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moral character of our seamen,-to inpart unto them the common blessings of christianity,—and fit them for that voyage, which conducts to a haven o rest,--to a world in which there is no more sea.
The total receipts for the year, ending February, 1839, were £37 178. 10d.
A series of important resolutions were passed, and the meeting was effectively addressed by most of the ministers of the town, several lay-gentlemen, the Thames Missionary Mr. J. Welch, and by the Secretary of the Parent Society, who attended as a deputation.
gave a short exposition of the constitution and objects of the society. The meeting was subsequently addressed by Dr. Graham, Capt. Allen, R. N., W. Everest, Esq., George Gull, Esq., Rev. J. Jackson, J. Varty, and Capt. Dougal, R. N.
On the 14th ult, a great public meet. ing, in behalf of the society, was held in the Town Hall of BIRMINGHAM. The chair was filled by Capt. Moorsom, R.N. with great efficiency; and the meeting addressed by the Rev. Henry Townley, London, who at the request of the committee kindly consented to form one of a deputation, the Rev. J. A. James, T. Timpson, and J. Varty, Captains Gillett and Lidgett, R. Cadbury, Esq. and J. Welch, one of the Thames Missionaries.
The spacious ball was well filled, a deep interest we trust excited, and a liberal collection made at the close.
An adjourned meeting was held in the evening of the same day, at EWELL,— when T. Calverly, Esq. kindly consented to take the chair, and several of the preceding gentlemen were present to speak.
In both places a most favourable impression has been produced, and we think the seed sown for an abundant harvest to be reaped hereafter.
On Thursday, the 21st ult. a highly respectable meeting was held at EPSOM, when Henry Gosse, Esq. kindly presided. The business of the moroing having been opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Darby, the curate of the parish,--and the chairman having, in the most frank and cordial manner, expressed his interest in the institution, and his preparedness to support it, the secretary then
At NEWCASTLE ON TYNE, NORTH AND SOUTH SHIELDS, SUNDERLAND, and other places in the North of England, meeting's also have been held, and sermons preached during the past month, by which we hope our friends there have been awakened to renewed activity in the great and good work.
Maddox, Printer, Dockhead, Bermondsey.
PIECES-ORIGINAL AND SELECTED.
THE ARK, OR FLOATING CHAPEL. In the year 1817, the minds of some estimable and pious men became powerfully impressed with the moral condition and claims of British seamen, and by various methods endeavoured to awaken public attention to the subject. In the Evangelical Magazine for November of that year, there appeared an article under the designation of “SUGGESTIONS FOR THE MORE EFFECTUAL RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION OF BRITISH SEAMEN WHILE IN HARBOUR.” If not the first, this was among the earliest notes of preparation for the great work. Those already interested felt still more deeply, and many who had never before contemplated such a field of labour, cheerfully came forward and pledged themselves to the undertaking. The design being thus favoured, a meeting was convened in the month of February, 1818, in the City of London Tavern,—when a provisional committee was appointed, “to consider the best means of affording religious instruction to seamen while in the Port of London."
This was followed by a public meeting in March of the same year, on which occasion, Benjamin Shaw, Esq., M. P. took the chair, and an institution was formed under the designation of “THE PORT OF LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING RELIGION AMONG MERCHANT SEAMEN :"-Robert Humphrey Marten, Esq. was appointed Treasurer, and the Rev. E. N. Sloper, Thomas Thompson and William Cooke, Esquires, honorary secretaries. Both at this meeting, and in the provisional committee, the project was entertained of providing a FLOATING CHAPEL for divine worship, to be moored in the Thames, and so fitted up as to be capable of accommodating from six to seven hundred persons ; but as was
most proper in an institution intended to embrace all denominations of christians, the particular forms and modes of worship were left to those appointed to conduct it,-clergymen officiating according to the established ritual of the church of England, and dissenting ministers conducting their department of the service according to the usages of their respective bodies.
It so happened, that at this very period, H. M. bomb ship SPEEDY,' Newcastle built, and of about 380 tons, was being offered for sale; and being deemed particularly eligible for the purpose to which it was to be devoted, was purchased. She cost £700:-but there was a spirit of enlarged and cheerful liberality; and some of the instances were of the most gratifying nature. One individual gave the rigging and fittings of the mast ;--another made the mast gratuitously; and others gave the colours ;-one provided for the illuminations of the deck, and another gave chain cables for the mooring, while the superintending shipwright devoted his skill and his time. Very handsome donations were also obtained from the following Companies :
Bank of England ........ £100 0 0 London Insurance Company £52 10 0 Hon. East India Company. 100 0 0 West India Dock Company. 31 10 0 Royal Exchange Company. 52 10 0 | Ironmongers' Company 21 0 0
Subsequent to this period, the Court of Common Council, and the Corporation of Trinity House, with several other public bodies manifested a corresponding spirit of liberality, as did also many private individuals, so that the entire debt was liquidated within a very short period.
After the purchase had been made, the most active measures were immediately adopted, to render the vessel adapted for the performance of divine service. The gun-deck was cut fore and aft, leaving both sides the entire length of the ship, which were converted into neat and commodious galleries; and at a convenient height above the keelson, a platform was laid for the erection of seats all round the hold. The pulpit and desk were built close to the step of the mainmast, while an excellent vestry and committee-room were obtained from the cabin, The main-deck had a long skylight and grating, and under both the counter and the larboard bow there were entrance ports from permanent stages, on which the boats delivered their companies. The vessel thus fitted up, afforded accommodation for nearly eight hundred persons, to hear