Steam Ships are Viable

The Sydney Herald

17 February 1840


The importance of this subject renders any excuse for this letter perfectly unnecessary, for I am confident you will at all times be glad to insert any communication bearing upon the subject which has facts, and not mere declamation, for its basis.

I should not, however, have troubled you with this communication, had I not perceived a letter bearing the signature of "B'' in a late number of the Colonist, headed "Steam Navigation to India Exploded! - Old Boreas having carried the day," which contains several remarks that ought not to be allowed to pass uncontradicted.

In the first place, to begin at the beginning, I deny that steam navigation to India is exploded, for by the latest papers in the colony, both from England and India, I perceive that the subject is still being discussed; but the expenditure of a million of money, which will be required to lay a line of steam packets between London and Calcutta, requires some consideration.

As for Boreas, he is a gentleman that had very little to do with a voyage to India, and therefore could have but little to do with carrying the day.

The writer next asserts that the "India Steam Navigation Company have given up steaming it round the Cape."

Now really Mr. B--- you either know nothing about the matter, or else you have made a very great mistake, for the India Company have not given up the project.

Messrs. Green and Co., the India ship owners, have fitted up a new merchant vessel, the Vernon, with a steam engine of thirty horse power to propel her in calms; and this vessel Mr. B. speaks of as "the Company's first vessel," and, becoming quite dramatically poetical, he says "Oh what a falling off is here my countrymen."

Now "the Company" had nothing whatever to do with this vessel, and therefore there could be no "falling off."

The writer of this also alludes to several other communications which he has inserted in the public papers, in which he predicted this failure, and in which he has also had the hardihood to declare, that the experiment of crossing the Atlantic by steam has been a failure, both assertions being equally true.

Now so far from the Great Western having been unsuccessful, I maintain that she has been eminently successful, and has answered the expectations of the most sanguine supporters of the scheme.

She makes her trips regularly, and the shareholders have received a dividend of nine per cent.

As it may be interesting to some of your readers, I annex, from a late number of the Times, a copy of the log of the Great Western, on her last trip from New York to Bristol.

The Great Western left New York on the 1st of August, at 15 minutes after 1 p.m.; passed Sandy Hook 15 minutes after 3 p.m., and arrived at Bristol yesterday (August 14), at half-past 5 o'clock a.m.

Aug 2- Wind variable, lat. 40 30. long. 70 7. Light breezes and fine. Distance 177 miles.

Aug. 3- Wind variable, lat. 40 43, long. 6520. Light variable winds and fine. Dis. 219 miles.

Aug. 4- Wind north-westerly, lat. 41 37, long. 60. Moderate and fine clear weather, southerly swell. Distance 251 miles.

Aug. 5- Wind variable, W.N.W., lat. 42 48, long. 54 32. Moderate and fine clear weather, little northerly swell. Distance 254 miles.

Aug. 6- Wind varible, S.W., lat. 44 40, long. 49 40. Moderate and hazy weather, passed several fishing vessels. Distance 240 miles.

Aug. 7- Wind N.N.E., northerly, lat. 46 35, long. 44 32, Moderate at times, foggy, strong breezes, and squally. Distance 244 miles.

Aug. 8- Wind north-westerly, lat. 48 26, long. 38 56. Strong breezes and squally showers, north-west sea, fresh breezes, and fine. Distance 253 miles.

Aug. 9- Wind south-westerly, lat. 49 55, long. 33 20. Moderate breezes and cloudy, irregular northerly swell. Distance 238 miles.

Aug. 10- Wind S.W., lat. 51 11. long. 27 15. Light breezes and thick hazy weather; a little northerly swell. Distance 244 miles.

Aug. ll - Wind south-westerly and south- easterly, lat. 51 30, long. 20 42. Light weather and swell, light breezes, and hazy. Distance 245 miles.

Aug. 12- Wind variable, S., lat. 51 35, lang. 14 3. Light, variable, moderate breezes, and dark hazy weather, rain at times. Distance 250 miles

Aug. 13- Wind southerly, lat. 51 5, long 7 22. Moderate and hazy, rain at times, at 4 o'clock passed over the Fastnes Rock. Distance 251 miles,

From the New York Courier, of the 29th July, I extract an abstract of the log of the British Queen, on, I believe, her first voyage.

The British and American Steam Navigation Company's new steamer, the British Queen, Lieutenant Roberts, R. N., commander, arrived in our waters early yesterday morning, in 15 1/2 days from Portsmouth, whence she sailed on the 12th, bringing London dates of the evening of the 11th.

July 12- Sailed from Spithead at 1 p.m. Wind W.S.W.

July 13- Lat. 49 32, long. 5 45, St. Agnes lighthouse N.E. 9 leagues; Distance 235 miles.

July 14- Wind W.N.W. to S.,- lat. 49 34, long, 11 22. Moderate and cloudy. Distance 218 miles.

July 15- Wind W.N.W., lat. 49 23, long. 15 50. Strand breezes. Distance 181 miles.

July 16- Wind S W. by W. and W., lat. 49 20, long 21 13. Fresh gales and squally, head sea. Distance 210 miles.

July 17- Wind, N. and N.N.W., lat. 48 6, long. 25 46. Strong breezes, with head sea. Distance 198 miles.

July 18- Wind N. by W., lat. 46 56, long. 30 10. Strong breezes, with head sea. Distance 193 miles.

July 19- Wind N. by W. and N. W. by W., lat 46 13, long. 34 47. Moderate : breezes, with swell. Distance 198 miles.

July 20-Wind N N.W., lat. 45 30, long 39 1. Strong breezes and fresh gales, head sea; ship very easy. Distance 182 miles.

July 21-,Wind N.N.W., lat. 45 4, long..42 1. Fresh gales, with increasing sea. Dis, 130 miles.

July 22- Wind W.N.W., lat. 44 43, long, 46 27. Moderate breezes. Distance 190 miles

July 23-Wind W.S.W., lat. 43 42, long 51 2. Light and fresh breeze's. Distance 214 miles

July 21- Wind W. by N., lat. 43 17, long. 55 40. Fresh breezes and squally. Distance 207 miles.

July 25- Wind N.W., lat. 42 23, long 60 30. Light breezes and cloudy. Distance 221 miles,

July 26- Wind W. and W.S.W., lat. 41 11, long. 65 34 Moderate breezes and fine. Distance 240 miles.

July 27- Wind N. and variable, lat. 40 19, long. 70 35. Moderate and fine. Dis. 240 miles,

Vessels spoken.- July 14.- Spoke the ship Helen, from the Azores, bound to Plymouth, in lat. 49 32, long. 5 45. 15,- Exchanged numbers with British ship Albion.

19th- Boarded the bark Bethel, of Bideford, found her abandoned, with all sails unbent, all running rigging unrove, all yards across, no boats, laden with railroad iron; water only up to lower deck beams, no provisions or water on board, bulkhead and lockers broken open appears to have been plundered, and to have been deserted- for what I know not; ll 30, up and set on engines. 23d.- Passed several vessels at anchor, fishing on the hanks. 1 30 p. m., spoke the schooner Blender, of Providence. 26th.- Spoke the Ceylon, from Liverpool to New York.

Now if this is what Mr. B. calls a failure, I think, Mr. Editor, you would be pleased to see a similar failure carried on between London and Sydney.

What! Vessels running from America to England in thirteen days, and from England to America in fifteen days, a complete failure - absurd.

I recollect seeing the log of the British Queen homeward, wherein it appeared that when about four days sail from New York, she fell in with a ship that left Liverpool some time before she did. What a failure.

I happen to have received a number of the New York Morning Herald, of July, and the first three advertisements in it are connected with steam to England.

The first announces that the steam ship Liverpool, 1153 tons, and 468 horsepower, will sail from New York August 24th October 19th, and December 14th; and from Liverpool, August 1st, September 21st, November 16th.

The second states, that the steam ship British Queen, 2016 tons, and 500 horsepower, will sail from New York for London, on the 1st: August, 1st October, and 1st December. The third advertisement states, that the steam ship Great Western, 1340 tons, will sail from Bristol July 6th, August 24th, and October 19th; and from New York, August 1st, September 12th, and November 16th.

Now, Mr. Editor, must not a man be mad I insinuate that steam navigation between England and America has been a failure.

It will be well for the shareholders if the Floating Bridge pays and travels at regularly from Dawes' Point to the North Shore, as the Great Western has traversed the Atlantic.

Your's, obediently, Anti-Humbug.