17 Pages

Letter LI: Thursday, May 9, 1850

Before proceeding, however, to treat of the several establishments that have been designed with the view of alleviating the ills to which seamen are especially liable, let us endeavour to arrive at some idea as to the number of lives annually lost by shipwreck. The Government Returns upon this subject, though by no means so full as could be wished, still enable us to form some rough notion of the result. The following table is copies from the Report of Shipwrecks:

Number of Number of vessels of persons

The returns since the year 1835 are less particular. The following table is copied from the Shipping Returns; in this, it will be seen, no account is given of the number of vessels missing, nor of the number of persons drowned:

Calculating the vessels wrecked and missing in the three periods above named to have been of the average value of £5,000 for each ship and cargo (this is the estimate given in the Report on Shipwrecks), the loss of property occasioned by these wrecks would amount in the fmt three years to £6,015,000, being an average of £2,005,000 per annum; in the second three years to £8,510,000, being an average of £2,836,666 per annum: and in the last three years assuming the number of ships missing to be 130 (which bears the same proportion to the number wrecked as those in 1833-1835), to £8,590,000, being an average of £2,863,333 per annum.