Causes of fire at sea.
The attention of scientific men has been of late much drawn to the causes of the burning of vessels at sea, causes which are often quite occult.
Chemical investigation has been directed to the subject by competent persons in London
, who have found that shipments are often made in the most careless manner, risking hundreds of lives and tens of thousands of property.
It was shown in one case that a package, which contained apothecary wares, broke and emitted a peculiar kind of odor.--This was caused by the spilling of sweet spirits of nitre, one gallon of which would produce ten thousand cubic feet of explosive vapor, enough to blow up several men-of-war.
A number of witnesses stated that they-were in the habit of shipping these dangerous goods in the manner complained of. The inference is irresistible that vessels are certainly sent in with hundreds of valuable lives on board, charged with substance of the mon, and powerful qualities, able of the destruction of all on board.