The inquiry into the causes of the explosion on board
the Thunderer ' terminated on Wednesday in a verdict which acquits everybody of responsibility, and with the exception of two men employed in the engine-room, even of blame. The jury find that the explosion was accidental, and " was due to the sticking of the safety-valves from the contraction of their metal seats ;" and they add that the atop-valve being closed was, in their opinion, only "contributory." The jury make several recom- mendations, all of which appear reasonable, with a view to making more certain the detection of danger from boilers. But it certainly argues an unsatisfactory state of discipline when they find it necessary to advise that " when de- rangements of the pressure-gauge of any boiler occur, care I should be taken to ascertain if the communication be free between it and the other boilers." One would expect that to be the first thought of the engineers. Upon the whole, the verdict strengthens our conviction that, with the complex machinery now employed, the first requisite, not only of an efficient, but even of a safe Fleet, is officers scientifically trained to manage the new machinery,—trained thoroughly to understand contrivances which require the minute care of a watchmaker, and possess the ex- plosive force of small volcanoes.