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Some account of the

and of the rise and progress of the
commercial Navy of Great Britain. 1834

SOURCE: The Saturday Magazine, No. 117. Supplement, April, 1834

The progress of steam-navigation, for the first ten or twelve years after its introduction into this country, was extremely slow; most of the vessels then built were very deficient in power, and, indeed, no very material improvements in their architecture—especially in the Port of London—were made for several years later. Since 1829, the progress made in steam-navigation, both as respects its extension, and in the modelling and construction of the vessels, has been exceedingly rapid. The benefits which it has conferred on the country are most strongly illustrated in reference to Ireland. We learn, that formerly, from the time a sailing-vessel was first prepared to start from Liverpool, to the time of her arrival in Dublin, a week might be calculated as a fair average of her passage. The first steamer was established between those two ports in 1821; the voyage is now performed in about twelve hours, and the Post-office Packet, Dolphin, has made the passage, a distance of 137 miles, in 10 hours and 18 minutes! At the present period, it may fairly be computed, that a capital of nearly a million is engaged in steam-communication between the two countries. The benefit to Ireland is of course exceedingly great; her exports have consequently nearly been doubled; and some idea of the extent of the trade may be formed from the fact, that about 400,000 head of cattle, sheep, and pigs, are annually imported into Liverpool alone; whilst the importation of grain and meal from Ireland, into Great Britain, has been augmented threefold since 1815.

According to a Parliamentary return, the number of steam vessels in 1829, was 342, of the aggregate burden of 31,355 register tons; of which number, 241 vessels and 20,611 tons belonged to England; 75 vessels and 5953 tons to Scotland; and 26 vessels and 4791 tons to Ireland. About 30 steamers have on an average been built annually since that period, so that the present number in the United Kingdom, may be computed at nearly 500.

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