Shipping Wonders of the World

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Foreword

By the Editor


THIS is a book about the sea. It is a book about the manifold wonders associated with the sea. As a contribution to the literature of the sea it is, in more ways than one, unique, for it sets out to be the most comprehensive work on the subject yet published. It is intended to be comprehensive without being heavy with the dullness that so often goes with erudition. It seeks to tell the story of the many waters of the world, the story that is one of the most enchanting and adventurous chapters in the book of man's conquest of nature.


Shipping Wonders of the World is, too, a labour of love, for we who have compiled it and written it and produced it are of the island of Great Britain, the home of a sea-going people whose courage and endurance have made their name great in the annals of the world’s history. Who among Britons has not the call of the sea in his blood? Who among Britons does not respond with pride to the achievements of those who go down to the sea in ships? But it is not only with ships that we deal.


There are also other wonders of the Seven Seas, wonders of exploration, wonders of individual heroism, wonders of duties carried on beneath the surface of the waters, and wonders of the ocean itself. It will be seen clearly, therefore, that the scope of this work is extraordinarily wide, and that it has hardly any boundaries.


The saga of the sea has not always been a happy one. Tragedy has been writ in water, in peace and in war. These things must be told, too; yet behind all tragedy there are the human qualities and failings, emotions of courage and cowardice as well; the stuff of life that makes the story of the sea so strange and fascinating a panorama of human conduct. It is, in fact, an irresistible story, and none but the most unimaginative and dull could fail to be moved intensely by it.


FROM the days when the earliest boat was a log, or roughly-hewn tree, propelled by hand, down to the present age when the mammoths of the ocean speed with uncanny certainty and regularity from port to port, man has continuously surrendered to the fascination of the sea. It is a drama of martyrdom, adventure and scientific achievement, and there is no sign yet that the curtain is to be rung down upon it. Great and small, ships are still being built all over the world for the manifold adventures which cannot yet be written down.


Of all that has gone before and of all that is contemporaneously active much may be said. It is said in this work for those who are moved in any way by thought of the sea and who are eager to follow the exploits recorded in this greatest of all stories.

Upon the waters move the ships of the world, and a beautiful ship is not less than a joy for ever.