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Flagships of ImperialismThe P&O Company and the Politics of Empire From Its Origins to 1867$
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Freda Harcourt and Sarah Palmer

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719073939

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719073939.001.0001

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Crisis and rescue, 1853–67

Crisis and rescue, 1853–67

(p.191) Chapter Seven Crisis and rescue, 1853–67
Flagships of Imperialism

Freda Harcourt

Manchester University Press

This chapter discusses the financial crisis of P&O during the period 1853–67 and how it came out of it. To win a contract in 1853, P&O reduced its favoured average monthly rate of 6s 2d to 4s 6d, which increasingly becoming unsustainable and affected its finances adversely. The imperial demands from the British and Indian Governments seriously distorted its finances, and its operating expenditure was growing at a faster rate than its operating income. However, the American Civil War helped by increasing the demand for raw cotton from India and Egypt. But P&O was also threatened with competition from the Compagnie des Services Maritimes des Messageries Impériales (MI) of France and the British India Steam Navigation Co., Ltd (BI). P&O however was admired for its services during the Abyssinian Expedition and finally with the help of Scudamore, it reached an agreement with the Government to work in partnership for 12 years.

Keywords:   P&O, financial crisis, Abyssinian Expedition, MI, BI, American Civil War

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