The Last of the East Indiamen

By W.B. Whall, published January 1911


This article recounts the end of the era of “John Company’s” ships. The regulation by Act of Parliament of the conditions of service is explained, and the reasons for its having been the source of huge wealth outlined.   When the monopoly ceased in 1814, along with the China trade in 1834, the ships were taken into private companies. The article describes the construction of the ships, their manning and daily routine, as well as the luxuries provided for the passengers. Carrying choice freight and soldiers as well as fee-paying passengers, the ships earned 40 per cent for their owners. Their masters prided themselves on making very fast passages, measured ‘from pilot to pilot’. When the Suez Canal was opened in 1869 their day was done.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Ship Handling & Seamanship

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