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·:Nautical Affairs. . THOUGH Britain bestows more attention to trade than any other nation, and though it be the general opinion, that the fafety 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 failing 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 where 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 uninterrůpted 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 feafáring 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 confiderable 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 rigg:ing, which gave the mariners much greater power over the .. vefsel, than they could have when of the usual construction
: I do not hear that this improvement has in any case been
Others have attempted to effect the purpose by building
Mr. W. Brodie, ship-master in Leith, has lately adopted a contrivance for this purpose, that seems to be at the fime time very simple, and extremely efficacious. Neceflity, 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 same time so heavy to be rowed, that he found great difficulty in using it for his or. dinary occasions. In reflecting on the means that might be adopted for giving this useless coble such a hold of the wa. ter 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 for 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
moveable keels could be eally lifted up at pieafure; so that when he was entering into a harbour, or shoal water, he had only to lift up his keels, and the boat was as capable of being managed there, as if it had wanted them entirely ; and when he went out to sea, where there was depth enouhig, by letting them do vn, the lee keel took a firm hold of the water, (while the other floated loose), and gave fuch 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, with a moderate breeze, when the moveable keels were kept up, the boat, when laid as near the wind as it could go, made an angle with the wake of about 30 degrees; but when the kdels were let down, the fame angle did not exceed five or fix degrees, being nearly parallel with the course. - At another time, the wind was right a-head, a brisk breeze. When we began to beat ip against it, a trading floop was very near us, steering the same course with us. This loop went through the water a good deal faster than we could : But in the course of two hours beating to windward, we found that the floop was left behind two feet in three, though it is certain, that if our false keels had not been let down, we could scarcely in that situation have advanced one foot for her three.
It is unnecessary to point out to fea-faring men the be? nefiis that may be derived from this contrivance in certain circumstances, as these will be very obyious to them.....5
- North-West Passage. . : ? Notwithstanding the many fruitless attempts that have been made to discover a north-west passage into the fouth seas, it would seem that this important geographical question is not yet fully decided; for at a meeting of the academy of fciences, Paris, held on the 13th November last, M. Bauche, first geographer to the king, read a curious memoir concerning the north-weft paffage. 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 exainination of the archives of several departments; there he has found the relation of a voyage svade in the year 1598, by Lorenzo Herrera de Maldonada.
There 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 fouth, 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 76 and 278; and finding him
self in the icy sea, he turned south-west to lat. 60 and 235, where he found a strait, which separates Afia from America, by which he entered into the south sea, which he called the straits of Aniani. 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 narrow. 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 paffage the straits of Ferrer.
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, slain in battle ; on his tomb is the following inscription ; Aqui yacdaquel, in cuyo gran corazon nunca pavor tuvo 'entrada. “ Here lies he, into whose great heart fear never... found entrance;" which gave occasion to the Emperor Charles V. to say, Efe fidalgo jamas debio apagar alguna candela con sus dedos.. " Then that gentleman never has swuffed a candle + with his fingers."
+ Candles were then used, in the time of Charles V. ,
n Ze AC urfory View of the present PÒLITICAL STATE OF EUROPB . . . continued from page 80. i .' Itu
Poland. . . .. in POLAND has for some time paft 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 of war, rather than the intrigues of the cabinet, so that the fate 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 power 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 conliderable influence. Now, however, nothing of that kind takes place. The king of Prussia, eager to improve every circunstance to his own advantage, availed himself of the opportunity that the remiffness of the two imperial courts prefented to him; and his party, by consequence, 'foon obtained an undisputed fuperiority 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 of the tendency of her remifsness till it was too late.; and, trust, ing to the continuance of that ascendancy, the used free: doms with the government of Poland, which he had been accustomed to take ; but was foon convinced of her mistake. The republic asserted its independency in a language the ad not been accustomed to receive froin them, at a time