« ZurückWeiter »
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; be
cause 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,
Your most obedient humble servant,
APPENDIX TO THE ABOVE LETTER.
Remarks upon the Navigation from Newfoundland to New York, in Order to avoid the Gulf Stream on one Hand, 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 2D, 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. 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 39°. 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 bout to undertake a Sea Voyage," Vol. II. p. 106. — EDITOR.
lie in about 40° 45'. The northern part of the current directly to the south of Nantucket is felt in about latitude 38° 30'.
By observing these directions, and keeping between the stream and the shoals, the passage from the Banks of Newfoundland to New York, Delaware, or Virginia, may be considerably shortened; for so you will have the advantage of the eddy current, which moves contrary to the Gulf Stream. Whereas, if to avoid the shoals you keep too far to the southward, and get into that stream, you will be retarded by it at the rate of sixty or seventy miles a day.
The Nantucket whalemen being extremely well acquainted with the Gulf Stream, its course, strength, and extent, by their constant practice of whaling on the edges of it, from their island quite down to the Bahamas, this draft of that stream [Plate XIII.] was obtained from one of them, Captain Folger, and caused to be engraved on the old chart in London, for the benefit of navigators, by
NOTE. The Nantucket captains, who are acquainted with this stream, make their voyages from England to Boston in as short a time generally as others take in going from Boston to England, viz. from twenty to thirty days.
A stranger may know when he is in the Gulf Stream, by the warmth of the water, which is much greater than that of the water on each side of it. If then he is bound to the westward, he should cross the stream to get out of it as soon as possible.
from London to Philadelphia, in April Observations of the Warmth of the Sea Water, &c., by Fahrenheit's made on board the Pennsylvania Packet, Captain Osborne, bouna Thermometer, in crossing the Gulf Stream; with other Remarks
and May, 1775.