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Narrative of a Voyage to the Southern Atlantic Ocean in HM Sloop CHANTICLEER in the Years 1828, 29, 30. Volume I

Date: 1834
Overall: 220 x 145 x 40 mm, 735 g
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00048286

User Terms

    Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars the British Royal Navy took an active role in many scientific expeditions in a variety of places around the world. In the course of pendulum experiments designed to refine knowledge of the earth's shape, HMS CHANTICLEER sailed to Cape Horn and South Shetland Island in the Southern Ocean. A two volume narrative was produced from the private journal of the ship's surgeon, W H B Webster.
    SignificanceThis narrative of HMS CHANTICLEER's three-year voyage highlights the active role played by the British Royal Navy in scientific expeditions in a variety of places around the world following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
    HistoryHMS CHANTICLEER was built as a 10-gun brig and launched in 1808. Like its sister ship, HMS BEAGLE, CHANTICLEER was modified as a survey ship (1828) and had a mizzen mast added and was rigged as a barque. Captain Henry Foster was given command of the vessel on a three-year voyage to the South Atlantic to conduct pendulum experiments designed to determine the shape of the world.

    As described in the introduction: "The object of the voyage was to ascertain the true figure of the earth by a series of pendulum experiments at various places in the northern and southern hemispheres. This method of solving the problem depends on the force of gravity at different parts of the earth's surface in producing a greater or lesser number of vibrations of the pendulum in a certain space of time which is found to vary according to the distance of the pace from the earth's centre. From these observations the radius of the earth is obtained ...from which its figure is inferred by calculation."

    CHANTICLEER was also involved in a chronometric survey of distances between ports visited during the voyage and collected data on meteorology, ocean currents and magnetism.

    Captain Foster had previously served as astronomer on Sir Edward Parry's Northwest Passage expedition. He was awarded the Royal Society's Copley medal for this work in 1827, and promoted Commander.

    The CHANTICLEER's mission to South America coincided with Phillip Parker King's expedition in charge of HM Ships ADVENTURE and BEAGLE, and a meeting with Captain King is described in Chapter 10. The narrative provides a description of the situation in South America which complements the accounts of Robert FitzRoy and Charles Darwin and highlights the application of new technologies in refining knowledge of the earth.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Narrative of a Voyage to the Southern Atlantic Ocean in HM Sloop CHANTICLEER in the Years 1828, 29, 30. Volume I

    Assigned title: Narrative of a voyage to the Southern Atlantic Ocean in the years 1828, 1829, 1830 performed in HM Sloop CHANTICLEER under the command of the late Captain Henry Foster, from the private journal of WHB Webster, surgeon of the sloop, London 1834

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