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Article: Early Inter-Island Ferry

Early Inter-Island Ferry

All of the following is from a Supplement of the Report of the Minister of Foreign Relations; it is dated as having been given to the Kingdom Legislature in 1856.

“Besides, political reasons, for a mission to foreign parts which may arise, there are others intimately connected with our internal prosperity, for instance …”

“… we may have to contract a foreign loan to carry out the large improvements of the Harbor and Reefs which we have undertaken and we may have to introduce into the King’s waters one or two paddle-wheel Steam-boats or Steam-propellers, on government account.”

“The relative position of our islands to each other and to the prevailing winds, renders inter-island steam navigation an indispensable element of our progress. We cannot otherwise develope our rich internal resources and trade. Upon this subject, the following are the opinions expressed by me, in note No. 58, published in the Friend of 4th September, 1844:”

“As soon as the traffic of the islands in goods and passengers can support the expense, an iron steam-boat — of say 300 tons — with a light draught of water, would be a great improvement. I am not sure, that if well and economically managed, it would not pay, at the present moment.”

“It would do away with two or three small vessels, at present kept for the use of the King and government. The transportation of goods, produce, cattle and passengers, from one island to another, must amount to a very considerable sum in the course of the year.”

“The certainty and quickness of a steamer would increase the transportation — a visit to the great volcano of Kilauea in Hawaii

— and a tour amongst the islands would become more fashionable than at present …”

“… the prices of produce and labor would become equalized — the knowledge of every local improvement would become extended — and the efficiency of the government would be greatly increased by the more prompt propagation of the laws, and transmission of its orders.”

“Coals could be easily had from New Castle, New South Whales.”

“Vessels from thence, of which we have had five since February, would bring them in ballast, and carry away their value in the salt, sugar, or molasses produced on the islands.”

“In cruising among the islands, a steamer would make many trips as a sailing-vessel, with the trade-wind, which blows here strongly, and the consumption of coal would be further economized by frequent stoppages at the different ports.”

“A steamer, therefore, would not cost so much by the year, as might, at first sight, be apprehended; and I believe the earnings would exceed the expectations of those who are unaccustomed to the effect of steam-boats and rail-roads in increasing, and even creating traffic.”

“The nearly twelve years that I have resided on the islands, since i emitted these opinions, have only confirmed them in the main. I prefer an iron boat as being proof against the worm, and from its superior cheapness and durability, if the bottom can be kept clean ; and I think that a Propeller would be more handy, and answer better than a Paddle-wheel boat.”

“We might commence with one Propellor of 500 tons, and corresponding horse-power, but it is my belief that the wants of the islands, windward and leeward, will require two boats of such dimensions and power.”

“The boats ought to be built in perfect adaptation to our seas, harbors, roads and bays. We can only obtain such in the United States or Europe, and by having them built to order, according to clear specifications by some firm of well-established character.”

“Even supposing that we should have to borrow the money to pay for them, the benefit that they will do for the islands, yearly, will far exceed the amount of the interest, and in a few years the boats would pay their own cost.”

“Besides procuring a suitable steamboat, and other things conducive to our prosperity, many other advantages might arise from a foreign mission.”

“It is not my habit to regulate my expenditure, by the amounts appropriated, but to save all that I can. The Legislature may, therefore, rest assured that although they vote the $10,000, it will not be called for unless it can be applied to useful purposes.”

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