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THE great abundance of encyclopædias that distinguishes our day would, at first sight, seem to discourage any attempt to add to that department of literature. But among all the works coming properly under the name of encyclopædia there is not one, at least in the English language, that supplies the want which it is the aim of this volume to meet. The sea is, so to speak, a world in itself. It has its own vegetable and animal life, and its own natural laws; while on its surface floats a multitude of vessels that serve either as the outlying defenses of the nations which border upon it, or as the carriers of the commodities which they find a profit in exchanging. This world of men and things, so peculiar and distinct, necessarily has a peculiar language, peculiar customs, and peculiar belongings. It is, moreover, a progressive world, and the arts and sciences that have relation to it are moving and developing pari passu with those that relate solely to the terrene portion of the globe. When to these considerations is added the fact that the sea is the especial field of operations of a profession which unites in itself the characteristics of the sailor and of the soldier, and to which is committed the high trust of maintaining the honor and dignity of the nation which it represents in all parts of the globe, and of extending over the citizens of its own country, wherever their business or pleasure may call them, the protecting ægis of the national flag, it would certainly appear that sufficient warrant exists for the issuing of this work, which has for its object the bringing together in one view, and within convenient compass, the several kinds of information most useful to naval officers, and most likely to be sought for by seafaring men of every name and grade. Nor is it only those that are by profession, or calling, identified with the sea who will find profit and instruction in this volume. There is a large and increasing class among the gentlemen of our own and other countries who cultivate the sea for the pleasure that it yields, and who take a manly delight in the danger and excitement incident to sporting upon its surface, to whom a book like this must prove an auxiliary of great value. To these may be added, as likely to find advantage in this book, all whose business, or love of knowledge, prompts them to investigate the science of that world which has its habitation in, under, or upon the waters of the great deep.
We have already intimated that this work claims to be unique. It embraces, first, a complete dictionary of marine words and phrases; second, a large number of original articles on special topics; third, a copious fund of biographical data; and, fourth, a gazetteer of the principal naval stations and seaports of the world. No other work uniting these several features exists in our language, nor, we think we may confidently add, in any other.
Custom, no less than justice to those whose labors have produced the volume
BLACK, C. H., Lieutenant-Commander U.S.N. Compass, The Mariner's.
BROOKE, J. M., Professor Virginia Military Institute. Ordnance.
Naval Hospital, Brooklyn.
BROWN, R. M. G., Lieutenant U.S.N. Nebular Hypothesis.
Porter, D. D., Admiral U.S.N.
BROWNE, J. M., Medical Director U.S.N. Naval Hospital, Mare Island.
CARPENTER, JOHN T., M.D., President of the
CHADWICK, F. E.,
Coast Guard of Great Britain. Naval Training Systems, Foreign. Reserve, Royal Naval.
COCHRANE, H. C., Captain U.S.M.C.
Inquiry, Court of.
COLHOUN, E. R., Commodore U.S.N. Navy-yard, Mare Island.
COLLUM, R. S., Captain U.S.M.C. Marine Corps, Foreign.
COLVOCORESSES, G. P., Lieutenant U.S.N.
DICKINS, F. W., Lieutenant-Commander U.S.N. Naval Academies.
Dow, JESSE E.
Navy, Volunteer, of the United States.
Examination of Officers for Promotion and Retirement in the Navy, Board of.