1314. Robert Southey to the Editor of the Athenaeum, [April 1807]

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1314. Robert Southey to the Editor of the Athenaeum, [April 1807] ⁠* 

To the Editor of the Athenæum.


SEVERAL bottles, containing letters directed to me, have been thrown into the sea at different times by my brother, as experiments upon the currents. Three of these letters have reached me, [1]  and I transmit you an account of them, in the hope that others may be encouraged to repeat trials which we have found so successful.

The first was thrown over May 23, 1802, lat. 33. 46. N .
long. 64. 27. W.

and found December 18th, of the same year, at the North West end of St. Salvador

lat. 23. 30. N.
long. 73. 30. W.

Its course, therefore, had been S. 37 21’ W. 778 miles, or 3 7/10 miles per day.

A second was thrown over June 6, 1802, lat. 44. 40. N.
long. 45. 6. W.

and picked up December 2, 1804, off the West end of the Bermudas, by a fishing boat, belonging to a place in lat. 32. 16 or 17. N.

long. 69. 49. W.

At that season of the year these boats seldom go above five or six miles from the land, and generally to the Northward.

The course of this bottle is S. 51° 5’ W. 1184 miles, or 1 3/10 per day.

The third had a better passage; it was thrown over June 25, 1806.

lat. 51. 48. N.
long. 27. 26. W.

and picked up about the latter end of September, on the Western coast of Ireland, near Erriss-head.

Its course is N. 76° 4’ E. 631 miles. 6 4/10 per day.

This last had been oiled, and though it had been so short a time at sea, was nearly illegible when it came to shore; whereas the others had received no other injury than that of wear and tear in the hands of the curious. I take this opportunity of returning my thanks to the gentlemen, who did me the favour of forwarding them.

Should any of your readers be in possession of similar facts, they are requested to communicate them. The importance of the subject need not be pointed out; every successful experiment is a contribution to some future chart of the currents.



* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Athenæum, A Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information, 1:4 (April 1807)
Previously published: Athenæum, A Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information, 1:4 (April 1807): 350. BACK

[1] See Southey to Charles Danvers, 3 June 1805 (Letter 1072) and Southey to Thomas Southey, 22 August 1805 (Letter 1095). BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013

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