Journal from the voyage
of the barque Fatima,
521 tons, Captain George Ray, from London 17th January 1850 / Plymouth
13th February 1850, arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 11th
June 1850. (passenger
Journal transcribed by Richard
Jenkins and kindly submitted
The accompanying journal was kept by 15 year old Henry
(Harry) Hobhouse Turton, my father’s maternal grandfather, during
the four month voyage of the barque FATIMA under sail, between 13th
to 11th June 1850, from Plymouth, Devon, to Adelaide in South Australia.
The FATIMA was 441 tons, built at Sunderland in 1849 and was owned
by Hamiltons. Her Master was Captain J. Ray. She had fore and main
square rigged and built of yellow metal, part felt and was copper
fastened. There were a total of 114 males and 109 females on the
deaths occurred and four births were registered. —Richard Jenkins
February 7th. 1850. Thursday.
About 5 o’clock in the afternoon we were towed out of Catwater
(Plymouth) into the Sound; all the passengers slept on board; I found
my berth rather narrow, but managed to sleep pretty well.
February 8th. Friday.
A rather unpleasant day; Mrs. & Miss Wright were rather poorly; in
the evening we saw the reflection of the Northern Lights.
February 9th. Saturday.
It blew a gale, the wind was very changeable.
February 10th. Sunday.
A beautifully clear day; the Captain went to see the Breakwater and Lighthouse,
he brought back some specimens of the stone; all the invalids were
so much better as to be able to dine at the table; we were altogether
a party of 19.
February 11th. Monday.
It blew very hard, and rained all day, so that no boat was able to leave
the shore; in the evening it became very fine; Mrs. & Miss Wright
suffered very much from the motion; the emigrants opened all their
trunks to get a fresh supply of clothes out.
February 12th. Tuesday.
A very showery day. I meant to go on shore, but deferred it till the
following day. In the afternoon the Captain took an observation. Mrs.
Clark’s brother came on board in the afternoon, and slept on
a bed made for him on the table.
February 13th. Wednesday.
Directly after breakfast Mr. Wright, myself and one or two others went
on shore for an hour. I started off to St. Michael’s Terrace,
but was not able to stay above 10 minutes; I found Aunt Browne and
Augusta in their beds; they were all very much surprised to see me,
thinking I had sailed the day I left the Catwater. On arriving at the
Barbican we were met by Captain and the Miss Brownes, who had come
down to Wilcock’s office to enquire after the FATIMA; the Miss
Brownes came on board with us to see the last of the Wrights. We weighed
anchor at ¼ before 12 with a north west wind; the day was beautifully
clear, and for the first few hours we were going at the rate of 4 knots
an hour. While on deck before dinner we saw 2 large Grampusses , spouting
water to some height; one was about 30 feet in length. We saw the Eddystone
Lighthouse very clearly in the afternoon; the wind changed in the evening
for the worse, and it blew much harder in the night.
February 14th. Thursday.
We had all passed a miserable night; most of us seasick; we were a very
small party at breakfast, and those of us who did appear, were without
appetites. After breakfast I became a little seasick, but felt much
relieved after it. In the afternoon towards 4 o’clock, we passed
the harbour of Falmouth; the wind was much against us all day, but
it improved in the evening. Most of the emigrants suffered a great
deal from seasickness; and the Surgeon was obliged to introduce an
airsail into the ’tween decks; it had the effect of bringing
them into the air, which I think is the best remedy. One woman put
her arm out of joint, but the Surgeon set it right in a very short
time. All the Wrights were so ill that I saw nothing of them the whole
February 15th. Friday.
A very unpleasant day; we came near the land towards 12 o’clock.
Miss Wright came outside the cabin for a few minutes before dinner, supported
by 2 persons; Mr. Wright walked upon deck for a short time. I felt rather
uncomfortable all day, but was not sick. About 4 o’clock we saw
the Lizard lights. The wind was against us all day, so that we made very
February 16th. Saturday.
The wind was north west, very favourable; it was a beautiful day. The
invalids were progressing favourably. Miss Wright was some time on
deck in the afternoon. The ship rolled a great deal, so that there
were several overturns at dinner. The latitude taken from an observation
by the Captain was Lat. 49° 23” Long. 4° 22”. In
the evening the sky was particularly beautiful for the season of the
February 17th. Lat. 49° 4” Long. 5° 00”. Sunday.
A very fine day, but the wind was against us, and very changeable. We
saw a good many Bottled Nosed Porpoises, about 6 feet in length; the
boatswain tried to harpoon them, but failed in all his attempts; they
came at intervals round the ship. All the invalids are improving, Mr.
and Miss A. Wright were about most of the day; Miss Wright was out
for a few minutes but she looked very ill.
February 18th. Lat. 49° 30” Long. 5° 56”. Monday.
Beautiful weather, but the wind as unfavourable as the preceding day;
towards 2 o’clock a Scilly Pilot boat came alongside, and promised
to report the FATIMA ‘all well’; the Captain threw them
a piece of pork and beef; they took two letter for Mr. Clark, which
were wrapped in a piece of oilskin and thrown over with the meat. In
the evening towards 6 o’clock the Scilly lighthouse became visible;
it burns a revolving light, which is only visible for a few seconds
in every minute. The invalids are, I think, improving a little; Mr.
and Miss Wright were out for a short time.
February 19th. Lat. 50° 30” Long. 8° 41”. Tuesday.
A very sultry day; the wind was the same as the day before; nothing of
note occurred. The battens were quite necessary at table, as the overthrows
were almost innumerable. The invalids were about the same.
February 20th. Lat. 49° 13” Long. 8° 42”. Wednesday.
A very fine day; it rained a little early in the morning. The wind was
fair, at north west, and during most of the greater part of the day,
we were sailing at the rate of 5 knots. There was a very beautiful
sunset. All the invalids were out in the air a great portion of the
day; Miss Wright seemed much better. In the evening the ship rolled
so much, that Mr. Clark and one or two others tumbled down, while working
in their cabins.
February 21st. Lat. 48° 6” Long. 10° 13”.
A beautiful day; the sun shone in my window, when I was dressing, so
that I was able to see to part my hair straight for I think the first
time. The wind has been to the north west. We were all on deck by 8 o’clock
enjoying the fine weather, which I assure you is most acceptable. The
colour of the water was quite changed from the day before; it was a very
dark blue, more of an indigo, while the day before it was quite a light
colour; we are now fairly in the (Atlantic) ocean, and out of all soundings.
In the afternoon it was not quite so fine, and the wind decreased so
much that we made no more than 3 knots per hour. The emigrants had a
concert in the evening, for they were playing the fiddle and drum at
a fine rate. The invalids were much better; Miss Wright ventured on the
February 22nd. Lat. 46° 35” Long. 11° 3”. Friday.
A rather dismal day; the wind at south west; the greater part of the
day we were sailing at 7 knots per hour. The steward said the supply
of bread was diminishing fast, and no more could be made for the present,
as the leaven wouldn’t rise. In the afternoon a pig was killed;
it was a very small one. The Captain calculated we were about 400 miles
from Plymouth. The invalids were progressing favourably.
February 23rd. Lat. 45° 3” Long. 11° 50”. Saturday.
A very pleasant day; it was so calm that we made no more than 1 ½ knots
per hour. We already began to feel a slight change in the climate. The
water was beautifully transparent, we could see the ship’s keel
quite plainly. In the afternoon we saw some jelly-fish, they looked very
curious, not at all like a fish. The invalids were out nearly all day.
February 24th. Lat. 44° 37” Long. 12° 40”. Sunday.
A fine clear day; the water was as smooth as glass. About 11 ½ there
was a service in the main-hatchway; some of the passengers attended.
In the evening the Captain took a lunar observation. The invalids were
on the deck, I may say, all day.
February 25th. Lat. 44°11” Long. 12° 47”. Monday.
A fine day but the wind against us. At four o’clock in the morning
a child died; she was 12 years old. The funeral was performed the same
morning at about 9 ½; her mattress and pillow were first thrown
over; the body was carried on deck, where the burial service was read
by the Surgeon; the Union Jack was hoisted, and the flag was also laid
over the body. We had made 26 miles in our course since the preceding
day. The invalids were pretty well.
February 26th. Lat. 43 ° 53” Long. 14° 6”. Tuesday.
A fine morning though not a very pleasant day. The wind was as much against
us as ever; we were sailing at about 4 knots. About 6 in the evening
it began to look very squally, but it cleared off towards 8. The wind
changed at this time to the north west, which was very favourable.
Mrs. & Miss Wright were not quite so well; the tossing of the ship
affected them. In the evening there was a report of a whale being seen
near the vessel; upon which I immediately went on deck; I heard him
snorting but did not see him.
February 27th. Lat. 42° 15” Long. 14° 6”. Wednesday.
A beautiful day; I enjoyed a walk on deck before breakfast; it was very
refreshing after having been in a close cabin all night. The wind was
still favourable, and we had made 104 miles in our course since the
preceding day. The night was very clear, and we were sailing at about
7 knots per hour.
February 28th. Lat. 39° 19” Long. 14° 30”. Thursday.
A fine day, and a fair wind. At noon we had sailed 170 miles, reckoning
from that time on the day before. It was very pleasant on deck, basking
in the sun. It was the birthday of one of the passengers, a little
girl 4 years old. In the evening we saw a good deal of phosphoric light
in the water. It was smoother than the day before, when the spray occasionally
dashed over the bulwarks, on the main deck and gave the emigrants a
March 1st. Lat. 37° 8” Long. 15° 13”. Friday.
A pleasant day, with the wind at northeast. Within the last 24 hours
we had made 139 miles. The rolling of the vessel was hardly perceptible.
There was one in sight during the day; she was sailing nearly in our
direction; we were rather doubtful whether it might not be one of the
Australian vessels, which started about the same time as we did. Mr.
Clark in the evening read to the emigrants something amusing, and instructive;
they seemed very much pleased, and very attentive. We were sailing
at the rate of 6 knots during the day. The invalids deserved their
name; they were so much better.
March 2nd. Lat. 34° 23” Long. 16° 00”. Saturday.
A fine day, though rather showery; the wind was still at northeast. We
had sailed about 164 miles within the last 24 hours. During most of
the day we were going at the rate of from 6 to 7 knots per hour. The
Royal sails were put up this afternoon. We saw a great quantity of
porpoises; they came in herds at intervals round the ship; 2 which
I noticed seemed to be racing, and jumped from 20 to 30 feet out of
the water together. At 11 o’clock we were nearly opposite the
Island of Porto Santo; we were far too distant to see anything of the
land. The moon rose beautifully about 10 ½, and the stars were
also very brilliant.
March 3rd. Lat. 31° 54” Long. 15° 59”. Sunday.
One of the loveliest days we have had. At 7 ½ in the morning,
I was called on deck to see the Desertas Islands . We were passing them,
but they had been visible since it was light. Some of the passengers
sketched the rocks, which were very scraggy and picturesque, and also
Madeira in the distance; we did not entirely lose sight of them till
the afternoon. At eleven there was service on the Quarter - deck; a good
many of the emigrants attended, and I think all the passengers; the emigrants
hymn sung at the end of the service I thought very pretty. The afternoon
I spent in the stern boat reading, where it was indeed pleasant. There
were some Porpoises round the ship during the day. Our rate on an average
was about 6 knots.
March 4th. Lat. 29° 30” Long. 17° 6”. Monday.
It rained in the morning till towards 12, when it cleared up, the sun
appeared, and we enjoyed a fine afternoon. About 5 o’clock P.M.
the Island of Palma became visible through the mist. At 6 Faro was
faintly seen. After tea we could see the lights on Palma; they were
not confined to one particular spot, but were on all parts of the Island.
The awning was put up this afternoon; it made the Poop a very pleasant
resort. At about 11 o’clock the phosphoric light was beautiful;
occasionally a porpoise would dart through the water close to the ship;
he was quite visible through the light, and we could see his track
for quite a short distance.
March 5th. Lat. 26° 51” Long. 17° 55”. Tuesday.
This morning I had the pleasure of seeing the sun rise through my scuttle
hole. I got up immediately and saw the Island of Ferro, very distinctly;
it is a Volcano, and we could see some mounds of the Crater. On one side
of the Island is very steep, and seemed very hard rocky ground. There
were no signs of vegetation, and not a tree was to be seen. It decidedly
the best view of land we have had since we left England. Towards 7 ½ we
could see the Peak of Teneriffe, though at least 90 miles distant, and
we did not entirely lose sight of it till 11 when we were as far as 120
geographical miles off. At 3 P.M. we lost sight of Ferro, but it was
seen again at sunset. Several sketches were taken of the Island in the
morning. The weather was beautiful, and the wind fair. We had made 165
miles within the last 24 hours. I commenced a letter to Germany with
the hopes of meeting a vessel. All the passengers were on deck nearly
the whole day, enjoying the fine and warm weather. About 11 the preceding
evening, the Island of Gomera was seen, though very indistinctly.
March 6th. Lat. 25° 7” Long. 18° 22”. Wednesday.
It was a very fine day, and so much warmer that I was quite driven away
from the stern boat, where I was reading. The wind was more to the
East, but there was as little of it that we made no more than 4 knots
per hour. Within the last 24 we had made 112 knots . The Trade Winds
had assisted us ever since we had passed the Madeiras. After breakfast
the ladies read Macaulay’s History of England aloud on the Poop.
March 7th. Lat. 22° 54” Long. 19° 20”. Thursday.
We are already in the Tropics, with the wind at East. The water had resumed
more of its green colour, most probably from our nearness to the African
coast. We had made in the 24 hours 130 miles. The Surgeon, having found
it necessary, had ordered the Emigrants to have all their children’s
hair cut; yesterday upon examination 24 were found not cut at all;
the doctor then told these that if it was not done by today, that he
should take it into his own hands; well this morning at 9 o’clock
there was only 1 rebellious emigrant, who besides refusing to cut his
little girl’s hair was insolent to the Doctor, who then put the
hand cuffs on him, and was taking the child to cut her hair, when he
still tried to prevent him; however the Captain here interceded, and
knocked him down; this brought all the emigrants up, and there was
a terrible scene of crying, abusing, etcetera. They seemed very savage
against the Captain, but who however had provided himself with a pistol.
There were 3 women in particular, who fought with their tongues most
manfully, however in about an hour’s time everything had become
quiet. During the disturbance the Doctor had cut the child’s
hair; the man is still in irons, and does not seem at present much
softened, as he has threatened to murder Mr. Browne, another of the
emigrants, for which he will be kept a prisoner until he promises to
keep the peace, and begs the Doctor’s pardon. Before breakfast
we saw a whale I should think 40’ long; he was not far from the
ship, and we could follow his track quite well for some distance. As
Macaulay was being read this afternoon, Miss Wright fainted; she had
not been quite so well all the morning.
March 8th. Lat. 20° 35” Long. 20° 20”. Friday.
Two Grampusses, some porpoises, and flying fish were seen in the afternoon;
we could see the Grampusses from a considerable distance; 1 came near
the ship. The sunset was very beautiful; we saw it set into the sea;
going down it lost its roundness, and became more of an oval shape.
It was very pleasant night; we could see the Southern Cross very plainly.
Our rate was about 6 knots per hr, and we had made 150 knots in the
March 9th. Lat. 18° 23” Long. 21° 10”. Saturday.
A very warm and pleasant day. Some flying fish were seen ; I did not
see them, but was told they were like so many birds flying. The sunset
was as beautiful as the day before. We were going at the rate of 5 ¾ knots
per hr; and we had made 146 knots within the 24 hours.
March 10th. Lat. 16° 10” Long. 21° 10”. Sunday.
The Island of Bonavista was faintly visible from 4 to 6 P.M. It was a
beautiful day; we were sailing at 6 ½ knots during the greater
part of the day; we had made 149 in the 24 hours. Mrs. Clark kindly
had an interview with the prisoner and his wife this morning, and persuaded
him to apologise to the Doctor for his misconduct, and promise him
to keep the peace during the rest of the voyage. The Doctor most gladly
released him, and he has been most useful to the sailors ever since.
We saw a great quantity of flying fish; they came near the ship; I
was very much disappointed in their size, as none were more than a
foot in length. There were also Portuguese men of war; they seemed
very pretty little fish, of a pinkish colour. There was a service on
deck at 11 o’clock; besides most of the emigrants and passengers
many of the sailors attended. Several accidents occurred during the
day; a little boy fell down the main hatchway. A spar fell on a woman’s
wrist. A woman went into a fit, etcetera.
March 11th. Lat. 14° 00” Long. 22° 47”. Monday.
After breakfast the emigrants had their trunks up, and consequently the
deck was in great confusion. There was 1 Irish woman, who had been
so furious with his tongue the other day, and was saying she had more
silk dresses et al than all the Cabin passengers put together, however
we only discovered 3 fine bonnets, and the same number of caps. By
12 o’clock we had made 147 knots; and we were making 6 during
March 12th. Lat. 11° 13” Long. 22° 10”. Tuesday.
As it was washing morning the Emigrants were up at 4 o’clock A.M.
in order to have finished by 8. As it was holystoning morning, there
was a thundering noise overhead, from 6 to 7 ½, almost enough
to deafen me. Our rate was from 8 to 9 knots during the night, and in
the 24 hours we had made 172 knots. During the day we were making about
7. Two or three accidents occurred today; the Ship’s Carpenter,
while chopping a piece of wood, cut 1 of his toes all but off; in fact
it was only hanging on by a piece of skin, and 2 others he cut to the
bone. It was a fine and pleasant day; I enjoyed myself very much, lying
on my mattress (which was brought out to air) in the sun reading, and
March 13th. Lat. 8° 36” Long. 21° 35”. Wednesday.
A very warm day. I occupied most of the morning in writing to my sisters.
We had made 160 knots in the 24 hours, and were making 6 ½ during
the day. The Doctor has 2 little children very ill; one has a disease
of the heart, and the dropsy in his legs and feet; it came on suddenly
after dinner yesterday.
March 14th. Lat. 6° 24” Long. 20° 46”. Thursday.
A very hot day; the thermometer on deck was at 81 ½° and in
the cabin at 81°. We had made 136 knots in the 24 hours, and during
the day had made about 5. At 11 o’clock we saw an immense number
of Porpoises, I should think not less than 200; they came jumping out
of the water, so that we could see them for some distance. One turned
a double somersault in the air, and then fell clumsily into the water.
In the afternoon some Grampusses were seen about the ship. One of Mrs.
Clark’s sons had put out a line to catch dolphins, but on pulling
up his line he found the hook broken right in half. At six some very
dark clouds appeared, and it began to rain; as I did not want to be deprived
of the air, I put on my Mackintosh, and went on deck, where I was immediately
hailed as the Duke of Wellington. At 12 o’clock, after all the
ladies had retired, the Doctor, myself, and Mr. Clark junior took a bath,
by throwing buckets of water over each other, which was very refreshing;
the water was very warm, and the phosphoric light which remained on our
bodies rendered it very curious; we all enjoyed ourselves so much (at
least I did) that when it came to my turn I could hardly lift the bucket.
March 15th. Lat. 4° 59” Long. 20° 25”. Friday.
At about 6 ½ this morning, Mr. Clark came to inform his sons sleeping
in my cabin that a shark was near the ship; we all immediately dressed
ourselves, and on coming on deck found he had already been hooked, but
as they were pulling him up, his weight had torn the hook out, and he
consequently escaped; in about an hour’s time he forgot past injuries,
and again took the hook, but in the same way was released. He has since
been wiser, and has not reappeared, but left us with some of his family,
1 of whom was soon after safely landed on deck where he was unmercifully
put to death. He measured about 2 ft 6 ins. These were not the only fish
that visited us, for Pilot fish, Skip Jacks, Grampusses, and Jelly fish
followed their example. It was quite calm nearly the whole day, and very
showery, which enabled us to catch a little water. At the hottest part
of the day the thermometer was 83° on deck. We had made 92 knots
in 24 hours. Fainting seemed to be the fashion, as it was carried on
to a considerable extent.
March 16th. Lat. 4° 9” Long. 20° 23”. Saturday.
Three of the emigrants had slept on the poop deck, and this morning I
found them yelling and screaming in fits. It rained a good deal at
intervals, and a considerable quantity of water was collected; it tasted
very tarry, but we found it quite good enough for washing. The thermometer
was no higher than 79°. The wind was very changeable. We had made
about 50 knots, but not altogether in our course. We again indulged
ourselves in a bath, which we enjoyed as much as before.
March 17th. Lat. 3° 23” Long. 20° 30”. Sunday.
By dead reckoning, a rather showery day, though not at all unpleasant,
as it assisted to make the air so much cooler. On an average we were
making 3 knots. The invalids were not much better, and a young girl
who went into a fit at about 8 the preceding evening, was added to
the number; she was so desperate at intervals that 4 men could barely
hold her. About 3 ½ a vessel came in sight; from her course
we could see she was homeward bound, and must pass very near to us.
We were quite undecided whether to finish off our letters; however
as she approached us we could see she was lowering a boat; this settled
the question, and we set to in right earnest; in about 5 minutes the
boat came alongside, and we heard from the officer, she was from Calcutta
for London; her name was the Southampton, and was about 800 tons, and
had been 63 days from Calcutta, and 8 months 21 days from London. I
had done up my letter for Germany in a great hurry, and immediately
went on deck, where there was a most capital view of the Southampton;
she is a very fine vessel, and looked quite superb in the water. We
could see the passengers and officers very well. There were 5 ladies
all dressed in white, as were also the midshipmen; it was quite a tropical
scene, seeing everybody in white, and with seemingly very tanned faces.
The vessel looked very clean; we lost sight of her soon after sunset;
their chief object in coming off was that they thought we were bound
for Calcutta, and therefore brought a packetful of letters for us to
take; they also wanted to buy some potatoes, but as ours had long been
finished we of course could not supply them; they brought the Captain
some cigars, which I believe is the general custom; their officers
were all dressed in uniform. It was not a very advantageous time to
come on board, as these 4 emigrants were lying screaming on the deck;
however they told us the same complaint was on board their ship.
March 18th. Lat. 3° 26” Long. 19° 59”. Monday.
It will be seen by the latitude of today, that we were 3 miles more to
the north than yesterday; the fact is the latitude if yesterday was
only calculated by dead reckoning, and therefore could not be depended
on, and there are also strong northerly currents about here. At 4 ½ this
morning there was a very heavy squall; it lasted about 1 hour, and
caused a most delightful breeze to come through my porthole. It was
generally thought to be the hottest day we have had; the thermometer
was 83 ½° on deck. The invalids were, I think generally
better, the Doctor having adopted the water system, that is to say
putting them into a tub, and throwing buckets of water over them, or
wetting their heads and the upper part of the body constantly while
lying down; the latter was the most effectual. All the female Emigrants
now bathe every evening in the same way. The ducks also were not forgotten;
they were thrown overboard in turns with a string tied round one of
their wings; they seemed to enjoy it very much. The sunset was most
beautiful this evening; I think I never saw such superb clouds; we
amused ourselves with fancying what they resembled, and very often
came to the most droll conclusions.
March 19th. Lat. 3° 4” Long. 20° 4”. Tuesday.
A large whale was seen several times during the day at some distance
from the ship; some Porpoises were also about, and a Nautilus or Portuguese
Man of War was seen after breakfast. The wind was contrary; we tacked
4 times, but there was a very pleasant breeze, which lessened the oppressiveness
of the weather. We had made 22 knots in the 24 hours, the same current
keeping us back and were going about 4 knots per hour. The invalids
were much better, their fits being not near so violent. The lost the
Northeast Trades on Friday, and have had contrary winds ever since.
March 20th. Lat. 2° 7” Long. 21°. Wednesday.
Though rather warm in the cuddy, it was very pleasant on deck. We are
already in the tail of the Southeast Trades; there was a very nice
breeze all day, so that we made about 5 knots per hour, and 106 in
the 24 hours by the log. The invalids were much better, but not as
yet able to sleep or remain down below; the Doctor adopted the plan
of beating, when inclined to go into laughing fits.
March 21st. Lat. 20” Long. 23° 2”. Thursday.
A beautiful day, with a fair breeze, making at between 6 and 7 knots.
In the 24 hours we had made 147 knots. The sailors caught a Bonitre
which contained a flying fish; the latter was not more than half a
foot in length, and very much mutilated. The sailors soon dispensed
with the former, which I believe is pretty good eating. At about ¼ 4
we were on the Equator; the telescopes were immediately produced and
we succeeded in seeing it by placing a hair across the glass. It was
a beautiful night; the heavenly bodies were so very clear.
March 22nd. South Latitude. 1° 35” Long. 24° 3”.
After a most luxurious bath last night, I slept well till 6 this morning,
when my companion awoke me to see the sun rising out of the sea; it really
was very beautiful; the sky was beautifully clear, and there was every
appearance of a lovely day, which I am sure we experienced. The Thermometer
was at 82 ½° in the shade on deck. We had made 150 knots in
the 24 hours, and we were making between 5 and 6 knots per hour. A Bonitre
was again landed on deck by the sailors; it was brought on the poop deck
for our inspection, and was deservedly much admired; its colours were
as numerous as those of the rainbow; it was not covered with scales as
other fish; its length was about 15 inches, and it weighed between 6
and 7 lbs.
March 23rd. Lat. 3° 3” Long. 24° 36”. Saturday.
Last night 3 of Jupiter’s moons were seen, but 1 was only visible
to my eyes. We had been watching what we thought to be a moon for several
evenings, but I think have now pretty well concluded it is too distant
and large to be one. We had made 108 knots in the 24 hours, and during
the day were making about 5. The thermometer was at 84° in the shade
on deck, 112° in the sun, and 83° in the cuddy. The heat was
very oppressive all day. One or two Portuguese men of war were seen sailing
past the ship in all their glory. The fits returned to the invalids today.
March 24th. Lat. 4° 18” Long. 25° 10”. Sunday.
As we were enjoying the fresh air on deck this morning before breakfast,
we were rather alarmed by seeing a fire rush out of the Emigrants Galley,
which if water had not been immediately procured would have caught
the sails which were very near; the Emigrants of course were making
all the noise they could, which together with the fright had the effect
of setting the invalids into fits immediately; the fire was caused
by one of the emigrants putting some suet on the stove, which running
down into the fire made it blaze up in this alarming manner. The zodiacal
light which I think we have seen for the first time this evening was
very much admired; as also the halo round the moon which was very beautiful.
We were making about 4 knots per hour till the evening when it became
squally, and a considerable quantity of rain fell.
March 25th. Lat. 6° 8” Long. 26° 32”. Monday.
There was a strong breeze all day, but it was squally; we were making
from 6 to 7 knots per hour, and by the log in the 24 hours we had gone
March 26th. Lat. 8° 27” Long. 27° 53”. Tuesday.
The same fine breeze as yesterday, but without the squalls, was carrying
us on at about 6 ½ knots per hour and by 12 o’clock we
had made 161 by the log.
March 27th. Lat. 10° 51” Long. 28° 38”. Wednesday.
A fine day, though squally. This morning a Porpoise was captured by the
sailors, and was immediately hauled up under the bough, where he was
left until he was dead; he was then safely landed on the main deck
for general inspection, and was then cut up, and in the afternoon a
portion was cooked, and distributed amongst the emigrants and sailors;
a piece was brought on the poop, but as I was in the cuddy at the time,
I arrived too late to taste it, but was told it ate very much like
beef. He was about 6 feet in length, and from what the sailors said
contained a good deal of oil. The sunset was one of the most beautiful
we have seen; the dark vermilion intermixed with the dark blue clouds
rendered it very rich, and at the same time the moon was slowly appearing
above the horizon, which added still more to the beauty of the scene.
At about 12 o’clock P.M. a squall passed over, bringing with
it a smart breeze, which continued during the night.
March 28th. Lat. 13° 23” Long. 29° 37”. Thursday.
A pleasant day, and I may say the same for the breeze, which carried
us along at 8 knots per hour. The log showed 163 knots in the 24 hours.
There was already a very perceptible difference in the temperature.
The day before yesterday a schooner was seen, steering more to the
westward than ourselves, evidently bound to South America. This evening
the Captain discovered the name of a star of the first magnitude in
the southern hemisphere (not far from the Cross), to be of Argo, one
of the principle stars in that constellation; on the star being discovered
we named it Medea, and have become so attached to the name that we
still retain it; it has only lately changed from the second to the
March 29th. Lat. 16° 25” Long. 30° 10”. Friday.
A fine breeze (of 8 knots per hour) during the night enabled us to make
the longest run since leaving Plymouth, namely 183 knots. The temperature
is now agreeable to us all; it was about 80° on deck. As Mr. Thornton
(Second Mate) had saved the Porpoise’s head, I went with him
on the forecastle, where it was hanging; when, as is the custom I was
seized quite unexpectedly by the sailors, who chaulked my shoes, and
kept me a prisoner until I promised to pay the fine, which is a bottle
of Grog. The invalids have not yet got rid of their fits, but received
several boxes on the ear and face to enable them to do so.
March 30th. Lat. 19° 18” Long. 30° 18”. Saturday.
It had been rather ... in the night, but I had slept through all the
noise. It was a very fine day, and there was a very pleasant breeze
all day. The thermometer was at 79° on deck. We had made 173 knots
in the 24 hours, and on an average we were going 7 ½ knots per
hour. About 2 this afternoon, as we were all busily occupied on deck,
there was a sudden cry of ‘A man overboard’, the helm was
immediately put down, the ship wore round, life buoys were thrown over,
and the Jolly boat, which was in the midst of being painted, was lowered.
In the meantime we had been watching the sailor, who fortunately was
a very good swimmer, raising himself above water as much as possible
so as to be seen; on seeing the boat he immediately swam for it, and
before ½ an hour had expired, he was safely landed on the sailors’ ‘Terra
Firma’; he seemed very little exhausted, because in another 5
minutes he was taking his place at the ropes with the other sailors.
The accident was occasioned by a piece of spun yarn breaking to which
he was holding on to while working on the fore-rigging; in the fall
he knocked his head against some chains which rendered him insensible
for a minute or two in the water. This was not the only misfortune
which occurred, for in the lowering of the boat, one of the sailors
caught his thumb between the ship and the boat; he was obliged to have
his nail taken off, which is a very painful operation. It is not the
first or even the second time of this sailor’s unexpectedly visiting
the sea, but he told me he would rather not try it again, if possible,
he has been 6 years in a man of war, his last ship was the Vindictive.
The emigrants as usual were all confusion, crying, screaming, and fits
were the order of the day; when the poor sailor reached the boat there
was a general hurrahing.
March 31st. Lat. 22° 12” Long. 30° 18”. Sunday.
About 9 ½ last night a child died of infantile fever, and the
Doctor thought it unwholesome for the body to remain on board until the
morning, at 12 ½ the burial service was read, and the body was
committed to the deep; I then went to bed, but in the morning was told
that in about ½ an hour after I had retired another child of about
18 months had also died of the same complaint; it was buried after breakfast.
The invalids have so far recovered as to allow the service to be read
at 11 o’clock, which as it was Easter Sunday was rather more complicated.
After a rather severe squall last night at 12 o’clock there was
a complete calm for about an hour, which most probably was caused by
our passing under the shelter of the Island of Trinidad , which lies
very high; during this calm we saw a beautiful lunar rainbow, which caused
a complete arch; it looked very much like the ghost of a sun rainbow.
There has been a nice breeze all day, but by about 6 P.M. it became very
squally. On an average we have gone 8 knots per hour, and in the 24 by
the log 180. The thermometer was at 80° at the hottest part of the
day. We have seen a black Magellan cloud this evening, it lies just under
April 1st. Lat. 24° 45” Long. 30° 18”. Monday.
Just as I was falling asleep last night, the Doctor roused me up by saying
there was a ship in sight. I, thinking to see a beautiful sight by
the moonlight, immediately put on my trousers and jacket and went on
deck, but no sooner was I on the poop than I was honoured with the
title of an ‘April Fool’. It fell so calm once or twice
last night, that we bid adieu to the Southeast trades, however this
morning I was astonished to find we were making 7 ½ knots per
hour; our run in the 24 was 157 knots. The thermometer was at 80° on
deck. The invalids, who the Doctor had ordered to sleep below, were
carried on deck in fits; the heat below was too great for them; one
whose face the Doctor had slapped considerably hard (as a remedy) had
a black eye and a swollen face as the result of last night’s
April 2nd. Lat. 27° 22” Long. 30° 20”. Tuesday.
The wind had gone down considerably, and 4 knots has been our greatest
hours run during the day. We have given up all hopes of seeing anything
more of the Southeast Trades. The thermometer has been as high as 81° on
deck today. This evening the 2 white Magellan clouds are visible for
the first time. We had made 151 ½ knots by the log today. On
Sunday at about 10 P.M. we passed the Tropic of Capricorn.
April 3rd. Lat. 28° 49” Long. 30° 17”. Wednesday.
It has been nearly a calm all day, and the sea has been very smooth.
There was a nice breeze during the night, which according to Mr. Clark’s
log had helped us on 91 knots. The thermometer at noon was at 81° in
the shade, and 101° in the sun. A ship has been in sight the greater
part of the day; she seemed homeward bound, but she was too far off
for anything more to be distinguished of her. Several birds were about
the ship this afternoon, amongst the number was a Cape Hen. The stars
I think render the evenings the pleasantest part of the day; it is
so pleasant discovering the new ones which are at present very numerous,
more particularly because there is no sidereal chart on board; however
Mr. Howard Clark is now making one with Adelaide for its zenith.
April 4th. Lat. 29° 18” Long. 30° 40”. Thursday.
We have now quite a calm; the sea is as smooth as glass. A fine looking
ship has been in sight all day; about 12 o’clock she was near
enough for us to recognise her colours which were English; she hoisted
colours, asking what ship we were, the answer to which we hoisted;
we were not able in return to distinguish her name, but I think she
was generally thought to be an East Indiaman; This afternoon there
was a general assembly of arms; my pistols were amongst the number;
we fired at bottles, birds, paper or anything within reach of our fowling.
About 11 o’clock last night I went up the rigging to see whether
the moon could be seen sooner than on deck; I had hardly arrived on
the top, however, when I was followed by one of the sailors, who lashed
me there as tight as could be, because I had not paid my fine; he then
left me until I should repent, and give orders to the steward for a
bottle of rum, which I was at last obliged to do. I saw one of Jupiter’s
satellites last night; it was a most beautiful and clear night for
star gazing, and I think I never saw such a variety of richly coloured
clouds after sunset as there were this evening. One of the invalids
who had been moaning in a delirium all night was ordered to have part
of her hair cut off (of which she had an immense quantity), to which
she at first loudly protested against. By the log we had made 42 knots.
The thermometer was at 78° in the shade, which is rather warm for
April 5th. Lat. 29° 58” Long. 30° 53”. Friday.
Two vessels were in sight when I came on deck this morning; one was our
friend of yesterday, though at a greater distance; the other was a
brig which we were gaining upon considerably, and would have come alongside
at about 12 o’clock, had she not steered a little more to the
Eastward than ourselves; consequently we could bespeak her as the Captain
had intended. There had been a homeward bound barque in sight early
in the morning, but at 9 o’clock she was too far for me to see
her. A nice breeze sprang up this afternoon which is carrying on at
6 knots. The thermometer is getting lower every day now; it has not
been higher than 74° today.
April 6th. Lat. 31° 13” Long. 28° 34”. Saturday.
Four large whales were seen this morning about the ship; two were so
near that a stone might have been thrown on their backs. I was dressing
at the time so that I did not see them, but the noise of the emigrants
intimated that something was going on, I thought at first the ship
was on fire, or something just as dreadful. We have been making 7 (knots)
per hour all day. The vessels are all out of sight so that we feel
quite lonely after seeing them for 2 successive days.
April 7th. Lat. 32° 9” Long. 26° 21”. Sunday.
There was a very heavy squall of rain last night at 11 o’clock,
which enabled me to fill my can in about 5 minutes, and get wet through
in less than that time. After that the rain was over, and we were looking
over from the poop deck into the sea, we saw what seemed to be a fish,
and were discussing what kind it might be; I said it could not be a Porpoise,
for it created so little porpoise light in the water; and skimmed on
the surface of the water too much; at last we discovered it to be a rope,
which had been left hanging from one of the yards, while taking in the
studding sails. We were not making more than 2 knots this morning; and
there was only just time to finish the service, when the rain came; it
still continues, and as there is no use in sailing too fast in the wrong
direction with a smart breeze, we are under single reefed main top-sails.
By the log we had made 150 knots. The thermometer, when at its highest,
was at 72°.
April 8th. Lat. 31° 4” Long. 27°. Monday.
We have had a very disagreeable night; it rained nearly the whole time,
and the wind was so high, as to oblige a double reef to be taken in
the main and fore-topsails, these together with the fore-topmast stay
sail were all she carried; the masts look very bare and dismal without
the quantity of sail we have so long been used to see. The rolling
and pitching of the vessel occasioned a great deal of mirth at dinner;
several of us spilt our soup, Mr. Clark received the whole of his into
his lap; the mutton which followed nearly slipped from off the dish
into somebody’s lap, and immediately the plum pudding was put
on the table, a sudden lurch sent the same nearly all over the cloth;
upon the whole if we had tried, we could not have disfigured a clean
table-cloth more than we unintentionally did. It was most amusing to
see the Emigrants tumbling about the deck in all directions and occasionally
the spray dashing over the bulwarks would give them a thorough drenching.
We have made 50 knots by the log, but I am sorry to say nearly all
in the wrong direction.
April 9th. Lat. 32° 24” Long. 24° 58”. Tuesday.
We have had another most boisterous and squally night; this morning it
was blowing nearly a gale, but in the afternoon the foresail was taken
in, the main and fore topsail were close reefed and the vessel was
kept nearly close to the wind; the sea is running mountains high, and
while several of us were watching the waves, (the tops of which were
blown away like dust), one burst against the side of the ship, sending
the spray all over us on the poop, which is the height of 18 feet from
the water; it wet me through to the skin, so that I was obliged to
change everything. Mine is about the third cap that has been blown
overboard today; it was very tormenting to see my cap floating away,
without being able to get it.
April 10th. Lat. 31° 40” Long. 24° 10”. Wednesday.
The gale is moderating, but the swell is sufficient to throw several
plates from off the breakfast table this morning. Several Irish girls
also fell from off the bulwarks on the top of each other; the undermost
was severely bruised, her mouth being badly cut. Two Albatrosses were
flying very near the ship today; they are a very large bird, with very
long wings; they have been known to measure 13 feet from wing to wing;
the breasts are generally of a pure white, their wings when they are
very young are only slightly striped, but as they advance in age their
wings become, and even the greater part of the body becomes, a dark
April 11th. Lat. 31° 9” Long. 21° 30”. Thursday.
A fine day has come at last; the sea has gone down considerably, and
the wind is allowing us to make an East - Southeast course. We have
had a most busy day; the emigrants have had their boxes up, and Mr.
Smith has at last found my trunk, into which I have stowed all my dirty
linen; Milton’s works, and a few other things that came up in
it, were very mouldy. The Captain and Doctor have been trying to shoot
the numerous birds which have been flying about during the day; they
did not however succeed in killing any, but we could see the bullets
flying fall into the water close to them. The awning, (under which
I have spent so many pleasant hours in the Trades), has been taken
April 12th. Lat. 31° 4” Long. 18° 30”. Friday.
When I came on deck this morning we were making 9 ½ knots, but
as it looked squally a reef was taken in the main and fore topsails,
which lessened our speed a little. In a squall last night the fore-topmast
stunsail boom was broken, by the immense weight of the sail upon it.
It has been a beautiful day, but the evenings are now quite cool enough
to oblige me to wear a great coat. The wind was favourable until about
noon, when she began to make a little north in her course. Every morning
when I awake I find my bed perfectly wet with water which finds its way
through a leak.
April 13th. Lat. 30° 23” Long. 16° 30”. Saturday.
I was surprised this morning to see the sails flapping which indicate
that there is no wind; the sea was beautifully smooth, and the water
was so transparent that we could see a piece of paper for 30 feet deep.
Several lines were astern to attract an Albatross who was flying constantly
round the ship, as if to inspect us; he hardly moved his wings when
in the air, seeming to fly so exactly at his ease. Soon after we saw
a whale or rather a portion of one, for his back was all he kept above
the water; he was not far from the ship, and his oily track was very
distinct. Mr. Smith is on the sick list with a very bad foot which
he scalded yesterday. The single men amongst the emigrants have gone
minus their dinner today - because they refused to wash their apartment.
It has been much warmer than usual today; one might almost have fancied
oneself in the Tropics again.
April 14th. Lat. 30° 16” Long. 16° 9”. Sunday.
We have still a perfect calm; what a contrast it is to the exceedingly
rough weather we had a few days ago! There is only 1 out of the numerous
number of birds which were flying about yesterday; all the rest seem
to have deserted us; however instead of birds we have been duly rewarded
by catching some beautiful jelly fish; we were all very much taken
with them, and Miss Clark sketched and painted one; there were amongst
the number different sorts, a small Portuguese man of war, and another
curious fish that we did not know the name of. I have preserved one
of the Jelly fish, in a marmalade pot, and this evening when it was
dark I touched it, and to my surprise it lighted the whole pot with
its beautiful phosphoric light, and afterwards on rubbing my fingers
together I found they were covered with the same light. A shark came
to inspect the ship this afternoon, but the noise made by his inspection
drove him away, and the pork that was hung out, was hauled in without
our having seen any more of him. I can’t say I altogether regret
a calm sometimes, for it is so pleasant after rough weather being able
to walk or sit without fear of falling over every moment. The Doctor
read the service on deck at 11 o’clock, and there was a much
better congregation than usual. The baby, just 3 weeks old, was again
brought up for inspection; there is certainly great improvement in
it, it has lost the red face, and now looks more like a human being;
as we were all anxious to know the length of such a creature, it was
measured and found to be 15 inches in length, and 4 across the head.
April 15th. Lat. 30° 51” Long. 15° 12”. Monday.
A breeze sprang up about 2 o’clock this morning, and at 9 o’clock
we were making between 6 and 7 knots. There has been a barque in sight
all day steering Southeast half a point more to the Southward than ourselves;
we have gained upon her a little, and are now making 9 knots; the Captain
says if we had an 100 tons more in the hold, we should be making 10.
The Jelly fish is still alive, but not blooming; he still however gives
forth his beautiful light. Mr. Smith though much better is still an invalid;
his cabin is generally filled with visitors, to whom he relates the most
amusing yarns, and keeps constantly in fits of laughter.
April 16th. Lat. 32° 28” Long. 11° 36”. Tuesday.
We have made the longest run since leaving Plymouth, namely 208 knots
by the log. It has been blowing a strong breeze all day, (I should
call it a gale); before the studding or the stun sails were taken in,
and the topsails reefed we were making 10 knots, even now she cuts
through the water at 9. She has rolled considerably all day, in one
very deep lurch Mr. Knight who was sitting just outside the Cuddy was
thrown with great violence against the companion ladder, leading up
to the poop); he seemed very much shaken, and lay down, he is now in
bed, I believe rather better. It has been raining a good deal, and
is what sailors call ‘a dirty night’. We have seen no more
of the barque.
April 17th. Lat. 33° 35” Long. 8° 13”. Wednesday.
I was awakened this morning by being told that a barque had crossed our
bows at 4 o’clock (A.M.); she was greeted by a lantern being
hung out, which signified that we saw her; she was most probably the
same we saw the day before yesterday. A ship was also very near to
us, and who after breakfast began signalling us asking ‘Our name,
where we were bound for, how many days we are out of Scilly, and what
our Greenwich time was’; all of which we answered; we then thought
it was our turn, and asked her the same questions with the addition
of wishing her a pleasant voyage; to which she replied her name was ‘Wugear’,
bound for Calcutta, and 69 days out; her Greenwich time I forget; we
had nearly as good a view of her as the ‘Southampton’;
and could plainly see anything on her deck without a telescope. Mr.
Smith was Chief Mate of her, in her best voyage to Adelaide, which
she accomplished in 85 days from Scilly; his foot is rather worse,
which prevented him from coming on deck to greet his old Captain, which
he could easily have done. There has been a steady breeze all day,
and we have lost that dreadful rolling which prevented everybody from
sleeping except myself. Mr. Wright, I am happy to say, has nearly recovered
from his severe fall, which the Doctor says might have been very serious.
April 18th. Lat. 33° 47” Long. 5° 27”. Thursday.
At 7 o’clock this morning we were only making 2 knots, but after
breakfast the breeze freshened; and on an average ever since we have
made about 8. This evening just after sunset a barque was faintly seen
on the horizon; she was right astern, and catching us up by degrees,
so perhaps we may have the pleasure of making her acquaintance tomorrow.
We have made 154 knots by the log today.
April 19th. Lat. 33° 5” Long. 3° 2”. Friday.
Early this morning the breeze left us, and we have been nearly becalmed
all day. There were 3 fine Albatrosses flying about the ship this morning
but the Doctor frightened them away with his gun, which however had
little effect on their bodies though they came very near. We all thoroughly
enjoyed the sunset this evening, for it is so long, if ever, I have
seen such a fine one. We have not seen anymore of the barque, which
I am sorry for, as it would have been a very favourable opportunity
for bespeaking her. My German jacket, (which is now becoming very ancient),
and the Doctor’s smart waistcoat afford the company general amusement.
The breeze which we are now in want of carried us 132 knots by 12 o’clock.
Mrs. Tucker, an emigrant, is dangerously ill of a fever, and the Doctor
seems to have rather bare hopes of her recovery.
April 20th. Lat. 34° 24” Long. 1° 45”. Saturday.
At 12 o’clock today we had made 83 knots, a breeze having favoured
us at about 2 o’clock in the morning. We have made between 6 and
7 knots all day, with a South East course. My sole occupation today has
been to solve an Algebra sum, comprising the elementary rules which I
have been working in; Mr. H. C. was kind enough to give it me; it has
been a regular puzzle and it was only with his assistance that I at length
finished it. He is now preparing me another, which I hope to finish this
evening. We have had a very fine day, but the wind blowing from the South
made the air rather cool. I met with a great misfortune last night by
spilling an inkstand on my bed, the ink ran through everything to the
mattress, as a remedy I poured nearly a whole bottle of limejuice over
it, which I am happy has taken it nearly out. Mrs. Tucker is not expected
to live, I suppose another day will make a great change either for the
better or worse.
April 21st. Lat. 34° 57” Long. 53”. West. Sunday.
The weather is becoming so much cooler that today the service was read
in the ‘tween decks; there was a very good congregation, and
the singing which Mr. Lauton (an emigrant conducts) is now very good.
The wind and weather has been very changeable; sometimes it was quite
a calm, after which a considerable quantity of rain fell, and lastly
a breeze sprang up, which is now carrying us at 7 ½ knots. The
sunset was very beautiful this evening and to add to its beauty, Venus
was peeping out in the midst of the brightest clouds it left behind.
I am glad to say Mrs. Tucker is a shade better today, but the Doctor
has still no hopes of her recovery. In visiting the hospital with the
ladies after service I got a slight glimpse of her; we were astonished
to find everything so clean and comfortable in the emigrants apartments.
April 22nd. Lat. 33° 24” Long. 3° 35”. Monday.
During the night there was a nice breeze, but it left us this morning,
and we have been nearly becalmed ever since; it carried us on about
130 knots before leaving us; we are now making barely 3. The calm brought
a great number of Albatrosses about the ship; the young Clark’s
put out a hook and line, which soon attracted their attention, and
in a short time there was a cry of ‘Albatross on board’,
which is much pleasanter than ‘man overboard’; it is not
so beautiful or large as the one I hooked shortly afterwards, which
measured 10 feet from wing to wing; the plumage of mine is nearly all
white with the exception of the wings, which are of a brownish colour.
The emigrants also caught one, but behaved most unmercifully to it,
by beheading it, cutting its wings (off) and feet off, and also the
body they kept for eating, sending only the skin adrift for its companions
to lament over. The first, after being duly examined, sketched and
painted by Miss Clark was allowed to rejoin his companions, with a
piece of canvas on his neck to designate him from his companions; mine
has taken up his abode in a barrel for the night and tomorrow the butcher
has promised to kill and stuff him for me. When once on land their
wings and legs (which are very weak), are perfectly useless, and their
beaks, which they use pretty effectually, are their only protection.
The rolling of the vessel this afternoon soon drove Mrs. Wright, (who
had been admiring the birds) downstairs. I am told that the swell now
coming from the South East is a prognosticator of wind from that quarter,
but there are no signs of it as present.
April 23rd. Lat. 36° 22” Long. 5° 56”. Tuesday.
We had a smart breeze this morning which carried us nearly 11 knots,
but it soon left us, and the rain has taken its place. Another stun-sail
boom was broken this morning; it sounded very like a gun going off.
The Albatross has been executed, and when dead was found to measure
11 feet; he has since been skinned, and cured, and his stuffing would
soon be completed if any wire could be procured on board. Mrs. Tucker
is a little better, and the Doctor entertains some hopes of her recovery.
April 24th. Lat. 37° 14” Long. 8° 9”. Wednesday.
It was hardly possible to sleep last night, the rolling of the vessel
was so terrific, together with the noise it occasioned in the cabins,
particularly in the steward’s, where something was constantly
falling down. We have had a nice breeze all day particularly since
3 o’clock, when we were making 10 knots. There have been some
particularly fine Albatrosses flying about today, but our speed was
too great to attempt to put a line out. Miss Clark has been most industrious
sketching the man at the wheel; she has also taken many of the droll
figures among the sailors and emigrants of which there are a great
April 25th. Lat. 38° Long. 11° 8”. Thursday.
The wind has been very changeable all day, and as for the weather I think
I never saw such rain as came down in a heavy squall at about 2 o’clock;
the clouds were rather thick all morning so that it gave us no notice;
the stunsails which were out when it commenced were taken in immediately,
and the main and fore-topsails were reefed. The rain came down so terrifically
that 3 hundred gallons of water have been gathered for the ship’s
use, not including what the cabin passengers and sailors have stowed
away; the latter all came down this morning to complain of their being
put on short allowance of that same liquid; they however obtained no
redress, and went away growling and looking as savage as mad bulls.
I have seen some Cape Pigeons for the first time today; they were very
pretty birds, with striped black and white wings and about the size
of our English pigeon; there were also some Nelly’s (seaman’s
term) flying about, they were larger than a Cape Hen, but not so large
as an Albatross of which there were several flying around the ship.
April 26th. Lat. 38° 29” Long. 14° 46”. Friday.
Yesterday afternoon a Southwest breeze sprung up, it bought with it a
beautiful and clear night, but the cold was nearly as intense as in
the Channel. The breeze is still enabling us to add to our East Longitude
at 10 knots her hour. We have had a very fine day though rather squally;
in one there was quite a hailstorm which is a thing quite unknown to
us. The ladies who were indoors all yesterday, were determined to get
a walk in spite of the cold; (they accordingly) and in order to keep
themselves warm, they borrowed the Doctor’s and Mr. H. C’s
great coats, which defied the wind in keeping their dresses down; they
were moreover not at all disfigured by them, for especially Miss Amelia
looked as if she was wearing an old fashioned Polka. There have been
hundreds of birds flying about today, amongst the number were Snow
Petrels, very small white birds, they are so called from frequenting
those unhomely regions. The decks were very slippery last night from
the rain, and as I was taking my evening walk, I was quite unexpectedly
thrown by a deep lurch on the deck with sufficient violence to amuse
the not retired company, viz Mr. H. C., and the Doctor.
April 27th. Lat. 38° 52” Long. 18° 54”. Saturday.
We have had a very squally night, and this morning the wind has quite
died away. The day has been a very pleasant one, but the cold takes
away a considerable portion of the pleasure on deck. There have been
9 or 10 fine Albatrosses flying astern, but they were too shy to come
near the bait. The stuffing of mine has been commenced; it is a difficult
operation because the skin has become very dry; it require 10 feet
of wire to put it together, and which I did not know how to procure
until Coulthard, a most ingenious and money making emigrant, by trade
a cabinet maker, volunteered to make me some from a piece of sheet
iron; he has succeeded in it admirably well. He is also very expert
in making rings ornamented as to taste, out of a sixpence or shilling
piece, and he made the steward an elegant little pastry ornamenter
out of a penny.
April 28th. Lat. 39° 2” Long. 19° 28”. Sunday.
Our run the last 24 hours is nearly imperceptible on the chart, as we
have been nearly becalmed during that time. The motion this morning
was most disagreeable, and was caused by the sea running in two directions,
but upon the other tack she went much easier. A breeze sprung up in
the shape of a squall at 4 o’clock, and it was so severe as to
oblige a double reef to be taken in the topsails. The service was not
used in the morning, on account of the invalids, who were required
to be kept quiet. Mrs. Wright, an emigrant was confined of a little
boy early in the morning; it is her firstborn, the Doctor has been
up all night with her, and to wile away his time, he tied Mr. Thornton
(Second Mate) to his bedposts, where he was asleep; Mr. Smith however
was kind enough to release him, thinking that when he (Mr. Thornton)
was called, he would declare he was fast, and Mr. Smith would be obliged
to continue the watch, which particularly on a rainy night is not over
agreeable. The ladies have been bothering me the whole morning to join
them in writing letters to enclose in a bottle, which is to be sent
adrift with the hope of it someday reaching England. I at last consented
and fixed upon Pop. Thompson as my correspondent; to him I related
very briefly the principle events of the voyage; Mr. H. C. wrote an
address in rhyme to the finder of the bottle, begging him to forward
it to the English Post Office, and for which he would receive a handsome
reward. The subject of Mr. S. C’s letter was that we had pork
for dinner, and that the effects of the same might prove fatal to him,
but while it was still in his power, he would write to say what might
have become of him, if nothing more was heard of him.
To the finder unknown, whose lot it may be
To pick up this bottle at land or at sea.
We whose names will be found undersigned,
Being sound both of body and mind
On board the Barque ‘Fatima’ - Captain Ray
For Adelaide bound - having no other way
Of sending our letters, do hereby request
That the person to whom this despatch is addressed,
When he picks up the bottle
Won’t pour down his throttle
The contents; but will send them to England - and there
We hope he will see
That they’re forwarded, free
Of expense, by the post; and we beg he won’t lose them
And on no account make an attempt to peruse them.
And we further declare it
Our wish, that wher’er it
May happen to be that discovers these rhymes,
Will send a short paragraph off to the Times,
(If a corner he’s able to get, or else to the Shipping Gazette)
To the Daily News, Chronicle, Herald, and Post
Stating how, when, and where - on what part of the coast
He picked up this bottle containing this letter,
Despatched in this way for want of a better.
Furthermore in conclusion
To avoid all confusion
And also induce him to send this advertisement
We will state that the paragraph he’s to insert is meant
To make us aware
That the letters with care
Have all been despatched; and we further declare,
If his name and address at full length he’ll afford
We’ll immediately send him a handsome reward.
Nota bene. Enclosed he will find a small sum
As a slight indication of what is to come -
Thus hoping that someone this bottle will save,
We commit it in trust to the care of the wave,
And so may we shortly receive information,
That our letters have reached their desired destination.
Here follow the signatures.
If the person who thus our behest will obey
Would learn when we sent this adrift, he
Must know it was April, the 28th day
In the year eighteen hundred and fifty.
For the latitude South we are in, it’s
Thirty eight degrees, fifty two minutes;
And our longitude East furthermore
We reckon eighteen, fifty four.
N.B. The bottle was not finally thrown overboard until Monday morning
at 11.20 a.m. as our preparations were not completed in time on Sunday
the 28th. There is also some little difference between the real and nominal
position, as that for Monday was not taken in time.
April 29th. Lat. 38° 31” Long. 23° 43”. Monday.
The nice breeze this morning was unfortunately of little use in lessening
our distance from Adelaide, as it was what is termed a head wind. The
birds about the ship were quite innumerable; they constantly perched
in the water in numbers of 8 or 10, for the purpose of quarrelling
about some piece of biscuit or rubbish one of them might have picked
up. Our bottle containing 8 letters, including the address, the direction
of which was visible, (from the outside of the thick fruit bottle),
and 1 shilling as ‘the slight indication of what is to come’,
was after being well corked, and a whole stick of sealing wax was spent
on it, sent adrift, amidst the well wishes of its numerous spectators,
who soon perceived a congregation of Albatrosses inspecting it with
the greatest eagerness. At 4 o’clock the sky looked very grey
and threatening around the horizon, and as the wind and rain were increasing,
the Captain ordered the topsails to be double reefed; it was a beautiful
sight looking at the sailors standing on a single rope, and tying a
portion of the sail round the yard, while the sail of which they were
endeavouring to tie them down was flapping with sufficient force to
knock them down. It is a most disagreeable evening and the Captain
is much out of sorts on account of the wind.
April 30th. Lat. 38° 54” Long. 23° 33”. Tuesday.
Luckily this morning the wind changed in our favour, and we were able
to shake out one of the three reefs in the topsails. My principle amusement
between the squalls has been to follow up the splendid waves, which
seemed to try who could send the most spray over our weather bulwarks,
drenching anybody standing on the main deck; they were of a beautiful
green, and their tops, which were blown off like dust, showed the prismatic
colours beautifully. Towards 5 o’clock the clouds began to look
very threatening, but nothing more than an ordinary squall was expected,
however suddenly it came on to blow terrifically, and the sea dust
was so thick that we could see little farther than the length of the
vessel; they endeavoured to stow the fore topsail, which together with
a double reefed main topsail, the foresail, and the fore topmast staysail
were flapping with sufficient fore to knock a man off the yard, though
one of the sailor boys, a most courageous young urchin, was by himself
making his way on it, when the Captain bellowed out to him with his
speaking trumpet to come down; with the assistance of the 3 mates the
stowing of the fore topsail and foresail was completed, the emigrants
managed the fore topmast staysail, but not until most of its fastenings,
together with a chain, which I mistook for a man, were overboard; they
all got on to the main topsail, this baffled all their efforts at first,
and the furling was not accomplished, without the sails having split
in 1 or 2 places; we were now under bare poles, the ship had broached
to, against the wish of two men who were at the helm. While all this
was going on, the wind, which was right aft, blew against the stern
boat with such violence as to send it right over the davits which supported
it; Mr. Smith thought it was gone, it luckily however righted itself
again. The emigrants with the exception of a few of the men were sent
below; and as the carpenter was nailing the hatches down, he was sent
to tell the doctor that the matron had severely injured, if not broken,
her leg, by the ship’s medicine chest, which had not been properly
secured, falling upon it; he immediately went below, and confirmed
it was a very severe contusion, and that the contents of the medicine
chest were all lost. At the early part of the gale, I was standing
just outside the Cuddy, when a lurch threw me down, and rolled me backwards
and forwards 4 times before I was able to regain my hold. I was not
hurt but thought it better to remain in the Cuddy, where of all the
doleful faces Mrs. Wright’s looked the most miserable. The gale
now began to abate, and the Captain soon rushed down, telling us all
was right. We might very soon have proved it, by seeing the sailors
looking as jolly as ever, and coming to the steward for their grog;
the botstan (bosun) was told he had better throw his portion away,
but patting his breast and drinking it off was his reply.
May 1st. Lat. 38° 56” Long. 26° 46”. Wednesday.
At 8 ½ last night, as the gale was moderating, and as we had already
lost about 40 miles by laying to, the Captain determined to make sail,
and he accordingly ordered the fore topsail to be double reefed and set.
I then turned in and slept comfortably all night, but never was I more
surprised than to find even royals set on this most lovely morning; it
bore a true resemblance to the month of May, with the exception of the
flowers which we so much missed. We have made 150 knots by the log at
12 o’clock, but since then it has been a dead calm; what a contrast
to this time yesterday! There have been a great number of birds about,
but the line was no temptation to them, because they could get plenty
to eat at a greater distance from the ship by waiting till it floated
to them. The new born baby was brought up today for Mrs. C. to see, it
is a fine child, already bigger than the other and not half so ugly.
I went up to the mizzen cross trees this evening to see the moon rise,
which it did very splendidly; the sunset was also very fine. The stuffing
of the Albatross I am sorry cannot be continued on account of the wire
not being strong enough, it has therefore been packed in a porter cask
and placed in the hold, where it will remain until we arrive at Adelaide.
May 2nd. Lat. 39° 37” Long. 28° 33”. Thursday.
At about midnight the wind freshened, but unfortunately not in the right
quarter. We made 8 knots till 4 p.m. when a reef was taken in the topsails;
the royal yards were also taken down, and the topgallant sails snugly
stowed. At 6 another reef was taken in the topsails, and the mainsail
was clewed up. There has been a good deal of lightning since dark,
it is now very beautiful all around, and the rain is coming down in
torrents. We have had a most beautiful morning, but the sky gradually
became clouded over, till at last the rain came. The invalids I am
glad to say are all better. The rolling of the vessel has just thrown
my ink all over the table cloth, at which the steward is very savage.
May 3rd. Lat. 40° 36” Long. 30° 10”. Friday.
We have been becalmed since 4 o’clock this morning; the wind began
to decrease at 12 o’clock; in the midst of the calm an Albatross
perched upon the water, and attacked the hook, and which after some consideration
he took, and was hauled up amidst great applause; he is a very fine bird
measuring 11 feet from wing to wing, and quite as beautifully marked
as mine; Miss C. has been the whole afternoon taking it’s portrait,
which is really a very admirable one; when it is finished the bird was
given in charge to Mr. Coulthard to stuff, which I think he will accomplish
very well. I was glad to find the wind increasing at 12 o’clock,
and at 8 this evening we had made 40 miles; we are now making 9 knots
with the wind right aft
May 4th. Lat. 40° 23” Long. 33° 40”.
We have had the breeze for 24 hours at last; remarkable to say it is
the only fair wind that has remained with us for so long a time since
leaving the Southeast trades. Mr. Coulthard has been nearly the whole
day stuffing the Albatross, which is now nearly complete.
May 5th. Lat. 40° 22” Long. 37° 12”. Sunday.
We were not making more than 6 knots this morning, but the breeze has
freshened this evening, and we are again making 9. There was a service
in the ‘tween decks this morning; many of the emigrants attended
whilst sitting in their berths. There have been a great number of birds
about the ship both today and yesterday.
May 6th. Lat. 40° 58” Long. 41° 25”. Monday.
A reef has been taken in the topsails this afternoon, as the wind is
increasing. We have been making 9 knots the greater part of the day,
and our 24 hours run is 200 miles. The spray occasionally dashes over
the bulwarks, and once it completely drenched everybody on the main
and poop deck.
May 7th. Lat. 41° 25” Long. 45° 57”. Tuesday.
This good natured breeze still continues, and we have again completed
about 200 miles; which shortened our distance between St. Pauls; the
Captain intends to make that or Amsterdam Island , to ascertain how
his chronometer is going. The Corsers were reefed this morning, and
the flapping of the sails awoke one in the middle of a most interesting
dream. We have carried topgallant sails all day, but they were stowed
at 6 this evening, and they are now double reefing the topsails.
May 8th. Lat. 41° 46” Long. 48° 33”. Wednesday.
It blew so hard last night that the topsails were close reefed, and we
were obliged to heave to for a short time. The noise and the Captain’s
ordering the steward to give the sailors some grog awoke me at 2 o’clock
this morning; I lay some time listening to the howling of the wind,
but at last fell asleep again. My toilette was not accomplished without
the greatest of difficulty, on account of the rolling, which was so
incessant yesterday evening that the ladies company in general (led
on by the Doctor) propped themselves up with pillows. I was surprised
to see the wind lessening; it at last fell quite a calm, but the arch
that the dark clouds formed astern, intimated there would be wind and
rain in abundance; however before the former arrived, while it was
raining in torrents Mr. Thornton succeeded in catching 2 Cape Pigeons;
one was shortly after thrown overboard; the poor thing being affected
with seasickness, while the Captain was holding him; the other is still
in good health, and has taken up his abode in a hencoop. I got thoroughly
wet through in fishing for them and the other birds about the ship.
The wind at last came with great violence from the West-South-West,
just in the opposite quarter to what we had it yesterday. It is now
blowing so hard that Mr. Thornton is quite undecided whether to cap
the topsails. The cord of the log line run out so soon that the log
could not be heaved at 10 this evening.
May 9th. Lat. 40° 41” Long. 53° 34”. Thursday.
We have had as noisy a night as we expected, on retiring last evening.
The dreadful rolling, and the slippery deck, threw Mr. Smith down with
such force that it shook another piece out of the only unfortunate
glass there is left; to the great amusement of the Captain and Doctor,
who were making themselves very jolly in the Cuddy. Miss T. was too
poorly to give us the pleasure of her company at breakfast, but on
coming into the Cuddy, she was surprised to find such a drawing Academy;
Miss C. was painting the Cape Pigeon, which was then alive, and also
superintending her industrious pupil the Doctor, who is becoming quite
a draughtsman. The wind has been gradually decreasing, and we are making
7 knots; with studding sails set. Our run is 218 miles which is the
longest we have completed since leaving Plymouth.
May 10th. Lat. 40° 32” Long. 57° 15”. Friday.
I went to bed last night with the expectation of the weather remaining
as fine as it then was; however I awoke about 4 o’clock, hearing
the dismal sound of the wind, which seemed to blow with considerable
violence. On getting up this morning I was told that the topsails were
double reefed, and the coursers were also reefed. The appearance of
the sky and the barometer persuaded the Captain to close reef the topsails,
though the wind has been decreasing, and the sun appeared amidst the
most curious clouds so brightly that Mr. Smith was able to take sights
from it. A considerable quantity of rain has fallen during the day,
but the rolling prevented much from being caught. I am sorry to say
the last of the poultry were brought to the table today, and they happened
to be very tough and thin, which brought the Captain fewer customers
than usual. I saw some fish yesterday, which seems to be quite a novelty
in this part of the world; I could not have mistaken them for Porpoises,
had they not been larger and of a darker colour.
May 11th. Lat. 40° 19” Long. 60° 51”. Saturday.
The extra quantity of light in my cabin this morning was a sufficient
proof that the sun was shining, and in order to get a glimpse at it,
I dressed, and enjoyed a refreshing walk on deck until the breakfast
bell rang. We have been making between 9 and 10 knots all day, and
in the squalls I daresay we were going faster. The observation of the
sun at 12 o’clock proved to the Captain that we were not as far
as his dead reckoning had made us. I have commenced a chart today,
which will comprise our track to Australia; I had just finished the
tracing when I discovered it to be all wrong, and tomorrow I must commence
it again. In a squall about an hour ago the yard of the fore topmast
stunsail, which we have been carrying all day, was broken.
May 12th. Lat. 39° 29” Long. 65° 0”. Sunday.
We have had another squally though beautiful day. The Doctor was prevented
from reading the service this morning by the rolling, which would have
made it very awkward particularly if the Doctor had tumbled about.
The wind being right aft, made Miss Fatima very difficult to steer,
(or as the Captain expresses it, allowed her to turn round and look
at herself), and as we were all hard at work at the raisins and almonds
after dinner, we saw all the sails flapping with great force, which
obliged the Captain to leave his seat for the poop where he found the
helmsman (one of the boys who was learning) had, by turning the helm
the wrong way, got her off the wind; the fore topmast staysail, and
the yards being braced round at last set her right again, and we again
assiduously attacked the raisins; soon after the Doctor proposed a
muster of the emigrants, which attracted our attention on deck, where
we were much amused by an Irishman being obliged to fetch his wife,
who was lazily lying in bed, and bring her out on the poop; she was
exceedingly indignant at having to get up, but it was of no avail.
By the log we have made 234 miles, but the observation allowed only
195 miles direct course. The wind is now a little on the Quarter, and
we are going along at 8 ½ knots, as steadily as in the trades.
It is a beautiful starlight night, and Mr. H. C. has just being showing
us the Southern Crown.
May 13th. Lat. 39° 18” Long. 68° 50”.
The fine weather and smooth sea allowed the emigrants to enjoy pouring
over their luggage on deck this morning; our friend the squaw seemed
happier than ever; I thought she would never have come to the end of
the silk dresses and fine shawls, and when she had come to the bottom
of the box, she began to replace all this useless finery. The wind has
been gradually veering round to the North, and besides freshening towards
6 o’clock, it began to look thick and cloudy, so a reef was taken
in the topsails. We are now making about 8 knots, and our run in the
24 hours has been 190 knots.
May 14th. Lat. 39° 26” Long. 73° 6”. Tuesday.
We have had another astonishing fine day, and what is pleasanter a breeze
carrying us along at 8 ½ knots. I have been working all day
at a chart which is now nearly completed, but not without a misfortune,
for just as I had finished ruling the parallels of longitude, the ruler
which was inky touched the paper; I of course thought it was spoilt,
but Mr. H. C. suggested some limejuice which has only left a yellow
instead of a black stain. Venus was very bright after sunset, And the
Captain managed to take an observation from it; we looked very diligently
for Mercury, but he was not to be seen. The emigrants seem to have
been enjoying a dance, which the company in the Cuddy were very attentively
listening, when I came down from spinning a yarn with Mr. Thornton
May 15th. Lat. 38° 50” Long. 76° 29”. Wednesday.
I had just sat down to work after breakfast this morning, when the sudden
altering of the sails and the darkness of the clouds drove me on deck,
where I found we were nearly becalmed; the rain which I had traced
on the water, and the wind which arrived with it, from exactly the
opposite quarter that we had it at, sent me down again; a look at the
Captain’s face satisfied me that it was not as he wished it to
be; he told us we must now give up all hope of seeing the islands that
we had been most anxiously wishing to sketch, and that he had hoped
to correct his chronometer by; it has not entirely ceased to rain all
day, and it is a nasty dirty night. I am sorry to say that our lamp
oil obliges the lamp to be put out at 10 o’clock every evening.
May 16th. Lat. 38° 34” Long. 78° 15”. Thursday.
I had just retired to my cabin last night at 11 o’clock when I
heard Mr. Smith come into the Cuddy, and say that land was to be seen
on the weather bow; the gentlemen and Captain immediately went on deck,
leaving the ladies in the Cuddy; the island, which could not be seen
10 minutes before, was nearly ahead, and very much resembled a dark cloud
on the horizon; it was rather awful to think that in a few hours we should
most probably have been wrecked, if the clouds had still hung over it;
the Captain having taken the helm, ordered them to back ship, which as
may be supposed, everyone doing their duty, me not excepted, was completed
with unusual rapidity; when all the noise, (that Mr. and Mrs. C. had
slept through), was over, the ladies who are classed only as fine weather
sailors, came on the poop to look at the island, which was about 10 miles
distant, and now right astern, it was soon after obscured by a thick
cloud; at about 12 o’clock the Captain decided upon heaving to,
and laying till dawn of day when in passing it he hopes to take an observation,
and thereby correct his chronometer, which by his calculations is not
more than a few seconds wrong. This done we all returned to the Cuddy,
where this same personage read us an interesting account of this and
Amsterdam Island, which are 20 leagues distant, the latter being to the
north; St. Paul’s is 700 feet in height, and of a volcanic nature;
one of many hot springs is 200° hot; the fish and birds are innumerable,
the former being easily caught, require only to be put in this spring,
where they are soon cooked. I, and most of the gentlemen, were sketching
the island, which was then on our weather bow, distant about 12 miles,
its appearance in another hour when some of the ladies had brought up
their sketch books was totally different; its prettiest position for
the pencil was after breakfast, and for the brush at about 11 o’clock
when it was nearly astern with the sun shining upon the beautiful and
picturesque rock, which to human beings who have seen nothing but ocean
for 2 months looks most inviting. In the afternoon (with St. Paul’s
in the distance, and as Amsterdam was becoming plainer than we had seen
it in the morning), we were becalmed; the Albatrosses and other birds,
especially Cape Pigeons, were innumerable, and in the course of a few
hours, 3 beautiful white Albatrosses, a Cape Hen, a Maw Hawk and a Cape
Pigeon were on board Miss Fatima. The finest of the Albatrosses measuring
nearly 12 feet was given to me; another after being much admired was
allowed to rejoin his companions with the addition of having a piece
of parchment, (with the latitude and longitude and our position written
on it), tied round his neck. It is a beautiful night, Amsterdam is still
in sight, and looks very well in the moonlight.
May 17th. Lat. 38° 4” Long. 80° 2”. Friday.
A slight breeze favoured us at 3 o’clock this morning, and we have
made 7 knots all day. My Albatross which has slept in the gig all night,
was after Miss Clark had finished painting him, given to Coulthard, who
has succeeded in stuffing the last bird. The porpoises were swimming
past the ship in great numbers after dinner, and the sailors have succeeded
in harpooning 2 very fine ones, which were cut up with all due ceremony,
the heads being given to myself and the young Clarks; they say that they
will produce gallons of oil, which will be a great thing for them as
they are now allowed none, and are reduced to the extremity of buying
the cook’s fat; even the steward is obliged to trim the Cuddy lamp ‘with
the pig’s lard’ which is put out at 10 in the evening.
May 18th. Lat. 37° 25” Long. 83° 56”. Saturday.
I sat down to my Algebra at ¼ before 8 this morning (which I think
is quite wonderful for me), and after working for 3 quarters of an hour
at a greatest common measure sum, came to the satisfactory conclusion
that I was no farther advanced than when I began. We all tasted some
porpoise flesh that was brought to table this evening; I can’t
say I liked it, but was told that some of the emigrants had eaten 4 lbs
of it. We have been spinning along at 8 knots all day, with a favourable
wind, and our run in the 24 hours is 190 miles. I am sorry to say one
of the porpoise heads broke away in towing over the bow this morning.
May 19th. Lat. 37° 2” Long. 88° 8”. Sunday.
I was surprised this morning to find we were under double reefed topsails,
with the wind on the quarter. The weather is very squally, but between
them the sun shines as brightly as on any summer’s day. By the
log we have made 202 miles, which if continued for any length of time
will soon bring us in sight of Kangaroo Island. The service has not
been on account of the deep rolling, but I can now hear the emigrants
who seem to be singing psalms. The steward has just been splicing the
main brace, or giving the men a glass of grog, which they generally
are allowed on on such a dirty, disagreeable night as this; the hail
is coming down handsomely to the great alarm of Mrs. Wright, who can
hardly remain quiet in her chair.
May 20th. Lat. 36° 47” Long. 90° 30”. Monday.
There has been a great deal of wind today, especially in the squalls
when it blew so hard, that as the mate says ‘Miss Fatima did
not know how to run’. We have made 209 miles by observation,
which is much to be depended on than the log, which is heaved every
two hours. Having taken some medicine I determined to abstain from
all dainties that might come to table today; I refused the inviting
and fresh salt pork for breakfast, but at dinner the plum pudding was
past all refusal, and I was not content until I had received two helpings
of it. The air in this quarter of the globe is somewhat infected with
idleness, for I am becoming more and more so every day, working only
at the sketches taken on the voyage, which I have now nearly completed.
May 21st. Lat. 36° 45” Long. 96° 5”. Tuesday.
The wind gradually lessened in the night and this morning all our stunsails
were out; we have made 9 knots per hour with the wind about a point
on our starboard quarter. The weather this evening looks as promising
as it has done all day; and the Captain is now taking a lunar observation.
As I was copying my last sketch, (viz Palma), this afternoon, R. Taylor
came to enquire whether I could give him some towels, with which he
could bandage the Albatross, whose stuffing is now completed; having
fulfilled his wish I asked him to bring it in the Cuddy for the ladies
to look at; it was very much admired, and was then taken back to the
fore hospital where it will remain till our arrival at Adelaide. I
was astonished to see a young man sitting in a tub, (which the Carpenter
had converted into a chair to let the ladies down at the end of the
voyage) on the deck and looking very ill, when upon enquiry I was told
he had formerly been engaged to a Miss White, an emigrant on board,
and whilst he was laid up with a bad leg, which he had cut with an
adze, she reengaged herself to another of the single men; he took this
so much to heart that it has quite affected his health, and he was
delirious all yesterday, and now hardly knows what he is doing. The
boatswain has got another bottle of grog out of me, as he says, for
drinking out of a sailor’s mug, which I did to taste some tea,
which the emigrants declared to be hardly drinkable. In a squall, or
rather an April shower this afternoon, the most beautiful rainbow was
visible, the colours which were most brilliant were reflected three
May 22nd. Lat. 36° 47” Long. 100° 0”. Wednesday.
I was astonished to find myself on the weather side on awakening this
morning, the wind having changed to the Northward. It was blowing rather
stronger than yesterday, and the lower stunsail yard was broken in
attempting to set the sail which was slightly torn. The topsails were
reefed at 6 this evening, and at 8 o’clock I was astonished to
see how quickly reefed the topsails; the men quite covered the yard
in reefing the coursers, which they did with a surprising rapidity,
perhaps in order to get their grog the sooner. We have made 200 knots
by the log, and 9 knots is our average for the hour.
May 23rd. Lat. 37° 4” Long. 104° 20”. Thursday.
I think I may safely say we have all passed a restless and disagreeable
night; it blew very hard and I can’t say it is yet moderating.
We have had a squally though fine day; the ladies took their accustomed
walk before dinner; they tried it again at 4 (when it had become too
dark for Mr. H. C. to continue reading the Pickwick Club, which made
everyone cry with laughter), but they could not stand both the wind
and the rolling, which has been incessant all day. The Captain says
that a greater sea is now running than we have seen since leaving Plymouth.
The reading aloud and my letter writing don’t at all agree; indeed
directly the book is produced I shut up my writing case in despair.
May 24th. Lat. 37° 2” Long. 108° 46”. Friday.
We have had another windy and squally night; it blew quite a hurricane
in some of the squalls; the sea was so high that sometimes the foresail
was quite becalmed in the immense trough of the sea, but when again
on the top of the wave her very timbers shook with the force of the
wind. The gale after lasting 48 hours, and in that time carrying us
420 miles nearer our journey’s end, is now gradually moderating,
and the Captain has been able to obtain part of a lunar observation,
being driven down by a rainy squall, which is not yet over, before
he had finished it. Mr. H. C. has already packed two flour casks, and
I suppose everybody will follow his laudable example next week, at
the end of which I expect with favourable winds to anchor at Port Adelaide.
May 25th. Saturday .
When I came on deck this morning we were not making more than 6 knots,
and since then until about an hour ago, we have not made more than
3. I managed to capture 2 Cape Pigeons today, not with the hook, but
in flying across the line, they entangled themselves in it, and were
thus hauled on deck. The emigrants caught 2 in the same manner, and
5 more with a net, which Mr. Coulthard very expertly handled from the
mizzen chains; 1 was not a pigeon, but a little larger and more beautiful
than any we have seen; Miss C. was immediately ordered on the poop
to paint this beautiful creature, but the approaching darkness and
cold prevented her from doing it, and Mr. C. has promised to lend it
to her when it is stuffed. I tied a piece of canvas to the leg of one
of my pigeons, with the latitude and longitude inscribed on it; the
other very ingeniously ran across the poop, and nimbly jumped through
the netting. A slight breeze from the Northeast sprung up at about
6 o’clock, and we are now making 6 knots.
May 26th. Sunday.
The light air increased to a smart breeze in the night, and at 12 p.m.
the topsails were reefed; at 10 this morning a double reef was taken,
and Mr. Smith is now calling away to the men who close reefing; the
wind blows still from the same quarter, and being just on the beam
its whistling through the rigging is more audible to the company in
the Cuddy than if it were right aft.
May 27th. Monday.
It blew so hard that at 12 o’clock last night the foresail was
clewed up, leaving only the close reefed topsails, with which we made
only 5 points of lee way. At 5 this morning the wind moderated, and at
9 o’clock we were nearly becalmed; the courses were then set, together
with the main topgallant sail, and on average, including the squalls
we have made 7 knots per hour. We may now consider ourselves under the
lee of the Australian coast, having passed Cape Leeuwin within the last
24 hours. My glans being a little swollen, together with a headache,
have made me quite indisposed for work today, but I hope with a good
night’s rest, and some medicine which the Doctor is preparing,
will have the effect of making me well and industrious for the remainder
of the week.
May 28th. Tuesday.
After blowing rather hard during the night, the wind moderated, and our
pace was confined to 6 knots with stun sails set. Since about 4 o’clock
we have been becalmed, there being hardly steerage way on the ship.
The sunset was beautiful this evening, the clouds were most gorgeous
all around it, and when it was about half below the horizon, the remaining
portion was at intervals quite obstructed from our view by the heavy
Northwest swell. In about 5 minutes after the sun had disappeared,
Venus (for whom we had been anxiously searching), was visible about
15 degrees above the horizon, in the midst of the almost cloudless
sky. The moon at about 7 o’clock was just peeping above the horizon,
and soon began to pour forth its beautiful light; I unfortunately was
obliged to enjoy it only from the Cuddy door, my glans being too sore
to allow me to go any farther.
May 29th. Wednesday.
A slight air sprung up from the Eastward at about 10 last night, and
this evening we were making a Southeast by South course, at about 4
knots per hour. The birds were innumerable about the ship this morning,
especially what we call the Julian Albatross. We have had a beautiful
and mild day, which about makes us forget that we have entered upon
the Australian winter. The sky was however covered over with grey clouds
about sunset, and the rain soon after drove the deck walkers below.
We backed about ½ an hour ago, as we were making no better than
a South course.
May 30th. Thursday.
I was sorry to find this morning that we were still on this tack, and
making only a Northerly course by compass. It has been a very disagreeable
day, and I was only astonished to see how Miss W. and Miss C. could
sit on the poop, painting a Julian Albatross that was caught after
breakfast. It is rather a pretty bird, about the size of a goose; it
I should think 5 feet, and is of a dark brown from wing to wing and
white in every other part; the beak is of a bright yellow; the beak
is of a bright yellow. When the Artists had finished with it, Henry
Clark presented it to Mr. Wilson, who I believe intends to stuff it.
Lamentable to say, 25 miles is all the Easting we have made within
the last 24 hours, and I am afraid we shall have made less tomorrow.
We tacked again at 4 this afternoon, and by the carelessness of the
boys the main topgallant yard was broken; the fore is now put up, until
another can be made by Chips (nickname for the Carpenter). The boys
all received a ropes ending, as a punishment for their carelessness.
May 31st. Friday.
The wind has at last changed in our favour early this morning, and it
has been drawing more on the larboard quarter ever since. We have had
a beautiful mild day, and the clouds after the sun had set, at 7 minutes
before 5, were very brilliant. The sailors have been very busy scraping
and varnishing the masts which now look very neat. When I went on the
poop before breakfast, it seemed to be the general inquiry ‘Do
you smell land?’ There was certainly something like a smell of
dead leaves, which I concluded to be the smell of land that we are
about 200 miles to the Southward.
June 1st. Saturday.
When I was on the poop last night at 10 o’clock, the sails were
flapping, and we were not making more than 2 knots, but at 5 the wind
sprung up from the Southward, a nice moderate breeze, carrying us along
at 7 ½ knots, which has been our average during the day. The topsails
were reefed at 6 as the wind was increasing a little.
June 2nd. Sunday.
The wind increased in the night, and we made so much leeway, that the
Captain not wishing to be detained in the Australian Bight, backed
ship at 8 o’clock this morning, and I am sorry to say we made
nearly a West course, until 5 this evening, when the wind moderating
a little we again tacked, and are now making nearly an East course
with a double reefed main topsail, close reefed fore ditto, and reefed
coursers. The cross motion is most disagreeable, especially at dinner
when the pork of the last pig which was killed yesterday, was obliged
to be dismissed from table. I think this is the 4th Sunday on which
the Doctor was not able to read the service, the rough weather preventing
June 3rd. Monday.
As is usual with us, the wind moderated in the night, and the fine weather
brought with it no wind, consequently we are becalmed. Three Julian
Albatrosses were hooked today, but as we are all getting tired of looking
at sea birds, little notice was taken of their fate, but I was told
that the sailors were going to make a sea pie from one of them. The
sailors have been cleaning the outside of the ship today, as they say
for going into the port, which we never seem to see. The Captain also
allowed the emigrants some fresh water, to wash their clothes with;
it occasioned a busy scene on the main deck, where both husbands and
wives were leaning over their respective tubs, and scrubbing at their
dirty and patched clothes.
June 4th. Tuesday.
What a disagreeable surprise was it on coming on deck this morning to
find there was not even steerage way on the ship; the sea was so smooth,
and the calmness of the sky made me fancy myself in the tropics. The
Albatrosses were very shy at the bait, but one of the young Clark’s
contrived to hook another of those pretty grey pigeons, which after
being much admired, and several feathers plucked out of him, was let
loose; he swum away very contentedly, and even seemed half determined
to taste a little more of the pork. Mrs. Coulthard having expressed
a wish that her son and heir should be painted, Miss. C. was kind enough
to undertake the troublesome task, and accordingly the little fellow
was brought in dressed in his best; he is 20 months old, a very good
child, and sat most contentedly with play things before him, and soon
seemed quite unwilling to leave his abode, when his portrait was finished.
His mother was very much pleased with the likeness, and the congregation
which gathered round the capstan also admired it extremely. A slight
air sprung up at 6 this evening, and we are now making 4 knots, with
a Southeast course.
June 5th. Wednesday.
We continued making the same course till noon today, when finding we
had gone considerably to the Southward, we backed and are making a
due north course. The topsails were reefed at 6, as the breeze was
then increasing, and at 8 the foretopsail was double reefed, and we
again tacked, and are going nearly due South. Just as we are coming
to the end of the voyage, my chessmen are coming into use, for the
mates, being desirous to learn that celebrated game, Mr. S. C. and
myself have undertaken to give them a lesson.
June 6th. Thursday.
The wind is as much ahead as ever, and at 12 o’clock we had the
satisfaction of learning we were only 25 miles nearer to our destination
than yesterday. Mr. Smith was obliged to leave an interesting game of
chess at 4 o’clock for the deck, where preparations were making
for going on the other tack, with which we are making a North northwest
course. It is blowing rather hard, and there is every appearance of a
disagreeable night. The sailors occupation today, has been to fill some
ton water casks with salt water, in the fore hold, in order to steady
that part of the ship.
June 7th. Friday.
At about 10 o’clock last night the wind favoured us 2 points, and
we made an East course; today we have been going East by North, until
4 o’clock when the beautiful blue sky astern, was covered over
with dark heavy cloud; not knowing how much wind might be expected, the
topgallant sails, and coursers the exception of the foresail and foretopsails
were clewed up; however a little rain and a change of wind to the Northwest
was all that befell us, and in a quarter of an hour all sail was again
set. At 6 as Mr. Smith and I were deeply engaged in a game of chess,
we heard the men bracing the yards up, which assured us that the wind
was returning to its old quarter. It is a beautiful night, and we are
making about 7 ½ knots.
June 8th. Saturday.
At 6 o’clock this morning, just as I was finishing my night’s
rest, the Doctor came into the Cuddy, shouting that land was in sight,
the Captain said he never saw anybody dress so quickly as I did, being
on deck in about 2 minutes; I immediately began to look for the supposed
Kangaroo Island, and succeeded in seeing a dark speck a little above
the horizon; the moon was still very bright, and the sky almost cloudless.
The sun rising soon after hid it from our view; we have seen no more
of it, and concluded from the observation at 12 o’clock, that it
must have been a cloud. We were making 9 knots till 12 o’clock,
when the breeze freshening, the topgallant sails were stowed, and a reef
was taken in the topsails. At 4 we were overtaken by a sudden squall,
which obliged the topsails to be lowered on the cap; the mizzen was backed
up, and the mainsail by breaking the back freed itself, carrying a portion
of the cook’s galley with it; for a few minutes the sea reminded
me of that dreadful squall we had sometime ago. The topsails were close
reefed at 6, the wind blowing with terrific violence in the squalls.
The wind is due West, our head is North, and we are driving 3 knots per
June 9th. Sunday.
We tacked last night at 12 o’clock, and it was not until dawn of
day that the Captain again put her about, and made sail on her. The stunsails
were brought out in the course of the morning and until 5 o’clock
we made 8 ½ knots; at that hour Mr. Thornton thought he saw land
from the masthead, by the Captain’s calculations we were only 20
miles distant and accordingly the topgallant sails were stowed, and a
single reef was taken in the topsails; about 7 ½ we were informed
by the Captain on deck that land was visible; at that time it was very
indistinct, but after a sudden squall which lasted about 10 minutes we
could distinguish a large portion of it. The topsails double reefed,
together with a reefed mizzen are all the sail we are now carrying; it
is blowing a strong breeze and we are making nearly seven knots, with
the wind at Northwest.
June 10th. Monday.
Kangaroo Island was imperfectly visible at 7 ½ this morning, amidst
a thick drizzling rain. Towards noon the weather cleared up a little,
and we saw the Australian coast on the Adelaide side and a ship beating
down the Backstairs Passage; in the afternoon the land became much plainer
and a small cutter passed very near to us. We expected to see the Lightship
about 6 o’clock, but it being very hazy, and the wind changing
a little we were not able to make it, and accordingly tacked at that
hour. After tea some lights were seen one of which we concluded to be
the Lightship, the others ships. On the strength of this we anchored
at about 8 o’clock; at 10 there was a heavy squall which made the
Captain very uneasy, and he ordered the other anchor to be all ready
in case one was insufficient to hold the ship. The sky is now beautifully
clear, although the lightning is very vivid.
June 11th. Tuesday.
Of course we were all on deck soon
after daylight this morning enjoying the surrounding scenery, The Lightship
lay about 4 miles distant, and the ship whose light we had seen the preceding
evening proved to be the ‘STAG’, an emigrant vessel of 720 tons, who
left Plymouth on the 8th March making a passage of 95 days. Just before
breakfast a boat came alongside bringing the postman for the mails. He
was without shoes and stockings and had a large moustache, which gave
him quite a colonial appearance. The cards which the Captain received
from butchers and bakers during the day were quite innumerable. We weighed
anchor at about 10 o’clock when the pilot was on board, and anchored
again near to the Lightship where we were becalmed waiting for a steam
tug which arrived at 2 p.m.; we then again weighed anchor, and commenced
our passage up the river (salt water) we saw a few pelicans sitting on
the sand close to the mangroves The joy of the emigrants upon seeing
a pig feeding near a cottage on the banks was unsurpassable. We soon
after passed the abode of the sick passengers of the ‘Trafalgar’, several
of them were near their tents, waving their handkerchiefs to us. Just
as we arrived at the Port a boat sailed past us containing the 4 Wrights,
and a relative of the Clark family. The W’s were not recognised by their
family on board, until having seen Edmund I assured them it was them;
they however soon answered for themselves by jumping on board, and embracing
their friends most affectionately. There were several large ships here,
one of which is the ‘Lord Ashburton’ who lost her fore topgallant mast
off the Cape; she left Plymouth in January and arrived here two days
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