Foreign Correspondence of The Scientific American Liverpool., Feb. 8th, 1853. Mr. Editor—Having just made the voyage from New York to Liverpool in the bran-new steamship Arabia, lately built by the Cunard Company for the express purpose of beating all creation—Brother Jonathan in particular—perhaps some of your readers will be interested in a few particulars relative to the vessel, her performances &c. The Arabias speed, on her trial trip, was reported to have been very great, which gave rise to a general belief that she would prove herself the fastest steamer afloat. She lefr Liverpool, on her first voyage to New York, Jan. 1st; encountering strong heaj winds for several successive days, her fuel gave out, and she was obliged to put into Halitax fora new supply. Stopping there for 19 hours she sailed aain for New York, where she arrived Jan 16th, after a voyage oi about 15 day?, inclu ding thedetention. 1he Collins steamer Baltic, which sailed from Liverpool three days before the Arabia, occupied 13 days on the sime voyage—without stopping at Halilax for coal. On her late return voyage, the Arabia sailed from New York, Jan. 27th, and arrived here on the 6th, passage 10 days 3J hours: the weather was of the most favorable description,—with a fair wind and smooth sea for nearly the whole distance, she had every opportunity of showing her powers of speed, and the result of the voyage undoubtedly exhibits is. It is not probable she will ever make a much quicker voyage. As a superior to the Collins boats she is a dead failure, but as a specimen of naval and mechanical architecture she is unsurpassed by any vessel in commission. Her cost, 130,000 sterling ($650,-000), shows that money was not wanting to make her perfect. The Arabia is a vessel of 2500 tons burthen, with machinery of 1000 horse- powref. Her engines were constructed by that great mechanician, Robert Napier, of Glasgow : thej are side levers, and cost S370.000. The appearance of the engines, while in operation at sea, and the coaling at the furnaces helow. possessed, for me, peculiar interest. Leaving the deck,and descending into the engine room, one seems to enter a new kingdom,—to have suddenly disembarked irom the tossing ship. You enter a large apartment, about 40 feet long by 25 teet high, filled with machinery ot ponderous proportions, all alive with motion, yet working with the utmost regularity. Descending to another landing you reach the central portions of the machinery, where, protected by a railing, you may pass around the room and leisurely survey the various parts ol the mechanical giants as they labor before you. Further down you come to the furnace floor, and passing between the massive side levers, enter what at first sight seems to be a large ore-smelting establishment. Here are twenty-four great roaring furnaces, whose voracious mouths are constantly being stuffed with coal, and yet are never surleited. Near the furnaces you pass thiough an iron door, into what appears to be a coal mine, excavated beneath the ground. All idea that you are still on board a ship, plowing through the waves, has utterly vanished. You are in a large and gloomy cavern where Goal is mined. Flickering lights hung around in different parts reveal the miners, delving at their work, —some are digging, others carrying the coal away to the furnaces. The immense pecuniary cost of running such a boat as the Arabia may be judged of, from the amount required for the supply of this one item—coal: she burns ninety tons per day, and carries thirteen hundred tons for a voyage. The running expenses of each boat is not all that the Cunard Company is subject to in transporting their passengers: besides their docks and buildings at Jersey city, opposite New York, they have a much larger establishment at Liverpool, consisting of a foundry, wharves, and other works, employing altogether about one thousand men, and one or two river steamboats. i The rapidity with which one of these ocean steamers can be prepared for sea is remarka-I ble. On arriving, the vessel is immediately boarded by a few of the small river boats, bringing coal, water, provisions, clean linen, &c. Nearly all the movable mmiture of the Cunard steamers is duplicated, so that all the bedding, carpetting, &c, used on a voyage, is removed for renovation, and replaced by a fresh assortment. Within 36 hours after arriving, one of these ships could be cleared from top to bottom, supplied, and made ready for a ] new voyage. i The Persia, another large Cunard steamer, to run to New York, is now building: she is to be constructed of iron, and to have a length of 350 feet. This is nearly 50 feet more than the length of any of the Collins steamers; indeed, there is no 6teamer in the world of such dimensions, and if the Persia does not outstrip all rivals, it will be because John Bull is too dull or too old to learn. A. B.
This article was originally published with the title "The “Arabia,” and Cunard Steamships"