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GGGPa Index | GGGrandPa Part 1

GGGrandPa's Scrapbook - Part 2

Letter From Australia

Found this part-letter in GGGPa's scrapbook. I have no idea who it was from or who it was addressed to. All I can say is that it was written in June, 1853.

Across the middle of the room there is a rope, on which we can hang a sheet that divides it in two. If you can, in imagination, fancy all this, you will have a slight picture of the domicile of your humble scribe; and for this magnificent residence, I have paid 30 shillings per week, or about £80 per annum. I do not intend stopping here long, as I am about taking a cottage some distance from this city.

You should see what people have to endure when they first come out here; but do not think from anything that I have said that I am in the least sorry for coming out; not at all, for if I were at home I’d come again; for I do think this is a country where a man can (not to speak of gold-digging) attain an independence; but it requires industry, energy and above all, temperance (a rather scarce commodity here, at present), if a man possesses all of which his success is all but certain. But it is, I think, quite useless for anyone to come here in hopes of getting what is termed "a situation." This place is at present crowded with unfortunate young lads who are unfit for manual labour and can’t get anything else to do. I chanced, myself, to get a situation with an attorney at £3 per week; but I shan’t keep it long, for when the winter months have gone over, I have very serious intentions of turning carpenter as I think I could do the work that is generally done here by them, and their wages are from £1 to £1 10s. per day.

Malcolm traveled through all the drapers’ shops in Melbourne, looking for a situation, but to no purpose. He is now working a short distance in the country, at 10s. a day, has the use of a tent to sleep in and can support himself for 2s. per day. He speaks of trying his hand at the diggings in the summer.

Females who "can make themselves generally useful" can do very well ­ dressmakers and milliners, in particular. Louise has begun the former business. I have seen her get a pound for making a silk dress ­ that’s the usual price ­ and ten shillings for a common calico one.

It is supremely ridiculous, the notions some girls bring out with them: they think they have nothing to do but be ladies, forsooth! But they will soon find out their mistake. We had a lot of ladies onboard our ship that were "good for neither King or Country;" and yet, when they did not find the coaches they expected to be waiting for them, and that there was not such a number of wealthy gold-diggers to be found who wanted companions, they began at once to cry-out against Australia. Many of them have had to change their rings for wash-tubs.

One lady, a clergyman’s daughter, stated, about a week after her arrival, that this was not the place for ladies in search of a suitable marriage and that she would be writing to her lady-friends at home to inform them of the fact."

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Protest Against The Re-Introduction of Convicts

Trawling through GGGPa's scrapbook, I found the following. I think it will be of interest to the Australians.

The latest accounts from this distant, but most valuable and important colony, are dated Sydney, June 11th, 1849, and they show in a pretty clear light the difficulties which our present system of convict transportation are preparing for the Imperial Government in that remote quarter, as well as at the Cape. In the Legislative Council, on June 1st, Mr. Cowper, the member for Cumberland, moved, with reference to Earl Grey’s dispatch of September 3rd, 1848:

That this Council declines to accede to the proposal therein contained, for the renewal of transportation to this colony, and strongly protests against the adoption of any measure by which the colony would be degraded into a penal settlement; and that this council, therefore, would earnestly entreat her Majesty to be graciously pleased to revoke the order in council by which this colony has been, again, made a place to which British offenders may be transported.

This important resolution was carried, unanimously, without a debate. The unanimity of the representatives, supported, indeed almost led, by Governor Fitzroy, ought to secure the object the colonists seek.

The Sydney ‘Morning Herald’, June 6th, referring to the vote of the Legislative Council, remarks, “Earl Grey and his colleagues should now be made to understand, if they could not or would not understand before, that, so far as the colonists of New South Wales are concerned, the transportation question is settled - settled fully and finally - settled for ever. To attempt to moot it any more, under whatsoever name or pretext, would be not only to waste precious time, but to insult the whole community.”

As if to put to the severest test the state of public feeling in the colony on the subject, a cargo of convicts by the ‘Hashemey’ arrived at Sydney on June 10th: the colonists were immediately thrown into a state of great excitement and irritation in consequence, and they resolved at once to make a determined stand, adopting the only constitutional means of making known to her Majesty the grievance so unceremoniously thrust upon them by Earl Grey. Accordingly, the next day, June 11th, the people of Sydney, as one man, assembled on the vacant ground near Circular Wharf. The chair was taken by Mr. Lowe, the Legislative Council member for the city of Sydney. The following protest was unanimously agreed to:-

We, the free and loyal subjects of her most gracious Majesty, inhabitants of the city of Sydney and its immediate neighbourhood, in public meeting assembled, do hereby enter our most deliberate and solemn protest against the transportation of British criminals to the colony of New South Wales.

  1. Because it is a violation of the will of the majority of the colonists, as is clearly evidenced by their expressed opinions on the question, at all times.
  2. Because numbers among us have emigrated, on the faith of the British Government, that transportation to this colony had ceased forever.
  3. Because it is incompatible with our existence as a free colony, desiring self-government, to be made the receptacle of another country’s felons.
  4. Because it is in the highest degree unjust to sacrifice the great social and political interests of the colony at large to the pecuniary profit of a fraction of its inhabitants.
  5. Because being firmly and devotedly attached to the British Crown, we greatly fear that the perpetration of so stupendous an act of injustice by her Majesty’s Government, will go far towards alienating the affections of the people of this colony from the mother country.

For these, and many kindred reasons, in the exercise of our duty to our country - for the love we bear our families, in the strength of our loyalty to Great Britain, and from the depth of our reverence for Almighty God - we protest against the landing, again, of British convicts on these shores.

The protest was presented to Governor Fitzroy by a deputation, with a request that he would forward it to her Majesty.

Governor Fitzroy had signified his intention not to land the convicts until the answer of Earl Grey had been received.

VICTORY Another example of a good crew/passenger relationship from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated March 20th, 1852.

VICTORY

Cook & Wilson, Dockhead, Bermondsey, barquentine, 579 tons, Captain William Lennox Mullens.

Chartered to carry Chinese coolies from Cumsingmoon to Callao, Peru, she sailed from China on December 6th,1851, with more than 300 on board and a general cargo.

On the afternoon of 10th December,1851, between 1500 and 1600, the coolies rushed the cabin and seized the ship’s arms. The slaughter then commenced. The Captain was, at the time, walking the poop and a party was sent to seize him. One of the crew, Henry Watt, made to protect him but he was murdered and his mutilated body thrown overboard. Captain Mullens climbed up into the mizen rigging. One of the Chinese followed, armed with a cutlass, and eventually the Captain slid down one of the topmost back-stays. The moment he reached the deck, he was attacked with knives, cutlasses and iron bolts and his remains dropped overboard. Mr Fagg, the 1st Mate, had gone aloft on the foretopsail-yard to look out for land. The 2nd Mate, James Arauso and the cook, Edward Bailey, were killed in the forepart of the ship and the Chinese, believing they had killed everybody, suddenly spotted Mr Fagg and beckoned for him to come down. He did so and he was led to the wheel and directed to steer for land on pain of being put to death if he didn’t. He shaped a course for Point Kamboja and, on reaching the coast, a few Chinese went ashore but returned when they discovered the area was uninhabited. They then endeavoured to beat up the coast to Cochin China but, that being difficult, they forced the Mate to steer for Pulo Ubi where the vessel was brought to anchor. During this time, the Chinese destroyed the ship’s papers and log-book and, finding a convenient place on the coast where they anchored, they left the ship and went ashore with a considerable amount of cargo. For some reason they spared the life of the Mate who subsequently recruited a local crew and the ship arrived in Singapore in January 1852.

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ALABAMA

From GGGPa's scrapbook, dated July 2nd, 1864.

ALABAMA : Originally called ‘290’, the yard number at Laird’s Shipbuilding Co., at Birkenhead, 1862. She was barque-rigged, of 1040 tons register. Length of keel, 210’. Loa, 220’. Beam, 32’. Depth in hold,17’. Her engines, built by the same firm were two horizontal ones, each of 300 hp, with stowage for 350 tons of coal. Her sails were: Fore; fore topmast; staysail jib; two large trysails; the usual squaresails set on fore and main, with the exception of the mainsail, which was a flying one; spanker and gaff topsails. All the standing rigging was wire. The ship had a double wheel with the engraved motto ­“Aide toi, et Dieu t’aidera” ­ placed just before the mizen mast. The bridge was in the centre, just before the funnel. She carried 5 boats ­ cutter and launch, amidships, gig and whaleboat between the main and mizen masts and a dinghy, astern. The main deck was pierced for 12 guns, she had an elliptic stern, a billet head and high bulwarks. The cabin accommodation was described as first-class. The wardroom was furnished with a handsome suite of staterooms. In the steerage was, on the starboard side, the midshipmen with engineers to port. Next came the engine-room and coal bunkers, then the berth-deck, capable of accommodating 120 men. Under the wardroom were the store-rooms and under the steerage were the shell-rooms. Just forward of the firearms came the hold with, next, the magazines and, forward of all, the boatswains’ and sailmakers’ store-rooms. The hold was under the berth-deck.

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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

This information is taken from great-great grandpa's (GGGP's) Victorian scrapbook of newspaper cuttings. The name of the actual publication is not known but the date of publication was April 19th, 1851.

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE (1851) : Indiaman, owners unknown, 2000 tons. Crew of 30 British and 70 Lascars. Sailed from Calcutta in late February on her homeward voyage. As steerage passengers there were about seventy of the 80th Regiment of Foot, with their families, and 33 cabin passengers including 4 Army officers who had command of the 31 invalids onboard whose numbers included women and children. On the evening of Monday, 4th March, she dropped the pilot off Canterbury Point, after an uneventful passage down the Hooghley. The weather was fine and there was singing and dancing on deck. About 22:00 a fire was discovered in the forehold which quickly extended over the whole vessel. A steamer came to their aid and the greater portion of crew and passengers were saved. Some of the invalids, though, throw themselves overboard on the alarm first being given, and drowned. The ship burned all night and for the two following nights and days before gliding into deep water and sinking. None of the passengers retrieved any change of clothing and were reduced to destitution by the calamity. There was rumour that the ship was wilfully set on fire by some of the Lascars but there was no evidence to confirm this.

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CHUSAN

From GGGPa's scrapbook, dated October 31st, 1874.

CHUSAN (1874) : Chinese Steam Navigation Co. Built by John Elder & Co., Govan, Launched September 13th 1874, 3590 tons burden, engines 300 HP (nominal), Length between perpendiculars 300’, Moulded breadth 50’, Breadth over sponsons 83’, Moulded depth 13’. It was noted that she resembled an American river steamer, with a large beam engine set high upon the deck, and “was altogether of peculiar construction”.Under the command of Captain Johnstone, she cleared from Glasgow for Shanghai on October 6th but had to put back to Glasgow for repairs, from Waterford. In the process, she was overtaken by a severe storm and made a run for Ardrossan harbour. Whilst endeavouring to make the harbour, “on the morning of Wednesday week” at about 05:00 she was dashed onto the Crinan Rock, about 50 yards from the pier head.The Pilot, Mr R. Moir of Greenock, said that squalls were bearing on the ship from all directions, catching her big paddle boxes and the coverings of her boilers like big sails. By some unfortunate defect or oversight, the engines could not be reversed by steam and the working of the valves had to be done manually. Whilst manoeuvring in this way, she was struck by a heavy sea and her stem grounded on Crinan Rock. The vessel parted, the after portion sinking and the fore compartment floating into the harbour. The people on the shore, even though they had a rocket apparatus set up, could not work it. The pilot survived by clinging to the after masthead for two hours and was the last person to be taken off the wreck, alive. Nine lives were lost, including Captain Johnstone.

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JAMES CAMPBELL

The crew of this ship must have been very brave men, indeed, to have laid hands on their Captain and confined him in the manner described. The Captain's behaviour must have been intolerable, even for those days, to have been driven to such lengths. Who was the owner? The ship's name is Scottish, there are some Scots surnames amongst the crew and money was raised for their defence in Glasgow. From GGGPa's scrapbook.

JAMES CAMPBELL

Owner unknown, barquentine, 300 tons, Captain William Graham. Crew members George Rose, John Harult, Richard Thomas Lacy, John McPhee, Robert Craig, Robert Wright, Daniel McLean, Charles Moffatt, Thomas Stratton and James Nettles were tried before Mr Justice Williams, at Exeter Assizes, “on Monday”, charged with piracy. They pleaded ‘Not Guilty’. The statute under which they were charged enacted that “if any seaman shall confine his captain, or shall make or endeavour to make a revolt ,he shall be deemed a pirate and a robber.” If found guilty, the sentence would have been transportation or imprisonment. Two of the men were Mates and others, seamen.

The vessel sailed on March 5th, 1847, for Batavia and Singapore. On March 29th, when off Cape Finisterre, Stratton was at the wheel and did, or said, something which displeased the Captain. The Captain told Stratton to leave the wheel and go and grease the masts. Stratton refused. The Captain then ordered all hands on deck and told the Mates to order the men to do it. The men still refused, saying it was the job of the deckboys to do it. The Captain then told the crew he would put them on short rations. There was some beef cooking and he ordered it to be taken aft, to his cabin. The men, though, refused to give up their meat. The Captain found that the Mates were inclined to encourage the crew in their misconduct so he armed himself with a cutlass and again ordered the men to take the beef aft. He said, “The first man who dares to interfere, I will cut him down.” The crew saw that the Captain was not to be trifled with and they allowed the steward to take the meat to the Captain’s cabin. The Captain then went to his cabin and ate his dinner.

Afterward, thinking he had done enough to assert his authority, he returned the meat to the men. He then received a message saying the men were on deck and wanted to speak to him. When he got there, the sailors surrounded him, one of them pinioned him and others put handcuffs on him, lashed his legs together and ordered him below. He asked the Mates, Rose and Harult, if they were going to stand by and see him treated in that manner. They replied that they had no choice, for the crew had taken over the ship.

The Captain was then carried bodily to his cabin which the Mates and steward had previously cleared out by removing the fire-arms, chronometers and nautical instruments. The vessel’s course was then altered towards Plymouth and the ship was put under the command of Rose. They removed the Captain’s irons only once, to enable him to change his clothes, and the whole time he was incarcerated a man was stationed outside his cabin door with a drawn cutlass.

Upon arriving at Plymouth, the crew made a complaint against the Captain but they, themselves, were arraigned for piracy.At the trial, Stratton’s solicitor argued that, under the circumstances, the prisoners had a fair and reasonable ground for the apprehension that their lives might ultimately be in danger and they had therefore acted in the manner they did. The defence said it reflected the highest credit upon them.The Judge then asked the jury if they thought that this was true, to which the jury answered “Yes” and a verdict of “not guilty” was returned. The prisoners were discharged, to cheers. £150 had been subscribed in Glasgow for the purpose of the prisoners’ defence and a similar amount in Exeter.

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RHONE

GGGPa's scrapbook has spewed-out this one.

RHONE

Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., brig-rigged, built by the Millwall Ironworks, engines 500 nominal HP, by the same company, 1954 grt. Made her trial trip in August 1865 and her first trip to Brazil on October 9th, 1865. In a hurricane on October 29th, 1867, the ‘Rhone’ was wrecked on Salt Isle, St. Peter’s, British Virgin Islands, and all her crew and passengers were lost.

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Improvements In Emigration To The Antipodes -- Mrs. Chisholm

The following is culled from GGGPa's Scrapbook and will be of interest to those in Australia and New Zealand. Similar schemes existed, at a later date, for emigration to Canada.

IMPROVEMENTS IN EMIGRATION TO THE ANTIPODES ­ MRS.CHISHOLM

A series of group-meetings of persons proposing to emigrate in the Spring ship of the Family Colonisation Loan Society has been held during the last six weeks at the Society’s office, 3 Charlton Crescent, Islington, and the information offered on these occasions with respect to the advantages, in every point of view, which the system of colonisation, founded and carried into execution by Mrs. Chisholm, hold out to “the anxious classes” who seek a new home in the Sunny South, seems to account for the anomaly shown in the fact that, whilst the Government Emigration Commissioners cannot fill one single ship with emigrants, although they offer them a free passage, Mrs. Chisholm is literally overwhelmed with applicants for berths on board her ships, notwithstanding that the Society advances but a small portion ­ about a fourth ­ of the passage-money, and that as a loan to the emigrant, to be repaid in instalments.

One of the main features of the Society’s system, the reunion of families who have scattered members both at home and in the colonies, while it presents a striking contrast to the crude attempts at isolated and individual emigration made by the Government Commissioners, commands at the same time the immediate and entire confidence of the struggling classes, to whose domestic and family ties and feelings it appeals with direct force.

There is another element, however, in the Society’s system, as explained at those group meetings which, though apparently of minor importance, has had great influence in establishing its popularity; viz. the great improvements moral and physical, the advantages with respect to personal propriety and decency, the preservation of health, bodily comfort and superior treatment altogether, which are ensured to the emigrants during their long voyage, and which the accounts sent home by those who have emigrated by the Society’s former ships show, are regarded, as in fact they are, as benefits of the highest importance.

On board the Government ships, the emigrants are huddled together with only a nominal separation of the sexes and of the married and the single, while the berths are open and exposed to general view in the ‘tween decks, so that regard to personal propriety is out of the question. The Family Colonisation Loan Society obviate these very objectionable features of the voyage by having the emigrants of different sexes and conditions of life placed in separate parts of the ship, and the berths enclosed by boards, so that each forms a small apartment while, at the top and bottom of the ‘tween decks, on each side of the ship, run large zinc pipes with perforated surfaces, which communicate with the upper decks, and thus maintain the most perfect ventilation, night and day. By means of distillation, also, fresh water is obtained in large quantities, daily, by a very simple process; thus, two of the main elements of a healthy existence ­ good air and good water ­ are supplied in abundance.

Another minor detail, while in itself an advantage of no mean importance, shows in a remarkable degree the truly humane and considerate spirit in which the benevolent lady, who is the foundress of the Society, labours for the protection of the poor. A glance at the evidence adduced before the Parliamentary committee on the Passengers’ Act will indicate the cruelties and insults, the fearful injuries to life and limb, which are inflicted by the drunken crew with perfect impunity on the emigrants during the licence of that Saturnalia which prevails to a greater or lesser extent onboard all ships when “crossing the line”. To prevent all abuses of this nature, which have been frequently followed by fatal consequences to life, the owners, commanders and officers of the vessels chartered by the Society, in their contract, are obliged to enter into an agreement, under large penalties, that no such abuses (specified by name) shall be suffered to take place during the voyage, and the least infraction of the agreement entails on the owners the forfeiture of the large sum named in the contract.

Considerations of this kind, which are neglected onboard Government ships, whilst being enforced onboard the Colonisation Loan Society’s vessels, cause a free passage in the former to be neglected for a paid passage in the latter.

It is to be regretted that the public do not assist by their charitable donations, as much as they ought, the truly excellent aims and objects of this benevolent Society which, with a moderate addition to its present funds, is in a position to send out in the ensuing Spring and Summer at least 2,000 emigrants of the most eligible description.

The group meetings are held on every Monday evening.

Transportation the Cure (1887)

The original piece is dated December 31st, 1887, and the source is unknown.

UNEMPLOYMENT IN ENGLAND AND AND THE CURE

The final doom of the unemployed - starvation - is, as a general rule, a just one; that the considerable number of Britons who die of sheer hunger every year are (for the most part) those fitted to do least good, or most harm, to the community. They are, in great part, hardworking women and children who - with but a reasonable supply of bread and cheese - would grow up into workers of average capacity; and men whose somewhat inferior powers are balanced by an honesty above the average.

The question of the day is hardly so much whether the unemployed deserve the unemployment, as to what is to be done to remove it, to relieve them, or to protect the employed from their (perhaps not unnatural) resentment at an unvarying prospect of starvation.

" The beggars are bad", said a member of Parliament, "but the absence of starvation, if a fact, is worth considering. Of course, it is easier to starve in a warm country than in a cold one but, as things are, I believe Englishmen would starve in any climate. Move the Great Britain of today to the geographical position of Spain and starving London may be reduced, but will by no means be abolished."

A Manchester man, a Free-Trader and a member of the Charity Organisation Society, said that emigration might be the only remedy but emigration was the removal of producers and the retention of non-producers. Transportation, he said, with its forced labour and practical slavery, was the answer.

His plan was set out thus :-

There are vast tracts of country, belonging to the United Kingdom, which are still practically uninhabited. Take, merely as an example, Western Australia, with nearly a million of square miles, a healthy climate and (in 1881) 30,000 inhabitants, or less than one person to every thirty square miles; indeed, in four-fifths of this vast country there are no inhabitants at all, as all the 30,000 live in the remaining fifth. It should thus be a long time before there were residents to complain of the forcing upon them of convicts.

But convicts would be the people transported. Let EVERY crime -as theft, burglary, embezzlement - be punishable, not with imprisonment, at the cost of the nation, but with transportation, to its advantage. Let the minimum sentence be two years, during which the offender should be perfectly free to do anything except leave the colony, and should be provided with employment (if he needed it) upon works to be undertaken by the Government to exploit the advantages of the country. A reward for good conduct might be the free conveyance of his family to the colony, after a year or so, and the grant of a number of acres of land.

England would rapidly lose its dangerous classes and the expense of keeping them (and of keeping them down) being saved, might surely go to find employment for the unemployed who could be given, among other things, the labour which convicts now perform. There has been grumbling enough at the " competition of criminal labour."

If it were objected that the transported criminals would be much better off - in a healthy climate, with work found for a couple of years, and plenty of elbow room - than the honest poor in crowded London, there was the obvious answer that the money saved in prisons and policing would surely give as many as wished to emigrate a free passage and a grant of land on the other side - not necessarily in the convict settlement.

And, as at Botany Bay, the convict settlement would soon become a respectable settlement - much sooner than at Botany Bay, indeed, because it would consist of free men earning their own living and, in this great empty world, the transportation to any one place need not continue for any very long period of time.

To save the degradation of prison life, to force lazy ruffians to honest work, to give a fair chance in a new world to many who have not had a fair chance in the old, to send away from our country only those strong arms which have dishonest hands at their ends and to keep the separation from the old home and the old friends as a punishment for those who deserve punishing - these are, perhaps, advantages which may secure a hearing for a new scheme from those who think that some scheme is surely needed to prevent an uprising of "the masses" against "the classes" such as the world has not seen in our generation - such, perhaps, as the world has not known since the wild days of 1789.

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