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The Life of Robert Napier of West Shandon
Appendix I. Copy of original contract for first Cunard steamers, 18th March 1839.


It is Contracted, Agreed, and Ended between Samuel Cunard, Merchant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Robert Napier, Engineer in Glasgow, in manner and to the effect following: That is to say, the said Robert Napier Binds and obliges himself and his heirs executors and successors to Build and construct with the best materials, for the said Samuel Cunard, his executors, and assignees, Three good and sufficient steam-ships, each not less than Two hundred feet long keel, and fore-rake not less than Thirty two feet broad between the paddles, and not less than Twenty one feet six inches depth of hold from top of timbers to underside of deck amidships, properly finished in every respect, having boats, masts, rigging, sails, anchors, cables, and whole other usual and necessary appurtenances for the working and sailing of the said vessels, with cabins finished in a neat and comfortable manner for the accommodation of from sixty to seventy passengers, or a greater number in case the said Robert Napier shall find that the space will conveniently and commodiously admit thereof, each of which vessels shall be fitted and finished with two steam-engines having cylinders seventy inches in diameter and six feet six inches length of stroke, with malleable iron boilers, the details of which vessels and machinery shall be constructed in the manner mentioned in the specification annexed and subscribed by the parties as relative hereto declaring that the said Robert Napier shall only be bound to furnish one complete set or suit of all things usual or necessary for such a size of vessels, but to furnish no duplicates or spare stores, sails, ropes, anchors, spars, &c., nor any thing belonging to the steward’s department, such as silver plate, china, crystal, knives and forks, napery, or other like articles, nor arms, chronometers, maps, charts, or other articles of that description, which three vessels, all to be delivered on the Clyde, the said Robert Napier hereby Binds and obliges himself and his aforesaid to finish and complete to the entire satisfaction of the said Samuel Cunard equal in quality of hull and machinery to the steamer Commodore or the steamer London, both constructed by the said Robert Napier, and equal to the City of Glasgow steamer in the finishing of the cabins, also constructed by the said Robert Napier: and the said Robert Napier Binds and obliges himself and his aforesaid to have one of the said vessels ready for trial and delivery in the Clyde on or before the Twelfth day of March Eighteen hundred and forty; to have one of the said vessels ready for trial and delivery as aforesaid on or before the Twelfth day of April Eighteen hundred and forty; and one of the said vessels ready for trial and delivery as aforesaid on or before the first day of May Eighteen hundred and forty. And further, the said Robert Napier hereby Binds and obliges himself and his aforesaid, in the event of any part of the machinery in any of the said vessels giving way or breaking within six months after delivery of the said vessels respectively, to replace by new machinery or to repair the broken parts, unless such occurrences may have arisen from neglect or carelessness on the part of those in charge of the machinery, in which case, as well as in the case of burning of the boilers, or accidents arising from other causes over which the said Robert Napier can have no control, he shall be in no way responsible. In consideration of which, and as the price of the said three steam vessels, the said Samuel Cunard Binds and obliges himself and his heirs, executors, and successors, to make payment to the said Robert Napier and his heirs or assignees of the sum of Thirty two thousand pounds Sterling for each of the said vessels, or Ninety six thousand pounds Sterling for the whole three vessels, of which price Sixty thousand pounds Sterling shall be payable in cash, or by approved bills equal to cash, during the progress of the work; and the remaining Thirty six thousand pounds Sterling, being Twelve thousand pounds Sterling of the price of each of the said vessels, at the delivery of the said vessels respectively, as follows—viz., Five thousand pounds Sterling at the execution of these presents, Five thousand pounds Sterling on the Twelfth day of April next, and the like sum of Five thousand pounds Sterling on the Twelfth day of each of the succeeding months of May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December, Eighteen hundred and thirty nine, and of January and February Eighteen hundred and forty, making together the foresaid sum of Sixty thousand pounds Sterling payable during the progress of the work, upon which the said monthly payments shall cease, and there will remain due of the said contract price Thirty six thousand pounds Sterling, which the said Samuel Cunard Binds and obliges himself and his aforesaid to pay or secure to the said Robert Napier at one and the same time with receiving delivery of the said several vessels as follows: viz., the sum of Twelve thousand pounds Sterling at the delivery of each of the said vessels, and that in approved bills, at six months from the date of delivery of each vessel respectively, making up the said balance of Thirty six thousand pounds Sterling; or, in the option of the said Samuel Cunard, each of the said sums of Twelve thousand pounds Sterling may be divided into three approved bills of equal amount payable at six, nine, and twelve months from the date of the delivery of the said respective vessels; but in the event of exercising such option, the said Samuel Cunard shall be bound to include interest in the said bills at nine and twelve months after the rate of five per cent per annum for the period thereof to run after the lapse of six months from the date of delivery of the said vessels respectively till payment of the said several bills; provided always that it shall be lawful to and in the power of the said Samuel Cunard, or any person appointed by him, occasionally to visit the building yard or yards in which the said vessels may be built, as well as the engineer work or works in which the machinery may be constructed, to the effect and for the purpose of inspecting the state and condition of the said vessels and machinery, ascertaining the sufficiency of the materials .and workmanship, and seeing to the progress of the work. Provided further, that notwithstanding the noncompletion of the whole work, the different parts and portions of the said vessels and machinery, by virtue of the payment of the instalments herein before mentioned, shall from time to time be held as specifically appropriated to and vested in the said Samuel Cunard, subject to the right of the said Robert Napier to retain such parts and portions for the purpose of completing the work according to this agreement, and for his, the said Robert Napier, security of the prices of the said vessels so far as unpaid, the said vessels always remaining at the said Robert Napier’s risk until the same are respectively ready for delivery as aforesaid; after which the same shall be at the risk of the said Samuel Cunard. And further, the said Robert Napier hereby Binds and obliges himself and his aforesaid to have the said several vessels ready for trial and delivery on or before the days respectively hereinbefore specified, and that under the penalty of Five thousand pounds sterling, applicable to each of the said vessels, unless the completion of the same or any of them shall be prevented by the destruction thereof by fire before delivery, or any other cause which the said Robert Napier cannot possibly control, of which the arbiter hereinafter mentioned shall, in case of difference, be sole judge.

And both parties bind and oblige themselves and theirs aforesaid to implement, observe, and fulfil their. respective parts of the promises, as well as all decrees-arbitral to be pronounced in virtue of the submission after written each to the other in all respects according to the true intent and meaning of these. And in case any question, dispute, or difference shall arise between the said parties as to the real import of these presents or the execution and implement thereof, or in any manner of way in the premises at whatever time the same may arise, all such disputes and differences shall be and the same are hereby submitted and referred to the amicable decision, final sentence, and decree-arbitral of James Coins Melvill, Esq., Secretary to the East India Coy., whom failing, by non-acceptance, death, or otherwise, of William Connal, Esq., Merchant in Glasgow; and the decision of either of the said arbiters acting under this reference shall be final and conclusive to all intents and purposes. And both parties consent to the registration hereof, along with the decrees-arbitral, interim or final, to be pronounced in virtue of the submission hereinbefore written in the Books of Council and Session, or others competent therein, to remain for preservation, and that letters of horning on six days’ charge and all other legal execution necessary may follow herein in form as effeirs, and thereto constitute procurators.

In witness whereof these presents, written upon this and the three preceding pages of stamped paper by Robt. Henderson, clerk to Moncrieff & Paterson, Writers in Glasgow, are subscribed, along with a duplicate hereof, by Mr Samuel Cunard and Robt. Napier, before designed, at Glasgow the Eighteenth day of March Eighteen hundred and thirty-nine years; before these witnesses—Hugh Moncrieff, Writer in Glasgow, and the said Robert Henderson, writer hereof.

Hugh Moncrieff, witness.    S.    Cunard.
Robert Henderson, witness.    R.    Napier,


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