« 이전계속 »
notice their existence, and the probability of their having grown up from the too frequent and imprudent practice of ships throwing overboard stone ballast, against the regulation of the port, a proceeding which will in time make the anchorage ground (which has always been considered good for holding) very uneven.
Mr. Sprent, the intelligent master of H.M.S. Wellesley, gives us the following useful information concerning Madras roadstead.
Madras.-The Wellesley was anchored in the roads in nine fathoms, with the lighthouse south 67° west, and the master attendant's flagstaff north 62° west.
Machinery has been sent from England for a revolving light, but at present a fixed light is shewn from a temporary building for that purpose: this light is very useful running in at night; by bringing it to bear W.b.S., or W.S.W., a ship may run in by the lead, as the water shoals very regularly, and when in eight fathoms she may anchor: do not get too close in during the north-east monsoons, for a heavy swell generally sets in, which might cast a ship's head towards the shore when weighing, and drift her into danger before she could wear round. Bound to Madras during the north-east monsoon, the land should be made to the northward, as there is generally a strong current setting along the coast to the southward; but in the south-west monsoon the land should be made to the southward of Madras, as the current sets in the opposite direction.
Men-of-war generally lie on the south side of the roads, clear of the merchant ships. By the port regulations merchant ships are to anchor with the master-attendant's flagstaff bearing from N.W. to W.b.N.; and vessels anchoring in more than eight feet are charged double boat hire.
When the surf is so high as to render it dangerous for boats to land, a red and white-chequered flag will be hoisted at the masterattendant's flagstaff; and the following signals are made from the same place, should the weather assume a threatening appearance. White flag with a blue cross; the weather is suspicious, prepare for running to sea. Red flag, with a swallow tail; cut or slip. Upon the indication of an approaching gale of wind after sunset three lights will be hoisted, one at the mast-head and one at each yardarm, and a gun will be fired every five minutes.
For ascertaining the error of chronometers, you must note the time of the flash of the 8 P.M. gun fired at the fort, and the corresponding Madras mean time, as noted at the observatory, will be sent off the next morning from the master attendant's office; but as the flash is not always distinctly seen at the observatory, too much reliance is not to be placed on this mode of ascertaining the error.
The variation of the compass by azimuths, taken on board with the ship's head in different directions, was 2° east.'
The first appearance of Madras and the coast in its neighbourhood is thus spoken of by Mr. Massie, in his work on Continental India.*
• A valuable work in two octavo volumes, published by Ward, Paternoster-row, from which we shall take another passage hereafter.
Fort St. George, Madras. The appearance of Madras from the roads is imposing and grand. Fort St. George lies upon the margin of the coast, and its walls are washed by the flowing tide. The buildings along the shore, have all a stately aspect, and seem rather the palaces of great and wealthy princes, than the habitations of stranger-merchants in a foreign land,Bentinck-buildings, of which the supreme court and other law offices form but a part, are in the first style of splendour. In the same line is the custom-house on one side, and the post-office on the other, constituting a range contiguous from the southern point of the fort to the flood town-gate, with a slight and rarely perceptible interval of nearly three miles. The walls of the houses susceptible of the highest polish, which at a distance, when the building is new, is as pure as alabaster, and by age acquires the colour of greyish marble. Madras is situated on an extensive plain. A low range of hills to the north rises in the distance extending to the interior, and another line of low mountains which we have already singled out from Sadras reaches southward. The former you see to the right and the other to the left, as you look upon the town from the deck of the ship. Thus the chief objects of attraction are the town and its environs, and especially the European villas. There is all the luxuriance of an eastern clime discoverable in the face of the surrounding country; so that, casting your eye beyond the foaming surf, the low sandy beach and the city buildings, with their lofty verandahs, columned piazzas, and terraced roofs, the spires of three or four churches, the dome of the Armenian convent, and the crested minarets of the Moslem faith, you fix upon the waving acacia, the sweeping, drooping bamboo, the broad-leaved plantain, the aspiring, tufted palmyra, and the stately and wide-spreading hospitable banian-all wooing the zephyr, which is scarcely strong enough to excite vibration in the lightest tendrils, while not a cloud intervenes between them and the clear ether in the mid-air. We had no sooner dropped our anchor than the ship was boarded by — men, they were, but whether their habitation was on land, or in the water, a strauger could hardly decide. We were two miles from the shore, we saw no boat coming alongside, neither was there one on the larboard or starboard. Our yisitors were not shaking their black locks as if they had passed through the water, neither were they wringing their garments—they were in nudibus; yet, more surprising, they handed a document of an official character from the shore to our caplain.And who were they? or how could they come there? The sailors called them catamaran jacks—men who ploughed the billows and the raging surf upon two and sometimes three planks, six or eight feet long, with a short paddle in their hands; they sit on these planks cross-legged, or astride, as suits their convenience, striking the water first on one side then on the other with their solitary paddle. These are our first medium of communication with the shores of farcelebrated and long-civilized India!
Now all is bustle and preparation, anxiety and anticipation. The sun has gone down, the day has closed, and prudence dictates a brief delay. This exercise of patience is necessary and is yielded to more of constraint than of a willing mind. Another night must be passed on board- then the daylight will be before us. A new country, a strange people, and our ignorance of both, prescribe the morning as the period of our debarkation. And now, how many mercies should be recorded—how sincere the gratitude, how devout the praise, how enduring the memorial, here presented, since a thousand opening waves have not swallowed us up; since the storms, with all their fury, have not overwhelmed us; and since all the billows of the mighty have not gone over us; but even in the midst of the stormon the verge of the heaving gulf, the throne of prayer, the ear of a Father, have been accessible, and the fountain of mercy has been open, and the love of God has been shed abroad.
Before we leave the rivers and seas, the floods and climate of Hindostan, the Indian monsoon, deserves a notice. Some conjecture that the word derived its application from the name of a pilot, who made his way across the Indian Ocean by observing the prevalence of the trade wind. The change of the trade wind from east to west is accompanied generally by violent and broken weather; deluges of rain, and cold seasons attend them, and they are followed on land by a regeneration of the vegetable world, and the niost cheerful transformation of the face of nature. The monsoon from the west breaks up on the Malabar coast at one season, and on the Coromandel coast it breaks up from the east at a different season of the year; but a greater quantity of rain usually falls in the province of Malabar than on the opposite coast. Sometimes the rain falls in such torrents as to prevent egress from their houses to the European inhabitants during successive days; and even so as to confine visitors who may have gone out only for a morning call. There are generally official notices given, as froin the flagstaff, to intimate that vessels should leave the roads, otherwise, I believe, insurances are forfeited. Where the peril has been braved, sometimes vessels have been overtaken by hurricanes as violent as any western tornado, when many lives and much property have been lost. The 15tb of October is the day for signal at Madras. I have witnessed similar phenomena to what are described by Rev. Mr. Caunter, and would do hiin the justice to testify that he has admirably delineated this and many other scenes.
On that very morning some premonitory symptons of the approaching 'war of elements' had appeared; small fleecy clouds were perceived at intervals, to rise from the Borizon, and to dissipate in a thia and almost imperceptible vapour over the deep blue of the still bright sky.
There was a slight haze upon the distant waters, which seemed gradually to thicken, although not to a density sufficient to refract the rays of the sun, which still flooded the broad sea with one unvarying mass of glowing light. There was a sensation of suffocating heat in the atmosphere, which at the same moment seemed to oppress the lungs and spirits. Towards the afternoon the aspect of the sky began to change; the horizon gathered blackness, and the sun, which had risen so brightly, had evidently culminated in glory to go down in darkness, and to have his splendour veiled from human sight by a long gloomy period of storm and turbulence. Masses of heavy clouds appeared to rise from the sea, black and portentous, accompanied by sudden gusts of wind, that shortly died away, being succeeded by an intense death-like stillness, as if the air were in a state of utter stagnation, and its properties arrested. It seemed no longer to circulate, until again agitated by the brief but mighty gusts which swept fiercely along, like the giant heralds of the storin. Meanwhile the lower circle of the heavens looked a deep hazy red, from the partial reflection of the sunbeams upon the thick clouds, which had now everywhere overspread it. The sun had long passed the meridian, and his rays were slanting upon the gathering billows, when the black and threatening ministers of the tempest rose rapidly to the zenith. • About four o'clock the whole sky was overspread, and the deep gloom of twilight was cast over the town and sea. The atmosphere was condensed almost to the thickness of a mist, which was increased by the thin spray scattered over the land from the sea by the violence of the increasing gales. The rain now began to fall in sheeted masses and the wind to howl more continually, which, mingling with the roaring of the surf, produced a tumultuous union of sounds perfectly deafening. The wind, with a force which nothing could resist, bent the tufted heads of the tall, slim cocoa-put trees almost to the earth, fringing the light sand into the air, in eddying vortices, until they had either so increased in gravity, or beaten it into a mass, as to prevent the wind from raising it. The pale lightning streamed from the clouds in broad sheets of flame, which appeared to encircle the heavens, as if every element had been converted into fire, and the world was on the eve of a general conflagration; whilst the peal which instantly followed was like the explosion of a gunpowder magazine, or the discharge of artillery in the gorge of a mountain, where the repercussion of surrounding hills multiplies with terrific energy its deep and astounding echoes. The heavens seemed to be one vast
reservoir of flame, which was propelled from its volumnious bed by some invisible but omnipotent agency, and threatening to fling its fiery ruin upon every thing around. In some parts, however, of the pitchy vapour by which the skies were by this time completely overspread, the lightning was seen only occasionally to glimmer in faint streaks of light, as if struggling but unable to escape from its prison-igniting, but too weak to burst the impervious bosom of those capacious magazines in which it was at once engendered and pent up. So heavy and continuous was the rain, that scarcely any thing save those vivid bursts of light, which nothing could arrest or resist, was perceptible through it. The thunder was so painfully loud that it frequently caused the ear to throb; it seemed as if mines were momentarily springing to the heavens. The surf was raised by the wind and scattered in thin billows of foam over the esplanade, which was completely powdered with the white feathery spray. It extended several hundred yards from the beach: fish upwards of three inches long were found upon the flat roofs of the houses in the town during the prevalence of the monsoon, either blown from the sea by the violence of the gale, or taken up in the waterspouts, which are very prevalent in this tempestuouis season.
The annexed sketch, from Colonel Reid's valuable work on the Law of Storms,* represents the condition of the mouth of the Hoogly in a hurricane, from a painting by Huggins.
The Influence of Spring Tides ON THE WEATHER. INTERESTING facts with respect to the fluctuations of the weather are constan!ly occurring, but unheeded by the majority of persons who have
• We are glad to perceive that this work is now going into a second edition.