Gambar halaman

unusual whizzing noise, like that of a red-hot iron plunged in water. The barometer and sympiesometer fell rapidly about 6 P.M., and sunk to 28.45 inches. At half-past seven the hurricane burst on the ship in all its dreadful fury. At eight it shifted from ESE. to S. and blew for half an hour, so that the crew could scarcely stand on the deck.

The sea

came rolling into the bay like heavy breakers, the ship pitching deep, the bowsprit and forecastle sometimes under water. The wind was shifted at nine to WSW., the barometer began to rise, and as the haze cleared away Mr. James counted twenty-one sail of merchantmen driven on shore, and perfect wrecks.

From the numerous data which Colonel Reid has collected respecting this storm he has constructed his fifth chart, which presents some interesting results. In place of the track of the hurricane being concave to the east, it is convex at its commencement from Barbadoes to Santa Cruz, as if it had begun with a direction almost southerly. The curve, however, resumes its usual form; and what is peculiarly interesting, has its apex at the parallel of 30 deg., like all those projected by Mr. Redfield. The revolving cylinder of atmosphere, comparatively small at the commencement of the hurri. cane, gradually enlarges itself till it expands to a great width, and terminates in ordinary and irregular winds in the northern hemisphere.

The second hurricane of 1837, called the Antigua hurricane, possesses the peculiarity of having commenced much farther east than usual; while the details so well collected by Colonel Reid are most deeply interesting. On the night of the 31st July, (eight P. M.,) in lat. 17 deg. 19 min. N. of W. long. 52 deg. 10 min., Captain Sey. mour, of the brigantine Judith and Esther, of Cork, when the wind was blowing fresh from the NE., observed near the zenith a white appearance

of a round form, and while looking steadfastly at it, a sudden gust of wind (from the NE.) carried away the topmast and lower studding sails. At one A. M. of the 1st August the wind increased, the sea rose fast, and the vessel labored hard. At seven A. M. the wind gradually increasing, the ship was allowed to run under bare poles, the sea running very high, and the vessel laboring and straining, and shipping great quantities of water. At eight A. M. the wind increased to a hurricane, so that the crew could not hear each other speak on deck, or do any thing for their safety.

“She broached to," says Captain Seymour, whose interesting narrative we must not any longer abridge, “and was hove on her larboard beam ends by a tremendous heavy sea, which took all the bulwarks nearly away on the larboard side. She had been for some time on her larboard beam ends before she rose, and when she did, the wind veered suddenly to the southward of east. After running a short time before the wind, she was hove again on her beam ends, which, when she righted, took all the bulwarks away on the other side except a few planks; she then became again manageable for about fifteen minutes. About noon it fell calm for about fifteen minutes, and the hurricane suddenly veered to about south, when we gave up all hopes of safety. A sea, owing to the sudden shift of wind, had struck her on the starboard side, and hove the vessel the third time on her beam ends. She had remained some time so, the cabin nearly filled with water, and the forecastle, all the three boats, in fact every thing of any value, was gone : the mate, who was at the wheel, was washed from it, and the wheel itself carried away. All the stancheons on the starboard side were broken, and every sail, except the main-sail, blown into rags; the foretop, while on her beam ends, nearly smashed to pieces; when, to our agreeable surprise, we observed her again righting, and could not account for the manner in which we were saved, but through the powerful hand of an Almighty Protector. For nearly an hour we could not observe each other, or any thing, but merely the light; and most astonishing, every one of our finger-nails turned quite black, and remained so for nearly five weeks.”—Page 66.

This remarkable change produced on the sight and the nails of the crew, induced Colonel Reid to apply to Captain Seymour for farther information. The captain states it as his opinion, that the darkness was not so great as to hinder the crew from seeing one another, or even to a greater distance. He mentions also that their finger nails turned black about the time that their eyes were affected; and as every one of the crew were affected in the same manner, he concludes that such an effect was not produced by the firniness of the grasp with which they were holding by the rigging or sails, but that“ the whole was caused by an electric body in the elements.”

After quitting the Judith and Esther, the hurricane visited Antigua, Nevis, St. Kitts, Santa Cruz, St. Thomas's, Porto Rico, (where thirty-three vessels were lost,) on the 2d August. At St. Thomas's, the Water Witch, Captain Newby, experienced the effects of the hurricane on the 2d. In the morning the wind was N. and NNW.; about three P. M. the violence of the squalls forced him to anchor in ten fathoms' water. At five, the squalls were succeeded by a gale; and at seven, a hurricane arose “beyond all description dreadful."

“ The windlass,” says the captain,"capsized, and I could not slip my cables, the ship driving until I was in twenty fathoms' water. A calm then succeeded for about ten minutes, and then, in the most tremendous unearthly screech I ever heard, it recommenced from the south and south-west. I now considered it all over with us, for the wind was directly on shore, and the sea rose, and ran mountains high. The foretop-gallant mast, though struck, and the gig were carried up some feet in the air, and the vessel drove again into twelve fathoms. At two A. M., on the 3d, the gale somewhat abated, and the barometer rose an inch. At daylight, out of forty vessels, the Water Witch and one other were the only two not sunk, ashore, or capsized.”

On the 3d August the hurricane reached Porto Plata in St. Do. mingo. On the 5th, it dismasted the Pomeroy off Abaco. On the 6th of August, two government houses were blown down, and the cotton crops destroyed at Jacksonville, in Florida. The Ann, after drifting six miles into the woods, was left seven hundred yards from the river. On the 6th of August, the hurricane reached the parallel of 30 deg., where, in obedience to the general law, it ought to have turned north and eastward; but, owing to some unusual cause, it turned to the north-west into the interior of Florida, reaching Pen. sacola on the 8th: the general track of the storm no longer resembling a parabola, but having a striking resemblance to the human thigh, leg, and foot extended.

Colonel Reid does not particularly notice this singular anomaly; but we infer from the following paragraph that the Antigua hurri. VOL. X.-Oct., 1839.



cane was diverted from its proper course, in consequence of its coming up with the previous Barbadoes hurricane, which must have been opposite Chesapeake Bay, where it (the Antigua one) entered upon the coasts of Florida and Georgia by a more direct

“At the upper part of chart VI.,” says Colonel Reid, “is marked, by a dotted circle, the probable place where the first storm, the Barbadoes one, was proceeding toward Cape Hatteras on the 6th of August, at the time the second hurricane from Antigua was arriving on the coasts of Florida and Georgia. It will be easily understood with a little consideration, that if these storms were rotatory, when their tracks approach each other, the wind, as it blew in the first, would be reversed by the approach of the second, and thus we have a clew toward an explanation of the variable winds."

Colonel Reid next proceeds to investigate the phenomena of another hurricane more extensive than the preceding, which the Felicity of Glasgow met at its commencement,* on the 12th of Au. gust, 1837, the period when the last Jamaica ships of the season are on their passage to England. Owing to this cause, the chart, No. VII., in which the path of this storm is exhibited, is crowded with vessels. About midnight, of the 14th of August, the Castries crossed the last portion of this storm, near the beginning of its path, in lat. 18 deg. N. and long. 60 deg. W. On the 15th the storm reached Turk's Island. On the 16th it was felt by the easternmost vessels off the Bahamas. On the 17th the Calypso was upset off Abasco, under circumstances of an appalling nature.

When the ship was on its side, the captain and fourteen men, struggling for life, got over the main and mizen rigging just as the mast-heads went in the water. The ship was sinking fast. While some were cutting the weather-lanyards of the rigging, others were calling to God for mercy, and others stupified with despair ; and two poor fellows, who had gone to stop the leak, were swimming in the hold. The mizen, main, and fore-masts went one after the other just as the vessel was going down head foremost. She then righted very slowly, and though the sea broke over the ship as over a log, and the main and bilge pumps were broken, yet every man was landed safe from the ship on the quay at Wilmington!

About midnight of the 18th August, in lat. 31 deg., the Rawlins, Captain Macqueen, seems to have been in the very vortex of the hurricane when it reached the apex of its parabolic course. On the 17th the wind blew strong from the NE. by E. for twelve hours, then suddenly veered to the north, continuing with unabated vigor till the 18th at midnight, when, in an instant, a perfect calm ensued for one hour! Then“ quick as thought the hurricane sprung up with tremendous force from the SW., no swell whatever preceding the convulsion." During the gale the barometer was almost invisible in the tube above the fraine-work of the instrument. At midnight of August 19th the force of the wind subsided ; a tremendous sea rose in every direction. The waves had no tops, being dis. persed in one sheet of white foam—the decks were tenanted by many sea-birds in an exhausted state, seeking shelter in the vessel.

* In lat. 16 deg. 55 min. north, and long. 53 deg. 45 min. west.

During the day nothing could be discerned fifty yards distant. The wind represented numberless voices elevated to the shrillest tone of screaming. A few flashes of lightning occurred in the south-west, and a “dismal appearance” was seen in the NW., the direction in which the centre of the storm was moving.

The Duke of Manchester and the Pulambam, which had been to the south of the first two hurricanes, were in the very heart of the present one. The Palambam foundered under a close-reefed topsail near the very centre of the storm, and the Duke of Manchester was with difficulty saved. During the hurricane, at one P. M. of the 17th, a most extraordinary phenomenon presented itself to windward, almost in an instant. It resembled a solid, black, perpendicular wall, about 15 deg. or 20 deg. above the horizon, and it disappeared almost in a moment. It then reappeared as sud. denly, and in five seconds was broken, and spread as far as the eye could see. This “black squall” was described to Colonel Reid by Mr. Griffith " as the most appalling sight he had ever seen during his life at sea."*

On the 21st of August, the West Indian seems to have been in the centre of the hurricane, in lat. 38 deg. 23 min. N., and long. 62 deg. 40 min. At ten P. M. it blew a hurricane, and the ship was involved in a white smoke or fog, and the water as white as a sheet. At midnight it was nearly calm. At one A. M. it blew harder than ever. The sea was at times smooth ; and on the 22d, at noon, the gale was at its height. The crew could not hear one another, and could scarcely see for the lashing of the rain and sleet.

On the 24th of August, when the preceding storm had passed the West Indian, a third rotatory hurricane was experienced on the 24th of August, farther south, by the Clydesdale, in lat. 32 deg. 21 min., and long. 59 deg.; by the Victoria, in lat. 32 deg. 30 min., and long. 54 deg. 30 min.; and by the Castries, in lat. 35 deg. and long. 58 deg. As the Castries experienced a sudden lull while close reefing her topsails, and as the wind was not only blowing violently, but veering rapidly at this time, she was probably, as Colonel Reid supposes, in the centre of a rotative storm. The Victoria was upset and dismasted, and abandoned on the 12th September; and the Clydesdale, after being hove on her beam ends, and remaining so for about two hours, righted as soon as her top-gallant masts and rigging had been cut away. This second example of one storm coming up with a preceding one, leads Colonel Reid to regard it as another“ instance for an explanation of the variable winds, for the great storm would cause a westerly gale on the 22d over the same part of the ocean, where the smaller storms coming from the south

* An officer on board H. M. ship Tartarus, in describing the hurricane which overtook her on the American coast on the 26th of September, 1814, states, that after the hurricane had continued four hours with a mountainous sea, the barometer sunk beneath the wood of the frame, and the scenery of the sky became indescribable. “No horizon appeared, but only something resembling an immense wall within ten yards of the ship.” The Tartarus was then laid on its beam ends, and the mizen and main top-masts were blown away, without any person hearing the crash. See Howard on the Climate of London, vol. ii, pp. 150, 151.

changed the wind to east. From this circumstance,” he continues, "no storm yet traced is of more interest than this."

A fifth storm occurred in 1837. It came from the west, and has been traced back by Colonel Reid to Apalachicola and St. Marks, in the state of Alabama, where it did great mischief on the 31st of August. Thence it crossed over to Florida, entered the Atlantic, where the Calypso met it under jury-masts, and was obliged to anchor thirty miles to the south of Cape Fear. The Calypso received the wind first from the eastward. During the night of the 31st, it increased and backed into the northward; and at noon of the 1st September it blew a very heavy gale of wind, which, on the morning of the 2d, backed to the WNW., and moderated, thus exhibiting the character of a rotatory gale.

Colonel Reid now proceeds, in his sixth chapter, to consider the phenomena of storms in the southern hemisphere; and we do not hesitate to say that he has been as successful in his exposition of his views, as he has been indefatigable in the collection of his materials. He has established, we think, in a very satisfactory manner, the rotatory and progressive character of the southern hurricanes ; and has confirmed in every case the sagacious conjecture of Mr. Redfield-that in hurricanes which take place on the south of the equator, the revolving mass moves from left to right, in a direction opposite to that of the northern hurricanes. In this chapter the observations on the barometer are more numerous and accurate; and such is the regularity with which the mercury falls till the middle of the storm has passed, and rises till the storm is entirely over, that Colonel Reid considers this fact as of itself a proof that storms revolve during their progress.

The hurricanes and gales which Colonel Reid has treated of in this chapter are the following:

1. The Mauritius hurricanes of 1818, 1819, 1824, 1834, 1836. 2. The Culloden's storm, 1809. 3. The Boyne gale, 1835. 4. The Albion's hurricane, 1808. 5. The Mauritius gales of 1811. 6. The Blenheim's storm, 1807. 7. The Bridgewater's hurricane, 1830. 8. The Neptune's storm, 1835. 9. The Ganges' storm, 1837.

It is a circumstance which deserves to be noticed, that all the preceding hurricanes, thirteen in number, took place, with the exception of three, in the vicinity of the Mauritius and Madagascar ; and hence we see the truth of the opinion which prevails among seamen, that hurricanes are frequently avoided by ships steering on a course, so as to keep well to the eastward of the Mauritius. The three exceptions to this rule are the Albion's hurricane, which took place in 5 deg. of south lat., and in 90 deg. of east long., about 30 deg. to the east of the Mauritius—the Bridgewater's hurricane, which happened in lat. 21 deg. south, and long. 90 deg. west ; and the Ganges' storm, which was experienced in lat, 3 deg. 5 min., and long. 90 deg. west. Notwithstanding these, and of course many other exceptions, the region of the Mauritius may be regarded as

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »