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Foundation, Capital Structure and Control of the Company 1840–80

  • Francis E. Hyde

Abstract

Samuel Cunard, founder of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., (subsequently known as The Cunard Steam Ship Co. Ltd) was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 21 November 1787. As this book is concerned primarily with the business activities of the Company in various stages of development, it is not proposed to enter into an examination of the genealogical controversy surrounding the origins of the Cunard family1 It is sufficient to know, as a starting point for this history, that Samuel was the son of Abraham Cunard who, after the War of American Independence, had emigrated to Halifax where he had established himself in his trade as a master carpenter. In this capacity, Abraham had found employment in the dockyard at Halifax and from this relatively humble beginning had laid the foundation of a prosperous business and the background to future enterprise.

Keywords

Nova Scotia Capital Structure Mail Service East India Company Sail Ship 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    There is a tradition that an early ancestor emigrated from Wales to Germany at the beginning of the seventeenth century, cited in F. C. Bowen, A Century of Atlantic Travel (1930); there is a range of historical evidence giving support to the belief that the origins of the Cunard family went back to Thones Kunders. He was a Quaker who established himself as a weaver and dyer in Krefeldt. Kunders emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1683 and settled in German-town following his craft and administering a large land holding. His sixth child, Henry, was born in 1688 and, on 28 June 1710 married Catherine Streepers. Henry and his bride settled in Whitpain and, in turn, left a considerable estate to their seven sons. It was this second generation which took the name of either Konrad or Cunard. Samuel’s second son, Abraham, was the father of Samuel Cunard. The details of this ancestry are set out inGoogle Scholar
  2. L. Babcock, Spanning the Atlantic (1931). Babcock quotes the work of Abraham Martin Payne and Archibald MacMechan as authority for his statements.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
  4. L. Babcock, op. cit. p. to.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Howard Robinson, Carrying British Mails Overseas (1964) p. 124Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    It does not represent an accurate figure for Cunard’s control of capital resources. A more precise definition of Cunard’s shipping interests can be gained from the shipping records housed in St John’s University, Newfoundland; see also A. MacMechan ‘The Rise of Samuel Cunard’, The Dalhousie Review, July 1929, pp. 202–10.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    See Edwin Hodder, Sir George Burns, Bart. (1890), pp. 191–3, in which is stated that George Burns received an intimation of the Admiralty circular from Sir Edward Parry but decided, at that time, not to engage in the North Atlantic steamship routes.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Howard Robinson, op. cit. pp. 124, 131, from information derived from the Falmouth Letter Books.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Howard Robinson, op. cit., p. 131.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
  11. 15.
  12. 18.
  13. 19.
    F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 38; Howard Robinson, op. cit. p. 132.Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    Howard Robinson, op. cit., p. 132.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
  16. 24.
    Napier, The Life of Robert Napier (1904), p. 135, quoting letter from Samuel Cunard to Robert Napier, 21 March, 1839.Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    Ibid., pp. 124–5, quoting letter from Samuel Cunard, 25 February, 1839.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
  19. 27.
    Napier, op. cit., pp. 126–7, quoting letter from Robert Napier to William Kidston and Sons, 28 February, 1839.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    J. Napier, op. cit., p. 62. Berenice was a paddle steamer with double side-lever engines, having three copper boilers worked at low pressure and fitted with expansion valves.Google Scholar
  21. 29.
    So cited by F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 39, though this author also confirms specifications as laid down in CP, Contract between Samuel Cunard and Robert Napier 18 March 1839, in which it is stated that the ships should be ‘equal in quality of hull and machinery to the steamer Commodore or the steamer London, both constructed by the said Robert Napier, and equal to the City of Glasgow steamer in the finishing of the cabins’, see text below.Google Scholar
  22. 30.
    J. Napier, op. cit. pp. 101–2.Google Scholar
  23. 32.
  24. 33.
    Napier, op. cit., p. 134, quoting letter from Robert Napier to James C. Melvill, 19 March 1839.Google Scholar
  25. 34.
    F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 42.Google Scholar
  26. 39.
    MIP, Samuel Cunard to David MacIver 20 July 1839; F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 44; the theme is continued in letters from David MacIver to Samuel Cunard, CP, David MacIver to Samuel Cunard, 16 April 1841.Google Scholar
  27. 40.
    F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 45.Google Scholar
  28. 42.
    F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 45.Google Scholar
  29. 43.
  30. 46.
  31. 47.
  32. 49.
  33. 52.
  34. 54.
    Edwin Hodder, op. cit., p. 145.Google Scholar
  35. 55.
    Edwin Hodder, op. cit., pp. 145, 149.Google Scholar
  36. 56.
    B. McNeill, Irish Passenger Steamship Services (1969), p. 19.Google Scholar
  37. 57.
  38. 58.
  39. 60.
  40. cit., p. 161; Messrs Thomson and MacConnell were the company’s agents in Glasgow, David MacIver the agent in Liverpool and Robert Napier was a co-founder.Google Scholar
  41. 61.
    Edwin Hodder, op. cit., p. 161.Google Scholar
  42. 63.
    Edwin Hodder, op. cit., p. 149.Google Scholar
  43. and G. Burns Q. Napier, op. cit., p. 129) but thereafter the shipping side of the business was conducted under the style G.. and J. Burns.Google Scholar
  44. 64.
    F. L. Babcock, op. cit., p. 49.Google Scholar
  45. 69.
    Eaves, op. cit., under 1843; F. L. Babcock, op. cit., pp. 73–4.Google Scholar
  46. 74.
  47. 77.
    MIP, Declaration concerning title Burns and MacIver, 11 and 12 February, 1853.Google Scholar
  48. 78.
  49. 79.
    MIP, Agreement I October 1855, details of which are cited in Deed of Co-Partnership, I May 1857.Google Scholar
  50. 80.
    MIP, Deed of Co-Partnership, I May 1857.Google Scholar
  51. 81.
  52. 82.
  53. 83.
    MIP, Correspondence, Samuel Cunard to Charles MacIver, 9 May 1857Google Scholar
  54. A growing scarcity of resources led to the Burns brothers declining to enter the Australian mail service which Samuel Cunard had proposed.Google Scholar
  55. cit., pp. 264–5.Google Scholar
  56. 84.
    MIP, Memorandum of agreement between the partners of The British and Foreign S.N. Co., 24, 25, 26 February 1858, under which the Burns brothers sold their interest in this company.Google Scholar
  57. 85.
    MIP, Correspondence Samuel Cunard to Charles MacIver, 9 May 1857.Google Scholar
  58. 86.
    MIP, Correspondence George Burns to Charles MacIver, 3 September 1856.Google Scholar
  59. 87.
    MIP, Correspondence Charles MacIver to Samuel Cunard, 4 September 1856.Google Scholar
  60. 88.
    MIP, Correspondence Samuel Cunard to Charles MacIver, 9 November 1858, referring to MacIver’s views in a previous letter.Google Scholar
  61. 89.
    MIP, Correspondence Samuel Cunard to Charles MacIverGoogle Scholar
  62. 90.
    MIP, Correspondence Samuel Cunard to Charles MacIver, I August 1859, referring to MacIver’s objections about the transfer of commissions.Google Scholar
  63. 91.
    MIP, Correspondence Samuel Cunard to Charles MacIver, 5 June 1858.Google Scholar
  64. 92.
    Ibid., 9 November 1858.Google Scholar
  65. 93.
    MIP, Agreements, Memorandum of Agreement between the partners of The British and Foreign S.N. Co., 24, 25, 26 February 1858, Clauses I and 2.Google Scholar
  66. 94.
  67. 95.
    Co., concluded I November 1859.Google Scholar
  68. 96.
    Ibid., Clauses 2 and 3.Google Scholar
  69. 97.
    Ibid., Clause 4.Google Scholar
  70. 98.
    Ibid., Clauses 8 and 9.Google Scholar
  71. 99.
    Ibid., Clause 16.Google Scholar
  72. 100.
    Ibid., Clause 14.Google Scholar
  73. 102.
    Co., 30 September 1866.Google Scholar
  74. 103.
  75. 104.
  76. 105.
    MIP, Agreements, Memorandum of Agreement between the partners of The British and North American Steam Packet Co. and The British and Foreign S.N. Co., 22 July 1867.Google Scholar
  77. 107.
  78. 108.
  79. 109.
    Co. and of the formation of The British and North American S.P. Co. (September 1867).Google Scholar
  80. 110.
  81. 111.
  82. 112.
  83. 113.
    MIP, Correspondence, Charles MacIver to David MacIver, 17 August 1874.Google Scholar
  84. 114.
  85. 115.
    MIP, Agreements, 4 March 1880.Google Scholar
  86. 118.
    Squarey to David MacIver 18, 19, 22, 23 July, 27 August, 11 September 1874.Google Scholar
  87. 119.
    MIP, Correspondence A. Squarey to David MacIver, 27 August 1875.Google Scholar
  88. 120.
    Squarey to David MacIver, 28 September 1875.Google Scholar
  89. 121.
    MIP, Press notices The Times, 21 April 1883; Liverpool Courier, 23 April 1883.Google Scholar
  90. 122.
    MIP, Agreements, 21 May 1878.Google Scholar
  91. 123.
    MIP, Agreements, preamble 4 March 1880.Google Scholar
  92. 124.
    MIP, Agreements, 21 May 1878, Clause 3.Google Scholar
  93. 125.
    MIP, Agreements, 4 March 1880, Article 2.Google Scholar
  94. 126.
    MIP, Agreements, preamble 4 March 1880.Google Scholar
  95. 127.
    MIP, Agreements, 4 March 1880, Article 6.Google Scholar
  96. 128.
  97. 129.
    Ibid., Article 7.Google Scholar
  98. 130.
    Ibid., 4 March 1880, schedule of share allocation. 1. CP, Mail Contracts. By 1852 the various contracts, including the branch services, amounted to £188,040.Google Scholar
  99. 2.
    There is extensive literature on this subject. The essential facts are epitomised in H. J. Dyos and D. H. Aldcroft, British Transport (1969), pp. 239–42. Many additional sources are quoted in these footnotes.Google Scholar
  100. 3.
    J. Maginnis, The Atlantic Ferry (1900), pp. 67–8.Google Scholar
  101. 5.

Copyright information

© Francis E. Hyde 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis E. Hyde
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiverpoolUK

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