Diary on Board the Blanche Moore by William Benjamin Goodman
10th March – 12th June 1855
Saturday 10th March 1855
Breakfasted, where I had slept, at the George Hotel Liverpool, first having called in a Cab on the Agent of the Prayer Book and Homily Society in Renshaw St. where I found a large parcel for me with a long letter from the Secretary. Estill called during breakfast with my Contract-ticket. Took my luggage in a Cab to the Seacombe Slip at ten, and left it there in charge until the Steam-tender went alongside for the last time at 11, the Blanche Moore being then towed down the River by two Steam-tugs, and nearly opposite St. George’s Pier when we got on board. Charles Buck came on board with me sent ashore by him a letter for home when he returned in the Tender.[i] The last Steamer left us early in the afternoon, the wind being fair. At lunch a service of plate (silver coffee pot, tea pot and etceteras) was presented in the name of James Baines & Co. to one of the passengers Mr. Bonney of Hobart Town, Tasmania, who had come over to England to select and send out Emigrants, representing as he has since told me the local Government and two societies in Tasmania. The afternoon was fair and pleasant, although snowing when we came on board. I noticed the peculiar beauty and regularity of the snow-crystals as they lay on the sleeve of my rough coat, this being the most common form. At three we had a very fair dinner, with a dessert of nuts and raisins in the After-Saloon, and tea with preserves &c. at seven. The Blanche Moore (Captain Evans) is a noble Vessel, one of the Black Ball Line, belonging to Chas. Moore & Co. of Liverpool and chartered by James Baines & Co. She was built by McKay of Boston U.S.A. this being her first voyage except that from Boston to Liverpool. The Saloons are splendidly fitted up, being panelled with rosewood mahogany satin wood richly gilt and painted, but the Cabins of which there is a double tier round each Saloon are small, not being more than about six feet each in any direction, with double berths. Above the Saloons and 1st Class Cabins is a roomy Poop-Deck about 70ft long, which affords a pleasant promenade in fair weather, and at the end of which is erected the Wheel-house in which the Steersman is stationed. My fellow Passengers in the Chief Cabin are 31 in number, of whom three are children, the number of Deck-passengers is 378 and of the Ship’s company 75, making a total of 484. My Cabin-fellow, for my hopes of having a Cabin to myself have been disappointed, is a young Irishman, a Roman Catholic, named Dillon. Stateroom No. 1 is occupied by three lady like girls, the Misses Bews. Mr Ormberg a gentlemanly man going to Adelaide with his Wife, who is sister to Mrs Morgan wife of the late Town Clerk of Birmingham, and his two little girls and a servant, occupies 2 & 5. Mr Gilchrist in No. 4 is a sailor like, open hearted young fellow, about twenty, who was born in India and is now about to try his fortune in mercantile speculations at Melbourne. He may be seen leaning against the Wheel-house in the sketch on the opposite page. Mr W. Clay commercial traveller, a Pickwick like looking old gentleman, has his habitations in No. 6. Mrs Knowles in No. 7 is a Scotch lady who has some acquaintances at Birmingham and thinks that she has seen me there. The worst case of seasickness has been that of Miss Addey, a young Irish girl, in No. 3. Mrs Stephens, my neighbour in No. 13, and her little girl have kept up remarkably well. The Captain is a very civil obliging man, and so also is the Doctor, a middle-aged Scotchman, formerly House Surgeon at the Leith Infirmary. On making inquiry after my luggage I was disappointed to find that the whole whether marked “wanted” or “not wanted on the Voyage” had been towed away indiscriminately in the hold, and that nothing could be done in the way of getting at it until the first confusion was over. Indeed I was glad, amid all the hurry and bustle, to have got safely into my Cabin the personal luggage which I had brought with me from Birmingham together with the Microscope and other parcels and letters which I found waiting for me at Liverpool. In the evening, the sea being smooth, it occurred to me to bring out the Microscope, so after having the outer box opened by the Ship’s Carpenter, I placed the instrument on the table in the After-Saloon, where it soon became an object of attraction to those of my fellow-passengers who had not already retired to their berths. A little manipulation with the help of a small hand-lamp belonging to the Ship, sufficed to bring the objects into view. One in particular, the Australian gold-dust, naturally excited considerable interest, and Mr Bonney produced from his Cabin two or three little nuggets, and asked my acceptance of one of them, small in size but of great purity and beauty. Viewed through the Microscope it presents the appearance of a mountain of gold, although it is not of course possible to bring the whole of it at one time, into focus. At midnight I was awoken from a nap on the comfortable sofa at the end of the Saloon by the voice of the watch on deck, and on going up found that we were off Holyhead, the revolving light of which was distinctly visible.
Sunday 11th March
Woke about eight to find the sun shining cheerfully through the closed port-hole. Rose and came on desk where it was whispered among the passengers that the Ship had struck, about two A.M., on the Kish Bank (This report appears to have been without foundation.) The shock must indeed have been slight as I did not hear that anyone was awakened by it, but no doubt the circumstances must have made the Captain feel anxious. Asked the Captain after breakfast about having Service on board, when he said that he should be unable to attend and referred me to the Doctor. The Doctor expressed every willingness but said that he himself was a Presbyterian, if however I would point out the requisite parts of the Prayer-book he would be “verra weeling” to read the Service. It was then suggested that some one among the passengers would undertake the duty, and two or three were asked to do so, but all declining it was at last referred to myself. The Ship’s bell was rung for a few minutes at eleven, and I was glad to find that nearly the whole of the Cabin passengers attended in the Dining Saloon. The table which I had furnished with twenty Prayer-books out of the parcel, being well filled on either side. I sat on a camp-stool at the head of the table and read the whole morning service except the Litany, and in default of any acceptable Book of Sermons, added a brief Homily (that on Faith) from among those in the parcel of Prayer-books. Remembering also George’s success in his first service on the Cotfield I gave out the 100th Psalm which was very nicely sung from from the Psalms at the end of the Prayer-books, and at the end of the prayers the Morning Hymn was proposed by one of the passengers which was also sung very fairly.[ii] The responses throughout were well given and altogether I enjoyed the service exceedingly and was very glad to have had so nice an opportunity of social worship. The whole lasted very little more than an hour. The 2nd and 3rd Cabin passengers were in the meanwhile holding a kind of service among themselves, consisting chiefly, as it appeared, of singing. Some among them, I have since learned, would have been glad of a service between decks but in the afternoon it had become too rough to think of attempting it. About one P.M. two of the passengers, noticing that the water in the wake of the Vessel had become very muddy as if she were ploughing her way through a sand bank, reported the circumstance to the Captain who immediately ordered the Steers-man to turn the Ship’s head, but before this could be done she became fast and remained so for half or three-quarters of an hour before she could be backed off. This was on the Kish Bank of the Irish Coast. The rest of the day passed off rather drearily. The Cabins were scenes of sickness and misery and the deck passengers were wretched indeed. I ventured below among them two or three times, but not having been able to get at the Society’s supply of Tracts, could only distribute among the children and others a few of Groom’s little Books from my Carpet-bag. I was glad to see several among them reading tracts (I noticed one of Ryle’s) and with Bibles and Hymn-books in their hands, and I did not observe any cards or newspapers. For myself I felt that my only chance of freedom from sickness was keeping in motion on deck, and I did not even attack the excellent dinner which was provided at three o’clock, but fasted until tea time when a cup of tea and a hard biscuit sufficed.
Monday 12th March
At 10.30 we again sighted Bray Head near Wicklow, having been drawn sadly out of our course during the afternoon and night of Sunday. The weather was fine but the sea very rough. Thermo 47º. About 1 P.M. we overtook and passed the West Point an American Vessel which left Liverpool the same day with ourselves. At 2 PM. sighted Carnsore Point: at 2.45 a squall came on with heavy rain, and all the afternoon and evening the weather was very rough. I am glad however to say that I suffered very little from sickness: the first mouthful of tea on Sunday evening brought on a slight attack, but with this exception I have been exceedingly well throughout, although unable hitherto to do anything in the way of reading or writing.
Tuesday 13th March
On deck both before and after breakfast; interested in finding that one of my fellow passengers, Mr Harte, son of an Irish Clergyman, who is returning to Melbourne after only six weeks’ stay in England, knew George by sight through living himself three miles from Melbourne in a different direction from Heidelberg: he spoke highly of the Bishop and Dean and the Clergy generally. Went below with one of the deck-passengers a Christian-minded young man named Henderson, to whom I had mentioned my wish to form a Class among the children, on a journey of investigation, and fixed upon the most eligible spot for our class at a table at the far end of the between decks, nearly underneath one of the ventilators and tolerably secure from interruption, where we determined to make a commencement at ten the following morning. Spoke to several children and their parents, and took the names of seven who gladly promised to attend. Occupied on Journal in the afternoon: on deck after sunset watching the phosphorescence in the wake of the Ship. Mr Young remarks in his Journal that this luminous appearance of the sea is attributed to various causes such as the putrefaction of animal substances, and the oily and greasy substances with which the sea is impregnated. The most common cause, however, appears to be the presence of innumerable animolelcule of a soft and jelly-like substance, or by the spawn of fish. Mr Dangelet mentions that, perceiving the sea in the road of the Cape of Good Hope remarkably luminous during calms and observing that the oars of the boat presented a whitish and pearl-like lustre, he took in his hand some of the water and discovered in it for some minutes globules of light as large as the head of a pin which on being pressed appeared to the touch like a soft and thin pulp. Some days the sea was covered with immense shoals of small fish in innumerable multitudes.
Wednesday 14th March
Went below at ten o’clock and found Henderson with a Class of six or eight ready for me. Read with them Gen. I. and II. when the Purser coming to our table to rearrange the messes the assembly dispersed. Borrowed a Chart from Mr Overbury and began to sketch a map of our route. Went below about two and took a Class of two boys under the steps leading to the 2nd Class Cabin, they sitting on boxes and I on a camp stool. Enjoyed a pleasant walk upon deck until dinner with Mr Overbury and his little daughter Margaret a sweet little child of seven thoughtful and intelligent beyond her years. Her Mamma told me that about a month ago she said “When God gives us anything we ought to be thankful and when he takes it away we ought to be content.” A younger girl Mary is a pretty little thing of three or four. They call their Mamma “Mother”, a word which sounds prettily from them. After dinner the ladies kindly covered some of Ryle’s Tracts offered to me by my neighbour Montague Stanley, an Edinburgh youth about 21, son of a deceased artist who is going up the country about 80 miles from Melbourne as overseer of a sheep farm there. In the evening Mr Aspinwall read aloud some pieces from Tupper’s Provincial Philosophy while the ladies worked and the gentlemen wrote or played at draughts or chess, an hour or two thus passing very pleasantly. Today one of the passengers below was seized with delirium tremens from hard drinking previous to coming on board coupled with his present forced abstinence. During his ravings he offered his breakfast to anyone who would row him ashore!
Thursday 15th March
Awakened by the voices of the children between decks singing that sweet little Hymn “Thy Will be done”. I could distinguish some of the words of the first verse. Found afterwards that the singers belonged to one family, and sing among themselves, nestling together in their berths. Poor little things! “Life’s way” is indeed a rough one with some of them. Went below at ten to my little Bible Class, and I read Luke II. & III. Among those who joined us today was a man who took every opportunity at cavilling at what we read, in an infidel spirit, so that little could be done in the way of direct instruction. Meanwhile an unusual bustle overhead told us that something wrong had occurred, and presently a passenger came down and whispered that the children must not go on deck for a man was overboard. Came up in haste and found that the poor fellow was one of the crew named Wm Buchanan who had been washed from the jib boom by a sudden lurch of the Vessel, and as the Captain thinks, stunned in the fall against one of the cat-heads, for he was seen with his head under water as he swept by. Sat on the poop deck watching intently the life boat which had been lowered with four seamen, but with little hope of success, while in the meantime the remainder of the Crew were clewing up the sails to stop the Vessel. The boat soon returned and we pursued our course, one soul who had been alive and well with us but a few minutes before now called to his account. Went below again at two and gathered my little class now ten in number: read with them a chapter in St. Luke, Bibles & Testaments being our only accessible reading-books, and occupied part of the hour with a spelling lesson. Spent an hour after dinner with Stanley in his Cabin, where he is still confined to his Berth by sickness. Went upon deck after tea with my little friend Margaret Overbury to shew her the phosphorescence in the water, and sat there with my arm round her little form talking of “Him who holdeth the waters in the hollow of His hand” and listening to the gentle prattle of her musical voice. Occupied the rest of the evening in copying this Journal while Mr Aspinwall read aloud.
Friday 16th March
Went down to my Class at ten: had the same ten children as on Thursday afternoon. Arranged to hold the Class permanently for the future at ten and two and put up Notices accordingly. Mounted Chart of route, and Underwood’s Illuminated Almanack. Class again at two in the second class Cabin: fifteen children present; entered their names in Class Book and gave them a lesson in Arithmetic with the aid of a slate and piece of chalk, a group of adults standing round. Mentioned to Mr Bonney and Mr Overbury, as being leading men amongst us, Stanley’s proposition for holding daily worship, and was glad to find it well received. Today we are nearly where we were on Wednesday, viz. abreast of Corunna.
Saturday 17th March
Mr Bonney when on deck with Stanley and myself after breakfast said that on consideration he thought it better not to attempt morning and evening prayers as we should be inevitably liable to constant interruption and could not in any case ensure regular attendance, we therefore decided, though not without regret, to abandon the proposal. Went below to my Class at ten: only seven present. Read with them Luke VIII, explained the Parable of the Sower and set them to learn by Monday a part of the whole of it according to their ability. Talked with some of the deck-passengers about having a service below on Sunday when they gladly accepted the proposal and two P.M. was fixed upon as the hour: ten P.M. being proposed for a Sabbath Class and eleven being the hour for service in the Saloon. Passed a small vessel outward bound: put up signals and learned their latitude. The wind today more favourable. Wrote Journal and put up Notices of the Service tomorrow. Class again at two: ten present. In default of copy-books gave them a lesson in writing on Mulhauser’s system.
Sunday 18th March
Becalmed the greater part of the night. The Sabbath sun rose bright and cheerful. Went below to my little Class at ten. Sang with them the Hymn “This is the day when Christ arose” and began Luke IX. Interrupted by a troop of sailors who “tumbled” down the gangway and began removing our forms to “rig a church” on the deck. Soon after the Captain came down, and after apologising for the interruption, asked me if I would read the Service. On coming up found the deck-passengers already seating themselves and the bell ringing. Got out the prayer books and gave them to the Steward to distribute, and then took my station at the front of the poop while the Cabin-passengers were seated on the poop behind me and the deck-passengers and crew on the main-deck below, or else mounted on the bulwarks and rigging or lying in the boats. I was sorry that it was not thought well to invite the whole of the passengers to come upon the poop. The Ship’s Bible, a large and handsomely-bound Volume printed in New York, lay before me on the rail round which was folded the Union Jack and the Captain stood at my side and read the responses: we did not however attempt any singing as we had had no rehearsal and feared a failure. I had no Volume of Sermons accessible, for as yet I have seen no vestige of my heavy luggage (except one single article and the receipt given by the Mate) but read an appropriate Tract lent to me by Mr Aspinwall on Gen. III 15. It was a most interesting scene:
Above us the eternal skies,
Beneath our feet the dead,
The dead who knew no burial rite
Save storm or battle cry
Whose tomb is where the coral grows
And the sea monsters lie.
I could not help feeling deeply the opening words of the Service: “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses though we have rebelled against them”. Went below at two o’clock to the Service between decks for although this had been announced without reference to the Service on deck it seemed better not to abandon it. The Captain again offered me the Ship’s Bible and the Second Steward volunteered to go on deck and ring the Ship’s bell, so that the Service acquired something of an official character, a circumstance which perhaps accounted in a measure for the good attendance which was much larger than I had expected. The second Cabin is the smallest of the three between decks but it is the cleanest and most airy, light, & comfortable. The forms at the three tables were closely packed, and the remainder of the Cabin filled with passengers standing, or sitting on boxes or on the gangways. I took my place with the Bible placed on a footstool elevated on a couple of sea-chests. We commenced with singing Cowper’s beautiful Hymn “Come ye that love the Lord” Tune: “Shirland”: then I read a prayer which I had written for the occasion: then the XCVI Psalm, then the Hymn “Amidst all the changing scenes of life” and lastly the Parable of the Sower with a familiar explanation founded in a great measure upon my previous study of Trench. It appeared better to have a Service of this kind rather than another from the Liturgy as I had been informed that the larger portion of the passengers were either Presbyterians, Wesleyans or Roman Catholics. The attention and decorum of those assembled was very gratifying, and all seemed to enter fully into the spirit of our little Service. I was interested, in conversation with my neighbour at the dinner table Mr Hausheer, to find that he is a native of Zurich, the birthplace of Zwingle, where one of Zwingle’s descendants had been his schoolfellow. He said he was himself a Protestant, a Zwinglian he called himself. His English is imperfect, as he had been only a month in England, but we managed to understand each other very fairly. The remainder of the day passed either on deck or in reading & conversation in the Saloon below. Singing was attempted but with no great amount of success: several pieces of Sacred Poetry read by some of the passengers were more favourably received. On the whole this Sabbath day at sea is one which I shall long remember with great interest.
Monday 19th March
A rough day: the ship rolling, the rain pouring in and the wind against us. Class at ten as usual; not surprised to find only seven present, the chief difficulty being the ascent and descent of the gangways, which in wet weather are slippery to a degree, in addition to which a sudden lurch of the ship may readily precipitate the unwary foot from the top to the bottom, as result which I very nearly experienced this morning. Though small however, my little Class seemed to be one of earnest-minded and diligent scholars, for out of the seven, four, three girls and one boy, repeated, almost without mistake, the Parable of the Sower (twelve verses) and two other boys four verses of it. I could not but wish that means could be devised for getting at the really careless and ignorant ones on board, of whom I fear there are but too many. During the lesson a female passenger lying sick in her berth, sent to ask me to visit her looked in afterwards at her Cabin, and found her less ill than discontented: she had come out alone to join a married sister in Melbourne and had no-one to see to her wants. Mentioned her case upon desk to Mrs Overbury and she forthwith volunteered to go down and visit her, which she proceeded to do under my escort. While waiting below noticed a youth of pleasing appearance with a Greek book in his hand: found he was from Dublin, was named Ignatius Keogh (though not after Loyola as he was a Protestant), and was studying the Classics with his Father. Heard him translate a piece of Anacreon very fairly. Another thin Class in the afternoon, the weather continuing very rough. Rather dreary after dinner: got on more cheerfully in the evening writing this Journal which is a never-failing resource. Some of my fellow-passengers seem quite to envy my constant occupation and cheerfulness.
Tuesday 20th March
Ten present at my Class this morning, including two English boys (Richard & John Birkin) who have hitherto been unable to attend through sea-sickness. Began with a Hymn “I sing th’Almighty power of God”, Tune “Warwick”. Read with them Luke X explained the Parable of the Good Samaritan and set the children to learn it by four verses at a time. Before we had finished the Purser came down with a bevy of the Cabin Passengers and began opening the main hatchway to get at the luggage. Crept into the hold, and afterwards into the after-hatchway, but could see nothing of my own luggage. Set copies in some of the children’s Books and afterwards on Tune Books copying the Tunes Shirland Abridge Old 100th & Hanover. After dinner Miss A. [Addey] the sick young lady sent for me into her Cabin and asked me to read to her a Chapter in the Bible. Read John XIV and then, meeting an assent in her grateful looks, continued with the XV, XVI & XVIIth. When I had finished she said “Mr Goodman, you know what it is to have your sins forgiven, but you do not know what it is to be a ‘withered branch’”. After some conversation and a short prayer I left her promising to read to her again whenever she was well enough for it. Very rough during the afternoon and evening: about 8½ a tremendous sea swept over the maindeck and, the hatchway being open, flowed into the Cabins where it alarmed the passengers not a little: one of them afterwards told me that he slept all night with a life-belt on. Went on deck soon after: the stars shining brightly, but some angry clouds to the Westward.
Wednesday 21st March
A bright morning, the wind fresh, but against us. While on deck the Captain spoke very firmly but temperately to some of our fellow passengers who had sat up late drinking and singing, and had endangered the ship by going about with naked lights, and very properly told them that for the future every light should be extinguished at eleven o’clock. Went below at ten: only my five Scotch scholars and one other present. Heard them repeat their verses, sang a hymn and read Luke XI. During the morning the gale increased and while I was in the Saloon copying Tunes a passenger came down and told us the jib sail had been torn to pieces. Went below at two and tried to must a singing Class. Found one man who had been a bass singer in a Church at Reading and one or two others who with the addition of the children formed a tolerable choir. Practised three of the Tunes and arranged to meet again the following afternoon. Much tumbling and tossing during dinner: one of the seats gave way though screwed into the floor, & threw over its three occupants. About six thirty the fore topgallant mast snapped in two places, tore the fore topsail and hung among the rigging. Copied a page of this Journal in the evening.
Thursday 22nd March
Just as we were sitting down to breakfast after a restless night, a sea struck the Vessel amidships with a terrible thump, smashed one of the bulwarks to splinters and broke over the main deck. Looked out at the door of the Saloon, where happily a high step intervenes, and found the deck a foot deep in water which was swaying to and fro as the ship rolled from side to side, carrying passengers and crew, ropes, spars and buckets with it. Of course nothing could be done in the way of getting my Class together: sat in the Saloon and copied some more Hymn-tunes. Sent for by Miss A. about one: read to her Isa. XLIII & XLIV & offered a short prayer. Went below at two: practised the Old 100th, the Morning Hymn, Abridge and Mount Ephraim. The sea very magnificent while on deck after dinner: the waves literally mountain-like, both in size and form. The sunset exquisitely beautiful: divergent alternate rays of pale rosy hue, & that lovely pale transparent green which is seen on earth only in the tinting of some of our most delicate flowers. Again on deck in the evening talking to the Captain: sang aloud when left alone several of my favourite hymns. Thought of some of the strange places in which I had thus raised my spirits: once on the road from Lynn to North Runcton, at night in a storm of rain: again while walking through the Britannia Tube over the Menai Straits, and now amid the winds and waves of the Atlantic. The next time probably will be on horseback in the bush of Australia, or perhaps in a sweeter nobler song in heaven, for who knows, especially at sea, what a day may bring forth.
Friday 23rd March
A fair wind but a cloudy sky. Went below to my Class at ten: only six present, all Scotch children. Heard them repeat their verses: read Luke XI and set them to learn the Parable of the Rich Man. After our lesson mustered the singers for a practice-meeting: sang the tunes for Sunday and on producing some of the Prayer Books found a ready sale for half a dozen of them at 6d, the reduced price. Gave to Ignatius Keogh, who had been hovering about our Bible Class and whom today I asked to join us, a “Letter from an elder brother”, one of six copies entrusted to me by Mr Lea. Mr Bonney having yesterday kindly offered me the use of the fixed desk in one of his two Cabins, wrote my Journal there. The passengers generally, perhaps from want of something else to talk about, express frequently an interest in our operations below, and the Captain often enquires how my Class is going on. I have omitted to say that I had yesterday a tumble which might have been attended with serious consequences: a sudden lurch of the Vessel threw me as I stood at the table against the back of one of the seats, which giving way I was precipitated into the passage leading to Mr Bonney’s Cabin but happily rose uninjured. Had I fallen against the side of the Saloon I might have been seriously hurt as the seat made a terrible dent in one of the rosewood pillars.
Saturday 24th March
A bright and beautiful day. Eight present at morning Class. Read Luke XIII. On deck the rest of the morning with a slight headache. Sat by Miss A. [Addey] who became very confidential and told me that she was going out under very peculiar circumstances, in fact going to be married. Her intended had gone out to Australia with the intention of returning in eighteen months, but had now embarked in business which rendered it impossible for him to return without considerable pecuniary loss, and her parents had consented to her going out to him if at the end of twelve months it was still impractical for him to return, and the twelve months had now expired. Coming up after dinner found a large number of the deck passengers watching the faint indications of land to the North East, which from what the Captain had told us we knew to be the Madeira Islands. Porto Santo was the nearest to us but as the Harbour was on the opposite side of the Island and we were 15 miles from land we saw no indication of humanity. The island when the sun shone upon it for a few minutes looked very beautiful: we could clearly distinguish the sandy cliffs and the darker coloured rocks with waves dashing against them in foam which appeared to rise to half the height of the hills themselves, being so much nearer to us than the more elevated background. A beautiful moonlight evening: sighted the Desert Islands, belonging also to the Madeira group. On deck until about nine. Thermometer then 64º.
Sunday 25th March
A quiet night, almost the first we have had, the ship sailing steadily through a quiet sea. Woke in excessive pain from a stiff neck, caused I believe by overstraining the muscles in climbing to the mizen top yesterday, there being no lubber’s hole to creep through. The Captain when on deck came to me and said we could not have the deck passengers on the poop as we might have to ‘bout ship’ and the passengers would be in the way: the decks were accordingly rigged as on Sunday last. Read the Service as before with another of the same series of Tracts. Afternoon service also as on the previous Sunday. Took the Parable of the Prodigal Son: the congregation not so large but serious and attentive. The singing went off very fairly. About 5 P.M. a shoal of porpoises came skimming past us, the first ocean sight we have seen. Watched the beautiful sunset and the moon when she had risen: had an interesting conversation with Mr Overbury and two other passengers about the stars and the future life, and at length dropped off to sleep with Tom’s railway-rug around me. Thermometer 67º.
Monday 26th March
Another bright morning. Sighted Teneriffe about seven. Some of the passengers busy with hooks and lines. Several beautiful little creatures called “Portuguese men of war” were sailing their tiny boats past us. These “men of war” are a kind of nautilus but without a shell: the body which is about 3 inches in length consists chiefly of a kind of air sack, coloured light blue, the membrane which serves for a sail is edged with a bright pink, the feelers or oars below dark blue: a good description of this little creature is given in Maunder’s Treasury of Natural History. Obtained a bucket from the Mate and descended into the “chains” to dip for them but found the bucket too heavy. Took my little Class as usual at ten; had thought of putting it off, but finding that the children, including two new ones, were ready for me, and so would not disappoint them. While I was below the clouds, as I afterwards learned, cleared off from the peak of Teneriffe & offered a beautiful view to those on deck. The peak is thus described by The Rev. Robt Young in his Journal of a Deputation from the Wesleyan Conference to Australia & Polynesia Jan. 13th (1853): “We passed the Canary Islands and as we skirted Teneriffe the day being fine and the atmosphere unusually clear, we saw not only the grape vines on the slopes of the abrupt mountains and the capital of the Island to advantage, but the very summit of the celebrated peak. It was covered with snow though with us the heat was more than 70º. We gazed upon it with intense interest, & as the sun was setting the whole mountain seemed enveloped in glory exhibiting now a golden tint of exquisite beauty then a deep crimson of surpassing brilliancy and ultimately wrapped itself in a flowing mantle of many colours. But soon the light faded, the lovely hues melted away and Nature’s pyramid was seen no more.” “Rigged” a landing net on a hoop with the assistance of Mr Walmsley, but by the time we had finished it a breeze had sprung up and the “men of war” had disappeared. A beautiful afternoon: and evening: bright moonlight. Slept on deck for two or three hours and turned in about midnight.
Tuesday 27th March
In sight of Ferro or Feroe, the most western of the Canary Islands, famous in the history of Columbus, as being the land last seen by his crew when starting out on their voyage of discovery and on leaving which they cried like children. The island was quite a gem upon the waters. The little village, Valverde, among the hills was distinctly visible. Clouds enveloped the summits of the hills beyond, but the sunlight upon the valleys and lower ridges of the hills brought into view a miniature scene of exquisite loveliness. Through the Captain’s glass we could plainly distinguish double rows of windows in the white cottages of the little village. Ten present at Class: read Luke XV. The great event of the day has been getting up from the hold my chest and three other packages, after crawling for nearly two hours among the cargo stores and luggage which are piled together almost indiscriminately. I was only too glad to find everything in good preservation, even the Magic Lantern, although the side of the box had suffered a severe contusion, was undamaged. Had the chest hauled up by a bevy of sailors into the store-room and the packages with the Books, Slates &c for school-keeping stowed away in a vacant Berth so that they might be accessible. The “luggage room” exists only in the prospectus of the ship. Latitude 28º. Thermometer at 8 P.M. 78º.
Wednesday 28th March
Had my Class on the forecastle-deck where they say some on a spar some on one of the anchors and I myself on a camp-stool: the breeze fresh and pleasant. Read Luke XVI. Went below to the store-room and brought up at several journeys the Books and tracts out of my Chest, one of the passengers a willing clean-looking lad, volunteering to carry them for me. Stowed the Books away on the shelves at the far end of the Saloon. Gathered my Class again at two on the forecastle for a lesson in Arithmetic with the hep of the Slates which I had told them in the morning I should have ready for them. Found a very ready Sale for Slates Copy books pens & pencils disposing in this afternoon of 16 of the Slates alone. Indeed I was obliged to refuse selling them to several adult passengers in order that the children might be supplied. Occupied after dinner in turning out dirty linen and other etceteras “not wanted on the voyage” into the vacant space in the chest. Thermometer at 10 P.M. (in the Saloon) 70º. Latitude 26º.
Thursday 29th March
Weather rather dull in the early morning: brightened up after breakfast. Had my Class on the forecastle. Cut some brown paper covers for the Tracts while Mrs Overbury selected them and Miss Bews sewed them in. Down again into the hold at one and discovered the Box of Bibles which I hauled up into the store-room forthwith. Class at two on the forecastle for Arithmetic. Head that the first-mate saw a sperm-whale blowing, about a quarter of a mile from the Ship early in the morning. Covered the Library books in the evening.
Friday 30th March
Made List of my own Books for use on the Voyage, before breakfast. Had my Class both morning & afternoon in the 2nd Cabin having learned from the Captain in conversation that the children, and in fact any passengers on the forecastle, obstructed the working of the Vessel. Read Luke XVIII and gave to six of the children Library Books. A good attendance of children in the afternoon: called in the help of Ignatius Keogh to assist me in setting and looking over sums: stowed away the greater part of my books in a large parcel in Mr Harte’s Cabin, a space in which he kindly offered me, leaving the remainder on the shelves. I was rather amused at an incident today shewing that some of the passengers think I am a Dissenter. I had gone down into the First Intermediate Cabin to muster a Class for singing, but as soon as we had begun a woman came out from one of the Berths, and, not very civilly, requested us to desist as her sister was lying ill. Of course we stopped, and as I went out another woman said in explanation “They’re Church people, Sir: that’s it.” So it seems the days are not yet gone by when if a layman shews any amount of activity in religious matters he is forthwith put down in the estimation of some as a “Methodist”. Miss A. told me a day or two ago that she had heard that I read the Church of England Service in the morning, a Dissenting Service in the afternoon, and a Roman Catholic Service in the evening.
Saturday 31st March
Opened the Christian Knowledge Society’s parcel, and took out a packet of Hymn Books for use tomorrow. Meanwhile little Marion Stephens who is a spoilt child and always in mischief, tumbled from the poop onto the main deck (about seven feet) but happily escaped with a few bruises. Class at ten: eleven children present: read Luke XIX. Opened the Box of Bibles & took out six of each kind (viz: Reference and Common Bibles and large and smaller testaments) and filled up the vacant space with other things, every inch being of value. My luggage, the weight of which is about a ton and a quarter, the cubic measurement of it 45 ft. 9 in: is now part in the hold, part in my own Cabin where it is stowed some on the floor, some on the seat and some, during the daytime, in the Berth itself: two packages in the Cabin adjoining, the Chest and two boxes in the store-room at the other end of the ship, a parcel of books in Mr Harte’s Cabin, and about twenty Books of my own, and the lending-library, in the Shelves at the end of the Saloon. Such is the insufficient accommodation provided for passenger’s luggage, and as I am constantly wanting to access to some part or other of my own, I have to pursue school-keeping under somewhat disadvantageous circumstances and am beginning to appreciate the difficulties of the schoolmaster, which is what I wanted to do.
Sunday 1st April
A lovely day, the most beautiful we have had: the sun shining brightly and the ship sailing steadily under a fair & gentle breeze. The Awning which the Sailmaker has been working at during the week was rigged up before breakfast over the poop, affording not only a grateful shade as the sun grew warmer, but causing a delightful current of air underneath. At about half past ten the Captain sent his Compliments with a message that they would be ready for service at eleven and the forms were set out and the bell rung as before. Meanwhile Mr Overbury and I selected a sermon out of a Volume which he had by Bp. Porteus. At the Captain’s request I omitted the Litany so as to finish by ¼ to 12. The Sermon was on the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares and contained some striking remarks which seemed especially appropriate as I hear that some Atheists below have been endeavouring to propagate their opinions among the young men on board. Went round the decks about half past twelve with a supply of Tracts which were everywhere very gladly received. The Tracts were sewed up two in each cover, a Narrative and one of a more serious cast being usually combined. I distributed about seventy couples desiring those to whom I gave them to lend them round after reading them themselves. Besides these I gave two appropriate Tracts in a cover to each of the Crew who were most of them sitting at leisure in the forecastle after their dinner. There was in no case either among the passengers or the crew any instance of a refusal, except one man who when I asked him if he wanted anything to read said “No”, and two of the sailors, one an Italian, & the other a Frenchman who I was given to understand could not read English. To the Crew I said I should not wish for the Tracts again if they would read them and keep them carefully. I could not on the whole but feel gratified at the reception of these silent messengers of truth, and although I had been regretting that I have been unable to get at the Tracts for nearly three weeks, yet I think this very circumstance accounts for the readiness with which they were accepted, as all who are without resources in themselves are now beginning to be thoroughly tired of having nothing either to do or to read. About two o’clock the ship’s Bell was rung for service without any intimation from me upon the subject and I went down into the Second Class Cabin taking with me Bp. Ryan’s Sermons and the Hymn Books out of the Christian Knowledge Society’s parcel. Began with a Hymn, then prayer, then I read I John I and then as we had had a parable in the morning, the first sermon by Bp. Ryan on “the Communion of Saints”, concluding with the Hymn “The Saints below and those above, but one Communion make”. The attendance was fair though not large, but there were several in the first-intermediate Cabin, which is only separated from the other by louvre-boards, who were joining with us both in heart and voice, a young man who belongs to that Cabin having come in for a supply of Hymn Books for them. After dinner I read to Miss Addey on deck another of Bp. Ryan’s Sermons, that on “perseverance in prayer”, which she herself selected. The sunset and moonlight were each as lovely as the day had been. Mr Hausheer in conversation propounded a curious doctrine, something like the transmigration of souls, but neither I nor Mr Harte who had called me in to assist in the discussion could very well make out what his theory was. Sought solitude in my own Cabin and lay on my Berth, watching the silvery waves through the port-hole till I fell asleep.
Monday 2nd April
Another beautiful day. Went below to Class at ten after considerable difficulty in getting them together, and some grumbling on the part of the second Cabin passengers. After we had begun the Purser came down to give out preserves, and the consequent noise broke up our Class, & I came to the conclusion that these interruptions combined with the evident listlessness of the children, rendered it hopeless to continue the Class, at any rate for the present. Down for an hour after dinner on the “chains” with Harte and Hausheer. Copied Journal and afterwards on deck in the moonlight.
Tuesday 3rd April
Read Longfellow’s Coplas de Manrique & the “Children of the Lord’s Supper” to Miss Addey on deck. Made Sketch Book and took some sketches on deck both before and after dinner. A glorious sunset, a firmament of crimson clouds surrounding an opening of pale transparent orange. Viewed it from the top of the wheelhouse and slid down along the spanker-boom to the Mizen-mast. Slept on deck till midnight.
Wednesday 4th April
A shoal of dolphins swam past while we were on the deck before breakfast, they seemed long narrow fish with long fins and long tails. In the meanwhile the crew were tightening the stays of the ship (the cordage which supports the Masts) by means of the Capstan, this being generally done on coming into the tropical latitudes to rectify the extension caused by the heat. Borrowed a hook from Dillon and went forward on the forecastle where several were fishing, one of the crew having caught a Benito [sic] about 14lb weight, but which I did not see till after it was cut up. Mounted the jib-boom to fish there and while there a party of sailors climbed up behind and he’d me on amid shouts of laughter from the passengers and I had to purchase my liberty with the donation of 2s/6d, being from that time free to all parts of the ship. Saw numbers of fish but they would not rise as the sun was becoming warm. While writing my Journal in the Saloon heard a shout on deck and coming up found all busy hauling up a young shark just caught by Mr Overbury: it was quite a small one not more than two feet six long. Mr Walmsley who has been a surgeon quickly severed the vertebrae near the tail, but he continued to struggle for a quarter of an hour: if he had been 14 feet long instead of 2 feet he would soon have cleared the deck. At two P.M. two sail appeared in sight, and the smaller one, the Meanwell as she afterwards proved to be coming sufficiently near to us, signals were hoisted. She first gave her name, we then signalled “Report us to Lloyd’s” to which she replied “Yes”: we then signalled “All well” and added by way of news “Russian Emperor dead”. The signals are conveyed as follows: in the first place each ship has a distinguishing number set opposite to her name in the signal-book, our number is 473. Other words and short sentences in common use are also conveyed by numbers; thus 7519 “Russian”, 2862 “Emperor”, 2063 “dead”: the numbers are denoted by ten different flags, one being used for each numeral. The signal-books are printed in various languages so that Vessels of any civilized nation can communicate with those of any other. Read Cowper on deck to Miss Addey, and fished for an hour before tea from the jib boom, my bait a piece of white rag combined with a fragment of scarlet cloth dipping in and out of the water in imitation of a flying fish. The Benito caught yesterday leaped a yard out of the water, I was told, at the bait.
Thursday 5th April
Had a salt water bath at 6.30 behind the wheelhouse with the help of one of the lads who emptied the buckets upon me. About noon we had a tropical shower, and it was amusing to see the gentleman-passengers running about with buckets, jugs and basins to collect the fresh water. One of us pulling down the edge of the awning to form a channel to fill his bucket brought down a plentiful supply over his trousers, and another lifting the awning in the middle to supply a neighbour, deluged his friend in like manner. At length with the Captain’s permission small incisions were made through which the water came in unintermitting streams and the awning being new and clean, a good supply of clear water was collected. We do not appreciate the value of fresh water until we have been placed upon an allowance of it at sea: seven pints a day is our present allowance for all purposes including washing and cooking, and we are limited to two cups of tea or coffee at each meal and one glass of water at lunch and dinner. After dinner Mr Bonney “scrambled” half a bushel of nuts among the juveniles on the quarter-deck and soon assembled double the number that I had ever been able to get together for my Class. Soon afterwards a “Portuguese Man of war” was caught by Mr Hausheer from the Chains and placed in a basin for general inspection. One or two of us were stung by contact with even the minutest portions of its long feelers. The little creature continued very lively all the evening, allowing Mr Harte and myself to take his portrait as he rolled about in the basin which he probably considered rather a limited sphere of action. Latitude 6º. Thermo. 83º.
Friday 6th April (Good Friday)
Had a salt water bath on deck and a fresh water sponging (a result of yesterday’s shower) afterwards. Wrote before breakfast a sermon on the text “All we like sheep have gone astray” &c. (Isa. 53.6), the ladies having yesterday requested me to deliver one of my own in the event of service being held. Copied the sermon after breakfast employing thus an hour or two very profitably in the contemplation of that beautiful emblem “the lost sheep”. Found afterwards that, as I anticipated no service was likely to be held, the weather being oppressively hot and no one disposed to make any exertion which they could by possibility avoid. Amused myself with copying some sketches on deck, and at two went below to attempt a singing-class, taking with me the Easter Hymn, eight copies of which in four parts I had among the music purchased at Novello’s and succeeded in gathering eight or ten who got through the Easter Hymn and a Dismissal Hymn very fairly, one of them singing a second, so that with my own tenor and the Bass singer from Reading we had the four parts complete. I do not remember that I ever enjoyed any singing of the kind much more. After dinner the ladies sent upon deck to ask me to read to them the sermon: did so in the After-saloon while they laid aside their work in deference to the subject. Those present were the three Miss Bews, Mrs Overbury, Mrs Stephens, Miss Calder and Stanley. After the sermon other reading was proposed and I read aloud Longfellow’s Coplas de Manrique and one or two of his minor pieces, and then commenced Evangeline: all seemed to enjoy it exceedingly. On deck until tea-time: while writing my Journal in the evening, heard singing above-head, and going up found Mrs Knowles, Mr & Mrs Walmsley and Mr Jamison singing by starlight. Soon afterwards Mrs Knowles struck up a Scotch Psalm (Tune “Artaxerxes” a favourite one with the Scotch, I remember having heard it in Dr. Cumming’s Chapel) and we then sang a verse or two of the Evening Hymn and Rock of Ages the other passengers chiming in from a distance. It has been almost a dead calm today as well as during the previous night. Latitude 5.50. Thermometer (in the Saloon) 84º.
Saturday 7th April
Occupied until one o’clock in writing and copying a sermon on the text “If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above” (Col. 3.1.) for tomorrow. Went below at 2: mustered a nice little singing Class: sang the two Hymns for tomorrow and several other Tunes “Shirland”, “Abridge”, “Vesper Hymn” and “Creation”. Another tropical shower after dinner and a repetition of the bucket and water jug scene, only that today a larger number of the deck-passengers were allowed to come on the poop. Indeed they want the water badly enough and are glad to drink it.
Sunday 8th April
A brisk breeze but not a fair one, carrying us out of our course into the Gulf of Mexico. In consequence of indications of rain it was thought better not to have service on deck. Read the Service for Easter day with the Sermon written yesterday, to the Cabin-passengers in the Saloon. On going below in the afternoon found that some of the second-cabin passengers were offended at having been refused admittance into the Saloon in the morning and declared they would have no service below, and finding that a similar feeling existed in the first-intermediate Cabin, was obliged to give up the afternoon service. Read to Miss Addey after dinner this morning’s Sermon and one of Bp. Ryan’s: read the Pastor of Gegenburgh after tea.
Monday 9th April
Bath on deck at 6.30. A waterspout in sight which I did not see: saw another forming which resembled a dark streak proceeding out of a thunder-cloud in the sky, but it dispersed without falling. Occupied the whole of the day (from ten o’clock until teatime, with the exception of the dinner hour) in copying Journal & sketches. Another shower came on during dinner: went up soon afterwards and sketched some of the groups of the deck passengers collecting water. Our latitude today 3.15. Thermometer 84º. The favourite costume of the ladies in these latitudes includes a species of bonnet a specimen of which is seen in the accompanying sketch.
Tuesday 10th April
Bath at six. About ten o’clock a shoal of grampuses swam around us: these great creatures continued to roll themselves about on all sides of the ship for the rest of the day, first throwing up their heads and dorsal-fins with a snort, and plunging down again. Several of them came frequently so near to us that we could distinctly see and hear them blowing. (See Maunder for a description on the Grampus.) After dinner as I was looking at the Microscope with Mr Overbury heard a cry that the Crew were setting upon the Captain, and running out instantly upon deck found the Sailors fiercely attacking the Captain & Second Mate. Of course we lost no time in rushing to the rescue. Sparry one of the Cabin passengers, an athletic fellow floored two of the Sailors, and some heavy blows with fists and spikestaffs were exchanged. I happily escaped with a slight bruise over the left eye. The Officers of the ship being soon afterwards furnished with arms from the gun-room the Crew were awed into quiet, and the Captain determinately came forward to the front of the poop with a brace of loaded pistols in his hand, supported by the Officers and Cabin-passengers and ordered the whole crew before him. As soon as silence could be obtained he addressed them with firmness, expressed his determination to put down anything like mutiny with a strong hand, and asked them if they were willing to return to their duty. The crew in reply alleged one or two trifling causes of dissatisfaction and demanded the release of one of their number who had just been ordered into irons. With this demand however the Captain very properly refused to comply and after some altercation the Crew were ordered to disperse to their duties which they reluctantly did. It seemed that one of the Sailors had refused to obey an order of the Captain’s and had set him and the Second Mate at defiance. Upon this the Captain followed the man down the steps to the quarter-deck and collared him and the rest of the Crew ran to the rescue of their mess-mate. When the disturbance had somewhat subsided I went into the Saloon where the offender had been placed in custody in one of the Cabins, a passenger (Gilchrist) guarding the door with a loaded revolver. Handcuffs were got ready but the man was at length dismissed after making an apology to the Captain. At tea the Captain addressed the passengers thanking them for their assistance and expressing a hope that it would not again be needed. Finished today copying this Journal up to this date.
Wednesday 11th April
Occupied all morning with Sketch Book. Read Evangeline after dinner to the ladies. Exchanged the Library Books lent to the children and gave out four others at the Capstan near the Saloon-door the scene of yesterday’s encounter. Some bad feeling and a spirit of insubordination still exists, I fear, among the crew, and we keep pretty closely to our own quarters just now, especially as the Sailors are on the watch to “shave” the passengers on the plea of crossing the Line.
Thursday 12th April
A slight headache all day. Found at noon that we had crossed the line, the Captain however kept it a secret in order that the Sailors might not indulge in the licence usual on such occasions. Had the Microscope out on deck to shew it to the little Overburys and was much pleased to notice the beauty with which the objects both transparent and opaque shone out in the bright sunlight: the wingcase of the diamond beetle, the pollen of the mallow and the feathers of the humming bird were especially admired by the lookers on. Mr Hausheer kindly adjusted the reflector while I took care of the focus. Mounted the mizen-top crosstrees and sketched a bird’s-eye view of the deck the Captain having suggested this and the other mast-tops as the best place for the purpose and promising to give orders that I should be secured from interruption there. As we have now passed at least a third of our voyage, and our manners and customs have consequently become tolerably settled, it may be as well to give here a general description of the way in which time passes. Those of the gentlemen who rise early enough usually indulge in a salt water bath administered in a series of bucketsful by the sailors who are usually raising it between six and seven o’clock for washing the decks and other purposes. The Poop is then swabbed and swept and the Awning put up and the Ladies make their appearance, generally between seven and eight o’clock and read or promenade until breakfast which is ready soon after nine. The Captain when his duties permit or in his absence the Doctor or Mr Bonney takes the head of the table at each meal, the other end is occupied by the mizen-mast. Each of us keeps usually to the same seat: my own at present is between the two younger Miss Bews, agreeable and intelligent girls. I did not arrogate to myself this honourable position but Miss Addey on making her appearance at table after her long illness having solicited my seat near the bottom of it, room was found for me elsewhere. The provisions are probably better than are to be found on many smaller vessels. We have always three dishes of ham, fish or tripe on the breakfast table and hot-baked rolls fresh every morning from the oven. The coffee is drinkable, but the tea is very bad, and the mixture called “preserved milk” has long ceased to appear on the table for nobody drank it. After breakfast the Ladies usually seat themselves under the Awning on deck for the morning, working and reading, and those who have no better resource, play at cards below. There is no Library for the use of the passengers though it was promised that one should be sent on board and I have therefore found the books which I brought with me generally useful. Macaulay’s History of England and Hughes’s Australian Colonies have both for instance been read through aloud. My own morning, since I gave up my Class, is occupied in writing, drawing and reading and I always find the time passes quickly and pleasantly. The afternoon is agreeably spent in reading aloud to the ladies either individually or collectively on deck or at the end of the Saloon and then we watch the sunset and promenade until teatime. In the evening some other passenger is usually the reader and I write my Journal and copy the sketches made during the day: a game at chess and a moonlight or starlight walk on deck brings the day to a close. There is a very general feeling of mutual kindness and good feeling among us, and although even the Cabin passengers are a mixed set, no distinctions are allowed to exist, and all meet on equal terms, though of course, on the other hand, varying tastes & habits will lead each to choose his own set. At dinner the Captain welcomed us to the Southern Hemisphere in bumpers of Champagne, and several toasts were drunk and some neat speeches made. Watched the beautiful sunset which daily reminds us of Scott’s lines:
Mine be the eve of hossie sun
No pale gradations quench his ray
No twilight dews his wrath allay
With disk, like battle-target red,
He rushes to his burning bed
Dyes the wide wave with bloody light
Then sinks at once and all is night.
One moment we are watching the glories of a brilliant sky, then the colours fade perceptively and in less than half an hour all is darkness, and the twinkling stars one by one shine brightly in the dark blue heavens. Orion and the Great Bear are still visible to us and the Southern Cross shines out in tropical splendour. The Captain says that he has seen it as far north as the Cape de Verd Islands. I delight in lying in the “stilly night” on a railway-rug or mattress on the flat roof of the wheel-house, watching the starry firmament and the numerous meteors which flash across the sky, while the wake of the ship is sparkling with phosphorescence which fades in the distance into a stream of milky white, and the great sails are flapping overhead in the cool breeze like the wings of some huge bird of Eastern fable. It is at such times as these that the soul rises involuntarily to heaven, and the feeling of the Psalmist is realized with which he said “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee”.
Friday 13th April
Read for an hour on deck before breakfast. Copied our route from the Captain’s Chart illustrating it with views of Porto Santo and Ferro. Read Holmes’s Urania to the ladies on deck after dinner until driven in by a shower.
Saturday 14th April
Read Hamlet after dinner to the ladies on deck: and by omitting the unimportant parts finished the play before sunset. Occupied the rest of the day with Journal and Sketch-book.
Sunday 15th April
Bath on deck soon after six. Read Life of Eliot and when Miss Addey came up went on with it reading to her aloud. The Captain meanwhile came up and suggested inviting the Deck-passengers to Service in the Saloon. Went down and took the opinion of the ladies upon the question, when they decided that it would be preferable to have it, if possible, upon deck, and the Captain consenting to it, asked me to write Notices to be put up between decks which I did and sent a lad forward with them. At ¼ to 11 the Union Jack was laid out, but this time upon the deck lights upon the windward side, while the congregation was ranged on the hen coops or on any impromptu seat placed for them. This was more like a Service than any we have hitherto had: the attendance was larger and no envious distinctions of class were made, but all sat side by side as in the house of God. I read, as before the Morning Service with the Litany and a Sermon of Bp. Ryan’s on “The constraining love of Christ”. After service I took round some single sheet tracts and quickly distributed a large number, probably 120, and finished reading the Life of Eliot to Miss Addey in the Saloon. Found a quiet retreat after dinner in one of the life-boats hanging over the ship’s side (a suggestion made, I remember, by Mr Lea from his sea voyaging experience) and read of the Missionary labours of Felix Neff until the glorious sunset came on, not so brightly splendid as on some former evenings, but a peaceful quiet beauty sun as lingers in the memory and speaks to the heart of a Heavenly Father’s love. A pure rich lilac encircled the dark massive clouds through which the sun had sunk into the sea like a burning ship and here and there were vistas of such lovely hues as both words and colours would fail to describe. My meditation however suffered a rude interruption for the sailors clambering into the boat to unfasten the awning from the davits, the boat swayed to one side, pinning me by the leg between the suspending chains and the boat seat: at length however I was released and was glad to jump upon deck again. Sat on deck alone in the evening by starlight, and went early to bed after one of the happiest Sundays which I have spent on board.
Monday 16th April
Up at six, in time to see the last beauties of the sunrise. Got out forty Prayer Books for Mr Bonney who wished them for the children of his Sunday School at Perth, and put up with them twenty books of Family Prayer and twelve Books of Homilies. Today the Captain was good enough to explain to me the way in which the Latitude is taken. At noon the altitude or angular elevation is measured by the Sextant an instrument with two Reflectors one of which is attached to a moveable Index which being shifted by the hand the reflected image of the sun is brought to a level with the horizon. The amount of that angular elevation with an allowance for dip refraction &c. is then deducted from 90 (the number of degrees in a right angle), giving the solar distance from the zenith (the point directly overhead) and from this is deduced the sun’s Declination or distance Northward or Southward from the Equator which is ascertained from the Nautical Almanack, and the remainder gives the latitude. Thus today:
|The sun’s observed altitude was||71º||18’||North|
|Add allowance for refraction &c.||12’|
|Making true altitude||71º||30’|
|Which deducted from||90º|
|Leaves zenith distance||18º||30’|
|Deduct sun’s Declination||10º||3’|
Tuesday 17th April
Upon deck by ¼ to 6, in time to see the sun rise, which, as we are so near the Equator is of course at nearly the same hour as the sunset. Had a salt-water bath, and came down to dress, then read in the life-boat until breakfast. While writing below after dinner Johnny the Captain’s boy brought me a letter purporting to be “from one of my pupils”, but which proved to be a doggerel description of our voyage written, as it obvious from the author’s knowledge of certain facts, by one of the Cabin-passengers. Went up and read it aloud on deck, much to the general amusement: it ran as follows:
In humble rhyme I tell my tale
From Liverpool our ship did sail
And down the Channel bore:
I only tell you simple facts
We got along by making tacks
And shunning either shore.
Our hearts were sad, our stomachs weak
Some could not eat, and some not speak
And pipes were put away
With timid steps we paced the deck
At risk of breaking limbs or neck
While passing Biscay’s Bay.
Soon we encountered heavy gales
Which broke our mast and split our sails;
T’was at the Equinox:
One charming lady, all through fright
Did not lie down the livelong night
But sat upon her box.
In spite of all time quickly passed
We shifted jib, rigged up the mast
Madeira hove in sight
No oranges or plantains came
The lazy natives we did blame
And vowed it was not right.
On tenth of April, noted day,
Occurred a rather awkward pay
The sailors raised a riot:
The Captain nobly stood his ground
And matters were at length brought round
And all again was quiet.
And now at last the line we’ve crossed
A dozen days or more we’ve lost
But still we’ll hope the best:
So here’s success to all on board
And may the Blanche Moore soon be moored
Of Williamstown abreast.
Another beautiful sunset and bright starlight night. Lay for an hour on the top of the wheelhouse, before turning in.
Wednesday 18th April
Borrowed a large scale drawing of the ship from the Captain, and made a reduced copy of it and afterwards coming on deck relieved Aspinwall who was reading Macaulay aloud. After dinner read to the ladies several of Mrs Stowe’s little sketches The Canal boat, which was in respects amusingly appropriate, The Seamstress, Father Morris and Little Edward. At half past ten P.M. Mrs Gorse 1st Intermediate Cabin passenger was delivered of a fine boy.
Thursday 19th April
Borrowed the Captain’s Chart of the South Atlantic and made a copy of it, reducing it to the same scale as that of the North Atlantic which I copied before. We are today in the Latitude parallel with St. Helena, only much further to the Westward, indeed as I was surprised to find within two days’ sail of South America. It seems odd that we should so nearly have crossed the Atlantic for nothing, but the Captain says it is usual for sailing-vessels to go even further to the Westward, the Trade-winds compelling the deviation. It was in this Latitude, though further from land, that Captain James Ross sounded with the plummet without touching bottom, 27,600 feet, a depth equal to the elevation of Dhawalaghiri (in the Himalaya range), the highest mountain in the world.[iii] Read Macaulay aloud on deck from lunch-time until dinner and some of Holmes’s pieces after dinner. Warmer today.
Friday 20th April
Sketched a group of deck passengers taking their supply of water at the tank-pump before breakfast. Engaged nearly the whole day drawing & writing.
Saturday 21st April
Occupied all morning writing & copying a Sermon on the text “Abide with us for it is toward evening and the day is far spent”. A dead calm all day: rain came on about six and in the evening it was quite rough.
Sunday 22nd April
Added another Clause to the Sermon before breakfast. About ten the Captain came in and said he thought it would be better to have Service in the Saloon and that we might as well invite the Deck-passengers in. The bell being rung several respectable Deck-passengers came in and the Saloon was well filled, Johnny having been furnished with Notices to put up in each Cabin. Read the Service and Sermon standing at the head of the table: the whole was attentively listened to. Indeed I prefer the Services in the Saloon to those on deck: they are more quiet and orderly and the responses more audible. The Psalm for the day, the 100th, is peculiarly appropriate: it is one of those appointed to be read at sea. Went round with Tracts about half past twelve and distributed about a hundred single ones, all being gladly received as before. I noticed however that one man who I recognised as part of the Atheist set who held out his hand for one took it with a concealed sneer. Knowing the man I gave him a Tract which contained not man’s words but the Saviour’s own words of truth and wisdom, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I have made it a general rule not to give to any but those who ask for him, as it might be supposed that they will in that case at any rate read them, but I have since been informed that some Roman Catholics tear them to pieces as soon as my back in turned. Thus do those who believe too little, and those who believe too much conspire to ridicule and reject the truth. On deck after dinner till the rain drove us down about 5.30. Read aloud The Pastor of Gegenberg, and afterwards two of Mrs Stowe’s little Books, So many calls and What should we do without the Bible? Among the listeners was A. who a day or two before had shewn me a short piece of sacred poetry, written as he told me when he had a “serious fit” about twelve years ago. I looked at him as I read the words “Do you remember, fifteen years since, when you felt yourself so lost, so helpless, so hopeless, when you spent day and night in prayer, when you thought you would have given the world for one hour’s assurance that your sins were forgiven you? Who listened to you then?” He was shading his brow with his hand, and as I finished the story I saw him wipe his eyes, glancing at me to see if I had observed him. Shortly afterwards Mr Bonney came out of his Cabin and asked me if I could give him one of the little Books which I had been reading: he had been listening, he said, in his Cabin where he could hear very well.
Monday 23rd April
While on deck before breakfast examined the connecting apparatus of the wheel and rudder. The method by which the perpendicular rotation of the wheel is converted into the vertical rotation of the rudder is simple but ingenious. After breakfast read Macaulay aloud to the ladies on deck, until Aspinwall came up: then gave up the Book to him and sketched the group. Today we are out of Tropics, the limit of which is 23½º on either side of the Equator, and the weather is getting sensibly colder. During the last day or two a number of sea birds have been following the ship from the huge white albatross, the largest of all aquatic birds, to the graceful little petrel, the smallest of the web-footed tribe, which is not more than six inches in length. The most numerous were of a kind called by the sailors “the brown albatross”, a large creature of a sooty colour with wings eight or ten feet in length from tip to tip. The wings of the white albatross sometimes measure, when extended, fifteen feet, and their weight often exceeds 20 lb. Although of course they are much lighter in proportion to their size than land-birds. Mr Harte described one which was caught in his outward voyage in the Adelaide as being as large as a swan, and filling when stuffed a box 2 or 3 feet square. They are caught with a hook and line with a bait of fat pork as sharks are. The strength of wing of all these birds must be very great as they are seen for so long a time together at such a distance from land it is clear their resting place during the night must be on the surface of the water, where indeed we have sometimes noticed them reposing for a minute with extended wings. Occasionally when something unusually attractive is thrown overboard from the vessel, a flock of them will come down with a swoop into the water to see what it is, and half of them perhaps dive after the pieces of biscuit &c. sinking slowly to the bottom.
Wednesday 25th April
Studied a little Trigonometry as applicable to the measurement of terrestrial and celestial bodies from a book lent to me by Gilchrist. Read some of Longfellow’s pieces to the ladies after dinner upon deck.
Friday 27th April
Occupied until breakfast and afterwards until about 12 o’clock writing a Sermon on the Text “Feed my lambs”. Marked my Chart from a Table of the Lat. and Long. kindly extracted for me by the Captain from the Ship’s Log. The evenings now begin to draw in rapidly: today, the weather, being dull, it became too dark to read about five o’clock.
Saturday 28th April
Finished the Sermon during the quiet time before breakfast, and copied it in the course of the morning. Read Hughes’s Australian Colonies aloud in the afternoon, Macaulay having been finished. Walked on deck by moonlight after tea, with Harte, and afterwards played at Chess with Aspinwall.
Sunday 29th April
Service in the Saloon which was well-filled with an orderly and attentive congregation. The ship rolled a good deal so that I had occasionally some difficulty in keeping my feet, but managed to get through without pause or interruption by planting my back firmly against the end of the Saloon. We have not as yet attempted singing. Read Abbeokuta the greater part of the afternoon, went round the decks about two o’clock and has some interesting conversations with some of the passengers. Attempted singing in the evening with three or four of the ladies and others. On the whole we got on fairly, but wanted more “body” of voice.
Monday 30th April
Busily occupied the whole morning in reading, writing and drawing, so that when the bell rang for dinner at three I could hardly believe it was more than lunch-time. While on deck after dinner sketched the sailors “bending”, that is hoisting up and unfurling, the “mizen royal” or highest sail but one (the sky-sail) on the mizen-mast. Made an extract in Common-place-book from a useful work belonging to Mr Overbury on the Use of the Globes.
Tuesday 1st May
Sketched pumping the ship before breakfast. The sailors accompany this and almost every other employment with a song, the tunefulness of which appears not to be of much importance provided it have a good chorus. One of the least musical has a burden:
Yankee boys have won the day
On the plains of Mexico
With a hi jig-a-jig &c.
Borrowed from the Captain his Charts of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans and made a Chart of our course on five sheets of Cartridge.
Wednesday 2nd May
Worked at Chart before and after breakfast, adding to the views with which it was illustrated one of St. Helena from descriptions given by Mr Harte as I drew and coloured it. Watched after dinner the process of “heaving the log” which is thus described in the Captain’s Epitome of Navigation, which he kindly brought in to shew me the rule for calculating the day’s run and average course of the ship from her daily positions. “The reel being held by one man and the half-minute glass by another, the Officer of the watch throws the log over the ship’s quarter on the lee side, which swimming perpendicularly remains stationary, and when he observes the first mark going over the ship’s side which is usually a red rag at the distance of 10 or 12 fathoms from the log (that quantity, called stray line, being allowed to carry the log out of the eddy of the ship’s wake) he gives notice to the man who holds the glass to turn it, and as soon as the sand in the glass is run out, the line is immediately stopped, then the number of knots and fathoms which had run off at the expiration of the glass being considered as miles and parts, gives the rate at which the ship is running.” I was interested this evening in tracing the causes of the winds which have carried us so far to the Westward, our farthest point in that direction (viz. 34º 3’ West. Long. on April 24th) being within a degree of the most eastern meridian of South America. The heated air of the Tropics ascending continually is replaced by colder air from the Northern and Southern Latitudes. Northerly and Southerly currents are thus formed, but as the revolution of the Earth near the Equator is so much more rapid than it is near the poles, these currents are, as it were left behind, and thus take a direction opposite to that of the Earth’s rotation, viz. Westward.
Thursday 3rd May
A hazy morning so that the Latitude could not be taken by the sun but had to be calculated by dead reckoning. Read Hughes’s Australia aloud the greater part of the morning. Copied sketches on the Chart and the Captain coming in lent me a Sailing Directory of the South Atlantic from which in the evening I made extracts.
Friday 4th May
Passed today the Meridian of London so that the ship’s time, after having crept slowly behind that of our friends in England until April 24th when we began again to gain on them, is now the same with theirs. After today we shall be “going ahead”, faster and faster as the degrees of longitude approach nearer together, in our course to the Eastward, until at Melbourne (145º East Long.) we shall be 9 hours 40 min. in advance, and at Sydney (151º 12’ E. Long.) 10 hours 4 min. 48 sec. The variation is very easily reckoned merely by dividing the longitude by 15: or still more easily by multiplying it by 4 (4x15=60), the reason being that the circumference of the globe being divided into 360 degrees, and the day into 24 hours, the sun must, obviously, pass through 15 degrees in every hour. An hour is therefore equal to 15 degrees. For East Longitude the variation is, of course, “fast” and for West Longitude, “slow”, the distance being in the one case towards, and in the other case from, the sunrise.
Saturday 5th May
Wrote a Sermon for tomorrow on the Text “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God” founding it to some extent upon a Sketch in Stow’s Bible Lessons. Afterwards read Hughes’s Australia aloud, with intervals of conversation with Mr Bonney about the Colonies. We have very fair opportunity of gathering information about most countries of the world, within the limits of the Saloon. The Captain has been many voyages to India, China and Australia; Mr Bonney has resided for many years in Van Dieman’s Land; Mr Harte has been a year of two at Melbourne, and Mr Walmsley has been both at Melbourne and the diggings besides residing for three years in Newfoundland and visiting South America. Gilchrist has been some years in India and has visited (as Harte has also) the Cape and St. Helena and the Miss Bews have been resident in India, Malta and Corfu; Mr Hausheer, who was born in Zurich, resided for three years in Venice and has visited Rome and Mr Joiner lived for three years in New York. Most of these being intelligent persons, we are seldom at a loss for interesting conversation.
Sunday 6th May
A rather dull morning. Service as before in the Saloon at ¼ to 11: forms being placed along the sides of the Saloon which was well filled. Read, instead of the Litany, the part of the Communion Service to the Nicene Creed with the Collect, Gospel and Epistle. Sitting afterwards in the wheelhouse with Harte & Walmsley the conversation turned naturally upon Africa whose shores we are now so near. Mr Walmsley told us that he was at School at Liverpool with the son of the King of Benin (see the Map of the Yoruba country in Miss Tucker’s Abbeokuta) who was being educated at the private expense of Mr. W’s uncle, a merchant at Liverpool, and that he displayed considerable ability, but has since turned out a drunken fellow and behaves very badly to the traders who frequent his country. This result however is not surprising when it is added that he came to England at the age of 15, and remained there only two years. Had he been “caught young” as Dr Johnson says of Scotchmen there might have been some chance for him. His native name was Teah, but his schoolfellows called him “Cupid”, which he not liking altered to Cubitt: his present name therefore is William Cubitt Teah. The school was a private one kept by a Dissenting Minister named Byrom. Mr W. also told us that another Liverpool merchant named Harrison had undertaken the education of another child of Africa, the son of the King of Bonny, whom he has taught at his own house by a private tutor, and attended by two native servants, so that it may be hoped he may turn out better than poor Teah, who seems to have run wild a good deal even when in England. Went down after dinner below decks with almonds and raisins for some of my youngsters and while there one of the passengers offered me the load of a Book The Journal of a Deputation from the Weslyan Conference to Australia and Polynesia and bringing it up began to read extracts from it in the Saloon. Amongst those at the table was Mr Harte who after listening for some time asked whether the author did not go out in the Adelaide. I found that he did, when Harte at once recognised him as one of his fellow passengers on the outward voyage, so that he was able to corroborate his narrative and add many interesting particulars. Mr Young sailed originally on the 15th October 1852 in the Melbourne Screw Steamer which was subsequently obliged to put in for repairs at Lisbon where, the ship being pronounced unseaworthy Mr Young and several other of the passengers returned to England and came out again in the Adelaide which sailed on January 5th 1853 when Harte was his fellow-passenger. The Adelaide put in for coals and provisions both at St. Helena and the Cape. Mr Harte gives glowing descriptions of his visits to both places, and Mr Young also seems from his book to have enjoyed his stay especially at the Cape where he met with a kind reception from some brother ministers. An evening was spent very pleasantly in reading this book aloud with occasional conversation upon its contents. It is a little singular that Harte while walking on deck with Aspinwall and myself before dinner this morning referring to his former voyage, mentioned incidentally his fellow passenger Mr Young. The description given by both of the miseries and discomforts of their voyage seem to reconcile many of our fellow-passengers to our own far lesser inconveniences.
Monday 7th May
Went below after breakfast to give Harry Pace a little fellow seven years a reading-lesson his Mother having yesterday asked me to do so. Sketched one of the deck-passengers taking a photographic likeness. The rolling of the ship, unless violent, does not interfere with the process as the object moves uniformly with the Camera, and the portraits taken on board which I saw were very fair specimens. Read aloud for an hour, and at two o’clock changed the Library Books at the Capstan. The children are frequently asking me whether I am going to begin School again, and I should certainly much like to renew the attempt, but on going below to investigate I found the Cabin in such a scene of confusion that I saw at once that it would be hopeless. In the hot weather the passengers were chiefly on deck, but now the cold weather drives them down below, and every available corner is occupied. One interesting looking boy who was watching the books longingly told me that his name was Charles Rollins, that he was from Birmingham & was going out with his mother to join his father at Melbourne. He could not read, as though only eleven years old he had left school some years before to go to work. He lived in Hampton St. and had been to St. George’s National School and since then worked at [blank] Factory. In the Captain’s Sailing Directory of the South Atlantic (1829) I met this evening with the following account of the King of Benin: “The King of Benin is fetishe (sacred) and the principal object of adoration in his dominions. He occupies a higher post than the Roman Pontiff in Catholic Europe, and is considered not only as the Viceregent of Deity but as Deity himself whose subjects both obey and adore him as such. But with all his fine attributes he seems generally to have treated the Europeans with courtesy especially those armed with acceptable presents. The King and his courtiers are ostentatious in their dress, wearing damask, taffety and cuttance after the country fashion.”
Tuesday 8th May
Had some interesting conversation on deck in the evening with one of the apprentices (Powell) a lad of superior education and intelligence. He belongs to Liverpool but was for three years at the Universities of Dunkirk and Nancy and speaks French very fairly. He went to sea he told me contrary to the wishes of his mother, and now regrets too late, not having listened to her counsel. A heavy cloud to leeward with its dark shadow in the water, between 10 and 11 P.M. bore the exact resemblance of land in the horizon and as happened that a chart belonging to one of us had islands marked in our immediate vicinity we might, if we have not felt complete confidence in our Captain, have felt a little nervous.
Wednesday 9th May
About one P.M. the Captain called us up on deck to see a Shoal of Porpoises which were skimming around the ship in all directions, frequently leaping out of the water for the length of two or three yards. The sailors say on such occasions that the porpoises are having a wedding and indeed they looked merry enough in their bright brown coats and silvery white waistcoats. In all probability they were in chase of flying fish, a few of which, much larger than those we had seen before, were also near us. One which I noticed flew above the water for a distance of 150 or 200 yards & I distinctly saw its fins fluttering as it skimmed along though it has been denied that this ever takes place. No doubt some greedy monster of the deep was in hot pursuit of it. Maunder says of the porpoise that they “are believed to act in concert when in pursuit of their prey driving them towards their ambush with all the art of a well-trained dog”.
Thursday 10th May
Read aloud the greater part of the morning (after lessons with Harry Pace which I have continued daily from Monday last until the end of the voyage), Aspinwall kindly checking for me in the meanwhile the calculations of the daily variation of ship’s time. Extracted from Reid’s Law of Storms (1846) the following account of a waterspout, the sketch given of which corresponds very much with the appearances which we noticed on April 9th except that we were not near enough to it to notice the whirlpool in the water which Col. Reid describes: “The day had been very sultry and in the afternoon a long arch of heavy cumuli and nimbi rose slowly above the Southern horizon. While watching its movement a waterspout began to form on the underside of the arch that was darker than the rest of the line. A thin cone first appeared which gradually became elongated and was shortly joined with several others which went on increasing in length and bulk until the columns had reached about halfway down towards the horizon. They here united & formed one immense dark-coloured tube. The sea beneath which had been hitherto undisturbed, but when the columns united it became perceptibly agitated and almost immediately became whirled in the air with a rapid gyration and formed a vast basin from the centre of which the gradually-lengthening column seemed to drink fresh supplies of water. The column had extended itself about two-thirds of the way towards the sea and had nearly connected itself with the basin when a heavy shower of rain fell from the right of the arch at a short distance from the spout, and shortly after another fell from the opposite side. This discharge appeared to have an effect upon the waterspout which now began to retire and in a few more minutes had entirely disappeared. The waterspout was seen in 20’ N. & 22º W.” (From the Journal of Capt. Beechey of H.M.S. Blossom.)
Friday 11th May
Copied into Table the daily record of wind and weather extracted for me by the Captain and made a drawing of his Sympiesometer, which is a kind of delicate Barometer for ascertaining the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. It consists of a Tube similar to that of the ordinary Barometer, containing Spirits of Wine. By the side of this there is a slide of wood or ivory on which are marked the words “Rain, Change, and Fair” as on the Barometer, with their corresponding numbers. This slide is capable of being moved up or down by the handle so as to be adjusted to a number on the scale behind it, corresponding to the temperature as indicated by the Thermometer. The degree on the slide at which the Spirits in the Tube stand will indicate the amount of atmospherical moisture. At the foot of the instrument is a moveable index by which the observation can be recorded for comparison with any future observation. Read aloud alternately with Aspinwall. Talked for a time on the main deck with Peter Dodd’s mother: she had lost successively her husband, her only daughter, her second son and lastly her eldest son and now only Peter was left. The death of the eldest son who had succeeded to his father’s business as a Carpenter had driven her at last from her home which was in a village near Dunse in Scotland: “it was a sair flitting”, she said, but she put her trust in the Almighty. Her married sister, the mother of John Cuthbertson, another of my boys & her sister’s daughter, also the mother of one of my children, Mary Anne McDougal, were with her. This going out in families is quite Scotchlike.
Saturday 12th May
Worked nearly all day at a Sermon on the Text “Beware that Thou forget not the Lord thy God” from the second Lesson for tomorrow’s Service (Deut. VIII.) a peculiarly appropriate Chapter for Australian emigrants describing as it does the “Land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of oil, olive and honey: a land wherein bread may be eaten without scarceness, a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass”, and warning [the] emigrant to “beware lest, when his herds and flocks are multiplied and his silver and gold is multiplied and all that he has is multiplied”, his “heart be lifted up and he forget God”.
Sunday 13th May
Squally and rough during the night so that we had little sleep and were most of us late at breakfast. Some disturbance was soon afterwards created in consequence of some of the deck passengers having stolen two hams, on which account their cabins were searched but nothing was seen or heard of the hams until a day or two after when the bones, well picked and polished, were hung to the handle of the Purser’s door. The troubles of the morning were however not yet over for the Steward ringing the poop bell for Service with unnecessary energy, cracked it, so that the Mate has ever since had to sing out the hours from the end of the poop and have them struck on the bell at the forecastle. The congregation in the Saloon was not quite so large as usual but very devout and attentive. We continue to enjoy very greatly these quiet morning services: all who attend them seem to have participated in the feeling and I am frequently thanked for the share I have taken in carrying them on, though, as might be expected there are others who hold aloof, some sneering at what they call “playing at Church”. Went round with Tracts soon after service and distributed nearly all the remainder of the single sheet Tracts: they were as before thankfully received. One man only took one with a manner which induced me to say “Don’t take it if you’re not going to read it”. “Of course,” he replied, “that’s what we take them for.” “Well,” I said, “you did not seem to think it worth the civility of an acknowledgement.” He looked ashamed and the others who were standing by thanked me with much civility for those which I gave them. As soon as it was dark, which it is now about five o’clock, went below from walking with the ladies on deck and read aloud Mr Young’s Book, including his visits to Sydney, New Zealand and Tongabatoo, until bedtime with the interval of tea. Rail and hail came on about 8 P.M.
Monday 14th May
The Captain told us that the deck was covered with hail when he went up at seven o’clock and about 11 o’clock we had another hailstorm. We feel the cold a good deal, the thermometer having fallen more than 40 degrees in less than the same number of days, viz: from 86º on April 10th to 45½º today. This is by the thermometer in the Captain’s Cabin, on deck it is probably ten degrees colder. The ship rolled heavily all night, though unfortunately we were making little or no progress; & the studding sails dipped into the sea on either side bringing up bucketsful of water. Occupied the greater part of the day in copying Table of our voyage. Read aloud and afterwards played at Chess in the evening.
Tuesday 15th May
Snow during the night. A sperm whale seen about 10.30 while I was below giving a lesson to Harry Pace, which I have continued to do every morning after breakfast. He is an intelligent little fellow and always gives a good account of what we have been reading, in his own words, after I have shut the Book. We have been through together the greater part of the narrative portions of St. Luke, and who knows but the seed thus sown may spring up and bear fruit? I could not help thinking of him as I read in the second lesson for Sun. the 20th the words: “Whoso shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me”. (Matt. XVIII.5.) In the course of the morning the Captain kindly explained to me the rule, which I had been puzzling over the day before, for discovering the ship’s daily course & distances from the latitude and longitude: worked at it while Aspinwall read aloud. Made an extract in the afternoon of the Statistics of Religious Denominations in New South Wales. Played a good game at Chess with Mr Hausheer, who beat me.
Wednesday 16th May
Began to put pegs in my Chessmen to fix them in the board while playing, the rolling of the ship having frequently hitherto disconcerted some elaborate games, and half a dozen others coming to my assistance the whole were quickly completed. The wind blowing today nearly directly from the South Pole, and no doubt over fields of ice, it is piercingly cold, and on deck running, racing, hopping, jumping are the order of the day to keep the blood in circulation. Finished Extracts from the Captain’s Sailing Directory and made up Journal.
Thursday 17th May
Worked all morning and afternoon at a Sermon on the Text “Lift up your heads” and following verses (Ps. XXII. 7-10.) on the subject of the Ascension. A lovely day, so that it was almost impossible to feel annoyed though it was nearly a dead calm and we were making little or no progress. This morning the Captain in consequence of the late rising of divers of the passengers, put up a Notice in the Saloon to the effect that “in order to check the increasing epidemic, a cup of coffee or tea, according to the taste of the sufferer would be poured out upon the breakfast table for each patient who is to proceed there personally, unless unable to do so when the Doctor’s Certificate to that effect is to be produced; and that in order the patients may have the full benefit of the restorative, early attendance is recommended before it becomes cold or is capsized by the rolling of the vessel.” My neighbour at the dinner-table Mr Walmsley told us today that he was six months at the diggings and cleared after paying his expenses 50oz. of gold which he sold for about £4 an oz. part in the Colony and part in London. Usually more is given for gold in London than in the Colony but when Mr W. left Australia in July last it was selling at £4.1.1 per oz. and fetched in London only £4, the reason of this being that a large Melbourne trader was making an effort to annihilate the smaller gold-jobbers. Mr W. added that he would not go again to the diggings if he were [not] certain of getting £1,000, such were the hardships and uncertainty of the digger’s life. Read aloud and played Chess in the evening. We have crossed today the Meridian of Mauritius and I have been wondering whether the good Bishop has arrived there yet.
Friday 18th May
In the afternoon Pugh one of the Deck-passengers who has been Reporter to a Newspaper brought me in what he called The Blanche Moore Fly Sheet. Read it aloud in the Saloon to the amusement of the party in which the Captain, who came in at the time, participated, notwithstanding that there were in it some hard hits at the administration of affairs on board. The production shewed, on the whole, considerable ability, but there was nothing in it which I considered it worthwhile to extract.
Saturday 19th May
Practised the Morning Hymn for tomorrow with some of the Deck-passengers. After copying the Sermon went on with my Journal while Aspinwall read Rokeby aloud. Had a long walk on deck after dinner with two of the ladies. At tea Mr W. speaking of the interior of Australia told me that after he had been a stockman for about three months he, with three others, assisted during part of the way by a couple of natives, drove a herd of 2,000 cattle from Moreton Bay to the Cattle yards at Hemington near Melbourne. The journey occupied nine weeks and eighty of the cattle died on the way. He was frequently he said in the saddle for two days together and was sometimes so wearied especially with handling the heavy stock-whip as to be scarcely able to unbuckle the girth of his saddle when he alighted. Mr W’s history seems to be a somewhat varied and curious one. He was educated for a time in Ireland by a man of superior intelligence who had once been a Jesuit and a priest of the Church of Rome, but had broken away from the Church by marrying (and as Mr W. thinks believed sincerely in the Bible). After prosecuting his medical studies he took the post of Assistant-Surgeon on board a Government Vessel employed to guard the fisheries of Newfoundland, and was cruising about those coasts for some years being engaged in surveying for the Submarine Telegraph now laid down between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. He has since been as we have seen an Australian stock-man and gold-digger and is now taking out his young wife to New Zealand. I should have supposed his age, from personal appearance, to be nearly 40, but was amazed to hear that he is only 23, so that he must have begin life early indeed. A remarkable coincidence which he mentioned was that when near Boston on one occasion he met, accidentally on the road, with his former Tutor and found that he had left Ireland, where Mr W. had left him apparently settled, and had taken a farm in that neighbourhood.
Sunday 20th May
Service as usual at a quarter to eleven the congregation good and the responses well given. The Morning Hymn went off exceedingly well and everyone seemed to enjoy the Service fully. Read aloud for an hour on deck the sun having come out and the weather being much milder. Had some interesting conversation with some of the Deck-passengers: one of them told me how anxious one of the children who belonged to the same Cabin, had been to come to my Class, asking when “the gentleman who talked about Jesus” was going to come down again. Just as twilight was coming on, of which we have now much more than when we were in the tropics, a Capo pigeon was caught by entangling its wings in a line which was towed from the Stern, so that it was brought on deck uninjured. When placed on the deck it could not rise but shuffled along on its webbed feet with the help of its long wings with considerable rapidity till it came to the end of the poop where it was caught again. When teased the creature spat from its mouth a liquid very like train oil. It was a pretty bird with a head very like an English pigeon, the body is larger but very light weighing about 1lb., the back and wings black and white like a magpie. Length of the wings from tip to tip 2ft. 10¼in. Read Mr Young’s Book aloud in the evening.
Monday 21st May
Went on with Journal reading Marmion aloud alternately with Aspinwall. Walked on deck after dinner with the ladies, and changed the Library Books at the Capstan. Copied Sketch & account of the riot on April 10th for Mr Bonney. After a game at Chess in the evening with Hausheer walked on deck with Harte, and when talking of our arrangements for landing he very kindly offered to let me send the whole of my luggage to his store and keep it there during my stay in Melbourne. This is a great relief to my mind for I have been wondering what I should do with it at all, as there is at least two dray-loads, and carting it to Heidelberg would cost £3 or £4 while warehousing it with a stranger would probably be more expensive.
Wednesday 23rd May
Went on with Table of Voyage. Several other passengers have now commenced similar Tales: Mr Overbury was the first who copied mine, then Aspinwall, Joiner, Harte, Gilchrist (who is 21 years old today) and Hausheer, so that we have quite a busy party round the Saloon Table. Over and over again they have asked me to read my Journal aloud or to lend it to them, but this I have thought it better to decline (though I have given to several extracts of the leading events) telling them jokingly that they would see it when it is published. Played round games (How do you like it? and others) with the ladies in the evening, after which some Scotch songs, concluding with the Evening Hymn.
Friday 25th May
Occupied all morning and afternoon writing a Sermon on “The Gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts X. 45.) for Sunday next, Whitsunday. At tea time word was brought up that a child between decks had broken its arm, and while we were cutting a couple of splints of millboard for the Doctor, I was told that the accident had taken place in consequence of one of my boxes in the Storeroom having broken away and fallen upon the little fellow. On going down found that this had happened from the boxes having been imperfectly lashed down, and the rolling of the ship, which has been for the last day or two unusually violent in consequence of the heavy swell, having thrown them over. It was well indeed that the accident was not more serious for I found my large chest thrown over on the floor, from which heavy as it is it ought not to have been lifted, and the lid of another box which had also fallen, broken by the collision. One of the apprentices said that if he had not been there to drag the child away he would have been crushed to death. The little fellow was only three years old, and as the bone was forthwith set by the Doctor the fracture will probably soon be healed.
Saturday 26th May
Learned after breakfast for the first time that a young man below, Duncan Campbell from Argyllshire, was dangerously ill with inflammation on the brain, and was now thought to be dying. On going down forthwith to see him I found the spirit had departed an hour before, and the only brother of the poor fellow was hanging over the lifeless body in an agony of grief and kissing the lips yet warm with recent life. I could not but reproach myself for not having known earlier of the poor fellow’s condition, as though the Doctor has always assured me when I have enquired that no one was dangerously ill, yet had I been more among the Deck-passengers of late I might surely have heard of it. Shortly after I had returned to the Saloon the Doctor brought me a message from the Captain asking me to read the Funeral Service over the remains which were to be committed to the deep the same afternoon … The scene was solemn and affecting and one which being new to most of the passengers excited a melancholy interest among them. The body was being brought by the Sailors from below, laid on a broad plank and covered with the Union Jack as I came with the Captain from the Saloon and was taken to the ship’s side where a gangway had been opened in the bulwarks of the main deck, and there supported by three or four of the Crew while the Service was being read, the bell tolling meanwhile at solemn intervals. At the words “we therefore commit his body to the deep” the end of the plank was lifted and the lifeless remains which were loaded with a heavy stone at the feet, fell into the foaming well with a splash which was scarcely audible amid the roar of the waters. By the Captain’s wish I omitted the Chapter I Cor XV. So as not to make the service too long. Occupied the interval before dinner in visiting a wounded sailor who had been savagely kicked by one of his comrades about three weeks ago: (Read a Chapter to him to which he listened attentively and seemed glad to see me.) his ribs and hip being hurt severely so that after limping about for some time on deck he was at last laid up. About 9 P.M. the second addition to our passengers was made in the shape of a fine boy: the mother being Mrs Faulkner, a passenger in the 3rd Interm. Cabin: we could distinctly hear the crying of the child up the Ventilator which communicated with the Hospital and passes through the Saloon to the skylights on deck.
Sunday 27th May
Service as usual at a quarter to eleven. Sang the 34th Psalm “Through all the changing scenes of life”. Visited the sailor with Mr Bonney and read a Chapter to him: a party of the crew who came in to see how their comrade was getting on seemed to appreciate our sympathy, placed a seat for me close to his berth and listened attentively while I read. Poor fellows: it is little religious instruction that they get. Mr Young relates in his book that one of the sailors on board the Adelaide told him that he had not been at any place of worship for fourteen years, as when on shore, which was very seldom the case, he was so fatigued that he went to bed on the Sabbath to sleep and when on board he had no opportunity being generally at work when Church was performed. When he complained he was told “it was of no use for sailors to attend Church, as they had no souls, they were only gizzards”. Conversed with the brother of the poor fellow who died yesterday. He says that his brother became aware of his dying condition only the day before (Friday) and then turned his face away and would not hold any conversation with him. I could gather nothing satisfactory as to the state of his mind. Recommended the brother to read that beautiful resurrection-chapter I Cor. XV. when he took a Bible from his pocket and I read the Chapter aloud, the other passengers at the table drawing near to listen. After reading aloud for an hour in the evening singing was proposed and we attempted several hymns but none very successfully except “Jerusalem my happy home” to a pretty tune raised by the ladies.
Monday 28th May
Found Peter Dodd’s mother, the Scotchwoman with whom I had previously had some conversation ill in her bed with asthma, and promised to ask the Doctor to have her removed to the Hospital which is comparatively airy and capacious, which he readily agreed to. Copied two small Maps shewing our course: gave one to Miss C. and lend the other to Aspinwall to copy. A very rough day, the wind blowing hard aft, and a heavy swell following us occasioning a great deal of rolling and some heavy seas over the decks. Notwithstanding three of the ladies ventured on the poop. Sketched the crew reefing the main top sail, all hands being on deck, the first time for many weeks and twenty four of them on the main-top-yard in a row. I counted forty two, including some of the passengers, at a single rope. The rougher the weather is the harder these poor fellows have to work. Read Scott’s Abbot aloud before tea. Journal in the evening.
Tuesday 29th May
A bright and beautiful day: the sun shining cheerfully and the breeze fresh and exhilarating. Such is the weather we are told of many winter days in Australia, and indeed no one could wish for any more delightful. As we breasted Cape Leeuwin last night and are today within a day’s sail of King George’s Sound we may venture to consider ourselves as within the atmosphere of our new home, and to congratulate ourselves accordingly. Wrote the greater part of the morning in my own Cabin, copying Journal & extracting Observations from the Captain’s book. Read Guyot’s Physical Geography in the evening.
Wednesday 30th May
Rainy and a head wind. Wrote in the Saloon till about two, then went on deck for a time and read until dinner. Read aloud for a short time before tea. In the evening while watching the motion of one of the swing lamps in the Saloon thought of contriving an Indicator for shewing the inclination of the vessel in her rolling to and fro, which I proceeded to carry into execution by pinning to a partition running athwart-ships a sheet of paper marked with a segment of a circle graduated from zero to 45º in either direction. From a pin at the centre was suspended a conical rifle-bullet the movement of which along the segment shewed the dip of the Vessel in the opposite direction. The average inclination I found to be about 20º: occasionally the pendulum moved up to 33º and 35º but about 11.30 a tremendous lurch, the effect of which we afterwards learned was to stove in the partition of the store-room below besides capsizing half the loose contents of the vessel in nearly every other part of it, carried the pendulum up to an unknown angle. As soon as I had recovered my own equilibrium sufficiently to be able to notice the Indicator (our cabin-light as it happened not having been extinguished) the pendulum was returning past the figure 40: so that the dip could not have been much less than 45º.
Thursday 31st May
A bright and beautiful day, but unfortunately a dead calm. Occupied all the morning in my own cabin writing a Sermon for Sunday. Walked on deck after dinner with two of the ladies. Just before we came down the ship “yawed” completely round so that the moon seemed to change sides and an empty barrel which was floating astern passed by us again towards the ship’s head. Finished in the evening copying Journal up to yesterday’s date. The moon full tonight: on deck until nearly twelve.
Friday 1st June
Mr Bonney while I was walking with him on deck this morning amused me with some of his colonial anecdotes. One was of a clergyman, the late Rev. John Youl, who many years ago visited New Zealand with another Missionary. They were both seized by the natives Mr Youl’s companion was killed and eaten and he himself “kept to fatten”. The cannibals however were so ill-judging and short-sighted as to feed their reverend captive on bad fish and other similar food a kind of fare on which he naturally refused to get fat at all, and the savages considering the case a hopeless one at length agreed to let him go on condition of his shaving 100 of them (that is their heads it may be presumed) which he did with one of the Cannibals standing over him meanwhile with a Tomahawk. Mr Y. was a very nervous man and was generally unable to shave his own chin without cutting himself but on the present occasion he acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of the natives, and was accordingly liberated very much no doubt to his own. Another was of the Rev. Dr Bedford, Senior Chaplain at Hobart Town, and one which illustrates the hardening effect upon even a refined and educated mind of repeatedly witnessing such scenes as public executions. On one occasion nine men were to be hung. Dr B. on arriving at the gallows which were not calculated for so large a number, pleasantly remarked to the wretched victims “Well my men, you’ll be rather crowded this morning; nine’s a little too many but eight might hang very comfortably”. Whatever may be said of the necessity of thus despatching men like the escaped convicts of “Van Demonium” it can very rarely be right to inflict the extreme penalty of English law upon wretches by whom that law is neither known or understood. One of these poor creatures as he was brought to the scaffold was told to say his prayers. “Ah,” he replied “me too murry frightened to pray.” Nearly a dead calm all day. Wrote during the morning in my Cabin. Sketched a small Chart of our course to go with Diary from the map by Wyld in Backhouse’s Australia.
Saturday 2nd June
A rumour afloat that the Crew had broken during the night into the storeroom and stolen a quantity of wine and were now drinking and fighting in the forecastle. The report was painfully confirmed by the sight of some of the drunken sailors reeling about the deck and threatening vengeance to those who interfered with them. As I went after breakfast to the First Intermediate Cabin, which is near the forecastle, to give my little pupil his daily Bible-lesson, the sailors were just opening another bottle. It was considered not only useless but dangerous to use any coercive measures as the men were armed not only with knives which all the sailors carry invariably in their belts, but some of them with pistols also and life might have been sacrificed in the attempt to disarm or secure them so that all that could be done was to keep them at their own end of the Vessel and prepare for the worst. They boasted in their drunken fit that “the Blanche Moore was the ship for them, they could get champagne for the asking”, but they will find, if I mistake not, that they will pay a heavy price for it ’ere long. In the meantime, as they are known, they are as securely imprisoned on board ship as if each one were laid in irons. While copying the Sermon for tomorrow in my Cabin I heard a shout on deck, and ran out fearing to witness a repetition of the scene of April 10th but was relieved to find that the excitement was created by a 7 foot shark having been hooked, and mounting the ship’s side was in time to see the creature hauled upon deck. Its tail and head were quickly severed from the body, but even then a sufficient amount of sensation remained to cause the jaws, when the palate was pressed, to become unsheathed and fix themselves in a piece of wood placed between them that the head was lifted up by it, and the eye lid (if so the thick white cartilage covering the eye from below may be termed) to close when the pupil was even slightly pressed. The back-bone was cut out and is destined for a walking-stick, the skin which I measured was exactly ¼ of an inch in solid thickness. The eyes, which were 15/6 in. in diameter were chiefly curious as illustrating the method in which those organs can be both rapidly moved and made to bear upon objects more or less distant. Five strong muscles are attached to it, four as shewn in the sketch and one directly behind the pupil. The use of the four side muscles in moving the eye from side to side is obvious, that behind seems to be applicable to rendering the eye more or less convex, for on pressing the eyeball from behind, the flattened pupil protrudes so as to render the eye capable of receiving light from near objects. I have preserved besides a piece of the skin some thin cartilaginous bones lying between the skin and flesh of the tail, not unlike bristles which form excellent isinglass. The dimensions of the shark were:
Head 1 ft. 1 in.
Back-bone 3 ft. 11½ in.
Tail 1 ft. 11 in.
Total length 6 ft. 11½ in.
Opening of jaws from top to bottom 8 in.
Opening of jaws from side to side 6 in.
The weather today has been warm and almost sultry and the sky bright and clear. The sunset was a magnificent sight, one or two flaky clouds that seemed like bars of burnished gold alone being visible in the glowing flood of light amid which the glorious orb of day sank behind the waters, which seemed from the contrast to darken towards the horizon and assume in consequence a concave form. About 9 P.M. a fresh breeze sprang up which soon carried us on merrily at eight knots, but died away about two P.M. on Sunday.
Sunday 3rd June
A dull morning: heavy rain about 10.30 A.M. When the saloon had been made ready for Church it was rather amusing to hear the difficulties raised about ringing the forecastle bell for Service. There has always been some objection made to it by the sailors, half of whom are off their watch and sleeping in the forecastle, and the Steward has generally a swab or perhaps something heavier aimed at his head when he comes to ring the bell and now the Crew are in such a state of disquiet and insubordination that the Steward declared he would the bell on any account. At length the Purser volunteered to send the Boatswain’s mate forward to ring it but the mate declared (I was told) he would not go if he had £1,000 and I was obliged to send word to the Steward of the Intermediate Cabins to let the passengers know it was time for Service. This reminded Mr Bonney of a colonial anecdote about a Church bell which he promised to tell me tomorrow. The congregation was not large but devout and attentive as usual. We sang four verses of the 67th Psalm “To bless Thy chosen race”. The appropriateness of the text which I had selected (Deut. VIII. 7-10.) excited a good deal of interest but some of my fellow-passengers as I afterwards learned thought I was rather too hard upon them in the Sermon: or, as a Scotch lady among us expressed it, I had hit some of them “very evenly”. I was glad to find, on going below, that the two patients in the Hospital, Mrs Dodd and Mrs Faulkner, were both much better. They asked me to offer up a few words of thanksgiving which I gladly did and remained below some while conversing with them and the women who were attending upon them. After walking for half an hour with Hausheer on the poop came below and read aloud, alternatively with Aspinwall one or two Chapters of the fifth Volume of D’Aubigne’s Reformation which was resumed after dinner. We were much interested in reading of the providential manner in which Tyndale’s Obediance of a Christian Man came into the hands of Henry 8th and in the instructive account of the fall and death of Wolsey. After tea we read Lamartine’s account of Jerusalem in his Travels in the East. Lamartine though a Romanist appears to be an earnest-minded and to some extent an enlightened man, though adhering to Virgin-worship, but his account of the desolate state of Jerusalem and the surrounding country leaves on the mind a painfully melancholy impression which contrasts strangely with that produced by the inspired and inspiriting account of the land given by Moses in the words of this morning’s text. Surely the curse of the Most High rests upon the land of the ungrateful and rebellious people. We finished this our last Sunday with singing “Jerusalem my happy home” and the Evening Hymn. I could not but feel sorrowful as I thought “it is the last time” notwithstanding the anxiety of all us to get ashore. We have had a pleasant voyage and many happy Sundays on board, and there are few of us who will not feel grieved when we have to break up our little community, and to separate. Two of the deck-passengers, one of them a young man who had been in the Revenue Service in Ireland came to me while on the poop before turning in, expressed their regret that they had not been able to come to Church, as they had heard that I preached from such a beautiful text, and asked me where it was to be found.
Monday 4th June
My 27th birthday.[iv] A fair breeze sprang up from the S.W. abt 4 A.M. but was “killed” as the Captain expressed it by the rain which came down heavily about 9.30. Mr Bonney’s story about the Church bell which he told me on deck before breakfast was as follows: about 25 years ago the Rev. J. Youl (the same clergyman who had so narrowly escaped being eaten at New Zealand) came to Launceston. He was the first clergyman who had come to the Colony and there was no Church, so he preached for a time in a building which had been a Carpenter’s shop. The congregation however were at a loss to know the proper time for service and Mr Y. used accordingly to march along the principal street in his gown, and the people followed him. The street however was a good deal out of the old gentleman’s way and he began to be tired of taking so long a round. In the meantime Mr Youl was visiting Mr Bonney’s farm and happening to tap his knuckles on the head of an empty sheet iron tar barrel he exclaimed “That would be the very thing for a Church bell” so the barrel was sent to the farriers to have the tar burned out and in accordance with Mr B’s suggestion it was suspended by a hook through the bung hole from the triangle belonging to the gaol, after they had done flogging at it on Saturdays and the Sexton set to work hammering at the novel instrument of Church music until it suffered the fate of the ship’s bell and was cracked by the energy of his operations. While getting some moveables out of my Chest turned up my notes of the Lecture on Australia which I delivered at Birmingham and Chester, and it occurred to me that it might be interesting to the Intermediate passengers if I were to give them the substance of it. Mentioned the proposal to one of them who promised to ascertain if it would be acceptable. While writing before dinner Mr B. called me aside and said it had been proposed that the Cabin-passengers should address a written memorial to the Captain expressive of our sense of his uniform kindness and gentlemanly behaviour throughout the voyage, and asked me to write such a memorial for the approval of our fellow-passengers. Shortly afterwards a Deck-passenger named Jamieson, a watch-maker, came up and asked me to visit his wife who was lying ill, which I did and read a Chapter to her. A beautiful cloudless sunset. Wrote a rough Draft of the letter suggested by Mr Bonney which after a slight alteration was adopted by the rest of the passengers who were nearly unanimous in expressing their hearty concurrence in the movement. Copied in the evening an outline of the Captain’s Map of the Stars. When on the deck in the evening my friend from between decks said he had spoken to some of the other passengers upon the subject of the lecture, and I arranged with him to deliver it on the following day.
Tuesday 5th June
Sketched and coloured a large outline Map of Australia on a sheet of Cartridge paper for the Lecture. Copied the Address to the Captain in a fair large hand for signature and it was then again read over and signed by the passengers in order of seniority. Gave the Lecture below at 2 P.M. The Captain was well filled with an attentive audience. The Lecture embraced an outline of the history of Australia since its discovery by Vas Torres in 1650, an account of its natural features and productions, animal mineral and vegetable, and of the aborigines, and lastly a sketch of the rise and progress of the Colonies and of the gold fields. With reference to the productions of our new home I quoted the appropriate text of last Sunday and embraced the opportunity briefly to warn the audience against the evils and temptation to which many of them would be necessarily exposed, concluding with the assurance that all would be well, if, in the fear of God, they landed with a resolution to set to work with a will at what might lie before them. The Lecture was well received and I was greeted with three hearty cheers at its conclusion: indeed I was so greatly pleased with the reception which it met with that I only felt regret that I had not earlier hit upon this plan of conveying instructive and profitable knowledge to my fellow-passengers during the voyage and expressed myself to that effect in the course of the Lecture. A beautiful clouded sunset, the divergent rays of red and azure bright and distinct. Occupied all the evening in making up Table of Voyage and Journal.
Wednesday 6th June
About five A.M. I was awoken by the First Mate calling up my neighbour Mr Walmsley to ask him to attend the Watchmaker’s Wife in the Second Cabin who was supposed to be dying and wished to see him. (I have before mentioned that Mr W. had formerly been a Medical Man.) Slipped on my clothes and followed Mr W. whom I found by the bedside of the patient, and was glad to learn from him that there was no immediate danger, if any, and that the patient was suffering from a slow fever, to relieve which she only required fresh air and proper food. After lessons with Harry Pace, wrote Journal, and afterwards borrowing the log, with the Captain’s permission, from the Second Mate made extracts from it of wind and weather from the commencement of the Voyage. A beautiful day, with light warm breezes: making little way. The Captain told us that if there had not been clouds in the horizon we should be able to see the high lands above Cape Otway. Yesterday we were 360 miles from Melbourne, today 173, so that a good day’s run would take us well up to the heads of Port Philip at the least. While on the poop after dinner one of the deck-passengers whose name I did not then know, came to me and asked me when it would be convenient for me to receive an Address which they were desirous of presenting to me. I named ten A.M. tomorrow and asked for a Copy of the Address that I might be furnished with a written reply. I had had some intimation of what was going on by having been asked a day or two before for my Christian name, when I naturally asked what was the purpose for which it was wanted. A rough Copy of the Address having been brought to me I occupied the evening in writing a reply to it.
Thursday 7th June
A fine morning with light steady breezes. Mounted the Mizen Mast about half past seven but though we saw sea-weed floating past we could distinguish nothing of land. About nine o’clock a black-beaked Albatross was caught with a hook and a bait of pork by one of the deck-passengers. I took a sketch of it after it had been killed. It measured from bill to tail 2 ft. 10 in. and across the wings 7 ft. 10 in. With its strong hooked bill it inflicted some deep scratches on the hands and arms of its captors and made a singular noise when teased not unlike the road of a bull-calf. It had a beautiful head, the feathers exceedingly soft and the eyes having something [of] the majestic look of an eagle. At ten o’clock the Deputation from the deck-passengers consisting of Messrs Chas. McKichan and W. L. Blamires brought the Address to me in the Saloon. It ran as follows:
“To Mr W. B. Goodman
“We, the undersigned, forming a portion of the passengers on board of the Blanche Moore Australian liner, do hereby wish to express in this humble manner our high opinion of your kind & zealous conduct throughout our long and eventful voyage, conduct which so well became you as a Christian and a gentleman.
“When it became known that there was not among the passengers any person connected with the clerical profession, you, Sir, with a fortitude and God-fearing courage which would have done honour to any Christian came forward and took up the cross and performed the duties of Chaplain with fidelity and zeal and in a manner which was highly approved of by all who attended the services.
“Also, Sir, we desire to return you our sincere thanks for the attention which you have so kindly shewn in visiting us in our ’tween deck Cabins, enquiring after our spiritual and temporal welfare and otherwise displaying your obedience to that high mandate “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. By the distribution of Tracts and the loan of useful and instructive publications you have also greatly benefited us, inasmuch as we have thereby been enabled to employ a great portion of that time which would otherwise have hung heavily on our hands.
“We sincerely hope and trust that in your new sphere of labour your exertions will be crowned with the utmost success, – that you may long live to be made a blessing to others, – and that when the last solemn moment shall come, you may feel the blessed consciousness that “your labour has not been in vain” but that you will meet in the bright world towards which you are tending many who will greet you with joyful Hallelujahs.”
Signed by 101 Intermediate Passengers
My reply was as follows:
“My friends and fellow-passengers,
“I can assure you that I received with mingled feelings the very kind and unexpected Address which you have presented to me. Predominant, I confess, among these feelings was that of gratification at the warm-hearted sentiments which your words convey, sentiments which are the more pleasing to me, as according so fully with those which I entertain towards yourselves. I am sure you will believe me when I say that I reciprocate most heartily and from my inmost soul the hope which you express that at the great day when Our Lord shall say “Come ye blessed of my Father” we may meet around His throne and recognise each other with a grateful song of praise to the Saviour who has redeemed us. Such were the feelings with which I presumed your friendly Address. But following upon these were others of deep humiliation at the consciousness that I deserve so little your kind and flattering expressions. In the first place, I was little worthy to assume the post of a Minister among you, but circumstances forced it upon me, and I can assure you with much truth that some of the happiest hours which I have spent on board this Vessel have been those during which I have been employed in studying the Scriptures with a view to the performance of the duties of that post, and those in which we have met together as brethren for the public worship of God. Again, I cannot but regret that I should have made myself personally acquainted with so few, comparatively, among you, on which account your Address is the more unexpected and gratifying. Still I feel assured that should our future paths bring me into contact with any of you, none will be more glad of the meeting than I shall be or will rejoice more at any opportunity which may present itself of doing a friendly act of kindness to my fellow-passengers of the Blanche Moore.
“I am glad to avail myself of this opportunity to inform you of the source to which you are indebted for the Books and Tracts which I have lent & distributed among you. They were furnished to me gratuitously by The Religious Tract Society for circulation on board the ship, and I feel assured that the Committee of that excellent Society will rejoice to hear that their valuable gift has been so well made use of and so fully appreciated.
“And now it only remains for me to add a few heartfelt words of farewell. We cannot but feel even amidst all our hopeful anticipations of the future that there is a certain solemnity in parting moments like these, when those who, like ourselves, have met and lived with one another for a few short weeks are about to be separated, perhaps for ever, like forest-leaves carried along together by the onward current of a fast-flowing rive, only again to be scattered abroad on the face of the boundless ocean. To many of us our voyage has I trust afforded time of serious and profitable reflection, and to most, I believe, notwithstanding some unavoidable discomforts, this new phase of life has been, on the whole, agreeable and instructive. Most of us probably have met with kindred spirits among our fellow-passengers and some of us, perhaps, have formed friendships which may endure for life, may I say, for eternity? There will then be, with many, a feeling of regret mingled with impatience with which we are counting the hours which intervene between the present time and that which will land us on the shores of our adopted country. Let this feeling lead us on to that happy and glorious home where pleasure is unmingled with regret. Where smiles are unbroken by sighs and tears & where the happiness of meeting is unalloyed by anticipation of a farewell. Once more I return you my sincere & cordial thanks for the kind & friendly feeling which you have manifested toward me on this occasion & subscribe myself, my faithful & fellow-passengers,
very faithfully yours,
W. B. Goodman
The Blanche Moore
June 7th 1855
Thursday 7th June
About eleven A.M. Cape Otway became visible bearing N.N.E. but so cloudy was it in that direction that it was very difficult to distinguish the Land from the Clouds which hung over it. The outline of King’s Island which bore South about 2 P.M. was much more distinct. While we were watching the Land, two strange-looking birds, called from the stupid way in which they allow themselves to be caught, boobies, flew over the ship; one of them perched on the main-top-studding-sail-boom and it was amusing to see the awkward kind of way in which the bird shuffled along the boom as an active Irish lad whom we call “Barney” clambered after him. Booby, however, as he was, he did not stop to be caught and flew away again landwards. Shortly afterwards a flock of little birds called I believe the “silver eye” came whistling round the ship whistling as they flew, and then returned home again, as if they had come to greet us and see who we were, and had then flown back to report our arrival. These indications of land were cheering and yet I felt all day not altogether in good spirits. Drew and coloured from Marryat’s Code of Signals, belonging to the Captain, the signal flags used by Merchantmen in communicating messages (see below).
At 5 P.M. we tacked to the Eastward, the wind meeting us almost directly ahead, and about 8 P.M. the revolving light of Cape Otway became visible bearing N.W. ½ W. distant about 10 miles. About 9 P.M. we tacked to the Eastward and shortly afterwards lost sight of it. It was a beautiful clear-star-light evening.
Friday 8th June
Another beautiful morning, less cloudy than yesterday. On deck at seven to see how the land looked, and watched the splendid sun-rise, the most beautiful I have seen on board ship, the clouds glowing brightly up to the zenith. I noticed that to the Westward the clouds cast long shadows across the sky which appeared to converge to a point in the Western horizon corresponding to that in the East where the sun had risen. The Captain say that he has frequently noticed a similar phenomenon in very bright sunsets where the rays of light have spread over the whole heavens and converged to a point in the Eastern sky where they present the appearance of a second sun. Such is the winter sky of Australia, and thus does “day after day utter speech and night after night shew knowledge: there is no nation or language where their voice is not heard.” The wind still meeting us right ahead, we were tacking all day from 4 A.M. to 11 P.M. When I first came on deck we were sailing in a line nearly parallel with the coast between Cape Otway and Point Lonsdale; the land was then sufficiently near to enable us clearly to distinguish the trees on the hillsides. About eight o’clock we tacked and bore South. Gave my little pupil his usual lesson after breakfast: this morning his mother asked my acceptance of a little silver pencil-case as a token of grateful remembrance from him, which I received in the kindly spirit in which it was offered. Sketched an Outline Map of the Coast around Port Philip from a Chart by Wyld which enabled me to identify very clearly the several headlands as they appeared in sight. At 5 P.M. Port Philip Light bore N.N.E. ½ E. distant about 12 miles.
Saturday 9th June
At 1 A.M. the light bore N.E. by N. visible from the Mizen rigging. At 5.30 the Heads bore N.E. by N. distant 15 miles, so that with all our tacking we were three miles more distant from Port than we had been twelve hours before. Sketched the Heads at 10 A.M. Soon afterwards we saw the Pilot Sloop bearing down and about eleven it came alongside and the Pilot came on board. After this we had a good deal more of tacking. At one time our yards were set in curious style, the foreyards in one direction, the mainyards in another and the mizenyards square, and the vessel was taken completely aback, refused to obey the helm, and floated stern foremost. At another time the foresail was split to ribbons and flapped idly in the gale. At length however we got fairly within Port Philip Heads and dropped anchor about 4 P.M. We were, unfortunately, at dinner when we passed the Heads so that I missed having a near view of the bar with the breakers dashing over it. Before we had dropped anchor the Medical Officer came on board to examine our Bill of Health. The view within the Heads was pleasing to the eye of those accustomed for so long a time to the monotony of the marine horizon but it can hardly be said to be very beautiful. The Point Nepean side presented for some distance a series of barren sand hills but Point Lonsdale was more picturesque. At the extremity was the Lighthouse and a row of little white cottages for the Pilots and a little further the Quarantine Hospital. In the fields along the shore were rows of tent poles for the Quarantine Hospital tents. We could not but congratulate ourselves that we were not destined to be inmates of the Hospital for a month or so. In the evening the Cabin-passengers assembled in the saloon in order to present the Captain with the Address which we had prepared. Mr Bonney occupied the Chair & prefaced the reading of the Address with a few appropriate remarks. The Captain in his reply thanked us feelingly for our support & sympathy & wished us all long life, happiness and prosperity. Champagne was placed on the table & the Captain proposed the health of Mr Bonney & myself & Mr Bonney that of the Doctor.
Sunday 10th June
A beautiful day though somewhat cold. We had hoped that the Anchor would have been weighed at two or three A.M. so that we might have got in good time into Hobson’s Bay, but for some reason which remains unexplained it was not got up until eleven o’clock after which we proceeded by a series of short tacks to our final anchorage in Hobson’s Bay about half past four P.M. Of course it was a very broken day, as heaving the anchor is a business seldom accomplished without plenty of noise. In addition to the large Capstan in the Forecastle, which is worked from the deck above by means of handles something like those of a fire-engine, a small Capstan near the Saloon-door was employed to lay along the main-deck the heavy chain as it was hauled in, and as both parties were singing in chorus as an accompaniment to the clank of the Capstans it seemed probable that we should not have a quiet half-hour for the morning’s Service; but as soon as the anchor was weighed and we were fairly off again, it was proposed that we should at any rate have the Morning Prayers which I read accordingly in the Saloon to about five and twenty passengers. In the General Thanksgiving I inserted a clause expressive of our thankfulness to God for his great mercy in having brought us thus far in safety and peace to the end of our voyage, a feeling in which all present I believe thoroughly participated. The greater part of the afternoon was spent in watching the varying scenery of the Port Philip shores as we tacked to and fro on our way up to Hobson’s Bay. Before we had dropped anchor we were surrounded by a little fleet of boats: among the first that came alongside were those belonging to the three Melbourne newspapers, the Argus, the Morning Herald and the Age; besides these we had the butcher with fresh meat, the Custom House Officers, and the Police and numerous other boats with friends of passengers. There were not a few scenes of interest on deck, friends meeting with friends, brothers with brothers or sisters, wives with husbands and parents with children and it was a pleasing sight to see many who had been parted perhaps for years locked once more in each others’ arms and standing in varied groups or walking the decks engaged in animated conversation. How many a romance of real life might we hear of on board an Australian Emigrant ship.
Monday 11th June
Up at seven: found that a drizzling rain was descending which turned to a heavy shower about 10 A.M. Wrote a note to George which I sent ashore for the post together with a letter for England by the Captain of the Clangregor steam tender. Occupied the whole day until 4 P.M. in packing up and in looking after my boxes as they were brought up from the hold. The other passengers were in the meantime leaving the ship by detachments either in the steamer provided by Baines & Co. or in the small boats which were plying to and fro for hire. Several minor troubles occurred on board in the course of the day, – the purser went ashore without leave, with the keys of the shore room, – the cook got intoxicated and let out the galley fire, – and finally nine of the Crew refused altogether to work and set the Captain at defiance. To obviate this latter difficulty a signal was made about 5 P.M. for the police-boat, by hoisting two lanterns from the spanker-gaff and on the arrival of the executive functionary with two boats manned with a well-armed force, the insubordinates were ranged on the poop and asked whether they intended to return to their duties: they all replied in the negative and were quietly marched down to the boats, whence in all probability they will ultimately be consigned for a few months to the “Hulk for refractory Seamen” which we passed the next day in the Steamer.
Tuesday 12th June
Another wet day. Succeeded in completing the remainder of my packing and in getting my luggage properly marked and labelled and stowed on board the Steamer which came along side for the shore about two P.M. and then after bidding a cordial farewell to the Captain and the few remaining passengers and armed against the combined influences of rain and mud in a waterproof cap, mackintosh coat and jack-boots, stepped on board the steamer & bade adieu to the
[i] Charles Henry Buck (1827-74), brother-in-law of Will’s eldest brother, John Dent Goodman.
[ii] His half-brother, Canon George Goodman, M.A., (1821-1908), Vicar of Christ Church, Geelong 1855-1906.
[iii] Dhawalaghiri, although once supposed to be the highest peak of the Himalayas, is in fact only the seventh highest. Dhawalaghiri, which means ‘white mountain’, lies in Nepal.
[iv] Sadly Will Goodman was not to see another birthday: he became Inspector of Schools for the Diocese of Sydney and died there, unmarried, on 2nd May 1856.