Fessenden N. (Fessenden Nott) Otis.

Isthmus of Panama : history of the Panama railroad; and of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. Together with a travellers' guide and business man's hand-book for the Panama Railroad and the lines of steamships connecting it with Europe, the United States, the north and south Atlantic and Pacific coa online

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Online LibraryFessenden N. (Fessenden Nott) OtisIsthmus of Panama : history of the Panama railroad; and of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. Together with a travellers' guide and business man's hand-book for the Panama Railroad and the lines of steamships connecting it with Europe, the United States, the north and south Atlantic and Pacific coa → online text (page 8 of 21)
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him to resign the executive chair.

It was then that the present President of the Company
was selected as a candidate for this now more than ever re-
sponsible office. From his intimate practical acquaintance
with the Company's interests throughout the whole extent
of their route, he having entered service from the United
States Navy in 1849 as a mate of their pioneer steam-ship
the California, and from his thorough knowledge of all the
actual necessities of the steam-ship service, besides a full
appreciation of the hostile elements with which the exec-
utive officer of the Company must inevitably be brought
in conflict, he was believed by the majority of the stock-
holders to be well calculated to assume the guidance of
their interests, and in November, 1860, Mr. Allan McLane
was called from the agency at Panama to fill the execu-
tive chair. At once, but gradually and quietly, a new in-
fluence began to be felt in renovating the Company's af-
fairs, and re-establishing them on a broader and firmer ba-
sis. The personnel of the service was thoroughly reorgan-
ized in all its departments. Old steamers, as they became
worn out, or were outgrown by the necessities of the trade,
were laid up, and new ones of increased size and power,
and of greatly improved model and appointments, were
substituted. In all branches of the business of the Com-


pany trade was steadily fostered and encouraged, and the
wants of passengers were met by increased accommodations
and care for their safety and comfort. The requirements of
shippers of merchandise and treasure were recognized and
accommodated by increased tonnage and enlarged facilities,
while rates were reduced; and stockholders, not less than
the traveling and commercial public, derived increased safe-
ty and security from the rigid discipline which was caused to
be enforced on the Company's steamers, and the adoption
and use of the most modern and approved appliances and
means for the prevention and remedy of disaster. The
broad purpose of developing our national commerce was
constantly manifested in encouraging the establishment of
subsidiary lines, connecting with or collateral to its own.
by the sale at low rates of vessels which had been out-
grown by its own requirements. These tributary lines,
such as those on the routes between San Francisco and Or-
egon, the Mexican coast, or the Sandwich Islands, and be-
tween Panama and Central American ports, requiring less
capital, afforded so many fields for profitable employment
to individuals and corporations, which became, in effect,
the feeders of the Pacific Company. As a legitimate re-
sult of this wise and generous policy, public confidence in
the value of the capital stock was restored ; and, besides
paying regularly about 20 per cent, per annum to its hold-
ers, it soon more than doubled its nominal value in the
market, and was again eagerly taken by capitalists as a
permanent investment.

From the unavoidable inconvenience and discomfort at-
tendant upon the possession of the steam-ship service be-
tween New York and California by two separate compa-
nies, under a widely different management, the traveling
and commercial public had long and urgently demanded
of the Pacific Company a through line, and, after deliber-


ate consideration of the matter, it was determined that
such an extension of the service was. advisable. In June,
1866, by an act of the Legislature of New York, the capi-
tal stock of the Company was increased from $4,000,000 to
$10,000,000. The Board of Management recognized the
rights of the Atlantic Mail Steam-ship Company, which
they had acquired by preoccupation and transfer from the
parties to the original charter of 1848 ; and although, with
their influence and enormous increase of financial power,
the Pacific Company could doubtless have successfully car-
ried out the plan of a through service independent of any
arrangement with the Atlantic Company notwithstand-
ing this, a fair and liberal proposal was made to that Com-
pany, which absorbed its privileges, and its entire equip-
ment of vessels, and tendered in payment therefor a cer-
tain generous proportion of the capital stock of the Pacific
Mail Company. This proposal was accepted, the transac-
tion was ratified, and on November 1st, 1865, the Pacific
Company took possession of the entire service, and at once
placed the line on both oceans upon an equal and complete
footing as to their equipment and control. Thus was suc-
cessfully completed part of a plan for the legitimate devel-
opment of the Company's resources which had for a long
time received grave consideration from the Board of Man-
agement. The remaining part of that plan was one of in-
finitely greater magnitude, and which utterly refuted (if
such refutation was ever necessary) the charge sometimes
made by its enemies that its aim was to establish a mo-

The Board of Direction had contemplated the future of
the Company with no narrow spirit of speculation such as
would lead them to block the wheels of trade for their own
personal aggrandizement. They fully appreciated the ne-
cessity of a more direct and intimate commercial connection


between the United States and its Pacific possessions ; and
the project of establishing such a connection by means of
the Pacific Eailroad, antagonistic as this might appear to
more contracted minds, met with its hearty approbation and
support ; looking with the faith of men who believe in
the great commercial destiny of their country, they counted
confidently on the fullest success of that grand undertak-
ing. Looking also with a clear foresight upon the inevit-
able deflection of an important share of the Pacific trade
into the new and more direct channel, they saw also the
necessity of another and more extended field for their own
enterprise. The vast empire of Eastern Asia and the islands
of Japan, distant about 5000 miles from their Pacific termi-
nus, had heretofore merely a nominal connection with the
United States. England and France had thus far virtually
monopolized the foreign trade of those regions. The En-
glish and French war with the Chinese, which was con-
cluded in 1858, had resulted in treaties which promised
rapid development for the great Chinese Empire in its in-
tercourse with the outer world of civilization and com-
merce. In the ratification of these treaties, the United
States had not only gained all the privileges granted to
the other foreign powers, but, besides this, had retained
the good will of the Chinese people. Japan had also
opened its ports, and guaranteed to the United States un-
expected facilities for trade with that country. The al-
ready known resources of those countries, representing to-
gether the industry of nearly 500,000,000 of people the
peculiarly favorable position of the already existing route
of the Pacific Mail Steam-ship Company, occupying 5000
miles of the shortest and most eligible route between those
countries and Europe as well as the United States, at once
pointed to this grand field as the proper and legitimate one
in which to throw their surplus energies. A deliberate


and exhaustive canvass of the matter decided the Company
to attempt the establishment of a line of steam-ships worthy
of the national credit, and equal to the magnitude of such
an enterprise. In 1865 a contract for a monthly mail serv-
ice between San Francisco and Hong Kong, via the Sand-
wich Islands and Japan, was awarded to the Pacific Com-
pany by the government of the United States, with an an-
nual subsidy of $500,000 per annum ; and, more recently,
the government has released the stoppage at Honolulu on
condition of the establishment of a branch between Japan
and Shanghai. In anticipation of this contract, the Com-
pany had some months previously commenced building
the ships destined for the China trade, each of which
was estimated to cost over $1,000,000. In this year,
also, the capital stock of the Company was by act of
the New York Legislature increased from $10,000,000 to
$20,000,000. This increase was effected in such a manner
that the Company issued and sold $5,000,000 of stock for
about $10,000,000, and the remaining $5,000,000, comple-
ting the $10,000,000 allowed by the amended charter, were
distributed among their stockholders. By this means the
Company gained the ability to carry out their projected
China enterprise without encroaching upon their previous-
ly-established business.

It is scarcely too much toWay that such a magnificent
financial success as that above shown in providing the means
for developing and extending trade is unique in the history
of commerce, and may be taken as a true measure of the
public confidence in the wealth, in the resources, and in the
management of this Company.

The capital stock of the Pacific Mail Steam-ship Compa-
ny, originally $400,000, in 1850 was increased to $2,000,000,
in 1860 to $4,000,000, in 1865 to $10,000,000, and in 1866
to $20,000,000 ; while it is stated on reliable authority that


the property of the Company in steam-ships, real estate,
coal, stores, and cash, is worth at the present time (Febru-
ary, 1867), at a low estimate, such as might be realized at
a public sale, fully $30,000,000.

Should the future realize the present promise of success
to this powerful corporation, the time will not be far distant
when the commerce of those Eastern countries, which it is
the ambition of its managers to develop and bring to our
shores, will, as it accumulates in our sea-ports, suggest, if not
necessitate a still farther expansion of their field of action ;
and it seems almost a natural sequence that they should
eventually establish the long-looked-for desideratum of a
line of steam-ships plying between this country and Europe
which shall be equal to the requirements of the service and
a credit to the nation.


The service now performed by the steam-ships of the Pa-
cific Mail Steam-ship Company is as follows :

1. The Atlantic Line, tri-monthly, between New York and
Aspinwall, New Granada, there connecting by the Panama
Railroad with

2. The Pacific Line, also tri-monthly, between Panama
and San Francisco, touching at Acapulco, and once a month
each way at Manzanillo.

3. The China Line, monthly, between San Francisco and
Hong Kong, touching at Yokohama (Kanagawa), in Japan.

4. The Shanghai Branch, monthly, between Yokohama
and Shanghai, via Nagasaki, in close connection with the

The departures, arrivals, and connections of these sev-
eral lines are as follows :



A steamer leaves the Company's dock, Pier No. 42
North Eiver, New York, at noon on the 1st, llth, and 21st
days of every month, save when either date falls on Sunday,
and then on the preceding Saturday. Arriving at the
wharf at Aspinwall on the morning of the 9th, 19th, and
29th, the passengers, mails, and "fast" freight are immedi-
ately transferred by the railroad to the connecting steamer
at Panama, which sails the same afternoon or evening for
San Francisco, where she is due on the 22d, the 1st or 2d,
or the llth or 12th of the month, as the case may be.

The steamer leaving Panama on the 9th, in connection
with the departure from New York of the 1st, touches at
Manzanillo. As before remarked, all the steamers touch
at Acapulco.

The steamer leaving New York on the llth, makes a
close connection with the steamer of the China Line, sail-
ing from San Francisco on the 3d of the month for Yo-
kohama and Hong Kong, connecting at Yokohama with
the branch steamer for Shanghai, via Nagasaki. Passen-
gers, mails, and "fast" freight by this means reach Yoko-
hama in forty-two days, Shanghai in forty-seven days, and
Hong Kong in fifty days from New York, counting all

Connections are also made on the Isthmus with the
steamers of other companies, as follows :

For the West Coast of South America, by the steamers from
New York on the 1st and 21st, with the fine steamers of
the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, calling at the chief
ports of Peru and Chili.

For Central American ports, by steamers from New York
on the 1st and llth of every month, with the Panama
Railroad Company's steamers " Salvador," 1200 tons, and


" Guatemala," 1021 tons ; leaving Panama on 10th and the
25th of the month for Punta Arenas, Kealejo, La Union, La
Libertad, Acajutla, and San Jose de Guatemala.

For Australasia^ by the steamer of the llth, with the Pan-
ama, New Zealand, and Australian Koyal Mail Steam Pack-
et Company's steamers, leaving Panama on the 24th for
Wellington, in New Zealand, and Sydney and Melbourne,
Australia; connecting by inter-colonial branches with the
chief ports of both colonies. Passengers, mails, and freight
reach Wellington in forty-one days, and Sydney in forty-
six days after leaving New York.


A steamer leaves the Company's new wharf at the foot
of Townsend Street, San Francisco, for Panama, via Aca-
pulco, at eleven o'clock on the morning of the 10th, 18th
or 19th, and 30th day of the month, except when those
dates fall on Sunday, in which case on the preceding Sat-
urday. The steamer of the 18th or 19th sails on the for-
mer date only when the month contains 'less than thirty-one

Arriving at the anchorage at Panama on the morning
of the 1st, 12th or 13th, and 23d of the month, passen-
gers, mails, and fast freight are at once conveyed by the
trains of the Panama Railroad Company to Aspinwall, and
are there transferred to the connecting steamer, which sails
the same afternoon or evening for New York, where she is
due on the 10th, 20th or 21st, and 31st or 1st, according to

The steamer of the 10th from San Francisco touches
at Manzanillo to land and receive passengers, mails, and

Passengers, mails, and fast freight leaving Hong Kong
on the 20th, Shanghai on the 23d, and Yokohama on the


28th of the month, arrive in San Francisco on the 16th or
17th of the following month in season to connect with the
steamers of the 18th or 19th for Panama, and are landed
in New York on the 10th, thus making the through voy-
age in fifty days from Hong Kong, forty-seven from Shang-
hai, and forty-two from Yokohama.

Homeward connections are also made on the Isthmus
with the steamers of other companies, as follows :

From Central America, the Panama Eailroad Company's
steamers from San Jose de Guatemala and intermediate
ports arrive at Panama on the 15th and 30th, and connect
with the Pacific Mail Steam-ship Company's steamers from
Aspinwall for New York the 23d and 1st.

From the West Coast of South America, the steamers from
Aspinwall of the 23d and 1st receive the passengers, mails,
and freight destined for New York of the Pacific Steam
Navigation Company's steamers, leaving Yalparaiso on the
2d and 17th, and due at Panama on the 16th and 31st.

From Australia and Sydney, the Panama, New Zealand,
and Australian Koyal Mail Company's steamer, leaving Syd-
ney on the 31st or 1st, and Wellington on the 8th, is due
at Panama on the 4th or 5th of the following month, and
connects with the steamer from Aspinwall of the 12th or


connections are made as follows, giving passengers and
shippers the choice at all times of two routes across the
Atlantic, namely, the direct route between Aspinwall and
Europe, or that by way of New York. By the former
one transfer or trans-shipment is avoided ; but the latter,
passing as it does through a great variety of climate, and
through temperate regions, and affording the traveler an
opportunity of visiting New York without adding to the


duration or expense of his journey, presents attractions so
strong that it is rapidly becoming the favorite with men
of business as well as with tourists for pleasure.

Via Neio York.

Through tickets are issued, and through bills of lading
are in contemplation, in connection with the principal
Transatlantic steam-ship lines, viz. :

The Canard Line, leaving New York and Boston on al-
ternate Wednesdays, and Liverpool every Saturday, for Bos-
ton and New York alternately, and making the passage or-
dinarily within ten days. This line includes the steamers
"Scotia," "Persia," Java," "China," "Asia," "Cuba,"
" Africa," " Australasian," etc., carrying cabin passengers

The Inman Line, sailing from New York every Satur-
day, and Liverpool every Wednesday, touching at Queens-
town, carries first-cabin and steerage passengers. Its fleet
consists of the fine steamers " City of Paris," " City of New
York," " City of London," " City of Boston," " City of
Cork," " City of Washington," " City of Edinburg," etc.
Their time is usually about twelve days, though the run
is often made in less, and has been accomplished by the
" City of Paris" in a few hours over eight days.

The National Line, sailing between the same ports, and on
the same days as the Inman steamers, carrying first-cabin
and steerage passengers, embraces the steamers " Erin,"
"The Queen," "Denmark," "Virginia," etc.

The General Transatlantic Company's fortnightly line, leav-
ing New York on alternate Saturdays for Havre, calling
at Brest; returning, leave Havre every other Wednesday.
This line comprises the fine steamers "Pereire," "Europe,"
"Yille de Paris," "Napoleon III," " St. Laurent," etc. It
carries only first and second cabin passengers. The time


of these steamers is about the same as that of the Cu-

The "Fulton" and "Arago" sail from New York every
twenty-eight days for Havre, via Falmouth.

The North - German Lloyd, fortnightly, for Bremen, via
Southampton, sailing every other Thursday from either ter-
minus, runs the steamers "Deutschland," "America," "Han-
sa," "Bremen," "New York," "Hermann," "Union," and
" Weser." Carries all classes of passengers.

The Hamburg American Packet Company's Line for Ham-
burg, by way of Southampton, every other Saturday. Its
steamers are the " Allemannia," "Bavaria," "Borussia,''
"Cimbria," "Germania," "Hammonia," "Saxonia," "Teu-
tonia." This line carries all classes of passengers.

The New York and Bremen Company run the " Atlan-
tic," "Baltic," and "Western Metropolis" between New
York and Bremen, via Cowes, leaving either terminus on
alternate Saturdays, and carrying all classes of passengers.

Direct. .

Through tickets and through bills of lading are granted
for the direct route between Aspinwall and Europe, in con-
nection with the following companies :

The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Leave Aspin-
wall for Southampton, via St. Thomas, on the 8th or 9th,
and 24th of the month, connecting with the steamers which
left San Francisco on the 18th or 19th, and 10th, and ar-
rived at Panama on the 1st, and 22d or 23d, arrive at
Southampton on the 29th and 14th respectively. Leave
Southampton on the 2d and 17th of each month, reaching
Aspinwall on the 22d and 7th, and there connecting with
the steamers from Panama of the 29th and 9th respective-
ly, for San Francisco. It will be observed that the connec-
tions are close by the steamers from Southampton on the


17th, and San Francisco on the 10th ; the through time by
these departures being thirty -four to thirty -five days.

The West India and Pacific Steam Navigation Company
(limited). Leave Liverpool on the 10th and 25th of every
month, arriving at Aspinwall on the 6th and 21st, and con-
necting with the steamers from Panama of the 9th and
29th, arrive at San Francisco on the 22d, and llth or 12th.
A steamer also leaves Liverpool on the 29th of each month,
arriving at Aspinwall on the 30th of the following month.
Leave San Francisco on the 10th, and 18th or 19th, and
29th, connecting with steamers from Aspinwall of the 1st,
8th, and 10th, arrive at Liverpool on the 25th, 9th, and
13th of the following month, making the through time be-
tween Liverpool and San Francisco outward forty -two days,
and thirty-eight days homeward by the more favorable con-
nections, namely, the departures from Liverpool on the 10th,
and San Francisco on the 18th.

La Compagnie Generate Transatlantique (the General Trans-
atlantic Company). Leave St. Nazaire, France, on the 8th
of every month, touching at Santa Martha and Martinique,
arrive at Aspinwall on the 28th or 29th ; leave Panama
the 29th, and arrive in San Francisco on the llth or 12th.
Returning, leave Southampton on the 18th or 19th, arrive
at Panama on the 1st ; leave Aspinwall on the same or the
following day, and reach St. Nazaire on the 23d. The
through time between San Francisco and St. Nazaire is, it
will be seen, thirty-four days.


of the Pacific Mail Steam-ship Company is now composed
of the following named steamers, the general character of
which we have already described :



The Atlantic Line.

Register Tonnage.

Henry Chauncey 2657

Arizona 2793

New York 2217

Ocean Queen 2700

Rising Star 2727

Sftare Steamers.

Register Tonnage.

Northern Light 2057

Ariel 1700

Champion 1450


Clara Clarita 250


The Pacific Line.
Register Tonnage.

Constitution. 3675

Golden City.. 3590

Sacramento 2683

Montana 2677

Golden Age 1870

Spare Steamers.
St. Louis... .. 1621

Register Tonnage.

California 1057

Sonora 1616

Taboga 189



The China Line.
Register Tonnage.

Colorado 3728

Great Republic 4100

Celestial Empire 4000

America (building) 4100

Register Tonnage.
Nipon (building) 4100

Spare Steamer.
Hermann..., .. 2000


The Shanghai Branch.
Costa Rica 1917 register tonnage.

Making a total of twenty -five steam-ships, having a
bined capacity of 61,474 tons.

Officers, Directors, and Agents of the Pacific Mail Steam-
ship Company.

ALLAN McLANE, President.
FRANCIS W. G. BELLOWS, Vice-President.
RICHARD B. IRWIN, China Secretaiy.
SAMUEL K. HOLMAN, Purveyor General.





FRANK R. BABY, New York. OLIVER ELDRIDGE, San Francisco.



GEORGE F. BOWMAN, Acapulco. ___, Nagasaki.

RUSSELL & CO., Shanghai




8 Place Vendome, Paris.


By a French law of July 3d, 1861, the General Transatlantic Company
received a charter to carry the mails between France, North America, West
Indies, and the Isthmus of Panama.

These services are organized as follows :

1st. A line from St.Nazaire to Vera Cruz (Mexico), calling at St. Thomas
and Havana.

Additional service from St. Thomas to Fort de France (Martinique), call-
ing at La Pointe-a-Pitre and La Basse-terre (Guadaloupe), and St. Pierre.

Additional service from St. Thomas to Kingston (Jamaica), calling at
Porto Rico, Cape Ha'itien, and Santiago de Cuba.

Additional service from Vera Cruz to New Orleans, touching at Tampico
and Matamoros.

Steamers leave St. Nazaire the IQth of each Month.


Leaving St. Nazaire
arriving at Vera Cruz
Leaving Havana
arriving at Havana
Leaving St. Thomas
arriving at St. Thomas

2d. A line from St. Nazaire to Colon (Isthmus of Panama), calling at Fort
de France (Martinique) and Santa Martha (Colombia).

Additional service from Fort de France (Martinique) to La Pointe-a-Pitre

Additional service from Fort de France to Cayenne (French Guiana),
touching at Ste. Lucie, St. Vincent, La Granada, La Trinidad, Demerara
(English Guiana), and Surinam (Dutch Guiana).

Additional service from Fort de France to Guiana and Porto Cabello.

These steamers connect at the Isthmus of Panama with the steam-ships of
the North and South Pacific and Central American Steam-ship Companies.


he 16th,

Leaving St. Thomas

the 13th,


arriving at St. Thomas

" 16th.


Leaving Havana

" 18th,


arriving at Havana

" 22d.

1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryFessenden N. (Fessenden Nott) OtisIsthmus of Panama : history of the Panama railroad; and of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. Together with a travellers' guide and business man's hand-book for the Panama Railroad and the lines of steamships connecting it with Europe, the United States, the north and south Atlantic and Pacific coa → online text (page 8 of 21)