NARRATIVE OF VOYAGE OF "THE STAR OF TASMANIA"
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NARRATIVE OF VOYAGE OF
"THE STAR OF TASMANIA"
It is difficult to describe the appearance of the deck of "The Star of Tasmania" as she was warped out of St. Katherine's dock on the forenoon of Monday, 17th August, 1863. Everything seemed to be in utter confusion. Boxes, bales, sheep, pigs, poultry and such of the passengers as had come on board, formed a medley of inextricable disorder. A young emigrant tried to introduce harmony by solacing himself with an accordian, but he was overpowered by the antagonistic strains of an Irishman who blew a farewell pibroch with might and main from a pair of Highland bagpipes. As we passed through the dock gates the crew who had delayed beginning their servitude till the last moment, came leaping in and scrambling up the ship's side, mostly in such a condition as if they required a sleep before being fit for duty. We got into the Thames and a hawser being made fast to the steam-tug, away we went under the command of the Thames pilot, the spectators assembled on the quay giving us a hearty cheer which we returned and steamed slowly down to Gravesend with the tide where the vessel was anchored about 7 o'clock. During the passage we were all busily occupied putting our cabins and furnishings to rights and our berths speedily assumed a snug and comfortable appearance. Several of the Cabin passengers who had come down by rail here joined us. Being tired with the fatigues and excitement we retired early to rest, and passed the first night of our voyage on the narrow shelves allowed us for sleeping places, feeling very much like books stowed away in a book-case. My family and servants occupied four cabins forming the port side of the saloon, and my wife and I with one of the children, occupied the stern cabin on the same side.
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Next morning I went ashore at Gravesend to purchase a few necessaries still awanting. A dozen or two of brass or iron hooks and eyes with screw ends, and a quantity of twine are indispensable, in order to get everything slung up or conveniently stowed away. Deck canvas slippers with gutta percha soles will also be found a comfort, but I will afterwards speak more at length in regard to the requisites of an outfit. Having secured a copy of the day's "Times" I went on board, the waterman charging a shilling each way. In the course of the day a clerical-looking gentleman came on board who proved to be an Agent of the London Religious Tract Society. To every passenger he presented a neat packet done up in brown paper with the inscription "A farewell present to Emigrants from the Religious Tract Society." A number or two of the Leisure hour and a few appropriate tracts formed the contents of each parcel. Each of the children received a smaller packet in a yellow paper cover containing publications suitable to their years. This proof of the practical interest taken in their work by that great Christian Corporation, was very pleasing. Sowing seed by the wayside broadcast, much of it might fall on stony places, but some of it might by the blessing of God be received into good and honest hearts and produce fruit to His glory and the profit of men.
Two government inspectors appeared shortly afterwards, one of whom minutely surveyed the conditions of the ship, the various berths, the boats, furnishings and provisions, and satisfied himself that the requirements of the Passengers' Act had been attended to.
One of the boats had to be hoisted alongside and another partially caulked, which was done on the spot. The other as the medical authority examined the surgeon on board as to his qualifications, and inspected the intermediate and steerage passengers to see there was no infectious disease among them. On a previous occasion he had kept a gentleman and his family from
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sailing because one of the children had the whooping cough. All the emigrants, as the intermediate and steerage passengers are called were paraded before the inspectors, and had to deliver up one half of their contract tickets, to be used probably against the shipping agents or owners, in the event of any infringement of the laws passed to restrain the selfishness of such men as would, if they could, screw all the profit possible out of their passengers. These preliminaries over, a case of champagne was opened, and the toast of a prosperous voyage given by one of the ship's agents who had come down to see that all was right. It was now that we felt that the last ties which linked us to the Old Country were about to be severed, it might be for ever. Kind friends who had accompanied us this length were about to take leave and we would then start on a voyage of fourteen thousand miles to a new home. That our last act in bidding farewell to our home of the past, and our first in beginning the long unknown journey before us should be drinking toasts seemed greatly out of place, and we were glad when a clergyman from London who had come down to see a friend depart was asked to implore the Divine blessing on us all, which he did commending us to the care of Him who is at once the God of the sea as well as the land. Our friends now left us to start by train for London. Hurried embraces, stifled sobs, trickling tears, waving of handkerchiefs till the boat touched the shore and the parting was over.
We now turned in and next morning found us under canvas in the mouth of the Thames, our voyage commenced in earnest. Our ship was in good trim, laden with a general cargo of 1000 tons, 700 of which were wine and spirits, shewing that the production of gold demands the gratification of the sensual appetites to a great degree. Many marvellous stories are told of the capacity of the diggers for extravagance. One old man worked his passage in the "Star" last voyage, who had made £1500 at the diggings and spent it all
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in a few weeks at Dunedin. He was reduced to such destitution that the Captain had to advance him a trifle for his outfit. He was scarcely in his right mind when he came on board, and when he recovered his senses a few days afterwards and understood the full extent of his folly he could hardly he prevented throwing himself overboard. Twice over previously he had done the same thing at Melbourne, squandered away the fruits of his toil, and at last he returned to London a poor penniless grey-headed man. We had on board a crew of twenty-nine including officers, twenty-two cabin passengers, and forty-one steerage and intermediate, counting children - being ninety-two souls.
The ship's complement was, a captain, three mates, surgeon, steward and his two mates, Cook and Cook's mate, Carpenter and his mate, butcher, two sailmakers, twelve able seamen, one indifferent and an apprentice. Ten of them were working their passage out, and the likelihood is that the most of the crew will desert for the diggings when they get to Port Chalmers. The Captain and second mate were Scotch - the one being from Dundee and the other from Aberdeen. The carpenter was from Dysart, and one of the crew was from Leith. There were two or three Irishmen, an Austrian from Trieste, a South American from Chili, a German (a sail-maker) from Holstein, and the rest were English, excepting the Steward and Cook who were negroes. The Steward - Sam - from Sierra Leone was quite a character. If he was asked to do anything he said he would do it with the greatest animosity, and under a veil of simplicity he covered a considerable degree of shrewdness and knowledge of men. He had been brought up in a Man of War - or as the Captain phrased it, educated under "Andrew Miller," had been thro' all the chief places in the Mediterranean, at Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and different towns in Palestine. He knew his Bible well, but had odd ways of applying it. One day he was told he was not good. There is none good, he answered, no, not one. On another occasion he wanted
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to answer some charge and said "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Paul thou art permitted to speak for thyself." He also read Shakespeare which he quoted. With all this he was a capital baker both of bread and pastry, and did his best to make us comfortable, at the same time putting all the drudgery on his mates, who were barely up to their duties. He would bake a nice cake for a friend, and he made no end of trifles for the children to whom he took amazingly.
In the afternoon the tide having failed us and the wind being against our getting down the channel we anchored in the Downs opposite Deal where the Thames pilot left us burdened with a number of letters from the passengers. Next morning (Thursday Aug. 20) on going on deck I found we had got under way, had rounded the South Foreland and were passing Dover. The lofty chalk cliffs, the castle and extensive fortifications, the numerous fine houses facing the sea were all objects of great interest. We went on at 9 knots an hour under the charge of the Channel pilot, and as there was a good deal of sea we all felt more or less uncomfortable, and were thankful to lie in a state of mere endurance, at full length on the deck wrapped in plaids, and our heads pillowed on signal flags. The wind not being quite fair we had a head sea into which the vessel pitched heavily, sprinkling the spray over the forecastle, and in the uneasy motion giving us a severe apprenticeship of life on board. We wore down channel, the pilot making the best of the wind. Many and peremptory were his orders. "Helm hard-a-lee," "Tacks and sheets," "Topsail haul," and similar expressions were never out of his mouth. Friday afternoon found us well down past Torquay, and the difficulty now was how to get the pilot ashore. He expressed himself quite willing to go all the way with us, on the understanding that he was to be paid for his time. Luckily a fleet of Dartmouth fishing smacks were in the offing, the crew of one of which
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noticed our Union Jack flying as a signal, and came alongside. They drove a hard bargain with the pilot and as there was no choice he had to submit to their extortion. These fellows think nothing of asking £5 to put a passenger ashore from a homeward bound ship, and as there are always some eager to reach dry land and escape the perils of the Channel navigation, which are not few, any sum they ask is readily paid. Another parcel of letters had been made up - our farewell communications, and away went the pilot with them, his money in his pocket and a bottle of gin in each hand, amid the parting cheers of the passengers. Shortly after another of the fishing boats with two men came alongside. They offered an enormous crab for sale. A shilling they spurned at. They could get eighteen pence in the market any day. Eager bidders quickly offered eighteen pence and two shillings, but their bids were rejected. The price fixed was "a stick of baccy and two bottles of grog." The tobacco was brought and given them, and then half-a-crown offered by two competitors. To shew they were in earnest each held out his half-crown in his hand. Both were taken, the crab handed up, and the boat immediately cast off, leaving the buyers to adjust their claims as they best could, while the vendors pocketed five shillings and a "stick of baccy." The captain sagely observed, "I never give anything over the ship's side till I get the article I want in my hand;" an observation rather reflecting on the state of morality afloat. Just after the pilot left two of the steerage passengers climbed the weather shrouds of the foremast to look about them. A seaman immediately followed and tied them hard and fast to the shrouds, from which they were not liberated until they had each paid a fine in the current coin of the channel, "a stick of baccy." Any of the passengers who ventured on the rigging afterwards were served in a similar manner, until they had paid for their footing with a bottle of grog. Once or twice there was an amusing chase after some of the saloon youngsters
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who had ventured into the mizen top, by the mate, but they continued to give him the slip by running down some of the side ropes and reaching deck with warmer hands than was agreeable. Any of the cabin inmates who ventured within the limits of the forecastle had his shoes chalked instantly and the marks could only be obliterated by the usual composition, a bottle of grog. Next day there were indications that the laxity of discipline usually tolerated during the first few days of the voyage was at an end. A notice was put up restricting the poop for the use of the saloon passengers, the supply of water hitherto unlimited was duly measured out at the rate of three quarts per head, and the captain was overhauling his sextant indicative of our departure for the open sea. The sailmaker constructed a small conical canvas bag to be attached to the log-line, and sundry preparations were made. Considerable death among the poultry was reported. This almost always happens during the first few days at sea. The change of diet, confinement and perhaps inattention, play havoc among them, and this made me view with suspicion the dishes of stewed fowl which were common at this time. Disease also broke out amongst the pigs, and out of 22 taken on board two thirds died or had their throats. cut and the carcases thrown overboard. This and the general toughness and leanness of the poultry induced me to believe that the ship's caterers had taken the opportunity to get rid of stock unsaleable on shore. Had they been good the allowance was liberal and sufficient to ensure a supply of fresh meat during the voyage. The ordinary proportion of live stock is a sheep, a pig, and a dozen of fowls, for each cabin passenger. We had also an abundance of preserved provisions, and as the Cook and Steward were both sober and clever there was little room for complaint against the diet, barring the condition of the pigs and poultry. The usual breakfast hour was 9, and when we got beyond our first supply of chops and steaks, there was always
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on the table a curry of mutton and rice, with the addition of boiled bacon and salt fish and potatoes or fried ham, an abundance of tea and coffee, rather of poor quality, and fresh bread, often new rolls, and salt butter, completed the repast. At noon luncheon was spread, bread, biscuit, cheese, sardines or pickled salmon, and butter. About 4 the dinner bell rang, and the following was the bill of fare: Soup preserved, varied once a week with preserved fresh Salmon; joint of mutton or pork; fowls; mutton and beef pies; boiled salt beef; potatoes, carrots, parsnips; plum-pudding, currant pie, gooseberry pie; bread and cheese; and on Sundays figs, raisins, nuts and almonds. Those who desired it ordered wine, pale ale or stout, but the liquors appeared to be of very inferior quality. Tea at 7 with bread, biscuit, butter and preserves, completed the day's entertainment. As the major part of the cabin passengers were young men it was astonishing to see the quantities of viands which disappeared under the force of their appetites whetted by the keen sea-air.
On Sunday 28th August we had a day's uneasy sailing, the wind dead against us, and the weather foggy. By no skill could the roast goose at dinner time be made to keep its place. A cascade of gravy over the side of the assiette first happened and the greasy flow spread over the table-cloth, lubricating an inclined plane for the bird itself which slid across until arrested just as it was about depositing itself in a passenger's lap. At seven o'clock evening the Scilly Isles in rugged gloom were revealed through an opening in the mist, bearing about five miles to the north west. The ship's course was immediately changed to the Southward, and we bade adieu to Old England at last. This properly speaking was the commencement of our voyage, as the number of days at Sea is always counted from this last sight of land and extends to the first sight of land near the port of destination. It was a relief to
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get clear of the channel. Notwithstanding that vessels are bound to have a green and a red light to mark their port and starboard sides, to sound fog horns, and adopt other precautions against collisions, yet accidents are not unfrequent, and the outward bound mariner is always glad to find himself in the open sea.
Next week was spent in the Bay of Biscay, and it did not belie its ancient character. We had the wind dead against us and had to tack repeatedly. The weather was also squally, keeping us very much in the passive voice, finding amusement in the occasional drenching by a sea of some of our companions. We had a fresh breeze on Tuesday. The sea was in a "yeast of waves" - the long rollers crested with innumerable white breaking tufts, while the troughs of the billows were filled with a tumultuous multitude of minor surges, representing on a smaller scale the commotion visible in every direction. Occasionally when waves met they broke into a small cloud of spray, forming in the sunshine a series of mimic rainbows. One night when there was little sleep going an unruly pig broke loose from its abode on deck about 3 a.m. and trotted into the Saloon. Taking the first open door it insisted unceremoniously in getting into bed beside one of the passengers, and was ejected with difficulty from his cabin. The noise awoke several others and as the stupid beast shewed the obstinate wilfulness of its race by going every way but the one wanted, it careered round and round the Saloon, affording the excitement of a pig-hunt in novel circumstances. The officer on duty, having come to the help of the. hunters it was finally driven out and secured amid much laughter and after the expenditure of several sticks. During the week we had more or less rain every day, and one night a good deal of thunder and lightning in the horizon, the lightning exceedingly vivid and seen against the dark background in brilliant and fearful magnificence. The intervals
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of sunshine were chiefly spent on deck, sea-sickness having almost disappeared. Quoits of tarred rope were made and the young men amused themselves playing with them on the poop. A square was marked out on the deck with chalk, and subdivided into nine parts each bearing a number. A semicircle at the top was marked "10 on," and another semicircle at the side next the player was marked "10 off". If the quoit when thrown landed in the latter space, ten was deducted from the score of the player, which received additions if it remained on any of the other numbers without being struck off. On the Saturday (Aug. 29) we sighted the bold rugged land in the neighbourhood of Finisterre, and had to stand away to the north to secure a good offing. The wind was variable and uncertain. A squall struck the vessel and carried away the maintop-gallant-mast, snapping it close to the cross-trees as if it load been the stem of a tobacco pipe instead of a stout spar ten inches in diameter. The maintop-gallant and royal sails were carried away with the mast, but nothing fell overboard except the truck. The whole hung dangling in a wreck of confusion, but it was not long before the broken mast was lowered and everything securely stowed. The carpenters immediately commenced to make a new mast out of a spare spar and everything was put to right in a couple of days. That same evening there was a tremendous noise and crash, the whole ship staggering. I rushed out of my cabin into the Saloon expecting to find that a sea had driven in the entire skylight. A heavy wave had struck the poop and lashed over the skylight pouring down thro' the ventilators and flooding the Saloon and all the lee-cabins. One of my servants had not screwed her port-light close, and the the same wave, having burst it open, threw a large spout across her bed into the Saloon, leaving an inch or two of water on her cabin floor, and floating every stray article. There were instant shouts for the Stewards and when it was seen there was no real
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danger the momentary panic gave place to talk and even laughter at the untowardness of the incident. Pails, dustpans, and swabs were brought into use and the water finally bailed out, some of the odd volumes lying about having been first reduced almost to pulp. Whatever the fright of the Saloon party was, it was nothing to the terror and discomfort of the lower deck passengers. The body of the wave had broken on the open hatches deluging their cabin with more than a foot of water and extinguishing all the lights. Some of the females fainted away under the impression that the ship was going down. Eventually they got rid of the water, but had to lie in damp beds all night, learning however the useful lesson absolutely necessary on board to keep the hatches shut in squally weather, and to allow nothing to lie loosely about. Besides the liability to be damaged by water any article left astray has a mysterious tendency to disappear. No book, or piece of work or knife, or indeed anything, should ever be left on deck, as it is certain not to be found when the owner returns to look for it. Nowhere is the rule "A place for everything, and everything in its place," more imperatively required to be practised than at sea, and hence the value of the ball of twine and brass hooks we mentioned before. Each cabin should also be furnished with a number of voluminous linen pockets.
After a good deal of boxing about we at last doubled Finisterre, and saw our last of the continent of Europe, having spent eight days contending with the turbulence of the Bay. The Saturday. night's sea carried away one of the projecting booms at the ships bows called her "whiskers" which was replaced by a new one, a good many spare spars being on board. The captain was fairly out of humour with the week's work. The continual sailing southward only to tack about, and the fickleness of the wind, made him lose patience, and declare these latitudes well deserved their name "the roaring forties" and that we would get no peace till we got out of them. We had occasional amusement watching
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the shoals of porpoises tumbling about, leaping high out of the water, and running excitedly along as if competing with us in a race. Mother Carey's chickens also made their appearance in our wake, flying about a and tripping cleverly on the surface of the water. They are also called "Stormy Petrels," because it is said they indicate stormy weather and like Peter the Apostle walk on the waves. They are about the size of a lark, black with white rump, and like all seabirds untiring on the wing. They do not appear to be confined to any locality, as they kept us company all along, in the South Sea as well as the North Atlantic. During this initiation into life at sea we were struck by the singing of the sailors as they pulled on the ropes. The airs had a melancholy cadence about them, but the words had not much to recommend them. One generally took the lead, and the others joined in the chorus, giving a hearty pull together when they got to the last word. - The most common was:
. . "Haul upon the bowline
. . The Captain is a-growling.
Chorus: Haul upon the bowline, the bowline - haul.
. . Haul upon the bowline
. . To keep the ship from rolling.
Chorus: Haul upon the bowline, the bowline - haul."
another which was sung in pumping ship had considerable variety in its narrative but a verse will suffice:
. . "Stormy was a good old man
Chorus: Away you storm along.
. . I wish I was old Stormy's son
. . I would give my sailors plenty of rum.
Chorus: Away you storm along."
On Monday (Aug. 31) a fair wind from the N. E. sprang up and away we went with weather studding-sails set, making 190 miles for our first days direct course. Next day our position at noon was 41° 34' N. Lat and 12° 35' W. Longitude. For the remainder of that week we
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made steady progress with as much canvas up as could be spread, and the motion so equable, that when sitting at table we could not say the vessel was moving. Saturday found us in Lat. 32° 17' N. and Long. l8° 20' W. the temperature considerably warmer. Collars and cotton shirts disappeared, the former re-appearing at dinner time, and varieties of costume adapted for the tropics came out. One gentleman donned a suit of white linen, another created a sensation in a light blue flannel jacket, red woollen shirt and white flannel trousers, and I felt myself suitably clothed in wearing the linen blouse of No. l Coy. P.R.V. above my flannel shirt. Vests were wholly discarded as superfluous. The sea was now of a deep transparent blue broken into innumerable wavelets, becoming of a dark indigo as a cloud passed over it. The blue colour marks the great depth as it is only in soundings that the water takes a greenish hue. After dark, and here the night darkened almost instantaneously without. the lingering twilight of "home," numerous phosphorescent sparks broke out of the foam in the ship's wake, and sometimes might be seen in the breaking summit of a wave. The heavenly bodies were very lustrous, the pole star declining low and the familiar "Plough" ranging near the horizon, indicating how soon we were to lose its light associated with many dear recollections of the past. During the day we had a number of flying showers, which were always well defined on the horizon. The rainbows seen from end to end, there being nothing to mar the vast tinted arch, were very beautiful, and they were sometimes observed to be double, a bow of lesser brightness being visible, within a large one outside. The Saturday was also distinguished by the publication of the first number of "The Star of Tasmania," a folio sheet of manuscript circulated throughout the ship as a weekly newspaper. Its contents were, A short leader counselling to harmony throughout the voyage and giving encouragement to intending settlers, a narrative of the voyage, an account of the pig-hunt, some particulars of Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand, selected from "Men of Time," explanation of New
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Zealand constitution and politics, letters to the Editor on "sea-sickness," cleanliness in steerage, music on deck at late hours, several riddles and three quizzical advertisements. The paper continued for eight weeks when it was stopped, the mate having taken offence at an article complaining of noise on deck and foolishly imagined it was intended to apply to him personally. The objectionable paragraph may be quoted: "On Thursday Evening about 11.45 p.m. the measured tread of men on the poop was heard resounding through the cabins below and disturbing the rest of those who had turned in. It was throught at first that as stricter discipline is required in these breezy latitudes Mr. Beesley was instructing his men in the mysteries of the goose step and that the roll of the seaman was to be exchanged for the measured step of the boiled lobster. But the sound of the heels was more akin to the noise produced by a more patient animal than either goose or gander, and the ponderosity of the feet betokened great lightness of head. We have not pursued an enquiry further into this matter, especially as on reflection we are satisfied that the untimely noise proceeded doubtless from some who thought more of their own pleasure than their neighbours' comfort, a habit of mind which in the end will be very mischievous to the unfortunate possessors of it." It proved rather a difficult matter to carry on this small periodical without giving offence to someone. The contributors generally thought fit to make the point of their communications depend on some personal hit or allusion which was sure to be ill taken by the individual victimised. Some of the passengers drew together of a night and occupied the mate's cabin while he was on duty for the purposes of jollification. The party was called "Sam's school," and the following advertisement appeared concerning them: "Advertisement. An Evening class is now forming for instruction in Mensuration of liquids, compound proportion and reduction. Lessons also given on the moistening of clay and the use of the letters O.D.V. The tuition is carried on with spirit made sweet and pleasant
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to the pupils,, and weekly reports afterwards furnished of their progress. The lessons occasionally begin and end in smoke. For charges and other particulars apply to 'Sam.' N.B. No school in the Evenings when Sam is scarce, but the time is profitably employed in a searching enquiry after him." The weekly reports are the Steward's bills which are paid every Monday, Sam in order to escape the importunity of his customers occasionally disappeared and had to be sought for over the ship.
The opportunity of the calm weather was embraced to get up from the hold the boxes marked "Wanted on the voyage" and changes of raiment and the stowage away of articles not required was the rule. A kind of shower bath was fitted up on deck close to the gang-way. It was a square or cubical canvas bag with eyelet holes in the bottom, suspended at a proper height to allow a man to stand under it. Every morning at six when the ship's engine was playing to wash the decks this bag was filled and anyone standing under it was bathed in a strong stream of deliciously refreshing salt-water. I took this benefit daily while in the warm latitudes and enjoyed it much, my comfort being attended to by Sam who had a mugful of hot coffee always ready. The best suit of sails was now taken down and a set of old ones bent piecemeal as strong enough for the tropics where in the calms the ship's canvas is often wasted flapping idly on the masts. During the following week we had a steady run to the South East under the genial influence of the North-East trade-winds, often going at 10 knots an hour, and Saturday (Sep. 12) found us fairly becalmed in 10° 45' N. Lat and 24° 58' W. Longitude. There is a calm belt here where the Northern and Southern trade-winds meet each other, and days are spent creeping through it every cat's paw being anxiously watched for. On the previous Sunday when in 25° N. Latitude I saw what was like a flock of chaffinches in autumn fluttering over the crest of a billow, their whitish sides
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gleaming in the sun and the wings in rapid motion. In a few seconds they all plunged into the water out of sight. This was a shoal of flying fish scared by the ship and getting out of the way to leeward as quickly as possible. More were seen in the course of the day. Their hacks were of a greenish colour. Their motion in the air was a regular flight, the wings being distinctly in motion, not a mere leap out of the water. Three were found on dock one morning having flown on hoard. When cooked they had a rich oily taste, and were about the size of small herring. These flighty and timid fish were more or less seen daily till we reached 29° S. Lat. when they disappeared. On that same Sunday we had service on the poop. A flour-barrel was brought up, and covered with the Union Jack served for a reading stand. The congregation consisting of 40 persons sat round some on chairs and camp-stools, others on a rolled-up sail and all were conveniently accommodated. The ship's bell tinkled forth the hour of prayer, and after its summons was past, a portion of the Church of England morning service was read, followed by the singing of the hymn "O for a heart to praise my God, A heart from sin set free," manuscript copies of it having been prepared and distributed. The first half of the 14th chapter of Mark was then read, and its two grand lessons enforced, the difference betwixt Divine and human judgment, and the kindness of our Great Master who only expects each to do their duty according to their ability. "She hath done what she could." All appeared to enjoy the service which was simple and impressive. The little floating temple, out of sight of land, afar on the wilderness of waters, with its assembly of humble earnest worshippers, realising in their circumstances the Majesty and the power of God as well as His loving care was a peculiar illustration of our Saviour's saying, "The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father." It is at such a time that the adaptation of the gospel to man's spiritual necessities, wherever he may be placed is forcibly realised. The
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service was continued every Sunday, weather permitting. When it was too cold on deck the meeting was held in the Saloon. The surgeon Mr. Gosse read the prayers and I undertook the reading of the chapter selected, offering a few simple remarks as might be suggested by the subject of the context. Some of the youngsters began now to complain of the heat during night or affected to do so, and slept on deck, but the discomfort of sleeping in their clothes, and of being roused up at half past five when the decks were washed, as well as a swoln tonsil or two speedily led to a cessation of the practice. One had a cot slung on deck under the boats and another a hammock, but in the end these were not found to be so pleasant as their ordinary berths. I was agreeably disappointed in my anticipations regarding the tropical heat, which was greatly tempered by the steady breeze. An awning was spread over the poop, under which the air was delightfully cool, and fresh air was introduced into the Saloon by a wind-sail. At night I slept with my cabin window open and a single sheet for a covering and never felt in the slightest degree uncomfortable from the heat. I never observed the thermometer above 84° in my berth, and on the warmest day we had it only marked 98° in the sun and 86° in the Saloon. The days were spent pleasantly under the awning in reading and conversation and several had recourse to whist as a pastime. The man at the wheel had an old sail fitted up as a sunshade. One of the steersmen looked with envy on the gentlemen playing at cards, considering their employment as the perfection of human bliss. He observed, "I wish I had been born with a lot of money to sit under the awning and play at cards all day." Poor fellow, little did he know that those whose occupation he so much coveted would gladly have exchanged the card-playing, the awning, and all the apparent luxury and ease, for the bustle and fatigue of their daily avocations on shore. On Wednesday (Sep. 9) we passed San Antonio one of the Cape de Verde islands discovered by the Portuguese 200 years ago.
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The land was exceedingly bold and lofty, the summit of the mountain being far above a layer of clouds, while its rugged sides unadorned with a single tree, were seamed by many a ravine, and it altogether presented a grand and unexpected scene of wild desolation. Occasionally the sky assumed a hazy colour as if its azure were washed over with pearly white, the sea giving back the same dull tint, betokening the increased heat. On Wednesday Evening I had a scripture reading in the Steerage concluding with prayer. This was continued every Wednesday and Sunday throughout the voyage, and judging from the attendance and interested countenances was much enjoyed. The emigrants were in general a sober sober [sic] and steady set, especially the men in the fore steerage to whom I read. In addition to two boys from the Wellington Reformatory sent out through the kindness of Sir Adam Hay, there was a blacksmith from Fife, a miller from Kincardineshire, a farmer's son from Stanley, Perthshire, a schoolmaster and small farmer from Donegal, a young draper and a blacksmith from Devonshire, and several others. All had some tie with the new country. A brother or some friend who had written for them were there as pioneers, I was much pleased by the quiet peaceable demeanour they all uniformly exhibited. They were divided into messes of six each and apportioned the labour of looking after the food and cleaning up among themselves. Two had to mess separately as a little jealously had arisen betwixt them and their companions in reference to the supplies. They spoke nothing but Welsh at meal-times, and the others thought they were evil-spoken of without any chance of answer, so a disruption took place. These humble emigrants were on the whole the best conducted passengers on board. Some of the intermediates took more strong drink than was good for them in purse or person, and there was more indifferent beer and coarse spirits consumed by some in the Saloon than was conducive. to their own comfort or that of those temporarily associated with them. The favourite rendezvous was the mate's cabin, and as their potations
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led to their not going to bed in time, there was a feeling of danger and insecurity until they were fairly in their berths for the night. The price of liquor was kept purposely high, the beer, which was not of good quality being a shilling a bottle, spirits 3/6. To the intermediates the beer was charged l/3 and the spirits 4/- a bottle but these high prices did not prevent the consumption to an immoderate extent by some although their cash had run short and they had literally to beg for credit. There was however no direct annoyance from the tipplers as had been on the previous voyage when one drunken fool disturbed the others every night, insulting the ladies, and getting down on his back with his heels up in the air, calling loudly for a cab, rather a strange demand in the middle of the Atlantic. As might have been expected this saloon passenger came afterwards to grief and bullock driving.
On Sunday (Sep. 13) when we were lying becalmed, the sails trimmed to catch the least breath of air, some excitement was created by the discovery that a vessel about a mile from us was letting down a boat. Binoculars were brought into requisition and we soon saw that the boat was making for us. A debate ensued as to the purport of the visit, who the party might be, and even as to the colour of the boat. Some suggested an overhaul by the Alabama, but all agreed that there were ladies on board, a parasol and a red shawl being visible Our fears were allayed by our making out the English colours at the gaff-end of the ship, but whether the boat was green or white and who were its occupants, there was a division of opinion. It neared us at length and on coming alongside was received with three cheers by the passengers and crew who had mustered forward which were re-echoed by those assembled on the poop. A rope was quickly thrown and made fast and a party of six officers of the H. M. 19th Regt. stepped on board. They had been seventeen days Out from Cork in the troop-ship Fanny Forsyth, bound for Rangoon, with
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500 men, and the staff of the regiment including the band. They went below and discussed a case of champagne, remaining till the signal was given from their ship, "Come on board," when they left rather reluctantly. They praised their own vessel and the accommodation, although some of them seemed inclined to cram their audience, speaking of their having 300 dozen of fowls on board and other circumstances equally fabulous. They made themselves very pleasant and agreeable and seemed to enjoy the escapade from their daily routine. They declared they had a merry time of it and were quite willing to be becalmed there a month. Fencing and single-stick on deck, and rifle practice at three bottles lashed together and thrown into the sea, formed their principal amusements. They had no scruples as to the unhealthiness of Rangoon, and believed that it had been much improved of late, that the cholera year which was once in six years, had just passed, and were satisfied to trust in "luck and Providence". Merry, frank and lively fellows they had not a thought or care beyond the present moment, and had no consuming anxiety to distress them. There was only sleeping accommodation on board for two thirds of the men, one third being always on duty, as a watch on deck. Those below slept in hammocks slung side by side in rows, which were all brought up during the day and the whole space between decks thoroughly cleansed. Our visitors left at mid-day, and in the afternoon we had service on the poop. Just before it was over the mates left their seats and went astern. One of the passengers became uneasy in his seat, and at last yielded to his impulse and went after them. They all returned to their seats shortly. A hook baited with pork had been dangling astern. A splash in the water indicated that a shark had taken it and the man at the wheel beckoned to the mate. They had hauled him almost on board when the monster gave such a wrench as almost straightened the hook, so that it fell out of his mouth and he dropped all right into the water. We went down to dinner the mate declaring that since the shark had got off we would
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never get to the line. There was no chance of a wind till he was caught. After dinner there was a cry that the shark was in our wake. Another hook was baited which speedily attracted his attention, and on he came swimming slowly round and round it, and then turning half on his back he nibbled with it in his capacious jaws. The sight was exciting. The lithe and powerful creature curved round and round with his huge shovel-shaped head cutting through the water, his pectoral fins waving like large fans, and his unequally-lobed tail moving rapidly from side to side, and he shewing no fear for the crowd of gazers watching his every motion. The whole of the passengers were fascinated by the movements of the ravenous animal which they watched closely over the stern-rail There was a bone in the first bait, and it was not till a more fleshy piece of pork was substituted that he was at last fairly hooked. He was suspended in the water till a bowline was dropped down and made fast above-his tail. A willing pull on the line was then made, and with a shout of revengeful triumph the captive monster was laid walloping on deck, striking his tail wildly about in all directions. The children were variously affected, some of them crying and others in a whirl of excitement. The victim was soon dragged off the poop forward to the main deck where one of the men instantly severed the head and tail with an axe. Even thus dismembered the body shewed signs of life by moving about. In a few minutes it was cut up in pieces every one seizing at what he wanted, the back-bone being secured for a walking-stick and the jaws as a trophy. The catching of the shark proved to be the prelude of the wind which sprang up in the Evening and away we went at about eight knots an hour. Five vessels had been becalmed within our horizon and they all began to disperse. The Fanny Forsyth continued within sight till the following Saturday when she dipped her Ensign three times bidding us farewell which was duly returned and both vessels parted company. We had crept on together during the week six degrees of latitude. There were occasional heavy and welcome showers of rain. The scuppers
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of the poop ran like a well. A hose was attached and the opportunity taken to fill some of the tanks of which there are 14 holding 300 gallons each, besides fixtures in the hold containing 3000 gallons. Water casks are now quite exploded, the tanks being made of iron plates riveted. The passengers were also busy catching the water in buckets and pails and a general renovation of dirty apparel took place. Young men whose hands had never been in a washing-tub before were busy scrubbing their shirts and stockings as if they had been used to it. In the cool of the evenings the seamen and steerage passengers amused themselves with a simple game on deck. The players stood in single file, the foremost man with his hands at his ears to protect them from the smart slaps of those behind him. When he received a blow he turned quickly round and selected the person whom he thought to be guilty and led him round the whole by his ear. If he was wrong in his choice the man erroneously taken led him round by the ear and back to his place. If he was in the right, the selected victim to took the first place while the liberated leader went to the rear. The shouts and laughter which burst from the players showed that the game was heartily enjoyed.
Next Sunday (Sep. 20) we reached our farthhest point of Easting in this part of our voyage. We had been carried by the wind in the direction of a large circle following the outline of the African Coast, and were now within the influence of the South-East trades. In Latitude 3°13' N. and Long. 15°21' W. the ship's head was turned to the South-west so as to cross the Equator at 22° W. Long. If a vessel be thrown any further to the West it has difficulty in weathering Cape San Roque in South America. On Monday afternoon when near the line the ship running along with a good breeze and a clear sky - air cool - we were hailed by Neptune's Secretary who came on board with his Mail-bag of letters. The one addressed to me was as follows: "Atlantic Ocean. Whereas I Neptune King of the Seas having perceived the
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Star of Tasmania approaching near the line I send my Secretary with these presents to inform you that he will hold a coart on hoard the said ship to shave and give the freedom of the Seas to all those who have not crossed the line before and hope for the presence of yourself. I am, Faithfully Yours, Neptune."
On the following day (Sep. 22d.) the grand ceremony took place which was thus described in the Newspaper. "On Tuesday last the grand dramatic naval spectacle called 'The Court of Neptune' was performed with unprecedented success in Latitude Number one, by a select party of the Crew of The Star of Tasmania. On the preceding Evening Neptune sent his Secretary to announce the approaching event, who hailed the ship and came on board in due form with his Mail-bags. He was introduced to the Captain and although he appeared to have come out of the briny deep he did not seem to be the worse of liquor. He distributed all the letters to the passengers with appropriate observations, judiciously naming Miss F. as 'a nice young lady.' He then left the poop to seek for the mate and took the opportunity of skylarking after some of the maids on board, and employment inconsistent with the duty of a ninion of the azure deep who is presumed to know nothing of waists except the waist of a ship. Alarmed at his own earthliness he vanished into the boat in a blaze of light, and the meteoric vehicle was seen cresting the waves for miles astern by the wondering passengers gathered on the poop. As the light danced on the billows the Captain said it was a steamboat, and some very prosaic people said it was a burning barrel of tar, but it was like neither one nor other and was nothing else than the Secretary on his way to report progress to his master, or to look out for the ship with the red coats somewhere in these seas. Next days the strains of the bagpipes announced the procession of Old Neptune and his wife and myrmidons around the deck, but before this a sailful of the watery element had been introduced on deck, in which some of the youngsters were disporting
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to see how they would relish their bath afterwards. The usual operation soaking first and a carry afterwards was reversed, as in this instance some of them were carried first and then well soaked to their great delight. Curious arithmetical questions were illustrated. Mr. Perry seemed always ready to carry one, and the doctor was proved to be equal to two mates in the rule of three. The procession round the decks was very imposing. Preceded by the piper blowing a lively strain to the disgust of a 'sufferer' on came the hero with a grand coronet supplied for the occasion by Gillon & Co. of Leith, from which his flowing locks in wavy tresses surrounded his head and shoulders. His heard descended to his middle, and around his nether man was a tangled mass - a beautiful imitation of the sea-weeds which cover the fields in his wide domain. In his hand was his sceptre tipped with a dried gold fish, and his whole deportment was very becoming his exalted station. His queen was suitably dressed and she was a fitting partner to her worthy spouse. She looked as if she knew something of the sea, and she kindly welcomed the ladies to her azure halls. The twinkle of her eye was expressive of the satisfaction she had in saluting so many kind friends who had come so far to see her. After them came his Majesty's physician with his assistant and his tray of medicines exceedingly well got-up. Then the barber and his mate, like their work, and a whole posse of constables with their chief the body-guard of their sovereign. The procession having reached the appointed spot Neptune and his wife took their seats and Mike (one of the seamen) was summoned to the royal presence. The doctor first tapped his chest and carefully examined him, after which he strengthened him for the audience by a pleasant draught and he then took his seat between the royal pair. As he was not fit for the loving embrace of his queen he was ordered to get shaved first, which was done on the spot. He was blind-folded, a napkin
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thrown around him, and he then questioned, as to his place in the ship. On his answering he received a shaving brush full of scented shaving soap such as is used at Neptune's Court right into his mouth. Being well lathered he was scraped in a skilful way with a huge razor, and then the queen gave him a cordial hug, pinning him to her in the warmth of her affection, (she held two pins in her teeth with the points outwards), but lest he should he too much uplifted by such condescension he was immediately tumbled head over heels into the watery receptacle where he was well soused amid the laughter of the beholders. Earthy impurities being washed away he was received as a true son of Neptune and as duly impregnated with brine entitled to be called an old salt, What happened to Mike happened to a score of others, only several had an application of razor No. 2 (the blade being composed of a piece of old hoop iron with a notched edge), the greater number of the passengers submitting to the ordeal in the best of humour. Some seemed loath to leave the water and relished it as if they had been wild-fowl. Poor Bob (the Steward's mate) when he got up after his drenching made an attempt to jump overboard in his confusions, for which folly or for not obtaining a supply of liquor, he was in the course of the evening privately admonished by one of the performers who improved his. complexion by giving him a black eye. After the initiation a dashing after piece was gone through in which the performers poured bucketsful of water on each other so pathetically that there was not a dry eye amongst them. As a wind up the hose of the ship's engine being turned on the spectators they shared in the common emotion. A glass of rum round and a country dance in which Neptune nimbly footed it with his fair bride concluded this unrivalled spectacle which is deserving of being long remembered. The principal parts were exceedingly well sustained and could not be surpassed."
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The day after the ceremonial we actually crossed the line and by an unusual co-incidence both the ship and the sun were on the Equator at noon. The sun was exactly in the centre of the firmament above and the vessel right under it in the middle of the watery plain below. A pleasant breeze prevailed which rendered the air delightfully cool. "Where was the line?" was the question among the children, which was satisfactorily answered by one of the Domestics who had been told it could not be seen that day as it was slack. The surface of the sea was covered here and there with little fleets of animals of a blue colour having a semi-elliptical clear transparent gelatinous sail along their centre edge. At night the polar star had disappeared, and the light of the moon was so strong, that it was almost sufficient to read by on deck. The sunsets were exceedingly brilliant, the whole western horizon in a glow of bright orange red, reflected on the sea like burnished copper.
During the next ten days we ran rapidly to the South-west touching our most Westerly-point (29° 36' W. Long.) on 28 September being then on Lat. l2° 44' S. Our course then became South and East. We crossed the tropic of Capricorn on Oct. 2nd. The temperature had sensibly become cooler, the thermometer standing a at 76 in our cabin. The bathing in the morning was discontinued. It was a great disappointment that altho' we were now in the track of homeward bound vessels we did not fall in with any, so we had no chance of sending any letters home. We were now in the region of sea-birds and from the beginning of October till the end of our voyage we were followed unceasingly by numbers of Cape pigeons or Pentados, Albatrosses, Cape hens, Mollemokes, Whale birds, and our attached companions Mother Carey's chickens. These birds flew untiringly in endless circles in our wake, dashing down occasionally to catch at any refuse thrown overboard.
They were all remarkably strong on the wing, as they
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had no difficulty in getting ahead even although we were running at twelve miles an hour, and then circling hack astern of us. They added some animation to the scene as we sailed on for weeks with nothing visible but sea and sky. They also supplied amusement to the youngsters who occupied hour upon hour fishing for them. The Cape pigeons were easily caught by means of a cotton thread with a hook or bent pin on it floating astern. In flying past they got entangled in the thread with their wings and with a little skill were pulled on hoard. The other birds required a stronger line and a bait of a small piece of fat pork was added to the Albatross line. The Mollemokes caught were seven feet from tip to tip of wing and their beaks four and a half inches long. The albatrosses were ten feet from tip to tip of wing. All the birds were web-footed, and none of them could rise from the deck. While all their movements on the water were exceedingly graceful, they were ungainly in their motions on board, and seemed to have no power to raise themselves even with their immense wings. We had nothing on board to preserve the skins which I much regretted as I should have liked to have sent home specimens to add to the riches of the Chambers Institution - that noble and useful structure which becomes more highly prized when we no longer possess its valuable privileges.
On Oct. 7 when in Lat. 31° 30' S. and Long. 12° 45' W. the wind fell away and we were becalmed for three days. Another shark was caught and as usual the wind sprang up next morning. We here exchanged signals with the Lady Wharncliffe bound for the Cape. On the 14th we were in the Latitude of the Cape and on the meridian of Greenwich, running along at 13 knots an hour, the good ship quivering from stem to stern with the rapidity of the motion. The sea was rough, the crested summits breaking into gorgeously tinted spray in the sunshine. The air was cold and bracing, the thermometer being at 65 in our cabin. A few days afterwards
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we were surrounded by a large shoal of black fish, a kind of whale, tumbling along like large mill-wheels turning round in the water, and giving a snort as they came to the surface blowing. They were accompanied by a shoal of white porpoises, the whole mob making their way to windward as quickly as possible. By the 20th of Oct. we had run into forty degrees South latitude and into the longitude of the Cape from which we were South about 400 miles. We were now in the South sea where there is always a rolling sea from the West and a steady wind from the same direction. There being no land to break its course in the entire circle of the globe the billows assume massive and majestic proportions. The morning after passing the longitude of the Cape the sea presented an appearance altogether sublime. The breeze had freshened and everywhere as far as the eye could reach the huge surges were chasing each other, their tops crested with breaking foam, while the spacious watery valleys were beautifully flaked with white. Tossed on before the wind the good ship flew as if striving in swiftness with the sea, which ever and again to assert its mastery dashed an immense billow on its side which poured over on to the maindeck like a cataract, rendering locomotion there impossible except to the seamen in their long leathern jack-boots. We ran down to the 46th degree of South latitude and sailed almost due east, our course on the chart from day to day being almost as if drawn by a ruler. It is here that usually the calms of the Atlantic are compensated for and steady progress made running down the degrees of longitude at the rate of five and six a day. The weather became very chilly, with many snowy squalls. The decks were sometimes covered with snow which tempted the youths to a regular bicker. The thermometer was as low as 38 on deck and in the Saloon the atmosphere was uncomfortably cold. Passengers are seldom prepared for this and are not warned to have warm clothing for the biting wind that prevails in these southern seas. On Oct. 27 there was
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considerable excitement on deck by the report that land was visible. We had seen no land for seven weeks and altho' our landscape proved to be only a few rugged rocks and a barren snow-covered island, looming darkly through the fog, the sight gave us all great gratification. The group are called the Crozet islands and are destitute of inhabitants excepting a fishing station on the largest. The appearance of land precisely at the hour expected was of more importance as it satisfied the Captain that his reckoning was accurate, he being at the time, a little in perplexity owing to his best chronometer having given way. We continued our way eastwards with little variety of incident, at times the sea heavier than at others. An occasional wave would break over and twice the Saloon floor was deluged with water, affording amusement rather than annoyance. At night the sky was radiant with new constellations - the Clouds of Magellan and Southern Cross being conspicuous, while Sirius occupied a more prominent position than at home and the beautiful Orion was suspended above the horizon upside down. A half hour with the Captain formed my ordinary termination of the day on deck, and as our conversation invariably turned on "Shipwrecks and disasters at Sea," it may be imagined it was not a good soother at bed-time. It was scarcely agreeable when thousands of miles from land, when if anything had occurred destruction must have been certain, to be told of one ship which had been burned in the South Atlantic through a candle falling among a bundle of hay, the crew and passengers taking to the boats and providentially picked up by another vessel and carried back to St. Helena; or of the Ship Suffolk which off Australia had her whole stern driven in by a sea and was with difficulty carried into port. The force and weight of the waves was proved in another case 'where a sea struck the poop, stove in the side and went right through on the other side carrying away the mailbags and some dozen of
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passengers in a moment overboard. There were also the personal adventures of the Captain, his perils in the White Sea, a shipwreck in the Baltic when he almost had his feet frozen into his boots, and a narrow escape in the Black Sea during the Crimean War. He was one of nine vessels who had to run back for two hundred miles in a storm for the Bosphorus. His vessel and another got in at night but the seven others went ashore in false bay and all hands perished. Day after day with us passed quickly away and not once could it be said we had such a gale of wind as to create any fear of danger. For the most part full sail was kept on and we rapidly neared the land of our destination. When we reached 165 E Longitude the wind headed us from East and North and we were driven to the South. This was on Nov. 17th. After dinner a cry got up that land was in sight. The news was almost too good to be true and I rushed on deck to be certain, when I was delighted to hear a cheer burst from the passengers assembled on the forcastle. A large hilly island was looming in the horizon about 10 miles to the South East. Gradually as we neared it the outline became more distinct and numerous rocky islets were discernible, the whole forming a desolate groupe to the South of New Zealand called by the suspicious name of "The Snares." The largest island is 470 feet high and they are all destitute of vegetation their sole occupants being myriads of the Pentado or Cape pigeon. The wind continued adverse to our running up the Coast, and there was no help for it but to sail South and East, rather out of our way. Our fine little Alderney cow which had supplied the children with milk all the voyage died the day after passing the Snares. It had been seized with bronchitis from the exposure during the severe cold weather, and altho' skilfully treated by a German shepherd on board it did not recover. The dry hay and indifferent water were poor fare for it in its suffering. We tried to tempt it with flour and water and preserved carrots, but the
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mischief was too deeply seated and the inflammation spread rapidly and ended in mortification. Four days afterwards a favourable change of wind took place and we steered to the North. In the forenoon of Nov. 22nd a large hill was distinctly visible among the clouds, and as we bore down upon it the 'Captain said it was Cape Saunders, about 14 miles from the entrance into Dunedin. He recognised Saddle Hill in the distance and as we neared the coast a magnificent panorama developed itself. From Green Island to the Heads and the distant ranges beyond our adopted country stretched away reminding us strongly of the hills and valleys of our native land. It was Sunday but there was too much excitement and restlessness amongst us all for the service, altho' thankful acknowledgments were silently ascending to Heaven. Every one was on deck and each mile we approached nearer to the coast the interest increased. We could not tire gazing on the mountainous outline so pleasing to us after the monotony of the sea. New birds came about us - beautiful gulls with black wings having a white edge, and black ducks called Shag, with long necks, sometimes flying and at other times swimming with the neck and head above water and the whole body immersed. Coming near to the Heads we were noticed by the pilots in the cutter near the Signal Station. The Captain himself partook of the general excitement. "Mr. Beesley" he called out to the mate in a sharp tone, "Tack up," and away went the Union to the gaff end as a signal to the pilot. We were shortly after boarded by the pilot in command of the cutter who received a cordial welcome, so happy were we all to see a new face, and that a New Zealander. He brought several newspapers which were eagerly perused, and a couple of fresh cabouka - a fish of considerable size - which were cooked for dinner and much relished. The tide did not serve to take us across the bar that night so anchor was cast and we settled down to
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quietness after our excitement. In the Evening I went forward to the steerage to have a few parting words. We sang the second paraphrase and a Chapter in the New Testament was read and a few suitable remarks offered. We were about to close with prayer when old Mr. Mills a Miller from Forfarshire asked to be heard, and to my surprise presented me with an address from the steerage passengers expressive of their gratitude for the kindness I had manifested to them during the voyage and the instruction they had received "in the things which belonged to their everlasting peace," and concluding with good wishes to me and mine. These men in the steerage proved themselves throughout the voyage to be a set of steady respectable men, of the right sort for industrious colonists. On the previous Sabbath we sang together the following hymn I had written for the occasion of the close of our voyage. It is adapted to the air of the Sicilian Mariners' hymn:
Lord I in mercy Thou has led us;
Thou who man in peril saves
Through our weary way hast sped us
O'er the wilderness of waves;
Borne upon the rolling ocean
Amid wonders of Thy power,
Safe in billows wild commotion,
Safe amid the tropic shower.
While beneath the summers glory
Calm, the sinds [sic] to rest beguiled,
Surge's lay, no longer hoary,
Peaceful as a sleeping child,
On the sunlit currents floating
Creatures of strange beauty came,
Rainbow hues their structure coating
Putting gems of earth to shame.
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Monsters thro' the blue wave roaming
Ravening hungry for their prey;
Birds untired from morn to gloaming
Winging ceaseless circling way;
Sunsets glowing, night stars beaming,
Brighter than at parted home;
Unknown constellations gleaming
In the sparkling Southern dome.
All Thy myriad marvels telling
Love divine is every where;
The stable land, the ocean swelling,
Depths profound, the peopled air:
Leagues two thousand we've crossed over,
Countless mercies these declare;
Truly we can ne'er discover
All Thy kindness, all Thy care.
May Thy grace our path surrounding
Make us choose Thee as our Guide,
And let love to Thee be bounding
In our hearts like flowing tide.
And as starry cross enlightens
Darkness in the Southern sky,
We'll joy in Calvary's cross that brightens
Pilgrims' way with Jesus nigh.
Loose our tongues that with a blessing
We Thy goodness may adore,
Thanks our whole lives still expressing
We Thy servants evermore.
Evermore I where no more sorrow,
No more land, and no more sea;
No more watching for the morrow,
Evermore O Lord with Thee:
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On the morning of Monday Nov. 23rd there was a general attempt at early rising to witness the entry within the heads. In a bay to the Southward were visible the remains of the Steamship Victory wrecked there. At the Signal-hill a large fragment of the cliff has pointed out as having been detached by lightning, and straight before us within the heads were the gaunt ribs of two vessels which. had been stranded on the sand-banks. These were ominous indications of the dangers attending navigation in these seas, but the pilot service is now very efficient and the entrance is considered safe. Out puffed the tug to take us in, but several vessels were now standing in and before we could get our anchor up one of them ran in before us and was towed in by another steamer. There were four ships in the offing at once. Of these the Albert William had sailed from London eleven days before us, the Chili 17 days before us, and the Minster Thorbeck from Rotterdam 37 days before us, so we had made the quickest passage in the Season. The Dauntless which sailed 32 days and the General Windham 20 days before us, had not yet come in. After breakfast while moving in I was deputed to present the Captain with an address thanking him for his attention, congratulating him on his successful voyage and acknowledging the vigilance, skill and care he had exercised in the conduct of the ship.
His reply was brief and characteristic: "Gentlemen I have to thank ye, but I must be off;" and he hurried on deck to assist the pilot. We soon threaded our way up the channel, passing a Maori settlement on the left. On both sides of the natural harbour we now sailed up, the hills were low and well-wooded with a profusion of Evergreen trees and bush, and as the view of Port Chalmers (the port of Dunedin) opened up with its beautiful islands, the picture was most pleasing. Indeed sailing up this inlet for seven miles was like passing through the Trossachs on an extended scale. When about two miles
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from the port we were hoarded by the Customhouse boat and another containing the medical inspector. The enquiries of both were easily satisfied and we were at liberty to go on shore. Captain Junor [?] had kindly come down to welcome us, and Mrs. Bathgate and I took a waterman's boat and along with him got up to Port Chalmers in time for the last steamer to Dunedin eight or nine miles distant. For this service the boatman charged five shillings a head, clearing thirty-five shillings for taking seven passengers two miles. This was a foretaste of colonial prices. We steamed up the upper harbour, passing the islands and the banks wooded to the summits, partially cleared with picturesque wooden houses perched here and there. A short way on we came to the scene of the fearful accident in July last. A small iron steamer "The Pride of the Yarra," was going up filled with passengers after dark. Another steamer coming down ran into her and doubled her up as if crumpling together a piece of pasteboard. Those on deck were mostly saved. One man laid hold of the offending steamer, another held by his legs, another to the last, until a chain of living beings was formed and pulled on board. Those in the Cabin had no chance. The boat filled and went down in a minute. The Revd. Mr. Campbell had come from England to fill an appointment in the Dunedin Grammar School. His wife and he had landed from their ship and gone up to town to secure lodgings. They both returned to bring up their family and were on their way back when the calamity happened. The divers who went down were appalled at the sad spectacle. In the Cabin were Mrs. Campbell sitting and her five children clinging to her. Mr. Campbell was on his feet stretching out his arm as if to arrest the gush of water. Their two maid-servants were also drowned - an entire family blotted out in a moment. A public funeral at the expense of the government took place, and it was attended by upwards of a thousand mourners. Nothing in the history of the Colony had ever produced such a sensation. When the dark
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array of coffins arranged in their sizes was laid out in the Episcopal Chapel, where Mr. Campbell was himself to have officiated next day, the sight was overwhelming. The officiating Clergyman could scarcely get through the service for his grief and the whole congregation were weeping and deeply moved. As I passed the scene of the disaster and saw the wreck on shore I was also touched with saddened feeling. His circumstances were so like my own and his lot might have been mine but for the mercy of Providence. One was taken and the other left. From this we steamed round a bend and the City of Dunedin appeared full in view. Its appearance rising from the extremity of the lake-like harbour was very pleasing. On the shore the principal belt of houses extended about two miles in length, while the slope of the bushy hill behind was dotted over with clumps of light coloured..............
(Unfortunately the last page of the IE. is missing.)