# 16014

REEP, Richard Thompson; [CAMERON, Roderick William, 1823-1900]; [ROYAL MAIL STEAM PACKET COMPANY]

[MARITIME] Letter from the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company to shipping line owner R.W. Cameron regarding the conveyance of mails on the new Panama Route to Australia

$220.00 AUD

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London, 12 August 1859. Entire letter, 2 pp small quarto, on the engraved letterhead of the ‘Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, No 55, Moorgate Street, London’, from Richard Thompson Reep, Secretary of the RMSCPC, to R.W. Cameron, owner of the R.M. Cameron & Co. Shipping Line, New York; Reep’s message is a reply to Cameron’s enquiries about the new Panama Route to Australia, in particular the ‘contemplated contract for the conveyance of mails to Australia’ which is under current discussion in the House of Commons; address panel to outer side; original fold lines (with a couple of inconsequential tears); the letter is complete and legible.

Although the Panama Canal would not be opened until 1914, the carriage of mail, passengers and freight between the Atlantic and the Pacific had already been revolutionised in 1855 with the completion of the Panama Railroad. Referred to at the time as an ‘inter-oceanic railroad’, it traversed the narrow isthmus connecting the North and South American continents. The new Panama Route to Australia dramatically reduced the time it took for mails to reach Australia from England.

Shipping magnate Sir Roderick William Cameron (1823-1900) had extensive business interests not only in Canada and the United States, but also in Australia. He represented the Colony of New South Wales at two major international exhibitions, Philadelphia in 1876 and Paris in 1878, as well as acting as honorary commissioner for Canada in Australia for the Sydney exhibition (1879-80) and the Melbourne exhibition (1880-81).