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No. 7 Alexandr Lakier, 1857/On to New Orleans.

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Old 06-02-2006, 11:42 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,584

Steamboating colleagues:
Just one 'final' word on Alexandr Lakier's 1857 trip to America due to a few questions here via E=Mail. No, Lakier's steamboat wasn't the one involving the anecdote about the European prince being put off on the island by the captain. It was a well-circulated story at the time as was related to Lakier on his steamboat trips.

Lakier was no engineer or mechanically minded man but possessed keen powers of observation. He did note the difference in steamboat construction on the rivers here from the best to what he thought poorly built. We only wonder if he understood the way boats were built for their various trades--short run vs. long runs; shallow draft for low water service etc. He did note the extravagant use of lumber here in boat building and attributed it to America being rich in forest/wood resources. He knew that western Europe and England were careful in the use of wood for boats/ships. Russia's educated upper classes and elite considered themselves part of the European arena--the average citizen did not.

There's no evidence in this century that his commentary influenced steamboat building or related business approaches in Russia. His writing was read by a relatively limited audience. Yet, that audience was influential and may have taken note. Tsar Alexander II liberated the serfs in 1861. He was blown to bits by an anarchist in 1881 with a copy of a new constitution in his coat pocket. His granddson, Nicholas II, family and retainers were murdered in Ekaiterinburg by the Bolsheviks, July, 1918. END

R. Dale Flick
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