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Shipping Notes.

From ‘The Western Daily Mercury’- 14th August 1878

The frequent notice in this column of the constant stream of emigration may be excused when the news is of such an interesting character that it will bear iteration. It is remarkable from this point of view, that whereas emigration to countries hitherto supposed to be always ready to receive those who leave these shores, has dwindled down to very small proportions, so much so that even those very countries – America for instance – are sending back nearly as many people as we are sending them, our own colonies to the Antipodes are yet clamouring for settlers, voting large sums of money for people to be conveyed to them, and the response is a ready one. Crowds of well-behaved, intelligent artisans, labourers, and single women are jostling one another to get away to “fresh fields and pastures new.”

Take the last month’s or six week’s emigration work in Plymouth as a sample. Since the 1st July no fewer than nine ships have been despatched from Plymouth, six of them for New Zealand, and the other three for Australia. Leaving out the babies, who could not be very well left behind, over 3,000 persons have in that short time been sent away – just 500 a week. Last week especially was a busy week, three ships taking away the largest number of persons that have at any one time before been shipped, severely straining the resources of the depot and the despatching agents. But everything was done, to their credit be it said, with the greatest despatch, and with the most determined anxiety to secure for such a large number of persons, of various ages, all the comforts possible. At the depot itself was this specially remarkable, Mrs. Watson sparing no effort to make the short stay of her visitors as agreeable as, under the circumstances, it was possible to do.

While on the emigration question it may be interesting to mention that since the beginning of the year 16 sailing ships (the Colonial Governments will have nought to do with steam) have left Plymouth Sound, four for Adelaide, six for Sydney, and six for New Zealand. In these vessels the total number of people conveyed has been 6,070, and to that total will be added some 260 or 300 people who will during next week, leave in Messrs. George Thompson and Co’s., Aberdeen Clipper Line sailing vessel ‘Pericles’, Capt. Largi. She will go to Sydney. But while the majority of the emigrants have chosen the Australian colonies as their future home, it is noticeable that those preferring the inducements offered to settle in New Zealand are fast increasing, and a steady influx is being experienced in the land of the Maoris.

The rapid passage of the ‘Chimborazo’ is still a subject of much comment. Thirty-nine days from land to land is certainly smart work, and will go far towards lessening the evils of the passage – a passage that not many years ago was looked upon with much fear and trembling. But the M. de Lesseps had not cut his canal across “the narrow neck of land” at Suez, and steam navigation had not reached the pitch it has now. By the way, these ships of the Orient Line are well known in Liverpool as having belonged to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, who found the ships, roomy and fast as they are, too small for their work. New ships have been and are still being built for the Pacific Company, and four of their late trades, the ‘Chimborazo’ the ‘Cuzeo’, the ‘Garonne’ and the ‘Lusitania’ have changed hands, Messrs. Anderson, Anderson and Company, of London, having formed the Orient Line for this duty. Side by side with them work Messrs. Money Wigram and Son’s ships auxiliary screws they having for many years carried on this line of communication between Australia and England, and intermedially with them are the Colonial Line ships, ‘Whampoa’, ‘Hankow’, and others. All three lines call at Plymouth, and thus a continuous means of transit is in existence.

The port of Plymouth reaps the benefit of all this emigration business in more ways than one. Unfortunately for some time the depression in business consequent on the uncertainty of trade recently existing, the carrying trade of the port has been anything but brisk, but many are sanguine that, now matters are a little more settled, that trade will increase, and that freights especially of clay – the almost staple commodity – will be more numerous. It is palpable from the recently published returns that trade is improving generally all over the country, but some time must elapse before individual ports will feel the effects of it, so to indicate any substantial improvement.

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