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Atlantic Steamers., Issue 8042, 19 October 1889, Supplement
"Of all the changes which have taken place within the laßt fifty years, none baa been more marked and decided than that in ships." Such is one of the many shrewd observations made by Mr Hugh M'Uulloch in his recently-published work 'Men and Measures of Half a Century.' Mr M'Culloch is well qualified to speak on such a subject, after his well-spent and active life, the business part of which he commenced as a lawyer in the State of Indiana in 1833, and ended as a Lombard Btreet commission merchant in 1876, having served in the interim in Mr Lincoln's and Mr Andrew Johnson's Cabinets as Secretary of the Treasury. He adds that he can well remember the time when all the exported products of the United States were carried in wooden sailing vessels, built to convey the heaviest cargoes without regard to speed. " Such vessels were forty or fifty days in crossing the Atlantic, but as it frequently happened that a penny a pound wa3 paid on cotton from New Orleans to Liverpool, more money was made in one trip by one of them than is now made by a steamship in three." Naturally, under these circumstances, vessels that would i carry the largest cargoes were preferred to those that made the best time. With the discovery of gold in California, however, | time became an object of importance.and a number of clipper shipß weie built for speedy voyages from New York t;o San Francisco, whither thousands of pioneers, "fossickers," and prospectors desired to be wafted with the least possible delay. No sailing vessels ever equalled them for speed, and in so long a voyage they had a great advantage over steamships, on account of the quantity of coal the latter had to carry. They were perfect specimens of naval architecture, and often ran 400 hundred knots in twenty-four hours, which at that time steamships never accomplished. Their day, however, was short, though exceptionally brilliant. The construction of the Panama Railway put an end to their utility, and they soon disappeared from the ocean, to be replaced solely by what Admiral Rous used to call "tea kettles," whose reign commenced when, in 1840, the Cunard Company sent their first steamship—the Britannia, of 1,500 tons—from Liverpool to New York. At present it is as rare to see a sailing vessel at sea as a stage coach by land. " When last I was at Liverpool, in 1876," says Mr M'Culloch, " there was scarcely a sailing vessel among the many hundreds that filled the docks. The age is utilitarian, and what pays best is the desideratum. The sailing ship is a thing of beauty. Nothing is so beautiful in my eyes as a full-rigged ship with all sails Bet, as she gracefully moves before the wind; but she has ceased to pay. A steamship is a thing of power. There is nothing beautiful about her, but she is timesaving and can be depended on, and hence her superiority over sailing ships." With all deference to Mr M'Culloch, we think he would have found much to admire had he been in Queenstown Harbor last week and
seen three of the most magnificent passenger steamships in the world—the City of Rome, the City of New York, and the Teutonic—put out almost simultaneously to sea, rejoicing , as giants to run their lightning course across ( the Atlantic to New York. The last-named , vessel—the latest and most magnificent , addition to the White Star fleet—arrived at New York at fifty-eight minutes past eleven j on Wednesday night, haviDg made the pas- i sage in 6d 14h 20min. This is the quickest maiden passage from Queenstown to New York yet recorded. During the voyage, as we learn by a cable message from New York, tho Teutonic experienced strong head winds and seas, with some fog. Her daily runß were 394 miles, 404, 430, 431, 440, 454, and 227—a result which cannot but be considered satisfactory for a new ship on her first voyage. In spite of the adverse conditions the machinery worked 6teadily and without a single stoppage, and the passengers are profuse in their praises, not only of the admirable management of tho ship, but of the splendid accommodation provided. Tho Inman steamer City of New York, which left Queenstown at the same hour as the Teutonic, arrived at New York at midnight on Wednesday. Although of lesß tonnage than the City of New York, the Teutonic is longer, and is, in fact, the longest Bhip afloat. There are, and will always be, disputes among sporting men of all nations as to the best and prettiest racecourse over which thoroughbred horses can try conclusions with each other for speed. But for the "ocean greyhounds," of which Dryden prophetically wrote, that Spread out, aa on the wintrod winds they flw, And B; ized tho distant goal with greedy view. the Atlantic supplies racecourse about whose merits there cannot be two opinions. There is plenty of space on its broad boeom for all the navies in existence, and plenty of diversity in its moods to try the stoutest ship that was ever built. For at least fifty years the tendency of the builders of " ocean greyhounds" has been to make them longer and longer and narrower and narrower. So far back as 1838 the Great Western, built at Bristol, to sail thence to New York, was denounced by every shipping agent, insurance broker, and old salt in the United Kingdom as " certain to break her back between two Atlantic waves." "The noble vessel," as she was termed by tbe ' Quarterly Review,' left Bristol on June 17,1838, and in eighteen days made New York Harbor safely. "This matchleßß performance"--such are the words of a contemporary writer—" reminds us that since the brown leaves now rustling on tbe ground burst into verdant : existence steam has dried up tho great ' Atlantic Ocean by reducing it to half its breadth ; and thus, instead of Neptune's customary charge of six-and-thirty days' passage, Science has proclaimed * For thirtyi six write eighteen.'" The first effect prophesied by thesame intelligent writeras likely ' to result from " this magic increase of speed ' iu communication" was that "European | travellers will return to us by scores from the United States heavily laden with the information that democratic institutions are turning out a complete failure." Was it worth while to Bend the Great Western to sea " with the certainty that sooner or later i she will break her back "to chronicle such a result? The Great Western was "thirty feet longer than the finest British man-of--1 war, her total length over all being two 1 hundred and ten feet." What would the 1 writer of these words have thought could he [ have surveyed the Atlantic waves-over five or six of which she glides at once—from the deck of the Teutonic, the latest triumph of i the only great shipbuilding yard ever estab- : lished in Ireland? "I was in London," writes Mr M'Culloch, "when, in 1871, the first Bteamerjof the White Star line left Liverpool, ■ and I heard at the office of one of the marine ' insurance companies the opinion expressed \ that she would never reach New York. [ 'She is too narrow for her length,' re- [ marked one man in a loud tone—' too l narrow by thirty fftet. No ship of her i build can stand rough weather. She will break in two the first Btorm she encounters.'" 1 No such fate has thus far overtaken the Oceanic or any of her younger White Star ' sisters; and now the greatest sinner of them ' all has just gone to sea in the guise of " the ' longest ship in the world." The Teutonic , is, indeed, fit to serve as a yacht for , Neptune himself, and forms an admirable '. companion for the City of Rome, built at i Uarrow-in-Furness, and the City of New i York, the product of the Clyde. The three ' ships symboliße the three kingdoms of Eng- ■ land, Scotland, and Ireland, in which_ they were respectively constructed, and if the ' Scotch vessel has made her last passage in ' about the same time as her Belfast rival, it ! mußt be remembered that in the City of New York's first trip Bbe took seven days t twelve hours to accomplish what in her r third trip Bbe achieved in six days fifteen . hours, I The Bame results were attained by the ' Etruria, the Umbria, and the City of Paris, fc which did not put forth their best speed 3 until accustomed to that Atlantic wave 3 which, according to Horace, no man can r revisit thrice in the year with impunity, , unless he is dear to the gods. __ There i are, however, plenty of signs to indicate 1 that other nations are about to race with tho > "mistress of tho seas" for Atlantic • supremacy. Thus we learn that the ■ Columbia, the latest addition to the Ham--3 burg line, has made a marvellously quick return voyage from New York to Southampton, and that an American railway king, Mr Corbin, is about to start—we hope with American capital—a line of twelve thousand tonners, to be built iu the United States, which he designs to run from Montauk 1 Point, at the northern extremity of Long 3 Island, to England, despite the exposed 1 position of the harbor, concerning which Mr 1 James Bruce—a very capable authority—--1 wrote a fow warning words in a letter ad--1 dressed by him last year to a contemporary. • Whether Mr Corbin's designs are capable of • immediate realisation we will not venture ' to pronounce ; but the time cannot be far i distant when the amazing resources in coal 1 and iron possessed by the United States, and • especially by the State of Alabama, where it » is said that pig iron can already be manu--5 factured at seven dollars a ton, will be 3 utilised on a large scale for shipbuilding pur- » poses. Last year Mr John fl. Robinson, of 2 Baltimore, who is president of half a dozen 1 railways and commercial enterprises, paid a 3 visit to England, and pronounced our rail- • ways to be far inferior to those of America 3 in organisation and comfort. " But," he ■ added, "many years have yet to elapse I before the United States will be able to » build such a vessel a? the Umbria, in which > I have just crossed the Atlantic." Mr !• Corbin estimates that each of the ships ' which he hopes to build in his native land I will cost more than a quarter of a million > sterling, and experience teaches that if he ■ can turn out an Umbria or a City of Paris i in a shipbuilding yard which he has yet to k create and set going, ho will be fortunate • indeed if he gets her to sea at a less i cost than three hundred and fifty , thousand poundß. We read, however, in > the New York ' Tribune' that Mr Hunting- > ton, another railway king, has it in contcmi plation to connect Chicago and other i VVestern centres of trade witlt Newport i News, in Virginia, " whence he will estab- ' lish ocean communication with Liverpool." : This communication will doubtless be carried I on by English steamships, which can be navigated at lower rates than American. Finally, we are told that Birmingham, in Alabama, which promises soon to be the greatest iron emporium in the world, "is resolved to open up a harbor at Port Royal, in South Carolina—the finest in the worldthrough which she may send her rich products to sea without shipping them northwards by rail." Never were the prospects of the Atlantic passenger and goods traffic so promising as at this moment, and before many years it is certain that England, Germany, France, and the United States will compete with increasing intensity for possession of the swiftest " ocean greyhound." —Home exchange.
Atlantic Steamers., Issue 8042, 19 October 1889, Supplement
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