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Bywell Castle, red light to red light, if their respective courses bad been continued they would have passed at a safe distance from each other, but when a very short distance, variously stated at from 100 to 300 or 400 yards, only intervened between the two vessels, the master of the Princess Alice ordered the helm to be put hard a-starboard, by which he brought his vessel athwart the bows of the Bywell Castle, and this fearful collision ensued. The captain of the Princess Alice having been unfortunately among the number of those who were drowned, it is impossible to ascertain the motive which induced him to give the order ; but I may say that the Elder Brethren strongly incline to the belief that he was misled by seeing the green light of the tag Enterprise. There is, however, no evidence on this point. It appears to us, moreover, that the Princess Alice was navigated in a reckless and careless manner, without a due observance of the regulations respecting a look-out and speed. In our opinion the Princess Alice is to blame for this collision. It remains to be considered whether the Bywell Castle has in any way contributed to it. She appears to have been navigated with due care and skill till within a very short distance of the collision. But the evidence certainly establishes that, having seen the green light of the Princess Alice, she hard a-ported into it. There is no doubt that this was a wrong manæuvre. The only defence offered for it is that it happened so very short a time before the collision. There have been several cases decided in this Court in which it has been held that a wrong maneuvre taken at the last moment had really no effect upon the collision on account of the proximity of the two vessels. I have consulted anxiously with the Elder Brethren whether the wrong action of the Bywell Castle can be placed in this category. They are of opinion that if the wrong order of hard a-port had not been given and obeyed, though the Princess Alice might probably have received some injury, she would not have sunk, and the lives of her crew and passengers would probably have been saved. I am bound, therefore, to pronounce both vessels to blame for this collision.” Execution was stayed.
This judgment is important in corroborating beyond question the accuracy of the statement of the facts of the case as elicited at the inquiry before Mr. Balguy at Poplar. The facts proved in the two Courts are, that the Princess Alice was following the practice usual with her of crossing the river from Tripcock Point to Bull Point; that otherwise she ought to have straightened up to show her green light to ships passing down the river ; that the Princess Alice's red light was at first opposed to the Bywell Castle's green light, the Bywell Castle ported, and the ships then became red to red, which was a position of safety; that the Bywell Castle was not wrong in porting to a red light; that the starboard helm of the Princess Alice did suddenly take effect when she was to the north of midstream ; that the master of the Princess Alice did bring his vessel athwart the bows of the Bywell Castle ; that the Princess Alice was navigated in a careless and reckless manner ; that the Princess Alice was to blame for the collision ; that the Bywell Castle did hard a-port after porting, and when (the Court say) the green light of the Princess Alice had become visible by the sudden starboarding of her—the Princess Alice's—helm. The Court hold that the Bywell Castle was wrong in that hard a-porting at the last moment, and therefore she also is held to blame. The decision that the Bywell Castle was also to blame raises a very distinct issue between the two Courts. The Court of Admiralty judgment admits that the collision might have happened, but with results probably less serious, if the Bywell Castle had not hard a-ported.
Was the Bywell Castle wrong, under the circumstances of this case, in doing what she did at the last moment in “ the agonies of a collision ?” We can ask this question, but may not answer it. There may be other points on which an appeal is deemed desirable by both sides, but to us, as lookers-on, the point we have indicated is of importance to the whole mercantile community. After the appeal is heard, and not until then can we express any opinion of our own. Meantime there is no longer any doubt as to the facts.
The House Surgeon, or the Doctor at Home, &c. By the late
Alfred Smee, F.R.S. Tenth edition. London: Accident In
surance Company (Limited). This is an invaluable little book, price sixpence. It contains instructions for the prompt treatment of accidents and emergencies before the arrival of medical aid, and the instructions are given in the simplest and plainest manner possible. The little book should be on board every ship. By its aid many an accident could be divested of disastrous consequences.
Our Blue Jackets ; a Narrative of Miss Weston's Life and Work
among our Sailors. By an Eye-witness. London: Hodder and
Stoughton. 1878. The sailors among whom Miss Weston has worked, are the sailors of the Royal Navy only, and her work has consisted in endeavouring to bring men under the influence of Christian belief and principles, and to check the evils of intemperance. An establishment known as the “Sailors' Rest and Institute," set going by Miss Weston, at Devonport, appears from this narrative to attract a great many blue jackets, the inducements being comfort, moderate charges, entire absence of intoxicating beverages, considerate treatment, and religious services. According to the testimony of “ an eye-witness," Miss Weston is doing a great amount of good among the sailors of the Royal Navy. If she could extend her labours so as to include the merchant seamen, she would find much greater need for her ministrations.
The Meteorology of the North Atlantic during August, 1873.
Illustrated by daily charts. By Captain Henry Toynbee. London: J. D. Potter, 31, Poultry; E. Stanford, Charing Cross.
1878. Ix our volume for 1877, pages 1,142 et seq., will be found a paper prepared by Captain Toynbee on “The Great Hurricane, the Tracks of American Storms, and the Ordinary Winds of the North Atlantic experienced in August, 1873."
The valuable works before us are an elaboration of that paper, and we need not therefore deal with the subject at length.
In August, 1873, a most destructive hurricane traversed a great part of the North Atlantic, which killed nearly 500 people ; damaged, stranded, or wrecked more than 1000 vessels, and damaged or destroyed nearly 1000 buildings in the neighbourhoods of Cape Breton, Labrador, Nova Scotia, &c. Captain Toynbee's work is a careful and comprehensive view of all the circumstances connected with the origin and progress of this hurricane, derived from data chiefly supplied to the Meteorological Office by masters of vessels voyaging at that time in the North Atlantic. That this is a most useful record no seaman will venture to deny, and we trust that in the interests of Meteorological science and of Navigation this work may be the forerunner of many similar volumes in regard to other storms.
We have repeatedly appealed to masters of vessels to aid in the collection and dissemination of useful knowledge by furnishing the Meteorological Office with their experiences as regards weather at sea. It is impossible to estimate the actual value of such contri. butions, but there is little doubt that if the energetic workers at the Meteorological Office are well supplied with accurate records of weather they will be able to continue to promulgate information and advice, which cannot fail to be of the greatest service to the mariner. On this point we would refer our readers to an announcement from the Meteorological Office in our advertising columns.
Life of Robert Stevenson, C.E., &c., dc. By David Stevenson, C.E.
Edinburgh A. and C. Black. London: E. and F. A. Spon.
ROBERT STEVENSON's reputation as a civil engineer rests chiefly on the important works carried out by him in the lighthouse and harbour branches of engineering. The somewhat inposing volume before us gives an account of his various labours, but the erection of the Bell Rock Lighthouse stands out prominently from
all the rest. The conception and execution of this grand work are sufficient to ensure Mr. Robert Stevenson an enduring fame. He held the position of engineer to the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, and his experience and knowledge guided that body from 1798 to 1843, and since that time his sons, with hereditary intelligence, have continued to advise the Board.
In sundry other branches of engineering Mr. Robert Stevenson appears to have distinguished himself, and his professional career was a successful one. As a private gentleman he was much esteemed for his piety and benevolence, and in this volume his son pays a high tribute to his father's memory.
The book is splendidly got up, well printed, and illustrated with admirable diagrams and drawings, but although we have a high opinion of Mr. Robert Stevenson and his works, we cannot but think that the style of the memoir is more suited to a man who made a greater mark in life than Mr. Robert Stevenson. We must not, however, forget that the author of the memoir is the son of the man whose life and doings are so chronicled.
The Polysphenic Ship and Speed at Sea. By C. M. Ramus, M.A.,
Rector of East Guildford and Playden. London: Edward
Stanford, 55, Charing Cross. 1878. In his preface Mr. Ramus states that his pamphlet is written to keep before the country the consideration of a subject on which our continued existence as a naval power depends. This is an invention having for its object a large increase in the speed of ships, to be obtained by constructing them of such a form, that instead of going through the water, they shall, at high speeds, glide over it. Many former inventors have proposed to accomplish this by making the lower surface of the vessel an inclined plane. Mr. Ramus differs from them merely in proposing two inclined planes, believing that by this feature a stable and safe ship is secured. He has since increased the number of his inclined planes to three, and has altered the name from di-sphenic to poly-sphenic, we presume to cover any further increase in the number. He states that in April, 1872, he communicated the principle of the invention to the Admiralty, and was told by the