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or half-an-hour; this is ignited most
ingeniously by the same process which lets the
buoy down into the water. So that a man
falling overboard at night, is directed to the
buoy by the blaze on the top of its pole or
mast, and the boat sent to rescue him also
knows in what direction to pull. Even
supposing, however, the man not to have gained
the life-buoy, it is clear that, if above the
surface at all, he must be somewhere in that
neighbourhood; and if he shall have gone
down, it is still some satisfaction, by recovering
the buoy, to ascertain that the poor
wretch is not left to perish by inches. The
method by which this excellent invention is
attached to the ship, and dropped into the
water in a single instant, is perhaps not the
least ingenious part of the contrivance. The
buoy is generally fixed amidships over the
stern, where it is held securely in its place by
being strung, or threaded, as it were, on two
strong perpendicular iron rods fixed to the
taffrail, and inserted in holes piercing the
framework of the buoy. The apparatus is
kept in its place by what is called a slip-
stopper, a sort of catch-bolt or detent, which
can be unlocked at pleasure, by merely pulling
a trigger. Upon withdrawing the stopper,
the whole machine slips along the rods, and
falls at once into the ship's wake. The trigger
which unlocks the slip-stopper is furnished
with a lanyard, passing through a hole in the
stern, and having at its inner end a large
knob, marked 'Life-Buoy;' this alone is used
in the day-time. Close at hand is another
wooden knob, marked 'Lock,' fastened to
the end of a line fixed to the trigger of
a gun-lock primed with powder: and so
arranged, that when the line is pulled, the
port-fire is instantly ignited, while, at the
same moment, the life-buoy descends, and
floats merrily away, blazing like a light-
house. It would surely be an improvement
to have both these operations always
performed simultaneously, that is, by one pull of
the string. The port-fire would thus be
lighted in every case of letting go the buoy;
and I suspect the smoke in the day-time
would often be as useful in guiding the boat,
as the blaze always is at night. The gunner
who has charge of the Iife-buoy lock sees it
freshly and carefully primed every evening
at quarters, of which he makes a report to
the captain. In the morning the priming is
taken out, and the lock uncocked. During
the night a man is always stationed at this
part of the ship, and every half-hour, when
the bell strikes, he calls out 'Life-buoy!'
to show that he is awake and at his post,
exactly in the same manner as the look-
out-men abaft, on the beam, and forward,
call out 'Starboard quarter!' 'Starboard
gangway!' 'Starboard bow!' and so on,
completely round the ship, to prove that they
are not napping."

We should like to hear of Government
experimenting with rockets and mortars, with a
view to their improvement. Often the safety
of a whole ship's company has depended upon
the strength of a light cord, attached to a
rocket, which has been lying in store for years;
often it has happened that this very cord has
been just a few feet too short! or has snapped,
or has got entangled, or something else equally
simple but equally fatal. Let us look also to
our quasi life-boats, some so heavy that they
cannot be launched, or so dangerous as to
drown their own crewssome constructed one
way, some anothernone on any recognised
and universal principle. We are very proud
of our name of Englishmen, and lay the
flattering unction to our soul, that we are a
highly civilised and reasonable community;
but whilst we grow magniloquent in praises
of our country and her commerce, we forget
that we owe it all to the poor Jack Tar, for
whose life and comfort we don't seem to care
a fig. Else why have these inquiries not been
before instituted? What is the use of our
Trinity Boards, and Ballast Boards, and
Lighthouse Boards, and all other Boards, if the seaman
is not to know one light from another when
he sees it, or if it is to be placed so that he cannot
see it? What is the use of our keeping up a
Hydrographic department, at an expense little
short of thirty thousand a-year, if the surveys,
and charts, and valuable data, the result of its
labours, are to be so little appreciated? The
truth is, that the masters of many of the
mercantile marine are incapable of taking
advantage of them, and of other improvements
in nautical science, from incompetence. We
trust, however, that the bill intended to
remedy that defect, lately introduced by the
Ministry into the House of Commons, will, if
passed, have the desired object. Although it
has been abandoned "at this late period of
the session" out of respect to the approaching
12th of August and 1st of September, we
trust it will be taken up again soon after the
next meeting of Parliament.


MAGNETIC Electricity for telegraphic
purposes has nearly superseded pigeons. Till
very recently a regular "service" of Carrier
Pigeons existed between London and Paris,
for the quick conveyance of such intelligence
as was likely to affect the funds. The French
capital was the focus of the system, in
exemplification of the adage that "all roads lead
to Paris," and pigeon expresses branched off
in all directions from that city even to St.
Petersburg. Relays of them are still kept up
between Paris and Madrid, besides a few other
places. The most celebrated relays of winged
messengers were those which bore intelligence
between Antwerp, Brussels, and Paris. In
the former city a society of pigeon-fanciers,
for amusement and emulation, keeps up an
establishment of them. Their doings are
amusingly chronicled in Kohl's last book of
Travels, Reisen in den Neiderlanden.