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it could not fail to lead many a reader to sympathize with sailors and liberally to aid the British and Foreign Sailors' Society.
REFLECTIONS ON READING THE PILOT FOR
August 2, 1836. MR. EDITOR -My usual periodical publications having just arrived, and my dinner ended, and thanks offered to a kind Providence for a competent provision, I took up the Pilot, and did not feel inclined to relinquish the lecture till I had become acquainted with its whole contents. The horrors of the wreck of the ship Francis Spaight made the mind recoil: and yet, Mr. Editor, to such repulsive resources to save his life is every seaman exposed. I had once introduced to me a sailor, the last survivor of the crew of a water-logged vessel (I think from British America), to whom life was once so dear that he had lived above a fortnight on the arm of his last deceased companion! I cannot say but I felt unpleasant even when I offered him my hand, and congratulated him on his salvation from his heart-sickening food! But what will not a man do to save his life!! This turned my thoughts to our blessed Lord's touching exclamation,—“ What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul;” and then the perils of the sea, and the precariousness of a seaman's life ; and the eternity into which the too thoughtless mariner is so often instantly plunged, showed themselves to me as in a glass, and I contemplated for a while some of the responsibilities which commercial, Christian, wealthy Britain owes to her hardy, daring, neglected sons of the ocean. It is certain that Providence rules in all things : and so certainly in the case of the Francis Spaight. Yet there was, I think, some want of skilful conduct, and also something of the appearance of want of ordinary care, which some might say produced the irreinediable calamity. But I now send you another terrific case, in which the more direct hand of God is manifestly seen, for by the power of his irresistible wind, the King's steam-ship Tigris was instantly submerged. Here was no lack of nautical skill; here was no negligence;. no want of ordinary means ; but by the great power by which the horse and the Egyptian rider perished in the Red Sea, perished H. M. Steam-Skip Tigris in the mighty Euphrates ! And the many valuable lives so lost, were so lost in the service of highly-favoured Christian Britain. Is not this a loud additional call for aid, from those who can pecuniarily assist others who are solicitously and zealously active that British seamen should, by obtaining religious knowledge, be better prepared while so exposed to instant death ? Every one can do something; and if that something, which might be done, be not done,“ does not sin lie at the door ?" lence, which, after the short struggle of about eight minutes, sent a fine vessel to the bottom in five fathoms water, and deprived his Majesty of fifteen valuable men, with five natives in addition.
What a pleasing account of the manly Christian conduct of E. U.! How enviable must be his looking back on the scenes where he so wisely and so successfully used the influence which God had given to him as a talent, saying, “ Occupy till I come!”. The very mention of our being accountable for our influence, ought to lead every serious mind to inquiry,-as to time past-to time present and to such time as may yet be spared to us. - Let us then all attend to the call, and work while it is called to-day, for we are all hasting to the darkness in which neither know. ledge nor device are to be found !
Your deputations cannot fail to be useful, and will, I hope, be continued.
But it is the prosperous proceeding of the agents on the Thames which have much attracted my notice. Seven new ships gained in the course of the month; and one captain having his own flag, inscribed and proclaiming to every beholder—“ The Seamen's Bethel.” That is, “the House of God for Seamen.” It is pleasant, Mr. Editor, to see-how one seaman has been encouraging another to listen to that preached word, which is the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.
May the hearts of the officers, and of every one of the willing agents of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, be strengthened by divine influence, and be encouraged by seeing the pleasure of the Lord prosper in their hands! Yours, with Christian affection,
LOSS OF H. M. SHIP TIGRIS, A STEAM VESSEL.
To Sir J. C. Hobhouse, Bart. President of the Board
Euphrates Steamer, Anna, May 28, 1836. “SIR,-It is with feelings of the deepest regret that I do myself the honour of informing you, that the Tigris steamer was totally lost during a hurricane of indescribable vio
My reports up to the 17th inst. at Deir, will have informed you that all was going on as successfully as the most sanguine could possibly desire. We found the Arabs well disposed, and quite ready to form depôts for us of wood, charcoal, 'bitumen, and lignite coal, all met in abundance, and tried with complete success. In addition to these marked advantages, the survey has been carried 509 miles down the Great River, which seemed in all respects favourable; in short all was continued prosperity up to the afternoon of the 21st inst., when it pleased God to send the calamitous event of which it is now my duty to give a feeble sketch.
“A little after one p. m. on that melancholy day, the flat boats being a little ahead, and the Tigris leading the Euphrates, a storm appeared, bringing with it, high in the air, clouds of sand from the west-north-west quarter.
At this moment we were passing over the rocks of Is Geria (deeply covered), and immediately after we made a signal for the Euphrates to choose a berth, and make fast; which was done more as a matter of precaution, on account of the difficulty of seeing our way through the sand, than from apprehension that the squall would be so terrific. The Tigris was immediately directed towards the bank, against which she struck without injury, but with so much violence as to recoil a distance of about eight yards, leaving two men on the bank, who had jumped out to make fast. The wind then suddenly veered round, drove her bow off, and thus rendered it quite impossible to secure the vessel to the bank, along which she was blown rapidly by the heavy gusts, her head falling off into the stream as she passed close by the Euphrates, which vessel had been backed opportunely to avoid the concussion.
The engines were working at full power, and every endeavour made to turn the vessel's bow to the bank. One anchor was let
but the heel of the vessel made it impossible to get the other out, and she was then nearly broadside to the wind, with the engines almost powerless, and the waves, rising to four or five feet, forcing their way in at the windows. Lieutenant Cockburn, the Messrs. Staunton, and some of the men, made ineffectual attempts to keep out the water, for the fate of the vessel was already decided ; and the fore
part of the deck being under water, Lieutenant Lynch came to report that the Tigris was sinking, and the word was immediately passed for all to save themselves. At this very instant a momentary gleam of light faintly showed the bank at the apparent distance of eight or ten yards; and as there appeared every probability that the stern would touch it before it went down, Lieutenant Lynch encouraged the people to remain steady until they reached the land. All were on deck at this critical moment, some clinging to the ropes of the awning, the paddle-boards, and funnel ; but the majority were close to the tiller, and all behaving with the most exemplary obedience, until the vessel went down all at once, and probably within half a minute after we had seen the bank for an instant.
“ Lieutenant Lynch, who was at my elbow, dived out underneath the starboard ridge rope, at the moment when there was about four feet water on the deck, and I had the good fortune to get clear in the same way through the larboard side, and also to take a direction which brought me to the land, without having seen any thing whatever to guide me through a darkness worse than that of night. When it cleared a little, I found around me. Lieutenant Lynch and Mr. Eden (both greatly exhausted), Mr. Thompson, the Messrs. Staunton, and several of the men. The hurricane was already abating rapidly, and as the distance from the vessel to the shore was very short, we indulged the hope that the rest of our brave companions had reached the bank lower down. For an instant I saw the keel of the Tigris uppermost, near the stern. She went down bow foremost, and having struck the bottom in that position, she probably turned round on the bow as a pivot, and thus showed part of her keel for an instant at the other extremity; but her paddle-beams, floats, and parts of the sides were already-broken up and actually floated ashore, so speedy and terrific had been the work of destruction. From the moment of striking the bank until the Tigris went down, it scarcely exceeded eight minutes ; whilst the operation of sinking itself did not consume more than three ; indeed the gale was so very violent, that I doubt whether the most powerful vessel, such as a frigate, could have resisted it, unless she were already secured to the bank; and for this there was, in our case, little or no time, as it was barely possible, in the position of our consort, to make fast and save the vessel.
“ I had little, or rather no hope, that the Euphrates
could have escaped, but the intrepid skill of Lieutenant Cleaveland and Mr. Charlewood enabled them to get out two anchors at the very nick of time; and by the united means of two hawsers, and the engines working at full power, the vessel maintained her position at the bank until the storm abated, as the enclosed letter from Captain Estcourt will explain more fully; and as it required all the powers of a fifty-horse power engine, in the case of the Euphrates, to keep her hawsers from snapping, I infer that the twenty horses' of the Tigris would not have been sufficient to enable her to keep the position at the bank, even if the officers had succeeded in securing her along side of it.
“ Lieutenant Lynch and Mr. Eden continued cool and collected until the last moment, nor were any efforts wanting that skill and presence of mind could suggest to save the vessel in the first instance, and the lives in the second, when the former had failed; nor could any thing be more exemplary than their conduct, and that of all on board ; scarcely a word was spoken, not a murmur was heard, and death was met with that exemplary degree of intrepidity and resignation which have been displayed by every individual throughout the arduous and trying service in which we have been engaged since January, 1835.
Having already given a faithful account of the short but eventful period of about twelve minutes occupied by the beginning, the progress, and termination of the hurricane, I will conclude the painful part of my task, by referring you to the enclosed return of the names of the valuable men who have been lost to his Majesty and their country for ever. Very different was the result when a similar; but less violent gale, sent my little vessel to the bottom of this river in 1831; for I had not then the misery of deploring the loss of a single life, and my little schooner was afloat and continuing the descent in less than twelve hours; whereas, all our efforts as yet have failed even to find the remains of the vessel; not a ripple, or the slightest trace of the unfortunate Tigris, marks the spot where she went down ; but our search is not yet terminated, and if she should be found without having been dashed to pieces, I shall take measures to recover her with the assistance of the diving-bell, and other means; especially as there are many valuable instruments on board, in addition to the hull and machinery, and particularly as the Arabs here are well disposed.