TheChristianPatriotJames1Compilation of adversity and affliction quotes from great philosophers.

ADVERSITY borrows its sharpest stings from our impatience; it flattereth no man; it has no friends, but is not without comfort and hope; it is the parent of virtue and is easier borne than prosperity forgot; it is the true scale in which to weigh friends; it makes wise, though not rich; it often leads to prosperity, and reminds men of religion; it is a severe instructor, but the best; successfully overcome, it is the highest glory; it tests virtue, and will not last forever; he who has not known adversity, has seen but half of the world; he who swells in prosperity, will shrink in adversity; in prosperity caution, in adversity patience; it is more difficult for a man to behave well in prosperity than in adversity; men can bear adversity, but few contempt; sweet are its uses; there is no education like it; adversity makes a man wise, not rich; in the adversity of our friends, we always find something which is not wholly displeasing to us; it is the trial of principle; who hath not known misfortune, hath not read his own heart aright; it is the balance to weigh friends; heaven often smites in mercy, though the blow be severe; adversity elicits dormant talents; it is a severe instructor; our own impatience is the sharpest sting of adversity; he who hath no cross will have no crown; adversity exasperates fools, dejects cowards, and draws out the faculties of the wise; sweet are the uses of adversity.

AFFLICTION is the school of virtue; it separates the wheat from the chaff, and is the wholesome soil of virtue; heaven tries our virtue by affliction, sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions; a calamity is man’s true touchstone”; the best people need affliction to bring their virtues into play; contentment is thus secured; it lightens the stroke to draw near to Him who wields the rod; by trial, God is shaping us for higher things; prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great; God afflicts us to draw us nearer to Him; great trials prepare us for great duties; crown wearers in heaven were cross bearers here; afflictions are but mercies in disguise; they are the wholesome soil of virtue, the good man’s treasure; no man would be happy without them; one affliction is better than a thousand exhortations; the afflicted person is sacred, and the best remedy is to submit to Providence, for there is mercy in affliction’s smart; it heals all those wounds of sin which mock all human art; sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is improved; affliction is the wholesome soil of virtue; it shapes as it smites, and is oft a blessing in disguise; it is the good man’s shining time, his treasure; affliction’s sons are brothers in distress, whom it is god-like to relieve; no man would appreciate prosperity thoroughly, who had not experienced suffering and sorrow; the virtuous and the wicked are alike afflicted, for the same sun shines equally upon the just and upon the unjust, and it is our duty to submit to Providence, who ordereth all things well.

LOVE THAT LASTS FOREVER: Beautiful, Dedicated to My Mother


I thank the Lord I still have mine here to talk to.

Love That Lasts Forever: by Rev. John George Gibson 

She told me she loved me. She said I was her darling. She said I was more to her than all the boys in the world. She said I was all her own. Then she said I was handsome, and prophesied that years would bring health and position. She did more—she kissed me. Into that kiss she put the feeling of a life-time; all the hopes of an eternity.

When sickness came she was present—ready like a ministering angel to wait or serve. Her kindly hand drawn softly across the fevered brow stole away the fever and deadened the pain. She would hold the patient’s hand in hers till he was calm enough to sleep, and then with that hand in his he would dream of a life without sickness and disappointments. After a long while he would waken to find her still there, holding his hand. “You have had a good sleep?” Yes. But how much of it was due to that waiting, sitting presence that never moved while the sleep lasted?

Years passed. I grew older, she grew older. There was no separation. I needed her, she needed me, so the life of service continued. The home was mine, the service was hers. The position was mine, the satisfaction was hers. She knew no life but the life she lived in me and for me. Every service done for me was to her full of beauty. She did not care to be seen as long as I was noticed, or heard while I was listened to. First in the morning to make all things ready, last at night to see that all things were safe.

People wondered why she was so quiet, they thought it strange she never came to the front. She gave no reasons. She knew; I knew. I was the fruit of her work, her waiting and nursing. She had preserved my life; without her the feeble spark would have gone out. She found her life in mine. Mine was younger, more expressive and up-to-date, and therefore she was content. If I spoke well it was because she had acted well. If I had climbed to a position it was because she had given me the strength to climb. If my life was public it was because hers had been so faithfully private.

Still the years passed, years that will never be described in book 01 on platform. They were our years. With them the public never had any business and never will have. Our home life was sacred. Those who tried to look through the key hole did it to their sorrow. We kept our home as our temple, and told none of its mystic rites. The sacrifices we offered were our own. The prayers we spoke and the confessions we made were our own.

As we lived and worshipped and suffered I noticed she was not what she once was. Too much watching, too much service had weakened her physical powers— she was failing. Then her love had been too strong. It had burned so brightly that the frail lamp had cracked.

Her eyes lost their brightness, and the lines appeared on her face. The summer of life was passing—the autumn with its new tints, its shadows and falling leaves, was coming.

Yes, sadness was coming and we could not prevent it. We had journeyed together so long that we never thought the parting of the ways would come; but they did come. It is always the unexpected that happens. I must go, she must remain. The parting hour came— “goodbye.”

“Why do we say it when the tears are starting?
Why must a word so sweet bring only pain?
Our love seems all-sufficient till the parting,
And then we feel so impotent and vain.”

The embrace, the soft cheek pressed against mine’ the white face looking out of the window, the waving hand,and

“The deed is done,
But now I go and go alone.”

For her the change was too great. The dear, faithful soul could not bear to live with only the memories of the past around her. One year passed, and before I could receive word the white-robed minister had laid her to rest beside other weary pilgrims. He did it kindly, not officially, for he was not chosen because of his white robe. He had been a true friend in the days of sickness. And she sleep well, though her grave is not marked. Eight years have passed and no fresh flowers have been laid upon it. History will never know her name. Charity will never raise a monument to her virtues. She never was rewarded and never will be rewarded by material things, but

“From ouf the past
Looks forth that face to cheer me.
Oh, do not ask me to forget
If memory brings her near me,”

And away in the Golden West—seven thousand miles from that grave—there are two lives that flow in one channel; two hearts that beat in one rhythm—one quiet, the other public; one unknown, the other prominent—and their sweetest memories, their closest communion, their dreams of heaven are found in that one simple word—mother.

“Nearer and nearer day by day.
The distant voice doth come;
Soft through the pearly gate it swells
And seems to call us home.”

The Powers of Congress; House of Representatives and the Senate: Constitution Article I


First let me also tell you the original duties of the House and Senate. The powers of Congress are spelt out in Article One of the Constitution, Notice they spelt out the powers of Congress before they spelt out the powers of the executive branch, i.e. the President.

There are two houses of Congress, (House of Representatives and Senate) the Founding Fathers spelt out the Powers of the Congress before they spelt out the powers of the executive because they knew Congress would be closer to the will of the American people and therefore would do more to protect the peoples interests, rights and freedoms than the executive would. The executive throughout history has always tended to gather power unto themselves and disregard the rights of the people.

Notice also they spelt out the powers of the House of Representatives before they did the powers of the Senate, this they did for the very same reason and why it is called “The Peoples House” the House is the most important arm of government to the peoples interests. Wake up America!

The House of Representatives is the “People’s House” i.e. the House of Congress that was meant to represent the peoples interests, this is the reason the number of representatives fluctuates, grows or decreases due to the number of people in the districts of the states they represent.

The Senate that was originally made up of State Senators chosen by the elected body of each of the respective states they represent. Originally the people elected the senators of their state but they did not choose the two who were sent to Washington DC to represent the state. The United States Senate is made of of two senators from each of the states, these senators are supposed to represent the interests of their respective state in federal matters.

Our Founding Fathers were greatly influenced by the symbology of things, this is due to their history and the day and age in which they lived. They were also greatly influenced by the Bible which is a story within itself, I’m simply pointing it out here because there is a lot of symbology in the Bible if you understand it which they did. This is why they laid out the Constitution in the order of importance to liberty.

See also: The Powers of the Executive Branch i.e. the President: Constitution Article II

Now onto the Constitution; Article One:

Article I

Section 1

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2

1:  The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

2:  No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

3:  Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.2   The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.  The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

4:  When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

5:  The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3

1:  The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof,3  for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

2:  Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes.  The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.4

3:  No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

4:  The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

5:  The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

6:  The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.  When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.  When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside:  And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

7:  Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States:  but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section 4

1:  The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

2:  The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December,5  unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section 5

1:  Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

2:  Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

3:  Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

4:  Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6

1:  The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.6   They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

2:  No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7

1:  All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

2:  Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.  If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.  But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.  If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

3:  Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8

1:  The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

2:  To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

3:  To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

4:  To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

5:  To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

6:  To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

7:  To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

8:  To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

9:  To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

10:  To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

11:  To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

12:  To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

13:  To provide and maintain a Navy;

14:  To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

15:  To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

16:  To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

17:  To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

18:  To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9

1:  The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

2:  The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

3:  No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

4:  No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.7

5:  No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

6:  No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another:  nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

7:  No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

8:  No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States:  And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section 10

1:  No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

2:  No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws:  and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

3:  No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

The Powers of the Executive Branch i.e. the President: Constitution Article II

article2Refer to my article “The Powers of Congress The People’s House of Representatives and the Senate Constitution Article I”

The powers of Congress are spelt out in Article One of the Constitution, Notice the Founders spelt out the powers of Congress before they spelt out the powers of the executive branch, i.e. the President. Our Founding Fathers were greatly influenced by the symbology of things, this is due to their history and the day and age in which they lived. They were also greatly influenced by the Bible which is a story within itself, I’m simply pointing it out here because there is a lot of symbology in the Bible if you understand it which they did.

The Founding Fathers spelt out the Powers of the Congress before they spelt out the powers of the executive because they knew Congress was closer to the people, and therefore would do more to protect the peoples interests, rights and freedoms than the executive would. The executive has always throughout history has always tended to gather power unto themselves and disregarded the rights of the people. We see this happening in America today.

Now onto The Powers of the Executive Branch; Constitution:

Article II

Section 1

1:  The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.  He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

2:  Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:  but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

3:  The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves.  And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each;  which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.  The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.  The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President.  But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice.  In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President.  But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.8

4:  The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

5:  No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

6:  In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office,9  the Same shall devolve on the VicePresident, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

7:  The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

8:  Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Section 2

1:  The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

2:  He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:  but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

3:  The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Hungarian President Louis Kossuth Concerning the Centralization of Power

LouisKossuthLajos Kossuth, [aka Louis] the Hungarian political reformer and leader of the 1848-1849 revolution for Hungarian independence, was one of the greatest statesmen and orators of the mid 19th century. He was a prominent figure, well known in the United States and Europe for his leadership of the democratic forces who sought Hungarian independence from Austrian domination. During his exile, [See the rest of his bio below speech] he toured the United States in 1851-1852, American journalist Horace Greeley said of Kossuth: “Among the orators, patriots, statesmen, exiles, he has, living or dead, no superior.”

Speech at a Washington Banquet, Jan. 6th, 1852, The Banquet given by a large number of the Members of the two Houses of Congress to Kossuth took place at the National Hotel, in Washington City. The number present was about two hundred and fifty. The Hon. Wm. R. King, of Alabama, president of the Senate, presided. On his right sat Louis Kossuth, and on his left the Hon. Daniel Webster, Secretary of State. On the right of Kossuth1 at the same table, sat the Hon. Linn Boyd, speaker” of the House of Representatives. Besides other distinguished guests who responded to toasts, are named Hon. Thomas Corwin, Secretary of the Treasury, and Hon. Alex. H. H. Stuart, Secretary of the Interior. Also in attendance were Judge Wayne, of the Supreme Court of the United States; Mr. Stanton, of Tennessee; General Shields, Senator for Illinois, Chairman of the Committee of Military Affairs in the Senate; and many other dignitaries of the United States.


Sir, though I have a noble pride in my principles, and the inspiration of a just cause, still I have also the consciousness of my personal insignificance. Never will I forget what is due from me to the Sovereign Source [referring to the Hungarian people] of my public capacity. This I owe to my nation’s dignity; and therefore, respectfully thanking this highly distinguished assembly in my country’s name, I have the boldness to say that Hungary well deserves your sympathy; that Hungary has a claim to protection, because it has a claim to justice. But as to myself, I am well aware that in all these honours I have no personal share. Nay, I know that even that which might seem to be personal in your toast, is only an acknowledgment of a historical fact, very instructively connected with a principle valuable and dear to every republican heart in the United States of America. As to ambition, I indeed never was able to understand how anybody can love ambition more than liberty. But I am glad to state a historical fact, as a principal demonstration of that influence which institutions exercise upon the character of nations.

We Hungarians are very fond of the principle of municipal self-government, and we have a natural horror against centralization. That fond attachment to municipal self-government, without which there is no provincial freedom possible, is a fundamental feature of our national character. We brought it with us from far Asia a “thousand years ago, and we preserved it throughout the vicissitudes of ten centuries. No nation has perhaps so much struggled and suffered for the civilized Christian world as we. We do not complain of this lot. It may be heavy, but it is not inglorious. Where the cradle of our Saviour stood, and where His divine doctrine was founded, there now another faith rules: the whole of Europe’s armed pilgrimage could not avert this fate from that sacred spot, nor stop the rushing waves of Islamism from absorbing the Christian empire of Constantine. We stopped those rushing waves. The breast of my nation proved a breakwater to them. We guarded Christendom, that Luthers and Calvins might reform it. It was a dangerous time, and its dangers often placed the confidence of all my nation into one man’s hand. But there was not a single instance in our history where a man honoured by his people’s confidence deceived them for his own ambition. The man out of whom Russian diplomacy succeeded in making a murderer of his nation’s hopes, gained some victories when victories were the chief necessity of the moment, and at the head of an army, circumstances gave him the ability to ruin his country; but he never had the people’s confidence. So even he is no contradiction to the historical truth, that no Hungarian whom his nation honoured with its confidence was ever seduced by ambition to become dangerous to his country’s liberty. That is a remarkable fact, and yet it is not accidental; it springs from the proper influence of institutions upon the national character. Our nation, through all its history, was educated in the school of local self-government; and in such a country, grasping ambition having no field, has no place in man’s character.

The truth of this doctrine becomes yet more illustrated by a quite contrary historical fact in France. Whatever have been the changes of government in that great country—and many they have been, to be sure—we have seen a Convention, a Directorate, Consuls, and one Consul, and an Emperor, and the Restoration, and the Citizen King, and the Republic; through all these different experiments centralization was the keynote of the institutions of France—power always centralized; omnipotence always vested somewhere. And, remarkable indeed, France has never yet raised one single man to the seat of power, who has not sacrificed his country’s freedom to his personal ambition!

It is sorrowful indeed, but it is natural. It is in the garden of centralization that the venomous plant of ambition thrives. I dare confidently affirm, that in your great country there exists not a single man through whose brains has ever passed the thought, that he would wish to raise the seat of his ambition upon the ruins of your country’s liberty, if he could. Such a wish is impossible in the United States. Institutions react upon the character of nations. He who sows wind will reap storm. History is the revelation of Providence. The Almighty rules by eternal laws not only the material but also the moral world; and as every law is a principle, so every principle is a law. Men as well as nations are endowed with free-will to choose a principle, but, that once chosen, the consequences must be accepted. , With self-government is freedom, and with freedom is justice and patriotism. With centralization is ambition, and with ambition dwells despotism. Happy your great country, sir, for being so warmly attached to that great principle of self-government. Upon this foundation your fathers raised a home to freedom more glorious than the world has ever seen. Upon this foundation you have developed it to a living wonder of the world. Happy your great country, sir! that it was selected by the blessing of the Lord to prove the glorious practicability of a federative union of many sovereign States, all preserving their State-rights and their self-government, and yet united in one—every star beaming with its own lustre, but altogether one constellation on mankind’s canopy.

Upon this foundation your free country has grown to a prodigious power in a surprisingly brief period, a power which attracts by its fundamental principle. You have conquered by it more in seventy-five years than Rome by arms in centuries. Your principles will conquer the world. By the glorious example of your freedom, welfare, and security, mankind is about to become conscious of its aim. The lesson you give to humanity will not be lost. The respect for State-rights in the Federal Government of America, and in its several States, will become an instructive example for universal toleration, forbearance, and justice to the future States, and Republics of Europe. Upon this basis those mischievous questions of language-nationalities will be got rid of, which cunning despotism has raised in Europe to murder liberty. Smaller States will find security in the principle of federative union, while they will preserve their national freedom by the principle of sovereign self-government; and while larger States, abdicating the principle of centralization, will cease to be a blood-field to unscrupulous usurpation and a tool to the ambition of wicked men, municipal institutions will ensure the development of local elements; freedom, formerly an abstract political theory, will be brought to every municipal hearth; and out of the welfare and contentment of all parts will flow happiness, peace, and security for the whole.

That is my confident hope. Then will the fluctuations of Germany’s fate at once subside. It will become the heart of Europe, not by melting North Germany into a Southern frame, or the South into a Northern; not by absorbing historical peculiarities into a centralized omnipotence; not by mixing all in one State, but by federating several sovereign States into a Union like yours.

Upon a similar basis will take place, the national regeneration of Slavonic States, and not upon the sacrilegious idea of Panslavism [a political and cultural movement originally emphasizing the cultural ties between the Slavic peoples but later associated with Russian expansionism], which means the omnipotence of the Czar. Upon a similar basis shall we see fair Italy independent and free. Not unity, but union will and must become the watchword of national members, hitherto torn rudely asunder by provincial rivalries, out of which a crowd of despots and common servitude arose. In truth it will be a noble joy to your great Republic to feel that the moral influence of your glorious example has worked this happy development in mankind’s destiny; nor have I the slightest doubt of the efficacy of that example.

But there is one thing indispensable to it, without which there is no hope for this happy issue. It is, that the oppressed nations of Europe become the masters of their future, free to regulate their own domestic concerns. And to this nothing is wanted but to have that “fair play” to all, for all, which you, sir, in your toast, were pleased to pronounce as a right of my nation, alike sanctioned by the law of nations as by the dictates of eternal justice. Without this “fair play” there is no hope for Europe—no hope of seeing your principles spread.

Yours is a happy country, gentlemen. You had more than fair play. You had active and effectual aid from Europe in your struggle for independence, which, once achieved, you used so wisely as to become a prodigy of freedom and welfare, and a lesson of life to nations.

But we in Europe—we, unhappily, have no such fair play. With us, against every pulsation of liberty all despots are united in a common league; and you may be sure that despots will never yield to the moral influence of your great example. They hate the very existence of this example. It is the sorrow of their thoughts, and the incubus of their dreams. To stop its moral influence abroad, and to check its spread at home, is what they wish, instead of yielding to its influence.

We shall have no fair play. The Cossack already rules, by Louis Napoleon’s usurpation, to the very borders of the Atlantic Ocean. One of your great statesmen—now, to my deep sorrow, bound to the sick bed of far advanced age [Henry Clay]— (alas! that I am deprived of the advice which his wisdom could have imparted to me)—your great statesman told the world thirty years ago that Paris was transferred to St. Petersburg. What would he now say, when St. Petersburg is transferred to Paris, and Europe is but an appendage to Russia?

Alas! Europe can no longer secure to Europe fair play. England only remains; but even England casts a sorrowful glance over the waves. Still, we will stand our ground, “sink or swim, live or die.” You know the word; it is your own. We will follow it; it will be a bloody path to tread. Despots have conspired against the world. Terror spreads over Europe, and persecutes by way of anticipation. From Paris to Pesth [Pesth; Budapest The capital and largest city of Hungary] there is a gloomy silence, like the silence of nature before the terrors of a hurricane. It is a sensible silence, disturbed only by the thousandfold rattling of muskets by which Napoleon prepares to crush the people who gave him a home when he was an exile, and by the groans of new martyrs in Sicily, Milan, Vienna, and Pesth. The very sympathy which I met in England, and was expected to meet here, throws my sisters into the dungeons of Austria. Well, God’s will be done! The heart may break, but duty will be done. We will stand our place, though to us in Europe there be no “fair play.” But so much I hope, that no just man on earth can charge me with unbecoming arrogance, when here, on this soil of freedom, I kneel down and raise my prayer to God: “Almighty Father of Humanity, will thy merciful arm not raise up a power on earth to protect the law of nations when there are so many to violate it?” It is a prayer and nothing else. What would remain to the oppressed if they were not even permitted to pray? The rest is in the hand of God.

Sir, I most fervently thank you for the acknowledgment that my country has proved worthy to be free. Yes, gentlemen, I feel proud at my nation’s character, heroism, love of freedom and vitality; and I bow with reverential awe before the decree of Providence which has placed my country into a position such that, without its restoration to independence, there is no possibility for freedom and independence of nations on the European continent. Even what now in France is coming to pass proves the truth of this. Every disappointed hope with which Europe looked towards France is a decree more added to the importance of Hungary to the world. Upon our plains were fought the decisive battles for Christendom; there will be fought the decisive battle for the independence of nations, for State rights, for international law, and for democratic liberty. We will live free, or die like men; but should my people be doomed to die, it will be the first whose death will not be recorded as suicide, but as a martyrdom for the world, and future ages will mourn over the sad fate of the Magyar race, doomed to perish, not because we deserved it, but because in the nineteenth century there was nobody to protect ” the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

But I look to the future with confidence and with hope. Manifold adversities could not fail to impress some mark of sorrow upon my heart, which is at least a guard against sanguine illusions. But I have a steady faith in principles. Once in my life indeed I was deplorably deceived in my anticipations, from supposing principle to exist in quarters where it did not. I did not count on generosity or chivalrous goodness from the governments of England and France, but I gave them credit for selfish and instinctive prudence. I supposed them to value Parliamentary Government, and to have foresight enough to know the alarming dangers to which they would be exposed, if they allowed the armed interference of Russia to overturn historical, limited, representative institutions. But France and England both proved to be blind, and deceived me. It was a horrible mistake, and has issued in a horrible result. The present condition of Europe, which ought to have been foreseen by those governments, exculpates me for having erred through expecting them to see their own interests. Well, there is a providence in every fact. Without this mistake the principles of American republicanism would for a long time yet not have found a fertile soil on that continent, where it was considered wisdom to belong to the French school. Now matters stand thus: that either the continent of Europe has no future at all, or this future is American republicanism. And who can believe that two hundred millions of that continent, which is the mother of such a civilization, are not to have any future at all? Such a doubt would be almost blasphemy against Providence. But there is a Providence indeed—a just, a bountiful Providence, and in it I trust, with all the piety of my religion. I dare to say my very self was an instrument of it. Even my being here, when four months ago I was yet a prisoner of the league of European despots in far Asia, and the sympathy which your glorious people honours me with, and the high benefit of the welcome of your Congress, and the honour to be your guest, to be the guest of your great Republic — I, a poor exile — is there not a very intelligible manifestation of Providence in it ? — the more, when I remember that the name of your guest is by the furious rage of the Austrian tyrant, nailed to the gallows.

I confidently trust that the nations of Europe have a future. I am aware that this future is vehemently resisted by the bayonets of absolutism; but I know that though bayonets may give a defence, they afford no seat to a prince. I trust in the future of my native land, because I know that it is worthy to have one, and that it is necessary to the destinies of humanity. I trust to the principles of republicanism; and, whatever may be my personal fate, so much I know, that my country will preserve to you and your glorious land an everlasting gratitude.

Continuation of Kossuth biography:

In 1832 he was designated a substitute to represent a local noble in the Hungarian Diet (national parliament). Kossuth, a prolific writer and editor, produced a record of the Diet’s proceeding as well as other newspapers and journals. In 1837, his advocacy of political reform and national independence led to his imprisonment for three years by the Austrian government. During his confinement, he taught himself English by studying the Bible and Shakespeare.

After his release from prison in 1840, Kossuth became the editor of the “Pesti Hirlap,” or Pest Journal. The Pest Journal advocated political reform and an independent legislature for Hungary. In 1847 Kossuth was elected to the Diet as a representative of the county of Pest. Kossuth continued to spread his ideas of independence, and individual liberty and made brilliant speeches demanding a constitution for Hungary. In 1848, Kossuth’s campaigns and demands earned Hungary its own separate constitution from Austria. After the new government was formed, Kossuth was named the Minister of Finance. Shortly thereafter, revolution broke out across Europe. On September 28, 1848, after five months of serving as the minister of Finance, he assumed full control of the revolution in Hungary. He gathered, strengthened, and armed his “revolutionary army.” Not satisfied with their autonomous constitution, he demanded his county’s independence from Austrian rule. In the spring of 1849, Kossuth rallied against the Habsburg monarchy. On April 14, 1849, the Hungarian Diet, inspired by Kossuth, proclaimed the complete independence of Hungary from Austria and deposed the Habsburg Dynasty. The Hungarian declaration of independence was influenced by the American document. At the same time the Diet elected Kossuth “governor-president” and charged him to render an account of his actions to the parliament. Hungary was the last bastion of the democratic revolutions of 1848 to remain standing against the forces of absolutism, and Hungarian developments were carefully followed with considerable sympathy by the governments and people of Europe and the United States.

The inability of the Austrian government to reestablish its authority was a great concern to the autocratic government of Russia. Czar Nicholas I offered to aid the Austrians in suppressing the Hungarian revolution and that offer was accepted by the Austrians. As a result the Russian imperial forces, allies to the Austrians, declared war on the Hungarian Republic. The Russian armies brought the revolution to a quick and bloody end.

After his defeat, Kossuth fled to Turkey where he spent two years in exile. The governments of Great Britain, The United States, and other West European nations successfully pressured the Turkish Sultan to refuse Austrian and Russian demands for Kossuth’s extradition. They were able to arrange for his departure from Turkey, and on September 10, 1851, he steamed from the Turkish port of Smyrna (now Izmir) aboard the U. S. Navy’s frigate Mississippi. After brief stops in France and Britain, he arrived in New York City on December 5, 1851, to great public acclaim. His triumphant six-month tour throughout the United States was an unprecedented popular success.

Although Kossuth did not achieve his goal of winning official United States government support and recognition for continuing his struggle for Hungarian independence, his visit did leave a permanent legacy in America. He gave several hundred speeches in all parts of the United States, including separate addresses to both Houses of Congress. During this tour 250 poems, dozens of books, hundreds of pamphlets, and thousands of editorials were written about him and his democratic ideals.

He left the United States after six months, returning to Europe in July 1852 to rally support for the Hungarian cause. He lived for a period of time in London, and eventually settled in Turin, Italy. In exile he continued his efforts for Hungarian independence, but he did not return to Hungary.

Following his death in Turin on March 20, 1894, his body was returned to Hungary, where he was buried amid nationwide mourning. After his death, Kossuth continued as the popular symbol of the aspiration of the Hungarian people for independence.

Today there are many reminders of Kossuth’s impact on the Unites States of America. There are towns with his name in Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi, and a settlement with a Post office in Pennsylvania. Previous to today there were two other full figure Kossuth statues in the United States, in New York City, New York and Cleveland, Ohio.

And, of course, there is Kossuth County, Iowa where the impact of Kossuth is noted throughout the county with the name Kossuth appearing on buildings and streets in all parts of the county. Kossuth County now has the third full figure statue of Lajos Kossuth in the United States. The statue of Lajos Kossuth, being dedicated today, is not only a reminder of the Hungarian struggle for independence but it is also a reminder of our own United States democracy that Lajos Kossuth idealized so much.

Biography source: Kossuth County Iowa;
Speech Source: Select Speeches of Kossuth; by Lajos Kossuth, Francis William Newman: published 1855

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers Letter “B”

oldenglishB“He That Lays Down Precepts For Governing Our Lives, And Moderating Our Passions, Obliges Humanity Not Only In The Present, But In All Future Generations.” ~ Seneca

“If You Would Be Pungent, Be Brief; For It Is With Words As With Sunbeams —The More They Are Condensed, The Deeper They Burn.” ~Southey.

“The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby.” ~ John Milton

BURNING WORDS OF BRILLIANT WRITERS; A Cyclopedia Of Quotations From The Literature Of All Ages designed for the use of the Senate, the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Orator. For the complete book of quotes go here.



I never yet have heard of a good man having fallen when he was trying to do Christ’s will and trusting on Christ’s help. Every fall without one exception came from venturing upon sinful ground or from venturing upon self-support.

— T. L. Cuyler.

When we read or hear how some professed Christian has turned defaulter, or lapsed into drunkenness, or slipped from the communion table into open disgrace, it simply means that a human arm has broken. The man has forsaken the everlasting arms.

— T. L. Cuyler.

The master will not keep His hand under our arms when we go on forbidden ground. Presumptuous Peter needed a sharp lesson, and he got it. That bitter cry at the foot of the stairs bespoke an awful fall. How many such are rising daily into God’s listening ears.

— T. L. Cuyler.


Only what coronation is in an earthly way, baptism is in a heavenly way; God’s authoritative declaration in material form of a spiritual reality.

— F. W. Robertson.

Oh! for this baptism of fire! when every spoken word for Jesus shall be a thunderbolt, and every prayer shall bring forth a mighty flood.



Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the infinite.

 — George Bancroft.

The gospel allies itself with all that is beautiful in the universe, as truly as with all that is noble and pure.

— Samuel Wolcott.

Eyes raised toward heaven are always beautiful, whatever they be.

— Joseph Joubert.

He hath a daily beauty in his life.

— Shakspeare.

I pray the prayer of Plato old,—
“God make thee beautiful within.”

— J. G. Whittier.


What is meant by believing in Christ but just going with trusting and loving hearts, and committing to His love and power ourselves, our souls, and all that concerns us for time and eternity?

— A. H. Boyd.

Begin by regarding everything from a moral point of view, and you will end by believing in God.

— Dr. Arnold.

To believe is to be happy; to doubt is to be wretched. To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power. Only so far as a man believes strongly, mightily, can he act cheerfully, or do any thing that is worth the doing.

— F. W. Robertson,

If you wish to be assured of the truth of Christianity, try it. Believe, and if thy belief be right, that insight which gradually transmutes faith into knowledge will be the reward of thy belief.

— S. T. Coleridge.

He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend, must have a very long head, or a very short creed.


The man who goes through life with an uncertain doctrine not knowing what he believes, what a poor, powerless creature he is! He goes around through the world as a man goes down through the street with a poor, wounded arm, forever dodging people he meets on the street for fear they may touch him.

— Phillips Brooks.

If that impression does not remain on this intrepid and powerful people, into whose veins all nations pour their mingling blood, it will be our immense calamity. Public action, without it, will lose the dignity of consecration. Eloquence, without it, will miss what is loftiest, will give place to a careless and pulseless disquisition, or fall to the flatness of political slang. Life, without it, will lose its sacred and mystic charm. Society, without it, will fail of inspirations, and be drowned in an animalism whose rising tides will keep pace with its wealth.

— R. S. Storrs.

Now God be praised, that to believing souls,
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

— Shakspeare.

BENEFICENCE. There cannot be a more glorious object in creation than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator by doing most good to His creatures.

— Fielding.

Great minds, like heaven, are pleased in doing good.

— Rowe.

Never try to save out of God’s cause; such money will canker the rest. Giving to God is no loss; it is putting your substance in the best bank. Giving is true having, as the old gravestone said of the dead man: “What I spent I had, what I saved I lost, what I gave I have.”

— C. H. Spurgeon.

Learn the luxury of doing good.

— Goldsmith.

By doing good with his money, a man, as it were, stamps the image of God upon it, and makes it pass current for the merchandise of heaven.

— Rutledge.

Wealth tends to materialize the soul. Every contribution to spiritual objects counteracts the tendency. It is another step up the ladder, whose foot is deep down in materialism, but whose top reaches to the holy heavens of spirit and love.

Liberality consists not so much in giving a great deal as in giving seasonably.

— Bruyere.

Proportion thy charity to the strength of thy estate, lest God proportion thy estate to the weakness of thy charity. Let the lips of the poor be the trumpet of thy gift, lest in seeking applause thou lose thy reward. Nothing is more pleasing to God than an open hand and a close mouth.

— Francis Quarles.

Give with a heart glowing with generous sentiments; give as the fountain gives out its waters from its own swelling depths; give as the air gives its vital breezes, unrestrained and free; give as the sun gives out its light, from the infinite abysses of its own nature.

Poverty is the load of some, and wealth is the load of others, perhaps the greater load of the two. It may weigh them to perdition. Bear the load of thy neighbor’s poverty, and let him bear with thee the load of thy wealth. Thou lightenest thy load by lightening his.

— St. Augustine.

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do any thing.

— Samuel Johnson.

Open your hands, ye whose hands are full! The world is waiting for you! The whole machinery of the Divine beneficence is clogged by your hard hearts and rigid fingers. Give and spend, and be sure that God will send; for only in giving and spending do you fulfill the object of His sending.

— J. G. Holland.

Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous.

— Sir Thomas Browne.

Honor the Lord with thy substance.

“Not for ourselves, but for others,” is the grand law inscribed on every part of creation.

— Edward Payson.

Every day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love.

— Lavater.

My brethren, surely the time has come for us to return to the Lord’s plan. Among us there are children to be clothed, widows to be aided, and afflicted ones to be cared for. As you draw near to the poor, the Saviour will come nearer to you.

— George C. Lorimer.

I have heard of a monk who in his cell, had a glorious vision of Jesus revealed to him. Just then, a bell rang, which called him away to distribute loaves of bread among the poor beggars at the gate. He was sorely tried as to whether he should lose a scene so inspiring. He went to his act of mercy; and when he came back, the vision remained more glorious than ever.

— T. L. Cuylek.

Every man who becomes heartily and understanding^ a channel of the Divine beneficence, is enriched through every league of his life. Perennial satisfaction springs around and within him with perennial verdure. Flowers of gratitude and gladness bloom all along his pathway, and the melodious gurgle of the blessings he bears is echoed back by the melodious waves of the recipient stream.

— J. G. Holland.

So quickly sometimes has the wheel turned round, that many a man has lived to enjoy the benefit of that charity which his own piety projected.

— Laurence Sterne.

What do you think God gave you more wealth than is requisite to satisfy your rational wants for, when you look around and see how many are in absolute need of that which you do not need? Can you not take the hint?

— J. G. Holland.


A genuine faith lifts us above the bitterness of grief; a sense of Christ’s living presence takes away all unbearable loneliness even when we are most alone. In our darkest hours, to know that our lost friend is still living, still loving us, still ours, in the highest and best sense, must be unspeakably consoling.

— A. H. K.

Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.

— Bible.

Believe me, it is no time for words when the wounds are; fresh and bleeding; no time for homilies when the lightning’s shaft has smitten, and the man lies stunned and stricken. Then let the comforter be silent; let him sustain by his presence, not by his preaching; by his sympathetic silence, not by his speech.

— George C. Lorimer.

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
In their bloom;
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

— O. W. Holmes.

Over the river they beckon to me,
Loved ones who’ve crossed to the farther side,
The gleam of their snowy robes I see,
But their voices are lost in the dashing tide.

— N. A. W. Priest.

Yes, we all live to God!
Father, Thy chastening rod,
So help us, Thine afflicted ones, to bear,
That in the spirit land,
Meeting at Thy right hand,
‘Twill be our heaven to find that He is there!

— John Pierpont.


We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.

— Baptist Church Manual.

The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars.

— H. W. Beecher.

The Bible, as a revelation from God, was not designed to give us all the information we might desire, nor to solve all the questions about which the human soul is perplexed, but to impart enough to be a safe guide to the haven of eternal rest.

— Albert Barnes.

It is not simply a theological treatise, a code of laws, a religious homily, but the Bible — the book — while the only book for the soul, the best book for the mind.

— Herrick Johnson.

The Bible is a window in this prison-world, through which we may look into eternity.

—Timothy Dwight.

The Bible abounds in plain truth, expressed in plain language; in this it surpasses all other books.

— Whelpley.

The Bible alone of all the books in the world, instead of uttering the opinions of the successive ages that produced it, has been the antagonist of these opinions.

— Stuart Robinson.

The Bible has been my guide in perplexity, and my comfort in trouble. It has roused me when declining, and animated me in languor. Other writings may be good, but they want certainty and force. The Bible carries its own credentials along with it, and proves spirit and life to the soul. In other writings I hear the words of a stranger or a servant. In the Bible I hear the language of my Father and my friend. Other books contain only the picture of bread. The Bible presents me with real manna, and feeds me with the bread of life.

You will want a book which contains not man’s thoughts, but God’s — not a book that may amuse you, but a book that can save you — not even a book that can instruct you, but a book on which you can venture an eternity — not only a book which can give relief to your spirit, but redemption to your soul — a book which contains salvation, and conveys it to you, one which shall at once be the Saviour’s book and the sinner’s.

— John Selden.

The life-boat may have a tasteful bend and beautiful decoration, but these are not the qualities for which I prize it; it was my salvation from the howling sea! So the interest which a regenerate soul takes in the Bible, is founded on a personal application to the heart of the saving truth which it contains.

— J. W. Alexander.

The Bible is the treasure of the poor, the solace of the sick, and the support of the dying; and while other books may amuse and instruct in a leisure hour, it is the peculiar triumph of that book to create light in the midst of darkness, to alleviate the sorrow which admits of no other alleviation, to direct a beam of hope to the heart which no other topic of consolation can reach; while guilt, despair, and death vanish at the touch of its holy inspiration.

— Robert Hall.

The Bible is a treasure. It contains enough to make us rich for time and eternity. It contains the secret of happy living. It contains the key of heaven. It contains the title deeds of an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. It contains the pearl of great price. Nay, in so far as it reveals them as the portion of us sinful worms, it contains the Saviour and the living God Himself.

— James Hamilton.

The Bible is a warm letter of affection from a parent to a child; and yet there are many who see chiefly the severer passages. As there may be fifty or sixty nights of gentle dews in one summer, that will not cause as much remark as one hailstorm of half an hour, so there are those who are more struck by those passages of the Bible that announce the indignation of God than by those that announce His affection.

— T. Dewitt Talmage.

The Bible is not only the revealer of the unknown God to man, but His grand interpreter as the God of nature. In revealing God, it has given us the key that unlocks the profoundest mysteries of creation, the clew by which to thread .the labyrinth of the universe, the glass through which to look from Nature up to Nature’s God.

— L. J. Halsey.

I cannot look around me without being struck with the analogy observable in the works of God. I find the Bible written in the style of His other books of Creation and Providence. The pen seems in the same hand. I see it, indeed, write at times mysteriously in each of these books; thus I know that mystery in the works of God is only another name for my ignorance. The moment, therefore, that I become humble, all becomes right.

— Richard Cecil.

The Bible is the most thought-suggesting book in the world. No other deals with such grand themes.

— Herrick Johnson.

Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law,

— Psalms.

One gem from that ocean is worth all the pebbles from earthly streams.

— Robert Mccheyne.

I have carefully and regularly perused the Holy Scriptures, and am of opinion that the volume contains more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever language they may have been written.

— Sir William Jones.

It is impossible to look into the Bible with the most ordinary attention without feeling that we have got into a moral atmosphere quite different from that which we breathe in the world, and in the world’s literature.

— Thomas Erskine.

This Bible, then, has a mission, grander than any mere creation of God; for in this volume are infinite wisdom, and infinite love. Between its covers are the mind and heart of God; and they are for man’s good, for his salvation, his guidance, his spiritual nourishment. If now I neglect my Bible, I do my soul a wrong; for the fact of this Divine message is evidence that I need it.


The Old and New Testaments contain but one scheme of religion. Neither part of this scheme can be understood without the other.

— Richard Cecil.

The Saviour who flitted before the patriarchs through the fog of the old dispensation, and who spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets, articulate but unseen, is the same Saviour who, on the open heights of the gospel, and in the abundant daylight of this New Testament, speaks to us. Still all along it is the same Jesus, and that Bible is from beginning to end, all of it, the word of Christ.

— James Hamilton.

Throw away the Old Testament! What part of it will you throw away? That which I do not understand? Take down then yonder blood-stained cross; for there is a love there “which passeth knowledge,” and a Divine hatred of sin which shook the solid earth.


he Psalms are an everlasting manual to the soul; the book of its immortal wishes, its troubles, its aspirations, and its hopes; sung in every tongue, and in every age; destined to endure while the universe of God has light, harmony, or grandeur, while man has religion or sensibility, while language has sublimity or sweetness.

— Henry Giles.

Let your daughter have first of all the book of Psalms for holiness of heart, and be instructed in the Proverbs of Solomon for her godly life.

— St. Jerome.

High above all earthly lower happiness, the blessedness of the eight Beatitudes towers into the heaven itself. They are white with the snows of eternity; they give a space, a meaning, a dignity to all the rest of the earth over which they brood.

— Dean Stanley.

I am heartily glad to witness your veneration for a Book which to say nothing of its holiness or authority, contains more specimens of genius and taste than any other volume in existence.

— W. S. Landor.

Intense study of the Bible will keep any man from being vulgar in point of style.

— S. T. Coleridge.

If there be any thing in my style or thought to be commended, the credit is due to my kind parents in instilling into my mind an early love of the Scriptures.

— Daniel Webster.

The word of the Lord is tried.

The English Bible — a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power.

— T. B. Macaulay.

Wherever God’s word is circulated, it stirs the hearts of the people, it prepares for public morals. Circulate that word, and you find the tone of morals immediately changed. It is God speaking to man.

— Bishop Simpson.

Wherever public worship has been established and regularly maintained, idolatry has vanished from the face of the earth. There is not now a temple to a heathen god where the word of God is read.

— Bishop Simpson.

The increasing influence of the Bible is marvelously great, penetrating everywhere. It carries with it a tremendous power of freedom and justice guided by a combined force of wisdom and goodness.

— Mori.

We may persuade men that are infidels to receive the Scriptures as the word of God by rational arguments drawn from their antiquity; the heavenliness of the matter; the majesty of the style; the harmony of all the parts though written in different ages; the exact accomplishment of prophecies; the sublimity of the mysteries and matters contained in the word; the efficacy and power of it, in the conviction and conversion of multitudes; the scope of the whole,— to guide men to attain their chief end,— the glory of God in their own salvation; and the many miracles wrought for the confirmation of the truth of the doctrines contained in them.

— Fisher’s Catechism.

What other book besides the Bible could be heard in public assemblies from year to year, with an attention that never tires, and an interest that never cloys?

— Robert Hall.

The grand old Book of God still stands; and this old earth, the more its leaves are turned over and pondered, the more it will sustain and illustrate the Sacred word.

— James D. Dana.

The books of men have their day and grow obsolete. God’s word is like Himself, “the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.”

— R. Payne Smith.

Christianity claims that the supernatural is as reasonable as the natural, that man himself is supernatural as truly as he is natural, and that the Bible is so clearly the word of God by proofs that are unanswerable, that it is unreasonable to disbelieve its divine truths.


Eighteen centuries have passed since the Bible was finished. They have been centuries of great changes. In their course the world has been wrought over into newness at almost every point. But, to-day, the text of the Scriptures, after copyings almost innumerable and after having been tossed about through ages of ignorance and tumult, is found by exhaustive criticism to be unaltered in every important particular — there being not a single doctrine, nor duty, nor fact of any grade, that is brought into question by variations of readings — a fact that stands alone in the history of such ancient literature.

— E. F. Burr.

The best evidence of the Bible’s being the word of God is to be found between its covers. It proves itself.

— Charles Hodge.

We glory most in the fact, that Scripture so commends itself to the conscience, and experience so bears out the Bible, that the gospel can go the round of the world, and carry with it, in all its travel, its own mighty credentials.

— Henry Melvill.

All that has been done to weaken the foundation of an implicit faith in the Bible, as a whole, has been at the expense of the sense of religious obligation, and at the cost of human happiness.

— J. G. Holland.

Do not mathematics and all sciences seem full of contradictions and impossibilities to the ignorant, which are all resolved and cleared to those that understand them?

— Richard Baxter.

The piecemeal criticism which, like the fly, scans only the edge of a plinth in the great edifice upon which it crawls, disappears under a criticism that is all-comprehending and all surveying.

— Prof. Shedd.

The word of God is solid; it will stand a thousand readings; and the man who has gone over it the most frequently and the most carefully is the surest of finding new wonders there.

— James Hamilton.

The Scripture is to be its own interpreter, or rather the Spirit speaking in it; nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture.

— Richard Watson.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

— Bible.

The main condition is that the spiritual ear should be open to overhear and patiently take in, and the will ready to obey that testimony which, I believe, God bears in every human heart, however dull, to those great truths which the Bible reveals. This, and not logic, is the way to grow in religious knowledge, to know that the truths of religion are not shadows, but deep realities.

— J. C. Shairp.

Many books in my library are now behind and beneath me. They were good in their way once, and so were the clothes I wore when I was ten years old; but I have outgrown them. Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.

— C. H. Spurgeon.

If thou desire to profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faithfulness; nor even desire the repute of learning.

-thomas A Kempis.

If the Bible is God’s word, and we believe it, let us handle it with reverence.

— John B. Gough.

I believe that the want of our age is not more “free” handling of the Bible, but more “reverent” handling, wore humility, more patient study, and more prayer.

— J. C. Ryle.

If you are ever tempted to speak lightly or think lightly of it, just sit down and imagine what this world would be without it. No Bible! A wound and no cure, a storm and no covert, a condemnation and no shrift, a lost eternity and no ransom! Alas for us if this were all; alas for us if the ladder of science were the only stair to lead us up to God!

— R. R. Meredith.

If God is a reality, and the soul is a reality, and you are an immortal being, what are you doing with your Bible shut?

— Herrick Johnson.

Other books we may read and criticise. To the Scriptures we must bow the entire soul, with all its faculties.

— E. N. Kirk.

Let the oracles of inspiration be cited continually, both as authority and illustration, in a manner that shall make the mind instantly refer each expression that is introduced to the venerable book whence it is taken; but let our part of religious language be simply ours, and let those oracles retain their characteristic form of expression unimitated, unparodied to the end of time.

— John Foster.

There are many persons of combative tendencies, who read for ammunition, and dig out of the Bible iron for balls. They read, and they find nitre and charcoal and sulphur for powder. They read, and they find cannon. They read, and they make portholes and embrasures. And if a man does not believe as they do, they look upon him as an enemy, and let fly the Bible at him to demolish him. So men turn the word of God into a vast arsenal, filled with all manner of weapons, offensive and defensive.

— H. W. Beecher.

A loving trust in the Author of the Bible is the best preparation for a wise study of the Bible.

— H. Clay Trumbull.

The reason why we find so many dark places in the Bible is, for the most part, because there are so many dark places in our hearts.

— A. Tholuck.

When you are reading a book in a dark room, and come to a difficult part, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bibles to Christ.

— Robert Mccheyne.

My own experience is that the Bible is dull when I am dull. When I am really alive, and set in upon the text with a tidal pressure of living affinities, it opens, it multiplies discoveries, and reveals depths even faster than I can note them. The worldly spirit shuts the Bible; the Spirit of God makes it a fire, flaming out all meanings and glorious truths.

— Horace Bushnell.

Parents, I urge you to make the Bible the sweetest, the dearest book to your children; not by compelling them to read so many chapters each day, which will have the effect of making them hate the Bible, but by reading its pages with them, and by your tender parental love, so showing them the beauty of its wondrous incidents, from the story of Adam and Eve to the story of Bethlehem and Calvary, that no book in the home will be so dear to your children as the Bible; and thus you will be strengthening their minds with the sublimest truths, storing their hearts with the purest love, and sinking deep in their souls solid principles of righteousness, whose divine stones no waves of temptation can ever move.


Give the Bible the place in your families to which it is justly entitled, and then, through the unsearchable riches of Christ, many a household among you may hereafter realize that most blessed consummation, and appear a whole family in heaven.

— H. A. Boardman.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.

Merely reading the Bible is no use at all without we study it thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.

— D. L. Moody.

I never saw a useful Christian who was not a student of the Bible. If a man neglects his Bible, he may pray and ask God to use him in His work; but God cannot make much use of him, for there is not much for the Holy Ghost to work upon.

— D. L. Moody.

Study the Bible topically. If you will study assurance for a week, you will soon find it is your privilege to know that you are a child of God.

— D. L. Moody.

Go through John’s Gospel, and study the “believes,” the verily,” the ” I ams; “and go through the Bible in that way, and it becomes a new book to you.

— 1). L. Moody.

Do you know a book that you are willing to put under your head for a pillow when you lie dying? Very well; that is the book you want to study while you are living. There is but one such book in the world.

— Joseph Cook.

When you read the sacred Scriptures, or any other book, never think how you read, but what you read.

— John Kemble.

The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to His revealed will.

— Westminster Catechism.

I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is within my heart.

— Psalms.


Enough of good there is in the lowest estate to sweeten life; enough of evil in the highest to check presumption; enough there is of both in all estates, to bind us in compassionate brotherhood, to teach us impressively that we are of one dying and one immortal family.

— Henry Giles.

My friends, let us try to follow the Saviour’s steps; let us remember all day long what it is to be men; that it is to have every one whom we meet for our brother in the sight of God; that it is this, never to meet any one, however bad he may be, for whom we cannot say, ” Christ died for that man, and Christ cares for him still. He is precious in God’s eyes, and he shall be precious in mine also.”

— Charles Kingsley.

God has taught in the Scriptures the lesson of a universal brotherhood, and man must not gainsay the teaching. Shivering in the ice-bound or scorching in the tropical regions; in the lap of luxury or in the wild hardihood of the primeval forest; belting the globe in a tired search for rest, or quieting through life in the heart of ancestral woods; gathering all the decencies around him like a garment, or battling in fierce raid of crime against a world which has disowned him, there is an inner humanness which binds me to that man by a primitive and indissoluble bond. He is my brother, and I cannot dissever the relationship. He is my brother, and I cannot release myself from the obligation to do him good.

—Wm. M. Punshon.

Kings and their subjects, masters and slaves, find a common level in two places — at the foot of the cross, and in the grave

— C. C. Colton.

I stand by my kind; and I thank God for the temptations that have brought me into sympathy with them, as I do for the love that urges me to efforts for their good. I hail the great brotherhood of trial and temptation in the name of humanity, and give them assurance that from the Divine Man, and some, at least, of His disciples, there goes out to them a flood of sympathy that would fain sweep them up to the firm footing of the rock of safety.

— J. G. Holland.

Jesus throws down the dividing prejudices of nationality, and teaches universal love without distinction of race, merit, or rank. A man’s neighbor, henceforth, was every one who needed help, even an enemy. All men, from the slave to the highest, were sons of one Father in heaven, and should feel and act toward each other, as brethren. No human standard of virtue would suffice; no imitations of the loftiest examples among men. Moral perfection had been recognized alike by heathen and Jews, as found only in likeness to the Divine, and that Jesus proclaims as, henceforth, the one ideal for all humanity. With a sublime enthusiasm and brotherly love for the race, He rises above His age, and announces a common Father of all mankind, and one grand spiritual ideal in resemblance to Him.

— J. C. Geikie

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers: Letter “A”

oldenglishA“He That Lays Down Precepts For Governing Our Lives, And Moderating Our Passions, Obliges Humanity Not Only In The Present, But In All Future Generations.” ~ Seneca

“If You Would Be Pungent, Be Brief; For It Is With Words As With Sunbeams —The More They Are Condensed, The Deeper They Burn.” ~Southey.

The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby. ~ John Milton

BURNING WORDS OF BRILLIANT WRITERS; A Cyclopedia Of Quotations From The Literature Of All Ages designed for the use of the Senate, the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Orator. For the complete book of quotes go here.



Ability involves responsibility. Power to its last particle is duty. — Alexander Maclaren.

Man is not altogether an imbecile. True, “circumstances do make the man.” But they make him only in the sense and degree that he permits them to make him. — G. D. Boardman.

What we do upon a great occasion will probably depend upon what we already are; what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline, under the grace of Christ or the absence of it. — H. P. LiDDON.


Moral conduct includes everything in which men are active and for which they are accountable. They are active in their desires, their affections, their designs, their intentions, and in everything they say and do of choice; and for all these things they are accountable to God. — Emmons.

When illusions are over, when the distractions of sense, the vagaries of fancy, and the tumults of passion have dissolved even before the body is cold, which once they so thronged and agitated, the soul merges into intellect, intellect into conscience, conscience into the unbroken, awful solitude of its own personal accountability; and though the inhabitants of the universe were within the spirit’s ken, this personal accountability is as strictly alone and unshared, as if no being were throughout immensity but the spirit and its God. — Henry Giles.


The end of man is an action, and not a thought, though it were the noblest. — Thomas Carlyle.

Existence was given us for action, rather than indolent and aimless contemplation; our worth is determined by the good deeds we do, rather than by the fine emotions we feel. They greatly mistake, who suppose that God cares for no other pursuit than devotion. — E. L. Magoon.

Christian life is action: not a speculating, not a debating, but a doing. One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass; resolves and thoughts pass; opinions change. What you have done lasts — lasts in you. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for Christ, that, and only that, you are. — F. W. Robertson.

It is well to think well; it is divine to act well. — Horace Mann.

Man, being essentially active, must find in activity his joy, as well as his beauty and glory; and labor, like every thing else that is good, is its own reward. — Bishop Whipple.

Tempests may shake our dwellings and dissipate our commerce, but they scourge before them the lazy elements, which otherwise would stagnate into pestilence.

Be thy best thoughts to work divine addressed;
Do something,— do it soon — with all thy might;
An angel’s wing would droop if long at rest,
And God Himself inactive were no longer blessed.  — Carlos Wilcox.

When I read the life of such a man as Paul, how I blush to think how sickly and dwarfed Christianity is at the present time, and how many hundreds there are who never think of working for the Son of God and honoring Christ.  — D. L. Moody.

I have lived to know that the secret of happiness is never to allow your energies to stagnate. — Adam Clarke.

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the disciples, but a great deal about the Acts of the Apostles. — Horace Mann.

The life of man is made up of action and endurance; and life is fruitful in the ratio in which it is laid out in noble action or in patient perseverance. — H. P. Liddon.

Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity. — Lavater.

Look around you, and you will behold the universe full of active powers. Action is, so to speak, the genius of nature. By motion and exertion, the system of being is preserved in vigor. By its different parts always acting in subordination one to another, the perfection of the whole is carried on. The heavenly bodies perpetually revolve. Day and night incessantly repeat their appointed course. Continual operations are going on in the earth and in the waters. Nothing stands still. All is alive and stirring throughout the universe. In the midst of this animated and busy scene, is man alone to remain idle in his place? Belongs it to him to be the sole inactive and slothful being in the creation, when in so many various ways he might improve his own nature; might advance the glory of the God who made him; and contribute his part in the general good? — Blair.

Activity in the kingdom of God augments the power of spiritual life, and deepens the consciousness of religious realities. — William Adams.

The history of the Church of Christ from the days of the Apostles has been a history of spiritual movements. — H. P. Liddon.

It is much easier to settle a point than to act on it. — Richard Cecil.

Unselfish and noble acts are the most radiant epochs in the biography of souls. — David Thomas.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer,
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee;
God’s own hand shall guide thee there. — H. F. Lyte.

I do not say the mind gets informed by action,— bodily action; but it does get earnestness and strength by it, and that nameless something that gives a man the mastership of his faculties. — Wm. Mountford.

The essential elements of giving are power and love — activity and affection — and the consciousness of the race testifies that in the high and appropriate exercise of these is a blessedness greater than any other. — Mark Hopkins.

All mental discipline and symmetrical growth are from activity of the mind under the yoke of the will or personal power. — Mark Hopkins.

Napoleon was the most effective man in modern times — some will say of all times. The secret of his character was, that while his plans were more vast, more various, and, of course, more difficult than those of other men, he had the talent at the same time, to fill them up with perfect promptness and precision, in every particular of execution. — Horace Bushnell.

Time is short, your obligations are infinite. Are your houses regulated, your children instructed, the afflicted relieved, the poor visited, the work of piety accomplished? — Massillon.

Let us remember that Elijah’s God was with him only while he was occupied in noble and effectual services. When thus engaged, he exulted in the conscious majesty of a life which had upon it the stamp and signature of Divine power. — Richard Fuller.

It is no use for one to stand in the shade and complain that the sun does not shine upon him. He must come out resolutely on the hot and dusty field where all are compelled to antagonize with stubborn difficulties, and pertinaciously strive until he conquers, if he would deserve to be crowned. — E. L. Magoon.

The fact is that in order to do any thing in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. — Sydney Smith.

What is done is done; has already blended itself with the boundless, ever living, ever working universe, and will also work there for good or evil, openly or secretly, throughout all time. — Thomas Carlyle.

Consider and act with reference to the true ends of existence. This world is but the vestibule of an immortal life. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. — E. H. Chapin.

Our actions must clothe us with an immortality loathsome or glorious. —C. C. Colton.

Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; do thou but thine. — Milton.


Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God. — Westminster Catechism.

We need a spirit of adoption to take us out of the foundling hospital of the world, and to put us into the celestial family. — G. D. Boardman.

Faith unites us to Christ, and acquiesces in the redemption purchased by Him as the meritorious cause of our adoption. — Fisher’s Catechism.


God kills thy comforts from no other design but to kill thy corruptions; wants are ordained to kill wantonness, poverty is appointed to kill pride, reproaches are permitted to destroy ambition. — John Flavel.

Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from impatience. — Bishop Horne.

In the day of prosperity we have many refuges to resort to; in the day of adversity, only one. — Horatius Bonar.

How full of briers is this working-day world! — Shakspeare.

For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity. — Thomas Carlyle.


Afflictions are but the shadow of God’s wings. — Geo. Macdonald.

Human character is never found “to enter into its glory,” except through the ordeal of affliction. Its force cannot come forth without the offer of resistance, nor can the grandeur of its free will declare itself, except in the battle of fierce temptation. — James Martineau.

Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed. — Hannah More.

The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow. — W. S. Landor.

God sometimes washes the eyes of His children with tears in order that they may read aright His providence and His commandments. — T. L. Cuyler.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining,
Behind the clouds the sun is shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life some rain must fall,—
Some days must be dark and dreary.
— Longfellow.

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. — Matthew Henry.

Affliction of itself does not sanctify any body, but the reverse. I believe in sanctified afflictions, but not in sanctifying afflictions. — C. H. Spurgeon.

Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene;
Resumes them, to prepare us for the next.  —Young.

Afflictions are but as a dark entry into our Father’s house. — Thomas Brooks.

Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us by the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. —C. H. Spurgeon.

What seem to us but dim funereal tapers may be heaven’s distant lamps. — Longfellow.

Every man will have his own criterion in forming his judgment of others. I depend very much on the effect of affliction. I consider how a man comes out of the furnace; gold will lie for a month in the furnace without losing a grain. — Richard Cecil.

The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. — C. H. Spurgeon.

Night brings out stars as sorrow shows us truths. — P. J. Bailey.

If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once, and attentively, to what it teaches. — Burgh.

Grace will ever speak for itself and be fruitful in well-doing; the sanctified cross is a fruitful tree. — Rutherford.

We should be more anxious that our afflictions should benefit us than that they should be speedly removed from us. — Robert Hall.

Seek holiness rather than consolation. — John Owen.

It is the best thing for a stricken heart to be helping others. . — A. H. K.

The cup which my Saviour giveth me, can it be anything but a cup of salvation? — Alexander Maclaren.

The truly great and good, in affliction, bear a countenance more princely than they are wont; for it is the temper of the highest hearts, like the palm tree, to strive most upward when they are most burdened. — Sir Philip Sidney.

What He tells thee in the darkness,
Weary watcher for the day,
Grateful lip and heart should utter
When the shadows flee away.
— F. R. Havergal.

As sure as God ever puts His children into the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them. — C. H. Spurgeon.

The truest help we can render an afflicted man is not to take his burden from him, but to call out his best strength, that he may be able to bear the burden. — Phillips Brooks.

Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as “in all points tempted like as we are,” bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us. — Alexander Maclaren.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before.  — Richard Baxter.

However bitter the cup we have to drink, we are sure it contains nothing unnecessary or unkind; and we should take it from His hand with as much meekness as we accept of eternal life with thankfulness. — William Goodell.

In the dark and cloudy day,
When earth’s riches flee away,
And the last hope will not stay,
Saviour, comfort me.


Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires. — H. W. Beecher.

Virtue is choked with foul ambition. — Shakspeare.

Ambition is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the original of vices, the moth of holiness, the blinder of hearts, turning medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases. — Thomas Brooks.

Ambition is but avarice on stilts. – W. S. Landor.


Amusements are to religion like breezes of air to the flame; gentle ones will fan it, but strong ones will put it out. — David Thomas.

Any pleasure which takes and keeps the heart from God is sinful, and unless forsaken, will be fatal to the soul. — Richard Fuller.

People should be guarded against temptation to unlawful pleasures by furnishing them the means of innocent ones. In every community there must be pleasures, relaxations, and means of agreeable excitement; and if innocent are not furnished, resort will be had to criminal. Man was made to enjoy as well as labor; and the state of society should be adapted to this principle of human nature. — W. E. Channing.

Recreation is not the highest kind of enjoyment; but in its time and place it is quite as proper as prayer. — S. Irenjeus Prime

Whatever we do to please ourselves, and only for the sake of the pleasure, not for an ultimate object, is “play,” the “pleasing thing,” not the useful thing. The first of all English games is making money. That is an all-absorbing game; and we knock each other down oftener in playing at that than at football, or any other rougher sport; and it is absolutely without purpose; no one who engages heartily in that game ever knows why. Ask a great money-maker what he wants to do with his money — he never knows. He doesn’t make it to do any thing with it. He gets it only that he may get it. “What will you make of what you have got’ ” you ask, “Well, I’ll get more,” he says. Just as at cricket you get more runs. There is no use in the runs; but to get more of them than other people is the game. And there is no use in the money; but to have more of it than other people is the game. —C. H. Spurgeon.


An unsanctified temper is a fruitful source of error, and a mighty impediment to truth. — E. L. Magoon.

He submits himself to be seen through a microscope, who suffers himself to be caught in a fit of passion. — Lavater.

Our passions are like convulsion fits, which make us stronger for the time, but leave us weaker forever after. — Dean Swift.

If anger proceeds from a great cause, it turns to fury; if from a small cause, it is peevishness; and so is always either terrible or ridiculous. — Jeremy Taylor.

The proud man hath no God; the envious man hath no neighbor; the angry man hath not himself. — Bishop Hall.

There was a man here last night — you needn’t be afraid that I shall mention his name — who said that his will was given up to God, and who got mad because the omnibus was full, and he had to walk a mile to his lodgings. — D. L. Moody.

When I had twice or thrice made a resolute resistance to anger, the like befell me that did the Thebans; who, having once foiled the Lacedemonians, never after lost so much as one battle which they fought against them. — Plutarch.

The sun should not set upon our anger, neither should he rise upon our confidence. — C. C. COLTON.


The kiss of the apostate was the most bitter earthly ingredient in the agonies which Christ endured. — E. L. Magoon.

Still in the garden shadows art Thou pleading,
Staining the night dews with Thine agony;
But one is there Thy woe and prayer unheeding,
And to their guileless prey Thy murderers leading,
Lord, is it I?  — George Huntingdon.

O God, the Father, of heaven, have mercy upon us miserable sinners.


“Lord, is it I?” Thou knowest my temptations,
My spirit willing, though my flesh is weak;
My earnest striving, and my often failing;
Sinning, repenting, still Thy grace I seek.

O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for Thee; my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. — Psalms.

There is not a heart but has its moments of longing,— yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now. — H. W. Beecher.

Aspiration, worthy ambition, desires for higher good for good ends — all these indicate a soul that recognizes the beckoning hand of the good Father who would call us homeward towards Himself — all these are the ground and justification for a Christian discontent; but a murmuring, questioning, fault-finding spirit has direct and sympathetic alliance with nothing but the infernal. — J. G. Holland.

In truth, there is no religion, no worship in our prosperity and ease. So far as we are happy, we are in a state of satisfied desire; so far as we are religious, we are in a state of aspiration and unsatisfied desire. — James Martineau.

Father! forgive the heart that clings
Thus trembling to the things of time,
And bid my soul, on angel’s wings
Ascend into a purer clime.
— Jane Roscoe.


Assurance of hope is more than life. It is health, strength, power, vigor, activity, energy, manliness, beauty. — J. C. Ryle.

True assurance makes a man more humble and self-denied but presumptuous confidence puffs up with spiritual pride and self-conceit; the one excites to the practice of every commanded duty, but the other encourages sloth and indolence. — Fisher’s Catechism.

You have a valuable house or farm. It is suggested that the title is not good. You employ counsel. You have the deeds examined. You search the records for mortgages, judgments and liens. You are not satisfied until you have a certificate, signed by the great seal of the State, assuring you that the title is good. Yet how many leave their title to heaven an undecided matter! Why do you not go to the records and find it? Give yourself no rest day or night until you can read your title clear to mansions in the skies.” —T. Dewitt Talmage.

The more the soul is conformed to Christ, the more confident it will be of its interest in Christ. — Thomas Brooks.

The best assurance any one can have of his interest in God, is doubtless the conformity of his soul to Him. When our heart is once turned into a conformity with the mind of God, when we feel our will conformed to His will, we shall then presently perceive a spirit of adoption within ourselves, teaching us to say, “Abba, Father.” — Cudworth.

If you would have clear and irrefragable for a perpetual joy, a glory and a defense, the unwavering confidence, “I am Thy child,” go to God’s throne, and lie down at the foot of it, and let the first thought be, ” My Father in heaven; ” and that will brighten, that will establish, that will make omnipotent in your life, the witness of the Spirit that you are the child of God. — Alexander Maclaren.

One of those poor fellows that had become a Christian was badgered by his companions; and one of them said, “How do you know that Jesus Christ has forgiven your sins?” The man turned at once and said, ” How do you know when you have got sugar in your tea?” — John B. Gough.

Every one of us may know what is the ruling purpose of his life; and he who knows that his ruling purpose is to trust and follow Christ knows that he is a Christian. — W. Gladden.

“Compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” let us with firm and cheerful trust endure all trials, discharge all duties, accept all sacrifices, fulfill the law of universal and impartial love, and adopt as our own that cause of truth, righteousness, humanity, liberty, and holiness,— which being the cause of the All-Good, cannot but triumph over all powers of evil. Let us rise into blest assurance that everywhere and forever we are enfolded, penetrated, guarded, guided, kept by the power of the Father and Friend, who can never forsake us; and that all spirits who have begun to seek, know, love, and serve the All-Perfect One on earth shall be reunited in a celestial home, and be welcomed together into the freedom of the universe, and the perpetual light of His presence.  —W. E. Channing.

There are believers who by God’s grace, have climbed the mountains of full assurance and near communion, their place is with the eagle in his eyrie, high aloft; they are like the strong mountaineer, who has trodden the virgin snow, who has breathed the fresh, free air of the Alpine regions, and therefore his sinews are braced, and his limbs are vigorous; these are they who do great exploits, being mighty men, men of renown. — C. H. Spurgeon.

If you have not the faith of assurance, practice at least the faith of adherence. That,at least, is in your power. Cleave to God exactly as if you were certain of being accepted of Him at last; and thus fulfilling His own conditions, you will be accepted of Him, whether you are assured of it beforehand or not.  — Jacques Bonneval.


The thing formed says that nothing formed it; and that which is made is, while that which made it is not! The folly is infinite. — Jeremy Taylor.

That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy. — Dean Swift.

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. — Francis Bacon.

Atheism is rather in the life than in the heart of man. — Francis Bacon.

Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother,who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion. —François-René de Chateaubriand.

Ingersoll’s atheism can never become an institution; it can never be more than a destitution. — Robert Collyer.

They that deny a God destroy man’s nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. — Francis Bacon.

No one is so much alone in the universe as a denier of God. With an orphaned heart, which has lost the greatest of fathers, he stands mourning by the immeasurable corpse of nature, no longer moved and sustained by the Spirit of the universe. — Jean Paul Richter.

Religion assures us that our afflictions shall have an end; she comforts us, she dries our tears, she promises us another life. On the contrary, in the abominable worship of atheism, human woes are the incense, death is the priest, a coffin the altar, and annihilation the Deity. — François-René de Chateaubriand.

Nothing enlarges the gulf of atheism more than the wide passage that lies between the faith and lives of men pretending to teach Christianity. — Stillingfleet.

I want you to have courage to declare yourself to be an atheist, or to serve your god with all your might and power in perfect consecration, whatever or whoever that god may be — whether it be the crocodile of the Nile or our Jehovah, “God over all blessed for evermore.” — Charles F. Deems.

Practically every man is an atheist, who lives without God in the world. — Guesses At Truth.


It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God — His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism, than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem. — Richard Fuller.

Avarice is to the intellect what sensuality is to the morals. — Mrs. Jameson.

Objects close to the eye shut out much larger objects on the horizon; and splendors born only of the earth eclipse the stars. So a man sometimes covers up the entire disk of eternity with a dollar, and quenches transcendent glories with a little shining dust. — E. H. Chapin.

Poverty is want of much, but avarice of everything. — Publius Syrius.

Jesus, save me from the infatuation of avarice! I, too, will lay up a treasure, but Thou shalt have the keeping of it. — Christian Scriver.

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Jesus and Plato


“Education is chiefly in the hands of persons who, from their profession, have an interest in the reputation and dreams of Plato. They give the tone while at school, and few in their after years have occasion to revise their college opinions. But fashion and authority apart, and bringing Plato to the test of reason, take from him his sophisms, futilities and incomprehensibilities, and what remains? In truth, he is one of the race of genuine sophists, who has escaped the oblivion of his brethren, first, by the elegance of his diction, but chiefly, by the adoption and incorporation of his whimsies into the body of artificial Christianity. His foggy mind is forever presenting the semblances of objects which, half seen through a mist, can be defined neither in form nor dimensions. Yet this, which should have consigned him to early oblivion, really procured him immortality of fame and reverence. The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding, and too plain to need explanation, saw in the mysticism of Plato materials with which they might build up an artificial system, which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them; and for this obvious reason, that nonsense cannot be explained. Their purposes, however, are answered. Plato is canonized; and it is now deemed as impious to question his merits as those of an Apostle of Jesus. He is peculiarly appealed to as an advocate of the immortality of the soul; and yet I will venture to say, that were there no better arguments than his in proof of it, not a man in the world would believe it. It is fortunate for us, that Platonic Republicanism has not obtained the same favor as Platonic Christianity; or we should now have been all living, men, women and children, pell mell together, like beasts of the field or forest. Yet “Plato is a great philosopher,” said La Fontaine. But, says Fontenelle, “Do you find his ideas very clear?” “Oh no! he is of an obscurity impenetrable.” “Do you not find him full of contradictions?” “Certainly,” replied La Fontaine, “he is but a sophist.” Yet, immediately after, he exclaims again, “Oh, Plato was a great philosopher.” Socrates had reason, indeed, to complain of the misrepresentations of Plato; for in truth, his dialogues are libels on Socrates.” (To John Adams, 1814. C. VI., 354.)

See also: MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810
Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Political Party Divisions of the Nation

Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Political Party Divisions of the Nation

Jefferson explains Nations are divided into two parties
1. Want’s all power in the hands of a government elite.
2. Trusts power only in the hands of the people.

Political Parties.—”Parties seem to have taken a very well defined form in this quarter. The old Tories, joined by our merchants who trade in British capital, paper dealers, stock-brokers and the idle rich of the great commercial towns are with the kings. All other descriptions with the French. The war (between France and England) has kindled and brought forward the two parties with an ardour which our own interests merely could never excite. The war between France and England has brought forward the Republicans and Monocrats in every State so openly that their relative numbers are perfectly visible; it appears that the latter are as nothing.” (To James Madison, 1793. F. VI., 326.)

Two parties then do exist in the United States. They embrace respectively the following description of persons:

The anti-Republicans consisted of

  1. The old refugees and Tories.
  2. The British merchants residing among us, and comprising the main body of our merchants.
  3. American merchants trading in British capital. Another great portion.
  4. Speculators and holders in the banks and public funds.
  5. Officers of the Federal Government, with some exceptions.
  6. Office hunters willing to give up principles for places. A numerous and noisy tribe.
  7. Nervous persons, whose languid fibres have more analogy with a passive than an active state of things.

The Republican party of the Union consisted of:

  1. The entire body of land-holders throughout the United States.
  2. The body of labourers not being land-holders, whether in husbanding or the arts. [i.e. The citizenry as a whole] (From notes on Professor Ebelling’s letter, 1795. F. VII., 47.)

“Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, as in England, to take a part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man, but where the principle of difference is as substantial and as strongly pronounced as between the Republicans and the Monocrats of our country, I hold it as honorable to take a firm and decided part, and as immoral to pursue a middle line as between the parties of honest men and rogues into which every country is divided.” (To William Giles, 1795. F. VII., 43.)

“When a Constitution like ours wears a mixed aspect of monarchy and Republicanism its citizens will naturally divide into two classes of sentiment, according as their tone of body or mind, their habits, connections and callings induce them to wish to strengthen either the monarchial or Republican features of the Constitution. Some will consider it as an elective monarchy, which had better be made hereditary, and therefore endeavor to lead towards that all the forms and principles of its administration. Others will view it as an energetic republic, turning in all its points on the pivot of free and frequent elections. The great body of our native citizens are unquestionably of the Republican sentiment.” (To James Sullivan, 1797. F. VII., 117.)

“But, my dear friend, if we do not learn to sacrifice small differences of opinion, we can never act together. Every man cannot have his way in all things. If his own opinion prevails at some times, he should acquiesce on seeing that of others preponderate at others. Without this mutual disposition we are disjointed individuals, but not a society. My position is painful enough between Federalists who cry out on the first touch of their monopoly, and Republicans who clamor for universal removal. A subdivision of the latter will increase the perplexity. I am proceeding with deliberation and inquiry to do what I think just to both descriptions and conciliatory to both. The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people. I do not speak of their leaders who are incurable, but of the honest and well-intentioned body of the people. I consider the pure Federalist as a Republican who would prefer a somewhat stronger executive; and the Republican as one more willing to trust the legislature as a broader representation of the people, and a safer deposit of power for many reasons. But both sects are Republican, entitled to the confidence of their fellow citizens. Not so their quondam leaders covering under the mask of Federalism hearts devoted to monarchy. The Hamiltonians, the Essex-men, the revolutionary Tories, etc. They have a right to tolerance, but neither to confidence nor power. It is very important that the pure Federalist and Republican should see in the opinion of each other but a shade of his own, which by a union of action will be lessened by one-half; that they should see and fear the monarchist as their common enemy, on whom they should keep their eyes, but keep off their hands.” (To John Dickinson, 1801. F. VIII., 76.)

“We shall now be so strong that we shall certainly split again; for freemen thinking differently and speaking and acting as they think, will form into classes of sentiment, but it must be under another name; that of Federalism is to become so scanted that no party can rise under it. As the division between Whig and Tory is founded in the nature of men, the weakly and nerveless, the rich and the corrupt, seeing more safety and accessibility in a strong executive; the healthy, firm and virtuous feeling confidence in their physical and moral resources, and willing to part with only so much power as is necessary for their good government, and therefore to retain the rest in the hands of the many, the division will substantially be into Whig and Tory, as in England, formerly.” (To Joel Barlow, 1802. F. VIII., 150.)

“I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion without imputing to them criminality. I know too well the weakness and uncertainty of human reason to wonder at its different results. Both of our political parties, at least the honest portion of them, agree conscientiously in the same object—the public good; but they differ essentially in what they deem the means of promoting that good. One side believes it best done by one composition of the governing powers; the others, by a different one. One fears most the ignorance of the people; the other, the selfishness of rulers independent of them. Which is right, time and experience will prove. We think that one side of this experiment has been long enough tried, and proved not to promote the good of the many; and that the other has not been fairly and sufficiently tried. Our opponents think the reverse. With whichever opinion the body of the nation concurs, that must prevail. My anxieties on the subject will never carry me beyond the use of fair and honorable means, of truth and reason; nor have they ever lessened the esteem for moral worth, nor alienated my affections from a single friend, who did not just withdraw himself.” (To Mrs. John Adams, 1804. F. VIII., 312.)

“Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. The same political parties which now agitate the United States have existed through all time. Whether the power of the people or that of the tyrant (?) should prevail, were questions which kept the States of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot. And, in fact, the terms of Whig and Tory belong to natural as well as to civil history. They denote the temper and constitution of the mind of different individuals. To come to our own country and to the time when you and I became first acquainted, we will remember the violent parties which agitated the old Congress, and their bitter contents. There you and I were together, and the Jays, and the Dickinsons, and other anti-independents, were arrayed against us. They cherished the monarchy of England, and we the rights of our countrymen. When our present government was in the mew, passing from Confederation to Union, how bitter was the schism between the Feds and the Antis. Here you and I were together again. For, although for a moment separated by the Atlantic from the scene of action, I favored the opinion that nine States should confirm the Constitution, in order to secure it, and the others hold off until certain amendment, deemed favorable to freedom should be made, I rallied in the first instant to the wiser proposition of Massachusetts, that all should confirm, and then all instruct their delegates to urge those amendments. The amendments were made, and all were reconciled to the government. But as soon as it was put into motion, the line of division was again drawn. We broke into two parties, each wishing to give the government a different direction; the one to strengthen the most popular branch, the other the more permanent branches, and to extend their permanence. * * * There have been differences of opinion and party differences, from the first establishment of governments to the present day, and on the same question which now divides our own country; that these will continue through all future time; that everyone takes his side in favor of the many, or of the few, according to his constitution, and the circumstances in which he is placed; that opinions, which are equally honest on both sides, should not effect personal esteem or social intercourse; that as we judge between the Claudii and the Gracchi, the Wentworths and the Hampdens of past age, so of those among us whose names may happen to be remembered for awhile, the next generations will judge, favorably or unfavorably, according to the complexion of individual minds, and side they shall themselves have taken; that nothing new can be added by you or me to what has been said by others, and will be said in every age in support of the conflicting opinions on government; and that wisdom and duty dictate an humble resignation to the verdict of our future peers.” (To John Adams, 1813. C. VI., 143-146.)

“I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” (To Francis Hopkinson, 1789. F. V., 76.)

MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810

Separation of Power ~ Jefferson

This could very well have been written about the government of the United States in this day and time.

Morality of government.—It may be asked, what, in the nature of her government, unfits England for the observation of moral duties? In the first place, her King is a cipher; his only function being to name the oligarchy which is to govern her. The parliament is, by corruption, the mere instrument of the will of the administration. The real power and property in the government is in the great aristocratical families of the nation. The nest of office being too small for all of them to cuddle into at once, the contest is eternal, which shall crowd the other out. For this purpose, they are divided into two parties, the ” Ins” and the “Outs,” so equal in weight that a small matter turns the balance. To keep themselves in, when they are in. every stratagem must be practiced, every artifice used which may flatter the pride, the passions or power of the nation. Justice, honor, faith, must yield to the necessity of keeping themselves in place. The question whether a measure is moral, is never asked; but whether it will nourish the avarice of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of their navy, or produce any other effect which may strengthen them in their places. As to engagements, however positive, entered by the predecessors of the “Ins,” why, they were their enemies: they did everything which was wrong; and to reverse everything which they did, must, therefore, be right. This is the true character of the English government in practice, however different its theory; and it presents the singular phenomenon of a nation, the individuals of which are as faithful to their private engagements and duties, as honorable, as worthy, as those of any nation on earth, and whose government is yet the most unprincipled at this day known. In an absolute government there can be no such equiponderant [having equal weight] parties. The despot is the government. His power suppressing all opposition, maintains his ministers firm in their places. What he has contracted, therefore, through them, he has the power to observe with good faith; and he identifies his own honor and faith with that of his nation. —To John Langdon; March 1810.

Source: The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson, by Thomas Jefferson; ‎John P. Foleypublished 1900

Founder Samuel Adams: The Duty of Citizens in Electing Their Representatives


Powerful, stirring, inspirational wisdom from the Founders.

The Duty of Citizens in Electing Their Representatives by Samuel Adams published in in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781

Extract of a Letter from the Southward.

“As we have a Constitution which is admired for its genuine Principles, I have been sollicitous to know, whether our Countrymen at large partook of the Spirit of those who formed it. I have conceived strong Hopes, that in organizing their Government and electing Persons to fill the important Places of Trust, no Consideration would avail, to govern their Suffrages [i.e. Votes] in Favour of any Candidate, unless he was possessed of those Qualities which are necessary, to enable him to perform the Duties of the Office to be filled, to the Advantage of the Publick. I have flattered myself, that both the Governors and the Governed would have lain aside the gawdy Trappings of Monarchy,[gawdy Trappings of Monarchy; i.e. Riches, beauty, extravagance, flowery speeches] and put on that Simplicity which is the Ornament and Strength of a free Republick. How far it has been done, I am not able to judge at this Distance. It is a great Satisfaction to me to be informed, that some of the best Men in the Commonwealth have been elected into the Principal Departments of Government. Men, who will dignify the Character of our Country—who will revive and disseminate those Principles, moral and political, to propagate which, our Ancestors transplanted themselves into this new World—Men who by the Wisdom of their Councils and their exemplary Manners, will establish the public Liberty on the Foundation of a Rock.—These Men will secure to themselves more of the Esteem of their virtuous, and even of their vicious Fellow-Citizens, than they could by a thousand courtly Addresses [i.e. speeches] which are commonly the Breath of Vanity and Adulation.—There is a charm in Virtue to force Esteem.—If Men of a different Character have by any Means been advanced to those hallow’d Seats, who have even sollicited public Employments to give a Scope to Views of Ambition and Avarice, [avarice; i.e. greed, desire for wealth, power] Passions which have in all Ages been the Bane [bane; i.e. ruin, downfall] of human Society; or, to gratify the raging Thirst for popular Applause, a Disease with which little minds are usually tormented, it is our Happiness that the Constitution requires annual Elections, and such Mistakes may be corrected at the next.

“I was sorry to hear, that the Number of Votes returned, the last Time, did not amount to a Quarter of the Number of qualified Electors in the Commonwealth. The Choice of Legislators, Magistrates and Governors, is surely a Business of the greatest Moment, and claims the Attention of every Citizen. The Framers of our Constitution, while they gave due Attention to Political were not forgetful of Civil Liberty—that personal Freedom and those Rights of Property, which the meanest Citizen is intitled to, and the Security of which is the great End of political Society. It was not indeed their Province to make particular Laws for these Purposes. To do this, and to provide for the equal and impartial Execution of such Laws, agreeable to the Constitution, is the Duty of the Legislature. Hence every Citizen will see, and I hope will be deeply impressed with a Sense of it, how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his Children is connected with it, that those who are to have a Share in making as well as in judging and executing the Laws should be Men of singular Wisdom and Integrity. Such as are conscious that they are deficient in either of these Qualities, should even tremble at being named as Candidates! I hope the great Business of Elections will never be left by the Many, to be done by the Few; for before we are aware of it, that few may become the Engine of Corruption—the Tool of a Junto [Junto; i.e political group]—Heaven forbid! that our Countrymen should ever be byass’d in their Choice, by unreasonable Predilections [i.e. bias, favoritism] for any man, or that an Attachment to the Constitution, as has been the Case in other Countries, should be lost in Devotion to Persons. [Devotion to persons; i.e. devotion because of who the person is] The Effect of this would soon be, to change the Love of Liberty into the Spirit of Faction. Let each Citizen remember, at the Moment he is offering his Vote, that he is not making a Present or a Compliment to please an Individual, or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn Trusts in human Society, for which he is accountable to God and his Country.

“When the great Body of the People are determined not to be imposed upon by a false Glare of Virtues held before their Eyes,[i.e. soundbites, speeches, false fronts] but, making up their own Minds, shall impartially give in their Suffrages, after their best Enquiries into the Characters of Candidates, for those whom they judge to be the fittest Persons, there will be no Danger that the generous Enthusiasm of Freedom, so characteristic of the People of Massachusetts, will ever sink into the Violence and Rage of Party, which has often proved fatal to free Republicks.’

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

Philadephia, April 3 1781


ChristianPatriotQuoteSelahVery interesting perspective I thought I would share. Very good insight into the love and mercy of God.

Leaves From An Interpreter’s Notebook; by Rev. John Gardner, D. D. published 1920

Psalm 93
In times of national calamity, when monarchs suffer eclipse and mighty empires are disintegrated, it is a great thing for some man to arise who has beheld visions of God, an Isaiah whose eyes have been opened to behold the Lord, high and lifted up, or an Ezekiel who has scanned the livid clouds and discovered at the heart of them the august and majestic presence of Him who reigneth forever and ever. Such a seer penned this psalm.

It ranks with the nineteenth psalm for majesty of conception and fervency of utterance. It enshrines the faith which made Israel invulnerable. Men might destroy their cities, blind their kings, rob their nobles of freedom, yet somehow or other the consciousness of heritage and of destiny never departed from them.

Maclaren says of the series of psalms reaching from the 93rd to the 100th: “Probably the historical fact underlying this new conviction of and triumph in the kingdom of Jehovah is the return from exile, but the tone of prophetic anticipation in these exuberant hymns of confident joy can scarcely fail of recognition. The psalmists sang of an ideal state, to which their most glorious experiences but remotely approximated. They saw not yet all things put under Him, but they were sure that He is king, and they were as sure, though with the certitude of faith fixed on His word and not with that of sight, that His universal dominion would one day be universally recognized and rejoiced in.”

Israel’s faith in the majesty of God made them see an authority presiding over every wild and lawless thing in nature. The surging sea, the thunderstorm, tempest and fire are all beneath His control. His majesty and strength are seen in the continuity of natural law, and in the fact that each year is crowned with fruitfulness. In the midst of the chance and change of the seasons there is consciousness of the fact that the universe is built on pillars that are strong. Let the waves of passion beat on the shore as furiously as they will, there is a limit to their striving, and soon they will be turned into submission.

Whatever the outward seeming might be, Israel turned to the thought of God’s house as the most comforting place in all the world. The awful majesty that subdues raging tempests reveals itself as the refuge and strength of His people, and therefore are they enjoined to approach that house with holiness.

Our Father, we thank Thee that the floods shall not overwhelm us, but that when we pass through deep waters Thou wilt be our comfort and stay. We pray that we may ever worship Thee in the beauty of holiness, that we may approach Thee with reverent awe. Keep back Thy servants from presumptuous sins, and let them not have dominion over us! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 94

There are times when belief in the divine omnipotence is the most comforting of all our views of God, when we must know that the world is held in hand by One who is mighty. There are other times when it is imperative that we should know God as the judge of all the earth, who ‘will do righteously. When the faithful ones in Israel were coming to grips with Antiochus Epiphanes they needed to stand together, yet their rulers, including the high priests, became the allies of their foes and actually undertook to punish all who were faithful It was a time when men needed the martyr spirit. And it was a time when they needed to know that the foundations of God’s throne were justice and judgment. This psalm was composed for such a period.

Do not brand a man as hard and narrow and vindictive because he beseeches God to smite and burn the lies that vex our groaning earth. Be ashamed of yourself if looking upon the injustices and wickednesses which torture myriads of human hearts, you have imagined a cosmos which take such things for granted. Sainthood is the mother of compassion. The holy Chr-st trembles with compassion for those who are as sheep having no shepherd.

The psalmist looks on the arrogant rulers of Israel who give themselves airs, and exercise tyranny over the poor and defenseless. The widow and the fatherless, the stranger within the gate cannot protect themselves. A king is supposed to be a kinsman, a strong champion of the defenseless. These over-lords are brutally callous, and strike where they ought to soothe and heal. No one could so act unless he were a believer in a little god. Thank God, there have always been men of moral courage, who, though devoid of material resources, have yet been able to champion the people s cause and to declare the word of the Lord to the rulers of Sodom. As Maclaren says: “Ahab had his Elijah, and Herod his John the Baptist. The succession has been continued through the ages.”

Does oppression yield no benefit? Is not discipline educative? God trains men in a hard school. It is only through the fiery furnace that the eyes of tyrants gain a vision of the Son of God, and it is only in that furnace that men discover the greater Man who is their Comforter and their Saviour.

Do not undervalue that discovery. The way to heaven is narrow and blood-stained, but it is blessed to have heaven within the range, of your aspiring. And do not forget that heaven implies hell. It is a blessed thing to know not merely that by the cross you gain the crown, but also that eternal wrath is kindled against all iniquity and those who devise it. We have a great champion, and can rest on Him as our vindicator. Eternal justice is the foundation on which the heavenly order is to be reared.

O God, who art just in all Thy ways, we worship Thee! We thank Thee that the cause of the weak and the fatherless is Thine, and that Thou wilt do justly to the afflicted and destitute, and wilt rescue those who are weak and needy. We beseech Thee to arise in our time and to justify the confidence of those who put their trust in Thee. Deliver those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, protect all those who call upon Thee! Help us to become like Thee in justice and in compassion! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 95

So much of what we call poetry is nothing more than musical speech. We like the sound of our own voices, and use phrases that are rhythmical, even though meaningless. This is true of many of our sacred songs. What, for example, is the meaning of the line, “With eyes majestic after death,” or “Beautiful isle of somewhere”? An oriental poet never writes like that; his phrases are full of meaning. This is best seen in the psalms. We have here a little poem of rejoicing in Jehovah as the creator and ruler of His people, and every phrase counts.

Our worship lacks spontaneity. We follow a routine, we sing by proxy, we seldom ejaculate a fervent hallelujah to Jehovah. The Hebrew puts us to shame, for his sense of God was so acute that the fleecy cloud, the murmuring breeze, the wild tempest, the foam-flecked sea, made him to rejoice and to shout aloud to God. Whenever he looked on the world as revealing

the majesty of God he was constrained to rejoicing, and when he surveyed the page of history or called to mind the Lord’s dealings with himself as with his fathers he was filled with reverent awe.

Do not be too much afraid of anthropomorphism. There is great comfort in believing in the pitying eye of God, in nestling in the everlasting arms, in trusting in the hand of the Almighty. It is blessed to know that we are the sheep of His hand. Maclaren says: “The repeated reference to the hand of Jehovah is striking. In it are held the deeps. It is a plastic hand, forming the land as a potter fashioning his clay. It is a shepherd’s hand, protecting and feeding his flock. ‘The sheep of His hand’ suggests not merely the creative but the sustaining and protecting power of God. It is hallowed forever by our Lord’s words, which may be an echo of it: ‘No man is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.'”

It is possible for us to fail in worship through our too eager exuberancy of speech. The silence of a modern congregation might be a good thing if it were devoted to attentive and reverent listening for the voice of God, but alas! It is not a silence at all. The congregation has hired people to make a noise, and it oftentimes is so loud that men and women come and go from God’s house without hearing a syllable of what the heavenly Father has been speaking to their hearts. This is the danger feared by the psalmist. It is possible for our natures to cease to react, for us to become truth-hardened. The Israelites had witnessed many wondrous deliverances and gracious interventions, and experienced marvelous guidance at the hands of God; yet they had grown insensitive, and had taken things for granted. Led by the cloud and pillar of fire they spoke of each day as common, they became ingrates, their hearts were estranged. So odious did they become that Jehovah hid Himself from them, and let them try their own ways until they found them bitter.

O Lord, forgive our presumptuous sins! Forgive us in that we have taken Thy guidance and protection for granted, and have not had regard for Thy will and Thy glory in the wondrous circumstances which Thou hast arranged for us! Perfect that which is lacking in our faith, wc beseech Thee! Help us to overcome the world, help us to conform ourselves to Thee in all things! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 96

The nation that recognizes no responsibility beyond its own security and prosperity, that has no vision beyond its own frontiers, that does not know other peoples save for what it can get out of them, that has no sense of kinship with the world and of a common destiny with the rest of humanity, fails in all that makes for greatness. In the period following the exile Israel found her soul through her sense of mission to the peoples of the world. Instead of expecting all the nations to come to her she recognizes a duty to go to them. Instead of asserting superiority she invites them to amity, and asks them to use her altar fires. In her new temple the Gentile courts were spacious.

Alas! she lost the vision and cluttered up the Gentile courts with booths and weights and measures, turning what was holy into a market place, so that the first act of the Son of man when He reached the Temple after embarking on His mission was to hurl the money-changing tables out of the way, and clear a space for the Gentiles to approach.

The new song is one of gladness in the vision of Jehovah’s authority and sway as being over all. The gods of the Gentiles are nothing, and do nothing for their worshipers, they are impotent and worthless, but Jehovah is surrounded by majesty and splendor, strength and beauty. These are ministers waiting upon Him, these are the atmosphere surrounding His throne.

It may be long before all that the psalmist dreams of will be realized, but the Golden Age will come. Others weave legends of a golden age in the long ago; the man of faith says it is coming in the first or in the third watch.

The language of this psalm is borrowed from several other psalms. It shows men of faith agreeing that Jehovah cannot be limited, and that all men have their heritage in Him. These other people share in the priesthood of believers, and are invited to bring their offering and come into His courts.

See to it that your communion table is always open to reverent and obedient penitent hearts. Do not erect barriers and gates, but let men have free access to the heart of God.

In conclusion the psalmist sees all nature sharing the blessed life. It is the thought of Isaiah and of Paul. As Maclaren says: “A poet invests nature with the hues of his own emotions, but this summons of the psalmist is more than poetry. How the transformation is to be effected is not revealed, but the consuming fires will refine, and at last man will have a dwelling place where environment will correspond to character, where the external will image the inward state, where a new force of the material will be the ally of the spiritual, and perfected manhood will walk in a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

Our Father, we would sing and make melody unto Thee because Thou art the judge of all the earth, and guidest the world with righteousness and compassion. We thank Thee for the assurance that one day we shall see all things made new, that nature will have reached perfectness, and the sons of men will know themselves as children of God. Hasten the coming of that day, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

Psalm 97

Kent says: “This psalm is connected with Psalms 93 and 99 by the same impressive introductory formula, ‘Jehovah reigneth.’ Each of these psalms presents a vivid, majestic picture of Jehovah enthroned on high, ruling the universe with the principles of justice and righteousness. Few psalms express more nobly the spirit of worship. Nowhere in human literature is theology taught more impressively and effectively.”

On the other hand, Maclaren connects it with Psalm 96, saying it presents Jehovah as king but from a fresh point of view, representing His rule under the form of a theophany, [Theophany: Manifestation of God that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period] which may possibly be regarded as the fuller description of the coming of Jehovah with which Psalm 96 closes.

The first lesson to be learned is from the quotations with which the psalm abounds. This man builds on the past in the sense that he believes that what God was He is. It is a mistake to imagine that the Lord does not speak directly to men today. He always speaks to those who will listen. Because men could not hear or understand the words that Christ wanted to say has He refrained and does He mean to refrain from saying them? We must learn to say: “I will hear what God the Lord will say unto me: speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”

The word does not need to be original in order to be new. It needs to be the word for this time. We do not outgrow the Bible. We shall find our knowledge of God coming as a revelation when we reopen our Bibles and relearn their contents.

Has God withdrawn His theophany because for the time there are mists and clouds hiding it? The psalmist waits for the mists to clear, and is expectant of a partial or complete revelation whenever the clouds break. If we felt the awe of the cloud we should be comforted by the bright light in the cloud. The psalmist is conscious that righteousness is the foundation of His throne, and that glory lies within the mantle of the cloud and shall one day burst on the sight of all. Behind the mystery he is ever sure of the holiness, righteousness, consuming fire, delivering power. Whenever God breaks through the cloud all nations shall know that almightiness expresses itself in loving-kindness. Every false thing which has frightened men will be revealed in its impotence.

In the hour when Jehovah is unveiled gladness will come into hearts which for a brief period were fearful and perplexed. We shall know in that day that when we revolt from evil we are beloved of God. No more wondrous fact exists than that while we were sinners Christ died for us. Yet our personal acquaintance with that love demands that because of it we recoil from and repudiate sin. What comfort there is in the words, “Light shineth forth for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart”

Dear Lord, we thank Thee that in the day when men imagined that the Son of God had been destroyed He was asserting His authority in heaven and in earth, and sending His gospel unto all nations. We adore Thee that in the world’s darkest hour the Spirit of God caused men to see visions and dream dreams, and we pray that we may go forth to do our work as those who have beheld Thy glory and know Thee as rejoicing in righteousness. For Thy name’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 98

Some think that originally this psalm was connected with Psalm 96. It is evident that its author was acquainted with the second part of Isaiah. The psalmist announces the facts concerning God’s deliverances, and responds to them with praise. He thinks the providences of God are self-evident, and must challenge the ends of the earth to adoring wonder and praise. God acts in accordance with His nature. He creates and destroys according to eternal principles. He continues the order of nature, the course of the sun through the heavens, the distillation of moisture, the changing seasons, whether men are good or bad. He so loved the world and commended His love toward the world that while we were yet sinners He gave His only begotten Son, and the attitude of the world to Him does not alter the fact. One day the ends of the earth will recognize the fact, and joy will flood the souls of men. God’s deeds are not dependent on our recognition of them.

More precious than sacrifices and burnt offerings is intelligent, soulful praise. God will never come to His triumph until all men spontaneously respond to the challenge of His loving-kindness and His righteous acts. One day the nations of the earth will share a common emotion and sing a new song in unison. In that day the divine sovereignty will be recognized by the travailing earth, which will have found her redemption and know that her mission is complete. Righteousness and equity are the foundations of the divine government of the world, and when the nations I have learned their lesson and bent themselves beneath the judgments of their Lord, then the universe will break forth into melody, and creation will enter into its rest.

Our Father, we thank Thee that Thou knowest those who are Thine, who grieve over everything that is hostile to Thy will, who are distressed at the abominations which are in the earth. Those who bear the cross shall share the crown. Help us to be faithful, grant unto us grace to endure! May we learn to fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ on behalf of the faithful! In His name. Amen.

Psalm 99

There is no sovereignty like that of holiness. Israel rejoiced in her divine king because His character was the guarantee of His triumph. Holiness combined with infinite power and knowledge seems to make God remote. What can mortals do but stand in awe of Him? And yet, if He is holy He must be just, and His sovereignty is the pledge of righteousness as triumphant in the earth. It is a great discovery to know that the universe is built on moral principles, and that the Judge of all the earth will execute justice and righteousness.

We know the vanity of trusting in the integrity and power of earthly potentates. Emperors and presidents, they alike fall short. Their judgments are partial; they are not impelled by love. Because Jehovah is holy, men may worship Him. This is the secret of Israel’s story. The fathers of the race made discovery of the character of God, and worship became the foundation of society.

Maclaren says: “From venerable examples the psalmist draws instruction as to the nature of the worship befitting the holiness of Jehovah. He goes deeper than all sacrifices, or than silent awe. There is a commerce of desire and bestowal between the holy Jehovah and us. But these answers come on certain conditions, which are plain consequences of His holiness, namely, that His worshipers should keep His testimonies, by which He has witnessed both to His own character and to their duty.”

The psalmist has learned that the very heart of holiness is love, and that it is the character of love to forgive. Yet love and forgiveness have moral qualities. Love does not condone, forgiveness is not blind compassion. There must be suffering where there is disease, and sin is disease. Penalties are inevitable to transgression, and Israel learned by bitter experience that God visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. Only, when Israel is forgiven, it knows that love and goodness are at the heart of suffering, and penalty becomes a means of refinement and ennoblement.

Most gracious and most holy Father, who seekest worshipers who approach Thee in spirit and in truth, we beseech Thee to search us and prove us and see if there be any wicked way in us. Where we are found lacking, show us Thy compassion! Cleanse us from iniquity, and release us from the dominion and power of sin! Help us to love Thee with all our being! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 100

There is an imperative in holiness which is felt by all men. Whether holiness displays itself as justice, purity or love it challenges the soul to reverent awe. Its authority is absolute. Worship is man’s response to the challenge of holiness. Because Jehovah is God the whole earth is commanded to pay Him homage.

Israel’s history is a witness to the character of God. All the earth can read the record. He has proved Himself a jealous God and a consuming fire, He has displayed His glory in loving-kindness and tender mercy. He has shown Himself a God of deliverances, a present help in trouble. This is the secret of Israel’s joy in worship. Her temple stands open to all the earth.

Maclarcn says: “The depths of sorrow, both of that which springs from outward calamities and of that more heart-breaking sort which wells up from dark fountains in the soul, have been sounded in many a psalm. But the Psalter would not reflect all the moods of the devout soul unless it had some strains of unmingled joy.”

Not only does Jehovah show forth His majesty in Israel’s story but also in all nature. His character is consistent. From everlasting to everlasting He is God, and His nature is definable in terms of goodness. Kindness is the key to the heart of God. We do well to sing:

“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.”

How can the beholders of loving-kindness withhold the homage of their hearts? No wonder the psalmist anticipates the day when Israel’s hosannas will be mingled with the praise of all the earth.

Our Father, we pray for grace to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. When we seek Thy face we would entreat Thee in His name; as we confront the circumstances of life and look upon the restless sea of human life we would be possessed of His spirit; when entering the garden of sorrow and facing the challenge of faith zee would learn from Him the secret of self-abnegation; when conscious of the approach of the last enemy we would be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. Help us so to live, we beseech Thee! Amen.

Psalm 101

Commentators have taken widely different views of the authorship of this psalm. Some have called it an ideal description of a Jewish king. Perowne thinks that it may have been written by David in the early part of his reign, when his heart was so true to his God, and Maclaren takes the same view. Kent, on the other hand, avers: “This psalm is an important historical document. In 1 Maccabees 14. [Maccabees also spelled Machabees, four books, none of which is in the Hebrew Bible but all of which appear in some manuscripts of the Septuagint.] 14 it is recorded of Simon, the Maccabean ruler, that “he strengthened all the distressed of his people, he was full of zeal for the law, and every lawless and wicked person he banished.’ There is every reason to believe that this psalm voices the ideals of Simon.” Whoever was the author, the psalm presents us with a mirror for rulers which has significance for all time.

First, a king should be a man of such integrity, moral courage, honor and justice that men can trust him. He is ideally a divine vicegerent, and therefore should build his life on the character of God, who is just and merciful. Every man should have a standard to which he conforms his motives and acts, and a king should take God for his pattern. This king builds his life on piety. In the next place, he recognizes his personal responsibility and the need for singleness of aim. Further, he realizes the influence of environment on judgments; a man is responsible for his friends and advisers. “Walk with wise men and thou shalt be wise, but the companion of fools shall smart for it.” Because of his responsibility this king beseeches God to dwell within him and to enable him to walk in a perfect way. No man is safe until he has made certain moral repudiations.

Second, a king should have a pure court The corruption in kings’ palaces has become a byword. The courtesan, the deceiver, the seeker for place and power, the slanderer, have wrought mischief in all countries and in all ages. This man will permit none but honorable men to occupy places of distinction. Maclaren says: “The vices against which he will implacably war are not gross crimes such as ordinarily bring down the sword of public justice. This monarch has regard to more subtle evils,—slander, superciliousness, inflated vanity. His eyes are quick to mark ‘the faithful in the land. He looks for those whose faithfulness to God guarantees their fidelity to men and their general reliableness. In that court dignity and office will go not to talent, or to crafty acts of senility, or to birth, but to moral and religious qualities.”

Third, this ruler will try to make his personal ideals the standards for civil and political life throughout the country. “Fast as evil springs under shelter of darkness, it shall be destroyed with the returning light. The allusion is, doubtless, to the oriental custom of holding courts of law in the early morning. Day by day will he exercise his work of righteous judgment, purging out all ungodliness from the Holy City.” We do well to have these verses in mind when choosing our rulers, remembering that as are the rulers so are the governed. Godly men have a great responsibility for the well-being of the state.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth, most heartily we beseech Thee with Thy favor to behold and bless all who are in authority, and so replenish them with the grace of Thy Holy Spirit that they may always incline to Thy will, and walk in Thy ways! Endue them plentcously with heavenly gifts, grant them in health and prosperity long to live, and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

Psalm 102.1-11

These are the words of a personal sufferer. It may be that they have been taken up by a community of suffering saints, for somehow each man’s experience is the key to our common humanity. Originally, however, the words were not for liturgical use, but the expression of an individual’s anguish.

The psalmist was already acquainted with the outpourings of other singers of the songs of Zion. The wise man will fortify himself with the words of God, that he may draw upon them in days of trouble. This man is not a copyist; the words of Scripture are so much a part of himself that he uses them spontaneously to express his own emotion. His condition is pitiable. His life is passing as smoke, fever is burning in him, he is like one suffering from sunstroke, he is emaciated with suffering and pain. His anguish is mental as well as physical, and drives him in upon himself. He is as solitary as a pelican, which is described as the most somber of birds; he is like an owl in a ruined fortress, or a sparrow that has lost its mate and laments on the house top for hours. His enemies say that God has made a public spectacle of him.

That which adds wormwood and gall to his cup is the thought that he suffers because God is angry with him. Sin is the root of his misery. So terrible is God that He has thrust forth His hand and taken this poor man into His grip, and hurled him aloft and away as an utterly worthless and contemptible thing. The figure is so violent that one shrinks from the thought that any man could employ it of himself, and inclines to the idea that it must have been employed to describe the experience of Israel. If, however, it leads to a new and deeper experience of God as One whose every act is inspired by love and grace, and creates a belief that judgment is redemptive, then it can be read as a gospel. And that is what we find in the words which follow, and which are a song of Zion’s deliverance.

We thank Thee, O God, for that discipline whereby Thou dost separate that

in us which is excellent, which reveals us as Thy offspring, from that which is worthless. Thou dost test us and purify us, Thou dost sift us and sanctify us. Thou canst not be satisfied if we fail of the best. Give us grace to know Thy purpose in the midst of discipline, that so we may be submissive and patient, ever believing in Thy wisdom and love! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 102.12-28

It is a great moment in a man’s life when facing his individual grief, or the calamities of the nation, he is constrained to say of God the omnipotent, “But Thou I” Perowne says: “This is the great consolatory thought by which he rises above his sorrow. He, the individual, may perish, but Zion’s hopes rest on her eternal King.”

And yet this might seem, as Calvin remarks, a far-fetched consolation. What is it to us that God changeth not, that He sitteth king forever, if meanwhile our condition is so frail and feeble that we cannot continue for a moment? His unchangeable peace and blessedness do but make our life seem the more complete mockery. But the psalmist recalls God’s promises to Zion, especially that great covenant promise: “I will dwell in the midst of you.” Resting on this, he feels sure that God’s children, however miserable their state, shall have their share in that heavenly glory wherein God dwelleth. Because God changes not His promise and covenant change not, and therefore we may ever lift our eyes to His throne in heaven, from which He will surely stretch forth His hand to us.

How can men face life unless their faith is rooted in a personal God whose name and nature they know? It seems as though each man ought not to risk life’s adventure until he has made the great discovery. Jacob’s life was vacillating until he had wrestled with his problem. To believe in a personal God is to believe in a set time for the revelation of His power and delivering mercy. He is interested in our ideals, and it is His purpose to make them actualities.

Because of what shall happen to us the whole world will learn to worship Jehovah. Maclaren says: “The psalmist’s confidence teaches us never to despair of the future of God’s church, however low its present state, but to look down the ages in calm certainty that however externals may change the succession of God’s children will never fail, nor the voice of their praise ever fall silent.”

There is more in this psalmist’s song than he himself imagines. When we turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews we find his language quoted as a fore-gleam of the coming Messiah in whom creation and redemption met and blended, in whom Jehovah’s actions were completed. Words uttered by one whose eyes had been washed by tears found their interpretation in Jesus, in whom God was manifest.

Our God, we praise Thee for the new day with which Thou hast blessed us. Once we were separate from Christ, now we are reconciled; once we had no lot in Thy kingdom, now we are enfranchised; once we were in a silent universe, now we hear and recognize Thy voice; once we had no hope, now our souls have found a sure anchorage; once we had no God, now we know Thee as our Father. Help us to live in the happiness of love! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.1-5

“This psalm is a meditation as well as a prayer of adoration. Its appreciation of Jehovah’s character and attitude toward men, its childlike, filial trust, and its faith in His universal kingdom and rule, all connect it closely with the teachings of Jesus.” It is built on those words found in Exodus 34.6: “Jehovah, tenderly compassionate and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”

There is not one sad note in the whole of this psalm. From beginning to end it pulsates with joy. The psalmist is enraptured with God. He would not merely sing of the divine faithfulness, nor bow in reverent awe before the ineffable Presence, but he would challenge every faculty, his reason, his emotions, his will, his moral nature, everything that is high and good, to ascribe adoration unto Jehovah.

Our first betrayal is in our recollectedness. We take providence for granted. We accept the benefactions of God as matters of course. The psalmist will guard his soul against the sin of ingratitude. Therefore he recounts the wondrous mercies of which he has been recipient.

There is the blessing of forgiveness. When standing in the white light of love the soul becomes conscious of its blemishes and pollutions. If we may yet call upon God and know ourselves as the objects of His regard, it is because of His pardoning love.

There is the blessing of healing, not only of a body that is diseased but of a sick soul also. Augustine says: “Even when sin is forgiven thou still carriest about with thee an infirm body. Death is not yet swallowed up in victory, this corruptible hath not yet put on incorruption, still the soul herself is shaken by passions and temptations. But thy sicknesses shall all be healed, doubt it not! They are great, thou wilt say, but the Physician is greater. God made thy body, God made thy soul. He knoweth how to re-create that which He created, He knoweth how to re-form that which He formed. Only be thou still under the hands of the Physician.”

Not only does God rescue a man from the grave, He makes his life a beatification. The glory of God is His loving-kindness and tender mercy, and with these He crowns His beloved, He grants to him the secret of perennial youth. Maclaren says: “How should a man thus dealt with grow old? The body may, but not the soul. Rather it will drop powers that can decay, and for each thus lost will gain a stronger moulting and not be stripped of its wings, though it changes their feathers.”

Our Father, we would learn to keep silence before Thee. Our lives are like the surging sea, tossed by care and need. We pray for the grace of silence, that so we may hear what Thou hast to say to us. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.6-9

What is the foundation of the psalmist’s confidence? It is the product of experience, but it is founded upon the declared character of God. Because the Lord reigneth in the exercise of righteousness, because He is declared to be the champion of the weak, because all history bears testimony to the character of His government of the race, because He has revealed His nature and His will through Moses to the children of the covenant, therefore the psalmist challenges every attribute of his being to adoration. “He is not spinning a filmy idea of a God out of his own consciousness, but he has learned all that he knows of Him from His historical self-revelation.”

Beware of those ideas which are merely the objectivisation of your best self and which vain men would label God, and of that talking to your best ideas which is foolishly misnamed prayer. Make sure that you bend your knees to God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and that He hears prayer.

The background of faith is the actuality of God’s reign in the earth, the belief that He intervenes. He is not silent, He has not created a vast machine and left it to work. He is in a world of free beings where wills may be set in defiance of His will and for the perpetuation of wickedness, and He has determined that justice shall triumph. Man’s safety and peace lie in the discovery of God’s ways of acting. Moses described the secret of a good man’s life when he offered the prayer: “If I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee!” To that prayer there came a gracious answer: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” The psalmist builds on that word as the revelation of God, and great peace floods his soul.

If the Almighty were in eternal opposition to us, if there were no further revelation than that His face is against them that do evil, we should become fatalists rather than the children of eager anticipation. Isaiah tells us: “For not forever will I contend, and not perpetually will I be angry; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” God does not cherish a grudge against us. The champion of the oppressed, He is also full of wise understanding and tender solicitude. This is the foundation of the gospel, this is why men repent of sin; the goodness of Jehovah leads them to repentance. .

O God, we would rest in Thy love, we would surrender ourselves to Thy control. Help us to sit at Thy feet as Thy dear children, reveal unto us Thy way, grant us the spirit of self-forgetfulness in Thy service, help us to be sincere and to respond to the promptings of Thy Spirit! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.10-12

God is not a harsh and vindictive judge. He has no pleasure in punishment. The Scriptures are full of the sorrows of God; He bears our sins and carries our griefs. His punishments are for our correction, and every one of them is potential with blessing.

Psalm 36 testifies: “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds”; and Psalm 57: “Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds.” So here the psalmist exults in the fact that as high as the heavens are above the earth, so mighty is His loving-kindness upon them that fear Him. The idea is that God’s love is immeasurable. We have no instrument by which we can gauge its magnitude and strength. As Maclaren says: “Traverse heaven to the zenith, and from sunrise to sunset, to find distances distant enough to express the towering height of God’s mercy and the completeness of His removal from us of our sins.”

The fact of God’s love is demonstrated by its relationship to our sins. The Bible is the only book in the world that frankly faces the sin of man in its relation to God; it is the only book that adequately describes sin; it is the only book that believes in its forgiveness. We start with the first sin and its penalty, we end with the invitation to take the water of life freely; between we have been shown the anguish of hell, where the fire is unquenched and the worm does not die, and we are told of the greater anguish of One who bore our sins and died that we might be forgiven. The Old Testament tells us that God will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, that He will cast them behind His back, that “as far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” The New Testament tells us how and why He has done it, how the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men. Let us adore the Lord who can abundantly pardon!

Our Father, be with us as we go forth into life! Grant that we may not become so absorbed in our work that we forget our responsibility for the development of Christlike characters! May our souls become our chief concern, and their nurture our main business! Let the love df Christ become the constraining force in all our judgments! For His sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.13, 14

The last thought which men have entertained of God is that of father. The history of religion outside of Christianity is not the record of children meeting their heavenly Father. Fear hangs like a pall over the lives of the non-Christian world. It is difficult to persuade men who are not acquainted with the story of Christ that God is like a father. Someone has said: “Men said, God was like Hercules in the invincible strength with which He crushed the evils of the world and made an end of them. Later still Plato advanced the suggestion that God was like a ‘geometer,’ a thinker and fashioner, full of ideas and ideals. In this most wonderful and most gracious lyric, the 103rd Psalm, the seer surpasses all the great historical religions and pictures God to us as a pitiful, compassionate, sin-forgiving and soul-healing father, and thus supplies the basis for the most true, most worthy, and most inspiring conception of God.”

We need to begin our thought about life with the pity of God. It is the core of religion. Eight times over in the gospels we are told of Him who was the revealer of God: “Seeing the multitude He was moved with compassion.” Providence is the record of forbearance, adaptation, pity. The incarnation is the doctrine of the Son of God’s identification with lost humanity.

“He remembereth that we are dust.” Dust is synonymous with frailty. God knows us and our frailty, and pities us. He knows our frame, and remembers the duality of our nature, our ignorance, the incidents of our career, the force of circumstance, the tyranny of habit, the fetters of ignorance.

God’s pity is on them that fear Him. Fear is different from dread, fear is not to be identified with terror. Fear is the opposite of recklessness; it means reverence, recognizing the solemn responsibility of life. Ruskin says: “Among the children of God, while there is always that fearful and bowed apprehension of His majesty and that sacred dread of all offense to Him which is called the fear of God, yet of real and essential fear there is not any, but clinging of confidence to Him as their rock, fortress and deliverer.”

Our Father, we rejoice in the constancy of Thy presence. We thank Thee that even our transgressions do not hide us from Thee. Thine eye seest us in our sin as in our righteousness, and when our hearts cry out against us Thou art greater than our hearts, and declarest to us Thy message of love, Thy willingness to pardon. Accept our adoration, we beseech Thee! In Christ’s name. Amen.

Psalm 103.15-22

A being fragile as a potter’s vase needs to be handled gently. A life like a prairie flower, which expresses itself for a moment in beauty and fragrance and then wilts and withers, is pathetic in its weakness and appeals to the great Artificer. Sometimes the thought of human life as possessed of the frailty of a flower brings comfort to a man who watches those who do iniquitous deeds. It is a comfort to know that the mighty arm of oppression will lose its force. Sometimes it is tragic, as when we see a generation of struggling, aspiring, loving, hating men and woman passing away and leaving no trace behind. In those hours a man needs to make discovery of God the unchangeable, in order that he may remain a child of hope and realize the comfort of His presence.

Again we find comfort in the loving-kindness of God toward them that fear Him. As Perowne says: “As if to remind us that there is a love within a love,—a love which they only know who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, who fear Him and walk in His ways,—as well as a love which maketh the sun to shine, and sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust. In the next verse there is the same limitation, To such as keep His covenant, and to those who not only know but do His will. The blessings of the covenant are no inalienable right. Children’s children can only inherit its blessings by cleaving to it.”

From thought of self the psalmist listens to the universe, and learns that all nature is vocal. The challenge to his soul is met by the chorus of created things, mighty warriors of the air and sky, winds and lightnings and every force that expresses itself and fulfills the will of Him who sends it forth. Everything is articulate with praise. How then shall he who is the interpreter of nature remain silent? He will add his voice to the chorus, and sing his hymn of praise with every element of being.

Our Father in heaven, we pray that the light of life may shine within us, that in the hour when the Bridegroom comcth we may be found with our lamps trimmed and burning, our loins girt, our feet shod, our souls prepared. Teach us to wait for the coming of our Lord! Amen.

Psalm 104.1-4

The psalmist starts out with the idea of nature as the ever-changing vesture of God, and in this psalm we have an interpretation of the goings forth of the Eternal, and the response of nature to His presence.

The universe is not adrift in space, it is ordered and controlled by Him who made it and who directs its way. It is not capable of continuance without His wise control and supervision. God has not made the universe a finished thing. He only rested from His labor of creation when man appeared. Since then He has been active, renewing the face of the earth, leading all creation to its goal. Of each new generation it is true He giveth life and breath and all things.

Some have conjectured that the psalmist may have been in Egypt and become acquainted with certain Egyptian songs of creation, but anyone who has compared the sacred odes of other nations with those of Israel knows that there is a sublimity and purity and moral consciousness about these latter which make them unique. “The psalm is a gallery of vivid nature-pictures, touched with wonderful grace and sureness of hand.” It has been called the Psalm of the Cosmos.

Look then upon the activity of God. He takes to Himself a vesture of light. The vesture hides Him, yet expresses Him. Calvin says: “In comparing the light to a robe he signifies that though God is invisible yet His glory is manifest. If we speak of His essential being, it is true that He dwelleth in light inaccessible; but inasmuch as He irradiates the whole world with His glory, this is a robe wherein He in some measure appears to us as visible, who in Himself had been hidden.” How sublime are the divine actions! The speeding face of the sky is like the shaping out of a tent in which one would sojourn for a moment

Listen to the voice of the wind; how aloof, how solemn, how kind! Newman says: “But how do the wind and water, earth and fire move? Now here Scripture interposes, and seems to tell us that all this wonderful harmony is the work of angels. Those events which we ascribe to chance (as the weather), or to nature (as the seasons), are duties done to that God who maketh His angels to be winds, and His minister a flame of fire. Thus whenever we look abroad we are reminded of those most gracious and holy beings, the servants of the Holiest, who deign to minister to the heirs of salvation. Every breath of air and ray of light and heat, every beautiful prospect is (as it were) the skirt of their garments, the waving of the robes of those whose faces see God in heaven.”

“Father, we thank Thee for the world about us, and above, and beneath. We bless Thee for the austere loveliness of the wintry heavens, for those fixed or wandering fires which lend their splendor to the night, for the fringe of beauty wherewith Thou borderest the morning and the evening sky, and for this daily sun sending his roseate flush of light across the white and wintry world. Amen”

Psalm 104. 5-18

The psalmist’s view of creation is that beneath the heaving mass of waters God was forming the earth in all its beauty of hill and valley, watercourse and broadspreading prairie. In the moment of unveiling He rebuked the sea, and it was gathered within its bounds. No one has expounded the theme more eloquently than John Milton:

“Ye mists and exhalations that now arise From hill or streaming lake, dusky or gray Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold, In honor to the world’s great Author rise. Whether to deck with clouds the uncolored sky, Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, Rising or falling, still advance His praise. His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow, Breathe soft or loud. And wave your tops, ye pines, With every plant in sign of worship wave.”

The psalmist sees tokens of beneficence on every hand. Particularly does he lay emphasis on the watercourses, the rains and dews which are essentially gifts of God, and the generators of life to herb and beast and man. “The mountains are mentioned not only because on them the clouds rest, from them the streams descend, but because Palestine was a land of mountains and of valleys, ‘of the rain of heaven it drinketh water.'” The fruit of the earth combined with human industry provides a banqueting table as is described in verse 15. Jehovah is not sparing in His gifts, He bestows His blessings with a lavish hand.

Our God, who hast given to this age its solemn task, we pray that Thou wouldst enable it to make it nobler and stronger than the age that has passed. Grant that it may be guided and instructed by prophetic souls who shall establish what is right, and expose and condemn everything that is evil! Let it know the blessedness of pardoned sin, the privilege of sacrificial service! We ask it for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 104.19-35

Maclaren says: “With verse 19 the psalmist thinks of moon and sun only in relation to the alternation of day and night as affecting creatural life on earth. The moon is named first because the Hebrew day began with the evening. It is the measurer, by whose phases seasons (or, according to some, festivals) are reckoned. The sun is a punctual servant, knowing the hour to set and duly keeping it. ‘Thou appointest darkness, and it is night.’ God wills, and

His will effects material changes. He says to His servant night, ‘Come,’ and she comes.” Do not lose the poetry of life. Beware lest science blind the eyes of your heart, and the universe become to you a vast nothingness.

Very fine is the psalmist’s delineation of the business of the night. The hours in which wild beasts can issue from their lairs and pursue their hunting, are the hours in which man the worker may find rest and refreshment for the challenging moments of dawn. Man needs food, but unlike the beasts he cannot live by hunting. If he is to be a man he must live by digging and delving. The world lies around him rich in possibilities, his business is to create out of it a harvest field, a mine, a city of habitation. He creates a family, a society, a church. His manhood, all that is implied in the term humanity, is the product of work. Man finds the key to life in the words of Jesus Christ: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Man makes discovery of himself in his labor.

“Not God Himself can make man’s best Without best man to help Him. ‘Tis God gives skill, But not without man’s hands: He could not make Antonio Stradivari’s violins Without Antonio.”

Not only is there a poetry of night and of work, but also of the sea. Perowne says: “Then he remembers that there is one vast field of creative wonders of which as yet he has said nothing. The sea, too, has its life,—a life in its depths, of things small and great, a life of coral insect as well as of the whale, and also a life on its surface, where go the ships carrying the thoughts and the passions, the skill and the enterprise of human hearts.”

Happy indeed must God be in the music of the spheres, happy in beholding a world divinely fair, happy in witnessing the effort, the aspiration, the prayers of men. Happy should man be that he has such a God as creator and friend. Ashamed he ought to be in that his sin has marred the harmony of creation. No wonder that at last the human soul reaches an ecstasy, and cries for the first time, Hallelujah!

With gladsome minds we praise Thee, O God, for Thy kindness, Thy mercy and Thy faithfulness. We magnify Thee for the majesty of Thy strength, the infinitude of Thy resources. Thy bounty is on every, hand, Thy providence is over all Thy works. Help us to live before Thee in reverence, gratitude and obedient service! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 105

Verses 1-15 are to be found in 1 Chronicles 16. The principle underlying the psalm is that we know what God is like by learning what God has done. The Bible is a statement of facts. God made the heavens and the earth and man. God called Abraham, God moulded Jacob, God overruled the malicious schemes of Jacob’s sons toward their brother Joseph, and turned a young man’s misery into a gospel for the human race. God was in Egypt, and in His own time called His sons out of Egypt. The whole of Israel’s story was a revelation of God to the nations.

If we were to think more on the lessons of history our lives would be more praiseful, and we should have greater confidence in the divine providence. Our praise is so empty because we have been shallow in our thinking. If we knew God as our ally life would assume a new significance.

Someone has spoken of the names ascribed to Israel as indicating their obligations as “secretaries of God’s praise.” God’s relation to Israel was of His own volition, the covenant which He made was because of His love, and the long record of His doings demonstrated His faithfulness.

Do not entertain vague ideas; become positive in your knowledge and belief that God is in your life and is guiding it in mercy. If the divine covenant implies obligations on His part, it also involves obligations on the part of His chosen. The covenant was renewed to each generation. God holds relationship to you as definitely as to your father and mother. Calamities do not imply change on God’s part; they involve suffering, but they also develop knowledge, strength, power; they lead to new discoveries of riches of mind and heart. The psalmist knows the whole dread story of Israel’s suffering in Egypt, but he knows that it was the pathway to glory. The tender mercy of God is over all His works.

We thank Thee, O God, that we have learned to trust Thy wisdom, and know that Thy will is good, when it holds us back as when it speeds us on our way. Thou dost sail life’s sea with us, and we shall not be destroyed, but shall reach the haven of our desire! Give unto us a deeper repose of soul, we beseech Thee! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 106

This psalm deals with the same theme as the last, but from a different point of view. History vindicates God as true and righteous altogether; history is a long record of humanity’s failure to do and be according to its covenant. No man can study history without being inspired to a belief that at the heart of things there is invincible, everlasting justice. On the other hand, the historian knows the tragedies that arise from faults of temper. Kent says that in this psalm “the general theory of Israel’s history is that of the author of the book of Judges; it was a repeated cycle of rebellion, affliction at the hands of heartless foes, and divine deliverance.” It extols the goodness of Jehovah, and invokes His favor. It tells of His care over an ungrateful people during the exodus and in the wilderness and at Horeb as well as on the borders of Canaan. It continues the story at Baalpeor, Meribah, in Canaan, under the Assyrians and in exile. The soul cannot but exult in God, it cannot but be ashamed of Israel’s failure.

Israel occupies so unique a place in history because her patriots were ready to point out her failures, and she accepted the reproach and made it a litany. America suffers because she has been fed on Decatur’s words: “My country, may she always be in the right; but my country, right or wrong!” She needs to learn to accept rebuke, to humble herself before God.

This psalmist exults in God; the remembrance of the divine love brings happiness, and challenges to prayer. But the other side of things must be faced. The fathers have sinned, and their children have condoned their iniquity. The story of each generation is of faithlessness, ingratitude, obstinacy. Again and again there has been open rebellion against God, deliberate repudiation of morality, assault upon righteous leaders and holy institutions. They have bartered away their God, and got nothing but misery in exchange. When they became apostate they sank to the lowest depths. The gods they chose instead of Jehovah were bestial, and the service they rendered them was infamous. No wonder God was angry.

Yet the story does not end there. Jehovah’s love and compassion persisted, His patience and longsuffering continued through long generations. Prayer is answered, and God’s favor is restored to His penitent people again. No wonder that the psalm closes with Hallelujah!

O Love divine, infinite in tenderness and condescension, we trust Thee in the midst of our sorrows and distresses, for Thy nearness comforts us. When we go into dark shadows Thou art by our side; -when journeying through desert places Thou art as the shadow of a rock; when lonely and disconsolate the wind whispers Thy name and assures us of Thy presence. Blessed be Thy name! Teach us to rejoice in Thee! Through Christ. Amen.

Psalm 107.1-9

Kent says: “This psalm contains a strong liturgical element. The horizon is not limited to Palestine, but includes the distant lands of the dispersion. In imagination the reader beholds caravans making long journeys through the parched, trackless desert far away from inhabited cities. He shares their joy as at last they are guided to the populous, well-watered city which is the goal of their pilgrimage. He sees captives dragged into distant exile living the life of slaves, in bonds and afflicted by the lash of the taskmaster. Again the vision changes, and he shares the trials and the perils of sailors helplessly tossed by the storm. If not written in one of the lands of the dispersion this psalm is certainly from one who had traveled widely, and observed closely, and himself participated in the life that lay beyond the bounds of Palestine.”

The problem which every good man must face is this: in, times of suffering and calamity is it worth while praying to God? Is providence active? Does God will to interfere in response to the pleading of His children? The psalmist believes that God does interfere, that when trouble drives man to God He shows Himself ready and waiting to be gracious. To emphasize his belief the psalmist pictures life under a variety of figures, each graphically portraying human extremity and the divine intervention.

First, he shows us life under the figure of a caravanserai in the desert. There is nothing but a trackless waste, no oasis, no hillock from which to take your bearings, no water, no shade. Distress has laid its cruel hand upon their spirits. No knowledge of desert life and ways is of value. Their souls are submerged in despair, they are lost, they walk in a circle and ever come back on their tracks. In desperation they cry to God, and beseech Him to guide them in a straight line until they reach an inhabited place.

O God, who givest us all things richly to enjoy, we would not forget Thee in our joy at Thy gifts; we would not derive from Thee life and every good, and yet live as though there were no God. We pray that each day we may enjoy a larger revelation of Thy presence and Thy blessing. Help us to live for Thee, and to become each day more worthy to live with Thee! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 107. 10-16

The man who wrote these words knew the prophecies of Isaiah. Compare Isaiah 42.7 and 49.9: “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners’ from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house”—”That Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves.”

Israel had literally known the bondage that is the penalty of sin. The pity, the shame, the horror of it was in the soul of the prophets and psalmists. What does it mean? Is the lesson merely the fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation that shall destroy God’s adversaries? No; there is a gospel of doom.

Punishment follows transgression. Sin blinds the soul’s vision and fetters the soul’s freedom, not because God delights in seeing the wicked suffer but yearns to protect the wicked from destruction. He is behind the fetters, as the social instinct is behind law in every civilized community. So He is near when man (or nation) comes to himself, when the heart sobs out its confession and pleads for the privilege of doing something in return for which it may eat spiritual food and dwell in the Father’s house.

Yes, sin drives us into exile, sin enslaves, sin generates the feelings, appetites and outlook of slaves, sin fetters, sin lays on us the lash of a harsh taskmaster. Maclaren says: “Is not godless life ever bondage? And is not rebellion against God the sure cause of falling under a harsher dominion? And does He not listen to the cry of a soul that feels the slavery of subjection to self and sin? And is not true enlargement found in His free service? And does He not give power to break the strongest chains of habit?” Yes, it is God who makes it hard for man to sin; it is God who snaps fetters and bids the enslaved man go forth into a large, free, righteous world.

O God, we thank Thee that Thou hast made our cars to hear Thy voice, and hast brought seeing to our eyes, and understanding to our hearts; that through Thy grace our nature is at last alive, and we begin to discover the strength of manhood. Thy love is forever wooing us. Thou callest us to possess the land of promise, and there to build a temple and a home. Help us to be wholly Thine! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 107.17-22

Sin is not merely as confusing as a trackless desert in which the lost man wanders aimlessly, returning on his steps, without refreshment or shelter or hope, exposed to illusions and desperate; or the fettering of mind and soul driving us into exile, beclouding the vision; it also is like sickness that is the result of folly. This is the foolishness of sinning, that even when men begin to reap the harvest of suffering and disease they persist in their wickedness.

The penalties of wrongdoing are not merely physical, dire as the pains of transgression may be. Who does not know the sickness that follows loss of temper, the strain of nerve that is the result of avarice, the corruption that follows lust? The facts have been reported by text-books, by newspapers, by reports of doctors and magistrates. Yet these are not so awful as the sickness of soul that brings perversity, fear and all the horrors of death and judgment.

Yet these miseries drive us to God, and He answers through His word. He speaks healing words to the penitent soul, He makes known a gospel in the person of His Son, who bears our sins and carries our sorrows. Who can refrain from exulting gladness who knows that it is the Lord who healeth him?

Dear Lord, the desire of every human heart, we praise Thee for the healing of Thy presence, for the constraints of love which draw us to Thy heart. Men may not know that that which they crave is Thy presence, but Thou interpretest their tears and their sighing, and comest to them with healing in Thy wings. Help us to make Thee known! Hasten the day when Thy messengers shall have reached every clime and every people with the word of truth! For Thy name’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 107.23-31

A fourth picture of human misery finding its cure in God is found in a voyage on a storm-tossed sea. Perowne says: “It is painted as a landsman would paint it, but yet only as one who had himself been exposed to the danger could paint the storm, —the waves running mountains high on which the tiny craft seemed a plaything, the helplessness of human skill, the gladness of the calm, the sure refuge in the haven.” He goes on to quote Addison in the Spectator, who preferred this description of a ship in a storm before any other he had ever met with, and for the same reason for which “Longinus recommends one in Homer, because the poet has not amused himself with little fancies upon the occasion, as authors of an inferior genius whom he mentions had done, but because he has gathered together those circumstances which are the most apt to terrify the imagination, and which really happened in the raging of a tempest. How much more comfortable as well as rational is this system of the psalmist than the pagan scheme in Virgil and other poets, where one deity is represented as raising a storm, and another as laying it! Were we only to consider the sublime in this piece of poetry, what can be nobler than the idea it gives us of the Supreme Being thus raising a tumult among the elements and recovering them out of their confusion, thus troubling and becalming nature?”

There are souls who embark upon the perilous sea of life intent only on their business and their pleasure, who regard the awful majesty of God, yet without reverence. The tempests take them by surprise. Passion and desire sweep through them. The consequences of their wilfulness come back upon them in the furies. At first they brace themselves to the task of mastering circumstances, but ultimately their knowledge, skill, and cunning, their powers of endurance fail, and they fall back beaten and desperate. Then it is that they recognize their need of God, and in response to the cry of anguish He hushes the tempest into a zephyr, and leads them back to safety and to the challenge of the sanctuary.

True repentance leads a man into fellowship with God’s people. He who knows the blessedness of rescue from the furies feels the constraint of confession. He must tell what God has done for his soul.

Our Master, we thank Thee that our lives are known to Thee from their first dawning to their close. Our sufferings and griefs are understood by Thee, for Thou hast traversed our way. When we are tempted it is not beyond the intensity of testing which Thou didst bear. We rejoice in Thy presence, and in the sympathy and love Thou dost manifest to us. Help us to overcome, we beseech Thee! Amen.

Psalm 107. 33-43

Perowne says: “The character of the psalm changes at this point. We have no longer distinct pictures as before; the beautiful double refrain is dropped, the language is harsher and more abrupt. Instead of fresh examples of deliverance from peril and thanksgiving for God’s mercies we have now instances of God’s providential government of the world exhibited in two series of contrasts. The first of these is contained in verses 33-38, and expresses a double change,—the fruitful, well-watered land smitten, like the rich plain of Sodom, with desolation and changed into a salt marsh; and anon the wilderness crowned with cities, like Tadmor, and made fertile to produce corn and wine. The second is contained in verses 39-41, and expresses somewhat obscurely the changes in the fortunes of man (as the last series did those of countries), viz., how the poor and the humble are raised, and the rich and the proud overthrown.”

Many a man through sin finds his life turned into bitterness, the fertility in which he rejoiced becoming nothing more than a salt marsh. Sin is delusive. It promises adventure and achievement, it gives bitterness and barrenness. Sin is a withering blight on life. On the other hand, many a life that seemed ruined and dead, nothing but a salt marsh, has been made verdant, beautiful, life-giving, the habitation of all manner of beautiful and mighty thoughts and achievements. The miracle of the twice-born is the most romantic story the world has ever heard.

Sometimes wickedness asserts itself as tyranny. It attacks the innocent, and seizes the fair smiling land in which honest hearted men have built their homes, and to which they have devoted their strength. Yet God has a way of putting tyrants to confusion, and driving them forth into the desert where they have no wisdom with which to extricate themselves. Never imagine a war as ended where wanton invasion has not been put to shame. God’s actions startle wickedness into silence, while making good men exclaim: “It is the Lord’s doings, and marvelous in our eyes.”

Let us close with a prayer of Isaac Ogden Rankin.

O Thou who hast brought hope into our mortal life by the assurance of our Lord’s rising again as the first fruits of His brethren, help us to be more worthy of our immortality! Give us courage for all experiences, and suffer us not to be so tamely subject to the vexations of these passing days! Spirit of God, by whom we live, keep us ever in a joy above complainings! Let us not murmur when the way is hard, but rather with all gratitude remember that it is the way and Thou our guide! Help us to draw from deeper wells, that we may taste refreshment of the living water! Make all our days Thy care, and be Thou in all our confidence an inward peace! Richly hast Thou endowed us; give us grateful and expectant hearts to find Thee everywhere! O Thou, our rest, let no disturbing or unrestful word find outlet through the door of our lips, but make us always bringers of good cheer, to the glory of Christ! Amen.

Psalm 108

Some man of God wishing to express himself toward God drew upon the treasures of song, and put together Psalms 57, 7-11 and 60, 5-12. His people had met with a great victory, and he desired to sing a hymn of thanksgiving.

When he would challenge his glory to sing and play unto God he refers to his soul, to all his rational powers. God waits to be praised by the human reason. Not until a man has surrendered his intellectual powers in adoration of the majesty and goodness of God has he made the full surrender which will guarantee to him the blessedness of communion. This man would testify to the nation that Jehovah is a glorious God, whose loving-kindness and truth reach through the universe. This idea recurs in Scripture: “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”

Matthew Henry thinks that this psalm teaches us how to pray as well as to praise. He emphasizes: (1) we must be public-spirited in prayer, and bear upon our hearts, at the throne of grace, the concerns of the church of God; (2) we must in prayer act faith upon the power and promise of God; what He has promised He will perform, for it is the word both of His truth and of His power; (3) we must in prayer take the comfort of what God has secured to us and settled upon us, though we are not yet put in the possession of it; (4) we must take encouragement from the beginning of mercy, to pray and hope for the perfecting of it; (5) we must not be discouraged in prayer, nor beaten off from our hold of God, though providence has in some instances frowned upon us; (6) we must seek help from God, renouncing all confidence in the creature; (7) we must depend entirely upon the favor and grace of God, both for strength and success in our work and warfare.

Our Lord and God, help us to praise Thee for the love Thou hast bestowed, and the pardoning grace Thou hast imparted. Thou didst seek us when we were far astray, Thou didst rescue us from the paths of death. When we were hopeless Thou didst change life into a song of triumph. Grant that our devotion to Thee may show our gratitude for all Thy benefits toward us! Amen.

Psalm 109

This is one of the imprecatory psalms. It is burdened with impassioned pleadings for vengeance. The psalmist cannot restrain his satisfaction at the various horrors which are to come upon his enemies. Driver says: “The psalmist here cries to God for help; he complains that certain malignant foes—we cannot say definitely who they are,—have, without any provocation on his part, brought against him false and malicious charges: ‘They have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my good will.’ Then he singles out, as it seems, the ringleader, and utters upon him a series of anathemas, imprecating upon him and his family misfortunes and trouble in every department of life. ‘Set Thou a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand.’ Let him, i.e., when arraigned in a court of justice have no chance of acquittal, let him have not only an august judge but a malicious accuser to bring about his ruin. When sentence is given upon him let him be condemned, and let his prayer be turned into sin, i.e., may his prayer to God for mercy have the very opposite effect, and draw down upon him the divine wrath!”

We will, not pursue the analysis of the psalm. The language is terrible. How did it-get into the Bible? We find similar language in Jeremiah. We find passages that make us recoil even in Isaiah. What have we to say?

First, these men had a keen sense of the conflict between good and evil. Israel was the champion of God, the nations of the earth were leagued against her. She was jealous for God. She could see nothing but chaos and ruin if God’s cause failed. God could not triumph in this terrible war unless His enemies were defeated. An enemy is not defeated without bloodshed and all the other horrors of the battlefield. The psalmist had not our knowledge, but as far as he knew the case was desperate, and he was fighting a hard and critical battle. This does not excuse, but it explains the temper of the times. Do we realize the crisis? Are we aware that good and evil are in a death grip? Do we feel the issue that is at stake? Is our supineness [indifference] nobler than vehement hate of wickedness?

Second, we must remember that men of a given age are to be judged by the standards of their age and not of another. The men of the Bible were of like passions with ourselves, and said and did many things which we revolt from and repudiate. They must be judged in the light of their times and civilization.

Third, these feelings are not Christian. They would have been intolerable to one who fully knew the spirit of Jesus. Yet they have recurred again and again among the followers of Jesus. The fact is, we are all liable to sin. It is true today: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” We ought to be charitable; we often are far from it. We need to cry: “From envy, hatred and malice and all uncharitableness, good Lord deliver us!”

Our Father, grant that we may never be false to those glories which Thou hast placed in our hearts and souls! May our lives be blameless, may every faculty be active and at work, may we ever be learning from our Master how to behave so as to please Thee! For His sake. Amen.

Psalm 110

Perowne says: “This psalm claims emphatically to be the fruit and record of a divine revelation. The words of the poet, though shaped in the poet’s heart, come to him from the very sanctuary of the Most High. It is an oracle, an utterance of Jehovah, which he has heard and which he is to declare to others. It is an oracle which concerns a king who reigns in Zion; it is addressed to one to whom the poet does homage, calling him Lord; it assures him of the high favor of Jehovah, who lifts him to a share in His own regal dignity, giving him the victory over all his enemies.”

We have then an oracle, a whispered utterance, a revelation heard in the quietness of a man’s soul. How august was the office of a prophet, a man who heard God and uttered what had been whispered in quietness. The message is to a king who is going forth on a holy crusade, who shall bring his foes to the ground. Zion is to be the center of a mighty empire, all enemies shall be submissive and passive beneath his sway. It was a wonderful day when the king led his brave warriors into the battlefield; those soldiers were young and fresh and full of vigor, they had all the freshness of the dew. This king is also a priest, and his campaign is a holy crusade.

What does it mean?

Driver says: “In the Israelite monarchy was foreshadowed the sovereignty to be exercised in the future by David’s Son. Elevated, extended, and spiritualized, the aims and objects of the monarchy of David are the aims and objects of the kingdom of Christ. Like other prophecies, the prophecy of this psalm starts from the present and looks out into the future. We see an earthly monarch engaged in a struggle of flesh and blood and fighting bloody battles with his enemies. We see again traits which pass beyond the literal reality, and lend themselves to an ideal picture. It is in virtue of such traits as these that the psalm is Messianic, prefiguring One in whom they are truly realized.”

O God, the heavens and the earth are filled with the glory of Thy presence! Thy smile gives beauty to the flower. We praise Thee in the midst of Thy creation. Especially do we adore Thee as we realize Thy grace in the removal of the stain and defilement of our sin. We pray that our lives may be spent in Thy service, and that our fidelity may prove our love. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 111

This is an alphabetical psalm, following the order of the Hebrew alphabet and consisting of twenty-two lines. It celebrates the acts, the glory and righteousness of Jehovah in the assembly of the upright.

The assembly is a more intimate circle than the congregation. They are concerned with God. True worship begins with God. So often we come to God’s house thinking of ourselves, our needs, our work; we are not prepared to meet with Him. “The psalmist begins by declaring that with his whole heart he will give thanks to God: and because to keep his thankfulness and his ascription of praise would be to rob God of half His honor, therefore will he give utterance to his feelings, and give utterance to them in the fitting place, in the congregation of the upright.” Let us not forget that confession of our allegiance to God is essential.

Men are apathetic and forgetful of God. They do not trace His glory, do not recall His graciousness and tender compassion. He has never failed them. History is a witness to providence. Experience is a Bible, telling of a love that is persistent and a forbearance that is infinite. A good man will take pains to instruct others in the fidelity of God to His covenant and the reality of His guidance. He sends redemption to His people in that He rescues them from foes and from those weaknesses of character which restrain them from seeking the land of promise. We need to know and to remember the statutes of the Most High, and that He demands from His children conformity to those ways which He has laid down for their guidance.

Teach us Thy way, O Lord, and help us to walk in it! Grant unto us a reverent knowledge of Thy will; help us to obey every law which Thou hast written in our bodies and souls, and in the lives of men, and all that is enshrined in human history; help us to grow wiser and better! May our religion show itself in our industry, in our doing what should be done, and bearing what must be borne! Help us to live and work for the coming of Thy kingdom! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Source: Record of Christian Work, Volume 39; By Alexander McConnell, William Revell Moody, Arthur Percy Fitt

ANCIENT SEA TERMS (Comprehensive List)


After working on this for a week in Word, when bringing into wordpress it messed up. Will get back to, to better format, thank you for your patience. Will also be adding pics of old ships.

“In short, what with dead-eyes and shrouds, cats and cat-blocks, dolphins and dolphin-strikers, whips and puddings, I was so puzzled with what I heard that I was about to leave the deck in absolute despair. And, Mr. Chucks, recollect this afternoon that you bleed all the buoys,'”—Peter Simple.

The Virginia 1st Ship built in America @ the Popham Colony Coast of Maine

The Virginia 1st Ship built in America @ the Popham Colony Coast of Maine

There is a well-known passage in “Peter Simple,” in which Mr. Chucks, the boatswain, receives certain orders from the first lieutenant respecting mousings, turk’s-heads, and goosenecks. “In short,” says Peter, “what with dead-eyes and shrouds, cat and cat-blocks, dolphins and dolphin-strikers, whips and puddings, I was so puzzled with what I heard that I was about to leave the deck in absolute despair.” He lingered long enough, however, to hear the lieutenant order Mr. Chucks to bleed all the buoys during the afternoon, a remark that drove the midshipman in terror into the cockpit. Others besides Peter Simple have been puzzled by sailors’ language. Of all the various features of the procedure in marine courts of inquiry nothing is so curious as the* bewilderment excited in the legal breast by the statements of the nautical witnesses. “We was going along all fluking when the wind drawed ahead. We trimmed sail, and in fore and mizzen-tor’garns’l, when a bit of a sea makin’ her yaw, ‘Mind yar luff, you soger/ sings out th’ ole man, an’ as he says this one of the jib-guys parted and sprung the boom, for ours wor spritsail gaffs, and the jib-guy and afterguy wor fitted in one, with a half-crown round the gaff end— are yar a followin’ of me, sir?” If one could imagine a statement of this kind delivered to a lawyer, it might not be hard to figure the expression of face with which it would be received. What is a legal gentleman, whose knowledge of the sea is limited to a run from Dover to Calais when the Long Vacation gives him a spell of liberty, to make of such expressions as “boot-topping,” “pazaree,” “timenoguy,” “Scotchman,” “rombowline,” “puddening,” “leefange,” and a hundred other words more bewildering still? And yet it is certain that if a sailor has to talk about his calling, he must use the language of the sea. There are no synonyms for “sister-blocks,” “kevels,” “sennit,” “girt-line,” “French-fake,” and the rest of the vocabulary. If a lawyer cannot understand how the bight of a rope can be whipped into a snatch-block without passing the end through the sheave, there is nothing in language outside the terms of the marine statement of the process to enable him to master the sailor’s meaning.


Indeed, sailors’ talk is a dialect as distinct from ordinary English as Hindustanee is, or Chinese. English words are used, but their signification is utterly remote from the meaning they have in shore parlance. A yard ashore means a bit of ground at the back of a house; at sea it is a spar. Every cabman knows what a whip is; but at sea it is a tackle formed by a single rope rove through a block. A traveller ashore is a well-known individual; but at sea he becomes an iron ring fitted so as to slip up and down a rope. A lizard is not a reptile, but a bit of rope with an iron thimble spliced into it, just as a bull is a small keg, and bees pieces of plank at the outer end of the bowsprit. Beating is not striking, but sailing by tacks; a bonnet is not for ladies’ wear, but a piece of canvas laced to the foot of a jib; whilst a cat’s-paw has as little to do with the feline animal as fiddles and harpings have with music.

India Company Ship

East India Company Ship 1825

Sailors’ language, however, is by no means wholly compounded of the terms referring to the various parts of ships. Hardships and perils, cruel treatment, bad food, and the like, have imported a mass of rough sayings into the forecastle, many of which are sanctified by touches of rude poetry. Jack’s ditties, too, are frequently vehicles of his emotions. When he does not know how to “growl” fairly, he will put his feelings into a topsail-halyard song, and often has the anchor come up to a fierce chorus compounded of improvised abuse of the ship and the skipper, to which expression could not be given in a quieter method. A ship’s carpenter once told me that he was clapped in irons and lay manacled for six weeks in a voyage to China for writing the words of a song which the sailors sang on every possible occasion when the captain was on deck. He gave me a copy of the words, which I found to be a rude enumeration of Jack’s troubles, every stanza winding up with a shout of “Board of Trade, ahoy!” Some of the verses are quite to the point. The first runs

“I’m only a sailor man—tradesman would I were,
For I’ve ever rued the day I became a tar;
Rued the rambling notion, ever the decoy
Unto such an awful life. Board of Trade, ahoy!”

An East Indiaman

An East Indiaman

One can imagine the skipper pricking up his ear at this shout, and looking very hard at the men who were chorusing it The song goes on :—

“I snubb’d skipper for bad grub, rotten flour to eat,
Hard tack full of weevils ; how demon chandlers cheat!
Salt junk like mahogany, scurvying man and boy.
Says he, ‘Where’s your remedy?’ Board of Trade, ahoy!”
But worse follows:—

“Can ye wonder mutiny, lubber-like, will work,
In our mercantile marine, cramm’d with measly pork?
Is it wonderful that men lose their native joy,
With provisions maggoty? Board of Trade, ahoy!”

East India Company Steamer 1835

East India Company Steamer 1835

By this time, we may take it, the skipper was feeling about for a loose belaying-pin. But the exasperating touch was yet to come:—

“Oh had we a crew to stand by when we’re ashore,
Show this horrid stuff that pigs even would abhor!
Sue the swindling dealer who’d our health destroy.
What say ye, oh sailor friends? Board of Trade, ahoy 1
“Dutchmen here before the mast, and behind it too!
Dutchmen mate and carpenter, Dutchmen most the crew!
Foreigners to man our ships, horrible employ!
What’s old England coming to? Board of Trade, ahoy!”

Early Screw Steamer

Early Screw Steamer

I quote these verses at length, as a fair sample of the sort of “growling” Jack puts into his songs. Unfortunately he is somewhat limited in melodies. Some of them are very plaintive, such as “The Plains of Mexico” and “Across the Western Ocean,” and others have a merry, light-hearted go, such as “Run, let the bulline run!” “Whisky, Johnny!” “Time for us to go,” ” I served my time in the Blackwall Line.”

But the lack of variety is no obstruction to the sailor’s poetical inspiration when he wants the “old man” to know his private opinions without expressing them to his face, and so the same “chantey,” as the windlass or halyard chorus is called, furnishes the music to as many various indignant remonstrance’s as Jack can find injuries to sing about. The provisions have for years been a sore subject with the sailor.

USS United States 1797

USS United States 1797

His beef and pork have earned more abuse from him than any other thing he goes to sea with. “What’s for dinner to-day, Bill?” I remember hearing a sailor ask another. “Measles,” was the answer, that being the man’s name for the pork aboard his vessel. “Old horse,” is the sailor’s term for his salt beef; and some old rhymes perhaps explain the reason :—

“Between the main-mast and the pumps
There stands a cask of Irish junks;
And if you won’t believe it true,
Look, and you’ll see the hoof and shoe.
Salt horse, salt horse, what brought you here,
After carrying turf for so many a year,
From Bantry Bay to Ballyack,
Where you fell down and broke your back?
With kicks, and thumps, and sore abuse,
You’re salted down for sailor’s use.
They eat your flesh and pick your bones,
Then throw you over to Davy Jones.”

US vs Macedonian

US vs Macedonian War of 1812

Out of his sea fare, however, such as it is, Jack nevertheless manages to manufacture several dishes, of which the names are worthy of the contents and flavor. “Lobscouse,” “dandyfunk,” “dogsbody,” “seapie,” “choke-dog,” “twice-laid,” “hishee-hashee” are among some of the delectable entries which the sailor contrives to get out of his kids. Whatever is at hand is popped into these messes; nothing comes amiss, “from a potato-paring to the heel of an old boot.” Soup-and bouillon is another standing sea-dish, and, taking it all round, is the most disgusting of the provisions served out to the merchant sailor. I have known many a strong stomach, made food-proof by years of pork eaten with molasses, and biscuit alive with worms, to be utterly capsized by the mere smell of soup-and-bouillon. Jack calls it “soap and bullion, one onion to a gallon of water,” and this fairly expresses the character of the nauseous compound. Sea-puddings, as there is scarcely any variety that I know of among them, have not many names. “Duff” means a large lump of flour and grease boiled in a bag; “doughboys”—pronounced “doboys,” the o broad—are the same flour and grease in small lumps. Dough jehovahs are a Yankee pudding, and worthy of the people who first taught the British sailor to eat pork with treacle. Bread in sailors’ language means biscuits; the bread that landsmen eat is called by Jack “tommy ” and “soft tack.” Tea is “water bewitched,” and no better title could be found for the pale yellow liquor thick with stalk-ends, which fills the sailor’s hookpot when he goes to breakfast or supper.

Old Portaguese Ship in a Gale

It may be that the resentment kindled in the sailor’s soul by the nature of the ship’s stores induced him to extend his poetical imagination to all who had anything to do with the provisions, for assuredly the cook has not escaped. He is variously designated ; sometimes he is “Drainings,” sometimes “Slushy,” and sometimes “Doctor,” while the steward is called “Flunkey,” and the steward’s mate “Jack in the Dust.” The carpenter is more politely termed “Chips,” and “Sails” does duty for the sailmaker. Many an old prejudice survives in sea-language; as, for instance, the word “soger” (soldier), which is as strong a term of contempt as one sailor can fling at another, whilst “sogering” means to loaf, to skulk; as if in Jack’s opinion loafing and skulking were characteristics of the soldier. “Lobster ” is another of his terms for the military man, suggested, of course, by the red coat. The marine used to be Peter Pipeclay in the Navy; I am ignorant whether the name is preserved; but another old term is to this day current among merchantmen, who will speak of a Navy sailor as “Johnny Haultaut,” in reference to the well-braced yards, the taut running rigging and the snug bunts of the man-of-war. The merchant seaman, however, has not escaped his own fertile invention, and does not apparently blush to figure as “Jack Muck” and “Shellback.”

Captain Cooks Ship

It is peculiar to the sailor to call all foreigners “Dutchmen.” No matter whether a man be a Dane, a German, a Norwegian, a Swede, in Jack’s estimation he is a “Dutchman.” I once asked a sailor what he meant by a Dutchman. “Why,” said he, “any man who says yaw for yes.” This love of generic titles, no doubt, induces sailors to make the word “growl” stand for complaining, abusing, &c. If a man murmurs at the pea soup, he is “growling.” If he mutters at being roused out in his watch below, he is “growling.” Whether he grumbles under his breath or shouts at the skipper in a white fury, he is “growling.” It is one of the most elastic words in the seaman’s language. Many curious terms and expressions have found their way into the sea dialect. “Dowse the glim ” is to put out the light; and ” Dowse that, now,” is a sailor’s way of saying ” Hold your tongue.” To “tumble up” is to come out of the forecastle or any other part of the ship, and ” lay down” is to descend from aloft. “All hands, tumble up! men, tumble up !” bawls the boatswain, thumping on the scuttle; and “Fore-topsail yard, there! lay down, d’ye hear?” are orders which do not seem to correspond with a landsman’s notions of the things required to be done. Seamen are fond also of odd ejaculations, such as “Bully for you!” and “^There she goes, boys! put another bit of beef in soak!” when the wind freshens up and the ship swings through it with a sharper plunge.


Another ejaculation on a like occasion is, “There she blows! whilst she creaks she holds !” “More beef!” is a cry often raised when men hauling on a rope find they want help. It means, “.Tail on here more hands.” Equally suggestive is the expression “A hurrah’s nest, everything at top and nothing at bottom, like a midshipman’s chest,” intended to express the utmost state of disorder, when nothing wanted can be found. “Working Tom Cox’s traverse—three times round the long boat and a pull at the scuttlebutt,” signifies the behavior of a man who is as slow in his work as he can be, out of spite for having been ill-treated, or from any other motive of resentment. Unpopular captains have suffered much from “Tom Cox’s traverse;” when men sent aloft are always dropping their jobs, and coming down on pretence of having forgotten something; when the anchor is sluggishly raised and without a chorus; and when nothing is done with a will.

Other favorite expressions are “Handsomely over the bricks,” that is, walk carefully, mind where you are going; “There are no half-laughs or purser’s grins about me, mate—I’m right up and down like a yard of pump-water,” used when a man wants *o let the others know he is in downright earnest; “I’d weather him out, if he was the Devil himself,” one meaning of which is, “I’ll stick to the ship, let the skipper do his worst;” “It’s a good dog nowadays that’ll come when he’s called, let alone coming before it,” a sailor’s excuse for not showing himself forward in stopping a mischief, for not choosing to act until he was ordered; “I didn’t come through the cabin windows,” that is, “I’m a sailor: I worked my way aft from forwards; I know my duty and am not going to be taught it;” “The girls have hold of the tow rope, and can’t haul the slack in fast enough,” when the ship is homeward-bound and sailing fast—an image full of rude poetry it always seemed to me; “He hasn’t got the hayseed out of his hair,” applied to a greenhorn from the country; though such is Jack’s love of the country that “to sell a farm and go to sea” is a favorite expression of his to denote the very height of imbecility. “As independent as a wood sawyer’s clerk” is a phrase, apparently of American origin; one may often hear it used among sailors. “I’ve been through the mill, ground, and bolted,” is to assert immense experience, and the uselessness of anybody attempting to ” try it on.” To “know the ropes ” is the same assertion qualified. “Every hair like a rope yarn,” “Every finger a fishhook,” “He hasn’t a lazy bone in him,” are all high compliments. Then there are scores of such phrases as “working their old iron up,” “long togs,” for shore-going clothes; “ride a man down like the maintack,” to go on punishing him with plenty of hard work; “up keeleg,” “paying a debt with the fore-top til,” namely, sailing away without paying; “cracking on,” piling on canvas or keeping a ship under a heavy press in a strong wind; “an Irishman’s hurricane—right up and down,” a calm; “Davy putting on the coppers for the parson,” the noise a tempest makes in approaching; “keep your weather-eye lifting,” &c.


Of many sea-phrases the meaning is really so subtle as utterly to defy translation, whilst many fit the vocational conditions so accurately that any divergence from the exact expression will puzzle a seaman as much as if he was being ordered about in French. There are shades of signification in the terms which a man must go to sea as a sailor to understand. No books will give them. They are not to be mastered by listening to seamen talking. There would seem to a landsman no particular appropriateness in such a phrase for instance as ” sleep in,” though it somehow happens that at sea no other term would do. And the same thing may be said of such expressions as “to turn in all standing,” meaning without removing your clothes. Any way, it is quite certain that to stop a sailor from telling his story in his own fashion is, to use his phrase, “to bring him up with a round turn ;” and to expect him to find other words than those which occur naturally to him in relating incidents of a profession crowded with expressions to be heard nowhere except on board ship, is to put him upon a labor of definitions which even a Samuel Johnson would, I suspect, very promptly decline.


Sailor’s Language & Sea Terms—Numerous words and expressions in common use, originated in sailors’ language, applicable to the conduct of a ship, or employed with reference to its rigging or other parts.


A. B.—The letters signifying able-bodied seaman or able seaman.
Aback.—A ship is said to be aback when the wind presses her sails backwards against the masts, so as to force her sternways or drive her bodily to leeward.
Abaft.—Anything behind another thing is called abaft it; as the wind is abaft the beam, the galley is abaft the foremast.
Able-bodied.—Healthy, strong, fit for duty.
Able seaman.—The rating of the best or head sailors of a crew, to distinguish them from ordinary seamen and boys.
Able-whackets.—A game of cards that used to be popular in the forecastle: when a man lost he was beaten over the hands.
Aboard.—On a ship. On board. It is the sailor’s word for on board. Keep the land aboard is to keep it close.
About.—Newly tacked. “She has gone about” means that a vessel has gone round, head to wind, so as to bring the wind on the other bow.
Above-board.—Honest, fair, honorable in speaking or dealing. “I’ll be above-board with you ” means I’ll be frank and tell you the truth.
Abox.—To brace the yards abox is to lay the fore-yards aback, or so brace them that they shall be against the wind.
Abrase.—To smooth down a plank.
Abreast.—Opposite to. Alongside of. “We brought up abreast of the lightship,” that is, We dropped anchor so as to bring the lightship on a line with our beam.
Abrid.—A pintle-plate. The pin on which a rudder turns.
Abroach.—A barrel is abroach after it has been tapped for use.
Abstract log.—A copy of all the more important entries in the logbook.
Aburton.—The position of casks stowed athwartships; that is; from side to side across the. hold.
Acast.—An old term for being cast away or shipwrecked on an island or a desolate shore. Yards are braced acast in weighing anchor, so as to cause the vessel to cant in a given direction.
Acater.—An old term for a ship-chandler, or rather one who furnished a ship with provisions.
Accommodation-ladder.—Steps at the gangway, over the side, to enable people to enter or leave a vessel. The ordinary name is gangway ladder. There are no stairs at sea; everything is steps or a ladder.
Ackman.—A person who commits piracies on fresh water.
A-cockbill.—When the yards are topped up at an angle with the deck. The anchor is said to be cock-billed when it hangs at the cat-head.


Early Ocean Steamer

Accommodation Ladder—A temporary stairs at the sides of vessels, for the accommodation of officers and visitors.
Acon.—A flat-bottomed boat used in the Mediterranean.
Acting commission.—A commission for filling the vacancy caused by the death of a naval officer on a station.
Acting order.—An order for filling up the vacancy caused by the invaliding of a naval officer.
Active service.—Serving against an enemy, whether in his presence or in his neighborhood; serving on full pay.
Act of God.—A term indicating perils of the deep beyond human power to control or oppose, as when a ship is struck by lightning or founders in a storm, being tight and sea-worthy at the time and ably commanded.
Adjustment— is the term for the settlement by an average-adjuster of the indemnity to be paid by the person who takes the risk to the person insured after the loss of the vessel.
Adjustment of the compass.—The term for noting the errors of a ship’s compass by swinging a ship so as to test the compass by various bearings.
Admiral.—The chief commander of a fleet.
Admiral of the Fleet is an honorary distinction, but it nevertheless renders the bearer of it the highest officer in the British Navy.
Adrift.—Broken loose. “She went adrift from her moorings” means the ropes or chains that held her parted and let her go loose.
Advance-note.—A note formerly given to merchant seamen in part payment of their wages. It differed from the Allotment Note (which see) in that it was made payable to the holder unless the seaman failed to proceed in his ship.
Advance-squadron.—Ships of war on the look-out.
Advice-boat.—A vessel employed in war-time for the transmission of intelligence.
Adze.—A kind of axe, having an arching blade set at right angle to the handle, and used by carpenters, coopers, &c.
Affair.—A word indicating an engagement, a fight at sea without decisive results.
Affreightment.—A contract of affreightment is the letting of the whole or part of a ship for cargo.
Afore.—The forward part of a ship. Sometimes used for before, as afore the mast.
Aft.—The hinder part of a ship; as, “The captain was aft,” meaning he was on the quarter-deck or poop at the hinder end.
Aft-castle.—In olden times this was a kind of small round house or wooden structure on the hinder part of a fighting-ship.
After-body.—The name given to the form or shape of a ship from the middle or amidship part of her to the stern.
After-cloths.—The hindmost portions of fore and aft sails in which they are furled and which bring the seams up and down.
After-guard.—The hands stationed aft to work the sails there.
Afternoon watch.—The watch from noon until four p.m.
After-peak.—A portion of the hold in the after-part of a ship, corresponding with the fore-peak.
After-sails.—All the canvas on the main and mizzen-masts of a fullrigged ship and barque, and on the main-mast of a brig.
After-timbers.—All the timbers abaft the midship part of a ship.
After-yards.—The main and mizzen-yards of a full-rigged ship. The main-yards of a barque or brig.
Aground.—A vessel is said to be aground when she is ashore or held fast upon a shoal.
Ahead.—The forward part of a ship. Also in advance of a ship. The opposite of abaft.
Ahold.—An old word, signifying lying close to the wind, as we now say close-hauled.
Ahoy.—A call for attention from a person at a distance. As “Brig ahoy! where are you coming to?” ” Ship ahoy!” “Hallo.” “What ship is that?” &c.


The Mother of P and O Steamers 1834

A I.—A character used in the classification of ships, and denoting vessels which have been built in accordance with certain rules. There are several of these characters, such as 1oo A I 90 A I, 80 A 1, A 1 in red, AE, E,  &c.
Air-cone.—A place in the marine engine for the reception of the gases from the hot well.
Air-ports.—Holes in a ship’s bow for ventilating her.
Air-pump.—A part of a marine engine to take away the air and gases which come from the water in the boiler and which cannot be condensed.
Air-pump bucket valves.—Valves in the air-pump bucket opening upwards on the descent of the piston, and closing on the upward stroke, lifting water, &c, into the hot well.
A-lee.—Said of the helm when it is put down. “Helm’s a-lee!” the warning in tacking a ship that the rudder is turned so as to bring the ship’s head into the wind. ” Hard a-lee !” means hard over, put the rudder as far as it will go to windward.
Alert.—Smartly alive and on the look-out. Alertness is a sure sign of a good seaman.
All aback!—A cry to denote that the wind is pressing the sails against the mast and stopping the progress of the vessel.
All ataunto!—Said of a ship when all her masts are aloft.
Allege.—A boat used in some French rivers and harbors for ballasting vessels.
All fluking.—Said of a ship that goes along sailing with the wind well abaft the beam, and the weather clew of the main-sail hauled up.
All gone!—A seaman’s answer to the order “Let go !” when the order is obeyed.
All hands.—The whole of the crew of a vessel. When the watch below are summoned to help the watch on deck, the cry is always “All hands reef top-sails,” “All hands shorten sail,” or whatever may be the reason for which they are required.
All hands, Hoy!— the word given to assemble the ship’s company.
All-hands work.—Work that requires the whole ship’s company to perform it. Tacking, reefing top-sails, shortening sail in a sudden heavy squall, bringing up, getting under weigh, would be called all-hands work.
All in the wind. — Said when the sails are shaking through bad-steering, or by a sudden swing and come-to of the ship that brings her head into the wind.
Allotment-note.—A note given to a merchant seaman in part payment of his wages, and made payable only to one of certain relations or a savings’-bank.
Allowance.—The quantity of provisions, water, rum, &c., served out to each man at sea.
All-standing.—Fully dressed. To turn in all-standing, is to go to bed with one’s clothes on. Brought up all-standing, means to be taken unawares, to be brought to a stand suddenly.
Aloft.—On high. Any part of the masts is called aloft. To go aloft is to climb the rigging. It is also the sailor’s word for heaven, as “His soul is gone aloft.”
Alow.—A term sometimes, but very rarely used for below, and then perhaps only for the sake of alliteration, as ” She had studding-sails aloft and alow.”
Altitude.—An arch of a vertical circle intercepted between the centre of the object and the horizon.

Fulton's Steamboat 1807

Fulton’s Steamboat 1807

Amain.—An old word signifying smartly, bear a hand.
Amidships.—The middle part of a vessel. Also a sea term for the middle part of anything.
Amplitude.—An arch of the horizon contained between the centre of the object when rising or setting, and the east or west points of the horizon.
Anchor.—The well-known iron implement which when dropped overboard with a chain or rope attached to it holds a ship. It consists of several parts, i.e. the ring, the beam or shank, the arms and flukes, and the stock.
Anchorage-dues.—A charge upon vessels entering or using a river, dock, creek, basin, &c.
Anchor-ball.—An explosive that was formerly attached to a grapnel, and exploded when the grapnel was thrown on to the enemy’s side.
Anchor-buoy.—See Buoys. Anchor-chocks are pieces of wood in which an anchor rests when stowed on deck.
Anchor-hoops.—Circular irons for connecting the stock to the end of the shank of an anchor.
Anchor-light.—A single bright light shown by a ship when at anchor.
Anchor-lining.—A protection on the side of a ship to prevent it from being injured by the bill of the anchor when hove up.
Anchor-stocking.—A term in ship-building expressive of a mode of working in planks with tapered ends.
Anchor-watch.—The name given to the look-out that is kept aboard a ship when she is anchored.
Ancient.—The old name for an ensign.
Anemometer.—An instrument for registering the pressure of wind.
Aneroid.—A metallic barometer that indicates by a hand the height at which mercury will stand in the barometer.
Angel’s footstool.—An imaginary sail jokingly assumed to be carried by Yankee vessels. It is pretended to be a square sail and to top the sky-sails, moon-sails, cloud-cleaners, &c.
Angle-irons.—Bars of iron whose sections form two sides of a triangle, used for the ribs or frames of an iron ship.
Annular-piston.—A piston made in the form of a ring that encircles an inner cylinder enclosed by another. By this means the connecting-rod is lengthened.
Answer.—A ship answers her helm when she obeys the movement of her rudder.
Answering-pennant.—A flag that is hoisted when it is necessary to show that a signal is understood.
Any port in a storm.—This term signifies contentment with whatever may happen.

Bell's Steamboat 1812

Bell’s Steamboat 1812

Apeak.—The term to indicate when a ship’s cable is nearly up and down with her bows and the anchor on the ground.
Apron.— A timber within the stem of a wooden ship for the reception of the plank of the bottom and the heels of the foremost timbers.
Arched squalls.—Bursts of wind so called because they rise with a black cloudy arch. They are encountered in the eastern seas.
Arm-chest.—A movable case or chest for holding a ship’s small arms.
Arming.—The name given to tallow or soap that is placed in the hollow of a deep-sea lead so that the nature of the ground may be shown by the particles which adhere.
Armor-bolts.—Nut and screw bolts used in securing the armour plates on ironclads.
Armor-clad.—The designation of a man-of-war that is rendered shot-proof by immensely thick steel or iron plates.
Armorer.—One whose duty it was to look after and keep in repair the ironwork about a ship.
Arm-rack.—A frame for receiving fire-arms.
Arms.—A term for any kind of weapon. Also, the projections at the bottom of the shank of an anchor.
Articles.—A ship’s articles are the document in which are recorded the names and signatures of the crew, their wages, the food to be given, &c.
Artificial or spindle eye.—An eye in the end of a rope formed by hitching the yarns of the rope round a piece of wood and then scraping, marling, parceling, and serving them.
Ascensional difference.—An arch of the equinoctial intercepted between the sun or a star’s meridian and the point of the equinoctial that rises with the object.
Ashore.—A ship is said to be ashore when she takes the ground and sticks fast. To go ashore is to quit a ship or boat for the shore.
Ash-pit.—A portion of the furnace of a steamer below the fire-grate surface to allow air to get to the fire through the spaces between the iron bars, and also for receiving the ashes.
Asleep.—This word is applied to sails when sufficiently steadied by the wind to be prevented from flapping.
Aspic.—A twelve-pound gun used in olden times.
Astern.—Behind. Over a ship’s stern and at a distance, as ” The vessel was a league astern.” Also in the direction of the stern. “Go astern,” an order to the engine-room to reverse the engines.

US Yankee Clipper

US Yankee Clipper

Athwart.—Across. “Athwart our hawse” said of a ship crossing another’s bows.
Athwart hawse.—Across a vessel’s head.
Athwartships.—Across the ship. Also across anything.
Athwart the forefoot.—A cannon-ball fired athwart or across a vessel’s forefoot was a peremptory signal for her to bring to.
Atrip.—An anchor is said to be atrip when, after heaving at the windlass, the crew have raised the anchor off the ground, and it hangs by the cable up and down.
Avast.—An order to stop hauling or heaving; pronounced ‘vast. A word going out of fashion as used among seamen, who would formerly say ” ‘Vast there !” meaning, Stop that talking. It is now confined to ship’s work.
Average.—A term to express all losses and accidents to ships and cargoes which arise from perils of the sea, and for which underwriters have to pay.
Average-bond.—An agreement among consignees or owners of a cargo to pay any proportion of average.
Away aloft!—An order in the navy to the men to mount the rigging. In the merchant service it is customary to say ” Jump aloft.”
Away with it!—An order to lay hold of a tackle fall or any rope, and instead of hauling, walk away with it.
Awash.—Anything level with the water so that it is sometimes covered and sometimes left exposed is said to be awash.
Aweather.—The situation of the helm when put in the direction whence the wind blows, supposing that you are steering with a tiller.
Aweigh.—The anchor is said to be aweigh or away when it is lifted off the ground.
Awkward squad—A company of men backward in learning their ship duties
Awning.—A canvas shelter stretched over a deck or a boat.
Awning-decked.—This expression is not of old standing. It is meant to signify an iron vessel, the upper portion of whose sheer-strake plate is in line with the main deck beams, and that has a deck above the main deck.
Auxiliary screw.—The name given to a vessel fitted with a propeller that can be raised for sailing when not required; or lowered and connected for steaming.
Axial oscillation.—A term to indicate a pendulum-like movement of the central part of a storm.
Ay, ay, sir.—The orthodox reply to any order signifying that it will be obeyed.
Azimuth.—An arch of a vertical circle intercepted between the meridian of the place and the azimuth or vertical circles passing through the centre of any object.
Azimuth circles.—Great circles passing through the zenith and nadir. Azimuth compass.—An instrument for finding the magnetic azimuth or amplitude of a heavenly object.

Great Easterner 1859

Great Easterner 1859

Babbing.—A name given to a method of luring crabs by bait, and them netting them.
Bac.—The name of a French ferry-boat.
Back.—This term is applied to the shifting of the wind when it changes by a movement against the sun, i.e. from left to right.
Back.—To back a sail is to brace a yard against the wind so as to press the canvas against the mast. Back and fill is to alternately brace the yards against the wind and then forward to fill the sails. This is done in maneuvering to get out of a narrow passage, &c.
Back-balance of eccentric—is placed at the back of the eccentric pulley of a marine engine to balance it on the shaft.
Back-balance of slide-valves.—A weight at the end of the valve lever of a marine engine for balancing the slides.
Back-board.—A board in the stern sheets of a boat to support the back.
Back her!—An order to the engineer to drive a steamer backwards by reversing the action of the propeller or paddlewheels.
Backing.—The woodwork behind armour-plates.
Back-lash.—The term applied to the shock or jar caused by two pieces of machinery, one of which gives motion to the other, coming together with a sudden blow
Back-ropes.—Small leading-lines, grafted or hitched to the back of the cat and fish-hooks and long enough to reach from the rail to the water.
Back-staff.—A sea quadrant invented by Davis, the navigator, in the sixteenth century. It is usually called the cross-staff.
Backstay.—A rope to support a mast and leading down abaft it to the side of the vessel.
Back-sweep.—The hollow of the top timber of a frame. Back water!—An order to drive a boat sternways by the oars.
Baffling.—The wind is said to be baffling when it keeps constantly shifting from one adverse quarter to another.
Balanced-rudder.—A rudder pivoted on an extension of the keel instead of hanging to the stern-post.
Balance-reef.—A reef in a fore-and-aft sail. When the points of this reef are tied it makes the sail’s shape nearly triangular.
Bale.—To throw out water from a boat. Also to wind up, as to bale up yarns. Also a large bundle of wool or cotton.
Bale-goods.—Bundles, such as wool, Manchester bales, &c, in contradistinction to cased goods.
Bale-slings.—Slings formed of a circle of rope passed round the object to be slung, one end of the bight of the circle being passed through the other.
Balk.—Straight young trees when cut down and squared.
Ballahoo.—A name for a West Indian clipper schooner. Apparently she may also be a brig, to judge from “The Cruise of the ‘Midge.'”
Ballastage— is the levying of a charge for supplying ships with ballast.
Ballast-tank.—A tank or compartment in the bottom of iron steamships, or sometimes in the fore and after parts of the vessel, for the storage of water to serve as ballast.
Ballast-irons—are fitted to the bottom and sides of a ship when required, to reeve the ballast-boards through to prevent shifting.
Balloon jib.—A large jib made of light canvas and used by yachts in gentle winds.

Baltimore Clipper

Baltimore clippers.—Vessels built at Baltimore, famous for their speed. They were the first to set the example of increasing the length of a vessel to about six times her beam.
Bangles.—The hoops round a spar.
Banking.—Banking up fires is raking the coals to the back of the furnace to impede combustion, whilst at the same time it enables the engineer to be in readiness to get up steam.
Banyan day.—A term meaning a bad day, a disagreeable day. Derived from a custom of withholding meat from crews on certain days.
Barbette.—A ship that mounts guns which fire clear over the side, instead of through embrasures.
Barca-longa.—A Spanish lug-rigged vessel. Also a Spanish gunboat.
Barge.—A vessel rigged with or without a mast and a sprit-sail. Also a boat used by admirals and naval captains.
Bargee.—One of the crew of a barge or canal-boat.
Barge-mate.—The coxswain of a navy barge when the boat is occupied by a person of distinction.
Barge-men.—The crew of a navy barge.
Barget.—A small barge.

HMS Wild Swan

HMS Wild Swan

Bark.—A poetical term signifying any kind of vessel. So Byron.  “My bark is on the sea.” It is never used by sailors.
Bar keel.—An iron keel, made of massive bars united by scarphs.
Barkey.—A sailor’s endearing term for the vessel he likes.
Barometer.—An instrument for showing the weight or pressure of the air.
Barometer chart.—A chart on which the indications of the barometer are shown every day for a month in lines.
Barque.—A three-masted vessel. The two forward masts are ship-rigged. The after or mizzen-mast is rigged with a spanker and gaff top-sail.
Barquentine.—A three-masted vessel rigged like a brig on the fore-mast, and like a schooner on the main and mizzen-mast.
Barratry.—A legal term to express any fraudulent act committed by a seaman to the prejudice of the owners of the vessel.
Barrel-bulk.—The space occupied by casks in a ship’s hold.
Bar-shot.—-Two half-shot united by a bar of iron and formerly used for dismantling a ship.
Base-board.—The name of a board having the numeral feet marked upon it, and used in taking the form of a ship when built.
Bateau.—A Canadian boat. Also a name for a pontoon.
Bathing-machine.—A name given to the old io-gun brigs.
Batten down.—The hatches are said to be battened down when they are covered up with gratings or hatches, and tarpaulins which are secured by battens to prevent them from being washed away.
Battens.—Pieces of wood or iron placed round a hatchway to keep a tarpaulin over it in bad weather. Also pieces of wood fastened to the rigging to prevent it from being chafed.
Battering-ram.—A large piece of timber, armed at each end with iron caps and fitted with ropes. It is used for removing the angular blocks when a docked ship is sitting on them.
Battery.—A man-of-war’s broadside armament.
Battledore.—The name of a movable iron arm in the cable-bitts.
Battle-lanterns.—Lanterns which formerly lighted the decks of a ship at night when in action, to enable the men to see what they were about.

Bawley running up the coast by H S Tuke

Bawley running up the coast by H S Tuke

Bawley.—A Thames shrimping vessel. Beach-comber.—One who hangs about the shore on the look-out for jobs. It was chiefly applied to runaway seamen, deserters from whalers, who lived along the beach in South America, the South Sea Islands, &c. It is a term of contempt.
Beam.—That point of the sea or horizon which bears directly abreast of the midship section of a ship.
Beam-arms— Curved ends of iron beams for joining them with the ship’s side.
Beam-ends.—A ship is said to be on her beam-ends when she is so prostrated on her side by a hurricane or outfly of wind, or by shifting her cargo, as to submerge her lee rail.
Beam-engine.—A marine engine in which the reciprocating motion of the piston-rod is transferred through side rods and side levers to the connecting-rod, which by means of the crank continuously revolves the shaft.
Beams.—Those timbers in a ship which are placed across her to receive the decks.
Bear.—The situation of an object with reference to a ship, as, “How does the land bear?” in what direction is it by compass?
Bear.—An instrument for punching holes with the hand.
Bear a bob!—An expression signifying ” look sharp.”
Bear a hand!—An injunction to be quick, to look alive.
Bear away.—To alter the course so as to bring the wind more aft.
Bearding.—The part of the rudder that lies close to the stern post.
Bear down.—To approach an object from the weather side of it.
Bearers.—Cross bars in marine furnaces for supporting the ends of the fire-bars.
Bearing.—The bearing of anything is its situation with regard to the compass. As in speaking of a wreck, ” Its bearings were E. half N.”
Bearing-binnacle.—A small compass stand used in men-of-war.
Beating—is sailing as nearly as the sails will allow in the direction whence the wind is blowing.
Beating the booby.—Said of a man when he is warming his hands by striking his breast.
Beat to quarters.—A roll on the drum as a signal for the crew to go to stations before an engagement.

Old West Indiaman

Old West Indiaman

Becalm.—To becalm a sail is to intercept the wind from it, as the foretopsail is becalmed, when the wind is aft, by the main-topsail.
Becalmed.—A sailing-vessel is becalmed when the wind fails and leaves her motionless upon the sea.
Becket.—A handle made of rope.
Bed-bolt.—An iron bar on which the foremost end of the stool-bed of a gun-carriage rests.
Bedding.—The seating on which a boiler rests.
Bee.—A hook.
Beef.—” More beef!” an exclamation signifying that more help is wanted in pulling upon a rope, &c.
Beef-kid-—A tub into which the cook puts the men’s meat when cooked, and which is carried into the forecastle.
Bees.—Wooden chocks on the bowsprit to reeve the fore-topmast stays through.
Beetle.—A hammer or mallet used in caulking.
Before the mast.—Living in the forecastle, serving as a “common sailor.”
Behavior. —A ship’s behavior is the quality she exhibits under various conditions of weather.
Belay.—To make a rope fast by taking a turn with it over a belaying pin.
Belaying-pins.—Iron, brass, or wooden bars tapered, placed in holes in rails, hoops, &c.,to make the running gear fast to.
Belfrey.—A frame from which a ship’s bell hangs.
Bell-buoy.—A buoy with a bell inside or outside it, that rings as the buoy sways on the water. It is a fog or night signal.
Bell-rope.—A short rope spliced to a bell for striking the hours.
Bells.—The denoting of time on board ship. Eight bells signify noon or midnight, eight or four o’clock; half-past twelve, one bell; one o’clock, two bells ; half-past one, three bells, and so on to eight bells. See Dog Watch.
Belly.—The full or round part of a sail when distended by the wind. Also the central cloths of a sail.
Belly-bands.—Bands of canvas across a sail to strengthen it for the reef-points.
Belly-guy.—A rope used in supporting the middle part of shears.
Belly-stay.—An extra support for a mast, secured half-way up it.
Bend.—To bend a sail is to attach it to the yard. Also a bend is a knot: to bend the end of a rope to another is to tie it to the other.
Bending-cradles.—Iron vertical frames fitted with transverse beams, and used for bending armor-plates for men-of-war to the required shape.
Benjie.—The name of a straw hat worn by sailors.

Early Cunard Steamer

Early Cunard Steamer

Bentinck.—A triangular-shaped lower sail.
Bentinck-boom.—A spar for stretching the foot of a square fore-sail.
Bentinck shrouds.—Ropes formerly used and extending from the futtock staves to the channels.
Berth.—A vessel’s berth is the place where she lies alongside a wharf, quay, or pier, or at anchor; also, a berth is a sleeping place on board a ship.
Berth decks.—The ‘tween decks.
Berthing-rail.—A rail that formerly went round the head of a ship for the safety of the men when they were out on the head.
Best bower.—The larger of the anchors called the bowers.
Bethel.—A sailor’s meeting-house.
Between decks.—Usually pronounced ‘tween decks. The space between the main or upper, and the second lower decks.
Bezant.—A small Dutch yacht.
Bibbs.—The name given to timbers which are bolted to the hounds of a mast.
Bibles.—Small holy stones, no doubt originally so called because they oblige those who use them to kneel. They are also termed prayer-books for the same reason.
Bid-hook.—An old name for a small boat-hook.
Bight.—A bend or curve in a rope. Bring the two parts of a rope together, and you make a bight. Also a curve in a hawser or any other rope, though the parts be not together, is called a bight.
Bilboes.—Irons for securing a man’s legs. This is an old term.

Bilge.—The largest circumference of a cask. Also the round of a vessel’s bottom near the keel.
Bilged.—A vessel is said to be bilged when her bottom side is broken in by stranding.
Bilge-Keels.—Projections on the edge of a keel and on the bilges.
Bilge-pumps.—Pumps for bringing the injection water from the ship’s bilge instead of from the sea, in case of a leak.
Bilge-shores.—Timbers for supporting the bilge of a ship in a repairing dock.
Bilge-tank.—A tank with one of its lower edges cut off so that it may fit the ship’s side.
Bilge-water.—The water that has collected, from one cause or another, in the bilge. Its unpleasant smell has made its name well known.
Bill.—The point at the extremity of the flukes of an anchor. It was formerly called the pea.
Bill-board.—A ledge of wood over the side to support the fluke of an anchor.
Bill of health.—A document certifying to the healthy condition of the ship and place when she left her last port.
Bill of lading.—An acknowledgment in writing by the master of a ship of the receipt of cargo and freight.
Bill tricing line.—A line secured to the bill of the hook of the block of a yard-tackle for tricing it up to the lower rigging.
Billy boy.—A vessel like a galliot, with two masts, the fore-mast square-rigged. These vessels hail mainly from Goole.
Binding-strakes are deep planks between the hatchways. Extra thickness of planking in ships’ decks.
Binn.—A place for storing articles and rubbish.
Binnacle.—A stand, or box of brass, or wood in which a compass is placed.
Birds-nest.—A contrivance at a masthead from which whalemen keep a look-out.
Birthed.—Covered in with boards.
Bittacle.—The ancient name of binnacle.
Bitt-pins.—Iron bars employed to prevent the cable from slipping off the crosspiece of the bitts.
Bitts.—The ends of timbers which project through the decks. They are meant to fasten anything to.

Black Jack.—A name for the black flag flown by pirates.
Black South-Easter cap.—The name given to a canopy of dark cloud upon Table Mountain.
Blackwall lead.—A Blackwall lead is to take a rope under a belaying-pin and swig back on it. See Swig.
Blade.—The flat part of an oar.
Bleed the bags.—Opening bags of grain for filling up all spaces, to prevent shifting.
Bleed the buoy.—To let the water out of a buoy.
Bleed the monkey.—To steal grog from a mess-tub called the monkey. This term is exclusively naval. I have never heard of monkeys in merchant ships.
Blind.—A term applied to rivet-holes in two ship’s plates whose holes do not lie fair so as to make one clear orifice when placed together.
Blockading.—Preventing vessels from passing in or out of a harbor in war-time.
Block-model.—A miniature of a ship, a model, constructed in accordance with the specification of the ship to be built.
Blood and entrails.—The Yankee name for the British ensign.
Blow-off cock.—A cock at the bottom of a marine boiler for blowing down the boiler and for letting a portion of the water escape into the sea by the pressure of the steam.
Blow the gaff.—To inform against a man. “He has blown the gaff,” he has “split.”
Blow-valve.—A valve used for establishing the vacuum necessary to start an engine.

HMS Shannon

HMS Shannon

Blubber-boiler.—A name for a whaleman.
Blue Charts.—Charts whose backs are blue, sold by private firms: a term to distinguish them from official or Admiralty charts.
Blue Jacket.—A man-of-war’s man. Never applied to merchant seamen.
Blue nose.—A name given to a Nova Scotian.
Blue pigeon.—A name given to the sounding-lead.
Blue Peter.—A blue flag with a white square in the centre, hoisted at the fore to denote that the vessel is about to sail.
Blue shirt at masthead.—A signal to denote that assistance is required.
Bluff.—A term applied to a ship’s bows, and means full and square.
Bluff of the bow—The fullest point of a ship’s bow on either side.
Board.—A stretch by sailing on one tack. To make a long board is to go on sailing a long distance on one tack. A short board is of course the opposite. Also to board a ship is to enter her for a hand-to-hand conflict. Also to go on board of her, as “The pilot boarded us at such and such an hour.”
Boarding-knife.—A long double-edged sword, mounted on a straight handle, used in the operation of “cutting in” in whalers.
Board of Trade.—A department of the State that undertakes, inter alia, the general superintendence of matters relating to merchant ships and seamen, and that is authorized to carry into execution the provisions of the various Merchant Shipping Acts.

Boats.—Ships’ boats are variously named. Until recently in the merchant service those boats which hung by davits abaft the main-mast were called quarter-boats, the boat over the stern was called the gig, and the boat stowed forward was called the long-boat. All this is now altered. Boats are stowed on skids, and called first and second lifeboats, first and second cutters, pinnace, &c.
Boat hook.—A pole furnished with an iron hook and spike for shoving off or holding on to an object when .in a boat.
Boat iron.—A contemptuous term applied to the iron used by shipbuilders on account of its quality.
Boat-steerers.—Men who steer whale-boats when chasing whales. They are a kind of petty officers aboard whalers.
Boatswain.—One of the crew who has charge of the rigging and oversees the men. In the navy he is a warrant officer. In small merchant vessels he used to take the duties of second mate and keep a look-out. When merely boatswain he “sleeps in” all night unless all hands are called. He is a responsible man, a superior seaman, and heads the crew forward.
Bob-line.—A line used for suspending a plummet to point out the centre of certain blocks in a repairing dock.
Bob-stay.—A rope or chain to hold the bowsprit down to its place.
Body-plan.—The name given to a drawing descriptive of the largest vertical athwartship section of a ship.
Body-post.—A piece of timber rising from the keel of a vessel before the stern-post.
Boiler.—The generator and reservoir of the motive power of the steam engine. It is of various forms and construction, according to the place it occupies, the size of the ship, the fuel to be consumed, &c.
Bold.—This word is usually applied to a steep shore or coast that enables a vessel to draw in close.
Bolsters.—Supports for the eyes of the rigging.
Bolt of canvas.—A roll of sail-cloth from thirty-nine to forty yards long.
Bolt rope.—A rope sewed to the sides of a sail to give it strength.
Bolts.—Bars of iron or copper used in the building of wooden ships. Copper-fastened means fastened with copper bolts.
Bomb-lance.—An iron tube provided with wings and fired from a gun at a whale, in which it explodes.
Bomb-skip.—A vessel armed with mortars and howitzers for throwing shells.
Bond-note.—A list of bonded or warehoused goods presented at the Custom House.
Bonnet.—Apiece of canvas attached to the foot of a jib by lacings, and therefore removable.
Booby.—A sea-bird found in the tropics.
Booby-hatch.—A ‘small after-hatch in ships with poops, under the break of the poop, abaft the main hatch. But the name seems now to be given to a hatch in any part of the ship.
Book.—The name given to a number of hides.
Boom-boats.—Boats which are stowed on the spare booms of a ship. Boom-brace.—A tackle consisting of a whip and pendant fitted to the end of a studding-sail boom.
Boom fore-sail.—A square or fore-and-aft fore-sail, the foot of which is extended by a boom. Boom-irons.—Iron rings or hoops fitted at the yard-arms for the support of the studding-sail booms.
Boom-jigger.—A tackle used for rigging top-mast studding sail booms in and out.
Boomkin.—An outrigger at the bows, to which the fore-tack is brought.
Boom main-sail.—A fore-and-aft sail on the main-mast, whose foot is extended by a boom.
Booms.—Spare spars, top-masts, &c., stowed on deck.
Boom-sheets.—Ropes for steadying the spanker-boom and for adjusting it to the angle required by the sail.
Bora.—A furious wind encountered in the Gulf of Venice.
Bore.—The rushing up of water from the rapid rise of a tide when it is very large in proportion to its depth.
Born weak.—Said of a ship feebly built.
Boss.—A large protuberance forged on the inner stern-post of a ship into which the tube of the screw or propeller shaft is secured.
Bottomry is the pledging of a ship, cargo, and freight for money for the purpose of completing a voyage.
Bounty.—A reward offered to merchant seamen to ship in the Royal Navy.
Bout ship!—Namely, about ship ! The order for putting the vessel round on the other tack.
Bow.— TO bow the sea, said of a ship as she pitches or meets the sea when almost head to wind.
Bowers—A working anchor; there are two. See Best Bower.
Bow-grace.—A rope fender or protection used over the bows of a vessel to prevent the ice from injuring them.
Bowline-bridle.—Ropes spliced into cringles on the leech of a sail to which the bowline is toggled.
Bowline-knot.—The end of a rope laid over the standing part in such a way as to form a fixed bight. Other bowline-knots are, a running bowline, a bowline on a bight, and a bowlinebend. These and other knots cannot be taught by written explanations.
Bowlines.—Ropes attached to bridles or loops in the leech or side of a sail for dragging it forward to catch the wind when the yards are braced up.
Bowls.—A kind of small kegs for buoying nets.
Bowman.—The headmost rower in a boat.
Bow-fort.—A hole cut in the bow of a ship for loading and discharging timber.
Bowse.—To pull. Bowse taut! signifies haul taut.
Bowse up the jib.—Said of a man who drinks in order to get drunk.
Bowsprit.—A large spar projecting over the bows. In ships another spar is fixed on the bowsprit, called the jib boom and flying-jib boom. Formerly the flying-jib boom was a separate spar and could be rigged in and out like a studding-sail boom; but it is now of one piece with the jib boom, like a top-gallant and royal-mast.
Bowsprit-shrouds.—Ropes to support the bowsprit sideways, answering to the bowsprit as the shrouds do to the masts.
Box (to).—To put fish into trunks or boxes.
Box-hauling.—Wearing a vessel in a narrow circumference by running her up into the wind and backing the fore-yards.
Boxing.— The name given to a practice among smacks belonging to the N. and N.E. coast, of sending fish in boats to the steam-cutters for conveyance home.
Boring the compass.—Reciting the points of the compass all round.
Boxing-trim.—A term applied to a ship ready to fight.
Box-kelson.—A kelson formed of plates and angle irons across the top of the flooring to which it is fixed.
Box-keys.—Implements for turning the nuts of large bolts.
Box off.—To turn a ship’s head from the wind by backing a headsail.
Box-ventilator system.—A mode of ventilating the hold of a ship by means of tunnels, about eight inches deep, running fore and aft through the cargo, midway between the shifting boards and the sides of the ship; the sides of the tunnels being formed by boards held together by pieces of wood, and the ends terminating in open spaces or in shafts.
Boy.— An apprentice. Lads who formerly made a regular portion of a ship’s company. It is a term of contempt for a green hand. Therefore a” boy ” may be a man.
Braces.—Ropes attached to square yards to haul them round so as to adapt the sails to the direction of the wind. They take their name from the sails or yards which they govern; as the fore-top gallant braces, the main-topsail braces, the crossjack braces, the mizzen-royal braces, &c. Also the eyes by which a rudder hangs. See Gudgeons.
Bracket or longitudinal system.—A method of iron ship building in which the floor-plates are carried to the top of the double-bottom space, making that the floor for tonnage measurement.
Brails.—Ropes attached to the leech of a spanker or try-sail for taking it in. Hence you brail up a gaff-sail, and clew up a square sail.
Brake.—The handle of an old-fashioned ship’s pump.
Brass-bound and copper-fastened.—Said of a lad dressed in a midshipman’s uniform.
Brass-bounder.—A midshipman.
Brass-work.—All the brass on a ship’s decks, such as the rails, binnacle hood, &c.
Breaching.—A whale is said to breach when it rises with such velocity out of the water as to project three-fourths of its length in the air, and then in falling creates a mass of white water.
Bread-barge.—A tray for holding ship’s biscuit for immediate consumption.
Breadth-molded.—The greatest extreme breadth over the frames or ribs of a ship, but inside the plates or planking.
Break. —The forward termination of the poop called “the break of the poop” and the after termination of the forecastle.
Break-beams.—Pieces of timber introduced where planking terminates.
Breaker.—A small water-cask for a boat.
Break off.—A ship is said to break off when the wind draws ahead and forces her out of her course, or from the direction towards which she was heading at the time.
Breaming.—Cleaning a vessel’s bottom by burning.
Breast backstays.—Supports for a mast from the head of it to the chains.
Breast-hooks.—These are arms of timber or iron to unite the two sides of a ship’s bows.
Breast-rope.—The name of a rope over a ship’s side for a man to lean against when using the lead.
Breast-shores.—Timbers used for supporting a ship in a repairing dock.
Breech.—The angle of a knee-timber.
Breeching.—A rope to restrain the recoil of a gun when discharged.
Breeching-rings.—Rings in a ship’s side to make the breechings of a gun fast to.
Breech-sight.—A notch on a cannon to enable the gunner to aim the projectile.
Breeze.—Any kind of wind short of a gale, characterized by adjectives, such as strong breeze, fresh breeze, moderate breeze, light breeze, &c. Sailors usually say “a breeze of wind.”
Breezing up.—Said of wind gradually freshening.
Bricklayer’s clerk.—One of the hundred names given to a lubberly sailor.
Brick-system.— In iron ship building, a method that brings each butt at the middle of those plates which are just above and below it.
Bridge of the furnace.—The brickwork at the back of the furnace in a steamer.
Bridle-port.—A square port in a ship’s bows for guns or mooring bridles.
Bridles.—Fore and after bridles are ropes connected with the trawls used by smacks.
Brig.—A square-rigged vessel with two masts, tops, and cross trees. She is in all respects rigged like two masts of a full-rigged ship.
Brigantine.—A two-masted vessel. Her fore-mast is rigged like a brig’s; her main-mast like a schooner’s. She carries a square top-sail and topgallant sail.
Bright light.—A white or yellowish light, to distinguish it from green or red. “She carried a bright light at the mast-head,” that is, a lantern of uncolored glass.
Brine cock.—A cock attached to marine boilers for blowing off as much salt as is contained in the water that is blown off.
Bring up.—A vessel brings up when she drops her anchor.
Broach.—To open. To break in upon, as broaching cargo.
Broaching cargo.— Stealing from cargo whilst at sea or in harbor.
Broaching to.—When a ship’s head in running is swept round towards the wind.
Broad pennant.—A swallow-tailed flag flown by a commodore.
Broadside.—The whole side of a ship. Also said when the guns on a vessel’s side are discharged simultaneously or very rapidly one after another.
Broken water.—Agitated water among shoals or sunken rocks.
Brought by the lee—This is the situation of a vessel when, whilst running, the wind chops from one quarter to the other of her.
Brought to.—A vessel is brought to when stopped after being chased.
Bucket-rack.—A shelf with holes in it, in which buckets used for washing down the decks are kept.
Bucklar.—The lower part of a port-lid.
Bugle-man.—A person who formerly sounded a horn as a signal for sailors to board a ship.
Bulkhead.—Partitions to divide a cabin or hold, or to keep water from flowing beyond a certain space.
Bull.—A small keg.
Bullies.—A term of encouragement, if not of endearment, as ” Tail on here, bullies!” “We’re the bully lads !” &c.
Bulljine.— Sailor’s name for a locomotive engine; borrowed, like a good deal more, from the Americans.
Bullock-blocks.— Blocks under the trestle-trees, through which the top-sail ties are rove.
Bull-rope.—A hawser rove through a block on the bowsprit and attached to a buoy to keep it clear of the ship.
Bulls eye.—A wooden thimble without a sheave. Also a piece of thick glass let into the deck over a cabin.
Bull’s-eye squall.—A squall that comes in a clear sky and fine weather and shows like a bright white spot at or near the zenith.
Bully for you!—A kind of congratulatory address among sailors of a meaning impossible to define exactly.
Bulwarks.—The protection around a vessel, consisting of solid planking fixed to stanchions.
Bumboat.—A boat that comes off to ships to sell provisions, fruit, &c.
Bumpers.—The name of wooden fenders slung over a ship’s side when among the ice.
Bumpkin.—A small spar or out-rigger in the stern of a yawl. Also a timber on either quarter of a ship for the main-brace blocks.
Bumpkin-shrouds.—Small ropes for supporting a yawl’s bumpkin or out-rigger.
Bundle up!—A cry to sailors to come up! Jump up!
Bunk.—A shelf in a cabin or forecastle on which a sailor or passenger sleeps.
Bunker.—A space near the engine-room in a steamer where coals for consumption in the furnaces are kept.
Bunt.—The middle of a square-sail.
Bunting.—Stuff of which flags are made.
Bunt-jigger.—A tackle used in furling a whole top-sail.
Buntlines.—Ropes secured to the poop of a square-sail to haul that part of it up to the yard.
Buntline spans.—Pieces of rope with a cringle for the buntlines to reeve through.
Buntline-toggles.—Toggles strapped round the foot-rope of a sail for fitting the buntlines.
Bunt-whip.—A rope used in furling a course.
Buoys are of two kinds: one to denote danger and to serve as a guide to keep ships clear of shoals, rocks, wrecks, &c.; the other, styled anchor-buoys, are used to show the position of the anchor, that the cable may be prevented from fouling it when a ship is riding in a tide-way or changeable current. It is also of use to enable a master to recover his anchor when the cable is slipped or broken in a gale of wind.
Burden.—A ship’s burden is the weight in tons she can carry.
Burgee.—A flag with a name or sign upon it, to denote the service, club, &c , the vessel that flies it belongs to.
Burgoo.— Porridge. It is the sailor’s name for it.
Burton-pendants.—Ropes which hang down on each side of a top-mast for setting up the top-mast rigging, &c.
Bush.—A lining of metal to diminish friction.
Busses.—Dutch fishing-vessels.
Butter-box.—A lumpish, uncouth vessel. “She has the run of a butter-box.”
Butterfly.—A barge.
Butter-rig.—A butter-rigged schooner is a top-sail schooner whose top-gallant yard when lowered comes down on the top-sail yard and stows there.
Buttock.—A plank under the lower counter rail on the stern of a ship.
Buttock rules.—Metal fittings beneath the counter of wooden screw-steamers, connecting the two stern-posts.
Butts.—The ends of planks or iron or steel plates where they meet.
Butt-straps.—Iron plates fitted behind the butt-ends of plates on an iron ship.
By the board.—Overboard; over the ship’s side. “Her masts went by the board.”
By the head.—Said of a vessel when she is deeper, when afloat, in the fore than in the after part.
By the wind.—A sailor’s expression when he is “hard up.” Also said of a ship close hauled on a wind.

USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere War of 1812

USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere War of 1812

Cabin.—A room in a ship for sleeping and eating in. Berth is perhaps the correct name for a sleeping-compartment, as by cabin is generally understood the place where the meals are taken.
Cable.—A chain or rope to anchor by, 150 fathoms long. There are 12 lengths in a chain, every length being 12J fathoms.
Cable-laid.—A rope composed of nine strands, and made by forming three ropes of three strands each, laid from right to left, and then laying the three ropes into one from left to right, is called cable-laid.
Cable’s length.—One hundred fathoms.
Cable-tier.—A place in a ship where the cables are stowed.
Caboose.—An old name for the galley of a merchantman.
Cade.—A barrel of herrings.
Caissoon.—A floating gate to close the entrance of a dock.
Calavances.—Small beans used for soup instead of peas.
Caliber.—The capacity of the bore of a gun.
Calling of the sea.—A peculiar moaning sound heard on the coast, and interpreted to signify approaching bad weather.
Cam.—A metal disk, graduated, and used for giving the proper motion to the expansion valve of a marine engine.
Camber.—The name given in ship-building to a rise in a vessel’s deck in the centre of it.
Camel.—The name of a contrivance for helping a ship over a bar or shoal.
Camfer.—To remove the edge of a timber.
Can-hooks.—A chain with hooks for slinging a cask by the chimes.
Cannon-petro.—A piece of ordnance formerly used in ships; it threw about a 24 lb. shot.
Canopy.—An awning used in boats.
Cant purchase.—A tackle for turning a dead whale over, for flensing or flaying it.
Cantle-piece.—A batten, used in the building of certain kinds of smacks, placed above the platform to prevent it from rising.
Cantline.—A girtline. (See this word.)
Cant-timbers.—The timber in the extreme end of a ship, which is rounded off.
Canvas covers.—Covers for enclosing fore-and-aft sail’s when furled, extending from the end of the gaff to the tack-cringle of the spanker and try-sails, and for jibs the length of the foot of those sails.
Cap.—A piece of wood or iron that fits over the head of a mast or bowsprit to support the spar above or beyond, as a top-mast or a jib boom.
Capacity.—A ship’s burden.
Cape Cod-man.—A man who belongs to any part of the coast of Massachusetts south of Boston.
Cap of the block.—The upper piece of the tiers of blocks on which the keel of a wooden ship is laid.
Cap-scuttles.—Apertures in the deck with raised coamings.
Capsize.—To upset.
Capstan.—A barrel of wood or iron revolved by bars.
Capstan-bars.—Long pieces of wood made to fit the holes in the capstan, and used when weighing anchor, transporting ship, &c.
Captain.—A naval officer. Strictly speaking, he is the officer in command of a line-of-battle ship, or a frigate mounting 20 guns. Only naval officers of that rank have the right to style themselves captain, though it is nowadays assumed by even the skipper of a collier.
Caravel.—An old type of vessel with an undecked center, high bow and stern, and a forecastle and cabin for the crew.
Cardinal.—The cardinal points of a compass are North, South, East, and West.
Careen.—To heave a vessel down by tackles at the mast-heads; or she maybe careened by shifting weights to one side: a method of doing it that caused the loss of the ” Royal George.”
Carlings.—Short pieces of timber between the beams of a ship.
Carrick-bend.—A bend for joining two large ropes by loops which jam the ends.
Carronade.—A short gun, so-called because it was invented in 1779 at Carron in Scotland.
Carry.—To carry a ship is to seize her by boarding.
Carry away.—To break. To carry away a mast is to lose it by its breaking off.
Carvel.—A small lateen-rigged vessel.
Carvel-built.—A term signifying the planking of a vessel laid smooth and the seams caulked.
Case.—A whaleman’s term for the upper part of the head of a whale.
Case or Canister.—A shot consisting of a number of small iron balls packed in a tin case that fits the gun from which it is fired.
Cashier.—To dismiss from the Royal Navy by court-martial.
Casing-cover.—A place in the marine engine for the slide-valve rod to pass through.
Castaway.—A mariner shipwrecked on a desert place. Also, to willfully wreck a ship.
Casting.—The moving of the ship’s head away from the anchor after weighing.
Cast of the lead.—Plumbing the water with the lead to sound for the bottom.
Cat.—The tackle used for hoisting the anchor to the cat-head, sometimes called the cat-tackle. Also the cat-o’-nine-tails.
Cataract.—An arrangement, consisting of a brass cylinder filled with oil or water, for checking the fall of the expansion valves of marine engines when made upon the Cornish principle.
Cat-back.—A small line bent on to the cat-hook to turn the hook as required.
Cat-block.—A large block forming a portion of the cat-tackle.
Catch a crab.—To miss striking the water with your oar when rowing, the usual result of which is that you fall heels over head backwards.
Cat-chain.—A length of small chain to enable an anchor to be hove high enough to hook the catfall in vessels built with ram bows.
Catch-ratline.—Every fifth ratline is so called, because it is distinguished from the others by being seized to the after-shroud.
Cat harpens, or cat-harpings, were ropes formerly used under the tops for bracing in the shrouds.
Cat-head.—A large piece of timber that projects over the bows of a ship on each side for the anchor to hang to.
Cat-holes. — Places in a vessel’s quarters for springs or warps to lead through.
Cat-rig.—A fore-and-aft sail set with a gaff and boom that stretches very nearly the whole length of the boat.
Catspaw.—A light passage of air that ruffles the water. Also a knot for slinging by a hook.
Catted.—Cat-headed. Said of the anchor when it has been hoisted to the cat-head.
Cattle-pens.—Stalls or boxes in which horned cattle are carried at sea. The cattle are ranged in two rows, one on each side the ship, each beast having a separate head-rope, which is passed with a bight round one of the horns, and a half-hitch round the other, and then secured.
Caulk.—To drive oakum into the seams of planks.
Caulker.—A heavy dose of rum. Also, a lie.
Caulking.—An iron ship is caulked by a man holding against the edge of a plate a chisel or caulking-tool, which is struck with a hammer, thus filling up the crevices between the plates.
Caulking-irons.—Sharp iron wedges for driving oakum into the seams.
Ceiling.—The inside planking of a vessel.
Central track.—The line upon which the centre of a revolving storm moves.
Centre-burton.—A tackle sometimes used for sending a top-sail aloft.
Certificate of competency.—A certificate granted to persons who have passed the requisite examination for master, chief mate, only mate, or second mate.
Certificate of registry.—A form giving the name of a ship, her construction, measurements, tonnage, &c., signed by a registrar.
Certificate of service.—A certificate to entitle an officer who has served in a British foreign-going ship before January, 1851, or in a home-trade passenger-ship before 1854, to serve in the capacity he formerly filled.
Chafe.—Wear and tear.
Chafing-gear.—Mats, canvas, small stuff, battens, &c., affixed to the foot of sails, to backstays, &c., to prevent them from being rubbed through.
Chain-hooks.—Hooks used for dragging the cable along the deck.
Chain-pipes.—Orifices through which the cables lead out of the chain-lockers on to the deck.
Chain-plates.—Iron bars fitted to the sides to which the lower deadeyes are affixed.
Chain-pump.—A pump formed of buckets working on an endless chain and operated on by a wheel and handle.
Chalk for watches.—A method among crews of settling their turns at the anchor watch by making marks in divisions of a circle and then having them rubbed out.
Channels.—Platforms over the side nearly abreast of each mast, to which shrouds and backstays are set up.
Channel-rail.—A piece of molding for finishing off the front of a channel.
Chantey.—A song, a chorus.
Chapelling.—A name given to a maneuver by which a ship is wore without bracing the head-yards.
Charter-party.—A contract in writing for the letting of the whole or part of a vessel for freight.
Chart-house.—An iron or wooden deck structure on a steamer, for the convenience of consulting the charts.
Chase.—A pursued ship is called the chase.
Chase-guns.—The guns in the chase-ports.
Chase-port.—A port on each side amidships of a vessel to enable a gun to be fired forward.
Chasse-maree.—A French three-masted lugger for protecting the fisheries, &c,
Check.—To check a brace is to slack or ease it off a little.
Check-rope.—A rope made fast to anything stationary, for the purpose of bringing a moving vessel to a stand.
Checkered sides.—Said of a ship with ports painted on a white ground.
Cheeks.—Side pieces on a mast for the trestle-trees to rest on.
Cheeks, the marine.—An imaginary being in a man-of-war.
Chew of tobacco.—A quid. Also called a chaw.
Chilled-shot.—Cast-iron shot tempered to great hardness by being rapidly cooled.
Chimes.—The projected ends of the staves of a cask.
Chinse.— Caulking with a small iron.
Chips.—Sailor’s name for ship’s carpenter.
Chock-ablock.—Said when anything hauled by a rope through a block is brought hard up against the block.
Chocks.—Wooden supports for the bottom of a boat to rest on.
Chock up.—Said of anything hoisted when it is as high as it will go/
Chowder.—A mess of codfish, biscuit, &c.
Chronometer.—A timepiece to indicate Greenwich mean time for the purpose of finding the longitude.
Circles of longitude.—Great circles passing through the poles of the ecliptic and cutting it at right angles.
Circular friction-break.—An excellent suggestion to provide against the breaking of steerage-gear. A notched band of iron encircles the rudder-head at the deck, and the rudder-head is furnished with a tiller or break-handle. If the rudder-gear gives way, a man presses the break-handle down into the notched band of iron, and so stops the rudder at any required position.
Circular stern.—A stern furnished with stern timbers which heel upon the fashion timber, and extend round the stern from side to side.
Civil day.—A day that begins at midnight and ends on the next midnight.
Clack-valve.—A flat valve with a hinge joint.
Clamps.—The inside planking immediately under the shelf of each deck.
Clamp-screw.—A screw in the back of the index of a sextant used for fixing the index to the arc.
Clapper.—The valve of a pump-box.
Clasp-hooks.—Two hooks working on one pivot.
Classification clubs.—Clubs for insuring vessels.
Claw-off.—To ratch off a lee shore.
Clean swept.— A ship with all the ballast out.
Cleanser-boat.—A mud-hopper. See Hopper.
Clearance.—Papers presented by a shipmaster comprising his victualling bill, receipts for light dues, &c. Also the name given to the space between the piston and the cylinder bottom in a marine engine, at the end of a stroke.
Clear side.—The height from the water to the upper side of the plank of the deck from which the depth of the hold is measured.
Cleat.—A piece of wood to make the running gear, sheets, &c., fast to.
Clew.—The corner of a square sail. The after coiner of a fore-and-aft sail.
Clew-garnets.—Ropes attached to the clews of a course for hauling it up.
Clewing down.— Hauling upon the clew-lines without starting the sheets, so as to bring the yard down. Done in reefing.
Clew-jiggers.—Tackles for clewing up a top-sail. They lead over the forward side of a sail.
Clew-lines.—Ropes attached to the lower corners of square sails for hauling them up to the middle of the yard.
Clinch.—A half-hitch stopped to its own part.
Clinker, or clincher-built.—A vessel so built that the bottom edge of every plank overlays the next below it.
Clinker- bar.—A bar fixed across the top of the ash-pit.
Clinkers.—Matter not consumable by fire left on the fire-bars.
Clipper.—A sharp, fine-lined vessel: a fast sailer.
Close-hauled.—Said of a ship when lying close to the wind.
Close-port.—A port up a river.
Cloth.—A strip of canvas. See Bolt.
Cloud-cleaner—An imaginary sail jokingly assumed to be carried by Yankee ships.
Clove-hitch.— The end of a rope passed over anything and brought up under and around behind its standing part and up through its own part.
Clubbing.—Drifting with the anchor over.
Club-haul.—A method of tacking when on a lee shore by getting a spring on the lee anchor and leading the spring to the lee quarter, then putting the helm down, and when the ship loses way, letting go the anchor, hauling round the main-yards and cutting the spring when the sails are full on the other tack.
Clump-block.—A short, thick block of extra strength.
Clumsy-cleet.—A knee-brace in the bow of a whale-boat.
Coach-whip.—The pennant flown by a man-of-war.
Coalman.—A name for a collier.
Coamings.—Pieces of raised wood or iron to prevent water from rolling down the hatchways.
Coaning.—A method of uniting small pieces of timber.
Coaster.—A term applied to a vessel that trades between or among ports situated in the United Kingdom.
Coasting-chart.—A chart constructed on the presumption that small portions of the earth’s surface are planes.
Cob.—To beat a man with a piece of flat wood.
Coble.—A north country fishing or pilot boat.
Cock-bill.—The situation of an anchor when it hangs at the cathead.
Cocket.—A card affixed to a victualling-bill, and serving as a shipmaster’s customs-warrant for sailing.
Cockpit.—A place under the lower gun-deck of a man-of-war, made one of the most familiar of sea names by Captain Marryatt’s novels.
Cod.—To cod a man is to gull him.
Code pennant.—A flag hoisted to denote that the particular code of signals called the Commercial Code is used.
Codline.—An i8-thread line.
Coil.—To bring a rope into a small compass by forming it into rings, one lying on another. Also, to lay a rope over a belaying-pin in fakes.
Coir rope.—A rope made of cocoa-nut fibers.
Cold-chisel.—A chisel tempered for cutting cold iron.
Collar.—An eye in the end of standing rigging to go over the masthead.
Collier.—A vessel that carries coals.
Collier’s purchase.—Hooking the cat-block to a strop on the cable, and clapping on the fish-purchase to the fall.
Colors.—The ensign of the country to which a ship belongs and which she hoists.
Colt.—A piece of knotted rope for beating a man.
Column.—A number of men-of-war in a group.
Column of division.—Divisions of a fleet.
Combers.—Large seas or breakers.
Combing sea.—A large arching wave.
Combustion-chamber.—A place situated at the end of a furnace, through which the gases and flames pass before entering the tubes.
Come home.-—An anchor when it does not hold in warping, is said to come home.
Come to.—To round into the wind.
Come up.—To ease up a rope; to slacken it off.
Commander of a column.—The senior officer of the column.
Commodore.—The senior officer in command of a detached squadron.
Common steam.—Steam in contact with the water that produced Companion.—A wooden hood over a hatch.
Companion-ladder.—Steps leading down the companion-hatch to the cabin.
Compass-card.—A circle of mica or cardboard divided into thirty-two parts, called points of the compass.
Complain.—Masts and spars are said to complain when they creak during the laboring of the ship.
Complement.—The crew of a ship. The number of working hands necessary for the navigation of a vessel.
Composant.—A name given by sailors to the fiery exhalations which are seen burning at yard-arms and boom-ends in calms and gales of wind at night.
Composite great circle sailing. —When the Great Circle track carries the ship into a higher latitude than is proper, a certain latitude is assumed as the highest the ship should attain, and the shortest route under these conditions is called composite great circle sailing.
Composite ship.—A ship whose frame is composed of iron and covered with timber planking.
Compound engine.—An engine with two cylinders, into the smaller of which the steam enters and works the piston, and then passes into the large cylinder, where it is condensed.
Compressor.—A lever for stopping the chain cable when running out.
Con.—To direct the steering of a vessel.
Concluding-line.—A small rope leading down the middle of a Jacob’s ladder.
Condenser gauge.—A tube for indicating the vacuum in the condenser of a marine engine.
Constant of aberration.—Displacement in the sun’s longitude.
Constructive total loss.—The term applied to injuries of which the repairs would exceed the value of the ship damaged.
Contract.—A document embodying all the items contained in the various shipping bills.
Convoy.—One or more merchant-vessels sailing under the protection of a war-ship.
Coolie.—An Indian or Chinese laborer.
Cooper.—A person who repairs casks, &c., on board a ship.
Coopering.—The name given to a fraudulent traffic among north-sea smacksmen, who barter the fish belonging to their owners for tobacco and spirits sold by vessels which hang about those waters and whose people are called “coopers.”
Copper-bottomed.—Said of a ship whose bottom is sheathed with copper.
Copper-fastened.—Said of a wooden ship whose frames are secured to one another by copper bolts.
Coppers.—The boilers in the galley for cooking.
Cordage.—A landsman’s term for the rigging of a ship. Tackling is another shore word for the same thing.
Corner chock.—Removable pieces of wood to enable the wood-ends to be caulked without disturbing the hawse-pipes.
Corvette.—A flush decked ship with one tier of guns. Formerly she was sometimes furnished with a poop or round-house, and a top-gallant forecastle.
Cot.—A swinging bed formed of a frame covered with canvas.
Counter.—The hinder portion of a vessel forming a portion of her stern.
Counter.—An instrument fitted with wheelwork and an index hand, which hand is moved forward a certain distance in correspondence with every stroke of the engine. It is used to show speed, allowance being made for “slip.”
Counter-brace.—Heaving to.
Counter-bracing.—Working the sails so as to make a ship range ahead or stop at will.
Country-wallah.—An East Indian native ship.
Course.—The direction to be steered by a ship.
Courses.—The lowest sails of a square-rigged vessel.
Court-martial.—A court composed of five, but not exceeding nine, members, for trying naval officers and seamen charged with wrong-doing.
Court of Survey.—A court composed of a judge and two assessors for deciding cases of the detention of ships.
Cove-rail.—A molding on the stern of a ship for decoration.
Cowl.—The deck or top part of a ventilator for ventilating holds, engine-rooms, cabins, &c.
Coxswain.—One who steers a boat and has charge of her.
Crab-windlass.—A light windlass.
Cracking on.—To pile on sail in a strong wind.
Crack ship.—A first-class vessel for discipline, sailing, &c.
Cradle.—A fabric set to the bottom of a ship about to be launched.
Craft.—Any kind of vessel.
Cranage.—Payment for the use of cranes.
Crane.—A machine worked by hand or steam for loading and un-loading vessels.
Crane-barge.—A barge fitted with a crane.
Crane-lines.—Small ropes used for keeping the backstays clear of  the yards when braced sharp up.
Crank,—Want of stability. A ship that leans sharply under small canvas. Also, an iron handle for pumps.
Crank-hatches.—Protections on deck for the engine-cranks.
Crank-pin.—The pin to which the connecting-rod of a marine engine is attached.
Crazy.—A crazy ship is an old, rotten ship.
Creeper.—A kind of grapnel.
Crew.—All the officers and men who man a vessel.
Crib.—A small sleeping-berth.
Crimp.—A man who was formerly allowed to collect crews for ships. A plunderer of seamen. A lodging or boarding-house keeper for sailors.
Cringle.—A strand of rope, like an eye, confining an iron ring, worked into the bolt-rope.
Crinkum-crankum whales.—Whales which, according to the whalemen, “can’t be cotched.”
Cripple.—To disable a ship by firing at her.
Croaky.—A curved plank.
Cross.—To cross a yard is to send it aloft, fit the rigging, and leave it square or across.
Cross-bars.—Round bars of iron used as levers.
Cross-jack.—Pronounced cro’-jack. The lowest square-sail on a ship’s mizzen-mast.
Cross-jack yard.—The lowest yard on a ship’s mizzen-mast.
Cross-pauls.—Long pieces of plank marked with the breadth of a ship at various stations, and secured to the timbers to preserve the form of the vessel whilst she remains in frame.
Cross-piece.—A timber connecting two bitts.
Cross-sea.—A confused, heavy sea that follows a circular storm. Waves moving in different directions. “Chopping sea” is perhaps another term for the same thing.
Cross-spales.—Timbers to keep the sides of a vessel together until the knees are bolted.
Cross-staff.—An instrument anciently used for measuring altitudes at sea.
Cross-trees.—Cross-pieces of timber on top of the trestletrees.
Crotch.—A notched stick of a peculiar form, fixed in the starboard gunwale of a whaling-boat near the bow as a rest for the wooden extremity of the harpoon.
Crotch the boom.—To steady the boom of a spanker or gaff mainsail by resting it in the crutch or crotch.
Crowd.—To crowd sail is to set all sail. To crowd a vessel off’ is to claw off the land under a heavy press of canvas.
Crowfoot.—A number of small cords spreading out from a kind of block, and used to suspend an awning.
Crown.—That part of an anchor where the shank and arms meet.
Crown of aberration.—A spurious circle round the true circle of the sun.
Cruise.—Strictly, traversing a given part of the ocean on the lookout for an enemy. But a trip in a yacht or steamer that extends over a few days is now called a cruise.
Cruiser.—A man-of-war employed for the protection of merchantmen in the Channel and around the coast.
Crupper.—A ring-bolt for the train-tackle of a gun-carriage.
Crupper chain.—A chain passed round the bowsprit and the heel of the jib boom.
Crutch.—A fork to steady a boom when the sail is furled. See Crotch the boom.
Crutches.—Plates used in iron ships where the space becomes too narrow for beams and stringers. Also timbers or iron arms to unite the sides of a ship abaft.
Cubbridge heads.—Bulkheads formerly fortified with guns for firing along the decks in order to sweep them.
Cuckold’s neck.—A knot to secure a rope to a spar.
Cuddy.—The saloon under the poop.
Cuddy jig.—The sprawling about of landsmen at sea on a heaving deck. .
Cuddy-legs.— Large herrings.
Culvert.—A large drain to let out the water from a wet dock as the tide falls.
Cuntline.—The space between the bilges of casks stowed side by side.
Curios.—Curiosities. Objects collected by sailors in distant countries.
Current.—A body of water which, being in motion, carries all floating bodies with it.
Current-sailing.—A method of determining the true course and distance of a ship when in a current.
Cushee-piece.—A gun invented by Sir John Leake, in 1677. It was intended as a bow gun, and discharged shells and what were called “carcasses.”
Cut and run.—Literally this was only possible when cables were of hemp and could be cut. It is now meant to slip in a gale of wind.
Cut of his jib.—A man’s appearance. “I don’t like the cut of his jib,” said in reference to the appearance of a surly-looking man.
Cut out.—To cut out a ship is to carry her by boats when under a fort and remove her.
Cut-splice.—This is formed by cutting a rope in two and splicing each to the standing part of the other so as to make an oblong eye.
Cutter.—A ship’s boat. Also, a one-masted vessel fitted with a bowsprit to run in and out and a jib that sets flying.
Cutter-brig.—A square-rigged vessel with a fore-and-aft main-sail. She has two masts, the after one a jigger-mast.
Cutter stay fashion.—This is said of a dead-eye turned in with the end of the shroud down.
Cutting down.—Passing a knife over the lanyards of a hammock so as to let the occupant fall on deck.
Cutting in.—The dissection of a whale alongside a whaler, and the twisting of “the blanket” into the blubber-room fall ‘under this name.
Cyclone.—A revolving tempest of wind.
Cylinder-cover.—A lid through which the piston-rod of a marine engine works.
Cylinder-jacket. A casing to the cylinder of an engine to prevent the outer air from cooling the steam in the cylinder.
Dagger.—A timber that forms a portion of the bilge ways of a wooden ship.
Dahabeyah.—A boat used on the river Nile with an arched keel, and fitted with lateen sails.
Damper.—A contrivance for regulating the furnace of a marine boiler by increasing or diminishing the draught.
Dandy.—A vessel rigged like a yawl (see Yawl), but differing from a yawl by having a jib-headed mizzen and no boom to the main-sail.
Dandy funk.—A mess made of powdered biscuit, molasses, and slush.
Dandy wink.—A sort of winch used in smacks for heaving the trawl alongside.
Davis’s quadrant.—An instrument anciently used for measuring altitudes at sea.
Davits.—Curved iron bars affixed to a ship’s sides, by which her boats are suspended.
Davy Jones.—The sailor’s devil.
Davy Jones’s locker.—The sea, at the bottom of which Davy Jones dwells.
Davy putting on the coppers for the parsons.—Jack’s description of the noise made by an approaching storm.
Day’s work.—A term given to the computation made from the various courses, corrected, and their corresponding distances.
D-block.—A piece of timber at a ship’s side in the channels.
D-thimble.—A thimble lashed to the middle of a yard for attaching the slings.
Dead cargo.—A cargo that makes the ship sluggish or lifeless in a seaway, such as grain.
Dead-doo/s.—Doors outside those of a quarter gallery.
Deaden.—To impede a ship’s progress through the water.
Dead-eyes.—Circular pieces of perforated wood used for the lanyards of shrouds.
Dead-eyes under.—Said when a ship is hove down by the force of the wind or by shifting cargo until the dead-eyes of the shrouds and backstays are under water.
Dead fires.—Fires which burn dully or slowly.
Dead-head.—A lump of timber for buoying an anchor.
Dead in steering.—Said of a vessel very slow in answering her helm, most often in consequence of water being in her.
Dead-lights.—Shutters or coverings in open ports.
Dead-men.—Ends of gaskets or reef-points which are left exposed when the sail is furled.
Dead pay.—A term used in the navy to signify unclaimed money.
Dead-plate.—An iron plate fitted to a furnace, for coking bituminous coal before it is thrown into the fire.
Dead-reckoning.—Computing a ship’s position by the distance run as shown by the log, having regard to the courses steered, the leeway made, &c. A ship’s progress is reckoned in this manner when the weather is thick and no observations can be had.
Dead-rising.—The floor-timbers terminating upon the lower futtock.
Deadsheave.—An aperture in the heel of a top-mast for a second fish-tackle pendant.
Dead slow.—Said of engines revolving at the very slowest pace they can be made to work at.
Dead-wood.—Blocks of timber at each end of the keel.
Dead-works.—A term used to denote all the portion of a loaded ship above water.
Debark.—Landing from a ship.
Deck.—The planked flooring supported by the beams. See Maindeck, Quarter-deck, Forecastle, Poop, &c.
Deck-boy.—A smack apprentice.
Deck-hand.—One of the crew of a fishing-smack.
Deck-house.—A structure on the deck of a ship, in which the crew sleep and live.
Deck-line.—Marks upon a ship’s side to indicate the position of her decks. These marks are required by the law to be kept fixed.
Deck-load.—Goods or live stock stowed on the top deck of a vessel.
Deck-sheet.—A studding-sail sheet leading down on deck.
Deck-tackle.—A tackle to assist in weighing the anchor.
Declination.—The declination of an object is an arch of meridian contained between the equinoctial and the centre of the object. It is north or south according as the object is north or south of the equinoctial.
Deep.—The ocean.
Deepening.—Quitting shallow for deeper water, sounding with the lead as you go.
Deep-sea lead.—A lead of from 28 lbs. to 30 lbs. in weight, used for deep soundings.
Deep-waisted.—Applied to a ship whose deck between the poop and topgallant forecastle is deep.
Delivery valve.—In a marine engine, a valve at the top of the air pump near the hot-well to prevent the return of injected water.
Demand signals.—Flags hoisted as a request for attention.
Demi-cannon.—An old piece of ordnance used in ships. It threw about a 32 lb. shot.
Demijean.—A large bottle containing about five gallons, formerly used for storing rum, &c., on board ship.
Demurrage.—A stipulated sum to be paid by a charterer for delaying a ship after the expiry of the specified lay days.
Departure.—A point from which a ship begins her dead reckoning. Also the east or west distance a ship has made from the meridian of the place she departed from.
Derelict.—A vessel abandoned at sea.
Derrick.—A spar for hoisting weights.
Deviation.—A departure from the ordinary and usual course of a voyage. If without justification, it is taken, should disaster follow, as a discharge of the underwriter’s liability.
Deviation of the compass.—The effect produced on the compass by local causes.
Dhow.—An Arab vessel of about 200 tons, lateen-rigged
Dicky.—A term for a second mate.
Difference of latitude.—An arch of a meridian contained between two parallels.
Difference of longitude.—An arch of the equator intercepted between the meridians of two places.
Dinge.—Said of iron plates bent inwards by external pressure.
Dinghey.—A small Indian boat. Also a ship’s boat.
Dip.—The angle contained between the sensible and apparent horizons, the angular point being the eye of the observer.
Dip of the needle.—The deflection of one end of the compass needle below the horizon as either pole is approached.
Dip of the wheels.—Said of the depth of water over the top of the vertical board of a paddle-wheel.
Dipper.—A long tin cup for dropping through the bunghole of a cask of fresh water to drink from.
Dipping.—Dipping a sail is lowering it on one and then hoisting it on the other side of the mast.
Direct-acting engine.—An engine in which a rotary motion is obtained by a rod from the head of the piston to the crank acting without side levers.
Discharge.—To unload cargo. A certificate of discharge is a document that states the name of the seaman, the ship he has left, and other particulars.
Disengaging apparatus.—An apparatus for lowering boats by means of self-releasing hooks and other arrangements. There are various contrivances of this kind.
Dish.—To dish a sea is to ship a mass of green water over the head or side by a heavy pitch or roll.
Dismantle.—A ship is said to be dismantled when her masts and rigging have been knocked to pieces by shot.
Dismantling shot.—Shot used by the Americans in the war with Great Britain in 1812. It consisted of star shot, doubleheaded shot, chain shot, and other projectiles, which flew open and cut through the rigging.
Displacement.—The amount of water displaced by the immersion of a ship.
Distance.—The number of miles that a ship has sailed on a direct course in a given time.
Distant signals.—Signals consisting of black balls, pennants, and square flags.
Ditty-bag.—A bag used by seamen for holding small things useful to them.
Dockage.— Charges on vessels using floating docks.
Dockyard maties.—Dockyard artificers.
Doctor.—Sailor’s name for a ship’s cook.
Dag.—A cross-bar to secure the door of a man-hole for cleaning out a boiler. Also an iron bar used as a purchase. One end is placed against the thing to be lifted, and a tackle is hooked to a ring at the other end.
Dog-basket.—Used by the steward for the leavings from the cabin table.
Dogger.—A two masted Dutch smack.
Dogsbody.—A mess made of pea-soup, powdered biscuit, and slush.
Dog’s ear or Dog’s lug.—The part of a leech-rope of a top-sail between the head and reef-earing cringles.
Dog-sleep.—Short naps taken when a man should be awake.
Dog-vane.—A small flag or streamer at the mast-head or at the side to indicate the direction of the wind.
Dog-watch.—A subdivision of the usual four hours’ watch, so as to bring about a change of watches among the crew. The dogwatches are from 4 to 6, and from 6 to 8 p.m. They are called the first and second dog-watch.
Doldrums.—A belt of calms and light shifting winds close to the equator on either side.
Dollop.—A lump, a piece : as “a dollop of duff.”
Dolly.—A tool used in riveting the plates of an iron ship.
Donkey.—A sailor’s chest.
Donkey-boiler.—A boiler to work steam-winches, &c.
Donkey-engine.—A supplementary engine for doing work independent of the ship’s engines.
Donkey-frigate.—A ship-sloop of twenty-eight guns.
Double.—To round a headland. “Double the Horn,” to sail round it.
Double altitudes.—A method of finding the latitude by two observed altitudes.
Double-bottom. — Iron plates inside covering the frames and girders of an iron ship; the space between is called the double bottom.
Double capstan.—A capstan that can be worked both on an upper and lower deck at once.
Double strop.—A long single strop doubled.
Double top-sails.—Formerly the top-sails were whole sails. They are now divided by being bent to two yards, so that when the halyards of the upper topsail yard are let go, the lower top-sail represents a close-reefed sail.
Double wheel.—Two wheels one abaft the other, fixed on the same spindle, to enable two sets of men to steer the vessel when power is wanted there.
Double whip.—A tackle composed of two double-blocks, the upper one fixed, the lower one movable.
Doughboy.—Pronounced doboy. A small dumpling made of flour and slush.
Dowel.—A piece of brass inserted in the sheave of a block to save it from injury from the pin on which the sheave revolves. Also a piece of hard wood used in scarphing two timbers.
Dowel-bit.—A tool for cutting the holes for the dowels.
Dowelling.—A method of uniting timbers.
Downhauls.—Ropes used for hauling down a jib or stay-sail.
Dowse.—To extinguish, to put out.
Dowse the glim.—Tut out the light.
Drabler.— Canvas laced to the bonnet of a sail.
Draft of hands.— Men sent from one ship of war to another, to complete the latter’s complement.
Dragging.—A propeller is said to “drag” when the sails urge the vessel faster than the revolutions of the screw can propel her.
Dragging on her.—Said of a man who presses his vessel with canvas in a strong wind.
Draught.—The draught of a ship is the delineation of the various sections of her by line. Also the depth of water she takes to float in.
Drawing the boxes.—Removing the pump-gear in order to drop the sounding-rod to ascertain what water there is in the well.
Dredger.—A boat furnished with a kind of scraper called a dredge for catching oysters, &c. Also a vessel for cleansing harbors and the mouths of rivers.
Dress.—To dress a ship is to decorate her with flags.
Drift.—A tool used in iron ship-building for forcing into rivet holes which do not lie fair, so that the rivets may enter. Also the rate at which a current runs in the hour. Also to move helplessly with the wind and seas.
Drift-ice.—Detached pieces of ice through which a ship can sail.
Drift-net.—A large net with one-inch meshes, used for catching pilchards, herrings, &c.
Drip-pipe.—In a marine engine, a small pipe connected with the waste steam-pipe, and used for carrying off the condensed steam and hot water which have found their way into the “trap” at the top.
Drive.—To scud at the mercy of a gale.
Driver.—Another name for the spanker or mizzen.
Drogher.—A small West Indian vessel that carries passengers and trades among the ports of those islands.
Drogue.—A large bag made of canvas, thrown overboard to keep a ship head to wind or to deaden her way.
Drop.—The depth of a sail in the centre of it.
Druggs.—Two thick squares of wood clinched together and fitted in a whale-boat, to which is attached a line, one end of which is looped for immediately fastening to a harpoon.
Drum.—A frame of canvas hoisted as a storm warning.
Drumhead.—The top of a capstan.
Drum-hogsheads.—Hogsheads of liquor from which a third of the contents have been stolen.
Druxy.—Plank or timber in a decayed or spongy state.
Dry gale.—A storm of wind under a blue sky.
Dry provisions.—The term applied to tea, flour, sugar, peas, &c.
Dubb.—To smooth down wood with an adze.
Duck.—A kind of fine canvas.
Duck-up!—Haul up the clew of a sail.
Duff.—A pudding made of flour and slush, boiled in a canvas bag.
Dug-out.—A large West African canoe.
Dumb-blocks.—Blocks made of metal, used instead of dead-eyes.
Dumb-chalder.—A piece of metal on the stern-post for the rudder-pintle to rest on.
Dumb craft.—A vessel, such as a barge or lump, without sails.
Dummy.—A piece of strong upright wood on the deck of a smack, to which the trawl-warp is attached when fishing.
Dump.—A bolt for fastening planks.
Dungaree.—A light material worn as dress by sailors.
Dunhead.—A kind of barge.
Dunnage.—Pieces of wood upon which cargo is stowed to keep it clear of the wet at the bottom of the hold.
Dustoree.—Custom paid to a crimp in the East Indies.
Dutch caper.—In olden times a Dutch privateer.
Dutchify.—To dutchify a ship is to alter her square stern into a circular or elliptical one.
Dutchman.—A sailor’s name for Scandinavians and Germans as well as Dutchmen.
Earing.—There are two kinds of earing. Head-caring is a rope at the upper corner of a sail to secure it to the yard-arm. Reef-earing is a rope on the leech of a sail to secure it to the yard when reefed.
Ears.—The ears of a boat are outside knee-pieces forward.
Earth compass.—A compass placed in a cask filled with earth, to nullify the local attraction on board iron vessels.
Ease.—To pay out or slacken a rope gently.
Ease her!—A command to reduce the motion of an engine.
Ease the helm!—A command to shift the helm by a spoke or two to “meet the sea,” as it is called.
Ease up!—To slacken a tackle fall. To “come up” with a rope.
Easter.—The wind easters when it veers to the eastwards.
Easting.—The amount of progress made to the eastwards.
Easy!—Gently! not too fast!
Ebb.—The fall of the tide from the height of the flood.
Eccentric gear..—A method of giving motion to the levers of a marine engine by admitting steam alternately into the steam ports of the cylinder.
Ecliptic.—A great circle in the heavens which the sun appears to pass over in the course of a year.
Edge down.—To bear down upon an object by keeping the ship gradually and almost imperceptibly away.
Eduction-pipe.—A pipe in a marine steam-engine that conveys steam from the exhaust-side of the cylinder piston into the condenser.
Eight-man boat.—A Faroese whale-boat.
Eiking.—A piece of wood to make up a length.
Elbow.—Two crosses in a ship’s cables, when she is moored, caused by her swinging.
Elevator.—A contrivance for loading ships with grain.
Elliot’s eye.—A loop in a hemp cable fitted with a thimble and served.
Embargo.—A prohibition on a ship to leave a port.
Embark.—To enter into a ship.
End for end.—When a rope is unrove.
End on.—Said of a ship when only her bows or stern can be seen.
En flute.—A ship is said to be armed en flute when a portion of her guns are taken out and she is used as a transport.
Engine-bearers.— Portions of the seat for supporting the engines and boilers of a steamer. Also called engine-seating.
Engineer-—A person who has charge of the engines and is lord of the engine-room, and very often of the whole ship. There are two grades—first-class and second-class engineers, each of  whom are certificated. Every steamer of over 100-horse power must carry a first and second class engineer: under that power, an only or first engineer, who must be certificated.
Engineer Surveyor.—A person appointed to report upon the efficiency of the machinery of steam-ships.
Enlarge.—Said of the wind when it draws aft.
Equation of lime.—The difference between real and apparent time.
Equinoctial points.—Joints where the ecliptic and the equator intersect each other.
Escape-valves.—Weighted valves to allow of the escape of steam or water in the way of the movement of the piston.
Euvrou.—A kind of block for extending the legs of a crow-foot. See Crow-foot.
Even keel.—Said when neither end of a ship afloat is lower or higher than the other.
Every stitch.—All the canvas that a vessel carries.
Examinations.—In the merchant service officers are examined in seamanship and navigation, to prove their qualifications for the ranks to which they aspire. The qualifications may be briefly condensed as follows for foreign-going service: — SECOND MATE.—He must be seventeen years of age, and have been four years at sea. He must write a legible hand, understand the first five rules of arithmetic, and the use of logarithms; be able to work a day’s work, correct the sun’s declination for longitude, find his latitude by the sun, with other such problems; and understand all about the rigging and unrigging of ships, stowage, the rule of the road, signals, log-line, &c. ONLY MATE.—Must be nineteen years of age, and have been five years at sea. More knowledge is expected in him than in a second mate, for in addition he must be able to calculate the amplitude of the sun, and deduce from it the variation of the compass, find the longitude by chronometer, lay off the place of his ship on the chart, &c., and in seamanship understand all about the ground tackle, keep the ship’s log, know the use and management of the rocket apparatus, and so forth. FIRST MATE.—Must be nineteen years old and have been five years at sea, of which one year must have been either as second or only mate or both. Besides what is required for an only mate, a chief mate must be able to observe azimuths and compute the variation, compare chronometers and keep their rates, work the latitude by single altitude of the sun off the meridian, possess extensive knowledge of seamanship, of the shifting of large spars and sails, of the management of ships in storms, &c. MASTER.—Must be twenty-one years old and have been six years at sea, of which at least one year must have been as first or only mate, and one year as second mate. He will be asked more questions than those put to a mate: on magnetic attraction, tides, sounding, jury rudders and rafts, marine law as regards his crew, entry and discharge: also he is expected to know all about charter parties, Lloyd’s agencies, bottomry, and so forth. EXTRA MASTER.—This examination is voluntary. The certificate confers no privilege, and the only use of it is to show that the possessor has a good memory for what he finds in marine guide-books.
Expansion gear.—A contrivance for economizing steam in a marine engine by cutting off steam at any point of the stroke of the piston.
Expansion joints.— Joints fitted in steam pipes so as to allow for expansion and contraction.
Eye.—A loop at the end of a rope, a hole in an iron bolt.
Eye-bolt.—A bolt of iron with an eye in it, sunk into the deck or side as far as the eye.
Eyelet-holes.—Holes in the tablings and reef-bands of a sail for robands, reef-points, cringles, &c. “Eyes.”—This word is applied to holes opening in a sail owing to the force of the wind. “Eyes now showed in the main-topsail, and shortly after it was blown out of the bolt-rope.”
Eyes of a vessel.—The foremost point of the forecastle, betwixt the knightheads.
Eye-splice.—An eye formed in a rope by passing its strands through its standing part.
Facing.—Setting one piece of timber into another with a rabbet.
Fagged.—This is said of a rope whose end is untwisted.
Fair.—Said of the wind when favorable.
Fair-leader— A block, thimble, or strip of plank for running gear to lead through.
Fairway.—The navigable part of a river or channel.
Fake.—A single ring of a coil of rope.
Fall.—The hauling part of a tackle.
Fall aboard of.—To drop down foul of another ship.
Fall foul.—To fall foul of a man is to abuse or quarrel with him.
Falling glass.—The sinking of the mercury in a barometer.
Falls.—Tackles for hoisting and lowering boats at the davits.
False-keel.—Pieces of timber below the main keel to protect it in case of taking the ground.
Family boats.—The name given to smacks worked by members of one family.
Fancy-line.—A downhaul rove through a block at the jaws of a gaff.
Fang.—The valve of a pump-box.
Fanning.—Widening the after-part of a ship’s top.
Fantod.—A fiddling officer who is always bothering over small things.
Fast.—To make fast is to attach. “All fast!” a cry to denote that the rope is belayed or a turn taken.
Fast-fish.—A whaling-term, signifying that the whale belongs to the boat’s crew that is fast to it.
Fasts.—Wood or stone projections on a quay or pier for mooring vessels to. Also the ropes which hold a vessel.
Favor her!—A call to the helmsman to ease the helm, to let her meet it.
Fay.—To lie close to, as one piece of wood against another.
Fearn.—A small windlass.
Fearnought.—Thick woolen cloth that used to be, and perhaps still is, worn .by North-Sea pilots.
Feathering paddle-wheels.—Paddle-wheels of which the boards or floats enter and leave the water in a perpendicular position.
Feathering-screw.—A propeller whose blades can be placed in a direction parallel with the line of the keel. Meant for auxiliaries only.
Feather-white sea.—Said of the sea when covered with foam.
Feed-cock.—A cock near the bottom of a marine boiler for regulating the supply of water to the boiler.
Feeding-engine.—An engine for supplying tubular boilers with feed-water when the large engines are not working.
Feed pipe.—A pipe for introducing water into the boiler to take the place of the water that has passed off in steam.
Feed-pump.—A pump that supplies the boilers of a steamer with water from the hot-well.
Feed-water.—The water with which the boiler is supplied.
Felucca.—A vessel rigged with a lateen sail.
Fend.—To fend off, to save a boat’s side from collision or being chafed.
Fenders.—Pieces of timber, or cork, or stuffed canvas over a ship’s or boat’s side to prevent it from being chafed or injured.
Fetch.—To reach, to arrive at by sailing or steaming: as “we fetched the harbor.”
Fetch away.—To break loose, to roll or slide to leeward.
Fetching the pump.—Making it act by pouring water into it.
Fetch out.—To get out to sea from a bay, harbor, &c., by beating or sailing close.
Fid.—A bar of wood or iron passed through the fid-hole to support a mast.
Fiddle-block.—A double block with one sheave above larger than the lower one.
Fiddle-figurehead, or Fiddle-head.—The head of a ship that has no figure, but is decorated with a scroll shaped like a fiddle.
Fiddles.—A framework used to secure the dishes on a cabin table, to prevent them from rolling off.
Fiddley-house.—A barbarous term for the engine-house.
Fid-hole.—A hole in the lower part of an upper mast to receive the fid.
Fife-rail.—A rail round the main-mast fitted with belaying pins. Also the upper fence of the bulwarks of a man-of-war’s quarter-deck.
Fighting-lanterns.—See Battle-lanterns.
Fighting-sails.—The canvas on a ship when going into action.
Figure-head.—A bust or figure over a ship’s cutwater.
Figure of eight.—A knot shaped like the figure 8 used for preventing a rope from unreeving.
Filler.—A piece of timber to fill up in a made mast.
Fillibuster.—A pirate.
Filling.—In ship-building, wood introduced to make up for a defect in the molding way.
Filling-room.—Formerly in men-of-war, apartments where powder was filled into cartridges, and furnished with a powder-trough to empty the powder out of the barrels.
Fillings.—Timbers placed between the frames of a ship, fitting close and caulked.
Filling-transom.—A timber above the deck transom for securing the ends of the deck plank, &c.
Fine-weather rolls.—The rolling of a ship under a clear sky in a sea left by a storm.
Finishings.—The name of the quarter-gallery ornamentation.
Finns.— Natives of Finland. These men when members of a ship’s company were formerly regarded with great superstition by their shipmates. They were thought to possess the gift of second sight, to hold the winds in control, to keep a bottle of rum full, in spite of hearty pulls at it, a whole voyage.
Fin out.—A whaling expression used when a whale turns over dead.
Fire and lights.— Sailor’s nickname for the master-at-arms.
Fire-box.— A space in front of the boilers of a steamer over the furnace doors.
Fireman.—A stoker.
Firemen.—Men stationed at the guns of a man-of-war ready for active duty : their business being to extinguish fire, and also to act as boarders, &c.
Firing-up.—Plying the fires so as to obtain as much steam as possible.
First watch.—The watch from 8 p.m. till midnight.
Fish.—To bind spare booms, planks, &c., to an injured spar to support it. Also to hoist the fluke of an anchor by the fish tackle, and secure the inner arm and shank by the shank painter. The anchor is then said to be fished—an operation which follows catting.
Fish-davit.—A piece of timber or iron for hoisting the fluke of an anchor.
Fisherman s bend.—A knot formed by two turns through a ring, a half-hitch and the end stopped.
Fisherman’s walk.—” Three steps and overboard,” in allusion to the small space offered for walking in smacks, and therefore said of any confined space.
Fish-fag.—A disreputable, foul-mouthed woman.
Fish-hook.—A hook with a pennant for the fish-tackle to be hooked to.
Fish-tackle.—The tackle used in hoisting the fluke of an anchor.
Fit out.—To fit out a ship is to furnish her with masts, sails, anchors, provisions, men, &c.
Five-finger.—The star-fish.
Fixed blocks.—Fixed sheaves in a ship’s side.
Flag-officer.—An admiral.
Flag-share.—The admiral’s share in captures from an enemy.
Flagship.—The ship that carries an admiral’s flag.
Flag-staff.—A staff on a vessel’s stern.
Flairing.—When the topside of a ship’s bows falls outward from the perpendicular.
Flare.—A light made by firing a tar-barrel, &c.
Flare-ups.—Flames shown aboard a vessel as signals.
Flashing-light.—A beacon that shows flashes at short intervals, or groups of flashes at regular intervals.
Flashing-signals.—A method of signaling by means of flashes of light, used in the Royal Navy.
Flash-vessel.—A gaudy-looking but undisciplined ship.
Flat.—A sail is flat when the sheet is hauled down close. Also a sort of lighter, with one mast and a sail like a lug.
Flat-aback.—When the sails are pressed against the mast by the wind.
Flat aft.—Said of the sheets of fore-and-aft sails when hauled as taut as they will go.
Flat-plate keel.—A keel formed of iron plates bent dish-shaped.
Flat-seam.—Two edges of canvas laid over each other and sewn.
Flat-seizing.—A light seizing.
Flatten in.—To tauten the head-sheets.
Flaw.—A sudden burst of wind. Also an opening in a bank of fog.
Fleet.—To come up a tackle for another pull when the blocks have been drawn together. The cry is “Fleet ho!”
Fleeting.—Said of smacks which sail out to the fishing-grounds in fleets.
Flemish coil.—To coil up a rope with the end in the centre and the fakes outside of one another, the whole lying flat.
Flemish eye.—An eye formed in a rope by unlaying one strand and placing the remaining ends against the standing part.
Flemish horses.—Foot-ropes at the yard-arms of topsail and lower yards.
Flench-gut.—Whale blubber in long slices.
Flipper.—The hand.
Float.—A large flat-bottomed boat.
Floating coffin.—A rotten vessel.
Floating dock.—A fabric that is made to sink in order to receive a ship, and then to float so as to raise its burden above water. Also a wet dock.
Floating light.—A light-ship.
Floating on cargo.—Said of a vessel full of water, but kept afloat by her cargo, such as timber, cork, oil, &c.
Floating stage.—A platform on the water for painters, caulkers, &c.
Floats.—The boards or paddles fitted to the wheels of paddle steamers.
Flogging the glass.—Said of the old glasses used to denote time, when shaken to make the sand run.
Flood.—High water.
Floor-guide.—A timber between the floor and the keel.
Floor-plans.—Longitudinal sections of the water-lines and ribband-lines.
Floor-plates.—Formerly plates in the bottom of an iron ship corresponding with the floor-timbers in wooden ones.
Floor-ribband.—A timber for the support of the floors of a ship.
Flotsam.—Goods lost by shipwreck and floating on the sea.
Flow.—To let go the sheet of a head-sail.
Flowing sheet.—The sheet well eased off when the wind is abaft the beam.
Flue boiler.—A marine boiler constructed to confine the flame and hot gases generated in the furnace in narrow flues.
Flues.—Passages in a steamer’s boiler for heated air.
Fluke.—The end of each arm of an anchor.
Flunkey.—Sailor’s name for the ship’s steward.
Flurry.—The death-throes of a whale.
Flush.—Level, clear of encumbrance. Also, level with.
Flush-decked.— Having a clear sweep of deck.
Flush-scuttles.—Apertures whose framework is nearly level with the deck.
Flush-up.— Said of cargo that comes up to a level with the hatches.
Fly.—The length of a flag from the point of suspension and the extremity. Also the compass card before it is mounted.
Fly-away.—A mirage or fictitious appearance of land.
Fly-block.—A topsail tie-block.
Fly-boat.—A flat-bottomed Dutch vessel.
Fly-by-night.—A square sail formerly used by sloops when running.
Flying bridge.—An elevated bridge on steamers, forward of the funnel.
Flying-jib.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay from the foretopgallant mast-head to the flying-jib boom end.
Flying-jib boom.—A continuation of the jib boom for the flying-jib to set on.
Flying kites.—The lofty sails used in light weather, such as skysails, royal and topgallant studding-sails, &c.
Flying moor.—Letting go a weather anchor whilst the ship has way, and then, when the cable range is nearly out, letting go the other anchor.
Flying proa.—A vessel belonging to the Ladrone Islands. She is fitted with a large triangular sail attached to two booms which meet at the vessel’s head, and she is furnished with a long outrigger.
Flying-skysail.—A sky-sail that is stowed with the royal. The yard has neither lifts nor braces, and the clews are secured to the royal yard-arms.
Flying-to.—Coming up into the wind swiftly.
Fly-wheel pumps.—Pumps fitted with wheels, of which the revolutions greatly facilitate the labor of pumping.
Fog-dog.—A break in a fog. See Flaw.
Foggy.—Slightly drunk. Muddled with drink.
Fog-horn.—An instrument that delivers a powerful note as a signal in fogs. Worked by the mouth, bellows, and by steam.
Fo’ksle hand.—The same as fore-mast hand.
Foot.—The bottom of a sail.
Footing.—A fee exacted by sailors from one who goes aloft for the first time.
Foot-rails.— Moldings on a ship’s stern.
Foot-rope.—A rope suspended under a yard or boom for men to stand on. Also the rope at the bottom of a sail.
Foot-sugar.—A mixture of dirt and molasses served out to merchant sailors.
Foot-valve.—In a marine engine, a flat piece of metal in the passage between the condenser and air-pump.
Foot-waling.— Inside planking over the floor timbers.
Fore.—The forward part of a ship, or what is forward, as fore-mast, fore-hatch, fore-sail, &c. At the fore, means at the fore royal mast-head.
Fore and after.—A cocked hat. Also a fore-and-aft rigged vessel.
Fore-and-aft schooner.—A schooner without square yards.
Fore-bowline.—A rope to haul out the weather leech of the fore course.
Fore-braces.—The ropes by which the fore-yard of a ship, barque, or brig is swung.
Forecastle.—A compartment where sailors live, in the bows of a ship. Also the deck over the compartment is called the forecastle. In old marine works this is defined as a place fitted for a close fight on the upper deck forward.
Fore-course.—The fore-sail of a ship.
Forefoot.—The foremost part of the keel.
Fore-ganger.—A piece of rope attached to a harpoon.
Fore-guy.—A rope to steady the lower studding-sail swinging boom.
Fore-hold.—The hold between the main-hold and fore-peak.
Foreign-going.—Ships bound to ports outside the home-trade limits.
Fore-lock.—A piece of iron driven into the end of a bolt.
Fore-mast.—The lower mast nearest the bows of a ship.
Fore-mast hand.—A man serving before the mast.
Forenoon watch.—The watch from 8 a.m. till noon.
Fore-peak.—The hold in the bows.
Fore-rake.—The rake of the stem.
Fore-reach.—To shoot ahead in stays. To pass when close-hauled another vessel close-hauled.
Fore-royal.—The sail above the topgallant sail.
Fore-royal mast.—The mast above the fore-topgallant mast.
Fore-runner.—A small piece of red bunting or cloth on a log-line marking the inboard end of the stray. See Stray.
Fore-sail.—The lowest square sail on the fore-mast of a ship, barque, or brig. In a schooner it is a gaff fore-and-aft sail. In a cutter it is a jib-shaped sail.
Fore-scuttle.—A hatch by which the forecastle is entered.
Fore-sheet.—The ropes by which the lee corner of the fore-sail is hauled aft.
Fore-sheet horse.—An iron bar for the sheet of a sloop’s fore-sail to travel on.
Fore-skysail.—A small square sail above the fore-royal.
Fore-skysail mast.—The mast or pole above the fore-royal mast.
Fore-tack.—-The ropes which keep the weather corner of the fore-sail down.
Fore-topgallant mast.—The mast above the fore-topmast.
Fore-topgallant sail.—The sail above the fore-topsail.
Fore-topgallant studding-sail.—A sail set at the fore-topgallant yard-arm, and extended by a boom on the fore-topsail yard.
Fore-topgallant studding-sail boom.—A boom on the fore-topsail yard which extends the foot of the studding-sail of that name.
Fore-topmast.—The mast above the fore-mast.
Fore-topmast stay-sail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay from the fore-topmast head to the bowsprit.
Fore-topmast studding-sail.—A sail set at the fore-topsail yard-arm, and the foot extended by a boom on the lower yard.
Fore-topmast studding-sail boom.—A boom on the fore-yard for extending the foot of the studding-sail so called.
Fore-topmen.—Hands stationed in the fore-top of a man-of-war, to attend to the sails and rigging above it.
Fore-topsail.—The sail that sets above the fore-sail in square-rigs.
Fore-yard.—The lowest yard on the fore-mast.
Forge.—To shoot ahead.
Forkers.—Dockyard thieves.
Forward there!—The exclamation when the forecastle is hailed.
Fother.—To stop a leak by drawing a sail filled with oakum, rubbish, &c, under a vessel.
Foul.—Anything twisted, anything that will not run is called foul. To foul a vessel is to collide with her and get locked. In olden times foul was used for storm: as “foul stay-sail,” for “storm stay-sail.”
Foul anchor.—When the cable is twisted round the anchor.
Foul hawse.—When the two cables get crossed.
Founder.—A vessel founders when she sinks.
Four-cant.—A four-stranded rope.
Foxes.—Rope-yarns twisted and rubbed with tarred canvas.
Fox-key.—A key with a wedge of metal fitted into the end to secure it in its place.
Frame.—The portion of a ship that consists of her form or shape.
Frap.—To bind by passing ropes round.
Free.—Sailing with the yards braced in.
Freeboard.—The side a vessel shows out of water.
Free-trader.—A class of vessels built to seek employment wherever there was most to be earned. They came into existence after the East Indian trade had been thrown open.
Fresh breeze.—A strong wind.
Freshen.—To ease out chain ; to shift a rope so as to relieve it; to alter the position of ballast. Also the wind freshens when it increases.
Freshen hawse.—Paying out a short length of cable to save the chafe. This was a custom when rope cables were used with service on them in the hawse-pipes.
Fresh grub or provisions.—Unsalted meat, baker’s bread, &c.
Fresh hand at the bellows.—Said as the wind freshens into a gale.
Fresh water.—Water shipped for drinking, but not always drinkable.
Fresh-water sailor.—A yachtsman. A green hand.
Friction rollers.—Rollers fitted in a block that the sheave may revolve easily.
Friction tube.—A means of firing a gun by ignition through friction of the priming in the tube.
Frigate.—A ship with one whole battery deck.
Frigate-built.—A ship with a waist led to by steps from the quarterdeck and forecastle.
Frigatoon.—A ship-sloop of war.
Fruit-clippers.—Small, fast, handsome schooners which formerly traded between Britain and the Mediterranean, in raisins, figs, currants, &c. Circa 1845.
Full and bye.—Sailing close to the wind, but keeping every sail full.
Full-bottomed.—A vessel with a wide hold.
Full feather.—Same as full fig
Full fig.—Full dress. Same as full puff, full feather.
Full for stays!—Keep her full for going about, that she may round handsomely.
Full man.—A coasting term for able seaman.
Full-powered steamer.—A steamer whose engines are powerful enough to do all the work of driving her in all weathers, as distinguished from an auxiliary, whose steam-power is insufficient in strong adverse winds.
Funnel.—The large upright pipe or cylinder on a steamer through which the furnace smoke is expelled.
Funnel-casing.—A. portion of the funnel of a steamer extending from the smoke-box to some distance upwards.
Funnel hood.—A projected portion of or protection to the funnel, raised some feet above the deck.
Funnel stays.—Wire or other stays to support the funnel.
Funny.—A clinker-built narrow boat for sculling.
Fur.—Deposit in neglected marine boilers.
Furnace.—Places inside the shell of a boiler for containing the fire.
Fusible plugs.—Plugs which melt at a certain temperature, and thus enable the steam to escape should the safety-valve fail.
Futtock-plates.—Iron plates with dead eyes to which the topmast rigging is set up and the futtock shrouds hooked.
Futtocks.—Pieces of timber connected with the floor in the bottom of a ship.
Futtock shrouds.—Iron shrouds leading through the sides of a top and connecting the topmast rigging with the lower mast.
Futtock staff— A piece of wood or iron crossing the upper part of the shrouds, to secure the catharpen less to.
Gab.—A notch for the pin of the gab-lever on the eccentric rod of a marine steam-engine.
Gabarre.—A French store-ship.
Gabert.—A Scotch barge or lump.
Gad-yang.—A Chinese coaster.
Gaff.—An instrument like a boat-hook used in the blubber-room of whalers. Also a spar for setting a fore-and-aft sail on.
Gaff-topsail.—A fore-and-aft sail set over the lower sails of a schooner, the spanker of a barque, &c.
Gaff-topsail downhaul.—A rope attached to the after-clew of the sail for taking it in.
Gaff-topsail outhaul.—A rope hitched to the clew of the sail and rove through a sheave at the gaff end for hauling the sail out.
Gage.—The position of a vessel as to another, weather-gage, lee gage, being to windward of her or to leeward.
Gain.—To gain the wind is to weather a vessel.
Gallees.—A vessel of the sixteenth century, described as long, low, and sharp-built, propelled by oars and sails, and used as a fighting-ship.
Galleries.—Platforms over the stern of ships, with access from the stern windows. Long since disused.
Galley.—A ship’s kitchen, formerly called caboose in merchantmen. Also a six or eight oared boat. Also a man-of-war’s boat used by the captain.
Galley-built.—A vessel was so called when her waist was only one or two steps in descent from the quarter-deck and forecastle. See Frigate-built.
Galley-growlers.—Loafing, mutinous grumblers.
Galley-punt.—An open sailing-boat used by pilots in the Channel off the Forelands.
Gallied.—Frightened. A whaling term.
Galliot.—A Dutch vessel with round sides, two-masted, the foremast square-rigged.
Gallows-bitts.—Cross pieces of timber on which spare booms and spars are stowed.
Game-ship.—Formerly a ship whose captain and mates could be corrupted by bribes to allow the cargo to be stolen.
Gamming.—A whaleman’s term for the visits paid by crews to one another at sea.
Gammoning.— Lashings to secure the bowsprit to the cutwater.
Gammon-knee.—A knee-timber bolted to the stem under the bowsprit.
Gang.—A number of a crew told off for a particular job.
Gangboard.—A platform on a man-of-war that connected the quarter-deck with the forecastle.
Gang-cask.—A 32-gallon cask. A cask for bringing water on board in boats.
Ganger.—Lengths of chain cable shackled to the sheet anchor.
Gangway.—A part of the vessel’s side, nearly amidships, by which people enter and leave a ship.
Gangway ladder.—A ladder over the side by which a ship is entered.
Gantline.—A girtline.
Garlands.—Fastenings formed of small stuff, used in taking in and out a mast.
Garnet.—A purchase for hoisting cargo.
Garters.—The irons in which a man’s legs are confined.
Gaskets.—Pieces of rope or sennit affixed to a yard, to pass round a sail to secure it when rolled up.
Gas-pipes.—The name given to those long, narrow iron steamers, whose length is nine or ten times the breadth of the beam. Formerly the length of ships rarely exceeded four-and-a-half or five times the beam.
Gather.—To haul in; as, gather in the slack, gather aft that sheet.
Gather way.—Said of a ship when she begins to move.
Gauntlet.—A rope to which hammocks are attached to dry after being scrubbed.
General average.—When a portion of a cargo is sacrificed, the remainder that is saved becomes subject to general average.
Geordie.—Nickname for a north-country collier.
Ghaut serang.—A shipping agent or crimp in the East Indies.
Gib.—A fixed iron wedge for tightening the straps and brasses of the different bearings in a marine engine.
Gift-rope.—A fast for a boat at the guess-warp boom.
Gig.—A small boat that used to hang by stern-davits, and called the captain’s gig, because used in harbor by the master of the ship.
Gilguy.—A term applied by seamen to anything they forget the name of.
Gimbal.—A ring that keeps the compass horizontal by moving freely on an axis within which it swings at right angles.
Gimblet.—To turn an anchor on its stock.
Gin.—An iron block, the sheave working in a cross.
Ginger-bread quarters.—Living in luxury—at least from a sailor’s point of view.
Girtline.—A whip purchase used for hoisting up rigging.
Give way!—An order to men who are rowing to pull with more force.
Gland.—A collar in a marine engine for encircling the piston and air-pump rod, &c., used for holding oil for lubricating and for compressing the packing of the stuffing-box it is screwed to.
Glass.—A telescope. Also the sand-glass used in heaving the reel log.
Glass water-gauge.—A glass tube attached to the marine boiler by brass fittings, and furnished with cocks to show the height of the water in the boiler.
Glim.—A light.
Glip.—The oily wake a sperm-whale, when alarmed, leaves behind it.
Glut.—A piece of canvas with an eyelet-hole sewed in a sail near the head.
Go below.—To leave the deck. A term for dismissing the watch below after all hands have been on deck.
Go below the watch.—An order intimating that the division of the crew whose turn it is to be below are no longer wanted on deck.
Gob-line.—A rope leading from the martingale.
Going about.—The act of tacking.
Going free.—Sailing with the wind on or abaft the beam.
Going large.—Sailing with the wind on the quarter.
Gone.—Loosened. “All gone !” means the rope is let go.
Good crop.—Formerly said of a deck that was much arched.
Goose-neck.—An iron outrigger to support a boom.
Goose-wing.—A fore-and-aft vessel running with the gaff fore-sail guyed out on one side and the main-sail on the other.
Goose-winged.—When the weather clew of a course is down and the lee clew and buntlines hauled up.
Gores.—The angles of the cloths which widen or deepen a sail.
Goring-cloths.—Pieces of canvas to widen a sail.
Grab.—An Indian coaster.
Grade.—A degree of rank.
Grafting.—The ornamentation of a rope’s end by making nettles of the strands.
Grain.—To be in the grain of another ship was an old-fashioned way of explaining that you were sailing ahead of her lying the same course.
Grain cargoes.—Any kind of grain: corn, rice, paddy, pulse, seeds, nuts, or nut kernels.
Granny’s bend.—A hitch that slips.
Grape.—Cast-iron shot packed in canisters.
Grappling-irons.—Irons used in fighting to hold ships together.
Grasp.—The handle of an oar.
Grass-comber.—A countryman shipped as a sailor.
Gratings.—A species of thick wooden lattice to cover hatches, or for decoration.
Grave.—To clean.
Graving-dock.—A dock which admits of a vessel being placed in it and grounded.
Great circle sailing.—The sailing by which the direct course to a place is to be shaped.
Greave.—To clean a ship’s bottom by burning.
Green sea.—A mass of water rolling over a ship without breaking.
Grenade.—An explosive ignited by a fuse and thrown by the hand.
Gripe.—A portion of a wooden ship’s forefoot. To gripe is for a ship to show a tendency to come up into the wind.
Gripes.—Supports for securing a quarter-boat as she hangs at the davits.
Grog.—Understood by sailors to mean rum drunk neat or with water.
Grog-blossom.—A nose reddened by drink. Also a pimple due to drink.
Groggy.—Half drunk.
Grommet.—A ring of rope.
Gross tonnage.—The aggregate cubic space in a ship below her uppermost deck, and in permanent closed-in spaces on her uppermost deck, which are used for cargo, stores, accommodation of passengers and crew, &c.
Ground-rope.—A rope on the under part of a trawl that drags along the bottom.
Ground-tackle.—A term that includes the anchoring apparatus.
Ground-tier.—The lowest range of casks in the hold.
Ground-way.—The lower piece of the tiers of blocks on which the keel of a ship is laid.
Grow.—A cable grows according as the ship stretches it from the anchor on one or the other bow.
Growl.—To complain, to grumble.
Guarantee engineer.—The name given to an engineer who is appointed by the engine builder, but paid by the owner of the steamer. The system is most injurious to discipline, as a “guarantee engineer” seldom considers himself under any obligation to obey or even to take notice of the captain’s orders.
Gudgeons.—Braces or eyes fixed to the stern-post, to receive the pintles of a rudder.
Guess-warp.—A rope to secure a boat to a swinging boom.
Guffy.—A soldier.
Guineaman.—A slaver.
Gulletting of rudder.—Spaces allowed between the pintles and the rudder where there are scores or indents to permit of the shipping and unshipping of the rudder.
Gun-fire.—The morning or evening guns.
Gun-gear.—Left-handed rope used for securing cannons on board ship.
Gunner.—A warrant officer who has charge of the ammunition, &c., in a ship of war. In the seventeenth century the post of gunner was very highly valued. He wore his sword on shore, kept company with the commissioned officers, was in receipt of whole pay, though he never went out of harbor, and if in action the commanding officers of a ship fell, the gunner took command.
Gunner’s daughter.—The gun to which boys were lashed for punishment.
Gunner’s mate.—A gunner’s assistant.
Gun-room.—The compartment in a ship of war occupied by the junior officers.
Guns.—An old expression signifying violent blasts of wind. “The guns were at times so violent that the sea appeared like precipices under their stern.” Hence the expression ” Blowing great guns.”
Gun-tackle purchase.—A tackle consisting of two single blocks, each fitted with a hook.
Gunwale.—The place where a ship’s upper deck touches the sides. Also the upper rail of a boat or vessel. Chiefly applied to boats.
Gurnet.—A pendant and tackle used for hoisting guns.
Gurnet-pendant.—A rope used in hoisting the breech of a gun.
Gurry.—A dark glutinous substance found on the back of the Greenland or right whale.
Gutted.—A gutted ship is a vessel whose inside is cleaned out of all fittings, &c., by the sea or by fire.
Guys.—Ropes acting as side supports of a boom.
Gyb.—The old spelling of the word “jib.” Hence, no doubt, the term gybing or jibing, formerly spelt and pronounced jibbing.
Gyver.—An old name for a double block.
Hail.—To call to another, to “sing out.”
Half-breadth plan.—A drawing descriptive of half of the longest and widest level section in a ship.
Half-crown.—The ends of a rope crossed, and seized at the crossing to form an eye.
Half-gunshot.—Said of a ship passing within half the distance that can be covered by the shot of her enemy.
Half-hitch.—The end of a rope taken round the standing part and passed through the bight.
Half-laughs and purser’s grins.—Sneers. Half-and-half meanings.
Half-marrows.—Inferior seamen.
Half-mast.—The situation of a flag lowered in respect.
Half-pike.—A small pike formerly used in boarding a ship.
Half-ports.—Shutters for the upper part of a gun-port.
Half seas over.—Half drunk.
Half-topsail.—A sail that sets with a gaff above the square-sail of a cutter.
Halyards.—Ropes to hoist yards, sails, flags, &c.
Hammock.—A piece of canvas fitted with a number of small ropes at each end, and slung up so as to form a bed.
Hammock-berthing.—The disposition in a man-of-war of the hammocks when stowed, as, for instance, the forecastle men forward, fore-topmen, main-topmen, &c., aft, quartermasters in the tiers.
Hammock-cloth.—Protection for the hammocks against wet when stowed in the nettings.
Hammock-nettings.—Stout nettings on deck in which the hammocks are stowed, and which in an action form a defense against musketry, &c.
Hand.—To furl, to stow sails. Also a sailor, one of a crew.
Hand-grommets.—Loops of rope worked round the jackstay of royal and topgallant yards for men to hold on by.
Handing-rooms.—Rooms in a man-of-war through which gunpowder is conveyed in fearnought shoots, that it may not pass straight on deck from the magazine.
Handle.—To handle a ship is to sail and maneuver her.
Hand-lead.—A lead of from 7 lbs. to 14 lbs. in weight.
Hand-line.—A lead-line.
Hand-masts.—Pieces of wood used in the construction of large sheers.
Hand over hand.—Dragging on a rope quickly with alternate hands.
Hand-pump.—A pump for getting water, beer, &c., out of casks.
Handsomely!—A cry to signify smartly, but carefully.
Handsomely over the bricks!—An exclamation signifying “go cautiously, mind how you walk.”
Hand-spike.—A lever of wood used in heaving round a windlass.
Handy Billy.—A name for the watch-tackle.
Handy ship.—A ship that is easy to work, that steers well, whose running-gear travels easily, &c.
Hanging-blocks.—Blocks through which the topsail-ties reeve.
Hanks.—Rings by which a fore-and-aft sail slides up and down the stay.
Harbor-bunt.—The bunt of a sail neatly stowed and well triced up.
Harbor-dues.—The charges for using a harbor.
Harbor-gaskets.—Short gaskets for giving a furled sail a handsome look.
Harbor-master.—An official who is responsible for the management of a harbor, the berthing of vessels in it, &c.
Harbor-work.—Remarks entered in a log when the ship is in port.
Hard a lee.—When the rudder is brought over to windward as far as it will go.
Hard a port.—When the rudder is brought over to starboard as far as it will go.
Hard a starboard.—The contrary of hard a port.
Hard a weather.—The contrary of hard a lee.
Hard case.—A severe, brutal mate or officer.
Hard gale.—A fierce gale.
Hard up.—When the rudder is brought over to leeward as far as it will go.
Harmattan.—A periodical wind encountered in the Gulf of Guinea, blowing from the north-east.
Harness cask.—A kind of cask on deck, in which the salt meat is kept for the immediate use of the men.
Harpins.—In wooden ships harpins are the ribbands formed of oak or elm plank at the extremities of the vessel. In iron ships they are made of angle-irons furnished with holes for securing the frames.
Harpoon.—A barbed iron instrument used in whaling, &c. A live harpoon is a harpoon in use.
Hatch.—An opening in the deck for admission into the interior of the ship.
Hatch-boat.—A small vessel whose deck consists almost wholly of hatches.
Hat-money.—Payment to a shipmaster for the care of goods.
Haul.—To pull.
Haul-bowline.—A seaman.
Haul out.—To warp out: as haul out of dock.
Haul out to leeward!—A cry in reefing, lo denote that the weather-earing is passed.
Haul the wind.—To turn a ship so as to bring the wind forward.
Hawk’s bill.—A small turtle with a mouth like a hawk’s bill.
Hawse-bags.—Bags for plugging the hawse-pipes.
Hawse-holes.—Holes in the bows through which the cables pass.
Hawse-pipe.—Iron piping in the hawse-holes to save the wood from chafing. “Hawse-pipe sailor.”—A man before the mast. One who starts in the profession from the forecastle.
Hawse-plugs.—Plugs for the hawse-pipes when the cables are unshackled and stowed away, to prevent the water from washing through them.
Hawse-timbers.—The timbers next the knightheads for the reception of the hawse-holes.
Hawser.—A large rope used for towing, &c.
Hawser-laid.—When the strands are laid from left to right.
Haze.—To punish with extra or unnecessary work.
Head.—The upper end of a spar. The bows of a ship. The top of a sail.
Head-clew.—The part of a hammock where the occupant’s head rests.
Head-earing.—A rope for bending the upper corner of a square sail to the yard.
Head-earing strop.—A strop at a yard-arm for bending the sail to.
Head-ledges.—Transverse hatch-coamings.
Head-pump.—A pump in the bows, used for washing down the decks.
Head-sails.—The jibs, fore-topmast stay-sail, &c.
Head-sea.—Waves running against a ship’s course.
Head to wind.—Lying with the bows facing the wind.
Headway.—A vessel’s direct passage through the water.
Head-wind.—Wind that prevents a ship heading her course. Wind directly in the path of a vessel.
Hearty.—My hearty, a stage term applied to a sailor.
Heart-yarns.—The centre yarns of a strand.
Heave and paul!—An exclamation to encourage the men at a capstan or windlass.
Heave and raise the dead!—Said in heaving up the anchor.
Heaver.—A short wooden bar used as a purchase.
Heave the lead.—An order to sound with the hand-lead.
Heave the log.—An order to measure the vessel’s speed with the log-line and glass.
Heaving down.—Heeling a ship by dragging her down with tackles affixed to the mast-heads.
Heavy metal.—Large guns.
Heck-boat.—A one-masted clinker-built boat.
Heel.—The lower end of a spar. To heel is to lie over, as in a breeze.
Heel-brace.—An iron support at the bottom of a rudder.
Heel-chain.—A chain from the bowsprit cap round the heel of the jib boom.
Heeling.—The lower end of a mast where the fid-hole is.
Heeling error.—An error in the compass of an iron ship due to her heeling to starboard or port. With her head to the northward- on the starboard tack easterly deviation is increased, on the port tack westerly deviation is increased. Heading south, westerly deviation is increased on the starboard tack, and easterly deviation on the port tack.
Heel-lashing.—A rope to secure the inboard end of a boom.
Heel-rope.—A rope for securing the inner end of a studding-sail boom to the yard.
Heels.—She has good heels, said of a swift ship.
Hell afloat.—A ship officered by brutal men.
Helm.—A term for all the steering arrangements of a ship.
Helm-port.—The aperture in the counter in which the rudder-head works.
Helm-port transom.—A timber to strengthen the helm-port.
Helm’s a lee!—The cry in tacking to intimate that the helm is down, and that the head- sails are to be flowed.
Hen-frigate.—A ship was so called when the captain’s wife influenced the routine, &c.
Hermaphrodite brig.—A two-masted vessel, brig-rigged forward, and fore-and-aft rigged aft.
Hide-rope.—Made from hide.
High and dry.—Out of water.
High latitudes.— Parallels towards the poles.
High pressure.—A method of disposing of used-up steam by letting it out by an escape valve.
Hitch.—To knot, to fasten. A hitch is a manner of making a rope fast. There are many different kinds, such as a timber-hitch, a rolling hitch, a Blackwall hitch, a marlin-spike hitch, &c. Also to hitch up the breeches, to pull them up.
Hitcher.—A boat-hook.
Ho!—A sailor’s cry for stop.
Hobbler.—A long-shore man of all work.
Hog.—A kind of scrubbing-brush.
Hog-back.—A frame of timbers joined together in the shape of a bow to compensate by strength for the want of depth of side.
Hogged.—A vessel is hogged when the middle part of her bottom is so strained as to curve upwards.
Hold.—The internal lower part of the hull of a ship.
Holding on to the slack.—Idling.
Holding water.—Checking a boat’s way by keeping the blades of the oars stationary in the water.
Holding on with his eyelids.—Said of a man aloft with nothing much to lay hold of.
Holidays.—Places left untarred on shrouds, backstays, &c., during the operation of tarring them.
Hollow sea.—Yawning waters after a gale.
Holophone.—A device for concentrating and directing the waves of sound for fog-signals.
Holy-stone —A stone used for cleaning a ship’s decks.
Home.—To sheet home, to drag the corners of the sails to the yard-arms. To come home, said of the anchor when, on the windlass being manned, it comes to the ship instead of the ship going to it.
Home-trade passenger-ship.—Any ship carrying passengers trading to English ports, and within the limits included between the River Elbe and Brest.
Homeward-bounder.—A ship sailing to the country she belongs to.
Housing.—All that part of the mast that extends from the heel to where it becomes visible on deck.
Housing a mast.—To snug a mast by lowering it without removing the rigging.
Hood.—A covering for a hatch, a binnacle, &c.
Hood-ends.—Ends of the planks which fit into the stem and stern posts.
Hook and butt.—The ends of timbers overlaying one another.
Hook-bolts.—Fitted to fasten lower deck ports.
Hooker.—A little smack that fishes with lines and hooks. Also a term applied by sailors to their vessels.
Hook-pot.—A kind of can with a hook for hanging to the edge of a bunk, &c., in which sailors bring their tea from the galley.
Hoppers.—A species of barge, usually built of iron and sometimes propelled by steam, used for carrying the mud dredged out of harbors, &c., to sea.
Horizon.—The sea-line that bounds the view of the spectator on the ocean.
Horns.—Outer ends of the cross-trees.
Horse.—A foot-rope. A breast-rope for a leadsman. An iron bar for a sheet to slide upon. A jack-stay.
Horse-latitudes.—A space north of the trade-winds in the Atlantic, where the winds are baffling.
Horse-marine.—A lubber.
Horse-power.—33,000 lbs., an expression indicative of the capacity of a steam-engine.
Horses.—The old term for foot-ropes.
Horse-shoe.—A piece of rope spliced into each leg of a pair of shrouds.
Hose.—A length of tubing for washing down the decks and for other purposes.
Hot-coppers.—The parched throat after a night’s debauch.
Hot-press.—The impressing of seamen without regard to their protections.
Hot-well.—A tank in a marine engine to receive the water pumped from the condenser by the air-pump.
Hounding.—All that part of the mast that extends from the deck to where the rigging is placed.
Hounds.—The upper part of the cheeks of a mast.
House-flag.—A flag denoting the firm to which the ship belongs.
Hoveller.—A man who furnishes chains, anchors, &c., to vessels which have lost theirs.
Hove short!—The cry to denote that the cable is up and down.
Hove-to.—The situation of a ship when her way is arrested by backing some of the sails and leaving the others full. A ship is sometimes hove-to in a storm under bare poles, that is, by bracing one set of yards forward and the others aft. Steamers are commonly hove-to head to sea, their engines slowly revolving. There is now a fashion coming in of heaving long steamers to stern on to the sea.
Huddock.—A cabin.
Hug.—To keep close to the wind in sailing.
Hulk.—A condemned hull, though it may be used.
Hull.—The fabric of a ship without her masts.
Hull-down.—Said of a ship when her hull is hidden behind the sea.
Hulled.—A vessel is said to be hulled when a ball strikes or lodges in her side.
Hunk.—To live with, to share with.
Hurrah’s nest.—”A hurrah’s nest—everything at top and nothing at bottom,” signifying the utmost confusion, that nothing wanted is to be found.
Hurricane-house.—A square of canvas in the weather rigging, to protect the officer of the watch when the ship is hove-to in a bitter gale.
Hutch-hooks.—Small cleats used in ship-building.
Hygrometer.—An instrument for showing the degree of moisture or dampness in the air.
Ice-bound.—The situation of a vessel prevented from proceeding on her voyage by being surrounded with ice.
Ice-floe.—Masses of ice, such as pack, stream, or drift ice, broken from the solid surface by the swell of the ocean and sent adrift.
“I didn’t come through the cabin-windows”—Meaning that the speaker learnt his profession in the forecastle.
“I’d weather him out, if he was the devil himself!’—Meaning that the speaker will stick to the ship and draw his wages, let the captain treat him as ill as he chooses.
Immersion.—The eclipse or disappearance of a satellite in the shadow of the planet.
Imp.—A length of twisted hair in a fishing-line.
Impress—To force into the naval service of the State.
In.—”In” means “take in,” as “in main royal,” “in flying-jib.”
In-and-out bolts.—Bolts driven into the hanging and lodging knees through the sides.
In-and-out haulers.—The ropes by which a standing gaff-sail is set or taken in.
Index-error.—Deviation from the coincidence of the reflected and direct images of a heavenly body viewed through a sextant.
Indiaman.—Formerly an East India Company’s ship ; now any large vessel that trades to the East Indies.
Indicator.—An instrument for measuring the pressure of steam in the cylinder.
Indicator-card.—A card divided into parts, upon which a pencil fixed at the top of the piston-rod marks a diagram showing the relation of the power developed to the consumption of fuel.
In draught.—A current running inwards or shorevvards from the sea.
In irons.—A ship is in irons when she is so caught by the wind that in working she will not cast one way or the other.
Injection pipe.—In a marine engine a pipe attached to the condenser for conducting injection water for condensing steam in the cylinder.
Inner and outer turns.—Method of passing the earings in reefing.
Inner jib.—A fore-and-aft sail setting on a stay from the fore-topmast head to the jib boom.
In-rigger.—A boat that has her rowlocks on the gunwale.
In shore.—Close to the land.
Inter-costal kelsons.—Strong additional fore and aft supports placed outside the angle-irons or ribs of a ship.
Internal safety-valve.—A boiler valve for the introduction of air when the inside pressure grows feeble.
International code.—A code of signals representing a uniform system of signaling at sea, and adopted by England, France, America, Denmark, Holland, Sweden and Norway, Russia, Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Belgium.
Invoice.—A document describing goods shipped, together with charges, &c.
Inward charges.—The expenses incurred in entering a port.
Inward desertion.—Desertion of seamen from ships newly arrived in British ports.
Irishman’s hurricane.—”An Irishman’s hurricane—right up and down,” a dead calm. ,
Irishman’s reef.—The head of a sail tied up.
Irish pennants.—Fag-ends of rope, rope-yarns, &c, flying about.
Irish splice.—Turns hove in the lay of a ratlin until shortened in to the required length.
Iron horse.—An iron rod covered with painted canvas affixed to the head boards of a ship.
Issue-room.—A room in a man-of-war where provisions for immediate use are issued.
“It’s a good dog nowadays that 11 come when he’s called; let alone coming before it.” A sailor’s excuse for not showing himself until summoned.
“I’ve been through the mill, ground and bolted.”—Signifying that the speaker has had plenty of experience.
Ivory’s rule.—A method of solving the problem, “Latitude by double altitudes” of the same body, but applicable only to such bodies as do not change their declination in the interval.
Jabble.—”A jabble of a sea,” a confused, nasty sea.
Jack.—A flag composed of the union, i.e. St. George’s and St. Andrew’s cross. Also the name by which sailors are spoken of generally.
Jack Adams.—A fool.
Jackass-barque.—A vessel ship-rigged on the fore-mast, and fore and aft rigged on the main-mast.
Jack-block.—A block used in sending topgallant masts up and down.
Jack-boots.—Fishermen’s sea-boots.
Jack cross trees.—Iron crosstrees to support royal masts—out of date.
Jacket-cocks.—Cocks attached to cylinder jackets to free them from condensed water.
Jackets.—Coverings of cylinders of steam-engines.
Jacketting.—A rope’s-ending.
Jack in the dust.—Sailor’s name for the steward’s mate.
Jack-knife.—A knife slung by a lanyard and worn by sailors. A knife that closes, in contradistinction to a sheath-knife.
Jack-screw.—An appliance for stowing cotton, bales of wool, &c.
Jackson.—To stop tackles from travelling by jamming the blocks.
Jack-staff.—A staff for a flag on the bowsprit.
Jack-stay.—A bar of iron along the top of a yard to bend the sail to.
Jacob’s ladder.—Ropes fitted with wooden rungs from the crosstrees to the topgallant mast head.
Jam.—A ship is jammed in the wind when she is squeezed close up into it so as to lay half her upper canvas aback. A rope is jammed when it will not haul over a sheave.
Jambs.—Cabin doorposts, &c.
Jaw.—The hollowed end of a gaff. “Give us none of your jaw,” no impudence.
Jawing-tackle.—Capacity of talking.
Jawing-lacks.—A speaker is said to have his jawing-tacks aboard when he talks rapidly and at length.
Jaw-rope.—A rope over the jaw of a gaff, to keep it from leaving the mast.
Jaws.—A semicircle at the end of a boom or gaff, to keep it to the mast.
Jeer-block.—A block used in sending a lower yard up or down.
Jeer-capstan.—Formerly the name of a capstan between the fore and main-masts.
Jeers.—Jeers were an assemblage of tackles which, in the days when the lower yards came on deck, were used to hoist and lower them.
Jemmy Ducks.—In a man-of-war the ship’s poulterer.
Jemmy-Jessamy.—Dandified. “A jemmy-jessamy sort of fellow,” one who gives himself fine airs.
Jersey.—A woolen shirt or overall.
Jet-propeller.—A form of marine propulsion for forcing a vessel along by the ejection of columns of water.
Jetsam.—Goods thrown overboard for preservation of a ship in danger.
Jettison.—The throwing over of goods from a ship for her preservation in a time of danger.
Jewel-block.—A block at the topsail and topgallant yard-arms for the studding-sail halyards to reeve through.
Jib.—A fore-and-aft sail. In large ships there are generally three jibs: the outer and inner jibs, which set on stays on the jib boom; and the outermost jib, called the flying-jib, that sets on a stay on the flying-jib boom.
Jibber the ribber.—A wrecker’s trick of luring a ship to destruction by showing a false light.
Jib boom.—A spar supported by the bowsprit and extending beyond it.
Jib guys.—Ropes which support the jib boom sideways.
Jib-header.—The name for a gaff-topsail, shaped like a jib, used in yachts.
Jibing.—When the wind gets on the lee side of a fore-and-aft sail, and blows it over.
Jib of jibs.—A jib that corresponds with a “star-gazer,” being indeed an impossible jib.
Jib-topsail.—A small jib that is set above the jib of a yacht.
Jib-traveler.—A ring that travels on the jib boom for the tack of the jib.
Jigger.—The watch-tackle, or Handy Billy. Also a small pump formerly used for feloniously abstracting liquor from casks.
Jiggered.—Jiggered up, I’m used up. “Well, I’m jiggered” seems to be an expression of astonishment.
Jigger-mast.—The lower and last square-rigged mast on a four masted vessel.
Jigger-topgallant mast and royal mast.—The masts above the jigger-topmast.
Jigger-topgallant sail and royal.—The sails above the jigger-topsail.
Jigger-topmast.—The mast above the jigger lower mast.
Jigger-topsail.—The sail bent to the jigger-topsail yard.
Jigg up!—A cry raised when a jigger-tackle is ready for hauling upon.
Jimmy Green.—A sail that sets on a jib-boom guy.
Job.—A task; work to be done.
Jobation.—A lecture.
Johnny Haultaut.—Merchant-sailor’s name for a man-of-war’s-man.
Johnny Raw.—A greenhorn.
Jolly.—A marine.
Jolly-boat—A ship’s boat, formerly so called.
Jolly-jumpers.—Light sails set above sky-scrapers, &c.
Jumper.—A frock made of duck or fine canvas.
Jumper-braces.—Ropes for guying down the sprit-sail gaffs to an angle with the horizon when at sea.
Jumping-—A practice on board colliers discharging. It is performed by four men holding whip-lines attached to a rope rove through a block. At the end of the rope is a basket which when filled the men hoist up by jumping backwards off a kind of platform.
Jump-jointed.—Iron plates laid flush or smooth upon a ship’s side.
Junk.—Condemned rope unlaid; also salt beef.
Jury-mast.—A temporary mast to replace one that has been lost.
Jury-rudder.—A temporary contrivance for steering a ship when her rudder is lost.
Kat.—A timber vessel.
Kanakas.—Natives of the South Sea Islands.
Keckling.—Rope wound round the long ends left in splicing the eye in a rope cable, the ends having been wormed into the lays of the cable.
Kedge.—A small anchor.
Kedging.—Using the kedge anchor to warp the ship by.
Keel.—The lowest and principal timber of a wooden vessel. In iron ships there are several kinds of keel, such as flat-plate keel, bar keel, bilge keel, &c. Also the name of a species of barge or lighter on the rivers Tyne and Wear. A keel of coals is twenty-one tons, five cwts.
Keeleg.—”Up keeleg” means up anchor.
Keel-haul.—An ancient punishment that consisted in dragging a man under a vessel’s bottom.
Keelman.—One who works a Newcastle keel.
Keelson.—An internal keel lying fore and aft upon the main keel.
Keel-stroke.—The curvature of the keel forward.
Keep away!—To put the helm up in a squall, so as to run before it. Keep off.—To keep away.
Keep your luff!—An order to the helmsman to keep the ship close to the wind.
Keep the compass afloat.—Twitching a compass-bowl to remedy the sluggishness of the card.
Keep your weather eye lifting!—Keep a bright look-out.
Kenning-glass.—Old name for a telescope.
Kentledge.—Pieces of iron for ballast.
Ketch.—A vessel rigged with a little gaff mizzen, like a yawl.
Kettle-bottom.—A flat-floored ship.
Kettle-net.—A mackerel net.
Kevel.—A strong piece of wood used as a cleat for a heavy strain.
Kevel-heads.—Tops of timbers above the deck, used for belaying ropes to.
Key.—A long wharf.
Key or cay.—A Bermudan or West Indian coral shoal.
Key model.—The model of a proposed ship.
Kick the bucket.—To die.
Kid.—A kind of tub in which the crew’s dinner is placed and taken into the forecastle.
Kid or cod.—To joke, to deceive by joking misrepresentations.
Kingston’s valves.—Conical valves to close the apertures in a ship’s side in case of accident to blow-off cocks, &c.
Kink.—A twist in a rope.
Kippering.—A mode of curing fish.
Kit.—A sailor’s wardrobe.
Knees.—Projections on each side the hounds, for the support of the forepart of the trestle-trees.
Knight-heads.—Timbers next to the stem, the ends of them come up through the deck and form a support for the bowsprit.
Knock off!—Desist, stop; also to give up, as “To knock off the sea.”
Knock-toe.—A galley punt (which see).
Knot.—A sea-mile of 2027 yards.
Knots.—The ends of ropes variously twisted, such as single wall, single wall crowned, double wall, Matthew Walker, diamond knot, stopper knot, shroud knot, Turk’s head, &c.
Knuckle.—An angle in a timber.
L’s—The three L’s are lead, latitude, and look-out. The look-out probably includes the fourth L, which should be lights.
Labor.—A vessel labors when she strains, wallows, rolls heavily.
Lacing.—Line with which a jib or stay-sail is bent to a stay.
Lady’s hole.—Formerly in men-of-war a place where the gunner’s small stores were kept. The man appointed to look after those stores was called a “lady.”
Lady’s ladder.—Said when the ratlins on shrouds are placed too close to one another.
Lagan.—Goods sunk in the sea.
Laid up.—The situation of a vessel when dismantled and not in use.
Lairs.—Dock accommodation for cattle.
Lambusting.—A rope’s-ending.
Land-blink.—A brightness of the atmosphere seen on approaching snow-covered land.
Land-breeze.—An off-shore wind.
Land-fall.—Making land when at sea.
Land ho!—The exclamation when land is first sighted.
Landing.—The edge of a plate, in an iron ship, where it overlaps another.
Land-mark.—A shore sign, such as a windmill or church spire, to direct a navigator in steering his ship.
Land-sharks.— Boarding-house keepers, runners, crimps, and all such people as prey upon sailors.
Landsmen.—The old rating of boys or ordinary seamen on their first voyage.
Land-tacks.—”Take to his land-tacks,” said of a sailor when he goes ashore for a frisk.
Lanyard.—A piece of line to sling or hold anything by. A small rope used to set up rigging with.
Lap.—A term used when the slide valve of a marine engine is at its middle position.
Lap of valve.—The projection of a portion of the slide valve to regulate the admission of steam into the cylinder of an engine.
Larboard.—The term formerly used for the port or left-hand side of a ship.
Larbowlines.—The name formerly given to the port watch.
Lash.—To secure with a line or rope.
Lashing-eye.—A loop for a lashing to reeve through.
Latchings.—The eyes in the head-rope of a bonnet for lacing it. (See Bonnet.)
Lateen.—A triangular sail.
Latitude.—The latitude of a place is its distance from the equator, measured by an arch of meridian.
Latitude in.—The latitude at which a ship arrives.
Latitude left.—The latitude from which a ship has departed.
Launch.—A ship’s boat. To launch is to liberate a vessel into the sea.
Launch-carronade.—A twelve pound gun formerly carried in a man-of-war’s launch.
Launch ho!—Signifying ” no higher.”
Launching-ways.—Beds of timber on which a vessel slides in a cradle when launched.
Lay.—To come or go.
Lay down—lay aft—lay forward—lay aloft. The lay of a rope is the direction in which the strands are twisted.
Lay.—Whalemen are paid “by the lay,” i.e. they have a share in the proceeds of the catches.
Lay along.—”She lay very much along,” an old-fashioned phrase signifying that the ship was pressed heavily over on to her broadside by the force of the wind.
Lay-days.—Days specified in a charter-party for loading and discharging.
Lay in!—An order to men to come off a yard.
Laying top.—A piece of wood used in rope-making.
Lay out!—An order to men to make their way along a yard towards the ends. Also, to lay out a warp is to carry it in a boat to a distance from the ship to which one end is attached.
Lazarette.—A space in the after end of a ship in which provisions, stores, &c., are kept.
Lead.—A term used when the piston of a marine engine is at the end of the stroke.
Lead.—The lead of a rope is the direction it takes, rove or otherwise, said only of running-gear.
Leading-block.—A block for directing a tackle.
Leading column.—The headmost column of the ships of a fleet.
Leading part.—The part of a tackle that is pulled when the tackle wants overhauling.
Lead line.—A line attached to a leaden weight and used for ascertaining the depth of water. The hand-line is from twenty to twenty-five fathoms long; the deep-sea lead-line from 100 to 200 fathoms.
Leak.—A hole, an aperture, a rift in a ship that allows the water to penetrate into her.
Leakage.—Loss of liquid cargo by the leaking of it.
Leave.—Permission to be absent.
Leave-breaking.—Not being back within the time required.
Ledges.—Pieces of timber in the framing of the deck let into the carlings for supports.
Lee-board.—A large board at the side of a flat-bottomed vessel to prevent her driving to leeward when on a wind.
Leech.—Side of a sail.
Leech-line.—A rope to haul up the leech of a sail to the yard.
Leech-rope.—That part of the bolt-rope to which the side of a sail is attached.
Lee fang.—A rope for hauling in a fore-and-aft sail, rove through a cringle.
Leefange.—An iron bar on which the sheets of a fore-and-aft sail travel.
Lee side.—The side opposite that against which the wind blows.
Lee-tide.—A tide that sets the ship to leeward.
Leeward.—Towards the lee side, on the lee side.
Leeward ebb.—When the wind and tide are both setting out.
Leeward flood.—When the wind and tide are both setting in.
Leewardly— Said of a vessel that drifts with the wind.
Lee way.—The drift a ship makes when sailing near the wind.
Lee wheel.—The lee side of the helm, applied to the helmsman who holds the lee spokes.
Leg.—A board or run on a single tack.
Legs.—She has legs, said of a fast ship.
Lend a hand!—A call for help in hauling, &c.
Length between perpendiculars.—The length of a vessel, measured on her main deck, from the fore side of stem to the after side of sternpost.
Let draw!—The order to let the jibs go over to leeward in tacking.
Let fall!—The order to drop a sail when the gaskets are cast adrift.
Let fly!—An order to let go a rope quickly.
Let go and haul!—An order in tacking to swing the fore-yards and brace them up.
Letter of marquee.—A privately-owned vessel furnished with a commission empowering her to make reprisals on enemy’s ships.
Levanter.—A strong Mediterranean wind.
Levelling-blocks.—Massive plates used in iron shipbuilding for bending the frames.
Liberty.—Leave of absence.
Liberty-men.—Those of a crew who have a holiday ashore.
Liberty-pole.—The fore-mast.
Lieutenant.—A commissioned officer next in rank under a commander.
Life-line.—Any line stretched along to prevent men from being washed away.
Lifting propeller.—A propeller that can be raised or lowered to prevent the engines from “racing” (see this word). The absence of a keel-piece between the inner and outer sternposts enables the propeller to be depressed until the lower part of it is beneath the keel.
Lifting sail.—A sail whose tendency is to raise the bows out of water—such as a jib or square fore-sail.
Lifts.—Ropes to support the yard-arms and leading thence to the mast-head.
Light.—To haul over. Light out, haul out, or haul over.
Light.—Said of a ship in ballast.
Light dues.—Dues levied on ships passing and benefiting from lights, beacons, buoys, &c.
Lighter.—A large boat for the conveyance of cargo.
Lighterman.—One who conveys goods in a lighter.
Lighthouses.—The legal definition includes floating and other lights exhibited for the guidance of ships.
Light-port.—An aperture for showing a light through.
Light-room.—A compartment furnished with windows for the safe transmission of light to enable the gunner to handle the ammunition, &c.
Lights.—Lamps, to be carried at night by vessels to indicate their character, &c. A steamer carries a bright light at the fore-mast, a red light on the port side, a green light on the starboard side. A sailing ship carries a red light on the port side and a green light on the starboard side. A steam or sailing ship at anchor shows a single white light. A pilot vessel carries a white light at the mast-head.
Light-ship.—A vessel with a mast-head light or lights, anchored near sands, shoals, &c.
Lightsman.—One of the crew of a light-ship.
Limber boards at plates.—Coverings to the limbers to keep dirt out of them.
Limber-clearer.—A chain passed through the limber-passage for clearing it.
Limbers.—Gutters formed on each side of the keelson to allow the water to pass to the pump-well.
Limber-strakes.—The first band of inside plank from the keelson.
Lime-juicer.—Nickname given by Americans to British ships and sailors on account of the lime-juice served out in our Mercantile Marine.
Limmer.—A side rope for a ladder or steps.
Line.—The sailor’s name for the equator.
Line abreast.—Ships of a column ranged in line abeam of each other.
Line ahead.—A term in fleet maneuvers applied to a column when its ships are in one line ahead of each other.
Line-of-battle ships.—Before the days of ironclads ships of seventy-four guns and upwards.
Liner.—A line-of-battle ship. Also, one of a line of ocean-going ships.
Line-tub.—A tub in a whale-boat to coil up the line used in whaling.
Lingo.—Sailor’s name for a language he does not understand.
Lining.—The inside planking of a ship.
List.—The inclination of a vessel to port or starboard through bad stowage of cargo or other causes.
Live-lumber.—Passengers, cattle, &c.
Lively.—Buoyant in a seaway.
Liverpool button.—The name for a kind of toggle used by sailors when they lose a button off their coats.
Live stock.—The pigs, sheep, poultry, &c., tarried by a ship to kill for provisions during the voyage.
Living gale.—A tremendous gale.
Lizard.—A piece of rope fitted with an iron eye or thimble for ropes to lead through; it has sometimes two legs.
Lloyd’s agents.—Persons appointed at ports for the protection of the interests of insurers of ships.
Lloyd’s Registry.—A community of ship-owners and others who publish a register in which, on payment of fees, they enter particulars of ships. They appoint surveyors to inspect and grant certificates to ships.
Loaded factors.—Calculations expressed in figures for loading ships to ensure a certain height of side or freeboard.
Load-line.—A mark on each side of a merchant vessel to indicate the line of immersion in salt water to which the owner intends to load the ship for the voyage.
Loblolly boy.—Old name for sick-berth attendant.
Lobscouse.—A mess consisting of meat, biscuit, slush, &c., baked.
Local attraction.—The influence of iron or steel in the neighbourhood of the compass upon the needle, called aberration of the needle.
Locker.—A fixed long box used as a seat; a place to stow things away in, such as chain-locker, where the cables are kept.
Log.—A salt water mudworm. Also the apparatus for showing speed
Log-book.—A journal kept by the mate relating to the weather, winds, courses, &c.
Logged.—A man is said to have been logged when his name is entered in the official log-book for insubordination, &c.
Loggerhead.—A sort of post fitted to a whaling-boat’s bottom and rising about two feet above the level of the stern platform.
Log-line.—A line wound on a reel. At the end of the line is a piece of wood with a peg in it called a logship. On the logship being thrown overboard the velocity with which the vessel leaves it astern is measured by a second-glass.
Log-minutes.—Entries in a log-book.
Log-ship.—A piece of wood or canvas bag at the end of a log-line for catching the water whilst the log is being hove.
Log-slate.—A slate on which the officer of the watch writes down particulars to be afterwards copied into the log-book.
Long-balls.—Shot fired from a long distance.
Long-boat.—A ship’s boat usually carried forward of amidships in sailing vessels.
Longers.—The name given to the longest of a freight of casks.
Longitude.—The longitude of a place is an arch of the equator between the first meridian and that which passes through the place.
Longitude in.—The longitude at which a ship arrives.
Longitude left.—The longitude from which a ship has departed.
Long legs.—Long tacks.
Long lizard.—A pendant for carrying the lower boom topping lift out to the fore-yard-arm.
Long shoreman.—Literally, one who lives along the shore, such as boatmen, watermen, &c. It is a term of contempt often applied to a sailor.
Long splice.—A connection formed by unlaying a length of the strands of two ropes, laying up one strand in the room of another, and dividing and knotting.
Long stay.—When the cable forms a small angle with the ground, owing to the anchor being some distance ahead.
Long-togs.—Clothes worn ashore.
Long topgallant mast.—A topgallant mast, royal mast, and skysail mast all in one.
Loof.—A term to indicate the beginning of the curve of the planks as they approach the stern. Also, the old term for the after part of the bows of a ship.
Look-out.—The man stationed to look out for whatever he can see.
Loom.—An enlarged appearance, due to fog or darkness. Also, the part of an oar that is in a boat when the rest of it is out. To loom is to show up large.
Loose-fish.—A whaling term signifying that the whale is fair game for anybody who can catch it.
Louvered boards.—A kind of venetian blinds over a ship’s ports.
Lowdah.—A Chinese sailing-master.
Lower away!—Lower an object down.
Lower cheek.—A knee bolted to the bows of the ship and knee of the head.
Lower counter-rail.—A projected molding on the stern of a ship.
Lower deckers.—Guns on the lower deck.
Lower fore-topgallant sail.—The under portion of a double topgallant sail whose clews are stretched upon the topsail yard.
Lower fore-topsail.—The under portion of the fore-topsail whose clews are stretched upon the fore-yard.
Lower main-topsail.—The under portion of the top-sail, whose clews are stretched upon the main-yard.
Lower missen-topsail.—The under portion of the top-sail whose clews are stretched upon the crossjack yard.
Lower-studding-sail.—A large square sail extended beyond the fore-yard by the fore-topmast studding-sail boom and the swinging boom.
Louver studding-sail tripping-line.—A line leading through a thimble in the middle of the lower studding-sail and bent to the tack for taking it in.
Lower yardmen.—Men whose duty it is to furl or reef the courses.
Low pressure. —A method of disposing of used-up steam by passing it into the condenser through the eduction pipe and converting it into water.
Lubber’s hole.—An aperture in the tops so called because raw hands prefer to creep through it to going over the futtock shrouds.
Lubber’s point.—A mark on the compass bowl in a line with the ship’s head for the helmsman to keep the course to.
Luff.—A naval lieutenant. Also the weather side of a fore-and-aft sail. To luff is to bring a ship closer to the wind.
Luff-tackle.—A tackle consisting of a double and a single block, each fitted with a hook.
Luff upon luff.—A luff-tackle hooked to the fall of another luff-tackle, thus increasing the purchase.
Lugger.—A vessel rigged with a lug-sail. She has two or three masts. Some luggers carry top-sails.
Lugsail.—A sail shaped somewhat square and hoisted by a yard.
Lump.—A lighter.
Lumpers.—Men employed in taking in and discharging cargo.
Lunar day.—The interval between the moon’s departure from, and return to, the same meridian.
Lunar observation.—The measurement of the angular distance between the moon and sun, or between the moon and certain stars or planets.
Lunars.—Lunar observations: a method of obtaining the mean time of the day or night from the observed altitude of a celestial body, and comparing it with the mean solar time at Greenwich as shown by chronometer.
Lurch.—The sudden heavy roll of a ship on one side.
Lying along.—The situation of a ship pressed down by a gale.
Made mast.—A mast made of several pieces.
Magazines.—Powder-rooms in a man-of-war, called the fore and aft magazines.
Magnetic axis.—The direction of the magnetism of the needle.
Magnetic course.—A compass course corrected for deviation and leeway. Or the angle that a ship’s track makes with the magnetic meridian.
Main bowline.—A bowline that hauls out the weather leech of the main-sail.
Main-hatch.—The aperture in the deck through which the main-hold is entered.
Main-hold.—The central portion of the hold.
Main-mast.—The middle lower mast of a ship.
Main-royal backstay.—A support leading from the head of the royal mast.
Main-royal mast.—The mast above the main-topgallant mast.
Main-royal stay.—A support leading forward from the head of the royal mast to the head of the fore-topmast.
Main-royal staysail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay from the main-royal mast-head to the head of the fore-topmast.
Main-royal yard.—The yard above the topgallant yard.
Main-sail.—In a ship the sail that is bent to the main-yard. In a schooner the sail that is extended by a gaff and boom on the main-mast. A boom main-sail is a main-sail the foot of which is extended upon a boom. This term is sometimes given to a brig’s try-sail.
Main-sail haul!—The order to swing the main and mizzen yards in tacking.
Main sheet.—The ropes by which the lee lower corner of the mainsail is hauled aft.
Main-skysail mast.—The mast above the main-royal mast.
Main-skysail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay between the fore and main masts.
Main-stay.—A support leading from the head of the main-mast to the deck.
Main-tack.—The ropes which keep down the weather lower corner of the main-sail.
Main tackle.—A tackle used in securing the mast, setting up rigging, &c.
Main-top bowline.—The bowline for hauling out the weather leech of the main-topsail.
Main-topgallant.—In former times a flag was always said, when hoisted at the mast-head, to be flown at the main-topgallant, because in those days ships did not carry royal masts.
Main-topgallant backstay.—A support leading from the head of the topgallant mast.
Main-topgallant mast.—The mast above the main-topmast.
Main-topgallant stay.—A support leading forward from the head of the main-topgallant mast to the head of the fore-mast.
Main-topgallant staysail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay from the topgallant mast-head to the head of the foremast.
Main-topgallant yard.—The yard above the topsail yards.
Main-topmast.—The mast above the main-mast.
Main-topmast backstay.—A support leading from the head of the top-mast to the side of the ship.
Main-topmast stay.—A support leading forward from the head of the top-mast to the deck.
Main-topmast staysail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay from the top-mast head.
Main-topsail yards.—Double yards next above the main-yard.
Mainwales.—Lower wales into which the maindeck knee-bolts come.
Main-yard.—The lowest yard on the main-mast.
Main-yard men.—Men on the sick list.
Make.—To descry, as to make land. Also to approach, as the tide makes.
Make bad weather.—Said of a ship that rolls heavily and takes in water on deck.
Make eight bells!—The order to strike the bell eight times, signifying that it is noon by the sun.
Make headway.—The direct way a ship makes in sailing or steaming
Making bad weather.—Said of a vessel laboring heavily, shipping quantities of water, &c.
Make sail.—To add to the canvas already set.
Make water.—To leak.
Mallet.—A small wooden hammer
Man.—To man is to furnish a ship or boat with a crew.
Managing owner.—One of a firm who superintends or looks after all the business of a ship, and whose name is registered at the custom house of the ship’s port of registry.
Manger.—A kind of shelf in a man-of-war’s bows behind the hawse holes, with a coaming and scupper holes, meant to receive and eject the water when the cables are bent.
Manhandled.—Rudely handled by men. Moved by their force of muscle.
Manhole.—An aperture to enable a man to enter a marine boiler to clean it.
Manifest.—A document containing ship’s name, port of registry, registered tonnage, particulars of cargo, port of loading and discharge, list of passengers, stores, crew, &c., signed by the master.
Maneuvering.—Working a ship by her sails.
Man-of-war fashion.—Said of a merchant-ship in smart order, with a good crew, &c.
Manometer.—A steam-gauge.
Man-ropes.—Lines over the side of a ship to hold by in mounting or descending the steps.
Man the windlass!—The order to get the anchor up.
Mares’ tails.—Feather-like clouds indicative of wind.
Marine.—The Navy or the Merchant Service. Also a man belonging to the troops employed in the Navy.
Marine.—An empty bottle. Sometimes called dead marine or marine officer.
Marine Boards.—Local Marine Boards were appointed to carry out the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts.
Marine glue.—A glutinous, adhesive substance used in shipbuilding.
Mariner.—A sailor.
Mariner’s compass.—An instrument for steering ships. It consists of three principal parts—the card, the needle on its lower surface, and the case.
Marine stores.—The ropes, sails, provisions, &c , of a ship.
Marks.—Depths marked on the hand lead-line; i.e. 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 17 and 20 fathoms. The marks between are called deeps. Thus “by the mark 7 ” means seven fathoms, “by the deep 9” means nine fathoms. The fractions are a half and a quarter. 5 1/2 fathoms are called “and a half five,” 5 3/4 fathoms are called “a quarter less six.”
Marl.—To wind rope or small stuff round a rope.
Marline.—Two-stranded small stuff.
Marline-spike.—A bar of tapering iron with an eye at the thick end, used for opening the strands of rope for splicing, &c.
Marling-hitch.—A knot used in the process of marling.
Maroon.—To maroon a man is to set him ashore on a desolate coast or island.
Marooned.—Set ashore alone on a desert island or coast.
Marry.—To join ropes together with a worming.
Martingale.—A spar under the bowsprit end, used for guying down the headstays.
Massoolah boats.—Madras surf-boats.
Mast carlings.—Timbers which frame the partners.
Mast coat.—Canvas fitted round the mast, where it penetrates the upper deck, to prevent water from draining through the aperture.
Master.—The captain of a merchant ship.
Master mariner.—One who holds a certificate from the Board of Trade, showing that he has passed his examination as a master mariner. The master of a merchant-vessel.
Mast-head.—The portion of the mast from the eyes of the rigging to the top of the mast.
Mastheading.—Sending a midshipman aloft as a punishment.
Mast-head men.—Look-out men aloft.
Mast-partners.—A framing of timber between the beams for the support of masts.
Mate.—Signifies chief mate. There are 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and even 5th mates. The chief mate is the officer next in rank to the captain. He heads the port watch. The term also signifies an assistant, such as cook’s mate, boatswain’s mate, carpenter’s mate, &c.
Mats.—Made of old unlaid rope and used as chafing gear.
Maul.—A large iron hammer used by shipwrights.
Meaking iron.—A caulker’s tool for extracting oakum from seams.
Measured mile.—A nautical mile for testing speeds of steamers.
Medical inspector.—An inspector appointed by the Board of Trade or a local Marine Board to inspect, on application, any seaman applying for employment on board a ship.
Medico.—Ship’s doctor.
Meet her when she shakes!—The order to shift the helm when a vessel rounds into the wind.
Mercantile Marine Fund.—A fund created by fees, light-dues, ballastage rates, &c., and chargeable with salaries and expenses in connection with marine boards, lighting the coasts, lifeboats, and other expenses.
Mercator’s chart or projection.—A chart on which the meridians are drawn parallel to one another, the meridional degrees being increased between the parallels, so that the proportion between a degree of latitude and longitude may be everywhere preserved on the chart.
Mercator’s sailing.—The art of finding on a plane chart the progress of a ship along a given course.
Merchantman.—A passenger or cargo vessel.
Mess.—The division of the crew, or the officers who eat together.
Messenger.—A rope or chain for heaving in the cable.
Metacentre.—Sir. E. J. Reed defines this word thus: —”As regards the ‘metacentre,’ I must explain that in former times, when ‘initial stability’ alone was calculated, the word ‘ metacentre’ had a much more limited meaning than it possesses now. It formerly had relation to the upright position of the vessel, in which case the buoyancy acts upwards through the centre line of the ship’s course. After receiving a slight inclination the vessel has, as we have said, a new centre of buoyancy, and the buoyancy itself will act upwards along a fresh line slightly inclined to what was previously the upright line. This point was called the ‘metacentre.’ It is shown that when a ship is much more inclined, the point at which two consecutive lines of the buoyancy’s upward action will intersect may not be and often will not be in the middle line of the ship at all, but this point is nevertheless called the ‘metacentre,’ and the use of the word in this extended sense has recently become general.”
Metacentric height.—A delusive method of calculating a ship’s stability by computations which fix the metacentric height between points based upon the submerged volume of the hull, the weight of the machinery, freight, equipment, &c.
Metage.—Charges for weighing cargo.
Microscope.—A small lens for reading off the divisions on the graduated limb and vernier of a sextant.
Middle latitude sailing.—A method of navigating a ship, compounded of plane and parallel sailing.
Middle timber.—The central timber in the stern.
Middle watch.—The watch from midnight till four in the morning.
“Midge” system.—A system instituted by the Board of Trade for authorized persons to board all ships entering the port of London and induce the sailor to have his money forwarded to whatever part he is going to, in order to anticipate the harpies who prey upon seamen. “Midge” was the name of the steamer employed for the purpose of boarding.
Midshipman.—A naval cadet. In the merchant service a youth who does boy’s work for which privilege his friends pay the owners of the vessel.
Midshipman’s nuts.—Pieces of biscuit.
Mincer.—The name given to the sailor aboard a whaleman, whose duty it is to mince the horse-pieces of blubber for the try-pots.
Minion.—An old piece of ordnance used in ships; it threw a 4 lb. shot.
Minute-guns.—Guns fired every minute at a funeral.
Miss stays.—To fail in tacking.
Mitch board.—A crutch to support a mast when lowered
Mitts.—Rude gloves worn by sailors in very cold weather.
Mizzen.—A large fore-and-aft sail on the mizzen-mast of a ship or barque. Also called spanker.
Mizzen boom.—A small spar at the foot of a yawl’s mizzen.
Mizzen-mast.—The aftermost lower mast.
Mizzen-royal mast.—The mast above the mizzen-topgallant mast.
Mizzen-royal yard.—The yard above the topgallant yard.
Mizzen-topgallant mast.—The mast above the mizzen-topmast.
Mizzen-topgallant staysail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay from the topgallant mast-head to the head of the mainmast.
Mizzen-topgallant yard.—The yard above the topsail yards.
Mizzen-topmast.—The mast above the mizzen lower mast.
Mizzen-topmast staysail.—A fore-and-aft sail that sets on a stay, from the topmast head to the main-mast.
Mizzen-topsail yards.—The yards above the crossjack yard.
Mocking system.—A term applied to the method of building small vessels by bending battens to the stem, sternpost, and keel without laying off.
Monitor.—Armored steamer, of small draught, with one or more revolving turrets furnished with large guns. An American term.
Monkey.—An iron sliding ram used in driving in armor bolts in ironclads.
Monkey-block.—A small single block stropped with a swivel.
Monkey-poop.—This name has been given to a platform connecting a fore and after cabin in the after part of a vessel. It may also signify a very short poop.
Monkey-pump.—A pipe-stem or straw for sucking the contents of a cask.
Monkey-sparred.—Said of a ship when under-rigged.
Monsoons.—Trade-winds in the Indian Ocean.
Moon-blink.—Blindness caused by sleeping in the moonlight.
Mooney.—Partially intoxicated.
Moon-rakers.—Small sails above the sky-sails.
Moon-sail.—A sail above the sky-sail.
Moon-sheered.—Said of a ship with high upper works.
Moor.—A ship is moored when she has two anchors down in different directions.
Mooring-board.—A device to enable a ship moored and belonging to a fleet to ascertain the bearing and distance of either of her anchors from a given point.
Mooring-pipes.—Apertures in a steamer’s side for leading ropes for mooring purposes.
Moorings.—Buoys to which vessels are fastened.
Mooring-swivel.—A swivel to prevent a ship from getting a foul hawse when moored.
Moorsom’s rule.—A method of ascertaining the internal capacity of a ship by expressing it in cubic feet, and dividing by 100, each 100 feet to be a ton.
Morning gun.—A gun fired to announce daybreak.
Morning watch.—The watch from four a.m. till eight a.m.
Mortar.—A gun to throw life-lines to vessels in distress.
Morticed-block.—A single block of wood hollowed to receive a sheave.
Mortices.—Square holes in the trawl-heads used by smacks for the trawl-beam to fit into.
Molding-book.—A manuscript book containing information relative to the moldings of timbers, &c, used in some shipyards.
Molds.—The patterns of a vessel’s frames.
Mouse-lines.—Lines stretched over a ship in a dock to suspend a plummet to. They are intended to point out the centre of the docking blocks.
Mousing.—Small stuff wound round a hook to prevent it from slipping.
Mowree.—A New Zealander.
Mudhole.—An aperture near the bottom of a marine boiler for removing the deposit of mud and scale.
Mudlarks.—Formerly a name given to river thieves.
Mud pilot.—A pilot who carries a ship between the Docks of London and Gravesend.
Muffle.—To muffle oars is to put mats or canvas round the part that rests in the rowlock or between the thole-pins.
Munions.—The pieces between the lights in the galleries of ships in former times.
Muntz’s metal.—A combination of metals used for sheathing a vessel’s bottom.
Murdering-pieces.—An old name for cannons which were mounted upon the after part of the forecastle, with their muzzles greatly elevated.
Muster.—To muster the watch is to call over their names, each man answering, that it may be known all are on deck. In the same way the crew is mustered.
Nadir.—The nadir of a place is a point in the heavens immediately under it.
Name board.—A board affixed to the bows of a vessel on which her name is written.
National ship.—A state ship, a ship of war, a public ship.
Nautical Almanac.—An important and valuable work, full of calculations, and essential to the navigator.
Nautical Assessor.—A retired shipmaster or naval officer appointed to assist magistrates and justices of the peace in deciding upon marine questions.
Nautical mile.—6080 feet.
Naval armament.—Ships of war fitted out for a particular service.
Naval court.—A court composed of three to five members, consisting of a naval officer not below the rank of lieutenant, a consular officer, a master of a British merchantman, and the others, British merchants, ship-masters or naval officers.
Naval hoods.—Planking above and below the hawse-holes.
Naval lines.—Lines for holding truss-pendants parallel, that they may render more easily.
Naval officer.—One belonging to the royal navy.
Naval Reserve.—Merchant seamen who have volunteered to serve in the royal navy in war time. They are paid a trifling sum per year and are entitled to a pension.
Nave-hole.—A hole in a gun-truck for the axle-tree.
Navigable.—Said of a channel or river capable of being navigated.
Navigation.—The art of conducting a ship through the sea from one place to another. It is divided into two branches, Seamanship, comprehending the knowledge of the sails, rigging, steering, &c., and Navigation Proper, that is, the finding the ship’s latitude and longitude with the sextant, &c.
Navigation laws.—Protective laws framed with the idea of promoting the interests of British shipping and British seamen. Long since repealed.
Navigator.—One who can steer his ship by the art of navigation, but not necessarily a seaman.
Neaped.—Stranded by a spring tide, and having to wait for the next spring tide to float.
Neap tides.—Low tides coincident with the moon’s second and fourth quarters.
Near.—Close to the wind.
Necked.—Said of a treenail when bent or cracked in the timbers of a ship.
Necking.—A molding on the taffrail.
Necklace.—A rope or chain with legs fitted round the mast-head and used for making hanging blocks for the jib, stay-sail and stay, fast to.
Negative slip.—The neutralization of a certain amount of the propulsion of the screw of a steam-ship, due to the water dragged after her in her wake.
Nettings.—Where the hammocks in men-of-war are stowed, fitted round the ship on top of the bulwarks.
Nettles.—The halves of yarns in the unlaid end of a rope twisted up for pointing or grafting.
Net tonnage.—In sailing ships, the deduction from the gross tonnage of the tonnage of space appropriated to the use of crews. In steamers, in addition to the deduction of crew space, the gross tonnage is further reduced by an allowance for spaces occupied by the propelling power.
Neutral bottom.—A ship that in war-time takes no part with the belligerents.
Newcome.—A fresh hand just arrived.
News.—” Do you hear the news?” an exclamation that sometimes follows the call to the watch below to turn out.
Ninepin block.—A block shaped like a ninepin, and used as a fairleader.
Nip.—A short turn in a rope.
Nipcheese.—The old name for the purser’s steward.
Nippering.—Securing nippers by cross turns to jam them.
Nippers.—Marled yarns for binding the messenger to the cable and used for various purposes.
N.M.—New measurement. A method of ascertaining the internal cubical contents of a ship by certain calculations. Enacted in 1854.
Nock.—The upper fore-end of a sail that sets with a boom.
Nog.—A treenail or fastening.
No man’s land.—The old name of a space between the belfry and the bows of a boat stowed on the booms.
Nominal horse-power.—A power assumed to equal 33,000 lbs., raised one foot high in one minute.
Norie’s Epitome.—The best treatise on navigation ever published.
Non-return valve.—A valve in connection with the feed-cock of a marine boiler, to prevent the return of the water from the boiler.
Nous.—Used at sea as a synonym for spunk.
Norman.—A wooden bar or iron pin.
Nose.—The stem of a ship.
Notaries public.—Persons authorized to draw up official statements made by a shipmaster, regarding damage, failure of merchants to furnish cargoes, &c.
Nothing off.—An order to the helmsman to keep the vessel close to the wind.
Notions.—A mixed cargo of small things for sale or barter.
Noting protest.—A protest noted by a shipmaster before a public notary, magistrate, or consul, when sea-perils have occurred. It forms the shipowner’s defense for non-delivery of goods, or for their delivery in a damaged state. It is also an instrument for the recovery of contributions from persons interested in the safety of the voyage. It also supports the shipowner in his claim upon the underwriters.
Number.—The number of a ship’s certificate of registry. Making her number is said of a ship hoisting the flags which indicate her name.
Nun-buoy.—A buoy tapering at each end.
Nurse.—The first lieutenant of a man-of-war commanded by a captain who is there by influence, but who has no capacity.
Oakum.—Yarns picked into hemp.
Oar.—A long piece of wood with a blade at one end.
Oars!—The command to stop rowing by raising the oars from the water and letting them lie horizontally in the rowlocks.
Oblique sailing.—A method of navigation adopted in coasting along shores, surveying coasts, &c.
Observation.—To get an observation is to take the altitude of a heavenly body.
Occulting.—A light visible for less than thirty seconds between eclipses.
Odd backstay.—The foremost one, serving as a breast backstay.
Odd shroud.—The after shroud.
Off and on.—Keeping near the land by heading in and standing out.
Officer of the watch.—The lieutenant or mate in charge of the deck.
Official log-book.—A book for special entries, such as sickness, death, desertion, mutiny, drunkenness, &c.
Offing.—Distance from the shore.
Oilskins.—The waterproof coat, leggings, and sou’-wester worn by sailors.
Old man.—The term applied to the captain by a crew.
Old standing rigging makes bad running gear.—Signifying that old seamen will not do for posts requiring activity, and usually filled by young men.
Oldster.—A midshipman or apprentice who has already made one or more voyages.
O.M.—Old measurement, known as Builder’s Measurement. This measurement was according to an old law of 1773. The length of the keel was multiplied by the breadth of the vessel measured in a prescribed manner, the product multiplied by half the breadth, and the whole divided by 94. The quotient was considered to give the true contents of the tonnage.
On a bowline.—Close to the wind with the bowline hauled out.
On a wind.—Sailing close to the wind.
On deck there /—A call from up aloft or from the hold for attention.
Only mate.—The only mate carried in a ship. For a steamer, he must be nineteen years of age, and must have served five years at sea, in order to qualify him for an examination for a certificate.
On the beam.—Said of an object right abreast.
On the bow.—Said of an object that bears more or less to the right or left of the bowsprit.
On the quarter.— Said of an object that bears abaft the beam on either hand.
Open hawse.—To ride with two anchors down without a cross in the cables.
Open policy.—A policy of marine insurance, that does not name the values of the interests insured, but leaves them to be ascertained, should a loss happen.
Order-book.—A book for entering the orders of an admiral or senior officer.
Ordinary seaman,—The term applied to a sailor who is rated after and next to Able Seaman.
Orlop.—The deck next the hold of a man-of-war.
O.S.—Initials to signify ordinary seaman.
Oscillating engine.—A marine engine in which the cylinder follows the oscillations of the crank.
Outer jib.—A fore-and-aft sail, setting on a stay, from the fore-topmast-head to the end of the jib-boom.
Outfit.—The stores, gear, furniture, &c., of a ship; a term signifying every requisite for a voyage. Also applied to clothes.
Outhaul.—A rope to haul out the spanker or a try-sail.
Out of gear.—A marine engine is said to be thrown out of gear when the eccentric is detached from the slide valve gear.
Outports.—All ports in Great Britain out of London.
Outrigger.—A boat with rowlocks extended by arms. Also a spar on the crosstrees to spread the royal and top-gallant backstays. Also a log of wood at the side of a boat, to prevent it capsizing. Also a spar to extend leading blocks or the foot of a sail.
Outsail.—A ship is said to outsail another when she beats her in sailing.
Outward desertion.—Desertion of ships outward bound, lying in British ports.
Outwards.—A term signifying that a ship is entered at the Custom House to depart from a home port for a foreign place.
Overboard.—Over the side; out of the ship.
Overfalls.—Casts of the lead showing great unevenness of bottom.
Overhand knot.—The end of a rope passed over the standing part and through the bight.
Overhaul.—Variously used. Overhaul a clewline, case it up; overhaul a tackle, pull on the leading parts so as to lengthen the interval between the blocks. Again, to overhaul is to examine. Overhaul the cable.—To ease the bights of the chain cable around the windlass barrel so that it may pay out through the hawsepipe.
Overloading.—Putting more cargo into a ship than she is safely able to carry in any condition of weather. Simple as the definition of this term appears, there are few words whose meaning has been more disputed. Owners have one definition, sailors another, the Board of Trade a third.
Over-rake.—Waves over-rake a ship when they break over her bows as she rides at anchor.
Over-rigged.—Top-hampered with heavy gear.
Over-sea.—Over-sea vessels are vessels from foreign ports.
Owners.—The proprietors of a ship.
Packet.—A mail-boat.
Pack-ice.—Fragments of ice heaped together.
Packing.—Metal rings, hemp, india-rubber, &c.. used to render pistons, slide-valves, &c., steam-tight.
Packing-box.—A steam-tight partition in a marine engine.
Pad.—A piece of timber fixed on a beam for the curve of the deck.
Paddle-box boats.—Boats fitted to the paddle-box bottom up.
Paddle-boxes.—Large semi-circular casings for enclosing the upper part of the wheels of a paddle-steamer.
Paddy.—Rice in the husk.
Painter.—A rope in the bow of a boat.
Palm.—The fluke of an anchor. Also a piece of leather with a shape of iron let into it, fitting around the hand and into the palm, and used by sail-makers in sewing canvas.
Pampero.—A squall encountered in the Rio de la Plata.
Paper-boat.—A boat sheathed with very thin planking.
Parallax.—The difference between the true and apparent place of a celestial body; the apparent place being its situation when viewed from the surface of the earth, and the true place its situation if observed at the same time from the centre of the earth.
Parallel motion.—A name applied to a contrivance in an engine by means of which the piston-rod is made to work in a straight line parallel to the inner surface of the cylinder.
Parallel of latitude.—A circle parallel to the equator.
Parallel sailing.—A method of finding the distance between two places in the same latitude when their difference of longitude is known, or of finding the difference of longitude answering to the meridian distance when a ship sails east or west.
Parbuckle.—A rope round a spar or cask for hoisting or lowering.
Parcelling.—Wrapping narrow strips of tarred canvas round a rope.
Parliament-heel.—The situation of a ship laid over by shifting her ballast in order to get at her bottom side.
Parral—That which confines an upper yard to the mast at the centre.
Part.—To break. “The rope parted,” the rope broke.
Particular average.—Damage or partial loss unavoidably happening to an individual interest through peril insured against.
Partners.—Frames of timber to solidify holes in which masts, capstans, bitts, pumps, &c., are sunk.
Pass.—To take turns with a rope or seizing, &c.
Passing-box.—A case formerly used in which powder was handed up for serving a gun.
Patent log.—An instrument of brass, a portion of which rotates in the water, the number of revolutions being expressed by miles on the indexes.
Patent reefing topsail.—A plan by which a top-sail reefs itself by the yard rolling up the sail as it is lowered.
Patent slip —A slip for hauling up vessels for repairs.
Paul-bitt.—A strong timber fitted with notched iron for checking the reverse action of the windlass by catching the pawls.
Paul-rim.—A notched iron ring let into the deck for the capstan pauls to work in.
Paunch.—A piece of wood formerly affixed to the fore and mainmasts of ships to allow the lower yards, in their descent, to pass clear of the mast hoops.
Paunch-mats.—Used for chafing gear.
Pawl over all!—Heaving the windlass round with one continuous motion.
Pawls.—Movable pieces of iron to prevent a capstan, windlass barrel, or winch from slipping backwards.
Pay.—To pay is to cover oakum in caulked seams with melted pitch.
Paying off.—When a ship’s head falls from the wind.
Paymaster.—The title of the person who fills the post on board a man-of-war formerly occupied by the purser. He has the charge of provisions, pays the crew, &c.
Pay out.—To pass out rope.
Pazaree.—A rope used for guying the clews of the fore-sail out by reeving it through a block on the swinging boom.
Pea.—The bill of an anchor. See Bill.
The Peace Pilot.—Today is the day of Uncle Sam’s peace. Tomorrow we may hear the rumblings of war at our sea gates. Prosperity has made the country rich; sooner or later we shall become the objective prey of a covetous nation. A Navy second to none is our only possible safeguard, but our Navy can never be adequate unless built upon the practical foundations of a Merchant Marine.
Pea-jacket.—A stout pilot-cloth all-round coat.
Peak.—The upper aftermost corner of a spanker or try-sail.
Peak-downhaul.—A rope at the end of the gaff to haul it down by.
Peak-halyards.—A tackle connected with the end of the gaff for hoisting it.
Peak-purchase.—A purchase for tautening standing-peak halyards.
Pennant.—Flown only by ships of war; the English is a long strip of bunting with St. George’s cross in the head. Also a rope to which a purchase is hooked.
Percentage of spare buoyancy.—The proportion borne by the part of a ship that is above water, and which part is for the purpose of floating her, to the portion that is under water.
Persuader.—A rope’s end, stick, belaying pin, anything a man can be struck with.
Petard.—A metal machine filled with gunpowder, and fired by a pole.
Petty officer.—A divisional seaman in the navy of the first class.
Philadelphia catechism.—The following doggerel is so called, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thou art able, And on the seventh—holystone the decks and scrape the cable.
Philadelphia lawyer.—” Enough to puzzle a “—Jack’s growl over a story he cannot wholly disbelieve nor accept.
Picaroon.—A privateersman. Also a piratical vessel.
Piccary.—Small piracies.
Picking up a wind.—To deviate in search of trade or other constant breeze.
Pickling.—Rubbing brine into a sailor’s back after a flogging; also a mode of preserving naval timber.
Pick up.—To “pick up a sail” is to raise it on to the yard for stowing.
Pierced.—Pierced for guns means the apertures in a ship’s side through which guns can be discharged.
Piercer.—A kind of small marline-spike for making eyelet-holes.
Pierhead jump.—The tumbling of sailors aboard a ship at the last moment from the dock or pierhead.
Pierman.—A man employed by Harbor authorities for making fast or letting go warps, fasts, &c., for vessels, and doing other work about a harbor.
Pigs.—Pieces of iron used as ballast.
Pig-tail.—Tobacco for chewing. Sailors generally chew the plug or square.
Pilchard drivers.—Small Cornish smacks, half-decked luggers.
Pillar buoy.—A buoy having a tall central structure on a broad base.
Pillars.—Iron bars riveted to the beams of iron ships, and secured through the deck-plank to the beam below, to increase structural strength.
Pillow.—A block under the inner end of the bowsprit.
Pill yawl.—A Bristol Channel pilot-boat.
Piloting.—Piloting is divided into two branches. Common Piloting, which means the knowledge of how to coast along shore, and Proper Piloting, which means the knowledge of how to navigate a ship by the heavenly bodies when out of sight of land.
Pilots.—Persons licensed by the Trinity House, and by local authorities to navigate ships in certain waters.
Pilot-signals.—A ship requiring a pilot signals as follows: in the day time she hoists the Jack or other national color worn by merchant ships, at the fore, or a square blue flag, with a white square for a centre, hoisted over a flag composed of three vertical bars colored red white and blue, these flags representing P.T. in the International Code Pilotage Signal. In the night, a blue light every fifteen minutes, or a bright white light shown at intervals above the bulwarks.
Pin.—An iron bolt for the sheave of a block to travel on.
Pinch-gut.—A mean purser.
Pinch-gut pay.—Short allowance money.
Pinch-gut ship—The name that used to be given to ships in which sailors were badly fed.
Pink.—A ship with a very narrow stern. The narrow stern rendered the quarter guns very serviceable.
Pink stern.—A high narrow stern.
Pinnace.—One of the boats of a man-of-war.
Pin-racks.— Hoops fitted with belaying-pins round a mast.
Pintles.—The pins on which a rudder works.
Pipe down!—The order to send such of the men below as are not wanted on deck
Piragua.—A canoe made out of the trunk of a tree. See ” Robinson Crusoe.”
Pirate.—A robber on the high seas.
Pirate’s flag.—Used to be a black field with a skull and battle-axe, sometimes an hour-glass.
Pisco.—A spirituous drink manufactured in Peru, and much drunk by sailors in the South Seas.
Pitch.—A thick black substance obtained by boiling down tar; also the action of a ship alternately heaving and depressing her bows ; also the pitch of a screw propeller is the axial length of a whole turn of the thread.
Pitch-pole.—A sea is said to pitch-pole a boat when it hits her under the bows and throws her right up and down standing on her stern.
Pitch-poling.—A mode of killing whales by launching at them a lance to which is attached a warp to enable the harpooner to bring the lance back to his hand.
Pit-pan.—A flat-bottomed canoe.
Place.—The spot in which a ship is when at sea. Thus “everything relating to her place should be noted in the log;” that is, everything relating to the place she is in at the time of the occurrences,
Plane sailing.—An art of navigation based upon a supposition of the earth being an extended plane.
Plankage.—Charges on vessels in docks for the use of planks, for loading or unloading.
Plank it.—To plank it is to Je on the bare deck.
Planks.—Boards which cover the sides and form the decks of ships.
Plat.—Foxes braided.
Plate.—A sheet of iron or steel fixed to the frames of an iron vessel.
Plate-armor.—Steel or iron plates of great thickness on men-of-  war, to render them shot-proof.
Plate-riders.—Diagonal iron plates fitted on the outside of the frames of fir-built ships of a certain tonnage and length.
Plate-ship.—The name given to the old galleons which were freighted with jewels, plate, and other treasure.
Platform.—A fabric used in smacks for keeping the ballast in its place.
Pledget.—The string of oakum used in caulking.
Plug,—A piece of metal, wood, or cork to fill the hole in the bottom of a boat. Also a piece of cake tobacco.
Plug-hole.—A hole in the bottom of a boat to let the water drain out as she hangs at the davits, or stands on the skids.
Plumb.—Straight up and down, as “to stay the fore-topmast plumb.”
Plumber-blocks.—Blocks in a marine steam-ship in which the bushes are fixed in which the shafts or pinions revolve.
Plunger.—A small fast-sailing cutter with a centre board. Also a liston without valves.
Plunging fire.—Shot discharged from a higher level than that occupied by the object aimed at.
Ply.—To beat, to work to windward.
P.O.—Petty officer.
Pocket-bunker.—A bunker in the space between the cylinder of the engine and the sides of the boiler and upper stringers, and containing coal, usually the last used in a voyage.
Point.—To decorate a rope’s end by working nettles over it.
Point-blank.—Aiming direct at the heart of the object without elevating the gun.
Polaccre.—A two-masted vessel, her lower and top masts in one, without tops : but with top-mast crosstrees and fidded topgallant masts.
Polar distance.—An arch of the meridian contained between the centre of an object and either pole of the equinoctial.
Pole.—A name given to the sky-sail masts. The end of a tall royal mast, from the yard when hoisted, to the truck is sometimes called the pole.
Pole-compass.—An inverted compass fixed on the top of a staff to remove it from local attraction.
Pole mast.—A pole mast is a single mast, such as some steamers are rigged with. Sky-sail pole is the name sometimes given to the sky-sail mast.
Poles.—Timbers for cargo consisting of the trunks of trees.
Pommelion.—The hindmost knob on the breech of a cannon.
Pontoon.—A portable boat used in fixing floating bridges.
Poop.—A raised after-deck.
Poop downhaul.—An imaginary rope, a seaman’s jest, like “clapping the keel athwart-ships,” and other such sayings.
Pooped.—Struck by a sea that washes over the stern.
Poop-house.—A house upon a raised quarter-deck for masters and mates, &c., to live in.
Poop-lantern.—A light shown by the flag-ship.
Poppets.—Timbers to support the bilgeways in launching.
Popple.—A sharp, cross sea, in water not very deep, as near a coast, in a bay, &c.
Port.—The left-hand side looking from the stern towards the bows.
Port bars.—Pieces of wood to secure the ports from flying open inbad weather.
Port-fire.—A signal that when ignited bursts forth into a shower of fire.
Port-flange.—A batten over a port to prevent water from washing- in.
Port-hole.—A window for a cabin. An aperture in a ship’s side to point a gun through.
Port-lids.—Covers for the ports in rough weather.
Port of registry.—The port at which a ship has been registered.
Portoise.—The gunwale.
Port pendants.—Ropes fixed to the outside of a port-lid for working it by a tackle.
Port-ropes.—For hauling up and suspending the ports.
Ports.—Large holes in the sides of a ship.
Port sashes.—Glazed half-ports or windows for the admission of light.
Port tack.—Sailing close to the wind blowing over the left-handbow.
Port the helm!—Shift the helm so as to force the vessel’s head to the right.
Posted.—The old term for signifying the promotion from commander to captain.
Post-ship.—A name originally given to a twenty-gun ship to signify that she was of the lowest class to which a post-captain could be appointed.
Pouches.—Bulkheads for stowing purposes.
Pounders.—Said of a gun according to the weight of the ball it carries. Large guns are described by the diameter of their bore.
Powder-flag.—A red flag hoisted to indicate that the ship has gunpowder in her.
Powder-monkey.—formerly a boy who had charge of the cartridge of the gun to which he belonged.
Pram.—A Norwegian lug-rigged slipper-shaped boat.
Pratique.— License to trade and have communication with a place after quarantine or on the production of a clean bill of health.
Prayer-book.—A small holystone.
Press-gang.—A number of men dispatched from the crew of a man-of-war to seize merchant seamen and force them to serve in the navy.
Pressure.—Expansion or forcing power of steam calculated in pounds-weight upon the square inch of a boiler.
Preventer. —A rope used as an additional support for masts, booms, &c.
Preventer plates.—Additional irons for securing the chains.
Preventer stoppers.—Short ropes for securing the rigging in an engagement.
Preventive service.—The old name for the coastguard service.
Prick.—A mass of tobacco soaked in rum, and rolled up in canvas in a conical shape. Also a quantity of spun yarn laid up close.
Pricker.—A small marline-spike.
Pricking a chart.—Marking off on a chart the course made by a ship.
Pride of the morning.—A shower of rain.
Priming.—The boiling over of water in a boiler, due to muddy water, or to the commingling of different kinds of water, &c.
Prise.—To lift a weight with a handspike. To force anything open.
Prise-bolts.—Projections on a gun-carriage for the handspike to hold by, in raising the breech.
Prismatic compass.—A compass in which the divisions of the card are read by reflection at the same time that the bearing itself is taken.
Privateer.—A vessel furnished with a letter of marquee.
Prize.—A vessel captured from an enemy.
Prize-officer.—An officer in charge of a ship captured from an enemy.
Prong.—A small boat met with in Ireland. It has a high canoe shaped stem, and is used by fishermen for boarding their vessels, or for ferrying, &c.
Protected men.—A term signifying merchant seamen not fit to serve in the Royal Navy.
Protractor.—A small semicircle of brass or horn, for drawing or measuring angles.
Provisional detention.—The detention of a ship by the Board of Trade for survey, either for her final detention or release.
Prow.—The poetical term for the stem or bows. Also the old name for a bumpkin.
Puddening.—Mats, yarns, oakum, &c., used as chafing gear.
Pump-barrel.—The tube in which the pump-rod or piston moves.
Pump-brake.—The handle of the primitive hand-pump.
Pumps.—There are many kinds of ship’s pumps worked by steam or by a windmill or by hand.
Pump-spear.—The rod worked by the handle.
Pumps suck!—An exclamation to indicate that the vessel is free of the water that was to be pumped out.
Pump well.—An enclosure round the main-mast and pumps, where the water that penetrates a vessel collects.
Punt.—A little boat carried by small vessels.
Puoys.—Poles for driving barges or keels, by thrusting them laterally against the bottom of the river.
Purchase.—The power obtained by reeving a line through a block or blocks.
Purser.—Formerly a person on board a ship-of-war, who had charge of the provisions, clothes, &c.
Purser’s dip.—A little dip candle.
Purser’s grins.—”There are no half-laughs or purser’s grins about me. I’m right up and down like a yard of pump water,” meaning that the speaker is in earnest.
Pursers name.—A false name.
Purser’s shirt.—”A purser’s shirt on a handspike” said of ill-fitting clothes.
Putchers.—Contrivances used in the Bristol Channel for catching salmon. They are so fixed that the tide forces the fish into them.
Put off.—To quit a vessel, or the shore, in a boat.
Pyrites.—Gold-like scales in coal, and the cause of spontaneous combustion on board coal-freighted ships.
Q.E.D.—The name of the first iron screw collier built in this country, 1844. She was an auxiliary.
Quadrant.—An instrument for measuring altitudes at sea. It consists of an octant or frame, an arch or limb and an index, and is furnished with a nonius or scale, index and horizon glasses, shades and sight vanes. Also a yoke.
Quadrant tiller.—A yoke shaped in the form of a quadrant, See Yoke.
Quadrate.—To quadrate a gun is to adjust it on its carriage for level firing.
Quakers.—Sham guns, formerly used by merchantmen to frighten the enemy with an exhibition of strength.
Qualified pilot.—A person duly licensed by any pilotage authority to conduct a ship to which he does not belong.
Qualities.—A ship’s capacity for sailing, carrying, and the like.
Quant.—A bargeman’s long pole.
Quarantine.—The detention of a ship with sickness on board for a prescribed time, during which her people are allowed no intercourse with the shore.
Quarter.—The portion of a yard between the slings and the yardarm. Also the after-sides of a ship. Also sparing the life of a conquered enemy. An old sea term. “The crew called for quarter.”
Quarter-badge.—Ornamentation on the quarters of a ship.
Quarter-bill.—A list of the stations for men to take in time of action.
Quarter-blocks.—Blocks for the clew-lines and the sheets of the sail set above them to reeve through.
Quarter-boats.—Boats suspended on davits near the quarters.
Quarter-cask.—Half a hogshead.
Quarter-cloths.—Pieces of painted canvas over the quarter-netting.
Quarter-deck.—The after-deck of a flush-decked ship. When there is a poop, the quarter-deck extends from the break of the poop to a short distance forward.
Quarter-deckers.—The name given to officers who are sticklers for small points of etiquette, but who have little knowledge as seamen.
Quarter-fishes.—Stout pieces of wood hooped on to a mast to strengthen it.
Quarter-gallery.—A balcony that was formerly on the quarter of large ships.
Quarter-line.—Ships of a column ranged in a line, one being abaft another’s beam.
Quarter-man.—A dockyard officer.
Quarter-master.—A person whose duty is to attend to the helm.
Quarter-nettings.—Nettings on the after-part of a ship for the stowage of hammocks.
Quarter-pieces.—Projections beyond the quarters of a ship for adding cabin accommodation there.
Quarter-ports.—Apertures in the after-sides.
Quarters.—The officers’ and crew’s stations in an engagement.
Quarter-slings.— Supports for a yard on either side the centre of it.
Quarter stops.—Fastenings to keep the bunt of a large sail snug in sending it up or down.
Quarter-tackle.—A tackle fitted to the quarter of the main-yard for hoisting or lowering heavy articles.
Quarter-watch.—An arrangement in men-of-war by which only one fourth of the crew have the watch on deck.
Quashee.—A West Indian negro.
Quicken.—To increase a curve.
Quick-work.—Short planks between the ports. All that part of a ship’s side which lies between the chain wales and decks; so called because it was the work the quickest completed in building a ship.
Quid.—A piece of tobacco for chewing.
Quilting.—A coating for a vessel formed of ropes woven together. Also rope’s-ending a man.
Quoin.—A wedge to support the breech of a gun for depressing or elevating it. Also a wedge to steady casks.
R.—An initial signifying “run,” placed against the name of a deserter.
Rabbet.—The part of the stem and stern-post where the hood-ends fit into.
Race.—A strong tide. Also the engines of a steamer race when they work with great rapidity from the loss of resisting power, caused, for instance, by the breaking of the shaft or the dropping off of the propeller, or the raising of the stern of the ship, thereby lifting the screw out of the water.
Rack.—A fair-leader for running rigging.
Rack-bar.—A wooden lever.
Rack-block.—A piece of wood shaped into several blocks and used for fair-leaders.
Racking.—Seizing two ropes together.
Raddle.—To make flat work, such as boat’s gripes, by interlacing.
Raffle.— Odds and ends of gear, a muddle of rigging such as might litter a deck from the fall of a mast, &c.
Raft-port.—A bow-port, sometimes a port under the counter for timber-loading.
Raft-dog.—A piece of flat iron with the ends bent.
Rafting.—To float timber or casks to or from a ship by binding them together.
Raise tacks and sheets!—An order in tacking to let go the fore and main tacks and main sheet.
Rake.—The inclination of a mast from the perpendicular. Also to sweep a ship’s deck by firing along her whole length over her stem or bows.
Rakish.—Having the look of being fast and powerful.
Ram.—A projection at the stem of an iron-clad.
Ram-head.—A halyard-block.
Ram-line.—A line used for finding a straight middle line on a spar.
Ramming.—Driving a ship, furnished with a projection under her bows, stem on into another.
Ramshackle.—Disorderly. Said of a ship in a bad condition of hull and masts.
Randan fashion.—A boat rowed by a bow and stroke man, each pulling one oar, and a midship man pulling a pair of sculls.
Range— Range alongside, to draw abreast. Also an extent of cable ranged along the deck ready for letting go the anchor.
Range-heads.—The windlass bitts.
Rap-full.—Said of a ship on a wind when her sails are clean full.
Rasing iron.—A caulker’s tool for cleaning seams.
Rate.—The rate of a chronometer is the difference of its daily errors. Also the rating of a seaman is his rank or position.
Rational horizon—A circle parallel to the sensible horizon passing through the centre of the earth.
Ratlines.- Small ropes fastened to the shrouds, and forming a ladder.
Rat’s tail.—A rope’s end that tapers.
Rattle down.—To put on ratlines.
Rave-hook.—A tool for extracting oakum from seams.
Razee.—A line-of-battle ship cut down by one deck.
Ready about!—The order for all hands to go to their stations for tacking.
Rear-Admiral.—The admiral in command of the third division of a fleet. He carries his flag at the mizzen.
Rearing.—Said of the sides of a ship which are up and down like a wall.
Rear-ship.—The hindmost vessel of a fleet.
Rebojos.—Severe S.W. squalls encountered off the coast of Brazil.
Recall signals.—Lights or flags hoisted by a vessel to recall her boats.
Receiver of wreck.—A person appointed to take charge of any vessel stranded or in distress, and to receive depositions from mariners who have been in peril, &c.
Reckoning.—A ship’s reckoning is the account of the vessel’s position, by which it can be known at any time, approximately, where she is.
Red flag at masthead.—French privateers used to hoist this color before an engagement, to signify that, if they conquered, they would give no quarter.
Reef.—To diminish the expanse of a sail by knotting the reef points in it upon the yard, or at the foot of a fore-and-aft sail.
Reef a bowsprit.—To reef a bowsprit is to heave it by a heel-rope in board to the required fid-hole, and then set up the gear again.
Reef-bands.—Bands of canvas across a sail to strengthen it for the reef-points.
Reefbecket.—A becket with a toggle for reefing. The end of the becket is passed under the reef-line and then toggled.
Reefer.—A midshipman.
Reefing paddles.—To reef a paddle-wheel is to disconnect the float boards from the paddle-arms and secure them afresh nearer the centre of the wheel.
Reef in stays —Reefing top-sails when in the act of tacking.
Reef knot.—A knot formed of two loops, one enclosing the other.
Reef-line.—A rope affixed across a sail for passing the beckets under in reefing.
Reef-pendant.—A rope in the after leech of a boom main-sail for bowsing down, with a tackle, the after-leech to the boom.
Reef-tackles.—Tackles to haul out the leech of a sail to the yardarms when reefing it.
Reef-tackle spans.—Cringles in the bolt-rope.
Reeming.—Opening seams for the admission of caulking.
Reeming-beetle.—A large mallet.
Reeming-iron.—The tool used in opening the seams.
Reeve.—To pass a rope through a block or any aperture or eye.
Refit.—To repair damages. To put the rigging into proper condition.
Refraction.—The difference between the real and apparent place of a heavenly body.
Register.—A ship’s register is a document giving her name, tonnage, official number, &c.
Registrar-General of Seamen.—An officer appointed to keep a register of all persons who serve in ships which come under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts.
Relieve.—To relieve is to replace a man by another, so that he may rest. “Relieve the wheel,” an order for a man to take the helmsman’s place at the end of two hours.
Relieving tackles.—Tackles hooked on the tiller to help the helm in heavy weather.
Render.—To pass a rope through a place. A rope is also said to render when it surges or slips. Also to yield. A cable is rendered when it is eased.
Respondentia.—Money lent on security of cargo.
Retard.—A term applied to the time that has elapsed between the moon’s transit, at which a tide originated, and the appearance of the tide itself.
Revenue-cutter.—An armed, single-masted vessel for preventing smuggling.
Reverse valve.—A valve fixed on or near the top of a marine boiler, to prevent the straining of the boiler by the outside atmosphere when a vacuum takes place in the boiler.
Rhumb-line.—A track on the earth’s surface that cuts all the meridians at the same angle. Also rhumb-lines are the lines which divide the compass card into thirty-two points.
Ribbands.—Pieces of timber nailed outside the ribs of a wooden ship.
Ribbing-nail.—A large nail used in wooden ship building.
Riders.— Poles used in stowing flax, &c.
Ride.—To ride at anchor, to lie at anchor. “She rode easily,” said of a ship making good weather when hove-to in a storm.
Ride down.—To hang on to halyards, so as to help with one’s weight the men who are hauling. Also to come down a stay for tarring it.
Riders.—Timber from the keelson to the orlop beams for additional strength. Also casks stowed above the ground tier. Also contrivances for strengthening a wooden ship against hogging and sagging strains.
Ridge-ropes.—The ropes to which an awning is stretched. Also life-lines, stretched along in foul weather.
Riding-bills.—The bitts to which a cable is fastened when a ship is at anchor.
Riding-light.—A lantern hoisted or shown on board a vessel at anchor.
Rig.—The rig of a vessel means her character ; as brig-rig, barquerig, ship-rig,&c. Also to fit all the rigging to a ship’s masts.
Rig in.—To draw a boom in.
Rig out.—To run a boom out. Also to dress or outfit a person.
Rig the capstan.—To ship the bars ready for heaving.
Rigger.—A man whose vocation is that of rigging vessels.
Rigging.—Standing rigging consists of all those ropes which are fixed, such as shrouds, backstays, &c. Running rigging of all those ropes which can be pulled upon, such as halyards, clew-lines, &c.
Right ascension.—The right ascension of a celestial body is an arch of the equinoctial contained between the first point of Aries and the point of the equinoctial cut by a meridian passing through the object.
Right-handed.—A rope the strands of which are laid with the sun, i.e. from right to left.
Righting.—Said of a ship that recovers herself after having been thrown on her beam-ends.
Right the helm.—Put it amidships; in a line with the keel.
Right up and down.—Said of a dead calm.
Rim.—The edge of a top.
Ring.—An iron hoop at the upper extremity of the shank of an anchor for attaching the cable to.
Ring-bolt.—A ring fitted to an eye-bolt.
Ring-stopper.—Rope secured to a ring-bolt and attached to the cable through other ring-bolts as a precaution in veering.
Ring-tail.—A small sail, shaped like a jib and set outside the spanker.
Rivet.—A bar of metal used for securing the plates of an iron ship to the frames.
Roach.—The curve in the foot of a sail.
Road.—An anchorage clear of the shore.
Rotund.—A piece of line or sennit at the head of a sail to attach it to the jackstay.
Roband hitch.—A hitch for securing the pieces of rope which secure a sail to the jackstay.
Rocket.—A signal of distress. Also a means of firing a line to a ship in distress.
Rocket-apparatus.—A contrivance for throwing a line to a ship by a rocket; a block and rove line are then conveyed, by means of which a hawser is sent aboard, and the men are brought ashore in a cradle or breeches buoy.
Rode oj all.—An order to throw in the oars of a boat.
Roger.—One of the names of the pirate’s flag.
Rogue’s yarn.—A yarn in a rope for detecting its theft.
Roll.—To sway from side to side in contradistinction to pitch.
Rollers.—A violent swell during a calm ; attributed to the earthquake wave, but the origin is not satisfactorily known.
Rolling hitch.—A hitch for attaching the tail of a jigger. &c., to a rope.
Rolling tackles.—Tackles for steadying the yards in rough weather.
Rombowline.—Old rope, canvas, &c.
Rooming.—Running to leeward.
Rope—A line composed of threads of hemp, coir, manila, steel, or other stuff. The threads are called yarns; the yarns are twisted into strands, and the strands laid up into rope. Also to rope a sail is to affix ropes, called the bolt-ropes, to the sides of it all round, in order to strengthen it, &c.
Rope funnel.—A funnel formerly used, when a better was not to be had, for filling water-casks, and was made by flemishing a length of rope down, stopping the parts at each turn with rope yarns, and then turning it inside out so as to form a cone.
Ropemaker’s eye.—An eye or loop in a hemp cable formed by two strands twisted up on the bight.
Ropes.—”To know the ropes”—to know his business.
Rope’s-ending.—Beating a man or boy with the end of a rope.
Rope yarn—A thread of any stuff of which ropes are made.
Rope yarn knot.—A knot used in tying yarns together, formed by splitting the ends of two yarns, and knotting one of the split parts.
Rose.—A strainer at the heel of a pump to prevent choking.
Rose-lashing:—Lashing used for the eyes of rigging, &c.
Rosier.—A list for routine on any particular duty.
Rough-tree.—An unfinished mast or spar.
Round charter.—A charter on a round of voyages.
Round dozen.—Thirteen lashes when men were flogged.
Round-house.—A cabin built on deck roofed by the poop.
Round in.—To haul, as “round in the weather braces.”
Rounding.—A sort of small junk, unlaid. Also rope round a large rope.
Round shot.—A single solid iron shot of various weights.
Roundup.—To haul upon a tackle.
Rouse.—To haul taut; to pull in or drag forward.
Roving commission.—Liberty to an officer in command of a ship of war to cruise wherever he thinks proper.
Rowle.—A small crane.
Rowlocks.—Brass forks in a boat’s gunwale for rowing. Also holes cut in the gunwale for the oars.
Row-ports.—Apertures in the sides of a vessel near the water for sweeps.
Royal.—A light sail set over the topgallant-sail.
Royal masthead.—The upper end of the topmost mast of a ship, unless skysail masts are carried.
Royal yard.—The yard above the topgallant yard to which the royal is bent.
Rubber.—A contrivance for flattening the seams of a sail in sail-making.
Rudder-bands.—The hinges of the rudder. Also called braces.
Rudder chains.—Affixed to the hinder part of the rudder and worked by tackle when the tiller is damaged.
Rudder-rake.—The hinder part of the rudder.
Rudder-rods.—Rods fitting over sheaves, and used to steer steamers from the bridge.
Rudder-trunk.—A casing of wood fitted into the helm port for the rudder-stock to work in.
Rule of the Road.—Regulations for controlling the navigation of vessels in rivers and seas, for the avoidance of collisions, &c.
Rumbo.—Stolen rope.
Rum-gagger.—A sham sailor who begs.
Run-—The hollow curving in a vessel’s bottom that rises and narrows under the quarters.
Rundle.—The upper part of a capstan.
Rungheads.—Floor timber ends.
Run goods.—Goods which have been smuggled ashore.
Rungs.—Floor timbers.
Runlet.—A measure of eighteen gallons and a half.
Run money.—The money paid to the crew of a coaster for a short trip. Also money paid for apprehending a deserter.
Runner.—A crimp, one who furnishes crews. Also the cant name for a crimp. Also a single rope rove through a movable block. And formerly, a vessel that sailed without a convoy in time of war.
Runner and tackle.—A single block fitted with a lashing; the runner is rove through it and spliced round the double block of a tackle, of which the single block is fitted with a hook.
Running.—Sailing with the wind over the stern.
Running agreement.—An agreement entered into by a crew to make two or more voyages in a foreign-going ship, whose voyages average less than six months in duration.
Running bowline.—A bowline with the standing part running through it, forming a noose.
Running bowsprit.—A bowsprit, such as a cutter’s, that can be slided in and out.
Running rigging.—All the ropes of a ship which lead through blocks, &c., and can be hauled and worked. Also called running gear.
Ryak.—An Esquimaux boat, built of wood, whalebone, &c., and covered with skins. It has a round hole in the centre, in which the occupant sits.
Saddle.—A piece of wood fitted to a yard, hollowed for the upper part of a boom to rest in.
Saddle of jib boom.—A piece of wood affixed to the bowsprit to steady the heel of the jib boom.
Saddle of spanker boom.—A support for the jaws of the spanker boom on the mizzen-trysail mast.
Safety-valve.—A valve affixed to the marine boiler, and so arranged that when the steam in the boiler gets to any given pressure, the valve lifts and allows the steam to escape.
Sag.—To drift bodily.
Sagged.—A ship is said to be sagged when her bottom curves downwards through straining.
Sail-burton.—See Sail-tackle.
Sail-hook.—A hook for holding the seams of a sail whilst sewing it.
Sailing-gig.—An open boat fitted with a battened lug-sail.
Sailor’s blessing.—A curse.
Sailor’s pleasure.—Yarning, smoking, dancing, growling, &c.
Sailor’s waiter.—A term applied to the second mate of small vessels.
Sails are square or fore-and-aft. A square sail is fastened to a yard and hoisted up a mast. A fore-and-aft sail is fastened to a gaff or travels on a stay, or sets “flying,” that is, hoisted taut on its own luff.
“Sails.”—The sailor’s name for a ship’s carpenter.
Sail signals.—A method of signaling by means of setting or furling topgallant sails and royals.
Sail-tackle.—A tackle hooked round the topmast head, used in sending a top-sail aloft for bending.
Saker.—An old piece of ordnance used in ships. It is supposed to have thrown a six-pound shot.
Salinometer.—An instrument for showing the saline density of water in marine engines.
Sally-port.—A large opening on each quarter of a fire-ship through which the people who fired the train escaped. Also the port by which a three-decker was entered.
Salt.—A sailor.
Salvage.—The saving of a vessel or any portion of her cargo from a situation of peril or after shipwreck.
Salvage bond.—A bond signed by the master, binding the owners of the ship and cargo to pay a given sum, to be afterwards proportioned by the High Court of Admiralty, to the persons who have rendered the salvage services admitted to have been performed in the bond.
Salvo.— A discharge of several guns all together.
Sampan.—A small Chinese boat.
Sampson-post.—A timber structure fitted with a bell to sound in a fog.
Sand-glass.—A glass containing sand that runs for fourteen or twenty-eight seconds, used in heaving the log.
Sand-strake.—A name for the garboard strake.
Saucer.—An iron socket in which the foot of a capstan revolves.
Save-all.—A sail under a lower studding-sail to catch the wind under the boom.
Sawed off square.—Said of a ship with an up-and-down stem and stern.
Scalding down.—Blowing hot water over a marine engine for cleansing it.
Scale.—Crust that collects upon the inside of a marine boiler.
Scale pan.—A large shallow pan for receiving the insoluble particles of salt or “scale” from marine boilers.
Scaling hammers.—Hammers for removing the scale.
Scandalizing.—Hauling up the tack of a fore-and-aft sail and lowering the peak.
Scantling.—The strength or thickness of iron or wooden sides. Literally, the sides themselves.
Scarph.—The connection of one piece of timber with the other by the overlapping of the ends.
Schooner.—A two-masted vessel rigged with fore-and-aft sails. A topsail schooner has square yards forward. A two-topsail schooner has square yards on both masts. A three-masted schooner has three masts, all rigged with fore-and-aft canvas.
Schuyt.—A Dutch vessel rigged like a galliot.
Scoffing.—Eating. To scoffs, thing is to eat it.
Scope.—Length, as a long scope of cable.
Score.—The groove cut in the side and bottom of a block to fit the strop to.
Scotch coffee.—Hot water flavored with burnt biscuit.
Scotchman.—A piece of wood fitted to a shroud or any other standing rope to save it from being chafed.
Scotch-prize.—A capture by mistake.
Scow.—A kind of lighter.
Scowbank.—One of the crew of a scow. A term of contempt addressed to a sailor.
Scraper.—A triangular iron instrument for scraping the deck. Also a cocked hat.
Screw-alley.—Also called the tunnel. An avenue direct from the engine-room of a steamer leading as far aft as the stern-tube bulkhead.
Screw-well.—An aperture over the screw of an auxiliary for allowing the propeller to be lifted.
Scribe.—To mark packages in bond with the number and weight.
Scrimp.—Small, faint, as ” a scrimp wind.”
Scrimshandy.—An Americanism signifying the objects in ivory or bone carved by whalemen during their long voyages.
Scrive board.—A number of planks clamped edge to edge together, and painted black. On these boards are marked with a sharp tool the lines of the sections or frames which have been previously drawn upon it. Used in iron ship-building.
Scrowl.—A piece of timber fixed to the knees of the head.
Scud.—To drive before a gale.
Scudders —The name given to fishermen, who, in hauling in the nets, shake the meshes in order to jerk out the fish.
Scuffle-hunters.—Formerly a set of men who offered their services on board a discharging ship ; they wore long aprons, in which to hide whatever they could steal.
Scull.—A small oar. Also to propel a boat by working an oar over the stern.
Scupper-leather.—A flap of leather outside a scupper hole, to prevent water from entering,
Scupper-ports.—Apertures in an iron steamer’s bulwarks for freeing the decks from water.
Scuppers.—The gutter of a ship’s decks, the water-ways.
Scuttle.—To sink a ship by boring holes in her. Also the forescuttle (which see).
Scuttle-butt.—A cask on deck in which fresh water is kept.
Scuttles.—Small holes in the ship’s sides for lighting and ventilating.
Sea-anchor.—Spars lashed together and flung overboard, to prevent a ship hove-to from falling into the trough of the sea.
Sea-board.—Where land and water meet.
Sea-boots.—Tall boots well greased, used in washing down in cold weather, &c.
Sea-cunny.—A term that often occurs in the old marine annals. It means a Lascar quarter-master.
Sea-day.—A day that begins at noon and ends on the following noon. It begins twelve hours earlier than the civil day.
Sea gear.—Running rigging that is used in setting and taking in sail, &c., at sea, but which is unrove in harbor for neatness and to preserve it.
Sea-going.—Fit for the sea. As “in sea-going trim.”
Sea-lawyers.—Scheming sailors, versed in marine law, so far at least as it concerns the forecastle, and capable, like Midshipman Easy, of arguing the point with captains.
Sea-legs.—The capacity of walking the decks of a rolling ship without staggering.
Sea-license.—A special license qualifying the person to whom it is granted to act as pilot for any part of the sea beyond the limits of any pilotage authority.
Seams.—The joints of the external planking. Also the places where the cloths are sewn together in a sail.
Sea-work.—The account of the ship’s way, &c., entered in the log at sea.
Sea-worthiness.—Tight, staunch, strong, and in every way fitted for the voyage.
Second hand.—The man next to the one in charge of a smack.
Second mate.—An officer in the merchant service. He ranks after the first or chief mate, and heads the starboard watch.
Second rate.—A ship of seventy-four guns was so called.
Secret block.—A sheave in a shell with holes in one extremity, large enough to receive the rope.
“See all clear for stays!”—An order preparatory to tacking a ship.
Seizing.—The lanyard, line, or stuff, with which anything is made fast. To seize, is to make a thing fast, by securing it to a place; as to seize a flag in the rigging.
Selvagee.—Rope-yarns worked into a bight and marled with spunyarn. Used as block-strops, &c.
Semaphore.—A signal consisting of arms, whose different postures signify certain meanings.
Send down.—To send down a yard, is to cast off all the rigging, bend the yard-rope to the slings, and stop it to the quarters; sway away, to remove the lifts and braces, and then lower. A mast is sent down by a mast rope.
Send or Scend.—The impulse of a wave by which a ship is carried bodily.
Senior officer.—The officer in command of a ship or squadron for the time being.
Sennit.—Rope-yarns twisted into foxes and plaited.
Sensible horizon.—The line described by sea and water where they meet.
Serang.—An Asiatic boatswain.
Serons.—Bullocks’ hides in which South American indigo is packed.
Serve.—To supply a gun with ammunition and to handle it.
Service.—Small stuff laid tightly round a rope.
Serving-board.—A wooden implement for laying small stuff upon a rope.
Serving-mallet.—A wooden implement used for laying spun-yarn or other small stuff on a large rope.
Serving out.—Giving the allowance of provisions, water, or rum, to the crew.
Set.—The set of a current is the compass direction it moves in.
Set flying.—Said of sails which are set from the deck or tops, such as a studding-sail.
Setting.—To pole a boat or barge along.
Setting-up.—To set up rigging is to bring it taut.
Settle.—To sink slowly; to founder. A whale settles when it sinks bodily in a horizontal position without moving tail or fin. Also to lower slowly, as ” Settle away those halyards!”
Sextant.—An instrument with an arch of 120° for measuring angular distances to determine the longitude. It is constructed on the same principle as a quadrant, but is furnished with more appliances than that instrument, to insure greater accuracy.
Shackle iron.—An iron bar for drawing bolts.
Shade errors.—Errors due to inequality of the glass of the colored shades of a sextant.
Shafting.—The connected shafts or lengths of steel or iron bars to which the propeller of a screw-steamer is attached.
Shaft stool.—The base of the shaft bearings in the tunnel of a screw-steamer.
Shake-out.—To unknot the reef-points in order to expand more of the sail.
Shaking.—Shaking a cask is knocking it into staves which are made into bundles.
Shakings.—Old canvas, rope, &c.
Shallop.—A boat formerly carried by ships.
Shallow-waistcd.—Said of a flush-decked ship where there is no poop nor topgallant forecastle to make a well.
Shank.—The middle piece of an anchor.
Shank-painter.—The rope or chain by which an anchor is secured to a ship’s side.
Shanty.—A small house. Sailor’s name for a bad house.
Shaping course.—”We shaped our course for such-and-such a port,” meaning, “We headed the ship for the port in question, and steered for it.”
Shark’s-mouth.—That part of an awning that fits round a mast.
Sharp up.—When the yards are braced hard against the lee rigging.
Shear-legs.—Appliances used for getting out and landing heavy weights, such as boilers, machinery, engines, &c., also for masting and dismasting vessels.
Shear-pole.—A pole for swifting in the rigging to put the ratlines on.
Shears.—Spars lashed together at angles, and used for taking in masts.
Sheathing.—The metal on a ship’s bottom, usually called yellow metal.
Sheathing-boards.—Boards formerly affixed to the bottom of vessels to protect them from sea-worms, &c.
Sheath-knife.—A knife carried in a sheath fitted to a belt round the waist.
Sheave.—The wheel inside a block which revolves with the rope that is hauled through it.
Shebeen.—A low public-house.
Sheepshank.—Half hitches over the ends of the bight in a rope, to shorten it without cutting.

Sheer.—The curve of a ship’s deck towards the head and stern. Also called spring.
Sheer-batten.—A piece of wood fixed to the shrouds above the deadeyes to prevent them from turning.
Sheer-drawing.—A drawing of a ship composed of three parts, i.e. the sheer plan, the half-breadth plan, and the body plan.
Sheer hulk.—An old dismasted, useless hull.
Sheering.—The shaping of any ship upwards.
Sheer off.—To shift the helm and get away.
Sheer-plan.—A drawing descriptive of half of the longest and widest and level section in a ship.
Sheer-streak.—The first plank below the covering-board.
Sheet-bend.—A bend for joining two ropes.
Sheet home.—An order to haul by means of the sheets the outer corners or clews of the sails to the yard-arms.
Sheets.—Ropes attached to the lower corners of square sails, and the after lower corners of fore-and-aft sails.
Sheeve ho!—A cry raised when the blocks of a tackle come together.
Shelf.—Internal ribs of wood along the whole length of a vessel to receive the ends of the beams.
Shell.—The outside portion of the case of a boiler. Also a projectile filled with a bursting charge. Also the outside part of a block.
Shelter-deck.—A name given to a deck that extends throughout a ship’s length and breadth. Such terms are quite new and apparently arbitrary, and consequently any attempt to define them must be unsatisfactory.
Shift.—To shift a sail is to unbend it and replace it by another.
Shifting-boards. —Movable boards in the hold of a ship to prevent the cargo from shifting in a sea-way.
Shimal.—A gale encountered in the Persian Gulf.
Shingle-tramper.—A coast-guardsman.
Ship.—A three-masted vessel with square yards, tops and top-mast crosstrees on each mast. Also, in law, any kind of vessel used in navigation, not propelled by oars.
Ship-boy.—An apprentice. A cabin boy. The term is obsolete.
Ship-chandler.—A tradesman who supplies ships with marine stores.
Ship-keeper.—A person who has charge of a ship in harbor when there is no crew aboard.
Shipmate.—Sailor’s word for brother-worker. One of a crew having relation to that crew. Messmate is one of a watch, having relation to that watch, because the members of it take their meals together.
Shipper.—One who embarks goods.
Shipping-bills.—Tapers containing particulars of the cargo to be shipped.
Shipping-master.—A person appointed to superintend the engagement and discharge of seamen, and to perform other duties.
Shipping-office.—An office where crews are engaged by captains, and where they sign articles.
Ship’s cousin.—One who lives aft, yet has to do the work of a foremast hand.
Ship’s husband.—A person to whom the management of a ship is entrusted by or on behalf of the owner.
Shipshape and Bristol fashion.—Spick and span. Everything smart above and below.
Ship-sloop.—Formerly a twenty-four-gun vessel that was rated as a ship when commanded by a captain.
Shipwright surveyor.—A person appointed to report upon the construction, life-saving equipment, water-tight bulkheads, &c., of iron and wooden ships.
Shiver.—To shiver a sail is to shake the wind out of it by luffing or bracing the yards to the wind.
Shoot the sun.—Taking its altitude.
Shop.—A dock term applied to three or more packages of tea arranged for the inspection of the brokers.
Shore.—To prop up a ship or anything with spars called shores.
Shore-anchor.—The anchor, when a ship is moored, that is between the shore and the ship.
Shore-cleats.—Pieces of wood fixed on a vessel’s side to support the shore-head when the ship is shored upright.
Shore-fast.—A rope that secures the vessel to anything on shore.
Short allowance.—A reduction in the quantity of provisions or water served out.
Short-handed.—Said of a ship without enough hands to work her properly.
Short-linked chain.—A chain without studs and consequently short- linked.
Short sea.—A quick jerky sea.
Short service.—Formerly said of chafing gear in a short range of hemp cable.
Short sheet.—A rope attached to the inner corner of a topmast studding-sail and belayed in the top.
Short-splice.—A connection formed by passing the six strands of two ropes over and under one another, and dividing the yarns so as to taper the splice.
Short topgallant mast.—A topgallant mast fitted with crosstrees above which a royal mast may be rigged and secured by a fid. See Slump topgallant mast.
Shot in the locker.—Money possessed by a seaman. “There is still a shot left in the locker,” or “the locker is low.”
Shot-lockers.—Places where the shot is kept in men-of-war, usually on each side of the fire-magazine.
Shot racks.—Iron rods fitted to hold shot.
Shot soup.—A name given to the pea-soup served out to the forecastle on account of the bullet-like hardness of the peas in it.
Shoulder-block.—A block with a projection in the shell to prevent the rope from jamming against the spar to which the block is affixed.
Shout.—A kind of punt used for shooting wild fowl. Also, standing drinks all round.
Shovel.—A term of con tempt applied to an incapable marine engineer.
Show a leg!—” Show a leg, there!” means, ” Show yourself” on the order being given to turn out.
Shrapnel.—Projectiles of shell for long range filled with bursting charge and bullets.
Shroud-laid.—A rope whose strands are laid from right to left.
Shrouds.—Ropes for the support of masts. They were formerly hemp, but are now nearly always of wire.
Shroud trucks.—Pieces of perforated wood seized to the standing rigging as fair-leaders for the running rigging.
Shrub.—An intoxicating drink sold in Calcutta to seamen.
Shuffle-board.—A game of quoits played on board ship.
Sick flag.—A name for the quarantine flag.
Sick mess.—The mess into which the sick men of a man-of-war’s crew are put.
Side ladder.—The gangway ladder (which see).
Side-men.—Men who attend the gangway to hand the side-ropes, &c., when a boat containing an officer or anybody of importance comes alongside.
Side or sister keelsons.—Timbers inside the frame of a ship abreast of the main-mast to strengthen the vessel in that part.
Side-pieces.—The name given to certain parts of a made mast.
Sidereal day.—The interval between the transit of a star over a meridian and its return to the same meridian.
Side-rods.—These are rods on each side the cylinder of a marine engine for producing a simultaneous movement.
Side-steps.—Small pieces of wood fixed to the side of a ship to serve as steps for climbing aboard.
Side-valve casing.—A cover to the nozzles or steam-ports on one side of the cylinder of a marine engine.
Sights.—Taking sights—taking an observation. To sight a mast is to watch it whilst it is being stayed.
Sight the anchor.— This is to heave it up until it shows, that it may be seen clear.
Signal-man.—A first-class petty officer in the navy who has charge of the signals.
Signal-stations.—Stations on the coast of England and abroad with which ships can communicate by means of the International Code of Signals.
Sill.—A piece of timber against which the gates of a dock close.
Silt.—Mud or shingle thrown up by the action of the tide.
Single.—To single a purchase is to unreeve the running part of it.
Single boating system.—Smacks fishing singly instead of in fleets. See Fleeting.
Single top-sail.—A whole top-sail—that is, the sail not divided by a yard. See Double Top-sails.
Single-whip.—A single rope rove through a fixed block.
Sing out.—To call, to hail. “Sing out!” also means, “Shout louder!”
Sing song.—Sailor’s name for a Chinese theatre.
Sinnit.—Grass laid up in plaits and used by sailors for making hats. See Sennit.
Siren —A horn for sounding blasts in foggy weather.
Sir-mark.—A particular mark to guide workmen in shipbuilding.
Sister-block.—Two blocks formed out of one piece of wood.
Six upon four.—Said of six men put upon rations which would be the usual allowance of four men.
Six-water grog.—Rum diluted by six times its quantity of water; reckoned a poor drink by Jack in old days, though in this age he gets nothing stronger than limejuice.
Skeel.—The name of a large kid or tub.
Skeet.—A scoop that was formerly used for wetting sails in light winds to accelerate the pace of the ship.
Skid-beams.—Supports on which booms and boom-boats are stowed.
Skids.—Large fenders over a ship’s side. Also supports on which boats are stowed on deck.
Skiff.—A long slender boat with a hole in the centre fitted with a sliding seat, used in rowing matches. It has nothing to do with sailors.
Skin.—To skin a sail is to roll it up taut and smoothly in the headband. Also the interior sides of a ship’s hold.
Skulls.—Small oars.
Sky-larking.—Horse-play; acting the fool.
Sky-light.—A glazed frame over a cabin, engine-room, &c., for the admission of light and air.
Sky-sail.—A small square sail that sets on a pole above the royalmast.
Sky-sail-pole.—A mast on which the sky-sail yard travels. It is a continuation of the royal mast.
Sky-scraper.—An imaginary sail set along with moon-sails, angel’s foot-stools, and the like, jokingly assumed to be carried by Yankees.
Slab.—The slack part of a sail.
Slab-line.—A rope to haul up the foot or slab of a course.
Slack helm.—Said of a ship that carries a lee helm.
Slack in stays —Slow in tacking; slow when in the act of going about.
Slack water.—The state of water in the pause between the flux and reflux of the tide.
Slatting.—The violent shaking of a fore-and-aft sail when in the wind or when being hauled down.
Sleepers.—Two cross-pieces over the top. Also knees which connect the transoms with the after timbers on a ship’s quarter.
Sleep in.—To remain in bed without being roused up to come on deck. To sleep through your watch on deck or all night.
Slew.—To turn.
Slice.—An instrument used for clearing the air-spaces between the bars of a furnace.
Slide-valve. — A valve that works on a cylinder-face for admitting steam to the upper and lower ports of the cylinder alternately.
Sliding gunters.—Masts fitted abaft a mast, and which may be easily got up and taken down.
Sliding keel.—A keel that may be lowered or raised at will by a winch or other apparatus.
Sling.—Passing a rope round anything to hoist it.
Sling-band.—A stout iron band round the centre of a lower yard with an eyebolt on top to which the slings are attached.
Sling-dogs.—Two iron implements shackled together and used in lifting timber.
Slings.—A chain or rope that suspends the centre of a yard. Hence “in the slings” means in the bunt or middle of a yard.
Slip —The loss of propelling power in the revolution of paddle wheels or a screw, due to the yielding of water; also to let a cable go overboard, to save the time that would be occupied in heaving up the anchor.
Slip-hooks.—Patent hooks for holding a boat at the davits; when the boat is lowered the hooks fly open and release her.
Slippery hitch.—A hitch or knot that gives when a strain is put upon it.
Slip-rope.—A rope bent to the cable and brought to the weather
quarter. Slip-shackle.—A shackle with a lever for letting go suddenly.
Slip-stopper.—A chain for stoppering the cable, for clearing hawse, unbitting, &c.
Slipway.—An inclined plane from which ships are launched.
Slives.—Heavy spars used in stowing hides.
Slobgollion.—Whaleman’s term for an oozy, stringy substance found in sperm oil.
Sloop.—A one-masted vessel with a standing bowsprit and fore-sail that sets on a stay.
Sloop-of-war.—A brig or corvette ship. She sometimes mounted eighteen guns, and, if deep waisted, twenty-six or twenty-eight.
Slops.—Clothes kept on board to sell to the crew.
Slop-shop —A ready-made clothing shop for seamen usually kept by crimps.
Sludge.—Thin spongy ice formed upon the surface of the ocean.
Slush.—Grease from the galley coppers used for greasing down the masts and making puddings for sailors.
Slush-bucket.—A bucket for holding grease, taken aloft for “greasing down.”
Slush-lamp.—A lamp used in some ships’ forecastle; it is fed by the filthy matter skimmed off the surface of the cook’s coppers. It is monstrous that owners’ parsimony should force sailors to use this vile-smelling light.
Smack.—A fishing-vessel, sometimes dandy-rigged, sometimes cutter-rigged with a jib that sets flying.
Smacksmooth.—Flush, as when a mast breaks short off the deck.
Small-arms-men.—The portion of a man-of-war’s crew trained to the use of muskets, pistols, cutlasses and other weapons which are called small arms.
Small stuff.—See Stuff.
Smart-money.—The pension given to wounded men.
Smasher.—A north-country seaman. Also the name by which the carronade used to be called.
Smiting-line.—A line used to loose a sail when confined by rope yarns.
Smoke-box.—A large receptacle for smoke in a steamer. The foot of the funnel is fitted into it through the funnel casing.
Smoke-sail.—A piece of canvas extended before the galley chimney to prevent the smoke from blowing aft when the vessel is head to wind.
Snags.—Stumps of trees which impede river navigation.
Snaking.—Winding small rope round backstays and stays and other large ropes, used in an engagement as a preventer should the rigging be severed. Also to pass small stuff round a seizing with marling hitches at the outer turns.
Snatch-block.—A block into which a ropes can be slipped without passing the end through the sheave-hole. The iron strop has a hinge to enable it to be lifted and closed.
Sneer.— To strain a vessel by carrying a heavy press of canvas.
Sneezer.—A gale of wind.
Sniffing valve.—A valve in a marine steam-engine connected with the condenser by a pipe under the air-pump. When pressed by steam entering the condenser it opens, otherwise it is kept shut by the pressure of the atmosphere.
Snotter.—A rope loop to prevent slipping, as, for instance, a block which is kept in its place at a boom-end by this loop. Also a rope for bending a tripping line to in sending down royal and topgallant yards.
Snow.—A vessel rigged like a brig, the only difference being that she has a try-sail mast for her try-sail.
Snub.—To bring up suddenly with an anchor and short range of cable. Also to check a rope suddenly.
Snug.—A ship is said to be snug when she is prepared to meet bad weather.
Sny.—An upward bend in a piece of timber.
So!—An exclamation to signify, “That will do!” “Enough!” “No higher,” &c.
Socket signal.—A rocket discharged from a socket to a great height where it explodes with much noise. It is fired by a friction tube attached to a lanyard.
Soft-tack. —Bread as distinct from biscuit, which is called ship’s bread.
Soger.—A soldier. A term of contempt applied to a sailor.
Sobering.—Loafing, skulking, idling, making pretend to work.
Solar day.—The interval between the sun’s departure from and return to the same meridian.
Soldier’s wind.—A fair wind either way, outwards or homewards; therefore a beam wind or thereabouts.
Sole piece.—A piece of timber on the heel of the rudder, meant to come easily off, should the ship take the ground.
Sole plate.—A plate that forms the foundation for a marine engine to rest on.
Solid bottomed.—Said of a vessel with close timbers in her bottom, no limbers and no proper water-ways. Any water, therefore, that a ship so built makes, has to find its way to the pump well through the ballast.
Solstitial points.—Two points of the ecliptic 90° distant from the equinoctial points.
Soniwax, or Sonnywax.—A term used by sailors when addressing boys. “Look here, my soniwax, turn to and,” &c. It is probably meant as a marine diminutive of son.
Sound.—To heave the lead. To plumb the bottom. A whale sounds when it throws its flukes aloft and sinks head foremost.
Sounding machine.—A machine dropped overboard and operated on by the water that turns a fan whose motion is communicated to the register wheels by which the depth of the water is shown.
Sounding-rod.—A rod marked with a scale of feet and inches, for dropping into the well to ascertain the depth of water.
Soundings.—In soundings, is being in water whose bottom can be reached by the lead. Soundings is the name given to the entrance of the English Channel between latitude 480 and 490
Soup and bouilli.—Pronounced soup and bully, and nicknamed by Jack, soap and bullion: preserved meat, vegetables, &c., in soup—usually horribly nauseous.
Southerly-buster.—A sudden gale from the southward in Australian latitudes.
Southing.—Distance made good to the south.
Sou’-wester.—A waterproof covering for the head, with a thatch down the back for the water to drain off by.
Space system.—A mode of ventilating a ship’s hold freighted with bags of rice. A tunnel is formed of the bags, placed fore and aft, leaving an empty space about a foot wide which forms the ventilating tunnel. This is also known as Heap’s system.
Span.—A rope made fast at both ends for hooking a block to the bight of it.
Span-blocks.—Blocks at the head of the top-mast and topgallant mast for studding-sail halyards to reeve through.
Span-irons.—Harpoons secured to the sides of a whale-boat above the thwarts.
Spanish burton.—A tackle consisting of two single blocks, one fixed, the other movable.
Spanish foxes.—Single rope-yarns unlaid and then rolled up. See
Spanish reef.—The yards on the cap.
Spanish windlass.—A purchase for bringing two taut ropes together.
Spanker.—The fore-and-aft gaff-sail on the mizzen-mast of a ship or barque. Also called Mizzen and Driver.
Spanking.—Sailing swiftly along with the wind so quartered as to keep the spanker full.
Spanner.—A key for screwing up nuts.
Span of rigging.—Is the length of the shrouds from the dead-eyes to the mast-head and down the other side.
Spar.—The term for any kind of mast, boom, &c.
Spar buoys.—A buoy showing only a mast above water.
Spar deck.—Defined as being the third deck from below. But the term is now used without much attention to the old meaning. It is best, perhaps, to define it as a light deck fitted over the upper deck of a vessel.
Spar-decked.—This term is applied to iron steamers whose sheer strake plate is half above and half below the line of main deck beams.
Spar down.—This is to place spars in the rigging for the men to stand on whilst rattling down.
Sparred.—A vessel is lightly or heavily sparred according as her masts and yards are below or above her dimensions in weight and height.
Speaking.—A vessel is said to speak, when she begins to throw the water from her bows. Also, speaking is to meet and hail a ship at sea or to signal her with flags.
Speaking-trumpet.—A tube for hailing and speaking through, when the ship to be spoken is too far off for the natural voice to make itself heard. It is also used for issuing commands in a storm.
Spectianeer.—The head or chief harpooner in a whaler.
Spell.—An interval of labour or rest. As, to take a spell at the pumps is to be actively employed ; to take a spell below, is to turn in and do nothing.
Spenser.—A try-sail.
Spent shot.—A shot near the end of its journey, but very capable of doing a deal of mischief.
Spewing oakum.—This is said of a vessel when through her laboring she forces the oakum out of her seams.
Spherical buoy.—A buoy showing a domed top above water.
Spider.—An iron outrigger to keep a block clear of the ship’s side.
Spider-hoop.—A hoop round a mast fitted with belaying-pins.
Spilling-line.—A rope for shaking the wind out of a sail by spilling it.
Spinnaker.— A large triangular sail used by racing yachts.
Spinnaker boom.—A boom to extend a spinnaker sideways when the wind is abaft.
Spirketting.—The planking over the water-ways.
Spitfire jib.—A small yacht’s jib made of strong canvas for rough weather.
Splice.—A connection formed by passing the ends of two ropes through their strands.
Splice the main brace.—An expression to denote serving out grog.
“Splice the standing, knot the running rigging.”—The method of temporarily repairing injuries sustained by the rigging after an engagement.
Sponsons.—Platforms or extensions on either side the paddle-box of a steamer.
Spoon-barge.—A barge furnished with an apparatus that lifts mud for dredging or cleansing purposes, and throws it into the bottom of the barge.
Spoon-drift.—A name given to the spray swept in a gale from the tops of seas and that forms a haze.
Spooning.—Running under small canvas. A very old and obsolete word.
Spread-eagle.—The posture of a man seized up to be flogged. To “make a spread-eagle” of a man is to flog him. “Brought to the gangway” means the same thing.
Spring.—A rope led from a ship’s quarter to her cable, to bring her broadside to bear upon a given object. Also a rise or curve in the bow or stem of a ship.
Spring-stay.—A preventer stay for the extra support of a mast.
Springtides.—High tides which occur after new and full moon.
Sprit-—A small sail carried by open boats. Also a sail carried by a barge called a spritsail barge.
Spritsail sheet-knot.—”No larger than a spritsail sheet-knot,” said of a small man or boy.
Spritsail topsail.—A sail that formerly extended above the sprit sail by a yard which hung under the jib boom.
Spritsail-yard.—A yard that formerly crossed the lower part of the bowsprit on which a sail called the spritsail was set. The spritsail was furnished with a large hole at each lower corner to let the water escape. The spritsail-yard was retained long after the sail was disused, but is now almost universally replaced by whiskers (which see).
Spritsail-yard fore and aft.—In former times, when men-of-war were rigged with these spars upon their bowsprits, they would, before boarding an enemy, haul the spritsail yards round on a line, or nearly so, with the bowsprit, so that they might not be in the way. This was called “spritsail-yard fore and aft.”
Spritsail-yarding.—Rigging a shark with a piece of spar through his nose and sending him adrift.
Sprocket wheel.—A wheel in the chain-pump worked by a handle.
Sprung.—A spar is sprung when the fibers of the wood are injured by straining.
Spuds.—Jack’s name for potatoes.
Spume.—Froth blown up by the wind. Very different from spray.
Spun-yarn.—Stuff made by twisting old yarns together with a little winch.
Spurling-line.—This used to be a line that was fitted to the wheel and an indicator to show the direction of the tiller.
Squall.—A sudden burst of wind of short duration; though, to be sure, a gale may sometimes come on in a squall.
Square.—Square-rigged, having yards instead of gaffs.
Square-butted.—This term is applied to a yard-arm sufficiently stout to enable a sheave-hole to be cut in it without weakening the spar.
Square knot.—A reef knot.
Square-rigged.—A ship; but the term is applied to any mast that carries square yards, such, for instance, as a brigantine, which you would describe as being square-rigged forward.
Square sail.—A large sail that is set from the deck upon the foreyard of a schooner.
Square-tucks.—Sterns square below, like boat’s sterns, with a modern stern built up from the counter.
Square yards.—Literally when the yards lie fair upon the masts exactly athwartships: but the term is also applied to very or long yards.
Squaring-marks.—Marks on the lifts and braces for squaring the yards.
Squaring yard signals.—A method of directing the bracing and topping of the yards by exhibiting hand-flags.
Squat.—A vessel is said to squat when she sails on an uneven keel.
Squatter.—To lie broad upon the water.
Squillagee.—A small swab.
Stabber.—A small marline-spike.
Staff.—A flag-pole.
Staff-captain.—A master of the fleet.
Staff-commander.—A master of fifteen years’ seniority.
Stage.—A platform hung over the side for men to stand on whilst painting, carpentering, &c.
Staith.—A structure for shooting coal into a ship’s hold.
Stanchion.—An upright support, such as the bulwark stanchions, the stanchions in a cabin, &c.
Standard.—A knee above the deck.
Standard compass.—A compass from which a ship’s course is given and referred to the steering compass by comparison
Standards.—Iron connections between the stern-post and deck beams of a screw-steamer to resist the vibration caused by the propeller.
Stand by! —An order to make ready. Literally, stand by the ropes, ready to let go.
Stand-by steering gear.—A wheel situated aft, working the rudder by screw-gear, for use in case of the midship steering-gear breaking down.
Standing.—Steering in a certain direction, as ” she was standing to the eastward.” Also, the part of a rope that is fast, that cannot be hauled on is called the standing part.
Standing gaff.—A gaff that does not lower, such as the gaff of a ship’s mizzen which is taken in by being hauled down the gaff and brailed up against the mast.
Standing jib.—A large jib carried by ships or barques, but now replaced by the inner and outer jibs.
Standing rigging.—All the ropes in a ship which are fitted and stationary, such as the shrouds, stays and backstays, martingale, bobstays, &c.
Stands.—The name given to poles placed across rivers to bar entrance.
Starboard.—The right-hand side, looking forward.
Starboard tack.—A ship is on this tack when she is sailing with the wind blowing over the right-hand bow.
Starboard the helm! —An order to shift the wheel so as to force the vessel’s head to the left.
Starbowlines.—An old name for the portion of the crew who form the starboard watch.
Star-gazer.—An imaginary sail, like sky-scraper (which see).
Start.—Any fixed thing forcibly moved without being wholly removed from its place, as from the blow of a sea or a collision, is said to be started. Also a cask is said to be started when it is opened.
Starting gear.—The general name of the levers, wheels, &c., used for starting marine engines.
Station staffs.—Curved battens used in shipbuilding.
Stations for stays!—In a man-of-war this means to make ready for going about.
Staves.—The pieces of wood which form the sides of a cask.
Stay.—A rope that supports a mast by leading forward. The stays take their names from the masts they support, such as the main stay, the fore-topmast stay, the mizzen-topgallant stay.
Stayed forward or aft.—Said of masts inclined towards the bows or the stern by ill-judged tension of the stays or backstays.
Staying.—Tacking. The act of beating or going about.
Stays.—A vessel is in stays when she is in the act of tacking It includes the whole procedure from the time of “helm’s alee!” to “let go and haul!”
Stay-sail.—A fore-and-aft sail that hoists upon a stay. Stay-sails take their names from the stays on which they travel.
Stay-tackles.—Tackles attached to a stay for hoisting weights or lowering them.
Steady!—An order to the helmsman to keep the vessel heading as she goes.
Steadying-lines—Ropes used in a boat for keeping her upright in hoisting.
Stealer.—The name given to a plank in a strake that does not extend right forward or aft.
Steam-chest.—A term that indicates the space above the water surface in the boiler of a marine engine.
Steam-circle.—A circle drawn on the chart round the port to which a steamer is bound, for calculating distance with reference to the amount of coal on board.
Steam-gauge.—An indicator for showing the pressure in pounds of steam upon the square inch in boilers.
Steam-pipe.—A pipe connected with the stop or communication valve of a marine boiler to convey the steam to the super heater or from one boiler to another or to the engines.
Steam-space.—The portion of the boiler, above the water-level, where the steam accumulates.
Steam-steering apparatus.—A helm that is governed by steam. A man revolves the wheel, but the steam-engine turns the rudder. There are many different sorts.
Steeple engine.—The name given to a marine engine whose guide to the connecting-rod works above the crank shaft.
Steep-tub.—A tub in which salt meat is soaked to freshen it.
Steerage.—The after interior of a ship under the saloon, if she has a poop. By some the steerage of a ship is apparently considered to be wherever her steerage passengers are lodged. The term, however, sufficiently indicates the right locality.
Steerage-way.—Said of a vessel that has just movement enough to answer her helm.
Steer-oar.—An oar used in steering a boat.
Steeve.—A bowsprit steeves more or less according to the angle it makes with the horizon. Also to stow freight, from stevedore (which see).
Stemson.—A timber used as a support for the stem.
Step.—A timber on which the heel of a mast rests.
Stern-all!—An order to rowers to back the boat.
Sternboard.—Making a ship go backwards by her sails.
Stern chaser.—A gun in the stern-port of a ship for firing at an enemy in the wake.
Stem-on.—Keeping the stern of a boat at the seas rolling after her. Also said of a ship that rounds and presents her stern as she recedes.
Stern-ports.—Ports between the stern timbers for lights, ventilation, &c. Also for guns.
Stern-sheets.—The after-part of an open boat.
Stem-tube.—A cylinder in the after peak of a steamer in which the propeller shaft works.
Stern-tube bulkhead.—A division at the foremost end of the lazarette, to prevent the water from entering the hold should any accident befall the propeller or shaft.
Stern-walk.—In the days of three-deckers this was a platform or gallery over the stern.
Stern-way.—The movement of a vessel carried or impelled backwards.
Stevedore.—A man who stows cargo in a ship under the captain’s order.
Steward.—A saloon waiter. One who has charge of the stores. Those under him are called under-stewards.
Sticks.—A name given to masts. “She has handsome sticks,” that is, she is handsomely sparred.
Stiff.—A term applied to a ship when she is able to bear a press of sail without heeling over to any great extent.
Stiffening-booms.—Booms used for steadying vessels from which the ballast has been removed, thus enabling them to be moved to their loading berths.
Stink-pot.—A contrivance thrown on an enemy’s deck. It gives forth a horrid smell. It is still used by Chinese pirates.
Stirrups.—Pieces of rope to support the foot-ropes, or rather, on long yards, to prevent the foot-ropes from making so deep a bight as to bring a man too low for working when standing on them.
Stock.—The cross piece on the upper part of the shank of an anchor.
Stockade.—Timbers joined by iron chains and strengthened by a cable twisted round them and mounted at each end with cannons. An old method of fortifying the mouth of a river.
Stocker-bait.—Small fish given by smack-owners to their apprentices to sell for their own profit.
Stocks.—A fabric of shores and blocks shelving towards the water in which ships are built.
Stock tackle and pendent.—A tackle for dragging in the upper arm of the anchor stock.
Stoke-hole.—A place in a steamer occupied by the men who feed the fires.
Stoker.—A trimmer or fireman who attends to a steamer’s furnaces.
Stools.—Small channels for the dead-eyes of the backstays. Also supports for the shaft bearings of a propeller-shaft.
Stop.—A fastening of small stuff. See Stopping.
Stop!—The cry in heaving the log. It is delivered by the person who holds the sand-glass to denote that the sand has run out and that the log-line must be checked.
Stop-cock.—A cock for shutting off communication between boilers.
Stoppage in transit.—A term signifying that an unpaid seller or consigner of goods has a right, on the insolvency of the purchaser or consignee, to stop delivery of those goods.
Stopper.—To pass a stopper is a method of securing a rope whilst it is being made fast.
Stopper-bolts.—Ring-bolts for the deck stoppers.
Stopping.—Fastening two parts of a rope together by binding them side by side.
Stop-valves.—A valve affixed to the upper part of a boiler for confining the steam or letting it into the steam-pipes leading to the engines. Also used for letting steam from one boiler into another.
Stop-water.—A plug driven into the scarph of a keel or the foot of the stem or stern-post to prevent the water from finding its way into the ship.
Storage.—Charges for storing articles of merchandise in dock accommodation.
Store-rooms.—Rooms in a man-of-war where the carpenter’s, gunner’s and boatswain’s stores are kept.
Storm-disk.—The thin whirling stratum of air that constitutes the cyclone.
Storm-finch.—A name for the petrel or Mother Carey’s chickens.
Storm-jib.—A fore-and-aft sail of stout canvas used by ships in heavy weather.
Storm-sails.—Sails of No. I canvas, bent for use in stormy latitudes.
Strand.—A number of yarns twisted and forming a part of a rope.
Stranded.—The situation of a vessel when ashore.
Stranger.—This name is given to a vessel that heaves in sight showing no colors, and of which no particulars can be ascertained.
Stray line.—About sixty or seventy feet of the log-line next the log-ship for paying overboard, so that the log-ship may go clear of the eddy.
Streak or strake.—A range of plates or planks along a ship’s side.
Stream a buoy.—Is to drop it overboard.
Stream anchor.—An anchor in size between the bower and the kedge. It is used for warping and sometimes for mooring.
Streamer.—A pennant.
Stream-ice.—The name given to ice when drifting along in a narrow line.
Stretch.—A board. A long stretch is to sail a long distance on one tack.
Stretchers.—Supports for the feet at the bottom of a boat for rowing. Also supports placed between the sides of a boat when hoisted and griped. Also yarns full of exaggeration or downright lies.
Stretch out!—An order to rowers to bend their backs.
Strike.—To submit to a conqueror by hauling down the colors.
Striking a mast.—Is to send it down on deck. See Housing.
Stringers are of two kinds: hold and deck stringers. The deckstringer is a strake of plating to stiffen the bottom plating, &c.; hold-stringers are connected to the bottom and riveted to alternate frames. They serve as strong internal fastenings in iron and wooden ships.
Stroke.—A single sweep of an oar through the water. Also the person who pulls the stroke or aftermost oar.
Stroke-side.—The side of a boat where the aftermost oar ships.
Strop.—Literally a strap. A ring of rope or iron round a block.
Studding-sails.— Sails extended beyond the usual square sails. They are hoisted by halyards leading through jewel-blocks at the yard-arms, and are extended at the foot by studding-sail booms. On the fore are the lower, topmast, and topgallant studding-sails: on the main, topmast and topgallant studdingsails. Royal studding-sails are sometimes carried.
Studding-sail boom.—A spar that rigs in and out upon a lower topsail or topgallant yard for stretching the foot of a studding-sail upon.
Studding-sail yard.—The spar to which the head of a studding-sail is attached.
Studs.—Pieces of iron across the middle of the links of a chain cable.
Stuff.—A word to denote small lines, yarns, &c., for seizing, serving, and the like.
Stuffing-box.—A means of packing the piston of an engine to keep it steam-tight.
Stump topgallant mast.—Topgallant masts without royal masts above them. They are also called short topgallant masts.
Sturisail.—Sailor’s pronunciation of studding-sail.
Sub-lieutenant. —A midshipman of the Royal Navy who has passed for lieutenant.
Sucking-pump.—A pump that raises water by exhausting the air in the pump barrel.
Suction pipes.—Pipes in a steamer for pumping the vessel out by the engines. They lead from the different compartments to the engine-room, and are, or should be, connected not only to the bilge-pumps on the main engines, but to the donkey pumps.
Sue.—When a ship is ashore, she is said to sue as the water leaves her.
Sugg.—To rock with the action of the sea when stranded.
Suit of canvas.—All the sails required to be bent, but not the spare sails.
Sumatras.—Winds encountered in the Straits of Malacca.
Sumner’s method.—A mode of finding out a ship’s position at sea when the latitude is doubtful or the chronometer inaccurate.
Sun dog.—A mock sun shining near the sun.
Sun-swing.—A term signifying the influence of the sun in its toand-fro motion between the Tropics upon the polar limits of the trade-winds.
Supercargo.—A person in a merchant-ship who manages the sales and superintends the commercial part of a voyage.
Super-heater.—A contrivance, variously constructed, placed in the up-take of a marine steam-engine, to increase the heat of the steam in its passage from the boiler to the engine.
Supper.—Tea is called supper at sea, being the last meal. A sailor never “drinks tea,” but “gets his supper.”
Supporter.—A knee bolted to the side of a ship and the cathead.
Surface-condenser.—A method of condensing steam from the cylinder of a marine engine, whereby the condensed steam returns to the boiler as pure water.
Surge.—A wave. Also to yield, to give, or to pay out, as surge the cable.
Surging.—The slipping of the cable round the windlass barrel, or of a hawser or rope round the barrel of a capstan.
Survey.—Observations, soundings, &c., for the construction of charts.
Surveyors.—Persons employed by the Board of Trade and Lloyd’s. The duty of the officers of the Board of Trade is to see that ships are seaworthy: that of the latter to see that they are built in accordance with Lloyd’s rules for classification. The former are supposed to act in the interests of human life, the others in the interest of property.
Swab.—An epaulette. Also a mop composed of rope-yarns used for drying the decks. Also a term of contempt when applied to a man.
Swallow.—The part of a block through which the rope reeves.
Swatchway.— An opening in a shoal. A narrow, navigable by small vessels, in a sand-bank.
Sway away!—An order to haul aloft, to hoist up.
Swear through a nine-inch plank.—An old sea-term expressive of a man who would swear to any lie. It was a favorite expression of Lord Nelson when referring to American skippers.
Sweating cargo.—A cargo, such as wool, that exudes and produces an atmosphere obnoxious to health, and susceptible of spontaneous ignition.
Sweating the purser.—An old term for wasting ship’s stores.
Sweeps.—Long, heavy oars.
Swell.—The heaving of the sea.
Swifter.—The forward shroud of a lower mast. Also a rope for keeping a capstan bar to its place when inserted in the capstan.
Swifter in.—To tauten slack standing rigging by bringing the opposite shrouds together.
Swig.—To drink. Also to haul taut.
Swing the monkey.—A game that consists in striking with knotted handkerchiefs a man who swings to a rope made fast aloft. The person the “monkey” strikes whilst swinging, takes his place.
Swinging-boom.—A boom at a ship’s side that extends the foot of a lower studding-sail.
Swinging-tray.—A tray in a cabin or saloon depending from the ceiling or deck. These trays are usually placed over the tables, so that glasses, decanters, &c., may be placed upon them. They swing with the roll of the ship, and thus prevent the things they support from capsizing.
Swing off.—To pull upon a taut rope at right angles. Also swig off.
Swipes.—The washings and rinsing of old beer barrels.
Swivel.—A revolving link of a chain cable. Every length of cable is swiveled. See Cable.
Sword mat.—A mat used as chafing gear.
Sympicsometer.—An instrument for measuring the weight of the atmosphere. It is used with the barometer whose indications it forestalls.
Tabernacle.—A wooden box, hollow above the deck and then solid to the bottom of the vessel. The mast steps in it, and is secured by a pin. The back is open, so that the mast can be lowered. When the mast is erect the tabernacle is closed by a clamp.
Table-cloth.—A white cloud that sometimes covers the top of Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope.
Table-money.—An allowance to admirals and senior officers, outside their pay, for purposes of official hospitality.
Tabling.—The double part of a sail close to the bolt-rope.
Taboo.—A custom in the South Sea Islands. A piece of white tappa is fastened to a ship’s jib boom, as a sign that the vessel must not be boarded by the islanders. A ship so decorated is said to be under a taboo.
Tack.—The rope attached to the weather corner of a course. The foremost lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
Tack-block.—A block fitted at the outer end of a topgallant and main-topmast studding-sail boom.
Tacking.—Beating against the wind.
Tackle.—A purchase formed of a rope rove through blocks.
Tack-pins. — Also called jack-pins, belaying-pins.
Tack (to).—To beat, to go about, to reach.
Tail.—A rope at the end of a block for attaching it to anything.
Tail-block.—A block with a short length of rope spliced into the end.
Tail-jigger.—A tackle composed of a double and single block.
Tail of a gale.— The close of a gale.
Tail on I—An order to lay hold and pull. More often “tally on.”
Tail tackle.—A watch-tackle.
Taking a departure.— See Departure.
Tallow down.—To coat over the bright work of an engine with a mixture of white lead and tallow.
Tally.—To check freight going over the side in board or out.
Tallyman.—The person who tallies.
Tally on.—An order to catch hold and haul.
Tangent screw.—A screw for perfecting the contact of the index of a sextant.
Tap the admiral.—Said of a man who would drink anything.
Tartar.—A lateen-rigged vessel with one mast.
Tattoo.—Blue or red devices pricked into the flesh of seamen.
Taut hand.—The term for an officer severe in his discipline.
Taut leech.—Said of a sail on a wind when well set.
Tea chop.—A lighter in which tea for freight is brought alongside ships in China.
Tea wagon.—Formerly an East Indiaman.
Tell-tale.—An inverted compass fixed in a cabin.
Tend.—To watch a vessel at anchor as the tide turns, so as to keep her cables clear.
Tender.—A vessel waiting on another or others. A ship is said to be tender when she heels easily under a weight of wind.
Tenon.—The heel of a mast that fits into the step.
Terre Altos.—N.W. squalls encountered in the neighborhood of Rio Janeiro.
Test-cock.—A small cock fitted to the feed-pipe of a marine engine between the valve chest and boiler for drawing off feed water to test temperature.
There she breezes!—An exclamation used when the wind freshens and the ship drives through it at an increased speed.
Thermometer.—An instrument for showing the temperature of the air.
Thick and thin block.— Having one sheave larger than the other.
Thick-stuff.—An old author defines this term as “all plank which is thicker than four inches.”
Thimble.—An iron eye or ring grooved to receive a rope.
Thin waterway.—The deck-plank nearest to the waterway, and that follows the curve of the ship’s side.
Thole-mat.—A mat for muffling the sound of oars in the pins.
Thole-pins.—Pieces of wood fitted into the gunwale of a boat to steady the oars in rowing.
Thorough footing.—Passing the end of a rope through its own coil and then taking it to the capstan for a stretching.
Three-decker.—A ship with three whole battery decks.
Three-flag signals.—Three flags hoisted in alphabetical order and meant to represent questions and replies on general matters.
Throat.—The inner corner of a spanker or stay-sail. Throat halyards.—Halyards to hoist a gaff.
Throat seizing.—A seizing for block strops, &c.
Throttle valve.—A valve in the throat of the steam-pipe next to the cylinder for regulating the supply of steam.
Through the fleet.—An abolished punishment that consisted in towing a culprit through a fleet of vessels at each one of which he received a certain number of lashes.
Thrum.—To make a rough surface on a mat by inserting short strands of yarn.
Thwart.—A seat in an open boat.
Tic-a-tack.—A Chinese boat like a sampan.
Tide.—The regular rising and falling of the waters of the ocean.
Tide-rip.—A disturbance in mid-ocean caused by the meeting of two currents.
Tide-rode.—Swung by the force of the tide.
Tide sail.—”A captain on a tide sail,” that is, a captain ready to leave dock by the next tide.
Tier.—A range of casks. The range of the bights of a cable.
Tierce.—A cask of beef.
Tight.—Said of a vessel free from leaks. Also said of a man intoxicated.
Tiller.—A piece of timber or metal fitted upon the rudder-head fore-and-aft and used for steering.
Tiller-head.—The extremity of the tiller to which the wheel-chains are attached.
Tiller-ropes.—Ropes used before the adoption of wheel-chains, leading from the tiller-head round the barrel of the wheel.
Tilt.—A boat canopy.
Timber.—A term for all large pieces of wood.
Timber-heads.—The tops of the timbers above the decks.
Timber-hitch.—A rope passed round a spar, &c., and the end passed round and under its own part.
Timber-pond.—A space of water in the vicinity of docks for the convenience of storing timber.
Timbers.—The ribs of a wooden ship.
Time-ball.—A ball dropped in accurate correspondence with Greenwich time.
Timenoguy.—A rope to prevent the sheet or tack of a course from fouling in working.
Timoneer.—The helmsman.
Tipping the grampus.— Ducking a man for sleeping in his watch on deck.
Tip the nines.—To founder by being overset from press of canvas.
Toe a line!—Stand in a row.
Togged to the nines.—In full rig and dressed with uncommon care.
Toggle.—A pin through any kind of eye to prevent it from drawing out of its place.
Toggle-bolt.—For holding a small flag-staff by means of a strap.
Tomahawk.—A kind of pole-axe that was formerly used by boarders.
Tom Cox’s traverse.—” Tom Cox’s traverse, three turns round the long boat and a pull at the scuttle butt,” said of a man who shirks work, feigns to be busy in doing nothing, &c.
Tom Pepper.—A liar.
Tompion.—A plug in a cannon’s mouth.
Tonnage-deck .—The upper deck in ships which have less than three decks, and the second deck from below in all other ships.
Top.—A platform on each lower mast, to spread the top-mast rigging and for men to stand on in working aloft.
Top-awnings.—Hammocks in the rigging, stowed there to protect the men in the top.
Top-blocks.—Large single iron-bound blocks used for sending topmasts up or down.
Top-board.—A board formerly affixed to the after-side of tops and variously ornamented.
Top-burton.—A tackle composed of a double block fitted with a hook, and a single block fitted with a hook and thimble, whilst a long strop with a thimble at the end is fitted to the strop of the single block.
Top-castles.— Anciently the tops of ships.
Tope.—A small junk.
Topgallant breeze.—A wind not so strong but that a ship can show her main-topgallant sail to it.
Topgallant forecastle.—A raised structure on the forecastle of a ship, in which the crew sleep.
Topgallant sheets are flown!—Formerly a signal to intimate that an enemy was in sight.
Top-light.—A signal lantern on an admiral’s ship.
Top-lining.—A lining to prevent the after-part of a top-sail from chafing against the rim of the top.
Top-maul.—A large hammer used by riggers.
Top-men.—In a man-of-war hands stationed in the tops for working the upper sails.
Topping.—Boot-topping is cleansing a vessel’s bottom, and then smearing it with grease, &c.
Topping-lift.—A rope used for lifting up the end of a boom.
Top-rail.—A rail across the hinder part of a top.
Top-sail haul!—An order in tacking when the main-sail is furled.
Topsail sheet-block.—A block shackled or stropped into the clew of a top-sail for bending the sheets.
Top-swivel.—A small gun formerly worked in a ship’s tops.
Top the glim.—Snuff a candle.
Top-timbers.—The highest timbers on a vessel’s side.
Top up.—To raise a boom with the topping-lift.
Tormentor.—A fork used in fishing out the salt meat from the coppers.
Tornadoes.—Furious gusts of wind which blow from all parts of the horizon, chiefly encountered off the Guinea coast.
Tosher.—A small fishing-vessel.
Toss.—To throw up an oar and lay it down with its blade forward.
Tot.—A small measure. A tot of grog was the dose served out at the quarter-deck capstan in the days of grog at sea.
Tot of grog.—A gill of rum.
Touch.—A sail touches when it is brought so close to the wind that its weather leech shakes.
Touch her up.—Shake a vessel by luffing.
Touching.—Touching the wind is sailing so close as to keep the upper leeches lifting.
Touching at.—Anchoring or putting into a port during a voyage.
Tow.—To draw, to tug.
Towing bridle.—A chain to attach a hawser to for towing.
Tow-rail.—The arched rail on the after-part of a tug upon which the towing hawser travels or rests.
Town-ho!—An old whaling cry raised by the masthead-man on first sighting a whale.
“To work hard, live hard, die hard, and go to hell after all would be hard indeed!”—Jack’s philosophy.
T-plates.—Irons under a ship’s channels for extra strength.
Trade-room.—A Yankee name for a part of the hold where fancy goods for barter. &c., are kept.
Trade-winds.—Winds which prevail in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, between the limits of about 300 N. and S. latitude. On the N. side of the Equator the winds are called the N.E. Trades, on the S. side the S.E. Trades.
Trail-boards.—Ornamental boards on either side a ship’s stern.
Training-ship.—A ship for the training of boys for the navy and merchant-service.
Train-tackle.—A tackle for running guns in and out.
Trammel.—A net for river and sea work.
Transient ships.—Merchant-vessels which are neither liners nor regular traders; the term signifies that they are at one place to-day and somewhere else to-morrow.
Transoms.—Timbers across a ship’s stern for receiving the ends of deck planks, &c.
Transom stern.—The old-fashioned square stern.
Transport.—A ship that conveys troops.
Trapping-lines.—Lines passed round the hawsers from the quarters of a vessel having another in tow, to prevent the ends from getting foul of the propeller, should the hawsers part.
Traps.—A sailor’s traps are his clothes, bedding, chest, &c. When he talks of going ashore with his traps, these are the things he means.
Traveler.—An iron ring to slip along a rope.
Traverse a yard.—Getting it fore-and-aft.
Traverse-board.—A board for indicating a ship’s course, by pegs inserted in holes.
Traverse-sailing.—A method in navigation of reducing the zigzag track of a ship into a single course and distance.
Traverse tables.—Tables used for a variety of calculations in Navigation and chiefly for working out the dead reckoning.
Trawler.—A smack that fishes by shooting a trawl-net.
Trawl-warp.—A warp about 60 fathoms long, used by smacks in towing the trawl.
Treble-reefed.—Said of a top-sail with three reefs tied in it.
Treenails.—Long wooden pegs for fastening planking to timber, &c.
Trend.—The direction pursued by a coast. Also the lower end of the shank of an anchor.
Trestle-trees.—Fore-and-aft pieces on each side a mast to support the cross-trees and top.
Triatic stay.—A rope at the heads of the fore and main masts, fitted with thimbles to hook the stay-tackles to.
Trice.—To haul up.
Trick.—Two hours at the helm.
Trim.—The condition of a vessel with reference to her posture on the water. To trim a vessel is to adjust her posture afloat by the head or stern.
Trimmer.—A man employed in loading coal.
Trimming.—A beating or jacketing.
Trip.—To raise an anchor off the ground.
Tripping.—Lifting a mast to withdraw the fid.
Tripping-line.—For tripping a royal or topgallant yard in sending it down.
Trip-stopper:—A short chain secured by eyebolts to the side, and used for canting the anchor in letting go.
Tropics.—Are contained within the parallels of latitude 230 28 north and south of the Equator.
Trow.— A kind of barge.
Truck.—A round piece of wood at the head of the highest mast, with two holes, through which the flag-halyards are rove.
Trundle-shot.—A bolt of iron, pointed and furnished with balls of lead.
Trunk engine.—A marine engine furnished with a cylindrical casing fastened to the upper part of the piston, and constructed to slide steam-tight through the cylinder cover.
Trunk hatchway.—A hatchway framed down to a lower deck and presenting the appearance of a shaft.
Trunnions.—Arms of a gun, which serve as an axle for its depression or elevation.
Truss.—An iron crutch to keep a lower yard close to the mast.
Truss-strops.— Chain strops lashed on top of the yard for the truss pendants to shackle to.
Try-sail.—A fore-and-aft sail setting on a gaff.
Try-sail mast.—A small mast abaft a lower mast for hoisting a trysail on.
Try-work.—Large iron pots, used in whalers, built in brick-work and supported by stanchions.
Tub.—Grog-tub, for spirits; halyard-tub, for coiling away topsail halyards; match-tub, formerly for protecting the slow-match in an engagement.
Tubes.—Pipes connected with a steamer’s engines, through which the heat and flames pass, and which heat the water that surrounds them. Sometimes water is in the tubes and the heat outside.
Tubular boiler.—A marine boiler furnished with numerous tubes, surrounded with water, through which the flame and hot gases from the furnaces are led to the up-take at the bottom of the chimney.
Tuck.—The ends of the after-planks under the counter.
Tug.—A steamboat used for towing vessels.
Tumble up!—A cry to the men to bear a hand in coming on deck.
Tumbling home.—The depression inwards of a ship’s sides above the bends.
Tunnel.—A hollow space in screw steamers, extending from under the engine-room to the stern-tube bulkhead, in which the propeller shaft works, and meant to enable it to be inspected.
Turn.—To take a turn is to pass a rope once or twice round a pin or kevel.
Turn and turn about.—Alternate duty, one resting whilst the other works.
Turn in.—To go to bed.
Turn in a dead-eye.—To secure by seizing the end of a shroud or stay round a dead-eye.
Turning out reefs.—Shaking out reefs, unknotting the reef-points to enlarge the sail.
Turn in rigging.—Taking the ends of the shrouds round the deadeyes and securing them by seizings.
Turn out.— To get up out of bed.
Turnpike sailors.—Sham seamen who beg under pretence of having been shipwrecked.
Turn-table.—An apparatus for transferring a gun from one port to another. Also in a dock for transferring timber from ships into sheds.
Turn the hands up.—An order for all hands.
Turn to.—To go to work. To fall to. A favorite expression of sailors: “To turn to and do such and such a thing.”
Turn turtle.—To capsize.
Turn up.—” Turn the hands up,” send or call the men up from below.
Turret.—A massive iron structure on the deck of an ironclad man of-war, rising some feet above the breastwork, and furnished with machinery for working the large guns mounted in it.
Turret-ship.—A vessel furnished with revolving turrets fitted with ordnance of the heaviest class.
Twiddling-line.—A rope for steadying the wheel.
Twigging-line.—A line attached to the bowl of a compass to remedy its sluggishness by twitching.
Twig the fore.—Seeing that all the sails are properly furled and the yards square forward. “Twig the main” is the same thing, referring to the main-mast.
Twine.—Fine small stuff made from hemp, used in sail-making.
Twin-screw.—A vessel fitted with two propellers worked by separate engines.
Twin-ship.—A vessel formed of two hulls. The idea is as old as 1663, in which year Sir William Petty invented a double-bottomed ship that proved a failure.
Two bowlines.—A term in fleet maneuvers, applied when the ships of each column are ranged on each quarter of a single ship.
Two deck.—A ship with two whole battery decks.
Tye or tie.—A chain or rope attached to a yard for hoisting.
Typhoons.—Furious winds encountered in the China and Arabian Seas.
Unbend.—To untie. To remove a sail from a yard or a stay, &c.
Unbitt.—To remove the turns of a cable from the bitts.
Under canvas.—Said of a steamer using her sails only.
Under command.—Said of a ship over which there is control of the helm.
Under-manned.—Insufficiently furnished with men.
Under-masted.—Said of a ship whose spars are too small and short.
Under the lee.—In shelter from the wind by the shore or any other thing.
Under tow.—The back-wash of water in a recoiling breaker.
Under way.—Said of a ship that has just started after getting her anchor.
Underwriter.—One who takes the risk of insurance, and writes his name at the foot of the policy.
Union down.—The English ensign inverted: a distress signal.
Union Jack.—The union used separately.
Unmoor.—To get in one anchor that the vessel may ride by one only.
Unrove his life-line.—Said of a man who has died.
Unship.—To remove.
Up anchor!—The order to man the windlass.
Up and down.—A tackle consisting of a double block with a lashing and a single block with a hook.
Up boats.—The order to hoist the boats to the davits.
Up keeleg.—An expression signifying the act of starting to run away.
Up making.—Pieces of timber for filling up in building.
Upper counter rail.—A projecting molding on the stern of a ship.
Upper deck.—The topmost deck of a three-decked ship.
Upper fore-topgallant sail.—The topmost half of a fore-topgallant sail divided by a yard.
Upper fore-topsail.—The portion of the fore-topsail that is next the topgallant sail.
Upper main-topgallant sail.—The topmost half of a main-topgallant sail divided by a yard.
Upper main-topsail.—The portion of the main-topsail that is next to the topgallant sail.
Upper masts.—The masts above the lower masts.
Upper mizzen-topsail.—The portion of the sail next to the topgallant sail.
Upper works.—The fabric of a ship above water.
Up-take.—A portion of the boiler through which the smoke and heat pass into the funnel after they have left the tubes.
Up with the helm.—Put it so as to bring the rudder to leeward of the stern-post.
Valued policy.—A policy of marine insurance wherein the value insured is named.
Van.—The foremost ships of a fleet.
Vane.— See Dog-vane.
Vane-spindle.—A spindle at the masthead on which the dog-vane works.
Vangee.—An apparatus consisting of a barrel and crank breaks for pumping a ship.
Vangs.—Ropes used for steadying a gaff.
Variation.—Variation of the compass is the deviation of the points of the compass from the corresponding points of the horizon. It is termed east or west variation, according as the north point of the compass is inclined from the true north.
Vast.—Stop, as ‘vast heaving.
Veer.—The wind veers when it shifts from right to left, or with the sun. To slack out cable.
Veer and haul.—Said of a shifting wind. Also a method of pulling on a rope.
Vent.—An aperture near the breech of a gun by which the charge is fired.
Vent-bit.—A tool for clearing the vent of a gun.
Vent-piece. — That which contains the vent in a breech-loading gun.
Vent-plug.—A plug for stopping the vent of a gun against wet, &c.
Veritas.—A register of shipping in Paris.
Vernier.—A small scale for moving up and down a barometer scale.
Vertex.—A term used by Raper, who defines it thus:—” When the course shaped on the great circle (Great Circle Sailing) from each point is less than 900 (reckoning both courses from the nearest pole) the circle passes through a point in a higher latitude than that of either of the places. The point of extreme latitude reached, at which the ship, neither increasing nor diminishing her latitude for a time, steers E. or W. we shall call the Vertex.’t
Vertical fire.—Firing at such an elevation that the projectile drops nearly plumb.
Vessel.—Any kind of ship.
V.G.—An endorsement signifying “very good” on a seaman’s certificate of conduct. . .
Vice-Admiral.—The rank after an admiral, and indicated by a flag at the fore.
Victualling-bill.—A warrant obtained by a shipmaster to ship stores
for the use of the crew and passengers, containing a statement
of the stores.
Victualling yards.—Large repositories for marine stores, near the Royal Dockyards.
Viol.—A messenger used in weighing an anchor by a capstan. Formerly it was a large hawser.
Viol-block.—A large block, formerly used in weighing the anchor.
Virazon.—A S.E. wind veering to N.E. encountered in the neighborhood of the Rio de la Plata.
Visitation and search.—The right of every belligerent cruiser to overhaul a merchantman.
Vitry.—Also Vittory. A light canvas.
Volley.—A simultaneous discharge of fire-arms.
Voluntary stranding.—Running a vessel ashore to escape foundering, or any other danger.
Voyage.—A journey by sea out and home.
Wad.—A plug for keeping a shot in its place when rammed home.
Waggoner.—A famous old atlas used by seamen in past times.
Waist.—The deck between the main deck and the forecastle.
Waist-boards.— Berthing in a vessel’s gangways.
Waist-cloths — Coverings for the hammocks stowed in the waist-nettings.
Waisters.—An old name for seamen or boys of little use.
Waist-nettings.—The hammock-nettings in the waist.
Wake.—The track left by a ship in motion.
Wales.—Planks running the whole length of a vessel’s sides.
Walk back.—To reverse the action of the capstan so as to come  up or ease the rope round it.
Walking the plank.—An old mode of murdering by forcing a man to step overboard from a plank.
Walk up Ladder-lane and down Hemp-street.—Said of a man hanged at a yard-arm.
Wall.—A knot on the end of a rope.
Wall-sided.—A term applied to the top sides of ships whose sides, when she is afloat, look to be up and down like a wall.
Wapp.—A fair-leader. Also a shroud-stopper.
Wardroom.—A cabin in a man-of-war where the commissioned officers mess.
Wardroom-officers.—The commander, lieutenant, master, chaplain, paymaster, surgeon, marine officers, and assistant-surgeons.
Warm-sided.—Said of a ship mounting heavy batteries.
Warp.—The name given to a rope for dragging a ship into any required position.
Warping.—The act of hauling a ship into a required position.
Warrant.—A dock-warrant is a document representing goods warehoused in a dock.
Warrant-officer.—In the navy, the boatswain, gunner, carpenter, &c.
Wash-boards.—Angular pieces of wood placed under the lower cheeks and eikings of a ship.
Wash down.—To clean the decks with water and scrubbing brushes.
Watch.—The term applied to the division of a crew. There are two watches, i.e. the port watch headed by the mate, and the starboard watch by the second mate.
Watch and watch.—The term to signify four hours on deck and four below, alternately, save in the dog-watches, which are two hours each.
Watch, ho, watch!—The cry of men heaving the deep-sea lead as the fakes of the line drop from their hands.
Watch-tackle.—A small handy purchase consisting of a tailed double-block and a single block with a hook.
Water-bailiff.—An officer for the searching of vessels.
Water-ballast.—A method of ballasting a vessel by filling specially constructed compartments or tanks with water.
Water bewitched.—The tea served out to sailors.
Water-borne.—Sustained by the water, lifted by a sea. Said of a boat hanging at the davits that she was water-borne by the heeling of the ship.
Water-gauge cocks.—Small cocks placed in front of a marine boiler, by opening which the height of the water in the boiler is ascertained.
Watering.—Filling a ship’s tanks or casks with fresh water.
Water-line.—The line of flotation when a ship is loaded.
Water-logged.—A vessel full of water and floating on her cargo of timber, cork, or freight of that kind, is called water-logged.
Waterman.—This word is defined as one who gets his livelihood on fresh water; but it is generally used as another term for boatman, who rows for hire either on salt or fresh water.
Water-marks.—The figures on a ship’s stern showing the depth of water she draws.
Water-pads.—Harbor thieves.
Water-ports.—Openings in a ship’s bulwarks to free the deck of water.
Water-sail.—A sail set under the swinging boom when the lower studding-sail is set.
Water-space.—The term applied to the space for holding water, as, for instance, between the side of one furnace and the side of the shell of the boiler, or between the plates of the combustion chamber and the shell of the boiler.
Water-tables.—Sills to a ship’s windows.
Water-tight bulkheads.—Divisions in iron steamships to prevent them from sinking through injury by collision or from springing a leak.
Water-ways.—The planking along the scuppers.
‘Way aloft!—An order to go aloft for reefing, furling, &c.
Ways.—Timbers laid down for rolling weights upon.
Wearing.—To come round on another tack by passing stern to wind.
Weather.—To weather is to pass on the windward side of an object.
Weather-bitt.—That to which the weather-cable is secured when a ship is moored. Also to take an extra turn with a cable round the windlass end.
Weather-boards.—Protections for a ship’s ports when laid up in ordinary.
Weather-bound.—Stopped by adverse winds.
Weather-cloths.—Hammock covers of tarpaulin or painted canvas.
Weather-glass.—The barometer.
Weather-lurch.—A strong roll to windward. Also termed weather roll.
Weatherly.—Said of a ship that looks well up into the wind when on a bowline.
Weatherly ship.—Said of a ship that makes little or no leeway in working to windward.
Weather scuppers.—It is an old joke at sea to advise a greenhorn to get a handspike and hold it down hard in the weather scuppers to steady the ship’s wild motions.
Weather-side.—The side on which the wind blows.
Weather-tide.—A tide that sets the ship to windward.
Weather-wheel.—The side of the wheel on which the wind is blowing.
Wee-gee.—A method of working two pumps by long iron handles and ropes, instead of brakes.
Weevil.—A worm found in bad ship’s-biscuit.
Weigh—To lift.
Weighing.—Lifting the anchor off the ground.
Weight of metal.—The united calibers, in pounds, of all the guns which a ship can place in battery.
Well!—An exclamation, signifying that will do, as “Well the royal yard!” “Well the cross-jack yard!” Also a shaft that goes down to the keelson, used for sounding; and, in small smacks, a place in the hold into which the fish taken are thrown.
Well-cabin.—An after cabin without windows.
Well-deck.—A vessel with a long poop and forecastle, and between, a deck made deep by high bulwarks, is called well-decked.
Well man.—A man who is in good health.
Wester.—To draw to the westwards, said of the sun or wind.
Westing.—The distance made by course to the westwards.
Wet.—A wet ship is a vessel which takes water over her easily.
Wet dock.—An excavation, contiguous to the water, for the accommodation of ships.
Wet provisions.—The term applied to beef, pork, vinegar, rum, lime-juice, and suet.
Wharfinger.—The owner or keeper of a wharf.
What cheer?—A nautical salutation, meaning “What news?” “What luck?”
Wheel.—A wheel with handles for revolving the ropes or chains which move the tiller or yoke in steering.
Wheel-house.—A cover over the wheel for the protection of the helmsman.
Wheel stanchion.—The supporter of the axle on which the wheel revolves.
Where away?—How does the object bear? how is it situated with reference to the ship?
Wherry.—A small open boat. Also a large barge or lighter.
While she creaks she holds!—An exclamation used as a kind of encouragement to persevere in keeping the ship under a press.
Whip-jack.—A sham sailor.
Whipping.—Preserving the end of a rope by binding it with twine.
Whipping baskets.—Baskets used for discharging certain kinds of cargo.
Whip -upon whip.—A whip attached to the fall of another.
Whiskers.—Two booms or irons extending on either side a ship’s head for guying the jib booms.
Whistling-buoy.—A floating-fog signal, consisting of a buoy whose movements operate a whistle.
White-horse.—The name given by whalemen to a wad of muscles and tendons found in the tapering part of the whale and in the thicker portion of its flukes.
White-rope.—Manilla, and the ropes which do not require tarring.
White squall.—Burst of wind encountered off the African coast.
Whole top-sails.—Under whole top-sails; said of a ship sailing under top-sails without any reefs tied in them.
Who shall have this?—When provisions or other things are distributed, a man turns his back and asks ” Who,” &c.
Widows’ men.—Formerly imaginary seamen entered in the books as A.B.’s for wages which were paid to the Widows’ Fund.
Wift or waft.—A flag tied by a yarn in the middle of the fly, and hoisted as a signal.
Wild.— Said of a ship when she steers badly.
Willy-waws.—Whirlwind squalls encountered in the Straits of Magellan.
Winch.—A machine with toothed wheels and pawls, worked by a handle and used in discharging cargo, &c. Many winches are worked by steam.
Wind abeam.—Sailing with the wind blowing at right angles to the ship.
Wind and water.—A ship hit by a ball that penetrates her at the water-line, so as to make an aperture just above and just below the surface of the water, is said to be struck between wind and water.
Wind-bound.—The same as weather-bound.
Wind-gall.—A halo of light on the edge of a cloud, and reckoned a precursor of stormy weather.
Windlass.—A large barrel, revolved by handles, on the forecastle, and used in getting up the anchor. This was the old windlass. Now there are many patent windlasses worked by steam.
Windmill.—The name given to an apparatus that resembles the arms of a small windmill, fitted to the pumps, which are worked by the revolution of the arms. In the absence of steam no better device than this could have been invented for saving the cruel labor of long pumping.
Wind-rode.—The situation of an anchored ship that is swung by the wind instead of the tide.
Winds.—Beaufort’s figures denote the force of the wind thus: 0. Calm. 1. Light air. 2. Light breeze. 3. Gentle breeze. 4. Moderate breeze. 5. Fresh breeze. 6. Strong breeze. 7. Moderate gale. 8. Fresh gale. 9. Strong gale. 10. Whole gale. 11. Storm. 12. Hurricane.
Windward ebb.—When the tide is setting out and the wind blowing in.
Windward flood.—When the tide is setting in and the wind blowing out.
Windward great circle sailing.—The putting of a ship, in a foul wind, on the tack that enables her to lie nearest to her destination when steering upon the track of a great circle.
Wing.—The part of the hold or ‘tween-decks next the sides.
Wing and wing.—Said of a fore-and-aft rigged vessel when .going dead before the wind with her canvas out on both sides of her.
Wingers.— Casks stowed in the wings.
Wing ship.—A ship on the extreme left or right of a column.
Wire-drawn.—Said of steam when the steam-pipe of a marine boiler is so contracted as to diminish the pressure of the steam upon the piston during its stroke in the cylinder.
With a will.—Heartily. To pull with a will is to pull your best.
Withe.—An iron with a ring attached to it for rigging booms through: as, for instance, a short topgallant mast fitted with a withe to enable a royal mast to be rigged up.
Wood-backing.—The planking behind the iron or steel plates of armored ships.
Wooden.—An old name for ship’s carpenter.
Wooden-wings.—A name for lee-boards.
Wood-locks.—Pieces of wood, sheathed with metal, fixed to the stern-post to prevent the rudder unshipping.
Wood-sawyer’s clerk.—A term to denote ease and independence.
Woold.—To wind a piece of rope round anything.
Woolding.—A strong lashing tautened by the insertion of wedges.
Worked.—” I wore ship and worked for such and such a port,” meaning, ” I tacked and beat against the wind in order to reach the port.” Also said of packages of drugs carefully examined in dock for any damage which may have occurred during the voyage.
Working.—A ship is said to be working when her timbers and planking strain so as to let in water.
Work up.—The phrase for punishing a crew by keeping them at work beyond the usual hours. Sometimes “Work their old iron up.”
Worm.—A tool for withdrawing a charge from a gun.
Worming.—To fill up the hollows in the strands of a rope by coiling spun yarn around them.
Wreck bury.—A buoy painted green to denote the whereabouts of a sunken wreck.
Wrecker.—One who lures a ship to destruction for the purpose of plunder. One who steals wrecked goods, &c., which have been washed ashore.
Wring.—To strain.
Wring-bolts.—Bolts which secure the planks to the timbers.
Wring-staves.—Pieces of plank used with the wring-bolts.
Xebeck.—A vessel square-rigged forward and lateen-rigged aft.
Yacht.—A pleasure-vessel.
Yard.—A spar across a mast to fasten a sail to.
Yard-arm.—The end of a yard.
Yard-arm and yard-arm.—Lying side by side in an engagement so close that the yard-arms touch.
Yard-arm cleats.— Pieces of wood on the yard-arms where the lifts and braces are, where the head earrings are secured.
Yard on the cap.—The situation of a yard lowered as far as it will go down the mast.
Yard-rope.—A rope for sending yards up or down.
Yard-tackles.—Tackles attached to the lower yards for hoisting boats, weights, &c., in and out.
Yarn.—Threads of hemp or other stuff. Also a narrative.
Yaw.—When a ship’s head is swung by the send of a sea so as to throw her off her course, she yaws.
Yawl.—A man-of-war’s boat. Also a vessel rigged as a cutter, but carrying in addition a small sail at the stern called a mizzen.
Yaw-sighted.—One who squints.
Yaw-yaw.—Jack’s definition of a Dutchman, “Any man who says yaw-yaw for yes.”
Yellow admiral.—A retired post-captain not entitled to promotion because he has not served his time in the rank he retires from.
Yellow-flag.—Quarantine colors.
Yellow Jack.—The yellow fever.
Yeoman.—The man in charge of a store-room in a man-of-war.
Yoke.—A piece of timber or iron fitted to the head of the rudder athwartships. Used for steering a ship by a wheel placed forwards, or where a tiller cannot be used.
Young gentlemen.—The term by which midshipmen in the merchant-service are addressed.
Youngster.—A youth; a boy.
Yow-yow.—A small Chinese boat.
Yulohs.—Chinese oars.
Zenith.—The zenith of a place is a point in the heavens immediately above that place.
Zenith distance.—An arch of a vertical circle contained between the object and the zenith.
Zodiac.—A space in the heavens extending about 8° on each side the ecliptic.


Provided as a public service message for parents and for those that take the U.N. message to heart about adding insects to your diet, and who decide to also include wild plants:

Activated charcoal for pediatric poisonings: the universal antidote?

Poisonous Plants of the United States—There are in the United States, numerous common, well-known plants which possess poisonous properties. What these properties are have not been, hitherto, so well-known. The Division of Botany of the United States Department of Agriculture, after three years spent in collecting information concerning these plants, and after numerous experiments, prepared a list of the most common, which will be of great value to farmers and others. They are found growing everywhere and the description of them is made full enough to enable anyone to identify them.

FalseHelleboreFALSE HELLEBORE.—(Veratrum viride —botanical name). Other names: American white hellebore; white hellebore; swamp hellebore; Indian poke; meadow poke; poke root; Indian uncus; puppet root; earth gall; crow poison; devil’s bite; duckretter; itch weed; bugbane; wolfs-bane; bear corn.

It is a stout herb, simple stemmed and perennial; 2 to 7 feet high with a fleshy root, 1 to 3 inches long; large plaited, stemless leaves of varying size, and bears a large, loose terminal cluster of yellowish-green flowers which blossom from May to July.

It is a native of the United States and grows abundantly in wet meadows, along mountain brooks and in cold localities in the south, and is found everywhere from Maine to Alaska. As a medicine, an overdose is fatal, and in its natural state men and animals have been poisoned. The seeds are poisonous to chickens, and its leaves dangerous to all animals except sheep, elk and those which chew the cud. Its root and young leaves are fatal to tan, being frequently eaten in the belief that they are those of the marsh marigold.

The action of the poison is on the heart and spinal cord, both of which it tends to paralyze. It has also a violent emetic and cathartic effect. The symptoms are burning in the throat, an increased flow of saliva, loss of sight, vomiting, purging, severe headache, dizziness, weak pulse, difficulty in breathing and prostration. Death is caused by paralysis of the heart.

American PokeweedPOKEWEED—(Phytolacca decandra— botanical name). Other names: Poke; poke berry; garget; pigeon berry; cocum; jalap; skoke; American nightshade; crowberry: cancer root; chongras; redweed; red-ink plant; pocanbush.

It is a smooth, rank, succulent (juicy), perennial, 6 to 9 feet high. with a thick, half-woody root, purplish stems, large alternate leaves and numerous long clusters of small greenish-white flowers, which blossom throughout the summer, and are followed in autumn by shining, purple-black berries. It grows in rich. moist soils, especially as a weed in cultivated and waste grounds from Maine and Northern Illinois to Florida. and westward to Texas, eastern Kansas, and southern Minnesota.

The pokeweed is a well-known plant and has many household uses when deprived of its poisonous qualities. The root and the alcoholic extract of the fruit, are regarded as remedies for the itch and other skin diseases and for rheumatism. The fresh shoots are esteemed as a substitute for asparagus, but the root must be carefully removed, or it will give the mess a bitter taste, and a large amount of the root will prove dangerous. Some birds eat the berries with perfect safety, but they are poisonous to human beings.

The root is often mistaken for that of the parsnip, artichoke, and horse-radish. The seed is the most fatal part of the plant. It is a violent but slow-acting emetic; it affects the nerves and muscles, producing retching, spasms, severe purging, and sometimes convulsions. Death is due to the paralysis of the respiring organs (windpipe and lungs).

CornCockleCORN COCKLE—(Agrostemma githago —botanical name) Other names: Cockle; rose campion; bastard nigelle; old maid’s pink; licheta; crown of the field.

It is a whitish, woolly annual, 1 to 3 feet high, with an erect stem, showy, violet-red flowers, and numerous rough, black, irregularly rounded seeds, very much wrinkled, whence the name “cockle.”

It is a noxious weed in Europe, and in the United States it is found in the grain fields from Maine to North Dakota, southward through eastern Kansas to Louisiana and Florida; seldom in Wyoming and California, and scarcely at all in the dry regions of the west. The poison is freely soluble in water, and has a sharp, burning taste. It has no odor, but when inhaled in the smallest quantity it produces violent sneezing. When briskly shaken up with water, it froths like soap. The poison is found in nearly all parts of the plant, but mainly in the kernel of the seed.

Poultry and household animals are frequently poisoned by it, but poisoning is generally produced by a poor grade of flour made from wheat containing cockle seeds. Machinery is used to remove these seeds from the wheat, but the difficulty of separating them is so great that the result is not entirely accomplished. In European countries the quantity of these poisonous seeds in wheat sometimes amounts to 30 or 40 per cent. Flour containing a smaller amount has often been made into bread and eaten with fatal results, the heat of the baking oven and the chemical action of yeast, etc., not always being sufficient to decompose, or destroy the effects of the poison. The effect may be acute (temporary), or, if a small quantity of the meal is eaten regularly, it may become chronic, in which case it is a disease sometimes known under the name of “githagism.”

The symptoms of acute poisoning are: Intense irritation of the whole digestive tract; vomiting; headache; nausea; vertigo; diarrhea; hot skin; sharp pains in the spine; difficulty in walking, and depressed breathing. Stupor sometimes sets in and it may be followed by death. Experiments in chronic or repeated and continual uses of the cockle, show chronic diarrhea and gradual depression, loss of vigor in breathing and muscular movements until death ensues.

Corn cockle meal is easily detected in second and third class flour by the presence of the black, roughened scales of the seed coat. These are sure to occur if the flour has not been well bolted. Its presence is also detected by the peculiar odor produced when the meal is moistened.

The plant is propagated by the cockle seeds in wheat used for planting.

DwarfLarkspur2DWARF LARKSPUR—(Delphinium tricorne—botanical name) Other name: Stagger weed. The larkspurs are a numerous family of erect herbs, with palm shaped leaves, and a long cluster of showy flowers. They are commonly blue, and are further characterized by the absence of green parts, and the presence of a peculiar spur-like appendage. There are over 25 species native to the United States, few of which have a very wide distribution, but some of the Western species are extremely abundant in their natural place of growth. They have a general reputation of being poisonous to cattle.

The dwarf larkspur is a smooth, simple-stemmed perennial, 6 to 12 inches high, with a tuberous root, deeply 5-parted leaves, and a long, loose cluster of blue (sometimes white) flowers, which appear in April and May. It grows in clayey soil and open woods, from Pennsylvania and the mountains of North Carolina to Southern Minnesota. It is especially fatal to cattle in April when the fresh leaves appear.

WyomingLarkspur2WYOMING LARKSPUR— (Delphinum geyeri—botanical name) Other name: Poison weed. This is a somewhat hairy perennial, 10 to 20 inches high, with a large, sphere-shaped tuft of rather thick dull-green leaves, and a central column of deep azure-blue flowers. It is a common prairie plant of Wyoming and northern Colorado, where it is the most troublesome of the poisonous plants of that section. Ranchmen suffer considerable loss from it, especially in early spring, when the dark green tufts of foliage are conspicuous features of a dry and barren landscape.

PurpleLarkspur1PURPLE LARKSPUR—(Delphinum menziesii—botanical name) A hairy tuberous-rooted perennial, about a foot high, at the base of which is a cluster of finely divided, long-stemmed leaves, and a single column of showy blue flowers, which appear at any time between April and July. The flowers are few in number, but are extra large, being from 1 to 11; inches broad. This species is found native on hillsides from the vicinity of San Francisco to British Columbia and eastward as far as South Dakota. In Montana it is very common.

Cattlemen place the percentage of fatal cases where cattle eat this plant at 20 per cent, when the animals are not properly treated, and 5 per cent otherwise.

Other species of larkspur in the same locality, poisonous to animals are: the tall mountain larkspur, sometimes known as cow poison, which grows in moist shady places from Monterrey, California, to British Columbia.

A lavender-colored, fleshy-rooted larkspur, also fatal to animals, grows in the moist salty soils south of San Francisco and Stockton.

Sierra Exif JPEGBLACK CHERRY—(Prunus serotina— botanical name) Other names: wild black cherry; wild cherry; rum cherry; whiskey cherry.

A valuable forest tree, 60 to 80 feet high, with thin, reddish-brown, scaly bark, tapering, saw-edged leaves, cylindrical clusters of small white flowers, appearing in April and May, and shining black, edible fruit, about a quarter of an inch in diameter. It grows abundantly in forests in the Middle Atlantic and Ohio River States; in the open country in the Southern New England and Gulf States, and westward from Illinois to South Dakota, eastern Nebraska and Arkansas. It is extensively cultivated as a shade and ornamental tree in Wyoming and Colorado, and eastward to the Atlantic.

The fruit is pleasant though slightly bitter and astringent in taste, and in some localities it is much used to flavor liquor. Poisoning is frequently caused in cattle by eating the wilted leaves from branches thrown carelessly within their reach. Children occasionally die from eating the kernels of the seed or from swallowing the fruit whole. The base of the poison in the black cherry is prussic acid, the smell of which like that of almonds, can always be distinguished, and as cattle are fond of the flavor, which is strong in the leaves, they often find death in their food.

The symptoms of poisoning in cattle are: Labored breathing, diminished pulse, numbness, protruding eyeballs, convulsions, and death from paralysis of the lungs. In some cases there is frothing at the mouth, and always an unmistakable odor of prussic acid in the breath.

Astragalus mollissimus2WOOLLY LOCO WEED — (Astragalus mollissimus—botanical name) Other names: Loco weed; crazy weed, so-called from the Spanish or Mexican word which means “crazy.” A silvery-white, silky leaved perennial, 8 to 12 inches high, with an abundance of soft foliage springing out in a cluster from a short central stem close to the ground. The flowers are pea shaped and usually purple. The pod is distinctively two-celled. The plant is a native of the Great Plains region, extending from Western Texas and New Mexico northward to South Dakota and Wyoming, being most abundant in Colorado and in the western part of Nebraska and Kansas. It grows both on the open prairie and on rocky hillsides.

Horses, cattle, and sheep are affected by loco, but the principal damage is done to horses. The effect is slow, such as that caused in man, by the continued, excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, or morphine. There are two stages. The first, which may last for several months, is a period of hallucination or mania, accompanied by defective eyesight, during which the animal may perform all sorts of ridiculous antics. Having acquired a taste for the plant, the animal refuses every other kind of food, and the second stage is ushered in. This is a lingering period of emaciation, characterized by sunken eyeballs, lusterless hair, and feeble movements. The animal finally dies as if from starvation, in periods ranging from a few months to one or two years.

There are over half a dozen species of this plant, all of them highly detrimental to live stock, and particularly dangerous as most of them are green at periods when other vegetation is dry and brown, and, therefore, eagerly eaten by cattle.

ARAGALLUSLAMBERTISTEMLESS LOCO WEED—(Aragallus lambertii—botanical name) Other names: Loco weed; crazy weed; Colorado loco vetch. This plant differs from the true loco weed most conspicuously in its more erect and branchless habit, its longer leaflets, which are long, instead of egg shaped, and the one-celled seed pod. It ranges over the same territory as the woolly loco weed, but extends farther, being found throughout the Great Plains from British America to Mexico, and flourishes higher in the mountains, being found at an elevation of 8,000 feet above the sea level. Its poisonous character, symptoms and effects are the same as in the case of the true loco weed.

Crotalaria sagittalisRATTLEBOX—(Crotalaria sagittalis —botanical name) Other names: Rattleweed; wild pea. A hairy annual, 3 to 18 inches high, with simple undivided leaves, 1 to 2 inches long, and small, yellow pea like flowers appearing in July. The seed pods are about an inch in length when mature, and are nearly black. They are much inflated, and as the walls are stiff and thin and very resonant, they make excellent miniature rattles when the seeds have become detached from their fastenings inside the pod. They give a sharp rattle at every wind or other cause which shakes the plant. It is a native in low sandy soils from the Atlantic to Minnesota and Eastern Kansas, and is quite common as far as the Pacific coast.

The poisonous qualities are in the leaves and in the seeds. Horses and cattle are sometimes killed by eating meadow grass mixed with the plant. The symptoms are: Decline of vigor, and a gradual loss of flesh as in loco weed poisoning, but it does not produce the craziness characteristic of the loco.

Euphorbia lathyris1CAPER SPURGE—(Euphorbia lathyris— botanical name) Other names: Garden spurge; myrtle spurge; mole plant; mole weed; mole tree; gopher plant; anti-gopher plant; wild caper; caper bush: wolf’s milk; springwort.

A smooth herb, and milky-juiced perennial, 2 to 3 feet high, with a stiff, erect stem, and opposite four-ranked leaves, the lower of which are thick and oblong, the upper thin, broad, and heart-shaped. The flowers are greenish-yellow and rather small. The three-seeded fruit is conspicuous. It is a common garden plant, sparingly grown in wet ground in California and Texas, and in the Atlantic states from New Jersey to West Virginia and North Carolina.

The fresh milky juice is exceedingly acrid and the fruit is highly purgative and poisonous, and is a dangerous household remedy. Women and children are often poisoned by handling the plant and getting the juice on the face. Cattle are sometimes overcome by its use, but goats will eat it extensively without harm to themselves, but their milk will then possess all the venomous properties of the plant. When applied to the skin, the juice causes redness, itching, pimples, and sometimes gangrene, the effect often lasting more than a week. The seed taken internally in overdose, will inflame the mouth and stomach, and cause intense diarrhea and vomiting. If the dose be large, there will be nervous disorders, unconsciousness, general collapse and death.

Euphorbia marginata1SNOW IN THE MOUNTAIN—(Euphorbia marginata—botanical name) An annual plant 2 to 4 feet high, differing most conspicuously from the caper spurge in its more slender and less branching habit, and in having a broad white margin, or edge around its upper leaves, It is a handsomer plant, and often used for decorative purposes. This spurge is a native weed of the Great Plains from Montana to Mexico and is rapidly spreading eastward. It is cultivated for ornament in the North Atlantic States and has reached Europe.

The poison of this plant reaches the stomach from the eating of honey derived from its flowers. Large quantities of fall honey are annually made in localities where the plant grows in great abundance. The honey is hot and disagreeable to the taste, but does not appear to be a very serious poison, its effects being confined to vomiting and purging. The milky juice, applied to the skin, causes an itching inflammation, accompanied by pimples and blisters which last for several days. This blistering action, is taken advantage of by stock raisers in Texas, who use the juice to brand cattle, it being held by some of them to be superior to a red-hot iron for that purpose, because the scar heals more rapidly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPOISON IVY—(Rhus radicans—botanical name) Other names: Poison oak; poison vine, three-leaved ivy; poison creeper; mercury or markry; black mercury; markweed; pickry.  A climbing or trailing shrub (sometimes erect), with variable three-foliate leaves, aerial rootlets, and greenish flowers, appearing in May and June. The smooth, waxy, white fruit often remains on the plant until late in the winter. The leaves often resemble those of the box-elder. They differ from those of the Virginia creeper in having only three leaflets instead of five. Poison ivy grows everywhere in open brush, in ravines, and on the borders of woods, and it is spread along the roadsides and cultivated fields from seeds carried by crows, woodpeckers, and other birds that feed upon its fruit in winter.

The poison in this plant is a non-volatile oil, that is, an oil that does not evaporate or lose its strength by exposure to the air. It is found in all parts of the plant, even in the wood after long drying. Like all oils it is not soluble in water, and cannot, therefore, be washed off the skin by water alone. It is readily removed by alcohol, and very easily destroyed by an alcoholic solution of sugar of lead (lead acetate). Even burning it is attended with danger, for the smoke carries the poisonous oil and produces the same effect as handling the plant.

Rhus diversiloba1POISON OAK—(Rhus diversiloba— botanical name) Other names: Poison ivy; yeara; California poison sumac. The poison oak differs from the poison ivy mainly in the character of its leaflets, which are thicker and smaller and more nearly elliptical. The similarity of the leaves to those of the Western oaks gives the plant its common name. It grows wherever the poison ivy does, except on mountains, and its poisonous qualities are the same.

Rhus vernix1POISON SUMAC—(Rhus vernix—botanical name) Other names: Swamp sumac; dogwood; poison dogwood; poison elder; poison ash; poison tree; poison wood; poison swamp sumac; thunderwood. A tree-like shrub 6 to 30 feet high, with long pinnate (feather shaped) leaves having from 7 to 13 leaflets, without marginal teeth. The wood has a faint sulphurous odor, which, together with the leaf scars, which are very prominent, enables one to distinguish the plant from other shrubbery in winter. It grows in swamps and in damp woods from Florida to Canada, and westward to Louisiana. The poison affects the skin in the same way as poison ivy, and requires the same remedies.

Aesculus pavia1RED BUCKEYE. — (Aesculus pavia— botanical name) Other names: Small buckeye; buckeye; horse chestnut. A shrub 8 to 12 feet high, with opposite, long-stemmed leaves, and numerous clusters of bright red flowers, which appear in March. The fruit is smooth, even when young; the seeds are mahogany-colored . and are elegantly polished. It grows in fertile valleys from Virginia to Florida, throughout the Gulf States to Louisiana, and in Arkansas. It is cultivated to some extent in Pennsylvania.

Cattle are sometimes killed by eating the fruit, but it is known as a means of catching fish. It was the practice formerly to stir the bruised seeds or twigs into small ponds, when the fish would become stupefied and, rising to the surface could be gathered by the hand. When thoroughly cooked, these fish were quite wholesome.

Aesculus hippocastanum1COMMON HORSE CHESTNUT—(Aesculus hippocastanum) This is regarded as poisonous, though in England, it is fed to cattle after the removal of the poison by thorough washing with alcohol. The Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra), and the California Buckeye (Aesculus Californica), are of a similar nature. The Round Valley Indians roast and leach the nuts in strong lye, and make a palatable soup and bread.

Cicuta maculata1WATER HEMLOCK—(Cicuta maculata —botanical name) Other names: American water hemlock; wild hemlock; spotted hemlock; spotted parsley; snakeweed; beaver poison; musquash root; muskrat weed; cowbane; spotted cowbane; children’s bane; death of man. A smooth, erect, perennial, 3 to 8 feet high, with a stiff, hollow stem, numerous branches, finely dissected leaves, white flowers, and a cluster of spindle-shaped roots, from 1-1/2 to 3 inches long, a characteristic of this plant. It grows in swamps and damp soil east and west.

It is one of the most poisonous plants in the United States, rapidly fatal alike to man and animals. The roots are especially dangerous, as they possess an aromatic taste, which suggests horse-radish, parsnips, artichokes, or sweet cicely. Children are apt to eat the roots on account of their appetizing appearance, temptingly lying above ground, being forced out of the soil by washing, freezing, or other causes, in early spring. Cattle eat the tubers, and in marshes, they are poisoned by drinking water contaminated by the juice of the roots which have been crushed by being trampled upon. The symptoms are: Vomiting, colicky pains, staggering, unconsciousness, and frightful convulsions ending in death.

Cicula vagans1OREGON WATER HEMLOCK—(Cicula vagans—botanical name) Other names: Water hemlock; Cicuta. This species of hemlock has often been mistaken for the common water hemlock, but that variety does not grow in the far northwestern States. Some other plants that are mistaken for it are the so-called “wild celery,” Oregon sweet cicely, and poison hemlock This plant is distinguished by leaves which spring directly from the ground, white flowers blooming in July and August, and a fleshy root which has a muskrat-like odor (musky), and its peculiar roots. It has two kinds of roots, one standing upright from 1 to 6 inches long by 1 to 2 inches thick, divided into numerous chambers by horizontal partitions. This root stock furnishes the bulk of the poison. The other portion of the root consists of solid, fleshy fibers which run along on, or just under the surface of the soil, and send off numerous rootlets from beneath. The plant grows in wet or marshy places, and ranges from British Columbia to northeastern California; and from Idaho to the southern Sierra Nevada. It is fatal to man and animals, some persons dying from having merely nibbled the root through curiosity.

POISON HEMLOCK.—(Conium maculatum—botanical name). Other names: Hemlock; wild hemlock; spotted parsley; stink weed; herb bennet; poison root; poison snakeweed; cashes; wodenwhistle. A smooth, purple spotted, hollow stemmed biennial (two years), 2 to 7 feet high, with large, parsley-like leaves and showy clusters of small white flowers, which appear in July and August. The fresh leaves have a nauseating taste, and when bruised, emit a characteristic mouse like odor. The plant is a native of Europe and Asia, but has become naturalized in the United States where it is common on waysides and in waste places.

The poison is in the seeds, and, especially at flowering time, in the leaves. The root is harmless in March, April and May, but poisonous afterward. This is the historical hemlock plant, which was administered to the Greek philosopher, Socrates and was in general use. The seeds are often mistaken for anise, the leaves for parsley, and the root for parsnip, and children have been poisoned by blowing whistles made from the hollow stem of the plant.

The symptoms are: A gradual weakening of the muscular power, loss of sight, but the mind remains clear until death ensues, which it soon does from the gradual paralysis of the lungs.

BROAD-LEAF LAUREL.——(Kalmia latifolia—botanieal name) Other names: Laurel; ivy; mountain laurel; sheep laurel; poison laurel; wood laurel: small laurel; rose laurel; high laurel; American laurel; poison ivy: ivy bush; ivy wood: big ivy; calico bush; spoonwood; kalmia; Nicky. A fine shrub, usually 4 to 8 feet, but sometimes 30 to 40 feet high. It has thick, flat and shining leaves, showy clusters of peculiarly shaped, viscid (sticky), and odorless pink flowers, which appear in May and June, and a round, sticky, dry uneatable fruit. It grows generally east of the Mississippi river.

Its leaves are commonly used for house decorations in winter, but they are poisonous, even goats dying from eating the leaves. The honey derived from the nectar of the flower is also poisonous, and the leaves are sometimes used to increase the intoxicating effects of liquors. They are also sometimes eaten with fatal effects by children who mistake them for the leaves of Wintergreen.

The symptoms are: Nausea, vomiting, frothing at the mouth, loss of sight, dizziness, drowsiness, stupor and then death. There are half a dozen or more native species of the broad-leaf laurel, all of which are alike poisonous and the symptoms are the same.

Kalmia angustifolia1NARROW-LEAF LAUREL—(Kalmia angustifolia—botanical name) Other names: Sheep laurel; lambkill; sheep poison; lamb laurel; dwarf sheep laurel; small laurel; low laurel; dwarf laurel; Nicky. This plant is the same as the preceding, but smaller, only 2 to 4 feet high, with smaller, thinner, and narrower leaves, and smaller flowers, clustered, not at the extreme end of the stem, but at the ‘base of the flesh shoots. It is of general growth in east of the Mississippi river. Its poisonous qualities are similar to the broad-leaf laurel.

Rhododendron maximum1GREAT LAUREL—(Rhododendron maximum—botanical name) Other names: Laurel; rosebay; mountain laurel; rhododendron; American rosebay; big laurel; big-leaf laurel; horse laurel; deer tongue; cowplant; spoon hutch. A large evergreen bush or small tree, 10 to 20 or 30 feet high, with thick leaves, 4 to 10 inches long, and splendid clusters of large, odorless, pale pink, or nearly white flowers, blossoming in July. A commonly cultivated ornamental tree, native to the Allegheny mountains, but extending northward in isolated patches to Connecticut and New Hampshire. Its poisonous qualities are the same as those of the whole laurel family.

Pieris mariana1STAGGERBUSH—(Pieris mariana—botanical name) Other name: Kill lamb. A weak-limbed shrub, 2 to 4 feet high, with thick, highly veined leaves and showy clusters of tubular white flowers. It is frequent in low, damp soils near the sea coast from Connecticut to Florida, and poisonous to man and animals.

Leucothoe catesbaei1BRANCH IVY—(Leucothoe catesbaei— botanical name) Other names: Hemlock; calf kill; leucothoe; dog laurel. An evergreen shrub, 2 to 4 feet high, with thick, tapering, sharply saw-edged leaves and numerous clusters of small, white, tubular, ill-smelling flowers, which appear in April or May. Found in dense thickets along stream banks and elsewhere-in the Allegheny Mountains from West Virginia to Northern Georgia.

Datura stramonium1JIMSON WEED— (Datura stramonium —botanical name) Other names: Jamestown weed; common stramonium; thorn apple; apple of Peru; devil’s apple: mad apple; stinkwort; stinkweed; Jamestown lily; white man’s plant.

The jimson weeds are rank, ill-smelling plants, with large, funnel-shaped flowers and prickly four-valved seed pods. They were introduced into the United States from Europe and tropical America, one variety of which, growing from 5 to 10 feet high in California and a perennial, is known as the “flora punda.” The United States species is a stout, smooth, bushy annual, 2 to 5 feet high, with a coarse green stem, large, flaccid (limber) leaves, and white, heavy-scented flowers 2 to 4 inches long. The flowers appear from May to September, and the fruit ripens from August to November. The seeds are numerous and about the size of a grain of buckwheat. The smell of all parts of the plant is nauseating. There is a purple-stemmed jimson weed, common in the south and west, but its characteristics are the same as all the other varieties. .

The poison is a stimulant and its excessive use is dangerous. Children sometimes are fatally poisoned by eating the seeds. Cattle also have been poisoned by eating the leaves of young plants which were present in grass hay. The symptoms of the poisoning are: Headache, vertigo, nausea, extreme thirst, dry, burning skin and general nervous confusion, with loss of sight and of voluntary motion; sometimes mania, convulsions and death. Inhaling or breathing the fumes from the burning dried leaves is often practiced to find relief from an attack of asthma.

Solanum nigrum1BLACK NIGHTSHADE—(Solanum nigrum—botanical name) Other names: Common nightshade; nightshade; deadly nightshade; garden nightshade. A smooth annual, 1 to 2 feet high, with rough, angular, widely branching stems; oval leaves, 2 to 4 inches long, with wavy margins or edges; drooping clusters of small white flowers, and black, globose, juicy berries, which ripen from July to October. It flourishes everywhere.

The poisonous properties of this plant depend upon the conditions of growth. It is not always poisonous, though fatal cases have been noted in the case of calves, sheep, goats, and swine. Those plants which have a pronounced musky odor are considered poisonous.

The symptoms are: Stupefaction, staggering, loss of speech, feeling and consciousness; cramps and sometimes convulsions. The berries are considered poisonous.

Solanum dulcamara1BITTERSWEET— (Solanum dulcamara —botanical name). Other names: Woody nightshade; nightshade vine; staff vine; fever twig; tetonwort. A climbing, woody, perennial, 3 to 6 or 8 feet high, With thin leaves, the lowermost of which are ovate or heart-shaped, the upper, more or less spear-shaped. The flowers are purple, the fruit red. It ripens from July to October and November. It flourishes along brooks and ditches from Massachusetts to Ohio, and less common elsewhere. The berry is somewhat poisonous, and an extract of the leaves moderately so.

Helenium autumnale4SNEEZEWEED — (Helenium autumnale —botanical name) Other names: Sneezewort; sneezeweed; staggerweed; swamp sunflower; false sunflower. A smooth, angular, branching perennial, 1 to 3 feet high, with rather thick lance-shaped leaves, and a large number of showy yellow flowers, which do not appear until autumn. Common in moist ground everywhere in the United States.

The whole plant, especially the flower, is bitter and pungent. The powdered plant causes violent sneezing when inhaled and is used as a remedy to produce that effect. It is poisonous to sheep, cattle and horses, who develop a taste for it, and are killed by eating large quantities. In fatal cases death is preceded by spasms and convulsions.


Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Language, or Symbolism of Flowers; According to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in speaking of flower language,

“There is no color, no flower, no weed, no fruit, herb, pebble, or feather that has not a verse belonging to it, and you may quarrel, reproach, or send letters of passion, friendship, or civility, or even of news, without even inking your fingers.”

Language of flowers

The following is the language of common things:

Alyssum—Worth beyond beauty.
Araranth—Immortality, unfading love.
Amaranth (cockscomb)—Foppery, affectation.
American Cowslip—Divine beauty.
American Elm—Patriotism.
American Linden—Matrimony.
Anemone—Sickness, expectation, forsaken.
Apple Blossom—Preference.
Apple, thorn—Deceitful charms.
Arbor Vitae—Unchanging friendship, live for me.
Ash Tree—Grandeur.
Aspen Tree—Lamentation, fear.
Asphodel—My regrets follow you to the grave.
Aster, China—Variety, afterthought.
Bachelor’s Buttons—Celibacy.
Balm of Gilead—Cure, relief.
Balsam—Touch me not, impatience.
Bay leaf—I change but in death.
Bay Tree—Glory.
Beech Tree—Prosperity.
Belladonna—Silence, hush.
Bell Flower—Constancy, gratitude.
Black Poplar—Courage.
Bluebell—Sorrowful regret.
Bramble—Lowliness, envy, remorse.
Bridal Rose—Happy love.
Broon—Humility, neatness.
Bulrush—Indiscretion, docility.
Burr—You weary me.
Buttercup.—Ingratitude, childishness.
Calceolaria.—All I have is yours.
Calea—Magnificent beauty.
Camellia, red.—Unpretending excellence.
Camellia, white—Perfected loveliness.
Chamomile—Energy in adversity.
Cardinal Flower—Destruction.
Carnation, deep red—Alas! my poor heart.
Carnation, striped—Refusal.
Carnation, yellow—Disdain.
Cherry-tree, black —Deception.
Cherry-tree, white—Good education.
Chestnut-tree—Do me justice.
China Aster—Variety.
China or Indian Pink—Aversion.
Chinese Primrose—Lasting love.
Chrysanthemum, Chinese—Cheerfulness under adversity.
Chrysanthemum, red—I love.
Chrysanthemum, white—Truth.
Chrysanthemum, yellow— Slighted love.
Clover, red—Industry.
Clover, white—Think of me.
Clover, four-leaved—Be mine.
Cowslip—Pensiveness, winning grace.
Crab, blossom—Ill nature.
Cranberry—Cure for heartache.
Cress—Stability, power.
Crocus—Abuse not, youthful gladness.
Currant—Thy frown will kill me.
Cypress—Death, mourning.
Dandelion—Rustic oracle.
Dead Leaves—Sadness.
Dried Flax—Utility.
Fern—Fascination, magic, sincerity.
Flax—Domestic industry, fate.
Forget-me-not—True love.
Foxtail Grass—Sporting.
French Marigold—Jealousy.
Geranium, dark—Melancholy.
Geranium, Ivy—Bridal favor.
Geranium, Rose— Preference.
Geranium, scarlet—Comforting.
Geranium, silver 1eaved—Recall.
Gillyflower—Bonds of affection.
Gladiolus—Ready armed.
Grape, wild—Charity.
Grape, cultivated—Futility, jollity.
Grass—Submission, utility.
Hollyhock.—Ambition, fecundity.
Honeysuckle—Devoted affection.
Hyacinth—Sport, game, play.
Hydrangea—A boaster.
Iceland Moss—Health.
Ice Plant—Your looks freeze me.
Indian Pink, double—Always lovely.
Ivy—Friendship, fidelity, marriage.I
Jonquil—I desire a return of affection.
Juniper—Succor, protection.
Lady’s Slipper—Capricious beauty, win me and wear me.
Larch—Audacity, boldness.
Larkspur—Lightness, levity.
Laurel—Glory, perseverance, ambition.
Lemon Blossoms—Fidelity in love.
Lichen—Dejection, solitude.
Lilac, purple—First emotions of love.
Lilac, white—Youthful innocence.
Lily, white—Purity, sweetness.
Lily, yellow—Falsehood, gaiety.
Lily of the Valley—Unconscious sweetness, happiness.
Live Oak—Liberty.
Locust—Elegance, affection beyond the grave.
Lotus Flower.——Estranged love.
Lotus Leaf—Recantation.
Love in a Mist—Perplexity.
Love Lies Bleeding—Hopeless.
Magnolia—Love of nature.
Mallow—Mildness, beneficence.
Marigold—Grief, jealousy.
Marigold and Cypress—Despair.
Mignonette.—Your qualities surpass your charms.
Mistletoe—I surmount difficulties.
Morning Glory.——Affectation.
Moss—Maternal love.
Mountain Ash—Prudence.
Mulberry, black—I shall not survive you.
Mulberry, white—Wisdom.
Mushroom—Suspicion, I can’t trust you.
Musk Plant—Weakness.
Mustard Seed—Indifference.
Mustard Flower.—Strength.
Nettle.—Spitefulness, slander.
Night Blooming Cereus.—Transient beauty.
Oak Leaves—Bravery.
Oak Tree—Hospitality.
Oats—The witching soul of music.
Orange Blossoms—Your purity equals your loveliness.
Orange Flowers.—Chastity, bridal.
Orange Tree—Generosity.
Orchis—A belle.
Passion Flower—Religious superstition, when the flower is reversed, or faith if erect.
Pea, Sweet—Departure.
Peach—Unequaled qualities and charms.
Peach Blossom—I am your captive.
Pear Tree—Comfort.
Pennyroyal—Flee away.
Peony—Shame, bashfulness.
Peppermint—Warmth of feeling.
Periwinkle, blue—Early friendship.
Periwinkle, white—Pleasures of memory.
Persimmon—Bury me amid nature’s beauties.
Petunia—Your presence soothes me.
Pineapple—You are perfect.
Pine, pitch—Philosophy.
Pine, spruce—Hope in adversity.
Pink, red, double—Pure and ardent love.
Pink, single—Pure love.
Pink, variegated—Refusal.
Pink, white—Talent.
Pomegranate Flower—Mature elegance.
Poplar, black—Courage.
Poplar, white—Time.
Poppy, red—Consolation.
Poppy, scarlet—Extravagance.
Poppy, white—Sleep, my love.
Prickly Pear—Satire.
Primrose—Early youth and sadness.
Purple Clover—Provident.
Ranunculus—You are radiant with charms.
Reed—Complaisance, music.
Reed, split—Indiscretion.
Rhododendron—Danger, beware.
Rose, full bloom placed over two buds—Secrecy.
Rosebud—Pure and lovely.
Rye Grass—Changeable disposition.
Saffron—Beware of excess.
Sage—Domestic virtue.
Salvia—Wisdom, energy.
Saxifrage, mossy—Affection.
Sensitive Plant—Sensibility.
Snapdragon—Presumption, No.
Sorrel—Affection, joy, ill-timed visit.
Spearmint—Warmth of affection.
Spiderwort—Esteem, not love.
Star of Bethlehem—Purity.
Stephanotis—Go east with me.
Stock—Lasting beauty.
Strawberry Blossoms—Foresight.
Sunflower, dwarf—Adoration.
Sunflower, tall—Haughtiness.
Sweet Basil—Cure for heartache.
Sweet-brier—Simplicity, decrease of love.
Sweet Pea—Delicate pleasures.
Sweet William—Gallantry.
Thistle, Scotch—Retaliation.
Thorn-apple—Deceitful charms.
Thyme—Activity, courage.
Tuberose—Dangerous pleasures.
Tulip, red—Declaration of love.
Tulip, variegated—Beautiful eyes.
Tulip, yellow—Hopeless love.
Valerian—An accommodating disposition.
Venus Fly Trap—Deceit.
Verbena, pink—Family union.
Verbena, white—Pray for me.
Violet, blue—Faithfulness.
Violet, yellow—Rural happiness.
Violet, white—Sanctity.
Virginia Creeper—I cling to thee.
Wallflower—Fidelity in adversity.
Walnut—Intellect, stratagem.
Water Lily—Purity of heart.
Wax Plant—Susceptibility.
Wheat Stalk—Riches.
White Mullein—Good nature.
White Oak—Independence.
White Rose (dried)—Death before dishonor.
Willow—Love forsaken.
Willow, Weeping—Mourning.
Wistaria—Welcome for stranger.
Witch Hazel—A spell.
Woodbine—Fraternal love.
Wood-sorrel—Joy, maternal tenderness.
Xanthium—Rudeness, pertinacity.
Zinnia—Thoughts of absent friends.



His Mother Advises Secret Prayer In November, 1753, then twenty-one years of age, Washington was commissioned by Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, to be the bearer of dispatches to the French commander St. Pierre. He called to see his mother and explained the nature of his mission. “With her farewell kiss she bade him ‘remember that God only is our sure trust. To Him I commend you.’”

As he left the paternal roof, his mother’s parting charge was, “My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer.” Never did a mother give better advice to her son, and never did a son more conscientiously follow it.

“His uniform practice from youth to hoary age, furnished, it would seem, a consistent exemplification of this duty in its double aspect of public and private prayer.”

Fort_Necessity_BattlePrayers At Fort Necessity [Age 21; 1753] The first decisive indication of his principles on this subject, with which we are acquainted, appeared during the encampment at the Great Meadows, in the year 1754. While occupying Fort Necessity it was his practice to have the troops assembled for public worship. This we learn from the following note, by the publisher of his writings: “While Washington was encamped at the Great Meadows, Mr. Fairfax wrote to him: ‘I will not doubt your having public prayers in the camp, especially when the Indian families are your guests, that they, seeing your plain manner of worship, may have their curiosity excited to be informed why we do not use the ceremonies of the French, which being well explained to their understandings, will more and more dispose them to receive our baptism, and unite in strict bonds of cordial friendship.’ It may be added that it was Washington’s custom to have prayers in the camp while he was at Fort Necessity.”

Here we are informed not only of the pious custom of the youthful commander, at the time and place mentioned, but are enabled to gather from the communication of Mr. Fairfax much that was highly favorable to the character of his young friend. Mr. Fairfax says, “I will not doubt your having public prayers in the camp.” Intimate as this gentleman was with Washington, he would scarcely have so addressed him had he not felt encouraged to do so by his known sentiments of piety, if not his own habits. Mr. Fairfax was the father-in-law of Lawrence Washington, the brother of George, and had possessed every opportunity of learning the character and conduct of the latter. Assured of his pious and serious deportment, he did not feel any hesitation in suggesting to him the expediency of the duty in question.

“It certainly was not one of the least striking pictures presented in this wild campaign—the youthful commander, presiding with calm seriousness over a motley assemblage of half-equipped soldiery, leathern-clad hunters and woodsmen, and painted savages with their wives and children, and uniting them all in solemn devotion by his own example and demeanor.”



Acknowledges An Act Of Providence

In a letter to Governor Dinwiddie, dated Great Meadows, June 10, 1754, when twenty-two years of age, we have the following striking acknowledgment of a particular providential interposition in supplying with provisions the troops recently placed under his command:

We have been six days without flour, and there is none upon the road for our relief that we know of, though I have by repeated expresses given him timely notice. We have not provisions of any sort enough in camp to serve us two days. Once before we should have been four days without provisions, if Providence had not sent a trader from the Ohio to our relief, for whose flour I was obliged to give twenty-one shillings and eight-pence per pound.

George Washington arriving at Christ Church, Easter Sunday, 1795

George Washington arriving at Christ Church, Easter Sunday, 1795

His Custom To Attend Church

That it was customary with him to frequent the house of God when in his power, appears from the record made by him of an occurrence among his soldiers, while encamped in Alexandria, Virginia, in the summer of 1754, having himself returned but lately on a recruiting expedition from the Great Meadows: “Yesterday, while we were at church, twenty-five of them collected, and were going off in the face of their officers, but were stopped and imprisoned before the plot came to its height.”

His Trust In God

In April, 1755, the newly arrived General Braddock offered him an important command. His mother opposed his going to the war. In the final discussion, the son said to his mother: “The God to whom you commended me, madam, when I set out upon a more perilous errand, defended me from all harm, and I trust he will do so now. Do not you?”

Conducts Braddock’s Funeral

General Braddock being mortally wounded in the battle of the Monongahela, July 9, 1755, died on Sunday night, July 13. He was buried in his cloak the same night in the road, to elude the search of the Indians. The chaplain having been wounded, Washington, on the testimony of an old soldier, read the funeral service over his remains, by the light of a torch. Faithful to his commander while he lived, he would not suffer him to want the customary rites of religion when dead. Though the probable pursuit of “savages threatened, yet did his humanity and sense of decency prevail, to gain for the fallen soldier the honor of Christian burial.

Letter To His Brother

He wrote to his brother, John A. Washington, July 18, 1755, following Braddock’s defeat, in which he says:

As I have heard, since my arrival at this place [Fort Cumberland], a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter. But, by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”

The Great Spirit Protects Him—Testimony Of An Indian Chief

Fifteen years after this battle Washington and Dr. Craik, his intimate friend from his boyhood to his death, were traveling on an expedition to the western country, for the purpose of exploring wild lands. While near the junction of the Great Kanawha and Ohio Rivers a company of Indians came to them with an interpreter, at the head of whom was an aged and venerable chief. The council fire was kindled, when the chief addressed Washington through an interpreter to the following effect:

“I am a chief, and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss—’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinieshe will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire.”

Discourages Gambling In The Army In a letter to Governor Dinwiddie, from Alexandria, Virginia, February 2, 1756, regarding operations in the army, he says, “I have always, so far as was in my power, endeavored to discourage gambling in camp, and always shall while I have the honor to preside there.”

Intemperance And Profanity Discountenanced

The following letter to Governor Dinwiddie, written from Winchester, Virginia, April 18, 1756, shows his attitude toward intemperance and profanity:

It gave me infinite concern to find in yours by Governor Innes that any representations should inflame the Assembly against the Virginia regiment, or give cause to suspect the morality and good behavior of the officers. How far any of the individuals may have deserved such reflections, I will not take upon me to determine, but this I am certain of, and can call my conscience, and what, I suppose, will be still more demonstrative proof in the eyes of the world, my orders, to witness how much I have, both by threats and persuasive means, endeavored to discountenance gambling, drinking, swearing, and irregularities of every other kind; while I have, on the other hand, practised every artifice to inspire a laudable emulation in the officers for the service of their country, and to encourage the soldiers in the unerring exercise of their duty. How far I have failed in this desirable end I cannot pretend to say. But it is nevertheless a point which does, in my opinion, merit some scrutiny, before it meets with a final condemnation. Yet I will not undertake to vouch for the conduct of many of the officers, as I know there are some who have the seeds of idleness very strongly implanted in their natures; and I also know that the unhappy difference about the command which has kept me from Fort Cumberland, has consequently prevented me from enforcing the orders which I never failed to send.

However, if I continue in the service, I shall take care to act with a little more rigor than has hitherto been practised, since I find it so necessary.

Intemperance Punished

His orders for preserving discipline must be allowed to have been sufficiently rigid. The following given in 1756 is a specimen: Any commissioned officer, who stands by and sees irregularities committed, and does not endeavor to quell them, shall be immediately put under arrest. Any non-commissioned officer present, who does not interpose, shall be immediately reduced, and receive corporal punishment.

Any soldier who shall presume to quarrel or fight shall receive five hundred lashes, without the benefit of a court-martial. The offender, upon complaint made, shall have strict justice done him. Any soldier found drunk shall receive one hundred lashes, without benefit of a court-martial.30

Profanity Forbidden

In June, 1756, while at Fort Cumberland, he issued the following order: Colonel Washington has observed that the men of his regiment are very profane and reprobate. He takes this opportunity to inform them of his great displeasure at such practices, and assures them, that, if they do not leave them off, they shall be severely punished. The officers are desired, if they hear any man swear, or make use of an oath or execration, to order the offender twenty-five lashes immediately, without a court-martial. For the second offense, he will be more severely punished.

Protection Of Providence

From Winchester, Virginia, where he was stationed as commander of the troops, he writes to Governor Dinwiddie, about a year after Braddock’s defeat: With this small company of irregulars, with whom order, regularity, circumspection, and vigilance were matters of derision and contempt, we set out, and by the protection of Providence, reached Augusta Court House in seven days, without meeting the enemy; otherwise we must have fallen a sacrifice through the indiscretion of these whooping, hallooing, gentlemen soldiers.

Chaplain For Army

While embarked in the French and Indian War, as commander of the Virginia forces, he earnestly sought of Governor Dinwiddie the supply of a chaplain to his regiment. He writes from Mount Vernon, Virginia, September 23, 1756, as follows: “The want of a chaplain, I humbly conceive, reflects dishonor on the regiment, as all other officers are allowed. The gentlemen of the corps are sensible of this, and proposed to support one at their private expense. But I think it would have a more graceful appearance were he appointed as others are.”

To this the Governor replied: “I have recommended to the commissary to get a chaplain, but he cannot prevail with any person to accept of it. I shall again press it to him.”

In answer to which Washington wrote, November 9,1756: “As to a chaplain, if the government will grant a subsistence, we can readily get a person of merit to accept the place, without giving the commissary any trouble on that point.””

With this letter, of which this was part, the Governor seemed not to have been well pleased. In his reply, among other things, indicating displeasure, he says, November 24, 1756: “In regard to a chaplain, you should know that his qualifications and the Bishop’s letter of license should be produced to the commissary and myself; but this person is also nameless.”

Washington answered, Nov. 24,1756: “When I spoke of a chaplain, it was in answer to yours. I had no person in view, though many have offered; and I only said if the country would provide subsistence, we could procure a chaplain, without thinking there was offense in expression.”

Notwithstanding the importunity of Washington, no chaplain was provided by the government. His solicitude on the subject continuing at the recall of Dinwiddie, he wrote to the president of the Council from Fort Loudoun, April 17, 1758, as follows: “The last Assembly, in their Supply Bill, provided for a chaplain to our regiment. On this subject I had often without any success applied to Governor Dinwiddie. I now flatter myself, that your honor will be pleased to appoint a sober, serious man for this duty. Common decency, Sir, in a camp calls for the services of a divine, which ought not to be dispensed with, although the world should be so uncharitable as to think us void of religion, and incapable of good instructions.”

Conducts Religious Service In The Army “I have often been informed,” says the Rev. Mason L. Weems, “by Colonel B. Temple, of King William County, Virginia, who was one of his aides in the French and Indian War, that he has ‘frequently known Washington, on the Sabbath, read the Scriptures and pray with his regiment, in the absence of the chaplain;’ and also that, on sudden and unexpected visits to his marque, he has, ‘more than once, found him on his knees at his devotions.’”

Letter To His Fiancée In the only known letter to Mrs. Martha Custis, to whom he was engaged, written from Fort Cumberland, July 20, 1758, he recognizes an all powerful Providence:

We have begun our march for the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and I embrace the opportunity to send a few lines to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as to another Self. That an All-powerful Providence may keep us both in safety is the prayer of your ever faithful and ever affectionate Friend.

The Christian Patriot; 2013
Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)




On April 21, 22, 23, 1891, there was sold at auction in Philadelphia a remarkable collection of Washington relics owned by Lawrence Washington, Bushrod C. Washington, Thomas B. Washington, and J. R. C. Lewis. Among them was found a little manuscript book entitled Daily Sacrifice.

“This gem is all in the handwriting of George Washington, when about twenty years old, [1752] and is, without exception, the most hallowed of all his writings. It is neatly written on twentyfour pages of a little book about the size of the ordinary pocket memorandum.”

“The occasional interlineations and emendations indicate that it was prepared for his own use.”

Whether Washington composed the prayers himself or copied them from some source as yet unknown has not been determined; but they are a revelation of that striking character which has been the wonder of the world. Professor S. F. Upham, professor of practical theology in Drew Theological Seminary, wrote: “The ‘Daily Prayers’ of George Washington abound in earnest thought, expressed in simple, beautiful, fervent and evangelical language. They reveal to us the real life of the great patriot, and attest his piety. None can read those petitions, which bore his desires to God, and often brought answers of peace, without having a grander conception of Washington’s character.”

“The prayers are characterized by a deep consciousness of sin and by a need of forgiveness, and by a recognition of dependence upon the merits and mercies of our Lord. They contain fervent applications for family, friends, and rulers in church and state.” The prayers are as follows (by special permission of Rev. Dr. W. Herbert Burk):

(1) Sunday Morning

Almighty God, and most merciful father, who didst command the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day; receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee; I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the dangers of the night past, and brought me to the light of this day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou requirest of me; and since thou art a God of pure eyes, and wilt be sanctified in all who draw near unto thee, who doest not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts, pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense; and as thou wouldst hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of my soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

(2) Sunday Evening

O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard thy holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable and forgetful hearer, so that, O Lord, tho’ I have done thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from thee. But, O God, who art rich in mercy and plenteous in redemption, mark not, I beseech thee, what I have done amiss; remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences & ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me; for his sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life. Let me live according to those holy rules which thou hast this day prescribed in thy holy word; make me to know what is acceptable in thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object Jesus Christ the way, the truth and the life, bless, O Lord, all the people of this land, from the highest to the lowest, particularly those whom thou hast appointed to rule over us in church & state, continue thy goodness to me this night. These weak petitions I humbly implore thee to hear accept and ans. for the sake of thy Dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

(3) Monday Morning

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul. Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy holy spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more & more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father, &c.

(4) Monday Evening

Most Gracious Lord God, from whom proceedeth every good and perfect gift, I offer to thy divine majesty my unfeigned praise & thanksgiving for all thy mercies towards me. Thou mad’st me at first and hast ever since sustained the work of thy own hand; thou gav’st thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to his holy precepts and example. Thou art pleased to lengthen out to me the time of repentance and to move me to it by thy spirit and by thy word, by thy mercies, and by thy judgments; out of a deepness of thy mercies, and my own unworthiness, I do appear before thee at this time; I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ sake; instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what thou givest me strength to bear. Take care, I pray thee of my affairs and more and more direct me in thy truth, defend me from my enemies, especially my spiritual ones. Suffer me not to be drawn from thee, by the blandishments of the world, carnal desires, the cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin. work in me thy good will and pleasure, and discharge my mind from all things that are displeasing to thee, of all ill will and discontent, wrath and bitterness, pride & vain conceit of myself, and render me charitable, pure, holy, patient and heavenly minded, be with me at the hour of death; dispose me for it, and deliver me from the slavish fear of it, and make me willing and fit to die whenever thou shalt call me hence. Bless our rulers in church and state, bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and thy son Jesus Christ. Pity the sick, the poor, the weak, the needy, the widows and fatherless, and all that morn or are broken in heart, and be merciful to them according to their several necessities, bless my friends and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness of Thee my heavenly Father. I beseech thee to defend me this night from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask, for Jesus Christ sake, in whose most holy name & words, I continue to pray, Our Father, &c.

(5) Tuesday Morning

O Lord our God, most mighty and merciful father, I thine unworthy creature and servant, do once more approach thy presence. Though not worthy to appear before thee, because of my natural corruptions, and the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against thy divine majesty; yet I beseech thee, for the sake of him in whom thou art well pleased, the Lord Jesus Christ, to admit me to render thee deserved thanks and praises for thy manifold mercies extended toward me, for the quiet rest & repose of the past night, for food, raiment, health, peace, liberty, and the hopes of a better life through the merits of thy dear son’s bitter passion, and O kind father continue thy mercy and favor to me this day, and ever hereafter; prosper all my lawful undertakings; let me have all my directions from thy holy spirit, and success from thy bountiful hand. Let the bright beams of thy light so shine into my heart, and enlighten my mind in understanding thy blessed word, that I may be enabled to perform thy will in all things, and effectually resist all temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, preserve and defend our rulers in church & state, bless the people of this land, be a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the comfortless, a deliverer to the captives, and a physician to the sick, let thy blessings be upon our friends, kindred and families. Be our guide this day and forever through J. C. in whose blessed form of prayer I conclude my weak petitions —Our Father, &c.

(6) Tuesday Evening

Most gracious God and heavenly father, we cannot cease, but must cry unto thee for mercy, because my sins cry against me for justice. How shall I address myself unto thee, I must with the publican stand and admire at thy great goodness, tender mercy, and long suffering towards me, in that thou hast kept me the past day from being consumed and brought to nought. O Lord, what is man, or the son of man, that thou regardest him; the more days pass over my head, the more sins and iniquities I heap up against thee. If I should cast up the account of my good deeds done this day, how few and small would they be; but if I should reckon my miscarriages, surely they would be many and great. O, blessed Father, let thy son’s blood wash me from all impurities, and cleanse me from the stains of sin that are upon me. Give me grace to lay hold upon his merits; that they may be my reconciliation and atonement unto thee,—That I may know my sins are forgiven by his death & passion, embrace me in the arms of thy mercy; vouchsafe to receive me unto the bosom of thy love, shadow me with thy wings, that I may safely rest under thy protection this night; and so into thy hands I commend myself, both soul and body, in the name of thy son, J. C, beseeching Thee, when this life shall end, I may take my everlasting rest with thee in thy heavenly kingdom, bless all in authority over us, be merciful to all those afflicted with thy cross or calamity, bless all my friends, forgive my enemies and accept my thanksgiving this evening for all the mercies and favors afforded me; hear and graciously answer these my requests, and whatever else thou see’st needful grant us, for the sake of Jesus Christ in whose blessed name and words I continue to pray, Our Father, &c.

(7) A Prayer For Wednesday Morning

Almighty and eternal Lord God, the great creator of heaven & earth, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; look down from heaven, in pity and compassion upon me thy servant, who humbly prostrate myself before thee, sensible of thy mercy and my own misery; there is an infinite distance between thy glorious majesty and me, thy poor creature, the work of thy hand, between thy infinite power, and my weakness, thy wisdom, and my folly, thy eternal Being, and my mortal frame, but, O Lord, I have set myself at a greater distance from thee by my sin and wickedness, and humbly acknowledge the corruption of my nature and the many rebellions of my life. I have sinned against heaven and before thee, in thought, word & deed; I have contemned thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done, and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against light, despised thy mercies and judgments, and broken my vows and promises; I have neglected the means of Grace, and opportunities of becoming better; my iniquities are multiplied, and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing, and desire to be vile in my own eyes, as I have rendered myself vile in thine. I humbly beseech thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins, for the sake of thy dear Son, my only saviour, J. C, who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; be pleased to renew my nature and write thy laws upon my heart, and help me to live, righteously, soberly and godly in this evil world; make me humble, meek, patient and contented, and work in me the grace of thy holy spirit, prepare me for death and judgment, and let the thoughts thereof awaken me to a greater care and study to approve myself unto thee in well doing, bless our rulers in church & state. Help all in affliction or adversity—give them patience and a sanctified use of their affliction, and in thy good time deliverance from them; forgive my enemies, take me unto thy protection this day, keep me in perfect peace, which I ask in the name & for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

(8) Wednesday Evening

Holy and eternal Lord God who art the King of heaven, and the watchman of Israel, that never slumberest or sleepest, what shall we render unto thee for all thy benefits; because thou hast inclined thine ears unto me, therefore will I call on thee as long as I live, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same let thy name be praised, among the infinite riches of thy mercy towards me, I desire to render thanks & praise for thy merciful preservation of me this day, as well as all the days of my life; and for the many other blessings & mercies spiritual & temporal which thou hast bestowed on me, contrary to my deserving. All these thy mercies call on me to be thankful and my infirmities & wants call for a continuance of thy tender mercies; cleanse my soul, O Lord, I beseech thee, from whatever is offensive to thee, and hurtful to me, and give me what is convenient for me. watch over me this night, and give me comfortable and sweet sleep to fit me for the service of the day following. Let my soul watch for the coming of the Lord Jesus; let my bed put me in mind of my grave, and my rising from there of my last resurrection; O heavenly Father, so frame this heart of mine, that I may ever delight to live according to thy will and command, in holiness and righteousness before thee all the days of my life. Let me remember, O Lord, the time will come when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall arise and stand before the judgment seat, and give an account of whatever they have done in the body, and let me so prepare my soul, that I may do it with joy and not with grief, bless the rulers and people of this and forget not those who are under any affliction or oppression. Let thy favor be extended to all my relations friends and all others who I ought to remember in my prayer and hear me I beseech thee for the sake of my dear redeemer in whose most holy words, I farther pray, Our Father, &c.

(9) Thursday Morning

Most gracious Lord God, whose dwelling is in the highest heavens, and yet beholdest the lowly and humble upon earth, I blush and am ashamed to lift up my eyes to thy dwelling place, because I have sinned against thee; look down, I beseech thee upon me thy unworthy servant who prostrate myself at the footstool of thy mercy, confessing my own guiltiness, and begging pardon for my sins; what couldst thou have done Lord more for me, or what could I have done more against thee? Thou didst send me thy Son to take our nature upon

“Note: The manuscript ended at this place, the close of a page. Whether the other pages were lost or the prayers were never completed, has not been determined.”

The Christian Patriot; 2013
Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)

RELIGIOUS FOUNDATION: Christian Ancestry of George Washington

The ChristianPatriot2Christian Ancestry of George Washington

George Washington descended from a long line of excellent churchmen. His great-great-grandfather was the Rev. Lawrence Washington, a clergyman in the Church of England. His great-grandfather, John Washington, “a man of military talent and high in the government,” came to America in 1657, settling in Virginia. He founded a parish which was named for him— “The parish of Washington.” “He was also a sincerely pious man.” In his will, he left a gift to the church, of “a tablet with the Ten Commandments,” and recorded his faith in this manner: “being heartily sorry from the bottome of my hart for my sins past, most humbly desireing forgiveness of the same from the Almighty god (my saviour) and redeimer, in whom and by the meritts of Jesus Christ, I trust and believe assuredly to be saved, and to have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins.”

His grandfather, also named Lawrence Washington, similarly expresses his faith in his will. His father, Augustine Washington, was active in parish affairs, and became a vestryman in Truro Parish, Virginia, November 18, 1735, when his son George was three years old.

On the mother’s side the line of churchmen is equally strong. Grandfather Ball was a vestryman, and Great-Grandfather Warner left his slender but excellent record by presenting to the parish church a set of silver for the holy communion. “The family of Balls was very active in promoting good things.” Washington’s uncle Joseph, in 1729, took the lead in a movement to educate young men for the ministry of the church. Mary Ball Washington (George’s mother), says Henry Cabot Lodge, “was an imperious woman, of strong will, ruling her kingdom alone. Above all she was very dignified, very silent, and very sober-minded. That she was affectionate and loving cannot be doubted, for she retained to the last a profound hold upon the reverential devotion of her son.”

If Washington’s military character was developed out of materials which came to him by inheritance from both sides of his family, so too was his religious character. That love of the church which we have seen as a distinguishing mark in his family became a strong inheritance which his own will and intelligence did not set aside.

Church Membership The parents of Washington were members of the Church of England, which was almost the only denomination of Christians then known in Virginia.

His Baptism The birth record of Washington is found in an old family Bible of quarto form, dilapidated by use and age, and covered with Virginia striped cloth, which record is in the handwriting of the patriot’s father, in these words:

George William, son to Augustine Washington, and Mary, his wife, was born the eleventh day of February, 1731-2, about ten in the morning, and was baptized the 3rd April following, Mr. Bromley Whiting, and Captain Christopher Brooks godfathers, and Mrs. Mildred Gregory godmother.

According to the present style of reckoning, the birthday was February 22, and the baptismal day April 14.

His Father

There are many stories of Washington’s boyhood which show that his father took great pains to teach George to be unselfish, inspire him with a love of truth, and teach him to know and worship God.

When George was eleven years old, his father died. Some months later he was sent to Westmoreland to live with his half-brother, Augustine, who occupied the family seat in that county. What the religious advantages were, which awaited him in his new situation, we have not the means to ascertain. There is no doubt that he enjoyed the privilege of public worship at the parish church, known then and now as Pope’s Creek Church. Here his attendance was probably habitual, as it was an age in which everybody in that region frequented the house of God whenever service was performed.

GWPrayerReligious Teaching By His Mother

In addition to instruction in the Bible and Prayer Book, which were her daily companions, it was Mrs. Washington’s custom to read some helpful books to her children at home, and in this way they received much valuable instruction. Among the volumes which she used for this purpose was one entitled Contemplations: Moral and Divine, by Sir Matthew Hale—an old, well-worn copy, which still bears on its title-page the name of its owner, “Mary Washington.” Those who are familiar with the character of Washington will be struck, on reading these “Contemplations,” with the remarkable fact that the instructions contained in them are most admirably calculated to implant and foster such principles as he is known to have possessed.

The volume was found in the library at Mount Vernon, after Washington’s death, and it appears to have been used by him through life. There are many pencil marks in it noting choice, passages.

“From that volume the mother of Washington undoubtedly drew, as from a living well of sweet water, many of the maxims which she instilled into the mind of her first-born.”

“Let those who wish to know the moral foundation of his character consult its pages.”

Washington’s Rules

In 1745, thirteen years old, Washington copied many things in a little book of thirty folio pages. One part was headed, “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” There were one hundred and ten of these maxims. “Scarcely one rule is there that does not involve self-restraint, modesty, habitual consideration of others, and, to a large extent, living for others.” The last three rules are as follows:

108th. When you speak of God or his Attributes, let it be Seriously & [with words of] Reverence, Honor & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be poor 109th. Let your Recreations be Manful not Sinful 110th. Labor to keep alive in your Breast that little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.

Poem On “christmas Day” When Washington was thirteen years of age he copied some verses on “Christmas Day,” beginning,

“Assist me, Muse divine, to sing the Morn,
On Which the Saviour of Mankind was born.”

Some think that he composed poems himself, but it is more likely that he copied them from an unknown source. It shows what manner of Christian training he had received at home. He had absorbed “the spirit of the Day and the facts of the faith, as well as the rule and model of Christian life.”

Godfather In 1747, at the age of fifteen years, young Washington was godfather to a child in baptism. In 1748, at sixteen, he was godfather to his niece, Frances Lewis. In 1751, at nineteen, to his nephew, Fielding Lewis, his sister’s first child, and his mother was godmother. In 1760, at twenty-eight, he again became sponsor for another nephew, Charles Lewis.

Goes To Mount Vernon In the summer of 1746, (Age 14) he finds his way to the home of his brother Lawrence, at Mount Vernon. From then until March, 1748, “George, it is believed, resided at Mount Vernon, and with his mother at her abode opposite to Fredericksburg. In that town he went to school, and as Mrs. Washington was connected with the church there, her son no doubt shared, under her own eye, the benefits of divine worship, and such religious instruction as mothers in that day were eminently accustomed to give their children. It was the habit to teach the young the first principles of religion according to the formularies of the church, to inculcate the fear of God, and strict observance of the moral virtues, such as truth, justice, charity, humility, modesty, temperance, chastity, and industry.”

Trip To The West Indies

In 1751 (Age 19) Lawrence Washington, on the advice of his physicians, decided to pass a winter in the West Indies, taking with him his favorite brother George as a companion. George kept a journal of this trip. They arrived on Saturday, November 3. The second Sunday we find this entry in his diary, which shows his habit of church attendance:

“Sunday, 11th—Dressed in order for Church but got to town too late. Dined at Major Clarke’s with ye SeG. Went to Evening Service and return’d to our lodgings.”

Before the next Sunday he was stricken with smallpox. A few days after his recovery he sailed for home.

The Christian Patriot; 2013
Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)




(1) Reverend Mason L. Weems Account In the winter of 1777-78, while Washington, with the American army, was encamped at Valley Forge, amidst all the perplexities and troubles and sufferings, the Commander-in-chief sought for direction and comfort from God. He was frequently observed to visit a secluded grove. One day a Tory Quaker by the name of Isaac Potts “had occasion to pass through the woods near headquarters. Treading in his way along the venerable grove, suddenly he heard the sound of a human voice, which, as he advanced, increased in his ear; and at length became like the voice of one speaking much in earnest. As he approached the spot with a cautious step, whom should he behold, in a dark natural bower of ancient oaks, but the Commander-in-chief of the American armies on his knees at prayer! Motionless with surprise, Friend Potts continued on the place till the general, having ended his devotions, arose, and, with a countenance of angelic serenity, retired to headquarters.

Friend Potts then went home, and on entering his parlor called out to his wife, “Sarah! my dear Sarah! All’s well! all’s well! George Washington will yet prevail!”

“What’s the matter, Isaac?’^ replied she; “thee seems moved.”

“Well, if I seem moved, ’tis no more than what I really am. I have this day seen what I never expected. Thee knows that I always thought that the sword and the gospel were utterly inconsistent; and that no man could be a soldier and a Christian at the same time. But George Washington has this day convinced me of my mistake.”

He then related what he had seen, and concluded with this prophetical remark! “If George Washington be not a man of God, I am greatly deceived — and still more shall I be deceived, if God do not, through him, work out a great salvation for America.”

(2) Benson J. Lossing’s Account: Isaac Potts, at whose house Washington was quartered, relates that one day, while the Americans were encamped at Valley Forge, he strolled up the creek, when, not far from his den, he heard a solemn voice. He walked quietly in the direction of it, and saw Washington’s horse tied to a sapling. In a thicket near by was the beloved chief upon his knees in prayer, his cheeks suffused with tears. Like Moses at the bush, Isaac felt the he was upon holy ground, and withdrew unobserved. He was much agitated, and, on entering the room where his wife was, he burst into tears. On her inquiring the cause, he informed her of what he had seen, and added, “If there is anyone on this earth whom the Lord will listen to, it is George Washington; and I feel a presentiment that under such a commander there can be no doubt of our eventually establishing our independence, and that God in his providence has willed it so.”

(3) Testimony of Devault Beaver: Extract of a letter from a Baptist minister to the editor of the (Boston) Christian Watchman, dated Baltimore, January I3, 1832:

“The meetinghouse (which is built of stone) belonging to the church just alluded to is in sight of the spot on which the American army, under the command of General Washington, was encamped during a most severe winter. This, you know, was then called ‘Valley Forge’ It is affecting to hear the old people narrate the sufferings of the army, when the soldiers were frequently tracked by the blood from the sore and bare feet, lacerated by the rough and frozen roads over which they were obliged to pass.

“You will recollect that a most interesting incident, in relation to the life of the great American commander-in-chief, has been related as follows: That while stationed here with the army he was frequently observed to visit a secluded grove. This excited the curiosity of a Mr. Potts, of the denomination of ‘Friends’ who watched his movements at one of these seasons of retirement, till he perceived that he was on his knees and engaged in prayer. Mr. Potts then returned, and said to his family, ‘Our cause is lost’ (he was with the Tories), assigning his reasons for this opinion. There is a man by the name of Devault Beaver, now living on this spot (and is eighty years of age), who says he has this statement from Mr. Potts and his family.

“I had before heard this interesting anecdote in the life of our venerated Washington, but had some misgivings about it, all of which are now fully removed.”

(4) Testimony of Doctor Snowden: The following note was written to the Rev. T. W. J. Wylie, D.D., pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, of Philadelphia, February 28, 1862:

My Dear Sir — Referring to your request, I have to say that I cannot lay my hands at present upon my father’s papers. I recollect that among his manuscript “Reminiscences,” was a statement of his interview with Mr. Potts, a Friend, near Valley Forge, who pointed out to him the spot where he saw General Washington at prayer in the winter of 1777. This event induced Friend Potts to become a Whig; and he told his wife Betty, that the cause of America was a good cause, and would prevail, and that they must now support it. Mr. Weems, in his “Life of Washington,” mentions this incident a little differently; but my father had it from Mr. Potts personally, and the statement herein made may therefore be relied on as accurate. I am, with great regard,

Yours truly,
James Ross Snowden.

Dr. Wylie says, “We have heard the incident just related from the lips of the late Dr. N. R. Snowden, who was informed of it by the person himself.”

    (5) General Knox A Witness It may be added that besides the individual named above as having witnessed the private devotions of General Washington at Valley Forge, it is known that General Knox also was an accidental witness of the same, and was fully apprised that prayer was the object of the Commander’s frequent visits to the grove. This officer was especially devoted to the person of the Commander-in-chief, and had very free and familiar access to him, which may in some measure account for his particular knowledge of his habits.

That an adjacent wood should have been selected as his private oratory, while regularly encamped for the winter, may excite the inquiry of some. The cause may possibly be found in the fact that, in common with the officers and soldiers of the army, he lodged during that winter in a log hut, which, from the presence of Mrs. Washington, and perhaps other inmates, and the fewness of the apartments, did not admit of that privacy proper for such a duty.

    (6) Independence Born Of Prayer “Few scenes have had so much moral grandeur in them as this. Repeated disaster and defeat had disappointed the army and the nation. Suffering, to an extreme degree, was in the camp, and thousands of brave men were without the necessities of life. The independence of the nation was in jeopardy. Attempts were made to stab the reputation of the commander, and to degrade him from office. Provision for the army was to be made, murmurs and discontents suppressed, calumny to be met, plans formed for a future campaign, the nation to be inspirited and aroused; an active enemy was in the neighborhood, flushed with recent victory, and preparing to achieve new triumphs; and in these circumstances the Father of his Country went alone and sought strength and guidance from the God of armies and light. The ear of Heaven was propitious to his prayer; and who can tell how much of the subsequent brilliant success of the American armies was in answer to the prayers of the American general at Valley Forge? To latest times it will and should be a subject of the deepest interest that the independence of our country was laid, not only in valor and patriotism and wisdom, but in prayer. The example of Washington will rebuke the warrior or the statesman who never supplicates the blessing of God on his country. It will be encouragement for him who prays for its welfare and its deliverance from danger.”

    “Example Of Christian Charity” While encamped at Valley Forge one day a Tory who was well known in the neighborhood was captured and brought into camp. His name was Michael Wittman, and he was accused of having carried aid and information to the British in Philadelphia. He was taken to West Chester and there tried by court-martial. It was proved that he was a very dangerous man and that he had more than once attempted to do great harm to the American army. He was pronounced guilty of being a spy and sentenced to be hanged.

On the evening of the day before that set for the execution, a strange old man appeared at Valley Forge. He was a small man with long, snow-white hair falling over his shoulders. His face, although full of kindliness, was sad-looking and thoughtful; his eyes, which were bright and sharp, were upon the ground and lifted only when he was speaking. . . .

His name was announced. “Peter Miller?” said Washington. “Certainly, Show him in at once.”

“General Washington, I have come to ask a great favor of you,” he said, in his usual kindly tones.

“I shall be glad to grant you almost anything,” said Washington, “for we surely are indebted to you for many favors. Tell me what it is.”

“I hear,” said Peter, “that Michael Wittman has been found guilty of treason and that he is to be hanged at Turk’s Head to-morrow. I have come to ask you to pardon him.”

Washington started back, and a cloud came over his face. “That is impossible,” he said. “Wittman is a bad man. He has done all in his power to betray us. He has even offered to join the British and aid in destroying us. In these times we dare not be lenient with traitors; and for that reason I cannot pardon your friend.”

“Friend!” cried Peter. “Why, he is no friend of mine. He is my bitterest enemy. He has persecuted me for years. He has even beaten me and spit in my face, knowing full well that I would not strike back. Michael Wittman is no friend of mine.”

Washington was puzzled. “And still you wish me to pardon him?” he asked.

“I do,” answered Peter. “I ask it of you as a great personal favor.”

“Tell me,” said Washington, with hesitating voice, “why is it that you thus ask the pardon of your worst enemy?”

“I ask it because Jesus did as much for me,” was the old man’s brief answer.

Washington turned away and went into another room. Soon he returned with a paper on which was written the pardon of Michael Wittman.

“My dear friend,” he said, as he placed it in the old man’s hands, “I thank you for this example of Christian charity.”

    Acknowledges Receipt Of Sermon: On March 13, 1778, he writes from Valley Forge to the Reverend Israel Evans, acknowledging the receipt of his sermon, as follows:

Your favor of the 17th ultimo, enclosing the Discourse which you delivered on the 18th of December, the day set apart for a general thanksgiving, never came to my hands till yesterday. I have read this performance with equal attention and pleasure; and at the same time that I admire and feel the force of your reasoning which you have displayed through the whole, it is more especially incumbent upon me to thank you for the honorable but partial mention you have made of my character, and to assure you that it will ever be the first wish of my heart to aid your pious endeavors to inculcate a due sense of the dependence we ought to place in the all-wise and powerful Being, on whom alone our success depends.

    Fasting: An order issued at Headquarters, Valley Forge, April 12, 1778, includes the following directions for a day of fasting and prayer:

The Honorable the Congress having thought proper to recommend to the United States of America to set apart Wednesday, the 22nd inst., to be observed as a day of Pasting, Humiliation and Prayer, that at one time, and with one voice, the righteous dispensations of Providence may be acknowledged, and His goodness and mercy towards our arms supplicated and implored:

The General directs that the day shall be most religiously observed in the Army; that no work shall be done thereon, and that the several chaplains do prepare discourses suitable to the occasion.

The ChristianPatriot2

Christian Above Patriot:The following order was issued at Headquarters, Valley Forge, May 2, 1778:

The Commander-in-chief directs that Divine service be performed every Sunday at 11 o’clock, in each Brigade which has a Chaplain. Those Brigades which have none will attend the places of worship nearest to them.—It is expected that officers of all ranks will, by their attendance, set an example for their men. While we are duly performing the duty of good soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of a Patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian.

The signal instances of Providential goodness which we have experienced, and which have almost crowned our arms with complete success, demand from us, in a peculiar manner, the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all Good!”

Thanksgiving Ordered: An order issued at Valley Forge, May 5,1778, begins as follows:

It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the Universe propitiously to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally by raising us up a powerful friend among the Princes of the earth, to establish our Liberty and Independence upon a lasting foundation; it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the Divine Goodness, and celebrating the event, which we owe to His benign interposition. The several brigades are to be assembled at nine o’clock to-morrow morning, when their Chaplains will communicate the intelligence contained in the Postscript of the Gazette of 2nd inst., and offer up a thanksgiving, and deliver a discourse suitable to the occasion.

“Washington, with his lady, and suite, Lord Stirling and his lady, with other general officers and ladies, attended the religious services of the Jersey brigade, when the Rev. Mr. Hunter delivered a discourse.”

    Recognizes Protection Of Providence: In a letter to Landon Carter, written from Valley Forge, May 30, 1778 he says:

“My friends, therefore, may believe me sincere in my professions of attachment to them, whilst Providence has a just claim to my humble and grateful thanks for its protection and direction of me through the many difficult and intricate scenes which this contest has produced; and for its constant interposition in our behalf, when the clouds were heaviest and seemed ready to burst upon us.

To paint the distresses and perilous situation of this army in the course of last winter, for want of clothes, provisions, and almost every other necessary essential to the well-being, I may say existence, of an army, would require more time and an abler pen than mine; nor, since our prospects have so miraculously brightened, shall I attempt it, or even bear it in remembrance, further than as a memento of what is due to the great Author of all the care and good that have been extended in relieving us in difficulties and distresses.”

Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)

Another Inspirational Story From My Life When I Was Fourteen

Matthew5I must tell you all of a vacation my parents took my brother and I on when I was fourteen. It was meant to be a vacation to Jamaica for two weeks during Christmas break. You know fun in the sun, sailing, scuba diving, riding horses on the beach, etc., etc., Then, not long before we went, our parents informed us we were going to Haiti for a week first, and would only be in Jamaica a week. They informed us, the plans changed because some of our churches were having a fellowship meeting with the brothers and sisters in Haiti, and we would be attending. Now, being teenagers we weren’t too happy with the prospect of attending a church meeting, when we could be enjoying snorkeling, scuba, sailing, etc., so we complained and generally let our unhappiness be known, though we knew it would do us no good.

The time came and we flew out and went to Haiti, we had no idea what Haiti would be like, when we were flying in you could see the old wrecks, various iron objects and other obstacles in the surf, so we knew we most likely would not get to have fun in the ocean or go romping around on the beach. We landed and were driven to our hotel, it was called the El Presidente Hotel in Port-au-Prince. It was a grand structure, had walls 12+ inches thick made from some kind of white stucco like material. My brother and I walked through the foyer and out onto the balconies, there were three very large balconies that ran the length of the hotel and they were terraced out over the jungle in three step downs from each terrace to the next. On the third and last terrace when we got to the edge it was about a 50+ foot drop down to the floor of the jungle.

The wall around the edge of the terrace, like all the exterior hotel walls, were made from the white stucco, they were 12 plus inches thick and had pieces of broken glass bottles embedded in the top of the walls. This was kind of amazing to us, we had never seen anything like these walls with glass bottles that would cut you if you tried to climb on them. Now being the curious teenagers that we were, we found a way to get down through the terraces, by a set of steps that led us down to the jungle floor. We therefore descended these steps to see what we could find, when we reached the floor of the jungle, we couldn’t really see too much, other than the high wall to our left and a cleared area of the jungle that ran around the hotel. We then went walking around the wall to our left, till we got to where we could look around the corner.

There, we were astounded to see this middle aged native gentleman seated on a five gallon bucket, in front of him he had a pretty large rock, he was in the process of breaking up coral into powder (we assumed having been around construction our whole lives) to patch or build, more on these white stucco walls. The thing that so astounded us, he was doing this with only rocks, he was using the large rock in front of him to put smaller pieces of coral on, while pounding them to powder with the medium sized rock coral he had in his hands. This was amazing to us, this was obviously how they had made all the walls in the great and majestic hotel out of coral, not just that, but they didn’t use any mechanical equipment to do so. This was just one of the surprises we had waiting for us on our journey of discovery.

Not long after we had arrived we got to be friends with, or introduced to some of the native children that lived at the edge of the jungle just outside of, and below the hotel. They lived with other members of their family, I think there were about three or four adults, if my memory is correct. Where they lived was a little tin shack, couldn’t have been more than a twenty by twenty foot square, haphazardly; or so it seemed to us, thrown together with a few boards, nails, and covered with tin sheeting. They didn’t have any of the modern conveniences we were used to in America, they took showers outside in a little shower stall without a roof, also with tin on three sides. We would get up early and we were amazed to see what seemed like ten to fifteen children emerge from the small shack in the morning, we didn’t know how they found room to sleep.

One of the children we got to know really well, was named David, he would climb up in the tops of the tall palms around the edge of the terraces, they came up, to just about the height of the lowest terrace. At this point in the story, I will tell you in case you do not know, Haiti at the time was the second poorest nation in the world. David would climb up in these palms and clown around trying to get the tourists to throw him money, he was quite a character and my family got to know him quite well. If I remember correctly we even brought him into the hotel with us one time, because my parents wanted to give him something, might have been some clothes, can’t remember for sure. The thing about David, besides being an exceedingly sweet child, the whole time we were there the only clothes he wore, was a pair of short pants. The thing about the short pants was, they had no rear-end, the only thing left in the seat of his trousers were the seam and stitching holding it together, his buttocks were completely exposed. I remember my parents wanted to adopt him, he was amazingly creative and intelligent, he couldn’t have been more than ten years old.

The other children were not as brave as David I guess, for they didn’t attempt to climb up in the tops of the palms as David did, they would simply try to get us to throw them money down at the floor of the jungle around the outside terrace. My brother and I frequently obliged them throwing down the coins we had in our pockets, we both worked for our father in his HVAC business, so we had money of our own. In tossing change down to the others, there were probably about ten of them, I noticed the youngest and smallest one never got any of the change, and having been the youngest growing up among older boys, I had a soft spot in my heart for the youngest. I therefore attracted his attention to stay where he was, since he was some distance from the others, got them distracted with a few small coins and threw him down a quarter. He immediately scooped it up and took off through the jungle, the others realizing what I had done, took off after him. I hope still to this day he was able to keep it away from them, we left a day or two later, so I never knew for sure. I know he was fast. so I rest in the hope he did. I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything that would have made the others even meaner to him, than I had already witnessed.

During the camp meeting services we teenagers and children were not allowed to go into the church, I say church, it wasn’t like the churches you think of here in America. This was simply a large pavilion made with pillars to hold up the structure of the tin roof, and had no outside walls, so even though we were outside, it wasn’t much different than being inside, we could hear and see everything that was happening. We just weren’t able to sit on the pews under the roof and simply stood around the perimeter of the building. There wasn’t a lot of room left on the pews either, one of the other things that truly impressed us, the people were so hungry for the truth and the gospel, they doubled the amount of people you’d have seen in the pews in America, even when the pews were full here. What they did was, one person would sit back in the pew, the next would sit towards the front edge, the next sitting like the first, all the way back in the pew, so that they were staggered along the pew so more of them could sit, it was heart touching, their rapt attention of what was being said.

One of the other amazing things to my brother and I, as we were exploring around outside the pavilion while service was taking place. They had an outside toilet, which wasn’t nothing to my brother and I, since we had an outside toilet, i.e. outhouse, in the home we grew up in, when we first moved there. The houses bottom floor being built in 1896 and the top floor being built in 1906, there was no indoor plumbing until our father installed it after we moved in. I still remember what it was like when we first saw it, no one had lived there in years, it was truly like a haunted house you see in the movies, cobwebs everywhere, big snakes in cabinet drawers, etc. To get back to Haiti though, this outhouse they had was somewhat like you’d see in America in that there was a ladies bathroom and a men’s bathroom. They even had running water, so the quests could flush the toilets, however that is where the similarities ended, what really impressed us was how they obtained this running water. The running water was fed by gravity, there being two fifty five gallon barrels on the roof, one for the ladies, one for the men’s and there was a native gentleman on the roof that would take these five gallon buckets delivered to them by the native women, who carried the buckets to them on their heads. All this so the guests could have comfort, that they themselves did not enjoy.

The people were truly touching, their care and kindness, I will always remember fondly with a tender heart. One of the things that happened I had forgotten and was reminded of, a number of years ago when my parents were telling some friends about it. During the camp meeting, on one of the first nights. This native woman was selling penny candy, (or at least then it was penny candy) for people to buy in order to assuage their thirst, hunger and to protect others from your bad breath while services were going on. I remembered her well because when I first approached her about buying some of her candy, she tried to charge me a quarter each, for a penny piece of candy, not being too much of a young fool, I told her to forget it and she quickly went down to a penny on her price. I bought a bunch of candy from her, knowing me, probably a couple dollars worth.

Known among those who knew me best, I was an extremely generous soul when growing up, so I being me, I started giving candy to those native children around me during the church service, more came, I went and bought more candy, and continued to give it out to the children around me, it wasn’t long until there were what seemed like hundreds of children around wanting candy, so many that one of the ministers stood up to the pulpit and asked over the microphone “whoever is giving the native children candy, would you please stop”. I did, and the native children slowly went back to their neighborhoods.

One of the young men I met then, was about my age and we became fast friends, although I cannot remember his name now. He took it upon himself to be my “protector” and “guide”. Protector to make sure other natives didn’t take advantage of me like the candy lady had tried to do, and guide, to take me to wherever I wished to go, including into the native neighborhoods around where the church services were being held. I went with him and met many of the people, you couldn’t have asked for more genuinely sweet, good people. They lived in little comfort, the sewer consisted of a ditch that ran along the side of the thoroughfare, whether it was a road, path, or trail. Their garbage was heaped into a central pile that was continuously smoldering in the center of each neighborhood. It was really eye opening for a fourteen year old from America, it left quite an impression on me.

This young man I had met, spent the whole week with me, taking me to places most tourists never saw, he went to the markets with me and helped me with the bartering for the various souvenirs, I wanted to bring home. He was truly a good friend in the short time I knew him, one of the last things I did before I left was to give him a ten dollar bill for all the care and trouble he took for me, showing me around and helping me. I fully expect that ten dollars, if it didn’t set him up in some kind of small business, it lasted him for at least a year. Judging from what I knew of him the short time I was there, I expect he used it to further his life and made much more money from it.

One of the other things we did, some of the older church boys took some of us younger ones to what they said was a voodoo ceremony, now we were pretty skeptical, but I will say, there was this big chicken sitting on a stump not far from me, no visible ties holding it in place and all it did was move its eyes the whole time we were there, didn’t even move its head. I won’t go into detail on the other things that took place, it was pretty wild though I must say.

One of the other things I’ll tell you about it, as I mentioned the women carrying these five gallon buckets of water on their heads. My guide informed me, by the time a girl there grew to adulthood, they could carry 100 pounds on their heads. This fresh water they carried, there was one place in Port-au-Prince I saw where they could get it from, according to what I was told, the only place, was in downtown in the central square by where they had the market. The market isn’t like some market you see in America, this market was a vast complex of outdoor stalls that took up a large portion of downtown Port-au-Prince. The native women would come from miles around just to get five gallon buckets of fresh water to take back home to their families. They not only carried water in them though, they carried, sand, gravel, and numerous other things in them. The buckets weren’t the only things they carried on their heads either, they carried all of there large cumbersome loads on their heads. They would take a cloth, roll it up in a roll like a bandana, make a small circle with it to fit the crown of their heads, and would sit the buckets on these, thus creating a stable base for whatever they were carrying.

I could go on and on about my time in Haiti, I remember it so well, because of the impression it left on my young heart and mind. While I remember some things about Jamaica, I rarely go into detail about it, because it didn’t leave near the impression upon me that Haiti did, the main thing I remember fondly about Jamaica was my first time scuba diving, and the native lady who wanted to trade clothes with me on the beach because she liked my t-shirt with the smiling sun on it and the words “smile and the whole world smiles with you”. My mom bought me that t-shirt because I was always smiling when I was a youngster. Almost broke up one of my brothers school plays one time because my smiling in the audience caused my brother and the others on stage to laugh so much. Every young person in America should go to at least one country like Haiti while they are growing up, just to give them a perspective of how truly blessed they are to have been born here.

Mom and Dad, if I never told you. Thank you for changing our plans that year, you have no idea how I am touched by and hold onto the memory of the wonderful experiences I had, and the time we spent there. I love you both dearly, my life has been greatly blessed because you are my parents!

That’s enough for now, if I think of something else good to add, or think of another story. I’ll give you more when I do, things in my life spark these memories, I never know when I will be reminded of something that I have to share. Until then I will keep adding my history pieces that could be contemporary pieces in dealing with today’s problems, and other inspirational, patriotic and educational stories from history.

For another inspirational story from my life, please enjoy Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover: In memory of a great man I once knew

God bless and Jesus be with and keep you all, always!