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could not weather her, and put my helm up in what I (then) thought ample time; but when I got her in sight on our port bow, I saw the light change from red to green. I remarked to the man at the wheel that the brig had put her helm up, and desiring him to keep ours hard up, I let go our mizen-sheet, and hailed him to keep bis luff. She struck us very violently stem on amidships on the port-side, doing a very great amount of damage. In time we both got towed to our port; a committee of the club held an inquiry into the accident, and, to my utter astonishment, decided that my vessel was wrong, because both master and mate of the brig asserted that their helm had never been put up. In vain did I beg the committee to examine the ships. They said they had to decide by the evidence, and there was the word of the master and mate of the brig against my unsupported testimony. For, never dreaming that the facts would have been denied, my own crew (runners) had all been allowed to scatter. Looking back now after many long years of experience, I can see that the decision was not in accordance with the real facts of the case. (It was afterwards reversed.) But, though not legally guilty, I now feel myself morally so; for, confident in the knowledge I possessed, and my command over my ship, I held on too long-I, in fact, threatened the brig-put him in terror of his life. If the master himself had been on deck it would not have happened; but it afterwards transpired) the mate got terrified, lost his presence of mind, and ordered the helm to be put up. Nothing could justify him in doing that. Neither am I or you justified in threatening to take a man's life—“frightening him out of his wits."
The mate neglected his duty in not calling the captain the moment any doubt of the ship's perfect safety entered his mind. No matter how cool and capable an officer may be, he is guilty of wilful neglect of duty if he leaves the captain in ignorance of any approach of danger.
It may be out of place here to mention it, but I cannot but think and hope the time will soon arrive, when a chief officer in steamers will be released from the ever-increasing strain upon his powers of endurance, by the appointment of another responsible watch-keeping officer.
A CONTRIBUTION FROM AN OLD FRIE
ARLY get your boys to cultivate an
extra pains taken at the commencement
IR 15, Te early with little bits of rigging and sail work, the cannot do much harm; they will all the sooner
-965 a more assistants to you. See that they keep their persons, clothes, al
ng shoulders, It is your duty to see that they are taught (in
34 fact, that the details of their profession. Any disinclination
ar vigilance. part will not release you from your moral
al provided for, stries and firm, while trying to shield them f
sember of your you now can see was wrong in the treatment
-sighted, and an apprentice, and do not expect too much fr
i sigit. Moonlight, So much could be said about the way to t
ir a ship's sails better do nothing more than reassert the ve
des), that a vessel good example. Anger blazing in your eyes
thout you being retiect itself in theirs. Lof
= sile-lights are and dissatisfied, and they follor
Be yourself obedient, and they will approximi
spot to load, quickly as their previo
my own allow. You will meet
ir mis on the these men may do
a les keep a proper
Dresse! sot been
will allow or say
ated to "
(then) rt bow, :he man ring him d him to idships on In time we .ub held an ent, decided mate of the
In vain did id they had to
the master and uny. For, never d, my own crew Looking back now o that the decision
the case. (It was ally guilty, I now feel
knowledge I possessed, old on too long—I, in fact, r of his life. If the master not have happened; but it
rrified, lost his presence of up. Nothing could justify you justified in threatening
out of his wits.” not calling the captain the erfect safety entered his mind. in officer may be, he is guilty wa the captain in ignorance of any
mention it, but I cannot but think
arrive, when a chief officer in the ever-increasing strain upon his Appointment of another responsible
Do not confuse your mind with any intricate problem of how you can legally get into collision, but study how to avoid getting into a position of danger. Your best safeguard is in cultivating perfect self command—better, far better done in your daily routine of duty than in dangerous emergencies—which will enable you to adopt promptly (not hurriedly) the proper course in times of doubt and danger.
I have hitherto practically ignored the commander, feeling assured that you perfectly understand your duty to be always subordinate to his.
I have used the terms employer, commander, &c., indiscriminately, for (whoever may engage you) you will do well to regard them as synonymous. There should be no separate interest any more than divided authority in the little world you sail in. .
“How, in one house should many people, under two commands, hold amity ? 'Tis hard; almost impossible." Had Shakespeare been writing of a ship, he would have omitted the word “almost." You must be careful to set an example to your men of prompt and cheerful obedience to your superior officer, bearing always in mind how much your future prospect depends upon his report of your character. Do not be impatient of his supervision, it is his duty to see that yours is duly performed. The more perfect and truthful your character the less need there will be for him to interfere with your management, and the less you will be inclined to take offence when he does so.
Masters are not “ infallible," and you may be placed with one who is unreasonable and cannot appreciate your conscientious desire to do your duty ; but if you are consistent in your conduct, he cannot but contrast it with that of other officers, and value your services accordingly. Upon this subject, as with that of your conduct towards your crew, so much could be said that I had better leave you to think it out, only warning you that the master's authority cannot suffer without yours suffering also ; therefore, however much you may differ from him as to the wisdom or desirability of any instructions you may have to carry out, never let your men imagine that you do so. Upon the tone in which an order is given depends, in a very great measure, the
manner in which it is carried out, and no officer who in any way teaches his men that an order is given on compulsion, can be a desirable character, upon which, more than on the possession of a certificate, depends your success in life.
In the good old times, underwriters and insurance clubs found it necessary, for their own protection, to “pass masters,” &c., for the vessels they insured. Their requirements were low; but even these were often evaded, and the lives of those sailing in vessels aninsured, were often entrusted to totally ignorant men. Many ludicrous, but still more tragic, results were the consequence. Jack, at no time credited with much forethought, could not be expected to distinguish between the minimum and maximum of risk to which they were exposed in different vessels, and so to protect them and all who travel by sea came Government supervision (just as with mines, factories, &c.). It was found necessary to fix a standard of requirements, low at the outset, but it is now gradually raised to keep pace with the superior education our young men are receiving. That the standard of excellence is not yet fixed too high is proved by the fact that some of those who have successfully passed the ordeal and nourish the idea that their certificate fairly entitles them to a situation, may be heard lamenting the prospect of there being no sailors left. “We'll all be masters and mates, soon,” is not an uncommon cry. They cannot yet see that if it were really so, if every man held a certificate enabling him to compete for an officer's situation, the service must'needs be better for it, and the most efficient men would, as a rule, struggle to the surface.
The young man who first acquires a correct estimate of the truth in this matter, and acts upon it, will have an incalculable advantage over a contemporary who continues to think that a Board of Trade certificate stamps him as possessed, of all the qualities necessary to make him an expert and therefore successful seaman. For the one will go on patiently, picking ap grain by grain the gold that will make him rich in character, and, if spared, will some day realise the pleasant fact that it would be easier for him to find another employer than to leave his present one. The other, failing to convince his employers that the certificate is a monster nugget,