Project Canterbury













Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008


We now have the very important and arduous duty to fulfil of reporting upon the spiritual condition of the Merchant Seamen of England. A large proportion of the seamen of the world sail under the British flag; besides which 300,000 emigrants pass over the sea every year from our shores. From their great number therefore, as well as from the fact that they spend two-thirds of their lives at sea, and that a large proportion of seamen are drowned, it is most important that they should be duly cared for spiritually. Where this is not the case seamen may be, and often do become, serious obstacles to the increase of Christianity among heathen nations, through their evil lives, whilst they may greatly help its progress if they are true members of Christ's Church.

For the spiritual sustenance of these, next to nothing has so far been done by our Church as a Church, or by the vast majority of shipping companies and shipowners, many of whom appear to be utterly regardless of the souls of the seamen in their employ. The crews have no place for private prayer save on deck, and have often no more time allowed them for devotion on Sundays than on other days, and are seldom supplied with devotional and other books, except through extraneous charitable aid. This is most sad, and especially as it affects men whose lives are more than usually precarious, for, from a Parliamentary Return relative to the deaths out of the United Kingdom of seamen in the British service during the year 1875, we [1/2/] find that five-eighths of these occurred through drowning, and a little more than one-fourth through disease: viz.

Drowned by wreck 1,525
Drowned otherwise 987
Killed by accident 306
Killed through murder or homicide 15
Suicides 28
Deaths from unknown causes 124
Deaths through disease 1,091
Total 4,076

The following is an account of the number of vessels and mercantile seamen of the United Kingdom in 1873, which has since slightly increased, exclusive of those employed in the intercolonial trade and that of estuaries and rivers at home:--

In the home trade: Sailing vessels 11,546; Average tonnage 65; Seamen 39,590.

In the home and foreign trade: Sailing vessels 1,341; Average tonnage 153; Seamen 7,521.

In the foreign trade: Sailing vessels 5,898; Average tonnage 528; Seamen 83,766.

Total of sailing-vessels: Sailing vessels 18,785; Average tonnage 746; Seamen 130,877.


In the home trade: Steamships 1,096; Average tonnage 196; Seamen 13,243.

In the home and foreign trade: Steamships 221; Average tonnage 441; Seamen 3,817.

In the foreign trade: Steamships 1,479; Average tonnage 925; Seamen 54,302.

Total of steamships: Steamships 2,796; Average tonnage 1,562; Seamen 71,362.

Total of all ships: Steamships 21,581; Average tonnage 2,308; Seamen 202,239.

Add masters: Seamen 25,000
Total of seamen: Seamen 227,239

The number of seamen in intercolonial ships would make a large addition to the above, whence we may safely say that we have a quarter of a million of British sea-going men. Of these 19,840, for the most part able seamen, were not British subjects, of whom 15,263 were employed in our foreign sailing trade and 3,732 in our foreign steam trade. There were also about 20,000 coloured British [2/3] subjects, of whom the Peninsular and Oriental Company employ 5,000 Lascars, besides others, unknown as to number, employed in sailing-vessels making distant voyages.

Many crews consist largely of landsmen of bad character, whose misconduct lowers the estimate of the British merchant service, and deters many a thoughtful parent from allowing a child to adopt the noble profession of the sea. Too often, however, the boy of tender years is thrown into the midst of a society which laughs at what is ignorantly termed priestcraft, and he learns but too soon to use the forecastle vernacular, where holy names are seldom spoken of save in anger or in jest. Still the spiritual condition of our seamen when compared with that of other nations stands well, but not so well as that of Sweden and Norway. As a rule, where divine worship obtains on board ship, our seamen prefer the teaching and ministrations of the Church of England, and that there is a growth of spiritual feeling among them is evidenced by an increased number of captains who conduct services on board their ships. There are, also, other proofs of advance, although there is very much indeed to be done before we can look with satisfaction upon the condition of our seafaring brethren. The Norwegian seamen are the most devout of all, the captains of their trading-ships usually acting as chaplains to their crews, conducting prayer and reading sermons to them, besides taking care that they are supplied with bibles, prayer, and other devotional books. The Scandinavian Church provides pastors and churches for their seamen in many of the foreign ports frequented by them. The owners of North American ships supply their crews with an ample store of similar books, and also with collections of historical, biographical, and nautical works of a suitable character.

The Welsh have a strong devotional feeling, and are more easily induced to join in worship than most others, but are generally Methodists, and hence have no regard for our English Church Services or our Prayer-book. The Irish are as a rule, afraid to touch the Bible, as a forbidden book, and naturally decline all Protestant ministrations. Italian seamen stand low in the religious scale, and are equally ignorant, having only some superstition instead of a real religion.

British merchant seamen may be divided into various classes. The first consists of men serving on board ships engaged in the home or coasting trade, sailing from ports where their families live. The second, of those serving in foreign-going steamers, who, from the high pay given by their owners, command the best men. These often profit by the religious services provided for, or by, the passengers on board their ships, among whom are not unfrequently clergymen, and thus derive great advantage from their association with those whom they are temporarily serving. The third, of those serving in steamers employed in the home trade, who, as a rule, are very inferior to the preceding class. The fourth, of those serving in sailing-ships in the foreign trade, who most of all need spiritual aid and care.

[4] There are indeed some godly ship-owners and other members of the mercantile community who take more or less interest in the spiritual condition of seamen; but, as a rule, the managers or other deputies of shipping companies, and ship-owners, have no personal knowledge of, nor feeling for, the crews of their ships, and these, in return, have none for their employers, whom they never see, and whose service they mostly leave at the end of the voyage. Under the old regime, bad though in some respects it may have been, a sailor has been known to continue 40 years, man and boy, in the same ship. There are even employers who are glad to derive advantage from the drunkenness and debauchery of this lower class of seamen, because they are able to secure crews more readily when men are pauperized through dissipation, and are thus fenced to accept lower terms for their services than they would otherwise have done.

Even in the larger ships of the best shipowners no chaplains are employed, and but few captains have been so far induced to conduct divine service on board their ships when at sea. We are informed that divine service on Sundays is only celebrated in one ship out of 666 connected with the port of Sunderland, and that in the ships of Hull and Bristol the proportion is scarcely larger. Of those visiting the Downs, one ship out of 122 is reported to have divine service on board; of those frequenting Falmouth Roads one in 134; of those trading from Swansea one in 43; and of those connected with Poole one in 35. Formerly there was at least more outward observance of the Lord's Day than at present; but the greatly increased use of steam, and the keenness of competition, have led to the coaling of ships on Sundays, and other desecrations, especially in foreign ports. British Christianity is consequently presented to the seaboard inhabitants of the whole civilised and uncivilised world as a sample of a people professing to be religious, and desiring that others should adopt their religion, although such as they see of this people are habitual Sabbath-breakers, and are never seen to take part in public worship. Through our inquiries we find that some think the much-needed reformation among seamen must be sought for by the agency of shipowners and officers at sea, through the influence of our Bishops, Clergy, and their coadjutors on shore, whilst others place great weight on direct clerical ministrations when in port; but we have, no doubt, great and urgent need of both of these powerful agencies for the spiritual improvement of our merchant seamen, the clergy, as the authorised promoters of this godly work, both providing religious services in port, and organizing lay services at sea.


We are assured that any organized movement on the part of the Church of England, set on foot for the purpose of promoting the spiritual aid of seamen, will not only be hailed with gratitude by them as a recognition of their rights as her members, but will prove a great [4/5] encouragement to the various societies and truly charitable persons at present working in their behalf, and needing the solidity of this foundation. Such an important body as our British sailors should certainly not be left to haphazard, spiritual care, although all orderly helpers are needed, if acting with and for the local sea-board or river-board clergy, instead of doing so independently.

The parochial clergy, representing the spirituality of the Church of England, should undoubtedly always regard sailors on shore, or near to it, in their several parishes, as their parishioners, quite as much as any others, and hence should seek to minister to them, either personally, or through extraneous help placed at their disposal. This would assure sailors of the interest felt by the clergy in their spiritual welfare, and lead them to look upon the Church and her ministers with affectionate respect; while these will do well to accept with gratitude such aid as is offered to them by societies or lay helpers ready to take part in this good work, serving to strengthen the efforts of both, and tending toward the accomplishment of what they desire. Most admirable are several of the societies founded for the spiritual benefit of seamen in port and ashore, but if any of these should seek to act independently of the clergy, or in antagonism to any kindred society, it would hinder the good work proposed to be done by all; whence all the managers of sailors homes, clubs, and reading-rooms should always invoke the aid of the parochial clergy instead of seeking to exclude them, which has been the case sometimes, and is most unwise. Again, no society should try to acquire a monopoly of the spiritual care of sailors, for there is room for all, and need of all; and the work of each might be easily arranged through amicable agreement. So, also, the mutual work of the chaplains of the Royal Navy, and those of naval societies and others, might be defined in conjunction with the aid of the parochial shore clergy, so as to work in concert.


Sailors do not differ from others as to their religious feelings and predilections, and hence do not desire to join in worship, whilst on land, apart from landsmen, or to be isolated from them, nor do they care for any attempts to imitate their technical phraseology on the part of those seeking to serve them. There are many wholly indifferent to religion who do not desire to worship God at all, and there are others who prefer dissenting modes of worship, and more fervid addresses than those they hear in churches; but the strength of Dissent is not exhibited through the working classes, among whom seamen may be reckoned, although, of course, there are exceptions to this rule. As the greater part of our seamen are at least nominally members of the Church of England, and worshipped in their parish churches as boys, as their parents did before them, they usually desire to worship still in churches if they are assured of a ready [5/6] welcome there, instead of being regarded as sea-going aliens. They are, in common with most other Englishmen, very sensitive with respect to the effect of their peculiar dress, and afraid of being considered intrusive. Moreover, they undoubtedly prefer to join in public worship with general congregations, if freely invited to do so, rather than in churches or chapels built or set apart for their exclusive use, and especially because they thus have the advantage of taking part in brighter and better conducted services than they could have in smaller and poorer places of worship, served, perhaps, by a young curate, aided only by a poor choir.

There are great complaints made in many seaport towns that sailors cannot be got to attend divine service, but such is the case also in many rural parishes with respect to agricultural labourers where they are not diligently and patiently shepherded. His short residence in the parish deprives the sailor parishioner and the seaboard clergyman of the advantage of becoming personally acquainted, and the sailors almost life-long absence from the public means of grace, with the consequent non-formation of the habit of church-going, prevents his being reached by the clergyman's public ministrations. Seamen also justly on the other hand complain that the seating arrangements of seaport churches are often such as wholly to exclude them from worship, inasmuch as by the nature of their calling they are always "strangers" in the ecclesiastical sense; and being very shy, as a class, they cannot face the ordeal which strangers, especially if peculiarly dressed, have too often to endure when seeking admission to our churches. To meet this difficulty of obtaining admission to parish churches, some especial churches have been provided, in which the seats are free and open, the services hearty, and to which seamen are brought by lay visitors. Some of these sailors' churches have been very successful, but in others, where appropriation has crept in, the services are cold, and no personal visitation is maintained, they have failed to secure the attendance of sea-going men.

Sailors, however, we fully believe, respond more readily to personal invitations of a spiritual kind than country labourers, and the greatest possible difference exists in the conduct of sailors in those places where they are carefully attended to, and those where they are disregarded or ignored, having practically no places of worship where they may freely enter, and none to minister to them. Hence we cannot be surprised to find, as a fad, that in some water-side parishes thousands of seamen habitually worship God on his appointed day of rest, and many are communicants, whilst in others there are very few who worship, and next to none who communicate. A living simpathising agency is absolutely necessary to extend the invitation and the welcome to the wanderer of the sea to that church in which his more favoured brother of the shore is privileged to worship. Such agencies have been used with success, for a Missions to Seamen scripture reader at Hull and at North Shields have each been able to bring as many as twenty men to an ordinary Sunday service in the parish church.

[* Office, 11, Buckingham Street, Strand, London, W. C.]

There are various Societies founded for the purpose of administering spiritual service to our seamen; but the one that in every way stands first on the list is "The Missions to Seamen Society," to whose excellent and extensive work we shall very often have occasion to refer with much thankfulness and gratitude. A young clergyman of Bristol may be regarded as the founder of this Society, who, in the year 1835, began to serve as a volunteer missionary in the Bristol Channel by visiting the shipping in the outer roads of Penarth off Cardiff, Kingroad off Bristol, and Milford Haven, &c. After twenty years of devoted service, and the foundation of a Society at Bristol to carry on the good work, he resigned. The following year the Missions to Seamen's Society was founded in London, which was subsequently united to the Bristol Society. This has since gradually grown, and it has now fifty-four honorary chaplains, fifty-four chaplains and Scripture readers, and five paid lay helpers of the boatman class. These labour afloat in forty roadsteads, harbours, rivers, and docks for the spiritual benefit of the seamen frequenting them. This is done at a great cost, and especially where the provision of yachts or boats for use in roadsteads is absolutely necessary, and it is also attended with considerable danger and personal inconvenience; but as such opportunities of approaching seamen are most valuable, and likely to be successful, they are gladly made use of, and often attended with the happiest results.

Another branch of the Society's work is to minister to the seamen of twenty-two seaports, when in harbour, docks, or boarding-houses, in conjunction with the parochial Clergy, and always with an earnest desire for their co-operation. This is a duty which in many cases the Clergy cannot undertake themselves, through the pressure of ministering to so many habitual residents, which leaves them no time to extend pastoral supervision to seamen ever coming and going, though a large number are their parishioners for a time. From the subsequent report of the spiritual condition of the chief seaport towns of England, it will be seen how great is the need for such supplemental help, and how valuable it is, for it may be, indeed, regarded as a second "Additional Curates' Society," for ministering to seamen on the best and soundest principle, and as one of the most precious aids of the Church with respect to the fulfilment of her duty towards her sailor sons, whilst it would be difficult to overrate the devoted and judicious services of its present secretary, Commander William Dawson, to whom not only the Society but the Church is deeply indebted for his most valuable services, as well as those for whom he is especially devoting all his energies with untiring zeal and true Christian love. It is, perhaps, to the future agency of this and other kindred Societies, strengthened by additional means that we [7/8] may look for the supply of such spiritual aid as will enable the parochial Clergy of seaboard parishes and their diocesans to discharge their onerous duties with respect to the seamen of this great maritime country. At present it has an income of £ 12,000 a-year, but could well dispose of a greatly enlarged one in behalf of thousands of our, at present, more or less spiritually destitute seamen.

[* Office, 31, New Bridge Street, Blackfriars, London, E.C.]

This was founded in 1844, through the example of what was then doing for the spiritual advantage of the seamen in the Bristol Channel. Its excellent object was to endeavour to rescue seamen, steamboat-men, fishermen, and bargemen, serving in the Thames, from neglect of God and from sin, by providing a sailing church, a chaplain, lay agents, and boatmen, moving from one position to another, and having the means of performing divine worship on board. This ship was taken to the various anchorages of the river, and from tier to tier of the shipping between London and Gravesend. The ministrations of the Church on board were very acceptable, the monthly celebrations of the holy communion fairly attended, and many Bibles and Prayer Books were given away; but various changes, difficulties, and inconveniences attending the working of a floating church like this led to its discontinuance, and its agents now simply visit the ships in the river and the docks, and hold prayer meetings on board troop, emigrant, passenger, and trading vessels, as well as on board the Arethusa, Chichester, and Cornwall training-ships. It also has a mission-room and a reading-room, and no doubt often serves to touch the hearts of godless seamen: but, unfortunately, the Prayer Book is no longer used at the informal prayer-meetings on board ships by the agents of this Society, although 902 prayer-books were sold to seamen last year. Its staff consists of a chaplain, four missionaries, and five seamen colporteurs, and its secretary is Captain Edward Littlehales, R.N. It has greatly promoted the sale of Bibles among seamen in connection with the British and Foreign Bible Society.

[* Office, 36, City Chambers, Railway Place, Fenchurch Street, London, E.C.]

This is another excellent but smaller society of a kindred kind, founded thirteen years ago by the Rev. C. E. R. Robinson, then vicar of Holy Trinity, Milton next Gravesend, to whom the thanks of the Church are justly due for this his good work. It has since been extended by the Rev. John Scarth, his successor. Its object, according to its first rule, is "to advance the influence and teaching of the Church of England among sailors, fishermen, and emigrants on board ship and ashore, through the agency of the parochial clergy at home and the responsible clergy abroad." Its chief station is at Gravesend, where it provides stipends for two curates to help the clergy to fulfil their [8/9] important and arduous duty of visiting the very numerous foreign as well as English ships passing here in ceaseless succession before they put out to sea, urging their crews to serve God, and supplying them with Bibles and other good books. The homeward bound vessels are also visited, and timely warnings given. It provides the stipends of three other curates serving in other water-side parishes at the docks of London, where these are most needed, employs agents to help in this good work elsewhere at home and abroad, and disposes of 25,000 books to seamen every year, including loans of small libraries, from ten to fifteen of which are thus sometimes disposed of in a week. It has numerous correspondents, and its influence is extended to the principal seaports of the world. One of its great objects is to induce captains to conduct divine service on board their ships for the spiritual benefit of their crews. It desires to increase the provision of curates to minister in dock or waterside parishes, and thus to help the Church where she most needs help for sailors and waterside people. Would that the same system were more generally adopted, for whilst this Society does not desire to free parochial clergy from responsibility with respect to their seamen parishioners, whether permanent or temporary, nor to inculcate any special views, it seeks to aid them with assistants of their own selection, and wherever such aid is most needed. The St. Andrew's Waterside Mission has also endeavoured to organise special Church work among the fishermen on the coasts, both in the North Sea and in the Channel, supplying several hundreds of the smacks with bags of books, and providing reading-rooms in waterside parishes on shore, as far as it has the power.


It is perhaps at sea that there is the best hope of making a good impression upon the hearts of seamen through human instrumentality, directed and blest by the Holy Spirit, leading to a religious and moral life, because they are then less subject to temptation, and have more time for serious thought and religious action than they have when on shore, should they be serving under godly captains, which is now at least usually the case in the Royal Navy. As religious teaching and divine worship commence on shore, so should these precious advantages always be again provided for seamen when they return to land, through the pastoral care of the Bishops and Clergy of the Church of England, to whom sailors have a right to look for spiritual food and counsel as much as any others, although they are usually only temporarily parishioners. Very often, however, they are regarded as aliens instead of brethren, and, from the fact that many of the incumbents of seaboard parishes are already overpowered by the numbers of their permanent parishioners, the seamen do not find at home those means of grace which, in the Royal Navy at least, they commonly enjoy at sea. So also, when least able to resist temptation on shore, it comes upon them with full power, for no sooner does a ship enter port and her crew is in a state of [9/10] excitement and exuberant joy at their freedom, and the expectation of their forthcoming pay, than they are assailed by male and female harpies, eager to despoil them of their hardly-earned gains, and, still worse, of their character as Christian men. Runners or crimps from public-houses, from bad boarding-houses and from clothiers, &c., knowing that the crews, though penniless, have often as much as twelve months' wages due from their employers, assail them with demoralising invitations, leading to deep injury and loss, before better agents reach them and persuade them to be on their guard against such seductions, and instead of taking to drink and acts of immorality to give thanks to God first before all other things for their preservation from the perils of the sea and their safe return to land. Immediate action is needed, and, whilst every effort should be made to raise the moral standard of sailors' boarding-houses, one or more wisely conducted sailors' homes in each seaport should be provided, to which newly-arrived sailors can at once resort, and there find all that tends to their comfort and refreshment. In these, religious instruction should never be forced upon the inmates, but only provided for those who desire it, and in such a way as not to interfere with the comfort of the other inmates, or the general arrangements of the managers. Religious teachers officiating at these homes should be fixed, and volunteers admitted with great caution, as much mischief sometimes arises through the proceedings of religious zealots, wishing to inculcate their particular views rather than really to minister to seamen in a humble but devout spirit for their real good. Nor should the sailors' boarding-houses be neglected. These should be weekly visited by the parochial staff to bring their inmates to church, and, incidentally, to raise the moral condition of the boarding-masters.

Crimps have now little power over men-of-war's men on their arrival on shore, through the improved moral condition of the seamen, and the system of paying wages frequently and without delay, so that they can at once, on being paid off, go by rail to their relations and friends, and thus escape all the dangers to which they would be otherwise subjected. But, in part through the large accumulations of back wages in the employers' hands, making the crews rich prizes for robbery, and through the non-payment of merchant seamen's earnings before they leave their ships, and for which they usually have to wait some days, crimps still drive a most pernicious trade by providing the penniless crews with lodgings, clothing, food, and amusements on credit, the men being unable to leave the locality of the pay-office until formally discharged. The crimps, who are thus made a necessity, also make advances of money to these unpaid seamen, and tempt them to resort to low public-houses to which these crimps are attached, when, through drink, debauchery, gambling, and sometimes drugged liquor, they are often robbed of all their hardly-earned pay, reduced to poverty, and then forced to go to sea again on worse terms than they ought to make for themselves, and, on their return, again go through the same degrading process. [10/11] Seamen who escape these perils, and by residence in boarding-houses on shore or in ships in port become parishioners of one parish or another, require spiritual aid from the incumbents of those parishes, or their deputies. When at sea, all men-of-war's-men are regularly provided with the means of public worship, and it is to be hoped that the same great boon will gradually be given to those serving in merchantmen. But on shore sailors are often utterly uncared for and even unthought of, so that there is no room provided for them in any places of worship, or, if special chapels have been built for their use, they are not unfrequently of a poor uninviting character and inadequately served, or else are unduly taken possession of by landsmen, to whom seats are allotted to such an extent that the buildings cease to be of use to seamen.


All honour to those excellent shipowners who entertain a just sense of their high responsibility as regards the spiritual as well as the temporal interests of those whom they employ. These truly Christian gentlemen strive to place only religious officers over their crews, enforce the due observance of the Lord's Day, furnish their ships with libraries, and emulate the care bestowed by the Admiralty on the spiritual well-being of their men. But we fear there are many more who are only intent on gain, without the slightest feeling of responsibility or care for the seamen they are employing, and simply regard them as so many hands, as if they had neither souls nor bodies. Stowed away in the smallest possible compass, where they can neither be decent nor clean, these hands have often none on board to remind them of their Creator or their Redeemer, as an incentive to good living. The result is not surprising, for as their employers have so little personal care for their crews, and never even see them, the men have naturally not the slightest regard for their employers or their interest, and then, through vices engendered and fostered by such neglect, and especially through drunkenness, many ships are lost, and with them many of their unfortunate crews. Another very evil practice on the part of some shipowners, to which we have before alluded, is that they do not pay their men what is due to them before their discharge, whence they usually go ashore penniless, and thus are the more easily led astray and ruined.

Our English seamen are in great need of friends and of the law to protect them; and, although a sentimental feeling is commonly felt with respect to them, very little indeed has so far been practically done in their behalf. It is not necessary for us to dilate upon the frightful loss of life that has occurred through the horrible greed of some shipowners, which has been so fully exposed by Mr. Plimsoll, the true sailors' friend; but it is our duty as representatives of the spirituality of the Church of England to advert to the still more frightful loss sustained by our seamen through the prevailing spiritual destitution of the crews employed in our merchant service. Their lives [11/12] are comparatively short and always precarious, the average length of their service at sea being about twelve years; and more than half come to an untimely end, [* "Medical Register of Deaths at Sea," and "Our Seamen and their Spiritual Needs," by the Rev. E. Lister Salisbury, p. 4.] chiefly through drowning, as has been already stated.

The wives and families of sailors should also meet with more charitable consideration than they now receive at the hands of the employers of their husbands and fathers, and we are most anxious to help these semi-widows and semi-orphans at present subjected to severe temptation and want, which might be at least mitigated. The authorities of the Royal Navy help husbands in their service to allot a portion of their accruing wages to their wives at home, and this is their general practice, whilst part of their wages are paid monthly, instead of the whole being withheld to the end of the voyage. But shipowners and shipping companies frequently refuse to make a similar truly charitable arrangement for their men by means of what is termed "allotment notes," which refusal leads to great suffering and frightful consequences.

We trust that when evils attendant upon the infrequent and deferred payments of wages is plainly set before shipowners and employers they may be induced more generally to follow the example of the Royal Navy with respect to this really very important point. This affects not only sailors' families but the parishes in which they live, because their occasional destitution tempts to immorality and dishonesty. As objects of charity they receive relief from parochial sources and the benevolent, instead of being honestly supported by their absent husbands or fathers, as other families of the working classes are.


The greatest spiritual need of merchant seamen at sea is the due performance of divine service on Sundays and the use of united daily prayer, for merchant vessels, however large, are not furnished with chaplains. Provision for this, even in the absence of chaplains, is now made in the ships of the Royal Navy; but merchant ships are as a general rule without this means of grace, which is the more serious, because, through want of privacy on shipboard, even the most godly men cannot substitute private prayer for this with any comfort. The foundation of such prevailing ungodliness in the merchant service rests at the door of shipowners and employers, who fail to place worthy officers in command, and who, with a few exceptions, give no instructions to the captains in their employ with respect to the worship of God on board their ships, and thus do not encourage the performance of this primary duty, incumbent on all Christian men. As the Royal Navy and many good mercantile firms have set an excellent example in this respect, we would earnestly urge the greater shipping companies to follow it, in [12/13] the hope that many others may be led by degrees to do so likewise, and we exhort all captains of ships, from the greatest to the least, to sanctify their crews, as well as themselves, through the use of united daily prayer, as they value their own souls and those of the men serving under them. These daily prayers are usually short, and, when the captain so determines, are very rarely omitted even through stress of weather or other extreme necessity.

The sale to seamen of bibles and prayer-books, and of the hymn-books used in the parish church, should form an important part of the mission agency. Whilst captains should be personally urged by the clergy to realise their grave responsibilities as to this matter, in putting up bags or boxes of books for ships, it may be well to remember that those books and periodicals which are not specially addressed to sailors are the ones most valued by them.

Forms of daily prayer are greatly needed for use in vessels or boats at sea, and if these and other forms of prayer for seamen should be set forth and recommended by authority, they might be added to the "Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea" of the Book of Common Prayer, and bound up with it for the especial use of seamen. This help, we are assured, would be very precious and most thankfully received, as enabling captains to use the best forms of prayer. Many merchant captains are little competent to select such prayers as are really most suitable, and such forms would help seamen to take part in them, through the simplicity of their arrangement and constant use.

The best form of Morning Prayer on Sundays at sea as well as on land is undoubtedly that contained in our Book of Common Prayer at length, including the collect "to be used at sea," or, if need be, in the shortened form; and in like manner the order for Evening Prayer, shortened if necessary, is the best that can be adopted towards the close of each Sunday. [* It would be a great help to seamen if Sir George Airy would give the proper designation to each Sunday in the "Nautical Almanac," as a guide to its Collect and Lessons.] Morning Prayers on week-days must be short and may well consist of the following: A short Psalm, or portion of one, selected from the Psalms of the day, the General Confession, and the following Prayers: viz. "O God, whose nature and property," and the Lord's Prayer; "O Eternal Lord God, who alone" (modified to suit merchant vessels), and "Prevent us, O Lord;" the Third Collect for Grace; The Prayer of St. Chrysostom; and "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," which form is now commonly used in ships of war.

Evening Prayers may be longer, but of course must vary in length according to circumstances.

If, on working-days, there is no time for Evening Prayer without the Exhortation, and prayers after the Third Collect, and ending with "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," the following form may well be adopted: viz., A short Psalm or portion of one, the General Confession, the Collect for the first day of Lent, or that for the One and Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, the Lord's Prayer, the Second [13/14] Collect at Evening Prayer, the Third Collect, the General Thanksgiving, and ''The Lord bless us and keep us," &c. On Wednesdays and Fridays a selection from the Litany might well be used, instead of the usual form of prayer, either in the morning or the evening. A special form of supplication, to be used in time of great danger, and another of especial thanksgiving, to be used at sea or on land, are set forth in our first Report, and might well be added to the other forms. Should these, or some such forms of prayer for seamen, be approved of by Convocation, we recommend that a request be made to the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge to print these prayers for the use of seamen, as a supplement to the forms of prayer to be used at sea, and which we are confident would prove of great service to our numerous English sailors. For the use of their relations and friends on shore, a Special Service, of Intercession for those at Sea, [* Sold by W. Wells Gardner, 2, Paternoster Buildings, and Missions to Seamen Society, 11, Buckingham Street, Strand, London, W. C.] has been put forth and approved of by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and eleven other Bishops, and this form, or at least some of the Collects incorporated in it, should, in our opinion, be periodically used in the churches of our seaport towns, and also during the prevalence of stormy weather.

Shipowners should certainly supply ships with a sufficient number of bibles, prayer-books, hymn-books, and others for their use at sea, after the good example of Norwegian and North American shipowners, and of our own Admiralty, through which means the faith of seamen would be sustained, instead of starved, on board ship, as it now usually is.


We now have to advert to what may be done for our seamen abroad. Where there are chaplains on shore in foreign ports, they should take care to invite the crews of British ships frequenting those waters to attend Divine Service, if possible; but when merchant-ships are lying too far from shore to allow of this, and perhaps in company with one or more ships of war carrying a chaplain, their crews should be invited to attend divine service on board such ships of war on Sundays, as is now done in some cases, or else the Naval chaplains should be requested to hold services on board the adjacent merchantmen, and then each chaplain should report quarterly to the Admiralty on the attendance of merchant seamen at these services. A precedent for such a charitable practice exists through the medical aid given by the surgeons of H.M.'s ships to the sick or injured sailors of the merchant service in foreign ports, as well as through their visits to the smaller ships of the Royal Navy.

Probably it would be easier for Naval chaplains to wait upon merchant seamen than to induce these to come on board men-of-war, although there would be much advantage in the occasional intercommunication of the sailors of the two services as a recognition of their [14/15] common nationality, and the good effect that the order and decorum on board H.M.'s ships would probably have on the minds of their visitors when engaged together in divine worship. The facilities for doing this, and the invitation to merchant seamen to attend services on board men-of-war, entirely rests with the Commanding Officers of the ships, so that without their sanction and co-operation the Naval chaplain is simply helpless in such matters.

Sick and imprisoned merchant seamen in foreign ports, where there is no resident chaplain, might well also be visited by Naval chaplains, as is now sometimes done, to whom the Consuls might make such cases known. For this purpose, Consuls should have the means placed at their disposal of providing boats for facilitating the performance of these important duties, as men-of-war's boats are not always available for the fulfilment of such duties, and for want of boats spiritual work is, at present, greatly hindered.

A large sale of prayer-books to seamen takes place at Singapore, and might, no doubt, be promoted in other foreign ports, proving a great help in teaching as well as in worshipping, thus proving a substitute for the absence of a living teacher at sea.

A great evil connected with the merchant service is the common desecration of the Lord's Day in foreign ports, which, through the large use of steam-power and keener competition, has of late unhappily increased rather than diminished, as well as through the evil example of foreigners and the absence of good old English influence with respect to the due observance of the fourth commandment. The Cunard Company and others forbid their officers to employ their men in harbour work on Sundays; but, as a rule, crews are employed in coaling and shipping or discharging cargo on those holy days, as much as on others, in foreign ports. The Bishop of Gibraltar, in an admirable pastoral letter [* Published by Parker and Co., 1876.] addressed to the Clergy of his Diocese last year, speaking of this Committee, said, "Possibly it may be able to reach the mercantile companies of our country, and bring home to them the duty of sanctifying the merchant service by keeping the Lord's Day holy, and of appointing as captains to their ships men who are alive to the responsibilities which their office entails in regard to the sailors placed under their influence and control.

"Companies are more difficult to influence than individual owners, as the latter may have a conscience, a company often has none. But it is by awakening public interest, and by enlisting the sympathy, zeal, and bounty of Churchmen, that Convocation can best help the cause.

"The subject is one which, for its practical character, especially demands the attention of Convocation. If the Committee deal with it as wisely and effectively as Committees of that Assembly are accustomed to deal with such practical questions, it will render a great service to the Church and nation." It is thus that we desire to deal with this very important subject by doing all in [15/16] our power to direct the attention of the mercantile community in general, and of the managers and directors of shipping in particular, towards the terrible desecration of the Lord's Day by those in their employ, and especially when in foreign ports. Shipowners are thus wronging God, by violating his Fourth Commandment. They are wronging their crews by taking from them that rest and time for worship which God has given them. They are wronging themselves by invoking God's displeasure. They are wronging their fellow men by setting them a bad example. Both captains and crews would as a rule be thankful to avail themselves of the rest they ought to have every seventh day, if given them, and there would then be at least a better hope of their employing the time thus placed at their disposal in the worship of God and preparation for the life to come.

Homes for the use of merchant seamen in at least the principal foreign ports frequented by them should be provided by the aid of the benevolent, and especially by that of the mercantile community, as these homes, we believe, are never wholly sustained without the charitable assistance of English residents abroad, as our homes are in this country.

These should always, if possible, be near the harbour, and easily seen or found, and directions should be given with respect to the places where divine service is held and the hours of service, &c., as is done at Lisbon, Naples, Genoa, &c.


We have now to report upon the spiritual provision for our English seamen at home, resulting from inquiries we have diligently made. To grapple with the work we have in hand satisfactorily, it was necessary to ascertain and describe the present position of the principal ports of England and Ireland with respect to seamen by the aid of such materials as we have been able to gather from authentic and reliable sources, kindly supplied to us for this purpose. To inform ourselves as to the existing parochial action with reference to non-resident seamen, a set of questions were addressed to the seaport clergy and others likely to be well informed on those points, and we have to thank those gentlemen for the valuable assistance they have given us in responding to our inquiries; but we regret to add that in some cases the information we desired to secure has not been forthcoming to the extent we wished, which has in some measure prevented the completeness of our Report. The questions referred to were as follows:--

"Seaport of___ 1. What number of seamen enter the above port annually under the English flag? (The Custom House could tell this). 2. In what parishes or parts of the parish are the ships and boarding-houses of the non-resident seamen situated? 3. Does any system of parochial visitation of non-resident seamen in their ships and boarding-houses exist? 4. What steps are taken to bring [16/17] the non-resident seamen to church? 5. What arrangements are made to receive and welcome them there? 6. About how many seamen attend the waterside or other churches annually? 7. About how many seamen are communicants at those churches? 8. In how many of the ships is the Lord's Day observed by united worship when at sea? 9. Are any steps taken to induce the owners and officers to have divine service performed on board their ships? 10. Is intercession made for those at sea periodically? 11. Are there any reading-rooms or other means of putting seamen in direct connection with the clergy? 12. Is any additional church room required to accommodate seamen? 13. Are any additional clergy and lay assistants required for carrying out necessary work amongst seamen, and for the visitation of the boarding-houses and ships within their respective bounds? 14. How can the present machinery be enlarged and adapted to meet the spiritual needs of seamen? 15. How are the crews of the shipping in the outer roadstead (if any) provided with spiritual assistance? 16. How can any extraneous aid best supplement the parochial machinery in providing spiritual sustenance for seamen during the brief intervals of their voyages? 17. Is there a Sailors' Home?"

We shall commence with a short notice of the northern port of Berwick-on-Tweed, and proceed thence round our English coast until we reach the county of Cumberland, after which we shall briefly advert to the chief ports of Ireland.


About 308 ships and 300 barges enter this port annually. Some of the crews, when on shore, lodge at Tweedmouth, on the south side of the Tweed, and some at Berwick, on the north side of that river. The vicar of Berwick is honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and a scripture reader, partly maintained by the Missions to Seamen Society, regularly visits every ship that enters the port, and invites the crews to attend divine service on Sundays at the parish church, assuring them of a hearty welcome there, and those who come are supplied with prayer-books and hymn-books. There is plenty of church accommodation for them, but comparatively few accept this, and still fewer communicate. The shipowners and officers of this port are constantly urged to have divine service performed on board their ships, but without much effect. Intercession is occasionally made for those at sea in the parish church. There is no sailors' home here nor reading-room. No more spiritual aid is needed, but only a better spirit on the part of shipowners, captains, and seamen.


These constitute the most important ports north of London. The shipping on the Tyne extends over about nine miles of the river, on [17/18] which are scattered several large docks and building yards. This space is divided into three separate ports, viz., those of North Shields, South Shields, and Newcastle. It is impossible to calculate the number of seamen entering the Tyne with any degree of accuracy; but 18,000 vessels of all sizes entered this port in 1876, and 14,152 seamen were engaged for repeated voyages at the North Shields shipping office, and about the same number at the South Shields office, besides those engaged at Newcastle. It must, however, be borne in mind that the same men engage themselves more than once, and some many times, in the course of the year, especially in steamships; and thus, although perhaps from 30,000 to 40,000 English seamen enter the Tyne annually, that number may really only represent 7,000. Besides these seamen proper, there are from 700 to 1,000 fishermen from Scotland frequenting the Tyne during the fishing season, besides many Americans, steam-tug men, and bargemen.


Seamen here chiefly board in the parishes of St. Peter and Holy Trinity. No system of parochial visitation with respect to seamen at present exists in these parishes, and indeed the present staff of clergy is insufficient for this. Seamen are invited to attend divine service in the above-named churches, and are especially welcomed at St. Peter's, where the seats are free, and prayer and hymn-books are provided for their use. A chaplain and a second scripture reader are much needed here to serve on board the ships in the river and at Smith's buoys, the Royal Naval Reserve training-ship "Castor," and the boys' training-ship "Wellesley;" also to wait upon the Scotch fishermen at the entrance of the harbour, and the seamen in their boarding-houses.

A new church, also, at Northumberland or Howden Dock, or at the new dock in the parish of St. John, to which a special seamen's chaplain might be appointed, assisted by a scripture reader, to work among the seamen and dockmen, would be a most valuable means of providing for the spiritual wants of this portion of North Shields. There is a sailors' home here, but it is not much frequented.


In 1876 the number of seamen entering this port was 3,970. The whole of the river and its banks belong to the mother parish of St. Nicholas, but the seamen's boarding-houses are situated in the district parishes of All Saints and St. Anne. There is divine service every Sunday at the Trinity House, conducted by a chaplain. The Board of Trade, through its regulations, seek to induce captains to have divine service performed on board their ships on Sunday, but without much success.

[19] In this important town, so immediately connected with seamen, no intercession is made for them regularly when at sea, and no special efforts are made to bring them to the House of God, nor to welcome them there, so that no more church room is required. Here is an unsectarian religious society, called the Sailor's Society. It employs lay agents to endeavour to influence seamen spiritually, but, unhappily, entirely ignores the formularies of the Church of England. Much aid is required here from the Missions to Seamen Society, or other sources, to help the parochial clergy to serve seamen at this important port. Besides the above-named Sailors' Society there is also a sailors' home conducted on the same principles. There are several large docks between Newcastle and Shields much frequented by shipping, the crews of which temporarily live in the adjacent parishes. These are at present totally uncared for, and, consequently, rarely seen at church. If these were visited by proper agents, no doubt much spiritual good might be effected; but, as the vicar of Newcastle-on-Tyne has upwards of 5,000 parishioners to attend to, he has absolutely no power to attend to river or dock visitation.

Between the Howdon or Northumberland and Tyne Docks and Newcastle Quay many vessels lie in the several reaches of the river for a distance of about seven miles, and in various parishes.

A chaplain, or scripture reader, attached to the parish of St. Nicholas, Newcastle, under the direction of the vicar, would find full occupation in ministering to the floating population of the river, and in endeavouring to bring them to divine worship in the several churches on its shores, which at present they next to never enter.


From 12,000 to 14,000 seamen usually engage themselves at this port. These board in the parishes of St. Stephen, Holy Trinity, and St. Mary. The same absence of parochial visitation prevails here as at North Shields, and from the same reason. There is quite sufficient church accommodation for the bulk of the seamen here, and a considerable number attend the services at St. Hilda's and St. Mary's, but very few ever communicate.

Moored to the shore is an old 26-gun frigate, serving as a mission ship, which is very useful as a base of operations for pastoral work on the river, and as a residence for the chaplain and scripture reader at work afloat. They are provided with boats, enabling them to visit the vessels in the river, and hold evening services on board these after working hours, as well as to persuade captains to conduct service on board their ships on Sundays. This ship is furnished with a chapel on the gun deck, where divine service is performed twice every Sunday, and is well attended, notwithstanding the large space over which seamen's boarding-houses and ships are scattered. There is also a reading-room and library on the spar deck, which are appreciated by those [19/20] making use of them. Libraries are also placed in the forecastles of outward-bound ships, for which disused books and periodicals are asked from the public. The chaplain and his assistant also constantly visit the sailors' home at North Shields, the boarding houses and shipping offices, and, in fact, a migratory spiritual agency is absolutely necessary here to accord with the migratory habits of the seamen frequenting the Tyne ports, for they are usually in one parish when they arrive in port, in a second when in dock, in a third when paid off and they go to a boarding-house or the sailors' home, and in a fourth, when they are again on board, preparatory to a fresh voyage.

A branch of the Church of England Temperance Society exists here, and has a large number of working members.

The chaplain here, supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, conducts a Sunday evening service in the Volunteer Life Brigade House, in the parish of St. Stephen's, which proves so attractive to pilots and other longshore men that the time seems to have arrived when a church or chapel should be built at the new fish-quay in that parish for the benefit of these seafaring men, consisting of pilots, crews of coasting vessels and boats, and fishermen, the pastor of which might hold services on board the ships here, and serve seamen at the shipping-office and market-place.

Probably he would require the assistance of a scripture reader, who might visit the ships and boarding-houses in St. Thomas's parish, the market-place in St. Hilda's parish, and endeavour to bring the men to church in these parishes.

Another reader should be attached to the parish of St. Mary for the exclusive service of the shipping in the Tyne Dock and the surrounding boarding-houses. There is great need for special efforts in behalf of the seamen of this very important port, and to assure them of a hearty welcome from their brother shore Churchmen worshipping in the churches of the Tyne ports, from which they at present usually shrink.


The large number of 28,620 seamen entered this port in sailing vessels, and 43,729 in steamers, or 72,349 men in all, including repeated entries in 1876. The seamen's boarding-houses are situated in five of the parishes of this town, and are visited in common with other houses. There is a most marked and lamentable absence of seamen in the churches of Sunderland, perhaps owing to a want of accommodation for them and time to minister to them, whilst divine service at sea appears to be most rare in the ships trading from this port; indeed, the parochial system here does not extend to seamen whose families do not reside in the town, and, but for the extraneous aid of the Missions to Seamen Society, there would be no church agency to help them, whilst no special intercession is made in the [20/21] churches for those at sea. There is a sailors' home here, but it has just been closed. An excellent scripture reader, supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, is doing good work here, and trying to induce captains to have divine service on Sundays on board their vessels; and also a tract distributor working in a portion of the docks. But what are these among so many? A chaplain and three more scripture readers are urgently required, who should be attached to the parochial staff of the water-side parishes for the especial purpose of waiting upon seamen and trying to bring them to the House of God. These would be the best helpers that could be procured for the clergy and seamen of Sunderland. One of these should serve the crews of the colliers waiting for cargo in St. Peter's parish, and the other two should assist Mr. Carroll, at present the only reader, to work among the ships lying in the south docks and in visiting the sailors' boarding houses. The rector of Hendon has for many years taken an active part in the work afloat at Sunderland, as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and would be most thankful for this aid. The vicar of St. John's, another honorary chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, has a boat placed at the service of a lay reader, who visits all ships lying in his parish. He is assisted by volunteer devout seamen, who read to the crews on board ship, give them tracts, and urge them to worship God with some success. As the churches of Sunderland, except St. John's, are not conveniently situated with respect to the docks, perhaps a church built for the especial use of seamen, close to the docks, would serve to attract them, especially if a chaplain could be provided acquainted with the character and feelings of seamen, and commissioned by the Bishop and the parochial clergy to serve them in this church, and to preside over the scripture readers and general work so much required to be done for the benefit of seamen at this port.


About 8,000 seamen annually enter this port now, but they remain here for a shorter time than formerly, through the use of steam vessels instead of the old colliers, and the increased speed of loading them. No boarding-house is required for seamen, as they live on board when in harbour. There is abundant room for seamen in the parish church, and they are welcomed when they come, but few attend, and almost none communicate. The parochial clergy occasionally visit the seamen in port, and the hymn "For those at Sea" is sung at times during stormy weather. In very few ships visiting this port is the Lord's Day observed by divine worship on Sundays when at sea, and so far next to no effort has been made to promote this. Here there is no sailors' home, but there is an excellent reading-room for their use in the harbour, in which services and meetings are occasionally held, more especially in the winter, and there is also an infirmary, principally [21/22] intended for seamen, but now used for the sick in general. It is thought that the present staff of clergy is sufficient, but that the services of a scripture reader to visit the shipping systematically, and to work among seamen, would be a very desirable addition to the parochial staff.


The number of seamen entering Hartlepool in 1876 was 10,000, including repeated voyages, and of those entering East Hartlepool 12,000. The ships and boarding-houses for seamen are in St. Hilda's parish, Hartlepool, and St. James's, West Hartlepool. The Missions to Seamen Society place a scripture reader at the disposal of the two incumbents here to visit ships, and as a rule captains are very willing to allow the performance of divine service on board their ships, but they do not conduct services themselves when at sea. On shore, the seamen residing here are visited on a regular system by the clergy and district visitors, and a prayer meeting is held every Monday for seamen and their families, as well as a cottage lecture once a week during the winter, which is well attended. Many seamen here are Dissenters, but they attend church on Sunday evenings, when they are freely accommodated with seats by the churchwardens or sidesmen. No periodical intercession is made in the churches here for those at sea. There is only a Nonconformist sailors' Bethel at Hartlepool, and no sailors' home nor reading-room. A special curate to minister to the seamen frequenting this port, and further clerical and lay help, is much needed here. The rector of Hartlepool and the vicar of St. James, West Hartlepool, in whose parishes the shipping mainly lies, are honorary chaplains to the Missions to Seamen Society, and kindly superintend the work of the scripture reader provided by that Society for the benefit of the seamen of this port. This work, however, is not as yet organised, so that the church attendance is, at present, very poor.


About 4,000 seamen enter this port annually, including repeated voyages, but many of these are foreigners. There is no dock here, and the ships lie in the river off the parishes of St. Thomas and Holy Trinity. A lay reader of the Missions to Seamen Society visits the ships here twice a week, and the vicar acts as its honorary chaplain. Here also a kind lady visits the ships on one side of the river, and some members of the Christian Association visit those on the other side by means of a boat of their own. These distribute tracts, and try to persuade the crews of ships here to attend divine worship, and their captains to have prayers on board when at sea. Seats in church and hymn-books are ready for the use of seamen, but for want of adequate shepherding few attend church.


[23] The number of seamen entering this port in 1876, including repeated voyages, was 27,570. The docks are in the parishes of St. Peter and St. John, and wharves in those of St. Hilda and St. Paul. All the churches here are free, and there is no lack of church accommodation. Prayer and hymn books are provided in at least two of the churches for strangers entering them for divine service, but the arrangements for bringing seamen to church being insufficient few attend, and next to none communicate. They are ministered to by the vicar of St. Peter's, as honorary chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, assisted by a scripture reader supported by that Society. These urge seamen to attend divine service in the most conveniently situated churches, and cards giving the names of these and hours of the services are issued for the information of stranger seamen. This assistance has only of late been offered to seamen, but we trust it will increase and prove highly beneficial. The captains and mates of ships are urged to have divine service on board on Sundays, and helped with books and counsel. No periodical intercession is made for those at sea in the churches of this town. There is no sailors' home here, and the reading-room for them is now closed, we hope only temporarily. The time of the lay reader is divided between Middlesbrough and Hartlepool; but there should certainly be one here always, as there would be plenty for him to do. Another scripture reader is employed by the Middlesbrough Town Mission.

As the Dissenters have for many years devoted especial attention to seamen on the coast of Yorkshire, it is not surprising to find that many of the more religious of the crews frequenting Middlesbrough are Dissenters.


About 3,000 seamen, including the crews of coasters and fishing boats from a distance, enter this port annually. The rector of Whitby, as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, is doing all he can for the spiritual good of the seamen of this port and takes a lively interest in the work. He has the assistance of a scripture reader supplied by that Society, who visits seamen on board their ships and on shore. He also persuades them to attend divine service at the parish church, where seats are freely provided for those who respond to his invitation, or at St. Michael's by the water-side, and tries to induce captains of vessels to read prayers to their crews when afloat. Prayers for those at sea are offered up at water-side meetings periodically. There is a fishermen's home, constantly visited by the clergy, and also a small sailors' home, likely to be replaced by a larger one. No more church accommodation is required, but only a very few seamen ever communicate here.


[24] The number of seamen entering the port of Hull in 1875 was 17,970. There were also 5,876 entries of barges, including repeated inland trips; many of them with families on board. Their boarding-houses are situated in the parishes of Holy Trinity, St. Mary, St. Barnabas, St. Peter's, Drypool, and St. James, as well as in the Mariners' district. There is no organised parochial system of visiting seamen in their ships or boarding-houses, but this is done as far as possible by the vicar of Holy Trinity, who is also chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and the incumbent of the Mariners' Church, aided by a scripture reader provided by that Society, who earnestly invite seamen to attend church. The Sunday attendance averages about twenty-four seagoing men, but only a few of these communicate. Many of the best sittings in the Mariners' Chapel are reserved for residents, but the others are quite at the disposition of seamen, for whom hymn and prayer books are provided. It is proposed to build a new Mariners' Chapel in a more convenient situation than the present one occupies, and of greater size, in which it is hoped that all the seats will be free to seamen. Here intercession for those at sea is periodically made, and captains of ships are constantly exhorted to read prayers on board on Sundays, but we fear to little purpose. Special influence should be brought to bear upon the shipowners and shipping and dock companies in behalf of the seamen of this most important port, and the more so because, as the ships here usually make short voyages, their crews the more often desecrate the Sabbath by leaving and entering port on that day, which hinders devotion on shore and at sea. But for this pernicious habit the attendance at church would, we believe, be considerably improved. There is a large floating population here of bargemen engaged in inland navigation, many of whom are accompanied by their families on board, who demand the especial care of the Church. As there are six large docks here, and more are likely to be made, a considerable increase of chaplains and lay readers should be provided for the spiritual care of its seamen, as the present staff is totally insufficient for the great work, on which they are employing all their energy. Two more chaplains and four more lay readers at least are required to work in the parishes having docks in Hull, and to these should be added volunteer assistants licensed by the bishop, also the means of supplying the ships frequenting this port with devotional and other books, and two other helpers are required to work among the bargemen of Hull. Here is a sailors' home and also a reading-room for seamen, the latter under the management of the Missions to Seamen Society.


The number of seamen who entered this port in 1876, including repeated returns to it, was 14,420; but on an average there are only about 725 seamen in port at one time. They are mostly resident here when on land, so that neither a sailors' home nor boarding-houses are [24/25] needed for them. They are usually at home on Sundays, as the vessels here are mostly coasters and in port then. They attend church very fairly, but next to none are communicants. The incumbent occasionally supplies the ships with books and tracts, and visits them, but no special intercession is made for those at sea.

There is a reading-room for seamen, but this is not much frequented and with difficulty supported. A special curate or chaplain to minister to seamen, with assistance, is much needed at Goole.


The total number of seamen entering this port in 1876 under the English flag was 9,609, including the crews of steamers plying between Grimsby and Hamburg, Rotterdam and Antwerp, many Norwegians, and bargemen plying on the Humber. The above number also includes, as usual, repeated voyages of the same men, so that perhaps not more than 2,000 actually entered this port after repeated voyages in 1876. About 300 of these, belonging to regular traders, reside in Grimsby, and a large portion of the remainder are foreigners from the Baltic. Seamen's boarding-houses are near the docks. Here is a fleet of 625 fishing-smacks, which is continually on the increase, 525 of which carry from five to six men and boys on an average, and the remainder are cod-fish vessels, carrying crews of eleven on an average, making a total of 4,000 men and boys employed in this fishing fleet. These have houses or permanent lodgings at Grimsby, chiefly in St. Andrew's parish and in New Clee. The main spiritual work required is among the fishermen, who have been attracted here from other parts of England, and are mostly Dissenters. The boys are generally orphans or friendless ones from Union houses, who have had no domestic or other advantages and no religious instruction, so that they are most difficult to influence. Sunday is generally disregarded by these fishermen, and they are seldom at home then, usually sailing on a Saturday, and next to never being on shore for more than three tides at a time. Hence little church accommodation is unhappily needed for them; but the seats of the churches of St. Andrew, St. Barnabas, and St. John at New Clee are all free, the last of which is most frequented by seafaring men. Intercession is regularly made for those at sea at St. Andrew's.

Here is an excellent chaplain supplied by St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission, who does all in his power to influence the fishermen and boys by urging their captains to read prayers on board, and by supplying their boats with small libraries of religious and other books, through which bible reading is not uncommon. There is no sailors' home here, but there is a room on Fish Dock Road for the use of seamen, and the provision of a mission-room is contemplated, but a chapel is much needed, and the assistance of more clergy and scripture readers would be of great value here from the very rapid increase of the seafaring people of Grimsby.


[26] 1,597 seamen entered the port of Boston in 1876. The roadstead is at Clayhole, five miles from the town, where ships drawing much water are obliged to remain; but others come up the River Witham and lie alongside the quays. Their captains usually lodge on land during their stay at Boston, but the crews sleep on board, so that no sailors' home is thought to be needed here. There is plenty of room for sailors in the parish church, but no especial intercession is ever made for those at sea. There is one voluntary church helper, who visits ships in port, distributes tracts among their crews, and invites them to attend divine service, and a class for seamen was held occasionally on Saturday evenings last year. A chaplain to minister to seamen in port at Boston would no doubt be of great service, and especially if assisted by authorised lay helpers serving under the rule of the vicar, and enabled to distribute bibles, prayer-books, and other books and tracts, who should report progress to him at fixed periodical times, and assure seamen that they would receive a hearty welcome at the parish church and elsewhere. The presence of one of these helpers or of some devout seamen at the doors of the churches, inviting strange seamen to enter, assuring them of a kindly reception and pointing out places for them, would most assuredly tend to the increased attendance at divine service on the part of these strangers of the sea, but, for the time being, parishioners of the town under the care of the Church.


The number of seamen who entered this port in 1876, including repeated voyages, was 5,910. The boarding-houses for sailors here are in the parishes. of St. Margaret, All Saints, and St. John. There is at present no special effort made to induce seamen to attend divine worship, and consequently very few ever do.

The population of North Lynn and St. Margaret's, Lynn Regis, is upwards of 8,000, and that of All Saints is 4,757, whilst the livings are poorly endowed, so that it is impossible for their incumbents to give either time or means towards the maintenance of a curate or chaplain to minister especially to the seamen of this port. Extraneous assistance is greatly needed here, and we trust that this may be shortly forthcoming through the medium of the Missions to Seamen Society in aid of local efforts to accomplish this greatly-needed good work.


Besides the large fleet of fishing smacks for which Yarmouth is famous, about 720 merchant vessels entered the port in 1876; and [26/27] in boisterous weather large fleets take refuge in the roadstead. The merchant seamen in the harbour are chiefly strangers, who reside on board their ships. These are invited to attend church by two agents supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, who have the use of a boat given for this purpose by the present excellent vicar, the Rev. George Venables, who, with the pastor of St. John's, are honorary chaplains to the Missions to Seamen Society. Those who attend to this invitation are gladly welcomed, but these are not many in number. The above-named agents, however, do more for the seamen coming to Yarmouth, for on Sundays they go forth in the vicar's boat--the Dove--and conduct four or five services on board vessels lying in the roads. One of the honorary chaplains and a Missions to Seamen reader hold services occasionally on board the lightships and in the fishing fleet at sea.

Here are 4,000 fishermen, men and boys, a considerable number of whom attend church on Sundays, and of these about one in ten are communicants.

When a new church, now in process of erection is completed, there will be plenty of church accommodation for seamen at Yarmouth, and the spiritual care bestowed upon fishermen here is an excellent example for others, who have the care of seaboard parishes, to follow. Captains of vessels do not at present conduct services on board their vessels on Sundays or other days; but it is thought that if suitable forms of prayer were compiled and supplied to the vessels frequenting Yarmouth and other seaports it would be of very great service. During stormy weather intercession is made for those at sea, and a special Church Service held annually at the commencement of the autumn fishing. There are a very comfortable and well-administered sailors' home and a smack-boys' home here, which are doing good service.


Here is a population of nearly 3,000, chiefly fishermen, under the care of the vicar of Christ Church, whose gross income from his cure is £200, and he has none to help him with his spiritual work but one bible-woman, which is very discouraging, and no doubt some special effort of the Church ought to be made here to aid the vicar in his work. The supply of a scripture reader by the Missions to Seamen Society would be exactly what is wanted. Dissent is strong here, and there is a sailors' Bethel and home; but, so far, the Church has done next to nothing to minister to the fishermen of this place. Special intercession, however, is put up for them by the vicar of Christ Church when they are at sea, and he would be most grateful even for a lay scripture reader. Perhaps, if this great need of assistance on his part for the benefit of the fishermen of Lowestoft was put before the visitors frequenting this watering-place they would be disposed to aid him, and thus forward a work of true Christian charity.


[28] The number of seamen who entered this harbour in 1876 was 5,660, of whom 300 belonged to Ipswich, 2,760 were engaged in the coasting trade, and 2,600 in the foreign trade. Of these 1,120 were foreigners, chiefly Danes and Norwegians, so that 5,540 were sailing under the British flag, exclusive of those in vessels lying at the anchorage in the river below Harwich. The sailors' boarding-houses are situated in the parishes of St. Clement, St. Peter, St. Mary Stoke, and St. Mary Key.

There would be ample room for seamen in the church of St. Mary Key, and there is a fine floating-ship church provided for their use at the south end of the dock, but no means are taken to induce them to attend divine service; only a very few sailors ever do so, and there are many dens of iniquity of the worst description tempting seamen through drink and debauchery. To remedy such a sad state of things £100 has lately been collected towards providing spiritual assistance for the seamen of Ipswich, and the Missions to Seamen Society has just provided a lay reader, whose duty will be to visit ships coming up the River Orwell, to hold services on board, to distribute bibles, and to warn seamen against the evil practices of publichouse keepers and crimps.

A small sailors' home has lately been established here by the Rev. Granville Smith, honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, close to the dock, where board and lodging are provided, which is likely to prove most valuable. Here, also, is a temperance coffee-house, but it is not much liked or used.

At Pin Mill, a small village on the bend of the river, half-way between Ipswich and Harwich, is an anchorage for ships, where they discharge cargo by means of barges, before they enter Ipswich Dock. Here a mission-boat, and a missioner in some form of the Church of England, would be very valuable, for the purpose of influencing seamen at this point when comparatively free from distraction and temptation, and also of waiting upon bargemen and their families, living on board numerous barges here, and at present isolated from the means of grace on shore. The Missions to Seamen reader for the Orwell visits the shipping at Pin Mill weekly.


This is a peculiar port, which may chiefly be regarded as a harbour of refuge, and has very few ships belonging to it. In 1876, 630 coasting vessels entered outward and 590 inward; about 30 foreign vessels discharged cargo here, 27 men engaged for foreign service, and 115 were discharged from the same. There also are five steamers constantly plying between this port and Rotterdam or Antwerp, and during the summer months about 80 shrimping boats stay here. These are manned by respectable men, usually married, who live on [28/29] board, and are the owners of the boats in which they labour. There is also a considerable number of seamen here employed in the light-vessels and lighthouses, but who live one out of every three months on shore, and are usually respectable married men, also a certain number of fishermen and bargemen. A man-of-war, which has a chaplain on board, is stationed at Harwich for the purpose of training the Naval Reserve, and here also is a coastguard station and a revenue vessel. During the winter many large foreign vessels seek shelter in this port, or remain there wind-bound. There are no boardinghouses for seamen, and they are not required. No additional church accommodation is needed, but a water-side scripture reader is very much wanted, and would be a great boon. There is a sailors' home here. During stormy weather prayer is offered up in the parish church for those at sea. The Missions to Seamen reader for the Orwell visits the shipping at Harwich weekly, and the vicar of Ramsey acts as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society.


The so-called port of Colchester consists of four small towns or villages, viz., the Hythe, a suburb of the town of Colchester, Rowhedge, lower down the River Colne, the Wyvenhoe, and Brightlingsea at the mouth of the Colne. From 40 to 50 vessels, chiefly from the Baltic, discharge their cargoes at Wyvenhoe, and a small number of English vessels from various ports enter the Colne annually; but the seamen here are numerous, as well as bargemen plying between Colchester and Brightlingsea. These live on shore when not on duty, and the apprentices live with their masters. The fishermen chiefly live in St. Leonard's parish, Colchester, and are duly cared for by the rector, Dr. Manning, and no aid is necessary to supplement his ministrations; but at Brightlingsea, where there are 2,000 seafaring people, and the vicar is single-handed, the additional services of a chaplain or scripture reader, to work under him, are much needed. He might also serve at Wyvenhoe and visit the ships which occasionally lie for shelter at the mouth of the river, and some efforts are being made to effect this object. Intercession is regularly made for those at sea at one of the Sunday services at Brightlingsea, and in stormy weather the Special Service of Intercession, sanctioned by the Archbishop and the Bishop, is used.


The port of London has the largest commerce of any seaport in the world. In 1875, 11,311 vessels, of the united tonnage of 4,910,000 tons, arrived in it from foreign ports, besides which it has an immense coasting trade, fishing trade, river and canal trade. Upwards of 200,000 seagoing men, including repeated voyages, enter the Thames annually, besides some 12,000 bargemen plying on the river, and several thousands on the various canals. The men employed in the coasting trade chiefly live on board their vessels in the river; but the [29/30] largest number of seamen are connected with the ships in the docks, and are to be found, when on shore, in the homes or boarding-houses near them. Most of the ships lie in the fourteen parishes of the diocese of London having a frontage on the north side of the Thames below London Bridge extending over a space of six miles; in the three parishes of the diocese of St. Alban's; and in those of Rochester diocese on the south side of the Thames below London Bridge, and extending over a space of five miles. But as a rule it is quite certain that the parochial clergy cannot possibly extend their pastoral care to all these seamen efficiently without considerable supplemental aid. There have long been unsectarian and other Nonconformist societies and independent volunteers attempting to work among the seamen of the great port of London; but from their want of a right foundation, of cohesion, and central direction, comparatively little has been done, so far, by these to amend the lives of the seamen of London, so that many men who come to these river-side parishes from foreign ports sober and healthy, leave them drunken and diseased. Until comparatively lately, the Church of England did nothing to lessen this evil, or for the spiritual life of her seamen on the Thames, and even now, considering the greatness of the work needed, the number of river-board parishes, and their large and changeable population, what has so far been done is utterly inadequate. The largest docks are the Victoria Docks, situated in St. Luke's parish, in the diocese of St. Alban's, where the ships are visited precisely in the same way as the houses, and seamen are as much regarded as parishioners as any others. There is ample room for their accommodation in the parish church and two mission churches provided for their use, and the St. Andrew's Water-side Mission provides the stipend of a curate and books for distribution. There are also reading-rooms near the dock gates. Through this careful pastoral care on the part of the incumbent of St. Luke's and his assistants many seamen are communicants and regular attendants at church.

St. Luke's, Millwall, a parish in the London diocese, situated between the South-west India and the Millwall docks, has also had, during the last three years, a marine curate, supplied by the St. Andrew's Waterside Mission, and seems to be the only one where work among seamen is adopted as a part of the parochial system. This curate visited 1,897 ships last year, many of them twice or thrice, and he placed carefully-selected libraries on board 100 of them. Many captains have been induced to conduct divine worship when at sea. Some portions of the Special Service of Intercession for those at Sea are used in the church weekly, and in stormy weather. This parish has 4,000 resident inhabitants besides its seagoing population.

Nonconformists had been doing something for the seamen of London for eight years before the Church of England felt that it was her duty to minister to them; and then, in the year 1825, the London Episcopal Floating Church Society was founded, and four years later a small ship of war was procured to serve [30/31] as a floating church for sailors. In 1847 this was superseded by the erection of a church dedicated in honour of St. Paul, in Dock Street, Whitechapel, and near to a previously erected sailors' home. To this was given a parish, now containing about 8,500 people, almost all of whom are more or less connected with seamen, and 13,000 seamen last year passed through its home. The vicar of this important parish is the Rev. Daniel Greatorex, to whom seamen are deeply indebted for his valuable labours in their behalf, and the careful study of the manner in which this parish is worked, to the great spiritual benefit of its seafaring people, will well repay the incumbents of other parishes of a similar character, as well as all who desire to extend the benefits of parochial organisation to the seamen of England. Mr. Greatorex, on whom has been lately bestowed a B.D. degree by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a recognition of his good work with respect to sailors, is an honorary chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, and is assisted by a curate and five lay assistants, two of whom are supplied by the above-named society. Aided by these helps, a systematic visitation of the boarding-houses in this parish and of the shipping in the London Docks and on the river is carefully carried on, and 12,700 attendances of officers and seamen at the Sunday services of this one church were recorded in the year 1876. These are believed to represent about 2,000 different seamen attending at St. Paul's one or more times during the brief intervals of their voyages. Intercession for those at sea is made at every service in this church, which is not so largely frequented as it is through any extraordinary attractions but simply through the systematic visitation of seamen living near it, and the hearty welcome which greets them at its doors, in addition to the fact that all its seats are free and open. In aid of this good work the two readers of the Missions to Seamen alone made 3,757 visits to ships, 4,604 to barges, and 1,050 to seamen's boarding-houses last year. They also held 1,477 services or scripture readings on board ships, at which 6,864 seamen were present, and 9,500 more were conversed with on religious subjects. 750 bibles, prayer books, and hymn books were circulated, and 58 ships supplied with libraries of from 20 to 24 volumes of sacred literature, besides copies of the bible and Book of Common Prayer.

If the other dock and river-side parishes on the Thames would adopt the same admirable system for the spiritual benefit of seamen, a work of the greatest possible value would be effected. We are very grateful for the present most valuable assistance given to the parochial clergy by the Missions to Seamen Society, St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission, the Thames Church Mission, and other-societies, as well as for the aid generously and benevolently given by many private persons working in behalf of the spiritual benefit of the seamen of London and the Thames. But we feel assured that this great and good work might be very largely increased, under the blessing of the great Head of the Church, if the churchmen of the dioceses of London, Rochester, and [31/32] St. Alban's, under the direction of their bishop, would unite for the purpose of supplying the great Spiritual needs of their river-side parishes. They would thus save multitudes of seamen from destruction, and from being a curse to others through their evil irreligious lives in other ports, all over the world, as living representatives of our Christian faith and practice in foreign parts.

No grander mission centre exists than that comprised in the arch-deaconry of London, through the influence it might exercise in behalf of seamen, by throwing open its twelve river-side parish churches to them, and welcoming them there, and by the provision of a curate or two scripture readers to serve seamen in each of those parishes. As that portion of the river within the two city parishes above the Tower is crowded with an everchanging floating population, the staff of these parishes, who have small resident populations to minister to, might render valuable service if their energies could be devoted to their shipping, after the example of the parish of St. Paul, Whitechapel. As most of the other parishes are over-burdened with large populations, it is impossible to expect their incumbents to provide for their riverside seamen also without extraneous assistance; but, through episcopal interposition and aid from without, this boon we fully believe might be obtained.

The diocese of Rochester has long had before it the admirable example of the parish of Holy Trinity at Milton-next-Gravesend; but as yet only one other of the fifteen parishes bordering the river on the south side below London Bridge has thought of caring for the seamen population living within their bounds afloat. This, no doubt, has arisen from their incumbents being already so overburdened with the care of their large land populations that they have neither accommodation in their churches nor time to bestow upon seamen. We trust that the new Bishop of Rochester will be led to direct his attention to the thousands of seamen and watermen in his diocese plying on the Thames and the Surrey Canal, or engaged in the Commercial Docks, whose boarding-houses are in the various parishes of Horsleydown, Rotherhithe, Deptford, and Greenwich. The same means are suggested for the aid of river-side parishes as in the diocese of London, and it is suggested that these may be extended also to the similar circumstanced parishes in that of St. Alban's.

The Thames Church Mission (described pp. 7 and 8) labours amongst the shipping in the stream. Like the other societies, it does not itself provide worshipping facilities for seamen, but is doing a most invaluable individualising work on the river. If such work could be more closely allied to the parochial action on the neighbouring shores, mutual good to both landsmen and seamen might result. As it is, an excellent chaplain and six lay readers are doing an important work for God, which is deserving of all praise.

It is much to be regretted that intercession for those at sea is not more generally made in London parish churches, and especially in those frequented by seamen: and the more so as the Bishops of London, [32/33] St. Albans, and Rochester, have approved of a Special Service of Intercession for those at Sea being used in their churches. This is at present only read in a few churches, and one or more of its collects are read during stormy weather in others. Should the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, which may be regarded not only as the Metropolitan Church of the great seaport of London but of this great maritime country, see fit to use one or more collects for those at sea, periodically, such a recognition of their existence, and of their many perils, would be highly valued by the seamen of England.

It is of vital importance that the National Church of a country which is Mistress of the seas should be everywhere represented by godly seamen; but this godliness can only be hoped for through the divine blessing upon the efforts of the bishops and pastors of our home flocks in behalf of our seamen at sea, at home, and in foreign parts. May increased efforts be made on their part in favour of these our brethren of the sea, going forth so often from our great metropolis and the Thames, that instead of continuing to injure the work of Christ, and preventing the spread of His gospel, as many now do, through the evil example of their lives, they may become promoters rather than hinderers of the faith both at home and abroad.


This may be regarded as the entrance to the port of London, where most of the large ships entering or leaving the Thames anchor for brief periods. 11,145 seamen were shipped here in British ships and about 35,000 at the port of London, in 1876, independent of those employed in the steamboat and coasting trades, which will give some idea of the number of those touching at Gravesend habitually. An admirable Society was founded at Gravesend in 1864, called St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission, for the purpose of visiting the ships at anchor here, to their great spiritual advantage, the character of which has been already described. Its action is most valuable, for it works in perfect harmony with the parochial clergy on both sides of the river on true Church principles, and simply with a desire to help them. There is a beautiful little church on the river bank, which is free and open at all times, where also intercession for those at sea is regularly offered up weekly and during stormy weather. There is no sailors' home here, but there is a mission home containing a reading-room, and another at the Town Pier, supported by St. Andrew's Mission. There are only few resident seamen at Gravesend, comparatively speaking, but the spiritual care bestowed upon the immense number of sailors passing here on their way to all parts of the world is immense and worthy of the highest commendation. Here also a chaplain and a lay reader of the Thames Church Mission are at work.


[34] On the banks of this river are the important naval stations of Sheerness and Chatham, the port of Rochester with Strood, and several centres of barge traffic, such as Sittingbourne, Rainham, and Maidstone,

Her Majesty's ships at Sheerness and Chatham are chiefly in reserve, and are not visited by naval chaplains. The large number of 15,031 merchant seamen entered the port of Rochester and Strood (including repeated entries) in 1876. The boarding-houses they frequent when off duty are in the parishes of St. Nicholas and St. Mary, Strood, and in that of St. Nicholas at Rochester.

About 500 seamen usually attend church here, and intercession is made for those at sea during stormy weather. The vicars of St. Nicholas at Strood and Rochester act as honorary chaplains of the Missions to Seamen Society, which also supplies a scripture reader with a boat and boatman to enable him to visit ships and barges in the river, as well as a mission-room for his use on the river bank. Through his agency, hundreds of bibles, prayer-books, hymn books, and other devotional books are distributed yearly among the crews of merchant vessels, and their captains are urged to conduct divine service on Sundays on board when at sea, often with success. The Missions to Seamen reader, with another, serves in the naval hospital and the royal marine barracks, under the supervision of the naval chaplains, but much more spiritual aid is required to minister to the floating population scattered over about thirty miles of river, on which eight hundred barges ply, manned by men often living on board with their families, and this aid should be proportionately supplied by the parishes chiefly frequented by them, and where they habitually anchor, for most assuredly further means are urgently needed to minister to this large floating population and to insure a systematic visitation of their barges.


Besides ships of all kinds occasionally frequenting Ramsgate Harbour there are 150 fishing smacks belonging to it, manned by 700 men, some colliers, six lightships stationed off the coast, and a coastguard station. For the last fourteen years a lay reader has been provided as well as a reading-room and a small sailors' home, by the united efforts of Churchmen and Dissenters. This reader is provided by the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, who conducts services in a Bethel, in part only of the Church of England character; but the present vicar of Christchurch, the Rev. J. Eustace Brenan, is now happily about to alter this state of things for the better, by the erection of a mission church close to the harbour, together with a [34/35] home and reading-room connected together, where the services will then of course be those only of the Church of England, and the reader will be duly licensed to officiate in this seamen's church. Then only a steam-launch will be required to visit the vessels lying habitually in large numbers between the North and South Foreland; but we fear that the cost of providing and maintaining a launch for this good purpose will for the present prevent its accomplishment.


In front of Deal and Walmer is the great roadstead of the Downs, where as many as 500 vessels sometimes lie at anchor at once, manned by thousands of sailors. These seldom come on shore, so that there is no need of provision for them there, but only for fishermen, who have a reading-room provided for them at Deal, and for whom there is sufficient church accommodation. The vicar of St. George's is honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen. A lay reader of the Missions to Seamen Society visits the shipping off Deal, and makes efforts to promote Sunday observance by appealing to the captains of ships, and the distribution of bibles, prayer, and other books; but more than this is wanted, and a chaplain provided with a steam-launch would be a great boon here. He could thus easily board the ships in the Downs, hold short impressive services and administer the Holy Communion on board, and perhaps minister occasionally to seamen in Ramsgate Harbour, Sandwich Haven, and Walmer, as well as at Deal, with the consent of the incumbents of those parishes.

In such important roadsteads, where large ships seek shelter, an educated gentleman in holy orders has immense advantages over a scripture reader in conveying the ministrations of our Church to officers, engineers, and passengers, as well as to large crews.


This well-known port is of some trading importance, which is likely to increase. There are 830 resident sailors and fishermen on board the channel steamers, colliers, barges, and fishing boats belonging to Dover, and some 2,500 seagoing men, "strangers," who annually visit this harbour as crews of cargo vessels or yachts, or vessels taking shelter from the winds. The harbour lies in the parish of Holy Trinity. To induce seamen to attend divine service a scripture reader is in part supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, working under the direction of the Rev. E. S. Woods, the incumbent of Holy Trinity Church, and honorary chaplain to that Society here. His duty is to visit vessels coming into port, to offer any spiritual help in his power to their crews, and to try to induce them to serve God faithfully on shore and afloat. Here also is a sailors' Bethel, and an active Nonconformist missionary, who has long worked with much activity and success [35/36] among the sailors of Dover. The crews of the English mail packets, fishing vessels, and some of the colliers frequenting Dover harbour, have houses of their own in the town, and these are visited by the clergy the same as all other parishioners. For a short time every year there are a number of yachts here; but usually there are only a few in port, for the crews of which there is ample room in Holy Trinity church by the harbour and in other churches. What is required at Dover is the exercise of greater influence over the minds of seamen frequenting its port for their spiritual benefit, as but few, comparatively speaking, habitually attend divine service in its churches.


From 1,700 to 2,000 seamen enter the port of Rye annually, almost all of whom are resident here when ashore; but there is a sailors' home for the use of non-resident seamen and also a reading-room. Very few ever attend divine service either in Rye parish church or in Rye harbour church, but there is plenty of room for them in this last, should they be persuaded to come. Monthly intercession is made for those at sea in the Litany. There is a lay reader partly supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, and a service in a school chapel near the shore on Sundays has just been commenced at the suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury. An ex-coastguard is also serving as a kind of coast missionary in this district, including both sides of Rye Harbour, but the influence of the Church appears to be very weak here at present.


The steamers of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, plying between this port and Dieppe, together with a certain number of coasters frequenting it, produce a number of seamen at Newhaven requiring spiritual supervision. Unfortunately the church stands on a hill at some distance from the shipping and there is no especial agency at work to bring seamen to it. The rector acts as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and once a month its scripture reader at Shoreham comes here. Services are held afloat during the summer months and in a schoolroom during the winter, but lay helpers seen to be required here to visit the ships constantly, and to persuade their crews to attend to their religious duties, and to bring them to divine service on shore.


Here there are only fishermen and owners of pleasure boats, who may be regarded as ordinary parishioners for whom spiritual provision is made. Many attend church and some are communicants. There is an institute for fishermen and boatmen. The vicar of St. Margaret's is the honorary chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society here, [36/37] in connection with which Society is a scripture reader. Services are held in a tunnelled room under the cliff, by the fishermen's boats, and in an adjacent similar room addresses and lectures are occasionally delivered for the benefit of the fishermen.


This is situated in the parishes of Kingston, Southwick, Portslade, and Aldrington, as well as in Shoreham parish, and is practically the harbour of Brighton. As the number of coasters employed in trade here is increasing, there is the greater necessity for increased spiritual provision. A scripture reader supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society has long been at work among the seamen of Shoreham, and the present one is most zealous in visiting the vessels and barges in its harbour, in holding services on board these, on the quays and in houses, and in distributing bibles, prayer-books, and hymn-books, by sale or gift, among seamen.

The vicar of Shoreham and the rectors of Southwick and Kingston are also honorary chaplains of the above-named Society, but, so far, this has not led to much increase in the attendance of seamen at church, and those who communicate are very few indeed; nor have captains of vessels been as yet persuaded to conduct divine service on board their ships when at sea. Perhaps a small mission church on the edge of the harbour, having a large vestry attached to it, serving as a reading-room for seamen, would be of great value here, and especially if a chaplain could be provided to minister to them, in addition to the scripture reader; at all events further means are required at Shoreham to minister to the seamen frequenting its long harbour.


This is a small port visited by a few Norwegian timber vessels, but chiefly by English ones, whose owners and crews live either here or in the neighbourhood, so that no boarding-houses or homes are needed for them. The seats in the church are free, and intercession is made for those at sea periodically. The vicar is honorary chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, a scripture reader of which Society from Worthing visits the ships and the seamen on shore. These last attend either church or chapel fairly well, and a few are communicants. A reading-room for seamen is required and would be of much service to them.


Tens of thousands of seamen belonging to the Royal Navy annually enter this famous port, and about 2,000 in coasting vessels, chiefly belonging to it. The first are provided for spiritually by four naval chaplains, who serve four of the largest ships in Portsmouth Harbour, and another, who is attached to the dockyard chapel, where [37/38] some accommodation is provided for seamen who desire to attend the services of the Church of England, and there is also a chaplain attached to the Naval Hospital at Haslar, another serving the Royal Marine Artillery at Eastney, and another the Royal Marines; besides which, the Royal Naval Scripture Readers Society employs agents, who visit the ships, and wait upon the men, under the supervision of the chaplains, and the Missions to Seamen Society has a lay reader for the ships of war in harbour, besides a reader provided with a yacht, in which he visits the ships here and in the Solent, and endeavours to influence their crews for good. As stated in our Report on the Royal Navy, "On an average there are about 40 ships in commission or in reserve at Portsmouth, including the Queen's yachts, each having from 800 to 20 men on board, of which only four or five have chaplains, who only serve their own ships....We would suggest that a harbour-chaplain should be especially appointed to minister to all the crews of ships without chaplains on board their own ships, after the plan pursued by the chaplains of the Missions to Seamen Society."

The seamen of the coasting vessels, chiefly colliers, are inadequately cared for, receiving only occasional visits from the Missions to Seamen Society's reader for the Solent, and little effort is made to induce them to attend church. There is no need of boardinghouses for these, as they chiefly reside here. There is a large sailors' home, open to all seamen, but mostly used by the men of the Royal Navy, who resort to it in great numbers, and highly appreciate it. The present non-attendance of seamen in the churches of Portsmouth is most lamentable, and requires some speedy and trenchant remedy, supplied through the united action of the clergy of the seaboard parishes of Portsmouth and Portsea, in concert with the naval chaplains, the Naval Church Society's Council, the Missions to Seamen Society, and the Royal Naval Scripture Readers Society. The incumbents most responsible for the merchant seamen here are the vicars of Portsmouth, St. Jude's, Southsea, and St. John's, Portsea; but at present they do not appear to have been successful in attaching seamen to the ministrations of the Church of England, and some organised movement, having this object in view, seems to be absolutely necessary. Good free seats in the parish churches are needed, here as elsewhere, for the use of seamen, and also lay agents to invite them to come to church and welcome them when they do come. Special services and special meetings are required to promote good feeling and good work among seamen when ashore, as well as to assure them that the Church really desires to serve them, and to bring them lovingly into her fold, in common with all others. Very possibly also some arrangements might be made by the parochial clergy to avail themselves of the services of the Royal Navy chaplains, should a meeting be held of all the clergy of Portsmouth and its environs for the purpose of providing seamen when on shore with those facilities for public worship which men-of-war's-men enjoy when afloat.

On the west side of Portsmouth Harbour lies Gosport, chiefly frequented by colliers and other coasters, and also during the summer months by yachts; hence it has no non-resident seamen to provide for. The Missions to Seamen Society has a lay reader stationed at Ryde, who occasionally visits this place, and another stationed here, but who principally works in Haslar Hospital and the ships of the Royal Navy. Two other Societies seek to work for the spiritual benefit of the seamen of the Royal Navy. The first is the Royal Naval Scripture Readers Society. This was founded in 1860, for the purpose of giving spiritual aid to the seamen and marines of the Royal Navy, through the instrumentality of scripture readers. These endeavour to touch the hearts of the men by supplementing the labours of the chaplains, and acting under their superintendence in those ships of war which have no chaplains, and in the several naval hospitals and barracks, and, except the Missions to Seamen Society's agents, are the sole pastoral agency in that large section of H.M.'s fleet which is without chaplains. The readers, 14 in number, are stationed at six of the principal naval seaports, and have done much good service. Captain Hubert Campion, R.N., is the secretary of this excellent Society, which ought to be much better supported than it is.

The other is the Naval Church Society. This was founded in 1872, for the purpose of promoting godly living in the Royal Navy, and to help its members to know and unite with each other in Christ's service. It is also desirous of taking action in behalf of merchant seamen through concurrent efforts with other Societies especially seeking to serve them. This good work it seeks to effect through the help of the clergy, the extended services of the chaplains of the Royal Navy, the agency of captains of merchantmen at sea, and by other volunteer agencies, seeking for the unbaptized and unconfirmed, providing religious instruction for the occupants of sailors' homes, and promoting temperance among seamen. Captain Herbert Everitt, R. M. A., is the honorary secretary of this Society, and the incumbent of St. John's, Portsea, and the chaplains of Her Majesty's Dockyard, as well as of the Royal Naval Hospital, act as honorary chaplains of the Missions to Seamen Society.


About 16,000 seamen usually enter this port annually under the British flag. Their boarding-houses are situated in the parishes of St. Mary, St. James, Christ Church Northam, St. John's, St. Michael's, and Holy Rood. At present no parochial system of visitation of seamen on board their ships exists here, and this appears to be delegated, as far as it prevails at all, to extraneous helpers, who do not act in concert with one another. This very unsatisfactory state of things requires speedy amendment, and perhaps the best remedy would be for all the [39/40] parochial clergy of Southampton to hold a conference on this important subject, and agree upon a course of action with respect to the seamen frequenting the town, and upon the directions to be given to those benevolent persons wishing to help them in their duties in an orderly manner on Church of England principles.

We are told, and fully believe, that much more assistance is needed to carry on the spiritual work among seamen here; but the clergy cannot entirely delegate this work to the agents of external Societies, nor do these, if of a right sort, desire that the responsibility implied should be cast upon them; but they are ready to serve as coadjutors of the parochial clergy, and to help them as far as they are able; and, if the spiritual work among sailors at Southampton should be mapped out and apportioned, no waste of means would be incurred.

Whether there is sufficient church accommodation for seamen in Southampton we cannot tell, and the expedient of providing especial churches for them is not what we should, as a rule, recommend, even if this need is proved to exist; but what is wanted is a hearty loyal Church spirit in behalf of seamen, and a co-operation of the clergy, with all such benevolent laymen as are ready to help them in this great and holy work, which we earnestly hope may soon take place, to the great advantage of the numerous seamen visiting Southampton.

The Peninsular and Oriental Company have happily established the practice of holding divine service on board their ships on Sundays, which good example, we believe, has been followed by other shipowners; and more would no doubt do so through the aid of a chaplain here if such a much-needed supervisor could be provided at Southampton, aided by a staff of Church of England scripture readers, working under the guidance of its parochial clergy, and with their assistance. We are informed that negotiations to this end are in favourable progress between the clergy of this rural deanery and the Missions to Seamen Society.


Contrary winds and tempestuous weather often serve to crowd the roadsteads of the Solent with ships awaiting change. At these times, crews, withdrawn from all the disturbing influences of the land, are most likely to profit by spiritual counsel; hence the Missions to Seamen Society has long maintained a chaplain or scripture reader, and a decked cutter for his use, to wait upon the crews of shipping whilst in these roadsteads. He resides at Ryde, and acts under the incumbent of St. James' there, who is an honorary chaplain of the Society, and occasionally goes out himself to the lightships and others, and conducts divine worship on board them. He is usually gladly welcomed by the crews of the ships he visits, holds [40/41] services on board them every day, and invites their captains to continue this good practice, especially on Sundays, supplying them with bibles, prayers and hymn-books, &c., as an inducement to do so, either through purchase or as gifts, according to circumstances. This faithful agent of the Church visits the merchant vessels in Cowes and Portsmouth Harbour, and also the numerous fishing vessels frequenting the Solent. He states that he invariably finds the men ready to attend services on Sundays, and that they engage reverently and heartily in the church services, which they highly appreciate. In 1876 he visited 1,477 ships, or boats, in the Solent, and held 787 services on board these; he also visited the lightships on 22 occasions, and the homes of many seamen on shore. As his work extends over 14 nautical miles, and he often has to encounter very rough weather, his labours are great, and the more valuable. The port of West Cowes is crowded with yachts during the summer; but their crews for the most part frequent other ports when off duty, and there is no seafaring population resident here, so that the ordinary parochial ministrations suffice.


About 5,000 English seamen enter this port annually, who chiefly board in the mother parish of St. James, the vicar of which is honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society. No more church accommodation is required, but an additional curate or chaplain to wait especially upon seamen would be very valuable here. Special prayers for these are used in the church during stormy weather. Here there is a lay reader supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, who last year made 2,323 visits to ships, and 1,754 visits to the houses of sailors and fishermen, and conducted 449 services, giving away or selling many bibles, prayer-books, and hymn-books. There is no sailors' home here, but there is a reading-room, which is well attended, and small libraries of books are lent to ships for the use of their crews. Captains of vessels are urged to conduct divine service on board their ships when at sea with much success here, as compared with those frequenting other ports.


During the year 1876, 1,940 merchantmen took shelter in this roadstead, and the seamen coming on shore lodge in Castletown, a part of the parish of St. John, the vicar of which is honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society. In this church there is an abundance of free sittings, and intercession for those at sea during stormy weather is offered up there, but it lies at a considerable distance from the landing-places. Here is an excellent scripture reader maintained [41/42] by the Missions to Seamen Society, supplied with a boat, in which he most faithfully visits the ships in the roadstead, conducts services on board them, urges their captains to continue these, and distributes bibles and other books, by sale or gift, amongst their crews, which are eagerly sought for. There is no sailors' home here, nor is this required; but there is a reading-room on the beach in full view of the shipping, where services are conducted by the reader on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. Not many sailors attend these, but many boatmen and others do so. On week-days this room is ordinarily used as a reading-room. The work of administering spiritual aid to the seamen frequenting this port is of a more than usually difficult character, because it is, as a rule, a port of call only, and so large, as well as crowded with ships during bad weather, that the reader often can only pay one visit to each ship, which is not sufficient.


About 1,200 seamen usually enter this port annually under the British flag, who lodge either in Holy Trinity parish, Weymouth, or in that of St. Mary, Melcombe Regis. No system of visiting nonresident seamen frequenting Weymouth prevails here, nor is intercession made periodically for those at sea. There is, however, a sailors' home in St. Mary's parish on the quay on the Melcombe Regis side of the water. The services of a scripture reader of the Missions to Seamen Society, acting under the direction of the incumbents of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, and especially ministering to seamen here, would no doubt be very valuable.


In the year 1876 the number of seamen who entered this port under the British flag was 2,525. As they keep on board their ships when in harbour no boarding-houses are required by them on shore. A scripture reader has recently been provided to wait upon them, partly by the Missions to Seamen Society and partly by local subscriptions, the vicar acting as honorary chaplain to that Society. They are urged to attend church by this reader, and there is sufficient free and good church accommodation for them, but only a few as yet respond to invitations they receive. A mission-room connected with West Teignmouth church has just been opened on the Old Quay, and a service is held in the Assembly Room every Sunday evening. There is no sailors' home here, but a British Workmen house for their use in common with others has been of late provided. Further efforts are about to be made here to induce seamen to serve God with greater fidelity than heretofore.


[43] Between 2,000 and 3,000 seamen annually enter Brixham Roads off Torbay, but the greater part of these do not come ashore. There are also between 300 and 400 fishermen belonging to the port of Brixham. The Torbay and Dartmouth Mission to Seamen supports a chaplain and a yacht, whose duty is to visit the crews of the vessels wind or storm bound in the roads, and there is also a church at Torbay capable of holding 200 persons, and especially intended for the use of seamen and fishermen, by whom it is generally well attended, served by another chaplain. The first does all in his power to persuade captains of ships to lead services on Sundays on board their vessels, but comparatively few do so. There is no sailors' home here nor is there need of one; but there is a reading-room for fishermen and seamen. There is apparently therefore no need here of further spiritual aid in behalf of seamen at Torbay, which we are thankful for.


About 6,000 seamen usually enter this port annually under the British flag. These principally lodge in the parishes of Townstal with St. Saviour, but some do so in St. Peter's parish. With a totally inadequate staff of clergy here, it is impossible for them to minister to seamen in their ships or at their boarding-houses. To serve a population of 4,409 resident in two parishes, each having its church, there is only one vicar, having an income of £160 a year, [* The Clergy List says £135, but perhaps the £160 includes some other sources of income.] and a curate, for whom there is no provision, except through voluntary subscriptions, for which the vicar has to beg.

There is no sailors' home, and no means are taken to meet the spiritual needs of seamen here; in fact they are starved as the clergy of Dartmouth are, and the need of assistance here is most pressing. A curate or chaplain, working under the vicar, and ministering to the seamen frequenting this port, would be a very precious boon, to which should be added a mission-room and reading-room, if possible. With these aids, what is now a spiritual desert would become fruitful, to the great relief and comfort of the clergy of Dartmouth and the benefit of its seamen, which we earnestly hope may ensue through the publication of this Report.


The importance of this great port is well-known, from the fact that it is so much frequented both by ships of the Royal Navy and the merchant service.

The number of men discharged from foreign-going merchantmen [43/44] here in 1876 was 2,069, but no record is kept of the crews of coasting traders, who are not discharged at Plymouth. These, however, it is believed, amount to about 3,000, and the crews of ships entering the roadstead for orders, or through stress of weather, is supposed to amount to about 15,000. The seamen's boarding-houses at Plymouth are chiefly situated in the parish of Holy Trinity, but there are some also in the parishes of St. John and St. James. Last year 963 seamen lodged in the sailors' home and 750 in the best boarding-houses; but what is done for them spiritually is sadly inadequate, and amounts to very little indeed. The church of Holy Trinity, which represents the old mariners' church, was professedly built for the use of seamen; but, although still attended by some old sailors and fishermen, has entirely lost its original character. So also the district church of St. Saviour, built for them in 1870, which by means of lay helpers was at first fairly attended by seamen, has now become a mere chapel of ease to Holy Trinity Church, which is a great pity, as it will hold 380 persons. This is perhaps too near Trinity Church and not near enough to the seamen's lodging-houses, which may in some measure account for the non-attendance of seamen within its walls, but the incumbent would gladly rededicate it to this purpose if extraneous help could be procured in the form of a stipend for a curate or chaplain to minister to them, and to work especially among seamen. The parishes of Plymouth are very populous, and the parochial clergy are so fully engaged in attending to their numerous settled parishioners that they have certainly no time to minister to their fluctuating seamen parishioners, although they are quite ready to co-operate with any benevolent extraneous assistance that may be forthcoming, and hence, although they duly care for such seamen and their families as make Plymouth their home, in common with their other parishioners, no system of ministering especially to seamen prevails here, which is a great misfortune, urgently needing amendment. Happily there is a chaplain and also a paid lay-helper, supplied with a yacht and boat, provided by the Missions to Seamen Society, who convey the ministrations of our Church to the crews and emigrants seeking shelter in the Sound, or moored in the docks, and try to persuade seamen frequenting this port to attend divine service at the most conveniently situated churches, and tickets are given to all likely to do so, enabling them to have good seats; but comparatively few of the non-resident seamen attend, and very few indeed ever communicate. For some time the sailors' home here did not prosper and then was shut up, but it has of late been re-opened, and, as above stated, is largely used. Here also is a well-situated reading-room for sailors. Much more requires to be done for the seamen of this great port, and such an important subject seems to demand a conference on the part of the clergy of Plymouth, sanctioned, and if possible presided over, by the bishop of the diocese; for the efforts that have been made in behalf of seamen at Plymouth appear to have almost passed away instead of to have advanced, and, with the exception of extraneous [44/45] efforts, next to nothing is now done parochially to lead them in the right way whilst they remain here.


The harbour of Devonport is included in the port of Plymouth, and is chiefly frequented by seamen of the Royal Navy, the majority of whose ships are not visited by a clergyman, but there are five chaplains of the Navy attached to the stationary ships in harbour, one to the navy hospital, one to the division of Royal Marines, and one to the dockyard church, besides those serving on board the larger ships of war temporarily in port. The Royal Naval Scripture Readers Society also supplements the labours of the naval clergy by affording them the aid of four scripture readers. Some colliers from Wales and timber ships from the North also frequent this harbour, the crews of which are at liberty to attend the church of St. James the Great, just outside the gates of the Royal Naval steam-yard at Keyham, if they are so minded, the seats of which are free, and where books are placed at their disposal. Occasionally ships' crews attend here, and seamen often come to this church out of their naval dress, so as not to be distinguishable from others.

The other parishes in Devonport mainly responsible for affording men-of-war's men when on shore those facilities for public worship daily available on board the Queen's ships are the district of St. John's, in which is the sailors' home, St. Mary's, where is the sailors' rest, and St Paul's. The outlying church at Torpoint, in which the ground area is free and open to all, is largely attended by sailors, but in the Devonport parishes, as stated in our Report on the Royal Navy, "there does not appear to be any system prevalent of bringing to church men-of-war's men temporarily resident at sailors' homes and lodging houses at ports where they are strangers. For lack of such welcome by the Church the more devout men often resort to Nonconformist places of worship," as, for example, the services conducted by a good lady at the sailors' rest, "whilst too many give up on shore the worship they are wont to offer when at sea."

In few of the churches of this naval seaport is the Special Service of Intercession for those at Sea used.

There is also a large and ever-changing fleet of merchant vessels in Stonehouse Creek, which appears to be wholly neglected by the Church. There is a sailors' home at Devonport, which is visited by a reader of the Royal Naval Scripture Readers Society.


Falmouth is the only important seaport of Cornwall. This is resorted to by the ships of all seagoing nations, and from 40,000 to 50,000 seamen enter its Roads annually. The greater part of these do not come ashore, their captains alone landing, as a rule, except in the case of coasters, whose crews land here as usual. For these there are [45/46] boarding-houses, almost exclusively situated in the parish of Falmouth. As the clergy here are overwhelmed with work, they cannot personally do much for seamen beyond what they do for other parishioners, but the senior curate acts as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and it provides an excellent chaplain, who visits the ships in the roads and harbour daily, and conducts services on board them. He also urges their captains--by whom he is almost always heartily welcomed--to continue this good practice on board their ships themselves, and distributes bibles, books of common prayer, and others, either through sale or gift. His excellent work has lately been promoted by the gift of a small decked cutter, called the "Sickle," which enables him to get out to ships in the roads in such weather as would otherwise have been dangerous for him to encounter; but even with this help accidents occurred last year which might have proved fatal to those on board. There is a sailors' home at Falmouth, ministered to by representatives of all denominations. A reading-room on the quay would be of great service to seamen here, open for reading every day, and for divine service on Sunday and week day evenings for the especial benefit of seamen, and conducted by the chaplain. The chaplain has the assistance of a boatman and a lay helper, but would be thankful for the further assistance of a scripture reader. The Nonconformists have a Bethel for seamen near the quay, where a minister officiates on Sundays, but he does not conduct services on board the ships.

About 700 ships enter Truro river annually. For these the Missions to Seamen Society provides a paid lay helper of the boatman class, who is licensed by the Bishop of Truro, and acts under the guidance of their chaplain at Falmouth, who is provided with a boat.

The vicar of Looe acts as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society on board the coasting schooners and fishing craft frequenting Looe, and supplies their crews with small lending libraries, &c.

With respect to the other ports of Cornwall we have not much to say, as none are frequented by any considerable number of seamen. A few coasting vessels frequent Fowey and Penzance, and many vessels anchor off the latter town when wind-bound or in stormy weather, but their crews do not come ashore. There are many fishermen at Newlyn and Mousehole, for whom no special spiritual agency is provided, but at St. Peter's Newlyn all the seats are free to fishermen as well as to all others. A mission boat and a scripture reader to bring these fishermen into the fold of the Church to serve in Mounts Bay would be very valuable. On the north coast, owing to its very dangerous character, there are only a few ports, and few seamen frequenting them, although there are a considerable number of fishermen. Of these St. Ives is the principal, where there is a mariners' chapel for the use of seamen, served by the vicar, in addition to the parish church.

Hayle is principally in the parish of Phillack. This parish has lately been divided, and the incumbent of the new parish (St. Elwyn) [46/47] hopes to get a church built on a site which will be well suited for the attendance of the sailors of coasting and other vessels frequenting the port.

The only other port on this iron-bound coast is Padstow, which is frequented by a few coasters and other vessels, but this does not require any special agency for seamen, as the number of non-resident sailors is not large, and there is room for their attendance in the parish church, which is within easy reach of the harbour.


All ships making for Bristol or Gloucester pass through the roadstead of Kingroad, at the mouths of the Severn and Avon, many of which are thus obliged to await spring-tides, and others, outward bound, also remain there sometimes for weeks, awaiting favourable winds. Hence there are always ships in this roadstead which are most faithfully visited by the Rev. R. B. Boyer, the superintendent of the Missions to Seamen Society, assisted by a faithful lay helper of the boatman class, by means of a cutter of about 10 tons, manned by two tried boatmen, ready at all times to take them to the ships in the roadstead for the purpose of conducting services on board them, and of warning the crews with respect to the dangers awaiting them in port, after they have been paid off, and advising them to take advantage of the sailors' home and the sailors' institute in Bristol, whilst the captains of outward-bound ships are urged to conduct services on board their vessels when at sea, for which purpose bibles, prayer and hymn books, are often presented to them, in the hope that they may be duly used.

The important harbour of Bristol is a floating one, on the site of the old river Avon, shut off from the new tidal river by an entrance basin with gates at either end and running parallel with it for a considerable distance, whence many of the Bristol parishes are responsible for the immense number of seamen frequenting it. The large entrance basin at the west end of the harbour, called Cumberland Basin, is in the parish of Clifton, and St. Andrew's Chapel is near at hand. The next portion of the harbour, containing a large graving dock and much frequented by timber-laden ships, is in Holy Trinity parish. The next, containing a large wharf, is in St. Peter's parish, and here lies the Royal Naval Reserve drill-ship "Daedalus," served by the Rev. Clement Strong as chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, who has daily service on board, except on Sundays. Next is St. George's, Brandon Hill, which touches the harbour. After this is the parish of St. Augustine; many timber ships lie here; and in this parish is the cathedral, where all seats are free, and there is a fair attendance of seamen. Next comes a tongue of land partly in St. Nicholas's parish and partly in St. Stephen's, the rector of which serves as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society. Here is the great bulk of the shipping, and here most appropriately [47/48] are the seamen's institute and the sailors' home; but here also unhappily are low public houses and brothels in abundance, as well as crimps and ruffians always ready to prey upon seamen. If these two churches could be dedicated to the especial service of seamen, by being thrown entirely open to them as in the case of St. Paul's, Dock Street, London, and their incumbents were aided by a staff of assistants serving as missionaries, this vile portion of Bristol might perhaps become purged, at least in part, from its present depravity, and be restored to a condition of decency and hopefulness. The next parish is that of St. Thomas, where there are a few warehouses on the edge of the harbour, and the last is The Temple, above Bristol bridge, which is largely frequented by barges. Opposite to this is the parish of St. Philip at the eastern entrance of the harbour. Turning back westward from this, on the south side of the harbour, is the parish of St. Mary Redcliffe, containing many riverside people, and bounded on the south by the New Cut and on the north by the harbour. Next to this is St. Luke's, Bedminster, which contains a good many seafaring people. Then comes the important parish of St. Paul's, Bedminster, which lies on both sides of the New Cut or river. Many ships lie here, and the Bristol Harbour railway within it gives it importance. St. Raphael's Church, built especially for the use of seamen, is not well situated for this purpose, but is frequented by many persons coming from all parts of Bristol. Such are the parishes of this great town on the borders of its harbour; and as most of them have populations of at least 5,000 it is absolutely impossible for the local clergy to do much, for seamen especially, without extraneous aid. Most of the non-resident seamen board in the parishes of St. Nicholas and St. Stephen, but others board in those of St. Mary Redcliffe, St. Peter Holy Trinity, and St. Andrew the Less. Two excellent scripture readers, supplied by the Missions to Seamen Society, are working well here, with the full approbation of the incumbents of the several parishes frequented by seamen. They seek to bring them to worship in the house of God and to keep the Sabbath day holy as well as to be mindful of their Christian profession, to this end visiting the public-houses on the quays and seamen's boarding-houses, and supplying them with books and prayer-cards, &c. Most of the best sittings in the waterside churches are appropriated to the residents, but the clergy are ready to welcome seamen to the free seats. Except at the Cathedral, very few however attend for want of visitation and personal intercourse, and no special intercession is made for those at sea periodically in the churches of Bristol.

It has been suggested that if a church should be built especially for the use of seamen here, in a convenient locality, and served by a chaplain dedicating himself to their service, it would be very valuable; but, considering the great length of the harbour, perhaps it would be better for each parish to make provision for the spiritual care of the seamen within its limits, or to do so in conjunction [48/49] with one or more other parishes through the aid of extraneous assistance. In 1873 a seamen's institute was opened in Queen's Square, at the principal if not sole charge of Mr. W. F. Lavington, a merchant of Bristol, who devotes much time as honorary secretary to the Missions to Seamen Society in Bristol and elsewhere. This institute has been of great use to seamen, and contains a reading and writing-room, besides another room for meetings, where the harbour scripture readers can address the men, and they can always receive counsel, a depository for bibles in several languages, prayer and other books for sale and occasional presentation, and a coffee-room. This is so much appreciated by seamen that a large proportion of those in port attend it for the purpose of reading, writing, and playing at innocent games, which saves many from yielding to the evil seductions of public houses and of runners and crimps ever seeking to lead them into drunkenness and debauchery.


This is practically the port of Gloucester for large ships and steamers, which are discharged here, the smaller ones only going up to Gloucester. At Sharpness are very large docks, including a graving dock, on the Severn, at the mouth of the canal leading to Gloucester, from which it is 16 miles distant, and 3 from Berkeley. About 40 families are resident here, and 3,000 seamen enter the docks annually. There is no church nearer than two miles, and the vicar of Berkeley and his curate have a population of 4,300 to minister to, and undertake seven services between them on Sundays, so that a Nonconformist layman at present alone conducts a service here on Sundays. A Church of England chapel and a curate, or chaplain, maintained by extraneous aid, are very much needed here for the growing resident population, who could very well include the shipping in his charge. This is an outlying work in which perhaps the cathedral city of Gloucester may be induced to take part, considering that Sharpness is really its port, although belonging to another and somewhat distant parish.


About 5,000 English seamen annually enter this port. These board in St. Luke's parish, and in an extra-parochial part of the city. They are regularly visited, and there is a chapel for their accommodation that will hold 300, the incumbent being honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society. About 500 seamen attend church here, of whom, however, only 10 are communicants. A scripture reader is employed, through whom printed and verbal invitations to attend divine service are made, who personally encourages them to do so, and intercession is periodically made for those at sea. There is a sailor's home here, and a reading-room for their use is just about to be opened. Thus well are seamen provided for at Gloucester with [49/50] respect to spiritual aid; may its charity be extended to Sharpness Point, which may be considered as the mouth of the harbour, although 16 miles distant, which at present is in a frightfully destitute condition spiritually, as we have above recorded.


This rapidly increasing port demands great efforts on behalf of seamen. Its shipping trade is carried on by means of the old dock here and the new Alexandra Docks, and also through many coasters at the wharves on the river Usk, whose crews spend much of their time on shore. 335 vessels visited Newport from foreign parts in 1876, 1,391 coasters, and 7,661 vessels of other kinds, sailing-vessels chiefly frequenting the old dock and steamers the Alexandra Dock, which are about a mile apart. Seamen lodge in the parishes of Holy Trinity and St. Paul. There is plenty of room for their accommodation in Holy Trinity church, and in a very small chapel especially built for their use by the late rector in 1870 at the pier-head, but only a few attend either of these places of worship. The present rector of Holy Trinity is an honorary chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, which supplies a scripture reader for the use of Newport. The latter holds a license from the bishop, and conducts divine service in the pier chapel on Sunday afternoons, and also once a week in the evening. He also does all in his power to persuade seamen to attend divine service at other times; but one clergyman with a resident population of 3,000 people to attend to, and one scripture reader, are a very insufficient staff to minister to a large body of seamen as well as to a considerable general population, and we trust that before long vigorous efforts will be made to follow the excellent example of Cardiff in the same diocese, in providing sufficient spiritual help for the seamen of Newport. It should at once have the help of a chaplain and another scripture reader at least; a small chapel having a large vestry-room attached to it, to serve as a seamen's reading-room, should be built near the Alexandra docks; and the present very small chapel at the old dock should be exchanged for a similar chapel and reading-room there. With such means much might be done for seamen here, and is most urgently needed.

The crews of steamers might be carefully visited at convenient times, and those of sailing vessels, often in docks for several weeks, might be very effectually benefited by services held on board, and the distribution of books. At present there is no sailor's home, nor any reading-room where the one only scripture-reader could give counsel to seamen, and help them, so that very much requires to be done here for the spiritual advantage of seamen.

Intercession is made in church for those at sea during stormy weather, but prayer also is needed in behalf of those in harbour at Newport, that it may please God to provide sufficient means of grace for them.


[51] In 1876 8,381 ships entered Cardiff docks, manned, perhaps, by nearly 80,000 seamen, most of whom were English-speaking men. These lodge in the parish of St. Mary, near the docks. To minister to these there is a very earnest chaplain, and a scripture reader provided by the Missions to Seamen Society, besides the curate of St. Mary's, who visits the seamen's boarding-houses. On the upper deck of an old man-of-war, called the "Thisbe," moored in the docks, is a pretty chapel, capable of seating 250 persons, and its main deck is fitted up as a comfortable reading-room. Divine service is held on board this ship every Sunday, when intercession for those at sea is always offered up, and also once in the week during the winter months, when from 40 to 120 sailors attend on each occasion. The holy communion is administered every other Sunday, and a bible class for apprentices and pilots is held every Sunday afternoon; besides which, biblical lectures are given in the reading-room twice a week, which were attended by 3,181 seamen last year. The reading-room, supplied with the daily papers, books, and writing materials, is attended on an average by 100 seamen daily.

The chaplain and reader visit the ships in the docks, and hold short services or communications with the men in the forecastles. They also urge them to come to the mission ship, and their captains to conduct divine service on board their vessels when at sea, and about 30 have promised to do so this year, to whom prayer and hymn books for the purpose were given; 272 ships were supplied last year with canvass bags filled with good and instructive books for the use of their crews, placed in the charge of the most trustworthy man that could be found for the purpose. Foreign ships also are supplied with books in the language of their crews, and an active colporteur is engaged to sell bibles in various languages in the docks. There is a sailors' home here having a reading-room attached to it, where morning prayer is said, and a short address given every morning by the chaplain, and sometimes as many as 80 seamen are boarding at it at one time, and also a seamen's hospital, which is visited weekly by the chaplain, and oftener when necessary.

As the shipping at Cardiff docks is increasing, and a new basin has just been added to them, another scripture reader is much needed to enable the chaplain to give more time to the captains and officers of ships, and if another reader could be found to minister to the French and Italian seamen here it would be a great boon.

This is the only case we know of in which a ship has proved successful as a seaman's church. This success is, we believe, entirely due to the chaplain, whose labours would probably have been even more evidently blessed had he not to contend with the great disadvantage of ministering in an old hulk, against which sailors are much prejudiced.


[52] There are a roadstead, a tidal harbour, and a dock here. The number of steamers that visited Penarth harbour in 1876 was 614, and of other ships 3,300, having altogether a tonnage of 266,194, besides which, sometimes as many as 500 sail lie at anchor in the roadstead during stormy weather or when windbound. To reach these latter a mission cutter, manned by two boatmen, one of whom is a lay helper, and carrying a chaplain, are provided by the Missions to Seamen Society. As the crews of the ships in the roads are usually at leisure, the chaplain easily collects them together for divine service, and takes the opportunity of persuading their captains to carry on at sea what has thus been begun; and, if they seem to be willing to do so, provides them with suitable prayer and hymn books for this purpose. 200 bags of bibles and other good books were distributed to as many ships last year, when 1,304 ships manned by 7,760 were visited, and 299 services held on board them. This is often a service of danger, as it is most needed during stormy weather; but, although accidents have occurred during the 42 years that this exposed roadstead has received the ministrations of our Church, the Missions to Seamen Agency in their little cutter have lost but one life in all times of peril. When prevented through stress of weather from going out into the roadstead, the chaplain and his lay helper, acting under the guidance of the rector, who is honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, work in the docks and tidal harbour, chiefly frequented by small coasters. Both afloat and on shore they distribute printed invitations among seamen, inviting them to attend divine service in church, and between 500 and 600 respond to these invitations annually, and 30 are communicants. Seats, prayer and hymn books, are freely provided for them there, and intercession is habitually made for those at sea. A larger church nearer the docks, which is needed, will perhaps soon be erected, and is certainly contemplated. There is no sailors' home, but there are two reading-rooms, one of a good size at the pierhead, which has proved most valuable to seamen, and a smaller one at the harbour which needs enlargement. A reader to assist the chaplain is required here if possible, and a steam-launch, instead of the mission-cutter, would be a great boon and save the chaplain from exposure to danger.


About 16,000 seamen enter this port annually under the British flag, including repeated voyages. Many of these live on board their ships, but the rest lodge almost entirely in the mother parish of St. Mary, which has a parish containing nearly 40,000 people. Here is an admirable chaplain of the Missions to Seamen Society, assisted by a scripture reader. He most diligently visits the ships in harbour, and [52/53] invites their crews to attend public worship at church, giving them cards informing them of the hours of divine service, &c. He also urges captains of ships to conduct divine service when at sea, and gives bibles and prayer-books to those who appear to be likely to use them for this good purpose. Next to no sailors attend the parish churches of Swansea, but the seamen's church, which holds 350, is always attended by large congregations of seamen and their families. The wardens wait upon them carefully, and provide them with prayer and hymn books. It is satisfactory to hear that the attendance at this valuable little church, dedicated in honour of St. Nicholas, has increased since distinctive church teaching and practices have been gradually adopted. As many as 400 seamen have communicated here at different times, and £85 per year has been collected by weekly offertories. The average of communicants at an early administration on Sundays is 15, and at a later hour 28. There are also services held occasionally for Scandinavian and other seamen. Intercession for those at sea is made at every service in this church. The vestry is used as a reading-room for seamen, where the chaplain waits upon them, and papers are provided for their use. There is a sailors' home having a chapel connected with it; but this is in the hands of a Nonconformist, who of course encourages the inmates to attend his chapel rather than the parish churches, or the Church of England Seamen's Mission church.

This is one of the most successful examples of what may be done for seamen through the convenient situation of the church provided for them, to the entirely free and open character of its sittings, to the peculiar aptitude of the chaplain for his especial work, and to the hearty and varied character of the services. Hence it may well be studied by those elsewhere interested in seamen, and particularly where a special mission church is needed for the use of seamen.


About 10,000 British seamen enter Milford Haven annually, either off the parish of Steynton, in Angle Bay, or Dale Road. As this is a large and safe haven for shipping during stormy weather, or when waiting for a favourable wind, many ships frequent it in winter; opportunities are thus presented for ministering to their crews. It does not appear that the parochial clergy take due advantage of these opportunities, so that, whilst the Welsh Methodist seamen do attend a chapel of theirs at Hakin, in the parish of Hubberston, next to none attend church. Here however is a chaplain partly supported by the Missions to Seamen Society, who gives part of his time to minister to the seamen frequenting this haven, by means of a small cutter and boatmen placed at his disposal, to offer the ministrations of the Church to the crews of the ships. He sells and gives away bibles and prayer-books, &c., to them, and otherwise holds intercourse with these "strangers of the sea," who are often much gratified to find that they [53/54] are not totally forgotten by all the members of the Church, and are thus happily reminded of their baptism and early teaching as members of that Church, leading them to give ear to the fresh spiritual counsel offered to them by the chaplain. On shore there is a sailors' home, as well as a library, at Hakin.


About 6,000 seamen enter this harbour annually, and about 400 live here. Holyhead consists of one parish only, in which are two churches and a number of dissenting chapels. Very many of these seamen are foreigners, and of the English ones not a few are dissenters of various kinds. No one seems to visit the ships here, or to minister to seamen, except a scripture reader, not of the Church of England, hence next to none ever attend the churches.

This is a very sad state of things requiring amendment, but there is a good sailors' home here, possessing a reading-room.


In the year 1876 the number of sailors who entered this port was 12,385. These chiefly belong to coasting vessels, and, when on shore, lodge in the parishes of All Saints and Trinity. They are visited by a scripture reader of the Mersey Missions to Seamen Society, and invited to attend special services on Sundays and other days at a mission-room fitted up for this purpose for their accommodation. The scripture reader constantly urges captains of vessels to have divine service on board on Sundays; but out of the 2,477 vessels that entered Runcorn last year this was only done in twelve of them. There is no Church of England reading-room for seamen, which would be of great use, but many of them attend the Young Men's Christian Association reading-room. A chaplain would be of much service here, or at least a scripture reader, working in full concert with the parochial clergy, and devoting all his time to the pastoral care of seamen.


Besides a large body of seamen in foreign ships and of bargemen, whose numbers are unrecorded, 100,190 seamen sailing under the British flag entered the port of Liverpool in 1876. The important question before us is, how all this great multitude has been provided with spiritual food, and we fear that the answer must be very unsatisfactory, tending to prove the great need of a bishop of Liverpool, to overlook this branch of spiritual work at one of the greatest ports in England, in addition to the great masses of people of many kinds permanently residing there. The docks are nearly four miles long, and are bordered [54/55] by the numerous boarding-houses required for the accommodation of seamen. These are situated in the parishes of St. Silas, Toxteth, St. Cleopas, St. Thomas, St. Nicholas, St. Michael, St. Paul, All Souls, St. Matthias, and St. Aidan. At present no system of parochial visitation of seamen exists, with the exception of good work recently begun by the incumbent of St. Thomas's parish. The spiritual care of seamen is confided to the Mersey Missions to Seamen, a branch of the London Society of the same name, and four scripture readers, in addition to two chaplains, diligently visit their boarding-houses, and to a certain extent those on board their ships; but no special efforts in their behalf are made by the clergy of Liverpool, probably for want of a sufficient staff of authorised agents and the great amount of work already imposed upon them. Hence, naturally, very few seamen attend divine service in the parish or district churches of Liverpool, excepting that of St. Thomas, and still fewer are communicants; but, on the other hand, the services held in the two mission-rooms of the Mersey Missions are well attended, but it is a matter of regret that men who cannot be followed to sea by the living voice of ministers should not be taught at these services to value the book of common prayer, either for united worship or as a substitute for the presence of the clergy in their individual necessities on board ship. One of these rooms is attached to the sailors' home. There is also an excellent reading-room, called the Stranger's Rest, established by Mr. R. Ratcliffe for the benefit of foreign seamen, where addresses are delivered and bible classes held in different languages, much to their advantage.

Intercession for those at sea is made in many of the churches of Liverpool during the winter months, and always at the mission-rooms, and captains of ships are urged by the chaplains serving seamen here to conduct divine service on board their ships when at sea, but a brief extract from the book of common prayer is recommended, instead of the book itself, which devout seamen have been accustomed to use in churches. The Mersey Missions to Seamen Society employs two chaplains and four scripture readers to evangelise the seamen visiting Liverpool, and is doing much good service under the superintendence of the Rev. John Hetherington, by conducting services at the sailors' home and institute, holding meetings, visiting the sailors' boarding-houses, the ships and hospitals, and selling bibles, &c.; but, although this is done with the consent of the clergy, it does not emanate from them, and thus at present is practically outside of the parochial system, instead of constituting a portion of it, which is one reason why seamen do not attend the churches of Liverpool, and the clergy have no influence over them. It has been suggested that a church or churches should be built in convenient positions for the especial use of seamen, but three have already been built with this object in view, and they have all successively become simply district churches. For the present there appears to be enough church accommodation for seamen in Liverpool, if they [55/56] were invited to make use of it; but perhaps special services for seamen, suited as far as possible to their tastes, and a large staff of additional curates, chaplains, and readers proportionately distributed among the waterside parishes, acting under their clergy, and with their aid, would produce excellent results. If a meeting were held of the parochial clergy of Liverpool, presided over by the bishop of the diocese in concert with the representatives of the Mersey Missions to Seamen Society, its parent Society in London, and all other societies and persons interested in the spiritual welfare of the seamen frequenting Liverpool, great practical benefit would most probably ensue, and the more so as a large and promising field of spiritual labour is now opening at the north end of the docks, and demands immediate attention. There is a very large sailors' home at the south end of the docks, and another is being erected at the opposite end. There is also a small reading-room for seamen in Virginia Street; but more of these rooms are wanted, which should, however, form part of the parochial machinery, if possible adjacent to the churches of the parishes with which they are connected.


A large aquatic population resides in Birkenhead, and there are many seagoing men connected with the shipping in the docks. For these an old hulk in the West Float is fitted up as a church, but it fails to attract seamen. The cemetery chaplain, whose employment on week-days takes him a long way from the docks, is employed on Sundays, by the trustees of the so-called Mariners' church, to conduct the services, and a scripture reader of the Mersey branch of the Missions to Seamen Society visits the ships and boardinghouses. The parishes are very populous and the incomes of the clergy small. Partly from this last cause most of the sittings in the churches are appropriated to residents, and the means used to induce seagoing men to worship in them have so far been of next to no avail. There is a great need of free church accommodation here on shore, instead of the hulk church, which is not an acceptable place of worship to seamen, also of the employment of more direct means to attract them to church, and to welcome them there, and of a clergyman who could devote his whole time to seamen.


Maryport, Whitehaven, and Workington are the principal ports on this coast and in the diocese of Carlisle, and a Church of England scripture reader is greatly needed to minister to the seamen frequenting those ports. A Nonconformist preaches on the quays of these towns at times, and a Presbyterian preacher from Belfast preaches to the seamen of Maryport during the winter months; but these do not visit the forecastles of ships nor seek to influence their captains, so that there is a good field open for a Church of England reader to minister [56/57] to the seamen of these ports, if a stipend could be provided for his maintenance, whose duty would be to minister to those who at present are negligent of their duty towards God.

About 2,000 coasters trading between Maryport, Belfast, and Dublin, having each an average crew of six men, enter this port annually under the British flag. As the ordinary parochial work of this town is beyond the powers of the clergy, they cannot give especial time and attention to seamen; but a mission chapel has been erected by the side of the quay, all the seats of which are free. This is maintained by voluntary contributions, and as several of the dock-officials invite seamen to attend it, and all are gladly welcomed there, it is often crowded on Sunday evenings, and intercession is always made there for those at sea.

There is a sailors' home here with a reading-room belonging to it.


The difficulties of endeavouring to supply the spiritual wants of our English seamen at Irish ports is of course greater even than in our own, because Ireland is for the most part a Roman Catholic country, and of her Protestant population many are Presbyterians and Nonconformists. The principal ports of Ireland are Belfast, Dublin, Kingstown, Waterford, Cork, and Valentia; to these therefore we shall shortly advert for the purpose of indicating what is the general spiritual condition of the Irish ports in connection with our own Church, beginning with Belfast in the north, then taking the others in succession on its eastern coast, and finishing with Valentia on its southern coast.


Between 4,000 and 5,000 seamen enter the port of Belfast annually under the British flag, so that it is a very important one; and yet but little church work is done for seamen here. There is a Mariners' church with a parish attached to it, containing 5,000 inhabitants, independent of seamen; but the best seats in this church are appropriated, and the rest are occupied by other landsmen. Under these circumstances seamen naturally rarely attend it, although welcomed when they do come, and next to none ever communicate. Intercession is made in this church for those at sea, which might well be extended on behalf of those on land here also, that they may not forget God. The incumbent is a good earnest clergyman, but from the largeness of his parish, and the want of assistance, he is quite unable to extend his parochial labours to seamen on board their ships. The other parishes abutting on the water include resident sailors, who are ministered to in common with other parishioners. Their churches are of course occupied by the parishioners, and non-resident sailors find it difficult to gain admission to them. The outer anchorage of Belfast Lough, [57/58] off Holywood, belongs to the parish of the Rev. J. R. Wynne, who devotes much time to visiting the shipping taking refuge there, sometimes amounting to a hundred vessels at once, the crews of which gladly receive him, and profit by his ministrations; but it is very much to be regretted that Belfast is behind other Irish seaports in making spiritual provision for seamen on the part of the Church of England, whilst its Nonconformists have a special agency for ministering to sailors, and two institutions for their use; but they do not employ any agency for visiting the ships of this port. As many ships are detained off Carrickfergus and Holywood for days, at least one Church of England seamen's chaplain for Belfast should be provided, for the purpose of visiting their crews and ministering to them afloat and on shore.

There is a sailors' home at Belfast.


From 8,000 to 9,000 seamen enter the River Liffey bound for Dublin under the British flag annually, including repeated voyages, besides which there are many more manned by American, Norwegian, French, Italian, German, and Greek crews. About four hundred English fishing boats visit Howth Harbour annually, each having from six to eight men on board. The boarding-houses for sailors are situated in the parishes of St. Mark and St. Barnabas, and the ships lie off these parishes, or those of Holy Trinity and St. Thomas. The free sittings of six churches are open to seamen, viz., those of St. Barnabas, Holy Trinity, and St. Thomas on the north side of the river, and the Mariners' church, the Mission church, and St. Mark's on its south side. The vergers of all these churches are directed by their incumbents to give a cordial welcome to seamen when they present themselves for admission, and about 1,500 do attend in the course of the year, but next to none ever communicate. There is no special agency employed by the clergy to bring seamen to church on Sundays; but the vicar of St. Barnabas acts as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and supervises a scripture reader it provides. The latter does all in his power to bring non-resident seamen within the sound of the gospel by constant ship-to-ship visitation, when he converses with and reads to their crews, invites them to attend the most conveniently situated churches, sells bibles and testaments, &c., in several languages, and distributes tracts, &c. among them. Last year he paid 1,413 visits to ships and 331 to fishing boats. Captains also are urged by him to conduct divine service on board their ships, but so far, we fear, with little success. There is a sailors' home at Dublin, but no reading-room for their use. No doubt one on each side of the river would be of great value to seamen, and prevent many from resorting to public houses, as they now do, often to their ruin.


[59] This is an important port, affording shelter when required to upwards of a thousand vessels, chiefly coasters, driven in by stress of weather annually.

From 200 to 300 Cornish and Scotch fishing vessels also come into this harbour at the close of each week during the summer months. Each of these vessels on an average carries six men, among whom, we are happy to add, there are some of a very godly character. Besides these, many yachts frequent Kingstown Harbour during the summer, so that altogether there is a very large floating population here, for whom spiritual provision is needed.

The incumbent of the Mariners' church acts as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and supervises a scripture reader it provides for the service of seamen here; but so far he has not been successful in inducing many to attend divine service at church, which is scarcely to be expected, as most of the seats are appropriated in consideration of payment for them, and a few inferior ones only are open to seamen should they come to this so-called Mariners' chapel.


Between 6,000 and 7,000 seamen land at Waterford, or New Ross, annually, and a large number of seagoing English and foreign ships, either wind-bound or awaiting orders, habitually lie at Passage, nine miles from the Hook lighthouse, at the entrance of Waterford Harbour, and the same distance from Waterford. The crews of these ships are usually not allowed to go ashore, which necessitates their visitation for spiritual purposes in a boat. There are many boarding-houses for seamen in Waterford, chiefly in Trinity parish; but some are in Passage, and others in Dunmore. Most of these are kept by Roman Catholics. The Dean of Waterford, the Vicar of Dunmore East, and the Curate of St. Patrick's, Waterford, are honorary chaplains to the Missions to Seamen Society. A chaplain, who gives part of his time to the shipping, and a scripture reader, wholly given to work afloat, are supplied by the same Society. These visit the ships at Passage, hold services on board them, distribute bibles, prayer-books, &c. by gift or sale amongst their crews, and invite them to attend divine service in the shore churches by the aid of cards giving the hours when these services &c. are held; they also visit the seamen's boarding-houses for the same purpose, and all who accept their invitations are gladly welcomed and provided with seats. It is calculated that there are about 1,000 attendances of seamen at divine service during the year, but very few ever communicate. Special prayers for those at sea are offered up every Sunday in Passage East and Dunmore churches. There is a good sailors' home and reading-room at Waterford, provided by a few benevolent Waterford merchants, but this is under sectarian [59/60] management. Large numbers of English fishermen frequent Dunmore, and for these the rector is erecting an institute on glebeland near the church, where many of them, though often Dissenters, gladly worship. A larger boat than the one now kept at Passage East for mission purposes is necessary.


This is one of the largest ports of call in the United Kingdom, and the great land-locked basin of Queenstown communicating with it could give shelter to the whole British fleet if needed. The vessels awaiting orders or wind-bound lie in the harbour or estuary of Queenstown, as do those discharging their cargoes into smaller vessels coming up to Cork at Passage West; these constitute by far the most important portion of the shipping here; but other vessels come up to Cork, and are moored alongside the quays. About 8,000 seamen coming from foreign ports alone enter this harbour under the British flag annually. These for the most part remain on board their ships during their stay at Queenstown, whilst awaiting "orders" as to the port to which to carry the cargoes, except in case of sickness, when they are sent on shore to the hospital. The boarding-houses for seamen are situated on the quays in various parishes, and are all kept by Roman Catholics, but Protestant inmates are occasionally visited by the parochial clergy. From the fact that so few seamen live out of their ships here, comparatively speaking there is less reason to provide for them spiritually than at other ports on shore; few attend divine service for the same reason, and these are chiefly captains, and fewer still communicate; but such seamen as do present themselves at church-doors are freely provided with seats. Spiritual work here is most needed afloat, and a chaplain who has been secured by the Missions to Seamen Society here for nearly twenty years, appointed by the rector of Queenstown, and serving as his curate afloat, is provided with a schooner yacht for the purpose of visiting the ships off Queenstown. There is also a Nonconformist scripture reader at work here; also a sailors' home at Cork, and another at Queenstown. The system of selling bibles and prayer-books at the conclusion of week-day services on board ships in outer roadsteads has been most successfully developed by the chaplain on the Cork River, whilst the cosmopolitan character of the mission afloat is aptly illustrated by the fact that during the past eighteen years 9,762 bibles, 6,315 testaments, and 2,335 prayer-books, were sold to seamen afloat by the chaplain in twenty-two different languages. The Italians bought the largest number, Norwegians, Germans, and Swedes being the next largest, and English seamen only the fifth largest purchasers, the Norwegians buying our prayer-book, translated into their own tongue, very largely. This roadstead chaplain has also been very successful in promoting temperance; 450 sailors signed the pledge in this harbour during [60/61] the two years ending March 1877. This is made a stepping-stone to religious conviction and devout living; such self-denial commonly leading to prayerful conduct and Christian practice.


During part of the year this harbour is frequented by many Cornish and Manx fishermen, and frequently serves as a harbour of refuge for coasters and for wind-bound vessels; but only a few of these come along the quay.

The rector of Valentia serves as honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, and does all in his power for seamen by going on board their vessels, urging their captains to conduct divine service when at sea, and distributing bibles, prayer and other books, among the men. Those who do come to church in response to these invitations are gladly welcomed, and from 40 to 50 seamen have done so during the past year. The hymn for those at sea is constantly used in the church of Valentia, and prayer for them is about to be put up habitually. There is no sailors' home or reading-room here, but an attempt is being made to supply this last, to which seamen would have free access.


This account of the survey of the principal ports of England and Ireland will, we feel confident, be read with sorrow; for although it assures us that much good work has been done, and is doing, to the great spiritual advantage of our seamen, in few ports are they sufficiently cared for, whilst in others they are totally neglected. We most earnestly hope that this careful and honest search into the present spiritual condition of seamen through the medium of Convocation, the result of which we now beg to offer in our Report, will serve to promote immediate and vigorous action in their behalf, and especially on the part of the bishops and clergy of our seaboard dioceses and of the mercantile community, which is at least in some measure responsible for the seamen in their employ, and perhaps not fully aware of the present condition of seamen nor of their dire temptations, which might at least be greatly mitigated. What we earnestly desire is, that the whole truth with respect to our seamen should be known, instead of ignored or hidden, and that the clergy should regard them as parishioners when on shore, or afloat near shore, to which claim they have clearly a just right.

Then, when the parochial clergy of seaboard parishes find that they are already over-burdened with the care of their landsmen parishioners, and have no power of increasing their numbers, so as adequately to minister to seamen, they may reasonably appeal to their bishops and the faithful laity of their dioceses for aid towards the supply of [61/62] curates, chaplains, or scripture readers, according to circumstances, to enable them to minister to seamen, when they clearly cannot do so themselves without extraneous help.

A very advantageous way of meeting the spiritual wants of seamen would be for the clergy to put themselves into communication with one of the seamen's societies, with a view to their co-operation.

If there is not sufficient accommodation in churches for seamen, whether through want of space or the appropriation of their seating, the seaboard clergy should certainly make efforts either to enlarge their churches, or to build others for the especial use of seamen in convenient localities, and not allow these churches to be taken possession of by others, as has not unfrequently been done in populous places. When good and ample accommodation has been provided for seamen, enabling them to join with their brethren in divine worship, emissaries should be sent forth to invite their attendance, and vergers and other minor church officials should be charged to give them a hearty welcome when they present themselves for admission at church doors.

Shipowners also have the power to aid seamen spiritually, second only to that of the bishops and clergy. 1. By directing the captains in their employ to conduct divine service on board their ships at least on Sundays. 2. By the provision of a sufficient supply of bibles, books of common prayer, hymn-books, and small libraries of other books, for the use of the crews of their ships. 3. By preventing the desecration of the Sabbath abroad, as well as at home, through coaling and other work, except when this is imperatively required through urgent necessity. 4. By the payment of the wages due to seamen before they quit their ships on their discharge. 5. By facilitating the provision seamen usually desire to make for their families when they are at sea, as is benevolently done for the seamen of the Royal Navy by the Admiralty. 6. By promoting Temperance Societies.

When sea-officers have shown themselves steadfast in conducting services on board ship for a few voyages it seems desirable that they should receive episcopal recognition in the diocese to which their ships belong, and by being commissioned as lay-readers. Meanwhile we are glad to learn that efforts are being made by the Missions to Seamen Society to band them together as members of a lay-helpers' association.

There is one more way in which all who are interested in the spiritual condition of England may aid them with very material help, viz., by contributing towards the various societies which are endeavouring to save our seamen from ungodliness and profanity, but more especially those having a larger scope, so as to enable them to do their good work more speedily and more effectually than they have hitherto been able to do. Of these, St. Andrew's Waterside Mission at Gravesend justly deserves to be again alluded to in high terms of commendation on account of the good service it has done to our English seamen; but the one that of all others stands first, from the great extent of its labours, and the zealous manner in which it fulfils its high duty, is [62/63] the Missions to Seamen Society, to which we have necessarily so frequently referred in our survey of the principal ports of this country as having lent a generous and benevolent hand wherever extraneous help is required, as far as its present resources permit.

Signed on behalf of the Committee,

February 11, 1878.


I. That the appointment of a Bishop, serving as Chaplain-General, is much needed.

II. That special endeavour be made to extend the ministrations of Chaplains in Home and Foreign ports to the crews of those ships that have no Chaplains.

III. That the supply and support of additional sailors' homes in Foreign ports is most desirable.

IV. That the adoption by authority of additional Forms of Prayer, to be used in times of peril, and of Thanksgiving after escape from especial danger, and on other occasions, is strongly recommended.

V. That there is great need that the several seaboard dioceses should more fully recognise the spiritual wants of our merchant seamen, and, as far as possible, relieve them.

VI. That every effort should be made to induce our mercantile community to take a more lively interest in the spiritual condition of seamen than has hitherto been manifested.

VII. That the Prolocutor be requested to take up a copy of this Committee's Report, and of the foregoing Resolutions, to the Upper House, with a respectful request that their Lordships will give it their immediate attention.

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