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Multiple lives saved at sea thanks to the bravery of Charles Sturt

Year 1799

Read by Sergeant Darren Laurie – Governor, Royal Humane Society

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February 1, 1799

On the Crew of the Bee, Commanded By Nation, Being Preserved by Charles Sturt, Esq. M.P.
The Bee is preserv’d from the storm-threaten’d woes – His reward will the nation impart;

For the honey of gratitude each man bestows From the richest of beehives – The heart.

Poole, Feb.1

Yesterday morning, about nine o’clock, a small Cutter, called the Bee, John Nation master, bound from London to the West Indies, came on shore on the sands, in a heavy gale of wind at east: there was a tremendous sea running, and a very heavy snow falling, which rendered it extremely difficult as well as hazardous to afford any assistance to the crew.

The boats from his Majesty’s gun-vessel the Tickler, &c. attempted it without success; and the poor creatures, after cutting away the mast, and doing all they could to relieve the vessel, were left without hope to the horrid expectation that every coming sea would overwhelm them, or to the still more dreadful one, that they must shortly perish by the inclemency of the weather. They remained in this situation till the middle of the day, when Charles Sturt, esq. of Brownsea castle, M.P. for Bridport, happily succeeded in rescuing them from the very jaws of death, and brought them to his hospitable mansion; and every refreshment and comfort were administered, which their exhausted state to eminently needed.

Mr Sturt merits the warmest thanks of every friend of humanity, regardless of his personal safety, which was endangered in an imminent degree, to his exertions and perseverance alone are the Crew or people indebted for their lives, as the sea was tremendous beyond description, and the shoals on which the vessel lay extremely dangerous to approach – Mr Sturt’s boat was several times filled by the seas, and himself and people thrown out of her into the breakers; he was a considerable time nearly up to his neck in water, buffeting the waves with an ardour which seemed to increase with the danger; at length his philanthropy prevailed, and he had the pleasure of beholding a group of human beings, who, while they were yet shivering round his fire-side, with streaming eyes and grateful hearts looked up to him as their preserver, and blessed the benevolence which has snatched them from the very brink of destruction.

Omnes qui vitam conservare conantur, summon honore digni sunt.

Whether by Sea or Land, whether by professional or other characters, the lives of our fellow creatures have been saved or restored by extraordinary exertions, judicious perseverance, and Medical zeal, the Honorary Medallions of the Humane Society have been presented as the most permanent proof of the philanthropy of the present are and of the enlarged and philosophic views with which the beneficent part of mankind are actuated.

It is an undoubted truth, that a benevolent plan, fixed on such a solid basis, has produced the most valuable benefits to Society at large; indeed it has excited the utmost ardour and emulation in all ranks of people to save life.

The Member of Bridport, by his noble and intrepid exertions in behalf of his distressed fellow creatures, has, in a peculiar manner, attracted the Court of Directors, so that they unanimously resolved, that Charles Sturt, Esq. M.P. should be presented with the Honorary Medal of this Institution, on which is inscribed,

Carolo Sturt, Esq. Armigero, Senatori Brittannico,
OB Vitas,
Ex Fluctibus

Ereptas 1799.

To Dr. Hawes
Brownsea Castle, March 10, 1799.

Sir, I have the honour of receiving your obliging letter, which informs me that the Honorary Medal has been sent to Lord Shaftebury’s – I cannot but express myself extremely flattered for this mark of the Humane Society’s approbation of my conduct; and I hope and trust it will ever make a proper impression on my mind – I shall soon be in town, when I shall be very happy to be admitted a Member of an Institution, founded on such generous and benevolent principles. You will extremely oblige me by proposing me as a Member of the Society at your next meeting.

I remain, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant.
Charles Sturt.

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