A GENERAL PLAN
COMMUNICATION BY STEAM,
EASTERN AND WESTERN PARTS OF THE WORLD;
CANTON AND SYDNEY, WESTWARD BY THE PACIFIC;
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
OF THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA, NICARAGUA, &c.
By JAMES M'QUEEN, Esq.
LONDON; B. FELLOWES, LUDGATE STREET. 1838.
Startling as the subject of connecting China and New South Wales (p. vi) with Great Britain, through the West Indies, may at first sight appear, both as regards time and expense, still few things are more practicable. The labour and expense of crossing the Isthmus of America, either by Panama or by Lake Nicaragua, by a land conveyance, is trifling. With eight steam-boats, ONLY FOUR ADDITIONAL to the number already in the West Indies, added to the present sailing-packet establishment, the whole Plan for the Western World, extending it westward to China and New South Wales, can, in the mean time, as the following pages will show you, be put into execution to the fullest extent, with a very great saving in time, and with very great regularity. A water communication moreover will, I feel convinced, and at no distant day, be carried through the American Isthmus—say by Lake Nicaragua—when the sailing packets for the Pacific may run direct between Jamaica and Sydney, New South Wales, and Canton-China.
In the estimate for the cost of steam-boats to be employed in the service proposed, I have been chiefly guided by, and adhere to, the statement made by that able and practical engineer Mr. Napier, of Glasgow, in his evidence to the Post-office Commissioners in 1836, that steam-boats of 240-horse power, and 620 tons burthen, could be furnished at from 24,000l. to 25,000l. At this rate the total yearly cost of mail communications by the aid of steam, to every quarter which has been adverted to in the subsequent pages, will (p. vii) be as stated in the following brief summary. Reference No. 1, shows the expenditure, keeping the Red Sea route confined to India only, and extending the communication to China and Sydney by the Pacific, from Panama or Rialejo. No. 2, the expense, confining the communication by the Cape of Good Hope to India only, and extending the communication to Canton, &c. across the Pacific as before. No. 3, shows the expenditure for the Western World, the work performed by steam in the West Indies, and steam from Falmouth to Fayal, with sailing-packets for the remainder of the work; and the whole expense, by extending sailing-packets to China and Sydney westward across the Pacific, but limiting the communication by the Red Sea to India only. Lastly, No. 4, shows the expenditure of the communications made in a way similar to No. 3, limiting the conveyance by the Cape of Good Hope to India only: (see also Appendix No. 2, p. 128.)
No. 1. No. 2. No. 3. No. 4. Western World L279,250 L279,250 L161,615 L161,615 East Indies, &c. 128,850 187,978 128,850 187,978 Pacific 63,000 63,000 63,000 63,000 ———— ———— ———— ———— L471,100 L530,228 L353,465 L412,593 ———— ———— ———— ————
It is, however, to that portion connected with the Western World that the immediate and particular attention of yourself and the other members of Her Majesty's Government is particularly requested. The other parts, above alluded to, may hereafter not be deemed (p. viii) unworthy of your consideration, and the consideration of the Public. Carried into effect in a decided manner, and as speedily as the nature and extent of the machinery required will admit, it would produce great and lasting advantages to the British empire, and confer great honour upon the British Government and the splendid Post-office establishment of this country.
Permit me to observe, that the speedy conveyance of mails outwards, to any place, is but a minor point gained, unless the returns are made regular and equally rapid, and so combined, that while every place possible can be embraced in the line, no place shall obtain any undue advantage over another. These points can never be lost sight of in planning or arranging any mail communication, but more especially a communication like that at present proposed.
No narrow or parsimonious views on the part of this great country ought to throw aside the plan particularly alluded to, or leave it to be taken up and split into divisions by parties, perhaps foreigners, who will then not only command the channels of British intelligence, but be enabled to demand what price they please for carrying a large and important portion of the commercial correspondence of this country. The Public, moreover, can only repose implicit confidence in a mail conveyance under the direction and the responsibility of Government. Further, it is scarcely necessary to point out, or to (p. ix) advert to, the immense advantages which the Government of Great Britain would possess, in the event of hostilities, by having the command and the direction of such a mighty and extensive steam power and communication, which would enable them to forward, to any point within its vast range, despatches, troops, and warlike stores. From Falmouth, letters might be at Sydney, New South Wales, in seventy-five, and at Canton-China in seventy-eight days, by employing sailing packets only, to cross the Pacific from the Isthmus of America. Letters from Falmouth, by way of Barbadoes, Jamaica, and Chagre, could be at Lima in thirty-five days.
To give greater security to the mails, and comfort and accommodation to passengers, &c. a class of sailing-vessels rather larger than the generality of those at present employed in the West Indies, ought to be engaged; and for this purpose, a larger sum annually must be allowed to defray the expense. Some of those at present employed, such as the Charib, may do, but sloops are too small for the service.
It is only within these few months that a mail communication, and that very uncertain and irregular, has been commenced with the British Empire in Hindostan, containing 100,000,000 of people. With the rapidly rising colonies in British America, containing 1,700,000 enterprising inhabitants, there is still but one ill-regulated mail conveyance, by a sailing-packet, each month. Such a state of things (p. x) is neither creditable nor safe to a country like Great Britain. The population of these colonies must be left far behind their neighbours in the United States in all commercial intelligence, and the interests of the former must consequently suffer greatly.
The steam-boats to be employed in the service contemplated, although of the high power mentioned, need not be of the same tonnage as vessels of an equal power which are built for the sole purpose of carrying goods. Consequently, a considerable expense in building the former will be saved. Mails never can be carried either with regularity or certainty in vessels, the chief object and dependence of which is to carry merchandize. The time which such vessels would require to procure, take in, and discharge cargoes, would render punctuality and regularity, two things indispensably necessary in all mail communications, quite impracticable. Any attempt to resort to such a system, more especially in a quarter where steamers would have so many places to call at as these will have in the West Indies, would throw every thing into inextricable confusion. Steam-boats carrying mails and passengers should be the mail-coaches of the ocean, limited as mail-coaches on land are to cargoes, and as near as possible to the tonnage pointed out in the following pages. The steamers to be employed in the service contemplated should also be built broad in the beam, of a light draught of water, and in speed, accommodation, and (p. xi) security, must be such that no others of equal powers can surpass them.
The liberality of MR. JOHN ARROWSMITH, so well known for his geographical knowledge and geographical accuracy, has enabled me, without the labour of constructing it, to present to you and to the public the Chart of the World, between 70 deg. N. lat. and 60 deg. S. lat., on Mercator's projection, which accompanies the present sheets. On it I have laid down all the routes of both steamers and sailing-packets, to every quarter of the world that has been adverted to; and further added a Chart of the West Indies, and of the Isthmus of America, drawn by myself, and corrected by the latest authorities.
The timid and the interested will throw every doubt upon the success of such an undertaking. What is going on in the world is the best answer to doubts and fears on this subject. What takes place in other quarters will take place in the quarters alluded to, namely, success where failure was anticipated.
In a vast undertaking like the plan proposed, the interests of the Government and the general interests of the public must be specially kept in view and particularly attended to. By attending closely to these interests, the Government will find that it best and most effectually consults the interests of individuals, places and communities. No partial or local interest or opposition (such may (p. xii) in this, as in most other concerns, appear) ought to be listened to. Any such opposition can only proceed from prejudice, or ignorance, or self-interest; and a little experience will satisfy the public, and convince even such opposition, that the fact is so; and, moreover, that in the arrangements proposed, no interest in any quarter has been neglected.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant,
London, 14th Feb. 1838.
A GENERAL PLAN FOR CONVEYANCE OF MAILS BY STEAM, &c. &c. (p. 001)
The conveyance of mails and despatches from one place to another is of the utmost possible importance to individuals, and to a country. The rapidity and regularity with which such communications can be made, gives to every nation an influence, a command, and advantages such as scarcely any thing else can give, and frequently extends even beyond the sphere of that influence and that command which the direct application of mere physical power can obtain to any government or people.
Much as Great Britain has already done, in this respect, to connect and to communicate with her very extensive, valuable, and important foreign dependencies, still much more remains to be done, to give her those advantages, and that influence, and that command which she might have, which she ought to have, which all her great interests require she should have; and which the power of steam, together with the late great improvements in machinery, can and ought, in a special manner, to secure unto her, her commerce, her power, and her people.
In no quarters of the world could the application of the power and the improvements alluded to prove so advantageous to the commercial (p. 002) and the political interests of Great Britain as in the East Indies, in the West Indies, and in those places connected with these quarters; and also in all those countries and places which afford the safest and the speediest means of connecting the chain closely which tends to enable her to communicate more frequently, more rapidly, and more regularly with these places; and, at the same time, all these quarters, and her own possessions, with the parent State.
The object being a national one, it ought to be carried into effect by the nation, without reference to the mere question of pounds shillings and pence; that is, whether it is to become a directly remunerating concern or not. While the important subject ought to be taken up in this manner by the Government of Great Britain, it may be observed that the plan requisite, carried into effect in the most extensive manner, will certainly remunerate fully the Government or the individuals who may undertake the work, either on the general or on the more limited scale; but the higher, the more the scale is extended.
In fact, unless the plan is carried into effect on an extensive scale, it will not prove a concern so remunerating as it would otherwise be, because it is only by connecting different places in the line, or within the sphere of communication, that a greater number, or rather a sufficient number, of letters and passengers can be obtained; and unless the communications are sufficiently frequent and regular, both letters and travellers will continue to find private traders and ships in general the quickest mode of proceeding on and getting to the end of their journey, or the place of their destination.
The position of the United States, in the western world, and the very extensive trade which these States carry on with every part of that quarter of the world, and indeed with every quarter of the world, gives the merchants of these States, constituted as the packet arrangements and communications of Great Britain with foreign parts now are, an opportunity of receiving earlier intelligence regarding the state of many important foreign markets than British merchants in general enjoy, except such as are immediately connected with establishments in the United States, and by which means both obtain decided advantages over the rest of the commercial community. (p. 003) This ought not to be the case in a great commercial country like Great Britain. It is a fact quite notorious, that from almost every quarter of the western world the earliest intelligence is almost uniformly received through the United States. The whole correspondence of the important British Provinces, the Canadas, comes through these States. It is also notorious, that, by means of our own commercial marine, intelligence is generally received from many foreign countries earlier than by Government Packets. Indeed, it is not uncommon among merchants to return, unopened, to the Post-office many letters in originals, they having previously received the duplicates by private merchant ships. Besides, it is well known that vast numbers of letters from Great Britain to Foreign States are sent through the United States, because these go earlier to their place of destination. In these various ways a great Post-office revenue is cut off, while the mercantile world are put to a great inconvenience and uncertainty. It is not befitting that the first commercial country in the world should remain dependent upon the private ships of another commercial and rival state for the transmission of commercial correspondence. If such a deficient system is persevered in, the result will most infallibly be, that that country which obtains, and which can obtain, the earliest commercial information, will, in time, become the greatest and most prosperous commercial country.
It is, in fact, quite impossible that the commercial interests of any country can ever compete with the commercial interests of another country, unless the one have equally rapid, frequent, and regular opportunities and means of correspondence and conveyance with the other. If the merchants of other countries have quicker and more frequent communications with any particular quarter of the world, than the merchants of the United Kingdom have, it is obvious that the former will obtain a decided advantage over the latter, in regulating and directing all commercial transactions.
The foreign trade of Great Britain, besides forming an immense moving power for giving activity to every branch of internal industry, trade, and commerce, becomes also, from the correspondence to which it (p. 004) gives rise, and by which it can alone be carried on, an immense and direct source of Post-office revenue: but the direct postage derived from the correspondence required in the foreign trade, great as it is, is small when compared to the addition which the correspondence in the foreign trade directly and immediately gives to the internal postages of the kingdom. If it is examined narrowly, it will, it is not doubted, be found that almost every letter of the moiety of those which come from the British transmarine possessions, and from other foreign parts, whether by packets or by merchant ships, (of the latter, it may be said, a number equal to the whole which pay postage do, because the very great number of letters directed to consignees come free,) produces, perhaps, ten letters, on which the largest single internal postages are charged and paid. This arises from orders sent to different places to tradesmen, mechanical and manufacturing establishments for goods; orders for insurance; invoices sent; payments, in consequence, by bills or orders, and in bills transmitted for acceptances, &c. &c.
In all mail communications, such as those which are about to be considered, the point to be kept steadily in view, and one which is absolutely indispensable, is to connect and to bring the return mails and the outward together, in such a manner as that every intermediate place shall have the full benefit of both, without trenching upon the general interests, or occasioning any unnecessary detention or delay. This great and essential point is more particularly necessary to be attended to in the conveyance of mails by sea to distant parts, especially if conveyed by steam. In the quarters about to be noticed, the point alluded to will be shown to be more than in any other quarter necessary. Without this is effected, nothing beneficial is, in fact, effected; and to secure the object, a commanding power is obviously and indispensably necessary. For various reasons, which it is considered unnecessary here to state, steamers of 250-horse power each, will be found to be the best and most economical class of vessels to employ in the service contemplated.
The next and a still more important point to attend to, and to (p. 005) keep in mind, is to have always in readiness, and at well-selected stations, a sufficient quantity of coals to supply each boat: without such are at command, no movement can take place; and unless the supply is ample, and always at hand, no regular communication can ever be carried on. Wood, indeed, may be procured in some stations in the West Indies, but not in all; while even where it can be obtained, it will be found to be dearer than coal. The quantity also necessary for a vessel of large power, and for a voyage of any considerable length, would far exceed the room that could be afforded, in a vessel of properly regulated tonnage. A supply of coals, moreover, could be had at all the places to be brought into notice by care, and foresight, at moderate rates, and at the rates taken in the subsequent calculations. Merchant vessels, bound to all quarters, so soon as they perceived that they were sure of a market, would take a proportion of coals as ballast; and others would be glad to take a portion even beyond that, to aid them in completing their cargoes, instead of remaining, as vessels both at Liverpool, Glasgow, &c. frequently do, some time, till they can obtain a sufficient quantity of goods to enable them to do so: while such vessels could at all times furnish in this way a sufficient supply of coals, at moderate rates, and still afford to them a fair profit; such assistance in loading, by enabling vessels to sail at short and regularly stated periods, would become of the most essential service to the commercial interests of this country.
The time hitherto occupied by steamers in taking in coals, in almost every place, has constituted of itself a considerable drawback on steam navigation: it may, to a great extent, be avoided. Let carriages, such as are used on the railroads for carrying coals at Newcastle, &c. be constructed with iron handles. These may be made to hold one and a half, or two tons of coals (either of these weights, it is supposed, might be hoisted into a vessel without difficulty), and be all filled and placed on a raft or punt ready at each depot, thirty to sixty in number, according to its importance, awaiting the arrival of the packet steamer. The moment she comes into port, the punt will be alongside, and the whole will be hoisted in in a few hours, the place for receiving them being always, and during the voyage, (p. 006) prepared for them. In this way 120 tons of coals may be taken in within a very short space of time; the buckets first emptied, refilled, and emptied again, to a considerable extent, in a period of no great additional time. At smaller depots and ports, the steamer might hoist in thirty or forty tons of coals during her shorter time of stoppage; and thus steamers, without any material delay, would always have a sufficient and certain supply of fuel. The coals at all the depots should be well covered and protected from the sun.
Further, on this head, most of the small coal (the best) which goes to waste at the depots, may be saved by the following simple process:—Let it be mixed with a little clay, considerably diluted, then made into small balls, and afterwards dried in the sun (a rapid process within the tropics), and then taken on board with the others when wanted. It burns with great force. It is so used on estates in the West Indies for Stills. The saving is great, and the labour of making it up exceedingly light. A child may almost perform it.
It is necessary to observe, that steam-boats for the torrid zone must be fitted up and out in a manner considerably different, more especially in their hatches, from the best and most splendid boats in this country. For the convenience and health of both the passengers and crews, those for the torrid zone must, in every part, be more roomy and airy, yet so constructed as to be closed in the speediest and securest manner in the event of a hurricane; consequently they will require less expense in building, and fitting up of cabins, &c. than the crack boats in this country, in order to make them so.
In all the distances stated, there are, be it observed, included in the time allowed, three or four hours to land and take in mails and passengers at every place where the steamers may have to touch; and at the more important stations, at least six hours beyond the longer periods allowed for stoppages for coals and mails, &c. It will be necessary to give six or eight hours at Barbadoes before the departure of the steamer, that Government despatches may be forwarded. In fact, the steamer should always, and only leave that island at sun-rise on the day following that whereon the packet arrived from England, (p. 007) because by doing so, it would reach St. Thomas at daybreak on the second morning (the navigation at that island is rather dangerous during the night), clear it, and reach St. John's, Porto Rico, with daylight, and in consequence Cape Nichola in daylight also, on the second day thereafter.
The old Galatea frigate might be carried up from Jamaica and moored at Cape Nichola Mole, on board of which those mails and specie may be deposited, that require to be disembarked from such steamers, &c., as cannot be detained till the packet arrives to receive them. This, however, will seldom be the case, nor to any great extent; as the homeward-bound packet, whether steamer or sailing-vessel, will almost always be at Cape Nichola before the steamer gets up from the leeward. She may also be used to hold coals for a supply for the steamer to a certain extent.
Let the fact be urged in the strongest manner, that a communication once a month, to any given place, will never pay, nor answer any great or good purpose. Mails, or rather letters and passengers, will not wait for such a length of time, especially when these could, as for example from the Havannah, almost be in England, by way of New York, in the interval that would elapse between the departure of one packet and another, when there was only one packet in the month; but give two each month, and neither could ever be so.
The arrangements, and the extent of the internal Post-office establishments of Great Britain, are upon the most splendid and efficient footing. There is nothing of a similar kind in any other country, either in management, or combination, or regularity, that can equal or even be compared to them. It is, however, much otherwise with all her transmarine mail communications. They are all particularly deficient in combination, limited in their operations, and inefficient as regards the machinery employed to carry the mails. This, in a more particular manner, is the case with the West Indies: the small sailing vessels there employed are generally very unfit for such a service, and the steamers sent out to work them, with the exception of the Flamer, being only of 100-horse power, and besides badly constructed, are (p. 008) wholly unfit for the service in any way; and even the vessel named, which is 140-horse power, though much superior to any of the other three, the Carron, the Echo, and the Albyn, is still too small to perform her work in proper and reasonable time, or to stem the currents and trade winds, to say nothing of tempests, which, as regards the two former, constantly prevail in the seas in that quarter of the world.
It may also be remarked, that to extend or to add to the number of post communications, does not add proportionally to the machinery necessary for the conveyance of these: in other words, if the communications are doubled in number, the machinery used for conveyance is not necessarily doubled, nor the expense consequently doubled. Take, for example, the station between Barbadoes and Jamaica: with two mails each month, this could not be effected with fewer than three steam-boats; but the same number of steamers will, without inconvenience, extend the communication to Havannah, and take in, at the same time, several important places extra. A judicious and proper combination and regularity in all movements can, with the same machinery, and with but little additional expense, perform, in some instances double, and in many instances nearly double work.
The objects for making Fayal, in the Western Islands, a central point of communication, are as follow:—First, it is directly in the course for the West Indies; so nearly so for Rio de Janeiro in the outward voyage (in the homeward it is the best course), that if not actually the best course, as it is believed it really is, the deviation, as will afterwards more clearly appear, is not worth taking into account. It is also the proper course for New York, and even not much out of the way from the direct line to Halifax; while, considering the winds and currents, the Gulf stream, for example, which prevail in the Atlantic, steamers or sailing packets will make the voyage from Falmouth to Halifax by this route as speedily, on an average, as if they were to take the direct course. It is well known, that vessels bound to the northern ports of the United States, go much to the southward of the Western Islands. Secondly, it will save two steam-boats on (p. 009) the North American line, and two more on the South American line, for that distance (not fewer than two would do for each line); which, with coals, yearly, would cost 41,600l. This, alone, ought to determine the point.
These steam-packets should be allowed to carry parcels, packages, and light and fine goods, which could afford to pay a considerable freight. This ought to be limited, however, not to exceed forty tons in each vessel on each of the great lines (except Falmouth to Fayal, which may be 120); and the small sailing vessels in proportion. These things, without retarding the speed materially, would produce a considerable return, but from which must come port charges, &c. If the steamers are allowed to become mere vessels of freight, or for carriage of goods, no regularity in their voyages could be expected. To avoid delay, these articles could be landed and taken to the Custom-house in every island and place, and delivered thence, under the Revenue laws, to each owner.
The greater extent to which combination can be carried on in the mail circle, and the wider that that circle can be extended, so much cheaper the labour of conveyance becomes, and the greater the returns therefrom. Further, not merely the greatest possible speed, but the greatest possible regularity, is the desiderata in the conveyance of mails in any country: the latter, in particular, is more essentially necessary than the former, and is, in fact, the life-spring of all commercial communication.
The work to be performed, in every quarter, must not only be well done, but done within a limited time, in order to render it beneficial and effective. Powerful boats, that can overcome the distance and the natural obstacles that present themselves, can alone do this. Small-power boats can never accomplish the work. Numbers will not overcome the difficulties, nor come, as regards time, within the limits required.
Each packet steamer on each of the great lines, could and should return unto Falmouth alternately, and the boats from Falmouth be prepared to take the longer voyage in their stead. The time each will have to stop at Falmouth will always allow of time for any material (p. 010) examination and the repairs that may be necessary.
Without actual experience it is impossible to place before the public, in a correct point of view, the whole appearance and state of steamers employed in the West Indian mail service, as seen last year—when the whole extent of their voyages was travelled over in more than one of them:—imagine a small ill-contrived boat, an old 10-gun brig, as the Carron is, for example, of 100-horse power, and thirty to forty tons of coals on her deck; with a cabin about thirteen feet by ten, and an after-cabin still smaller, both without any means of ventilation, except what two ill-planned, narrow and miserable hatches, when open, afford. Imagine a vessel like this starting from Jamaica, with ten or fifteen passengers, and a crew of thirty-seven people, still more miserably provided with room and quarters, to stem the currents, the trade winds—(not to speak of storms,)—which blow, and the heavy seas which roll, between that island and St. Thomas, especially in the channel between the former and St. Domingo, and indeed in all the West Indies: having the boiler immediately adjoining the cabin and sleeping berths, and without any place to stow the luggage belonging to the passengers,—and with the numerous mail bags crammed into the small sleeping berths, or under the table,—and the public will have a faint idea of a Government steam-boat; wherein, under a tropical sun and a tropical rain, the passengers and crews are, with the hatches closed, reduced to the choice, while choked with coal-dust, of being broiled or suffocated. No human constitution can long stand this. Without meaning any offence, truth must declare, that such a state of things is a disgrace to England.
The most urgent haste and necessity can alone bring individuals to travel by such conveyances, and none will do so whose time will allow them to look for other modes of conveyance and transport. Female passengers, in particular, without female attendants, or room for them, will never willingly undertake, certainly never repeat, a voyage under such circumstances. It would seem that, in this respect, the vessels belonging to the most powerful, enlightened, and civilized Government in the world, are to be placed far below the level of (p. 011) vessels belonging to their own subjects, and those of other nations; although such vessels are expressly appointed to convey passengers.
With these preliminary observations, it is proposed to consider the details of a plan for the more extended conveyance of mails by steam-boats, first to the WESTERN WORLD, under the separate heads into which such a plan, necessarily and properly divides itself. In doing this, it will satisfactorily appear that the more the plan is extended, the less in proportion will the expenses attending the same be, and the greater the returns be therefrom.
I. (p. 012)
Falmouth and Madeira, or one of the Western Islands, Department.
Either of the islands just named may be made central points of the greatest importance for connecting the mail communications between Great Britain and all the Western World. The Western Islands, however, become a central point, more direct and convenient than Madeira, for all the outward and homeward West Indian packets, and still more so for all those which may be bound for New York and British North America. In short, the packets for neither of the latter places could go or come by Madeira without great inconvenience and loss of time; whereas, neither would take place if Fayal is made the point of arrival at and departure from. The latter island is directly in the course of both the West Indian and homeward-bound South American packets; and it may be said with equal accuracy, in the outward direct course of these packets also. Although a little further removed into the variable winds than Madeira, still it is well known that Fayal once made, the greatest difficulties in the voyages of the outward-bound packets are overcome. The distance, also, from Falmouth to either of these islands is not materially different: from Falmouth to Madeira direct, is 1170 geographical miles; and from Falmouth to Fayal direct, 1230 miles. In the outward voyage Fayal is 300 miles nearer Barbadoes than Madeira; and in the homeward, from Cape Nichola Mole, 300 also. The distance between Madeira and Rio de Janeiro, and between the latter and Fayal, is not greatly different, being (taking in Bahia and Pernambuco) for the latter 3900 miles, and for the former 3800; but from the course which the homeward packet must take through the trades, the distance to Madeira, as compared with the distance (p. 013) and course to Fayal, would be increased by 250 miles. On the whole, considering the advantages and disadvantages to arise from making either of these islands, viz., Madeira and Fayal, the central points, it would appear that the balance would considerably incline to be in favour of any one of the central Azores, say Falmouth and Terceira or Fayal. Fayal being taken as the central point to which and from which the packets for the western world are to converge and to diverge, the arrangements will run as follow:—
The steam-boats from Falmouth to Fayal would carry out all the mails from Great Britain to the Western World; viz.: for British North America, for New York, for the British West Indies and all the Gulf of Mexico, and for the Brazils and Buenos Ayres, as also for Madeira and Teneriffe. From Falmouth to Fayal is, course S. 55 deg. W. distance 1230 geographical miles. Two steam-boats of 240-horse power each would perform this work out and home, giving two mails each month, each boat returning with the mails for Great Britain from all the places mentioned, to be brought to that island in a manner which will shortly and more particularly be pointed out. In fine weather each boat would make the voyage within six days, and in rough weather in seven days,—but say seven days at an average. Each boat would be at sea 14 days each voyage = 28 days monthly = 336 days yearly; 25 tons of coal per day = 8400 tons yearly; which, at 20s. per ton, is 8400l. annually. The yearly cost of the two boats for this station would therefore be: (prime cost of two, 48,000l.)—
Two boats' wages and provisions, &c., at L6200. 12,400 Coals for do., yearly 8,400 ———- Total L20,800 ———-
The stoppage at Fayal would depend upon the arrival of the packets with the mails from the Brazils, the West Indies, &c. &c., but the arrangements for all these will be such as will bring the stoppage not to exceed one or two days, and which will prove no more than sufficient to take in coals, water, &c. &c. Despatched from London on the 1st and 15th day of each month, the steamers from Falmouth, with all the (p. 014) mails, would reach Fayal on the 10th and 25th of each month, from whence they would immediately be despatched to their ulterior destinations. By this arrangement Government would save at least three West Indian or Barbadoes packets, one Halifax and one Rio de Janeiro packet (exclusive of six Mexican packets saved, but included in the West Indian department), after giving to the two quarters of America last mentioned two mails instead of one each month, and which saving would, at least, be 21,000l. yearly. The voyages also from England to every quarter connected with this arrangement would be greatly shortened, even were the communications by steam to be carried no farther; as every nautical man knows well that it is between the Western Islands and the English Channel, whether outwards or inwards, that the greatest detention in every voyage, whether it regards packets or any other vessels, takes place. In a particular manner the arrival of the outward packets at Barbadoes would be more regular, almost quite regular; and thus extra steam-boats in that quarter, on account of the irregularities in the arrivals as under the present system, would be rendered unnecessary; and the same thing may be said of every other quarter to which the plan and the chain of communication is intended to extend.
[Footnote 1: The Island of Fayal is chosen as the point of communication in preference to Terceira, &c. because during the few months when one side is exposed to storms, the other side is well sheltered, and the distance is very short from the one side to the anchorage on the other. As each of the steamers from the westward and southward will proceed to Falmouth in her turn, so if all the mails are up at Fayal before the outward steamer arrives from Falmouth, the steamer whose turn it is to proceed on to Falmouth, will go forward with the mails without any delay, except to take in coals.]
All the outward mails from Great Britain to the western world, having reached Fayal, they would be despatched from thence and return back to it, under the following arrangements and regulations. Take them in order as follow:—
II. (p. 015)
Fayal and North America.
The rising importance of British America renders it highly desirable, nay, absolutely necessary, that a more frequent and regular post communication should be established with it. This might be done so as to secure all the Post-office revenue derivable from the letters to and from that quarter of the empire with Great Britain; and not only so, but to draw from the United States unto England some of that postage and some of those passengers which belong specifically to those States. To carry this into effect, it must be done by steam-boats, and Fayal made the point of communication from which the mails are to diverge, and to which they are again to return. The point of communication with Fayal should be either by Halifax to New York, or to Halifax alone; from which place the steamer to run to the West Indies could carry the European mails to and from New York. In each way the details will be as follow:—
Fayal to New York, by Halifax.
From Fayal to New York direct is 2020 miles; and from Fayal to New York, by Halifax, is 2160 miles. If this course is adopted, there would be no need for any stoppages at Halifax, except to land the outward mails, &c., and pick up the inward, or homeward-bound European mails, &c. The steamers, with the outward mails on board, would proceed from Fayal on the 10th and 25th of each month, and reach New York, by Halifax, on the 7th and 23d of each month, or in thirteen days. Leaving New York on the evening of the 9th or 10th, and the 25th or 26th of the month, with the return mails from the States, and calling at Halifax for all those from British America, the steamer would reach Fayal in thirteen days, or on the 8th and 23d of each month, exactly in time, as will by-and-by be shown, for the homeward-bound West Indian and Brazil mails coming up to the same place; and two days previous to the arrival of the outward packet (p. 016) from Falmouth, after allowing two days to stop at New York, and having one day to spare, in the event of severe weather on the voyage. The course and time will be:—
Geo. Miles. Days.
Fayal to Halifax 1640 10 Halifax to New York 520 3 Stop at New York " 2 New York to Fayal, by Halifax 2160 13 ————— Totals 4320 28 —————
Two steam-boats would perform this work, giving two mails each month, prime cost 48,000l.; wages, provisions, &c. &c. 6200l. each, 12,400l. Each boat would be at sea 26 and 26 = 52 days, monthly = 624 yearly; 25 tons of coals daily = 15,000 yearly, at 25s. per ton, 19,500l.
This would, however, be close work for two boats, in the event of accidents; and therefore a spare boat would be required, at an additional expense of 24,000l. capital, and 6200l. yearly charges. But two may be rendered quite sufficient by making Halifax, instead of New York, the point of communication between Fayal and British North America; the communication with New York to be taken up, and carried on, by the steamers proposed to run between North America and the West Indies, as explained and stated under the next head. Fixing the communications in this way, the details, or the course and time, would be:—
Geo. Miles. Days.
Fayal to Halifax 1640 10 Rest there, say " 8 Halifax to Fayal 1640 10 —————- Totals 3280 28 —————-
Two boats would be quite sufficient to perform this service, and the advantage would be gained of having a British port as the port for trans-shipment. Each boat would be at sea 10 and 10 = 20 days each voyage = 40 monthly = 480 yearly; coals, 25 tons daily = 12,000 (p. 017) tons yearly, at 25s. = 15,000l. The periods for the arrivals and departures of these Halifax and Fayal steamers will be found to agree well with the arrivals and departures of the steamers to run between Halifax and the West Indies, by way of New York, as minutely particularized under the next head.
Halifax ought to be made the point from which, and to which, all the British North American, foreign, that is, transmarine correspondence, ought to converge and diverge. It can be made to do so readily, and with advantage, as the following distances will show:—
Distance. Geo. Miles.
New York to Quebec N. 19 deg. East. 390 New York to Montreal N. 4 deg. E. 305 Halifax to St. John's, by Annapolis N. 71 deg. W. 111 St. John's to Quebec N. 66 deg. W. 230 Quebec to Montreal S. 58 deg. W. 116
Thus it is obvious that Halifax is nearer England three and a half days each way than New York; that much time would, by the above course of post, between the mother country and all her North American possessions, be saved, while all the advantages of carrying these mails and passengers, &c. would be gained by British shipping and British subjects.
The communications could be carried on between Fayal and Halifax, &c. by sailing packets instead of steam vessels; but then these sailing packets, on account of the number of passengers which it is almost certain would travel by them, would require to be packets of the largest size, or first class. Their average voyages may be taken at sixteen days each, with six or eight to stop at Halifax, which would bring the full voyage to forty days. This would throw the return letters always one mail, or fifteen days, later for Europe, than if steamers were employed; but, at the same time, it would bring their arrival at Fayal to be regular, and in sufficient time for the succeeding homeward packet from Fayal; for, if they go beyond thirty days, their return within forty-five days, in this or in any other station, would meet the central point at Fayal equally well, as to dates; but such a detention would not only occasion so much loss (p. 018) of time to the course of correspondence, but give letters a chance of reaching Europe sooner from New York direct. Two sailing packets would perform this work in the unavoidably extended time mentioned, giving two mails each month; first cost 9,500l. = 19,000l.; yearly charges 4200l. each = 8400l.
North America and West Indies.
The intercourse between these quarters of the world, and also of each of these with the United States, is already of great importance, and will daily become more and more important, while there is, at present, no mail communication between them. A regular, and frequent mail communication in that quarter has become indispensably necessary. While this fact must be admitted, it is of great importance to have as many of the points of combination under the British flag as possible. Keeping this desirable point in view, it is necessary to observe, that this must be done, taking Havannah into the line; because, if it is not included in the British line, it will be forthwith occupied by parties from the United States, and letters, passengers, &c. both for all North America and for Europe, from the West Indies, will go by these States, New York for example. The arrivals and departures of the steam packets on this line must also be calculated, and fixed so as to agree with the arrivals and departures of the outward and homeward-bound mails by Fayal, for North America, and also for all the West Indies, southwards to Havannah and Mexico.
The desirable object of bringing the most important central and trans-shipping points under the British flag, can only be gained by making in this case the run of the steamers to be from Halifax, by New York, to the Havannah; or from New York, by Havannah, to Jamaica. While the various ways by which this latter could be effected are (p. 019) here stated, still the former will be found to be the most economical, certainly not the most inconvenient, and, on many accounts, the preferable mode. At Havannah the North American steamer would meet in the most regular manner, and to a day, the steamers from Havannah to Vera Cruz; and from Havannah to Jamaica, Barbadoes, &c. &c. The route and time of these boats would be as follows:—
Geo. Miles. Days.
Halifax to New York 520 3-1/2 New York to Havannah 1140 6-1/2 Stop at Havannah, say 2 Havannah to Halifax, by New York. 1660 10 —— ——— Totals 3320 22
Two powerful boats would be perfectly sufficient to perform this work, giving two mails each month; first cost 48,000l., yearly charges 12,400l. Each boat would be at sea 20 days each voyage = 40 monthly = 480 yearly; coals daily, 25 tons = 12,000 tons yearly, at 25s. = 15,000l.
The outward European mails would arrive at Halifax on the 20th and the 4th or 5th of every month, and at Havannah on the 31st or 1st, and 15th or 16th of each month. Leaving Halifax on the days above mentioned, the steamers, by way of New York, would reach Havannah on the 30th and 15th of each month, and, allowing two days at Havannah, return to Halifax by way of New York, on the 14th and 29th, eight days before the arrival there of the outward European packet, giving abundance of time to rest. This steamer will bring back from New York the answers to the letters received from Europe for the return packet from Halifax to Fayal. These letters would reach New York on the 23d and 8th of each month. The stoppage at New York by this steamer returning northward could not be beyond one or two days. To meet the West Indian and South American packets returning to the central point, Fayal, the steamer, with all the North American correspondence, must leave Halifax on the 29th or 30th, and the 13th or 14th of each month. Considering attentively the calculations here made, it will be (p. 020) found that they correspond accurately, and that in practice these will work admirably, and without confusion or delay—points, in an affair of this kind, of the greatest importance.
The other plan, by which the communication between North America and the West Indies can be opened up and carried on, is between New York and Jamaica, by the Havannah. After considering it, in all its bearings and details, the former will appear to be the most economical and eligible. Calculating the whole of the General Plan to be carried into effect, and by steam, the outward mails from Europe, via Fayal and Halifax, would arrive at New York on the 7th or 22d, or the 8th and 23d, of each month; and those for the West Indies, via Fayal and Barbadoes, at Cape Nichola Mole, Hayti, on the 11th and 27th, or 12th and 27th, and at Jamaica on the 13th and 28th of each month. The mails from the westward and southward of, and for Jamaica, would consequently return to that island on the 7th and 22d of each month. The distances and time taken in three ways between Jamaica and New York, by Havannah, would be—
Geo. Miles. Days.
New York to Havannah 1140 6-1/2 Havannah by Matanzas, to St. Jago de Cuba 630 4 St. Jago de Cuba to Kingston, Jamaica 170 1 Jamaica " 2 Jamaica to Cape Nichola Mole, by St. Jago 305 2 Cape Nichola to Havannah, by Matanzas 540 3 Havannah, Coals, &c. " 1 Havannah to New York 1140 6-1/2 ——- ——— Totals 3925 26
Geo. Miles. Days.
New York to Havannah, by Matanzas 1140 6-1/2 Havannah, Coals " 1 Havannah to Jamaica, round Cape Antonio 685 4 Jamaica, Coals, Mails, &c. " 2 Jamaica to Havannah, by Cape Antonio 685 3 (p. 021) Havannah, Coals " 1 Havannah to New York, by Matanzas 1140 6-1/2 —— ———- Totals 3650 24 —— ———- (No. 3.)
Geo. Miles. Days.
New York to Havannah, by Matanzas 1140 6-1/2 Havannah, Coals " 1 Havannah to Jamaica, round Cape Antonio 685 4 Jamaica, Coals, Mails, &c. " 2 Jamaica to Cape Nichola Mole, by St. Jago 305 2 Cape Nichola Mole to Havannah, by Matanzas 540 3 Havannah, Coals " 1 Havannah to New York 1140 6-1/2 —— ——— Totals 3810 26 —— ———
The latter route (No. 3,) will, for various reasons, be the preferable course. First, because while it embraces Havannah in the line, it renders it unnecessary for the steamers to run twice over the same ground that others do. Secondly, the steamer from Jamaica for the eastward being able to leave that island, with all the return Colonial mails from the westward and southward for North America, &c., at the times, or in the space of time, mentioned, would reach Cape Nichola Mole just in time to meet the downward steamer from Barbadoes, with all the Colonial mails to the eastward of that place for North America; and, consequently, could take in and proceed with these mails without delay; and it might, at the same time, take in not only the eastern Colonial mails for Matanzas and Havannah, but the outward European mails for these places also, by which means these towns would receive these two or three days earlier than they could by Jamaica. The Mexican mails might also be forwarded in the same way; but to do so would be of little use, inasmuch as the steamer for Vera Cruz could not leave Havannah until the steamer from Jamaica arrived.
Taking route No. 3 as the lines of communication between Jamaica (p. 022) and North America, then the arrivals at Jamaica would be on the 5th and the 20th of each month; and, allowing two days to stop at Havannah outwards instead of one day, and three days at Jamaica instead of two, the return steamers would leave Jamaica on the 8th and 23d of each month, and reach Cape Nichola Mole on the 25th and 10th, which place the steamer from Barbadoes reaches on the 11th and 27th, and the Havannah and Chagres steamers return to Jamaica on the 7th and 22d of each month; thus combining every movement requisite in a very clear and satisfactory manner.
The steamers on this route or station would be each 22 and 22 = 44 days each month = 528 days yearly at sea; coals, at 25 tons daily = 13,200 tons, at 25s. per ton = 16,500l.; which is 1500l. more than the other. Moreover, the steamers (two) would be so closely pressed for time as not to have the necessary rest for examination and repairs, and consequently a third would be requisite, which would increase the capital 24,000l., and yearly charges 6200l. above the other plan.
The mails on this station may, moreover, be carried by sailing packets. By this mode of conveyance, however, the mails would be longer on their voyages; those to and from Halifax, &c., being always thrown behind one return mail for the steamer to and from Fayal with the mail for Great Britain, and consequently be obliged to wait at Halifax or New York for a succeeding one—but for which, however, they would always be in ample time. The course and time by sailing packets would be—
Geo. Miles. Days.
Halifax to New York 520 5-1/2 New York to Havannah 1140 10 Stop at Havannah, say 2 Havannah to Halifax, by New York 1660 15-1/2 —— ——— Totals 3320 33 —— ———
which will allow abundance of time to stop at New York, going and returning, and for meeting every possible contingency which may occur in the voyage; as, if within forty-five days, it would be in time (p. 023) to meet the corresponding packets to and from Europe. Two sailing packets would be sufficient to perform this work, giving two mails each month; prime cost, 9500l. each = 19,000l. and yearly charges 4200l. each, or 8400l. It may here be observed, that if all the mails were carried by sailing packets on the four great lines, that the times of their arrivals and departures would still connect and combine properly, but, as has already been remarked, be always fifteen days later in the course of the mails between the places mentioned than if these were carried wholly and everywhere by steam.
Fayal and Brazil Department.
From Fayal steamers would proceed direct to Rio de Janeiro, calling at Pernambuco and Bahia, and landing at the former place the mail for Maranham, to be carried forward to that place, and brought back to Pernambuco, to meet the steamer on her return to the northward, by a good sailing vessel. The distance is 670 miles, which could be performed in four days and six days, backwards and forwards. At Rio de Janeiro the steamer will land the mails for Buenos Ayres and Montevideo, which will be carried forward by sailing vessels to the former place (distance 1060 geographical miles), and return from Buenos Ayres, by Montevideo, to Rio de Janeiro, the same distance, say in seventeen days, and in time to catch the following homeward-bound packet. One sailing vessel would be sufficient for the Pernambuco and Maranham station, and two of a superior class as at present for the Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Ayres department; for, at the outset, steam would be too expensive on the latter station, while it would take the homeward-bound packet too far out of her way to make her call at Maranham.
From Rio de Janeiro the steamer will proceed for Fayal, calling at Bahia and Pernambuco (distant from Rio 1000 miles), taking in the (p. 024) Maranham mail at the latter place, stopping one day there for a supply of coals, and then proceeding, reach Fayal in twenty days—including stoppages, forty-five days forwards and backwards—and which, accordingly, would bring the Brazil mails to Fayal to correspond with the arrival there of the steamers from both the West Indies and Halifax. The mails from the Brazils would, in this way, reach Fayal on the 10th and 25th of the month. The route and time of these steamers would be as follows:—
Fayal to Rio Janeiro 3900 19 Rio de Janeiro to Fayal 3900 20 Stop at Rio " 2 Do. at Pernambuco, &c., twice " 4 —— — Totals 7800 45 —— —
Three steamers would perform this work in the time specified, giving two mails each month. Each boat would be actively employed, or at sea, 39 days each voyage = 78 monthly = 936 yearly; coals, at 25 tons daily = 23,400 tons yearly—which, at 25s. per ton, will amount to 29,250l. Other charges, 18,600l.
The mails on this station might also be carried by sailing packets, and at much less expense, but the time occupied would be considerably lengthened. Such sailing packets from Fayal to Rio de Janeiro would, both in going and returning, pursue the same course that the present packets do. The distance each way would be the same, and not materially different from the course which the steamers would take. The time occupied would be, twenty-seven days out, twenty-nine days back, and four days to stop at Rio, &c.; in all sixty days. Four packets would perform this service, giving two mails each month. The cost of these packets would be 38,000l., and their annual charges at 4200l. each = 16,800l. In the event of accidents, however, either on this or on the West Indian station, one spare packet would be necessary, and require to be stationed at Fayal: this would increase the capital laid out to 47,500l., and the yearly charge to 21,000l. Four packets on this station would, in fact, under this (p. 025) arrangement, give two mails each month; whereas, under the existing arrangements, it requires five or six to give one mail each month. In a few days, after leaving Fayal, it is well known that both the Brazil and West Indian packets would be into the trade winds when outward-bound; after which, the voyage is certain and secure. In like manner in returning, after getting clear of the trade winds, the Brazil, in about long. 38 deg., and the West Indian, from Cape Nichola Mole, in about long. 70 deg. W., each could steer to the eastward for Fayal, with almost certainly southerly winds, and at all seasons of the year, in weather comparatively mild to that which is met with in more northern parallels.
By steam-boats the course of communication between Great Britain and Rio de Janeiro would be reduced to sixty days, and by sailing vessels, from Fayal to that place, to seventy-five days, making fifteen days more by the latter than by the former; but it may, however, here be observed, that arriving so much later at Fayal, would still equally correspond with the arrival of the West Indian and North American sailing packets at that place.
Fayal and Madeira, &c. Station.
Under the proposed general arrangement, the mails for Madeira and Teneriffe could be sent twice each month from Fayal. Madeira and Teneriffe, but more especially the former, have a good deal of correspondence with the West Indies; all of which would be thrown into a more tedious and circuitous route if the communications with Madeira did not go and come by the Azores. The distance from Fayal to Madeira is 630 miles, and from Madeira to Teneriffe 240 miles. One superior sailing vessel would be sufficient to perform this work, giving two mails each month. It is well known that from the winds which generally prevail in those parts of the Atlantic, that a swift (p. 026) sailing vessel would almost always make quick and certain passages. The cost of such might be 1500l., and the yearly expense, say 800l. The expense for sailing vessels on this and the South American station may be taken as follows:—
Capital. Yearly Charge.
Fayal and Madeira, one L1500 L800 Pernambuco and Maranham, one 1500 800 Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Ayres, two 4000 2000 ——- ——- Totals L7000 L3600 ——- ——-
From Fayal to Teneriffe, by Madeira, and back, a sailing vessel could complete the passage in fourteen days, and thus be always in time for the next return steamer from Fayal to Falmouth.
Fayal and Barbadoes Station.
On the arrival of the steamer from Falmouth at Fayal, another steamer would start for Barbadoes, carrying with it all the mails for every place in the western Tropical World, from Demerara to Vera Cruz inclusive, and also for Panama, and other places on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. The route from Fayal to Barbadoes is, course S. 47-1/2 deg. W.; distance, 2265 geographical miles. A steam-boat would perform this, going chiefly through the trade winds, in twelve days. The period of her return to Fayal must be regulated by the time which she has to stop in the West Indies, and which will be more specifically shown when that department is taken into consideration; but it cannot be less, from Fayal to Fayal again, than forty-five days, of which this boat will be at sea each voyage thirty-seven days. Four steamers would do this work, having one, in fact, to spare, in the event of accidents, either on this or on the Brazil station, and to relieve alternately the steamers on either station; and this spare boat (p. 027) would probably be best stationed at Fayal, or perhaps Barbadoes. Three boats would, therefore, be actively engaged in performing the work alluded to on this station; each would be at sea 37 days each voyage—74 monthly, 888 yearly, which, at 25 tons of coals daily, will require 22,200 tons annually—at 25s. per ton, will amount to 27,750l.
The time and course of these boats will be more specifically stated under the West Indian head.
The cost would be thus:—
Capital. Yearly Charge.
Four Steamers L96,000 L24,800 Coals 27,750 ———- Yearly charges L52,550 ———-
The mails, also, on this station, might be carried by sailing packets, and which would require to be of the very first class. Their time from Fayal to Fayal again, would be, say nineteen days to Barbadoes; seventeen days to stop in the Colonies; and twenty-four days from Cape Nichola Mole to Fayal (2600 miles), together sixty days; and which brings the return of this sailing vessel to Fayal to correspond with the arrival of the packets from Falmouth, and of the mails from South America, and from North America, at that place. Four packets would be sufficient for this station, giving two mails each month. Their cost would be 38,000l., and their yearly expenses at 4,200l. each, 16,800l.—considerably cheaper than steam, but lengthening, as has been seen, the communication between Great Britain and that quarter of the world, fifteen days. A spare packet might be necessary, but the cost of that has been included, and stated under the South American head.
VII. (p. 028)
The West Indian Station.
This station is one of the most important, and extensive, and complicated of the whole, and one where steam-vessels can be employed with the most beneficial effects. The prevailing winds and currents, however, render it necessary that the vessels employed should be of high power, in order to enable them to stem those winds and currents. Into the Gulf of Mexico, through the Windward islands, sets; first, the equatorial current; secondly, the prodigious current occasioned by the influx of the waters of the great river Maranon, and of the several rivers which flow through British, Dutch, and French Guiana; thirdly, the current occasioned by the influx of the waters of the great river Oronoque, through the Gulf of Paria, between the island of Trinidad and the mainland of South America. These united waters, directed by the trade winds, blowing always from the eastward, occasion a current of such force, running westward from the Windward Islands to the shores of Mexico, that it is frequently impossible for the best sailing vessels to make their way through it. Steam-boats, therefore, of at least 240-horse power, are indispensably necessary, in order that they may not only be able to stem these winds and currents, and carry a sufficient quantity of coals, but also to afford spacious and well-ventilated accommodation, both for the crews attached to them, and also the passengers which may travel by them. Without such, neither the one nor the other could ever enjoy health, nor could the despatches of Government, and the correspondence of individuals, be conveyed with that celerity and regularity which these could otherwise be, and which it is necessary that they should be.
In carrying a more general plan into effect, no reasonable or necessary expense ought to be spared by the country. In such a general plan it will be seen by the subsequent details, that the (p. 029) steam-boats of the power mentioned, assisted by nine sailing schooners (at present ten, are employed in less than half the work,) would be sufficient to convey the mails from Barbadoes to every place of importance in the western Tropical Archipelago, or connected with it. This force would give two mails each month to every island and colony from Demerara to Vera Cruz; taking in Laguayra, Carthagena, Chagres, Honduras, the principal parts of Cuba and Porto Rico. From Demerara to Havannah and Chagres, &c. inclusive, every colony and place would be able to reply to the letters received from Europe, or the Colonies, by the same packet which brought them; and still that packet remain in the West Indies a shorter period than the packets now do.
In this department there are two stations, however, of such vital importance, that the considerable additional expense which will be required to place steam-boats on them from the outset, ought not to be taken into consideration. These are, first, the station between Jamaica and Chagres; and, secondly, the station between Jamaica, Cuba, and Vera Cruz. The first goes to connect the Great Pacific Ocean, and the coasts thereof, with Europe and the eastern coasts of America, and on which former coasts a steam mail communication has been already concerted. Through the channel from Panama to Chagres will be concentrated, as it were, into a funnel the whole movements, travelling and mail communications and money transactions of the western coasts of America, from California on the north, to Valparaiso on the south, the whole of which again must converge to and diverge from Jamaica. The second station, or that from Cuba to Vera (p. 030) Cruz, is little inferior in importance to the other, that town and Tampico being the great outlets of the trade and the commerce, but more especially the outlets of specie from the kingdom or empire of Mexico. A steamer on this station becomes indispensable, in order to secure the safe conveyance of specie, because small sailing vessels would be liable to be attacked and plundered by pirates. With steamers all would be safe.
[Footnote 2: Should the Colombian Government obstinately and ignorantly oppose the transmission of mails across the isthmus from Chagres to Panama, or propose to shackle this point of communication with unreasonable and inadmissible restrictions, then in that case there remains a point, it is believed, more practicable, safer, and more eligible, where the communication could be effected, namely, in the State of Guatemala, or Central America, by the River St. Juan's and Lake Nicaragua, both of which are navigable for vessels of any size. The south-west shores of the lake in question approach to within fourteen or fifteen miles of the Pacific, and this distance, in one place, through a valley nearly level throughout, and at but little elevation above the level of the sea. From Lake Managua, or Leon, the distance to the sea is still shorter, being, in one place, according to good maps, not more than eight to ten miles. From this lake also, and the capital, Leon, the distance north-west to Rialejo, a fine port on the Pacific, is twenty-three miles, and through an accessible, if not very easy country. The Government of the Republic of Guatemala, or Central America, would doubtless be ready to afford every facility to open such a communication, which would prove the greatest and most certain means of improving their country. Moreover, if a ready communication is once afforded, from any point on the east coast of America, in the places alluded to, it would speedily become the object and the interest of the Chilian, the Peruvian, and the Mexican Governments to watch and to see that the communication with the world to the eastward should not only be rendered secure, but be maintained. Also, with a communication opened in this quarter, such as it is believed can be opened, the commerce and communications between North America and Europe, and New South Wales, China, and all Eastern Asia, would most certainly, as it could most advantageously and expeditiously, be carried on by it.]
Two powerful steamers would be sufficient for both stations, in order to carry two mails each month. That steamer to run between Cuba and Vera Cruz, would always be in time with the return mails for the following packet from Europe; while that boat which runs between Jamaica and Chagres would, by returning immediately by the route afterwards pointed out, always be in time for the same packet at Jamaica. To stop at Chagres for the mails from the Pacific would not be advisable or proper, because the arrival of these mails at Chagres could not be calculated upon with any certainty. If at Chagres when the outward mail arrives, good and well, they would be immediately taken up and carried forward; but if not, then they would be brought forward by it on the next voyage, and in time for the following European packet.
The mails for Honduras will be most conveniently forwarded from Montego Bay, Jamaica. With the mails for the western parts of that island they could be landed at Savannah la Mar, and thence carried by land with the others, about twenty-five miles, to Montego Bay. From thence a good schooner would proceed with those for Honduras and (p. 031) Trinidad de Cuba; and having readied Honduras, return to Montego Bay by Trinidad de Cuba. By this arrangement, Honduras rather gains more than by the plan first proposed, to go from Batavano; and the letters from thence will still and always be in excellent time for the following packet, making every allowance for casualties during the voyage. The steamer could then proceed direct from Jamaica to Havannah, which would save one day each voyage, besides avoiding the difficult navigation about Batavano. The coals saved yearly would be 1100 tons, 1475l., which would do more than pay the expenses for an additional schooner for the Honduras communication; for, by this arrangement, two schooners, instead of one, will be necessary. Their route and time would be—Montego Bay to Trinidad de Cuba, 172 miles, 1-1/2 day; Trinidad de Cuba to Honduras, 520 miles, 3-1/2 days; back to Montego Bay by Trinidad de Cuba, 692 miles, 10 days; stop at Honduras 3 days; in all 18 days.
Bermuda being a great naval depot, a ready communication between it and every part of the West Indies becomes an object of the greatest importance. Under the general arrangement proposed, this communication can be best effected from and with Cape Nichola Mole, Hayti; because the downward steamer from Barbadoes, with the European and other mails, will have passed St. Thomas before the steamer returning from Jamaica, &c., comes up; by which means all the letters from Jamaica, and every other place to the westward, would, were St. Thomas made the starting point, be obliged to remain at that island till the arrival of a following packet; whereas, starting from Cape Nichola Mole, the mails, both from the eastward and the westward, and also those brought from Europe, would go forward to a day. Moreover, owing to the winds which prevail in those seas, vessels running between Cape Nichola Mole and Bermuda would make passages equally quick, if not quicker, than vessels running between St. Thomas and Bermuda could generally do. The courses and distances stand thus:— (p. 032) Geo. Miles. Days. St. Thomas to Bermuda. Nearly due N. 840 9 Cape Nichola Mole to do. N. 32 deg. E. 890 10 Nassau to Bermuda N. 57 deg. E. 800 7 Crooked Island to Bermuda 740 7 Ditto to Cape Nichola Mole S. 19 deg. W. 146 1 Ditto to Nassau 270 1-1/2 Cape Nichola Mole to do. N. 56 deg. W. 380 2-1/2
The communication might still, however, be from St. Thomas, the boat destined for Bermuda stopping at that island, when this was necessary, one day, until the boat from Jamaica came up; taking particular care always to be back at St. Thomas, from Bermuda, before the steamers with the outward mails from Europe came down from Barbadoes, in order that the letters from Bermuda for Jamaica, and all places to the westward of St. Thomas, may go forward by the steamer in question. This department, however, for Bermuda may, it is conceived, be best amalgamated and interwoven with the Cape Nichola Mole, Nassau, and Crooked Island (the Bermuda mail vessels going and returning by Crooked Island) department; as the practical working of the whole scheme may point out to be most advisable.
In the event of packets arriving from England at Barbadoes within a day or two of each other, as is sometimes the case under the existing arrangements, then on the Barbadoes and Demerara stations, let a good sailing vessel, on the arrival of such packet, take the place of the steamer for the voyage. Unless, in case of calm weather, this sailing vessel could do the work thus:—Barbadoes to Demerara, four days; stop there two days, forwarding the mails for Berbice by land; thence with the return mails proceed on by Tobago and St. Vincents in five days, to the packet at Grenada, found, in such a case, either waiting one day longer at Grenada, or else beating up to St. Vincents, there to meet the Guiana and the Tobago mails, and which the packet has time to do. This would occasion little irregularity or delay, because the cause of the detention, should detention occur, would always be known. Moreover, the season of the year when the outward packets arrive at Barbadoes the most irregularly, is during the winter months, from (p. 033) November to March, and in which period the calms—the greatest obstructions, in many cases, to sailing vessels amongst the Windward Islands—are almost unknown.
The same temporary substitute could be applied, under similar circumstances, on the stations between Jamaica and Chagres, and between Cuba and Vera Cruz. Even if these places were once or twice in the year to miss a return mail to Europe, it would not be of such great importance, because each place having then two mails every month, the detained mail would go forward by the next opportunity, while it would save to Government, or to a contracting company, a very serious expense, which would otherwise be incurred if they were obliged to have additional steamers for this probable part of the service.
Further, in the event of any accident happening to any steam-boat on the great line from Barbadoes to Jamaica, &c., a sailing vessel could always carry the outward mails westward, when breezes hold, with almost the same rapidity as steamers; and in her course westward, such a sailing vessel could scarcely fail to meet a return or a spare steamer at some of the stations, to relieve it from proceeding further.
Moreover, it may be observed here, once for all, that by the conveyance of the mails from Falmouth to Barbadoes by steam, or even only so far as from Falmouth to Fayal by this power, the irregularity of the arrival of the mails at Barbadoes, which at present takes place, would be nearly done away, and consequently no such assistance as that alluded to would be necessary. Hence, the advantages either way over the present system are clear and obvious.
Before entering upon the particular details of the West Indian department, it is proper to observe here, that the point of communication for the return mails from the West Indies for Europe, so long as sailing packets are employed to the West Indies, cannot be altered or removed from Cape Nichola Mole, because, by the general plan, the outward mails from Great Britain, by steamers, would reach Fayal on the 10th and 25th of each month, and the return mails to that place would reach, from Rio de Janeiro, on the 9th and 24th; from New York and Halifax on the 7th or 8th, or 22d or 23d; and from Barbadoes, &c., allowing only sixteen days in the Colonies, on the 10th and (p. 034) 25th (App. No. 1.); if brought by sailing packets on dates to correspond; so that there is not time to spare, the West Indian mail being the last to reach the central point, and it would be very detrimental to have any detention of the general mails at this point. To make Jamaica the central point for the European mails, would require several days additional; for once at Jamaica the packet would take eight or ten days to get up and through the windward passage, which to a sailing packet, notwithstanding this difficulty, is still the best. In fact, if the mails from Havannah to Demerara are detained in the West Indies more than sixteen, or at most seventeen days, beyond the time that these could, by care and exertion, be easily despatched from thence, the transmission of letters by private ships to every quarter will most unquestionably be resorted to; and thus the Post-office revenue suffer severely.
The capital and expenditure in the West Indian department under the combination and regulations just mentioned will be:—
Capital. Yearly Charges.
Six Steamers, at 24,000l. L144,000 L37,200 Nine Sailing Schooners, at 1500l. 13,500 7,200 Coals for Steamers, 30,000 tons, at 25s. 37,500 ———- ——— L157,500 81,900 ———- ———
It is necessary here to observe, that the calculation taken for the consumption of coals is founded upon the basis that the coals are of the very best quality, and also that the machinery is of the best and most economical description and construction, and for a vessel of 240-horse power. The time that the steamers are considered to be engaged in actual work is calculated to include the time passed in getting up the steam in each voyage, and also to cover all temporary stoppages. The time allowed on every route and station is, on the average, more than will be required. Steamers of the force mentioned will, in good weather and light breezes and seas, even when contrary, run ten geographical miles per hour; and, within the tropics, with trade-winds and currents in their favour, at a still greater speed: but the average performance may be fairly taken at 200 (p. 035) geographical miles each twenty-four hours, although in all the climates within the variable winds, and in the tropics when going against the winds and currents, the speed made good will be, and is taken at, much less. Moreover it is proper to observe, on the point of outlay for coals, that the work is everywhere, as regards the quantity to be used, calculated as if wholly done by steam, while it is obvious that the assistance of sails may be had recourse to with advantage. For this purpose, those steamers which have to go into the torrid zone ought to be provided with large square fore-sails. The assistance to be obtained by the use of sails would save a considerable quantity of coals; or what is the same thing, using them would expedite the steamer proportionally more on her voyage, and bring it so much sooner to a close. Sails may fairly be calculated to impel a vessel at the rate of 2-1/2 miles per hour on a voyage, and which will save either directly one-fourth the quantity of coals, or impel the steamer so much sooner to the end of her journey than the time calculated, where time is taken as if it were impelled by steam alone, and thereby a proportional saving of fuel will be effected. The saving effected on this ratio will, on the General Plan, be 27,000 tons, 33,250l.; on the West Indian portion thereof 7500 tons, 9375l.; and on the West Indian and the Falmouth and Fayal department, 9600 tons, 11,475l.; subject to 10 per cent. deduction, being allowance for wastage.
As regards the calculations made concerning the progress of steamers in the voyages to be made, it is satisfactory to find, from intelligence lately received, that the Berenice steamer, of 230-horse power, made the passage from Falmouth, by the Cape Verdes, Fernando Po, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Mauritius, to Bombay, in eighty-eight days; sixty-three at sea. The course taken, and distance run, is about 12,200 geographical miles, or at the average rate of 194 geographical miles per day. Her average consumption of coals was fifteen tons per day. The Atalanta of 210-horse power, ran the same distance in 106 days; sixty-eight of which at sea, under steam. Consumption of coals, seventeen tons per day. The Flamer steamer, of 140-horse power, now in the West Indies, two voyages (p. 036) in succession, last autumn, made the voyage from Barbadoes to Jamaica, by Jacmel, Hayti, in five days; which is fully nine geographical miles per hour; and in returning she ran in one voyage from St. Lucia to Barbadoes in twelve hours, distance 100 geographical miles, with winds and current unfavourable. Adverting to these facts, it is obvious that sufficient time is allowed for the progress of the steam-boats, in every station, under the General Plan now recommended to be adopted, in order to communicate with the different places in the Western World. The Berenice's greatest run was 256 miles in twenty-four hours.
[Footnote 3: See also Appendix, No. 1.]
West Indian Station.—Details.
This is a complicated and important department, and the working details thereof must be planned as follows:—
1.—First Packet for the Month.
Immediately on the arrival of this packet at Barbadoes, a steamer of 240-horse power should start for St. Thomas direct (430 miles), with the mails from England, &c. for that island, Santa Cruz and Tortola, and for Porto Rico, St. Domingo, the Bahamas, All Cuba, Jamaica, Carthagena, Chagres, Panama, Honduras, Vera Cruz, and Tampico. This boat could reach and clear St. Thomas in two days.
The steamer alluded to having landed the mails for St. Thomas, St. Cruz, and Tortola, should then proceed to St. John's, Porto Rico, and there land the British and Colonial mails; to Cape Nichola Mole (Hayti), and there land the British, the Colonial, and the Bahama mails; to St. Jago de Cuba, and there land the British and Colonial mails; to Kingston, Jamaica, and there land the British, the Colonial, the Chagres and Carthagena mails; to Savannah la Mar, Jamaica, and there land the British and Colonial mails for all the western parts of Jamaica, for Trinidad de Cuba and Honduras; and thence to (p. 037) Havannah, with the mails for that place, and Vera Cruz, &c.
[Footnote 4: To touch at Savannah la Mar would scarcely take up one hour, while doing so would be a very great accommodation to the western part of Jamaica.]
At the end of the second day this steamer may start on her return, with the return mails from the Havannah, and the return mails from the preceding packet from Vera Cruz and Tampico, forwarded and brought up as after mentioned, and, proceeding, call at Savannah la Mar for the same, from the western parts of Jamaica, Trinidad de Cuba, and Honduras; at Kingston for the general Jamaica mails, and those from Santa Martha, Carthagena, and Chagres from the same packet, and from Panama, &c. from the preceding packet; at St. Jago de Cuba for the return mails, and thence to Cape Nichola Mole, where it will deliver the whole European mails to the packet arrived there, as will presently be pointed out; from Cape Nichola Mole the steamer will proceed to St. Thomas, calling at St. John's, Porto Rico, with and for Colonial mails, and thence to Barbadoes (calling at all the Islands going up, and carrying up the British mail for Tortola from St. Thomas, left by the downward steamer) to wait to receive a following mail from Great Britain.
On the arrival of the downward steamer at Cape Nichola Mole, from St. Thomas, a fast-sailing schooner to be despatched to Nassau with the Bahama mails, calling, in going and returning, at Crooked Island. This schooner, it is calculated, could be back at Cape Nichola Mole in time to meet the packet at her departure for England with the return mails; if it could not, then the packet could take Crooked Island in her way, and there pick up the Bahama return mails for Great Britain.
Two schooners would be sufficient for this station for the Bahama service, should it be desirable that these islands should have mails twice each month.
On the arrival of the steamer at Kingston, Jamaica, with the outward mails, another steamer to be despatched with the mails for Santa Martha, Carthagena, Chagres, and Panama, calling at Chagres first, (p. 038) and with the return mails from Panama, the South Sea, and Chagres, return to Kingston by Carthagena and Santa Martha. One powerful steam-boat would be in time for the same packet; thus:—to Chagres, 550 miles, two and a half days; to Carthagena, 290 miles, one and a half day; stop there one day; to Santa Martha, ninety miles, one day; to Jamaica, 420 miles, three days; in all, nine days.
The mails for Honduras and Trinidad de Cuba by the outward packet having been brought up to Montego Bay, Jamaica, as has been already stated, a good schooner should proceed thence to Trinidad de Cuba, 172 miles, one and a half days; thence to Honduras, 520 miles, three and a half days; stop three or more days; back to Montego Bay, by Trinidad de Cuba, 692 miles, ten days; in all, eighteen days. Two schooners will perform this work, giving two mails each month.
On the arrival of the steamer at Havannah another steamer should be despatched with the outward mails for Tampico and Vera Cruz, and from thence return to Havannah with the return British and Colonial mails. The course of this boat would be,—to Vera Cruz, 800 miles, three and a half days; to Tampico and back, 360 miles, stopping two days, four days; Vera Cruz, back to Havannah, five and a half days; in all, thirteen days.
The route of the mail conveyance from Barbadoes to Jamaica, &c., by steamers, would therefore be:—
Geo. Miles. Days. Barbadoes to St. Thomas 430 2 St. Thomas to Jamaica, by Porto Rico, Cape Nichola, and St. Jago de Cuba 780 3-1/2 Jamaica to Havannah, by Cape Antonio 685 3 Stop at Havannah 2 Havannah to Jamaica, by Cape Antonio 685 4 Jamaica, Coals 1 Kingston to Cape Nichola Mole, by St. Jago 305 2 Cape Nichola Mole to St. Thomas, by P. Rico 480 3 St. Thomas, Coals 1 St. Thomas to Barbadoes, calling at all Islands 500 4 —— ——— Totals 3865 25-1/2 —— ———
Each steam-boat being thus twenty-two days, each trip, at sea. (p. 039)
Two powerful boats (240 or 250-horse power each), actively employed, carrying passengers, parcels, and packages, would do this work twice each month, with the addition of one spare one stationed at Barbadoes, or Jamaica; perhaps the former.
One powerful steam-boat (240-horse power) to leave Barbadoes immediately on the arrival of the outward British packet, for Demerara and Berbice, with the British and Colonial mails, and from the latter return to Barbadoes, having first carried the return mails to the packet at Grenada; thus:—Barbadoes to Berbice, 450 miles, landing mail at Demerara, three days; (the mail for Berbice might be forwarded from George Town, Demerara, by land;) stop at Berbice two days; to Grenada, calling at Demerara, Tobago, and St. Vincent's, for return mail, 490 miles, four days; back to Barbadoes, 150 miles, two days; in all, eleven days: taking with her the return mails from the Colonies at which she had called for Barbadoes, and having delivered the return European mails, and others, to the packet at Grenada.
On the arrival of the British packet at Barbadoes, a fast-sailing schooner to be despatched with the outward mails for Laguayra (dropping at St. Vincent's and Grenada the outward mails for these islands, which would be little trouble to it), and from Laguayra to proceed to St. Thomas, with the return mails for the packet, as at present, and thence return to Barbadoes direct. The route of this boat would be,—Barbadoes to Laguayra, calling first at St. Vincent's and Grenada, 510 miles, four days; stop there three days; and to St. Thomas, 490 miles, six days; to Barbadoes, eight days; in all, twenty-one days. Two schooners would do this work, giving two mails each month.
On the arrival of the British packet at Barbadoes, a fast-sailing schooner should be despatched, as at present, with the outward (p. 040) mails from Great Britain for St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Guadaloupe, Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts. The boat need proceed no further westward than St. Kitts, because the steamer from Barbadoes had carried forward the Tortola mails. From St. Kitts it will return to Barbadoes, calling at all the islands just enumerated, for the return Colonial mails. The route of this boat would be,—Barbadoes to St. Kitts, calling at the places mentioned, 370 miles, four days; and back to Barbadoes, six days; together, ten days.
On the eighth day after the arrival of the packet at Barbadoes (the despatch of this boat must always be so as to secure its arrival at St. Kitts before the packet), a schooner to be despatched with the return mails and passengers from that island, to pick up for the homeward-bound packet mails and passengers at St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Guadaloupe, Antigua, Montserrat, and Nevis, and give to or leave these for the packet at St. Kitts. From St. Kitts this boat returns to Barbadoes, calling at all the islands enumerated for the return Colonial mails. This boat will be the same time out as the one which carried the outward mails, namely, ten days.
[Footnote 5: If the packet is a steamer, these boats will be saved, because the steamer would save so much time as to enable it to call at all the islands northwards, to pick up the return mails.]
Two schooners will do the work on both the courses here pointed out as necessary, with two spare ones at Barbadoes, in case of the arrival of sailing packets on the heels of each other from Britain, to forward the mails for all the places mentioned, and for Laguayra, making in all eight schooners for this station. There are at present ten, or more.
Instead of remaining at Barbadoes nine days, as at present, doing nothing, the packet herself (whether steamer or sailing vessel) should, on the day after her arrival at that island, proceed with the outward mails to Tobago and Trinidad, delivering those for the former island, and proceeding thence direct to Trinidad, in two days, 230 miles. At Trinidad remain six days, thence with the return mails from it proceed to Grenada, where she will meet the return mails for Europe, brought there by the steamer from British Guiana, Tobago, and St Vincent's. With these collected, proceed on the tenth day from (p. 041) Grenada to St. Kitts, 330 miles, two and a half days. At that island pick up the European mails from the islands formerly enumerated, and thence with the whole proceed to St. Thomas, by Tortola, 140 miles, one and a half day more; in all, fourteen days from her arrival at Barbadoes to St. Thomas.
At St. Thomas, having all the mails from the Windward and Leeward Islands on board, and having there got the European mail from Laguayra, &c., the packet will proceed, on the fourteenth day, to the westward, calling at St John's, Porto Rico, for the return mail, and thence go on to Cape Nichola Mole, Hayti, 480 miles, three days. At this latter place receive all the European mails from the Bahamas, from Jamaica, Cuba, &c. &c., and thence, with the whole, on the seventeenth day, proceed direct, according as may be determined, to Fayal or to Falmouth, calling at Crooked Island to pick up the return mails from the Bahamas, if it shall be found that those cannot be got up in time by the sailing schooners to Cape Nichola Mole.
[Footnote 6: Whenever steamers are appointed to carry the mails from Falmouth to Barbadoes, the arrival of the packet at that island will be so regular, that Jamaica might be made (should this be considered advantageous) the headquarters, as it were, for the steamers in that quarter of the world. Four would then be sufficient for the work between Barbadoes and Vera Cruz; two to run between Jamaica and Vera Cruz, by the Havannah, and two between Jamaica and Barbadoes, by St. Thomas. The latter two would be each fifteen days at sea monthly, and the former two seventeen days, exclusive of partial stoppages; so that there would be abundance of time for rest and repairs. Further, under such circumstances, the packet with the European return mails would have time to run through the islands and pick up all the mails; meeting, on the second day after her departure from Trinidad, and on the ninth after reaching Barbadoes, at St. Lucia, the steamer from Guiana, with the Guiana, Tobago, and Barbadoes return mails; and proceeding onward through all the islands, to the northward and westward, St. Thomas and Porto Rico included, pass from that island through the Mona Passage, and call at Jacmel for a mail, reaching Jamaica in fourteen days. From thence starting without delay, and going by St. Jago de Cuba and Cape Nichola, leave the latter place on the seventeenth day for Fayal, exactly in the same time that it is calculated it could do under the other arrangement. But such an arrangement would render it difficult, perhaps impracticable, to get up the Laguayra mail to St. Thomas in time, it having only ten days for that purpose; and at the same time an additional expense for coals, at least for three days each packet or voyage (1800 tons, 2250l. yearly) would be required, being the time taken between Jamaica and Cape Nichola Mole.]
THE SECOND PACKET of the month, and all the steamers and schooners, to proceed exactly in a similar manner.
According to the proposed arrangement, these steam-boats would be actively employed thus:—
1008 days, yearly—Jamaica station 192 " " Demerara ditto. —— In all 1200 days, yearly. Coals, 30,000 tons.
Advantages. (p. 042)
I. There would, by these arrangements, be two mails each month to Great Britain from all places in the western Tropical Archipelago, or connected with it, which at present there are not.
II. Jamaica, with the requisite alterations in her internal mail communications, would have in all her western division seven and eight days, and in all her eastern division eight and nine days, to return answers by the packet with which she receives her European, &c. correspondence, of which she at present is deprived; Kingston and Spanish Town alone being able, under the present regulations, to do so.
III. Porto Rico, All Cuba, the more important parts of Hayti, and all the western coasts of South America, would, by these arrangements, be brought immediately and completely within the range of the British Post-office, most of which places at present are not.
IV. By this arrangement all British Guiana would be enabled to reply to all its European and Colonial correspondence by the same packet, but which at present they have it not in their power to do.
V. The inhabitants of Trinidad would get sufficient time to receive and to reply to their letters by the same packet. From the Naparima and other distant quarters they cannot at present do so.
VI. The whole of the British Windward and Leeward Island Colonies (p. 043) would have regularly, and nearly every week, post communications with each other and with Barbadoes, instead of being, as at present, weeks together without such communications.
VII. This arrangement would be more agreeable, convenient, and advantageous to passengers from Demerara, &c. for the packet for England, and also amongst the Colonies, and consequently more advantageous to all interested in the packets.
VIII. The same may be said with regard to passengers in every part of the Western Archipelago. The frequency and regularity of the conveyances would greatly add to the number of travellers, and also greatly increase the number of letters sent and received, and consequently augment the Post-office revenue to an amount greatly beyond what it now is.
IX. By this arrangement the packet itself would always be out of any danger, which, it is well known, she incurs by laying at Barbadoes, an unsheltered place at all times, but peculiarly dangerous in the hurricane months. In the route pointed out she would be nearly free from the sphere of all such dangers and tempests.
X. By this arrangement the communications, both to the Government and to individuals, would be more safe, and regular, and frequent than they now are with every quarter of the Western World; an object of great importance to all, but more especially to the British Government.
XI. By this arrangement six Mexican packets, which cost Government, say 4200l. each (25,200l. per annum), would be wholly saved.
XII. Departing from Cape Nichola Mole, instead of St. Thomas, for Falmouth, does not increase the distance in the voyage to England above 310 miles,—about two days' sail; moreover, it may be remarked, the packet at present scarcely ever leaves St. Thomas for England earlier than on the nineteenth day, and sometimes even longer. Thus,—Steam-boat to Jamaica, eight days, four days there, and seven to St. Thomas even in favourable voyages.
XIII. Great Britain, by thus possessing all the channels of communication in the Western Archipelago, would thereby secure the principal political influence therein; but which will otherwise, and in a very short period hence, go into the hands of the United States, now earnestly looking about and proceeding to acquire and to (p. 044) extend the same in that quarter of the world.
XIV. The expenses as regards this plan, would, for the West Indies, not be greater than for the present establishment in that quarter, the Mexican packets included; while the communications with several places would be doubled.
XV. The whole correspondence of the United States, with every quarter of America, to the south of these States, would be brought by the General Plan within the range of the Post Office of Great Britain. There would, moreover, be two mails each month between Great Britain and the eastern coast of South America.