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Every great wreck that is reported, tells
us what that means; tackles foul, or are
let go prematurely; oars and thowel pins
missing; plugs out when the moment of
sudden need is passing. And while, under
the same dread pressure, with sea beating
the ship's sides in, passengers know
that there is only "a certain amount"
of boat accommodation; that as there is not
boat room for all, some must be left behind
to await the chance of their being alive when
a return boat comes to look for them. A
fatal rush is the consequence, and the one
remedy against this, is the demand that every
ship shall carry boats enough to admit of the
immediate escape of all on board if necessary.
Passengers and crew knowing that there are
boats for all, will not then waste time in an
agonising struggle with each other, as well as
with the element that threatens to destroy
them; and it is not true that a provision of
this kind is totally impracticable. There
exists such a thing as a collapsible life-boat,
which is perfectly trustworthy.

The Act then provides wisely for an inquiry
into the circumstances of every wreck or
other casualty on our shores, by the inspecting
officers of Coastguard and the principal
officers of Customs; gives general
superintendence of affairs concerning shipwreck to
the Board of Trade, and appoints less wisely
"Receivers of Wreck," along the coast, who
are to have the chief authority at each scene
of wreck that occurs in their district. The
office of Receiver of Wreck, under the Board
of Trade, has been given to many persons
who were lately Receivers of Admiralty
Droits,—tradesmen, and others perfectly
ignorant of seamanship. Whether the
Inspecting Commander of Coastguard, who is a
commander in the Navy, or the chief officer
of Coastguard, who is commonly a lieutenant
in the Navy, will be quickened in his desire
to place his seamanship at the disposal of the
people who are endeavouring to organise a
rescue, when he knows that he is to have
Mr. Jones the hatter, or Mr. Smith the
tailor, or Mr. Brown the grocer, from the
next town, in chief command, and authorised
by Act of Parliament to overrule his orders,
is extremely questionable. As a matter of
the very commonest sense, the Receiver of
Wreck should be a skilful seaman, but that
is not a matter of official sense.

It is then ordered that payment by owners
of wrecked vessels to the representatives of
the drowned (assessed in each case at thirty
pounds, and salvage to the rescuers of life),
shall be the first claims due against them,
and the first to be paid, in full, out of their
effects: salvage of life having now for the
first time distinct priority over salvage of
property. For loss of life, and personal
injury on board any ship, the owner may be
held liable to the extent of the value of his
ship and of the cargo saved, but not any
further. Far enough and too far, many an
owner may say; but in no other wayas we
have long since urgedis it possible to overcome
the passive carelessness of life, which is
produced by the habit of insuring vessels
against money loss, and not merely leaving
them quietly to their fate, but sometimes
even, it is to be feared, half desiring their

The Act provides also for the increased
efficiency of the life-boat service, by adding
government help to private enterprise; so
that the National Life-boat Institution, an
admirable society supported by the public,
which saved last year by its boats upwards of
one hundred and thirty lives, by increasing
the pay of its coxswains and the reward to its
servants who succeed in saving life, backed
both by the people and the government, may
do more than it has yet done to decrease the
number of persons lost in shipwreck on our

It is evident from what we have said, that
the new Merchant Shipping Act will
unquestionablyso far as accident at sea is
concernedtend towards the lessening of an
enormous evil; and as for its defects, it would
not be believed to have come from a government
office if it did not contain a few obvious
blunders. Some such authentication was
perhaps considered necessary by its author;
who, for what he did, apart from what he left
undone, deserves the very hearty thanks
of all men who go out to brave the perils
of the sea.


WHY should "like a great school-girl" be
an uncomplimentary metaphor ? Most of our
mothers, our wives, our daughters have been
school-girls in their time, and some of them
school-girls of a tolerable size. Jeannie
Morrison was a school-girl, and the subject of the
most charming of ballads. Her tiny world of
school-weans was not more rude and jealous
than that of ordinary womankind, when they
called up the roses in her cheeks and in those
of her little lover, by remarking how they
cleekedI think it was cleeked—"they
cleeked together hame." I remember, when
at the premature age of ten, I visited my
sister at a seminary in Reading, kissing a
great school-girl on the stairs, and rather
liking it. I remember also that she was
condemned to confine her talk to the French
language for one fortnight, in consequence of that
act of gallantry of mine. Nay, when I was
younger still, I well recollect how I went
myself to a day-school, one half of which was
composed of the softer sex. I used to wear
a small velvet shooting-jacket, with short
sleeves, and little red ribbons for shoulder-
knots; and I was, I believe, very much
admired. I learnt Valpy's Chronology, the
pence and shilling tables, and dancing, in
company with twelve young ladies and eleven

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