An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
Cleland, Captain Richard
Lane painted the picture of Britannia in the storm of April 1841 expressly for Cleland. "Cleland's bravery was well known in Boston, and on several similar winter storms, his bravery had been conspicious. In fact, he had been tendered testimonial dinners." (1)
(1) Frederic Alan Sharf, "Fitz Hugh Lane Re-Considered." Essex Institute Historical Collections (January 1960), 75–83.
p. 2 col. 1
"Arrival of the Britannia.
12 days later from England.
Highly Important from China: Great Fall in the Price of Teas: Great Excitement in Relation to the Non-Arrival of the Steamer President.
The Royal Mail steamship Britannia, Capt R. B. Cleland, arrived at this port this morning, at 2' clock, from Liverpool, having left on the 20th ult. at 12 M. She ran 200 miles to the south of her course, to avoid the ice, which lengthened her passage. Arrived at Halifax on Tuesday morning, and left at 1 P.M., making her passage to Boston in 38 hours. She had 87 passengers to Halifax, landed 56, and took in 9 additional for Boston."
p. 2 col. 2
"There is a beautiful painting exhibiting at the window of W. H. Oakes's music store, No. 13 Tremont Row. It represents the steamship Britannia during the most terrific gale she ever encountered. It was on the morning of the 23d of April last, on her passage from Liverpool to this port. The picture was painted expressly for Capt. Cleland, by Mr F.H. Lane, one of the best painters of sea views in the country."
Description of crossing on the BRITANNIA in 1841 with Captain Cleland: "On Sunday the 25th [April 1841], we encountered a gale truly tremendous – the sea running mountains high, and frequently sweeping us from stem to stern – in the course of which one of the crew had his leg broken. The gallant ship, however, rode bravely through it, rising like a duck over the mountainous billows, and submitting admirably to the direction of the helm and the wonderful mechanism by which she was propelled. The Mail-steamers, four in number, are well adapted for crossing the stromy Atlantic, being 235 feet in length, and only about 30 feet wide, although from their being narrow and light, carrying besides fuel, nothing but passengers with their luggage, and the Mail bags, they roll excessively in a heavy sea."