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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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Letter from the Admiralty re magnetic variations (6 of 7). With copy of Captain Hollis' letter (FLI07) Page 2

or leƒs on these points of sailing, in proportion to the distance that
is run before it is corrected by an observation & it is not an unusual
practice to attribute this error in the Ships run, to Currents or bad Steerage
which, I think is caused by the influence of these Stanchions in their
vertical poƒsition [sic].
    I had always noticed extraordinary attractions of the Compaƒses
without being able to discover the causes until I commanded the Mermaid
on the Nova Scotia Station. I was returning to Halifax in company with
H M S Isis, & was then running between Sable Island & the chain & in
the evening had made the Signals & shaped a course for the Night.
Fortunately the Ships had not run their distance, & in the Morning
by a conversation that took place with the Isis I found the Mermaid
had been steering about one point & a Quarter more to the Northward
than the Isis, this was so extraordinary & so great a difference, that I
was determined if poƒsible to find out the cause — I directed the Isis to
go ahead, & steer (I think) West, I followed close in her Wake, & by my
Binnacle Compaƒses I was Steering about W by N ¼ hs . I then had every
thing that was attractive removed from that part of the Ship & ordered
4 or 5 layers of Blankets, & canvaƒs to be nailed over the Quarter
Deck Hatchways without effect, all the Compaƒses in the Ship
were at this time placed on different parts of the Quarter Deck
& had been alternately shifted into the Binnacle, & the whole of them
pointed the Ships head to be nearly West except those in the Binnacle.
I had been running on this course about two hours when I ordered
the Iron Stanchions to be triced up & the Compaƒses in the
Binnacle immediately veered to the West, I caused this to be
frequently repeated, & found the result the same Viz about
one Point & a Quarter. I think this a Strong proof that

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Related people
Bickerton, Sir Richard
Hollis, (Captain) Askew Paffard
Barrow, John
Flinders, Matthew


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