First International Maritime Conference Held for Devising an Uniform System of Meteorological Observations at Sea

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First International Maritime Conference Held At Brussels In 1853 For Devising An Uniform System Of Meteorological Observations At Sea. Official Report.  (1853) 
Charles De Groote; was the "shorthand writer" who volunteered to record the meetings.
Research and transcription by William Maury Morris. Full names in this work and perhaps images of members are substituted for bare initials at least one time when known. Links will be included. November 11, 2009. Note October 20, 2013:- This conference was devised by M F Maury through the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. M F Maury declined being in charge of this conference and preferred that Quételet of Belgium be in charge of it. Note Oct. 24, 2013 Maury was asked to serve as president, but he declined and nominated M. Quetelet. Source: A history of the Brussels Conference as given in Adolphe Quételet, notice sur Le Capitaine M. F. Maury, Associé de l'Académie Royale de Belgique, 55pps published by the Academy, Brussels, 1874.


FIRST INTERNATIONAL MARITIME CONFERENCE HELD AT BRUSSELS IN 1853


FOR DEVISING AN UNIFORM SYSTEM
OF METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS AT SEA
OFFICIAL REPORT

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER


1853.



The Governments represented at the Conference, and the names of the officers who attended:


BELGIUM, by LAMBERT ADOLPHE JACQUES QUETELET, directeur de l'Observatoire royal. secrétaire perpétuel de l’Academie royale des sciences, des lettres et des beaux-arts de Belgique, and VICTOR LAHURE, capitaine de vaisseau, directeur général de la marine;


DENMARK, by P. ROTHE, captain-lieutenant royal navy, director of the depot of marine charts;


FRANCE, by A. DE LA MARCHE, Ingénieur hydrographe de la marine impériale;


GREAT-BRITAIN, by FREDERICK WILLIAM BEECHEY, captain royal navy. F.R.S., etc., member of the Naval Department or the Board of Trade, and HENRY JAMES, captain royal engineers. F.R.S., M.R.I.A., F.G.S. etc.;


NETHERLAND, by MARIN HENRI JANSEN, lieutenant royal navy;


NORWAY. by NILS IHLEN, lieutenant royal navy;


PORTUGAL, by J. DE MATTOS CORRÊA, captain-lieutenant royal navy;


RUSSIA, by ALEXIS GORKOVENKO, captain-lieutenant imperial navy;


SWEDEN, by CARL ANTON PETTERSSON, first lieutenant royal navy;


UNITED-STATES, by MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY, L.L.D., lieutenant United States Navy;



Matthew Fontaine Maury




REPORT


Of the Conference held at Brussels, at the invitation of the Government of the United-States of America, for the purpose of concerting a systematical and uniform plan of meteorological observation at sea.


____________________


In pursuance of instructions issued by the Governments respectively named above, the officers whose names are hereunto annexed assembled at Brussels, for the purpose of holding a Conference on the subject of establishing a uniform system of meteorological observation at sea, and of concurring in a general plan of observation on the winds and currents of the Ocean; with a view to the improvement of navigation and to the acquirement of a more correct knowledge of the laws which govern those elements.

The meeting was convened at the instigation of the American Government, consequent upon a proposition which it had made to the British Government, in reply to a desire which had been conveyed to the United-States, that it would join in a uniform system of meteorological observation on land after a plan which had been prepared by Captain James of the Royal Engineers, and submitted to the Government by Sir J. Burgoyne, Inspector General of Fortification.

The papers connected with this correspondence were presented to the House of Lords on 21st February last (1), and have been further explained in the minutes of the Conference. And it is here merely necessary to observe that, some difficulties having presented themselves to the immediate execution of the plan proposed by the British Government, the United States availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by this correspondence, of bringing under the notice of the British Government a plan, which had been submitted by Lieutenant Maury of the United States’ navy, for a more widely extended field of research than that which had been proposed; a plan which, while it would forward the object entertained by Great-Britain, would at the same time materially contribute to the improvement of navigation and to the benefit of commerce.


(1) See Parliamentary papers, n° 115.

An improvement of the ordinary sea-route between distant countries had long engaged the attention of commercial men, and both individuals and nations had profited by the advances which this science had made through a more correct knowledge of the prevailing winds and currents of the Ocean. But experience had shown that this science, if it did not now stand fast, was at least greatly impeded by the want of a more extended cooperation in the acquirement of those facts which were necessary to lead to a more correct knowledge of the laws which govern the circulation of the atmosphere, and control the currents of the Ocean; and that the subject could not receive ample justice, nor even such a measure of it as was commensurate with the importance of its results, until all nations should concur in one general effort for its perfection. But could that happy event be brought about: — could the observations be as extensive as desired, and receive that full discussion to which they were entitled; the navigator would learn with certainty how to count upon the winds and currents in his track, and to turn to the best advantage the experience of his predecessors.

Meteorological observations to a certain extent had long been made at sea, and Lieutenant Maury had turned to useful account such as had from time to time fallen into his hands (1); but these observations, although many of them good in themselves, were but isolated facts, which were deprived of much of their value from the absence of observations with which they could be compared, and above all from a want of a constant and uniform system of record, and from the rudeness of the instruments with which they had been made.


(1) See Sailing Directions by Matthew Fontaine Maury, USN.

The moment then appeared to him to have arrived, when nations might be induced to cooperate in a general system of meteorological research. To use his own words, he was of opinion that “the navies of all maritime nations should cooperate, and make these observations in such a manner and with such means and implements, that the system might be uniform, and the observations made on board one public ship be readily referred to and compared with the observations made on board all other public ships, in whatever part of the world. And moreover, as it is desirable to enlist the voluntary cooperation of the commercial marine, as well as that of the military of all nations, in this system of research, it becomes not only proper, but politic, that the forms of the abstract log to be used, the description of the instruments to be employed, the things to be observed, with the manipulation of the instruments, and the methods and modes of observation should be the joint work of the principal parties concerned.”

These sentiments being concurred in by the Government of the United States, the correspondence between the Governments was continued, and finally each nation was invited to send an officer to hold a Conference at Brussels, on a given day.

And that the system of proposed observation and of combined action might become immediately available, and be extended to its widest possible field of operation, it was determined to adapt the standard of the observations to be made to the capabilities of the instruments now in general use in the respective naval services, but with the precaution of having all these instruments brought under the surveillance of parties duly appointed to examine them and determine their errors; as this alone would render the observations comparable with each other through the medium of their respective standards.

The Conference opened its proceedings at Brussels, on the 23d August 1853, in the residence of M. Piercot, the Minister of the Interior, to whom the thanks of the Conference are especially due.


Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet


M. Quetelet was unanimously elected president.


Before entering upon any discussion, it was the desire of all the members of the Conference that it should be clearly understood that, in taking part in the proceedings of the meeting, they did not in any degree consider themselves as committing their respective governments to any particular course of action, having no authority whatever to pledge their country in any way to these proceedings.

The objects of the meeting having been explained by Lieutenant Maury, of which the substance has been already given,(1) the Conference expressed its thanks to that officer, for the enlightened zeal and earnestness he had displayed in the important and useful work, which forms the subject of the deliberations of the Conference.


(1) See the minutes of the proceedings of the Conference.

In concerting a plan of uniform observation, in which all nations might he engaged, the most obvious difficulty which arose, was from the variety of scales in use in different countries. It is much to be desired that this inconvenience should be removed; but it was a subject upon which the Conference, after mature deliberation, determined not to recommend any modification, but to leave to each nation to continue its scales and standards as heretofore; except with regard to the thermometers, which it was agreed should, in addition to the scale in use in any particular service, have that of the centigrade placed upon it, in order to accustom observers in all services to its use, with a view to its final and general adoption.

The advantages of concert of action between the meteorologist on land and the navigator at sea were so obvious that, looking forward to the establishment of a universal system of meteorological observation upon both elements, it was thought that the consideration of scales would with greater propriety be left for that or some such occasion.

As to the instruments to be recommended, the Conference determined to add as few as possible to such as were in common use in vessels of war; but regarding accuracy of observation as of paramount importance, the Conference felt it to be a matter of duty, to recommend the adoption of accurate instruments, of barometers and thermometers especially that have been carefully compared with recognized standards, and have had their errors accurately determined; and that such instruments only should be used on board every man-of-war cooperating in this system, as well as on board any merchant-man, as far as it may be practicable.

The imperfection of instruments in use at sea is notorious. The barometer having hitherto been used principally as a monitor to the mariner, to warn him by its fluctuations of the changes in prospect, its absolute indication of pressure has been but little regarded; and makers seldom if ever determined the real errors of these instruments, or, if known, still more rarely ever furnish the corrections with instruments themselves.

That an instrument so rude and so abundant in error, as is the marine barometer generally in use, should in this age of invention and improvement be found on board any ship, will doubtless be regarded hereafter with surprise; and it will be wondered how an instrument so important to meteorology and so useful to navigation, should be permitted to remain so defective that meteorologists, in their investigations concerning the laws of atmospheric pressure, are compelled in great measure to omit a reference to the observations which have been taken with them at sea. The fact will, it is believed, afford a commentary upon the marine barometers now in use, which no reasoning or explanation can render more striking.

It was the opinion of the Conference that it would not be impossible, considering the spirit of invention and improvement that is now abroad in the world, to contrive a marine barometer which might be sold at a moderate price, that would fulfill all the conditions necessary to make it a good and reliable instrument; and a resolution was passed to that effect, in order to call the attention of the public to the importance of an invention, which would furnish the navigator with a marine barometer that at all times, and in all weathers at sea, would afford the means of absolute and accurate determinations.

The Conference is also of opinion that an anemometer, or an instrument that will enable the navigator to measure the force, velocity and direction of the wind at sea is another desideratum.

The Conference was of opinion that the mercurial barometer was the most proper instrument to be used at sea for meteorological purposes, and that the aneroid should not be substituted for it.

With regard to thermometers, the Conference does not hesitate to say that observations made with those instruments the errors of which are not known, are of little value, and it is therefore recommended, as a matter well worth the attention of cooperators in this system of research, whether some plan may not be adopted in different countries, for supplying navigators, as well in merchant-men as in men-of-war, with thermometers, the errors of which have been accurately determined.

For the purposes of meteorology, various adaptations of the thermometer have been recommended, such as those which refer to hygrometry and solar radiation: and accordingly a space will be found in the columns for temperature by thermometers with dry, wet, and coloured bulbs. With these exceptions, the only instrument, in addition to those generally used at sea, for which the Conference has thought proper to recommend a column, is that for specific gravity; the cost of this instrument is too insignificant to be mentioned.

The reasons for recommending the use at sea the wet, the white and black bulb thermometers are obvious; but with regard to the thermometer with a bulb the colour of seawater, and the introduction on board ship of a regular series of observations upon the specific gravity of seawater, it may he proper to remark that, as the whole system of ocean currents and of the circulation of seawater depends in some degree upon the relative specific gravities of the water in various parts of the Ocean, it was judged desirable to introduce columns for this element, and to recommend that observations should be carefully made with regard to it, both at and below the surface.

With respect to the thermometer having a bulb of the colour of sea-water, it is unnecessary to say more in favour of its use on board ship, than that the object is to ascertain, whether or not such observations will throw any light upon the psychrometry of the sea, or upon any of the various interesting phenomena connected with the radiation from the surface of the Ocean.

In bringing to a conclusion the remarks upon instruments, the Conference considered it desirable, in order the better to establish uniformity, and to secure comparability among the observations, to suggest as a measure conducive thereto, that a set of the standard instruments used by each of the cooperating Governments, together with the instructions which might to given by such Government for their use, should be interchanged.

The object of the Conference being to secure as far as possible uniformity of record and such a disposition of the observations that they would admit of ready comparison, the annexed form of register was concerted and agreed upon. The first columns of this form will receive the data which the Government of the United States requires merchant vessels to supply, in order to entitle them to the privileges of cooperators in this system of research, and may therefore be considered as the minimum of what is expected of them. This condition, which it may be as well to state here, requires that at least the position of the vessel and the set of the current, the height of the barometer, the temperature of the air and water should each be determined once a day, the force and direction of the wind three times a day, and the observed variation of the needle occasionally.

Every abstract log kept by a merchant vessel should contain at least what is here recommended. Anything more would enhance its value, and make it more acceptable.

The remaining columns are intended principally for men-of-war to fill up in addition to those above mentioned, but it is believed that there are many officers in the mercantile navy also who are competent to this undertaking, and who will it is hoped be found willing to distinguish themselves in this joint action for the mutual benefit of the services.

In the compilation of this form the Conference has had carefully in view the customs of the service and the additional amount of attention which these duties will require, and it is believed that the labour necessary for the purpose, at least to the extent specified in the instructions for filling up the columns, is only such as can be well performed under ordinary circumstances, and it has considered it a minimum, and looks with confidence to occasional enlarged contributions from zealous and intelligent labourers in the great cause of science.

The directions for filling up the columns and for making certain observations, it will be seen by the minutes, were limited to such only as seemed necessary to the Conference to ensure uniformity of observation. This subject received the benefit of much discussion before the meeting, and it was considered most advisable to confine the matter to hints; which it is hoped will be found sufficient, when embodied in the instructions which each nation will probably issue with the forms, to ensure that most desirable end, uniformity.

The Conference, having brought to a close its labours with respect to the facts to be collected and the means to be employed for that purpose, has now only to express a hope that whatever observations may be made, will be turned to useful account when received, and not be suffered to lie dormant for the want of a department to discuss them; and that, should any Government, from its limited means, or from the paucity of the observations transmitted, not feel itself justified in providing for their separate discussion, it is hoped that it will transfer the documents or copies of them to some neighbouring power, which may be more abundantly provided, and willing to receive them.

It is with pleasure that the Conference has learned that the Government of Sweden and Norway has notified its intention of cooperating in the work, and that the king has commanded the logs kept by his Swedish subjects to be transmitted to the Royal Academy of Science at Stockholm, and also that in the Netherlands; Belgium and Portugal measures have been taken to establish a department for the same purpose, and that the admiralty of Great Britain has expressed its intention of giving instructions for meteorological observations to be made throughout the Royal Navy.

The Conference has avoided the expression of any opinion as to the places or countries in which it would be desirable to establish offices for the discussion of the logs, but it is confidently hoped that whatever may be done in this respect, there will always be a full and free interchange of materials, and a frequent and friendly intercourse between the departments: for it is evident that much of the success of the plan proposed will depend upon this interchange, and upon the frankness of the officers who in the several countries may conduct these establishments.

Lastly the Conference feels that it would but inadequately discharge its duties, did it close this report without endeavouring to procure for these observations a consideration which would secure them from damage or loss in time of war, and invites that inviolate protection which science claims at the hands of every enlightened nation; and that, as vessels on discovery or scientific research are by consent suffered to pass unmolested in time of war, we may claim for these documents a like exemption, and hopethat observers, amidst the excitement of war, and perhaps enemies in other respects, may in this continue their friendly assistance, and pursue their occupation, until at length every part of the Ocean shall be brought within the domain of philosophic research, and a system of investigation shall be spread as a net over its surface, and it become rich in its benefit to commerce, navigation and science, and productive of good to mankind.

The members of the Conference are unwilling to separate without calling the attention of their respective Governments to the important and valuable assistance which it has received from the Belgian Government. That the Conference has been enabled to draw its labours to so speedy and satisfactory a close, is in a great measure owing to the facilities and conveniences for meeting and deliberating, which have been afforded by His Majesty's government.



Signed at Brussels, this, 8th day of September 1853.

MM. QUETELET, President.



Belgium, QUETELET, President; LAHURE

Denmark, P. ROTHE,

France, DELAMARCHE,

Great Britain, F. W. BEECHE; H. JAMES,

Netherlands, JANSEN

Norway, IHLEN

Portugal, DE MATOS CORRÊA

Russia, GORKOVENKO

Sweden, PETTERSSON,

United States, MAURY.



__________________


MINUTES OF THE SITTINGS


Minutes of the first meeting held at the residence of the Minister of the Interior on the twenty-third day of August 1853.

The proceedings of the meeting commenced at half past eleven in the morning.

Present:

MM. DELAMARCHE, Hydrographical Engineer of the Imperial French navy;

DE MATTOS CORRÊA, J , Captain-Lieutenant of the Royal Portuguese navy;

GORKOVENKO, Captain-Lieutenant of the Imperial Russian navy;

IHLEN, Lieutenant of the Royal Norwegian navy;

JANSEN, Lieutenant (of first class), of the Royal Dutch navy;

LAHURE, Captain and Director General of the Belgian navy;

MAURY, Lieutenant of the navy of the United-States and Director of the Observatory at Washington;

PETTERSSON (C.-A.) Lieutenant of the Royal Swedish navy;

QUETELET, Director of the Observatory at Brussels.


__________________


The attention of the meeting was first directed to the choice of a president. Lieutenant Maury was requested to direct the proceedings, but he declined the honour, and at Maury's suggestion, in which other members of the meeting concurred, Mr. Quetelet took the chair.


The President submitted to the meeting the propriety of publishing the discussions or the Conference, expressing, as his own opinion, that publicity was one of the best methods of ensuring the success of their undertaking; remarking at the same time, that, independently of the information which would be conveyed to the public through the medium of the press, the minutes of each sitting and the scientific report of the Conference would thus be preserved.


Lieutenants Jansen and Maury second this motion.

Captain-Lieutenant Gorkovenko also expressed himself in favour of publicity. He announced to the meeting that he had just been informed that Captain Beechey, appointed by the English Government to take part in the proceedings of the Conference, would arrive at Brussels in the course of the evening.


The president next called on Lieutenant Maury to explain to the meeting the object of his mission.

Mr. Maury spoke as follows:--

Gentlemen,

“The proposal which induced the American Government to invite the present meeting, originated with the English Government, and arose from the communication of a project prepared by Captain Henry James, of the corps of Royal Engineers, by order of General Sir John Burgoyne, Inspector General of Fortifications, in which the United-States Government was invited to cooperate.

Nineteen stations had been formed by the English authorities upon a uniform system, and the direction of the observations confided to the immediate supervision of the officers in command of the respective stations.

In the United-States, meteorological observations had been made since the year 1816.

The American Government sympathized with the proposal of the English Government, but said : Include the sea and make the plan universal, and we will go for it. I was then directed to place myself in communication with the ship-owners and commanders of the navy and mercantile marine, in furtherance of the plan.


It is from the information extracted from more than a thousand logs that I have been able to prepare the charts which have been published up to this time, showing the sailing-routes and the direction of the winds and currents.

With a view, however, of extending still farther the nautical observations, the Government of the United States decided upon bringing the subject under the consideration of every maritime nation, with the hope of inducing all to adopt a uniform model of log-book.

In order to place the captains navigating under a foreign flag in a position to cooperate in this undertaking,

James Cochran Dobbin - United States Secretary of the Navy 1853-1857

Mr. J. Dobbin, secretary of the marine department at Washington, has instructed me, to make known that the mercantile marine of all friendly powers might, with respect to the charts of the winds and currents, be placed on the same footing as those of the American marine; that is to say, that every captain, without distinction of flag, who will engage to keep his log during the voyage upon a plan laid down, and afterwards communicate the same to the American Government, shall receive, gratis, my Sailing Directions and the charts published.


It has consequently been suggested to the captains, that they should provide themselves with one good chronometer, one good sextant, two good compasses, one marine barometer, and three thermometers for air and water. I make use of the expression at least, because the above is the smallest number of instruments with which a captain can fulfill the engagements he contracts upon receiving the charts.

Foreign flags will thus enjoy the advantage of profiting at once by the information collected up to this time.

You will not fail to observe, Gentlemen, that the observations made on board of merchant vessels, with instruments frequently inexact, are not to be relied upon in the same degree as those made where the instruments are more numerous and more delicate, and the observers more in the habit of observing.

The former however, from the fact of their being more numerous, give an average result, which may be consulted with advantage; but the observations made on board the ships of the navy, although fewer in number, are evidently superior in point of precision.

The object of our meeting then, Gentlemen, is to agree upon a uniform mode of making nautical and meteorological observations on board vessels of war. I am already indebted to the kindness of one of the members present, Lieutenant Jansen, of the Dutch navy, for the extract of a log kept on board a Dutch ship of war, and which may be quoted, as an example of what may be expected from skilful and carefully conducted observations. In order to regulate the distribution of the charts, which the American Government offers gratuitously to captains. it would, in my opinion, be desirable, that in each country a person should be appointed by the Government, to collect and classify the abstracts of the logs, of which I have spoken, through whom also the charts should be supplied to the parties desirous of making them.

__________________

The president:

Gentlemen,

I think I shall be anticipating the wishes of the members of this meeting, by proposing to them to pass, in the first place, a vote of thanks to Mr. Maury, and to record our gratitude for the enlightened zeal and earnestness, he has displayed in the important and useful work, which forms the subject of our deliberations.

All the members in turn intimated their entire concurrence in the proposal made by the president, to express to Mr. Maury their admiration and their gratitude for the eminent services which he has already rendered, and is still endeavouring to render to the science of navigation.

Thanks are, therefore, unanimously voted to Mr. Maury.

__________________

Mr. Maury:

Gentlemen,

I am extremely grateful for the sympathy you have expressed and the praise you have been pleased to bestow on my humble efforts. On my part. I beg to thank you for the kind assistance that you have afforded me. Allow me to add, that we are taking part in a proceeding to which we would vainly seek for a parallel in history. Heretofore, when naval officers of different nations met in such numbers, it was to deliberate at the cannons’ mouths and the most efficacious means of destroying the human species. To-day, on the contrary, we see assembled the delegates of almost every maritime nation, for the noble purpose of serving humanity by seeking to render navigation more and more secure. I think, Gentlemen, we may congratulate ourselves with pride upon the opening of this new era.


__________________


Upon the motion of the president, the meeting proceeded to nominate a sub-committee, instructed to prepare for the next sitting a model of a log to be kept on board ships of war.

The members appointed to form this sub-committee are MM. Maury, Jansen and Gorkovenko.


__________________

President:

Gentlemen,

Some members of the meeting have expressed a desire for some further explanation. There appears to exist two opinions as to the plan to be pursued; some members being of opinion that the subject should be considered with reference to the navy only; others, that the mercantile marine would be comprehended in the scheme.

Mr. Maury declared that he had no instructions to discuss the question as regards the mercantile marine. He observed that the Government of the United States did not take upon itself to prescribe the use of this or that instrument on board merchant vessels any more than it would think of interfering with its interior economy of private establishments. It simply wished to confine itself to laying down the plan of a log-book to be adopted by those who may desire to participate in the advantages to be derived from the possession of the charts. Nevertheless, he would gratefully receive any observations which the mercantile marine of other countries might be able to furnish on any subject which concerns navigation.

The president concurred in the views taken by Mr. Maury, for the reason that, in Belgium and in most other States, the Government has no direct action upon the mercantile marine, and can only influence it by persuasion. He then proposed to the meeting to appoint a member to draw up the scientific report of the Commission.

Mr. Maury informed the meeting that Mr. Wells, an officer of the American navy now residing in Brussels, would willingly perform the duties of secretary to the Conference. He described Mr. Wells as a distinguished officer, perfectly acquainted with the subject under discussion, and possessing a knowledge of the French language. Mr. Maury would undertake, providing it were the wish of the meeting, to introduce Mr. Wells at the next sitting.

This proposal was readily accepted, and Mr. Maury was requested to make known to Mr. Wells, that the Conference accepted with gratitude his obliging offer and to convey to him the thanks of the meeting for the same.

The meeting separated at one o'clock, and the next sitting was fixed for Thursday, the twenty-fifth, at eleven o'clock a.m.


QUETELET.
__________________
Minutes of the meeting of the 25th of August 1853.

The proceedings commenced at half past eleven

Present:
MM.
CAPTAIN BEECHEY R. N.;
DELAMARCHE;
DE MATTOS CORRÊA;
GORKOVENKO;
IHLEN;
CAPTAIN JAMES, R. E.;
JANSEN;
LAHURE;
MAURY;
PETTERSSON;
QUETELET, president.


The minutes of the proceedings of the previous day were read. MM. Jansen and Quetelet made some remarks upon the wording of the “Minutes”, which were corrected accordingly and immediately approved.

The president informed Captain Beechey and Captain James, that at the previous sitting the assembly had paid a vote of thanks to Mr. Maury, for the enlightened zeal and earnestness he had displayed in the important and useful work which comes the subject of the deliberations of the Conference.


Captain Beechey and Captain James entirely concurred in that vote.

Mr. Wells being consented to act as secretary was introduced by Lieutenant Maury, and entered upon his duties.

The president, in the name of the assembly, thanked Mr. Wells, for his kindness.

Captain Beechey look this opportunity to observe to the meeting, that by taking part in its deliberations, he did not consider that he was in any way binding his Government.

In the order of the day, the first subject standing for discussion is the plan of the journal to prepare by the sub-committee composed of MM. Maury, Gorkovenko, and Jansen.

Mr. Jansen gave a rapid sketch of the plan of the journal to prepare by the sub-committee. The meeting decided that it should first discuss the utility of each column, and postpone the discussion of the other questions.

Lieutenant Maury having stated that his instructions from his Government were to propose a form of meteorological register for the use of vessels of war only. Captain Beechey stated that he had understood Mr. Maury to say at the meeting of the ship owners in London and Liverpool, that his object was to endeavor to induce the merchant service, to engage in this undertaking as well as the Royal navy, and that this idea was, he thought confirmed by the offer that had been made of a set of charts to the masters of such merchant vessels as would fill up certain columns of the register. And that he, Captain Beechey certainly left England under the impression that the merchant service was to be included, and therefore he considered it would be proper so to frame the form of register, that it could be used by the officers of either service, and to leave to each person to fill up as many of the columns as their time and ability would enable them to do.


The meeting referred to the resolution it had already taken, to confine themselves exclusively to the ships of war.


__________________



Discussion upon the columns of the plan of the proposed journal.


Column no.1 — DATE. — After a short debate, upon whether the day commenced at noon or at midnight, it was decided that this question shall be referred to a committee, who at the same time would be entrusted with the examination of several other questions.— The column is adopted.

Column n° 2. — THE HOUR. — Adopted.

Column n° 3. — THE LATITUDE.

Captain Beechey proposed that there should be two columns for this purpose, one for the latitude observed and one for dead reckoning. This proposal was adopted and a column added under N° 3.

Column n° 4. — THE LONGITUDE. — Same proposal from Captain Beechey, and the same decision. A column was added under n° 4.

Column. n° 5. — CURRENTS. — After a short discussion two columns were judged necessary for this object, one for the direction of the current, the other for the velocity. A column was added under N° 5.

Column n° 6. — MAGNETIC VARIATION OBSERVED. — Adopted.

Column n° 7. — MAGNETIC VARATION EMPLOYED OR USED. — After a long discussion in which MM. Beechey, Delamarche, Jansen, Ihlen, and Corréa took part, the column was suppressed on the ground that it might cause errors.

Column n° 8. — FORM AND DIRECTION OF CLOUDS. — Mr. Delamarche is of opinion that this question is purely scientific, and that the column might be dispensed with.

Several members of the meeting differing from this view, Mr. Delamarche adopted the opinion of the majority, for the reason that the direction of the upper currents might lead to a knowledge of the lower currents. — The column was adopted.

Column n° 9. — PART OF THE SKY NOT OBSCURED. — Captain Beechey proposed that they should use the expression part of the sky covered; this question was referred to the sub-committee. The expression serenity of sky being the contrary to amount of clouds, a choice is to be made between these two. — The column was adopted.

Column n° 10. — QUANITY OF RAIN. — Mr. Delamarche proposed that all observations upon rain be inserted in the column or remarks, as it is very difficult on board ship to ascertain correctly the quantity of rain that falls; this opinion was shared by other members, but Captain Beechey thought a column should be devoted rain and that the words hours of might be substituted for the words quanity of; — The column was adopted.

Columns n° 11 & 12. — WINDS (direction and force). — Captain Corrêa proposed an addition of two columns; one for the true direction of the wind, the other for the apparent direction and presented to the members a small work he has written on this subject. The proposition of Captain Corrêa was rejected, and the two columns of the plan were adopted.

Column n° 13. — BAROMETER. — Captain Beechey proposed that a column should be added for the thermometer attached to the barometer.

Mr. Delamarche required besides a third column for the barometer reduced to the temperature of zero.

The first proposition was adopted unanimously, that of Mr. Delamarche was opposed by several members. Nevertheless, upon the requests of Mr. Delamarche, the meeting decided that a third column shall be inserted in the plan if there is sufficient space.

Column n° 13. is adopted, and a new column is added under n° 13’ for the thermometer attached to the barometer.

Column n° 14. — THERMOMETER FOR THE AIR. — On the proposition of Captain Beechey the term of thermometer with the dry bulb is substituted. — The column is unanimously adopted.

Column n° 15. — THERMOMETER WITH THE WET BULB. — Mr. Delamarche opposed the introduction of this column as he believed it to be impossible to obtain satisfactory results with this instrument on board of ships. The column was put to the vote, and adopted by nine votes against two, those of MM. Delamarche and Gorkovenko.

Column n° 16, 17, and 18. — TEMPERATURE OF WATER, AT THE SURFACE AND AT CERTAIN DEPTHS, SPECIFIC GRAVITY OF THE WATER. — Captain Beechey requested that these three columns might be replaced by four others, comprising, 1st the temperature of water; 2nd its density at the surface; 3rd the temperature, and 4th the density at certain depths.




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