NASS SANDS LIGHTHOUSES

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“After our ship did split,
When you and that poor number saved with yon,
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself —
Courage and hope both teaching him the practice
To a strong mast that lived upon the sea,
Where, like Orion on the dolphin’s back,
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I could see.”

TWELFTH NIGHT.

The late Mr. Nelson erected THE Nass Lights in 1832, under the direction of the
Trinity House. The eastern, or upper Light, bums at the height of one hundred and sixty-
seven feet, and the western, or lower one at one hundred and twenty-three feet above
high-water mark. They are one thousand feet apart, built of the stone of the country, and
stand on Nass Point, near Dunraven Castle, Glamorganshire.

It unfortunately was not merely the dangers of the ocean to which the luckless
mariner was in past times exposed upon this iron-bound coast, to them was too
frequently added the infamous deceptions of the wreckers, who were accustomed to
resort to the artifice of driving to and fro an ass bearing two lanterns so as to represent
a distant vessel in motion, and thus lured many a ship to destruction among the rocks
and sands. Numerous are the legends of fearful interest which the older inhabitants
relate descriptive of the accidents attendant upon these murderous practices, now
happily only matters of history.

The erection of lighthouses, beacons, and other means for the prevention of
shipwreck, is every year becoming an object of greater importance to the members
of that excellent corporation, the Trinity House. Within the last thirty years, great and
permanent advantages have been secured to commerce by the vigilance and activity of
that body. Much, however, is still left to call aloud for the exercise of their high privilege,
skill, and humanity. The navigation of our coasts is still attended in many parts with
imminent danger. Rocks, and shoals, and quicksand’s, indeed, cannot be obliterated by
the hand of man; but the perils they involve, in respect to the shipping, may be greatly
diminished by increasing the number of those monitory beacons to which the eye of
the mariner is so often turned with intense anxiety. The erection of the two lighthouses
which here illustrates the subject has been attended with the happiest consequences.

Many a shipwreck, we will venture to say, have been prevented by a timely regard
to these friendly beacons. The Bristol Channel has often been the scene of sad
catastrophes in the chronicles of seafaring life; but at present the danger to the foreign
and coasting-trade has been greatly obviated by those judicious measures, which have
emanated from the above society.

The voyage up the Bristol Channel is singularly romantic and beautiful; but the
coast is exposed to all the fury of the Atlantic, and the surf against the cliffs is distinctly
visible at Swansea. The steamers now keep close along shore, in a channel inside the
Nass Sands, which form an extensive and dangerous bank to seaward. The contrast
between the tumultuous masses of breakers over these sands, when the wind is
fresh, and the calmness of the narrow channel we are traversing in security, is very
striking. These sands, and another large shoal, called the Skerweathers, have been
fatal to many vessels. A large West Indiaman, with a cargo of rum and other valuable
produce, was lost a few years ago on a rock called the Tusca, which disappears at high-
water; and in 1831, this coast was fatal to the steamer Frolic, in which all the crew and
passengers, amounting to nearly eighty persons, perished. The coast near Portheaul
appears at Swansea to be the eastern extremity of the bay; but the bluff point called the
Nass, about eight miles further, is literally so. The coast onwards, past the Nass-point,
as observed in the admirable Engraving annexed, is almost perpendicular, so as closely
to resemble a lofty wall, in which the limestone rock is disposed in horizontal strata.
When the sea runs high in this quarter, the scene, as may be readily conceived, is truly
terrific —

“And not one vessel ‘scapes the dreadful Much
Of merchant-marine rocks.”

MERCHANT OF VENICE.

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