Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

17 articles on this Page

SEAMEN'S WAGES QUESTION.

!TEMPERANCE WORK AT ! CADOXTON.

ANOTHER SAD DROWNING FATALITY.

THE BARRY DOCK PUBLIC-HALL…

OUR SEAMEN'S GRIEVANCES

News
Cite
Share

OUR SEAMEN'S GRIEVANCES As will be seen from another column, an active agitation is being carried on at Barry to ensure better payment for those.who go down to the sea in ships, but few possibly know the extreme hard- ships which the average sailor has to undergo. Some of these are, of course, inevitable, and unavoidable, but others can be removed by "legis- lation and the pressure of public opinion. When one comes to understand the nature of these hard- ships. one can easily credit Mr. Clark Russell's statement that 80 out of every 100 sailors loathe their calling. Mr. W. Clark Russell, who served his time as midshipman in the merchant service, and knows intimately everything connected with seafaring life, gives a very interesting account in this month's I'dler how he came to write his great nautical tale, The Wreck of the Grosvenor." The story will be interesting as throwing a light on our sailors' lives. "It. chanced one day." he says, '• that a big ship, with a mastheaded colour, telling of trouble on board, let go her anchor in the Downs. I then lived in a town which over- looks those waters. The crew of the ship had mutinied they had carried the vessel halfway down Channel, when, discovering by that .time what sort of provisions had been shipped for them, they forced the master to shift his helm for the inwards course. The crew of thirteen or fourteen hairy, queerly-attired fellows, in Scotch caps. divers coloured shirts, dungaree breeches stuffed into half Wellingtons, were brought before the magistrates. The bench consisted of an old sea captain, who had lost a ship in his day through the ill conduct of his crew, and whose hatred of the forecastle hand was strong and peculiar; a a parson, who knew about as much of the sea as his wife a general medical practitioner, and a schoolmaster. I was present, and listened to the men's evidence, and I also heard the captain's story. Samples of the food were produced. A person with whom I had some acquaintance found me an opportunity to examine and taste samples of the forecastle provisions of the ship whose crew had mutinied. Nothing more atro- ciously nasty could be found amongst the neg- lected putrid sweepings of a butcher's back premises. Nothing viler in the shape of food ever set a famished mongrel hiccoughing. Neverthe- less, this crew of thirteen or fourteen men, for refusing to sail in the vessel unless fresh fore- castle stores were shipped, were <ent to gaol for terms ranging from three to six weeks. Some time earlier than this there had been legislation helpful to the seaman through the humane and impassioned struggles of Mr. Samuel Plimsoll. The crazy, rotteu old coaster had been knocked into staves. The avaricious owner had been com- pelled to load with some regard to the safety of sailors, and to the discipline of the Board of Trade. But I could not help thinking that the shoregoing menace of the sailor's life did not lie merely in overloaded ships, and in crazy, porous hulls. Mutinies were incessantly happening in consequence of the loathsome food shipped for sailors' use, and many dreadful disasters attended these outbreaks. When I came away from the magistrates' court, after hearing the men* sen- tenced, I found my mind full of that crew's grievance. I reflected upon what Mr. Plimsoll had done, and how much of the hidden parts of the sea life remained to be exposed to the pulic eye, to the advantage of the sailor, providing the subject should be dealt with by one who had himself suf- fered, and very well understood what he eat down to write about. This put into my head the idea of the tale, which I afterwards called The Wreck of I the Grosvenor.' I said to myself, I'll found a story on a mutiny at sea, occasioned entirely by the ship- ment of bad provisions for the crew. No writer has as yet touched this ugly feature of the life. < Dana is silent, Herman Melville merely drops a joke or two as he rolls out of the caboose with a cube of salt horse in his hand. I i. has never been made a serious canvas of. And yet deeper trage- dies lie in the stinking harness-cask than in the started butt. There are wilder and bloodier possi- bilities in a barrel of rotten pork, and in a cask of worm-riddled ship's bread, than in a whole passage of shifting cargoes, and in a long round voyage of deadweight that sinks to the wash- streak." He finishes up by saying, Professionally, the influence of the book has been small. I have heard that it made one shipowner sorry, and rather virtuous, and that for some time his harness-casks went their voyages fairly sweet. He is, however, but a solitary figure, the lonesome Crusoe of my little principality of fancy. As a piece of litera- ture. "The Wreck of the Grosvenor" has been occasionally imitated. Mr. Plimsoll. I understand, has lately been dealing with the subject of sailors' food. I heartily wish success to his efforts.

SAD PENARTH!

WEDDING AT CADOXTON,

RAILWAY EXTENSION AT BARRY…

[No title]

COLLIERY ACCIDENTS IN THE…

SHOCKING ACCIDENT IN THE RHONDDA.

INTERESTING WEDDING AT PONTYPRIDD.

CORRESPONDENCE.

BRIDGEND LOCAL BOARD.!

RODGH ON BRASS BANDS.

CRICKET. ^—.—

Advertising