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An Appeal to the British Nation on the Humanity and Policy of Forming a National Institution for the Preservation of Lives and Property from Shipwreck (1825)   By: (1771-1847)

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First Page:

AN APPEAL TO THE BRITISH NATION,

ON THE Humanity and Policy

OF FORMING A NATIONAL INSTITUTION,

FOR THE PRESERVATION OF LIVES AND PROPERTY

FROM SHIPWRECK.

BY SIR WILLIAM HILLARY, BARONET.

AUTHOR OF "A PLAN FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A STEAM LIFE BOAT AND FOR THE EXTINGUISHMENT OF FIRE AT SEA;" "SUGGESTIONS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT AND EMBELLISHMENT OF THE METROPOLIS," AND "A SKETCH OF IRELAND IN 1824."

THIRD EDITION.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR GEO. B. WHITTAKER, AVE MARIA LANE.

1825.

TO

THE KING.

SIRE,

From Your Majesty's exalted station as Sovereign of the greatest maritime power on earth, and from the ardent zeal with which You have graciously extended Your Royal patronage to every measure which could promote the welfare and the glory of the British Navy, I have presumed, with the utmost deference, to dedicate the following pages to Your Majesty.

With the most dutiful respect, I have the honour to subscribe myself,

SIRE,

Your Majesty's Most devoted subject and servant,

WILLIAM HILLARY.

INTRODUCTION

TO THE

SECOND EDITION[A].

The few pages of which the present edition is composed, were principally written under the circumstances there stated, which had forcibly called my attention to the fatal effects of those ever recurring tempests, which scatter devastation and misery round our coasts, where the veteran commander and his hardy crew, with their helpless passengers of every age and station in life, are left wretchedly to perish from the want of that succour which it has become my object earnestly to solicit for these destitute victims of the storm.

Another winter has scarcely yet commenced, and our coasts are spread over with the shattered fragments of more than two hundred vessels, which, in one fatal tempest, have been stranded on the British shores, attended with an appalling havoc of human life, beyond all present means to ascertain its extent, besides the loss of property to an enormous amount. And shall these fearful warnings also be without avail? Shall we still close our eyes on conviction, until further catastrophes wring from us those reluctant efforts, which ought to spring spontaneously from a benevolent people? With the most ample means for the rescue of thousands of human beings from a watery grave, shall we still leave them to their fate? Shall we hear unmoved of this widely spread destruction, and not each contribute to those exertions, to which the common charities of human nature, and the certainty of the direful evils we might avert, and the sufferings we might assuage, ought to incite us to lend our utmost aid?

The conflicting fury of the elements, the darkness of night, the disasters of the sea, and the dangers of the adjacent shores, but too frequently combine to place the unhappy mariner beyond the power of human relief. But if all cannot be rescued, must all therefore be left to perish? If every effort cannot be attended with success, must not any attempt be made to mitigate these terrible calamities, which bring home the evil to our very doors, and force conviction on us by their desolating effects, and by the destruction of hundreds of our countrymen, whose wretched remains perpetually strew our shores? Whilst we pause, they continue to perish; whilst we procrastinate, the work of destruction pursues its course; and each delay of another winter, in the adoption of measures more commensurate with the extent of these deplorable events, is attended with the sacrifice perhaps of a thousand human lives.

Even were the preservation of the vessels and their cargoes alone the objects of our care, the present want of all system for such a purpose is, in its consequences, as lavish of property as it is of life; and from the vast amount now annually lost on our shores, infinitely more might unquestionably be preserved to the commercial interests of the country, by the establishment of the Institution proposed, than its support would cost to the nation on its most extended scale... Continue reading book >>




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