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DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
THE information which is being derived, both from the Continent of Europe, and from more distant regions, in reference to the progress of the Sailors' cause, is indeed encouraging. And in proportion as it is painful and oppressive to record the crimes and vices of our seamen, does it relieve and delight the mind to discover among them, the manifestation of those great moral virtues, which dignify and exalt their possessor. Nor can it be denied that piety is on the increase among the hardy sons of ocean; while the church of God is beginning, though slowly, to awaken to the consideration of their condition and claims. This will appear from the subsequent details.
AMERICAN SEAMENS' FRIEND SOCIETY.
From the Eleventh Annual Report of this invaluable kindred Institution, which has just reached us, we learn the following particulars, relative to their operations, in the great field of benevolent enterprise:
CANTON. No chaplain has been appointed to succeed the lamented Mr. Stevens. The hospital-ship, provided by the British Government, and moored at the ship-anchorage, at Whampoa, furnishes good accommodation for public worship, and the American missionaries have frequently visited and preached there during the
HONOLULU. In this place, which is the chief port in the Sandwich Islands, a chapel has been built and paid for, in which a good congregation assembles, to hear the gospel every sabbath ;-a readingroom and library for seamen have been provided; and all the stated ordinances of the gospel are administered.
It is computed that not fewer than five thousand seamen are every year placed in circumstances to be affected by the Bethel operations at Honolulu. And when it is considered, that this immense congregation is all composed of men, and by far the greater number of them young, active, enterprising men, it must be seen that this is a sphere of influence which cannot be surpassed.
CALCUTTA. Here the cause of seamen has received much atten
tion, for more than ten years past, and a floating chapel has been prepared, supplied sometimes by a stated preacher, but more generally by the gratuitous labours of the missionary brethren, of various denominations who are residing there. The Seamen's Home, which was opened in July 1837, is making considerable advance toward correcting the vile and wicked practices heretofore prevalent in the system of sailor-boarding.
SINGAPORE.-The Missionary brethren conduct divine service in the port, whenever a vessel can be obtained for that purpose. It is estimated that about 4000 vessels call here during the year; but as a large proportion of them stop only two or three days, and as they anchor two or three miles from the shore, they often leave before the missionaries even hear of their having arrived.
Of the sailors who visit this port, it is ascertained that at least three hundred leave their vessels, and having no suitable place to lodge and board, sink into the vilest practices. To rectify this evil, a Sailor's Home was opened about the beginning of last year, and furnished with a good library of three hundred volumes, to which the boarders have free access. The institution has succeeded admirably. From its first opening it has had an encouraging number of boarders, who have found so pleasant a retreat, as apparently to cut off the desire to go elsewhere, to seek amusement in scenes of riot and vice.
BATAVIA. For several years past, efforts have been made to have something done for the promotion of religion among seamen at Batavia. And enquiries are now being instituted in relation to this subject, which may yet lead to important results.
CADIZ. Through the exertions of an English Wesleyan Missionary, who labours faithfully among the shipping in the bay, the Bethel flag is seen floating in the breeze on the dawn of a sabbath morning, and many boats are beheld, at the appointed hour, with their captain at the helm, making for the vessel, which is always in good order for their reception.
GREECE AND ASIA MINOR.-It cannot be denied that all our principal eastern ports, such as Constantinople, Smyrna, and Alexandria, demand the attention of those who have at heart the welfare of seamen. At Constantinople, especially, a zealous, devoted chaplain would find a large and interesting field of labour. Ought three thousand seamen to be neglected?
In Hamburgh, Lahaina, Rio Janeiro, Antigua, and New Orleans, this Society is prosecuting the great work of moral improvement among seamen ; while scattered along their own Atlantic sea-coast, they have some twenty local establishments, each standing on its own basis, where the gospel is statedly preached to seamen, and various labours are prosecuted for their peculiar benefit.
Add to this, that special and increased attention is being paid to the state of Sailors' boarding-houses,-the establishment of Homes, Temperance Societies, Museums, etc. as all more or less adapted to effect a thorough reform in the character of the seaman, and more speedily introduce the great predicted era, when the Redeemer "shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the end of the earth."
SAILORS' HOME AT BOMBAY,
Although the desirableness of such an institution had been long felt, it was not till the month of May, 1837, that the subject was brought before the Committee in a practical form. On the 26th May, a meeting of the Committee, and other friends to the cause, was held to consider the best means for attaining this object;—at which it was unanimously resolved :
1. That it is thought essential for the welfare of seamen visiting this port, that a Sailor's Home be instituted :—and,
2. That the following be the objects of the institution, viz. :-A boarding and lodging-house on the most reasonable terms, for those who have the means of paying for the same.
A coffee and eating-house for the accommodation of seamen on shore.
A Home for the destitute, who shall be boarded and lodged until berths are procured for them.
A Sub-committee was appointed to arrange the details of the proposed institution.
It is obvious that many points needed consideration and settlement, before such an institution could be got ready and opened for the reception of inmates;-a house was to be procured; a suitable person for superintendant or master to be found; funds to be raised; rules and regulations to be framed, etc.; to the settlement of which, the subcommittee gave their earnest attention. At the time their measures were nearly matured, it pleased God, on the 15th June, to visit the harbour of Bombay with a violent hurricane, such as had not been known here for many years, which proved very destructive to the shipping, causing many vessels to be totally wrecked, and rendering others unfit for service; and thus throwing a large body of seamen out of employ, and leaving them in a state of destitution. The necessity of a Sailor's Home now became urgent; and accordingly on the 1st of July, a large and commodious house, near the Babocla Tank, was opened for the reception of seamen; when about 80 inmates were at once received into it, through the countenance of the acting senior magistrate of police, E. E. Elliot, Esq., to whose kind support, the institution is much indebted. Many of these men got berths in different vessels; and the remainder of them, (in number 43,) were provided by D d
the government, with a passage to England, in the ship Childe Harold, Captain Willis, which sailed from Bombay on 11th August last. This greatly reduced the number of inmates in the Home; but latterly there has been a considerable increase again.
As the situation of the Home near the Baboola Tank, owing to its great distance from the fort, rendered it impossible to realize all the objects of the institution, search was made for a house more conveniently situated. After many difficulties and much delay, the present very suitable and commodious house, situated on the verge of the Esplanade, by the Dhobee's Tank, was engaged upon a lease of two years; at a monthly rent of 100 Rupees, and was entered upon on the 19th of March last. The Sailor's Home may now be looked upon as firmly and permanently established; and trusting to the good hand of our God upon us, and relying with humble confidence upon his aid and blessing, we may look for a most beneficial result upon the seafaring community of this place. The experiment has been fully tried, and the success of the measure put beyond a doubt. We have but to persevere in the spirit of faith and prayer, and to prosper.
It is assumed that the object of the Sailor's Home is too well known to require any lengthened explanation; yet as possibly some misapprehension of the subject may exist in the minds of some persons, a brief statement of the design of the Bombay Sailor's Home may not be unsuitable. It would appear, that Bombay is differently circumstanced from most other sea-ports, inasmuch as by the government regulations of Bombay, sailors are not allowed to be cast adrift in this port, but must be taken away again by the same vessels in which they were brought here; or else security must be given for their maintenance on shore, till berths can be found for them. An excellent effect of this regulation is the almost total absence in this port of the abominable system of crimping.* The fluctuating population of European seamen on shore at Bombay is seldom very large; and consists principally of men who have served their time, and taken their discharge from the Indian navy; of men who were left sick in hospital, and are supported by the owners or consignees of their vessels; of men who have been discharged from ships sold into the country service, and who are supported in a similar manner; and of a few straggling seamen, who in one way or another have got out of employ, and having no legal claim upon any person for support are mostly in destitute circumstances. Till the opening of the Sailor's Home, seamen on shore in Bombay, had no place to which they could resort, but the taverns and boardinghouses in the Bazar; where they were under no control or restraint, but on the contrary, were surrounded by temptations to drunkenness and debauchery. To provide a respectable and comfortable place of residence and resort for seamen, where they might, as much as possible, be preserved from snares and temptations, and where they might have the means of moral improvement, and receive spiritual instruction, was
* That is among European seamen. Among the lascars it is understood that crimping prevails to a frightful extent; so that it seldom happens that a lascar reaps the benefit of even half his wages.
the design of the Committee in establishing the Sailor's Home. They thankfully acknowledge the goodness of the Lord in favouring them with such a measure of success.
It may be mentioned that arrangements have been made for securing separate accommodation for the officers of vessels, who may find it desirable to reside in the Home. Several such have been inmates for a longer or shorter time, and have expressed themselves thankful for the comfort which they experienced.
A library has been provided for the inmates of the Home; for the formation of which, the Society is indebted to the liberality of several of its members.
[Extract of a Letter under date of November, 1838.]
THE New Zealanders are truly a reading people. They devour all they can get printed at our press. We feel not a little distressed on account of the catholics now among them: yet such is the sagacity of a New Zealander, that he is not at a loss to reply to their propositions. May the Lord save our people from bowing down to images; and the enemy be frustrated in his designs! We are now called to be more than ever on the alert.
I am happy to say that we have peace in our borders; and that, notwithstanding some discouraging circumstances, the work is spreading on every hand.
There being no regular communication with Sydney, we are thereby frequently inconvenienced; but Sydney is a corrupt place, on account of so much shipping refreshing there. I am sorry to say that our countrymen, when they land, are like a pestilence, as their bad conduct is very injurious to the natives. Drunkenness is very prevalent there. The labours of the Church Missionaries are greatly impeded by the bad example of ungodly Europeans.
How important that means should be employed at home, to improve the moral conduct of our seamen; for, in proportion as religion extends in christendom, so will it extend abroad.-Example is every thing.
[Extract of a Letter, from the Rev. C. Price, Missionary, under date of March 29th, 1839.]
The whalers from the bays on this and the coast of New South Wales, are generally a most abandoned set of men, given to almost every vice; and when they come to Launceston, at the close of the whaling season, they give most painful and disgusting evidence of human depravity. These men are without any religious instruction,living without regard to the Sabbath,-proverbially wicked.