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[The Proprietors of this Work give notice that they reserve the right of Translating it.]

NEILL AND CO., PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.

AE -b86

ENCYCLOPÆDIA

BRITANNICA.

NAVIGATION.

HISTORY.

History. Navigation is the art of conducting a ship from one port surpassed it, sending its merchant Aeets through the Straits History. or place to another.

of Gibraltar, along the western coasts of Africa and Europe,
and even, if we may believe some authors, to America
itself.

At an early period of their history, although long subseThe profane poets refer the invention of the art of na- quently to the rise of the Phænician navigators, the Greeks vigation to their heathen deities, though historians ascribe learned and practised the art of navigating the adjacent seas, it to the Æginetes, the Phænicians, the Tyrians, and the although they seem to have trusted almost entirely to the ancient inhabitants of Britain. Scripture refers the origin oar as the instrument of propulsion. The celebrated voyof so useful an invention to God himself, who gave the first age of the Argonauts belongs to a very early period; and specimen of navigation in the ark built by Noah under his in later times the Corinthians and Corcyræans disputed with direction.

Athens the empire of the Greek seas. At length Tyre, The earliest record of the practice of the art of navigation whose immense riches and power are represented in such is that of the Egyptians, who at a very remote period are said lofty terms both by sacred and profane authors, was deto have established commercial relations with India. This stroyed by Alexander the Great, upon which its navigation traffic was carried on between the Arabian Gulf and the and commerce were transferred by the conqueror to Alexwestern coast of India, across the Indian Ocean. It would andria, a new city, admirably situated for these purposes, appear, however, that this intercourse was of no long dura- and intended to form the capital of the empire of Asia, tion, and that the Egyptians soon confined themselves to of which Alexander then meditated the conquest. And overland traffic with their neighbours, even excluding from thus arose the great navigation of the Egyptians, which was all access to their country those foreigners who would have afterwards so much cultivated by the Ptolemies, that Tyre traded with them by the Mediterranean Sea.

and Carthage were quite forgotten. The Phænicians were the most distinguished of the early Egypt being reduced to a Roman province after the navigators; their commercial relations with other nations were battle of Actium, its trade and navigation fell into the the most widely spread; and their capital, Tyre, was for ages hands of Augustus, in whose time Alexandria was only the centre of ancient commerce and the “ mart of nations.” inferior to Rome; and the magazines of the capital of the The narrowness and poverty of the little slip of ground world were wholly supplied with merchandise from the they possessed along the coast, and the convenience of two commercial capital of Egypt. or three good ports, naturally drove an enterprising and At length Alexandria itself underwent the fate of Tyre industrious people, stimulated by a genius for commerce, to and Carthage, being surprised by the Saracens, who, in seek by sea those riches which were denied them by land. spite of the Emperor Heraclius, overspread the northern Accordingly, Lebanon and the other neighbouring moun- coast of Africa. By them the merchants were expelled, and tains furnishing them with excellent wood for ship-build- Alexandria was, until lately, in a languishing state ; though ing, they in a short time became masters of a numerous it always had a considerable share of the commerce of the fleet; and constantly hazarding new navigations, and settl- Christian merchants trading to the Levant. A fresh iming new trades, they soon arrived at an incredible pitch pulse, however, has been given of late years to the trade of opulence and populousness, insomuch as to be in a con- of Alexandria by its having become an important post in dition to send out colonies. The principal of these was the overland route to India. Carthage, which, keeping up the Phænician spirit of com- The fall of Rome and its empire drew along with it not merce, in time not only equalled Tyre itself, but vastly only the overthrow of learning and the polite arts, but also that

VOL. XVI.

A

History of navigation; the barbarians, into whose hands it fell, con- was formed in the north, which not only carried commerce History.

tenting themselves with the spoils of the industry of their to the greatest perfection of which it was capable till the
predecessors. But no sooner were the braver amongst discovery of the East and West Indies, but also formed a
those nations well settled in their new provinces,—some in new scheme of laws for its regulation, which still obtain
Gaul, as the Franks; others in Spain, as the Goths; and under the name of Uses and Customs of the Sea.
others in Italy, as the Lombards,-than they began to learn This society is that famous league of the Hanse Towns,
the advantages of navigation and commerce, and the me- commonly supposed to have been instituted about the year
thods of managing them, from the people they had sub- 1164. (See HansEATIC LEAGUE, and COMMERCE. For
dued; and this with so much success, that in a little time the present state of navigation in the various countries of
some of them became able to give new lessons, and set on the world, see under the name of each.)
foot new institutions for its advantage. Thus it is to the We shall only add, that in examining the causes of com-
Lombards that we usually ascribe the invention and use of merce passing successively from the Venetians, Genoese,
hanks, book-keeping, exchanges, rechanges, &c.

and Hanse Towns, to the Portuguese and Spaniards, and
It does not appear which of the European people, after from these again to the English and Dutch, it may be
the settlement of their new masters, first betook themselves established as a maxim, that the relation between com-
to navigation and commerce. Some think it began with merce and navigation, or their union, is so intimate, that
the French, although the Italians seem to have the fairest the fall of the one inevitably draws after it that of the
title to this distinction, and are accordingly regarded as other; and that they will always either flourish or decline
the restorers of navigation, as well as of the polite arts, together. Hence so many laws, ordinances, statutes, and
which had been banished together from the time the edicts for its regulation ; and hence particularly that cele-
empire was torn asunder. It is the people of Italy, then, brated act of navigation, which an eminent foreign author
and particularly those of Venice and Genoa, who have calls the palladium or tutelar deity of the commerce of Eng-
the merit of this restoration; and it is to their advan- land, which was long considered as the standing rule, not
tageous situation for navigation that they in great mea- only of the British amongst themselves, but also as that
sure owe their glory. In the bottom of the Adriatic were of other nations with whom they trafficked.
a great number of marshy islands, only separated by nar- The progress of political and commercial science, which
row channels, but these well screened, and almost inac- gradually opened men's eyes to the great principle that all
cessible, the residence of some fishermen, who here sup- trade is most healthy and prosperous when subjected to the
ported themselves by a little trade in fish and salt, which fewest possible, and those only the most necessary, restric-
they found in some of these islands. Thither the Veneti, tions, resulted in the total repeal of these famous navigation
a people inhabiting that part of Italy which stretches along laws in 1846, since which period trade with England has
the coasts of the gulf, retired, when Alaric, King of the been free and open to all the world; but so far from British
Goths, and afterwards Attila, King of the Huns, ravaged shipping and commerce being injured or diminished, they
Italy.

have been more prosperous since that repeal than they were
These new islanders, little imagining that this was to be at any former period, when most carefully fostered by
their fixed residence, did not think of composing any body protective laws.
politic; but each of the seventy-two islands of this little The art of navigation has been exceedingly improved
archipelago continued a long time under its separate mas- in modern times, both with regard to the form of the ves-
ter, and each formed a distinct commonwealth. When sels themselves, and also with respect to the methods of
their commerce had become considerable enough to occa- working them. The use of rowers is now entirely super-
sion jealousy to their neighbours, they began to think of seded by the improvements made in the formation of the
uniting into a body; and it was this union, first begun in sails, rigging, &c.; by which means ships can not only sail
the sixth century, but not completed till the eighth, that much faster than formerly, but can tack in any direction with
laid the sure foundation of the future grandeur of the state the greatest facility; and of late years the extensive and
of Venice. From the time of this union, their fleets of mer- still growing employment of steam as the propelling power,
chantmen were sent to all the ports of the Mediterranean ; whether applied to paddle-wheels or screws, has still further
and at last to those of Egypt, particularly Cairo, a new placed the mariner beyond the adverse retarding influence
city built by the Saracen princes, on the eastern bank of of calm and contrary winds, and has introduced an element
the Nile, where they traded for the spices and other pro- of certainty and punctuality in commercial intercourse un-
ducts of the Indies. Thus they flourished and increased known at any previous period, and invaluable as it affects
their commerce, their navigation, and their conquests, till the interests of commerce. It is also very certain that
the league of Cambray in 1508, when a number of jealous the ancients were neither so well skilled in finding the
princes conspired to bring about their ruin. This was the latitudes, nor in steering their vessels in places of difficult
more easily effected by the diminution of their East India navigation, as the moderns. But the greatest advantage
commerce, of which the Portuguese had got one part and which the moderns possess over the ancients consists in the
the French another.

mariner's compass, by which they are enabled to find their
Genoa, which had applied itself to navigation at the same way with more facility in the midst of an immeasurable
time with Venice, and that with equal success, was a long ocean, than the ancients could have done by creeping along
time its dangerous rival, disputed with it the empire of the coast, and never going out of sig of land. Some
the sea, and shared with it the trade of Egypt and other people indeed contend that this is no new invention, but
parts, both of the East and West. But jealousy soon broke that the ancients were acquainted with it. They say, that
out; and the two republics coming to an open rupture, it was impossible for Solomon to have sent ships to Ophir,
there was almost continual war for three centuries. To- Tarshish, and Parvaim, which last they imagine to have
wards the end of the fourteenth century, the battle of been Peru, without this useful instrument. They insist,
Chioza ended the strife. The Genoese, who till then had that it was impossible for the ancients to be acquainted
usually the advantage, now lost all; and the Venetians, re- with the attractive virtue of the magnet, and to be igno-
duced almost to despair, secured to themselves, by one rant of its polarity; nay, they affirm that this property of
happy and unexpected blow, the foremost place in com- the magnet is plainly mentioned in the book of Job, where
merce and the sole empire of the sea.

the loadstone is mentioned by the name of topaz, or the stone About the same time that navigation was retrieved in that turns itself. But it is certain that the Romans who the southern parts of Europe, a new society of merchants conquered Judæa were ignorant of this instrument; and

History it is very improbable that such a useful invention, if was entirely neglected, though translated also within a History.

it had once been commonly known to any nation, would short time of the other. At that time the system of
have been forgotten, or perfectly concealed from such a navigation consisted of an account of the Ptolemaic hypo-
prudent people as the Romans, who were so deeply inter- thesis

, and the circles of the sphere; of the roundness of
ested in the discovery of it.

the earth, the longitudes, latitudes, climates, &c., and
Amongst those who admit that the mariner's compass is eclipses of the luminaries ; a calendar ; the method of
a modern invention, it has been much disputed who was finding the prime, epact, moon's age, and tides ; a de-
the inventor. Some attribute the honour of the discovery scription of the compass, an account of its variation, for
to Flavio Gioia of Amalfi in Campania, who lived about the discovery of which Cortes said that an instrument
the beginning of the fourteenth century; whilst others con- might easily be contrived ; tables of the sun's declination
tend that it came from the East, and was earlier known in for four years, in order to find the latitude from his
Europe. But at whatever time it was invented, it is cer- meridian altitude; directions to find the same by certain
tain that the mariner's compass was not commonly used stars; of the course of the sun and moon; the length
in navigation before the year 1420. In that year the of the days; of time and its divisions; the method of find-
science was considerably improved under the auspices of ing the hour of the day and night ; and, lastly, a description
Henry, Duke of Visco, brother to the King of Portugal. In of the sea chart, on which, in order to discover where the
the year 1485, Roderick and Joseph, physicians to John ship was, they made use of a small table, which showed,
II., King of Portugal, together with one Martin de Bohe- upon an alteration of one degree of the latitude, how many
mia, a Portuguese native of the island of Fayal, and scholar leagues were run in each rhumb, together with the departure
of Regiomontanus, calculated tables of the sun's declina- from the meridian. Some other instruments were also
tion for the use of sailors, and recommended the astrolabe described, especially by Cortes ; such as one to find the
for taking observations at sea. Of the instructions of Mar- place and declination of the sun, with the days and place
tin the celebrated Christopher Columbus is said to have of the moon ; certain dials, the astrolabe, and cross staff;
availed himself, and to have improved the Spaniards in together with a complex machine to discover the hour and
the knowledge of the art ; for the farther progress of which latitude at once.
a lecture was afterwards founded at Seville by the Em- About the same time proposals were made for finding
peror Charles V.

the longitude by observations of the moon. In 1530
The discovery of the variation is claimed both by Colum- Gemma Frisius advised the keeping of time by means of
bus and by Sebastian Cabot. The former certainly did ob- small clocks or watches, which were then, as he says, newly
serve the variation, without having heard of it from any invented. He also contrived a new sort of cross staff, and
other person, on the 14th of September 1492, and it is very an instrument called the nautical quadrant, which last was
probable that Cabot might have done the same. At that much praised by William Cunningham in his Astronomical
time it was found that there was no variation at the Azores, Glass, printed in the year 1559.
where some geographers have thought proper to place the In the year 1537, Pedro Nunez, or Nonius, published a
first meridian, though it has since been observed that the book in the Portuguese language, to explain a difficulty in
variation alters in time. The use of the cross staff now navigation proposed to him by the commander Don Martin
began to be introduced amongst sailors. This ancient in Alphonso de Susa. In this he exposed the errors of the
strument is described by John Werner of Nuremberg, in plane chart, and likewise gave the solution of several curi-
his annotations on the first book of Ptolemy's Geography, ous astronomical problems, amongst which was that of
printed in the year 1514. He recommends it for observ- determining the latitude from two observations of the sun's
ing the distance between the moon and some star, in order altitude and the intermediate azimuth. He observed, that
thence to determine the longitude.

although the rhumbs are spiral lines, yet the direct course
At this time the art of navigation was very imperfect, of a ship will always be in the arc of a great circle, where-
on account of the inaccuracies of the plane chart, which by the angle with the meridians will continually change ;
was the only one then known, and which, by its gross er- and hence all that the steersman can here do for the pre-
rors, must have greatly misled the mariner, especially in serving of the original rhumb, is to correct these devia-
voyages far distant from the equator. Its precepts were tions as soon as they appear sensible. But in reality the
probably at first only set down on the sea-charts, as is the ship will thus describe a course without the rhumb line in-
custom at this day; but at length two Spanish treatises tended; and therefore his calculations for assigning the
were published in the year 1545,-one by Pedro de Medina, latitude, where any rhumb line crosses the several meri-
and the other by Martin Cortes,—which contained a com- dians, will be in some measure erroneous. He invented a
plete system of the art, as far as it was then known. These method of dividing a quadrant by means of concentric circles,
seem to have been the oldest writers who fully handled the which, after having been much improved by Dr Halley, is
art ; for Medina, in his dedication to Philip, Prince of Spain, used at present, and is called a nonius.
laments that multitudes of ships daily perished at sea, be- In the year 1577, William Bourne published a treatise
cause there were neither teachers of the art, nor books by in which, by considering the irregularities in the moon's
which it might be learned ; and Cortes, in his dedication, motion, he showed the error of the sailors in finding her age
boasts to the emperor that he was the first who had re- by the epact, and also in determining the hour from ob-
duced navigation into a compendium, valuing himself much serving on what point of the compass the sun and moon
on what he had performed. Medina defended the plane appeared. He advised, in sailing towards high latitudes,
chart; but he was opposed by Cortes, who showed its er- to keep the reckoning by the globe, as there the plane
rors, and endeavoured to account for the variation of the chart was most erroneous. He despaired of our ever being
compass by supposing the needle to be influenced by a able to find the longitude, unless the variation of the com-
magnetic pole (which he called the point attractive), dif- pass should be occasioned by some such attractive point
ferent from that of the world, which notion has been far- as Cortes had imagined, of which, however, he doubted;
ther prosecuted by others, and is now generally accepted but as he had shown how to find the variation at all times,
as true in the scientific world. Medina's book was soon he recommended to keep an account of the observations, as
translated into Italian, French, and Flemish, and for a long useful for finding the place of the ship; and this advice was
time served as a guide to foreign navigators. Cortes, how- prosecuted at large by Simon Stevin, in a treatise published
ever, was the favourite author of the English nation, and at Leyden in 1599, the substance of which was the same
was translated in the year 1561 ; whilst Medina's work year printed at London in English by Edward Wright,

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