Page images

distance of 150 miles, without accident, and attained 1 speed of five miles an hour. After this time, rapid progress was made both in Great Britain and Americe, which contributed largely to their mutual prosperity. In 1812 the steam-boat, Comet, was tried on the River Clyde, by Mr. Henry Bell, to whom this country is much indebted for his unceasing perseverance in the useful application of steam as a propelling power to vessels. The Comet plied between Glasgow and Greenock with ultimate success. Many very important alterations took place, not only in the steam-engine, but in the construction of the vessels for which they were intended, and as they had hitherto only been used for river and Coasting purposes, these improvements established the practicability of their extended use at sea.

La 1816 steamers began to ply between Holyhead and Dublin, which is one of the earliest applications of steam navigation to sea voyages. At the annual meeting of the British Association, held in Liverpool, in September, 1837, the possibility of crossing the Atlantic by steamers was discussed, and the idea opposed by many scientific men, amongst whom Dr. Lardner was most conspicuous : he in his argument taking his data from the performance of the Medea, the best of the government steamers, and believing no doubt, that no superior vessel could be made, contended that no steamer could carry the necessary quantity of coal for a voyage of 3,200 miles, the distance from England to the United States; others bowever were sanguine of success.

On the 4th of April, 1838, the Sirius, Captain Roberts, left Cork at 10 a.m. She was seen on the 14th, having encountered heavy weather, and made only 110 miles per day, and was 1,620 miles from New York. No further intelligence was received respecting her until the 18th of May, when she arrived safely at Falmouth, bringing the news that she had made the voyage from Cork to New York

in eighteen days; and fra Tuck to Falmouth in twenty-tw dlays. The Srizs, therefore, was the first romel that ever crussel the Atantic by the power of steam akne.

The Great Western, the first steam Lip to perform the voyage from England to New York. sailed from King'. Road, Bristol, on Sunday, the Sth of April, and arrived at New York on the 22nd of the same month-twelve hours after the Sirius; having gained upon her more than four days in crossing the Atlantic, and made the run from Bristol to New York in foartren days ;-not much more than a third part of the time usually taken by sailing ressels. This was a great and admirable achievement; not only in reference to the mechanical and engineering skill displayed, but because of its importance in a commercial point of view. The vast continent of America, with all its native produce,-its immense and fertile cotton districts, its produce of grain, timber, coffee, sugar, and a variety of other articles, upon which this country so much depends,—was by this success. ful undertaking brought, as it were, at least one thousand miles nearer our shores. Satisfactory as these results were, much still had yet to be done. Economy of fuel, higher speed, and more punctual. ity, was aimed at, and ultimately successfully attained. The increase of speed of our steamers has of late been very remarkable. In the early mail con. tracts, the speed exacted was eight miles per hour, afterwards nine and ten miles per hour; but steam. ers, as the Persia, La Plata, and others, average on a long voyage fourteen miles per hour. The quickest passages ever performed in the Channel, are those of the royal mail packet, Prince Frederick William, which recently run from Dover to Calais, against tide, in 1 hour and 27 minutes, and returned in 1 hour and 21 minutes. Since then, she ran to Ostend from Dover Pier-a distance of 73 statute miles-in 3 hours and 50 minutes, averaging in the passage a speed over 19 miles an hour. Although this speed bo attainable, and valuable as it is in reference to our inail service, by which a rapid and punctual interchange of correspondence between ourselves, our dependencies, and other distant countries is insured, and through which our letters and advice precue so favourably the transmission of merchan. dise, to the mutual convenience and advantage of all concerned, and on account of which our Government offer immense subsidies, to the amount, probably, of double the income of the sea-borne mail service; and although this may be done at an apparent loss, the country gains largely by the very extended trade created by rapid and punctual correspondence ;-still there is a point of speed which cannot be exceeded, having at the same time due regard to economy: for it has now become known, notwithstanding the improved construction of vessels, that since 1850, the passage between Liverpool and New York has been shortened two days; but so great is the resisting force of water-and, to some extent, air-at high rates of speed, that to gain the two days in time, has precisely doubled the consumption of coal.

It is clear, then, that now we have attained an amount of speed in our stcamers we could hardly desire to exceed: and so far as regards economy of fuel, the following quotation may shew that our engineers have not been less successful in their efforts. "On the first great experiment with the Great Britain, between Australia and England, she was underrigged as a sailing vessel; her screw, which could not be unshipped, was always in requisition. Her consumption of coal was from 35 to 50 tons per day: she consumed about 1200 tons from Melbourne to the Cape; and is supposed to have consumed 2500 tons on her homeward voyage. She took in coal at Algoa Bay, Simond's Bay, St. Michael's (Azores), and at Vigo Bay in Spain. During the voyage of the Royal Charter-which is a full-rigged clipper ship,

[ocr errors]

asia ticira. Di 300 tons - Teatest

Do Carass tras

Turg 14 ts - Dou. Sieann was JEGPA w 14 days. Her best as a wh steam *** 237 2.

a 0cSTO o 10 tons of risi ai r dhar's run Tis 166 mes, with a

o m G11100s oie:be average being art 14 Vus perdas: asi :rai of the Great Britain ax. 4 VIS D dar.**

Arara las his rear (1855' 57 ocean steamers, n orr 1795 ions; while we tare 1,670, with 6,66.33) azzerate tous. America has 22 steamers, of 45,6 Wols, engaged in fureign and domestic ILail; while we have 121 steamers, of 235,418 aggregata tons, engaged in the foreign mail service almost exclusively. America has 37 steamers engaged in the crasting trade; while we hare 1,548 similarly employed. We have also at Portsmouth 32 vessels, of 1,499 guns; Davenport, 62 vessels, of 3,055 guns; Chatham, 37 vessels, of 1331 guns; Sheerness, 20 vessels, of 919 guns :-making a total at the four ports of 151 vessels, carrying 6,804 guns. In addition to these (besides a number of small craft), we have building in the various ports, and principally screw propellers, vessels calculated to carry 2,936 gins, and of a power equal to that of 10,580 horses. The total number of steamers belonging to the United Kingdom, as taken on the 1st of January, 1857, is 1,669; the combined tonnage, exclusive of engine-room, being 383,598.

We have reason to be proud of our country. Let us go on, resolved to maintain our position, despite of our competitors in the manufacturing and mercartile world. Encouraged as we are by our gracious and beloved Queen, and living as we do in a country the most liberal and free under Heaven, I have no fear of the results.




Delivered at the opening of the last Winter Session of the Edinburgh

Philosophical Institution.]

Dr. Hook began by stating that his subject was * The Influence of a High Standard of Academical Culture upon the Moral and Intellectual Conditions of Society," He then proceeded, in the first place, to consider what the leading principles of a University education ought to be. By a University education, he said, we mean a liberal education; and by a liberal education we mean a non-professional education-an education conducted without any direct or immediate reference to the future profession of the person educated-an education which is to be regarded not merely as a means to something else, but as in itself an end. But here it will be necessary to explain that when the word "profession" is used, it is not intended to confine its application to what in former times were called the three learned proIessions; but we apply it to any calling in life which requires mental as distinguished from manual labour. Manual labour constitutes a trade-mental labonr a profession. When a man devotes himself to any specialty of science, that science becomes to him a Teofession.

Literature and bookmaking have in these days become a distinct profession. The army and navy,

« EelmineJätka »