“On the 27th of July, 1850, I sailed from Baltimore in the ship Nonantum, of Boston, (Bates, master,) bound to San Francisco. In the ship's hold was stowed 1,050 tons of coal. The second morning after the commencement of the storm, smoke had been discovered between decks. The alarming truth instantly flashed upon our minds. The gas that originated from the coal had generated fire.