'The Coffin-Ships', 1873. Artist: Joseph Swain
'The Coffin-Ships', 1873. Jack Tar is embraced by his lover as he prepares to board his ship. This relates to recent agitation on the part of Samuel Plimsoll for a Royal Commission into the condition of merchant shipping. Plimsoll presented figures to show that, of the 2, 700 losses at sea each year, more than 2, 000 were due to practices of overloading ships and other poor practices. He also contended that many ships were sent to sea in an unworthy state in order that the owners could claim on their insurance for the loss of the vessel. With much support, Plimsoll won the day and, as Punch said, now had much work before him. From Punch, or the London Charivari, March 15, 1873.
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