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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 681 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

If what has been said merits the attention of travellers of all sorts, it is, I think, more particularly applicable to the gentlemen of the navy, since, without drawing and planning, neither charts nor views of land can be taken; and without these it is sufficiently evident that navigation is at a full stand.  It is doubtless from a persuasion of the utility of these qualifications, that his majesty has established a drawing-master at Portsmouth, for the instruction of those who are presumed to be hereafter entrusted with the command of his royal navy; and though some have been so far misled as to suppose that the perfection of sea officers consisted in a turn of mind and temper resembling the boisterous element they have to deal with, and have condemned all literature and science, as effeminate and derogatory to that ferocity, which, they would falsely persuade us, was the most unerring characteristic of courage, yet it is to be hoped that such absurdities have not at any time been authorized by the public opinion, and that the belief daily diminishes.  If those who adhere to these mischievous positions were capable of being influenced by reason, or swayed by example, I should think it sufficient for their conviction to observe, that the most valuable drawings inserted in the following work, though done with such skill that even professed artists can with difficulty imitate them, were taken by Mr Piercy Bret, one of Mr Anson’s lieutenants, and since captain of the Lion man-of-war, who, in his memorable engagement with the Elizabeth, [for the importance of the service, or the resolution with which it was conducted, inferior to none this age has seen,] has given ample proof that a proficiency in the arts I have been recommending, is extremely consistent with the most exemplary bravery, and the most distinguished skill in every function belonging to a sea officer.

Indeed, when the many branches of science are considered, of which even the common practice of navigation is composed, and the many improvements which men of skill have added to this practice within these few years, it would induce one to believe that the advantages of reflection and speculative knowledge were in no profession more eminent than in that of a naval officer; for, not to mention some expertness in geography, geometry, and astronomy, which it would be dishonourable for him to be without, as his journal and his estimate of the daily position of the ship are founded on particular branches of these sciences, it may well be supposed, that the management and working of a ship, the discovery of her most eligible position in the water, usually called her trim, and the disposition of her sails in the most advantageous manner, are articles in which the knowledge of mechanics cannot but be greatly assistant.  And, perhaps, the application of this kind of knowledge to naval subjects may produce as great improvements in sailing and working a ship, as it has already done in many other matters conducive to the ease and convenience

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