For San Francisco, California. To Sail in the 25th of July, Positively. The First Class American Packet Ship “Louisa.”
This very early ship sailing card, printed in Australia, measuring an astonishing 5 3/4 x 9 inches, advertises a sailing from Australia to San Francisco – the El Dorado of America. An ad announcing the departure in the “Melbourne Argus” for July 17, 1854 lists the “Louisa” as “500 tons burthen.” The card is dated in manuscript on the back Captain George Webster August 3 1854, and a small news clipping pasted to the front of the card validates this sailing date, names Elbridge Webster as owner, and lists cabin passengers. I have never seen the like, and probably never will again. Nor is it likely that Adams & Co., the agents for whom the card was printed, sent many more ships to California. According to an article entitled History of the Express Business in Bankers Magazine, the successful American firm Adams & Co. had attempted to establish an express at Melbourne, Australia but for various causes entirely beyond their control, the enterprise was a failure, and resulted in heavy loss to their firm. The printer’s slug at the very bottom of the card reads, “Goodhugh and Trembath, 48 Flinders Lane, East, and 174 Elizabeth Street.” Ferguson’s “Bibliography of Australia” locates this printing company in Melbourne. The card is printed in blue, with gold display lettering. Lightly and evenly tanned. In fine condition.