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FOREIGN LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.
From late British Publications.
Maps of the Danish Islands. The Danish engraver Bagoe has lately finished an excellent general map of the island of Zealand: it has met with the approbation of the Society of Sciences at Copenhagen, which has testified its satisfaction by presenting him with the sum of three hundred crowns by way of encouragement.
The engraver Angelo was busily employed in finishing a general map of Northern Jutland. It may be expected that emulation will produce the most favourablc effects on this production of the art.
The mechanician Baumann has sent to the Society of Copenhagen, a new Instrument for Levelling, the tube of which is placed on a plate that floats on Mercury
Literary intercourse projected.-M. K. Haest, author of the Northern Spectator, proposes to establish a fair for books, for Denmark, Norway and Sweden, in the town of Gottenburgh, to which the booksellers of the threc countries might resort once a year, for the purpose of exchanging each other's publications, and of facilitating literary intercourse between Sweden and Denmark. Whether any political motives arising from the separation of Norway from Denmark might render this plan abortive, must be left to the decision of events.
New Arrangement of Botany.-M. L Lefebure is publishing at Paris, in parts, a new system of botany, which he calls Systême signalementaire. He has taken for the principal bases or elements of his system, the leaves of plants. The leaves, attached one to one, two to two, three to three, form the first, second, and third classes; these leaves, placed either on a herbaceous stem, or On a woody stem, or at the foot of a herbaceous stem, form the three orders; twelve families borrowed from the twenty-two classes of Tournefort, complete the subdivisions of the general arrangement; in which each genus takes its proper place according to an analogy which distinguishes the author's system from any heretofore projected. Whether this work deserves the encomiums lavished on it, as possessing principles eminently proper to dissipate the difficulties of botany, we cannot determine. It may certainly contribute to arrange those vegetables to which nature has given leaves, stems, and flowers. These are an important and extensive department of the vegetable kingdom, and we concur in recommending the thought to the attention of the learned and studious.
On the organization of Plants.— In 1812, the Teylerian Society of Haer. Jem, proposed the following question: "To endeavour to determine by means of recent observations, as well as by comparison of those formerly made, those facts which are incontestible, in respect to what has been advanced on the organization of plants; especially on the structure, the difference, and the functions of their tubes or vessels; at the same time indicating with precision, what is indeterminate or doubtful in our present knowler'ge; and what proceedings may be proper to be had to obtain satisfactory information on these subjects.” This question has produced a Memoire, &c. on the organization of plants: a work crowned by the Teylerian Society. By D. G. Kieser. 1 vol. 4to. pp. 345. Haerlem.
SYNOPSIS OF NAVAL ACTIONS.
(From the British Naval Chronicle.) An article, the first part of which the reader will find below, has lately made its appearance in the British Naval Chronicle. It appears to contain all that has hitherto been urged, as well as every thing that can be urged in extenuation of the numerous disasters of England during the last war, on the ocean and the lakes, together with a garnishing of invention, sneering, and sarcasm. We have all heard these excuses before, but there are some admissions made by this “ Bri: tish Naval Officer” in his zeal to account for the almost miraculous disparity of loss in these actions, which cannot be accounted for by the mere disparity of force, which we consider as decisive of the question of superiority. We mean therefore to give the whole of it to our readers in our subsequent numbers, together with some accompanying remarks, in order that a fair judgment may be formed. We have prefared giving
the “Synopsis” entire, rather than quote extracts from it, not only because we considered it the fairest way, but for the reason that if on any occasion we deviated into severity of remark, our readers might refer to that article for our justification.
A SYNOPSIS OF NAVAL ACTIONS BETWEEN THE SHIPS OF HIS BRI
TANNIC MAJESTY AND OF THE UNITED STATES, DURING THE LATE WAR.-BY A BRITISH NAVAL OFFICER ON THE AMERI
CAN STATION. * MR. EDITOR,
“ Permit me to present you a history of the encounters of British with American public and private armed ships: it was my intention to narrate such losses of national ships only as were, or by the rules of our service should have been preceded by resistance, however slight or unavailing. I have since determined to include all losses of regular men-of-war sustained by either nation through the other's means; also casual meetings of the respective national vessels, in which the stronger force not merely declined engaging, but ran away from an enemy often more daring than discreet.
“ American accounts of all these matters are drawn up not more to animate the citizens, than to acquire a name among the nations of Europe at our expense. In these metaphysical productions truth is never an obstacle. What Englishman can read them without feelings of indignation?-A former volume of yours contains the translation of a letter from the captain of Le Genereaux, 74 to the French government, detailing his capture of the Leander fifty-gun ship. That, except for its brevity, affords a tolerable specimen of the official correspondence of American naval commanders. The latter have an advantage however, in the talents of their numerous commentators for drawing inferences and explaining ambiguities to suit the wishes of the writer and the taste of the public.
“Much has been said both in public and private about the capture of so many of our national vessels by the Americans. On our side bewailings and excuses-on the enemy's exaggerations and boastings have been invariably resorted to; but no where can we find a fair statement of the force engaged in the different actions.
« British accounts of actions are sometimes faulty, but rather for want of minuteness than for studied misrepresentation. Our credit has suffered more by painters and journalists than by the official statements of British officers. A handsome engraving of the action between the Shannon and Chesapeake is turned from with disgust by those acquainted with the real force of the ships. The enemy shows fifteen guns of a side on her main-deck, when she had only fourteen, her bridal-port being as usual vacant, Should that pass unobserved he that can read is at once informed below, that the Chesapeake mounted forty-nine, the Shannon thirty-eight guns. Either the actual mounting or the rate of both ships should be given, not the mounting of one and the rate of the other. This lays us open to an enemy who, we should recollect, speaks our own language, and can therefore recriminate with double effect. Besides, did the Sbannon's action need any em. bellishment?
“The period elapsed since most of the battles were fought, has brought to light many particulars respecting the armament of the American ships that were at first (for purposes of exultation no doubt) industriously concealed. Of these I shall take advantage, and any remaining point of difference between British and American statements I shall endeavour to reconcile,
“One reason for deferring this publication to so late a period is not only to collect all the necessary facts, but to obtain a view of the adverse statement of each action, hoping by that mcans to present the world with a fair and impartial summary of naval occurrences between us and America during the late war, and which may help to detect and refute some at least of the numerous falsehoods hitherto so undeviating a feature in the maritime records of the latter power.
“ It is now fully ascertained that the American forty-fours are in length equal to our first class seventy-fours, and built with similar scantling, having their sides both above and below at least a fourth thicker than our heaviest frigates. They have two entire decks, and carry their lower deck battery equally high and commanding with the new razees. When government resolved to have ships able to meet frigates like these on equal terms, they should have fitted out razees with twenty-four pounders on the
lower deck-reserving at the same time a few ships armed like thiç Majestic and Saturn (with long 32's) to cope with the new thirty-two pounder frigates now fitting for sea in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Ships of the former kind, well manned and appointed, would be far more likely to succeed in a long close action with the American forty-fours than the slight built fir fiftys.
“ The Americans were many years ago fully sensible of the advantages to be derived from having their ships of war of far greater force than their rate implied, and the measure was deliberately considered and resolved on by the government.
« How far the imposition thus solemnly resolved upon, when afterwards carried into effect, benefitted this cunning people, is now but too well known.
“ The capture of our packets or of the enemy's revenue-cutters and gun-boats will be excluded from the plan-although upwards of twenty of the latter have been taken or destroyed, and the former, by the unparalleled defences they have made, rank high in the annals of fame. Our first loss to the Americans was the Whiting schooner of four guns. She was taken at anchor in the American waters, ignorant of the war. The next was the Alert of sixteen guns and eighty-four men. She ran down upon and engaged for several minutes the Essex, captain Porter, of nearly four times her force. Even rashness like this is preferable to a surrender like that of the Frolick to the Orpheus and Shelburne.
“ When the American squadron first proceeded to sea at the commencement of the war, their men were thoroughly drilled at the guns, and the several situations of boatswain, gunner, captains of the guns, &c. on board every ship, were principally filled by British seamen.
" At this period our half-manned ships, having no enemy to dread, (French ships being seldom out) were carelessly cruising about in every sea. Thus was met by the American ship Constitution, on the 19th of August, 1812, the frigate Guerriere, returning into port with sprung masts after a long cruise. A long action ensued and the latter was taken and burnt.
“ The American captain in his official letter omitted to mention the force of his prize either in guns or men. The former I have obtained from an officer that belonged to her, and the latter