# 25206


[GOLD RUSH] For San Francisco, California. To Sail on the 25th of July, Positively. The First Class American Packet Ship “Louisa,” …

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Fare to San Francisco : Steerage,  £25. No Cabin Passengers taken. Freight taken at lower rates. For Freight or Passage, apply to Adams & Co., 69, Collins Street, West, Melbourne. Melbourne : Goodhugh & Trembath, 48, Flinders Lane, East, and 174, Elizabeth Street, [1854]. Clipper ship sailing card, 227 x 144 mm, printed recto only in letterpress in blue, with three prominent lines added in gold display lettering, and with a vignette illustration of a clipper ship; just below centre is a small cutting from a Melbourne newspaper pasted on by the original owner which notes the sailing date (3 August), names Elbridge Webster as the ship’s owner, and lists cabin passengers; verso annotated in ink (also by the original owner) ‘Cap[t.] Elbridge Webster / Ship “Louisa” / [from Mel]bourne / Aug. 3rd 1854’; some superficial paper loss to verso due to the card having been removed from a 19th century album page, otherwise in fine condition; striking and rare.

A remarkable piece of ephemera printed in Melbourne at the height of the gold rush, this very early clipper ship sailing card attests to the strong connections between the Victorian and Californian gold rushes (1848-1855). In the early 1850s many thousands of disillusioned prospectors were lured across the Pacific in both directions in search of their fortunes. The card advertises a sailing to San Francisco, “the El Dorado of America”. It was issued in Melbourne in July, 1854 by the American express agents Adams & Co., two of whose Melbourne-based American employees, Freeman Cobb and George Mowton, had founded the Cobb & Co. coach service to the Victorian goldfields just a few months earlier in January, 1854. While Cobb & Co. went on to phenomenal commercial success and became the most famous coaching firm in Australian history, Adams & Co.’s Australian venture was shortlived. Its Melbourne branch, which included a coach service, was bought out by Cobb in March, 1855, although it continued to trade as a commission and shipping agent under the name Adams & Co. until 1862.