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Spi 11 ().'_I_ PH &::-.8.I


Spi 11 ().I_ PH &8. I LOSS OF THE ANGLO-SAXON, I fF?OM ? ?ancA??)- :in:.)1.- ,I > -,t J ? A — ?IL?T?—? I AICOTHEE catastrophe bag Deen auueu 10 me iuutv annuls" hich illustrate the dangers of the seas The Anglo-Sixon left Liverpool on the 16th of* April, bound for Quebec, being the first of the Canadian line which has sailed this season. She had on board 3^0 passensew, and a crew of 84 men. More than 300 were steerage passengers, most of them emigrants, intending, doubtless, to settle in Canada. The list of their names is equivalent to volumes of biography. There are Evanses, Giilfithsns, Lloyds, and Morgans, redolent of the principality; there is a Trevelyan from Cornwall; there are Hourkes, Callaghans, and Meaneys from the bister isle; and there are some whose homes Were on the shores of the Baltic or the fiords of Norway. The story of each of these ill-fated three hundred was, probaby, pretty much the same. They had invested their little savings in this voyage; they had escaped from a precarious struggle with fortune in the land of their birth, and were looking forward to a peaceful home on the other side of the Atlantic, where, by the strength of their arms they woulJ be able to earn a competence for themselves, and carve out a career for their children. They passed the broad ocean in safety, and were close to the outskirts of fromise, when a pitiless fate closed it upon them. In a dense fog the ship ran ashore on the coast of Newfoundland, within three miles of Cape Race, and in one hour 237 persons found a grave in the mighty waters. The rest, to the number of about 180, managed to escape in boats, or were picked up on floating pieces of the ship. Subsequent in- formation may change these proportions of the saved and the lost, but on the most sanguine by- Sothesis it cannot be doubted that more than two hundred human beings, including many women and children, have a sorrowful bourne. The first ques. tion asked by everybody relates to the cause of this terrible disaster. How was It brought about ? We are told that the ship was one of the strongest and finest ever constructed. Thicker plates and water. tiaht compartments afforded all reasonable assur- ance of a safe voyage. Toe captain is described as a thorough master of his profession, able skilful, and cautious. Yet, in spite of these advantages, the vessel has been lost, and a crowd of human beings plunged into eternity. Nor is there anything in the state of the ocean or the weather to account for this catastrophe. True, there was a dense fog, but fogs are common on the banks of Newfound- land in April and May as sunshine is with us in tha Month of August. The fog is sure to be there at this season of the year; it is not a danger in it- self, and any perils to which it may indirectly ex- pose the mariner may be obviated by prudence. In the months of spring and early summer ice- bergs are floating southwards from the Arctic regions, and a vessel coming into collision in the night time with these treacherous foes is assuredly lost. But the Anglo-Saxon was wrecked on the coast, the bearings of which were well known. Hence, the existence of a heavy fog is no explana- tion of a disaster. The compass would show with unerring certainty the whereabouts of the vessel. The captain must have known that he was close to shore, and the circumstance of the state of the weather preventing his seeing the shore, ought rather to have increased the safety of the vessel by ensuring additional caution. Assuming that the captain merely intended to weather the headland of Cape Race, without calling there, he was leagues too near the land. He is gone, poor man, and we can with difficulty pen a word of cen sure He must have seen two or three living freights leave the vessel, and he knew better than any one else on board that the chances of escape were to be measured by minutes; yet he stuck manfully at the post of duty, and died there Honour to him! If he committed a fault, he has paid the full penalty, and we will not press his de- serts to the letter. Still, it cannot be denied that it he meant to pasi C.ipit llaca he ought to have given thy land a wider berth. But it is likely that he meant to call at Cape Race. The vessel is said to have been bound for Portland, or, if the St. Lawrence should be found clear of ice, for Quebec. This la'ter circuiDstance could only be ascertained near the spot, and Cape Race was the place where he could gain the latest information respecting the state of the St Lawrence. We sball have accurate information on this point in a few days, .but it seems likely that it was his intention to call at Cape Hace. If so, there is the less excuse for inattention, since he must have been aware that he was approaching a dangerous coast. To rush on under a full head of steam through an impenetrable fog, with the port only three miles in front, is an act of fool. hardiness. Facts may remain to be told which will modify these remarks, but at present the loss of the Anglo-Sdxon seems due to the category of pre- ventible accidents. But another question arises, not less important than the former. Circumstances not as yet disclosed may explain the accident, but why were not more efficient means at hand for pre- venting the final disaster? Every person on board migu ht have been saved if there had been enough boats. Two boats were picked up carrying 90 per- sons. Eight boats, carrying 60 persons each, would have provided for all the passengers and crew; in which case we should only have had to deplore the loss of a noble vessel and her freight, which, of course, were covered by the insurances. There was a heavy swell at the time, but there was no storm, and no accident seems to have prevented the full use of the boats. All that was wanted was more boats. The theory of boat provision is one which is not easy to fathom. It is generally as- sumed that the boats are numerous and large enough to provide for all on board, but we know that in the vast majority of instances the assump- tion is quite groundless. There are always boats at hand, but they are always insufficient. They are strung up in sight of the passengers as a sort of presumptive guarantee that, if disaster should be- f?;l the ship, there is still a fair chance of escape for everybody but they really amount to such a guarantee only for every other person. They will suffice for the crew and for a portion of the passen- gers for the women and children without the men or for the men without the women and children. The number and capacity of the boats seem to be determined by the conclusion that, in case of dis- aster, The one shall be taken and the other left." I If this provision is considered adequade, it should be well understood before starting; and it might also be as well to arrange beforehand who are to enjoy and who are to be debarred from, its benefits. Let any one picture the scene on board a vessel which has but a short hour to live, and which has boats anough to accomodate only one half her liv- ing freight. To the honour of human nature, let us admit that we generally find it equal to the terrible pressure. Some order of precedence is at once recognised, and adhered to. The crew cede the first chance of escape to the passengers, and these acquiesce, with murmur, in giving the first place to the women and children, the infirm, or even the more distinguished of their number. It is not often that the captain survives those who have been placed under his charge. When the ship breaks up he takes his chance with the rest; but he never leaves it while any remain whom his au- thority and experience could help to save. Hence, we may point with pride to our maritime annals as the most glorious of which this country can boast, transcending those of the battle-field. But the un- manageable ocean is sure to make an exaction stern enough upon the virtues of the mariners, without any supplementing from human ignorance, rash- ness, or imprudence. In such a case as the Royal Charter we had simply to deplore a tragedy. The seas and the wind effected the catastrophe, with a force which no ingeniuity could have escaped, and no skill or power controlled. The weight of the grief which overmasters us in such cases as those of the Orpheus and the Anglo-Saxon arises from a be- lief that nature is not wholly to blame, and that the disaster is largely chargable upon pure negligence. It would be rash to enter a final verdict upon the facts as known at present, but we know enough to impress upon all concerned the duty, first, of giving to prudence and caution a higher rank than they now hold among nautical virtues, and next, ot making more adequade provision, in the event of I disaster to the ship, for the saving of human life-


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