Page images

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 12,0001, a year—and for the whole four to 18,0001*.

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 benetited 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

Stores complete, 160-horse power, with an additional
Boiler, and twice repaired

£ 35,600


Capital sunk for fifteen years in Vessel and Boilers
Interest on Capital at 6 per cent.
Insurance 13351., Establishment 36031.
Stores, Provisions, and Repairs .

2,369 2,012 4,938 1,485

[ocr errors]

Coals, Insurance, and Landing.

£ 10,804


Annual Expense of One

£ 26,800 * 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 ur, occasioning a constant wear and tear in the machinery and burning out the boilers.

Then, Then, first outlay of four Steamers


Annual Expense of four Steamers at 26,8001..



[ocr errors]

Annual Expense of one Steamer for fifteen years

26,800 And for four Steamers for fifteen years, including the first outlay ;-after this period the original outlay would

£1,600,000 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 com-

plete, with Stores, Engines, and Boilers, with an addi-
tional Boiler, will cost about

. £ 16,800


Capital sunk for fifteen years
Interest on Capital at 6 per cent.
Officers, Engineers, &c., and Insurance
Occasional Stores and Annual Repairs

1,120 1,008 3,000 1,100

Coals, by our estimate 18,0001. for four, 4,5001, for one

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Expense of four Steamers for fifteen years

£ 643,680 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 8,4781., 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 60001., and, instead of 34,0001., take the annual expense to amount to 40,0001.—or, if the communication be monthly, to 48,9121.,-We shall still be considerably below one-half the estimate of the Directors.

The question then will resolve itself into the consideration, whether, in a political or commercial point of view, the conveyance of a few passengers and letters monthly or two-monthly to and from Bombay, is worth the annual expense of 40,000l. or 50,0001. * ? It has been thrown out that the monthly government steam-packets to Malta might be made available to that extent, and that one additional packet only would be required to run between Malta and Alexandria ; but then, as this would produce a degree of uncertainty, both as to time and accommodation for passengers, the whole plan might be deranged and the object of it defeated. From what is stated in Mr. Prinsep's book, it is not at all probable that such an undertaking will be attempted by private individuals, liberal and public-spirited as the merchants resident in India have almost on all occasions shown themselves to be; and unless a very strong case should be made out, we doubt whether the government or the East India Company will be willing to sacritice so large an expenditure for such an object.

Art. XII.-1. Recollections of a Chaperon; edited by Lady

Dacre. 3 vols. London. 1833. 2. Aims and Ends : and Oonagh Lynch. By the Author of Carwell.' Ditto. Ditto.

Ditto. Ditto. THE ladies have always some pretty little manufacture in hand :

twenty years ago they were shoe-makers—then came the æra of bookbinding ; at present authorship is the thing. To have colitributed to an Annual or a · Court Journal' is no distinction at all. Even a volume of lyrical poems is thought hardly more of, than an embroidered cushion or night-cap was in the days of their great-grandmothers. There are probably present at every drawing-room of Queen Adelaide's half-a-score beauties, or cidevant beauties, whose names have been blazoned on the titlepage of a three-tomed novel, or at least in the advertisements of its publisher; and, to crown all, we have a monthly magazine avowedly edited by a young and lovely member of one of our noble families.

* We have seen, since writing the above, an extract of the annual profits to be derived from a monthly communication by steam, which, as Jonathan would say, is important if true, and ought to shame the Directors for their tardiness: it is, however, of Indian manufacture. The cost of the establishment being taken at 37,3141. we are told that the following receipts may be relied on :300,000 letters at an average of 3s.

£ 45,000 Newspapers, law papers, bills of exchange, &c.

40,000 Passage money


£89,800 Leaving a balance of profits

£ 32,436 See" Steam Navigation from England to India,' by Captain Heal, 1833.


[ocr errors]

Of all these feminine novels of the last three or four seasons, there is but one (Curwell) that shows the power to grapple with deep passions, and develope a really lofty character. The rest fail wlierever anything of so high a class is attempted; the best of them hazard no such attempts. They have, however, exhibited, in many instances, great cleverness in the management of humbler materials-skill, sometimes really exquisite skill, in the delineation of follies and foibles-lively specimens of narrative-light and graceful snatches of dialogue---admirably graphic pictures of the surface of society. Above all, several of these fair hands have depicted with success the ennui which paralyzes the palled sense of so many of fortune's spoiled children—the whims, caprices, extravagances, which so often mark the stages from listless weariness of heart and spirit

, to the short-lived phrenzy of guilty passionthe harbinger in almost every case of a middle life devoted to reckless vice. Believing, therefore, as we do, that society in this country is about to undergo some great change, we cannot doubt that these books will be referred to, occasionally, for very unfair purposes, long after the daintiest of their authoresses have stooped to woollen. They will be quoted as furnishing evidence that we deserved our fate--that an aristocracy so lost in voluptuousness, and middle ranks so debased by envy and small ambitions, called aloud for the besom of revolution.

It ought, however, to be remembered, that they, one and all, deal with only a few sections of the upper society of England that they are all town-made or villa-made ; that the life which they represent is not the actual life of any class among us, excepting a single gaudy circle revolving round Almack's, and a wider and duller one, embracing within its range that thoroughly artificial maze of little parks, and places, and cottages with double coachhouses, which are indicated by green dots, as thick set as currants in a cake, on the pocket-chart of our outlying suburb the chosen province of the fund-holders and the colonial Absentees. It is here that vanity and selfishness, nowhere else leading characteristics of English character and manners, thrive and bloom as in a hot-bed. In these paradise paddocks the great are not surrounded by their natural dependants and neighbours-and the pomp of their luxury is presented, alike apart from the stimulating utility of masses of wealth, and from the civilizing influence of a centre of elegance. Those of moderate fortunes, in place of being country gentlemen, each the natural pattern of some parish and guardian of some village, are apt to spend their whole lifetime in the interchange of formal dinners, and a foppish parodying of the manners of the isolated magnates, whose annual breakfast or ball is their social blue-ribbon.


Now that the novel has come to stand virtually, with regard to the painting of living manners, in the room at once of the Addisonian essay and the genteel comedy, how greatly is it to be regretted that the varied talents employed in this branch of popular literature should confine themselves to so narrow a field of the domain which has fallen to their lot; that, after all the hundreds of clever books of this class to which our time has given birth, it should still be impossible to single out one, in which English life is pourtrayed from a serene point of view, and with the boldness and gentleness of a mind equally above flattery and uncharitableness. Mrs. Sheridan could bring the passion—and the books now on our table show that either she or Mrs. Sullivan could bring the satire; a dozen inferior hands might be relied on for a smart filling up of petty details ; but to what quarter shall we look for the construction of a really artist-like plot-a sufficiently comprehensive canvass—the influence and collisions of masculine intellects—a candid and philosophical sympathy with man and woman, in strength and in weakness—and the ennobling ambition to make · fairy fiction’ the vehicle of wholesome lessons at once to the rich and to the poor?

As it is, we have before us a whole bundle of rods for the backs of that busy little world of snugness and pretension, which we have alluded to as cut by the Thames, from Hampton to somewhere about Blackheath, and extending an easy stage into Surrey on the one side, into Herts on the other. These fair writers sometimes talk about Yorkshire, Cumberland, even Cornwall; but it is obvious, that their sphere of observation, as far as English life is concerned, has been circumscribed by the twelve miles map. Every one who has lived in the real country, no matter where, must feel that they introduce him to a world quite unlike his

Every one who has had his head-quarters in London, must recognise the fidelity with which they represent the tracasseries of The Environs. Two-thirds of these novels are, in short, occupied with the cravings of little people for the notice of the great—the civil contempt with which the objects of this adoration reward their worshippers—and, last not least, the miseries and mock miseries which haunt, through the course of life, those persons of essentially feeble character who, under the influence either of youthful passion, or of caprice, or pique, or vanity, are rash enough to forget the distinctions of caste in the formation of a matrimonial alliance. This last subject appears indeed to be a special favourite. Hardly has The Contrast been forgotten, before we have precisely the same theme taken up in Milly and Lucy,' and in * Aims and Ends.' These authoresses are at great pains in rummaging Cowley,



« PreviousContinue »