THE VOYAGE OF THE LADY JOCELYN London to Tauranga, Jan 1881 Published in The Bay of Plenty Times, 8 Jan 1881
A passenger on board the Lady Jocelyn has handed us the following which contains a sketch of the voyage with the writer's comments and private opinions on various matters:- The last week of September, 1880, will be ever memorable as marking the departure from Britain of the third Special Settlement party of Mr Vesey Stewart for the fertile shores of the Bay of Plenty, and the second occasion on which the good ship Lady Jocelyn was selected for carrying that precious burden - precious in two ways: first for the culture and intelligence, combined with sterling muscle and sinew, which marked those who had taken their passage in her, and second for the capital which that body represented - indeed a loss to the Old Country of much of what she can ill afford to spare and a gain to her Southern sister in men who have the energy and means to furhter develop her resources, together with many of England's fairest daughters who will tend in no slight degree to brighten and refine the Britain of the South. Having for a second time come out in the "Old Lady" a few jottings from my diary may not be without interest to some of your readers, especially to the members of the No. 2 party. We were glad on boarding to be welcomed by many old familiar faces, Captain Jenkins, the same as ever, hearty and kind. We missed "Bold Carden," the chief officer, he being now in command of the Bevington; however we were glad to see in place our stalwart, cheery friend Boorman. Gladstone, the children's friend, had found the "Old Lady" too fast and was earning nautical renown elsewhere. Having mouted another range in the ladder of success was Mr Boaz, now 2nd officer, vying with the commander and the chief in promoting harmony amoungst and seeing to the comforts of the many passengers. We had to congratulate Mr Taylor on his promotion to 3rd officer, whilst we were glad to see Mr Ramsay had thought better of the matter and was still on the ship, now as 4th officer. Of the former midshipmites but one was left; Nr Thaw, amite no longer. For the rest we recognised but four old faces, Chips, SMith the cook, McCormick, and Corbet, A.B. The ship had undergone great changes and was in many ways much improved as regards the accom- modation of the passengers. First-class passengers in the troop deck were in the lower saloon, making it more convenient than heretofore, having only one companion to go down. The second class passengers had the main hatch for their companion way, similiar to our previous voyage. The third class passengers accommodation on the troop deck was spacious and commodious. The crew, of course, was situated as our former shipmates will remember. Mr Vesey Stewart came on board on the Saturday and stayed in her during the first item in her long journey, her run down the Thames to Greenhithe. During Saturday he entertained many friends who could not be otherwise than struck with the finish and general neatness of the grand old ship. Here 1st saloon is a splendid apartment, light, spacious, and perfectly ventilated. She left the East India Docks at 4 a.m. on Monday, 27th September, and arrived at Greenhithe at 11 o'clock the same morning. The scene there was a very animated one, many passengers came on board there and it was difficult at first to tell who were passengers and who were not. Although many were leaving, probably to return to the land of their birth no more, there was a singular cheeriness observable, tears, so natural then, seemed for the time banished by the bright smile of hope. The weather, unlike that which attended the 2nd party, was bright and clear and the pretty Kentish Coast wore a peaceful, homelike look. Near us lay the old Worcester training ship, some of whose lads came onboard, and if the opinion of such youthful seamen, the skippers of the future, be of any note the Lady jocelyn is just such a vessel as they would be proud to command. Mr Stewart left us on Monday evening, and we were towed out by the steam tug Cambria at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, anchoring for the night off Sheerness. We were off again at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Nothing could look more beautiful than the English coast, the bright blue sea, and azure sky. Clearly stood out the white cliffs of Dover, whilst Ramsgate and Margate were also plainly visable where the steam tug left us. When off Folkstone we passed the spot where in broad daylight the German ironclad Grosser Kurfurst had been sunk in collision with another man-of-war, and when at 3.15 we were abreast of Dungeness our thoughts recurred to the ill-fated Northfleet, and the victim of fiendish carelessness. On the afternoon of the 30th, with the sea as smooth as glass, we passed the Isle of Wight. The next morning several Brixham fishing boats came alongside and sold us large numbers of fish, chiefly skate, the woodcock of the deep, and the dainty red mullet. About here, everything being so favourable, our pilot, the same who piloted the Lady Jocelyn in 1878, was anxious to leave as a boat approached us for the purpose of seeing if such was wanted. Mr Hodges however indignantly refused to give them 3 in order to land him, and finally he was taken off in the yawl Veronica bound for Dartmouth. The severing of the last link that connected them with the Old Country affected very many and it was with tearful eyes that most of us gazed on that burly old form until he was lost from our sight. A head wind setting in we were unable to clear out of the channel until Sunday the 3rd, when with a brisk, fair breeze we left the Lizard behind us and com- menced our first day proper at sea. There was very little sea-sickness and everybody seemed to get their sea legs at once. No time was lost in starting a newspaper and soon the Lady Jocelyn Courier came to light under the editorship of Captain Barclay. On this occasion there was no Morgan-Morris and no printing press on board, so only 4 copies came out each week, one written by the accomplished, able and gallant editor and the others by Messrs Maciel (himself for some years honourably connected with the Press), Moore and Fisher. A novel feature was the advertising supplement conducted by Mr Moore, which came out as often as there was a sufficiency of material, and it is surprising how much business was done through its medium. Early in the field were two saloon passengers, Messrs Lewis and Pemell, who advertised two weekly auction sales and through their hands many articles realised very fair prices. Their sales were held on the main deck, a certain proportion of the profits being devoted to charitable purposes at the hands of Capt. Jenkins. On the 6th October Mrs Carr of the 2nd cabin presented the "Old Lady" with a youthful Jocelyn, an event celebrated in appropriate verse in the Courier. On the 20th October Mrs Trigg added another fine lad to the list of passengers, and on the morning of the 29th of that eventful month Mrs Smith added one more to the fair daughters of Stepney. Jealous indeed must the monarch of the ocean and the queenly Amphitrite be at that smokey old London parish claiming one who shoul more rightly be numbered as a maiden of his own - a sea nymph not a Cockney. Each cabin speedily set to work to organise mutual improvement and amusement societies, the third cabin taking the initiative in these matters. Until the weather became too hot the ladies and gentlemen of that cabin gave weekly concerts belwo and on the main deck, and considering they possessed no musical instrument it was marvellous the talent shown, the faultlessness of their style and tune. Several gentlemen varied the songs with readings evincing much power and cultivation of voice; one at least of these gentlemen is numbered amougst the Te Pukeites. On the 20th October the Inimitable Lady Jocelyn Christy Minstrels gave an entertainment in the saloon and we had an evening devoted to laughter and fun, Mr Lewis adding to the attraction of the performance by some conjuring tricks, to which gentleman and to Mr Pemell tose who attended the entertaiment feel indebted. On November 1st the Lady Jocelyn Lyric and Dramatic Society gave a rendering of the well-known farce "lei on Parle Francais" and two scenes from "School for Scandal" in both of which pieces rare histronic abilities were displayed. The latter piece has seldom, if ever, been attempted on board ship. Early on the voyage an incident happened which tended to cast a melancholy over our happy little community in the death of one of our saloon passengers, Mr Edgar Bailey. On November 6th our youngest apprentice, Mr Evans, fell down the after hatchway into the 3rd cabin and was picked up insensible. His fall was, fortunately, broken by a lamp stoll which he smashed. Although no bones were broken he was of course for a few days in a critical condition, but thanks to Divine Providence, his youthful robust- ness and the attention and skill of Dr Rogers effected his recovery which was speedy, and our young friend was soon at work again with but the loss of a couple of teeth. The line was crossed on Sunday, 7th November, at 5 p.m., in longitude 26.5 W. - 35 days from the Lizard. On the following day we were visited by the monarch of the deep and his consort, whose black face and bedraggled gown were scarcely what one would expect from her who numbers sea nymphs and mermaids amoungst the ladies of her court. Our genial commander, in compliance with the universal wish of the passengers, permitted the court barbers to show their craft on all who volunteered, after which, instead of a shampoo, they were plunged into a sail full of water and got a very refreshing bath gratis - the more welcome in the intense tropical heat. Some passengers, however, so far forgot their respect due to royalty by throwing Neptune, Amphitrite, and their suite in the bath where they had plunged the intruders into their domains, and, worse still, this base outrage was received with roars of laughter. The "dead horse" was not forgotten, and this marvellous animal having been ridden round the ship to in- spiriting strains of music was strung up to the yard arm and from there dropped into the sea. The keeping up of these old customs, robbed of all their roughness, was a pleasing and remarkable feature of this voyage, and reflected credit alike on the Captain and officers for their confidence in the crew, and on the men, who showed the trust reposed in them was not misplaced. Whist, chess, and draught tournaments beguiled many pleasant hours. We had in Mr Ryder, a Te Pukeite, a chess player who has won high honors in that game in Birmingham; he on several occasions played two or three of the saloon passengers simultaneously, and tough the results varied it proved that masterly and thorough as was his play, he had met antagonists by no means unworthy of him. A lady - Mrs Rogers, wife of our good doctor - and Messrs Duncan and R.A. Carr will be regarded as no slight acquisition to the chess playing portion of the colony. During the earlier portion of the voyage we were followed by extraordinary numbers of Mother Carey's chickens, several of which were caught. The captain and other old sailors say they never recollect seeing so many before. The superstitous might account for the head winds and calms which marked so much of her course in the fate of these pretty followers of our ship. When off the Cape, the meridian of which we passed on December 4, Mr Nash caught and albatross measuring 10ft 2in from tip to tip of its wings. In the tropics a fine male shark was captured measuring 10ft 10in. One of those curious parasite fish known as "suckers" jumped off its back when on board, and is now preserved in spirits by a passenger. It is curious to note the tremendous force with which these fish cling to anything; they must be a source of great annoyance to the sharks and whales, to which they chiefly adhere. The skull and jaws of the shark were put up to auction by our indefatigable auctioneers, and realised handsome prices. In the opinion of many the great events of the voyage were the fancy dress balls given in the bright moonlight in the tropics. The saloon and second cabin each gave two, and certain young folk in the third gave a very successful one. Dancing commenced about seven in the evening and was carried on until nearly eleven. The orchestra was composed of members of the crew, with the assistance of a passenger, Mr Sly, an admirable cornet player, and was under the leadership of the sail-maker, Mr Warne; the instruments were a tin whistle, triangle, drum, kettledrum, and concertina. Strange as this medley of musical instruments may sound, the effect was really marvellous - so good was time, so perfect the harmony. The dresses worn showed what great results can be obtained with a little trouble, and from only the things handy on board ship. Amoungst others we noticed Mother SHipton, Sir Peter and Lady Teazle, the Duchess of Devonshire, and Mary Queen of Scots. A very effective Queen of night glittered in the moonlight in a black dress studded over with stars and spangles cut out of an old biscuit tin box. We may add that the impersonators of Mephistopheles, a Clown, Auld Horney, and many other striking characters will by now be dwellers in the Bay of Plenty. We have not been without substantial mementoes of these pleasant evenings in the admirable portraits taken by Mr Somerville. This gentleman brought photographic appa- ratus on board, and, despite the difficulties he encountered at sea, turned out some ex- cellent likenesses. He purposes settling in Tauranga, and it is to be hoped he will meet with the patronage his ability deserves. We suggested some of our Katikati friends might like him to take photographs of themselves and their houses to send to the old folks at home. On the 10th November Captain Jenkins entertained all our little ones to a feast of cakes and other good things. The day was entirely given up to the bairns, who walked in procession round the ship several times bearing banners with appropriate devices and mottoes, and headed by the band. The various cabins were transformed into fairylike apartments gay with bunting, but the banner which caused the most enthusiasm was that bearing the legend "Long live our jolly skipper". The variety of the games, and the jest with which they were characterised, would have done no discredit to a school treat at home. Here let me add my tribute of praise to Mr Bernard Moore, Mr Chappell, and Mr J.B. Walter for the constant attention they paid to the young people on board, and their unceasing efforts to maintain discipline and improve the minds of the younger members of our little community. Our passage, though a pleasant one, can scarcely be said to have been a quick one, owing to the early desertion of the N.E. trades, having lost them in latitude 12 N., and a like delay in picking up those of the S.E. It was not a little singular that amongst other ships we twice spoke the Dunskeig, of Liverpool, bound for Calcutta, upon November 5th and 20th. After passing the Cape we made the most splendid running on December 12th, making the magnificent run of __ miles in 24 hours, which she beat on December __ with 376 miles. During the gale of _______ she showed her superb sailing, and gallantly rode before the tempest. On December 27th another death shed a sorrow over our ship, which had hardly got over the gaiety of Christmas. Mr George Green, aged 20, a passenger for Tauranga, had come on board in an advanced stage of consumption - indeed he should never, inhis state of health, have attempted so long a journey. Thanks to the tender care of his mess companions in the third cabin he was spared all hard work, everyone striving to relieve him of his share of the ordinary work of a third cabin passenger. Dr Rogers and Captain Jenkins also did all in their power to keep him supplied with necessary com- forts. Though in a precarious state of health there were hopes he would live through the voyage. However, on the afternoon of Monday, 27 December, he grew suddenly worse, and expired peacefully and without pain at 7.40 the same evening. A native of Man- chester, and an orphan, he had hoped to find employment in Tauranga as a carpenter. From his past life, and his conduct on the ship, we learnt to know that the ppor lad was a true Christian, whilst by his gentle and retiring disposition he had endeared himself to all who knew him on board. He was committed to the deep at 7.30 the next morning, the body being borne by his sorrowing late messmates. Christmas Day was ushered in at 7 a.m. by the choir singing in each cabin the glad song "Hark the Herald Angels sing," and many were awakened from their slumbers to feel it was indeed that much loved season so replete with kindliness and goodwill towards all men. The editors box was turned into a letter box, and many passengers were the recipients of pretty little Christmas cards, all hand painted, many the work of the gifted wife of our doctor. Though the sky was cloudy and rain poured most of the day, smiles and sunshine lit up every face, and many were the good wishes exchanged and many the quarrel made up on board the good "Old Lady". The children attending the Sun- day school were treated to a splendid Christmas ship. laden with beautiful presents. The only place where decorations were attempted was in the cabin occupied by the boatswain and sail maker and here the utmost taste was displayed, and the place wore a truly Christmas appearance. The athletic sports arranged for that day were brought to a premature close owing to the inclement weather. For the rest we must add that good humor throughout prevailed, and that the plum pudding and mince pies with which we were regaled on board would have done no discredit to a Christmas dinner ashore. Apropos of Christmas, we must allude to the exquisitely worked rings, brooches, &c, suitable for gifts, the handiwork of Mr Stephen J. Smith. This gentle- man, a watchmaker and working jeweller by trade, plied diligently at his profession dur- ing the voyage, and was of great use in mending watches, jewelry, &c. Some articles he produced were really masterpieces of work and originality of design, notably some sharks' teeth set in silver and a silver brooch containing a photograph. He pur- poses setting up business as a watchmaker and jewller in Tauranga, and we can confi- dently recommend him for the great skill he has under difficult circumstances evinced in his profession. On the evening of December 30th there was a representation given in the third cabin of the sensational farce of "Perfection". Mr Wombwell took the part of the blase old roue Sir Laurence Paragon, Mr W.L. Bayley taking the part of Charles, and Mr Bleakley that of Sam, and the Misses Davies and Billiter of Kate O'Brien and Susan. Messrs Maciel and Wright, the stage managers, made the most of a very difficult position. We sighted the Three Kings at about 12.45 p.m. on Friday, December 31st, and though all gazed with rapture on the bold cliffs of New Zealand there was many a sigh at think- ing how soon our happy three months in the dear old Lady must come to an end. Too much praise cannot be accorded to Captain Jenkins and his officers for their great attention to the comfort of the passengers, and their ready sympathy and co-ope- ration in all their amusements. Dr Rogers must be congratulated on his efforts to pro- mote cleanliness and careful habits of diet being rewarded by such signal success. It comes to the lot of few in his profession, whilst at sea, to record no sickness or death amoungst the children. He labored under many difficulties from various causes, notably the insufficiency and absence of some most useful drugs, but he did his best - and how well I leave the clean bill of health we can show to prove. We have, so far as the saloon is concerned, to give a sincere word of praise to Mr Moate, our chief steward. His catering was admirable, and we sat down to meals which reflected the greatest credit on his management. He was ably assisted by Mr Philbrick, the second steward, and we found in the under stewards a civil, obliging, hard working set of young men, who we trust will push their way in the colony with success. A most interesting event happened during the last few hours of the voyage and the first hours of the new year, when a few minutes after midnight Mrs Swarbrick presented the Lady Jocelyn with another male passenger. Mother and child are doing well, and we regard this as a happy omen of future success to all our new colonists. On the night if the 1st instant one Peter Reid, third cabin, who seeks the manage- ment of a farm, delivered a most interesting lecture on farming, especially with relation to selecting stock. In conclusion we think we cannot better show our appreciation of the ship than by fervently hoping that this, our second trip in her, may by no means be our last. Transcribed by Corey Woodw@rd
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