Last of the Clipper Passenger Packets, 1854.
The clipper “packet ship” was a vast improvement on the ordinary sailing ship. It had just reached its highest point of development when the ocean steamship first made its appearance. It was to the upper strata of the travelling community, sixty years ago, the counterpart of the express steamer of to-day. The packet-ship was built for fast sailing, with very fine lines, was handsomely fitted up and furnished, was exceedingly well found in eatables and drinkables, and carried a great spread of canvas. To see one of these ships under full sail was a [Pg 27]sight to be remembered—a rare sight, inasmuch as all the conditions of wind and water necessary for the display of every stitch of canvas are seldom met with in the North Atlantic. They not unfrequently crossed in fourteen or fifteen days. In winter they might be three months on a single voyage, but their average would be from twenty-five to thirty days.