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fewer; and when the great bulk of the cargoes
from those countries consisted of wool, tallow,
and copper-ore. The golden dream of
Hargreaves in eighteen hundred and fifty-one, has
become a splendid reality in eighteen hundred
and fifty-three; and a community, suddenly
converted from shepherds, shopkeepers and
convicts, to capitalists, landholders, and
bankers, demands some more rapid means of
communicating with Europe than the collier-craft
hitherto employed in the trade to Australia.

Two years ago a Committee of the House
of Commons made an inquiry and published
a report upon the subject of communication
with the Australian colonies. Three routes
were proposed to the committee, and
evidence adduced on behalf of them all. These
consisted offirst, the present overland route
to India, with a branch line of steamers to
ply between Singapore and Sydney; secondly,
direct communication with the colonies by way
of the Cape of Good Hope; and thirdly, a line
proposed by a new steam-packet company,
to run more directly than either of the
other routes, across the isthmus of Panama,
across the Pacific Ocean by way of New
Zealand to Sydney and Melbourne. The two
former were adopted by the Government
authorities for the mail service; nevertheless
so convinced were the projectors of the
Australian Pacific Mail Steam-Packet
Company of the superiority of the Panama line,
that a fleet of six iron steam-ships of two
thousand tons and fitted with powerful screw
engines were at once laid down. Two of them
are already launched.

The Cape and India lines have been working
for some time, and the result of their operations
furnishes the best answer to any
speculations on the subject as far as speed is
concerned. By way of Singapore the mail
contract to Sydney has been performed in
eighty-three days, and homewards it has been
accomplished in eighty-nine and eighty-six
days. The Cape contract has been still more
unfortunate, the ships in that service having
occupied between ninety-four and one
hundred and twenty days outwards; and, on the
homeward run, something more. The above
work has been performed by paddle steamers,
and certainly offers no advantages over some
of the improved sailing vessels which now
make the run in eighty to ninety days.

Although it is thus shown that the Peninsular
and Oriental Company's vessels have
failed in opening a rapid communication with
the southern and eastern ports of Australia,
they have unquestionably achieved great
success on the Indian line: what they have
performed on the Suez route to Calcutta, the
Australian Pacific Company will in a few
more months accomplish by means of the
isthmus of Panama and the Pacific, for
Melbourne and Sydney.

By no means the least important feature in
this new route is the existence of extensive
coal-fields in New South Wales and
New-Zealand; existing as if expressly to further
the great scheme which is now being matured
of encircling the world with a chain of iron
and steam. Looking at the relative positions
of Australia, Panama, and England, it cannot
fail to be evident that no difficulty will be
experienced in keeping up a regular monthly
and even fortnightly communication, in about
forty-five days. Time is the one great
consideration in all business transactions, and it
is difficult to over-estimate the effects of
thus bringing our friends in the golden
colonies so near home as to enable us to
receive replies to our letters in something
over a hundred days, or in less time than
it now requires to convey a letter outwards
by some of the steamers by way of the Cape.
The accomplishment of this must constitute
the Pacific route the great post-road to
Australiathe highway for passengers, as
well as the main gold channel thence to
this country.* The Australian merchants
will economise a large sum annually by
the saving of interest on the value of the
gold sent by this linethe result of bringing
it home in fifty-five days, instead of eighty
or ninety days as at present. This saving
upon only half the yield of the Australian
gold-fields would amount to a very considerable
sum; thus verifying the axiom, that
"Time is money."
* See "Short Cuts Across tbe Globe." —Household
Words vol. I. p. 65.

From Southampton to the Atlantic side of
the Panama isthmus, the service will be
performed by the Royal Mail Steam-Packet
Company, which is now building five new
vessels of great speed and accommodation.
They are intended to ply in connexion with
the ships already running to the West Indies.
Arrived at Panama, the outward-bound
traveller will find a railway ready, with all
its appliances, to whisk him off across the
narrow band of earth (forty-nine miles in
breadth) which separates the two great
waters of the world. This line will be opened
for traffic early in the ensuing year, twenty
miles of it being already in operation, and
steam will thus sink the distance into utter
insignificance.

The shortness of this route is, however, not
its only recommendation. The fair winds,
the placid sea, the beautiful climate, all point
to it as one that will be traversed in far
more comfort and bodily enjoyment than any
other. From January to December an unceasing
monsoon wind blows across the South
Pacific, always available, and, for auxiliary
screw steamers, the finest breeze that could
prevail. This would indeed appear to be
the best field in which the many advantages
of Screw Steam Navigation could be shown.
With an eight knot breeze and all canvas
spread, the Black Swan or the Emu iron
steamers, aided by half steam power, may
bound across that unruffled ocean, with a

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