Speeches: Literary and Social, by Charles Dickens

SPEECH: JANUARY, 1842.

[In presenting Captain Hewett, of the Britannia, 2 with a service of plate on behalf of the passengers, Mr. Dickens addressed him as follows:]

Captain Hewett — I am very proud and happy to have been selected as the instrument of conveying to you the heartfelt thanks of my fellow-passengers on board the ship entrusted to your charge, and of entreating your acceptance of this trifling present. The ingenious artists who work in silver do not always, I find, keep their promises, even in Boston. I regret that, instead of two goblets, which there should be here, there is, at present, only one. The deficiency, however, will soon be supplied; and, when it is, our little testimonial will be, so far, complete.

You are a sailor, Captain Hewett, in the truest sense of the word; and the devoted admiration of the ladies, God bless them, is a sailor’s first boast. I need not enlarge upon the honour they have done you, I am sure, by their presence here. Judging of you by myself, I am certain that the recollection of their beautiful faces will cheer your lonely vigils upon the ocean for a long time to come.

In all time to come, and in all your voyages upon the sea, I hope you will have a thought for those who wish to live in your memory by the help of these trifles. As they will often connect you with the pleasure of those homes and fire sides from which they once wandered, and which, but for you, they might never have regained, so they trust that you will sometimes associate them with your hours of festive enjoyment; and, that, when you drink from these cups, you will feel that the draught is commended to your lips by friends whose best wishes you have; and who earnestly and truly hope for your success, happiness, and prosperity, in all the undertakings of your life.

2 The Britannia was the vessel that conveyed Mr. Dickens across the Atlantic, on his first visit to America — ED.

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