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the verge


From The Blackburn Gasette.'. See the Autumn Sun declining,

Gilds with radiant gold the west ; And his latest beams reclining “On the Ocean's silver breast,'

Brighter glowing,
Ere he leaves the world to rest.
Still upon

of Ocean,
Lingers the refulgent ray,
Which adorns the downward motion,
Of the glorious orb of day,

As he mildly
Draws his parting beams away.
Where sultry heats, so late distressing,

Parch'd the arid sun-scorch'd ground; Now the gentle breeze refreshing, Wafts odoriferous scents around,

And all bounteous Bids the fragrant dews abound. Gleaming twilight, next succeeding,

Veil'd in mists is Nature's face ;
Further still she swift receding,
Yields to night her transient space,

And flits away,
Other setting suns to grace.
Night, the hour of calm reflections;

Night, the time of solemn thought :
Night, to view the vast perfections
Which the source of being wrought,

Draws her curtain,
And spreads her ebon shades afloat.
Hush'd in silence-lost in shadows

Ev'ry aerial warbler still;
Not a sound across the meadows,
Save the sweet ton'd Philomel,

Nightly chanting
By yon ever murmuring rill.
Now the Moon, in heavenly grandeur,

Rising sheds her mildest rays;
And in true majestic splendour,
Travels through the glittering blaze

Of countless stars, That spangle heaven's ethereal maze. Thus, as night to night returning,

I've watched the calm retreat of day; Have view'd amaz'd, the sun adorning The ample bosom of the sea,

Then retiring, Astonish'd how these things can be.

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Departure from Point de Galle in Ceylon,-Negapatam-TranquebarPondicherry-Covelong.

Point de Galle, April 22. We embarked at day-light under the expectation of a fresh landbreeze to take us out clear of the inner harbour before sun rise, the passage being so narrow, and hemmed in by sunken rocks on every side, that it is only with a fair wind that a large ship can get out. Being already unmoored, we slipped from a stern anchor laid out for us by one of the pilot boats. The wind was light from off the land, and gradually dying away, and the heavy swell that rolled in from seaward occasioned us twice to pitch our spritsail yard under, and one surf broke nearly over the forecastle, though we had then every stitch of canvas set, and were not going a knot a head through the water. We continued in this way with boats towing for fully three hours, during which time we had gone little more than a mile from our anchorage, and it falling now a dead calm, with a heavy sea breaking in from the southward, the ship was no longer under the management of the helm, and we were obliged to anchor. We rolled here during this calm in such a way as to endanger our masts, which, if not well secured, might have been fairly rolled over the side, and the ports were all shut in, and secured on both sides to prevent our shipping water. Some of the horses below were thrown off their legs, and indeed it was not an easy task to walk the deck steadily, since the ship rolled, and pitched and tumbled about as much as in the heaviest gale of wind, and though it was a perfect calm, the surf beat against the rocks under our stern with such force, as to throw their spray to the height of fifty or sixty feet in the air.

We remained in this unpleasant situation until past noon, when the sea-breeze set in, and enabled us to weigh and make sail. We could then but just weather a dangerous rock, called the Bellows, from its breakers giving forth a sound of blowing as they roll their foam over it, and lying off the easternmost point of the entrance to Gallee-harbour. Having cleared this at two P. M., the pilot left the ship, and we made sail to the southward in company with the Laura, Captain Dennis, from Mocha, bound to Bengal, who had sailed in the morning from the Outer Roads here, and not having since brought up, was consequently far a head of us.

At sun-set, having steered along a low and woody coast, in the direction of E.S.E. for about four leagues, we came abreast of a small islet, close to the shore, covered with trees, and called Woody Island. A little beyond this, to the eastward, we remarked the red

cliffs, which give the name of Red Bay to the height of the coast on which they appear.

When the centre of the bay bore N.N.E. { E. we had the point of Dondra Head, bearing East, just visible through the haze.

We rounded this Cape, which forms the extremity of the Island of Ceylon to the southward, at the distance of about a league, the weather being squally, and the wind off the land. It is a low projecting point covered with cocoa-nut trees close to its extreme edge, and has this peculiar feature of distinction from low lands in general, that just off its pitch to the southward there is such deep water that no soundings are obtained within a mile of it, within one hundred fathoms of line.

23d. At day-light, the visible extreme of Ceylon-bore north, and we were at some distance from the land, a southerly current having carried us further off than the course, a distance by the log ; for since rounding Dondra Head we had steered E. by N. 1-N. sixty miles, to pass outside the Great Basses, and at noon were in latitude 6° 1 N. and longitude 81° 44' E., or to the S. E. of it.

We hauled now N.N.E., to make the Little Basses before dark, and at 5° 40' P. m. brought the breakers in one with Chimney Hill, bearing N.W. Having passed these two dangerous reefs, which, standing at the distance of seven and nine miles from the shore, impede the safe navigation of vessels round the S.E. coast of Ceylon, and have been the cause of many shipwrecks, we hauled a north course with the wind off the land, and a current setting to the northward and eastward, at the rate of a mile an hour.

At sun-set, the Chimney Hill bore N.W. by W. W., and the northern visible extreme of the island N. by W. We found Captain Honsburgh's directions and delineations of the coasts, and its sea marks perfectly accurate througbout. These were evidently from observations made during his own voyages along this coast, and not from the authority of others, on which he has sometimes necessarily been obliged to rely; and it is but justice to this indefatigable and able hydrographer, to state that in all parts of the coast which he describes from personal observation, his descriptions are constantly accurate, clear, and intelligible.

24th.-At day-light, we were within a league of the coast, which was here edged with a white sandy beach towards the sea, a plain country, abundantly wooded behind, and ranges of broken hills rising in the interior, presenting the aspect of a rich and a diversified country.

We had light winds from the south ward and south-east, with fine weather, and smooth water. At noon, we observed in latitude 7° 14' N. and longitude 87° 2' E, with a remarkable piece of table land having a lump like a square tower rising from one end, called by the English Westminster Abbey, from its resemblance to that edifice in shape, bearing S.W. by W.W., and another equally remarkable hill, called the Friar's Hood, in shape exactly like a friar's hood, when thrown over the head, bearing W.N.W. distant off shore from four to five miles.

The wind still being from the southward, we now steered N.N.W. to keep the shore aboard. At two P. M. a sail was discovered a head, turning to windward, and at 3° 30' we passed under her stern, and spoke her. She proved to be the ship Duncan, twenty-three days from Calcutta, bound to Bombay, to which port she belonged.

At sun-set, the bill of Westminster Abbey bore S. S.W..W., and the Friar's Hood S.W., distant off shore five or six miles. The wind now began to fall light, and draw more off the land, so that before midnight we were close hauled, steering N.N.E.

25th.-We intended to have anchored at Trincomalee for a few hours, partly for the execution of some business there, but the strength of the land winds which blew right off from the N.W., and the set of a current with them kept us at such a distance off the land in the morning, as to render our anchoring there difficult.

It fell calm at eight 4. m., and we had a sultry day. The current now set us to the northward, and at noon we observed in latitude 8° 45' N., and were in longitude by chronometer; 81° 38' E., with the top of some of the interior hills of Ceylon just visible above the water, bearing S.W. by W. W.

At sun-set, we were still a great distance off the land, though it was still in sight, and all our endeavours to close in with it were opposed both by the wind and the current. We were completely off the bank of soundings, having no bottom with a hundred fathoms of line.

During the night, it continued calm, with light airs at intervals from the seaward, but of short duration, and variable.

26th. At day-light we had drawn in so as to have the low land about Point Pedro and Point Palmyra, or the northern extreme of Ceylon, in sight from the mast-head, our soundings being in sixteen fathoms, full twelve miles off the shore. The whole of the northern portion of the island beyond Trincomalee, in the districts of Wanny and Jaffnapatam, forms a striking contrast with the general aspect of the country south of Colombo on the coast, and of Candy in the interior. The whole of the southern part of the island is billy near the sea, and mountainous as it recedes inland towards the centre. Some of the ranges presenting masses of the most fantastic shape. The northern part is altogether one extended plain, with simply a beach of sand overhung by groves of cocoa-nut trees to be seen from the sea, fringing the coast, and not an eminens of any kind to be distinguished as breaking the line of those trees from the interior.

At noon we observed in lat. 9° 52' N., and were in long. 80° 47' E. with soundings in twenty-six fathoms, and no land in sight. We had thus passed on the outside of the long sand bank, called Point Pedro Shoal, which curves round the northern extreme of Ceylon. This was surveyed by Capt. Heywood, in H.M.S. Leopard, in 1802, and a passage between it and the shore was found practicable—the channel being about three miles wide, and the depth throughout from seven to nine fathoms on soft mud. The shoal itself may be approached to six fathoms on the outside in the day time, and eight at night, and on the shoal itself there are in few places less than three fathoms water.

As we opened the straits between Ceylon and the Peninsula of India, called the Gulf of Manaar, on the south of Ramisseram and Adam's bridge, and Palk's Bay to the northward of Jaffnapatam, the winds drew more southerly through it, and we felt the northerly current here more strongly. These straits are not generally navigable by vessels drawing more than six feet water; but small brigs drawing twelve and thirteen feet, go down through them in the S.W. monsoon, when it would be dangerous for them to go round the southern extreme of Ceylon. On reaching the shoal barrier between Ramisseram and Manaar, they lighten to six feet by discharging their cargo, and after passing over, take it in again, this occasioning them a detention of three or four days only, as there are always labourers and boats here at the proper season to give the necessary assistance. On the island of Ramisseran is a celebrated pagoda, which is frequented by pilgrims from every part of Hindoostan. Its celebrity is connected with some local veneration of the spot on which it stands, and with some traditions regarding the passage of Adam's bridge, and the separation of Ceylon from the continent of India. From the Island of Manaar to Calpenteen is the scene of the pearl fishery, so that at particular periods of the year both sides of these straits have a superabundant population, and it is remarkable that though this northern and north-western part of Ceylon is much less fertile, less healthy, and less agreeable in every respect than the southern coast; it is here that all the most colossal ruins and surprising vestiges of the population, the wealth, the superstition, and often the useful labours of the early Ceylonese are found. There are some remarks and conjectures as to the cause of this seeming inconsistency, in the Introduction to Mr. Bartolacci's Work on Ceylon, which are both ingenious and satisfactory, and throw great light on the subject.

27th. We had crossed over, with light southerly airs, from the Island of Ceylon to the Coast of Coromandel, steering N.W. to keep well in with the land, and keeping in from twenty to fifteen fathoms water.

At sun-rise, we found ourselves nearly abreast of Negapatam, within five or six miles of the shore. The town from hence had a

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