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was on fire, and chimed its heroic signal of duty, anu courage and honor. Think of the dangers these seamen undergo for Us: the hourly peril and watch ; the familiar storm ; the dreadful iceberg; the long winter nights when the decks are as glass, and the sailor has to climb through icicles to bend the stiff sail on the yard ! Think of their courage and their kindnesses in cold, in tempest, in hunger, in wreck! “ The women and children to the boats,” says the captain of the “ Birkenheadl,” and, with the troops formed on the deck, and the crew obedient to the word of glorious command, the immortal ship goes down. Read the story of the “ Sarah Sands : "


"The screw steam-ship Sarah Sands,' 1,330 registered tons, was chartered by the East India Company in the autumn of 1854, for tne conveyance of troops to India. She was commanded by John Squire Castle. She took out a part of the 54th Regiment, upwards cí 350 persons, besides ihe wives and children of some of the men, and the families of some of the officers. All went well till the ruth November, when the ship had reached lat. 14 S., 101.3. 56 E., upwards of 400 miles from the Mauritius.

Buiween three and four p.m. on that day a very strong smell of fire was perceived arising from the after-deck, and upon going below into the hold, Captain Castle found it to be on fire, and immeuse volumes of smoke arising from it. Endeavors were made to reach the seat of the fire, but in vain ; the smoke and heat were too much for the men.

There was, however, no confusion. Every order was obeyed with the same coolness and courage with which it was given. The engine was immediately stopped. All sail was taken in, and the ship brought to the wind, so as to drive the smoke and fire, which was in the after-part of the ship, astern. Others were, at the same time, getting fire-hoses fitted and passed to the scene of the fire. The fire, however, continued to increase, and attention was directed to the ammunition contained in the powder-magazines, which were situated one on each side the ship immediately above the fire. The starboard magazine was soon cleared. But by this time the whole of the after-part of the ship was so much enveloped in smoke that it was scarcely possible to stand, and great fears were entertained on account of the port magazine. Volunteers were called for, and came immediately, and, under the guidance of Lieutenant Hoches, attempted to clear the port magazine, which they succeeded in doing, with the exception, as was supposed, of one or two barrels. It was most dangerous work. The men becam: overpowered with the smoke and heat, and fell; and several, while thus engaged, were dragked up by ropes, senseless.

** The flumes soon burst up through the deck, and running rapidly along the various cabins, set the greater part on fire.

** In the meantime Captain Castle took steps for lowering the boats. There was a heavy gale at the time, but they were launched without the least accident. The soldiers were mustered on deck ;-there was no rush to the boats ;-and the men obeved the word of command as if on para le. The men were informed that Captain Castle did not despair of sav. ing the ship, but that they must be prepared to leave her if necessary. The women and children were lowered into the port lifeboat, under the charge of Mr. Very, third officer, who had orders to keep cear of the ship until recalled.

* Captain Castle then commenced constructing rafts of spare spars. In a short time, three were put together, which would have been capable of saving a great number of those or: burd. Two were launched overboard, and safely moored alongside, and then a third was lift across the deck forward, ready to be launched.

** In the meantime the fire had made great progress. The whole of the cabins were one body of fire, and at about 8.30 p.m. flames burst through the upper deck, and shortly after the mizen rigging caught fire. Fears were entertained of the ship paying off, in which case the flames would have been swept forwards by the wind; but fortunately, the after-braces Were burnt through, and the main-yard swung round, which kept the ship's head to wind. Alsout nine, a fearful explosion took place in the port magazine, arising, no doubt. from the one or two barrels of powder which it had been impossible to remove. By this time the ship was one body of flame, from the stern to the intain rigging, and thinking it scarcely possible to save her, Captain Castle called Major Brett (then in command of the troops, for the Colonel was in one of the boats) forward, and, telling him that he feared the ship was lost, requested him to endeavor to keep order amongst the troops till the last, but

at the same time, to use every'exertion to check the fire. Providentially, the iron huh w in the after-part of the ship withstool the action of the flames, and here all efforts were con centrated to keep it cool.

No person,' says the captain, 'can describe the manner in which the men worked to keep the fire back ; one party were below, keeping the bulk-head cool, and when severa were dragged up senseless, fresh volunteers took their places, who were, however, soon in the same state. At about ten p.m., the maintopsai -yard took fire. Mr. Welch, one quartermaster, and four or five soldiers, went aloft with wet blankets, and succeeded in éxtirguishing it, but not until the yard and mast were nearly burnt through. The work of fighting the fire below continued for hours, and about midnight it appeared that some impression was made ; and after that, the men drove it back, inch by inch, until daylight, when they had completely got it under. The ship was now in a frightful plight. The after-part was literally burnt out-merely the shell remaining-the port quarter blown out by the explosion : fifteen feet of water in the hold.'

“ The gale still prevailed, and the ship was rolling and pitching in a heavy sea, and take ing in large quantities of water abaft: the tanks, too, were rolling from side to side in the hold.

** As soon as the smoke was partially cleared away, Captain Castle got spare sails and blankets aít to stop the leak, passing iwo hawsers round the stern, and setting them up. The troops were employed baling and pumping. This continued during the whole morning.

" In the course of the day the ladies joined the ship. The boats were ordered alongside, but they found the sea too heavy to remam there. The gig had been abandoned during the night, and the crew, under Mr. Wood, fourth officer, had got into another of the boats. The troops were employed the remainder of the day baling and pumping, and the crew secu:ing he stern. All hands were employed during the following night baling and pumping, the boats being moored alongside, where they received some damage. At daylight on the 13th. the crew were employed hoisting the boats, the troops were working manfully baling ad pumping. Latitude ai noon, 13 deg. 12 min. south. At five p.m., the foresail and foretopsail were set, the vafts were cut away, and the ship bore for the Mauritius. On Thurselis, the 19th, she sighted the Island of Rodrigues, and arrived at Mauritius on Monday the 23d."

The Nile and Trafalgar are not more glorious to our country, are not greater victories than these won by our merchantseamen. And if you look in the Captains' reports of any maritime register, you will see similar acts recorded every day. I have such a volume for last year, now lying before me. In the second number, as I open it at hazard, Captain Roberts, master of the ship “Empire," from Shields to London, reports how on the 14th ult. (the 14th December, 1859), he, “ being off Whitby, discovered the ship to be on fire between the main hold and boilers: got the hose from the engine laid on, and succeeded in subduing the fire; but only apparently; for at seven the next morning, the · Dudgeon' bearing S.S.E. seven miles' distance, the fire again broke out, causing the ship to be enveloped in flames on both sides of midships: got the hose again into play and all hands to work with buckets to combat with the fire. Did not succeed in stopping it till four P.M., 10 effect which, were obliged to cut away the deck and top sides, and throw overboard part of the cargo.

The vessel was very much damaged and leaky: determined to make for the Humber. Ship was on shore, on the mud, near Grimsby harbor, with five feet of water in her hold. The donkey-engine broke down. The water increased so fast as to put out the furnace fires and render the ship almost unmanageable. On


the tide liuwing, a tuy towed the ship off the mua, ana got her into Grisisby to repair."

On the 2nd of November, Captain Strickland, of the “Purchase "brigantine, from Liverpool to Yarmouth, U.S., “ encountered heavy gales from W.N.W. to W.S.W., in lat. 43° N., long. 34° W., in which we lost jib, foretopmast, staysail, topsail, and carried away the foretopmast stays, bobstays and bowsprit, headsails, cut-water and srern, also started the wood ends, which caused the vessel to ieak. Put her before the wind and sea, and hove about twenty-five tons of cargo overboard to lighten the ship forward. Slung myself in a bowline, and by means of thrusting 216 inch rope in the opening, contrived to stop a great portion of the leak.

* December 16th:—l'he crew continuing night and day at the pumps, could not keep the ship free; deemed it prudent for the benefit of those concerned to bear up for the nearest port. On arriving in lat 48° 45' N., long. 23° W., observed a vessel with a signal of distress flying. Made towards her, when she proved to be the bark 'Carleton,' water-logged. The captain and crew asked to be taken off. Hove to, and received them on board, consisting of thirteen men: and their ship was abandoned. We then proceeded on our course, the crew of the abandoned vessel assisting all they could to keep my ship afloat. We arrived at Cork harbor on the 27th ult.'

Captain Couison, master of the brig “Othello,” reports that his brig foundered off Portland, December 27 -encountering a strong gale, and shipping two heavy seas in succession, which hore the ship on her beam-ends. Observing no chance of saving the ship, took to the long boat, and within ten minutes of leaving her saw the brig founder. We were picked up the same morning by the French ship ‘Commerce de Paris,' Captain Tombarel.”

Here, in a single column of a newspaper, what strarge, touching pictures do we find of seamen's dangers, vicissitudes, gallantry, generosity! The ship on fire-the captain in the gale slinging himself in a bowline to stop the leak—the Frenchman in the hour of danger coming to his British comrade's rescue—the brigantine, almost a wreck, working up to the barque with the signal of distress flying, and taking off her crew of thirteen men. “We then proceeded on our course, the crew of the abandoned vessel assisting all they could to keep my ship afloat.What noble, simple words! What courage, devotedness, brotherly love! Do they not cause the heart to beat, and the This is what seamen do daily, and for one another. Ine lights occasionally upon different stories. It happener, not very long since, that the passengers by one of the great ocean steamers were wrecked, and after undergoing the mosi çevere hardships, were left, destitute and helpless, at a miserrule coaling port. Amongst them were old men, ladies, and children. When the next steamer arrived, the passengers by that steamer took alarm at the haggard and miserable appearance of their unfortunate predecessors, and actually remonstrated with their own captain, urging him not to take the poor creatures on board, There was every excuse, of course. The last-arrived steamer was already dangerously full: the cabins were crowded ; there were sick and delicate people on board—sick and delicate people who had paid a large price to the company for room, food, comfort, already not too sufficient. If fourteen of us are in an omnibus, will we see three or four women outside and

eyes to fill?

say, “Come in, because this is the last 'bus, and it rains ?” Of course not: but think of that remonstrance, and of that Samaritan master of the “ Purchase" brigantine !

In the winter of '53, I went from Marseilles to Civita Vecchia, in one of the magnificent P. and 0. ships, the “ Valetta," the master of which subsequently did distinguished service in the Crimea. This was his first Mediterranean voyage, and he sailed his ship by the charts alone, going into each port as surely as any pilot. I remember walking the deck at night with this most skilful, gallant, well-bred and well-educated gentleman, and the glow of eager enthusiasm with which he assented, when I asked him whether he did not think a RIBBON or ORDER would be welcome or useful in his service.

Why is there not an ORDER OF BRITANNIA for Britisha seamen? In the Merchant and the Royal Navy alike, occur almost daily instances and occasions for the display of science, skill, bravery, fortitude in trying circumstances, resource in danger. In the first number of the Cornhill Magazine, a friend contributed a most touching story of the M'Clintock expedition, in the dangers and dreadful glories of which he shared ; and the writer was a merchant captain. How many more are there (and, for the honor of England, may there be many like him !) -gallant, accomplished, high-spirited, enterprising masters of their noble profession! Can our fountain of Honor not be brought to such mén? It plays upon captains and colonels in seemly profusion. It pours forth not illiberal rewards upon doctors and judges. It sprinkles mayors and aidermen. It bedews a painter now and again. It has spurted a baronetcy upon two, and bestowed a coronet upon one noble man of letters. Diplomatists take their Bath in it as of right; and it flings out a profusion of glittering stars upon the nobility of the three kingdoms. Cannot Britannia find a ribbon for her sailors ? The Navy, royal or mercantile, is a Service. The command of a ship, or the conduct of her, implies danger, honor, science, skill, subordination, good faith. It may be a victory, such as that of the “ Sarah Sands ;” it may be discovery, such as that of the “ Fox;" it may be heroic disaster, such as that of the “ Birkenhead ;" and in such events merchant seamen, as well as royal seamen, take their share.

Why is there not, then, an Order of Britannia ? One day a young officer of the “ Euryalus may win it ; and, having. just read the memoirs of LORD DUNDONALD, I know who ought to have the first Grand Cross.


On the 18th day of April last I went to see a friend in a neighboring Crescent, and on the steps of the next house beheld a group something like that here depicted. A newsboy had stopped in his walk, and was reading aloud the journal which it was his duty to deliver; a pretty orange-girl, with a heap of blazing fruit, rendered more brilliant by one of those great blue papers in which oranges are now artfully wrapped, leant over the railing and listened ; and opposite the nympham discentem there was a. capering and acute-eared young satirist of a crossingsweeper, who had left his neighboring professional avocation and chance of profit, in order to listen to the tale of the little newsboy.

That intelligent reader, with his hand following the line as he read it out to his audience, was saying :-“ And—now—Tom -coming up smiling-after his fall-dee-delivered a rattling clinker upon the Benicia Boy's-potato-trap--but was met by a -punisher on the nose—which,” &c., &c.; or words to that effect. Betty at 52 let me in, while the boy was reading his lecture ; and, having been some twenty minutes or so in the house and paid my visit, I took leave.

The little lecturer was still at work on the 51 doorstep, and * Prince Alfred was serving on board the frigate " Euryalus” when this was written.

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