Sir Samuel Cunard
  Posted on Sun 26 Dec 2004 (51652 reads)

The desire for dependable delivery of the mails on which imperial communication and commerce depended prompted the government of Her Majesty Queen Victoria to invite interested parties to bid for a contract to provide this service.




Samuel Cunard of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was the successful contender. His contract to deliver the mail across the Atlantic from Great Britain to North America was signed on May 4, 1839, and originally involved a commitment to provide three steamships of 800 tons and 300 horsepower. Samuel Cunard was a highly successful and enterprising Canadian businessman and one of a group of 12 individuals who directed the affairs of Nova Scotia. Cunard had the reputation for being not only a very astute
businessman but also an individual with exceptional diplomatic ability.

In order to successfully carry out his contract, Cunard solicited the assistance of Robert Napier, an engineering genius who was responsible for creating the engines of some of the best new ships of his day. Cunard also need financial backing and received it from three accomplished businessmen: James Donaldson, George Burns and David Maclver. These five men founded the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, later known as "Cunard Line".

Sir Samuel died April 28th, 1865. In 1981, Sir Samuel Cunard was inducted in ASTA's Travel Hall of Fame in honor of his contribution to developing transatlantic travel.
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