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of the Argonauts; he adds, "that in the same temple there were very old frag ments of a stone anchor, which was more likely to be the anchor of the ship Argo."
Ahenæus, speaking of the celebrated ship of Ptolemy Philopater, says, that "it had four wooden, and eight iron anchors." The latter probably had neither teeth nor flukes, and how can we suppose that the others possessed them? What resistance could these wooden anchors have afforded to hold against the wind a mass like that which we must imagine to ourselves from the fabulous description of Ahenæus? The iron anchors could have been but ingots of a considerable weight. As to the wooden anchors, they were great tubes filled with lead. We read, in fact, in the "Antiquities of Diodorus," that the Phonicians, after having laden their vessels with silver in Sicily, extracted the lead from their anchors, and replaced it with silver.
When a mass of stone, or an ingot of iron was not employed, they used baskets filled with stones, or sacks full of sand or gravel. The historian of the expedition of Alexander, the same Arrian above-mentioned, says somewhere, that "Cratis had basket-work placed in front of his ships, filled with masses of rocks;" and, according to Polynæus, Iphricates substituted for these anchors sacks of sand attached to the cables of the ships, and let down into the sea; and that the emperor Leo, ordered (cap. xx of the Naumacha,) not to omit in those parts where sand was plentiful, and anchoring necessary, always to have ready to lower into the sea, instead of anchors, sacks full of sand or gravel.
These examples Mr. Jal purposely multiplies, to prove that the anchor was long a mass, acting merely from its weight; and that even the iron was bent to bite into the earth with a sharp tooth, and the Greeks could call it ancura, from the word ancuros (crooked) the primitive anchor was still employed.
BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS.
Oct. 8th, at Simon's Town, the wife G. Filmer, Esq., commanding H.M.S. Dee, of a son.
Jan. 8th, at Plymouth, the wife of Mr. McKee, R.N., of a daughter.
Jan. 27th, at Ramsgate, the wife of A. Robinson, Esq., R.N. of a son.
Jan. 27th, the wife of Lieut. T. W. Purver, R.N. of a daughter.
Jan. 30th, at Brixham, the wife of E. Hoblyn, Esq., R.N., of a daughter.
Jan. 23rd, at Chadwell, Essex, H. Sewell, Esq., of Bloomsbury square, to Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the late Capt. Kittoe, R.N.
Feb. 13, at Birmingham, A. Skinner, Esq., Commander R.N., to Elizabeth Ellen, only daughter of the late B. Challinor, Esq., of Derby.
Feb. 6th, at Edinburgh, Lieut. C. O.
B. Hall, R.N. to Catharine Johnstone, youngest daughter of the late J. Nelson, Esq. Kingston, U. C.
At Southsea, Feb. 10th, RetiredCommander Yule.
At Cambridge, Feb. 2nd, Lieut. W J. Purchas.
Feb. 2nd, Lieut. P. R. Couch, eldest son of Capt. J. Couch.
At Ostend, Jan. 28th. Lieut. E. Tyndall.
Lately at Taunton, Lieut. W. Ham. Jan, 15th, in Southsea, Mary Elizabeth, wife of C. K. Nutt, Esq., Surgeon of H.M.S. Excellent.
Jan. 17th, at Field-place, near Stroud G. E. Freeman, Assistant Surgeon R.N. Jan. 21st, at Plymouth, T. M. Temple, master R.N.
Jan. 23, at Kelston Lodge, Jane, the wife of Capt. H. Need, R.N.
THE LATE MR. JOHN BISCOE, R.N.-Our readers who delight in deeds of charity, will find in our advertisement sheet, a tale of sad distress that will call forth all their commiseration. The case of the Widow and Four Children of the late Mr. Biscoe, Acting Master R.N., was happily discovered in time to prevent them from perishing by mere want of sustenance and common apparel.
So distressing a case among the widows of Naval Officers we have never before met with, and such a one is scarcely credible in this land! We trust some of the influential individuals whose names we see among the subscribers, will not stay their efforts in the good work thus commenced, until the objects expressed in the advertisement are achieved. And were those objects and the condition of Mrs. Biscoe and her children, made known to Her Majesty the Dowager Queen Adelaide, the real friend of the sailor's widow in distress, we are satisfied they would not be unheeded.
Kept at Croom's Hill, Greenwich, by Mr. W. Rogerson, of the Royal Observatory From the 21st of January, to the 20th of February, 1849.
JANUARY 1849.-Mean height of Barometer-29 892 inches; Mean Temperature=40-2
degrees; depth of rain fallen 167 inches.
The "Master of the Bahamian" will find the island he describes in a corrected copy of the Admiralty chart.
We are obliged to "Lieut. Osborn" for his useful contribution.
We have been compelled to defer Notices of New Books for another number.
NOTES ON THE COAST OF VERAGUA AND GUATEMALA.-
HAVING rated our chronometers, we departed from Port Royal on the 17th of February, and early on the 19th had reached the vicinity of El Comboy; having on four previous occasions run down on its supposed parallel. We now traced a line in 15° 40', between the meridians of 77° 48' and 78° 4'. The day was beautifully clear, but nothing was
On the 22nd we arrived at the Island of Escudo, but unfortunately the weather proved so unfavourable, that after waiting three days we were obliged to quit, contenting ourselves with A.M. and P.M. sights; which gave the longitude of the S. W. end 81° 33′ 45′′, an indifferent latitude, checked however by an excellent true bearing of the Valiente Peak, placing the same spot in 9° 5' 37". Taking advantage of the clear intervals, the boats contrived with much labour, to trace out much of the island. It was evident, however, that we were in advance of the season, and it was thought better at once to get into the lagoon, where we should be more favourably situated to take advantage of the weather. Accordingly we left the island on the 24th, and by creeping along the main shore during the evening, were successful enough to reach an anchorage at the entrance on the following afternoon. We may safely place the Valiente Peak in 81° 55' 11" W., and latitude 9° 10' 27"; and this position we considered most important.
No. 4.-VOL. XVIII.
Having secured the ship in the Blewfield Inlet, the boats were equipped, and having dispatched my zealous assistant to explore the Toboboo Bight, where I had understood there was good shelter for one or two small vessels, we commenced our scrutiny of the channels.
The weather still sadly retarded our progress. We had no wind, but incessant rain; in fact, from the period of our arrival until about the 10th of March, we were wet eighteen hours out of the twenty-four; however, from thence to the time of our quitting the lagoon in the early part of May, we seldom lost a day's work The land breeze never failed to send off a shower night and morning, but the wind was so moderate that we never had occasion to hoist a boat in, to get a top-gallant yard down, or let go a bower anchor.
The little inlet in which we were secured forms a perfectly new feature in our present charts, and may by and by become one of some importance. Indeed, from the shelter it must have given to the guarda costas and smugglers, the resources it affords of wood, water, and excellent seining, and easy access, it is surprising that we do not see it even mentioned in any of the memoirs.
Taking advantage of its favourable position, and the many natural facilities it offers for the formation of a settlement, an American trader has established himself near the head of the cove, where he carries on a considerable barter with the Valiente Indians, who are scattered here and there all around the bold promontory which takes their name, and on the little eminences on the southern side of the inlet.
Having finished the examination of this romantic spot, and explored the Valiente channel, on the 7th of March, we advanced the ship into the Chiriqui lagoon, extending our work easterly along the northern shore.
The whole of the N.E. part of the lagoon is not navigable for vessels of any great draught of water, yet the small deep mangrove inlets which towards the eastern end penetrate nearly through the narrow isthmus, give secure hiding places to pirates and smugglers, and shelter to fisher
Although for the protection of our boats we managed to thread our way in the ship along the northern shore, we got so entangled at the east end that we had some difficulty in extricating ourselves; however, on the 15th, we had succeeded in reaching the entrance of the Chraco Mola river.
In exploring the south-eastern part of the shore two small rivulets were discovered, the Catabella (the most eastern,) and the Tory, (I give the Indian names). The former, probably, the Isabella of the old Spaniards, will admit a small canoe to a short distance only; and at the distance of an hour's pull from the entrance there appears to have been at one time a trading post and path to the Chraco Mola, which was reached in three hours. Both, however, are now abandoned. The latter, probably, the St. Diego, is a branch of the Chraco Mola, and will also admit a small canoe.
Finding that our station at this point lay very nearly on the meridian
of the Valiente peak, and that we had in view the greater number of our principal objects from one extremity of the lake to the other; it was evident that this spot was the most advantageous for establishing the base for the survey, and observations for latitude, and true bearing were made accordingly.
The river having been reported navigable to a considerable distance for large canoes, it was surveyed to the rapids, but all our endeavours to reach the trading post and Valiente settlement were ineffectual. The pilot who accompanied me declared he had never seen the river so low, but it was clearly evident to me that nothing but a small canoe could at any period be hauled over the narrow rapid falls. The river varies in width from one hundred feet to nearly as many fathoms, and during the floods is navigable for large boats to the landing-place at the commencement of the shallows; the banks become firm a short way from the en. trance, and gradually increase in height to the above spot, where they are five feet above the level of the river, from thence they rise rapidly. We performed our voyage upwards in six hours, and by all accounts it would have taken us six more to have reached our destination in a canoe. Some idea may be formed of the difficulties to encounter in this latter part of the journey, when it is stated that in a distance of, certainly not more than a mile and a half, we had carried our boat up six rapids, which cost us two hours' severe labour to accomplish.
On the 20th we began to move westerly along the southern shore, and on the 23rd we had reached Frenchman's creek at the south-west corner of the lake. In this space we found several small creeks of inconsiderable magnitude; indeed, too narrow to receive any but a small canoe; and only visited by the natives for the purpose of fishing and hunting, or to obtain plantains and bananas, which grow in wild luxuriance on the banks. Two of them, the Warre-biarra (water-belly) and Chiriqui, have been deemed worthy of the title of river; but undeservedly. The former, however, although only from twenty to thirty feet wide, is deep, and navigable two days' journey. Two Indian families have settled on the banks, who collect sarsaparilla for the English trading post at Baboon Cay; and from thence there is a path to the Chraco Mola. The Chiriqui is so difficult of access as to be seldom visited.
The Roballo river is of the same character as the Warre-biarra, but more frequented on account of the abundance of sarsaparilla obtained from its banks. It is reported to receive several small tributaries by which canoes penetrate into the interior a considerable distance. During the heavy rains, however, they send into the main branch such an immense body of water as to render its ascent a work of great labour.
At Frenchman's creek, which is a mere rivulet, an English coloured family have lately formed a small establishment. The spot is most advantageously chosen, at the foot of the great mountain range, which here terminates at the shore, in the valleys of which they find a soil of the most fertile description; and in the season turtle congregate at this end of the lake in great numbers. If an attempt be made to effect a communication between the lake and the opposite side of the ridge, it will no doubt commence from this spot.