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('. T1NL1NG AND CO., 



THE historical information contained in this volume has been 
in a large measure collected from the Press of the period, and 
chiefly from the Times, Liverpool Mercwry, Glasgow Herald, 
and Chambers Journal. Lindsay's "Merchant Hhipjiiiig," a 
most admirable work, has also been consulted, as well as other- 
works of a similar nature. The name of the authority quoted 
has been given in most cases, but, where I have been unable to 
do so, I trust this general acknowledgment will suffice. 

Some of the chapters in Part II. were contributed in 1901 
to the Journal of Commerce, as part of a series of articles on 
" Historical Steamship Companies." Chapter XXII. in Part I. 
was published in the May number (1903) of the Wide World 
Magazine, under the title of " The Strange Case of the 

I take this opportunity of thanking the Directors, Managers, 
Agents, and other officials of the various Steamship Companies 
referred to, by all of whom, and at all times, I have been 
treated with the utmost courtesy. I desire also to express my 
appreciation of the uniform kindness and assistance received 
from the Librarians of the Bootle, Glasgow, and Liverpool 
Libraries in placing at my disposal publications, some of 
which were printed nearly a hundred years ago. 

LIVERPOOL, 2Qth November, 1903. 




CHAPTER I. Inventors and Alleged Inventors prior to 1807. De Garay 
(1543) Papin (1690) Savory, Neweomen (1705) Hulls (1736) Abbe 
Arnal and the Marquis de Jouffroy (1781) Fitch (1783) Miller and 
Taylor (1788) Symington (1801) The CHARLOTTE DUNDAS (1803) 
Bell (1803) 1 

CHAPTER II. Fulton (1607) The CLERMONT {1607), the first passen- 
ger steamboat in the world Narrative of her first voyage Steam 
Navigation in Canadian waters First steamers on the St. 
MERCE (1813) QUEBEC (1817) 7 

CHAPTER III. 1812 to 1815 Steamboats on the Clyde The COMET, 
INDUSTRY and ARGYLE First Irish Steamer, CITY OF CORK (1815) 
Ireland's honourable position in the annals of steam navigation 
First London Steampackets, MARJORY, DEFIANCE and THAMES ... 11 

CHAPTER IV. The year 1815 Arrival of the first steampacket on the 
Mersey Narrative of the voyage of the THAMES from Glasgow to 
London 15 

CHAPTER V. 1816 to 1818 London packets, the DEFIANCE, MAJESTIC, 
REGENV Loss of the REGENT (1817) Liverpool and Eastham 
Packet, PRINCESS CHARLOTTE (1816) Liverpool and Tranmere 
Packets REGULATOR, ETNA (1817) Parkgate and Bagillt Packet, 
ANCIENT BRITON (1817) Loss of the RHGULATOR (1818) First Spanish 
Steamer, ROYAL FERDINAND (1817) Siberian Steamboats (1817) 
David Napier The ROB ROY, HIBERNIA (1816) 23 

CHAPTER VI. Early Clyde Steampackets The first steamer to cross 
the English Channel, CALEDONIA First steamer on the Rhine 
(1816) Season contract tickets issued (1816) Stranding of the 
ROTHESAY CASTLE (1816) Steainship passengers' fares on the Clyde 
in 1818 DUMBARTON CASTLE steams round North of Scotland (1819) 27 



CHAPTEE VII. 1819 to 1821 The first steamer to cross the Atlantic, 
the SAVANNAH Arrival at Liverpool of the first cross-channel 
steamer, WATERLOO The EGBERT BRUCE Curious accident to the 
Cattle ventilators suggested The TOURIST London and Leith 
steamers 3% 

CHAPTEE VIII. The St. George Steanlpacket Co. Steam Yacht HERO 
Liverpool steampackets highly commended in Parliamentary 
Eeport AARON MANBY, first iron steamer First steamer Hull 
to Continent City of Dublin Steampacket Co. Dublin and Liver- 
pool Steam Navigation Co. H.M.S. LIGHTNING General Steam 
Navigation Co. Belfast Steampacket Co. Keen competition on 
the Glasgow and Belfast station Advertising extraordinary 
Messrs. G. & J. Burns commence business 1825 Messrs. 
MacBrayue's Highland Service Competition in the Liverpool and 
Dublin trade First steamer London to Hamburg First steamer 
England to India ; rapid increase of steampackets Hostile meeting 
at Swansea The ERIN Admiralty Mail Steampacket Service 
between Liverpool and Kingstown established City of Dublin 
Steampacket Co. establish a service between the United Kingdom 
and Bordeaux . ... ... 37 

CHAPTEE IX. Eoutes to India and the East The ENTERPRIZE Lieut. 
Johnston, E.N. Lieut. Waghorn, E.I.N. East India Co.'s Bombay 
and Suez Service The Peninsular Steam Navigation Co. (1834) 
altered to Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (1837) 
Sketch of the Company's career Suez Canal opened (1869) 
Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Co. (1855) Title changed 
to British India Steam Navigation Co., Limited (1862) Bibby 
Line ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 45 

CHAPTEE X. Steam on the Pacific The TELICA (1825) Mr. Wheel- 
wright The Pacific Steam Navigation Co. incorporated (1840) 
Pioneer steamers CHILI and PERU Sketch of the Company's history 58 

CHAPTEE XL French expedition to Algiers (1830) Civil war in 
Portugal Loss of the EIVAL (1832) Mutiny on board the LORD 
BLANEY (1831) Loss of the LORD BLANEY (1833) Arrival of the 
BIRMINGHAM with news of the total defeat of Don Miguel (1833) 
The MARGARET, first screw steamer trading from Hull; lost 1845... 63 

CHAPTEE XII. Pioneers of Transatlantic Steam Navigation Valentia 
Transatlantic Steam Navigation Co., incorporated 1828 Scheme 
revived 1835 Dr. Lardner's famous speech His disclaimer, 1851 
The EOYAL WILLIAM (of Canada), 1833 Dr. Julius Smith British 

. x. 


Queen Steam Navigation Co., 1836 BRITISH QUEEN (1838) SIRIUS 
(1838) ROYAL WILLIAM (City of Dublin Co., 1838) LIVERPOOL 
(1838) British and American Steam Navigation Co.'s steamer 
PRESIDENT, launched 1839 Lost 1841 66 

CHAPTER XIII. British Government and the Atlantic Mail Service 
Mr. Samuel Cunard Formation of the Cunard Line The GREAT 
BRITAIN, launched 1843 Leaves Bristol for London Inspected by 
H.M. Queen Victoria Leaves London for Liverpool First voyage 
to New York (1845)^Stranded Dundrum Bay (1846) Re-floated 
(1847) Sails to New York (1852) 84 

CHAPTER XIV. Steam communication with the West Indies The 
Royal Mail Steampacket Co. (1841), commences with a fleet of 
fourteen steamers Generous concessions from Government Rapid 
increase of trade The " TRENT affair " First screw steamers for 
Company The Imperial Direct West India Mail Service, Limited, 
established 1901 84 

CHAPTER XV. Early American Transatlantic Steamships MASSA- 
CHUSETTS (1845) 'WASHINGTON (1847) The Collins Line General 
description of steamers Arrival at Liverpool of pioneer steamer 
ATLANTIC Description of Accident to ATLANTIC Loss of steamers 
ARCTIC and PACIFIC and collapse of the company 91 

CHAPTER XVI. The loss of the Collins Liner ARCTIC 101 

CHAPTER XVII. ^Steamship companies of the past (defunct or 
absorbed) The Inman Line, 1850 Galway Line, 1859 National 
Line, 1863 Guiou Line, 1866 Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation 
Co 106 

CHAPTER XVIII. Liverpool and Glasgow Steamers The ORION 
wrecked off Portpatrick, 1850 The steamer NEPTUNE A second 
Grace Darling 115 

CHAPTER XIX. The Eastern Steam Navigation Co. Proposal to build 
a line c Leviathan steamers GREAT EASTERN Contracted for 
Attempts to launch Finally successful Description of Enormous 
loss to shareholders Sails for New York Carries troops to Canada 
Lays Atlantic Cable Is ultimately bought by " Lewis " for 
exhibition purposes, and finally broken up* 119 

GOLDEN AGE= ROYAL CHARTER lost, 1859 ... ..129 

CHAPTER XXI. Steamships in Chinese waters SCOTLAND (I860) 

ROBERT LOWE f (18G3) Alfred Holt Line, 1865 134 

ERRATA.* On page 127 read 188(5 instead of 189(5. 

! On page 134 this vessel is called the ROBERT BRTTCK in error. 

x i v> CONTENTS. 


CHAPTEK XXII. Remarkable History of the Glasgow Steamer FERRET 137 

CHAPTER XXIII. Anglo-Canadian Steamship Companies McKean, 
McLarty and Lamont Allan Bros. & Co. Canadian Pacific 
Railway Co. Dominion Line ... ... ... ... ... ... 147 

CHAPTER XXIV. Railway Companies as steamship ownersSouth 
Eastern and Chatham Railway London Brighton and South Coast 
Railway London and South Western Railway Great Western 
Railway London and North Western Railway Lancashire and 
Yorkshire Railway Stranraer and Larne Service Caledonian 
Railway Glasgow and South Western Railway North British 
Railway Great Central Railway Great Eastern Railway 152 




CHAPTER I. Elder, Dempster & Co. 161 

M II. African Steamship Co., Limited 166 

,, III. -British and African Steam Navigation Co., Limited ... 171 
,,. IV. Imperial Direct West India Service, Limited ... ... 174 

,, V. City of Dublin Steampacket Co., Limited 178 

,, VI. British and Irish Steampacket Co., Limited 195 

VII. Bibby Line 203 

,, VIII. Cork Steamship Co., Limited 207 

,, IX. Cunard Steamship Co., Limited 221 

X. Houston, R. P., & Co 237 

XL Houlder Bros. & Co 244 

XII. Laird, Alex. A., & Co 251 

,, XIII. Langlands, M., & Sons 261 

,, XIV. Little, Jas., & Co. ... 268 

XV. MacBrayne, David 274 

,, XVI. Maclver, David, & Co 282 

,, XVII. Maclver 's Liverpool and Glasgow Steamers... 287 

,, XVIII. Sligo Steam Navigation Co., Limited 290 

,, XIX. Waterford Steamship Co., Limited 293 

XX. White Star Line 300 

,, XXI. Adelaide Steamship Company, Limited John Bacon, 
Limited R. Burton & Sons, Limited Fletcher, 
Woodhill & Co. T. & J. Harrison W. S. 
Kennaugh & Co. Lamport & Holt H. & W. 
Nelson R. & J. H. Rea John S. Sellers 
Henrv Tvrer & Co, .. 315 




Liverpool in 1837 Frontispiece. 

Ferry Steamer on the St. Lawrence 10 

Early type of African Coasting Steamer 28 


COLOMBO s.s. 46 

P. & O. Liner (Early type) 47 

P. & O. Liner (Modern Steamer) 47 

SICILIAN s.s. 57 

PERU P.S 59 

ORELLANA s.s. 61 

SIRIUS s. at New York 66 

BOYAL WILLIAM s. in Mid- Atlantic 74 


CLYDE R.M.S. 86 

NILE R.M.S 87 



ASIA R.M.S 97 


The FERRET s.s 140 

Arrest of Conspirators 143 


ARUNDEL s 153 


LUCY ASHTON P.S. .. 155 


Sir Alfred L. Jones ... 
W. J. Davey, Esq. ... 




.. 170 




ULSTEK E.M.S. 178 

EOYAL WILLIAM P.S. ..." 185 

Holyhead Mail Steamer 187 

Win. Watson, Esq 192 

LADY EGBERTS s.s. 196 

LADY WOLSELEY s.s. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 201 

Bibby Liner .. ... 204 

Ebenezer Pike, Esq. 210 


EISSA s.s. ... 218 

Joseph Pike, Esq ... 220 

Liverpool Landing Stage ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 222 



EUSSIA R.M.S. 228 


Luc ANIA R.M.S. 234 

HYDASPES s.s. 238 




EOSE s.s 250 

Alex. A. Laird, Esq 254 

OLIVE s.s 258 





CLODAGH s.s. 294 

T. H. Ismay, Esq. 300 

OCEANIC (first) " 305 


OCEANIC (second) ... 311 

CELTIC R.M.S ... 312 

CYMRIC R.M.S .... 313 

HIGHLAND BRIGADE s,s, ... 318 


History of Steam Navigation. 

Part I. 


Inventors and alleged Inventors prior to 1807. 

THERE is not a more fascinating page in history than that which 
tells of the growth of the Mercantile Steam Navies of the World. 
It is a record of the triumphs of Science and Art in Marine 
Architecture ; of bold enterprises not always carried to a 
successful financial issue ; of deeds of " derring do " as romantic 
as the older stories of the Vikings. It is a page brightened by 
stories of true heroism, where men have bravely faced death, 
not in the lust of battle, but in calm devotion to duty, or in 
unflinching determination to save the lives of those weaker 
than themselves. 

It is not possible, nor would it answer any useful purpose, 
to discuss fully the various claims which have been put forward 
for the honour of having invented the first Marine Steam 
Engine. It will be sufficient to refer briefly to the inventors, 
or alleged inventors, prior to the year 180T. 

In the Appendix to Senor Navarette's " History of the Four 
Voyages of Columbus," are copies of certain documents which 
the historian vouches to be authentic extracts from the series 
of Spanish Records preserved at Simancas. These documents 
narrate " that in the month of May or Tune, 1543, Blasco de 


" Garay, a naval captain in the service of the Emperor 
" Charles V., conducted at Barcelona, a series of experiments 
" upon the applicability to ships of a certain propulsive 
" force, which he alleges he had himself discovered." 
De Garay describes the mechanism he employed as consisting 
of two wheels, one attached to either extremity of a movable 
axis which traversed the vessel's waist, and was connected with 
a large caldron of boiling water. The experiments, it is 
alleged, were conducted in the presence of several persons of 
high birth, deputed by the Emperor to witness them, and 
amongst whom were many naval commanders. It is further 
alleged that De Garay succeeded in taking to sea a vessel of 
two hundred tons burthen, without the aid of sail or oar, and 
that her speed was about one league per hour.* 

Rear- Admiral Geo. Preble, U.S.N., author of a " History of 
Steam Navigation," gives the names of several persons who 
have searched the documents referred to, none of whom have 
been able to trace any mention of steam - T he, therefore, con- 
cludes that the account of De Garay's invention is a Spanish 

t Papin, who was driven from France by the revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes, and was elected F.R.S. in 1681, describes, 
in 1690, a steam cylinder in which a piston descends by 
atmospheric pressure, and, as one of its uses, he mentions the 
propulsion of ships by paddle wheels. Towards the close of 
the 17th century, or the beginning of the 18th, Papin made 
the acquaintance of Thomas Savory, one of the most ingenious 
men of his times, and of Thomas jNTewcomen, a working black- 
smith, of Devon. Savory designed a marine engine, which 
was greatly improved by Newcomen in 1705, and was used by 
Papin to propel a steamboat on the Fulda. 

Thirty years later (1736), Jonathan Hulls, of Berwick-oii- 
Tweed, received a patent for the first steamboat of which there 
is any authentic record from George II., which recited as 
follows : 

* " Chambers' Journal." 

t Hy. Fry, ex Pres. Dominion B/T. Canada and Lloyd's Agent at Quebec, 
author of a " History of North Atlantic Steam Navigation." 1896. 


" Whereas our trusty and well-beloved Jonathan Hulls 
" hath by his petition humbly represented unto our most 
" dearly beloved Consort, the Queen, that he hath, with 
4k much labour and with great expense, invented and 
" formed a machine for towing ships and vessels out of, or 
" into any harbour or river, against wind or tide, or in a 
ki calm, which the petitioner apprehends may be of great 
" service to our Royal Party and merchant ships, and to 
" boats and other vessels, of which the petitioner hath 
u made oath that he is the sole inventor, as by affidavit to 
" his said petition annexed. 

" Know ye, therefore, that we, of our special grace, hath 
" given and granted to the said Jonathan Hulls our 
" special license, full power, sole privilege and authority 
" during the term of fourteen years, and he shall lawfully 
" make use of the same for carrying ships and other 
" vessels out to sea, or into any harbour or river. 

" In witness whereof we have caused these our letters to 
" be made patent. 

" (Witness) CAROLINE, 

" Queen of Great Britain, &c. 

" Given by right of Privy Seal at Westminster, this 
" 21st day of December, 1736." 

In the description of his invention, Hulls states that, in his 
opinion, it would not be practicable to place his machine 011 
anything but a tow-boat, as it would take up too much room 
for other goods to be carried 011 the same vessel with it, and it 
could not " bo used in a storm, or when the waves are very 
raging." Hulls' vessel is stated to have been a stern-wheeler, 
a type of steamboat which is now extensively used for 
navigating shallow rivers in the Southern States of America 
and in India. The steam tow-boat brought its inventor 
nothing but ridicule, and he died in London in almost destitute 

Next in chronological sequence come the Abbe Arnal and 
the Marquis de Jouit'roy, of France, who, in 1781, made 

* " Chambers' Journal." 


experiments to show the practicability of applying steam 
power to vessels. 

Two years later (1783), a Mr. Fitch tried a species of steam 
boiler on board a small nine-ton vessel on the Delaware River 
in America, propelling the vessel by paddles. * " In 1787 he 
44 built another boat, 45ft. by 12ft., and fitted her with a 12iii. 
" cylinder. With this vessel he is reported to have made the 
44 trip from Philadelphia to Burlington at an average rate of 
" seven miles per hour. In 1790 he completed another and a 
44 larger boat." But all his plans failed, and, like Hulls, his 
contemporaries deemed him to be crazy. He died in 1798. 

t About this period (1780 to 1788) there resided in Edin- 
burgh a banker, of aristocratic birth and connection. Patrick 
Miller, the banker referred to, was a man of an active and 
ingenious mind, and, having realised a large fortune by 
banking, he used it as a means of enabling him to work out 
schemes for the benefit of the public. Having purchased an 
estate in the beautiful valley of the Nith, from which he 
derived the title of Laird of Dalswinton, he retired thither to 
solve the problem of navigating a vessel by some more certain 
means than oars and sails. He had (prior to this) I " exhibited 
44 a triple vessel at Leith, having rotatory paddles in the two 
" interspaces, driven by a crank and wrought by four men. He 
u determined one day to try its powers against a fast sailing 
" Customs Wherry, between Iiich-colm and the harbour of 
4 ' Leith, a distance of six or seven miles. He beat his 
" opponent by several minutes, and was very well satisfied 
44 with the result. His boys' tutor, a Mr. Taylor, who had 
44 taken his turn at the crank, and realised how violent was the 
44 necessary exertion, was convinced that without a more 
4 ' staying power than manual labour the invention would prove 
i( practically useless. He stated his objections to Mr. Miller, 
" and they had frequent discussions on the subject. At length, 
" one day, Taylor said * Mr. Miller, I can suggest no power 
44 equal to the steam engine, or so applicable to your purpose.' 
' 4 The result of this suggestion was that Mr. Miller decided to 

* Hy. Fry. 
t " Chambers' Journal." J " Chambers' Journal," 1857. 


" fit up a new double boat, which he had recently placed on 
" the lake at Dalswinton for the amusement of his family. 
" Taylor made the necessary arrangements under the direction 
" of an ingenious mechanic named William Symington. The 
" engine was a very small one, having four-inch brass 
" cylinders, made by George Watt, brassfounder, Edinburgh. 
" On the 14th October, 1788, several hundreds of people 
" assembled on the banks of Dalswinton Loch to witness the 
" trial trip of the twin steamboat, which was entirely 
" successful. Mr. Miller was so pleased with the success of 
" the experiment that he resolved to repeat it on a larger scale. 
" The following year he fitted a twin vessel 00 feet long, 
" belonging to himself, with an engine of 18in. cylinders. 
'' This vessel steamed at the rate of seven miles an hour on the 
" Forth and Clyde Canal, in the presence of a vast multitude 
" of spectators. It had been Mr. Miller's wish to try a third 
" experiment with a third vessel, in which he should venture 
" out on to the ocean, and attempt a passage from Leith to 
" London. Unfortunately, he became dissatisfied with 
" Symington, and, being vexed at the cost of fitting up the 
" second vessel, which was much greater than he anticipated. 
" as well as by a miscalculation, through which the machinery 
" was made too heavy for the hulls, he hesitated to make 
" further trial. 

" Taylor being poor, and a scholar, not a mechanician, could 
" do nothing without Mr. Miller's assistance. Symington was 
"the only one of the three who persevered. He deserves 
" credit for having done so, but not for the manner in which 
" he did it, for without any communication with Messrs. 
" Miller and Taylor, the true inventors, he took out a patent 
" for the construction of steamboats in 1801. Through the 
" interest of Lord Duiidas, he was able, in 1803, to fit up a new 
" steamboat for the Forth and Clyde Canal Co., and this vessel, 
" called the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS, was tried in towing a couple 
" of barges upon the canal with entire success, except in one 
" respect, which was that the agitation of the water by the 
" paddles was found to wash down the banks in an alarming 
" manner. For this reason the Canal Co. resolved to give up 


" the project, and the vessel was, therefore, laid aside. It lay 
" on the bank at Lock 16 for many years, generally looked on, 
" of course, as a monument of misdirected ingenuity, but, as 
ki we shall presently see, it did not lie there altogether in vain. 
*' Meantime Symington had been in communication with the 
" Duke of Bridgewater, with the object of introducing steam 
" towage on the Bridgewater Canal, and had actually received 
" a trial order, when, unfortunately, the Duke died, and the 
" project was closed. Here Symington vanishes likewise from 
" the active part of this history. Miller died in 1815, a com- 
" paratively poor man, having exhausted his fortune bv 
" improvements and experiments. It has been stated by his 
" son that he spent fully 30,000 in projects of a purely public 
" nature. Taylor died in 1824, in straitened circumstances, 
" leaving a widow and daughters, to -vhorn the Government 
" granted a pension of 50 a year. 

" The experiments at Carron, in 1789, had been witnessed 
'' by a young man named Henry Bell, a working mason origin- 
" ally, as it appears, afterwards a humble kind of engineer in 
11 Grlasgo\v, and later an hotel proprietor at Helensburgh. Bell 
" never lost sight of the idea, and when Symington ceased ex- 
" perimeiiting in 1803 he took up the project. At the same 
"' time an ingenious American, named Fulton, comes into the 
" field. He, in company with Bell, visited the CHARLOTTE 
" DUNDAS in 1803, and Bell gave to Fulton drawings of the 
u machinery which he (Bell) had obtained, partly from Mr. 
'' Miller and partly from Symington." 



Fulton (1807). The CLERMONT, the first Passenger Steam-boat in the 

world. Narrative of her first Voyage. Steam Navigation in Canadian 

Waters. The first Steamers on the St. Lawrence. The ACCOMMODATION 

(1809). SWIFTSURE and CAR OP COMMERCE (1813), and the QUEBEC (1817). 

THE United States of America has the honour of having 
built the first passenger steam-boat in the world, and she 
held the monopoly of the steamship passenger traffic for a 
period of about two years. She owes this honourable position 
in the commercial world to the energy and perseverance of 
Robert Fulton, who in spite of ridicule and active opposition, 
and want of capital, succeeded in building, in 1807, a paddle 
steam-packet, which he named the CLERMONT. Shortly after 
her trial trip, she was advertised to run from New York to 
Albany, and, as soon as she could be got ready, the CLERMONT 
sailed on her first voyage up the Hudson. 

The following extract from a letter, written by an eye- 
witness 011 that occasion, tells how the people along the river 
were excited by the passage of the steam-boat on her voyage 
from New York to Albany : 

" It was in the early autumn of the year 1807 that a 
u knot of villagers was gathered 011 a high bluff, just 
" opposite Poughkeepsie, on the west bank of the Hudson, 
44 attracted by the appearance of a strange-looking craft, 
" which was slowly making its way up the river. Some 
" imagined it to be a sea-monster, whilst others did not 
" hesitate to express their belief that it was a sign of the 
" approaching judgment. What seemed strange in the 
" vessel was the substitution of a loftv and strange black 
" smoke-pipe rising from the deck, instead of the grace- 
" fully tapered masts that commonly stood on the vessels 


" navigating the stream, and, in place of the spars and 
" rigging, the curious play of the working beam and 
" piston, and the slow turning and splashing of the huge 
" and naked paddle-wheels, met his astonished gaze. The 
" dense clouds of smoke, as they rose wave upon wave, 
" added still more to the wonder of the rustics. 

" This strange-looking craft was the CLERMONT on her 
" trial trip to Albany ; and, of the little knot of villagers 
" above mentioned, the writer, then a boy in his eighth 
" year, with his parents, formed a part ; and I well 
" remember the scene, one so well-fitted to impress a 
" lasting picture upon the mind of a child accustomed to 
" watch the vessels that passed up and down the river. 

" On her return trip, the curiosity she excited was 
" scarcely less intense the whole country talked of 
" nothing but the sea-monster, belching forth fire and 
" smoke. The fishermen became terrified and rowed 
" homeward, and they saw nothing but destruction de- 
" vastating their fishing grounds ; whilst the wreaths of 
" black vapours, and rushing noise of the paddle-wheels, 
" foaming with the stirred up waters, produced great 
" excitement amongst the boatmen, until it was more 
" intelligent than before ; for the character of that curious 
" boat, and the nature of the enterprise she was pioneering 
" had been ascertained." 

Several accidents occurred to the machinery of the 
CLERMONT during her first season, but none of them caused 
any loss of life. There were, however, so many of these mis- 
haps that the incredulous were encouraged in the belief that 
she was a failure. But the misfortunes of the boat were not 
limited to accidents to machinery and other legitimate mis- 
haps. They included wilful attempts at her destruction on 
the part of those who felt that their business was about to be 
injured by this new system of navigation. Vessels ran foul of 
her intentionally, and so determined were the sloop owners and 
others to rid themselves of this dangerous competitor, that it 
became necessary for the Legislature to interfere. But in 
spite of all opposition, Fulton forced his way onward and 


upwards. He replaced his first steamer by a second and larger 
one, also named the CLKRMONT, and, as the passenger trade 
developed, other steamers were added to the line. 

American capitalists in different parts of the United States 
followed his example. Steamers were built so rapidly to ply 
on the American Atlantic Seaboard, and on the Mississippi 
and other rivers, that in 1823 (that is sixteen years after the 
first passenger steamer in the world was built) there were 300 
steamers plying on American waters. 

The St. Lawrence is the chief dividing line between the 
United States and Canada. It forms the great summer high- 
way for the traffic of British Xorth America. By it the com- 
merce of Europe is brought into the country, and on its bosom 
is borne outwards the wealth of the forests and the surplus 
agricultural produce of the Dominion. 

On the Canadian side of this great river are situated the two 
important cities of Quebec and Montreal. Two years (1809) 
after the building of Fulton's CLERMONT, and three years 
before the first European steamer began to ply on the 
Itiver Clyde, the steamboat ACCOMMODATION ran on the 
St. Lawrence, maintaining a passenger service between Quebec 
and Montreal. 

The following account of this vessel, and of her first voyage, 
appeared in the " Quebec Mercury " of that date : 

" On Saturday morning at eight o'clock arrived here 
44 from Montreal, being her first trip, the steamboat 
44 ACCOMMODATION, with ten passengers. This is the first 
' vessel of the kind that ever appeared in this harbour. 
" She is continually crowded with visitants. She left 
" Montreal on Wednesday, at two o'clock, so that her 
44 passage was sixty-six hours, thirty of which she was at 
" anchor. She arrived at Three liivers in twenty-four 
" hours. She has at present berths for twenty passengers, 
" which next year will be considerably augmented. No 
44 wind or tide can stop her. She has 75 feet keel, and 85 
44 on deck. The price for a passage up is nine dollars, and 
4 ' eight down the vessel supplying provisions. The great 
" advantage attending a vessel so constructed is, that a 


" passage may be calculated on to a degree of certainty, 
" in point of time, which cannot be the case with any vessel 
" propelled by sails only. The steamboat receives her 
" impulse from an open double-spoked, perpendicular 
" wheel, on each side, without any circular band or rim. 
" To the end of each double spoke is fixed a square board, 
" which enters the water, and by the rotary motion of the 
'' wheel, acts like a paddle. The wheels are put and kept 
" in motion by steam, operating within the vessel. A 
" mast is to be fixed in her for the purpose of using a sail 
" when the wind is favourable, which will occasionally 
" accelerate her headway." 

In 1813 two new steamers were placed 011 the St. Lawrence, 
called respectively the SWIFTSUBE and the CAB, OF COMMERCE, 
and, after a further interval of four years, a fourth steamer, 
the QUEBEC, began to ply between Quebec and Montreal. 

The first of these steamers, the SWIFTSUBE, was 140 feet over 
all, with a beam of 24 feet. On her maiden voyage she made 
the passage from Montreal to Quebec in twenty-two and a half 
hours, in the face of a strong easterly wind all the way. 
Notwithstanding that she " beat the most famous of the sailing- 
" packets 011 the line (fourteen hours in a race of thirty-six 
" hours), her owners do not seem to have been very confident 
" of her movements under all circumstances, or of the number 
" of passengers who would patronise her, for she was adver- 
" tised to sail ' as the wind and passengers may suit.' " + 

| Lindsay's " Merchant Shipping," folio 59. 



Steamboats on the Eiver Clyde, the COMET, INDUSTRY, ARGYLE. On the 

Thames, the MARGERY and the THAMES. The first Irish Steamer, the 


WITHOUT, in the slightest degree, detracting from the credit 
due to the inventors referred to in the earlier pages of this 
history, it is indisputable that the River Clyde is the birthplace 
of European Steam Navigation. 

For many years the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS (a success from an 
engineering point of view, but a failure commercially), lay idle 
and corroding at Lock 16 on the Forth and Clyde Canal. She 
was regarded by the majority of those who saw her there, as a 
monument of Symington's folly the embodiment of a " fad." 

Bell, however, throughout these years, retained his faith in 
the ultimate success of the Marine Steam Engine. There seemed 
to be no probability of steam being utilized as a motive power 
for vessels in British waters, but the Americans were more 
enterprising, and Fulton, who accompanied Bell to inspect the 
CHARLOTTE DUNDAS in 180^3, gave the latter to understand that 
he had influential friends in America, whom he could induce 
to build steamers. Bell had good reason to consider himself 
badly treated by Fulton in this matter, yet, undoubtedly, 
indirectly Bell was benefited by Fulton's success. It is more 
than probable that during the five years that succeeded the 
building of the CLERMONT, frequent reports regarding both 
this vessel and her successors in the United States and Canada, 
reached Scotland. And as a consequence of the success of 
these boats, Bell succeeded in getting a small steamer built to 
trade on the River Clyde. The following is a copy of Mr. 
Bell's advertisement of the sailing of his steamer: 

" The COMET, between Glasgow, Greeiiock and Helens- 


" burgh, for passengers only. The subscriber having at 
" much expense, fitted up a handsome vessel to ply upon 
" the River Clyde, between Glasgow and Greenock, to sail 
" by the power of wind, air, and steam, he intends that the 
" vessel shall leave the Bromielaw on Tuesdays, Thursdays, 
" and Saturdays, about mid-day or such hour thereafter as 
" may answer from the state of the tide ; and to leave 
" Greenock on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, in the 
" morning to suit the tide. The terms are fixed for the 
" present at 4s. for the best cabin, and 3s. for the second ; 
" but beyond these rates nothing is to be allowed to servants 
" or any other person employed about the vessel." 
The COMET was a steamer of 25 tons burden, 40 feet long, 
and 10 feet 6 inches broad, and she steamed about 5 miles per 

A correspondent of the " Steamship " (1st January, 1883), 
relates regarding one Dougal Jamsoii, a Clyde skipper, of the 
time of the COMET, that whenever the steamboat passed his slow 
going sloop, he invariably piped all hands a man and a boy 
and bade them u Kneel down and thank God, that ye sail wi' 
the Almichty's aiii win', an' no' wi' the deevil's sunfire an' 
brimstane, like that spluttery thing there." 

The following year there were three additional steamers con- 
stantly plying 011 the Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock. 
One of these was probably the steamer (whose name has not 
been recorded), which came from the Clyde to Liverpool in 
1815. The second of this trio was the INDUSTRY, whose 
remains were to be seen more than half a century later at 
Bowling. And the third was the steamer ARGYLE, afterwards 
re-named the THAMES. 

All these boats were faster than the COMET, and were 
twice as large, being 75 feet long and 14 feet broad. Against 
such competitors the COMET could not compete successfully. 
In his later years Bell received a small annuity from the Clyde 
Trustees, who, after his decease, erected an obelisk to his 
memory, which may still be seen standing on a rock a little 
below Bowling. 

For two or three summers Glasgow was the only City in 


Great Britain or Ireland whose citizens enjoyed the advantages 
of steam packet communication with the coast. But, in the 
summer of the year 1815, the citizens of London and of Cork 
were given equal facilities. 

Ireland has always occupied a most honourable position in 
the Annals of Steam Navigation. Cork had a steamship 
service certainly as early as Liverpool ; the pioneer of the 
Liverpool coasting steamship trade was a Belfast steamer; from 
Cork, sailed the first steamer with passengers from Europe to 
America ; the first Trans- Atlantic Liner from Liverpool was 
a Dublin steamer ; and in this year of grace 1908, the steamers 
built in Belfast, which carry the White Star flag across the 
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, have a reputation unsurpassed by 
any steamships afloat. But Cork anticipated Belfast in ship- 
building and ship-owning. Messrs. Michael O'Brien and 
Christopher Owens, of Cork, were the first to introduce steamers 
to the merchants and travelling public of the South of Ireland. 
They built, in 1815, the river steamer CITY OF CORK. She 
was a wooden paddle steamer of 50 tons register; and of 
slightly larger dimensions than the Clyde-built steamers 
referred to, being 86 feet long, 13 feet broad, and 9 feet deep. 

The steam fleet of the Thames consisted at this date of the 
three steam-packets MARJORY, DEFIANCE and THAMES, which 
steamers plied between London and Margate. The DEFIANCE, 
probably a locally built vessel, was commanded by "William 
Robins, and sailed from near Summer Quay, Billingsgate, 
every Sunday and Wednesday morning, at 7 o'clock, returning 
from Margate every Tuesday and Friday morning. 

" The THAMES, steam yacht, " (says the London " Times," of 
the 8th July, 1815), "' from London to Margate, starts from 
Wool Quay, near the Custom House, Thames Street, every 
Tuesday and Saturday at 8 o'clock a.m., precisely, and leaves 
Margate on her return to London every Monday and Thursday 
at the same hour. This rapid, capacious and splendid vessel 
lately accomplished a voyage of 1,500 miles, has twice crossed 
St. George's Channel, and came round the Land's End with a 
rapidity unknown before in naval history, and is the first steam 
vessel that ever traversed those seas. She has the peculiar 


advantage of proceeding" either by sails or steam, separated or 
united, by which means the public have the pleasing certainty 
of never being detained on the water after dark, much less one 
or two nights, which has frequently occurred with the old 
packets. Against the wind, the tide, or in the most perfect 
calm, the passage is alike certain, and has always been achieved 
in one day. Her cabins are spacious, and are fitted up with all 
that elegance could suggest, or personal comfort require ; pre- 
senting a choice library, backgammon boards, draught tables, 
and other means of amusement. For the express purpose of 
combining delicacy with comfort a female servant attends upon 
the ladies. The fares (which include Pier Duty) are in the 
Chief Cabin 15s., and in the Fore Cabin 11s., children half 
price. No articles or goods will be taken, except the luggage 
accompanying passengers ; and the proprietors will not be 
answerable for any of the above, unless delivered into the care 
of the Steward, nor to the amount of more than 5 value, 
except entered and paid for as such." 

A narrative of the remarkable voyage of this steamer from 
the Clyde to the Thames, referred to in the above quotation 
from the " Times," will be found in the following chapter. 



"The Year 1815." 

To the student of British history, the year 1815 is one of the 
most remarkable of the nineteenth century. In June of that 
year was fought the Battle of Waterloo a victory for the 
British which effectually destroyed the power of the first 
Napoleon, and delivered Europe from the terror of a military 
despotism. The merchants of the " good old town " of Liver- 
pool were determined that the famous victory should never be 
forgotten by their descendants, and so they perpetuated the 
name in the " Waterloo Road," the " Waterloo Dock," and 
their latest seaside suburb " Waterloo." Another event 
occurred in that same eventful month of June, 1815, an event 
unheralded at the time, but whose results have been more 
widely spread and more beneficent than those which resulted 
from the Battle of Waterloo. This was the arrival from the 
Clyde of the first steamer ever seen on the river Mersey. The 
following brief and unsatisfactory paragraph appeared in the 
" Liverpool Mercury " of the '30th June : 

" Liverpool Steamboat. On Wednesday last, about 
" 110011, the public curiosity was considerably excited by 
" the arrival of the first steamboat ever seen in our river. 
" She came from the Clyde, and in her passage called at 
" llamsay, in the Isle of Man, which place she left early 
" on the same morning. We believe she is intended to 
" ply between this port and Euncorn, or even occasionally 
" as far as Warringtoii. Her cabin will contain about 
" one hundred passengers." 

This is one of the most tantalising paragraphs ever printed. 
If " the public curiosity was considerably excited," the reporter 
certainly took no pains to gratify it. The name of the vessel is 


not giiven, nor any particulars of 'her dimensions, or of her 
power and speed. The daring mariners who navigated her are 
nameless, and the incidents of this pioneer voyage are left 


" The evil that men do lives after them, 
The good is oft interred with their bones." 

Fortunately we are able, from other sources, to gather some idea 
of the size and appearance of the vessel, and of the impression 
she made on the minds of the spectators. She was presumably 
one of the three steamers built on the Clyde in 1813, as com- 
petitors against the COMET, for passengers between Glasgow 
and Greenock ; the other two were the ARGYLE and the 
INDUSTRY. There was only a difference of five feet between 
the smallest and the largest of these three steamers, so that a 
description of the ARGYLE will answer for the others as well. 
The ARGYLE was a packet steamer of 70 tons register, measuring 
in her keel 79 feet, with 16 feet beam, paddle wheels 9 feet in 
diameter, and engines 14 h.p. Her smoke was carried off by a 
funnel, which also did duty as a mast, being rigged with a large 
square sail. A gallery, upon which the cabin windows opened, 
projected so as to form a continuous deck, interrupted only by 
the paddle boxes, an arrangement which had the further effect 
of making the vessel appear larger than she really was. On the 
outside of the gallery eighteen large port holes were painted, 
which, with the two she displayed upon her stern, made the 
ARGYLE look so formidable to those to whom a steamer was a 
novelty, that it was stated in a Committee of the House of 
Commons, by several naval officers, that if they had met her at 
sea they would have endeavoured to reconnoitre before 
attempting to bring her to. After plying for twelve months 
between Glasgow and Greenock, the ARGYLE was sold to a 
London firm, who changed her name to the THAMES. In conse- 
quence of this change of ownership, this vessel made one of the 
most remarkable voyages ever accomplished by any steamer. 
An interesting narrative of the voyage, from which these par- 
ticulars are taken, was published in " Chambers' Journal " 011 
the 25th April, 1857. 

The task of bringing the little steam-packet round by sea 



from the Clyde to the Thames, was intrusted to an ex-naval 
officer named Dodd, a man of considerable and diverse abilities. 
He projected the Thames tunnel, proposing to carry it across 
from Gravesend to Tilbury, at an estimated cost of under 
16,000. According to an account of the voyage which Dodd 
himself published in the " Morning Chronicle " of the 15th 
June, 1815, and afterwards embodied in his evidence before a 
Committee of the House of Commons, Dodd sailed from 
Glasgow about the middle of May with a crew of eight persons 
a mate, an engineer, a stoker, four seamen, and a cabin-boy. 
His voyage at first was far from auspicious. The weather was 
stormy, the sea ran high in the strait which separates Scotland 
from Ireland, and either through ignorance or negligence, the 
pilot during the night altered the course of the vessel, so that 
it ran a great risk of being wrecked. Dodd had given orders 
that the steamer s'hould be steered so as to gain the Irish coast 
by the morning ; but at break of day a heavy gale was blowing, 
and it was discovered that, instead of being off the coast of 
Ireland, they were within half-a-league off a lee shore, rock 
bound, about two miles to the north of Port Patrick. Belying 
entirely upon the efficiency of his engine, Dodd at once laid the 
vessel's head directly to windward, and ordered the log to be 
kept constantly going. The plan succeeded. The THAMES 
began slowly to clear the shore, going direct in the wind's eye 
at the rate of something more than three knots an hour. On 
the 24th of May the voyagers arrived safelv at Dublin, where 
they were joined by a Mr. Weld and his wife. Mrs. Weld has 
the proud distinction of having been the first lady passenger to 
cross the St. George's Channel on a steamboat. Mr. Weld kept 
a journal, from which the following is an extract: 

* " On the 25th May, 1815, I heard by accident that a 
" steam-vessel had arrived at Dublin. I immediately 
" went to see her, and found her on the point of starting 
" with a number of curious visitors upon an experimental 
" trip in the bay. I was so much pleased with all that I 
" saw and heard concerning her, that, having previously 
" intended to proceed to London, I determined to request 

* Chambers' Journal," 25th April, 1857, 


" Captain Dodd to receive me as a passenger, and to be 
" permitted to accompany him throughout the voyage. 
" He at once consented, and my wife having resolved on 
" sharing the dangers of the voyage with me, we pro- 
" ceeded to make the necessary arrangements for our 
" departure. On the 28th of May, being Sunday, we left 
" the Liffey at noon. Many persons embarked with us 
" from curiosity, but only to cross the bay as far as 
" Dunleary (now Kingstown), where they landed. 
" Unfortunately, the sea was very rough, which 
" occasioned the most violent sea-sickness amongst the 
" passengers. Several naval officers were on board, who 
" were unanimous in declaring it to be their firm opinion 
" that the vessel could not live long in heavy seas, and 
" that there would be much danger in venturing far 
" from shore. I deemed it right to inform my wife of this 
" opinion, but, although she suffered greatly from sea- 
" sickness, she persisted in her intention of accompanying 
" me, and that evening, after having passed some hours 
"on laud at the house of a friend, the vessel put to sea, 
" we being the only passengers. The shore was covered 
" with several thousands of spectators, who cheered and 
" wished us a prosperous voyage. 

" The sea was comparatively calm as the vessel steamed 
" into the Bay of Dalkey, and the passengers calculated 
"on a pleasant voyage during the night, but, when 
" beyond the shelter of the coast, they found it to be as 
" rough as ever. The THAMES again proved her admir- 
u able sea-going qualities, bounding so lightly over the 
" waves that her passengers were not once wetted, even by 
" the spray." 

She soon left behind her all the vessels which had sailed from 
Dublin with the same tide, and about nine o'clock next morning 
arrived off Wexford. The dense smoke which issued from its 
mast chimney being observed from the heights above the town, 
it was concluded that the vessel was on fire. All the pilots 
immediately put off to its assistance ; and nothing could exceed 
their surprise, mingled with disappointment, when they saw 
that the ship was in no danger whatever, and that their hopes 
of salvage were at an end. 


The weather had now become so stormy, that Captain Dodd 
determined to put into port, his great object being to navigate 
the vessel safely to London, rather than, by using great 
dispatch, to expose her to unnecessary risk. 

At two o'clock on Tuesday morning, 'iOtli May, Dodd left 
"VVexford and sailed for St. ])avid's Head, the most westerly 
point of Wales. During the passage across St. George's 
Channel one of the blades of the starboard paddle wheel got 
out of order. The engine was stopped and the blade cut away. 
Some hours after a similar accident befell the port wheel, which 
was remedied in the same manner. The loss of one blade in 
each wheel made no apparent difference in the speed of the 
vessel. Fortunately when the accidents occurred the sea was 
very calm. After a voyage of twelve hours duration, the 
steamer arrived at the Pass of Ramsay, between the island of 
that name and St. David's Head. There the adventurers 
remained for three hours to oil the engine, and to give the 
stoker, who had not quitted his post for an instant since leaving 
Wexford, a little rest. There, too, as at Wexford, boats put 
out from different parts of the coast to the assistance of the 
vessel, which they believed to be on fire. Leaving Ramsay, the 
THAMES steamed through the straits and across St. Bride's Bay. 
The weather had again become unfavourable, and a heavy sea 
had arisen in the bay. So high indeed were the waves, that, 
when ingulphed between them, the coast, though lofty, could 
not be seen ; but the little craft held her way most gallantly 
over all. 

On the south side of St. Bride's Bay, between Skomar Island 
and the mainland, there is a dangerous passage called Tack 
Sound. The pilot warned the captain against attempting this 
passage, except under favourable conditions as to wind and 
water, but Dodd, who knew the power of his engine, insisted 
on going through the sound, in order to save five hours, and to 
avoid another night at sea. The dangerous sound was safely 
navigated, and the voyagers reached Milford TIaven. As they 
were steaming up the harbour, they met the Government mail 
packet proceeding from Milford to Waterford, with all her sails 
spread. They had passed her about a quarter of a mile, when 


Captain Dodd determined to send some letters by her to Ire- 
land. The THAMES was immediately put about, and in a few 
minutes she was alongside the packet ship, and sailed round 
her, although the latter continued under way. The captain and 
passengers wrote a few letters, put them on board the packet, 
sailed round her once more, and then continued their course to 

The two following days were spent in satisfying) the curiosity 
of numerous naval officers who were anxious to see the THAMES, 
and to examine her engine, as well as to test her sailing powers. 
It became necessary also to clean out the boiler, which had not 
been done since leaving Glasgow. Late on the evening of the 
81st May, she sailed in company with the MYRTLE, sloop-of-war, 
whose captain (Bingham) and a company of ladies were aboard 
the steamer, anxious to see how she would behave in a rough 
sea. The MYRTLE was obliged to hoist royals and studding 
sails to keep up with the THAMES, and at last by crowding all 
sail, she got a little ahead. But the great superiority of steam 
was yet to be shown. Dodd gallantly determined to carry the 
ladies back to Milford, instead of transferring them to the 
MYRTLE in an open boat. Accordingly he steamed back to 
Milford, leaving 'the sloop of war far 'behind, and when he was 
again outward bound, he found the sloop had anchored, being 
unable owing to the failure of the wind to regain her former 
station. Next morning (Friday) the voyagers found them- 
selves mid-way across the Bristol Channel, with 110 land 
visible on either side, but towards evening the Cornish coast 
was sighted. The weather, however, had again become 
threatening, and the pilot did not consider it would be prudent 
to attempt to round the Land's End that night, and Dodd 
accordingly decided to put into St. Ives. As the THAMES 
approached the shore, a fleet of small craft was seen making 
towards her, with all possible speed 'by means of sails and oars, 
in the belief (as at Wexford) that the THAMES was a ship on 
fire making for the port. When they discovered their mistake 
they tacked about and endeavoured to out-sail each other. All 
the rocks from which a view of St. Ives could be obtained were 
crowded with spectators, to whom the appearance of the THAMES 


created as much surprise as the ships of Captain Cook produced 
amongst the islanders of the South Sea. The harbour of St. 
Ives affording no shelter from gales from the North East, Dodd 
took his vessel to the sheltered port of Hayle, four miles distant, 
where she lay in perfect safety. It had been represented to 
Mr. and Mrs. Weld that rounding the Land's End was the most 
difficult and dangerous part of the voyage, and they had in 
consequence crossed the neck of land to the South coast with 
the intention of remaining there until the steamer arrived. 
On further consideration, however, they resolved, instead of 
waiting for the THAMES, to return to Hayle, and to brave with 
the steamer's crew the dangers of doubling the Land's End. 
The weather having moderated they re-embarked at 4 o'clock 
on Monday afternoon, 5th Tune, and the steamer at once 
proceeded on her voyage. 

As the little vessel rounded Cornwall Head, the more 
northerly of the two great promontories which terminate 
England on the west, a tremendous swell from the Atlantic met 
her, whilst the tide, which ran strongly down St. George's 
Channel, combining with the swell, raised the waves to such a 
height as to render her position in the highest degree alarming. 
Dodd would not put back, and after a night of severe struggle, 
the adventurers succeeded in rounding the Land's End, and 
found themselves in a comparatively tranquil sea. Next day 
the sun shone with great brilliance, and revealed the beauties 
of the South Coast as they steamed along it towards Plymouth, 
which they reached at eleven o'clock in the morning. As the 
THAMES passed the various ships at anchor, the sailors on board 
ran in crowds to the sides of their vessels or climbed the rigging 
for a better view. The harbour-master, who had never seen a 
steam vessel before, was as much excited when he boarded the 
THAMES as a child is in getting possession of a new plaything. 

The whole of the following day (Wednesday) was occupied 
in showing the capabilities of the steamer to the Port- Admiral 
and to the naval officers who went on board. 

The THAMES left Plymouth at noon on Thursday for Ports- 
mouth, where she arrived at 11 o'clock on Friday morning, 
having steamed 155 miles in twenty-three hours. At Ports- 


mouth she created a greater sensation than at any of the ports 
she had visited. Tens of thousands of spectators assembled 
to gaze at her ; and the number of vessels that crowded around 
her was 'so great, that it became necessary to request the Port- 
Admiral to assign the voyagers a guard, in order to preserve 
some degree of order. The THAMES steamed into the harbour 
in the most brilliant style, travelling with the aid of wind and 
tide at the rate of between twelve and fourteen knots an hour. 
A court-martial was sitting at the time on board the (JLADIATOK. 
frigate, but the novelty of the steam-boat presented an irresist- 
ible attraction, and the whole court went oft' to her (except the 
president). At an early hour next morning (Saturday), the 
Port-Admiral, Sir Edward Thornborough, sent his band and a 
guard of marines on board, and soon afterwards followed in 
person, accompanied by three admirals, eighteen post-captains, 
and a large number of ladies. The morning was spent very 
pleasantly in steaming amongst the fleet, and running over to 
the Isle of Wight. The Admiral, and all the naval officers, 
expressed themselves delighted with the THAMES. 

From Portsmouth the steamer proceeded to Margate, which 
was reached on Sunday morning. She remained at Margate 
until the following day, when she started on the final portion 
of her voyage at half-past eight in the morning, and reached 
her destination (Limehouse), about six o'clock the same evening, 
having accomplished the ninety miles run from Margate in 
about nine hours. The THAMES carried fifteen tons of coal, 
her consumption being, on the average, a ton for every hundred 
miles. So ended this memorable voyage, practically the first 
ever attempted by a steamboat on the open sea. 

Dodd's after career was a most melancholy one. Talented, 
enterprising and courageous though he undoubtedly was, yet 
he never succeeded in his enterprises. And in his later years, 
instead of seeking that divine help which would have enabled 
him to meet his disappointments with fortitude, he sought to 
forget them in intemperance, and almost literally died a beggar 
in the streets. 



1816 to 1818. Rivals to the THAMES, the DEFIANCE (1815), MAJESTIC and 
REGENT (1816). Loss of the REGENT (1817). Liverpool Steam-boats: the 
RUNCOEN PACKET, the PRINCESS CHARLOTTE, Liverpool to Eastham (1816). 
REGULATOR and ETNA, Liverpool to Tranmere (1817). Parkgate to Bagillt, 
N.W., the ANCIENT BRITON (1817). First Spanish Steamer, ROYAL 
FERDINAND (1817). Siberian Steam-boats (1817). Loss of the REGULATOR 
(1818). David Napier. Greenock and Belfast Steamer, ROB ROY. First 
Steamer between England and Ireland, the HIBERNIA (1816). 

THE successful voyage from the Clyde to the Thames achieved 
by Captain l)odd, and the less-known one by the Runcorn 
Packet from the Clyde to the Mersey, gave a great impetus 
to steam-packet building, and created active opposition, 
especially 011 the London and Margate service. The THAMES, 
after being refitted, opened the service in July, 1815. She had 
a monopoly of the station for about three months, when the 
DEFIANCE was put on in opposition. The following year saw 
the MAJESTIC placed on the liiver Thames, and this vessel was 
probably the first steamer employed in towing ships. She 
towed, on Wednesday, 28th August, 1810', the large Indiaman, 
the HOPE, from Deptford to Woolwich at the rate of three 
miles per hour against the wind. 

On the 29th Tune of the same year, a new steamboat, named 
the KEGENT, was tried on the Thames. She was built under 
the supervision of the eminent engineer Brunei, by Maudsley 
(founder of the famous engineering! firm of Maudsley and 
Field). Her burden was 112 tons, and she was propelled by 
engines of 24 horse power. On her trial trip she steamed from 
Blackfriars Bridge to Battersea Bridge in 30 minutes, and 
back through London Bridge in 52 minutes. Her machinery 
was remarkably light. Her engines, paddle-wheels, and all 


connections necessary to give and convey the motive power, 
weighing only five tons. The REGENT had a very short 
existence. On the 2nd July, 1817, she left London for Mar- 
gate, with between 40 and 50 passengers on board. Although 
it was blowing a gale, all went well until the vessel arrived off 
Whitstable, about 18 miles from Margate. The REGENT was 
keeping well out in mid-channel, and was about three miles 
from land, when she was discovered to be 011 fire amidships. 
The force of the wind had carried away the funnel, and the 
wood- work at the bottom of the funnel (nearly breast high from 
the deck for the protection of the passengers), caught fire. The 
vessel's life-saving equipment consisted of one small boat, 
barely sufficient to accommodate her crew ; and the only 
available means of extinguishing the fire was by hand buckets, 
clipped overside. To add to the alarm of the passengers, the 
buckets one after the other were either broken against the side 
of the steamer, or carried away 'by the turbulent waves. The 
passengers bore themselves bravely, as Britons should in the 
face of danger, and did not give way to panic. Perfect dis- 
cipline appears to have been maintained amongst the crew. 
Seeing that he had 110 means of keeping the fire under, the 
Captain collected all the passengers forward and headed the 
REGENT for the nearest shore with the intention of beaching 
her. This he succeeded in doing without the loss of a single 
life, but the vessel herself was almost totally destroyed. 

On the Mersey, also, progress had been made since the arrival 
of the first steamer, the PACKET, to and from Runcorii. 

In July, 1816, the steam-packet PRINCESS CHARLOTTE com- 
menced the Liverpool and Eastham service, and continued to 
sail twice each way daily. The fare charged to Eastham and 
back was Is. At Eastham the steamer connected with coaches 
to and from Chester, Shrewsbury, Holyhead, and many other 

The Liverpool and Traiimere Steam Ferry was opened by the 
steam-packet " Etna " sailing from the West-side Queen's 
Dock. She was shortly afterwards opposed by the steam- 
packet REGULATOR, running in connection with coaches from 
Tranmere to Parkgate, thence by steam-packet ANCIENT BRITON 


Answering Pennant. 

Cholera, Yellow Fever, 
or Plagne Flag. 

Blue Peter. About to 
proceed to Sea. 

Quarantine Flag. 







BATES & Sox. 


BOOTH S. S. Co. 



to Bagillt, North Wales. During a gale on Monday, 12th 
January, 1818, the REGULATOR was sunk near the Liverpool 
Pierhead, but all on board were rescued. 

Meantime other continental nations were a waken ing to tin- 
advantages of steam navigation. 

On the 30th May, 1817, there was launched at Seville the 
ROYAL FERDINAND, the first steamer built in Spain. And. 
about the same date, Mr. Wesewelodsky, a man of great wealth, 
and owner of several rich mines in Siberia, built two steamers 
for navigating the River Kama. These vessels were 51 feet 
and 100 feet long, respectively. Mr. Wesewelodsky travelled 
with his steamers from his mines to Casan, a distance of 1,000 
versts, and accomplished the voyage in 105 hours. 

" England owes to David Napier the establishment of 
" deep-sea communication by steam-vessels, and of Post Office 
"steam-packets. As a first step, he endeavoured to ascertain 
" the difficulties to be encountered. For this purpose he took 
"passage at a stormy period of the year on a sailing packet, 
" which formed one of a line, and the only means of inter- 
" course between Glasgow and Belfast; a passage which often 
" required seven days to accomplish what is now done by steam 
" in as many hours. The captain of the packet found a young 
" man, whom he afterwards knew as Mr. Napier, during one of 
" his winter passages to Belfast, constantly perched on the bow 
" of the vessel, fixing an intent gaze on the sea when it broke 
" on the side of the ship, quite heedless of the waves and spray 
" that washed over him. He only ceased from this occupation 
" at intervals, as the breeze freshened, to ask the captain 
" whether the sea was such that it might be considered a rough 
" one, and, when told that it was by no means unusually rough, 
" he returned to the bow of the vessel and resumed his study 
" of the waves breaking at her stem. When the breeze began 
" to freshen into a gale, and the sea to rise considerably, he 
" again enquired of the captain whether the sea might now be 
" considered a rough one, and was told that as yet it could not 
" be called very rough. Disappointed, he returned again to 
" his station at the bow, and resumed his employment. At 
* " History of Steam Navigation," Adm. Prebble, U.S.N. 


" last he was favoured with a storm to his contentment, and 
44 when the seas, breaking over the vessel, swept her from stem 
" to stern, he found his way back to the captain and repeated 
" his enquiry, ' Do you call it rough now Y ' The captain 
kk replied he could not remember having faced a worse night 
" in the whole of his experience, a reply which delighted 
" young Napier, who muttering, as he turned away, ' I think 
" I can manage if that is all/ went down to his cabin. Xapier 
u saw then the end of his difficulties, and soon satisfied himself 
" as to the means of overcoming them. His next enquiry was 
"as to the means of getting through the water with least 
" resistance. To determine this, he commenced a series of 
" experiments with models of vessels in a small tank of water, 
" and soon found that the round full bluff bow adopted for 
" sailing vessels was quite unsuited for speed with mechanical 
" propulsion of a different nature. This led him to adopt the 
" fine wedge-like bows by which the vessels built under his 
" superintendence were afterwards so distinguished." 

Napier established regular steam-packet communication 
between Greenock and Belfast by means of the HOB HOY, a 
vessel of 90 tons burden and 80 horse power. After plying 
for two years between these ports with great regularity and 
success, the HOJJ HOY was transferred to the English Channel 
as a packet between Dover and Calais. Cross-channel steam- 
boats between England and Ireland were first introduced in 
1810, when the steam-packet HIBERXIA was built by a company 
to carry passengers between Holyhead and llowth. The 
HiBERKiA was 112 tons burden, 77 feet keel measurement, and 
9 feet draft. She was lugger rigged, and capable of making 
the passage by sails only. Her average passage, Holyhead to 
llowth, was about seven hours, and her passengers frequently 
had the satisfaction of arriving in Dublin considerably in 
advance of the Mail packets. 



Early Clyde Steam-packets. Season Tickets issued, 1816. First steamer to 

cross the English Channel. DUMBARTON CASTLE steams round North of 

Scotland, 1819. First serious Accident to a Steam-packet. Clyde Passenger 

Fares-:, 1818. 

MANY circumstances combined to make the Clyde the birlh- 
place and the home of the Marine Steam Engine. Coal and 
iron mines were in close proximity, and skilled labour for the 
construction of engines and of ships was abundant. The 
beautiful Firth, with its numerous lochs and islands, constituted 
an ideal locality for the employment of steamboats while yet 
the art of steamship building was in its infancy. And on the 
shores of the liiver, or within easy distance of it, dwelt a large 
industrial population, eager to take advantage of the facilities 
for travel which steamboats afforded. 

Under these circumstances it is not surprising that steam- 
packets on the Clyde increased with marvellous rapidity. In 
1812 the COMET first began to ply between Glasgow, Greonork 
and lleleiisburgh, and she was, in fact, the only steamboat then ' 
sailing on British waters. Three years later (in 1815) a flee I 
of seven steamers, vix., the GLASGOW, BRITANNIA, DUMBARTON 
CHARLOTTE, sailed regularly from Glasgow to Largs, Ardrossan, 
Trooii and Ayr, southwards ; and Itothesay, Tarbert, Lochgilp- 
head and Inverary, westwards. Xo agents' names are given in 
any of the press advertisements of this or previous years, but 




the sailings were advertised on boards placed outside the 
agent's counting houses, and exhibited in taverns and other 
places of public resort. In 1816 and subsequent years the 
owners' or agents' names are appended to the press notices of 
the various steam-packets. 

In May of the year named, the steamboats BRITANNIA and 
(new) WATERLOO were advertised to sail between Glasgow and 
all the watering places on both sides of the Clyde. 

" Families wishing to agree for the season may know 
" particulars by applying to Mr. Lewis MacLellan, Gallow- 
" gate, Mr. Wm. Smith, Bromielaw, and the Masters on 
" board." 

These small steamers were the pioneers of the magnificent 
fleet of Channel steamships, sailing from Glasgow, and known 
as the " Laird Line." A grandson of the Mr. Lewis MacLellan 
here referred to, and a nephew, are still (1903) connected with 
the Company as directors. The steamer ALBION was advertised in 
the same paper in similar terms, and on the 9th July following 
the agents of nine steam-packets sailing from Glasgow, gave 
notice that the issue of season tickets was discontinued for the 
remainder of the season. 

Hence it appears that the issue of season contract tickets, 
popularly supposed to be a modern institution of the railway 
companies, is found to be a common practice amongst the 
steamship owners of Glasgow more than three-quarters of a 
century ago. 

Mr. W. S. Lindsay, in his admirable book " The History of 
Merchant Shipping from 1816 to 1874," quotes Mr. Muirhead's 
"Life of "Watt," as stating that " In April, 1817, Mr. James 
Watt, Jun., purchased the CALEDONIA, and having re-fitted her, 
took her in October to Holland and up the Rhine to Cobleutz ; 
having thus been the first to cross the English Channel in a 
steamboat. The average speed he obtained was seven and a 
half knots an hour." 

Either Mr. Muirhead was in error in the dates given, or he 
was wrong in assuming that the CALEDONIA was the first 
steamer to cross the English Channel. A correspondent of the 
" Glasgow Chronicle," in a letter to that Journal, dated Cologne, 


16th June, 1816 (i.e., sixteen months prior to the date mentioned 
by Mr. Muirhead as the date on which the CALEDONIA crossed 
the Channel), says: 

" To-day, about noon, we enjoyed a sight equally novel 
" and entertaining, a pretty large vessel without a mast 
" ascending the Rhine, and proceeding with astonishing 
" rapidity, arrive before this city. All the vessels 
" stationed on the Rhine in this neighbourhood were in 
'' a moment covered with spectators, to see the arrival of 
" this vessel, w T hich is a steamboat coming from London, 
" and bound for Frankfort. Everybody was eager to view 
" the progress, the motion, the organisation of this master- 
u piece of art. The vessel left Rotterdam on the 6th 
" inst. The passengers affirm that it can go 25 leagues in 
" a day." 

The DUMBARTON CASTLE (Captain Thomson) was advertised 
to take passengers for a trip from Glasgow round Ailsa Craig 
on the 7th August, 1816. She was the first British steam- 
boat (the THAMES excepted) to take passengers on a deep sea 
trip, and she was also the first steamer to sail round the ]^orth 
of Scotland, which she did in 1819, in consequence of being 
sold for employment between Leith and Grangemouth. 

The first serious accident to a Clyde steamboat of which 
there is any record, occurred in the early part of the year 1816. 
The new steam-packet ROTHESAY CASTLE, while entering the 
harbour of Tarbert on her return voyage from Inverary, struck 
on a reef of sunken rocks. All her passengers were rescued by 
fishing boats, which also landed the luggage. One of the 
fishing boats was also despatched to request the Master of the 
ARGYLE (which was to leave Inverary four hours later than 
the ROTHESAY CASTLE) to call at Tarbert. This was accord- 
ingly done and -the shipwrecked passengers were taken on to 
Rothesay and Greeiiock the same evening. The steamer was 
subsequently got oft' the rocks and taken to Port Glasgow for 

It may interest citizens of Glasgow and dwellers on the 
coast to compare, by means of the following table, the steam- 
ship Passenger Fares of 1818 with those of the present day. 




To Renfrew. Dunglass. 

Glasgow or 





Steerage ? 




I ; 1 

02 j O 






s. a. 

5 6 


'> X 

s. a. s. a. 

H <; t; o 

l (i :s r> 
1 G 1 


s. a. 

G 6 

s. a. s . a. 

40 5 G 

s. a. 

1 G 
1 G 
3 G 

s. a. 


3 G 

s. a. 

2 6 

2 fi 

8. a. 

4 G 

s. a. 

7 G 
3 G 

2 6 

s. a. 

2 6 




To Rothesay. 







1 1 

O 02 
















Lai -gs 

s a 

s a 

s. a. 

s. a. 

s. a. 

s. a. 

s. a. 

s. a. 

s. a. 

s. a 

s a 

s d 

7 G 
3 6 
1 6 

2 6 

2 G 

7 6 

8 6 
1 6 

2 6 

4 6 
2 6 

9 6 
6 G 
8 G 

4 6 




7 6 

8 6 
G 6 


Young persons 8 to 14 years of age half-price. Below eight years of age at 
the discretion of the Master. 

These rates were fixed by a Conference consisting of the 
proprietors of the following steamboats : ALBION, ARGYLE, 
WATERLOO, who agreed that the Fares taken from passengers 
travelling by any of the boats named should be according to 
the above table, and that no engagements should be entered 
into with families or individuals at rates below these faivs. 
Passengers were allowed 28 Ibs. of luggage free, excess luggage 
was charged at the rate of lOd. per cwt. from Glasgow to 
Greenock, and proportionately for any further distance. 



1819 to 1821. The SAVANNAH the first steamer to cross the Atlantic. Arrival 
at Liverpool of the WATERLOO, the first Irish Channel steamer. Sailing of 
the ROBERT BRUCE, the first steamer trading between Liverpool and the 
Clyde. Curious Accident to the steamer MORNING STAR. The TRITON. 
The CONDE DE PATMELLA, first European steamer to cross the Atlantic. 
Cattle Ventilators suggested. The TOURIST. Steamers between London 

and Leith. 

PRIOR to the introduction of marine steam engines, the United 
States of America had no inconsiderable share of the world's 
ocean traffic. No swifter ships raced with cargoes of tea 
from China to the Thames than the famous Baltimore clippers. 
No finer vessels crossed the Atlantic than the celebrated New 
York Packet Liners. It cannot be supposed that a people so 
enterprising as the Americans would make no attempt at 
ocean steam navigation. On the contrary, as they were the 
first to build a coasting passenger steamer, so were they the 
first to build a steamer to cross the Atlantic. 

During the latter part of the year 1818, and the beginning 
of 1819, there was, in process of building at New York, a 
beautiful little ship of about 320 tons burden. Whilst on the 
stocks it was suggested to convert her into a steamer, which 
was accordingly done. After she was launched, the SAVANNAH, 
that being the name given to her, sailed from New York to 
Savannah, and thence, about the 25th May, 1819, she sailed 
to Liverpool, en route to St. Petersburg. It was reported at 
the time that she was a present from the Americans to the 
Emperor of Russia. Although she did not steam the whole of 
the voyage from Savannah to Liverpool, which occupied twenty- 
six days, she was the first steamer that ever attempted to cross 
the Atlantic. British and Canadian authors have contended 
that she was not entitled to this honour, as her steam power 


was merely auxiliary, but the contention is somewhat un- 
generous, and, if allowed, would debar later vessels, notably 
the SARAH SANDS and the GREAT BRITAIN, from claiming the 
title of steamships. The SAVANNAH reached Liverpool on 
Sunday, 20th Tune, 1819, after a voyage of twenty-six days 
duration. Shortly after leaving Savannah it began to blow 
hard, and the following entry appears in the Captain's log 
book : 

" Stopped the engines, and brought the paddle-wheels 
" in-board in thirty minutes." 

When off the Irish coast, the coastguard, seeing a huge 
volume of smoke proceeding from a ship at sea, reported it to 
be a vessel on fire. A Government cutter from Cork put out 
to render assistance, and were much surprised on boarding her 
to learn that she required no assistance, except a Channel pilot, 
and that she had come from America. Her arrival at Liver- 
pool was witnessed by great crowds of people, who had 
assembled to watch her entering the Mersey. After her visit 
to St. Petersburg she re-crossed the Atlantic, her engines were 
taken out of her, and, as a sailing packet, she traded between 
Xew York and Savannah, until she was wrecked oft' Long 

A month later, or to be exact, on the 22nd -July, 1819, the 
first cross-channel steamer that ever entered the port, arrived 
at Liverpool from Belfast, after a passage of twenty-four hours. 
This steamer was the WATERLOO, owned by Messrs. Langtry, 
of Belfast, who were also the owners of a fleet of smacks which 
traded regularly between the two ports. The WATERLOO was 
a schooner-rigged paddle-steamer of 201 tons burthen, pro- 
pelled by a pair of low-pressure engines of 80 h.p. each. ITer 
length was 98 feet, and her breadth on deck was 87 feet. She 
had a dining room capable of accommodating all the cabin 
passengers at one sitting, a separate and neatly decorated cabin 
for ladies, and two state-rooms for families. She carried 
sleeping accommodation for 22 cabin passengers, in addition 
to steerage passengers. The fares charged for a single passage 
between Liverpool and Belfast were, cabin 1 11s. fid., steerage 
10s. fid. The WATERLOO made two round voyages per wook 


during the season, sailing from Liverpool every Monday and 
Friday. She was intended to carry passengers only (the cargo 
trade being maintained by the smacks), and cost her owners 
nearly 10,000. 

On the 29th July of the same year, the first steamer that 
traded between Liverpool and Glasgow was advertised in the 
following terms : 

" Safe and Expeditious Travelling between Liverpool 

" and Glasgow. 
" The elegant new Steam-Packet Boat, 

" Captain John Patterson, 

" will sail for Glasgow on Monday, 2nd August, at Seven 
" o'clock in the morning, from George's Dock, Pierhead. 
" The accommodations for passengers are most excellent, 
" and she is expected to perform the passage within 30 
" hours. 

" The Fares in the Cabin, 40s. ; Steerage, 21s. Pas- 
" sengers will be accommodated with Provisions on 
" moderate terms. For passage apply to Captain 
" Patterson, or to 

" John Richardson." 

From this date (1819) the expansion of the British steam 
coasting trade was most rapid. Within a very short time 
regular services were advertised between Liverpool and Isle 
of Man, Whitehaven, Dumfries, the Clyde Ports, Belfast and 
Dublin. Nor were these pioneers of the steam trade per- 
mitted to be monopolists of their respective stations. Fre- 
quently two, and in some cases three companies advertised 
steamers sailing for the same ports, of which some account will 
be found in the succeeding chapters of this volume. 

An extraordinary accident is reported by the " Berwick 
Advertiser " (September, 1819), as having occurred to one of 
the local steam-packets. The MORNING STAR, while on her 
usual passage from Alloa to Leith, suddenly stopped. On 
investigation it was discovered that a salmon had entered and 
completely obstructed the condensing water pipes, and thus 
stopped the machinery. 


In the fall of the following year (1820) steam communication 
between the Ports of London and Hull was projected. 

Across the Channel the steam-packet TRITON, built at 
Bordeaux, maintained a passenger service, three times each 
way per week, between Havre and Rouen. The passage 
occupied about nine hours, and the fares charged were 8s. first 
class, and 4s. second class. 

On the 5th October, 1820, the steamer CONDE DE PATMELLA, 
Captain Silva, sailed from Liverpool for the Brazils. She 
made a remarkably rapid passage to Lisbon, arriving there in 
four days. This is probably the first steamer that ever crossed 
the Atlantic Ocean from Europe. 

Perhaps one of the most remarkable steamers ever launched 
was a small steamboat, named the SNAKE, built at Bombay, 
and launched in 1820. She was the first steamer 011 the Indus 
or on any river in India. Her engines were designed and built 
by a Parsee, and were the first ever manufactured in India. 
How well they were constructed is evidenced by their lasting 
power. After a notable career of 60 years, she was broken up 
in 1880. 

Above the initials " W. P.," a correspondent of the kk Liver- 
pool Mercury," in a letter dated 25th October, 1820, suggests 
the use of iron ventilators, to supply fresh air to the holds of 
steamers carrying cattle across the Channel, for, of course, at 
that date, steamers to carry cattle across the ocean were 
unthought of. He describes the ventilators suggested as 
" iron funnels with movable vane tops, which could be con- 
structed by any mechanic at a cost of about 3 10s. each." 

In the spring of 1821, a new steamboat, named the TOURIST, 
was launched at Perth. When launched she was the largest 
steamer in the United Kingdom, being 128 feet long by 40 feet 
broad. She was rigged as a three-masted schooner, with a 
clipper bow and bowsprit, and was propelled by two engines of 
40 h.p. each. She was intended (as her name implies) for the 
passenger trade between Leith and the Northern Ports of 
Scotland, and her owners claimed that communication between 
the ports named " will thus be effected in one-third less time, 
and for one-sixth of the expense incurred by the present mode 


of travelling." After running for a short time in the Leith 
and North of Scotland trade, she was placed on the station 
between Newhaveii and London, on behalf of the London and 
Edinburgh Steampacket Co. 

In May of the same year two steam vessels of upwards of 400 
tons burden each, were built for the Leith arid London pas- 
senger service. These steamers were not intended to carry 
cargo, but they had sleeping accommodation for one hundred 
passengers. They were propelled by engines of 100 h.p., and 
were expected to make the passage in about sixty hours. 

n$tl$$&i8B&. . 



St. George Steam-Packet Co. incorporated, 1822. Swift passage of the 
HERO, steam yacht. Liverpool owned steamers highly commended in 
Parliamentary Report, 1822. AARON MANBY, iron steamer. First steamer 
between Hull and the Continent, 1823. City of Dublin Steam-Packet Co. 
founded, 1823. H. M.S. LIGHTNING. General Steam-Packet Co. and the 
Belfast Steam-Packet Co. established, 1824. Keen competition, Glasgow and 
Belfast service, 1825. Advertising extraordinary. G. & J. Burns commence 
business, 1825, as steamship owners. Competition on the Liverpool and 
Dublin station. First steamer from the Thames to Hamburg. The 
ENTERPRIZE sails for Calcutta. Kapid growth of Steam Navigation. Sailing 
ship owners petition Parliament, 1826. The ERIN. Liverpool and 
Kingstown Royal Mail Service. City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. establish a 
Passenger Service between England, Ireland and France, 1827. 

THE year 1822, witnessed the first operations of what was 
destined to become one of the most famous of the early Steam- 
Packet Companies. Projected the previous year, the St. 
George Steam-Packet Company immediately contracted with 
Mr. Thomas Wilson, of Liverpool, for two large and powerful 
steamers, the ST. PATRICK and the ST. GEORGE. The former 
was intended to trade between Dublin and Liverpool, and 
Dublin and the Bristol Channel ; and the latter between Liver- 
pool, the Isle of Man, and the River Clyde, Mr. Alex. A. Laird, 
the founder of the well-known firm of Alex. A. Laird & Co., 
being the agent at Greenock. The ST. PATRICK was launched 
at 10-80 a.m. 011 the 21st April, 1822. This event excited 
great interest in the town of Liverpool, as she was, if not the 
first steamer ever built in the port, certainly the finest specimen 
of the ship-building craft produced there up to that date. 
Her sister ship, the ST. GEORGE, launched the following day, 
rapidly won for herself a reputation for comfort and speed. 
After running about six months she made a voyage from 
Dublin to Liverpool in 11| hours, the shortest time on record. 
Eighteen months later she made a passage from Liverpool to 
Dublin in 10 hours 40 minutes, beating her previous record by 
50 minutes. The third steamer was the PRINCE LLEWELLYN, 
to ply between Liverpool, Beaumaris, Bangor, and Carnarvon. 



The St. George Steam-Packet Co. continued until 1844, when 
it was re-constructed, the Cork Steamship Co. taking over its 
various services and seven of its steamers. 

The steam-yacht HERO is credited with a phenomenal speedy 
voyage 011 the 26th July, 1822. She is reported to have 
steamed from London to Margate in 6^ hours, being at the 
rate of 14 miles an hour. 

A report relative to steam navigation was laid before the 
House of Commons (August, 1822). All the steam-packets 
belonging to Liverpool were named in a manner highly 
honourable to their owners, commanders and constructors. 

44 On Thursday, 9th May, 1822, a large party of 
" distinguished naval officers, engineers, &c., embarked at 
" Parliament Stairs, London, on board the AARON MANBY, 
" iron steamboat, which immediately got under weigh and 
"proceeded to Battersea Bridge; she then descended to 
" Blackfriars, and manoeuvred for several hours between 
" the two bridges in a very superior style. This steamboat 
" was built at the Horsley Iron Works, near Birmingham, 
" by Mr. Manby, and put together at Rotherhithe. She is 
" the most complete specimen of workmanship in the iron 
u way that has ever been witnessed, and draws one foot less 
" water than any steamboat that has ever been built. She 
" is 106 feet long and 17 feet broad, and is propelled by a 
" 30 h.p. engine and Oldham's revolving bars. This boat 
" will leave London in a few days for Paris, the first 
" instance of a direct communication between the capitals 
" of France and England. Amongst the gentlemen 
" preseni were Admirals Sir William Hope, Sir Pulteny 
" Malcomb and Sir James Wood Gage ; Captains Dundas 
" and Napier ; Mr. Manby, the inventor ; Mr. Williams, 
" the patentee of the revolving bars, &c."- u London 
Courier," 15th May, 1822. 

On or about the 24th March, 1823, the steam-packet 
YORKSHIREMAN arrived at Hull from Antwerp, and was only 
31 hours 011 the passage. This vessel is noteworthy as being 
the first steam vessel to sail from Hull to the Continent. 

In the month of February of this year (1823) Mr. C. W. 


Williams, of Dublin, placed an order with Mr. Wilson, of 
Liverpool, for the pioneer steamer of the future famous City of 
Dublin Steam-Packet Company, the CITY OF DUBLIN, a vessel 
of 180 h.p. It was an express stipulation with the builder, that 
this steamer should 'be constructed of such materials, and in such 
a manner, as to withstand the 'severity of the winter navigation. 
The CITY OF DUBLIN differed from her competitors in two 
respects, (1) in carrying general cargo 111 addition to live stock 
and passengers, and (2) in maintaining the service uninter- 
ruptedly throughout the twelve months. 

A month later, Mr. Wilson was again applied to, to build a 
second vessel for the company, but in consequence of his 
having that very morning (5th March, 1828) contracted to build 
the steam-packet HENRY BELL for the Liverpool and Glasgow- 
trade, it was not till some days later the contract w r as signed 
for building the TOWN OF LIVERPOOL, to be commenced as soon 
as the HENRY BELL was launched. 

The CITY OF DUBLIN sailed from Dublin 011 her maiden 
voyage to Liverpool on Saturday, the 20th March, 1824. She 
anticipated, by about six months, the operations of the Dublin 
and Liverpool Steam Navigation Co., whose first steamer, the 
LIFFEY, 805 tons burthen, and 110 h.p., did not sail until the 
18th September following. In December of the same year 
(1824) the MERSEY joined the LIFFEY, and in the July following 
the COMMERCE was added to the Navigation Co.'s fleet. The 
COMMERCE was considerably larger than either of her pre- 
decessors, and was launched from the yard of Messrs. Grayson 
and Leadley, Treutham Street, Liverpool. 

Her (late) Majesty's steamship LIGHTNING sailed from 
Algiers for home on the 27th July, 1824, calling at Gibraltar 
and Lisbon. She remained at Lisbon two days taking in coal, 
and finally arrived at Plymouth nineteen days after leaving 
Algiers. The LIGHTNING was one of the first vessels in the 
British Navy to be supplied with steam power. 

Two still existing and influential Steamship Companies were 
established this year. The General Steam Navigation Co., of 
London, and the Belfast Steam-Packet Co., afterwards merged 
into the Belfast Steamship Co., Limited, of Belfast. 


The competition between the Steam-Packet Companies en- 
gaged in the Scotch and North of Ireland passenger hade had 
become so keen, that in the summer of 1825 UK- steamers from 
Belfast to Glasgow lowered their fares to 2s. for 1st cabin, (id. 
for 2nd cabin, and carried deck passengers for nothing. 

On the Dublin and Liverpool station competition was nearly 
as severe, one steamer sailing in the autumn of 1825 with 
upwards of TOO passengers carried at Gd. each. 

Under these adverse circumstances, the proprietors of the 
Dublin and Liverpool Steam Navigation Co. deemed it prudent 
to make terms with their more powerful competitor, the City 
of Dublin Steam-Packet Co. The managers of the latter 
company, early in the following year (1st February, 182G), 
purchased the Navigation Co.'s steamers, and increased the 
capital of their own company to 250,000, in shares of 100 

The Press communications exchanged between the owners of 
the rival steam-packets must have been extremely entertaining 
to the citizens of Glasgow of that period. The following 
extraordinary literary effusion, from the owners of the steam- 
boat SWIFT, was published in the " Glasgow Herald," of the 
30th June, 1825:- 

" The great superiority of the SWIFT over the Cock Moat. 

" that is puffed off as sailing direct from the Broniielaw 

u is now so well known at Glasgow and Belfast as scarcely 

" to require to be noticed in this advertisement, but for 

" the sake of strangers coming from a distance it may be 

" proper to state that her power and size are double, and 

" her speed so much greater, that when the two vessels 

kt start together the SWIFT runs the other out of sight in 

k> five or six hours. Her hours of sailing are so adapted 

" to the tide, as to ensure the shortest possible passage, by 

" arriving at Greenock and Glasgow about high water, and 

" at Belfast as soon as there is water up to the quay." 

The following crushing reply of the owners of the steamer 

referred to as " the Cock Boat," appeared in the next issue of 

the same newspaper. 

" The fine new Steam-Packet GEORGE CANNING continues 


" to sail for Belfast every Tuesday and Friday. She is 
" the only Steam-Packet that sails direct from Glasgow, 
'' therefore, her passengers are not subjected to the delay, 
" inconvenience and risk, attending change of vessel and 
" transhipment of luggage. 

" The GEORGE CANNING has crossed the Channel up- 
" wards of 60 times, and has in every instance accomplished 
" her passage without putting into any intermediate ports. 
" If the writer of a contemptible article in the SWIFT'S 
" advertisement of Friday last, means the GEORGE 
" CANNING, he has the merit of stating a gross falsehood, 
''knowing it to be such; and, therefore, written for the 
" express purpose of deceiving the public ! ! ! 

'' The author of the paragraph alluded to is challenged 
" to produce a single instance of the SWIFT having ever 
" accomplished her passage from Belfast in so short a 
" period as the GEORGE CANNING. 

' The public will be surprised to learn, after reading the 
" SWIFT'S advertisement, particularly ' strangers coming 
" from a distance,' that the SWIFT and the CANNING have 
" never yet sailed together either from Belfast or Glasgow ; 
" therefore, the author of the SWIFT'S advertisement is 
" left to state when and where the SWIFT ran the vessel 
" alluded to out of sight." 

The rivalry between these two steamers terminated the 
following year, when the SW T IFT was sold to the London, Leith 
and Edinburgh Shipping Company, and sailed for Leith, via 
Oban, Fort William and Inverness, 011 the 27th June, 1820. 
The GEORGE CANNING was offered for sale by auction in Tune, 
1831, but w^as evidently withdrawn. She appears to have been 
sold subsequently by private treaty, and sailed, after repairs, 
for St. Malo, Brittany, in Tune, 1833. 

The well-known firm, G. & T. Burns, of Glasgow, commenced 
business as steamship owners in 1825. The style of the firm 
at that time was Tames and George Burns, and their offices 
were at 45, Miller Street, but in February, 1842, they changed 
the style of the firm to G. & T. Burns. 

The first steamer employed by this firm was the new steam- 


packet AYR, of 76 tons, built by John Wood & Co., of Port 
Glasgow, and having two engines of 30 h.p. each, by John 
Nelson, Glasgow. The AYR was employed in the Glasgow ami 
Ayrshire and Galloway trade. On the 20th March following 
(1826) Messrs. Burns despatched their first steamer from 
Glasgow to Belfast. She was a new steamboat named FINGAL. 
Her length was 116 feet, her beam 21 feet 6 inches, and her 
depth 12 feet 4 inches. She had two engines of 50 h.p. each. 
She could accommodate thirty passengers with sleeping berths, 
had several horse boxes on deck, and carried 180 tons of cargo. 
The rates for passage were, in the cabin, 20s., and on deck, 3s. ; 
and the days of sailing from Glasgow, Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Three years later (March, 1829) Messrs. Burns began their 
Liverpool and Glasgow service. The pioneer steamer of this 
service was the GLASGOW, a small steamer, 120 tons deadweight, 
and fitted with two engines of 30 h.p. each. The Messrs. 
Burns have ceased for many years to have any connection with 
the Glasgow, Ayr and Galloway trade, but on the other two 
stations, Belfast and Liverpool, they have maintained 
continuous services for nearly eighty years. They were also 
largely interested in the Glasgow and West Highland Passenger 
Services, but sold their interests in 1851 to Messrs. David 
Hutcheson & Co. These services are now conducted by the 
fleet of splendid steamships owned by the Messrs. MacBrayne of 

On Saturday, the 30th June, 1825, a steam-packet sailed from 
the Thames for Hamburg, the first that had ever made that voyage. 

The following month (16th August) the first steamer sailed 
from England (Falmouth) to Calcutta, via the Cape. This 
was the wooden paddle-steamer ENTERPRIZE, 470 tons burthen, 
120 h.p. Further particulars of this vessel are given in 
Chapter IX. (Steamship Eoutes to India and the East). 

Some idea of the marvellously rapid growth of steam navi- 
gation may be gathered from the fact that in the year 1825, 
just ten years after the arrival of the first steamers on the 
Thames and Mersey, there were 44 steam vessels on the stocks 
at Liverpool of from 250 to 500 tons each ; while in London no 
* For a special account of this Firm, see Part II. of this Volume. 


less than 45 companies had been formed to establish steam- 
packets in every quarter of the globe. Owners of sailing ships 
became alarmed for their future, and at a meeting held in 
Swansea, on the 14th December, 1826, a resolution was passed 
to send a petition to the House of Commons, praying for the 
intervention of Parliament to protect sailing vessels against the 
further increase of steamers. 

Amongst those steamers referred to as building at Liverpool 
was the ERIN, the largest steamer (up to date of launching) ever 
built in Liverpool. Her principal dimensions were, length 
1G1 feet, breadth 44 feet. Her tonnage was 500 tons gross, 
and she was propelled by engines of 180 h.p., by Fawcett and 
Co. She was launched from Mr. llathboiie's yard in February, 
1826, and was intended to trade regularly between London and 
Belfast, calling at Southampton, Plymouth and Falmouth. 
Her owners were the Belfast Steam Navigation Co., and she 
cost 20,000. 

Her (late) Majesty's Steam-Packets, for the conveyance of 
mails and passengers between Liverpool and Kingstown, com- 
menced sailing on the 29th August, 1826. Captain John 
Emerson, R.N. (late Commander of the ST. GTEORGE steam- 
packet), was appointed Captain of one of these Royal Mail 
Steamers, of which there were four, all built at Liverpool, and 
each of 300 tons burthen. 

The City of Dublin Steam-Packet Company commenced a 
regular steamship passenger service between England, Ireland 
and France in June, 1827. The route was from Belfast to 
Dublin, thence to Bordeaux. Passengers from the North of 
England were carried by the Company's steamers between 
Liverpool and Dublin, connecting at the latter port with the 
steamer to France. The pioneer steamer of the service was 
the LEEDS, which sailed on her first voyage from Belfast on 
Sunday, 17th June, and from Dublin on the following Wed- 
nesday, continuing to sail at fortnightly intervals during the 
season. The venture was so successful that the Directors of 
the Company, the following April, added the steamers 
SHEFFIELD and NOTTINGHAM to the service, and increased the 
sailings to the 1st, 10th and 20th of each month. 



Steamship Routes to India and the East. Lieut. Johnston. ENTERPRISE 
purchased by Indian Government. Renders important service during 
Burmese War. Thomas Waghorn. Regular steamship service established 
between Bombay and Suez. Peninsular Steam Navigation Co. (1834). 
Altered to Peninsular and Oriental S. N. Co. (1837). First P. and O. 
steamer to India, 1842. Services extended to Ceylon, Penang, Singapore, 
and Hong Kong, 1844. And to Australia, 1852. P. and O. steamships 
engaged as troopships during Crimean War. S.S. MOOLTAN (1861) and other 
later steamers fitted with compound engines. Suez Canal opened, 1869. _ 
Mails transferred to Canal route, 1888. Calcutta and Burmah S. N. Co. 
(1855). Steamers engaged as transports during Indian Mutiny. Title 
changed to British India Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. (1862). Bibby Line. 

after steam navigation began to attract attention in 
Great Britain, a public meeting was held in London (1822), 
for the purpose of forming a steamship company to trade 
between England and India. It was the intention of the 
promoters of the meeting that the packets should proceed to 
India by way of the Cape of Good Hope, the route by which 
the bulk of the trade of Europe with the East had been 
carried since the time of Yasco da Gama. At this meeting it 
was decided that Lieut, (afterwards Captain) Johnston should 
proceed to Calcutta, with a view to interesting the East India 
merchants in the proposed undertaking. 

Lieut. Johnston proceeded to India via Egypt, and although 
he was commissioned to advocate the Cape route, he was con- 
vinced on this journey of the greater advantages of the route 
by Suez, and afterwards became one of its most anlonl 
supporters. Several meetings were held in Calcutta after his 
arrival there, at one of which, held on the 17th December, 
1828, it was announced that the Governor, Lord Amherst, 
cordially approved of the proposal to establish steamship 
communication between England and India, and that he was 



prepared to recommend his Council to grant as a premium 
*" a gift of 20,000 rupees to whoever, whether individuals or 
" a company, being British subjects, should permanently, 
" before the end of 1826, establish a steam communication 
" between England and India, either by the Cape of Good 
" Hope or the Bed Sea, and make two voyages out and two 
" voyages home, occupying not more than seventy days 011 
" each passage." 

An additional 80,000 rupees were raised in India for this 
object, of which amount the Rajah of Oude subscribed 

COLOMBO carrying Xmas gifts to the troops in the Crimea. 

12,000. On receipt of this gratifying news in London, 
another meeting of those interested was held, at which 
sufficient capital was underwritten to justify the promoters in 
ordering, as an experiment, the ENTERPRIZE, the first steamer 
destined to double the Cape of Good Hope. 

Johnston, having accomplished his assigned task, embarked 
011 board the Iiidiaman ELIZA for England. On his arrival 
in London he found the ENTERPRIZE two-thirds completed, 
and on completion he was appointed captain. 

* Lindsay's History of Commerce, page 339. 




The ENTERPBJZE was a paddle-steamer, built of wood, by 
Messrs. Gordon & Co., Deptford, at a cost of 43,000. Her 
length of keel was 122 feet, beam 27 feet, and she registered 
479 tons. She had a copper boiler in one piece, which 
weighed 32 tons, and cost 7,000. Her engines were 120 

P. & 0. Liner. Date about 1850 A.D. 

horse power, capable of propelling her in calm weather at the 
rate of 8 knots per hour. She sailed with 17 passengers from 
London for Calcutta 011 the 16th August, 1825, and arrived 
at the latter port on the 7th December following. She 
occupied 113 days on the passage, partly under steam and 
partly under sail, and inclusive of ten days stoppages for the 

P. & 0. Liner. Date 1900 A.D. 

purpose of obtaining fresh supplies of fuel. She did not 
return to England, but was purchased by the Indian Govern- 
ment for 40,000, the East India Company being at that time 
engaged in the first Burmese War. She was employed 
carrying despatches between Calcutta and Rangoon, and on 
the occasion of the Treaty of Malwa, she saved the Govern- 


meiit six lacs of rupees by reaching Calcutta in time to pre- 
vent the march of troops from the upper provinces. 

When the ENTERPRIZE arrived at Calcutta from England 
she was piloted by a young man, a mate in the Bengal Pilot 
Service, named Thomas Waghorn. 

Mr. Waghorn was born at Chatham in 1800, and was, con- 
sequently, in his twenty-sixth year when he acted as pilot for 
the ENTERPRIZE. He had served four years in the Royal 
Navy, and was afterwards for twelve years in the service of 
the East India Company as pilot, subsequently rejoining the 
Royal Navy, in which he remained until he obtained his 
commission as Lieutenant. He was selected in 1827, by the 
Indian Government (Calcutta Steam Committee), for the 
purpose of establishing steam navigation between England 
and India. He visited London, Liverpool, and Manchester, 
but could not obtain sufficient financial support for a regular 
service of steamers via the Cape of Good Hope. Hearing that 
it was the intention of the East India Company to despatch 
the ENTERPRIZE to Suez, he offered his services as Courier to 
the East to Mr. Lock (Chairman of the East India Company), 
and to Lord Ellenborough (President of the Board of Control). 
His offer of service was accepted, and he left London on the 
28th October, 1829, taking the overland route, via Trieste, to 
Alexandria, where he arrived on the 27th November. His 
instructions were to proceed with his despatches for the 
Governor of Bombay (Sir John Malcolm), by the steam- 
packet ENTERPRIZE from Suez, but owing to a breakdown of 
her machinery, the steampacket was not at Suez to meet him. 
There being no steamer to take him on to his destination, 
Mr. Waghorn embarked on an open native boat, and sailed 
down the Red Sea, being subsequently picked up by the 
East India Company's sloop THETIS, which had been sent to 
meet him, and which brought him to Bombay. The day pre- 
vious to the arrival of Mr. Waghorn at Bombay, the East 
India Company had despatched the steamer HUGH LINDSAY 
to Suez to take up the sailing of the disabled ENTERPRI/K. 
The HUGH LINDSAY continued to make one round voyage 
between Bombay and Suez annually until 18.'>(i, during the 


north-east monsoons, not being sufficiently powerful to make 
the passage during the south-west monsoons. In 1836 the 
Court of Directors of the East India Company decided to 
place on the station two new and more powerful steamers. 
These were the ATALANTA, of 616 tons burthen and 210 horse 
power, built in 1835 at a cost of 36,652 ; and the BERENICE, 
of 664 tons and 230 horse power, built the same year at a cost 
of 40,124. 

While a regular steamship service was thus being estab- 
lished between the Isthmus of Suez and Bombay, the British 
Government had established a service of Admiralty packets 
between Falmouth and Cadiz, Gibraltar, Malta, and Corfu. 
From Malta the mails were conveyed to Alexandria by other 
of H.M. ships. Prior to 1830 the Admiralty packets were all 
sailing brigs, but on the 5th February of that year the 
METEOR, the first of the steampackets, sailed from Falmouth 
to the Mediterranean. She was followed by the steampackets 

About 1834 Messrs. Bourne, of Dublin, the principal owners 
of the Dublin and London Steampacket Company, were 
induced by the Spanish Minister in London to start a line of 
steamers between London and the Peninsula. They placed 
the management of the steamers in the hands of Messrs. 
Willcox and Anderson, a London firm with whom they had 
had some previous transactions. Messrs. Willcox and 
Anderson were well acquainted with the trade to the 
Peninsula, having been engaged in it, at first with sailing 
vessels, and afterwards with chartered steamers. The new 
line was called the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company, 
and Mr. Tames Allan, then a clerk in the Dublin Office of the 
Dublin and London Steampacket Company, was sent to 
London to assist Messrs. Willcox and Anderson in the 

The first steamer of the service was probably the ROYAL 
TAR, belonging to the Dublin and London Steampacket Com- 
pany, which had been chartered in 1834 to Don Pedro, and 
subsequently to the Queen Regent of Spain, Messrs. Willcox 
and Anderson being the chartering brokers. The " Graphic " 


Xmas Number for 1901 states the WM. FAWCETT was the 
first P. & 0. steamer, and the " P. & 0. Pocket Book " (1900 
edition) heads the list of the past and present fleet of the com- 
pany with the name of the same vessel, built in 1829. It is 
only necessary to say here that neither the Peninsular Steam 
Navigation Company nor the P. & 0. Steam Navigation 
Company were in existence at that date. The WM. FAWCETT 
was certainly built that year by Caleb Smith, and engined 
by Fawcett and Preston, both Liverpool firms. For some 
time she was engaged as a ferry boat on the Mersey, and in 
the early thirties she was employed as a regular trader 
between London and Dublin. She probably was chartered 
for a short time to the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company 
in 1885 or 188(1, as she does not appear in the company's 
advertised sailing list for 1888. 

In the latter year the fleet consisted of the following 
vessels, from London to Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz and Gibraltar: 
TAGUS, 800 tons gross, 800 h. p. ; ROYAL TAR, 650 tons gross, 
264 h. p. ; BRAGANZA, 650 tons gross, 264 h.p. ; IBERIA, 690 
tons gross, 200 h. p. ; LIVERPOOL,* 500 tons gross, 160 h. p. ; 
CITY OF LONDONDERRY,* 500 tons gross, 160 h. p. Branch 

In 1837 the Government advertised for tenders from steam- 
ship owners for the conveyance of the mails between 
Falmouth and the Peninsula, which up to that time were 
conveyed by sailing brigs which left Falmouth for Lisbon 
every week, " wind and weather permitting." In response to 
this advertisement two companies, the British and Foreign 
Steam Navigation Company, and the Peninsular Steam Navi- 
gation Company, sent in tenders. The former company 
having failed to show that it had adequate means for the 
efficient performance of the Postal service, the Government 
concluded a contract, 011 the 29th August, 1887, with the 
Peninsular Steam Navigation Company, by which that com- 
pany agreed to convey monthly the whole of the Peninsular 
mails for an annual subsidy of 29,600, afterwards reduced 
to 20,500. The first steamer to be despatched under this 
contract was the IBERIA, in September, 1887, calling at Vigo, 

* Chartered Steamers belonging to the City of Dublin Co, 



Oporto, Lisbon and Cadiz, on its passage to and from 

The British Government in 1839 entered into an arrange- 
ment with the French Government to send letters to and from 
India through France by way of Marseilles. The mails were 
conveyed between Marseilles and Malta by an Admiralty 
packet, and between Malta and Alexandria by another 
Admiralty packet. This arrangement did not work satis- 
factorily, and the Government advertised for lenders for a 
line of steamers, to run direct from England to Alexandria 
and rice verm, touching only at Gibraltar and Malta. The 
steamers were to be of sufficient power to perform the voyage 
in not more than three days beyond the time then occupied in 
the conveyance of the mails via France, and the cost was not 
to exceed the amount required for the maintenance of the 
small and inefficient Admiralty packets then employed. 

Four competitors tendered for the contract, but that of the 
Peninsular Company was accepted, it being the lowest 
(34,200), and containing also an offer to convey at a reduced 
rate all officers travelling on the public service, and bon fide 
Admiralty packages gratuitously. 

At this time much pressure was brought to bear on the 
Government to induce it to subsidize a proposed line of 
steamers between Falmouth and Calcutta via the Cape of 
Good Hope. These steamers, according to the " Times " of 
the llth November, 1838, were to make the passage in thirty 

The GREAT LIVERPOOL, of 1,540 tons and 464 horse power, 
built by Sr- John Tobin, of Liverpool, and intended for the 
Liverpool and Ne\v York trade; and the ORIENTAL, of 1,000 
tons and 450 horse power, were the steamers offered by Messrs. 
Willcox and Anderson, and approved by the Admiralty, 
to convey mails between England and Alexandria, calling 
at Gibraltar, and combining the two mail services of 
the Peninsular and the Oriental, thus constituting the 
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. 
Subsequently, the company was requested to provide 
two steamers, one to be not less than 250 horse power, 
and the other to be 140 horse t>ower, for the Malta and Corfu 


branch of the mail service, which was done at a cost to the 
country of 10,112 per annum, less than the cost of main- 
taining the Admiralty packets previously employed. 

In September, 1842, the P. & 0. Company obtained a 
contract for carrying the mails between Calcutta and Suez. 
The contract was granted very reluctantly by the East India 
Company, and only after much pressure had been brought to 
bear on it by the Home Government. 

On the 24th September, 1842, the P. & 0. Company 
despatched its first steamer to India via the Cape of Good 
Hope. She was the paddle-steamer HINDOSTAN, of 2,017 tons 
gross and of 520 horse power. On her arrival at Calcutta she 
was placed on the service between Calcutta, Madras, Ceylon 
and Suez. Other steamers were despatched speedily from 
England, and in 1844 the company was in a position to enter 
into another contract with the Government for a monthly 
service from Ceylon, to Penang, Singapore, and Hong Kong. 
For the premier service (Suez-Calcutta) the company received 
115,000 per annum, or at the rate of 20s. per mile, and for 
the Ceylon-Hongkong service ^45,000, or at the rate of 
about 12s. per mile. 

In connection with the Eastern services, coaling stations, 
docks, store establishments, and in such places as Suez and 
Aden, even fresh- water supplies had to be, and were, provided 
and organised. 

At this period, and until the completion of the Railway 
from Alexandria to Suez, the passengers and cargo carried bv 
the P. & 0. steamers were conveyed across Egypt in a some- 
what primitive manner. The Mahmoudieh Canal enabled 
the company to transport its passengers and cargo from 
Alexandria to the Nile, whence they proceeded by steamer to 
Cairo, and thence through the desert on the backs of camels, 
a distance of less than 100 miles, to Suez. 

As it was notorious that the mail service between Suez and 
Bombay was conducted by the East India Company at a cost 
of upwards of 30s. per mile by steamers vastly inferior in 
speed and accommodation to the P. & 0. steamers, which 
maintained the mail services to India and the principal ports 
o^ China at an average rate of about 17s.. per mile, the public 


naturally demanded that the Suez-Bombay service should be 
taken out of the control of the East India Company, and 
placed in the hands of those competent to work it more 
efficiently and with greater economy. The demands of the 
public, although confirmed by the Parliamentary Committee 
of 1851, were successfully resisted by the Court of Directors 
until 1854, and it is questionable if even then, they would 
have given up the service if (in consequence of the East India 
Company having no steamer ready for them at Suez) the 
Bombay mails had not been lost in a native sailing craft into 
which they had been transferred at Aden. 

The P. & O. Company were applied to by the Government, 
and undertook this service for the sum of 24,700 per annum, 
or at the rate of 6s. 2d. per mile, resulting in a decreased 
expenditure of about 80,000 per annum, as compared with 
the expense incurred by the far less efficient East Indian 

In 1852, the P. & 0. Company extended its operations to 
Australia, by means of a branch line of steamers from Singa- 
pore. The following year saw an addition of no less than 
eleven steamships to the company's fleet. Amongst these was 
the celebrated troopship HIMALAYA, which continued in active 
service until near the end of the century. At the time of her 
launch she was the largest steamship afloat, and of 
extraordinary speed. She cost 132,000 when fully equipped 
and ready for sea. Her length was 340 feet, beam 44 feet 
6 inches; her gross tonnage was 3,438 tons, and her engines 
indicated 2,050 horse power. 

Another famous steamer built for the P. & O. in 1853 was 
the COLOMBO (steamship), which was engaged as a Govern- 
ment transport during the Crimean War. Even Santa Claus 
himself could not have been more eagerly welcomed than was 
the COLOMBO when she arrived off Sebastopol 011 Christmas 
Eve 1854, with provisions for the wounded soldiers and 
sailors. She was originally a vessel of 1,864 tons gross, but 
in 1859 she was lengthened amidships, and her tonnage 
increased to 2,127 tons. The HIMALAYA and the COLOMBO 
were two, out of eleven, P. & 0. steamships chartered to the 
Government as transports during the Crimean War, and these 


vessels conveyed during the continuation of hostilities 1,800 
officers, 60,000 men and 15,000 horses. 

The first steamer of the P. & 0. Company fitted with corn- 
pound engines was the MOOLTAN (steamship), of 2,257 tons, 
built in 1860-1. Several succeeding steamers were fitted with 
the same type of engines, but although the consumption of 
fuel was decidedly less, the engines themselves proved so 
unreliable that they were taken out of all the ships and 
replaced by the old style of engines. " It was not until 1869 " 
(says Sir Thomas Sutherland, in the " P. & O. Pocket Book," 
1900) u that the company succeeded in building a steamer 
with high and low pressure machinery which could be con- 
sidered thoroughly successful." 

On the 17th November, 1869, the Suez Canal, the greatest 
engineering work of the 19th century, was formally opened 
by the Empress Eugenie, in the presence of numerous dis- 
tinguished men from all countries. While the benefits 
conferred upon the world of commerce by the opening of this 
canal can hardly be over-estimated, its influence upon the 
fortunes of the P. & 0. Company was at first almost fatal. 
The whole of the company's business had to be re-organised, 
and as speedily as possible a new fleet obtained adapted to the 
changed requirements of the company's services. This 
transitory state continued for a period of five years, from 1870 
to 1875, by which date the company's re-organization was 
sufficiently accomplished to enable them to transfer their 
services from the Overland to the Suez Canal route. The 
accelerated mails sent via Briiidisi were still carried by the 
Egyptian Railway between Alexandria and Suez, and con- 
tinued to be so carried until 1888, when they also were 
transferred to the Canal route. 

It is interesting to compare the earlier vessels of the com- 
pany's fleet with the later. The INDIA, built in 18-J9, was a 
vessel of 871 tons, and with engines of ->00 horse power. I Lei- 
namesake, built in 1896, is a steamer of 7,911 tons, with 
engines of 11,000 horse power. The PERSIA, built in 1900, 
has a slightly larger register (8,000 tons), with engines of the 
same power. In 1901 four twin-screw steamers were added to 
the fleet, the SYRIA, SOUDAN, SOMALI and SICILIA, each of 6,600 


tons gross, with engines of 4,500 horse power, while 190:5-4 
witnesses the addition to the Company's list of the MARMORA 
and MACEDONIA, 10,500 tons and 15,000 horse power, and the 
MOLDAVIA and MONGOLIA, 10,000 tons and 14,000 horse power, 
as well as several cargo steamers of immense tonnage. 

During the war in the Transvaal, as at the time of the 
Crimean War, many of the steamers of the P. & ( ). Company 
were engaged by the Government as transports. 

The following figures indicate the extensive operations ot 
the company: In 1899 the mileage traversed by the 
steamers of the fleet during the year was about o, 000,000 
miles. The consumption of coal during that period was 
625,000 tons. The dues paid to the Suez Canal Company 
exceeded 272,000, while the sum expended in wages to 
officers and crews amounted to -362,000. 

In lcS55 the Directors of the East India Company advertised 
for steamers to carry the mails between Calcutta and Burmah, 
a service inaugurated by the ENTERPRIZE (see ante) in 1826, 
and afterwards conducted by various vessels of the East Indian 
Navy. Messrs. McKinnon & Co., of Glasgow, tendered in 
response to this advertisement, and their tender having been 
accepted, they despatched the two steamers BALTIC and CAPE 
OF GOOD HOPE to fulfil their contract. These vessels were 
small and unsuitable for the intended service, and the result 
would have been a serious financial loss to their owners, had 
they not, soon after their arrival in India, been engaged for 
transports on the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. 

The new company traded under the title of the Calcutta and 
Burmah Steam Navigation Co., its first operations being con- 
fined to the ports of Calcutta, Akyab, Eangoon and Moulmein. 
One of the two pioneer steamers, the CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, 
collided with a P. and 0. steamer and sunk in the Hooghly. 
Another, the CALCUTTA, of 900 tons, was totally lost off the 
coast of Wicklow, when on her first voyage from the Clyde to 
Calcutta. A fresh contract was entered into in 1862 with the 
Indian Government, and in the same year the title of the 
Company was changed to the British India Steam Navigation 
Co., Limited. The terms of the new contract included the 
transport of troops and stores at a mileage rate ; a mail service 


every fortnight between Calcutta, Akyab, Kangoon and Moul- 
mein ; also a monthly service via the two latter ports to 
Singapore ; a similar service to Chittagong, and one to the 
Andaman Islands ; as well as one between Madras and 
Rangoon ; a fortnightly service between Bombay and Karachi ; 
and a service, once every six weeks, to various ports in the 
Persian Grulf. New vessels were built and despatched for these 
various services, and the traffic of the Company developed with 
great rapidity. 

The career of the Company was, however, not an unc'hequered 
one. In addition to the two steamers referred to as lost during 
the first year of the Company's existence, must be added the 
wreck of the BURMAH on the Madras coast, the loss of the 
BUSSORAH on her voyage to India, and the foundering of the 
PERSIA on her voyage from Kangoon to Calcutta, during one of 
those fearful cyclones which periodically sweep the Indian Ocean. 

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, which for a time 
adversely affected the fortunes of the P. and 0. Co., proved 
beneficial to the British India Steam Navigation Co. The 
directors of the latter Company at once took advantage of the 
facilities which it offered, and their steamer INDIA, requiring 
new boilers, was despatched to England, and was the first 
steamer to arrive in London with a cargo of Indian produce via 
the Suez Canal. Since that date the Company has added 
steamer to steamer until at the present date (1903) its fleet 
(inclusive of the British India Association steamers) numbers 
upwards of 120 vessels. 

In July, 1891, Messrs. Bibby Brothers, of Liverpool (a firm 
which was founded in 1807"), established a direct service of 
first-class and swift steamers between the United Kingdom and 
Burmese ports. For half a century prior to 1901 Messrs. Bibby 
had maintained steamship communication between Liverpool 
and all the principal ports of the Mediterranean. Prior to the 
construction of the Suez Canal, cargo from the East was carried 
by the P. and 0. to Suez, thence by rail to Alexandria, where 
it was transhipped to the Bibby steamers, which loaded in 
Alexandria for Liverpool.* 

* A sketch of the history of this important Firm will be found in Part IT. 
of this Volume. 




Steamers on the Pacific. The TELICA (1825). P. S. N. Co., 1840. Com- 
pound Engines adopted, 1856. Service extended from West Coast, South 
America, to the River Plate (1865), and to Liverpool, 1868. The P. S. N. Co. 
and Messrs. Anderson Anderson & Co., 1878. Gulf Line of Steamers 
between Great Britain and West Coast, South America. 

THE first steamer to trade along tlie Pacific Coast of South 
America was a small steamer, named the TELICA, in 1825. 
She was owned and commanded by a Spaniard bearing a 
Russian name, Mitrovitch. The venture proved a failure, 
chiefly owing to the scarcity of fuel, and the unfortunate man, 
in a fit of despair, fired his pistol into a barrel of gunpowder, 
and blew up his vessel in the harbour of Guayaquil, destroying 
himself and all on board, except one man. 

The next person to attempt to establish steamship communi- 
cation along the Pacific 'Coast was an American citizen, Mr. 
William Wheelwright, born in Newburyport, Mass., U.S.A., 
in 1798, and appointed United States Consul at Guayaquil in 
18124. Mr. Wheelwright, notwithstanding the tragic fate of 
the TELICA and her owner, was convinced of the importance 
of steam communication to the development of the rich 
resources of the western side of the South American 
Continent, spent six years in arranging plans for steam com- 
munication between the different Republics, and at last 
obtained from the Peruvian, Bolivian, and Chilian Govern- 
ments the privilege of establishing and maintaining a steam- 
ship service along their respective coasts for a period of ten 
years. In pursuance of this object he came to England, and 
secured the co-operation of several wealthy merchants, and 
011 the 17th February, 1840, a charter was obtained for the 
establishment of the undertaking known as the Pacific Steam 

CHAP. X.] 



Navigation Company, together with a small subsidy for tin- 
conveyance of the mails. It was not the intention of the founders 
of the company to trade elsewhere than along the Pacific 
Coast, and for this purpose a capital of a quarter of a million 
pounds was thought to be sufficient. The capital consisted of 
5,000 shares, 50 each. Only the amount required to build 
two small steamers was called up. These steamers were UK- 
CHILI and PERU, each of about 700 tons gross register, with 
engines of about 150 horse-power nominal. They were brig- 

PEBU. Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. 

rigged paddle steamers, built of wood, by Charles Young and 
Co., Limehouse, London, and engined by Miller & Kavenhall. 

Owing in great measure to the scarcity of fuel on the 
coast, the company, during the first five years of its existence, 
sustained a loss of four-fifths of its paid-up capital, but the 
shareholders courageously resolved to persevere with their 
undertaking. The seat of management of the company was, 
however, transferred from London to Liverpool (1846), and the 


late -Mr. William Just appointed Managing Director. The 
following year (1847), the Directors were for the first time able 
to declare a dividend, a modest two-and-a-half per cent. 

In 1850, having obtained an extension of the Government 
Postal contract, the Directors ordered four steamers, at a total 
cost of 140,000. These steamers were named the LIMA, 
SANTIAGO, QUITO and BOGOTA, and were each of about 1,000 
tons gross and 800 horse-power nominal. 

In 1850 the company's service was re-organised by Mr. Just, 
who visited the West Coast specially for that purpose. 
During the same year the compound type of engines was 
adopted in the company's steamers, the Pacific Steam Naviga- 
tion Company being thus one of the earliest ocean steamship 
companies to use this type of engine. 

A supplemental charter was obtained in 1865, extending 
the operations of the company, and authorising steamship 
communication between the West Coast of South America, 
and the Eiver Plate on the East Coast. 

As the profits of the company had been steadily increasing 
for a number of years prior to 1867, it was resolved at a 
meeting of shareholders, held in December of that year, to 
establish a monthly line of steamers from Liverpool to the 
West Coast of South America, via the Straits of Magellan, and 
to increase the capital of the company to 2,000,000. 

The first new steamer of the new service was the PACIFIC, 
1,630 tons gross register, 1,174 tons net, with engines of 450 
horse-power. Her principal dimensions were, length 267 feet, 
beam 40 feet, depth 17 feet. She was built 011 the Clyde in 
1864, by Randolph Elder & Co., and cost 61,855. After 
trading for about three years on the Pacific Coast, she sailed 
from Valparaiso for Liverpool in May, 1868, as the pioneer 
steamer of the new mail service. During this year five 
steamers of about 3,000 tons each, specially built for the 
maintenance of this service, were added to the company's 
fleet. These were the JOHN ELDER, MAGELLAN, PATAGONIA, 

So profitable was the Liverpool trade to the West Coast, the 
Directors determined in 1870 to make the sailings fortnightly, 

CHAP. X.] 


and in that year they added the steamers CHIMKORAXO, (Y/rn, 

In December, 1871 they recommended a further increase 
of the company's capital to 3, 000, 000, with a view of making 
the service from Liverpool a weekly one. During the year 
they had greatly increased the number of the company's ocean 
steamers, having built in 1871 seven steamers, each of about 
4,000 tons gross, viz., the SORATA, ILLIMANI, COTOPAXI, 


In July, 1872, the capital of the company was raised to 
4,000,000, and the steamers VALPARAISO and BRITANNIA were 
added to its fleet, and in the following year the IBERIA and 

ORELLANA. Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. 

Ill addition to the above steamers, which were all built for 
the Liverpool to West Coast service, the Pacific Steam 
Navigation Company built during the years 1869 to 1878 
inclusive, eighteen steamers for its Pacific Coast service. 

The IBERIA and LIGURIA were the last of the barque-rigged, 
clipper-bow type of steamer built for the Pacific Steam 
Navigation Company. The succeeding vessels of the fleet 
have as a rule four pole masts and a straight stem. 

Although the trade between Liverpool and the West Coast 
of South America had increased with marvellous rapidity, the 


increase in the company's tonnage had more than kept pace 
with it. It was found that the combined passenger and cargo 
trade would not support a sailing each week, and the sailings 
were reduced to two each month. As a consequence of the 
reduced number of sailings, as many as nine of the company's 
steamers were at one time laid up for want of employment. 
In 1878 the Directors were fortunately able to charter four of 
their vessels, the CHIMBORAZO, LUSITANIA, Cuzco and GAUONNE, 
to Messrs. Anderson, Anderson & Co., who in that year founded 
the Orient Line of steamers from London to Australia. In 
1882, when the latter company decided to double its sailings, 
the Pacific Steam Navigation Company made arrangements 
to employ several additional steamers in the Australian 
service. Although the Pacific Company was the first to 
establish steamship communication between Great Britain and 
the West Coast of South America, it has had to share the 
traffic in later years with the Gulf Line of steamers belonging 
to the Greenock Shipping Company, and with the steamers 
belonging to Messrs. Lamport & Holt. 



French-Algerian Expedition, 1830. Civil War in Portugal. Loss of the 

steamer RIVAL. Mutiny on a Transport. Loss of the Lonn BLANEY. The 

MARGARET, first screw passenger steamer trading from Hull. 

EARLY in the year 1880, the French Government, fitted out an 
expedition against the Dey of Algiers, and an agent of the 
former was instructed to contract with the City of Dublin and 
the St. George Steam-Packet Companies for the employment 
of some of their first-class boats as transports in the expedition. 
The vessels chartered were ordered to proceed immediately to 
Toulon to embark French troops for service in North Africa. 
This was the first instance of steam vessels being extensively 
engaged in warlike expeditions. At this date, Portugal was 
engaged in a prolonged and sanguinary civil war, in the course 
of which vessels belonging to both of the famous Liverpool 
steamship companies were again employed. 

Don Miguel (surnamed the Usurper) had about the year 
1826 assumed the government of Portugal. It is calculated 
that in the short space of five years he imprisoned 26,270 of his 
beloved subjects ; 16,000 were transported to various places ; 
18,000 were forced to ny from his paternal government ; 1-'>,700 
perished on the scaffold ; and 5,000 were either in concealment 
or wanderingi about the kingdom to avoid a similar fate. 
Finally, Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, on behalf of his 
daughter Donna Maria of Portugal, took active measures to 
recover the throne. A number of British steamers were 
engaged as transports or privateers in the civil war that ensued. 
Amongst other vessels was the " ill-fated steamer "" RIVAL, 

* There is some doubt as to whether this vessel was a steamer or a sailing 
brig. The "Liverpool Mercury" speaks of her as the "ill-fated steamer, 
RIVAL " ; but the " Glasgow Herald " only refers to her as the " brig RIVAL." 


which sailed from Greenock on the 22nd December, 1832, 
bound for Oporto, with about 400 volunteers for Bom Pedro, 
and foundered in Cralw^ay Bay, with the loss of nearly 500 lives. 
Some spars, bedding, and ship's papers were washed ashore, 
but as not one of the passengers or crew escaped, no particulars 
can ever be known of the circumstances attending the fatal 

The LORD BLANEY was one of several of the St. George 
Steam-Packet Company's vessels chartered for the same service. 
It appears from a record of magisterial proceedings (August, 
1831) before Mr. H. Leach, of Milford, that the agents employed 
by Dom Pedro hired 200 seamen at Liverpool, and induced 
them to ship on board the LORD BLANEY, under a pretext that 
they were merely wanted to navigate British transports across 
the Atlantic, to convey some regiments of Portuguese from 
Eio de Janeiro to Europe ; but no sooner had the LORD BLANEY 
got fairly into the Irish Channel than the officers threw off the 
mask, and acknowledged their destination to be Belle Isle, for 
the purpose of manning Dom Pedro's fleet. Finding them- 
selves thus entrapped, the seamen exhibited signs of mutiny, 
and a violent gale of wind having forced the steamer into 
Milford Haven for shelter, the whole body of tars went ashore 
with bed and baggage, declaring their intention not to fight 
under any flag but that of England. After completing her 
engagement with Dom Pedro, the LORD BLANEY was placed on 
the Liverpool and Newry service, and on the 18th December, 
1833, she was lost with all hands (45) whilst on a voyage from 
Newry to Liverpool. A subscription list was opened for the 
benefit of the families and relatives of the crew and passengers. 
The City of Dublin Steam-Packet Co., although in active oppo- 
sition to the St. Greorge Steam-Packet Co., headed the list with 
the handsome donation of 100. Two, at least, of the City of 
Dublin Steam-Packet Co.'s vessels took part in the Portuguese 
war, the LEEDS and the BIRMINGHAM. The latter steamer, 
under the command of Captain Beazley, arrived at Falmouth 
about the 15th July, 1833. She brought despatches from Lagos 
which contained intelligence of the most important and decisive 
nature, nothing less than the complete defeat and capture of 



the fleet of the Usurper. The news was received with the 
utmost satisfaction in England as well as Portugal. 

The MARGARET steamship sailed from Hamburg to Hull on 
Friday, 19th October, 1845, with a number of passengers and a 
full general cargo. Shortly after leaving the Elbe she encoun- 
tered a north-west gale,, and after beating against it for two 
days, she was driven on to a dangerous bank called the 
Memmett, near Juist, at the entrance to the river Memm. 
The moment she took the shoal, the sea, which was running 
very high, swept several overboard. The long boat was 
launched and an attempt made to reach the shore, but owing 
to it being crowded it capsized, and every soul in it perished. 
From advices received, it appears that altogether sixteen of the 
passengers and three of the crew were lost. Those who 
remained on board the vessel, after severe privations, were 
rescued. The MARGARET was owned by Mr. Pimm, of Hull; 
was several years old ; was about 250 tons burthen, and was 
rigged as a three-masted schooner. She was worked by a 
screw propeller, and was the first vessel of that description 
engaged in the passenger trade from the port of Hull. 




Pioneers of Transatlantic steam navigation. Valentia Transatlantic S. N. Co. 
incorporated, 1828. Dr. Lardner's famous speech on Steam Navigation. 
The ROYAL WILLIAM, first steamer from Canada to England, 1833 ; sold to 
Spanish Government and re-named YSABEL SEGUNDA. The British Queen 
S. N. Co. Launch of the BEITISH QUEEN, 1838. SIEIUS, first passenger 
steamer from Europe to America, 1838. GREAT WESTERN, 1838. Arrival of 
both steamers at New York on same day. The ROYAL WILLIAM, first 
Atlantic liner from Liverpool to New York, 1838. The LIVERPOOL. The 
PRESIDENT launched, 1839; lost, 1841. 

A QUARTER of a century 'had elapsed since the launch of Bell's 
COMET on the Clyde. In the interval, all the chief ports of 
Great Britain and Ireland, and several of the continental ports, 
had been connected by steampacket services. So early as 1828 
it had been proposed to establish steam communication between 
the West of Ireland and America, and an Act of Parliament 
for incorporating the Valentia Transatlantic Steam Navigation 
Company was obtained. The proposed capital was 24,000, in 
shares of 50 each. The first steamer was estimated to cost 
21,000. She was to be a vessel of about 800 tons burthen, 
driven by engines of 200 h.p., and was expected to make six 
round voyages per annum. She was to accommodate 50 cabin 
and 50 steerage passengers, and to carry 200 tons cargo, exclu- 
sive of bunkers. It appears from the following extract from 
the " Liverpool Albion" of the 14th December, 1835, that 
although the projectors of the Valentia Company advertised in 
1828 that the company was " to commence immediate opera- 
tions," its first sailing had not taken place seven years later. 
The scheme fell through for want of support, but in 1835 it was 
started afresh in conjunction with the railway from London, 
the Post Office Packets, and the Valentia Railway. The extract 


is valuable also as containing Dr. Lardner's famous dictum 
concerning the possibility of direct steam navigation between 
Liverpool and New York : 

" Steam Communication with America. 

" Dr. Lardner then proceeded to observe that one of the 
" grandest projects which had ever occupied the human 
" mind was at present in the process of actual accomplish- 
" ment. He meant that of constructing a great highway 
"for steam intercourse between New York and London 
" between the capital of the New World and that of the 
" Old. Part of the highway was in process of formation. 
" It consisted of several stages that of the railroad from 
" London to Birmingham ; that from Birmingham to 
" Liverpool, and the steam intercourse with Dublin ; but 
" there was another stage that from Dublin to Yalentia, 
" which had as yet hardly been thought of. Ireland was 
" a country which, with all her political disadvantages, was 
" blest by nature with a vast number of physical advan- 
" tages, and amongst the rest he might reckon a vast 
" number of excellent harbours. No country in the world 
" could boast of so many fine and spacious ports, bays and 
" roadsteads. She had many 'harbours on her west coast 
" which would serve admirably as stations for steam con- 
" veyance across the Atlantic ; but Yalentia had been 
" selected as the extreme westerly point suitable for that 
" purpose. It was a fine anchoring ground by an island 
" of that name on the coast of Minister. The distance 
" from Dublin to this point was under 200 miles, which 
" might be traversed in about 8 hours. The nearest point 
" on the continent of North America to this point of 
" Ireland was St. John's in Newfoundland. The distance 
" between the two was about 1,900 miles ; thence to 
" Halifax, in Nova Scotia, there would be another run of 
" 550 miles, and from that to New York would not exceed 
" the admissible range ; but touching at Halifax would be 
" desirable for the sake of passengers. The only difficulty 
" would be as to the run from Yalentia to St. John's ; and 
" the voyage from Dublin to Bordeaux and back, a distance 


" of between 1,000 and 1,700 miles, with the same stock of 
" coals, came very near this distance. It must be observed 
" that westerly gales blew almost all the year round across 
" the Atlantic. They were produced by the trade winds 
" being the compensating cause that restored the balance 
" which these served to destroy, according to that beautiful 
" principle in nature which always provides a remedy for 
" any derangement in the deranging cause itself. As a 
" last resource, however, should the distance between 
" Yalentia and St. John's prove too great, they might make 
" the Azores a stagie between, so that there remained no 
" doubt of the practicability of establishing a steam inter- 
" course with the United States. As to the project, how- 
" ever, which was announced in the newspapers, of making 
" the voyage directly from New York to Liverpool, it was, 
" he had no hesitation in saying, perfectly chimerical, and 
" they might as well talk of making a voyage from New 
" York or Liverpool to the moon. The vessels which 
" would ultimately be found the best adapted for the 
" voyage between this country and the United States 
" would be those of 800 tons, which would carry machines 
" of 200 horse-power, and would be able to stow 400 tons 
" of coal. To supply a 10 horse-power daily required an 
" expenditure of a ton of coals, and, consequently, 200 
" horse-power would require 20 tons of coal daily ; but if 
" the vessel carried 400 tons of coal only, it would not be 
" practicable to undertake a voyage which would require 
" the whole of the quantity. They must make an allow- 
" ance of .100 tons for contingencies. Thus, in reckoning 
" the average length of the voyage which might be under- 
" taken by such a vessel, we might safely calculate upon 
" 300 tons of coal, which would be sufficient for 15 days, 
" and it might fairly be concluded that any project which 
" calculated upon making longier voyages than 15 days 
" without taking in a fresh supply of coals, in the present 
" state of the steamboat, must be considered chimerical. 
k ' Now, the average rate of speed of the Mediterranean 
" packets was 170 miles per day, and the utmost limit of a 


" steam voyage might be taken at 2,550 miles ; but even 
" that could not be reckoned upon." 

In justice to the memory of Dr. Lardner, it is only fair to 
state that, in the eighth edition of 'his " Steam Engine, &c.," 
1851, pp. 294-309, he denies that he ever stated that " a steam 
voyage across the Atlantic was a physical impossibility." 

During the winter of 1832-3, the Quebec and Halifax Steam 
Navigation Co. built at Quebec a steamer, which they named 
the BOYAL WILLIAM. She was a vessel of 1,370 tons B.M. ; 
length over all, 176 feet ; breadth, outside paddle-boxes, 43 feet 
10 inches ; inside, 27 feet ; depth of hold, 17 feet 9 inches ; 
draught laden, 13 feet. Her engines of 180 h.p., constructed 
in Birmingham by Boulton & Watt, were forwarded to Canada, 
and fitted on board the ROYAL WILLIAM at Montreal, whither 
she had been towed by the steamboat BRITISH AMERICA. After 
trading for several months between Quebec and Pictou, Nova 
Scotia, the station for which 'her owners had built her, she was 
advertised to sail for London. In accordance with this 
announcement she was despatched from Quebec on the 5th 
August, 1833, and after calling at Pictou, N.S., where she took 
on board a further supply of coal at 15s. per chaldron, she 
proceeded direct to Cowes, Isle of Wight, accomplishing the 
voyage of about 2,500 miles in seventeen days. This voyage 
is remarkable as beingi the first instance of a vessel crossing 
the Atlantic from America by the use of steam only. 

After the completion of 'her trans-Atlantic voyage, the ROYAL 
WILLIAM was sold to the Spanish Government, who changed 
her name to the YSABEL SECUNDA, and fitted her up as a man- 
of-war carrying six guns. She took part in the first Carlist 
war and, finally, was totally wrecked on the rocks off the harbour 
of Santander, Spain. 

After strenuous and prolonged efforts, Dr. Julius Smith 
succeeded in organising (1836) a Transatlantic Steamship 
Company, bearing the title of the British Queen Steam 
Navigation Co. The capital of the Company was fixed at 
1,000,000 sterling, and its secretary was the celebrated Mr. 
MacGrregor Laird. The shares were promptly subscribed for, 
and the Directors placed a contract with Messrs. Curling and 


Young, Blackwall, London, to build their pioneer steamship, 
the BRITISH QUEEN. The order for the engines was placed 
with a Glasgow firm, Messrs. Claude Girdwood & Co. This 
firm, however, before they had finished the work entrusted to 
them, became bankrupt, and a new contract was made with 
Mr. Robert Napier, the famous Clyde engineer, to supply the 
engines. It was at first the intention of the Directors (as 
stated in their prospectus) to build a vessel of 1,862 tons 
burthen, but before the completion of the ship they decided to 
increase her size to 2,400 tons. Although contracted for in the 
summer of 1836, it was not until 24th May, 1838, that the 
BRITISH QUEEN was launched. This unfortunate delay, caused 
by the bankruptcy of Messrs. Girdwood & Co., enabled a rival 
company at Bristol to build and equip their steamer, the 
GREAT WESTERN, before the BRITISH QUEEN could be giot ready 
for her service. In order to save the prestige of their Company 
the Directors of the BRITISH QUEEN chartered from the St. 
George Steam-Packet Co. the steamer SIRIUS, and advertised 
that she " would leave London for New York on Wednesday, 
the 28th of March, 1838, calling at Cork Harbour; and would 
start from thence on the 2nd April, returning from New York 
on the 1st of May."* The sailing from Cork Harbour was, 
however, delayed, waiting the arrival of the steampacket OCEAN 
from Liverpool with the mails and passengers, until the 
morning of the 4th of April. She started on this memorable 
voyage at 9 o'clock on the morning of the date named, having 
on board 94 cabin passengers. Three days later (7th April, 
1838)t she was followed across the Atlantic by the GREAT 
WESTERN, from Bristol for New York, with goods and passen- 
gers. As the dates of the intended sailings of both steamers 
had been conveyed to New York, their arrival at that port was 
eagerly looked for. They both arrived on the same day, the 
SIRIUS early in the morning of Monday, the 23rd April, and 

*The " Annals of Liverpool " section in " Gore's Directory" erroneously 
states: "1838. The steamship SIEIUS sailed from London to Cork, 
27th March, and from Cork to New York, 2nd April." 

f This date is incorrectly quoted in " Gore's Liverpool Directory " as the 
8th April. 


the GREAT WESTERN in the afternoon. The excitement which 
prevailed on the arrival of these steamers was described as 
follows by the New York Press : 

" At 3 o'clock p.m. on Sunday, the 22nd of April, the 

" SIRIUS first descried the land, and early on Monday 

" morning, the 23rd, anchored in the North Eiver immedi- 

" ately off the Battery. Nothing could exceed the excite- 

" ment. The river was covered during the whole day with 

" row-boats, skiffs, and yawls, carrying the wondering 

" people out to get a close view of this extraordinary vessel. 

" While people were yet wondering how the SIRIUS so 

" successfully made out to cross the rude Atlantic, it was 

" announced about 11 a.m. on Monday, from the telegraph, 

" that a huge steamship was in the offing. ' The GREAT 

" WESTERN ! the GREAT WESTERN ! ' was on everybody's 

" tongue. About 2 o'clock p.m. the first curl of her 

" ascending smoke fell on the eyes of the thousands of 

" anxious spectators, and a shout of enthusiasm rose on 

" the air ..... Thus the grand experiment has 

" been fairly and fully tested, and has been completely 

" successful. The only question now in the case is that of 

" expense. Can steampackets be made to pay?" 

During the early part of her voyage westwards, the SIRIUS 

experienced strong head winds, during which she only steamed 

4 to 5 knots per hour. During the latter portion, the weather 

was favourable, and she made good progress, averaging 9^ 

knots. She sailed from New York as advertised on the 1st of 

May, and reached England on the 18th idem after a voyage of 

sixteen days. The GREAT WESTERN left New York on the Tth 

of May and arrived at Bristol on the 22nd, being fourteen days 

on the passage. There was a remarkable difference in her 

consumption of coal on the two voyages, accounted for, probably, 

first by the stormy weather referred to as experienced by the 

SIRIUS on her outward voyage, and secondly by the prevailing 

westerly winds on the homeward run. On the voyage Bristol 

to New York, the GREAT WESTERN averaged per day 203 knots, 

or 8*2 knots per hour, with a total consumption of G55 tons of 

coal. On her homeward voyage she averaged 213 knots per 





G. & J. BURNS. 


















day, or nearly 9 knots per hour, with a total consumption of 
only 392 tons of coal. Fuller details of the SIRIUS will be 
found in the History of the Cork Steamship Co. in Part II. of 
this work. It is but fair to state that she was only half the size, 
and had only half the power of her famous rival. The princi- 
pal dimensions of the two vessels were as follows: 

Length. Breadth. Depth. Tonnage. Engines. 

GEEAT WESTERN ... 236ft. ... 35-4 ft. ... 23-3 ft. ... 1340 ... 750 h.p. 
SiRius 178ft. ... 25-6 ft. ... 18ft. ... 703 ... 320 h.p. 

They were both paddle-steamers, built of wood, the former 
designed by Brunei, and engined by Maudsley, Sons & Field, 
and the latter built by Menzies, of Leith, and engined by 
Wingate & Co., of Glasgow. For upwards of eight years the 
GREAT WESTERN continued to sail regularly between Bristol and 
New York, on which station she was very popular with passen- 
gers. She was sold in 1847 to the Royal Mail Steampacket 
Co., in which service she was also a favourite for several years. 
In 1857 it was the opinion of the Directors that she could not 
compete profitably with modern boats, and she was therefore 
broken up at Vauxhall. 

About the date of the despatch of the SIRIUS from Cork, the 
Directors of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. had under 
consideration the formation of a Transatlantic Steam-Packet 
Co., with sailings to and from Liverpool. The steamers of this 
Company were amongst the largest and most famous afloat. A 
meeting of Directors was held in the Committee Room, Water 
Street, Liverpool, at which it was decided to open up the new 
service by the despatch of the P.S. ROYAL WILLIAM as soon as 
she could be got ready for the voyage. The ROYAL WILLIAM 
was practically a new steamer, having been built in 1836, being 
one of four steamers built to compete with the Admiralty 
steamers for the mail service between Liverpool and Kings- 
town. She proved herself to be faster than any of the Govern- 
ment mail steamers, and when placed on the Dublin and 
London station, made a passage from Falmouth to Kingstown, 
260 miles, in 23 hours. She was built by Wilson, of Liverpool, 
and engined by Fawcett & Preston, of the same city. Her 
length was 175 feet (being 3 feet less than the SIRIUS), beam 




27 feet, depth of hold 17 feet 6 inches. Her capacity was 817 
tons burden, and she was propelled by engines of 276 h.p. 
Her coal consumption was about 17 tons per 24 hours, and in 
fairly smooth water her speed was 11| knots per hour. She 
had cabin accommodation for eighty passengers. She sailed 
from the Prince's Pier on Thursday evening, 5th July, 1838, 
having on board thirty-two passengers. Sixty-four years 
afterwards the present author had several interviews with Mr. 
Brownrigg, the City of Dublin Co.'s Customs Clerk, who took 
out the Customs clearance for the ROYAL WILLIAM, and who in 
spite of his great age remembered clearly the appearance of the 
vessel as she steamed down the River Mersey on that mid- 
summer evening so long ago. Although she carried no cargo 
on that voyage, she was so deeply laden with coal for fuel- 
coal that filled her bunkers, her holds, and even her well-deck 
that her paddles were buried six feet, her sponsons were 
submerged, and it was possible by leaning over the bulwarks 
to wash one's hands in the water that surged at the vessel's 
sides. Naturally it was an event in which the townspeople of 
Liverpooi and the residents on the Cheshire side of the river 
took the deepest interest. As she began to move she was 
greeted with enthusiastic cheers from thousands of spectators 
who crowded the piers and lined the river side, whilst cannon 
were fired from AYoodside, Monks Ferry, Rock Ferry, and from 
the steamboats on the river. The ROYAL WILLIAM completed 
the passage from Liverpool to New York in nineteen days, and 
the homeward passage in fourteen and a half days. 

Amongst those who were present at the meeting held in the 
Water Street Committee Room was Sir John Tobin, who had a 
large steamer nearing completion on the stocks. It was agreed 
that this vessel should sail alternately with the ROYAL WILLIAM 
between Liverpool and New York. At her launch, Sir John 
Tobin's steamer was named the LIVERPOOL. She was a vessel 
of 1,150 tons, with engines of 404 h.p. She started on her first 
voyage on the 20th October, 1838, but experienced such bad 
weather that she put back to Cork on the 26th, after having 
accomplished about one-third of her voyage. She remained at 
Cork for ten days, and again proceeded to se-a on the 6th 



November, arriving at New York on the 23rd, after a passage 
of sixteen and a half days. It was on board this steamer that 
Mr. Samuel Cunard crossed the Atlantic, for the purpose of 
inducing British capitalists to take up his scheme of mail 
steamers between Liverpool, Halifax and Boston. 

After making a few voyages to and from Liverpool and New 
York, the LIVERPOOL was lengthened, her capacity being 
increased by 393 tons, and at the same time her name was 
changed to the GREAT LIVERPOOL. Her new owners, the 
P. and 0. Co., employed her in their mail service between 
Southampton and Alexandria. Her career as a Royal Mail 
steamer was a short one, as she was lost off Cape Finisterre on 
the 4th February, 1846. 

The first great disaster in the Transatlantic steamship trade 
occurred in the spring of 1841. On the 12th March of that 
year, the steamship PRESIDENT sailed from New York, bound 
for Liverpool, with a full list of passengers. She was a new 
steamer, having been launched fifteen months previously (7th 
December, 1839) by Messrs. Curling & Young for account of 
the British and American Steam Navigation Co., of Bristol. 
The PRESIDENT was one of the largest and most powerful steam- 
ships of her day, her register tonnage being 2,366 tons, and 
her engines indicated 540 horse-power. On her first voyage, 
she sailed from Liverpool for New York at 2 p.m. on the 1st 
August, 1840, arrived at New York 2 p.m. on the 17th idem ; 
sailed from New York 2 p.m. on the 1st September, and arrived 
at Liverpool 2 p.m. on the 17th of the same month, being 
exactly sixteen days on both her westward and her eastward 
passage. She apparently lay up for the winter, and resumed 
her sailings in the spring of the following year. She left New 
York for Liverpool on her third homeward voyage on the 12th 
March, 1841, having on board 136 passengers. After leaving 
New York she disappeared, with all her living freight, from 
human ken. As day after day passed, the utmost anxiety 
arose, both in the mercantile world and amongst the relatives 
of the passengers and seamen, as to the cause of her detention. 
Other steamers and ships reported very heavy weather in the 
Atlantic, and the presence of unusual quantities of ice in very 




low latitudes. The newspapers of the period were filled with 
references to the illfated vessel, with suggestions that her 
engines had broken down, and that she had drifted out of the 
track of homeward bound steamers. Multitudinous and con- 
flicting rumours passed into circulation of her wreck having 
been seen in various places, and a thousand speculations as to 
the cause and certainty of a catastrophe, and the subsequent 
fate of those on board, kept alive the agony of those interested 
in her. Her fate remains one of the sad mysteries of the ocean, 
as no trace of her wreck was ever discovered, nor a single 
survivor from the tragedy. 




Mr. Canard's tender for the carriage of the British and North American 
Mails accepted, 1839. GREAT BRITAIN launched, 1843. Sails from Bristol 
for London, 23rd January, 1845. Visited by H.M. Queen Victoria. Sails 
for Liverpool, June, 1845. For New York, July, 1845. Stranded Dundrum 
Bay, September, 1846. Floated off, August, 1847. Sails to New York, 1852. 

IN October, 1838, the British Government, being convinced of 
the superiority of steamships over sailing brigs, advertised for 
tenders for the conveyance of the North American Mails by 

Amongst the tenders sent in, that of Mr. Samuel Cunard, of 
Halifax, was accepted as being the lowest, and in many other 
respects the most favourable for the public. 

With a view of carrying out his scheme for establishing a 
mail steamship service between England and North America, 
Mr. Cunard came to London and called upon Mr. Melville, 
Secretary to the East India Company, to whom he was person- 
ally known. From Mr. Melville he received a letter of intro- 
duction to Mr. Eobert Napier, the celebrated Clyde engineer 
and shipbuilder, by whom he was introduced to Mr. George 
Burns, of Glasgow, and Mr. David Maclver, of Liverpool. Both 
these gentlemen favourably regarded the proposals of Mr. 
Cuuard, and interested themselves so energetically in the matter 
that in a very short time the whole of the requisite capital for 
the formation of the Trans-Atlantic Mail Steamship Company 
was subscribed. A sketch of the history of this famous 
Company (afterwards known as the Cunard Company) will be 
found in the second part of this volume. 

Although the BRITISH QUEEN had proved an entire success, 
and was a great favourite with transatlantic travellers, her 
owners resolved to build a second ship, which would not only 
exceed her in size, but which should also include all the latest 


improvements the art of naval construction could then com- 
mand. This was the famous GREAT BRITAIN. She was the 
first Western Ocean steamship constructed of iron, and the 
first and only one for several years that was propelled by a 
screw propeller instead of paddle-wheels. She was considered 
a colossal steamer in her time, and excited quite as much 
public interest as did the GREAT EASTERN at a later period. 
Her principal dimensions were, length of keel 289 feet, between 
perpendiculars 296 feet, over all 322 feet, her breadth was 51 
feet, depth of hold 32 feet 6 inches, her measurement 2,984 tons, 
and her engines 1,000 h.p. She originally carried six masts, 
two of which were forward and four aft of the funnel. She 
was built at Bristol, from plans furnished by Mr. Patterson of 
that City, who also had designed the GREAT WESTERN. Her 
engines and boilers were constructed in, and fitted on board the 
vessel at, the Company's own works, as no outside engineers 
would undertake the contract. But, owing to an extraordinary 
oversight on the part of the consulting Engineer, it was then 
found that she was imprisoned in the dock, being so deeply 
immersed by the weight of her machinery as to be unable- to 
pass out. Although she was launched on the 19th July, 1843, 
owing to the above unfortunate mistake, she was not ready for 
sea until December of the following year. On her passage 
from Bristol to London she encountered a severe storm which 
thoroughly tested her seagoing qualities, and through which 
she passed triumphantly. Her arrival in the Thames was 
awaited with great interest by the public, whose curiosity had 
been excited by the numerous references to the vessel published 
in the daily and illustrated papers. A long and interesting 
account of this trial voyage, from which the following par- 
ticulars are taken, was published in the " Illustrated London 
News," under date of the 1st February, 1845. From this 
article it appears that the GREAT BRITAIN left Bristol for 
London at 7 p.m. on Thursday, 23rd January, 1845. At the 
time the ship got under weigh, it was blowing a fresh breeze 
from the S.S.W., which at 3 a.m. on Friday had veered to the 
N.W. and increased to a gale, and there was a counter swell 
from the Irish Channel, causing a disagreeable and heavy cross 




sea. The gale continued to increase, and was for a considerable 
time on her starboard bow; yet, notwithstanding this, in the 
face of the gale, and a heavy head sea with a strong ebb tide, 
she made five and a half knots per hour. At twenty minutes 
past twelve, when about fifteen miles to the westward of Lundy, 
she was struck on the starboard bow by a tremendous sea, 
which must have contained two or three thousand tons of 
water. The shock for a moment seemed to paralyse the vessel 
and to bring her to a standstill ; this, however, was but for one 
moment ; the vessel recovered the shock instanter, and con- 
tinued to brave the gale as though nothing had happened to 
check her progress. Some idea of the force of the concussion 
may be formed from the damage done to the vessel. Three 
of her starboard bulls eyes were stove in, together with their 
frames, the diagonal bends of her forecastle deck were bent, the 
woodwork started two inches upwards, a portion of the carved 
figurehead carried away, also the wooden fittings of her bulk- 
head, the iron sheathing of both bows split above deck in two 
places. Thej gale continued until 5-30 p.m., when it became 
more moderate. At 8-45 p.m. the GREAT BRITAIN rounded 
the Land's End, and at 10-40 was off the Lizard proceeding 
up the Channel at the rate of 10^ knots per hour. The 
Captain (Lieut. Hoskins, B.N.), was of opinion that neither 
the GREAT WESTERN, nor any other Royal Mail (Paddle) 
Steamer, could have made such headway under the same 
circumstances by at least from one to one and a half knots 
per hour. 

On Saturday, 25th January, at 12-10 a.m., she was abreast 
of Falmouth, and proceeded up channel, with light winds from 
the S.W. at an average speed of 12 knots per hour. At 12-45 
p.m. she entered the Xeedles passage, and when off Cowes, at 
2-15, the engines were stopped to land despatches. At 2-18 
again proceeded on her course. Upon arriving at Spithead, 
Captain Hoskin took his vessel under the stern of H.M.S. 
APOLLO, fired a gun, and gave her three cheers, which were 
returned by the crew and troops on board. At 1-40 a.m. on 
Sunday (26th), the GREAT BRITAIN came to an anchor in the 
Downs, having ran from the time she rounded the Land's End, 


three hundred and fifty miles at an average speed of twelve 
knots per hour. 

At 7-45 a.m. the vessel was got under weigh again from the 
Downs, and upon rounding the North Foreland, and steering 
through the Queen's Channel, encountered a stiff gale from the 
W.N.W. The GREAT BRITAIN, however, met it in gallant 
style, and made nine and a half knots against it. As she 
steamed up the river, the crews of every vessel she passed ran 
on deck to obtain a view of her, her great length, and her 
singular appearance with six masts, rendering her an object of 
considerable attraction. She arrived at Woolwich at 3-30 p.m., 
and at Blackwall a few minutes later. At both these places 
there was an immense concourse of people assembled to witness 
her arrival. 

She remained at her anchorage at Blackwall nearly five 
months, during which period she was inspected by many 
thousands of the public. On the 22iid April H.M. Queen 
Victoria, accompanied by Prince Albert and suite, paid her a 

The GREAT BRITAIN left Blackwall on Thursday afternoon, 
12th June, 1845. On passing Woolwich it seemed as if the 
whole population had turned out to behold her. The Dock- 
yard was lined with the Naval and Military officers connected 
with that depot, whose cheers were loud and continued. She 
had on board about eighty passengers, who had embarked for 
a trip round the coast. After calling at several ports she 
arrived in the Mersey about 9 o'clock on the evening of 
Thursday, 3rd July, on which occasion she was anxiously looked 
for by thousands, the pierheads and every available point on 
the river being densely crowded. The GREAT BRITAIN sailed on 
her first voyage from Liverpool to New York on Saturday, 26th 
July, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, taking forty-five passengers, 
and arrived out on the 10th August, at noon. On her return 
voyage she left New York on the 30th August, having on board 
fifty-seven passengers and 600 tons general cargo, and arrived 
at Liverpool on the 15th September, at 8 a.m. She continued 
to trade regularly between the two ports, her passenger list 
steadily increasing, until the 22nd September, 1840, when she 


stranded in Dundrum Bay, Ireland. She was, at the time of 
the stranding, on a voyage from Liverpool to New York with 
185 passengers. Fortunately the mishap was accompanied by 
110 loss of life. The cause of the disaster is explained by the 
following resolution passed by the Directors of the Company :- 
" With respect to the occurrences which preceded the stranding 
" of the unfortunate ship, as explained now by Captain Hoskin, 
" and by the Report of Captain Claxton to the Secretary, the 
"Directors are of opinion that the ship was stranded in con- 
" sequence of an error in judgment, into which it appears the 
" Captain was betrayed through the omission of a notice of St. 
" John's light in the chart of this year, by which he was 
" navigating, and of the want of knowledge on his part of such 
" a light having been established, it being to the Directors 
" obvious that had the light been laid, Captain Hoskiii would 
" have known that the judgment which led him at 8 o'clock to 
" put his ship in the proper course for the North Channel, 
" ought to have been persevered in." 

The GREAT BRITAIN remained stranded for over eleven 
months, but on the 25th August, 1847, she was floated off and 
towed to Liverpool for repairs. After the completion of the 
repairs she lay in the Liverpool Dock for about five years, and 
then made one trip to New York, sailing from Liverpool 011 the 
1st May, 1852. She sailed from New York on the 5th June, 
and after a rapid passage of 10 days 23 hours arrived in Liver- 
pool on the 16th of that month. From that date she ceased to 
be connected with the Transatlantic Trade, and her subsequent 
history is sketched in the chapter devoted to the account of 
steam communication with Australia. 



Steam communication with the West Indies. Eoyal Mail Steampacket Co. 
incorporated 1841. Commences with a fleet of fourteen steamers. Heavy 
loss of first year's working. Generous concession from Government. Rapid 
increase of trade. The " TBENT affair." First screw steamers for Company, 
the TAGUS and MOZELLE. The TASMANIAN. Gross tonnage of present 
nee t. The Imperial Direct West India Mail Service, Ltd., established 1901. 

months after the despatch of the first Cunarder from Liver- 
pool to Halifax, the Admiralty accepted a contract from a newly- 
formed steampacket company, to convey the mails between 
England, the We'st Indies, and the Gulf of Mexico. This 
company, which bore the title of The Royal Mail Steam Packet 
Co., had an authorised capital of 1,500,000, in fifteen thousand 
shares of 100 each. It commenced operations on an excep- 
tionally large scale, no less than fourteen large and powerful 
steamers being at once ordered to be built for the service. 
The steamers were to be each of 400 horse-power, and to be 
capable of carrying guns of the largest calibre then in use on 
H.M. war steamers. Like all other ocean steamers of the 
period, they were constructed of wood, and were propelled by 
paddle-wheels. Upon the complete delivery of these vessels to 
the Company, the contract required one of them to sail twice 
in each calendar month from England via Corunna and 
Madeira to the various islands in the West Indies, specified 
in the contract, and back " to such port in the British Channel 
as the said Commissioners of the Admiralty shall direct." The 
scheme also embraced other places in the West Indies, the 
Spanish Main, and the United States, for which mails were to 
be carried. For the performance of these services, the Com- 
pany was to receive a subsidy at the rate of 240,000 per 
annum in quarterly payments, the contract to commence on 
the 1st December, 1841, or if possible earlier, and to continue 


in force for ten years, subject to twelve months' notice from 
either party for its termination. Notwithstanding this large 
su'bsidy, the operations of the Company during the first year 
resulted in a heavy loss, the Directors' balance-sheet, pre- 
sented at the first meeting) of the shareholders, showing a 
deficit of 79,790 10s. 8d. Before this meeting was held, one- 
half of the capital had been paid up, and another call of 10 
per share was sanctioned at the meeting ; but as it was found 
that even this was insufficient for the requirements of the 
Company, the Directors appealed to Government for further 
assistance. In response to this appeal the Government 
generously consented to reduce the annual mileage to be 
traversed by the Company's ships, which by the original con- 
tract was 684,816 miles, to 392,976 miles, without any reduc- 
tion of the annual subsidy of 240,000. This liberal conces- 
sion was estimated by the Directors to effect a saving to the 
Company of 125,000 per annum. Unfortunately during the 
second year of its existence, the Company lost two valuable 
steamers, which more than counterbalanced the bonus it had 
obtained from Grovernment. Trade, however, increased so 
rapidly and profitably, that in the following year (1843) the 
Company had recouped its losses, and had a surplus of receipts 
over expenditure amounting to 94,210, and in 1844 to 

In 1850 the Government made a fresh contract with the 
Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. for a further term of ten years 
from the 1st January, 1852, the subsidy being raised to 
270,000 per annum, but the Company were required to under- 
take the additional expense of a monthly service to the Brazils, 
which increased the mileage to be performed annually from 
389,448 to 547,296 miles, and at the same time reduced the 
mileage from 12s. 3d. to 9s. lOd. per mile. The Company was 
also required to increase the speed of its steamers on the West 
Indian line from 8 knots to 10 knots per hour, and to add five 
new steamers to its fleet, each of 2,250 tons burden and 800 
horse power. This second contract was altered in 1857, and its 
period of currency extended two years, one condition intro- 
duced being of an extraordinary nature. It had reference to 


an amalgamation with the European and Australian Mail 
Company, for the conveyance of the mails via Egypt, to and 
from Australia. This arrangement proved a great failure, 
owing to the complete collapse of the latter Company. A 
second condition required the acceleration of the mails between 
England and Rio de Janeiro. The Company was also required 
to provide three new steamers of 8,000 tons burden and 800 
horse-power for the Atlantic West India service, and a fourth 
of smaller dimensions to ply between Rio and the River Plate. 
In 1804 the second contract expired, and fresh arrangements 
were made, reducing the annual subsidy to 172,914. At the 

CLYDE. Eoyal Mail Steampacket Co, 

same time it was stipulated that the speed of the steamers in 
the West India Transatlantic service should be increased to 
101 k no t s per hour. 

The postal contract was again renewed in 1874; but in 
consequence of adverse articles and letters which had appeared 
in the public press, and because several members of Parliament 
had insisted that the service should be thrown open to public 
competition, the Directors of the Royal Mail Steam-Packet 
Co. found themselves compelled either to abandon the service 
altogether, or to accept a much smaller subsidy than they had 





hitherto received for carrying the mails. They adopted the 
latter alternative, and undertook the conveyance of the West 
India mails for an annual payment of 84,750 'being about 
one-third of the amount of the first subsidy. The company in 
addition received the sum of 2,000 per annum to cover the 
cost of the steamers calling at Plymouth to land the mails 
instead of carrying them on to Southampton, the final port of 

On and from the 1st of January, 1875, the mails were carried on 
an entirely fresh basis. The contract with the Government 
was for a service twice a month from Southampton : payment 
to be according to the weight of postal matter conveyed by the 
steamers, and the contract was terminable by six months' notice 
given by either party to the contract. 

Although on the North Atlantic screw steamers had been 
employed in rapidly increasing numbers since 1850, it was not 
until twenty years later that the Directors of the Royal Mail 
Steam Packet Co. substituted screw steamers for paddle-wheel 
steam packets in their service. 

The first fleet of the Company consisted of vessels built of 
wood, but so indeed were the pioneer steamers of the Cunard, 
P. & 0., and other historical steamship companies. The course 
taken by the Company's vessels was free from the dangers from 
ice and fogs, such as are encountered by steamers engaged in 
the North Atlantic trades, yet during the first eight years of 
the Company's operations it lost no fewer than six of its 
steamers. The Isis struck on a reef off the coast of Bermuda 
and sank on the 8th October, 1842. The SOLWAY was lost 20 
miles west of Corunna on the 15th April, 1843. The MEDINA 
was wrecked on a coral reef near Turk's Island on the 12th 
May, 1844. The TWEED was totally lost on the 12th February, 
1847 ; and in 1849, the FORTH was wrecked on the same reefs 
that had caused the destruction of the TWEED. The ACTION 
was lost in 1850 on a shoal near Carthagena ; and in 1852 there 
was lost by fire the AMAZON. 

An event occurred on the 8th November, 1861, which 
occasioned considerable public excitement, both in Great 
Britain and in the U.S.A. It was during the struggle between 




9&*-~ " ifF 


the Northern and Southern States, and two of the Commis- 
sioners of the Confederate States were forcibly removed from 
the lloyal Mail steamer TRENT, while on their way to Europe, 
by the officers and crew of the Federal man-of-war SAN 
JACINTO. This high-handed action, w^hich was not repudiated 
by the Federal Government, was inexcusable, and the tone 
adopted by a great portion of the press of the Northern States 
was ludicrous, and unworthy of a great people. 

In 1871 there was launched from the yard of Messrs. John 
Elder & Co. two splendid screw steamers to the order of the 
Royal Mail Co. These steamers were the TAGUS and the 
MOZELLE, both steamers being 8,252 tons gross register and 
000 nominal horse-power. On her official trial trip the TAGUS 
attained an average mean speed of 14*878 knots per hour, a 
result which was sliglitly surpassed by her sister ship the 
MOZELLE, the average mean speed of the latter on her trial trip 
being 14'929 knots per hour. 

At the same time Messrs. Elder & Co. effected an extra- 
ordinary improvement in the TASMANIAIV, an iron screw 
steamer the Royal Mail Co. had purchased from the unfor- 
tunate European and Australian Steam Navigation Co. This 
vessel was fitted with compound engines, and on her first 
voyage afterwards from Southampton to St. Thomas, occupying 
14 days 2 hours, she consumed 400 tons of coal, against her 
former consumption of 1,088 tons on a voyage occupying 14 
days 13 hours. 

Since that date all the additions to the Company's fleet have 
been screw steamers, and it now (1903) consists of 22 ocean 
steamers, with a gross tonnage of 87,855 tons, in addition to 
9 coast steamers employed as feeders to the mail services. 

In the first year of the present century, Messrs. Elder, 
Dempster & Co. established a service of mail steamers between 
Bristol and Jamaica. A detailed account of this service, which 
is known as the Imperial Direct West India Mail Service, 
Limited, will be found in the second part of this volume. 



International rivalry in the Transatlantic. The Collins Line and the 

Cunard Co. 

FOR upwards of nine years Great Britain had held a monopoly 
of the- transatlantic steamship business. America could and 
did build sailing vessels that were unsurpassed by those 
belonging to any other nation ; her Baltimore clippers, Boston 
packets, and New York liners were all of them vessels of the 
highest class and reputation. But apparently Americans could 
neither build, nor own ocean steamers that w T ere capable of 
successfully competing with British owned steamships. At 
least, it is a matter of history that from 1888 to 1847 all the 
steamships that crossed the North Atlantic sailed under the 
British flag, with one exception. 

On the 15th September, 1845, Messrs. Forbes & Co. 
despatched from New York their auxiliary steamship MASSA- 
CHUSETTS. She was practically a full-rigged ship, 751 tons 
O.M., fitted with an engine of 170 horse-power. This engine 
had two cylinders each 3 feet stroke and 20 inches diameter. 
Steam was generated in two kk waggon boilers," each 14 feet 
long, 7 feet wide and 9 feet high. Her propeller was made of 
composition metal, and could be raised out of the water when 
not required. Her engine room, boilers, bunkers, &c., were 
situated in the lower after hold, and occupied a space equal to 
one-tenth of the cubic capacity of the ship. Her engines were 
capable of driving her in smooth water at the rate of about S 
knots per hour, on a consumption of 9 tons anthracite coal per 
24 hours. The length of the MASSACHUSETTS was 101 feet, her 
beam 31 feet 9 inches, and her depth of hold 20 feet. She had 
a full poop, extending to the mainmast (and consequently 
forward of the funnel), in which there was accommodation for 
35 first-class passengers. Her entire cost with machinery com- 


plete in all respects was 16,000. She made two round 
voyages between New York and Liverpool, and in June, 1846, 
was chartered to the U.S. Government to carry troops to the 
Gulf of Mexico. The Government were so well pleased with 
her that they afterwards purchased her, and she took part in 
the siege of Yera Cruz. Subsequently her name was changed 
to the FARRALONES, and she continued in the U.S. Navy until 
about 1870, when she was again sold. Her new owners 
removed her machinery and renamed her the ALASKA. 

Obviously the MASSACHUSETTS was not intended to compete 
against full-powered ocean steamships, and it was not until 
1847 that the first American line of steamers to Europe was 
established. This was a line of steamships to run between New 
York and Bremen, calling at Southampton. The pioneer 
steamer of the line, the WASHINGTON, sailed on her first voyage 
from New York for Southampton on the same day (June, 
1847) that the BRITANNIA, belonging to the Cunard Company, 
sailed for Liverpool. This was the first ocean race between 
American and British steamships. Theoretically the American 
steamer was incomparably superior to the other. She was 
much larger and had double the power; she was new, while 
her rival had been buffeted by the Atlantic billows for seven 
years. Quoth the editor of the New York Herald " : " We 
have to say that if the BRITANNIA beats the WASHINGTON over 
(and they both, we understand, start the same day), she will 
have to run by the deep mines, and put in more coal." The 
BRITANNIA did not 4< run by the deep mines and put in more 
coal," but she won the race by two full days. 

Great pressure was subsequently brought to bear on Congress 
in order to obtain a subsidy for an American mail service to 
Great Britain. Those in favour of the subsidy argued that it 
was humiliating) to their pride as a great maritime people, that 
foreigners and commercial rivals should wrest from them the 
virtual monopoly of ocean steam conveyance, especially 
between the United States and Europe, and they complained 
that the ocean mails along their southern coasts had been 
placed in the hands of foreign carriers, sustained and protected 
by the British Government under the forms of contract to 




carry the British mails; while the Cunard Line, between 
Liverpool and Boston, via Halifax, constituted the only 
medium of regular steam navigation between the United 
States and Europe. 

It may be appropriate to state here, that in addition to 
carrying the British mails from Liverpool to North America, 
the Cunard Company, early in 1850, obtained a contract from 
the British Government for the conveyance of the mails 
between Halifax, New York and Bermuda. The steam packets 
employed in this service were the ALPHA, BETA and DELTA, 
small vessels each of 850 tons and 80 horse-power, and fitted 
with a proper space for mounting an 18-pounder pivot gun. 
The arrangements for carrying on the service were as follows : 
Twenty-four hours after the arrival of the packet from 
Liverpool, one of these vessels left Halifax for Bermuda ; at 
the same time another left for St. John's, while the third con- 
veyed the mails monthly between Bermuda and New York. 
The payment for these services amounted to 10,600 per 
annum, equal to 8s. per mile, while on the main line it was 
11s. 4d. per mile. The following year the British Government 
made another contract with the Cunard Company for a monthly 
conveyance each way of the mails between Bermuda and St. 
Thomas, upon such days as might be fixed by the Admiralty, 
the one vessel engaged in it being in all respects similar to 
those engaged in the Halifax and Bermuda service. The 
amount of subsidy was 4,100 per annum, or equal to 4s. per 
mile. This service connected the West Indies with the United 
States and the North American provinces. 

Following the example of the British Government, the 
United States Congress resolved to subsidise a line of American 
steamships between New York and Liverpool. The steamers 
were to be of the highest class, possessing great speed and 
superior passenger accommodation, and capable, besides, of 
being converted at a small expense into war steamers. The 
responsible task of establishing the line was undertaken by 
Mr. E. K. Collins, of New York, after whom the line was 
named. Mr. Collins had had considerable experience as a 
shipowner, being well-known as the head of the Collins Line of 



sailing packets between Liverpool and New York. Associated 
with Mr. Collins in his later enterprise were many influential 
American citizens, and their proposals were favourably received 
by the American Government, and ultimately an agreement 
was entered into, by which Mr. Collins and his colleagues 
undertook to provide five first-class steam vessels and to main- 
tain a weekly mail service between New York and Liverpool, 
each vessel performing twenty voyages annually, for which 
service they were to receive $19,250 per voyage. It is evident 
that the United States Government were prepared to pay most 
liberally for the performance of the ocean mail service. At 
par the subsidy represented 4,010 8s. 4d. per voyage. Assured 
of this substantial income, Mr. Collins sought the assistance of 
the most competent shipbuilders and engineers of the United 
States, and on the completion of the contract, arrangements 
were entered into for the construction of four vessels, to be 
named the ARCTIC, BALTIC, ATLANTIC and PACIFIC, each to be 
about 3,000 tons register and of 800 horse-power. The prin- 
cipal dimensions of these celebrated steamers were Length on 
main deck, 282 feet ; depth from the main deck, 24 feet ; depth 
under the spar deck, 32 feet ; breadth of beam, 45 feet. They 
had rounded sterns, three masts with suitable spars ; four 
decks, viz., lower, main, spar, and orlop deck, extending from 
the engine room forward and aft. They were built chiefly of 
live oak, planked with pitchpine, and were equal, if not 
superior, in strength to any wooden steamers afloat. The 
tim'bers, which were solid and bolted to each other, were 
further strengthened by a lattice work of iron bands. All the 
four steamers were beautiful models, and the ARCTIC, which 
was esteemed the finest of the fleet, was familiarly known as 
the " clipper of the seas." She was built by Mr. W. H. Brown, 
of New York, under the superintendence of Mr. George Steers, 
who modelled the famous yacht America. Her equipment was 
complete, and of the highest order, while her cabin accommo- 
dation surpassed in comfort and elegance any merchant steamer 
Great Britain then possessed. The engines of the ARCTIC and 
her sister ships were of the " side-lever " type, the cylinder 
having a diameter of 95 inches, with a 9 feet stroke. The 


boilers of the ARCTIC and BALTIC were peculiar to the Collins 
Line, and were designed by Messrs. Sewell and Faron, chief 
engineers of the United States Navy. The latter of these two 
gentlemen acted as chief engineer of the Company. The 
boilers were arranged with double furnaces, and lower water 
spaces connected by a row of vertical tubes, around which the 
heated gases circulated, with a hanging bridge or plate, which 
checked their otherwise rapid flow to the funnel, and rendered 
the combustion more perfect. The average consumption per 
24 hours by the ARCTIC was 83 tons anthracite coal, attaining 
an average speed of 316*4 knots per day. Her maximum con- 
sumption was 87 tons, with a speed of 320 knots in 24 hours. 

These vessels were constructed so utterly regardless of 
expense that to complete them it was found the cost would be 
very greatly in excess of the estimates. The Government was 
therefore appealed to for assistance. The appeal was generously 
responded to. The United States Government not only made 
an advance to the Company while the ships were being built, 
but also released it from its obligation to build a fifth vessel as 
originally contemplated, and increased the subsidy from 
$19,250 to $33,000 per voyage. But for these benefits increased 
speed was demanded. " We must have speed," declared Mr. 
Bayard, during the debate in Congress, " extraordinary speed 
a speed with which they (the Collins steamships) can overtake 
any vessel which they pursue, and escape from any vessel they 
wish to avoid ; they must be fit for the purpose of a cruiser, 
with armaments to attack your enemy (if that enemy were 
Great Britain) in her most vital part, her commerce." Happily 
the contest was a commercial and not a national one, and the 
Collins steamers were never required for the purposes of Mr. 
Bayard's hypothesis. They did, however, engage (and for a time 
with apparent success) in a great contest with the Cunard 
Company for the commercial maritime supremacy of the 

The ATLANTIC, the first of the Collins Line of steamers to 
cross the ocean, arrived at Liverpool on the 10th May, 1850. 
The breadth of beam of this vessel and her sister ships was so 
great that they were unalble to enter any existing docks at 



Liverpool, and a dock at the north end of the port was con- 
structed specially for their accommodation. The arrival of the 
ATLANTIC excited very great interest, which was increased 
rather than lessened by the presence at Liverpool of the ASIA 
E.M.S., just built for the Cunard Line, and which left for New 
York on the following Saturday week. 

The following description* of the interior decorations of the 
ATLANTIC may be taken as a general description of the whole of 
the Collins steamers, and will be read with interest: 

Her saloon is 67 feet long by 20 feet wide. Her interior 
fittings are truly elegant, the woodwork being of white holly, 
satinwood, rosewood, &c., so combined and diversified as to 
present an exceedingly rich and costly appearance. In the 
drawing room the ornaments consist of costly mirrors, bronze- 
work, stained glass, paintings, &c. Between the panels con- 
necting the staterooms are the arms of the different states of 
the confederacy painted in the highest style of art, and framed 
with bronze-work. The pillars between are inlaid with 
mirrors, framed with rosewood, and at the top and bottom are 
bronzed sea-shells of costly workmanship. In the centre of 
each are allegorical figures representing the ocean mythology 
of the ancients, in bronze and burnished gold. The ceiling is 
elaborately wrought, carved and gilded. The cabin windows 
in the stern are of painted glass, having representations of New 
York, Boston and Philadelphia painted on each. There is in 
addition another apartment equally beautifully arranged and 
ornamented, for the exclusive use of ladies. Both apartments 
are heated by steam, an improvement now for the first time 
introduced in steamships. The dining room (60 feet long) is 
furnished in an equally elegant style with the drawing room. 
The staterooms, which are light and airy, are beautifully fur- 
nished and ornamented, and combine every convenience that 
practical science and experience could suggest. It would 
occupy more space than can be spared to detail the magnifi- 
cence of the furniture of the ATLANTIC ; the carpets are of the 
richest description; the table-slabs are of Brocatelli marble. 

* " Illustrated London News," 18th May, 1850, 


Each stateroom has an elegant sofa; the berths are of satin- 
wood, and the curtains of rich damask. 

The ATLANTIC left New York on the 27th April, 1850, with 
nearly a hundred passengers, and a valuable cargo, under the 
command of Captain West. Shortly after leaving Sandy Hook 
she got entangled amongst some drift ice, which did consider- 
able damage to her floats. This mishap was a serious draw- 
back to her, inasmuch as the engines had to be worked at a 
reduced rate to prevent the floats from being torn from the 
wheels altogether, and the weather was too boisterous to admit 
of them being repaired. During the five succeeding days, the 
noble vessel continued to prosecute her voyage to the satisfac- 
tion of her captain and all on board. On the 3rd May, how- 
ever, an accident of a more formidable nature occurred, one of 
her condensers giving way. After a fruitless attempt to adjust 
the machinery, the vessel having been hove to forty hours, 
Captain West decided to pursue his course, the steam being 
kept at a low point in consequence, which considerably retarded 
the vessel's progress during the remainder of her passage. 

The American steamers were swifter than their British 
rivals, and for a few years were the favourites with the 
travelling public. According to a return published in the 
" New York Herald " on the 1st January, 1853, the number of 
passengers carried during the eleven months January to 
November (inclusive), 1852, were: 

By Collins Line, New York to Liverpool 2,420 

,, Cunard Line do. do. 1,783 

,, Collins Line, Liverpool to New York 1,880 

,, Cunard Line do. do. 1,186 

It will be noticed that the majority of passengers carried 
were from New York to Liverpool, the explanation of this 
unusual 'circumstance being that it was at the time of the great 
rush to the Australian goldfields, when it was no uncommon 
thing for a Melbourne packet to sail from the Mersey with 
from five to six 'hundred passengers. Nor were the receipts 
from passage money the only source of revenue available for 
the Collins steamers. They were loyally supported by Ameri- 
can shippers and importers, and the receipts from freight were 



large, although the rate on fine goods had been lowered from 
7 10s. to <4 per ton. 

Notwithstanding the large income derived from these 
sources, the service was only maintained for a period of about 
ten years. The heavy disbursements and the numerous casual- 
ties which befell the steamers, especially the loss of the ARCTIC 
(as narrated in the following chapter) and of the PACIFIC, with 
all on board, led to the collapse of the company. 




The Loss of the Collins Liner ABCTIC. 

ON Wednesday, 27th September, 1854, about noon Cape 
Race bearing S.W. by W., 65 miles distant the steamship 
ARCTIC, on her passage from Liverpool to Xew York, while 
running through a very thick fog, was struck on the starboard 
bow about 60 feet abaft the cutwater by an iron steamer. 
The force of the impact made three large holes in the ARCTIC 
two below the watermark, one of which was about 5^ feet in 
length and about 1^ feet broad. The fog was so dense that 
neither vessel saw the other a minute before they collided. 

The passengers on the ARCTIC were at lunch when their 
vessel was struck, and they immediately rushed 011 deck. 
Through the dense fogi could be seen very indistinctly on the 
starboard bow a screw steamer, which was afterwards found 
to be the French merchant steamer VESTA. No apprehension 
of danger was felt by those on board the ARCTIC, and a boat in 
charge of the chief officer was sent off to the rescue of the 
passengers and crew of the other steamer. On board of the 
VESTA no hope was entertained of her ultimate safety, the 
crew and passengers relying upon being taken oft' by the crew 
of the ARCTIC. When the collision occurred there were 
several men on the bow of the VESTA, presumably 011 the look- 
out, one of whom was killed and the others severely wounded. 
As it was feared that the steamer was sinking, a rush was 
made for the boats, and two were launched. The first boat 
was swamped, but the second boat floated, and was at once 
boarded by several of the passengers and two of the crew, who, 
ignoring the captain's orders to return on board, cut them- 
selves adrift, and abandoned their shipmates. While these 
occurrences were taking place on the deck of the VESTA the 
ARCTIC had disappeared in the fog, those 011 the VESTA still 
hoping, however, that she had not deserted them. Meantime, 


the officers on board the ARCTIC had discovered that there was 
little hope of saving their vessel. Mrs. Collins, the wife of 
the managing owner, with their daughter and son, were 
passengers, and the captain's first thought was for their 
safety. They and several ladies were placed in a lifeboat, but 
while it was being lowered one of its tackles gave way, and 
all, with the exception of one lady who clung to a sailor 
holding fast to the boat, were cast into the sea and drowned. 
A second boat was lowered successfully, and stored with 
provisions. It was soon filled with passengers ladies and 
gentlemen but by a strange oversight 011 the part of the 
officer in charge none of the crew accompanied them. 

The difficulty and danger of lowering the boats was greatly 
increased in consequence of the impossibility of stopping the 
ship for that purpose, the pumps having been attached to the 
main engines in the attempt to keep the vessel clear of water, 
which was pouring into her through the breaches in her side. 
Cape llace being within about four hours steaming distance, 
she was headed in that direction, but after running about 
fifteen miles the water had risen so high in the stoke-hole as 
to extinguish the fires, and, in consequence, the engines 
ceased to work. Almost immediately after the ship stopped, 
the remaining lifeboats left the ship. There was one large 
boat on deck, which was capable of carrying fifty persons, but 
there were not sufficient seamen left on board to launch her, 
and it is supposed that she was filled with passengers in the 
hope that she might float off when the steamer sank. 

In the Annual Register for 1854, it is stated that Captain 
Luce and most of his officers exerted themselves with firmness 
and energy while a hope remained, and the former probably 
owed his life to his remaining at his post. When his steamer 
sank he clung first to some floating wood, and afterwards got 
on a floating paddlebox, on which eleven others had taken 
refuge, of whom nine were swept away by the sea, the three 
survivors being rescued by the CAMBRIA, of Glasgow. The 
captain's son was killed in his father's arms by a piece of 

The conduct of Captain Duchesne, of the YESTA, was most 
praiseworthy. Finding that the ARCTIC had disappeared in 



the fog, and that his own vessel had not sunk under him, he, 
with the utmost promptitude, took measures for saving his 
ship and passengers. He noticed that, although the steamer's 
bows were completely shattered, the forecastle bulkhead had 
not given way, and this afforded some hope of safety. He at 
once gave orders to lighten the vessel by the head, by 
throwing overboard all the fish, cargo, passengers' luggage, 
&c., which was in the forepart of the ship, all of which orders 
were promptly obeyed, and by means of which the vessel's 
bows were raised considerably. Her head was raised still 
more by cutting away the foremast, which had been damaged 
by the collision. The captain next ordered about 150 
mattresses, palliasses and other effects belonging to the crew 
and passengers to be placed abaft the forecastle bulkhead, 
over which were thrown sails, backed by boards and planks, 
the whole being secured by cables firmly wrapped round all. 

These operations occupied two days, after which Captain 
Duchesne proceeded under easy steam for the nearest port 
(St. John's), which was entered on the 30th September. Most 
providentially, considering the disabled condition of the 
VESTA, she entered the harbour of St. John's before the rising 
of a severe gale, which sprang up on the same day. The 
energy, unwavering perseverance, and superior seamanship 
exhibited by Captain Duchesne in bringing his vessel into 
port, elicited the admiration and praise of all who visited the 

The American Consul at St. John's made every exertion to 
procure vessels to go at once in search of the ARCTIC or her 
boats. He succeeded in obtaining the brigantine ANN ELIZA, 
whose owners (Messrs. Warren Bros.) generously gave her 
without charge. She sailed from St. John's on the 2nd 
October, with instructions to cruise in the vicinity of the 
catastrophe for three days. 

The Right Rev. Dr. Field also promptly placed at the dis- 
posal of the American Consul his yacht, the HAWK, for the 
same purpose. 

The last moments of the ARCTIC are thus graphically 
described* by Mr. Baahlam, the second officer of the 

steamer : 

* " Illustrated London News," 21st October, 1854. 


" 111 about thirty minutes all the lower fires were out, 
" and, at the least, there were six feet of water in the 
" ship fore and aft. By this time the confusion amongst 
" the passengers was very great, but thev used all efforts 
" to assist the crew to keep the pumps going, and in 
" lightening the ship forward for the purpose of getting 
" at the leak from the inside, which we found to be use- 
" less, and numbers of them got into the boats, which 
" were still hanging to the davits. In forty-five minutes 
" after the collision I came up from the forehold, and 
" informed the captain that the water was on a level with 
" the lower deck beams, and that it was impossible to get 
" at the leak. I then asked him what he thought would 
" be the probable fate of the ship, when he stated his 
" belief to me that there was 110 hope of saving her. He 
" then told me to see to my boats. On going to those on 
" the port side I found them completely filled with men 
" and women, and no possibility of getting near them. 
" I immediately went to the starboard side and ordered 
" two of the crew to lower the guard boat, and asked the 
" captain what his intentions were, who replied that the 
" ship's fate would be his. I then asked him if he would 
" not allow his son to go with me, as I intended to take a 
" boat, but he returned me the answer that he should 
" share his fate. I then jumped into the boat, and was 
" ordered by the captain to cut away the tackle falls, and 
"drop under the stern. I did so; at which time about 
" twenty persons, as I suppose, jumped overboard, of 
" whom seventeen or eighteen were picked up. I fell in 
" with another boat which had been lowered from the 
" other side, and lightened her of part of her complement, 
" leaving nineteen in her, and twenty-six in my own boat. 
" The last sight we had of the ship her guards were level 
" with the water, and the surface of the sea strewed with 
" human beings, who had jumped or fallen overboard 
" to whom, however, it was impossible for us to render 
" any assistance ; and we soon lost sight of all, as the fog 
" continued very dense. I then asked the boat's crew 
" whether they were willing to be governed by me, which 




41 was unanimously approved, and I was put in complete 
" command of both boats. 

" We were then about sixty miles S.E. of Cape Race. 
" Deeming it my duty, for the safety of all, I took the 
" nearest course for the land, and, after pulling forty-two 
" hours, with nothing to guide us but the run of the sea, 
" which I took to be heaving from the southward, and in 
" a thick fog which lasted all the time, we reached Broad 
" Cove, some twelve miles North of Cape Race." 
The ARCTIC, when she sailed from Liverpool on this ill- 
fated voyage, had 365 souls on board, of whom only 87 were 
saved. The hull, machinery, and equipment of this steam- 
ship were insured for 115,000, as follows: Underwritten in 
the United States, 55,000; in London, 40,000; and in 
Glasgow, 20,000. 

The VESTA, which sailed from St. Peter's the day previous 
to the collision, had 197 persons 011 board, viz., a crew of 50 
men and 147 pasengers ; of these 13 were reported missing 
when she arrived at St. John's. 



Steamship Companies of the past. Inmaii Line. National Line. Guion 
Line. Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Co. 

IN the early spring of 1850 Messrs. Tod and MacGregor, iron 
shipbuilders and engineers, Glasgow, launched the iron screw 
steamer CITY OF GLASGOW, a vessel of 1,600 tons and 350 horse- 
power. During the spring and summer of that year she made 
several voyages between Glasgow and New York, but in the 
latter part of the year she was purchased by the Liverpool, New 
York and Philadelphia Steamship Company, and sailed from 
Liverpool to Philadelphia on the 17th December, 1850. This 
vessel was the pioneer of what is better known as the " Inman " 
Line. This ill-fated vessel left port on 1st March, 1854, with 
four hundred and eighty persons 011 board, and was never again 
heard of. In 1851 the Inman Company purchased the steam- 
ship CITY OF MANCHESTER, built also by Tod & MacGregor. 
Her registered tonnage was 2,125 tons ; her length 274 feet, 
and her breadth 38 feet. She had a clipper bow and bowsprit, 
four masts square rigged on the fore and main masts, with her 
funnel between the main and mizzen masts. Other iron screw 
steamers, all having the beautiful clipper bow for which this 
line was noted, were quickly added to the fleet, comprising the 

During the first five years of its existence, the Inman Com- 
pany maintained a fortnightly service between Liverpool and 
Philadelphia, but in 1857 it enlarged the area of its operations 
by making New York one of its ports of arrival and by estab- 


listing a fortnightly line thither. On the collapse of the 
Collins Line, Mr. Inman at once assumed their dates of sailing, 
and increased the service to once a week, and was appointed 
to carry the United States mails between England and 
America. Nor were the Inman steamers, though screws, less 
swift than their predecessors. Their later steamers far sur- 
passed the swiftest steamers of the Collins Line, and one of 
these, the CITY OF PARIS, in 1869 conveyed H.E.H. Prince 
Arthur to America in six days twenty-one hours, the quickest 
passage (up to that date) ever made to any port of the New 
World from Cork. 

Mr. Inman specially directed his attention to the conveyance 
of emigrant passengers across the Atlantic, and he and Mrs. 
Inman, greatly to their credit, made a voyage in one of their 
earliest emigrant steamers, expressly for the purpose of 
ameliorating the discomforts and evils hitherto but too common 
in emigrant ships. The following table shows how successful 
he was in catering for the emigrant passenger trade: 



IN 1870: 




... 3,635 ... 

... 2,442 ... 
... 1,637 ... 


... 44,100 
... 35,736 
... 28,569 
... 25,041 








Of the vessels named in the preceding page the CITY OF 
WASHINGTON and CITY OF BOSTON met with the sad fate that 
overtook the PRESIDENT and the PACIFIC. They sailed, but 
never reached the desired haven, and in course of time were 
posted " missing," Two of them, the CITY OF LONDON and the 
CITY OF LIMERICK, were sold to Messrs. W. H. Eoss & Co., and 
sailed for some time between London and New York. The 
CITY OF ANTWERP was purchased by Messrs. William Johnston 
and Co., who changed her name to THANEMORE and employed 
her for several years in their Liverpool and Baltimore trade. 
By a strange fatality, each of the three steamers last named, 
sailed from its respective port and was never afterwards heard 


of. The first two disappeared in 1881, and the third in 1890. 
The CITY OF RICHMOND was sold to a firm who were the first to 
employ ocean liners for ocean pleasure cruising, and for two or 
three summers she sailed from Newcastle to the Norwegian 

Upon the death of Mr. William Inman, which occurred in 
1881, the management of the line was taken over by Messrs. 
Richardson, Spence & Co. Since then it has undergone 
several changes. Its title of Inman Line was discontinued, 
and that of " American " Line adopted, and its British head- 
quarters transferred from Liverpool to Southampton. It is 
now (1903) one of the group of Atlantic steamship companies 
included in the " Morgan " combine. 

In 1863, a number of Liverpool merchants and shipowners, 
anticipating a large trade would arise between this country and 
the Confederate States of North America on the termination 
of the civil war then raging, formed themselves into a com- 
pany under the title of the National Steam Navigation Co., 
with a capital of 700,000. It was the intention of the pro- 
moters of the company to establish a regular service of first- 
class steamships between Liverpool and the Southern States. 
The requisite capital was quickly subscribed, and three steam- 
ships were promptly acquired ; but, alas ! the hoped-for peace 
did not arrive as soon as the promoters anticipated. Under 
these circumstances the Directors decided to enter into compe- 
tition with the Cunard and Inman Companies for a share of 
the passenger and goods trade to and from the Northern States. 
The pioneer vessel of the new company was the LOUISIANA, 
which vessel sailed on her maiden voyage from Liver- 
pool to New York in the year 1863. She was followed 
by the VIRGINIA and the PENNSYLVANIA, each of these vessels 
being between 3,000 and 3,500 gross tonnage, and consequently 
they were the largest cargo carriers afloat at that time. 
During the following year (1864) three new steamers of still 
larger tonnage were added to the fleet. These were named 
respectively THE QUEEN, ERIN and HELVETIA. So successful 
were these vessels that twelve months later (1865) two more 
steamers were built for the Company, viz., the ENGLAND and 



DENMARK, both of 3,723 tons gross, and these were followed in 
1866 by the FRANCE, a vessel of about the same tonnage. 

A great advance in the size of the Company's steamers was 
made in 1868, when the ITALY, a steamer of 4,300 tons, was 
placed on the line. Not only was the ITALY the largest trans- 
atlantic liner at that date, but she was also the first in which 
compound engines were fitted. A somewhat smaller steam- 
ship, the HOLLAND, of 3,847 tons gross, was built in 1869. 
The following year two very large and powerful vessels were 
added to the fleet. These were the EGYPT, of 4,669 tons gross, 
and the SPAIN, of 4,512 tons ; both steamers were built on the 
Mersey, the former by the Liverpool Shipbuilding Co., and 
the latter by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead. 

The Company now possessed a sufficiently large fleet to 
maintain a regular weekly service between Liverpool and New 
York, sailing from Liverpool every Wednesday, and from New 
York every Saturday ; and a fortnightly service from London 
to New York, via Havre. 

The steamships of this line were good, roomy, comfortable 
boats, with lofty 'tween decks. They carried immense cargoes 
of cotton, grain, provisions, and other American produce from 
the LTnited States to Great Britain, and though they could not 
compare with the Cunard or Inman liners in the elegance of 
the accommodation provided for saloon passengers, yet they 
were well adapted for the conveyance of emigrants, of whom 
they carried large numbers. As they did not specially cater 
for saloon passengers, and carried no mails, they were not 
driven at the high raite of speed maintained by the premier 
transatlantic steamship companies. It is true that for a time 
the National Line held the " Blue Ribbon " of the Atlantic, 
but this honourable position was held for a very short time 
only, and the vessel by which it was gained was sold to the 
Italian Government. The steamer referred to was the 
AMERICA, built and engined by Messrs. J. & G. Thomson, 
Glasgow, in 1883. Her gross tonnage was 5,528 tons, with 
compound engines of 1,064 horse-power nominal. Her length 
was 441 feet 8 inches ; breadth, 51 feet 2 inches ; and her 
depth 36 feet. 


In les than twelve months from the date of her launch, she 
was purchased by the Italian Government, by whom she was 
equipped as an armed cruiser, and renamed ITALIA. Prior to 
the construction of the AMERICA, the Company had increased 
its fleet by -the 'addition of the steamers GREECE and CANADA. 
On the 31st December, 1889, the ERIN sailed with seventy-two 
persons on board, and disappeared without leaving a trace. 

After trading successfully for a number of years, the National 
Steamship Company got into financial difficulties. Its vessels 
were dispersed ; the Liverpool service to New York was 
abandoned, and only that from London retained. When the 
nineteenth century closed the only steamers sailing under its 
flag were the AMERICA, EUROPE and MANHATTAN. These three 
steamers are built of steel, and each carries four masts. They 
are all driven by triple-expansion engines, and the last-named 
vessel is a twin-screw steamer. The respective measurements 
are as follows : 

AMERICA, 5,158 tons gross, built and engined by Gourlay 
Brothers & Co., Dundee, in 1891, is 435 feet long, 46 feet 
3 inches broad, and 25 feet 2 inches deep, with engines of 
516 nominal horse-power. 

EUROPE, 5,302 tons gross, built and engined by Palmers, 
Limited, Newcastle, in 1891, is 435 feet long, 46 feet 4 inches 
broad, and 25 feet 2 inches deep, with engines of 545 nominal 

MANHATTAN, 8,004 tons gross, built and engined by Harland 
and Wolff, Belfast, in 1898, is 490 feet 5 inches long, 56 feet 
3 inches broad, and 25 feet deep, with engines of 478 nominal 

The National Line, like the Inman Line, has now been 
absorbed by the American combine. 

For several years prior to 1863, Mr. Stephen B. Guion, of 
New York, had established a line of clipper ships between that 
port and Liverpool. Finding it impossible to contend against 
screw steamers in the ocean trade, he entered (in the year 
named) into an arrangement to supply, through his old connec- 
tions and agents in America, the Cunard and National Com- 
panies with steerage passengers and cargo for their steamers. 


This arrangement held good until 1866, when Mr. Guibn, in 
co-partnery with others, formed a steamship company whose 
official title was " The Liverpool and Great Western Steamship 
Co.," but which was popularly known as the Guion Line. The 
first steamer of the new line was the iron screw steamer 
MANHATTAN, which sailed from Liverpool to New York in 
August, 1866. This steamer was still afloat in 1903, being 
then the property of Messrs. W. H. Eoss & Co., by whom she 
was renamed the CITY OF LINCOLN. The fleet of the Guion 
Line was speedily sufficiently numerous to maintain a regular 
weekly service from Liverpool to New York, and within six 
years of the formation of the Company it possessed eight first- 
class iron screw steamships, each of about 3,000 tons burthen. 
They were named after the Western States of America, viz., 
3,500 tons, was added to the fleet, which was further increased 
in 1875 by the addition of the DAKOTA. 

None of the vessels named had distinguished themselves by 
their extraordinary speed ; but in 1879 there was built for the 
Guion Line, by the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company, the 
steamer ARIZONA. She was an entirely new type of vessel. 
The older ships, though differing in their models, might be 
described generally as brig rigged screw steamers carrying a 
single funnel amidships, and having their saloons aft. The 
ARIZONA carried four masts, of which the fore and main were 
square rigged, and two funnels between the main and mizzen 
masts. The saloon was situated amidships, and was superbly 
furnished. The length of the ARIZONA was 450 feet, her 
breadth 45 feet, and her depth 35 feet. She sailed on her first 
voyage from Liverpool to New York on the 31st May, 1879, 
and is at the present date (1903) employed as a troopship by 
the U.S. Government, her name having been changed to the 

A sister vessel to the ARIZONA was built by the same builders 
in 1881. She was larger and more powerful than the A HI/ON A, 
and increased the reputation for speed which that steamer had 
created. The ALASKA left Liverpool on her maiden voyage on 


the 29th October, 1881. On the 12th September, 1882, she 
sailed from New York, and completed her voyage to Queens- 
town in 6 days 18 hours and 38 minutes. This rapid passagie 
was, however, excelled by the same Company's steamer 
OREGON, which sailed from Liverpool to New York on the 6t'h 
October, 1883, and made the passage from Queenstown to 
Sandy Hook in 6 days 10 hours and 9 minutes. The OREGON 
was also built and engined by the Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. 
She was 501 feet long, 54 feet 2 inches broad, and 38 feet deep. 
Her gross tonnage was 7,375 tons ; and her engines developed 
13,500 horse-power, giving a speed of 18 knots per hour. Her 
career was a brief but brilliant one. Built in 1883, she sank 
after a collision with an American schooner on the llth March, 
in 1886. 

These three celebrated steamers, the ALASKA, ARIZONA and 
OREGON were popularly known as the " Greyhounds of the 
Atlantic." As has been stated, the OREGON was lost after 
collision, the ARIZONA is still afloat, and the ALASKA was sold 
in 1902 for the purpose of brea'king up. After the decease of 
^fr. S. B. Guion, which occurred on the 19th December, 1885, 
the steamers of the fleet were gradually disposed of to various 
purchasers. The firm, however, of Guion & Co. is still in 
existence, as passenger agents, the business being carried on by 
Mr. Frank Eamsden and Mr. I. 0. Roberts. 

The Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Company, better 
known as the kk Galway Line," was established by a number of 
English and Irish gentlemen, who in January, 1859, proposed 
to the British Government to carry H.M. mails from Galway 
to Portland, Boston, or New York, via St. John's, Newfound- 
land, or otherwise, for the sum of 3,000 on the round voyage. 
They further offered " to convey telegraphic messages from the 
United Kingdom to British North America and the United 
States in six days, casualties excepted." As the Atlantic cable 
was not then in existence, the Government was favourably 
disposed to the scheme, and on the 21st April, 1859, a contract 
was entered into with the said company, based on the terms of 
the proposals made to the Government. 

On the 10th June following, the Royal Atlantic Steam Navi- 


gation Company contracted with Messrs. Palmer, of Newcastle, 
for the construction of two steamships, the cost of each to be 
95,000; and five days later (15th June) they concluded a 
similar contract with Messrs. Samuelson, of Hull, for two 
steamships, to cost 97,000 each. As the date of the commence- 
ment of the postal service, according to the Government con- 
tract, was fixed for June, I860, the contract with the builders 
stipulated for delivery of the vessels within eleven months from 
the date of the agreement. It was also a condition of the 
contracts, that the ships were to be built according to lines, 
plans, and specifications approved by the Admiralty. The four 
steamships referred to were almost uniform in model, measure- 
ment and equipment. Each measured about 2,800 tons, with 
engines of about 850 nominal horse-power. Their principal 
dimensions were Length 360 feet, beam 40 feet, and depth of 
hold 32 feet. Those built by Messrs. Palmer were named 
CONNAUGHT and HIBERNIA, and those by Messrs. Samuelson, 
COLUMBIA and ANGLIA. A clause in the Company's contract 
with the builders specified " that each of the said vessels 
when completed was, on a fair and proper trial thereof, to 
accomplish a speed at the rate of 20 statute miles per hour in 
smooth water, and to consume not more than 8,800 pounds of 
fuel per hour." In the case of the CONNAUGHT this condition 
was not complied with, for on her trial trip the Government 
Inspector reported that the speed of this " vessel was about 
thirteen knots." 

From its commencement the Company was in difficulties. 
The second steamer, the HIBERNIA, on being surveyed by the 
Government Inspectors, was found to be leaky. None of the 
vessels were delivered within the time agreed upon, and in 
order to keep faith with the Government the Company was 
compelled to charter a steamer to inaugurate the service. 
They accordingly hired from the Messrs. Malcomsons, of 
Waterford, one of their Liverpool and River Plate steamers, 
the PARANA, which sailed from Galway on the 27th June, 1860, 
and arrived at St. John's in seven days thirteen and a half 
hours, or one day thirteen and a half hours beyond the stipu- 
lated time for delivering the telegraph messages at St. John's, 


The second steamer to sail from Galway was the CONNAUGHT, 
which sailed for Boston direct 011 the llth July, and was 
twenty-two and a half hours over contract time in arriving at 
that port. This steamer was totally lost on her second 
voyage in October of the same year. 

The third steamer of the Company sailed from Galway on 
the 9th April, 1861, and returned in May following in a dis- 
abled condition, having met with ice on the passage. She made 
the slowest passage outwards of any of the fleet, having taken 
ten days seven and a half hours to reach St. John's, and 
seventeen days twenty and three quarter hours to reach Boston. 

As two of their own steamers were unavailable, the one being 
lost and the other disabled, the Directors found it necessary to 
take up outside steamers. They therefore chartered the 
PRINCE ALBERT, and purchased the ADRIATIC, one of the latest 
and most famous of the Collins Line. She appears to have 
been the only vessel belonging to the Company capable of 
carrying out the terms of the Government Contract. She 
completed the run from Gralway to St. John's in the specified 
time, six days, and to New York in one day fifteen hours and 
fifteen minutes less than contract time. On her return she 
made the passage from St. John's to Galway in five days 
nineteen hours and three quarters, the shortest passage on 
record from port to port across the Atlantic. It is impossible 
to state what would have been the result had the steamers 
built for the Company been equal to the ADRIATIC, but she was 
secured too late to retrieve the fortunes of the Company. 
Unable under such adverse circumstances to raise fresh capital, 
the managers of the Company had 110 course left but to 
abandon their undertaking, and they terminated their contract 
in May, 1861. This unfortunate enterprise entailed a loss to 
the Government of about 15,000, while it is probable that the 
loss incurred by the shareholders of the Company was not less 
than 150,000 during the short period of its existence. 



The ORION wrecked off Portpatrick, 1850. The steamer NEPTUNE. 
A second " Grace Darling," 1852. 

ONE of the most convincing proofs of the splendid manage- 
ment of the several steamship companies which trade between 
Liverpool and Glasgow, of the skill and honest workmanship 
put into the vessels, and of the great care exercised by the 
officers who navigate these ships, is the fact that for upwards 
of eighty years there has been but one disaster accompanied 
by loss of life 011 this station. 

The disaster referred to was described at the time as " a 
disaster occasioned by the most culpable carelessness." It 
was, unfortunately, attended with frightful loss of life. The 
ORION, a splendidly fitted and powerful steamer, sailed 
from Liverpool for Glasgow, 011 Monday afternoon, 18th 
June, 1850, with about 170 passengers in addition to a crew of 
40 all told. It was an ideal summer trip ; the night was fine 
and clear, and the sea perfectly smooth. All went well with 
the steamer and those on board until, about a quarter past one 
on the Tuesday morning, the sleeping passengers were rudely 
awakened by the concussion, as the ship struck violently on the 
rocks, close to the Lighthouse at the entrance to Portpatrick 
Harbour. The vessel, which was steaming at full speed at 
the time, filled instantly, and sank in a few minutes. The 
night was so tranquil that many of the passengers had slept 
on deck, but the majority were asleep in the cabins below 
when the catastrophe) occurred. The scene of horror and 
dismay which followed can be but faintly conceived. A wild 
rush of crew and passengers was made to the boats. The first 
boat lowered to the water was so crowded instantly with panic- 
stricken passengers, that she capsized, and all who wer.e in her 


were drowned. A second boat was launched, in which some 
ladies were placed, a,nd these reached the harbour safely. One 
redeeming feature in this tragic narrative is the splendid 
heroism displayed by many of the gentlemen passengers. The 
second boat when launched was in the first instance filled by 
men, but when the officers of the ship suggested to them that 
their first duty was to save the women and children, most of 
the men instantly left the boat, and assisted females to occupy 
the places they had surrendered, who were thus happily 

Shortly after this boat got away the ill-fated ORION sank, 
and all on board either went down with her, or were left 
floating on the surface of the water, or clinging to floating 
portions of the wreck. 

The Ardrossan and Fleetwood steamship FENELLA passed the 
scene immediately after the disaster occurred, and the Captain 
at once stopped his ship, lowered his boats, and rendered 
valuable assistance in saving lives. The Lighthouse keepers 
and Coastguards had also observed the vessel coming too close 
in shore, and, anticipating a catastrophe, had awakened the 
local boatmen. Owing to this, numerous boats had instantly 
put off, and these picked up a large number of those floating. 
By the continued efforts of the FENELLA'S crew, and the Port- 
patrick boatmen, about 150 persons were rescued. This 
dreadful catastrophe carried mourning into many of the most 
respectable families in Liverpool and Glasgow. Amongst 
those who perished were Captain McNeil (brother of the Lord 
Advocate), his wife and two daughters; Dr. Burns, one of the 
most popular men in Glasgow, professor of Surgery at the 
University, and brother to the Managing owners in Glasgow ; 
Miss Morris, his niece ; and Master Martin, a son of one of the 
Liverpool owners. The trial of the Captain, and first and 
second mates of the ORION, for the " culpable bereavement of 
the lives of the passengers " who were lost by the wreck of 
that steamer, as before narrated, took place at Edinburgh, 
before the High Court of Justice, on the 29th August, 1850. 
It was proved that during the second mate's watch, the vessel 
approached closer to the shore more than was usual by upwards 


of a mile, and that this course was maintained notwithstanding 
the warning exclamations of the experienced seamen who were 
on the look out. 

It was further proved that the Captain had come on deck 
several times during the second mate's watch, and each time 
had observed both the compass, and the ship's proximity to the 
shore, which could be clearly seen, and yet did not countermand 
the second mate's instructions. 

The charge against the first mate was withdrawn, but at the 
end of the trial, which lasted two days, the Court sentenced 
the Captain to be imprisoned for eighteen months, and the 
second mate to be transported for seven years. 

It is a relief to turn from this sad story to an incident con- 
nected with the steamer NEPTUNE,* of which the heroine was 
a young Norwegian girl, who has been appropriately termed 
" A second Grace Darling." During the 25th, 26th and 27th 
November, 1852, a strong gale prevailed in the North Sea. 
About midnight on the last date the NEPTUNE arrived off the 
Lighthouse at the entrance to Flekke Fjord, Norway. She 
was bound from London to St. Petersburg, and had the pilot 
flag flying at her masthead. Just at daybreak the steamer 
was observed by a young girl, who immediately called up two 
of the boatmen, who, however, were not apparently inclined to 
respond to the call. 

The girl, however, realizing the urgency of the appeal for a 
pilot, reproached the men with being afraid of the weather, and 
under the pressure of her taunts they got their boat out to go 
to the assistance of the NEPTUNE, the girl accompanying them. 
When they got near the ship they found that, owing to the 
heavy surge, it was impossible to get close to the ship's side. 
A rope was thrown to them, and caught by the girl, who twisted 
it round her waist and arm, then jumped into the sea and was 
hauled on board the steamer ; the two men thereupon followed 
her example. This help was most welcome, and the Captain 
was the more* pleased to receive it owing to his cargo having 
shifted. With the assistance of the. Norwegians the rest of 

* For further particulars respecting this steamer, see the History of the 
Waterford Steamship Co. in Part II. 



the voyage was safely accomplished. There were eight lady 
passengers on board the NEPTUNE, who made much of the 
Norse " Grace Darling," provided her with dry clothing, and 
gave her a handsome donation in cash. The seamen and 
firemen also contributed three pounds (3) for the same pur- 
pose, and on the return voyage she was put ashore at the place 
where she embarked, most fortunately with a considerable 
amount of cash in her possession, as her master refused to 
permit her to return to his service. 



The Eastern Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., and the GREAT EASTERN, 

IN the year 1851 a steamship company was promoted in 
London, under the title of the Eastern Steam Navigation 
Company, Limited, for the purpose of establishing a direct 
line of leviathan steamers between England and India, via 
the Cape of Good Hope. 

The services of the most distinguished engineers of the 
period were secured, Mr. J. K. Brunei being appointed the 
consulting engineer of the company. An order was placed 
with Messrs. Scott Russell & Co. for the pioneer steamer, 
which it was at first the intention of the company to call the 
LEVIATHAN, but that name was subsequently abandoned in 
favour of GREAT EASTERN. She was to be propelled by paddle 
wheels and a propeller. Mr. Scott Russell designed the lines, 
and constructed the hull of the vessel, as well as the engines 
of 1,000 h.p. nom. to drive the paddle wheels. Messrs. James 
Watt & Co., of Soho, designed and constructed the engines, of 
1,500 h. p. nom., to drive the screw propeller. As a matter of 
course, some considerable time was occupied in preparing the 
plans for so gigantic a ship one which was not only the 
largest ever built up to that date, but which remained the 
largest steamer built to the end of the 19th century. The 
necessary plans, specifications and yard preparations were 
completed during the spring of 1854, and on the 1st of May 
of that year, the construction of the GREAT EASTERN was com- 
menced by Mr. Scott Russell in his shipbuilding yard at 
Millwall, on the north side of the Thames. She was built 
with a double hull from the keel to the water line, the inner 
and the outer skin being of equal thickness of iron, with a 





space between of 34 inches. If required for ballasting 
purposes, this space could be filled with 2,500 tons of water. 
The length of the GREAT EASTERN was 675 feet, her breadth 
83 feet, and her depth 60 feet. She was divided into 60 water- 
tight compartments, each 60 feet long. She carried six 
masts the mizzen mast of wood, and the remaining five of 
hollow wrought iron. Three of these masts carried square 
sails, the other three were fore and aft rigged. She had five 
funnels, two of which were placed forward of the paddle 
boxes and three aft. Her hull was constructed of 30,000 
plates of iron, weighing 10,000 tons, and joined together by 
3,000,000 rivets. "Her cylinders, the four largest in the 
world . . . (each) 18 feet long, 6 feet in diameter, and 28 
tons weight, were successfully cast at the Engineering Works 
of Messrs. Scott Eussell & Co., Millwall." * 

In her equipment were included twenty large lifeboats, and 
it was intended that she should carry in addition two small 
steamers, each 100 feet long, to be used for landing and 
embarking passengers or luggage. 

She was designed to carry 10,000 troops or 4,000 passengers, 
viz., 800 first-class, 2,000 second-class, and 800 third-class, in 
addition to a crew of about 400, and she was capable of 
stowing 12,000 tons of coal. 

Although, nominally, the engines which drove the paddle 
wheels were of 1,000 h. p., they were capable of working up 
to 5,000 h. p., while the screw engines worked up to 6,000 
h. p., or with combined paddle and screw her engines could 
develop 11,000 h. p., which it was estimated would enable her 
to maintain at sea a speed of 20 knots per hour, and to accom- 
plish the voyage between England and Australia in 30 days. 

" It is a question of much interest to determine what 
" amount of speed this power will impart to the vessel. 
" Messrs. James Watt & Co.'s anticipation is that the 
" speed of the vessel will be about seventeen miles per 
" hour, and from that to eighteen miles seems to be about 
" the limit engineers have hitherto predicted. But we 
" believe that these anticipations fall very short of what 

* " Illustrated London News." 


" the real speed will be, and which we do not hesitate to 
u predict, will turn out to be between twenty-four and 
" twenty-five miles per hour." (" Illustrated London 
News," 23rd May, 1857). 

On Tuesday, 3rd November, 1857, the first attempt was 
made to launch the GREAT EASTERN. The hour named for 
commencing the launching operations was 11 o'clock, and was 
kept fairly punctually. The chief machinery for moving the 
hull was boxed off, and nearly altogether out of sight. The 
vessel's name, LEVIATHAN, was given by Miss Hope (who 
afterwards became the Duchess of Newcastle), the daughter of 
the Chairman of the Great Eastern Steam Navigation 
Company, and the name displayed upon a board ; the change 
of name from GREAT EASTERN to LEVIATHAN occasioning a 
good deal of surprise. After the customary bottle of wine was 
smashed against the vessel's bow, a " fortissimo obligato " of 
sledge hammers resounded above and around then ceased. 
The great ship moved for a few feet, then stopped. The 
congregated thousands waited in suspense, when suddenly a 
terrific report was heard. One of the powerful drums used in 
the launch had cracked. An order had been misunderstood ; 
the after-winch handles were turned the wrong way; the 
heavy iron handles revolved wildly, striking down the men, 
fracturing their arms and legs, and with a fatal result in one 

A second attempt was made to launch the LEVIATHAN on 
Thursday, 19th November, 1857, but the efforts were even less 
successful than on the first occcasioii, for despite all the 
mechanical power brought to bear on her she would not move 
an inch. 

On Monday, llth January, 1858, launching operations 
were resumed at Millwall, and the monster ship was moved 
riverwards to the extent of 20 feet. On Tuesday a further 
advance was made until a little after 3 o'clock in the after- 
noon, when, having moved 16 feet 10 inches aft, and 15 feet 
1 inch forward, it was thought desirable to suspend operations. 
At high water on the latter day the ship was water borne to 
the height of 7^ feet, which had the effect of diminishing the 


resistance to the extent of 4,000 tons. The yard and river 
banks were crowded with spectators on the following day 
(Wednesday), in the expectation that the ship would float, but 
she was only moved another 2| inches. On Thursday the 
LEVIATHAN was pushed down the full extent of the ways, and 
there left for the next spring tides. 

The completion of the launch of this stupendous and 
beautiful vessel took place on Sunday, 31st January, 1858, 
under the most favourable circumstances, and unattended 
with a single accident, the high tide lifting the vessel clear oft' 
the ways. 

It is incomprehensible how so eminent an engineer as 
Brunei should have made such a mistake as to attempt to force 
so huge a fabric broadside on into the river. The costly 
experiment added 120,000 to the cost of the ship, and 
practically ruined the company. 

From the commencement of the company's operations, the 
directors were hampered by the failure of many of the share- 
holders to meet the calls upon their shares when due. To 
add to these difficulties, Messrs. Scott Russell & Co. (the 
builders of the ship), in 1855, found themselves unable to 
meet their obligations, and to complete the construction of the 

At the half-yearly meeting of the company, held on the 
15th February, 1856, the chairman reported that the failure 
of Mr. Scott Russell would be a cause of some delay, 
and of some increased cost in the completion of their vessel, 
which would be undertaken by the company's engineer, Mr. 
J. K. Brunei. Twelve months later it was announced that 
calls to date amounted to 606,000, of which nearly 
200,000 remained unpaid, owing to a number of other share- 
holders, in addition to Mr. Scott Russell, having become insolvent. 

The opening months of 1858 saw the GREAT EASTERN 
successfully launched, but the Great Eastern Steam Naviga- 
tion Company had not the funds necessary for her equipment. 
During the year the company was wound up by the sale and 
transfer of the ship to a new company for the sum of 


" All the capital had been expended, the public refused 
" to advance any more money, and if the directors wished 
" their ship to be anything but a helpless, unfinished 
" carcase on the waters 300,000 more must be found to 
" make her ready for sea. To the exertions of Mr. 
" Campbell (the present chairman of the Board), and to 
" Mr. William Jackson (the eminent and well-known 
" contractor of Birkenhead), we believe is greatly owing 
" the pleasant result of our being at length able to 
" announce that the GREAT EASTERN is ready for sea. 
" But one still more remarkable aid was forthcoming, and 
" which we could hardly believe, only that we have it on 
" the best authority it was a subscription of no less than 
" 50,000 of the supplementary capital, in sums of 1 to 
" 5, by persons in the humblest ranks of life (domestic 
" servants, costermoiigers, greengrocers and labourers) 
" who tendered their money avowedly without any 
" expectation of profit, but solely that they might hear of 
" the great ship, which they looked upon as the pride of 
" England, being fairly afloat on the deep waters. Such 
" a fact at once took the vessel out of the category of mere 
" commercial undertakings, and more than anything else 
" stimulated the brave men who were her projectors to 
" renewed exertions for her ultimate completion." 
(" Illustrated London News," 13th August, 1859). 
The sum of 300,000 having been subscribed for the new 
undertaking, the directors had, after paying for the vessel, a 
surplus of 140,000 to complete her equipment and make her 
ready for sea. Her new owners took possession of her early in 
1859, but it was not until September of that year that she was 
sufficiently complete to make her first trial trip. While on 
this trip, and when off Hastings, a shocking accident occurred, 
through the explosion of one of the funnel casings, causing 
the death of six men, injuring several others, and virtually 
wrecking the grand saloon. As 110 further damage was done 
to the hull or machinery, she proceeded to Portland, and the 
necessary repairs having been completed at an outlay of 
5,000, she resumed her voyage to Holyhead on the 8th 



October. She started 011 her return trial trip from Holyhead 
to Southampton on the 2nd November, 1859, where she 
remained until the 17th June, 1860. 

The GREAT EASTERN was advertised to leave Southampton 
011 her first voyage to New York on Saturday, 16th June, 
1860, but, in consequence of bad weather on that date, the 
sailing was postponed until the following morning. She 
carried only 36 passengers, including several ladies, on this 
trip. The voyage across the Atlantic occupied eleven days. 
The greatest speed attained was 14J knots per hour, and the 
greatest distance run by her in any one day was 333 miles. 
Immense crowds assembled to witness her arrival in New 
York Harbour, and she was welcomed with great enthusiasm. 
She passed the battery at 4-30 p.m. on the 28th June, 1860. 

The promoters of the Great Eastern Steam Navigation 
Company were very sanguine that the Government would 
frequently employ their vessel for the conveyance of troops, of 
which they estimated she could carry ten thousand. The 
Government very wisely never risked so great a body of men 
in one vessel. 

The only occasion on which the GREAT EASTERN was made 
use of as a troopship was during the threatened rupture 
between England and the Federal Government of America, in 
connection with the ir Trent Affair." She made her first 
entry into the port of Liverpool 011 the 4th June, having made 
the passage from New York in 9 days 11 hours. She had on 
board 212 passengers and a large cargo. On Thursday, 27th 
June, 1861, she sailed out of the Mersey on a voyage to 
Quebec, with troops to reinforce the Canadian garrisons. The 
day was cloudless, there was brilliant sunshine, and the piers 
and dock walls for five miles, as well as the landing-stages, 
were lined with spectators, who, as the great ship passed them, 
responded most heartily to the cheers raised by the soldiers 
who thronged the upper deck and the lower portions of the 

As she passed the landing-stages she fired salutes, and also 
011 passing the Rock Battery. There were 011 board the 
GREAT EASTERN, not 10,000 troops as her promoters 


anticipated, but 2,125 men of all ranks, accompanied by 159 
wives and 244 children of the soldiers. There were also about 
40 civilian passengers in the saloon. 

She left Quebec on her return voyage on the 6th August, 
arriving in Liverpool on the 15th idem, and resumed her 
sailings to New York. 

She sailed from Liverpool for New York 011 the 10th 
September, under the command of Captain Walker, having on 
board 175 cabin and 193 steerage passengers. On the 
following Thursday she encountered a heavy gale, during 
which, when about 280 miles westward of Cape Clear, her 
steering apparatus became deranged and broken, and five of 
her lifeboats were carried away. For two days and nights she 
lay helpless, exposed to a terrific sea. Her internal fittings 
were in consequence seriously damaged, and her passengers 
greatly alarmed for their safety. The Captain decided to 
abandon the voyage and put back to Queeiistown, arriving in 
the harbour on the Tuesday following. The passengers, when 
once more on terra firma, relieved their feelings by publishing 
some very angry letters in the Press, in which they reflected 
very severely on the managers of the company, but gave 
unqualified praise to Captain Walker for the manner in which 
he had handled the great ship in her disabled state. 

The laying of submarine cables, commenced in 1865, offered 
employment for which the GREAT EASTERN was specially suit- 
able, and in which she was constantly engaged for a period of 
ten years. 

Shortly after noon on the 30th -June, 1866, the GREAT 
EASTERN left the Medway, having 011 board the second 
Atlantic cable. She was convoyed by H.M.S. ADDER as far as 
the Nore. As she steamed past Garrison Point she was loudly 
cheered by a vast concourse of people who had gathered there. 
She proceeded direct to Berehaven, in the extreme South- 
West of Ireland, which was to be her starting point for laying 
the submarine cable. Four weeks later, or to be exact, about 
5 o'clock (English time) on the 27th July, this great task was 
successfully accomplished. One of the earliest messages 
transmitted by the cable was the following from H.M. 


Queen Victoria to the President of the United States of 
America : 

:< The Queen congratulates the President on the 
" successful completion of an undertaking which she 
" hopes may serve as an additional bond of union between 
" the United States and England." 

President Johnson suitably acknowledged the Royal 
despatch, and reciprocated the good wishes contained in it. 
[A most interesting diary of the Atlantic Telegraph 
Expedition is published in the Annual Register for 1866.] 

In 1867 her cable-laying services were interrupted by a 
charter to a French company, who employed her between 
Brest and New York, carrying passengers to and from the 
great French Exhibition. For this service she was fitted with 
new boilers for the screw engines, and her saloons were altered 
and redecorated. 

After the completion of her charter with the French com- 
pany, she was taken up by the Telegraphic Construction and 
Maintenance Company, in whose service she remained for 
seven years. During this period she succeeded in laying the 
cable between Brest and Duckburgh, near Boston, Mass., in 
1868 ; between Aden and Bombay in 1870 ; between Yalentia 
and Heart's Content, in 1873 and 1874; completing her 
charter to the Telegraphic Construction Company in -July, 
1875. The amount received for charter was at the rate of 
20,000 per annum, iiett form. 

The last years of this noble vessel were ignominious. She 
was chartered in 1896 by " Lewis's," who used her for a 
couple 01 years as a huge floating advertisement on the 
Mersey. She afterwards went to several Ports as a " show " 
ship, and finally returned to the Mersey to be broken up on 
the 20th November, 1888. Her owners at this time were 
probably the only persons who ever realized a handsome profit 
out of her during her varied career. The following is a list of 
the prices obtained at the sale of the various parts of the hull 
and equipment: 

Eleven-ton Trotman's anchor, 33 guineas, in addition to a 
number of other anchors, which realized 3 to 7 15s. per 



ton ; oak lifeboat, 2 guineas ; cutter, 30s. ; iron masts, 9 to 
17 10s. each ; copper steam piping, 2,960 ; gun metal, 
6,400; scrap yellow brass, 1,760; sheet lead, 367 10s.; 
lead piping, 367 10s. ; iron plates forming the hull, 12,600 ; 
iron beams, 2 13s. per ton ; scrap rivets, 2 6s. per ton ; 
boiler tubes, 49 7s. 6d. * 

So ended the career of the most celebrated ship of the 19th 

' ;: The above figures are obtained from "Donaldson's Engineers' Annual," 
1900, by permission . 



Steam to Australia. SOPHIA JANE, first steamer from Great Britain to 

Australia, 1831. The steamship GEEAT BBITAIN sails for Melbourne, 1852. 

Sketch of her after career. The GOLDEN AGE. The auxiliary screw steamer 

ROYAL CHABTEK. Sails on her maiden voyage, 1856. Totally lost, 1859. 

THE first voyage by a steamer ever made between Great 
Britain and Australia was in 1831 by the SOPHIA JANE, a 
small vessel of 256 tons burthen and 50 h.p. (see reference to 
this vessel in the History of the Cork Steamship Co., Limited). 
Twenty-one years later the owners of the GREAT BRITAIN, 
the Liverpool and Australian Steam Navigation Co. (Messrs. 
Gibbs, Bright & Co., Managers), induced by the great rush of 
emigrants to the newly discovered Australian goldfields, 
decided to supplement their " Eagle " Line of Packets by the 
addition of screw steamers and issued an advertisement as 
follows : 

" Steam from Liverpool to Australia, forming part of the 
" ' Eagle ' Line of Packets. 

" The GREAT BRITAIN, S.S., 3,500 tons and 500 h.p., B. 
" R. Matthews, K.N., Commander, will be despatched for 
" Melbourne and Sydney, N.S.W., calling at the Cape 
" of Good Hope for coals, water and fresh provisions, on 
" Saturday, 21st August, 1852, at 1 p.m. This mag- 
" nificent ship, fitted up with every possible convenience, 
" has just performed her trial voyage to New York in the 
" most satisfactory manner. 

"Fares: After Saloon, to Melbourne, 70 guineas and 
" upwards. Five guineas extra to Sydney, N.S.W. 
" To Cape of Good Hope, 50 guineas. 
" Loading Berth, Wellington Dock. 
" Apply to Gibbs, Bright & Co., Liverpool." 
The result must have been exceedingly gratifying to the 
owners, as the GREAT BRITAIN sailed 011 this her first voyage to 
the Antipodes with upwards of 600 passengers. Ten days 


later t'iie ship ALBATROSS arrived with the first importation into 
Liverpool of gold from Australia, being 20,000 ozs. consigned 
to Messrs. Gibbs, Bright & Co. On the 2ord November 
following, her sister ship, the EAGLE, arrived in the Thames 
with 150,000 ounces of gold valued at 600,000. The ship 
DIDO was expected to arrive in a few days, having on board ten 
and a half tons of the precious metal, of the enormous value 
of 1,120,000. 

The GREAT BRITAIN arrived at Melbourne on the 10th 
November, 1852, after a splendid run from the Cape of Good 
Hope of 24 days, her average speed having been 284 miles 
per day. Her engines behaved splendidly, and there was no 
occasion to stop them during the whole of the time. One 
death occurred on board, that of a Chinaman who embarked 
at St. Helena. 

Owing to the difficulty of obtaining labour to discharge and 
load the ship at Melbourne, she was detained at that port for 
three months, and sailed on her return voyage about the end 
of January, 1853. On her arrival at Cape Town she re-filled 
her bunkers from the KEBECCA, a ship which had been sent 
from Liverpool with a cargo of coal for that purpose, and 
resumed her voyage northwards on the 20th February. 

She continued to trade with varying success between Liver- 
pool and Australia as an auxiliary steamer for 40 years, and 
in 1882 was sold to Messrs. Anthony Gibbs, Sons & Co., who 
took out her engines and converted her into a sailing ship. 
Originally she carried six masts, two of which had been taken 
out of her when she was placed on the Anglo- Australian 
station, and when Messrs. Anthony Gibbs, Sous & Co. purchased 
her they took out a third mast and rigged her as a full-rigged 
sailing ship. In order to strengthen her hull, they also, at a 
very great expense, completely sheathed her frame with wood, 
in October, 1882. She sailed on her last voyage from Liver- 
pool in 1886, and put into the Falkland Islands so battered 
with her battle with wind and waves that she was abandoned 
to the Underwriters as a constructive total loss. She was sold 
by the latter to the Falkland Islands Co., who used her as a 
coal hulk. 


One of her earliest competitors was an American steamer 
named the GOLDEN AGE. She was the property of the .\c\\ 
Tork and Australian Steam Navigation Co., and was intended 
to ply between Australia and Panama, and eventually to 
extend the service to San Francisco. This splendid vessel 
excited great interest in Liverpool, at which port she lay for 
about two months prior to sailing for Melbourne. 

She was very similar in outward appearance to the Collins 
steamships, being barque rigged with a straight stem, and 
having her paddle boxes situated very far aft. Her dimen- 
sions were as follows : length 285 feet, beam 43 feet 6 inches, 
and depth 32 feet ; 2864 tons register. She had a beam engine 
of somewhat peculiar construction, with a cylinder of 85 inches 
diameter, and 12 feet stroke. The boilers constituted the 
chief peculiarity ; they were each 40 feet long, and fitted with 
furnaces at each end, the smoke funnel ascending from the 
centre. By this arrangement it was claimed that economy 
both in space and fuel was gained. The hull of the ship was 
built by Mr. W. H. Brown, New York. The lower frames 
were of live oak, and the top frames of locust and cedar. The 
entire hull was double diagonally braced with iron bars, five 
inches wide, by three quarters of an inch thick and four feet 

The GOLDEN AGE had accommodation for 1200 passengers 
of all classes, the steerage being fitted up for 600. There were 
three saloons, one above the other, two of which were panelled 
in rose, satin, and zebra woods ; with crimson and gold plush 
and rich hangings, and adorned with mirrors. In the upper 
saloon the same general arrangement prevailed, except that 
instead of satiiiwood panelling, the sides were finished in white 
and gold. In this saloon were two " family rooms," one 
finished in gold, the other in blue. A brief reference to this 
steamer is made in the " Annals of Liverpool " (Gore's Direc- 
tory), in which it is stated : " The GOLDEN AGE-(S.) sailed from 
Liverpool, 5th December, 1853, and arrived at Melbourne in 
47 days steaming time." 

On the 31st July, 1855, there was launched at Sandycroft, 
on the River Dee, a large clipper ship fitted with auxiliary 


steam power. She was built to the order of the Liverpool and 
Australian Steam Navigation Co., the owners of the celebrated 
GREAT BRITAIN. Her owners were of opinion that steamers 
relying entirely upon their engines, could not be worked so 
economically as vessels with auxiliary steam power, and sailing 
vessels trusting only to their sails could not be relied upon to 
make their passages with regularity and despatch, con- 
sequently they determined to combine the two motive powers 
and give their vessel the benefit of both. 

The ROYAL CHARTER, the name given to the new ship, was 
designed and built by Mr. Paterson, the builder of the GREAT 
BRITAIN. She was 235 feet in length over all, 41 feet 6 inches 
beam, and 26 feet 6 inches depth of hold ; 2720 tons burden ; 
could spread 15,000 square feet of canvas ; and had a pair of 
direct acting trunk engines of 200 h.p. nominal, constructed by 
Messrs. Penn, of Greenwich, for working an auxiliary screw, 
so arranged that when not wanted it could be completely 
lifted out of the water, and even (if necessary) placed on deck. 
She had excellent accommodation for passengers. Her chief 
saloon was 100 feet long and beautifully fitted up ; and the 
ladies' cabin, with its large poop windows, and elegant furniture, 
was admirably adapted for its purpose. There were two large 
bath rooms for the use of the after saloon passengers, and one 
three times as large as either of these two for the use of the 
'tween deck passengers. She had seven watertight compart- 
ments and tanks capable of holding 64,000 gallons of water. 

The ROYAL CHARTER, independently of her steam power, was 
a full-rigged ship, and was the first English vessel to adopt the 
American plan of double topsails on each mast. On her trial 
trips she averaged a speed of nine knots per hour with her 
propeller; and under canvas only, with a light N.N.E. wind, 
made fourteen knots per hour. 

She was well armed, carrying eight guns four 18 pounders 
and four 24 pounders ; besides a large swivel gun on the 
forecastle, and a good number of Minie rifles for the saloon. 

She left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Melbourne on 
the 16th April, 1856, and accomplished the passage in 59 days. 
She had but a short career, for on the 26th October, 1859, this 


noble ship was totally wrecked on the coast of Anglesea. She 
had almost reached her home port, inward bound from 
Australia under the command of Captain Taylor, and ha vi no- 
on board about 500 persons including passengers and crc\v, 
and a valuable cargo, including gold to the amount of 400,000. 
She had called at Queenstown, where thirteen of her passen- 
gers disembarked. On her passage up channel she was caught 
in a terrific northerly gale, which, driving the current in the 
large bay between the Ormes Head and Point Lynas, swept 
the vessel from her course and drove her upon the rock-bound 
coast off Moelfra Head, Red Wharf Bay. She struck during 
the night when no assistance from the shore could be obtained. 
From 30 to 35 persons only were saved out of the 500 on board, 
and these mainly through the heroic efforts of Joseph llodgers, 
who swam ashore with a line round his body. In recognition 
of his devoted courage, this intrepid seaman was presented 
with a gold medal and 5 by the Eoyal National Lifeboat 
Institution at a meeting held at the Sailors' Home, Liverpool, 
on the 16th November, 1859, 011 which occasion the Board of 
Trade also presented him with a silver medal and 10. 



China and Steam Navigation. Opening of the Treaty Ports, 1860. 

Auxiliary Steamers first employed. The SCOTLAND. The EGBERT BRUCE. 

The Holt Line. 

THE treaty ports of the Yang-tse were for the first time 
opened to the ships of the " barbarian nations of the West " 
in February, 1860. 

The first foreign merchant vessel to load a cargo at 
Shanghai for Hankow was the auxiliary screw steamer 
SCOTLAND, belonging to the late W. S. Lindsay, the well- 
known author of the " History of Merchant Shipping." She 
was a vessel of about 1,100 tons gross register, and was com- 
manded by Captain A. D. Dundas, B.N. She sailed from 
Shanghai with a full cargo in June, 1860, her draft being 17 
feet. She was subsequently sold to the Prince of Satsuma, 
the same purchaser having previously, in 1861, purchased her 
sister ship, the ENGLAND, from Messrs. W. S. Lindsay & Co. 

It was not until 1863 that any English steamer loaded a 
cargo direct from Hankow for Great Britain. The third 
vessel to sail was the auxiliary screw steamship ROBERT 
LOWE, also belonging to Messrs. Lindsay. She was a vessel of 
1,250 tons gross, with engines of only 80 nominal horse power. 
Her average speed between Shanghai and Hankow, a distance 
of 608 miles, was 60 miles per day, but one day was lost in 
changing her propeller, and she anchored every night. She 
sailed from Shanghai on the 8th May, 1863, and came to an 
anchor off Hankow on the 18th idem. On the 10th June her 
cargo arrived alongside, and 011 the 23rd June she sailed for 
Shanghai and London. She traversed the distance between 
Hankow and Shanghai in 57 hours, the current being with 
her. Her cargo for London consisted of 9,568 chests, 234 
half-chests, and 2,064 boxes of tea ; 535 bales of cotton and 
192 packages of sundries. Her freight amounted to the 
respectable sum of 10,315, in addition to which she earned 
480 passage money. 

In 1866 Mr. Alfred Holt, of Liverpool, started a line of 
steamers to trade between England and China, via the Cape 


of Good Hope. Mr. Holt was a practical engineer. Having 
served his apprenticeship, he was appointed inspecting 
engineer to several steamship companies, and about 1850 com- 
menced as steamship owner with a small coasting steamer, the 
ALPHA. This steamer was succeeded by the CLEATOR and 
DUMBARTON YOUTH, sailing between Liverpool, Cumberland 
Ports, and the Bristol Channel. 

Upon the outbreak of the Crimean War, Mr. Holt secured 
several remunerative charters from the Government, and in 
1855 he inaugurated the first line of steamers between Liver- 
pool and the West Indies. His first steamer in this trade was 
only 535 tons burden, but she was so well supported that in a 
short time a monthly line of steamers of larger capacity and 
greater power was established. 

In 1863 Messrs. Leech, Harrison and Forwood, and Messrs. 
Imrie and Tomlinson, entered into the same trade, and it was 
considered desirable to form a public company to amalgamate 
these three undertakings. A company, under the title of the 
West India and Pacific Steam Navigation Company, Limited, 
was consequently formed for this purpose, with a capital of 
1,250,000, which was at once subscribed. 

Mr. Holt now directed his energies to the Far East, and in 
1865 despatched his first vessels in the China service, the 
AGAMEMNON, AJAX and ACHILLES. These were the first 
steamers to apply the principle of compound engines to long 
over-sea voyages. These engines were in use in the ships of 
the Pacific Steam Navigation Company prior to this, but only 
in those steamers employed on the Pacific coast. The perfor- 
mances of the Holt steamers had been hitherto considered 
impossible, and even now in the twentieth century would be 
considered remarkable with boats of a similar size. Starting 
from Liverpool, they steamed down the South Atlantic, 
rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and so on to Mauritius, a 
distance of 8,500 miles without stopping. From thence they 
proceeded to Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

These three pioneers of the Anglo-China trade were each 
of 2,270 tons gross and 1,550 tons net register, with engines 
of 300 nominal horse power, and their principal dimensions 


were length, 309 feet ; beam, 38^ feet ; depth of hold to spar 
deck, 28J feet. On July 16th, 1869, one of them (the 
ACHILLES) sailed from Foochow for London via the Cape of 
Good Hope, and arrived 011 the 16th September, having been 
under steam 58 days 9 hours, during which time she travelled 
13,552 miles, maintaining an average speed of nearly 9J knots 
throughout the whole voyage. This was one of the last 
voyages made by the Holt steamers round the Cape, as two 
months after the arrival of the ACHILLES at London the Suez 
Canal was formally opened for the merchant steamers of all 
countries, and from that date all the steamers of this company 
have passed through that waterway on their voyages to and 
from China. 

The earlier steamers of the fleet were square-rigged on the 
fore and main masts, a good rig when it was desired to take 
advantage of the favourable trade winds and monsoons, which 
can always be depended upon for a voyage round the Cape, 
but found to be unsuitable when the route was altered to the 
Suez Canal. The square sails of the three steamers named 
were, therefore, removed, and the subsequent steamers have 
been constructed with pole masts only. 

Although the fleet is styled the Ocean Steamship Company, 
it is popularly known as the Holt, or " Blue Funnel " Line, and 
has only recently been formed into a limited company. 

The Holt Line steamers do not carry passengers between 
Great Britain and China, but they are great favourites with 
the Moslem pilgrims, of whom they carry large numbers on 
their journeys to and from Mecca. 

About 1891 the Ocean Steamship Company established a 
monthly service of mail and passenger steamers between 
Singapore and West Australian Ports, and in 1901 a direct 
service of steamers from Glasgow to Australian Ports was 
opened by the despatch of the steamer ORESTES. 

A controlling interest in the China Mutual Steam Naviga- 
tion Company, Limited, was purchased by, and the fleet of 
that company transferred to, the Holt Company on the 1st 
July, 1902, with which addition to the " Blue Funnel " fleet 
extended operations were undertaken. 

B. P. HOUSTON & Co. 











C. MAC!VER & Co. 


JAMES Moss & Co. 

H. & W. NELSON. 



P. & O. S. N. Co 

F. H. POWELL & Co. 

R. & J. H. REA. 




The FERRET s.s. 
chartered by Hender- 
son & Co. Sails for 
the Mediterranean 
and disappears. 
BEXTON s.s. sails with 
a cargo of coffee from 
Santos, and also dis- 
appears. Seizure of 
INDIA s.s. at Melbourne. 
Proved to be missing steamer 

DECIDEDLY the most dramatic incident ever recorded in the 
annals of steam navigation was the theft of the steamer FERRET 
and the piratical seizure and sale of her cargo of coffee. 

The FERRET was a screw steamer measuring 170 feet 9 inches 
in length, 23 feet 2 inches beam, and 12 feet 7 inches depth ; 
builders' measurement 439 tons, with a probable carrying 
capacity of 400 tons dead-weight cargo, in addition to coal in 
bunkers. She had compound engines of 90 h.p. nominal, and 
her reputed speed was 12 knots per hour. She was built on the 
Clyde in 1871, by the well-known firm of J. & Gr. Thomson, for 
Messrs. Gr. & T. Burns, of Glasgow, from whom the Highland 


Railway Co. purchased her for their mail and passenger service, 
and she held a Board of Trade certificate for 200 passengers. 

The conspirators who succeeded in stealing this vessel, laid 
their plans with great care and attention to details, and carried 
them out with marvellous audacity. One of them took an office 
in Gracechurch Street, London, and obtained a supply of 
printed stationery, describing himself as kt Henderson & Co., 
Ship Brokers, &c." He also opened an account with the . . 
Bank, in the name of " Smith," taking care until his plans were 
perfected to keep a respectable balance to his credit. 

Early in October, 1880, the plot had ripened, and one of the 
gang, representing himself to be " Mr. Walker, purser of the 
FERRET s.s.," called at the office of Douglas & Co., Union Street, 
a leading ship-chandler's firm in Glasgow, and ordered a large 
quantity of expensive ship-stores. The stores were for the 
account of Mr. Smith, who was referred to as a relative of Mr. 
W. H. Smith, late First Lord of the Admiralty. 

Naturally references were required and were freely given. 
Mr. Smith had chartered from the Highland Railway Co. the 
steamer FERRET for a six months' cruise in the Mediterranean, 
his wife having been ordered by her doctor to take a long sea 
voyage. The FERRET was then in J. & G. Thomson's yard, 
being overhauled preparatory to the cruise. Both of these 
firms could be referred to, as well as Mr. Smith's bankers, and 
Messrs. Henderson & Co., Ship Brokers, Gracechurch Street, 
London. The bankers were written to, and replied that Mr. 
Smith had an account with their bank. Henderson & Co. were 
also applied to, and of course gave a very favourable account 
of Smith. 

The merchants being satisfied w T it'h the result of their 
enquiries, supplied the stores, which included an excellent 
selection of first-class wines specially brought from London. 
The account, which amounted to 1,490, was presented to 
Walker, who gave a bill at three months endorsed by Smith. It 
is to be presumed that the first-half month's charter was paid as 
customary in cash in advance, because the conspirators having 
got possession of the FERRET were in no violent hurry to get 
her out of British waters. 


About the 20th October, William Griffin joined the steamer 
at Greenock as chief engineer. Although Griffin was not 
placed on trial, yet it is to be noted that he had a prior 
acquaintance with Walker, who had introduced him to Smith. 
It is also undeniable that without the assistance of Griffin and 
the ship's carpenter, the alterations which were made in the 
steamer could not have been effected. 

From Greenock, the FERRET sailed in charge of a crew of 
" runners " to Cardiff, Robert Wright, alias Carlyon (a confede- 
rate) being master, and Walker, alias Wallace, acting as purser. 
The steamer arrived at Cardiff on the 22nd October and 
remained there for three days, taking in a cargo of coals for 
ship's use. The coals, of course, being paid for by valueless 
bills on London. At Cardiff the " runners " were discharged 
and a fresh crew, strangers to the FERRET, were shipped. Smith 
(otherwise Henderson) also embarked at Cardiff, accompanied 
by " Mrs. Smith." 

The FERRET sailed from Cardiff on the 25th October and put 
into Milford Haven, probably from stress of weather, where she 
remained for about a week. She left Milford on the 1st 
November, ostensibly for Marseilles. In pursuance of this 
report, she passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on the 
morning of the llth of the same month, and showing her 
number, requested to be reported. 

Having steamed out of sight of the signalling station, the 
crew were set to work to change the colour of the funnel from 
white to black, and of the boats (with the exception of two) 
from blue to white, and at nigilit, with her lights screened, the 
FERRET returned westwards through the straits. While passing 
through, the two boats that had not been altered, some empty 
casks, several life-belts, and other articles, all having the 
steamer's name painted on them, were thrown overboard, for 
the purpose of making it appear that the vessel had foundered. 
So evident did this seem that as a matter of fact the under- 
writers paid the Highland Eailway Co. their claim for the total 
loss of the steamer. 

That same night all the crew were sent aft to the saloon, 
where Smith made a speech to them, in which he stated that he 



was a political refugee from the United States ; that he had 
purchased the FERRET to use partly as a yacht, and partly for 
trading ; that after he had traded for some time he would sell 
the boat, and make it worth their while to keep his secret ; but 
on the other hand, if any of them disclosed anything they saw 
or heard on board, he would blow their brains out. The crew, 
when arrested, alleged that it was the fear of this threat which 
prevented them giving information, when in port, of what they 
knew to be suspicious actions. 

Avoiding the Canary Islands, presumably as being too much 
frequented by British shipping, the conspirators kept away to 
the southward until they reached St. Vincent, C.V. Entering 

FERRET s.s. 

the harbour, they anchored there for several days, during which 
they took in fresh water, and a supply of pigis, poultry, fruit 
and vegetables, paying for them in their usual manner by 
means of worthless bills. 

The " Times " (23rd June, 1881) Sydney correspondent states 
that after leaving St. Vincent the vessel's name was altered to 
the BENTON. But this seems most improbable, #s it would be 
apparent that the FERRET did not founder in the Mediter- 
ranean, and further it would have left a clue by which she 
could easily have been traced. The truth probably is, that the 
alteration was made immediately she got clear of the Straits of 


Gibraltar. Be this as it may, the BENTON s. arrived at Santos 
on the 26th December. 

At Santos, Smith went on shore and lost no time in opening 
negotiations with the local shipping agents, to whom he stated 
that the BENTON was from Cape Town in ballast, bound for 
England. The negotiations resulted in the shipment of 3,992 
bags of coffee, consigned to various consignees at Marseilles. 
Having obtained this cargo, the BENTON sailed from Santos on 
the llth January, 1881, but instead of proceeding to Marseilles 
she steamed direct to Cape Town. 

While the BENTON was steaming across the South Atlantic, 
the Glasgow holders of the bill for 1,490 received some infor- 
mation Which made them uneasy, and on presentation of the 
bill when due, it was dishonoured. The account was closed, 
the balance had been withdrawn, and the acceptor's where- 
abouts were unknown. The holders then applied to Henderson 
and Co., but the letter was returned addressees " gone, no 
address." They then wrote to the Highland Railway Co., and 
received a reply from the Secretary to the effect that the High- 
land Railway Co. had already done all in their power to trace 
the FERRET, in their own interests, having received no charter 
money from the charterers since the vessel sailed from the 
Clyde. They had been in communication with Lloyd's and the 
Board of Trade, and through British Consuls and Lloyd's 
agents, enquiries had been made all over the world. About ten 
days before the receipt of the merchants' letter the Highland 
Railway Co. had heard that the FERRET had arrived at Malta, 
but on cabling there had received a reply denying the report. 
They had cabled a second time, ordering the vessel to be seized 
at Malta in the event of her putting in there. 

Meanwhile the BENTON was nearing Cape Town, laden with 
coffee shipped at Santos. During the voyage further changes 
had been effected in the appearance of the vessel, and the name 
INDIA was substituted for BENTON. The original name 
(FERRET) had previously been filed off the ship's bell, and now, 
as a further precaution the ship's number on the main hatch 
combings was altered to 77,942. The INDIA put into Cape Town 
on the 29th January, and at once began to discharge her cargo. 


The conspirators had provided themselves with a printing 
press, and had all necessaries on board, as well as Revenue 
Stamps of various nations, by which they were able to manu- 
facture the vouchers and documents necessary to the success of 
their frauds. At Cape Town, Smith produced an invoice with 
a printed heading, purporting to be an invoice for 3,992 bags 
coffee sold by coffee planters at La Guayra (a small port in 
Venezuela) to C. S. Henderson & Co., and with it a receipt for 
the amount duly stamped. He succeeded in selling the cargo, 
and realised by the sale of it about 11,000. He had to accept 
in part payment bills to the extent of 8,000, drawn on the 
Standard Bank, Clement's Lane, London, payable nine months 
after date. It is satisfactory to know that the frauds were 
discovered before the bills matured, and payment of them was 
stopped. After the discharge of the cargo, Smith tried to sell 
the steamer, but not succeeding in his attempt, he shipped a 
quantity of coal, and sailed on the 14th February for the 
Mauritius. The conspirators arrived at Mauritius on the 1st 
March, but did not succeed in getting any plunder there, and 
so they " cleared out for Gruam." 

The next port they entered was Port Albany in Western 
Australia, from whence they steamed direct to Melbourne. 
Here Wright and Walker offered the steamer for sale, but 
received no offers. While in Melbourne, several circumstances 
made the Customs officers and the Harbour Police suspect that 
there was something wrong about the vessel. It w r as observed 
that the fires were always banked so that steam could be got up 
at the shortest notice. Captain Wright never left the steamer, 
and none of the crew (except Walker, the purser) were ever 
allowed " shore leave." The Customs authorities instructed 
one of their officers to make a special investigation of the 
matter, and he reported that there was no steamer of the 
tonnage given registered at Lloyd's in the name of INDIA, but 
that the particulars of tonnage and dimensions corresponded 
with the register of the missing steamer FERRET. 

Noting all these suspicious circumstances the Customs 
authorities determined on prompt action. Requisitioning two 
crews of the Water Police, as it was feared there might be 


violent opposition on the part of the steamer's crew, the Com- 
missioner of Customs, on the 27th April, seized the vessel. 
Fortunately their anticipations as to resistance were not 
realised, the crew surrendering without opposition. Although 
the authorities had been extremely cautious in their enquiries, 
it is evident that the conspirators became aware of what was 


The Arrest. 

being done, for when the steamer was seized, Smith, " Mrs. 
Smith," and Captain Wright had fled. The previous day Smith 
and Mrs. Smith removed from their cabin a number of articles, 
and amongst them two heavy iron-bound boxes which were 
never traced. Smith succeeded in getting away from Mel- 


bourne to a distant township, but was arrested. Mrs. Smith, 
who had disappeared for a time, when she heard of his arrest 
reappeared and visited him in prison. The object of her visit 
may be surmised from the fact that shortly after her visit 
Smith tried to escape by filing through one of the bars of his 
prison window. 

Captain Wright had found a retreat in a Melbourne sailors' 
lodging-house, but having got drunk and quarrelled with his 
landlady, he was thrown out, and arrested for being drunk and 
disorderly. When the charge was being booked at the police 
station, he was recognised as the missing master of the steamer, 
for whom the police were searching. 

Confirmation of the suspicions which induced the Commis- 
sioner of Customs to seize the steamer was speedily obtained. 
Traces of fraud were quickly discovered on the ship's hull and 
appointments, and in the ship's books and papers some of the 
latter being found in very unusual places of deposit. Between 
the leaves of the log-book a seaman's " advance note " was 
found with the name of the FERRET on it. There was also 
found a MSS. cypher code, by means of which communication 
might be made between those in the vessel and others on shore. 
It also serves to show the unscrupulous character of the 
criminals and the extreme length to which they were prepared 
to go. One or two quotations will illustrate the truth of this 
assertion : 

" Accept charter referred to and lose vessel before you arrive 
in port. Don't fail." 

" Get out of port the best way you can, but sink the ship, 
before you allow them to stop her." 

" Destroy all papers, &c., and sink ship if possible, or burn 
her, and get away. Make best of your way over here." 

" Things going wrong. Mate not to be trusted ; shall get 
rid of him." 

" Things going wrong with some of the crew ; must get rid 
of them." 

" Things going wrong with the whole of the crew ; must get 
rid of them." 

" Lost vessel ; landed here to day ; all hands forward lost." 


" Game is all up ; all discovered ; destroy or 'hide everything, 
and make yourself scarce ; communicate with me through the 
arranged channel." 

Among the papers seized was a card of a 13r. Bonefin. Now 
a swindler of this name not a common one shortly before the 
arrival of the FERRET, was convicted for obtaining goods under 
false pretences from a number of Melbourne jewellers, and was 
sentenced to a term of imprisonment in Pentridge Gaol. In 
the cypher code referred to Melbourne figures as 51, so that it 
is extremely probable that Bonefin was one of the conspirators 
on shore. 

A Cabinet Meeting of the Victorian Government was held 
on the 9th May, and on the following morning the opinion of 
the Attorney-General was published as follows: 

" The Government of Victoria seized the FERRET, which 
" entered this port (Melbourne) as the INDIA, in the 
" interests of the rightful owners, domiciled apparently in 
" Great Britain. At the present time no one in Victoria 
44 is in a position to show this Government such a title to 
" the FERRET as would clear the Government from possible 
" liability. It appears to me that the Hon. the Commis- 
" sioiier of Trade and Customs should hold the FERRET 
" till proper papers are produced in Melbourne by a legally 
" authorised agent of the" actual owners, whose title should 
"be clearly proved by the needful papers from England. 
44 This being done, and delivery charges paid, the ship 
" should be delivered. If it is deemed desirable to 
" expedite delivery of the ship, this Government is entitled 
44 to require that the Board of Trade of London should 
" give a certificate as to the owners. Such certificate, 
" along with an indemnity to pay all costs, and an 
44 indemnity by the owners, should be deposited with the 
"Agent-General for Victoria, London, who should tele- 
" graph any instructions the owners may wish to give as to 
" the way they desire the ship to be dealt with, and this 
44 Government should then act accordingly. At the same 
"time it would be well to learn whether the Imperial 
" Government wished to take proceedings against any of 


" the offenders, and if so, what course it intended to take. 
" All necessary documents and evidence should be 
" transmitted without delay. The master, also the person 
" who represents himself as the owner, and another person 
" are charged here with forging the register of the ship, 
" that offence having been committed with a view to a 
" fraudulent sale." 

Eventually the three criminals arrested, viz.: Smith (alias 
Henderson, alias Benard), Wright (alias Carlyon) and Walker 
(alias Wallace), were indicted on three counts: 

1st. Conspiracy to defraud the owners of the FERRET, the 
Highland Railway Co. 

2nd. Conspiracy to defraud intending purchasers of the 
FERRET in Melbourne ; and 

3rd. Conspiracy to deceive the Commissioner of Trade and 
Customs, by entering the vessel in a false name, and to obtain 
a certificate of sale under which the vessel could have been sold 
in that port. 

They were all acquitted on the first count, but convicted on 
the second and third. Smith and Walker were each sentenced 
to seven years' penal servitude, and Wright to three and a half 
years. This result is most remarkable. No mention is made 
of the frauds perpetrated at Glasgow, Cardiff and St. Vincent, 
C.Y. ; nor of the steps taken (if any) to secure the confederates 
on shore. 

As for the unfortunate crew, who had received no wages, they 
obtained a temporary refuge in the Melbourne Sailors' Home. 
The after history of the FERRET is briefly told. She was pur- 
chased in 1885 by the Adelaide Steamship Company, Currie 
Street, Adelaide, South Australia, and is at the present date 
employed by that company in the Australian coasting service. 



Anglo-Canadian Steamship Companies. Allan Line. Canadian Pacific 
Railway Co. Dominion Line. 

FOLLOWING the example of the Imperial Government the 
Government of Canada advertised in. June, 1852, for tenders 
for the conveyance of mails between the United Kingdom and 
Quebec and Montreal in summer, and between the United King- 
dom and Portland, Maine, in winter. The contract was secured 
by Messrs. McKean, McLarty and Lamont, of Liverpool, who 
formed a company, and despatched their first steamer, the 
GENOVA, a small vessel of 500 tons register, in the spring of 
1853. The sailings were continued, but with no great 
regularity, for about eighteen months. In addition to the 
steamer named, the CLEOPATRA, of 1467 tons, the OTTAWA, 
and two chartered steamers, one the CHARITY, built for the 
African Steamship Co., and the other the CANADIAN, chartered 
from Messrs. Allan Brothers, were engaged in the service. 
On the outbreak of the Crimean War the OTTAWA and CHARITY 
were taken off the Canadian service for the conveyance of 
troops to the Crimea, and in 1855 the CLEOPATRA was despatched 
from London to Melbourne. 

The Anglo-Canadian Mail Service proving unprofitable 
a natural result from the way in which it was conducted it 
was transferred to the Messrs. Allan, who undertook to build 
a fleet specially for this trade, and to maintain a fortnightly 
service to Quebec in summer, and a monthly service to 
Portland, Maine, in winter, for the annual subsidy of 24,000. 
The Allan mail service to Canada commenced in April, 1856. 
A weekly service was instituted in 1859, and has been continued 
until the present day. The first four steamers of the line 
were built by Messrs. Denny, Dumbarton, and one of them, 
the ANGLO-SAXON, made a passage in nine days five hours 
which was considered a record in those days. The HIBERNIAN, 




built in 1861, was the first steamer in the Atlantic trade to 
have a spar deck, covering the main dek from stem to stern, 
affording shelter for the passengers in heavy weather, and 
found to be so advantageous that it has been adopted by all 
the other first-class Atlantic companies. 

The time 011 passage was further reduced by the POIANKMA.X 
in 1872. On her first voyage this steamer made the passage 
between Quebec and Londonderry in seven days eighteen hours 
and fifty-five minutes. 

In 1877 the BUENOS AYREAN made her appearance. This 
vessel is remarkable as being the first Atlantic liner con- 
structed of steel, the material of which all ocean-going steamers 
are now built. 

In 1881 the PARISIAN was launched, a steamer which has 
always been a favourite on the route. She has accommodation 
for 200 first, 100 second, and 500 third-class passengers, and is 
popularly known as the " ladies' ship," a title bestowed upon 
her because she is credited with having carried a larger pro- 
portion of lady passengers than any other line. The three 
crack boats of the present fleet are the twin-screw steamers 
BAVARIAN, TUNISIAN, and IONIAN. The first of these sailed 
on her maiden voyage to Canada in August, 1899, and she was 
followed by the TUNISIAN in April, 1900. The IONIAN, the 
latest addition to the passenger fleet, is a twin-screw steamer 
of 9,000 tons. So far as outward appearance and internal 
arrangements go these are sister ships, though the TUNISIAN is 
10,576 tons, against the 9,000 tons of the IONIAN. 

The dimensions of these magnificent steamships are as 
follows : - length 520 feet, beam 60 feet, and depth 43 feet. 

All the passenger vessels of the Allan fleet are lighted by 
electricity, and they are being fitted with the Marconi system 
of wireless telegraphy. 

The new ship (to be named the VICTORIAN), now being built 
for the line in Belfast is to be supplied with Turbine Engines. 
She will be the first transatlantic liner to be fitted with marine 
engines of this type. 

By its recent purchase (1903) from Messrs. Elder, Dempster 
and Co., of fifteen large and full-powered ocean steamships, 


the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. has placed itself in the 
front rank of steamship owners. Prior to this deal, it owned 
ONTARIO, all of which plied on the great inland lakes of Canada 
as adjuncts to its train services. These steamers ranged from 
498 tons net register to 2,768 tons. 

In 1891, the Naval Construction and Armaments Co., at 
Barrow, built three magnificent mail and passenger steamers 
for the Canadian Pacific Railway. These steamers, the 
are almost identical in measurement, capacity and speed. 
They are each 455 feet 6 inches in length ; 51 feet 2 inches 
beam ; and 33 feet 1 inch depth of hold. They are propelled 
by twin screws driven by a pair of triple expansion engines of 
1,167 horse power. These three steamers have maintained 
since 1891, a regular mail service between Vancouver, B.C., 
the Pacific terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and 
eTapaii and China. 

The steamers TARTAR and ATHENIAN, two smaller and less 
powerful boats are despatched, as intermediate steamers, at 
regular intervals. 

From Liverpool to Hong Kong over sea and over land the 
Canadian Pacific Railway Co. stretches a long unbroken line 
nearly 12,000 miles in length. 

In 1870 Messrs. Flinn, Main & Montgomery despatched the 
ST. Louis from Liverpool to New Orleans. She was the pioneer 
steamer of a Company promoted by the firm named for the 
purpose of trading between Liverpool and New Orleans, and 
called the Liverpool and Mississippi Steamship Co. The views 
of the promoters becoming enlarged, they changed the name of 
the Company in 1872 to the Mississippi and Dominion Steam- 
ship Co., and entered into the Canadian trade. For many years 
the steamers of the Line sailed only between Liverpool and 
Quebec and Montreal, but about 1891 a second service was 
established, with sailings to and from Bristol and the ports on 
the St. Lawrence. 

In 1894 Messrs. Flinn, Main & Montgomery retired, and the 
two ^sections of the business were taken over the Liverpool 




service by Messrs. Richards, Mills & Co., and the Bristol service 
by Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co. ; the former continued to be 
known as the " Dominion Line," but the latter service was 
merged into the Beaver Line, and as such formed part of the 
fleet purchased by the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., referred to 
in a preceding paragraph. 

In 1902 the Dominion Line was acquired by the American 
Shipping Combine, and in October, 1903, a further change was 
made by the transference of the latest and best steamers of the 
fleet to the White Star flag. 



Kailway Companies as Steamship Owners. South Eastern and Chatham. 
London, Brighton and South Coast. London and South Western. Great 
Western. London and North Western. Lancashire and Yorkshire. 
Stranraer and Larne. Caledonian. Glasgow and South Western. North 
British. Great Central. Great Eastern. 

THERE are in Great Britain, as well as in the United States 
of America, many steamship lines which are either owned or 
controlled by railway corporations. On the south coast of 
England, from Harwich to Falmouth inclusive, almost the 
whole of the Anglo-continental passenger traffic is held by 
the great railway companies, who have made the various ports 
along that stretch of coast their termini. In the North 
Country, both on the east and west coasts, with a few important 
exceptions, the cross-channel and over-sea traffic is operated 
by steamship companies, which, while running in connection 
with the railway systems of their respective ports, are entirely 
separate and independent undertakings. 

The South Eastern and Chatham Railway Co. has now 
running between Dover and Calais, the new turbine steamer 
THE QUEEN, and the fast and large paddle steamers EMPRESS, 

In connection with the same Company's service via Folke- 
stone and Boulogne, the fast and powerful steamers MABEL 

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Co. has also 
added this year (1903) a turbine steamer to its fleet of fast 
steamers plying between Newhaven and Dieppe. In addition 
to the turbine steamer referred to, the fleet at present includes 
the following powerful 21 -knot vessels : ARUNDEL, CALVADOS, 

The London and South Western Railway Co. has a large 
fleet of about twenty powerful steamers, with which it main- 





SLIGO S. N. Co., LTD. 






STOTT & Co. 






N. B. RY. Co. 





tains daily services between Southampton and Havre and 
tri-weekly services between Southampton and Cherbourg, ;m<l 
Southampton and the Channel Islands. 

The Great Western Railway Co. from its southern terminus, 
Weymouth, runs the Mail Steamers ANTELOPK, (TA/KI.LK, IBKX, 
LYNX, REINDEER, and ROEBUCK, to the Channel Islands and 
Brittany; and from its western terminus, Milford, the Mail 

From Holyhead the London and North Western Railway 
Co. maintain passenger services to Dublin and Greenore. It 

ARUNDEL. London, Brighton and South Coast By. Co. 

is also interested with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway 
Co. in the Mail Steamers sailing nightly between Fleetwood 
and Belfast. 

In 1902 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Co. pur- 
chased from the Drogheda Steampacket Company, for the sum 
of 80,000, the entire fleet of the latter Company, consisting of 
five paddle steamers engaged in the Liverpool and Drogheda 
Service. The Drogheda Steampacket Company was one of 
the oldest Irish Steampacket companies, having maintained a 
Steampacket service between Liverpool and Drogheda for 



upwards of sixty years. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Rail- 
way Co. is also a partner in the Fleetwood and Belfast Mail 
Service, and has recently extended the sailings of the Fleet- 
wood steamers to Londonderry. 

A Joint Committee representing several railway companies 
operate a Mail Service between Stranraer and Larne. The 
paddle steamer PRINCESS VICTORIA or PRINCESS MAY sails twice 
daily during the summer months, and once daily during the 
winter months to and from Stranraer and Larne, making the 
passage each way in about two hours. 

GLEN SANNOX. Glasgow and South-Western Ry. Co. 

On the Firth of Clyde the Caledonian Railway Co. are 
interested in the handsome steamers of the Caledonian Steam 
Packet Co. These vessels carry a cream coloured funnel, and 
sail from Ardrossan to Gourock and Wemyss Bay. All the 
watering places on the Firth are served by the respective fleets 
of the various railway companies. 

The Glasgow and South Western Railway Company owns, 




and works from Prince's Pier, Gourock, a fleet of swift steamers 
distinguished by their slate coloured hulls, with red funnels 
and black tops. The fleet includes the GLEN ROSA, GLEN 
and others. 

The North British Railway Company is the premier Railway 
Company of Scotland ; its mileage amounts to l,tt(M miles. In 
conjunction with the Great Northern and North Eastern 
Railway Companies it forms the " East Coast Route " from 
England to Scotland, and the fastest booked " Railway run " 
in the Kingdom is on this route. As an important adjunct 
to its railway system, the North British Railway Co. employ on 
the Firth of Clyde (making Craigeiidoran the headquarters), 

LUCY ASHTON. North British Ry. Co. 

the well-known paddle passenger steamers LADY CLARE, LADY 
and others ; and between Silloth and Liverpool the screw cargo 

No Railway-owned steamers ply on the east coast of Scotland, 
but from Grimsby the Great Central Railway Co. have a large 
fleet of passenger and cargo steamers sailing regularly to 
various continental ports. In July, 1865, this Company (then 
known as the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway 
Co.) purchased the Anglo-French Steamship Co.'s fleet of 
boats, and started running steamers from Grimsby to Hamburg. 
The following April the Railway Company commenced a 
service of steamers between Grimsby and Rotterdam, and in 


August, 1867, the service was extended to Antwerp. At the 
present time the Great Central Railway Co. possesses a fleet 
of fourteen powerful steamers trading regularly between 
Grimsby and the continental ports named. 

The railway company remaining to be mentioned as a 
steamship owning company is the Great Eastern Railway 
Company the Royal British Mail Route to Holland. 

The steamers of this Company have been especially built for 
the Continental service. The Royal Mail steamers AMSTERDAM, 
Harwich-Hook of Holland route. They are powerful twin-screw 
ocean-going ships of 5,000 indicated horse-power, capable of 
steaming 18 knots an hour, each with two distinct sets of 
engines, so that in case of accident to one set the vessel can 
proceed with the other. 

The passenger accommodation is similar to that on the latest 
Atlantic Liners, a special feature being the large number of 
private cabins for two passengers. The ships are fitted with 
electric light, and all latest passenger comforts, including dining, 
smoking, and ladies' saloons, and separate sleeping berths. 

The vessels running on the Harwich-Antwerp route are 
similar to those on the Hook of Holland service. 

In common with all Railway Companies' steamers, the 
Company's vessels sail under the British flag, and are subject to 
the British Board of Trade stringent regulations as to safety and 
life-saving appliances. 




THE latest development of the marine engine is the Marine 
Steam Turbine, the invention of the Hon. C. A. Parsons, F.R.S., 
brother of the present Earl of Rosse, and a son of the builder 
of the famous " Birr " telescope, the largest reflecting telescope 
ever built. 

The first vessel ever fitted with the new type of engine was 
appropriately named the TURBINIA. This vessel is only 100 
feet long by 9 feet beam and of a total displacement of 44^ 
tons, but she is some ten knots faster than any boat afloat of the 
same dimensions. Although the weight of her main engines 
is only about 4 tons, and the total weight of machinery, screws, 
and shafting, tanks, etc., is only 22 tons, she developes the 
enormous power of 2,100 I.H.T., being almost 100 H.P. per 
ton of machinery. 

Prof. Ewing, in April, 1895, made some trials of the TURBINIA 
on the Tyne, the highest speed then recorded being 32'75 knots, 
but in June of the same year a speed of 34^ knots was obtained 
at Cowes. 

Three turbines are used for driving the vessel high pressure, 
intermediate and low pressure. Each turbine driving direct 
on to a separate propeller shaft. Reversing is obtained by 
means of one or more separate turbines connected to the same 
shafts as the propelling turbines and working in a vacuum 
when the boat is going ahead. 

Several torpedo destroyers and three yachts have been fitted 
with Parsons' turbine engines. The first mercantile vessel to 
be so fitted was the KING EDWARD, built by Messrs. Denny 
Brothers, Dumbarton, in 1901. 

On her trial trip she attained a speed of 20J knots, and 
during her first season on the Firth of Clyde (1901) she sailed 


12,116 knots in 79 days on a coal consumption of 1,429 tons, 
at an average speed of 18| knots per hour. So satisfied were 
her owners with her, that they gave an order to the same 
builders and engineers for a somewhat larger vessel for the 
following season. 

The new (1902) turbine steamer is the QUEEN ALEXANDRA, 
a three-deck passenger steamer intended also for the Firth of 
Clyde passenger service. She is 270 feet long, by 32 feet beam, 
and depth 11 feet 6 inches. She has two funnels, but only 
one pole mast. Her main deck is completely covered in from 
the bow to aft of the engine room, and above the spar deck she 
carries a shade deck 100 feet in length, to which passengers 
have access, and iiiider which shelter is provided in wet 

Like her sister vessel, the KING EDWARD, the main engines 
of the QUEEN ALEXANDRA consist of three separate turbines, 
each driving its own shaft, the centre turbine being high- 
pressure, and the two side turbines low-pressure. The velocity 
of the centre shaft is about 700, and of each of the side shafts 
1,000 revolutions per minute. On account of the high velocity 
at which the shafts revolve it is necessary to increase the 
number of propellers driven, and the turbine steamers, there- 
fore, have five small propellers each, one 011 the centre shaft, 
and two each on the outside shafts. On the builders' trials 
the QUEEN ALEXANDRA exceeded the speed of the KING 
EDWARD by a knot and a quarter. Her actual speed was 21'63 
knots, equal to about 25 miles per hour. 

Two Channel steamers designed to carry passengers and 
mails, and to be fitted with Parsons' marine steam turbine 
engines, are now (1903) being built on the Clyde by Messrs. 
Wm. Denny and Brothers. 

Of these, one, the QUEEN, is to the order of the South 
Eastern and Chatham Railway Co. She will be 310 feet long 
and 40 feet broad ; and she is to maintain a speed of at least 
21 knots. The average time occupied at present on the 
passage between Dover and Calais is f>5 minutes, but the new 
vessel is expected to reduce the time to 50 or even 45 minutes. 
The mode of propulsion is practically the same as that on 


the QUEEN ALEXANDRA, namely, three shall s carrying five 

The other Channel steamer referred to as being built is 
intended for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 
Co.'s service between Newhaven and Dieppe. Her dimensions 
are, length 280 feet, beam 34 feet, draft 22 feet; with a gross 
tonnage of 1,100 tons. 

The EMERALD, one of the three yachts referred to at the 
beginning of this chapter, is the first vessel fitted with turbine 
machinery that ever crossed the Atlantic. She arrived at 
New York, after encountering tempestuous weather on the 
passage, on the 6th May, 1903. Her qualities as a sea-boat 
were severely tested during the voyage, with entirely satis- 
factory results. She was built for Sir Christopher Furness, 
M.P., by Messrs. Alerx. Stephen & Sons, Limited, of Linthouse, 
and fitted with machinery by the Parsons Marine Steam 
Turbine Co., Limited, of Wallsend-on-Tyne, and it was found 
that when the yacht was steaming at the rate of 15 knots per 
hour, the machinery ran with an absence of vibration and 

The EMERALD is a vessel of 756 tons, yacht measurement, and 
was chartered by Mr. Geo. Gould, of New York, for six 
months from the 15th April, 1903. Mr. Gould sent over to 
this country Captain Tod to navigate her across the Atlantic, 
with instructions to further experiment on her steaming 
capabilities at sea, and to carefully observe her behaviour 
compared with the other large steam yachts of which he has had 
charge. On the termination of the voyage, Captain Tod 
reported -.hat the yacht behaved splendidly; that then 1 was 
no racing of propellers, and no vibration; and that the coal 
consumption was moderate, considering the weather. 

There have been several rumours to the effect that the new 
steamers for the Cunard Mail Service are to be fitted with 
turbine engines, but these rumours have not been officially 
confirmed. In any case these steamers could not be completed 
in time to take from the Allan Line the distinction of being 
the first Company to own a Transatlantic Mail Turbine 



History of Steam Navigation. 

Part II. 



The firm of Elder, Dempster & Co. was founded in the year 
1868 by Messrs. Alexander Elder and John Dempster, two 
gentlemen intimately acquainted with the working of the 
African Steamship trade. For 11 years they were the sole 
partners, but in 1879 they admitted Mr. (now Sir Alfred) 
Jones into the firm, and Mr. W. J. Davey was also taken into 
partnership. The original partners, Messrs. Elder and 
Dempster, retired from the firm in 1884. Mr. Alexander 
Sinclair, who became a partner in 1891, having retired in 
1901, the sole partners at the present date are Sir Alfred L. 
Jones, K.C.M.G., and Mr. W. J. Davey. 

The firm is one of the largest commercial houses in the 
world, and in all the various branches of commerce in which 
it is interested it takes a foremost position. As steamship 
owners it controls the largest fleet of steamers in Great 
Britain. The business of the firm extends so rapidly, and new 
steamers to meet the necessities of the several trades are so 
frequently being added to the fleet, that it is impossible to 
give a list of the vessels owned, or under the management of 
the firm, which will not in a short time be obsolete, but 
according to the official sailing list issued 28th March. 1903, 



the following steamers were sailing under the triple flags of 
Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co.: 

















































As proving the difficulty of stating the number of steamships 
under the control of this firm, and at the same time illustrating 
the gigantic nature of its commercial operations, it may be 
stated that while this volume was in preparation for the Press, 
it sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. an entire fleet, 
consisting of fifteen large ocean liners. The despatch of the 
last Elder-Dempster liner under the Beaver flag, on 
Wednesday, March 31st, 1903, was quite an historic event. 
She carried with her the first portion of the Rev. J. M. Barr's 
colony, numbering about 2,000 souls. Thousands of spectators 
lined the stage, and as the liner sheered away cheer after cheer 
rent the air. Sir Alfred Jones, Mr. W. J. Davey, Mr. David 
Tones, the Revs. Canon Russell (Manchester), R. 0. Greep, Dr. 
Lightwood, S. Gasking and H. M, JJraithwaite, as well as many 


























well-known personages in shipping and commerce, were 
present. The band of the 1st Liverpool Volunteers played 
inspiring music, including tunes reminiscent of home and 
friendly associations, first on the stage and afterwards on the 

Sir Alfred Jones expressed his regret, as he witnessed the 
multitude on board the Lake Manitoba, that he had consented 
to sell his Canadian fleet to the Canadian Pacific Railway. 
He said his firm had worked hard to develop Canadian 
colonisation, and the full fruit of their efforts was only 
becoming visible now when they had left the business. He 
commended the object of the expedition, and hoped for its 
success. A completely equipped colony of 2,000, with 
thousands more to follow in due course, was, he considered, a 

Reference has been made to the three flags borne by the 
Elder-Dempster steamers. The Beaver flag no longer exists. 
The other two are (1) the white swallow-tail flag with a red 
St. George's cross (gold crown in centre) of the African 
Steamship Co. ; and the blue swallow-tail flag, with a white St. 
George's cross, of the British and African Steam Navigation 
Co. A brief sketch of the history of both of these important 
companies, as well as of the Imperial Direct West India Mail 
Service Limited, will be found in the succeeding pages of this 

The management of any one of these fleets would be 
considered ample employment for most mercantile firms, but 
they are only units in the business conducted at that large 
hive of commerce, African House, Water Street, Liverpool, 
which is, by the way, shortly to be transferred to Colonial 
Chambers, now in course of being erected. In addition to the 
services mentioned, Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co. maintain a 
service of Mail Steamers between Antwerp and the River 
Congo, under the title of the Compagnie Beige Maritime du 
Congo, an inter-insular Mail Service at the Canary Islands, 
and a Coastal Service at Jamaica. They do also a large Ocean 
Tramp business, being prepared to carry cargo, when sufficient 
inducement offers, to and from any port in the world. 


It is the existence of such splendidly managed mercantile 
fleets, such as the Elder-Dempster Line, that enabled Great 
Britain to astonish the world by the rapid and safe transport of 
troops and munitions of war during the progress of the late War 
in South Africa. Many years of experience in the management 
of steamships have enabled the company to design and con- 
struct a magnificent fleet of fast cargo liners, having lofty 
'tween decks, and fitted with anti-rolling keels, electric light 
and every modern improvement. Several of these were 
chartered at an early stage of the war by the British 
Admiralty, and retained for voyage after voyage as transports. 
Nine steamers, of an aggregate gross tonnage of 52,000 tons, 
were requisitioned in this way. In addition to these, the firm's 
steamers carried with remarkable success some 26,000 horses 
and 21,000 mules from New Orleans to the Cape, and some 
5,000 horses and 3,000 mules from Canada, Hungary, the River 
Plate, &c. It may also be mentioned in this connection that 
the Elder-Dempster Liner MONTEREY conveyed " Strathcona's 
Horse," the MILWAUKEE the " Royal Canadians," and the 
MONTFORT the Canadian contingent of Baden-Powell's Police 
from Halifax, N.S., to the Cape. The MILWAUKEE was the 
transport selected to convey General Cronje, his family, and 
over 500 Boer prisoners to St. Helena. The Elder-Dempster 
transports had the good fortune on several occasions to be able 
to render material assistance to other transports which had met 
with mishaps. Thus they came to the assistance of the 
CARINTHIA a few days after she stranded at Aux Cayes, and, 
taking off her cargo of mules, carried them 011 to their 
destination. The MONTROSE turned up just in the nick of 
time to save the crew when the ill-fated MEXICAN foundered 
off the Cape, and when the SUFFOLK stranded it was again 
an Elder-Dempster liner, the LAKE ERIE, that came to her 
assistance, and did all that was possible to rescue the crew. 

In the summer of 1902 Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co. 
commenced running the luxuriously appointed ocean liner 
LAKE SIMCOE on pleasure cruises to the Norwegian Fjords. 
Those persons who have had the pleasure of travelling by this 
vessel are most enthusiastic in their praise of the ship, her 

CHAP. I.] 



officers and her equipment, and of all who are responsible for 
the comfort and enjoyment of the passengers. The LAKK 
SIMCOE is probably one of the largest pleasure steamers trading 
to the Norwegian Coast, but her rates of passage money are by 
no means commensurate with her size. It is an opportunity 
of visiting the Land of the* Midnight Sun in comfort and even 
luxury which ought not to be missed. The fact that a large 
proportion of the commanders, officers, engineers, seamen and 
firemen serving under the firm are Royal Naval Reservists 
renders the Elder-Dempster fleet additionally valuable to the 





Two years (1852) prior to the outbreak of the Crimean War, 
the African Steamship Company was incorporated by Royal 
Charter with limited liability. The initial capital was 
250,000 in 12,500 shares of 20 each. The first directors of 
the Company were Sir John Campbell, K.C.H. (Chairman), 
James Hartley, Esq. (Director of the P. and 0. Co.), John 
Black, Esq., Henry William Schneider, Esq., Macgregor 
Laird, Esq., Henry William Currie, Esq., William Law 
Ogilby, Esq., and Charles William Gregory, Esq. Bankers, 
Messrs. Currie & Co., Cornhill. 

The prospectus of the company, as published in the " Times," 
13th July, 1852, was as follows: 

" This Company is formed to carry out a contract with H.M. 
" Government for the monthly conveyance of the mails to 
" Madeira,, Teiieriffe, and the principal ports and places on the 
" West Coast of Africa, viz., Goree, Bathurst, Sierra Leone, 
" Liberia, Cape Coast Castle, Accra, Whydah, Badagny, Lagos, 
" Bonny, Old Calabar, Cameroons and Fernando Po ; and to 
" establish a line of steam communication between Sierra 
" Leone aiul the British West Indies as soon as satisfactory 
" arrangements are made with the Government. 

" The contract for the mails was taken by Mr. Macgregor 
" Laird in December last, and is for a term of ten years from 
" the 1st September next. The annual payment by the 
" Government commences at 23,250, and diminishes at the 
" rate of 500 yearly during the continuance of the contract, 
" making an average payment of 21,500 per annum. 

" Five iron screw steamships for this service are in the 
" course of construction by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, 


" with engines by Messrs. George Forrester & Co., and 
" Fawcett, Preston & Co., of Liverpool. 

" The first of these vessels is to be launched on the 3rd July, 
" and will be ready to commence the mail service in accordance 
" with the terms of the contract on the 1st September. Two 
" of them have capacity for TOO, two of them for 1,000, and 
" one for 250 tons cargo, with excellent accommodation for 
" first-class passengers. The company are also to have Mr. 
" Laird's services as Managing Director. A negotiation is 
" going on with the Portuguese Government for an extension 
" of the line from Fernando, the valuable African possession. 

" Plymouth will be the first port of arrival, and the last 
" port of departure for the company's vessels, but the voyage 
" will terminate at and commence from London." 

The steamers referred to were the FORERUNNER, FAITH, 

The trading operations between London and Africa not 
being profitable, the Board of Directors (about 1860) proposed 
to wind up the company. 

On the solicitations of Messrs. Fletcher & Parr, of Liverpool, 
they were induced to try the trade from Liverpool to the West 
Coast of Africa. The result of the trial was extremely satis- 
factory, and Liverpool became the home-port of the fleet. 
The business of the company increased rapidly, and the 
shareholders received their dividends for some time with 
gratifying regularity, but unfortunately about ten years after 
the change from London to Liverpool, the relations between 
the Board of Directors at the former port and the managing 
agents at Liverpool became somewhat strained. 

In spite of a great financial loss, caused by the defalcations 
of the Secretary ; of a small and inefficient fleet ; and a policy 
011 the part of the Directors which was decidedly peculiar, the 
company maintained a struggling existence until 1891, when 
it passed into the management of the firm of " Elder, Dempster 
and Co." Under the vigorous and successful management of 
this firm, the African Steamship Company started on a new 
and prosperous career. Instead of, as in 1875, possessing a 
fleet of seven ocean steamers and two coast vessels, the 


company now owns thirty-three modern, large and powerful 
ocean steamers, ranging from 1,000 to 5,200 tons cadi, ami 
six branch steamers, four of which are 1,000 Ions cadi. 

An Express Service to the Coast has been established by 
means of a fleet of fast steamers of the JEBBA type, which n-adi 
Sekondi, the centre of the new gold mining industry, in 15 days. 
They have been specially constructed for the trade in which they 
are engaged, and no skill has been wanting nor expense spared 
to make them the most perfect of their kind. The passenger 
accommodation has received special attention. The saloons 
are spacious, the staterooms lofty and well ventilated, while 
extensive promenade and bridge decks enable passengers to 
enjoy the invigorating sea breezes secure alike from sun and 

The company grants special facilities for visiting the 
beautiful islands of Madeira, Tenerifie and Grand Canary, 
issuing special holiday tickets, which include first-class passage 
out and home, and a fortnight's board and accommodation at 
the Hotel Metropole, Las Palmas, for 15. Passengers have 
also the option of returning via Barcelona or Genoa, by the 
steamers of " La Veloce Navigazione Italiana a Vapore " (The 
Italian Express Steam Navigation Co.). 

The Royal Mail Steamers of the African Steamship Co., 
conjointly with the steamers of the British and African Steam 
Navigation Co., sail from Liverpool thrice a week for the 
Canary Islands and the West Coast, from Hamburg and 
Amsterdam weekly, and from Antwerp (Cie Beige Maritime 
du Congo) for Teneriffe, Sierra Leone and Congo Ports every 
third wee!:. 






THIS Company was projected in 1868 by a number of gentle- 
men practically acquainted with the trade of the West Coast 
of Africa. Amongst these were Mr. Alexander Elder and Mr. 
John Dempster who in that year founded the firm of Elder, 
Dempster & Co., a firm whose ramifications during these later 
years, under the guidance of Sir Alfred L. Jones, K.C.M.G., 
and Mr. Davey, may be said to extend throughout the 
civilized world. 

Three steamers of about 1,300 tons gross each, were specially 
built to the order of the new company, by Messrs. Randolph 
Elder & Co., of Glasgow, for the West African trade, and were 
named the BONNY, EOQUELLE, and CONGO. 

The Pioneer steamer, the BONNY, sailed from Liverpool in 
January, 1869, and thereafter a monthly service was main- 
tained between Glasgow, Liverpool and the West Coast of 
Africa. After several years' employment in this trade, the 
ROQUELLE was sold to Messrs. P. M. Tintore & Co., Barcelona, 
and is still sailing from the Mersey under the Spanish Hag. 

So successful were these steamers that in 1869 it was decided 
to add three more to the fieet. 

The new steamers were the LIBERIA, LOANDA and VOLTA, 
also specially built for the trade by the late Mr. John Elder, 
the distinguished brother of Mr. Alexander Elder, whose early 
death towards the end of 1869 was so much deplored by the 
ship-building and engineering world. The gross tonnage of 
these three vessels was increased to about 1,500 tons each. 

It was considered desirable during the same year to register 


the Company. as an Incorporated Company. The Eegistered 
Office of the Company was in Glasgow, but Mr. Alexander 
Elder and Mr. John Dempster conducted its operations in 

With the six steamers the Company now possessed the 
sailings were increased to fortnightly. 

In 1874 the sailings from Glasgow were abandoned, cargo to 
and from that port being transhipped at Liverpool. 

As the trade expanded, additions were regularly made to the 
fleet, and in 1879 sailings between Hamburg and the West 
Coast of Africa were commenced. In 1883 the Company was 
registered as a limited company, at which time its fleet had 
increased to 20 steamers and 2 hulks with a gross registered 
tonnage of 30,753 tons. 

The following year (1884) Mr. Elder and Mr. Dempster 
retired from the firm of Elder, Dempster & Co., which since 
1879 had consisted of these gentlemen and Mr. (now Sir A. L.) 
Jones, and Mr. W. J. Davey. Messrs. Elder and Dempster, 
however, remained Managing Directors of the Company until 
1900, Mr. Elder having for some years previous to this date 
occupied the position of Chairman. 

In 1900 Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co., purchased the entire 
business and assets of the British and African Steam Naviga- 
tion Co., Limited, and with the addition of 9 large steamers, 
suitable for outside trades, formed a new company with a 
share capital of 1,000,000, and Debenture Stock of 800,000. 
The new company has a fleet of 35 steamers with a total gross 
registered tonnage of 107,000 tons. 

While the bulk of its operations continue to be in connection 
with the West Coast of Africa, several of its steamers are 
employed in the North Atlantic and other trades. 

The contrast between the first steamer, the BONNY, and the 
latest, the BURUTU, built in 1902, will be seen by the following 
comparison of their respective dimensions : 

BONNY, length 261*0 feet, beam 30'2 feet, depth 23 feet. 
Gross 1,326 tons. 

BURUTU, length 360'0 feet, beam 44'2 feet, depth 26 feet. 
Gross 5,200 tons. 


In the later steamers of the fleet, the vessels of the BURUTU 
type, traders and other travellers reach Sekondi, the centre of 
the new gold mining industry, in about 1'i days from Liverpool. 
No skill has heen wanting nor expense spared to make these 
vessels the most perfect of their kind, and exactly suitable for 
tropical trade. 

A special feature of the steamers is the system of overhead 
trunk ventilation, by which an imperceptible current of fresh 
air is kept continually circulating through the lofty and well 
lighted state rooms, making them cool and agreeable in the 
hottest weather. 

Passengers by the Royal Mail Steamers belonging to the 
British and African Company, are granted special facilities for 
visiting the beautiful islands of Madeira, Teneriffe and Grand 
Canary. The Company issues a special holiday ticket for 15, 
which includes Saloon passage out and home, and a fortnight's 
board and accommodation at the Hotel Metropole, Las Palmas. 
Passengers by these steamers who may wish to visit the Medi- 
terranean, have also the option of returning from the islands via 
Barcelona or Genoa, by the steamers of the Italian Express 
Steam Navigation Co. 

The Royal Mail Steamers of the British and African Steam 
Navigation Co., conjointly with the steamers of the African 
Steam Ship Co., sail from Liverpool three times a week for the 
Canary Islands and the West Coast of Africa, and from 
Hamburg and Rotterdam weekly. 






FOR years the Island of Jamaica, the Pearl of the Antilles, had 
been decadent, its planters cast down and despairing because 
it was impossible, owing to the heavily subsidized continental 
beet sugar, to grow cane sugar at a profit. And, although 
physicians in the United States were sending their patients to 
seek renewed health and energy " from the balmy breezes 
laden with health giving ozone which blow over the island," 
British Life Insurance offices placed a black mark against 
Jamaica, and demanded an additional premium from their 
policy holders for permission to visit its shores. But the dark 
commercial cloud is passing, and the island has entered upon 
an era of prosperity which bids fair to be greater and more 
permanent than even the golden days of the sugar planter. 
It is an open secret that for this the Jamaicans are indebted in 
great measure to the enterprise of Messrs. Elder, Dempster 
and Co., who have practically created the demand in Great 
Britain for Jamaica grown fruits, and who have established 
a service of swift steamers, specially built for the trade. This 
Line of steamers, which is known as the Imperial Direct West 
India Mail Service although only established in the first year 
of the present centuiy, has already achieved a remarkable 
success. In addition to bringing to England over 50,000 
bunches of bananas per month, as well as other West Indian 
fruits, tobacco, coffee, sugar, rum, and other varieties of 
tropical produce, the steamers carry a large and increasing 
number of passengers each voyage between Great Britain and 
the colony. 



The home port of the steamers is Avonmouth, near Bristol, 
from which a fortnightly sailing is maintained throughout the 
year to Kingston (Jamaica), but it is probable that the service 
will soon be increased to a weekly one. In recognition of the 
invaluable services rendered by these steamers both to the 
Empire and to the colony, their Royal Highnesses the Prince 
and Princess of Wales paid a visit of inspection to the II. M.S. 
POET ROYAL, at Avonmouth, on the 5th March, 1902. 

The vessels at present engaged in the direct Mail Service 
were all built in 1901, and are named, the PORT ROYAL, PORT 
steamers named are sister ships and are identical in measure- 
ment, viz., length 382 feet, beam 4G feet 6 inches, and depth 
32 feet. Each is propelled by twin screws, and fitted with 
triple expansion engines capable of maintaining a speed of 14 
knots per hour, and carries about 5,000 tons cargo. They can 
each accommodate 100 first-class passengers and 50 second- 
class passengers. The saloons and staterooms are handsomely 
decorated, and are fitted so as to secure a maximum of comfort 
for the passengers. The cuisine and the appointments gener- 
ally being those appertaining to a first-class mail and 
passenger steamer. 

A new mail steamer of considerably larger dimensions than 
any of the preceding steamers of the fleet, is now in course of 
construction and is expected to make her first voyage early in 
1904. It is proposed to call her the PORT KINGSTON. 

These steamers sail from Avonmouth Dock, Bristol, every 
alternate Saturday, and make the voyage as a rule in from 12 
to 14 days. The rates for passengers are: Saloon (single) 
18 to 25 pounds; (return) 32 to 40, according to the 
position of the state-room, and number of persons occupying 
same. In the second saloon the charge is 14 for the single 
passage, and 25 for the return. 

The DELTA, belonging to the same Company, makes a trip 
round Jamaica every week ; she has first-class accommodation 
for passengers, and affords a splendid opportunity of seeing 
the coast and towns around the Island. The charge for first- 
class passengers is 3 for the round trip. 


Arrangements have been made with the Hamburg- American 
Line, running between Kingston (Jamaica) and Central Ameri- 
can Ports, to carry passengers booked by Imperial Direct West 
India Line of Steamers to the following Central American Ports, 
viz., Savanilla, Cartagena, Port Limon, and Greytown, at an 
inclusive first-class fare between Kingston and any of the 
above Ports of 6 3s. per adult. Passengers travelling on 
these tickets will be accommodated on special terms at the 
Myrtle Bank Hotel (Kingston), during the time between the 
arrival of the Mail Steamers and the departure of the Steamer 
of the Hamburg-American Line. There is also a good service 
from Kingston to Cuba. The Cuba steamer leaves Kingston 
the day after the arrival of the mail steamer from England. 

Passengers can also be booked through, via the Colon and 
Panama Railway, to the principal ports on the Chilian Coast. 
The steamers of the Pacific Mail Co. and Campania Sud- 
Americana Co. leave Panama weekly for the South, reaching 
Callao in about nine days and arriving at Valparaiso in about 
21 days. Seeing that for years past the climate of Jamaica 
has been libelled as unhealthy, it cannot be too strongly 
affirmed, that from a medical point of view, the wonderful air 
of the hilly districts is unrivalled ; it being in every way equal 
to that of the better known European winter resorts, to which it 
bids fair to become a serious rival. 


R.M.S. ULSTER. City of Dublin Steampacket Co. 




IN the summer of the year 1822 Mr. C. W. Williams, of 
Dublin, crossed over to Liverpool with the object of inducing 
the merchants to take shares in a line of steampackets he 
proposed building for the Liverpool and Dublin trade. Except 
to the most sanguine, the time did not appear to be favourable 
for such a scheme. A large fleet of sailing smacks maintained 
daily communication (subject to the weather) between the 
two ports, carrying all kinds of goods, and even cattle. The 
steampackets WATERLOO and BELFAST sailed with passengers 
only every alternate day from each side. Both these vessels 
had already won for themselves a reputation, the former being 
the first steampacket to ply regularly between England and 
Ireland, and the latter having made a passage in the then 
remarkably short time of 12^ hours. Besides this, " The 
Original Steampacket Company," a new company (with 
powerful Government influence), including amongst its share- 
holders Lord Blaney, Major-General Preeth, Sir John Tobin, 
&c., and trading under the title of the St. George Steampacket 
Companv, had in April preceding launched two of the largest 
and most powerful steampackets that had yet been built, viz., 
the ST. PATRICK and the ST. GEORGE. This latter vessel 011 
the 13th September made a passage from Dublin in 11| hours, 
thus making a record which she herself broke on the 23rd 
April, 1824, by making a passage from Liverpool to Dublin 
in 10 hours 40 minutes. In addition to the already established 
steam and sailing lines, a third local steampacket company, 
supported by the traders, the " Dublin and Liverpool Steam 
Navigation Company," was in course of formation. It is not, 


therefore, surprising under these circumstances that Mr. 
Williams, a stranger in Liverpool, failed to obtain the 
financial support to his scheme which he desired. It is the 
more to his credit that, though disappointed in Liverpool, he 
persevered with his project in Dublin with so much success 
that he was enabled to return to Liverpool in February of the 
following year (1823) and place an order with " Frigate " 
Wilson for the pioneer steamer of the future famous City of 
Dublin Steampacket Company, the CITY OF DUBLIN, a vessel 
of 130 h.p. It was an express stipulation with the builder 
that this steamer should be constructed of such materials and 
in such a manner as to withstand the severity of the winter 
navigation. The CITY OF DUBLIN differed from her com- 
petitors in two respects (1) in carrying general cargo in 
addition to live stock and passengers, and (2) in maintaining 
the service uninterruptedly throughout the twelve months. 

A month later Mr. Wilson was again applied to to build a 
second vessel for the company, but in consequence of his 
having that very morning (5th March) contracted to build the 
HY. BELL for the Glasgow trade, it was not till some days 
later the contract was made for the building of the TOWN OF 
LIVERPOOL, to be commenced as soon as the HY. BELL was 

The CITY OF DUBLIN made her maiden voyage on Saturday, 
the 20th March, 1824, and Mr. Samuel Perry, of 16, Water 
Street, was appointed agent to the company. She anticipated 
by about six months the operations of the traders' company 
(the Dublin and Liverpool Steam Navigation), whose first 
steamer, the LIFFEY, 305 tons burden, and 110 h.p., did not 
sail until the 13th September following. From the outset the 
managers of the City of Dublin Company seemingly did not 
regard the Original Steampacket Company as formidable 
opponents, but they determined either to vanquish or acquire 
the other two companies, the greater of which was the St. 
George Steampacket Company. The second company was well 
supported by the Liverpool merchants, and kept its sailings 
(with goods and passengers) throughout the year. In December 
of the same year (1824) the MERSEY joined the LIFFEY, and in 


the July following the COMMERCE, one of the largest steam- 
packets (up to that date) built in this port, was added to the 
fleet. This company's packets proceeded direct to Dublin, and 
discharged at Custom House Quay. On Saturday, 5th 
February, 1825, the third vessel belonging to the City of 
Dublin Steampacket Company was launched from the yard of 
Dawson and Pearson, South Shore, and on the 22nd April 
succeeding the managers issued the following public notice : 

" The City of Dublin Steampacket Company announce to the 
" public that in consequence of the many complaints hitherto 
" made of want of storage room in Dublin for 
" goods going and coming by their steam vessels, they 
" have taken the lot of ground immediately opposite the 
" Packet Station on the North Wall, and are about to erect a 
" convenient and commodious store on the same for the accom- 
" modation of the merchants and traders of Dublin. The 
" Company have increased their capital to 100,000, and are 
" proceeding with every possible expedition in completing 
" their number of vessels, by which means they will shortly be 
" able to despatch one daily from Dublin and another from 
" Liverpool. The trustees have reserved the remainder of the 
" shares now unappropriated exclusively for the accommoda- 
" tion of shippers and importers. Their vessels, the CITY OF 
" DUBLIN and TOWN OF LIVERPOOL, continue to ply as usual. 
" Their third and fourth vessels, the HIBERNIA and BRITANNIA, 
" are nearly complete, and the fifth and sixth will be ready by 
" the end of the year." 

During the summer of 1825 the City of Dublin Company 
despatched their new steamer HIBERNIA on the same day and 
at the same hour as the ST. GEORGE. They were careful to 
inform those interested that this was done " not with a view 
u of opposition, but for the purpose of establishing her (the 
" HIBERNIA'S) character for speed and seaworthiness." They 
were equally careful to point out that " the HIBERNIA has 
" already made six voyages in company with the ST. GEORGE, 
" and has on all occasions proved herself an extremely safe 
" and fleet vessel, and not inferior to that well-known 
" Steampacket." They also mentioned the inconvenience, 



delay and expense of landing by boats at Kingstown, all of 
which might be avoided by taking their magnificent steam - 
packets direct to North Wall. 

The St. George Company replied to this courteous announce- 
ment by also informing the public that the companionship of 
the HIBERNIA was unsought for and undesired by them. It 
was not to be expected that the Liverpool companies would 
permit a strange company to take a lion's share of the trade, 
and not make a practical protest. Consequently, in the 
autumn of 1825, the fares from Liverpool to Dublin were 
reduced to 5s. cabin and 6d. steerage, and on Monday, 
September 5th, one of the steamers sailed with upwards of 700 
passengers at 6d. each. Early the following year (1st 
February, 1826) the managers of the City of Dublin Steam- 
packet Company purchased the Dublin and Liverpool Steam 
Navigation Company, and increased the capital of the company 
to 250,000, in shares of 100 each. Shareholders, in addition 
to their share of the profits of the undertaking, were offered 
the following advantages : 

(1) Free passage by all the company's vessels. 

(2) Free storage for a limited time in the company's stores. 

(3) Special accommodation in the payment of freights and 

The company having grown with a rapidity probably 
without a parallel, decided to extend its sailings to Belfast and 
Waterford, and, if desirable, to other ports. It had now a 
fleet (afloat or building) of fourteen new and powerful 
the 29th August, 1826, the Government established a mail 
service between Liverpool and Kingstown, with most injurious 
results to the existing steampacket companies. The managers 
of the City of Dublin Company interviewed the Secretary to 
the General Post Office in order to obtain some modification 
of the opposition, but without being able to do so. They 
thereupon published the result of their negotiations, and 
appealed to the public for support against the unjustifiable 


action shown by the Government. " The Post Office having 
" now established packets on the station, have, with a view of 
" covering the heavy expenses incident to the same, 
" endeavoured to engross the trade in passengers, carriages, 
" horses, &c., to the great injury of this and other companies : 
" while at the same time they are exempt from the payment 
" of port dues and other charges .... which are already a 
" tax on this company to the amount of 10,000 per annum. 
" Under terms so unequal and disadvantageous, it is evident 
" this opposition has none of the ingredients of fair opposition, 
" were such even justifiable, where Government on the one 
" hand, and private shipowners on the other, are the 
" competitors." 

At this period (1827) there was considerable friction between 
the Mersey Dock Board and the company, the managers of the 
latter considering greater facilities ought to be given for the 
working of their traffic in view of the fact that they annually 
spent in Liverpool 100,000 in outfits and repairs. To meet 
the Government opposition the company purchased the sailing 
brig TYNE, which they loaded fortnightly with rough goods, 
and towed to sea by their own tug MARS. In 1828, in addition 
to their daily service to Dublin, the company had a twice- 
weekly service to Belfast, and once a week to Drogheda. A 
fortnightly service between Dublin and Bordeaux was com- 
menced on the 20th June, 1827. The BALLINASLOE, built in 
1829, was furnished with a powerful blast cylinder to ventilate 
the holds, being the first steamer to be so fitted. The same 
year the MANCHESTER and the BRITANNIA were both wrecked, 
but fortunately without loss of life. 

The steampacket CITY OE LONDONDERRY, built in 1827' for a 
local company, was sold by auction on the 8th October, 1829, 
and purchased by the City of Dublin Company. Her new 
owners took up the station vac-ated by the Derry Company, and 
maintained a weekly service between Liverpool and London- 
derry for a number of years. The Clarence Dock having been 
opened in September, 1830, the City of Dublin Company were 
allotted loading and discharging berths in it on the 25th 
March, 1831, which berths they have used continuously to the 


present date (1903), a period of over seventy years, when they 
were transferred to the Nelson Dock. 

It will be remembered that in the early history of the 
company their most powerful trade competitors were the 
St. George Steampacket Company. One of the steamers of 
the latter company (the LORD BLANEY), while on a voyage 
from Liverpool to Newry, was lost with all hands. With a 
chivalry unusual in commerce (ignoring the fact that the 
vessel belonged to a rival company) the City of Dublin 
Company headed a list for the benefit of the relatives of the 
drowned seamen and others with a subscription of one hundred 
pounds. Civil war had been raging in Portugal for a number 
of years, the leaders being Don Miguel (the usurper) and Dom 
Pedro, on behalf of his daughter, Donna Maria (Legitimist). 
Two at least of the company's steamers, the LEEDS and 
BIRMINGHAM, were chartered as transports to Dom Pedro ; and 
it was the latter vessel, under the command of Captain 
Beazley, which, on the 16th July, 1833, brought to England 
the news of the complete defeat and capture of the fleet of 
Don Miguel. On the 6th November, 1834, the LEEDS struck 
on Furlong Rock. No lives were lost, the crew and passengers 
being taken off by the company's steamer COMMERCE. The 
LEEDS having got off the rock, sank inside the jetty at 
Holyhead, but was subsequently raised. 

In 1836 the company built four steamers to compete against 
the Government mail steamers. They were the QUEEN 
ROYAL WILLIAM. In June of this year (1836) a bill in Parlia- 
ment for increasing the capital of the company was read three 
times and passed. 

About this time the directors of the company had under 
consideration the establishing of steam communication between 
Liverpool and New York. A meeting was held in the 
company's office in Water Street, there being present, amongst 
others, Sir John Tobin. Sir John had on the stocks a large 
steamer, and it was decided that the Transatlantic service 
should be established, the pioneer vessel to be the ROYAL 
WILLIAM, to be followed by the LIVERPOOL (Sir John Tobin's 




new steamer) as soon as she was ready for the service. In 
accordance with these arrangements, the ROYAL WILLIAM 
sailed from the George's Pierhead 011 July 5th, 1838, for New 
York, and the LIVERPOOL followed her 011 September 20th. 
These steamers have the honour of being the first passenger 
liners between Liverpool and New York. The ROYAL WILLIAM 
proved to be too small for the Transatlantic trade, and in 1889 
she resumed her sailings on the Liverpool and Kingstown 

On and from the 20th June, 18t39, the Government deter- 
mined that a mail steamer should be despatched every morning 
and evening from Liverpool to Dublin, via Kingstown, 011 the 
arrival of the respective mail trains from London. The 
Government steam packets were appointed to sail with the 
morning mails, and the City of Dublin steam packets with the 
evening mails. The directors of the City of Dublin Company 
were determined that their steamers should surpass the 
Government boats, and in December, 1840, they contracted for 
two new steamers for the mail service to be superior to any 
seagoing steamers afloat, and to do the passage from Liverpool 
to Kingstown in nine hours. Three years later (15th April, 
1843) the company commenced their Liverpool and North 
Wales service with the new iron steamer ERIN-GO-BRAGH. 
The steamer AYRSHIRE LASSIE was placed on the station the 
next season (May, 1844), followed in 1845 by the PRINCE OE 
WALES, and later by the PRINCE ARTHUR, which two 
steamers maintained a daily service throughout the summer 
season for many years, and until the station was transferred 
to the present North Wales Steampacket Company. 

In conjunction with the North Lancashire Railways, the City 
of Dublin Company instituted, in 1844, a steamship service 
between Dublin and Fleetwood, the first steamer employed 
being the HIBERNIA. The Company's trade between England 
.and Ireland had increased so rapidly that in 1845 the directors 
placed orders to build eight vessels, viz., five paddle steamers 
and three auxiliary screw schooners. 

The long contest between the Admiralty and the company 
for the carriage of the English and Irish mails came to an 




end in 1850, when the Lords of the Admiralty determined to 
withdraw their steamers from the Irish mail service. The 
City of Dublin Co. had now a new competitor in the Chester 
and Holyhead Railway Company, who had steamers in con- 
nection with their railway service. The former company, who 
recognised the great importance of placing vessels 011 the Holy- 
head station, put in a tender in response to the Admiralty's 
invitation, which tender was actually accepted. No tender 
was put in by the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company, 
who, it was believed, did not suppose anyone would compete 
with them and that they could obtain their own terms. Before 
the Admiralty's acceptance of the City of Dublin Company's 
tender was confirmed by the Government the railway company 
got notice of what was being arranged, and pressure was 
brought to bear upon the Government to prevent the City of 
Dublin Company's contract from being ratified. The move 
was successful, with the result that tenders were again asked 
for. The City of Dublin Company were most unfairly treated, 
for the figure at which they had tendered was made public, 
and consequently the railway company were able to under-cut 
it. In anticipation of this course being adopted the managing 
director of the City of Dublin Company recommended a tender 
to be put in at a very diminished figure, the great importance 
of securing a footing on the Holyhead station being fully 
perceived by him. The City of Dublin tendered at 25,000 
per annum, which was 5,000 a year less than the Chester and 
Holyhead Railway Company's offer, and the result was that 
the City of Dublin Company obtained the contract. They 
purchased from the Admiralty two of the mail boats, the ST. 
COLUMBA and the LLEWELLYN, and in May, 1850, took over the 
mail service, running the steamers at the same hours as they 
were run by the Admiralty. A strong effort was made by the 
opponents of the company to deprive them of their contract, and 
a select Parliamentary Committee was appointed, which 
reported in favour of what had been arranged. This report 
made it clear that the company's first offer was a reasonable 
one, and subsequent events proved the wisdom of the company's 
directors determining to hold the contract at all hazards. The 


contest, it will be seen, was between the City of Dublin Com- 
pany and the Chester and llolyhead Railway Company rather 
than with the Lords of the Admiralty indeed, so strong was 
the feeling some time afterwards that the railway company 
refused to book passengers by the mail steamers, or advertise 
their sailings in the railway time tables, which only showed 
the sailings of the railway company's steamers. 

But if the City of Dublin Company was thus happily relieved 
from rivalry on the Holyhead mail station, it speedily found 
itself involved in the most serious struggle which probably ever 
occurred in the steamship coasting trade. Yielding to the 
solicitations of the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway Company, 
the directors of the City of Dublin Company agreed to place a 
steamer on the Liverpool and Waterford station. The Water- 
ford Company and the Cork Company immediately began a 
daily service to and from Liverpool and Dublin, and despatched 
a steamer twice a week to Belfast. Entering into an alliance 
with the British and Irish Steampacket Co., the City of Dublin 
Company and its ally responded by opposing the Cork Company 
on the Liverpool and Cork station, sailing the DUCHESS OF 
KENT, EMERALD, ROSE, &c., every Tuesday and Friday from 
Liverpool and from Cork. After a keen contest, lasting over 
twelve months, a conference took place between Mr. Malcom- 
son, representing the Waterford and Cork Steamship Com- 
panies, and one of the directors of the City of Dublin Company. 
No reference was made at this conference as to the cause of the 
contest, nor to the conduct of any of the parties during its 
continuance, the sole object being to suggest the most speedy 
mode of restoring peace, and the following arrangement was 
finally decided upon : The City of Dublin Steampacket Com- 
pany agreed to sell their claims on the London line to the 
British and Irish Steampacket Company, this line to be worked 
by the vessels of the latter company and of Messrs. Malcom- 
son ; the City of Dublin to transfer their Liverpool and Belfast 
service to the Cork Steamship Company ; the entire sea traffic 
between Holyhead and Dublin to be assigned to the City of 
Dublin Company. This agreement has been honourably 
adhered to by all the companies concerned, amongst whom a 


most friendly feeling exists, but time has wrought its changes 
on the various lines. Malcomson's steamers have long since 
ceased to run between Dublin and London, the Cork Company's 
steamers were withdrawn in 1854 from the Liverpool and 
Belfast service, and the London and North Western Eailway 
Company have a large fleet of passenger and cargo steamers 
plying daily between Dublin and Holyhead. 

At the close of the year 1854 a better feeling prevailed, and 
the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company, together with the 
London and North Western Railway Company, entered into 
negotiations with the 1 City of Dublin Company, and, with the 
approval of the Government, an Act of Parliament was 
obtained in order to bring about an improved passenger and 
mail service between London and Dublin, via Holyhead and 
Kingstown. Considerable delay took place 1 in the subsequent 
negotiations. However, at the end of 1858 matters were 
settled, and in January of the following year the Postmaster- 
General entered into a contract with the two railway companies 
and the City of Dublin Steampacket Company, who jointly 
undertook the sea service, and with the two railway com- 
panies, who undertook the land transit. By private agree- 
ment, however, with the railway companies, the City of Dublin 
Company became solely responsible for the sea service, and 
provided the four steamers. This service gave the greatest 
satisfaction to the travelling public ; the contract was for 
fourteen years certain, and then from year to year, terminable 
by twelve months' notice, the subsidy being 85,900 per annum 
for the sea service, and 50,000 per annum for the land. 

Twelve years after this service had been commenced, the 
London and North Western Railway Company, who had by 
that time absorbed the Chester and Holyhead Railway, com- 
menced a rail connection between the harbour of Dublin and 
three of the principal Irish railway companies, which connec- 
tion was completed in 1876, and the London and North 
Western Company began to run a service of steamers in direct 
opposition to the mail route. Under the terms of their agree- 
ment with the City of Dublin Company, the railway company 
had the power of fixing the fares by the mail route', which it 


exercised by maintaining the high fares by the mail and 
charging low fares by the railway steamers. The competition 
increased in intensity every year, with the result of largely 
diverting the passenger traffic from the mail route, the ultimate 
object of the railway being to bring about the abandonment of 
the Kingstown service, and to secure all the traffic for the 
railway boats to Dublin. In 1881 the City of Dublin Company 
brought the London and North Western Railway Company 
before the Railway Commissioners, who ordered a reduction of 
the mail fares. Immediately after this order was made, the 
Post Office authorities intimated their intention of terminating 
the existing mail contract, and of asking for fresh tenders for 
the service between Holyhead and Kingstown. In 1882 the 
City of Dublin Company put in a tender. Months were 
allowed to pass, and in January, 1883, it was announced that 
the Government had accepted a tender of the London and 
North Western Railway Company. It then transpired that 
the railway company, as well as the City of Dublin Company, 
had tendered for the Holyhead and Kingstown service, and 
that the latteT company's tender was the lower of the two, but 
the Government, instead of accepting it, had negotiated a 
contract for the throughout service with the railway company, 
which would have enabled them to convey the mails and pas- 
sengers in the railway steamers to Dublin instead of to 

It can well be understood that the public, who were well 
pleased to have the two lines of steamers, had no intention of 
being deprived of the Kingstown route, and a storm of indig- 
nation arose over the country. The Government professed 
that in making the new arrangement they were acting with 
economy, but this was shown to be a mere subterfuge, for they 
had agreed to pay the railway company 100,000 a year only 
a trifling amount less than they would have paid if the steam- 
packet company's offer had been accepted and the railway 
payment continued as before. To quote the words of a pro- 
minent member of Parliament : " The Government were giving 
an opulent railway company not only a monopoly of the pas- 
senger traffic, but a large subsidy besides, for merely carrying 


the mail bags on their established line of passenger steamers." 
So powerful was the agitation that arose, that the Government 
discovered they would not be able to get the contract confirmed 
by the House of Commons, the Irish members to a man being 
determined to vote against it. The result was the contract was not 
brought forward for confirmation, and new tenders were asked 
for the Holyhead and Kingstown s^a service, special provision 

WILLIAM WATSON, Esq. (late Chairman City of Dublin Steampacket Co.). 

being made for the passenger traffic, which the Government 
had ignored on the previous occasion. Greater speed being 
desired, the City of Dublin Company tendered for improved 
steamers; but the railway company, who had 110 intention of 
going to Kingstown, did not compete, and the City of Dublin 
Company were successful in obtaining a contract for twelve 
years certain, the subsidy being 84,000 per annum. The four 


mail packets the ULSTER, LEIXSTER, MIXSTKK, and COX- 
NAUGHT were provided with new boilers and improved 
machinery, and their passenger accommodation was re- 
modelled and greatly enlarged. 

The new service began on the 1st October, 1885, with this 
most remarkable result, that vessels after twenty-five years' 
service had their speed increased by an average of 2| knots per 
hour. A new steamer was added to the fleet the IRELAND, 
a vessel capable of steaming 20 knots an hour, being the fastest 
paddle steamer ever built for cross-Channel service. The new 
service gave much satisfaction to the public, and the passenger 
receipts steadily increased. In 189^ the company decided to 
build a new type of passenger and cargo vessel, and in the 
following year the LOUTH, a screw steamer of large tonnage and 
great power, was put on the station ; she was found so satis- 
factory, her performance being so regular, and her sea-worthy 
qualities so good, that she dispelled the great prejudice which 
up to that time had existed against screw steamers for cross- 
Channel trade (especially the cattle trade), and the company 
decided to replace their fleet with steamers of this class. While 
this re-construction was going 011 an attempt was made to 
deprive the company of their position on the llolyhead station. 
Owing largely to the efforts of the company, Kingstown had 
been put in direct communication with all the Irish railway 
companies, and the one blot on the Kingstown service removed. 
It was stated, however, that the boats were not fast enough, and 
the Government were urged to terminate the mail contract and 
seek for new tenders. 

Most extravagant ideas seemed to prevail as to what could 
be done; accelerations were suggested by land and sea which 
could not have been accomplished except at very great expense. 
However, the City of Dublin Company were not behindhand, 
and they put in a variety of tenders, and offered to build boats 
of the very largest class. No other company tendered in ac- 
cordance with the advertisement. The Post Office, however, 
did not accept any of the tenders, and subsequently entered 
into negotiations with the company, and settled the existing 
contract. The company undertook to build four twin-screw 



steamers, which, although not so large as those originally 
proposed, are superior to anything up to the present time 
attempted for cross-Channel purposes, and being twin-screws, 
their accommodation is far greater than had they been paddle 
steamers of the same size. They all realised a speed of 24 
knots on their trial trips, which up to the present time has not 
been surpassed by any passenger steamer. 

The new service commenced on the 1st April, 1897, and 
passengers are conveyed between all parts of England and 
Ireland at a very high rate of speed, and perform the journey 
with a degree of comfort that would have been thought in- 
credible a few years since. 

The fleet of the company now consists of the following! high- 
class powerful screw steamers, replete with everything neces- 
sary for the comfort of passengers, as well as being equipped 
with the most modern appliances for the safe carriage of 
cattle and the rapid handling of cargo : The ULSTER, 
MUNSTER, LEINSTER, and CONNAUGHT, sailing twice each day 
from Holyhead and from Kingstown with the mails and pas- 
sailing every evening to and from Liverpool and Dublin, with 
goods and passengers, as well as a morning service from both 
ports, with passengers and fast traffic. In the present year 
(1903) the Company has placed the KILKENNY on the station, a 
vessel of an entirely new design, one of the finest passenger and 
cargo steamers which has ever been built for the Irish cross- 
Channel trade. A service is also maintained three times a 
week between Dublin and Belfast by the company's steamers. 

For upwards of three-quarters of a century this grand old 
company has faithfully served the public, with an immunity 
from loss of life as remarkable as it is gratifying to those 
chiefly concerned. 




THE oldest deep-sea steamship passenger trade in Europe is that 
between Dublin and London. The distinction of having been 
the first persons (other than the crew) to cross the Irish Sea by 
steam vessel is shared by Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Weld. Mr. Weld, 
who was the Secretary or brother to the Secretary of the 
Royal Society of Dublin, embarked with,, his wife on board the 
steampacket THAMES, Captain Dodd, which vessel sailed from 
Dublin at noon on the 28th May, 1815, bound for London. 

The sailing of this, the first, steamer between Dublin and 
London, was an event of the greatest interest to the citizens of 
the former city, who assembled in thousands to witness her 
departure. It was not intended that the THAMES should ply 
between the two ports, and, as a matter of fact, it was not until 
after an interval of eleven years (1826) that a regular steam- 
packet service was established between the Metropolis of 
Englan'd and that of Ireland. In the latter year, two of the 
City of Dublin Steam Packet Co.'s steamers, the THAMES (not 
the THAMES of 1815) and the SHANNON commenced to trade 
regularly between Dublin and London. 

Amongst other famous steamers, employed on this station, 
may be mentioned the WILLIAM FAWCETT, which traded 
between London and Dublin during the summer of 1829. This 
steamer afterwards became the property of the Peninsular SI cam 
Navigation Co., and is stated in Whitaker's Almanac (and else- 
where) to have been the pioneer steamer of the " P. & 0. Co." 
In August, 1830, the steampacket CITY OF LONDONDERRY, 
built in 1827 for the Liverpool and Londonderry trade, and 
purchased in October, 1829, by the City of Dublin Co., was 



placed by her new owners on the London station. These three 
steamers, the THAMES, SHANNON and CITY OF LO.MM.MH -HIM . 
were described in the Company's advertisement of tin- 
period as being amongst the largest steamers afloat, and all of 
the same capacity and power, viz., 513 tons burthen, and K>0 
h.p. each. These steamers maintained a regular weekly service 
(one of them sailing from London every Sunday, calling at 
Plymouth), and were due at Dublin in ordinary weather, in 80 
hours after leaving London. 

Travelling at that period was expensive, as shown by the 
rates charged by these small wooden steamers, compared with 
those now charged by the magnificent modern steamships of 
the B. and I. Co. of 1,400 to 1,500 tons each. 

Cabin. Steerage. 

THAMES, SHANNON, &c 2 16 1 14 

The present British and Irish Steampacket Company was 
established in 1836. The list of the earliest Directors contained 
the names of several of the best known citizens of Dublin, the 
following being the names of the Directors for the year 1S3S, 
vix. : -Messrs. James Ferrier, John MacDonnell, William 
Williams, Francis Carleton, Joseph Boyce, John Jameson, and 
John Ennis. The Company's first fleet consisted of three 
wooden paddle steamers, named respectively, CITY OF LIMERICK, 

A very ingenious robbery from the Company took place at the 
St. Katherine's Docks. Two boxes of gold dust, of a gross 
value of 5,245, were landed at Falmouth, ex H.M. Packet 
SEAGULL, from the Brazils. From Falmouth they were shipped 
per B. and I. steamer CITY OF LIMERICK to the Company's 
Wharf, London, consigned to the Brazilian Mining Co. At 
110011 on Monday, 29th April, 1839, a person claimed the two 
boxes, and presented an order for them, apparently in the same 
handwriting as the letter of advice received with the two boxes 
from Falmouth. The advice stated that the boxes were only to 
be delivered to a gentleman who would call on Monday with a 
letter in the same handwriting. The 4l gentleman " accurately 
described the marks, and took away the boxes ; but two hours 


afterwards, another person, connected with the Brazilian 
Mining Co., came for the boxes, and the fraud was then dis- 
covered, for the genuine documents and letter addressed to the 
Company by the Falmouth Agent were produced. 

Two months later, the whole of the criminals concerned were 
in custody, and charged with their offence at the Central 
Criminal Court. Two of them, Moss and Solomons, turned 
Queen's evidence. Lewin Caspar (who had been for eighteen 
months in the service of the B. and I. Co. as General Superin- 
tendent), was detained in custody until sentence was pro- 
nounced, 3rd February, 1840, and was then acquitted, owing to 
a flaw in the indictment. His father, Ellis Caspar, and 
Emmanuel Moses, were each sentenced to be transported for 
14 years, and sailed for Sydney on the 20th October, 1840, on 
the convict transport, LORD LYNEDOCH. Alice Abrahams 
(daughter of Emmanuel Moses) was also convicted of being an 
accomplice, and was sentenced to four months' imprisonment. 
Mr. James Hartley (founder of the firm of James Hartley & Co., 
London) rendered very valuable service to the proprietors by his 
energy and skill in tracing and successfully prosecuting the 
thieves. Mr. James Hartley was elected a Director in 1838, 
and for his services in connection with the prosecution of the 
gold dust thieves, he was presented with a valuable piece of 

In 1842, the steamship DUKE OF CORNWALL was built, 
and added to the fleet in order to meet the increased demands 
of the trade. Like her sister ships, she was a wooden paddle 
steamer, and the last of this type of craft employed in the 

The British and Irish Steam Packet Co. were amongst the 
first steamship owners to recognise the advantage (now univer- 
sally admitted) of the screw propeller over the paddle wheel as 
a means for propelling steamships, and in 1845 they introduced 
into the London and Dublin trade two schooner-rigged 
auxiliary screw steamers, one of which was called the EOSE, 
and the other the SHAMROCK. Three years later the B. and 
I. Co. had to encounter a fierce and powerful opposition, 
engineered by the Messrs. Malcomson, of Waterford, but which 


involved nearly all the leading Steamship Companies on the 
East Coast of Ireland ; the B. and I. ; Belfast (Langtry's) ; City 
of Dublin; Cork; and Waterford Steamship Companies all 
taking) part in the contest. The Waterford Steamship Com- 
pany placed steamers on the London and Dublin station, and 
the Directors of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company 
retaliated by placing steamers on the Waterford and London, 
Waterford and Liverpool, and London and St. Petersburg lines. 
The opposition lasted until April, 1851, when an arrangement 
was come to, whereby the Dublin and London traffic was divided 
between Messrs. Malcomson (Waterford Co.) and the B. and I., 
and at the same time the City of Dublin Co. withdrew from 
their official connection with the latter Company. In the 
meantime, several steamers had been built of iron (notably the 
GREAT BRITAIN), and had proved by the severest tests the 
great merits of that metal as a material for shipbuilding. So 
convinced were the Directors of the B. and I. of the advantages 
to be gained by the substitution of iron for wood, that they pur- 
chased in 1850 the first iron paddle steamer of the fleet. This 
steamer was named the FOYLE, and was one of the finest vessels 
afloat in her time. 

The following year witnessed an extension of the Company's 
operations, a regular service being established between Liver- 
pool, South of England ports, and London ; and also between 
Limerick and London. The latter was maintained by the 
auxiliary screw steamer ROSE, and when this vessel was sold 
in 1852, the service was discontinued. 

To meet the increased requirements of the trade, two large 
screw steamers, the LADY EOLINTON and the NILE, were added 
to the fleet in 1852. 

On the outbreak of the Qrimean War in 1854, two of the 
B. and I. steamers, one of which was the new steamer LADY 
EGLINTON, and the other the FOYLE, were chartered by the 
Government for the conveyance of troops and stores. In 
consequence of the withdrawal of these two steamers from the 
Company's service, and of the loss of the NILE off the Cornish 
Coast, the Liverpool to London sailings were abandoned. 

In addition to her Government service in the Black Sea, the 


LADY EGLINTON, in 1858, was employed for a short time as 
a Trans-Atlantic liner, making, in this capacity, two trips from 
Gralway to Quebec and Montreal. In 1865, this famous steamer 
was placed in the hands of Messrs. Walpole, Webb & Bewley, 
shipbuilders, Dublin, by whom she was lengthened thirty feet. 

Prior to the declaration of War between the Northern and 
Southern States of America, in 1861, the B. and I. Co. had 
maintained a regular service between Dublin and Wexford. 
The vessel employed in this service was a small paddle steamer 
named the MARS. In 1863 the MARS was sold, crossed the 
Atlantic, and began the exciting career of a blockade runner. 

Two years later (1865) the LADY WODEHOUSE was built 
in Dublin, for the Company, by Messrs. Walpole, Webb and 
Bewley, and in 1869 the same builders launched another B. and 
I. liner, the COUNTESS OF DUBLIN. The year 1870 saw an 
important and advantageous change in the fortunes of the 
Company, who purchased the interest and steamers of Messrs. 
Malcomson's London-Dublin line, since which time the sea 
trade between Dublin and London has been entirely in the 
hands of the British and Irish Company. The vessels purchased 
from Messrs. Malcomson were the AVOCA and CYMBA. In 
1879, the B. and I. Company was registered as a Limited 
Company, and a new steamer, the LADY OLIVE, 1,096 tons, 
was added to the fleet. The LADY OLIVE was the last iron 
vessel built for the Company, and the last of the compound 
engine type of steamer. All her successors the present 
vessels of the fleet are built of steel, and fitted with triple- 
expansion engines. The first ship of the new type was the 
LADY MARTIN, of 1,356 tons gross register, built in 1887 
by Messrs. Workman & Clark, of Belfast. Her carrying 
capacity is much greater than that of any of her predecessors, 
and further increase of tonnage has marked all the vessels 
added to the fleet since. Her principal dimensions are 
Length 269 feet 6 inches, beam 34 feet 2 inches, and depth of 
hold 16 feet 4 inches. 

She was followed in quick succession by the LADY HUDSON- 
KINAHAN, built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, Trooii, in 
1891 ; the LADY WOLSELEY, built by the Naval Construction 



and Armaments Company, Barrow, in 1894 ; and the LADY 
ROBERTS, built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, Troon. 
in 1897. The last-named four steamers now carry on the ti;i<I<- 
between the two capitals, the LADY OLIVE acting as stand-by 
ship. In their main features, all the vessels are very similar, 
and vary only slightly in size and power, from the LADY 
MARTIN, of 1,305 tons, to the LADY ROBERTS, of 1,402 
tons. It will be seen from the particulars given, that the 
steamers of the B. and I. Co. are amongst the largest coasting 
vessels in the United Kingdom. The average berthing accom- 

S.S. LADY WOLSELEY leaving Falmouth. 

modation of each vessel is 120 saloon and 50 second cabin, in 
addition to steerage passengers. Each vessel is fitted up on the 
most approved plan, and electrically lighted throughout. Deck 
cabins and state rooms can be secured at a small extra charge. 
Smoking rooms are also provided, as well as bathrooms. In 
the summer season pianos are put on board, and a full comple- 
ment of stewards and stewardesses is carried. Under ordinary 
circumstances the vessels average 13 knots per hour, which is 
quite fast enough for the requirements of the trade ; and it may 



be mentioned that they are well able to hold their own with the 
majority of channel steamers. Any person travelling by these 
steamers will find that very few vessels will pass them, and 
those which do are probably some crack mail packets running 
short passages. 

The ships of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company 
are as well-known at Falmouth, Plymouth, Southampton, and 
Portsmouth as they are at the terminal ports of London and 
Dublin. Being so well-found, roomy, comfortable, and up-to- 
date, and calling in at all the principal southern ports, it is but 
natural that they should be favourites with the holiday-making 
and touring public. So favourably are they held in this respect 
that during the " fine weather " months they seldom leave port 
without having a full complement of passengers, of whom (as 
has been stated) they are designed to carry a large number. 



REFERENCE has been made, in a previous chapter of this work, 
to this old-established firm. It was engaged in shipping in 
1807, five years before the first British steamboat was launched. 
At that early date the fleet consisted of small sailing vessels, 
but in 1821 a regular line of ships to the East Indies was 
established. Of the old Liverpool shipowning firms which 
had their flag signal posts 011 Bidston Hill, only three now 
remain, viz., Messrs. Bibby, Brocklebank, and Sandbach 

In 1851 the firm, then under the guidance of the late Mr. 
James J. Bibby, went into the steam trade, their first boats, 
the TIBER and ARNO, being built on the Clyde by John Reid 
and Co. 

Mr. Bibby, in 1859, commenced entrusting the building of 
the steamers of the line to Messrs. Harland and Wolff, and 
from that date every succeeding vessel has been constructed 
by the same firm. It may be interesting to recall that the 
late Sir Edward Harland, who was the son of a personal friend 
of Mr. Bibby, commenced operations at Belfast with the order 

Mr. Bibby adopted the system of building his boats on 
commission, a system which ensures the greatest co-operation 
between builder and owner, and by which he secured the 
greatest advantage wherever his interests were concerned. 

The three boats last named were followed by the EGYPTIAN 
in 1861. All of these vessels carried clipper bows with figure 
heads and bowsprits, but the succeeding ships were built with 
straight stems, an innovation, the credit of which (and of 
many other improvements now generally adopted) is due to Mr. 
Bibby. The IBERIAN, ILLYRIAN and LSTRIAN, all built in 
1867, were the first of the fleet to carry the new type of bow, 




and they were followed by a long succession of well-known 
names, leading up to the present steamers on the Colombo and 
Rangoon and Southern Indian route. 

This service, which was established in 1891, quickly became 
prominent among the fast passenger services, and, as such, 
was early recognised by the Government and placed on 
the list of the special lines available for officers, etc., returning 
at the expiration of their leave. 

The pioneer vessel of the new service was the YORKSHIRE, 
and her sister ship the LANCASHIRE (though both somewhat 
smaller than the later boats), still holds the blue ribbon of the 
route, having steamed from Liverpool to Rangoon in the fastest 
time yet on record. The CHESHIRE and SHROPSHIRE;, which 
were the next steamers added to the fleet were each about 
1,500 tons larger than their immediate predecessors. They 
were provided with two entirely distinct and separate sets of 
engines and propellers, a fact which at once arrested attention 
in the East, and greatly added to the popularity which their 
other arrangements justified. Intending passengers will be 
interested to know that with only one propeller in use, they 
are capable of making as good progress as an ordinary trading 

After an interval of two years (1893) the twin-screw stca HUM- 
STAFFORDSHIRE was built, and in her was embodied every 
improvement which experience and money could provide. 
She was at once generally acknowledged to be the most com- 
fortable and the best ventilated type of steamer placed on the 
Eastern route. 

In October, 1897, the twin-screw steamer DERBYSHIRE was 
added to the fleet. She is designed on the same lines as the 
STAFFORDSHIRE but being 7 feet longer and 3 feet broader, her 
staterooms are somewhat larger. An important addition was 
made to the fleet in 1902, when the twin-screw steamer WAR- 
WICKSHIRE was built. Her advent on the line was looked 
forward to with much interest, and she has amply fulfilled all 
anticipations, and has secured a preference over any other 
steamer for first-class passengers between Ceylon and Europe. 
Her large size admits of 200 berths being fitted, and the Main 


Saloon, Drawing room, Smoke room, Bath room, etc., are all 
increased in their proportions. 

By an ingenious arrangement (which is quite novel) every 
stateroom has a port opening to the outside of the ship, and all 
the rooms are equally light and airy, while many of the rooms 
provided are fitted up for the accommodation of one or two 
passengers only. The WARWICKSHIRE has marked a new era 
in the equipment of large passenger steamers, and the above 
mentioned Bibby Patent Stateroom is now being adopted by 
the principal Mail Lines in the construction of new boats. A 
twin-screw steamer, to be named the WORCESTERSHIRE, is now 
under construction at Belfast. She is designed closely on the 
lines of the WARWICKSHIRE, and is expected to be completed 
in good time to enable her to take her place in the Autumn 
sailings of 1904. 

The steamers of the Bibby Line sail on alternate Thursdays 
from Liverpool, calling at Marseilles to embark the overland 
passengers on the following Thursday. Circular tickets in 
connection with these sailings are issued for 15, which are 
available for a passage both ways by any steamer of the fleet, 
or if passengers prefer it, they will receive, free of additional 
cost, a first-class Railway ticket, via Paris, for the journey 
one way overland to or from London. 

Travellers to and from Egypt, Palestine, etc., whether 
journeying round Spain or using the Marseilles route will 
find these steamers a convenient and luxurious means of 

The public will be glad to know that passages can be secured 
for 3 3s. for the fortnightly runs round from London to 
Liverpool. The steamers usually leave Tilbury 011 Friday, 
and arrive in Liverpool 011 the following Monday morning, thus 
affording a very pleasant week end trip. 

The present fleet consists of the following modern fast Mail 
Steamships : 

LANCASHIRE ... 4244 Tons. STAFFORDSHIRE 6005 Tons. 

YORKSHIRE ... 4261 ,, DERBYSHIRE 6636 ,, 


SHROPSHIRE ... 5785 ,, WORCESTERSHIRE (Building) 7966 ,, 



THE Cork Steamship Company, as successors to the St. George 
Steam Packet Co., may justly be considered to be one of the 
oldest existing steamship companies in the world. The original 
company (the St. George), was formed in the Autumn of the 
year 1821, its head-quurters being in Liverpool. An announce- 
ment concerning it appeared in the Liverpool " Mercury," of 
the 12th October, 1821, stating:- 

" A company has been formed here (Liverpool) for 

" establishing steam packets .... Two vessels of large 

" dimensions are already contracted for, and are now 

" building by two experienced ship-builders in this town, 

" the machinery for both to be fitted by an engineer of 

" eminence; and the proprietors, we learn, are determined 

" to spare no expense in the equipment of the vessels to 

" contribute to the safety and comfort of the passengers." 

In accordance with this announcement the pioneer steam 

packet of the Company, the ST. PATRICK, was launched from 

the yard of Mr. Thomas Wilson, Liverpool, at 10-^iO a.m. 

on the 21st April following. 

This even 4 ; created quite a sensation in the town, as she was, 
if not the first steamer ever built in the port, certainly the 
finest specimen of ship-building craft up to that date con- 
structed there. So great was the interest displayed that every 
wall and pier from which a view of the launch could be 
obtained was crowded with spectators. This steamer ran for 
about two years between various ports in England and Ireland, 
and having in that time established a reputation for speed and 
seaworthiness, she was purchased by a London Company to 
trade between London and Lisbon. She was replaced by a 


second ST. PATRICK, a vessel of 300 tons burthen and 120 
h.p., built by Clarke and Nickson, Liverpool, and launched 
from their yard on the 19th August, 1825. In the interim 
between the dates of the launch of the first and second 
ST. PATRICK, the Company had built or purchased quite a 
number of steamers. They had also established themselves 
in Cork, and had built the premises situated on Penrose Quay, 
where to-day is carried on the business of the City of Cork 
Steam Packet Co., Limited. 

The first three steamers employed by the St. George Co. in 
trading to and from Cork, were the LEE and SEVERN, both 
built in Liverpool in 1825 (the former for the Liverpool trade 
and the latter for the Bristol trade), and the SUPERB, built by 
Mr. William Evans, London. 

The St. George Co. extended its operations with marvellous 
rapidity, until its steamers were to be found in almost every 
port in the United Kingdom, and in the chief ports of Holland, 
Denmark, and Eussia. It owned several famous steamers, one 
of which, on the authority of Jeffry in " A Century of our Sea 
Story," made the first steam voyage between Great Britain and 
Australia. This was the SOPHIA JANE, a vessel of 256 tons 
and 50 h.p., built by William Evans, London, and first em- 
ployed between London Bridge and Gravesend. When first 
placed on this station, her owners were involved in an action 
at law to prove their right to navigate the river. Thev won 
their action from the Watermen's Company, and soon the first 
Gravesend Steam Ferry was started. The SOPHIA JANE plied 
on the Thames until 1828, when she began to make longer 
voyages, running for some months between Portsmouth and 
Plymouth, afterwards under the St. George flag, between 
Liverpool and Douglas (Isle of Man), later between London 
and Calais, and finally made her great voyage from England 
to Australia. She arrived at Port Jackson Heads in 
May, 1831, three months after leaving the Thames, thus 
making the first steam voyage between Great Britain and 
Australia, and the longest voyage under steam down almost to 
the fifties. 

Unfortunately the management of the St. George Co. was not 


all that could be desired, and the late Mr. Ebenezer Pike, of 
Bessborough, Blackrock, County Cork, convened a meeting of 
the shareholders which was held at Cork on the 17th February, 
1843. Prior to the meeting, Mr. Pike had forwarded to each 
shareholder a copy of a circular in which he proposed (a) to 
form a Company with a capital of 50,000 in 1,000 shares of 
50 each ; and (6) to build a new steamer of 500 to 600 tons 
burthen and 300 h.p. 

The circular was discussed at the meeting, but no definite 
decision was arrived at. Mr. Pike, however, did not allow the 
matter to rest. In October following, so far as Cork was con- 
cerned, the title " St. George " was dropped, and the title " City 
of Cork Steamship Co." (afterwards shortened to " Cork Steam- 
ship Co.") was adopted in its stead. Mr. William Wilson, the 
founder of the firm of Wilson, Son & Co., was the first general 
manager at Cork, and Mr. McTear the Liverpool agent. Nor 
did Mr. Pike abandon the idea of the new steamer, for on the 
26th September, 1843, Messrs. Thomas Yernon & 'Son built to 
his order the steamship NIMROD. 

The following year the Company was virtually re-con- 
structed, and the Cork Steamship Co. was formed with a 
capital of 170,000, in 1,700 shares of 100 each. The first 
Directors were, Messrs. Ebenezer Pike, John Gould, James 
Connell, Joseph Hayes, and William Lane, all merchants 
belonging to Cork. 

At the date of the re-construction of the Company, the St. 
George Steam Packet Co. owned about 20 steamers. Most of 
them were disposed of to various buyers, the new management 
retaining siveii, viz,, the LEE, SEVERN, TIGER, JUPITER, 

The LEE and SEVERN have already been referred to. 
The TIGER was a steamer of 389 tons, built at Hull in 1838. 
She was 156 feet long, by 26 feet beam, and 18 feet deep. She 
was rigged as a two-masted schooner and had a tiger figure- 
head. Originally she was intended for the St. George Hull 
and Hamburg service ; was taken over by the Cork Steamship 
Co. in 1844, and sold by them in 1851 to London buyers. 

The JUPITER was a vessel of 360 tons, built at Greenock in 



1835. Transferred to the Cork Steamship Co. in 1844, and sold 
by them to London buyers in 1847. 

The VICTORY was a Liverpool built steamer of 256 tons, 
built in 1832. The Cork Steamship Co. did not retain 
possession of her long, but sold her in 1846 to the Malcomsons 
of Waterford, who employed her in their Limerick and 
London service. 

Mr. EBENEZEK PIKE, J.P. (late Chairman Cork Steamship Co.). 
The OCEAN was a steamer of 300 tons, her principal 
dimensions being 154 by 22 by 15. She was built on the 
Mersey in 1836, and in 1838 made a record passage from Liver- 
pool to Cork in 23 hours. She was intended for the general 
Coasting Service of the St. Greorge Co., and had the honour of 
acting as tender to her more famous sister-ship the SIRITJS, on 
the occasion of the latter's historic voyage to New York. Six 
years later when she had become the property of the Cork 
Steamship Co., she rendered valuable service to the Steam- 
packet VANGUARD, belonging to the Dublin and Glasgow 


Steam Packet Co. During a gale on the 14th December, 1844, 
the VANGUARD, inward bound with a valuable cargo and a 
number of passengers, was forced on to the rocks about a 
quarter of a mile inside of Eoche's Point Lighthouse. This 
occurred about 4 a.m., and soon afterwards the OCEAN, inwards 
from Bristol to Cork, passed the spot. The VANGUARD'S 
signals of distress were noticed, and the Captain of the OCEAN 
(Caldbeck), in spite of the heavy sea that was running, at 
once launched his boats, and succeeded in rescuing the 
VANGUARD'S passengers. The steamer was afterwards towed 
off the rocks and taken to Passage for repairs. The OCEAN 
continued in the service of the Cork Steamship Co. until 1853, 
when she was purchased by the Chester and Holyhead Railway 
Co. The remaining steamer transferred from the St. George 
Co., was the famous SIRIUS. The SIRIUS was built in 1837 
by Menzies & Co., Perth, and engined by J. Wingate & Co., 
Glasgow ; and cost 27,000. Her length was 208 feet, her 
breadth 25 feet, and her depth 18 feet. She had two masts 
and one funnel, and a dog figure-head, holding between the 
fore-paws a star, representing the dog-star Sirius, after which 
the vessel was named. On the occasion of her memorable 
voyage to New York, she sailed from London on the 28th 
March, 1838, under the command of Lieut. Richard Boberts, 
R.N., and called at Cork Harbour to coal and to embark the 
mails and passengers. The OCEAN arrived from Liverpool 
on the 3rd April with mails and passengers to be transferred to 
the SIRIUS. Next morning at 10 o'clock -the SIRIUS got 
under way, being accompanied as far as the entrance to the 
harbour by the OCEAN. There, a brief stoppage was made 
while the OCEAN went alongside the SIRIUS to bring off a 
number of ladies and gentlemen who had been permitted to 
accompany their friends thus far, the steamers exchanged 
salutes, and then the SIRIUS continued her course, being 
watched with keen interest until she disappeared beneath the 
horizon. She arrived at New York at 10 p.m. on the 22nd 
April, and thus brought to a successful termination the first 
voyage ever made by a passenger steamer from Europe to 
America. She made two Trans-Atlantic voyages, and after- 




wards returned to the Home and Continental Sri vices. When 
she became the property of the Cork Steamship Co. she was 
employed in the Glasgow, Dublin and Cork Service, in which 
she continued until 1847. On. the evening of the loth -lunc 
of that year, she sailed from Dublin to Cork with a general 
cargo, and forty passengers. All went well until 4 a.m. on 
the 16th, when she encountered a dense fog, and went on tin- 
rocks in Ballycottoii Bay. Twelve passengers and two seamen 
were unfortunately drowned by the capsizing of a boat which 
had been launched, but the rest of the passengers and crew were 
saved by means of a rope which was passed from the ship 
to the shore. The vessel itself went to pieces on the 22nd 

Nearly all the steamers retained by the new management 
were sold to various owners within a few years from the re- 
construction of the Company, and new and more powerful 
vessels substituted for them. The first of these, the NIMROD, 
was the first iron steamship owned in Cork. She was built 
by Thomas Vernon & Son, Liverpool, to Mr. Pike's order in 
1843, and was 177 feet long, 25 feet beam, and 16 feet deep. 
Her tonnage was 583 tons, and she had two masts, a clipper 
bow, and a huntsman (Nimrod) figurehead. 

The AJAX, a vessel of about 600 tons, was added in 1845, 
and the PRETISSICHER ABLER, of 563 tons, also built in 
1845, was purchased by the Company. The latter steamer 
was designed as an armed yacht for the late King of Prussia. 
She w r as built at Liverpool, and cost 32,000. She was a 
broad-beamed paddle-boat, having a beam of 28 feet, her length 
being 185 i'eet, and her depth 17 feet. She was rigged as a 
two masted schooner, with a cutwater, an eagle figurehead. 
The Company, after purchase, added to her length, and for this 
purpose placed her in the Rushbrook Dry Dock, Cork, 
belonging to the Channel Dry Docks and Engineering Co. ; the 
PREUSSICHER ABLER being the first steamer to enter this 
dock. As originally designed her paddle-boxes were so con- 
structed as to be capable of being turned down over her sides, 
in order that two large swivel guns which she carried on deck, 
might have a free range all round. 


She remained in the service of the Company until 1884, when 
she was broken up in London. 

In 1846 Messrs. R. and J. Lecky, of Cork, built a small 
screw steamer to the order of the Cork Steamship Co. She was 
named the BLARNEY, and was only 118 feet long, 19 feet 
broad, and 11 feet deep. Notwithstanding her diminutive 
size, she ran for a number of years between Liverpool and 
Havre, and was eventually sold to a Liverpool firm in 1854. 
It is noteworthy that the BLARNEY was the first -cross- 
channel steamer built in Cork by R. & J. Lecky, and was the 
first screw steamer built for the Cork Steamship Co. 

The year 1850 saw the Cork Steamship Co. involved in the 
most serious struggle which probably ever occurred in the 
coasting steamship trade. It began by the City of Dublin Co., 
at the solicitation of the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway Co., 
running opposition steamers to Waterford. The City of 
Dublin Co., in addition to their Liverpool and Dublin Service, 
had maintained for many years a regular service of steamers 
between Liverpool and Belfast. Mr. Joseph Malcomson 

(Waterford Steamship Co.) was a Director of the Cork Steam- 
ship Co., and his firm had a large financial interest in that 
Company. It was, therefore, to be expected that these two 
Companies would form staunch allies in any struggle, the more 
so, when the City of Dublin Co., in conjunction with the 
British and Irish Steampacket Co., extended the opposition to 
Cork. The Cork and Waterford Steamship Companies carried the 
war into their opponents' territory. They put a steamer on the 
station between London and the South and East of Ireland 
once a week, between Liverpool and Belfast twice a week, and 
between Liverpool and Dublin, daily. The City of Dublin Co. 
offered to make contracts with merchants in Cork and Water- 
ford, undertaking to carry their traffic freight free for three 
months, in response to which the Waterford Co. threatened to 
place two steamers on the Holyhead and Dublin station in 
conjunction with the Chester and Holyhead Railway Co. 

The struggle between the various companies was fiercely 
maintained for over twelve months, until in April, 1851, upon 
the suggestion of Mr. Malcomson, an interview took place 


between a Director of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. and 
himself (as representing the Cork and Waterford Companies), 
at which meeting the companies concerned arrived at an 
amicable basis of settlement. 

In this settlement the City of Dublin Co. agreed to transfer 
their Liverpool and Belfast service to the Cork Steamship Co. 
This arrangement held good until 1854. On the 14th January 
of the year named a deputation from the Cork and Belfast 
Companies met in Dublin. There were present, Mr. Pike 
(Managing Director) and Mr. Glover (Secretary), of the Cork 
Steamship Co. ; Mr. W. E. S. Lepper (Chairman) and Mr. 
Valentine, of the Belfast Co. The meeting was conducted in a 
most friendly manner, and it was arranged that the TELE- 
GRAPH (Belfast Co.'s steamer) should be at once withdrawn 
from the Liverpool and Cork service, and the MINERVA (Cork 
Co.'s steamer) from the Liverpool and Belfast service. The 
year 1854 witnessed a great stream of emigrants from Cork. 
According to a paragraph in the " Cork Constitution " of that 
date : 

" On Saturday, 1st April, the MINERVA left with 467 adult 
emigrants, 79 children, and 8 infants, besides other passengers. 
The vessel was so crowded she had to leave 200 passengers 
behind. The NIMROD leaves every Wednesday, and is 
freighted with emigrants to a similar extent. This continual 
stream of emigrants has been going on for a considerable time." 

While the war cloud was gathering over Europe, which in 
bursting produced the Crimean War, the Cork Steamship Co. 
had on the stocks a steamer, afterwards named the CORMO- 
RANT. Ir the equipment of this steamer a novel feature had 
been introduced, viz., iron masts. These masts, of which she 
carried three, were exceptionally tall and graceful, and so well 
buckled that not a joint was visible. The whole appearance of 
the vessel was so smart that s'he excited general admiration, and 
was selected by the Government as a transport. While she was 
lying at Portsmouth, after the embarkation of the 13th Lancers 
for the seat of war, Her (late) Majesty Queen Victoria, accom- 
panied by the Prince Consort, came on board to inspect her 
before sailing. After inspecting the troopers' quarters, and 


admiring some of their horses, Her Majesty discovered that the 
ship's masts were not wood but iron. She was so impressed 
with their graceful appearance that she gave instructions for 
fall particulars of them to be taken by the Dockyard officials 

Two other steamers of the Company the DODO (nicknamed 
the rolling Dodo) and the ALBATROSS were also engaged 
by the Government as transports. At the Crimea, as well as at 
home, the CORMORANT'S masts excited great interest. One 
day a Turkish Admiral came on board, and a quartermaster was 
told off to show the distinguished visitor round the ship. The 
Admiral came to the mainmast, examined it, tapped it, and 
turning to his attendant, said : 


" Yes, your Excellency." 

" S6-lid ?" 

" No, you blithering fool; it's hollow," was the reply, except 
that the adjective used was more forcible than the one we have 

Amongst the vessels which were at the Crimea at this time 
was an American schooner, the captain of which was very 
proud of his craft, and was continually boasting of her beauty 
and of the lofty masts she carried. He " challenged creation to 
find her ditto." One day when he was boasting in his usual 
strain, Captain Byrne, who was present, said quietly, " What 
might the height of your masts be, captain?" " Every inch of 
90 feet, I guess," replied the American. " Well," said 
Captain Byrne, " I can show you a ship with taller masts than 
that." "Where?" "In this harbour, on my ship." 

To settle the dispute the two captains proceeded to the 
CORMORANT. Now it must be confessed that the CORMO- 
RANT'S masts had hot been scraped for some time, and were 
so streaked with paint and grease that they might easily be 
mistaken for pine. The American captain came to the foot of 
the mainmast and looked up. " Great Caesar ! What height 
do you call that ?" 

" 120 feet," replied Captain Byrne. 

" Is it all one piece ?" asked the other. 

" There's not a splice in it from heel to truck," was the reply. 


" I calculate that timber was raised in Oregon," said the 

" No, it was not." 

" Well, do tell, where did it grow ?" 

" That, sir," quoth Captain Byrne, "was raised in Cork." 

A collision occurred on the 10th July, I860, resulting 
in the total loss of H.M.S. AMA/O.N and <!< Cork sl<>iuns|ii|> 
OSPREY, with a number of passengers, chiefly ladies. The 
OSPREY was outward bound from Liverpool to Antwerp, with 
a general cargo. She was under the command of the late 
Captain Bertridge, and carried a crew of 14 hands. When off 
Portland, at 1 o'clock in the morning, the look-out reported a 
steamer approaching, which proved to be H.M.S. AMAZON. 
By a fatal error of judgment (for which he was dismissed the 
service) on the part of the officer in command, the AMAZON 
crashed into the OSPREY. While the vessels were locked 
together the crew of the Cork steamer scrambled over the bows 
of the man-of-war, leaving to Captain Bertridge the task of 
saving his family (who were on board) and passengers. These 
he placed in one of the boats belonging to the OSPREY, cut 
the lashings, and had barely done so when his steamer sank, 
dragging the boat into the whirlpool as it sank, and drowning 
all in it, except the captain and one passenger. The captain's 
wife had previously jumped into the sea from the boat, and was 
rescued and taken on board the AMAZON. The latter vessel was so 
injured by the collision that she also sank about four hours later, 
but all on board took to the boats and were landed at Torquay. 

About this period the question of the Company's house-flag 
began to be agitated. The CORMORANT, under Captain Croft, 
was lying at Peiirose Quay, with her house-flag floating 
from the masthead. A section of the Channel Fleet happened 
to be in port at the time, and Captain Croft was surprised to 
receive a message from the Admiral commanding, asking why 
the CORMORANT was flying his (the Admiral's) flag. Captain 
Croft replied that the flag he carried had been his Company's 
house-flag for the last twenty years, and of his Company's 
predecessor for over twenty years before that. To this the 
Admiral very courteously replied that he personally would not 




interfere with the use of the flag, but that as the Government 
had adopted it as an Admiral's flag, it was possible that some 
difficulties might arise later. 

The question of the flag was next raised at Bussorah, in the 
Persian Gulf, on the 7th November, 1882. The DOTTI.HI.I. 
had finished loading, and was getting ready for sea, when a 
message came from H.M.S. DRYAD, which was in the road- 
stead, asking why the DOTTEREL dared to carry the Admiral's 
flag, and stating it must be pulled down at once. 

"Tell your commander," said Captain Dobson, " that that 
flag is my Company's house-flag, and that I will not lower it 
without instructions from my owners." 

The boat went back with this message, and Captain Dobson 
immediately sent a man aloft to grease the backstays and the 
masthead, having first nailed the flagi to it. 

In a short time the boat returned with a petty officer, whose 
instructions were, if the master of the DOTTEREL did not 
lower the flag, he was to send one of his men aloft to do so. 
" All right," said Captain Dobson. " I shan't pull my flag 
down ; you can do what you please." The officer turned to his 
men and gave his orders. One tar after another tried to shin 
up the mast without success, and after several attempts the 
officer had to return and report the failure of his mission, and 
the DOTTEREL proceeded to sea.* 

The commander of the man-of-war having reported to the 
Admiralty, a correspondence ensued between that Department 
of the Government and the Cork Steamship Co., resulting in 
the Company placing a blue star in the centre of the St. 
George's Cross on a white ensign, which now constitutes the 
distinguishing house-flag of that Company. 

In 1871 the business of the Cork Steamship Co. had increased 
to such an extent, it was considered desirable to separate the 
coasting from the foreign services, and to form two distinct 
companies. This was accordingly done, the former being regis- 
tered under the title of the City of Cork Steam Packet Co., Ltd., 

* Another account which bears the stamp of authority states that Captain 
Dobson did not carry off his flag in the manner stated. He lowered it under 
protest, and it was carried on board the man-of-war, but afterwards returned to 
the Company, and is now retained at the Head Office, Cork. 



and the latter under the style of the Cork Steamship Co., Ltd. 
Mr. Ebenezer Pike died in the year 1883, and was succeeded by 
his son, Mr. Joseph Pike, of Dunsland, co. Cork, as Chairman 
and Managing Director of the Company. 

When the Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894, one 
of the first foreign trading steamers to pass through the canal 
was the IBIS, belonging to the Cork Steamship Co. The Cork 
Steamship Co.'s steamer LESTKIS was the first steamer to 
enter Flushing Docks 011 the 8th September, 1873, being 
locked in with the King of Holland's yacht. 

Mr. JOSEPH PIKE, J.P., D.L., Chairman Cork Steamship Co. 

The later years of the Company have been unproductive of 
historical incidents, perhaps not altogether to the regret of the 
shareholders. The older steamers have been disposed of from 
time to time, and replaced by modern steamers of larger 
tonnage and greater power. Instead of steamers of 500 to 600 
tons, the fleet at the present time (1903) consists of 16 powerful 
vessels, varying from 1,000 to 2,400 tons. 




IT seems incredible that less than three-quarters of a century 
ago steamers were unknown on the Atlantic. The mail-boats 
of that date were wretched old Government 10-gun " coffin 
brigs," slow and uncertain in their passages. But there were 
men, even in those days, who dreamed of a time to come when 
steamers should cross the ocean with the regularity, though 
not with the speed, of railway trains. Amongst these 
enthusiasts was Mr. Samuel Cunard, a shipowner of Halifax, 
Nova Scotia. For years he had striven to realise his idea, but 
not having sufficient capital of his own, and not being able to 
induce his friends to invest in his enterprise, he had to wait his 
opportunity. At last the long-waited-for opportunity came, 
and he seized it. The British Admiralty issued a circular 
stating that the mails would be transferred to a steam packet 
service, if a satisfactory tender were sent in. When this 
circular came into the hands of Mr. Cunard he again appealed 
to the merchants of Halifax and others for assistance ; and 
being unsuccessful in his application he came to Britain 
and fortunately became acquainted with Mr. E. Napier. Mr. 
Napier introduced him to Mr. George Burns who, in his turn, 
introduced him to Mr. David Maclver, of Liverpool. In the 
course of a few days, chiefly through the influence of Mr. Burns, 
the requisite capital, 270,000, was obtained, and soon after- 
wards a contract for seven years between the Government and 
Samuel Cunard, George Burns and David Maclver was signed, 
and the Cunard Steamship Co. was launched. Before their 
arrangements were finally adjusted, the Admiralty re-modelled 
the agreement, requiring that the service should be performed 
by four suitable steamers (instead of three, as originally stated), 




and that fixed dates of sailing should be adhered to, but in 
consideration of the increased services the subsidy was raised 
from 60,000 to 81,000. 

The official title of the Company was " The British and North 
American Eoyal Mail Steam Packet Co.," but this unwieldy 
title soon gave place to one of world-wide reputation, " The 
Cunard Line." 

The first steamer despatched by the co-partnery was one of 
Messrs. Burns' Liverpool and Glasgow steamers, the UNICORN. 
She sailed from Liverpool for Halifax and Boston, under the 
command of Captain Douglas, on Saturday morning, Kith May, 
1840. She carried the mails and a limited number of saloon 
passengers, the passage rates being to Halifax 30, to Boston 
33 each. The BRITANNIA, .the pioneer steamer of the 
British and North American Steam Packet Co., was 
despatched on the 4th July, 1840, being the first of 
four wooden paddle-wheel steamships, the others being the 
ACADIA, CALEDONIA and COLUMBIA. These vessels were uniform 
in size and power, being 207 feet long, 34 feet 4 inches broad, 
and 22 feet 6 inches deep. Their gross tonnage was 1,154 tons, 
and their engines of 740 I.H.P. drove them at an average speed 
of S|- knots per 'hour. The reception given to the BRITANNIA 
on the termination of her maiden voyage by the citizens of 
Boston was most enthusiastic. Nor was the goodwill of the 
merchants confined to banquets and complimentary speeches 
for, when the BRITANNIA was ice-bound in Boston Harbour, in 
February, 1844, they liberated her by cutting a canal through 
the ice, seven miles long and 100 feet wide. 

In 1843 the Company added to their fleet the HIBERNIA, and in 
1845 the CAMBRIA, each of 1,040 I.H.P. and of 1,422 tons gross, 
with an average speed of 9J knots. On the expiration of the 
Postal Contract the Government stipulated that the existing 
mail service should be doubled, that the steamers of the Company 
should be capable of carrying guns of the largest calibre, and 
that a steamer should leave Liverpool every Saturday (calling 
at Holyhead if required) for New York and Boston alternately ; 
the Boston steamer to call at Halifax, and the New York 
steamer to do so also, if required by the Lords Commissioners of 




the Admiralty. In consideration of these augmented services 
the annual subsidy was increased to 173,340, at which figure 
it remained for twenty years (1847 to 1867). To meet the new 
requirements, the AMERICA, NIAGARA, CANADA and EUROPA, of 
1,825 tons, and 2,000 I.H.P., with an average speed of ten and 
a quarter knots, were built and added to the fleet. A few years 
later the Collins Line, heavily subsidised, was started with the 
avowed object of " sweeping the Cunarders off the Atlantic." 
This opposition lasted until 1858, when, having lost two ships, 
and being refused any further subsidy by the United States 
Government, the Collins Company collapsed, and the remaining 
ships were withdrawn. During the continuance of this opposi- 
tion the Cunard Company added steadily to their fleet larger 
and more powerful steamers. The ASIA and AFRICA were built 
in 1850, and were each 266 feet by 40 feet by 27'2 feet, of 
2,226 tons gross, with engines of 2,400 I.H.P., and of an average 
speed of 12'5 knots. These were followed in 1852 by the 
ARABIA, the last of the wooden paddle steamers. She was 285 
feet long, 40 feet 8 inches broad, and 29 feet deep. Her 
engines indicated 3,250 H.P., and her average speed was 13 
knots per hour. Three years later, 1855, the first iron mail 
steamship was built for the Cunard Company. She was named 
the PERSIA, and was nearly one hundred feet longer than the 
largest of her predecessors. Her principal dimensions were 
Length 376 feet, breadth 45 feet 3 inches, depth 31 feet 6 inches. 
Her gross tonnage was 4,000 tons, and her engines indicated 
4,000 H.P., giving a speed of 13'8 knots per hour. In 1853 the 
Company established (primarily as auxiliaries to their Atlantic 
service) branch lines between Liverpool and Havre, and Liver- 
pool and the principal ports in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, 
Levant, Bosphorus, and Black Sea. For these branch lines the 
screw steamers SYDNEY, AUSTRALIAN, ANDES and ALPS were 
built in 1852, followed by the JURA in 1854 and the ETNA in 
1855. War having been declared against Russia the four last- 
named steamers, in addition to the CAMBRIA, NIAGARA, EUROPA 
and ARABIA, were engaged by the Government as troopships. 
The Cunard Company had in 1854 purchased the steamer EMEU, 
and she was immediately chartered to the Government. The 



EMEU was the first troopship to arrive out at the commencement 
of the Crimean War, and in the seventeen months following she 
conveyed upwards of 17,000 troops to the Crimea. A few years 
later (1862) the famous SCOTIA (the last of the paddle-wheel 
steamers) was built. In 1878 she was sold to the Telegraph 
Construction Company, who converted her into a screw steamer. 
The same year (1862) the Cunard Company ordered their first 
screw steamer for the Atlantic trade. This was the CHINA 
S.S., now converted into a four-masted barque and named the 
THEODOR. She was followed in 1864 by the CUBA, in 1865 by 
the JAVA, and in 1867 by the RUSSIA, of 2,960 tons giross and 
3,100 I.H.P. After sailing for many years under the Cunard 
Flag, the RUSSIA was sold to the " American Line." Her new 
owners lengthened her, gave her a fourth mast, and altered her 
name to the WAESLAND. She finally sank off Holyhead, after 
colliding with the S.S. HARMONIDES, on the 5th March, 1902. 

The Company's Postal Contract having expired on the 31st 
December, 1867, a new contract was entered into with the 
Postmaster-General for one year, whereby the Cunard Company 
undertook to despatch a steamer from Liverpool to Xew 
York, calling at Queenstown, returning from new York 
every Wednesday, also calling at Queenstown. The payment 
for this service was 80,000, which sum was further reduced the 
following year to 70,000 per annum for several years. Under 
the last contract, which was for the period named, the Company 
guaranteed to sail a steamer from Liverpool (calling at Queens- 
town) to Boston every Tuesday, in addition to the mail service 
from Liverpool to New York every Saturday. The last- 
mentioned contract expired on the 31st December, 1876, on 
which date a new system of postal remuneration came into 
operation based on the amount of correspondence earned per 
voyage, under which system the Cunard Company has carried 
the mails to the present time. It will thus be seen that the 
continuity of their mail service has continued unbroken for 
upwards of sixty years. The invention of compound engines 
was the latest evolution of marine engineering engaging atten- 
tion in 1869-70. The Directors of the Cunard Company quickly 
realised that the saving effected by the use of compound engines 



was so considerable, without reduction of speed, that their 
adoption was an imperative necessity. This decision was 
arrived at too late to furnish with the new style of engines t IK- 
ABYSSINIA and ALGERIA, each of about 3,300 tons and 2,480 
I.H.P., just completed by Messrs. J. & GK Thomson, and 
placed on the New York station ; but the BATAVIA, then on 
the stocks to the order of another company, was purchased and 
supplied with machinery on the new principle ; and an order 
was given to the same builders (Messrs. Denny, Dumbarton) for 
a similar vessel of rather larger tonnage to be named the 
PARTHIA. A further extension of the Company's business took 
place in 1872, by the establishment of a direct line of steamers 
between the Clyde and the West Indies. The TRINIDAD and 
the DEMERARA, two sister ships of about 2,000 tons each, were 
built that year, and placed on the station, but after about twelve 
months' trading they were withdrawn, and sent to supplement 
the Company's service in the Mediterranean. During the 
succeeding six years the fleet was increased by the addition of 
seven large steamers, all fitted with compound engines, the last 
and largest of which was the G-ALLIA, of 4,809 tons and 5,300 


In 1878 it was considered expedient to consolidate the 
interests of the partners by registering the Company under the 
Limited Liability Acts, and a Joint Stock Company was formed 
with a capital of 2,000,000, of which 1,200,000 was issued 
and taken up by the families of Cunard, Burns and Maclver. 
No shares were offered to the public until 1880, when a pros- 
pectus was issued intimating that " it was now proposed to issue 
the balance of the capital." The available shares were rapidly 
subscribed for, the representatives of the three founders retain- 
ing a large financial interest in the Company. About this 
period steel was engaging the attention of shipbuilders as a 
substitute for iron. The Cunard Directors were so convinced 
of the superiority of the former, especially where speed was a 
desideratum, that they ordered a steel steamship from Messrs. 
J. & Gl. Thomson, to be larger and more powerful than any 
steamer previously built, the (TREAT EASTERN alone excepted. 
This monster vessel, which was named the SERVIA, was com- 


pleted in 1881. Her dimensions were Length 515 feet, 
breadth 52 ^ feet, depth 37 feet. Her gross tonnage was 7,392. 
Her engines were compound with seven steel boilers and 
developed 10,000 I.H.P., producing a speed of 17 knots per 
hour. She was fitted in the most substantial and beautiful 
manner for the accommodation of 480 cabin and 750 steerage 
passengers, and embodied all the most modern appliances 
conducive to comfort and safety. She was the first of the 
Cunard Fleet to be equipped with incandescent electric lamps. 
The same year, the CATALONIA, 4,841 tons and 3,200 I.H.P., was 
built for the Boston service, and two more for the same service 
in the following year. These were the PAVONIA, of 5,587 tons 
and 4,000 I.H.P., built by Messrs. J. & G. Thomson ; and the 
CEPHALONIA, 5,517 tons and 4,000 I.H.P., by Messrs. Laird 
Brothers, Birkenhead. 

A second steel steamship was built in 1883 for the New York 
Mail Service. This was the AURANIA, built by Messrs. J. & G. 
Thomson, and her dimensions are 470 feet by 57 T % feet by 
37 T 2 <y feet. Her tonnage is 7,269, and she is fitted with com- 
pound engines of 9,500 I.H.P., and attaining a speed of 17J 
knots per hour. She was taken up by the Government as a 
transport in October, 1899, and so valuable did she prove for 
this service that she was retained until the early part of 1903. 
In 1884 the Directors purchased the celebrated iron steamship 
OREGON, built by Messrs. John Elder & Co. She was 501 feet 
by 54 s feet by 38 feet, and of 7,375 tons and 13,500 I.H.P. ; 
speed 18 knots per hour. On her first and second voyage she 
did not distinguish herself, but on her third voyage she made 
the passage from Queenstown to New York in 6 days 10 hours 
9 minutes, thereby excelling all previous records, and earning 
for herself the title of "The Greyhound of the Atlantic." 
Towards the close of 1884 the UMBRIA the first of two steel 
steamships ordered from Messrs. Elder -was delivered, and she 
was followed early in 1885 by her sister ship the ETRURIA. The 
following description of the ETRURIA applies also to the 
UMBRIA : Length 501 ^ feet by 57 T 2 o feet by 38 T 2 ^ feet ; 
gross tonnage 7,718 tons. The promenade deck, which extends 
over the full breadth of the ship for nearly 300 feet amidships, 


is reserved for the sole use of the first-class passengers. The 
vessel easily accommodates 550 first-class passengers and 800 
third-class. The state rooms are replete with all the fittings 
usual in first-class vessels of the most modern type, and a 
number of them are arranged en suite for family use. The hull 
is divided into ten watertight compartments, and most of the 
bulkheads are carried to the upper deck, while they are fitted 
with waterproof and fireproof doors, which afford access to all 
parts of the ship. The engines indicate 14,500 H.P., and are 
compound, having three inverted cylinders one high-pressure 
71in. in diameter and two low-pressure, each 105in. in diameter. 
The average speed of both steamers may be set down at 18^ 
knots per hour. The fastest passagie of the ETRURIA was when 
she established a new record by making the passage from 
Queenstown to New York in 5 days 20 hours 55 minutes, the 
UMBRIA'S best record being 5 days 22 hours 7 minutes. The 
next important addition to the fleet was the CAMPANIA, launched 
from the yard of the Fairfield Shipbuilding Co., Grovan, on the 
8th September, 1892. Five months later February, 1893 
there was launched from the same yard her sister ship the 
LUCANIA. From the official description of the CAMPANIA, it 
appears that her length over all is 620 feet, extreme breadth 
65 feet 3 inches, depth from upper deck 43 feet, gross tonnage 
12,950 tons. The bulkheads are sixteen in number, and they 
will enable the vessel to float with any two, or in some cases 
three, of the compartments open to the sea. Although fitted 
with twin screws, there is an aperture in the stern frame similar 
to that in a single screw steamer. This is provided that the 
propellers may work freely, though they are fitted close to the 
centre line of the ship, in order to prevent damage to or from 
the quay walls. In the accommodation for passengers all the 
latest improvements are to be found, and everything calculated 
to render ocean travelling more comfortable and enjoyable 
is introduced. The grand saloon, drawing room, library and 
smoking rooms are noble in their proportions, and suggest the 
stately chambers of a palace rather than accommodation within 
the steel walls of a ship. It is worthy of special notice that 
comfort has been studied in every detail, and perhaps nothing 



exemplifies this more than the fact that in all the principal 
rooms there are coal fire-grates, the first that have ever been 
used on board ship. There are four sets of generating plant, 
capable of supplying throughout the ship 1,850 16-candle power 
incandescent electric light, and in addition a powerful search- 
light, for facilitating the navigation into port, &c. Wire to the 
length of 40 miles runs through the ship. The grand saloon is 
a magnificent hall in the modified Italian style, 100 feet long 
by 63 feet broad, with seats at table for 430 passengers. In the 
centre, a great crystal dome rises through the two decks above 
to a height of 33 feet. 

Three classes of passengers are carried by the CAMPANIA, viz., 
first, second and third class; and roughly speaking there is 
accommodation for about 1,400 passengers and 400 crew. 
While the hulls of both vessels are almost unrivalled in size 
and in the accommodation they afford, the machinery by which 
they are propelled is almost unique in magnitude and skill in 
construction. The two sets of triple-expansion engines in each 
ship develop the enormous amount of 30,000 I.H.P. The 
funnels of the CAMPANIA and LUCANIA from their lowest section 
are 120 feet high, or about the height of the Eddystone Ligiht- 
house, and their diameter 20 feet. 

The CAMPANIA has maintained an average speed for twelve 
months, on her eastward runs, of 21'88 knots per hour, while 
the LUCANIA for the same period shows an average speed of 
22'01 knots. The Mediterranean service has within the last 
few years been greatly improved by the addition of four new 
steel steamships, each of about 3,000 tons burthen. These are 
the PAVIA (1897), TYRIA (1897), CYPRIA (1898) and VERIA 
(1899). The Boston service also comprises the following 
modern steel twin-screw steamships: IVERNIA and SAXOMA. 
built in 1900, the ULTONIA in 1898, and the SYLVANIA in 1895. 
The IVERNIA and SAXONIA are practically alike, and call for 
some special notice. They are the largest ships carrying 
passengers and cargio to Boston. The principal dimensions of 
the ships are Length GOO feet, beam G4 feet 3 inches and depth 
41 feet 6 inches. The gross tonnage is 14,027 tons, measure- 
ment capacity 20,000 tons, while the displacement is no less 




than 25,000 tons. In their ordinary work across the Atlantic 
they carry 200 first, 220 second, and about 1,900 third-class 
passengers. If engaged in trooping, each ship could carry 200 
officers and 3,500 men, together with 10,000 tons of stores. 
The features of the ships, next to their huge size, are the 
spaciousness and comfort of their passenger accommodation and 
their steadiness, which is most remarkable, and which makes 
sea sickness almost impossible. Aerial telegraphy is in regular 
operation on board these two vessels. The Cunard was the first 
steamship company to systematically adopt this latest develop- 
ment of electrical science. It was in the LUCANIA that Mr. 
Marconi's system was first set up, and so pleased were the 
Directors with the results that they at once decided to adopt the 
invention in their other steamers, the CAMPANIA, LUCANIA, 
SAXONIA all being now thus equipped. 

In October, 1908, the LUCANIA was the medium selected by 
the inventor for further experiments in wireless telegraphy, 
and on the voyage from Xew York to Liverpool completed on 
October 10th, Siguor Marconi successfully accomplished a 
wonderful feat, and a newspaper with real news fresh from 
the Marconi stations at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Poldhu, 
Cornwall, was published every day. Messages were trans- 
mitted over a distance of 2,000 miles as accurately as over the 
same number of feet or yards, so that passengers on board the 
LUCANIA had their printed newspaper, the " Cunard Bulletin," 
every day of the voyage, containing the most interesting events 
on both continents. Just before arrival in Liverpool a larger 
edition of the " Cunard Bulletin," a weekly issue, was printed 
giving an epitome of the news recorded in the six daily 
publications during the voyage, and marking a fresh era in 
oceanic journalism. 

The CARPATHIA, the latest addition to the Cunard fleet, 
represents a new departure in Atlantic trade, being designed 
exclusively for second and third-class passengers, all of whom 
are accommodated in rooms containing two and four berths. 
The dimensions of the CARPATHIA are Length 560 feet, 
breadth 64 feet 3 inches, depth 40 feet 6 inches, and the gross 


tonnage is 13,555 tons. She started on her maiden voyage 
May 5th, 1903, and being built on similar lines to the IVERNIA 
and SAXONI^ shares their reputation for remarkable steadiness 
at sea even in the stormiest weather. 

A recent item of interest in connection with this famous 
company is the agreement made in August, 1903, with the 
British Government, by which the Cunard Company are to 
build two new steamers of an average speed of not less than 
24J knots, which, along with all other Cuiiard ships, are to 
be at the disposal of the Admiralty for hire or purchase when- 
ever they may be required. To help them in this undertaking, 
such fast ships being unprofitable for commercial purposes, the 
Government lend the Company 2,600,000 to build the ships, 
and grant them a subsidy of 150,000 a year. 

In October, 1903, the Cunard Company started a new Winter 
Passenger Service from New York to the Mediterranean ports, 
calling at Gibraltar, Algiers, Naples, Palermo, Venice, Trieste 
and Fiume. The AURANIA and CARPATHIA, carrying only two 
classes of passengers, were chosen for this new service, which 
opens up a round of most interesting travel to the great 
travelling public of moderate mean's. Passengers by these 
steamers may land at any of the ports named and visit at 
leisure places of interest in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, 
Sicily, Austria or Hungary, continuing their journey overland 
to England to return to New York by Cunard steamer from 
Liverpool ; or, if they prefer to do so, they may remain in the 
ship all the time and return in her to New York ; or, as a third 
course, they may make a stay in any of the countries named 
and rejoin a subsequent Cunard Mediterranean ship at any of 
her calling ports. 




THIS well-known line of steamers was established about a 
quarter of a century ago by the present senior partner of the 
firm, Mr. E. P. Houston, Member of Parliament for the 
Toxteth Division of Liverpool. Like many other under- 
takings which have grown to gigantic dimensions from small 
beginnings, this firm started in a modest manner with one 
small steamer. This was the steamer ATHLETE, followed 
in the year 1881 by a larger steamer, the HERCULES, built 
by the Whitehaveii Ship Building Co., and engined by Messrs. 
J. Jones & Sons, of Liverpool. She was a vessel of 742 tons 
net register, and 1,155 tons gross register, her principal 
dimensions being, length 212 feet, beam 34 feet and depth 
16 feet 6 inches. Her engines, which were of 150 nominal 
horse-power, were compound. These two vessels were not 
engaged in any regular trade, but ran wherever profitable 
freights couM be obtained, and chiefly to Java and Eastern 
ports. Becoming too small for Messrs. Houston's require- 
ments, they were sold. All the succeeding vessels of the fleet, 
of which there have been a great many, have been named after 
Greek mythological deities or Roman celebrities, each name 
beginning with the letter " H." 

Although already very busily engaged with large contracts 
for the conveyance of material to the Panama Canal Co., and 
the West African Co., Mr. Houston, believing there was ample 
room for a new line of steamers to the River Plate from 





Liverpool, decided to enter upon that trade in the year 1884. 
New steamers were designed and built specially for this trade, 
and so energetically and successfully was the trade worked 
that, although severe opposition was encountered at first from 
the existing lines, in a short time not only were Messrs. 
Houston's steamers fully occupied, but many steamers had to 
be chartered to meet the rapidly increasing traffic, since which 
time the Houston Line has assumed very large proportions. 

The first steamer engaged in this trade was the HERMES, 
built 011 the Clyde in 1882, and engined by Messrs. J. Jones 
and Son, Liverpool. She was a much larger vessel than the 
HERCULES, her gross register being '2,175 tons, and her 
principal dimensions 290 feet in length by 40 feet beam and 
22 feet depth. 

After a short interval more steamers, each of about 2,000 
tons gross, were added to the fleet in 1884. These were the 
HELLENES, built by Richardson, Duck & Co., and engined 
by G. Clark, of Sunderlaiid length 270 feet, beam 40 feet, 
and depth 18 feet 7 inches ; and the HESPERIDES, built by 
R. & J. Evans & 'Co., and engined by George Forrester & Co., 
Liverpool length 286 feet, beam 88 feet, and depth 24 feet. 
The following year (1885) a larger boat than any yet built for 
the firm was added to the fleet. This was the HELIADES, 
built by Richardson, Duck & Co., Stockton. She was 320 feet 
long, and of proportionate beam and depth. Her gross 
register was about 3,000 tons, and she was fitted with triple- 
expansion engines by T. Richardson & Co., of West Hartlepool, 
with which class of engines all the succeeding steamers have 
been fitted. 4 sister ship, but having more powerful engines, the 
HERACLIDES was launched for the firm in July, 188(i. She 
was followed in 1889 by the HIPPOMENES, built at Belfast 
by Workman, Clark & Co., and the HYDARNES and the 
HELLOPES, built at Port Glasgow by J. Reid & Co. These 
steamers, like their immediate predecessors, were each of about 
3,000 tons gross register, and were all practically of the same 
dimensions. The whole of these four steamers are fitted with 
refrigerators for the carriage of frozen meat from the River 


Mr. Alfred S. Collard, a gentleman with a large and varied 
experience in the River Plate trade, and one thoroughly con- 
versant with the working and requirements of an important 
steamship line, joined Mr. Houston as partner in 1893. 

During the closing years of the last and beginning of the 
present century the quantity of railway rolling stock and plant 
for shipment to the River Plate was so great that it was not 
an uncommon event for the Brunswick Station of the Cheshire 
Lines Railway to be almost entirely blocked with wagons of 
railway material consigned for shipment by the Houston Line. 
So large were some of these packages, they could only be 
brought through from the manufacturers on Sunday, it being 
impossible to convey them on the railway while the ordinary 
traffic was being carried on. In 1898 Messrs. Russell & Co., 
of Port Glasgow, built two sister ships of over 3,500 tons gross 
register for Messrs. Houston. These were the HERMINIUS and 

The year 1899 was an important one in the firm's history. 
In that year the trade between New York and the River Plate 
was entered, and since that time a regular service has been 
maintained, the pioneer steamer being the HERMES (the 
second of that name). She was a steel built steamer of 3,400 
tons gross, driven by triple expansion engines of about 2,500 
horse-power effective. She was launched at Sunderland in 
January, 1899, and is of the following dimensions: Length 
350 feet 2 inches, beam 47 feet, depth 17 feet. She was the 
first of a fleet of seven similar vessels which were launched to 
the order of the firm during the course of that year, the others 
and the HYANTHES. 

The following year, the last of the 19th century, saw one 
more steamer, the HOSTILIUS, added to the Line. 

Frequent as were the additions to the Houston Fleet, they 
were not sufficient to keep pace with the expanding trade, 
which increased so rapidly that many outside steamers had 
to be chartered. When ex-President Kruger sent his fateful 
ultimatum to the British Government, which resulted in the 
South African War, Messrs. Houston &: Co. were amongst the 


first to offer their steamers to the Admiralty for the con- 
veyance of troops, horses, mules, fodder, &c. It was of the 
greatest importance that ships should be fitted up for the 
transit of troops and animals for transport purposes as quickly 
as possible, and this was carried out by the Houston Line 
with eminent satisfaction to H.M. Government. The 
principals and the staff worked night and day, and spared 
no efforts in despatching quickly the men, horses and stores 
so urgently required at the seat of war. Large numbers of 
horses, mules and stores were carried by the Houston steamers 
from the United Kingdom, the Continent and the United 
States to the various South African ports with a gratifying 
immunity from loss. 

It may be stated here that the senior partner of the firm is 
an expert engineer, and that all the steamers built for his 
firm, and which have been so remarkably successful, have been 
built from specifications and designs drawn up by him. 

As has been stated, many of the steamers are fitted with 
refrigerating machinery for the conveyance of frozen meat, 
and are regularly employed in this trade. These steamers 
are favourably known for the excellent condition in which 
they deliver their cargoes, and in order that the live stock 
should be landed in the very best possible condition, the 
steamers were fitted up with permanent cattle fittings, and 
made in every way suitable for successfully carrying live stock. 

The Houston Line River Plate steamers take cargo from 
Glasgow, Liverpool and New York for Monte Yideo, Buenos 
Ayres, Eosario, &c., without transhipment, which is a very 
important matter in the opinion of shippers. 

It is a matter of common knowledge that a very serious fight 
is being waged (1903) in the South African shipping trade, 
owing to the entrance therein of the Houston Line. In July, 
1902, sailings from Glasgow, Middlesbrough, Bristol, Liver- 
pool and London (as well as from New York) to Cape Town, 
Algoa Bay, East London, Durban and Delagoa Bay were 
announced by the Messrs. Houston. The Steamship Lines 
then engaged in the trade had formed a Conference or " ring." 
The members of this " ring " are the Union-Castle Line, the 


Clan Line, the Buckiiall Line, the Harrison -Ellerman Line, 
J. T. Rennie & Co., and Bullard, King & Co., forming the 
strongest shipping ring ever known. It is this shipping 
'" ring " that the Houston Line is opposing. 

Great public interest in the struggle has been excited by 
the many angry and strongly worded letters from shippers 
which have been published from time to time in the current 
Press regarding the modus operandi of the " ring." Tactics 
of such a character have been adopted by the " ring " as will, 
we understand, form a subject of an action in the Courts of 
Law, as they have already provoked discussion and protest in 
various Chambers of Commerce, and have even been discussed 
in the House of Commons. 

From present appearances the Houston Line is growing 
steadily in favour of shippers to the Cape ports, and having 
now been in the trade for over twelve months it must have 
secured a firm foothold. Certainly shippers and merchants 
generally welcome and support this " Line " as having a 
beneficial influence upon the trade between this country and 
our South African Colonies. 

The latest built and largest steamers of the fleet are 
engaged in the Cape service. Amongst them are 
average dead weight carrying capacity of about 9,000 tons 

We understand several large carrying steamers are in course 
of construction for the firm. 

As showing the great increase in the size of the firm's 
vessels, it may be interesting to compare the dimensions of 
one of the earliest and of one of the latest built ships. 

The HERCULES was 212 feet long, 34 feet broad and 16 feet 
6 inches deep. 

The HYPATIA is 452 feet long, 52 feet 2 inches broad, and 
28 feet 3 inches deep. 

The gross registered tonnage of the former was 1,155 tons, 
while that of the latter is over 5,600 tons. 

The growth of the Houston Line has been a remarkably 
rapid one, and shows what ability and energy combined can do. 

CHAP. X.] 



The fleet now consists of 25 steamers of a gross registered 
tonnage of over 90,000 tons, and with a dead weight carrying 
capacity of over 130,000 tons. 
































THE Company was founded by the late Mr. Edwin Savory 
Houlder in London in 1849, and he was subsequently joined 
by his brothers Messrs. Alfred and Augustus Houlder. At 
first the business was confined to sailing-ships, a fleet of 
Clipper Packets sailing under the firm's nag between the home 
ports and Australia being established. As the business 
increased, the firm became in turn interested in the South 
African and South American Trades, the development of their 
steam fleet receiving a large amount of attention, until, at the 
present time, it includes some of the largest and most successful 
frozen meat carriers afloat. 

The principal services now maintained are between the 
United Kingdom and South America, between South America 
and the Cape ports, between Australia and New Zealand and 
the Cape ports, and from New York to Australia and Xew 
Zealand, although many other trades of the world claim the 
Company's attention and for these trades a large amount of 
tonnage is chartered annually. 

The Headquarters are in London, with Branches at Liverpool, 
Glasgow, Sydney, N.S.W., Cape Town and Buenos Aires; also 
sub-offices at Rosario and La Plata. 

With one exception, the steamers of the Fleet are dis- 
tinguished by the affix GRANGE. The first were the HORNBY 
GRANGE (3,750 tons burthen) and OVINGDEAN GRANGE (3,520 
tons burthen), launched in the opening months of 1890, both 
vessels being insulated throughout for carrying frozen meat, 
as are all the other steamers of the Line. They were followed 
in 1894 by the URMSTON GRANGE, designed to carry 5,420 tons. 





In 1896 two important additions were made in the shape of 
the steamers LANGTON GRANGE and DK.NTO.N (TKANGK, each 
having a deadweight capacity of 9,200 tons, and like the earlier 
steamers insulated in the most efficient manner for carrying 
frozen meat. In the meantime two more steamers were 
acquired, the ELSTREE GRANGE and the SOUTHERN CROSS, the 
latter being placed in the Australian trade in company with 
the LANGTON GRANGE and DENTON GRANGE, whilst the former 
was taken into the River Plate service which had grown to 
such an extent as to justify the addition of two further vessels, 
larger and faster than any of the earlier ships in the trade. 
These were the ROYSTON GRANGE and BEACON GRANGE, each 
6,400 tons burthen, and capable of making the passage between 
England and the River Plate in twenty-two or twenty-three 

For the Australian trade the RIPPINGHAM GRANGE, a sister 
ship to the LANGTON GRANGE, was added in 1898. 

At this juncture, the various steamers comprising the fleet 
were amalgamated into one Company under the name of the 
Houlder Line, Limited, this step being taken in order to con- 
solidate the business generally, and to ensure more systematic 
and economical working. 

Previous to this, however, the firm of Houlder Bros. & Co. 
was converted into a Limited Company, the partners in the old 
firm becoming Managing Directors of the new Company, Mr. 
Edwin Savory Houlder acting as Chairman until his death in 

To return to our description of the fleet. To replace the 
DENTON GEANGE (unfortunately lost at Las Palmas) the Com- 
pany contracted for the DRAYTON GRANGE, a fine four-masted, 
twin-screw steamer of 10,000 tons burthen, launched in 
December, 1901, and also for a sister ship, the OSWESTRY 
GRANGE, launched a few months later. Both of these steamers, 
and, in fact, the other large vessels of the fleet, did excellent 
service during the South African War. 

The fleet, at the present time, consists of fourteen steamers, 
three boats having been added since the launch of the 
OSWESTRY GRANGE, as the following list will show : 




21 '.I 



... 3,750 

... 3,520 

... 5,420 

... 9,200 

... 10,000 

... 6,000 

... 6,400 




... 6,400 

* Twin screw. 

giving a total of 105,740 tons. 

It is interesting to compare the smallest vessel, the 
OVINGDEAN GRANGE, with the largest and most recent, the 
EVERTON GRANGE, the difference being not only in the increased 
size but also in the great improvements in the propelling 
machinery, refrigerating machinery, passenger accommoda- 
tion, appliances for handling cargo and other points too 
numerous to mention in detail : 


OVINGDEAN GRANGE... 309 ft. ... 40 ft. ... 21 ft. 4 in. ... 3,520 
EVERTON GRANGE ... 490 ft. ... 56 ft. ... 35 ft. 6 in. ... 11,000 

Special provision has been made for the Company's pas- 
senger service, the boats being provided with every requisite to 
make a long sea voyage as comfortable as possible. 






THIS important company, which claims (on very strong 
evidence) to be the oldest steamship company in the world, 
was originated in 1814 two years after the launch of Bell's 
COMET by Mr. Lewis MacLellaii and others. Its history is 
a most varied one, the several firms of Alex. A. Laird & Sons, 
Thos. Cameron & Co., and MacConnell & Laird, having become 
unified during its existence of nearly a century into the one 
large concern known throughout the kingdom as the " Laird 

It has been the great pioneer of the steamship trade of the 
Clyde, not merely by reason of its long standing, but also 
because of the varied and extensive sphere of its operations. 

The first steamer owned by the founder of the company was 
the BRITANNIA, a small paddle-wheel steampacket, built, like 
all the vessels of her time, of wood. 

The second steampacket was the WATERLOO, built in 181(j. 
A reference is made to both these steamers in the sixth chapter 
of the first part of this volume. They plied between the 
Bromielaw (Glasgow) and Greenock, Gourock, llothesay, 
Tarbert, Lochgilphead, and Iiiverary. Even in these early 
days of steam navigation, it was the avowed policy of the 
manager of these steampackets to make all things subordinate 
to safety, and, in accordance with this policy, the masters of 
the steamers were instructed " not to contend with other boats 
so as to endanger the vessels, or alarm the passengers." This 
sound policy, which has been continued by Mr. MacLellan's 
successors to the present day, has, in large measure, con- 
tributed to the popularity and success of the firm. 


It is interesting to note that over eighty years ago passenger 
season tickets were in force on the steampackets of this 
company. Those who are desirous of verifying this state- 
ment can do so by referring to the " Glasgow Chronicle " of 
the 23rd May, 1816, in which they will find the following 
advertisement : 

" The steampackets, BRITANNIA and WATERLOO, sail 
" regularly from the Bromielaw to all the watering-places 
" on both sides of the Clyde. Families wishing to agree 
" for the season will learn the terms by applying to the 
" masters on board, or to Mr. Lewis MacLellan, 
" Gallowgate." 

The BRITANNIA, in the year referred to, opened up for the 
first time, steam communication between Glasgow and 
Campbeltown, and in the early summer of 1820, she made her 
first trip from Glasgow to the Giant's Causeway. 

She was commanded 011 that voyage by Captain Wyse, whose 
death in 1851 was the occasion of the following paragraph, 
which appeared in the " Glasgow Chronicle " : 

" Captain Wyse (whose decease we announce) was the 
" first to carry his steamer, the BRITANNIA, on a pleasure 
" trip from the Clyde to the Giant's Causeway, with an 
" illustrious and distinguished party. The astonished 
" inhabitants in thousands crowded the hills and promon- 
" tories, all along the shores of Antrim, to see a ship with 
" a smoking funnel, and a band of music on board, sailing 
" against wind and tide. Out of this pleasure trip sprung 
" up the present lucrative trade between the ports of the 
" Clyde and the North of Ireland, from which great advan- 
" tages have unquestionably arisen to the inhabitants of 
" both kingdoms." 

As time advanced, the river traffic was discontinued by the 
Company, and the cross-channel trade developed. After 
running excursions to the Giant's Causeway for two seasons, the 
BRITANNIA was placed on the Glasgow and Londonderry station, 
sailing from each port once a week. 

Mr. Alex. A. Laird (after whom the line is named) was a 
well-known shipbroker in Greenock at the beginning of the last 


century, and when the famous St. George Steam Packet Com- 
pany commenced operations in 1822, the first steamship service 
it established was between Liverpool and Greenock, and Mr. 
Laird was appointed agent for the Company at the latter port. 

The St. George Company did not continue for any length of 
time its direct service between the Clyde and the Mersey, but 
in the following year (1823) a new steam packet company was 
formed, to trade only between Liverpool, Greenock and 
Glasgow, calling at Douglas (Isle of Man) and Portpatrick. 
Mr. Laird was the manager of the new company, and opened a 
branch office at 25, York Street, Glasgow, under the style of 
Alex. Laird & Co. 

The pioneer -steamer of the new service was the HENRY BELL, 
built by Mr. Thomas Wilson, a celebrated Liverpool ship- 
builder, in 1823. She was considered a very smart craft in 
those days, was fitted with two engines of 30 horse power each, 
and carried about 120 tons all told, on a draft of about 8 feet. 
She continued 011 the Glasgow and Liverpool station until 
1831, when she was purchased by Messrs. James Little & Co., 
for their Glasgow and Newry trade. 

The original intention of the proprietors was that the 
HENRY BELL should sail to and from Glasgow, but it was 
found there was not sufficient water in the Clyde to enable 
this to be done with regularity, and Greenock was, con- 
sequently, made the port of arrival and departure. The deck 
fare by this steamer was 6s. per passenger, the steerage fare 
by the mail packets (MAJESTIC and CITY OF GLASGOW) being 

The late Mr. Alex. A. Laird commenced his apprenticeship 
under his father in 1824, and the same year a second vessel, 
the JAMES WATT, was placed on the Glasgow and Liverpool 
station. She was slightly larger, and had engines of greater 
power than the HENRY BELL. 

The following year Messrs. Laird established a fortnightly 
service between Glasgow and Inverness; the steampacket 
employed was the STIRLING, which made her first voyage on 
the llth May, 1825, and continued to sail thereafter on alter- 
nate Wednesdays from Glasgow and Inverness. Fortnightly 



sailings proving insufficient for the traffic, the sailings were 
increased to weekly on and from the 20th September, 1826. 

During this year the WILLIAM HUSKISSON was added to the 
Liverpool and Glasgow service, and sailings were maintained 
three times per week from each port. 

The WILLIAM HUSKISSON was a very much larger vessel 
than either of her predecessors, her deadweight capacity being 
350 tons, and her engines 120 horse power. 

The late Mr. ALEX. A. LAIRD. 

For the Campbeltown and Londonderry trade the steam- 
packets CLYDESDALE and LONDONDERRY were built, and were 
advertised to sail from Glasgow to both ports, with goods and 
passengers, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In 
addition to these sailings, the MAID OF ISLAY was despatched 
every Tuesday morning from the Bromielaw to Straiiraer and 


Islay. Messrs. Laird's connection with Dublin dates also from 
this year, the pioneer steamer being the TOWN OF DuOGHBDA, 
which sailed on her first voyage from Greenock to Dublin on 
Monday, 7th -June, 1826. The new steampacket SOLWAY was 
added to the Liverpool and Greenock fleet in 1828, and the 
sailings increased to four per week from each port. The 
steampacket CLARENCE acted as tender, and sailed from the 
Bromielaw at 110011 011 the sailing dates of the Liverpool steam- 
packets from Greenock. 

In 1834 the firm extended its operations to Newry, the 
steamers employed being the ERIN and ST. DAVID. Mr. James 
Bruce was admitted a partner in the Glasgow house this year, 
and the office was removed to 69, Oswald Street, where the 
business was conducted under the style of Laird & Bruce. 
This partnership was dissolved on the 14th February, 1835; 
Mr. Bruce retaining the Stranraer trade. The title of Mr. 
Laird's firm was changed to Alex. Laird & Sons, and the 
Glasgow office removed to Ewing Place, corner of York Street. 

One of the steamers, for which Mr. Laird was agent, was 
named the CUMBERLAND. This vessel took an active part in 
the Spanish Expedition of 1835, as a transport, making three 
voyages to Spain during this year, with recruits from the West 
of Scotland for the service of Donna Isabella. Some of these 
recruits enlisted in the course of drunken frolics, or after 
quarrels with their friends or masters, and their military 
ardour speedily cooled. The period during which they had to 
wait on the receiving ship at Greenock until the transport 
was ready to receive them afforded frequent opportunities of 
deserting, of which they did not fail to avail themselves. 
Scarcely a day passed but some of them succeeded in escaping 
by means of the boats which visited the receiving ships in the 
evenings. One youth from Glasgow, failing to get away in 
this manner, determined to drop into the sea and swim ashore, 
a distance of about two miles, to a spit where female friends 
would be waiting to assist him. He had nearly reached the 
shore when he was discovered, and pursued by the guard boat. 
Making a final effort, he succeeded in landing, and, though 
fatigued with his long swim, continued his flight. 


When the guard boat's crew landed, the women got round 
them, and so hampered them in their movements that the 
fugitive got out of sight, when, of course, it was useless to 
attempt to follow him. 

The CUMBERLAND, after performing the three voyages 
referred to, returned to her station between Glasgow and 

In 1844 Messrs. Laird & Sons (then at 101, Union Street) 
were appointed agents at Glasgow for the Dundalk Steam 
Packet Co., the first steamer from Glasgow, the FINN MACCOTJL, 
sailing on the 30th November, 1844. 

For a period of forty years, from 1827 to 1867, Messrs. T. 
Cameron & Co. had maintained steamship services between 
Glasgow and Greenock, and ports on the North and West coasts 
of Ireland, and from 1843 until 1867 a weekly service between 
Liverpool and Sligio. In 1867 the Glasgow services were con- 
ducted by the joint firms of Messrs. T. Cameron & Co. and Alex. 
A. Laird & Ci>., but the following year, owing to the decease of 
Mr. Cameron, the business was entirely taken over by Messrs. 

Messrs. Cameron's steamers were named after flowers and 
plants (with two exceptions, referred to later), the first steamer 
of this class being the SHAMROCK, built in 1847, followed by the 
THISTLE in 1848, HOSE in 1851, MYRTLE in 1854, and the 
GARLAND in 1857. 

At the time of the change of firm, Messrs. Cameron & Co. had 
been opposed on the Glasgow and Sligo and Liverpool and Sligo 
stations, for ten years, by a local company, the Sligo Steam 
Navigation Co. This was subsequently settled amicably, 
Messrs. Alex. A. Laird & Co. retired from the Liverpool and 
Sligo trade, and the Sligo Steam Navigation Co. withdrew from 
the Glasgow trade, and having purchased the opposition steamer 
GARLAND, renamed her the GLASGOW. 

The two exceptions in class of name, to which reference has 
been made, were the NORTHMAN and IRISHMAN, trading as the 
Glasgow and Dublin Screw Steam Packet Co. They were 
amongst the earliest iron screw steamers built, the former 
having been launched in 1847 and the latter in 1854. These 


two steamers retained the colour of the old St. George (V on 
the funnel, viz., a white funnel with a black top. The IIMMI- 
MAN was the last steamer so distinguished, all succeed in<r 
steamers carrying what is now the recognised " Laird " funnel- 
white and red in equal proportions, with a black top. 

In 1869, to meet the requirements of the West Coast of 
Ireland trade, the Company purchased the steamer SCOTIA, and 
renamed her the LAUREL. Two steamers were added to the 
fleet in 1878. These were the steamships AZALEA and CEDAR. 
These ships are identical in measurement and capacity, cadi 
being 217 feet long, 30 feet broad, and 15 feet deep, with a 
gross register of 750 tons, and with excellent saloon accommoda- 
tion for seventy passengers. 

An important addition was made to the fleet in 1879, when 
the magnificent and fast steamship SHAMROCK was built. S'he 
was considerably in advance in point of capacity, speed, and 
accommodation of any steamer previously built for the firm. 
She measures 231 feet 2 inches in length, 31 feet 3 inches in 
breadth, and 15 feet 5 inches in depth ; and her gross register 
is 864 tons. She is certified to carry eighty saloon passengers, 
and is equipped with every modern convenience for their comfort. 

After an interval of three years (1882) the BRIER was built, 
a somewhat similar vessel, but slightly smaller than the pre- 
ceding steamer, her dimensions being 209 feet by 30 feet by 
15 feet. Her gross register is 728 tons, and she has berthing 
and saloon accommodation for sixty passengers. She was 
quickly followed by the THISTLE and ELM, both built in 1884, 
and the GARDENIA in 1885. They are all beautiful specimens of 
marine architecture, the first a large steamer of 822 tons o re- 
register, and the latter considerably smaller. 

In 1893 a further advance was made in the size of the Com- 
pany's ships by the construction of the splendid screw steamer 
OLIVE, 1,141 tons gross register, one of the fastest and finest 
steamers crossing the channel. She is 260 feet long, with a 
beam of 33 feet 1 inch, and a depth of 15 feet 8 inches. She 
has always been a particular favourite with passengers, of whom 
she carries a large number, being certified to carry one hundred 
saloon passengers, in addition to 1,000 steerage, 




The DAISY and the LILY were the next steamers built, the 
former in 1895, and the latter in 1896 ; and in the closing year 
of the nineteenth century the FERN (second of the name) was 

The latest addition to the fleet is a magnificent vessel con- 
structed after the most modern type of passenger steamships. 
She is named the BOSE, was launched in June, 1902, is built of 
steel, and is 250 feet long, 36 feet 2 inches broad, and 15 feet 
deep. She is fitted with electric light in the saloon, staterooms 
and holds. Her saloon, which is a handsomely furnished and 
spacious apartment, is situated amidships forward of the engine 
room. The great breadth of the vessel makes her a remarkably 
steady sea boat, while her engines, which are triple-expansion 
and of great power, are capable of propelling her at the rate of 
15 J knots per hour. She is nearly 1,400 tons gross, and 
carries 140 saloon passengers, in addition to those in the 

In 1885 it was considered desirable to consolidate the several 
interests concerned, by forming this old-established business 
into a limited company, the title of the Company being The 
Glasgow, Dublin and Londonderry Steam Packet Co., Limited ; 
but it is much better known by the short name of the " Laird 
Line." Mr. William MacConnell, son of the late Mr. 
MacConnell, of the firm of Thomson & MacConnell, is the 
Managing Director. 

The company's steamship services are not confined to those 
to and from Glasgow, although we have shown that they have 
a very large share of the Clyde traffic, maintaining regular 
and frequent sailings between Glasgow and Greenock and 
Dublin, Londonderry, Coleraine, Sligo, Ballina and Westport ; 
also during the tourist season a daily daylight service between 
Ardrossan and Portrush. 

In connection with the Midland Railway Company of 
England a service of powerful steamers is maintained between 
Morecambe and Dublin, the steamers sailing from the respec- 
tive ports on alternate days, and making the passage in about 
10 hours. 

Early next year, it is proposed to transfer the service from 



Morecambe to Heysham, and to maintain daily sailings to and 
from the latter port and Dublin. 

The " Laird " steamers also sail in connection with the same 
railway company from Morecambe to Londonderry every 
Tuesday and Saturday, returning from Londonderry every 
Monday and Thursday. 

From Fleetwood, in connection with the Lancashire and 
Yorkshire, and London and North- Western Railway Com- 
panies, a weekly service had been maintained for many years 
by the company's steamers between Fleetwood and London- 
derry, but in September, 1903, Messrs. Laird & Co. retired 
from this service. 

From Liverpool also, steam communication is maintained 
with Larne, Coleraine and Westport. The fixed sailings are 
once a week from each port, but extra steamers are 
despatched according to the requirements of the trade. 

The company's fleet at the present date (1903) consists of 12 
first-class powerful steamships, having an aggregate gross 
tonnage of 9,164 tons, and named as follows : 

Gross Tonnage. Gross Tonnage. Gross Tonnage. 

AZALEA 748 ELM 521 OLIVE 1141 

BBIER 728 FERN 503 EOSE 1363 


DAISY 5G5 LILY... . 668 THISTLE 822 




PRIOR to the year 1839 all the steampackets plying between 
Liverpool and Glasgow were built of wood, and these wooden 
steamers had established for themselves a reputation for 
speed and luxurious travelling not surpassed nearly three- 
quarters of a century later. It was, therefore, a bold thing 
to do on the part of the proprietors of the Glasgow and Liver- 
pool Royal Steampacket Company to enter into competition 
with these famous and tried vessels, and to introduce into the 
trade steamers constructed not of wood but of iron. The 
pioneer steamer of this company, the ROYAL SOVERKH..N, 
sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool on Monday, 18th 
March, 1839. The company despatched their steamer twice 
a week from each port, and continued to do so until the end 
of August of the same year, when the second steamer, the 
ROYAL GEORGE, was placed on the station, and the sailings 
were increased to four times per week each way. The estab- 
lished lines were naturally indisposed to share the trade with 
an outsider, and to discourage the new enterprise they 
reduced the rates of freight on fine goods to Id. per foot, and 
on steerage passengers to Is. each. The Royal Steampacket 
Company maintained, in spite of this endeavour to drive 
them out of the trade, their advertised sailings, and grew in 
popularity with the travelling public. They decided in 1841 
to increase their fleet by the addition of a third steamer, and 
it being evident that they had come to stay, their com- 
petitors, Messrs. Maclver and Messrs. Burns, entered into a 




friendly and honourable alliance with them, and uniform 
rates were adopted by the three lines to Glasgow. 

A tradition exists in the Royal Company thai whe:i their 
third steamer was on the stocks the first birth in her laic- 
Majesty's family was anticipated, and the proprietors proposed 
to call their new steamer the PRINCE OF WALES. The event, 
however, proved the name to be inappropriate, and I'KI.M i->x 
ROYAL was substituted, a name which has been perpetuated 
by different steamships to the present day. The following 
paragraph respecting this steamer, which appeared in the 
"Glasgow Chronicle" of the 1st June, 1842, will be read 
with interest: "The PRINCESS ROYAL. We feel much 
indebted to the agent (Mr. M. Langlands) of this splendid 
steamer for putting us in possession of the ' Morning 
Chronicle ' of yesterday morning three hours before the 
arrival of the * London Mail ' containing the details of the 
attempted assassination of Her Majesty. Copies of the 
' Chronicle,' ' Times,' and other London journals were, the 
moment the train arrived from Greeiiock, forwarded to the 
different public reading rooms in town, and altogether the 
public are much indebted to the proprietors and agents of 
the vessel at Liverpool and Glasgow for their public spirit 
and enterprise. The passage from Liverpool to Greenock 
was made in the* astonishing space of 1GJ hours." 

The PRINCESS ROYAL referred to was built by the eminent 
firm of Tod and M'Gregor, who in 1849 projected a line of 
steamers to run between Glasgow and New York. Accord- 
ingly they built and equipped the barque-rigged screw 
steamer CITY OF GLASGOW, and appointed Mr. M. Langlands 
agent. She was a vessel of 1,087 tons register, with engines 
of 350 horse-power, and was manned by about 70 of a crew. 
In the Art Palace at Kelvingrove, Glasgow, there is a water- 
colour drawing (No. 2,018, by S. Bough) representing the 
departure of this the first steamship for New York from 
Glasgow harbour, in April, 1850. After making several very 
successful voyages, Tod and M'Gregor sold her to Richardson 
Bros., of Belfast, who ran her in the Liverpool and 
Philadelphia trade, and this vessel and the steamship CITY OF 




MANCHESTER were the nucleus of what became afterwards the 
well-known Inman line. 

In view of the high reputation the PRINCESS ROYAL had 
earned, it is not surprising that she was selected for experi- 
mental purposes by a Committee of the House of Common- 
(appointed in 1842) for the purpose of inquiring into the con- 
veyance of the mails between England and Ireland. From 
the " Liverpool Mercury " of that date we learn that " The 
fine new iron steamboat called PRINCESS UOYAL, at present 
on the station between this port and Glasgow, started from 
Clarence Dock 011 Sunday morning last (19th June) for 
Dublin. She arrived there in 9 hours 5 minutes, beating 
H.M. mail steampacket MEDUSA by 1 hour 45 minutes. On 
Monday morning she left Dublin for llolyhead, and arrived 
there in 4 hours 45 minutes, returning to Dublin the sun it- 
day in 4 hours 28 minutes. In the evening she started for 
Liverpool, which she reached in 9 hours 35 minutes. The 
vessel had a head wind nearly all the way." 

The PRINCESS had now established beyond dispute her 
claim to be one of the fastest Channel steamers leaving the 
port. The ensuing winter she proved herself to be also one 
of the best sea-boats. The terrible gale of January 20th to 
22nd, 1843, was one of the most severe that ever visited these 
coasts. The MONA'S ISLE, from Liverpool to Douglas, was 24 
hours on the passage. At Cork the posts on the quays were 
carried away. The PRINCESS was at sea during this storm, 
and fully proved her excellent qualities as a sea-boat. She 
left Greenock at 11-30 p.m. on Friday, and arrived at Liver- 
pool at 5 p.m. on Saturday without the slightest damage. 
This celebrated steamer was replaced in 1850 by a second 
PRINCESS EOYAL, also a paddle steamer. After running in 
the Liverpool and Glasgow service for about four years, 
PRINCESS No. 2 was sold to the General Steam Navigati 
Company, of London. 

The third PRINCESS ROYAL, built in 1861, was a screw 
steamer, the first screw owned by the Glasgow and Liverpool 
Royal Steampacket Company. In 1861, civil war broke out 
in the United States. The Federals (Northerners) established 


a strict blockade of all the Southern ports 011 the Atlantic 
seaboard. A cotton famine ensued, and fast steamers were 
in great demand for blockade running. Amongst other 
Liverpool steamers purchased for this purpose was the new 
PRINCESS. She was sold in 1862, and her new owners 
changed her name. We are informed that she was captured 
on her first trip as a Confederate blockade runner, and con- 
verted by her captors into a Federal cruiser. Her immediate 
successor, the fourth PRINCESS ROYAL, after running for a 
number of years between Liverpool and Glasgow, was sold to 
a firm to trade in the West Indies. For the present the 
Eoyal Steampacket Company is without a PRINCESS ROYAL, 
the fifth steamer of that name having been sold in 1901 to 
foreign buyers. The service is meantime maintained by the 
PRINCESS LOUISE, or other steamer of the fleet. 

About the year 1870, the Royal Company opened up a new 
steamship service from Liverpool to the West Highlands, 
North of Scotland, and east coast ports. Owing, in large 
measure, to the natural attractions of the route, and the 
excellence of the accommodation and cuisine provided on the 
steamers, this is every year becoming a more popular and 
favourite trip. The first steamer employed on the West 
Highland and east coast route was a small cargo steamer, but 
in a very short time it was found necessary to place the 
PRINCESS ALICE, a much larger steamer, carrying passengers 
as well as cargo, on the route. The earlier vessels 011 this 
service were steamers of 300 to 400 tons, with limited accom- 
modation for about 20 passengers, but now the steamers 
employed have accommodation for 100 to 140 saloon passengers, 
and an average cargo-carrying capacity of nearly 1,000 tons each. 
Some idea may be gained of the growth of the passenger and 
cargo traffic, by comparing the earlier vessels with the new 
PRINCESS MAUD, built in 1901. This steamer is of steel, and 
her dimensions are: Length, 256 feet 6 inches; breadth, 
36 feet 6 inches; depth, 17 feet 1| inches. Gross tonnage, 
1,450 tons. The vessel is handsomely fitted up for 
passengers, the large dining saloon being furnished in solid 
oak, artistically carved. One hundred first-class passengers 


can dine at one sitting, and there is sleeping accommodation 
in deck rooms and state cabins for 140 passengers. The 
steamer is fitted throughout with electric light, patent berth-, 
sea- water baths, ample lavatories, and every modern con- 
venience that can contribute to the comfort of passengers. 
The PRINCESS MAUD was placed on the service early in 1!)0!>, 
and will no doubt enhance the reputation in which this Min- 
is held by tourists. In addition to the bi-weekly service 
between Liverpool and Aberdeen, Leith, and Dundee, the 
Eoyal Steampacket Company run a regular service of 
steamers between Aberdeen, Newcastle, Hull, and other east 
coast ports, and Bristol, Cardiff, and Swansea, calling also at 
Southampton and Plymouth. During the summer months 
this service embraces a fortnightly trip round the United 
Kingdom with one of the larger passenger steamers, and this 
has now become a favourite cruise for summer holiday 
seekers, occupying as it does about twelve days. 

When the Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894, the 
lloyal Company began at once to despatch their steamers 
from Manchester to Glasgow, as well as to the west, north, 
and east coasts of Scotland. In addition to having the 
management of the various services mentioned, Messrs. 
Laiiglaiids have, for a great many years, been the agents of 
Messrs. Alex. A. Laird and Co. as regards the steamers 
trading between Liverpool, Larne, and Westport. 

The agency of the company's steamers at Glasgow, Liver- 
pool, Manchester, Leith, Dundee and Hull, is in the hands of 
Messrs. M. Langlands and Sons, who have been closely identi- 
fied with the development of the company's business, and are 
largely interested in its success. 



TOWARDS the end of July, 1819, Messrs. James Little & Co., 
who had commenced business seven years previously, des- 
patched from Greeiiock, on her maiden voyage to Liverpool, 
the first passenger steamer that ever sailed from the Clyde to 
the Mersey. Her name was the EGBERT BRUCE, and she 
was described in her advertisements as baing " an elegant new 
Steam Packet, having most excellent accommodation for 
passengers." As a matter of fact, she was a small wooden 
paddle steamer, 98 feet long, or about twelve feet longer than 
the Cluthas that ply up and down Glasgow Harbour, but with 
twice their beam. She called at Portpatrick and Douglas 
(I. of M.) 011 her voyages to and from the Clyde, and occupied 
about thirty hours 011 the run from Greeiiock to Liverpool. 
The following letter from the Captain (Patterson) to Messrs. 
Little, written on the 1st September, 1819, indicates how 
different are the conditions under which passengers travel by 
steamers at the present date and those which existed in the 
early stages of steam navigation. Captain Patterson dated his 
letter from Troon, and stated : 

" I have to inform you that we were taken with a heavy 
" gale of wind from the N.W. yesterday about two o'clock, just 
" as we had got outside the Cumbraes, with a heavy sea ; about 
" six o'clock the sea came more to the westward, and, from the 
" very heavy sea on our beam, we made so much lee- way that 
" we could not stand out-channel nor fetch Lamlash. I, there- 
" fore, thought it best to bear up for this port, and got in safe 
" last night with the loss of our bowsprit, but 110 other damage. 
" Our engines worked very well, only the wheels had little 


" effect owing to the heavy sea. It has continued to blow a 
"gale all night, and still looks very bad. The ship NKIM -. S 
"got here an hour before us, dismasted. I will gp< another 
"bowsprit as soon as possible, and will proceed when it 
" moderates. The passengers were all sick, but are now well. 

" I am, &c., 


" P.S. The ROBERT BRUCE behaved under her sails, 
" double reefed, as well as any ship I was ever in." 

The rates of passage money were: Cabin, 40s.; steerage, 
21s. A second steamer, the SUPERB, was placed on the 
station during the same season, and in 1820 a larger steamer, 
the MAJESTIC, was added to the service. 

An interesting and valuable painting of the latter steamer 
in 1820 is in the possession of Messrs. Little & Co., at their 
office, 46, Leadeiihall Street, London. 

A curious intimation appears in the Glasgow papers of the 
19th July, 1822, with reference to the same vessel. It appears 
that 011 a recent trip the Duke of Athol and suite had 
embarked on board the MAJESTIC at Greenock, for convey- 
ance to Douglas (I. of M.), where his Grace had a seat (Mona 
Castle). As well as being accompanied by the members of his 
suite, His Grace had with him several carriages and a quantity 
of luggage, all of which took some time to land. Some of the 
Liverpool passengers complained of the detention of the steam- 
packet for this purpose, and, 011 the complaint being submitted 
to the managers of the steamer, they not only expressed their 
regret for die delay, but they also donated the amount of 
freight they received from the Duke of Athol to the fund for 
the relief of the starving Irish. 

A fourth steamer, the CITY OF GLASGOW, was added to 
the fleet 011 the 21st June, 1822. The ROBERT ]*iu i i 
having become too small for the Greenock and Liverpool 
service was transferred to the Liverpool and Douglas station, 
and the three larger steamers were appointed to carry II.M. 
mails to and from Greenock and Liverpool. The wrelehed 
condition of the destitute poor in Ireland was not the only 


charity that appealed to the managers of these steamers. 
Finding that the Committee of the Greeiiock Hospital and 
Infirmary were in urgent need of funds, they placed the 
R.M.S. CITY OF GLASGOW at the Committee's disposal for 
one day, for the benefit of the Institution named. The Com- 
mittee of Management of the Hospital accordingly arranged a 
cruise per that steamer around Ailsa Craig, on Saturday, 19th 
July, 1823, tickets for which were 7s. 6d. each. The CITY 
OF GLASGOW continued to trade between Greenock and 
Liverpool until 1831, when she was purchased by the late 
David Maclver, who was then forming the City of Glasgow 
Steam Packet Co. Although Messrs. Little's connection with 
Belfast is not of such long standing as with Liverpool, yet it 
is approaching three-quarters of a century. In January, 
1828, the new steamer FROLIC began to trade between 
Glasgow, Greenock and Belfast. She differed from the 
steamers of the Liverpool route in carrying cargo as well as 
passengers. The previous year, Messrs. Little had obtained 
the agency in Greenock of the Glasgow and Dublin Shipping 
Company. The pioneer steamer of this line was the ERIN, 
which sailed from the Clyde on her first voyage in March, 
L827. A second steamer, the SCOTIA, a vessel of 300 tons 
burden, was added to the service in January, 1828. The 
steamer WATER WITCH, built for this trade by Messrs. 
James Little & Co., and contracted for with Messrs. Denny & 
Co., of Dumbarton, was the first screw steamer built on the 

In addition to their several channel steamers, Messrs. 
Little owned, in 1850, the steamers DUNOON and HELENS- 
HFRGH. These two steamers plied with passengers between 
Greenock and coast towns, connecting with the Glasgow and 
Greenock Eailway (now the Caledonian Railway), and they 
were the first steamers on the Clyde to run in connection with 
a Railway Company. 

In 1872 this firm purchased from the owners of the Anchor 
Line steamers the steamer DOM PEDRO, a screw steamer 
engaged in the Glasgow and Peninsular service. The DOM 
PEDRO was the first screw steamer with compound engines, 


built by the famous Clyde shipbuilding firm, Randolph and 
Elder, now known as the Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. Subse- 
quently, Messrs. James Little & Co. owned a fleet of steamers 
bearing Greek classical names, e.g., APOLLO, ACHILLES, 
&c., and to be in accordance with these the name of the DOM 
PEDRO was changed to the ARIADNE in the year 1875. She 
has now for a number of years been running on the Barrow 
and Liverpool station. In the year 1866, Messrs. Little ran 
the paddle steamer HERALD between Glasgow and Campbel- 
town. The HERALD proved herself when on the Campbel- 
town route to be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, steamer 
on the Clyde. She was withdrawn the following summer 
(1867) from the Glasgow and Campbeltown station, to opon 
the Barrow and Isle of Man trade. The latter traffic is now 
maintained during the summer months by the magnificent 
OF BUCCLEUCH. The MANX QUEEN is a large steel paddle 
steamer, with a gross register tonnage of about 1,000 
tons, built and engined 011 the Clyde by Messrs. J. and G. 
Thompson. Her principal dimensions are length, 278 feet 
9 inches; beam, 29 feet 7 inches; depth, 14 feet, and her 
speed is about 16 knots per hour. 

The DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE is a steel twin-screw steamer, 
built and engined in 1897 by the Naval Construction 
and Armaments Co., Barrow. Her gross register tonnage is 
1,265 tons; her length is 300 feet; beam, 35 feet 1 inch; and 
depth, 15 feet 7 inches. Her engines are capable of driving 
her considerably over 18 knots per hour, and she is, therefore, 
one of the fastest steamers in the cross-channel trade. 

The DUCHESS OF BUCCLEUCH is a steel paddle steamer, 
with a gross register tonnage of 804 tons, built and 
engined in 1888 by the Fairneld Shipbuilding and Engineer- 
ing Co., Ltd., Glasgow. Her length is 256 feet 1 inch ; beam, 
29 feet 1 inch ; and depth 14 feet, and her speed is about 18 
knots per hour. 

The route via Barrow to Douglas gives the shortest sea 
passage from England to the Isle of Man, the average passage 
about three hours. In consequence of this, and of the 


first-class accommodation provided in these splendid steamers, 
the Barrow route is a favourite one to the Island, and each 
year sees an increase in the number of passengers carried. 

Messrs. James Little & Co., in conjunction with the Midland 
and Furness Railways, established, in 1867, a service of 
mail, passengers and cargo steamers between Barrow and 

For the conduct of the business connected with this service, 
Messrs. Little opened a branch office in Belfast, and, as they 
had also started the Barrow to Douglas trade that same year, 
they opened an office in Barrow. The first steamers employed 
on the Barrow and Belfast station were the paddle-steamers 
ROE, TALBOT, and SHELBURNE. In 1870 a larger and faster 
paddle-steamer, the ANTRIM, was added to the fleet. 

The service is now maintained by the cwift and powerful 
Royal Mail Steamships CITY OF BELFAST, DUCHESS OF 
DEVONSHIRE has already been briefly described. Her sister 
vessel in the service, the CITY OF BELFAST, is slightly smaller. 
Her gross register tonnage is 1,055 tons. 

These powerful steamers leave Belfast every evening at 8-30, 
Irish time, and arrive in Barrow about 6 o'clock on the 
following morning, in time to connect with the early morning 
Midland trains to all parts of England and Scotland. The 
steamers leave Barrow daily (Sundays excepted) on arrival of 
the through trains from London, Bristol, Leeds, &c., that is 
about 8-30 p.m., and arrive in Belfast about 5-30 the following 
morning (Irish time). 

In 1873 Messrs. Little opened a branch office in Glasgow, 
and in 1883 one in Liverpool. In addition to the mail and 
other steamship services on the West Coast of Britain, Messrs. 
James Little & Co. have a regular service of steamers from 
London to Terneuzen, in Holland, and for the efficient working 
of this service they, in conjunction with Mr. J. W. Johnston, 
opened an office in London in 1886, the name and address of 
the London firm being Little & Johnston, 46, Leadenhall 
Street, \vho also have a sub-office in Terneuzen. 

They have also several ocean steamers, not built for any 


special trade, but of large carrying capacity, under the 
management of their Glasgow house. 

The fleet of this firm at the present date (190*i) consists of 
fourteen full-powered steamships, having a gross registered 
tonnage of 25,279 tons, and named as follows : 

ANN WEBSTER 792 tons 

ARIADNE 292 , 




DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE ... ... ... 1265 , 


HALLING ... 777 














IN the early part of last century Messrs. Thomson and 
MacConnell, of Glasgow, held a large financial interest in 
several of the steampackets then plying on the River and Firth 
of Clyde. One of the earliest of these steamers in which they 
were interested was the BRITANNIA, built about two years after 
Bell's COMET. The citizens of Glasgow were quick to avail 
themselves of the advantages of steam navigation : thus, while 
in 1812 the limit of steam navigation was Dunoon, in 1815 it 
was extended to Inverary, and in 1822 Fortwilliam, Tobermory 
and Skye were included in the ports of call of the steampacket 

Passengers were also carried by the same steamer to the 
Island of Staifa, the fare for the return passage being 3 3s. 

Steam communication between Glasgow and Inverness via 
the Crinan and Caledonian Canals was established in the 
spring of 1824, the pioneer vessel being a small steamer named 

About 1830 Messrs. J. Martin and J. & G. Burns advertised 
sail regularly between the Clyde and Inverness, Skye and 
Stornoway. The HELEN MCGREGOR was described as having 
" a splendid cabin, panelled with landscapes descriptive of the 
scenery through which she passes." She had upwards <>l '!<) 
sleeping berths for cabin passengers, and an excellent steerage. 

In 1841 the SHANDON, described as " an elegant vessel," was 
placed, by the same firm, on the route now taken by the 
R.M.S. COLTJMBA. Her passengers were carried through tin* 
Orinan Canal on track boats drawn by horses ridden by 
postillions in brilliant scarlet uniforms, and- at Crinan were 


transferred to the steampacket BRENDA, which conveyed them 
to Oban. The latter steamer belonged to Messrs. Thomson and 
MacConnell, as did also the TOWARD CASTLE, MORVEN and 
STAFFA, and later (1846) the EDINBURGH CASTLE and MAID OF 
ISLAY. The two firms had been engaged in friendly competi- 
tion both on the Glasgow and Liverpool trade and the Glasgow 
and West Highland service from the year 1831, but in 1841 
an arrangement was arrived at, by which the West Highland 
traffic was managed conjointly. 

Her late Majesty Queen Victoria visited the Highlands in 
1847, and in " Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the 
Highlands," Her Majesty wrote: 

" The light on the hills was beautiful as we steamed 

" down Loch Fyne. At five we reached Lochgilp, and all 

" landed at Lochgilphead (Ardrishaig). We and our 

" people drove through the village to the Crinaii Canal, 

" where we entered a most magnificently decorated barge, 

" drawn by three horses ridden by postillions in scarlet. 

" We glided along very smoothly, and the views of the 

" hills the rangie of Cruachan were very fine indeed." 

To meet the requirements of an ever-increasing traffic, the 

elegant saloon steamer LINNET was built, which is capable of 

comfortably accommodating double the number of passengers 

that the old track boat could. 

The Messrs. Burns, who prior to that date had controlled a 
large portion of the River Clyde and West Highland traffic, in 
1851 decided to confine their energies to " deep sea " steamers, 
and accordingly sold off their smaller craft, and Messrs. 
Thomson and MacConnell parted with their steamers of the 
same type. These vessels were acquired, and the West High- 
land trade taken over, by Messrs. David Hutcheson & Co. (the 
company including Mr. David MacBrayne, the head of the 
present firm), whose address at that date was 14, Jamaica 
Street, Glasgow. 

Messrs. Hutcheson had, previous to the purchase of the 
steamers referred to, five steampackets named CYGNET, 
1851 they controlled a fleet of about a dozen steamers. These 


steamers maintained a bi-weekly service (in addition to other 
sailings) between Glasgow and Inverness, sailing from Glasgow 
every Monday and Thursday, a service which has been main- 
tained uninterruptedly for upwards of half a century. 'I' IK- 
CYGNET and LAPWING were built with their paddle boxes flush 
with their hulls, to enable them to pass through the Crinan Canal. 
Two new steamers, the CHEVALIER and MOUNTAINEER, were 
added to the fleet in 1854. The following year (1855) the 
CLANSMAN was built for the firm. The same year the IONA (the 
first of the name) was built, and maintained her reputation as 
a " crack " Clyde steamer until 186-J, when she was purchased 
by an agent of the Confederate States, to run the blockade 
during) the American War. She, however, never crossed the 
Atlantic, being sunk, as the result of a collision, before she got 
clear of the upper firth. 

She was promptly replaced by IONA (second of the name), 
launched the same year, which, after running for one season 
only, was also sold to run the blockade, but is supposed to have 
been lost with all hands off Lundy Island. The second IONA 
differed from her predecessors in having a saloon on deck. 

Prior to her starting on her Atlantic voyage, this saloon was 
removed and placed on IONA the third. This steamer for many 
years bore the reputation of being the swiftest, as well as the 
most luxuriously appointed, steamer on the Firth of Clyde. 
The engines, which work with almost incredible smoothness, 
are of 1,625 horse-power, and are capable of propelling her at 
the rate of 18 knots per hour. 

In connection with this vessel, the writer remembers a very 
amusing incident. Many years ago he was travelling by 
steamer from Liverpool to Glasgow, and in conversation a 
fellow-passenger stated that he had in the early part of the same 
summer sailed in the famous IONA from Glasgow to Anlrishaig. 

" What do you think of the Kyles of Bute?" I asked. 

" The Kyles of Bute," he replied; "I never saw them." 

The subject was dropped, until a little later he again spoke 
of his trip to Ardrishaig. 

" And what do you think of the Kyles of Bute? " I again 



" The Kyles of Bute ; you asked me that before. I never 
saw them." 

" But you say you sailed to Ardrishaig in the IONA?" 

" Yes." 

" Then you must have seen the Kyles you could not 
possibly have gone to Ardrishaig without seeing them." 

He seemed astonished, but after a moment's thought a bright 
idea struck him, and he exclaimed 

" Ah ! yes, I remember now, I saw a red board with gilt 
letters ' Kyles of Bute ' on it ; but I didn't go ashore I never 
saw them." 

Fortunately all men are not so unobservant ; and so we find 
tourists from Great Britain and Ireland ; from Canada and the 
United States ; from South Africa and 'the Antipodes, 
journeying to ""enjoy not alone the beauties of the Kyles of 
Bute, but also the grand and beautiful scenery of the Western 
Highlands, now so easy of access by the splendid steamers of 
the MacBrayne fleet. 

In 1862 was built the first of the trio of handsome screw 
steamers which sail regularly round the Mull of Cantyre to 
Stornoway and the far North. She is named the CLYDESDALE. 
A larger steamer, the CLANSMAN (second of the name), was 
built in 1870, and one still larger, the CLAYMORE, in 1881. 

Mr. David Hutcheson retired in 1876, leaving his partner, 
Mr. David MacBrayne, sole control of the business, which has 
since grown steadily, necessitating from time to time the 
addition of new steamers. 

In 1878 the Royal Mail steamer COLUMBA was built by 
Messrs. J. & G. Thomson (now John Brown & Co.), of Clyde- 
bank, who were also the builders of the IONA. She is the 
largest passenger steamer on the Firth of Clyde, and few, if 
any, cross-channel steamers exceed her in length. According 
to the official description of her, she is 316 feet in length, 
50 feet in breadth (inclusive of paddle boxes), and 9 feet in 
depth. She is built entirely of steel, and is fitted with two 
oscillating engines of 220 nominal horse-power, but capable of 
working up to 3,000 indicated horse-power. 

Two years previously the K.M.S. COLUMBA was refitted 


by Messrs. Hutson & Sons, Limited, with two large tubulotll 
boilers of the haystack type, made entirely of steel, and with 
twelve furnaces. When working at full pressure, sho attains 
a speed of 22 miles per hour, and she is certified to carry over 
2,000 passengers. The COLUMBA is steered by a steam 
steering engine, has the novelty of a set of steam bits at bow 
and stern by which the vessel is warped into piers, and has all 
the modern improvements introduced on board. 

The upper saloon is very luxuriously fitted up, and in the 
interior are reading table, writing desk and lounges. The 
large square windows are carried round the sides and stern, 
affording a fine view of the scenery through which the steamer 

The breakfast and dining saloon, which is 8 feet high and 
well ventilated, has a series of separate circular tables, and 
meals are served at any time. The dining saloon (forward) for 
steerage or fore-cabin passengers is light and airy. 

The ladies' and gentlemen's cabins are elegantly fitted up 
with the usual hand-basins and other conveniences. 

There is a shampooing and hairdressing establishment, with 
a supply of every toilet requisite ; a splendid bathroom, afford- 
ing passengers who have travelled during the night the luxury 
of a salt-water bath, and a cloak room where they can leave 
hand-bags and other small articles. There are in addition a 
book stall and a fruit stall for cabin passengers, and for steerage 
passengers, a ladies' cabin forward and several stalls (fruit 
stalls, &c.) are provided. 

The only floating post office in the kingdom is to be i 
on board the COLUMBA, and in it is transacted a lareer amount 
of business than is transacted in many a provincial town, 
it letters, telegrams and parcels are received, stamped, sorte 
and distributed at every calling place, for transmission to all 
parts, and it is of immense convenience to tourists and the 
inhabitants along the route. Upwards of 100,000 letters pass 
through this office in a month, of which a large proportion are 
local letters passing between the coast towns and villages at 
which the steamer calls. Over 450 telegrams were handed m, 
and upward of 70 received for postage and telegraph stamps 




in one month. The most sanguine expectations of the Post 
Office Department being more than realised, has induced the 
Postmaster-General to add to the staff. Three post office 
officials travel with the COLUMBA. Postal orders can he pur- 
chased, and those issued at other offices in the kingdom ca-hrd 
on board this steamer. 

In 1902 Mr. David MacBrayne assumed as partners his two 
sons, Mr. David Hope, and Mr. Laurence MacHrayuc, the 
name of the firm remaining unchanged. 

Messrs. MacBrayne's steamers navigate eveiy sound and loch 
between Port Ellen in the Island of Islay, off the South-west 
coast of Scotland, and Thurso in the extreme North, and visit 
almost every island between those two points. 

The new steamer LAPWING, built in the early part of the 
year 1903, proved very successful, and the firm have in course 
of construction another fine steamer, which is expected to be 
ready for the service early next year (1904). The fleet at 
present consists of thirty-one screw and paddle steamships, 
named as follows : 

Horse Speed. Horse Speed. 

Power. Knots. 1'ower. Knots. 

... 1450 15 

... 1-250 14 

... 1000 13 

... 1200 1-2 

... 1200 18 

... 1400 15 

850 1'2 

... 250 11 

... 875 11 

... 325 11 

... 410 1'2 

45 H) 

85 10 

... -250 .10 

95 8 

500 12 


... 3000 




... 1625 




... 900 




... 1050 




... 1200 




... GOO 


STAFF A ... 


... 400 


HAN DA ... 


... 500 


ETHEL ... 


... 1500 




... 350 




... 700 

12 . 



... 500 


MABEL . . . 


... 1200 


TEXA ... 






... 420 





THE firm of Messrs. David Maclver & Co. was originally 
founded by the late Mr. David Maclver and his brother Charles, 
in 1835. Mr. David Maclver had some four years prior to 
this date formed a steamship company to trade between Liver- 
pool and Glasgow, which he called the City of Glasgow Steam- 
packet Co. The pioneer steamer was named the CITY OF 
GLASGOW, and sailed on her first voyage from Liverpool on 
the 25th April, 1831. Three other steamers were quickly added 
to the fleet, viz., the SOLWAY, VULCAN and JOHN WOOD, 
the latter steamer being named after a celebrated shipbuilder 
of Port Glasgow. In 1835 the CITY OF GLASGOW (second) 
was added to the fleet, and the same year Mr. Charles Maclver 
joined his brother, and the style of the' firm was altered to 
Messrs. David Maclver & Co., from that of the City of Glasgow 
Steampacket Co. On the 1st of June, 1837, the celebrated 
steamer COMMODORE was launched by Mr. John Wood, and 
made her first voyage, sailing from the Prince's Pierhead, 
Liverpool, on the 6th March, 1838. The COMMODORE was 
at that time considered to be the most powerful, most comfort- 
able, and fastest sea-going steamer afloat. The sister ship of 
this splendid steamer, the ADMIRAL, was launched in the 
beginning of the year 1840, and proved a faster vessel than her 
consort. On her trial trip on the 2nd April, 1840, with a full 
deadweight cargo, she ran 16 miles in 56^ minutes, being five 
minutes less time than it was ever done by any other steamer. 

In 1840 a Mail Steamship Service between Liverpool, 
Canada and the United States was established, the respective 
agents being Mr. Samuel Cunard, Halifax; Messrs. J. & G. 
Burns, Glasgow ; and Messrs. David and Charles Maclver, 
Liverpool, the latter being the practical managers of the 


company. This service, which afterwards acquired a world- 
wide reputation as the " Cunard Line," was modestly 
inaugurated by the despatch of the Liverpool and Glasgow 
steamer UNICORN (Captain Douglas), which sailed from 
Liverpool for Halifax and Boston on Saturday morning, Itttli 
May, 1840. After she completed her outward voyage, she 
continued to ply between Pictou and Quebec, in connection 
with the British and North American Royal Mail Steamers. 

In 1850 was instituted the steamship service between 
Liverpool and Havre, the pioneer steamer being the COMMO- 
DORE, the well-known and favourite Liverpool and Glasgow 
steampacket. The coasting services were then carried on in 
the name of Charles Maclver & Co. About the same date, 
steamship services to the Mediterranean were begun. The 
Havre and the Mediterranean business was conducted in the 
name of Burns and Maclver. 

The elder of the two brothers (the founders of the " Maclver " 
steamship business), Mr. David Maclver, died unmarried in 
1845. His brother, the late Mr. Charles Maclver, of Calder- 
stones, then became the head of the firm, which position he held 
until his decease in 1885. In 1863 Mr. Charles Maclver 
admitted his eldest son, Mr. David Maclver, the present M.P. 
for the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool, into partnership. Mr. 
David Maclver remained a partner in the firms of D. & C. 
Maclver, Charles Maclver & Co. and Burns & Maclver for 
eleven years, when he retired from all three firms, and 
established an entirely separate steamship business, resusci- 
tating the old title of David Maclver & Co. The first steamer 
built under the new regime was the TUSCANY. She was 
built in 18T6 by Messrs. J. & G. Thomson, Glasgow, and 
engined by the same eminent firm. After running in Messrs. 
David Maclver & Co.'s service for a number of years, she was 
purchased by Portuguese owners, and she is believed to have 
again changed owners and to be now sailing under the Spanish 
flag as the MARGARITA. 

The SICILY, the second steamer of the fleet, was built and 
engined by Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead, in 1876, and was sold to 
the Cullum Steam Shipping Co., of London. 


The following year (1877) the THESSALY and BARBARY 
were built for the firm by the builders of the SICILY. The 
latter steamer was sold, first to Messrs. Booth & Co., who 
changed her name to the CLEMENT, and subsequently to the 
Cia de Cabotagem do Grao Para, by whom she was named the 
MARAJO, and placed under the Brazilian flag. 

After an interval of five years, the ALBANY was contracted 
for, also with the Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead. Mr. David 
Maclver's connection with Birkenhead is one of very long 
standing, and he has always laboured to promote its welfare and 
prosperity. In recognition of his services, he was the elected 
representative of the Borough from 1874 to 1885. The 
ALBANY was considerably larger than any of her predecessors, 
her principal dimensions being Length 300 feet 7 inches, 
breadth 39 feet 2 inches, and depth 26 feet 4 inches ; with a 
deadweight capacity of about 3,500 tons. She was purchased 
by Messrs. T. W. Lunn & Co., of Newcastle-on-Tyne, by whom 
she was re-named the WILLOWDENE. 

A reference to the list of steamers built for Messrs. David 
Maclver & Co. will show the distinguishing characteristic of the 
names to be the terminal letter Y. An amusing incident 
occurred in this connection during the building of the steamer 
ALBANY. A firm of north country shipowners, whose 
steamers were named after British dukes (omitting the prefix 
" Duke of "), had selected " ALBANY " for a vessel then under 
construction, and they made the cool request to Messrs. David 
Maclver & Co. to change the name of their steamer. It is 
needless to say they were unable to comply with this request. 

For the first few years, the steamers named were not 
employed in any regular trade, though originally designed 
for the Mediterranean hence the names TUSCANY, SICILY, 
BARBARY, THESSALY, &c. but traded, as inducement offered, to 
the Mediterranean, the Danube, the Black Sea, and elsewhere. 
They have formed part of the Anchor Line to Bombay, and of 
the Hall Line to the same port ; and they have operated in the 
North Atlantic in the service of Messrs. Richardson, Spence 
and Co., between Liverpool and Philadelphia. 

In 1883 Messrs. David Maclver & Co. despatched their first 


steamer to the River Plate, and two years later they established 
a regular service between Liverpool and Buenos Ayres, Monte- 
video and Rosario. 

In 1893, Mr. Charles Livingston, who had been associated 
with Mr. Maclver for two years previously, became a partner in 
the firm. Mr. Livingston takes a very active part in the 
management of the steamers, and he has devoted himself with 
great energy and success to the development of the River Plate 
trade with Great Britain. The five steamers named having 
become too small for the requirements of the service in which 
they were engaged, were disposed of, as stated, to various buyers 
and replaced by modern steamers of greater capacity and higher 
speed. These later steamers have all been designed specially 
for the River Plate trade, and althougih large carriers, are of 
remarkably light draught, thus enabling them to ascend to 
Rosario, without putting consignees and shippers to the risk 
and expense of transhipping cargo. 

In 1894 contracts were placed with Sir Raylton Dixon & Co., 
Middlesbrough, for three steamers of exactly similar dimen- 
sions and engine power. The first of these was the SAXONY, 
launched December, 1894. She is a steel screw steamer of 
3,500 tons deadweight, and fitted with triple-expansion engines 
(constructed by Blair & Co., Ltd., Stockton) working up to 
about 1,500 horse-power effective. The following month 
(January, 1895) her sister ship, the NORMANDY, was delivered, 
and February of the same year witnessed the completion of the 
third vessel, the LOMBARDY. 

The steamer which succeeded these was 1,000 tons larger. 
She is named the BRITTANY, and was built in 1898 by 
Messrs. Richardson, Duck & Co., Stockton. She is a steel 
screw steamer, 330 feet long, by 43 feet beam and Hi feel 
6 inches depth, with a deadweight carrying capacity of 4.r>(MI 
tons. She is, like all her sister ships, propelled by triple- 
expansion engines constructed by Blair & Co., Ltd., Stockton. 

The opening of the 20th century was marked by a furtli.M- 
and an important advance in the carrying capacity of the firm's 
steamers. Contracts were placed with Messrs. Richardson, 
Duck & Co. for three steamers, two of which are each of about 


6,500 tons, and the third of about 5,500 tons deadweight. The 
first of the trio, the BARBARY (second of that name) was 
delivered in May, 1901, and the TARTARY in July following. 
Both these vessels are practically identical as regards size and 
power. They are each 370 feet long, with a beam of 48 feet 
1 inch, and a depth of 19 feet and a half. Their engines (triple- 
expansion) develop 3,000 horse-power. In November of the 
same year the BURGUNDY, a vessel of somewhat smaller dimen- 
sions, was completed. 

The fleet of Messrs. David Maclver & Co.'s line to the River 
Plate at present consists of seven full-powered steamers, but 
before the close of the present year an eighth steamer, the ARABY, 
now in course of construction, and of about the same dimensions 
as the BURGUNDY, will be placed on the service. Formerly the 
steamers were each registered as a single ship company, but 
in 1900 they were all incorporated in David Maclver, Sons 
and Co., Ltd. 

The Directors of the Limited Company are David Maclver, 
Esq., M.P., his son Charles Maclver, Esq., and Charles 
Livingston, Esq. The steamers of Messrs. David Maclver and 
Co.'s line are deservedly popular with shippers and consignees 
in the Eiver Plate trade, who are able to depend upon them for 
regularity of service and careful handling of their goods, and 
with underwriters for their freedom from serious accidents. 
All the steamers are comparatively new, and are fitted with the 
most modern and perfect appliances for the rapid and effective 
loading and discharging of general cargo. 

Special attention has been given by the Company to the 
transit of cattle to and from the River Plate, and each of the 
steamers is fitted with permanent fittings for the conveyance of 
live stock. The headquarters of Messrs. David Maclver and 
Co.'s line are, and have always been situated in Liverpool, from 
which port it maintains a regular fortnightly service to and 
from Buenos Ayres, Montevideo and Rosario, throughout the 




IN the autumn of 1826 the New Clyde Shipping Company 
advertised that their steampacket ENTERPRISE (Captain 
M'Farlane) would sail weekly between Liverpool and 
Glasgow. She was a very small steamer, being only 210 Ions 
burthen, and the owners announced that, in consequence of 
her light draft, she would proceed direct to Glasgow, and not 
transfer her passengers to river steamers at Greenock, as the 
larger steamers had to do. The first agents of the company 
were Messrs. M'Nair and Brebner, 33, Water Street, but in 
January, 1829, the agency was transferred to Mr. David 
Maclver, 18, Water Street. A few months later the Glasgow 
and Liverpool Shipping Company was formed, and in 1831 
that company acquired the Mersey and Clyde Steam Navi- 
gation Company's steampackets HENRY BELL, JAMES WATT, 
and WM. HUSKISSON, as well as the ENTERPRISE. The New 
Clyde Shipping Company having ceased operations, Mr. 
Maclver formed a new steamship line of his own, which he 
called the City of Glasgow Steampacket Company. The 
pioneer steamer was named the CITY OF GLASGOW and sailed 
on her first voyage from Liverpool on the 25th April, IS-il. 
Three other steamers were quickly added to the fleet, vis., 
the SOLWAY, VULCAN, and JOHN WOOD, the latter stcamr. 
being named after a celebrated shipbuilder at Port Glasgow. 
In 1835 the CITY OF GLASGOW (second) was put on the 
station, and the sailings were increased to three per wee* 
from each port. Mr. Charles Maclver joined his brother 
this year, and the style of the firm was changec 
D. Maclver & Co. 


In 1837 the celebrated steamship COMMODORE was built, 
followed in 1840 by her equally famous sister ship, ADMIRAL. 

All the steamers engaged in the Liverpool and Glasgow 
trade prior to 1839 were built of wood, but in that year a new 
steamship company entered into competition with the 
existing companies, and placed the ROYAL SOVEREIGN, an 
iron steamer, on the station. The immediate result was a 
heavy drop in passenger and freight rates. Steerage passen- 
gers were carried for Is. each, and boxes and bale goods for 
Id. per foot measurement. The following year (1840) a mail 
steamship service between Liverpool, Canada, and U.S.A. 
was established, the respective agents of the company being 
D. and C. Maclver, Liverpool; J. and G. Burns, Glasgow; and 
Samuel Cunard, Halifax. This service, which afterwards acquired 
a world-wide reputation as the " Cunard line," was modestly 
inaugurated by the despatch of the Liverpool and Glasgow 
steampacket UNICORN (Captain Douglas). This vessel (the 
real pioneer of the Cunard line) sailed from Liverpool for 
Halifax and Boston on Saturday morning, 16th May, 1840. 
After she completed her outward voyage, she continued to 
ply between Pictou and Quebec in connection between the 
British and N.A. Royal mail steamers. Although there were 
three perfectly distinct steamship companies trading between 
Liverpool and Glasgow, yet so friendly were the respective 
owners towards each other that in 1846 they issued a joint 
sailing bill, which included the whole of the sailings for 
all the companies. This arrangement continued unchanged 
for seven years (1853), at the end of which period the 
PRINCESS ROYAL was advertised separately. At this date 
the quickest, cheapest (although the fares were double what 
they now are), and most comfortable mode of travelling 
between Liverpool and Glasgow was by steamer. The 
steamers were large, swift, and luxuriously furnished, and so 
numerous were the passengers that the joint companies main- 
tained a daily service. From the year 1853 the two services, 
the Maclver and the Burns, were amalgamated, the joint line 
being represented in Liverpool by Chas. Maclver & Co., and 
in Glasgow by G. and J. Burns. In 1850 Messrs. Chas. 


Maclver & Co. instituted the steamship service between 
Liverpool and Havre, the pioneer steamer being the 
COMMODORE, the well-known Liverpool and Glasgow steam- 
packet. About the same date the steamship services to the 
Mediterranean were begun by Messrs. Maclver, under the style 
of Messrs. Burns and Maclver. Until the- year 1853 no dis- 
tinctive class of name had been adopted for the coasting steamers 
of the Maclver line, but in that year the ELK and STAG were 
built, followed by the LYNX and STORK. These were the last 
of the paddle-steamers built to run between Liverpool and 
Glasgow. In 1855 the owners decided to place screw- 
steamers 011 this station, and accordingly built the screw- 
steamers OTTER, BEAVER, and ZEBRA. The ZEBRA was a 
large and powerful vessel, and was amongst the earliest of 
the steamers taken up by Government for transport duty 
during the Crimean war. All the succeeding steamers have 
been of the same type, and have been named after animals 
or birds. The joint service remained in force for nearly half 
a century, until (in 1895) Messrs. G. and J. Burns opened an 
office in Liverpool, and placed the steamers MASTIFF, 
POINTER and SPANIEL on the station. The elder of the 
two brothers (the founders of the "Maclver" steamship 
business), Mr. David Maclver, died unmarried in 1845. His 
brother, the late Mr. Charles Maclver, of Calderstone, then 
became the head of the firm, which position he held until his 
death in 1885. The long connection of the " Maclvers " with 
the Cunard Company was terminated in 1883, and they 
retired from the management. Messrs. Charles and Henry 
Maclver (the younger sons of the late Mr. Charles Maclver) 
retain the old styles of I), and C. Maclver (for their foreign 
trades) and Chas. Maclver & Co. for the steamers trading 
between Liverpool and Glasgow. 



DURING the first half of the last century Messrs. Middleton 
and Pollexfen, of Sligo, owned a large fleet of sailing vessels. 
Some of these vessels were barques which traded to foreign 
ports, but others were swift, staunch schooners which traded 
regularly between Sligo and Liverpool, and Sligo and Bristol 
Channel and Glasgow. But the schooners laboured under one 
serious disadvantage- the uncertainty of the duration of the 
passage. With favourable weather it might be accomplished 
in. a few days, but with adverse gales or fogs it might occupy 
as many weeks. It is self-evident that, in competition with 
steamers, schooners have no chance of success, so in 1850 
Messrs. Middleton and Pollexfen decided to employ steam in 
their Sligo and Liverpool trade, and for this purpose built a 
small steamer, which they named the SLIGO. The following 
year (1857) they put the SLIGO on the Sligo and Glasgow 
station in opposition to Messrs. Cameron and Co. Five years 
later (1862) a company was formed with the title of the Sligo 
Steam Navigation Company, Limited, which took over the 
steamship business of Messrs. Middleton and Pollexfen, and 
which has continued to flourish, financially and otherwise. 
The company in 1865 built a larger steamer than the SLIGO, 
and named her LIVERPOOL. The opposition in the Sligo 
services began under the regime of Messrs. Middleton and 
Pollexfen, continued for some years after the formation of the 
Sligo Steam Navigation Company, but was finally settled 
amicably. Messrs. Alexander A. Laird and Co. (successors to 


Messrs. Cameron and Co.) retired from the Sligo and Liverpool 
trade, and the Sligo Company withdrew from the (ilasgow 
trade, purchasing the GARLAND, which they renamed the 
GLASGOW. Having disposed of the SLKJO, the company 
purchased a swift Clyde-built cargo and passenger steamer, 
to which they transferred the name. The LIVKRI-OOI. was sold 
in 1892 to Preston buyers, but has been for several years, and 
is now, employed by the Cunard Company to maintain their 
Liverpool and Havre service. The same year ilie largest 
steamer yet built by the company was placed on the Liverpool 
and Sligo station. The new vessel (the LIVERPOOL) was con- 
structed by Messrs. John Jones and Sons, of Liverpool, and 
was built to the specifications and under the supervision of 
Mr. II. II. West, the naval architect for the Sligo Steam 
Navigation Company. She is a smart-looking boat of the 
following dimensions: Length between perpendiculars, 200 
feet ; breadth, moulded, 29 feet ; and depth, 15 feet 3 * inches. 
Her gross register is 700 tons, and net 332 tons. The 
carriage of cattle being a very important feature of the trade, 
careful consideration has been given to the cattle fittings. 
Being a larger vessel than any of her predecessors, increased 
accommodation is also provided for saloon and deck 
passengers, as the trade is increasing in this direction verv 
considerably. The saloon and cabins are fitted up in a 
substantial and comfortable manner. The engines (triple 
expansion), also constructed by Messrs. Jones and Sons, are 
of 1,000 indicated h.p. On her trial trip the LIVI.IM-OOI. 
attained a speed of 13 knots, being a knot in excess of contract 
speed. The ship is lighted throughout by electricity. The 
loading berth for the company's steamers was, originally, in 
the Trafalgar Dock, but is now on the east side of the Clarence 
Basin, a berth they have occupied since about 18(>7. The 
company despatches the LIVERPOOL or Suc.o once a week 
between the two ports, sailing from Liverpool every Tuesday. 
and from Sligo every Saturday. In addition to this, its main 
service, the company has a Government contract, on which 
the steamer TARTAR is employed. This steamer sails twice a 
week in winter, and three times per week in summer, from 



Sligo to Belmullet, calling at Bosses Point, Ballycastle, and 
Belderrig, to land and embark passengers. It is a favourite 
tourist route in summer, affording a splendid view of the wild 
coast scenery of the West of Ireland. The distance run is 
about 70 miles, and the time occupied about six hours. The 
steamers of the Sligo Steam Navigation Company, sailing 
between Liverpool and Sligo, are exposed to all the force and 
fury of the Atlantic gales, as they steam along the north and 
north-west coasts of Ireland. It is, therefore, an eloquent 
testimonial to the strength of their construction, as well as to 
the ability with which they are managed, and navigated, that 
they sail with unfailing regularity in winter as in summer, 
and with a most gratifying freedom from accidents. 




EARLY in the year 1836 several Waterford merchants 
determined to run steamers between Waterford and Liverpool 
in opposition to the steamers owned by the Messrs. Pope, of 
the former port. Accordingly, on the llth January, 1837, 
there was launched from Mr. John Laird's yard, Birkenhead, 
the DUNCANNON, a small iron paddle-steamer of 200 tons 
burthen, to the order of the Waterford Commercial Steam 
Navigation Company, represented 111 Liverpool by Archer, 
Daly & Co., of 2, Cook Street. Three years later (1840) a 
second steamer, the WM. PENN, was added to the service. 
The new company was so successful in its venture that in a 
short time the Messrs. Pope either abandoned the trade, or 
were absorbed by their rivals, who thereupon appear to have 
adopted the title of the Waterford Steamship Companv. 
There had been for years keen rivalry between the St. George 
Steampacket Company and the City of Dublin Steampacket 
Company, and when the business of the former was trans- 
ferred to the Cork Steamship Company, the directors of the 
City of Dublin Company were by 110 mean^ favourably dis- 
posed to the new management. This unfriendly feeling was 
extended to the Waterford Steamship Company, because M r. 
Joseph Malcomsoii (chairman of the latter company) was 
offered, and accepted, a seat 011 the board of the Cork Steam- 
ship Company, and his firm (Messrs. Malcomson Brothers) 
invested largely in the Cork Company's shares. The following 
year the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway was opened from 
Waterford to Thomastown. The directors asked the Watci- 
ford Steamship Company to change their loading berth from 
the south side of the Eiver Suir to the north side, adjacent 
to the railway company's terminus. This the steamship 
company refused to do. In consequence of this refusal, the 
Waterford and Kilkenny Railway Company induced the City 
of Dublin Company to put on steamers between Waterford 
and Liverpool. But, as the City of Dublin Company had no 





steamers of their own available, they chartered stcum.-i > hum 
the British and Irish Steampacket Company, which they 
placed oil the Liverpool and Watert'ord station. Meant imc. 
the Waterford Steamship Company had not been idle. The 
late Liverpool agent of the company (Mr. George K. Paynr 
was detailed to organise an opposition to the railway company. 
with emphatic instructions not to permit a single passenger 
to be carried by the railway company betwen Waterford and 
Thomastowii, or vice versa. The distance was only twelve 
miles, and ail efficient car service was at once established 
between the two towns. Not only was the service an efficient 
one, but, rather than permit passengers to travel by the 
railway company, the drivers of the cars would take them for 
nothing. Of course, there were not wanting those who 
prophesied that the Waterford Company and the Me i- 
Malconison (who had acquired the whole of the steamship 
company's shares) would be ruined by the Opposition. 
Malconison Brothers, however, referred inquirers as to their 
stability to Messrs. Overend, Chirney & Co., then at the zenith 
of their power, whose reply was: " We guarantee Messrs. 
Malconison Brothers to the extent of two million pounds 

Equally fierce was the opposition in the cross-channel 
service. Passengers were frequently carried without charge 
between Liverpool and Waterford, as well as between Liver- 
pool and Dublin. A story is told of a passenger going into 
the Dublin Company's office in Waterford, and asking what 
the cabin fare was to Liverpool. He was told he would be 
taken for nothing, to which he replied, " Thai is not good 
enough; you must feed me as well." A similar tradition 
exists with regard to the Liverpool and Dublin service. 
namely, that when one of the rival companies advertised its 
willingness to carry passengers for nothing, and to give them 
a loaf of bread, the other company capped the oft'er by the 
addition of a bottle of Guinness' stout. Not content with 
carrying the war into the enemy's country by running horse- 
cars between Waterford and Thomastown, the Waterford 
Steamship Company placed their steamer LION on the Liver- 


pool and Dublin station, and chartered a steamer from the 
Cork Steamship Company to run in opposition to the British 
and Irish Company between Dublin and London. Thereupon, 
the British and Irish Company chartered a steamer from 
Langtry's Belfast Steamship Company to run between Liver- 
pool and Cork, and the Cork Company, as a counter move, 
placed their steamer MINERVA 011 the Liverpool and Belfast 
station. The opposition was maintained with unabated 
fierceness for about three years, at the end of which time the 
City of Dublin Company and the Waterford Company 
arrived at an amicable settlement, each company agreeing to 
cease opposing the other. The Belfast Steamship Companv 
and the British and Irish Company having now to bear the 
brunt of the opposition, without the support of the City of 
Dublin Company, deemed it wise to make the best terms they 
could with their opponents. Accordingly, the Belfast Com- 
pany divided the Liverpool and Belfast trade with the Cork 
Company, and the British and Irish Steampacket Company 
shared their London and Dublin trade with the Waterford 
Steamship Company. The Cork Company continued to run 
steamers between Liverpool and Belfast for several years, but 
were eventually bought off by the Belfast Steamship 
Company. The Waterford Company ran two steamers 
regularly between London and Dublin until the year 1870, 
when they also were bought off by the British and Irish 
Steampacket Company. Prior to the City of Dublin Com- 
pany's opposition, the Bristol Steam Navigation Company 
and the Waterford Steamship Company had maintained a 
joint service between Waterford and Bristol. The Bristol 
Company's boat left Waterford on Tuesday to catch the 
Bristol cattle market, and the Waterford Company's boat left 
Waterford on Friday. As a consequence of the low rates 
which were in force during the opposition, a great deal of 
traffic was diverted from the Bristol route to the Liverpool 
route, and the Bristol Company suspended their sailings to 
and from Waterford. The Waterford Company thereupon 
took up the Tuesday sailings to Bristol. When the Liverpool 
opposition ceased, the Bristol Company wished to resume 


their Tuesday sailings from Waterford. The Watortoni 
Company, however, refused to withdraw their Tuesday 
steamer, but agreed to let the Bristol Company have the 
Friday sailing. The close and friendly relationship which 
had formerly existed between these two companies becam.- 
somewhat strained, and ultimately ended in so wide a breach 
that the Waterford Company purchased the paddle steamer 
VICTORY from the Cork Steamship Company, and placed her 
on the station between Bristol and Dublin, in opposition to 
the Bristol Steam Navigation Company. This opposition was 
withdrawn upon the Bristol Company undertaking to pay the 
Waterford Company an annual sum of 1,000, which sum 
they continued to pay for a great many years. About the 
year 1847, Malcomson Brothers (the owners of the Waterford 
Steamship Company) purchased the steamer Driu.i.x, for 
employment in one of their London trades. She was the 
first screw steamer owned by any Irish company or firm, and 
she proved so successful that her new owners had all their 
subsequent steamers fitted with screws, except one boat for a 
special trade. Being shareholders in the Peninsular and 
Oriental Steam Navigation Company, Malcomson Brothers 
induced the directors of that company to introduce screw 
steamers into their fleet. It was also by the advice of Messrs. 
Malcomson that Richardson Brothers, the promoters and 
first managers of the Inman line, built screw steamers for the 
Atlantic. The Messrs. Malcomson were no mere theorists in 
steamship construction; they decided to build the steamers 
they owned. For this reason they established (in 1847) an 
iron shipbaildiiig and engineering works at Waterford, under 
the style of the Neptune Iron Works. They were fortunate 
in securing for their manager a talented shipbuilder, the late 
Mr. John Horn, who was succeeded by his son, Mr. Andrew 
Horn, an engineer of very exceptional abilities, and who is 
the present superintendent engineer of the company. About 
40 steamers were built at the Neptune Iron Works before 
they were closed, several of which became famous, and all of 
which were noted for their strength of hull and engines. 
In 1849 the W**rford Steamship Company (Malcomson 


Brothers) built at their Neptune Iron Works, Waterford, the 
steamer MAKS. Her original plans, which were for a paddle- 
boat, were altered while she was on the stocks, and she was 
launched a screw steamer. She was the first screw steamer 
placed 011 the Liverpool and Waterford station, and at first 
the cattle shippers did not like the idea of shipping by her, 
especially as on one of her early voyages she heeled over on 
leaving Waterford Quay, and killed a large number of cattle ; 
but the late Captain Burns was put in command, and she 
proved herself to be a safe carrier, and speedily became a 
favourite boat in. the trade. Two years prior to this date 
(1847) Malcomson Brothers built at the same yard the steamer 
N EFT UNE this was the first steamer built at the Neptune 
Iron Works, and she was also the first steamer to run to 
St. Petersburg. It happened in this way. The liussian 
Government were very anxious to get a line of steamers 
established between England and St. Petersburg, and made 
overtures on the subject to Malcomson Brothers. As a result, 
the latter agreed to start a line from London, of which the 
pioneer steamer was wrecked in the Baltic on her first out- 
ward voyage. The NEPTUNE was then despatched. When 
she arrived at Cronstadt the Mayor of St. Petersburg came 
on board in state, and as she steamed up the Neva, 11. 1. M. 
the Czar Nicholas met her in his state barge; the forts and 
warships fired salutes of honour, and all the merchant ships 
were covered with nags. To commemorate this important 
event, his Majesty the Cxar commanded that whenever the 
NEPTUNE came to St. Petersburg she was to be free of port 
and pilotage dues. 

At the time of which I write, it was impossible to over- 
estimate the influence of Malcomson Brothers in the com- 
mercial steamship world. We have seen how they were 
consulted by the directors of the P. and 0., and by the pro- 
moters of the Inman line. In addition to their coasting 
Meets they had steamers in the Eastern trade, one of which 
the UNA was one of the first steamers to pass through the 
Suez Canal. They were also the pioneers of the Liverpool 
and River Plate trade, and were, I believe, the predecessors 

CHAP. XIX.] HISTORICAL STK. \\1S1 1 1 1' ( o\1 l'.\N | Ks. .j.,., 

of Lamport and Holt. Amongst the large fleet of strainers 
built for the Waterford Steamship Company at their own 
shipbuilding and engineering works was a screw steamer, the 
WILLIAM PENN. This steamer was sold by the Waterford 
Steamship Company, and her new owners, having lengthened 
her and given her a fourth mast, renamed her the IMKOI-KAN. 
As the EUROPEAN she ran for a number of years in II. N. 
Hughes and Nephew's line between Liverpool and Bombay. 
She afterwards was transferred to, or chartered by, 
Geo. Warren and Co., and while in their Boston and Liver- 
pool service, in the early seventies, she .had the proud distinc- 
tion of being the first steamer to bring to Liverpool an 
importation of American live cattle, consigned to Geo. 
Itoddick and Co., Chapel .Walks. Since the withdrawal of 
the Malcomsons from the active control of the company, the 
management of the Waterford Steamship Company has been 
vested in Mr. C. Morley, under whose able management the 
steamers have been maintained in a state of thorough 
efficiency and up-to-dateness. The fleet of the company a I 
the present date consists of the following powerful* steamers, 
which make their passages to and from Liverpool and Water- 
ford with unfailing regularity in about 18 hours, summer and 
winter, viz, : LARA, COMERAUH, I{KII\AU>, l)i NHKODV and 
MEN An A. 

The DUKBRODY has a complete installation of electric light, 
including the holds, and her lower holds for the entire length 
form a refrigerator. A further and larger addition, the CLODAGIJ, 
now building, will shortly be added to the fleet, embracing all the 
above improvements, with an increased speed, and increased 
first-class passenger accommodation. 

The Waterford Steamship Company were amongst the first 
steamship owners to discard the bowsprit and figure-head, 
and to adopt the straight stem. They were also amongst the 
first owners to build steamers with saloons amidships, and it 
is their proud boast that in the Liverpool and Watertunl 
service, extending over sixty years, they never lost a ship or 
a human life. 



The late T. H. ISMAY, Esq. 




THE White Star Line was founded about the middle of the last 
century by the owners of a line of smart clippers sailing between 
England and Australia. The great rush of adventurers to 
the Australian gold diggings in the "fifties" gave a great 
impetus to the trade between Great Britain and the Colonies. 
In the course of seven years the White Star, Black Ball and 
other lines carried about half a million passengers to the 
Antipodes. The " White Star " boats, even in those days, 
were the largest of their class, and amongst them were the 
famous wooden clippers GOLDEN ERA, CHAMPION OF THE SEAS, 
BLUE JACKET, and WHITE STAR, vessels of from 3,000 to 4,500 
tons gross. An important change took place in the destinies 
of the line in 1867, when the managing owner retired, and the 
late Thomas Henry Ismay took over the flag. Two years later 
came the great event in the history of the White Star Line, 
when Mr. Ismay induced some friends to join him in the 
formation of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company. It was 
an enterprise boldly conceived, and carried out with great 
judgment. Boldly conceived, for there were already four 
companies each maintaining a regular weekly service between 
Liverpool and New York. Nor were these small companies, or 
of indifferent reputation. There was the Cunard Company, 
established about thirty years previously; the Inman Line, 
wit 1 ! a fine fleet of clipper passenger steamers; the Guion 
Line, with its large American connections; and the National 
Line, with its fleet of huge cargo carriers. In spite of this, 
Mr. Ismay was confident that there was room for a high-class 
Trans-Atlantic passenger service, and the shares in the new 
company (1,000 each fully paid) were at once privately taken 
up by the firm of T. H. Ismay & Co. and their friends, 


amongst whom were some of the most substantial names in 
England. The following year Mr. Imrie (of the late firm of 
Imrie, Tomlinsoii & Co.) joined Mr. Ismay, and the style of 
the firm was altered to Ismay, Imrie & Co. 

The first step taken by the managers of the Oceanic Steam 
Navigation Company was to arrange with the celebrated ship- 
builders, Messrs. Harland and Wolff, Belfast, for the con- 
struction of a fleet of high-class steamships, expressly for the 
American passenger trade. The pioneer vessel of the line 
(the OCEANIC) was launched 011 the 27th August, 1870, and 
started 011 her maiden voyage under the White Star flag on the 
2nd March, 1871. After running for several years between 
Liverpool and New York, this steamer (OCEANIC, the first), 
along with her sister ships, GAELIC and BELGIC, were chartered 
to the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company, of San 
Francisco, to maintain a mail service between that port and 
the Orient. The OCEANIC was quickly followed on the 
Liverpool-New York service by the BALTIC, REPUBLIC, 
ADRIATIC and CELTIC, and weekly sailings from both ports 
were instituted. These steamers were all of the one type, 
straight stems, four masts, single funnel, and saloon amid- 
ships. They proved themselves to be equal in speed and 
superior in accommodation to any ships then afloat. Four 
more steamers were added to the fleet in 1873, viz., the 
ASIATIC, TROPIC, GAELIC and BELGIC. A great advance 011 the 
earlier steamships was made in 1874, when the BRITANNIC was 
launched, followed by her sister ship, the GERMANIC, in 1875. 
Prior to the formation of the White Star Atlantic Fleet, the 
passage between Liverpool and New York had averaged 9| 
or 10 days, the OCEANIC and her consorts reduced it to about 
8J days, whilst the BRITANNIC and GERMANIC brought the time 
down to about 7J days. 

These vessels, with the exception of the two last named which 
were larger and faster, were almost uniform in size and speed. 
These, and the later vessels of the fleet, were designed and 
built to attain the three-fold purpose of safety, speed and 
comfort, and their performances have certainly realised the 
expectations of their owners. Speed has been an important, 


but a secondary, consideration, as is shewn by the following 
extract from the "Book of Regulations" of the White Shu- 
Line of steamers: 

"The commanders must distinctly understand thai I!M- 
"issue of the following instructions does not, in any way, 
" relieve them from entire responsibility for the safe and 
" efficient navigation of their respective vessels; and they 
"are also enjoined to remember that, whilst they an- 
" expected to use every diligence to secure a speedy 
"voyage, they must run no risk which might by any 
" possibility result in accident to their ships. It is to be 
" hoped that they will ever bear in mind that the safely of 
" the lives and property entrusted to their care is the 
" ruling principle that should govern them in the naviga- 
" tion of their ships, and no supposed gain in expedition 
" or saving of time on the voyage is to be purchased at the 
" risk of accident. The company desires to establish and 
" maintain for its vessels a reputation for safety, and only 
" looks for such speed on the various voyages as is con- 
" sisteiit with safe and prudent navigation." 
Not content with giving this general regulation, the 
managers have issued to the commanders of the respective 
ships of the fleet a special autograph letter, laying special 
emphasis on the supreme importance of extreme and 
unvarying caution and prudence in the navigation of the com- 
pany's vessels. The concluding paragraph of this letter is as 
follows : 

" Under all these circumstances of paramount and 
"engrossing interest to the company, whose property is 
" under your charge, we invite you to dismiss from your 
" mind all idea of competitive passages with other vessels, 
"the advantage of success in which is merely transient, 
"concentrating your whole attention upon a cautious, 
"prudent, and ever-watchful system of navigation 
" which shall lose time, or suffer any other temporal) 
" inconvenience, rather than run the slightest risk which 
" can be avoided." 
The BRITANNIC when she first came out was fitted with a 


novelty in the shape of a " lifting propeller." This propeller 
was a patent of the late Sir Edward Harland, senior partner of 
the firm by whom the BRITANNIC was built. In long ships the 
pitching in a heavy sea, and the vertical motion of the waves, 
tend to expose the upper portion of the propeller, the evil 
effects arising from this being the " racing " of the engines 
and its attendant dangers, together with a diminished speed. 
Sir Edward Harland believed that a propeller which could be 
worked at any depth, and which did not require the stoppage of 
the vessel whilst it was being raised or lowered, would reduce 
these risks to a minimum, if it did not entirely remove them. 
In actual practice, however, it was found that the advantages of 
the new principle did not compensate for its disadvantages, 
and, after a fair trial had been given to it, it was abandoned 
in favour of the old style of screw. In a letter, dated 3rd 
December, 1874, addressed to the late Mr. W. S. Lindsay, 
Messrs. Ismay, Imrie & Co. state : " The average speed of the 
" BRITANNIC is fifteen knots per hour on a consumption of 75 
" to 80 tons of coal per day, and her approximate cost, built 
" without contract, is 200,000 ." 

From 1873 until 1884 the White Star Line maintained its 
position as the fastest fleet on the Atlantic, a result to which 
the BRITANNIC and GERMANIC contributed in no small degree. 
In September, 1890, the BRITANNIC eclipsed her own previous 
record of 7 days 9J hours, by crossing from New York to 
Queenstown in 7. days 6 hours 55 minutes, at an average speed 
of 16*80 knots. The following year (September, 1891) she 
surpassed even this rapid passage, by making the run from 
New York to Queenstown in 7 days 6 hours 52 minutes. 
While employed by H.M.S. Government to convey troops 
during the late war in South Africa, she made the run from 
Queenstown to the Cape in 19 days, a speed surpassed by few 
of the transports engaged. In August, 1891, the GERMANIC 
following in the track of her sister ship, travelled from New 
York to Queenstown in 7 days 7 hours 37 minutes, at an 
average speed of 16' 10 knots per hour. When it is 
remembered that this high speed (nearly nineteen statute 
miles per hour) was attained by vessels over 20 years old, with 


their original compound engines and boilers, it will be 
acknowledged that, having regard to their small coal con- 
sumption and large carrying capacity, the BRITANNIC and 
GERMANIC have given results unattainable with the fastest 
ships of the present day. 

The GERMANIC in 1895 received new engines and boilers, 
and had her passenger quarters entirely remodelled on the 
plan of the MAJESTIC and TEUTONIC. In July of that year she 
crossed from Queenstown to New York in 6 days 23 hours 45 
minutes, and in August of the year following in G days 21 
hours and 38 minutes, thus showing a substantial increase of 

After the launch of these two famous steamers, there was an 
interval of six years during which no new vessels were added 

OCEANIC (1870). White Star Line. 

to the fleet. The next additions were the ARABIC and COPTIC, 
for the Trans-Pacific trade, in 1881. In the same year Mr. 
W. S. Graves, son of a well-known former M.P. for Liverpool, 
became a partner. 

In 1883 the IONIC and DORIC were built for the New 
Zealand trade the Shaw, Savill and Albion Line from 
London. In 1885 the GAELIC and BELGIC replacing the two 
older ships of the same names were built for the Traus- 
Pacific trade. A new type of steamer for the cargo and cattle 
trade between Liverpool and New York was introduced in 
1888, the two first steamers of the new type being the (Yvic 
and RUNIC. These vessels were the last single screw ships 


ordered for the White Star Line, all the succeeding vessels 
being of the twin-screw type. The Curie and RUNIC proved 
successful enough to warrant the company in forming a com- 
plete service of cargo and cattle steamers. After doing very 
efficient service as cattle carriers, the Curie was sold to a 
Liverpool firm, who changed her name to the MANXMAN, and 
the EUNIC, also sold to a Liverpool firm, is engaged in the 
West Indian trade under the name of the TAMPICAN. 

In January, 1889, was launched the TEUTONIC, the first of 
the celebrated pair of twin-screw mercantile armed cruisers 
(TEUTONIC and MAJESTIC), each 10,000 tons, which have since 
made for themselves a great reputation in the New York 
mail and passenger service. The keel of the TEUTONIC was 
laid in March, 1887. The vessel was launched 22 months 
later, and she left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New 
York on the 7th August, 1889. Prior to going on to her 
regular station, she was present, armed with eight quick-firing 
guns, at the naval inspection by the German Emperor at 
Spithead in the beginning of August, 1889. On that occasion 
she astonished nautical critics with her splendid proportions, 
and was honoured by a special visit from H.I.M. the Kaiser, 
and H.R.H. the Prince of Wales (now H.M. King Edward 
VII.). She was again present with a large party of guests at 
the Diamond Jubilee Naval Review in June, 1897, when she 
carried an armament of 16 guns. Her sister ship, the 
MAJESTIC, was launched on the 29th June, 1889, but did not 
start on her first voyage until the 2nd April, 1890. 

The length of time occupied in the building of these great 
ships is sufficient evidence, if any were needed, of the great 
care bestowed on their construction, and the builders, Messrs. 
Harland & Wolff, have their reward in witnessing the 
successful work which is being performed by two of the finest 
vessels the world has ever seen. These two beautiful vessels 
quickly lowered the record on the Atlantic. In July, 1891, 
the MAJESTIC steamed from Queenstown to New York in 5 days 
18 hours and 8 minutes, the fastest passage then on record, 
but even this was eclipsed by the TEUTONIC the succeeding 
month by a passage of 5 days 161 hours duration. 




On January 1st, 1891, Mr. Ismay's two elder sons, Mr. J. 
Bruce Ismay (previously the company's agent in New York) 
and Mr. James H. Ismay, were admitted members of the firm. 
After 40 years' business life Mr. T. H. Ismay, on the 31st 
December, 1891, retired from the firm of Ismay, Imrie & Co., 
but he continued to fill the position of chairman of the White 
Star Line until his decease in November, 1899. 

A large and handsome twin-screw passenger and mail 
steamer, the GOTHIC, of 7,755 tons, was added to the company's 
New Zealand fieet in 1893, and four years later (1897) the 
DELPHIC, 8,273 tons, a twin-screw cargo steamer, with accom- 
modation for one class of passengers only, was placed in the 
New Zealand service. 

Recognising that very considerable numbers of passengers are 
willing to sacrifice speed to comfort and safety, the managers of 
the White Star Line determined to make an innovation by 
building a twin-screw cargo steamer of exceptional size and 
power, fitted with accommodation for a limited number of 
saloon and third-class passengers. The new steamer which 
was called the CYMRIC, commenced work in the Liverpool and 
New York trade in 1898. Her tonnage is 13,096 tons gross. 
Her passenger accommodation in both classes is excellent, and 
she has proved a very attractive ship. 

The autumn of 1899 was the most eventful period in the 
history of the White Star Line. The Company, having sold 
all its sailing ships formerly employed between England and 
Australia, determined upon replacing them by a line of high- 
class steamships, and the first steamer of the new line the 
MEDIC, 11,984 tons sailed from Liverpool for Australian ports 
on the 3rd August. She was followed by the AFEJC, PERSIC, 
RUNIC and SUEVIC. All these five vessels are approximately of 
the same size, propelled by twin screws, and maintain a regular 
monthly service between Liverpool and Australia, via the Cape. 
The first return voyage of the MEDIC was taken advantage of 
by the Australian Government for the conveyance of the first 
contingent of Colonial troops and horses to the Cape. Intense 
public interest was excited by the arrival in the Mersey from 
Belfast of the OCEANIC, the second, on Saturday, 27th August, 


1899, but almost at the moment of their greatest triumph tin- 
White Star Line guttered the irreparable loss of the torn,,!,., <.i 
the Company. Mr. T. II. Ismay passed away, after a severe 
illness lasting three months, on the 23rd November, 1899. The 
extent of the loss caused by his death to the i-mum unity at 
large, was very feelingly expressed by the " Times," in its 
issue of the following day. 

The second OCEANIC sailed on hex maiden voyage from Liver- 
pool to New York on the 6th September, 1899. The following 
description of her appeared in the " Liverpool Daily Post "of 
31st August, 1899:- 

" Big as she is, the OCEANIC appeared nothing remark- 
" able as she lay yesterday in the Canada Dock, 
" while coal was being poured into her bunkers from eight 
" grimy barges lying alongside. This was because the 
" Liverpool docks are themselves gigantic. It was only 
" wheai, from the bridge of the OCEANIC, 66 feet above the 
" water-line, onei looked down upon the whole length of 
" the vessel and upon the expanse of docks and sheds, that 
" her size was realised. On the opposite side of the dock 
" was the CYMRIC, from the depths of which a horde of 
" labourers were discharging cargo. Now the CYMRIC is 
" the largest cargo steamer in the world, 2,500 tons larger 
" than either the MAJESTIC or TEUTONIC. But from the 
" OCEAN ic's bridge she looked positively like a coaster. 
" One looked down upon her busy decks as one might look 
" from the roof of a house into a street. Why the bulk 
" of the OCEANIC is not the first thing that strikes the 
" attention, is because her lines are graceful. She is huge, 
" but she is not elephantine. Her masts, even at the point 
" where they enter the top mast or spar deck, are nearly 
" three feet in diameter, that is, they are as high and as 
" thick as patriarchal oak ; but from a near distance they 
" look slim and tapering. The same may be said of the 
" ship's boats which are as big as barges. The fact is, 
" that everything about this latest creation of shipping 
" enterprise is proportioned so beautifully that the mere 
" hugeness of it all is only apprehended by remembering 


u such facts as, that her rudder and stern frame weigh 150 
" tons ; that 100 tons of cable- lie coiled on her foc'sle deck ; 
" that she is composed of 17,000 steel plates, many 
" weighing from two to three and a quarter tons ; that her 
" promenade deck is 400 feet long ; and that her monster 
" engines can move with the power of 28,000 horses. To 
" look down into the engine room from the big sky-light 
" on the top deck is to have a glimpse into a world that 
" to people not used to shipping is one of strange activity ; 
" a world where diminutive human ants are moving in a 
" tropical atmosphere across narrow bridges, busy pre- 
" paring this Brobdignagian apparatus for its first 
" struggle with the forces of the wide Atlantic, which the 
" OCEANIC is to cross with the speed and certainty of an 
" express train the conquest of the mighty force of 

" matter by the mighty force of mind 

" But much has been written already of the ship as a 
"triumph of science; the more immediate purpose here 
"is to speak of her as a triumph of art, as the last thing, 
" so far, in the way of floating hotels .... State rooms 
" in scores to the right and to the left ; now mahogany, 
" now oak; now satinwood; now a mixture of any two or 
" three of them, until the lavishness of everything became 
" surfeiting, notwithstanding that the Louis Quiiize style 
" succeeded the Queen Anne, and the Queen Anne gave 
" place to something ' too utter ' in decadent sumptuous- 
" ness. Three decks of these apartments, with lavatories 
" of costly marble, suites of baths, and every other 
" appurtenance of physical comfort placed conveniently 
" here and there. It is the literal truth to say that the 
" OCEANIC is a Hotel Cecil afloat." 

It would serve no purpose to weary the reader with a 
decorator's specification, but the following are the dimensions 
of the OCEANIC, and of the principal apartments 011 
board : 

The library, on the promenade deck, has a length of 53 feet 
and a width of 40 feet. 

The saloon is 80 feet by 64 feet. The central glass dome is 




21 feet square, and is divided up by golden ribs and filled in 
with white ground glass of a pearly appearance. 

The length of the ship over all is 705^ feet; the length 
between perpendiculars, 685 feet ; breadth, 68 feet ; depth, 
44 feet ; gross tonnage, 17,274 tons ; load displacement, 28,000 
tons ; engines, 28,000 I.H.P. 

Mr. Harold Arthur Sanderson, who had occupied the 
position of general manager to Ismay, Imrie & Co. for five 
years, was admitted a partner on the 1st January, 1900. 

R.M.S. CELTIC. White Star Line. 

The CELTIC, a monster steamer of 20,904 tons gross, was 
added to the fleet in 1901. A sister ship to the CELTIC was 
launched at Belfast on the 21st August, 1902. The new vessel 
is named the CEDRIC, and has the distinction of exceeding in 
size anything afloat, British or foreign. Like the CELTIC, she 
is classed as an intermediate ship, not so fast as the OCEANIC, 
but yet speedy. Her length is 700 feet and her beam 75 feet, 
with a gross tonnage of 21,000 tons. She sailed on her first 
voyage from Liverpool on the llth February, 1903. 





In 1902 Mr. J. P. Morgan succeeded in welding into one 
huge commercial undertaking, with a capital of 32,000,000, 
several of the principal Transatlantic steamship companies, 
including the famous White Star Line. The purchase money 
for the latter alone exceeded ten millions sterling, three 
millions of which was payable in cash on the 31st December, 
1902, and, as a matter of fact, was actually paid at the offices 
of Messrs. J. P. Morgan & Co., in London, 011 the 1st 
December, 1902. 

It was a sincere satisfaction to the British public when it 
was officially intimated that the White Star flag was still to be 
retained, and that Mr. J. Bruce Ismay and Mr. Pirrie (the 
senior partner of the celebrated Belfast shipbuilding firm) 
were to be on the directorate. 

The latest addition to the New York service of the White 
Star Line is the ARABIC, 15,800 tons gross register, which 
sailed on her maiden voyage, June 26th, 1903, and in 
the autumn of 1903 the four latest steamers built for the 
ENGLAND and MAYFLOWER, were transferred to the White Star 
flag, and renamed the EEPUBLIC, CANOPIC, ROMANIC and 
CRETIC. With the addition of these vessels, a new service has 
been announced of sailings between Boston and the principal 
ports in the Mediterranean, and, in conjunction with the other 
steamships, the CYMRIC is intended to maintain a Liverpool- 
Boston service. 

A monster steamer of no less than 24,000 tons (an increase of 
3,000 tons upon the 'CEDRic's tonnage) is approaching comple- 
tion at the yard of Harland & Wolff. She is to be named the 
BALTIC, and will probably be ready early in the summer of 



Adelaide Steamship Co., Limited. John Bacon, Limited. R. Burton <fe Sons, 

Limited. Fletcher, Woodhill & Co. T. & J. Harrison. W. S. Kennaugh & Co. 

Lamport & Holt. H. & W. Nelson. R. & J. H. Rea. J. S. Sellers. 

Henry Tyrer & Co. 

The following firms hold a prominent position in their 
respective trades Foreign and Coastwise and most of them 
have been established for many years : 

The Adelaide Steamship Co., Lira., was established in 
October, 1875, its nominal capital being 100,000. In Novem- 
ber, 1882, the capital of the Company was increased to 
300,000, and in December, 1900, a further reconstruction of 
the Company occurred, the capital being increased to 750,000. 
The first two steamers built for the Company were the SOUTH 
AUSTRALIAN and the VICTORIAN. Each was slightly over 400 
tons register, making a total of 900 tons; whereas the present 
capacity of the Company's fleet (consisting of 25 steamers) is 
about 50,000 tons. The steamers, on their various routes, trade 
to and from nearly every port on the Australian seaboard. 
Amongst the vessels owned by the Adelaide Steamship Co. is 
the FERRET, whose romantic story is told in the first part of 
this volume. (See ante, page 137). 

John Bacon, Lim. This firm was established about the 
middle of the last century by the late Mr. John Bacon. Mr. 
Bacon died in 1886, and three years later the business was 
formed into a Limited Company. The fleet of the Company at 
the present date consists of the steamers EDEX VALE, EDITH, 


VIGILANT, and WEXFORD. These steamers maintain regular 
sailings between Liverpool and Wexford, Liverpool and the 
Bristol Channel Ports, &c. 

R. Burton & Sons. The firm of R. Burton & Sons was 
founded by the late Mr. E. Burton, of Newport, Mon., over one 
hundred years ago, and since 1840 has been carried on by his 
three sons. In 1898 the business was transferred to a Limited 
Company, with a capital of 100,000, the major portion of the 
shares being retained by the Messrs. Burton. The Company 
maintains regular services between Liverpool and various ports 
in the Bristol Channel, a daily service between Bristol and 
Cardiff, and a daily service between Bristol and Newport, Mon. 

Fletcher, Woodhill & Co. This firm was established at Man- 
chester, in 1893, by Mr. H. A. Fletcher (of Liverpool) and 
Captain T. J. Woodhill (of Sunderland). Since the opening of 
the Ship Canal Messrs. Fletcher, Woodhill & Co. have taken 
an active part in the steamship business of the port of Man- 
chester. Their present services are between Manchester and 
France; Manchester, Portugal and Spain; and Manchester 
and Italy. 

T. & J. Harrison. This important Steamship Company 
maintains regular sailings from Liverpool to Calcutta, New 
Orleans, Galveston, Brazil and West Indies, and South of 
France ; also joint sailings of Ellerman-Harrison Line from 
Glasgow and Liverpool to South and East Africa. The fleet at 
the present date (1904) consists of 36 full-powered steamships, 
exclusive of two steamers building, with an aggregate gross 
tonnage of 179,166 tons : ACTOR, BARRISTER, CAPELLA, 


W. S. Kennaugh & Co. commenced business of steamship 
owners at a time when sailing 1 vessels were being displaced in 
the general coasting trade by steamers. The first boat built for 
the firm was the SCALE FORCE, famous in her day for her large 
carrying powers on a low net register. She was designed by a 
brother of the senior partner of the firm, by whom all the 
succeeding steamers have been designed. The names of the 
steamers at the present date owned by this firm are the AIRA 

Lamport & Holt Line. The Liverpool, Brazil and River 
Plate Steam Navigation Co., Limited, better known as the 
" Lamport & Holt " Line, was formed in 1865, the first 
Managers of the Line being the late Mr. William James 
Lamport, and Mr. George Holt. This Company is one of the 
largest of the Steamship Companies of Liverpool, at which Port 
its _ headquarters are situated. It owns ..a fleet of thirty-nine 
full-powered modern cargo steamers, ranging from 1,671 tons 
to 6,508 tons, the average per steamer being 3,375 tons and the 
aggregate tonnage 131,654 tons gross register, representing a 
total dead weight carrying capacity of about 200,000 tons. 

The Company has given special attention to the transit of 
cattle to and from the River Plate, in which trade it has nine 
steamers, specially built for this service, having permanent 
fittings for the conveyance of live-stock. 

These vessels have a most satisfactory record for the carriage 
of the cattle shipped by them. Live stock are also carried 
between New York and Manchester by boats specially adapted 
to the requirements of the North Atlantic Trade. 

All the steamers of the Lamport and Holt fleet are fitted with 
the most modern appliances for the rapid and effective handling 
of general cargo. The operations of the Company are varied 
and extensive and comprise the following regular services: 
From Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool to Bahia, Rio de 
Janeiro and Santos, fortnightly. From London and Antwerp 
to Rio de Janeiro and Santos, every ten days. From Nrw 
York (carrying first and third-class passengers) to Pernanibuco, 
Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Santos, fortnightly. Also to the 



River Plate from Liverpool, fortnightly; from Glasgow, 
monthly; from London and Antwerp, fortnightly; and from 
New York at frequent intervals. A regular monthly service 
is also maintained between Liverpool, Glasgow, and West Coast 
ports in Chili, Peru, and Ecuador. 

The steamers of this Line have always been very popular with 
shippers, who are able to depend upon regularity of service, 
and careful handling of their goods. 

H. & W. Nelson, Limited. This remarkably successful 
Company was founded in 1889, by Messrs. Hugh and William 

The pioneer steamer of the fleet was the steamer SPINDRIFT, 
now the HIGHLAND SCOT, which sailed from Liverpool on her 
maiden voyage on the 12th December, 1889. 

HIGHLAND BRIGADE s.s. H. & W. Nelson, Limited. 

A few months later (May, 1890) the second steamer of the 
line, the HIGHLAND CHIEF, was launched, and the following 
year three additional steamers were built for the Company, and 
named respectively the HIGHLAND GLEN, HIGHLAND LASSIE and 


Since that date, nine vessels (including three now building) 
have been added to the fleet, which consists of fourteen 
powerful modern steamships of large carrying capacity. These 
steamers are all very similar in design (though several are 
much larger) to the HIGHLAND ENTERPRISE, of which particu- 
lars are given below. 

The HIGHLAND ENTERPRISE was launched in January of the 
present year (1903). She is 385 feet long, between perpendicu- 
lars ; with 45 feet beam, and draft laden 23 feet inches. She 
has a carrying capacity of 0,500 tons. Like her sister ships, 
she is insulated throughout for carrying frozen meat, and fitted 
with the latest type of refrigerating machinery, as well as the 
most up-to date appliances for the effective handling of general 
cargo. Accommodation has been provided amidships for about 
a dozen passengers. Her engines, which are of the triple- 
expansion type, propelled her on her trial trip at a speed equal 
to 13J knots per hour. 

In addition to a regular fortnightly service between Liver- 
pool and Monte Video, Buenos Ayres and Rosario, the steamers 
of the Nelson Line sail at regular monthly intervals from 
London and Newport (Mon.) to the River Plato. 










TOTAL 57,377 TONS. 

R. & J. H. Rea In 1872 Mr. Russell Rea (the present M.P. 

for the City of Gloucester), commenced business as a coal 
merchant in Liverpool. After a lapse of seven years (18?!)), 
he admitted his brother, Mr. James Rea, into partnership, 
and the style of the firm was altered to R. & J. H. Rea. 
The firm own a fleet of five powerful modern coasting steamers, 
each having a capacity of about 2,500 tons dead weight, ami 



named respectively the BANGARTH, CALGARTH, DALEGARTH, 
GATESGARTH, and THROSTLEGARTH. In addition to these 
vessels, the firm possesses five steam tugs and about 200 
lighters. Messrs. E. & J. H. Rea have offices at London, 
Liverpool, Southampton, Bristol and Cardiff. 

John S. Sellers, Mr. Sellers commenced business as a steam- 
ship owner at Liverpool in the early nineties, the first steamer 
acquired by him being the TIMBO. Although for a short time 
employed as a " tramp " she was soon placed in a regular 
general cargo trade, and during the past ten years she has 
maintained, with every satisfaction to shippers and consignees, 
the service between Liverpool and Preston. Mr. Sellers has 
also established a regular trade between Harlingen (Holland) 
and Liverpool, and since' early in 1900 he has built up a regular 
weekly service between Glasgow and Preston, which is well 
served by the THURSBY and other steamers. 

Henry Tyrer & Co. Mr. Henry Tyrer, the sole partner in 
this firm, commenced business in 1878, in Liverpool, and in 
1892 opened a branch office at Preston. The Albert Edward 
Dock at Preston, was opened by the late Duke of Edinburgh 
in June of that year, and immediately after the opening 
ceremony, the steamer LADY LOUISA, chartered by Messrs. 
Henry Tyrer & Co., commenced discharging, being thus the 
first steamer to unload in Preston Dock. This firm has 
continued from that date to be closely associated with the steam 
trade of Preston. In 1899 Messrs. Henry Tyrer & Co. built the 
steamer PRESTONIAN, the first steamer to bear that name, 
shortly afterwards disposing of her to Messrs. John Bacon, 
Limited, in whose service she is still employed. The following 
year (1900) Messrs. Henry Tyrer & Co. purchased the steamship 
HERMANN, of about 1,300 tons deadweight, which is regularly 
employed in the firm's wood pulp trade from Baltic ports. The 
small steamer PRINCESS was purchased the same year for 
employment in the firm's regular London and Preston general 
cargo trade. In 1901 the steamer PRESTONIAN, the first, was 
replaced by a new steamer of 1,600 tons deadweight, also 



named the PRESTONIAN, and which, like tin- HI:KM\\\, i> 
regularly engaged in the firm's wood pulp trade. 

During the present year (1903) the firm bought the steamer 
MINTERNE, and re-named her the XAXCY LEE. She is a larp 
steamer of about 4,750 tons deadweight, and has proved herself 
to be an excellent sea boat. A remarkable incident in con- 
nection with this ship is, that she has been chartered for six 
years, to run consecutive voyages between the Saguenay Kiver 
(Canada) and the U. K., at a fixed rate of freight covering the 
whole period. In addition to their offices at Liverpool and 
Preston, Messrs. Henry Tyrer & Co. have also branch offices at 
London and Manchester, in connection with their extensive and 
largely developing wood pulp trade. 

I.N D E X . 


AARON MANBY (1822), first iron steamboat 39 

Abbe Arnal and Marquis de Jouffroy (1781) 8 

ACCOMMODATION, first Canadian steamboat 9 

ACHILLES (Holt Line), Remarkable steaming powers of ... . ... 136 

Adelaide Steamship Co., Limited :{l. r > 

ADRIATIC (Collins Line) ... ... ^ ..... ... ... 114 

African Steamship Co 167 

ALASKA (Guion Line) 11] 


ALBION (1816), Clyde Steampacket 29 

Allan, James (Messrs. Wilcox & Anderson) 49 

Allan Line . .. 147 

AMERICA (National Line) 109 

ANCIENT BRITON (1816) .'.. . 24 

ARCTIC (Collins Line) 95 

ARCTIC (Collins Line), Loss of 101 

ARGYLE (1813), re-named THAMES 12 

ARIZONA (Guion Line) ... 112 

ASIA {Cunard Line) 98 

ATALANTA (1836) 49 

ATLANTIC (Collins Line) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 95, 96 

Bacon (John), Limited :il. r , 

BALTIC (Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Co.) 55 

BALTIC (Collins Line) 95 

Belfast, First steamer to and from Greenock and ... ... 26 

Belfast, First steamer to and from Liverpool and 33 

Belfast Steampacket Co., established 40 

Bell, Henry, present at Mr. Miller's experiments in 1789 6 

gives Fulton the plans of the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS, 1803 ... ... 6 

employs the steamer COMET on the Clyde, 1812 ... ... ... 11 

Clyde Trustees grant Annuity to 12 

Er.jct Obelisk in memory of ... ... ... ... ... 12 

BERENICE (1836) 49 

Bibby Bros. & Co., founded 1807 56 

Bibby Line 203 

BIRMINGHAM (City of Dublin Co.) brings news of defeat of Don Miguel... 64 
Bourne, Messrs., establish steamship service to the Peninsula ... ... 49 

BRITANNIA, pioneer Cunard Liner 92 

BRITANNIA (1815), Clyde Steampacket v . ; _ ... ... 27 

BRITANNIA (1815), Season tickets issued for ... ...;- 29 

British and African Steam Navigation Co., Limited 170 

British and Irish Steampacket Co., Limited ... /., 195 

British India Steam Navigation Co 55 

324 INDEX. 


British Queen Steam Navigation Co 70 

BRITISH QUEEN (steamship) ... 71 

BURMAH (British India Co.) 56 

Burns, G. and J., commence business as steamship owners 42 

first steamer AYR, 1825 43 

despatch steamer FINGAL, Glasgow to Belfast, 1826 ... 43 

enter the Liverpool and Glasgow trade, 1829 43 

- sell their West Highland steamers, 1851 43 

- joint founders of the Cunard Line, 1840 78 

Burton, E. and Sons, Limited 316 

BUSSORAH (British India Co.) 56 

CALCUTTA, Loss of 55 

Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Co 55 

CALEDONIA, Clyde Steampacket ... 27 

CALEDONIA, Clyde Steampacket (Quotation from " Life of Watt ") ... 29 

Caledonian Eailway Co. ... ... 154 

Canadian Pacific Railway Co. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 150 

CAPE OP GOOD HOPE, Loss of 55 

CAR or COMMERCE (1813) 10 

Cattle ventilators on steamers suggested, 1820 35 


CITY OF CORK, first Irish steamboat 13 

CITY OF DUBLIN (1823), pioneer steamer of the City of Dublin Co. ... 40 

City of Dublin Steampacket Co., established 1823 ... . 40 

establish regular Steampacket service between England, Ireland 

and France, 1827 44 

- History of 179 

CITY OF GLASGOW (Inman Line) 106 

CLERMONT, first passenger steamer in the world 7 

- Eye witness's account of first passage of 7 

- Wilful attempts to destroy ... 8 

Collins Line ... ... ... ... ... ... ..." 94 

COLOMBO (P. & O. Liner) ... ... ... 53 

COMET, first European passenger steamer 11 

- Advertised by Henry Bell 12 

- Dimensions of 12 

- Amusing anecdote relating to ...... 12 

CONDE DE PATMELLA, probably the first steamer to cross the Atlantic 

from Europe .35 

Cork Steamship Co., Limited 2O7 

Cunard, Samuel, crosses the Atlantic in the LIVERPOOL 78 

tenders for British and North American Mail Service 78 

- conjointly with Messrs. Burns & Maclver, founds the Cunard Line 78 
Cunard Line founded in 1840 78 

obtains Mail Contract, Halifax, New York and Bermuda 94 

History of 221 

DEFIANCE (1815), Thames Steampacket 13, 23 



DE GARAY (1543), Alleged invention by 2 

Dodd, Captain 17 

Dominion Line 150 

Dublin and Liverpool Steam Navigation Co., established 1824 40 

purchased by City of Dublin Co 41 

DUMBARTON CASTLE, Clyde Steampacket 27 

sails round Ailsa Craig, 1816 30 

sails round North of Scotland, 1819 30 

Eastern Steam Navigation Co 119 

Elder, Dempster & Co 90, 151, 161 

EMERALD (Turbine S.Y.) 158 

ENTERPRISE, first steamer from England to Calcutta 43, 47, 48 

ERIN (1826) 44 

ETNA, first steam ferry boat between Liverpool and Tranmere 24 


FENELLA (Ardrossan and Fleet wood Steamer) 116 

FERRET, Remarkable history of steamer , 137 

Fitch, Mr. (1783), uses steam boilers on American Rivers 4 

Fletcher, Woodhill & Co 31 

Flinn, Main and Montgomery 150 

Franco- Algerian Expedition, Steamers chartered for ... ... ... 63 

GEORGE CANNING (1825), and tue Rival Steampacket 42 

Glasgow Steampackets in 1815 27 

- in 1818 -..:. ... .... 31 

Glasgow Steampacket passenger fares, 1818 31 

Glasgow and South Western Railway Co 154 

GOLDEN AGE (steamship) 131 

GREAT BRITAIN (steamship), in the Atlantic trade 81 

in the Australian trade 129 

Great Central Railway Co. .. 155 

Great Eastern Steam Navigation Co 119 

GREAT EASTERN (steamship) 119 

Great Eastern Railway Co 156 


Great Western Steamship Co 71 

GREAT WESTERN (steamship) 

Great Western Railway Co. -. 153 

Guion Line 

Harrison, T. and J 316 

HERO (steam yacht) 

HIBERNIA (1816), first steamer between England (Holyhead) and Ireland 

(Howth) 26 

HIMALAYA (P. & O. Liner) 
HINDOSTAN (P. & 0. Liner) 

Holt Line 

Houlder Line 

Houston Line '''.'.. - ;*v 237 

326 INDEX. 


HUGH LINDSAY (East India Co.'s steamer) 48 

Hulls, Jonathan (1736), first patentee of a steamboat ... 2 

Hutcheson, David, & Co 43 

Imperial Direct West India Service, Limited 90 

- History of 175 

INDIA, first steamer with Indian produce via Suez Canal 56 

INDUSTBY (1813), Clyde Steampacket 12, 16 

Inman Line ... ... ... *&* 106 

Inman, William ; >.-. 107 

Irish steamers ... ... ... 13 

Johnston, Lieut. (1822) ... 45 

Kennaugh, W S. and Co 317 

KING EDWARD (Turbine Steamer) ... ... 157 

Laird, Alex. A ... ... ... ... ST 

Laird Line ' ...29,37,251 

Lamport and Holt ... ... ... ... 317 

Lancashire and Yorkshire Eailway Co. 153 

Langlands Line ... 261 

Lardner, Dr., on steam communication with America 68 

LEEDS, pioneer steamer between Belfast, Dublin and Bordeaux ... ... 44 


LIGHTNING (one of the first steamships in the British Navy) 40 

Lindsay, W. S., author and shipowner ... > ' ... 134 

Little, James, & Co. '.. ... 268 

LIVERPOOL (see also GREAT LIVERPOOL) ... ... ... ... ... 76 

LIVERPOOL (first steamer ever seen on the Mersey) ... ... ... ... 15 

Liverpool steamers highly commended in Parliamentary Report, 1822... 39 

Liverpool and Kingstown Mail Service established 44 

London, Brighton and South Coast Kail way Co. ... 152 

London and North Western Railway Co. ... 153 

London and South Western Railway Co. 153 

LORD BLANEY, Mutiny on board, Loss of 64 

MacBrayne, Mr. David, partner in David Hutcheson & Co 43 

MacBrayne's West Highland Steamers 275 

Maclver, David, & Co 282 

Maclver's Liverpool and Glasgow Steamers ...- ... 287 

McKean, McLarty and Lamont -. 147 

McKinnon, Frew & Co ... 55 

MAJESTIC (1816), Thames Steampacket ... 23 

Malcomson Bros 113 

MARGARET (first screw steamer belonging to Hull), Loss of 65 

MARJORY (Iol5), Thames Steampacket .-.. ... 13 

MASSACHUSETTS (Auxiliary steamer) -... ... 91 

Miller, Patrick (Banker), 1780 to 1788 ..; .:. ... 4 

builds a triple vessel propelled by manual labour 4 

launches (1788) a twin steamboat on Dalswinton JLoch .'.. ... 5 
- places (1789) a larger steamboat on the Forth and Clyde Canal ... 5 

INDEX. 327 


Miller dies (1815) having exhausted his fortune 1>\ xprriim-n's C> 

MOOLTAN (P. & O. Liner) 54 

MORNING STAR (1819), Extraordinary accident to 34 

Napier, David 25 

establishes steampacket service between Greenock and Belfast ... 26 

National Line .A***. ... 108 

Nelson, H. and W., Limited 818 

NEPTUNE (steamship) ... .... .*. 117 

Newcomen, Thomas (1705) 2 

North British Railway Co. 155 

Norwegian Grace Darling, A 117 

OREGON (Guion Line) 112 

ORIENTAL (P. & 0. Liner) 51 

ORION, Loss of steamer ,. fi 115 

PACIFIC (Collins Line), Loss of ... " 100 

PACIFIC, first Mail Steamer between Liverpool and Valparaiso 60 

Pacific Steam Navigation Co 58 

PAPIN (1681) . . ..... . 2 

PARANA (Malcomson Bros. Line) 113 

Peninsular Steam Navigation Co., established 1834 49 

title changed to P. & O. Steam Navigation Co., 1838 51 

history of Company ^ 49 

Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (see Peninsular Steam 

Navigation Co.) 49 

PERU, pioneer steamer of the Pacific Steam Navigation Co 59 

PRESIDENT, Loss of Steamship 76 

Portugal, Civil war in ... 63 

QUEBEC (early Canadian steamboat) 10 

QUEEN (Turbine steamer) 158 

QUEEN ALEXANDRA (Turbine steamer) ... ... ... ... ... ... 158 

Rea, H. and J. H 319 

REGFNT (1816), Description of ... i ... . ... \ 23 

destroyed by fire ... -.:. ... . 24 

REGULATOR (1818), early Liverpool and Tranmere Ferry steamer ... 25 

ROBERT BRUCE (1819), first Liverpool and Glasgow steamer ... ... 34 

ROBERT LOWE (Auxiliary screw steamer) ,-,. ... ... .. ... 134 

ROB ROY, first steamer between Greenock and Belfast ... ... ... 26 

ROTHESAY CASTLE (1816), Clyde Steampacket 30 

Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Co. (Galway Line) 112 

ROYAL CHARTER (Auxiliary Steamship) 132 

ROYAL FERDINAND (1817), first steamer built in Spain 25 

Royal Mail Steam Packet Co 84 

ROYAL TAR, pioneer steamer of the Peninsular Steam Navigation Co. ... 49 
ROYAL WILLIAM (City of Dublin Co.), first Liverpool and New York 

Liner ... ..,, - f *.'..., ... 73 

ROYAL WILLIAM (of Quebec), first vessel to cross the Atlantic by steam 

power only .T < 70 

328 INDEX. 


SAVANNAH ( Auxiliary steamship) 32 

Savory, Thomas 2 

SCOTLAND, first foreign vessel to load at Shanghai 134 

Season Contract Tickets (1816), issued per steamers ... 29 

Sellers, John S -320 

SIBIUS, first passenger steamer from Europe to America 71 

Siberian Steamers, The first two 25 

Sligo Steam Navigation Co 290 

SNAKE (1820), first Indian steamer 35 

SOPHIA JANE, first steamer from England to Australia ... 129 

South Eastern and Chatham Kailway Co 152 

ST. GEORGE (Steampacket) 37 

St. George Steam Packet Co., established ... 37 

St. George Stdam Packet Co., re-constructed 1844 39 

ST. PATRICK (Steampacket) 37 

Suez Canal opened by Empress Eugenie, 1869 54 

SWIFT (1825), Extraordinary advertisement by owners of ... 41 

SWIFTSURE (1183), Canadian Steampacket ... ... ... 10 

Symington, William ... ... 5 

Taylor (1780 to 1788) suggests steam power to Mr. Miller 4 

TELICA, first steamer on the Pacific ; .58 

THAMES, ex ARGTLE (1813) 12 

London " Times," Notice of ... 13 

Description of 16 

narrative of voyage from Glasgow to London ... 17 

Tod and MacGregor (shipbuilders) 106 

TOURIST (1821) 35 

TRENT R.M.S., Arrest of confederate Commissioner on board of 90 

TRITON (1820), Havre and Kouen Steamer ... ... ... 35 

TURBINIA, first Turbine Steamer 157 

Tyrer, Henry and Co 320 

Valentia Transatlantic Steam Navigation Co. 67 

VESTA collides with Collins Liner ARCTIC ... 101 

VICTORIAN, first Transatlantic Turbine Steamship 149 

Waghorn, Lieut .48 

Waterford Steamship Co., Limited 293 

WATERLOO (1819), first Liverpool Cross-Channel Steamer ... 33 

Wesewelodsky, Mr. (1817) builds two steamers in Siberia 25 

White Star Line 300 

Wilcox and Anderson .49 

WM. FAWCETT (1829), Steampacket ... 50 

Wm. Wheelwright, promoter of steam navigation in. the Pacific 58 

YORKSHIREMAN (1823), first steamer from Hull to the Continent . . 39 














Total Funds over l2,OOO,OOO. 


Insurances of every description effected at moderate rates of premium. Claims 
promptly and equitably settled. Risks inspected and rates quoted free of charge, and 
every assistance rendered in arranging and revising insurances. 


Large participation in profits. Independent valuations by the most stringent 
tables. Pi-ofits divided every five years. Last Reversionary Bonus declared, 7 10s. per 
cent. Large intermediate bonuses and liberal surrender values. New non-forfeiture 
conditions. Low ratio of expenditure. Special facilities for meeting Death 
Duties; immediate payment to the Crown without probate. 


Proposal forms and evi-ry information may be obtained of the Head Offices, 
Brandies, and numerous Ager.civs of the Company. 

Hub-Manner GEO. CHAPPELL. Asst. Secretaries WM. ROPER; J. J. ATKINSON. 

Secretary in London JOHN H. CROFT. 







Authorized Capital Invested Funds exceed 

5,250,000 Sterling:. JCio,OOO,ooo Sterling. 


Chairman The Right Hon. Lord Km ns< mi.n, (l.C.V.o. 


Right Hon. .Lord BATTEHSEA. 









Colonel the Hon. EVERARD C. DIGBY. 

Major-Gen. Sir ARTHUR ELLIS, G.C.V.O., C.S.I. 

.1 \.MI.S l-'i.i K in.i;. Ktiq. 

.JllllN H \.MIT,,N II M.I , KS W . 


FltAM IS Al.lKl.l) l.ri \v. l-;-,|., M.I'. 
KllWAKII H MIllllKli I.I SHI--. 

Hem. HI:XKY Hi:i:hi i.i \ I'mtrMAX. 

Mi in. I, HIM i. NY M ii i: I:<>IH-M iiu.o. M.|>. 


Ki^ht Hon. I,or<l ST\I.IUIIH.I . 

Lieut. -Cul. F. AxDKiiSdN SII.HIIIM.. 

Hi:lit Hon. The E.u:i. m-- I.\M. 

Sir CHAUI.KS Km us WJXMOV, ..< M .. .1'.. 


Liverpool Branch :-30, EXCHANGE STREET EAST. 

FREDERIC NORTH, Esq., Chain,,,,,!, 
MORRIS P. JONES, Esq., J.P., Depittu-ChainiKiii. 




H. T. OWEN LEGGATT, Secretary. W. E. C. HUTTOX, fi'<v 

Branch Establishments also at Birmingham, Bristol, Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, 
Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield. 
Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast. 


Moderate Bates of Premium. 

Large Bonuses, including Interim Bonuses. 

Unclaimed Surrender Values applied in keeping Assunmi-o in force. 

Claims paid immediately after proof of death, age, and title. 

Except in special cases, New Policies are Whole-World and Indisputable. 

DEATH DUTIES. In order to enable the owners of Property to provide for 
the payment of the ESTATE DUTY, Special forms of Policies have been prepared 
under which the Policy moneys (or such portion thereof as may IK- required f.-r tin- 
purpose) will he paid direct to the Inland Revenue OHice without waiting for tin- 
production of Probate A Prospectus containing full part inilars will bo for\\arded 

Fire Insurances Granted at Current Kate 


are granted (on terms which may be ascertained on application), enabling Leaseholder-, 
cou their exenditure b a small Annual Premium, 1. 

to recoup their expenditure by 

The Directors are open to entertain applications for Agencies from parties 
who are in a position to introduce business of a high class. 

Full Prospectuses and Statements of Accounts may be bad on apphcatlO 
Head Office of the Company, or to Liverpool Branch, :}(). Exchange Btreel 


>r co 


__J CO 

S- co 







Telegrams-" LIGHTERAGE." Telephones: Liverpool 1 

BootlO 333. 
Garston -143. 



Drury Buildings, Water Street, 


Every Description of Lighterage ** -^ ** 





Steam and Sailing Flats to all usual Coastwise Ports. 


Manager and Secretary. 



f Combining the business of J. H. KNIGHT & CO.j , 




Telephone 58O8. Telegrams " Burnaby." 




|| Importers and Manufacturers of ... 

v <| Lubricating Oils and Greases. 




Price Lists and Samples on Application. 



Best prices given for Californian Lining Boards. 

Dunnage Wood supplied at fair rates. 

Telephone 5833. 



^ ^ 5ELBY, YOKKS. 






Kennedy, John 

The history of steam