This chapter considers the transatlantic steam services. The voyages of the Sirius and the Great Western were the first ocean crossings, made far beyond the reach of repairs or refueling. Within a few years, regular transatlantic steam services would be available, transforming the delivery of the mails and offering new options for business with North America. The Sirius and the Great Western launched a new era of ocean steam navigation, in which steamers traveled further from land and became key elements of global, not just regional, transport and communications. The company of Samuel Cunard was always fixated on the absolute reliability needed by its mail contract. Chambers hoped that learning how other countries handled education, justice, religion, and politics might enable him to affect improvements for the humbler classes in Britain.
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