The 'Lancashire Witch'
Arrived Timaru & Lyttelton October 1863
Diary written by Arthur Hubert PRICE on the voyage from England to New Zealand in the ship Lancashire Witch, 1383 tons, 420 passengers, Captain West, bound for Canterbury sailed from Gravesend, England on 4 July 1863, and arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand on 13 October 1863. The diary is held at the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch.
July 2nd 1863 LONDON EAST INDIAN DOCKS
Went to Gravesend by steam tug, stayed there till Saturday midday. Very nice companions as Second Cabin passengers, a Mr and Mrs Bodger from Bedford. Enjoyed the ride down river and slept well last night. Rose this Friday morning at half past six, went on deck, had coffee for breakfast, and roast beef for dinner. Both well, went ashore this evening, bought things, came back safe and sound. Left Gravesend Saturday at twelve, with two steam tugs, and arrived at Dover on Saturday evening at half past eleven, anchored all night and left at ten Sunday morning, all well on board. Slow progress, only five knots per hour, had Service, sea smooth, dinner at one. Past Hastings, and the Isle of Wight. Had Service this evening.
Monday July 6th Passengers began to be sick. Lissy very sick, ship rolling very much. Going five knots per hour - 500 miles from home.
Tuesday 7th July Going seven knots per hour, tacking about, strong head winds. Passed a whale on our right, seven fathoms away. Saw lots of seagulls, and two butterflies came on board.
Wednesday 8th July Very sick, ship rolling much, going eight knots per hour, slight rain in the morning. Received a present from Lissy, the "Life of John Newton". Splendid tea.
Thursday July 9th Inclined to rain, cloudy and dull, better this morning. Going four and a half knots, cleared off about dinner-time, sun shining, beautiful on deck all day. Going six and a half knots per hour on our right track. Had some boiled rice, ham and a bottle of beer for dinner. Now going eight knots an hour and in the evening nine knots.
Friday July 10th Nine knots, splendid morning. Passed the Bay of Biscay. Feel better this morning, and Lissy, the ship heaves a little, makes us feel giddy. Breese still blowing, going nine knots per hour. Saw four porpoises, very like a large salmon. Beautiful evening, had six games of chess with our neighbour Mr Sheppard, beat him all games. All seem happy on board. Sailors have a violin at the front of the ship, dancing and singing and no end of concertinas on board, some singing hymns, others songs. Hope to begin a school on Monday next. Lissy very sick today, better this evening, went on deck, saw the starfish, beautiful. Going ten knots per hour. Went to bed quarter to eleven.
Saturday 11th Beautiful morning, breese still blowing. Going eleven knots per hour, had no sleep, the ship rolling very much, and moving timber on deck. Mr Bodger has diphtheria, better this morning, the doctor burned his throat with costic. Lissy and myself just been and had some lunch, bread and cheese and beer, feel better. Going eleven knots per hour. Stiff breese, all sails set, slept all the afternoon, beautiful evening, breese gone down, only going four knots, sea smooth but heavy ground swell, 1160 miles from Home. Lissy not so well.
Sunday morning July 12th Splendid morning, very calm, going about two knots per hour, off Lisbon, very warm. Lissy very sick, eat no breakfast. Better myself, purpose having soup, ham then pudding for dinner. Had Service quarter past eleven by schoolmaster, great many attended. Lissy feels a little better, had only four biscuits and one glass of port wine. Sun very warm, little breese, only going four knots putting up extra sail. Lat. 42-32 North. Long. 13-32 West. Splendid afternoon Service just commenced. Found a kind friend in the first mate, a Mr Mossey, made us a present of the works of Shakespeare. Going now six knots per hour. Lissy much better.
Monday morning July 13th Weather dull and cloudy, only going three knots, very smooth sea. School commences this morning. Lissy very well and self not quite right. Named the cabin �Wellhead College�. Half past nine. Had a good clean at the cabin, scraped it, then had dinner. Feel much better, calm, still only four knots. Eight o�clock had supper, came on deck and had a long walk. Went to bed at half past ten, slept well.
Tuesday July 14th Got up at half past eight, going nine knots per hour. Passed a vessel on our right, name unknown. Had dinner, salt codfish and boiled rice. Melted butter to the fish, it was very nice. Three or four still very unwell. Lissy and myself now very well. Mr Bodger better. Two men caught up the rigging had to pay a bottle of brandy each. They were tied hand and foot upon the deck for some time before let down. The Captain gets 2/6 for each emigrant he takes safe over. The first mate gets 1/- per head. There are 420 emigrants. The first mate gets "per month, the cook "6. The cook makes about 1 per month for the fat from the beef and pork, and we make our own bread and the cook bakes it beautiful. Give him 2/6, purpose giving him a little more before leaving should we arrive safe for his kindness. The Captain has allowed the girls to have a dance with the men for half an hour each evening, they began this evening. Breese still blowing, going nine knots.
Wednesday morning July 15th Going nine knots. Lissy not so well this morning. Eleven o'clock near Madiera. Hope to see the island today. 15-44 West. 38-42 North. Yesterday's latitude. Just passed an English man-o-war, hoisted flags, all well, name not given, about six knots away. Quarter to one, been to dinner, feel much better. Happy to say Lissy feels better too. Beautiful afternoon. Had three games of chess with Mr Sheppard, beat him all, and three games of draughts which he won. Had tea or otherwise coffee and ham sandwich, feel better. Dancing and grand concert with the girls, supper about half past eight. Came on deck again, had a walk and went to bed about half past ten.
July 16th A most splendid morning, I never saw such a beautiful sea, the sun shining and everything looks so cool. Twelve o'clock, going four knots. Sun very warm this morning, going now 9 knots per hour, lying on her side very much. Lat. 31-43 North. Long. 19-40 West. Four o�clock going five and a half knots, strong breese, eight o'clock going eight knots. Two or three very ill, all grumbling about the salt beef, etc. Beer very good, only 1/- per bottle.
July 18th Breese still blowing strong, going ten knots. Lissy very sick, ship on one side and heaving very much. I feel very well, ten o'clock going nine knots, twelve o'clock going seven knots. 21-7 West. 28-56 North. Passed a Dutch ship named Holland bound for the United States. We hoisted the red ensign, they their colours, and we four flags, the name of our ship, and they theirs. Hope to be in the Trade Winds tomorrow, Sunday, then they say we shall do fourteen knots per hour. Went to bed at nine.
Sunday morning July 19th Going six knots. Lissy very well this morning. There were a great many sick yesterday morning, all much better today. Lat. today 26-20 North. Long. 22-22 West. Two o'clock going five knots. A man very ill and a little girl just died, aged two and a half. Gastric fever. Just opposite our Cabin. The Doctor thought it was just sick-up , and treated it as such until today at noon and then he found out what it was, only ill four days. Seeing the mother crying, I went to the cabin door, and there was the poor little thing gasping for breath, and making a queer noise in her throat. The mother could not bear it and had to be led on deck. The father said to me she is dying. I said I hope not. Yes he said. Its eyes were set then, and I went in and for the first time in my life saw the breath depart from one whose spirit I feel sure was carried up to Heaven. She died happily, never moved. They purpose burying her tomorrow. The father is a farmer. They reproach themselves and say they are the cause of the death bringing her to sea.
Monday morning July 20th Rose this morning at half past five as they buried the little one at six, before many was up. I went to the Hospital and helped the sailmaker sew the little thing up. We placed two large pieces of chain at the feet to make it sink. Lissy and myself went on deck and it was a most splendid morning, the sun was just rising, everything so calm and still, not a ripple on the sea, the sails set straight, not going more than two knots, everything seemed just beautiful. They layed the corpse on a board and covered it with a Union Jack, two sailors carried it to the side of the deck, and rested its feet upon the side. The father and mother and eldest daughter followed and stood behind crying. The schoolmaster read the burial service, and when he came to the part "we commit this body to the deep" they raised the head, and the body slipped off into the sea with a sudden splash, and sank immediately to rise no more till that day when the sea shall give up its dead unto Him who gave life. The cry of the mother at the moment the body fell was dreadful. The father standing behind the mother and daughter with his arms around both, all crying. It was indeed a pityful sight the first time I witnessed a funeral at sea, and I hope the last, but I fear not as there are more on board very ill. Lissy and myself very well this morning. We had breakfast at seven this morning, going four and a half knots per hour. Half past twelve, still very warm, just had dinner, feel A.1. Two o'clock, another girl ill with gastric fever, aged six, not expected to live, and two men dangerously ill. They have begun boxing on board this evening, such fun to see some of them. Nice breese just sprung up, going six knots per hour. Ought to have caught the Trade Winds before now. Lat. today 21-1 North 23-4 West. Had my supper and feel better. Went to bed at half past nine.
July 21st Rose this morning at 7 a.m. and went on deck, and heard to my sorrow that another death had taken place at 11 p.m. and was buried at six this morning. The parents felt it very much being their only child. The Captain has been down early this morning and ordered all the emigrants on deck every morning, and said they were all to have their meals on deck as it was so close down below. Lat. 20-12 North 24-12 West. Going now seven knots, sighted a vessel at six this morning straight ahead of us going the same way, and we have just passed her. She is a trading vessel, we have not spoken to her. We are going now eight knots per hour. Four o'clock, very hot indeed, breese very strong. One of the girls has drunk some lime water, and the Doctor has given her an emetic. Beautiful evening, never did I witness such a splendid sight. The moon showing splendid, and we are going so fast that all around the ship is a white foam, and the small waves rising and falling, the moon shining like silver. It is indeed splendid. Went to supper at a quarter to eight, and came on deck again. Went to bed at nine o'clock, felt very tired. Have not had a good night's rest for three nights. Hope I shall tonight.
Wednesday July 22nd Rose this morning at seven but did not go on deck till after breakfast. Most splendid morning, sun shining splendid, nice breese, going six knots, everyone on deck. No making puddings, etc., between decks. All done now on deck. Direct under the sun today and very hot. Saw some flying fish this morning, small white things. Had dinner half past twelve, pork and new potatoes and rice pudding. Enjoyed it very much. We have turned tee-totallers, 1/- per bottle for beer will not suit our pockets. Going now six knots per hour. We have now sails spread over the quarter deck to keep the sun off the passengers. Going now four and a half knots. Lat. North 19-36, Long. 25-8 West. Had tea, going now six knots, beautiful evening, moon shining lovely. We shall have it fine now for eight or nine days, and by that time we hope to pass the Equator, then we shall go north as far as 45 degrees. Went to the Galley, the Cook and the Boatswain were having a row and we thought the handcuffs would be necessary, but they thought better of it. Cook and the Quartermaster's been fighting, but the Captain did not have them put in irons as one is as bad as the other. Only going four and a half knots per hour. We are afraid of being becalmed, it is so very calm.
Friday morning July 24th Rose at half past seven, went on deck after breakfast, very calm and warm, not going more than three knots. Sighted a small vessel, some think she is an African slaver, she has a white hull. Lissy and myself alright. Sighted two more vessels this morning, one going on our left about ten miles off, and the other to our stern about nine miles off, the latter has gained upon us. Another child died, fourteen months, gastric fever. The Captain says we all must be very particular indeed for if not, while in the tropics we shall get the ship�s fever, and all die like rotten sheep. Went to bed this evening at quarter to ten.
Saturday morning July 25th/63 Rose this morning at half past six, went on deck, very calm, only doing two knots, and two all night. Baby was buried this morning at five. A ship still in sight behind us, getting nearer, going to breakfast eight o'clock. Now going three knots. Lat. 14-13 North 26-56 West. Nothing today to note, only sorry to say we are becalmed in the above latitude, rather pleasant, hot, boiling. Went to bed at ten. Splendid night, moon shining.
Sunday July 26th Not going a peg, rose this morning. The brig going close to us, spoke to her by mouth. She is 26 tons burden, bound for Riogenero and left Newcastle 31 days ago laden with coal. Her captain came on board our vessel and had some lunch, dinner and tea, and left at seven. No morning service, only evening. Splendid evening sky, and moon shining beautiful, never did I see such a magnificent sunset. Went to bed half past nine.
July 27th Very calm, seven ships in sight, all becalmed like our unlucky selves, sun shining splendid, still very hot. It's so hot that the tar on deck boils and the side of the ship so hot that you can't bear to touch it. The Captain of the brig came on board again today, the brig is four miles off and he had his own boat today. Mr Bodger, Mr Shephard, Mr Allen, first mate and self went for a row in the boat while the Captain was having dinner. It was splendid. He left at six o'clock. A breese sprung up for about two hours, and we went along five knots per hour, but doomed to disappointment. We are again calm and burning hot, can't find a cool place anywhere, and the water we have is quite warm. Went to bed at ten o�clock.
July 28th Still becalmed and very hot. Four ships in sight, not going a peg. Rose this morning at seven. Lat.13-41 North 26-4 West. Had dinner half past twelve. Clouds begin to look very black and down comes the water, for rain I cannot call it. Never saw such in my life. Strong squalls, had to take in all our strong gallant Halliards. Blew away our flying jib, and fore-missen topsail. The old Witch lying all on one side, rather too much to be pleasant, like climbing up a hill to the other side of the ship. Bottles, etc., flying in all directions. Had tea and supper and went to bed at quarter to eleven. Both well.
Wednesday July 29th Rose this morning at six, going six knots per hour, still blowing a gale and raining in torrents, the ship heaving very much. Lissy has a very bad headache, self alright. On deck in all the rain, borrowed an oilskin and cap. Passed a vessel homeward bound, but too dark to speak to her. Rain ceased, moon shining beautiful. Came back on deck, stayed up to half past eleven. Lissy very sick, and headache.
July 30th Rose this morning at seven, feel very queer, Lissy unwell. Strong wind blowing, but fine morning. Feel better, had a little beer. On our right course going nine knots per hour. Both on deck but had to go down. Both of us very ill, had to see the Doctor, bad sore throat, gave me a gargle and some powder. Both very sick all night and went to bed early.
July 31st Rose this morning at ten, feel very ill, my throat so sore, and feel so sinking. Break out in much violent perspirations, can eat nothing all day. Going nine knots per hour. The ship very much over on one side, went to bed early.
Saturday August 1st Rose this morning at ten, feel still very ill, my throat a little better, taken two pills, been very sick, have no appetite. Lissy very sick. The ship pitching very much, cups and saucers flying in all directions, and a wave broke over the front part of the ship, and took away the name on one side of her, swilling two men on the side of the ship. Spoke to two ships, one rather too far away, could not make her name out, the other was from Liverpool bound for Calcutta, thirty days out from home. We hope to pass the line on Monday.
Sunday morning August 2nd The pills began to talk like Dutch and up i was bound to be by seven. On deck, and feel a little better this morning, eating better. One of the sailors washed overboard, but picked up again all safe and sound. Ship still heaving very much. Going six knots per hour, and five points out of our right course. Lat. 5-12 North Today had ham soup and carrots. Feel better. No service, this wind making such a noise. Going five knots per hour, went to bed at ten.
August 3rd Rose this morning half past seven, nice morning. Wind still blowing very strong. One of the ship's passengers struck the ship's Cook on the head with his pothooks, and cut his head very bad. Had him put in irons and confined, and the single men said they would heave him out. Thought there would be a mutiny, but all went off quiet. Feel better. Both of us went to bed at half past eight and slept well.
August 4th Strong breese still against us, going in a line with the Equator instead of going to it, 250 miles from it now. Half past eleven had dinner. Feel very well, making a washstand for my bowl and soap dish, shelves besides, in time for rough weather. Made my cabin now complete I think. Lat. 3-12 North, 162 miles from the Line. Had a row with the Steward, he is a very bad fellow. Was always coming down in the second cabin drinking beer, and using such bad language, and I told him I would complain if he did so in our cabin. He began, thought he was going to frighten me, but no such thing can do it. He never came there again to make a noise. Going now eight knots. Half past six, both on deck, getting cooler. Went down, had supper, and went to bed at nine.
Wednesday August 5th Rose this morning at half past four, saw the sun rise, most splendid morning, going seven knots. Had a good blow, went to breakfast then came on deck. Saw two ships in sight. For dinner had meat pie and plum pudding. Two degrees from the line, going now six knots. Another child died, a small boy. Had a long talk with the Captain.
August 6th Rose this morning at five, went on deck, saw the little boy buried, very few up. Turned the Mrs out of bed and made her have a good wash all over in sea water. Mean to do so every morning. We went on deck, had breakfast at eight o'clock, potted salmon, how I got it seemed a mystery to all but myself, but I have a pot of fresh herring as well. All sereen. Lat. 1 North 25-56 West. The Mrs washing all morning, I putting out, and both had a good wash in sea water. Had dinner, pea soup, meat pie and plum pudding, enjoyed it all. Both on deck, going six knots per hour, hope to cross the line tonight. Father Neptune purposes coming on board tonight. Such fun we expect, but full description in my next. Had tea, enjoyed it much, went on deck, stayed till eight, had supper, boiled rice, went on deck again and went to bed half past nine, going seven knots.
August 7th Rose this morning at six, got some sea water for Lissy, had her on deck at seven, most splendid morning, quite warm, ship in sight, crossed the line at last, going now eight knots and nearly on our course. Cannot give any description of Father Neptune as the Captain would not let him come on board, afraid among so many children he would frighten them. Eight O'clock going to breakfast saw a large quantity of dolphins and porpoises jumping about in dozens. Passed the Island St Paul, but did not sight it. We saw a quantity of birds.
August 8th Beautiful morning, Lissy still has her bath, both very well, two ships in sight, going seven knots, a ship close to us, an American. Breese gone down, only going four knots.
August 11th Strong breese, going nine knots.
August 12th, going seven knots, strong gale and heavy seas, blew away our flying jib all to pieces. I went up to the top of the masthead, 180 ft, splendid lookout, saw two ships. Altering my bunk (or bed) and putting strips on the table to keep things from rolling off. Ship pitching and heaving much, went to roost at half past nine. Another child dead, same complaint as others, and another birth, girl again, three young girls very ill, one in a decline, not expected to live. Rain and strong gale, cups and saucers going to bits. Both well, don't mind it a bit, both stout hearts.
August 14th, going nine knots, strong gale sprung up about nine, knocked us about like a top, but all alive yet. Lat. 18-41 South 36-35 West. The 18 means degrees, or 60 miles to a degree, the 41 means 41 miles in a degree.
August 15th, rose this morning six, going ten knots. Gale all night, took in nearly all sail, broke our log line twice. Spoke to a French barque from Cardiff. It's laden with coal, out 46 days, named Hester Junior. Just broke the log line again, going ten and a half knots per hour, Lissy had bread and milk for supper.
Sunday 16th Going A.1. Going eleven knots, leaning over very much, strong breese, had no sleep, ship rolling very much. Another birth, a girl, a little Lancashire Witch. Saw a large ship, tried to speak to her, but could not see her colours, only her Ensign, an English vessel. Had tea and came on deck, both of us saw the new moon, and a splendid sight it was, never saw anything so beautiful, just like a ball of fire, partly covered with a plate. The Captain has taken quite a liking to both of us, and always enters into a long conversation with both of us, and last night he ordered tea up for us both after we had had ours, and cakes. The Misses Shepherds were close all the time, we can always find friends.
August 17th Going ten knots on our right course., a great many Cape pigeons flying about, a very pretty bird. Saw some albatross, a very large bird, much larger than any you see in England. Another birth, Mrs Bodger of a son, pleasant noise now all night.
August 18th Dull morning, getting much colder, ship nearly square, wind more behind, going eight knots in our right course, hope to make the Cape in ten days and New Zealand in five weeks. Having boxes up this morning. Such a sight I never saw. Boxes for 500 passengers, all on deck, such a turnout.
August 19th Strong breese, going ten knots, ship in sight, weather getting colder, have to put my coat on. Another child dead, that makes the sixth. Going eleven knots, very cold. Got some preserved milk, etc. One young man ill with fever.
August 21st A great many birds flying around, never saw the seas so rough, blew away four sails. Going twelve knots, the breese dead behind us. Both well.
August 22nd Very cold , not going more than two knots. Two children dead, both boys, one two and the other four. The elder boy only dead an hour before it was buried. When it fell over the side it fell across the ropes and there swung for a little while, but what can we expect but dreadful sights at sea. Going now ten knots, six young men ill, one with brain fever. If you put down the latitudes on a bit of paper, then you can trace our course on a map. Both well.
August 23rd Going Twelve knots. Service downstairs, very cold, had hare soup for dinner yesterday and soup again today, mashed potatoes and ham. Enjoyed my dinner much. Had a walk backward and forward.
August 24th Sun shining, still getting colder. Both well. Lissy getting quite fat. Lat. South 36-43 Long. West 10-8.
August 25th Going eleven knots, another death, a little girl, buried at twelve last night. Lat. South 37-43 Long. West 5-10.
August 26th Colder than ever, strong gale blowing, going ten knots.
August 27th Steady breese, going nine knots. Lissy has a very bad headache this morning. Purpose putting in at the Cape for medicine, so many ill, taken all our stock. Lat. - - Long. 10-45. Splendid moonlight, passed two ships, one an American. The Moonlight from Boston. We spoke to her and asked her for medical stores, they came close to us and had a look at us but would not answer. Shabby fellows, just like the Americans. It was too dark to speak to the other. Had toasted cheese for supper.
August 28th Another death, a little baby. Lissy much better this morning. Going straight to the Cape, hope to be in sight tomorrow, going ten knots.
August 29th Rose this morning at seven, going only four knots. Just sighted land at five o'clock, looks like two clouds. It's Table Mountain and Lion's Rump. Can also see the revolving light from the Cape. Hope to be in ? Bay Sunday morning.
August 30th Rose this morning at six, close to land, very high rocks, looks barren and wild, but still they look grand. Hoisted the red Ensign for a Pilot. A steamer in sight, coming down upon us, an American Man-O-War, the Vanderbilt. Thirteen guns, cruising about in search of vessels. Pilot has also come alongside and gone to the steamer, will return to us. The Pilot said the Captain tells him Gettysburg is taken by the North. Bad news, the steamer thought we were Americans. Six o'clock, just going into Bay. Can see Lemonstown.(?) [transcriber has queried this � it could be Simonstown] Eight ships lying in her, the large steamer Himmalah [Himalaya perhaps?] from China with troops on board going to England, 1400 people on board, 900 tons of coal. The Man-O-War guardship also in the Bay, and when we came in, the crew of the Niassus came on boats with their fire engine, thought we were on fire. The Consul came alongside, and after hearing we had scarlet fever and whooping cough on board, would not let anyone ashore, neither would he let anyone come alongside or on board. We were in quarantine. Ordered us to put up the yellow flag. The town looks so nice and clean and surrounded by high mountains. The Captain had some meat, wine, brandy, drugs, etc. aboard. Wine 9d per bottle. Brandy 1/6. We were not allowed to have any. He sold us a sheep among us second cabin, 42lbs at 6d per lb. The Pilot dare not take any letters ashore for fear of taking any disease ashore.
Monday morning August 31st Rose this morning at five to look at the little town, so quiet it was, it was a splendid sight, I never saw the like before. We hope to be out this morning, the Doctor and the Butcher came to receive their money, it was lowered to them in a boat, they would scarcely touch the paper it was in, but emptied the paper and threw it away. They washed it before they put it in their pockets. It took us all day to get out of the Bay, strong head winds, the Pilot left us at six this morning.
September 1st Out of sight of land, going six knots per hour. Both well. Lissy washing
September 2nd Going six knots, sighted a homeward bound vessel, but not near enough to speak to her. Six o'clock, raining very hard, going eleven knots. The Captain gave me a pumpkin for the second cabin. One he bought at Lemons? Bay, 10/- per 100. Made a pie of it very nice.
September 3rd/63 Strong breese all night, going ten knots. The Steward very drunk and he has been beating two little boys, and the Captain has beat him and ordered him to the fore-castle with the sailors. Lat. 37-19 North Long. 21-12 East.
September 4th Going eleven knots, ship heaving very much. Miss McWelleans, one of the single girls, quite mad, tore all her clothes off and had to be held down in bed. Frightened one girl into a fit.
�September 5th Nearly a calm, only going three knots. A man aged 30 died of scarlet fever, he had a little boy with him aged ten, and now left desolate. Tried to catch some birds but no go.
�September 6th Blowing a gale, fearful, came on all at once, never did I behold such a wind, all sails in and going eight knots with the wind dead ahead of us.
�September 7th Still blowing dead ahead. Two children dead and buried this morning. Now nine. A married woman just died, aged about fifty, and is about to be buried, that makes in all fourteen deaths. It begins to look serious, but I am happy to say we are both well. Strong gale, all sail in.
September 8th Had very little sleep last night, the vessel rolling and pitching very much. At twelve last night a sea broke over us from fore to aft, and this morning it is no better.
September 9th Rose this morning at seven after a sleepless night, a strong gale blowing us North-east into the Indian Ocean. Caught a large albatross and preserved the head and part of the wings. The sea looks beautiful, like snow, and the vessel like a desolate forest. No sails up, all bare poles.
�September 10th A little better this morning, not so rough, going six knots. The wind changing, getting more behind.
September 11th The wind quite changed, going eight knots, beautiful. Hope it will continue. Six o'clock, a storm coming up, lightning, and all sail being taken in. Torrents, thunder and lightning, fearful.�
September 12th Beautiful morning, so clear, and going four knots. Another child dead, the schoolmaster very ill. Scarlet fever.
September 13th Going eight knots, went twelve all night. The Captain found one of the Quartermasters drunk with the single girl, and ordered him away but he would not go. The Captain then pushed him, the Quartermaster turned round and struck him and had a regular scuffle. The Captain then ordered him to be put in irons, and he was locked up in the Quarter's Room.
September 14th �The Quartermaster burst the door open, and he had to be locked up in the Second Mate's room. Nothing particular this week, only fine weather and nice breeses. Going now ten knots. Three deaths this week, they die and they are buried, and we know nothing about it until it's all over. Twenty-one in all I think.
September 22nd Blowing a gale, hailing and snowing and most fearfully cold. Lat. 45-24 South Long. 80-4 East. From Lancashire, a nice lass, her name Ann Howard, aged 27, left her mother and sisters to come because there were so many at home, and was taken ill with a fit last evening and died in the morning. Another child dead. Going now gently, the gale gone over. Rose this morning at half past six, had no sleep all night, the gale began again just after ten and blew fearfully, the sea indeed mountains high. It's dangerous to go out of your cabin, one man fell down the hatchway, and another girl had her forehead cut very bad. I went to the Hospital to give my services, and cut the man's hair and dressed his head. Dreadful gale coming on again, hail and snow enough to frighten the women. I am going to bed, now seven, to try and lay down to sleep, we sometimes go for four or five days without a wink. After living here I am quite sure we can live anywhere. I have been trying to have my tea but very little can I get, bound to hold with your hand anything you eat, and the cup, etc. in the other. Breaking over us every minute, I can assure you it's fearful, but bear up, it cannot last forever. That's what I tell them. Rose this morning at six, no sleep, the ship never rolled so much. Candles, bottles, lamps, came tumbling against our door. It was fearful, it's a little quieter now, and I hope it will get less, for we get tired of too much of this sort of work, although we were going ten, eleven, twelve knots per hour. Lat. 47-27 South Long.
112-9 Rose this morning about nine, found it quite calm. Feel very unwell, caught cold, breese freshening, about nine knots, hope to see land again soon.
Tuesday, rose this morning and found it quite calm, and going no more than two knots.
Wednesday, going eleven knots, blowing quite a gale, my cold not much better. Lat. 45 North Long. 132 East.
Friday morning, going ten knots. First Mate ill with fever, and tow more deaths and two births. Lat. 4-11 Long. 148-26 Two more deaths, children. Rose this morning at seven, going nine knots. Hope to sight Timaru Thursday.
Wednesday, both well-sighted the Snares Rock quarter past two.
Thursday, lost sight of land. About two, sighted Otago Province, such a shout of "Land, land, etc.," got near and then breese sprung up, turned into a gale, bound to run out to sea again, jib and sail, but never mind, better late than never. Rose this morning to see a calm, not a ripple on the water, only fancy after such a gale, going now six knots. Land again in sight, Timaru.
Saturday, close to land.
Sunday morning, anchored, shipping people sending emigrants ashore, small place, beautiful country, splendid mountains all round. The Commissioner came on board and a lot more people. They seem nice and good-hearted people.
Monday morning, and off again to our last port, Port Lyttelton, hope to be there this evening or tomorrow.
Tuesday morning. We are at last at our destination and both are quite well. Lissy quite fat and saucy. We have had twenty-eight deaths, and twelve births. I don't suppose I have put them all down.
[Shipboard Diaries Collection,
Folder 61 3/83,
Canterbury Museum, Rolleston
Avenue, Christchurch, New
If you have any information regarding the passengers listed or the Lancashire Witch please email, Olwyn, so we can share data with the genealogical community.Passenger Lists Timaru