The Steamboat Issue
Isle of Wight Observer June 8 1861
A BREAK-DOWN – Our statements made a fortnight ago of the disgraceful condition of the boats of the “United” company, and of the fact that the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal were worked to destruction, are being verified by events. Last week, from shame, the Prince of Wales was withdrawn; and on Wednesday the Princess Royal withdrew herself, by breaking down at Gosport, at the time when she ought to have brought over the first down train passengers; so the elegant Prince Albert (which has lately been buff-washed and black-leaded, in lieu of being painted) was taken from her towing work to run the passage, and bad as she is, it was the only boat then available. Pretty well this for June. It seems to us that, unless these dilapidated craft could be renovated, their Royal patronymics had better be abolished; for the boats disgrace the names they bear.
It is with great satisfaction that we announce that our suggestions of last week for the transfer of the “Lord of the Isles” from Cowes to Ryde are likely to be carried out. Negotiations are pending for the accomplishment of many other things, besides the mere improvement of passenger comfort; but which it would not be prudent on our parts at present to disclose. The directors of the Improved Steam Company – in other words, the opposition – it appears have now discovered that which we told them last January they would discover, – that there is neither cause nor scope for opposition upon the Cowes and Southampton passage, as they are not taking enough to pay for a third part of their coals; and they find that the Old Company is more popular than they imagined. If, then, the postal and all of the other arrangements can be satisfactorily settled, the public may expect, in the course of a few weeks, to see boats running between Ryde and Southsea which will be CLEAN and DECENT, and in accordance with the requirements of our locality. Our strictures, we hear, have thrown the legion of officials who fatten upon the “United” company into a dreadful quandary, and they have cut some very grotesque antics in consequence. One part of our indictment was, that all their vessels were in a state of beastly uncleanliness; but, instead of placing a vessel at once on the passage in such a proper state as would convict us of falsehood, the said legion ordered their horse-boats to be scrubbed out. That is beginning to cleanse the Augean stable; and, as far as know, the end also. We await, with great impatience, the result of the negotations alluded to above, and sanguinely hope they will be successful; and trust that in the course of a fortnight we shall have the pleasure of stating that improved vessels are running, or about to run, from Ryde in connection with the railways, via Southsea.