Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/14

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Royal Geographical Society.

the useful labours of the Society may thus be carried, but in a very great degree also on the assistance which they may receive from the many individuals eminent in the Arts, Sciences, and Literature, and from the distinguished Officers of the Army and Navy, whose names appear on the List of Members.

The many opportunities that are afforded to Officers of the Army while on Service abroad, and the promptitude and ability with which they avail themselves of them (as the Office of the Quarter-Master-General and the Board of Ordnance so amply testify), are the best pledges of what may reasonably be expected from that quarter; and the more so since the Committee has had the satisfaction to witness the readiness with which so many distinguished Officers of the Royal Artillery and Engineers have come forward to join the Society.

With the same confidence the Committee look for aid from the Officers of the Sister Service, who on their own peculiar element in particular, will, it is hoped, by assisted by other experienced Navigators, whether or and belonging to the Corporation of Trinity, the East-India Company, or to other Maritime Service. On the exactitude of the minutest details of Hydrography must always depend the safety of Commerce and Navigation. Numerous dangers unquestionably exist in various parts of the ocean, that have not yet been ascertained, while others that have no existence still figure on our Charts, to the dread of Navigators. It has been well observed, that 'the man who points out, in the midst of the wide ocean, a single rock unknown before, is a benefactor of the human race;' and scarcely less so is he, who, after careful examination, is able to decide that a rock or shoal, which appears on a chart, is either misplaced, or has no existence.—These, it is true, may not be ranked among brillian discoveries; but the smallest obstruction, whether rock or shoal, that exists in the ocean, may have been, and, so long as its exact position remains unascertained, is still likely to be, the cause of destruction to life and property. It may also be noticed that many practial observations are still desirable on the prevailing winds and currents, and more particularly on tides, of which there are various peculiarities among the islands and along the different coasts of the ocean, concerning which, facts and observations are still wanting, for establishing one general theory that shall be found applicable to every part of the Globe.

Every accession, therefore, to hydrographical knowledge,—a real danger discovered—a fictitious one demolished—of a peculiarity ascertained—must be of great importance to navigation, and a fit object for promulgation by the Society.

The Committee, however, are also willing to hope,