The amount which the West-India Royal Mail Company pays in this way, and which our noble American lines advance to the deserving, are beyond all conception of the mere theorist.
There is another source of loss which prevents, mail packets especially, from paying their expenses on their freight and passenger earnings. The table on all of our steamships has become exceedingly expensive, as it has in our hotels. Perhaps there is more necessity for it on steamers than in the hotels, as passengers are generally sea-sick, and need every delicacy of life to keep them up. The supplies which our fine mail packets carry for this purpose are of almost incredible extent and costliness. No vegetable, fruit, game, or other rarity that can be kept fifteen days in large masses of ice, is neglected; so that the table of every steamer is necessarily both luxurious and expensive. Indeed, it has become so much so, and the price of passage fare has been reduced so low on all of the prominent lines, that as a general rule the steamers are not now making much clear money on their passengers. The expense of keeping passengers was not half so great six years ago, as it is now; and there appears to be no safe means of permanent retrenchment. Nothing has been said of Insurance. This is a most costly item. The Havre Company pay on their two ships, which are worth about $900,000, nine and a half
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