Life on board an Emigrant Ship
Journal of the Ship Recorder Bound to the Cape of Good Hope with Emigrants
The following is a transcription of the Journal held at the National Archives, Kew (Ref CO48/262). The Journal written by Mr William Williamson, Surgeon Superintendent on board the Ship Recorder during its journey from Southampton, England to Algoa Bay, South Africa from December 1845 to May 1846. It gives an amazing insight into life onboard an Emigrant Ship during this period. Comments highlighted in grey are my own to provide further understanding of the transcription.
11 Dec 1845 Embarkation/ Inspection of berths etc
Arrived on Board the Ship Recorder 630 ton register Captain SHARPE, chartered for the conveyance of Emigrants to the Cape of Good Hope, on Government bounty – Inspected the arrangements for the reception of the Emigrants; Saw them properly berthed and supplied with Tea and boiled meat and examined all the children to see that there was no infectious disease among them.
12th – Formal examination of Emigrants
Made particular examination of all the Emigrants on board, according to instruction, found them all in good health X free found all apparent disease. All under the age of 30 exhibited signs of having been vaccinated or of having had the natural pox, with the exception of 3 infants, for whom a sufficient supply of vaccine lymph would in a few days be procured from the arms of two infants, successfully vaccinated immediately before leaving their home.
Examined the hospitals and their fittings with the medicine chest and found all highly sufficient, the supply of medicine, being pish and according to the prescribed list contained in the printed regulations. Had the passengers arranged into Messes and Mess masters appointed out of the number of each.
13th Muster for Charing out
Had muster of the adult Emigrants preparatory to the Government Agents giving his clearance Certificate. 6 O’ Clock the Rev Mr CRABBE came on board with a supply of Testament and Bibles for the Emigrants, which were distributed at the charge of two pence and six pence respectively. He afterwards delivered an address to the Emigrants who were all mustered by order of Lieut. LEAN, the Government Officer, between decks. The address was suitable to the occasion of their departure from their native land. I seemed to perceive a deep impression upon all. The vessel did not haul out as intended on account of 12 emigrants more being expected to join the Ship tomorrow afternoon.
14th – 12 additional emigrants
According to instruction saw that all the passengers had washed themselves and put on clean linens. In the evening according to arrangements made last night, the Revd Mr BELL, assistant to Mr CRABB had prayers and addressed the passengers in a very impressive sermon.
15th – Clearance of the ship
The ship delayed hauling out as intended to receive 12 passengers who were expected to join the ship, by half past one o’clock train from London. 2 PM, the expected emigrants arrived and were duly inspected by the Government Officer and myself, but when the clearance of the ship was made, it was found too late to get down the river with the tide; the ship was then hove off from the pier and attached to the boy to be in readiness for the mornings tide Wind WNW.
10 AM The vessel was tugged out from the harbour and beat down as far as Rurmouth wad, Wind WNW where she dropped anchor in 4 ½ fathoms [1 fathom = 6 feet] of water with tide low, a great many ship along side at anchor also waiting for a favourable wind to get through The Needles [3 detached masses of chalk off the Isle of Wight]. Weather squally. Bar 29° 4
Yarmouth Road of Reilidington
Wind continuing all day right ahead we lay at anchor. Weather close and damp. Bar 29°2.
4pm wind changed to E N. dirty and squally. All getting on smoothly among the passengers. Had the decks holystoned [scoured with soft sandstone] and scraped in the forenoon.
Wind again WNW blowing very hard, with occasional heavy showers, very unsettled in appearance. Bar 29.2
Weeks provisions distributed
Temperature cold and dry Wind WNW until 2pm when it got N, the sky clearing up and the evening set in calm & settled, promising a favourable voyage to Plymouth tomorrow. Had the following week’s provisions, with the exception of Beef, Biscuit, Tea and coffee, which articles are to be weighed out every day or twice a week, weighed out with the assistance of the Constable and distributed to the respective Captains of the Messes.
Being the first Sunday passed on board ship had the berths neatly put up and between decks swept clean after breakfast. Saw that all the passengers had their faces washed and clean linnens on, when mustered for Divine Service and had the greatest pleasure witnessing kindness and good will with which they all attended to the instructions, in the matter. Before reading prayers I mentioned, to them the nature of the Government instruction relative to the Sunday musters, and the regular report that the Surgeon had to keep of these musters with the general behaviour and deportment of all during the service, at the same time stating the nature of the certificate they would receive at the end of the voyage, where their Sunday attendance on Divine service would be recorded, and the value that such certificates would be to them when they sought after employment – During service all behaved with the utmost decorum; the greater part joining in the responses. All were present during the reading of the service Wind NE by N but too boisterous & squally to put to sea. Bar 29° .7 at noon – 7pm Bar 29°5 wind veering to West, clear mostly. Ship along side bound for Columbia set sail at 11 am.
Again disappointed in sailing. Wind WNW until 5pm. Very stormy with cold rains. Bar 29.6 9am. At 8 pm. wind NNW Bar 29.4 clear & starry with strong gales.
Wind NNE. Very stormy with occasional sleet. Bar 29.5 Wind calmed by 9 PM.
Morning calm & beautiful. Wind N E. Had the anchor weighed by 8 AM. And set sail from Yarmouth wad with a fine breeze – parted with Pilot at half past 9am. At noon making 8 nots – 6 pm wind calmed with a serene cloudless sky. 2 ½ nots – Being Christmas Eve from a request made by a number of the Emigrants they were allowed to have a Christmas Carol on Deck which they kept up with great decorum & hilarity until 10 PM. when they retired to bed.
About 4AM a breeze sprung up from the West while we were wishing? 8 miles off Hart Point, which bore WNW the wind increased almost to a hurricane during evening and carried us about 20 miles up the channel. A good deal of sea sickness now began to make its appearance among the passengers.
Wind WSW, had the Start Point about 25 miles W and at 3 PM had it 8 miles NE by N but from want of a Pilot were obliged to heave to[change direction] & were carried to a considerable extent up the Channel by a strong wind which had veered to the West.
Still beating [sailing into the wind with repeated tacking] against almost a head wind alternate by gaining & losing, night setting in very dirty and squally looking. Wind W by S. 9 PM blowing a hurricane. Emigrants in a very bad state from sickness from the state of the weather the fore hatch was kept down which added much to their discomfort from the confinement of the air.
Sunday morning, still very stormy, between decks very bad. All the passengers with the exception of 6 or 8 were sick & unable to remove the slops which were beginning to smell very much rendering the atmosphere very unpleasant. Many of the females were getting weak & exhausted and required a liberal supply from the medical comfort store, such as sage, arrow root & some stimulants. No Sunday muster was attempted.
Off Portland Wind NE but not strong carrying us 6 nots an hour by noon it veered again to the WNW with the Hart Bearing WSW about 8 miles. The night looking thick & dirty; From the state of the Emigrants & the exhausted state of the crew it was deemed advisable to take shelter in Torbay, a Pilot having come along side, at 4 PM cast anchor in Torbay when we took advantage of the little remaining light to make between decks somewhat more comfortable, and went over all the berths, individually making what arrangements were possible for the comfort of the passengers who were already exhibiting signs of improvement. Again at 10 PM along with the Captain went carefully over all, comforting & keeping up their spirits as best we could. Bar 30°.2
Wind WNW blowing fresh, with occasional showers, found the emigrants much improved, sickness only remaining with three females, who had been unable to eat anything – by the aid of gentle restoratives, a weak negus [hot drink of port, sugar, lemon and spice] or sage or arrow root with mint. Succeeded in getting all on deck when the weather permitted. Had all the berths carefully swept out & between decks scraped & holystoned, making all sweet & clean before dinner. Now 9pm all fresh & have nearly got over the affects of their sickness & becoming quite cheerful again. Bar boat having been along side & supplied them with fresh bread & apples etc.
Still at anchor. Weather cold & stormy Wind WNW torrential rains. Bar 30°.2 .
8am wind blew so strong that is was thought safe to extend the ship’s cable to 70 fathoms. Weather dirty & cold. 9PM wind lulled & night looking clear & settled. Wind NW. Bar 30°2.
Morning calm & clear with mist hanging over Brixham and the neighbouring valleys. Wind veering NEN. By 9am anchor weighed & prepared to catch the first breeze. Passed Berry Head by half past 11 am. In company with about 45 sails which had taken shelter during the previous gales in Torbay. Passed the Start Bay within about 3 miles at 3pm. Wind light. 8pm slackened sail for fear of being carried too far by morning for reaching Plymouth.
Plymouth – Reporting myself & Receiving 44 additional passengers
Half past Seven am got a pilot on board, two miles inside the Eddystone Light House. Wind SE. Reach the Breakwater by half past 9 & cast anchor 10am in Plymouth Sound. 9PM received on board ship 44 additional passengers with fresh provisions for the night, got them all properly berthed & supplied with bedding by 8pm. Went on shore at 12 o’clock noon and reported myself to the Government Emigration Agent.
Received supplies from shore & mustered the messes along with the contractors’ agent which present the muster for Divine Service. Wind at noon NW – 10pm N.
Government Agents inspecton
Received on board 3 and ½ more Emigrants from the Depot. 12 noon Lieutenant HEINMANS came on board to inspect the arrangements of the ship and muster the Emigrants. The water closets which were leaking much were ordered to be repaired & the port holes to be overhauled; The Inspection of Emigrants took place on the Poop when there appeared 218 souls or equal to 179 ½ adults: 4 PM Mr [ left blank] from the office of the Colonial Lands and Emigration office visited the ship along with the Lieutenant HEINMANS and inspected the fittings.
Went on shore to make to make some arrangements with the contractors along with Captain SHARPE. Wind WSW.
Mr FORD, agent for the contractors came on board to make final clearance of the ship, receiving receipts for articles received for the Emigrants & passengers. And delivering to the Captain his sailing orders. The Emigrants on application to Mr FORD in regard to their pound of soft bread being too little without at sametime a supply of Potatoes. Received promise of a half pound of Biscuit in addition while in port.
All ready for sailing but wind being foul (SW) remained at anchor. 11am mustered the Emigrants on the poop preparatory to making out my list for the return to the Commissioners of Land & Emigrations: Found all on board & according to the musters provided me by the contractors. 8pm slight breezes from NE.
Sailing from Plymouth
4 am pilot came on board. Wind NE slight. Pilots opinion however was unfavourable to its continuance; Many vessels along side making ready. 7 O’clock weighed anchor and made beyond the breakwater when the boat with the contractors agent Mr FORD, was seen making to us; hove to & got on board fresh provision for three days supply. Sent on shore with Mr FORD to be posted for the Honourable Her Majesty’s Commissioner for Colonial Lands & Emigration, a statement of the number of Emigrants to my charge of which the following is a copy with the accompanying certificate:
Number of emigrants embarked on board the ship Recorder bound for the Cape of Good Hope.
Married: 39 males, 39 females 78 total
Single: 59 males, 13 females, 72 total
Totals: 98 males, 52 females, 150 total
Between 1 and 14: 29 males, 30 females, 59 total
Under 1 year: 4 males, 6 females, 10 total
Totals: 33 males, 35 females, 69 total
Total no. of Souls: 219
Or equal to 179 ½ statute adults
I certify the above mentioned to be the number of Emigrants delivered into my charge on board the Ship Recorder and that there is not apparent among them any sickness of consequence, or any infectious disorder capable of proving dangerous to the passengers:
Signed: Mr WILLIAMSON MD, Surgeon Superintendent
Plymouth Sound, 9th January 1846
12 o’clock noon wind came around to SW opposite Falmouth. Cold & dry.
Weather calm. Wind S. by 6 PM we lost sight of Lizard Point; no sickness as got among the passengers had the regulations explained to those who came on board at Plymouth.
Until 10am quite a calm, then a slight breeze started from the NE, by noon we were making 9 nots of SW by S. 8PM breeze slackened. Sunday muster full & all found clean & tidy. All were present with the exception of a few Roman Catholics who objected upon principal.
Wind SW with heavy sea; great deal of sickness among the passengers, had all possible attention paid them with the assistance of those who were well – distributed an allowance of brandy and water among the sick, sickness most severe to the females who are nursing or pregnant.
Weather to day somewhat milder. Wind still right ahead of our course. Sickness rather abating, large allowance from the medical comforts required, between decks well cleaned & holystoned, and some of the sick brought upon deck & their berths sprinkled with vinegar and cloride of lime.
Weather coarse with heaving sea & rain. Sickness increased. Several of the more delicate Females very weak requiring allowance of wine and brandy. Very close and suffocating between decks from the hatches being closed on account of rain & heavy seas washing the decks. Passed two vessels homeward bound and lost sight of all who accompanied us out of the channel.
Wind still foul SW, but calmer and feeling decidedly warmer with other indications of our approach to more southern latitude.
In the morning Wind SE in light breeze. 4pm again got to the SW position Long. 13 °
44. Lat.45 ° 11. Passed an outward bound ship but upon the opposite tack. Passengers improving, but with little appetite pot meal & sago much in demand, but from the small quantity just on board obliged to be carefull in the distribution.
Saw the deck well swept & scraped & stewed with Vinegar & cloride of lime – got all that were able mustered on deck.
Sunday. Expected those who were able to leave their berths to see that they were washed & had a change of linnens. Weather too coarse to attempt reading the service. Several females still suffering much from sickness.
Weather still very rough, wind ahead, prevented organizing the school for which we had prepared. Again deferred until milder weather.
No change in weather. All going on smoothly & becoming accustomed to motion of the ship.
Sea very rough – carried away the purpose pipe from the starboard side of the ship, for the supply of the water closet ‘tween deck; directed that the cistern should be filled regularly with buckets – had all the water closets again overhauled by the joiner and their leaking stopped – occasional seas shipped.
The first watch of last night reported that Mr PHAIR had refused to take his turn in the watch; Went to him to enquire the reason, when he insolently told me that it was not the first time he had gone out in an emigrant ship & that he knew such arrangements were not binding upon him – referred him to the Printed Regulations, which he said he cared not for. Ordered his ratio of beef to be stoped [stopped] until he should comply. 10pm still refused to comply with the regulations, and was passed over in the potation [alcohol] list. Ship caught by a severe hurricane, precede by dense blackness along the NW accompanied by heavy rains and lightening – continued for about half an hour when the wind returned to SW – In the middle of the hurricane a ship was seen right a head causing considerable alarm : Lights were shown & ship put about.
Still a good deal of sea sickness. Shipping occasional seas and prevented the females getting of Deck. Wind SW by S.
After breakfast saw the tween deck carefully scraped and holystoned – weekly stores given out. Wind still right ahead & course making NW.
Sunday – strong wind with heavy sea severe squall at 11am from the West. Weather very uncomfortable from frequent rains and spray washing overboard. Ship pitching so as to prevent the usual muster for prayers. Mr PHAIR has today stated his willingness to comply with the regulations in taking his turn in the watch & had the restriction in his rations withdrawn.
Sea still heavy from SW. Wind about NW at 10am. Ship going 5 ½ nots. 6pm wind W making 7 ½ nots. Sea getting calm.
Ship going easily 6 nots of SE by S course. No sickness among the Emigrants today; thorough cleaning under the beds. Decks scraped & holystoned, while all who were able were mustered on Deck. Weather very agreeable & decks becoming dry Long 12°33 W. Lat 42° 38.
Wind W. The Ship on the other tack today making NW. Spoke a Bark bound for Charleston from Liverpool.
Wind NW but almost a calm, forenoon making 3 nots & 8pm only 2 – weather very mild & agreeable. Bedding all carefully shaken & swept underneath.
Wind NE carrying us 4 nots, dull but mild. Completed the school arrangements, enrolling 30 pupils ‘tween decks, arranged them into classes & distributed the books among them as required. MrMcMAKROW, the teacher examined them as to the advance they had made & gave them out lessons accordingly – two of the fathest advanced were selected for monitors to assist the junior classes while the teacher was engaged with any particular class. Arrangements were also made for the teacher to devote an hour to the single men for writing and arithmetic & to the single women for writing, six of whom I found unable to sign their names. It was pleasing however to witness the anxiety all exhibited to learn & I have no doubt but that much benefit will be derived from the few lessons they will be able to obtain during the voyage.
Stores for the week given out. Decks scraped and holystoned. Wind NE making an average of 7 nots.
Muster to clean apparell before Prayers. Announced that the meeting should be held afterwards on Deck instead of ‘tween decks which was now becoming so hot & close. Wind NE 5 nots Long 34° 32. Lat 16° 2.
The day being beautifull and sunny, all all the bedding on the Larboard side of the ‘tween decks were aired upon the side of the ship and the way boat while the bottoms of the beds were removed and propperly cleaned beneath. Sighted Madeira at 11 am the highland was discovered towring above a dense belt of white clouds which skirted its base. The Island bore SW about 20 miles when first seen. We passed on the west side about 9 miles from the land at 5pm. A few houses were observed on the west coast and a white building perched high on the dark side of the mountain seemingly a Nine Tour or outlook. Wind NE going all day 5 nots.
Madeira still in sight about 30 miles to SE. All the beds & bedding in the larboard side were taken on Deck & aired & shaken. The bottom of the beds were removed & cleaned underneath.
At 10pm last night the Chief Constable Mr PURCHASE tendered a complaint to the Captain and me against the single men of the following nature. He was called from ‘tween decks to the single men’s appartment for the purpose of settling some pretended dispute between two of their number and when beneath the forehatch way he received two pale full of water over him thrown by someone station at the hatchway for the purpose. Having proceeded with the Captain & constables to the single men’s appartment for the purpose of making enquiry into the circumstances & endeavouring to discover the guilty individuals. We learned that the water had evidently originated from a prejudice they had got against PURCHASE on account of their thinking him to officious in performing the duties of his office. So far as we could learn of this matter on examination and from my own observation of their behaviour formerly to the constables I had no doubt but that their complaints were groundless arising from their own indolence and dislike to all necessary regulations, distraints. Altho the matter seemed preconceived & evidently the guilty individuals known to nearly every person in their appartment, they had arranged carefully to protect the culprits and dogedly refused to give any information upon the subject and I have even been given to understand that the severest vengeance is threatened to be inflicted upon the informer. Under these circumstances I considered it necessary to collect all the single men & to point out to them the folly and danger of such behaviour & the consequences such would bring upon them. At the same time that as all seemed perfectly to be well aware of the circumstances I should stop their rations of Beef until they should give up the guilty individuals or I deemed the punishment to be sufficient. I have also considered it necessary to make full enquiry as to the general conduct of the constable when in discharge of his duties when I am not present and find that he is both attentive & judicious and that their dislike is evidently to the office more than the officer.
The single men having expressed their sorrow for their conduct in illusing the Constable and came under promise that such shall not take place again & at the same time seem to have felt severely the want of their Beef rations. I thought it a desirable to withdraw the instruction and grant their allowance as usual. Wind SE light breezes. Lat 27 ° 59. Long 20 ° 11.
Caught an Albicore
Beautifull morning. Wind SW before noon when it got round to the N, but light very warm. Thermometer 73 ° far. Bar 30 ° 3. The Captain feels confident that we have got into the Trade Wind and that we may calculate now upon a succession of favourable weather – at 10am visited by a number of Albicore [a type of tuna] of which one was caught. It was a most beautifull specimen weighing 64lbs. Part of it was cooked for the cabin & ship’s company. It was eaten with great relish and much resembled veal cutlets altho its companions hovered around the ship for a considerable time we failed in our attempts to secure any more. Wind at 9pm NE. Course of the ship SE by S making 3 nots. Position at noon Lat 27 ° 6. Long 29 ° 30 by reckoning.
Entrance upon the NE trades
General muster of beds upon deck for airing. Under beds and ‘tween decks thoroughly scraped washed and holystoned. Wind has veered again to SW but almost a calm. 3 pm saw a very large shark and a turtle. Lat 27 ° 6. Long 20 ° 7.
Read Prayers this forenoon from front of the Poop, having the females upon the poop and men arranged below. An awning was spread over heads rendering it more suitable than ‘tween decks for such a muster. Before prayers examined into the state of their linnens etc Wind SW & light breezes, temp in cabin 74 ° Bar 30 ° 3. Saw several flying fish & a turtle – Several of the younger children seem getting rather sickly. Slight bowel complaints being rather frequent with loss of flesh & fattfullness. This is evidently from the nature of the provisions, not being suitable for their tender digestive organs which have been so customed to bread and milk. As the preserved milk is becoming rather soured. I find it necessary to prescribe it in small quantities & to be boiled along with the farinaceous articles & sage & arrow root & when given more freely it produces gripes & purging.
Larboard water closet shut up
Wind has again become NE. Ship making at the rate of 4 nots of her course. The water closet in the Larboard side has now become so offensive from leakage & part from carelessness of the passengers that I have seemed it absolutely necessary to nail it up. It was found impossible to keep them from throwing rags and other articles into the sink which produced constant laundations? This during t heat of the day caused the most disagreeable effluvia [harmful odour] that were certain to produce fever if allowed to continue. After having it well washed & scraped a liberal allowance of chloride of lime was sprinkled over the appartment & below the adjoining beds. Lat 24 ° 31. Long 20 ° 3.
Began the use of the Lime juice; The water supplied yesterday being very unpleasant to the taste, this addition it relished very much. At first I deemed it right to make the allowance only half an ounce, with the proportion of sugar, and reserve for a proportion when nearer the equator. Wind NE rather brisk making 7 ½ nots, air cool. Lat 22 ° 20.
Weather clear & warm NE. Ship going 8 ½ nots.
Breeze lighter NE.. At 3pm saw a whale (sperm) cross our stern also a great number of porpoises and Flying Fish. At 4pm an krew saw a whaler (The Chase of Brenton). Have in sight and sent a boat on board for the purpose of comparing longitude & requesting a supply of coal for smithy work and a few vegetables if one had any. Some coals & potatoes were sent on board and in return we received several Gallons of sperm oil, which we were afraid might be required ere we reach the Cape. The Chase had been out fifteen months & was but poorly fished. Lat 17 ° 11. Longitude 19 ° 42 (by the whaler 19 ° 40).
Breeze from NE by N. Ship making 6 ½ nots. Lat 15 ° 15. Long 19 ° 34. Thermometer 75 ° in the cabin. Bar 30 ° 4. Bedding on starboard side brought on deck. Numbers of Bauils & Flying Fish seen during the day.
Breeze NE by N light & steady. Lat 12 ° 32. Bedding of Larboard side shaken and amid washing scraping and holy stoning ‘tween decks and under beds.
Muster at 10am for inspection of apparel and cleanliness in general. Prayers on poop attendance general: those who refuse attendance having been ordered below. Very hot temp 78 ° in the cabin at 2 pm. Trade wind NE by N. 6 ½ nots.
Trade wind ceased at noon when it became cloudy & close – becalmed from 4 to 6 pm. Breeze rose again from NE at 7 pm. Ther 82 ° in cabin. Bar 30 ° 3. Lat 7 ° 46 n.
Slight breeze from south east but variable. Weather close & cloudy. Lat 6 ° 14 Long 21 ° Ther 83 °.
Lost the NE Trades
Greater part of day was calm with heavy hanging over the horyson [horizon]. Several peals of thunder were heard in the forenoon. By 6 pm thunder increased with vivid lightening and heavy drops of rain began to fall. Before 9pm we had several very heavy showers which forced the greater part of the emigrants down ‘tween decks producing a most suffocating heat which rendered the appartment very uncomfortable for the night – a good many preferring to sleep on deck. Lat 5 ° 7 n. Therm 84 ° Bar 30 ° 3.
Breeze very light from the East. Very close & cloudy. Several homeward bound ships within sight. At 3 pm boarder by the Bark Emilia Mullholland (Blyth) of London: bound from Mauritius; 64 days sailed. She had met with a severe storm off the Cape of Good Hope which carried off her mizzen top – supplied with a few potatoes & a Times & Spectator Newspaper. Reported to the Secretary of Colonial Lands and Emigration Commissioners the progress of the ship and the state of the Emigrants. Lat 3 ° 34 N. Long 21 ° W. Therm in 85 ° in shade. Bar 30 ° 5. The ‘tween decks had become so hot and suffocating that I got the Captain to fit up maidsails for the different Hatchways which produced a great improvement.
Dennis Quirk & other matters
Day very oppressive with light variable wind chiefly from NE. Therm 84 ° Lat 3 °
About 10 pm while the ship was putting in readiness for a threatening squall, the second mate Mr PORTER went to awake several of the Emigrants who had been asleep on the long boat where they were going to stow the sails. It seems that he met with some difficulty in arousing them and after all the others were down off the boat DENNIS QUIRK a married man from Jersey, still remained, when MrPORTER laid hold of him by the feet to awake him; A scuffle then ensued between QUIRK and the second mate, which the Captain and I who were upon the Poop having heard, went forward to enquire into. The Captain went immediately forward to the parties who were in grapples with each other – while I delayed a minute or so to obtain one of lights from the fore hatchway. I then ran to the scene of the scuffle when I found the parties separated and the Captain holding QUIRK against the spars opposite the long boat. QUIRK was shortly ordered below and the matter allowed to rest until the morrow.
Immediately after breakfast the Captain called DENNIS QUIRK upon the poop on account of last night ‘riot’ but part of what occurred was over before I was aware of the circumstance. Seeing the position of the parties when I arrived I deemed it propper to refuse taking any part in the matter before making enquiry into the affair by a fair examination of the parties who were present & saw the riot from the beginning. This examination the Captain said he would insist upon, when I proceeded to make arrangements for the examination. At 12 o’clock noon I commenced the examination before the Captain & two of the cabin passengers, one of whom acted as clerk. I shall therefore refrain from stating my opinion of the matter here but refer to the evidence of the witnesses examined & my decision which shall be kept for reference if called for afterwards. Lat 2 ° 42 N. Wind ESE light.
Entered the SE Trades – Sunday
Muster as usual on Sunday morning for examination of the apparell and person before reading of Prayers. Muster at service is both full and attentive – those who don’t attend being ordered below to prevent any levity of behaviour disturbing those who do attend. Passed a French Bark homeward bound with its sails set so as to indicate its having carried the Trade Wind with them till now. Wind SE by E. light but steady. Ship making 4 nots of a SW by S course. Lat at noon 2 ° 5 N. Temperature more bearable from the light cooling breeze. Midsails continue to opperate well ‘tween decks. Temperature in shade 85°. Bar 30° 3.
Beautifull day with steady breeze from SE by S cool and gratifull. Ship making 5 nots – noon Lat 1° N. Long 23° .
Crossing the Line
Crossed the Line this morning at 6 o’clock am at Long 23° 49 W with a steady breeze from the SE. Position of ship at noon – degrees 5 S Lat. 23° 49 W long by observation – As it has long been the practice of the Captain to check all attempts at the molestation of passengers or crew on passing the Line little notice was taken of the custom. Temperature not so oppressive from the cool light breeze & occasional drops of rain from passing clouds. Starboard bedding on deck for for air and berths washed & holystoned. I may mention here as noticed in the Medical Journal that the health of the passengers continues much more vigorous that I could have expected under such circumstances. And as we have now got beyond the regions where calms prevail producing that close suffocating air & putrid effluvia from confinement & decaying organic matter which is so apt to engender fevers etc I should hope that the voyage may be completed without any serious calamity.
Larboard side of bedding brought on Deck aired and shaken. Wind rose into a sharp squall at 7am and continued blowing briskly & steadily all day from SE by S . Ship making at an average of 7 nots. Lat 2° 26. Long 24° W.
Wind still continues steady SE by S. Ship making 7 ½ nots SW. At noon Lat 4° 55 S Long 26° 1 W. Temperature 83° on board ship feels comfortable and cool from strong and steady breeze. The maid sails continue to keep a delightfull ournent ‘tween decks and if altogether a great improvement. General health of Children again improving since leaving the region of calms. The eruptions blackening and appetites returning.
Wind still blows steadily from SE; Temperature cool and agreeable although the sky is clear & cloudless. Lat 7 ° 18 S.
Passed Equinoxical Line [Where day & night are equal length]
Breeze fresh from E.S.E. Ships course two points E. Making at an average 6 nots. The Suns Declination at noon yesterday being 8 ° 22 S. We passed over the course of this perpendicular course rays about 10 pm today at noon ships position is Lat 9 ° 11 S. Long 27 ° 28 W. The temperature was cool and gratefull – Yesterday and today all the Beds and bedding ‘tween Decks were aired & cleaned – holystoning & scraping attended to as usual. Nothing of importance recurred but all moves well.
Full muster on deck for service all clean & tidy. Wind very fresh. Ship going 8 nots of a SE by S course. Sun now perceptibly returning to the north and as further evidence of our Southerly position. We are gradually bidding adieu the Great Bear (the North Pole star having disappeared before we passed the Equator) whose Pointers fast approached the horizon. The Astraorucis and the Magellan clouds [irregular galaxies] having now supplied their position of interest in the Southern Hemisphere. Ships position at noon Lat 10 ° 59 S. Long 27 ° 9 W by observation.
Wind blowing strong & steady from SW by S. Ship going 8 ½ nots. Weather clear & balmy. Lat 13° 49 S. Long 37° 26 W.
Encountered a heavy squall this morning at 9 am which approached very suddenly from the South East accompanied with rain. Wind then continued strong and steady from SE – at noon position of ship was 16° 23 S. Lat.: 28° 11 W Long. Thermometer 82°. Bar 30° 2.
Weather squally: heavy black squalls accompanied with rain at 11 am & 6 pm. Lat 19° 32 Long 28° 32.
At 2 am sighted the Island of Trinidada bearing by compass S by W to W by 11 miles distant – by daylight had passed the Island on the West side but as the sun rose it became enveloped in thick haze so as to allow but an imperfect view of its bold and rugged butline. At noon our latitude was 21° 16 S. Long 29° 27 W. In receiving the jars Preserved meat for hospital use, one was found very putrid casing been pierced by a nail from the Cask.
The greater part of the Emigrants having used all their supply of soap I distributed out of the Medical Stores at the rate of 1 pound to each to enable them to take advantage of the rain water they collected during the late showers – Latitude 24° S. Long. 29° 57 W.
Wind becoming lighter and more easterly. Ships position at noon was Lat. 26° 33 S. Long: Holystoning and scrubbing ‘tween decks. Lime Juice distributed. In distributing the halfweekly allowance of butter to the Emigrants it was found that only two more firkins remained wich would only supply two weeks allowance; As our voyage will get under the most favourable considerations extend to three weeks. I deemed it best to divide the two remaining two firkins over three weeks, rather than that the Emigrants should go one whole week without any supply, four ounces per adult were therefore distributed instead of six their usual allowance.
Preserved Provision Jar found Putrid
Sunday muster as usual at ½ past 10 am for prayers. All were clean & tidy and the attendance continues gretly full. In distributing the preserved provisions for the day one of the jars was found quite putrid and had to be condemned. All the others examined however were good and I should trust that the decomposition in this case had arisen from it having been imperfectly sealed or from some injury it may have otherwise sustained. At 2 pm came up to the Ship Kirman Finlay from Liverpool for Bombay 64 days out. Spoke her and ? found the Longitude. Ships position at noon Lat 28° 43 S. Long 29° 8 W. Making SE by E course.
Lost the SE Trade
Weather rather squally. Wind about East. Ships course SE by E Position at noon Lat 29° 45 S. Long 26° 39 W.
Death of a child
At noon Susannah DUDLEY a child of seventeen months old died. It was a delicate child when it came on board having been brought up by the spoon, the mother having been unable to suckle it. I showed attn but its death the unsuitability of the diet to its weak digestive organs. Preparations were made for its enterrment in the dusk of evening, it being the wish of the parents to have it done in the quietest manner possible. The body was accordingly shrouded in callico and then put into a canvass bag along with a large quantity of gravel for the purpose of sinking it, and then lowered overboard in the usual way –
Weather very agreeable although broken by several squalls – Therm 78° Bar 30°
2. Lat 30° 41 S. Long 23° 54 N.
Weather squally accompanied with heavy showers. Convened the school again ‘tween decks, it having been found impossible to make the children attend to their instructions properly up on deck. I find several of the older children to have made considerable improvement in writing and arithmetic, but in the younger ones the improvement is less marked – among the adult pupils the progress has been much more rapid and I have no doubt many of them already, who neither could read or cipher when they came on board will before they reach their destination have become able to write & cast any little accounts that may come in their way in their business. I endeavoured to find out all those adults who were unable to write and am glad to find that the greater part of them are availing themselves of the opportunity of the teacher’s service. Lat 30° 58 S. Long 21° 32 W.
Wind during previous night having changed to the South East continued so all day accompanied with heavy rains and squalls. The ship was put under snug canvas and made a NE by N course. Several rather heavy seas shipped, but not soas to enter the ‘tween decks to any extent. Frequents visits from albatroses and Cape hens for two days. Lat 31° 21 S. Long 18° W.
South Easterly wind still blowing hard with rain – Large supply of rain water collected for washing etc.
Wind has now veered round to the South. Ship making an E by S course weather clear and dry – upper carriage of clouds from West. Ships position at noon Lat 39° 54 S. Long 14° 32 W. Weeks provisions divided to each mess to deg of Butter and Suet there are only another weeks supply.
Sunday – Muster continues regular and attentive. Wind still blows fresh from S by E. Ship making ENE course and meeting a long head swell.
Wind still foul & blows strong with a heavy sea – Until noon making ENE e when the ship was put about the other tack – Since then she makes S & by E about 6 nots an hour Lat 27° 3 of S. General disappointment among the passengers at this unfavourable weather at fretting at the state of their nearly exhausted provions.
Wind still continues foul & blows strongly with heavy rains – The captain employed as many hands as possible to fill the empty water casks with rain water to make up the loss of weight from the decrease of water & provisions – from the lightness of her cargo the ship lies over very much & hinders her progress & extension of sail course making S & by E – by noon: Lat 29 º 23’ Long 11º9’.
During night wind has veered around to the ENE allowing the ship to make her course, but blows too hard for carrying much canvas.
Blowing very strong with occasional squalls – sky clear & only slight showers Lat 30°53 Long 27° 27’ Ship continues her course.
Breeze continues steady; the ship making an average of 7 ½ nots; Weather dry and clear allowing the Emigrants and excellent opportunity for washing and drying
[Note a week is skipped in the journal. The archive internal numbering of papers indicates that no pages are missing, so either the week was not written into this journal or removed before archiving]
An particularly urgent case and distributed the remainder as speedily as required rather than keep it till it should become useless Lat 29° 10 S Long 7° 12 E.
Muster took place today as usual upon the poop for prayers – the attendance continues full – almost everyone being present with the exception of the Roman Catholic Faith. During the season of Lent the Catholics have been very regular in their meeting for prayers for which they have been allowed a sepparate appartment . At 10 o’clock pm spoke the Lady Bruce of Alloa, bound for Leith from Ceylon from her we learned that the same wind had prevailed along to the Cape. Wind still remains steady almost ahead of our course completely debarring our making to the South. Wind blow heavy causing the ship to lay over very much and make much Lee way [sidewards drift of the ship to the leeward side of her desired course], from her lightness. Ship’s position at noon Lat 29° 16 S. Long 6° 59’E.
Wind a little more westerly allowing the ship to stand SE & by S. but from variation of compass leeway & current she makes no more than E & by S course. Ship company still continue to fill up the empty water casks with salt water in order to give the ship some better hold of the water – No Sights having been obtained the ship’s position was not ascertained.
Wind still remains foul, but has become light & unsteady – Position at noon Lat 29° 49 S. Long 10° 50’ E.
April day ushered in by some innocent sport among the Emigrants which served to keep up their spirits which have been beginning to droop of late at the tedious passage & the dread of short allowance, which has been forced upon our fears if the voyage extends to another week. Wind right ahead making a WSW course Ships position at noon Lat 30° 42 S. Long 9° 26’E.
Quite a calm today until noon when the wind rose again from its old quarter – Morning thick and hazy. Temperature 78° in the Cabin. Bar 30° 2’.
This morning thick and cloudy as yesterday quite a calm – about noon the breeze arose from the West briskly – the main sails were immediately set and we go along our course with a fair wind at the rate of 6 ½ nots – quite a heat after dusk baffling and disheartening weather. Today makes 16 weeks since we sailed from Southampton at which time we naturally expected to have spent 3 or 4 weeks in South Africa by this date. Ships position at noon. Lat 32° 13 S. Long 8° 9 E.
End of Potatoes
Thorough cleaning ‘tween decks holystoning and scrubbing – The Store of Preserved Potatoes being exhausted the Captain made an allowance of the rice.
[Note more days are skipped in the journal. The archive internal numbering of papers indicates that no pages are missing, so either the week was not written into this journal or removed before archiving]
Until noon yesterday’s calm continued with a serene & beautifull sky – by noon the horizon on the races? Became overcast & showed a course bark gradually arising which foretold a westerly breeze. By 2 pm we had all sail set and were progressing about 4 nots – by 6pm it increased to 8 and left us with the cheering prospect of soon reaching our destination. Ships position a t noon Lat 35° 37 S Long 12° 47E.
Wind continued favourable . 8pm began to shorten sail with the intention of sighting land by daybreak all eagerly looking for Table Mountain being by our calculation within 50 miles of it.
Arrival in Table Bay
By 6’o clock am sighted Table Mountain bearing S E by E. The wind lulling all sail was set again & by 8 o’clock we neared the Bay with the Lions Head and Rump arising in strong outtrue? Before us. By 12 noon we cast Anchor in Table Bay and at 2pm (our arrival having been telegraphed before we entered the Bay) we were boarded by the Harbour Master who enquired into the state of health of Emigrants & crew and entered into the usual arrangements.
Reported to the Colonial Secretary the arrival of the ship with General Statement as to the state of health etc of the Emigrants.
Mr COXHEAD, the Contractor’s Agent came on board at 5pm and made arrangements for supplying provisions for the Emigrants while in Port.
At 11 am Mr MONTAGUE, the Colonial Secretary, the Treasurer General and Collector of Customs came on board and inspected the arrangements for accommodation of the Emigrants and enquired into their behaviour and general deportment during the voyage. After which all the bounty passengers were assembled on the Poop when Mr MONTAGUE asked them if they had any grievance to complain of as to their treatment during the voyage etc to which they answered in the negative. Mr MONTAGUE then stated to them the nature of the disturbance along the Eastern frontier at the present time, which would prevent them dispatching the vessel to Algoa Bay as was intended, but that the vessel would lay in Table Bay sufficient time to allow all to obtain employment here, but at the sametime that after a stated time the ship would proceed to Algoa Bay where any would be able to go there that wished, at the sametime recommending all to remain here in the meantime if they could find employment at all suitable which he had no doubt of – Last of all he strongly cautioned all against the use of the wines or brandy which they would get so cheap in Cape Town, mentioning some instances where strangers had incautiously done themselves much injury.
After Mr MONTAGUE went on shore the bounty passengers were all formally inspected by Mr FIELD the Collector of Customs & Dr LAING – their certificates were examined & compared and the trades & qualifications of all arranged so as to be ready against the applications of Masters or employers – By 4 pm all was finished and arrangements made for the Emigrants getting on shore to look for employment & for masters to come on board to hire them.
Demand for servants gradually increasing already about one half of the adults have got employed, the nature of engagements seem to give general satisfaction – altho in no case are the high wages alluded to in the circulars obtained, still, when taken into account with their board & lodging which is generally given, I have no doubt but that they are equal to such wages in the old country.
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[In margin] Birth on 25th of female child
The ship was again cleared at the custom house and ready for sailing. Provisions being put on board for 10 days sail.
A calm beautifull morning with very slight breeze from the South East we set sail for Algoa Bay, the muster made on sailing for my report to the Collector of Customs was as follows:
Number of passengers on Board for Algoa Bay:
Married 4 males, 4 females, 8 in total
Single 13 males, 2 females, 15 in total
Totals 17 males, 16 females, 23 in total
Between 1 and 14: 1 male, 7 females, 8 total
Under 1 year: 1 female, 1 in total
Total number of souls 32.
Equal to 27 adults
Having yesterday got about 6 miles to the west of Robin Island a dead calm set in and the ship lay all the day without making further progress.
A strong South East breeze having sprung up during the night we continue beating along in sight of land but losing ground from the force of the Northerly set.
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The wind having continued to blow from the South East since 1st inst we are still in sight of Table Mountain, this morning however the wind has fallen & become variable so as to give us hopes of a favourable change
A fine Nor Wester carrying us along with stainsails At 7 nots – water quite smooth – 12 noon opposite Danger pt.
Wind still continues fair passed Cape Lagullas at 11am breeze steady temperature warm & pleasant.
Wind still blows from the nor west rather strong and getting heavy. 6pm sky became overcast and heavy rain fell until 10 o’clock.
Passed Cape St Francis at 11 am. 2pm Cape Receff 3 leagas sight ahead. Passed several vessells beating homeward by observation & account the current along the coast must have been running between 70 & 80 miles in the 24 hours – and that too at the distance of 8 Leagus from the shore.
Heaving hove to all night we found the ship within 10 miles of Cape Receiff by daylight: the wind nor west. By 1 pm we came to anchor in Algoa Bay being boarded by the Harbour Master and Medical Inspector.
Tendered my report to the Collector of Customs who arranged to come on board tomorrow to arrange as to providing accommodation for the bounty Emigrants.
On account of the stormy weather the Collector did not come on board but sent a boat for the Emigrants and their luggage. From the disturbed state of the Coast of the Colony on account of the Kaffir War the authorities have the greatest difficulty in knowing how to dispose of the Emigrants disembarked, business of all kinds being entirely suspended.
Return of Emigrants embarked & disembarked
Southampton – Port
11th December 1845 – Date of Arrival
11th December 1845 – Date of Embarkation
16th December 1845 – Date of Sailing
Plymouth – Port
4th January 1846 – Date of Arrival
4th January 1846 – Date of Embarkation of Emigrants
9th January 1846 – Date of Sailing
No ports paid into until vessel at Table Bay
Table Bay – Port
12th April 1846 – Date of Arrival
29th April 1846 – Date of Sailing
Algoa Bay – Port
May 1846 – Date of Arrival
Number of Emigrants Embarked – 150 adults, 19 children over 7, 50 children under 7, 219 in total
Death on passage – 1 child under 7 and in total
Birth on passengers deck – 2 children under 7
Total of souls on board – 150 adults, 19 children over 7, 52 children under 7, 220 in total
No. Landed at Table Bay – 127 adults, 15 children over 7, 46 children under 7
No. Landed at Algoa Bay – 23 adults, 4 children over 7, 5 children under 7
Total number landed – 150 adults, 19 children over 7, 51 children under 7, 220 in total
Death on Board Susannah DUDLEY aged 1 year and 7 months daughter of William Dudley. Died of billiary disarrangement [the rest is illegible]??? 10th March 1846
Births: Mrs Geo PURCHASE of a female child 12th March 1846
Mrs Robt. Chas REID of female child 25th April 1846.
I hereby certify the above to be a true return of the Emigrants placed into my hands on board the Ship Recorder.
Signed William WILLIAMSON
[This is a copy of the text which appeared on the now inactive http://www.genealogyworld.net.]