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PIETY AMONG SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE PILOT.
Sir, There are few things which interest me more than those which relate to the sea, and to seamen.
When some particular incident of this sort comes under my notice, it has for me a great attraction. I am not a seaman, but I feel in a great degree a companionship in their adventures, sincere sorrow in their calamities, and a triumph when I find that a noble right-mindedness when in trouble and in peril, marks the conduct of my hardy and seafaring countrymen.
The shipwreck of the “ Cabalva" of 1,200 tons and 150 men in 1828 upon the Cargados Garragos Reef in the Indian Sea, has recently come under my notice. The account of the calamity, attended with much loss of life, the ship, and her very valuable cargo, and the escape of some of the crew, is given with many incidents ; some very discreditable, and others highly honourable to the British character. The whole would be too long for your limited publication. There is, however, one part which has delighted me, and I therefore transcribe it for you; and I hope that you will consider it worthy of a place in your pages. I am, Mr. Editor,
Your constant reader,
Saturday, 11th July (the ship was wrecked on the 12th).
“This day passed under similar occupations. Parties set out again in different directions, and fish-hooks having been made out of the inside work of watches and chronometers, and nets of strips of muslin or Irish linen, many fishermen were seen trying their skill in that way. The number of tents had increased to sixteen, and the people divided themselves into different messes the same as on board, and every mess had a tent of their own. Two allowances of provisions were served out each day; one at seven in the morning, and another at six in the evening, each consisting of about two ounces of meat and a coffee cup of beer. The fourth officer was appointed steward general, and he was fully employed from morn to night
in cutting up the small portions of meat for each individual (which he did with great integrity, without favour or affection), and taking care of the live stock, which now consisted of five pigs and five sheep. The former were fed chiefly on scented soap and pomatum, and for the latter a bale of hay had most providentially been washed on shore; and as this appeared to be the only food we were likely to get for them, they were put on short allowance as well as ourselves.
About five o'clock in the evening, all the parties returned from their excursions, after having been very unsuccessful, not having collected any useful article from the wreck, and the fishermen had caught-nothing. While we were at dinner-which, besides the usual allowance of pork, consisted of some excellent soup made from water slugs and a little shell-fish that was picked up on the bank after the retiring of the water - we heard three roaring cheers outside the tent, and immediately ran out to see what was the matter : when we found that one of the sailors had been digging a hole in the sand, and that fresh water had sprung up, to the great surprise and joy of all. It was of a milky colour and rather brackish, but a great blessing notwithstanding; though I am afraid few of us were so thankful as we ought to have been for this, and the other merciful dispensations of Divine Providence which we had so wonderfully experienced, and of which we ought to the latest period of our lives to retain a grateful remembrance.
SUNDAY, JULY 12. THIS DAY, and in the afternoon the people assembled round the cutter, when Mr. Ayres, the purser, delivered an address to them to something like the following effect:
“ Fellowshipmates and companions in misfortune! When we look around us and contemplate our situation, when we reflect how narrowly we have just escaped from a watery grave, we cannot, I hope, fail to feel and to acknowledge to whom we are indebted for so gracious a preservation. The hand of an all-merciful God has been with us, and it is our duty on this day to humble ourselves before him, and to offer fup our grateful thanksgiving for so merciful an interposition, and our fervent prayers for a continuance of his Divine protection. While we deplore the loss of our beloved commander and many of our shipmates, let us not repine at the decrees of Providence. It was the will of the Almighty that some should perish, as a warning and admonition to us who remain. But let
OF WORK WAS DONE
us not be vain enough to imagine that it was from a degree of superior worth or virtue in us, that we have been spared; but rather that it was to allow us space and opportunity to repent of our past sins, and to resolve upon and effect the amendment of our lives. Let us acknowledge ourselves unworthy sinners, and turn our hearts unto God in spirit and in truth. “ If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves ; but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins" for the sake of his dear Son; and through his atoning sacrifice he will cleanse us from all sin: for Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Let our providential deliverance not only never be effaced from our minds, but let it serve to impress upon us an abiding sense of the mercies of Him who has snatched us from the jaws of death. And let our late and present sufferings work in us a true repentance, and lead us to that amendment of heart and life, and to that lively faith in our blessed Redeemer, that we may henceforth always be prepared for our latter end; and if our late misfortunes produce this effect in us, we may consider them as the most merciful dispensation that could befal us.
“Although it has pleased the Almighty to cast us on this desert shore, we have great reason to be thankful that he has
provided and continues to provide for our daily wants ; and from hence let us hope, that he will provide us not only with present subsistence, but the means of a speedy and safe deliverance, and finally restore us to our parents, wives, children, and dear connections, for the Lord is loving unto every man, “and his mercy is over all his works.” Let the mercies which we have experienced be an assurance to us, that if we now turn unto God with all our heart and all our mind, he will not only save us from temporal death, but will bring us to everlasting life by purifying our hearts by his Holy Spirit, and filling us with a lively faith in his blessed Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us then unite cheerfully with one hand and heart in the great undertaking of our deliverance, which Almighty God appears so conspicuously to have placed within our reach. Let every man do his duty. Let us be patient, unanimous, and of good cheer; and with united prayer for our common safety, let us launch our frail bark on the boisterous ocean, under the guidance and protection of that merciful and almighty Being, who stilleth the raging and says
to the billowy ocean, 'Peace! be still !'
Let no disputes nor differences of opinion disturb that harmony so necessary for our general safety. Let one leart and soul animate our whole company; and above all, let us join in fervent prayer and supplications for a safe voyage to our companions, and a speedy and happy deliverance to us all; and let us never hereafter lay down our heads to rest without a grateful acknowledgment of God's mercies to us.
I have now enlarged enough, and have only to entreat that what I have said may enter into your hearts, and that you will now, my fellow-shipmates, companions in misfortune, and joint partakers of the Divine mercy, join me humbly and devoutly in that prayer which our Lord himself has commanded us.”
Mr. Ayres then very, solemnly repeated the Lord's Prayer.
APPALLING MISERIES OF A SEA FIGHT.
Peaceful and comparatively religious as are our happy times, I am of opinion, Mr. Editor, that we ought not to forget the horrors of war, especially if, as many believe, to those horrors we are indebted in any degree for the present security and tranquillity which are enjoyed in Britain, and throughout Europe.
Divine inspiration has briefly described these in terms of the most affecting significancy—“Every battle of the warriors is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood.” This regards especially the circumstances of murderous conflicts on land; but I can imagine that the
confused noise,” and the various miseries in fatal engagements, must be in many respects far more dreadful on shipboard at sea. While, however, your object is one, simply and solely to advance the principles of peace, holiness, and eternal happiness, by the diffusion of the saving knowledge of Christ, I cannot but think that you will serve your noble and benevolent cause by referring, occasionally at least, to the awful circumstances of a naval battle, that
The large cutter was repairing, and the purpose was to send her to the nearest land (250 miles) to the Mauritius, Bourbon, or Madagascar, as circumstances might render most advisable.
an argument may be thence derived to supplicate the Spirit of grace and peace to crown the efforts of Christians, that men may be led to glorify “ God, who alone maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth."
Under these impressions, I send you the following description of a “sea-fight,” and of the last awful hours, or rather moments, of the wretched ruined enemy. “ Britain's glory” has been purchased by such bloody services of her daring sons.
Merciful God! let no more such triumphs be needed, to answer and fulfil thy holy purposes towards our favoured, but guilty land. peace in our time, O Lord !"
Every reader wili perceive that the principal scenes of carnage could not be described even by our gifted countryman, whose “professional skill” appears in his glowing language; they must be supplied by the imagination. But what must have been those scenes of blood and
agony, shrieks and groans, which are intimated with perhaps horrid imprecations on the one side, and little less than fiend-like excitement, exultation, and triumph on the other, none can conceive. Alas! that such infernal passions should ever have had existence in the human heart; and that such sanguinary conflicts should ever have been necessary, or even permitted, under the righteous government of the holy Lord God, in our guilty world!
PHILO-NAVIGATOR. “We worked away meantime with all our might.
The shot, I could see, was telling fearfully, and drilling great holes in his sides. His fire slackened a little, a cloud of smoke began to rise ominously from his main hatchway, it
denser and denser. By and by we had the pleasure of seeing long streaks of yellow flame leap up, and hearing the splash, splash, splash of buckets of water. We worked harder still, and peppered her without intermission. Confusion and dismay seemed to prevail on board, gruff voices were issuing rapid orders, and the crew
plainly to be seen flying about from deck to deck, as if they were bewitched. A long pillar of scarlet fire now flew brilliantly upwards, it spread joyously to the right and left, and waved and flickered about, licking like a fiery serpent, and crawling up the rigging and sails, which were soon in a blaze. The roaring and humming of the fire in her hold began to redouble, and red stripes to look out at the ports. The guns one after the other became
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