Captain W. H. Smith, R.N.R.


Captain W. H. Smith, R.N.R., Formerly Commodore of the Allan Line in Command of the RMS Parisian.

Captain W. H. Smith, R.N.R., Formerly Commodore of the Allan Line in Command of the RMS Parisian. Steam Navigation, 1898. GGA Image ID # 20d6854d0b


Captain W. H. Smith, formerly Commodore of the Allan Line, in command of the Parisian, and who, from long service on this route, is well qualified to express an opinion, states in his report to the Government that he sees no reason why there should not be a fast line of steamers to the St. Lawrence.

"If," he says, "the St. Lawrence route is selected for the proposed fast line, there should be no racing in competition with other large steamers, and the same amount of caution must be taken which has been exercised of late years by senior officers of the Allan and other lines trading to Canada; and it will be absolutely necessary for the safety of navigation that the commanders and officers of any new company should be selected from the most experienced officers of existing lines."

In 1853 a Liverpool firm, Messrs. McKean, McLarty and Lamont, contracted with the Canadian Government to run a line of screw steamers, to carry Her Majesty's mails, twice a month to Quebec in summer, and once a month to Portland during the winter, for which the company was to receive £1,238 currency per trip, under certain conditions, one of which was that the ships should average not more than fourteen days on the outward, nor more than thirteen days on the voyage eastward.

The ships of the first year were the Genova, 350 tons; Lady Eglinton, 335 tons; and Sarah Sands, 931 tons. Their average passages were wide of the mark. Next year the CleopatraOttawa and Charity were added to the line. The Cleopatra made her first trip to Quebec in forty-three days; the Ottawa never reached Quebec at all, but after dodging about some time among the ice at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, made for Portland. The Charity reached Quebec in twenty-seven days. As a matter of course the contract was cancelled.

James Croil, "Chapter VII: The St. Lawrence Route, Captain W. H. Smith, R.N.R.," in Steam Navigation and Its Relation to the Commerce of Canada and The United States, Toronto: William Briggs and Montreal: The Montreal News Comany, Limited, 1898.


Return to Top of Page

Ocean Travel Steamship Captains
GG Archives

Steamship Captains

The Work of a Sea Captain

Ocean Travel Topics A-Z