SIR SAMUEL CUNARD, Bart.
(1787-1865), British civil engineer, founder of the Cunard line of steam-ships, was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the 21st of November 1787.
When, in the early years of steam navigation, the English government made known its desire to substitute steam vessels for the sailing ships then employed in the mail service between England and America, Cunard heartily entered into the scheme, came to England, and accepted the government tender for carrying it out.
In conjunction with Messrs Burns of Glasgow and Messrs Maclver of Liverpool, proprietors of rival lines of coasting steamers between Glasgow and Liverpool, he formed a company, and the first voyage of a Cunard steamship was successfully made by the "Britannia" from Liverpool to Boston, U.S.A., between July 4 and 19, 1840 (see Steamship Lines).
In acknowledgment of his energetic and successful services Cunard was, in 1859, created a baronet.
In 1840 Boston was selected as the American terminus of the Cunard Line, the first regular line of trans-Atlantic steamers.
The Cunard arrangement was the first of various measures that worked for a commercial rapprochement between the New England states and Canada, culminating in the reciprocity treaty of 1854, and Boston's interests are foremost to-day in demanding a return to relations of reciprocity.
The Cunard service has not been continuous.
It was extensively adopted in the British navy, the Cunard line and many other important emigrant and mercantile lines.
In commercial relations the chief port of Massachusetts attained its greatest importance about 1840, when it was selected as the American terminus of the first steamship line (Cunard) connecting Great Britain with the United States; but Boston lost the commercial prestige then won by the failure of the state to promote railway communication with the west, so as to equal the development effected by other cities.
Many of the most important improvements in the construction of ships, especially steam vessels, are due to the enterprise and skill of the Clyde shipbuilders, who, from the time of Robert Napier of Shandon (1791-1876), who built and engined the first steamers for the Cunard Company, formed in 1840, have enjoyed an unrivalled reputation for the construction of leviathan liners, both as regards mechanical appliances and the beauty and convenience of the internal arrangements.
Greenock-built vessels have always been esteemed, and many Cunard, P. & O.