Free champage for all passengers!

The Eclipse drawing

Source: The British Newspaper Archive

The Eclipse and the Talbot

Journal des débats politiques 7 June 1831. Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

[The steamers Eclipse and Talbot plying between Brighton and Dieppe belong to the General Steam Navigation Company.  The company … not only asks for no fare but feeds the passengers during the crossing, and includes a bottle of Champagne.]

Too good to be true? Not if you were travelling in June 1831.  The General Steam Navigation Company was anxious about serious competition from the Camilla and the Earl of Liverpool steamers, both based in Southampton.  The author of the article predicted that l’une des deux entreprises ne peut tarder à crouler [it won’t be long until one of the companies goes under].  He then went on to warn: alors, les passagers futurs rebourseront les frais des galanteries faites aux passagers actuels [so future passengers will pay the cost of the perquisites afforded to today’s passengers]. 

BTW.  Is any of the above true?  Or is it a figment of the French imagination?  An expression of French admiration / scorn of the English market economy?  There is no trace of any such ‘bargain’ in the English newspapers of the time.

fin symbol