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The Diary of Robert Heughan

Recording his voyage in 1862 from London to New Zealand aboard the sailing ship Indian Empire

Copyright © 2020 by David Stringer. https://www.eobar.org


What follows is not fiction but is a copy of the actual diary written by Robert Heughan himself. It is a fascinating read and an interesting historical document. Robert Knox Heughan was born in 1837, son of a blacksmith living in Dalbeattie, a small village in the south-west of Scotland. He was the eldest of 6 surviving brothers by the time he emigrated to New Zealand in 1862 at the age of 24. His parents were William and Janet Heughan (born Knox) and the family attended the local presbyterian church led by the reverend John Clark.

There have been several ships named 'Indian Empire' but the one that made this voyage was a wooden square-rigged sailing ship of around 1340 tons, built in Quebec, Canada in 1860. It was one of many known as 'immigrant ships' that were designed to carry large numbers of passengers migrating from Europe to the various countries of The New World, especially America, Canada, Australia and new Zealand. It was around this time that wooden sailing ships were being replaced by iron-hulled and steam-driven ships.

This particular voyage left London in July 1862 under the command of Captain Andrew Black. The journey took three and a half months and amazingly did so without stopping to take on fresh water or food. It must have been an ordeal for most of the passengers who would have had no experience of being at sea on what was a small ship by modern standards. Robert gives no indication of what led him to emigrate or how he came to choose this particular ship. His diary starts on the day he actually goes aboard the ship.

The diary is typed and, from the apparent age of the paper, was probably typed up a long time ago. Included with the diary, and appended here, are some letters from Robert to his family back home giving an account of his early times in Auckland after the voyage. These documents were found among the belongings of a man called John Clark (deceased) who had connections to Dalbeattie. Though not directly descended from the reverend John Clark mentioned above, he may have been distantly related to him or the Heughans and thus been left the documents as a legacy.

Robert refers to the diary in his letters to his parents in which he promises to send the diary to them. Indeed, it would seem that he kept the diary specifically for that purpose.

Words in brackets are notes that I have added where I thought they would be helpful.

The Diary

Tuesday July 1st 1862

After a walk to the Bank of England and a few other notable places with Mr Thomson this morning, I returned to his house then left with my luggage to go on board the ship "Indian Empire" lying in East India Docks. Got one of my chests into my berth and the other into the hold. The berth measures ten feet by six feet, contains eight bunks and is seven and a half feet high. We are all young in this berth and Scotch (sic) but one who belongs to Belfast. The tables are all up the centre of the ship in two rows. The intermediate is painted white except the venetian panels of the doors which are a pea green and look very beautiful. About 8pm they commenced to haul us out of the dock and at 10pm we got moored in the Basin ready for the tug in the morning.

Wednesday 2nd July 1862

Got up at half past four as I did not like my new bed. After getting on deck, surprised to see that we were being tugged down the river with two tugs. The morning is cold. The scenery is beautiful on both sides of the river. At 6am the anchor was dropped at Gravesend about 30 miles from London. Here we will lie till we pass the Government Inspector. In the afternoon the Inspector and other gentlemen came on board. All passengers are called onto the poop deck to answer to their names and to pass them one by one, giving up the duplicate of our contract tickets. One party had to go ashore as their infant was taking measles. While the inspector was on board a case of prussic acid exploded and burnt one of the sailors severely on the face, also some of the second cabin passengers' clothes. We are getting plenty of fresh provisions at present but a want of order to serve them out yet. The tea has been bad as the coppers are new. The day has been showery but the evening fine.

Thursday 3rd July 1862

A light drizzly rain this morning. The Inspector comes on board today again. Some improvements are still to be made in regard to ventilation. There are parties aboard distributing prayer books and packages containing tracts and papers, being farewell presents to emigrants from The Religious Tract Society of London. Has been wet all day. Music and dancing were carried on till a late hour in the steerage this evening.

Firday 4th July

This is a beautiful day. The Inspector was on board again to say farewell after giving the ship a pass. The tug comes alongside and at about three p.m. we weighed anchor and set out in good sailing trim. There are 250 passengers, 46 of a crew and of live stock: 25 sheep - 15 for the Ship's use - 30 pigs and one gross of poultry, also 5 dogs. All parties seem to be in good spirits. The evening is fine. About 11pm we dropped anchor again in the Downs till morning.

Saturday 5th July

Weighed anchor again about 5am, the wind being so much in our favour at this time. The tug left us before we came to Dover. The scenery is beautiful on the English coast. The Cliffs of Dover are white and appear as if they were chalk. Having got as far as Beachy Head when we were becalmed. The mess tickets were given out this evening. I am down as a Captain of one but we passengers not agreeing to this arrangement, which had been done by Willis Zan & Co, formed into messes as best we could arrange ourselves. Messrs Liddell, Captain, Robb, Murdoch and families and myself formed No. 11 Mess.

Sunday 6th July

Most of the passengers are sick this morning, I among the rest. Have made no progress this morning as the wind hauled ahead of us. At one p.m. we were drifting and in case we might drift ashore, a cadge anchor was let go for a few hours in 16 fathoms of water. Very near shore and while in the act of lifting the anchor, it was found to be in contact with the telegraph cable between Dover and Calais. It was about an hour before the anchor could be released. There being no chaplain aboard, worship was conducted this evening by two Englishmen, intermediate passengers.

Monday 7th July

Still very sick. Been blowing a stiff breeze all day. Have to tack every two hours as the wind is right ahead. First sheep and pig killed today.

Tuesday 8th July

Better of sickness this morning. Most are bad yet. This is the first day I have seen the Doctor and he is pretty far on. Been drunk most of the time. I suppose he has been getting brandy for patients and drinking it all himself. We are somewhere off Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight.

Wednesday 9th July

The sea is rough, our good ship staggers and reels. Been making little progress as the wind is still contrary. Two brothers from Cornwall are sitting on a spar looking very doleful and blue. One of the passengers lost a good felt hat overboard towards evening. Most of us are engaged writing to our friends as the pilot leaves us at the first opportunity.

Thursday 10th July

This is a beautiful day. We are off the Isle of Wight. A signal is raised for the pilot boat. In a short time it is alongside. The pilot is lowered with a bag of letters and three hearty cheers as they move off. One of the crew, a comical little fellow whom they call "Dublin Jack" is very amusing to all at nights.

Friday 11th July

Some of the crew are intoxicated today. It is discovered by some of the officers that they have broken up some cases of champagne. Little "Dublin" who is the worst intoxicated and the most likely offender is first put in irons but soon liberated. One female in the second cabin took a fit of hysterics; another in the steerage fainted; both through seasickness. On the forecastle there is a rich swell of Scotia's music wafted forth on the soft breezes of the summer's eve, which none but a Scottish heart can feel.

Saturday 12th July

The wind is more favourable. It was suspected and known by a few that there were some stowaways aboard. After breakfast, three were found beneath the forecastle, in among the sails. One Englishman and two Irishmen. When taken before the Captain and Officers they were severely reprimanded and set to work on the deck. One of the Irishmen is a very rough looking fellow. A deal of music and dancing on deck in the evening.

Sunday 13th July

All on board are clean and dressed. The sailors have nothing to do but work the sails when required. At 11am the bell rings for divine service. E.C. Service is conducted in the chief cabin by some of the passengers there. Scotch service is conducted on the deck by three intermediate passengers, all on deck assembling except a few who are opposed to church worship. After this the role was called. We again assembled at half past six when Mr Thompson, a schoolmaster from Glasgow, gave a few remarks from John 1 - 4.16.

Monday 14th July

This is a fine day. The wind is more favourable. We spoke with a Falmouth pilot boat in the forenoon. They wanted the Captain to tie a bottle of rum and a piece of pork to a piece of wood and throw overboard to them but he refused. A great deal of card playing among the passengers. Some of the young fellows in the second cabin seem sadly taken down when obliged to wash their tables and dishes, sweep their decks and prepare their dishes for the cook. They have no more privileges than we have, only more honour of paying a few more pounds for their passage. Observed the Captain and two officers taking the sun. The time is known throughout the ship by the ringing of two bells every half hour, one on the poop, the other on the forecastle. A prayer meeting is held this evening between decks and is expected to continue. We spoke with the ship "Horwick" from Adelaide to London.

Tuesday 15th July

Two accidents on the stairs for want of proper handrails. An old Englishman fell down one at the fore hatchway and broke his left arm above the elbow. Fortunately there was a military Doctor, a passenger in the Chief Cabin who set and bandaged the arm and saw him put into the Hospital. The Ship Doctor is a worthless character, mostly drunk and seemingly better skilled in grog than in surgery. Soon after this, a young man was coming off the forecastle deck. He fell on the stair with his head which brought on a fit.

The stores are issued on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: flour, beef, pork and preserved meat on Tuesdays; preserved potatoes, rice, suet and seasoning on Thursday; tea, sugar, coffee, butter and biscuits on Saturday.

A meeting of the Captains of messes this evening. Afterwards another meeting for the formation of a rifle corps on board. A committee is chosen. A deputy is sent to a Captain Tigh of the 70th Regiment in the first cabin to see if he would become the Captain of the Corps, to which he consented and likewise allow his servant to drill us as Doctor McKinnon of the 57th Regiment will also allow his servant to drill us too. The Captain of the Ship has a good many rifles on board which he will lend for practice whenever we reach that stage.

The Ship's joiner was putting a deck light in our berth today. Now we have both a port hole and a deck light. This day has been sunny and breezy, the wind not so favourable. We are now off Land's End. Most of the passengers are on deck. Many no doubt brushed away the gathering tears at the last view, as it would be to many, The Land of our Fathers. Up to bedtime, two lights which shine so brilliantly at the extreme point were the whole attraction.

Wednesday 16th July

We are about out of the channel now, having had a great deal of beating and tacking getting so far as the wind has been so much ahead. About half of the passengers are Scotch (sic) both from Glasgow and Perthshire. The others are Irish and English, mostly shopmen and farmers. The day has been pleasant, the evening very calm.

Thursday 17th July

Been squally and a heavy sea running all day. About 11am a squall struck us which threw the ship suddenly on her side. A Mr Levi, a Jew in the first cabin was unwell, sitting at the door in the arm chair, went sliding down to the lee bulwark and fortunately was not much hurt. Some of the passengers told me they were nearly thrown off the forecastle head at the same time.

One of the passengers is engaged as Ship's Butcher; another two are cook's assistants; another as third steward in the Cabin. While the butcher was removing the ducks, one of them flew overboard. The poultry and pigs are dying in numbers for want of space to move in.

Some person threw a little dog on board the day we left london and he is called "Friday" by the sailors. We have entered the Bay of Biscay this evening. It is beautiful to see the waves tumbling and raging, crested with spray as far as the eye can reach. They are dashing all around like a horrid multitude of wolves rushing or leaping up the side and rigging.

Friday 18th July

Great difference of the sea today. We are becalmed in the forenoon. This is rather a singular thing in the Bay of Biscay. At midday a light breeze springs up.

Most passengers are airing bedding today; this is my second time.

There were a shoal of porpoises around the ship this afternoon. Some of the sailors are preparing a harpoon for the next that come. One of the apprentices has got some young fellows to play at "Follow the Lead" then gets them to the bowsprit where they are tied till they pay the fine

Saturday 19th July

This is the most eventful day we have had yet. Two deaths in the intermediate. The first an infant about ten months old. Supposed to have died for a want of proper nourishment. The Doctor is much blamed in this case for not giving the specified food. Just as this child was being consigned to the deep, the youngest daughter of a Mr Marshall from Glasgow died, aged three years, and consigned to the deep four hours afterwards. The bodies were sewn in canvas and loaded at the foot with rock salt. An English church service was read when the first was consigned. At the second, a chapter was read and prayer offered by a Mr Thompson, schoolmaster. These events present a very solemn and affecting scene anywhere but more especially at sea.

The sea has been calm and the day beautiful. A quarrel among the card players this evening which I think will be a check on this game now. The second mate took the leader before the Captain and kept some of the cards. There are a number of fast, regardless young men on the ship. They are carrying on as if nothing had occurred today.

Sabbath 20th July

This is a beautiful morning but making little progress. The sun is very hot. The bell rings as usual for worship, conducted at this time by Mr Haley, one of the Non-Conformists, after praise and prayer. A sermon was read: Ground Work in Psalm 139 1-10. There was E.C. service in first cabin as usual. Next, the roll was called. Some had to be raised out of their beds to answer to their names. They sit so long at cards that they cannot get up in the morning.

About midday three sailors had a bathe in the sea. When the Captain saw them they were ordered to come in.

After dinner, Sabbath School was formed, also Bible classes for young men and women. Sixteen young men joined, mostly Scotch. They are the leading parties in everything in this ship. At half past six there was public worship, again conducted by an intermediate passenger who spoke a few words from Acts 9-4. Then afterwards a prayer meeting which is held between decks at 8 o'clock every evening. It has been well attended this last week.

Monday 21st July

The wind is far behind us today and we are sailing very steadily. Passengers' luggage has been handed out of the hold. I got some articles out of my chest and stowed others into it. A deal of confusion on deck today with the luggage. Some are grumbling about the abuse it is getting, for which they have good reason. The ship's company are very careless about it.

A large whale was seen today.

Tuesday 22nd july

Wind the same as yesterday. We have sailed 177 miles from twelve o'clock yesterday till twelve today. This is one day at sea.

The carpenter is making a studding sail boom. The joiner, a rack for tumblers for the Chief Cabin.

There is always a great deal of baking every day between decks. There are 23 messes. One half bakes one day and the other the next, which gives the cook time to fire all. We have as good bakers in our mess as are in the ship. After tea, the weekly meeting of the Captains of messes was held.

In the evening, a little girl of Mr Robbs took a fit, supposed to be brought on by cositiveness. After the prayer meeting a quarrel arose between the Chairman of the Captains of messes Meeting and the second and third mate, who had heard that they had beeen trying to defame their characters at the last meeting. Which cases will be brought before the Captain of the ship tomorrow.

Late in the evening, a second cabin passenger was intoxicated and became outrageous and was put in irons for a time. Another beautiful morning.

Wednesday 23rd July

The Captains of messes have been called to the poop before the Commander concerning the second and third mates case which was found to be a false statement made to the meeting last night. These officers are liked by all and thought to be efficient men in their duties. But there being a party who got censured by the Captains for their bad conduct, afterwards tried all they could to get these meetings abolished so that they might have more freedom in the ship. This statement was found to be one of their own plans to get the officers against the meetings.

A class for the practice of sacred music commenced this evening, Mr Thompson leading. There are a number of good singers aboard.

The night being very fine, a number of blue lights and rockets were let off the poop deck for the amusement of the passengers. It was splendid to look from end to end of the ship while the lights were burning. Every countenance and rope was so distinct in every part of the ship. What a strange appearance it gave to the sea, making it dark and lurid.

Thursday 24th July

This day has been warm and clear. The wind is getting lighter. A sail was seen early this morning.

The crew wash the decks every morning by an engine and hose. Some of the passengers take a bath from it at times. It is rather a severe one I think. Two or three will stand in a corner naked when the hose man will fire into them. When they work the engine quickly, the water would almost lift the skin.

A little before breakfast, one of the galley chimneys took fire but was soon extinguished.

Our music class met at four in the evening on the poop deck. There was dancing to the sound of the fiddle. Also, on the main deck, a great deal of vocal and instrumental music.

The night is very calm and starry.

Friday 25th July

Wind light but fair. The yard has been square most of a week now.

This day commences my week for attending the galley and going for the stores. Have got no dishes to wash or baking to do as there are so many females in the mess. The water is getting very bad.

Great quantities of fish about the prow; the sailors call them burnetos. Many tried to fish them but none were caught as the ship was sailing so slowly. They were using a white rag for a bait.

A good many amateurs in the hair cutting line today who are acquitting themselves very well.

The big rough stowaway named "Tipperary" has got very lazy, disobeying orders. The boatswain threatens to put him in irons next offence.

It is reported we are opposite the Straights of Gibraltar this evening.

Saturday 26th July

Wind still light; only made 51 miles. About 11am a large shark was seen off our port side. A large hook was got and was put out to stern.

The day was so fine that the Captain, his wife and other passengers went out in one of the boats for an hour. About this time the bugle was sounded for the enrolled volunteers who mustered for the first time. We were formed into three divisions and drilled again in the afternoon.

This evening, when going to bed, one of the steerage passengers lost 35 pounds out of his trouser pocket. After two hours search it was found in the bunk beneath his own bed.

Sabbath 27th July

Heard a noise among the sailors at the fore hatch through the night. After getting on deck this morning, saw that the Boatswain's face was cut and swelled. Afterwards, learned that he had been drunk and quarelled with the sailmaker and joiner in the night time.

Divine service as usual at 11am. A few remarks were made from the words of Songs of Solomon 2 Chap 2-3; in the evening from John 33 24.

The breeze is strengthening this evening.

Monday 28th July

Blowing a fine breeze this morning and had been the same all night. About 10am the loom of the island of Madeira was seen faintly in the East. Got drilled twice today again. A number of the passengers have been volunteers at home. It is good amusement to all, especially to the spectators when the ship gives a lurch.

Little "Dublin" has his face blackened and is very amusing this evening.

Tuesday 29th July

While waiting upon our stores this morning we accidentally got a shower from the hose, after which some commenced to slap each other with their flour bags. You may guess the work they had in cleaning after this.

It is a son of the Owner who is purser and storekeeper. His name is Law. His father is a joiner and builder in Glasgow. He was found to give us light weight and take advantage every way he could so we appointed officers from among ourselves to the three following departments: One to superintend weighing of provisions; one measuring cold water and another hot water. The cook got half of our allowance of water every morning to boil. This afternoon an Englishman and Yankee were exercising themselves in the pugilistic art about a piece of plum duff but were soon stopped.

Steerage passengers held a meeting this evening. The former secretary who was a bookkeeper in London having resigned, I am appointed to this office. Two new officers were appointed over the cold and hot water. A committee was appointed to attend the sick and several grievances to be brought before the Commander regarding the water and provisions. Such is the business of the meeting held weekly.

Wednesday 30th July

It is appointed that we be drilled this day, also Fridays and Mondays. Our division, getting drilled by the galley - today the cook is bright - when he sees a mistake made. Then tells us a long yarn about the punishment we would get in Germany for making mistakes. I like to hear him speak the broken English. Very often, when the galley is full, we will hear him cry at someone to "take dat avay, dis don long ago come out of dis galley." The Ship's Cook is a Prussian but very quiet. Each has got assistants.

Thursday 31st July

Breeze pretty stiff this morning. A shoemaker has commenced work in the steerage. Preparations are commenced for the crossing of the line. One of the chaps in "Dumbarton Castle" - this is the name that we give our berth - is making the crown for Neptune. Another is making the razor.

The weather is warm and fine. We are now in the Tropic of Cancer. On the poop deck they have got an awning up to shelter from the sun.

Friday August 1st

Awoke this morning hearing the sailors singing one of their rhymes: "I'm bound for Auckland City" while heaving up one of the sails. They all seem to be in great spirits.

Wrote to the Captain today concerning our supply of water.

The dead horse act was done this evening by the sailors. It was intended for a little amusement to the passengers and to signify as it is general for the sailors to receive a month's advance before shipping and that the month was up. They had the form of a horse made up of wood and bag with little "Dublin" on its back. All the rest of them drew him around the decks and singing a rhyme about the poor old horse. Then they were hoisted out gallantly to the point of the main yard and after a few capers in the air "Dublin" let the horse from under him into the sea. This being so well done, a subscription was got up on behalf of the sailors.

Some flying fish have been seen today. The evening is very fine.

Saturday 2nd August

Some of the crew are busy getting water casks from the hold and breaking them up and stowing them away again.

Learned that a flying fish had lighted on deck during the night but died soon after.

I suppose we would pass some of the Cape Verde Islands today but none of them were seen. A sail is seen ahead of us in the same course which we are making up on.

Sunday 3rd August

Had our usual services today, both conducted by Mr Hayley. The words from which his subject were grounded are in Isaiah.

About 2pm we got so near that ship so as to speak to her. Learned that she was a steam ship from London but now under canvas and bound for Calcutta, named "Mareititus." (sic, possibly Mauritius)

Monday 4th August

A beautiful morning. About 10am spoke with a French Barque homeward bound. The day has been fine. The evening is beautiful. The moon about three quarters full. The sky is clear as any I ever saw and so warm that a number of passengers slept on deck and many on the forms between deck as it is so close in the berths.

Tuesday 5th August

This morning a large paddle steamer is seen off our starboard side. After breakfast it became very squally with heavy rain. All empty vessels are filled with rain water to wash with.

At 5pm three sails were in sight, apparently all homward bound. One of them was so near that we could discern the man at the wheel but could not speak to each other because it was so wet and rough.

A lady in the second cabin fell on deck this evening and broke her arm above the wrist.

For the last fortnight we have had a fair wind with the yards square most of that time. Now it is blowing in squalls right ahead which makes the ship pitch very much.

Wednesday 6th August

Rose this morning with a headache caused by the tossing in bed last night. The wind right ahead, yet many are sick again. The cook has to cry several times before any will venture up for hot water this morning. We are walking at all angles on deck. Some run on their hands and feet and when the ship lurches many go reeling against the bulwark with violence. When at tea we hook the pots onto a bar and hold the other things the best way we can to keep them from following the bad example of the sugar dish which we let traverse the table. There is always something flying off the table, let one plan as they can.

Thursday 7th August

Still squally this morning. A young woman bad with sea sickness fainted today. She has to get some brandy occasionally which was ordered by the Captain. But it was found that the Doctor had received the brandy but never administered it. He has been "half sprung" the last three days and it is a source of amusement to all. Someone pretended to be very ill this evening. So they sent to the Doctor, a number being around to enjoy the sport, and insisted upon him getting something immediately. So he brought him a glass of brandy. Had it been salts or oil, it would have been taken at another time but the brandy was taken before him.

"Tipperary" had a quarrel with the first mate today about scraping out the second cabin.

The evening is more settled now.

Friday 8th August

This has been a fine day. It was enjoyed by us very much after the rough ones. A good deal of washing has been done today which I could have done without but seeing so many at it, I washed too.

It is expected we will reach the line tomorrow week but we are making little progress as the wind is so much ahead.

Some young men have commenced branding their arms with figures just like the sailors.

Some are on deck with their beds again tonight.

Saturday 9th August

Roused through the night by the deck sleepers coming down with their beds because of rain. Two sails in sight this morning, one on each side at 10am. Spoke to one of them: a barque named Evangeline 23 days from Liverpool: bound for Calcutta. At 11am spoke with the other: a ship named "Inspector of Boston" 26 days from Liverpool: bound for Calais in South America. About 5pm this ship was so near we could almost speak to her with our voices. At 7pm we had a sudden squall with heavy rain. Some were wet to the skin before they could get down the hatchways.

Sabbath 10th August

Had no service this forenoon owing to the work of the ship. Wind is ahead again so we have to tack to keep on our course. The classes met at 4pm - the bell was rung for worship.

This afternoon one of the cooks spilt some grease on the fire when the flames came out of the door and nearly caught one of the sails. Spoke with another ship named "Skimmer of The Seas" 36 days from London and bound for Capetown, Cape of Good Hope.

Monday 11th August

Heavy rain through the night. This morning found that one sheep and 8 ducks were drowned. The ducks were in a boat with some geese and had been trampled under the water.

A female passenger in the second cabin fell into a trance last night and the boatswain broke up her door to put out the light which she had been burning. She had been told of it several times but paid no attention. She had to be attended by both Doctors most of the night but recovered in the morning. All private lights in cabins have to be out at nine o'clock. The third mate goes round every night to see they are all out. There are other lights supplied by the ship which hang outside. One of these is before our door so we require very little light inside. We have both lantern and candle.

Tuesday 12th August

The day is very wet and there is little wind. There is a sail put up awning fashion to catch the rain, with the hose attached to one corner of it and running the water into some empty casks in the hold.

Little "Dublin" plays a trick with the Doctor this evening. Having his arm tied in a certain position, he fell on deck and cried for the Doctor and when he comes, declares it is broken. The military Doctor, knowing that it was a trick, assisted him in setting and bandaging the unbroken arm.

Learned this evening that the Purser has been mixing up molasses and water to put into the rum which had been put aboard for the soldiers. We found he had been going too deep into it, had sold some bottles and drunk a good deal of it too. I suppose there being no rum in the cargo, it had been run upon.

Wednesday 13th August

This has been a beautiful day but a strong wind is still ahead of our course. We have only made 15 miles the last three days.

Another trick was played on the Doctor this evening by the passengers: The cook's assistant gave him a glass of sherry wine. I wonder he does not see through them.

Thursday 14th August

The water is so bad this morning that no one can take tea. All are thirsty and none can drink the water. A sample of it is taken to the first officer in a bucket. It is so thick and thready that it will scarcely run through the fingers when lifting it with our hands. It tasted horrible but we got no redress about it. It was found to be some of the rain water which had been mixed in with the other. It was that which had been caught off the sail two days previously.

Friday 15th August

Another fine morning. The second mate told me we were 280 miles from the equator today at twelve noon.

One of the chief cabin youths who has been making the acquaintance of a young woman of the intermediate was sitting this evening in the dark, having a fond chat, when to their great surprise they were drenched to the skin with a pailful of water. After which there was much sport in trying to find out the depredator. There was another fight among the card players this evening.

Saturday 16th August

This has been a clear warm day. We have got the south-east (sic, would be north-east) trade winds which it is said will waft us over the line in a number of days to the south. The sailors are busy preparing their apparel for the crossing of the line.

Sabbath 17th August

The service this forenoon was at the usual hour, none in the afternoon as the day is so short.

By observation today at twelve we were 81 miles from the line.

We had no water for tea this afternoon as no one could carry it to the cook's cask, which created some stir.

The sailors have been busy preparing and contributing all this day for the shaving operation tomorrow, which must all be done they say, before Neptune comes aboard - The one they chose among them for Neptune was the wildest old man I ever heard speak - which is the night before we cross. About 7pm two rockets were fired and two blue lights were burned on the bows as signals for Neptune who had been over the bows about the chain. He came crawling up while the lights were burning and walked round the deck singing that he would return tomorrow and see all his children. Then a tub filled with tar was lowered into the sea and set fire to. This is called Neptune's boat and denotes that he is off till tomorrow.

This has been an awful Sabbath evening. It was enough to bring judgement upon us. Soon after this was the prayer meeting - larger than ordinary.

Monday 18th August

This is a fine morning. There is an immense shoal of porpoises around us, some leaping 5 and 6 feet.

We crossed the line early this morning. The sailors are allowed half of this day for shaving. They commenced at noon to spread a sail from the deckhouse to the lee side of the bulwarks. They kept it filled with water by the fire engine. Then they all got dressed. The first 13 appeared with blue shirts outside of their trousers with belts on and batons drawn through them, which were made of canvas stuffed with hay. Some of them had imitation black eyes and all their noses reddened. This is the police force. The sergeant, who had three stripes on his arm, with a ratchet in his hand, marches them all before the cannon carriage. This is fitted up as a chariot for Neptune and his wife who is next in the procession. He has a kilt on made of tow rope. His wig and beard are the same. He has a tin hat of a crown fashion and highly ornamented. His face and legs are painted red. His wife is one of the sailors with beard shaved and dressed in female clothes. She has got an imitation baby and a black eye. The passenger cook, who has a red coat, long boots and a gilt band on his hat, is the coachman.

Next comes little "Dublin", as a barber, and his assistant. Both have long black hats and white aprons. The barber has a variety of scissors and brushes hung around him and carries two large razors. One of them has two blades made of hoop iron. The other is toothed like a saw. This one is for those who would not contribute. His asssistant has a pailful of paste, a few brushes and some bottles with a substitute for oil.

Next follows the Doctor and a sailor dressed in black with a few drugs in his hand. Then comes the barber's clerk who has his face blackened and has a book and pencil.

Last come three of the strongest, clad in sacks, crawling on their hands and knees. They are chained together by the neck with a heavy chain. These are called the bears. Their driver has a long pole and a leather wig made of tow rope which covers his face.

Then the whole started off in procession and ascended the poop where they were all treated to a glass of grog by Captain Tighe of the 70th Regiment and Doctor McKinnon. After descending, they came along to the deck house and commenced their work. The Sergeant of the Police had got a list of the parties who did not contribute and were to be shaved. He and his force takes them up one by one.

The first was a chief cabin passenger. He was set down on the edge of the deck house and his eyes tied up with a cloth by the barber's assistant. Then the Doctor felt his pulse and gave him a mouthful of salt water or cold coffee and then a smell from a bottle full of needle points. Next, the barber applied vermilion and water for hair oil. He brushed on paste to the beard, sometimes putting it in his mouth while he spoke. All this while Dublin was spinning a yarn about his easy shaving and while stropping his razor, which was found to be otherwise, as it took both hands to work the razor.

After this, each passenger is cast down into the sail of water which is about 7 feet of fall, and in which are the three bears to dip and wash them as they come down. Some got a shave and many of us had a dip without the shave. They shaved some by force and I think there will be law about it if we are spared to reach Auckland.

They were all getting a glass of grog now and again but not from the Captain. When Neptune came down from the house he was so drunk he fell over the grindstone and soon all of them were in the same condition.

There being a great supper in the chief cabin this evening, the first steward and the cook had to prepare it. The fires were so large that one of the chimneys caught fire but was soon extinguished because everyone runs (to help) when they hear of fire. In the bustle, a ham which was ready for the table was stolen and could not be found. While they were searching, three bottles of gin were stolen from the pantry.

One of the steerage passengers who was intoxicated was ordered off the deck about 10 o'clock and on being sent down the stair on the fore hatchway, it broke. At the same time he struck the second officer for which he was put in irons. It's well for us that this is a fine evening.

Tuesday 19th August

Learned this morning that a light had been seen in the hold by some of the passengers in the night time. It was supposed to be some of the crew in search of drink. One of the crew was put in irons this morning for disobeying orders.

The purser is unavailable for his duties this morning having got his arm dislocated

It is posted on the main mast today that a pound reward will be given to any person who will give information that will lead to the recovery of the ham and that no spirits will be sold until it is found. "Who stole the ham?" has become the whole cry.

Many of the sailors are drunk this evening. There is dancing on the main deck to the concertinas.

Wednesday 20th August

Lost in the steerage this morning was a small pig of butter belonging to one of the passengers. It was thought to be taken by one of the sailors as they can reach to the place where it was when they are in the sail room.

It was posted on the front of the cabin that the bet which was lost by Levi the Jew in the First Cabin is now settled and the money given to the sailors.

In the afternoon the crew were all drunk again. Some of the officers were sent to the hold to see if the cargo has been breached. They found that one of the passengers' chests have been opened, also a few cases of brandy. Next they searched the sailors' beds and chests in which they found, at about 5pm, a number of bottles that had been taken from the casks.

A fight took place between the Boatswain and one of the sailors for which the sailor was put in irons. Soon after, the Boatswain was entangled with another for which he may blame himself. He is always bragging what he can do. The sailors were trying him out now but some of the passengers interfered. One of them, a Dutchman, was put in irons and a gag was put in his mouth because he bit an officer. They have a good deal to do between passengers and crew at present. I thought some of the passengers might have to be called to help with the working of the ship.

Very fortunately, we have fine weather at present.

Thursday 21st August

The crew were going very carelessly about their work this morning. After breakfast our chests were brought up from the hold and the brandy cases moved aft.

In the evening a few of the crew got dressed and blackened to form a negro band. Each of them had an instrument of some kind. The passenger cook is their leader. They were very amusing to all.

I got drenched with a sea while looking over the windward side this evening.

Friday 22nd August

We have been sailing at 10 knots all night.

It is customary for a number of passengers to make pottage every morning which crowds the galley till the cook can scarcely move, as each have their own dish. Sometimes he puts cayenne pepper on the stove and other times he will turn the damper to turn them out as he cannot do it by speaking. Pottage has become a great treat on board. Some are making it here who never tasted it until they came on board.

The soldiers have complained about their rum being bad so the purser and his assistant were put before the Captain.

We heard some fine airs this evening on the concertina.

Saturday 23rd August

We were wakened at about 3 o'clock this morning with a cry of "Watch, Watch, Fire, Fire!" Instantly, as I got up, one of the passengers went flying past the door with one of the lamps blazing which had taken fire. The candle got done, there being grease in the bottom. This was very alarming at the time. No injury was done but this was the means of getting all the male passengers between decks enrolled as watchmen in the night time. There are to be two watches every night and two men on each watch. I have to write the watch's names every day and stick them up so that it may be known who is on the watch.

We are supposed to be only two days sail from Penramambuca (sic, probably what is now Recife, a port of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco) on the American coast.

Captain Tighe has made a present of a bottle of wine to all the married women between decks today.

A song has been written and posted on the deck house about "Who stole the ham."

Sabbath 24th August

There was divine service this forenoon. There was a good attendance at the prayer meeting this evening.

The sunset was very beautiful.

Monday 25th August

There died at one a.m. the infant daughter of a Mr Mook. After the customary service, the body was commited to the deep at twelve noon.

In the afternoon, a fight arose between two parties about their coffee beans.

At 5pm a fine little Swedish brig was so near us that we could hear them cheeering us. It was said to be about 200 tons burden. There were only four men on her deck. There being a heavy swell on the sea, it was beautiful to see the little barque ride and plow the mighty main.

Tuesday 26th August

It was rather cold this morning. There was a beautiful black and white spotted bird flying close around the ship which was said to be a cape pigeon (cape petrel.)

The crew are bringing up the empty casks from the hold, breaking them up, putting the staves together, then putting them back.

There were a great many discussions today about religion and some about the sun. There were many vague ideas regarding both. I think there are men of all sects and denominations with us. We are supposed to have passed near the island of Trinidad today (Sic, Trinidade, a volcanic island in the South Atlantic).

Wednesday 27th August

There was gambling of all sorts going on today: A grand steeple chase on the poop deck. They have horses and riders cut out of sheet lead and set on a board which is all lined across and numbered. The horse progresses on his course by the number the owner throws on the dice. On the main deck there is a Yorkshireman who has either been a gambler at fairs or a great deal among them with Roly Poly and other such games. And drawing money from those who are so foolish as to try them.

The sailors were busy setting up the foremast rigging. At 5pm our ensign was hoisted to speak with a ship which was off our starboard side but she passed without raising a signal.

There was another negro concert in the cabin this evening.

Thursday 28th August

We have a fair wind and are doing 10 knots. Some of the games are going on yet. A wheel of fortune was introduced. Some young men are losing a good deal of money by card playing. One lost three pounds and ten shillings last night.

Every evening at sunset the sky is gorgeous. There is a new moon this evening. All are glad to see it.

A light was seen on the sea on the fore part of the night. It was thought to be of a ship.

Friday 29th August

Today some of the gamblers are raffling a gold plated watch valued at forty shillings.

A cape pigeon was caught this afternoon by a line from the stern of the ship. It is web-footed, has a black and white breast and is white and speckled down the back and wings. It is about the size of a crow but longer wings. There were also two cape hens and an albatross. The cape hens are all brown in colour and larger than the pigeons. The albatross appears to be as large as a goose and is only found between latitudes 25 and 60.

About 2am most of us passengers were wakened by the noise of the sailors reefing and taking down sail in consequence of a heavy squall in which one of the top sails got a split. One of the passengers, having gone up with nothing but his shirt and trousers on, and being in the bustle, one of the sailors put a rope in his hand and told him to hold on to it or the ship would capsize. Some time after, another one passed him and asked why he held on to that rope when it was raining so heavily. He said it was to keep the ship from capsizing. He took it in earnest!

Saturday 30th August

It has been raining in the fore part of this day. The noise was great between decks. On a day like this "Dixie" and other well-known airs are heard above all on the fiddles.

The air is getting cold now. Most are drawing to their heavy clothes.

Sabbath 31st August

Worship was held at 11am. The pigeons are getting very like pets. Some of the passengers are feeding them with pieces of pork. Two or three have been caught today again.

The sailors have been selling, among themselves, by auction, a watch and coat. They are very regardless of the Sabbath. It is badly kept by all.

There is a heavy swell on the sea and no wind. The ship has rolled all day. The Doctor has been drunk all day.

The prayer meeting was well attended. There was no wind this morning.

Monday September 1st

We are in what the sailors call The Doldrums.

Early this morning in the hospital, Mrs Brown was deleivered of a female child. Mother and child are doing well.

Some of the cabin passengers were shooting seabirds today.

Tuesday 2nd September

We have a good breeze now from the north-west. This afternoon, we have been running at 13 knots. About 3pm one of the four top masts' studding sail booms was carried away. There were some passengers on the forecastle deck at the time and one of them ran a narrow escape in its downfall. Soon, another boom was in its place but its sail was not set.

Some of the card players are staking pounds on some games. The passenger cook has won eight pounds this evening.

Wednesday 3rd September

Another female child has been born in the hospital.

Between the hours of 2am and 5am we had a storm of wind and rain in which some of the running gear was carried away and 5 sails stripped. The man at the wheel was nearly carried overboard by a cross sea striking the rudder. In the first and second cabin between decks, the passengers were all up as their beds got wet by the seas that were shipped. In the steerage there were boxes, water cans and tins, everything moving and tumbling in all directions.

I got to the hatchway to see what it was like on deck. Most of the sails were taken in. It was so dark that I could not see any of the sailors. The wind was howling fiercely through the shrouds. The sea was mountains high. We were supposed to be running 15 knots at this time.

At 1pm we passed and spoke to a French barque named "Capella" bound for the island of Java. She was only carrying 5 sails and was rolling excessively. The sea has been high all day.

There was another watch raffle. I heard the cook say he had won five pounds and ten shillings.

Thursday 4th September

I could not sleep last night as the ship rolled so much. My bed is athwart the ship so I thought at times that a little more would have set me on my head and feet alternately.

One of the sailors is a great gambler and raffled a concertina today.

I saw an albatross get shot.

The weather is dull and cold.

Friday 5th September

I was on watch from 2am to 6am when the moon was shining bright and clear all the time. The Southern Cross, which is a guide to the mariner in the southern hemisphere, was very distinct.

A cape hen was caught with one of the lines today.

Tuesday and Friday are pea soup days. It is a critical job to carry it but we are getting so much used to the rolling of the ship that the rumbling and tumbling of the dishes has become more of an amusement than a dread now.

Saturday 6th September

It is blowing strongly from the north this morning. Very few sails are up as we are running before the wind. There is a lookout on the bow this morning as the weather is so dull.

When the log was heaved at 8am we were running at eleven and a half knots. At 11am we were going at twelve and a half knots at this time. Three studding sails were set in the fore yard and at 1pm one of them was carried away. After this, the wind became very light. The old main sail was taken down and a new one bent on this afternoon.

There are very few on the deck. Tonight it has been so wet and cold. It was intended to have sighted the island of Tristan De Achuna (sic, Tristan da Cunha) but no observation could be taken as the day was so dull.

Sabbath 7th September

It has been a baffling night. I heard one of the mates say that the wind had been in all parts of the compass. It is very coarse and strong this morning. The sea has been in a perfect broil. As the day got up, the wind grew lighter.

We had no service today. It was so cold on deck and those who generally conduct them had to attend on numbers of their families who are unwell.

A mollyhank (sic, probably mollymawk, a kind of albatross) was caught by a line. It measures seven feet from tip to tip.

The prayer meeting was held as usual with a good attendance. Numbers of people are walking and tramping about the deck to warm their feet before turning in to bed.

At nine this morning Mr Thompson's eldest child died. She was about two years old and had been ill a long time commencing with whooping cough on board ship. They have just two children. The other is poorly likewise.

Monday 8th September

It has been a beautiful, clear and bracing day, sailing at nine and a half knots.

Mr Thompson's child was committed to the deep in the usual solemn manner. At the request of the parents, the body was put in a wood coffin. This is an unusual thing at sea. I am sorry for them. They are very much afflicted and downcast.

Tuesday 9th September

It is daily growing colder as we are getting so far south. There has been full sail all day. Few birds are to be seen.

Mess number six, which sleeps in the same cabin as I, have divided.

Mr Tarbock, having lost a pair of boots for the one foot, has posted on the deck house today:

"Any person having in his possession a pair of odd boots can have, on returning one of them, the fellow. On application to Mr Tarbock, second mate. No enquiry will be made."

We have had some hail showers today.

We crossed the meridian line today

Wednesday 10th September

The sea is so heavy that two men have to be at the wheel.

The second mate is so bad with cold that he cannot speak but uses a whistle when giving commands. In the afternoon, the first mate got one of his fingers drawn into a block and disjointed.

Thursday 11th September

This was a fine morning but as the day advanced it became dull and wet. We have been sailing about seven knots most of this day.

In the afternoon an albatross was caught and let away again. It measured, from tip to tip of wing, ten feet and upwards.

We have daylight from 6am to 6pm now.

Friday 12th September

The wind is right behind us this morning, sailing at twelve knots most of this day.

The second mate is laid up. The boatswain takes his place.

I observed a passenger going up the main hatchway and when near the top, he lost his balance by the rolling of the ship and fell to the bottom, drenched with the contents of the pail he carried.

Saturday 13th September

At times the ship is rolling fearfully this morning. Those who are making pottage in the galley are quarelling with the cook for having their dishes so full that pies and dishes are flying out of the door. Some were so displeased that they could not get theirs rightly cooked that they heaved their dishes overboard.

While we were being served with water, the lashings of one of the pigsties broke and came reeling up against the cummings of the fore hatch, damaging a number of the cans and nearly breaking one of the sailors' legs. Everyone has to hold on by whatever they can.

We were abreast of the Cape of Good Hope during the night.

Sunday 14th September

There was a strong breeze this morning and a heavy sea running. We had a change of wind in the afternoon into the starboard quarter.

There was no service as the weather is cold.

A lady fell on the poop stair and cut her face.

Monday 15th September

When I got on deck this morning, the wind was blowing stiffly from the north. It is still increasing. At about half past eight, the foresail was fixed. At 9am one of the fore top masts was carried away. A passenger got a lump raised on his head with one of the ropes.

Before 1pm we were under reefed top sails. A deal of water was running into some of the berths between decks from the seas that were being shipped. Our noble ship is rearing like a wild horse on her foamy track.

This evening was dark, wet and cold.

By the first mate's log, we are 6539 miles from Auckland.

Tuesday 16th September

It has been squally and wet all night. I was often wakened by the bumping of the seas discharging themselves on the deck during the night.

As the purser was serving out the meat and pork this morning, he quarrelled with the butcher for giving him more bones than beef. After getting it he threw it overboard.

After Mess 23 had divided their stores, one of them imagined he had not got his share so thought to take the remainder out of the divider by force.

A large whale was seen blowing beautifully.

Another female child was born in the deck house. Mother and child are doing well.

Two pairs of misfitted slippers made by the "Indian Empire" were being played for by cards.

It had been wet all forenoon, snow and sleet in the afternoon; the evening was very cold.

Wednesday 17th September

I was wakened this morning by the first mate coming into our berth with an armful of snowballs to raise us with. All the sheltered places on the deck were covered with it.

It was reported that the ship was nearly put on her beam ends due to the man at the wheel losing his grip with the rudder kicking.

I observed the Captain taking observations before breakfast. They had not been taken for two days back. By sailing a little further north last night we only caught the tail of a heavy snow storm.

The second mate is back on duty again.

There was another fight with some of the card players before tea.

Thursday 18th September

We made little progress in the night but when I got up there was a strong breeze. At half past eight the main top sail was split. We were running at about 12 knots about that time. Again, at noon, the flying jib was blown into ribbons.

At lunch in the Chief Cabin, the second mate took a fit. It is thought he was exposed to the elements too much yesterday.

It has been amusing to hear the arguments and conjectures regarding the time it will take us to get there now. Some say 35, some 28 and others 21 days. The Captain's opinion is not known.

Many are complaining about chilblains on their feet and saying how hard it is for them to get their boots on.

About 7pm the mizzen top gallant sail was split. The evening was wet and stormy.

When the third mate was down between decks seeing that all private lights were out, he observed, when up in the bows, through a seam in the lower deck, a light in the hold. Suspecting that it would be some of the sailors, he went to the place where they go in and caught one coming up with an open candle. He was taken to the poop and ordered to take down a sail as punishment. He refused so was then put in irons. It is said that he will be kept in them till we get to Auckland.

After this, the first and third mate searched the hold, accompanied by some of the passengers. The Captain sent for the passengers that were on watch and told them to keep a good look out and, if they saw a light, to report it immediately.

Friday 19th September

I awoke this morning with my head downhill, the wind having changed from north-west to south-west.

The prisoner sailor was brought down between decks and locked in an apartment by himself.

At 8am the main royal was split, at breakfast time.

Mr Thompson's second and only child dies, a little boy 12 months old. Some cases were broken up for wood to make a coffin with.

There were some snow showers this evening.

Saturday 20th September

Today we were carrying all sails except the royals which made her lie very much on one side in the strong wind. At 10am we had a heavy squall with hail and snow, after which they had snowballs.

Candles are getting scarce, both with the ship's company and passengers.

Today the cargo was broached for (missing word.) Some of the passengers made a few dipped ones in the galley.

Albatrosses, Cape Hens and Pigeons are now more numerous.

We have been running at ten to eleven and a half knots today. Passengers are busy speculating regarding when we shall land.

This being the 8th anniversary of the Battle of Alma (Note: Crimean War 1854) Dr McKinnon gave all the cabin passengers a glass of toddy. There was a great deal of singing and merriment before bedtime.

Sabbath 21st September

We were sailing before the wind this morning at nearly twelve knots.

We had worship between decks at 12 o'clock then a short sermon, Mr Thompson conducted.

Most of the passengers took rice for dinner this day but many lost it by letting it get too dry in the galley fire until the bottoms ran out of their dishes.

The prisoner sailor was out on the poop deck getting the air.

No class or Sabbath school met today.

About 5pm we shipped a sea, which had four little boys (Note: possibly handfish) in it on the starboard side of the deck house.

At half past six we had worship again and another short sermon again. There was a large attendance of second cabin passengers.

Monday 22nd September

I was on watch this morning from 2am. It was very squally all night and few sails were up. I happened to be on deck when a sea came over it. It was very beautiful to see so much phosphorus sparkling on the deck in the darkness.

It was found today that mess 14 had been drawing stores for 7 when there were but six in the mess.

There were more hail showers this forenoon. About dinner time, the day looked more settled. All the sails were again set. The second mate was again on duty. A new main top sail was bent on. The wind has become so light that we are nearly becalmed. There was some seaweed too.

The carpenter has been putting new leathers on the pump pistons today. The ship, not having been pumped for two or three days, got extra this evening. "Paddy on the Railway" and "Run with the Bullgin Run" and other rhymes were sung.

Tuesday 23rd September

It has been very wet and blowing stiffly all night. This morning is squally and dull.

The second cabin is in an awful state as the stores and water are both being served together. It is nearly ankle deep with flour, water and broken biscuit. It is very uncomfortable compared with "Dumbarton Castle."

About 11am top sails were reefed and all preparations made for a blow as the glass has fallen to 28. The ship now reminds me of a tree stripped of its foliage.

It has been dull all day with showers and a heavy sea running. We have been doing 7 knots most of the day.

Wednesday 24th September

I did not sleep much last night as the ship pitched and rolled in the expected gale. It blew all night from the south-west. A good many passengers were up all night. We were running under close reefed topsails till 8 o'clock this morning. Then it moderated and more sail was again set but a heavy sea is still running. No damage was done as we were so well prepared for it. At breakfast, one of the tables broke down with the rolling of the ship and to the great surprise of those at it.

We passed St Pauls and Amsterdam islands.

While "Little Dublin" was engaged in washing the deck he fell on top of an anchor and was much hurt.

There were three cases of chicken pox in the second cabin and two in steerage.

The day has been cold with showers of sleet occasionally. We are sailing at about 9 knots.

Thursday 25th September

I was roused this morning by the boatswain coming onto our berth to waken the purser's mate and saying there was a ship alongside. When we got on deck there was a sail in sight but a long way ahead of us.

This is a beautiful day but with a light wind. The decks have not been dry since we rounded the Cape. Everyone seems to have a smile on their countenance. many are squatted on the forecastle deck at cards and draughts enjoying the rays of the sun.

Most beds and bedding were aired today.

The pigs have got so few now that one sty contains them.

There was singing and concertina music on deck this evening. "Home Sweet Home" and "Hard Times" were sung well in all the parts.

We were sailing at 3, 5 and 8 knots at different times.

Friday 26th September

I was up early this morning when it was fine with a good breeze from the north-west. At 8am the mizzen royal was split.

The carpenter was busy packing and repairing the fire engine.

A young man, who is called yankee by the passengers, has a disease in his eyes and was put into hospital as it is said to be infectious. He was ordered to get two bottles of beer every day to strengthen him. He has fallen off greatly since he came aboard.

Since breakfast, the wind has been very changeable and squally which gave the sailors more work than they cared for. They would almost make one think that this Captain is a perfect tyrant compared with others for they never cease grumbling. I see it is like second nature to them.

This evening, before dark, the doctor was on the forecastle seeing some of the sailors when he got the mark of a floury hand on his back and a white cloth pinned to his coat tail. This was a good laugh as he went stotting along the deck.

We have been carrying six studding sails all afternoon. One of them, on the main mast, was blown to ribbons.

Saturday 27th September

This morning is showery and blowing strong.

The third mate was bringing up some cases of tobacco, from the hold, which have been broached by the sailors. Fifty pounds of it was missing.

At 12 o'clock today we have lost 6 hours of time since we crossed the Meridian.

At 6pm, another man was called to the wheel as the sea was getting heavier and the wind stronger. We were running at twelve and a half knots at this time. The clouds are flying quickly over the face of the moon.

At half past nine, a sea came over our decks and rushed down between the hatchways. It flooded the cabins nearest the hatches until it had to be bailed out with buckets. The second cabin had the most of it.

The glass being down to 29, all hands were called out. The wind was increasing and soon the fore top gallant yard and sail were carried away from the mast. Most of the passengers were up and went to bed about twelve.

Sunday 28th September

I did not sleep last night, it was so rough. Most were up all night. Occasionally the water burst in between decks. At 3am, a sea struck us on the port quarter which discharged itself on the poop, carrying away the skylights and rushing into the chief cabin with great violence. When the ship rolled, the water was so deep as to float them out of their beds. Their condition was pitiable but, with the assistance of the crew, we soon bailed it out. About the same time, between decks, two buckets fell in the young women's cabin. The wind abated a little about daylight and at breakfast a few more sails were set.

We have been under close-reefed top sails as the sea is mountainous and foaming.

We had worship at twelve between decks when a short sermon was read and again in the evening at half past six. The two individuals who were the first to conduct service aboard have for some time absented themselves and are now opposing us. One of them is called "Hot Water" from his being inspector over it. He thought to prevent us meeting this evening as it is before his door that we meet. So he kept the table and did not take his tea till we were going to begin. Afterwards he washed his dishes, hands and face while the meeting was being conducted. One of the officers was standing by with irons ready to put on him if he disturbed the meeting. He went into his cabin and read aloud to his wife who was in bed. After, he found that his attempts were in vain.

Monday 29th September

This is a fine morning with a good breeze from the north-west.

The second mate was down between decks telling all to take their beds and bedding up on deck.

At 11am we had a heavy squall in which another studding sail boom was carried away.

Some young men who are joiners, glad to get a job, are sawing wood for the carpenter. The joiner is busy repairing the poop skylight while another spar is brought down off the deck to make a boom.

The sail maker and one of the sailors are mending sails beneath one that was brought down off the deck house

We are doing 10 knots.

Tuseday 30th September

It has been blowing a strong gale of wind from the north-east since early this morning and continued till 4pm when it abated a little. This allowed two more sails to be set.

Heavy seas came over during the night, occasionally bursting through the hatches. In the second cabin, they were kept bailing. No women dare be on deck as the seas are so heavy that things that are not firmly lashed break loose. Some of the passengers had a narrow escape by things falling to the deck house. At about 2pm a sea came over amidships and broke up a sheep pen in which there were five sheep. At the same time, the pig sty was upset and went reeling about with the pigs in it.

The scene between decks has been awful as the rolling was so sudden from one side to the other. Sometimes I thought she would be on her beam ends. Children were falling and screaming among the water-heads. Jars and preserved meat cans were flying about. Very fortunately, no person was seriously hurt. Most of the glass and earthenware in the cabin was broken.

The butcher had much trouble taking the life of the last sheep this evening, at least the remaining half of it as it could not have had much more after the weather and abuse it had received.

The only dry retreat we had was among the blankets and a good many of us had not even this.

Wednesday October 1st

We were running all night with reefed top sails as it still blew strong towards 12 o'clock when it became a fine bracing day.

The wind, turning to the north-west, allowed us to get all sail up which we were still carrying when I went to bed. We were sailing to the north-east today as we had drifted to the south in the gale.

The cook set up one of the soup coppers to prevent pottage being made. This displeased the passengers very much. One of the passengers went to the Captain with his beef which he thought was not good but he got no satisfaction. The cheese, fish and soup are all done. Think of a ship like this running through the provisions already. The purser is giving out other things instead.

The carpenter was chipping the new boom and would finish it this evening. He gets plenty of assistance in jobs of this kind.

The night is cloudy and squally and the wind has turned more ahead.

Thursday 2nd October

The morning was fine with all sails still up. The wind was the same as yesterday.

At the second door of "Dumbarton Castle" an English fop was auctioning two shirts, five pairs of stockings, a yellow vest and a double-barrelled pistol. The stockings were bought for six shillings and three pence. The shirts and vest were cast aside so he intimated that the pistol would be raffled if twenty names were got. It fell to a steerage passenger.

This day was a little warmer and we have been doing 9 knots.

The light of the moon fell softly on the water while we were enjoying a parade along the decks. few turned in at the usual hour.

Friday 3rd October

When the first mate's watch came on deck this morning at 4 o'clock we began to shorten sail. An ordinary seaman and an apprentice were sent to the fine royal yard. The former, who was to the windward side, fell to the main deck and was killed. The distance is about 140 feet. The sailors covered up the body with an ensign and laid it on a hatch. The Captain asked one of our countrymen to read the service. At the words: "We commit the body of our departed brother to the deep" the body was consigned to the swelling waves, there to rest till the final resurrection. Little did the departed think this morning that his body was to be cast lifeless to the billows at 12 o'clock. He was a young man, 20 years of age, and a native of Whitehaven (name: George Hodgson). This ought to be a warning to the rest of them to be more thoughtful of their future state.

From this event, the sailors went to reef the top sails as it was by then blowing half a gale.

Saturday 4th October

This morning is good as we are sailing before a strong westerly wind.

At half past eight the Captain ordered a new sail to be put on when the sailors all refused as it was their time to go below. So the first mate's watch is divided. The carpenter and sail maker have been enrolled to go aloft when required as the striking watch is to be in confinement until they yield.

There seems to be a great deal of antipathy between the Captain and crew which is causing various rumours to spread among the passengers.

At 12 o'clock the confined watch came out for their work but found their was no dinner for them so they went back again. The Captain then called them into his cabin and they decided to start again so their dinner was ordered to be made ready.

Sunday 5th October

Today opens doubtfully. We are sailing east by north with a north-west breeze at 11 knots which we have been doing all night.

When going to the galley this morning I got knocked down.

Mr Thompson received a letter from the Captain requesting him to remove to the other hospital tomorrow.

We had no service this forenoon.

About 1pm the wind veered round to our stern again. in the afternoon a sea came over which drenched a number of passengers who had expressed themselves very comfortable.

We had worship at 7pm when a short but very appropriate sermon was read and needful to be inculcated.

As many amusements and light songs were carried on as happens on ordinary week days.

Monday 6th October

This morning is fine. We are doing 8 knots. The Captain thinks we shall be in Auckland on Wednesday week.

A passenger was taking up bets from one pound to ten pounds that we will not reach Auckland before Tuesday fortnight. He was taken up by some and it is hoped that he will be the loser.

We expect to sight Tasmania by Thursday.

The Captain has ordered the mate not to give any of the passengers the latitude or longitude now so we will not be able to know where we are until we see land. And if the Captain should go wrong, he can correct himself without us knowing.

There was a drizzly rain all afternoon and we were running at twelve knots.

Tuesday 7th October

Early this morning another fore top mast studding sail boom was carried away. We were sailing before the wind, which was strong, and with a heavy sea, doing ten and a half knots. The carpenter is chipping another boom and with no lack of assistance.

The weather is very cold yet. This day was squally with showers.

After tea many passengers were on deck and admiring our ship as she rode the waves which were so mountainous and high this evening. They follow us up, each seeming the more determined to engulf us. One, a great deal loftier than the rest, was observed to be coming on our quarter. I and others were on the lee side when we heard the cry "a sea" and, on looking to the poop, observed the Captain push his wife in at the door of the hurricane house and leap onto the rigging. Thinking there was danger we had just got onto the foremost rigging when the sea was rolling high and white on our decks. It made the ship give two or three heavy rolls. The sea always comes over on the low side. I saw a little boy washed over, up and down and almost over the rail. All moveables were afloat and the water casks were upended on deck. All on deck got wet except those that had got onto the rigging.

In the first and second cabins and at the main hatch of the steerage they were busy bailing. The two men at the wheel said it was the largest they had seen for some years. Very fortunately we escaped the heaviest part of it.

Some of the sailors have been auctioning their chests and clothes today so that they can skip the easier when we get into port. I believe that is the intention of many of them.

The night is squally and rough.

Wednesday 8th October

We are doing 11 knots with a strong south-west breeze. It is still squally with occasional showers of hail. The sheer hooks of the fore tack were carried away.

Some of the card men were playing for a pair of boots.

We heard some good airs on the violin.

I broke the glass of my watch last night.

Thursday 9th October

I was on watch from 2am this morning. The moon was shining clear and bright. The wind having become light, all sails were put up.

I had a chat with the second mate on the poop who told me we would sight Tasmania today. The Captain was up early with his glass. He sighted Tasmania's South West Cape at 8am. Soon after, it became known by us. The forecastle head was covered with spectators when it was seen but dimly at noon. Between it and the mainland stands De Witt Island and Mewstone (note: the mainland of Tasmania, not Australia.) The former reminding the Glasgow folk of Dumbarton Castle or Ailsa Craig. The first mate thinks we are about 18 or 20 miles from it. The day being clear, the whole south-west and south cape were seen very distinct in the afternoon. I could count from 50 to 60 peaks of hills and mountains. Some of them appear to be capped with snow

The sea was calm, the evening fine and the scene was beautiful. This has enlivened the spirits of all very much. No-one can conceive the delight it gives one to see land after a long sea voyage. There has been little reading, writing or any work that could stand done today.

The wind has been light all day which caused the blocks of the ropes and stay sails to fly about dangerously.

Friday 10th October

We made little progress last night and were almost becalmed this morning. We were abreast of Storm Bay, the entrance to Hobart Town and Cape Pillar. Our bow is now pointing north-east which is our course for the north of Auckland. The land was very distinct this morning. An old cockney who had been gazing eagerly declared he could see a road along the side of a hill and some houses at the end of it. Little Dublin came up to him, while he was directing the eyes of those around to the place, and asked him if he could not believe his own eyes when he put on spectacles.

Some large albatrosses were flying about and pigeons still following us.

The doctors are seeing that the remaining sheep get some medicine. The one killed yesterday was condemned.

Some of the crew are pumping sea water into the empty water casks. We have been getting good water the last two days out of the iron tanks which are situated aft.

This evening we are off two islands on the south-east coast of Tasmania: Norfolk and Maria. All day we have been feasting our eyes on the land till darkness shut it from our view. The decks have not been thronged, as they have been in the last two days, since we were in the tropics.

Saturday 11th october

There was no land in view this morning. Part of a rainbow was seen in the north-west, only extending three-quarters of the way to the zenith. The colours were very bright and distinct.

The sailors have given the ship an extra wash down. The cook has taken on a bet of one pound that we will be in Auckland before Tuesday week.

The prisoner seaman has got a reprieve today and has now commenced work again.

The sunsets have been beautiful the last two evenings. A light summer breeze has filled our sails since dinner time.

Sabbath 12th October

I went on watch last night from 10pm till 2am this morning as the party whose watch it was refused to go. We made little progress in the night time. At 10am a fine breeze sprang up and we were then doing nine knots. Never did we sail so quickly over smooth water.

This is said to be a good place for whale fishing and some have been seen.

While the main top gallant stay sail was being hoisted up, a rat fell from it to the deck.

There was worship at twelve noon between decks. I hope to worship in church at Auckland this day fortnight. I think there will be little worship in the Indian Empire when there are no passengers in her.

Monday 13th October

We had a light summer shower this morning.

The joiner is cutting one of the broken booms to make a ladder.

A few porpoises are leaping and swimming under our bows. It is beautiful to look down on them skimming and leaping about. They are five and a half feet long and not so unshapely as I anticipated.

About noon, the wind freshened, after which we were doing about eleven and a half knots. About 7pm another boom was carried away. There were no more spars to make another one.

Songs and merriment were the order of the evening. Some Belfast shopman and others are good mimics and at bedtime were imitating the cat, dog, calf and sheep.

Tuesday 14th October

We are progressing well, doing about eleven and a half knots.

There was a quarrel in the galley over the pottage making this morning. The cook and his assistant went on strike and put "hot water" out of the galley for his insulting tongue. This is to be a court case in Auckland.

One of the sailors was raffling two watches today. The crew are busy painting the boat in general and making things clean.

Before midday, a sail was seen on our starboard side. At 6pm another was seen. The day has been bracing and clear; the evening cold.

Wednesday 15th October

This morning was rather dull. We were making very little progress last night. The sea was calm and placid. This reminds me of some of the days when we were in the tropics.

A subscription is being raised for the cook and his assistant. Some have not given because they think he is not deserving.

An albatross was caught measuring ten feet from tip to tip of wing.

A young man in the second cabin took badly this afternoon but the doctor refused to go as he said he was unwell himself. The other doctor went and then returned to get some medicine when the ship's doctor, lying drunk, would not give the keys. The Captain was told and he gave them liberty to tie his feet and bring the rope over the door to hang him by the heels till he cried for mercy.

Thursday 16th October

The weather was very settled with only three clouds to be seen. We had a little breeze from the north-west and were doing 6 knots.

A young man in the next cabin was raffling a case of mathematical instruments.

The seamen were scrubbing the bulwarks and deck.

One of the would-be respectable young women in the second cabin was going about, with a face of brass, asking people to put down their names for the raffling of a plate and a plum pudding. A fine occupation for a young woman!

Music and dancing were the order of the evening.

Friday 17th October

The cook and his assistant were found early this morning lying drunk on some chests. One of their associates, who had been drinking with them, fell down the main hatchway and broke his nose. It must be a dark blot on a young man to land in a foreign port with a disfigured face.

The third mate is putting alum in the bad water to purify it.

At midday a sail was seen. It was thought to be a coaster.

Today is fine and warm.

There was a great meeting of Scotchmen (sic) in our cabin this evening.

Saturday 18th October

"Hot water" is always in rows, yet there is not a man in the ship who talks more about peace. He is going about with his face tied up and much swollen, which he got last night from the purser's mate, for raising and publishing a song through the ship about him.

A subscription is being raised for a present to Doctor McKinnon and the First Mate as a testimonial of their kindness to the passengers

The anchors are now let over the side. This is a sign that we are near port. Some of the sailors are slung over the side and washing the ship.

If this breeze continues, we will sight the North Cape tomorrow. At bed time, we were shortening sails as the breeze strengthened.

Sunday 19th October

Many were up early this morning for a glimpse at their adopted land. We learned that at about 3am they sighted the "Loom of the Three Kings": three islands to the north-west of the North Cape. At 4am we were sailing south-east by east and carrying as much sail as we could bear. We were doing 13 knots all night.

At 8am the North Cape loomed into view. All were eager to get a sight of it. As the ship was so much on her side, few ventured onto the forecastle. Those for whom age had bedimmed the eye listened patiently to the description given by the rest. All were uplifted, the sailors as much as the passengers.

At 11am we were abreast of the Cape and only one-and-a-half-miles distant from it on the north-west side. Some white rocks were jutting out among the brownish green of the foliage. On the east side stands a small rugged island with shaggy wood overhanging the perpendicular side. The Cape is high and fertile.

The wind was lighter as we went down the coast. There has been no worship today, so far. The decks are crowded with passengers passing remarks on the distant parts which come into view.

I observed two whales blowing and there was a flock of birds, somewhat like the swallow but a little larger, called whalebirds, skimming across the surface of the water.

At 6pm, while between the Bay of Islands and Cape Brett, the Captain and second mate quarelled. The Captain ordered the Mate and one of the hands below for being down between decks, thought to be getting drunk, while under the pretence of bringing up some luggage for Captain Tigh.

At 7pm we were abreast of Cape Brett which is very high.

A few of the passengers are drunk; some of the crew nearly the same.

At half past seven we had worship, conducted by Mr Haley.

When I was preparing to turn in at 9pm, I heard the cry of "Land on the port bow." Instantly the Captain was on the port bow with his glasses. Then he ran aft calling to the man at the wheel. In twenty minutes we were abreast of a large rock several miles off the mainland. Fortunately a passenger went up before going to bed and looked around as usual. He observed the land and told the lookout, who were not attending to their duties.

Monday 20th October

At about 1am this morning, some person threw one of the pigs down the fore hatchway which roused all between decks with the noise of it.

At 4am we were between Little Barrier Island and the mainland, keeping close by it all the way down. At 7am a signal was raised on top of the foremast for the pilot. It was blowing a strong gale from the south-west. The pilot came alongside at 9am causing a rush of passengers to see the man and hear the news. Soon after, we rounded a point which disclosed to our view part of the city of Auckland. While endeavouring to beat up against the gale, we were forced to let go anchor at 11am. In about two hours a Custom House officer and a butcher came aboard. As soon as the butcher had seen the Captain he was surrounded by 20 or 30 passengers asking him all about Auckland; the price of labour; the state of trade etc. Questions too hard for a man of his profession to answer.

In the afternoon, friends came aboard to meet their friends. One husband came for his wife and family whom he left three years ago.

The Captain went ashore in the pilot cutter. Many gave ten shillings to the waterman to take them ashore this evening.

Dr McKinnon was presented with a testimonial signed by most of the passengers.

Tuesday 23rd October

I was on watch again from 1am. Some of the passengers were playing at cards all night. At daybreak we heard the cocks crowing from the land.

We could see some of the Maories working on a hillside and we observed a long canoe with three Maories in it.

The mail from the United Kingdom arrived this morning. There was a Scotchman came on board with fresh butter at two shillings a pound.

The Captain brought a doctor from the town today to see his wife who has been very poorly.

Messrs Liddell and Murdoch went ashore this evening. I was on a boat to go ashore but we had to come out again as the parties to whom the boat belonged would not venture as it was so rough.

Wednesday 22nd October

After breakfast there was a row between the Captain and passengers about getting fresh provisions. Passengers thought that they should get fresh provisions for as long as they kept us aboard. Not long afterwards a boat came alongside with beef and potatoes. The beef was taken onto the poop and cut up by the cook and steward, each passenger receiving one pound.

A soldier met his mother and two sisters whom he had not seen for 30 years.

This afternoon, the anchor was lifted. We thought we would get up with the tide but a squall came on so the anchor had to be let down again.

Some joiners and butchers went ashore.

We heard that wages are not so high as anitcipated.

Thursday 23rd October

I was up this morning at 2am when the sailors were called out to weigh the anchor. The morning was fine and calm. At 5am the anchor was dropped again. Two large boats called lighters came alongside to take passengers and their luggage ashore.

Everyone is busy packing. The decks are in confusion. Customs Officers are inspecting all. They keep firearms and ammunition for a certain time in the Customs House.

I got my luggage into the boat at half past three and went ashore. I was happy to get my feet on terra firma again. Mr Liddell, having a cart engaged, got my luggage up to his cottage where I will stop for a time.

It was hard work for the horses to go up and down the streets, they are so hilly and bad. Queen Street, which is the principal street, runs down to the pier. There are some good shops in it. There are two or three fine buildings erected for warehouses. Stone is imported from Sydney so most of the town is wood.

On the way to Parnell, which is adjoining Auckland, is the Governor's House which is finely situated and the ground beautifully laid out. I like the appearance of this place.

A good many Maories are going about in their blankets but some are dressed in European clothing. They all wear a shark's tooth or a bluestone hanging from their ear. Some of them carry their pipe through a hole in the ear. The people do not know whether there will be a war or not with them yet.

I slept at Mr Muir's who is Mr Murdoch's friend.

The Letters

Auckland, New Zealand, 30th October 1862

My Dear Parents and Brothers,

I know you will be wearied in the expectation of a letter. We have had a long and tedious passage of 115 days from the time we left London till the time we dropped anchor in the Waitemata Waters before the Wharf of Auckland. We grounded (moored) in the gulf of Huraki, three miles from land, as it was blowing a gale ahead. On the afternoon of the 23rd I got ashore with my luggage. You may think how glad I was to get my foot on land again. I got my luggage over to Parnell (now a suburb of Auckland) with Messrs Liddell and Murdoch. Mr Liddell took a cottage and I am remaining with him at present. Mr Murdoch's sister died about four months ago so he and his wife are staying with his brother-in-law and will likely keep house for him as he has four children.

On the 24th I went to Government House and got my Land Grant endorsed and then went to the Post Office two or three times. They always said that there were no letters. I thought then you had heard the false report, current in England, about our ship being burned at sea. Some of the Glasgow people got it in their letters. I called next day again and received your letter but no papers. I am sorry to hear of the trouble afflicting you and to think that poor little Jose (Joseph Heughan, born 1857, his youngest brother) is no more, from the condition he was in when your letter left. I hope that the rest of you have got over it now.

Dear Brothers, I hope you James are keeping your health, carrying on the work in your usual able way and giving John all the instructions you can. John, I trust your eyes are wholly better and you are able to work as you were wont to do, and wisely taking James' and Father's advice in all you do. George and David, if able, go to school and be attentive to Father and Mother.

On board ship, I was appointed by the Captain of Messes to be secretary for them so I was always engaged writing letters to the Captain and there was a Minute of every meeting kept. At first there was a good deal of discussion about provisions and accommodation. We had what is called a fine voyage. There were six deaths, five of them children and the other an Ordinary Seaman who fell from the royal yard to the deck. There were three births, of female children. One was in the deck house and one in the intermediate. Mothers and children are all doing well.

On 28th July we sighted the loom of Madeira Islands. The weather was squally with heavy showers. On the morning of 18th August, the Captain announced to the Chief Cabin passengers that we were across the line. It was fortunate we got a wind in the Tropic of Cancer which carried us into the Tropic of Capricorn where we got the south-east trades. So we were not becalmed as many ships are. We were becalmed in several places for all that. The shaving custom (when crossing the line) was gone through in great order. All who did not pay the fine to the sailors were shaved. Very few on board had a dry stitch that day. In the evening the sailors got drunk. During the remaining part of the voyage there was always a quarrel between the seamen and Captain. The seamen were broaching the cargo for drink. They often fought and sometimes would not do what they were commanded. A number of them have been in Men of Wars (warships.)

On 13th September we were abreast the Cape of Good Hope. On 9th October we sighted Tasmania. No one can conceive how pleasing it was for our eyes to see land again after seeing nothing for 85 days but the large white-crested waves rolling and dashing around us like so many tigers rushing and leaping up the rigging. How so sublime are the living waters. How the majesty of God is displayed in the wonders of the deep.

On Sabbath 19th October we passed the Three Kings and rounded the North Cape of New Zealand. At 7pm we were off Cape Brett. The Captain and second mate quarrelled; the second mate was put off duty. The hills of the islands along the coast seem to be volcanic. The scenery was wild and picturesque.

We had a prayer meeting aboard every evening and worship twice every sabbath, weather permitting, mostly conducted by a Mr Thompson, a schoolmaster who was going to Napier. He lost two fine children.

Fortunately there was a military doctor for the ship's doctor was seldom sober. Much blame was attached to him for not giving proper nourishment when asked. But you will receive all particulars in my diary which I will not be able to send till next mail. I enclose a map which I traced with the course we sailed. It will give you an idea of the route and you can keep it till the diary comes.

There are auction marts here with the Union Jack above the door. I am told there are great bargains in these places. There are a good many churches. Some are built of stone, some of brick and most of wood. I was at the Scotch church at Sabbath forenoon and evening and heard Mr Bruce who is the minister. I did not think very much of him as a preacher. I liked Mr Thompson of the Indian Empire better. He is a godly man.

The Governor's house is a fine building. The House of Parliament and the Offices are all wood but they expect, in another year, to have new ones built. That's if they can get something settled with the natives. There is no war at present but they are afraid of it. A number of wagons go backwards and forward with stores and provisions for their camp. Some of the wagons are drawn by bullocks. The Maories are very quiet. There are a great many going about the streets, some dressed like ourselves but most with blankets and plaids about them and bare heads and legs. A great many are tattooed, especially the chiefs i.e. marked on the face the same way as a sailor's arm. They are the stoutest bodied men I ever saw and walk in a very majestic manner. Some of the women are tattooed on the chin only. Most of them wear a blue stone or a shark's tooth suspended from their ear with a blue ribbon. They are all smokers.

The man who had the engine had a son-in-law coming out with some machinery so he is in no hurry until he comes. There is work in plenty. Two foundries took down my name. The first, who is a Glasgow man, would have given me the preference but he had just engaged a young man before I came in, who came out in the same ship. There were six of us in the ship who could work in iron. However, I saw an advertisement in "The Southern Cross" for a blacksmith to go to Lower Waikato, 65 miles south of Auckland. I enquired at the native office the kind of work required. I was shown into the secretary, Mr Halse, an Englishman. He told me it was to make and repair implements, carts and mills, and to shoe horses. I could make shoes but never had much practice in putting them on. He asked me how many tools I had. He said that if I would go, the government would give me fifty or sixty pounds as a bonus and get what tools I wanted but they would be paid off my bonus. I made out a list and handed it in the next day. He asked me to sit down in the office and make out another then sent the interpreter with me to the shops to ascertain the prices.

It is a European settlement. The natives are very anxious for one. So they agree with the government that there will be mills to repair. They are portable of course. I would be my own master and have all I could make over and above the bonus. I thought it best if the chief could come. Then they could arrange with him about a house and shop which I should have free of rent. They are going to write for him so I can say no more about it in this letter. If he comes before the 6th November, I think I will send another letter. There is a Mission Station at the place. They will send me free of charge. I will go up river eight miles with canoe then two miles travel. Wages are good: labourers seven to eight shillings, tradesmen one shilling an hour. Very often there are pay-offs as jobs do not last long here. I could soon get a job in town but, since I have enquired about this, I will hear what the Chief says.

Now, my dear parents, I must close. I hope you are all in good health. I hope, dear father, your leg is better now. And dear mother, that you are keeping in your usual health under your heavy trials. I will send my diary as soon as I can. You will find it interesting. Remember me to all my friends and acquaintances, to Glasgow friends at Birkenhead and London. And now, again dear parents, farewell.

Your affectionate son and brother

Robert K. Heughan

22nd November 1862

My Dear Parents and Brothers,

I hope you are all well and better of your trouble and received the letter and paper I sent last mail. I sent three daily papers to A. Maxwell - to Mr Thomson, London. The ship "William Miles" from London arrived about a week ago (note: arrived 12th November) with 350 passengers. There were great complaints about the ship being so leaky that they had to take their turns at the pumps.

I hear it said that no more land grants will be given. I have been working all last week and part of this at one shilling per hour. If I would remain, I must be able to do all branches in this shop. It is the first in Auckland. I have offers of work from others but now I am engaged by the Government to go to Lower Waikato, 65 miles south but in the same province. I am to have six pounds per month as a bonus independent of what I can make. I have ordered coal at seventy five shillings per ton which costs about seven pounds when they reach. But the Government takes me and all the things free of expense. They are taken in canoes to go up the Waikato river ten or fifteen miles to Fourpare (note: possibly Te Kohanga) where there are few white people. This is where the archdeacon of Waikato lives, a Mr Maunsell. I was sent for, from my work, when the chiefs came. They all shook hands and laughed. Then the conversation began between them and the interpreter. They were satisfied with my appearance. I am to repair their mills and do their smithing work but no horse shoeing. I will put up a shop with the assistance of as many Maories as I wish. The Government will send down windows and bricks to build a chimney. I am to go with the chief so I am preparing for the road again. My box goes tomorrow. The tools have all gone today. I can leave this place in twelve months if I am not satisfied. I am not afraid of the Maories. They are very intelligent, especially the main chief, all dressed in European costume. They were seeing the Governor Sir George Gray. They are to pay me cash for every job I do.

I am still boarded at Mr Liddell at one pound per week. There is a young man from Glasgow staying with me and he has not got work yet. There are also two young men who came out with the Indian Empire of the name of Pettigrew. One is a joiner and the other a baker, with whom I am well acquainted. They attended Doctor Anderson's church, John Street, Glasgow. There is a great lack of a popular preacher here to draw the people for they do not seem to be inclined for religion at all. Any ministers I heard are very formal and dry in their services. This place wants someone like Mr Kinnear. I hope to hear good accounts of Dalbeattie church in the next letter from you.

I have got my box and bedding and half a bag of biscuits away to Onehunga. I have kept my good clothes and large chest and left them in the care of Mr Liddell. Dear Mother, I feel grateful to you for the many needful articles with which my chest was packed. There were not many young men with as many useful articles.

The mail from the United Kingdom arrived today along with another ship (note: The Ida Ziegler) from London with 200 more passengers. Labour is not so plentiful at present. A man is of no use here unless he can work and turn his hand to anything. It is not the place that it is represented to be but I like it. It is rough yet beautiful. The stones are all as if they had been blown up by volcanic eruption. They are all perforated like a fine sponge and are called Sorrie. There are some buildings of this stone but those being built at present are of white keystone imported from Sydney.

There is a small steamer lying (going) between here and Coromandel gold fields twice a week. I never had any notion of going to see them. Mr Murdoch is going near Coromandel to work in putting up a sawmill. I could have gone but I prefer the government job. I have got some books to learn the Maorie language. No doubt I will have a good many difficulties but I will try to surmount them. "There is a hand that's full of power which can sustain in every hour."

I saw the chiefs off to Onehunga in the omnibus this evening. The vessel will not sail before Monday so I will remain here as long as I can.

Saturday 22nd November (letter continued)

I went to the post office this morning but no letters and papers for me yet. I am sorry I will not be able to send my diary by this mail yet, on account of my going away. I put it into my chest so I will have to send it from Waikato. I have part of it written and am anxious to get it off as I think it will interest you. The Indian Empire is going from here to a place in the Bay of Bengal (note: It departed 16th December for Akyab, Burma). Most of the sailors have run away. It will not be easy for the ship to get hands here. The passengers are all scattered. A good many are not in employment yet. Some who came out in first and second cabins are now in straightened circumstances. They have themselves to blame. They lived riotously.

I have spent a good deal of money on tools and cooking utensils. Things are very high in price. I got a new glass in my watch. It cost one shilling and sixpence here and afterwards I paid nine shillings for cleaning and some other trifling things done to it. I am taking a few provisions until I see how I am to live. The Maories live on potatoes, pork and fish. Peaches are getting ripe and in abundance through the whole of New Zealand. Some have figs growing in their garden. Vegetable marrows and pumpkins are greatly cultivated. There was a horticultural show held last week within the grounds near the Government House and an agricultural one the week before, both attended by some of the regiment bands which addded to the interest of the show. I was not at any of them as I was working. I believe they were pretty good for the stage of advancement the colony is in.

There is a piece of ground to one side of Parnell in its natural state with fine walks cut out on it. It is called the Government Domain and is open to the public of Auckland, just like the parks are to the Glasgow people. It is on a hillside; some of the bush is so thick that a person could scarcely walk through it. Then there are the native trees which give it a wild yet beautiful appearance. But there is no wood in New Zealand that we can make a straight edge of.

The weather is becoming very warm. I find it strange to hear them speaking of Xmas at hand and the weather getting warmer. May I wish you all a Happy New Year.

I got word this afternoon that the boat will sail on Monday. The Head Chief came into the office to tell them I was to be ready at 8am. So, I will put this letter into the office before I go. I am sorry I will have to be off tomorrow before the post office opens or I should call in again. The papers are to be delivered tomorrow. I fully expect to get a letter or paper and look forward to the mails coming with much interest. Do give me all the news and as much from the Maxwells in Glasgow as you can.

Dear Father, I hope your leg is now healed and that you are able to do a little. And, Dear Mother, I hope you are in your usual health. Please, Dear Brother James, write to me at the first opportunity. John, George and David, I hope you are all better again. Am I to say dear little Jose or has he gone the way of all mankind. And William, any word of him yet. I wish he knew where I am.

I must now close as I have no more time. May God's blessing rest with you all. Do remember me at the Throne of Grace. Remember me to all my friends.

I could not give advice about coming here yet. There are all kinds of countrymen in this town.

I remain, dear parents and brothers

Your affectionate son and brother

Robert Heughan


I spent many happy hours researching all I could about Robert Heughan, his family, the ship "Indian Empire", ships they sighted on the voyage and the history of Auckland in the 1860s.

I was deeply saddened to discover that Robert died within a year of arriving in New Zealand. I could find no direct record of his death or where he is buried. However, I found an entry in the Daily Southern Cross, the Auckland newspaper, dated 25th January 1864, under the heading of "Intestate Estates" that included "Robert Knox Heughan of Lower Waikato". Following this I found another reference to him as "passed away 1863." Unfortunately, Lower Waikato was the site of a major war between British Forces and the Maories that involved thousands on both sides, went on for months and included the famous battle of Rangiriri. Robert Heughan would have been right in the middle of this conflict so I suspect that he was a civilian casualty.

As for the Heughans back home, Robert's brother James had a son called William, born 1886, who went on to become a famous Opera singer and set up a Trust in 1956, which still exists, to support his home town of Dalbeattie.

Robert referred to a map of his voyage to be included with his diary. This map has not been found but I have compiled a table here of the locations referred to in the diary and from which a map could be constructed:

DateLocation cited
1st JulyEast India Docks, London
2nd JulyGravesend, Thames Estuary
4th JulyThe Downs, Kent
5th JulyDover then Beachy Head
10th JulyIsle of Wight
14th Julyoff Falmouth, Cornwall
15th JulyLands End, Cornwall
17th JulyBay of Biscay
25th JulyOpposite Gibraltar
28th JulyMadeira
31st JulyTropic of Cancer
2nd AugustCape Verde Islands
15th August280 miles from Equator
17th August81 miles from Equator
18th Augustcrossed the Equator
23rd AugustRecife, Brazil
26th AugustTrinidade and Martin Vaz
1st SeptemberIn the Doldrums
6th SeptemberTristan da Cunha
9th SeptemberCrossed the Meridian (Zero degrees East)
13th Septemberabreast Cape of Good Hope
15th September6539 miles from Auckland
24th SeptemberSt Paul and Amsterdam Islands
27th September6 hours ahead of Meridian (90 degrees East)
9th OctoberTasmania S.W. Cape
10th OctoberHobart then Maria Island
19th OctoberNew Zealand: N. Cape to Cape Brett
20th Octoberoff Auckland
23rd Octoberwent ashore

If you have any information I could add to this record, especially about Robert's time in Lower Waikato and his subsequent death, please let me know via the contact below. I would also like to hear from anyone living today who is related to Robert.


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