This 32-page pamphlet joins the interests of the needs of American commerce with the concerns of US seamen’s missionary activities in behalf of their moral probity.
p. 23-24: REPORT OF LABORS AND RESULTS.
The operations of the Mission since the last published Report, have been of the same general character, as in previous years, and attended with encouraging results. The attendance at the religious ship-board services on the Sabbath, at 9 A. M. and 5 P. M., has been good, and the visitation of vessels at the wharves, early Sabbath mornings, has been carried forward with constantly increasing efficiency. Twenty-five young men, all members of churches in the city, and all volunteers, have been zealously engaged in the work in sunshine and in storm, distributing religious tracts, and in extending to seamen the kindly invitation to attend church, and the blessings of many ready to perish
have come upon them.
The labors on ship-board have been prosecuted with vigor. Many valuable acquaintances have been made with officers and seamen, and influences set at work calculated to do good socially and morally. Among the agencies employed in this department is that of supplying vessels gratuitously with books and other reading matter for the use of the crews at sea, especially those bound on long voyages. The
following extract of a letter from the Captain of a first class clipper, exhibits the nature of the work.
East Boston, Nov. 12, 1853.
Capt. T HOS . V. SULLIVAN—Dear Sir: I have received your very handsome present of most useful books. I have examined them and think that they are much better selected than any other lot ever put on board any vessel which I have commanded. You will pardon me for saying that I think the selection of books usually made for sailors are not wisely selected; they consist almost entirely of Bibles, Testaments, Prayer Books, and Tracts, all of which are invaluable treasures. But sailors are like other folks, at least not more religious, and they want useful reading matter that will enlist them. Yours, truly.
These books, beside an assortment of Bibles in thirteen different languages spoken among seamen, contained four volumes of Tracts prepared by this Mission, each volume containing ten different languages, an assortment of moral and religious, entertaining and instructing books, with a set of School Books to meet the wants of all on board, who might desire to improve themselves from the A, B, C, of
knowledge up to the study of Latin and Greek. A most gratifying result in connection with these efforts has been the hearty cooperation of ship-masters. [Pamphlet goes on to recount accomplishments of the author’s Mission in distributing Bibles and temperance Tracts, in developing a Marine Free Circulating Library, in developing Snug Harbors for “decrepit” retiring seamen.]
p. 26, the author concludes his fund-raising pitch thus: In closing this Report, your Missionary would acknowledge, with gratitude, the favor of God, which has attended this enterprise in every stage of its progress. Commencing nearly six years ago, at first an experiment, the work has continued on to the present time. The effort can no longer be considered in the light of an experiment. To preach the Gospel to seamen on shipboard, on the Sabbath; to visit them through the agency of Christian young men on board their floating homes on Sabbath morning, inviting
them to the house of God, scattering the religious Tract, and directing the unfortunate and destitute to where they may find friends —to get the confidence of the humble but trusting Christian sailor, place before him motives to effort for the salvation of the soul of his shipmate, that
furnish him with the means of doing good—to send the Bible, the Tract, History, Biography, and other good and instructive reading on a tour of benevolence around the world—to seek out and relieve human suffering in the Alarine Hospital, the Poor House and elsewhere, and obtain for the worn out and decrepit sailor a home in the Sailors’ Snug Harbor; such cannot be a work of experiment merely, but one of permanent interest and importance.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
THOMAS V. SULLIVAN.