The Flying Cloud,
an extreme clipper, was launched 4/15/1851
at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston.
Per The Boston Daily Atlas, 4/25/1851, "her admirers are sanguine that she will
outsail any vessel in the world."
[thanx Lars Bruzelius of Maritime History Virtual Archives,
It all went well until the day we reached old Africa's shore,
And five hundred of them poor slaves, me boys, from their native land we bore,
Each man was loaded down with chains as we made them walk below,
Just eighteen inches of space was all that each man had to show.
"The Flying Cloud" ("John O'Halloran" etc.)
Seems there was only a single sailing ship ever of this name.
Frank Shay, in American Sea Songs and Chanteys, notes with some
outrage that the popular forebitter & sailor's-hangout song besmirches the name of
"the greatest of the clippers." He is upset at the notion this ship should be associated
with slave trade & piracy when "her life is an open book." The ship's description in the
song, however, clearly refers to the famous clipper ship.
Sometimes a song carries traditional information in addition to the actual verses.
The "Titanic," for example, must forever be linked with the issues of the "We ain't
hauling no coal" aspect as much as the Grandeur of first class and those locked in steerage.
© Abby Sale - all rights reserved