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spun-yarn “winch,” which is very simple, consisting of a wheel and spindle. This may be heard constantly on deck in pleasant weather, and we had employment, during a great part of the time, for three hands, in drawing and knotting yarns and making spun-yarn.
Another method of employing the crew is "setting up” rigging. Whenever any of the standing rigging becomes slack (which is continually happening), the seizings and coverings are replaced, which is a very nice piece of work. There is also such a connection between different parts of a vessel, that one rope can seldom be touched without altering another. You cannot stay a mast
by the back-stays without slacking up the headstays, etc., etc. If we add to this all the tarring, greasing, oiling, varnishing, painting, scraping, and 'scrubbing, which is required in the course of a long voyage, and also remember this is all to be done in addition to watching at night, steering, reefing, furling, bracing, making and setting sail, and pulling, hauling, and climbing in every direction, one will hardly ask, “What can a sailor do at sea ?”
If, after all this labour, after exposing the lives and limbs in storms, wet and cold
“ Wherein the cub-drawn bear would crouch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
the merchants and captains think that they have not earned their twelve dollars a month (out of which they clothe themselves), and their salt beef
and hard bread, they keep them picking oakumad infinitum. This was the usual resource upon a rainy day, for then it will not do to work upon the rigging; and when it is pouring down in floods, instead of letting the sailors stand about in sheltered places, and talk and keep themselves comfortable, they are separated to different parts of the ship, and kept at work picking oakum. I have seen oakum stuff placed in different parts of the ship, so that the sailors might not be idle in the snatches between the frequent squalls upon crossing the equator. Some officers have been so driven to find work for the crew in a ship ready for sea, that they have set them a-pounding the anchors (often done), and scraping the chain cables. The “Phila delphia Catechism” is
“ Six days shalt thou labour and do all thou art able,
And on the seventh-holystone the decks and scrape the cable."
This kind of work, of course, is not kept up off Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope, and in extreme North or South latitudes; but I have seen the decks washed down and scrubbed when the water would have frozen if it had been fresh; and all hands kept at work upon the rigging, when we had on our pea-jackets, and our hands so numbed that we could hardly hold our marline-spikes.
I have here gone out of my narrative course, in order that any who reads this may form an idea of a sailor's life and duty as possible. I have done it in this place because, for some time, our life was nothing but an unvarying repetition of these duties, which can be better described together. Before leaving this description, however, I would state, in order to show landsmen how little they know of the nature of a ship, that a “shipcarpenter" is kept in constant employ during good weather on board vessels which are in what is called perfect sea order.
R. H. Dana,
It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions in a wellgoverned society that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Every workman has a great quantity of his own work to dispose of beyond what he himself has occasion for; and every other workman being exactly in the same situation, he is enabled to exchange a great quantity of his own goods for a great quantity, or, what comes to the same thing, for the price of a great quantity of theirs. He supplies them abundantly with what they have occasion for, and they accommodate him as amply with what he has occasion for, and a general plenty diffuses itself through all the different ranks of the society.
Observe the accommodation of the most common artificer or day-labourer in a civilized and thriving country, and you will perceive that the number of people, of whose industry a part, though but a small part, has been employed in procuring him this accommodation, exceeds all computation. The woollen coat, for example, which covers the daylabourer, as coarse and rough as it may appear, is the produce of the joint labour of a great multitude of workmen. The shepherd, the sorter of the wool, the woolcomber or carder, the dyer, the scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser, with many others, must all join their different arts in order to complete even this homely production. How many merchants and carriers, besides, must have been employed in transporting the materials from some of those workmen to others who often live in a very distant part of the country! How much commerce and navigation in particular, how many ship-builders, sailors, sailmakers, rope-makers, must have been employed in order to bring together the different drugs made use of by the dyer, which often come from the remotest corners of the world? What a variety of labour, too, is necessary in order to produce the tools of the meanest of those workmen! To say nothing of such complicated machines as the ship of the sailor, the mill of the fuller, or even the loom of the weaver, let us consider only what a variety of labour is requisite in order to form that very simple machine, the shears with which the shepherd clips the wool. The miner, the builder of the furnace for smelting the ore, the feller of
the timber, the burner of the charcoal to be made use of in the smelting-house, the brick-maker, the bricklayer, the workmen who attend the furnace, the mill-wright, the forger; the smith, must all of them join their different arts in order to produce them. Were we to examine in the same manner, all the different parts of his dress and household furniture, the coarse linen shirt which he wears next his skin, the shoes which cover his feet, the bed which he lies on, and all the different parts which compose it, the kitchen-grate at which he prepares his victuals, the coals which he makes use of for that purpose, dug from the bowels of the earth, and brought to him, perhaps, by a long sea and a long land carriage, all the other utensils of his kitchen, all the furniture of his table, the knives and forks, the earthen or pewter plates upon which he serves up and divides his victuals, the different hands employed in preparing his bread and his beer, the glass window which lets in the heat and the light, and keeps out the wind and the rain, with all the knowledge and art requisite for preparing that beautiful and happy invention, without which these northern parts of the world could scarce have afforded a very comfortable habitation, together with the tools of all the different worknien employed in producing those different conveniences; -if we examine, I say, all these things, and consider what a variety of labour is employed about each of them, we shall be sensible that, without the assistance and co-operation of many thousands, the very meanest person in a civilized country could