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The following is Capt. Smith's letter, to which we have alluded :— Sir.—Having been promoted to the rank of captain on being superseded by Capt. Hastings in the direction of the gunnery establishment on board Her Majesty's ship Excellent in 1832, I naturally felt some inclination to notice a paragraph in The Times of November 23rd, which stated that the precision of the fire from the ships at Acre was owing to the practice in naval gunnery first taught by Capt. Hastings; subsequently other papers implied the same thing, and that the establishment originated under the present board of Admiralty. This would have remained unnoticed had not a letter appeared in the Times of the 9h inst. from Portsmouth on the subject.
In 1830 I was directed by Sir George Cockburn to point out on the Admiralty chart where a ship could be moored in Portsmouth-harbour, and fire shot in practice without danger or inconvenience. The plan was then decided on, Sir George conferring with Sir Byam Martin, the able Comptroller of the Navy, who was pleased to give me a carte blanche to choose any old ship fit for the purpose, under the sanction of Sir George Grey, the Commissioner of Portsmouth dockyard. The Excellent happened to be moored precisely in the spot I had pointed out, and she was selected for the purpose (the appropriateness of the name being remarked at the time.) Thus commenced the present establishment, which has since been most beneficially enlarged and improved, first by Sir James Graham, and especially by the present Board of Admiralty, Captain Sir J. Pechell taking it under his immediate care and direction; he was the first to follow the gallant Sir Philip Broke's system, marked out as worthy of adoption by the Shannon's line of vital fire on the side of the Chesapeake. It need scarcely be repeated that Capt. Sir Thomas Hastings deserves great credit for the perfection it has attained, as it now happily realizes all that that accomplished artilleryst, Sir Howard Douglas, contemplated in his able work on naval gunnery, in which he labours (though himself a soldier) to provide us in the event of war with future Shannons.
In the Naval and Military Gazette of September 7th, 1839, is a corroboration of the account I have given of the origin of the Excellent, with the addition of a flattering allusion to an invention of mine, the " Moveable Target," for teaching seamen, by an inboard exercise, to fire with precision, without expending powder and shot in the instruction, adopted in the navy by Admiralty order in 1826; so that I trust I am not arrogating to myself too much in saying that to me in a two-fold degree may be fairly attributed the merit of establishing a general system in the navy by which the nicety of Tangent practice may be taught, having in the first place introduced the moveable target, and secondly, having been the first to establish a depot of instruction on board the Excellent, which ship was placed by me expressly in a position in which she would be at rest, so that, to quote the letter of the Times of the 9th inst., "the knowledge of the value of precision, as well as how'to take aim, might constitute the chief value of the admirable system of instruction on board the Excellent:" that these have been attained is proved by our gallant seamen-gunners at St. Jean d'Acre, as theirs may fairly be termed target practice.*
* The Rodney. 92, when formerly in the Mediterranean, under Captain Hjde
It is gratifying to find that up to the present time the great "tour de force" on board the Excellent, and the ships of the fleet is dismounting and mounting a 32- pounder, on a plan suggested and practised by me, and was left with many other plans, an heir-loom to the Excellent establishment. The Britannia made this plan available when required to send her lower-deck gun-carriages on shore from Spithead, and in remounting the guns.t
Palmam qui meruit ferat is a well-known motto, especially hallowed among the profession of which I am a humble member. My object in writing this letter has originated in that principle, and I am confident that Capt. Sir T. Hastings, with whom I served in her Majesty's ship Undaunted, under Capt. Sir T. Ussher, would be the last man in the world who would wish to appropriate to himself the merit which properly belongs to another.
I have the honor, &c.
George Smith, Captain R.n. Royal Kauai Club, Bond Street 121A Dec, 1840.
Hero Op Acre.—The following has been transmitted to us as the production of a boatswain's mate on board of one of the ships under the command of the gallant officer whose deeds it celebrates: it does infinite credit to Jack's talents and spirit, and above all to his genuine affection for his heroic chief.—John Bull.
Pall Saltan, pall Pacha, pall devil, pall baker,
Here's to the hero of Acre and Sidon,
No honors or pensions can possibly cancel,
The wisdom of Stoppord, the valour of Mansel j
They formed and they fought, and they stormed every gap hsre,
Yet, what are these heroes to Commodore Napier!
With his bombs, shells, and cannon, his muskets and fuses
The crafty old Pacha, as wise as a Solon, .
With grief saw the current of victory roll on;
Here's a health to Lord Palmerston, Stofpord, and Ali,
Parker, may be cited as among the ships which profited by practice at the moveabl* target: the men fired their 32-pounders proverbially like riflemen.
t A 32-pounder, 56 cwt., was fired with shot and dismounted under my direction by thirteen men in fifty-five seconds, in the presence of Sir J. Graham, whan First Lorii of the Admiralty.
Longitude Of Arcona.
Sir.—As I see you have honored my last letter with a place in your Magazine, I am desirous of referring once more to the longitude of Arcona, for since I wrote to you I have seen Lieut. Raper's book, and in his Table of Longitudes find he gives the light-house 13° 26' 5". This induced me to refer again to my chart, (Blachford's of the Baltic,) where it is placed in 13° 37'. I have since seen another chart of the Baltic where it is placed in 13° 26' 30'. Now here is a difference of about ten miles between the two charts. Which is right?
I certainly did put faith in the longitudes given to me at the Observatory, thinking they were likely to be correct. The weather was loo hazy wheu I was there to admit of observations; but as it is an important point of land, I hope some of your friends will inform ns as to the real position. 1 am, &c. Scrutator.
[We recommend our correspondent to consult the account of LieuL-General Schubert's expedition in 1832, the whole of which he will find in the Geographical Society's Transactions for 1836.—Ed.]
Com Quin whose death is recorded as having taken place at St. Helena, on 22nd Nov. last, entered the Service in Oct. 1805, in H.M.S. Woolwich, under the corn
Spain and the Channel, at which time he followed Capt. Beaufort into the Viile de Paris, with the flag of Rear-Admiral Fraemantle, in the Mediterranean, and then to the Frederichstein, to the command of which ship Capt. Beaufort then removed. He served with this officer till Oct. 28th, 1812, when he was appointed to the Sea-horse under Capt. Sir James Gordon, on the West Indies and Channel stations, till Jan. 1813 when he was promoted to Lieutenant,and in June 181?, was appointed to the Kangaro, Commander W. S. Hall, in Baltic, Channel, North Spain, Lisbon, Halifax and Gibraltar, till 1815. He commanded the Britomart, on the African station, from 1835 to 1837, during which period he conferred such signal benefit to British trade that he was presented with an elegant and costly piece of plate, by the merchant's on the coast. He was promoted to the rank of commander in 1837, again selected for service on the African Coast, and appointed to the Persian, in which command he died in the highest esteem of his officers and ships' company, for hit kind, humane, and generous conduct.
War In Syria.—Vote of Tlianks.
House of Lords,—ilh February, 1841. The Earl of Mihto said he rose, in pursuance of the notice he had given to .move that the thanks of their lordships' house be given to Sir Robert Stopford, and the officers and men who served under him in the recent proceedings on the coast of Syria. He should detain their lordships but a very few moments on the present occasion. The events were so recent that it was unnecessary for him to enter into any detail of matters that must be fresh in all their lordships' memories. It was perfectly true that on many former occasions the British fleet had been called upon to contend with more formidable enemies, and to engage in more sanguinary conflicts; but he was quite sure their lordships would agree with him in saying, that throughout the whole of the operations on the coast of Syria, there was abundant evidence to be found of the skill, of the bravery, of the resources, and of that originality of enterprise and character, which had always eminently distinguished the British Navy,—(Hear, hear.) But there was one peculiar feature distinguishing these operations, to which h« must he allowed to call their lordships' attention,—he meant the singular rapidity of execution, and the small space of time within which we accomplished w many brave and gallant enterprises, ending in mch important results. It w«s on the 9th of September, after having received the refusal of the Pacha to accept of terms that had been offered to him, that Sir Robert Stopford arrived Before Beyrout, and without the loss of a single day, he might almost say of a single hour, launched Commodore Napier on that career of victory and success which he had continued to pursue undiminished to the last. It was on the same day, the 9th of September, that Commodore Napier was landed at D'jouui, and succeeded in taking the place in spite of a much superior force; and on the 3rd of November the contest was brought to a glorious termination by the reduction of the fortress of Acre. In the meantime the mountaineers had been armed, magazines put in readiness, and post by post—every town throughout the whole line of coast, from Tripoli to the extremity of Syria,—reduced by one or other of the detachments of our naval force. Commodore Napier, besides his purely naval services, had twice marched on shore to oppose the Egyptian forces, on both of which occasions he had defeated and dispersed the enemy; and between these two actions he had succeeded in landing at Sidon, at the head of scarcely a thousand men, Austrian and British, being opposed by about 20,000 men, and took the place by storm, bringing away in his train about 3,000 prisoners—(cheers.) Me, (Lord Minto,) had dwelt a littleon the extraordinaay rapidity with which these operations had been conducted, because in this contest time was every thing. It was not only most important to the success of the operations themselves, but it must be obvious to their lordships that, if the contest had been protracted to another campaign, it might have been attended with the utmost peril to the peace of Europe. If he wanted another example of the promptitude and skill which had characterised those operations, he would refer their lordships to the despatch of Sir Robert Stopford, of the 3rd and 4th of October, in which the gallant admiral stated that he had just received the instructions of the government, for the reduction of the fortress of Acre, an enterprise on which, he said, he had already been engaged; that the resolution so to do was taken on the 29th of October; and that on the 31st, the admiral wrote all his arrangements were completed, that he was prepared, and, in fact, that he actually did sail on that day; and in three days from that date this important fortress had yielded to the talent and power arrayed against it. The admiral was most ably and gallantly seconded in all his operations by Admiral Bandeira, commanding the Austrian squadron, as well as by the Archduke Frederick, and also by the Turkish officers. In his account of the affair at Sidon, Commodore Napier spoke in the very highest terms of the conduct of the Archduke, who, at Acre, landed during the night, along with the marines of the squadron, in order to secure the safety of the town and fortress. To Admiral Walker, too, much credit was due. He had been in every action, and in all he bad exhibited most distinguished abilities, and sustained that high reputation which had ever attended British valour, and had proved himself eminently qualified for that high post which he occupied at the bead of the Turkish fleet.
He (the Earl of Minto) felt certain that it was unnecessary for him to add one word more in order to induce their lordships to concur in the vote of thanks which it would be his duty to conclude by proposing; he would only once more state, that throughout the whole of the operations, and more especially in the last, the attack upon St. Jean d'Acte, the precision and accuracy of the British fire had proved that we had added a new element of strength to the British navy, in the talents and skill of every man employed in it. He trusted that their lordships and the country would receive what had been done on this occasion as an earnest of what could be effected by our fleet should it unfortunately be on any future occasion called upon to enter into operations with more formidable opponents: and he thought the bravery and energy of our officers and sailors had given the best answer to all those cavils and complaints of the degeneracy and decay of the British navy which had been made in many quarters during the last year. On that head he would not add one word more; all must feel that the brave men in the fleet had given a better answer to the calumny, originating, he believed, in jealousy, than any which he could do. He had no doubt but their lordships would willingly concur in giving the thanks of the house to Admiral Stopford, and the officers and men employed under him on the coast of Syria, for the bravery displayed by them in the operations terminating on the 3d of November last. The noble lord concluded by moving successively the following votes of thanks :—1st, the thanks of this house to Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, O.c.b., for his gallant conduct during the operations carried on on the coast of Syria, terminating with the successful and decisive attack upon Acre on the 3d November, 1840.—2nd, thanks to Sir Charles Napier, K.cb., and the several officers of the fleet, for their brave and active co-operations in those operations.—3d, that this house acknowledges and highly approves of the services of the seamen and marines employed on this service.—4th, thanks to Major-General Sir Charles Smith, and the officers of the Royal Artillery and Engineers, employed on the coast.—5th, that this house acknowledges and highly approves the conduct of the men of the Royal Artillery and Engineers so employed.—6th, thanks to Rear-Admiral Baron Bandeira, commander of the Austrian fleet, for his valuable assistance and active co-operation in this expedition.—7th, thanks to Admiral Walker, in command of the naval force of the Sultan, for his gallant co-operation.—The concluding resolution was, that the Lord Chancellor communicate the said resolutions to Admiral Stopford, with a request that he would signify them to the officers and men under his command.
Trotter's Manual Of Logarithms, and Practical Mathematic*.—Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd; London, Simpkin and Marshall.
A useful little set of Tables intended for students, engineers, navigators, and surveyors, but more calculated for the civil engineer and surveyor, than the seaman. It contains an epitome of mensuration and mechanics, and many useful miscellaneous tables.
The Practice Of Navigation And Nautical Astronomy.—By H. Raper, Lieut. R.N., Secretary to the Royal Astronomical Society.—Bate, London. 1840. (Concluded from p. 138. J
Professor Lax, in his "Requisite Tables," published in 1820, remarks, "that few are aware of the great labour which is required to construct a table of this kind,* and how much care and consideration are necessary, to determine what authority ought to be selected." Lieut. Raper, avowedly, under the same impression, prepared a paper divided into five sections, which was read at the evening meetings of the United Service Institution, and afterwards appeared in the pages of the Nautical. In that paper, the reader will find the principles which ought to guide him in his choice of authorities, ably discussed, and directions given, which will be hereafter found useful, both to those who have the determining of longitudes, as well as those who have to construct such a table. In the fourth section some appropriate remarks are made, upon the superior advantages that a steam vessel properly provided with chronometers, has over a sailing vessel, for ascertaining the meridional difference of longitude between any two places, by affording a rapid transit from one place to another. And although we are not without our doubts as to the deranging effects on chronometers of steam-vessels generally, still, if such effects do exist, they should be ascertained, and some favorable opportunity might be taken of following out the the suggestion, of supplying a steam man-of-war with about seven good chronometers as a preliminary experiment to further results.
It appears to us, that the advantages which may be derived from ascertaining correct differences of longitude, have not been as yet sufficiently appreciated. For instance, how often that knowledge might be useful for the purpose of rating chronometers. As an example, we shall take the West Indies, and suppose between any two of the islands, say Trinidad and St. Thomas, the difference of longitude was known within two seconds of time. This might easily be the case, as determining the difference is a far simpler matter than
* Maritime Poind.