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ENGLISH AND AMERICAN STEAM VESSELS.
BY W. C. REDFIELD.
THE London 'Nautical Magazine' for August, contains an article on American Steamers,' which comprises a tabular description of some of the steam-boats in the New-York waters.'
This table appears to have been furnished to the editor by an American correspondent, and though not entirely correct, is highly valuable for the information which it embodies, and is therefore presented to the readers on an adjoining page.
The sprightly and somewhat ironical article which the editor of the 'Nautical' has appended to this table, appears to be founded mainly on the loose and often discordant statements which appear from time to time in our newspapers. Of the numerous errors and false assumptions found in this paper, not the least is that of the supposed current of the Hudson, which is assumed to be of the moderate uniform rate of three miles per hour.' This current is allowed for, in a passage from New-York to Albany, 'against the stream,' whereas, the Hudson, being for the most part a narrow estuary, has no stream or current, except in case of freshets, for a few miles on the upper portion of the route, but exhibits a reciprocal course of ebb and flood tide, the average rate of which, for the entire distance, does not exceed one mile per hour. A fast steamer leaving New-York on the flood tide, often carries it to Albany without change, from which may be derived an advantage equal to about ten miles in a passage. The ebb tide is in like manner often carried from New-York to Albany, with a disadvantage proportionally greater, because encountered for a more lengthened period. The passage from Albany to New-York, on the contrary, has this peculiarity, that the tides are always changed from ebb to flood, and vice versa, once in about three hours; so that a nearly equal portion of favorable and opposing tide must always be had in descending the Hudson; except that the ratio of opposing tide usually predominates, for the reason above given.
The 'Nautical' accompanies its article with an engraving of the American steam-boat Swallow, reduced from one of Robinson's lithographs. The Swallow,' says the editor, 'is no beauty for model, whatever she may be for speed; but the New-York steamer is of a peculiar genus, to be found only in her own waters; a sort of rara avis, adapted to the notions of brother Jonathan.'
In the last remark here appended, there is more truth than poetry; and John Bull, it appears, is just obtaining knowledge of this to him unknown and hitherto unrivalled 'genus' of American steam-boats. In regard to beauty of model, we can inform the editor of the 'Nautical' that Jonathan has been long at school, where he has learned pretty thoroughly the art of adapting means to ends, in the most direct and efficient manner. It is thus that he has learned to discard his former heir-loom notions of taste and beauty, and he no longer considers obsolete forms and appendages, which are in themselves useless or injurious, as being essential to symmetry and beauty in a
46 10. 12.
44 10. 12.
39 10. 11.
11 hours. 45. m. 147 14.3 12.4 Short passage 10h. to Van
Wies' Pt. 8h. to Van Wies' Pt. no landings.
11h. 39m. to Pr.
183 15.2 13.2]
183 13.0 11.3
183 13.0 11.3
2 New-Haven. 4. to 5.
76 15.2 13.2
1 Bridge Port.
NOTE. These boats all take their departure from New-York; the draft of water varies on the same passage, according to the turn.
* There is doubtless an error in regard to the Swallow and Rochester, as these boats are known to be nearly equal in speed.
† 12 hours by day, 14 by night. By night.
722 147 14.7 12.7
river going steamer. But John Bull has been so long accustomed to strait sides and bulwarks, quarter galleries and cutwater, the latter surmounted by bowsprit and figure head, that it is difficult for him to imagine any other standard of beauty in naval architecture. Thus it happens, too, with his steamers, owing in part to the imperfection of their models or construction, and the comparative inefficiency of their engines, that he still finds it expedient to employ canvass, in aid of steam in his home navigation; a practice which, in a steamer of proper efficiency, is worse than useless, except perhaps on sea voyages. There is however a ' genus' of American steam-boats, of which we are not so proud, and which unfortunately has furnished material to the editor of the 'Nautical' and other foreign writers, for most of their witticisms upon American steam navigation. This genus, whose habitat is chiefly on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, has also contributed much to unsettle the public mind, and to impair the just confidence which has hitherto been placed in the skill and science of American artisans and engineers; and which has likewise been the means of fastening upon our invaluable steam marine a legislative incubus, which bids fair to secure to the steamers of Britain the most valuable portion of our intercourse with the parent country.
Ours is a reading public, while the writers on steam or steam navigation are almost exclusively English, and give currency to English views and opinions, whether the same be sound or practically obsolete. This tendency in our literature is unwittingly abetted by a great portion of the American press, the conductors of which are not sufficiently conversant with the facts and principles on which alone a correct estimate can be founded; while American engineers are better employed than in sketching the present state of their art, or in writing the chronicles of their own labors and achievements, which latter have a brighter and more enduring record in their results, and in the changes which they have so rapidly wrought upon the face of nature, and of human society.
It seems hardly to be known, at the present time, even in our own country, that a proper sea going steam ship, well adapted to the navigation of the Atlantic, was built and fitted out at New-York full seventeen years ago, when the art of steam navigation in Europe was in its very infancy. This steam ship, the Robert Fulton, made a number of voyages to Havana and New-Orleans, but owing to the embarrassments of her owner, was dismantled, and sold in another country. This vessel was designed and built by that celebrated shipwright, the late Henry Eckford, for David Dunham, Esq., since deceased, and is now a ship of war, mounting twenty-six guns, and remarkable for her sailing qualities; having for several years past been attached to the Brazilian navy. This ship, if propelled by a modern' New-York' engine, or with the portion of steam power which is now used in the best British steam ships, would, even now, prove a successful rival to the Great Western; at least for any length of passage for which her structure was designed.
Of the practicability of trans-atlantic navigation by steam power alone, American engineers have, for several years, been fully sensible. Of the probability of obtaining a remuneration proportioned to the outlay, however, great doubts have always been entertained. But should the sound practical talent of our countrymen be brought to
bear properly upon this enterprise, a degree of surety and despatch which has not yet been realized, is sure to be attained. Whether such an attempt be justifiable at this time, in view of the false position in which the American merchants and engineers have been placed by the recent investments of British capital in ocean steamers, and by the unwise legislation of our own government, is a question admitting of more doubt. This remark is applied to the new steam-boat law; more especially to that odious provision, which makes the owners of American steam vessels liable, in case of accident, for all the property on board their vessels, in violation of the first principles of justice, which deem a man innocent till he is proved guily.
ODE TO THE CZAR.
'He has ravaged six hundred young women from their homes in Poland to distribute among the soldiery.'
'Odii immortales! ubinam gentium sumus?
AND SO 'tis o'er; and Poland, torn
And then this last! It were a deed
By worse than Rome's worst son decreed,
Thy fame will be, the ruthless foe,
Till thrones and time are not;
The Grecian, with the earth at ban,
Of his own young Brienne :
The Cæsar mourned the laurelled foe
He would the world divide:
Thou lord of homicide!
Dark thing-go glut thee o'er thy blade,
The dying mourning for the dead,
The night-clouds glowing wildly red,
The earthquake charge, the freeman's prayer
These crowd thy reeking train;
The father tearless grieves his son,
For she has nought beside;
And Poland wails, in widowed wo,
And Europe heard her last, wild shriek,
And fevered for her fall;
But all in vain; his eagle wing
Have sheathed his lightning blade!
By Europe chained, then vainly free,
Yet there are mourners o'er thy grave;
And nations mock the bold and brave,
But it is well; from out thy tomb
And Europe yet be free.
BY THE AUTHOR OF 'THE KUSHOW PROPERTY,' 'THE LATE JOHNNY MARSDEN,' ETC.
WHEN old HANS CARVEL departed this life, at a very advanced age, (may his bones rest in peace!) he bequeathed to his only son, Hans, a well-cultivated farm, and the ancient homestead of the family. To these he superadded God's blessing on him, and some salutary directions for his future conduct in life, as namely: 'Fear God-speed the plough - marry a wife - curb the tongue.' Having inculcated these essential principles in the character of every good husbandman, and honest yeoman, he said no more, but being perfectly willing to go,' threw back his hoary head, and sank like a patriarch to his slumbers. And now Hans, finding himself deprived of the paternal counsel, and put in jeopardy of the world, carefully stored away this legacy of good advice, and went about his business as usual. He plodded industriously, as his fathers had done, ploughed the paternal soil, and although the earth did not always yield an equal abundance, he never wanted a sufficiency of good things, and a contented heart to enjoy them. Although the mansion, a homely tenement, built a hundred years ago, in the style of that period, might be looked upon with an insolent sneer, by some of your imposing modern structures, it was none the less comfortable for all that, affording a sufficient covert from the storm, and shelter from the tempest. It had a quiet air, and a variety of appearances without, gave evidence of thrift and hospitality within. There it stood, and appeared likely to stand, with the gable end to the street, a dog, grisly and blind with age, reclining on the sunny porch, gourds and wooden trenchers, and milk-strainers, and strings of apples put out to dry, a washing-tub on a barrel, and cats and dogs, and chickens walking right into the kitchen. Any one will agree, that this was too pleasant a place to live alone in. So Hans thought, and having acquitted his conscience on other points, he determined to get married, and obey the dying injunction of his father. He was not very difficult to please, looking neither for riches nor beauty. He considered a prudent woman a mine of wealth to her husband, and for the latter quality, his ideas of it were founded wholly in utility. A very short search made him acquainted with one whom he considered qualified to render him happy, and he courted her, to the best of his abilities, for three weeks; when he mustered up courage, and asked her in plain terms to accede to his proposals. She replied, with a modest refinement, that she did n't care if she did.' This soft confession was decisive, and the dominie being forthwith called, brought the matter to a happy termination. There was some little merry-making and jollity afterward, and then the household affairs went on as if nothing had happened. None of your long and expensive journeys to mountain-houses, and mineral fountains, suffocating to death on the dusty roads, and coppering your complexion with impregnated waters. This first false step too frequently leads to a habit of gadding, never afterward recovered from. The more Hans