Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

in their application. Preach to sailors, as to men and sinners, the simple Gospel, and they will feel that it is adapted to their wants and desires, and you have hope of their conversion. The sailors particularly expressed their approbation during the Rev. Dr.'s speech in their usual hearty manner.

Miscellaneous.

THE BRITISH SAILOR.
By an Old Seaman, now in the Coast-guard Service,
"Oh, think on the mariner tossed on the billow,
Afar from the home of his childhood and youth;
No mother to watch o'er his sleep-broken pillow,

No father to counsel, no sister to soothe!” Those who have seen a British tar only amidst his wild revels ashore can form but u faint idea of his real character. In order to estimate his sterling worth, we must behold him at the moment when the anchor is weighed, and the cliffs of Old Albion are receding from his view. 'Tis then his moral nature undergoes a complete transformation, and he becomes, from the most thoughtless, the most anxious of human beings. Every duty connected with his station, more or less important, is attended to with the strictest punctuality. Is the watch to be relieved while he is below in deep repose? Let the signal be given in a whisper, and in an instant all his consciousness returns ; in a moment he throws off the soundest slumber, as if nature required no such refreshment, and beguiles the hours of duty or danger by humming or listening to the simple melodies of his native land. But see him roused by a storm; the winds rise and rave, the sea foams and boils till the mainmast rocks like a willow in the breeze: and lo! he springs from his hammock with the whole ship's company, who, stimulated by the law of self-preservation, act jointly, as though animated by but one soul. The storm is hushed, and every mind again resembles the ocean,- -a perfect calm.

He is now far off at sea, and the object apparently nearest him is a star. He gazes on the expanded sky and extended ocean—two of the sublimest scenes in nature; and beholds with peculiar emotions the sun rise and setthe moon wax and wane-and as the faithful compass points to the north, so turns his heart to the land he is leaving. At other times he thinks of the far country whither he is bound--of the progress the gallant ship is making of the enchanting and diversified scenes that await him--of the many curiosities he may purchase, and of the presents he will feel such a pride in bestowing, should he live to revisit the happy home to which he is attached by ties even more tender than those of blood. And when the outward voyage is completed, and the homeward one commenced, how many delightful anticipations dance through his mind, and thrill bis soul with joy! When the welcome sound is given, “ land ahead,” and that land Old England, the emotions excited repay a thousand times the longest period of privations and toil. Cliffs, venerable for their antiquity, in the foreground, with smiling villages in the rear; old father Thames, bearing on his bosom the concentrated wealth of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Anjerica; and London, with its endless array of streets, towers, churches, and monuments, gleaming in the rays of the morning sun, ere the ear is deafened by the bewildering din of its multitudinous population, form a succession of sights, or rather one magnificent whole, which no man can look upon without emotion : and though the brave sailor may be only an integer in the mighty sum of this world's arithmetic, his character is ennobled by the dangers he has encountered ; and he paces the deck, or trips along the quay, like one who is conscious that he again breathes the atmosphere of freedom, and feels that he is every inch a man. And should the generous tar thus revisit the land of his birth, and after spending his strength in the service of his country, be neglected, despised, and denied a place in the warm British heart ? Reason, love, justice, gratitude, alike forbid !

W. E.

SAY YOUR PRAYERS IN FINE WEATHER. RECOLLECTIONS OF A CLERGYMAN OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. Returning by the Belfast night-mail to my distant parish in the north, from the Dublin clerical meetings for the year 1839, I found myself placed opposite to a gentleman whose appearance engrossed rather than attracted my most profound attention. His age, as he afterwards told me, was sixty, and perhaps I should have conjectured as much, though exposure to weather, cares, anxieties, and dangers, with a certain air of seriousness which seemed as it were to preside over them all, spoke, more than the effects of time, the progress of my fellow-traveller's earthly pilgrimage. In truth, his countenance was such a one as no observant physiognomist would contemplate without interest, or mark its amiable and diversified expression without respect and love. The coach in which we sat had scarcely cleared the pavement, and was rolling along the comparatively silent highway, when my companion addressed me with great ease and politeness—a few minutes sufficed to show that the predominating sentiment of his heart was religion. His conversation was almost exclusively of that character, and as he poured out the rich stores of Gospel truth and experience from the exhaustless treasury of a converted soul, the night had insensibly wore away, and the sun had long risen ; as we changed horses at the last stage, little more than an hour remained, and I must probably part for ever from a man by whose conversation I had been inexpressively captivated, I felt, as may be easily conceived, a strong desire to learn his history, and thus fix more permanently on my mind the impression he had made. Accordingly, I asked him whether the turning of his heart to God had been caused by any sudden danger, or merely connected with his seafaring life ( he had already told me that he commanded a vessel trading between Liverpool and America), or was of gradual growth. My question seemed to please him, at least he replied to it with the utmost courtesy, saying—that in the last year but one of the late war, he was waiting in port with a fleet of merchantmen, till convoy should arrive, it being deemed unsafe to sail without such protection. His habits, he observed, had always been exceedingly irregular, to give them no stronger term, and he passed the period of detention in practices he could not look back on without sorrow. At length the signal to weigh anchor was made. His ship, as were also many others, was so short of hands that he gladly accepted of any person who offered himself, however inexperienced he might be in navigation; at the very instant of departure, a boat came alongside, out of which a tall robust man climbed actively upon the deck, and gave himself in as a seaman willing to engage for the voyage; the boat which brought him had returned to the shore, and the wind was blowing nearly a gale, but under every circumstance, my friend said he was glad to get even the addition of one equivocal hand to his scanty crew. His pleasure, however, was of short duration, for the new comer was soon found to be of a most quarrelsome, untractable disposition, a furious blasphemer, and, when opportunity offered, a drunkard. Besides all these disqualifications, he was wholly ignorant of nautical affairs, or counterfeited ignorance to escape duty. In short, he was the bane and plague of the vessel, and refused obstinately to give any account of himself, or his family, or his past life. At length a violent storm arose, all hands were piped upon deck, and all, as the captain thought, were too few to save the ship. When the men were mustered to their quarters, the sturdy blasphemer was missing, and my friend went below to seek_him; great was his surprise at finding him on his knees, repeating the Lord's Prayer with wonderful rapidity, over and over again, as if he had bound himself to countless reiterations. Vexed at what he deemed hypocrisy, or cowardice, he shook him roughly by the collar, exclaiming—“Say your prayers in fine weather.The man rose up, observing in a low voice, “God grant I may see fair weather to say them in.” In a few hours the storm happily abated, a week more brought them to harbour, and an incident so trivial passed quickly away from the memory of the captain, the more easily as the man in question was paid off the day after landing, and appeared not again.

Four years more had elapsed, during which, though my friend had been twice shipwrecked and was grievously hurt by the falling of a spar, he pursued without amendment a life of profligacy and contempt of God. At the end of this period he arrived in the port of New York, after a tedious and dangerous voyage from England. It was on a Sabbath morning, and the streets were thronged with persons proceeding to the several houses of worship with which that city abounds—but the narrator, from whose lips I take this anecdote, was bent on far other occupation, designing to drown the recollection of perils and deliverances in a celebrated tavern, which he had too long and too often frequented. As he walked leisurely towards the goal, he encountered a very dear friend, the quondam associate of many a thoughtless hour. Salutations over, the captain seized him by the arm, declaring that he should accompany him to the hotel. “I will do so," replied the other, with great calmness, on condition that you come with me first for a single hour into this house (a church), and thank God for his mercies to you on the deep.” The captain was ashamed to refuse, so the two friends entered the temple together. Already all the seats were occupied, and a dense crowd filled the aisle; but, by dint of personal exertion, they succeeded in reaching a position right in front of the pulpit, at about five yards' distance. The preacher, one of the most popular of the day, riveted the attention of the entire congregation, including the captain hiniself, to whom his features and voice, though he could not assign any time or place of previous meeting, seemed not wholly unknown, particularly when he spoke with animation. At length the preacher's eyes fell upon the spot where the two friends stood. He suddenly paused-still gazing upon the captain, as if to make himself sure he laboured under no mistake, no optical delusion-and after a silence of more than a minute, pronounced with a voice that shook the buildingSay your prayers in fine weather !The audience were lost in amazement, nor was it until a considerable time had elapsed that the preacher recovered sufficient self-possession to recount the incident with which the reader is already acquainted, adding, with deep emotion, that the words which his captain uttered in the storm had clung to him by day and night after his landing, as if an angel had been charged with the duty of repeating them in his ears; that he felt the holy call as coming direct from above, to do the work of his crucified Master-that he had studied at college for the ministry, and was now, through grace, such as they saw and heard. At the conclusion of this affecting address, he called on the audience to join in prayer with himself, that the same words might be blessed in turn to him who first had used them. But God had outrun their petitions, my friend was already His child before his former shipmate had ceased to tell his story. The power of the Spirit had wrought effectually upon him, and subdued every lofty imagination. And so, when the people dispersed, he exchanged the hotel for the house of the preacher, with whom he tarried six weeks, and parted from him to pursue his profession with a heart devoted to the service of his Saviour, and with holy and happy assurance, which (as he declared to me, and I confidently rely in his truth) advancing years hallowed, strengthened, and sanctified. From that companion of a night I then parted, probably not to meet again till we stand before the judgment-seat of Clurist. His history is too palpably instructive to require that I should add my own reflections, and with one only I conclude, addressing those persons who seek God merely in the hours of danger and trouble, in the words of the captain—“Say your prayers in fair weather.

THE WRECK OF THE “ ROYAL ADELAIDE" STEAMER.

Margate, April 2, 1850. The wreck of this fine steamer and the awful loss of life which accompanied it have occasioned a painful degree of excitement in this place. Intelligence of the catastrophe only reached the authorities about noon on Sunday last, though the wreck took place at eleven o'clock on the preceding night, within fifteen miles of the harbour. It now appears that the signals of distress fired from on board the unfortunate ship were observed by the coast-guard men attached to the Westgate station, about one mile westward from this town, on the cliffs. As they were repeated only two or three times, however, the men did not give any alarm to the pilot-boats, and, the signals not being observed from the port-head, or harbour, no boats put off during the night. Yesterday morning, about half-past seven o'clock, a signal gun was fired from the Tongue lightship. The signal was not repeated, but there was something sufficiently unusual in the circumstance of its being fired at all to induce the crew of a lugger, called the Nelson, under the command of William Parker, to put off, with the view of ascertaining what was required. The Nelson left the harbour shortly after eight o'clock, and bore towards the Tongue Sand. On nearing the lightship, they signalled her crew, who inquired whether they were come out in consequence of having heard a gun fired? The crew of the Nelson said they had, and asked what was the matter? The captain of the lightship said they feared a large steamboat had gone ashore on the Tongue Sand, about three miles off. Parker asked what time this had happened? The captain said the steamer passed the lightship about a quarter to eleven o'clock on the previous night, and in about twenty minutes afterwards they observed signals of distress fired from a vessel on the track she had taken. Parker asked the captain why they had not fired before? The captain replied, that they only observed the signals two or three times, and, as they heard and saw no more, they were under the impression that the ship had merely grounded, and got off again. Shortly after daybreak, however, at low water, they saw the hull of a large paddle-box steamer on the sands, and they then fired the signal gun which had attracted attention on shore.

The Nelson at once bore down in the direction pointed out, but, as the wreck was not then visible, they were at that time unable to make any observations as to her precise position. They continued in the neighbourhood of the sand, however, and in the course of the afternoon picked up the bodies of two persons, which were found floating, the one in the “Black Deeps,” about four miles from the Tongue lightship, and the other on the Girdler Sand. These bodies were brought on shore yesterday, and will be shortly interred.

About nine o'clock on Sunday morning one of the preventive service men came down to the pierhead (it being then low water,) and said that a portion of the wreck of a large ship was visible from the cliffs, about fifteen miles distant, on the Tongue Sand. The fact of a serious wreck having taken place was also announced by a Dcal boatman, who came into Margate during the morning, and reported having spoken a steamer (the Malcolm Brown) that had seen the wreck upon the sands. This was quite sufficient to put all the boatmen belonging to this port into a state of great activity;

and before evening nearly twenty sail of luggers, having at least one hundred men on board, left the harbour for the Tongue Sand. In consequence of the heavy sea running, and the extreme danger of getting on the sand in this part of the Channel, nothing was done by any of the boats on Sunday evening, but all of them remained near the spot during the night. The identity of the ill-fated vessel was, however, proved beyond doubt, one of the boats' crew, having picked up á signal lantern bearing the name of the Royal Adelaide, of Dublin," yesterday morning.

Mr. Frewin, the owner of a pilot-boat and lugger belonging to this port, who had gone out on the previous night, returned into port, and had an interview with Mr. W. H. Valder, the representative of Mr. Hammond, Lloyd's agent at this port. Mr. Frewin explained to Mr. Valder the exact position of the wreck, and informed him that he had failed in all his attempts to make an examination of her, and that he had returned into port only to provide himself with his diving apparatus, by means of which he had some hope of being able to examine the state of the ship and her cargo.

Mr. Frewin explained that the wreck was now lying right on the top of the sand, about two cables' length from deep water, and about the same distance W. by N. from where the Tongue Beacon used to stand before it was washed away. The men on board the lightvessel reported to Mr. Frewin, that when the Royal Adelaide passed their ship a dreadful sea was running ; and their opinion is, that having first struck the edge of the bank, she became unmanageable, and was driven further on to the sand, where she now lies. They also consider, from having seen so few signals fired, that the vessel filled with water very shortly after she struck; and then, of course, no more signals could be fired. That the vessel must have had a very heavy shock, and soon gone to pieces, appears evident from the fact that the larboard quarter, from the bulwarks down to the keel, broke clean adrift, and has been discovered buried in the sand near the Red Sand buoy, two miles from the wreck, in 23 fathoms of water. The copper sheathing and fastenings on this portion of the wreck are entire. The poop was also discovered floating in the "Black Deeps," on the other side of the Girdler Sand, about four miles from the wreck. Mr. Frewin went off to the wreck again this morning, provided with his diving apparatus, and, as the weather has been tolerably calm since, it is hoped he will have had an opportunity of examining what remains of the vessel. The other lugger boats remain on the spot for the chance of picking up any of her cargo. The crews have had to contend with very rough seas hitherto, and one galley has been sunk while engaged in the hazardous calling. Not a vestige of any of the boats belonging to the Royal Adelaide has been discovered, from which it is inferred that they were launched, but, not being able to live in the terrible sea that prevailed at the time, have all foundered.

The two bodies picked up by the Nelson lugger, on being brought ashore, were conveyed to the house of Mr. Gore, an undertaker of this town, who, on the instructions of the parochial authorities, has had them both placed in shells, preparatory to their interment. Neither of these

poor
fellows

appears to have died from drowning. They rather seem to have perished in the water. Both of them were provided with life preservers in the shape of large corks tied round the chest and back, the one having ten and the other five, each about as large as a brick. There was nothing found on either of their persons leading to positive identification, but from some letters found upon the one, and a name written inside the boot of the other, there does not appear to be much doubt on the subject. The one, from his dress, would appear to have been the mate of the vessel. He wore blue trousers, black frock coat, a pilot overcoat, and a south-wester. In his pockets were found three letters and a memorandum, but no money or other property of any description. One of the letters is written by a gentleman named Roberts, who dates from Great Horner-street, Liverpool. It is addressed to Mr.

« ÖncekiDevam »