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thing like prudence and forethought. This
indomitable spirit of emulation and daring,
is found to be the greatest enemy to the
adoption of any of those appliances which
science has rendered available. The Deal
boatman trusts his life in precisely the same
sort of craft that his father, and his father's
father, did before him. Confident in, and
proud of, the skill which he has inherited
from them, he scorns to tarnish, as he falsely
reasons, his name by the habitual use of buoy
or belt, lest those of his comrades who are
firmly entrenched behind their ancient pre-
judices, should set him down as faint-hearted,
and unworthy the honourable name of a
"Deal boatman."

The still more inaccessible Scotch fisherman,
with his four thousand piscatory brethren,
"shoots his nets" on the exposed coast
of Caithness, in the open boat used by his
ancestors, notwithstanding the evil
consequences which have often ensued. The latest
example of the ill effects of this tenacity of
opinion occurred two years since, when a
fearful gale, which did more or less damage
along the whole eastern face of England and
Scotland, wrecked and damaged a hundred
and twenty-four of their boats, drowned a
hundred men, and occasioned a loss to the
fishing community of above seven thousand
pounds, which, although a large sum, will not
bear any comparison with the misery and
destitution thus entailed upon the widows
and orphans of the lost.

It is impossible to say how many of these
unfortunate men might have been saved, had
they had proper harbours to run for, with
lights and beacons to warn, and life-boats to
afford assistance; proper boats to keep the
sea, and buoys and belts, as a last resource;
but surely we are warranted in thinking
that fully one half would have been left
among us.

In both these examples, it must be
acknowledged that it would be a useless effort
to attempt any sudden innovations on these
deeply-seated prejudices; the only thing that
can be done, in either case, is to let the new
principle quietly work of itself. Let us find
a life-belt for the Deal boatman, which he can
wear and work in, until in it he recognises
his best friend; let the Scotch fisherman
have ocular demonstration that the "model"
boat prosecutes the fishery with equal success,
and far greater safety and comfort in bad
weather, and we shall soon have a different
system of things.

In the course of each year an average of
something like six hundred ship disasters
occur on the shores of this kingdom alone,—
some wrecked through stress of weather; some
by carelessness, and other disgraceful causes;
some through mistaking lights, or having been
lured to destruction by useless ones; some
through actual rottenness of timber; some
dashed to pieces on the very rock for which
they were anxiously looking half a mile
further a-head, where it ought to have
been, according to the chart; and some
from other causes, more or less easily averted.
These losses are attended by the almost
incredible destruction of a thousand lives,
and the value of tens of thousands of pounds
sterling.

The shocking wreck of the Orionnot, we
say with sorrow, the last occurrence of the
kindstartled, for a moment, the public from
their culpable apathy. But the shock passed
away; and attention to this subject is gradually
subsiding into the usual indifference.
The details of this catastrophe ought to have
had a more permanent effect on the public
mind. In the moment of danger, the gear
of the boats was so imperfect, that these could
only be released from their davits by
capsising their human cargoes into the deep.
Even when they righted, they immediately
filled, for the plug-holes were actually
unstopped. The most ordinary precautions for
saving life were not at hand, as precautions.
The hen-coops, barrels, seats, combings,
and other means of escape, by which many
were saved, were purely accidental life-
preservers.

Every English ship, before leaving port,
should be submitted to a supervising power
similar to the inspection that emigrant ships
undergo, in order that it should be certified
that means, both simple and efficacious, for
the safety of the passengers and crew, exist
on boardboats, belts, mattresses, rafts;
everything, in short, that can add to the
security of those about to "go down to the
sea in ships."

That this sort of supervision is effectual, is
proved by the few disasters which happen to
the vessels of the Royal Navy. In these ships,
everything is not only kept in its proper place,
to be ready when wanted, but each man is
constantly exercised in what he is to do with
it when no danger is apprehended, that he
may be in a state of prompt efficiency when it is.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean
squadron can step on board any one of his
ships in the middle of the night; and although
three-fourths of its crew are asleep in their
hammocks, he can, by ordering the "beat to
quarters," make sure of every man being at
his post in seven minutes, ready for action or
for any sudden disaster. This sort of discipline
it is which is so much required in the
merchant navy. In case of a ship striking, a dozen
men rush to do one thing,—perhaps to release
a boat from one of her davits, and,—
consequently, swamp the boat, by leaving the
stern rope untouched. Captain Basil Hall,
in his "Fragments of Voyages and Travels,"
describes the vigilant precaution daily made
even against the loss of one life. To each
life-buoy there is as regular a "service" as
to any other part or apparatus of the ship.
He says:—

"On the top of the mast is fixed a port-fire,
calculated to burn, I think, twenty minutes

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