A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 630 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 15.

[Footnote 93:  Few readers, it is presumed, require to be informed, that the mode of endeavouring to ascertain the longitude by the variation of the compass is no longer in use.  In a work already referred to, Clerke’s Prog. of Mar.  Disc., a singular enough communication is inserted respecting the effect of tallow on the compass.  It is subscribed by Lieutenant Mason of the marines; but whether the experiments it relates have been repeated by others, or if the inference it maintains has been otherwise confirmed, the writer has yet to learn.  He thought it right, however, to notice it, as the more extensively hints are spread which concern the advancement of useful discovery, the greater chance we have of correcting errors, and perfecting science, The same reason justifies his remarking, that the most important observations respecting the variation of the compass made of late years, are those of Captain Flinders, as to the effect of the ship’s course upon it.  The reader will find them in the appendix to the account of his voyage lately published, 2d volume.  Similar observations have still more recently been made by an officer on board his majesty’s ship Sibyl, while in the North Sea protecting our Greenland fishery.  They form an appendix to the Account of a Voyage to Spitzbergen, by Mr John Laing, Surgeon, published at Edinburgh, 1815.  Of their importance and accuracy, notwithstanding the small scale on which they were made, and the meagre manner in which they have been communicated, it is impossible for a moment to doubt.  The concluding remark is entitled to considerable regard.—­“After a more enlarged series of observations shall have been taken, and after the attention of astronomers is directed to this fact, one may confidently expect a most important improvement in the science of navigation.”  The value of the discovery alluded to, will at once appear from what is said in the way of enquiry as to similar observations to those made in the North Sea applying to ships coming from the Baltic, viz. that if so, “they most effectually account for ships getting down on the coast of Holland, when they suppose themselves well over in Mid-channel; and therefore prove the loss of so many of our brave tars when coming from that sea.”—­P. 163.  As a paper, containing Captain Flinders’s observations on this subject, had been sent to the officer who makes this communication, by the Lords of the Admiralty, it is reasonable to expect that official agency is engaged to benefit the world by maturing he discovery.—­E.]

SECTION IV.

The two Ships leave the Cape of Good Hope.—­Two Islands, named Prince Edwards, seen, and their Appearance described.—­Kerguelen’s Land visited.—­Arrival in Christmas Harbour.—­Occurrences there.—­Description of it.

After the disaster which happened to our sheep, it may be well supposed that I did not trust those that remained long on shore, but got them and the other cattle on board as fast as possible.  I also added to my original stock by purchasing two young bulls, two heifers, two young stone-horses, two mares, two rams, several ewes and goats, and some rabbits and poultry.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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