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REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER.
On Thursday, August 24, 1848, the Ocean Monarch slipped her moorings in the Mersey, and was towed down the river on her way to America ; her crew clearing the decks, and making the last preparations for the voyage : and her living cargo of more than three hundred souls, passengers and emigrants, busily employed in arranging their goods.
And how various were the feelings of those individuals respecting that country, which, in a little time, they expected to reach ! Some returning to their “fatherland,” to receive the joyous welcome of beloved friends and relatives long unseen, but not forgotten yet-others making a tour, to see the manners and customs, as well as the natural beauties and wonders of the Western world, their minds filled, perhaps, with thoughts of the red Indian in his wigwam, and longing to explore regions scarcely known but to "the children of the Prairie,” or to the foresters on the banks of the Missisippi and Missouri. Others again-emigrants, compelled by poverty to leave their native country,"home, sweet home,” with all its endearments and fond recollections, and with their "little all,” they traverse the ocean to seek their -bread in a distant clime-others, perhaps, driven by persecution, because they dared to read the Bible the charter of their salvation ; and, denounced by the tyrant priests of Rome, they cross the seas, intending to wander as “strangers and pilgrims” on a foreign shore till their toil being ended, and led by the Star of Bethlehem, they reach that “better land” where “the wicked cease from troubling," and where " the weary be at rest ;" while others-two of the numbermiserable pair-partners in guilt and shame, flying from the gaze of man, and the outraged feelings of those whom they wronged, forget that “the eye of the Lord is in every place, beholding the evil and the good," and that his vengeance can pursue the sinner far beyond the limits of the wind or of the tide.
The weather was threatening, but the scenery was interesting and picturesque. The fine beach on the Lancashire side, the Cheshire coast dotted with villas, the estuaries of the Dee and Mersey, with here and there a beacon tower to guide the vessels which were making for the harbour ; then a whole fleet of fishingboats might be seen, their hardy tenants steering for the port after passing the night in the deep; and steamers went to and fro, with their black, or white, or red chimneys, and added not a little animation to the scene. But soon they reach the bar, and the bell buoy ringing its solemn note, and then the Ocean Monarch stood out to sea-her sails were spread, and wafted by the winds of heaven, she sped her way with every hope of a prosperous voyage.
But who can tell what an hour may bring forth? The clock struck twelve-"eight bells were rung by the watch upon deck—the breeze had freshened, and the gallant vessel proudly cut her way through the foaming surge, the passengers gazing upon the varied scenery of the coast of Wales-Abergele, with its neat cottages and cultivated slopes, the highland ridges bounding the lovely vale of Clwyd, and the “cloudcapped " Snowdon just opening to the view, when a message was brought to the captain, that a fire was lighted by a passenger, in a part of the cabin where a fire ought not to be. Orders were given for its immediate extinction, and to see those orders efficiently executed, the captain went below. Smoke was then issuing from one of the after state rooms. Not a moment was lost by the officers in chargem water was thrown in abundance upon the spot from whence the smoke proceeded ; but the danger was discovered too late--all their efforts were unavailing, the devouring element had obtained the mastery-in five minutes' time the after part of the ship burst into flames, and a cry, a piercing cry of “Fire! fire !” was uttered by almost every one on board. The utmost confusion prevailed, and mad despair seemed to seize upon the passengers; but the dauntless Commander, Captain Murdoch, retained his wonted presence of mind. At first he tried to run the vessel aground upon the beach, and then, failing in this, he endeayoured to turn her head to the wind, and so to keep the fire abaft, but the man at the wheel was scorched, and could no longer keep his place, and the Captain, seeing no alternative, gave the command, “ Let go the anchors," as the only one likely to be obeyed in the wild disorder prevailing amongst those on board.
The following account of some of the circumstances which took place after this, was given by the Captain : -“In spite of all that could be done the flames increased. I gave orders to get the boats out. Two of them were got out, but before the lashings of the others could be cut, they were enveloped in flames. The mate and several of the passengers, with part of the crew, got into one of the boats which was lowered, and a portion of the crew, with some passengers, into the other. The last thing which I did was to throw overboard a top-gallant yard, with the assistance of the carpenter and one or two men, with a rope attached to