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Bridge to the Castle.


Friday, July 3, 1874, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia


THE R.M.S. Mikado, Captain Moore, which arrived at Sydney on Wednesday with the European mails, via San Francisco, of May 5th, has had a somewhat remarkable cruise. She has been absent nearly five months, has made the passage of the Pacific between Kandavu and San Francisco four times; and has steamed over 24,000 miles without being docked or having her machinery properly overhauled. During this long cruise she has met with her share of marine adventures. She ran aground during her first trip in entering Honolulu harbour, and damaged her helm badly by backing against the wharf in the same place on her last trip. She has been stopped repeatedly on account of her engines working badly, and on two occasions was detained upwards of two days repairing her boilers.

1800s. New Zealand, Wellington, Auckland.

The Mikado left Sydney at noon on the 3rd February, and went via Dunedin and Wellington to Auckland, New Zealand, to pick up the homeward mails for San Francisco. She left Auckland on February 16th at 5 p.m., and arrived at Kandavu, the Fiji port of call, on February 21st, at 3 a.m. Left Kandavu on February 23rd, at 6 p.m., and reached Honolulu on March 7th, at 7 p.m., having been detained seven hours during the passage repairing machinery. In entering Honolulu harbour on this occasion, the pilot being in charge, the ship ran aground; but she was floated off again without material damage being done. Left Honolulu on March 8th, at 6 p.m. , and arrived at San Francisco on March 17th, at 10 a.m. She delivered her mails ten hours after contract time, having been unfortunately detained before San Francisco harbour all night by a thick fog.

The outward March mail steamer was appointed to leave San Francisco on the 28th, but in consequence of the European mails arriving there three days late, the Mikado did not start on her return voyage until noon on March 31st. She called at Honolulu as usual, and arrived at Kandavu on April 23rd, at 10 a.m. Here she found the Cyphrenes, from Sydney, and the Mongol, from Auckland, with the homeward mails and passengers, waiting for her. The Cyphrenes had been waiting three days, and the Mongol five days. In the ordinary course of events the New Zealand mails and passengers would have been transferred to the Cyphrenes, the steamer originally appointed to carry the April homeward mails to San Francisco. So many passengers had been booked, however, in Sydney and New Zealand, that the accommodation of the Cyphrenes was utterly inadequate to provide for them, and the Mikado, being the largest vessel in the fleet, was ordered to turn round, take the mails and passengers of the Mongol and Cyphrenes on board, and make the best of her way back again to San Francisco.

The Mikado had now steamed some 11,000 miles, and by the time she arrived in Sydney, had she been allowed to proceed on her journey, would have well earned a thorough overhaul of her hull and machinery. Her captain, however, had no alternative but to obey orders. Accordingly, after a detention of four days and seven hours at Kandavu, during which time she transhipped her mails, passengers, and 700 tons of cargo to the other steamers, and took on board the homeward mails, 158 passengers (including 110 saloon passengers), provisions, and cargo from them, the Mikado started once more for San Francisco, leaving Kandavu on April 27th, at 5 p.m., and, after calling at Honolulu, arrived at her destination on May 21st, at 4 a.m. She left Kandavu i badly provided for so long a voyage, part of the provisions intended for her having been consumed during the long detention of the passengers in the harbour. Her passengers also complained, on their arrival in San Francisco, of the inadequacy of the accommodation provided for them, three persons being crowded into staterooms barely large enough for two, especially during a voyage through the tropics. At Honolulu thirty-eight additional passengers were received on board, thirteen of them being first-class, but it was agreed with the latter that though they might take their meals in the saloon they could not be provided with sleeping accommodation. The Mikado landed 106 passengers, all told, at San Francisco, and delivered her mails nine days after contract time.

The Mikado had now steamed fully 16,000 miles, and stood greatly in need of a thorough refit; but there was no help for it but to turn round, and once more cross the Pacific. The outward mails were appointed to leave San Francisco on May 23rd at noon, which would have given the Mikado about fifty-seven hours to discharge and load cargo, and make every preparation for her departure. She must inevitably, therefore, have been late in starting, but fortunately her credit was saved by another delay in the arrival of the European mails in San Francisco. This time they were four days behind.

They arrived on the evening of May 26th; and noon of May 27th (28th Sydney time) was fixed for the departure of the steamer. A difficulty about the crew, however, caused another detention. The European crew had deserted, and refused to ship again except on exorbitant terms. At the last moment, therefore, the captain was compelled to ship a Chinese crew, and it was not until 7 p.m. that the Mikado actually moved from the wharf. She had hardly done so, however, when it was found necessary to anchor for two hours to effect some repairs to the machinery, and it was fully midnight before she got clear away from the land. During the passage to Honolulu the engines were stopped repeatedly in consequence of something going wrong with the machinery. It was supposed at one time that the engines had received some damage when the ship went aground at Honolulu, but, as she had steamed many thousands of miles since that event took, place, that solution of the difficulty appeared improbable. The hydraulic steering gear also gave way two or three times during this portion of the voyage, and recourse was had to the ordinary mode of steering. The Mikado arrived at Honolulu on June 5th, at midnight, and, after loading a large quantity of sugar, and taking on board one passenger, left again at 4 a.m. on June 7th. The smell of the sugar received on board here, and the plague of flies it attracted to the cabins, were exceedingly annoying to the passengers during the tropical portion of the voyage, and the opinion was generally expressed that cargo of this description is not suitable for first-class mail and passenger steamers.

After the Mikado had got clear away from Honolulu, it was discovered that a little contretemps that occurred in going into harbour had seriously damaged the helm. While executing the difficult feat of getting alongside the wharf, the pilot gave the order to go full speed ahead. Through some misconception in the engine-room the vessel went full speed astern, and her stern came sharply into collision with the wharf. This mishap had the effect of twisting the wrought-iron bar to which the helm is attached, and the consequence was that during the rest of the voyage the vessel steered badly, and the helm could never be put hard aport.

On June 10th, about 9 a.m., the engines were stopped to enable the engineers to repair the boilers. A large number of the boiler tubes had burst, or given out, and as it was necessary to draw the fires and wait until the boilers cooled, a detention of some hours took place before work could be commenced. Steam was got up again on the afternoon of June 12th, after a stoppage of about 53 hours, during which time about 230 tubes were repaired. While the engines were stopped, however, some progress was made under sail, averaging probably between 4 and 5 knots per hour. On June 10th, the boiler tubes were again reported to be leaking, but instead of stopping to repair them it was decided to go on to Kandavu at reduced speed, and effect the necessary repairs while lying there. It was feared that if any further delay occurred, the branch steamer for New Zealand might have left Kandavu before the Mikado could reach that harbour.

The Mikado arrived at Kandavu on June 20th (21st Sydney time), at 10 a.m. She found the City of Adelaide waiting for her, and transferred her New Zealand passengers and mails to that steamer. Although the City of Adelaide had been waiting a week in Kandivu, however, and the mails were fully seven days late, she was detained all night loading sugar and oats for New Zealand, and did not steam away from the harbour until 7 a.m. the next morning.

The Mikado stayed at Kandavu three days and left on June 24th, at 10 a.m. She brought thirteen passengers from the Fijis, six in the saloon and seven in the steerage. At the request of the native chief she also took on board four natives of Kandavu. Two of them were employed in the engineer's department and two among the crew. Upwards of 400 boiler tubes were repaired while the vessel lay in Kandavu Harbour. The remainder of the voyage was performed without further mishap, and the Mikado entered Sydney Heads at 3 p m. on July 1st, having occupied thirty-three days thirteen hours in the passage from San Francisco. She delivered her mails nine days behind contract time, but as they were received at San Francisco four days late, the Mikado is only responsible for a delay of five days. Considering the wretched condition in which she started on her voyage, and the series of mishaps which marked her passage across the Pacific, it is surprising that she arrived without still greater delay. The passengers were greatly indebted to Captain Moore, the commander, Mr. Newell, the chief officer, Mr. Stuart, the chief engineer; and the other officers, for the care with which they navigated the ship, and the zeal with which they worked on repairing the damaged boilers.

The question as to who is responsible for the dated condition to which the Mikado has been reduced, has naturally been much discussed among the passengers to and from San Francisco, and the general opinion appears to be, that she ought not to have been ordered back from Kandavu to San Francisco in place of the Cyphrenes. No more passengers should have been booked than the Cyphrenes was capable of accommodating, and it was unfair to the Mikado to expect her to make nearly four voyages across the Pacific without an opportunity to refit. It was equally unreasonable to expose the passengers to unnecessary delays, risks, and uncertainties because the management had not sufficient strength of mind to refuse passages to a few applicants. The passengers who were transferred from the Cyphrenes and Mongol to the Mikado were detained from seven to nine days in Kandavu harbour, besides being compelled to suffer all kinds of discomfort and inconvenience owing to the crowded state of the ship. The April homeward mails were delivered nine days late in San Francisco, solely on account of the delay occasioned by the Kandavu transshipments; and the mails just arrived have been delayed, and the passengers exposed to risks and uncertainties, entirely in consequence of the condition to which the Mikado, has been reduced by her long cruise. When the breakdown took place between Honolulu and Kandavu, the situation of affairs did not look pleasant; and it was with the greatest difficulty that the boilers were made to hold out long enough to get the ship into harbour. It the boilers had given out altogether, as they were very likely to do, the situation of the Mikado, with her stumpy masts, scanty sails, and disabled helm, would have been decidedly critical. She might have floated about for weeks in those calm and little-navigated waters without making a port, or falling in with a vessel.

It is to be hoped that the experiences of the Mikado will teach the managers of the Australasian and American Mail Steamship Company not to run their steamers until they nearly break down. Two passages across the Pacific, from Sydney to San Francisco and back again, are more than enough for any steamer to do, without going into dock and having her machinery thoroughly overhauled. Few mail steamers in the world probably are expected to do as much, and none to do more.

The Mikado had on board 68 passengers when she left San Francisco the last time, 19 for Honolulu, 2 for Kandavu, 17 for New Zealand, and 30 for Australia. One passenger came on board at Honolulu for Auckland, and 13 at Kandavu for Sydney. Total number of passengers carried, 82.

The Fire -- Advices from Sydney -- Arrival of the Steamer Mikado

Sacramento Daily Union State Telegraph

 August 31, 1874, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

The Fire -- Advices from Sydney -- Arrival of the Steamer Mikado

San Francisco, August 30.

. . . News from Sydney by the steamer Mikado, which arrived this morning, is of little interest. H. H. Hall, agent of the line, came on the steamer with his family, and will remain here till all the financial matters of the company are arranged. The steamer made a quick passage, and brought quite a full cargo.

November 10, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, U.S.A.

The Australian Line

Telegrams were received yesterday, announcing that the Government of New South Wales had chartered the steamers Mikado and Macgregor to ply between Sydney and this port, and giving the management of the line to the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. The English mails arrived last night, and the Cyphrenes sails today at noon.

April 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

RMS Mikado Ad in Daily Alta California 1875.

May 22, 1874, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Arrival of the Mikado Japan News The Cyphrenes Overdue.

San Francisco, May 21st.

The Mikado to-day brings Honolulu dates to May 9th.

The Legislature was opened on the 13th of April in presence of about 1,000 people. The King delivered an address. He said the resources of the country had been largely depleted by an extraordinary expenditure necessary for the removal of lepers to Molokai, the burial of two sovereigns and the election of their successors. He favors a commercial treaty with the United States, but deprecates any cession of territory to us. He favors the furnishing of facilities for steam navigation with San Francisco and Australia, and recommends a commission of learned men to codify the laws.

The Legislature defeated the proposed amendment to the Constitution separating the houses. This measure was advanced by Lunalilo, who hoped to thereby restore the Constitution of 1852.

The Cyphernes, from Australia, was overdue at Honolulu, and is overdue here, and the belief is general that she has met with some accident. She is about twelve days overdue here.


Bochefort at San Francisco Greenbacks Stocks.

San Francisco, May 21st.

The French exile, Henri Rochefort, was a passenger on the steamer Mikado, and is in the city at the present time but secluded.

The Escape of Henri de Rochefort (1831-1915)

Escape of Henri de Rochefort.

Parisian Victor Henri de Rochefort, better known by the name of Henri Rochefort, was a journalist, playwright and politician. In the pages of La Lanterne, La Marseillaise, and Intransigeant, he defended contrasting policy options favorable to the Commune which earned him the nickname of "the man the twenty duels and thirty trials", and sentences, including prison at Noumea. He escaped in 1874.

April 30, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Australian Steamer.

The steamer Mikado is advertised to sail on Saturday, at 10 a.m., if the London mails for Australia are received by that time. It is believed the baggage of the intending passengers will not arrive in time, on account of the difficulty in transferring at Green River, in which case it is reasonable to suppose there will be a further delay. Still, the agents say Saturday, and shippers and passengers will act wisely in being prepared.

August 3, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


By the arrival of the Mikado ; we have flies of Honolulu papers to July list. There is not much of importance in the files before us.

Captain Moore, 30 days from Sydney via Honolulu 9 days; pass and mdse to J. C. Merrill & Co.


Per Mikado -- Welch & Co; C. A. Low & Co.; J. C. Merrill & Co; G. Clements; T O'Connor; Emerson Corville & Co; B. F. Wellington; F. Christie; McKeller & Co; H. Campbell; Balfour, Guthrie & Co; J. Corley; W. J. Fisher; H. Livermore; M. Phillips; Jones & Co; H. N. Hyman; N. Dabovich; Mason & Co; A. Georgiani; L. G. Sresovich & Co.; A. P. Everett; J. Ivancovich & Co; Chinese Merchants; Order.

The Order of Kalakaua is to be inaugurated, the the Order of Kamehameha being too limited to reward all who deserve distinction.

Heavy rains have prevailed on Maui.

Campbell & Turton, of Lahaina, took off a crop of 1952 tons of sugar in 176 working days.

Typhus fever is becoming a regular visitor to the islands in the Summer. The monthly United States steamer Tuscarora is on her way to San Francisco.

Ad for the Mikado, Daily Alta California, August 3, 1875.

November 25, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Norfolk Island Pine Trees

These trees, by their peculiar foliage, are much cultivated in the gardens of both city and country. They are an evergreen, and grow luxuriously on on this peninsula. Mr. Z. W. Moore, stall No. 37, 38 and 39 California Market, sent to Australia for a supply, and received by the Mikado an invoice of two hundred fine young trees in pots. They are a year old and well rooted. This is the season of the year to plant them.

December 10, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Movements of Ocean Steamers

To Depart: Mikado; Destination Sydney; December 10


Thursday Evening, December 9, 1875

QUICKSILVER -- The Mikado took 65 flasks for Australia and 55 do for New Zealand. Quotable at 70c 1/2 lb.

HOPS -- The Mikado took 200 bbls for Australia, 25 do for New Zealand and 1 do for Honolulu. Quotable, for export parcels, at 12-1/2 cents 1/2 lb.


BARLEY -- The Mikado cleared today with 8,750 ctls Chevalier for Australia.

December 10, 1875, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California


(Special by Telegraph to the Daily Record-Union)

From San Francisco

The Steamer Los Angeles, The SalvadorThe Mikado and City of San Francisco 
The Suit of Captain Li

San Francisco, December 9th.

The prevailing interest in this city for several days past seems to be confined to nautical matters. The probable fate of the Los Angeles is discussed in all its bearings, with the verdict generally leaning towards the theory of her loss. A man who was employed on her is reported to have said before her sailing that she was by no means prepared to encounter heavy weather, and that he considered the trip a dangerous one. Many others among seafaring men express similar opinions. Her owners, however, profess to believe that she was thoroughly seaworthy, and still advance the opinion that she will be found working up the coast with disabled machinery. Her progress in that case would be quite slow enough to account tor her delay, as she was heavily loaded and has very little spread of canvas.

Goodall, Nelson & Perkins have telegraphed to have the steamer Gypsy, now on her way up from southern ports, to join with the revenue cutters in the search. Considerable feeling exists to the effect that the Salvador should have been carefully inspected before sailing to-morrow for Victoria. She was roughly handled in her last trip down the coast, and many, including officers, crew and passengers, asserted at the time that she was unfit for such service. She was built several years ago for the southern service, and is not considered stanch enough for the northern route, especially at this season of the year. She is an iron vessel, but the upper part of her hull is of wood, with large side ports, through which the water is reported to have forced its way in great quantities during her recent passage. Such an arrangement is not permissible under the rules of the British Lloyd's.

The Mikado, of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company's line, will leave this evening on her last trip from this port. The new City of San Francisco will take her place on the Pacific Mail Company's Australian line, sailing to-morrow morning.

The trial before the United States Circuit Court of Captain Lindell for willfully wrecking the BarkUnion still continues. Additional evidence is being obtained from members of the crew, showing that the wreck was premeditated.


The Mikado Sails
The City of San Francisco Sails To-Day
Body Identified.

San Francisco, December 9th.

The steamer Mikado sailed this evening for Sydney, via Honolulu. This departure closes the service of the Australian Steam Navigation Company. The Pacific Mail steamer City of San Francisco sails to-tomorrow on the same route. Considerable interest is felt and some bets are made as to which ship will make the best time. The Mikado carried a large freight and passenger list, being favored by travelers and shippers on account of a feeling against the Pacific Mail for its action in the case of Captain Waddell . . . No news from the missing steamer Los Angeles.

February 14, 1876, Daily Alta California, San Francisco


In an article on the Pacific Mail service, the Sydney Herald of a late date says that the relations between the Australian colonies and the United States will naturally be be strengthened by the establishment and maintenance of an efficient mail service between them. Influences tending in the same direction may also be brought into operation by the representation of our resources at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. New South Wales will, it it believed, make a creditable appearance there with the goods from this colony shipped by the Mikado.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.




Migration and Disruption.
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Brenda J. Baker

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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