of wind of the same strength, no doubt, and I may be wrong in my inferences.
But the fact of the decreasing size of hurricane storms, and that they augment in violence when they do decrease, has been very clearly shewn in India, for the Bay of Bengal, in my second memoir published in the “ Journal of the Asiatic Society," Vol. IX., in which it is clearly shewn that the hurricane which desolated Coringa, on the 16th of November, 1839, which is traced across the Bay from the Andaman Islands, was of about 300 miles in diameter on the 13th, when it was a “ severe gale,” and was certainly not more than 153 miles in diameter when it reached Coringa, on the 16th, as a furious hurricane. This storm is so clearly trace 1, that I think the evidence derived from it is quite conclusive as to the fact of their decreasing in size.
H. PIDDINGTON. To the Editor N.M.
March 22nd, 1848. SIR.—Having been some years a subscriber to your valuable publication, I presume I shall not be intruding by making the following observation:
In your number for March, 1847, I observe a report, taken from an American paper, of a rock seen in lat. 40° 20' N., long. 63° 50' W., that such rock does not exist I will not presume to say, but I am doubtful of it, and still more so, on seeing the report, and the track chart of Lieut. Fayrer, (in the September number,) whilst commanding the Liverpool; it appears morally impossible that, a rock, of the magnitude described, twenty-five to thirty feet high, and 300 feet in circumference, should exist, and be not more publicly known, since it is in an every-day track of ships passing between the United States and Europe.
On finding the above report in the Nautical, it reminded me of an occurrence that took place with me in the year 1843, on my passage from New York, being in lat. 39° 45' N., long. 64° 10' W. I had been laying becalmed a few hours, when towards the meridian, the weather became hazy, with a light wind from the eastward, the report was given of a boat coming towards the ship; I was rather surprised at this, as no ship had been in sight during the day, although it had been very clear; for some time fancy pictured the oars dipping in the water, and the crew labouring hard at them, but on nearer approach, imagination would insist on its being a rock. On examining my chart, I found “ Munn's Reef” to be in lat. 39° N., long. 64° 20' W., therefore, I supposed it must be “ Muun's Reef;" but not being satisfied with supposition, I got a boat out, and proceeded with lead and line to be assured by a survey. To my surprise, when along side the supposed reef, I found it to be a very large tree, the roots had evidently been cut NO. 5.-VOL. XVII.
off; it stood in a perpendicular position in the water, and the receding of the swell would leave it about eight feet above the surface; occasionally, the swell would completely cover its top or root, and I do not hesitate in stating, the root to be, at least, forty feet in circumference; I could trace the body of the tree for several feet, under water, but could not see the extreme end, for the shoal of fish that surrounded it; they were so numerous, that on either side of the tree, for several fathoms, I could not see far below the surface water. Had I passed this tree without examining it, I should, without a doubt, on my arrival in port, have reported seeing the “Munn's Reef,” which would naturally have caused additional anxiety to ship-masters crossing its track.
If you consider the above worth noting in the Nautical, you have my permission for doing so, and I hope the supposed rock, seen by our American friend, or the “ Munn's Reef,” are, neither of them, more nor less than an old tree. Yours most respectfully,
G. P. Lock, Master of the “ Martha Shalla,” of Liverpool. To the Editor N.M.
[We very willingly give the above letter publicity. Mr. Lock deserves high commendation for the means he adopted to satisfy himself. It will serve as a caution to seamen, not to draw hasty conclusions respecting these apparent dangers, and we would urge on them to follow this very laudible example, in putting such questions beyond all doubt, by a similar investigation.]
GARIA OR GARCAS SHOAL.-Official communication made to Major
General of the Fleet, by Lieut. P. V. C. Louveiro, commanding the Portuguese brig, “ Villa Flor.” (Translation.)
On the 17th and 18th of January, 1848, on board H.M.F.M. brig, Villa Flor, on her way from Loanda to Lisbon, wind N.N.E., NE., fresh and steady.
At 3h. 30m. P.M., on the 17th, the men on watch reported that, a breaking of the sea was seen to leeward on the bow, and I, and other officers having got up to the foremast crosstrees, saw, beyond all doubt, that it was a shoal, which we marked W. 1 N.W. magnetic at 6' distance; the ship being then to the eastward of it, and having taken the ship's reckoning to that hour, it was found that her position, at 3 o'clock, was lat. 12° 30' N., and long. 28° 56' W. of Greenwich, the longitude being determined by a very correct chronometer, and the latitude by observation, deducting the ship's course up to 3h. 30m. P.M., when the shoal was seen.
From the observations taken at noon, on the 18th, and from the course