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circumstances, a spirit-lamp, with a blaze-pan, may enable you to cook some little things for yourself; such as a hash, a soup, &c. And it might be well also to have among your stores some potted meats, which, if well put up, will keep long good. A small tin oven, to place with the open side before the fire, may be another
, good utensil, in which your own servant may roast for you a bit of pork or mutton. You will sometimes be induced to eat of the ship’s salt beef, as it is often good. You will find cider the best quencher of that thirst, which salt meat or fish occasions. The ship biscuit is too hard for some sets of teeth. It may be softened by toasting. But rusk is better; for being made of good fermented bread, sliced and baked a second time, the pieces imbibe the water easily, soften immediately, digest more kindly, and are therefore more wholesome than the unfermented biscuit. By the way, rusk is the true original biscuit, so prepared to keep for sea, biscuit in French signifying twice baked. If your dry peas boil hard, a two pound iron shot put with them into the pot will, by the motion of the ship, grind them as fine as mustard.
The accidents I have seen at sea with large dishes of soup upon a table, from the motion of the ship, have made me wish that our potters or pewterers would make soup dishes in divisions, like a set of small bowls united together, each containing about sufficient for one person, in some such form as figure 26; for then, when the ship should make a sudden heel, the soup would not in a body flow over one side, and fall into people's laps and scald them, as is sometimes the case, but would be retained in the separate divisions, as in figure 27.
After these trifles, permit the addition of a few general reflections. - Navigation, when employed in supply
ing necessary provisions to a country in want, and thereby preventing famines, which were more frequent and destructive before the invention of that art, is undoubtedly a blessing to mankind. When employed merely in transporting superfluities, it is a question whether the advantage of the employment it affords is equal to the mischief of hazarding so many lives on the ocean. But when employed in pillaging merchants and transporting slaves, it is clearly the means of augmenting the mass of human misery. It is amazing to think of the ships and lives risked in fetching tea from China, coffee from Arabia, sugar and tobacco from America, all which our ancestors did well without. Sugar employs near one thousand ships, tobacco almost as many. For the utility of tobacco there is little to be said; and for-that of sugar, how much more commendable would it be, if we could give up the few minutes' gratification afforded once or twice a day by the taste of sugar in our tea, rather than encourage the cruelties exercised in producing it. An eminent French moralist says, that when he considers the wars we excite in Africa to obtain slaves, the numbers necessarily slain in those wars, the many prisoners who perish at sea by sickness, bad provisions, foul air, &c. &c., in the transportation, and how many afterwards die from the hardships of slavery, he cannot look on a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained with spots of human blood! Had he added the consideration of the wars we make to take and retake the sugar islands from one another, and the fleets and armies that perish in those expeditions, he might have seen his sugar not merely spotted, but thoroughly dyed scarlet in grain. It is these wars, that make the maritime powers of Europe, the inhabitants of London and Paris, pay dearer for sugar than those of Vienna, a thousand miles from the sea; because their sugar costs not only the price they pay for it by the pound, but all they pay in taxes to maintain the fleets and armies that fight for it.*
With great esteem, I am, Sir,
APPENDIX TO THE ABOVE LETTER.
Remarks upon the Navigation from Newfoundland to
New York, in Order to avoid the Gulf Stream on one Hind, and, on the other, the Shoals that lie to the southward of Nantucket and of St. George's Banks.
READ AT A MEETING OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL
SOCIETY, DECEMBER 20, 1785.
After you have passed the banks of Newfoundland in about the forty-fourth degree of latitude, you will meet with nothing, till you draw near the Isle of Sables, which we commonly pass in latitude 43°. Southward of this Isle, the current is found to extend itself as far north as 41° 20' or 30', then it turns towards the E. S. E. or S. E. 1 E.
Having passed the Isle of Sables, shape your course for the St. George's Banks, so as to pass them in about latitude 40°, because the current southward of those banks reaches as far north as 39o. The shoals of those banks lie in 41° 35'.
After having passed St. George's Banks, you must, to clear Nantucket, form your course so as to pass between the latitudes 38° 30' and 40° 45'.
The most southern part of the shoals of Nantucket
Several of the closing paragraphs of this letter are the same in substance, as the piece entitled, " Precautions to be used by those, who are about to undertake a Sca Voyage," Vol. II. p. 106. – EDITOR.