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“In accordance with the directions of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, to report the number of merchant seamen entering Her Majesty's Navy, we have the honour to state, for their Lordships' information, that we have given the subject due consideration, as far as time and the means at our command would admit; and we are enabled to give the following opinion as to the result of our inquiries. We have taken the entries of the last eigbt years, from 1839 to March, 1847, extracted from the muster books of Her Majesty's ships in commission, and find that of 68,559 men entered, about one-third of that total, (22,543), were said to be merchant seamen, and filled the ratings of working petty officers, able and ordinary; that 8,940 were first entries into the service, of landsmen, artificers of various descriptions, and persons in the capacity of cooks, stewards, and other servants; and that 37,076, petty, able, and ordinary, had previously served in the navy. We beg also to report that, in the course of our researches we found the desertions from the service of merchant seamen and persons from the shore, had been in the proportion of 26 per cent, upon the total of the entries for the above eight years, and but 16 per cent, upon the total number of seamen who had previously served in the navy for the same time. It is right to observe that, the average number of men borne for the last eight years is 29,903. In conclusion, we beg to remark that, of the seamen entered during a period of eight years, (landsmen, artificers, &c. deducted,) nearly two-fifths appear to be of the merchant service, and three-fifths seamen who had previously served in the navy. We enclose for their Lordships' information, a return of the number of seamen entered into the navy from 1839 to 1847 : M. F. F. Berkeley, Captain; T. Maitland, Captain ; W. W. Chambers, Capt tain ; J. W. Nicholls, Clerk of the Cheque, Greenwich llospital. - Nautical Standard.
METEOROLOGY.-One of those phenomena, the frequent spectacle of Arctic climes, but a rarity in our own latitude, was observed on Wednesday last, and remained visible for upwards of two hours, causing wonder and amazement to all who witnessed it. In a less enlightened age it would have been regarded as a portentous omen of the times. Our correspondent describes it as it appeared to the untutored astronomer, leaving it to those more versed in the science for a more detailed account, as regards the cause aud effect. About thirty-five minutes past noon, the sun obscured by a cloud, the atmosphere otherwise clear, of a bright bluish colour, interspersed with a few fleecy clouds radiating from the northward and eastward ; light breeze from the southward and westward; barometer 29:55, thermometer 57°, there appeared a large pale white circle, parallel with the horizon, of about seventy to eighty degrees in diameter, passing through the sun, and extending itself to the northward. The cloud having passed over the sun, it now appeared enveloped in a mist of halo, outside of which there was a ring of about fifteen degrees diameter, beautifully tinged with varied colours, particularly that part of the ring to the eastward, which was much more luminous; from hence proceeded another ring, of an elliptical shape, and here, at the junction of the two rings, was exhibited a luminous parhelion; also at the parts where the larger circle intersected the other rings, were seen two parhelia, beautifully tinged with purple. In the W.N.W. quarter, at some distance off, there appeared a segment of another circle, having all the beautiful cints of the rainbow, and which intersected a long range of numerous streaked fleecy clouds (more like alternate blue and white lines, than anything else), which traversed from N.W. to N.E., where they converged. At the same time similar clouds diverged to the southward, where there appeared another segment, similar to
that in the western quarter. This extraordinary appearance in the heavens lasted until half-past two o'clock, when the phenomena gradually disappeared. On referring to several works on the subject, for explanation, we find in Mil. ner's Gallery of Nature, that a similar phenomenon is related, by Matthew Paris, to have occurred in England in the year 1233, and which lasted from sunrise till noon. At the same time, on the 4th of April, about one o'clock, on the borders of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, besides the true sun, there appeared in the sky four mock suns, of a red colour; also a certain large circle, of the colour of crystal, about two feet broad, which encompassed all England, as it were. There went out semi-circles from the side of it, at whose intersection the four mock suns were situated; the true sun being in the east, and the air very clear, An engraving appears in the same work, from a drawing by Capt. Parry, as “ The gorgeous phenomena which appeared” to him during his winter sojourn at Melville Island, and which, in almost every respect, corresponds, or rather, bears a resemblance to the phenomena in question. A still more remarkable phenomenon occurred at the same time that of a white cloud in the N.E. quarter, having all the appearance of a hand, with the fingers and thumb extended in an upright position. We merely mention this as remarkable for its singularity.-Hunts Paper.
HYDROGRAPHIC DEPARTMENT OF THE ADMIRALTY.
Of all branches of our public expenditure there is scarcely any, of the cost of which, less complaint can with justice be made than of the hydrographic department of the Admiralty.
From returns recently laid before parliament, on the motion of Mr. Hume, (Sessional Paper, 1848, No. 232), we learn that the expenditure of the Hydrographical Department, (exclusive of Arctic and Antartic expedi. tions,) has been :-In 1837-8, 268,517; in 1838-9, 259,202; in 1839-40, £58,862 ; in 1840-1, £52,517; in 1841-2, £91,832; in 1842.3, £142,235; in 1843-4, £134,126; in 1844-5, £126,583; in 1845-6, £178,782; and in 1846-7, £123,678.
What has been effected by means of this outlay will be seen from the following report by Admiral Beaufort:A Return of the Surveys undertaken by the Hydrographic Department of the
Admiralty, between the yeurs 1838 and 1847 inclusive. 1838.-In that year the surveys in progress were the following:-At Home: River Thames, H.M. steam-vessel Boxer; coast of Wales, hired boats; North Sea, H.M.S. Fairy and tender; Solway Frith, hired boats; Orkneys, H.M.S. Mastiff and tender; N.E. coast of Scotland, hired boats; coast of Ireland, hired boats; Lough Derg, hired boats; Irish Channel, H.M.'s steam. vessel African.Abroad: Mediterranean, H.M.S. Beacon and Magpie; West Coast of Africa H.M.S. Eina and Raven; West Indies, H.M.S. Thunder and Lark; St. Lawrence River and Gulf, hired schooner; West Coast of South America, H.M.S. Sulphur and Starling; N.W. Coast of Australia and Bass Strait, H.M.S. Beagle.
1839.—The surveys were the same as in 1838, except that of the west coast of Africa, which was discontinued in consequence of the sickness which prevailed in the vessels; and that at home—the party employed on the survey of the coast of Wales proceeded to the coast of Cornwall.
1840.--The same surveys continued, except that the Lough Derg party was transferred to the navigable parts of the river Shannon; and that of the Solway Frith was extended along the west coast of Scotland. NO. 5.- VOL. XVII.
1841-The same arrangement, except that circumstances requiring the immediate survey of Portsmouth and Spithead, the Cornwall party was removed to that duty in the Sylvia cutter; and that abroad, H.M.S. Sulphur and Starling quitted South America, and were employed in surveying the waters of China, and in co-operating with our squadron there.
1842.-To the above surveys the important investigation of the Barrier Reefs of Australia and Torres Strait, was this year added in the Fly and Bramble; the Philomel was sent to examine the harbours of the Falkland Islands, and a survey of the Azores was commenced by the Styr steamer; the Sulphur and Starling quitted the survey of the coast of China, but leaving the Plover and Royalist to continue that work. At home, the Shearwater steam-vessel was appointed to the North Sea survey in the place of the Fairy (unhappily lost at the close of 1841), and the Rocket steam vessel was substituted for the Sylvia at Portsmouth and Spithead.
1843.-The Rocket was replaced by the Fearless steamer; the Shearwater steamer was sent to the West of Scotland survey, and the Blazer steamer to the North Sea, instead of the Shearwater. The survey of the coast of Lancashire and Cumberland was commenced in hired boats. Abroad, the survey of the dangerous Gulf of Fundy was commenced by the Columbia steamer, and the Beagle returned from her survey of Bass Strait, and of the coast of Australia,
1844.--At home, the south and western coasts of Ireland were so little known that an additional survey was commenced in Galway Bay by means of hired boats, and the Shannon party, having finished that work, was directed to make a complete survey of Cork Harbour, in the Tartarus steam-vessel, which was replaced in the Thames by the Porcupine, The Firefly was put on the soundings of the Irish Channel, of which there was no accurate chart; the Lucifer, steamer, was appropriated to the continuation of the east coast of Ireland survey, and the Sparrow ketch was given, in lieu of hired boats, for the survey of the north coast of Scotland. Abroad, with the close of the year, the survey of the Azores and the Madeiras terminated
1845.-Her Majesty's ship Herald and Pandora were despatched to the Pacific to continue the survey of the west coast of America from the point where that of the Sulphur and Starling broke off, and the Avon steamer proceeded to the Bight of Benin for a like purpose. At home, the Dasher was substituted for the Fearless in the Portsmouth survey, and the Tartarus was taken from the south coast of Ireland survey, which was continued by means of hired boats.
1846 - The survey of the Isle of Man succeeded that of the coast of Lancashire by means of hired boats; and the great interior lakes of Corrib and Mask in Ireland were undertaken. Abroad, the Fly returned from the survey of the Barrier Reefs of Australia, leaving the survey to be continued in lier Majesty's ship Bramble and a hired vessel. The Philomel having finished the survey of the Falklands, joined the squadron in the river Plata. The Avon also returned from Africa, having completed the work assigned to her ; and also the Plover from China, leaving the Royalist to carry on the remaining operations.
1847 —Abroad, the Rattlesnake was sent to prosecute the survey of Torres Strait, in continuation of the work begun by the Fly; and at the close of the year the Columbia was ordered home from the Bay of Fundy, and paid off. Her Majesty's steam-vessel Acheron was commissioned to survey the coasts and har. bours of Newfoundland. At home, in the spring of the year, the Avon steamer was established for the Sparrow on the coast of Scotland, the survey of which had advanced to Cape Wrath; and in the autumn the Blazer, Dasher, Firefly, Lucifer, Porcupine, and Shearwater, with a new set of officers, were employed in relieving the famine on the western shores of Ireland and Scotland; the several surveys in which they have been respectively occupied being ordered to be continued in hired bouts.
The portions of the United Kingdom of which the surveys, charts, and sailing directions may be considered defective, are as follows:-"1. The greater part of the south coast of England is very roughly laid down, and with none of that accurate detail which is absolutely necessary in considering the value of the numberless projects that are brought before the Admiralty
-2. The charts of the western coast of Scotland, from the Mall of Cantire nearly to Cape Wrath, and all the Hebrides, are in a most disgraceful state, not only in that hydrographic minuteness requisite for the actual safety of its navigation, but in geographic positions, many of which are several miles out, even in latitude.-3. Two large intervals of the western coast of Ireland have never been surveyed, and the charts are merely eye sketches.-4, The south-eastern coast of Ireland, between Waterford and Cork, is nearly in the same state.-5. A full investigation of the tidal streams of the English Channel is likewise a desideratum of very great importance to the navigator of those seas, and ought to be at once undertaken.
These several objects might probably, be accomplished with the requisite precision in ten years, by the seven small steam-vessels that have been lately employed on this service, assisted by the four boating parties, and averaging altogether about 550 men and officers.
The foreign surveys that are requisite in order to ensure correct eharts and sailing directions would include a very large portion of every sea-coast on the globe, and could scarcely be enumerated here in any reasonable space; but those most urgently necessary to be taken up by this country may be thus stated :
1. The Eastern Islands of the Mediterranean, along with the coasts of Syria and Egypt, and as much of the northern shore of Africa as would meet the French survey which, having commenced with Algiers and Morocco, will very probably be continued along Eastern Barbary and Tunis.
2. From the Strait of Gibraltar the western coast of Africa has been sufficiently surveyed and published, as far as Cape Formosa in the Bight of Benin; but as there is much legitimate traffic in the eastern part of that great Bight, as well as further to the southward, both it and many of the ports and anchorages on this side of the Cape of Cood Hope require a more careful and connected examination.
3. The charts of the whole of the Cape Colony are exceedingly defective, as the numerous wrecks there amply testify, and from thence to the Portuguese settlements of Delagoa we know scarcely anything.
4. From Delagoa to the Red Sea and the whole contour of Madagascar are sufficiently represented on our charts for the general purposes of navigation, though many further researches along the former coast might still be profitably made.
5. The Red Sea, part of the coast of Arabia, the Gulf of Persia, and many detached portions of the East Indies, have been already executed by the Company's officers, and no doubt it is intended that the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel shall soon be undertaken by the same hands. The long Malay peninsula and the Strait of Malacca will require much time and skill to complete and to combine with each other those parts that have been surveyed.
6. With the China Sea we are daily becoming better acquainted, but much is still to be done there; for probably not one of the multitude of rocks and shoals with which it is almost covered is put exactly in its right position; and while some are repeated two or three times, others have been omitted. A sea, therefore, Fhich is traversed by so many large and valuable vessels, and so replete with dangers, ought to be early and efficiently undertaken.
7. On the coast of China the charts are excellent, from Canton round to the mouth of the great river Yang-tse-Kiang; but of the Yellow Sea we know very little, and still less of the Corea, Japan, and the coast of Tartary, and up to the confines of the Russian empire.
8. The southern passages in the China Seas have never been examined with the care they deserye; and all that is known of what are called the Eastern Passages through the Great Malay Archipelago, are only the results of the casual observations and sketches made years ago by industrious seamon.
9. The islands and surrounding shores of the Arafura Sea, if better known, would offer many ports of refuge, and probably an increased opening to commercial enterprise.
10. The Strait of Torres has been satisfactorily surveyed, but before it becomes the great highway for steam vessels to and from Sydney, its approaches and also its contiguous coasts of New Guinea should be more intimately known.
11. The whole circuit of the great island of Australia has been well explored, and the general characteristics of its several shores are sufficiently known for all general purposes; but far more minute surveys of its immediate waters and maritime resources must precede their being inhabited, beginning with the Eastern coast, along which the tide of colonization seems to be already creeping.
12. The shores of Tasmania, in like manner, are but very roughly laid down, and even to this day there is no chart of the harbour and entrance to Hobart Town, its capital and principal seat of trade.
13. A full survey of New Zealand has just been commenced, and will no doubt answer all the wants of both the settler and the navigator.
14. In advancing to the eastward across the Pacific Ocean there are many groups of islands with which our merchant vessels have occasional traffic, or in which the whaling vessels refit, and which, ought therefore, to be more efficiently examined and charts charted for their benefit.
15. On the opposite side of the Pacific some progress has been made in survey. ing the coast between the Russian territory and the Strait of Juan del Fuca; but with the long interval between the Oregon district and the entrance of the Gulf of California we are very superficially acquainted, and but little is known of the interior of that extensive gulf. In the present state of those countries it does not appear necessary to push our survey into their inner waters; but there can be no doubt that the coast of Mexico, Guatemala, and New Granada, which contain many valuable harbours and innumerable trading ports, ought to be minutely and connectedly surveyed.
16. From the Equator to Cape Horn, and from thence round to the River Plata on the eastern side of America, all that is immediately wanted has been already achieved by the splendid survey of Capt. Fitzroy.
17. Some parts of the great empire of Brazil we owe to the labours of the Baron de Roussin and of other French officers, but there is much yet to be done on that coast between the Plata and the Amazon rivers, and again along Guayana and Venezuela up to the mouth of the Orinoco.
18. The shores of the main land between Trinidad Island and the Gulf of Mexico have been charted and published by the Admiralty; but many of the West India islands are still wanting to complete a wholesome knowledge of those seas.
19. The United States are carrying on an elaborate survey of their own coasts, and to the northward of them, a part of the Bay of Fundy has been done by ourselves, as well as all the shores of Nova Scotia, Canada, and Newfoundland; and when these surveys are finished we shall only want to complete the eastern coast of America, those of Labrador and of Hudson Bay, which, being in our possession, ought to appear in our charts with some degrees of truth. In reply to the latter part of this clause it may be stated, that on an average of the last few years the Admiralty have employed on foreign surveys 11 vessels and about 950 men; and that however incumbent on this country, to take the lead in such efforts, still this amount of force, if properly distributed and constantly employed may be fairly considered as our full share of that great duty which all maritime nations owe to the iuterests of navigation.
The Admiralty surveys, charts, and sailing directions, have been ren. dered available to the mercantile marine by selling them at very low prices, and, in order to prevent any mistake on that head, the price is invariably printed on each chart, plan, or book.
The largest sizes that are engraved-viz., antiquary or double elephant