November 1831 Archives

We sailed a mile

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A very important day in the annals of the Beagle; at one oclock she was loosed from the moorings & sailed about a mile to Barnett pool.

Here she will remain till the day of sailing arrives.

This little sail was to me very interesting, everything so new & different to what one has ever seen, the Coxswains piping, the manning the yards, the men working at the hawsers to the sound of a fife, but nothing is so striking as the rapidity & decision of the orders & the alertness with which they are obeyed.

There remains very little to be done to make all ready for sailing. All the stores are completed & yesterday between 5 & 6 thousands canisters of preserved meat were stowed away.

Not one inch of room is lost, the hold would contain scarcely another bag of bread. My notions of the inside of a ship were about as indefinite as those of some men on the inside of a man, viz a large cavity containing air, water & food mingled in hopeless confusion.

Protection from lightning; and a death

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I carried all my books & instruments on board the Beagle. It's a tight squeeze.

This evening I went to the Athaeneum & heard a popular lecture from Mr Harris on his lightning conductors. By means of making an Electric machine, a thunder cloud -- a tub of water the sea, & a toy for a line of battle ship he showed the whole process of it being struck by lightning & most satisfactorily proved how completely his plan protects the vessel from any bad consequences.

This plan consists in having plates of Copper folding over each other, let in in the masts & yards & so connected to the water beneath. -- The principle, from which these advantages are derived, owes its utility, to the fact that the Electric fluid is weakened by being transmitted over a large surface to such an extent that no effects are perceived, even when the mast is struck by the lightning: -- The Beagle is fitted with conductors on this plan; it is very probable, we shall be the means of trying & I hope proving the utility of its effects.

About six oclock, a Marine, being drunk & whilst crossing from the Hulk to another vessel slipped overboard & was not seen again. His body has not been found. --


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