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p. 24,000, to which we must add the expense of rafeeahs or guards, six of which, in addition to the ordinary attendants, will suffice to protect the animals from robbery. Estimating each at p. 100-100×6= p. 600.
For the management of the five stables there would be required one Nazir, or a general Superintendent, at p. 300 a month, five chief Saises, resident at the several stations, at p. 100; and ten stable assistants, at p. 60 each. In addition to these, I calculate that each set of four horses would require one good groom, to be always with them; and as much of his time must be passed in the desert, the monthly wages of each cannot be estimated at less than p. 80. The total annual expense for these men will be p. 38,400.
The horses will require shoeing at least once in 30 working days, and supposing that this is done by contract, each set of shoes (Arab) will cost p. 6. Thus 120X6= p. 720 a month, or in the year, p. 7,200. To meet veterinary, and minor charges, I add p. 2,200.
6 Rafeeahs or guards, 65 days,
1 Nazir, or general Superintendent of horses, at p. 300
5 Superintendent Saises at p. 100
30 Grooms, or Saises,
10 Stable Assistants,
Shoeing 120 horses, at p. 6 each,
Veterinary and minor expenses, say,
In the above calculation, nothing is put down for the wages of English carters-the wear and tear in harness and stable gear-the expense of water skins, which must be very great-the interest on outlay—or the loss in cattle.
But we may now calculate what work can be done with 120 horses, kept at an annual expense of p. 4,00,000. It has been already observed, that the animals are available for only about ten months of the
year; and I consider, that, with due allowance for rest, each set of twelve horses can make only one journey to Suez and back in ten days; in other words, thirty vans might proceed to that place and return every month, for ten months of the year. In the estimate it is stated, that each van will convey 15 tons admeasurement, the heaviest horses, however, would have great difficulty in dragging forty sacks of coal, or five tons, weight; thus 5X30=150×10=1,500 tons in the year; supposing even that there were 1,500 tons of goods to return from Suez, the expense per ton, merely reckoning the keep of and attendance on the horses, would be each way p. 133 more in fact than that of Bedouin Camel-hire for the same amount; coals being now sent to Suez for p. 132, and goods returning from there, at from p. 80 to 100.
Much misunderstanding appears to exist as to the nature of the Suez road, which will be found on examination to be by no means adapted to heavy waggons, although there is nothing to interfere materially with the transit of light carriages; always excepting the expense of horses, in a climate in which they cannot do half the work that they would in Europe. The first part of the road, for about ten miles, is in reality a deep sand, which would require very broad wheels to pass over; the rest is, with a few exceptions of sandy intervals, a tolerably compact gravel. I should suppose much of the road would be cut up by only a few months passage of heavy vehicles, and that with little or no chance of repair, so far as the Egyptian authorities are concerned. The want of water on the road adds enormously to the expense of transit where any other animals than Camels are used, and though it is possible, but from the geological formation not very probable, that boring may succeed on some points; it must not be forgotten that experiments have already been made, (see Transactions of Geographical Society) and without any permanently useful result. In Mr. Holme's Report, pp. 121-122, this matter is however treated very lightly. Mr. H. says, "another objection has been made, that there is no water between Cairo and Suez; if this had to be carried, as it now is, for the supply of the cattle, &c. it would amount to a small addition in the cost of transit, that is all; but it can be shown from analogy that good water could be found by boring at any point on this line, and at about depth; and were this not the case, or did it present a greater difficulty, 25,000l. or 26,000l. would lay down a pipe, the whole distance; and consequently provide a self-acting supply from the Nile at any point where a plug might be fixed." Mr. H. writing at a distance from this country, seems not to have been aware that the principal level of the desert is more than sixty feet above the surface of the Nile, during the period of
inundation, and that several parts of the road are still higher. However convenient therefore this self-acting supply may appear on paper, we who are on the spot know very well, that the expense would not by any means be confined to so many miles of iron pipe, but that to raise the water to the requisite height, there would be a considerable outlay for a steam engine, raised tank, &c., &c. in addition to which there is nothing to prevent the pipe being injured or destroyed in any part of the road, whenever the Bedouins should wish to impede the carriage transit, on which they cannot look with very favourable eyes, depriving them, as it would do in great measure, of the means of existence. Reflecting upon the subject of transit across the isthmus, I cannot too strongly urge on you the necessity of abandoning the van scheme, so far at least as the carriage of coal and heavy goods is concerned. Till such time as enterprise may have re-opened the ancient canal, or laid down a rail road, I would advise you to use the means which this country places at your disposal. Should the demands of the Egyptian Government, as I think is very probable, so far engross the Bedouin Camels as to prevent your hiring a sufficient supply, it will I believe be in your power to find persons in Egypt ready to purchase, keep, and furnish by contract, a sufficient number of heavy Camels, to carry across any quantity of coal you may require, at about the present cost, as estimated in my report. The following sketch will however shew, approximatively, what would be the expense to a Company, keeping its own animals, in order to have a regular and certain supply entirely at its own disposal.
Three hundred heavy camels, to be kept in good condition, will require, at the rate of a roob each, 300 roobs of beans daily, or say 300 days of the year, or 3,750 ardebs. The variation of prices has been so great in the last few years, that it is difficult to estimate the average, but I put it down as double the cost of barley, which I reckoned at p. 40 the ardeb, 3,750X80 p. 300,000.
Taking into calculation, that when crossing the desert Camels brouse by preference on the prickly plants and shrubs which abound along the whole line of road, I estimate the quantity that will be required of cut straw (tibne) at 600,000 okes, which, at 4 paras the oke, will cost p. 60,000. Each animal carries his own provisions, so that there is no extra expense upon this head, as in the case of horses.
For the above number of Camels at the rate of a fedden each, 200 feddens of Berseem will be required, which at p. 400 will cost p. 80,000. During sixty-five days, 10 rafeeahs or guards must be employed, at p. 100 each, 10X100 p. 1,000.
To take charge of the Camels I allow one Nazir, or general superintendent, at p. 300 a month; 3 mukuddems at p. 100 each; and 60 Camel men at p. 60-making an annual outlay in wages, of p. 50,400, to which must be added two men to mend the saddles, &c., at p. 70, or for the year, p. 1,680.
Not to overwork the Camels, I should allow ten days for the journey to Suez and back again, the animals being loaded each way, and carrying a quarter of a ton each. In the three trips per month, they would convey 250 tons of coal to Suez, and working only 300 days of the year, would place at the depôt there 2,500 tons, being available to bring back a similar weight of goods from Suez. Calculating the carriage of the former at p. 132 the ton, the latter would be about p. 7318
The great advantage in an establishment of this kind would be the regularity with which the coals might be transmitted to Suez; and as the departure and arrival of the caravans would be entirely subject to the Company's arrangements, all the packages landed from the steamer at Suez, might be immediately brought across the desert, and proceed without loss of time to their destination.
Any one who has long resided in this country, and has had opportunities of comparing the relative cost and utility of Horses and Camels ; will have no hesitation in deciding in favor of the latter. The Camel is a most hardy animal, carries its supply of water in its stomach and its beans upon its back, browses on prickly shrubs no other animal can touch, and does not ever require a shade or covering to its resting place. These are qualities which even the English horse most certainly does not possess, and if ever the communication between Cairo and Suez is to be made by vans, it is the Camel and not the horse, or even the mule, that must be harnessed to them.
In the event of a Company requiring a Camel establishment of their own, the agents must not be allowed to purchase the village Camels that are to be found in the neighbourhood of Cairo. Such animals, although very heavy, appear to have lost somewhat of their natural habitudes, and to be less fitted for the desert than those of the Bedouin breed. It would be necessary to send persons of competent knowledge to the Bisharee desert or the Sennaar, where Camels are good, plentiful, and cheap. Some losses in bringing them down would be unavoidable, and it is but safe to calculate a good stud of well chosen, strong, heavy Camels as averaging not less than 157. a head.
Memorandum on Camel Draught and Harness. By Captain TAYLOR, late Agent for Post Office Inquiries.
The recent discovery of the efficiency of the Camel in draught, is a Mr. point of singular moment in respect to overland communication. Bird, the able and intelligent senior member of the Board of Revenue at Allahabad, has recently made the tour of Upper India in a carriage drawn by two, three, or four Camels, as circumstances rendered their power necessary. The more usual number in harness, was three. The carriage was a light britska on four wheels, each of five feet diameter, with a dickey fore and aft, and a well for baggage. The carriage conveyed Mr. Bird and his lady, and four servants, and baggage consisting of beds, tables, portable chairs, crockery, cooking utensils, wines, &c., and clothes, writing apparatus, and official documents. They travelled at from thirty-six to forty miles per day, going half the above distance in the morning, and half in the afternoon. Either half was usually performed in from three to four hours; the pace averaging about six miles per hour, when the road was good; and about four and a half, or five miles per hour, when the road was indifferent. In deep sand, the pace would of course be less; but in sand, such as the desert is represented between Suez and Cairo, I should think five miles per hour might be easily obtained. I made some experiments myself while in Upper India, in respect to the Camel in draught, which I here take the opportunity to mention.
First, in respect to conveyance of baggage. Secondly, in respect to conveyance of men.
A small frame composed of strong bamboos was placed on a pair of wheels, and balanced much in the same manner as the ekkas in the North-West Provinces. On this was placed a large stout tin box,