« 이전계속 »
during the monsoon, either from want of knowledge of the roads, from temerity on the part of their commanders, or from their incredulity that bad weather is near at hand, while the barometer indicates no material change, such a survey was absolutely necessary.
Also, from want either of sufficient knowledge or of proper attention, it is too often the case that vessels arriving in the night, anchor in a position from which they could not possibly he assisted if the wind had had subsequently set on shore, and their inevitable loss would be the consequence.
The survey published by Mr. Mc Kennie gives the position and sections of the breakwater, and the following notice to commanders of ships and others, was issued from the Master-Attendants' Office, on the 14th of May, 1839:—" By a recent survey of the site of the projected breakwater, the extreme length of the work from N.N.E. to S.S.W., was found to be about seventy-six feet. Extreme breadth from E.SE, to W.N.W. about fifty-five feet.
"The soundings upon it were found to vary from twenty-five to twelve feet. The work is laid down in twenty-five feet water, bearing from the master-attendants' flagstaff, S.E.b.E. | E., distant from the shore 300 yards. The stones do not appear to have been moved by the action of the sea from where they were originally placed. As it is now considered a danger a good buoy is laid down on the south end; and it is in contemplation to lay down another at the north-east end to mark the two extremes to seaward.
** By Order of the Marine Board, (Signed) "H. D. E. Dalrymple, Acting-Master-AttendatU."
Mr. Mc. Kennie has also added to his survey many important particulars of currents, tides, set of the sea, rise and break of the surf, and which latter information, when made known to commanding officers of vessels, cannot fail in being of great use in enabling them to issue orders to their boat's crew when on bar duty, not to venture nearer the surf than the prescribed distance.
Referring to the loss of the Hope, at Madras, at the end of 1827, and subsequent shipwrecks there, the nature of the soundings in the roads with the quality and colour of the sand, &c, commanding officers of vessels would also be better aware of their approach to the surf, with the assistance of the plan, in the event of driving.
The bearings and distance of the Pulicat Shoals from these roads, (being the nearest danger to Madras,) are also marked, and the spot on which the statue of the late Sir Thomas Munro, governor of Madras, standing face to seaward, has lately been erected.*
There are two shoals running almost parallel with the beach, which also appear in the plan, not that they are dangers to the shipping, (for they are well within the anchorage ground, but it might be well to
* This statue was sent out from England, and the landing and erecting it wereso creditably performed by Mr. Mc Kennie, that he received a handsome acknowledgment of his services from the people of Madras. This gentlemen is now busy maturing a plan for communicating with the ships in the roads, sending out anchor", &c, which, if it answers, we shall take the opportunity of laying before our readers. We understand that a life-boat with a rocket apparatus, is to be established at Madras, according to the proposal of Mr. Mc Kennie.
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,— Bentinclc-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-spveading 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 theship was boarded by — men, they were, but whether their habitation was on land, or in the water, a stranger 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 visitors were not shaking their black locks as if they had passed through the water, neither were they wringing their garments—they were in nudibtis; yet, more surprising, they handed a document of an official character from the .shore to our captain.—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 storm— on 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 most 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 from 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 15th 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 him the justice to testify that he has admirably delineated this and many other scenes.
On that very morning some premonitory symptoms of the approaching 'war of elements' had appeared; small fleecy clouds were perceived at intervals, to rise from the Horizon, and to dissipate in a thin 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 spirit;. 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 liis 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. Tt seemed no longer to circulate, until again agitated by the brief but mighty gusts which swept fiercely along, like the giant heralds of the storm. Meanwhile the lower circle of the heavens looked a deep hazy Fed, 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 snrf, 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-nut trees almost to the earth, flinging 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