The number of lives which have been lost by explosions on board of steamboats during the present year has been much less, we are happy to state, than during any previous year since the new law of Inspection went into operation. The total number of deaths from all causes was 474, as follows: By explosions, 80; 46 passengers and 34 crew. We will also include the recent explosion of the H. R. lV. Hill at Baton Rouge, where 45 lives were lost. By collisions, 308; 301 passengers and 7 crew. This includes the Lady Elgin, in which 300 were lost on Lake Michigan. By fires, 41 ; 18 passengers and 23 crew. These statistics have been obligingly furnished us by one of the principal inspectors. Deducting the loss by the Lady Elgin, aU the others amounted to 184 only ; but to this we hiU'c now to add the explosion of the propeller Globe, which took place on the 8th ult. at Chicago, by which 13 persons were killed and several others severely wounded. This occurred while the propeller was lying at the dock, and getting up steam for the purpose of hoisting out freight. The explosion is stated to have been caused by pumping water into the boiler when it was overheated by the water getting below the safe water line. The indicated steam pressure was low, and the amount of water small. This explosion seems to afford a fact opposed to the late theory regarding explosions being caused by the sudden increase of pressure in a boiler when the temperature of the water is above 212 Fah. The explosion of the steamboat H R. W. Hill was of a remarkable character. The pressure ef steam carried was 120 Ibs. The boiler head was forced out from the upper part and doubled over at the middle, presenting the appearance of a circular book cover, half closed. The steam and water first rushed out at the open part of the heatl, and escaped upward, breaking the floor of the saloon ; then, when the boiler head was further bent over by the pressure, the steam and water took a horizontal direction, and dashed violently over a tier of cotton bales where 45 personsdeck passengers and some of the crewwere sleeping. The loss of life in this case was not exactly caused by what is understood to be an explosion (the boiler suddenly bursting into pieces) but by a rupture of the boiler head, which, it is stated, bore the marks of an old crack. This case is also at variance with the recent theory on boiler explo. sions, as the heat of the water in the boiler was 345 Fah., and should have nil flashed instantly into steam, instead of flowing out of the ruptured head. Other facts, whkh may be developed at the investigation before the Inspectors, may modify this opinion. It will he observed that, out of the total of 487 lives lost on steamersincluding the propeller Globeno less tlian 308 wwere due to collisions, and these were caused by sloops carrying no signals. Collisions on sea and on inland waters have become the greatest source of anxiety and danger. This would not be the case were a compulsory good system of signals adopted. Sloops carrying no signals are the principal evil spirits of darkness which cause collisions. This was the case with the melancholy affair of the Xady Elggin; and, no later than the night of the 10th ult., the steamer James Addger run into a schooner which showed no lights off Absecum, N. J. It is quite common for sloops and schooners navigating our seas and rivers to run at night without a single glijn to indicate their cou^-se or presence; and when a ste^boat comes snorting np into dangerous proximity, there is usually a de,perate rush made to display a tallow candle at the bow or stern. Tlw steamboat inspectors have endeavored for a considerable period of time, to iritrodnce an efficient system of signals, and wliat is wanted to give it force is an act of Congress, which we hope will be passed at the next session. THE LONDON CHEMICAL NEWS.We presume that the failure of this respectable journal to give credit for the editorial on the "Field for Chemical Inventions," which it extracts from our pnper, is owing to one of thoRO Tnaflvt:tf;nccf, which occnsionnliv oll'Ciirn the best
This article was originally published with the title "Loss of Life by Steamboats in 1860"