[Illustration: Blowing up of the Royal George.]
In September of the year in which the vessel sank, a gentleman, named Tracey, living in the neighborhood, by means of diving-machines, ascertained the position and state of the ship, and made proposals to government to adopt means of raising her and getting her again afloat. After a great many vexatious delays and interruptions on the part of those who were to have supplied him with assistance, he succeeded in getting up the Lark sloop. His efforts to raise the Royal George were so far successful, that at every time of high tide she was lifted from her bed; and on the 9th of October she was hove at least thirty or forty feet to westward; but the days were getting short, the boisterous winds of winter were setting in, the lighters to which Tracey’s apparatus was attached were too old and rotten to bear the strain, and he was forced to abandon the attempt.
The sunken ship remained, a constant impediment to other vessels wishing to cast anchor near the spot, for nearly fifty years, when Colonel Pasley, by means of gunpowder, completely demolished the wreck: the loose pieces of timber floated to the surface; heavier pieces—the ship’s guns, cables, anchors, the fire-hearth, cooking utensils, and many smaller articles were recovered by the divers. These men went down in Indian-rubber dresses, which were air and water-tight; they were furnished with helmets, in each side of which were glass windows, to admit light, and supplied with air by means of pipes, communicating with an air-pump above. By these means they could remain under water more than an hour at a time. I do not think you are old enough to understand the nature of Colonel Pasley’s operations. Large hollow vessels, called cylinders, were filled with gunpowder, and attached by the divers to the wreck, these were connected by conducting wires with a battery on board a lighter above, at a sufficient distance to be out of reach of danger when the explosion took place. Colonel Pasley then gave the word to fire the end of the rod; instantly a report was heard, and those who witnessed the explosions, say that the effect was very beautiful. On one occasion, the water rose in a splendid column above fifty feet high, the spray sparkling like diamonds in the sun; then the large fragments of the wreck came floating to the surface; soon after the mud from the bottom, blackening the circle of water, and spreading to a great distance around; and with it rose to the surface great numbers of fish, who, poor things, had found a hiding-place in the wreck, but were dislodged and killed by the terrible gunpowder.
[Illustration: Loss of the Melville castle.]