From Woolwich, England
Hobart Town, Van Diemens Land
Sailed 9th November 1843, landed 18th April 1844
Original spellings maintained in document.
At daylight on the 13th & 14th November one hundred and seventy female convicts were embarked at Woolwich from Millbank Prison .
With the exception of seven or eight who had been recently ill of Diarrhoea their general health was good. a reference to the Sick Book will show that the health of (nearly) all continued good from the day of embarkation in England to debarkation in Van Diemens Land, a space of upward of five months, or one hundred and fifty three days.
Three only of the nineteen cases were accompanied by damage, Sophia Jacobs, Jane Tate & Hannah Harley. Diarrhoea was the prevailing complaint throughout. Scarcely a day passed without a case, but when instantly attended to, the disease was easily and speedily removed without confinement to bed, or admission to the hospital. When the complaint made its appearances the usual practice was the exhibition of half an ounce of Sulphate of Magnesium in two doses, an ounce of castor oil in a similar manner, followed at bed time by twenty grains of Species Ins. Confectione Opii, as a dose of chalk mixture with tincture of Kina &Opium.
A month before our arrival at Hobart Town, all the aperients as well as the astringent Medicines were expended. In addition to the eight ounces of tincture of opium allowed, three times eight ounces were made on board and expended in the treatment of loosengs. In the treatment of Diarrhoea Species pro Confectione Opii was found an excellent remedy, the short time it lasted, and I am inclined to think it will always prove most valuable in a Female Convict Ship. Three times the usual allowance, in this instance, would have been of the greatest service. From first to last, there was nothing bearing the slightest resemblance to Scurvy.
The sick were visited twice a day regularly, and often more frequently. During a Gale the Prison & the Hospital inspected four or five times a day. When the weather permitted the usual routine on board was as follows.
The Prisoners were allowed to be on deck from Sunrise to Sundown.
7 a.m. Windsails up, Scuttles, Ventilations, & Hospital Stern Ports open. Beds /32/ & Bedding of four Messes in succession were aired daily on the Poop.
8 a.m. Breakfast.
8.30 Commenced cleaning lower deck. The space opposite each Mess was given in charge of and daily cleaned by the two Mess women, in the first place sweeping clean , and then by the application of coarse woollen cloths dipped in water & thoroughly wrung. Scrapers occasionally. Especial care was always taken that not a superfluous drop of water was used. Except during a Gale, the Prison was as clean, dry, and well-aired as any Prison on Shore. Vinegar, Chloride of Lime, or Hanging Stones were never required. The abomination of Dry Holy Stoning was carefully avoided, and ever will be, until I can perceive the difference between the atmosphere of a Dry Holy Stoned Ship, and a Sheffield Dry Grinders Workshop.
10 a.m. Visited Sick and afterwards carefully inspected Hospital and Prison, daily turning up the whole of the Bottom Boards.
4 p.m. Visited Sick & inspected Prison.. The leading features of the system pursued through out were, unremitting attention when Sick, constant employment when well, & unceasing surveillance. When the Vessel arrived at Hobart Town, there were three cases in the Hospital, Chronic Gastritis, Chronic Rheumatism ,& Sanguineous Diarrhoea. Sophia Jacobs continued in a state of distressing debility, accompanied by low muttering delirium, upwards of three weeks. The discharge from the two large abscesses on each side of the spine in no way retarded recovery. Jane Tate the Principal Hospital Nurse appeared to owe her attack of fever to constant Attendance on Sophie Jacobs. Hannah Harley had a protracted attack of Diarrhoea in Shrewsbury Jail, besides one or two attacks in Millbank Prison. M A McDonald, this case is marked Amnemoxii because the symptoms appeared to indicate this disease, but her speedy and complete recovery renders this designation more than doubtful. Ellen Lane. along with Diarrhoea, had Hydrops Genus, and here as well as in the case of Alice Moore, the latter disease readily yielded to the application of two blisters. Jane Grady. This case is marked Dyspepsia in the absence of a more appropriate designation. The patient had had a very irregular life for several years and was nineteen times in jail before Conviction. Her present illness appeared to be the consequence of her jumping overboard half way between the Cape & Hobart Town. She had handcuffs on at the time as a punishment for striking & wounding the Chief Officer. About fifteen minutes afterwards I caught her by the hair about half arms length under water. Of the four cases sent to the Hospital Chronic Gastritis, /White/ Sanguineous Diarrhoea/Harley were discharged cured five or six weeks afterwards. Chronic Rheumatism /Hunt at the expiration of four months remains Diarrhoea /Hinton/ after one or two relapses died in Hospital.
John Wilson MD. Surgeon
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