Chapter 4 - Diary of Francis Taylor - the 1850 Stag Passage

The Stag Diary - Passage to Colonial Adelaide 1850


 

Chapter 4 - Diary of Francis Taylor - the 1850 Stag Passage

 

Diary kept by Francis C Taylor on his passage to Australia in 1850 and later addressed to:

 

Mr Richard Taylor

 

Twifold Collage

 

Brimfield

 

Late of Irvington,

 

June 22nd, 1857

 

Francis C Taylor late of Irvington, Leominster, Herefordshire being about to leave England for Adelaide, South Australia, fondly cherishing the memory of a kind and affectionate father and also of a much beloved uncle and aunt and at the same time, ever grateful to those of his more distant relatives for the many hearty welcomes he has received at their hand, he has written this account of his voyage, for the general information of his esteemed relatives and old acquaintances, or intending emigrants, assuring them that although years may roll away ere he may again behold his native land, still memory of times reminds him of happy bygone days spent in their society and while he looks to the merciful Creator who has hitherto preserved him through life, for his future success upon a foreign shore, he earnestly prays that the time although distant, will surely arrive when he may again see it in perfect health and enjoying every blessing, or should they in the meantime be summoned to quit this mortal life may we then meet in everlasting rest where “Sorrow is no more known”.

 

- o 1850 o -

 

Saturday morning February 16th, started from Irvington at 5 o’clock in the morning accompanied by my father to Leominster, paid my fare, per coach to Spetchley Station near Worcester, to Mr Jackson, Royal Oak Hotel and then proceeded down to the Chequers Inn Elnam Street to await the arrival of the coach. 8 o’clock bade farewell to my father and started for Worcester thence to Birmingham per rail. Arrived in Birmingham all right and then proceeded to London, arriving at Euston Square Station at 8 o’clock on Sunday night, went as recommended [by] Warren, Manchester Coffee House, had an excellent bed and accommodation. Monday morning 18th went about London all day calling upon several acquaintances, passed the day in this manner, and then returned to my last nights lodgings at 9 o’clock.

 

Tuesday 19th hired a cab to convey myself and boxes to Deptford, seven miles distance, paid four shillings, much the best plan, no shifting from one conveyance to another but taken direct to the depot, arriving there at 12 o’clock. The depot much like a workhouse and the manager, Mr Cooper, not very agreeable in his manner, but Mr Banks, assistant manager, quite the reverse and generally beloved. Provisions are here supplied to the emigrants by the Commissioners, they are of excellent quality and sufficient quantity. No emigrant after arriving at the depot is allowed to leave without the special permission of the governor, Mr Cooper.

 

6 o’clock nearly all arrived here that are going out, on board the Stag. We are summoned to prepare for our meals by the ringing of a bell, we are now going to tea. 9 o’clock just going to bed, never slept with so many in the same room in my life.

 

Wednesday 20th arose at 7. Clean washed and to breakfast at 8. Coffee and some prime bread and butter. Examination of boxes commenced, one young man detected with a bottle of spirits and not allowed to proceed with us.

 

12 o’clock Surgeon attended to examine each one as to their being in a fit state to embark, one at a time only admitted, all right myself in this respect but one man and his wife and child stopped. Child having the whooping cough. Dinner at 2 o’clock, very good boiled beef and potatoes. After dinner got out three hours with some respectable young men, had some talk with them respecting our messing together, we had a few glasses of ale for the last time in England and returned to the depot for tea at 6 o’clock. Informed that we shall go on board the Stag tomorrow to dine.

 

Thursday 21st 9 o’clock summoned to answer our names and give an account of those who had agreed to mess together, being allowed to make this arrangement amongst ourselves, presented list of names as follows:

 

Francis Taylor, Agriculturist, Herefordshire

 

Caleb Broadbent, Miller, Yorkshire

 

Donald Campbell, ditto, Scotland

 

Henry Dickens, ditto, Northamptonshire

 

Robert Davey}

} Butcher, Norfolk

Charles Davey}

12 o’clock received all the necessary cooking utensils for our voyage, canvas bags to contain our linen etc and appointed Captain of Mess No. 6. 2 o’clock a lot of fresh emigrants are now arriving here to sail for Port Phillip on Saturday next by the Sir Robert Gale. A regular mixture from almost all the counties but not a single individual that I ever saw before. Man much grieved at not being allowed to leave the depot but this is a very proper regulation as many would become drunk and otherwise disorderly. Deptford the most degraded place I ever saw and the inhabitants dirty, and vile in every respect with but few exceptions.

 

2 o’clock all marched down to the coast and go on board a boat and thence about half a mile to the vessel, giving three cheers for Mr Cooper and not forgetting Mr Banks, immense cheering by all in the boat, but we all would rather vote for Banks than Cooper. The Sir Robert Gale is lying a short distance astern or behind us and the emigrants coming on board of her tomorrow. She is a fine looking vessel, and will I trust reach her destination in safety.

 

3 o’clock unexpectedly visited by Mr H Oliver of the Unicorn Inn, Cove Street, Ludlow accompanied by Mr Eggington an old school fellow and intimate acquaintance, extremely glad to see them. They are the last persons I saw in England with whom I am in any way personally acquainted.

 

I now propose to give an account of the supply provisions each day during our voyage to which will be attached a few remarks upon the quality, concluding with a log book containing a general summary of further information collected during our voyage. Should the few lines here penned afford any information which may in anyway prove useful to any intending emigrant or interest any old acquaintance or intimate relatives the writers purpose is fully answered, whilst he gladly avails himself of this opportunity of fulfilling his promise ,which he made upon leaving his native country. Namely that of daily remembering those dear friends whom he confidently trusts will pen a few lines to him although thousands of miles apart.

 

May distance never break the bond of Friendship.

 

––––––––––––––––––––––––—

 

In addition to the list on other side we have the following articles supplied to us weekly every Monday

 

Each Person

For six

Tea

1oz

6 oz

Treacle

8 oz

3lb

Pickles

1 gill

6 gills

Mustard

1/2 oz

3 oz

Salt

2 oz

12 oz

Pepper

1/2 oz

3 oz

 

Remarks upon which the quality of the provision and the manner in which they are in general made use of taken as they appear in relation upon the preceding scale.

 

Biscuits: these are hard but wholesome food and may be much improved by soaking them is some fresh water for about twenty minutes and then putting them in the oven, when they divide in the middle, and when buttered are very nice for breakfast, tea, etc.

 

Flour: the quality of this is good indeed, it is the principle thing we have to subsist upon excepting meat. We make it into puddings, cakes etc. and many who brought out baking composition to use instead of barm, are enabled to make very nice fresh bread occasionally. This is a very useful article and I would recommend every emigrant to bring a good supply with him if he possibly can.

 

Oatmeal: This article is much esteemed by the Irish who are continually making cakes of it which they may be seen eating at all hours in the day with treacle or butter. It is also made by some into what is called burge about the thickness of hasty pudding, others use it when unwell for gruel. It is much oatier than the oatmeal usually purchased in England but when used for gruel may be much improved by straining through a cloth or by carefully skimming of the coarse particles, which rise to the surface of the water.

 

Pork: This meat is principally American and mostly rather fat, it is by no means bad tasted but very salty, this evil may be much improved by soaking in fresh water an hour or two if the water can be spared but this is not always the case, the pork is always boiled and meat soup made with it.

 

Preserved Meat: This forms the best dinner we get, it is prepared and secured from the air in tin cases containing six to eight pounds each, the proper quantity is supplied to the cook and so much water added, then boiled and issued as stew with preserved potatoes. Upon these days we also make a very nice plum pudding.

 

Preserved Potatoes: These are a very curious looking article, they are almost like [S…. ?] in size and are enclosed in casks containing about one hundred weight each they are I should think grown by some process, and then dried in a kiln, when required for use boiling water is supplied by the cook to each mess its proper allowance. They are then steamed well together and immediately covered over with a cloth. They have a little smoky taste but are extremely useful.

 

Rice: This is used as a substitute for vegetables on certain days, it is of very good quality, and by some much liked but it never was a favourite of mine. It is properly boiled and issued by the cook and issued in quantities according to the number in each mess.

Raisins: These are of a beautiful quality far superior to any I have ever tasted in England. They are secured in boxes and we use them in puddings and sometimes in cakes. Our daily allowance of them will be seen by referring to the scale and also of all other articles and the days they are regularly issued.

 

Suet: This article is of the best quality that can be procured from the carcasses of the best beef. Killed in the London markets it is salted in barrels and is very useful to us for cooking our puddings as we sometimes have one made of suet in lieu of raisins.

 

Peas: These are as good as can be procured. They are split and are free from the husks and are supplied in the calculated quantity to the cook the days we have pork, they boil to a complete pulp.

 

Cocoa: This we did not much like at first as it requires one thing which we cannot possibly get on board the Stag viz some good milk. Since however we have become accustomed to it we like it better and use it principally for breakfast.

 

Sugar: This article is of a very good quality and we have an abundant supply issued to us upon the days as shown on the scale. The retail price of sugar in England of this quality would be about 6 pence per lb.

 

Butter: This is I must confess the worst article we get. It is American and is in general salty or rancid.

 

Beef: This is not of bad quality but for the most part very salty and sometimes hard. We only get it on Saturdays when we have boiled rice by way of vegetables.

 

Water: With respect to this much may be said. It is supplied in the first instance from the Thames and is supposed to be preferable to other water for cooking during a long voyage. It is variously affected by the temperature, motion of the ship etc. Some days when the casks are first unbunged the smell is very offensive but this leaves a few hours after it is drawn into our small casks. Other days it is perfectly sweet and pure as at the first outset. Our quantity is three quarts each per day as shown on the scale, three pints of which are withheld for the cook, including one pint for breakfast, one for cooking dinner and one for tea. The other three pints are issued to us for other purposes.

 

Weekly Supply: With respect to these the same remarks may apply to each of them i.e. namely that they are of good quality and the quantity quite sufficient. The tea would be worth in England from five shillings to five and sixpence per lb. The treacle is very good and the mixed pickles are of every variety, including enormous cucumbers, in short everything usually used for pickling. They are very useful with the salt meat. The mustard, salt and pepper are all good in quality.

Scale Showing the Daily Issue of Provisions and Calculated for Six

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Each

Person

Weekly

Provisions

For Six

Biscuits

8 oz

8 oz

8 oz

8 oz

8 oz

8 oz

8 oz

3 lb 8 oz

21 lb

Flour

6 oz

6 oz

6 oz

6 oz

6 oz

6 oz

6 oz

2 lb 10 oz

15 lb 12 oz

Oatmeal

3 oz

3 oz

3 oz

3 oz

3 oz

3 oz

3 oz

1 lb 5 oz

7 lb 14 oz

Pork

6 oz

-

6 oz

-

6 oz

-

-

1 lb 2 oz

6 lb 12 oz

Preserved

Meat

-

6 oz

-

6 oz

-

-

6 oz

1 lb 2 oz

6 lb 12 oz

Potatoes

-

-

-

4 oz

-

-

4 oz

8 oz

3 lb

Rice

-

4 oz

-

-

-

4 oz

-

8 oz

3 lb

Raisins

-

2 oz

-

2 oz

-

2 oz

2 oz

8 oz

3 lb

Suet

-

1½ oz

-

1½ oz

-

1½ oz

1½ oz

6 oz

2 lb 4 oz

Peas

¼ pint

-

¼ pint

-

¼ pint

-

-

¾ pint

4½ pints

Cocoa

½ oz

-

½ oz

-

-

-

-

1 oz

6 oz

Sugar

4 oz

-

4 oz

-

4 oz

-

-

12 oz

4 lb 8 oz

Butter

2 oz

-

-

-

2 oz

-

-

4 oz

1 lb 8 oz

Beef

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

?

3 lb

Water

3 qts

3 qts

3 qts

3 qts

3 qts

3 qts

3 qts

21 qts

126 qtz

5 gallons 1 qt

31 gallons 2 qts


 

LOG BOOK

 

Written on Board the Ship “Stag”, Captain Baker, Master during her Voyage to Adelaide, South Australia

 

Thursday February 21st 1850

 

Went on board at Deptford near London at one o’clock, had an excellent dinner. Fixed on berths and made other arrangements.

 

Friday 22nd

 

Sailed at half past seven in the morning, 114 on board besides the Captain, Officers and other crew, all in excellent health and spirits. Tugged out by a steamer to Woolwich passing Greenwich, Kentish Chalk Hills etc. Provisions very good and quite sufficient quantity. A clergyman came on board and performed divine service, afterwards presented by him with a splendid Bible and three other books and appointed teachers on board. 4 o’clock in the evening another clergyman came on board read prayer and lectured on our duties on board etc, presented by him with three more books.

Saturday 23rd

 

Omitted yesterday to say we are now lying at Graves End. A quantity of pigs and sheep taken on board. Pigs noisy companions. Shipping all down the channel, a beautiful sight. American steam ship, Mississippi, passed us on her outward passage to New York. We meet in companies of six or eight out of which are chosen by our superintendent as captain of his mess whose duty it is to see that they receive their proper allowance of provisions and that cleanliness and order is preserved so far as his mess is concerned, I am appointed as captain of mess No. 6, consisting of six very nice respectable young men who seem anxious to do everything to promote each others comfort.

 

Sunday 24th

 

While lying at Graves End officers and sailors very civil. Two black men cooks. Divine services performed twice during the day. Commissioner came on board and general examination took place, each one answering his or her name. Afterwards exhorted to a strict observance of the established rules and regulations.

 

Monday 25th

 

Left Graves End about twelve o’clock, wind and tide against us, tugged however by a steamer a few miles. 4 o’clock wind more favourable, full sail set and proceeding prosperously. 7 o’clock cast anchor for the night, Captain deeming it expedient not to proceed down the channel until daylight. Beautiful weather, a lighthouse plainly discerned at a distance of about two miles. All very happy, singing songs etc.

 

Tuesday 26th

 

Almost a complete calm this morning cannot make more than two miles an hour. Rather dangerous part of the channel, two sand banks plainly seen, flanked by floating buoys and lighthouse, no other land visible at present now but ( ? ) gulls or other birds to be seen and when nearer the coast several porpoises seen during the day. Employed two hours in the evening removing the medicine chest jars etc from the shore to hospital for Surgeon, a very nice kind sort of man. Seven o’clock cast anchor for the night.

 

Wednesday

 

Rather a bitter wind but not coming in the right direction for us. Nevertheless proceeding slowly, few small schooners and other vessels seen at a distance. 4 o’clock in the evening, going along well, land again visible north, farmlands, church and buildings distinctly seen also windmills etc. 7 o’clock pilot left us in a boat for Deale, the lights there along the cliffs a splendid sight. Every passenger very sorry to part with the pilot a very nice man. Did not see much of Ramsgate, wind driving us to far off. 9 o’clock walking deck wind pretty good now making nine or ten miles per hour, intend to sail all night tonight.

 

Thursday

 

Past St Margaret’s Bay at nine o’clock last night the scene of many shipwrecks and soon afterwards past Dover, too late to see much of it excepting the lights. Almost a dead calm again since midnight. A great mist cannot see a hundred yards from us. Did not cast anchor last night, made however but little progress cannot get on scarcely any. Some few of both sexes now beginning to know what seasickness is like, never better myself plenty to eat and no want of appetite, provisions capital.

 

Friday March 1st

 

Again rather misty nothing at all to be seen. Still making slow progress. Not known when we shall reach Plymouth unless the wind changes, passed Brighton during the night. One solitary visitor a bird of the small species. A common water wagtail is now praying upon our deck remarkably tame I think it must have lost the compass or it would not stray so far from land, it appears as though it would be glad to go to shore if it could find the way. Many sea sick this morning, myself still very well, many on board now drunk without drink, stumbling about the deck etc. 5 o’clock in the evening Isle of White seen at a distance.

 

Saturday 2nd

 

Rather rough sea this morning and vessel almost on her side. Wind unfavourable no sign of reaching Plymouth. Now for sickness almost all onboard give up, men women and children appear drunk clinging and catching by everything. Many in bed and many more would be better there. Not sick myself but feel as though I had par taken of a glass to much last night, am quite sure I did not. One man bid farewell to his hat, blew right away whilst walking on deck gone to California I expect. No one in my mess seriously sick but merely like myself just a bit dizzy, six lucky chaps as yet, hope to continue so.

 

8 o’clock can now see Portland lights at about 12 miles distance on the coast of France.

 

Sunday 3rd

 

Had a very blusterous night no one on board last night that slept without rocking and not too many expect slept now at all. Plenty of extra provisions to be divided amongst the few that remain well. Have laid aside to await a better pitch. No singing nor laughing for many amongst us at present, only some at present amongst us able to partake of anything this morning. 12 o’clock land very visible called Tor Bay about 40 miles from Plymouth. Hope to get there in a short time. Now 6 o’clock in the evening, sudden squall came on, turned us suddenly around, females all squealing for fear and the Stag pounding on with terrific fury.

 

Monday 4th

 

Had a regular up and down night, both as regard the motion of the vessel and the stomach, of the afflicted passengers, some few a little better this morning but not many. 12 o’clock have been tacking about all the morning, could not get one, obliged to sail many miles to gain any ground. Similar to a horse winding up a bank with a heavy load. 2 o’clock wind now veered around just right for us and we are now proceeding well, a splendid sight now of Harbour and vessels lying with in it. 4 o’clock have now thank God arrived safe at Portsmouth and cast anchor. Have not time to say more, as I want to write home letters.

 

Tuesday 5th

 

I have had an excellent nights rest. All on board rather better. Many crept on board this morning that have not been in the open air for some days. No one allowed to go ashore on any account. Splendid sight of the port and harbour of Plymouth. The beautiful scenery around about beyond description. Boats continually plying to and fro with all sorts of things for sale or will bring anything from the town we like to send for; of course they make us pay. Not allowed to bring us beer or cider, porter or liquors. As for cider have not tasted any since I left home. Drunk the last at Irvington Friday night the 15th February. Upwards of 150 more passengers came on board at 4 o’clock this evening of all sorts and sizes. Very pretty procession on board, like thing I ever saw to a large drove of ewes and lambs after been well married, don’t know when they will all get reconciled. 7 o’clock getting a little more tranquil. Some of the noisiest having now stowed their luggage, bags and young ones of whom we have now pretty plenty.

 

Wednesday 6th

 

Can now ascertain that the number including Captain, officers and crew very nearly three hundred. Expected a good many Irish to join us here but can now find we have not above ten or twelve from that country, very glad of it. Most of our passengers appear to be mechanics not but few for agricultural pursuits. Some of our fresh passengers very backward in learning the rules, not very willing to try in my opinion. Some must now strictly abstain from many habits they have from their appearance indulged in, they must now observe the greatest cleanliness in the place of filth and dirt. They will have to abstain from drinking, which order they will be sure to obey for the best of all reasons, cannot get it. Drunkards are not known here from sober men having no means of distinguishing themselves, swearing fighting and all kinds of abusive language are most strictly forbid and anyone so acting is punished by some means or other at the discretion of the Surgeon Superintendent whose orders we are behoved to obey. This is in every respect, but reasonable and just, as a more familiar kind now cannot exist, to all parties who behave properly and act in accordance with the rules. 6 o’clock now going to tea. Fresh bread supplied during the time we are in port. One pound and a half per day to each person, also fresh beef and potatoes in good quality.

 

Thursday 7th

 

Omitted to say that we had a very pretty sight yesterday, a vessel called the Maria is lying within a quarter of a mile of us bound for Sydney. Sent to Australia with two hundred and seventy Irish girls, all orphans, sent by Government, all between twelve and twenty years of age. From our deck we saw them brought by steamer to the vessel. They were all dressed alike and seemed cheerful and happy. Lots of provisions taken on board yesterday and today. And every vessel that will hold water filled with it, brought water casks from shore by the boats. The Sir Robert Gale a fine vessel with about two hundred and fifty emigrants bound to Port Phillip and South Australia has now arrived here from Deptford. Left her there on 22 of February a splendid looking vessel but not so large as the Stag. 11 o’clock passengers are nearly all up on deck and also those of the two vessels lying near us, in all nearly 900 souls all bound for Sydney, Port Phillip and Adelaide. Boats plying to and from these every hour with oranges, apples, nuts, plums, cakes and other livery to numerous to mention for sale to the passengers, they make a good thing of it. Distance from the Town of Plymouth two miles but it appears nothing being seen so plainly. Fresh Mackerel brought to us at one penny each and cigars of the best quality and very large at a penny each. 2 o’clock another large emigrant vessel, the British Sovereign has just arrived from Deptford bound for Adelaide to sail in a few days. She appears a fine ship, do not know how many she has on board. 4 o’clock the Maria has just sailed, tugged off by a steamer unanimously cheered by the passengers on the deck of the surrounding vessels. Ourselves joining with three times three. The Stag to sail in the morning.

 

Friday 8th

 

Set sail from Portsmouth at 10 o’clock accompanied by a pilot a short distance. Beautiful morning and all well or nearly so. Light breeze going beautifully. Shall soon loose sight of Old England. We had Divine Service performed last night with an excellent and very effecting discourse, taken from the second Chapter of St Luke 29 and 30 verses. Lord now letest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, presented by the same clergyman with a beautiful prayer book. We left the British Sovereign at Plymouth and the Sir Robert Gale has now started with us, is now 12 o’clock, plainly seen with many passengers on her deck, about four miles to wind ward of us. We are nearly opposite each other, a very pleasing sight. 6 o’clock can still see her but rather further of windward of us. Some of our new companions sick and sprawling about the deck already, do not know what they will do in a rough sea if they cannot bear it when so smooth, barely a wave moving. Sick at the though I suppose. Must now go down to tea but before doing so may as well say farewell to England. Shall not see thy shores when I come up on deck again. Adieu my Native Land, Adieu.

 

Saturday 9th

 

Another fine morning but very misty cannot see far from us, where are now those beautiful scenes we saw yesterday morning, left far in the distance where are now the happy homes of our childhood and those companions with who, we have so often met with gladness and above all where are our parents and those relatives ever dear to us; years must roll away ere we shall again see them if we are ever permitted to do so, still we will cherish their memory in the inmost recesses of the heart and remember with gratitude every mark of affection we have received at their hands and while the winds waft us to a foreign shore may we never forget the bond of friendship which unites us still firmly to Old England and Old Acquaintances.

 

11 o’clock the sun has now broken through the thick mist and we can again see the Sir Robert Gale but she appears farther off. I should think seven or eight miles. Most beautiful wind and exactly in our favour, all say a better passage was never made out from Plymouth, shall soon reach Bay of Biscay should the wind continue as it is now.

 

5 o’clock in the evening are now supposed to be leaving the English Channel and enter upon the Atlantic Ocean. 8 o’clock walked upon deck about an hour smoked a pipe and then retired to bed.

 

Sunday 10th

 

Arose at half past six, went upon deck until breakfast time, afterwards made our pudding for dinner, then cleaned myself up and again went upon deck until 12 o’clock. Can yet see the Sir Robert Gale about 8 miles behind us. Wind all right have now entered the Bay of Biscay and making about 8 knots equal to eight English miles an hour. All say they never knew a more favourable voyage so far, vessels often from five to six weeks reaching the Bay of Biscay, sea generally rough in this part of the Atlantic Ocean and it is now so the waves every moment foaming mountains and valleys which are grand beyond all description, over which our gallant vessel aided by excellent favourable gales, rolls majestically onward, indeed she is considered a very fast sailing ship, as a proof of which she received the Mail Bags containing letters etc at Plymouth in preference to the Sir Robert Gale, who came out upon the same day. Another small bird has been playing upon our ship’s masts to day and considered of very great curiosity so far from shore, it is a common Pyefinch.

 

6 o’clock prayers read in the evening by our Surgeon and sermon afterwards, our Minister has been unwell ever since he came on board at Plymouth.

 

Monday 11th

 

Arose about six o’clock, a beautiful morning, wind cannot be better: are now supposed to be making ten miles an hour, excellent sailing, we have now lost sight of the Sir Robert Gale, left her behind she cannot keep pace with the Stag, do not expect to see her again all being well. We have lost sight of Mr Pyefinch who was so busy hopping amongst us yesterday it had a long journey home as it is calculated we are six hundred miles from land.

 

2 o’clock in the evening have just had an excellent dinner of pork and pea soup, our pork rather salty but very tender and good. Expect to get clear of the Bay of Biscay by tomorrow morning. Our captain says that it is the best voyage he ever saw up to now, he has been out to Australia several times and also the two cooks and several of the sailors. Sailors thirty two in number and most of them exceedingly civil and void of those low expressions, cursing, swearing etc so much practised on board many vessels. 8 o’clock at night all going on exceedingly well and making extraordinary speed.

 

Tuesday 12th

 

Another splendid day and the wind just as yesterday, making very good speed but not quite so fast, nothing to be seen this morning but the sky and the ocean. The sea sickness has very much decreased although some are still very ill. A great many children on board, they stand the sea very much better than grown up people. Women with infant children allowed three quarters of Porter each day. We are now past the Bay of Biscay, the sea runs very high and frequently giving a shower bath to those upon deck, dashing over our Bulwarks to the great amusement of many of those who are fortunate enough to escape. 4 o’clock in the evening weather beautiful but very uneven travelling. No new scenery now nor any fresh object to attract the attention. Thank God for the abundant share of health, which I continue to enjoy, and for causing me such actual benefits as I am receiving during the present circumstance. I am indeed fortunate in meeting with five such kind and agreeable young men as messmates and have a supply of provisions issued to us far exceeding what any one could possibly expect and the kindness of our surgeon upon whose orders depend all our necessary comforts is beyond all language to describe to all who try to merit such favour by proper behaviour. 8 o’clock walked upon deck again a short time, smoked a pipe of tobacco and then retired for the night.

 

Wednesday 13th

 

Wind still continuing excellent making full nine knots an hour on the passage for the last three days, shall now soon get into what is called the Trade Winds when the voyage is considered free from difficulty. Time taken according to the sun by an instrument in the possession of the Captain, each day precisely at 12 o’clock. Can ascertain precisely that the difference in the time as compared with that of London is 1 hour and 38 minutes.

 

One o’clock a man employed in assisting the second mate in the stores became in such a state from the friendly intercourse he had held with the rum cask as to be unable to find his way home, not far to come neither, he only smelt it I daresay. Aching head and an empty stomach tomorrow morning so far as food is concerned. He appears to sleep very soundly. I say well done rum but alas! alas! Surgeon places his name in the dark pages of his book, greatly to his sorrow upon his landing. We have just seen a small English vessel, it is however very distant from us. This is the only one we have seen since we lost sight of the Sir Robert Gale. 9 o’clock it now rains pretty sharply the only change we have had from fine weather since we came on board.

 

Thursday 14th

 

A considerable quantity of rain during the night but now again beautiful and fine, the sun shining most brilliantly, a smoother sea and not so much wind but still a nice breeze from nearly north west.

 

11 o’clock an almost innumerable drove of fishes appear around the ship. The water seems all alive with them, they are two species, the porpoise or sea pig, an immense kind and the Bennether, much resembling a large salmon in size. All passengers upon deck anxiously watching their various movements. They seem to extend all around the vessel frequently leaping up a foot or more above their briny bed to the great amusement of the spectators, several such commencing trying to catch some of them with long lines, upon the hook of which they carefully wrap some white rag which it is said they take eagerly. We have also seen a young whale at about one hundred yards distance only however of small dimensions.

1 o’clock just going to dinner but not of fish, none catched yet, had a try but it’s no go, water considered too rough. One sailor trying with a harpoon attached to a line, which he casts at them, great rapidity in his movement but fish too wide awake, the harpoon is much like an arrow.

 

3 o’clock no fish catched many having watched in vain for three or four hours and even gone without their dinner, no catching me at that, one bird in the hand worth two or three in the bush (remember).

 

Friday 15th

 

Fine morning with wind blowing briskly from north east or nearly so, a vessel lying to the west of us but many miles off us, we can only just see her top masts and appear to be fast loosing sight of her; we are now supposed to be fast approaching the island of Madeira and are situated about two thousand three hundred miles from Plymouth and two thousand six hundred from Deptford, three weeks today since we sailed thus proving an excellent and speedy voyage especially from Plymouth, as we must have made seven or eight miles per hour night and day since we left there this day week.

 

12 o’clock the wind blowing still brisker and driving us along beautifully, the waves roll as high as mountains. 6 o’clock an unexpected squall came on the sailors instantly in action and females most terribly alarmed fastening on any one nearest them for protection. 8 o’clock now become more calm the stars again shining brilliantly.

 

Saturday 16th

 

Fine morning and smoother sea but getting on well, wind blowing from the same point as yesterday. Captain on the look out with telescope for Madeira. 12 o’clock a stronger gale of wind we are now driven along at an immense speed nearly eleven miles an hour and the sea becoming more rough every moment, many again sick as well as those who have hitherto escaped, heartily thank God both myself and three of the young men in my mess were never better in our lives, the other two have suffered a little, we are really fortunate in being such agreeable companions and receive many favours from our surgeon, as far as he can do without creating a feeling of jealousy amongst our journeying companions but in no sense do we own them, or rather some of them rather to low for us. Our surgeon has this day lent us a lot of books containing the latest accounts of Australia up to the close of 1849 with plates, maps etc. 5 o’clock a curious and awfully grand scene now commences, the wind has continued to increase since noon and now is blowing a complete hurricane as it would be called on land, such as would fetch down trees, ship buildings etc. not but few upon deck and those compelled to hold fast by something, or crawl along on our hands and knees, myself amongst the rest. 8 o’clock still rougher if possible, our main sail all reefed or perhaps what some would call taken down. They are however folded as to prevent the wind having any power upon them when so blusterous, the sight at present I must confess rather alarming but surpasses in awful grandeur anything that can be conceived not above ten or twelve passengers on deck. Our vessel lying to all appearance completely on her side and the waves every moment breaking over her in different parts, one would fancy she must capsize or as some would say turn over every instant, the waves seem to roll yards above her bulwark, many greatly alarmed.

 

Sunday 17th

 

Went staggering home to bed at nine o’clock last night taking leave of one of the grandest scenes I ever beheld or perhaps ever shall, not however without some slight feelings of dread, but confiding in God’s divine providence for protection. Slept but a little the wind continuing through the night with the same violence. 8 o’clock wind subsiding a little now but not much, very many sick this morning, are supposed to pass Madeira, our Captain has seen it with a telescope, not discernible with the naked eye. 10 o’clock general muster every Sunday morning at this hour everyone inspected by surgeon to see that they are dressed in clean apparel etc, if not, reported accordingly. Sea still very rough but wind more regular and some sails again partly set. We have no divine service this morning many females being ill, several have never been well since they came on board, a single life in my opinion far better on board a ship. 3 o’clock beautiful fine evening and making full eight miles an hour never was better sailing at least say all the sailors. We have just received orders for all who are well to come upon deck. Divine service performed there, bell tolling in the forecastle of the ship as natural as upon land, reminds me forcibly of St Johns Irvington, and thoughts of Old England once more arise. Independent of the long distance which separates me from it nothing however to what will in a few more weeks, all being well. My thoughts sometimes wander backwards but leave no cause for regret except the remembrance of old friends.

 

Monday 18th

 

A fine a morning as ever was seen and the wind very good, all sails again set, have recovered the alarm of Saturday night but shall be a long time before I forget it, so will many more no doubt. The weather here is already very much warmer and will be now every day as we approach the Equatorial Line. Difference in the time here and at London 2 hours and ten minutes being ten minutes past two here when it is twelve there. Time is taken by the sun and comparisons made each day at noon.

 

From two until four reading the books lent me by the surgeon, truly gratifying accounts of Australia, never more interested in books in my life. I think success to anyone who is willing to try is almost certain, am determined to try in earnest, please God when I get there. Expect to make Cape Verde Island or to be as they say off the Cape Verde Island tomorrow. We shall not be within many miles of it, no one will of course see it with the naked eye. Several dissenters on board and prayer meetings held by them most nights in their own apartments of the vessel their berths being arranged together as near as possible. On deck sundry pastimes are going on with dancing, singing, etc no indecent goings on of course permitted and of course and immediately stopped and parties subjected to severe reproof from the surgeon superintendent.

 

Tuesday 19th

 

A most splendid day and likely to be very warm, the sun is extremely clear and the sky is without a cloud, to give an idea of the weather fancy a fine hay making day in the month of June and forget that Lady Day has not yet passed, such is the effect we already feel of approaching the Line, although with fair sailing we cannot reach it in under a fortnight at least.

 

12 o’clock this is the warmest day we have yet had but little wind of course we are not making so much speed, six miles an hour being about what averaging since midnight. 4 o’clock Captain on the look out for Cape Verde Islands, cannot yet see it. I expect he must wait until tomorrow. No courting allowed on board. Surgeon on the look out after some few fancy lassies who seem rather more familiar than he wishes them, he will be sure to drop on them if they don’t keep their eye up as the saying is. 8 o’clock something up, surgeon and Chief Mate searching for every sly corner of the vessel even the round houses or privies, every one wondering what is the matter. The secret comes out that two smart lasses are missing, found in the galley of the ship conversing with the cook and some others. This is strictly forbid and accounted highly criminal, they are to have a regular trial and case fully investigated tomorrow.

 

Wednesday 20th

 

Weather as yesterday with better wind. Surgeon round calling all the single men up at six this morning intends so doing during the time we pass through the hot weather. Some bare to be fairly dragged out which he does not hesitate in doing, no “peeling eggs” with him as the saying is. 8 o’clock orders to take our beds upon deck and well shake them, blankets, sheets, etc. This is done twice a week, the married people, single women and single men each on separate days to prevent confusion and mistakes. A hearing is to take place at ten o’clock respecting the ladies who unfortunately absented themselves last night, to be a public trial of course as an example to others. 10 o’clock surgeon, Captain etc appear on deck with pen ink paper etc and several witnesses examined at much length, one man in particular tries to the utmost to implicate the Assistant Cook and some of the sailors and to prove them guilty of criminal intercourse etc, evidence however was ultimately produced to prove that nothing further than conversation had taken place and the verdict was to the following effect: that the females in question had grossly abused the rules and regulations by approaching that part of the vessel, exclusively occupied by the sailors, more especially during the night, from which it was concluded they had gone there for some improper purpose, they were severely reprimanded and a mark of censure attached to their names and they will be reported accordingly when they land, their offers of apology and apparent contrition being rejected, thus ended the trial: and themselves and others will do well to avoid a repetition it is a regular bad speck on board ship. 4 o’clock better speed now than yesterday, say seven miles an hour. 6 o’clock single girls ordered to go below and not to walk any longer upon the deck after dusk, so much for last nights work.

 

Thursday 21st

 

Have been on board exactly one month and hope one fourth of our journey is performed, pretty certain of it, as we have made near five thousand miles out of the eighteen the extent of our journey. Much confusion this morning in consequence of the evidence given against the two females yesterday, the mean and unprincipled fellow who was mean enough to inform on them, thinking to curry favour from the surgeon has taken the wrong step and has become a wretched man and will continue so as long as he remains on board the Stag. He is considered a regular snake, detested by every woman and sneered at and hooted in every corner of the vessel, the sailors are most inveterate against him and I fear the matter will end badly. The sailors and men generally wish him overboard and swear bitter threats against him, so that he is afraid to appear upon deck, whilst below he is in the midst of his female enemies. I do not envy him his situation, this is truly a bad place for a sly babbling mischief maker, a regular disturber or a noted (cank). He had much better go on shore at the Cape of Good Hope or the consequences may be serious. 4 o’clock in the evening we have had a splendid day but not quite so hot as yesterday. Surgeon commenced issuing Epsom Salts to all on board who are desirous to take them, thirty or forty to be supplied alternate mornings until all have received them. 8 o’clock beautiful night, the moon in this part appearing much nearer us than I ever saw it in England, it looks as though it touched our top mast, a strange appearance and remarked by all passengers, the sun also much more central than in England when in the height of summer, now off Cape Verde Island passed them during the night.

Friday 22nd

 

Wind again very good again indeed we have had excellent success in our passage from Plymouth, cannot quite forget being knocked about so during our voyage down from Deptford. We can safely say that we have not been diverted a single mile out of our course since we left Plymouth this day fortnight. Arose with one of my messmates at 4 o’clock this morning to wash out our daily linen etc. Laughable to see so many men in the washing buckets up to their elbows, lots of fun more fun than dirty clothes, I find I can do it smartish. Think something about taking a Laundry maids place upon arriving in Australia, washing days Tuesdays and Fridays, all bound to be done before the time of washing decks, namely 7 o’clock.

 

4 o’clock nothing particular has transpired today more than that we are going along famously. 6 o’clock Desperate confused below, the yeoman giving the silly fellow mentioned yesterday a regular salute, some groaning, some messing about, others busy accommodating him with the loan of a few pins in various parts of his person, more particular about the hind quarters, assailing him with such epithets as “bull dog”, “Oh you snake”, “Bow Wow Wow”, “Go to bed”, etc. Poor wretch not a single friend on board, even his own wife ashamed of him sure to wish he had not joined us at Portsmouth or any where else, no place for him except what can be obtained by the surgeon entreating us to forebear insulting him even should the surgeon consider with him the odds would be three hundred against him and the consequence would perhaps be serious. 8 o’clock finally all below wishing the best of success to the poor confused being who is the cause of their being confined at such an early hour.

 

Saturday 23rd

 

Again fine and likely to be very hot as the sky is completely cloudless the wind is excellent we are now in what is called the Trade Winds and making 8 miles an hour. This is rather a busy day on board ship, the supply of provision being issued for tomorrow and every preparation made for the Sabbath, which is strictly observed. 12 o’clock sun very powerful and splendid hay making day, wish I had plenty of wort at it and cider according, cannot fancy it only March, the weather being so directly contrary to the usual weather in March in England. 2 o’clock an alarming circumstance takes place our bed having been ordered to be taken on deck, someone unconsciously started smoking near them and a spark set one of them on fire, luckily it took place in this part of the day. Had it been later in the day it may have been taken below even while smouldering with fire and awful results may have followed. Severe reproof and caution both from Captain and surgeon, whose anger was great in the extreme, firstly remarking that we have no back door to run out of here, the bed was undoubtedly thrown overboard. 4 o’clock butcher killing Southdown wether sheep taken on board at Gravesend this day of month, none the better for its month feeding although fed on corn flour etc the whole time, the fat and carcase generally exhibit symptoms of a decrease in weight. Skinners do not call at our house for the skin they are immediately thrown overboard. 8 o’clock females allowed out on deck again tonight of course strictly upon behaviour.

 

Sunday 24th

 

Wind more calm than it has been for some days arose at six and quite ready for mustering as usual on Sunday morning at ten, all approved of as regards cleanliness etc. Divine service performed at eleven after which an excellent dinner of preserved meat with preserved potatoes also prime suit pudding, drink fine in colour and simple in taste. 2 o’clock another immense drove of fishes of the same species as those described as seen on the fourteenth without the porpoises or sea pig. A sailor stuck one of them with a harpoon and was […dding] for taking him, he had however to much line and while in the attempt to haul him out the hold broke bringing up only the part of the inside of the huge creature, the water all round instantly streaming with blood and we quickly lost sight of every fish, as the moment one is struck and not taken out they all disappear and the sailor say they destroy and quickly devour their wounded companion, they were all round the vessel and many of them supposed to vary from eight to ten stone. 4 o’clock can just see a ship along way off us, she is supposed to be an American however and bound from India. Surgeon just gave permission for any single men to sleep up on deck if they wish to do so, it is so very hot below, many will very gladly take the opportunity. 8 o’clock a delightful night, but not much wind, our speed to day averaging six miles an hour.

 

Monday 25th

 

Lady Day: I suppose wish every ones rent was paid up as well as ours, we shall however take a fresh residence as soon as we can, we think of leaving in about three months but have not yet taken anything.

 

10 o’clock the sun is now breaking out with increased power and we shall have another sweating day, a canvass sheet is now spread over part of the deck occupied by the females and forms quite a nice tent under which the breeze blows very refreshing, men however not so favoured their beauty of no consequence I suppose. 4 o’clock very hot and not much wind, it is quite in the right direction and we calculate upon five and a half to six miles an hour, many will sleep upon deck during the remainder of the hot weather, eight or ten did so last night but I prefer getting my clothes off and lying below without bed clothing excepting a thin sheet. The sea has been comparatively smooth now for some days and our vessel very steady although making such excellent speed. All married peoples beds on deck to day: see nothing alive today except our selves, and not a single cloud upon the sky.

 

8 o’clock wind very much increased this last two hours and now driving along at full eight miles an hour. No restriction now regards the bed hour of the single men they are allowed on deck as late as they think proper. All the scuttles or windows in single men’s departments recommended by surgeon to be left open during night.

 

Tuesday 26th

 

Wind again beautiful, and specially last night, very hot during the night laid aside all bed clothing shall have no occasion for them for about a month I expect. Sheep on board appear just the same as if they had been driven hard with their tongues out and panting terribly, fowls and ducks of which we have many on board for use of Captain, surgeon, etc, now show symptoms of distress, we now wash up our tea leaves two or three times over and drink cold tea with thankfulness, all kind of spirits, wine or any sort of intoxicating drink not to be obtained here only in case of illness, and then at the discretion of the surgeon (Mr William Thompson), who is to every orderly passenger on board all that they could wish for, he truly spares no pains night or day in attending those who may require him professionally, whilst the healthy are treated more like brothers and sisters than total strangers. 4 o’clock speed still excellent appearing as though it was made on purpose for us. 6 o’clock of the two girls mentioned on the 19th inst appear to be forgiven as the surgeon wishes us to have a dance on the Poop to night, which will commence directly, a sailor is going to play the Fife. 10 o’clock we have had a very nice party and excellent dancing. No fiddler to play nor any refreshments to hinder the time, all Free Tickets and another ball promised shortly.

 

Wednesday 27th

 

Again fine and warm, pace seven miles an hour. I believe all got home from our ball last night quite safe arriving at their respective residences in good time, all neighbours should not hesitate in swearing that they were all sober when the ball broke up and do not think they would call on the road. 4 o’clock wind still excellent and not quite so sultry hot as yesterday, making full nine miles an hour. 6 o’clock the air now betokens tempest and the sailors expect it, they have just received orders to reduce the number of sails and they appear to be preparing for a storm changing their own rigging for their oil cases etc. 9 o’clock the storm has reached us and it is truly astonishing how they can foresee a storm so long; it now rains in torrents, the thunder and lightning is terrific. The rigging and even the very waves appear to be all on fire and this without intermission as not a moment elapses between the flashes of lightning and the most awful thunder I ever heard. 10 o’clock: orders to reef or fold up all sails the storm continuing furiously.

 

Thursday 28th

 

Had no sleep last night, the noise of the sailors, rocking of the vessel, the tremendous thunder and above all the intense heat as our scuttles or windows are all bound to be closed to prevent the waves dashing through them, vivid lightning flashing against them every instant; talk of a thunder storm upon land but it bears no comparison to one upon the ocean.

 

8 o’clock it still continues raining a little and the air appears very unsettled we are now getting on again pretty well as the wind continues good. 12 o’clock very sultry hot we intend to dine on deck if it keeps dry, but it looks unlikely, heavy clouds hanging around us. 4 o’clock we had just time to dine on deck when it again commenced raining and continued unsettled and very hot even the wind scorches our face. Average six miles an hour, we have just received orders to prepare for strict observance of tomorrow being Good Friday. 8 o’clock still raining with almost continual lightening, very sultry.

 

Friday 29th

 

Tremendous hot during the night, almost all stripping even the shirts off and then sweating excessively, never lost so much sweat in my life, in the time as I have these last three days; fancy the hottest summer ever seen in England and then multiply that about ten times and you may judge what we experienced not only during the day but the whole of the night, also we have had this sweating about a week and with fair sailing must endure it eight or ten days longer, when we hope for cooler weather. We have had a complete calm since daybreak, this morning, this is not unusual when near the Equator, the sea is now as level as a fish pool more still than we have seen it since we left Gravesend as noticed on the 25th February. 4 o’clock pace not more than two miles an hour, long time reaching Adelaide unless Stag jumps faster. Supposed to be about one hundred and eighty miles from the Equator on line of the sun, twenty four hours good sailing will do it, I hope to get on better tomorrow. 10 o’clock frequent lightening and some times storms of rain.

 

Saturday 30th

 

A fine dry morning, wind rather better six miles or knots an hour may be calculated as our speed, and likely to continue. 10 o’clock have now a fine sea and lots of Sea Gulls in sight, also smaller kind of bird resembling a hawk in their movements as they hover upon the water just as a hawk does so, in the air frequently striking at what is supposed to be small fish or insects. They just like the “Swift” a summer visitor in England, they are called the Sea Hawke or by the sailors “Mother Careys Chickens”, they are supposed to be able to take their rest upon the water as we are certain to be from five to six hundred miles from the coast of Africa, the nearest land. These are the only flight of birds we have seen since we left England. 4 o’clock couple of ducks killed for Captain and officers dinner tomorrow, should much like to join them, no go I dare say, if smell does not hit me, taste sure not to. Have had a good breeze this last two hours making seven knots an hour.

 

We have received the news that a child 10 months old, has just expired below, it has been ill some time, its body is to be committed to the DEEP as soon a possible, dead bodies are not allowed to be kept no longer than they can possibly be enwrapped etc. Every one ordered on deck except surgeon, First and Second Mate who are preparing the body for committal to the waves. 5 o’clock body brought upon deck folded in canvass wrapping in which are also enclosed four iron bolts, about 56 lb in weight to cause it to sink immediately. 6 o’clock Minister and Surgeon came on deck and commenced the funeral service, the First and Second Mate supporting the body on the Bulwark until the words: “We therefore commit his body to the deep” are pronounced, when they instantly drop it and it is seen no more, although it matters not what becomes of the perishable body still a shrill of horror fills the heart at the thought of a human creature being undoubtedly devoured by some of the innumerable inhabitants of the Ocean.

God preserve us from another such scene.


 

Sunday 31st

 

Easter Sunday and a delightful fine morning. The wind blowing briskly from the south east or nearly, our speed eight miles an hour, we have crossed the line early this morning and can plainly perceive the sun now behind us, this surpasses anything I could have imagined, nor can I describe the wonders of the boundless ocean. 10 o’clock going to our Sunday muster as usual to be examined as to our clean appearance etc. 11 o’clock divine service on deck and an excellent sermon from Luke 24th chapter 34th verse “The Lord is risen indeed”.

 

2 o’clock had an excellent dinner of soup and bulli and preserved potatoes, also a prime plum pudding. A disgraceful fight this morning, a court martial has been held and the parties and any further offenders to be left at Cape of Good Hope, not very good hope for them; we hope to have no repetition. The woman, mother of the child who died yesterday, is in the hospital very ill indeed. 6 o’clock all at tea on deck and much cooler compared with the burning heat we have had, but it is still hotter night and day than ever I felt it before. 9 o’clock the moon now rising apparently out of the boundless waters, we can now see what is called the South Pole plainly marked by 5 stars resembling a cross, these are never seen until we cross the line and also lose sight of many of those stars which are visible more northward.

 

Monday April 1st

 

All Fools Day, hope none on board are deserving of that name or they would perhaps have better stopped in England. Our speed today equal to six miles an hour, this is extraordinary luck as vessels are sometimes becalmed about the line for many days and the heat is oppressive.

 

Great confusion on board as we are just commencing getting our boxes upon deck for change of linen etc., the first time we have seen them since they were stowed upon our embarking at Deptford and we may perhaps not have access to them for five or six weeks to come, it will occupy most of tomorrow before they are examined by the owners and again put in their proper place. 2 o’clock have just examined mine and find the contents all right, except shoes which are very mouldy, woollen clothes or silks generally keep badly. A cheese given me previous to leaving Irvington, got remarkably soft. We have had a pint of water each extra during the last week and shall have during the hot weather. 8 o’clock wind still continues good and hope we shall soon have cooler weather: almost boiled upon times.

 

Tuesday 2nd

 

Wind quite right, steering south east at the rate of seven and a half miles an hour, a beautiful morning but very hot, the nearest land to us at present is Ascension Island, which we shall not approach nearer than two hundred miles from us, many are complaining of the clothes being damaged in their boxes, wrong to buy too much woollen clothes for they keep badly and are now quite as cheap in Australia. Linen apparel is useful and does not damage so much. A good ham of bacon or a cheese are very useful for an occasional relish, we had when we left Plymouth two hams and three cheeses amongst the six in our mess, two of the cheeses eaten but we have one and a great portion of our hams remaining. 4 o’clock nothing particular has occurred today except that we are now receiving a new treat from surgeon, namely a drop of something short as they say in England and short it is indeed in quantity; it consists of about a thimble full, to each person of lemon juice which we put in water and sweeten it with sugar, it then forms a nice cooling drink, it will be continued during the hot weather: we call it our grog. 8 o’clock fine night stars more brilliant than I ever beheld them, we have only the waves and the heavens to attract our attention.

Wednesday 3rd

 

Very fine, wind and speed much the same as yesterday, full eight miles an hour, this will continue for some days as we are now entered upon what is termed the South East Trade Winds, these blow continually in the same course, we shall now steer in the one direction for perhaps three weeks or at least until we pass the Cape of Good Hope, we now see very few fish, scarcely a bird of any kind, the latter may be accounted for by the extreme distance from land. 12 o’clock very hot though I think the breeze more refreshing upon times, still the nights are excessively hot, crowded bedrooms, the apartments occupied by single men alone contain eight beds.

 

We have many of us slept during the past nine days without even our sheets on, as they would be wringing wet before morning, others slept upon various part of the upper decks, exterior clothing of very little use at present, we have what is called [Viri] sails similar to a hop sack but much longer, these extended by means of hoops down which the wind passes in a slanting direction to the middle of the deck or sleeping apartments, this is an excellent invention, so the wind is equal to a winnowing machine at the mouth of it. 9 o’clock most splendid night and speed equally good.

 

Thursday 4th

 

Up at six, splendid morning, floor of our sleeping apartment to be scoured with soap and water before breakfast, also the tables and seats which are kept as white as flour, they are of course fixtures, they slide up and down a small post as the bridge of a cider press does on the screw, they are thus hoisted above our heads when not wanted for use. Our speed continues excellent quite as good as yesterday; but to walk about deck is very difficult like walking upon the side roof of a house. Should the wind continue fair until we pass the Cape of Good Hope we look forward to one of the quickest voyages that was ever made to Adelaide, our progress hitherto since leaving Plymouth has been astonishing.

 

The sailors would prefer a long voyage as during a calm a sailors life is sure pay and nothing to do, my prayer is rather contrary as I am receiving no pay, still I have in a word every thing which nature really requires. 4 o’clock not much to note today nor no fresh sights to describe. 9 o’clock fine starlight night, shall now retire, as I want to rise early to wash.

 

Friday 5th

 

Arose at four o’clock and also one or two of my companions, washed four shirts, four neck chiefs and three pairs of hose by seven o’clock, at which hour all washing instantly ceases even if parties are but just commencing a garment, the lines which are lowered for the emigrants to attach their things to by means of strings are in a moment hoisted by the sailors above reach of any one and when dry are again lowered in the same way. Every person should be very careful in having their things all marked, marking ink being the material as the names should be written in full. 10 o’clock can see a vessel before us, which we appear to be approaching very fast, the only visible part as yet to the naked eye, is her main mast sails.

 

12 o’clock: Captain can mark by the telescope that she is an English vessel outward bound as she hoists the British Flag in answer to ours, we shall soon overtake her. 2 o’clock we are now much pleased with the sight of her so near us, as we have not seen a sail except one our course for weeks. Silence is demanded by the Captain as we now pass her and all is in an instant. Still the other vessel being about half a mile from us. The following questions are then asked by Captain Baker and the corresponding answers returned or nearly so.

 

Are you English? Yes. To what port? Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. From whence do you sail? From Falmouth. To where are you bound? To California. What do you carry out? A general cargo. How many days out from Falmouth? Forty eight. What are you called? The Gipsy.

 

They then asked us similar questions and before her answers are returned we are moving out of hearing, thus the remarkable speed we made is very visible, whilst the Gipsy has been forty eight days from Falmouth, we have come from Plymouth, two hundred miles further, in twenty eight.

 

6 o’clock she is now sure to be ten miles behind us, we shall soon loose sight of her.

 

Saturday 6th

 

Speed as yesterday, full eight miles an hour lost the Gipsy, wish her good journey to California and a golden cargo in exchange for the general provisions and other things most in demand, which she is about to convey to the inhabitants of that golden country. 12 o’clock double supply of provisions issued and every preparation made for the Sabbath tomorrow, this is usual every Saturday. Rather cooler and pleasanter but still too hot to have our meal below. Now preparing for our out door dinner, boiled beef, rice and plum pudding, got a prime appetite never better in health thank God for it, some of the women continue very sick during the whole voyage hitherto: these are many in the coming on way and we shall I think have an increase on board the Stag before we reach Adelaide, it looks very much like it.

 

Sunday 7th

 

A splendid fine morning not much occurred since middle day yesterday except that our speed remained good until this morning, but we are now getting much slower than we have been for some days, little more than 4 miles an hour hardly any wind. 10 o’clock now mustering, inspected by surgeon as to clean apparel etc. Divine service at eleven, beautiful service from the 20 Chapter Exodus and the verse “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”.

 

4 o’clock one mess of eight young men mutually agree to dissolve partnership a portion of them possessing too much Scotch blood in them for the remainder, they being pure bred English, Scotch oatmeal cakes and such like things unnatural to an English appetite, being their favourite luxuries and as these dirty husky ingredients of which these cakes are composed require too much help from the sugar, butter, treacle, etc. The English think they had better balance accounts and dissolve partnership before their books become unsettled. 6 o’clock again better breeze and our speed increased to seven miles an hour. 10 o’clock wind still good.

 

Monday 8th

 

A rainy morning but wind even better than yesterday, eight knots or miles an hour. Captain calculates upon making as quick a voyage to Australia as ever was known to be made from the English shores to that colony. 10 o’clock prayers read every morning at this hour for all those who choose to attend. 2 o’clock wind still excellent should it continue but a few days longer we shall straight on and not be under the necessity of putting in at the Cape of Good Hope, thus we shall save about fourteen days sail, the only reason for putting in at the Cape being a want of water etc. Our voyage has hitherto been so successful it is concluded we shall have a sufficient supply to last the remainder of our journey and as the Cape of Good Hope is supposed to be six hundred miles off their direct course to Adelaide, we shall in all probability not go there at all unless obliged for the reason I have described. The Captain and the officers seem to pride themselves in making a quicker voyage than ever has been made if possible. No birds nor even a fish to be seen at present, nothing but the clouds over us and the sea beneath us. 8 o’clock half an hours walk upon deck, one pipe of tobacco, one pint Adam’s Ale and then to bed.

 

Tuesday 9th

 

Again fine this morning so much the better for our weekly washing, this taking place on Tuesdays and Fridays. The wind continues good, but rather more westward, this would just carry us to the Cape of Africa, if we were thither bound. 12 o’clock and beautiful day but not quite as hot, we have just got sight of land, supposed to be the Island of Trinidad at least twenty miles to the westward of us, it is in the Atlantic Ocean but is contiguous to South America. It is about 20 degrees or 1200 miles from the line of the Equator. Reckoning sixty miles to a degree it will be found upon reference to the map of the world nearly opposite St Helena the last earthly residence of the once famed Napoleon Bonaparte. This island we also passed on Saturday but too far off to be noticed by the naked eye. 4 o’clock Captain issued orders for sailors to be kept a careful look out for their noted and dangerous rock, lying in the ocean near this part and it is a singular thing this that the very sailor who first saw the land just mentioned has also now, 6 o’clock, just caught sight also of the rock and the course we were sailing is so altered as to avoid them, they may be pretty plainly discerned by a steady eye but many on board cannot make them out at all. They appear like small mountains in the midst of the boundless waters but they are a long way from us and indeed from us although they appear different. Speed today averages seven knots an hour, we have it much cooler and pleasanter this week but it is yet too hot to admit our partaking of our meals below and we still sleep without bed clothing.

 

Wednesday 10th

 

A fine dry morning but the wind more blusterous driving us rather to much eastward but we are making excellent speed and consequently reaping no disadvantage from swerving a little out of our direct course. 10 o’clock vessel lying very much aside and the waves each moment dashing over our deck thoroughly soaking many of us to the great amusement of the rest. I am at this moment drooping wet from the effects of an immense wave, a curious thing but the salt water produces no cold and is in itself as warm as new milk. Calculating upon being opposite the Cape in four or five days but it is now pretty certain we shall not go there, within at least five hundred miles. We hope to make better use of our time and shall not want water providing the remainder of our voyage be equal to what we have hitherto had it, we are nearly half way. 2 o’clock a very rough sea many of both men women and children again as sick as ever. The surgeon has just extracted a tooth from a sailor, made him assume a very ugly countenance although he was about as good a looking fellow as any of them. The skilful hand of Mr Thompson however since enabled him to put in his pocket that which had greatly tormented him in his mouth.

 

6 o’clock wind still very blusterous. We have been in sight of the topsails of a large vessel most of the evening, many miles to the eastward of us, we shall soon pass her although she appears to be running the same course, she is a great way from us and we do not expect to see any more of her. 10 o’clock wind and sea unusually rough, we shall have plenty of rocking tonight, no mistake about that.

Thursday 11th

 

The night has turned out just according to expectation, no sleep scarcely, do not like so much rocking if it could be avoided, our cradle is very large and the rockers underneath very strong; I understood we are to expect a continual rough sea now, until we get round the Cape, this will not take us long if our speed continues as good as today nearly eight miles an hour. The Cape is calculated to be thirty four degrees or nearly two thousand seven hundred miles from the line, and the line fifty four degrees or four thousand and ninety eight miles from England, to which add three hundred miles distance down the Channel from Deptford to Plymouth and you will find the total to be something like seven thousand and ninety eight miles. 2 o’clock, wind still blowing very strong, ropes are attached round the deck for us to lay hold of, very difficult walking on deck, near twenty have this day lost their hats or caps blowing over board and in a few moments out of sight, forsaking many no doubt whom they have for some time protected, hope the owner of the drowning caps will find fresh covering and thus prevent many living creatures from being exposed to weather and to view. 4 o’clock a most beautiful evening but many females would much rather the waves did not role quite so high, it is however a splendid sight to all who are well, but very many are again sick or next thing to it, never had better health in my life than I have enjoyed ever since I have been upon the water thank God for it. 6 o’clock: time brings all things to pass, my prophecy is now in some measure fulfilled concerning our family increasing, a man named Davy is at this moment become the father of a noble looking boy, this is the first birth we have had yet but others look all but it; this woman was upon deck after dinner and was only ill about two hours: I say well done Davey; nothing extra at the Christening I doubt. 10 o’clock fine but very rough.

 

Friday 12th

 

Had another up and down night, the old Stag must surely be very thirsty as she plunges her head in the water every moment. Arose early this morning and washed two shirts, stockings, neck chief etc. Capital drying day, obliged to fasten them very firmly to the line or away they go. 12 o’clock single man struck by a fit Epilepsy and fell down the steps from the upper to the lower deck, severely cutting his head and otherwise injuring himself; surgeon instantly in attendance and every assistance rendered to the sufferer in which Mr Thompson afforded us another instance of the kind and sympathising manner in which his duties are continually performed, the young man after continuing insensible for a time was removed to the hospital and the wound carefully dressed, and he seems in a fair way of recovery now. 2 o’clock: Mrs Davey and her offspring who she introduced amongst us yesterday are doing well, wonder who’s turn next. Our speed today is not as good as usual as the wind is not so favourable, we cannot reckon at more than five miles an hour yet but the wind seems rather inclined to veer round a little. 4 o’clock much better speed now equal to seven miles an hour: our extra water namely one pint each, which we have had since we approached the line is now stopped, so as to make sure of enough to last us throughout. 10 o’clock very fine and not so violent.

 

Saturday 13th

 

We have had a much more tranquil night and the wind and sea not so rough this morning, nevertheless our pace remains equally good, as the wind blows from the right quarter and every mile we make is a mile nearer Adelaide, what I mean is that if we were to sail as fast again and go two or three points out of our course we should reap no benefit; thereby our sailing being exactly similar to a horse drawing a load up a steep precipice, he climbs it by a winding progress whereas if he could go perpendicular up, a considerable distance would be saved, so we in an unfavourable wind, are compelled to make our course according to the breeze.

 

12 o’clock a splendid day and much very much cooler, not much comparison to what we had to endure; three weeks ago, it has become gradually colder ever since we crossed the line just in the same way as it became hotter previous to our approaching it. The nights and mornings are now cool and many from neglect in putting on such clothes as are necessary during the day have taken violent colds, I am among the number and am severely suffering from a most violent cold, my limbs are acutely painful and I am so hoarse as to be unable to make myself understood, but what vexes me most is a throat so sore as to prevent me partaking of my substantial good, have applied to surgeon and am receiving every assistance from him, hope to be better tomorrow. 8 o’clock shall now retire to bed, feel very unwell, I was never worse from a cold that I recollect.

 

10 o’clock a young man has just given me some liquorice, from which I receive much benefit, I would strongly recommend and one coming out not to be without it, it is very useful many are glad to buy it at good profit to the parties bringing it out.

 

Sunday 14th

 

8 o’clock. Very unwell this morning and many others the same from the same cause, namely not taking proper care of ourselves, perfectly our own faults. Surgeon very busy afraid of fever resulting from such severe colds, never had such one in England. 10 o’clock already for our usual Sunday morning muster. We have the pleasure of hailing another large English vessel, bearing down towards her, that is we are fast approaching her and shall speak to her very shortly. Divine Service postponed until we do so.

11 o’clock, signal having been hoisted, the flags fluttering in the breeze we have now a most beautiful view of her as the sea is comparatively smooth, it admits of our coming almost alongside her and upon her stern we see the words, “Prince of Orange” so her name is not asked, but Captain Baker in a thunder like voice demands silence upon deck where I should think everyone is stationed. Questions are then put similar to those asked the Gipsy as stated on the 5th inst very distinct. To where do you belong? To Liverpool. To wither are you bound? To Bombay. How many days from Liverpool? Fifty two. Our Captain then makes the following request. Will you be kind enough to report me upon your arrival at Bombay? I am the Stag from London, thirty seven days from Deptford, bound to Adelaide, South Australia. The request is then repeated. Please to report me “All Well” when you arrive and I wish you a safe voyage. Their Captain then waves his hand showing his willingness to comply with the request. He is then told of our speaking to the Gipsy on the 5th inst and then we gradually lose sight of each other, as we sail in different direction. Service now commences terminating with a very interesting sermon from the 13 Chapter Matthew and the 39th verse: “The harvest is the end of the world”. My cold is very bad indeed I am still quite horse, throat very sore and limbs painful, we have an excellent dinner, vexed I cannot eat much, our speed pretty good and has been since yesterday, say six miles an hour in the right course. 6 o’clock, we are hailing another vessel but I am so unwell I cannot remain on deck, I shall hear the result and will please God give it tomorrow.

 

Monday 13th

 

Thank God, much better this morning as I am in no pain however hoarseness very unpleasant. I understand the vessel I was compelled to take my leave of last night was not spoken to but by telegraph as she was not near enough, she was by that means ascertained to be the Bride bound from London to Calcutta in the East Indies and not far from Bombay, we have never met any vessel homeward bound to England, more than one hundred have got letters ready, I am one amongst the number, should be much pleased with the opportunity of sending a short sketch of our passage hitherto. 10 o’clock we have a better wind this morning than we have had the whole of our journey, we are driving at the rate of ten miles an hour, all say it is truly wonderful. Captain Baker being advanced in years, and having had his share in traversing the boundless ocean, he intends this to be his last and it truly bids fair to be recorded as the most expeditious ever made from England. The Captain it is supposed has been fortunate enough to accumulate a pretty income which will enable him to live in splendour with his respected lady, now residing in Gravesend; we wish him every blessing, for a nicer man cannot exist, indeed to the unceasing kindness of him and our highly esteemed surgeon we are indebted for many favours which we could not otherwise enjoy. 6 o’clock we have had very much rain during the day but our speed remains much the same we shall soon be round the Cape, we are certain to have it full five hundred miles to the eastward and we are now calculating upon another five weeks bringing us to Port Adelaide. 8 o’clock rather unwell, violent coughing having produced a very violent headache, shall now retire to bed hoping to be better in the morning.

 

Tuesday 16th

 

Another stormy morning, but our speed is still excellent, it is I believe quite customary to meet with rainy weather around the Cape. We now have many feathered companions sporting around our vessel some of different species to any we have yet seen, they are called the Cape Pigeon and are only to be found in this part of the ocean, they are very similar in appearance to a large blue Pigeon, but with a much longer neck, they seem fond of our company as they only extend a short distance from us beyond which none are to be seen, they fly close to the water, some times apparently buried in the waves, but are missing altogether when the sea becomes rough. I am very unwell again to day never had such a cough in my life, this is naturally accompanied by headache and my old unpleasant bleeding of the nose. Many more are suffering from colds, this is occasioned by a sudden change in the climate; our unprecedented quick voyage from the extreme heat we experienced in passing the line to the present Autumnal weather, caused us to pay too little attention even to our taking proper care of ourselves, the nights and the mornings are now cool but not cold, only as compared to what we have endured, and only requires our usual clothing to make us comfortable, as regards the weather; as we could wish. 6 o’clock had a can of tea and again feel better, our cooking utensils are all made of block tin, which we are bound to keep particularly clean. 8 o’clock, rather rough cold night, shall now however go to bed, many still on deck.

 

Wednesday 17th

 

Had a desperate restless night could not sleep any for incessant coughing, did hope I was recovering last night when I went to bed but am very unwell this morning, never had a cold which produced so much tightness in the chest. 8 o’clock attended in Surgery recommended to clothe myself up warmer and to spend as much of my time up on deck as possible, even if it is cold so it is dry, had some medicine and ordered to keep myself quiet as possible. Laughable indeed this quiet on board ship where is nothing but a noise and confusion, some singing and youngsters squalling, sailors hollowing, well enough when in health but a bad place during illness, hope and trust I shall soon be again restored to my usual good health. 4 o’clock, Surgeon called me to the Hospital gave me a very small powder of three colours, white, green and brown, to be taken just before drinking tea, having first eaten three table spoonful of treacle, then to go to bed immediately with full supply of bed clothing etc. This is for a sweating operation I expect, no necessity for this three weeks ago; will gladly endure a wringing wet shirt to get free from this distressing cough; our feathered companions still surround us, strange where they roost we are so far from land, they must of course take their rest upon the water, although we never see them ever alight upon the waves, they make no noise themselves, nor no noise seems to alarm them at all. 7 o’clock have complied with Surgeons orders hitherto having taken my medicine as directed and now to bed for a better night I hope.

 

Thursday 18th

 

Not any better this morning, nothing but continual coughing during the night, Surgeon very kind to me and also my single companions anything they have in their possessions I can have but my appetite is very bad. 8 o’clock my cough is rather subsided, Surgeon has been with me and given me two pills ordering me to remain in bed a few hours. 12 o’clock, arose a little refreshed having had a little sleep; the morning has I understand been very fine and continues so still, but our speed is now so good as we have less wind, we are now making six miles an hour. 2 o’clock sent to Surgery and took two more pills. Surgeon asking me many questions and again recommending me to keep myself quiet. We now hail another large vessel in the extreme distance and shall only be able to ascertain by signals, to what she belongs and to where she is bound. 4 o’clock it is with difficulty found out that she is the Duchess of Northumberland from Liverpool, bound with emigrants to Port Natal, Africa, we are sure to be twenty miles from her and all we can see is the frequent hoisting and changing of our own colours showing us that a telegraphic communication is going on; their signals are only discernible by a telescope of an extraordinary magnifying power in the possession of the Captain. 8 o’clock a beautiful fine night but shall now retire to bed. 9 o’clock visited again by surgeon and another powder to be taken, a small quantity of vinegar and sugar to be taken occasionally during the night if cough should continue violent, ordered to lick the powder out of the paper, a new move this but Surgeon stands by until his patient takes their medicine.

 

Friday 19th

 

Happy to be able to state myself a great deal better this morning, have had more rest since midnight than for many nights previous, hope to continue recovering have had a severe scourging this last week, but sincerely trust that another will restore me to my usual health and that I shall be enabled as usual to partake of such things as are supplied to us from the bountiful stores of the Stag. We are very slow in our movements today not a sail moves and the water is completely still, our pace since day break cannot any way be reckoned at any more than two miles an hour, this is next thing to a complete calm and luckily very unusual to us. 12 o’clock now likely for rain, the general ending of a calm is rain after which we mostly get a much better breeze. 6 o’clock the day light is at an end with us very soon after this hour, we have had a most beautiful evening, as the rain went off more favourably than we expected, the wind is a little brisker and we are again making from five to six miles an hour.

 

8 o’clock very fine night should prefer remaining upon deck much longer but as I am recommended by Surgeon not to remain in the night air on any account, must now retire hoping for better health.

 

Saturday 20th

 

Our speed has been tolerably good the whole of last night and remains so this morning, say seven miles an hour. Some unpleasant information has reached the Surgeon concerning several robberies that have been committed, one married man having had his pockets ransacked and his purse and one sovereign with some silver taken, others have at different times lost various articles, such as handkerchiefs, tobacco, soap, etc. A notice is now posted in the most conspicuous part of the deck stating that if any more complaints are made all our bags, boxes, etc. will be searched. This would cause a pretty confusion and occupy a long time and I do hope and trust that a repetition of those disgraceful actions will prevent the necessity of such a tedious examination taking place. We are now I believe round the Cape, a good wind will soon waft us to the wished for Australia. The sight of land will be gladly hailed by all on board, although we have not the slightest thing to complain of as regard provisions or anything. The voyage to those that are well is by no means unpleasant but I must presume to say but in illness there are not those indulgences that may be met with by the fireside of a comfortable English home, that quiet retirement so truly valuable to the sick cannot be procured, it is in vain to demand or entreat for silence and you cannot either by day or night enjoy one moment solitude. 6 o’clock our speed remains the same as this morning, a double supply of provisions have been received to day and every preparation is made for tomorrow, being the Sabbath day. I must now go down below the air after this hour being naturally wet and cold. I am still far from well.

 

Sunday 21st

 

8 o’clock I have had a very restless and distressing night, never slept half an hour at any one time, the most violent cough I ever remember to have experienced in my life, this frequently causes my nose to bleed most profusely and I am in short altogether unwell. The Surgeon is very kind to me and so are all with whom I have my acquaintance. I did hope on Friday that I was recovering but today I cannot say so. We have some new companions of the feathered race today which amuses us very much, they are immensely large, much larger than any we have yet seen and are of two different species the one the “Cape Hen” is very similar in appearance when flying to a large Black Muscovy Duck but the wings are much longer and never appear to be in motion when flying, they are very imprudent and daring even approaching almost within our reach. They pick up almost every kind of food dropped by the emigrants from the deck, this kind are frequently caught by a hook baited with a piece of meat and attached to the end of a line. Many are looking forward to trying some of them tomorrow. The other species are fewer in number and equally daring in their manner of approach and consequently easily taken, these are the “Albatross”, they appear larger in size than any English Goose and are of a blue and white colour, they are handsomer than the “Cape Hen” with whom they do not associate. 4 o’clock the wind is now again much quieter and likely for a calm, we have made but slow progress since yesterday not more than four miles an hour. 8 o’clock a very delightful night not a lot of wind is stirring, this is a remarkable thing to us, we have not been becalmed but two hours since we left Plymouth as noted upon Good Friday.

 

Monday 22nd

 

Fine morning and more wind but we cannot boast of more than five miles an hour, the game I mentioned yesterday are still very numerous and imprudent and several are eagerly trying to persuade them to swallow the hook, the sailors have several times but the emigrants are short of string, would willingly buy but none to be sold at this shop. 12 o’clock a much better wind and our speed increased to seven miles an hour, no birds caught as yet they seem more wary and cautious than I expected them, they watch the bait with a very scrutinising eye and when they see the string its no go, but they will continue opposite the bait with great curiosity. 6 o’clock we have now again splendid sailing the Old Stag again goes in gallant style and we sincerely trust she will soon reach the Port Adelaide in safety.

 

8 o’clock I feel very unwell again and must go to bed again the night air is damp and cold and injurious to any one suffering from complaints of the chest etc.

 

Tuesday 23rd

 

A nice dry morning and the speed equally good. I am very unwell this morning and am almost afraid I shall be a long time before I shall recover my usual health and strength, my appetite has failed me and I am very weak. I am hourly taking very powerful medicine and must discontinue writing if I do not get better shortly. I am not able to go upon deck myself much, but am happy to learn all I can from inquiry. 12 o’clock the emigrants particularly the young men are much gratified by being presented by the Surgeon and clergyman with sufficient quantity of knitting twine to make from twenty to thirty lines for the express purpose of catching the “Albatross”. We are informed that they are very good and very numerous as we get nearer Adelaide. The Cape Hens will not I suppose follow us much further, or they will be coming much further than usual out of their locality. 8 o’clock prime speed, many have been very busy all day long platting their lines, some three some four double, they are to be inspected by the Givers of the Twine who will then supply the parties with hooks.

 

Wednesday 24th

 

A rainy morning and wind blusterous but we are making immense speed full ten miles an hour on average.

 

I must not continue on deck today as I am requested to keep warmly clothed and to take great care of myself. Surgeon hints something about applying large blister to my chest if I am not better tomorrow but this I hope to God I shall not require.

 

12 o’clock sea very rough and not one of our feathered companions are to be seen, they will we are informed return with a milder sea and more settled weather, the lines are however in a state of completion awaiting for them, I am informed that it is highly probable I shall have to record another death very shortly, a woman lying on the brink of death in the Hospital, she is about fifty three years of age and her husband about the same age, this made them ineligible for a free passage, but as they have a family of two sons and two daughters they were desirous to accompany them and accordingly paid their own passage and all came on board at Deptford, their children if such they may be called are all quite able to procure their own livelihood. 6 o’clock ordered to go to bed early I am sorry to say I am to apply the blister to my chest at 10 o’clock and to remain on until 6 tomorrow morning. A nice companion this on board ship but I must submit to anything to restore me to my usual health.

 

Thursday 25th

 

7 o’clock visited by Surgeon and blister removed by him with great tenderness, it seems tremendous and I feel much relieved but the soreness is beyond expression. I have plasters to apply as dressing it, plant leaves are scarce with us, although it would be hardly credited we have cabbages of the ox kind, these were brought from England and the inner part of them appears as fresh as when first cut, they are only used for making soup for the Captain etc. in the cabins, our speed continues as yesterday.

The poor woman whom I mentioned yesterday is no more, her suffering terminated about half past ten last night, she died perfectly resigned to the will of her maker in whom she had many years faithfully confided and having we believe devoted a great portion of her life to the service of God we sincerely trust that she in the hour of death was in perfect enjoyment of that peace, which the world can neither give nor take away, and our hope is that her immortal soul is gone to that rest prepared for all such as love and fear God. The body was prepared for committal to the waves by being enwrapped in canvass and iron weights enclosed in order that it may immediately sink. It was then brought on deck there to remain until eight o’clock when the Funeral Service was read by Minister and Surgeon and the poor perishable body instantly disappeared. We trust the soul is forever happy.

 

12 o’clock it will be understood that I shall not witness this funeral ceremony myself as I am still very unwell and quite confined to my bed to day, but I write the remarks of this and the following two or three days from information received after I am a little recovered, rather than have a blank page in my book or to miss one days information. 6 o’clock the sea is I am told excessively rough this day; I can perceive the rocking of the vessel but would much rather she was a little quieter in her motions. They do not suit invalids, but have one consolation: our speed is extraordinarily good, we are averaging ten knots (or miles) per hour.

 

Friday 26th

 

I feel rather better this morning, but I am very weak having already taken great quantity of medicine, did my medical attendant charge as they do in England my bill would be considerable. We have however in Mr Thompson a kind and sympathising physician from whom we receive an abundant supply of medical comforts when requisite and his whole pride and ambition appear to be to land us all in Adelaide in perfect health if possible. 10 o’clock our speed is today very good but we cannot expect it like yesterday: pace today is about ten knots an hour, then if it will continue will soon shorten our journey. All empty water casks are now ordered to be filled with salt water as the provisions and fresh water are consumed, of course, reduce the weight of the vessel and she in proportion becomes light and will not stand against a rough sea so well as when she is totally laden. So these casks are filled up by means of the pump and canvass pipes and the weight thus produced answers for ballast. 6 o’clock our speed still continues good, I now feel a little better but I want a renewed appetite, my chest is very troublesome from the effects of the blister: hope to be able to get up tomorrow.

 

Saturday 27th

 

8 o’clock understand it is a very fine morning but we are proceeding but slowly the vessel is apparently motionless so far as I can judge from my situation. I thank God I again feel better and I intend getting up after breakfast. I am told bird fishing has commenced in earnest, they are very numerous this morning and approach boldly to the side of the Stag, the lines amounting to thirty or forty are all platted and we may I suppose fairly expect a much closer view before long of these immense birds.

 

10 o’clock I am now arose and upon deck I feel much better, not a wave is stirring and we may say we have all but a complete calm, this is a splendid opportunity for bird catching and one is now taken, a sailor boy named Sell is the first lucky owner of it, it is a most beautiful “Albatross” but the rushing and crowding to get a sight prevented me of getting it until this had subsided a little. I have now had a good sight of it and it is the largest and handsomest bird I ever saw, it is now skinned and will carefully be preserved by the Surgeon, it weighs about three stone and measures from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other, when extended fully, ten feet six inches. They are something like a swan in size but the wings and feathers over the tail are dark coloured, the bill is about eight or ten inches in length, the legs are short in proportion to their enormous size, and they are of course web footed. 2 o’clock two more birds are caught of the same species and similar in size, many are begging even for a foot or feather to keep in remembrance of this part of our voyage. The skin of the feet are made into purses and even the skulls are carefully cleaned and preserved. 6 o’clock two more have been caught, one other by the lucky little “Sell” making altogether five of these enormous birds. I have had a wing given me by “Sell” which is a great curiosity. I should much like to send it back to England, the flesh is prepared for cooking by many emigrants and I will give an account how they like it as soon as I can ascertain the satisfactory information.

 

Sunday 28th

 

A rainy morning no going upon deck for me to day for the air is too cold, our speed is much about the same as yesterday. I am much better but very weak and must take great care to avoid catching cold again. We have a good dinner in cooking for today of preserved meat, preserved potatoes and prime plum pudding, made from flour of the best quality and a sufficient quantity Butchers and Grocers plums and thank God my appetite tells me I can do a little by way of assisting my fellow messmates in consuming it, they have had my share this last week but they need not thank me for it. This however I do think from what I have seen of their conduct towards me during my illness that they would rather have seen me able to have eaten my share. 6 o’clock speed very good quite equal to ten miles an hour but the wind pushes us a little out of our course to day, we should like it a little more astern or behind us. The weather is cold and rough today, I must not venture much upon deck and many of those who are well are now fonder of creeping below. 7 o’clock Divine service in the married peoples apartment. Too rough and cold to hold it as usual upon deck, the lessons are read in general by the Surgeon, and this evening we had a most impressive and interesting discourse taken from the 15th Chapter of the Gospel According to St Luke and the former part of the 24th verse: “For this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found”. 9 o’clock wind still very blusterous must now retire for the night.

 

Monday 29th

 

Still continuing a little better but I must confess that there are many things which my appetite could [accord] with but which cannot be procured even for money on board the Stag, many nourishment which when lying on a bed of sickness are much needed but which all intending emigrants must make up their minds to do without. Thank God I now look forward with a hope that with care I shall soon recover, but I am well aware that the greatest care is requisite. We have another very unfavourable day for any invalids, of whom there are many on board, and any one so suffering will be sure to reap serious consequences from remaining upon deck as it now rains heavily and accompanied by very cold wind but we make better progress as the wind is in the right quarter for us and every hour sees us at least ten miles nearer Port Adelaide.

 

2 o’clock the Butcher is now killing a splendid pork, these pigs were brought on board at Gravesend and have done very well except one which was thrown overboard having wasted to a complete skeleton. They are principally fed upon the offal, broken biscuits and Barley meal, all the living animals on board and also the poultry are used in the cabin where I should like to spend the time for the remainder of the voyage, but no ticket of admittance to be had I suppose so never mind. No salt food given to the pigs or poultry on any account or salt water as such things cause them to die a natural death. 4 o’clock still unpleasant upon deck but going at a fine rate the Old Stag needs no refreshment and prefers travelling in windy weather seldom stopping to rest. 7 o’clock a very rainy night is almost certain, sailors are all prepared for it with oilcase dress and [c] and it has now commenced in earnest. 8 o’clock tremendous rough sea, wind and hard rain.

 

Tuesday 30th

 

A few more fleeting hours and the month of April will have passed away; to the English farmer a pleasant season of the year now presents itself, the usual showers of Spring aided by general warmth of the suns enlivening rays, now again bid winter to give place and all animated nature seems reviving, not so however with us, we see no sign of vegetation, no plant or field of any kind attracts our attention, and we feel the weather quite the reverse to what we know it to be in our respective countries, but whilst you our countrymen and kinsfolk may boast of a warmer sun, we know a short time since the reverse was the case for whilst you were pierced with bitter March winds we were enjoying the most delightful weather imaginable, and we sincerely hope we are speedily making our way to a country where our expectations may be fully realised with regard to salubriety of climate etc. 10 o’clock this morning is just as the night has been, rough in the extreme, the Stag reels to and fro with great violence and the waves roll terribly, no pleasure upon deck this is the most continual rocking day we have yet experienced, my writing desk is very troublesome in general but worse today than usual, cannot make single letter properly, hate the look of such scribbling. I am better in my health but should much like even an hours peace and quietness beside a comfortable English fireplace. We see no feathered game of any kind today, nor never do when the sea is so rough, singular thing where they go to. I do not hear much boasting of the good quality of the flesh of the birds caught on Saturday, but the general opinion is that they have rather a strong fishable taste, the stomach when opened contained a great quantity of broken meat, biscuit, etc that had been thrown from the ships sides. 6 o’clock still very rough and tossing us up and down in all directions, very unpleasant but we must submit we have just had our teas, but the things are dashed from our tables if we loose them, in fact everything seems in confusion, our progress is however full seven knots (or miles) an hour, and this certainly encourages us with the hope that our long journey is every day drawing nearer to a close. 8 o’clock weather just the same. I begin to expect no sleep to be had tonight, by the present appearance.

 

Wednesday 1st May

 

Memory this morning reminds me of my native town of Ludlow and the frequent scenes of mirth and fun I have witnessed upon this Annual Fair day, years must roll away ere I shall again see a return of those amusements or recreation in one of the handsomest towns of Old England, may they with my kind and affectionate father and esteemed relatives and friends see many happy returns of this day in health and prosperity. 12 o’clock the wind is now more steady and we are now likely to have a fine evening, some even propose dancing upon deck but this will not do for me, although am now thank God much better. I sincerely hope we shall reach Adelaide before this month passes away, this we fully expect all being well, our progress today is quite equal to what we call our average, namely what we reckon seven knots an hour. 4 o’clock a beautiful fine evening methinks. I can see the streets of Ludlow, lined with its hundreds of all sorts and sizes, many of whose faces where once so familiar with me and in whose society I have spent many happy hours.

6 o’clock still continuing fine very different to yesterday. It is now dark with us and we can plainly perceive the days shorten very considerably. Our summer this time was very short but quite as hot as we could wish for, it is supposed that the difference in the time between here and in England is about nine hours and ten minutes, or in other words that a well regulated watch would vary about ten minutes each day since we left Plymouth so that reckoning for fifty five days I find this calculation will just correspond; of course this would not apply to every vessel but must depend entirely upon the rate of sailing. 8 o’clock a fine night many upon deck but cannot yet stand too much night air myself.

 

Thursday

 

My thoughts again wander to my native country this morning and in memories glass I can distinctly see the busy state of the town and neighbourhood of Leominster being the Fair Day, twelve months since and I joined in the busy throng, I can now upon the billows of the ocean and swiftly wafted towards a foreign shore, and before another year glides away; no one knows how many more unexpected changes may take place. Should this however reach you let it contain this one assurance that the writer so long as he lives at all, lives to respect his native country and is fully determined that by him all “Auld Acquaintance” shall never be forgotten. 10 o’clock we have a delightful morning and I feel very much better, a nice mutton chop, a beef steak or any such thing would not be much amiss, a mug of good ale also I should not refuse I think but no nonsense all this is vanity and vexation of appetite. 4 o’clock our speed today not quite so good as yesterday, cannot it every day, put it at five knots an hour for the average of today. 8 o’clock very fine but our speed not much better.

 

Friday 3rd

 

A delightful morning but our rate of sailing is not much increased, we have this morning multitudes of birds again, and am much pleased with the appearance of a new species called Cape Pigeon and they very much resemble pigeons they fly and alight upon waves in droves of perhaps fifty or sixty, they are handsomely spotted with black and white and are all alike in colour, they are easily taken, but are sometimes captured by lines with small fish hooks attached. They are undoubtedly a great curiosity when closely observed, some are trying for a taste of the “Albatross” today but the sea is we expect too rough, as it requires almost a calm to be favourable for this amusement so the less we have of it the better for our journey. 12 o’clock bird fishing is on the increase and some even have the hook in their mouths, but have by some means or other escaped. 2 o’clock one of the Cape Pigeons is taken by a boy who is much pleased with his success, it is truly very handsomely marked and so nearly resembles the English Pigeon that were it not for it being web footed no person would discern any difference, cut off the feet and you have a pigeon in every respect. 6 o’clock our speed some little increased but we cannot venture to put the average more than yesterday, namely 5 miles an hour: the Old Stag wants to hear the noise of the hounds again I think.

 

Our surgeon is very particular in driving all upon deck during the day this fine weather, and also having all the beds etc taken in the fresh air. 8 o’clock rather better breeze tonight and our speed is increased to seven knots an hour it seems as though this was to be the average rate of sailing during the whole of the voyage.

 

Saturday 4th

 

Thank God I feel much better than I have done for many days still I think I shall not be able to fully recover my strength before I land in Australia. Strength when once lost is not easily regained on board ship, nor is the variety of diet quite equal to an invalid’s appetite. I have still a very troublesome cough upon times for which the Surgeon still kindly supplies me with medicine. We have a beautiful morning and our pace is still from six to seven miles an hour, this is ascertain by heaving the log every three hours, this is as usual a busy day in the way of cleaning our houses up, the bed places, tables, seats and floors of our deck and in receiving a double supply of provisions etc for tomorrow, so that nothing may be done on the Sabbath Day that can profitably be avoided. Our feathered companions are still surrounding us, but are too wary for those who are still trying to capture them. I am almost at a loss for information to write about today, the change in the scenery etc is now described in very few words, one thing is however very remarkable, which is that although so closely confined together the emigrants who came on board at Deptford, appear to form no acquaintance with those who came on board at Plymouth, in fact so distant are each party in conversation etc that they scarcely know each others names. I for instance know the name of every one I believe who entered the Stag at Deptford, while I do not suppose I know above ten or twelve of our Plymouth companions in all. 6 o’clock still very fine and has been the whole day, spent most of the time upon deck, have just got sight of a large vessel but she is very far from us, we shall not be able to ascertain anything about her as the night is setting in.

 

Sunday 5th

 

A beautiful fine morning but the air is rather cold. A vessel is still in sight and is the same we expect we saw last night, but she is supposed to be at least sixteen or eighteen to