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creating him a very“ nabob" in respect of character, is in danger of becoming like men I have known, who for years have been "passed masters," and not having obtained the command they consider themselves entitled to are fast settling into soured, disappointed, discontented men, living feverishly through the present (not in it), waiting like Mr. Micawber "for something to turn up." “ It is a foolish bird which fouls its own nest.” My object is not to vilify the class to which I am proud to belong, but to help you if possible to adorn it; I am well aware that there are many capable and meritorious officers who have long to wait for their promotion. But it is only necessary to sail with others to understand the reasons for their disappointment. To see how easily they square their sense of duty with their love of ease; to see the false pride that pervades their whole character, preventing them from in any way admitting that they can be in error, or that there is anything n their profession left for them to learn, forgetting "that to acknowledge we have made a mistake only proves us to be wiser now than when we made it ;” anxious only that those around them should take them at their own valuation, and believe that their employer has the best of the bargain.
These men do not go on board a vessel to learn; they do not go to work ; being perfection themselves they expect it in others, and therefore do not go to teach ; they are jealous of their dignity (?) and privileges; and while, as a natural consequence of their character, many of their most important duties are neglected, they are always ready to take offence and quarrel with the commander for trying to remedy their neglect. Believing it to be their privilege to remain idle, they do so most conscientiously, and may often be seen following their men round like convict warders, the men, of course, assisting to complete the resemblance by working like convicts.
Exercising no forethought, they do not know how to employ their men, though the ship is going to wreck for want of attention. Work that could be done under shelter is selected for fine weather, and more important work aloft neglected ; beside the still worse mistake of practically teaching the men that there is nothing for them to do, which they are always ready to believe most religiously.
Thoughtless of all that concerns the ship, except in so much as it ministers to, or interferes with, their self-indulgence, there is no stiteh taken in time, but all manner of thoughtless and wasteful expedients are resorted to, to remedy evils that ought to have been prevented. The progress of the ship is impeded by their dilatoriness in trimming and setting sail. But nothing will testify more surely to their thorough selfishness, and the fitness of things that keep these men in a subordinate position, than the fact that they not only allow themselves to be overcome by sleep in their watch on deck, but actually court it; wilfully staking the lives of their shipmates sleeping trustfully below, against the chance of getting their criminal self-indulgence indicted by the commander, leaving to more ignorant (?) and less responsible men the duty they set them the example of neglecting.
It may appear incredible, but I appeal to the reader if he has not known men do this. I have known many spars and sails thus lost, but who can know of the many fatal collisions brought about in this manner by men who have not even the plea of being mistimed, overworked, or extreme youth, to palliate a neglect of duty so gross that there never can be a valid excuse for it.
The guard, pointsman, or signalman, who is prosecuted for manslaughter, seldom influences others by his pernicious example ; but these passed masters practically teach the whole crew to neg. lect the more important part of a seaman's duty. How can they expect a trustworthy character ? When will they learn that if, by chance, they were placed in command to-morrow, they could not retain it because they have neglected to cultivate self-command (subordination), economy, endurance, perseverance, and true moral courage, which is necessary to ensure success.
Thank God sach men as these are not numerous, for the evil they do cannot be estimated. Thank God, also, that many, very many, of our successors are earnestly striving to become proficient in their calling. To men whose ideas of duty are not limited by the knowledge their short experience has given them; who will, by their example, do much to counteract the evil caused by selfish men; and who, while striving to avail themselves of all the assistance science is so rapidly providing for them,
will yet recognise the fact that an extra master's certificate, with all possible endorsements, will not enable them to retain command unless accompanied by thrifty, energetic habits, a truthful estimate of duty, and a conscientious desire to make that duty a pleasure; to such I would say, do not be impatient. You may be badly placed, you may see your junior getting command before you, but depend upon it, the time is not lost that is spent in building up a valuable character; and your greater experience will go far in assisting you to make a successful start. Do not make a common mistake and imagine there is no scope for your abilities where you
However faint the impress of your "footsteps on the sands of time,” however few there may be to trace them, let them point ever straight in the path of duty, and you will be benefiting yourself and your brother man more as “only mate" of the Mary Jane, of Shields, than as chief officer of the finest ocean steamer, if the latter situation should lead you to set an example of selfishness and false pride.
I hope my observations will find some sympathetic readers, who will not see merely an egotistic spirit in what I have written, for greater than my desire to see my letter in print, greater than the garrulous tendency to air my own longer experience, is my
desire to help my younger brethren to (early) cultivate habits of forethought and industrious energy, the reward of which is certain, and not far distant. No! I am not an owner. I write at sea, and am one of yourselves, although signing myself
A SUNDERLAND (COAL) TAR.
RUSSIAN REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO PRODUCTION OF MANIFESTS OF CARGO.--Caution to Masters and Owners.--The Russian Government have determined strictly to enforce their Custom House Regulations requiring shipmasters, under a penalty of a fine, to produce manifests for the entire cargo on their arrival in port.
A Ready Reference for the Ure of Shipowners, Overlookers, and
Masters. By Robert Bretland, N.A. Philip, Son and Nephew,
London and Liverpool. This is a handy little work for those connected with the building, repairing, or loading of vessels: the co-efficients are easy and accurate, and the calculations based on sound principles. But the work has not been well read for press, which can be amended in another edition. Thus, on page 15, for uity read 10; on p. 18 the multiplier 283 is a decimal, and 3534 on p. 19 should be 3.534. Report of the Proceedings of the Second International Meteorological
Congress at Rome. 1879. Published by Authority of the
Meteorological Council. SCIENTIFIC bodies of all kinds now hold congresses to discuss what has been done in the past, and in order that the members may exchange views as to future progress : for both purposes such meetings are especially good. Mr. R. H. Scott, the head of our Meteorological Department, has always attended the International Meteorological Congresses, and given as a good report of the proceedings. The Second Congress was held at Rome in April last; and the most eminent men in Europe and America attended. Reports of high import appear to have been presented to this Congress. Sunshine and Storm in the East ; or, Cruises to Cyprus and Con
stantinople. By Mrs. Brassey. London: Longmans. 1880. MRS. BRASSEY dedicates her new book “ To the brave, true-hearted Sailors of England, of all ranks and services ; " but we fear that very, very few of our humble seafaring friends will ever be conscious of the honour done them by Mrs. Brassey, and, if they were, would not value it so much as a glass of grog or a quid of tobacco. However, Mrs. Brassey's genial good-nature, and her love of maritime associations, is expressed by her dedication, and we know that her profession of regard for the British sailor is not
an empty sentiment, but is real and practical. We admire Mrs. Brassey's book and her industry, we are charmed with the beauti. ful sketches and the light graceful way in which we are led from place to place, and, in effect, made one of the very pleasant party on board the Sunbeam. The book is handsomely got up, although we must say M. Gustave Doré's design much needed the explanation in the preface, for, on the face of it, it was incomprehensible.
Having said this much, we cannot but give expression to a latent feeling which strikes in with a somewhat discordant effect. Mrs. Brassey's book is so gorgeous; her narrative of the voyaging so pleasant and interesting; the air of luxurious comfort on board the Sunbeam so continually suggested, that we cannot but contrast the sea life so depicted with the actual existence of the average sailor. From the practical view of things which we are bound to take, it seems to us that the dedication to the brave, true-hearted sailors, coming as it were from the comfortable yacht, the rich surroundings, and pleasure-seeking atmosphere of the Sunbeam party, suggests a sad contrast, and perhaps would have been better left out, notwithstanding Mr. Brassey's warm-hearted feelings towards sailors.
But, nevertheless, the book will do much good. It is full of expressions of sympathy for those who live on the sea, and demonstrates how a gentleman like Mr. Thomas Brassey can qualify himself to navigate his own vessel successfully in very dangerous waters.
The book is sure to be successful, and deservedly so, but we cannot think our seamen would read it with much interest.