20 JANUARY 1866, Page 2

A sad but ennobling incident has marked the gale. The

London, a magnificent screw steamer belonging to Messrs. Wigram and Bons, and used as an Australian packet boat, was struck on the 9th inst. in the Bay of Biscay by the gale, while on her outward 'voyage, and on the 10th was put about for Plymouth. At 10.30 p.m., however, a tremendous sea tore away the hatchway over the engine-room and put out the fires, and the ship, lying to under a bit of sail, became water-logged. Early on the 11th Captain Martin informed the passengers that hope was over, and boats were lowered, but with one exception all were stove in or otherwise destroyed. The ship was fall of passengers, all of whom met their inevitable fate with cool courage, listening quietly to the exhortations of Mr. Draper, a clergyman on board, working strenuously at the pumps, and talking calmly. At last the port pinnace was lowered. Captain Martin ordered the chief engineer to take the command, as, the fires being out, he could have no further duty to perform, and the engineer's men and three second- class passengers got into her. There was still a vacant place, and a Mr. Hickman was asked to take it, but he " had promised his wife to die with her," and refused. Then the captain was implored to go, but in his own words, "he thought it his duty to go down with his passengers," and the same tone prevailed throughout the ship. Several of the passengers loaded revolvers to shoot themselves as the ship went down, and so avoid the painful struggle with the waves, but there is no proof that they used them, though the men in the boat saw the final catastrophe. They put off a little after one o'clock, and almost before they could get away saw the poop swept of its passengers, and the ship immediately settle down stern foremost, carrying the remainder of the 220 lives on board. The pinnace was picked up next day by an Italian vessel, and the story of the loss of the London, which will live in naval history as long as that of the Birkenhead, is told by the survivors. It is the first great loss sustained by Messrs. 1Vigrain in.a century of ship- owning.