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tâcher de rendre dans votre langue: "Do little gifts—keep friendship alive.'
" Je saisis avec plaisir cette occasion pour vous renouveler, my dear Lord, les assurances de mon amitié et des tous mes autres sentimens pour vous
“Louis." To most living men, this volume will for the first time give a clear idea of the gigantic influence exercised by the Duke of Wel. lington in the affairs of the world at this period. He stands out from among other men of his time like some huge Colossus among pigmies, and we find kings, and emperors, and the ablest statesmen in Europe not merely acknowledging his enormous influence, but expressing their respect for his character in language which leaves no doubt of their sincerity. To say that no man, since his time, has occupied a position at all approaching to that filled by him is, perhaps, not saying much, but probably never before him did there exist a man whose ability and integrity were so universally recognized. The modesty with which he expresses himself on all occasions, too, is another remarkable feature in his character. That which would have been arrogance in another man, would in his case have been regarded as natural in the position he filled, and yet there is a total absence of self-assertion in all his despatches in this volume, and it is certainly not from what he himself wrote that we could forin anything beyond the faintest idea of what other men thought of biin. His very naine was held as a guarantee of a policy of moderation and justice.
There remains only one more volume to be issued, to complete an invaluable collection of records for future liistorians, and the labour of the noble editor.
SHIPWRECKS AND THEIR CAUSES,
BY EDWIN CHADWICK, ESQ. C.B.* Corresponding Member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institute of France.
It appears that the vessels totally lost on the coasts of the United Kingdom during the last year of the returns recently published were 569. The average for the last five years has been 558 totally lost, 930 wrecked or subjected to partial loss, being an annual average total of 1,488 casualties, involving an annual loss of 875 lives; and that, notwithstanding the exertions of life-boats, and other means of saving life from Shipwreck, by which, in 1862, more than 4,000 lives, and, in 1863, more than 5,000 lives, were saved from destruction in the occurrence of shipwrecks.
* The substance of this address was delivered by Mr. Chadwick before the Meeting of the National Association for the promotion of Social Science recently held at Sheffield.
It may serve to give a conception of the evils under consideration, if I state that the whole of the fleet which Queen Elizabeth mustered to meet the Spanish Armada, numbered 176 ships, of which 3+ only were “ships Royal ;" so that next year, and each year after, if no alteration be made in our system, we must anticipate that there is doomed to be totally lost - more than three times the number of the English fleet in that great contest, and to be partially damaged and wrecked nearly eight times that fleet—occasioning a loss and damage of a tonnage of upwards of 300,000; or upwards of five times the tonnage of all Cromwell's fleet, with which, under Blake, he kept Christendom in awe. Why, the annual luss of lives by shipwreck now approaches to the annual average of the whole of the killed outright in battle, by sea as well as by land, which only amounted to 899 during the last twenty-two years of war. I might treat this sacrifice of life as a great waste, too, for each sailor may be considered as an investment of £250 on
And the evil goes on increasing. The average general loss upon British shipping was according to a paper by Mr. Lance, of Lloyd's, in 1816-17 and '18, 1:57 per cent.; in 1850, it was 2.806 per cent. ; in 1855, I make it out to have been nearly 4 per cent.; and in 1863, according to the last wreck returns, nearly 6 per cent. of the entire mercantile marine.
In 1839, it was my duty, with my colleagues of the Constabulary Force Commission-a police commission of inquiry, to investigate the causes of crime, with a view to its repression by the agency of a police We found along the coast a regular practice of plundering wrecks, and a state of disorder befitting only a barbarous country. I visited Cheshire, and some parts of the coast where the practice of wrecking was the most rise and regular. But what were the elements that caused this regular occurrence of wrecks from year to year, in the like weather
and at the same points, as continued to be shown by wreck charts ? On inquiry into the character of the wrecks themselves, a large proportion of them were proved to be the result of gross ignorance, and preventable. They were due mostly to ignorant commands, inferior hands and bad seamanship. But to what was due this large proportion of loss from bad seamanship, in this great maritime country? Indifference to the use of skill
, was the common answer, in the terms of the following from Captain Alderley Sleigh, of the mercantile marine.
He, in common with other maritime witnesses at the ports, alleged :-"Not only is there no interest in getting good seamen but there is a fearful effect in going shorthanded. Merchants vessels are shamefully inadequately manned. I once came to England in a brig which could only afford two hands to each watch. The man at the helm was frequently obliged to leave his post to let go the ropes in a squall at night. In one case the vessel was almost lost from this circumstance, off Cape St. Vincent. In a moderate gale
it was necessary to cut away from the yard a foretopsail which could not be fronted from her, having only three men and two boys in a ship of 250 tons."
“If the lives of the men are lost, does the widowhood or orphanage or any such loss fall on the owners ? No, on the contrary, the owners frequently gain. In case of the loss of the vessel there is no claim for wages, and the parish supports the widow and the orphans, if the man happen to be married.
"Are the losses ascribable to ignorance, and are those losses very
“Yes. I believe it has been ascertained, beyond contradiction, that the number of British ships which are lost is more than one in twenty-four; and that property to the value of nearly £3,000,000 annually is thus lost to the nation. Chiefly through ignorance and the present system of nautical insurance, which assures any ship on good premium, however unsafe or decayed. Further, that for every seventeen sailers who die, twelve are drowned, or lost by shipwreck. And that nearly 2,000 perish annually in the deep. Thus bundreds of widows and thousands of children are thrown on the precarious charity of the public."
some years ago, and I cannot now answer for the accuracy of the statistics ; nor is it material, since the present positive losses are so immense. In a paper by Mr. Henry Jeula, an underwriter of Lloyd's, on some statistics relating to shipping casualties, read last year at the Statistical Society, he made the following large and pregnant observations, as coming from a member of that body, “On the Terrible Increase in Casualties :-"
“ It may not be unimportant to ask the question, whether, with the enormous increase of our ships both in number and tonnage, and a higher ratio of activity, the very large reduction in the percentage of hands employed to each hundred tons-notwithstanding the admitted advantages of patent capstans, windlasses, patent reefing topsails, and other mechanical appliances—may not have a close relation to the terrible increase in casualties which has occurred while examinations' and certificates' of 'service and competency' might reasonably have led us to hope for a decrease in the number of disasters ?”
I am assured that never before now were a larger number of vessels of the mercantile marine so short-handed, which leads to short watches, and in cases of exigency leaves less power for prompt and vigorous action. But why are any sent out in so dangerous a condition? The answer is still the same-impunity given by full insuranee.
That which was patent to us then, as so represented, remains uncorrected now;--namely, the strong negative motives against progress, -against exertion for the attainment of knowledge and skill, constituted by the unguarded practice of insurance against losses consequent on ignorance.
It is alleged now, as it was then, first, that vessels are sent out to sea, which the owners would not send out, if they were not insured, if the owners were compelled to be their own insurers,—and secondly, that crews are sent out under masters whom the owners would not entrust with lives or property if they were sufficiently responsible for them. There have been examinations provided for masters, which are good as far as they go. But, though I have been a strong advocate for examinations, which serve as screens to keep out absolute ignorance, I have never pretended that they were, in themselves, complete securities for competency. The inan who may keep his head in an examination room, especially in a mere pass examination, may lose his head in a storm.
It appears, however, that of the vessels lost during the last year of the return of the ships of the home and coasting trade that were wreckeri, whilst 844 were commanded by masters not having certificates of competency, only 141 were commanded by masters who had such certificates ;—that is to say,—that whilst about three out of four of the masters have passed an examination, about five out of six of the vessels wrecked had been entrusted to men who had obtained no certificates of competency whatsoever.
It were a dreary prospect, if such a succession and increasing annual amount of the horrors of shipwreck, as these wreck returns display, were inevitable, and were an unavoidable condition of our increasing commerce and means of external communication. The public naturally ask, as we have seen that even a member of Lloyd's asks, how, with the progress of science, there should be an increase of these casualties? The evidence of the extent to which they are found to arise from ignorance or remissness is really a relief for the future, for to the extent of that remissness the evils are remediable, by the application of sound principles of legislation. Now, to me, the evidence, a portion only of which I can now submit, appears to be clear and decisive that in the greater proportion of cases the evils are preventable. To take the minor class of casualties, reported in the last wreck returns, those from collisions, of which there were, during the year, 66 that involved total loss, and 265 that involved partial loss. The last wreck report states that—" The main causes of the collisions during 1863 are reported as being bad look-out; neglect and misapplication of the rule of road at sea, and negligence ; parting cables and dragging anchors. Only four total losses by collision, and 35 partial losses, can, from the facts as reported, be attributed to inevitable accident. The number of collisions reported in 1863, as happening in weather described as dark, very dark, hazy, thick, and foggy, is 68; whilst the number happening in weather described as cloudy, dark and clear, or clear and fine, was 164. Cases of collision have been reported in which no look-out whatever has been kept, or in which the deck of the ship has been left without any person in charge, and the helm has been lashed down, although the ship may have been sailing at full speed, and
in a much frequented part of our narrow seas.” Now, looking at these cases alone, as officially reported, and if there were no others, is it creditable to a community, boasting of its position in civilisation and progress, or to its parliament and government, that life and property should be allowed to be thus sacrificed, from year to year, by such ignorance and criminal recklessness ?
The statistics show that these conditions, apparently accidental in particular cases, regularly pervade the mercantile marine, and operate, like laws, to produce similar results. In 1862, the number of cases of collision was nearly the same, 338; in 1861, it was 323; in 1860, 298; in 1859, 349. It will follow, if unchecked, that next year ignorance and neglect will send a fleet of some 60 sail of ships to the bottom, with perhaps all on board, and will damage a larger fleet of 200 more vessels; and the like the year after that; and so, from year to year, from one method of destruction only,—such collisions.
It will be clear, however, to the mind of anyone conversant with the subject, that it is only the grosser causes of disaster which come to light, there being strong motives for concealment and every species of misrepresentation resorted to in official reports, to consuls and other officers, and returned to the Board of Trade. The large proportion of cases ascribed merely to stress of weather admit of challenge ;-yet, of the total losses that occurred from other causes than collision, 61 are reported to have been caused by carelessness, incompetency, and neglect; and 31 from unseaworthiness, or defects in the ship or her equipments; whilst of the cases of partial loss, 115 are reported as having been occasioned by carelessness, incompetency, and neglect, and 30 from an seaworthiness, or defects in equipments. If all the rest, if all that have gone to the bottom, causes unknown - were due to pure and blameless accident, is this extent of waste and insecurity in our external communications, as well as national discredit and injury, to go on in perpetuity, without earnest atteinpt at correction ?
That the greater proportion of these losses are preventable, is, 1 consider, demonstrable by the fact that where adequate motives, Jeading to the adoption of available means, are applied, such proportions are prevented. Whilst in the mercantile marine the losses have, as we have seen, gone on increasing, in the Royal Navy they have gone on decreasing. I have not had time to obtain the latest returns, but the proportion of total losses of vessels employed was, in 1856 and 1857, one-seventh of the proportionate loss between 1816 and 1922,* and about one-eighth of the last rate of loss in the mercantile marine ; and the proportion of loss in the Royal Navy, small as it is comparatively, is held not to be absolutely clear of blame in every case. But particular portions of the mercantile marive, which are under proper motives, that is to say, of self
# Vide Paper on “ Shipwrecks in the Royal Navy,” by W. B. Hodge, Vice-President of the Statistical Society. Transactions, June, 1864.