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crews and apprentices engaged in the merchant service and our coasting trade by the establishment of a college of navigation.
He was followed by Rev. Wm. Howchin, and several other gentlemen, who briefly addressed the meeting, and on a motion of thanks to the President, the gallant and facetious captain, in reply, gave some amusing anecdotes and indulged in his usual strain of innocent pleasantry, which kept up, to the close of a somewhat protracted meeting, an appropriate amount of liveliness and animation, terminating by far the largest, and perhaps, in some respects, the most important and effective anniversary the Society has yet beld.
The following is the account of the meeting held the succeeding evening, at the Lower Port, where the Society is making steady progress, and its usefulness extending, and which has been inserted in the provincial papers.
WIS BEACH SAILORS' SOCIETY.
Lower Port, Sutton Bridge. A public meeting of the friends and subscribers to the Branch Society of the above Institution was held on Tuesday evening, February 12th, at the National School-room, Sutton-bridge, the use of which was kindly granted by William Skelton, Esq., Steward of Guy's Hospital estates.
The Rev. Thomas D. Young, incumbent of St. Matthew's, was unanimously called to the chair, who in his admirable opening address read an interesting letter from Captain Schultz, R.N., the President of the Society, (who was prevented by indisposition from attending,) and laid before the meeting a most gratifying report of the efforts of himself and friends in that important locality, from which it appeared, that since the last annual meeting held in that place, many ships had been visited by himself and his active coadjutors, who in every instance met with a most encouraging reception. Eighteen Bibles and three Testaments had been sold or given away to seamen, and a considerable number of religious tracts distributed among them. The Rev. Chairman also stated that he had held three special religious services in his own church, on account of distressing shipwrecks that had recently occurred, which were well attended (their new Bethel flag flying at the top of the church tower), and he trusted that, under God's blessing, those services had been the means of doing good. Much sympathy had been manifested towards the survivors and the friends of those who had been suddenly called into eternity.
The Rev. T. C. Finch, the deputation of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, addressed the large and attentive audience, and gave a most animating account of the progress and prosperity of that excellent institution. The meeting was also addressed by Rev. W. Holmes, Rev. J. C. Pike, Thos. Dawbarn, Esq., of Wisbeach ; and Mr. Dennis, the sailors' missionary. One of the speakers stated, that Captain Schultz, R.N., the President, had received a most gratifying letter from the Vicar of Wisbeach, the Rev. Henry Fardell, sympathising with the objects and rejoicing in the success of the Wisbeach Sailors' Society, and promising a handsome subscription to its funds.
The prospects of the Society are most cheering. Our friends at Southampton have so far completed their arrangements as to engage to afford a portion of the support of an Agent in that important port. The Directors have cordially engaged to raise the remaining and
larger portion of the funds. Communications are in progress with a gentleman, with a view to an immediate commencement of operations.
An important sphere of increased usefulness has also recently been opened for the operations of the Society among the Newcastle traders. Hitherto, access to these vessels had been found impossible to our missionaries; but it will be seen, from the report of Mr. Lonsdale, that a pleasing opening has at length been made.
Cheltenham has come to our aid. At a recent visit of the Rev. T. C. Finch, as a Deputation from the Society, the ministers and friends of seamen in this fashionable town kindly rallied round him at a public meeting. After which such arrangements were made as will lead to the permanent labours of an efficient Association.
Worcester, also, most pleasingly aided the same deputation. A liberal subscription was received; the Rev. Dr. Redford, and other friends, heartily sustained the Society at a public meeting. Our devoted fellow-labourer (Capt. J. Lewis) has just completed another tour in North Wales. From his report it will be seen that he has again received from our friends those expressions of deep interest in the sailor's welfare which they have been accustomed to evince.
The account from Wisbeach, contained in this number, is also cheering, and we doubt not will be read with interest.
Among these and other encouragements we must not omit to refer to the three Bills just introduced, by the Right Hon. H. Labouchere, into the House of Commons: two of these have an important connection with the social well-being of seamen. These Bills have just come to hand; we cannot, therefore, pronounce any opinion of their merits; we shal do so next month.
The Directors have arranged a plan by which Deputations may visit Auxiliaries, as also those localities where they do not already exist. With these particulars our friends will from time to time be supplied, and we earnestly wish them to co-operate with us in the proposed arrangements, which have been framed with a view to the double purpose of efficiency and economy.
One very important suggestion we must not omit. The financial year of the Society is drawing to a close. Subscribers, Collectors, Auxiliary Committees, and the friends of the Society generally, are earnestly solicited to remit the amount of their respective collections, and at the same time to use their best efforts to swell the amount. Our devoted friends at Finsbury Chapel have done themselves honour by a recent effort of this description. Anxious to do something more for the Society, a few friends got up a tea meeting, at which 138 sat down. After which speeches were delivered by the Rev. Dr. A. Fletcher, who presided ; Joseph North, Esq.; the Rev. Edward Muscutt and Mr. Fieldwick, the secretaries; by Captain Rippon, Mr. Lonsdale and Mr. Bailey, two of the Thames missionaries ; and we are pleased to find that, as a consequence, a great number of new collectors have come forward and engaged to promote the increased resources of the Society in that influential congregation.
SERVICES, ATTENDANCE, AND VISITS.
CIRCULATION OF BIBLES, TESTAMENTS, PARTS OF SCRIPTURE,
TRACTS, AND OLD MAGAZINES.
Day Schools-average attendance of boys, 75. Girls, 50.
PORT OF LONDON.
MR. S. LONSDALE'S REPORT. During the past two months, some circumstances have occurred to hinder the regular performance of my duties. For about a week I was laid aside by indisposition, and more recently we could not go on the river for several day's on account of the large masses of ice, which came down and lodged amongst the ships, thus preventing boats coming near to the tiers. Engagements connected with the sea, and ships, and sailors, are constantly liable to uncertainty and disappointments. One night, having previously engaged a vessel, I went on board to conduct a service, but the captain, the mate, and the crew, with the exception of one man, had gone on shore. I, however, found another captain in the tier, who kindly allowed me the use of his cabin for the meeting. Another evening, (the day of the high tide,) I went to hold my service, when I found not only the ship, but the whole tier, had been driven from their moorings down the river, and had to return unsuccessful. But notwithstanding those hindrances which we now and then meet with, I have reason to hope that some good has been effected through the mercy of God, even since I presented my last report. One mate whom I visited and prayed with, and directed to Christ, when he was expecting to die of the cholera, was led to thank God at one of our Bethel meetings for His mercy in sparing his litc. He observed in his prayer, that if God had taken his life he would have been unprepared to die. There is every reason to hope that severe affictiou has been sanctified to his spiritual good. At the same meeting, his captain, who had for some time been under serious impressions, endeavoured to call upon God in prayer. His tears seemed to choke his utterance, but he was able to offer up the short but availing prayer, “God be merciful to me a miserable sinner.”
At a service on board of the Linton, (being her first voyage,) I observed a sailor much affected ; the next morning, visiting him in the forecastle of his ship, I pointed out to him the way of eternal life, through a crucified Saviour. He said he had been a great sinner and was very anxious to find pardon. That evening, at a meeting among themselves, he prayed earnestly for mercy, and while he was in port he followed the Bethel Flag from ship to ship, and offered up his simple but beautifully expressive prayer. At a meeting on board of the Perseverance (I trust the fruit will be seen after many days,") some seemed much affected by the Gospel message. Several seamen, after the address had been given, engaged heartily in prayer. This ship was lying opposite the Tower, near where the Newcastle traders lie. We had never had a service previous to that time on board of any in that trade;
but on this occasion, the captain of one of these vessels, seeing the Bethel Flag Aying near to his ship, had come to the meeting, and seemed much pleased with the service. Two or three things seemed to interest him very much ; one was, an old sailor who was present, whom he had once had as his mate, who was at that time such a daring infidel that he used to deny the existence of a God, and was so depraved in other respects that he was obliged to part with him. He felt astonished to see him there, listening to the Gospel with attention and apparent feeling, and still more so at the simplicity and sincerity of the prayers offered. Hearing him express pleasure at being present, I took the opportunity of soliciting the use of his ship for a similar meeting. He observed that if it were known he had been there that evening, he would be laughed at by his fellow captains, and he feared we could not get a sufficient company out of their ships' crews for a meeting. I told him, I would gladly go, it he could only get half a dozen ; so he gave consent, and I accordingly held a service on board the following night. We had his cabin comfortably filled, seventeen were present, amongst whom were two captains, belonging to the same company. One of these said, he would not have liked to have had the first meeting, but in future, any time when his ship was at liberty, we were to have her. The captain observed, “ Then I have had the honour of hoisting the first Bethel flag in this trade, and when we are up, Mr. Lonsdale, don't make yourself strange, but come on board and see us, and whenever circumstances will adınit, there is the ship for you for a Bethel meeting.". I hope the time is coming, when we shall have free access, not only to this company, but to every ship that comes into port; for though at present there are many who excuse themselves, and object to hoist the Bethel fag, yet we seem to be making a little headway amongst them, by getting a ship now and then which has never had a service on board before ; and when once admitted, we seldom, if ever, find any difficulty in a future application. I have attended to the visitation of ships on the river, and in the London and St. Katherine's docks, endeavouring to do good, by speaking a word when opportunity offers, and by distribution of religious tracts and copies of the holy Scriptures. I have also visited the sailors' lodging-houses, and have spoken with seamen, endeavouring to persuade them to attend the house of God. My prayer is, that God may bless the labours of his servants, and that the souls of our seamen may be saved.
Since my last report, I have held 20 services afloat, attendance 291; and 14 on shore. I have paid visits to vessels, 626 ; and to sailors' lodginghouses, 288; I have sold 102 Bibles and Testaments, and distributed 2,100 tracts.
REV. C. VON BÜLOW'S REPORT,-FOREIGN SEAMEN. I have of late suffered very much from the inclemency of the season, especially on my water excursions; I have been detained again and again by severe colds, and thus my exertions have been curtailed and limited, but as there have not been so many foreign vessels, the deficiency has not been of so much consequence as at other times it might have been.
In visiting the foreign vessels in the several docks, and distributing tracts, selling Bibles and New Testaments, I have on the whole been well received, especially on board of the Spanish ships. On board of one of these, the captain received me very friendly, bought a New Testament, and desired me to bring him more tracts. On my second visit, we had a good deal of conversation, and the old proverb was verified, “ Like master, like men,” the crew showing me great courtesy, and giving me all assistance. On a Norwegian ship, I was hailed by the mate, who, on seeing me, called out, “Oh, I have looked and longed for you.” We had much conversation, the crew were very thankful for the tracts I gave them. I also gave them a few copies of the last printed tract, to give to their friends in Norway. I can indeed give testimony to the fact, that this tract seems, at least, to have put down the swearing on the Norwegian and Danish ships, but I trust it has been an instrument of doing more than can be heard or seen at present. The attendance at the appointed services have been small, and only composed of Germans. The lodging-houses have been visited, and tracts distributed to sailors of different nations, as well as to the German emigrants, of whom I found a good many, who had returned from America, very much dissatisfied. Others were on their way to America, some of them seemed to be in an awful state, and they had so much influence on their companions, that none of them attended my services at the Sailors' Church. May the Lord have mercy on them, and deliver them from their dreadful intoxication. I have twice visited the Dreadnought, teaching and exhorting the foreign seamen, giving them