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Royal William of 1838 City of Dublin Steam-packet Company
There were two early steamers named Royal William. This article is about the second, built in 1837, but the first , built in 1831, is also mentioned. (Source: The Atlantic Ferry, by Arthur J. Maginnis, 1892, pp 5-6)
(This follows discussion of the 1819 crossing of the Savannah)
The next vessel to cross the Atlantic was a Canadian steamer named the Royal William, which was built at Three Rivers, near Quebec, in 1831.
She was 160 feet long, by 44 feet broad, and 17¾ feet deep, of 363 tons burden. The Royal William sailed for London from Quebec on August 5th, 1833, and arrived at Gravesend on September 16th following a passage of over 40 days.
In June, 1838, another Royal William was chartered from the City of Dublin Steam-packet Company, and despatched from Liverpool by the Transatlantic Steamship Company to New York. She was built at Liverpool, by Wilson. The engines were made by the firm of Fawcett, Preston and Co., of the same place, and were side-levers of 276 nominal horse-power, having cylinders 48½ inches in diameter, and 5½ feet stroke. The paddle-wheels were 24 feet diameter, and her speed was about ten knots an hour. This was the first real passenger steamer to cross the Atlantic, and also the first steamer to sail from Liverpool (on July 5th, 1838). She was also the first to be divided into watertight compartments by iron bulkheads, of which she had four. When in New York, on the first voyage, she was advertised for the homeward passage in the papers as follows:
After making a few passages across the Atlantic, she was returned to her owners, in whose possession she remained as a coal hulk until about four years ago (1888), when she was sold for the sum of £11. Some idea of this vessel's size may be found from the following table, giving her dimensions as compared with one of the powerful English tugboats of today:
The Royal William steam ship on her first voyage to New York, on the 14th of July, 1838, a colour lithograph ca.1840 by T. Fairland (National Archives of Canada C-000003)
* The 617 tons mentioned in the advertisement must be a typographical error, as Maginnis quotes 817 tons in his comparison between the Royal William and the tugboat, and in addition in The History of North Atlantic Steam Navigation by Henry Fry, 1896, p. 42, Fry states, of the Royal William "She belonged to the City of Dublin, Packet Company, was 817 tons, built by Wilson & Co., 175 x 27 x 17.6 feet with engines of 276 H.P., by Fawcett & Preston. She was a failure in point of speed, having occupied 19 days going west, and 14½ going east.
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