Voyage-of-the-Mermaid-Page-4-of-9

from the book "A Quota of Qualtrough" Pages 31-40

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Diary of James Qualtrough, written of board the "MERMAID" which sailed from Liverpool UK, on 11 July 1859 and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on 19 October 1859.

For the Mermaid Passenger List Click Here

For the Map of the Voyage Click Here

Saturday 13th: The MERMAID sails at 9 knots an hour. The winds have stood eastward and it is more favourable. The flying fish are in great numbers; their general size is that of herrings to common river trout. The fins they use as wings are near the head with a horizontal tail. Two of them have been caught on the MERMAID.

Monday 15th: Yesterday Mr Caley preached from the text "What must I do to be saved?" Dr. Atken in the afternoon gave a short address. I gave an address, just as well as I could, in the Intermediate at 7 o’clock, when a great many attended – English, Irish, Scotch and Manx.

We had sailed in all today (Sabbath) 4541 miles from the Rock Lighthouse. We were in Lat 5.37 south. We have no account of the sailing time today, but we yesterday sailed from 10 to 11 knots an hour. It is something like a wonder to see a vessel.

Tuesday 16th: Rather calm and the wind ahead. The ship has been turned four times today. Our attention in the course today was taken up with a woman who has been diligent in knitting, sewing and reading. A man of the name Atkinson with whom she had part of the same berth accused her of stealing certain articles; his daughter Flora being privy to the same accusation. The woman’s boxes were brought for inspection.

Hundreds gathered to see the event. Some articles were found, which Flora claimed. The woman was found guilty and confined according to the law which goes on board an emigrant ship; but the Captain, with his good presence of mind, thought the case over during the night. As the woman’s box was unlocked, prudently sent the cabin stewardess to converse with the woman in her confinement and after the conversation released her until a further trial could be made next day.

Wednesday 17th: This morning rather a calm at 9 o’clock. A shower and a breeze of wind. The ship sails at about 8 knots an hour. About 11 o’clock the woman’s trial again comes on. A jury was selected and the passengers were allowed to hear the whole affair, crowded on the poop, the accused and accusers were perused very closely by the jury men and the Captain. The woman was found "Not Guilty"and the accuser had to give his signature to the woman to certify her innocence. It shows how far prejudice and envy will go.

The cheerings and hurrahs the woman received could have been heard, I believe, at two miles distance and afterwards, hooting and hallooing after Atkinson. It was believed by all parties that the articles had been put in the woman’s bundles by the accusers, as they wished to get the woman out ot the berth.

The affair led me to think that if Edward Moore Gawne Esq., Member of the Honourable House of Keys, Justice of the Isle of Man, had one fourth of the judgment of Captain White, though hand would have joined in hand, they could have effected such a separation between himself and me. But my cause is in the Hand of Him who hath said, "Vengence is mine, I will repay."

Thursday 18th: We are now at lat.20.0. At 11 o’clock a homeward bound French ship passed about 10 miles distant. They exchanged signals until the French knew who the MERMAID was. A heavy swell of the sea is on now but it is very fine. An open lugger would have sailed with us yet all the way.

Friday 19th: Some seafowls from the coast of Africa seen but we have not seen land since we saw Madeira. We are longing now to come to the Cape of Good Hope whether we will see it or not. We sail about 8 knots an hour. The average sailings until yesterday have been 174 miles per day. Some of the children on board are very bad with whooping cough.

Monday 22nd: We had our regular services yesterday. Last night the ship rolled very much indeed. Lots of passengers slept very little. The sailors are busy preparing for more wind. The ship sails at 8 knots per hour.

Tuesday 23rd: We are in latitude 24.30.S, long 24.W. We have just enough fair wind. The ship sails 10 to 11 knots an hour. We see some Cape pigeons and water fowls.

Wednesday 24th: The weather has changed very much. It is quite wintry today, cold, wet and windy with the wind rather ahead. A great number of African fowls are flying aft and about the ship.

Thursday 25th: Last night it became very stormy. All hands called to reef and take sail. A sail, nearly new, went to pieces. Seeing 23 men on one yard, reefing in the storm some said: "Who would wish to be a sailor?" She was under very little sail at night and rolled very much. We are at latitude 25.0 south.

Friday 26th: The sailors are complaining that the ship has 200 tons too little of cargo. That with more she might carry more sail. The Captain is a sober, steady man. We are now on our course Easterly not intending to see the Cape at all. The storm has abated and more sail has been set on her.

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