You will find this book very different from other works on the same subject. In the first place, I believe that all text-books should be written in a manner to please, as well as to instruct; that they should be agreeable reading; and, aside from their teaching value, have a certain excellence as a writing. Again, there is nothing in literature so interesting as the autobiography, real or fictional. Nearly all our great works of fiction are of this class. Robinson Crusoe's history from any other lips than those of the ...
You will find this book very different from other works on the same subject. In the first place, I believe that all text-books should be written in a manner to please, as well as to instruct; that they should be agreeable reading; and, aside from their teaching value, have a certain excellence as a writing. Again, there is nothing in literature so interesting as the autobiography, real or fictional. Nearly all our great works of fiction are of this class. Robinson Crusoe's history from any other lips than those of the castaway would lose half its interest; Gil Blas in the third person would lack warmth and be wholly devoid of its peculiar zest. The flavor of the individual is lost when you speak for, and not as him. The puppet talks like a puppet. It is the difference between John Alden pleading the cause of Captain Standish and John Alden pleading the cause of Master John. Let a man talk to you and he will interest and amuse; let him write for you and he will prove trite and dull. Therefore, when imparting information, I like to talk, not write. I want to infuse into my words my person, to endeavor to give my ideas an I-am-with-you tone, so that it will be me and not the book that is present, and with whom you are in communion. But this method of handling a subject is apt to breed dogmatism, especially as the reader is unable to question or deny the statements made until they have been chilled into ink. So you will find in many of my chapters that I am exceedingly dogmatic. It is unintentional, simply being a manifestation of the spirit peculiar to this style of addressing an audience-one that must hear but cannot answer. Therefore let me warn you to question all my statements, and to accept only those that harmonize with your own conclusions, after you have carefully thought them over. Those that you cannot reconcile to your own knowledge and experience, lay on one side to be tried out at a future day. Never, no matter how high the authority, accept any man's coin by its minted face. It is as easy to strike a base as a sterling piece, and the king's head on the reverse and his arms on the obverse won't make lead silver, or copper gold. This in regard to statements made by those who set themselves up as authorities on a subject is particularly true, when the subject is one like this under discussion; one in which no fixed rules may be established, and where so much depends upon the man, the place and the means. I make a statement of practice; it was deduced from my personal experience, and in my case gave a perfect result; you follow it, but owing to certain complicating circumstances, in your case, it fails. For instance, I tell you, that when a vessel gets sternway on in a seaway to keep your helm amidships, and cast her with the headsails, and not to put your helm hard over. You accept my method as being the correct one, try it, and fail to cast your boat so as to fill away. This does not prove that I am wrong in making such a statement, but it shows that I am wrong in not having qualified it. It also shows that you are a lax thinker in not having questioned my method before putting it in practice. My error is the too frequent error of men who write on vessel handling; yours the too common error of men who study their books. The object of this book, of these talks, is not to fill you, parrot fashion, full of rules of action or methods of practice, but to furnish you with food for thought; to lay before you certain statements from which you must, to a large extent, deduce your own conclusions. Take what I say, mix it with your own knowledge and experience, and put into action the result. These talks are not intended for men who are what we may call seamen, men who are thoroughly versed in the art, nor are they intended for those who aspire to boats larger than forty feet over all. A boat above that size is too valuable to be trusted in the hands of an inexperienced or half-trained man.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.