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Ocean Steam Navigation and the Ocean Post
by Thomas Rainey
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OCEAN STEAM NAVIGATION

AND THE

OCEAN POST.

BY THOMAS RAINEY.

NEW-YORK: D. APPLETON & CO., 346 & 348 BROADWAY. TRUBNER & CO., PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

1858.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by JOHN GLENN RAINEY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New-York.



DEDICATED,

IN TOKEN OF

RESPECT AND ESTEEM,

TO THE

HON. AARON VENABLE BROWN

POST MASTER GENERAL

OF THE

UNITED STATES.



Reprinted 1977 by Eastern Press, Inc. New Haven, Conn.

Published by Edward N. Lipson

Distributed by a Gatherin' Post Office Box 175 Wynantskill, N.Y. 12198



PREFACE.

In offering to the Government and the public this little volume on Ocean Steam Navigation and the Ocean Post, I am conscious of my inability to present any new views on a subject that has engaged the attention of many of the most gifted statesmen and economists of this country and Europe. There is, however, no work, so far as I am informed, in any country, which treats of Marine Steam Navigation in its commercial, political, economic, social, and diplomatic bearings, or discusses so far the theory and practice of navigation as to develop the cost and difficulties attending high speed on the ocean, or the large expense incurred in a rapid, regular, and reliable transport of the foreign mails.

It has been repeatedly suggested to the undersigned by members of Congress, and particularly by some of the members of the committees on the Post Office and Post Roads in the Senate and House of Representatives, that there was no reliable statement, such as that which I have endeavored to furnish, on the general topics connected with trans-marine steam navigation, to which those not specially informed on the subject, could refer for the settlement of the many disputed points brought before Congress and the Departments. It is represented that there are many conflicting statements regarding the capabilities of ocean steam; the cost of running vessels; the consumption of fuel; the extent and costliness of repairs; the depreciation of vessels; the cost of navigating them; the attendant incidental expenses; the influence of ocean mails in promoting trade; the wants of commercial communities; the adaptation of the mail vessels to the war service; the rights of private enterprise; and the ability of ocean steamers generally to support themselves on their own receipts.

While this is true, there is no work on this general subject to which persons can refer for the authoritative settlement of any of these points, either absolutely or proximately; and while a simple statement of facts, acknowledged by all steamship-men, may tend to dispel much misapprehension on this interesting subject, it will also be not unprofitable, I trust, to review some of the prominent arguments on which the mail steamship system is based. That system should stand or fall on its own merits or demerits alone; and to be permanent, it must be based on the necessities of the community, and find its support in the common confidence of all classes. I have long considered a wise, liberal, and extended steam mail system vitally essential to the commerce of the country, and to the continued prosperity and power of the American Union. Yet, I am thoroughly satisfied that this very desirable object can never be attained by private enterprise, or otherwise than through the direct pecuniary agency and support of the General Government. The abandonment of our ocean steam mail system is impossible so long as we are an active, enterprising, and commercial people. And so far from the service becoming self-supporting, it is probable that it will never be materially less expensive than at the present time.

It has been my constant endeavor to give the best class of authorities on all the points of engineering which I have introduced, as that regarding the cost of steam and high mail speed; and to this end I have recently visited England and France, and endeavored to ascertain the practice in those countries, especially in Great Britain.

I desire to return my sincere acknowledgments for many courtesies received from Mr. Charles Atherton, of London, England; Robert Murray, Esq., Southampton; and Hon. Horatio King, of Washington, D. C.

THOMAS RAINEY.

New-York, December 9, 1857.



THE ARGUMENT.

1. Assumed (Section I.) that steam mails upon the ocean control the commerce and diplomacy of the world; that they are essential to our commercial and producing country; that we have not established the ocean mail facilities commensurate with our national ability and the demands of our commerce; and that we to-day are largely dependent on, and tributary to our greatest commercial rival, Great Britain, for the postal facilities, which should be purely national, American, and under our own exclusive control:

2. Assumed (Section II.) that fast ocean mails are exceedingly desirable for our commerce, our defenses, our diplomacy, the management of our squadrons, our national standing, and that they are demanded by our people at large:

3. Assumed (Section III.) that fast steamers alone can furnish rapid transport to the mails; that these steamers can not rely on freights; that sailing vessels will ever carry staple freights at a much lower figure, and sufficiently quickly; that while steam is eminently successful in the coasting trade, it can not possibly be so in the transatlantic freighting business; and that the rapid transit of the mails, and the slower and more deliberate transport of freight is the law of nature:

4. Assumed (Section IV.) that high, adequate mail speed is extremely costly, in the prime construction of vessels, their repairs, and their more numerous employees; that the quantity of fuel consumed is enormous, and ruinous to unaided private enterprise; and that this is clearly proven both by theory and indisputable facts as well as by the concurrent testimony of the ablest writers on ocean steam navigation:

5. Assumed (Section V.) that ocean mail steamers can not live on their own receipts; that neither the latest nor the anticipated improvements in steam shipping promise any change in this fact; that self-support is not likely to be attained by increasing the size of steamers; that the propelling power in fast steamers occupies all of the available space not devoted to passengers and express freight; and that steamers must be fast to do successful mail and profitable passenger service:

6. Assumed (Section VI.) that sailing vessels can not successfully transport the mails; that the propeller can not transport them as rapidly or more cheaply than side-wheel vessels; that with any considerable economy of fuel and other running expenses, it is but little faster than the sailing vessel; that to patronize these slow vessels with the mails, the Government would unjustly discriminate against sailing vessels in the transport of freights; that we can not in any sense depend on the vessels of the Navy for the transport of the mails; that individual enterprise can not support fast steamers; and that not even American private enterprise can under any conditions furnish a sufficiently rapid steam mail and passenger marine: then,

7. Conceded (Section VII.) that it is the duty of the Government to its people to establish and maintain an extensive, well-organized, and rapid steam mail marine, for the benefit of production, commerce, diplomacy, defenses, the public character, and the general interests of all classes; that our people appreciate the importance of commerce, and are willing to pay for liberal postal facilities; that our trade has greatly suffered for the want of ocean mails; that we have been forced to neglect many profitable branches of industry, and many large fields of effort; and that there is positively no means of gaining and maintaining commercial ascendency except through an ocean steam mail system:

8. Conceded (Section VIII.) that the Government can discharge the clear and unquestionable duty of establishing foreign mail facilities, only by paying liberal prices for the transport of the mails for a long term of years, by creating and sustaining an ocean postal system, by legislating upon it systematically, and by abandoning our slavish dependence upon Great Britain:

9. Conceded (Section IX.) that the British ocean mail system attains greater perfection and extent every year; that instead of becoming self-supporting, it costs the treasury more and more every year; that English statesmen regard its benefits as far outweighing the losses to the treasury; that so far from abandoning, they are regularly and systematically increasing it; that it was never regarded by the whole British public with more favor, than at the present time; that it is evidently one of the most enduring institutions of the country; that it necessitates a similar American system; that without it our people are denied the right and privilege of competition; and that we are thus far by no means adequately prepared for that competition, or for our own development.

Section X. notices each of the American lines, and presents many facts corroborating the views advanced in the preceding sections.

PAPER A.

Paper A (page 192) enumerates all the Steamers of the United States.

PAPER B.

Paper B (page 193) gives a list of all the British Ocean Mail Lines.

PAPER C.

Paper C (page 198) presents Projet of Franco-American Navigation.

PAPER D.

Paper D (page 199) gives the Steam Lines between Europe and America.

PAPER E.

Paper E (page 200) gives many extracts from eminent statesmen, corroborating views herein advanced.

PAPER F.

Paper F (page 219) gives the Steam Lines of the whole world.

PAPER G.

Paper G (page 220) American Mail Lines: Letter of Hon. Horatio King.

PAPER H.

Paper H (page 221) List of British, French, and American Navies.



HEADS OF ARGUMENT.

SECTION I.

PRESENT POSITION OF STEAM NAVIGATION.

THE SPLENDID TRIUMPHS OF STEAM: IT IS THE MOST EFFICIENT MEANS OF NATIONAL PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT: THE FORERUNNER OF CIVILIZATION: IMPORTANT TO THE UNITED STATES AS AN AGRICULTURAL, MANUFACTURING, AND COMMERCIAL COUNTRY: NATURE OF OUR PEOPLE: MARITIME SPIRIT: VARIOUS COMMERCIAL COUNTRIES: OURS MOST ADVANTAGEOUSLY SITUATED: THE DESTINY OF AMERICAN COMMERCE: OUR COMMERCIAL RIVALS: GREAT BRITAIN: SHE RESISTS US BY STEAM AND DIPLOMACY: OUR POSITION: MOST APPROVED INSTRUMENTS OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: PORTUGAL AND HOLLAND: ENGLAND'S WISE STEAM POLICY: LIBERAL VIEWS OF HER STATESMEN: EXTENT OF HER MAIL SERVICE: HER IMMENSE STEAM MARINE, OF 2,161 STEAMERS: OUR CONTRAST: OUR DEPENDENCE ON GREAT BRITAIN: THE UNITED STATES MAIL AND COMMERCIAL STEAM MARINE IN FULL: A MOST UNFAVORABLE COMPARISON.

SECTION II.

NECESSITY OF RAPID STEAM MAILS.

ARE OCEAN STEAM MAILS DESIRABLE AND NECESSARY FOR A COMMERCIAL PEOPLE? THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE DEMANDS THEM: MUTUAL DEPENDENCE OF NATIONS: FAST MAILS NECESSARY TO CONTROL SLOW FREIGHTS: THE FOREIGN POST OF EVERY NATION IS MORE OR LESS SELFISH: IF WE NEGLECT APPROVED METHODS, WE ARE THEREBY SUBORDINATED TO THE SKILL OF OTHERS: THE WANT OF A FOREIGN POST IS A NATIONAL CALAMITY: OTHER NATIONS CAN NOT AFFORD US DUE FACILITIES: WARS AND ACCIDENTS FORBID: THE CRIMEA AND THE INDIES AN EXAMPLE: MANY OF OUR FIELDS OF COMMERCE NEED A POST: BRAZIL, THE WEST-INDIES, AND PACIFIC SOUTH-AMERICA: MAILS TO THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE BY THE NUMEROUS CUNARD VESSELS: CORRESPONDENCE WITH AFRICA, CHINA, THE EAST-INDIES, THE MAURITIUS, AND AUSTRALIA: SLAVISH DEPENDENCE ON GREAT BRITAIN: DESIRABLE FOR OUR DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR SERVICE: FOR THE CONTROL OF OUR SQUADRONS: CASES OF SUFFERING: NECESSARY FOR DEFENSE: FOR CULTIVATING FRIENDLY RELATIONS AND OPENING TRADE: THE ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH WILL REQUIRE FASTER AND HEAVIER MAILS: OUR COMMERCE REQUIRES FAST STEAMERS FOR THE RAPID AND EASY TRANSIT OF PASSENGERS: MODES OF BENEFITING COMMERCE.

SECTION III.

THE CAPABILITIES OF OCEAN STEAM.

THE COMMERCIAL CAPABILITIES OF OCEAN STEAM: STEAM MAILS ARRIVE AND DEPART AT ABSOLUTELY FIXED PERIODS: UNCERTAINTY IS HAZARDOUS AND COSTLY: SUBSIDIZED STEAMERS GIVE A NECESSARILY HIGH SPEED TO THE MAILS: MONEY CAN NOT AFFORD TO LIE UPON THE OCEAN FOR WEEKS: COMPARED WITH SAIL: STEAMERS TRANSPORT CERTAIN CLASSES OF FREIGHT: THE HAVRE AND THE CUNARD LINES: THE CUNARD PROPELLERS: STEAMERS CAN AFFORD TO TRANSPORT EXPRESS PACKAGES AND GOODS: GOODS TAKEN ONLY TO FILL UP: WHY PROPELLERS ARE CHEAPER IN SOME CASES: STEAM IN SOME CASES CHEAPER THAN THE WIND: AN ESTIMATE: THE PROPELLER FOR COASTING: STEAM ON ITS OWN RECEIPTS HAS NOT SUCCEEDED ON THE OCEAN: MARINE AND FLUVIAL NAVIGATION COMPARED: MOST FREIGHTS NOT TRANSPORTABLE BY STEAM ON ANY CONDITIONS: AUXILIARY FREIGHTING AND EMIGRANT PROPELLERS: LAWS OF TRANSPORT: RAPID MAILS AND LEISURE TRANSPORT OF FREIGHT THE LAW OF NATURE: THE PRICE OF COALS RAPIDLY INCREASING: ANTICIPATED IMPROVEMENTS AND CHEAPENING IN MARINE PROPULSION NOT REALIZED.

SECTION IV.

COST OF STEAM: OCEAN MAIL SPEED.

MISAPPREHENSION OF THE HIGH COST OF STEAM MARINE PROPULSION: VIEWS OF THE NON-PROFESSIONAL: HIGH SPEED NECESSARY FOR THE DISTANCES IN OUR COUNTRY: WHAT IS THE COST OF HIGH ADEQUATE MAIL SPEED: FAST STEAMERS REQUIRE STRONGER PARTS IN EVERY THING: GREATER OUTLAY IN PRIME COST: MORE FREQUENT AND COSTLY REPAIRS: MORE WATCHFULNESS AND MEN: MORE COSTLY FUEL, ENGINEERS, FIREMEN, AND COAL-PASSERS: GREAT STRENGTH OF HULL REQUIRED: ALSO IN ENGINES, BOILERS, AND PARTS: WHY THE PRIME COST INCREASES: THEORY OF REPAIRS: FRICTION AND BREAKAGES: BOILERS AND FURNACES BURNING OUT: REPAIRS TWELVE TO EIGHTEEN PER CENT: DEPRECIATION: SEVERAL LINES CITED: USES FOR MORE MEN: EXTRA FUEL, AND LESS FREIGHT-ROOM: BRITISH TRADE AND COAL CONSUMPTION.

THE NATURAL LAWS OF RESISTANCE, POWER, AND SPEED, WITH TABLE: THE RESISTANCE VARIES AS IS THE SQUARE OF THE VELOCITY: THE POWER, OR FUEL, VARIES AS THE CUBE OF THE VELOCITY: THE RATIONALE: AUTHORITIES CITED IN PROOF OF THE LAW: EXAMPLES, AND THE FORMULAE: COAL-TABLE; NO. I.: QUANTITY OF FUEL FOR DIFFERENT SPEEDS AND DISPLACEMENTS: DEDUCTIONS FROM THE TABLE: RATES AT WHICH INCREASED SPEED INCREASES THE CONSUMPTION OF FUEL: CONSUMPTION FOR VESSELS OF 2,500, 3,000, AND 6,000 TONS DISPLACEMENT: COAL-TABLE; NO. II.: FREIGHT-TABLE; NO. III.: AS SPEED AND POWER INCREASE, FREIGHT AND PASSENGER ROOM DECREASE: FREIGHT AND FARE REDUCED: SPEED OF VARIOUS LINES: FREIGHT-COST: COAL AND CARGO; NO. IV.: MR. ATHERTON'S VIEWS OF FREIGHT TRANSPORT.

SECTION V.

OCEAN MAIL STEAMERS CAN NOT LIVE ON THEIR OWN RECEIPTS.

INCREASE OF BRITISH MAIL SERVICE: LAST NEW LINE AT $925,000 PER YEAR: THE SYSTEM NOT BECOMING SELF-SUPPORTING: CONTRACT RENEWALS AT SAME OR HIGHER PRICES: PRICE OF FUEL AND WAGES INCREASED FASTER THAN ENGINE IMPROVEMENTS: LARGE SHIPS RUN PROPORTIONALLY CHEAPER THAN SMALL: AN EXAMPLE, WITH THE FIGURES: THE STEAMER "LEVIATHAN," 27,000 TONS: STEAMERS OF THIS CLASS WILL NOT PAY: SHE CAN NOT TRANSPORT FREIGHT TO AUSTRALIA: REASONS FOR THE SAME: MOTION HER NORMAL CONDITION: MUST NOT BE MADE A DOCK: DELIVERY OF FREIGHTS: MAMMOTH STEAMERS TO BRAZIL: LARGE CLIPPERS LIE IDLE: NOT EVEN THIS LARGE CLASS OF STEAMERS CAN LIVE ON THEIR OWN RECEIPTS: EFFICIENT MAIL STEAMERS CARRY BUT LITTLE EXCEPT PASSENGERS: SOME HEAVY EXTRA EXPENSES IN REGULAR MAIL LINES: PACIFIC MAIL COMPANY'S LARGE EXTRA FLEET, AND ITS EFFECTS: THE IMMENSE ACCOUNT OF ITEMS AND EXTRAS: A PARTIAL LIST: THE HAVRE AND COLLINS DOCKS: GREAT EXPENSE OF FEEDING PASSENGERS: VIEWS OF MURRAY AND ATHERTON ON THE COST OF RUNNING STEAMERS, AND THE NECESSITY OF THE PRESENT MAIL SERVICE.

SECTION VI.

HOW CAN MAIL SPEED BE ATTAINED?

THE TRANSMARINE COMPARED WITH THE INLAND POST: OUR PAST SPASMODIC EFFORTS: NEED SOME SYSTEM: FRANCE AROUSED TO STEAM: THE SAILING-SHIP MAIL: THE NAVAL STEAM MAIL: THE PRIVATE ENTERPRISE MAIL: ALL INADEQUATE AND ABANDONED: GREAT BRITAIN'S EXPERIENCE IN ALL THESE METHODS: NAVAL VESSELS CAN NOT BE ADAPTED TO THE MAIL SERVICE: WILL PROPELLERS MEET THE WANTS OF MAIL TRANSPORT, WITH OR WITHOUT SUBSIDY? POPULAR ERRORS REGARDING THE PROPELLER: ITS ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES: BOURNE'S OPINION: ROBERT MURRAY: PROPELLERS TOO OFTEN ON THE DOCKS: THEY ARE VERY DISAGREEABLE PASSENGER VESSELS: IF PROPELLERS RUN MORE CHEAPLY IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE SLOWER: COMPARED WITH SAIL: UNPROFITABLE STOCK: CROSKEY'S LINE: PROPELLERS LIVE ON CHANCES AND CHARTERS: IRON IS A MATERIAL: SENDING THE MAILS BY SLOW PROPELLERS WOULD BE AN UNFAIR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SAILING VESSELS: INDIVIDUAL ENTERPRISE CAN NOT SUPPLY MAIL FACILITIES: THEREFORE IT IS THE DUTY OF THE GOVERNMENT.

SECTION VII.

WHAT IS THE DUTY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO THE PEOPLE?

RESUME OF THE PREVIOUS SECTIONS AND ARGUMENTS: IT IS THE DUTY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH RAPID STEAM MAILS: OUR PEOPLE APPRECIATE THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMERCE, AND OF LIBERAL POSTAL FACILITIES: THE GOVERNMENT IS ESTABLISHED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE: IT MUST FOSTER THEIR INTERESTS AND DEVELOP THEIR INDUSTRY: THE WANT OF SUCH MAILS HAS CAUSED THE NEGLECT OF MANY PROFITABLE BRANCHES OF INDUSTRY: AS A CONSEQUENCE WE HAVE LOST IMMENSE TRAFFIC: THE EUROPEAN MANUFACTURING SYSTEM AND OURS: FIELDS OF TRADE NATURALLY PERTAINING TO US: OUR ALMOST SYSTEMATIC NEGLECT OF THEM: WHY IS GREAT BRITAIN'S COMMERCE SO LARGE: CAUSES AND THEIR EFFECTS: HER WEST-INDIA LINE RECEIVES A LARGER SUBSIDY THAN ALL THE FOREIGN LINES OF THE UNITED STATES COMBINED: INDIFFERENCE SHOWN BY CONGRESS TO MANY IMPORTANT FIELDS OF COMMERCE: INSTANCES OF MAIL FACILITIES CREATING LARGE TRADE: THE PENINSULAR AND ORIENTAL COMPANY'S TESTIMONY: THE BRITISH AND BRAZILIAN TRADE: SOME DEDUCTIONS FROM THE FIGURES: CALIFORNIA SHORN OF HALF HER GLORY: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT MISERS: THEY WISH THEIR OWN PUBLIC TREASURE EXPENDED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THEIR INDUSTRY: OUR COMMERCIAL CLASSES COMPLAIN THAT THEY ARE DEPRIVED OF THE PRIVILEGE OF COMPETING WITH OTHER NATIONS.

SECTION VIII.

HOW SHALL THE GOVERNMENT DISCHARGE THIS DUTY?

WE NEED A STEAM MAIL SYSTEM: HOW OUR LINES HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED: AMERICAN AND BRITISH POLICY CONTRASTED: SPASMODIC AND ENDURING LEGISLATION: MR. POLK'S ADMINISTRATION ENDEAVORED TO INAUGURATE A POLICY: GEN. RUSK ENDEAVORED TO EXTEND IT: THE TERM OF SERVICE TOO SHORT: COMPANIES SHOULD HAVE LONGER PERIODS: A LEGISLATION OF EXPEDIENTS: MUST SUBSIDIZE PRIVATE COMPANIES FOR A LONG TERM OF YEARS: SHOULD WE GIVE TO OUR POSTAL VESSELS THE NAVAL FEATURE: OUR MAIL LINES GAVE AN IMPULSE TO SHIP-BUILDING: LET US HAVE STEAM MAILS ON THEIR MERITS: NO NAVAL FEATURE SUBTERFUGES: THESE VESSELS HIGHLY USEFUL IN WAR: THEY LIBERALLY SUPPLY THE NAVY WITH EXPERIENCED ENGINEERS WHEN NECESSARY: THE BRITISH MAIL PACKETS GENERALLY FIT FOR WAR SERVICE: LORD CANNING'S REPORT: EXPEDIENTS PROPOSED FOR CARRYING THE MAILS: BY FOREIGN INSTEAD OF AMERICAN VESSELS: DEGRADING EXPEDIENCY AND SUBSERVIENCY: WE CAN NOT SECURE MAIL SERVICE BY GIVING THE GROSS RECEIPTS: THE GENERAL TREASURY SHOULD PAY FOR THE TRANSMARINE POST: REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW CONTRACTS: METHOD OF MAKING CONTRACTS: THE LOWEST BIDDER AND THE LAND SERVICE: THE OCEAN SERVICE VERY DIFFERENT: BUT LITTLE UNDERSTOOD: LOWEST-BIDDER SYSTEM FAILURES: SENATOR RUSK'S OPINION: INJURIOUS EFFECTS OF LOWEST BIDDER: INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS AND RIGHTS.

SECTION IX.

THE BRITISH SYSTEM, AND ITS RESULTS.

STEAM MAIL SYSTEM INAUGURATED AS THE PROMOTER OF WEALTH, POWER, AND CIVILIZATION: THE EFFECT OF THE SYSTEM ON COMMERCE: THE LONG PERIOD DESIGNATED FOR THE EXPERIMENT: NEW LINES, WHEN, HOW, AND WHY ESTABLISHED: THE WORKINGS OF THE SYSTEM: FIRST CONTRACT MADE IN 1833, LIVERPOOL AND ISLE OF MAN: WITH ROTTERDAM IN 1834: FALMOUTH AND GIBRALTAR, 1837: ABERDEEN, SHETLAND, AND ORKNEYS, 1840: THE "SAVANNAH," THE FIRST OCEAN STEAMER: THE SIRIUS AND GREAT WESTERN: CUNARD CONTRACT MADE IN 1839: EXTRA PAY "WITHIN CERTAIN LIMITS:" MALTA, ALEXANDRIA, SUEZ, EAST-INDIES, AND CHINA IN 1840: THE PENINSULAR AND ORIENTAL COMPANY: WEST-INDIA SERVICE ESTABLISHED IN 1840: POINTS TOUCHED AT: PROVISIONAL EXTRA PAY: PANAMA AND VALPARAISO LINE ESTABLISHED IN 1845: HOLYHEAD AND KINGSTON IN 1848: ALSO THE CHANNEL ISLANDS: WEST COAST OF AFRICA AND CAPE OF GOOD HOPE IN 1852: CALCUTTA VIA THE CAPE IN 1852, AND ABANDONED: PLYMOUTH, SYDNEY, AND NEW SOUTH WALES ALSO IN 1852, AND ABANDONED: INVESTIGATION OF 1851 AND 1853, AND NEW AUSTRALIAN CONTRACT IN 1856: HALIFAX, NEWFOUNDLAND, BERMUDA, AND ST. THOMAS IN 1850: NEW-YORK AND BERMUDA SOON DISCONTINUED: COMPARISON OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN SUBSIDIES, RATES PER MILE, TOTAL DISTANCES, AND POSTAL INCOME: THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT PAYS HIGHER SUBSIDIES THAN THE AMERICAN: WORKINGS AND INCREASE OF THE BRITISH SERVICE: GEN. RUSK'S VIEWS: SPEECH OF HON T. B. KING: COMMITTEE OF INVESTIGATION, 1849: NEW INVESTIGATION ORDERED IN 1853, AND INSTRUCTIONS: LORD CANNING'S REPORT AND ITS RECOMMENDATIONS: GREAT BRITAIN WILL NOT ABANDON HER MAIL SYSTEM: THE NEW AUSTRALIAN LINE: TESTIMONY OF ATHERTON AND MURRAY: MANY EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORT: STEAM INDISPENSABLE: NOT SELF-SUPPORTING: THE MAIL RECEIPTS WILL NOT PAY FOR IT: RESULT OF THE WHOLE SYSTEM: ANOTHER NEW SERVICE TO INDIA AND CHINA: SHALL WE RUN THE POSTAL AND COMMERCIAL RACE WITH GREAT BRITAIN? CANADA AND THE INDIES.

SECTION X.

THE MAIL LINES OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE MAIL LINES OF THE UNITED STATES: THE HAVRE AND BREMEN, THE PIONEERS: THE BREMEN SERVICE RECENTLY GIVEN TO MR. VANDERBILT: BOTH LINES RUN ON THE GROSS RECEIPTS: THE CALIFORNIA LINES: WONDROUS DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PACIFIC POSSESSIONS: THE PACIFIC MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY: ITS HISTORY, SERVICES, LARGE MATERIEL, AND USEFULNESS: THE UNITED STATES MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY: ITS RAMIFIED AND LARGE EXTRA SERVICE: EFFECT UPON THE COMMERCE OF THE GULF: ITS HEAVY LOSSES, AND NEW SHIPS: STEAMSHIP STOCKS GENERALLY AVOIDED: CONSTANTLY FAR BELOW PAR: THE COLLINS LINE: A COMPARISON WITH THE CUNARD: ITS SOURCES OF HEAVY OUTLAY, AND ITS ENTERPRISE: THE AMERICAN MARINE DISASTERS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN PREVENTED BY HUMAN FORESIGHT; THE VANDERBILT BREMEN LINE: THE CHARLESTON AND HAVANA LINE.



SECTION I.

PRESENT POSITION OF STEAM NAVIGATION.

THE SPLENDID TRIUMPHS OF STEAM: IT IS THE MOST EFFICIENT MEANS OF NATIONAL PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT: THE FORERUNNER OF CIVILIZATION: IMPORTANT TO THE UNITED STATES AS AN AGRICULTURAL, MANUFACTURING, AND COMMERCIAL COUNTRY: NATURE OF OUR PEOPLE: MARITIME SPIRIT: VARIOUS COMMERCIAL COUNTRIES: OURS MOST ADVANTAGEOUSLY SITUATED: THE DESTINY OF AMERICAN COMMERCE: OUR COMMERCIAL RIVALS: GREAT BRITAIN: SHE RESISTS US BY STEAM AND DIPLOMACY: OUR POSITION: MOST APPROVED INSTRUMENTS OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: PORTUGAL AND HOLLAND: ENGLAND'S WISE STEAM POLICY: LIBERAL VIEWS OF HER STATESMEN: EXTENT OF HER MAIL SERVICE: HER IMMENSE STEAM MARINE, OF 2,161 STEAMERS: OUR CONTRAST: OUR DEPENDENCE ON GREAT BRITAIN: THE UNITED STATES MAIL AND COMMERCIAL STEAM MARINE IN FULL: A MOST UNFAVORABLE COMPARISON.

The agreeable and responsible duty of developing and regulating the most important discovery of modern times, and the greatest material force known to men, has been committed to the present generation. The progress of Steam, from the days of its first application to lifting purposes, through all of its gradations of application to railway locomotion and steamboat and steamship propulsion down to the present time, has been a series of splendid and highly useful triumphs, alike creditable to the genius of its promoters, and profitable to the nations which have adopted it. However great the progress of the world, or the prosperity of commercial nations prior to its introduction, it can not be doubted that it now constitutes the largest, surest, and most easily available means of progress, prosperity, and power known to civilized nations; or that the development, wealth, and independence of any country will be in the ratio of the application of steam to all of the ordinary purposes of life. It has been canonized among the sacred elements of national power, and commissioned as the great laborer of the age. Every civilized nation has adopted it as the best means of interior development, and as almost the only forerunner of commerce and communication with the outer world. It has thus become an indispensable necessity of every day life, whether by land or by sea, to the producer, the consumer, the merchant, the manufacturer, the artisan, the pleasure-seeker, the statesman, and the state itself, to public liberty, and to the peace of the world.

The existence of an agent of so great power and influence, is necessarily a fact of unusual significance to a nation like the United States, which combines within itself in a high degree, the three most important interests, of large Agricultural and Mineral Productions, extensive and increasing Manufactures, and an immense Foreign Commerce and Domestic Trade. Our country is essentially commercial in its tastes and tendencies; our people are, as a result of our common schools, bold, inquiring, and enterprising; and our constitution and laws are well calculated to produce a nation of restless and vigorous merchants, traders, and travellers. Foreign commerce is a necessity of our large and redundant agricultural production. Our extended sea-coast, and necessarily large coasting-trade between the States, have begotten an unbounded spirit of maritime adventure. The ample material, and other facilities for building vessels, have also contributed to this end. As capable as any people on earth of running vessels and conducting mercantile enterprise, we have found foreign commerce a profitable field for the investment of labor, intelligence, and capital.

There is scarcely any field of trade in the world which we are not naturally better calculated to occupy than any other country. Most of the great commercial nations employ their ships as common carriers for other nations, and limit their exports to manufactures alone. Great Britain is an example of this. She exports no products of the soil, for very obvious reasons. The exports of France partake of the same general character, domestic manufactures, with a small portion of the products of the soil. So, also, with the German States and Holland. The United States, to the contrary, have an immense export trade in the products of the soil. These exports have the advantage of embracing every production of the temperate zone, and some few of the more profitable of those of the torrid. These constitute a large source of wealth, and are daily increasing in quantity, value, and importance. Combined with the manufactured productions of the country, and the yield of the mines, they require a large amount of shipping, which, extending to nearly all nations, opens a diversified and rich field of trade. The exchanges of production between our own and other countries, are, consequently, very large and general, and must continue to increase to an indefinite extent, as the States and Territories of the Union fill up, and as the various new and opening branches of domestic industry develop and mature.

The extent which this trade will reach in a few generations, its aggregate value, and the influence which it will wield over the world if judiciously and energetically promoted, and if wisely protected against encroachment from abroad, and embarrassment at home, no human foresight can predict or adequately imagine. With a larger field of operations, at home and abroad, than any nation ever possessed before, with the pacific commercial policy of the age, and with the aids of science, the telegraph, and steam to urge it on, American Commerce has opened before it a glorious career and an imposing responsibility.

But the conquests of this commerce are not to be the bloodless victories of power unopposed; not the result of bold adventure without check, or of simply American enterprise without the Government's aid. Our foe is a wary, well-scarred, and well-tried old warrior, who has the unequalled wisdom of experience, and the patient courage that has triumphed over many defeats. The field has been in his hands for ten generations, and he knows every byway, every marsh, every foot of defense, and the few inassailable points to be preserved and guarded. Great Britain, particularly, knows how essential is a large general commerce for opening a market for her manufactures. She is dependent on those manufactures, and upon the carrying trade of the world for a living; and she fosters and protects them not alone by the reputed and well-known individual enterprise and energy of her people, but by a wise and forecasting policy of state, a mighty and irresistible naval and military array, a wisely concerted, liberal, well-arranged, and long-pursued steam system, and prompt, unflinching protection of British subjects in their rights throughout the world.

Great Britain is prepared to resist our commercial progress, as she has already done, step by step, by all the means within her power. She has wisely brought steam to her aid, and now has a system of long standing at last well matured. Her diplomacy has ever been conspicuous throughout the world, for ability and zeal, whether in the ministerial or consular service, and for its persistent advocacy of British rights in trade as well as for its machinations against the extension of the commerce or the power of this country. Such action on the part of any wise rival nation is naturally to be expected; and all that we can object to is that, seeing this policy and its inevitable tendency, our country should stand still and suffer her trade to be paralyzed and wrested from her, without an effort to relieve it, or the employment of any of those commercial agencies and facilities which experience shows to be all-efficient in such cases. It is utter folly for us to maintain a simply passive competition; we must either progress or retrograde. It is wrong to be willing to occupy a secondary place, when nature and the common wants of the world so clearly indicate that we should occupy the first; for if, as before assumed, foreign commerce is our destiny, and if we can not accomplish our highest capabilities except by commerce, then if we ever attain our true dignity and station as a nation, it must be by enlarging, liberalizing, strengthening, and encouraging our foreign trade, by all of the proper, efficient, and honorable means within our power. It is the duty of the Government, both to itself and to its citizens. (See Section VII.)

The history of commercial nations admonishes us that no trading people can long maintain their ascendency without using all of the most approved means of the age for prosecuting trade. Portugal was at one time the most powerful commercial nation of the globe; and at another Holland was the mistress of the seas. But while the latter is now only a fourth-rate commercial power, the former has sunk into obscurity, and is nearly forgotten of men. At that time England and France had but a limited foreign trade and scarcely any commercial reputation. France could more easily maintain her existence without a foreign trade, than could England; and yet her matured manufactures and her products of the soil became so valuable that she sought a foreign market. England, to the contrary, had not territory enough to remain at home, and yet be a great power. She matured an immense manufacturing system, and needed a market, as well as the raw material, and food for her operatives. She began to stretch her arms to the outer world, and had made very considerable strides in foreign commerce side by side with France and the German States, and in the face of the steady young opposition of the American States.

It now became a contest for supremacy. Her large navy had enabled her to conquer important foreign territories, which with the supremacy of the seas would make her the mistress of the world. France was still her equal rival, and the United States were becoming formidable common carriers, although they had but little legitimate commerce of their own, and none that was under their positive control. The commercial men of England finding their statesmen ready to aid them in their efforts for national progress, wealth, and glory, directed their attention to steam as an agent of supremacy and power, both in the Navy and the Commercial Marine. They indicated and proved the necessity of drawing the bonds between them and foreign countries more closely; of shortening the distances between them; of providing the means of rapid, safe, and comfortable transit of English merchants between their homes and foreign lands; of regular, rapid, reliable British steam mails to every point with which Englishmen had business, or could create it; and of government agency as the only means by which this desirable, this essential service could be rendered to commerce and to the country. They readily saw that rapid and reliable passenger facilities, and the rapid and regular transmission of commercial and diplomatic intelligence would give to British merchants and to British statesmen the certain control of commerce, and the conformation of the political destinies of many of the smaller nations of the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

It was not a difficult task to convince the British statesman that it was his duty to encourage the commerce, on which the wealth, power, and glory of his country depended, by all the aids known to the constitution; and to uphold the hands of the merchant by the use of the money which his traffic had brought into the public coffers. There was no contest between North and South, East and West. It was the whole of England which was to be benefited directly or indirectly; and they were willing that it should be any part rather than none. The evident advantages which the United States possessed in her more numerous articles of export, (see page 16,) as well as the rapid strides which her first clippers were making across the ocean, were reasons urgent enough for the forecasting statesmen of Britain; and they determined to continue or to obtain the profitable dominion of the seas, although it might cost a sum of money far beyond the postal income. They knew that these postal and passenger facilities were needed by every class of community, and that there was no one in the kingdom who would not be in some way benefited by them; and that the sums of money paid for them, although not apparently returned, were yet returned in a thousand indirect channels and by a variety of reflex benefits not calculable as a transaction of exchange.

We, therefore, see to-day, as the fruit of that determination, the proudest and the most profitable postal and mercantile steam marine that floats the seas. Several large companies, authorized to transport the mails to all parts of the world, were immediately organized, and paid liberal allowances for their peculiar duties. Where the practicability of the service was considered doubtful, larger sums were paid, and a greater length of time granted for making the experiment. The contracts were generally made for twelve years; and when their terms expired they were renewed for another term of twelve years, which will expire in 1862. Thus many of the lines have been in operation for the last nineteen years, and have demonstrated the practicability, the cheapness, the utility, and the necessity of such service. The entire foreign mail service is conducted by fifteen companies, having one hundred and twenty-one steamers, with a gross tonnage of 235,488 tons; the net tonnage being 141,293, assuming the engines, boilers, fuel, etc., to be forty per cent of the whole tonnage, which is altogether too low an estimate. The whole number of British sea-going steamers is sixteen hundred and sixty-nine, with an aggregate tonnage of 383,598 tons, exclusive of engines and boilers, and of 639,330 tons gross, including engines and boilers. (See paper A, page 192.) We must add to this list the new steamer "Great Eastern," whose tonnage is twenty-seven thousand tons, and which will make the entire present mercantile steam tonnage of Great Britain 660,330 tons. The greater portion of these steamers, exclusive of those engaged in the foreign mail service, are employed in the coasting and foreign continental trade; while some few of them run in the American merchant service, and many others in the subsidized mail service of foreign countries, such as the lines from Hamburgh and Antwerp to Brazil, and from those cities to the United States. Some of them are also engaged in the mail service between Canada and England, under the patronage of the Canadian government. (See paper D, page 199.) If we add to this list the 271 war steamers, the 220 gunboats, and the Great Eastern, we shall find that the British Mail, Mercantile, and War Marine consists of the enormous number of two thousand one hundred and sixty-one steamers, exclusive of the large number now building. Nearly all of these are adapted to the ocean, or to the coasting service, and may be classed as sea-going vessels.

It is interesting to trace this rapid progress of steam since its first application to purposes of mail transport in 1833. An intelligent writer says, "The rise and progress of the ocean steam mail service of Great Britain is second in interest to no chapter in the maritime history of the world;" and while we acknowledge a grateful pride in the triumphs of our transatlantic brethren, we must blush with shame at our dereliction in this great, and civilizing, and enriching service of modern times. The steam marine of the United States, postal, mercantile, and naval, is to-day so insignificant in extent that we do not feel entirely certain that it is a sufficient nucleus for the growth of a respectable maritime power. The few ships that we possess are among the fleetest and the most comfortable that traverse the ocean, and have excited the admiration of the world wherever they have been seen. But their number is so small, their service so limited, their field of operation so contracted, that our large commerce and travel are dependent, in most parts of the world, on British steam mail lines for correspondence and transport, or on the slow, irregular, and uncertain communications of sailing vessels. The question here naturally suggests itself: Have we progressed in ocean steam navigation in a ratio commensurate with the improvements of the age, or of our own improvement in every thing else? And has the Government of the country afforded to the people the facilities of enterprise and commercial competition which are clearly necessary to enable them to enter the contest on equal terms with other commercial countries? (See Section VII.)

The Ocean Mail Service of the United States, consists of eight lines, and twenty one steamers in commission, with an aggregate tonnage of 48,027 tons. Three of these lines are transatlantic; the Collins, the Havre, and the Bremen. Two connect us with our Pacific possessions, and incidentally with Cuba and New-Granada. They are however indispensable lines of coast navigation. One connects the ports of Charleston, in the United States, and Havana, in Cuba, another connects New-Orleans with Vera Cruz, and another connects Havana and New-Orleans. Beyond these, we have a line of two steamers running between New-York and New-Orleans, touching at Havana, and one steamer touching at the same point between New-York and Mobile. Also four steamers between New-York and Savannah, four between New-York and Charleston, two between New-York and Norfolk, two between Philadelphia and Savannah, two between Boston and Baltimore, four between New-Orleans and Texas, and two between New-Orleans and Key West. All of these are coast steamers of the best quality; and some few of them have a nominal mail pay. We have also several transient steamers which have no routes or mail contracts, and which are consequently employed in irregular and accidental service, or laid up. They are the Ericsson, the Washington and the Hermann, the Star of the West, the Prometheus, the Northern Light, the Daniel Webster, the Southerner, the St. Louis, laid up in New-York; the Uncle Sam, the Orizaba, and the Brother Jonathan, belonging to the Nicaragua Transit Company, and the California, Panama, Oregon, Northerner, Fremont, and the tow-boat Tobago, belonging to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, all lying in the Pacific. Also the Queen of the West, Mr. Morgan's new steamer, in New-York. These, like all other American steamers when unemployed on mail lines, generally lie in port for want of a remunerative trade. (See Paper A.)

The aggregate tonnage of these fifty-seven steamers is 94,795 tons. Eighteen of them, with an aggregate tonnage of 24,845 tons, are engaged in no service. Twenty-three of them, with 24,071 tons, are engaged in our coasting trade. Fourteen of them, with 19,813 tons, (Gov. register,) are engaged in the California, Oregon, Central American, Mexican, and Cuban mail service; while eight of them, with 25,178 tons aggregate tonnage, are engaged in the transatlantic mail service proper, between this country and Europe. It is thus seen that we have in all but 57 ocean steamers, of 94,795 aggregate tons; while Great Britain has sixteen hundred and seventy, with 666,330 aggregate tons; that we have twenty-two of these, of 45,001 tons, engaged in the foreign and domestic mail service, while she has one hundred and twenty-one, of 235,488 aggregate tonnage, engaged in the foreign mail service almost exclusively; and that we have thirty-seven steamers engaged in the coasting trade and lying still, while she has fifteen hundred and forty-eight steamers engaged in her coasting trade and merchant service. (See page 167, for length of British and American mail lines, and the miles run per year.) Comparisons are said to be odious, but it is more odious for such comparisons as these to be possible in these days of enlightened commercial enterprise and thrift; and especially when so greatly to the disadvantage of a country which boldly claims an aggregate civilization, enterprise, and prosperity equalled by those of no other country on the globe. As regards our steam navy, it is too small to afford adequate protection to our commerce and citizens; much less to defend the country in time of war. We have not steamers enough in the navy to place one at each of our important seaports; much less to send them to foreign stations.



SECTION II.

NECESSITY OF RAPID STEAM MAILS.

ARE OCEAN STEAM MAILS DESIRABLE AND NECESSARY FOR A COMMERCIAL PEOPLE? THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE DEMANDS THEM: MUTUAL DEPENDENCE OF NATIONS: FAST MAILS NECESSARY TO CONTROL SLOW FREIGHTS: THE FOREIGN POST OF EVERY NATION IS MORE OR LESS SELFISH: IF WE NEGLECT APPROVED METHODS, WE ARE THEREBY SUBORDINATED TO THE SKILL OF OTHERS: THE WANT OF A FOREIGN POST IS A NATIONAL CALAMITY: OTHER NATIONS CAN NOT AFFORD US DUE FACILITIES: WARS AND ACCIDENTS FORBID: THE CRIMEA AND THE INDIES AN EXAMPLE: MANY OF OUR FIELDS OF COMMERCE NEED A POST: BRAZIL, THE WEST-INDIES, AND PACIFIC SOUTH-AMERICA: MAILS TO THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE BY THE NUMEROUS CUNARD VESSELS: CORRESPONDENCE WITH AFRICA, CHINA, THE EAST-INDIES, THE MAURITIUS, AND AUSTRALIA: SLAVISH DEPENDENCE ON GREAT BRITAIN: DESIRABLE FOR OUR DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR SERVICE: FOR THE CONTROL OF OUR SQUADRONS: CASES OF SUFFERING: NECESSARY FOR DEFENSE: FOR CULTIVATING FRIENDLY RELATIONS AND OPENING TRADE: THE ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH WILL REQUIRE FASTER AND HEAVIER MAILS: OUR COMMERCE REQUIRES FAST STEAMERS FOR THE RAPID AND EASY TRANSIT OF PASSENGERS: MODES OF BENEFITING COMMERCE.

Having seen that the ocean steam mail service is largely developed in some countries, especially in Great Britain, and that the second and third commercial powers of the world, the United States and France, have not largely employed this important agent in their commerce, the inquiry naturally arises, whether fast ocean steam mails are desirable and necessary to the commercial prosperity of a people. Whether this question be considered in its relative or its natural bearings, the reply is the same. Relatively considered, a large ocean steam mail service is indispensable to a people who are largely commercial, because the most noted commercial rivals of the world employ it, and thus either force them to its use, or the loss of their commerce, and the gradual transference of their shipping and trade into the hands of their rivals. Considered in its natural bearings, in its direct influences and effects per se, it becomes even more evidently necessary, as the means of a ready and reliable knowledge of the condition, wants, and movements of all those with whom a commercial nation necessarily has business, or could or should create it.

The spirit of the age demands a more intimate acquaintance and communication than we have hitherto had with the outer world. Our knowledge of foreign lands has pointed out innumerable wants hitherto unknown, and suggested innumerable channels of their supply. Nations have learned to depend on each other as formerly neighbor depended on his neighbor for any little necessary or luxury of life. The luxurious spirit of the times requires the importation and exportation of an immense list of articles with which foreign countries were formerly unacquainted, but which have now become as indispensable as air, and light, and water. And if it is not necessary that these many articles shall be transported from land to land with the speed of the telegraph or the fleetness of the ocean steamer, it is at any rate necessary that the facts concerning them, their ample or scarce supply, their high or low price, their sale or purchase, their shipment or arrival, their loss, or seizure, or detention, should be made known with all of the combined speed of the telegraph, the lightning train, and the rapid ocean mail steamer. If we possess ourselves these facilities of rapid, regular, and reliable information to an extent that no other nation does, we will be the first to reach the foreign market with our supplies, the first to bring the foreign article into the markets of the world, and the proper recipients of the first and largest profits of the cream of the trade of every land.

If we neglect these precautions, and refuse to establish these facilities, because their cost is apparent in one small sum of expenditure, while their large returns in profits diffused among the whole people are not so palpably apparent to the common eye; if we leave to the genius and enterprise of the people that which private enterprise and human skill unaided can never accomplish; in a word, if we fail to keep up with the world around us, and to progress pari passu with our wise, acute, and experienced commercial rivals, then, as a matter of course, the information which we receive from the foreign world must come through others, and those our rivals, and must be deprived of its value by the advantage which they have already taken of it. It is idle to suppose that any commercial nation on earth will not so arrange her foreign post as to exclude others than her own citizens as much as possible from its benefits. This is a paramount duty of the government to the citizen. It is therefore apparent that our commerce must of necessity greatly suffer when its conduct is at all dependent on foreigners and competitors, and that it is exceedingly desirable, for the avoidance of such a calamity, that we should have independent and ample foreign mail facilities of our own, wherever it is possible for our people to trade and obtain wealth.

It is clearly impossible that other nations should afford these facilities, or that our people should have confidence in them if attempted, or that they could be in any sense reliable in those many cases of exigency, national disputes, war, and accident, which usually afford us our best chances of speculation and profit. A dependence on foreigners for this supply of information, which never reaches us until it is emasculated of its virtues, is extremely hazardous. It fails just at the point where it is most desirable. Foreign nations, especially the commercial European nations, are constantly at war, and are constantly interrupting their packet service. The late Crimean and the present Indian wars are a good illustration. Our country, isolated from the contending nations, and fortified against continual ruptures by a policy of non-intervention, is peculiarly blessed with the privilege and ability to regularly and unintermittingly conduct her commerce and reap her profits, even more securely, while her rivals are temporarily devoting their attention to war. Such being the fact, it is wholly desirable and necessary to the end proposed that our steam post should on all such occasions regularly come and go, even amid the din of battle, and the conflict of our rivals, who for the time are powerless to oppose our peaceful and legitimate commerce, and are generally but too glad to avail its offerings.

There are many instances of the desirableness and the necessity of the transmarine steam post on important lines of foreign communication where we have a large trade, and yet no postal means of conducting it. Our immense trade with Brazil and other portions of South-America, which if properly fostered would increase with magic rapidity, sends its news and its freight by the same vessel, or is compelled to use the necessarily selfishly arranged, and circuitous, and non-connecting lines of Great Britain. A letter destined for Brazil, four thousand miles distant, must needs go by England, Portugal, the Coast of Africa, Madeira, and the Cape de Verdes, a distance of eight thousand miles, in a British packet. One destined for the Pacific Coast of South-America must go to Panama and await the arrival of the English packet, with London letters more recently dated, before it can proceed on to Callao, Lima, or Valparaiso. Letters destined to the West-Indies can go to Havana only, by American steamers; but they must there await the British line which takes them to St. Thomas, and there be distributed and forwarded to the various islands, the Spanish Main, the Guianas, Venezuela, and New-Granada by some one of the ten different British steam packet lines running semi-monthly from that station.

So with half of our letters which go to the Continent of Europe: they must go by the Cunard line to England, and thence by English steamers to the British Channel, the Baltic, the White Sea, the Mediterranean, Egypt, Constantinople, or the Black Sea. Those to places along the coast of Africa and to the Cape of Good Hope are dependent on the same English packet transit. For our communication with China, India, Australia, the East-Indies generally, and the Islands of the Pacific, we are entirely and slavishly dependent, as usual, on Great Britain. Instead of sending our letters and passengers direct from Panama or San Francisco to Honolulu, Hong Kong, Shanghae, Macao, Calcutta, Ceylon, Bombay, Madras, Sydney, Melbourne, Batavia, the Mauritius, and the Gulf of Mozambique, by a short trunk line of our own steamers, and from its terminus only, by the British lines, they now go first to England, as a slavish matter of course, then across the Continent or through the Mediterranean to Egypt, thence by land to the Red Sea, and thence to China and the East-Indies; or from England by her steam lines around the Cape of Good Hope to Australia and the East-Indies; or by slow and uncertain sailing packets direct from our own country, either around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope. It is evident to every reflecting man who has given the subject any attention, that all of these lines of communication would be very desirable, and very highly profitable to our people at large; and that the latter and that along the West Coast of South-America could be easily established by two new contracts for that purpose, or in some other way, to the great and lasting advantage of our countrymen.

The transmarine post is very desirable for the better conduct of our foreign diplomacy and the consular service. It is now almost impossible for our ministers and agents abroad to hold any thing like a regular correspondence with the State Department, unless it be those in Southern and Western Europe. I was told last year by our Minister in Rio de Janeiro that his dispatches from the Government at home seldom reached him under four months; and Mr. Gilmer, the Consul of the United States at Bahia, reports, in the "Consular Returns" now about to be published, that his dispatches never come to hand under four months, that they are frequently out six months, and that many are lost altogether. This is the experience and the reiterated complaint of nearly every foreign employee of the Government, who has any zeal in prosecuting his country's business, and may find it necessary to get instructions or advice from home. Many knowing the delays, uncertainty, and irregularity of correspondence, make no attempt whatever to communicate regularly with the Department. We frequently express great surprise that we have no intelligence from our ministers, special ambassadors, and agents; but do not reflect that in the majority of cases dispatches have to be sent by irresponsible and slow-sailing vessels, or by the steamers of Great Britain, which it may be safely asserted are in no particular hurry to deliver them to us. Three several letters sent by me at separate times through the British mail from Rio de Janeiro for New-York never reached their destination.

Nor is it better with our squadrons on foreign stations. They receive their orders in the same slow and irregular way, and find it almost as easy to send a vessel when they wish to communicate with the Navy Department, or await the movements of their dull old storeships, as to attempt any other means of intercourse. It may be safely said that they are not actually under the control of the Department, in many important cases, one time in ten. Whatever the dispute, it is left entirely at the will of the Commodore, or it remains unsettled altogether. Our recent accumulated Paraguayan difficulties is a case in point. American citizens were driven from the country, and their valuable property confiscated. They applied to the Commodore for relief, but could not obtain it. Our surveying vessel, engaged in a permitted scientific exploration, was fired into and had some of her men killed; and redress being demanded by the Captain from the Commodore, it was refused. The Commodore feared transcending his instructions: he could not communicate with the home authorities much under a year; and so the case rested, and yet rests. These wants, papable as they are in times of peace, become doubly pressing in time of war. Let a conflict commence with England, or France, on whom we depend for mails, or with their allies, and they could easily surprise and destroy every squadron which we have upon the high seas months before they would necessarily hear of a declaration of war, or know why they were captured. The very contemplation of such possibilities is intolerable, and should be sufficient of itself, setting aside all considerations of commerce and diplomacy, to arouse our nation to the adoption of the proper means for its safety and defense.

An effective steam postal marine is unquestionably most desirable and necessary for the defense of our country, and for the prosecution of any foreign war. Lord Canning, the British Post-Master General, recently said in a report to the House of Lords, that although all of the steam mail packets might not be able to carry an armament, or be required in the transport service in time of war, yet the mail facilities which they would then afford would be more important and necessary than at any other time. He had no idea that because engaged in a foreign war the postal service would be useless, but to the contrary, more than ever indispensable. Such proved to be the fact in the late contest in the Crimea, and such is to-day the case with regard to the troubles in India and China. Their postal vessels have proven a first necessity in both of these wars, not only for transport of the troops, but for speedy intelligence also. Without them, England could not have entered the Crimean contest, and the French forces would have been compelled to remain at home. Turkey would have been overawed, and Constantinople would have fallen before the Russian fleet. We are to-day, and always must be, liable to a foreign war. We have a great boiling cauldron running over with excitement all along our southern and south-western borders. Central America, Cuba, the West-Indies, and South-America are far more foreign countries to us than Europe or the Mediterranean to England. Cuba will no doubt be at some day our most important naval station and possession. Even the defense of our own coast would require an immense transport service; for Texas is nearly four thousand miles from Maine, and California is seven thousand from the Atlantic seaboard. No better proof can be given of the necessity of a large and extra naval transport service than the late Mexican war. But for our steamers it would have taken us years to concentrate an army on the shores of Mexico. It was a tedious process at the time; for our ocean mail packets were not then in use. We could now land a larger number of men there in one month than we then did in a whole year. But our transport facilities are not yet by any means adequate.

A large postal steam marine is desirable as a means of cultivating the sympathies and respect of foreign nations, by bringing them into closer friendly and commercial connection with us; and for creating among them that respect and consideration which the British statesmen so well know to be an easy means of conducting diplomacy, and an unfailing source of commercial advantages. It is not necessary that we shall impose upon foreign countries in these respects by false pretenses; but it is truly desirable, and it would be profitable to an extent little imagined, to let them know our real importance as a nation, and understand our pacific policy and bona fide intentions. These are important considerations when we wish to carry any point, establish any line of policy, remove any prejudice; and nothing will more readily produce them, and arouse attention to our articles of export, and induce a people to establish a regular business with us, than these ever-present, convenient, and imposing mail steamers. Nations as well as individuals estimate us by our appearances; and while it is not desirable that we shall appear more than we are, it is yet very important that foreign nations with which we have business shall know our real merits, and respect us for what we are intrinsically worth. There is evidently no means of our commercial triumph over other nations without a liberal and widely extended steam mail service; and as this triumph is of paramount importance to us, who have so many resources, so is the ocean steam mail as the only means of securing it. (See views of Gen. Rusk, in papers appended.)

It has recently been suggested by parties who certainly have not thought very deeply on the subject, that the completion of the Atlantic Telegraph, which every body reasonably expects soon to be completed, will so inaugurate a new era in the transmission of intelligence, that one of its effects will be the supersession of fast ocean mails, and consequently of subsidized steamers. It is a first and palpable view of this question that much of the important intelligence between the two countries requiring speedy transmission will be sent through the telegraph, notwithstanding the necessarily high prices which will be charged for dispatches. These communications will be sententious, summary, and of great variety. The markets, prices, important political and other events, private personal and unelaborated intelligence will come over the wires just as they now come over existing land lines. The line will create extra facilities for operations on both sides, and cause more mutual business to be done. It will thus create the necessity for more correspondence than before, for particulars, elaboration, items, bills of lading, exchanges, duplicates, minute instructions, etc., to which there will be no end. The main transaction of any business being made more quickly, it will be essential for the papers to pass with greater dispatch. If there were twenty telegraphic wires working day and night, which never can be the case from their expensiveness, they could not do in a month the correspondence and business done by one steamer's mail. Beside this, those who got their dispatches first would have a decided advantage over those who would be compelled from the mass of business to wait several days. It is an advantage of the steam mails that all get their letters and papers at the same time; and that no one has thus the advantage of the other. It is hardly possible for one unacquainted with the postal business to conceive how large a mass of mail matter is deposited by each steamer; and it is only necessary to see this to realize that the Atlantic Telegraph will never materially interfere with the steamers except to require of them greater speed and heavier mails.

It is the experience on all of our land routes that the thousands of miles of telegraph, so far from superseding the mails, have made more mails necessary, have caused and required them to be much faster, have necessitated more correspondence, and induced people to live in more mutual dependence, to have more communication with one another, and to make the home or the business of a man less than formerly his closed castle, which none entered, and which no one had any occasion to enter. The American telegraph has now arrived at great perfection, and sends its electric throb to every corner of the Union, save California only. At the same time, the railroads of the country are taxed to their highest capacity. No period ever witnessed so many, so rapid, and so well-filled mails. It is evident that no telegraphic system can properly do detailed business. First, it is and must ever remain too costly. Second, it would require about as many lines as business men, to give them all equal chances, and no one the profitable precedence. Next, there is nothing positively accurate and fully reliable. No signatures can pass over the line. No transaction can be made final by it. No bank will pay, or ought to pay, money on public telegraphic drafts. And, as in the land service, so in the ocean. The telegraph across the ocean will simply create far more business for the mails, and make it desirable and indispensable that they shall be sent and received by the most rapid conveyance known to the times. Thus, it is evident that this new and as yet not fully established agent of international communication, so far from obviating our rapid transmarine service, will but the more effectually necessitate it.

Nor must it be forgotten that our commercial prosperity largely depends on the ready and comfortable transit of passengers. The passenger traffic has increased with astonishing rapidity during the last eighteen years. Our smaller merchants can go abroad when mail steamers are plenty, and make their own purchases and sales, without paying heavy commissions and high prices to middlemen; do their business on less capital; and thus benefit themselves and reduce the prices to our consumers. Compared with sailing vessels, these few mail steamers become the forerunners of trade and commerce, and create an immense service for the sail. They enable us to save large sums of interest or advances on merchandise consigned, and give to us quick returns from the products which we ship abroad. This has long been evident to Great Britain, and she has acted liberally on the suggestion. So desirable is the service for the general prosperity of her people, that she expends annually for her foreign steam mails nearly six millions of dollars, while they do not return to the treasury much above three. She regards the expenditure as she does that for the navy and the army, a necessity for the public preservation and prosperity.

As regards the lines that we now have, they are among the noblest in the world. For aggregate comfort, convenience, safety, speed, and cheapness, they are not equalled by the most famous British lines. More luxurious tables, more neatness, cleanliness, and roominess, more general comforts than have always been characteristic of our Havre, Liverpool, and California lines, can not be found in the world. The only objection to them is, that the service is not sufficient; that the trips are not frequent enough; and that the companies are not enabled to sustain a larger steam marine which would proportionally cheapen the service, and accommodate more persons and a much larger class of interests. Our experiences of the benefits of existing lines, limited as those lines are, present an unanswerable argument for the desirableness and necessity of a liberal steam postal system, and a large and judicious extension of the present service. (See views of Senate Committee, 1852, Paper E.)



SECTION III.

THE CAPABILITIES OF OCEAN STEAM.

THE COMMERCIAL CAPABILITIES OF OCEAN STEAM: STEAM MAILS ARRIVE AND DEPART AT ABSOLUTELY FIXED PERIODS: UNCERTAINTY IS HAZARDOUS AND COSTLY: SUBSIDIZED STEAMERS GIVE A NECESSARILY HIGH SPEED TO THE MAILS: MONEY CAN NOT AFFORD TO LIE UPON THE OCEAN FOR WEEKS: COMPARED WITH SAIL: STEAMERS TRANSPORT CERTAIN CLASSES OF FREIGHT: THE HAVRE AND THE CUNARD LINES: THE CUNARD PROPELLERS: STEAMERS CAN AFFORD TO TRANSPORT EXPRESS PACKAGES AND GOODS: GOODS TAKEN ONLY TO FILL UP: WHY PROPELLERS ARE CHEAPER IN SOME CASES: STEAM IN SOME CASES CHEAPER THAN THE WIND: AN ESTIMATE: THE PROPELLER FOR COASTING: STEAM ON ITS OWN RECEIPTS HAS NOT SUCCEEDED ON THE OCEAN: MARINE AND FLUVIAL NAVIGATION COMPARED: MOST FREIGHTS NOT TRANSPORTABLE BY STEAM ON ANY CONDITIONS: AUXILIARY FREIGHTING AND EMIGRANT PROPELLERS: LAWS OF TRANSPORT: RAPID MAILS AND LEISURE TRANSPORT OF FREIGHT THE LAW OF NATURE: THE PRICE OF COALS RAPIDLY INCREASING: ANTICIPATED IMPROVEMENTS AND CHEAPENING IN MARINE PROPULSION NOT REALIZED.

Believing that no further arguments or facts are necessary to show that a rapid steam mail marine is desirable and essential to the successful government of the country, to our foreign commerce, and to the growth of individual interests and a general prosperity of the people, I shall now make some few inquiries concerning the Commercial Capabilities of steam, as the most effective agent for the rapid transit of the ocean, and the most expensive agent for the transport of goods. After this, it will be necessary to examine into the Cost of Steam, as a subject closely allied to its general capabilities.

Whatever may be said of the wind as a cheap agent of locomotion, this much may be safely predicated of steam vessels for the mails; that their time of departure and arrival has an absolute fixity which is attainable by no other means, and which is highly conducive to the best interests of all those for whom commerce is conducted. No reasoning is necessary to show to the man of business, or even to the pleasure-seeker, the importance of approximate certainty as to the time when the mail leaves and when he can receive an answer to his dispatches. He may not be able to give clearly philosophic reasons for it; yet he feels the necessity in his business; and it certainly relieves him of many painful doubts, if nothing more. Uncertainty in commercial operations is always hazardous and costly to the great mass of the people, who as a general thing pay more for whatever they get, on the principle that we seldom take a venture in an uncertain thing unless it holds out inducements of large profit, or unless we get a high price for guarantying it. So in commercial correspondence, which constitutes the great bulk of the ocean mails. Let uncertainty prevail for but three or four days beyond the time when we should have news from abroad, and every body is in doubt, every body speculates, and in the end every body is injured.

Nor is this certainty in the time of arrival and departure of the mails more desirable than their speed. The common sense of the world has settled down upon the necessity of rapid mails; and all of the ingenuity of the age is now taxed to its very highest to secure more speed in the transmission of intelligence. Many interests demand it. Money, which represents labor, is continually lent and borrowed in bills of exchange, acceptances, deposits, and in actual cash sent across the seas. The length of time for passing the bills and correspondence, or the specie itself, thus becomes an exceedingly important item to those who are to use them, and consequently to the ultimate consumer for whom they are conducting the commercial transaction. What community would to-day tolerate the idea of sending three millions of dollars per week, and five millions of credits between England and the United States on a sailing ship of whatever quality, with the probability of keeping it lying unproductive on the ocean for thirty days? Extend this to weekly shipments of the same amounts, and have at one time on the waters between the two countries twelve million dollars in specie and twenty in credits, tossing about the ocean, unproductive and unsafe, and entailing all of the evils incident to the uncertainty as to the time when it will arrive. But if this is not sufficient, extend the inquiry to South-America, and China, and India, and see how enormous and useless a waste of money and interest is incurred in the many millions which by sailing vessels and slow steamers is fruitlessly gilding the ocean for months. Money is too valuable and interest too high to keep so many millions of it locked up from the world. At two and three per cent a month, the nation, or, what is the same thing, its commercial and mercantile classes, as representing the producing, would soon become bankrupt.

The only avoidance of these evident evils is in a rapid transmission of the mails, specie, and passengers. And herein consists the chief value of the rapid ocean steamer. It is an important case which the Telegraph, with all of its benefits, can never reach. It can never transmit specie; neither the evidences of debt nor of property. The voluminous mails, with all of their tedious details, upon which such transactions depend, must go and come on steamers, and on steamers only. They have the certainty, which will satisfy men and prevent speculation, gambling, and imposition; they have the speed, which shortens credit, keeps specie alway in active use, and enables commercial men to know, meet, and supply the wants of the world before they become costly or crushing; and they give a rapid and comfortable transit to passengers, who can thus look after their business, and save much to themselves and to the producer and consumer. Compared with sailing vessels their efficiency is really wondrous. Foreign correspondence was formerly very limited, and the interchange of interests, feelings, and opinions was slow and tedious. Each nation depended solely on itself; and instead of the brotherhood now prevailing, communicated through the costly channels of war, by messages of the cannon, and in powerful, hostile fleets. But the foreign correspondence of the world is really enormous, and rapidly increasing, since the introduction of ocean steamers; and no one will say that they have had a small share in producing that fraternal international spirit which is now so widely manifested in Peace Congresses, Congresses of the Five Powers, explanations, concessions, and amicable adjustments of difficulties. The peaceful influences and the civilization of the times are but another comment on the capabilities of steam.

There are also certain classes of freights which steam is better calculated than sailing vessels to transport; certain rich and costly goods which would either damage or depreciate if not brought speedily into the market. There are many articles also, as gold and silver ware, jewelry, diamonds, bullion, etc., and some articles of vertu as well as use, which are costly, and have to be insured at high values unless sent on steamers; and which consequently can pay a rather better price. As in the case of specie, they are too valuable to be kept long on the ocean; but in the general traffic of the world there is so little of this class of freight that steamers can place no reliance on it as a source of income. These freights have abounded most between France and England and the United States. This is the principal reason why the New-York and Havre line of mail steamers has run on so unprecedentedly small a subsidy; a sum not more than half adequate to the support of a mail line but for that class of freights. The Cunard line has also derived a large sum of its support from the same source. All such articles passing by that line come from England, Ireland, and Scotland, where they are manufactured; and being shipped by British merchants, are given, as a matter of duty, to their own steamers. Another reason for the Cunard line getting most of those more profitable freights is that a steamer leaves every week; every Saturday; and shippers sending packages weekly are not compelled every other week to hunt up a new line, and open a new set of accounts, as would be the case if they attempted to ship by the Collins semi-monthly line.

These freights have hitherto proven a profitable source of income to that line. As there is no manufacturing done in this country for Europe, the Cunarders and the Havre as well as the Collins and Vanderbilt lines, have no freights that pay the handling from the United States to Europe. And not only has the Cunard line, by starting from home, taken all of these profitable freights from the Collins, but it has run a weekly line of propellers from Havre and taken the freight over to Liverpool free of charge for its New-York and Boston steamers, and thereby shared the freights and greatly reduced the income of the Havre line. There being a great superabundance of propeller stock in Great Britain, which can be purchased frequently at less than half its cost, and these vessels running the short distance between Havre and Liverpool very cheaply, (See pages 108-13,) the Cunarders have cut the Havre freights down from forty to fifteen dollars per ton, and sometimes for months together to ten dollars per ton. As a matter of course, this price would not pay the handling and care of these costly articles; but at fifteen dollars it enabled the Cunard line to fill their ships and derive some profit; as most of them, with the exception of the Persia, run slowly, use less coal, and have more freight room. All of these freights are, however, small in quantity, and not much to be relied on from year to year, as will be seen below, in consequence of the action of propellers.

There is another class of business which mail steamers can do at remunerating prices; but which is exceedingly limited anywhere, and not at all known on some lines. This is in Express packages. They pay a high price; but seldom reach more than three or four tons under the most favorable circumstances. In the early stages of the California lines, when there was a rush of travel to the gold regions, and a hurried transit required for a thousand little necessaries of life, the New-York and Aspinwall and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's lines transported a large express freight outward at every voyage, amounting sometimes to two hundred tons; but the golden days of such cargo have long gone by, and California is now supplied like the rest of the world by the cheaper and more deliberate transport of sailing vessels; and the steamers are left to their legitimate business of mails and passengers. Taking together all of the classes of freights which steamers having mail payment are capable of transporting, they amount at present to but an insignificant part of the income by which these steamers can be run. During the last six years these freights have reduced more than one hundred per cent; and goods which were then profitable to the steamer, are now taken only "to fill up." And the chief reason for this reduction arises not so much from competition between the steam-lines, which well knew that they could not transport these freights when reduced to the present low prices, but from the introduction of a large number of propellers, some of which were originally designed for this species of trade, and many others which were built during the war in the Crimea for the transport of troops. These ships were never prosperous anywhere, and are in nearly all cases at the present found in second hands; the original proprietors having lost a large share of their investment. Thus, purchased cheaply, and running with simply an auxiliary steam power, and making the passages but little shorter than the sailing vessels, and not even so short as their best passages, they have but little more daily expense than the sailing vessels, with all of the deceptive advantages of being called steamers. They thus get these better freights and a large number of immigrants, which with small interest on prime cost enables them to live.

Paradoxical as it may seem, there are yet some cases, even upon the ocean, in which steam can transport freight cheaper than the winds of heaven. And this species of trade constitutes one of the best capabilities of steam power applied to navigation. It is not in the long voyage between Europe and America, or between the East and California, or yet in the far-off trade among the calms and pacific seas of the East-Indies and the Pacific Islands; it is not in the smooth, lake-like seas of the West-Indies, where there is no freight whose transport price will pay for putting it on and taking it off the steamer; nor in the trade of Brazil whence a bag of coffee can be transported five thousand miles to New-York nearly as cheaply as it can from New-York to Baltimore or to Charleston; but it is in the coasting trade of almost every country, where the voyage is short. In the trade between New-York and Baltimore, between Charleston and Savannah, between Boston and Portland, or between New-Orleans and Key West, or New-Orleans and Galveston, the small sailing vessels spend one half of their time in working in and out of the harbors. Sometimes they are two days awaiting winds, to get out of a harbor, two days in sailing, and two days again in making and entering their port of destination; whereas a steamer would make the whole passage in one day to a day and a half. Now, the distance actually to be run, and for which the steamer will be compelled to burn coal is not very great; but the trouble of working the vessel in and out, against adverse winds and currents, and amid storms and calms, is sometimes excessive, while the delay and cost are disheartening. They have also the trouble of warping into and out of the docks, which is not the case with steamers.

Thus, it frequently takes a week for a sailing vessel to do the work that a steamer will readily do in twenty-four to thirty-six hours. Say that it takes the sail four times as long as the steamer to accomplish a given voyage. To do as much business as the steamer would do in the same time, would require four sailing vessels; four times as many men as one sail requires, or probably twice as many hands in the aggregate as the steamer would have; and would incur at least twice the expense of the steamer in feeding them. Now, there is also a much larger aggregate sum invested in these four sail, and the owners pay a much larger sum of interest on their prime investment. Or, in other words, the steamer with but a few more men, but little greater expense in living, a small coal-bill, an engineer and firemen, and a prime outlay of not more than double the capital, will carry four times the freight and passengers, without incurring probably so much as three times the expense of one of the sail. After the prime cost the most important item of expenditure in one of these small steamers is the coal; but the distance run being so short, and getting into and out of the harbor and docks being so easy, the vessel does large execution at little expense. The two most essential benefits, however, of her short voyage are, that she is not compelled to carry much fuel, and consequently occupies nearly all of her space with freight; and that the prices of freight on these short voyages are much larger in proportion than they are on long voyages. Sailing vessels charge very little more for a thousand miles than they do for five hundred; but a steamer may have to charge nearly three times as much; especially if she run fast, consume much fuel, and occupy her cargo-room with coal. There are distances at which steamers, however large, can not carry a pound of freight; but occupy all their available space with the power that drives them. In these long voyages sail becomes much cheaper.

It is by no means essential that these small coasting vessels shall be propellers; for to acquire the same speed they expend the same power and have the disadvantage of being deeper in the water, and not being able to go into all harbors with much freight. They have also the advantage of carrying more sail, and being generally better able to stand coast storms than a side-wheel of light draught of water. They are not quite so expensive in prime construction, but generally require more repairs, and must be on the docks much oftener. They are, however, much better suited than side-wheel vessels to voyages where a medium speed is required, and where the steam can be used at pleasure simply as an auxiliary power. In such cases there is a profitable economy of fuel. But speed has generally been deemed essential in this country, and the side-wheel is everywhere used. But entirely the contrary is the case in Great Britain and France. There the coasting business is conducted by screws almost altogether; and the speed does not transcend the limit of economy and commercial capability. They distinguish between the extremely fast carriage of mails and passengers on the one hand, and freights on the other; and although they wish the speed and certainty of steam, yet it is not the costly speed. When they know that a given quantity of fuel will carry freight eight knots per hour, they would consider it wasteful and foolish to consume twice that quantity of fuel just to carry it ten knots; and more especially so, when, in addition to the extra quantity of fuel, they would lose just its bulk in paying freight room. England is thus employing most of her vast fleet of coasting ocean steamers in her own trade, or in the foreign trade lying within a few hundred miles of her ports. And the voyages being short, her coals being cheap and convenient, frequently not above three dollars per ton to the coasters, and in addition to this, the prime cost of these vessels being smaller than in this country, as both iron and labor are cheaper, she has found them very profitable at home, and is insinuating them into all the short routes wherever she can get a foothold. It was not until she attempted the same species of self-supporting steam navigation with distant countries, that her propeller system failed her and involved her citizens in loss. Meanwhile it is more than probable that within the next fifteen years we shall find five hundred propellers scattered along the coasts of the United States.

Notwithstanding the eminent capabilities of steam when applied to coast navigation, or to the fluvial navigation of the interior, it has failed to make the same triumphs in the carriage of freights and passengers upon the ocean. And it is not alone because the voyage is long and the freights low in price. Steamers carry freights up the Mississippi river two thousand miles from New-Orleans, and find it profitable. Some run even as high as three thousand miles up that river and the Missouri; a voyage nearly as long as to Europe, and make money by it. But the circumstances are very different. They do not leave the dock at New-Orleans with even more than enough fuel on board for the whole trip, as the ocean steamers do. If they did they could carry no freight. But they stop every twelve to eighteen hours and take on wood just as they need it, fifty to a hundred cords at a time; and instead of occupying all of their available room with wood, they have the steamer full of cargo, and have on board only fifty or sixty tons of fuel at a time, and only half that weight on an average. None of the best steamers on those rivers could take enough wood on board for the whole three thousand miles, even though they should not have a ton of freight. And compared with ocean steamers of the same engine power, they do not cost half of the money, I might say generally, not one third of the money. There is no reason, then, why these steamers should not carry large quantities of freight and make large sums of money by it. They have the great elements, fuel, freight capacity, and prime cost in their favor.

There is a large class of freights which are not transportable by steam on long ocean voyages under any conditions. We will grant that under the most favorable circumstances, where rich and costly articles are transported in small bulk, that propellers running at a low rate of speed, or just fast enough to anticipate sailing vessels, will make a living. But change the class of these freights into the great average class of those filling the thousands of sailing vessels, and deprive these screw vessels of an immense emigrant passenger traffic, and they would not pay their running expenses by fifty per cent. This style of freights, sailing vessels in their great competition have reduced to the lowest paying figure. The margin left for profit is so small that our ship-owners constantly complain that unless there are changes they must go into other business; and many of them say this honestly, as is shown by the hundreds of ships which of late years we can always find lying up, awaiting improvement in business. Now, let even the slowest and cheapest running screw vessel attempt to carry the same freights, to say nothing of fast side-wheel mail vessels, and we shall see against what odds the screw or other steamer has to contend. In the first place, her engines, boilers, coal, etc., occupy at least forty per cent of her total registered tonnage. Grant that the additional expense of a steamer over a sail, that is, wages for engineers, firemen, coal passers, etc., and finding the same in food and rooms, costs even no more than the loss of an additional ten per cent of her freight room. In other words, considering her steam machinery, fuel, extra expenses, etc., to be equal to half of her freight room, it is evident that she would carry only half as much freight as a sailing vessel of the same size, and that she would get but half as much money for it.

It is thus clear, I think, that there is a certain class of ocean freights which steam can not transport under any conditions so long as there are sailing vessels on the ocean; and in that class are comprehended all the great standard and staple articles of the world, constituting in sum seventeen twentieths of all the freight passing upon the ocean. This being so, it is utterly idle to suppose that steam in any form can take the place of sail upon the ocean, even though the present prices for the carriage of standard articles should increase three hundred per cent.

There are many considerations which affect this question. The ordinary average passages of the ocean on long voyages are now very rapid; and some of the clippers have attained a speed which no freighting steamer may ever be expected to do on the high seas. They do not maintain this high speed as an average, but it is sufficiently high for all of the ordinary purposes of transport in the standard articles of commerce, and where the business of the clipper is done by a fast mail steamer. There is no positive necessity for the speedy transport that some have attempted to give to articles, whose presence in the markets, as the ordinary supplies of life, to-day, next month, or a month later, is a matter of total indifference to every one except the ship-owner himself. It but little concerns the public whether a cargo of cotton, or beef or pork, or corn is one month or forty-five days between the United States and England, so that it is safe in the end. It is an annual production that must have an annual transit, and however unnecessarily fast we may become, we can not send more than one crop in the year. The world frequently becomes too fast in every thing; and crises, panics, and bankruptcies follow as legitimate consequences. When a fictitious value is given to every thing, and every globule of air which one has breathed comes puffing out, a splendid bubble, a magnificent speculation, and when men have to go so fast that they need a telegraph to ride them through the world lest they get behind the heated times, no wonder that the shipper can not sit quietly down in his office and wait thirty days for a load of corn to reach England, or a load of iron to appear in the harbor in return. And it does not matter to him that it may not be used there in six months. He wishes to finish the "operation," to close up the "transaction" before he goes up town in the evening.

There is a rational distinction between the necessary and the unnecessary which we must learn to make, and a limit which safety assigns to every operation. There are some things which must be done rapidly, and others which may be done at leisure. Between the freight cargo, and the correspondence which controls it there is a great difference. Rapid transport of letters, intelligence, and passengers, and leisure transport of freight, is the law of nature, and to attempt to reverse it is but to attempt that which will never be successfully done, simply because wholly unnecessary in any permanent economic sense. And not only is higher speed than that of clippers unnecessary in ordinary freight transport, but it is clearly impossible in any normal condition of trade. Circumstances may, and doubtless often will exist, which will require some sluggish article to be transported a long distance in a short time, as in the case of the famine in Ireland, and which may insure rates at which steam vessels can take small quantities of such freights; but such occasions will ever be accidental, and the support of vessels depending on them the questionable support of expedients, and capricious in the extreme. It will ever be just as impossible to hurry gross freights across the ocean in a healthy state of commerce as it will to prevent rapid mails, or forego the comforts of quick passenger transit.

To say nothing of a vessel which is half filled with its own power, attempting to compete, in the ordinary freights of the world, with one which fills every square foot with paying cargo, it is equally important that we should look at the question of fuel. The coals of the world are not so plentiful or so cheap that we should consume whole pits in a year in unnecessary and unproductive service. They are already beginning to fail in many parts of the world, or to the same effect, are mined and brought to market at such increasing cost, and applied to so many new purposes day by day, that in a few years the price will place them entirely beyond the reach of commercial purposes upon the ocean. It is contended, however, that the science of engineering is also rapidly advancing, and that we shall soon have some discovery by which we can have heat without fuel, and power without heat. But I have heard of those imaginary engineering hopes so long that I begin to believe them vague, and that we shall yet for a few generations measure the power applied by the number of pounds of coal consumed. From past experiences and present indications we can predicate nothing with more certainty of fuel than that it will indefinitely increase in price. I am satisfied, therefore, that with all of the capabilities of steam it can never be applied to general ocean transportation; first, because undesirable; and second, because impossible even if desirable. But to show more clearly that it is impossible, I will now make some inquiries concerning the cost of ocean steam, which is the cardinal point of interest in marine propulsion.



SECTION IV.

COST OF STEAM: OCEAN MAIL SPEED.

MISAPPREHENSION OF THE HIGH COST OF STEAM MARINE PROPULSION: VIEWS OF THE NON-PROFESSIONAL: HIGH SPEED NECESSARY FOR THE DISTANCES IN OUR COUNTRY: WHAT IS THE COST OF HIGH ADEQUATE MAIL SPEED: FAST STEAMERS REQUIRE STRONGER PARTS IN EVERY THING: GREATER OUTLAY IN PRIME COST: MORE FREQUENT AND COSTLY REPAIRS: MORE WATCHFULNESS AND MEN: MORE COSTLY FUEL, ENGINEERS, FIREMEN, AND COAL-PASSERS: GREAT STRENGTH OF HULL REQUIRED: ALSO IN ENGINES, BOILERS, AND PARTS: WHY THE PRIME COST INCREASES: THEORY OF REPAIRS: FRICTION AND BREAKAGES: BOILERS AND FURNACES BURNING OUT: REPAIRS TWELVE TO EIGHTEEN PER CENT: DEPRECIATION: SEVERAL LINES CITED; USES FOR MORE MEN: EXTRA FUEL, AND LESS FREIGHT-ROOM: BRITISH TRADE AND COAL CONSUMPTION:

THE NATURAL LAWS OF RESISTANCE, POWER, AND SPEED, WITH TABLE: THE RESISTANCE VARIES AS IS THE SQUARE OF THE VELOCITY: THE POWER, OR FUEL, VARIES AS THE CUBE OF THE VELOCITY: THE RATIONALE: AUTHORITIES CITED IN PROOF OF THE LAW: EXAMPLES, AND THE FORMULAE: COAL-TABLE; NO. I.: QUANTITY OF FUEL FOR DIFFERENT SPEEDS AND DISPLACEMENTS: DEDUCTIONS FROM THE TABLE: RATES AT WHICH INCREASED SPEED INCREASES THE CONSUMPTION OF FUEL: CONSUMPTION FOR VESSELS OF 2,500, 3,000, AND 6,000 TONS DISPLACEMENT: COAL-TABLE; NO. II.: FREIGHT-TABLE; NO. III.: AS SPEED AND POWER INCREASE FREIGHT AND PASSENGER ROOM DECREASE: FREIGHT AND FARE REDUCED: SPEED OF VARIOUS LINES: FREIGHT-COST: COAL AND CARGO; NO. IV.: MR. ATHERTON'S VIEWS OF FREIGHT TRANSPORT.

The foregoing arguments bring us to the conclusion that steam, however desirable, can not be profitably employed in commerce generally as an agent of transport; and that it is best applicable to the rapid conveyance of the mails, passengers, specie, and costly freights only. That this fact may be presented in a clearer light, and that we may see the almost incredibly high cost of rapid steaming, or the attainment of a speed sufficiently high for the carriage of important mails, it will be necessary to make some critical inquiries concerning the working cost of steam power, under any conditions, as applied to marine propulsion. Much misapprehension prevails on this point among nearly all classes of the people, and even among the rulers of the country whose action controls the destiny and uses of this valuable power. It is hardly to be expected, however, that gentlemen engaged actively in the all-engrossing pursuits of business or of public life, with a thousand different sets of ideas to be matured on a thousand different subjects, such as demand the attention of Congress, and the Departments of the Executive Government, should be practically or even theoretically acquainted with a profession which requires years of close application and study, and a wide field of practical, daily observation and experience. It would be as absurd for unprofessional gentlemen of any class, as well from the walks of statesmanship and the Government as from those of quiet private life, to assume an acquaintance with the theory and practice of navigation, and the cost, embarrassments, and difficulties attending steamship enterprise, as it would for any two or three of them to enter an ocean steamer for the first time of their lives, and essay to work the engines and navigate the ship across the seas. The skill and knowledge requisite for such a task would require years of application; and it can not be reasonably supposed that those entirely unacquainted with the theory and parts of an engine, should know much about its capabilities, or the cost attending its use.

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