Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/874

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and Manaos, whilst it also takes the United States mails between New York and north Brazil. In addition to its transatlantic passenger traffic the Booth Line is largely developing a tourist trade to Vigo, Oporto and Lisbon in the Peninsula as well as to Madeira. The Yquitos Steamship Company, which is under its management, carries its trade a couple of thousand miles up the River Amazon; a further development will extend to River Plate ports.

British India Steam Navigation Company.—This line maintains, perhaps, a larger network of communications and serves a greater number of ports difficult of access than any in the world. The Persian Gulf, Burma, the Straits of Malacca, and the entire littoral of the East Indies, to say nothing of the east coast of Africa, are among the scenes of its enterprise. Though its ramifications now extend to the ports of northern Australia, the company had its origin in the Indian coasting trade. Its present designation is of comparatively recent origin, but its first operations date from 1855. A project for a mail service between Calcutta and Burma was then first set on foot by the East India Company. Early in the following year a company was formed, under the title of the Calcutta and Burma Steam Navigation Company. Two small steamers of 600 tons each were brought and despatched to India round the Cape in 1857, for a service between Calcutta, Akyab, Rangoon and Moulmein, under a contract with the government of India. At the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857 the company rendered important service by bringing up from Ceylon to Calcutta the first detachment of European troops which came to the assistance of India from outside. In 1862 an agreement was made between the company and the government, by which the former agreed to convey troops and stores and to perform other services. Under this arrangement steamers were to be despatched regularly from Calcutta to Rangoon, Moulmein, Akyab and Singapore, and from Rangoon to the Andaman Islands. A service was also set on foot to the Persian Gulf, between Bombay and Karachi and Madras and Rangoon. This gave a great impulse to the business of the company. During the Abyssinian campaign of 1867 it proved of the greatest assistance to the government. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 produced an entire revolution in the shipping trade of India, and led to a great development of the company’s fleet. The s.s. “India” with cargo was waiting at Suez when the canal was opened to traffic, and was the first steamer to arrive in London through the canal with an Indian cargo. In 1872 the company extended its operations to the east coast of Africa, and by an arrangement with the British government began to run a service every four weeks between Aden and Zanzibar. Upwards of one hundred ports are visited by the company’s steamers. In all there are twenty-one lines with additional services. They may be classed roughly as those running to ports in (i.) India, Burma and Straits Settlements; (ii.) Straits Settlements and Philippines; (iii.) East Coast of Africa; (iv.) Persian Gulf; (v.) Dutch East Indies and Queensland.

The Canadian Pacific Railway is now one of the big shipping companies of the world, owning, as it does, just under 200,000 tons of steam shipping. Its services divide themselves into several sections. There are those in home waters, such as the Great Lakes, where it employs a fleet of vessels of quite considerable tonnage. Under this head, too, come the local services on the coasts and rivers of the Pacific. Then there are the ocean lines on the Pacific and the Atlantic. The first of these is run from Vancouver via Yokohama and other Japanese ports to Hong-Kong. Sailings are made at about three-weekly intervals. This service is maintained by the three Empresses, the “Empress of India,” the “Empress of China” and the Empress of Japan,” sister ships of about 6000 tons and 10,000 i.h.p., specially built with a view to serve as auxiliary cruisers to the British navy in time of war. The great development of the Canadian Pacific, as far as regards ship-owning, took place in 1903, when it took over from Messrs Elder, Dempster & Co. their transatlantic services to Canada. The “deal” affected four twin-screw passenger and cargo steamers, and some ten vessels of a purely cargo type. These steamers ranged in size from the “Monmouth,” of just over 4000 tons gross register, to the “Lake Manitoba” of not far short of 10,000 tons. Since their entry into the Atlantic trade the company has added two important mail steamers—the “Empress of Britain” and “Empress of Ireland”—to that side of its fleet.

Castle Line (see also Union Line and Union-Castle Line).—The Castle Line began its career in 1872 with the “Iceland” and the “Gothland,” both vessels of about 1400 tons. At that time the charge for carrying letters to the Cape was about 1s. per half oz., and the contract time between England and the Cape thirty-seven days. The mail contracts were then in the hands of the Union Line exclusively, but in 1873 the House of Commons refused to ratify the extension of the contract signed with them by the chancellor of the exchequer, and their rights thus expired in 1876. Up to 1876 the Cape parliament made an allowance to the Castle Line for the conveyance of letters, and when the postal contract was renewed in that year it was divided between the Union and the Castle lines, an arrangement which was adhered to down to the time when the two lines united their fortunes. The scope of the company’s energies has now been extended to all parts of South Africa. The line did great national service in carrying troops and stores to South Africa during the 1899–1902 and previous campaigns. By a resolution passed at a meeting of shareholders held on the 13th of February 1900 this company was amalgamated with the Union Line. The fleet had grown from two ships in 1876 to twenty ships in 1900, and from a total tonnage of 2800 to one of about 110,000 gross register.

City of Dublin Steam Packet Company.—Among the steamship services in the narrow seas round Great Britain a special interest attaches to this company, which vies with the General Steam Navigation Company in the claim for seniority. The General Steam was undoubtedly the first to receive incorporation in the year 1824, but the undertakings from which the City of Dublin Company sprang were at work in the years immediately prior to these dates. As far as appears, the firm of Bourne & Co.—who fulfilled in Ireland functions for which the Messageries Impériales in France were first formed—were large shareholders in two undertakings which made history in regard to the development of steam navigation. One of these companies was the Dublin & London Steam Packet Company, from which Messrs Wilcox & Anderson, the first managers of the P. & O., chartered the “Royal Tar,” the first steamer they despatched to the Peninsula, and the other was the City of Dublin Company, which originally occupied itself in the maintenance of a service of steamships between Dublin and Liverpool. It was this company's “Royal William” which had the distinction of opening the Liverpool service to New York. By absorption, too, this company represents the old St George Company, whose “Sirius” was the first steamer to sail from London towards New York. In the year 1838 the admiralty, which in those days had the management of many of the mail services and continued for a time to keep the Irish day mails in its own hands, gave the City of Dublin Company the contract for the night Irish mails, which were thus despatched via Liverpool. The name of Laird is to this day closely associated with the fortunes of the company, and even at that time a Mr Laird, grandfather of the present partners in the ship-building firm, was a director of the City of Dublin Company. In the year 1848 the government with four steamers endeavored to run the day and night mails itself via Holyhead. But this arrangement did not work well, and two of its mail steamers were bought by the City of Dublin Company, while the two others were acquired by the Chester & Holyhead railway. It is needless to follow the vicissitudes of the mail service, wavering as it did from the admiralty to the Chester & Holyhead railway, and then to the City of Dublin Company. Suffice it to say that in 1859 an arrangement was entered into whereby the City of Dublin Company undertook the conveyance of both day and night mails via Holyhead, and built four ships, called after the four Irish provinces, for the service. The performances of these four paddle-ships, three of which were built by Messrs Laird, were remarkable indeed. The “Connaught” was the first vessel to do her 18 knots. The “Ulster” made the best passage of them all—doing the journey from Holyhead and Kingston in 3 hours 18 minutes. But the “Leinster” was only two minutes behind her, and the “Munster” only six minutes worse than the “Leinster.” Taking the performances of the whole four vessels over the first fourteen years of their existence, and considering the mean of 20,440 passages made as well in winter as in summer, the average time of passage was only 3 hours 56.1 minutes. The contract was renewed from time to time, that coming into operation on the 1st of October 1883 being for an accelerated service. To enable this to be adequately performed, the last paddle-ship of the fleet, the “Ireland,” was built by Messrs Laird, who also overhauled and improved the machinery of the older vessels, giving them new boilers adapted for the use of forced draught. In 1895 it was felt that the mode of carrying these important mails again needed revision, and in that year the House of Commons approved of a new contract, under which four new twin-screw vessels were to be built for the service. The work of design and construction was again undertaken by Messrs Laird, and in 1897 the new fleet assumed the duties, and indeed the names, of the vessels which had done such remarkable service during a period of about thirty-eight years. The contract time was now decreased by half an hour, and this meant naturally a very great increase in the speed of the vessels employed. The present ships, capable of a speed of about 24 knots, maintain however with regularity and ease the 20 to 21 knots which are required. Besides the night and day services with the mails the company also maintains its old line between Liverpool and Dublin.

Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.—A French undertaking known as the Compagnie Générale Maritime was founded in 1855. It owed its inception to the brothers Emile and Isaac Pereire. Services were first organized from Rouen to Algeria, between Havre and Hamburg, and between Marseilles and Antwerp, with calls at Spanish and Portuguese ports. In 1861 the company was allowed to change its title to the more comprehensive one under which it is now known, and it then undertook its first contracts for the carriage of the French mails to the United States, the Antilles and Mexico. Some of the earlier vessels employed in the New York service were very fine specimens of the naval architecture of their day. Among them may be instanced the great iron paddle-steamer “Napoleon III.,” built in the year 1864 by Messrs Scott & Co. of Greenock, who at that time constructed most of the more important vessels for this service. This vessel with her imperially titled sisters suffered a change of name in the early ’seventies, when several of them were lengthened and altered to screws. In the year 1881, again, there was