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ment, turned king's evidence,—I believe the vessel was subsequently raised. For the sake of human nature we trust and hope the instances are rare.
Among the many causes which lead to the loss of vessels, errors in the tables used in navigation may be added. I know an instance of a very fine ship having been wrecked upon the Grand Cayman, from an error in the table of the sun's declination; but until very lately, I was not at all aware of the extent to which these errors have been detected. The following extract will, perhaps, surprise most Nautical readers, and serve to show how devoted to the one absorbing object, the individual ought to be, who undertakes such a work as the Nautical Almanac, or any other containing tables of reference, as also that several heads should be employed in the examination for the purpose of delecting errors.
Instances of errors detected in tables.—In a "multiplication table, (as far as 100 times 1000,) constructed by Dr. Hutton, for the Board of Longitude," forty errors were discovered in one single page, taken at random. In the solar and lunar tables, from whence the computations were formerly made for the Nautical Almanac, more than 500 errors were found by one person. In the "tables requisite to be used with the Nautical Almanac," more than 1000 errors were detected by a single individual. In certain tables, published by the Board of Longitude, a table of errata, containing 1,100 errors was affixed I It was afterwards found necessary to have an errata of the errata I and one instance has been known of an erratum of the errata of the errata! I
The sources of errors are so numerous, that it is difficult to counteract or remedy them all; for instance, some result from falsely computing, and others from falsely transcribing; some from the compositor taking wrong types, and others from a displacement of the types, by the inking-ball used by the printers, and then by the faulty replacement of such types by the pressmen.
To remedy these defects, Mr. Babbage invented his self-calculating machine, which may very well rank as one of the most wonderful productions of human genius known, but it is not yet complete. I cannot refrain from copying the following passage.
"We believe that the machine,* so far as it is yet constructed, is national property, and that Mr. Babbage has neither received, nor desires to receive, any pecuniary benefit from the invention. If this be really the case, it is difficult to conceive a more honourable position than that which the inventor must occupy, in the estimation of all to whom the well-being of society, and its advancement in knowledge, is a desirable object." Z.
It may not be unimportant to direct attention to the case of the Pique frigate, at anchor during a hurricane. It would appear iu this instance, that, more dcpendance is to be placed on the hempen cable than that of chain.t This may probably, in some measure, arise from
* It has been already Twenty years in progress.
t The Impregnable, 104, parted her chain cable at Plymouth during a late gale.
the slight elastic property of the former; also from the difficulty of insuring perfection in all the links of a metal cable; as, likewise, from heavy strain causing the links to yield, or stretch unequally, by which certain portions are weakened, and yield to the jerks in the actions of heaving and setting of the ship.
If such a quality as elasticity be essential in relieving the great .si rain which must necessarily exist, when a cable is at its utmost tension from the force of a violent wind on the supported body, would not the Coir cable answer better than any other, supposing it to be of equal strength with that of hemp, upon such an occasion?
It is perhaps questionable whether the cocoa-nut fibre of which the coir cable is made, being short, would bear an equal steady strain, when laid into rope, with one of hemp; but although not intrinsically as strong, would not the property of stretching and contracting, in degree far exceeding hemp, make up for any deficiency in point of strength? To obtain this quality in a greater degree than possessed already, it is worthy of consideration whether the use of india-rubl er, in the manufacture of all cable-laid rope, for the use of anchors, would not be beneficial.
For ordinary uses the coir cable is, I believe, objected to on account of its extreme buoyancy, (its lightness is a positive advantage, as it lessens manual labour,) but it is nevertheless extensively used in the East Indies, and has to stand the test of many a furious typhoon.
There is another cable of somewhat similar properties, manufactured from a species of grass, vulgarly called "Bass," (its botanical name, unknown,) much used by the occidental Spaniards.
Have any experiments been tried with the three sorts of cables, in order to determine their respective quality of strength?
Veering of the Wind.
Tiir long-established axiom of seamen respecting the instability of wind which veers against the sun, appears to be deserving of every confidence. I do not recollect an instance to the contrary since my first familiarity with the ocean, and on shore I have met with none in more than two years' close observations daily ; but the strongest confirmatory reason for the truth of the fact is that, in the southern hemisphere, the reverse happens; that is, to expect a change of wind to become steady it must veer against the sun.
I have but recently been made acquainted with this curious, and not unimportant fact, regarding the action of the wind; my informant being a naval officer of great experience in both hemispheres. Comparing this with the remarkable example of the gyration of the wind in circular storms which has been pointed out by Colonel Keid, may we not consider lliat the veering of the wind in ordinary cases is governed by a fixed law of nature? Hence the northern distich :—
"When the wind veers against the sun,
Another doggerel was common among the prime old tars of the renowned city of " Brigstowe", and I was assured by one of the best and most gallant seamen of that port, that, during near a century, from the observations of his father and himself, it was found correct:
"An east wind of Saturday's moon,
The philosophy of wind, or rather of the winds, is still in its infancy; such a remarkable circumstance, supposing it to lie invariable, appears a curious enigma, and is too deep for me to presume to philosophise upon, I therefore leave it to the acute sagacity of the meteorological
A Clerk Of The Weather-officb.
Gyration of the Water-Spout.
Your notice, Mr. Editor, of the direction of the rotary motion of the fluid in a water-spout, as seen by Captain Harnett, R.n., at Nassau, New Providence, agrees with the observations of Colonel Reid, made at Bermuda, as stated to the British Association, in September last, at Glasgow, by Sir David Brewster.
The extract from the letter of the talented Governor of the Bermudas is as follows: "Three days ago (i. e. on the 14th of August 1840,) I had a fine opportunity of observing a water-spout under my house, and could, with a spy-glass distinctly observe that, at the surface of the sea, it was revolving like the hands of a watch; and the same observation was made at a telegraph station near government house."
This is the fifth account well authenticated in north latitude: all five revolved in the same way. Record.
Geographical Terms.—Entrance to a River*
It seems strange that we have no specific hydrographical term in our language expressive of the outer extreme of a river. The common word mouth seems not suited to the general taste, perhaps, more on account of its inelegant sound than from its unfitness as far as its meaning goes. Hence, it has given place to the French embouchure, very generally among writers; but in colloquial language it appears to be considered too long; too great a mouthful, as it were, to please every Englishman, notwithstanding his disposition for the introduction of foreign phrases. Indeed, it cannot be denied, whether it proceeds from their constitutional taciturnity, or other cause, that Englishmen have imbibed a decided partiality for abbreviating words: in the provincial idioms we have abundant examples of this propensity.
The Spaniards have "entrada," independent of the vulgar "boca;" but there is a disinclination to borrow from such a source. The ancient British term "aber," which is still used by the Welch, although sounding pretty enough when prefixed to the name of a river, would, perhaps, be considered loo abrupt for general use: as little would the Saxon " mulh" be tolerated.
But, although fancying that, we are a little too fastidious in these matters, I am not an advocate for indiscriminate substitutions; nor have I any desire to follow blindly our trans-atlanlic brethren in their aptitude for coining words. But, on such an occasion as this, where the poverty of our language tempts us to risk a literary forgery, to supply our want of mouth, we may help ourselves without leave to a very tempting foreign morceau, without being subjected to a prosecution from the censor of the hydrographical mint office, should there be each an institution.
Near to the imboccatura, or entrance of the noted river Tiber is, or, perhaps, more properly speaking, was, the Port of Ostia. Now, taking this name as a root, let us graft upon the stock, a branch, and, we shall have Ostiary,* the entrance of a river. The word is smooth, and goes off the tongue " glibly," no small recommendation; and its foreign original would, I imagine, be no objection to the naturalization of tb* derivative here, especially as we have a gap to fill up, and our language is a compound of others.
I beg to submit this to the piquant taste of our talented surveyors, both maritime and civil; and having thus, Mr. Editor, brought the flood of my argument to an end, I shall remain to the termination of life's current,
Your devoted correspondent,
An Ancient Mariner.
[VVp shall lonve this in the hands of our readers, bat cannot see why oar correspondent should despise, in the first ease, the first word which be uses for the same purpose, viz. "entrance."—Ed. N.M.]
There is no geographical im-proper name so familiar to the ears of her Majesty's maritime subjects, "gentle and simple," as this counterfeit compound? Eternally are they saluted with the dulcet sounds of "Newfoundland fish, water fish .'" from piscatory dames and demoiselles, as if fate had decreed that the ungrateful act of so naming it should be dinned in our ears until justice be done to the merits of the Anglo-Venetian family.
I am, Mr. Editor, presumptuous enough, and I hope to be forgiven to marvel, at times, whether those sounds ever sweep through the air, around the hydrographical office, like the wail of a departed spirit demanding that justice should be done to the memory of the discoverer.
One single record in thy chart I claim,
Shall the appeal be in vain?
With a full conviction of the reasonableness of the demand being undeniable, I advocate (though strong alone in zeal) the case of one who worthily led the way for a Drake, a Cook, and a Parry; and who on the score of priority and originality, may rightly be considered as got even second to Columbus himself?
That bold and clever seaman Sebastian Cabot, as I believe it is settled
* Preferable to the Latin term Ostium.
that the father did not mike the voyage,) who enjoyed the first land, (whether it were island or main has been doubled), and descried in the Western Atlantic, " Primi fixta," certainly possessed more practical good sense than he who thought he could improve the name by altering it to Newfoundland, as if time were never to grow old 1 It is surprising that such a misnomer should have been tolerated beyond the day. The re-discovery, if such it could be called, (the name implies as much) could not warrant such an appellation. The supercession was unjustifiable under any circumstances, and an insult to the memory of Cabot, which has been most disgracefully and ungratefully neglected.
If it should be urged that Prima Vista belongs to some part of the coast of Labrador, then we may claim St. John, for the island as named by Cabot; the principal harbour retains that name. Why not then call the island generally Cabot's Land? The fear of confusion, depend upon it, Sir, is, to be somewhat vulgar, " All ray eye and Betty Martin." Has any resulted from calling "Plymouth Dock," by the more euphonious " Devonporl," or, " New Holland," "Australia," &c. &c.!
[The following extract, from the Malta Chronicle, places in a very strong light some of the absurdities of the existing Quarantine Regulations at that emporium of Quarantine, Malta.]
We have much satisfaction in being able to announce that the subject of the Quarantine Regulations, has of late engaged the attention of many influential persons, and we are led to hope that ere long the whole topic will undergo a complete revision, and that these regulations will be modified in a manner more conformable to the spirit of the age, and to the increased activity in the Naval and Commercial world. It is not our present purpose to go into the whole of this much vexed question, but merely to point out one of its flagrant absurdities, the removal of which is so perfectly simple and safe that the alteration could not alarm the most timorous on the score of contagion, while it would prove of the greatest advantage to the public service at large, and a great boon to many persons in private life.
The sole avowed purpose of the Quarantine system, is to prevent the transmission of disease, and chiefly of the Plague, from place to place; and it would be idle to deny that this is an object of great importance. But it is no less obvious that the measures adopted in this view should be so contrived as to cause the smallest possible amount of inconvenience to the public and to individuals. Now, we have no hesitation in saying that this principle is, on many occasions, altogether lost sight of, and that great inconvenience, loss of time, heavy expences, and other evils, are produced by the present system, in a manner having so little reference to the real object as to be fairly called, not only wanton departures from common sense, but positive infractions of the liberty of the subject.
The inconveniences of the Quarantine laws naturally divide themselves into three branches; one of which only \vc propose at present to