« ZurückWeiter »
Nautical Affairs. Though Britain bestows more attention to trade than any other nation, and though it be the general opinion, that the safety of the state depends upon her navy alone; yet it seems not a little extraordinary, that most of the great improvements in ship-building have originated abroad. The best sailing vessels in the royal navy, have in general been French prizes. This, though it may admit of exceptions, cannot be upon the whole disputed.
Nor is Britain entirely inattentive to naval architecture; though it is no whore scientifically taught, and those who devise improvements' have seldom an opportunity of bringing them into practice. What a pity it is, that no contrivance should be adopted, for concentrating the knowledge that different individuals attain in this art, into one common focus, if the expression may be admitted. Our endeavours shall not be wanting, to collect together, in the best way we can, the scattered hints that shall occur under this head, not doubting but the public will receive with favour, this humble attempt to awaken the attention to a subject of such great national importance.
'Dr. Franklin, among the other enquiries that had engaged his attention, during a long life spent in the uninterrupted pursuit of useful improvements, did not let this escape his notice •, and many useful hints, tending to perfect the art of navigation, and to meliorate the condition of seafaring people, occur in his work. In France, the art of constructing ships has long been a favourite study, and many improvements in that branch have originated with them. Among the last of the Frenchmen who have made any considerable improvements in this respect, is Mr. Le Roy, who has constructed a vessel Well adapted to fail in rivers-, where the depth of the water is inconsiderable, and that yet was capable of being navigated at sea with great ease. This he effected in a great measure by the particular mode of rigging, which gave the mariners much greater power over the vessel, than they could have when of the usual construction.
I do not hear that this improvement has in any cafe been adopted in Britain. But the advantages that would result from having a vessel of small draught of water to sail with the same steadiness, and to lie equally near the wind, as one may do that is (harper built, are so obvious^ that many perXbns have been desirous of falling upon some way to effect it. About London, this has been attempted by means of lee hoards (a contrivance now so generally known as not to require to be here particularly, described), and not without effect. But these are subject to certain inconveniences that render the use of them in many cafes ineligible.
Others have attempted to effect the purpose by building vessels with more than one keel: and this contrivance, when adopted upon proper principles, .promises to be attended with the happiest effects. But hitherto that seems to have been scarcely adverted to. Time will be necessary to eradicate common notions of very pld standing, before this can be effectually done.
Mr. W. Brodie, stnp-master in Leith, has,lately adopted a contrivance for this purpose, that seems to be at the fame time very simple, and extremely efficacious. Necessity, in this case, as in many others, was the mother of invention. He had a small, flat, ill-built boat, which was so ill constructed as scarcely to admit of bearing a bit of sail on any occasion, and which was at the fame time so heavy to be rowed, that he found great difficulty in using it for his ordinary occasions. In reflecting on the means that might be adopted for giving this useless coble such a hold of the water as to admit of his employing a fail when he found it necessary, it readily occurred that a greater depth of keel would have this tendency. But a greater depth of keel, though it would have been useful fpr this purpose, he easily foresaw, would make his boat be extremely inconvenient on many other occasions. To effect both purposes, he thought of adopting a moveable keel, which would admit of being let down or taken up at pleasure. This idea he immediately carried into effect, by fixing a bar of iron of the depth he wanted, along each side of the keel, moving upon hinges that admitted of being moved in one direction, but which could not be bent back in the opposite direction. Thus, by means of a small chain fixed to each end. these 'Vol. L mf
moveable keeU could be easily listed up at pleasure ; so that wb,en he was entering into a harbour, or shoal water, he had only t9 lift up his keels, and the boat was as capable of being managed there, as if it had wanted them entirely y and when he went out to sea, where there was depth effauhg, by .letting them do-raj the lee kjrel took a firm hold o^ the water, (while the other floated loose), and gave such a, steadiness to all its movements, as can scarcely, be conceived by those who have not experienced it.
This gentleman one day carried me out with him in this; boat to try it. We made two experiments. At first, wijJi a moderate breeze, when the moveable keels were kept up, thj boat, when laic! as near the wind as it could go, made an angle with the wake of about 30 degrees; but when the k-'els were let down, the fame angle did not exceed five or, six degrees, being nearly parallel with the course.
At another time, the wind was right a-head, a brisk breeze. When we began to beat up against it, a trading stoop was very near us, steering the fame course .with us. This stoop went through the water a goed deal faster than we could: But in the course of two hours beating to windwara", we found that the floop was left behind two feet in three, though it is certain, that if our false keels had not been letMotfri, we could scarcely in that situation have advanced one foot for her three.
It is unnecessary to point out to sea-faring men the be. nefns that maj be derived from this contrivance in certain circumstances, as these will be very obyious to them.'.^n"-: North-West Paffagt.
Notwithstanding the many fruitless attempts that have been made to discover a north-west passag'e into the south seas, it would seem that this important geographical question is not yet fully decided ; for ata meeting of the, academy of sciences, Paris, held on the 13th November last, M. Bauche, first geographer to the king, read a curious memoir concerning th.~ north-west passage. M. de'Mendoza, an intelligent captain of a vessel in the service of Spain, charged with the care of former establishments favourable to the marine, has made a careful examination of the archives of several departments; there he has found the relation of a voyage made in the year J59K, by Lorenzo Kerrera de Maldonada.
These it appears, that at the entry into Davis's straits, north lat. 60 degrees, and 28 of longitude, counting from the first meridian, he turned to the west, leaving Hudson's bay on the south, and Baffin's bay on the north. Arrived at lat. 65 and 297, he went towards the north by the straits of Labrador, till he reach^flr 76 aud 278; and finding himself in the icy sea, he turned south west to lat. 60 and 23;, tohere he found a strait, which separates Asia from America, by which he entered into the south sea, which he called Che straits of Anian. This passage ought to be, according to M. Bauche, between William's Sound and Mount St. Elias: The Russians and Captain Cook have not observed it, because it is very nariow. But it is to be wished, that this important discovery should be verified, which has been. Overlooked for two centuries, in spite of the attempts that have been made on these coasts. M. Bauche calls this passage the straits of Ferrer.
,. •, Anecdote of the Emperor Charles V
Don Martin Yanez de Barbuda, master of Alcantara, having, about the year 1390, attempted with a small force to kill all the Moors in Spain, was, together with most of his forces, flain in battle; on his tomb is the following inscription ; jiqui yac>>aqucl, incuyo gran corazon mine a pavor tuvo entrado. "Here lies he, into whbse great heat* fear never found entrancewhich gave occasion to the Emperor Charles V. to fay, EfeJidalgo jamas delio apagar alguna candela con /us dedos. "Then that gentlemait never has snuffed a candle -j- with his fingers."
•f Candles were then used, in the time of Chirles V.
Poldnd. - , ■ -f
Poland has for some time past enjoyed a state of'tranquillity that has been very rarely experienced in that country. This arises entirely from the political state of the kingdoms around it. Since the elevation of Prince Potemkin to power, the court of Russia has had a predilection fort he operations ot war, rather than the intrigues of the cabinet-; so that the state of parties in foreign nations has been less diligently"attended to than formerly. And the late Emperor was so little capable of adverting to the nice springs that operate on the human heart, as to lose every advantage in. , political finesse that his natural situation put in his powei^' Between the partisans of these two potentates, and those of the king of Prussia, there was a perpetual struggle for power, which produced troubles and national disputes that often disturbed the public tranquility. For though the influence of the former preponderated, the Prussian party always had a considerable influence- Now, however,' nothing of that kind takes place. The king of Prussia, eager to improve every circumstance to his own advantage, availed himself of the opportunity that the remiffness of the two imperial courts presented to him; and his party, by consequence, 'soon obtained an undisputed superiority in the councils of the republic. - Russia, which had for a long time had the chief ascendancy there, does not seem to have been aware o£ the tendency of her remiffness till it was too late ; and, trusting to the continuance of that ascendancy, stie used freedoms with the government of Poland which (he had been aecustorded to take ; but was soon convinced of her mistake. Hae, republic asserted its independency in a language stie' ^ad not been accustomed to receive fiosn them, at a time