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number last year. But this will not be thought extraordinary when it is known how greatly higher was the price of provisions than last year, wheat being 21. 15s. 1d. per quarter, or 24 per cent. higher; and potatoes 71. 7s. 6d. against 67. 10s. The number of persons receiving relief increased from 835,787 to 889,942.
The newspapers from all parts of the country are full of accounts of the consequences of the cold weather. The Thames, the Med way, and the Trent were rendered almost unnavigable by the masses of ice or frozen snow which, becoming detached from the banks and stiller waters, floated up and down with the tide. The canals were fast frozen; the roads choked with hardened snow, through which lanes were cut for the passage of carriages, with "sidings" to prevent blocking. The lower lands, which had been flooded by the choked streams, were frozen over into fields of ice. The thickness of the ice permitted the free exercise of the usual sports without the danger of immersion and drowning, their frequent accompaniments. On the waters in the London parks the sport went on incessantly, with many new devices. "Railway express trains," hot dinners, sleighing, varied the routine of ice-quadrilles, spreadeagles, and figures of 8, by day; while by night torch-light processions, or wild dances, fireworks, and illuminations, gave a picturesque aspect to the scenery. For some period these sports afforded a delightful recreation to innumerable spectators: but, by degrees, the "roughs" obtained a detestable supremacy, and all persons who valued their respectability and safety were driven away
by their ruffianism. On the private waters of the Crystal Palace and residential grounds the amusement was pursued with animation and security. Nor did Royalty itself, personified by the Prince Consort and his sons, neglect the invigorating pastime. Numerous accidents occurred to the unwary as they traversed the frozen ground. Many persons received serious injuries from slipping on "slides" or unobserved dangers. In most parts of the country, aged, feeble, or drunken persons perished; shepherds and tramps on the mountain-tops or on the moors and wolds.
The sufferings of the poor in all parts were extreme, particularly among among those whose daily existence depends upon open-air labour.
In the eastern parts of London, in particular, the destitution was terrible. The docklabourers and wharfmen were thrown for weeks out of employment by the stoppage of traffic on the river. Many thousands of these are known to rise every morning, in the most prosperous times, not knowing whether they shall earn food for the day; they now rose with the frightful certainty that the food for the day they could not earn. The benevolence of individuals and of societies was exerted to the very utmost; large sums were subscribed, exceeding the power of judicious distribution. The voluntary machinery of the police-courts was overtaxed in the attempt to distribute with some degree of discrimination the funds committed to their care. Great abuses, beyond doubt, were inevitable in our vast and tumultuous metropolis; many who were undeserving obtained and abused the gifts of charity-many of the
deserving perished unknown; but upon the whole the terrible crisis was well got over. In the country the organization of the poor-law and the voluntary efforts of the judicious met the calamity more effectually and wisely by house-tohouse visitation.
1. STORM AND SHIPWRECKS.On the night between the 31st December and 1st January a fierce gale blew around our coasts, by which many vessels were wrecked. The Goodwin Sands were the scene of two sad shipwrecks on New Year's-day. During the night the people of Walmer and Deal were alarmed by the firing of guns in that direction. At daybreak it was discovered that a large ship had gone to pieces upon the sands, and in the afternoon it was known that the ill-fated vessel was the French bark Dugay Trouin, from Bordeaux, bound to Antwerp, with a cargo of wheat. The crew succeeded, after much difficulty, in escaping in their boat, when they made for the North Sand Head lightship. About 11 o'clock at night the booming of guns was heard and rockets were seen from near the same spot. It was a dreadful night, and boats were unable to get off. In the course of the morning it was ascertained that a fine Dutch ship, the Guttenberg, for Hamburg from New York, had been totally wrecked on the south part of the sands. The mate and five of the crew escaped to Dover, but the master and the remainder of the crew perished.
The French coast suffered severely, and the passenger steampackets were in great danger. Several persons were injured on board of them by the seas.
In the neighbourhood of Ilfracombe a serious loss of life and
property occurred. The Spanish ship Dulce Nombre de Jesus, from Havanna for Bristol, laden with sugar, went upon the rocks east of Morte Point, and became a total wreck, the captain and three of the crew unhappily perishing. A French vessel is reported to have been wrecked near Morte Bay in the course of the night, and several of the crew were drowned.
Several fatal shipwrecks took place on the north-east coast. A collier brig was driven on the Whitby Sands and became a total wreck, the whole of the crew perishing except a boy. A quantity of wreck seen off this section of the coast. On the Ross Sands, the Timbuctoo, of Scarborough, was totally lost, with the whole of the crew. Nothing has been heard of them. A Hanoverian schooner was also driven ashore, in the same neighbourhood, and all hands perished. On the Whitby Sands, at the mouth of the Tyne, a brig was grounded; but by the daring exertions of the Cullercoats lifeboat the whole of the crew, except a boy, were saved.
NUMEROUS RAILWAY AccIDENTS.-A great number of railway accidents, many of them attended with great destruction of life and property, occurred during the month of January. Although these were all occasioned by direct and specific causes, there can be no doubt that the intensity of the cold was, in most cases, an indirect and predisposing cause. The metal both of the "rolling stock and of the rails was rendered extremely brittle. In the case of the wheels and other parts exposed to shock, the relative position and power were affected by contraction; and in respect of the rails, the bars were contracted to such a
degree that ill-fitted rails were sometimes found to be sundered as much as four inches. Besides, therefore, the tendency to fracture, either in the rails themselves or the points, by the impact of the engines and carriages, these gaps gave a jumping tendency to the locomotive carriages, which was likely either to throw them off the rails, or to cause fractures in their machinery. Add to these obvious occasions of disaster, the rotten condition of the embankments by frost and flood, landslips, and the half-stupefied condition of engine-drivers and assistants, rushing at tremendous speed through an atmosphere but few degrees above zero, and the frequency of these disasters at this season will occasion but little surprise.
4. ACCIDENTS ON THE LONDON, CHATHAM, AND DOVER RAILWAY.
-A fatal accident occurred on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, near Sittingbourne, to the express train which left the Victoria station at 9.55 A.M. The train was composed of a guard's break-van, two third, two first, and two second-class carriages, another guard's van being the last. Several delays had occurred, owing to which it arrived at the Rainham station nearly half an hour behind its time. When within a mile of the Sittingbourne station the tire of one of the wheels of the guard's van, next the engine, flew off. In consequence, the van immediately went off the rails, and ran over the ballast for nearly 200 yards; it then threw off the rails a thirdclass carriage, which, after running about 350 yards, was thrown over on to its side, and thus dragged along until it was broken to fragments. A first-class carriage was also thrown over and broken. Fortunately there
were but few passengers in the train, and only three in the destroyed carriage. One of these, a warrant-officer of the Royal Navy, named Patterson, was so frightfully crushed and mutilated that he died a few hours after he
had been removed to the Railway Hotel at Sittingbourne. Yet, singular to say, the other two passengers (both females) who were in the same carriage were very little injured. One of the compartments of the first-class carriage was crushed, yet a gentleman therein escaped without serious injury. The guard and some other passengers were bruised and hurt, but suffered no material injuries.
On the very next day, on the same line, and near the same spot, another and more serious accident occurred., The train, which was composed of six passenger carriages, two break-vans, the engine, and tender, left the Victoria station at 7.45 P.M. Fortunately there were but two passengers in the whole train. The train performed the journey at a moderate speed, and the enginedriver was letting off the steam in order to run into the Teynham station, when suddenly the engine gave a bound and jumped aside off the rails dragging with it the tender and all the carriages except the last. The engine, which was a large and powerful one, was turned completely over, and lay upon its side in an adjoining field, the front wheels were torn off, and the whole machinery was torn and twisted in a very extraordinary manner. The tender was thrown some distance: one of the carriages was forced on to the other side of the line; a first-class carriage was dragged into a ditch by the side of the line; another was
forced across the line; others were crushed together in dire ruin. Of the passengers, a clergyman, travelling in a second-class carriage, was much hurt by cuts and bruises about the head and body; the other, a third-class passenger, was not materially hurt. engine-driver was found crushed under a piece of timber, and died the following day; the fireman of the engine, and another who was travelling on the engine to his home, were both taken up dead; the guard was not hurt.
The cause of this disaster was ascertained to be the breaking of one of the horn-plates" of the engine. These are pieces of castiron which protect the fore-wheels and keep them in their places. The hindermost of these hornplates on the left-hand frame of the engine having broken, the wheel would come under the body of the engine. No cause for the fracture could be discovered; but the plate proved to be of bad material and was probably rendered extremely brittle by the intense frost.
4. ACCIDENT ON THE SHREWSBURY AND HEREFORD RAILWAY.An accident, attended by the loss of two lives, under singular circumstances, happened to the express train which left Shrewsbury for Hereford at 12.40 P.M. The train, which consisted of four carriages, carried an unusual number of passengers for this period of the year. The line, traversing a country that is frequently inundated by the river Lugg, runs along an embankment nearly the whole of the distance from Leominster to Hereford (12 miles); and to facilitate the drainage of the land, a deep dyke, generally filled with water, runs along either side of the line. About midway between Leominster
and Hereford there is the Dinmore tunnel, three-quarters of a mile long. The run from Dinmore to Moreton is generally accomplished at full speed. Between these two points also the Lugg (which from the late thaw had covered the land on either side for miles with several feet of water, until the whole country seemed one vast frozen lake) has to be crossed twice. Shortly after crossing the first bridge, which is from 20 to 30 feet above the river, the passengers in the carriage next to the tender noticed a peculiar sensation, and observed something fly off. At this time Miss Lowe, a lady of fortune, of Chester, and a young country girl, Mary Jones, were sitting nearly together, the former reading a book, and opposite to them a sergeant of marines, named Wilcox, with a recruit. Suddenly a shock was felt, and the whole of the carriages were thrown off the rails down the embankment; the engine and tender remaining on the line. The carriages were overturned and were immersed in the water, here between 5 and 6 feet deep, with their wheels in the air. Owing to the intense cold of the weather, all the windows but one closed, and hence the passengers were huddled together in closelyconfined prisons, which immediately became filled with water. In the course of the terrible panic that ensued, the strongest and most active got uppermost, and the weak and more terror-stricken to the bottom. The intense anguish of the moment no pen can describe. The engine-driver and stoker immediately alighted from the tender, released the guard and some others, and by their joint exertions, the doors and windows
of the carriages were broken open, and most of the passengers, many of whom were women and children, were released. Wilcox and his companion, who were very powerful men, exerted themselves bravely, and drew several from the water. But the ice, and the intense cold, benumbed the exertions of the rescuers, and the condition of Miss Lowe and Mary Jones seems to have escaped notice for some time. When they were at length drawn from the water they were insensible. The only place of succour in the dreary waste of water around was a peasant's cottage, to which the shivering passengers were conveyed, and where they received every attention the means of the poor occupants could provide. But Miss Lowe did not again move, and was probably dead when removed from the water. Mary Jones was observed to move and breathe once, and then fell over dead. These unfortunates perished rather of the cold than from drowning. The cause of the accident was readily ascertainedthe tire of the right leading wheel of the foremost carriage had burst into four pieces. This was apparently due to the effects of the frost, for the tire was of excellent manufacture, and had been recently tested.
4. ACCIDENT ON THE LONDON AND NORTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.— A fatal and somewhat singular accident occurred on this line at a
late hour on Friday night. The Liverpool express train, which leaves that place at 5.15 P.M. is due at the Euston terminus at 10.50 P.M. The train pulled up at the ticket platform at Camden Town, and the collectors had, as they thought, completed their duties, and the train was about to
run into the Euston station, when it was suddenly discovered that some of the carriages were missing, but where they had broken off could not be ascertained. An engine was started with all the available assistance to search for the missing carriages. They had not, however, to proceed far, for about 40 yards on the London side of the Primrose-hill tunnel, the carriages which had become disconnected were found smashed to pieces, and it was soon ascertained that a very serious accident had happened. Lights were procured, and it was found that the last two carriages and the break-van had broken away. The former had been thrown over on to the line, and broken into fragments, while the break, although it had left the rails, remained on the permanent way, and was uninjured. Moans and shrieks issued from the wreck, and the efforts of the men were directed to rescue the passengers. This was a work of great trouble, for the vehicles had turned completely over, and the portions of the broken carriages had to be removed before the people could be extricated. When this was at length accomplished, it was found that a first-class passenger, Mr. Kelly, of Liverpool, had been crushed to death; Mr. Appleby, of Sevenoaks, greatly injured; and that other passengers had received hurts of less consequence. The cause of the disaster seems to have been that the carriages had sprung off the line at a point where the rails had been relaid too closely; that the "draw-bar" had been broken by the shock, and the following carriages had thus become detached.
5. BOILER EXPLOSIONS.-A fatal boiler explosion took place on the