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approach of an enemy towards our shores into a defeat upon his own.
But how is this protection to be afforded? There are two methods, both efficacious, but not both equally politic. The first is, to prohibit marine insurance. To do this would not be politic—to do it completely would be nearly impossible. We could not, with due regard to the liberty of the subject, pry into every secret transaction between man and man. By a thousand tortuous means an enactment to the effect of making underwriting illegal could be avoided. It is true, that by throwing difficulties in the way of insuring, you might make the premiums so exorbitant as to induce the merchant and shipowner to look for security rather in the solidity of their ships than in the solvency of the broker ; but all this would not go to the root of the evil. Weak vessels would still be built, secret policies written, and crews occasionally drowned. We must leave the underwriters free from any open attack upon them, but as they underwrite, we must endeavour to undermine.
Within the bills of mortality no one is allowed to erect a house ex, cepting under the surveillance of an official surveyor. He sees that the materials are good, and that the edifice is of sufficient solidity, so that the landlord, or the owner of it, shall not endanger the lives of the tenants who may hereafter occupy it. No one complains of this law because it is founded strictly in justice, and because it is not possible for every fresh tenant, as he may enter upon possession, to ascertain the strength of the foundation of the edifice in which he is to trust his own life and the lives of his family.
The same system should be followed in the construction of our merchant navy. That the vessels that constitute that service are inadequate to the safety of the goods they transport, and the persons who navigate them, is evident by the numbers of wrecks daily occurring, the great loss of life, and, most conclusively, the high rate of insurance. It appears, therefore, that every ship navigating salt water should be built under the inspection of well-informed government surveyors, who should have no other control over the builder than that of enforcing a sufficient strength and solidity in the construction, and whose powers should be defined by law-as well as the size of the timbers, thickness of planks, and every
property in proportion to the tonnage.
At present, a merchant vessel of one thousand five hundred tons, constructed in the best manner now in practice, has only three inches of oak plank between her and destruction. Now, even in the smallest vessels, the ribs should be made contiguous, as they are in the navy, and the interstices that must occur slightly caulked, and there should be a sufficient planking inside as well as out. The expense of such construction would be, at its outset, much greater, but the ultimate saving would be truly great. It is a fact, proved by official returns, that in 1833 eight hundred British merchant vessels were lost, a moiety of which with the whole or the greater part of their crews. Averaging each vessel with her cargo to be worth twenty thousand pounds, we have here in the short space of twelve months, a loss of property to the nation of one million six hundred thousand pounds, and calculating ten men to each of the vessels lost with their crews, the seamen who perished must have amounted to between four and fire thousand. High, indeed, must have been the premium of the ships preserved to bear the underwriters clear of loss, yet was there no failure of the slightest consequence that year among gentlemen in that line. During the same period not a single man-of-war was wrecked.
To instance a single case. Had the Amphitrite, the convict-ship, the loss of which caused a sensation so great throughout Europe, been built man-of-war fashion, not a life need have been sacrificed. She would have held together till low water, and every soul on board might have walked, literally speaking, dry shod from the vessel to the beech.
The only practicable remedy we see is, that which we have just mentioned the making it impossible to build any ship or vessel intended to navigate the seas, without the sanction of surveyors, that sanction only to be granted to ships built, at least, as strong as men-of-war. This could be easily done : you cannot build a ship as you can coin money, in a corner.
We are sorry to be obliged to inform our readers that this so necessary reform in mercantile naval architecture has always been, and is still, violently opposed by the parties who necessarily have the completest control over it. The underwriters must naturally be opposed to a measure that would reduce their profits so much as to make their profession valueless. The merchant's interest is nearly the same as the underwriters: both will have their profit—the consignee and the consumer pay them. The public at large, and the crews and passengers in these ill-built vessels, are the victims. So ardent is the spirit of opposition to all reform in the construction of merchant shipping, that Mr. Ballingal, a person who has made this subject his study, tells us, upon the best authority, that when a model of an improved merchant vessel, built by Admiral Shank, was sent to the naval museum at Somerset House, it was bought up, and either destroyed or sent out of the country, as being not only inimical but destructive to the mercantile and underwriting interests. Every one knows who is at all conversant with this subject, that when, a few years ago, models of a superior construction of merchant vessels, combining safety with despatch, were offered to be exhibited, free of all expense, to the committee of Lloyds', that committee declined even to look at them. We suppose that the hitherto slow progress that Lieutenant Rodgers' anchors have made must be attributable to the same spirit. The masters of merchant vessels, to a man, are desirous for them, but, as they are a trifle more expensive, and infinitely more secure than the common ones, the owners seem very much adverse to their adoption.
That the frailty of the mercantile navy is the fortune of the underwriter is certain ; but the merchant and the shipowner deceive themselves by holding the same opinion as regards themselves. They would most assuredly very largely partake of all the wealth that is now annually engulphed in the ocean ; their transactions would be more secure, and much less complicated ; and, above all, they would share among themselves all the enormous wealth that is so rapidly made by the underwriters, were they to insist upon trading vessels being built upon a more scientific and secure plan.
We have made all these appeals to private classes and influential individuals, through the widest of all viaducts, self-interest. We might write volumes did we take the question upon the grounds of humanity. It is a singular anomaly of our depraved natures, that we will weep over the sufferings and mourn the death of an individual that accident may bring closely under our observation, whilst at the same time we are instrumental, by distant implication, to the death of thousands. We can very well conceive, and do ample justice to benevolent feelings and high sensibilities, in a shipbuilder who is running up a large, frail, sieve-like structure, that when it is launched and fairly on the seas, will require the constant interference of a miracle to preserve it, and all that it contains, from destruction. We heartily wish that we could instil into the habits of these architects a knack of shuddering whenever the gale arose, and of reflecting on what might, haplessly, be occurring in one of their light frameworks. We think that they would make it a matter of conscience to build strongly in order that they might sleep soundly.
But it is to government that the nation has a right to look for a remedy to this crying evil—this sin of many fearful contingencies. From the faulty construction of merchant craft we lose, at least, a thousand good sailors yearly--men who would be always ready and willing to fight our battles. The bereaved families of these poor fellows, who are thus daily sacrificed to a false notion of securing property, would be no longer burthensome to the community, and, above all things, by removing the extreme hazards of the seafaring life, many more valuable persons, and those of a class more respectable, would be induced to embark in it.
Our security depends upon our seamen, and we consider that our arms have always been victorious because our quarrels have been just. Let us not tempt that protecting Providence, by being not only unjust but even heartlessly cruel in neglecting the very instruments of our preservation and our glory, in the abandonment of their lives to the indifference of interested individuals. If we disregard thus guiltily our defenders, ought we to be surprised if, in the day of danger, God disregards us ?
When Jove, veil'd in a show'r of gold,
His beauteous Danäe woo'd and won,
Jove's self by me shall be outdone.
A prouder boast shall soon be mine;
NOS. 1402 AND 1403* OF THE SONNETS OF SIR EGERTON
Tre fire, that burns to age, must leave a spark
Of vital force, that comes not from without;
When most we want a lamp to see our route ;
The struggling burst of inborn inspiration;
On verge of seventy-three sad years of strife,
All that we most desir'd is, when possest,
Joyless and vapid :-e'en the voice of Fame
Afflict and freeze the movements of the breast,
On rocks at every light breeze we are wreck’a!
No deep and lasting bliss of heart we know.
How glorious does the palm, we strive for, seem!
Without it, wretched; when in our embrace
* We have not been regularly supplied with these effusions.
JAPHET, IN SEARCH OF A FATHER.1
BY THE AUTHOR OF “ PETER SIMPLE," &c.
Having finished my letters, I set off to Park Street, to call upon Lady de Clare and Cecilia. It was rather early, but the footman who opened the door recognised me, and I was admitted upon his own responsibility. It was now more than eighteen months since I had quitted their house at Richmond, and I was very anxious to know what reception I might have. I followed the servant up stairs, and when he opened the door walked in, as my name was announced.
Lady de Clare rose in laste, so did Cecilia, and so did a third person, whom I had not expected to have met-Harcourt. “Mr. Newland," exclaimed Lady de Clare, “this is indeed unexpected." Cecilia also came forward, blushing to the forehead. Harcourt held back, as if waiting for the advances to be made on my side. On the whole, I never felt more awkwardly, and I believe my feelings were reciprocated by the whole party. I was evidently de trop. “ Do
you know Mr. Harcourt ?” at last said Lady de Clare. “ If it is the Mr. Harcourt that I once knew," replied I, “I certainly do."
“ Believe me it is the same, Newland,” said Harcourt, coming to me and offering his hand, which I took with pleasure.
“ It is a long while since we met,” observed Cecilia, who felt it necessary to say something, but at the same time did not like to enter upon my affairs before Harcourt.
“ It is, Miss de Clare," replied I, for I was not exactly pleased at my reception ; " but I have been fortunate since I had the pleasure of seeing you last."
Cecilia and her mother looked earnestly, as much as to say, in what ?—but did not like to ask the question.
“ There is no one present who is not well acquainted with may history,” observed I, “that is, until the time that I left you and Lady de Clare, and I have no wish to create mystery. I have at last discovered my father.”
“ I hope we are to congratulate you, Mr. Newland," said Lady de Clare.
“ As far as respectability and family are concerned, I certainly have no reason to be ashamed,” replied I. “He is the brother of an earl, and a general in the army. His name I will not mention until I have seen him, and I am formally and openly acknowledged. I have also the advantage of being an only son, and if I am not disinherited, heir to considerable property,” continued I, smiling sarcastically. “Perhaps I may now be better received than I have
been as Japhet Newland the Foundling : but, Lady de Clare, I am afraid that I have intruded unseasonably, and will now take my leave. Good morning ;"
I Continued from