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has this advantage over the other, that it has actually been put to the test of experience, and found to be safe, certain, and comparatively easy. The first point to be ascertained is the part of the coast of Egypt to which the steamer from England should be directed? The decision of this question must depend in some measure on the difficulties or the facilities of entering one of the mouths of the Nile, so as to approach by water-conveyance the nearest spot from whence the overland journey is to be performed either to Suez or Cosseir on the Red Sea. Across all the mouths of the Nile there are bars of sand that very frequently shift their positions; and when the northerly or sea winds blow, which are strongest from midsummer to the equinox, and, by directly opposing the current of the river, raise a heavy surf across the channels, all entrance is precluded, even against the boats of the country, which are often swamped in the attempt. In southerly winds, the water on the bars is smoother, but is then most shallow, seldom exceeding four or five feet in depth, so that no sea-steamer could attempt to enter.
The only certain and practicable mode, therefore, of communicating with the Red Sea will be by the harbour of Alexandria, which is accessible at all times. From hence a noble canal, constructed by the present pasha, extends about forty-five miles, where it comes close to, but does not actually join, the Nile, as it might easily be made to do by means of a lock. By attaching horses to the passage-boats, and putting them to their speed, these forty-five miles might be accomplished in six hours, and the Nile boats from thence would reach Cairo, which is about seventy-five miles farther, in two days,-say three in all from Alexandria. At Cairo, any number of camels or dromedaries can be had, at a very trifling expense, to convey the baggage over the isthmus to Suez; and this part of the land journey would occupy two days more. The only objection to Suez is that, from the shallowness of the water, the steamer could not approach the shore within four or five miles; but this is a very serious one, as regards the taking in coals, and must occasion considerable delay, unless indeed a coallighter were moored out in deep water. Cosseir would no doubt on this account be a more convenient port to embark at on the Red Sea steamer, but it would occasion much delay in ascending the Nile to Keneh, which is opposite to it, and there would still remain the intervening desert to be crossed. Captain Chesney states it would take from nine to twelve days to enable passengers, with their baggage, to reach Alexandria from Cosseir, and more in going the contrary way.
The navigation of the Red Sea is considered to be dangerous, but little is known of it except from the chart of Sir Home Popham,
whose route was confined to the middle of this narrow sea. Sir John Malcolm and his party, in the Hugh Lindsay steamer, found no difficulty nor danger in navigating along the eastern coast, as far up as Juddah, nor from thence to Cosseir; and the passage along this coast has the great advantage of allowing the vessels to pass with facility during both monsoons.*
Captain Chesney seems to think that, if the cut drawn by the French from the lake Menzaleh to the sea-coast opposite Tineh, but now closed up, were re-opened, it would offer the easiest and shortest route to Suez. He also suggests facilities that might be afforded by canals and openings, and removal of bars, but at the same time against all such costly projects he offers an objection which appears to us to be fatal:- I have some reason to believe,' he says, 'that the pasha, whilst he may avowedly consent, and promise assistance, would secretly make difficulties, and use intrigues, to counteract the steam-communication through his territories; as it is natural he should not desire to make Egypt the channel of such an important intercourse as must draw the attention of Europe to that part of the world.' This we consider as conclusive. The pasha is too wise and too cautious a ruler to allow of inlets to be made into his dominions for the easy admission of foreigners, but he has none whatever to give his best assistance to an intercourse through Alexandria and Cairo.
Assuming, therefore, the port of Alexandria on this, and Suez on the other side of the isthmus, to be the points of rendezvous for the steamers-the distances, and probable length of time in performing each, will stand as under :
Falmouth to Malta (as before)
Malta to Alexandria
As there are not at present any conveniences for the supply and care of coals, boats, &c., at Babelmandel and Socotra, Mocha, being the same distance to Suez, may be substituted for the former, and Maculla, on the coast of Arabia, for the latter. As we have here taken the rate of the steamer at about seven miles an hour, which she could not maintain against a north-east monsoon and a head sea, we may extend the average time from England to Bombay, and also the reverse, and consider it to vary from
*We understand that a complete survey of this sea has recently been made by the vessels of the East India Company's marine, but the details of it have not yet been received.
forty-five to fifty days. The Hugh Lindsay, which pursued a somewhat different and perhaps a better route, left Bombay on the 5th December, stopped for coals at Maculla two days, and again at Judda the same time for the same purpose, and arrived at Cosseir on the 27th of the same month, that is, she was twentytwo days on the voyage, from which deduct four, and add two from Cosseir to Suez, and we have twenty days from Bombay to Suez.
We now come to the important article of expense, the only one which is likely to stand in the way of the measure being carried into effect. In the estimate of four steamers, as supplied from India to the Court of Directors, the communication is contemplated as monthly. This might be effected by employing two steamers on this side, and two on the other side of the isthmus of Suez, provided the steam-machinery could be ensured not to fail for a certain period-which however is wholly out of the question, it being constantly liable to accidents. Instead of engines of ninety-horse power, on which the estimate is made, we should say those of sixty are sufficiently powerful for propelling, at the rate of seven to eight miles an hour, steam-vessels of capacities large and commodious enough for every purpose. Taking the passage from Suez to Bombay at twenty days at sea, the time it was done by the Hugh Lindsay, and which will also be about the average time from England to Alexandria, we may estimate as follows:
Suppose the first steamer from England and the first from Bombay were to start from their respective destinations on the 1st January, and allowing the passage across the isthmus, and to and from Suez and Alexandria, to be six days, the passengers to and from India would arrive in England and at Bombay about the same day, namely, on the 15th February; and each steamer would have thirteen days in this month, and fifteen or sixteen in all other months, to make good its defects-which in ordinary cases would be sufficient, though not so when any accident has happened to the machinery.
Now, as each steamer would complete six voyages in the year, the number of days that each would be at sea, or have the steam up, would be 240 days; and as a steam-vessel, with two sixtyhorse-power engines, if properly managed, will not require more than ten tons of coals in twenty-four hours, the quantity consumed by the two steamers on each side, in the six voyages each, or the whole year, will be 4800 tons;-9600 tons for the whole four vessels. The coals best adapted for steamers are admittedly the Llangennech in South Wales, which may be had at the pit's mouth, or even at the port of Llanelly, for seven to eight shillings the tonat Portsmouth or Plymouth for twenty shillings-at Gibraltar,
VOL. XLIX. NO. XCVII.
Malta, or Alexandria, at thirty shillings. Taking the average at twenty-five shillings per ton, the annual expense, in the article of fuel, for the 4800 tons consumed on this side the isthmus, will be 6000l.; what it will be on the Indian side is not so easy to estimate; but as it is a fact that coals are and can be delivered at Bombay, taken thither from England as ballast, at thirty shillings a ton, the additional price over that of Europe will be confined to those delivered about the mouth of, or in, the Red Sea. It is supposed the East India Company would find no difficulty in providing the whole, including Bombay, at about sixty shillings the ton; and at this rate, the expense of fuel only for the two steamers on the Indian side would amount to 12,000l. a year-and for the whole four to 18,000l*.
We believe, however, there is not the slightest intention, either of the government or the East India Company, that the communication should be monthly, as neither political nor commercial interests could be benefited thereby to such an extent as would justify so large an expenditure. However great the emergency may be, the minister must send his reinforcements, and the merchant his cargoes, round the Cape of Good Hope; and on whomsoever the government of India devolves, the executive on the spot must be allowed to act, as it always has acted, on the spur of the occasion, and not wait for orders from home. We shall, therefore, assume that steamers are to be despatched every two months; the cost of coals would thus be reduced to 9000l. a year.*
We may now state the expense of establishing and keeping up four steamers as given by the Directors.
A teak-built Bombay Steam-vessel, with Engines and
Capital sunk for fifteen years in Vessel and Boilers
Insurance 13351., Establishment 36031.
Annual Expense of One
* In point of fact, if monthly communications were determined on, three steamers, instead of two, would be absolutely necessary; one always in reserve to supply the place of either of the two that might sustain heavy damage, which must always be reckoned upon where steamers have to encounter boisterous weather, head seas, and a long continuance of the steam up, occasioning a constant wear and tear in the machinery and burning out the boilers.
Then, first outlay of four Steamers
Annual Expense of four Steamers at 26,800l..
Annual Expense of one Steamer for fifteen years
Capital sunk for fifteen years
This, to be sure, is a terrific expenditure for conveying a few letters and despatches, and now and then three or four passengers. We shall, however, offer an estimate on the same principles, which we think will come nearer the truth.
An English-built Steam-vessel of 120-horse power complete, with Stores, Engines, and Boilers, with an additional Boiler, will cost about
Coals, by our estimate 18,000l. for four, 4,500l. for one
Annual Expense of one Steamer
First outlay of four Steamers
Annual Expense of four Steamers
Expense of four Steamers for fifteen years
Thus, if our estimate should be an approximation only to the required expenditure, that of the East India Company will exceed it by considerably more than one-half, both in the amount of the original outlay and the annual charges. But if the communication be limited to once every two months, and we think this ought to be considered sufficient, the annual cost, by the diminution of half the cost of the coals, will be for each steamer 8,478l., and for the four 33,9121. It will be observed, that no allowance is made for extra labour in loading, unloading, and carrying coals to the steamer, which, on this side the isthmus, will be done by the vessel's crew, nor is any additional cost inserted for the land journey; but if we add the gross sum of 6000l., and, instead of 34,000l., take the annual expense to amount to 40,000l.—or, if the communication be monthly, to 48,9127.,-we shall still be considerably below one-half the estimate of the Directors.