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The New Zealander October 16th 1858

The first of the NZ Royal Mail (sic) Co’s steam ships, the Lord Ashley, in command of Mr Alexander STEWART, arrived in harbour under canvas on Wednesday last.  Having sailed from Milford on 26 May, she has been 140 days making her passage; and this, in our opinion, compared with similar passages of steam ships with screws in position, may well be regarded as a very fair run; because not only is the screw, when not in action, of itself a heavy drag, but because ships relying upon steam as their chief motive power, are little more than jury-rigged and are altogether unable to set such a spread of canvas as that which mere sailing ships can call to their aid when opportunity occurs.  That the Lord Ashley has made no unusually protracted passage is further evidenced by the fact that her sister ship the Lord Worsley, which is alleged to have, in a slight degree, the heels of her, had not arrived at Otago (a port more speedily made than Auckland) at the date of the departure of the Gil Blas:- Of the passage of the Lord Ashley we have been obligingly favoured with the following particulars: ‘She sailed from Milford Haven on 26 May, under easy steam, with light and adverse winds, which continued until 4 June, when there was a shift to the NE with a light breeze; disconnected screw and proceeded under canvas, Madeira 10 miles distant.  On 6 June sighted the Canary Islands.  On 17 June signalled the ship War Eagle from Akyab bound to Cork and a Dutch barque from Batavia bound to Amsterdam; same day connected screw and proceeded under easy steam.  19th June crossed the Line, light variable airs.  20th June fell in with light SE trades and disconnected the screw.  On 26 June the wind freshened.  On 6 July spoke a Dutch barque from Cardiff bound to the Cape of Good Hope, 54 days out; winds light from SW.  5th August off the Cape, weather light and fine up to 8th when the vessel encountered a heavy westerly squall with a tremendous cross sea running.   On 17 August encountered a terrific thunderstorm of 12 hours duration, during which a large ball of fire passed across the ship between the fore and main mast and fell into the sea close alongside with a loud hissing sound happily without touching the vessel.   On 28 August signalled the ship Frenchman  from Liverpool for Adelaide, 83 days out.  1st September encountered a heavy squall from SW with a tremendous sea running.  On 22 September made Cape Nelson.  On 23rd put into Port Fairy for coal and fresh provisions.   On the following day again proceeded under easy steam.  On 27th passed Bass Straits under canvas.  Had a fine run until within 100 miles of the North Cape when the wind became contrary and continued so for some days.  On 9 October sighted the Three Kings, wind still light and contrary.  On 12th the wind came round from the NW and on 13th the Lord Ashley arrived, all well, at Auckland.  There were no deaths or sickness during the voyage and the passengers landed in high spirits.  Capt Stewart has had many years experience in the Northern Whale fisheries and commanded H.M. ship Sophia in the expedition under Capt PENNY which sailed from Aberdeen in 1850 in search of Sir John FRANKLIN, and served in the Polar Seas for two years, during which the Sophia was wintered away in the ice.  This expedition discovered several hundred miles of coast not before known.  For these services Capt Stewart wears the Arctic Medal.  He has subsequently commanded large ocean steamers in the Baltic, Crimea and American trades.

 The Lord Ashley is a long and handsomely modelled ship and is reputed to be a fast one under canvas.  She is expected to be in sea-going trim in the course of the next ten days when she will not only be open to the inspection of the public but, if we are correctly informed, give an exhibition of her power in a pleasure trip on the waters of the Waitemata, in what manner – that is to say what the ports of arrival and departure – the contract of the NZ Royal Mail Company is to be carried out, we believe has not yet been determined.  In the first instance we are told the Lord Ashley proceeds from hence to Sydney but whether to return here or to go to Nelson seems to be a moot point.   The Lord Worsley comes hitherward after her arrival at Otago and the Price Alfred may be looked for here from London about December.

To the Editor of the ‘NEW ZEALANDER’
Sir – I should feel much obliged by your permitting me, through the medium of your valuable journal, to acquaint the public of Auckland that it is the intention of the NZ Royal Mail Steamship Company to place their steamer – ‘Lord Ashley – alongside the Pier for public inspection, so soon as the vessel has undergone the requisite cleaning and refitting necessary after a long voyage.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient servant,

Auckland, October 15, 1858