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THE ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP COMPANIES THE GUION LINE. The peculiarity of the Guion Company among those ot the P)rt of Liverpool engaged in the Iransatlantic trade is, that it is almo-.t exclu- sively owned by Americans, and if), in fact, the result altogether of the enterprise of an American gentleman, Mr Stephen Barker Guion, of Liver- pool, and of the firm of Williams and Guion of New York. The Company is technically known as the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company (Limited); but its shares are in very few bauds, and are not o taiiiabi upon the Stock Exchanges either of Liverpool or New York. In fact, for all practical purposes, MrS B. Guion is the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company, the ordinary designation of which is the Guion Line of the United States Mail Steam- ers. The history of the Guion Line is a little curious. It did not start into existence as a full- fledged Steamship Company at the time when the Passenger Trade across the Atlantic began to be developed but, as a matter of fact, the firm created the Emigrant Passenger Trade for the Cunard Company and tha National Line to this extent at least, that it conducted that line of bu- siness for each of those Companies before they took it into their own hands. So to speak, they opened the Emigrant Trade for those who are now their competitors. About 21 years since, the firm of William* and Guioa was in possession of a fine line of sailing ships, widely known as The Old Black Star Line," wbich were engaged in the conveyance of emigrants weekly from Liverpool to New York. The great development of the Trade which took place at that time led to the establishment of the firm of S. B. Guion and Company, of Liverpool, an offshoot of the Am rican firm Und rthe direction of Mr S. B. Guion, the Old Black Star Line of sailing packets soon became known as tho Guion Line, which then consisted of some 20 of the fastest ships sailing between Great Britain and the United States. It will hardly be believed at this time that these Guion sailing ships carried no 1 ss than 1,000 emigrants to America every week ia the summer season. Th it is con-dd-rid a vjry Urge number, even in th. se days of steamer, for vessels sailing only once a week From this fact alone it is obvious that the Guion Company had turned the steam into their own channel, and that, when th. sup roession of sailing ships had become an ac- complished fact, they had a splendid opportunity bt fore them of founding a greatly successful Steamship Line. The first st'1P- of the Guion Company in regard to steam were of a somewhat tentative character. The highly sucrvs-ful sailing traffic did not, per- haps appear at the time a matter to be hurriedly dealt, with. Besides, there were at this tirne- about the yenr 1863-two powerful Companies in successful working, and another had just been in process of formation. In this year, accordingly, Messrs Guion undertook the agency for pas sengersandeargotothedrstattafnersofwhttis now known as the National Line. From 1863 to 1866 their great influence in the Emigration Trade on b dialf of these vessels, and in the latter year the National Line, took over the entire ma- nagement of the passengers and cargo business which had been so successfully de HI oped for them. The Guion Company also act d for the Cunard Company in the same way with reference only to emigrant steerage passengers. It may, therefore, be credited with having first organised that important branch of the business of the great Cunard Company. It is no impeachment of the enterprise of either of these Companies that it thought best to intrust the Messrs Guion with this Plrticular dapartment of its busines; for the fact was, the Guion Company had its immense experience and connection from its sailing line, and posesses information of the manner of work- ing the emigrant business which could not be known to these who had started as Steamship Owners without previous sailing experience. Messrs Guion were, it may be assumed, soon thoroughly convinced by their experience, not only that steamships alone would for the future carry the great bulk of the Emigrant Passenger Trade, but that, unless they wished to see the other Companies have a monopoly of the Trade, it was necessary for them to protect their inter- ests by entering actively into it for themselves. They accordingly communicated with the great Shipbuilding firm of Messrs Palmer, of Jarrow, and ordered them to construct four vessels, which should be among the strongest afiiat, and, in re- gard to speed, second to none. It must be con- fessed by any one who has inspected a Guion steamship that as concerns strength, there is no- thing to be desir d, while as to conveniences and appointments they are among the best of the steamers leaving the Mersey. The determination to enter into the Steamship Trade was the pre- liminary to the formation of the Limited Com- pany known as the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company. The pioneer vessel of the Guion Steamship Line was the Manhattan, a vessel "f 2,90(1 tons, r which has just left the Mersey on its 55th voyage between Great Britain and the United States. The Manhattan sailed in the month of August, 1SGG; and by April, in the following year, the fine vessel, the Minnesota, of the same tonnage was added to the line. The next vessel was the Nebraska, of 3,500 tons, which left in the suc- ceeding June. The fourth vessel, the Colorado, was added in June, 18G8 In the two following years the Guion Company increased their line by four more vessel,; -the Idaho, the Nevada, the Wisconsin, and Wyoming — vessels of 3,100 tons register. Another vessel, the Montana, of 3,500 tons, is just coming round, and is intended to sail during this month. This is a truly magnifi- cent vessel, and as regards her passenger carrying capacity is, perhaps, without an equal as yet among the Transatlantic steam fleet. It should be mentioned, in reference to the Montana, that her saloons are to be amidships, which is consid- ered to be an improvement upon the practice of having them aft; for, as everyone knows, the place where the rolling is least is the centre of the vessel. The Guion Company, on all their ships, have saloons upon the upper deck, with the cabins communicating with them —an arrange- ment which gives great advantages as regards both ventilation and convenience, and is esteemed as such by the passengers. This arrangement, by the rules of the Passenger Act, excludes the company from carrying more than a certain num- ber of saloon passengers. Another vessel, the Dakota, of 3,500 tons, will also be shortly de- livered by the builders, who likewise have in hand the California, of 3,300 tons, and the Utah, of 3,400 tons. The following is a complete list of the Guion Fleet, finished aud building :— Name. Captains. Tons. Horse-power. Nevada Forsyth 3,100 500 Wyoming Price, sen. 3,100 900 Minnesota T. F. Freeman 2,900 500 Idaho Morgan 3,100 600 Wisconsin.. T. W. Freeman 3,100 900 Nebraska Guard 3,500 500 Manhattan.. Price, jun. 2,900 500 Dakota Dewar 3,500 1,000 Montana Harris 3,500 1,000 California Beverly 3,300 1,000 Utah Mack 3,400 1,000 3").400 With tileso vessels a weekly service between Liverpool and New York is maintained. They leave Liverpo d every Wednesday, and Qiieen- stown every Thursday, and New York every Wednesday. It is quite evident that the grent additions which Messrs. Guion are making to their fleet point to a much more frequent service; and it is, in fact, contemplated, as soon as the Dakota is finished, to maintain a bi-weekly service both ways, the vessels leaving the Ports of Liver- pool and New York every Wednesday and Satur- day. It must be confessed that suv h a scheme as this displays a great bolduess of enterprise, which is deserving of thorough success. The Guion Company, as a Steamship Conip my, has ha 1 but an existence of seven years, ami it is already contemplating the despatch of two steamers weekly each way In the history of the Steam- ship Trade I know of no development so rapid, and at the same time so genuine. Oie cannot help thinking of the Yankee go-a-headitiveness which must be at the bottom of it. Tho Guion Company were late in entering the Steamship race, but they are running the early horses hard. They have the advantage of being the only officially recognised American line, the Owners on both sides b'ing citizens of the United States. They have likewise the prestige of the oarrying of the United States mails but the grand secret of their amazing success is, without doubt the splendid passenger organisation which the Guion Company maintained iu the old sailing days; and which they alone have, up to the present time, been able to carry into their steamship experience. I have had au o portunity of examining the steamship Manhattan, the pioneer ship of the Company, aud in must respects the vessel to-day is up to the latest requirements, although it has been cm the line for seven years, which, ill the life of a steamahi is almost a generation as re- gards the rate of improvement. It has one of the loftiest and airiest steerage compartment;? I have seen. Upon the lower deck the heig it ii several fret more than the Act requires; and if soace is a desideratum, then the steerage department of the Manila tan is not to be surpassed. The Guion Company is noted for the large number of steerage passengers it carries upon each of its vessels and, as a proof of this, it may be mentioned that up to the present time it has carried nearly 20'),000 passengers of all descriptions, without JOilS of life frolll aoeilellt, The Guion ships, al- though their chief features of construction are strength and solidi y, can, when it is necessiry, show their capacities o( speed, as ia the case of the Wisconsin, which this year made the passage from dock to dock both ways under 10 diys. It is really much more interesting than l' im- agined it would be when I first undertook this task to notice the restless activity of the Atlantic steamship Managers and Owners. Every year is almost an epoch. Every voyage is an event in the race of progress. There is not a vessel clear- ed from the Mersey which has not taught its lesson to the experienced and able men who have the conduct of these lines, and I can honestly say their object is always to push forward, without consideration of expense or trouble. As I have said, the Guion Company has had a steam-ship- ping existence of less than seven years yet it has three younger brothers. It is an ambitious Company. It has men at the head of it who are determined to make it still better known than it is and its American origin might perhaps excuse tho hope that it will be honourably heard of in tho immense future which U, beyond question waiting lot- the Transatlantic Steamship Com- panies. — Shipping and Mercantile Gazette.





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