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We have been favoured with a letter from a naval officer belonging to one of Her Majesty's vessels in South America on this subject, from which we extract the following:— "The Chilians are endeavouring to establish steam-tugs for towing vessels through the Straits of Magellan. I do not think the plan will answer, as great power would be required to move the vessels in safely, the winds being very violent and uncertain. The more feasible plan would be to establish a colony at Port Famine, and have a village of pilots at each end of the Straits, viz., at Profession Bay, [Possession Bay, Ed.] on the coast of Port Refuge, on the west; or, perhaps, even better than this would be to establish the town at Port Refuge, which has every requisite for a colony. The pilots going thence might remain at Possession Bay until they brought a vessel from the eastward. To England these Straits would, in a few years, prove of great value as a depot for stores, &c, which are now carried to Chili at an immense expense, and coals for the steam navigation of the Pacific might he left with advantage. A valuable timber trade might also be carried on. All that is wanting is the transporting a colony there from the Falkland Islands. The passage of the Straits is generally considered a very difficult one, probably from reading accounts of the old navigators, some of whom were unable to get through ; but with a well-found ship it might be easily done in from three to four days, and at a much less cost of wear and tear than in doubling the Cape, and certainly with infinitely less danger to the safety of the vessel. The time taken in beating against the heavy S. W. winds to the southward of the Horn, is well known to all who have navigated these seas. The Falkland Isles cannot be made by a vessel going to the west coast of America from any part of the eastward without a great sacrifice of time and labour. They are the dwelling-place of storms, which, from their fury, destroy all vegetation, and render the coast, despite the many harbours, difficult of access. The idea entertained by some of supplying peat to steamers navigating the South Pacific is absurd. The labour of cutting and preparing it with any population the Falkland Isles are likely to have, is out of the question ; and even were peat a good substitute for coal, the expense of shipping it would be immense, with ever so large a population."— Plymouth Times.    

Source: "The Courier" (Hobart, Tas.), 29 December 1843
Clipped: 22-IX-2012
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