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In the Year
In the Year
averages about 2,000, the lives of some 5,000 or 6,000 persons being thus placed in imminent danger.
Looking over reports for past years, I find the table giving the number of lives saved by the boats belonging to the Institution stands thus : No. of Lives
No. of Lives
235 Large grants—in 1864 alone amounting to £1,539—have been made for the exertions used in saving life ; and that not only to the crews of the life-boats, but to all boats employed in the good cause, and our boatmen and fishermen all know that their work will be acknowledged and rewarded by the Institution, in proportion to the risk incurred. Some misapprehension as to the license allowed the crews of the lifeboat in the case of saving property has existed, and I am glad of an opportunity to explain the true regulations.
The Life Boat Institution, being essentially one for the rescue and preservation of life, and, as such, taking charge of the money placed in the hands of the committee, is not obliged to order the crews to act, or give the boats for any other service, and has no right so to use the funds raised.
However, the Institution authorises the crews of its life-boats to assist in saving vessels in danger; and the conditions on which the boats arę lent to the crews for such service are as follow :
“ ist.—That they are on no account to be used in the salvage of property so as to interfere with private enterprise, when any other boats are available, and can be safely employed.
“2nd. —That they are never to be launched and taken afloat expressly to perform such service, when lives are not endangered, without the sanction of the local honorary secretary, or other representative of the local committee of management.
• 3rd. —That the greatest care is to be taken of them, and that they are never, on such occasions, to be unnecessarily exposed to serious risk of damage or destruction.
“4th.—That their crews are not to make exorbitant demands for payment from the owners of the property saved, in proportion to the service rendered.
“5th.—That to cover risk of damage to the boats, two shares of all salvage pay. ments received, i. c., an equivalent to the shares of two of the crew, shall be paid to the Institution."
The life-boat has been frequently called a symbol of heroism, and well do the gallant fellows who man it, deserve their name. Used to the sea from childhood, they know its mighty power by heart, and understand thoroughly the fearful risk to be encountered. Reader, have you ever seen a life-boat putting off to aid a perishing crew? Do you remember the patient perseverance of the men-how steadily they sit, as time after time the boat is beaten back, and comes broadside on, lifted like a feather upon the angry waves. Minutes, they know, are precious as life to the poor fellows on the wreck, so no time is lost, breathlessly they work, even the wives or mothers beating back their fears for those they love in their deep sympathy for those they know must perish unless the boat can be launched. Do you remember, when she got afloat at last, the flash of the ready oars, the eager strain of the strong arms, as the frail wood seems to bend in the teeth of the current, and then the cheer, that told they were off to the rescue ? If seen this, you have walked home with a prouder step, prouder than ever of being an Englishman, and having the tie of brotherhood with such men as these.
There are few families in this kingdom, who have not some member of them exposed to the dangers of the sea. Think of this, dear reader, think of your dear ones, and the chances of their life, think of this, and do not hold back because you can give little ; remember how small the grains of sand that make the desert are. Add your mite, and when the winds and waves roar, you can kneel with a clear conscience, and pray
" God bless our men at sea."
you have THE FISHERMAN'S DAUGHTER;
TAKEN IN CUSTODY.
The legal gentleman, aware of course of what had passed at the examination of Rigg, was sensible that the lad stood in circumstances of whose difficulty, if not danger, he was himself, even yet, little ac. quainted. And it was some time before he was able to make him fully comprehend that, between them, they must use no ordinary efforts, before they could succeed in once more obtaining the prisoner's liberty. In addition to the appearances already against him, the lawyer pointed out that there would be brought forward every evidence that the public prosecutor could ferret out to strengthen the case against him. The authorities were in possession of more information than the magistrate had informed him the day before. They had suspected him from the first, and as yet, he reminded his client, there was not one fact adduced in his favour, except the doubtful testimony of the cobbler, that it was another man who had disposed of the shoes. The lad reiterated his innocence, his amazement that he could be thought capable of such a crime against anyone, far less her, to whom he owed so much, &c.
But the man of law simply cut him short in these overflowings of feeling, and demonstrated that what was wanted was proof of his being elsewhere on the night. when the crime was committed. This was afforded, though the evidence, in the lawyer's opinion, was not all he could wish ; indeed, on further reflection, he doubted whether it would be accepted, but he must try, since it was the only testimony of absence from the scene of murder that Rigg, apparently after a weary mental retrospect of that night, could adduce. This step decided upon, the next was to obtain information from the accused, whether he had any suspicion of the actual criminal. The lad answered, sadly, that he had none; he only wished he had, and he would pursue him to the world's end, and so on. He was desired to think again, in short, to ransack the farthest corner of his brain for any link, or trace, or clue, that could, by any possibility, be followed up to fix suspicion upon some one else, and remove it from himself. At last a thought struck him, but as he mentioned it, he added anxiously, he would never forgive himself if he blamed the innocent; while his adviser, turning a deaf ear once more to such expressions, took notes of every connected circumstance which the hint afforded. This interview over, the lawyer entered into a correspondence with certain individuals in the neighbourhood of the place where the crime had been committed, besides issuing a series of advertisements and printed notices, offering a reward to whoever would bring into the presence of the authorities of Glasgow the person of John Latimer, an adult of weak mind, supposed to be wandering through different parts of Scotland, and describing his appearance, age, and such particulars as were likely to identify him, concluding with the form, all for the purpose of furthering the ends of justice.
Sixty years since, indeed more recently than that date, such persons as the imbecile now sought for, roamed through Scotland unchecked, wandering to and fro, throughout the length and breadth of the land; a wonder even to those who sheltered or fed them for a time, how they contrived to walk such distances, or to maintain and preserve themselves so long in safety. Now, such characters ramble there no longer, or if by chance they escape from the places of security to which they are very properly consigned, the people are ready to aid the law in their recapture. When such measures may for a time prove fruitless, there is now handed about, and multiplied to any extent, the photograph of the poor fool, so that whoever runs may read the likeness, and arrest the course of the runaway when he fancies himself most secure from detection. The cunning usually intermixed with the imbecilty of such persons, and which then served to aid them when they desired to evade those who sought them, and did so often successfully, can avail now only for a brief space. But, marvellous to say, although for a few days the reward failed to produce the effect intended, at the end of that time John Latimer appeared, as it seemed, of his own accord, at the place he was wanted. The official staff were seated in what was called the outer office, round a fire, much at their ease, conversing about anything that occurred to them, except those events in which they were most intimately concerned, and which, like greater men, they always avoided when not compelled by duty; for are we not all glad to eschew “ the shop” when shop-time is over, or when there are no customers ? A knock upon the floor was heard, and as the central figure of the circle turned about to see what or who occasioned the noise, as he declared afterwards, he almost fell from his seat with astonishment (the hearers called it fear), as he beheld “Daft Jock standing behind him, with a stick as thick as his arm raised in the air, and without a single soul to look after him." The freedom, however, of the half-witted being did not last long ; he had walked into the lion's den, and must meet the fate to be expected there. Three pairs of hands were now laid upon him at once, to make sure of his capture, and to prevent him doing deadly harm to the party, while the bludgeon, as the sergeant called it, was carefully transferred to the keeping of that officer. And another less important member, not seeing well what else he could do to show his zeal, knocked the battered hat off his head, and disclosed his red hair, in the opinion of another of the fraternity standing right on end, stiff with rage.
How much of all this existed only in the minds of the guardians of public safety, may be judged from what ensued. Jock looked ruefully at his captured stick in the hands of the sergeant, next at his old hat lying disconsolately in a corner, and then, without attempting to move hand or foot, for the purpose of escape or defence, said in his usual jabbering voice, and with a gawky leer, “I am come for my own reward.”
" The reward !” exclaimed the sergeant, “ Yes, you shall have it, I promise you !" and then addressing one of his suite, he told him to go for the legal adviser of Rigg ; and afterwards turning to Latimer, he, accompanied by the whole band of his brethren, conveyed him to an inner apartment, somewhat resembling an iron cage, where he was left in captivity, to jabber and mutter by himself for a time. Shortly after
a wards he underwent an examination by the lawyer, was then handed over to that higher court to which the magistrate had formerly referred, and again replaced in custody. The cobbler was confronted with him, and once more put out of patience by being asked whether Latimer was the person of whom he had purchased the memorable shoes.
“He never transacted business," he said, indignantly, "with daft folk; though others seemed fond of doing so," he added aside, evidently referring to the high functionaries before him.
More correspondence followed with different persons in no fewer than three of the Scottish shires, and then an order was issued to the public prosecutor, at Inverary, to take into custody the person of Donald Campbell, baker, resident in the village of Cladich, Argyleshire, likewise for the furtherance of the ends of justice. When the cobbler, the day after his last appearance before the court, heard of this new capture, about to be added to those already incarcerated on account of the murder, he expressed his opinion on the subject rather freely to a neighbour, in these terms : “They say in all things, that the third is either lucky—or unlucky: who this third is that they are chasing now I know not ; but if you like to hear my private judgment of the matter," he added sententiously, while he jogged the other's elbow, so as to convey a yet greater weight of wisdom than the words contained, " they are just a set of gomerils up yonder,” and he nodded his head in the direction of the courts of justice, or they would have hit on the right man long ago."
Man," replied his companion, "you must not speak that way of the powers above, or you will be taken for a black neb." Which appellation we must translate into what it meant, a sort of Scots Jacobin, or friend of the people, a few of whom were sympathising about this time with the French revolutionists.