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UNSEA WORTHY SHIPS.

[From the Sydney Morning Herld, April 23, 1845.]

Somewhat less than twenty years ago, in another part of the globe, the surveyor and ship's husband of a large concern, whose ships traded on long voyages to southern latitudes,

sent to the counting-house of his owners, a package, wrapped up iv a carpenter's apron, j which, on being opened out was found to con- i tain a piece or one of the timbers completely i honeycombed. The worm-eaten present was instantly thrust into a back closet, and our in- , formant was directed by the managing o*?r?^- to close up the opening he h mace m the ship's side, witho?* Ar' -r farther inbpeciioa. ft was the oh\>.-~< ?* -i c • "uers 10 sell her, h-" not getting i.ieir price, fciie ••?- despatch?-.? r -. another U.'.ig wr--.. - rassengers and o Uf ," ~ rfoit ward portion of it wii: : it nmic . *ciurning with a car-o, s-he er.cot.ni?red a gale at the Agulhas, put int. ' ■ ..— ?o iiay. in a bad state, was obliged to discharge cargo, and he hove down and repaired, at an expense of upwards of three thousand pounds. This expense the underwri ters disputed, and ultimately the owners ware glad to compound their claim for about one. third of that amount. Persons who, like our

informant, are accustomed to take charge of vessels while in port, are constant in their in spection of the vessel while building, and are repeatedly rejecting pieces of timber on account of sapwood and other defects. But their ut most vigilance is not always sufficient. Ship builders seldom scruple to slip in an imperfect piece if they can do so unobserved. The car penters also, frequently, from sheer laziness or worse motives, omit to fill up treenail holes, and to clinch bolts; and in one vessel this party examined, he found that alter she had gone and come two New South Wales voyages, that not only were some of her treenail "holes covered by the copper without being filled, but one in the head of the vessel had been delibe rately filled up with pitch. After a long voyage, however strong a vessel may be, it is necessary carefully to examine her topsides, knees, bends, and other parts, which ar« most likely to be strained, or suffer decay from the chemical action of the sun and water; but timid or illiberal owners will not venture upon such examination, because they know that when once you begin to out into a ship's side, you cannot tell where you shall stop. Instances continually occur of old unservice able vessels being patched up as inexpensively as possible, and sent to sea in a state scarcely seaworthy, and of such vessels returning to port leaky. Shipowners who indulge in this wan ton and detestable practice, incur a frightful responsibility, both to the laws of God and man. With respect to the latter, it is clearly laid down that there is an implied warranty from the master and owners to the shippers of goods and to the passengers, whether it be expres sed in a charter-party, or other writing, or not, that the ship is tight, staunch, and strong, well manned, fitted, and provided, and every way suf ficient at the time of sailing; and it is the po ! sitive duty of the owners and master to satisfy themselves that this is the case. Should she turn out to have been otherwise, even if they were ignorant of the defect, the policy of insu rance effected on the ship is vitiated, and held null, and they become liable in such losses and damages as shall hare been sustained by ship pers and passengers, owing to such unseawor [ rhiness, quite the same as if occasioned by bad ! stowage. If a ship sail on a voyage, and im mediately thereafter, without stress of weather or any visible adequate cause, become leaky and founder, or be obliged to return to port, it will be held that she was unseaworthy at the time of sailing, and not only all contracts in favour of her be vitiated, but all expenses of actual damage, detention of passengers, loss of markets, and reshipment of goods and persons in more expensive vessels, may be claimed of the owners. We know not whether there |be any statute law imposing penalties on per sons knowingly, <r carelessly sending ebips to sea in an unseaworthy state. But we have not any doubt from analogy that they may be punished as criminals of the highest order. If it can be shown that loss of life has been di rectly occasioned by such an act, the master or, ow-nors being aware of the vessels unfit eon— dition to stand the ordinary perils of the seas, and of the particular voyage, we think they may even be tried for murder; au i if nienriy want of due care were the cause, they would be found guilty of manslaughter. Blackstone says, " where a workman flings down a piece of timber or 6tone into the street and kills a man: this may be either misadventure, man slaughter, or murder, according to the circum stances. If it were in a country village, where I few passengers are, and he calls out to ail people to have a care, it is misadventure only. But if it were in London, or any other populous town, where people are continually passing, it is manslaughter. And murder if he kuows of their passing, and gives no warning at all, for then it is malice against all mankind. 9' In general, when an involuntary killing happens, in consequence of an unlawful act, it is man slaughter or murder, according to the circum stances. By the Act 10 George 11., cap 31, " If any river waterman receives into his boat a greater number of persons than the Act al lows, and any passenger shall then be drowned, such waterman shall be transported as a felon." But any liability which may be established after the event of foundering or damage, would be poor satisfaction to sufferers, and we submit it as worth the consideration of our Legislative Council, to establish a board of two or more ship surveyors, for this purpose, and to inflict heavy pecuniary penalties on all masters and owners who may ever attempt to defraud the public in co important a icatter. We have al luded thus prominently to the subject, from the circumstance of a great number of old vessels having been recently fitted out for long voyages.

Mr Oakley, a retired London upholsterer, has presented the King of the French with a pair of pistols, formerly belonging to Louis XVI. Shortly afterwards the King sent Mr O. the magnificent present of a silver tea-ser vice richly chased, enclosed in a superb chest. The present was accompanied by a letter from the King, in which, after thanking the uphol sterer for the pistols, he begs his acceptance -* the tea-set as a souvenir of his visit to Neuill The history of these pistols is somewhat i markable. On the 10th Aug., 1792, durii the attack on the Tailleries, Capt. Twaddell, the English Guards, happening to be at Pari was entangled in the crowd, and forced to tal a part in the attack. On leaving the Tuilleric he saw one of the National Guards carrying larpe packet under his coat, and getting in conversation with him, found that he had ca i ied <if a pair of pistols from Louis X Vis pi v ate. rJc? :-t, and proposed purchasing them (hr- iUdij; ii bargain which was concluded ii: coffee-house, to which they both retired. O Twadciell is still living in "London, an d had": cently sold the pistols to Mr Oakley, who, 5 or 30 years ag:>, had done business with i) King Louis Philippe when he was residing Twickenham.—Fromjhe. P/<?ss, Paris paper.

Printed and {.ablifiheti Uv 'he proprietor, John Stephens. erery Wednesday aud Saturday morning, at the Soul* Australian Register aot <^eral Printing, O«sc*, Kin* WUUiun-Btreet, Ade'aiae, South Au>tnU?.-«rb<TeNO:.r-•-•: •nd AdvertUeaieaU, w? *■] -c s.nunicatr^is? to ;♦>• lX" '• ->r ffiUb* rewired. *

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