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Cornell University Library 
HE 745.C59 



The clipper ship era; an epitome o' *31]°" 




3 1924 020 891 416 




B Cornell University 

M Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924020891416 



The 
Clipper Ship Era 

An Epitome of Famous American and British 

Clipper Ships, Their Owners, Builders, 

Commanders, and Crews 

1843-1869 



By 

Arthur H. Qlark 

Late Commander of Ship " Verena," Barque "Agnes," 

Steamships " Manchu," " Suwo Nada," "Venus," 

and "Indiana. (1863-1877) 

Author of "The History of Yachting" 



With 39 Illustratioas 



G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

Zbe Ifcnlcftcrbocker press 

1911 

Fs 






Copyright, 1910 

BY 

ARTHUR H. CLARK 

Published, November, 1910 

Reprinted, January, igii ; March, igii (twice) 

May, 1911 



TTbe Ifmicfierbocliec ipress, mew ^orft 



^0 

THE MEMORY OF 
A FRIEND OF MY BOYHOOD 

DONALD McKAY 

BUILDER OF SHIPS 



PREFACE 

THE Clipper Ship Era began in 1.8i3„as a result 
of the growing demand for a more rapid de- 
livery of tea from China; continued under the 
stimulating influence of the discovery of gold in 
California and Australia in 1849 and 1851, and 
ended with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. 
These memorable years form one of the most im- 
portant and interesting periods of maritime his- 
tory. They stand between the centuries during 
which man navigated the sea with sail and oar — ^ 
a slave to unknown winds and currents, helpless 
alike in calm and in storm — and the successful 
introduction of steam navigation, by which man 
has obtained mastery upon the ocean. 

After countless generations of evolution, this era 
witnessed the highest development of the wooden 
sailing ship in construction, speed, and beauty. 
Nearly all the clipper ships made records which 
were not equalled by the steamships of their day; 
and more than a quarter of a century elapsed, de- 
voted to discovery and invention in perfecting the 
marine engine and boiler, before the best clipper 
ship records for speed were broken by steam ves- 
sels. During this era, too, important discoveries 



VI 



Preface 



were made in regard to the laws governing the 
winds and currents of the ocean; and this know- 
ledge, together with improvements in model and 
rig, enabled sailing ships to reduce by forty days 
the average time formerly required for the outward 
and homeward voyage from England and America 
to Australia. 

In pursuing this narrative we shall see the stately, 
frigate-built Indiaman, with her batteries of guns 
and the hammocks stowed in nettings, disappear, 
and her place taken by the swift China, Califor- 
nia, and Australian clippers, which in their turn, 
after a long and gallant contest, at last vanish before 
the advancing power of steam. 

Many of the clipper ships mentioned in this book, 
both American and British, were well known to 
me; some of the most celebrated of the American 
clippers were built near my early home in Boston, 
and as a boy I saw a number of them constructed 
and launched; later, I sailed as an officer in one 
of the most famous of them, and as a young sea- 
captain knew many of the men who commanded 
them. I do not, however, depend upon memory, 
nearly all the facts herein stated being from the 
most reliable records that can be obtained. So 
far as I am aware, no account of these vessels has 
ever been written, beyond a few magazine and news- 
paper articles, necessarily incomplete and often far 
from accurate; while most of the men who knew 
these famous ships have now passed away. It seems 
proper, therefore, that some account of this re- 
markable era should be recorded by one who has 
a personal knowledge of the most exciting portion 



Preface vii 

of it, and of many of the men and ships that made 
it what it was. 

Of late years there has been a confusing mixture 
of the terms knot and mile as applied to the speed 
of vessels. As most persons are aware, there are 
three kinds of mile: the geographical, statute, and 
sea mile or knot. The geographical mile is based 
on a measure upon the surface of the globe, and 
is a mathematical calculation which should be used 
by experts only. The statute mile, instituted by 
the Eomans, is a measure of 5280 feet. The sea 
mile or knot is one sixtieth of a degree of latitude; 
and while this measurement varies slightly in dif- 
ferent latitudes, owing to the elliptical shape of 
the globe, for practical purposes the knot may be 
taken as 6080 feet. 

The word knot is now frequently used to express 
long distances at sea. This is an error, as the 
term knot should be used only to denote an hourly 
rate of speed; for instance, to say that a vessel is 
making nine knots means that she is going through 
the water at the rate of nine knots an hour, but 
it would be incorrect to say that she made thirty- 
six knots in four hours ; here the term miles should 
be used, meaning sea miles or knots. The term 
knot is simply a unit of speed, and is derived from 
the knots marked on the old-fashioned log line and 
graduated to a twenty-eight-second log glass which 
was usually kept in the binnacle. In this book the 
word mile means a sea mile and not a geographical 
or statute mile. 

I wish to make my grateful acknowledgment to 
the Hydrographic Office at Washington, the British 



viii Preface 

Museum, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, the Ameri- 
can Bureau of Shipping, the Boston Athenaeum, 
and the Astor Library, for much of the data 
contained in this book. 

A. H. Q 

New York, 1910. 



CONTENTS 



I. American Shipping to the Close of the 

War op 1812 1 

II. British Shipping after 1815 — The East 

India Company 19 

III. The North Atlantic Packet Ships, 

1815-1850 38 

IV. Opium Clippers and Early Clipper Ships, 

1838-1848 • . 67 

V. Two Early Clipper Ship Commanders . 73 

VI. The Repeal of the British Navigation 

Laws — The " Oriental " . . . 88 

VII. The Rush for California — A Sailing 

Day 100 

VIII. The Clipper Ship Crews .... 119 

IX. California Clippers of 1850 and their 
Commanders — Maury's Wind and 
Current Charts .... 134 

X, California Clippers op 1851 and their 
Commanders — A Day on Board the 
" Witch op the Wave " . . 151 

XI. California Clipper Passages in 1851 . 173 

XII. American Competition with Great 

Britain in the China Trade . . 195 



Contents 



CHAPTEK 

XIII. 

XIV. 
XV. 

XVI. 

XVII. 

XVIII. 

XIX. 

XX. 

XXI. 
XXII. 



California Clippers op 1852 — The " Sov- 
ereign OF THE Seas" 

California Clippers of 1853 . 

The " Great Republic " and the " Dread- 
nought" 



American Clippers of 1854 and 1855 

Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 

Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 

Last Years of the American Clipper 
Ship Era — Summary op California 
Passages 

The Greatness and the Decline of the 
American Merchant Marine . 

The Later British Tea Clippers . 

The Fate of the Old Clipper Ships . 

Appendices 

Index 



211 
224 

235 
248 
260 
273 

289 

308 
318 
340 
349 
377 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

The " Flying Cloud "... Frontispiece 

East Indiamen, 1720 24 

An East Indiaman, 1788 30 

The " Marlborough " and " Blenheim " . . 36 

The " England " 40 

The " Montezuma " . 44 

The " Yorkshire " 48 

Jacob A. Westervelt 104 

Jacob Bell 104 

William H. Webb 106 

Samuel Hall 106 

Robert H. Waterman 112 

N. B. Palmer 112 

Josiah p. Creipsy 122 

H. W. Johnson 122 

David S. Babcock 128 

George Lane 128 

Lauchlan McKay 130 

Philip Dumaresq 130 

si 



xii Illustrations 

PAGE 

The "Surprise" . 136 

The " Stag-Hound " 142 

Matthew Fontaine Mauby 148 

The " Nightingale " 164 

The "Challenge" 186 

The " Stornoway " 198 

The " Sovereign op the Seas " . . . . 218 

The "Comet" 224 

The " Young America " 2^2 

The " Great Republic " 242 

The " Dreadnought " 246 

The " Brisk " and " Emanuela " . , . . 252 

Donald McKay 256 

The " Red Jacket " 272 

The "James Baines" 282 

The " Schomberg " 286 

The " Sweepstakes " 290 

The Composite Construction 322 

The "Ariel" and "Taeping" Running up 

Channel, September 5, 1866 .... 328 

The " Lahloo " 33g 



The Clipper Ship Era 



THE CLIPPER SHIP ERA 



CHAPTER I 

AMERICAN SHIPPING TO THE CLOSE OF THE 
WAE OF 1812 

THE deeds that have made the Clipper Ship Era 
a glorious memory were wrought by the ship- 
bni]f|prs.^,n d. mastfi E-marippT-s nf-thp T7nitp'!^^^i^tpg 
and Great Britain, f or the flag of no other nation 
was represented in this spirited contest upon the 
sea. In order, therefore, to form an intelligent 
idea of this era, it is necessary to review the con- 
dition of the merchant marine of the two countries 
for a considerable period preceding it, as well as 
the events that led directly to its development. 

Prom the earliest colonial days, ship-building has 
been a favorite industry in America. The first 
vessel built within the present limits of the United 
States was the Virginia, a pinnace of thirty tons, 
constructed in 1607 by the Popham colonists who 
had arrived during the summer at Stage Island, 
near the mouth of the Kennebec Eiver, on board 
the ships Gift of God and Mary and John. When 
these vessels returned to England, leaving forty- 



2 The Clipper Ship Era 

five persons to establish a fishing station, and a 
severe winter followed, the colonists became dis- 
heartened and built the Virginia which carried them 
home in safety and which subsequently made 
several voyages across the Atlantic. 

The Onrust, of sixteen tons, was built at Man- 
hattan in 1613-14, by Adrian Block and his com- 
panions, to replace the Tiger, which had been 
damaged by Are beyond repair. After exploring 
the coasts of New England and Delaware Bay, 
she sailed for Holland with a cargo of furs. The 
Blessing of the Bay, a barque of thirty tons, was 
built by order of Governor John Winthrop at Med- 
ford, near Boston, and was launched amid solemn 
rejoicings by the Puritans on July 4, 1631. This 
little vessel was intended to give the New England 
colonists a means of communication with their 
neighbors at New Amsterdam less difficult than 
that through the wilderness. So we see that ship- 
building was begun in America under the pressure 
of necessity, and it was fostered by the conditions 
of life in the new country. 

In the year 1668, the ship-building in New Eng- 
land, small as it may now seem, had become suffi- 
ciently important to attract the attention of Sir 
Josiah Child, sometime Chairman of the Court of 
Directors of the East India Company, who in his 
Discourse on Trade protests with patriotic alarm: 
" Of all the American plantations, His Majesty has 
none so apt for building of shipping as New Eng- 
land, nor any comparably so qualified for the breed- 
ing of seamen, not only by reason of the natural 
industry of that people, but principally by reason 



American Shipping up to 1812 3 

of their cod and mackerel fisheries, and, in my 
poor opinion, there is nothing more prejudicial, and 
in prospect more dangerous, to any mother kingdom, 
than the increase in shipping in her colonies, planta- 
tions, and provinces." 

The apprehension of the worthy Sir Josiah was 
well founded, for at that period most of the spars 
and much of the timber which went into the con- 
struction of the East Indiamen and the fighting 
ships of his royal master. King Charles II., had 
grown in American soil, and of 1332 vessels regis- 
tered as built in New England between 1G74 and 
1714, no less than 289 were built for or sold to 
merchants abroad. Not that they were better than 
foreign built vessels, but on account of the plentiful 
supply of timber they could be built more cheaply 
in America than in Great Britain and on the 
Continent. 

The industry was in a promising and healthy 
condition, and so continued, until in 1720 the Lon- 
don shipwrights informed the Lords of Trade that 
the New England shipyards had drawn away so 
many men " that there were not enough left to 
carry on the work." They therefore prayed that 
colonial built ships be excluded from all trade ex- 
cept with Great Britain and her colonies, and that 
the colonists be forbidden to build ships above a 
certain size. The Lords of Trade, though fine 
crusty old protectionists, were unable to see their 
way to granting any such prayer as this, and so 
ship-building continued to flourish in America. In 
the year 1769, the colonists along the whole Atlantic 
coast launched 389 vessels, of which 113 were square- 



4 The Clipper Ship Era 

riggers. It should not, however, be imagined that 
these vessels were formidable in size. The whole 
389 had an aggregate register of 20,001 tons, an 
average of slightly over 50 tons each. Of these 
vessels 137, of 8013 tons, were built in Massa- 
chusetts; 45, of 2452 tons in New Hampshire; 50, 
of 1542 tons, in Connecticut; 19, of 955 tons, in 
New York; 22, of 1469 tons, in Pennsylvania. It 
is probable that few of them exceeded 100 tons 
register, and that none was over 200 tons register. 

With the advent of the Revolutionary War, the 
rivalry on the sea between the older and the younger 
country took a more serious turn. Centuries before 
clipper ships were ever thought of, England had 
claimed, through her repeated and victorious naval 
wars against Spain, Holland, France, and lesser 
nations, the proud title of Mistress of the Seas, but 
in the Revolutionary War with her American colo- 
nies and the War of 1812 with the United States, 
her battleships and fleets of merchantmen were 
sorely harassed by the swift, light-built, and 
heavily-armed American frigates and privateers. 
While it cannot be said that the naval power of 
England upon the ocean was seriously impaired, 
yet the speed of the American vessels and the skill 
and' gallantry with which they were fought and 
handled, made it apparent that the young giant of 
the West might some day claim the sceptre of the 
sea as his own. 

During the latter half of the eighteenth century, 
however, the leading nation in the modelling and 
construction of ships was France, and during this 
period the finest frigates owned in the British Navy 



American Shipping up to 1812 5 

were those captured from the French. The frigate 
was indeed invented in England, the first being the 
Constant Warwick, launched in 1647, by Peter Pett, 
who caused the fact of his being the inventor of 
the frigate to be engraved upon his tomb; but in 
the improvement of the type, England had long 
been outstripped by her neighbor across the channel. 
William James,i the well known historian of the 
British Navy, makes mention of the French forty- 
gun frigate Heie which was captured by the British 
frigate Bainhow in 1782, and records that " this 
prize did prove a most valuable acquisition to the 
service, there being few British frigates even ol 
the present day (1847) which, in size and exterior 
form, are not copied from the Hebe." As late as 
1821 the Arrow, for many years the fastest yacht 
owned in England, was modelled from the lines of 
a French lugger, recently wrecked upon the Dorset 
coast, which proved to be a well known smuggler 
that had for years eluded the vigilance of H. M. 
excise cutters, always escaping capture, although 
often sighted, through her superior speed. 

1 A frigate was a ship designed to be a fast, armed 
cruiser and mounted from twenty to fifty guns; when a 
naval vessel mounted less than twenty guns she became 
a sloop of war, and when she mounted more than fifty 
guns she became a line-of-battle ship. The frigate was 
always a favorite type of vessel with the officers and men 
of the navy, as she was faster and more easily handled 
than a line-of-battle ship, and was at the same time a 
more powerful fighting and cruising vessel than a sloop 
of war. Frigate-built means having the substantial con- 
struction, arrangement of the decks, masts, spars, rigging, 
and guns of a frigate. 



6 The Clipper Ship Era 

The United States no less than Great Britain was 
indebted to France for improvements in the models 
of her ships at this period. During the Eevolu- 
tionary War, when a treaty was entered into be- 
tween France and the United States in 1T78, a 
number of French frigates and luggers appeared in 
American waters. The luggers, rating from one 
hundred and fifty to two hundred tons and some 
even higher, belonged to the type used by the pri- 
vateersmen of Brittany, a scourge upon every sea 
where the merchant flag of an enemy was to be 
found. They were the fastest craft afloat in their 
day. When the French frigates and luggers were 
dry docked in American ports for cleaning or re- 
pairs, their lines were carefully taken off by enter- 
prising young shipwrights and were diligently 
studied. It was from these vessels that the first 
American frigates and privateers originated, and 
among the latter were the famous Baltimore ves- 
sels which probably during the War of 1812 first 
became known as " Baltimore clippers." 

Congress ordered four frigates and three sloops 
of war to be built in 1778, and almost countless 
privateers suddenly sprang into existence at ports 
along the Atlantic seaboard, most of them copied 
from models of the French vessels. One of the 
frigates, the Alliance, named to commemorate the 
alliance between France and the United States, was 
built at Salisbury, Massachusetts, by William and 
John Hatkett. Her length was 151 feet, breadth 
36 feet, and depth of hold 12 feet 6 inches, and she 
drew when ready for sea 14 feet 8 inches aft and 
9 feet forward. She was a favorite with the whole 



American Shipping up to 1812 7 

navy by reason of her speed and beauty, and on 
her first voyage she had the honor of conveying 
Lafayette to France, At the close of the war she 
was sold by the Government and became a merchant- 
man famous in the China and India trade. Sev- 
eral of the privateers were built and fitted out at 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Newburyport, 
Massachusetts. Those in which Nathaniel Tracy 
was interested captured no less than 120 vessels, 
amounting to 23,360 tons, which with their cargoes 
were condemned and sold for 3,950,000 specie dol- 
lars; and with these prizes were taken 2220 prison- 
ers of war. Many other instances of this nature 
might, of course, be mentioned, but the important 
point is the fact that in the latter part of the 
eighteenth century and the early part of the nine- 
teenth, as well, the fastest vessels owned or built 
in the United States and Great Britain were from 
French models.^ 

^ When peace was declared in 1783, the Government of 
the United States sold or otherwise disposed of all its 
vessels, a fact that was quickly taken advantage of by 
the Barbary corsairs. They at once began to prey upon 
American merchant shipping in the Mediterranean and 
even in the Atlantic, and made slaves of the captured 
crews. The French and English, too, in their wars with 
each other, by no means respected the neutrality of 
American commerce, the former being the worse of- 
fenders. It was not, however, until 1794 that Congress 
again authorized the formation of a navy, under the 
Secretary of War, and in 1798 the oflBce of Secretary of 
the Navy was created. Among the vessels built in 1794- 
98 was the frigate Constitution, the famous " Old Iron- 
sides " which still survives. The separate States had 
meanwhile maintained vessels for the protection of their 



8 The Clipper Ship Era 

The characteristics of the French model were a 
beautifully rounded bow, by no means sharp along 
the water-line, easy sectional lines developing into 
a full, powerful forebody and midship section, and 
great dead rise at half floor. The greatest breadth 
was well forward of amidships and at the water- 
line, with a slight, gracefully rounded tumble home 
to the plank-sheer. The after-body was finely 
moulded, clean, sharp, and long, with a powerful 
transom and quarters. The time-honored cod's 
head and mackerel's tail: the figureheads and orna- 
mentation of the quarters and stern, were veritable 
works of art. By comparing the models of the 
British frigates of that day to be seen in the Naval 
Museum at Greenwich, and the lines of the Ameri- 
can frigates and Baltimore clippers of the same 
period, with the models still preserved in the 
Louvre, it is easy to trace a family likeness among 
them all, the parent being of French origin. The 
grandparent also might easily be identified, in the 
Italian galleys of Genoa and Venice, though this is 
of no importance to our present purpose. 

That the American vessels showed a marked su- 
periority in point of speed over British men-of-war 
and merchant ships during these two wars is the 
more remarkable from the fact that frigates had 
been built in England for a century and a half, as 
we have seen, and, while it is true that two vessels 
for the British Government were built at Ports- 
mouth previous to the Revolutionary War — the 

own coasts, and, of course, there had been no cessation 
in the building of merchant ships during the period 
preceding the War of 1812. 



American Shipping up to 1812 9 

FaulJcland, fifty-four guns, in 1690, and the America, 
fifty guns, in 1740 — still, at the outbreak of the 
Revolution, the shipwrights of America scarcely 
knew what a frigate was, and much less had thought 
of building one. It had been the policy of Great 
Britain to keep her American colonies as much as 
possible in ignorance concerning naval affairs, 
doubtless from fear of their growing ambition. 
They were therefore led to copy the models of 
French vessels, not only from choice, on account 
of their excellence, but from necessity as well. 
Thus it came about that the frigates of Great 
Britain and the United States were developed 
from the same source. 

A sailing ship is an exceedingly complex, sensi- 
tive, and capricious creation — quite as much so as 
most human beings. Her coquetry and exasperat- 
ing deviltry have been the delight and despair of 
seamen's hearts, at least since the days when the 
wise, though much-married, Solomon declared that 
among the things that were too wonderful for him 
and which he knew not, was " the way of a ship 
in the midst of the sea." While scientific research 
has increased since Solomon's time, it has not kept 
pace with the elusive character of the ship, for no 
man is able to tell exactly what a ship will or will 
not do under given conditions. Some men, of 
course, know more than others, yet no one has ever 
lived who could predict with accuracy the result 
of elements in design, construction, and rig. His- 
tory abounds in instances of ships built for speed 
that have turned out dismal failures, and it has 
occasionally happened that ships built with no 



lo The Clipper Ship Era 

especial expectation of speed have proven fliers. It 
would seem, after ages of experience and evolution, 
that man should be able at last to build a sailing 
ship superior in every respect to every other sailing 
ship, but this is exactly what he cannot and never 
has been able to accomplish. A true sailor loves a 
fine ship and all her foibles; he revels in the hope 
that if he takes care of her and treats her fairly, 
she will not fail him in the hour of danger, and 
he is rarely disappointed. 

While all this is true in the abstract, yet it is 
not difficult to account for the performance of ships 
in retrospect, and in this particular matter, the 
superior speed of American frigates during the two 
wars with the mother country, it is quite easy to 
do so. 

In the first place, British men-of-war and mer- 
chantmen were at that time built with massive oak 
frames, knees, and planking, the timber of which 
had lain at dockyards seasoning in salt water for 
many years, and was as hard and almost as heavy 
as iron, while they were fastened with weighty 
through-and-through copper bolts ; so that the ships 
themselves became rigid, dead structures — sluggish 
in moderate winds, and in gales and a seaway, wal- 
lowing brutes^whereas the American frigates and 
privateers were built of material barely seasoned 
in the sun and wind, and were put together as 
lightly as possible consistent with the strength 
needed to carry their batteries and to hold on to 
their canvas in heavy weather. Also, the British 
ships were heavy aloft— spars, rigging, and blocks 
— yet their masts and yards were not so long as 



American Shipping up to 1812 ii 

those of the American ships, nor did they spread 
as much sail, although their canvas was heavier 
and had the picturesque "belly to hold the wind," 
by which, when close-hauled, the wind held the 
vessel. 

Then the British men-of-war were commanded by 
naval officers who were brave, gallant gentlemen, 
no doubt, but whose experience at sea was limited 
to the routine of naval rules formulated by other 
gentlemen sitting around a table at Whitehall. The 
infraction of one of these regulations might cost 
the offender his epaulets and perhaps his life. In 
this respect the captains of the American Navy 
enjoyed a great advantage, for at this early period 
the United States authorities had their attention 
fully occupied in preserving the government, and 
had no time to devote to the manufacture of red 
tape with which to bind the hands and tongues of 
intelligent seamen. We think, and rightly, too, of 
Paul Jones, Murray, Barry, Stewart, Dale, Hull, 
Bainbridge, and others, as heroes of the navy, yet 
it is well for us sometimes to remember that all of 
these splendid seamen were brought up and most 
of them had commanded ships in the merchant 
marine. They were thus accustomed to self- 
reliance, and were filled with resource and expedi- 
ent; they had passed through the rough school of 
adversity, and their brains and nerves were sea- 
soned by salted winds, the ocean's brine mingling 
with their blood. 

What wonder then that the American frigates, 
so built and so commanded, proved superior in 
point of speed to the British men-of-war? Less 



12 The Clipper Ship Era 

wonder still that the American privateers, whose 
men in the forecastle had in many instances com- 
manded ships, should sweep the seas, until the de- 
spairing merchants and ship-owners of Great Bri- 
tain, a nation whose flag had for a thousand years 
"hraved the battle and the breeze" and which 
boasted proudly and justly that her home was upon 
the sea, compelled their goTernment to acknowledge 
as political equals a people who had proved them- 
selves superior upon the ocean. 

So in the struggle for a national existence and 
rights as a nation, the foundations of the maritime 
power of the United States were laid. The ship- 
builders and the seamen of the Eevolution and the 
War of 1812 were the forefathers of the men who 
built and commanded the American clipper ships. 

After the Eevolutionary War the merchants of 
Salem, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia vied 
with each other in sending their ships upon dis- 
tant and hazardous voyages. Notwithstanding the 
natural difficulties of navigating, what to their 
captains were unknown seas, and the unnatural ob- 
stacles invented by man in the form of obstructive 
laws, the merchant marine of the United States 
steadily increased not only in bulk, but what was 
of far more importance, in the high standard of 
the men and ships engaged in it. 

Salem took the lead, with her great merchant, 
Elias Hasket Derby, who sent his barque Light 
Horse to St. Petersburg in 1784, and soon after sent 
the Orand Turk first to the Cape of Good Hope and 
then to China. In 1789, the Atlantic, commanded 
by his son, Elias Hasket Derby, Jr., was the^first 



American Shipping up to 1812 13 

ship to hoist the Stars and Stripes at Calcutta and 
Bombay, and she was soon followed by the Peggy, 
another of the Derby ships, which brought the first 
cargo of Bombay cotton into Massachusetts Bay. 
Mr. Derby owned a fleet of forty vessels, and hpon 
his death in 1799 left an estate valued at more 
than $1,000,000, the largest fortune at that time in 
America, as well as a name honored for integrity 
throughout the mercantile world. William Gray, 
another famous Salem merchant, owned in 1807 
fifteen ships, seven barques, thirteen brigs, and one 
schooner, his fleet representing one quarter of the 
total tonnage of Salem at that time. Then there 
were Joseph Peabody, Benjamin Pickman, and 
Jacob Crowninshield, all ship-owners who contri- 
buted to the fame of this beautiful New England 
seaport. 

Many of the merchants had been sea-captains in 
their youth, and it was the captains who really 
made Salem famous. These men, from the train- 
ing of the New England schoolroom and meeting- 
house, went out into the world and gathered there 
the fruits of centuries of civilization, which they 
brought home to soften the narrow self-righteous- 
ness of their fellow-citizens. In later years these 
captains carried missionaries to India, China, and 
Africa, unconscious that they were themselves the 
real missionaries, whose influence had wrought so 
desirable a change in New England thought and 
character. When Nathaniel Hawthorne served in 
the Custom House at Salem, the friends in whom 
he most delighted were sea-captains, for it was 
through their eyes that he looked out upon the 



14 The Clipper Ship Era 

great world, and gathered the knowledge of human 
nature that enabled him to portray in such grim 
reality the hidden springs of human thought and 
action. These captains were the sons of gentle- 
men, and were as a class the best educated men 
of their time in the United States, for they could 
do more important and difficult things, and do them 
well, than the men of any other profession. The 
old East India Museum at Salem is a monument to 
their taste and refinement. Nowhere else, perhaps, 
can be found another little museum as unique and 
beautiful, of treasures brought home one by one 
from distant lands and seas by the hands that gave 
them. 

Boston, too, had her ships and seamen. From 
that port were sent out in 1788 the ColumMa, a 
ship of two hundred and thirteen tons, and the 
sloop Washington, of ninety tons, commanded by 
Captains John Kendrick and Robert Gray, who took 
them round Cape Horn to the northwest coast of 
America, and then after trading for cargoes of 
furs, went across to China. The Columbia returned 
to Boston by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and 
was the first vessel to carry the United States en- 
sign round the globe. Subsequently she discovered 
the majestic river that bears her name, and so won 
the great Northwest for the flag under which she 
sailed. The Massachusetts, of six hundred tons, the 
largest merchant vessel built in America up to her 
time, was launched at Quincy in 1789 and was 
owned in Boston. She sailed for Canton and was 
sold there to the Danish East India Company for 
$65,000. 



American Shipping up to 1812 15 

Ezra Weston was the most famous of the old 
time Boston ship-owners. He began business in 
1764, and owned his own shipyard, sail-loft, and 
extensive rope-walk at Duxbury, Massachusetts, 
where his vessels were built and equipped. In 
1798 his son Ezra became a partner, and this firm 
continued until the death of the father in 1822. 
The son Ezra then went on in his own name until 
1842, when his sons Gersham, Alden, and Ezra, 
were taken into the firm, and they continued it 
until 1858, in all some ninety-three years, the last 
place of business being Nos. 37 and 38, Commercial 
Wharf. From the year 1800 to 1846 the Westons 
owned twenty-one ships, ranging in tonnage from 
the Hope, of 880 tons, to the Minerva, of 250 tons ; 
one barque, the Pallas, of 209 tons; thirty brigs, 
from the Two Friends, of 240 tons, to the Federal 
Eagle, of 120 tons; thirty-five schooners, from the 
St. Michael, of 132 tons, to the Star, of 20 tons; 
and ten sloops, from the Union, of 63 tons, to 
the Linnet, of 50 tons. The brig Smyrna, one of the 
Weston fleet, built in 1825, of 160 tons, was the 
first American vessel to bear the flag of the United 
States into the Black Sea after it was opened to 
commerce. She arrived at Odessa July 17, 1830. 
The Westons were easily the largest ship-owners 
of their time in the United States, and not only 
built but loaded their own vessels. Their house- 
flag was red, white, and blue horizontal stripes. 

In the year 1791, Stephen Girard, who was born 
near Bordeaux in 1750 and had risen from cabin- 
boy to be captain of his own vessel, built four 
beautiful ships at Philadelphia for the China and 



i6 The Clipper Ship Era 

India trade — the Helvetia, Montesquieu, Rousseau, 
and Voltaire. These vessels, long the pride of 
Philadelphia, greatly enriched their owner. 

The sloop Enterprise, of eighty tons, built at 
Albany and commanded by Captain Stewart Dean, 
was sent from New York to China in 1785. This 
was the first vessel to make the direct voyage from 
the United States to Canton. She returned during 
the following year with her crew of seven men and 
two boys all in excellent condition. When she 
warped alongside the wharf at New York, Captain 
Dean and his crew were in full uniform, and the 
scene, which was witnessed by an admiring throng, 
was enlivened by " martial music and the boat- 
swain's whistle." 

Thomas Cheesman was one of the first ship- 
builders in New York, and he was succeeded in 
business, before the end of the eighteenth century, 
by his son Forman, born in 1763. The latter built 
the forty-four-gun frigate President, launched in the 
year 1800 at Corlear's Hook— by far the largest 
vessel built in New York up to that time. Pre- 
vious to this, however, he had built the Briganza 
and the Draper, each of three hundred tons, and the 
Ontario, of five hundred tons. Thomas Vail, Wil- 
liam Vincent, and Samuel Ackley also built several 
vessels prior to the year 1800. The ships Eugene, 
Severn, Manhattan, Sampson, Echo, Hercules, Re- 
source, York, and Oliver Ellsworth were launched 
from their yards. In 1804 the Oliver Ellsworth, 
built by Vail & Vincent and commanded by Cap- 
tain Bennett, made the passage from New York to 
Liverpool in fourteen days, notwithstanding that 



American Shipping up to 1812 17 

she carried away her foretopmast, which was 
replaced at sea. 

All of these shipyards were below Grand Street, 
on the East River. Samuel Ackley's yard was at 
the foot of Pelham Street, and here the Manhattan, 
of six hundred tons, was built for the China and 
East India trade. She was regarded as a monster 
of the deep, and when she sailed upon her first voy- 
age in 1796, it took nearly all the deep water sea- 
men in the port to man her. Henry Eckford opened 
a shipyard at the foot of Clinton Street in 1802. 
From this yard he launched, in 1803, John Jacob 
Astor's famous ship Beaver, of four hundred and 
twenty-seven tons. It was on board this ship that 
Captain Augustus De Peyster made his first voy- 
age as a boy before the mast. Subsequently he 
commanded her, and upon retiring from the sea 
in 1845 he became the Governor of the Sailors' 
Snug Harbor at Staten Island. The Beaver once 
made the homeward run from Canton to Bermuda 
in seventy-five days. Christian Bergh began ship- 
building in 1804 with the ship North America, of 
four hundred tons, built for the Atlantic trade, and 
the brig Gipsey, of three hundred tons, a very sharp 
vessel for those days. She was dismasted off the 
Cape of Good Hope upon her first voyage to Ba- 
tavia, and afterwards foundered in a heavy squall, 
all hands being lost. The Trident, of three hundred 
and fifty tons, was built by Adam and Noah Brown 
in 1805, and the Triton, of three hundred and fifty 
tons, by Charles Brown during the same year, both 
for the China and India trade. John Floyd began 
ship-building in 1807, and launched the Carmelite, 



i8 The Clipper Ship Era 

a ship of four hundred tons, during that year, but 
was soon appointed naval constructor at the 
Brooklyn Navy Yard. 

Until 1794 ships had been built from skeleton 
models composed of pieces that showed the frames, 
keel, stem, and stern post, but were of little use 
in giving an accurate idea of the form of a vessel, 
while it required much time and labor to transfer 
the lines of the model to the mould loft. In this 
year, however, Orlando Merrill, a young ship- 
builder of Newburyport, at that time thirty-one 
years old, invented the water-line model, which was 
composed of lifts joined together, originally by 
dowels and later by screws. These could be taken 
apart ancj the sheer, body, and half-breadth plans 
easily transferred to paper, from which the working 
plans were laid down in the mould loft. This in- 
genious though simple invention, for which, by the 
way, Mr. Merrill never received any pecuniary re- 
ward, revolutionized the science of ship-building. 
The original model made by him in 1794 was pre- 
sented to the New York Historical Society in 
1853. Mr. Merrill died in 1855 at the age of 
ninety-two. 



CHAPTEE II 

BRITISH SHIPPING AFTER 1815 THE EAST INDIA 

COMPANY 

GEEAT BRITAIN and the United States signed 
a treaty of peace and good-will at Glient in 
1814. During the following year the wars of Eng- 
land and France ended on the field of Waterloo. 
And so at last the battle flags were furled. The 
long-continued wars of England had, through neg- 
lect, reduced her merchant marine to a low stand- 
ard of efficiency, and both men and ships were in 
a deplorable condition. There was no government 
supervision over British merchant shipping except 
taxatibn, the only check, and that but partially 
effective, being the Underwriters at Lloyd's. Un- 
scrupulous ship-owners might and often did send 
rotten, unseaworthy vessels to sea, poorly provi- 
sioned, short of gear and stores, with captains, 
mates, and crews picked up from low taverns along 
the docks. These vessels were fully covered by 
insurance at high rates of premium, with the hope, 
frequently realized, that they would never be heard 
from again. 

The " skippers," " maties," and " jackies " alike 
belonged to the lowest stratum of British social 
classification, which, according to the chronicles 

19 



20 The Clipper Ship Era 

of those days, was pretty low. They were coarse, 
vulgar, ignorant men, full of lurid oaths ; their per- 
sons emitted an unpleasant odor of cheap rum and 
stale tobacco; they had a jargon of their own and 
were so illiterate as to be unable to speak or write 
their own language with any degree of correctness. 
In a eertain sense the captains were good sailors, 
but their knowledge and ambition were limited to 
dead reckoning, the tar bucket and marlinspike, 
a wife in every port, and plenty of rum and 
tobacco with no desire or ability to master the 
higher branches of navigation and seamanship. 
Mariners that a landsman delights to refer to as 
" real old salts," of the Captain Cuttle and Jack 
Bunsby species, are amusing enough, perhaps, in 
the hands of a skilful novelist, but not at all the 
class of men that one would willingly select to 
assist in carrying forward the commerce of a great 
maritime nation. 

Then the stupid and obsolete Tonnage Laws en- 
couraged and almost compelled an undesirable type 
of vessels, narrow, deep, flat-sided, and full-bottomed 
— bad vessels in a seaway, slow, and often requiring 
a considerable quantity of ballast, even when loaded, 
to keep them from rolling over. 

It is, of course, always hazardous to deal in gen- 
eralities, but I think that this may be accepted as 
a fair description of the merchant marine of Great 
Britain up to 1834, when the Underwriters at 
Lloyd's and the better class of ship-owners founded 
Lloyd's Register of Shipping, to provide for the 
proper survey and classification of the merchant 
ships of Great Britain. This first important step 



British Shipping after 1815 21 

in a much needed reform was followed in 1837 by 
tlie appointment of a committee by Parliament to 
investigate the general condition of shipping en- 
gaged in foreign trade. The committee reported as 
follows : 

" The American ships frequenting the ports of 
England are stated by several witnesses to be su- 
perior to those of a similar class amongst the ships 
of Great Britain, the commanders and officers being 
generally considered to be more competent as sea- 
men and navigators, and more uniformly persons 
of education, than the commanders and officers of 
British ships of a similar size and class trading 
from England to America, while the seamen of the 
United States are considered to be more carefully 
selected, and more efficient. American ships sail- 
ing from Liverpool to New York have a preference 
over English vessels sailing to the same port, both 
as to freight and the rate of insurance; and, the 
higher wages being given, their whole equipment is 
maintained in a higher state of perfection, so that 
fewer losses occur; and as the American shipping 
having increased of late years in the proportion to 
12% fo per annum, while the British shipping have 
increased within the same period only 1%% per 
annum, the constantly increasing demand for sea- 
men by the rapidly growing maritime commerce of 
the whole world, the numbers cut off by shipwrecks, 
and the temptations offered by the superior wages 
of American vessels, cause a large number of Brit- 
ish seamen every year to leave the service of their 
own country, and to embark in that of the United 
States; and these comprising chiefly the most skil- 



22 The Clipper Ship Era 

ful and competent of our mariners, produce the 
double efifect of improving the efficiency of the 
American crews, and in the same ratio diminish- 
ing the efficiency of the British merchant service." 

In 1843 a circular was issued from the Foreign 
Office to all British consuls requesting information 
on the conduct and character of British shipmasters, 
especially with regard to the " incompetence of 
British shipmasters to manage their vessels and 
crews, whether arising from deficiency of know- 
ledge in practical navigation and seamanship, or 
of moral character, particularly want of sobriety." 
The consular reports revealed a startling condition 
of affairs, requiring immediate attention, and led 
to the establishment in 1847, of the Marine Depart- 
ment of the Board of Trade, with authority to 
supervise maritime affairs. From such unpromis- 
ing material the formation was begun of the great- 
est merchant marine that has ever existed. 

Meanwhile, one of the most important branches 
of British commerce, the East India trade, had been 
following an independent career, for the ships of 
the East India Company, although engaged in com- 
mercial pursuits, were under the direct patronage 
of the government, and cannot be regarded as form- 
ing part of the merchant marine of Great Britain. 
Yet as this Company had an important bearing upon 
the mercantile affairs of the nation, I propose to 
review as briefly as possible some of its remarkable 
exploits. 

" The United Company of Merchant Venturers of 
England trading to the East Indies " was familiarly 
known as the " John Company,"" and among those 



The East India Company 23 

endowed with a larger bump of reverence, as the 
" Honorable John Company " ; but by whatever 
name it may be called, this was the most gigantic 
commercial monopoly the world has ever known, 
since the days when the merchants of Tyre claimed 
the exclusive right to send their ships across certain 
waters known by common consent as Tyrian Seas. 

The East India Company was founded in the 
year 1600, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
The subscribed capital of £72,000 was expended on 
the first voyage in five vessels with their cargoes. 
This fleet consisted of the Dragon, of 600 tons, her 
commander receiving the title of Admiral of the 
squadron; the Hector, 300 tons, with a Vice- Ad- 
miral in command; two vessels of 200 tons each; 
and the Quest, a store ship of 130 tons. Four hun- 
dred and eighty men were employed in the expedi- 
tion, including twenty merchants as Supercargoes. 
The vessels were all heavily armed and were 
provided with small arms and an abundance of 
ammunition. They cost, with their equipment, 
£45,000, and their cargoes £27,000. 

Friendly relations were formed with the King of 
Achin, in Sumatra, and a station, known in those 
days and long afterward as a " factory," was es- 
tablished at Bantam, in Java. The fleet returned 
to England richly laden with silks and spices 
in 1603. In 1609 the Trades Increase, of 1209 tons, 
the largest ship launched in England up to that 
time, was built, but she was wrecked and became a 
total loss on her first voyage. Sir Henry Middle- 
ton, her commander, died soon after. This was an 
unfortunate expedition and resulted in heavy losses 



24 The Clipper Ship Era 

to the Company, but in 1611 the Glole cleared 218%, 
and in the following year the Gloie, Thomas, and 
Hector turned over profits amounting to 340% upon 
the capital invested. Other successful voyages fol- 
lowed, so that in 1617 the stock of the Company 
reached a premium of 203%. 

The East India Company had its troubles, to be 
sure, which were many and great, yet it increased 
in power, wealth, and strength, until at the close 
of the eighteenth century it had become possessed 
of a large portion of the continent of India, main- 
taining its own armies, forts, palaces, Courts of 
Directors, Boards of Council, Governors, and Ty- 
peans.i Eventually, this Company became the ruler 
of more than one hundred million human beings, 
not naked savages, but civilized men and women, 
many of whose ancestors had been learned scholars 
and merchant princes long prior to the invasion of 
Britain by the Roman, Dane, and Saxon. 

It is not, however, with the political affairs of 
this Company that I wish to deal, but rather with 
the ships and the men who navigated them. The 
princely emoluments known as " indulgences " in 
which the captains and officers of these ships parti- 
cipated, naturally attracted the attention of parents 
and guardians, so that younger sons, otherwise des- 
tined for a life of ill-requited repose in the church, 
the Army, or the Navy, found lucrative service with 
the East India Company. These perquisites, which 
were handed out by the Honorable Court of Di- 

1 A typean was the head merchant of one of the Com- 
pany's "factories" or mercantile houses, such as were 
later known in China as " hongs." 




B 
a 



aq 



The East India Company 25 

rectors, were no doubt intended to be of pleasing 
variety and magnitude. The Company adhered 
strictly to promotion by seniority as vacancies oc- 
curred, from ship to ship when necessary. Captains 
were appointed to their ships before launching, in 
order that they might superintend their equipment 
and get them ready for sea. Midshipmen were ap- 
pointed by the Court of Directors, and no youth 
of less than thirteen or over eighteen years was 
eligible. Second mates were required to be at least 
twenty-two, chief mates twenty-three, and com- 
manders twenty-flve years of age. 

Captains were entitled to fifty-six and one half 
tons of space on board the ships commanded by 
them, which they might use at their discretion, 
either to collect the freight or to carry cargo on 
their own account, credit being furnished by the 
company for the latter purpose at the usual in- 
terest. The rate of freight ranged from £35 to £40 
per ton, though in 1796 the Admiral Gardner, a 
ship of 813 tons, commanded by John Woolmore, 
Esq., was chartered for " six voyages certain " 
from London to India and return, at £50 for every 
ton of cargo carried. Even at the lowest rate of 
£35 per ton, the voyage out and home of about 
eighteen months yielded a captain some £3955, and 
if he carried goods on his own account, as was 
usually the case, he realized a much larger sum. 
Captains were also allowed primage, which was a 
percentage upon the total gross freight earned by 
the ship, and the passage money for passengers car- 
ried, except the Company's troops, less the cost of 
living. Considering that the passage money to or 



26 The Clipper Ship Era 

from India or China was for a subaltern £95, and 
for a general officer £234, to say nothing of di- 
rectors and governors and their families, and that 
these ships usually carried from twenty to thirty 
passengers, we may conclude that this also was a 
considerable source of revenue. 

Then captains were permitted to own the dunnage 
used for the protection of homeward cargoes, which 
they supplied in the form of stone and chinaware, 
canes, bamboos, rattans, sapan-wood, horns, nankins, 
etc. All of these goods might in those days be 
bought at very low prices in India and China, and 
under the monopoly of the East India Company, 
they sold at very high prices in London. Most of 
this " dunnage," however, came to the captains in 
the form of presents, known in the fragrant lan- 
guage of the Far East as " cumshaws," from ad- 
miring Indian and Chinese merchants. 

Naturally all of the cargoes were well dunnaged, 
so much so, indeed, as finally to attract the- at- 
tention of the benevolent Court of Directors, who 
deemed it expedient to restrain the zeal of their 
captains in this direction by issuing an order that 
" as dunnage has been brought home in the Com- 
pany's ships far beyond what is necessary for the 
protection of the cargo and stores, occupying ton- 
nage to the exclusion of goods, or cumbering the 
ship, the court have resolved that unless what is 
brought home of those articles appears absolutely 
and bona fide necessary for and used as dunnage, 
the exceeding of such requisite quantity shall be 
charged against the tonnage of the commanders and 
oflfleers." This dunnage business had been progress- 



The East India Company 27 

ing favorably for about two centuries when this 
mandate was issued, and had enriched many a 
deserving mariner. It was estimated that an India- 
man's captain received in one way or another from 
£6000 to £10,000 per annum, and there is a record 
of one ship that made what was known as a double 
voyage — that is, from London to India, China, and 
return — a twenty-two months' cruise — whose com- 
mander made profits amounting to the tidy sum of 
£30,000. 

The mates and petty officers were also well pro- 
vided for, having forty and one half tons of space 
allotted among them to do with as they pleased, 
and all hands were supplied with wines, spirits, and 
beer in quantities which if stated might seem like 
an attempt to impose upon the reader's credulity. 

A more showy if less substantial honor was con- 
ferred by the distinctive dress of the company's 
servants. The captains were arrayed in a pic- 
turesque uniform consisting of a blue coat with 
black velvet lapels, cuffs and collar, bright gold 
embroidery, and yellow gilt buttons engraved with 
the Company's crest, waistcoat and breeches of 
deep buflE, black stock, or neck-cloth, cocked hat and 
side-arms. The chief, second, third, and fourth 
officers wore uniforms of a similar though less gor- 
geous character, and all were particularly requested 
"not on any account to appear in boots, black 
breeches, and stockings " and " to appear in full 
dress when attending the Court of Directors." 

The charter of the East India Company provided 
that its ships should fly the long coach-whip pen- 
nant of the Royal Navy. During the last quarter 



28 The Clipper Ship Era 

of the eigliteenth and first part of the nineteenth 
centuries, the ships were built, rigged, equipped, 
armed, manned, and handled like the frigates of 
the Royal Navy, though they were beautifully and 
luxuriously fitted for passengers, many of whom 
were personages of high social and oflQcial rank. 
They differed, however, from the frigates in one 
important particular. Whereas, the navy con- 
structors, as we have seen, profited by the models 
of the French frigates, the builders of the Indiamen 
kept to the full-bodied, kettle-bottomed model, in 
order that these ships might carry large cargoes. 
They were of quite as bad a type as the ships of 
the more humble merchant marine. I have before 
me the particulars of one of the East India Com- 
pany's ships that carried four hundred and nineteen 
tons of general cargo, and required eighty tons of 
iron kentledge to keep her on her legs. They were 
nevertheless grand, stately-looking ships, and were 
well cared for. 

The crews were divided into the usual two 
watches, but the officers had three watches, four 
hours on and eight hours off. The watches were 
divided into messes of eight men each, who had a 
space allotted to them between the guns in the 
between-decks. Here their hammocks were slung and 
their chests, mess-kids, copper pots, kettles, and tin 
pannikins were stowed, clean and bright, under the 
inspection of the commander and the surgeon, who 
were assisted in their duties by wearing white gloves 
with which to test the appearance of cleanliness. 
The crews slept in hammocks which were stowed in 
nettings at seven bells in the morning watch, to 



The East India Company 29 

the pipe of the boatswain's whistle. The decks were 
washed and holystoned in the morning watch, and 
at eight bells all hands breakfasted. On Wednes- 
days and Saturdays, the between-decks were turned 
out, washed, and holystoned. On Sunday morn- 
ings the crew was mustered and inspected by the 
chief officer, and then assembled for Divine service, 
which was read by the commander, as the Court 
of Directors required the captains " to keep up the 
worship of Almighty God, under a penalty of two 
guineas for every omission not satisfactorily ac- 
counted for in the log-book." 

The crews were drilled at the guns and with cut- 
lass, musket, and boarding-pikes, and other small 
arms. Courts-martial were held on board and the 
rawhide cat-o'-nine-tails was freely used by the 
boatswain upon the naked backs and shoulders of 
triced-up seamen — one, two, three dozen, perhaps, 
with a bucket of salt water to rinse off the blood. 
This was not so brutal a form of punishment as 
may perhaps appear to landsmen, and was probably 
the best method of enforcing proper discipline 
among the reckless men who for the most part 
formed the crews of ships at that period. 

These vessels carried large crews, whose work was 
easy and who were well looked after and provided 
for. They had plenty of the best food and quite 
as much rum as was good for them. In the dog- 
watches they were allowed and even encouraged to 
enjoy themselves in the manner known on board 
ship as " skylarking." Saturdays they had to them- 
selves to wash and mend their clothes, and in the 
dog-watches of that day they were given an extra 



30 The Clipper Ship Era 

allowance of grog, with which to drink long life and 
happiness to sweethearts and wives, with music, 
dance, and song. Seamen who had served eight 
years in the Company's ships were entitled to liberal 
pensions, as were also the wives and children of 
those who had been killed in the service of the 
Company, or who had been so maimed or wounded 
as to be unable to perform further service. There 
can be no question that the directors of the East 
India Company took good care of those who served 
them faithfully. 

The East Indiamen were always fine, strong ships, 
built of oak, elm, and teak, copper-fastened through- 
out, their cost being £40 per ton ready for sea; but 
they were very slow, and their passages were reck- 
oned not by days but by months. Every evening, 
no matter how fine the weather, royals and all 
light sails were taken in and stowed, and the royal 
yards sent on, deck. If the weather looked at all ■'• 
as if it might become threatening during the night, 
the topgallantsails and mainsail were stowed and 
a single reef put in the topsails. Safety and com- 
fort were the watchwords, with no desire or effort j |i y 
for speed. No one ever knew how fast these vessels 
really could sail, as they never had any one on 
board who tried to get the best speed out of them, f 1 1 
but without doubt their passages might have been 
considerably shortened with even a moderate 
amount of vigilance and energy. All we know is, 
how slow they were. Yet these ships were fought 
through many a desperate battle upon the sea, with | 
foreign men of war, privateers, and other foes, and 
the skill and valor of their captains, officers, and 




T3 

13 



4 



The East India Company 31 

crews shed a new lustre upon the ensign under 
which they sailed. Indeed, the maritime records of 
the East India Company read more like a naval 
history than the annals of ships engaged in com- 
mercial pursuits. 

In some respects these Indiamen were remarkable 
ships, and they should, like men, be judged by the 
standards of the times in which they existed. They 
were owned by a company which for more than 
two centuries held a monopoly of the British China 
and East India trade without the spur of competi- 
tion urging them to perfect their vessels and to 
exact vigorous service from the officers and crews 
who sailed them. Under such a system there could 
be no marked progress in naval science. It would, 
of course, be an exaggeration to say that there had 
been no improvement in British shipping from the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth to the Victorian era, but 
it was so gradual as to be perceptible only when 
measured by centuries. Thus we speak of the ships 
of th§ sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth cen- 
turies, and upon examination are surprised to find 
how few and slight were the improvements made 
during these three hundred years in the design and 
construction of hulls or in spars, rigging, and sails. 
The only striking improvement was a modification 
of the really beautiful ornamentation which embel- 
lished and at the same time lumbered up the lofty 
hulls of the earlier ships. 

Some of the Indiamen were built in Wigram's 
famous yard at Blackwall on the Thames, which 
was in existence for more than two centuries. In- 
deed, some of the first ships owned by the East 



32 The Clipper Ship Era 

India Company, the Dragon, Susannah, and Mer- 
chants' Hope were launched there. During the 
reigns of Elizabeth, James, Charles I., Charles II., 
and the Georges, this yard turned out many of the 
ships owned in the Royal Navy, and through all 
these years it had in time of need been a faithful 
standby of the British Government. Some of the 
ships of the Company were, however, built in other 
yards and in their own building establishment at 
Bombay. 

During the years 1819 and 1820 the Company 
sent to their different stations in Bengal, Madras, 
Bombay, China, Ceylon, and Penang, twenty-three 
of their own ships aggregating 26,200 tons, besides 
twenty-one chartered vessels measuring 10,948 tons. 
Among the Company's ships were the Canning, Duke 
of York, Eellie Castle, Lady Melville, Thomas 
Coutts, and Waterloo, built by Wigram, and all 
from 1325 to 1350 tons, each mounting 26 guns with 
a crew of 130 men. The Buckinghamshire, Earl of 
Balcarras, Herefordshire, Thomas Granville, Min- 
erva, and Charles Grant, all from 923 to 1417 tons, 
26 guns, and 130 men with the exception of the 
Minerva and Thomas Granville which mounted the 
same number of guns but had 115 and 107 men, 
respectively, were built by the Company at Bom- 
bay. The Asia, Dorsetshire, Duneira, Marquis of 
Wellington, Prince Regent, Princess Amelia, and 
Windsor, which were all over 1000 tons and mounted 
26 guns with crews of from 115 to 130 each, were 
built in the Barnard yard, also on the Thames. The 
London, Lowther Castle, Marquis of Camden, and 
Perseverance, all from 1329 to 1408 tons. 26 guns, 



The East India Company 33 

and 130 men each, were built in the Pitcher yard 
at Northfleet in Kent. The Earl of Balcarras, of 
1417 tons, built in 1815 at Bombay, was the largest 
ship owned by the Company, She was built of In- 
dia teak, copper-fastened throughout, and mounted 
batteries on two decks. Her crew of 133 men was 
made up as follows: Commander, 6 mates, 2 sur- 
geons, 6 midshipmen, purser, gunner, carpenter, 
master-at-arms, armour, butcher, baker, poulterer, 
caulker, cooper, 2 stewards, 2 cooks, 8 boatswains, 
gunner's, carpenter's, caulker's, and cooper's mates, 
6 quartermasters, sailmaker, 7 servants for the com- 
mander and officers, and 78 seamen before the mast. 
These facts illustrate not only the manner in, 
which the ships of the East India Company were 
officered and manned, but also the extravagant 
scale upon which the affairs of the Company were 
administered. Of course, a gross monopoly like this, 
legalized though it was by Acts of Parliament, could 
not continue indefinitely among a free and intelligent 
people. For many years mutterings of discontent, 
gathering in force and volume, had been heard from 
all parts of Great Britain, indicating the disap- 
proval of the people concerning the methods of the 
Company. At last, in 1832, these mutterings burst 
into a storm of indignation from the people through 
their representatives in Parliament, which swept 
the frigates of the Honorable John Company off the 
face of the deep; for in that year commerce to the 
Orient was thrown open to all British ships, and 
knowing their utter inability to compete success- 
fully with free and intelligent personal energy, the 
East India Company condemned or sold their 



34 The Clipper Ship Era 

entire fleet. Sixteen ships were broken np for their 
massive copper fastenings and other valuable mate- 
rial, while forty-six were sold, and no finer tribute 
can be offered to the excellent construction of these 
vessels than the figures which they realized at what 
may justly be called a forced sale. 

Naturally these ships were not all sold at the 
some moment, as some of them were on their way 
to China and India when the crash came; in fact, 
it required about three years to close them all out; 
still, it was well known that the Court of Directors 
had decreed that they must all be sold, and this 
gave bargain hunters a chance to practise their 
wiles. At first two or three of the ships were put 
up at public auction ; the bids were few and meagre, 
indicating an assumed and perhaps preconcerted 
apathy. Negotiations of a less public nature en- 
sued, which resulted as follows: The Buckingham- 
shire, of 1369 tons, then eighteen years old, was sold 
to Thacker & Mangels for £10,550. The Canning, 
1326 tons, seventeen years old, sold for breaking 
up to Joseph Somes at £5750. The Minerva, 976 
tons, eighteen years old, ready for sea, to Henry 
Templer, at £11,800; this ship, after thirty-seven 
years of service in the India trade was wrecked off 
the Cape of Good Hope in 1850. The Earl of Bal- 
carras, 1417 tons, nineteen years old, to Thomas 
A. Shuter for £15,700 ; this ship after fifty-two years' 
service, became a receiving hulk on the west coast 
of Africa. The Bombay, 1246 tons, twenty-two 
years old, sold to Duncan Dunbar for £11,000, was 
wrecked after fifty-nine years of service. The 
Lowther Castle, 1408 tons, nineteen years old, went 



The East India Company 35 

to Joseph Somes for £13,950. The Waterloo, 1325 
tons, eighteen years old, was sold for breaking up 
at £7200. The Thames, 1360 tons, thirteen years 
old, went to James Chrystall at £10,700. The re- 
maining ships of the fleet brought equally good 
prices. Thus ended the maritime exploits of the 
" United Company of Merchant Venturers of Eng- 
land trading to the East Indies " ; although its 
influence upon the merchant marine of Great 
Britain continued for many years. 

With the opening of the China and India trade 
to all British ships, there came the long-wished for 
competition — one of the hinges upon which com- 
merce swings — and a number of British ship-owners, 
hardly known before, now came into prominence. 
Among them were Green, Wigram, Dunbar, and 
Somes, of London, and the Smiths, of Newcastle. 
So strongly was the example of the East India 
Company impressed upon their minds that they still 
continued to construct frigate-built ships, though 
with some slight effort toward economy and speed. 
Many of the former captains, officers, and seamen 
of the East India Company sailed for the private 
firms, and so the personnel of the British merchant 
marine was much benefited. The private ships, of 
course, were not permitted to fly the naval pennant, 
but in other respects the service remained pretty 
nearly, the same. Much of the wasteful extrava- 
gance was naturally eliminated, and the " indul- 
gences " were substantially reduced, but the 
time-honored practice of " making snug for the 
night" was too ancient and comfortable a custom 
to be very speedily abolished. 



36 The Clipper Ship Era 

Joseph Somes, one of the promoters of Lloyd's 
Register, bought a number of the Company's old 
ships, as we have seen, and in addition he built 
the Maria Somes, Princess Boyal, Sir George Sey- 
mour, and Castle Eden. Thomas and William 
Smith, of Newcastle, were an old ship-building 
firm, who had in 1808, at their yard in St. Peter's, 
constructed the frigate Bucephalus, 970 tons, 52 
guns, for the Eoyal Navy, while in later years they 
built many merchant vessels. The finest of their 
new ships were the Marlborough and the Blenheim, 
of 1350 tons each, built under special government 
survey and granted certificates as frigates equipped 
for naval service. This firm also built the Qlori- 
ana, 1057 tons, Hotspur, 1142 tons, and St. Law- 
rence, 1049 tons, all of the frigate type, though 
employed as merchantmen. 

Duncan Dunbar owned a number of fine ships and 
eventually became the largest ship-owner of his time 
in Great Britain. Many of his vessels were built in 
India. The Marion, 684 tons, built in Calcutta in 
1834, was in active service until 1877, when she 
was wrecked on the Newfoundland coast. The 
David Malcolm was built in 1839, and the Cressy, 
720 tons, and the Hyderabad, 804 tons, in 1843, at 
Sunderland. 

Eobert Wigram and Richard Green, at one time 
partners, built and owned their own ships, known 
as the "Blackwall frigates." In 1834-35, they 
brought out the Malabar, Monarch, and Windsor 
Castle, and subsequently the Carnatic, Prince of 
Wales, Agamemnon, Alfred, and others, from 1200 
to 1400 tons each. As late as 1849 the Alfred, of 



J3 

a 

XI 

S 



T3 



43 

3 
o 



a 



J3 



The East India Company 37 

only 1291 tons, commanded by Captain Henning, 
carried a crew of eighty men, which included five 
mates, three boatswains, two carpenters, four 
quartermasters, a number of stewards and cooks, 
with sixty men before the mast. 

These were the last of the frigate-built ships; for 
when the Navigation Laws were, repealed in 1849, 
and the carrying trade of Great Britain and her 
colonies was thrown open to all nations, the British 
merchants and ship-builders found it necessary to 
construct a very different type of vessel in order 
to compete in the ocean carrying trade. 

Farewell, then, to the gallant old Indiaman, with 
her hammock nettings, bunt jiggers, rolling tackles, 
jeers, gammon lashings, bentinck shrouds, and cat 
harpings, dear to sailors' hearts; and good-bye to 
her sailors, too, sons of the men who fought in the 
victorious fleets of Nelson, fellows who drank gun- 
powder in their rum before stripping to battle with 
the enemy, who could stand triced up by the thumbs 
and take their four-and-twenty of rawhide on the 
naked back without wetting an eyelash. And fare- 
well to the merry dance and song, the extra dram 
of grog in the dog-watch, and jovial toasts to 
sweethearts and wives, as the sun sinks beneath 
the blue wave and the cool evening trade wind fills 
the sails. 



OHAPTEE III 

THE NORTH ATLANTIC PACKET SHIPS, 1815-1850 

WHILE progress in ship-building in the United 
States had been constant up to the War 
of 1812, American ship-owners and builders had been 
much hampered by the interference of both Great 
Britain and France, but in 1815, when the smoke 
of battle had cleared away and the rights of Ameri- 
can ships and seamen had been established upon 
the sea, ship-building was taken up with renewed 
energy. 

The famous New York-Liverpool packets came 
out in 1816. The pioneer, Black Ball Line, estab- 
lished by Isaac Wright, Francis and Jeremiah 
Thompson, Benjamin Marshall, and others, led the 
ran for years. The original ships belonging to this 
line were the Amity, Courier, Pacific, and James 
Monroe, of about 400 tons; they were followed by 
the New York, Eagle, Orbit, Nestor, James Cropper, 
William Thompson, Albion, Canada, Britannia, and 
Columbia, vessels of from 300 to 500 tons register. 
For the first ten years the passages of the fleet 
averaged 23 days outward and 40 days to the west- 
ward. The fastest outward passage was made by the 
Canada in 15 days, 18 hours, and her total averages 
— 19 days outward and 36 days homeward — were' 
the best of that period. 

.18 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 39 

These ships were all flush deck, with a caboose 
or galley and the housed-over long-boat between the 
fore- and main-masts. The long-boat, which was, of 
course, securely lashed, carried the live stock, — 
pens for sheep and pigs in the bottom, ducks and 
geese on a deck laid across the gunwales, and on 
top of all, hens and chickens. The cow-house was 
lashed over the main hatch, and there were also 
other small hatch-houses and a companion aft lead- 
ing to the comfortable, well-appointed cabins, which 
were lighted by deck skylights, candles, and whale- 
oil lamps. The steerage passengers lived in the be- 
tween-decks amidships, and the crew's forecastle was 
in the fore-peak. The stores, spare sails, gear, etc., 
were kept in the lazarette abaft the cabins, with a 
small hatch leading to the main-deck. The hulls 
were painted black from the water-line up, with 
bright scraped bends, which were varnished, and 
the inner side of the bulwarks, rails, hatch-houses, 
and boats were painted green. It was said that 
some of the early Black Ball captains had com- 
manded privateers during the War of 1812. At all 
events, these little ships, with their full-bodied, able 
hulls, and their stout spars, sails, and rigging, were 
driven outward and homeward across the Atlantic, 
through the fogs and ice of summer and the snow, 
sleet, and gales of winter, for all the speed that was 
in them. They were in their day the only regular 
means of communication between the United States 
and Europe. Their captains were the finest men 
whose services money could secure, and to their 
care were entrusted the lives of eminent men and 
women, government despatches, the mails and specie. 



40 The Clipper Ship Era 

Rain or shine, blow high, blow low, one of the 
Black Ball liners sailed from New York for Liver- 
pool on the first and sixteenth of each month, and 
for many years these were the European mail days 
throughout the United States. 

In 1821, Thomas Cope of Philadelphia started his 
line of packets between that port and Liverpool 
with the ships Lancaster, of 290 tons, and Tusca- 
rora, of 379 tons, which were soon followed by 
larger vessels, among them some of the finest ships 
on the Atlantic. 

The Red Star Line of Liverpool packets from 
New York was also established in 1821 with the 
Panther, Meteor, Hercules, and second Manhattan, 
and soon after, the Swallow Tail Line of Grinnell, 
Minturn & Co., came into existence with the Napo- 
leon, Silas Richards, George, and York. Grinnell, 
Minturn & Co.'s London Line was established in 
1823 with the Brighton, Columbia, Cortes, and 
Corinthian, of less than 500 tons each, and during 
this year John Griswold's London Line was also 
started with the Sovereign, President, Cambria, 
Hudson, and the second Ontario. 

The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 gave a 
great impetus to commerce, causing New York to 
become the eastern gateway of the United States, ; 
and from that date to 1850 may be counted the ' 
glorious years of the Atlantic packet ships. 

The Dramatic Line to Liverpool was started in 
1836 with the Siddons, Shakespeare, Garrick, and 
Roscius, under the management of E. K. Collins. 
These vessels did not much exceed 700 tons, and 
when, in 1837, Isaac Webb & Co. built the Sheridan, 



13 

a 



<D 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 41 

of 895 tons for this line, she was regarded as too 
large for a Liverpool packet, and after a few voyages 
was placed in the China trade. 

The first Havre line of packets was founded by 
Francis Depaw in 1822 with the Stephania, Mon- 
tana, Henry IV., Helen Mar, Louis Philippe, and 
Silvia de Grasse. A second line was formed in 
1827 with the Baltimore, Charles Carroll, Erie, 
France, Oneida, Mercury, Vtica, Rhone, William 
Tell, and in 1832 a third line, with the Formosa, 
Galia, Albany, Duchesse d'Orleans, Isaac Bell, 
Queen Mah, and Don Quixote. 

In 1831 the New Orleans Line from New York was 
formed with the Nashville, Huntsville, Louisville, 
Creole, and Natchez. These were the first packet 
ships built with full poop-decks, then quite a new 
feature in ship-building. Gradually the flush deck 
gave place to house- and poop-deck cabins, then to 
the topgallant, forecastle, and house from the fore- 
mast to the main hatch. The fashion of painting 
also changed, and most if not all the packets carried 
painted ports, while the inside green was replaced 
by white or light shades of other colors. 

After the Black Ball Line passed into the hands 
of Captain Charles H. Marshall in 1836, the Colum- 
hus, Oxford, Canibridge, New York, England, York- 
shire, Fidelia, Isaac Wright, Isaac Welib, the third 
Manhattan, Montezuma, Alexander Marshall, Great 
Western, and Harvest Queen were gradually added 
to the fleet. To meet the competition of the Black 
Ball Line, the Swallow Tail Line built the Wash- 
ington, Independence, Pennsylvania, Roscoe, Pat- 
rick Henry, Ashburton, Hottinger, Queen of the 



42 The Clipper Ship Era 

West, Liverpool, New World, and Cornelius 
Grinnell. 

The packet ships slowly increased in tonnage, 
but did not much exceed 1000 tons until 1846 when 
the New World, of 1404 tons, was built by Donald 
McKay, followed by the Guy Mannering, of 1419 
tons, and the Albert Gallatin, of 1435 tons, built by 
William H. Webb in 1849, these three vessels being 
the largest merchant ships afloat at that period. 

The Black Ball ships carried a large painted 
black ball below the close-reef band in their foretop- 
sails, while the Dramatic Line, not to be outdone, 
carried a black X which extended diagonally, almost 
from clew to earring, across their foretopsails. All 
packet ships carried a white light at the bowsprit 
cap from sunset to sunrise, but side-lights did not 
come into use until some years later. These ships 
also carried a flare-up which was kept in the com- 
panion ready for immediate use. 

Throughout the various changes of management 
the Black Ball liners carried a crimson swallow- 
tail flag with a black ball in the centre; the 
Dramatic liners, blue above white with a white L 
in blue and a black L in white for the Liverpool 
ships, and a red swallowtail with white ball and 
black L in the centre for the New Orleans ships; 
the Union Line to Havre, a white field with black 
U in the centre; John Griswold's London Line, red 
swallowtail with black X in centre; the Swallowtail 
Line, red before white, swallowtail for the London 
ships, and blue before white, swallowtail for the 
Liverpool ships; Robert Kermit's Liverpool Line, 
blue swallowtail with red star in the centre; Spof- 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 43 

ford & Tillotson's Liverpool Line, yellow field, blue 
cross with white S. T. in the centre. These flags 
disappeared from the sea many years ago. 

The packet captain, no matter what his age might 
be, was usually spoken of as "the old man," a 
title frequently embellished by the crew with vigor- 
ous epithets, which seemed to them appropriate, but 
which must now, I fear, be left to the imagination 
of the reader. Few if any Americans sailed regu- 
larly before the mast on board of these vessels, the 
crews being largely composed of the most abandoned 
scoundrels out of British and continental jails. I 
shall have something further to say concerning these 
interesting beings in connection with their exploits 
on board of the California clipper ships. 

Among the famous New York packet captains, 
and there were many of them, were Charles H. 
Marshall, of the South America, James Cropper, and 
Britannia; N. B. Palmer, of the Siddons, Garrick, 
Huntsville, and Hihernia, and his brother, Alex- 
ander, later of the Oarrick; F. A. De Peyster, of the 
Columius and Ontario; John Collins, an uncle of 
E. K. Collins, of the Shakespeare; John Eldridge, 
of the Liverpool, and his brother Asa, of the Boscius, 
and Oliver, another brother, who was mate with 
Captain John; Ezra Nye, of the Independence and 
Henry Clay; William Skiddy, an older brother of 
Francis Skiddy, of the New World; Benjamin Trask, 
of the Virginia^ Jamestown, and Saratoga; Joseph 
Delano, of the ColumMa and Patrick Henry; John 
Britton, of the Constitution, later United States 
consul at Southampton; Ira Bursley, of the Hot- 
tinger; Philip Woodhouse, of the Queen of the West; 



44 The Clipper Ship Era 

James A. Wooton, of the Havre; William H. Allen, 
of the Virginia, Waterloo, West Point, and Constel-- 
lation; E. E. Morgan, of the Hudson and Victoria; 
John Johnston, of the Rhone and Isaac Bell; and 
of a later period, Robert C. Cutting, of the Adelaide; 
and Samuel Samuels, of the Dreadnought. 

It required an unusual combination of qualities 
to command these Western Ocean packet ships suc- 
cessfully. Above all things it was necessary that 
the captains should be thorough seamen and navi- 
gators; also that they should be men of robust 
health and great physical endurance, as their duties 
often kept them on deck for days and nights to- 
gether in storm, cold, and fog. Then there were 
frequently desperate characters among the crew and 
steerage passengers, who required to be handled 
with moral courage and physical force, while the 
cabin passengers were usually gentlemen and gentle- 
women of good breeding, accustomed to courtesy* 
and politeness, which they expected to find in the 
captains with whom they sailed. These require- 
ments evolved a remarkable type of men, hearty, 
bluff, and jovial, without coarseness, who would 
never be mistaken for anything but gentlemen. 

The packet mates, having no social duties on ship- 
board to distract their attention, were able to de- 
vote their time and energies to improving the morals 
and manners of the crew, and it was on board the 
Black Ball liners that "belaying pin soup" and 
"handspike hash," so stimulating to honest toil, 
were first introduced for the benefit of mutinous or 
slothful mariners. 

Plenty of sail was carried by the packet ships 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 45 

of this period — square lower, topmast and topgallant 
studding sails, skysails set on sliding gunter masts 
which were struck in the winter time, with three 
reefs in the topsails and single reefs in the top- 
gallantsails. The racing was fast and furious. In 
1837 a match was made between the Black Ball 
liner Golumhus, 597 tons, Captain De Peyster, and 
the Sheridan, Captain Russell, of the Dramatic Line, 
then on her first voyage, for' a stake of $10,000 a 
side, from New York to Liverpool, play or pay. 
The Sheridan, though only 895 tons, carried a crew 
of forty picked men before the mast, with regular 
pay of $25 a month, and the promise of a bonus 
of |50 each, provided their ship won the race. The 
ships sailed together from New York on Thursday, 
February 2, 1837, and the Golurnbus won the race 
in sixteen days, followed two days later by the 
Sheridan. This is the first ocean match across the 
Atlantic of which any record has been preserved, 
though, of course, there had been many informal 
races long before. 

The Isaac Bell, commanded by Captain John 
Johnston, made three voyages from Havre to New 
York in less than eighteen days each, one being in 
the month of January, which is about the hardest 
month in the twelve for a ship bound to the west- 
ward. The Independence, 734 tons, built by Smith 
& Dimon in 1834, for a number of years when com- 
manded by Captain Ezra Nye, took the President's 
message to England, her sailing day being fixed 
for the 6th of March for that purpose. She more 
than once made the passage from New York to 
Liverpool in fourteen days. In November, 1846, the 



46 The Clipper Ship Era 

TorTcsMre, Captain Bailey, made the passage from 
Liverpool to New York in sixteen days. This is 
believed to be the fastest passage ever made from 
Liverpool to the westward by a packet ship. The 
Montezuma, 1070 tons, and the Patrick Henry, 997 
tons, the Southampton, 1273 tons, built by Wester- 
velt & Mackay, in 1849, also the St. Andrew, Captain 
William C. Thompson, of Robert Kermit's Line, all 
made the passage from New York to Liverpool in 
fifteen days. 

It should, however, be remembered that these 
packet ships, running regularly across the Atlantic 
for many years, necessarily at times encountered 
favorable conditions of wind and weather; whereas, 
a single ship making the passage occasionally, as 
did the clipper ships in later years, might not find 
so favorable a slant in a lifetime. None of the 
packet ships that made these remarkable passages 
could average more than twelve knots for twenty- 
four hours, and the utmost limit of their speed 
under the most favorable conditions was not more 
than fourteen knots, if as much. Most of these 
ships, however, made the passage from New York 
to Liverpool at one time or another in sixteen days, 
and there were few that did not at least once make 
the run in seventeen days. The secret of the speed 
of these ships was that they were commanded by 
men who kept them moving night and day, in all 
sorts of weather, and never let up on their ships 
or crews from the time they cast off from the wharf 
at New York until they ran their lines ashore on 
the pier-head at Liverpool. While it is true that 
the New York packet ships were by no means clip- 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 47 

pers, still, their models and rig were admirably 
adapted to the work which they had to perform. 
It was a splendid service and a fine prelude to the 
clipper ship era. 

Of the earlier New York ship-builders, Henry 
Eckford, who came from Scotland in 1796, when 
twenty years of age, died in New York in 1832; 
Christian Bergh, who was born in Wettenburgh, 
Ehinebeck precinct, in 1763, died in New York in 
1843; and Isaac Webb, born in Stamford, Connecti- 
cut, in 1794, the son of Wilsey Webb, died in New 
York in 1840. To the memories of these men, the 
founders of modern ship-building in the United 
States, the highest praise is due for their integrity, 
perseverance, and mechanical skill. 

Of the next generation of builders, Stephen Smith, 
who like Isaac Webb was born in Stamford, formed 
with John Dimon the firm of Smith & Dimon, and 
prior to 1843 they had built among other vessels 
the packet ships Roscoe and Independence, the ship 
Mary Howland, the North River steamboats Roch- 
ester, James Kent, and Oregon, and the Greek 
frigate Liberator. Their building yard was at the 
foot of Fourth Street, East Eiver. David Brown 
and Jacob Bell formed the firm of Brown & Bell, 
and had a yard at the foot of Stanton Street, a 
part of which had formerly been the Henry Eckford 
yard. Prior to 1843, this firm had built the ships Or- 
Mt and William Tell in 1821, the Canada, Calhoun, 
Savannah, Pacific, Washington, Great Britain, John 
Jay,Britannia,George Canning, Caledonia, Hiiernia, 
and Congress from 1821 to 1831; theVictoria, Europe, 
Francis Depaw, Silvia de Grasse, Vicksiurg, Em- 



48 The Clipper Ship Era 

erald, Switzerland, Shakespeare, Garrick, Sheridan, 
Siddons, Roscius, and Cornelia from 1831 to 1841; 
and the Liverpool, Queen of the West, and Henry 
Clay in the period from 1841 to 1843, inclusive. 
Besides these, they built fifteen other ships, seven 
steamers, eight barques and brigs, thirty-nine 
steamboats, six ferry- and tow-boats, nineteen sloops 
and schooners, seven pilot boats, and four yachts. 

Upon the death of Isaac Webb in 1840, his son 
William H. Webb, then only twenty-four years of 
age, continued the firm of Webb & Allen which 
built during the next ten years the packet ships 
Montezuma, Yorkshire, Havre, Fidelia, second 
Colunibia, Sir Rohcrt Peel, Splendid, Bavaria, 
Isaac Wright, Ivanhoe, Yorktown, London, Cruy 
Mannering, Albert Gallatin, Isaac Weih, and Van- 
guard. Their yard extended from the foot of Fifth 
to Seventh Street, Bast River. 

Jacob A. Westervelt, born at Hackensack, New 
Jersey, in 1800, was the son of a ship-builder. He 
went to sea before the mast and upon his return 
served his apprenticeship with Christian Bergh, 
subsequently becoming a partner in the firm and 
retiring with an ample fortune in 1837. Mr. West- 
ervelt then made an extensive trip through Europe, 
and after returning built two ships at Williams- 
burg. He formed the firm of Westervelt & Mackay 
and built a number of London and Havre packet 
ships, among which were the Ocean Queen, West 
Point,Toronto,Devonshire,andAmericanEagle. The 
front door of Mr. Westervelt's house in East Broad- 
way was ornamented with a beautiful carved stone 
cap representing the stern of a packet ship. In later 




.a 



o 



<B 

JS 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 49 

years, he took his sons Daniel and Aaron into part- 
nership, the firm being known as Westervelt & Co. 
Jacob A. Westervelt was Mayor of New York in 1854. 

George Steers, destined to become famous as the 
designer of the Adriatic, the Niagara, and the 
yacht America, was born in Washington, D. C, in 
the year 1819, and in 1843, after having built a 
number of fast sail- and row-boats for racing, en- 
tered into partnership with William Hathorne, the 
firm being known as Hathorne & Steers. Up to 
this time Mr. Steers, though he had shown unusual 
ability as a mechanic, cannot be said to have done 
anything predicting his future triumphs. Other 
firms that were building good vessels at this time 
were Thomas and William Collier; Perin, Patter- 
son & Stack; Laurence & Folkes, and John Englis, 
some of whom we shall hear of again. 

The merchants of Boston after the War of 1812, 
built or bought most of their vessels at Medford, 
Newburyport, Salem, Scituate, and Duxbury, within 
the State, and at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and 
other ports where timber was more plentiful. It 
was not until 1834, when the East Boston Timber 
Company was incorporated by James Paige, Francis 
Oliver, and Gideon Barstow, that ship-building be- 
gan to flourish about Boston. Stephen White was 
the moving spirit in this transaction, as in 1833 
he had bought on behalf of himself and associates, 
eighty thousand feet of land in East Boston, between 
Border and Liverpool streets, at three cents per 
foot, for the establishment of a timber yard and 
dock. Mr. White also purchased Grand Island, in 
the Niagara Eiver, which was covered with valuable 



50 The Clipper Ship Era 

timber. Sawmills were erected on the island, and 
a supply of the finest quality of ship timber was 
created, and brought by the Erie Canal to tide- 
water, thence by coasting vessels to East Boston. 
This attracted ship-builders from other towns, and 
eventually made Boston a famous ship-building 
centre. Stephen White owned the first ship built 
in East Boston, the Niagara, of 460 tons, appro- 
priately named after the river from which the timber 
used in her construction had come. She was built 
in 1834, by Brown, Bates & Delano in their yard 
at the foot of Central Square, and was launched 
amid an uproar of guns, fire-crackers, shouts, and 
music, with a bottle of good Medford rum trickling 
down her port bow. 

The first Boston ferry-boats, the East Boston, 
Essex, and Maverick, were built at East Boston in 
1834-35, but nothing further was done in ship- 
building there until 1839, when Samuel Hall a well- 
known builder, of Marshfield and Duxbury, removed 
to East Boston and established a yard at the west 
end of Maverick Street. Mr. Hall not only con- 
tributed to the reputation and welfare of East Bos- 
ton by building a large number of splendid vessels 
and providing employment for a great number of 
men, but he was also active in all municipal afifairs. 
In appreciation of his successful efforts for the in- 
troduction of Cochituate water into East Boston in 
1851, his fellow-citizens presented him with a thou- 
sand-dollar service of plate, consisting of eleven 
pieces, with the usual inscription, with which most 
of us are more or less familiar. 

The Briggs Brothers, of South Boston, came from 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 51 

an old and celebrated ship-building family of Sci- 
tuate, their great-grandfather having been a fship- 
builder of note in colonial times, while their grand- 
father, James Briggs, was the builder of the famous 
ColumMa, in 1773. After his death the yard was con- 
tinued by his sons, Henry and Gushing, who built 
some of the finest ships sailing out of Boston, be- 
sides many of the New Bedford and Nantucket 
whalers, during the first half of the last century. 
The brothers E. & H. O. Briggs, who established 
their yard at South Boston in 1848, were the sons 
of Gushing Briggs, and they possessed the skill in 
design and thorough knowledge of construction for 
which the family had long been famous among the 
merchants and underwriters of Boston. 

At Medford, on the Mystic, Thatcher Magoun es- 
tablished his shipyard in 1802, and there built the 
brig Mt. Etna, of 187 tons, in 1803, followed by 
other merchant vessels as well as privateers for 
the War of 1812. The Avon, the most famous of 
these privateers, was launched in twenty-six days 
after her keel was laid. In 1822, Mr. Magoun built 
the Amethyst, Emerald, Sapphire, and Topaz, ships 
of about 350 tons, for the Boston and Liverpool 
Packet Company, which ran for a few years be- 
tween Boston, Gharleston, S. G., and Liverpool, 
and home direct to Boston. One of the novel 
features of this line was the arrangement as to 
agents, their oflfice being at the end of India Wharf, 
but in Liverpool each ship had a separate agent, as 
it was imagined that four agents would attract so 
many times the more business. It is evident that 
the promoters of this line had something to learn 



52 The Clipper Ship Era 

concerning Liverpool ship-brokers and their system 
of working freights, for the enterprise was not 
successful. 

Another Liverpool Line was started in Boston in 
1828, and the ships Boston, Lowell, Liverpool, Ply- 
mouth, and Trenton of this line were built by Mr. 
Magoun. He also built between 1822 and 1829, the 
ships Lucilla, 369 tons, owned by Daniel P. Parker; 
Brookline, 376 tons, and Courser, 300 tons, owned 
by Henry Oxnard; and the Margaret Forces, 398 
tons, owned by Bryant & Sturgis, all sailing out 
of Boston. Other Medford ship-builders were 
Sprague & James, Isaac Taylor, Hayden & Cud- 
worth, J. O. Curtis, Waterman & Elwell, Samuel 
Lapham, and Paul Curtis. Their ships were known 
all over the world as fine, well-built vessels. In 
1845 one quarter of all the shipwrights in Massa- 
chusetts were employed in Medford, and 9660 tons 
of shipping were launched from its building yards. 

The leading ship-builder at Newburyport was John 
Currier, Jr., who from 1831 to 1843 built the ships 
Brenda, Bepullic, Oierlin, 8t. Clair, Leonore, and 
Columlus for the Black Ball Line, and in 1836 the 
Talbot, Flavio, Navigator, Huntress, Straho, and 
Tirginia, ranging from 339 to 365 tons, as well as 
several barques, brigs, and schooners. The firms of 
George W. Jackman and Currier & Townsend had 
not been formed at this date. 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was also noted for 
her ships and seamen, the principal builders in 
1840 being George Eaynes, Fernald & Pettigrew, 
and Toby & Littlefield, while the Shackfords and 
Salters had been sea-captains for generations. Mr. 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 53 

Raynes was born at York, Maine, in 1799 and in 
1835 removed to Portsmouth where he established 
a shipyard upon the famous Boyd estate, with its 
fine old trees, lawns, and gardens of vegetables, 
fruits, and flowers sloping to the clear blue water's 
edge. The family residence, erected by Colonel George 
Boyd in 1767, was an excellent example of colonial 
architecture. In later days it became known as 
the Raynes mansion, and for many years was one 
of the show places of Portsmouth. The original 
beauty of the grounds was preserved so far as pos- 
sible, and this was perhaps the most beautiful and 
picturesque shipyard of modern times. 

The most famous clipper-ship builder of his time, 
Donald McKay, was born at Shelburne, Nova 
Scotia, in 1810, and was a descendant of that sturdy 
Highland chieftain, Donald McKay, who died at 
Tain, County Ross, Scotland, in 1395. At about the 
age of sixteen, Donald went to New York, where he 
worked and learnt his trade in the shipyards of 
Isaac Webb, Brown & Bell, and perhaps others. 
By his energy and mechanical talents, he soon be- 
came a master shipwright, and turned his face 
toward the Eastern country again. In 1840 he fin- 
ished the ship Delia Walker, of 427 tons, for John 
Currier at Newburyport. This vessel was owned 
by Dennis Condry, who, when visiting his ship from 
time to time, was impressed by Mr. McKay's su- 
perior mechanical ability and energetic manner of 
handling his men. In 1841, Mr. McKay became a 
partner in the firm of Currier & McKay, and the 
barque Mary Broughton, 323 tons, was built by 
them during this year, followed in 1842 by the ships 



54 The Clipper Ship Era 

Courier, 380 tons, and AsKburton, 449 tons. The 
firm then dissolved, the models and moulds being 
equally divided — with a saw. 

The little ship Courier was the first vessel de- 
signed by Mr. McKay. She was owned by W. 
Wolfe & A. Foster, Jr., of New York, who employed 
her in the Rio coffee trade. She proved a wonder 
for speed, and outsailed everything, big and little, 
that she fell in with at sea. No one at that time 
believed that such a vessel could be built outside of 
New York or Baltimore. She not only made a great 
deal of money for her owners, but at once brought 
her designer prominently before the maritime public. 

In 1843 the firm of McKay & Pickett was formed, 
and the New York packet ships St. George, 845 tons, 
in 1843, and John B. Skiddy, 930 tons, in 1844, were 
built by them at Newburyport. In this year Enoch 
Train, a well-known ship-owner and merchant of 
Boston, engaged in the South American trade and 
who had already sent the ships Cairo, 8t. Patrick, 
and Dorchester to England, decided to put on a 
regular line of packets between Liverpool and Bos- 
ton. While crossing the Atlantic on board one of 
the early Cunarders, for the purpose of establishing 
his European agencies, it happened that he found 
himself a fellow-passenger with Dennis Condry, 
owner of the Delia Walker, the gentleman who had 
been so much impressed during his visits to New- 
buryport, by the energy and skill of Donald McKay. 
Mr. Train and Mr. Condry soon became acquainted 
and naturally talked a good deal about shipping. 
Mr. Train was in doubt as to whom he should en- 
trust the building of his ships; he did not like to 



Packet Ships, 1815-1850 55 

construct them in New York, yet he felt unwilling 
to risk failure through employing local talent, how- 
ever able, for Boston builders were inexperienced in 
building this class of vessel, while the construction 
of packet ships had been developed to a high degree 
of perfection in New York. His doubts were freely 
expressed, but Mr. Condry had a strong conviction 
on this subject, and so convincing were his argu- 
ments in favor of his young ship-builder friend, that 
Mr. Train, before landing at Liverpool, had promised 
that he would see Mr. McKay upon his return to 
the United States. 

The meeting at Newburyport of these two really 
great men, Enoch Train and Donald McKay, should 
be memorable in the maritime annals of the United 
States. It was the swift contact of flint and steel, 
for within an hour a contract had been signed for 
building the Joshua Bates, the pioneer ship of 
Train's famous Liverpool Line, and Mr. Train was 
returning to his home in Boston. He visited New- 
buryport frequently while his ship was building, 
and whether Mr. McKay, during the four years that 
had elapsed, had further developed the qualities 
which Dennis Condry had so admired, as seems 
probable, or whether Mr. Train's perceptive facul- 
ties were keener than those of his fellow-passenger, 
it is a fact that on the day when the Joshua Bates 
was launched and floated safely on the Merrimac 
River, Mr. Train grasped Donald McKay by the 
hand and said to him : " You must come to Bos- 
ton; we need you; if you wish flnancial assistance 
to establish a shipyard, let me know the amount and 
you shall have it." 



56 The Clipper Ship Era 

So the young ship-builder had on that day 
launched his last ship at Newburyport. He soon 
closed the pleasant relations which had existed with 
his partner, and at the age of thirty-four opened 
'his great shipyard at the foot of Border Street, 
East Boston. There he built in rapid succession, be- 
tween 1845 and 1850, the packet ships Washington 
Irving, Anglo-Saxon, Ocean Monarch, Anglo-Ameri- 
can, and Daniel Weister for Train's Liverpool, 
Line. These ships carried a black T in their fore- 
topsail below the close reef band, and flew the 
Enoch Train signal, a red field with whijte diamond. 
The ships New, World and Cornelius Grinnell were 
built here for Grinnell, Minturn & Co.'s Swallow- 
tail Line; the A. Z., L. Z., and Antarctic for Zerega 
& Co., New York; the Jenny Lind for Fairb£^nk & 
Wheeler, Boston; the Parliament, Plymouth Rock, 
Reindeer, and barque Helicon for George B. Upton, 
Boston; the Moses Wheeler for Wheeler & King, 
Boston ; and the barque Sultana for Edward Lamb & 
Co., Boston. These vessels were much admired in 
New York, London, Liverpool, and other seaports, 
and established the reputation of Donald McKay as 
a ship-builder equal to the best. 



CHAPTER IV 

OPIUM CLIPPERS AND EARLY CLIPPER SHIPS, 1832-1848 

I 'X'HE origin of the word clipper is not quite clear, 
y 1 though it seems to be derived from the verb 
/ clip, which in former times meant, among other 
I things, to run or fly swiftly. Dryden uses it to 
I describe the flight of a falcon ^ : 

" Some falcon stoops at what her eye designed. 
And, with her eagerness the quarry missed, 
Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind." 

The word survived in the New England slang 
expression " to clip it," and " going at a good clip," 
or " a fast clip," are familiar expressions there to 
this day. It therefore seems reasonable to suppose 
that when vessels of a new model were built, which 
were intended, in the language of the times, to 
clip over the waves rather than plough through 
them, the improved type of craft became known as 
clippers because of their speed. It is probable that 
the swift privateers built at Baltimore during the 
War of 1812 became known as " Baltimore clippers," 
and while the first application of the term in a 

^ Annus Mirabilis, stanza 89 (1667). 
57 



58 The Clipper Ship Era 

nautical sense is by no means certain, it seems tb 
liave had an American origin. 

The first clipper constructed in Great Britain 
was the schooner Scottish Maid, one hundred and 
fifty tons, built in 1839 by Alexander Hall & Co., 
of Aberdeen, to compete with the paddle steamers 
between Aberdeen and London. She proved a very 
fast vessel, and saw half a century of service be- 
fore she was wrecked on the coast of England. 
Three schooners of the same model and tonnage, 
the Fairy, Rapid, and Monarch, were built by this 
firm in 1842. These four were the first Aberdeen 
clippers. The earliest competition between Ameri- 
can and British clippers was in the China seas. As 
early as 1831 three small English schooners, the 
Jamesina, Lord Amherst, and Sylph, were engaged 
in the opium trade, which proved exceedingly lucra- 
tive. In 1833 the Jamesina sold opium from India 
to the value of £330,000 at Poo Chow, Amoy, Ningpo, 
and other ports in China. This business increased 
and attracted the attention of the American mer- 
chants in China. In 1841, the Angola, a schooner 
of 90 tons, built by Brown & Bell, of New York, 
for Russell & Co., China, was despatched to Hong- 
kong. She was followed in 1842 by the schooners 
Zephyr, 150 tons, built by Samuel Hall at East 
Boston ; Mazeppa, 175 tons, built by Brown & Bell, 
and Ariel, 100 tons, built by Sprague & James, Med- 
ford, and in 1843 by the brig Antelope, 370 tons, 
built by Samuel Hall at East Boston. These vessels, 
owned by John M. Forbes and Russell & Co., soon 
controlled the opium-ttade and became known as 
opium clippers. It was necessary that they should 



opium Clippers, 1832-1848 59 

be swift in order to contend with the strong tides 
and currents on the China coast, and to beat against 
the monsoons in the China Sea. The Antelope, un- 
der the command of Captain Philip Dumaresq, still 
has the reputation of having been the only square- 
rigged vessel which could beat through the Formosa 
Channel against the northeast monsoon. Moreover/ 
these vessels required speed to escape from the 
heavily manned piratical craft which infested the 
China seas, and which were formidable vessels, es- 
pecially in light winds and calms, when they were' 
propelled by long sweeps. 

In 1846, Alexander Hall & Co. built the clipper 
schooner Torrington for Jardine, Matheson & Co., 
to compete with the American opium clippers in 
China. This schooner, the first British clipper in 
the China seas, was followed by the Wanderer, 
Qaselle, Rose, the brig Lanark, and others, until 
almost every British and American firm in China 
owned one or more of these smart vessels. The 
competition among them was keen, and the Ameri- 
can clippers had decidedly the best of it. The last 
of these famous little vessels were the sister schoon- 
ers Minna and Brenda, of 300 tons each, built in 
1851 by George Raynes at Portsmouth, for John 
M. Forbes, of Boston, and others, and the schooner 
Wild Dayrell, 253 tons, built in 1855 by the well- 
known yacht builders J. White, of Cowes, Isle of 
Wight, for Dent & Co., China. These opium clip- 
pers, all beautifully modelled and equipped with 
long raking masts and plenty of canvas, like yachts 
rather than merchant vessels, were heavily armed 
and carried large crews. They all made a great 



6o The Clipper Ship Era 

deal of money for their owners until they were 
superseded by steamers. 

From the earliest times in maritime history it 
had been the custom to build large vessels of a 
model suitable for carrying heavy cargoes — " ships 
of burden " they were called, — while the vessels de- 
signed for speed, — the galley of the Mediterranean, 
caravel of Portugal and Spain, lugger of France, 
cutter of England, yacht of Holland, schooner and 
sloop of America, had been comparatively small. 
To the latter class belonged the earlier British and 
American clippers of the nineteenth century. The 
Baltimore clippers, as we have said, were modelled 
after the French luggers which visited American 
ports during the Revolutionary War. They gained 
a world-wide reputation for speed as privateers dur- 
ing the War of 1812, and later also as African 
slavers, many of them sailing under the flags of 
Portugal and Spain. These vessels were brigs, 
brigantines, fore-and-aft or topsail schooners, and 
rarely exceeded two hundred tons register. 

So far as history records, no one had ever at- 
tempted to reproduce the lines of a small, swift 
vessel in a large one, until in 1832 Isaac McKim, a 
wealthy merchant of Baltimore, commissioned Ken- 
nard and Williamson, of Fell's Point, Baltimore, to 
build a ship embodying as far as possible the lines 
of the famous Baltimore clipper brigs and schoon- 
ers. This ship was the Ann McKim, named in honor 
of the owner's wife, of 493 tons register, a large 
vessel for those days. She measured: Length 143 
feet, breadth 31 feet, depth 14 feet, and drew 17 
feet aft and 11 feet forward. She possessed many 



Early Clipper Ships, 1832-1848 6i 

of the striking features of the Baltimore clippers 
of that period; namely, great dead-rise at her mid- 
ship section, long, easy convex water-lines, low free- 
board, and raking stem, stern-post and masts, and 
was really an enlarged clipper schooner rigged as a 
ship. 

The Ann McEim was a remarkably handsome 
vessel, built as the pet ship of her owner without 
much regard to cost. Her frames were of live oak, 
she was copper-fastened throughout and her bottom 
was sheathed with red copper imported for this 
purpose. The flush deck was fitted with Spanish 
mahogany hatch combings, rails, companions, and 
skylights. She mounted twelve brass guns, and 
was equipped with brass capstan heads, bells, etc., 
and carried three skysail yards and royal studding- 
sails. She proved to be very fast, though of small 
carrying capacity, and the latter quality together 
with her elaborate and expensive fittings caused 
the older merchants to regard her unfavorably; so 
that for some years they still adhered to their full- 
bodied ships. The Ann McEim sailed in the China 
trade for a number of years, and upon the death 
of Mr. McKim in 1837, she was purchased by How- 
land & Aspinwall, of New York, and was com- 
manded by Captain Perry. Eventually she was sold 
at Valparaiso in 1847, and ended her days under 
the Chilian flag. 

Although the Ann McEim was the first clipper 
ship ever constructed, it cannot be said that she 
founded the clipper ship era, or even that she di- 
rectly influenced ship-builders, since no other ship 
was built like her; but she may have suggested the 



62 The Clipper Ship Era 

clipper design in vessels of ship rig, and owing to 
the fact that she fell into the hands of Howland & 
Aspinwall, she without doubt hastened the opening 
of that era, as the first really extreme clipper ship, 
the Rainbow, was owned by that firm. 

It is difficult at this distance of time to determine 
exactly what influence the Ann McKim exercised 
upon the science of ship-buildingj though from the 
fact that no ship had ever been built like her, it 
is probable that she was an object of considerable 
interest in the maritime world, and it is certain 
that during the years following her appearance a 
more determined effort was made in the United 
States to improve the model and sailing qualities 
of ships. Among the most notable of these attempts 
were the Courier, already mentioned, built by 
Donald McKay in 1842, and the Aklar, a ship of 
six hundred arid fifty tons, built by Samuel Hall 
at East Boston in 1839, for John M. Forbes, and 
others, who employed her in the China trade. On 
her first voyage the Akiar made the passage from 
New York to Canton in one hundred and nine days, 
beating up the China Sea against the northeast 
monsoon. On this voyage she was commanded by 
Captain James Watkins, in after years commodore 
of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Later she was 
commanded by Captain Philip Dumaresq, who made 
a number of rapid passages in her to and from 
China. Then came the Helena, of 650 tons, built 
by William H. Webb in 1841. This ship was owned 
by N. L. and G. Griswold, and also sailed in the 
China trade under the command of Captain Ben- 
jamin, who made some fine passages. The Paul 



Early Clipper Ships, 1832-1848 63 

Jones, of 620 tons, built by Waterman & Elwell at 
Medford in 1842, was owned by John M. Forbes and 
Eussell & Co., of China. She was commanded by 
Captain N. B. Palmer and on her first voyage in 
1843 she sailed from Boston for Hong-kong, Janu- 
ary 15th, crossed the equator 26 days out, was 54 
days to the Cape of Good Hope, 88 days to Java 
Head, and arrived at Hong-kong 111 days from 
Boston. In 1848, this ship made the run from Java 
Head to Kew York in 76 days. 

In 1844, A. A. Low & Brother, of New York, con- 
tracted with Brown & Bell to build the Eouqua, of 
706 tons, constructed for Captain N. B. Palmer. 
She made a number of very fast passages. On her 
first voyage she made the passage from New York 
to Java Head in 72 days, thence to Hong-kong in 12 
days, total 84 days. Her best records from China 
were as follows: From Hong-kong, December 9, 
1844, passed Java Head 15 days out, was 70 days 
to the Equator in the Atlantic, thence 20 days to 
New York, total 90 days — distance by log, 14,272 
miles. December 9, 1845, sailed from Hong-kong, 
passed Java Head 16 days out, arrived at New 
York, March 10, 1846, 91 days' passage. Under the 
command of Captain McKanzie, in 1850, she made 
the passage from Shanghai to New York in 88 days, 
the shortest passage up to that time. This ship 
was named in honor of Houqua, the well-known 
Canton merchant who was beloved and respected 
by American and English residents in China, no 
less for his integrity than for his great kindness 
and his business ability. 

In 1844 also William H. Webb built the Montauh, 



64 The Clipper Ship Era 

540 tons, for A. A. Low & Brother, and the Panama, 
670 tons, for N. L. & G. Griswold, both vessels for 
the China trade, and Samuel Hall, of East Boston, 
built the barque Coquette, 420 tons, commanded by 
Captain Oliver Eldridge. The Coquette sailed from 
Boston, June 29, 1844, was 76 days to Java Head, 
and 99 days to Canton. She was owned by Russell 
& Co., of China, and made several fast passages be- 
tween Calcutta and ports in China. Young James 
H. Perkins made a voyage to China as a passenger 
on board this vessel, and his famous schooner yacht 
Coquette, which defeated the sloop Maria in a match 
off Sandy Hook in 1846, was named for the clipper 
barque. 

These were among the first clipper ships built in 
the United States, and while by no means extreme 
clippers, they were sharper and finer models than 
any vessels which had been constructed up to that 
time, and clearly indicated the dawn of a new epoch 
in naval architecture. 

I have now brought this narrative to the opening 
of the clipper ship era, and have endeavored to 
sketch the development of the merchant marine of 
Great Britain and the United States from the com- 
mon starting point — where the ship-builders of both 
countries derived their best knowledge of ship 
nfodels and construction from the French — as they 
advanced along diverging lines under different 
climatic, social, and political conditions, , until we 
now find them at points widely distant from each 
other— Great Britain with her stately, frigate-built 
Indiaman, embodying the glories of the past; the 
United States with her wild packet ship scending 



Early Clipper Ships, 1832-1848 65 

into a long, sweeping head sea, and flinging a rain- 
bow of flying spray across her weather-bow, in 
which was imaged the promise of a glorious future. 

In 1841, John W. Griflfeths, of New York, pro- 
posed several improvements in marine architecture, 
which were embodied in the model of a clipper ship 
exhibited at the American Institute, in February 
of that year. Later he delivered a series of lectures 
on the science of ship-building, which were the first 
discourses upon this subject in the United States. 
Mr. GrifEeths advocated carrying the stem forward 
in a curved line, thereby lengthening the bow above 
water; he also introduced long, hollow water-lines 
and a general drawing out and sharpening of the 
forward body, bringing the greatest breadth further 
aft. Another improvement which he proposed was 
to fine out the after body by rounding up the ends 
of the main transom, thus relieving the quarters 
and making the stern much lighter and handsomer 
above the water-line. 

This proposed departure from old methods nat- 
urally met with much opposition, but in 1843 the 
firm of Howland & Aspinwall commissioned Smith 
& Dimon, of New York, in whose employ Mr. Grif- 
feths had spent several years as draughtsman, to 
embody these experimental ideas in a ship of 
750 tons named the Rainbow. This vessel, tiie 
first extreme clipper ship ever built, was there- 
fore, the direct result of Mr. Griffeths's efforts for 
improvement. Her bow with its concave water- 
lines and the greatest breadth at a point consider- 
ably further aft than had hitherto been regarded as 
practicable, was a radical departure, differing not 



66 The Clipper Ship Era 

merely in degree but in kind from any ship that 
preceded her. One critical observer declared that 
her bow had been turned " outside in/' and that her 
whole form was contrary to the laws of nature. 
The Rainbow was designed and built with great 
care and was not launched until January, 1845. 

Mr. Griflfeths relates a good story about the mast- 
ing of this vessel. It appears that Mr. Aspinwall, 
who had an excellent idea of what a ship ought to 
be, had come to the conclusion that the masting of 
vessels was a question of no small moment in ship- 
building, and determined that his new ship should 
have the benefit of foreign aid in placing the masts. 
Accordingly, he informed the builders that he would 
obtain assistance from abroad, for their benefit as 
well as his own. The builders naturally paid little 
attention to this information. The port-captain, 
who was appointed to superintend the construction, 
was directed by Mr. Aspinwall to select the best 
authorities in Europe on masting ships. The Euro- 
pean experts were written to in reference to this 
important matter, and after they had duly consid- 
ered the principal dimensions of the vessel, the trade 
in which she was to be employed, etc., a spar draft 
and elaborate calculations were prepared and for- 
warded to New York. 

In the meantime, the constructiah of the Rainbow 
had progressed steadily. The clalirips being ready, 
the deck beams were'placed according to the original 
drawings, the framing of the decks completed, 
hatches and mast partners framed, channels and 
mast-steps secured; the masts and yards were also 
made and the ship planked and caulked by the time 



Early Clipper Ships, 1832-1848 67 

the important despatches arrived. They were ex- 
amined by the port-captain, Mr. Aspinwall was in- 
formed that they were all right, and the port- 
captain was requested to give the information to 
the builders, which, of course, was done. The ship, 
however, was finished without the slightest altera- 
tion from the original plans. Mr. Aspinwall, who 
never doubted that his pet project had been care- 
fully carried out, attributed much of the success 
of this vessel to the placing of her masts % foreign 
rules. 

The sharp model of the Rainbow gave rise to a 
great deal of discussion while she was on the stocks 
in course of construction. It was generally ad- 
mitted by the recognized shipping authorities of 
South Street, that she was a handsome vessel, but 
whether she could be made to sail was a question 
on which there were varieties of opinion. She proved 
an excellent ship in every way and exceedingly fast. 
Her second voyage to China out and home, was made 
in six months and fourteen days, including two 
weeks in port discharging and loading cargo. She 
went out to China against the northeast monsoon in 
ninety-two and home in eighty-eight days, bringing 
the news of her own arrival at Canton. Captain John 
Land, her able and enthusiastic commander, declared 
that she was the fastest ship in the world, and this 
was undeniably true; finding no one to differ from 
him, he further gave it as his opinion that no ship 
could be built to outsail the Rainbow, and it is also 
true that very few vessels have ever broken her 
record. She was lost on her fifth voyage while 
bound from New York for Valparaiso in 1848 under 



68 The Clipper Ship Era 

command of Captain Hayes, and it was supposed 
that she foundered off Cape Horn. 

The Ariel, 572 tons, was built by John Currier at 
Newburyport in 1846, for Minot & Hooper, of Bos- 
ton. This ship became celebrated in the China trade 
and was bought by N. L. & G. Grisw'old, and has 
a record of 90 days from Canton to New York. 

In 1846, Howland & Aspinwall, for whom Cap' 
tain Robert H. Waterman had been making some 
remarkably fast voyages in the old packet ship 
Natchez, had a clipper ship built especially for him, 
entrusting the design and construction to Smith 
& Dimon, the builders of the Rainbow, though all 
the details of spars, sails, and rigging were carried 
out under the supervision of Captain Waterman, 
This ship was the famous Sea Witch, of 890 tons, 
length 170 feet, breadth 33 feet 11 inches, and depth 
19 feet. She carried a cloud of canvas ; three stand- 
ing skysail yards, royal studding sails, large square 
lower studding sails with swinging booms, ringtail, 
and water sails. 

When loaded the Sea Witch lay low on the water; 
her hull was painted black and her masts had a 
considerable rake; her figurehead was an aggressive- 
looking dragon, beautifully carved and gilded. She 
had the reputation at that time of being the hand- 
somest ship sailing out of New York, and her officers 
and crew were picked men, several of whom had 
sailed with Captain Waterman on his voyages in 
the Natchez. She sailed on her first voyage, bound 
for China, December 23, 1846, went to sea in a 
strong northwest gale, and made a remarkable fine 
run southward, arriving off the harbor of Rio 



Early Clipper Ships, 1832-1848 69 

Janeiro in twenty-five days, where she exchanged 
signals with the shore and sent letters and New 
York newspapers by a vessel inward bound. She 
made the passage from New York to Hong-kong in 
104 days, and arrived at New York from Canton 
July 25, 1847, in 81 days, making the run from 
Anjer Point to Sandy Hook in 62 days. On her 
second voyage she arrived at New York from Hong- 
kong, November 7, 1847, in 105 days, and arrived 
from Canton at New York, March 16, 1848, in 77 
days. On this passage she made the run from St. 
Helena to Sandy Hook in 32 days. Her next voy- 
age was from New York to Valparaiso, where she 
arrived July 5, 1848, in 69 days, thence to Hong- 
kong, where she arrived December 7, 1848, in 52 
days. She arrived at New York March 25, 1849, 79 
days from Canton. She next sailed from New York 
for Canton via Valparaiso and arrived at Canton 
July 23, 1849, 118 sailing days from New York. 
She arrived at New York March 7, 1850, from Can- 
ton in 85 days, making the run from Java Head 
in 73 days. 

This is a most remarkable series of passages, es- 
pecially considering the seasons of the year during 
which most of her China voyages were made. Her 
best twenty-four hours' run was 358 miles, a speed 
far in excess of any ocean steamship of that period. 
The Sea Witch during the first three years of her 
career, was without doubt the swiftest ship that 
sailed the seas, and she continued to distinguish 
herself later on, in her passages from New York 
to San Francisco under the command of Captain 
George Fraser. 



70 The Clipper Ship Era 

In 1847, A. A. Low & Bro. brought out the Samuel 
Russell, of 940 tons, built by Brown & Bell and 
commanded by Captain N. B. Palmer, formerly of 
the Houqua. Her first voyage from New York to 
Hong-kong was made by the eastern passages in 
114 days. On a voyage from Canton in 1851 she 
sailed 6780 miles in 30 days, an average of 226 
miles per day, her greatest twenty-four hours' run 
being 328 miles. This ship was named for the emi- 
nent New York merchant, founder of the house of 
Russell & Co., of China, with whom the brothers 
Low began their career as merchants and ship- 
owners. She was a beautiful vessel, heavily sparred, 
with plenty of light canvas for moderate weather, 
and every inch a clipper. 

The Architect, 520 tons, was also built in 1847, 
at Baltimore, for Nye, Parkin & Co., American mer- 
chants in China, and was commanded by Captain 
George Potter. 

The Memnon, 1068 tons, owned by Warren Delano, 
was built by Smith & Dimon in 1848, and on her 
first voyage to China was commanded by Captain 
Oliver Eldridge. 

These were the most celebrated of the clipper ships 
built in the United States prior to the discovery 
of gold in California in 1848, though there were, of 
course, many other flue vessels engaged in the China 
trade, which had for years brought home cargoes 
of tea, silk, and spices. During the twelve months 
from June 30, 1845 to July 1, 1846, forty-one vessels 
arrived at New York from China, and probably as 
many more at other Atlantic ports, chiefly Boston 
and Salem. Besides these vessels ther^ were the 



Early Clipper Ships, 1832-1848 71 

South American, African, and East India fleets, as 
well as the lines of splendid packet ships sailing 
from New York, Boston, and Philadelphia to Euro- 
pean ports. In 1847, the ships owned in the United 
States and engaged in foreign commerce registered 
1,241,313 tons. 

The American clippers were decidedly the fastest 
ships built up to that time, yet much of their speed 
was due to the skill and energy of their command- 
ers. The manner in which American vessels were 
handled at this period will be seen by extracts from 
the log-book of the ship Great Britain, 524 tons, 
Captain Philip Dumaresq, on her homeward voy- 
age from China in 1849-50. She left Java Head 
December 22, 1849, and by January 14, 1850, had 
passed seven vessels bound the same way. The log 
from this date reads in part as follows : 

" Squally, under double reefed topsails, passed a 
ship laying-to under a close reefed maintopsail. . . . 
January 24th, a southwest gale, close reefed top- 
sails, split courses ; before doing this we were going 
seven and one half knots close-hauled, within six 
points of the wind under double-reefed topsails and 
courses; January 25th, split all three topsails and 
had to heave-to; five vessels in sight, one a Dutch 
frigate, all hove-to; January 27th, seven vessels in 
sight and we outsail all of them; January 29th 
passed the Cape of Good Hope and anchored in 
Table Bay, parted both chains and split nearly all 
the sails; hove-to outside, blowing a gale offshore; 
January 30th, at 6 a.m. bore up for St. Helena; 
February 1st, fresh trades, passed a ship under 
double reefs, we with our royals and studdingsails 



72 The Clipper Ship Era 

set; February 8th, anchored at St. Helena with a 
stream anchor backed by remainder of one of the 
chains; February 10th, having procured anchors 
and water, left St. Helena; February 21st, crossed 
the line in longitude 31; March 12th, under double- 
reefed topsails, passed several vessels laying-to; 
March 17th, took pilot off Sandy Hook, 84 days 
from Java Head, including detentions." 

Probably few if any of the vessels which Captain 
Dumaresq passed hove-to or under short canvas were 
sailing under the American flag. It is worthy of 
note that the Great Britain was at that time twenty- 
six years old, having been built by Brown & Bell 
for the New York and Liverpool packet service in 
1824, and of course, was by no means a clipper. 



CHAPTER V 

TWO EARLY CLIPPER SHIP COMMANDERS 

CAPTAIN EGBERT H. WATERMAN, the first 
commander of the Sea Witch, had been known 
for some years among the shipping community of 
New York as an exceptionally skilful seaman and 
navigator, but he first began to attract public at- 
tention about 1844 by some remarkably fast voyages 
in the ship Natchez. Captain Waterman was born 
in the city of New York, March 4, 1808, and at 
the age of twelve shipped on board of a vessel bound 
for China. After working through the grades of 
ordinary and able seaman, and third, second, and 
chief mate on board of various vessels, he sailed 
for a number of voyages as mate with Captain 
Charles H. Marshall in the Black Ball packet ship 
Britannia between New York and Liverpool. At 
that time he was counted one of the smartest mates 
sailing out of New York, and was noted for keep- 
ing the Britannia in fine shape, as well as for his 
ability in maintaining proper order and discipline 
among the steerage passengers and crew, who were 
always a source of anxiety and trouble to packet- 
ship captains. When his vessel was bound to the 
westward in 1831, one of the sailors fell overboard 
from aloft during a heavy gale, and Mr. Waterman 

73 



74 The Clipper Ship Era 

saved the man's life at the risk of his own. The 
cabin passengers of the Britannia presented him 
with a substantial testimonial in appreciation of 
his humane and gallant conduct. At this time he 
was twenty-three years old. Two years later he was 
promoted to captain, and in this capacity he made 
five voyages round the globe. 

In 1843 he took command of the Natchez. This 
ship, as we have seen in Chapter III., was one of 
the full-pooped New Orleans packets, and was built 
by Isaac Webb in 1831. Captain Waterman took 
her around Cape Horn to the west coast of South 
America, thence across the Pacific to Canton, 
where he loaded a cargo of tea for New York, and 
made the passage home in 94 days and the voyage 
round the globe in 9 months and 26 days. In 1844 
Captain Waterman sailed again in the Natchez from 
New York for Valparaiso and made the passage in 
71 days, thence to Callao in 8 days, and to Hong- 
kong in 54 days. She again loaded tea for New 
York and sailed from Canton January 15, 1845, 
passed Java Head on the 26th, and 39 days out 
was off the Cape of Good Hope, crossed the equator 
61 days out, arriving in New York April 3d, 78 
days from Canton, a total distance of 13,955 miles. 
Her run from the equator to New York in 17 days, 
and indeed, this whole passage, was most remark- 
able, as the Natchez during her packet days had 
established the reputation of being an uncommonly 
slow ship. Captain Waterman received a grand 
ovation in New York upon this record passage from 
China, and it was suggested that he had brought 
the old hooker home by some route unknown to 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 75 

other navigators. In 1845-46 Captain Waterman 
made one more voyage to China in the Natchez, 
from New York direct to Hong-kong in 104 days, 
and returned to New York in 83 days. 

A seires of voyages such as these, by a ship of 
the type and character of the Natchez, would prob- 
ably have established the reputation of any one 
commanding her, and when we consider that " Bob " 
Waterman, for so he was known, was at this time 
a young captain of an unusually attractive person- 
ality, it is not difficult to understand the pride and 
admiration with which he was regarded by his 
friends, of whom he had many, both in New York 
and in the various foreign ports to which he had 
sailed. The owners of the Natchez, Howland & 
Aspinwall, were so favorably impressed not only 
by his ability as a seaman and navigator, but by 
his loyalty to their interests, that, as we have 
seen, they built the clipper ship Sea Witch for 
him in 1846. While she was building, Captain 
Waterman married Cordelia, a daughter of David 
Sterling, of Bridgeport, and Mrs. Waterman 
was present as a bride when the ship was 
launched. 

In 1849, Captain Waterman resigned from the 
Sea Witch to take the Pacific Mail steamship North- 
erner from New York to San Francisco. During 
the three years that he had commanded the Sea 
Witch, she had made a large amount of money for 
her owners, and Captain Waterman had added to 
his reputation, — so much so, indeed, that certain 
good people began to say unpleasant things of him. 
It was alleged that Captain Waterman carried sail 



76 The Clipper Ship Era 

too hard, that he exceeded the bounds of prudence 
in this respect, and kept padlocks on the topsail 
sheets and packings on the topsail halliards fore 
and aft; also that he maintained a standard of 
discipline far more severe than was necessary. 

It is probable that Captain Waterman did carry 
sail rather hard — most American captains who 
wanted to get anywhere in those days usually did 
— and as to the padlocks and packings, more than 
one captain used these precautions to prevent vil- 
lainous or cowardly sailors from letting go sheets 
and halliards by the run, when according to their 
ideas the ship had too much canvas on her. The 
fact, however, remains that in the eighteen years 
during which Captain Waterman commanded vari- 
ous ships, he never lost a spar or carried away 
rigging of any importance, and never called on un- 
derwriters for one dollar of loss or damage. The 
record shows that six of the men before the mast 
sailed with him upon all his voyages in the Natchez 
and the Sea Witch, a rare occurrence at that period, 
or at any other time of which we have Knowledge, 
and creditable alike to the sailors, the ships, and 
their commander. 

The truth is that Captain Waterman was a hu- 
mane, conscientious, high-minded man, who never 
spared himself nor any one else when a duty was 
to be performed. There are, and always have been, 
lazy, incompetent, mutinous sailors, a type of men 
that Captain Waterman detested. They found no 
comfort in sailing with him, and were glad when 
the voyage was ended, so that they might scramble 
ashore and relate their woes to the sympathetic 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 77 

legal " gents " who were usually to be found hang- 
ing about Pier 9, East River, when the Sea Witch 
was reported coming up the bay. We shall hear 
more of Captain Waterman and. his crew on board 
of the Challenge in a later chapter. 

The celebrated clipper-ship captain, Nathaniel 
Brown Palmer, the first commander of the Paul 
Jones, Houqua, Samuel Russell, and Oriental, was 
born in the pretty town of Stonington, on Long 
Island Sound in 1799, and came from distinguished 
colonial ancestry. His grandfather's only brother 
fell mortally wounded at the battle of Groton 
Heights in 1771, while his father was an eminent 
lawyer and a man of marked ability. 

At the age of fourteen or just as the War of 
1812 was fairly under way, Nathaniel shipped on 
board of a coasting vessel which ran to ports be- 
tween Maine and New York, and continued in this 
service until he was eighteen, when he was appointed 
second mate of the brig Hersilia, bound down some- 
where about Cape Horn on a sealing voyage. 

These sealing expeditions were also at that period 
more or less voyages of discovery. For years there 
had been rumors of a mythical island called Au- 
roras, embellished with romance and mystery by 
the whalers of Nantucket, New Bedford, and New 
London, and described as lying away to the east- 
ward of the Horn, concerning which no forecastle 
yarn was too extravagant for belief. Whaling cap- 
tains by the score had spent days and weeks in 
unprofitable search for it. On this voyage Captain 
J. P. Sheffield, of the Hersilia, landed at one of the 
Falkland Islands, where he left his second mate 



78 The Clipper Ship Era 

and one sailor to kill bullocks for provisions, and 
then sailed away in search of the fabled island. 

Young Nat Palmer proceeded to capture and slay 
bullocks, and when, after a few days, a ship hove 
in sight, he piloted her into a safe anchorage, and 
supplied her with fresh meat. This vessel proved 
to be the Espirito Santo, from Buenos Ayres, and 
the captain informed Nat that he was bound to a 
place where there were thousands of seals, and 
where a cargo could be secured with little effort, 
but he declined to disclose its position. The mind 
of the young sailor naturally turned to the magic 
isle of Auroras, where, according to the saga pre- 
served beside the camp-fires of corner grocery stores 
in New England whaling towns, silver, gold, and 
precious gems lay scattered along the beach in glit- 
tering profusion, the treasure of some huge galleon, 
wrecked and broken up centuries ago, when Spain 
was powerful upon the sea. 

There must have been something about the whale 
fishery highly inspiring to the imagination, though 
to see one of the greasy old Nantucket or New 
Bedford blubber hunters wallowing about in the 
South Pacific, one would hardly have suspected it, 
yet among the spinners 'of good, tough tarry sea 
yarns, some of the authors of narratives relating to 
the pursuit and capture of the whale are easily 
entitled to wear champion belts as masters of pure 
fiction. Whaling is one of the least hazardous, the 
most commonplace, and, taken altogether about the 
laziest occupation that human beings have ever been 
engaged in upon the sea. Sailors aboard the clip- 
pers fifty years ago used to refer to whale ships as 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 79 

"butcher shops adrift," and on account of the 
slovenly condition of their hulls, spars, sails, and 
rigging, a " spouter " was generally regarded among 
seamen as one of the biggest jokes afloat. As a 
matter of fact the whale is about as stupid and in- 
offensive a creature as exists, and when occasion- 
. ally he does some harm — smashing up a boat, for 
instance — it is usually in a flurry of fright, with 
no malice or intent to kill. If a whale possessed 
the instinct of self-defence he could never be cap- 
tured with a harpoon, but he has evidently been 
created as he is for the benefit of mankind, and 
incidentally as a temptation to scribes, from the 
days of the indigestible Jonah even to the piscatory 
romancers of our own times. 

Well, the captain of the Espirito Santo, after fill- 
ing his water-casks, laying in a stock of provisions, 
and giving his crew a run ashore sheeted home his 
topsails, hove up anchor, and departed. Young Nat 
took such a lively interest in the welfare of this 
craft that he carefully watched her progress until 
the last shred of her canvas faded upon the horizon. 
He judged by the sun, for he had no compass, that 
her course was about south. 

Three days after the departure of the Espirito 
Santo, the Hersilia appeared. Captain Sheflaeld had 
found nothing and seen nothing, except the cold, gray 
sky, and the long, ceaseless heaving of the South- 
ern Ocean's mighty breast, a few stray, hungry, 
screeching albatross, and once in a while, for a 
moment, a whale, with smooth, glistening back, 
spouting jets of feathery spray high in the keen, 
misty air, then sounding among the caverns of the 



8o The Clipper Ship Era 

deep. He had returned, like so many other credu- 
lous mariners, empty-handed, but he found his 
young second mate in a white heat of enthusiasm 
as he reported to his commander what he had 
learned, and finally, with the hopefulness of youth, 
declared his belief that " we can follow that Espirito 
Santo, and find her, too." And they did, for in a few 
days she was discovered lying at anchor in a bay off 
the South Shetlands, islands at that time unknown 
in North America, though soon to become famous 
as the home of seals. The officers and crew of the 
Espirito Santo greeted them with surprise, while 
their admiration took the substantial form of assist- 
ing to load the Hersilia with ten thousand of the 
finest sealskins, with which she returned to 
Stonington. 

This exploit spread like wildfire through New 
England whaling ports, and secured Captain Palmer 
at the age of twenty, command of the Stonington 
sloop Hero, " but little rising forty tons," on board 
of which he sailed again for the Antarctic seas, as 
tender to the Hersilia, in 1819. Upon this voyage, 
after calling at the Falkland Islands for water 
and provisions, they again steered for the South 
Shetlands, and the Hersilia and Hero returned to 
Stonington with full cargoes of sealskins. 

In 1821, Captain Palmer again sailed in the Hero 
upon an expedition to the South Shetlands, com- 
posed of six vessels commanded by Captain William 
Penning of the brig Alaiama Packet. By this 
time, however, the seals had been nearly exter- 
minated, and Captain Palmer sailed farther south 
in search of new sealing-groimds, until he sighted 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 8i 

land not laid down on any chart. He cruised along 
the coast for some days and satisfied himself that 
it was not an island, and after anchoring in several 
bays without finding any seals, although the high 
cliffs and rocks were covered by multitudes of 
penguin, he steered away to the northward with 
light winds and fog. 

One night the Hero lay becalmed in a dense fog, 
the cold, penetrating mist drenching her sails and 
dripping from the main boom along her narrow 
deck. At midnight Captain Palmer relieved his 
mate and took the deck for the middle watch. 
When the man at the helm struck one bell, the 
captain was somewhat startled to hear the sound 
repeated twice at short intervals, for he knew, or 
thought he knew, that the only living things within 
many leagues were whales, albatross, penguin, and 
the like, nor did he recall ever hearing that these 
harmless creatures carried bells with them. The 
men of the watch on deck were really alarmed, for 
in those days superstition had not by any means 
departed from the ocean. The crew had heard of 
the fierce Kraken of northern seas, and suddenly 
remembered all about the doomed and unforgiven 
Vanderdecken, to say nothing of mythical local 
celebrities, renowned in all the barrooms of coast 
towns between Cornfield Point and Siasconset 
Head, nor were their fears assuaged when at two 
bells the same thing happened again, and so on 
through the watch. 

Captain Palmer, however, concluded that, strange 
as it seemed, he must be in company with other 
vessels, and so at four o'clock he left the mate in 



82 The Clipper Ship Era 

charge of the deck with orders to call him if the 
fog lifted, and turned in for his morning watch 
below. At seven bells the mate reported that the 
fog had cleared a little and a light breeze was 
springing up, and by the time Captain Palmer got 
on deck two large men-of-war were in sight not 
more than a mile distant — a frigate on the port 
bow and a sloop of war on the starboard quarter, 
both showing Russian colors. Soon the United 
States ensign was run up at the main peak of the 
Eero and floated gaily in the morning breeze. The 
three vessels were now hove to, and a twelve-oared 
launch was seen approaching from the frigate, her 
crew and officer in the stern sheets in uniform. 
As she swept round the stern of the Eero the crew 
tossed oars and the coxswain shot her alongside. 
She really looked almost as large as the little sloop ; 
at all events the Russian officer stepped from her 
gunwale to the deck of the Eero. The officer spoke 
English fluently, and presented the compliments of 
Commander Bellingshausen, who invited the cap- 
tain of the American sloop to come on board his 
ship. 

Captain Palmer was all his life a man of pur- 
pose rather than of ceremony, though by no means 
deficient in dignity and self-respect. He accepted 
the invitation, and giving an order or two to his 
mate, stepped into the launch just as he stood, 
in sea boots, sealskin-coat, and sou'wester. They 
were soon alongside the frigate, and Captain Palmer 
was ushered into the commander's spacious and 
luxurious cabin. The scene was impressive; the 
venerable, white-haired commander surrounded by 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 83 

his officers in uniform, and the stalwart young 
American captain standing, with respectful dig- 
nity, his rough weather-worn sea-dress contrasting 
with his fresh, intelligent, handsome face. Com- 
mander Bellingshausen smiled pleasantly, and tak- 
ing his guest by the hand, said kindly, " You are 
welcome, young man; be seated." 

After questioning Captain Palmer about him- 
self, his vessel, and the land he had discovered, and 
incidentally remarking that he himself had been 
two years upon a voyage of discovery, the com- 
mander asked to see Captain Palmer's chart and 
log-book. These were sent for on board the Hero 
while an elaborate luncheon was being served, and 
were afterwards carefully examined. The com- 
mander then rose from his seat and placing his 
hand in a parental manner upon the young cap- 
tain's head, delivered quite an oration : " I name 
the land you have discovered ' Palmer Land * in 
your honor; but what will my august master say, 
and what will he think of my cruising for two 
years in search of land that has been discovered 
by a boy, in a sloop but little larger than the launch 
of my frigate?" Captain Palmer was unable to 
offer any information on this point, but he thanked 
his host for the honor conferred upon him, and 
for his kindness and hospitality, remaining some- 
what non-committal in his opinion as to the old 
gentleman's qualifications as an explorer. 

It may be mentioned that upon all charts this 
portion of the Antarctic Continent is laid down 
as " Palmer Land," also that some twenty years 
elapsed before it was rediscovered by the British 



84 The Clipper Ship Era 

explorer, Sir James Eoss, in command of the 
famous Erelus and Terror expedition. 

Captain Palmer next took command of the 
schooner Cadet, owned by Borrows & Spooner, of 
New York, on board of which he made a number 
of voyages to the Spanish Main. In 1826 he took 
the brig Tampico to Carthagena, and upon his re- 
turn he married a daughter of Major Paul Babcock 
and sister of Captain David S. Babcock, afterwards 
famous as commander of the clipper ships Sword- 
Fish and Young America, and subsequently Presi- 
dent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Captain 
Palmer then took the brig Francis on several voy- 
ages to Europe, and in 1829 was in command of the 
brig Anawan, exploring new sealing-grounds among 
the islands about Cape Horn. In 1833 he took 
command of the New Orleans packet ship Hunts- 
ville, and then of the Eibernia, Garrick, and Sid- 
dons. In 1842 and the years following, as we have 
seen, he commanded the clippers Paul Jones, 
Houqua, Samuel Russell, and Oriental, and in 1850 
retired from the sea. 

At this time he was well known, not only among 
his neighbors and friends at Stonington, but in the 
great seaports of Europe and China as " Captain 
Nat," and many of those who talked about what he 
had said and what he had done were apparently un- 
aware that he possessed any other name. It is 
pleasant to reflect that the neighboring seaport of 
Bristol has perpetuated the title in one who is 
respected and beloved, not more for his genius than 
for his modesty and reserve. 

It was, of course, impossible for a man of Cap- 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 85 

tain Palmer's earnest temperament and varied ac- 
tivities to lead a life of pleasure and idleness, so 
one of the first things that he did upon his re- 
tirement was to take the auxiliary steamship 
United States from New York to Bremen 
where she was sold. When some of his friends 
rallied him, asking whether he considered this giv- 
ing up the sea. Captain Palmer replied, " Well, I 
really don't know how you can call a trip like this 
going to sea." 

For many years Captain Palmer was the confi- 
dential adviser of A. A. Low & Brother in all 
matters relating to their ships, which occupied a con- 
siderable portion of his time, and while he was a 
seaman par excellence, he also possessed other accom- 
plishments. He had much knowledge of the design 
and construction of ships, and many of his sugges- 
tions were embodied in the Eouqua, Samuel Russell, 
Oriental, and other ships subsequently owned by 
the Lows. He was also a fine all-round sportsman, 
being a skilful yachtsman, excellent shot, and 
truthful fisherman. Altogether, he owned some fif- 
teen yachts, and he was one of the earliest members 
of the New York Yacht Club, joining on June 7, 
1845. The beautiful schooner Juliet, of seventy 
tons, designed by himself, was the last yacht owned 
by him. On board of her he sailed, summer after 
summer, upon the pleasant waters of the New Eng- 
land coast that he had known from boyhood and 
loved so well. 

Captain Palmer stood fully six feet, and was a 
man of great physical strength and endurance. He 
was an active member of the Currituck Club, and at 



86 The Clipper Ship Era 

the age of seventy-six, on his annual cruise to the 
Thimble Islands for duck shooting, few of the party 
of much younger men held so steady a gun, or 
could endure the fatigue and exposure for which 
he seemed to care nothing. Though rugged in ap- 
pearance, his roughness was all on the outside; his 
heart was filled with kindness and sympathy for 
the joys and sorrows of others. His brother. Captain 
Alexander Palmer, a seaman only less famous than 
himself, once said : " My home is here in Stonington, 
but Nat's home is the world." Captain Palmer was 
deeply though not vainly religious, and was long a 
warden of Calvary Episcopal Church at Stonington. 
In 1876 he accompanied his nephew, Nathaniel B. 
Palmer, his brother Alexander's eldest son, who was 
in feeble health, to Santa Barbara, but as the in- 
valid derived no benefit there, they went for the 
sea voyage to China on board the clipper ship Mary 
Whitridge. At Hong-kong, Captain Palmer received 
an ovation, for, while few of his old friends there 
were still alive, those who were left had good mem- 
ories. On the return voyage to San Francisco on 
the steamship City of Pehin, Captain Palmer's 
nephew died when the vessel was but one day out. 
This was a terrible blow to Captain Palmer, from 
which he never recovered. On arriving at San 
Francisco he was confined to his bed, and although 
he received every care, he died there on June 21, 
1877, in his seventy-eighth year. At the close of a 
glorious summer day, the remains of the devoted 
uncle and nephew were laid at rest in the church- 
yard at Stonington, by the hands of those who had 
known and loved them well. 



Early Clipper Ship Commanders 87 

Captain Palmer was a fine type of the American 
merchant seaman of that period, and I have thought 
it worth while to trace the leading events of his 
life, because he always seemed to me to be the 
father of American clipper-ship captains. Prob- 
ably no one ever brought up so many young men 
who afterward became successful shipmasters, while 
his character and example were an inspiration to 
many who never sailed with him. It is indicative 
of the broad and far-reaching sympathies of Captain 
Palmer's life, that not only a part of the Antarctic 
Continent bears his name — an enduring monument to 
his memory — but that A. A. Low & Brother named 
one of their finest clipper ships, the N. B. Palmer, 
and the famous schooner-yacht Palmer, owned for 
many years by Rutherfurd Stuyvesant, was also 
named for him. Few men in private life have had 
part of a continent, a clipper ship, and yacht named 
for them. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE REPEAL OP THE BRITISH NAVIGATION LAWS — THE 
" ORIENTAL " 

THE repeal of the British Navigation Laws in 
1849, after violent opposition in Parliament 
and the House of Lords, and from almost every 
British ship-builder and ship-owner, gave a new im- 
petus to the building of clipper ships, as the British 
merchant marine was then for the first time brought 
into direct competition with the vessels of other 
nationalities, especially those of the United States. 

During the years that had elapsed since the clos- 
ing up of the East India Company in 1832, some 
effort had been made to improve the model and 
construction of British merchant ships, and as we 
have seen, clipper schooners had been built for the 
Aberdeen service and for the opium trade in China, 
but no attempt had been made in Great Britain to 
build clipper ships. British ship-owners still felt 
secure under the Navigation Laws, in the possession 
of their carrying trade with the Far East, and paid 
little attention to the improvements in naval archi- 
tecture which had been effected in the United States. 

This was not from ignorance of what had been 
accomplished there, for the fast American packet 



Repeal of Navigation Laws 89 

ships had long been seen lying in the London and 
Liverpool docks. In 1848, Lord William Lennox, 
in an article entitled A Fortnight in Cheshire, men- 
tions seeing them. He says: "Here (Lirerpool) 
are some splendid American liners. I went on 
board the Henry Clay of New York, and received 
the greatest attention from her commander. Cap- 
tain Ezra Nye. Nothing can exceed the beauty of 
this ship; she is quite a model for a frigate. Her 
accommodations are superior to any sailing vessel 
I ever saw." There were also the Independence, 
Yorkshire, Montezuma, Margaret Evans, New 
World, and scores of other fast American packet 
ships which had been sailing in and out of Liver- 
pool and London for years. The arrivals and de- 
partures of these vessels created no deep impression 
upon the minds of British ship-owners, because they 
were not at that time competing with sailing vessels 
for the North Atlantic trade to the United States. 

The same lack of enterprise was apparent in 
the men who handled their vessels, as we may see 
from the following amusing description in De 
Tocqueville's Democracy in America, published in 
18351; 

" The European sailor navigates with prudence ; 
he only sets sail when the weather is favorable ; if an 
unfortunate accident befalls him, he puts into port; 
at night he furls a p<^rtion of his canvas ; and when 
the whitening billows intimate the vicinity of land, 
he checks his way and takes an observation of the 
sun. But the American neglects these precautions 

1 Second American edition, translated by H. Reeve, 
pp. 403-4. 



90 The Clipper Ship Era 

and braves these dangers. He weighs anchor in 
the midst of tempestuous gales; by night and day 
he spreads his sheets to the winds; he repairs as 
he goes along such damage as his vessel may have 
sustained from the storm; and when he at last 
approaches the term of his voyage, he darts onward 
to the shore as if he already descried a port. The 
Americans are often shipwrecked, but no trader 
crosses the seas so rapidly. And as they perform 
the same distance in shorter time, they can perform 
it at a cheaper rate. 

" The European touches several times at different 
ports in the course of a long voyage; he loses a 
good deal of precious time in making harbor, or in 
waiting for a favorable wind to leave it; and pays 
daily dues to be allowed to remain there. The 
American starts from Boston to purchase tea in 
China ; he arrives at Canton, stays there a few days, 
and then returns. In less than two years he has 
sailed as far as the entire circumference of the globe, 
and he has seen land but once. It is true that during 
a voyage of eight or ten months he has drunk brack- 
ish water, and lived upon salt meat; that he has 
been in a continual contest with the sea, with dis- 
ease, and with a tedious existence; but, upon his 
return, he can sell a pound of tea for a half-penny 
less than the English merchant, and his purpose is 
accomplished. 

" I cannot better explain my meaning than by 
saying that the Americans affect a sort of heroism 
in their manner of trading. But the European 
merchant will always find it very difficult to imitate 
his American competitor, who, in adopting the sys- 



Repeal of Navigation Laws 91 

tem I have just described, follows not only a 
calculation of Ms gain, but an impulse of his 
nature." 

At that time there were several American ships 
that could have transported De Tocqueville from 
Boston to Canton and back in considerably less 
than two years, and doubtless their captains would 
have supplied him with something much better than 
brackish water to drink, besides convincing him 
that what he regarded as recklessness was in reality 
fine seamanship, and that he had been in no greater 
danger of shipwreck than on board a vessel of any 
other nationality, besides being a great deal more 
comfortable. 

Some time before 1849, British sea-captains must 
have seen the American clipper ships in the ports 
of China; or perhaps an Indiaman in the lone 
southern ocean may have been lying almost be- 
calmed on the long heaving swell, lurching and slat- 
ting the wind out of her baggy hemp sails, while 
her oflBcers and crew watched an American clipper 
as she swept past, under a cloud of canvas, curling 
the foam along her keen, slender bow. But when 
these mariners returned home and related what 
they had seen, their yarns were doubtless greeted 
with a jolly, good-humored smile of British incredu- 
lity. With the Navigation Laws to protect them, 
British ship-owners cared little about American 
ships and their exploits. 

These Navigation Laws, first enacted in 1651 by 
the Parliament of Cromwell, and affirmed by 
Charles II. soon after his restoration to the throne, 
were intended to check the increasing power of 



92 The Clipper Ship Era 

Holland upon the sea, but they had quite the con- 
trary effect. With a few slight changes, however, 
they were passed along from generation to genera- 
tion, until Adam Smith exposed the fallacy of 
Protection in his Wealth of Nations, which appeared 
in 1776. From that time on, British statesmen, 
few in number at first, adopted his teachings, and 
under the pressure of popular clamor some conces- 
sions were made, especially in the way of reciprocity 
treaties, but it was nearly three quarters of a 
century before these barbaric old laws, a legacy 
from the thieving barons, were finally swept 
away. 

It may be well briefly to enumerate these laws 
as they stood previous to their repeal, for it is 
seldom that one comes across so much ingenious 
stupidity in so compact a form ; also mainly because 
through their repeal the ships of Great Britain 
eventually became the greatest ocean carriers of the 
world. 

(I.) Certain enumerated articles of European pro- 
duce could only be imported to the United Kingdom 
for consumption, in British ships or in ships of 
the country of which the goods were the produce, 
or in ships of that country from which they were 
usually imported. 

(II.) No produce of Asia, Africa, or America 
could be imported for consumption in the United 
Kingdom from Europe in any ships; and such pro- 
duce could only be imported from any other place 
in British ships or in ships of the country of which 
they were the produce. 

(III.) No goods could be carried coastwise from 



Repeal of Navigation Laws 93 

one part of the United Kingdom to another in any 
but British ships. 

(IV.) No goods could be exported from the United 
Kingdom to any of the British possessions in Asia, 
Africa, or America (with some exceptions in regard 
to India) in any but British ships. 

(V.) No goods could be carried from one British 
possession in Asia, Africa, or America to another, 
nor from one part of such possession to another 
part of the same, in any but British ships. 

(VI.) No goods could be imported into any Brit- 
ish possessions in Asia, Africa, or America, in any 
but British ships, or ships of the country of which 
the goods were the produce; provided also, in such 
case, that such ships brought the goods from that 
country. 

(VII.) No foreign ships were allowed to trade 
with any of the British possessions unless they had 
been specially authorized to do so by orders in 
Council. 

(VIII.) Powers were given to the sovereign in 
Council to impose differential duties on the ships 
of any country which did the same with reference 
to British ships; and also to place restrictions on 
importations from any foreign countries which 
placed restrictions on British importations into 
such countries. 

Furthermore, by an act passed in 1786, British 
subjects were prohibited from owning foreign-built 
vessels. This act was regarded as one of the Navi- 
gation Laws, and was repealed with them. 

One of the objects of the repeal of the Navigation 
Laws was to enable British ship-owners to become 



94 The Clipper Ship Era 

the ocean carriers of the world, and to remove 
every restraint as to where they should build or 
buy their ships. This step was a natural sequence 
to the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, and the 
glorious dawn of Free Trade, by which every Brit- 
ish subject was permitted to purchase whatever he 
required in the best and cheapest market, and so 
was able to work at a moderate wage, and to have 
continuous employment. Thus Great Britain, with 
few natural advantages, became the great workshop 
of the world and controlled every market upon the 
globe in which her manufactures were not excluded 
by the barrier of Protection. Even from these 
countries she reaped a decided benefit, for they 
were so hampered by Protection, which increased 
the expense of living, created high rates of wages 
for labor but with uncertain employment, and 
brought about increased cost of production, whether 
of ships or merchandise, that it became impossible 
for them to compete in the open markets of the 
world, and these avenues of trade were left open 
for Great Britain to exploit at her pleasure. 

Such was the belief of the great leader, Richard 
Cobden, and his brilliant colleagues. They were 
convinced that if British merchants were to carry 
on the commerce of Great Britain they must do so 
untrammelled as to where they bought or built 
their ships; they realized the fact that cheaper and 
better wooden sailing vessels — then the ocean cargo 
carriers of the world — were being built in the United 
States than could be constructed in Great Britain. 
(Indeed, as we shall presently see, the finest, larg- 
est, and fastest ships owned or chartered in Great 



Repeal of Navigation Laws 95 

Britain between the years 1850 and 1857, came from 
the shipyards of the United States.) They fully 
recognized the importance of the home ship-building 
industry, and did everything possible to encourage 
it, but they also perceived that ship-owning is of 
vastly more importance to a nation than ship- 
building, and that fleets of ships are not commerce 
but only the instruments with which commerce per- 
forms its work; likewise, that the nation owning 
the best and cheapest ships, no matter where or 
by whom built, must and will, other things being 
equal, do not only most of its own carrying trade, 
but also a considerable portion of that of other 
nations. These men were not willing any longer 
to sacrifice the carrying trade of their country in 
order that a few comparatively unimportant ship- 
builders, grown incompetent through long years of 
monopoly, might continue to thrive at the expense 
of the nation. 

No people excel the English in courage and re- 
source in times of national trouble, and they had 
long before this fought battles for freedom — free- 
dom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the 
press, freedom of the slave, freedom to worship God, 
— and now the final contest for freedom, the 
freedom of trade, had been bravely fought and won. 
The result, of course, was not immediate, as it re- 
quired several years to recover from the evil effects 
of two centuries of Protection. The fruits of vic- 
tories for freedom rarely ripen quickly, and in this 
instance the records show that the increase of Brit- 
ish shipping for the year before the repeal of the 
Navigation Laws had been 393,955 tons, while dur- 



96 The Clipper Ship Era 

ing the year following there had been a decrease of 
180,576 tons; also that foreign yessels arriving from 
foreign ports increased from 75,278 tons to 364,587 
tons in these years. It was therefore natural that 
there should be a feeling of despondency through- 
out Great Britain among those who had opposed 
the repeal, for they thought that their fears were 
being realized, and that the over-sea carrying trade, 
which they had regarded as their own, was being 
taken from them. In this hour of gloom the stout- 
hearted ship-owners of London and Liverpool re- 
solved that England should again become Mistress 
of the Sea, and so competition, the stimulus needed 
to rouse their latent abilities, was the instrument 
of their salvation. 

The first American ship to carry a cargo of tea 
from Chiaa ^ to Efl LslaB^- after the rq)eal (St t h «- 
non Laws was the clipper Oriental, of 1003 
tons, built for A. A. Low & Brother in 1849, by 
Jacob Bell, who continued in the ship-building 
business after the firm of Brown & Bell was dis- 
solved in 1848. This ship's length was 185 feet, 
breadth 36 feet, depth 21 feet. She sailed from 
New York on her first voyage, commanded by Cap- 
tain N. B. Palmer, September 14, 1849, and arrived 
at Hong-kong by the Eastern passages in 109 days. 
She discharged, took on board a full cargo of tea for 
New York, sailed January 30, 1850, and arrived April 
21st, 81 days' passage. This was Captain Palmer's 
last command, though he lived many years, as we 
have seen, to enjoy the fruits of his toil upon the sea. 

The Oriental sailed on her second voyage from 
New York for China, May 19, 1850, under the com- 



The "Oriental" 97 

mand of Captain Theodore Palmer, a younger 
brother of Captain Nat, and was 25 days to the 
equator; she passed the meridian of the Cape of 
Good Hope 45 days out, Java Head 71 days out, 
and arrived at Hong-kong, August 8th, 81 days from 
New York. She was at once chartered through 
Russell & Co. to load a cargo of tea for London 
at £6 per ton of 40 cubic feet, while British ships 
were waiting for cargoes for London at £3 :10 per ton 
of 50 cubic feet. She sailed August 28th, and beat 
down the China Sea against a strong southwest 
monsoon in 21 days to Anjer, arrived off the Lizard 
in 91 days, and was moored in the West India Docks, 
London, 97 days from Hong-kong — a passage from 
China never before equalled in point of speed, es- 
pecially against the southwest monsoon, and rarely 
surpassed since. She delivered 1600 tons of tea, 
and her freight from Hong-kong amounted to 
£9600, or some |48,000. Her first cost ready for 
sea was $70,000. From the date of her first sail- 
ing from New York, September 14, 1849, to arrival 
at London, December 3, 1850, the Oriental had 
sailed a distance of 67,000 miles, and had during 
that time been at sea 367 days, an average in all 
weathers of 183 miles per day. 

Throngs of people visited the West India Docks 
to look at the Oriental. They certainly saw a 
beautiful ship; every line of her long, black hull 
indicated power and speed; her tall raking masts 
and skysail-yards towered above the spars of the 
shipping in the docks; her white cotton sails were 
neatly furled under bunt, quarter, and yardarm gas- 
kets ; while her topmast, topgallant, and royal stud- 



98 The Clipper Ship Era 

dingsail booms and long, heavy, lower studdingsail 
booms swung in along her rails, gave an idea of 
the enormous spread of canvas held in reserve for 
light and moderate leading winds; her blocks, 
standing and running rigging were neatly fitted 
to stand great stress and strain, but with no un- 
necessary top-hamper, or weight aloft. On deck 
everything was for use; the spare spars, scraped 
bright and varnished, were neatly lashed along the 
waterways ; the inner side of the bulwarks, the rails 
and the deck-houses were painted pure white; the 
hatch combings, skylights, pin-rails, and compan- 
ions were of Spanish mahogany; the narrow planks 
of her clear pine deck, with the gratings and lad- 
ders, were scrubbed and holystoned to the whiteness 
of cream; the brass capstan heads, bells, belaying 
pins, gangway stanchions, and brasswork about the 
wheel, binnacle, and skylights were of glittering 
brightness. Throughout she was a triumph of the 
shipwright's and seaman's toil and skill. 

No ship like the Oriental had even been seen in 
England, and the ship-owners of London were con- 
strained to admit that they had nothing to compare 
with her in speed, beauty of model, rig, or construc- 
tion. It is not too much to say that the arrival 
of this vessel in London with her cargo of tea in 
this crisis in 1850, aroused almost as much appre- 
hension and excitement in Great Britain as was 
created by the memorable Tea Party held in Boston 
harbor in 1773. The Admiralty obtained permis- 
sion to take off her lines in dry dock; the Illus- 
trated London Wews published her portrait, not a 
very good one by the way; and the Times honored 



The "Oriental" 



99 



her arrival by a leader, which, ended with these 
brave, wise words : 

" The rapid increase of population in the United 
States, augmented by an annual immigration of 
nearly three hundred thousand from these isles, is 
a fact that forces itself on the notice and interest 
of the most unobservant and uncurious. All these 
promise to develop the resources of the United 
States to such an extent as to compel us to a 
competition as diflflcult as it is unavoidable. We 
must run a race with our gigantic and unshackled 
rival. We must set our long-practised skill, our 
steady industry, and our dogged determination, 
against his youth, ingenuity, and ardor. It is a 
father who runs a race with his son. A fell neces- 
sity constrains us and we must not be beat. Let 
our ship-builders and employers take warning in 
time. There will always be an abundant supply 
of vessels, good enough and fast enough for short 
voyages. The coal-trade can take care of itself, for 
it will always be a refuge for the destitute. But 
we want fast vessels for the long voyages, which 
otherwise will fall into American hands. It is for- 
tunate that the Navigation Laws have been repealed 
in time to destroy these false and unreasonable 
expectations, which might have lulled the ardor of 
British competition. We now all start together 
with a fair field and no favor. The American cap- 
tain can call at London, and the British captain 
can pursue his voyage to New York. Who can com- 
plain? Not we. We trust that our countrymen 
will not be beaten ; but if they should be, we shall 
know that they deserve it." 



CHAPTER VII 

THE EUSH FOE CALIFOENIA — A SAILING DAY 

THE world has seldom witnessed so gigantic a 
migration of human beings, by land and sea, 
fr om eYer x_jjpiaEt er of th e globe, as that which 
PQuredin to Califor nia-j^-^.g48_and the years fol- 
lowing. Sa n Fran cisco, from a d rowSyy-Mexican 
trading station, composed of a clusteFoFsome fifty 
mud huts, adobe dwellings, and hide houses, sit- 
uated upon a magnificent bay with lofty moun- 
tains in the distance, occasionally enlivened by the 
visit of a New Bedford or Nantucket whale ship in 
need of wood and water, or a Boston hide droger 
which took away tallow, hides, and horns, suddenly 
became one of the great seaports of the world. 

From April^l, 1847, to the same date in 1848, 
two ships, one barque and one brig arrived at San 
Francisco from Atlantic ports, and in the course 
of this year nine American whalers called in there. 
In 1849, 775 vessels cleared from Atlantic ports 
for San Francisco ; 242 ships, 218 barques, 170 brigs, 
132 schooners, and 12 steamers. New York sent 
214 vessels, Boston 151, New Bedford 42, Baltimore 
38, New Orleans 32, Philadelphia 31, Salem 23, 
Bath 19, Bangor 18, New London 17, Providence 
11, Eastport 10, and Nantucket 8. Almost every 

100 



The Rush for California loi 

seaport aJong the Atlantic coast, sent one or more 
vessels, and they all carried passengers. The 
schooner Eureka sailed from Cleveland, Ohio, for 
San Francisco via the River St. Lawrence, Sep- 
tember 28, 1849, and carried fifty-three passengers, 
among whom were two families from Cleveland. 
Many of these vessels never reached California; 
some of them put into ports of refuge disabled and 
in distress; while others were never heard from. 
Most of the ships that did arrive at San Francisco 
made long, weary voyages, their passengers and 
crews suffering sore hardships and privations. 

In the year 1849, 91,405 passengers landed at San 
Fr'Sliclsco trohi Vtiriuus ports of the world, of al- 
mosz every nliUuualitj' uuder-therfeun and represent- 
ing some of the -best and some of the worst types 
of men and women. The officers and crews, with 
hardly an exception, hurried to the mines, leaving 
their ships to take care of themselves; in some 
instances the crews did not even wait long enough 
to stow the sails and be paid off, so keen were they 
to join the wild race for gold. Many of these 
vessels never left the harbor; over one hundred 
were turned into store ships, while others were con- 
verted into hotels, hospitals, and prisons, or grad- 
ually perished by decay. 

The first vessel, and one of the few of the Cali- 
fornia fleet of 1849, which escaped from San 
Francisco, was the ship South Carolina. This ves- 
sel sailed from New York, January 24, 1849, and 
returned via Valparaiso with a cargo of copper to 
Boston, where she arrived February 20, 1850, after 
a voyage out and home of some thirteen months. 



I02 The Clipper Ship Era 

A letter from San Francisco to the New York 
Herald, dated February 28, 1850, states that wages 
for seamen were then from $125 to $200 per month. 
There used to be a humorous yarn spun among sea- 
men to the effect that during the " flush times," as 
those glorious days of the gold fever were called, 
sailors required a captain to produce a recommenda- 
tion from his last crew before they would ship 
with him or sign articles. However this may be, 
it is a fact that as late as 1854, it was so diflflcult 
to induce crews to leave San Francisco that cap- 
tains were frequently obliged to ship men out of 
jail, whether they were sailors or not, in order to 
get their ships to sea. 

The gold mines exerted an irresistible attraction, 
and for a time the town was almost deserted, except 
for those passing through on their way to and from 
the mines. By degrees, however, it became appar- 
ent to some that more gold-dust was to be collected 
at San Francisco in business than by digging among 
the mountains, and with admirable energy they 
set about transforming this lawless camp into a 
prosperous trading city. 

Prior to 1848, California had been for all prac- 
tical purposes almost uninhabited, and now was 
utterly unable to provide for the needs of her vastly 
increased population. The newcomers produced 
plenty of gold, but nothing else, and they frequently 
found themselves on the brink of starvation. They 
were too busy with pick and shovel to contribute 
anything in the form of manufactures or supplies, 
so that the most ordinary articles of every-day use, 
to say nothing of comforts and luxuries, had to be 



The Rush for California 103 

brought from places thousands of miles distant. 
This precarious means of supply, together with the 
enormous and reckless purchasing power developed 
by the rapid production of gold from the mines, 
naturally created a speculative and artificial stand- 
ard of values, and goods of every description sold 
for fabulous amounts: Beef, pork, and flour 
brought from $40 to |60 per barrel ; tea, cofifee, and 
sugar, |4 a pound; spirits, flO to $40 a quart; 
playing-cards, |5 a pack; cowhide boots, $45 a 
pair ; picks and shovels from $5 to $15 each ; wooden 
and tin bowls from $2.50 to $7.50 each; laudanum, 
$1 a drop, and so on. These were by no means 
high prices for stevedores and laborers receiving 
from $20 to $30 a day, and miners who were making 
anywhere from $100 to $1000 a day washing dirt at 
the mines. 

An idea of the amount of gold produced may be 
gained from the fact that the Pacific Mail Com- 
pany, whose first steamship, the California, arrived 
at San Francisco via the Straits of Magellan, Feb- 
ruary 28, 1849, had by the end of 1852 shipped 
gold from that city to the value of $121,766,425. 

The speculators and shippers of merchandise in 
the Eastern States were as deeply interested in the 
output of the mines of California as the gold diggers 
themselves. No one could predict how long this 
state of affairs would continue; with them speed 
meant everything; a week or even a day's delay 
might result in heavy losses, or what was to them 
the same thing, failure to reap large profits. They 
could not send their goods across the continent, 
and the Pacific Mail Company had all that it could 



104 The Clipper Ship Era 

attend to in conveying passengers and the mails 
across the Isthmus; so that the only means of 
transportation from the Atlantic States to San 
Francisco was round Cape Horn. Under these cir- 
cumstances one can easily understand how the rates 
of freight advanced to extravagant figures, and 

created a demand under Hiifih tlie__CaIifornia^ 

clippers came into existence. 

^fe"--tbese_dajs__of-4hrifty transportation by sea, 
when coal shovels have superseded watch-tackles, 
and ship-owners are expected to look cheerful with 
steamship rates at |14.00 a ton from New York to 
San Francisco, and $12.00 a ton from New York to 
Melbourne or Hong-kong, the rates of freight that 
the clipper ships earned from. New York to San 
Francisco seem almost incredible. In 1850 the 
Samuel Russell received fl.5.0 per cubic foot, or 
$60 per ton of 40 cubic feet. She registered 940 
tons, and being a very sharp ship i would probably 
carry not more than 1200 tons of California, cargo. 
But even so, her freight would amount to |72,000, 
or a little more than her first cost ready for sea. 
The other clippers at first received the same rate, 
but by degrees, as they increased in tonnage and in 
number, the rates of freight declined to $50 per 
ton, and then to $40 where they remained for a 
considerable time. 

The California clipper period covers the years 
I 1850-1860,/ during the first four of which nearly 
all of these famous ships, numbering o ne hua dfgif^ 
and s ixty, were built. (See Appendix I.) Most of 
them'^ErB'tauTrdred- at or near New York and Bos- 
ton, though some were built elsewhere, Richmond, 




o 






3 

eq 
a. 




The Rush for California 105 

Baltimore, Mystic, Medford, Newburyport, Ports- 
mouth, Portland, Rockland, Batli, and other ports^ 
contributing to the fleet. These splendid ships — ( 
the swiftest sailing vessels that the world has even / 
seen or is likely ever to see — sailed their great ( 
ocean matches for the stake of commercial su- \ 
premacy and the championship of the seas, over y 
courses encircling the globe, and their records, 
made more than half a century ago, still stand 
unsurpassed. 

After carrying their cargoes to California at the 
enormous rates we have given, these ships would 
return round Cape Horn in ballast for another 
cargo at the same rate, as they could well afford 
to do, or would cross the Pacific in ballast and 
load tea for London or New York. Many of them 
more than cleared their original cost in less than 
one year, during a voyage round the globe, after 
deducting all expenses. 

The central points about which the great ship- 
owning interests collected were New York and Bos- 
ton. Here, too, were the most famous shipyards. 
All along the harbor front at East Boston and the 
water-front of the East River from Pike Street to 
the foot of Tenth Street, New York, were to be seen 
splendid clipper ships in every stage of construc- 
tion ; and beside the ship-building yards, there were 
. rigging-lofts, sail-lofts, the shops of boat-builders, 
block- and pump-makers, painters, carvers, and 
gilders, iron, brass, and copper workers, mast- and 
spar-makers, and ship stores of all kinds, where 
everything required on shipboard, from a palm and 
needle, a marlinspike or a ball of spun yarn, to 



io6 The Clipper Ship Era 

anchors and chains, was to be found. The ship- 
yards were great thriving hives of industry, where 
hundreds of sledge-hammers, top mauls, and caulk- 
ing mallets, swung by the arms of skilful American 
mechanics, rung out a mighty chorus, and the fresh 
odor of rough-hewn timber, seething Carolina pitch, 
and Stockholm tar filled the air with healthful 
fragrance. They were unique and interesting lo- 
calities, the like of which have never existed else- 
where — now long passed away and all but forgotten. 

The principal shipping merchants in New York 
were William T. Coleman & Co., Wells & Emanuel, 
Sutton & Co., John I. Earl, and James Smith & Son, 
all of whom managed San Francisco lines and usu- 
ally had one or more clippers on the berth, loading 
night and day for California. The old Piers 8, 9, 
and 10, along the East River, were scenes of great 
activity, and throngs of people visited them to see 
these ships. At all the seaports along the Atlantic 
coast, almost every one knew something and most 
persons knew a good deal about ships. They were 
a matter of great importance to the community, 
for as late as 1860, nearly all the large fortunes in 
the United States had been made in shipping. 

The captains and officers of the California clip- 
pers were as a class men of integrity, energy, and 
skill, nearly all of them being of the best Pilgrim 
and Puritan stock of New England, and trained to 
the sea from boyhood. Many of them were the sons 
of merchants and professional men, well known and 
respected in the communities in which they lived. 
Their ships carried large crews, besides being fitted 
with every appliance for saving labor: fly-wheel 




C3 

"a 

s 



3 




p. 



o 






The Rush for California 107 

pumps, gypsy winches, gun-metal roller bushes in 
the sheaves of the brace, reef tackle and halliard 
blocks, geared capstans, and plenty of the best 
stores and provisions, with spare spars, sails, 
blocks, and rigging in abundance. The owners 
fitted out their vessels with rational economy and 
looked to their captains, whom they rewarded lib- 
erally, to see that nothing was wasted and that 
the ships performed their voyages quickly and well. 
There was no allowance of food, as on British 
ships, on board the American clippers; a barrel of 
beef, pork, bread, or flour was supposed to last 
about so many days, according to the ship's com- 
pany; a little more or less did not matter. The 
water was in charge of the carpenter, and was 
usually carried in an iron tank which rested on 
the keelson abaft the mainmast and came up to 
the main deck. This tank was in the form of a 
cylinder, and held from three to four thousand 
gallons ; some of the larger ships carried their water 
in two of these tanks. Each morning at sea, water 
equal to one gallon for every person on board was 
pumped out of the tank and placed in a scuttle- 
butt on deck; the carpenter then made a report 
of the number of gallons remaining in the tank to 
the chief officer, who entered it in the log-book. 
During the day the crew took the water they needed 
from the scuttle-butt, the cook and steward what 
they required for the galley and aft ; and while there 
was no stint, woe to the man who wasted fresh 
water at sea in those days, for if he managed to 
escape the just wrath of the officers, his shipmates 
were pretty sure to take care of him. The salt 



io8 The Clipper Ship Era 

beef and pork were kept in a harness cask abafi 
the mainmast, and when a fresh barrel of provi- 
sions was to be opened, the harness cask was 
scrubbed and scalded out with boiling water, and so 
was always sweet and clean. The cooks and stew- 
ards were almost inyariably negroes, and it is to 
be regretted that there are not more like them at 
the present time — especially the cooks. " Plenty of 
work, plenty to eat, and good pay," is what sailor- 
men used to say of American clippers, the sort of 
ships on board of which good seamen liked to sail. 

The forecastle on board the old type of vessels 
was in the forepeak, below the main deck, a damp, 
ill-ventilated hole, but in the California clippers it 
was in a large house on deck between the fore- and 
main-masts, divided fore and aft amidships by a 
bulkhead, so that each watch had a separate fore- 
castle, well ventilated and with plenty of light. 
There was nothing to prevent a crew from being 
comfortable enough; it depended entirely upon 
themselves. Indeed, there were no ships afloat at 
that period where the crews were so well paid and 
cared for as on board the American clippers. Sea- 
men who knew their duties and were willing to 
perform them fared far better than on board the 
ships of any other nationality. 

Perhaps, the most marked difference between 
American merchant ships and those of other nations 
was in regard to the use of wine and spirits. On 
board British ships grog was served out regularly 
to the men before the mast, and the captain and 
officers were allowed wine money. Nothing of this 
sort was permitted on American vessels. Robert 



A Sailing Day 109 

Minturn, of the firm of Grinnell, Minturn & Co., in 
his evidence before a parliamentary committee in 
1848, stated that teetotalism not only was encour- 
aged by American ship-owners, but actually earned a 
bonus from underwriters, who offered a return of ten 
per cent of the insurance premium upon voyages 
performed without the consumption of spirits. On 
board the packet ships and other vessels which car- 
ried passengers, there was always wine on the cap- 
tain's table, but the captain and officers rarely made 
use of it. The sailors were allowed plenty of hot 
coffee, night or day, in heavy weather, but grog was 
unknown on board American merchant ships. 

In those days, after a New York clipper had 
finished loading, it was the custom for her to drop 
down the East River and anchor off Battery Park, 
then a fashionable resort, where she would remain 
for a few hours to take her crew on board and 
usually to ship from five to ten tons of gunpowder, 
a part of her cargo that was stowed in the main 
hatch, to be easily handled in case of fire. Tow- 
boats were not as plentiful in New York harbor 
as at present, and unless the wind was ahead or 
calm, the clippers seldom made use of them, for 
with a leading breeze these ships would sail to 
and from Sandy Hook much faster than they could 
be towed. One of the clippers getting under way 
off Battery Park was a beautiful sight, and an event 
in which a large part of the community was 
interested. 

The people who gathered at Battery Park to see 
a clipper ship get under way, came partly to hear 
the sailors sing their sea songs, or chanties, which 



no The Clipper Ship Era 

were an important part of sea life in those days, 
giving a zest and cheeriness on shipboard, which 
nothing else could supply. It used to be said that 
a good chanty man was worth four men in a watch, 
and this was true, for when a crew knocked off 
chantying, there was something wrong — the ship 
seemed lifeless. These songs originated early in the 
nineteenth century, witli the negro stevedores at 
Mobile and New Orleans, who sung them while 
screwing cotton bales into the holds of the Ameri- 
can packet ships '; this was where the packet sailors 
learned them. The words had a certain uncouth, 
fantastic meaning, evidently the product of unde- 
veloped intelligence, but there was a wild, inspiring 
ring in the melodies, and, after a number of years, 
they became unconsciously influenced by the pun- 
gent, briny odor and surging roar and rhythm of 
the ocean, and howling gales at sea. Landsmen 
have tried in vain to imitate them ; the result being 
no more like genuine sea songs than skimmed milk 
is like Jamaica rum. 

There were a great many Whitehall boats kept at 
the lower end of the Park, and the Battery boatmen 
were fine oarsmen. Bill Decker, Tom Daw, Steve 
Roberts, and Andy Fay being famous scullers. 
There were some smart four- and six-oared crews 
among them which used to swoop down and pick 
up the valuable prizes offered by the Boston city 
fathers for competition each Fourth of July on the 
Charles River, but the convivial life which the gay 
Battery boatmen led did not improve their rowing, 
and in 1856 they were defeated by the famous 
Neptune crew, of St. John, N. B., in a match rowed 



A Sailing Day iii 

on the Charles River for the stake of $5000, and 
later were quite eclipsed by the even more famous 
Ward crew of Newburgh. 

The time when these men really had to work, was 
on the sailing day of a California clipper. A busy 
scene it was, as they piit the crew and their dun- 
nage on board, one or two lots at a time, accom- 
panied by a boarding-house runner, the sailormen 
being in various stages of exalted inebriation. The 
helpless in body and mind are hauled over the side in 
bowlines and stowed away in their berths to regain 
the use of their limbs and senses. These men have 
been drugged and robbed of their three months' 
advance wages and most of their clothing. In a 
few hours they will come to, and find themselves at 
sea on board of a ship whose name they never 
heard, with no idea to what part of the globe they 
are bound. A receipt is given for each man by the 
mate, who considers himself fortunate if he can 
muster two thirds of his crew able to stand up and 
heave on a capstan bar or pull on a rope. The 
probable condition of the crew is so well known 
and expected that a gang of longshoremen is on 
board to lend a hand in getting the ship under way. 
The more provident of the seamen bring well-stocked 
sea chests; the less thoughtful find moderate-sized 
canvas bags quite large enough to hold their pos- 
sessions ; one mariner carries his outfit for the Cape 
Horn voyage tied up in a nice bandanna handker- 
chief, the parting gift of a Cherry Street damsel 
— ^who keeps the change. Jack is in a jovial, tipsy 
humor, and appears to be well satisfied with his 
investment. 



112 The Clipper Ship Era 

This is an anxious day for the mate, for, while 
he receives his instructions from the captain in a 
general way, yet every detail of getting the ship 
to sea is in his hands; and though he seems care- 
less and unconcerned, his nerves are on edge and 
every sense alert; his eyes are all over the ship. 
He is sizing up each man in his crew and getting 
his gauge; when he strikes a chord of sympathy, he 
strikes hard, and when his keen instinct detects a 
note of discord, he strikes still harder, lifting his 
men along with a curse here, a joke there, and ever 
tightening his firm but not unkindly grasp of author- 
ity. The mate is not hunting for trouble — all that 
he wants is for his men to do their work and show 
him enough respect so that it will not become his un- 
pleasant duty to hammer them into shape. He 
knows that this is his day, and that it is the decisive 
day of the voyage, for before the ship passes out 
by Sandy Hook his moral victory will be lost or 
won, with no appeal to Admiralty Boards or Courts 
of Justice. He knows, too, that a score of other 
mates and their captains are looking on with keen 
interest to see how he handles his crew, and their 
opinion is of far greater value to him than the 
decrees of Senates; so he intends to lay himself 
out and give them something worth looking at. 

There is a crisp northeasterly breeze, and the blue 
waters of the bay dance and frolic in the sweet 
June sunshine. The crew are all on board, with 
the captain and pilot in consultation on the quarter- 
deck ; it is nearly high water, and the tide will soon 
run ebb. The mate takes charge of the topgallant 
forecastle, with the third mate and the boatswain 




I 



p. 
o 






p. 



o 



a 



A Sailing Day 113 

to assist him, while the second mate, with the 
fourth mate and boatswain's mate work the main 
deck and stand by to look after the chain as it 
comes in over the windlass. 

As the crew muster on the forecastle they appear 
to be a motley gang, mostly British and Scandina- 
vian, with a sprinkling of Spaniards, Portuguese, and 
Italians, and one or two Americans. Some wear 
thick, coarse, red, blue, or gray flannel shirts, others 
blue dungaree jumpers, or cotton shirts of various 
colors; their trousers are in a variety of drabs, 
blues, grays, and browns, supported by leather belts 
or braces ; they wear stiff or soft felt hats or woollen 
caps of many colors. But no clothes that were ever 
iuvented could disguise these men; their bronzed, 
weather-beaten faces and sun-baked, tattooed arms, 
with every swing of their bodies, betray them as 
sailormen, and good ones too, above the average 
even in those days. They would no more submit to 
being put into uniforms or to the cut-and-dried dis- 
cipline of a man-of-war, than they would think of 
eating their food at a table with knives and forks. 

They are all pretty full of alcohol, but the sailor 
instinct is so strong in them that they do their 
work as well, some of them perhaps better, than if 
they were sober. There is no romance about them 
or about any part of their lives; they are simply 
common, every-day sailors, and will never be any- 
thing else, unless they happen to encounter some 
inspired writer of fiction; then it is difficult to say 
what may become of them. Some of them have 
much good in their natures, others are saturated 
with evil, and all need to be handled with tact and 



114 The Clipper Ship Era 

judgment, for too much severity, or on the other 
hand any want of firmness, may lead to trouble, 
which means the free use of knives, belaying pins, 
and knuckle-dusters. 

Now the flood-tide begins to slacken, and as the 
ship swings to the wind, the order is passed along 
from aft to man the windlass and heave short. We 
hear the mate sing out in a pleasant, cheery voice: 
" Now, then, boys, heave away on the windlass 
breaks ; strike a light, it 's duller than an old grave- 
yard." And the chantyman, in an advanced stage 
of hilarious intoxication, gay as a skylark, sails 
into song: 

" In eighteen hundred and forty-six, 
I found myself in the hell of a fix, 
A-working on the railway, the railway, the railway. 
Oh, poor Paddy works on the railway. 

" In eighteen hundred and forty-seven. 
When Dan O'Connolly went to heaven. 
He worked upon the railway, the railway, the 

railway. 
Poor Paddy works on the railway, the railway. 

" In eighteen hundred and forty-eight, 
I found myself bound for the Golden Gate, 
A-working on the railway, the railway. 
Oh, poor Paddy works on the railway, the railway. 

" In eighteen hundred and forty-nine, 
I passed my time in the Black Ball Line, 
A-working on the railway, the railway, 
I weary on the railway, 
Poor Paddy works on the railway, the railway." 



A Sailing Day 115 

And so on to the end of the century, or till the 
mate sings out, " Vast heaving," lifts his hand, and 
reports to the captain : " The anchor 's apeak, sir." 
"Very good, sir, loose sails fore and aft." "Aye, 
aye, sir." "Aloft there some of you and loose 
sails. One hand stop in the tops and crosstrees to 
overhaul the gear." " Aye, aye, sir. Royals and sky- 
sails ? " " Yes, royals and skysails ; leave the stay- 
sails fast." " Lay out there, four or five of you, and 
loose the head sails." "Here, you fellow in the 
green-spotted shirt, lay down out of that; there's 
men enough up there now to eat those sails." " Mr. 
Sampson, take some of your men aft and look after 
the main and mizzen; put a hand at the wheel; as 
he goes along let him clear the ensign halliards; 
while you 're waiting lay that accommodation 
ladder in on deck ; leave the spanker fast." " On 
the foretopsail yard, there, if you cut that gasket, 
I '11 split your damned skull ; cast it adrift, you 
lubber." " Boatswain, get your watch tackles along 
to the topsail sheets." "Aye, aye, sir." "Here, some 
of you gentlemen's sons in disguise, get that fish- 
davit out ; hook on the pendant ; overhaul the tackle 
down ready for hooking on." " Mainskysail yard 
there, don't make those gaskets up, my boy; fetch 
them in along the yard, and make fast to the tye." 
By this time the sails are loose and the gaskets 
made up; courses, topsails, topgallantsails, royals, 
and skysails flutter in their gear, and the clipper 
feels the breath of life. " Sheet home the topsails." 
" Aye, aye, sir." " Boatswain, look out for those 
clew-lines at the main; ease down handsomely as 
the sheets come home." " Foretop there, overhaul 



ii6 The Clipper Ship Era 

your buntlines, look alive ! " " Belay your port 
maintopsail sheet; clap a watch tackle on the star- 
board sheet and rouse her home." " Maintop 
there, lay down on the main-yard and light the foot 
of that sail over the stay." " That 's well, belay 
starboard." " Well the mizzentopsail sheets, be- 
lay." " Now then, my bullies, lead out your top- 
sail halliards fore and aft and masthead her." 
" Aye, aye, sir." By this time the mate has put 
some ginger into the crew and longshoremen, and 
they walk away with the three topsail halliards : 

" Away, way, way, yar. 
We'll kill Paddy Doyle for his boots." 

" Now then, long pulls, my sons." " Here, you 
chantyman, haul off your boots, jump on that main- 
deck capstan and strike a light; the best in your 
locker." " Aye, aye, sir." And the three topsail- 
yards go aloft with a ringing chanty that can be 
heard up in Beaver Street: 

" Then up aloft that yard must go, 
Whiskey for my Johnny. 
Oh, whiskey is the life of man, 
Whiskey, Johnny. 
I thought I heard the old man say, 
Whiskey for my Johnny. 
We are bound away this very day, 
Whiskey, Johnny. 

A dollar a day is a white man's pay, 
Whiskey for my Johnny. 



A Sailing Day 117 

Oh, whiskey killed my sister Sue, 

Whiskey, Johnny, 

And whiskey killed the old man, too, 

Whiskey for my Johnny. 

Whiskey 's gone, what shall I do ? 

Whiskey, Johnny, 

Oh, whiskey 's gone, and I '11 go too, 

Whiskey for my Johnny," 

" Belay your maintopsail halliards." " Aye, aye, 
sir." And so the canvas is set fore and aft, top- 
sails, topgallantsails, royals, and skysails, flat as 
boards, the inner and outer jibs are run up and 
the sheets hauled to windward ; the main- and after- 
yards are braced sharp to the wind, the foretopsail 
is laid to the mast, and the clipper looks like some 
great seabird ready for flight. The anchor is hove 
up to: 

" I wish I was in Slewer's Hall, 
Lowlands, lowlands, hurra, my boys, 
A-drinking luck to the old Black Ball, 
My dollar and a half a day." 

And while some of the hands bring the anchor to 
the rail with cat and flsh tackle, and: 

" A Yankee sloop came down the river, 
Hah, hah, rolling John, 

Oh, what do you think that sloop had in her? 
Hah, hah, rolling John, 
Monkey's hide and bullock's liver, 
Hah, hah, rolling John," 



ii8 The Clipper Ship Era 

the rest of the crew fill away the foreyard, draw 
away the head sheets, and check in the after yards. 
As the ship pays off, and gathers way in the slack 
water, the longshoremen and runners tumble over 
the side into the Whitehall boats, the crowd at 
Battery Park gives three parting cheers, the ensign 
is dipped, and the clipper is on her way to Cape 
Horn. 



CHAPTER VIII 



THE CLIPPBE SHIP CREWS 



THE history of men before the mast on board 
American merchant ships is not a history of 
American sailors, for strictly speaking there have 
never been any American merchant sailors as a 
class; that is, no American merchant ship of con- 
siderable tonnage was ever manned by native-born 
Americans in the sense that French, British, Dutch, 
Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, or Danish ships are 
manned by men born in the country under whose 
flag they sail. Neither have Americans ever fol- 
lowed the sea all their lives before the mast, as 
do men of the nations named. Some of the small 
Salem ships and perhaps a few of the Nantucket 
whalers of a century ago may possibly have carried 
entirely American crews, but if so, the men did 
not remain long in the forecastle. 

The ship George, 328 tons, built at Salem in 
1812 and owned by Joseph Peabody, is a case 
in point. She was known as the " Salem frigate," 
and made many successful voyages to Calcutta. 
Of this ship's sailors, during her long and pros- 
perous career, forty-five became captains, twenty 
chief mates, and six second mates. One of her 
Salem crew, Thomas M. Saunders, served as boy, 



120 The Clipper Ship Era 

ordinary seaman, able seaman, third, second, and 
chief mate on board of her, and finally, after 
twelve East India voyages, became her captain. 
This ship was a fair sample of many American ves- 
sels of that period, but probably no ship of similar 
or greater tonnage in the merchant service of any 
other nation can show such a brilliant record for 
her men before the mast. 

The demand for crews for the California clippers 
brought together a miscellaneous lot of men, some 
good and some bad, some accustomed to deep-water 
voyages to India and China, and some only to Euro- 
pean ports, while others were not sailors at all, 
and only shipped as such for the sake of getting 
to California. The majority were of course from 
the general merchant service of the time. 

During the first half of the nineteenth century, 
American ships trading upon long voyages to China 
and India carried crews composed chiefly of Scandi- 
navians — splendid sailormen who could do any kind 
of rigging work or sail-making required on board 
of a ship at sea and took pride in doing it well, 
and who also had sufficient sense to know that 
discipline is necessary on shipboard. These Scandi- 
navians, who were as a rule fine seamen, clean, will- 
ing, and obedient, were the first and best class 
among the men of whom the clipper ship crews were 
composed. A vessel with a whole crew of these 
strong, honest sailors was a little heaven afloat. 

Then there were the packet sailors, a different 
class altogether, mostly " Liverpool Irishmen," a 
species of wild men, strong, coarse-built, thick-set; 
their hairy bodies and limbs tattooed with gro- 



The Clipper Ship Crews 121 

tesque and often obscene devices in red and blue 
India ink ; men wallowing in the slush of depravity, 
who could be ruled only with a hand of iron. 
Among themselves they had a rough-and-ready code 
of ethics, which deprived them of the pleasure of 
stealing from each other, though it permitted them 
to rob and plunder shipmates of other nationalities, 
or the ship and passengers. So, too, they might 
not draw knives on each other, being obliged to 
settle disputes with their fists, but to cut and stab 
an officer or shipmate not of their own gang was 
regarded as an heroic exploit. 

With all their moral rottenness, these rascals 
were splendid fellows to make or shorten sail in 
heavy weather on the Western Ocean, and to go 
aloft in a coat or monkey jacket in any kind of 
weather was regarded by them with derision and 
contempt. But making and taking in sail was about 
all that they could do, being useless for the hun- 
dred and one things on shipboard which a deep- 
water sailor was supposed to know, such as rigging 
work, sail-making, scraping, painting, and keeping 
a vessel clean and shipshape. The packets had all 
this work done in port, and never looked so well 
as when hauling out of dock outward bound; 
whereas, the China and California clippers looked 
their best after a long voyage, coming in from sea 
with every ratline and seizing square, the sheer 
poles coach-whipped, brass caps on the rigging ends 
and lanyard knots, and the man-ropes marvels of 
cross pointing, Turks' heads, and double rose knots. 

The packet sailors showed up at their best when 
laying out on a topsail yardarm, passing a weather 



122 The Clipper Ship Era 

reef-earing, with their Black Ball caps, red shirts, 
and trousers stowed in the legs of their sea boots 
along with their cotton hooks and sheath knives, a 
snow squall whistling about their ears, the rigging 
a mass of ice, and the old packet jumping into the 
big Atlantic seas up to her knightheads. These 
ruffians did not much care for India and China 
voyages, but preferred to navigate between the 
dance-halls of Cherry Street and the grog-shops of 
Waterloo Road and Ratcliflfe Highway. As has 
often been said, they worked like horses at sea and 
spent their money like asses ashore. 

When the California clippers came out, these 
packet rats, as they came to be called aboard the 
deep-water ships — men who had never before had 
the slightest idea of crossing the equator if they 
could help it,---were suddenly possessed with the 
desire to get to the California gold mines. They, 
with other adventurers and blacklegs of the vilest 
sort, who were not sailors but who shipped as able 
seamen for the same reason, partly composed the 
crews of the clipper ships. The packet rats were 
tough, roustabout sailormen and difficult to handle, 
so that it was sometimes a toss-up whether they or the 
captain and officers would have charge of the ship; 
yet to see these fellows laying out on an eighty-foot 
main-yard in a whistling gale off Cape Horn, fist- 
ing hold of a big No. 1 Colt's cotton canvas main- 
sail, heavy and stifif with sleet and snow, bellying, 
slatting, and thundering in the gear, and then to 
hear the wild, cheery shouts of these rugged, brawny 
sailormen, amid the fury of the storm, as inch by 
inch they fought on till the last double gasket was 




c 

c 
c 
c 



p. 
o 



o 



o 



The Clipper Ship Crews 123 

fast, made it easy to forget their sins in admiration 
of their splendid courage. 

Then there were Spaniards, Portuguese, China- 
men, Frenchmen, Africans, Russians, and Italians 
from the general merchant service, many of whom 
were excellent seamen and some of whom were 
not; and lastly came the men of various nation- 
alities who were not sailors at all nor the stuff 
out of which sailors could be made, and who had 
no business to be before the mast on board of a 
ship. Many of these men had served their time in 
the penitentiary and some should have remained 
there. These impostors increased the labor of able 
seamen who were compelled to do their work, and 
endangered the safety of the ship so unfortunate as 
to have them among her crew. 

With such barbarians the New England captains 
from the yellow sands of Cape Cod and the little 
seaports along the Sound, and from the rocky head- 
lands of Cape Ann and the coast of Maine, were 
often called upon to handle the clipper ships. There 
were, as has been said, a large number of respect- 
able, hard-working, Scandinavian sailors, some of 
whom became captains and mates, as well as from 
four to eight smart American boys aboard each 
ship who looked forward to becoming officers and 
captains. 

The clipper ship captains had the reputation of 
being severe men with their crews, but consider- 
ing the kind of human beings with whom they had 
to deal, it is difficult to see how they could have 
been anything else, and still retain command of 
their ships. Taken as a class, American sea- 



124 The Clipper Ship Era 

captains and mates half a century ago were per- 
haps the finest body of real sailors that the world 
has ever seen, and by this is meant captains and 
officers who had themselves sailed before the mast. 
They enforced their authority by sheer power of 
character and will against overwhelming odds of 
brute force, often among cut-throats and despera- 
does. They were the first to establish discipline 
in the merchant service, and their ships were the 
envy and despair of merchants and captains of 
other nations. Intrepid and self-reliant sailors, 
they are justly entitled to the gratitude of mankind. 
No doubt there were instances of unnecessary 
severity on board the American clipper ships; they 
were exceptional, and the provocation was great; 
but it would be difficult to cite a case of a sailor 
being ill-used who knew and performed the duties 
for which he had shipped, for captains and officers 
appreciated the value of good seamen, and took the 
best care of them. 

The abuses from which sailors in those days suf- 
fered, were not when at sea or on board ship. It 
was the harpies of the land who lay in wait like 
vultures, to pollute and destroy their bodies and 
souls — male and female land-sharks, who would 
plunder and rob a sailor of his pay and his three 
months' advance, and then turn him adrift with- 
out money or clothes. It made no difference to 
these brazen-hearted thieves — and the women, if 
possible, were worse than the men — whether a 
sailor was bound round the Horn in midwinter or 
to the East Indies in midsummer; they saw to it 
that he took nothing away with him but the ragged 



The Clipper Ship Crews 125 

clothes he stood in, and perhaps a ramshackle old 
sea chest with a shabby suit of oilskins, a pair of 
leaky sea boots, a bottle or two of Jersey lightning, 
and two or three plugs of tobacco chucked into it. 
These vice-hardened men and women of various 
nationalities were permitted to work their abomin- 
able trade unmolested, almost within the shadow of 
church spires and Courts of Justice in the chief 
seaports of the United States. The destitute con- 
dition in which men were put on board of American 
ships became so common that clothing and other 
necessaries were provided for them in what was 
known as the slop chest, in charge of the steward, 
with which all ships bound upon distant voyages 
were supplied, and from which the crew received 
whatever they required at about one half the cost 
extorted by the slop shops on shore. This arrange- 
ment was necessary, as otherwise, in many instances, 
the men would not have had suiBcient clothing to 
stand a watch in cold or stormy weather. 

American sea-captains were often compelled to 
take these outcasts as they found them, because 
they could get no other men. They provided them 
with better food than they had ever seen or heard 
of on board vessels of their own countries, sup- 
plied them with clothes, sea boots, sou'westers, oil- 
skins, and tobacco, restored them to health, paid 
them money which many of them never earned, 
and for the time being, at least, did their utmost 
to make men of them. If any one imagines that 
this class of sailors ever felt or expressed the least 
gratitude toward their benefactors, he is much mis- 
taken. Let him picture to himself these creatures in 



126 The Clipper Ship Era 

their watch below, laying off in their frowzy berths 
or sitting around their dirty, unkempt forecastle 
on their chests — those who happen to own them — 
smoking their filthy clay pipes, amid clouds of foul 
tobacco smoke, reeking in the stench of musty un- 
derclothing, mouldy sea boots, and rancid oilskins, 
rank enough to turn the stomach of a camel, or any 
other animal than man. The noxious air is too 
much for the sooty slush lamp that swings un- 
easily against the grimy bulkhead ; it burns a sickly 
blue flame with a halo of fetid vapor; while the 
big fat-witted samples of humanity in the bunks 
and on the sea chests cheerfully curse their captain 
up-hill and down dale as their natural enemy, but 
are never tired of yarning about their " shore 
friends." They recall the attractive qualities of 
such characters as Dutch Pete, One-thumbed Jerry, 
and Limerick Mike — sleek, smooth-tongued board- 
ing-house runners who have practised upon the 
vices of these same men, robbed them of their ad- 
vance wages, drugged and shanghaied them without 
clothing or tobacco. Then these stupid fellows will 
yarn about the enticing charms of such " real 
ladies " as Big Moll, Swivel-eyed Sue, or French 
Kate, and the comfort and hospitality of the estab- 
lishments over which these hussies preside. But 
let the boatswain come along and knock three times 
on the forecastle door with his brawny fist, and 
sing out, "Now then, get out here and put the 
stun'sails on her," and these bulky brutes will 
tumble over each other to get on deck, for they 
know that they will be beaten and booted if there 
is any hanging back. 



The Clipper Ship Crews 127 

Unfortunately, this was the only way to deal 
with this type of men on shipboard. They were 
amenable to discipline only in the form of force in 
heavy and frequent doses, the theories of those who 
have never commanded ships or had experience in 
handling degenerates at sea to the contrary not- 
withstanding. To talk about the exercise of kind- 
ness or moral suasion with such men, would be the 
limit of foolishness; one might as well propose a 
kindergarten for baby coyotes or young rattlesnakes. 

One does not like to dwell upon these depressing 
phases of human nature in connection with the 
graceful, yacht-like clipper, perhaps the most beauti- 
ful and life-like thing ever fashioned by the hand 
of man. It is therefore pleasant to record that 
there were many American clipper ships with crews 
that were for the most part decent, self-respecting 
men, who kept themselves, their clothes, and their 
forecastles clean and sweet. Of course, these men 
would have their grog and sweethearts on shore, 
and their quiet growl at sea — ^the birthright of all 
good sailormen ; but they required no urging beyond 
a word of encouragement to do their work on deck 
and aloft quickly and well. Such a crew would 
not live with men who were unclean in their speech 
and habits, and would compel such human nuisances 
to pick up their traps and take themselves out 
under the topgallant forecastle to get along as best 
they might ; but it was a great hardship when good 
seamen found themselves among a crew composed 
chiefly of these poor enough sailors but proficient 
blackguards and bullies. 

In those days there was a class of persons who 



128 The Clipper Ship Era 

did their utmost to degrade an honorable profession 
by calling themselves lawyers. The ports of New 
York and San Francisco were the scenes of their 
most lucrative exploits. When a ship arrived, these 
fellows would waylay the sailors and follow them 
to dance-halls, gin-mills, and other low resorts, 
worming their way into the confidence of the too 
easy mariners by fairy tales and glittering prospects 
of large sums of money to be recovered as damages 
from their late captains, until they succeeded in 
extracting a narrative of the last voyage, including 
alleged grievances. They would then libel the ship 
and commence legal proceedings against the captain 
and officers. These cases would be tried before 
juries of landsmen who, having no practical know- 
ledge of sailors or of the usages of the sea, frequently 
awarded damages, though in many cases the captain 
and officers were able to disprove false complaints 
or to justify their actions upon the ground of neces- 
sity in maintaining proper discipline. It is per- 
haps needless to say that of the damages recovered 
not one penny was ever handled by the aggrieved 
sailor, for the guiding principle of the sea lawyer's 
career being the resolve never to part with his 
client's money, these fellows literally made their 
clients' interests their own. Sailors themselves 
used to laugh and joke about the bare-faced yarns 
which they had spun under oath in court and got 
greenhorn juries to listen to and believe; but they 
did not laugh and joke about their lawyers, whom 
they regarded with contempt. One of the most 
insulting epithets which a sailor could apply to 
another was to call him a " sea lawyer," and there 




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The Clipper Ship Crews 129 

was a particularly ravenous species of shark which 
used also to be known as the " sea lawyer." 

At one time this abuse of the law became such a 
powerful instrument of extortion that captains and 
officers, innocent of any wrong, unless the protection 
of life and property be regarded as wrong, were 
compelled to leave their ships in the harbor of New 
York before they hauled alongside the wharf, in 
order to escape prosecution, and were made to ap- 
pear like criminals fleeing from justice. This can- 
not be considered a very cheerful welcome home 
after a voyage round the globe. Yet it compares 
not unfavorably with the reception sometimes ac- 
corded the returning traveller nowadays — at the 
hands of officers of the law empowered to collect 
" protective " duties on personal effects. 

After a while this nefarious trade, by which ship- 
owners, captains, officers, and crews were alike de- 
frauded, perished by its own rapacity; but the 
attitude of the United States Government of half 
a century ago in permitting her splendid American 
merchant captains and officers to be subjected to 
gross indignities, and the foreign seamen sailing 
under her flag to be robbed and shipped away with- 
out their knowledge or consent, must ever remain 
a blot upon the page of American maritime history. 

Those well-intentioned philanthropists who had 
an idea that sailors were being ill-treated on board 
American ships, and who wasted sympathy upon a 
class of men most of whom required severe discipline, 
might have been better employed had they exerted 
their energies toward purging the seaports of the 
country of the dens of vice and gangs of robbers 



130 The Clipper Ship Era 

that infested them, though this might not have been 
so romantic as a sentimental interest in the welfare 
of the sailor when encountering the supposed terrors 
of the deep. As a matter of fact, the lives, limbs, 
and morals of sailors at that period were very much 
safer at sea than they were on land. 

It is refreshing to turn to one man, at least, who 
knew and understood sailors, and who in early life 
had himself been a sailor. This was the Rev. Ed- 
ward Thompson Taylor, known upon every sea with 
respect and affection as " Father Taylor." In 1833 
the Seaman's Bethel was erected in North Square, 
Boston, and there Father Taylor presided for some 
forty years. During that time he did an enormous 
amount of good, both among sailors themselves, to 
whom he spoke in language which they could un- 
derstand and feel, and by drawing the attention of 
influential men and women to the lamentable con- 
dition of the life of sailors when on shore, not only 
in Boston, but in all the great seaports of the 
United States. For many years the Seaman's Bethel 
was one of the most interesting sights of Boston, 
and all classes were attracted there by the novel 
and picturesque earnestness and eloquence of Father 
Taylor. Distinguished visitors were usually taken 
there or went of their own accord, to listen to the 
words of this inspired seaman, and many of them 
have recorded their impressions. Harriet Marti- 
neau, J. S. fiuckingham, M. P., Charles Dickens, 
Frederika Bremer, John Ross Dix, Mrs. Jameson, 
Catherine Sedgwick, and Walt Whitman all testi- 
fied to the wonderful power of this homely, self- 
educated Baptist preacher. 




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The Clipper Ship Crews 131 

Father Taylor had little to say about the treat- 
ment of sailors on shipboard, for he knew that they 
were treated with humanity and according to their 
deserts, but he did have a great deal to say about 
their life and vile associations on shore; he once 
prayed with unconscious humor, " that Bacchus and 
Venus might be driven to the ends of the earth and 
off it." He possessed a marvellous power of de- 
scription, and perhaps no poet or painter has more 
vividly portrayed the ever-changing moods of the 
ocean. He used these superb sea pictures as meta- 
phors and illustrations. I have a clear remem- 
brance of some of them and recall them with grati- 
tude, but no words of mine can convey an adequate 
impression of their beauty and grandeur; his was 
a genius that eludes description. 

It was once said of Father Taylor that he hated 
the devil more than he loved God, but I think who- 
ever said this could not have understood him, for 
the affection, tenderness, and substantial help which 
Father Taylor lavished upon God's children, afflicted 
in body and mind, knew no bounds. At the same 
time he knew the men whom it was his mission to 
rescue, and often when denouncing their follies and 
vices his words fell hot as burning coals. He de- 
tested shams in any form, and was swift to detect 
them in sailors as well as in others. 

In those days there was far too much ignorant 
sentimentality bestowed upon seamen and their 
affairs, too much 

" Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm, 
Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form." 



132 The Clipper Ship Era 

Sad enough, no doubt, to the captain of a clipper 
ship bound round Cape Horn, compelled to stand 
by and see his canvas slatting to pieces in the first 
bit of a blow outside Sandy Hook, because he was 
cursed with a crew unable or unwilling to handle 
it. But this seldom happened more than once 
aboard of an American clipper in the fifties, for 
such a crew was taken in hand and soon knocked 
into shape by the mates, carpenter, sailmaker, cook, 
steward, and boatswain. Belaying pins, capstan- 
bars, and heavers began to fly about the deck, and 
when the next gale came along the crew found 
that they could get aloft and make some kind of 
show at stowing sails, and by the time the ship 
got down to the line, they were usually pretty smart 
at handling canvas. As the clipper winged her way 
southward, and the days grew shorter, and the 
nights colder, belaying pins, capstan bars, and 
heavers were all back in their places, for system, 
order, and discipline had been established. When 
the snow-squalls began to gather on the horizon, 
and the old-time clipper lifted her forefoot to the 
first long, gray Cape Horn roller, with albatross 
and Cape pigeons wheeling and screaming in her 
wake, the mate, as he stood at the break of the 
quarter-deck in his long pilot-cloth watch-coat, 
woollen mittens, sea boots, and sou'wester, and sung 
out to the boatswain to get his men along for a 
pull on the weather braces, felt with pride that he 
had something under him that the " old man " 
could handle in almost any kind of weather — a 
well-manned ship. 

In those days of carrying canvas as long and 



The Clipper Ship Crews 133 

sometimes longer than spars and rigging would 
stand, with only brawn, capstans and watch tackles 
to handle it, the crew was a far more important 
factor on board a sailing ship than in the present 
era of steel spars, wire rigging, double topsail, 
and topgallant yards, donkey engines and steam 
winches. Indeed, all the conditions were quite 
different from anything known at the present time 
and required a type of men, both forward and aft, 
that do not sail upon the ocean to-day. 



CHAPTER IX 

CALIPOKNIA CLIPPERS OF 1850 AND THEIR COMMANDERS 
— MAURT's wind AND CURRENT CHARTS 

AT the time of the discovery of gold in California, 
American ship-builders were well prepared for 
the work that lay before them. The clippers al- 
ready built furnished valuable experience, for they 
had attracted much attention, and their models and 
construction were almost as well known to ship- 
builders throughout the country as to those from 
whose yards they had been launched. It was found 
that the clippers were much easier in a sea-way 
than the old type of vessel; they labored and 
strained less, and in consequence delivered their 
cargoes in better condition. When driven into a 
heavy head sea, they would bury their long, sharp 
bows in a smother of foam and drench the decks 
fore and aft with flying spray; but at a speed that 
would have swamped the full-bodied, wall-sided 
ships and made them groan in every knee, timber, 
and beam. 

The superiority of the clippers in speed was even 
more marked in the average length and regularity 
of their voyages than in their record passages ; they 
could be depended on not to make long passages; 
with their sharp lines and lofty canvas they were 

134 



California Clippers of 1850 135 

able to cross belts of calm and light winds much 
more quickly than the low rigged, full-bodied ships, 
while in strong head winds there was no compari- 
son, as the sharper ships would work out to wind- 
ward in weather that held the old type of vessels 
like a barrier, until the wind hauled fair or mod- 
erated. In a word, the clippers could go and find 
strong or favorable winds while the full-bodied 
ships were compelled to wait for them. 

It must be admitted that some remarkably fast 
passages were made by the old full-built American 
vessels. We have seen Captain Waterman's record 
with the Natchem, and other cases of this kind might 
be cited; but they prove nothing beyond the fact 
that with a fair wind and enough of it, other things 
being equal, a well-handled, full-modelled ship is 
about as fast as a clipper; also that single pas- 
sages except as between vessels sailing together, 
are not the most reliable tests of speed. A number 
of passages by the same vessel, or a record of 
best days' runs, afford a more accurate means of 
arriving at a just estimate of speed. 

The first California clippers, thirteen in number, 
were launched during the year 1850, the Celestial, 
SCO tons, built by William H. Webb and owned by 
Bucklin & Crane, of New York, being the first to 
leave the ways. She was soon followed by the 
Mandarin, 776 tons, built by Smith & Dimon for 
Goodhue & Co., of New York, and the Surprise, 
1361 tons, owned by A, A. Low & Brother; Oame- 
Cock, 1392 tons, owned by Daniel C. Bacon, Boston, 
and the barque Race Horse, 512 tons, owned by God- 
dard & Co., Boston, all built by Samuel Hall at 



136 The Clipper Ship Era 

East Boston. The Witchcraft, 1310 tons, was built 
at Chelsea by Paul Curtis, for S. Rogers & W. D. 
Pickman, of Salem; the John Bertram, 1080 tons, 
by R. E. Jackson at East Boston, for Glidden & 
Williams, of Boston; the Governor Morton, 1318 
tons, by James M. Hood at Somerset, for Handy 
& Everett, of New York ; the 8ea Serpent, 1337 tons, 
by George Raynes at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 
for Grinnell, Minturn & Co., of New York; the 
Eclipse, 1223 tons, by J. Williams & Son at 
Williamsburg, for T. Wardle & Co., of New York; 
the Seaman, 546 tons, by Bell & Co., at Baltimore, 
for Funck & Meincke, of New York ; the White Squall, 
1118 tons, by Jacob Bell, for W. Piatt & Son, of 
Philadelphia, and the Stag-Hound, 1535 tons, by 
Donald McKay at East Boston, for Sampson & 
Tappan and George B. Upton, of Boston. 

The Celestial was a remarkably good-looking ship 
and much sharper than any vessel built by Mr. 
Webb up to that time. She carried long, slender 
spars, with plenty of canvas, and proved a very 
fast and able ship. 

The Mandarin, also a fine-looking ship, was in- 
tended by her builders to be an improved Sea Witch, 
and although she made some excellent passages, 
she never came up to the older vessel in point of 
speed; the Sea Witch was her builders' master- 
piece, and they, like many others, found her a 
difficult ship to improve upon. 

The Surprise was one of the most successful clip- 
per ships ever constructed, and proved a mine of 
wealth for her owners. She was fully rigged on 
the stocks, with all her gear rove off, and was 



California Clippers of 1850 137 

launched with her three skysail yards across and 
colors flying, which attracted a multitude of people. 
They rather expected to see her capsize, and were 
no doubt highly delighted to find that nothing un- 
usual happened as she glided swiftly down the ways, 
or at that critical instant when her hull was still 
partly supported on the land and partly on the 
waves, or when she swung to her anchors on even 
keel, with the beautiful skyline of Boston of half a 
century ago outlined in the distance. 

Mr. Hall was a master ship-builder and had fig- 
ured the weights, displacement, and stability of his 
ship with the same exactness with which an astron- 
omer foretells the transit of a planet; yet with 
all the anxiety incident to experiments of this 
kind, he had found time for plans of a less serious 
nature. He had a pavilion erected in order that 
the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of the 
men who had built this beautiful ship might look 
with comfort upon the crowning scene of their kins- 
men's labors, and after the ship was safely afloat, 
all were invited to a luxurious lunch served upon 
long tables in the mould loft, which was gaily dec- 
orated with flags. There the master foreman of 
the yard presided, while Mr. Hall entertained per- 
sonal friends, whom he had asked to see the launch, 
at his own hospitable home. 

The Surprise measured: length 190 feet, breadth 
39 feet, depth 22 feet with 30 inches dead-rise at 
half floor. Her main-yard was 78 feet long from 
boom-iron to boom-iron, and her mainmast was 84 
feet from heel to cap, with other spars in propor- 
tion. She was beautifully fitted throughout, was 



138 The Clipper Ship Era 

painted black from the water-line up, and carried 
a finely carved and gilded flying eagle for a figure- 
head, while her stern was ornamented with the 
arms of New York. She was manned by a crew 
of 30 able seamen, 6 ordinary seamen, 4 boys, 2 boat- 
swains, a carpenter, a sailmaker, 2 cooks, a steward, 
and 4 mates, and was commanded by Captain Philip 
Dumaresq, who had gained a high reputation while 
in command of the Antelope, Akbar, and Great 
Britain. 

Captain Dumaresq was born at Swan Island, near 
Richmond, on the Kennebec River. His father had 
settled there on an estate which came to him 
through his mother, who before her marriage was 
the beautiful Rebecca Gardiner, of Gardiner, Maine, 
and a daughter of the Rev. John Sylvester Gardiner, 
the first rector of Trinity Church, Boston. Unlike 
most American boys, who used to go to sea, young 
Dumaresq had no special desire for a life upon the 
ocean, but was sent on a voyage to China by his 
parents, under the advice of a physician, on account 
of his delicate health. He soon grew robust, and 
at the age of twenty-two took command of a vessel, 
afterwards becoming one of the most celebrated 
and widely known of all the American clipper ship 
captains. 

When the Surprise arrived at New York to load 
for San Francisco, the New York Herald declared 
that she was the handsomest ship ever seen in the 
port, and a large number of persons gathered to see 
her placed at her loading berth by the steamer 
B. B. Fortes, which had towed her round from 
Boston, 



California Clippers of 1850 139 

The R. B. Forbes at that time, so to speak, was 
a well-known character about Massachusetts Bay, 
and no marine function seemed quite complete 
without her presence. She was generally on hand 
at launches, regattas, and Fourth of July celebra- 
tions, with a jolly party of Boston underwriters 
and their friends on board, accompanied by a band 
of music and well-filled hampers of refreshments. 
Her hull was painted a brilliant red up to the 
bulwarks, which were black, while the deck fittings, 
houses, and the inside of the bulwarks were a bright 
green. Altogether, with a rainbow of bunting over 
her mastheads, the brass band in full blast, and 
champagne corks flying about her deck, she con- 
tributed liberally to the gayety of many festive 
occasions. She was also usually the first to intro- 
duce a new-born ship to the end of a manila hawser, 
and for several years she towed most of the eastern- 
built clippers to their loading berths at Boston or 
New York. 

But these were only the odd jobs at which she 
put in her time when not engaged in her more 
serious work of salvage operations, for she was the 
best equipped and most powerful wrecking steamer 
on the Atlantic coast, and saved much valuable 
property abandoned to the Boston Underwriters, 
for whom she was built by Otis Tafts at East 
Boston in 1845. She was 300 tons register, and 
was one of the few vessels at that date constructed 
of iron and fitted with a screw propeller, her 
engines and boilers being designed by the re- 
nowned Ericsson. Her commander. Captain Mor- 
ris, not only was a very able wreck master, but 



140 The Clipper Ship Era 

did a great deal by expei'iment and observation to 
solve the intricate problems relating to the devia- 
tion of the magnetic needle on board of iron vessels, 
and was one of the few reliable authorities of his 
day upon this important subject. At the outbreak 
of the Civil War in 1861, the R. B. Forles was 
purchased by the United States Government, but 
before the end of the war she was wrecked and 
became a total loss near Hatteras Inlet. It is hardly 
necessary to mention that this vessel was named 
in honor of that noble seaman. Captain Robert 
Bennett Forbes, whose acts of kindness and hu- 
manity were so many that a book might well be 
devoted to a record of them. 

The Witchcraft was a very beautiful ship, and 
was commanded by Captain William C. Rogers, a 
son of one of the owners, for whom she was built. 
Captain Rogers was born at Salem in 1823 and 
had made several voyages as supercargo on board 
of different ships to Calcutta and Canton. He was 
a man of unusual ability, and although he never 
sailed before the mast, or as officer of a ship, he 
had acquired a knowledge of seamanship and navi- 
gation which enabled him to become one of the 
most famous among the younger clipper ship cap- 
tains. He was a rare example of a gentleman who 
went to sea for the pure love of it, who enjoyed 
dealing with the useful realities of life, and liked 
a real ship with real sailors on board of her, and 
a real voyage of commerce profitable to mankind, 
in preference to an aimless life of luxury and 
pleasure. 

During the Civil War Captain Rogers was one 



California Clippers of 1850 141 

of the twelve naval commanders appointed by Act 
of Congress, and he commanded the U. S. clipper 
barque William G. Anderson, which mounted six 
thirty-two pounders and a long rifled gun amid- 
ships, and carried a crew of one hundred and ten 
men. While in command of this vessel, Captain 
Rogers captured the Confederate privateer Beaure- 
gard, Captain Gilbert Hays, one hundred miles east- 
northeast of Abaco in the Bahamas, November 12, 
1861. He also commanded the U. S. gunboat luka, 
and in her rendered valuable service to his country 
during the remainder of the war. He subsequently 
married a granddaughter of Nathaniel Bowditch, 
the illustrious navigator. 

The John Bertram was an extremely sharp ship, 
and was the pioneer of Glidden & Williams's line 
of San Francisco clippers. She was named for 
Captain Bertram, one of Salem's most famous sea- 
men and merchants, and was for several years 
commanded by Captain Landholm. 

The Sea Serpent was the first clipper ship built 
by Mr. Raynes, and was a slender, rakish, handsome- 
looking craft, comparing favorably with the New 
York and Boston clippers of that year. She was 
commanded by Captain Williams Howland, a sea- 
man of experience and ability, who was born at 
New Bedford in 1804. In 1833 he took command 
of the Horatio, then a new ship and afterwards 
famous, on her first voyage from New York to China, 
and remained in her for about ten years. He sub- 
sequently commanded the packet ships AsKburton, 
Henry Clay, Cornelius Grinnell, and the Constan- 
tine. Captain Howland was a gentleman of much 



142 The Clipper Ship Era 

dignity, who usually wore kid gloves when he came 
on deck and seldom gave his orders to any one but 
the officer of the watch. He had the reputation of 
being an Al seaman and navigator. 

The White Squall was another handsome clipper, 
very similar in construction and design to the 
Samuel Russell and Oriental from the same yard. 
Although but little more than eleven hundred tons 
register, this ship cost when ready for sea with 
one year's stores and provisions on board the sum 
of $90,000, and her freight from New York to San 
Francisco on her first voyage amounted to |70,000. 
She was commanded by Captain Lockwood, and her 
measurements were : length 190 feet, breadth 35 feet 
6 inches, and depth 21 feet. 

The Stag-Hound, at the time of her launch was 
the largest merchant ship ever built, though during 
the nine years that the Cunard Company had been 
running mail steamers across the Atlantic, the ton- 
nage of American packet ships had steadily in- 
creased. In 1846, as we have seen, Donald McKay 
had built the Wew World of 1404 tons, and in 1849 
William H. Webb launched the Albert Gallatin of 
1435 tons, so that the Stag-Hound, 1535 tons, was 
not a very much larger vessel ; but she was of a de- 
cidedly dififerent design, having less beam and seven- 
teen feet more length than either of these packets. 
She attracted much attention and many persons 
came to see her while she was building. A throng 
estimated at from twelve to fifteen thousand gath- 
ered about the shipyard at noon on December 7, 
1850, to witness her launch. The weather was bit- 
terly cold, with drift ice in the harbor and snow: 




§ 



^ 

H 



California Clippers of 1850 143 

lying deep on the ground. It was feared that the 
launch might have to be postponed on account of 
the tallow freezing on the ways, but when she had 
settled in her cradle and everything was ready, a 
gang of men came from the forge bearing cans 
filled with boiling whale oil, which they poured 
upon the ways. When the word was given to knock 
away the dog shores, the vessel moved rapidly down 
the smoking ways and plunged into the gray, icy 
waters of the harbor, amid shouts and cheers from 
a shivering crowd, while the bells of Boston rang 
out mellow and clear, on the calm, frosty air, in 
welcome to the largest merchant ship afloat. 

Launches were not then regarded as social func- 
tions, although some of the most prominent families 
in New York and Boston, who were interested in 
shipping, attended them, and a pavilion was usually 
erected where they might picnic comfortably and 
enjoy themselves. It was also not customary in 
those days for women to name ships, but the cere- 
mony, which was simple and effective, was usually 
performed by the foreman of the yard from which 
the ship was launched. On this occasion, when 
ihe Stag-Hound began to move along the ways, the 
foreman had a black bottle of Medford rum some- 
where about, which he seized by the neck and 
smashed across her forefoot, at the same time, in 
the excitement of the moment, shouting out, " Stag- 
Hound, your name's Stag-Hound!" and thus 
brought the ceremony to a close. This vessel meas- 
ured : length 215 feet, breadth 40 feet, depth 21 feet, 
with 40 inches dead-rise at half floor. Her main- 
yard was 86 feet and her mainmast "88 feet in 



144 The Clipper Ship Era 

length. She was commanded on her first voyage 
by Captain Josiah Richardson, and carried a crew 
of 36 able seamen, 6 ordinary seamen, and 4 boys. 
When she arrived at New York in tow of the R. B. 
Forhes, to load for San Francisco, the ship fanciers 
of South Street were for once in their lives of 
one mind, and their opinion seems to have been 
that the Stag-Hound came pretty near being the 
perfection of the clipper ship type. 

Each one of the clippers of 1850 proved a credit 
to the yard from which she was launched, and 
nearly all of them made the passage from New 
York or Boston to San Francisco in less than one 
hundred and ten days. This is an exceedingly good 
record, although the passage from New York has 
been made by two vessels, the Flying Cloud and the 
Andrew Jackson, in a few hours less than ninety 
days. In Appendix II. will be found the names of 
ships that made this passage in one hundred and 
ten days or less, with the dates of their arrivals 
at San Francisco, for the years 1850-1860. While 
this list includes almost all of the extreme clippers, 
still there were a number of ships that gave proof 
by their other records of being fast and ably com- 
manded, and yet failed to come within the limit 
of one hundred and ten days. 

As most persons are aware, foreign vesselfe have 
never been allowed to engage in the United States 
coasting trade, also that the voyage between At- 
lantic and Pacific ports of the United States, has 
always been regarded as a coasting voyage. The 
California clippers therefore had no foreign com- 
petitors to sail against, but the racing among them- 



California Clippers of 1850 145 

selves was sufficiently keen to satisfy the most 
enthusiastic lover of sport, while China and Aus- 
tralia voyages afforded opportunities for inter- 
national rivalry. 

The only clipper ship to make the voyage to 
San Francisco prior to 1850 was the Memnon, under 
Captain George Gordon, which arrived there July 
28, 1849, after a record passage of one hundred and 
twenty days from New York. The first contest of 
clippers round Cape Horn took place in 1850, be- 
tween the Houqua, Sea Witch, Samuel Russell, and 
Memnon, old rivals on China voyages, and the new 
clippers Celestial, Mandarin, and Race Horse. All 
of these vessels had their friends, and large sums 
of money were wagered on the result, the four older 
ships, especially the Sea Witch, having established 
high reputations for speed. The Samuel Russell 
was commanded by Captain Charles Low, previously 
of the Houqua, while the Houqua was now com- 
manded by Captain McKenzie; Captain Gordon was 
again in the Memnon, and Captain George Fraser, 
who had sailed with Captain Waterman as chief 
mate, commanded the Sea Witch. 

The Samuel Russell arrived at San Francisco 
May 6, 1850, after a passage of 109 days from New 
York, thus knocking 11 days off the record, and her 
friends*, and backers felt confident that this pas- 
sage could not be surpassed, at all events not by 
any of the clippers of that year. This opinion was 
in a measure confirmed when the Houqua arrived 
on July 23d, 120 days from New York, but on the 
following day the Sea Witch came romping up the 
bay, 97 days from Sandy Hook, reducing the record 



146 The Clipper Ship Era 

by another 12 days. This passage astonished every 
one, even her warmest admirers, and well it might, 
for it has never been equalled by a ship of her 
tonnage and not often excelled even by larger ves- 
sels. This performance of the Sea Witch was the 
more remarkable as she had rounded Cape Horn 
during the Antarctic midwinter. 

The remainder of the fleet arrived in the follow- 
ing order: Memnon, September 27th, 123 days; 
Celestial, November 1st, 104 days ; Race Horse, from 
Boston, November 24th, 109 days; and the Man- 
darin, November 29th, 126 days from New York. 
These were all fine passages, especially when we 
consider that none of the vessels was over 1100 tons 
register. The records show that from June 26 to 
July 28, 1850, seventeen vessels from New York 
and sixteen from Boston arrived at San Francisco, 
whose average passages were 159 days, so that even 
the Mandarin's passage of 126 days was very fast 
by comparison. We must remember also that none 
of these vessels had the advantage of using Maury's 
Wind and Current Charts, as at that time sufficient 
material had not been collected to perfect them. 

Navigators of all nationalities are deeply in- 
debted to Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury, 
U. S. N., for it was his mind that first conceived 
the idea of exploring the winds and currents of 
the ocean. Lieutenant Maury was a Virginian by 
birth, and in 1825 at the age of nineteen, entered 
the United State Navy as a midshipman on board 
the frigate Brandywine. In 1830 he was appointed 
sailing master of the sloop of war Falmouth, and 
ordered to the Pacific station. At this time, being 



Maury's Wind and Current Charts 147 

anxious to make a rapid passage round Cape Horn, 
he searched in vain for information relating to the 
winds and currents. His attention was thus di- 
rected to this subject, and it was upon this voyage 
that he conceived the design of his celebrated Wind 
and Current Charts. He also began at this time 
to write papers for the American Journal of Science 
which attracted much attention, and on his return 
he published a Treatise on Navigation which was 
made a text-book for the pupils of the Naval 
Academy at Annapolis. 

In 1842 Lieutenant Maury was placed in charge 
of the Depot of Charts and Instruments at Wash- 
ington, which afterwards became the National Ob- 
servatory and Hydrographic Office. Here he de- 
voted his attention to collecting and converting into 
systematic tables the valuable data contained in 
the old log-books of the United States warships, 
which he found stowed away as so much rubbish, 
and which had narrowly escaped being sold for 
junk. At the same time he presented a paper to 
the National Institute, recommending that all mer- 
chant ships be provided with charts of sailing direc- 
tions, " on which should be daily registered all 
observable facts relating to the winds, currents, and 
other phenomena of importance and interest, for 
the foundation of a true theory of the winds." 

A general use of these charts would have con- 
stituted one of the greatest exploring expeditions 
ever devised, but for a time it met with much 
opposition. Lieutenant Maury's first convert was 
Captain Jackson of the Baltimore ship D. G. Wright, 
trading to Rio Janeiro, who made rapid voyages 



148 The Clipper Ship Era 

with the aid of the Wind and Current Charts fur- 
nished by Lieutenant Maury. Soon there were many 
followers among American sea-captains, who gave 
their earnest co-operation and received great bene- 
fits in return, since all who kept Maury's Log, as it 
was called, were entitled to a copy of the Sailing 
Directions. 

In 1856 the captains and officers of a fleet of no 
less than a thousand merchant ships, sailing under 
the United States flag upon every sea and ocean, 
were recording daily and almost hourly observa- 
tions of the winds and currents. Under the British 
flag were to be counted the whole Navy of Great 
Britain and over one hundred merchantmen; under 
the flag of Holland, two hundred and twenty-five 
merchant ships and those of the Royal Navy. Be- 
sides these there were the ships of France, Spain, 
Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Prussia, Denmark, Swe- 
den, Norway, Russia, Chili, Bremen, and Hamburg, 
all co-operating and assisting this great scientist 
in his noble work. 

Maury's Physical Geography of the Sea (1853), 
the first work of the kind which appeared, ran 
through twenty editions and was translated into 
French, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, and Italian. This 
book treats of the clouds, winds, and currents of the 
ocean in a scientific yet attractive manner, dispel- 
ling the last of the sea myths which for ages had been 
the delight of poets and the terror of sailors, and in 
their stead relating a story of scientific discovery 
of greater wonder and beauty than any fable. 

Maury's researches had, however, a very practical 
side to them. Hunt's Merchants' Magazine for 







vx I; 



Matthew Fontaine Maury 



Maury's Wind and Current Charts 149 

May, 1854, states that on the outward passages 
alone from New York to California, Australia, and 
Eio Janeiro, American ships, through the use of 
Maury's Sailing Directions, were saving in time 
the sum of |2,250,000 per annum, and it is probable 
that could an estimate have been made of the sav- 
ing in time to all of the ships using the Sailing 
Directions, the total amount must have consider- 
ably exceeded $10,000,000 per annum. 

It should be remembered that this result had 
been accomplished without expenditure of monev, 
beyond the moderate salaries of Maury and his staff 
of assistants, and the insignificant cost of printing 
the blank log-books, charts, and sailing directions. 

Sea-captains of all nations regarded Lieutenant 
Maury as a wise counsellor and faithful friend, while 
France, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Russia, 
Prussia, Austria, Portugal, and Sardinia, all either 
conferred upon him orders of knighthood or struck 
medals in his honor. 

In 1861, Lieutenant Maury resigned the oflflce of 
Chief Superintendent of the National Observatory 
and Hydrographic Office, deeming it his duty as a 
Virginian to take the side of his State at the out- 
break of the Civil War. Upon this occasion he re- 
ceived letters of invitation from the Grand Duke 
Constantine offering him residence in Russia and 
every facility for continuing his scientific re- 
searches. A similar offer was made by Prince 
Napoleon on behalf of France, and also by the 
Archduke Maximilian of Austria. In 1866 a pecu- 
niary testimonial was presented to Lieutenant 
Maury at Willis's Rooms, London, where he was 



150 The Clipper Ship Era 

entertained by English naval officers and scientific 
men of the highest distinction, Sir John Parkington 
being chairman. England, France, Russia, and 
Holland contributed 3000 guineas, a substantial 
token of their esteem and gratitude for his labors 
in the service of mankind. 

On one occasion Secretary of the Navy, Graham, 
wrote to Lieutenant Maury as follows: 

" Indeed, I doubt whether the triumphs of navi- 
gation and the knowledge of the sea, achieved under 
your superintendence of the Observatory, will not 
contribute as much to an effective Naval Service 
and to the national fame as the brilliant trophies 
of our arms." 

Maury died in 1873, in his sixty -seventh year, an 
American scientist whose life was devoted to dis- 
covering the secrets of the sea, and to the welfare 
of seamen, irrespective of rank or nationality. In 
h;menting his death, the Senate of Virginia closed 
its resolutions with this eulogy: 

" An honor to Virginia, an honor to America, and 
an honor to civilization, and in gratefully recogniz- 
ing this we do but honor ourselves." 



CHAPTER X 

CALIFORNIA CLIPPERS OF 1851 AND THEIR COMMAND- 
ERS — A DAY ON BOARD THE " WITCH OF THE WAVE " 

A LITTLE more than sixty thousand tons of 
shipping had been launched from the ship- 
yards in and near New York during the year 1850, 
and over thirty thousand tons were still under 
construction there when the year closed, while the 
total tonnage of vessels built in the United States 
that year was 306,034 tons. 

At this period the California clippers increased 
rapidly in size. Ships of a new type from 1500 to 
2000 tons register, of which the Stag-Hound was the 
pioneer, were now being built, and ship-builders 
were called upon to deal with the problem of fit- 
ting wooden spars and hemp rigging that would 
stand the stress and strain of the enormous amount 
of canvas that these powerful vessels were expected 
to carry. The rigging and handling of this new 
type of long-limbed clipper, with her unexplored 
peculiarities, gave ship-builders and sea-captains 
some serious thinking and the ship lovers of South 
Street' something to talk about and argue over. 

Thirty-one California clippers were launched dur- 
ing the year 1851, and almost all the large ship- 

iSi 



152 The Clipper Ship Era 

yards along the Atlantic seaboard were represented 
by one or more. Donald McKay built the Flying 
Cloud, Flying Fish, and Staffordshire; William H. 
Webb, the Challenge, Invincihle, Comet, Gazelle, and 
Sword-Fish; Fernald and Pettigrew, of Portsmouth, 
the Typhoon; Jacob A. Westervelt & Sons, the Hor- 
net and N. B. Palmer; George Raynes, the Wild 
Pigeon and Witch of the Wave; Smith & Co., of 
Hoboken, the Hurricane; Perrin, Patterson & Stack, 
of Williamsburg, the Ino; Briggs Bros., of South 
Boston, the Northern Light and Southern Gross; 
Hood & Co., of Somerset, the Raven; J. 0. Curtis, 
of Medford, the Shooting Star; J. Williams, the 
Tornado, Isaac Taylor, of Medford, the Syren; 
Trufant & Drummond, of Bath, the Monsoon, and 
Jacob Bell, the Trade-Wind. 

It would be impossible to name the handsomest 
of these ships, for while they were all of the same 
general design, each possessed her special type of 
beauty; and beauty, as we all know, is elusive, de- 
pending largely on fashion and individual taste. 
In order to attract the favorable attention of ship- 
pers and to secure the highest rates of freight, it 
was necessary that these ships should be handsome 
as well as swift. Ship-owners were content to spend 
large sums of money, not only upon refined decora- 
tion, which was but a small portion of the ex- 
pense, but also in carefully selected woods, such as 
India teak and Spanish mahogany for deck fittings, 
and in the finest shipwright's and joiner's work 
about the decks, which were marvels of neatness 
and finish. 

Ship-builders certainly had every incentive to ex- 



California Clippers of 1851 153 

ercise their best skill upon these vessels; they re- 
ceived pretty much their own prices for building 
them, and each ship, as she sailed out upon the 
ocean, held in her keeping the reputation of her 
builder, to whom a quick passage meant fame and 
fortune. Six of the clipper ships launched in 
1851, the Flying Cloud, Comet, Sword-Fish, Witch 
of the Wave, Ino, and Northern Light, established 
speed records that have not yet been broken, and 
as time rolls on, the probability that they ever will 
be, becomes less and less. 

The Flying Cloud was originally contracted for 
by Enoch Train, the good friend of Donald McKay, 
but while on the stocks she was sold to Grinnell, 
Minturn & Co., under whose flag she sailed for a 
number of years. Mr. Train used to say that there 
were few things in his life that he regretted more 
than parting with this ship. She was 1783 tons 
register, and measured: length 225 feet, breadth 
40 feet 8 inches, depth 21 feet 6 inches, with 20 
inches dead-rise at half floor. Her main-yard was 
82 feet and her mainmast 88 feet in length, and 
like all the large clippers of her day, she carried 
three standing skysail yards; royal, topgallant and 
topmast studdingsails at the fore and main, square 
lower studdingsails with swinging booms at the 
fore; single topsail yards, with four reef bands in 
the topsails; single reefs in the topgallant sails, 
and topsail and topgallant bowlines. 

She was commanded by Captain Josiah Perkins 
jCjee^sy, who was born at Marblehead in 1814. Like 
ihost boys who were brought up along the coast of 
Massachusetts Bay, he began his career by being 



154 The Clipper Ship Era 

skipper and all hands of a borrowed thirteen-foot 
dory, with the usual leg-o'-mutton sail, and steered 
by an oar over her lee gunwale. In these dories 
water was carried in a strong earthen jug with a 
stout handle to which a tin drinking-cup was usu- 
ally attached, while a wooden dinner-pail, such as 
the Gloucester fishermen used in those days, con- 
tained provisions. When the rode line was coiled 
down clear with the killick stowed away forward, 
and the dinner-pail, wooden bailer, and water jug 
had been made fast with a lanyard to the becket 
in the stern sheets, the famous Cape Ann dory was 
about ready for sea. 

Joe Creesy was a genuine boy, large and strong 

for his age, freckled, good-tempered, and fond of 

rowing, sailing, and fishing. When he got to be 

thirteen or fourteen years old, he used to get some 

one to lend him a dory, and in this, during his 

summer vacation, he would make short cruises to 

Beverly and sometimes to the neighboring port of 

Salem. Here he would loiter about the wharves, 

watching an Indiaman discharge her fragrant cargo, 

or perhaps some ship fitting out for another voyage 

to India or China; and he would gaze up in wonder 

and admiration at the long tapering masts, with 

their lofty yards and studdingsail booms, and what 

appeared to him to be a labyrinth of blocks and 

slender threads. The ships' figureheads, especially 

those representing warriors and wild animals, 

pleased Joe mightily, and the spare spars, gratings, 

capstans, boats, guns, and shining brass work, all 

delighted his heart. Occasionally he would behold 

a sea-captain who had really sailed to Calcutta and 



California Clippers of 1851 155 

Canton, and the bronzed mariner was to him a being 
quite apart from other mortals. 

At that time Salem retained much of the spicy, 
maritime flavor of the olden days, and these pleas- 
ant summer cruises to the old seaport naturally 
captivated the boy's imagination, until he yearned 
for the time when he, too, might stand upon the 
quarter-deck in command of a noble ship. It would, 
of course, have been sinful to keep a boy like this 
on land, so he was permitted to follow his inclina- 
tion and ship before the mast on board of a vessel 
bound for the East Indies. He advanced steadily 
through all the grades on shipboard, and became a 
captain at twenty-three. 

When Captain Creesy was appointed to command 
the Flying Cloud, he was well known in New York, 
as he had commanded the ship Oneida, for a number 
of years in the China and East India trade, and 
bore a high reputation among ship-owners and un- 
derwriters, many of whom were his personal friends 
and associates. 

TheFlyingFish was owned by Sampson & Tappan, 
who, with George B. Upton, were the leading Bos- 
ton ship-owners of their day, and between them 
owned the largest and finest clipper ships belonging 
to that port. These firms were composed of men 
in the prime of life, who enjoyed owning fast and 
handsome vessels. They cared for nothing but the 
best in design, construction, and equipment, and 
fitted out their ships with spare gear, stores, and 
provisions upon a most generous scale. The Flying 
Fish was 1505 tons register and measured: length 
198 feet 6 inches, breadth 38 feet 2 inches, depth 



156 The Clipper Ship Era 

22 feet, with 25 inches dead-rise at half floor. Her 
commander, Captain Edward Nickels, had sailed 
out of Boston for a number of years in command 
of the ship Jolin Quincy Adams, and was a fine sea- 
man and navigator. He was fond of entertaining 
his friends while in home and foreign ports, and his 
jolly little lunches and dinners were regarded as 
models of refined hospitality on shipboard. Com- 
mander John A. H. Nickels, U. S. N., is a son of 
Captain Edward Nickels. 

Mr. Webb's Challenge, a still larger merchantman 
than had yet been constructed, was regarded with 
pride by the shipping men of New York. The 
Challenge registered 2006 tons, and measured: 
length 230 feet 6 inches, breadth 43 feet 6 inches, 
depth 27 feet 6 inches, with 42 inches dead-rise at 
half floor. Her mainmast was 97 feet and main- 
yard 90 feet in length, and the lower studdingsail 
booms were 60 feet long; with square yards and 
lower studdingsails set, the distance from boom 
end to boom end was 100 feet. She carried 12,780 
running yards of cotton canvas, which was woven 
especially for her by the Colt Manufacturing Com- 
pany. Her mainsail measured : 80 feet on the head, 
100 feet on the foot, with a drop of 47 feet 3 inches, 
and 49 feet 6 inches on the leach. She had four 
reefs in her topsails, and single reefs in her top- 
gallant sails, and carried skysails, studdingsails, 
and ringtail. She was owned by N. L. & G. Gris- 
wold, of New York, and was commanded by Captain 
Robert H. Waterman, late of the Sea Witch. 

The InvinciMe, owned by J. W. Phillips and 
others, of New York, was 1767 tons register, and 



California Clippers of 1851 157 

measured : length 221 feet, breadth 41 feet 6 inches, 
depth 24 feet 10 inches. She was commanded by 
Captain H. W. Johnson, a gentleman who possessed 
a merry wit and a vivid imagination. Some of his 
experiences by land and sea, as related by himself, 
were certainly startling, and he told them with a 
minuteness of detail and an earnestness of manner 
that carried conviction equal to the most realistic 
illusions of the drama. There was one story about 
a mutiny on board the British brig Diadem, of 
which vessel Johnson said he was second mate. 
This craft carried a Lascar crew, and was in the 
Bay of Bengal, bound from Calcutta to Hong-kong 
with a cargo of opium, when a mutiny broke out 
in which all hands took part with such ferocious 
valor that the second mate and the serang, both 
badly wounded, were the only survivors. 

The listeners are shown the dead bodies of Euro- 
peans and Asiatics, lying about the blood-stained 
deck under the fierce rays of the southern sun, and 
we breathe the tainted air, while chattering cor- 
morants and screeching fishhawks tear the thin 
clothing of the corpses into shreds and fight with 
claw and beak over the decaying flesh. Johnson 
and the serang, so widely separated by blood, lan- 
guage, and religion, now united by a bond of com- 
mon suffering, help each other to crawl into the 
caboose for shelter from the heat and from the 
birds of prey. Now we hear the gentle chafing of 
the gear aloft, and the lazy slatting of the sails, 
as the brig rolls upon the long, glassy swell; we 
see the sun sink beyond the ocean's rim in a glory 
of gold and purple that illumines the zenith and 



158 The Clipper Ship Era 

turns the sea into a lake of fire; and we feel the 
benediction of the cool twilight and whispering 
breeze. 

In the silence of the night, the two men, weak 
from loss of blood, drag themselves aft to the de- 
serted cabin ; Johnson lowers himself down the 
companion and gropes his way to the pantry, where 
he finds food to share with his companion. In the 
captain's cabin he finds a decanter of brandy and 
a tumbler in the rack at the foot of the berth; 
he fills the glass and pours the spirit down his 
parched throat to brace his shattered nerves, then 
fills the glass again and takes it to the serang, but 
the faithful follower of Mahomet refuses to lift it 
to his burning lips. We live with them as they 
work their little vessel back to the muddy waters 
of the Hooghly and sight a pilot brig lying at 
anchor on her station, and their joy is ours when 
the pilot, with his leadsman, servant, and boat's 
crew, comes on board. Again these unfortunate 
men, haggard and still sufifering from their wounds, 
are being tried in an Anglo-Indian Court of Justice 
under a charge of murder on the high seas, and we 
hear the judge pronounce their solemn sentence of 
death. 

The scenes to which I have referred were so real 
that it seemed as if Johnson, while describing them, 
must have believed this story himself, and it was 
interesting to note the efifect upon those who heard 
it for the first time, when, after giving a circum- 
stantial account of the miraculous escape of the 
serang and himself from the Calcutta prison during 
the night before they were to be hanged, he would 



California Clippers of 1851 159 

cheerfully remark, " Well, now, I call that a pretty 
good yarn to spin out of nothing." Then some one, 
perhaps a lady, might say, "Why, Captain John- 
son, is it not true?" and he would smile pleasantly 
and reply, "True? Why bless your soul, I never 
heard of a brig called the Diadem, and never was 
in Calcutta in my life." He had a number of these 
stories, and in China we never tired of listening 
to them. 

Captain Johnson was an uncommonly able man 
and a most agreeable companion. He remained in 
command of the Invincible for several years, and 
in the early sixties he took in succession three frail 
wooden side-wheel river steamboats, the Fire Dart, 
Fire Cracker, and Fire Queen, from New York 
round the Cape of Good Hope to China, with no 
accident or mishap — a remarkable achievement. In 
1866, Captain Johnson was the navigator, but 
not in command, of the yacht Testa in her race 
with the Henrietta and Fleetwing across the 
Atlantic. 

The Comet was 1836 tons register, and measured : 
length 229 feet, breadth 42 feet, depth 22 feet 8 
inches. She was owned by Bucklin & Crane, of 
New York, and was commanded by Captain E. C. 
Gardner, late of the Celestial, in whose hands she 
gained a high reputation for speed. 

The Sword-Fish was owned by Barclay & Living- 
ston, of New York, and was 1036 tons register; 
length 169 feet 6 inches, breadth 36 feet 6 inches, 
depth 20 feet. Although not so extremely sharp as 
the larger ships built by Mr. Webb during that 
year, she was quite as handsome, and while com- 



i6o The Clipper Ship Era 

manded by Captain Babcock she eclipsed them all 
in speed. 

Captain David Sherman Babcock, brother-in-law 
of Captain N. B. Palmer, was born at Stonington 
in 1822, and came of a distinguished family, his 
father being Major Paul Babcock and his grand- 
father Colonel Harry Babcock of Revolutionary 
fame. He received the usual New England school 
education of those days, which appears to have 
been a sufficient equipment for some of the most 
useful men that the United States has yet produced. 

As a boy David developed a strong desire for a 
seafaring life, which cannot be wondered at, as at 
that period Stonington and the neighboring town of 
Mystic were flourishing seaports, whose ships sailed 
to every quarter of the globe, and whose jovial 
mariners kept the social atmosphere well charged 
with shadowy visions of strange lands, ancient tem- 
ples, pagodas, palms, and coral isles lying in dis- 
tant tropical seas. The departure of a ship with 
colors flying, the crisp, incisive orders of her cap- 
tain and mates, and the clomp, clomp, clomp, of the 
windlass pawl, the songs of the sailors heaving up 
anchor, the hum of the running gear as it rendered 
through the blocks, and the music of their straining 
sheaves to the last long pulls on sheets and hall- 
iards, were a more potent means of recruiting 
bright, young boys, soon to become mates and cap- 
tains of American ships, than all the press-gangs 
that were ever heard of. 

So it came about that young Babcock, at the age 
of sixteen, was allowed to ship as boy before the 
mast with Captain Nat Palmer on board the Hiler- 



California Clippers of 1851 i6i 

nia, and later he sailed again with Captain Palmer 
as an officer on board the Qarrick. After making 
voyages to India and China on board of various 
ships, he was appointed at the age of twenty-five 
to command the ship Gharlestown on a voyage to 
Callao and Lima. In 1850, Captain Babcock mar- 
ried Charlotte, the youngest daughter of Joseph 
Noyes, of Stonington, and W. I. Babcock, the well- 
known naval architect and engineer, who first in- 
troduced the scientific construction of steel vessels 
on the Great Lakes, is their son. 

The Typhoon was owned by D. & A. Kingsland, 
of New York, and was commanded by Captain 
Charles H. Salter, who was born at Portsmouth in 
1824, and an ancestor of his. Captain John Salter, 
commanded a vessel in the European trade during 
Colonial times, and for generations the Salters had 
sailed out of Portsmouth in command of ships. Cap- 
tain Charles Salter went to sea at an early age, 
and at twenty-two commanded the ship Venice and 
later the Samuel Badger. 

The Typhoon was 1610 tons register, and meas- 
ured : length 225 feet, breadth 41 feet 6 inches, depth 
23 feet. She was fully rigged on the stocks and 
was launched with skysail-yards aloft and colors 
flying. Before loading for San Francisco she was 
sent by her owners to Liverpool and made the pas- 
sage from Portsmouth during the month of March 
in 13 days, 10 hours from wharf to dock. She fre- 
quently ran 15% knots by the log on this passage, 
her best day's run being 346 miles. At Liverpool 
she attracted much attention, as she was not only 
the first American clipper, but also the largest 



1 62 The Clipper Ship Era 

merchant ship that had ever been seen at that 
port. 

The N. B. Palmer was 1490 tons register, and 
measured: length 214 feet, breadth 39 feet, depth 
22 feet. She was owned by A. A. Low & Brother, 
and was commanded by another brother, Captain 
Charles Porter Low. He was born at Salem in 
1824, and when a child removed with his parents 
to Brooklyn. At any early age he manifested a 
decided liking for ships and the society of sailors, 
and much against the wishes of his parents, he de- 
termined to go to sea. In 1842 he shipped as boy 
before the mast on board of the Horatio, with Cap- 
tain Howland and made the round voyage to China. 
He made a voyage to Liverpool with Captain Gris- 
wold in the Toronto as ordinary seaman, and was 
an able seaman on board the Courier to Eio Janeiro. 
He then sailed as third, second, and chief mate of 
the Houqiia, with the brothers. Captain Nat, Alex- 
ander, and Theodore Palmer, and at the age of 
twenty-three took command of that ship. As we 
have seen, he also commanded the Samuel Russell 
on her first voyage to San Francisco. 

The 2V. B. Palmer was perhaps the most famous 
ship built in the Westervelt yard. In China she 
was known as " the Yacht," and with her nettings 
in the tops, brass guns, gold stripe, and her lavish 
entertainments on the Fourth of July and Washing- 
ton's Birthday, she well deserved the title. Her 
captain was a princely host, as well as a thorough 
seaman, and a fine navigator. A full-rigged model 
of the N. B. Palmer was exhibited at the Crystal 
Palace, London, in 1851, and attracted much at- 



California Clippers of 1851 163 

tention as a fine example of the American clipper- 
ship type. 

The Hurricane was owned by C. W. & H. Thomas, 
of New York, and registered 1607 tons. She had 
the reputation of being the sharpest ship ever built 
at or near New York, and she carried plenty of 
canvas, with Cunningham's rolling topsails, being 
one of the first American vessels so fitted. Across 
the . lower part of her foretopsail she carried her 
name painted in large black letters that could be 
read much further than any signals and looked very 
smart and shipshape. Her commander. Captain 
Samuel Very, was born at Salem in 1815, and was 
a son of John Crowninshield Very, a mariner who 
had sailed on many a brave Salem ship. Among 
other experiences, he was one of the survivors of 
a shipwreck in mid-ocean during the year 1810, 
when he was picked up by a passing vessel after 
twenty-three days in an open boat. Admiral Samuel 
W. Very, U. S. N., is a son of Captain Samuel Very, 
and was born at Liverpool while the Hurricane lay 
in the Mersey. 

The Northern' Light, of 1021 tons register, meas- 
ured: length 180 feet, breadth 36 feet, depth 21 
feet 6 inches. She was a very sharp ship below 
the water-line, with 40 inches dead-rise at half floor, 
and full, powerful lines above water and on deck. 
She was built by the Briggs Brothers at South 
Boston, and owned by James Huckins of Boston. 
Mr. Huckins was a jolly, kind-hearted gentleman 
whom every one liked. His house-flag was a white 
field, swallowtail, with a blue star in the centre, 
and when he took his two sons into partnership, 



164 The Clipper Ship Era 

he placed two exceedingly small blue stars in the 
upper and lower luff of the flag, as he remarked, 
" to rejpresent their interest in the business." 
This, however, was his joke, as he was most liberal 
in every way. After this ship had made her cele- 
brated record passage from San Francisco to Bos- 
ton, Mr. Huckins usually closed his discussions upon 
the speed of clipper ships by saying, " Well, anyway, 
none of them can beat my Northern Light." 

The Trade Wind measured: length 248 feet, 
breadth 40 feet, depth 25 feet, and was 2030 tons 
register, being 24 tons larger than the Challenge. 
Those two ships were the largest clippers that were 
ever built at or about New York, and with the ex- 
ception of the Ocean Monarch, a packet ship of 
2145 tons register, built by William H. Webb in 
1856, were the largest sailing ships ever constructed 
at that port. The Trade Wind was an exceedingly 
sharp and handsome ship, and attracted a great 
deal of attention. It was estimated that more than 
thirty thousand persons gathered about Jacob Bell's 
shipyard at the foot of Houston Street, East River, 
one bright morning in August of that year to see 
her launched. She was owned by W. Piatt & Son, 
of Philadelphia, and was commanded by Captain 
W. H. Osgood, late of the ship Valparaiso. 

The Nightingale, one of the most beautiful clip- 
pers launched in 1851, was not built for the Cali- 
fornia trade, but was originally intended for a 
yacht. This ship was constructed by Samuel Hans- 
corn, at Portsmouth, with the intention of carrying 
passengers to the World's Pair, held in London 
during that year, and was fitted with extensive and 




o 
ho 

a 
be 



^ 



California Clippers of 1851 165 

luxurious accommodations for that purpose, her 
between-decks being given up to large saloons and 
staterooms. It was proposed, after her arrival at 
London, to exhibit her in the Thames as a model 
American clipper ship, and no expense or skill was 
spared to make her a worthy representative. She 
was 1066 tons register, length 178 feet, breadth 36 
feet, depth 20 feet, with 36 inches dead-rise at half 
floor. 

Unfortunately, when the Nightingale was nearly 
completed, and ready for launching, her owners fell 
short of money. Mr. Hanscom, however, carried 
out his contract, and the ship was finished and 
then put into the hands of Governor Goodwin, of 
Portsmouth, to dispose of, each sub-contractor 
agreeing to accept his pro rata share of the pro- 
ceeds. She was taken to Boston and there attracted 
the attention of Sampson & Tappen, who were so 
well pleased with the ship that they gladly paid 
the sum of |75,000 for her. This left the sub- 
contractors, such as sparmakers, sailmakers, riggers, 
and blockmakers, an additional profit beyond their 
contract, and Mr. Hanscom also realized a larger 
amount than he would have received under the 
original contract. So great was the excitement 
over the news from California, and so keen the 
demand for clippers at this time, that almost 
any of them could have been sold for a substan- 
tial advance upon their contract price. Those were 
the palmy days of the ocean carrying trade, 
and at no period before, or since, have ships 
yielded such golden harvests to their builders and 
owners. 



1 66 The Clipper Ship Era 

The Witch of the Wave registered 1494 tons, and 
measured: length 202 feet, breadth 40 feet, depth 
21 feet, with 40 inches dead-rise at half floor. Her 
mainmast was 90 feet and her mainyard 81 feet in 
length. Though built at Portsmouth, she was owned 
by Captain John Bertram and Alfred Peabody, of 
Salem, and was the pride of that ancient seaport. 
It was usual in those days for owners to entertain 
on board their ships when favorable opportunity 
offered, so the trip of the Witch of the Wave from 
Portsmouth to Salem to obtain her register was 
made an occasion of festivity. 

The first of May was the day selected, but lower- 
ing clouds and squalls of wind and rain decided 
Captain Bertram to postpone the cruise until more 
favorable weather, and those of his guests who had 
appeared upon the scene were rewarded by an op- 
portunity to examine the ship at their leisure. They 
found her a very handsome vessel, with grace and 
beauty in every line and curve of her hull. Her 
decks were remarkably clear, with plenty of room 
for working ship, and the between -decks had more 
than ample head room and were well ventilated. 
Her figurehead represented a young woman par- 
tially clad in gossamer drapery of white and gold, 
with one shapely arm extended and her small bare 
feet lightly stepping upon the crest of a wave, while 
the stern was ornamented with a seashell in which 
a child was being drawn by dolphins. These de- 
signs were executed by John W. Mason, of Boston, 
and were of decided artistic merit. The cabins and 
staterooms were finished in the most luxurious man- 
ner, the wainscot of the main cabin being of rose- 



California Clippers of 1851 167 

wood, birdseye maple, satin and zebra wood, 
exquisitely polished, with cornices and mouldings 
of white and gold. 

After an inspection of the ship lunch was served, 
and Ephraim F. Miller, Collector of the Port of 
Salem, proposed the following toast : " Success to 
the newest and youngest of the Salem Witches. 
She perhaps includes in her composition an equal 
amount of craft with her unfortunate predecessors. 
Had they possessed a proportional share of her 
beauty, we are confident that the sternest tribunal 
before which any of them were arraigned, would 
never have had the heart to subject a single one 
to the trial to which their successor is designed — 
the Trial by Water." This sentiment was received 
with applause by the company, who then separated, 
some returning to Salem by train, while others 
remained over night, to be ready for the next day 
in case the weather improved. In the evening 
the Raynes Mansion was the scene of generous 
hospitality. 

During the night the sky cleared, the sun came 
up warm and bright with a pleasant northwesterly 
breeze, and the early morning found Portsmouth in 
a state of bustle and excitement. Wagons laden 
with hampers, bags, and boxes of good things, with 
plenty of ice to keep them cool, were unloaded 
alongside the ship, and presently the B. B. Fories 
appeared steaming up the river with a big bone 
in her teeth, the embodiment of energy and strength. 
The morning train came in, bringing a large number 
of men and women, from Boston, Salem, and New- 
buryport, who, with the Portsmouth guests, made 



1 68 The Clipper Ship Era 

a distinguished company of more than two hundred 
persons. 

At about eleven o'clock, everything being ready, 
the Witch of the Wave, with colors flying and the 
Boston Cadet Band on board playing " The Star- 
Spangled Banner," was towed out into the stream 
amid the shouts and cheers of a multitude of 
people, who thronged the wharves and shipyards 
along the river. After passing through the Narrows 
and rounding New Castle Point, the B. B. Forltes, 
which had been towing alongside, took her hawser 
out ahead and shaped a course for Cape Ann, which 
brought the wind well over the starboard quarter. 
The breeze had freshened, though the sea was still 
quite smooth, and this, with the clear, blue sky and 
bright sunshine, made a day altogether too fine to 
be spent on shore. 

Many of those on board were interested to see 
what effect some canvas would have on the new 
clipper, so Mr. Raynes said to/ Captain Bertram 
that he thought it might perhaps be a good plan 
to set some sail, " just to assist the tow-boat a 
little." Captain Bertram, with a twinkle in his eye, 
said he thought so, too, and gave orders to loose 
the topsails, jib, and foretopmast staysail. The 
Witch of the Wave had a crew of Portsmouth 
riggers, shipped by the run to Boston, and it did 
not take them long to put the topsails on her. As 
soon as the yards were braced, she began to dart 
through the water like a fish, and soon ranged up 
on the weather beam of the B. B. Forhes, the hawser 
towing between them with the bight skipping along 
among the blue waves in showers of sparkling spray. 



On the "Witch of the Wave" 169 

On board the B. B. Forles the safety valve was 
lifting, with steam at thirty pounds pressure mur- 
muring in protest to the breeze. There was great 
joy on board the Witch of the Wave, with clapping 
of hands and waving of handkerchiefs, while the 
band struck up " A Life on the Ocean Wave." The 
log was hove, and she took nine and one half knots 
off the reel. The topsail yards were then lowered 
on the caps, and the reef tackles hauled out, yet 
with only this small canvas, the B. B. Forces did 
not have much towing to do. 

After rounding Thacher's Island, a banquet was 
served on tables in the between-decks, which were 
decorated with the ensigns of all nations, and at 
the close of the entertainment speeches were made 
by E. H. Derby, a grandson of Salem's great mer- 
chant of that name, Charles H. Parker, Henry N. 
Hooper, and the Hon. Charles W. Upham; then the 
following resolution was adopted with hearty 
cheers : 

" Ship Witch of the Wave, 
" OfiE Salem Light, May 2, 1851. 
" At a meeting of invited guests, held this after- 
noon, it was unanimously 

" Besolved — That the ladies and gentlemen here 
assembled gratefully acknowledge the courtesy, kind- 
ness, and generous hospitality of Captain John 
Bertram and the other owners of the Witch of the 
Wave, on this festive day, and tender their best 
wishes for the success of this noble vessel. 

" E. H. Derby, Chairman. 
" Charles H. Parker, Secretary." 



lyo The Clipper Ship Era 

After this, Jonathan Nicholas, of Salem, recited 
the following impromptu lines : 

" I wonder what 's the dreadful row 
They 're kicking up in Portsmouth now ! 
The people running up and down 
Crying ' All Salem 's come to town ! ' 

Clear the track, the ship is starting! 
Clear the track, the ship is starting! 
Clear the track, the ship is starting! 
And Portsmouth hearts are sad at parting. 

" They say a man came down to-day 
To carry the Witch of the Wave away; 
And the people think he ought n't oughter 
Just because he 's been and brought her. 

" They called it rainy yesterday, 
But I know better, anyway ; 
'T was only Portsmouth people crying 
To see the good ship's colors flying! 

" But Captain B. said, ' Hang the sorrow ! 
The sun is bound to shine to-morrow.' 
And when he speaks it 's no use talking — 
So the clouds and the blues, they took to walk- 
ing. 

" And so to-day the sun shines bright, 
And Salem sends her heart's delight; 
And the good ship flies, and the wind blows free. 
As she leaps to her lover's arms — the sea! 



On the "Witch of the Wave" 171 

" They have crowded her deck with the witty and 
wise, 
The saltest wisdom and merriest eyes ; 
And manned her yards with a gallant crew 
That it tickles her staunch old ribs to view. 



" They say she 's bound to sail so fast 
That a man on deck can't catch the mast ! 
And a porpoise trying to keep ahead, 
Will get run over and killed stone dead. 



" Then here 's a health to the hands that wrought 

her, 
And three times three to the mind that thought 

her 
For thought 's the impulse, work 's the way 
That brings all Salem here to-day. 

" Clear the track, the ship is starting ! 
Clear the track, the ship is starting! 
Clear the track, the ship is starting! 
And Portsmouth hearts are sad at parting." 



Repeated rounds of applause greeted this efiEusion, 
and the company went on deck, where music called 
the dancers to their feet. The wind had died out, 
and as the sun began to set in the west, the Witch 
of the Wave anchored in Salem harbor. The day's 
pleasure was brought to a close by a portion of 
the company singing these lines of Whittier's that 
had been set to music for the occasion : 



172 The Clipper Ship Era 

" God bless her wheresoe'er the breeze 
Her snowy wings shall fan, 
Beside the frozen Hebrides 
Or sultry Hindostan ! 

" Where'er, in mart or on the main, 
With peaceful flag unfurled. 
She helps to wind the silken chain 
Of commerce round the world. 

" Her pathway on the open main 
May blessings follow free, 
And glad hearts welcome back again 
Her white sails from the sea ! " 

The guests were landed in boats at Phillips's 
wharf, in time to reach their homes by the early 
evening trains, and on the following day the R. B. 
Forbes towed the Witch of the Wave to Boston, 
where she loaded in Glidden & Williams's Line for 
San Francisco, under the command of Captain J. 
Hardy Millett. 



CHAPTER XI 

CALIFORNIA CLIPPER PASSAGES OF 1851 

EACH of the clippers had her devoted admirers, 
who gave tangible proof of loyalty by invest- 
ing money liberally in support of their belief in 
her speed. At that period the merchants and ship- 
owners of Boston used to meet " on 'change " in 
front of the old Merchants' Exchange in State 
Street, and before going home to their comfortable 
two o'clock dinners, these old-time gentlemen would 
lay many a quiet wager upon the Northern Light, 
Flying Fish, Witch of the Wave, Raven, John Bert- 
ram, Shooting Star, or Game Cock as to their rela- 
tive speed and the length of their passages from 
Boston to San Francisco. 

In New York the Astor House was the meeting- 
place of merchants, ship-builders, and sea-captains, 
who carried on endless arguments concerning the 
merits of the clipper ships, their builders, owners, 
and captains, and discussed the latest shipping news 
with untiring earnestness. These men knew whereof 
they spoke, for almost any evening there was suffi- 
cient capital represented by ship-owners to pay for 
half a dozen clippers, and the men were there also 
who could build and navigate them. Occasionally 
an argument would reach a point of animation 

173 



174 The Clipper Ship Era 

where something had to be done, and one might 
hear a remark very much like this : " No, no, 
Henry, I can't do that, but I will lay five dol- 
lars at one to three on the Challenge against 
the fleet, bar one, or the same even on the Flying 
Cloud against the N. B. Palmer." These were 
pleasant evenings, gay with the clink of mugs 
and glasses and the murmur of small talk and 
laughter rippling among wreaths of smoke from 
fragrant Havanas, until, at a little before ten, 
Michael, the venerable barkeeper would announce, 
" Gentlemen, I will take the last orders of the 
evening; we close in ten minutes." 

The interest in clippers was not confined to sea- 
men and capitalists, for when the mail steamer 
from Aspinwall was reported toiling up the bay, 
there would be a large number of persons patiently 
waiting on the wharf, who were not expecting 
friends among the passengers or crew, but who 
had come to hear the latest news, then five or six 
weeks old, of arrivals of clipper ships at San 
Francisco. 

The first clipper to arrive at San Francisco from 
New York in 1851 in less than 110 days was the 
Heaman, a smart little Baltimore ship of 546 tons. 
She made a flue passage of 107 days, arriving on 
March 11th. 

The second to arrive was the Surprise. A mer- 
chant of San Francisco wagered heavily on her 
beating the passage of the Sea Witch— ^1 days— 
of the year before, and as the time limit grew near 
he began to feel rather nervous. On the morning 
of her ninety-sixth day out, March 19th, he thought 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 175 

if the Surprise was going to win his money for 
him it was about time for her to do it, so he 
mounted his horse and rode over to the North 
Beach to get a glimpse of her if she was in sight. 
He found the weather thick outside and so returned, 
but he had not reached his counting-room before 
the Surprise had passed the Golden Gate. And by 
noon, Captain Dumaresq was with his friends on 
shore, 96 days from New York. The Surprise had 
sailed 16,308 miles since leaving Sandy Hook, and 
had reefed topsails but twice. It should not, how- 
ever, be supposed that she had not had plenty of 
wind, for it was usually blowing hard when Cap- 
tain Dumaresq began to think of taking in his 
topgallantsails, to say nothing of reefing topsails. 
A list of her cargo on this voyage filled a manifest 
twenty-five feet long, and her freight amounted to 
the sum of |78,000. 

The Sea Serpent arrived on May 17th, after putting 
into Valparaiso for repairs, as she had lost spars 
and sails off Cape Horn. She had made the pas- 
sage in 115 days, deducting her delay at Valparaiso. 
This was the first of a series of disasters which be- 
fell the clippers that year, and which proved pretty 
clearly that their power of carrying canvas had 
been underestimated. It became quite evident that 
these ships could stand stouter spars and rigging, 
and indeed required them. 

The Eclipse, Captain Hamilton, also went into 
Valparaiso with the loss of some of her spars and 
sails, and allowing for her loss of time in port, 
made the passage from New York to San Francisco 
in 112 days, arriving May 20th, with the remarkable 



176 The Clipper Ship Era 

run of 63 days from New York to Valparaiso to 
her credit. Captain Hamilton was not only an ac- 
complished mariner, but a most delightful compan- 
ion, and he had many friends in San Francisco, 
some of whom gave a dinner at the Niantic Hotel 
in honor of his arrival on this occasion. When the 
proper moment came, one of the party proposed 
the health of Captain Hamilton, and this is the way 
he did it: 

" Gentlemen ! I give you the shipper-clips — the 
clippy — sh — the, gentlemen, I give you the — ^the 
slipper." Here he paused, steadied himself by 
the table edge, bowed with great dignity, and began 
again very slowly : " Gentlemen ! — I — give — ^you — 
the — ship — E — clipse, and her gallant cap'n Hamil- 
ton," and then with an at-peace-with-all-the-world 
grin, this disciple of Silenus subsided. 

The Niantic had a curious history, even for a 
San Francisco hotel. This refuge for the traveller, 
or rather a portion of it, had originally been the 
British ship Niantic which arrived at Valparaiso 
from Liverpool just as the California gold fever 
was at its height. She was bought by a Chilean 
merchant and started for Panama, where she loaded 
a cargo of tropical fruits and two hundred and 
forty-eight passengers, and arrived at San Fran- 
cisco, July 5, 1849. Most of the fruit had either 
been devoured by the passengers or become so de- 
cayed that it was thrown overboard, and as soon 
as the anchor was down, the captain and all hands 
cleared out for the mines, leaving the ship to take 
care of herself. 

After some months of neglect, she was bought 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 177 

by a real estate speculator, who hauled her broad- 
side to on the beach, at what was then the foot of 
Clay Street, and turned her into a warehouse. By 
degrees the old craft found herself embedded in 
some ten or twelve feet of sand and mud at a con- 
siderable distance from the water-front, but she 
made more money for her owner here than at any 
.other time in her career, until one of the periodical 
fires swept away her top sides. The rest of her 
hull, which being below ground had escaped de- 
struction, became the cellar of the Niantic Hotel, 
erected over her remains, and had the reputation 
of being the only tight and dry cellar in the 
neighborhood. 

In the course of time the Niantic Hotel was torn 
down to make room for a more substantial building, 
and upon clearing away the d§bris to secure a more 
solid foundation, thirty-five baskets of champagne 
were discovered hidden away among the floor tim- 
bers of the old hull, where they had remained un- 
molested for some twenty-one years. So faithfully 
had the wine been bottled and so dry had been its 
resting-place, that there was not a speck of rust 
on the wires securing the corks, and the labels were 
as fresh as the day they were put on, while the 
wine was found to have retained much of its ori- 
ginal sparkle and bouquet. It was the then cele- 
brated Jacquesson Fils brand, which at the time 
of its arrival might easily have been sold for |25 
a bottle. I am not sure that it did not sell at nearly 
its former value, for almost every one in San Fran- 
cisco in 1870 needed at least one bottle with which 
to celebrate the anniversary of his arrival " in the 



178 The Clipper Ship Era 

fall of Forty-nine or the spring of Fifty," and thirty- 
five baskets would seem a small allowance for that 
vast and increasing multitude. 

The Stag-Hound arrived May 26th. She sailed 
from New York in January, and when six days out 
in a heavy southeast gale, her maintopmast and 
three topgallantmasts came down by the run. She 
was without a maintopsail for nine days and with-, 
out topgallantsails for twelve days; nevertheless, 
she crossed the equator 21 days from Sandy Hook, 
arrived at Valparaiso in 66 days under jury rig, 
and, allowing for her detention there, reached San 
Francisco 107 days from New York. Captain 
Richardson reported that she was a very fast ship 
in moderate breezes, while in strong winds she fre- 
quently logged sixteen and seventeen knots, although 
her best day's run was only 358 miles. 

The Witchcraft arrived August 11th. She, too, 
had suffered aloft and put into Valparaiso for spars 
and repairs, and, allowing for this delay, she had 
made the passage from New York in 103 days. The 
N. B. Palmer arrived August 21st in 108 days, and 
the Flying Cloud on August 31st in 89 days — a pas- 
sage never surpassed and only twice equalled — once 
three years later by the Flying Cloud herself, and 
once in 1860 by the Andrew Jackson, 

The Flying Cloud's abstract log on this passage 
is as follows: 

Sandy Hook to the equator 21 days. 

Equator to 50° S 25 

50° S, in the Atlantic to 50° S. in Pacific. 7 

50° S. to the equator 17 

Equator to San Francisco 19 

Total _^ 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 179 

It was during this passage that the Flying Cloud 
made her famous run of 374 miles, while steering to 
the northward and westward under topgallantsails, 
after rounding Cape Horn. This was the fastest 
day's run, under steam or sail, that had ever been 
made up to that time, and exceeded by 42 miles the 
best day's run that had ever been made by a mail 
steamship on the Atlantic. A few extracts from 
her log will, I think, be of interest: 

" June 6th (three days out from New York). Lost 
main and mizen topgallantmasts, and maintopsail 
yard. — June 7th. Sent up main and mizen topgal- 
lantmasts and yards. — June 8th. Sent up main- 
topsail yard. — June 14th. Discovered mainmast 
badly sprung about a foot from the hounds, 
and fished it. — July 11th. Very severe thunder 
and lightning, double reefed topsails, split fore and 
maintopmast stay sails. At 1 p.m. discovered main- 
mast had sprung, sent down royal and topgallant 
yards and studding sail booms oflE lower and topsail 
yards to relieve strain. — July 13th. Let men out 
of irons in consequence of wanting their services, 
with the understanding that they would be taken 
care of on arriving at San Francisco. At 6 p.m., 
carried away the maintopsail tye and band round 
mainmast. — July 23d. Cape Horn north five miles. 
The whole coast covered with snow. — July 31st. 
Fresh breezes, fine weather, all sail set. At 2 p.m. 
wind southeast. At 6 squally; in lower and top- 
gallant studding sails; 7, in royals; at 2 a.m. in 
foretopmast studding sail. Latter part, strong 
gales and high sea running. Ship very wet fore 
and aft. Distance run this day by observation is 



i8o The Clipper Ship Era 

374 miles. During the squalls 18 knots of line was 
not suflQcient to measure the rate of speed. Top- 
gallantsails set. — August 3d. At 3 p.m. suspended 
first officer from duty, in consequence of his arro- 
gating to himself the privilege of cutting up rig- 
ging, contrary to my orders, and long-continued 
neglect of duty. — August 25th. Spoke barque 
Amelia Packet, 180 days from London for San 
Francisco.— August 29th. Lost foretopgallant mast. 
— August 30th. Sent up foretopgallant mast. 
Night strong and squally. Six a.m. made South 
Farallones bearing northeast i/^ east; took a pilot 
at 7; anchored in San Francisco harbor at 11:30 
A.M. after a passage of 89 days, 21 hours." 

An analysis of this remarkable log shows that 
during twenty-six consecutive days the Flying Cloud 
had sailed a distance of 5912 miles, an average oi 
227 miles a day, or within a fraction of 91/^ knots, 
and for four consecutive days 284, 374, 334, 264 — a 
total of 1256, or 314 miles per day, an average speed 
of 13^2 knots. This splendid passage of the Flyinff 
Cloud reduced by one quarter the clipper-ship record 
of 120 days made by the Memnon two years before, 
and established a new record that stands to-day. 

This grand ocean exploit was celebrated in San 
Francisco with rejoicing, as every American in the 
town felt, now that the voyage round Cape Horn 
had been made in three months, that he was nearer 
to his old home in the East; while in the Atlantic 
seaports the news was received with enthusiasm, 
and was regarded by the press not only as a per- 
sonal victory for the owners, builder, and captain 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 i8i 

of the Flying Cloud, but as a triumph of the United 
States upon the sea. One of the New York papers * 
in the course of an editorial remarked : " Such a 
passage as this is more than a local triumph, and 
inures to the reputation not alone of the builder 
of the ship and her enterprising owners, but of the 
United States. It is truly a national triumph, and 
points clearly and unmistakably to the pre- 
eminence upon the ocean which awaits the United 
States of America. The log of the Flying Cloud 
is now before us. It is the most wonderful 
record that pen ever indited, for rapid as was the 
passage, it was performed under circumstances by 
no means the most favorable." 

The Challenge arrived October 29th, 108 days 
from New York — a fine passage, certainly, but not 
what her friends had hoped or expected. She had 
on this voyage a large but very poor crew — incom- 
petent and mutinous — indeed, some of them were 
among the most desperate characters that ever 
sailed out of the port of New York. It was only after 
the ship had passed Sandy Hook and the pilot had 
been discharged that Captain Waterman began 
fully to realize what a gang of ruffians he had to 
deal with. He seriously considered taking the ship 
back to New York for another crew, and a less reso- 
lute man probably would have done so; but he 
realized that it would mean a heavy expense to 
the owners, as each of the crew had received three 
month's advance wages, which would have to be 
paid over again to another crew, besides other ex- 
penses and loss of time and disappointment to the 

^New York Commercial, October 8, 1851. 



1 82 The Clipper Ship Era 

shippers of cargo, so he decided to protect every 
one but himself and kept the ship on her course. 

The crew of the Challenge consisted of 56 men 
before the mast, supposed to be able seamen, and 
8 boys. Of the men in the forecastle only two were 
Americans, the remainder representing most of the 
maritime countries of Europe. So soon as Captain 
Waterman decided to continue the voyage, he made 
his plans quickly. After giving some orders to Mr. 
Douglas, his chief officer, he called all hands aft 
and manufactured a speech in which, among other 
things he said that the men would find that they 
were on board of a good comfortable ship, with 
plenty to eat and very little work to do; but when 
the officers gave them orders they must obey will- 
ingly and quickly; that he hoped none of them had 
brought spirits or weapons on board, as such things 
were apt to make trouble at sea. This camp-meeting 
discourse occupied perhaps fifteen or twenty min- 
utes, during which the mates, carpenter, sailmaker, 
and boatswain were employed in the forecastle 
breaking open chests and boxes, emptying bags, and 
gathering up bottles of rum, knuckle-dusters, sling- 
shots, bowie-knives, and pistols which they threw 
over the side. After the watches were chosen, each 
man was made to lay his knife on the main hatch, 
where the carpenter broke the point of the blade 
off square. 

It was found that only six men among the crew 
could steer the ship properly; these were made 
quartermasters and did nothing else during the 
passage except to lend a hand making and taking 
in sail. Fully one half of the crew who had shipped 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 183 

as able seamen were not sailormen at all, but black- 
legs of the vilest type, who had taken this means 
of getting to the California gold mines. It also 
developed that many of the men had contracted a 
loathsome disease, most difficult to cure at sea, and 
at one time seventeen of the crew were laid up and 
ofif duty. Captain Waterman had the sailroom 
turned into a sick bay, but although these men 
received every care, five of them died, and eight 
were still in their berths when the Challenge arrived 
at San Francisco. 

For some time after sailing from New York, Cap- 
tain Waterman and his officers were always armed 
when they came on deck, but after a while the crew 
appeared to be in such good shape that this pre- 
caution gradually became neglected, until, one morn- 
ing off Rio Janeiro, while Captain Waterman was 
taking his sights, he heard shouts for help from 
the main deck. He at once laid down his sextant 
and hurried forward to find the mate, Mr. Douglas, 
with his back to the port bulwark just abaft the 
main rigging, defending himself with bare fists 
from four of the crew armed with knives, who were 
attacking him. As Captain Waterman ran along 
the main deck he pulled a heavy iron belaying pin 
out of the rail, and using this with both hands as 
a club, he dealt a terrific blow on the skull of each 
of the would-be assassins, which laid them out on 
deck — two of them dead. Mr. Douglas had ■ re- 
ceived no less than twelve wounds, some of them of 
a serious nature ; indeed, he barely escaped with his 
life. From that time the officers always carried arms, 
and there was no further trouble with the crew. 



184 The Clipper Ship Era 

Off Cape Horn three men fell from aloft, one of 
whom was drowned while two struck the deck and 
were killed. The bodies of the men who died were 
sewn up in canvas with holystones at their feet, 
and were buried in the sea. Captain Waterman 
read the funeral service over their remains, but the 
ship was not hove to as the braces were never al- 
lowed to be started except when absolutely neces- 
sary, owing to the difficulty and danger of handling 
the yards with such an inferior crew. The bodies 
of the two men who attempted to murder the chief 
officer were taken from where they fell and lowered 
into the sea. Many years afterward Captain Water- 
man told me that he could not bring himself to 
read the Christian burial service over these corpses, 
but that he gave the crew permission to take the 
bodies forward, and offered them canvas, holystones, 
and a prayer-book with which to hold their own 
service, but none of the crew would volunteer to 
bury these men. 

The Challenge had moderate winds the whole pas- 
sage, excepting a succession of westerly gales off 
Cape Horn, and with her wretched crew besides, 
there was really no opportunity properly to test 
her speed. Her best day's run was only 336 miles, 
with the wind abeam and skysails set. She was 55 
days from Sandy Hook to Cape Horn, thence 34 
days to the equator in the Pacific, and 19 days from 
the equator to San Francisco. The great wonder 
is, not that Captain Waterman made such a fine 
passage, but that he succeeded in getting his ship 
to San Francisco at all. 

Soon after the Challenge rounded to and let go 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 185 

anchor, in San Francisco Bay, she was boarded by 
a throng of crimps and runners who at once took 
the crew and their dunnage ashore. There was 
nothing unusual in this, for it happened nearly 
every day, captains and mates being powerless to 
prevent it. A gang of longshoremen would then be 
sent aboard at wages of from |3 to $5 an hour each, 
to heave up anchor, put the ship alongside the wharf, 
stow sails and clear up the decks. As these pros- 
perous sons of toil were never in much of a hurry, 
it usually required from four to five hours to finish 
up these jobs, and meant a heavy expense to the 
ship-owner for work that should have been done by 
the crew. 

When the crew of the Challenge got on shore, 
some of them had terrible tales to tell about their 
hardships and privations during the voyage; how 
they had been nearly starved to death; how some 
of the crew had starved to death or been murdered, 
and their bodies hove overboard like dead rats, and 
how six men had been shot from the mizzentopsail 
yard in a gale of wind off Cape Horn. According 
to these blatant imposters, no such floating hell as 
the Challenge had ever before set sail upon the 
ocean, and as for Captain Waterman, he was a 
blood-thirsty, inhuman navigator, the like of whom 
had never been seen or heard of, since the days 
when Noah put his ship ashore among the moun- 
tains of Ararat. All this was, of course, profitable 
material for journalists, one impetuous knight of 
the pen actually proposing that Captain Waterman 
should be burned alive, until finally the publisher 
of this attack became frightened for his own safety, 



1 86 The Clipper Ship Era 

as he had incited the most dangerous set of men, 
perhaps, that ever existed in any seaport — ticket-of- 
leave from Australia, cut-throats from New Mexico, 
and drainings from the social gutters and cesspools 
of European ports. 

At this moment San Francisco happened to be 
in one of the numerous stages of reform through 
which that amazing city has passed. It had re- 
cently emerged from a reign of lawlessness and 
mob rule under the guidance of a Vigilance Com- 
mittee, and while this admirable body of citizens 
was not yet disbanded, it had in a measure relaxed 
its grasp upon public affairs. Now, a number of 
the newly-converted thugs, murderers, and outlaws 
of the town, whose necks had narrowly escaped the 
hangman's noose, formed themselves into a new 
"Vigilance Committee," to deal with Captain 
Waterman and the officers of the Challenge. These 
outcasts, crafty and unscrupulous as they were, 
possessed neither the courage nor the mental capa- 
city to carry out their own plans. They accord- 
ingly called a public meeting, held somewhere among 
the sandhills, at which it was decided to " execute " 
Captain Waterman and his officers " on sight," and 
then burn or scuttle the vessel at her wharf. Nat- 
urally, the real Vigilance Committee were the first 
to learn of these proceedings, and at once took the 
captain and officers under their protection, holding 
themselves in readiness to scatter the mob should 
this measure become necessary. 

The crowd that gathered at the sandhills con- 
sisted of two or three hundred men who had lately 
been hunted from one end of San Francisco to the 







in 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 187 

other, and had prudently kept themselves stowed 
away in order to escape the righteous wrath of the 
Vigilance Committee. One can scarcely conceive 
anything more grimly grotesque than the spectacle 
of these inexperienced reformers, in their red flan- 
nel shirts and black slouched hats with pistols 
and bowie-knives stuck in their leather belts, and 
trousers tucked into the tops of their cowhide boots, 
the odor of the gin palace and dance-hall clinging 
to their unwashed skins and clothing, as they 
wended their way to Pacific Wharf, where the 
Challenge lay moored, and demanded that Captain 
Waterman and his officers be delivered over to them 
for purposes of justice. 

As might have been expected, these gentlemen had 
vanished and no one but a few members of the 
Committee knew where they were. So finding that 
Captain John Land had been placed in command 
of the ship, the mob seized this venerable seaman, 
and for more than an hour wrangled among them- 
selves as to whether they should shoot, drown, or 
hang him in place of Captain Waterman. They, 
however, concluded to hold him as a hostage, and 
walked their white-haired prisoner up to the office 
of Alsop & Co., the agents of the Challenge. By 
this time, the crowd had been considerably aug- 
mented and numbered about two thousand men, who 
filled the air of California Street with yells, curses, 
lewd jests, and ribald songs. They again demanded 
from the agents that their intended victims be given 
up, and six of the ringleaders forced their way with 
crowbars and axes into the house of Alsop & Co. 
At this point the bell of the Monumental Fire En- 



1 88 The Clipper Ship Era 

gine House began to toll — the well-known signal 
that called the Vigilance Committee to arms — and 
long before the Marshal had finished reading the 
Riot Act, the mob had dispersed with alacrity. 

Captain Waterman was not the man to submit 
quietly to such attacks upon his character and con- 
duct, and he at once offered to meet any charge that 
might be brought against him before a proper legal 
tribunal. When no one appeared, he demanded that 
a full investigation be made into the facts of the 
voyage of the Challenge. It then appeared, from 
the testimony of a portion of the crew, that a large 
number of the men who had shipped in New York 
as able seamen were grossly incompetent and des- 
perately mutinous; that the food had been of the 
best, in fact, the same quality of beef, pork, and 
flour that had been used in the cabin had also been 
served to the crew without stint, and that no more 
punishment had been inflicted by the officers than 
was necessary to maintain proper discipline for 
the safety of the ship and her cargo. 

It also appeared that from the time the ship 
sailed from New York until the time of her arrival 
at San Francisco, Captain Waterman had never 
been out of his clothes except to change them, and 
had never slept in his berth, but had taken such 
rest as he could find upon the the transom in his 
chart-room near the companionway. He was com- 
mended for his skill and courage in bringing his 
vessel safely into San Francisco without the loss 
of a spar, sail, or piece of rigging. It is therefore 
humiliating to record that neither the owners of the 
Challenge nor their underwriters, for both of whom 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 189 

Captain Waterman had saved thousands of dol- 
lars, ever had the courtesy to make the slightest 
acknowledgment of his services, although they were 
well aware of their obligation in this matter. It 
is, however, some consolation to know that he asked 
and needed nothing at their hands. 

As we already have seen, Captain Waterman had 
taken the Pacific Mail steamship Northerner from 
New York to San Francisco in 1850, and fully in- 
tended at that time to retire from the sea. He 
was then forty-two years old, and had passed thirty- 
two years upon the ocean ; he possessed ample means, 
with a- portion of which he bought four leagues 
of land in Solano County, California, and it was 
only at the earnest solicitation of N, L. & G. Gris- 
wold, the owners of the Challenge, that he con- 
sented to take her from New York to San Francisco 
in this year. He was now free to attend to his 
own affairs. Together with Captain A. A. Richie, 
he founded the town of Fairfield, California. In 
1852, he was appointed Port Warden and Inspector 
of Hulls at the port of San Francisco, a position 
he held for twenty-eight years. He then retired to 
his farm, where he died in 1884, at the age of 
seventy-six. Probably no man in California was 
more widely known or more highly respected. 

One of the best ocean races of 1851 was that 
between the Raven,/ Captain Henry ; the Typhoon, 
Captain Salter, and the Sea Witch, Captain Frazer. 
These clippers sailed for San Francisco nearly to- 
gether: the Sea Witch passed out by Sandy Hook 
on August 1st, followed by the Typhoon on August 
4th, while the Raven passed Boston Light on Au- 



190 The Clipper Ship Era 

gust 6th. All had able commaBders, who carried 
Maury's wind and current charts to assist them. 
In this month of light and baffling breezes a quick 
run to the equator was hardly to be expected, but 
these clippers threaded their way across the calm 
belt of Cancer, ran down the northeast trades, and 
drifted through the doldrums, with surprising speed. 
The Sea Witch still kept her lead at the equator, 
crossing on August 30th, closely followed by the 
Raven and the Typhoon, which crossed together on 
the 31st, so that the Baven had gained four and the 
Typhoon two days on their swift competitor. They 
all weathered Cape St. Roque and stood away to 
the southward for a splendid dash of over three 
thousand miles through the southeast trades and 
the strong westerly winds further south, all cross- 
ing the parallel of 50° S. in the same longitude, 64° 
W. The Raven had gained another day on the 
Sea Witch and these two clippers were now side 
by side, with the Typhoon only two days astern. 

Here began one of the keenest races ever sailed 
upon the ocean. They all stood to the southward 
with studdingsail booms and skysail yards sent 
down from aloft, with extra lashings on the boats, 
spare spars, and skylights, while all hands hard- 
ened their hearts for a thrash to windward round 
Cape Horn. On this desolate ocean the clippers 
raced from horizon to horizon in heavy westerly 
gales and a long, fierce, sweeping head sea. For 
fourteen exciting days and nights, with single- 
reefed, double-reefed, close-reefed topsails, reefs in 
and reefs out, their keen, watchful captains made 
use of every lull and slant to drive their ships to 



Galifornia Clipper Passages of 1851 191 

the westward of Cape Horn, across the great, 
broad-backed, white-crested seas. The Sea Witch 
and Raven were having it out tack for tack, some- 
times one and then the other gaining an advantage, 
both carrying sail to the utmost limit of prudence, 
lifting their long, sharp bows to the wild, surging 
seas, the cold spray flying across their decks and 
blue water swirling along their lee waists, each 
handled with consummate skill, and not a spar car- 
ried away or rope parted. The Typhoon in hot 
pursuit, was pressing the two leaders and slowly 
closing upon them, for her greater length and power 
helped her here. Finally the Sea Witch and Raven 
emerged from this desperate contest side by side, 
as they had entered it, both crossing latitude 50° 
S. in the Pacific in fourteen days from the same 
parallel in the Atlantic. The Typhoon had now 
gained another day, and was within twenty-four 
hours' sail of each. 

Clear of Cape Horn they all went away fast to 
the northward, rushing through the southeast trades 
with studdingsails, skysails, water-sails, and ring- 
tails — every yard of canvass set that would draw. 
On this stretch to the equator, the Sea Witch fairly 
flew through the water, and crossed in 22 days from 
50° S., leading the Raven 2 and the Typhoon 4 days. 
They now stood to the northward, close-hauled on 
the starboard tack, for their final struggle. Here 
again length and power counted in favor of the 
Typhoon, and she came up with the Sea Witch and 
Raven, leading them both into port; the Raven, too, 
for the first time fairly headed the Sea Witch. The 
Typhoon glided through the Golden Gate, November 



192 The Clipper Ship Era 

18th, 106 days from Sandy Hook; the Baven, No- 
vember 19th, 105 days from Boston Light, and the 
Sea Witch, November 20th, 110 days from Sandy 
Hook. Here is a brief abstract from their log-books : 

Raven Typhoon Sea Witch 

To the equator in the At- 
lantic 25 days 27 days 29 days. 

From the equator to 50° S.. 21 " 23 " 22 " 

From 50° S. in the Atlantic 

to 50° S. in the Pacific. 14 " 13 " 14 " 

From 50° S. to the equator. . 24 " 25 " 22 " 

From the equator to the 

Golden Gate 21 " 18 " 23 " 



Total 105 " 106 " 110 " 

This was a great victory for the Raven, the only 
ship of her tonnage that ever outsailed the iSfeo 
Witch, to say nothing of vanquishing the large and 
famous Typhoon, a ship more than double her size. 
It should, however, be remembered with regard to 
the Sea Witch, that she was at that time over five 
years old, and had led a pretty wild life under 
Waterman, while she had known no peace with 
Prazer in command, and had been strained and 
weakened by hard driving. Moreover, a wooden 
ship, after five or six years, begins to lose her speed 
through absorbing water, and becomes sluggish in 
light airs. In her prime and at her best with 
Waterman in command, the Sea Witch was prob- 
ably the fastest sailing-ship of her inches ever 
built. 

The California clippers were, of course, racing all 
the time, against each other and agaiq^t the record, 



California Clipper Passages of 1851 193 

and the strain upon their captains in driving their 
ships against competitors whose relative positions 
were unljnown, was terrific. It became a confirmed 
habit with them to keep their ships going night and 
day in all weathers and at their utmost speed. 

In order to appreciate what a passage of 110 days 
or less from an Atlantic port to San Francisco 
really means, we must take a few of the long 
passages of 1851, made by ships that were not 
clippers: Arthur, from New York, 200 days; 
Austerlitz, Boston, 185 days; Barrington, Boston, 
180 days; Bengal, Philadelphia, 185 days; Capitol, 
Boston, 300 days ; Cornwallis, New York, 204 days ; 
Franconia, Boston, 180 days; Henry Allen, New 
York, 225 days; Inconium, Baltimore, 190 days. 
The logs of these vessels tell of long, weary days 
and nights of exasperating calms, and dreary, heart- 
breaking weeks of battle with tempests off Cape 
Horn. 

Some of the vessels built in 1851 did not take 
part in the races of that year, as they were not 
launched until too late; and did not arrive at San 
Francisco before 1852. Those among them which 
became most famous were the Hurricane, Comet, 
Northern Light, Flying Fish, Staffordshire, Trade 
Wind, Sword-Fish, and Shooting Star. We shall 
hear of them later. 

The record of San Francisco passages for 1851 
should not be closed without mention of the pilot- 
boat Fanny, of 84 tons; length 71 feet, breadth 18 
feet 4 inches, depth 7 feet 2 inches, built by Daniel 
D. Kelly at East Boston in 1850. This schooner 
was commanded by Captain William Kelly, a brother 



194 The Clipper Ship Era 

of her builder, and arrived at San Francisco Feb- 
ruary 18, 1851, 108 days from Boston. She passed 
through the Straits of Magellan and thus saved a 
considerable distance; but even allowing for this, 
her passage was a very remarkable one for a vessel 
of her tonnage, and reflects much credit upon the 
skill and courage of her captain and his plucky 
companions. 



CHAPTER XII 

AMERICAN COMPETITION WITH GREAT BRITAIN IN THE 
CHINA TRADE 

THE California clippers, after discharging their 
cargoes at San Francisco, either returned in 
ballast round Cape Horn, or continued their voy- 
ages across the Pacific and loaded cargoes at 
Asiatic ports for the United States or Great Britain. 
Some of the ships which sailed to China from 
San Francisco, raced across the Pacific in ballast, 
touching at the Sandwich Islands only long enough 
to back the main yard off Diamond Head and send 
the mails ashore with perhaps a missionary or two. 
In those days the Kanaka maidens used to swim 
off alongside the ships, and they were probably 
the nearest approach to mermaids that has ever 
been known in real life. The Stag-Hound made the 
passage from San Francisco to Honolulu in 9, and 
the Flying Cloud and Surprise in 12 days each. 
The Flying Cloud sailed 374 miles in twenty-four 
hours, the day after leaving San Francisco, with a 
fresh whole-sail breeze and smooth sea, under sky- 
sails and royal studdingsails. The Southern Cross 
made the passage from San Francisco to Hong-kong 
in 32, and the Game-CocTc in 35 days, the run of 
the Oame-Cock from Honolulu to Hong-kong in 19 

195 



196 The Clipper Ship Era 

days being most remarkable. When these and 
other fast American vessels loaded again in China 
for English ports, they, of course, added to the 
competition from which British ships were already 
suffering. 

We have seen how the Oriental brought a cargo 
of tea from China to England in 1850, and what 
interest her appearance excited in London. She 
was soon followed by the Surprise, White Squall, 
Sea Serpent, Nightingale, Argonaut, Challenge, and 
other clipper ships built for the California trade. 
These American clippers received from £6 to £6, 
10s freight per ton of forty cubic feet, with im- 
mediate despatch, while British ships were loading 
slowly at £3, 10s per ton of fifty cubic feet. The 
American ships made fine passages and delivered 
their teas in excellent condition; but what espe- 
cially appealed to the Briton was the fact that 
they had cleared more than their original cost and 
running expenses on this, their first voyage. 

An able English wri(er,i referring to the Ameri- 
can clippers engaged in the China tea-trade at this 
period, remarks : " This new competition proved 
for a time most disastrous to English shipping, 
which was soon driven out of favor by the lofty 
spars, smart, rakish-looking hulls, and famed speed 
of the American ships, and caused the tea-trade of 
the London markets to pass almost out of the hands 
of the English ship-owner. British vessels well 
manned and well found are known to have lain in 
the harbor of Foo-chow for weeks together, wait- 

1 William John, in an article on clipper ships in Navd 
Science, vol. ii. (1873), p. 265. 



Competition in the China Trade 197 

ing for a cargo, and seeing American clippers com- 
ing in, loading, and sailing immediately with full 
cargoes, at a higher freight than they could 
command. 

" This soon became a matter of serious moment, 
and the arrival of these vessels in the Thames 
caused great excitement, and aroused no small 
amount of curiosity and criticism. Even the at- 
tention of the Government became attracted towards 
them, and draughtsmen were sent from the Ad- 
miralty to take off the lines of two of the most 
famous — the Challenge and the Oriental — when they 
were in Messrs. Green's drydock." 

This state of affairs could not, of course, con- 
tinue without further arousing British ship-owners 
and builders to the danger of their position. Here 
was not one vessel, but a fleet of American clippers 
bringing cargoes from China at double the rates of 
freight that British ships could command, and un- 
less some measures were adopted to check this in- 
vasion no one could predict where it might end. 
That British merchants paid so liberally to get their 
teas to a home market was certainly not because 
they cherished any special affection for American 
ships or their owners. They would have been quite 
as willing to pay British clippers the same freights, 
had there been any such to receive them, or even 
Chinese junks, provided the service could have been 
performed by them as quickly and as well. So we 
find the British ship-owners and builders of that 
period forced to exert their finest skill and most 
ardent energy. 

The firm of Jardine, Matheson & Co., of London 



198 The Clipper Ship Era 

and China, were the owners of the first clipper ship 
built in Great Britain. This vessel was the Storna- 
way, 506 tons, launched from the yard of Alexander 
Hall & Co., at Aberdeen, toward the close of 1850 
for the China trade. It will be recalled that this 
firm had built the clipper schooner Torrington, for 
the same owners, four years before. The new ship 
was named for Stornoway Castle, Lewis, one of 
the Hebrides Isles, which was then owned by Sir 
James Matheson, and to which he retired after his 
long and successful career as ship-owner and 
merchant in the China trade. 

It cannot be said that the Stornoway was a copy 
of any American model, as a comparison of dimen- 
sions will clearly show. Comparing her measure- 
ments with those of the American clipper barque 
Race Horse, of 512 tons register, built by Samuel 
Hall at East Boston in the same year, we find : 





Length 


Breadth 


Depth 


Stornoway 


157 ft. 8 in. 


25 ft. 8 in. 


17 ft. 8 in. 


Race Horse 


125 ft. 


30 ft. 


16 ft. 



"" Thus the Stornoway, while she exceeded the Race 
Horse by 32 feet 8 inches in length and by 1 foot 
8 inches in depth, yet had 4 feet 4 inches less 
breadth; and here began a contest, which extended 
over so many years, of breadth against length and 
depth. There can be no doubt that the Stornoway 
with more beam and the Race Horse with more 
length and depth, would have been faster, but at 
the same time considerably larger vessels.^ 

1 The various systems of calculating the tonnage of ves- 
sels which were in force in Great Britain prior to 1854, 




>» 

cd 



01 

E-i 



Competition in the China Trade 199 

The Stornoway was commanded by Captain 
Richard Robinson, and on her first voyage she made 
the passage from the Downs to Java Head in 80 
days, to Hongkong in 102 days, and from Hong- 
kong to London in 103 days. These were at that 
time the quickest passages between these ports that 
had ever been made by a British vessel. 

In 1851 Alexander Hall & Co. built the China 
tea-clipper Chrysolite, of 471 tons, for Taylor & 
Potter of Liverpool; length 149 feet 3 inches, 
breadth 29 feet, depth 17 feet. As will be seen 
this vessel approached more nearly the proportions 
of the Race Horse, having 8 feet 5 inches less length 
than the Stornoway, with 3 feet 4 inches more 
breadth, and 8 inches less depth. She made her 
first passage from Liverpool to Canton, under the 
command of Captain Anthony Enright, in 102 days, 
and came home in 104 days. She also made the 

(see Appendix iv.,) gave the breadth measurement a 
preponderating influence upon the result, and as taxation, 
port, and light dues, etc., were based upon the registered 
tonnage of a vessel, there was economy in decreasing the 
breadth of a vessel at the expense of the other dimen- 
sions. Ship-builders and owners in England showed a 
much greater tendency to profit by this feature of the 
law than did those in the United States, where substan- 
tially the same system was in force. In this country 
some very narrow vessels were built for the New Orleans 
and West India trade, in the period 1820-1845, but it was 
found that the saving in taxation did not pay for using 
such an undesirable type of vessels, so they were given 
up. As a rule, American owners and builders preferred 
to build vessels of a type which they regarded as the best 
for speed and for the trade in which they were engaged, 
without regard for the tonnage laws. 



200 The Clipper Ship Era 

passage from Liverpool to Java Head in 80 days, 
her best day's run being 320 miles. 

The very keen rivalry between the British and 
American clipper ships engaged in the China trade 
at this time, seems to have been stimulating to the 
imagination. W. S. Lindsay, in his History of 
Merchant Shipping (vol. iii., p. 291), relates an 
interesting story of one of the early races, and as 
I wish to do the narrative full justice, I give it in 
Mr. Lindsay's own words: 

" Mr. T. C. Cowper, of Aberdeen, himself a mem- 
ber of a well-known fehip-building firm in Aberdeen, 
who had spent some time in China at the period 
to which I refer, and to whom I am much indebted 
for the information connected with our struggles 
to maintain our position in that trade, gives the 
following graphic description of his voyage home 
in the Ganges, Captain Deas, belonging to Leith, 
one of the vessels we had sent forth after the repeal' 
of our Navigation Laws, to compete with the Ameri- 
cans in that trade : ' We loaded,' he says, ' new teas 
at Wampoa, and sailed on the first of September, 
1851. Two of the fastest American clippers, the 
Flying Cloud and Bald Eagle, sailed two or three 
days after us. A great deal of excitement existed 
in China about the race, the American ships being 
the favorites. The southwest monsoon being strong, 
the Ganges made a rather long passage to Anjer, 
but when we arrived there we found that neither 
of our rivals had been reported as having passed. 
We arrived in the English Channel on the evening 
of the 16th of December. On the following morn- 
ing at daylight we were off Portland, well inshore 



Competition in the China Trade 201 

and under short sail, light winds from the north- 
east, and weather rather thick. About 8 a.m. the 
wind freshened and the haze cleared away, which 
showed two large and lofty ships two or three 
miles to windward of us. They proved to be our 
American friends, having their Stars and Stripes 
flying for a pilot. Captain Deas at once gave 
orders to hoist his signals for a pilot also, and 
as, by this time, several cutters were standing out 
from Weymouth, the Ganges, being farthest inshore 
got her pilot first on board. I said that I would 
land in the pilot-boat and go to London by rail, 
and would report the ship that night or next morn- 
ing at Austin Friars. (She was consigned to my 
firm.) The breeze had considerably freshened be- 
fore I got on board the pilot cutter, when the Ganges 
filled away on the port tack, and Captain Deas, 
contrary to his wont, for he was a very cautious 
man, crowded on all small sails. The Americans 
lost no time and were after him, and I had three 
hours' view of as fine an ocean race as I can wish 
to see; the wind being dead ahead, the ships were 
making short tacks. The Ganges showed herself to 
be the most weatherly of the three; and the gain 
on every tack inshore was obvious, neither did she 
seem to carry way behind in fore reaching. She 
arrived off Dungeness six hours before the other 
two, and was in the London docks twenty-four 
hours before the first, and thirty-six hours before 
the last of her opponents.' " 

It is always unpleasant to spoil a really good 
story, but in this instance I feel constrained to 



202 The Clipper Ship Era 

point out that the Flying Cloud arrived at San 
Francisco on August 31, 1851, after her famous 
passage of 89 days from New York ; it is therefore 
difficult to understand how she could have sailed 
from Wampoa on the Canton Eiver on or about 
September 1st of that year, as stated by Mr. Cow- 
per; while the Bald Eagle was not launched until 
1852. 

On January 3, 1852, the Illustrated London 'News, 
which then, as now, had many readers in the United 
States, published a portrait of the Chrysolite accom- 
panying an article in which it was stated that both 
the Chrysolite and the Stornoway had beaten the 
Oriental and the Surprise, and that the Chrys- 
olite had completely beaten the Memnon during a 
race in the Caspar Straits. This article excited a 
good deal of interest in the United States, and it 
caused the formation by a number of high-spirited 
young merchants and ship-owners at Boston of a 
society called the American Navigation Club, which 
consisted of Daniel C. Bacon, President; Thomas 
H. Perkins, John P. Cushing, William H. Bordman, 
John M. Forbes, Warren Delano, and Edward King. 
In due time they issued the following challenge, 
which was published in all the leading shipping 
papers of Great Britain in September, 1852, and 
was copied into Bell's Life, at that period the great 
sporting publication of England: 

" The American Navigation Club challenges the 
ship-builders of Great Britain to a ship-race, with 
cargo on board, from a port in England to a port 
in China and back. One ship to be entered by each 



Competition in the China Trade 203 

party, and to be named within a week of the start. 
These ships to be modelled, commanded, and officered 
entirely by citizens of the United States and Great 
Britain, respectively. To be entitled to rank Al 
either at the American offices or at Lloyd's. The 
stakes to be £10,000 a side, satisfactorily secured 
by both parties, to be paid without regard to acci- 
dents, or to any exceptions, the whole amount for- 
feited by either party not appearing. Judges to 
be mutually chosen. Reasonable time to be given 
after notice of acceptance to build the ships if 
required, and also for discharging and loading 
cargo in China. The challenged party may name 
the size of the ships, not under 800 nor over 1200 
American registered tons; the weight and measure- 
ment which shall be carried each way; the allow- 
ance for short weight or over-size. Reference may 
be made to Messrs. Baring Bros. & Co. for 
further particulars. 

" Daniel C. Bacon, President." 

A few weeks later, on October 10, 1852, the fol- 
lowing comment appeared in Bell's Life: 

" It will be remembered early in the past month 
there was wafted across the broad Atlantic, from 
the American Navigation Club, a challenge to the 
ship-builders of Great Britain, which created no 
little interest, and which after the defeat, then just 
accomplished, of the magic yacht America by one 
of our own little island craft, gave rise to no 
inconsiderable speculation as to what might be the 
result of an acceptance of Brother Jonathan's pro- 



204 The Clipper Ship Era 

posal. . . . The Club by the last clause of their 
terms held themselves at liberty to withdraw the 
challenge should it not be accepted within thirty 
days. The limit of the time Is now expiring, and 
it is with no little disappointment that a letter re- 
ceived from the head of the eminent banking house 
of Baring & Co., was received in Boston a short 
time since, when it was found that he had nothing 
like an acceptance of the challenge to communicate 
to the American Club, but that, on the contrary, he 
had to report no inquiry as to the proposition. As 
a sort of enticement, however, to our ship-builders, 
the President of the American Navigation Club, 
Mr. D. C. Bacon, is authorized, should the present 
challenge not be accepted within thirty days, to 
allow the British vessels a start of fourteen days 
before the departure of the American craft. And 
also to allow us a crew picked from seamen experi- 
enced in voyaging between English and Chinese 
ports, while their own crew is to be composed of 
American seamen and officers whose experience is 
limited in sailing between China and English ports. 
The Americans, under the new conditions, are will- 
ing to augment the stake to £20,000, or any higher 
sum than the £10,000 of the present conditions most 
agreeable to us, but the last amount to be the 
minimum. The Americans want a match, and it 
reflects somewhat upon our chivalry not to accom- 
modate them." 

The London Daily News also published a leader 
in which it urged the importance to Great 
Britain of making good her claim to maritime su- 



Competition in the China Trade 205 

premacy by accepting the challenge and winning 
the race; but in spite of all that was said the 
challenge was not accepted. Had it been, Captain 
Dumaresq would have commanded the American 
ship, and Lieutenant Maury was to have prepared 
special wind and current charts for his assistance. 
As nearly all the American clippers had been con- 
structed for the California trade, it is probable 
that for an important race of this nature, two ships 
would have been built especially for the China trade, 
and very likely by Donald McKay and Samuel Hall, 
as the Flying Cloud, Flying Fish, Stag-Hound, 
Game-Cock, and Surprise had already placed these 
two in the front rank of clipper ship-builders. No 
reason was ever given for the non-acceptance of the 
challenge, though the inference seems obvious. 

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that 
the Stornaway and Chrysolite were not fast vessels; 
for they were probably the two fastest ships sailing 
under the British flag at that time, and were ably 
commanded, and on a China voyage, which is very 
different sailing from a San Francisco or Australian 
passage, would have given any ship afloat a run 
for her owner's money. The fitful uncertainty of 
the njonsoons in the China seas, with an occasional 
typhoon thrown in, has always rendered the voyages 
to and from China rather unsatisfactory tests of 
speed, and in this respect not to be compared with 
those to Australia or to San Francisco. 

The Stornoway and Chrysolite were soon followed 
by other British clipper ships, among them the 
Ahergeldie, of 600 tons register, built by Walter 
Hood & Co., of Aberdeen, in 1851. This vessel was 



2o6 The Clipper Ship Era 

named for an estate that adjoins Balmoral, at that 
time under a forty years' lease to Prince Albert, 
and carried a figurehead of His Royal Highness in 
full Highland costume. 

In 1852, Eichard Green, of London, built the 
Challenger, of 699 tons. This ship, owned by W. 
S. Lindsay, of London, was constructed with the 
avowed purpose of beating the Challenge of New 
York. A comparison of the dimensions of this 
ship and those of the Sword-Fish, 1036 tons, is 
interesting. 

Length Breadth Depth 

Challenger 174 ft. 32 ft. 20 ft. 

Sword-Fish 169 ft. 6 in. 36 ft. 6 in. 20 ft. 

The Challenger was commanded by Captain Kil- 
lick, who made eight China voyages in her, the best 
passage home being 105 days. Although she was 
never directly matched with her American rival, 
they both took part in an informal race from China 
in 1852, while the challenge of the Navigation Club 
was pending. The passages of the seven vessels, 
four American and three British, were as follows: 

Witch of the Wave Canton to Deal 90 days. 

Challenge Canton to Deal 105 

Surprise Canton to Deal 106 

Stornoway Canton to Deal 109 

Chrysolite Canton to Liverpool. .. 106 

Nightingale Shanghai to Deal 110 

Challenger Shanghai to Deal 113 

It is only fair to state that the Witch of the 
Wave, commanded by Captain Millett, sailed from 



Competition in the China Trade 207 

Canton, January 5th, in the height of the northeast 
monsoon, and made the run, remarkable even at 
that season of the year, of 7 days 12 hours from 
Canton to Java Head, while the three British clip- 
pers, Btornoway, Chrysolite, and Challenger, sailed 
later with a moderate monsoon, and the Challenge, 
Surprise, and Nightingale later still, when the mon- 
soon was less favorable. The rate of freight this 
year was £8 per ton, the highest that was ever paid. 

This race, if so it can be called, resulted in " win, 
tie, or wrangle " as it was claimed, for one reason 
or another, by every vessel engaged in it, and ended 
by Sampson & Tappan, of Boston, oflEering to match 
the Nightingale for £10,000 against any ship, Brit- 
ish or American, for a race to China and back. 
The rivalry of the American clipper ships among 
themselves was as keen as with those of Great 
Britain, and this challenge was intended for the 
Navigation Club, of Boston, of which Sampson & 
Tappan were not members, and for New York as 
well, quite as much as for the British clippers; but 
it found no response from either side of the Atlantic. 

The Nightingale was owned by Sampson & Tappan 
for a number of years, during which she made some 
exceedingly fast passages, under the command of 
Captain Samuel Mather. Among them were the 
passage from Portsmouth, England, to Shanghai, 
against the northeast monsoon, in 106 days in 1853 ; 
and during the year 1855 a passage from Shanghai 
to London in 91 days, and from Batavia Roads to 
London in 70 days, an average of 197 miles per 
day, her best day's run being 336 miles. 

The Surprise proved one of the most successful 



2o8 The Clipper Ship Era 

American clippers in the China trade. After her 
first Toyage she was for a number of years com- 
manded by the captains Charles Ranlett, father and 
son, and in their hands made many fine passages 
— she made eleven consecutive passages from China 
to New York in 89 days or less, six from Hong-kong, 
and five from Shanghai, the best being 81 days from 
Shanghai, in 1857. Among other fast passages from 
Canton to New York may be mentioned those of 
the Stag-Bound 85, 91, and 92 days; Flying Cloud, 
94 and 96 days; 2V. B. Palmer, 84 days; Comet, 
Panama, and Eurricane, each 99 days; Sword-Fish, 
80 days ; Sea Serpent, 88 days ; Vancouver, 96 days ; 
Mandarin, 89 days; but I am unable to find that 
Captain Waterman's passage of 77 days in the Sea 
Witch in 1848, and 78 days in the Natchez in 1845, 
from Canton to New York, have ever been beaten. 
In 1854 the Comet made a record passage of 84 
days from Liverpool to Hong-kong, an average of 
212 miles per day, and in the same year the Typhoon 
made the run from the Lizard to Calcutta in 80 
days. 

In Great Britain the Cairngorm, of 1250 tons 
register, was built in 1853 by Alexander Hall & 
Co., and owned by Jardine, Matheson Co. Between 
1853 and 1856 came the Crest of the Wave, Norma, 
Flying Dragon, Formosa, and Spirit of the Age, 
built by John Pile of Sunderland, and the Lord of 
the Isles (iron) by John Scott & Co., of Greenock. 
The ship last named registered 770 tons, measured: 
length 190 feet 9 inches, breadth 27 feet 8 inches, 
depth 18 feet 5 inches, and was an extremely sharp 
and handsome, though a very wet ship. It used to 



Competition in the China Trade 209 

be said that Captain Maxton, her commander, drove 
her into one side of a sea and out the other; at 
all events, she was generally known among sailor- 
men as the " Diving Bell." 

The British clippers of this type, which was ex- 
tremely sharp and narrow, very nearly held their 
own against the American ships, and it is much to 
be regretted that there never was a fair and square 
race between them; for no British and American 
clipper ships ever sailed from China near enough 
together to afford a satisfactory test of speed. 

The Lord of the Isles made the remarkable run 
from Shanghai to London in 1855 during the north- 
east monsoon of 87 days. In 1856 she sailed against 
the American clipper barque Maury, commanded by 
Captain Fletcher, from Poo-chow to London, both 
carrying new teas. In this year a premium of £1 
per ton on the freight was offered for the first 
ship home during the season. The reward was 
offered without regard to the length of the passage, 
and was intended to encourage quick despatch in 
loading as well as fast sailing. The Lord of the 
Isles finished loading and sailed four days ahead 
of the Maury. Both vessels arrived in the Downs 
on the same morning and passed Gravesend within 
ten minutes of each other, the Maury leading, but 
Captain Maxton, having the smartest tug, succeeded 
in getting his ship first into dock, and so won the 
prize. The Maury was an exceedingly pretty barque 
of about 600 tons, built by Roosevelt & Joyce, and 
owned by A. A. Low & Brother. She was a very 
similar vessel to the barques Fairy, Penguin, and 
Benefactor, by the same builders, all engaged in the 
14 



2IO The Clipper Ship Era 

China trade. The Lord of the Isles was the only 
tea-clipper built of iron at that time. It was found 
that she sweated her tea cargoes, though otherwise 
they were delivered in excellent condition, and she 
was certainly a very fast vessel. 

At this period (1853-1856) British iron ships, 
both sail and steam, were coming into favor for 
other trades, but their introduction had been slow. 
It is not easy at the present time to realize the 
difficulties attending the building of the first iron 
vessels. The rolling of iron plates to a uniform 
thickness was a matter requiring great care and 
skill, and a number of years elapsed before plates 
exceeded or even reached ten feet in length; then 
bending the frames and riveting the plates were 
difficult processes, only learned through much trial 
and experiment. In the early days, when an iron 
ship was completed, her owner's troubles had only 
begun. Finding a composition that would prevent 
fouling and at the same time not destroy the plates ; 
the adjustment of compasses, and devising effective 
means of ventilation, were all matters that required 
years of investigation and labor, to say nothing of 
the prejudice against iron vessels, which time and 
experience alone could overcome. Yet it was the 
skilful use of this stubborn metal in the construc- 
tion of ships, together with wise legislation, that 
enabled Great Britain to regain her empire upon 
the sea. 



CHAPTER XIII 

CALIFORNIA CLIPPERS OF 1852 — THE "SOVEREIGN OF 
THE SEAS " 

AS one by one the California clippers came home 
from Asiatic ports or round Cape Horn from 
San Francisco in 1852, it was found that almost all 
of them needed a pretty thorough overhauling aloft. 
The masts, spars, and rigging of the Flying Cloud 
were fine examples of the skill of her sailors in 
clapping on fishings, lashings, stoppers, and seiz- 
ings, while her topmast fids, crushed and broken, 
were taken up to the Astor House and exhibited 
to the admiration of the town. Her owners, Grin- 
nell, Minturn & Co., had her log from New York 
to San Francisco printed in gold letters on white 
silk for distribution among their friends, and Cap- 
tain Creesy fled to his home in Marblehead in order 
to escape notoriety. 

The Sea Serpent, Eclipse, and Stag-Hound were 
in much the same condition aloft as the Flying 
Cloud, while the Witchcraft, on the voyage from 
San Francisco to Hong-kong had lost her main 
and mizzen masts with all sails and rigging at- 
tached, during a severe typhoon in the China Sea. 
The Tornado, commanded by Captain O. R. Mum- 
ford, bound from San Francisco to New York, had 



212 The Clipper Ship Era 

lost her bowsprit with the foremast and sprung her 
mainmast, when to the westward of Cape Horn. 
It required fourteen days to complete the jury rig 
at sea, after which she sailed to New York, a 
distance of 8000 miles, in 51 days. In acknowledg- 
ment of Captain Mumford's services on this occa- 
sion, the New York, Sun, Astor, and Mercantile 
Insurance Companies presented him with a costly 
solid silver service, which was made by Ball, Black 
& Co., and exhibited in the window of their store on 
the corner of Murray Street and Broadway. 

All of these ships were rerigged in New York 
with stouter spars and rigging than they originally 
carried, and much valuable experience was gained 
by sparmakers and riggers as to the requirements 
aloft of these large, powerful clippers, while their 
captains had at the same time become better ac- 
quainted with their peculiarities. The great diflS- 
culty was to get a large ship, say from 1600 to 
2000 tons, that would sail fast in moderate winds. 
If she had canvas enough to drive her along in a 
light breeze, the chances were that in a gale some- 
thing was bound to carry away aloft. The utmost 
skill and judgment were required to rig and to 
handle these heavily masted ships with wooden 
spars and hemp rigging. 

The great race to San Francisco in 1852 was 
between the Sword-Fish of New York and the Fly- 
ing Fish of Boston, both extreme clippers and built 
respectively by William H. Webb and Donald 
McKay. The Flying Fish sailed from Boston No- 
vember 11, 1851, and on the same day the Sword- 
Fish passed Sandy Hook. Large sums were wagered 



California Clippers of 1852 213 

upon the result. Captain Nickels of the Flying 
Fish and Captain Babcock of the Sword-Fish were 
both young and skilful commanders, and it was 
believed by their friends that each would send his 
ship along at her utmost speed. The Flying Fish 
made an excellent run of 19 days to the equator, 
leading the Sword-Fish by four days. From the 
equator to 50° S., the Flying Fish was 26 and the 
SiDord-Fish 22 days, so that they passed that parallel 
on the same day. They raced round Cape Horn, 
part of the time side by side, the Flying Fish making 
the run from 50° S. in the Atlantic to 50° S. in the 
Pacific in 7 and the Sword-Fish in 8 days. From 
this point the Sword-Fish came up and steadily 
drew away. She made the run to the equator in 19 
days, leading the Flying Fish by 3 days, and from 
the equator to San Francisco in 20 days, gaining 
on this stretch another 3 days, and arrived at San 
Francisco February 10, 1852, after a splendid pas- 
sage of 90 days 16 hours from New York. The 
Flying Fish arrived on the 17th, or 98 days from 
Boston. The Sword-Fish was regarded by many as 
the fastest and handsomest ship built by William 
H. Webb; and her passage of 90 days, the second 
best ever made from New York to San Francisco, 
and within one day of the record, together with 
many other fast passages, among them her record 
run of 31 days from Shanghai to San Francisco in 
1855, an average of 240 miles a day, certainly places 
her at or very near the head of the list of clippers 
launched from this famous yard. 

Some of the other notable passages of this year 
were made by the Sovereign of the Seas and Comet, 



214 The Clipper Ship Era 

each 102 days ; Sea Witch 108 days from New York ; 
Staffordshire 101 days, and John Bertram and 
Shooting Star each 105 days from Boston. 

The Flying Cloud, on this, her second voyage 
from New York, arrived at San Francisco Sep- 
tember 6, 1852, 113 days from New York. She had, 
for her, a long run of 30 days to the equator; and 
when she was ofE the coast of Brazil, running before 
a light northerly wind under skysails and royal 
studdingsails, with the weather clew of her main- 
sail hauled up: as Captain Creesy was taking his 
noon observation, a large clipper ship was reported 
about six miles ahead, under the same canvas but 
almost becalmed. She was soon recognized by Cap- 
tain Creesy and his officers as the N. B. Palmer. 
The Flying Cloud carried the breeze until about two 
o'clock, when she also ran into the calm, and sig- 
nals were exchanged. Captain Low, of the N. B. 
Palmer, reported with pardonable pride, that he had 
sailed from New York eight days after the Flying 
Cloud, and had found good winds to the equator; 
indeed, a few days after sailing he had made 396 
miles in twenty-four hours. 

As may be imagined, Captain Creesy was some- 
what chagrined, but at all events, here at last were 
the ships about whose speed there had been so 
much discussion, side by side on blue water, and 
soon there would be a chance to find out which was 
the faster of the two. As there was every indica- 
tion of a southerly breeze, both ships took in their 
studdingsails, rigged in the booms, and got ready 
for the new wind, with a pull on sheets and hal- 
liards fore and aft. The Flying Cloud had a fine 



California Clippers of 1852 215 

crew, and in after years Captain Creesy in de- 
scribing this race said tliat, " They worked like 
one man, and that man a hero." 

At about four o'clock there was a faint southerly 
air with a few cat's-paws, and soon the breeze came 
up from the south in a dark-blue line across the 
horizon. Both ships felt it at the same moment, 
and braced their yards on the starboard t;ack sharp 
by the wind, which soon freshened to a fine whole- 
sail breeze. The Flying Cloud now began to draw 
away. At daylight the next morning, the If. B. 
Palmer was hull down to leeward, and by four 
o'clock in the afternoon was no longer in sight. 
Both ships had strong westerly gales ofE Cape Horn, 
and the Flying Cloud led her rival into San 
Francisco by twenty-three days. 

It is only fair to say, however, that the N. B. 
Palmer lost five days through putting into Val- 
paraiso to land two of her crew, and as it turned 
out, to ship seventeen men to replace deserters. 
One of the two men landed had shot and wounded 
the mate, and the other, known as " Doublin Jack," 
had knocked the second mate down with a hand- 
spike. Captain Low put both these men in irons, 
triced them up in the mizzen rigging, and gave 
them each four dozen lashes of ratline stuff, which 
they had well earned. Captain R. B. Forbes, one 
of the most humane and kind-hearted of men, de- 
clared in an address before the Boston Marine 
Society in 1854, that he regarded " the abolition 
of the power of flogging refractory seamen as hav- 
ing been injudicious " ; and I think that most men 
who had experience in handling the crews of mer- 



21 6 The Clipper Ship Era 

chant ships on the high seas in those days will be 
inclined to agree with him. 

The demand for new clipper ships had by no 
means abated in 1852, and thirty-three California 
clippers were launched in this year. Donald McKay 
built the Sovereign of the Seas, Bald Eagle, and 
Westward Ho; William H. Webb, the Flying Dutch- 
man; Samuel Hall, the Polynesia, John Gilpin, Fly- 
ing Childers, and Wizard; Jacob A. Westervelt, the 
Golden City, Golden State, and Contest; Jacob Bell, 
the Messenger and Jacob Bell; Paul Curtis, the 
Golden West, Queen of the Seas, Cleopatra, and 
Radiant; J. O. Curtis, the Phantom and Whirlwind; 
Jabez Williams, the Simoon; K. B. Jackson, the 
Winged Racer; Pernald & Pettigrew, the Red 
Rover. 

Undismayed by difficulties as to spars and rig- 
ging that beset the minds of other ship-builders, 
Donald McKay resolved in this year to build a 
still larger clipper than had yet appeared. This 
ship was the Sovereign of the Seas, of 2421 tons 
register, and when she was launched in June, 1852, 
the bells that had welcomed the New World and 
Stag-Hound as the largest merchant ships afloat, 
again rang out a joyous greeting to this noble 
clipper, as she glided smoothly and swiftly into the 
blue waters of Boston harbor. 

The Sovereign of the Seas measured: length 258 
feet, breadth 44 feet, depth 23 feet 6 inches, with 
20 inches dead-rise at half floor. It is interesting 
to note that each one of Mr. McKay's clippers had 
less dead-rise than her predecessor. The Stag- 
Hound had 40 inches dead-rise at half floor with 



California Clippers of 1852 217 

slightly convex water-lines; the Flying Cloud and 
Staffordshire 30 inches with concave water-lines and 
shorter but sharper ends. The Sovereign of the 
Seas had the longest and sharpest ends of any ves- 
sel then built, and combined the grace and beauty 
of the smaller ships with immense strength and 
power to carry sail. 

She had a crew of 105 men and boys, consisting 
of 4 mates, 2 boatswains, 2 carpenters, 2 sail- 
makers, 3 stewards, 2 cooks, 80 able seamen, and 
10 boys before the mast. She was commanded by 
Captain Lauchlan McKay, who was born at Shel- 
burne, Nova Scotia, in 1811, being one year younger 
than his brother Donald. Like him, he went to 
New York, served an apprenticeship there with 
Isaac Webb, and after becoming a master ship- 
wright, was appointed carpenter of the U. S. frigate 
Constellation, in which he served four years. Ad- 
miral Parragut was a young lieutenant on board 
this ship at the same time. In 1839 Captain McKay 
published a work on naval architecture, and soon 
after, in company with his brother Hugh, opened 
a shipyard at Boston. Here they did repairing, 
and in 1846 built the bark Odd Fellow, in which 
Lauchlan sailed as captain. In 1848 he commanded 
the ship Jenny Lind, and made some excellent pas- 
sages in her. When he took command of the 
Sovereign of the Seas, Captain McKay was in his 
forty-first year, and of gigantic build and strength. 

The Sovereign of the Seas sailed from New York 
for San Francisco, August 4, 1852, a poor season of 
the year for a rapid run to the equator, but she 
crossed 25 days out from Sandy Hook, making a 



2i8 The Clipper Ship Era 

run which had never been bettered in the month 
of August, and only twice equalled — once by the 
Baven from Boston in 1851 and once by the Hurri- 
cane from New York in 1853. She was 23 days 
from the equator to 50° S., and 9 days from 50° 
S. in the Atlantic to the same parallel in the Pacific. 
After rounding Cape Horn, she carried away her 
fore- and maintopmasts and foreyard, and it re- 
quired fourteen days to rerig her, during which 
time she was kept on her course, and made the run 
from 50° S. to the equator in the remarkable time, 
considering her disabled condition, of 29 days. She 
went thence to San Francisco in 17 days, which is 
the record for the month of November, and her 
total run from New York to San Francisco was 
103 days. 

Had the Sovereign of the Sea^ not been dis- 
masted, it is reasonable to suppose that she would 
have equalled the fastest run from 50° S. to the 
equator in the month of October, which is 19 days, 
made by the Ocean Telegraph in 1855. This would 
have reduced her passage to 93 days; still, as it 
stands, her passage of 103 days has never been 
equalled by a vessel sailing from New York for 
San Francisco in the month of August. Captain 
McKay received much credit for rerigging his ship 
at sea and not putting into Valparaiso, and was 
presented with a very beautiful silver dinner service 
by the New York Board of Marine Underwriters. 

This was the only passage made by the Sovereign 
of the Seas between New York and San Francisco. 
She carried on this voyage 2950 tons of cargo, and 
her freight amounted to $84,000; a portion of the 




a 



> 
o 

03 



,4 
Eh 



The " Sovereign of the Seas " 219 

cargo, consisting of flour, sold in San Francisco 
at |44 per barrel. 

Slie cleared from San Francisco in ballast for 
Honolulu, and there loaded a cargo, or rather sev- 
eral cargoes, of sperm oil which had been landed 
by American whale-ships in the Pacific, and sailed 
for New York, February 13, 1853. She had light 
and variable winds to the equator, her day's runs 
ranging from 89 to 302 miles, and she made this 
stretch from Honolulu in 8 days. On February 
27th, she was off the Navigator or Samoan Islands, 
and one cannot help thinking of the delight it would 
have given Robert Louis Stevenson if he could have 
looked upon this giant clipper flying southward 
under her white cloud of canvas, and with what 
magic words he would have made her name 
immortal. 

On March 4th, the Sovereign of the Seas sprung 
her foretopmast, and although it was fished on the 
6th, it was a source of anxiety for the remainder 
of the passage, and Captain McKay, mindful of his 
recent experience in these seas, carried sail with 
a considerable caution. Nothing of special inter- 
est occurred until March 15th, when the first strong 
westerly gales were felt, and a series of remarkable 
day's runs was begun. Up to noon on March 16th, 
she had sailed from her position at noon the day 
before, 396 miles; on the 17th, 311 miles; on the 
18th, 411 miles, and on the 19th, 360 miles, a total 
of 1478 miles in four days. During these four 
days, she made 34° 43' of longitude eastward, which 
with the difference in time gives an average of 15^4 
knots, or an average of a fraction over 378 miles 



220 The Clipper Ship Era 

for each twenty-four hours. In the 11 days from 
March 10th to the 21st, she made the remarkable 
run of 3562 miles, and as she made during this 
time 82° 24' of longitude, her average allowing for 
difference in time, was 13% knots, or 330 miles 
each twenty-four hours. 

During her great run on the 18th of 411 miles, 
she made 10° 30' of longitude, which reduced her 
sea day to 23 hours 18 minutes, and shows an aver- 
age speed of 17 2/3 knots, or 424 miles in twenty- 
four hours. On this day her log records : " Strong 
northwest breezes and rough sea." It seems ex- 
tremely improbable that she could have maintained 
uniform speed of 17 2/3 knots throughout the 
twenty-four hours, but at times her speed probably 
slackened to 15 or 16 knots. If this supposition 
is correct, it follows that her speed must at times 
have exceeded 17 2/3 knots in order to account for 
this average. In the absence of any data on this 
point, which is much to be regretted, it seems prob- 
able that she must have sailed at a speed of not 
less than 19 knots during a portion of these twenty- 
four hours, and perhaps 20 knots. After rounding 
Cape Horn she had light and moderate winds, her 
best day's run being only 286 miles, and she arrived 
off Sandy Hook May 6, 1853, after a passage of 
82 days from Honolulu. 

She sailed again from New York for Liverpool, 
June 18th, passing Sandy Hook at 6 :30 p.m., sighted 
Cape Race in Newfoundland at 6 a.m. on the 24th, 
was off Cape Clear in Ireland at 6 a.m. on June 
30th, took a pilot at 2 p.m. July 2d, and anchored 
in the Mersey at 10:30 p.m. that day, having made 



The " Sovereign of the Seas " 221 

the entire run from dock to anchorage in 13 days 
22 hours and 50 minutes. This must be regarded 
as a most remarlsable passage for the season, and 
has never been equalled by a sailing vessel during 
the month of June. Her best day's run was on 
June 28th, 344 miles, by the wind, under single- 
reefed topsails, and on the 30th, 340 miles with 
skysails and royal studdingsails set. The Cunard 
S.S. Canada sailed from Boston on the same day 
that the Sovereign of the Seas sailed' from New 
York, and a comparison of their logs published at 
the time shows that in five days, June 25-30th, 
the ship outsailed the steamer by 325 miles, and 
that the best run of the Canada during this passage 
was only 306 miles. 

On this voyage her builder, Donald McKay, was 
a passenger on board the Sovereign of the Seas, and 
he passed most of his waking moments on deck, 
watching her movement through the water and ob- 
serving the various strains on her spars and rig- 
ging. When he returned home, Enoch Train asked 
him what he thought of the ship, and Mr. McKay 
replied, " Well, she appears to be a pretty good 
ship, but I think I can build one to beat her " ; 
and eventually he did so. 

Mrs. Donald McKay sailed with her husband on 
this voyage and took a keen interest in everything 
that went on aboard ship. Although this was a 
summer passage, nevertheless, there was enough 
rough weather to bring out the splendid sea-going 
qualities of the vessel, and to Mrs. McKay, who, it 
is a pleasure to record, is still living, the vivid 
picture of this thoroughbred clipper wrestling with 



222 The Clipper Ship Era 

the winds and waves has always remained one of 
the exciting experiences of her life. 

All of the American clippers made good passages 
home from China to Atlantic ports in 1852, though 
no record was broken. The run of the Shooting 
Star, 83 days from Canton to Boston, was the best 
of the year. 

It was during the passage from Canton to New 
York in this year that Captain Creesy of the Flying 
Cloud had the unusual experience of perusing his 
own obituary in mid-ocean. It appears that after 
passing Java Head, and when his vessel was well 
across the Indian Ocean, she fell in with a ship 
outward bound, and in exchange for chickens, fruits, 
and vegetables from Anjer, received newspapers 
from New York, one of which contained the follow- 
ing somewhat startling announcement: 

" Captain Creesy of the ship Flying Cloud. — It 
will be seen by the telegraph news in another 
column that this gallant sailor is no more. Two 
days after sailing from San Francisco, bound to 
China, he died, and the ship proceeded in charge 
of the mate; he was a native of Marblehead, and 
about forty-six years of age. For many years, he 
commanded the ship Oneida in the China trade, and 
was distinguished for the rapidity of his passages. 
In the Flying Cloud, he made the shortest passage 
on record to San Francisco, and eclipsed the finest 
and most costly merchant ship in the world,i and 
yet this crowning triumph of his life was attended 
with many disasters to his spars and sails; still, 
he pressed on, disdaining to make a port short of 
iThe Challenge. 



The " Sovereign of the Seas " 223 

his destination. In every scene of a sailor's life 
* with skill superior glowed his daring mind '—his 
dauntless soul ' rose with the storm and all its dan- 
gers shared.' But now he rests from his toils, 
regardless of his triumphs. Peace to his manes." 

It was found that this news originated in New 
Orleans, having been telegraphed from there to New 
York, and although no explanation of the blunder 
was ever made, it at all events relieved Captain 
Creesy of an annoying lawsuit. It will be re- 
membered that in August, 1851, on the passage to 
San Francisco, his first officer was put ofiE duty 
soon after rounding Cape Horn, " in consequence 
of his arrogating to himself the privilege of cutting 
up rigging." This was a more serious offence than 
perhaps appears at first sight, as the Flying Cloud 
was badly crippled aloft, and was a long way from 
the nearest ship chandler's store, while Captain 
Creesy needed every fathom of rope on board for 
preventers and lashings. In due time, the mate 
turned up in New York and got in tow of a philan- 
thropic legal " gent," who paid his board and lodg- 
ing while awaiting the arrival of the Flying Cloud 
in order to prosecute Captain Creesy; but when 
they learned that he was supposed to be dead, the 
mate was shipped off to sea again, while the sea- 
lawyer friend lost no time in making fast to his 
three months' advance. 



CHAPTBK XIV 

CALIFORNIA CLIPPERS OF 1853 

DURING the year 1853, twenty ships arrived at 
San Francisco from Atlantic ports, chiefly 
New York, in 110 days or less, showing the high 
standard of efficiency that had been reached. The 
best passages of the year were made by the Flying 
Fish, 92 days; John Gilpin, 93 days; Contest, 97 
days; Oriental 100 days; Trade Wind, 102 days; 
Westward Ho, 103 days ; Phantom, 104 days ; Sword- 
Fish, Hornet, and Flying Cloud, each 105 days ; and 
Sea Serpent, 107 days. The Comet arrived on 
January 17th, after a passage of 112 days from 
Boston. While off Bermuda she encountered a 
heavy southwest gale, and was laying to under close- 
reefed fore- and maintopsails and foretopmast stay- 
sail, when the wind suddenly shifted into the south- 
east and blew with terrific force, carrying away 
the foretopmast stays, sending the foretopmast over 
the side, and making junk of the two topsails. Cap- 
tain Gardner had a good crew, and so soon as the 
weather moderated, he rerigged his ship at sea, 
and took her into San Francisco as noted, in 112 
days. 

Racing had now become close and exciting, and 
the fleet was so large that it was not uncommon 

224 





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California Clippers of 1853 ;225 

for two or three ships to be in company at sea, 
each striving to outsail the others. As we have 
seen, the Flying Fish won the race this year, and 
from one of the finest fleets of clippers that ever 
sailed from New York. The match between her and 
the John Gilpin was exceedingly close, and taken 
altogether was one of the best ever sailed upon 
this famous ocean course, the Derby of the sea. It 
was Samuel Hall against Donald McKay, Justin 
Doane against Edward Nickels, and all against the 
fleet. 

The John Gilpin sailed out past Sandy Hook, 
October 29, 1852, followed by the Flying Fish on 
November 1st, and before the green Highlands of 
Neversink had disappeared below the horizon both 
ships were under a cloud of canvas. The Flying 
Fish fanned along through the doldrums and 
crossed the equator 21 days from Sandy Hook, 
leading the John Gilpin by one day. From the line 
to 50° S., the John Gilpin made the run in 23 days, 
passing the Flying Fish and getting a clear lead 
of two days. The Flying Fish did some fine sail- 
ing here; dashing through the Straits of Le Maire, 
she came up alongside the John Gilpin just off the 
Horn, and Nickels, ever famous for his jovial good- 
cheer, invited Doane to come aboard and dine with 
him, " which invitation," the John Gilpin's log-book 
ruefully records, " I was reluctantly obliged to de- 
cline." This is perhaps the only instance of an 
invitation to dine out being received off Cape Horn. 
Few men have had the opportunity to extend such 
unique hospitality and certainly none could do so 
more heartily and gracefully than the famous com- 



226 The Clipper Ship Era 

mander of the Flying Fish. His vessel made the 
run from 50° S. in the Atlantic to 50° S. in the 
Pacific in 7 days, leading her rival by two days. 
From this point to the equator, the Flying Fish 
was 19 and the John Gilpin 20 days. From here 
the John Gilpin showed remarkable speed, making 
the run to San Francisco in 15 days, a total of 93 
days, closely followed by the Flying Fish, 92 days 
from Sandy Hook. Their abstract logs are as 
follows : 

Flying Fish John Gilpin 

Sandy Hook to the equator 21 days 24 days. 

Equator to 50° S 27 " 23 " 

50° in the Atlantic to 50° S. in 

Pacific 7 " 11 " 

To the equator 19 " 20 " 

Equator to San Francisco 18 " 15 " 

Total 92 " 93 " 

When we reflect that this match was sailed over 
a course of some 15,000 miles, and that the difference 
of time was only twenty-four hours, one is impressed 
with the perfection to which the models of the 
vessels had been brought, as well as the exactness 
of the data relating to the winds and currents that 
had been gathered and reduced to a system by 
Maury, and with the skill of their captains, who 
were guided by his charts and sailing directions. 
The average difference of sailing between these two 
ships was less than six seconds per mile over the 
entire distance. Few races over thirty-mile courses 
have been sailed by yachts more evenly matched. 



California Clippers of 1853 227 

No racing yachts have ever been handled with 
greater care and skill than were these clipper ships 
over courses of thousands of miles. It was the 
custom for the captains to change their clothes 
at eight o'clock in the evening and at the same 
time in the morning, the exceptions being in thick 
and stormy weather, when they would not be out 
of their clothes perhaps for two or three days 
at a time. The officers and men of the watch 
below were expected to be ready to tumble out on 
deck at a moment's notice to make or to shorten 
sail. The " old man " was very likely to appear 
on deck at any moment, night or day, which kept 
the officers in a high state of watchfulness. This 
was the only way in which these ships could be 
sailed and make the passages they did. 

Another splendid match of this year, sailed to 
the eastward round the Horn, was that between 
the Northern Light and the Contest. The Contest 
was built by Jacob A. Westervelt and commanded 
by Captain William Brewster, of Stonington, and 
.was one of the fastest ships owned by A. A. Low 
& Brother. She sailed from San Francisco for New 
York, March 12, 1853, followed by the Northern 
Light on the 13th, bound for Boston. OflE Cape 
Horn, the Northern Light came up with and sig- 
nalled the Contest, and from there led her home 
by three days, the Northern Light being 76 days 5 
hours to Boston Light, while the Contest was 80 
days to Sandy Hook. In 1854 the Comet made the 
passage from San Francisco to New York in 76 
days, these being the record passages from San 
Francisco to Atlantic ports. 



22B The Clipper Ship Era 

On this famous passage the Northern Light made 
the run from San Francisco to Cape Horn in 38 
days, and was off Rio Janeiro in 52 days, thence 
to Boston Light in 24 days. Her best day's run 
was 354 miles. She made the round voyage to 
San Francisco and return, including detention in 
port, in exactly seven months. Captain Hatch, her 
commander, was a thorough clipper ship captain, 
who never allowed his ship to suffer for want of 
canvas, and on this passage he brought his vessel 
across Massachusetts Bay before a fresh easterly 
breeze, carrying her ringtail, skysails, and studding- 
sails on both sides, alow and aloft, until she was 
off Boston Light — a superb marine picture, and one 
seldom seen by landsmen even in those days. 

No more beautiful sight can be imagined than 
a morning at sea, with these magnificent vessels 
racing in mid-ocean, perhaps two or three of them 
in sight at once ; the sun rising amid golden clouds 5^ 
the dark blue sea flecked with glistening white caps ; 
long, low black hulls cleaving a pathway of spark- 
ling foam; towering masts, and yards covered with, 
snowy canvas which bellies to the crisp morning 
breeze as if sculptured in marble; the officers alert 
and keen for the contest; the African cook showing 
his woolly head and grinning, good-natured face out 
through the weather door of the galley, while the 
wholesome odor of steaming coffee gladdens the 
hearts of offlcers and men. And after all, when has 
anything ever tasted half so refreshing as a tin pot 
of hot coflfee, sweetened with molasses, under the lee 
of the weather bulwark, in the chill dawn of the 
morning watch? 



California Clippers of 1853 229 

The third mate walks over to the lee side and 
knocks the ashes out of his pipe against the rail, 
and as the sparks fly far to leeward, like falling 
stars among the foaming waves, he sings out, " Turn 
to there forward and wash down decks; boatswain, 
take a pair of those gulpins and rig the head pump ; 
the rest of you get the gear triced up." The watch, 
with sand, buckets of water, and brooms, bare-footed 
and with trousers rolled up to their knees, begin 
to scrub and scrub and scrub. Then when the sun 
has dried out ropes and canvas, the gear is swayed 
up fore and aft, with watch tackles on the chain 
topsail sheets, and a hearty: 

" Way haul away. 
Haul away the bowline. 
Way haul away. Haul away, Joe ! " 

The halliards are led along the deck fore and 
aft in the grip of clean brawny fists with sinewy 
arms and broad backs behind them, the ordinary 
seamen and boys tailing on, and perhaps the cook, 
steward, carpenter, and sailmaker lending a hand, 
and all hands join in a ringing chorus of the 
ocean, mingling in harmony with the clear sky, 
indigo-blue waves, and the sea breeze purring aloft 
among the spars and rigging: 

" Oh, poor Reuben Kanzo, 
Eanzo, boys, O Ranzo, 
Oh, Eanzo was no sailor, 
Ranzo boys, O Ranzo. 
So they shipped him aboard a whaler, 
Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 



230 The Clipper Ship Era 

And he could not do his duty, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo. 

So the mate, he being a bad man, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

He led him to the gangway, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

And he gave him flve-and-twenty, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

But the captain, he being a good man, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

He took him in the cabin, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

And he gave him wine and whiskey, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

And he learned him navigation, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo, 

And now he 's Captain Ranzo, 

Ranzo boys, O Ranzo." 

Finally the mate's clear, sharp order comes: 
" Belay there ; clap a watch tackle on the lee fore 
brace." " Aye, aye, sir ! " And so every sheet, hal- 
liard, and brace is swayed up and tautened to the 
freshening breeze. The gear is coiled up, the brass- 
work polished until it glistens in the morning sun, 
the paintwork and gratings are wiped ofE, decks 
swabbed dry, and the pumps manned to another 
rousing chanty: 

" London town is a-burning. 
Oh, run with the bullgine, run. 
Way, yay, way, yay, yar. 
Oh, run with the bullgine, run." 



California Clippers of 1853 231 

The " old man " gets his morning sights, the log is 
hove, the wheel and watch are relieved at eight 
bells, and the clipper is ready for another day of 
stress and strain. 

Mornings like these bring keen appetites to offi- 
cers and men, so the watch below sit about on their 
chests in the forecastle or on the fore hatch and 
dive into the mess kid with knives and spoons. It 
may be a chunk of salt pork or cold salt beef, or 
what Rufus Choate, in one of his flights of forensic 
eloquence, described as the " nutritious hash," " suc- 
culent lob-scouse," or " palatable dandy funk," with 
plenty of hard tack in the bread barge, and all 
washed down with unlimited coflfee. Not quail on 
toast or devilled kidneys, to be sure, but good sub- 
stantial seamen's food, upon which a man can work 
better at sea, grow stronger, and become less tired 
than on any other. 

In the old days captains used to lay in large 
stocks of chickens, eggs, etc., for their crews at 
Anjer Point, but before the ship was half-way across 
the Indian Ocean, the men would begin to crow in 
the dog watch, and come aft in a body, asking that 
their salt junk might be restored to them. In those 
days, as now, salmon were plentiful in California, 
but their introduction on board the clipper ships 
failed to tempt the appetites of sailormen when off 
soundings. They said they liked salt junk a good 
deal better. Besides, it gave them something to 
growl about — for sailors knew how to curse junk 
according to traditions approved by generations of 
jackies, but when it came to chickens and salmon 
they were at a loss for sufficiently vigorous and 



232 The Clipper Ship Era 

appropriate expletives to express their disgust. 
There used to be a yarn about an old shellback 
who, in a cross-examination, was asked by a smart 
Boston lawyer whether the crew did not have 
enough to eat. The mariner replied, " Well, yes, 
your honor, there was enough of it, such as it was " ; 
and upon further inquiry as to the quality of the 
food, he answered, " Now, you see, sir, it was like 
this: the food was good enough, what there was of 
it." And this summed up a sailor's idea of food 
and pretty much everything else, in those days. 

The building of clipper ships in the United States 
reached its zenith in 1853. In that year forty-eight 
clippers were added to the California fleet, and the 
wild excitement of building, owning, and racing 
these splendid ships was at its height. Every one 
who had capital to invest wanted one, or at least 
shares in one, and the ship-building yards were taxed 
to their utmost capacity. It should be remembered 
also that there was a great deal of other ship- 
building going on in the United States besides the 
clippers, and that captains, ofHcers, and crews for 
such a large number of vessels were by no means 
easy to obtain. 

In this year Donald McKay built the Empress 
of the Seas and Romance of the Seas; Wil- 
liam H. Webb, the Fly Away, Snap Dragon, and 
Young America; Jacob A. Westerwelt, the Ca- 
thay and Sweepstakes; Samuel Hall, the second 
Oriental, the Amphitrite, and Mystery; Greenman 
& Co., the David Crockett; Eoosevelt & Joyce, 
the David Brown; John Currier, the Guiding 
Star; Thomas Collier, the second Panama; J. W. 




01 

s 

a 
a 
o 



I 



California Clippers of 1853 233 

Cox, the Red Gauntlet; Briggs Brothers, the John 
Land and Golden Light; and Toby & Littlefleld, the 
Morning Star — all beautiful ships, the pride of their 
owners and captains. 

The Romance of the Seas, owned by George B. 
Upton, of Boston, was the last extreme clipper ship 
built by Donald McKay for the California trade. 
She was a beautiful vessel, with extremely fine lines, 
heavily sparred, and proved an exceedingly fast 
ship in moderate weather. Captain Dumaresq was 
in command on her first voyage to San Francisco. 
She was 1782 tons register ; length 240 feet, breadth 
39 feet 6 inches, depth 29 feet 6 inches. The Sweep- 
stakes, owned by Grinnell, Minturn & Co., and de- 
signed by Daniel Westervelt, a son of Jacob A. 
Westervelt, was a very sharp and handsome ship, 
and was the last extreme clipper built in the 
Westervelt yard. She made three passages from 
New York to San Francisco averaging 106 days. 
Captain George Lane, who commanded her for a 
number of years, was subsequently a commander 
in the Pacific Mail between San Francisco and 
China, and later became the agent of the company 
at Hongkong. 

The Young America, the last extreme clipper built 
by William H. Webb, was owned by George Daniels, 
of New York, and for several years was commanded 
by Captain David Babcock. This ship was 1962 
tons register; length 236 feet 6 inches, breadth 42 
feet, depth 28 feet 6 inches. She proved an excel- 
lent and fast vessel. Among her many fine passages 
may be mentioned : from New York to San Fran- 
cisco, 103, 107, 110, 112, 117, and 116 days, and 



234 The Clipper Ship Era 

from San Francisco to New York, 92, 97, 85, 101, 
103, and 83 days; San Francisco to Liverpool, 103 
and 106 days ; Liverpool to San Francisco, 117, 111, 
and 99 days ; and twenty consecutive passages from 
New York to San Francisco averaging 117 days. 
Her best performance, however, was from 50° S. in 
the Atlantic to 50° S. in the Pacific, in the record 
time of 6 days. She, too, was an exceedingly hand- 
some ship, and was Mr. Webb's favorite among all 
the splendid ships constructed by him. After thirty 
years' continuous service in the San Francisco trade, 
during which she is said to have rounded Cape 
Horn over fifty times, she was finally sold to a 
firm in Austria, upon condition that her name should 
be changed. She then became known as the Miroslav 
and foundered with all hands in 1888, while bound 
from Philadelphia to a European port. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE "great republic" AND THE " DREADNOUGHT " 

TWO other ships built in 1853 deserve notice 
here, though they were not constructed for 
the California trade. They were Donald McKay's 
Great RepuMic and the famous packet ship 
Dreadnought. 

For some time Mr. McKay had contemplated 
building a ship for the Australian trade, but fail- 
ing to find any one to join in the undertaking, and 
stimulated by the success of the Sovereign of the 
Seas, he resolved to build her for himself. This 
vessel was the Great Republic, the largest extreme 
clipper ship ever built. She attracted universal at- 
tention from the fact of her being by far the largest 
merchant ship constructed up to that time, and 
also, among those interested in shipping, on account 
of the excellence of her construction and her 
majestic beauty. 

This vessel was 4555 tons register, and measured : 
length 335 feet, breadth 53 feet, depth 38 feet. She 
had four decks, the upper or spar deck being flush 
with the covering board and protected by a rail 
on turned oak stanchions. She carried a fifteen 
horse-power engine on deck to hoist the yards and 
to work the pumps, this being the first time an 

235 



236 The Clipper Ship Era 

engine was put aboard a sailing ship for these pur- 
poses. She had four masts with Forbes's rigi on 
the fore-, main-, and mizenmasts, the after- or spank- 
ermast being barque-rigged. 

October 4, 1853, was a proud day for Boston. 
Business was suspended, and the schools were closed 
in order that every one might have an opportunity 
to see the launch of the Great BepuMic. People 
flocked from far and near. It was estimated that 
thirty thousand persons crossed by ferry to East 
Boston, while Chelsea Bridge, the Navy Yard at 
Charlestown, and the wharves at the north end of 

1 Forbes's rig was invented by Captain R. B. Forbes, 
and was first put on the topsail schooner Midas in 1841, 
afterwards on the auxiliaries Edith, Massachusetts, and 
Meteor; ships, R. B. Forbes, Lintin, Flying Childers, 
Aurora, Cornelius Grinnell, and probably others. In this 
rig the topmast was fidded abaft the lowermast head, and 
the lower topsail yard hoisted on the lowermast head 
from the eyes of the lower rigging to the cap. The lower 
topsail had two reefs with reef-tackles, buntlines, and clew- 
lines, as in the single topsail rig. The upper topsail hoisted 
on the topmast and had the same gear as the lower topsail. 
Sometimes the topmast was fidded before the lower mast- 
head, and then the lower topsail yard hoisted on the 
doubling of the topmast. This rig was an improvement 
upon the single topsail rig, but was eventually super- 
seded by Howes's rig, which was invented by Captain 
Frederic Howes, of Brewster, Massachusetts, who in 1853 
first put it on the ship Climax, of Boston, which he com- 
manded. Captain Howes took out a United States patent 
for his rig in 1854. In this rig, the lower topsail yard 
is slung by a truss at the lower mast cap ; indeed, Howes's 
rig is the double topsail rig of the present day, though 
one does not often hear the name of Captain Howes in 
connection with it. 



The " Great Republic " 237 

the city were thronged by at least as many more. 
The shipping at the Navy Yard was gayly dressed 
with bunting, and the harbor was filled with steam- 
ers and pleasure boats crowded with people. It 
was a beautiful day, with a clear blue sky, bright 
sunshine, and a gentle westerly breeze. 

All the staging used in the construction of the 
ship had been removed, leaving her in full view as 
she rested upon the ways. Her long black hull had 
no ornament except a beautifully carved eagle's 
head where the sweep of her raking stem and the 
sharp lines of her bow intersected, and across her 
handsome stern the American eagle with extended 
wings, under which her name and port of hail were 
carved in plain block letters. She had the same 
graceful sheer, finely formed midship section, and 
beautifully moulded ends that had been seen in 
this yard in the Stag-Hound, Flying Gioud, Bald 
Eagle, Westward Ho, Flying Fish, and Sovereign 
of the Seas, only on a much larger scale; indeed, 
from end to end she looked the out-and-out clipper. 
Spars were erected at the mast partners, and from 
the main she carried a long coach-whip pennant 
and a large white flag with the arms of the United 
States in the centre; from the other three spars 
she flew large United States ensigns, and from a 
staff on her bowsprit, the Union Jack. — • 

The sun gleamed and sparkled upon her smooth, 
bright yellow-metal sheathing, when at twelve 
o'clock the signal was given and the shores fell, 
to the wild chorus of topmauls, so well known in 
every Atlantic port fifty years ago. She moved 
slowly at first; then, gathering way, fairly leaped 



238 The Clipper Ship Era 

into the sea, amid smoke and fire from the burning 
ways, the roar of artillery, the music of bands, and 
the cheers of the vast multitude. So swiftly did 
she leave the ways that two anchors and the power- 
ful steamer B. B. Fories barely succeeded ip bring- 
ing her up, close to Chelsea Bridge. The Great 
Republic was named by Captain Alden Gifford, who 
performed the ceremony by breaking a bottle of 
Cochituate water over her bow as she began to 
move along the ways. This was an innovation that 
created much comment at the time, and was per- 
mitted by Mr. McKay in deference to the wishes of 
Deacon Moses Grant and a number of energetic 
Boston women who were pushing the temperance 
movement and desired to advertise their wares. 

During the afternoon she was towed under the 
shears at the Navy Yard to receive her masts, yards, 
and rigging, and the work of fitting them was done 
under the supervision of Lauchlan McKay, her cap- 
tain. As no vessel before or since ever had such 
enormous spars, their dimensions are interesting 
enough to be given in full : 



Masts 

Fore 

Top 


Diameters 
Inches 

44 

24 


Lengths 
Feet 

130.... 

76 


Mastheads 
Feet 

36 

12 


Topgallant . . . 


18 


28 





Royal 


15 


22.... 






Skysail 11 19 pde 12 

Main 44 131 36 

Top 24 76 12 

Topgallant .-.18 28 



The "Great Republic" 



239 



Diameters 
Inches 



Royal 15. 

Skysail 11. 

Mizen 40 . 

Top 22. 

Topgallant 16. 

Royal 10. 

Skysail 8. 

Yards 



Fore 26. 

Lower topsail 24. 

Upper topsail 19 . 

Topgallant 15 . 

Royal 12. 

Skysail 9. 

Main 28. 

Lower topsail 24 . 

Upper topsail 19 . 

Topgallant 15 . 

Royal 12. 

Skysail 9. 

Crossjack 24 . 

Lower mizentopsail. . ..19. 
Upper mizentopsail ...15. 

Topgallant 12. 

Royal 9. 

Skysail 6. 



Lengths Mastheads 
Feet Feet 



. 22 

. 19 Pole 12 

.122 33 

. 69 10 

. 22 

. 19 

. 15 Pole 8 



.110. 
. 90. 
. 76. 
. 62. 
. 51. 
. 40. 
.120. 
. 92. 
. 76. 
. 62. 
. 51. 
. 40. 
. 90. 
. 76. 
. 62. 
. 51. 
. 40. 
. 29. 



Yardarms 



.5 

.4% 

.4 

.3% 

.3 

.6 

.5 

.4 

.4 

.3% 

.3 

.5 

.4% 

.4 

.3% 

.3 



The spankermast, nowadays called the jigger, was 
26 inches in diameter, 110 feet long, including 14 
feet head, and the topmast was 40 feet long di- 
vided at 15 and 10 feet above the cap, for the gaflf- 
topsail and gaflE-topgallantsail. The spanker boom 
was 40 feet long, including 2 feet end, and the gaff 



240 The Clipper Ship Era 

34 feet, including 8 feet end. The bowsprit was 44 
inches in diameter and 30 feet out-board; the jib- 
boom 23 inches in diameter, and 18 feet outside of 
the cap, and the flying jibboom was 14 feet long in- 
cluding 6 feet end. Her fore and main rigging and 
fore- and maintopmast backstays were 12% inch, 
four-stranded Eussian hemp rope, wormed, and 
served over the eye and over the ends to the lead- 
ing trucks. The mizen rigging and mizentopmast 
rigging were of eight-inch rope. 

It was Mr. McKay's intention to put the Great 
Republic into the Australian trade in competition 
with the British clippers that were then coming out, 
and when her rigging and outfit were completed, 
she was towed to New York by the B. B. Forbes and 
placed in the hands of Grinnell, Minturn & Co., who 
began loading her for Liverpool at the foot of Dover 
Street, East Kiver. Thousands of people came to 
see this splendid ship, including the Governor of 
New York, members of the Legislature, and other 
prominent citizens. The season was favorable for 
a rapid passage across the Atlantic, and it was con- 
fidently predicted that the Great Republic would 
make a record run to Liverpool. 

She was nearly ready for sea with all her sails 
bent below the royals, when, on the night of De- 
cember 26, 1853, a fire broke out in Front Street, 
one block from where the vessel lay, and nearly in 
line with her as the wind was then blowing. At a 
little past midnight the watchman called the second 
mate, as sparks were flying across and falling in 
all directions about the ship. All hands were at 
once called and stationed with buckets of water 



The "Great Republic" 241 

in various parts of the ship ; men were sent into the 
fore-, main-, and mizentops, and whips were rove 
to send up buckets of water. Soon the foresail 
burst into flames, and one by one the topsails and 
topgallantsails took fire. Every effort was made to 
cut the sails from the yards, but the men were 
driven back exhausted, and the firemen, who by this 
time had arrived with their engines, refused to work 
on board or near the ship for fear of falling blocks 
and gear. 

Captain McKay, and Captain Ellis, representing 
the underwriters, had a hurried consultation, and 
it was decided, in order to save the hull, to cut 
away the masts. The fore- and foretopmast stays 
and rigging were cut and the mast went over the 
side into the dock; the topmast in falling broke 
short off 'and came down, end on, through three 
decks. The main- and mizenmasts were next cut 
away, and in falling, crushed boats, deckhouses, and 
rails, and disabled the steam-engine. At this time 
the decks were a mass of burning yards, masts, 
sails, and rigging. The firemen now got to work, 
and toward morning succeeded in putting out the 
fire on deck. 

The firemen had left, and it was supposed that the 
hull and cargo were safe, when suddenly smoke was 
discovered coming from the hold, and it was found 
that the burning foretopmast in falling through the 
decks had set fire to the cargo. This fire had gained 
such headway that it was beyond control; the ship 
was therefore scutted in three places and sunk 
ten feet when she took the bottom. Every means 
was used to extinguish the fire, but she burned for 
16 



242 The Clipper Ship Era 

two days until the flames reached the water's edge. 
After the fire had burned itself out a coffer-dam 
was built and the wreck floated by means of steam 
pumps. It was found that a portion of her cargo 
of grain had swollen to such an extent as to start 
the knees and beams of the lower hold, and that 
the hull was otherwise badly strained and buckled. 
She was therefore condemned and abandoned to the 
underwriters. The ships Joseph Walker and White 
Squall were also destroyed in this fire. 

The wreck of the Great RepuMic was subsequently 
sold by the underwriters to Captain N. B. Palmer 
and taken to Greenpoint, Long Island, to be rebuilt 
by Sneeden & Whitlock, and she eventually became 
the property of A. A. Low & Brother. The rebuild- 
ing occupied more than a year, and when the Great 
RepuMic again appeared, much of the original 
beauty of her hull had been restored. The spar- 
deck had not been replaced, but her freeboard was 
nearly the same, as the height of the bulwarks was 
only a little below the former upper deck, and the 
same sheer line had been preserved. Forward, the 
eagle's head which had been destroyed was replaced 
by a carved billet head and scrool, and her bow was 
still exceedingly handsome. A great change had 
been wrought aloft ; her sail plan had been cut down 
and all of her spars greatly reduced in length — the 
fore- and mainmasts 17 feet, the fore- and main- 
yards 20 feet, and all other spars in proportion. 
She still carried four masts, but her rig had been 
changed to Howes's double topsail yards. 

As rebuilt the Great RepuMic registered 3357 tons, 
and was still the largest merchant ship of her time, 




1 
n. 






The "Great Republic" 243 

but her reduced rig required only one half the num- 
ber of hands to handle it — fifty able seamen and 
fifteen ordinary seamen and boys. It was for this 
purpose that her sail plan had been cut down, as 
freights were beginning to slacken and the tide of 
economy was setting in. It is to be regretted that 
she could not have made a few voyages under her 
original rig, as her performance in strong winds 
under the reduced rig left little room for doubt 
that she would have proved, what Mr. McKay in- 
tended her to be, the swiftest sailing ship ever built. 

The Great Republic sailed on her first voyage, 
February 21, 1855, commanded by Captain Lime- 
burner, and made the run from Sandy Hook to 
Land's End in thirteen days. On her arrival at 
London, three days later, she was obliged to lie 
in the Thames, as no dock was large enough to take 
her. She was subsequently chartered by the French 
Government as a troop ship during the Crimean 
War, and carried 1600 British soldiers from Liver- 
pool to Marseilles. During the Civil War, she was 
chartered by the United States Government as a 
troop ship, and was one of the transports in Butler's 
expedition to Ship Island. 

The burning of the Great Republic was a severe 
blow to Donald McKay, from which he never fully 
recovered, but he soon began to bring out Austra- 
lian clippers, some of which proved quite as famous 
as the ships he had previously constructed. 

The well-known packet ship Dreadnought also 
came out in 1853. She was built by Currier & 
Townsend at Newburyport, and was 1413 tons reg- 
ister; length 210 feet, breadth 40 feet, depth 26 



244 The Clipper Ship Era 

feet. This ship was owned by Governor E. D. Mor- 
gan, Francis B. Cutting, Divid Ogden, and others, 
of New York, who subscribed to build her for 
Captain Samuel Samuels. He superintended her 
construction and under his able command she made 
some remarkably quick voyages between New York 
and Liverpool, sailing in David Ogden's Red Cross 
Line, with the Victory, Racer, and Highflyer. 

Captain Samuels was born in Philadelphia in 1823 
and went to sea when he was eleven years old, 
and a narrative of his adventures afloat and on 
shore is contained in his interesting memoirs 
entitled. From the Forecastle to the CaMn, pub- 
lished in 1887. He was a most amiable and enter- 
taining companion, full of good humor and 
penetrating wit. He also cherished a belief in the 
uplifting influence of an enterprising press agent, 
and perhaps no merchant ship of modern times has 
been better advertised than the Dreadnought. She 
sailed on her first voyage from New York for Liver- 
pool, December 15, 1853, and from that date until 
her arrival at New York, January 28, 1855, had 
made eight passages between New York and Liver- 
pool, the average time of her eastern passages being 
21 days 15 hours, and her western passages 24 days 
12 hours from dock to dock. 

Captain Samuels commanded the Dreadnought 
for ten years, and during that time she made from 
seventy to eighty passages across the Atlantic, and 
must have had ample opportunity to make fast voy- 
ages and day's runs. The following abstracts from 
the logs of her best passages are therefore of 
interest : 



The "Dreadnought" 245 

She sailed from New York for Liverpool, No- 
vember 20, 1854; passed Sandy Hook at 6.30 p.m. 
and ran to noon, November 21st, 120 miles ; 22d, 57 
miles; 23d, 225 miles; 24th, 300 miles; 25th, 175 
miles; 26th, 125 miles; 27th, 250 miles; 28th, 263 
miles; 29th, 240 miles; 30th, 270 miles; December 
1st, 242 miles; 2d, 222 miles; 3d, 212 miles; 4th, 
320 miles. Total 3071 miles. The log records : 

At noon on the 4th took a pilot off Point Lynas ; 
was detained eight hours for want of water on the 
bar ; arrived in the Mersey at 10 p. m. ; thus making 
the passage in 14 days 4 hours, apparent time. 
Deducting eight hours for detention by tide at the 
bar, and also deducting the difference of longitude, 
4 hours and 45 minutes, gives the mean or true time 
of passage, 13 days 11 hours and 15 minutes. 
Average speed for the passage, 9% miles per 
hour. On this passage, the Dreadnought was oflE 
Cape Clear, Ireland, in 12 days 12 hours from 
Sandy Hook. 

She sailed from New York, May 4, 1855, and ar- 
rived at Liverpool May 20th; passage recorded as 
15 days 12 hours. 

She sailed from Sandy Hook, January 24, 1856 
(time not given), and ran to noon, January 25th, 
345 miles; 26th, 312 miles; 27th, 252 miles; 28th, 223 
miles ; 29th, violent gale, drifted 90 miles west-south- 
west; 30thj 115 miles; 31st, 212 miles; February 1st, 
228 miles; 2d, 208 miles; 3d, 185 miles; 4th, 238 
miles; 5th, 252 miles; 6th, 244 miles; 7th, 212 miles; 
8th, off Point Lynas. Hove-to until daylight for 
pilot and tide. Total distance run 3116 miles in 14 
days, or an average of 222 miles per day. 



246 The Clipper Ship Era 

The Dreadnought sailed from New York, Feb- 
ruary 27, 1859; at 3 p.m. discharged pilot, and ran 
to noon, February 28th, 200 miles; wind south to 
west-northwest, brisk breezes. March 1st, 293 miles ; 
west-northwest fresh breezes. 2d, 262 miles; north- 
west to north-northwest brisk gales and snow- 
squalls. 3d, 208 miles; north-northwest to north 
heavy gales and snow-squalls. 4th, 178 miles; 
north-northeast to north heavy gales and snow- 
squalls. 5th, 218 miles; north to north-northeast 
heavy gales and snow-squalls. 6th, 133 miles ; north- 
east to south light breezes. 7th, 282 miles; south- 
southeast brisk breezes and clear. 8th, 313 miles; - 
south-southwest to south fresh breezes and clear. 
9th, 268 miles; south to southeast brisk gales. 
10th, 205 miles; southeast to southwest brisk 
breezes and squally. 11th, 308 miles; south to 
southwest strong breeze and squally. 12th, 150 
miles; southwest, thick weather. Distance sailed 
from Sandy Hook to the Northwest Lightship, 3018 
miles; passage 13 days 8 hours, mean time. 

It was during this passage that the Dreadnought 
is supposed to have made the run from Sandy Hook 
to Queenstown in 9 days 17 hours, but an analysis 
of the abstract log shows that 9 days 21 hours after 
discharging her pilot to the eastward of Sandy 
Hook she was not within 400 miles of Queenstown. 

How this mythical tale originated, is difficult to 
imagine, but it has been passed along from one 
scribe to another these many years, until at last 
it has reached the dignity of an " historical fact," 
having recently been embalmed in an encyclopedia. 
Curiously enough, Captain Samuels appears to be 




3 
O 

a 
■a 

C3 



EH 



The " Dreadnought " 247 

almost the only person who has written about the 
Dreadnought who does not refer to this fable. In 
his memoirs, he makes no mention of it. 

The best passage to the westward made by the 
Dreadnought was in 1854, when she ran from the 
Rock Light, Liverpool, to Sandy Hook in 19 days-. 
While it cannot be said that the Dreadnought ever 
made the fastest passage of a sailing vessel between 
New York and Liverpool, as the records in this re- 
spect are held by the Red Jacket, Captain Asa 
Eldridge, from Sandy Hook to the Kock Light, in 
13 days 1 hour, in 1854, and by the Andrew Jack- 
son, Captain John Williams, from Rock Light to 
Sandy Hook in 15 days, in 1860, still the uniform 
speed of the Dreadnought's many voyages entitles 
her to a high place among the celebrated packet 
ships of the past. 

The Dreadnought was a strikingly handsome and 
well-designed, though by no means a sharp ship. 
Her masts, yards, sails, ironwork, blocks, and 
standing and running rigging were of the best ma- 
terial and were always carefully looked after. She 
was a ship that would stand almost any amount of 
driving in heavy weather, and her fast passages were 
in a measure due to this excellent quality, though 
mainly to the unceasing vigilance and splendid sea- 
manship of her commander. She was wrecked in 
1869 while under the command of Captain P. N. 
Mayhew; her crew were rescued after being adrift 
fourteen days in the boats, but the noble old packet 
ship went to pieces among the rugged cliffs and 
crags and roaring breakers of Cape Horn. 



CHAPTER XVI 

AMERICAN CLIPPERS OP 1854 AND 1855 

DURING the year 1854 no less than twenty pas- 
sages were made from Atlantic ports to San 
Francisco in 110 days or less. The Flying Cloud 
repeated her famous record passage of 89 days, and 
was followed by the Romance of the Seas, 96 days; 
Witchcraft, 97 days; David Brown, 98 days, and 
Hurricane, 99 days. The abstract log of the Flying 
Cloud is as follows : 

Sandy Hook to the equator 17 days. 

Equator to 50° South 25 " 

From 50° South in the Atlantic to 50° 

South in the Pacific 12 " 

To the equator 20 " 

To San Francisco 15 " 

Total 89 " 

On this passage the Flying Cloud gave a fine ex- 
ample of her sailing qualities. She sailed eight days 
after the Archer, also an exceedingly fast ship, and 
led her into San Francisco by nine days. Captain 
Creesy received a grand ovation on this, his second 
record passage, and the merchants of San Francisco, 
always generous and hospitable, vied with each 
other to do him honor. Upon his return to New 

248 



American Clippers of 1854-5 249 

York, a banquet was given him at the Astor House, 
then the finest hotel in the city, and a splendid 
service of silver plate was presented to him by the 
New York and Boston Marine Underwriters. 

The Romance of the Seas sailed from Boston two 
days after the David Brown, commanded by Captain 
George Brewster, of Stonington, had passed out by 
Sandy Hook, but came up with her off the coast 
of Brazil. From this point they were frequently in 
company for days together, finally passing through 
the Golden Gate side by side, March 23, 1854. After 
discharging their cargoes, they again passed out of 
the Golden Gate together, this time bound for Hong- 
kong, and while they were not in company during 
this passage of 45 days, they anchored in Hong-kong 
harbor on the same day and almost at the same 
hour. The log of the Romance of the Seas records 
that skysails and royal studdingsails were set just 
outside the Golden Gate and were not taken in 
during the passage until entering the harbor of 
Hong-kong. 

It is diflflcult to realize the intense interest with 
which these clipper ship races were regarded in 
those days ; and it is doubtful whether at the pres- 
ent day any branch of sport inspires so much 
wholesome, intelligent enthusiasm as did these 
splendid ocean matches of the old clippers. 

In this year a change came over the California 
trade. The wild rush to the mines had subsided, 
and the markets of San Francisco, while not over- 
stocked, were so sufficiently and regularly supplied 
as to render great speed in the transportation of 
merchandise unnecessary; the rates of freight had 



250 The Clipper Ship Era 

therefore declined, but were still good. Twenty 
ships, the last of the extreme clippers, were built 
in 1854 for the California trade, including some 
which became celebrated, such as the Canvashack, 
Fleetwing, Grace Darling, Harvey Birch, Naloi, 
Nonpareil, Ocean Telegraph, Battler, Rohin Hood, 
and Sierra Nevada; but we miss from among the 
ship-builders of this year the names of Donald 
McKay, William H. Webb, Samuel Hall, Jacob A. 
Westervelt, and George Eaynes, none of whom 
brought out California clippers. 

Although no more extreme clippers were built 
for the California trade after 1854, a fine class of 
ships, known as medium clippers, was constructed, 
some of which proved exceedingly fast, and remark- 
able passages continued to be made. Many of these 
medium clippers would be considered very sharp 
and heavily sparred vessels at the present time. 

The Sunny South, of 703 tons register, was one 
of the prettiest clippers ever launched at New York, 
and was the only sailing ship built by George Steers, 
the designer of the yacht America, steam frigate 
Niagara, and Collins Line steamship Adriatic. She 
was built for the China trade, was launched at 
Williamsburg, September 7, 1854; was owned by 
Napier, Johnson & Co., and was commanded by 
Captain Michael Gregory. It is a singular fact 
that while this ship was well known to possess 
great speed when in company with other clippers, 
yet she never made a passage worthy of being 
recorded, and was not a very successful ship finan- 
cially; although the product of the skill of a de- 
signer, who, dying in early manhood, left a name 



American Clippers of 1854-5 251 

so interwoven with his country's triumphs upon 
the sea that it can never be forgotten. 

In 1859, the Sunny South was sold at Havana, her 
name being changed to Emanuela. At that time 
her royal studdingsail booms and skysail masts and 
yards were removed. On August 10, 1860, she was 
seized in the Mozambique Channel flying the Chil- 
ian flag, with a cargo of slaves on board, by the 
British man-of-war Brisk, and the following partic- 
ulars of her capture are given by one of the officers 
of that vessel : 

"At 11:30 A.M. on the 10th of August last, as 
Her Majesty's ship Brisk, Captain De Horsey, bear- 
ing the flag of Kear-Admiral the Hon. Sir Henry 
Keppel, K. C. B., was running to the northward in 
the Mozambique Channel, a sail was reported as 
seen from the masthead. Steam was got up without 
delay, and sail made in chase. It being hazy, the 
stranger was shortly lost sight of. When the 
weather had partially cleared the stranger was 
reported four points on our starboard bow, and 
the ship's course was altered in that direction. 
We were now going eleven knots and a half, 
and the Captain, feeling that it must be some- 
thing out of the common that would alter bear- 
ings at that distance in so short a time, proceeded 
himself with his glass to the foretopmast head, 
officers mounting the rigging. 

" That a general excitement prevailed was evi- 
dent from the manner in which our sails were 
trimmed, taken in, and set again. Hottentots and 
landsmen, who on other occasions only looked at 
ropes, now laid hold of them with a will. The 



252 The Clipper Ship Era 

Captain's order from the masthead to keep away 
two points showed that he had observed something 
suspicious — in fact, he had noticed a sudden altera- 
tion in the course of the chase, and pronounced her 
to be a long, rakish-looking ship, too large to be 
a slaver, but thought there was something very 
suspicious in the sudden alteration of her course, 
her crowd of sail, and the unusual number of 
staysails. 

" At about 3 P.M. we could see her hull from the 
deck, and, carrying with us a fresh breeze, while 
she was in the doldrums, we closed on her rapidly. 
When within half a mile we hoisted our colors, when 
every glass was pointed toward her peak, and all 
sorts of conjectures were made as to what colors 
she would show. No one could imagine that so 
large a vessel could be a slaver. 

" On closing under her lee, and when within a 
cable's length, a white package was thrown from 
her side into the sea; and the experienced then 
exclaimed, ' A slaver, and there go her papers ! ' A 
few minutes more, and we sheered up alongside to 
leeward of as beautiful model of a ship as ever 
was seen. Some forty dejected looking individuals, 
apparently a mixture of all nations, stood on her 
deck; still no colors, nor did she appear inclined 
to shorten sail or heave-to. The Captain then de- 
termined to run ahead and lower the quarter-boats 
to drop down and board; and as this manoeuvre 
was being carried out a blank gun caused her to 
square the mainyard, which she did with studding- 
sails hanging to the yard, and luffed up into the 
wind. 




a 






CQ 



ID 

E-i 



American Clippers of 1854-5 253 

" It was an anxious five minutes to those on board 
while the boats were away. A small white British 
ensign run up at her peak showed that she was 
a prize, and a voice hailed us, ' Eight hundred and 
fifty slaves on board ! ' " 

In 1855 the California fleet was increased by the 
building of thirteen medium clipper ships, among 
which were the Andrew Jachso-h, Carrier Dove, 
Charmer, Daring, Herald of the Morning, Mary 
Whitridge, and Ocean Express. Only three pas- 
sages were made from Atlantic ports to San Fran- 
cisco during this year in 100 days or less; the 
Herald of the Morning, from New York, 99 days; 
Neptune's Car, from New York, and Westward 
Ho, from Boston, each 100 days. Thirteen ships 
made the passage in over 100 days and less than 
110 days; among them being the Boston Light, 
from Boston, 102 days; the Cleopatra and Bed 
Rover, from New York, each 107 days; the Flying 
Cloud, from New York, and Meteor and Don 
Quixote, from Boston, each 108 days; the Flying 
Fish, two passages from Boston in 109 and 105 
days, and the Governor Morton, from New York in 
104 days. 

This was Captain Creesy's last voyage in tho 
Flying Cloud, and he now retired to his home in 
Salem until 1861, when he was appointed a Com- 
mander in the United States Navy and assigned to 
the clipper ship Ino. She carried a crew of eighty 
men from Marblehead, and on her second cruise in 
1862 made the record run of twelve days from 
New York to Cadiz. Captain Creesy subsequently 
commanded the clipper ship Archer, and made two 



254 The Clipper Ship Era 

voyages to China. He died at Salem in 1871, in 
his fifty-seventh year. So long as the American 
clipper ships and their brilliant exploits hold a 
place in the memory of man, the names of Josiah 
Creesy and the Flying Cloud will be remembered 
with pride. 

The Mary Whitridge became one of the most 
famous of the clippers launched in 1855. She was 
built in Baltimore, where she was owned by Thomas 
Whitridge & Co., and was commanded by Captain 
Robert B. Cheesborough, also of that port. She was 
877 tons register; length 168 feet, breadth 34 feet, 
depth 21 feet. On her first voyage she made the 
remarkable run of 13 days 7 hours from Cape 
Charles to the Eock Light, Liverpool. She was 
engaged for many years in the China trade under 
the command of Captain Benjamin F. Cutler and 
bore the reputation of being the finest and fastest 
ship sailing out of Baltimore. 

At this time an important development took place 
in the California trade. It had been found that 
the fertile soil of the Pacific slope could be made 
to yield other treasures than gold, and in May, 
1855, the barque Greenfield, Captain Follansbee, 
loaded the first consignment of wheat exported 
from California, consisting of 4752 bags. She was 
soon followed by the Charmer, commanded by Cap- 
tain Lucas, which loaded a full cargo of 1400 tons 
of wheat for New York at $28 per ton freight. The 
export of wheat in sailing vessels rapidly increased, 
enabling ships to earn freights out and home, and 
this continued for many years. 

In 1855 Donald McKay built three fine medium 



American Clippers of 1854-5 255 

clipper ships, the Defender, Amos Lawrence, and 
Abhott Lawrence, which remind us that a number 
of Boston ships bore the names of her distinguished 
citizens. There were the Thomas H. Perkins, Rufus 
Choate, Starr King, Edward Everett, B. B. Forbes, 
Enoch Train, John E. Thayer, George Peahody, 
Samuel Appleton, Boiert G. Winthrop, Bussell 
Sturgis, and perhaps others now forgotten. There 
were already a ship, a barque, two brigs, and two 
schooners named the Daniel Webster, besides sev- 
eral steamboats and tugs and a pilot-boat; hence, 
the owners of ships who were desirous of honoring 
the great statesman were obliged to adopt some 
other means of expressing their admiration, and 
since Webster was known as the Defender of the 
Constitution and also as the Expounder of that 
document, there were two ships named the Defender 
and the Expounder. Some one suggested that the 
latter ship might, perhaps, have been named in 
honor of Yankee Sullivan, a noted prize-flghter then 
retired from the ring. 

The Defender was 1413 tons register, and carried 
a splendid full-length figurehead of Daniel Webster. 
She was owned by D. S. Kendall and H. P. Plymp- 
ton, of Boston, and was commanded by Captain 
Isaac Beauchamp. 

My object in drawing attention to this vessel is 
to mention a notable gathering at Mr. McKay's 
house on the day of her launch, July 27, 1855. The 
leading merchants of Boston and their families were 
his guests on that occasion, and speeches were made 
by the Hon. Edward Everett, ex-Mayor, the Hon. 
Benjamin Seaver, and Enoch Train. In the course 



256 The Clipper Ship Era 

of his address, Mr. Everett remarked : " I was at 
a loss, I confess, to comprehend the secret of the 
great success which has attended our friend and 
host. Forty-two ships, I understand, he has built 
— all vessels such as we have seen to-day. I do not 
mean that they were all as large, but they were as 
well constructed and looked as splendidly, as they 
rode on the waves. Forty-two vessels ! ^ No one 
else, certainly, has done more than our friend to 
improve the commercial marine of this country, and 
it has long seemed to me that there was a mystery 
about it. But since I have been under this roof 
to-day, I have learned the secret of it — excellent 
family government, and a good helpmeet to take 
counsel with and encouragement from. A fair 
proportion of the credit and praise for this 
success is, I am sure, due to our amiable and ac- 
complished hostess [Cheers]. I congratulate also 
the father of our host, the father of such a family. 
He has, I am told, fourteen sons and daughters, 
and fifty grandchildren. Nine of the latter 
were born during the last year. I wish to know, 
my friends, if you do not call that being a good 
citizen ! " 

When the Alibott Lawrence was launched, in 
October of the same year. Mr. McKay was called 
upon to respond to the toast, " In memory of Abbott 
Lawrence," and his brief speech has fortunately 
been preserved: 

" Ladies and gentlemen : I regret my inability 

1 Mr. Everett is reported to have said " eighty-two," 
but if he did so, it was a mistake, for forty-two is the 
true number. 



American Clippers of 1854-5 257 

to do justice to the name that is honored and re- 
spected in every part of the civilized world. My 
speech is rude and uncultivated, but my feelings, I 
trust, are warm and true, and could I express those 
feelings, I would tell you how much I honor the 
memory of Abbott Lawrence. I know you all honor 
it, for you all knew him, and to know him was to 
love him. Love begets love. He loved our com- 
mon country as a statesman of enlarged and liberal 
views, and our state and city as the scene of his 
personal labors. In Massachusetts he commenced 
his career; here he toiled and triumphed, here he 
has bequeathed the richest tokens of his love, and 
here all of him that can die mingles with the soil. 
He was not only a great man, but a good man. In 
every relation of life, he was a model for imitation. 
Ever be his memory green in the hearts of his 
countrymen. When the ship which bears his name 
shall have been worn out by the storms and the 
vicissitudes of the sea, may another, and another, 
and so on, till the end of time, perpetuate it upon 
the ocean, for he was the patron and friend of 
commerce as well as of the other great interests 
of the state. In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, 
I again give you the memory of Abbott Lawrence. 
May his name and noble example never be 
forgotten." 

This speech seems to me to be most intei-esting, 
as showing the natural refinement of a mind desti- 
tute of the culture of even a common-school educa- 
tion, or perhaps it would be nearer the truth to 
say, a mind that had escaped the restraining in- 
fluence of the pedagogue. 



258 The Clipper Ship Era 

" Yet is remembrance sweet, 

Though well I know 
The days of childhood 

Are but days of woe ; 
Some rude restraint, 

Some petty tyrant sours 
What else should be 

Our sweetest blithest hours." 

These lugubrious lines found no echo in the early 
life of Donald McKay, for his boyhood was passed 
in earnest, healthy toil, and filled with a keen desire 
for knowledge, while his manhood had knowrf the 
joy of well-earned success. ■'"- 

After the Ablott Lawrence, Mr. McKay built the 
medium clippers Minnehaha, Baltic, Adriatic, Mas- 
tiff, and barque Henry. Hill, all in 1856 ; the Al- 
harnbra, 1857; the Helen Morris, and second" 
Sovereign of the Seas, 1868, and the Glory of the 
Seas, 1869. During the Civil War, he built for the 
United States Government, the iron gunboat Ash- 
uelot, the ironclad monitor Nausett, the wooden 
gunboats Trefoil, and Yucca, and the sloop of war 
Adams. In 1877 he retired to his farm at Hamil- 
ton, Massachusetts, and there he died, September 20, 
1880, in the seventy-first year of his age. 

Donald McKay was a man of untiring energy and 
industry. He was a rapid and skilful draughtsman 
and designed and superintended the construction of 
every vessel that he built. This may also be said 
of almost every ship-builder of that period, but Mr. 
McKay's skill, the result of an intuitive perception 
ripened by experience, gave him a peculiar insight 



American Clippers of 1854-5 259 

not only into how to create, but into what to cre- 
ate, and it was this genius that made him pre- 
eminent as a builder of clipper ships. He was a 
born artist and his ships were the finest expression 
of mechanical art. They are entitled to a place in 
the realm of fine arts far more than much of the 
merchandise that claims that distinction. 

Mr. McKay was of a generous nature, and lib- 
erally rewarded the men who assisted him, and he 
was ever ready to lend a helping hand to those less 
fortunate than himself. So soon as he began to 
prosper he sent for his parents and made a new 
home for them at East Boston, and their comfort 
and happiness were always his care and greatest 
pleasure. In his later years he endured misfortune 
and ingratitude with the same sturdy sweetness and 
equanimity that he had shown in the days when 
fortune smiled. 



CHAPTER XVII 

AUSTRALIAN VOYAGES, 1851-1854 

THE years between 1849 and 1856 were perhaps 
the most prosperous that ship-owners and 
ship-builders have ever known. The discovery of 
gold in Australia in 1851 had much the same effect 
as that in California in 1848, and people flocked to 
Melbourne from all parts of the world. There was 
this difference, however, that whereas passengers 
w^ent to California, after the first rush, by steamers 
via Panama, and the mails and gold were always 
transported by this route, all the Australian pas- 
sengers, mails, and gold were for a considerable 
period carried by sailing vessels. The extent of 
this trafQo may be judged from the fact that the 
yield of the gold fields up to December 30, 1852, a 
little more than a year after their discovery, was 
estimated at £16,000,000 sterling, or $aQJilfl,Oeer 
Prior to 1851 the emigration to the Australian col- 
onies had been about 100,000 persons per annum, 
while the average between 1851 and 1854 was 
340,000 annually. The transportation of these pas- 
sengers alone required an enormous amount of ton- 
nage, so that the discovery of gold in Australia gave 
an additional impulse to clipper ship building. 
At this time the proper route to ports on that 
260 



Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 261 

part of the globe had only just become known, al- 
though British ships had been sailing to and from 
Australia and New Zealand for many years, taking 
out emigrants and bringing back wool. They usu- 
ally called at the Cape of Good Hope both outward 
and homeward bound, this being the route recom- 
mended by the Admiralty. One of the most im- 
portant services rendered by Lieutenant Maury was 
his careful research in this matter, which resulted 
in an entire revolution of both outward and home- 
ward tracks. Instead of sailing near the Cape of 
Good Hope outward bound, he discovered that a 
ship would find stronger and more favorable winds 
from 600 to 800 miles to the westward, then con- 
tinuing her course southward to 48°, she would 
fall in with the prevailing westerly gales and long 
rolling seas in which to run her easting down. It 
was in this region that the Australian clippers 
made their largest day's runs. 

The homeward bound Admiralty track was en- 
tirely abandoned by Lieutenant Maury in favor of 
continuing in the brave west winds, as he called 
them, round Cape Horn, so that a voyage to Mel- 
bourne out and home encircled the globe. By the 
old routes, vessels were usually about 120 days each 
way, though sometimes considerably longer. By the 
tracks which Lieutenant Maury introduced, the out- 
ward and homeward voyages were made in about 
the same time that had formerly been consumed in 
a single passage, though of course the increased 
speed of the clipper ships contributed to this result. 

The misery and suffering of passengers on board 
the old Australian emigrant ships before the days 



262 The Clipper Ship Era 

of the clippers are difficult to realize at the present 
time, but there is an account compiled from the 
report of the Parliamentary Committee appointed 
in 1844 to iuTestigate the matter, which reads as 
follows : 

" It was scarcely possible to induce the passengers 
to sweep the decks after their meals, or to be de- 
cent in respect to the common wants of nature; in 
many cases, in bad weather they would not go on 
deck, their health suffered so much that their 
strength was gone, and they had not the power to 
help themselves. Hence the between-decks was like 
a loathsome dungeon. When hatchways were opened 
under which the people were stowed, the steam 
rose and the stench was like that from a pen of 
pigs. The few beds they had were in a dreadful 
state, for the straw, once wet with sea-water, soon 
rotted, beside which they used the between-decks 
for all sorts of filthy purposes. Whenever vessels 
put back from distress all these miseries and suffer- 
ings were exhibited in the most aggravated form. 
In one case it appeared that, the vessel having ex- 
perienced rough weather, the people were unable to 
go on deck and cook their provisions; the strongest 
maintained the upper hand over the weakest, and 
it was even said that there were women who died 
of starvation. At that time the passengers were 
expected to cook for themselves, and from their be- 
ing unable to do this the greatest suffering arose. 
It was naturally at the commencement of the voyage 
that this system produced its worst effects, for the 
first days were those in which the people suffered 
most from sea-sickness, and under the prostration 



Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 263 

of body thereby induced, were wholly incapacitated 
from cooking. Thus though provisions might be 
abundant enough, the passengers would be half- 
starved." 

In an interesting book entitled Reminiscences of 
Early Australian Life, a vivid description is given 
of maritime affairs in 1853. The writer, who had 
arrived at Melbourne in 1840, says that : " Since 
that time the town of Melbourne had developed from 
a few scattered and straggling wooden buildings, 
with muddy thoroughfares interspersed with stumps 
of gum trees, into a well-built and formed city, with 
wide, and well-made streets, symmetrically laid out, 
good hotels, club houses, and Government buildings. 
Port Phillip Bay, in which two or three vessels 
used to repose at anchor for months together, was 
now the anchorage ground of some of the finest 
and fastest clippers afloat." 

At this time (1853) upwards of two hundred full- 
rigged ships from all parts of the world were lying 
in the Bay. This writer continues : " After land- 
ing their living freight of thousands that were rush- 
ing out to the gold fields to seek for gold, and 
fearing that they might be too late to participate 
in their reputed wealth, ships now waited for return 
cargoes, or more probably for crews to take them 
home, as in many cases all the hands had deserted 
for the gold fields. On ascertaining that there were 
two good ships sailing for London, with cargoes 
of wool and gold-dust, about the same time, or as 
soon as they could ship crews — one the Madagascar, 
of Messrs. Green & Co.'s line, and the other the Med- 
way of Messrs. Tindall & Co.'s line — I proceeded to 



264 The Clipper Ship Era 

the office and booked a passage by the Madagascar — 
the passage in those days for a first-class cabin 
being £80. After paying the usual deposit and 
leaving the oflSce, I met a friend, who was also 
homeward bound, and on my informing him that 
I had booked by the Madagascar, he persuaded me 
to change my ship and go home with himself and 
others whom I knew in the Medway, and upon 
returning to the office of Green's ship, and stating 
my reasons for wishing to change to Tindall's ship, 
they were very obliging, and returned my deposit, 
stating that they could easily fill up my berth. It 
was well for me at the time that I changed ships, 
as the Madagascar sailed the same day from Port 
Phillip Head as we did, with four tons of gold-dust 
on board; and to this day nothing has ever been 
heard of her. She either foundered at sea, or, as 
was generally supposed, was seized by the crew and 
scuttled and the gold taken oflf in boats. All must 
have perished, both passengers and crew, as no tid- 
ings of that ill-fated ship ever reached the owners. 

" On board the Medway there were four tons' 
weight of gold-dust, packed in well-secured boxes 
of two hundred pounds each, five of these boxes 
being stowed under each of the berths of the saloon 
passengers. Each cabin was provided with cut- 
lasses and pistols, to be kept in order and ready 
for use, and a brass carronade gun loaded with 
grape shot was fixed in the after part of the ship, 
in front of the saloon and pointed to the forecastle 
— not a man, with the exception of the ship's officers 
and stewards, being allowed to come aft. 

" The character of the crew shipped necessitated 



Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 265 

the precautions; for the day previous to the ship's 
sailing men had to be searched for and found in 
the lowest haunts and were brought on board 
drugged and under the influence of liquor, and 
' placed below the hatches. We, the passengers, 
heaved up the anchor and worked the ship generally 
until outside of Port Phillip Head, when the men 
confined below, who were to compose the crew, were 
brought on deck, looking dazed and confused, any 
resistance or remonstrance on their part being fu- 
tile. But those amongst them that were able-bodied 
seamen were paid in gold, forty sovereigns down, 
on signing the ship's articles for the homeward 
voyage. 

" Amongst them were useless hands and some of 
a very indifferent character. Some, no doubt, were 
escaped convicts, or men who had secreted them- 
selves to evade the police and law; others deserters 
from ships then laying in the Bay — about forty in 
all, and in general appearance a very unprepossess- 
ing lot. However, there being no help for it, we 
had but to keep guarded and prepared against the 
worst; the ship's passengers together with the offi- 
cers numbering about twenty hands. The captain 
was an old and well-known sailor of high reputation 
and long experience; and the ship was well found 
and provisioned, in anticipation of a long voyage 
— ^which it proved to be, extending over four months 
from the time we left Port Phillip Head until she 
reached the English coast." 

The first clipper ship constructed for the Austra- 
lian trade was the Marco Polo, of 1622 tons ; length 
185 feet, breadth 38 feet, depth 30 feet. She was 



266 The Clipper Ship Era 

built in 1851 by Smith & Co., at St. John, N. B., 
for James Baines & Co., Liverpool, and was the 
pioneer clipper of the famous Australian Black 
Ball Line. The Marco Polo was constructed with 
three decks, and was a very handsome, powerful- 
looking ship. Above her water-line, she resembled 
the New York packet ships, having painted ports, 
and a full-length figurehead of the renowned ex- 
plorer whose name she bore. Below water she was 
cut away and had long, sharp, concave ends. Her 
accommodations for saloon and steerage passengers 
were a vast improvement upon anything before 
attempted in the Australian trade. 

She sailed from Liverpool for Melbourne, July 
4, 1851, commanded by Captain James Nicol Forbes, 
carrying the mails and crowded with passengers. 
She made the run out in the then record time of 
68 days, and home in 74 days, which, including her 
detention at Melbourne, was less than a six months' 
voyage round the globe. Running her easting down 
to the southward of the Cape of Good Hope, she 
made in four successive days 1344 miles, her best 
day's run being 364 miles. Her second voyage to 
Melbourne was also made in six months out and 
home, so that she actually sailed twice around the 
globe within twelve months. To the Marco Polo 
and her skilful commander belongs the credit of 
setting the pace over this great ocean race-course 
round the globe. 

Her success led to the building of a number of 
vessels at St. John for British owners engaged in 
the Australian trade. Among these the most fa- 
mous were the Eibernia, 1065 tons, Ben Nevis, 1420 



Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 267 

tons, and Guiding Star, 2012 tons. In Great Brit- 
ain also a large number of ships were built for the 
Australian trade between the years 1851 and 1854. 
Many of these were constructed of iron, the finest 
being the Tayleur, 2500 tons, which was built at 
Liverpool in 1853 and was at that time the largest 
merchant ship that had been built in England. She 
was a very handsome iron vessel, with three decks 
and large accommodation for cabin and • steerage 
passengers. This vessel was wrecked off the coast 
of Ireland on her first voyage to Melbourne when 
only two days out from Liverpool, and became a 
total loss; of her 652 passengers, only 282 were 
saved. Among the many other vessels built in 
Great Britain during this period were the Lord of 
the Isles, already mentioned in Chapter XII; 
Vimiera, 1037 tons, built at Sunderland; the Con- 
test, 1119 tons, built at Ardrossan on the Firth of 
Clyde; and the Gauntlet (iron), 784 tons, and Kate 
Carnie, 547 tons, both built at Greenock. All of 
these vessels were a decided improvement upon any 
ships hitherto built in Great Britain, and they made 
some fine passages, among them that of the Lord 
of the Isles, from the Clyde to Sydney, N. S. W., 
in 70 days in 1853, but the 68-day record of the 
Marco Polo from Liverpool to Melbourne remained 
unbroken. 

The Marco Polo was still a favorite vessel with 
passengers, which goes to show what a good ship 
she must have been, in view of the rivalry of newer 
and larger clippers. She sailed from Liverpool in 
November, 1853, commanded by Captain Charles 
McDonnell, who had been her chief officer under 



268 The Clipper Ship Era 

Captain Forbes. The passengers on this voyage, on 
their arrival at Melbourne, subscribed for a splen- 
did service of silver, to be presented to Captain 
McDonnell upon his return to England, which bore 
the following inscription : " Presented to Captain 
McDonnell, of the ship Marco Polo, as a testimonial 
of respect from his passengers, six hundred and 
sixty-six in number, for his uniform kindness and 
attention during his first voyage, when his ship 
ran from Liverpool to Port Phillip Head in seventy- 
two days, twelve hours, and from land to land in 
sixty-nine days." The Marco Polo came home in 
78 days, but these were the last of her famous pas- 
sages, as she drifted into the hands of captains 
who lacked either the ability or the energy, or 
perhaps both, to develop her best speed — the 
unfortunate fate of many a good ship. 

There were at that time a number of lines and 
private firms engaged in the Australian trade, the 
best known being the White Star Line, later man- 
aged by Ismay, Imrie & Co., and James Baines & 
Co.'s Black Ball Line, both of Liverpool. There 
was keen rivalry between the two, and the Ben 
Nevis and Guiding Star had both been built by 
the White Star in hopes of lowering the record of 
the Marco Polo. By degrees, however, it became 
apparent that she was an exceptional ship, not likely 
to be duplicated at St. John, and also that much 
of her speed was due to her able commanders, while 
the ships built in Great Britain, though fine ves- 
sels, had not come up to the mark in point of 
speed or passenger accommodations. It was un- 
der these circumstances that British merchants and 



Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 269 

ship-owners beg^an to buy and build ships for the 
Australian trade in the United States. 

The Sovereign of the Seas had attracted much 
attention upon her arrival at LiTerpool in 1853, 
and was almost immediately chartered to load for 
Australia in the Black Ball Line. It is to be re- 
gretted that for some reason Captain McKay gave up 
charge of the ship and returned to the United States, 
the command being given to Captain Warner, who 
had no previous experience in handling American 
clipper ships, although he proved an extremely com- 
petent commander. The Sovereign of the Seas 
sailed from Liverpool September 7, 1853, and ar- 
rived at Melbourne after a passage of 77 days. In 
a letter from Melbourne Captain Warner gives the 
following account of this passage: 

" I arrived here after a long and tedious passage 
of 77 days, having experienced only light and con- 
trary winds the greater part of the passage — I have 
had but two chances. The ship- ran in four con- 
secutive days 1275 miles ; and the next run was 3375 
miles in twelve days. These were but moderate 
chances. I was 31 days to the Equator, and car- 
ried skysails 65 days; set them on leaving Liver- 
pool, and never shortened them for 35 days. 
Crossed the equator in 26° 30'j and went to 53° 
30' south, but found no strong winds. Think if 
I had gone to 58° south, I would have had wind 
enough; but the crew were insufficiently clothed, 
and about one half disabled, together with the first 
mate. At any rate, we have beaten all and every 
one of the ships that sailed with us, and also the 
famous English clipper Gauntlet ten days on the 



270 The Clipper Ship Era 

passage, although the Sovereign of the Seas was 
loaded down to twenty-three and one half feet." 
On the homeward voyage she brought the mails 
and over four tons of gold-dust, and made the pas- 
sage in 68 days. On this voyage there was a 
mutiny among the crew, who intended to seize the 
ship and capture the treasure. Captain Warner 
acted with great firmness and tact in suppressing 
the mutineers and placing them in irons without 
loss of life, for which he received much credit. 

The White Star Line, not to be outdone by rivals, 
followed the example of the Black Ball and in 1854 
chartered the Chariot of Fame, Bed Jacket, and 
Blue Jacket. These ships, of which the first was 
a medium clipper and the other two extreme clip- 
pers, were built in New England. The Chariot of 
Fame was a sister ship to the Star of Empire, 
2050 tons, built by Donald McKay in 1853, for 
Enoch Train's Boston and Liverpool packet line. 
The Chariot of F'ame made a number of fast voy- 
ages between England and Australia, her best pas- 
sage being 66 days from Liverpool to Melbourne. 
The Blue Jacket ^as a handsome ship of 1790 tons, 
built by R. E. Jackson at East Boston in 1854, and 
was owned by Charles R. Green, of New York. Her 
best passages were 67 days from Liverpool to 
Melbourne and home in 69 days. 

The Red Jacket, the most famous of this trio, 
was built by George Thomas at Rockland, Maine, 
in 1853-1854, and was owned by Seacomb & Taylor, 
of Boston. She registered 2006 tons; length 260 
feet, breadth 44 feet, depth 26 feet; and was de- 
signed by Samuel A, Pook, of Boston, who had 



Australian Voyages, 1851-1854 271 

designed a number of other clipper ships, including 
the Challenger — ^not the English ship of that name, 
— the Game-Cock, Surprise, Northern Light, Ocean 
Chief, Fearless, Ocean Telegraph, and Herald of 
the Morning. He also designed several freighting 
vessels and yachts. It was the custom at that 
period for vessels to be designed in the yards where 
they were constructed, and Mr. Pook was the first 
naval architect in the United States who was not 
connected with a ship-bulding yard. On her first 
voyage the Red Jacket sailed from New York for 
Liverpool, February 19, 1854, commanded by Cap- 
tain Asa Eldridge, and made the passage in 13 days 
1 hour from Sandy Hook to the Eock Light, Liver- 
pool, with the wind strong from southeast to west- 
southwest, and either rain, snow, or hail during the 
entire run. During the first seven days she aver- 
aged only 182 miles per twenty-four hours, but 
during the last six days she made 219, 413, 374, 
348, 300, and 371 miles, an average of a fraction 
over 353 miles per twenty-four hours. 

Captain Eldridge was well known in Liverpool, 
having, together with his brothers, John and Oliver, 
commanded some of the finest New York and Liver- 
pool packet ships of their day; he had also com- 
manded Commodore Vanderbilt's steam yacht 
North Star during her cruise in European waters 
in 1853. He was afterwards lost in command of 
the steamship Pacific of the Collins Line. 

The Red Jacket attracted a great deal of attention 
at Liverpool, being an extremely handsome ship — 
quite as good-looking as any of the clippers built 
at New York or Boston. For a figurehead she car- 



272 The Clipper Ship Era 

ried a full-lengtli representation of the Indian chief 
for whom she was named. She made her first voy- 
age from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1854 under 
command of Captain Samuel Reed in 69 days, and 
as she received very quick despatch, being in port 
only 12 days, and made the passage to Liverpool in 
73 days, the voyage round the globe, including de- 
tention in port, was made in five months and four 
days. On the homeward passage, bringing home 
45,000 ounces of gold, she beat the celebrated Guid- 
ing Star by 9 days, though she lost considerable 
time through being among the bergs and field ice 
off Cape Horn. Upon her arrival at Liverpool the 
Red Jacket was sold to Pilklington & Wilson, of that 
port, then agents of the White Star Line, for £30,000, 
and continued in the Australian trade for several 
years, becoming one of the most famous of the 
American-built clippers. 

The competition of the Black Ball and White Star 
lines proved of great benefit to both cabin and 
steerage passengers, as their comfort and con- 
venience became subjects of consideration in a man- 
ner unthought of in the old days before the discovery 
of gold at Bendigo and Ballarat. 




IS 

M 
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1-5 

T3 

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CHAPTER XVIII 

AUSTRALIAN CLIPPERS, 1854-1856 

IN view of the keen rivalry at this period, James 
Baines & Co. determined to own the finest and 
fastest ships that could be constructed, and accord- 
ingly placed an order with Donald McKay to build 
four clipper ships for their Australian line. These 
vessels were the Lightmng, 2084 tons ; the Champion 
of the Seas, 2448 tons; James Baines, 2515 tons; 
and Donald McKay, 2598 tons, all launched in 1854, 
with the exception of the Donald McKay, which was 
not completed until January, 1855. This firm also 
bought from Mr. McKay the sister ships Japan and 
Commodore Perry, 1964 tons each, while they were 
on the stocks in course of construction. 

These ships designed for the Australian trade 
were very similar to the later California clipper 
ships built by Mr. McKay, though with less dead- 
rise and sharper ends; they were fitted with large 
accommodation for cabin and steerage passengers; 
while the Japan and Commodore Perry were some- 
what fuller ships than the others, and were designed 
with a view to carry large cargoes rather than to 
attain high speed. 

The Lightning measured : length 244 feet, breadth 
44 feet, depth 23 feet, with 20 inches dead-rise at 
i8 273 



274 The Clipper Ship Era 

half floor. She had long, concave water-lines, and 
at her load-displacement line a chcd from her 
cut-water to just abaft the fore rigging showed a 
concavity of 16 inches. Her stem raked boldly for- 
ward, the lines of the bow gradually becoming 
convex and blending with sheer line and cutwater, 
while the only ornament was a beautiful full-length 
figure of a young woman holding a golden thunder- 
bolt in her outstretched hand, the flowing white 
drapery of her graceful form and her streaming 
hair completing the fair and noble outline of the 
bow. The after body was long and clean, though 
fuller than the bow, while the stern was semi- 
elliptical in form, with the plank-sheer moulding 
for its base, and was ornamented with gilded carved 
work, though this really added nothing to the 
beauty of the strong, sweeping outline of her hull. 

Aloft the Lightning was heavily and strongly 
rigged. Her main yard was 95 feet in length, and 
the total height from the deck to the mainskysail 
truck was 164 feet; her lower studdingsail booms 
were 65 feet in length; her topsails and topgallant- 
sails were diagonally roped from clews to earings, 
and her fore and main stays, lower rigging, and 
topmast stays and backstays were of 11% inch 
Russian hemp, with the rest of the standing rig- 
ging in proportion. Indeed, her masts and spars 
were as strongly secured as skill and labor could 
make them. Evidently, Mr. McKay had grown 
weary of having his ships go to pieces aloft. 

The quarter-deck was 90 feet long, flush with the 
top of the bulwarks, and protected by a mahogany 
rail on turned stanchions of the same wood. She 



Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 275 

had also two large deck-houses, which, together with 
the between-decks, gave ample passenger accommo- 
dation. The quarters for the steerage passengers 
were comfortably fitted and well ventilated, while 
the saloons, staterooms, bathrooms, and smoking- 
room for the cabin passengers were superbly 
decorated and furnished. 

Captain Forbes, late of the Marco Polo, was ap- 
pointed to command the Lightning, and came to 
Boston by one of the Cunard steamers to superintend 
the outfit of his ship. He brought good letters of 
introduction, and was well received; indeed, he 
hardly needed any introduction, as the high reputa- 
tion he had gained while in command of the Marco 
Polo had preceded him. He made many friends in 
Boston, especially among the clergy, as he was an 
enthusiastic churchman, and he found a congenial 
spirit in Captain Lauchlan McKay, who likewise 
took a great interest in ecclesiastical affairs. These 
two mariners became such close friends that Cap- 
tain McKay consented to accompany Captain Forbes 
to Liverpool as his companion and adviser, and as 
we shall presently see, the Lightning developed her 
finest speed in the hands of these experienced and 
skilful seamen. 

The Lightning loaded in Train's Line at Constitu- 
tion Wharf, and sailed for Liverpool, February 18, 
1854. The Boston Daily Atlas of that date pub- 
lished the following account of her departure: 

" At 2 o'clock the Lightning hove her anchor up, 
and at 3 o'clock discharged her pilot off Boston 
Light. She went down in tow of the steamer 
Rescue, Captain Hennessy, and was piloted by Mr. 



276 The Clipper Ship Era 

E. G. Martin. Before the steamer left her, she set 
her head sails, fore- and mizentopsails, and had a 
moderate breeze from west to southwest. She ap- 
peared to go at the rate of 6 knots under this 
canvas, though she draws 22 feet of water, and has 
only 23 feet depth of hold. We have seen manj 
vessels pass through the water, but never saw one 
which disturbed it less. Not a ripple curled before 
her cutwater, nor did the water break at a single 
place along her sides. She left a wake as straight 
as an arrow and this was the only mark of her 
progress. There was a slight swell and as she rose 
we could see the arc of her forefoot rise gently 
over the seas as she increased her speed. At 5 p.m., 
two hours after the pilot left her, the outer telegraph 
station reported her thirty miles east of Boston 
Light, with all drawing sails set, and going along 
like a steamboat. We think her talented designer 
and builder, Mr. McKay, cannot improve upon her 
model. Her commander, being a pious man, was 
attended down the harbor by a select party of 
brethren and sisters of the church, who at parting 
gave him their blessing. This is much better than 
the dram-drinking and vociferous cheering which 
usually make up the parting scenes of the 
unregenerated." 

The voyage so auspiciously begun proved one of 
the most remarkable ever made by a ship on the 
ocean ; for before the Lightning set her pilot signal 
off Point Lynas, she had left more miles of salt 
water astern in twenty-four hours than any vessel 
that has ever sailed the seas propelled by winds and 
canvas. From the abstract log, published in the 



Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 277 

Liverpool Albion soon after her arrival, it appears 
that she went round the north of Ireland, making 
the run to Eagle Island in 10 days, and to the 
Calf of Man, within 80 miles of Liverpool, in 12 
days, thence to Liverpool in 13 days 191/^ hours 
from Boston Light. Her day's runs were as follows : 

1. — " February 19th. Wind west-southwest, and north- 
west, moderate; 200 miles. 
2. — 20th. Wind north-northeast and northeast, strong 

breezes with snow; 328 miles. 
3. — 21st. Wind east-southeast with snowstorms; 145 

miles. 
4. — 22d. Wind east-southeast, a gale with high cross 

sea and rain; 114 miles. 
5. — 23d. Wind north. Strong gales to east-southeast; 

ends moderate; 110 miles. 
6. — 24th. Wind southeast, moderate; 312 miles. 
7. — 26th. Wind east-southeast and southeast. Fresh 

breezes with thick weather; 285 miles. 
8. — 26th. Wind west-southwest, moderate; 295 miles. 
9. — 27th. Wind west-northwest, moderate; 260 miles. 
10. — 28th. Wind west and northwest, steady breezes; 306 
miles." 
[The position at noon on this day was latitude 52° 38' 
N., longitude 22° 45' W., and here began the greatest day's 
run ever made by a ship under canvas.] 
11. — " March 1st. Wind south. Strong gales; bore away 
for the North Channel, carried away the foretopsail 
and lost jib; hove the log several times and found 
the ship going through the water at the rate of 18 
to 18% knots; lee rail under water, and rigging 
slack. Distance run in twenty-four hours, 436 miles. 
12. — 2d. Wind south, first part moderate, latter part 

light and calm. 
13. — 3d. Light winds and calms. 

14. — 4th. Light southeast winds and calms; at 7 a.m. 
off Great Orma Head; 12 M. off the N. W. Lightship." 



278 The Clipper Ship Era 

This was a remarkable passage considering the 
percentage of easterly winds, though its memorable 
incident is, of course, the phenomenal run of 436 
miles in twenty-four hours, an average of 18l^ 
knots, which entitles the Lightning to the proud 
distinction of being the swiftest ship that ever 
sailed the seas. There was no ocean steamship of 
her day that approached her record by less than 
100 miles, and another flve-and-twenty years passed 
away before the Atlantic greyhound, the Arizona, 
made 18 knots for a single hour, on her trial trip. 
Even at the present time, according to Lloyd's 
Register, there are not more than thirty ocean- 
going mail steamships afloat, that are able to steam 
over 18 knots. It must have been blowing hard 
enough when the Lightning's jib and foretopsail 
carried away, for these were not old, worn-out sails, 
put on board to attract the favorable consideration 
of underwriters, but were of new canvas, made un- 
usually strong, and had not been out of the sail 
loft more than a couple of weeks. 

Strange as it may seem, the " wood butchers of 
Liverpool," as Donald McKay used to call them, 
were allowed to fill in the concave lines of the 
Lightning's bow with slabs of oak sheathing, and 
while she continued to be a fast ship, she doubtless 
would have proved still faster had her original 
design not been tampered with.^ 

The second of these ships, the Champion of the 
Seas, measured: length 269 feet, breadth 45 feet, 
depth 29 feet, dead-rise at half floor 18 inches; 

1 These slabs were subsequently removed, one side being 
washed away. 



Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 279 

length of mainyard 95 feet. The concavity of her 
water-line forward was 2i/^ inches, from which it 
will be seen that she was a differently designed 
ship from the Lightning. She was considered by 
many to be even a handsomer vessel. Her stern 
was ornamented with the arms of Australia, while at 
her bow she carried a full-length figurehead of a 
handsome sailorman rigged out in all his best go- 
ashore togs. She was commanded by Captain 
Alexander Newlands, who came from Liverpool to 
superintend her construction and equipment, the 
whole inside arrangements of the ship, including 
the complicated plan for light and ventilation and 
the details of the cabin, being made according to 
his designs. After fitting out at Grand Junction 
Wharf, East Boston, she was towed to New York 
by the R. B. Forces, where she loaded for Liverpool, 
and made the passage to that port during the month 
of June, 1854, in 16 days. 

The James Baines measured: length 266 feet, 
breadth 46 feet 8 inches, depth 31 feet, with 18 
inches dead-rise at half floor. Her mainyard was 
100 feet in length, and a single suit of sails con- 
tained 13,000 running yards of canvas 18 inches 
wide. Originally she carried a main skysail only, 
but later she was fitted with three skysails, main 
moonsail, and skysail studdingsails, and so far as 
I know, she was the only clipper ship so rigged. 
There was only a very slight difference between 
the lines of the Champion of the Seas and those of 
the James Baines, the latter ship having a some- 
what more raking stem, which brought her lines 
out forward a little longer and sharper above the 



28o The Clipper Ship Era 

water-line. Her bow was ornamented with a finely 
executed bust of her namesake, which was carved 
in England and was said to be an excellent like- 
ness. Across her stern she carried a carved medal- 
lion of the globe, supported by the arms of Great 
Britain and the United States. She was com- 
manded by Captain McDonnell, late of the Marco 
Polo, who sailed from Liverpool for Boston soon 
after his return from Melbourne. 

The James Baines sailed from Boston, September 
12, 1854, and made the run from Boston Light to 
the Rock Light, Liverpool, in the record time of 
12 days 6 hours. An English correspondent of one 
of the Boston papers remarked : " You wish to 
know what professional men say about the ship 
James Baines. Her unrivalled passage, of course, 
brought her prominently before the public, and she 
has already been visited by many of the most emi- 
nent mechanics in the country. She is so strongly 
built, so finely finished, and is of so beautiful a 
model, that even envy cannot prompt a fault against 
her. On all hands she has been praised as the 
most perfect sailing ship that ever entered the river 
Mersey." 

The last of this quartette, the Donald McKay, 
measured: length 269 feet, breadth 47 feet, depth 
29 feet, with 18 inches dead-rise at half floor, and 
her mainyard was 100 feet long. While her water- 
lines were fuller than those of the James Baines, 
she was still an extremely sharp vessel, and with 
the single exception of the Great Republic was the 
largest merchant ship afloat. She sailed from Bos- 
ton, February 21, 1855, under the command of 



Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 281 

Captain Warner, late of the Sovereign of the Seas, 
and made the run to Cape Clear in 12 days, and 
thence to Liverpool in 5 days. On February 27th, 
she ran 421 miles in twenty-four hours, and on 
that date her log records : " First part, strong 
gales from northwest; middle blowing a hurricane 
from west-northwest, ship scudding under topsails 
and foresail at the rate of 18 knots; latter part, 
still blowing from west-northwest with heavy hail 
squalls; very high sea running." 

The Lightning sailed from Liverpool on her first 
voyage to Melbourne, May 14, 1854. She encoun- 
tered light winds and calms to the equator, which 
she crossed in 25 days from the Mersey; such was 
the nature of the winds that the topgallantsails 
were not taken in during the passage, and her 
best day's runs were only 332, 348, 300, 311, and 
329 miles on various dates. She arrived out in 77 
days, but the passage home to Liverpool was made 
in the record time of 63 days. In ten consecutive 
days of twenty-four hours each, she sailed no less 
than 3722 miles, her best day's run being 412 miles. 
On this voyage she brought home gold and dust to 
the value of £1,000,000 sterling. 

The James Baines sailed from Liverpool for Mel- 
bourne December 9, 1854, and made the passage out 
in the record time of 63 days, her best twenty-four 
hours' run being 420 miles. She made the passage 
home in 69 days, thus sailing around the globe in 
the record time of 132 days. On a subsequent voy- 
age in 1856 her log records, " June 16th. At noon 
sighted a ship in the distance ahead; at 1 p.m. 
alongside of her; at 2 p.m., out of sight astern. 



282 The Clipper Ship Era 

The James Baines was going 17 knots with main 
skysail set; the Liiertas, for such was her name, 
was under double-reefed topsails." "June 17th. Lati- 
tude 44° S., longitude 106° E., ship going 21 knots 
with .main skysail set." This appears to be the 
highest rate of speed ever made by a sailing vessel 
of which any reliable record has been preserved. 

The Champion of the Seas made the passage out 
in 71 days and home in 84 days, and the Donald 
McKay made the voyage in about the same time, 
but the Lightning and James Baines proved the 
most famous of these ships. So well pleased was 
Mr. Baines that he wrote to Mr. McKay, saying, 
'■ In these ships you have given us all and more 
than we expected." These were the last extreme 
clipper ships built by Donald McKay. 

During the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 a large number 
of British and American merchant ships were 
chartered by the British Government to carry troops 
to India, and among others the James Baines, 
Champion of the Seas, and Lightning. The James 
Baines sailed from Portsmouth for Calcutta on 
August 8th, with the Ninety-seventh Regiment on 
board, and the Illustrated London News, in a no- 
tice of her departure, remarked : " Previous to her 
starting she was honored by a visit of Her Majesty, 
who highly eulogized the vessel and is said to have 
declared that she was not aware that so splendid 
a merchant ship belonged to her dominions." 

The Champion of the Seas sailed from Portsmouth 
on the same day, also bound for Calcutta with 
troops, and the race between these clippers was 
close and exciting. Nine days out they fell in 




■3 

n 



E 
s 



Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 283 

with the steamship Oneida homeward bound, and 
the Illustrated London News, again mentioning the 
James Baines, said : " When met by the Oneida, 
on the 17th of August, on her way to Calcutta with 
troops, she presented a most magnificent appear- 
ance, having in addition to her ordinary canvas, 
studdingsails, skysails, and moonsail, set and 
drawing, in all thirty-four sails, a perfect cloud 
of canvas: the troops all well, and cheering lustily 
as the vessels passed each other. The sister ship, 
the Champion of the Seas, was not far astern, both 
vessels making great headway." 

These two ships arrived oflf the mouth of the 
Hooghly together, each 101 days from Portsmouth, 
and the finish of this race was talked about by 
the Calcutta pilots for a good many years: how 
these splendid clippers raced in from sea almost 
side by side, with a fresh three-skysail, scupper 
breeze, the regimental bands on board of both ships 
playing national airs, while the soldiers were cheer- 
ing and wild with the joy and excitement of seeing 
land once more. 

The Lightning sailed at a more favorable season, 
and made the passage from Portsmouth to the 
Hooghly in 87 days, beating the entire fieet of sail- 
ing transports, including those fitted with auxiliary 
screw propellers. 

Of the large number of ships bought or char- 
tered in the United States for the Australian trade 
by British ship-owners at this period, those men- 
tioned, with the Red Rover, Comet, Tornado, Sierra 
Nevada, and Invincible, each with a record of less 
than 75 days from Liverpool or London to Mel- 



284 The Clipper Ship Era 

bourne, the Belle of the Sea, 64 days from London 
to Melbourne, and North Wind, 67 days from 
London to Sydney, N. S. W., were the most 
celebrated. 

There were also many American ships that made 
the voyage from New York to Melbourne, and among 
the fast passages may be mentioned those of: the 
Mandarin, in 71 days ; Flying Scud and Nightingale, 
75 days ; Whirlwind, 80 days ; Flying Dutchman and 
Panama, 81 days; Snow Squall, 79 days, and Ring- 
leader, 78 days. Most if not all these ships loaded 
in R. W. Cameron's line, and it is worth noting 
that, of all the great shipping firms that flourished 
in New York half a century ago, this is the only 
one which now survives. 

It was only natural that ship-owners of Great 
Britain should feel keenly the invasion of their 
trade by the American clippers, and in 1855, James 
Baines & Co. placed an order with Alexander Hall 
& Co., of Aberdeen, then the leading clipper ship- 
builders in Great Britain, for a large clipper ship 
for the Australian trade, to " outdo the Ameri- 
cans." This vessel was the Schomherg, 2600 tons; 
length 262 feet, breadth 45 feet, depth 29 feet. She 
was very sharp forward and had a long, clean run, 
with considerable dead-rise at her midship section. 
She was built of wood and heavily sparred, with 
single topsail yards and three skysails. 

When this ship came around from Aberdeen to 
load at Liverpool for Melbourne, she was greatly 
admired and it was generally believed that she 
would prove faster than her American rivals, espe- 
cially as Captain Forbes, late of the Marco Polo 



Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 285 

and Lightning, had been appointed to command her. 
She sailed from Liverpool on October 6, 1855. Cap- 
tain Forbes was a proud man that day, for the 
pierheads of the port were thronged with a patri- 
otic, cheering crowd to see the Schomierg off, and 
as she towed down the Mersey, the signals reading, 
" Sixty days to Melbourne," fluttered gayly from her 
mizen truck. 

She had moderate winds to the equator, which 
she crossed 28 days from the Mersey, and then 
drifted into calms and light airs which continued 
for ten days and from which she did not possess 
the nimble speed to extricate herself. Her best 
day's work, while running her easting down, was 
368 miles. When 81 days out she was wrecked and 
became a total loss on an uncharted reef about 
150 miles to the westward of Melbourne, the pas- 
sengers, crew, and mails being saved. This was 
by no means a record passage, and it is to be re- 
gretted that her career was so short, as it would 
be interesting to know what she might have done 
under more favorable conditions. She certainly 
possessed the qualities of a fast ship, and was ably 
commanded. 

There were also many fine ships of English build 
sailing out of London in the Australian trade; the 
Norfolk and Lincolnshire, built and owned by 
Money, Wigram & Sons; the Kent, Trafalgar, and 
Renown, built and owned by R. & H. Green; and 
many others. These ships were built of teak, oak, 
and elm; were copper-fastened and sheathed with 
red copper. They resembled smart frigates more 
than merchantmen, and were about the perfection 



286 The Clipper Ship Era 

of that type — splendid ships to be at sea in, though 
not so fast as the sharper American clippers. None 
of these vessels was over 1500 tons, and it was 
thought by shipping men in London and Liverpool 
that much of the speed of the American ships was 
due to their greater tonnage. There may have been 
some truth in this, but it should be remembered that 
with these large wooden vessels an increase in size 
made the difficulties in <building greater, as well 
as in getting their wooden masts to stand with 
hemp rigging, to say nothing of handling their 
enormous single topsails in heavy weather. 

Meanwhile attempts were being made by various 
companies to introduce steam in place of the clipper 
ships that had carried the passengers, mails, and 
specie after the discovery of gold in Australia, but 
these efforts were beset with many difficulties and 
heavy financial losses. 

The Australian, an iron screw steamer of 2000 
tons, was the first steamship to carry the mails 
from England to Melbourne. She sailed from 
Plymouth, June 5, 1852, and called at St. Vincent, 
St. Helena, Table Bay, and St. George's Sound for 
coal, which had been sent out by ship from Eng- 
land to meet her. She arrived at Melbourne in 89 
days from Plymouth, and returned by the Cape of 
Good Hope in 76 days. She arrived at London, 
January 11, 1853, having been 7 months and 6 days 
upon the voyage, a creditable but not a very bril- 
liant performance. The Australian was soon fol- 
lowed by the Great Britain, Adelaide, Queen of 
the South, Sydney, Cleopatra, Antelope, and other 
iron screw steamers ; but these vessels nearly ruined 




a 

o 

,4 






Australian Clippers, 1854-1856 287 

their owners and did not greatly interfere with the 
clippers. 

In 1854 the Argo, a full-rigged iron ship of 1850 
tons register, with plenty of canvas and fitted with 
an auxiliary engine and screw, made the passage 
from London to Melbourne in 64 days and home 
round Cape Horn in 63 days ; and though she sailed 
during the greater portion of the voyage, using her 
engines only in calms and light winds, she was the 
first merchant vessel using steam-power to circum- 
navigate the globe. This voyage is peculiarly 
adapted to auxiliary steam vessels, as, by following 
the sailing-ship track, very few strong head winds 
are met, and of course the screw is of great assist- 
ance in light winds and calms. 

The Argo was followed (1855-1856) by the Boyal 
Charter, Istamhoul, and Ehersonese and other iron 
auxiliary " steam clippers," as they were called. 
These vessels carried as much canvas as the clipper 
ships, and were more expensive to handle and not 
much faster; the rivalry was therefore keen. The 
clippers still secured their full share of the cabin 
and steerage passengers, the mails and gold, and 
were by no means vanquished; indeed, the auxil- 
iaries proved no more successful than the steam- 
ships, and brought much the same result to their 
owners. 

It was not till after the close of the Crimean 
War in 1856, when the Peninsular & Oriental Steam 
Navigation Company extended their line to the 
Australian colonies, that the clipper ships began 
seriously to feel the competition of steam. From 
that time iron sailing vessels for this trade were 



288 The Clipper Ship Era 

built with a view to carrying large cargoes and 
steerage passengers, so that by 1860 the day of the 
Australian clippers had passed away, although the 
later China tea-clippers sometimes made this voy- 
age. Almost countless splendid iron and steel sail- 
ing ships have since been built in Great Britain, 
and many fine passages have been made to and 
from Australia, yet the records of the James Baines, 
North Wind, Lightning, Mandarin, and Lord of the 
Isles remain unbroken. 



CHAPTER XIX 

liAST TEARS OF THE AMERICAN CLIPPER SHIP BRA — 
SUMMARY OP CALIFORNIA PASSAGES 

DURING the Crimean War a large number of 
merchant ships, many of which were Ameri- 
can, were chartered by the British and French 
Governments to carry troops, but when peace was 
declared in 1856 and this demand for tonnage ceased, 
it was found that there were more ships afloat than 
could find profitable employment, or indeed em- 
ployment of any kind. 

Only eight ships were added to the California 
fleet in 1856 — the Alarm, Euterpe, Flying Mist, Flor- 
ence, Intrepid, Mary L. Sutton, Norseman, and the 
second Witch of the Wave. These were all hand- 
some medium clippers, and possessed what is so 
sadly lacking in sailing ships of the present day 
— style, distinction. The Florence was built by 
Samuel Hall, Jr., who had succeeded his father as 
a ship-builder and continued in the same yard at 
East Boston. She was owned by Captain R. B. 
Forbes and others of Boston. Captain Dumaresq 
commanded her and also owned an interest in her 
until his death in 1860. As Captain Forbes used 
to say, " He was the prince of sea captains." 

The Sweepstakes made the fastest passage to San 
19 289 



290 The Clipper Ship Era 

Francisco in 1856 — 94 days from New York — fol- 
lowed by the Antelope, 97 days ; Phantom, 101 days ; 
and David Brown, 103 days; the Ringleader made 
the passage from Boston in 100 days. The abstract 
log of the Sweepstakes is as follows: 

Prom Sandy Hook to the equator 18 days. 

Prom the equator to 50° S 23 " 

Prom 50° in the Atlantic to 50° in the 

Pacific 15 " 

From E0° S. to the equator 17 " 

Prom the equator to San Prancisco 21 " 

Total 94 " 

The year 1857 was one of financial depression 
throughout the United States, which was severely 
felt by the shipping interests of the country and 
continued until the Ciril War. The rates of freight 
from New York to San Prancisco, which during 
the years immediately following the discovery of 
gold in California were $60 a ton, gradually de- 
clined, and in 1857 had fallen to |10 per ton. Ships 
that had formerly loaded cargoes for San Francisco 
night and day and were hurried to sea as quickly 
as possible, now lay at their loading berths for 
weeks, leisurely taking on board such cargo as their 
agents could engage. During this period vessels 
lay idle at the wharves of Atlantic ports for weeks 
and eyen months, in charge of ship-keepers, with 
sails unbent, waiting for employment. 

The former activity in the ship-building yards 
had also subsided. During the four years prior to 
the Civil War, Donald McKay built only one ship, 




01 



m 



o 
g 



Summary of California Passages 291 

the Alhambra (1857), and William H. Webb built 
only one ship for the California trade, the Black 
Hawk, beside the Resolute, and the barque Trieste 
(1857), and the barque Harvest Queen (1858). 
The same depression was felt in all the yards along 
the Atlantic coast. British ship-builders had made 
such rapid progress in the construction and speed 
of their vessels that it was now difficult for Ameri- 
can ships to obtain charters from China to England. 
Prom 1857 to 1861, they were to be found lying 
idle for months at a time in Manila Bay, Hong-kong 
harbor, Foo-chow, Shanghai, and Calcutta, seeking 
employment. 

The depression in the oversea carrying trade was 
felt quite as much by the ship-owners of Great 
Britain as by those of the United States, and while 
of short duration, was as serious there as in the 
United States. It was at this period, however, that 
Great Britain began to feel the benefit of Free 
Trade in her ship-building industry, and entered 
upon her conquest of the world's oversea carrying 
trade. In this her ship-builders were greatly as- 
sisted by the introduction of iron as a material for 
construction. In 1855 the Committee of Lloyd's 
Register had framed rules for the classification of 
iron ships, as their number had so increased, and 
the demand of ship-owners for their official recog- 
nition had become so general, that they could no 
longer be ignored. The screw propeller was also 
beginning to supersede side-wheels as a means of 
propulsion, and some of the ablest men in Great 
Britain were engaged upon the development and 
improvement of the marine engine and boiler. 



292 The Clipper Ship Era 

/ 

; The steam tonnage of the British Empire — mostly 

Jengaged in the oversea carrying trade — had in- 

"Icreased from 204,654 tons in 1851 to 417,717 tons 

/in 1856, whereas the steam tonnage of the United 

I States engaged in the oversea carrying trade had 

Hficreased from 62,390 tons in 1851 to 115,045 tons 

in 1855, but had decreased to 89,715 tons in 1856. 

It should be noted that while a large proportion 

of the steam tonnage of Great Britain consisted 

of iron vessels, many of them being screw steamers, 

the steam vessels of the United States were very 

nearly, if not all, still constructed of wood and 

propelled by side-wheels. 

/ The first symptoms of the decadence of the 
American merchant marine were the falling-oflE in 
the sales of American tonnage to foreign countries 
— the reduction being from 65,000 tons in 1855 to 
42,000 tons in 1856, declining to 26,000 tons in 1858 
and to 17,000 tons in 1860, a falling-off of 75% in 
five years — then in the total tonnage of vessels built 
in the United States, which fell from 583,450 tons 
in 1855 to 469,393 tons in 1856, and to 378,804 
tons in 1857. 

These facts refute the historic falsehood that the 
Alalama and her consorts were the first and im- 
mediate cause of decadence in the American mer- 
chant marine. As a matter of fact, neither the 
depression preceding the Civil War, nor the de- 
predations of Confederate privateers, nor the Civil 
War itself, have had any material bearing upon 
the decline of American shipping during the last 
fifty years. The gigantic task of driving the 
American flag from the ocean has been accomplished 



Summary of California Passages 293 

by far more insidious and potent means than these. 
It has been the inevitable consequence of irrational 
and unjust laws, and until these are repealed, as 
those of Great Britain were in 1849, we may hope 
in vain that the ensign of the United States will 
be restored to its place upon the sea. 

Amid the discouraging conditions of these years 
preceding the Civil War, American sea-captains 
never lost faith in their ships nor in themselves. 
They seemed to think, the lower the rate of freight, 
the more reason that it should be earned quickly, 
and when once clear of the disheartening influences 
of a seaport and well off soundings, they sent their 
ships along with the same energy and skill for 
which they had become famous in more prosperous 
days. 

It was in the year 1857 that the Great Bepublio 
made her remarkable passage of 92 days from New 
York to San Francisco, and established a new re- 
cord of 16 days from Sandy Hook to the equator. 
She was still commanded by Captain Limeburner, 
who had as his first officer, Montgomery Parker, an 
accomplished seaman and navigator, afterward com- 
mander of the ships Judge Shaw and Lord Lynd- 
hurst. The crew of 50 men before the mast were 
the usual assortment, 15 or 20 good seamen, the 
rest adventurers and mongrels of various brands, 
of whom little could be expected. Captain Lime- 
burner and his oflScers always went armed, and it 
was perhaps fortunate, with such a crew, that the 
topgallantsails were never clewed up during the 
passage, and that Cape Horn was rounded with 
skysails set. 



294 The Clipper Ship Era 

The abstract log of the Great Republic is as 
follows : 

From Sandy Hook to the equator 16 days. 

From the equator to 50° S 25 " 

From 50° S. in the Atlantic to 50° S. 

in the Pacific 9 

From 50° S. to the equator 23 " 

From the equator to San Francisco 19 " 

Total 92 « 

LieuteDant Maury, in a letter on the subject to 
the Secretary of the Navy, remarks : " This vessel 
did not have the luck to get a wind that could 
keep her up to her mettle for twenty-four hours 
consecutively. Here and there she got into favor- 
able streaks of wind, but she appears to have run 
out of them faster than they could follow. She 
made the run to San Francisco in 92 days. 

" The shortest passage that in the present state 
of ship-building will probably ever be made from 
New York to San Francisco, is 85 days; and the 
very clever first officer of this ship, writing from 
California, expresses the opinion that ' should she 
continue to run between New York and San Fran- 
cisco, from the experience of this voyage, she will 
one day make the trip within your possible 85 days.' 

" The friends of this noble specimen of naval 
architecture, however, can scarcely hope for a fair 
trial and proper display of her prowess until she 
shall be sent on a voyage to Australia. The brave 
west winds of the Southern hemisphere, which she 
will then encounter, will enable her to show her- 



Summary of California Passages 295 

self; elsewhere, she can scarcely find a sea wide 
enough, with belts of wind broad enough for the 
full display of her qualities and capabilities." 

There can be little doubt that with her original 
spars and sail plan, the Great Republic would have 
made this passage in 85 days or less, and it is to 
be regretted that, even with her reduced rig, she 
never made a voyage between England and 
Australia, the service for which she was built and 
especially adapted. Her best twenty-four hours' 
run, made upon a subsequent voyage while under 
the command of Captain Josiah Paul, was 413 
miles. 

In 1857 the Flying Dragon made the passage to 
Ban Francisco in 97 days; the Westward Ho and 
the Andrexo Jackson in 100 days, both from New 
York ; and the Flying Fish in 106 days from Boston. 
In 1858 the Twilight made the passage from New 
York in 100 days ; the Andrew Jackson in 103 days ; 
and in 1859 the Sierra Nevada in 97 days and the 
Andrew Jackson in 102 days. In 1860 the Andrew 
Jackson made the trip in 89 days. 

As before noted, the Andrew Jackson was built 
in 1855. Her builders were Irons & Grinnell, of 
Mystic, Connecticut; she was owned by J. H. 
Brower & Co., of New York, and was commanded 
by Captain John E. Williams, of Mystic. She was 
1679 tons register and measured: length 222 feet, 
breadth 40 feet, depth 22 feet, and while not an 
extreme clipper, she was a very handsome, well- 
designed ship. She was heavily sparred and carried 
double topsails, skysails, and royal studdingsails. 
Her figurehead was a full-length statue of the 



296 The Clipper Ship Era 

famous warrior and statesman in whose honor she 
was named. 

Upon Captain Williams's arrival at San Fran- 
cisco, in 89 days from New York, he was presented 
with a Commodore's pennant, and on his return to 
New York the owners presented him with a valu- 
able chronometer watch bearing the following in- 
scription : " Presented by J. H. Brower & Co. to 
Captain J. E. Williams of the clipper ship Andrew 
Jackson for the shortest passage to San Francisco. 
Time 89 days 4 hours, 1860." 

With this superb record by the Andrew Jackson 
— four consecutive passages averaging 98% days 
each — the American clipper ship era may well bring 
its brilliant career to a close. 

It would be invidious, even if it were possible, to 
name the fastest of the splendid fleet of California 
clippers which sailed during the years 1850-1860, 
as their voyages were made in different years and 
at different seasons of the year; still, a comparison 
of their records is of interest. 

Eighteen ships made single passages of less than 
100 days from New York or Boston to San Fran- 
cisco during this period. The Flying Cloud and 
Andrew Jackson share the honor of 89 days each, 
and are closely followed by the Sword Fish, 90 
days; Flying Fish and Great Bepuhlic, 92 days; 
John Oilpin, 93 days; Sweepstakes, 94 days; Sur- 
prise and Romance of the Seas, 96 days ; Sea Witch, 
Contest, Antelope, Sierra Nevada, Flying Dragon, 
and Witchcraft, 97 days; Flying Fish and David 
Brown, 98 days, and Herald of the Morning and 
Hurricane, 99 days each. 



Summary of Galifornia Passages 297 

Four of these ships, the Flying Cloud, Flying 
Fish, Great Bepublio, and Romance of the Seas, 
were built by Donald McKay, and two of the four, 
the Flying Cloud and Flying Fish, each came within 
the limit twice. Two others, the John Gilpin and 
Surprise, were built by Samuel Hall, and two, the 
Contest and Sweepstakes, by Jacob A. Westervelt, 
with one ship each by other builders. Beside Cap- 
tain Creesy of the Flying Cloud and Captain 
Nickels of the Flying Fish, Captain Dumaresq also 
made the passage twice in less than 100 days, in 
command of the Surprise and Romance of the 
Seas. 

For an average of the two fastest passages by 
one ship, the record of the Flying Cloud — two in 
89 days each — stands at the head. The others are : 
the Andrew Jackson, Q& and 100 — 94i/^ days; Fly- 
ing Fish, 92 and 98 — 95 days; Sword-Fish, 90 and 
105—971/2 days; David Brown, 98 and 103— IOII/2 
days; Westward Ho,. WO and 103—1011/2 days; Sea 
Witch, 97 and 108—1021/2 days; Contest, 108 and 
97—1021/2 days ; Herald of the Morning, 99 and 106 
—1021/2; Phantom, 101 and 104—1021/2 days; John 
Gilpin, 93 and 115 — 104 days ; Romance of the Seas, 
96 and 113— 104:l^ days; Ringleader, 100 and 109 
— 10414 days; Sweepstakes, 94 and 116—105 days; 
Flying Dutchman, 104 and 106 — 105 days; Flying 
Dragon, 97 and 114 — 105% days; Surprise, 96 and 
116—106 days; Young America, 105 and 109—107 
days; l^eptune's Gar, 100 and 112—106; Eagle, 103 
and 111—107 days; Comet, 103 and 112— IO71/2 
days; Golden Gate, 102 and 113— IO71/2 days; 
Golden City, 105 and 113—109 days; Flyaway, 106 



298 The Clipper Ship Era 

and 112—109 days ; Sea Serpent, 107 and 112—1091/2 
days; Shooting Star, 105 and 115 — 110 days. 

The fastest three passages in 1850-1860 were 
made by the Flying Cloud, 89, 89, 105—94 1/3 
days; Andrew Jackson, 89, 100, 102 — 97 days; Fly- 
ing Fish, 92, 98, 105—98 1/3 days; Westward Eo, 
103, 106, 100—103 days; Sword-Fish, 90, 105, IIG 
—103 2/3 days; Sea Witch, 97, 108, 110—105 days; 
Young America, 105, 107, 110—107 1/3 days; Sur- 
prise, 96, 116, 117—109 2/3 days ; Sea Serpent, 107, 
112, 115—111 1/3 days. 

The best four passages were made by the Flying 
Cloud, 89, 89, 105, 108—97 % days; Andrew Jack- 
son, 89, 100, 102, 103—98 1/2 days ; Flying Fish, 92, 
98, 105, 106—100 14 days. 

By dividing this great race-course into sections, 
a further comparison of the relative speed of the 
clipper ships may be obtained. Thus the following 
separate runs were made during the years in 
question : 

From Sandy Hook to the equator: Great Re- 
public, 16 days; Flying Cloud, Northern Light, Sea 
Serpent, Storm (barque). White Swallow, 17 days; 
Adelaide, Jacob Bell, Surprise, Sweepstakes, 18 
days; Atlanta, Flying Fish, Golden Gate, Hornet, 
Samuel Russell, Tingqua, 19 days; Archer, Ante- 
lope, Climax, Courier, Comet, David Brown, Hazard, 
Sirocco, Tornado, White Squall, 20 days. In Feb- 
ruary, 1858, the Stag Hound, commanded by Captain 
Hussey, made the run from Boston Light to the 
equator in the phenomenal time of 13 days, eclips- 
ing all records. 

From Cape St. Roque to 50° S. : Samuel Russell, 



Summary of California Passages 299 

16 days ; Hornet, Ocean Pearl, 17 days ; Bald Eagle, 
Comet, Electric, Hurricane, Ocean Express, Baven, 
18 days ; Electric Spark, Galatea, Governor Morton, 
John Gilpin, Sovereign of the Seas, Sword-Fish, 
Witch of the Wave, 19 days; Aurora, Flying Fish, 
Golden Gate, John Wade, Mandarin, North America, 
Panama, Ringleader, Seaman, Sea Witch, Skylark, 
Trade Wind, 20 days. 

From 50° S. in the Atlantic to 50° S. in the 
Pacific : Young America, 6 days ; Flying Fish, Fly- 
ing Cloud, BoMn Hood, 1 days; Flying Dutchman 
(twice), Herald of the Morning, Stag Hound, Sword- 
Fish, 8 days ; Mary L. Sutton, Sovereign of the Seas, 
Great Republic, 9 days; Atlanta, Golden City, Hor- 
net, Snap Dragon (barque), Sweepstakes, Typhoon, 
Whistler, 10 days. 

From 50° S. in the Pacific to the equator: Live 
Yankee, Mary L. Sutton, 16 days; Flying Cloud, 
Sweepstakes, 17 days; Celestial, Eagle, Hurricane, 
John Bertram, Surprise, Young America, 18 days; 
Belle of the West, Courser, Don Quixote, Flying 
Dutchman (twice), Flying Fish, Mermaid, Nep- 
tune's Car, Ocean Telegraph, Sirocco, Starlight, 
Sword-Fish, Wild Pigeon, Winged Arrow, 19 days; 
Alarm, Archer, Electric, Flying Dragon, Golden 
Eagle, John Gilpin, Malay, Stag Hound, Starr King, 
Syren, Shooting Star, Telegraph, Unknown, 20 days. 

From the equator to San Francisco: White 
Squall, 14 days; Flying Cloud, John Gilpin, Phan- 
tom, 15 days; Antelope, Comet, Contest, Flying 
Dutchman, Game-Cock, Trade Wind, 16 days; 
Aurora, Flying Fish (twice), Sovereign of the Seas, 
Surprise, Young America, 17 days ; Cleopatra, Chal- 



300 The Clipper Ship Era 

lenge, Golden City, John Bertram, Samiiel Apple- 
ton, Seaman, Sea Witch, Staffordshire, Typhoon, 
Westward Ho, Winged Arrow, 18 days ; Bald Eagle, 
Boston Light, Defender, Eagle, Electric, Golden 
Eagle, Great Republic, Hornet, N. B. Palmer, Wild 
Pigeon, 19 days; Celestial, Cyclone, Eureka, Gov- 
ernor Morton, Herald of the Morning, Intrepid, 
Living Age, Ocean Telegraph, Raven, Samuel Rus- 
sell, Sparkling Wave, Sword-Fish, 20 days. 

These records indicate the remarkable sailing 
qualities of the clipper ships, for, if the quickest 
single runs are added together — the Stag Hound's 
13 days from Boston Light to the equator with an 
allowance of 2 days for the run from the equator 
to Cape St. Roque; the Samuel Russell's 16 days 
from Cape St. Roque to 50° S. ; the Young America's 
6 days from 50° S. in the Atlantic to 50° S. in the 
Taciflc; the Live Yankee's and Mary L. Sutton's 16 
days from 50° S. to the equator; and the White 
Squall's 14 days from the equator to San Francisco 
— we find that these six ships sailed long distances 
at the rate of a passage of 67 days from Boston 
Light to San Francisco, or 22 days less than the 
record of the Flying Cloud and Andrew Jackson — 
89 days. Yet no one of the six ships which made 
these splendid runs made the passage from an 
Atlantic port to San Francisco in less than 100 
days. 

The records of the other ships are even more re- 
markable, for allowing 20 days as the outside limit 
of the four longer runs, with 10 days from 50° S. 
in the Atlantic to 50° S. in the Pacific and 2 days 
from the equator to Cape St. Roque, we find that 



Summary o£ California Passages 301 

uo less than 157 runs were made over distances 
of thousands of miles, most of them considerably 
within an average rate of 92 days from Sandy Hook 
to San Francisco, or well within 3 days of the 
fastest record time. These records prove, if proof 
were needed, that the reputation of American clipper 
ships for speed does not rest upon the fast pas- 
sages of a few ships, but is based upon the estab- 
lished records of many swift vessels. 

Judged by any standard of beauty, the American 
clipper ships were handsome, noble-looking vessels. 
During the past fifty years I have seen many fleets 
of men-of-war and merchant ships, besides naval 
reviews, and at various times the squadrons of 
yachts that gather each summer in Cowes Roads 
and Newport Harbor, but I have never seen a col- 
lection of vessels which could compare in stately 
beauty with the fleet of American clipper ships 
which lay in the harbor of Hongkong during the 
autumn of 1858. 

The American clippers were all built of wood 
and their hulls were painted black from the metal 
up, though the Invincible carried a crimson stripe, 
and the Challenge, N. B. Palmer, Sweepstakes, and 
perhaps two or three others, a stripe of gold. Their 
yards and bowsprits were usually painted black, 
the lower masts white to the tops, with the tops 
and doublings above scraped bright and varnished, 
but the Challenge, Young America, and Mandarin 
carried black lower masts, and a few other ships 
kept their lower masts bright. 

Many of their figureheads were of considerable 
artistic excellence, being designed by skilful artists, 



302 The Clipper Ship Era 

some of whom have already been mentioned. The 
Romance of the Seas carried the full-length figure 
of an ancient navigator, whose original might 
have stood on the high poop of Magellan's flag-ship, 
with head bent forward and right hand raised to 
shade his eager eyes, as he gazed upon an unknown 
land in an uncharted sea. The Sea Serpent carried 
a long slender serpent, whose life-like, slimy-looking 
body, picked out in shades of green and gold, sug- 
gested his recent escape from the waters of one 
of the summer resorts along the Atlantic coast. 
The Nightingale carried a beautiful bust of Jenny 
Lind, for whom she was named. The Panama car- 
ried at her bow a nude, full-length figure of a 
beautiful woman with arms extended, pure white 
and of great artistic merit, perhaps the most beauti- 
ful figurehead ever carried by a ship. The Flying 
Fish carried a fish on the wing, of life-like color 
and giving a vivid sense of speed; the Witchcraft, 
a grim Salem witch riding upon her aerial broom- 
stick; the Game-Code, a fighting bird with out- 
stretched neck and head, apparently eager for 
combat ; the Northern Light, the full-length figure of 
an angelic creature in flowing white drapery, one 
graceful arm extended above her head, and bearing 
in her slender hand a torch with golden flame. 

One of the most striking figureheads was the 
tall square-built sailor, with dark curly hair and 
bronzed clean-shaven face, who stood at the bow 
of the Champion of the Seas. A black belt with 
a massive brass buckle supported his white trou- 
sers, which were as tight about the hips as the 
skin of an eel, and had wide, bell-shaped bottoms 



Summary of California Passages 303 

that almost hid his black polished pumps. He wore 
a loose-fitting blue-and-white-checked shirt, with 
wide, rolling collar, and black neck handkerchief 
of ample size, tied in the most rakish of square 
knots with long flowing ends. But perhaps the 
most impressive of this mariner's togs were his 
dark-blue jacket, and the shiny tarpaulin hat which 
he waved aloft in the grip of his brawny, tattooed 
right hand. The only exception that one could 
possibly take to this stalwart sailorman was that 
his living prototype was likely to be met with so 
very seldom in real life. There were many other 
figureheads that might be mentioned, but these are 
best remembered. 

In those days New York was one of the most 
beautiful and picturesque seaports of the world; 
the water-front was lined with majestic clippers, 
stately Indiamen, and noble packet ships, their 
American ensigns and well-known house flags of 
many brilliant colors floating in the breeze.^ The 

1 The following are some of these house flags : The 
crimson field and black ball, of Charles H. Marshall; the 
red, white, and blue swallowtail, of Grinnell, Minturn & 
Co. ; the yellow, red, and yellow horizontal bars with white 
" L " in centre, of A. A. Low & Brother; the thirteen 
blue and twelve white squares, of N. L. & G. Griswold; 
the crimson field and yellow beehive, of Sutton & Co.; the 
crimson field, white border, and white " D " in centre, of 
George Daniels; the red, white, and red vertical stripes 
with red " B " in centre, of Vernon H. Brown ; the blue 
and white half -diamonds, of Russell & Co.; the crimson 
field and white diamond, of Augustine Heard & Co.; the 
white above blue and red ball in the centre, of Sampson 
& Tappan; the white above yellow and red star in centre, 
of Glidden & Willi^ims; the narrow blue and white hori- 
zontal stripes with red ball in the centre, of Napier, John- 



304 The Clipper Ship Era 

view and skyline of the port from the harbor were 
very beautiful; Battery Park with its fine lawns 
and trees in the foreground, the graceful spire of 
Trinity Church forming a prominent landmark, 
while clustered on every side were the modest yet 
dignified and substantial residences, gardens, and 
warehouses of the merchants, with a quiet, refined 
atmosphere of prosperity and contentment, long 
since departed. 

son & Co. ; the white field and blue cross, of George B. Up- 
ton; the crimson swallowtail and blue cross, of Charles R. 
Green; the white swallowtail, red cross with white dia- 
mond in the centre, of R. W. Cameron; the crimson 
swallowtail, blue cross, and white ball in the centre, of 
Wells & Emanuel ; the blue above white, white ball in blue 
and red ball in white, of D. & A. Kingsland; the white 
field and red cross in the centre of D. G. & W. B. Bacon; 
the white swallowtail and black S. & B., of Snow & 
Burgess; the white field and black horse, of William F. 
Weld & Co. The flag of Rowland & Aspinwall had a 
blue square in the upper comer of the luff and lower 
comer of the fly; the rest of the flag was white with 
narrow blue lines in the lower corner of the luff and 
upper corner of the fly, which formed squares, and also 
formed a white cross extending the full hoist and length 
of the flag. David Ogden's flag was a white field and 
red cross; Crocker & Warren's, blue above yellow with 
a yellow " C " in the blue and blue " W " in the yellow. 
Then there was the red swallowtail with white cross and 
black star in the centre, of Samuel Thompson & Nephew; 
the blue field, white diamond, and black star, of Williams 
& Guion ; the crimson field and black " X " of John Gris- 
wold. These were the private signals of most of the 
leading New York and Boston ship-owners, which, half a 
century ago, enlivened the water front of New York, 
though there were some others which have now faded 
from memory. 



Summary of California Passages 305 

The New York pilot-boats were remarkably fast 
and able schooners of from 80 to 90 tons, which 
cruised to the eastward as far as the Grand Banks, 
with a hand in the crow's nest on the lookout for 
the packets and steamships bound for New York. 
Among these stanch little vessels were the Wash- 
ington, Ezra Nye, George W. Blunt, William H. 
Aspinwall, Mary Taylor, Moses H. Grinnell, Charles 
H. Marshall, Mary Fish, George Steers, and Jacob 
Bell. The New York pilots themselves were a very 
superior class of men, who always wore beaver hats 
when boarding a vessel, and owned their boats, and 
it was regarded as a compliment and an honor for 
a citizen of New York to have one of their vessels 
named for him. 

Of the men who commanded the American clipper 
ships, it may be said that they carried the ensign 
of the United States to every quarter of the globe, 
with honor to their country and themselves. They 
were not, however, all cast in the same mould. Each 
had his strongly marked individual traits of char- 
acter, and his human weaknesses. Nothing could be 
more remote from the truth than to imagine these 
men as blustering bullies at sea or rollicking shell- 
backs on shore; neither were they Chesterfields or 
carpet knights, afloat or ashore, nor at all the type 
of skipper that one is apt to meet in works of 
fiction. Many of them might easily have been mis- 
taken for prosperous merchants or professional men, 
until a more intimate acquaintance disclosed the 
aura of salted winds and surging seas, and a world- 
wide knowledge of men and cities. These were the 
qualities which made sr^ many of these master 



3o6 The Clipper Ship Era 

mariners delightful companions and welcome guests 
at the firesides of refined and luxurious homes, 
whose doors could not be opened by golden keys. 
It may well be doubted whether braver, truer- 
hearted gentlemen or finer seamen than many of 
the American clipper ship captains of half a century 
ago have ever sailed the seas. 

Many of the clipper ship captains were accom- 
panied on their voyages by their wives, whose 
influence at sea was humanizing, while their 
companionship was a comfort and solace to their 
husbands. In foreign ports, especially in China 
and India, they were made much of. The mer- 
chants vied with each othet to render their visits 
enjoyable, and nothing in the way of lavish enter- 
tainment or costly gift was regarded as too good 
for them. Mrs. Babcock, of the 8word-Fish and 
Young America; Mrs. Low, of the N. B. Palmer; 
Mrs. Very, of the Hurricane; Mrs. Creecy, of the 
Flying Cloud, and Mrs. Andrews, of the Red 
GoAintlet, were veritable sea belles, while Mrs. 
Patten of the Neptune's Gar proved herself a true 
heroine. 

The 'Neptune's Car sailed from New York for San 
Francisco in June, 1856, and before she reached 
Cape Horn, Captain Patten was compelled to put 
his chief officer under arrest on account of incom- 
petence and neglect of duty. That winter off Cape 
Horn was unusually cold and stormy, and the ex- 
posure and fatigue which Captain Patten was 
obliged to endure brought on an attack of brain 
fever which soon resulted in his becoming entirely 
blind. The second mate was a good seaman but 



Summary of California Passages 307 

knew nothing about navigation. Mrs. Patten at 
that time was not more than twenty-four years 
old, but she had acquired a thorough knowledge of 
navigation upon a previous voyage with her hus- 
band round the globe, and she at once assumed 
command of the ship. For 52 days she navi- 
gated this heavily masted clipper of over 1600 tons, 
taking her safely into the harbor of San Francisco, 
besides acting as nurse and physician to her 
husband and keeping him alive by constant care 
and watchfulness. The chief mate asked to return 
to duty, but Mrs. Patten declined his aid, as she 
had no faith in his ability or loyalty, and preferred 
to trust the faithful though illiterate second mate. 

Captain Patten never recovered his health and 
died at Boston on July 26, 1857, in his thirty-sixth 
year. His funeral took place at Christ Church in 
that city, with the colors of the shipping in the 
harbor at half mast, and the bells of the church 
tolling in his honor. Captain Joshua A. Patten 
was bom in Rockland, Maine, and had followed 
the sea from boyhood. He was a prominent Mason, 
and for several years had been a member of Christ 
Church. Mrs. Mary Patten was a beautiful woman of 
the finest New England type, with a refined, gentle 
voice and manner. While not active in the then 
newly-organized women's rights movement, she was 
unwillingly made to appear as the star example 
of woman's ability to compete successfully in the 
pursuits and avocations of man. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE GREATNESS AND THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN 
MERCHANT MARINE 

THE year 1851 is memorable in our maritime 
annals, because at that time the United States 
was at the zenith of her power upon the ocean, and 
had completely outstripped her rival Great Britain 
in the efficiency and extent of her oversea carrying 
trade. It is true that the total tonnage of mer- 
chant shipping owned in the United States in this 
year, including steam, was only 3,718,640 tons, 
against 4,332,085 owned by the British Empire with 
all its dependencies; but these figures, like many 
statistics of this nature, are somewhat misleading. 
The primary reason for the existence of a merchant 
ship is, of course, her ability to pay her way and 
earn money for her owners. When a ship ceases to 
be able to do this, the sooner she is converted into 
a hulk or broken up, the better. So the true meas- 
ure of a nation's merchant marine is its earning 
capacity, not merely the number or tonnage of its 
ships; and judged by this standard, the merchant 
marine of the United States was at this time far 
in advance of the merchant shipping of the whole 
British Empire. 
In the first place, the merchant ships of the Brit- 
308 



The American Merchant Marine 309 

ish Empire were of such massive construction that 
they could not carry at the very most more than 
ninety per cent, of the cargo carried by ships of 
similar tonnage owned in the United States; then 
in the matter of speed, an American merchantman 
would make five voyages while a British ship was 
making four of equal length; and as to freights, 
the American ships had the splendid rates to San 
Francisco all to themselves, while from China to 
England the rates of freight were quite double in 
their favor, as compared with British ships. 

If any one with a liking for statistics will apply 
these facts to the foregoing figures, the seeming 
advantage of tonnage possessed by the British Em- 
pire will disappear and it will be found that the 
merchant marine of the United States at that time 
held a commanding position in the maritime carry- 
ing trade of the world. Furthermore, the ship- 
builders of this country still excelled in every 
branch of merchant marine architecture. 

On the North Atlantic in 1851, the American 
Collins Line steamships Arctic, Atlantic, Baltic, 
and Pacific were competing successfully with the 
British Cunarders Niagara, Canada, Asia, and 
Africa: the Baltic holding the speed record for both 
the eastern and the western passages between New 
York and Liverpool; while the New York, Phila- 
delphia, and Boston packet ships still held their 
own. No sailing ships of other nationalities could 
compete with them, and though hard pressed by 
steamships of the various lines, they still retained 
their popularity with passengers and shipping mer- 
chants. American ships from home ports were 



310 The Clipper Ship Era 

profitably engaged in the India, China, African, and 
South American trades ; the New Bedford and Nan- 
tucket whaling ships were to be found upon every 
sea ; the Mississippi, Hudson River, and Long Island 
Sound steamboats were the most perfect types of 
this period for inland navigation; and the Massa- 
chusetts fishing schooners, the North Kiver sloops, 
and the New York pilot-boats were far famed for 
speed and beauty ; while the American clippers were 
now known and admired throughout the maritime 
world. 

It was in this year also that the Eoyal Yacht 
Squadron presented a cup to be sailed for at Cowes 
by yachts belonging to the yacht clubs of all na- 
tions, which, as every one knows, was won by the 
America, representing the New York Yacht Club. 

" To teach the Mistress of the Sea 
What beam and mast and sail should be, 

To teach her how to walk the wave 
With graceful step, is such a lore 
As never had been taught before; 

Dumb are the wise, aghast the brave." i 

Surely De Tocqueville was right when he said: 
" Nations, as well as men, almost always betray 
the most prominent features of their future destiny 
in their earliest years. When I contemplate the 
ardor with which the Anglo-Americans prosecute 
commercial enterprise, the advantages which be- 
friend them, and the success of their undertakings, 
I cannot refrain from believing that they will one 

^ Walter Savage Landor. 



The American Merchant Marine 311 

day become the first maritime power of the globe. 
They are born to rule the seas, as the Romans were 
to conquer the world." ^ 

This day had then come. The victory of the 
America off the Isle of Wight may be likened to 
the gilded weathercock at the top of some lofty 
spire, being highly decorative and at the same time 
showing the direction of the wind. At that time 
the commercial greatness of the United States 
rested upon the splendid qualities shown by her 
sailing ships and their captains upon the ocean. 
And after all the only really rational sovereignty 
of the seas that exists, or has ever existed, is main- 
tained by the merchant marine, whose ships and 
seamen contribute not only to the welfare and hap- 
piness of mankind, but also to the wealth of the 
nations under whose flags they sail. 

In those early days, as the flaming posters in 
the downtown streets of New York used to an- 
nounce, it was " Sail versus Steam " and the packet 
ships justified their claim more than once by beat- 
ing a steamship from port to port. When, as not 
infrequently happened, a packet ship running be- 
fore a strong westerly gale in mid-ocean overhauled 
a wallowing side-wheel steamer bound the same 
way, the joyous shouts and derisive yells of the 
steerage passengers on board the packet, as 
she ranged alongside and swept past the "tea- 
kettle," were good for the ears of sailormen to 
hear. In those days no sailors liked steamships, 
not even those who went to sea in them. If a 

1 Democracy in America (1835) ; Second American edi- 
tion, p. 408. 



312 The Clipper Ship Era 

packet captain sighted a steamer ahead going the 
same way, he usually steered for her and passed 
to windward as close as possible, in order that 
the dramatic effect of the exploit might not be 
lost upon the passengers of either vessel. 

The Atlantic steamship lines with which the packet 
ships had to compete, the Cunard, Collins, Havre, 
Bremen, and Vanderbilt lines, ran only wooden 
side-wheel steamers; but when the Inman Line was 
founded in 1850, and began to run iron screw steam- 
ers between Liverpool and Philadelphia, the At- 
lantic packet ships began to lose their trade. 
Indeed, from 1840, when the Cunard Line was 
established, until the Inman Line began to run their 
fast iron screw steamships to New York in 1857, 
the rivalry between sail and steam was keen and 
spirited. During these years the Atlantic mail 
steamships carried almost as much canvas as sail- 
ing vessels, and they continued to do so for many 
years. Most of the Cunarders were barque-rigged, 
and the famous Russia of that line carried topmast 
and topgallant studdingsails. The Allan liners were 
also barque-rigged, and the Inman steamships were 
full ship-rigged, while the White Star liners 
were ship-rigged with a jiggermast. It was not 
until 1889, when the White Star Line brought out 
the Majestic and the . Teutonic with twin screws, 
pole masts, and no canvas, that the Atlantic Ocean 
began to be navigated by vessels propelled entirely 
by steam ; so that the complete transition from sail 
to steam required very nearly half a century. 

It cannot be said that steam competition had 
any direct efEect upon the California clippers, as 



The American Merchant Marine 313 

it is only of late years that there has been direct 
communication by sea between the Atlantic and 
Pacific coasts, and the Pacific Mail Company, after 
once getting its steamers round into the Pacific, 
had always carried passengers, the mails, and specie 
with transshipment at Panama. The demand for 
the California clippers ceased when rapid trans- 
portation of cargoes round Cape Horn became no 
longer necessary. 

Besides the competition between sail and steam, 
there was also going on for many years, as has 
already been suggested, the attempt to substitute 
iron for wood in the construction of vessels, and 
screw propellers for paddle-wheels as a means of 
propulsion by steam. In both branches of this 
transition, which were parallel but not necessarily 
connected, Great Britain took the lead, and she 
has rightfully reaped the benefit. 

How gradually the change came about will be 
seen from the following facts and figures: The 
first iron sailing ship was the Vulcan, built on 
the Clyde in 1818, and in the following year the 
first sailing vessel with an auxiliary engine crossed 
the Atlantic. This was the Savannah, a wooden 
ship of 850 tons, with portable paddles and an en- 
gine and boiler on deck. She was built at New 
York. The first vessel to cross the Atlantic using 
steam-power during the entire voyage was the Royal 
William, which was taken from Quebec to London 
in 1833; and in 1838 the first steamers of British 
build, the Great Western and the Sirius, made the 
westward passage. The first steamer constructed 
of iron was the Aaron Manby, a small paddle-wheel 



314 The Clipper Ship Era 

vessel about 50 feet long, built at Horsley, Eng- 
land, in 1821; and the first screw steamer of any 
importance was the Archimedes, an iron vessel of 
237 tons, built in England in 1839. The Great 
Britain, built at Bristol, England, in 1843, was the 
first screw, as well as the first iron steamer to 
cross the Atlantic, but it was not until 1850, when 
the Inman liner City of Glasgow began to run 
regularly between Liverpool and Philadelphia, that 
iron screw steamers took a recognized place upon 
the ocean. 

It is to be noticed how closely these last dates 
correspond with those of the clipper ship era, which 
opened with the advent of the Rainbow in 1843, 
and was brought to its greatest brilliancy through 
the discovery of gold in California and Australia 
in 1848 and 1851. At this time each nation was 
devoting its best talents to developing the material 
that lay nearest at hand; and while the American 
wooden-built type was earlier brought to perfec- 
tion, its possibilities were more limited by natural 
causes. Greater economy, durability, and regular- 
ity of speed on the part of the iron screw steamer 
were the qualities that finally drove from the seas 
the far more picturesque and beautiful wooden 
sailing ship. 

The supremacy held by the merchant marine of 
the United States in 1851 was maintained until 
about 1856, and during this period American ships 
continued to be built, bought, and chartered by 
British ship-owners; but after the great financial 
depression which affected both countries from 1857 
to 1859, British ship-owners no longer needed Ameri- 



The American Merchant Marine 315 

can-built ships, for in Great Britain iron had by 
this time superseded wood in the construction of 
large vessels. Thus the advantage to the United 
States of having an abundant supply of timber was 
taken away, while the advantage of Free Trade, 
with low cost of living, was on the side of England. 
Moreover, the spirit of enterprise, which had been 
growing in Great Britain during the years of free 
competition in the carrying trade since 1849, was 
having its eflEect. 

Following the repeal of the Navigation Laws, the 
Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, a wise and far- 
seeing measure, completed the foundation upon, 
which the merchant marine of Great Britain has 
been developed. This act of Parliament contains 
548 clauses, dealing with all questions which relate 
to British merchant ships and seamen, including 
tonnage. The ship-builders of Great Britain had 
been much hampered by the old tonnage laws and 
were glad to see them abolished. ^ The new tonnage 
rules, which are still in force, were based upon the 
actual cubic capacity of the hull, the unit of 100 
cubic feet being one ton register, so that a vessel 
measuring 100,000 cubic feet internal capacity 
registers 1000 tons, and is able to carry 2000 tons 
at 50 cubic feet per ton. This new system of 
measurement encouraged the application of scien- 
tific knowledge to the design of vessels, and, as 
we shall see, helped somewhat to prolong the clipper 
ship era in England, when it was practically dead 
in the United States. 

It is true that during our Civil War American 

1 See Appendix IV. 



3i6 The Clipper Ship Era 

ships were still sold in England, but this was ; 
rather because their owners had no profitable use ^ 
for them at home than from any lack of British 
iron vessels. Since that period, the decline of/ 
American shipping, for reasons that should be well( 
understood, has been constant. 

I refer to the Navigation Laws and Protective 
Tariff of the United States. The former, first en- 
acted in 1792 and revised and added to since thai; 
time only in unimportant details, have long out- 
lived the usefulness they may once have possessed), 
and completely fail to meet the requirements of' 
the changes in ocean navigation that have taken ^ 
place during the period of more than a century 
that has since elapsed. As is well known, theyf 
prohibit an American citizen from owning a foreign-/ 
built merchant ship. Meanwhile the Protective 
Tariff so increases the cost of living and with it 
the cost of the labor and materials that go into 
the construction of a modern ship, that the Ameri- 
can ship-builder cannot produce a steel or iron 
vessel at anything like a cost that will enable her 
to compete successfully with a ship of the same 
class constructed in a European shipyard. Were 
it not for this hindrance, the immense natural ad- 
vantages of such broad, deep waters as those of 
the Delaware and Chesapeake, where the finest coal 
and iron ore are within easy transportation, and 
the abundant food supplies of the neighboring 
garden States and of the West which are easily 
accessible, would make them ideal spots for the 
construction of ships. So it will be seen that the 
Navigation Laws and Protective Tariff are the mill- 



The American Merchant Marine 317 

stones between which the American ship-owner and 
ship-builder at present find themselves ground with 
an ever-receding prospect of escape from this cun- 
ningly, devised dilemma. Meanwhile, the ensign of 
the United States no longer contributes in any 
marked degree to the gayety of foreign seaports; 
whereas, Great Britain, with inferior coal and iron 
ore, compelled to import the food and clothing 
material for her shipwrights from distant lands, 
and with certainly no keener intelligence nor 
greater energy among her ship-owners and builders, 
but guided by the enlightened policy of Free Trade, 
sends her endless procession of merchant ships, both 
sail and steam, to every seaport upon the globe. 



GHAPTEK XXI 

THE LATER BRITISH TEA CLIPPERS 

IN what may be called the ante-Suez Canal days, 
China was a pretty comfortable place to be in. 
The East India Company, with its pomp and gran- 
deur, had passed away, but the older residents 
treasured the picturesque traditions of former times, 
and the comfort and luxury of the old days still 
survived.. 

All white foreigners in China were known as 
Europeans, and at the little treaty ports along the 
coast their communities were closely united by ties 
of social necessity, the barriers of national prej- 
udice, if they existed, being soon obliterated in 
the effort of each member to contribute to the 
well-being of all. Hong-kong was the European 
capital. With its cathedral. Government House, 
regiment of soldiers, court of justice, race-course, 
social clubs, and annual Derby and Regatta week, it 
was a most entertaining pocket edition of England, 
set down at the base of a lofty island mountain- 
peak, between the bluest of seas and the brightest 
of skies. Almost the only things that I'eminded 
one of the Orient were the tiers of junks that lay 
moored at the western end of the town, and the 

318 



Later British Tea Clippers 319 

industrious well-mannered Chinese who mingled so 
unobtrusively with their visitors from the west. 

All of these things worked together for good. 
There were no cables or telegraphs to vex the souls 
of the righteous. The P. & O. steamer, via the 
Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, usually arrived 
every month, though frequently four or five days 
overdue, and once in a while she would not appear 
at all, having fetched up on one of the numerous 
uncharted reefs or shoals that then infested these 
seas. When she did arrive, there was a ripple of 
excitement over receiving letters and newspapars 
from home, and when she had departed, the little 
colony settled once more into agreeable repose. The 
towns and cities of America and Europe seemed 
far away — bright, shadowy visions that dwelt in 
our hearts as " home." 

In 1862 the Messageries Imperiales of France 
extended their steamship line to China, and in 1867 
the first steamship of the Pacific Mail Company 
from San Francisco arrived at Hong-kong. Vast 
numbers of globe-trotters then began to appear, 
most of them far too energetic ; they insisted, among 
other things, on tying their own shoestrings, and 
in general proved very inferior lotus-eaters. 
When the Suez Canal was opened and telegraph 
cables began to be laid, then the remnant of charm 
that had made the old life in China so pleasant 
vanished forever. 

In 1859 quite a new type of China tea clipper 
appeared in Great Britain. The first of these 
beautiful vessels was the Falcon, built by Robert 
Steele & Son, at Greenock, and owned by Shaw, 



320 The Clipper Ship Era 

Maxton & Co. She was a wooden vessel of 937 tons 
register; length 191 feet 4 inches, breadth 32 feet 
2 inches, depth 20 feet 2 inches, and was com- 
manded by Captain Maxton, who had been in com- 
mand of the Lord of the Isles. The Falcon was 
the first of the really handsome tea clippers sail- 
ing out of London. Like her, the Fiery Gross, 
built by Chalour & Co., of Liverpool, in 1860; the 
Min, by Robert Steele & Son, of Greenock, and 
the Kelso, by William Pile, of Sunderland, in 1861 ; 
the Belted Will, by Feel & Co., of Workington, 
and the Serica, by Eobert Steele & Son, in 1863 were 
all wooden ships sheathed with red copper. The 
Fiery Cross, the largest of these, was only 888 tons. 
They were all beautiful vessels of an entirely origi- 
nal type and with nothing about them to. remind 
one of the American clippers; for they had con- 
siderably less sheer, much less freeboard, and lower 
bulwarks, and their comparatively small breadth 
gave them a slim, graceful appearance. 

These ships and the tea clippers which followed 
them had very clear decks for working ship. The 
deck-houses were small, and with the rails, bul- 
warks, waterways, bitts, hatch-coamings, compan- 
ions, and skylights were of India teak varnished; 
the decks, also of India teak, were holystoned ; and 
this, with the polished brasswork and the spare 
spars lashed amidships, made them very smart and 
shipshape. 

The tea-trade in the early sixties was compara- 
tively small, and did not require many vessels, but 
speed in the delivery of new teas was of the utmost 
importance, and it was this demand that brought 



Later British Tea Clippers 321 

these clippers into existence. They were designed 
with great skill for this special purpose, and as 
they invariably sailed from China with new teas 
during the southwest monsoon, it was necessary 
that they should be smart in moderate weather 
going to windward, as well as in getting through 
the northeast trades in the Atlantic. It was under 
these conditions that they did their best work. 
They did not carry as heavy spars nor as much 
canvas as the American clippers of the same length, 
and probably could not have done so to advantage, 
as their breadth was considerably less, and with 
their easy lines they did not require much canvas 
to drive them. They were remarkably fast in light 
and moderate winds, and made fine averages rather 
than exceptional daily records of speed, none of 
them reaching the extreme speed of many of the 
sharper and more powerful American clipper ships. 
Only twenty-five or thirty of these vessels were 
built from first to last, and not more than four 
or five in any one year. A list of the most cele- 
brated of them will be found in Appendix III. 

The captains were men of great ability, who 
handled their ships with skill and judgment; some 
of them accumulated considerable fortunes, being 
part owners of the vessels which they commanded. 
These ships were manned by fine British seamen, 
many of whom had served in the Royal Navy. When 
these fellows got safely to sea and properly sobered 
up, there were no smarter sailors afloat, whether 
aloft or with marlinspike, palm and needle, or 
watch tackle. 

In 1863 the first tea clippers of composite con- 



322 The Clipper Ship Era 

struction were brought out — the Taeping, built by 
Robert Steele & Son ; the Eliza Shaw, by Alexander 
Stephen, and the Yang-tze and Black Prince, by 
Alexander Hall. This system of ship-building — 
iron frames and wood planking — -was invented by 
John Jordan, son of a member of the firm of L. H. 
Macintyre & Co., ship-builders of Liverpool, who 
built the schooner Excelsior upon this principle in 
1850, and the barque Marion Macintyre, in 1851, 
these being the first composite vessels constructed. 

This system combined the strength of iron frames 
with the advantage that the wooden planking could 
be coppered to prevent fouling, which was a serious 
matter in this trade. Great care had to be taken 
in building these vessels to prevent galvanic action 
so far as possible. Gutta-percha was placed be- 
tween the frames and planking as a non-conductor; 
the planking was then fastened with yellow-metal 
screw bolts with counter-sunk heads, the holes 
being afterwards filled with a composition prepared 
for the purpose. Mr. Jordan obtained a patent for 
his invention, but it did not attract much attention 
until adopted in the construction of the Taeping, 
Eliza Shaw, Yang-tse, and Black Prince. From 
that time all the tea clippers were of composite 
build, though it was not until 1867 that the Com- 
mittee of Lloyd's Register issued rules for their 
construction. 

It was in 1863 also that the Seaforth, an iron 
ship of 1200 tons, built for the Calcutta trade by 
Jones, Quiggin & Co., of Liverpool, was fitted with 
steel lower masts, topmasts, topsails yards, and 
bowsprit, and with standing rigging of steel wire 




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Later British Tea Clippers 323 

rope. It was estimated that by replacing wood and 
hemp with steel, she saved 21 tons weight aloft, 
besides getting less wind resistance and a very con- 
siderable increase in strength. The Seaforth was 
the first vessel to have steel spars and rigging, but 
t4iey soon came into use on board the tea clippers. 

The wild, speculative years of ship-owning which 
followed the discovery of gold in California and 
Australia, when a clipper ship was expected to 
pay for herself every voyage or two, had now 
passed away. Ship-owners retained a lively recol- 
lection of the crash in 1857 and the depression which 
followed, so the tea clippers were built with an 
eye to economy as well as speed. The rates of 
freight, which in the early fifties had been £6 and 
even as high as £8 per ton, were in 1863 £4 10s. to 
£5 per ton — still fine paying rates on the invest- 
ment of capital, after allowing for running expenses 
and depreciation. Ship-owning in Great Britain 
had now become established upon a less profitable, 
though more rational and substantial basis. 

The tea clippers carried from 200 to 300 tons of 
clean shingle ballast, laid beautifully smooth and 
even, upon which the chests of tea were stowed, 
and a considerable quantity of dunnage wood, for 
which allowances were made in reckoning the actual 
cargo capacity. The Taeping, which under the 
new rules based on the cubic capacity of the hull 
registered 767 tons, carried 1234 tons of tea at 
50 cubit feet per ton, with a crew of 30 men 
all told. Vessels were now designed on scientific 
principles, and it may be doubted whether the 
qualities then desirable in a merchant sailing ship 



324 The Clipper Ship Era 

— speed, strength, carrying capacity, and economy — 
have ever been so successfully united as in these^ 
famous China tea clippers. 

Some exciting contests took place between the 
various clippers of the new type, the Falcon, Fiery 
Gross, Serica, and Taeping proving the most suc- 
cessful. In the year 1865 the Fiery Cross and 
Serica sailed from Foo-chow side by side, on May 
28th, both bound for London. After a close race 
during which they sighted each other several times, 
both ships made their signals off St. Catharine's, 
Isle of Wight, at almost the same moment, 106 days 
from Poo-chow, and continued up Channel before a 
light westerly breeze. Off Beechy Head they fell 
in with the tugs sent out to meet them, the Serica 
at that time having a lead of about two miles. 
The Fiery Cross, however, secured the most power- 
ful tug and reached her dock one tide before the 
Serica, thus winning the premium of 10 shillings 
per ton. The Taeping sailed from Foo-chow some 
days later and made the passage to the Downs in 
101 days. As may be supposed, this system of 
awarding premiums led to a good deal of un- 
pleasantness. 

In 1865, Robert Steele & Son brought out the 
sister ships Ariel and Sir Launcelot; Alexander 
Hall, the Ada, and Council & Co., of Glasgow, the 
Taitsing, all of composite construction; and in the 
following year the most famous race between 
these vessels — the one which the tea brokers of 
Mincing Lane still discuss with enthusiasm — was 
sailed. It was arranged that nine clippers should 
sail from Foo-chow as nearly the same date as pos- 



Later British Tea Clippers 325 

sible, and during the last week in May the pic- 
turesque Pagoda Anchorage presented a scene of 
unusual activity. The Ada, Black Prince, China- 
man, Fiery Cross, Flying Spur, Serica, Ariel, 
Taeping, and Taitsing were all hurrying to finish 
loading and get to sea. Cargo junks and lorchers ^ 
were being warped alongside at all hours of the 
day and night; double gangs of good-natured, chat- 
tering coolies were on board each ship ready to 
handle and stow the matted chests of tea as they 
came alongside; comfortable sampans worked by 
merry barefooted Chinese women sailed or rowed in 
haste between the ships and the shore; slender six- 
oared gigs with crews of stalwart Chinamen in 
white duck uniforms darted about the harbor ; while 
dignified master mariners, dressed in white linen or 
straw-colored pongee silk, with pipe-clayed shoes and 
broad pith hats, impatiently handled the yoke lines. 
On shore the tyepans and their clerks hurried 
about in sedan chairs carried on the shoulders of 
perspiring coolies, with quick, firm step to the 
rhythm of their mild but energetic " woo ho — woo- 
ho — woo ho." The broad, cool veranda of the club- 
house was almost deserted; in the great hongs of 
Adamson, Bell; Gilman & Co.; Jardine, Matheson; 
Gibb, Livingston; and Sassoon, the gentry of Foo- 
chow toiled by candle-light over manifests and bills 
of lading and exchange, sustained far into the night 
by slowly swinging punkahs, iced tea, and the 
fragrant Manila cheroot. 

1 A lorcher is a fast Chinese vessel, used a good deal 
by fishermen, and in former times by the Chinese pirates 
and smugglers. 



326 The Clipper Ship Era 

The Fiery Gross was the first ship to get her final 
chest of tea on board, at midnight, and she towed 
to sea early on the morning of May 29th; the Ariel 
left the Pagoda Anchorage at 10 : 30 and the Serica 
and Taeping at 10:50 a.m. on the 30th; the Taitsing 
followed at midnight on the 31st. Here we must 
bid good-bye to the Ada, Black Prince, Chinaman, 
and Flying Spur, for these vessels, unfortunately, 
did not finish loading in time to take part in the 
race. The five competing ships, however, repre- 
sented the flower of the fleet, and for this reason 
had been the favorites with shippers. The Fiery 
Cross, Taeping, and Serica were fast and well-tried 
vessels, while the Ariel and Taitsing were just be- 
ginning their successful career. The captains, Keay, 
of the Ariel; Robinson, of the Fiery Cross; Innes, of 
the Serica; McKinnon, of the Taeping, and Nuts- 
field, of the Taitsing, were all seamen of skill and 
experience, well known in the China trade. 

The Fiery Cross found a light northeast breeze 
outside, and passed through the Formosa Channel 
with royal studdingsails set, followed by the other 
four ships. They all carried this breeze for four hun- 
dred miles, when the Fiery Cross drifted into a calm 
which let the other ships run up, but she was the 
first to get the southwest monsoon, and soon drew 
away again. On June 8th the Fiery Cross and Ariel 
met on opposite tacks, both ships having a strong 
southwest breeze, and the Fiery Cross passed three 
miles to windward. She kept her lead through the 
Straits of Sunda, passing Anjer Point at noon on 
June 19th, and was followed by the Ariel on the 
morning of June 20th and the Taeping during that 



Later British Tea Clippers 327 

afternoon ; the Serica passed Anjer Point on the 226. 
and the Taitsing on the 25th. From Anjer Point 
to the meridian of Mauritius they all carried fresh 
trade winds, and it was on this stretch across the In- 
dian Ocean that each ship made her best twenty-four 
hours' run — ^the Ariel, 317; Taeping, 319; Serica, 
291 ; Fiery Cross, 328 ; and Taitsing, 318 miles. 

The Fiery Cross rounded the Cape of Good Hope 
on July 14th, 46 days from Foo-chow, followed by 
the Ariel also 46 days; Taeping, 47 days; Serica, 
50 days, and Taitsing, 54 days. The Fiery Cross 
was on the equator, August 3d, 20 days from the 
Cape of Good Hope, with the Ariel still only one 
day astern, while the Taeping and Taitsing had each 
gained 1 and the Serica 2 days on this stretch. On 
August 9th, in latitude 12° 29' N., the Fiery Cross 
and Taeping exchanged signals, and they continued 
in company, with calms and variable winds until 
the 17th, when the Taeping picked up a breeze which 
carried her out of sight while the Fiery Cross lay 
becalmed for another twenty-four hours. Mean- 
while, the Ariel, which was about thirty miles further 
to the westward, found better winds and now led 
the fleet, while the Taitsing brought up a good 
breeze and passed the Taeping, Serica, and Fiery 
Cross and was closing on the Ariel. At the Azores 
the Ariel still held the lead, though closely followed 
by the Taitsing, Fiery Cross, Serica, and Taeping 
in the order named. From the Azores to the en- 
trance of the English Channel, the Taeping and 
Serica passed the Taitsing and Fiery Cross and 
closed on the Ariel, the Taeping leading the Serica 
by about six hours. 



328 The Clipper Ship Era 

At daybreak on the morning of September 5th, 
two of the clippers sighted each other running in 
for the Lizard; they were about five miles apart, 
beam and beam, steering on slightly converging 
courses. There was a strong southerly wind with 
smooth sea, and both ships were being driven at 
their utmost speed — a good fifteen knots — their lee 
scuppers smothered in foam, with the wind well 
abaft the starboard beam ; both were under the same 
canvas, main skysail, topmast, topgallant, royal, 
and square lower studdingsails. Neither captain 
required the example of the other to send his ship 
along at her best speed — they had been doing that 
for ninety-eight days and nights. When their sig- 
nals could be made out these ships proved to be 
the Ariel and the Taeping. After passing the 
Lizard the wind moderated, and they raced up 
channel almost side by side, now one and then the 
other gaining a slight advantage, but never far 
apart, and as they passed the various headlands 
along the coast they presented a spirited marine 
picture. They were off the pilot station at Dunge- 
ness at three o'clock the next morning and burned 
their blue lights for pilots, who boarded both ships 
at the same time. With a moderate wind they were 
now making not more than five or six knots through 
the water, but the tide was sweeping them along 
fast. OfiE the South Foreland the wind slackened 
again with the rising sun. Here the Ariel held a 
slight lead and she passed Deal at 8 o'clock, fol- 
lowed by the Taeping eight minutes later, but as 
the latter vessel had sailed from the Pagoda An- 




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Later British Tea Clippers 329 

chorage twenty minutes after the Ariel, ninety-nine 
days before, she had won the race by twelve minutes. 
Both ships had sailed 16,000 miles. 

The Serica passed Deal four hours later ; all three 
ships went up the Thames on the same tide, and 
after the usual tugboat race, the Taeping arrived 
in the London Docks at 9 :45, the Ariel in the East 
India Docks at 10:15, and the Serica in the West 
India Docks at 11 :30 p.m. on September 6th. The 
Fiery Cross passed Deal on the 7th and the Taitsing 
on the 9th, each 101 days from the Pagoda 
Anchorage. 

The following is an abstract of their logs: 



Fiery 
Ariel Taeping Serica Cross Taitsing 
From the Pagoda 
Anchorage to 
Anjer 21 days 21 days 23 days 21 days 26 days. 

Prom Anjer to 
the Cape of 
Good Hope 25 " 26 « 27 " 25 " 28 " 

Prom the Cape 
of Good Hope 
to the equator 20 " 19 " 18 " 20 " 19 " 

Prom the equator 
to Deal 33 " 33 " 31 " 35 " 28 " 

Total 99 " 99 " 99 " 101 " 101 " 



330 The Clipper Ship Era 

The best twenty -four hours' runs were as follows : 

Average 

Ariel June25 317 miles 13.2 knots. 

Taeping " 25 319 " 13.3 " 

Serica " 29 291 " 12.1 " 

Fiery Cross " 24 328 " 13.7 " 

Taitsing July 2 318 " 13.25 " 

This contest of 1866 was one of the grandest 
ocean races ever sailed, partly on account of the 
number of evenly matched vessels engaged in it, 
but chiefly by reason of the splendid manner in 
which it was contested and the close, exciting fin- 
ish. The tea cargoes of the five ships were: Tae- 
ping, 1,108,709 lbs.; Ariel, 1,230,900 lbs.; Serica, 
954,236 lbs.; Fiery Cross, 854,236 lbs.; Taitsing, 
1,093,130 lbs. 

The usual altercation arose over the award of 
premium, which this year was 10 shillings per ton; 
Shaw, Maxton & Co., owners of the Ariel, protested 
that their ship had arrived first at Deal and was 
therefore entitled to the prize money, but the con- 
tention of Rodger & Co., owners of the Taeping, 
that their ship had made the fastest passage and 
had also reached her dock first, prevailed, and the 
matter was finally adjusted by dividing the pre- 
mium. The captains all dined together at the Ship 
and Turtle Tavern in Leadenhall Street, and har- 
mony was restored, but there were no premiums 
after this race. The system of awards had always 
led to controversy, and such an effort to combine 
sport and business could not be made to flourish. 
There had also been heavy betting on these races, 
large sums of money changing hands, and this con- 



Later British Tea Clippers 331 

tinued ; but it was better understood whether wagers 
were being laid on the clippers or tugboats, for 
under the old system, there had been nothing except 
expense to prevent a ship towing from the Azores. 

In the next two years the fleet was increased by 
a number of fine vessels, built to meet the com- 
petition of steam, which was now beginning to be 
felt in the China trade. We have seen how fierce 
and prolonged a contest there had been between 
sail and steam on the Atlantic, where the brave old 
packet ships had finally been driven into other 
trades, and how the California and Australian clip- 
pers had gradually been superseded by other means 
of transportation. The difficulty and peculiar con- 
ditions of the China voyage made this a harder 
field to conquer. 

Since 1845 the P. & O. steamers had carried pas- 
sengers between England and China via the Ked 
Sea, but they were expensive vessels to operate, and 
there were difficulty and delay in transportation 
across the Isthmus of Suez; consequently, their 
rates of freight were high and they were unable 
to compete with the tea clippers. On the other 
hand, auxiliary vessels did not have sufficient power 
to drive them against the southwest monsoon when 
new teas were shipped from China, as their heavy 
masts, yards, and rigging held them back in head 
winds. A number of auxiliaries were tried in the 
China trade, among them the Scotland, Erl King, 
Robert Lowe, and Far East, but they were not suc- 
cessful. As late as 1866 there were no steamers 
that could make the voyage between England and 
China with sufficient cargo to meet expenses, and 



332 The Clipper Ship Era 

very few persons at that time believed that the 
direct trade between Europe and China could ever 
be carried on by steamers, or that the Suez Canal, 
even if completed, would prove of any commercial 
value. 

In this year, however, Alfred Holt, of Liverpool, 
brought out three iron screw steamships with com- 
pound engines — the Ajax, Achilles, and Agamemnon, 
— 2270 tons gross and 1550 tons net register — and 
put them in the China trade. These vessels could 
steam from London to Mauritius, a distance of 8500 
miles, without coaling, a remarkable performance 
in those days, and they made the passage from 
Foo-ehow to London in 58 days, at an average speed 
of 235 miles per day. These were the first steam- 
ships to perform long ocean voyages successfully, 
and they marked a new era in steam navigation, al- 
though they were expensive vessels to operate com- 
pared with steamers of the present day, and it was 
at first doubted whether they could be made to pay. 

The owners, builders, and captains of the tea 
clippers were not men to yield witnout a contest; 
they met this new and aggressive invasion of steam 
by building in rapid succession such noted fliers 
as the Titania, Spindrift, Forward Eo, Lahloo, 
Leander, Thermopylce, Windhover, Cutty Sark, 
Caliph, Wylo, Eaisow, and Lothair. These, with 
the older tea clippers, held their own against the 
steamers until the opening of the Suez Canal in 
November, 1869, greatly lessened the length of the 
voyage and the difficulty and expense of obtaining 
coal. 

In 1868 the Ariel, Taeping, and Sir Launcelot 



Later British Tea Clippers 333 

sailed from Foo-chow on May 28th, the Spindrift 
on the 29th, the Lahloo on the 30th, the Serica on 
June 1st, and the Leander on June 3d. The Ariel 
and Spindrift made the passage to Deal in 97 days, 
the Sir Launcelot in 98 days, the Lahloo in 100 days ; 
Taeping, 102 days; Leander, 109 days, and Serica, 
113 days. 

The famous tea clipper Thermopylce was launched 
in this year. She was of composite construction, built 
by Walter Hood, of Aberdeen, for George Thompson 
& Co., who also owned the Star of Peace, Ethiopian, 
Aristides, Patriarch, Salamis, and other fine ships 
well known in the Australian trade. The Thermopy- 
Iw was 947 tons register; length 210 feet, breadth 
36 feet, depth 21 feet; she carried double topsails, 
but no skysail, and like all the Thompson ships, her 
hull was painted sea green from the copper up with 
white yards and lower masts. She carried a hand- 
some figurehead of the brave Leonidas, and was a 
very beautiful ship. She was designed by Bernard 
Weymouth, an accomplished naval architect who 
was for many years the secretary to Lloyd's Re- 
gister of Shipping. He had before this designed 
the tea clipper Leander, and later designed the 
Melbourne, a fast ship in the Australian trade, built 
and owned by Richard Green, of London, of which 
further mention will be made later. 

On her first voyage the Thermopylce sailed from 
London to Melbourne under command of Captain 
Kemball, who had formerly commanded the Fair- 
light and the Yang-tse. She left Gravesend, No- 
vember 7, 1868, and arrived at Melbourne, January 
9, 1869, thus making the passage in the remarkable 



334 The Clipper Ship Era 

record time of 63 days, the same time as the record 
passage of the James Baines, from Liverpool to 
Melbourne fourteen years before. She had a fast 
run of 21 days to the equator; on the three days 
before and after crossing the line she made 202, 
140, 228, 271, 288, and 293 miles — an unusual rate 
of speed for that part of the ocean. Her best 
days' runs were made on January 3d and 4th — 330 
and 326 miles ; her log records on both days " north- 
erly, strong," so that it may be assumed that she 
had as much fair wind as she needed. Her log 
records nine days during the passage when her 
runs were over 300 miles, and five days of less 
than 100 miles. The entries on December 9th and 
10th are : " Northwesterly, fresh gale, 240 miles," 
and " southwesterly, blowing a gale, 224 miles." 
These were fair winds. An analysis of this log 
leads to the conclusion that the Thermopylw was 
a very fast ship in average weather at sea, but in 
heavy weather could not be driven at a high rate 
of speed for a vessel of her length, probably on 
account of her small breadth and low foreboard.^ 

She next made the run from Newcastle, New South 
Wales, to Shanghai in 28 days, which is the record 
between those ports. On this passage large days' 
runs are not to be expected, but on one day she 
made 300 miles, and she showed the same fast 
averages in moderate weather as before. 

There was great excitement in the hongs at the 
coast ports of China in this year (1869) when it 

1 The Thermopylw repeated this remarkable passage of 
sixty-three days from London to Melbourne during the 
following year. 



Later British Tea Clippers 335 

became known that the Thermopylce was chartered 
to load new teas at Foo-chow for London; for no 
racing yachts ever had firmer friends and backers 
than the tea clippers ; moreover, the rivalry between 
Aberdeen and the Clyde was. acute. Of late years 
the Clyde clippers had carried all before them, and 
it was now felt that Aberdeen was about to regain, 
her former glory; but this did not prove to be the 
case. The Ariel sailed from the Pagoda Anchorage 
on June 30th; the Leander, July 1st; Thermopylw, 
July 3d ; Spindrift, July 4th ; Taeping, July 9th, and 
the Sir Launcelot, July 17th. They arrived ofiE Deal 
as follows: Sir Launcelot, 89 days; Thermopylw, 
91 days; Taeping, 102 days; Leander, 103 days; 
Ariel, 104 days, and Spindrift, 106 days. 

The winner, the Sir Launcelot, was commanded 
by Captain Robinson, formerly of the Fiery Cross, 
a seaman of great energy and experience. On this 
passage she sailed 354 miles in twenty-four hours 
while running through the trades in the Indian 
Ocean, which is believed to be the greatest speed 
ever made by any of the tea clippers of that period. 
This vessel was 886 tons register; length 197 feet 
6 inches, breadth 33 feet 7 inches, depth 21 feet, 
drawing 18 feet 9 inches aft and 18 feet 7 inches 
forward, and carried 45,500 square feet of canvas, 
with a crew of 30 hands all told. She delivered 
1430 tons of tea at fifty cubic feet per ton, and 
in addition to 200 tons of shingle ballast, she car- 
ried 100 tons of kentledge, cast to fit the floors 
along the keelson between the fore and mizzen masts. 
Her owner, James MacCumm, of Greenock, claimed 
that she was the fastest of the tea clippers, which 



336 The Clipper Ship Era 

her record passage of 89 days from Foo-chow to 
London and her twenty-four hours' run of 354 miles 
would seem to justify, though there were probably 
very slight differences in speed between any of 
these vessels under similar conditions of wind and 
weather. 

' The race of 1870 from Foo-chow to London was 
won by the Lahloo in 97 days, the other vessels 
being : the Windhover, 100 days ; Sir Launcelot, 102 
days Leander, 103 days; Thermopylw, 106 days. 
In 1871 the Titania won in 93 days ; the Lahloo, 111 
days, from Foo-chow to London ; and from Shanghai 
to London the Thermopylw was 106 days; Cutty 
Sark, 110 days, and Forward Ho, 118 days. This 
was about the last of the tea clipper racing, for 
the combined competition of steam and the Suez 
Canal proved too powerful for sail. No more tea 
clippers were built after 1869; by degrees these 
beautiful vessels were driven into other trades ; and 
so the Clipper ^hip Era drifted into history. 

Great Britain had regained her empire upon the 
sea, and few British ship-owners could be found 
who any longer doubted the wisdom of Free Trade. 
Through the irony of fate, Duncan Dunbar, who 
had been one of the most vehement opponents of 
the repeal of the Navigation Laws, became under 
the new conditions, the largest ship-owner and one 
of the wealthiest in the United Kingdom, leaving at 
his death an estate of £1,500,000, 

In comparing the speed of the British tea clippers 
with that of American clipper ships, a good deal 
depends on what is meant by speed. In ordinary 
weather at sea, when great power to carry sail is 




o 



H 



Later British Tea Clippers 337 

not required, the British tea clippers were extremely 
fast vessels, chiefly on account of their narrow beam, 
which gave their hulls a comparatively small wetted 
surface, and their smooth copper bottoms which 
reduced skin resistance. Under these conditions 
they were, perhaps, as fast as the American clippers 
of the same class, though from very different causes ; 
— such ships, for instance, as the Sea Witch, Samuel 
Russell, Game Cock, Phantom, White Squall, Night- 
ingale, Shooting Star, Northern Light, Surprise, 
Witch of the Wave, Sword-Fish, and others. But 
if speed is to be considered as the maximum per- 
formance of a ship under the most favorable con- 
ditions, though these conditions may not often 
occur, then the British tea clippers were certainly 
no match for the larger American ships such as 
the Flying Cloud, Typhoon, Neptune's Car, Chal- 
lenge, Comet, Hurricane, Flying Fish, Stag-Hound, 
Young America, Trade-Wind, and others of this 
class, to say nothing of the James Baines, Bed 
Jacket, Champion of the Seas, Lightning, Sovereign 
of the Seas, and Great Bepuilic. The greater 
breadth of the American ships in proportion to their 
length, meant, in sailing vessels of this type, not 
only power to carry canvas, but also power in the 
form of buoyancy; and this, with their longer and 
sharper ends, enabled the American clippers to be 
driven at much greater speed than the British 
clippers in strong gales and before heavy seas. It 
should, however, be remembered that none of the 
British tea clippers exceeded 1000 tons register, 
and it may again be said that they probably com- 
bined the good qualities of a merchant ship in a 



338 The Clipper Ship Era 

higher degree than any other vessels that have ever 
been built. 

The Melbourne, already mentioned, was perhaps 
the fastest ship ever built in Great Britain. In 
1875, commanded by Captain Marsden, she made 
the passage from London to Melbourne in the not 
very remarkable time of 74 days, but when run- 
ning her easting down in strong westerly gales she 
sailed 5100 miles in 17 days, an average of 300 miles 
a day, and her best twenty-four hours' run was 374 
miles, an average of over 15% knots. She was an 
iron vessel of 1865 tons register; length 269 feet, 
breadth 40 feet, depth 23 feet 7 inches, and while 
not an extreme clipper, was a finely designed ship. 

It should be remembered that both the American 
and the British clippers were dependent upon the 
form of their lines for stability; this problem in 
their design was therefore a far more intricate and 
difficult one to deal with than that of producing 
stability by hanging a huge mass of lead below 
the body of a hull, as is the custom with our 
modern racing yachts. 

Yachting is the grandest of sports when yachts- 
men handle their yachts themselves, and there are 
a good number of yachtsman who are excellent sea- 
men and navigators. It is pleasant to recall that 
in the race for the Emperor's Cup in 1905, four of 
the competing yachts were sailed and navigated by 
their owners; and although there is far too much 
wasteful extravagance and enervating luxury in 
yachting, still, the increasing number of yachtsmen 
who show a keen interest and are amateur experts 
in the design, construction, rigging, and sailing of 



Later British Tea Clippers 339 

their yachts, is an encouraging sign for the future 
of the sport. 

Nevertheless, it must be frankly admitted that 
yacht racing, even across the Atlantic, in compari- 
son with the old clipper ship racing, resembles snipe 
shooting as compared with hunting big game in 
the wilds of Africa, while the gold and silver yacht 
racing cups appear as mere baubles beside the mo- 
mentous stake of commercial supremacy for which 
the clippers stretched their wings. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE FATE OF THE CLIPPER SHIPS 

WE have already seen how, about the year 
1855, the extreme clippers were succeeded 
in the United States by a class of vessels known 
as medium clippers. These vessels were not so sharp 
and did not carry as heavy spars or so much can- 
vas as the old clippers, but they could carry more 
cargo and could be handled with fewer men. This 
made them more profitable when the demand for 
speed and the rates of freight had declined, and 
the extreme clippers were unable to command any 
higher rate than the medium clippers. After the 
Civil War ship-building for the oversea carrying 
trade steadily declined, though it was not until 
1893 that the last American wooden sailing ship, 
the Aryan, was launched. During these thirty-eight 
years a good many ships were built, and by degrees 
a new type of vessel, designed to carry large cargoes 
at moderate speed, was developed, which enterpris- 
ing agents advertised as clippers; but those who 
had known the real clippers were not deceived. 
Many of the old names survived; thus there were a 
second Memnon, another Rainbow, Sea Witch, Ori- 
ental, Eclipse, Comet, Northern Light, Ringleader, 

34o_ ' 



Fate of the Clipper Ships 341 

Invincible, Witch of the Wave, Blue Jacket, 
Charmer, Sovereign of the Seas, Lightning, and 
AndreiD Jackson which should not be mistaken for 
the famous clippers after which they were named. 

One may well ask what became of all the splendid 
clipper ships? The fate of some of them has al- 
ready been told in these pages, others have disap- 
peared from one cause or another, as time went 
on, until now scarcely one is left. During the Civil 
War many of them were sold and sailed under 
foreign flags, their names were changed and their 
identity all but lost. 

Of the more famous early clippers, the Houqua 
foundered in a typhoon in the China seas in 1865 
while under command of Captain McKenzie. The 
Sea Witch made her last voyage to San Francisco 
in 1852 and then returned to the China trade for 
which she had been built. On her voyage to China 
in 1855 Captain Fraser was murdered at sea by his 
chief mate, and the vessel put into Rio Janeiro, 
where Captain Lang took command. On the home- 
ward voyage from Amoy to Havana with a cargo 
of coolies, the Sea Witch was wrecked and became 
a total loss on the eastern coast of Cuba, March 26, 
1856. The Samuel Russell was wrecked in the 
Caspar Straits in 1870, under command of Captain 
Frederick Lucas. 

The Stag-Hound was burnt off the coast of Brazil 
in 1863, her United States ensign, which the cap- 
tain brought off and returned to the owners in Bos- 
ton, being the sole relic. The Surprise, under com- 
mand of Captain Charles Ranlett, struck a sunken 
rock while beating into Yokohama Bay and became a 



342 The Clipper Ship Era 

total wreck, February 4, 1876; the Game-Cock was 
condemned at the Cape of Good Hope in 1880. 

The Staffordshire was lost ofif Cape Sable, while 
bound from Liverpool for Boston in December, 1854. 
She struck on a ledge during a thick fog and found- 
ered in deep water. Two days before her wreck 
Captain Richardson had fallen on deck and frac- 
tured his spine, and while he lay helpless in his 
berth, Joseph Alden, his chief mate, reported that 
the ship was sinking. Captain Richardson gave 
directions to the mate for saving the women and 
children passengers, but declined assistance for 
himself. His last words were : " God's will be done," 
and as the vessel settled deeper and deeper in the 
water and the waves closed in upon her deck, the 
brave spirit of her captain returned to God who 
gave it, to join the innumerable host of heroes and 
martyrs of the sea. 

The Flying Cloud was sold to James Baines in 
1863 and was destroyed by fire at St. John, 
N. B., in 1874. The Flying Fish was wrecked in 
November, 1858, while coming out of Foo-chow, 
bound for New York with a cargo of tea, and was 
abandoned to the underwriters, who sold her to a 
Spanish merchant of Manila. She was subsequently 
floated and rebuilt at Wampoa, her name being 
changed to M Bueno Suceso. She sailed for some 
years between Manila and Cadiz, and finally found- 
ered in the China Sea. The Typhoon was sold to 
the United States Government during the Civil War, 
and was finally broken up. The Northern Light was 
abandoned at sea, December 25, 1861, after being in 
collision while bound from Havre for New York. 



Fate of the Clipper Ships 343 

The Comet was sold under the British flag and 
renamed the Fiery Star. She sailed between Eng- 
land and Australia for several years and was 
finally burned at sea in 1865, while on a voyage 
from Moreton Bay, Queensland, for London. She 
had been on fire for twenty-one days when the crew 
were rescued by the ship Dauntless. The Trade 
Wind, while bound from Mobile for Liverpool, in 
1854, was in collision with the ship Olympus, from 
Liverpool for New York. Both vessels foundered, 
forty-four of the sixty-four passengers and crew of 
the Trade-Wind and fifty-two of the fifty-eight on 
board the Olympus being rescued by the Belgian 
barque Stadt Antwerpen, Captain Wyteerhoven, and 
landed at New York. 

The Nightingale was sold to a firm in Salem and 
sent to Rio Janeiro, where she was bought and 
sailed in the African slave trade under the Brazil- 
ian flag. About the year 1860 she was captured 
by a United States war-vessel and sent home as a 
prize. She was subsequently fitted out by the Gov- 
ernment as an armed cruiser during the Civil War, 
and at the close of the war was sold and sailed 
in the California and China trade. Later she sailed 
for many years under the fiag of Norway. The 
Shooting Star was sold to a merchant of Siam in 
1862 and was wrecked on the coast of Formosa in 
1867. Captain Low remained in command of the 
N. B. Palmer until she was sold abroad in 18T2. 
The Tornado, Whirlwind, and Neptune's Car were 
sold in England and disappeared from the Shipping 
Lists many years ago. 

The Golden Light under command of Captain 0. 



344 The Clipper Ship Era 

F. Winsor, sailed from Boston on her first voyage 
bound for San Francisco, February 12, 1853, and 
ten days out was struck by lightning which set fire 
to cargo in the forehold. After every exertion had 
been made to save the vessel. Captain Winsor gave 
orders to abandon the ship, and at 6 p.m., February 
23d, her people took to the boats. At that time the 
ship was in flames. Her foremast had burnt off 
and fallen; soon after her main- and mizzen-masts 
went over the side. She had eleven passengers, 
including three ladies who were in the long boat 
with the captain. There were five boats in all, 
four of which, after being adrift eight days, were 
picked up by the British ship Shand from Calcutta 
bound for Boston; the other boat, in charge of the 
mate, reached Barbadoes in safety, so that all hands 
were saved. 

The Sovereign of the Seas was sold to a Hamburg 
firm and was wrecked on the Pyramid Shoal in the 
Straits of Malacca, August 6, 1859, becoming a total 
loss. The Contest and Winged Racer were de- 
stroyed by the Alaiama off the coast of Java in 
1863, and the Jacoi Bell by the Florida during the 
same year. The Harvey Birch was destroyed by 
the Nashville in 1861. The Flying Dutchman went 
ashore on the Brigantine Shoal, off the coast of 
New Jersey, during a thick snowstorm in February, 
1858, and became a total loss. The Highflyer, un- 
der command of Captain Gordon B. Waterman, 
sailed from San Francisco, October 24, 1856, bound 
for Hong-kong and was never heard from. The 
John Gilpin struck an iceberg ofE Cape Horn and 
foundered, January 29, 1858, while bound from 



Fate of the Clipper Ships 345 

Honolulu for New Bedford under command of Cap- 
tain John F. Eopes, all hands, including fifteen 
passengers, being saved by the British ship 
Herefordshire. 

The Phantom was lost on Prates Shoal, about two 
hundred miles east-southeast of Hong-kong, in 1862, 
while under command of Captain Henry Sargent. 
All hands were saved in the boats, which reached 
Hong-kong safely, and a large amount of treasure 
that she had on board was also saved. Captain 
Sargent received great credit for his brave and 
judicious action at the time of the wreck; for in 
those days the Chin£t Sea was filled with junks 
whose crews required only the sight of a vessel in dis- 
tress to turn them into most barbarous pirates. Cap- 
tain Sargent soon after took command of the clipper 
barque Emily C. Starr and sailed from Shanghai for 
Yokohama. She was never heard from, and it was 
supposed that she foundered in a typhoon. Captain 
Sargent belonged to an old Boston family whose 
home was on Beacon Street. He had sailed with 
Captain Nickels in the Flying Fish and had also 
commanded the ship Rockland. He was one of the 
youngest and most accomplished of all the Ameri- 
can clipper ship captains. 

The Bald Eagle and Romance of the Seas both 
sailed from Hong-kong in 1860 and were never heard 
from. The Reporter foundered off Cape Horn in 

1863, and in the same year the Undaunted was 
condemned at Eio Janeiro. 

The Sweepstakes was condemned in Batavia in 

1864. The Great Republic was sold to the Mer- 
chants' Trading Company, of Liverpool, in 1869 and 



346 The Clipper Ship Era 

her name was changed to the DenmarJc. She finally 
foundered in a hurricane off Bermuda in 1872. The 
Morning Star was sold to a Liverpool firm, who 
renamed her the BocMngham; she foundered while 
on a voyage from Samarang for Falmouth in 1879. 
The Ocean Telegraph was sold to an English firm 
and renamed the Light Brigade and was finally 
condemned at Gibraltar and converted into a coal 
hulk. 

The Marco Polo, Bed Jacket, and Donald McKay 
ended their days in the Quebec lumber trade, and 
the Lightning disappeared from the Shipping List 
in 1866. The Champion of the Seas foundered 
while homeward bound round Cape Horn in 1877. 
The James Baines was burnt at Liverpool in 1858, 
and her wreck was converted into the old landing 
stage for Atlantic steamship passengers, few of 
whom probably realized that they were walking 
over the remains of one of the grandest ships that 
ever sailed the sea. 

Of the British-built clippers, the first Lord of the 
Isles built in 1854 was burnt in 1862. The second 
of the name, built in 1864 by Eobert Steele, of 
Greenock, was sold in France and became known 
as the Paul Albert. The Spindrift and Serica were 
both wrecked in 1869. The Forward Eo was lost 
in 1881. The Sir Launcelot was sold to a merchant 
of Bombay and sailed for many years between that 
port and Mauritius, and was finally wrecked in 
1895. The Cutty Sark was sold to a merchant in 
Lisbon in 1895. The Chinaman was sunk by a 
steamer on the coast of China in 1880. The Wind- 
hover was wrecked on the coast of Australia in 



Fate of the Clipper Ships 347 

1884. The Falcon was sold in Australia, her name 
being changed to the Sophia Branilla. She was 
wrecked on the coast of Java in 1871. The Ther- 
rnopylw is now a schoolship at the mouth of the 
Tagus. The Yang-tze was lost in 1872. The first 
Guinevere, built by Robert Steele, in 1862, was lost 
in 1866, while the second Guinevere, built by Ran- 
dolph Elder & Co., in 1868, was sold in Norway. 
The Ariel sailed for Melbourne and was never heard 
from. The Taitsing was wrecked on the coast of 
Zanzibar in 1883. 

The Titania is the only one of all the old clipper 
ships that can now be traced as in active service. 
She is owned by Madame Maresca, of Castellamare, 
and sails under the flag of Italy, usually between 
European and South American ports. A few years 
ago she arrived at New York, and I was much in- 
terested in going on board of her, as I had known 
the ship and her captain many years before in 
China. She appeared so little changed that it was 
difficult to realize that nearly forty years had 
passed away since I last stood upon her deck one 
bright June morning at the Pagoda Anchorage, 
bidding Captain Burgoyne good-bye as he was get- 
ting under way bound for London with new teas. 
Her spars had been somewhat reduced and her rig 
changed to a barque, but the beautiful India teak 
used in the construction of her hull, decks, and 
bulwarks, with the polished brasswork of her rails, 
skylights, bells, and capstans, blinking cheerfully in 
the autumn sunshine, seemed to have paid little heed 
to the flight and ravages of time. 



348 The Clipper Ship Era 

-And so I have endeavored to record the leading 
events of an era in maritime history long ago de- 
parted; and howfever much the remarkable develop- 
ment of steam navigation may have contributed to 
the welfare of mankind, I think that the memory 
of the clipper ships and the men who built and 
commanded them, will always find a welcome in 
the hearts of those who know and love the sea. 



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^ 
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Appendix II 



RECORD PASSAGES OP THE CALIFORNIA CLIPPER SHIPS 

MADE IN 110 DAYS OR LESS FROM 1850 TO 1860, 

INCLUSIVE 

1850 





PORT OP 


ARRIVAL AT 




SHIP 


DEPARTURE 


SAN FRANCISCO 


DAYS 


Celestial 


New York 


November 1 


104 


Race Horse 


Boston 


November 24 


109 


Samuel Russell 


New York 


May 1 


109 


Sea Witch 


New York 
1851 


July 24 


97 


Challenge 


New York 


October 29 


108 


Flying Cloud 


New York 


August 31 


89 


N. B. Palmer 


New York 


August 21 


106 


Raven 


Boston 


November 19 


105 


Sea Witch 


New York 


November 20 


110 


Seaman 


New York 


March 11 


107 


Stag-Hound 


New York 


May 26 


107 


Surprise 


New York 


March 19 


96 


Typhoon 


New York 


November 18 


106 


Witchcraft 


New York 
1852 


August 11 


103 


Celestial 


New York 


February 17 


106 


Comet 


New York 


January 13 


103 



365 



366 



The Clipper Ship Era 





POET OP 


ARRIVAL AT 




SHIP 


DEPARTURE 


SAN FRANCISCO 


DAYS 


Courser 


Boston 


April 28 


108 


Eclipse- 


New York 


April 22 


104 


Northern Light 


Boston 


March 8 


109 


Sea Witch 


New York 


December 8 


108 


Staffordshire 


Boston 


August 13 


101 


Sword-Fish 


New York 


February 10 


90 


Flying Fish 


Boston 


February 17 


98 


John Bertram 


Boston 


March 26 


105 


Shooting Star 


Boston 


August 17 


105 


White Squall 


New York 


July 29 


110 


Wild Pigeon 


New York 


January 28 


104 


Sovereign of the Seas 


New York 
1853 


November 15 


103 


Bald Eagle 


New York 


April 11 


107 


Contest 


New York 


February 24 


108 


Contest 


New York 


October 24 


97 


Flying Cloud 


New York 


August 12 


105 


Flying Dutchman 


New York 


January 27 


104 


Flying Dutchman 


New York 


October 7 


106 


Flying Fish 


New York 


February 1 


92 


Golden Age (barque) 


Boston 


May 31 


103 


Golden Gate 


New York 


March 20 


102 


Hornet 


New York 


August 12 


105 


Invincible 


New York 


September 9 


110 


John Gilpin 


New York 


February 2 


93 


Meteor 


Boston 


March 10 


110 


Oriental 


New York 


May 7 


100 


Phantom 


Boston 


April 21 


104 


Bebekah (barque) 


Baltimore 


May 10 


106 


Sea Serpent 


New York 


June 1 


107 


Sword-Fish 


New York 


May 30 


105 


Storm (barque) 


New York 


April 10 


109 


Tornado 


New York 


May 2 


109 


Trade-Wind 


New York 


February 24 


102 


Westward Ho 


Boston 


February 1 


103 


Witchcraft 


New York 


July 8 


110 



Appendix 



367 





POET OP 


ARRIVAL AT 




SHIP 


DEPARTURE 


SAN FRANCISCO 


DAYS 


Winged Racer 


New York 


March 30 


105 


Young America 


New York 
1854 


August 29 


110 


Archer 


New York 


April 29 


106 


Challenger 


Boston 


June 9 


110 


Courier 


Boston 


April 28 


108 


David Brown 


New York 


March 23 


98 


Eagle 


New York 


February 16 


103 


Eagle Wing 


Boston 


April 5 


106 


Flying Cloud 


New York 


April 20 


89 


Golden City 


New York 


February 8 


105 


Herald of the Morning 


Boston 


May 7 


106 


Hurricane 


New York 


September 4 


99 


Matchless 


Boston 


February 8 


109 


Pamparo 


New York 


January 25 


105 


Polynesia 


New York 


April 10 


104 


Ringleader 


Boston 


February 8 


109 


Romance of the Seas 


Boston 


March 23 


96 


Samuel Russell 


New York 


January 20 


106 


San Francisco 


New York 


February 8 


105 


Stag-Hound 


New York 


August 14 


110 


Westward Ho 


New York 


February 28 


106 


Witchcraft 


New York 


August 15 


97 


Young America 


New York 
1855 


October 20 


110 


Boston Light 


Boston 


April 11 


102 


Cleopatra 


New York 


March 4 


107 


Don Quixote 


Boston 


March 29 


108 


Electric 


New York 


March 4 


109 


Flying Cloud 


New York 


June 6 


108 


Flying Fish 


Boston 


January 10 


109 


Flying Fish 


Boston 


December 27 


105 


Golden Eagle 


New York 


August 25 


106 



368 



The Clipper Ship Era 



SHIP 

Governor Morton 
Greenfield (barque) 
Herald of the Morning 
Meteor 

Neptune's Car 
Red Rover 
Telegraph 
Westward Ho 



PORT OP 
DEPAKTUEE 

New York 
New York 
New York 
Boston 
New York 
New York 
Boston 
Boston 



ARRIVAL AT 
SAN FRANCISCO 

April 2 
May 6 
May 16 
August 30 
April 25 
June 13 
April 9 
April 24 



DAY* 

104 
110 
99 
108 
100 
107 
109 
100 



1856 



Antelope 


New York 


March 15 


97 


David Brown 


New York 


April 28 


103 


Don Quixote 


Boston 


May 31 


108 


Electric Spark 


Boston 


April 9 


106 


Flyaway 


New York 


April 8 


106 


Mary L. Sutton 


New York 


July 20 


110 


North Wind 


Boston 


July 21 


110 


Phantom 


New York 


April 29 


101 


Red Rover 


New York 


April 7 


110 


Reporter 


New York 


March 27 


107 


Ringleader 


Boston 


February 3 


106 


Sweepstakes 


New York 


May 25 


94 


Tornado 


New York 


March 27 


110 


Wild Hunter 


Boston 


April 29 


108 


Young America 


New York 


October 14 


107 



1857 



Andrew Jackson 


New York 


February 28 


100 


Flying Dragon 


New York 


April 10 


97 


Flying Dutchman 


New York 


September 10 


102 


Flying Fish 


Boston 


October 2 


100 


John Land 


New York 


July 30 


104 


Reporter 


New York 


April 17 


110 


Westward Ho 


New York 


March 26 


100 





Appendix 


369 




1858 








PORT OP 


ARRIVAL AT 




SHIP 


DEPARTURE 


SAN FRANCISCO 


DAYS 


Andrew Jackson 


New York 


April 27 


103 


Dashing Wave 


New York 


August 18 


107 


Don Quixote 


New York 


March 4 


108 


Esther May 


Boston 


May 19 


103 


John Land 


New York 


July 24 


108 


Twilight 


New York 
1859 


April 16 


100 


Andrew Jackson 


New York 


April 5 


102 


Robin Hood 


New York 


March 25 


107 


Sierra Nevada 


New York 


December 17 


97 


Young America 


New York 
1860 


July 24 


105 


Andrew Jackson 


New York 


March 23 


89 


Archer 


New York 


March 18 


106 


Lookout 


New York 


February 20 


108 


Mary L. Sutton 


New York 


May 12 


103 


Ocean Telegraph 


New York 


March 13 


109 


White Swallow 


New York 


August 7 


110 



During the forty-five years that have elapsed since the 
close of the Civil War a large number of sailing ships 
have been built for the California trade, and it is a notable 
fact that only two of these vessels made the passage from 
an Atlantic port to San Francisco in less than one hun- 
dred days. The Seminole, built by Maxon & Fish at 
Mystic, Connecticut, in 1865, arrived at San Francisco 
from New York, March 10, 1866, in 96 days, and the 
Glory of the Seas, already mentioned as the last ship 
built by Donald McKay, made the same voyage, arriving 
at San Francisco, January 18, 1874, in 94 days. 

The two most successful ships in after years were the 
David Crocket and Young America. Both were built in 



370 The Clipper Ship Era 

1853, and both continued in the San Francisco trade until 
1883, during which time the David Crockett made her 
best twelve passages from New York to San Francisco 
in an average of 109 -^-^ days each, her best being 102 
days in 1872. The Young America, during this period 
also made twelve passages in an average of 110 -Jj- days 
each, her best being 102 days in 1880. 

As these ships were by many years the oldest survivors 
of the California clippers, there was a good deal of rivalry 
between them, and their records show that they were 
very evenly matched. It should, however, be remembered 
that about the year 1860 their spars and canvas were 
considerably reduced and that they were fitted with double 
topsail yards, all of which hampered their speed in 
moderate weather. Indeed, they resembled two faded 
beauties who in their youth had been rival belles. 



Appendix III 

CHINA TEA CLIPPHES, 1859-1869 



SHIP 



CONSTRUC- 
TONS TION 



BUILDER 



YEAR 



Falcon 



937 Wood 



Isle of the South 821 
Fiery Cross 888 
Min 629 



Kelso 

Belted Will 
Serica 


556 
812 
708 


tc 

tt 
(I 


Taeping 


767 


Composite 


Eliza Shaw 


696 


n 


Yang-tze 
Black Prince 
Ariel 


688 
750 
853 


te 


Ada 

Sir Launcelot 


686 
886 


it 


Taitsing 
Titania 


815 
879 


tt 


Spindrift 
Forward Ho 


899 
943 


tt 
tt 



Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1859 

Laing & Co., Sunderland 1859 

Chalour & Co., Liverpool 1860 
Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1861 

Pile & Co., Sunderland 1861 

Feel & Co., Workington 1863 
Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1863 
Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1863 
Alexander Stephen, Glas- 
gow 1863 
Alexander Hall, Aberdeen 1863 
Alexander Hall, Aberdeen 1863 
Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1865 

Alexander Hall, Aberdeen 1865 
Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1865 

Connell & Co., Glasgow 1865 
Robert Steele & Sons, 

Greenock 1866 
Connell & Co., Glasgow 1867 
Alexander Stephen, Glas- 
gow 1867 



371 



372 



The Clipper Ship Era 



SHIP 


TONS 


TION 


BUILDER 


YEAR 


Leander 


883 C 


oniposite 


Lawrie & Co., Glasgow 


1867 


Lahloo 


779 


tt 


Robert Steele & Sons, 
Greenock 


1867 


Ihermopylse 


947 


tt 


Walter Hood, Aberdeen 


1868 


Windhover 


847 


tt 


Connell & Co., Glasgow 


1868 


Cutty Sark 


921 


11 


Scott & Co., Dumbarton 


1868 


Caliph 


914 


<( 


Alexander Hall, Aberdeen 1869 


Wylo 


799 


(( 


Robert Steele & Sons, 
Greenock 


1869 


Kaisow 


795 


It 


Robert Steele & Sons, 
Greenock 


1869 


Lothair 


794 


tt 


Walker & Son, London 


1869 



Appendix IV 

EULES FOE TONNAGE MEASUEEMENTS 

The English system of measuring the tonnage of ves- 
sels in the eighteenth century is given in Falconer's 
Marine Dictionary, 1780, as follows: 

" To determine the burden, or, in other words, the ton- 
age, of a ship, it is usual to multiply the length of keel 
into the extreme breadth of the ship vrithin board, taken 
along the midship beam, and multiplying the product by 
the depth in the hold from the plank joining to the keel- 
son upwards to the main-deck, and divide the last product 
by 94; then will the quotient be the burden required, in 
tons." 

This rule continued in force till 1819, when it was 
changed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty 
as follows: 

" Multiply the length of the keel by the breadth of 
beam, and that product by half the breadth of beam, and 
divide the last product by 94, and the quotient will be the 
tonnage " {Marine Dictionary, William Bumey, LL.D., 
1830). Dr. Burney remarks: " It appears from the gen- 
eral construction of merchant ships, that more attention 
is paid to evade the tax on tonnage than to their sailing 
well with the wind in different directions; and if the real 
tonnage of ships were taken, an alteration would soon be 
made in the construction for the better." 

This form of the rule continued until 1842, when by 
Act of Parliament the following method was adopted: 

" Divide the length of the upper deck between the after 
part of the stem and the fore part of the stern-post into 
six equal parts. Depths : at the foremost, the middle, and 
the aftermost of these points of division, measure in feet 

373 



374 The Clipper Ship Era 

and decimal parts of a foot the depths from the under 
side of the upper deck to the ceiling at the limber strake. 
In the case of a break in the upper deck, the depths are 
to be measured from a line stretched in a continuation of 
the deck. Breadths: Divide each of those three depths 
into five equal parts, and measure the inside breadths at 
the following points — ^viz., at one fifth and at four fifths 
from the upper deck of the foremost and aftermost depths, 
and at two fifths and four fifths from the upper deck of 
the midship depth. Length: At half the midship depth, 
measure the length of the vessel from the after part of 
the stem to the fore part of the stem-post; then, to twice 
the midship depth add the foremost and the aftermost 
depths; add together the upper and lower breadths at the 
foremost division, three times the upper breadth, and the 
lower breadth, at the midship division and the upper and 
twice the lower breadth at the after division, for the sum 
of the breadths; then multiply the sum of the depths by 
the sum of the breadths, and this product by the length, 
and divide the final product by three thousand five hun- 
dred, which will give the number of tons for register " 
(Young's Marine Dictionary, 1846). 

In 1854 this rule was changed by the Merchant Ship- 
ping Act, which provided that the actual cubic contents 
of a vessel's hull should be measured, a registered ton 
being reckoned as 100 cubic feet. This is known as th^ 
Moorsom system, and is still in use and likely to continue. 
It was adopted by the United States in 1865; Denmark, 
1867; Austria, 1871; Germany, France, and Italy, 1873; 
Spain, 1874; and Sweden, 1875. 

The old practice of calculating tonnage in the United 
States was adapted from the English, and the mode of 
measurement was as follows: 

The length was measured on deck from the fore part 
of the stem to the after part of the stern-post; the 
breadth from outside to outside planking at the broadest 
part of the vessel; the depth of the hold from the plank 
on deck to the ceiling of the hold. This last measurement 
was not used, the depth of a vessel for tonnage purposes 
being assumed to be one half of her breadth. In order 



Appendix 375 

to find the tonnage, three fifths of the breadth were de- 
ducted from the length and the remainder multiplied by 
the breadth, and this product multiplied by one half 
the breadth, or the assumed depth, the last product was 
then divided by 95, giving the formula: 

(L-3/^B) XB X 1/2 5 
95 
Thus in a vessel measuring 100 ft. x 20 ft. x 18 ft.: 

Length of vessel 100 

Subtract 3/^ breadth 12 

Length for measurement 88 

Multiply by the breadth 20 

1760 
Multiply by half breadth 10 

17,600 

Divide 17,600 by 95 and 

the result is 185_(-ia/i9 

Total tonnage 185+12/^ , 

This mode of measurement continued from colonial 
times until the Moorsom system was adopted in 1865. 

The dimensions of ten representative American and 
British clippers were as follows: 

Length 

Nightingale (1851) 178 " 

American Oriental (1849) 183 ft. 

Celestial (1850) 158 " 

Stag-Hound (1850) 209 " 

Flying Dutchman (1852) .187 " 
British Falcon (1859) 191 "4in 

Taitsing (1865) 192 " 

Titania (1866) 200 " 

Spindrift (1867) 219 " 4 in 

ThermopylsB (1868) 210 " 



Breadth 




..36 " 






..36 ft 






..34 " 


6 


in. 


..39 " 






..38 " 


6 


in. 


..32 " 


2 


in. 


..31 " 


5 


in. 


..35 " 






..35 " 


6 


in. 


..36 " 







376 The Clipper Ship Era 

Although these British ships show less breadth than 
the American, yet they have more breadth in proportion 
to length than the earlier British clippers, such as the 
Stornaway (1850), Lord of the Isles (1855), etc. 



INDEX 

Vessels not otherwise designated are American 



Abbot Lawrence, medium 
clipper ship, 255, 256, 258 

Abergeldie, British clipper 
ship, 205 

Abrahams, J., builder, Bal- 
timore, 357, 362 

Abrahams & Ashcroft, own- 
ers, Baltimore, 357 

Achilles, British iron screw 
steamer, 332 

Ackley, Samuel, builder 
N. Y., 16, 17 

Ada, Brit, clipper ship, tea- 
trade, 325-6, 371 

Adamson & Bell, China 
merchants, 325 

Adelaide, packet ship, 44 

clipper ship, 298, 360 

British iron screw 

steamer, 286 

Admiral Gardner, Brit. E. 
Indiamen, 25 

Adriatic, Collins Line S. S., 
49, 250; med. clipper 
ship, 258 

Ajax, Brit, iron screw 
steamer, 332 

Akbar, clipper ship, China 
trade, 62, 138 

Alarm, Cal. clipper ship, 
289, 299, 363 

Albert Gallatin, packet ship, 
42, 48, 142 

Albion, packet ship, 38 

Alert, Cal. clipper ship, 350 



Alexander Marshall, packet 
ship, 41 

Alfred, Brit, ship, 36-37 

Alhambra, med. clipper 
ship, 258, 291 

Allen, Wm. H., N. Y. packet » 
captain, 44 

Alliance, U. S. frigate, 1778, 
6,7 

Alsop & Co., S. Francisco, 
agents of Challenge, 187 

Am,elia Packet, Brit, barque, 
180 

America, Brit, fifty-gun 
frigate, built at Ports- 
mouth, N. H., 9 

Amos Lawrence, med. clip- 
per ship, 255 

Amphitrite, Cal. clipper 
ship, 232, 256 

Andrew Jackson, Cal. med. 
clipper ship, 253, 295; 
362; 89 days to S. Fran- 
cisco, 144, 178, 296, 300, 
369; other records, 247, 
295, 297, 298, 368 

Andrews, Capt., later ship, 
341; Red Gauntlet, 359 

Anglo-American, packet 
ship, 56 

Anglo-Saxon, packet ship, 
56 

Angola, clipper schooner, 
opium trade, 58 

Ann McKim, first clipper 
ship built, 60-2 

Antarctic, ship, 66 



377 



378 



Index 



Antelope, clipper brig, 

opium trade, 58, 59, 

138 
Cal. clipper ship, 353 ; 

records, 290, 296, 298, 

299, 368 
Appleton, Wm., shipowner, 

Boston, 361 
Archer, Cal. clipper ship, 

248, 356; records, 248, 

298, 299, 367, 369 
Architect, clipper ship, 70 
Arctic, Collins Line S. S., 

309 
Arey, Capt., Spitfire, 359 
Argo, Brit., first merchant 

ship with steam power 

to circumnavigate the 

globe, 287 
Argonaut, clipper ship, 196 
Ariel, clipper schooner, 

opium trade, 58 
clipper ship, China 

trade, 68 

Cal. clipper ship, 353 

■ Brit, clipper ship, tea 



trade, 324, 347, 371; 

racer, 324-30, 332-3, 335 
Aristides, Brit, ship, Aus- 
tralian trade, 333 
Arizona, S. S., 278 
Aryan, last Amer. wooden 

sailing ship, 1893, 340 
Ashburton, N. Y. packet, 

41, 54 
Atlanta, clipper ship, Cal. 

trade, 298, 299 
Atlantic, first Amer. ship in 

India, 12-13 
Aurora, ship, 236, 299 
Austerlitz, ship, 193 
Austin & Co., builders, 

Damariscotta, Me., 356 
Australian, Brit, screw 

steamer, 286 
Avery, Capt., Euterpe, 363 
Aymer & Co., owners, N. Y., 

359 



B 

Babcock, Col. Harry, 160 

Maj. Paul, 84, 160 

Capt. David S., 84; 

Sword Fish, 160-1, 213, 
352; Young America, 233, 
360 
Bacon, Daniel C, owner, 
135, 349; Pres. Amer. 
Nav. Club, 202-4 

D. G. & W. B., owners, 

304, 358 
Bailey, Capt., Yorkshire, 46 
Baines, James, owner, 

L'pool, 342 
& Co., L'pool, Austra- 
lian Black Ball Line, 266, 
268, 272; vessels for, 273, 
284 
Baker, Capt., 352, 357, 363 
Baker & Morrill, owners, 
Boston, 352, 355, 357, 361, 
363 
Bald Eagle, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 237, 343, 353; 
story of race, 200-2; re- 
cords, 299, 300, 366 
Baltic, med. clipper ship, 
258 

Collins Line S. S., 309 

Baltimore, shipbuilding, 54, 
60-62, 70, 136, 254, 350, 
357, 362 
Baltimore, Havre packet 

ship, 41 
Bangs, Benj., owner, Bos- 
ton, 360 
Barclay & Livingston, own- 
ers, N. Y., 159, 352 
Baring Bros. & Co., 203-4 
Barrington, ship, 193 
Barry, Commodore, 11 
Barry, Capt., Saracen, 361 
Barstow, Gideon, of E. Bos- 
ton Timber Co., 49 
Barstow, Capt., 351, 354 
Bartlett, Capt., 352 



Index 



379 



Barwell, Capt., 362 

Bates & Thaxter, owners, 

Boston, 362 
Bath, Me., shipbuilding, 

105, 152, 351, 353, 357, 
Bavaria, packet ship, 48 
Baxter, Capt., Nabob, 361 
Beacon Light, Cal. clipper 

ship, 362 
Beauchamp, Capt. Isaac, 

Defender, 255 
Beauregard, Confederate 

privateer, 14 
Beaver, ship, China trade, 

17 
Bell, Jacob, builder, N. Y., 

47, 136, 152, 164, 216, 852, 

354, 358, 360; see Brown 
Bell & Co., builders, Bal- 
timore, 136, 350 
Belle of the Sea, clipper 

ship, Australian trade, 

284 
Belle of the West, Cal. 

clipper ship, 299, 356 
Belted Will, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 320, 371 
Ben Nevis, Brit, clipper 

ship, Australian trade, 

266, 268 
Benefactor, clipper barque, 

China trade, 209 
Bengal, ship, 193 
Benjamin, Capt., Helena, 62 
Bennett, Capt., Oliver Ells- 
worth, 16 
Bergh, Christian, builder, 

N. Y., 17, 47, 48 
Berry, Capt., Courser, 350 
Bertram, Capt. John, Salem, 

141, 166-8 
Best days' run, 69, 70, 178, 

179, 207, 220, 221, 228, 

266, 278, 281, 295, 320, 

327, 330, 334, 336, 338 
Bishop, J., & Co., owners, 

N. Y., 358 
Black Ball Line, N, Y., 



L'pool packets, 38, 39-40, 

41,42; vessels, 38, 41, 52; 

flag, 42; match, 45; cap- 
tains, 39-40; discipline, 

44, 73 
Australian clippers, see 

James Baines & Co. 
Black Hawk, Cal. clipper 

ships (Webb), 291, 364; 

(Currier), 364 
Black Prince, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 322, 371; 

race, 325-6 

Cal. clipper ship, 360 

Black Warrior, Cal. clipper 

ship, 356 
Blenheim, Brit, merchant 

frigate, 36 
Blessing of the Bay, colo- 
nial barque, 1631, 2 
Blue Jacket, clipper ship, 

Australian trade, 270 ; 

later ship, 341 
Bombay, Brit. E. Indiaman, 

34 
Bonita, Cal. clipper ship, 

356 
Bordman, Wm. H., Amer. 

Nav. Club, 202 
Borland, Capt., Gauntlet, 

357 
Borrows & Spooner, owners, 

N. Y., 84 
Boston, packet ship, 52 
Boston Light, clipper ship, 

253, 300, 356 
Boston & Liverpool Packet 

Company, 61-2 
Bowditch, Nath., navigator, 

141 
Bowers, Capt., Black Hawk, 

364 
Boyd, Col. Geo., 1767, 53 
Boyd, P., & Co., owners, 

Boston, 359 
Brenda, packet ship, 52 
Brewster, Capt. Geo., 249, 

356 



380 



Index 



Brewster, Capt. Wm., 227 

Briganza, ship, eighteenth 
century, 16 

Briggs Brothers (E. & H. 
O.). builders. South Bos- 
ton, 50-1; Cal. dippers, 
152, 163, 233, 351-63 

Brighton, packet ship, 40 

Britannia, Black Ball 
packet ship, 38, 43, 47, 73 

Britton, Capt. John, Con- 
stitution, 43 

Brookline, ship, 52 

Brower, J, H., & Co., own- 
ers, N. Y., 295, 361, 
862 

Brown, Adam & Noah, 
builders, 17 

Charles, builder, N. Y., 

17 

David, of Brown & 

Bell, 47 

Vernon H., owner, 303 

• Bates & Delano, build- 



ers, E. Boston, 50 
■ & Bell, builders, N. Y., 



47-8, 53, 58, 63, 70, 72 
Brown, Capt., 359, 360 
Bryant & Sturgis, owners, 

Boston, 52 
Bucephalus, Brit, frigate, 36 
Buckinghamshire, Brit. E. 

Indiaman, 32, 34 
Bucklin & Crane, owners of 

first Cal. clipper ship, 

N. Y., 135, 159, 349, 350, 

363, 364 
Burgess, see Snow, owners, 

304 
Burgess, Capt., 349, 355 
Burgoyne, Capt., Titania, 

847 
Bursley, Capt. Ira, 43, 350, 

356 
Bush & Comstock, owners, 

Boston, 360, 362 
Bush & Wildes, owners, 

Boston, 362 



Cairngorm, Brit, clipper 
ship, China trade, 208 

Cairo, ship, Boston, 54 

Caledonia, ship, 47 

Calhoun, ship, 47 

California, Pacific Mail, 
S. S., 103 

Caliph, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 332, 372 

Callahan, Capt., Storm 
King, 359 

Cambria, N. Y., packet ship, 
40 

Cambridge, N. Y. packet 
ship, 41 

Cameron, R. W.'s Austra- 
lian line, 284, 304 

Canada, N. Y. packet ship, 
38, 47 

Cunard S. S., 221, 309 

Canfield, Capt., 351, 354 

Canning, Brit. E. Indiaman, 
32, 34 

Canvasback, Cal. clipper 
ship, 250, 360 

Capitol, ship, 193 

Carmelite, ship, 1807, 17-18 

Carnatio, Brit, ship, 36 

Carrier Dove, Cal. clipper 
ship, 253, 362 

Castle Eden, Brit, ship, 36 

Cathay, Kathay, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 232, 358 

Cave, Capt., Panama, 358 

Celestial, Cal. clipper ship, 
first to be launched, 135, 
136, 159, 349; records, 
145-6, 229, 300, 365 

Celestial Empire, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 353 

Challenge, Cal. clipper ship, 
152, 156, 164, 174, 222, 
337, 350; vicious crew, 77, 
181-9; in China trade, 
196-7, 206-7; records, 
181, 299, 301, 365 



Index 



381 



Challenger, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 206 ; race, 

206-7 
Cal. clipper ship, 271, 

356, 367 
Chamberlain & Co., owners, 

N. Y., 361 
Chamberlain & Heyser, own- 
ers, N. Y., 351, 355 
Chariot of Fame, med. 

clipper ship, Australian 

trade, 270 
Charles Carroll, packet 

ship, 41 
Charles Grant, Brit. E. In- 

diaman, 32 
Charles H. Marshall, N. Y., 

pilot boat, 305 
Charlestown, ship. South 

American trade, 161 
Charmer, Cal. clipper ship, 

253, 254, 362 

later ship, 341 

Chase, T., & Co., owners, 

Boston, 363 
Chase & Tappan, owners, 

Boston, 357 
Cheesborough, Capt. Eobt. 

B., 254, 363 
Chinaman, clipper ship, 

325-6, 346 
Chrysolite, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 199, 202, 

205, 206-7 
Chrystall, James, British 

owner, 35 
City of Glasgow, Inman 

Line, S. S., 314 
City of Pekin, Pacific S. S., 

86 
Clarke, Capt., Canvasbaek, 

360 
Cleopatra, Cal. clipper ship, 

216, 353; records, 253, 

299, 367 
Climax, Cal. clipper ship, 

298, 353 
Coggin, Capt., Panparo, 358 



Coleman, Wm. T., & Co., 
owners, N. Y., 106 

Collins, E. K., manager of 
Dramatic Line, 40, 43 

Capt. John, Shake- 
speare, 43 

Collins Line S. S., 250, 271, 
309, 312 

Collyer, Thos., & Mm., 
builders, N. Y., 49, 232, 
358 

Columbia, 1773, first Amer. 
ship to sail round globe, 
14, 51 

N. Y. packet ship, 38, 

40, 43; No. 2, 48 

Columbus, N. Y., packet 
ship, 41, 43, 45, 52 

Comet, Cal. clipper ship, 
152, 153, 159, 193, 337, 
343, 350; records, 213, 
224, 227, 297, 299, 365; 
China passage, 208; Aus- 
tralian trade, 283 

later ship, 340 

Commodore Perry, ship, 
Australian trade, 273 

Composite build, 321-2, 
371-2 

Condry, Dennis, owner of 
Delia Walker, 63-5 

Congress, ship, 47 

Connell & Co., builders, 
Glasgow, 324, 371, 372 

Conner, Capt., C arrier 
Dove, 362 

Constant Warwick, first 
frigate built, 5 

Constantine, packet ship, 
141 

Contest, Cal. clipper ship, 
216, 227, 344, 353; rec- 
ords, 224, 296, 297, 299, 
366; race with Northern 
Light, 227 

Brit, ship, 267 

Coolidge & Co., owners, 
Boston, 361 



382 



Index 



Cooper & Slicer, owners, 

Baltimore, 359 
Cope, Thos., Phila., owner 

of packet line, 40 
Copper fastened, 10, 30, 33, 

34, 61, 285; sheathed, 61, 

285, 320, 322 
Coquette, clipper barque, 

China trade, 64 
Corinthian, packet ship, 

40 
Cornelia, ship, 48 
Cornelius Grinnell, packet 

ship, 42, 56, 141, 236 
Cornwallis, ship, 193 
Cortes, N. Y. packet ship, 

40 
Courier, packet ship, 1816, 

38 
early clipper ship, 

1842, 54, 62, 162 
- Cal. clipper ship, 1855, 



298, 363, 367 
Courser, Boston packet 

ship, 52 
Cal. clipper ship, 299, 

350, 366 
Cox, J. W. builder, Rob- 

binston. Me., 233, 359 
Creesy, Capt. Josiah P., boy- 
hood, 153-5; Oneida, 155; 

Flying Cloud, 153, 211, 

248-9, 253-4, 297, 351; 

race, 214-15 ; " obituary," 

222-3; Mrs. Creesy, 306 
Creole, N. Orleans packet 

ship, 41 
Cressy, Brit, ship, 36 
Crest of the Wave, Brit. 

clipper ship, 208 
Crocker & Warren, owners, 

N. Y., 304, 356, 359 
Crosby, Capt., Kingfisher, 

358 
Crowell, Capt., Boston 

Light, 356 
Crowell & Brooks, owners, 

Boston, 360; see Howes 



Crowninshield, Jacob, 

owner, Salem, 13 
Cunningham, Capt., 354, 

363 
Bros., owners, Boston, 

364 

& Sons, 354 

Cunningham's rolling top- 
sails, 163 
Currier, John, Jr., builder, 

Newburyport, 52, 68, 232, 

357, 364 

& McKay, 53-4 

& Townsend, 52, 243, 

354 
Curtis, J. 0., builder, Med- 

ford, 52, 152, 216, 352, 

355, 357, 361, 363 
Paul, builder, Chelsea, 

136, 350; E. Boston, 216, 

350, 353, 354, 355, 359, 

362 
Curtis & Peabody, owners, 

Boston, 354, 356, 361 
Cutler, Capt. Benj. F., 

Mary Whitridge, 254 
Cutting, Capt. Robt. C, 

packet ship Adelaide, 44 
Cutting, Francis B., part 

owner of Dreadnought, 

N. Y., 244 
Cutty Sark, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 332, 336, 

346, 372 
Cyclone, Cal. clipper ship, 

300, 356 



Dale, Capt Fleetwood, 353 

Daniel Webster, packet 
ship, 56 

Daniels, Geo., owner, Bos- 
ton, 233, 303 

Daring, Cal, clipper ship, 
253, 362 

Dashing Wave, Cal. clipper 
ship, 356, 369 



Index 



383 



Dauntless, Cal. clipper ship, 

343, 363 
David Brown, Cal. clipper 

ship, 232, 356; records, 

248, 290, 296, 297, 298, 

367, 368 
David Crockett, Cal. clipper 

ship, 232, 356, 369-70 
David Malcolm, Brit, ship, 

36 
Dean, Capt. Stewart, sloop 

Enterprise, 1785, 6 
Deas, Capt., Ganges, 200-1 
Decline of American ship- 
ping, 290, 292-3, 314-17, 

341 
Defender, med. clipper ship, 

255-6, 300 
De Horsey, Capt. of H. M. 

S. Brisk, 251-2 
Delano, Capt., Ariel, 353 
Capt. Joseph, packets, 

43 
Warren, owner, Bos- 
ton, 70 ; Amer. Nav. Club, 

202 
Delia Walker, ship, 53, 54 
Dent & Co., owners, China, 

59 
Depaw, Francis, owner of 

Havre packet line, 41 
De Peyster, Capt. P. A., 

packets, 43, 45 
Derby, Elias H a s k e 1 1, 

Salem merchant, eigh- 
teenth century, 12-13 ; 

Jr., Capt., Atlantic, 12 
Devonshire, packet ship, 

48 
"Diadem," Brit, brig., Capt. 

Johnson's story, 157-9 
" Diving Bell," Lord of the 

Isles, 209 
Doane, Capt. Justin, 225, 

354, 360 
Donald McKay, clipper ship, 

Australian trade, 273, 

280, 346 



Don Quixote, packet ship, 
41 

Cal. clipper ship, 357; 

records, 253, 299, 367, 
368, 369 
Dorchester, Boston ship, 54 
Dorsetshire, Brit. E. India- 
man, 32 
Douglas, Mr., chief officer 

on Challenge, 182-3 
Dragon, Brit. E. Indiaman, 

23, 32 
Dramatic Line, 40, 42, 45 
Draper, 18th cent, ship, 16 
Dreadnought, 44, 235 243-7 
Duchesse d' Orleans, Havre 

packet ship, 41 
Duke of York, Brit. E. In- 
diaman, 32 
Dumaresq, Capt. Phillip, 
62, 71, 138, 175, 205, 233, 
289, 297, 350, 353, 359, 
363 

E 

Eagle, N. Y. packet ship, 38 
Cal. clipper ship, 297, 

299, 350, 367 
Eagle Wing, Cal. clipper 

ship, 357, 367 
Earl of Balcarras, largest 

ship of Brit. E. India Co., 

32, 33, 34 
Echo, early N. Y. ship, 16 
Eckford, Henry, builder, 

N. Y., 17, 47 
Eclipse, Cal. clipper ship, 
136, 175-6, 211, 349, 364 

later ship, 340 

Edward Everett, ship, 255 
Edwin Forrest, Cal. clipper 

ship, 357 
Elder, Randolph & Co., 

builders, 347 
Eldridge, Capt. Asa, 43, 

247, 271 
Capt. John, 43, 271 



384 



Index 



Eldridge, Capt. Oliver, 43, 

64, 70, 271 
Electric, Cal. clipper ship, 

299, 300, 360, 367 
Electric Spark, Cal. clipper 

ship, 299, 362, 368 
Eliza Shaw, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 322, 371 
Ellis, Capt., 241 
Emanuel, see Wells 
Emily C. Starr, barque, 345 
Empress of the Seas, Cal. 

clipper ship, 232-3, 357 
Englis, John, 149 
Enright, Capt. Anthony, 

Chrysolite, 199 
Erie, Havre packet ship, 41 
Erl King, Brit, auxiliary 

steamer, China trade, 331 
Espirito Santo, 78-9 
Esterbrook, Capt., Winged 

Racer, 355 
Esther May, clipper ship, 

369 
Ethiopian, Brit, ship in 

Australian trade, 333 
Eureka, Cal. clipper ship, 

351 
Euterpe, Cal. clipper ship, 

289, 363 

F 

Fairbank & Wheeler, own- 
ers, Boston, 56 
Fairlight, Brit, ship, 333 
Falcon, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 319-20, 324, 
347, 375 
Farran, Capt., Eagle, 350 
Fast days' runs, 179, 180, 
195, 214, 219-20, 245-6, 
271, 277, 281, 334 
Fast passages : Atlantic, 46, 
221, 247, 254, 277-8 
Australian, 266, 268, 281- 
2, 284, 336, 338 



California, 213, 218, 225, 
227-8; (eastward), 233, 
293, 296, 365-9 
China, 199, 207, 208, 209, 
329, 335 

Fastest ships: packet, 
Yorkshire, 46 ; clipper, 
Rainbow, 67; Sea Witch, 
192; Gt. Republic, 243; 
Lightning, 278 

Fearless, Cal. clipper ship, 
271, 357 

Federal Eagle, brig, 15 

Fennell, Capt., Flying Mist, 
363 

Fernald & Pettigrew, build- 
ers, Portsmouth, N. H., 
52, 152, 216, 352, 355, 
356, 361, 363 

Fessenden, C. B., owner, 
Boston, 360 

Fidelia, N. Y. packet ship, 
41, 48 

Fiery Cross, Brit, clipper 
ship, tea trade, 320, 335, 
371; race, 325-30 

Fiery Star-Comet, 343 

Flavio, ship, 52 

Fleetwing, yacht, 159 

Cal. clipper ship, 250, 

260 

Fleetwood, Cal. clipper ship, 
353 

Fletcher, Capt., Maury, 
209; Oriental, No. 2, 358 

Florence, Cal. clipper ship, 
289, 363 

Floyd, John, builder, N. Y., 
17 

Fly Away, clipper ship, 232, 
297, 368 

Flying Childers, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 216, 236, 354 

Flying Cloud, Cal. clipper 
ship, 152, 153, 155, 174, 
205, 217, 237, 254, 337, 
342, 351; N. Y. to S. F. 



Index 



385 



Flying Cloud — Continued 
in 89 days, 144, 17R-8J, 
248, 296, 29Tr^300, 365, 
367; log, 179-80, 248; 
other California passages, 
214-15, 224, 253, 298-9, 
366, 367; other passages, 
195, 208, 222; story of 
race with Ganges, 200-2 

Brit, clipper ship, tea 

trade, 208 

Cal. clipper ship, 357; 

records, 295, 296, 297, 
299, 368 

Flying Dutchman, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 216, 344, 354, 
375; records, S. F., 297, 
299, 366, 368; Australia, 
284 

Flying Fish, Cal. clipper 
ship, 152, 155-6, 173, 
193, 205, 237, 302, 337, 
342, 345, 351; race with 
Sword Fish, 212-13; 
other Cal. passages, 224- 
6, 253, 295-9, 366-8 

Flying Mist, Cal. clipper 
ship, 289, 363 

Flying Scud, clipper ship, 
284 

Flying Spur, Brit, clipper 
ship, tea trade, 325, 326 

Food on board ship, 29, 78, 
90, 107-8, 188, 231-2, 262 

Forbes, Capt. James, Nicoll, 
Marco Polo, 266; Light- 
ning, 275-6; Schomberg, 
284 

Forrest, Capt., Rattler, 361 

Forward Ho, Brit, clipper 
ship, tea trade, 332, 336, 
346, 371 

Foster, W. H., & Co., own- 
ers, Boston, 359 

& Nickerson, owners, 

Boston, 358, 363 

Francis, brig, 84 

Francis Depaw, ship, 47 



Fraser, Capt. Geo., Sea 

Witch, 69, 145, 189, 192, 

341 
Freeman, Capt., Undaunted, 

359 
Friend, Capt., S ancho 

Panza, 361 
Funch & Meincke, owners, 

N. Y. and Baltimore, 136, 

350 

G 

Galatea, clipper ship, 299 
Game Cock, Cal. clipper 
ship, 135, 173, 205, 271, 
302, 337, 342, 349; rec- 
ords, 195, 299 
Ganges, Brit, ship, 200-1 
Gardner, Capt. E. C, Celes- 
tial, 159, 349; Comet, 
159, 224, 350; Intrepid, 
363 
Gates, Capt., 360, 364 
Gauntlet, 267 
George Canning, ship, 47 
George Peabody, ship, 255 
Gerry, Capt., Noonday, 

363 
Gibb & Livingston, 325 
Gilman & Co., 325 
Gipsey, brig, 1804, 17 
Girard, Stephen, capt. and 

owner, 15 
Glidden & Williams, Bos- 
ton, owners of line of S. 
Francisco clippers, 136, 
141, 172, 349-61 
Globe, Brit, merchant ship, 

36 
Gloriana, Brit, ship, 36 
Glory of the Seas, med. 

clipper ship, 258, 369 
Goddard, N. S., owner, Bos- 
ton, 358 
Goddard & Co., owners of 
Race Horse, Boston, 135, 
349 



386 



Index 



Golden Age, clipper barque, 

366 
Golden City, Cal. clipper 

ship, 216, 354; records, 

297, 299, 300, 367 
Golden Eagle, Cal. clipper 

ship, 354; records, 297, 

299, 300, 367 
Golden Fleece, Cal. clipper 

ship, 362 
Golden Gate, Cal. clipper 

ship, 351; records, 297, 

298, 299, 366 

Golden Light, Cal. clipper 
ship, 233, 343-4, 354 

Golden State, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 354 

Golden West, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 354 

Goodhue & Co., N. Y., own- 
ers of Mandarin, 135, 349 

Goodwin, Gov. of N. H., 
165 

Gordon, Capt. Geo., Mem- 
non, 145 

Gore, Capt., North Wind, 
358 

Governor Morton, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 136, 349; rec- 
ords, 253, 299, 300, 368 

Grace Darling, Cal. clipper 
ship, 250, 360 

Crrand Turk, Salem ship, 12 

Gray, Capt. Robt., 1788, 14 

Wm., Salem merchant, 

13 

Great Britain, packet ship, 
47, 71-2, 138 

Great Republic, clipper ship, 
largest extreme clipper 
ship ever built, 235-43, 
337, 345, 357; launch, 
236-8; masts and spars, 
238-40, 242-3; burnt, 
240-2; rebuilt, 242-3; rec- 
ords, 293, 296, 297, 298, 

299, 300; log, 294; esti- 
mated speed, 343, 294-5 



Great Western, packet ship, 
41 

Greenfield, barque, 368; 
brought first cargo of 
wheat from California, 
254 

Greenman & Co., builders. 
Mystic, Conn., 232 

Gregory, Capt. Michael, 
250, 361 

GrifFeths, John W., 65-66 

Grinnell, Minturn & Co., 
N. Y., owners, packet 
lines, 40, 42; Cal. clip- 
pers, 136, 153, 211, 233, 
350, 351, 355, 358, 359; 
flags, 42, 303 

Griswold, John, N. Y.,- 
London packet line, 40, 42 

N. L. & G., owners, 

N. Y., 60, 62, 64, 68, 156, 
189, 303, 350, 358 
•Capt., Toronto, 162 



Guest, Brit. E. Indiaman, 

1611, 23 
Guiding Star, Cal. clipper 

ship, 232, 357 
Brit, clipper ship, 267, 

268, 269, 272 
Guinevere, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, Nos. 1 

and 2, 347 

H 

Hackett, Wm. & John, 

builders, Salisbury, Mass; 

U. S. frigate Alliance, 

1778, 6 
Hale, Capt., Guiding Star, 

357 
Hall, Alexander, & Co., 58, 

59, 198, 199, 208, 284, 

322, 324, 371-2 
Hall, Samuel, builder. East 

Boston, 50, 137, 205, 250; 

clipper schooner, 58; 

China clippers, 62, 64; 



Index 



387 



Hill, Samuel — Continued 
Cal. clippers, 135, 198, 
216, 225, 232, 349-58 

Jr., 289, 363 

Hallet, Capt., Radiant, 355 

& Co., owners, Boston, 

356 

Hamilton, Capt., Eclipse, 
175-6, 349 

Handy & Everett, owners, 
N. Y., 136, 349 

Hanscom, Saml., Ports- 
mouth, N. H., builder of 
Nightingale, 164^5 

Harvest Queen, packet ship, 
41 

■ barque, 291 

Harvey Birch, Cal. clipper 
ship, 250, 344, 361 

Haskell, Capt., Norseman, 
364 

Hastings, Henry, owner, 
Boston, 361, 363 

Hatch, Capt., Northern 
Light, 228, 351; Mid- 
night, 361 

Hathorne, Wm., of Ha- 
thorne & Steers, builders, 
N. Y., 49 

Hayden & Cudworth, build- 
ers, Medford, 52, 354, 361 

Hayes, Capt., lost on Rain- 
bow, 68 

Hays, Capt. Gilbert, of 
Beauregard, 141 

Hazard, Cal. clipper ship, 
298 

Heard, Augustine, & Co., 
owners, Boston, 303, 351 

Hebe, French frigate, model 
for British, 5 

Hector, Brit. E. Indiamen, 
in first fleet, 23, 24 

Helen Mar, packet ship, 41 

Helen Morris, clipper ship, 
258 

Helena, early clipper ship, 
62 



Helicon, barque, 56 
Helvetia, Girard ship, 

China trade, 16 
Henderson, Capt., Gazelle, 

351 
Henning, Capt., Brit, ship 

Alfred, 37 
Henrietta, yacht, 159 
Henry, Capt., Raven, 189- 

92, 352; Skylark, 359 
Henry Allen, ship, 193 
Henry Clay, packet ship, 43, 

48, 141; admired at 

L'pool, 89 
Henry Hill, clipper barque, 

.(25o 
Herald of the Morning, 

med. clipper ship, 253, 

271, 363; records, 253, 

296, 297, 299, 300, 367, 

368 > , , 

Hercules, early ship, 16 

packet ship, 40 

Herefordshire, Brit. E. In- 

diaman, 32, 345 
Hersilia, brig, sealing voy- 
ages, 77-80 
Hibemia, packet ship, 43, 

47, 84, 160 
Brit, clipper ship, 

Australian trade, 266 
Highflyer, N. Y. packet 

ship, 244 
Cal. clipper ship, 344, 

354 
Hill, Capt., Challenge, 

356 
Hollis, Capt., Game Cock, 

349 
Holt, Alfred, L'pool, builder 

of iron screw steamers, 

332 
Hood, Jas. M., builder, 

Somerset, Mass., 136, 

349 
& Co., builders, Somer- 
set, Mass., 152, 356, 

359 



388 



Index 



Hood, Walter & Co., build- 
ers, Aberdeen, Abergeldie, 

205-6; Thermopylw, 333, 

372 
Hooper, J., owner, Balti- 
more, 357 

Witch of the Wave, 169 
Hope, ship, 15 
Horatio, ship in China 

trade, 141, 162 
Hornet, Cal. clipper ship, 

152, 351; records, 224, 

298, 299, 300, 366 
Hotspur, Brit, merchant 

frigate, 36 

Cal. clipper ship, 364 

Hottinger, N. Y. packet 

ship, 41, 43 
Houqua, clipper ship in 

China trade, 63, 70, 77, 

84, 85, 162, 341 
Howes, Capt. Frederic, 236, 

353, 357, 359, 360, 362 
Howes & Crowell, owners, 

Boston, 353, 359 
Howland, Capt. Williams, 

141-2, 162, 350 
Hubbard, Capt., Flying 

Dutchman, 354 
Huckins, Jas., Boston, 

owner of Northern Light, 

163-4 
& Co., owners, Boston, 

351, 354, 356 
Hudson, N. Y., packet ship, 

40, 44 
Hunnewell, Jas., owner, 

Boston, 354, 355 
Hunt & Wagner, builders, 

Baltimore, 357, 363 
Huntress, ship, 52 
Huntsville, N. Y.,-N. Or- 
leans packet ship, 41, 43, 

84 
Hurricane, Cal. clipper ship, 

152, 163, 193, 337, 351; 

records, 208, 218, 248, 

296, 299, 367 



Hussey, Capt., Westward 

Ho, 355 
Hyderabad, Brit, ship, 36 



Inconium, ship, 193 

Independence, New York- 
L'pool packet ship, 41, 43, 
45, 47, 48; carried Presi- 
dent's message, 45 

Innes, Capt., Serica, 326 

Ino, Cal. clipper ship, 152, 
153, 351; in U. S. Navy, 
253 

Intrepid, Cal. clipper ship, 
289, 300, 363 

Invincible, Cal. clipper ship, 
152, 156-7, 159, 301, 351, 
366; in Australian trade, 
283 

Irons & Grinnell, builders, 
Mystic, Conn, 295 

Isaac Wright, N. Y. packet 
ship, 41, U, 45 

Isaac Webb, N. Y. packet 
ship, 41, 48 

Isaac Wright, N. Y. packet 
ship, 41, 48 

Ismay, Imrie & Co., L'pool, 
White Star Australian 
Line, 268 

Istamboul, Brit, auxil. ves- 
sel, 287 

Ivanhoe, packet ship, 48 



Jackman, Geo. W., builder, 
Newburyport, 52, 360-3 

R. E., builder, East 

Boston, 136, 216, 270, 349, 
355, 356 
• & Ewell, builders, E. 



Boston, 358, 359 
Jacob Bell, Cal. clipper 

ship, 216, 298, 344, 354 
N. Y. pilot boat, 305 



Index 



389 



James Baines, .clipper ship, 
for Australian service, 
273, 279-80, 281, 288, 334, 
337, 346; carried troops 
to India, 281-2 

James Cropper, N. Y. 
packet ship, 38, 43 

Jo/mes Monroe, N. Y. packet 
ship, 38 

Jamestown, N. Y. packet 
ship, 43 

Japan, ship in Australian 
trade, 273 

Jardine, Matheson & Co., 
China merchants, 59, 197, 
208, 325 

Jenny Lind, ship, Boston, 
66, 217 

John Bertram, Cal. clipper 
ship, 136, 141, 173, 349; 
records, 299, 300, 366 

John E. Thayer, ship, Bos- 
ton, 255 

John Gilpin, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 344, 354; rec- 
ords, 224, 296, 297, 299, 
366; race, 224-6 

John Jay, ship, N. Y., 47 

John Land, Cal. clipper 
ship, 233, 357, 368, 369 

John Quincy Adams, ship, 
Boston, 156 

John R. Skiddy, N. Y. 
packet ship, 54 

John Wade, Cal. clipper 
ship, 299, 351 

Johnson, Capt. H. W., In- 
vincible, 157, 159, 351; 
story of Diadem, 157-9 

Capt., Kate Hooper, 

Baltimore, 357 

Napier & Co., 303 

Johnston, Capt. John, N. Y. 
packets, 44, 45 

Jones, Quiggin & Co., 
L'pool, owners of Sea- 
forth, 322 

Jordan, John, L'pool, in- 



ventor of composite con- 
struction, 322 
Joseph Walker, ship, 242 
Joshua Bates, Boston- 

L'pool packet ship, 55 
Judge Shaw, ship, 293 

K 

Kaisow, Brit, clipper ship, 
^ tea trade, 332, 372 
Kate Carine, Brit, ship, 

267 
Kate Hooper, Cal. clipper 

ship, Baltim re, 357 
Kathay, Catha ', Cal. clip- 
per ship, 232, 358 
Keay, Capt., tea clipper 

Ariel, 326 
Kellie Castle, Brit. E. In- 

diaman, 32 
Kemball, Capt. John, 1788, 

14 
Kennard & Williamson, Bal- 
timore, builders of Ann 

McKim, 60 
Kermit, Robert, N. Y.- 

L'pool packet line, 42, 46 
Kerwin, Capt., Golden West, 

354 
Khersonese, Brit, auxiliary 

steamer, 287 
Kilham, Capt., Jacob Bell, 

354 
Killick, Capt., Challenger, 

206 
King, Capt., Race Horse, 

349 
Kingfisher, Cal. clipper 

ship, 358 
Klein, Capt., Spirit of the 

Times, 359 
Knight, Capt., Queen of the 

Seas, 355; Morning Light, 

358 
Knowles, Capt., Wild Wave, 

360 



390 



Index 



L. Z., N. Y. ship, 56 

Lady Melville, Brit. E. In- 
diaman, 32 

Lahloo, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 332, 372 ; races, 
332-3, 336 

Laing & Co., builders, Sun- 
derland, Eng., 371 

Lamb, Edward, & Co., Bos- 
ton, owners, 56 

Lanark, Brit, clipper brig, 
opium trade, 59 

Lancaster, packet ship, 40 

Land, Capt. John, 67, 187 

Landholm, Capt., John Bert- 
ram, 141, 349 

Landor, W. S., yacht 
America, 310 

Lane, Capt. Geo., Stveep- 
stakes, 233, 359; Pacific 
Mail S. S. Co., 233 

Lang, Capt., Sea Witch, 341 

Lapham, Saml., builder, 
Medford, 52 , 

Laurence & Folkes, build- 
ers, N. Y., 49 

Lawrie & Co., builders, 
Glasgow, 372 

Leander, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 332, 372; rec- 
ords, 333-6 

Leonore, packet ship, 54 

Li6erios, ship, 282 

Liberator, Greek frigate 
built in N. Y., 47 

Light Brigade-Ocean Tele- 
graph, 346 

Light Horse, barque, Salem, 
1784, 12 

Lightfoot, Cal. clipper ship, 
358 

Lightning, clipper ship for 
Australian trade, 273, 
274-5, 285, 337, 346; pas- 
sages, 275-8, 281-8; log. 



227-8; carrying troops to 
India, 282-3 
later ship, 341 



Limeburner, Capt., Great 
Republic, 243, 293, 357 

Lincoln, Wm., & Co., Bos- 
ton, owners, 354, 358 

Lincolnshire, Brit, ship in 
Australian trade, 285 

Linnell, Capt., Eagle Wing, 
357 

Lintin, ship. Forbes's rig, 
236 

Live Yankee, Cal. clipper 
ship, 299, 300, 358 

Liverpool, packet ship, N. 
Y., 42, 43, 48 

packet ship, Boston, 52 

Lockwood, Capt., White 
Squall, 142, 350 

Lodge, John E., Boston, 
owner, 357, 359, 361 

Logs: Flying Cloud, 178- 
81, 211; Raven et al., 
192; Sov. of Seas, 219- 
20 ; Flying Fish and John 
Gilpin, 226 ; Dreadnought, 
245-6; Romance of Seas, 
249; Lightning, 277; 
James Baines, 281-2 ; 
Sweepstakes, 290 ; Great 
Republic, 294; tea clip- 
pers, 329-30; Thermo- 
pylse, 334 

Look Out, clipper ship, 369 

Lord Amherst, Brit, 
schooner, opium trade, 
58 

Lord Lyndhurst, ship, 293 

Lord of the Isles, Brit, clip- 
per ship (iron), tea trade, 
208-10, 267, 288, 320, 346, 
376; second of the name, 
346 

Lothair, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 332, 372 

Louis Philippe, Havre 
packet ship, 41 



Index 



391 



Low, Capt. Chas. P., 145, 

162, 214-15, 343, 352; 

Mrs. Low, 306 
A. A., & Brother, 

owners, N. Y., 63, 64, 70, 

85, 87, 135, 162, 209, 227, 

242, 303 
Lowell, Boston packet ship, 

52 
Lowther Castle, Brit. E. In- 

diaman, 32, 34 
Lucas, Capt. Frederic, 254, 

341, 362 
Lucilla, ship, 52 



M 



McCumm, Jas., Greenock, 
owner of Sir Launcelot, 
335 

McDonnell, Capt. Chas., 
Marco Polo, 267-8 

Mclntyre, L. H., & Co., 
builders, Liverpool, 322 

McKay, Donald, Highland 
chieftain, 53 

McKay, Donald, clipper 
ship builder, 42, 53, 205, 
225, 258-9, 276, 297; 
boyhood, 53, 258; New 
York, 53 ; Newburyport, 
53-5; East Boston, 56, 
62; packet ships, 62, 270; 
California clippers, 136, 
142, 152, 153, 212, 216, 
232, 233, 250; Sovereign 
of the Seas, 221; Great 
Republic, 235, 243; me- 
dium clippers, 255, 258, 
290-1; tribute to Abbott 
Lawrence, 256-7; Aus- 
tralian clippers, 273-83 ; 
Civil War, 258; last 
years, 258; Mrs. McKay, 
221-2; Currier & Mc- 



Kay, 53-4; McKay, & 
Pickett, 54 

— Hugh, builder, Boston, 
217 



Capt. Lauchlan, 217- 

275; Sov. of the Seas, 
217-19, 269, 355; Great 
Republic, 238, 241 

McKensie, Capt., Houqua, 
63, 145, 341 

McKim, Isaac, Baltimore, 
owner of Ann McKim, 
60, 61 

McKinnon, Capt., Taeping, 
326 

Madagascar, Brit, ship, 
Australian line, 263-4 

Magoun, Thacher, builder, 
Medford, 51-2 

' Medford, builder of 

Cal. clippers, 362-3 

Malay, clipper ship, 299 

Mallory, Chas., builder. 
Mystic, Conn., 358, 364 

Mandarin, Cal. clipper ship, 
135, 136, 145-6, 301, 
349; passages: S. Fran- 
cisco, 146, 299; Canton, 
208; Melbourne, 284, 288 

Manhattan ship, 1796, 
China trade, 16-17 

N. Y. packet ship. Red 

Star Line, 40 

N. Y. packet ship. 

Black Ball Line, 41 

Manning & Stanwood, own- 
ers, Boston, 359 

Manson, Capt., 357, 362 

Marco Polo, Brit, clipper 
ship, Australian service, 
265-6, 267-8, 275, 284, 
346 

Margaret Evans, packet 
ship, 89 

Margaret Forbes, ship, Bos- 
ton, 52 

Maria Somes, Brit, ship, 36 

Marion, Brit, ship, 36 



392 



Index 



Marion Maclntyre, Brit, 
barque, composite build, 
322 

Mariborough, Brit, mer- 
chant frigate, 36 

Marquis of Camden, Brit. 
E. Indiaman, 32 

Marquis of Wellington, 
Brit. E. Indiaman, 32 

Marsden, Capt., Melbourne, 
338 

Marshall, Benj., part owner. 
Black Ball Line, N. Y.- 
(L'pool, 38 

Capt. Chas. H., owner, 

Black Ball Line, 41, 43, 
73, 303 

Mary and John, ship of 
Popham colonists, 1607, 1 

Mary Broughton, barque, 
53 

Mary Fish, N. Y. pilot boat, 
305 

Mary Howland, ship, N. Y., 
47 

Mary L. Sutton, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 289, 364; rec- 
ords, 299, 300, 368, 369 

Mary Taylor, N. Y. pilot 
boat, 305 

Mary Whitridge, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 86, 253, 254 

Mason, John W., carver, 
Boston, 166 

Mastiff, med. clipper ship, 
258 

Masting of Rainbow, 66-7 

Matchless, clipper ship, 
Boston, 367 

Materials of merchant 
ships, 3, 10, 30, 50, 210, 
285, 287-8, 301, 313-15, 
316, 322, 340 

Mather, Capt. Saml., Night- 
ingale, 207 

Matheson, Sir James, owner 
of Stornoway, 198; see 
Jardine 



Matthews, Capt, Cal. clip- 
pers, 359, 361, 363 

Maury, Lieut. M. F., U. S. 
N., life, 146-50; Wind 
and Current Charts, 147- 
8, 205, 226; "Maury's 
log," 148; Sailing Direc- 
tions, 147-49; Physical 
Geography of the Sea, 
148 ; Australian routes, 
261; opinion of Gt. Re- 
public, 294 

Maury, clipper barque, tea 
trade, 209 

Maxon & Fish, builders. 
Mystic, Conn., 369 

Maxton, Capt., Lord of the 
Isles, 209, 320 

Mayhew, Capt. P. N., 
Dreadnought, 247 

Medway, ship, London-Mel- 
bourne line, 263-5 

Memnon, clipper ship, 
China trade, 70, 202; 
California passages, 145- 
6, 180 

Merchants' Hope, Brit. E. 
Indiaman, 232 

Merchants' Magazine, 
Hunt's, 148 

Mercury, packet ship, 41 

Mermaid, clipper ship, 299 

Messenger, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 354 

Metcalf & Co., builders, 
Damariscotta, Me., 352 

Meteor, packet ship, 40 

Cal. clipper ship, 354; 

records, 253, 366, 368 

Middleton, Sir Henry, com- 
mander of Trades In- 
crease, 1609, 23 

Midnight, Cal. clipper ship, 
361 

Miller, Capt., Dauntless, 
353 

Millett, Capt. I. H., Witch 
of the Wave, 172, 206, 353 



Index 



393 



Mm, Brit, clipper ship, tea 
trade, 320, 371 

Minerva, ship, 15 

'Brit. E. Indiaman, 32, 

34 

Minna, clipper schooner, 
opium trade, 59 

Minnehaha, med. clipper 
ship, 258 

Minol & Hooper, owners, 
Boston, 68 

Minturn, Robt., 109 

Miroslav-Young America, 
234 

Monarch, Brit, ship, 36 

•Aberdeen clipper, 58 

Monsoon, Cal. clipper ship, 
152, 851 

Montana, packet ship, 41 

Montauk, clipper ship, 
China trade, 63-4 

Montesquieu, Girard ship, 
China trade, 16 

Montezuma, N. Y. packet 
ship, 41, 46, 48, 89 

Morgan, Capt. E. E., packet 
shij^s, 44 

Morning Light, Cal. clipper 
ship, 358 

Morning Star, Cal. clipper 
ship, 233, 346 

Morris, Capt., R. B. Forbes, 
139-40 

Moses Wheeler, ship, Bos- 
ton, 56 

Mumford, Capt. O. R., Tor- 
nado, 211-12, 352 

Murphy, Capt., Black War- 
rior, 356 

Murray, Alexander, 11 

Myers, Capt., Flora Temple, 
357 

Myrick, Capt., Seaman, 350 

Mystery, Cal. clipper ship, 
232, 358 

Mystic, Conn., 160; ship- 
building, 105, 295, 360, 
364 



N 

N. B. Palmer, Cal. clipper' 
ship, 87, 152, 162, 174, 
301, 306, 343, 352; rec- 
ords, 178, 208, 300, 365; 
race with Flying Cloud, 
214-15 

Nabob, Cal. clipper ship, 
250, 361 

Napier, Johnson & Co., N. 
Y., owners of Sunny 
South, 250, 303 

Napoleon, N. Y. packet 
ship, 40 

Nashville, New Orleans 
packet ship, 41 

Natchez, N. Orleans packet 
ship, 41, 68; in China 
trade, 74-5, 135, 208 

Nelson, Capt., Harvey 
Birch, 361 

Neptune's Car, Cal. clipper 
ship, 306-7, 337, 343, 
358; records, 253, 297, 
299 

Nestor, packet ship, 38 

New World, packet ship, 42, 
43, 56, 89, 142, 216 

New York, packet ship, 38, 
41 

Newburyport, 167; ship- 
builders, 18, 52; see Cur- 
rier, Jackson, McKay; 
shipbuilding, 7, 49, 68, 
105, 243 

Newlands, Capt. Alexander, 
Lightning, 279 

Niagara, first ship built at 
E. Boston, 50 

Niantic, Brit, ship, 176-7 

Nicholas, Jonathan, im- 
promptu lines, 170 

Nickels, Capt. Edward, 
Flying Fish, 156, 213, 
225, 297, 345, 351 



394 



Index 



Commander John A. 

H., U. S. N., 156 

Nightingale, Cal. clipper 
ship, 164-5, 196, 302, 
337, 343, 375; China pas- 
sage, 206-7 ; Australian 
passage, 284 

Nonpareil, Cal. clipper ship, 
250, 361 

Noonday, Cal. clipper ship, 
363 

Norfolk, Brit, ship, Austra- 
lian trade, 285 

Norma, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 208 

Norseman, Cal. clipper ship, 
289, 364 

North America, ship, 1804, 
17 

— — • clipper ship, 299 

North Beach, S. Francisco, 
175 

North Wind, Cal. clipper 
ship, 284, 288, 358, 368 

Northern Light, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 152, 153, 163. 
164, 173, 193, 302, 337; 
351; records, 227-8, 298, 
366 ; quickest eastward 
passage from S. Fran- 
cisco, 227-8 

later ship, 340 

Northerner, Pacific Mail S. 
S., 75, 189 

Northfleet, Kent, shipbuild- 
ing, 32 

Nor'wester, Cal. clipper 
ship, 361 

Nott, Capt., Don Quixote, 
357 

Noyes, Charlotte, Mrs. D. 
S. Babcock, 161, 306 

Joseph Stonington, 161 

Nutsfield, Capt., Taitsing, 
326 

Nye, Capt. Ezra, packet 
ships Independence, 45 ; 
Henry Clay, 89 



Nye, Parkin & Co., China 
merchants, 70 



Oherlin, packet ship, 52 

Ocean Chief, clipper ship, 
271 

Ocean Express, Cal. clipper 
ship, 253, 299, 363 

Ocean Monarch, packet 
ship (McKay), 56 

packet ship (Webb) , 

164 

Ocean Pearl, clipper ship, 
299 

Ocean Queen, packet ship, 
48 

Ocean Telegraph, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 250, 271, 346, 
361; records, 218, 299, 
300, 369 

Odd Fellow, barque, 217 

Ogden, David, N. Y., owner 
Red Cross packets, 244, 
304 

Oliver Ellesworth, ship, N. 
Y., 16 

Oliver, Francis, E. Boston 
Timber Co., 49 

Olympus, ship, 343 

Oneida, packet ship, 41 

ship, China trade, 155, 

222 

Orbit, packet ship, 1821, 38, 
47 

Oriental, clipper ship, 1849, 
China trade, 77, 84, 85, 
96-8, 142, 202, 375; car- 
rying tea to London, 97- 
8, 196; California pas- 
sage, 224, 366 

Cal. clipper ship, 1853, 

232, 358 
■ later ship, 340 



Osgood, Capt. W. H., Trade 
Wind, 164, 352; Cyclone, 
356 



Index 



395 



Oxford, packet ship, 41 
Oxnard, Henry, owner, Bos- 
ton, 52 



Pacific, packet ship, 1816, 

38 

• .ship, 47 

Collins Line S. S., 271, 

309 
Pacific Mail S. S. company, 

62, 75, 84, 103, 189, 233, 

313; first S. S. to reach 

S. Francisco, 1849, 103; 

first to reach China, 1862, 

319 
Paige, James, E. Boston 

Timber Co., 49 
Pallas, barque, Boston, 15 
Palmer, Capt. Alexander, 

43, 86, 162 
Capt. N. B., 43, 63, 70, 

77-86 (life), 96, 160-2, 

242 ; mate of Hersilia, 77- 

80; discovered Antarctic 

continent, 81-3 

N. B., 2d, 86 

Capt. Theodore, 97, 

162 
Palmer, schooner yacht, 87 
Pamparo, Cal. clipper ship, 

358, 367 
Panama, clipper ship 

(Webb), 1844, China 

trade, 64, 208 
Cal. clipper ship 

(Collyer, 1853) , 232, 284, 

299, 358 
Panther, N. Y. packet ship, 

40 
Parker, D. P., Boston, owner 

of Lucille, 52 
Paterson, Capt., Phantom,, 

355 
Patriarch, Brit, ship, Aus- 
tralian trade, 333 



Patrick Henry, packet ship, 
41, 43, 46 

Patten, Capt. Joshua A., 
Neptune's Car, 306-7; 
Mrs. Mary Patten, 306-7 

Paul, Capt. Josiah, Great 
Republic, 295 

Paul Albert-Lord of the 
Isles, 346 

Paul Jones, clipper ship, 
62-3, 77, 84 

Peabody, Alfred, owner, 
Salem, 166 

Joseph, owner, Salem, 

13, 119 

P^ffffVi Salem ship, brought 
first cargo of cotton to 
Massachusetts, 13 

Pierce, Henry A., Boston, 
owner, 354, 355 

Penguin, clipper barque, 
China trade, 209 

Penhallow, Capt., Sierra 
Nevada, 361 

Pennsylvania, N. Y. packet 
ship, 41 

Perrin, Patterson & Stock, 
builders, Williamsburg, 
N. Y., 49, 152, 351 

Perry, Capt., Ann McKim, 
61 

Perseverance. Brit. E. In- 
diaman, 32 

Phantom, Cal. clipper ship, 
216, 337, 345, 355; rec- 
ords, 224, 290, 297, 299, 
366, 368 

Phillips, J. W., N. Y., 
owner of Invincible, 156 

Pierce, Capt., Celestial Em- 
pire, 353 

Pike, Capt., Meteor, 354 

Pile, John, builder, Sunder- 
land, Eng., 208 

Wm., builder, Sunder- 
land, 320 

Pile & Cole, builders, Sun- 
derland, 371 



396 



Index 



Pilkington & Wilson, Liver- 
pool, owners, 272 

Pitcher shipyard. North- 
fleet, Kent, 33 

Piatt, W., & Son., Phila., 
owners, 136, 164, 350, 
352 

Plymouth, packet ship, 52 

Plymouth Rock, ship, Bos- 
ton, 56 

Plympton, H. P., Boston, 
part owner of Defender, 
255 

Polynesia, Cal. clipper ship, 
216, 355, 367 

Pook, Saml., naval archi- 
tect, 270-1 

Potter, Capt. Geo., Archi- 
tect, 70 

Capt., Matchless, 358 

President, 44-gun frigate, 
16 

packet ship, 40 

Prince Regent, Brit. E. In- 
diaman, 32 

Prince of Wales, " Black- 
wall frigate," 36 

Princess Amelia, Brit. E. 
Indiaman, 32 

Princess Royal, Brit, ship, 
36 

Protection, 92, 94, 95, 316- 
17 

Putnam, Capt., Cal. clip- 
pers, 353, 355, 357 

Q 

Queen of Clippers, Cal. 

clipper ship, 359 
Queen of the East, Cal. 

clipper ship, 352 
Queen Mab, packet ship, 41 
Queen of the Seas, Cal. 

clipper ship, 216, 355 



Queen of the South, Brit. 

iron screw steamer, 286 
Queen of the West, packet 

ship, 41, 43, 48 

B 

jB. B. Forbes, ship, 236, 255 

wrecking steamer, 138- 

40, 167-72, 238, 240, 279 

Race Horse, Cal. clipper 
barque, 135, 145, 198, 
349; records, 146, 365 

Races: packet, 45; yachts, 
64, 159, 310-11; Califor- 
nia clippers, 145-6, 189- 
92, 212-13, 214-15, 225- 
6, 227-8; tea clippers, 
200-2, 206-7, 209, 324- 
30, 332-3, 335-6; to In- 
dia, 282-3 

Racing: packet ship, 45; 
yacht, 226, 339; Cal. clip- 
pers, 145, 192-3, 195, 
224, 226, 228, 249; sail 
and steam, 311—12 

Radiant, Cal. clipper ship, 
216, 355 

Rainbow, Brit, frigate, 
1782, 5 

first extreme clipper 

ship, 62, 65-7, 68, 314 

later ship, 340 

Ranlett, Capt. Chas., 208 

^^Jr., 208, 341 

Rapid, schooner, Aberdeen 
clipper, 58 

Rattler, Cal. clipper ship, 
250, 361 

Raven, Cal. clipper ship, 
152, 173, 352; race, 189- 
92; log, 192; records, 218, 
299, 300, 365 

Raynes, Geo., builder, Ports- 
mouth, N. H., 52-3, 59, 
136, 141, 152, 168, 250, 
350, 353 



Index 



397 



Rebekah, clipper barque, 
366 

Record days' runs, 179, 278; 
see Best days' runs 

Record passages: 

transatlantic, 221, 247, 
309 (steamer) ; Califor- 
nia, westward, 144, 145- 
6, 175, 178, 295, 296- 
8, 298-300 (in sections) ; 
eastward, 227; Pacific, 
195-6, 218 

China, 74, 329, 336-7 
Australian, 281, 287, 333- 
4 

Red Gauntlet, Cal. clipper 
ship, 233, 306, 359 

Red jacket, clipper ship, 
Australian service, 247, 
270-2, 337, 346 

Red Rover, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 355; records, 
253, 283, 368 

Reed, Capt. Saml., Red 
Jacket, 272 

Reindeer, ship, 56 

Reporter, Cal. clipper ship, 
345, 359, 368 

Republic, packet ship, 52 

Rescue, Boston wrecking 
steamer, 275 

Resolute, clipper ship, 291 

Resource, ship, 16 

Rhinebeck, 47 

Rhone, packet ship, 41, 44 

Richardson, Capt. Josiah, 
Stag Hound, 144, 178, 
350; Staffordshire, 342, 
352 

Richie, Capt. A. A., Fair- 
field, Cal., 189 

Ringleader, Cal. clipper 
ship, 359; records, 284, 
290, 297, 299, 367, 368, 
(to Melbourne) 

• later ship, 340 

Robert C. Winthrop, Bos- 
ton ship, 255 



Robert Lowe, Brit. aux. 

steamer, 331 
Roberts, Capt., Storm, 355 
Robin Hood, Cal. clipper 

ship, 250, 361; records, 

299, 369 
Robinson, Capt. Richard, 

tea clippers, 199, 326, 

335 
Rockland, ship, 345 
Rodger & Co., London, 

owner of Taeping, 330 
Rogers, S., Salem, owner, 

136 
Capt. Wm. C, Witch- 
craft, 140-1, 350 
Romance of the Seas, Cal. 

clipper ship, 232, 233, 302, 

345, 359; records, 248, 

249, 296, 297, 367 
Roosevelt & Joyce, builders, 

N. Y., 209, 232 
Ropes, Capt. John F., John 

Gilpin, 345 
Roscoe, packet ship, 41, 

47 
Roscius, packet ship, 40, 

43 
Rose, Brit, clipper schooner, 

opium trade, 59 
Ross, Sir John, explorer, 84 
Rousseau, Phila. ship, 

China trade, 16 
Rowland, Capt., Mary L. 

Sutton, 364 
Royal Charter, Brit, iron 

aux. steamer, 287 
Royal William, first vessel 

to cross Atlantic by steam 

power, 313 
Rufus Choate, Boston ship, 

255 
Russell, Capt., packets, 45 
& Co., China mer- 
chants, 58, 63, 64, 70, 97, 

303 
Russell Sturgis, Boston 

ship, 255 



398 



Index 



St. Andrew, packet ship, 46 

St. Clair, packet ship, 52 

St. George, packet ship, 54 

St. Lawrence, Brit, mer- 
chant frigate, 36 

St. Michael, schooner, 15 

Si. Patrick, Boston ship, 
54 

Solamis, Brit, ship, Austra- 
lian trade, 333 

Salter, Capt. Chas. H., 
Typhoon, 161, 189, 352 

Samarang, 346 

Sampson, ship, 16 

Sampson & Tappah, Bos- 
ton, owners of Night- 
ingale, 136, 155, 165, 207, 
303, 350, 351, 355 

Samuel Appleton, Boston 
ship, 255, 300 

Samuel Badger, ship, 161 

Samuel Russell, clipper 
ship, China trade, 70, 77, 
84, 85, 142, 162, 337, 341; 
records to S. Francisco, 
145, 298, 300, 365, 367 

Samuels, Capt. Samuel, 
Dreadnought, 44, 244, 
246-7 

San Francisco passages : 
Atlantic ports, 1849, 101, 
145; 1850, 145-6; 1851, 
174, 175, 178-81. 181-5, 
189-94; 1852, 212-5, 217- 
8, 222; 1853, 224-8, 233; 
1854, 248-9; 1855, 253, 
254; 1856, 290, 306-7; 
1857, 293-4, 295; General, 
69, 233-4, 365-9; long, 
193 
Pacific ports, 195, 211, 219 

San Francisco, clipper ship, 
367 

Sancho Panza, Cal. clipper 
ship, 361 

Santa Barbara, 86 



Sapphire, packet ship, 51 

Saracen, Cal. clipper ship, 
361 

Saratoga, packet ship, 43 

Sargent, Capt. Henry, 
Phantom, 345 

Saunders, Capt. Thos. M., 
Salem, from cabin boy to 
captain, 119-20 

Savannah, ship, 47 

first sailing ship with 

auxl. engine to cross At- 
lantic, 1819, 313 

Schomberg, Brit, clipper 
ship, built for Australian 
service, 284-5 

Scott, John, & Co., builders, 
Greenock, 208 

Scott & Co., builders, Dum- 
barton, 372 

Sea Serpent, Cal. clipper 
ship, 136, 141, 196, 211, 
302, 350; records, 175, 
208, 224, 298, 366 

Sea Witch, clipper ship, 
built for China trade, 68, 
69, 73,. 75-7, 136, 156, 
337, 341; passages, 68- 
9, 189-92 (race) ; records, 
145, 174, 208, 214, 296, 
297, 298, 299, 300, 365 

Seacomb & Taylor, owners, 
Boston, 270 

Seaforih, Brit, ship, first 
vessel with steel spars 
and rigging, 322-3 

Seaman, Cal. clipper ship, 
Baltimore, 136, 174, 350; 
records, 299, 300, 365 

Sears, Capt., Robin Hood, 
361 

Seaver, Hon. Benj., Boston, 
225 

Seminole, ship, 369 

Serica, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 320, 346, 371; 
races, 324, 325-30 

Severn, ship, 16 



Index 



399 



Shackfords, captains and 

builders, Portsmouth, N. 

H., 52 
Shakespeare, packet ship, 

40, 43, 48 
Shand, Brit, ship, 344 
Shaw, Maxton, & Co., own- 
ers, London, 319-20 
Sheathing, copper, 61, 285, 

320, 322; yellow metal, 

237 
Sheer, 18, 237, 320 
Sheffield, Capt. J. P., Her- 

silia, 77-80 
Shelburne, N. S., 53, 217 
Sheridan, packet ship, 40, 

45, 48 
Shoof, Capt., Black Hawk, 

361 
Shooting Star, Cal. clipper 

ship, 152, 173, 193, 337, 

343, 352; records, 214, 

222, 298, 299, 366 
Shuter, Thos. A., owner, 

London, 34 
Siddons, packet ship, 40, 43, 

48, 84 
Sierra Nevada, Cal. clipper 

ship, 250, 283, 361; rec- 
ords, 295, 296, 369 
Silas Richards, packet ship, 

40 
Silsbee, Capt., Syren, 352 
Silvia de Grasse, packet 

ship, 41, 47 
Simmons, Capt., War 

Hawk, 363 
Simonson, Capt., Daring, 

362 
Simoon, Cal. clipper ship, 

355 
Sir George Seymour, Brit. 

ship, 36 
Sir Launcelot, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 324, 332- 

3, 335-6, 346, 371 
Sir Robert Peel, packet 

ship, 48 



Sirius, Brit, steamer, 313 
Sirocco, clipper ship, 298, 

299 
Skiddy, Francis, 43 

Capt. William, 43 

Skylark, Cal. clipper ship, 

299, 359 
Smith, Adam, Wealth of 

Nations, 92 
James, & Son, owners, 

N. Y., 106 

Stephen, builder, 47 

T. & W., builders, 

Newcastle, Eng., 35, 36 
& Co., builders Ho- 

boken, N. J., 152, 351 
& Co., builders, St. 

John, N. B., 266 
& Dimon, builders, 

N. Y., 45, 47, 65, 68, 70, 

135, 349 
■Capt., 355, 362 



Smyrna, brig, first Amer. 
vessel in Black Sea, 15 

Snapdragon, Cal. clipper 
barque, 232, 299, 359 

Sneeden & Whitlock, build- 
ers, Greenpoint, L. I., re- 
built Great Republic, 
242 

Snow & Burgess, owners, 
304 

Snow Squall, Cal. clipper 
ship, 284, 352 

Somes, Jos., owner, London, 
34, 35, 36 

Sophia Branilla-Falcon, 347 

South America, packet ship, 
43 

South Carolina, ship, first 
to leave S. Francisco in 
1849, 101 

Southampton, packet ship, 
46 

Southern Cross, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 152, 195, 352 

Sovereign, packet ship, 
40 



400 



Index 



Sovereign of the Seas, Cal. 
clipper ship, 216-21, 235, 
237, 281, 337, 344, 355; 
speed, 220-1 ; records : 
California, 213, 217, 299, 
366; N. Y.-L'pool, 220- 
1; Australia, 269-70 

No. 2, 258 

No. 3, 341 

Sparkling Wave, clipper 

ship, 300 

Speed : 

Conditions and tests, 9- 

10, 11, 39, 46, 71, 90, 

134, 192, 198, 205, 243, 

286, 294-5, 321, 336-7 

Vessels built for, 57, 

60 
Speed of Brit, and Amer. 
frigates, 4, 8, 10; E. 
Indiamen, 30, 35; opi- 
um clippers, 59; Amer. 
clippers, 135-6, 153, 
193, 278, 282 (highest 
rate) ; of Brit, tea clip- 
pers, 320-1, 324, 334, 
335-6; of steamers, 221, 
278, 309 
Speed in knots, 71, 161, 169, 
178, 220, 251, 276, 278, 
281, 282, 328; average, 
46, 180, 219-20, 245, 278, 
338 
Spicer, Capt., David Crock- 
ett, 356 
Spindrift, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 332, 333, 335, 
346, 371, 375 
Spirit of the Age, Brit, clip- 
per ship, 208 
Spirit of the Times, Cal. 

clipper ship, 359 
Spitfire, Cal. clipper ship, 

359 
Splendid, packet ship, 48 
Spofford & Tillotson, N. Y.- 
L'pool packet line, 42-3 
Spooner, see Borrows 



Sprague & James, builders, 

Medford, 52, 58 
Stadt Antwerpen, Belgian 

barque, 343 
Staffordshire, Cal. clipper 

ship, 152, 193, 217, 342, 

352; records, 214, 300, 

366 
Stag Hound, Cal. clipper 

ship, 136, 142-3, 151, 205, 

211, 216, 237, 337, 341, 

350, 375; records, 178, 

195, 208, 298, 299, 365, 

367 
Star of Empire, packet 

ship, 270 
Star of Peace, Brit, ship, 

Australian trade, 333 
Starlight, Cal. clipper ship, 

299, 361 
Starr King, Cal. clipper 

ship, 255, 299, 362 
Steele, Robt., & Son, build- 
ers, Greenock, 319, 320, 

322, 324, 346, 347, 371, 

372 
Steers, Geo., designer and 

builder, 49, 250 
Stephania, packet ship, 41 
Stephen, Alex., builder, 

Glasgow, 322, 371 
Stoddard, Capt., 349, 358 
Stevens, Capt., Southern 

Cross, 352 
Storm, Cal. clipper barque, 

298, 355, 366 
Storm King, Cal. clipper 

ship, 359 
Stomoway, Brit, clipper 

ship, 198, 202, 205, 206- 
7, 376 
Strabo, ship, 52 
Sultana, barque, 56 
Sunny South, clipper ship, 

China trade, 250; slaver, 
251 
Supremacy, 339; American, 
311, 314; British, 210 



Index 



401 



Surprise, Cal. clipper ship, 
135, 136-8, 174-5, 196, 
202, 205, 207-8, 271, 337, 
341, 350; records, 175, 
195, 206, 208, 296, 297, 
298, 299, 365 

Susannah, Brit. E. India- 
man, 32 

Sutton & Co., N. Y., own- 
ers, 106, 303 

Sweepstakes, Cal. clipper 
ship, 232, 233, 301, 345, 
359; records, 289-90, 296, 
297, 298, 299, 368; log, 
290 

Sword Fish, Cal. clipper 
ship, 84, 152, 153, 159, 
193, 206, 306, 337, 352; 
records, 208, 224, 296, 
297, 298, 299, 300, 366; 
race, 212-13 

Syren, Cal. clipper ship, 
152, 352 



Taeping, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 322, 371 ; races, 
324-30, 332-5 

Taitsing, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 324, 347, 371, 
375; race, 324-30 

Talbot, ship, 52 

Tampico, brig, 84 

Tayleur, Brit, ship (iron), 
for Australian service, 
267 

Tea Trade, iii: 
to England: Amer. clip- 
pers in, 96-8 196-7, 
200-2; see Tea clippers; 
amount, 320 ; freights, 
196, 207, 323; premiums, 
324, 330 

Telegraph, clipper ship, 
Cal. passages, 299, 368 

Templer, Henry, owner, 
London, 34 



Teutonic, White Star S. S., 

312 
Thacker & Mangels, own- 
ers, London, 34 
Thames, Brit. E. Indiaman, 

35 
Thayer, Capt., Cleopatra, 

353 
Thermopylse, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 332-6, 

347, 371, 375 
Thomas, C. W. & H., N. Y., 

owners of Hurricane, 

163 
Geo., Rockland, Me., 

builder of Bed Jacket, 

270 
Thomas, Brit. E. Indiaman, 

24 
Thomas Coutts, Brit. E. In- 
diaman, 32 
Thomas Granville, Brit. E. 

Indiaman, 32 
Thomas H. Perkins, ship, 

Boston, 255 
Thorndike, Capt., Live Yan- 
kee, 358 
Tindall & Co.'s Australian 

line, 263 
Tingqua, clipper ship, 298 
Titania, Brit, clipper ship, 

tea trade, 332, 336, 375; 

still in service, 347 
Toby & Littlefield, builders, 

Portsmouth, N. H., 52, 

233 
Todd, Capt., 2d Witch of 

the Wave, 364 
Ton in cubic feet, 104, 196, 

323, 335, 373-5 
Tonnage, aggregate: 

Afloat, 289; built, 3-4, 52, 
151; captured, 7; 
owned, 13, 71, 292 
(steam), 308; sent out, 
33; sold, 292 
Tonnage, detail: 

American, early, 1, 2, 4, 



402 



Index 



Tonnage, detail — Continued 
6, 14-18, 51-4, 80, 119; 
packets, 38, 40, 42, 45, 
46, 142, 243; opium 
clippers, 58-9 ; China 
clippers, 60, 62-5, 68, 
70, 96, 250; California 
clippers, 135-6, 142, 
153-6, 159, 161-6, 216, 
233, 254, 349-64; Aus- 
tralian clippers, 235, 
242, 265-7, 270, 273; 
pilot boats, 193, 305; 
increase in, 42, 151, 
216 
British: E. Indiamen, 23, 
25, 32-7; Aberdeen 
clippers, 58; tea clip- 
pers, 198, 199, 205-6, 
208, 320, 322-3, 333, 
371-2; Australian clip- 
pers, 267, 284, 338; 
steamers, 286, 287 
Tonnage Laws, 20, 198-9, 
315, 323, 373-6; see Tax 
Topaz, packet ship, 51 
Tornado, Cal. clipper ship, 

152, 211, 283, 343, 352 
Toronto, packet ship, 48, 

162 
Trade Wind, Cal. clipper 
ship, 152, 164, 193, 337, 
343, 352; records, 224, 
299, 366 
Trades Increase, Brit. E. 

Indiaman, 1609, 23 

Train, Enoch, Boston, 

owner, 54-5, 153, 221, 255 

Train's Line, Boston- 

L'pool packets, 55-6, 270, 

275 

Trask, Capt. Benj., packet 

ships, 43 
Trenton, packet ship, 52 
Trident, ship, 1805, 17 
Trieste, barque, 291 
Triton, ship, 1805, 17 
Trufant & Drummond, 



builders, Bath, Me., 152, 

351, 357, 360 
Tucker, Capt., Swallow, 362 
Turner, Capt., Starr King, 

362 
Tuscarora, packet ship, 40 
Twilight, Cal. clipper ship, 

295, 364, 369 
Two Friends, brig, 15 
Typhoon, Cal. clipper ship, 

152, 161, 337, 342, 352; 

race, 189-92 ; records, 

192, 208, 299, 300, 365 

U 

Undaunted, Cal. clipper 

ship, 345, 359 
Union, sloop, 15 
Upham, Hon. Chas. W., 169 
Upton, Geo. B., Boston, 

owner, 56, 136, 155, 233, 

304 
Utica, packet ship, 41 



Vail, Thos., builder, N. Y., 

16 
Valparaiso, ship, 164 
Vancouver, ship, 208 
Vanguard, packet ship, 48 
Venice, ship, 161 
Very, John Crowninshield, 

163 
Capt. Saml., Hurri- 
cane, 163, 351 ; Mrs. Very, 

306 
Vicksburg, ship, 47 
Victoria, packet ship, 44, 47 
Victory, packet ship, 244 
XHking, Cal. clipper ship, 

360 
Vimiera,^Brit. ship, 267 
Vincent, Wm., builder, N. 

Y., 16 
Voltaire, ship in China 

trade (Girard), 16 



Index 



403 



Vulcan, Brit, ship, first iron 
sailing ship, 1818, 313 

W 

Wakeman, Capt., Adelaide, 

360 
Wanderer, Brit, clipper 

schooner, opium trade, 59 
War Hawk, Cal. clipper 

ship, 363 
Wardle, T., & Co., N. Y., 

owners of Eclipse, 136, 

349 
Warner, Capt., Sov. of the 

Seas, 269-70; Donald Mc- 
Kay, 281 
Washington Irving, packet 

ship, 56 
Waterman, Capt. G. B., 

Highflyer, 344, 354 
Capt. Robt. H., 73-7, 

145, 189; Britannia, 73- 

4; Natchez, 68, 74-5; 

Sea Witch, 68-9, 73, 75, 

208; Northerner, 75, 189; 

Challenge, 156, 181-9, 

350; Mrs. Waterman, 75 
& Elwell, builders, 

Medford, 52, 63 
Watkins, Capt. Jas., Akbar, 

62 
Watson, Capt., Polynesia, 

355 
Webb, Isaac, builder, N. Y., 

47, 48, 53, 74, 217; & Co., 

40 
Wm. H., son of Isaac, 

builder, 42, 48, 62, 63, 

135-SB, 142, 152, 156, 159, 

164, 212, 216, 232-4, 250, 

291, 349-52, 354, 359 
Wilsey, father of 

Isaac, 47 .- 
' & Allen, builders, N. 

Y., 48 
Weld, W. F., & Co., owners. 



Boston, 304, 357 
•& Baker, owners, Bos- 



ton, 363 

Wells & Emanuel, owners, 
N. Y., 106, 304 

West Point, packet ship, 44, 
48 

Westervelt, Aaron and Dan- 
iel, sons of Jacob A., 49, 
233 

Jacob A., builder, N. 

Y., 48-9, 216, 227, 232, 
250, 297, 352-4, 358-9 

& Co., 49 

■ & S'ons, 49, 152, 162, 



351 



■ & Mackay, 46, 48 



Westward Ho, Cal. clipper 
ship, 216, 237, 255; rec- 
ords, 224, 253, 295, 297, 

298, 300, 366, 367, 368 
Whirlwind, Cal. clipper 

ship, 216, 284, 343, 355 
Whistler, Cal. clipper ship, 

299, 360 

White Squall, Cal. clipper 
ship, 136, 142, 196, 242, 
337, 350; records, 298, 
299, 300, 366 

White Swallow, clipper ship, 

298, 369 

Whitridge, Thos., & Co., 

owners, Baltimore, 254 
Wigram, Robt., builder and 

owner, London, 35, 36, 

285 
Wild Dayrell, Brit, clipper 

schooner, opium trade, 

59 
Wild Hunter, clipper ship, 

368 
Wild Pigeon, Cal. clipper 

ship, 152, 353; records, 

299, 300, 366 

Wild Wave, Cal. clipper 

ship, 360 
William G. Anderson, U. S. 

clipper barque, 141 



404 



Index 



William Tell, packet ship, 
41, 47 

William Thompson, packet 
ship, 38 

Williams, J., & Son., build- 
ers, Williamsburg, N. Y., 
136, 152, 349, 352 

Jabez, builder, N. Y., 

216, 355 
■ Capt. John E., An- 



drew Jackson, 247, 295, 
362 
• & Guion, owners, 304 



Willis, Capt., Cal. clippers, 

351, 361 
Wilson, W., & Sons, owners, 

Baltimore, 356, 357 
Windhover, Brit, clipper 

ship, tea trade, 332, 336, 

346, 372 
Windsor, Brit. E. India- 
man, 32 
Windsor Castle, Brit, ship, 

36 
Winged Arrow, clipper ship, 

299, 300 
Winged Racer, Cal. clipper 

ship, 216, 344, 355, 367 
Winsor, Capt. C. F., 344, 

351, 354, 356 
Witch of the Wave, Cal. 

clipper ship, 152, 153, 

166-72 (trip on), 173, 

353; records, 206, 299 
Witchcraft, Cal. clipper 

ship, 136, 140, 211, 302, 



350; records, 178, 248, 

296, 365, 366, 367 
Wizard, Cal. clipper ship, 

216, 355 
Wolfe, W. A. & A. Foster, 

Jr., N. Y., owners of 

Courier, 54 
Woodhouse, Capt. Philip, 

packet ships, 43 
Woodside, Capt., Wizard, 

355 
Wooton, Jas. A., packet 

ship captain, 44 
Wylo, Brit, clipper ship, 

tea trade, 332, 372 
Wyteerhoven, Capt., 343 



Yang-tze, Brit, clipper ship, 
tea trade, 322, 333, 347, 
371 . , , 

Yorkshire, packet ship, 41. 

46, 48, 89 
Yorktown, packet ship, 48 
Young America, Cal. clip- 
per ship, 84, 232, 233-4, 
301, 306, 337, 360; rec- 
ords, 233-4, 297-300, 367- 
70 



Zerega, Capt., Queen of 

Clippers, 359 
Zerega & Co., owners, N. 

Y., 56, 359