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nard, my observatory is erected; to the westward of my pinnacle there is a hill, with a rounded summit 800 feet high. Here again the land descends to about 450 feet, forming a narrow gorge or saddle, but immediately ascending in a north-westerly direction, it unites itself to Signal Hill, which rises directly to the south of Christiansted to a height at its flag-staff as already stated of 858 feet. The land again descends, and the island is crossed about a mile to the westward of Christiansted, at an elevation of about 200 feet at its highest part. It then rises towards Bulows Minde, from whence the ridge extends with its undulations and diminutions in its height to the north-west, declining to a level with the sea at Salt River. From the westward of Salt Rim to Hams Bluff, the north side hills can be considered as ascending abruptly, and for more than two miles to the eastward of the Bluff precipitously from the sea. The first pinnacle to the westward of Salt River is Claremont north-east pinnacle, reaching a height of 854 feet, followed by one or two others of a similar elevation. A descent in the ridge then occurs, when it again rises to the connecting ridge between Blue mountain and Mount Eagle, the heights of which are already given. A descent then takes place to the westward of Mount Eagle, followed by an ascent towards Bodkins mill, and a pinnacle to the westward thereof about forty feet higher, from whence it again descends one or two hundred feet, forming that extensive, irregular, romantic, ridgy district, extending round Hams Bluff, passing Butlers Bay, and approaching near Frederiksted; stretching from thence into the interior round St. Georges Hill, and towards the E.N.E., and at last rounding and returning into the heights on which Bodkins mill is built, comprehending an extent of near 7,000 acres of land, greater part of which is in sugar cultivation. To the south of this district and of those hills and ridges, already enumerated from Signal Hill to Mount Eagle,— the rest of the island is an extensive inclined plain. Sloping gently from the base of the hills to the sea, extending from Sandy Point to a direction south-east of Signal Hills, a few eminences and inequalities diversify its surface, forming good situations for some of the numerous dwellings, wind-mills, &c, &c, with which this beautiful tract of fertile country is interspersed.
Along the greater part of the south side of the island, a ledge of reefs with a few channels, practicable for small vessels, lines the coast at a distance from the shore in some places of near two miles, and although they generally break, thus showing their danger, still shoal water extends some distance to the south or seaward of them, therefore they must be approached with great caution, especially as no correct survey has ever been made of them that I know of;—this object I once had in contemplation, but it is now beyond my means. These reefs commence near the shore, at a small distance to the westward of the east end point, gradually increasing their distance from the shore according to the irregularity of the projecting points of the coast. The most dangerous part of them, and the most distant from the shore, commences in running down to the westward with an outer ledge, when you have Signal Hill flag-staff bearing about north, and continues for eight miles until you bring the flag-staff on St. Georges Hill, which is about a mile and a half to the east of the fort at Frederiksted, to bear in the same direction, say north. Running down this space, you should keep a league off the shore, which is also deceiving from its being so very low. You have then to give a corresponding berth to the dangerous reef and the shoal water on its back, which runs off from Sandy Point, which you will be clear of, when you bring the north-west rounding of West End Bay to bear N.b.E., when you can haul up under the lee of the reef and the land.
The dangers running down on the north -side of the island commence with Buck Island reefs, which are described under No. 14; keep to the north of this small island near a league, and when at this distance it bears south, steer down west, (which carries you far to the north of the Scotch reef, Christiansted harbour reef, or the White Horse off Salt River point,) until you bring Hams Bluff, the bold north-west promontory of the island, to bear S.W.b.W., when haul up to pass it, and afterwards to run along the land keeping about a mile off shore, until you pass the north-west rounding of West End Bay, when you can haul up for the anchorage. I have confined my observations to the dangers a vessel bound to West End is exposed to, by running down on either side of the island, and I have done so in consequence of the late arrangement by which the packet steamers call at West End, with the outward mails twice a month; they of course on this service come from the south-eastward. Hitherto they have run down from the south side, which is certainly nearer their direct course, and under the direction of their skilful and prudent commanders; there can be but little risk in the day time, or even at an early part of the night, if a good observation of the land has been had before evening; but if the land cannot be made before evening, and that they are not permitted to lose time by lying to, I decidedly assert, that it is safer at night to make and pass to the eastward of the East End extremity of this island, rounding the outside of Buck Island at the distance of a league, running down then to the westward, &c. as just described. I cannot divest myself of the apprehension of some accident happening about their passing Sandy Point spit in a dark night, when the land has not been previously made with daylight, and certainly the correspondence of this island alone would not warrant the risk of such valuable vessels being exposed to the attempt. The only method which occurs to me of obviating or avoiding this risk, and likewise losing not a moment of their time, which is an important object, would be for the commanders of these vessels to be instructed to stop at West End, for the delivery of the outward mail, at all times when they found they could reach Sandy Point with daylight, or could otherwise get so near the land with daylight, as to be satisfied that there was no risk in rounding it; but if they found it would be midnight before they could reach it, that then they should be authorized to haul up in proper time to pass to the eastward of this island, and afterwards to run down to West End, on the north side of the island, or at once proceed direct to St. Thomas, as circumstances and weather might warrant without stopping here, leaving the mail for this island there, to be brought over by one of the island packet boats which are crossing daily.
The steamer collecting the island mails for delivery to the packet at St. Thomas, of course calls likewise twice a mouth at West End,—they hitherto have arrived there in the daytime, and I presume are so timed accordingly. They run down on this island from St. Kitts. The steamers on their return to windward call also at West End, and proceed on their voyage round Sandy Point, but this they can do in taking a departure from West End, with perfect safety either by day or by night.
When feet are given, English feet are to be understood.
Andrew Lang. Si. Crou, December 25tA, 1840.
Storks Of The Mediterranean.
"In science, as in the useful arts, the advantages of a division of labour are apparent in the more complete mastery which an individual obtains over a subject to which he directs constant attention; but the benefit does not end here, for anlike the proficiency which is attained by subdividing the parts of manual employment, the successful prosecutor of any particular scientific subject, is enabled to communicate the results which he requires, and thus enables others to profit by his investigations. The labours of numerous individuals, each directing his attention to a part as well as the whole of a subject, tend to perfect the science which it embraces."
It is gratifying to find, that the philosophy of storms is engaging the attention of scientific individuals, as manifested by the lectures which have been given at Portsmouth, by a clergyman, and very recently by a physician, (Dr, Arnold,*) at Claphara. This gentleman says, " when we reflect upon the millions of property hourly committed to the perils of the treacherous element,—when we remember the thousands of gallant vessels which now proudly float upon the billows of the ocean, and when we call to mind the hundreds of enterprising and hardy mariners who are torn from the bosoms of their families, to provide for the exigencies of their wives and children,—any theory or explanation which has for its object their avoidance, or escape from storms and tempests,—those terrible visitations of Providence, by which thousands are yearly hurled into eternity, and the interest of our merchants and traders seriously affected, must be important not only to those immediately concerned, but to the philosopher, the philanthropist, and above all to the christian."
In the course of his address, the learned doctor urged the importance of indomitable perseverance, and indefatigable research to those who would unravel the mysteries of nature.
No doubt there are other individuals who are pursuing the study with earnestness, and, at no distant period, we may expect to see the theory brought as near to perfection as it is possible to be, by the sagacity and intelligence of the human mind; in the mean time it would be a gratifying piece of information, to hear that naval officers afloat had been directed, to consider the law of circular storms as an essential branch of their professional studies.
* Dr. Arnold appears to have passed the ordeal of some hurricanes in Jamaica.
That circular hurricanes are often experienced in the Mediterranean sea can no longer admit of a doubt, and it is probable that these meteors are formed in the Atlantic, and not within the area of the internal sea, at least those of considerable diameter, if not the whole. And as the Madeiras are not exempt from their ravages, we may not unreasonably consider that their transits eastwardly, take place sometimes as low as the parallel of 30° north, after the change of route in the west. It is also indisputable that some meteors curve as low as 20° north in the Mexican Sea; and it may be within probability to conceive, that occasionally a stray meteor shall be found directing its return course so far easterly from the point of change, as to repass over the greater Caribbees, instead of pursuing the north-easterly route along the east coast of North America—And further, are we not justified in believing, from the transit of storms over Gibraltar, that their route has been direct to the north-east, from the meridians of the windward islands.
At Gibraltar these storms have been remarked for some years past as being of a rotary character; and it will be recollected that H.M.S. Tribune, was wrecked at Tarragona, to the north-eastward, in 1839, during the passage of a furious hurricane over that place. It appears also that on the 22nd of December, 1840, Barcelona was visited by another of large dimensions, as it occupied two days and three nights in its transit! One hundred vessels were in the port, of which ten sunk, and most of the others were more or less damaged ;—three French menof-war rode out the gale. We trust that the officer who sent a report to the Minister of Marine, extended his observations to the operation of the wind, as well as to the effects produced by it. The recording of facts like these cannot fail of becoming useful in the investigation of the subject; they are connecting links to the chain of reasoning to be exercised in the discussion, and are otherwise accessary in the developement of the truth,—no apology therefore is necessary for pursuing them.
The Diario di Roma gives an account of a severe storm which was experienced at the Papal metropolis, on the 5th day of January this year. It appears, that the violence of the wind was confined to an elevation under 160 feet from the level of the sea, as at the top of the Astronomical Observatory, the air was in a state of calm, during the whole time of its continuance. This fact is curious, on account of the current of air confining itself to the surface; the phenomenon is not we believe singular, as whirlwinds are often confined to the surface of the land and sea for some time after their formation. Mr. Redfield considers that at first the operation of the hurricane does not reach to any great elevation, and Mr. Ostler is of opinion, that the gyration at times, may be above the surface of the land, whereby a vacuum is formed below, towards which the air lushes from all sides.
Many of those storms which pass along the longitudinal extent of the Mediterranean, appear to find their way across the Black Sea also. On New Year's day a most destructive hurricane made its transit over that basin of the ocean, so proverbial for winter tempests. Eighteen Genoese, three English, and many Austrian, Sardinian, and Neapolitan vessels were lost; seven are reported to have foundered in the Bosphorus.
During the night of the 4th of January this year, a furions storm raged over Naples,—two Neapolitan ships-of-war were lost, and it s stated that on the same day, an earthquake was experienced at Riggio in Sicily.
From these and other notices, it appears that the transit of meteors is not confined to the upper portion of the Atlantic, but sweep across from west to east and north-east from the lower latitudes. It appears too, that the commonly received opinion of hurricanes, not occurring nearer the equator than the ninth degree north, has been refuted in at least one instance, as recorded by Captain Smith, of H.M.S. Comus, who encountered a storm of that nature on the 17th of October, 1833, on the north coast of Darien, which lasted twelve hours, the changes of wind having been from north-west to south-west; subsequently, Capt. Smith ascertained that the southern limb of the meteor had devastated the city of Panama, in the harbour of which the vessels were wrecked. As this storm was progressing due west, unless it was disorganized by the mountains, it must have passed into the Pacific, and probably pursued its course onwards to the China Sea.
Passing on to the Syrian coast, a few remarks may be made on the memorable storm in which H.M.S. Zebra, was stranded "high and dry," and Beyrout suffered so much damage. Not the least extraordinary circumstance attending it is, the curious fact of the sea breaking in forty-six fathoms, or 276 feet!; this is thirty-four or thirtysix fathoms more than has ever before been noticed.
As far as information is obtained from the accounts that have been published,—all deficient in the main particulars as usual, it would appear that the evening of the 1st of December was "quite fine," with little wind, but, that during the night, the storm commenced from the south-westward, attended with rain and lightning, and ended early on the morning of the third, its duration having been about twentyfour or twenty-six hours. The changes of wind are only incidentally mentioned as having been from south-west to west, and round to N.N.W. or N.b.W.; the shifts, therefore, amounted to ten or eleven points.
There is no notice when the crisis of the gale occurred, and the direction of the wind at the time,—which omission is to be regretted. It appears, however, that the meteor was moving to the K.b.S., and should this be correct, it follows that the height of the storm was from the W.b.N., and consequently, after the Bellerophon had her topsails blown away,—as the wind, from what is subsequently stated in her account, appears to have then been southerly of west.
The gusts are described as the "fiercest" that the narrator "ever experienced at sea, and of much longer continuance;" nevertheless, as fresh topsails were not only bent, but the fore topsail and the mizen, «t with impunity on a wind, it may be inferred that the force of the gale must have been moderate, in comparison with that of a tropical hurricane, under the pressure of which, experience has shewn, that the strongest storm-sail set transversely to the course of the wind, would not hold many seconds; and, as to the men attempting to hmid a sail aloft, decidedly no such thing could be accomplished, with the force of the wind as high as twelve. During the intervals of lulls, if these lasted sufficiently long, such a feat might perhaps be performed.
ENLARGED SERIES NO. 4 VOL. FOR 1841. 2 H