Tuesday 5 July 1836

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

The weather hitherto had been remarkably fine, but
this afternoon some rain fell and the wind rose considerably. The
night passed squally and I was again up with the invalids in my
cabin, William with the scarlet fever, and Mary with such a
violent pain in her head and neck, and excessive weakness, that I
was afraid to trust her out of my sight. Helen was now better, and
in the next cabin, which was allotted to my three daughters and a
young female whom we brought out with us as assistant. We had
also brought two men as agricultural labourers, and two printers,
one an apprentice, as Mr Thomas intended to issue a newspaper,
as soon as possible, in conjunction with Mr Stevenson, the Governor’s
Secretary, who was to be the editor, and with whom he had
entered into partnership for the purpose. Much of our luggage
on board, of which we had a great quantity, consisted of a printing
press, type, and other materials necessary for the undertaking.
William usually slept in a hammock which was slung near
us in the intermediate where our cabins were situated, in the
most airy part, for we could not obtain any in the after part of the
vessel. We were given to understand that no difference would be
made with regard to provisions and that every possible accommo-
dation would be afforded us. This, however, was not the case, for
not only ourselves but every one in the intermediate, chiefly gentle-
men, made loud complaints as to the quality of our provisions, the
want of attendance, and even necessary comforts. As no servant
was allowed except for the after cabins we were obliged to engage
one of our own men from the steerage to wait on us, and to wash
and to clear away after dinner, as I could not allow the young
woman we brought with us to go down among the sailors for
that purpose. After some time the repeated altercations which
took place produced their effect and things were better ordered.
I would advise all those who contemplate long voyages to
provide themselves with many things which can scarcely be
expected from a ship’s stores. As, for instance, I had a pot of honey
which I found very useful for the children. I believe, however, that all vessels now are not only much better provisioned but better regulated in every respect then was generally the case when we came out in 1836, when emigration was comparatively a new thing and a voyage of 16,000 miles a serious undertaking, as indeed it must always be. With the modern improvements and facilities, however, dangers seem almost to vanish, and the longest sea voyages are now undertaken with little apprehension. I believe, too, that most vessels noe carry a competant surgeon. [I am writing this, copied from ym diary, many years after these events occurred.]
We had a surgeon on board (at least one who called himself
such) but as to his medical skill, if he had any, he showed but
little of it with regard to my children. When William was so un-
fortunately taken with the scarlet fever he did not once come to
see him, although he was in the opposite cabin and well aware
of it, till I asked him; and when he said a blister was necessary
for his throat, instead of preparing it – as I expected he would
do, having a medicine chest on board – he went on shore at Deal
and remained the whole day. So I took my own method by
applying a poultice, which I afterwards continued, and William
found great relief from it. Fortunately I had also a bottle of saline
mixture and another of the gargle which I had from the doctor
who attended the other children before our departure, which with
some lemons we procured from Deal, enabled me to give him what
was most necessary. At least he was more indebted under Providence
to my nursing for his recovery, than to any medical attendance
on board; as was Helen likewise. The three girls also suffered
severely from seasickness, especially Frances, the eldest, who was
confined to her bed for several days. Mr Thomas suffered but
little from that cause, and for myself, thank God, I was very well,
and though sometimes ill it was soon over. Considering how much
fatigue and anxiety I had undergone, with want of rest both before
and after I went on board, it was astonishing that my strength
kept up so well, especially as I had been so much confined to my
cabin in attendance on the children.
The young girl we brought with us I found but little use, as she
would not exert herself much for anyone, though well able to do
so. I was five nights without taking my cloaths off, and slept but
little the whole time. I had great reason to be thankful that I bore
it so well, or I know not what others would have done. All the
children continued ill – William just beginning to recover from
the fever, but not out of bed, Helen also confined to her bed, and
the others but little better – unable to procure any comforts for
them which I would have had on land, the ship rolling about so
that nothing would stay in its place, and during the night in total
darkness, as no light was allowed after 9 o’clock, except in the
state cabin, and what we had was only a miserable lamp, the very
shadow of a light, hung up in the centre between the cabins. With
all this it required some resolution to keep up my spirits, and thank
Heaven I did keep them up. Though the hatches were often
closed during the night, for it rained heavily with tremendous
thunder and lightning, I did not feel the least alarm or repent
having undertaken the voyage; my greatest anxiety being to get
the children well.

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