Friday 12 August 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

August 12th The weather since the last date has been pleasant, but the wind almost constantly against us, as may be supposed by our not having made more way south then about 15 or 20 miles a day. We are now in longitude 18.54, latitude 6.3. We have had several squalls, but none of a nature at all calculated to alarm even the most timid. The thermometer has not much varied from 82o , so that we have not been incommoded greatly with heat.

Our little community has been again shaken with intestine commotion. One of our servants (Margaret Clark) got into disgrace about the latter end of last month for lightness of conduct towards the sailors, and a few days afterwards, she put on the appearance of mental derangement; the surgeon and some others however attributed her conduct to the effect of spirituous liquors. In consequence of this report of the surgeon, of complaints having been made of the conduct of other females in the steerage arising from the same cause, and of grog having been given by the steerage passengers to the sailors whereby some of them were rendered unable to do their duty, Captain Duff having the opinion of Mr Brown & me, ordered that no spirits should be served out henceforth to the women and children, but that on arrival in the colony, either the quantity of rum which each individual wd have consumed on the voyage should be distributed, or its value given in money. This order occasioned no doubt dismay among the laboring emigrants, but finding the Captain immovable in his determination the malcontents were obliged to put up with their fate, though in some cases with a very bad grace. In particular, Mr Wickham, the person who we had made our drill sergeant, declared his intention of acquainting the Govt of the Cape of Good Hope with the conduct of the Captain, and of procuring redress by legal means. For a time his anger led him to refuse his own allowance of grog, though this had never been interdicted; he soon became tired of this ‘biting-of-his-nose-to-be-revenged-on-his-face’ system, but he has attempted to punish us by not having […] to drill! I was always averse to allowing laboring emigrants spirits on board ship, and am now more than ever convinced that the practice is most injudicious. Very few indeed ever think of helping the sailors by pulling at a rope or of rendering any other assistance; on the contrary, they are generally to be seen rolling on casks or hencoops, enjoying (a new thing for them) idleness with unusually full meals; thus they become unhealthy, & the allowance of spirits makes them vicious. The women, many of whom have perhaps very seldom tasted rum before, and if so in small quantities, now drinking largely, become quarrelsome and the causes of quarrels among the male emigrants. From these considerations, carried out practically as I have seen in several instances, I am thoroughly convinced that no ship containing a large number of poor persons can be other than an arena for discord while spirits are served out as an article of rations, or can be attainable except, in particular cases, by the authority of the Surgeon.

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