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extract of a letter from Captain Ross of the Northumberland, to Sir GEORGE COCKBURN, which was transmitted to the Admiralty :
“ I have to state, that the fore and aft side required caulking on the passage from England (which was partially
done) when the diagonal side did not; the fore and aft side “ now requires caulking all over, and the diagonal side very “ little; being, in my opinion, and that of the carpenter, “ much in favour of the diagonal decks.".
On the return of the Northumberland to Sheerness, the officers of the yard were directed very particularly to survey her decks. After speaking of the favourable report made to their enquiries by the officers of the ship, they stated as follows:
“ This report of the officers was confirmed by the general appearance of the ship on her arrival at this port, and
having subsequently caulked and minutely examined the “ state of the decks and water-ways, we find the comparison
so much in favour of the larboard side, as to determine, that “ the diagonal system of laying decks is preferable to the “ common system.”
II. A memoir on the geography of the north-eastern part of
Asia, and on the question whether Asia and America are contiguous, or are separated by the sea. By Captain James Burney, F. R. S.
Read December 11, 1817.
A BELIEF has prevailed for nearly a century, that the separation of America and Asia has been demonstrated by an actual navigation performed; and it is distinctly so admitted in the charts. It is proposed to show in this memoir, in the first place, that there does not exist satisfactory proof of such a separation; and secondly, that from peculiarities which have been observed, there is cause to suppose the fact to be otherwise ; that is to say, that Asia and America are contiguous, and parts of one and the same continent. This is not an opinion newly formed, but one which many years ago was impressed on other persons as well as on myself, by circumstances witnessed when in the sea to the north of Bering's Strait with Captain Cook, in his last voyage.
America, from its first discovery by the people of Europe, was regarded by them as a land wholly distinct from their own native continent, till the failure of many attempts to discover a northern passage to India at length suggested the possibility that the Old and New World (as they were then called) formed but one continent. The solution of this problem, so far as regards a north-eastern navigation to India, has been more naturally the business of the Russians MDCCCXVIII.
than of any other people, as well on account of the greater facilities possessed by them for prosecuting the discovery, as for the superior benefit they would derive from a practicable navigation round their coasts to the Tartarian and Indian sea, should such be found. The memorable voyage of Semoen DESCHNEw and his
SEMOEN companions in 1648, by which the Russians first discovered the sea east of Kamschatka, (for before that time the river Anadir was supposed to run into the Icy sea), is the principal circumstance which has been admitted as proof of a complete separation of Asia and America. It is important to remark, that this admission is not so old as the expedition on which it is founded, by nearly a century; for no certainty of an absolute navigation having been performed round a northeastern promontory and extremity of Asia was pretended till after the year 1736, when it was inferred by Professor MULLER, from some original writings found at that time in Siberia, concerning DESCHNEW's voyage. Baron de STRAHLENBERG, who had lived many years in Siberia, and whose description of that country is of earlier date than MULLER's publication, says of the expedition of 1648, that some Russians departed from the river Lena in boats towards the east, and by that route discovered Kamtschatka. But it was not understood to have been by a clear navigation round the N. E. of Asia; for in a description subsequently written, he says, “ a class of people, to whom has been given the denomination “ of Tartars, inhabit the north-eastern extremity of Asia, “ concerning which a Kossak officer, named Atlassow, re
ported, that between the Kolyma and the Anadir were two great promontories, which he affirmed could not both be