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DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
In a former number, we furnished some interesting details of the distribution of the Holy Scriptures among seamen and boatnien, by the American Bible Society; and it affords us equal pleasure now, to refer to similar operations among our sailors. A plan is now being steadily prosecuted, for supplying each vessel with a copy of the sacred volume : and the most gratifying effects are following. We have now more immediately in view the labours of the
MERCHANT SEAMAN'S BIBLE SOCIETY.
From the last annual Report of this valuable Institution, which we regard as prosecuting the same design with ourselves, to which we bid God-speed, it appears, that during the last two years, the distribution among the ships, both coasting and foreign, has been very extensive. It states :
With their three agents, two in London, visiting all ships between London Bridge and Woolwich ; and one at Gravesend, to board the outward and homeward-bound trade at that port, whether British or Foreign,—the Committee have prosecuted their delightful work of tendering the Holy Scriptures to sailors, in all the languages in which they have been printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
During the twelve months ending May 31st, 1837, the agents had made 17,114 visits to ships of all countries, within the limits of the port of London, and distributed not fewer than 4724 copies of the Scriptures. With the exception of 100 testaments furnished for the use of female emigrants : twenty-four to the Ship wrecked Sailors' Society, and four copies to ships whose crews are quite destitute; as above stated, the whole of this number of copies (4724) were paid for by sailors and emigrants, at the Society's reduced prices. One peculiarly interesting feature in this distribution is, that 377 bibles and testaments were purchased by Spaniards, Portuguese, and Italians.
Though the number of Scriptures distributed in the year ending May 31st, 1838, is less by 567 copies than in the year 1837, the number of visits made by the Society's three agents in the last year has been greater than in the former year, by1383, satisfactorily showing, that from whatever cause or causes this diminution in the number of Scriptures distributed may have arisen, lack of zeal or industry on the part of your agents has had no share in producing these results.
So long, therefore, as it appears that any deficiency in the number of copies of the Scriptures distributed does not arise from any relaxation on the part of their agents, your Committee feel satisfied; and, though the event itself may yet be remote, they cannot but entertain a hope of approximating the consummation so devoutly desired by their late noble President, Admiral Viscount Exmouth, viz :"That the time might come, when every sailor who could read, would be found with a Bible in his hammock.'
WALES,-PORT OF SWANSEA.
We cannot but unfeignedly rejoice in every work of faith, and labour of love, undertaken on behalf of our maritime population; and are sure that the following extract, from one of our highly estimable and benevolent friends, will prove a source of gratitude and praise :
The ministers of the different denominations are performing duty on sundays to sailors, and we have active tract distributors, and I hope good is now doing. We have a great number of Cornish captains, men who' fear God and work righteousness.' Twenty-two respectable captains drew up a petition to the ministers of eight or ten denominations, to have frequent service to the seamen in the port of Swansea : and I do hope our worthy secretary, Rev. T. Dodd, of Sion Chapel, Swansea, will soon have to communicate pleasing accounts to you, who are so anxiously engaged for the eternal welfare of the dear, but too much neglected sailors. I feel my poor mind deeply engaged for them.
THE LATE WRECKS :-SERVICE AT POPLAR.
My Dear BROTHER, -Having been requested by some of the surviving friends of those who have been recently buried in the mighty deep, to notice in public the late awful calamities, I was induced to do só a few sabbath evenings ago. It was a season much to be remembered.
My reason for troubling your readers on the subject is, simply to introduce a few extracts from an excellent letter, which I received most unexpectedly a few hours before the service. I remain, your's truly,
DEAR SIR,_I am sorry that I was not aware, a few hours earlier, of your intention to notice the melancholy shipwrecks, which have taken place within the last few weeks; as I should have been able to have furnished you, from correct documents, with many particulars, for which I must trust entirely to my memory. The loss of life along the coast has been very great, and hundreds of our fellow-beings, during the last month, have been hurried into eternity,-a loud call to the sailors who have been preserved, and to those who profess to be the sailors' friends.
At Liverpool, the violence of the storms has been displayed in the loss of, at least, three fine ships—the ‘Pensylvania,' the ‘St. Andrew, and the ‘Lockwoods.' It appears they sailed from Liverpool, on Sunday, Dec. 29th, and on that night encountered a most terrific gale ; having put back, they were unabled to regain the harbour, and not knowing which way to steer, (the light-vessel having broken adrift) the ' Pensylvania’ came to an anchor,--the cable immediately parted, and with the other two vessels she was driven on shore ; several of the crew and passengers, attempted to land in the cutter : but when within a mile of the shore, the boat swamped, and only one reached the shore alive. The captain, after being nearly crushed to death by the rolling of a water-cask, was washed into the sea, and sank to rise no more.
Before any assistance could be procured, many of the crew and passengers were lost, being washed out of the rigging, their only place of refuge, the hull of the
vessel being under water. The • Lockwoods' had on board about eighty-five passengers, beside the crew; when after many attempts the crew of the steamer reached her, they found on the poop alone thirty dead bodies, while about an equal number were found in the cabins below, either dead from the cold or drowned. The survivors were taken on board the steamer, except two, a man and his wife; the woman was dying ; and the man, it is stated, would not leave her, notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of the steamer's crew. I cannot now recollect the number of passengers and crew lost from the St. Andrew,' if any; but I think I am right in saying, that within a few miles of Liverpool, nearly 100 lives were lost, and property to an almost incredible amount destroyed.
But the ravages of the storm, have not been confined to that port. Many vessels in other ports have, with their entire crews, been wholly lost. Lloyd's list presents a melancholy appearance, as, in turning over its pages, the words · Crew drowned' continually meet the eye,—would to God that it as often affected the heart. It was reported that during the late gale, fourteen seamen attempted to effect a landing on a raft; after being absent from the ship two days, they were still unheard of,doubtless they have been swallowed up by the angry waves.
A friend has just informed me, that a vessel was lately fallen in with at sea, all that was left of her crew were four or six men ; these had taken refuge in one of the tops, sheltered only by part of a sail ; and who, after suffering the greatest privations, had for some time been living, horrible to relate, on the body of one of their companions, part of which was left hanging in the rigging.
I believe I was right, in saying, the Light vessel, moored off Liverpool, was dragged from her moorings during the violence of the gale; and, in consequence, the crews of the vessels, now shipwrecked, were bewildered and lost. Blessed be God, that the 'true light,' by which the christian mariner may shape his course to the port of eternal rest, can never be removed from its right position. Many millions, directed by its rays have, despite of all the storms of life, anchored safely there, and many, very many are now venturing their eternal all under its guidance. May some poor soul, even though he may have thought all hope of being saved taken away,' be led this night to look again to that “ light-it never has de ceived—it never will,—but will lead to that haven, where not a wave of sorrow rolls across the peaceful breast.'
Is any inclined to wait, putting off the concerns of eternity to a more convenient season ?-I knew such an one. He had seen in his younger days the wonders of God in the deep-and had received many warnings,- he will receive no more. On Tuesday morning last he left his home in his usual health ; and while talking to an individual in the street, dropped down, and immediately expired,-a solemn warning! Praying a blessing on your labours, I remain, dear Sir, your's truly,
On Wednesday, the 6th ult., the Annual Meeting of the governors and other patrons of this highly useful Institution, was held at the offices of the Association, King William-street, City.-Sir F. Ommaney took the chair.
The report of the Committee of management was then read. It stated, that the Institution had, since its first establishment, administered medical and surgical aid to 45,485 seamen of all nations; that the number of patients admitted on board the 'Dreadnought,' in the past year, was 2,579, and medical and surgical aid had
been provided for 1502 out-patients; that fevers were very prevalent in the early part of the season, and proved fatal in many instances; that Small-pox had likewise been very common among seamen, forty cases having appeared for admission, which were referred to the small-pox hospital.
That amongst the seamen admitted, great numbers contract complaints after their arrival in London; that this is attributed chiefly to their sudden removal from a good atmosphere and regular diet, into the wretched and filthy hovels in which seamen are immured when on shore, and the irregular mode of living consequent upon the great change they experience; that the conduct of many publicans and lodging-house keepers increase this evil, for possessing themselves of the seamen’s money and clothes, they keep them in their power until the whole of their means are exhausted, and they are then left penniless and without friends.
This statement the committee recommended to the notice of owners and shipmasters, and suggested that they use their influence to produce a diminution of the injurious practices complained of.
The Report then exhibited the AVERAGE AGES OF FIVE THOUSAND SEAMEN EMPLOYED IN THE MERCHANT SERVICE, as follows :-Under fifteen years—59; fifteen and under twenty-474; twenty and under thirty—2,376; thirty and under forty—1,130; forty and under fifty—672; fifty and under sixty-234; sixty and under seventy-49; seventy and upwards6; which shows that the average career of seamen is shorter than that of any other description of labourer.
THE ROMISH MISSIONS IN CHINA.
“ The missions are divided into three great apostolic vicariats and three bishoprics. The vicariats are Chan-Si, Fo-Keen, and Su-Tchuen. The bishoprics have their seats at Peking, Nanking, and Macao. The vicariat of Chan-Si embraces four provinces, from three to five bishops, and seventeen native priests. In one district of one of the provinces alone, there are 60,000 christians. The mission in the vicariat of FoKeen is in a very flourishing state. In some places public worship is openly celebrated. In one province 30,000 christians are counted. Two other provinces contain 9,000 christians. The vicariat of SuTchuen has two bishops, nine European priests, thirty native priests, and 15,000 christians. The bishopric of Peking has 40,000 christians, that of Macao about 40,000.” But suppose
all the THREE HUNDRED MILLIONS of Chinese were converted from the philosophy of Confucius, to the doctrines of catholicism, it would yet require another and separate mission, to turn them from what we conceive to be the fatal and deadly errors of “ the man of sin,” to the vital and saving truths of the Son of God. And China shall yet become subject to Christ. The temples of Fo, shall become temples for the service of the living God. Her wall shall be broken down, and her haughty emperor humbled. “Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain !”
A Table of Wrecks, in which the Orows have all perished !
We had the melancholy task last month of reporting the loss of from TWELVE TO PIFTEEN HUNDRED LIVES by shipwreck and other contingencies at sea !! Nor is our tale of woe yet ended. We have still to add to the list of ships lost, and crews perished.
The following Returns are taken from Lloyd's List, and the Shipping and
Mercantile Gazette, from January 21st to February 12th, 1839 :
Name of Ship.
Places of trading
Rochelle to Skein Behind the Kiobe unknown Quebec to Newcastle Off Jutland (4 saved) Lyth Rostock to Hull Near Twersted unknown unknown
Island of Lessoe
Near Port Rush
From this Table then it appears, that at least EIGHTEEN SHIPS have been wrecked; and averaging the crew as before, involving the loss of not fewer than ONE HUNDRED and EIGHTY LIVES.
The DIANA, of Shields, Capt. S., on her voyage from Shields to London, sprung a leak on the 2nd of January; put into Yarmouth Roads on the 3rd ; and after having obtained ten additional hands to assist at the pumps (the crew of the vessel being almost exhausted) sailed again on the 5th ; but when off Oxfordness, there came a heavy gale from the west, which caused them to bear away again for Yarmouth roads. The storm increasing, and the vessel continuing to make water, they were compelled on the 7th to lay the vessel too, under a close-reefed main and top-sail, and, after the most strenuous exertions to keep the ship above water, on the 8th it struck on the sand, about a mile from the shore. At this moment all was confusion and dismay. Some ascended the fore-rigging, anıl others attempted to get the long boat overboard; but whilst thus engaged, a sea struck the ship,