This fine vessel is a beautiful combination of speed with good stowage capacity. Both in the form of her ends, and the angle or rise of her floor, she is a fair medium between the extreme clippers of 40 inches dead rise at half floor, and the favorite packet model. On the keel she is 155 feet long, between perpendiculars, on deck, 167, and over all 175; extreme breadth of beam 34 feet, depth 20½, including 7 feet 10 inches height of between decks, and she registers 943 tons. Her dead rise at half floor is 20 inches, rounding of sides 6 inches, and sheer about 2 feet 3 inches. She has convex lines, an elevated bow, and a curvilinear stern - the last formed two strakes below the moulding of the planksheer -- and she is planked up flush to the covering board. The Goddess of Liberty, robed in the American ensign, is placed to correspond with the fore-rake of the vessel, the right hand pointing forward while the left grasps the emblems of harvest, and one foot on the globe; thus arrayed and placed, her figure-head is one of the neatest we ever saw on any ship. The trail-boards are ornamented with gilding, and an Indian, surrounded with gilt-work, ornaments her stern. On each cat-head is a gilded hand, pointed forward, and her name in gilded letters, ornaments her forward and aft. On the stern it is carved and painted white, "according to law." She is sheathed with yellow metal up to 18 feet forward and to 18½ feet aft, and above is painted black. Inside she is painted white, and the water-ways blue. The whole height of her bulwarks, including the monkey-rail, is about 4½ feet. She has a small topgallant forecastle, a large house abaft the foremast, which contains quarters for the crew, the galley, and other apartments, and over the main hatchway is a movable house. The cabins, of which she has two, are built into a half poop deck, trunk fashion, with store-rooms in their wings and aft under the steering apparatus. The after cabin contains three state-rooms, &c., and is magnificently finished with satin wood panels, rosewood pilasters, and papier maché cornices and capitals, beautifully flowered and lined with gilding. The forward cabin contains four state-rooms, is white, flowered with gilding, and edged with papier maché.
The entrance to the cabin is in front of the poop, and forms an ante-room, which contains the pantry, and a spacious state-room for the officers.
Both cabins, as well as the state-rooms, are well lighted and ventilated, and furnished in superior style. The ship herself is ventilated along her planksheer and in her bitts, and also has Emerson's patent ventilators for-and-aft.
She is built of oak -- has oak knees and stanchions in the hold, and hackmatack knees in the between decks; but all her hooks and pointers are of oak. her keel is 15 by 32 inches, her floor timbers 11 by 15, and her keelsons are 14 by 28, all bolted together with 1¼ inch copper and iron -- the copper driven through and rivetted. her ceiling varies from 9 to 5 inches in thickness, and is square fastened; her garboards are 6 inches thick, her bottom planking 4, and her wales 5 by 7, square fastened with treenails, and extra butt and bilge bolted with copper. The covering board and main rail are each 6 inches thick. She is not only well built, of good materials, but finished in the first style of workmanship.
Her fore and mainmasts are made of pieces bolted together, and hooped over, and are 26 and 27 inches in diameter. The mizzenmasts, a single spar, is 23 inches in diameter, and in length, commencing with the fore, her lower masts are -- 70, 75 and 69 feet long, topmasts, 41, 43, and 32 feet; lower yards 66, 70, and 50 feet; topsail yards 50, 54, and 34 feet, and the other spars in proportion. Her outfits are complete, and correspond well with her beauty below.
She was built at Medford, by Mr. James O. Curtis, under the superintendence of her commander, Capt. Cotting, and is owned by Messrs. Reed, Wade & Co., who also own the beautiful clippers Shooting Star, John Wade, and Geo. E. Webster. The Onward's predecessors have proved themselves famous for their speed and working; and so far as we are qualified to judge, we believe the Onward will prove herself equal, if not superior to the best of them. Her enterprising owners are entitled to praise for the liberal style in which she has been fitted out, the builder for his workmanship, and the captain for the truly sailor-like style in which she is fitted aloft. She us now laden, and will sail this day for San Francisco. Good luck to her.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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Copyright © 1997 Lars Bruzelius.