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Journal of George Foster Wise. (age 24) 1814-1897

Ship "Alfred" - Captain Flint
716 tons

Journal of Voyage from England to Sydney, New South Wales. 1838.

Left Plymouth Sept 17, Monday 5 o'clock

Cabin Passengers 18
Servants of ditto. And children 3. 7
Intermediate ditto. 13
Emigrants including children 251
Ship's crew with Captain and all officers 49
Total 338

Names of Cabin Passengers.
Sir F. Forbes
Lady Forbes
Miss Marsh
Lyon Campbell Esq
Mrs Campbell
Mr Talbot
2 Mr Robinsons
Mr Robinson
Mr Muir
Mr Dawson
Mr Graham
Mr Garden Campbell
Mr Brewster
Mr Russell
G. F. Wise
Mr Brown


Left London Friday Sept 14th after bidding farewell to my many valued friends either personally or by letter and taking many affectionate adieux of my beloved Parents and my dearest sister. (Edward at Nottingham}. Left London at 8 o'clock in the evening by "Quicksilver" Mail for Exeter, the rapidity of the travelling, being 176 miles in 16½ hours and in one part only 15 minutes over 4 miles! This rapidity had a most salutary effect upon my spirits and roused them gradually, this together with the scenery of the morning made the time pass along pretty well, after spending 4 hours with Henry Manning at Exeter, we together proceeded to near Totness, dined and slept at John Wise's, left on Sunday afternoon: at Plymouth in the evening after really enjoying a most beautiful ride through the highly picturesque Country of Devonshire.


September 17th, 1838, Monday

Weighted anchor about 5 o'clock a good breeze and quite fair and soon our of sight of land, fair promise of fair weather.


Wind in North Easterly


Steerage Passengers or Emigrants

84 adult males

78 ditto females

8 boys 8 to 15 years old

12 girls ditto

5 boys 4 to 8 years old 

25 girls ditto

2 boys under 4 years old of age

37 girls ditto


What a large proportion of girls to boys being 74 girls to 15 boys.


251 total


18th September 1838, Tuesday

Fair winds, sailing well, people cross and sickly especially amongst the emigrants and their children. Myself not much condition. Calm in the evening.

Wind North Easterly

Latitude 48. 50 N

Longitude 6. 36 W

At 12 o'clock 

Log say 130 miles.


19th September 1838, Wednesday

Fresh breeze during the night, made 160 miles since 12 o'clock yesterday to same this day. Emigrants all very ill, self much better.

Wind S. Easterly to North Westerly

Latitude 46, 35 N.

Longitude 8.20 W.

Distance sailed per Log Book 135 miles.


20th September 1838, Thursday

Calm all day. Ship rolled about very disagreeably, but am somewhat more accustomed to the motion and all seasickness gone. The Wind rose in evening and right against us. Chess playing passed the evening away very agreeably.

Latitude 44.22, Longitude 7. 54, distance per Log 154 miles.


21st September 1838, Friday

Rain and disagreeable day. Wind contrary, obliging us to beat about the Bay of Biscay. Calm towards evening and bright starlight night.  Band of music played ½ hour which led my thoughts much to England and to my friends there, enjoyed an hour's meditation.

Latitude 44. 33, Longitude 9. 8. 

Wind Westerly to North Easterly. Distance per Log 125 miles.


22nd September 1838, Saturday

Wind still against us, tried to get round Cape Ortegal, did not succeed, beat about the Bay of Biscay.  Music in the evening and dancing on the deck passing this time of ennui as agreeably as we can. Chess in the evening and reading Woodstock.

Per Log - 76 miles. 

Latitude 43. 49, Longitude 8. 52.


23rd September 1838, Sunday

Rainy morning and wind contrary. Wind changed to x at x o'clock but very little and making but little way.

Fine afternoon, no wind, much interested reading Mr Roberts' Prize Essay "Call upon the Church" Discussion in the evening with Irish Catholic Priest but not carried on well. Reading "Parting Gift," of W.L.B. the passages marked by M.L.B. very pretty and appropriate.

Latitude 43. 49 - Longitude 9. 36. Wind W.S.W. - North Westerly.

Thermometer 70 in cabin. Distance per Long 106 miles


24th September 1838, Monday

Wind N. - N.Wly. Steering S.W. by W. Good breeze and fine morning. Occupied the morning in making a chart to mark down daily progress.

Latitude 42. 22. Longitude 10. 25.

Thermometer 63 in cuddy. Distance per Log 90 miles


25th September 1838, Tuesday

Rainy tempestuous morning which occupied in amusing myself writing a description of each of the passengers and think I succeeded very well, at 1 the wind became very fresh and presently blew hard from N.E. and N. all sails in excepting the foresail foretop sail and main top sail.

Wind much increased towards the evening and night, and emigrants much frightened, it being a complete gale; so much noise below deck  and not  being able to sleep, I dressed myself at 12 o'clock and went on deck, only passenger there, wind blowing a hurricane right aft, sailing with only double reefed top-sails, yet scudded through the water at the rate of 9 knots the hour a fine starlight night,, but continual and heavy showers of rain, returned to my cabin and to bed about 2 o'clock but not  sleeping and wishing to  witness the fine  rolling sea, again dressed myself about an hour ½ after, went on deck and remained until the breakfast hour of 8 o'clock.

Much lightening at night, nearly run down a ship that was hove to. 

Latitude 39. 51. Longitude 11. Thermometer 63 in cuddy. Distance per Log 179 miles at 12 o'clock.


29th September 1838, Wednesday

Gale continues very high, only three sails set, and they are reefed. The sea rolls the ship about in a fine style, a fine day and much excitement caused by the high waves which sometimes break over the bulwarks, and roll along higher then the sides of the ship; how my dear Father would enjoy this, and I really think my dear timorous mother would not have too many fears; the other ladies enjoy it much.

12 o'clock Latitude 37.5 Longitude 12. 5.

Thermometer in cuddy 66.

A poor little child aged 15 months died in the night, and is to be buried in the Deep this afternoon. The child was ill when it came on board and since has not been able to take nourishment. The funeral took place at 2 o'clock, Captain reading the Burial Service and the Doctor acting as Clerk. Captain read very well and much attention was paid by the emigrants, the body was sewn up in sail cloth and consigned to the Deep. The ceremony is indeed most impressive especially on this day, after the storm of last night and the still rolling sea and high wind. Afternoon and evening spent in walking on the deck reading "Woodstock" and playing whist for a couple of hours.

Wind N.E., fell off towards evening and not so much rolling during the night so that I slept well and most sound. Had the misfortune of losing, from the rain and bad weather, 56 ducks and chickens.


30th September 1838, Thursday

Still a fair wind but not much of it. Morning accompanied by little squalls and constant showers of rain.

12 o'clock, Latitude 34. 15. Longitude 14. 19. Thermometer in cuddy 67. 200 miles progress since yesterday.

The afternoon warm; reading Woodstock on deck, also two hours previous reading of Watt' "On the Mind" and think I shall be interested in the book.

Walked for an hour in the evening with Miss Marsh, a beautiful quiet evening with a very slight breeze. Music and dancing quadrille of 8 gentlemen after which a good waltz with M  Muir.

Played chess with Mr Broom, beat him two good games. 

Distance per Log 206 miles.


28th September 1838, Friday

Hoped to have seen Madeira this morning. A very fine morning, very clear atmosphere. Course W.S.W. All sails set and but little wind. Climbed to the masthead, a sailor after me but could not catch me, so I suppose I may now go there again free. I will try and so learn by experience. 1 ½ hour's quiet reading of Watts. Much pleased with a passage of Sir W Scott's, describing the wading of the moon through mist and clouds, in chapter 1 of 2nd volume Woodstock.

12 o'clock. Latitude 32. 38. Longitude 15.2

Thermometer 72. Barometer 30.20. Distance per Log 119 miles.

Slight breeze in the afternoon at the rate of 5 miles an hour. A ship in sight, we spoke it, the "Pennsylvania," to Philadelphia from Gibraltar 5 days. Bag of letters sent on board, I wrote but a hasty few lines to my mother, time not permitting more, the Captain of the ship promised to give the letters to the first English ship he might meet, or to send the letters from America on arrival there. All sail set, the evening delightfully cool and refreshing breeze. Dancing quadrilles, reels, and waltzes for above an hour. I did not join. The evening spent reading Woodstock and talking.


29th September 1838, Saturday

Fine morning with a good breeze and fair. Occupied the morning two hours attentively reading Watts on the mind, have determined on a second perusal and will then write notes. Began a letter also to my excellent friend at Wimbledon R. R.

12 o'clock Latitude 31. 15. Longitude 15.59.

Thermometer in cuddy 71.

The poop being covered with an awning today, of course the cuddy is cooler and the thermometer shows a less degree of head than it really is.

The afternoon spent in conversation and walking on the poop. Much dancing and amusement in the evening, a very beautiful moonlight night. Chatted much with Lady Forbes about Sydney. Another little child died 18 months old and is to be buried early tomorrow morning.

Distance per Log 110 miles.


30th September 1838, Sunday

A very beautiful day and sailing at the rate of 8 knots the hour. The Captain read the Morning Service to the assembled crew and emigrants, and we formed a most respectable and large congregation, the Captain read well and the service was to me very imposing, being on the great deep sailing most joyously along all sails set, with a cloudless sky and burning sun, but protected from its influence by an awning, which gave more the appearance of being closed in under a house. Many of the prayers and the Psalms seemed to be most appropriate to the time and occasion and altogether the service was performed with much solemnity.


I promised to give a little boy sixpence if he would learn by heart the 139 Psalm, thus imitating my Dear Father's example.


12 o'clock, Latitude 29. 25. Longitude 17. 49.

Thermometer in cuddy 72½, awning over the cuddy. Distance per Log 153 miles.

As usual dined at 3 o'clock, read the first 100 pages of the "Portraiture of a Christian Gentleman" with which I am the more interested since I so much value the author and so much esteem himself and family: how exactly does he portray himself, and the management of his own household and family in his book: I know well the influence that the friendship of such a Christian Gentleman and his family have had in the formation and strengthening of my own Character. In sight of land, the Island of Palma, one of the Caneries, and 50 miles in circuit. It seems a very barren spot and very lofty land, 8000 feet high, passed within 10 miles and saw it well; saw two or three houses amongst the hills  with the aid of a telescope, it belongs to the Portuguese and  very good wine is made there. Much excitement caused by the sight of this land with its peak far above the clouds. A delightful moonlight calm Sabbath evening, walking for an hour on deck with Miss Marsh, conversation on various subjects generally appropriate to the day.


1st October 1838, Monday

Calm last evening, the wind rose in the night and for some time was S.W. and contrary, veered round towards the morning and on awaking found we were again on our course S.W. by S. with a strong breeze and promise of another very warm day. Thermometer during the whole night was 75 in my own cabin, but having the portholes open all night we were cooled by the air.

12 o'clock Latitude 27. 27. Longitude 18. 32

Thermometer in cuddy with awning 74 ½ 

A ship reported in sight standing to the South. The morning occupied until 12 o'clock with Watts On the Mind. The Schooner passed close to us, she showed Spanish Colours, Red Yellow Red. We took her to be a pirate or a slave ship, the ship was crowded on deck with blacks, had she been a slaver she would scarcely have come so close to us as she did, neither would she have allowed the slave to have been seen, besides which she was steering towards the coast of Africa therefore the less probability of being a slaver and the greater of her being a pirate.

Almost a calm in the afternoon and evening, only going at rate of 4 knots the hour. As usual much music and dancing in the evening amongst the passengers. A bright moonlight night perfectly clear, was on deck until a late hour enjoying the night.

Distance per Log 125 miles.


2nd October 1838, Tuesday

A calm day; at rate of 3 or 4 knots the hour. Spent the morning in reading "Watts on the Mind" until 12 o'clock, on the advantages of a good memory and on fixing the attention in reading or in conversation.

12 o'clock, Latitude 25. 18. Longitude 18.38

Thermometer in cuddy 75.

Much talk amongst the passengers of having private theatricals. I agreed to take a part. Began a letter home.

The afternoon reading aloud Corinne to Miss Marsh. Dancing in the evening; the ladies joined for the first time. The Moon nearly full and shone in all its brightness with a cloudless sky, by far the most clear and beautiful night that we have had, sat on the deck until nearly 9 o'clock and had much agreeable conversation with Lady Forbes. I  could not  leave the interesting latter pages of "Woodstock" so I hid my light, when the order for extinguishing went round and sat up late and finished  this  interesting novel.

Distance per Log 133 miles.


3rd October 1838, Wednesday

Calm, quiet morning, but little wind, going at the rate of 4 miles the hour. Many flying fish seen, but not by me. I occupied the morning first in reading aloud for ¾ hour to Miss Marsh "Saturday Evening" after which two hours' steady reading of Watts.

12 o'clock Latitude 23. 26. Longitude 18. 49.

Thermometer in cuddy 75. The heat in the afternoon seemed to have increased. Until 3 o'clock the dinner hour remained in my own cabin writing a letter to my Mother. After dinner reading Lockart's life of Scott and after tea at 6 spent the evening in conversation principally with Lady Forbes. I never saw so bright a moon and so clear an atmosphere, the moon was full, I examined it long with a telescope and the supposed Volcanoes and hills were certainly more visible. I laid on the deck from 9 to 10 at night reading that excellent "Portraiture of a Christian Gentleman" and the fine stillness of the evening seemed to brighten my thoughts and open my mind. I read with perfect ease, the light was so strong and clear.

Distance per Log 129 miles.


4th October 1838, Thursday

The same  calmness that has attended us for three or four days still continues, not  a ripple on the ocean, and with a  slight breeze which glides the ship through the water at the rate of 4 miles  the hour. Many fish seen this morning, and one albacore was caught weighing about 14 pounds, it was cooked for dinner, we found it rather a coarse dish but pretty good. This fish is called St. Helena Beef. Two Swallows came round the ship, they will follow us for some distance, till they return to the land whence they came. Morning engaged in reading "Watts" and continuing my letter to my Mother.

12 o'clock Latitude 21. 58, Longitude 19. 10.

Thermometer 75. Distance per Log 76 miles.


5th October 1838, Friday

Still the same gentle breeze, no motion in the ship and sailing at the rate of 5 knots.  We begin to feel the heat but it is not yet oppressive, another poor child died of diarrhea and was buried in the afternoon, the service was again well performed by the Captain and the emigrants were most attentive, this is indeed a pleasing sight.

12 o'clock Latitude 20. 37. Longitude 19. 25

Thermometer 76.

The morning was occupied in reading "Watts on the Mind" and copying old notes into a book. Between dinner and tea read "Midsummer's Night Dream."

Another most beautiful evening, the sun set in the west under clouds deeply tinged with orange and others of so peculiar a colour that I do not remember ever having seen in England. As usual the band played from 7 to 8, and plenty of dancing, I did not join them, walked on the poop. Evening played backgammon afterwards at 9 ½ went on the deck, laid down; went to sleep there until near 11 o'clock. Another Albacore caught.

Distance per Log 92 miles.


6th October 1838, Saturday

Still as before, we are skimming through the water at 5 knots but no motion in the ship.  Morning occupied with Watts, writing in rought notes to a book and filling up map. To yesterday at 12 I find we have gone 2040 miles in a straight course, as per Logbook our distance is 2232 miles, add to which say 130 miles run to Tuesday September 18 from Plymouth.

12 o'clock Latitude 18.36, Longitude 19. 24.

Thermometer 78 in cuddy with awning over it.

Distance per Log 144 miles.

Read "Midsummer Night Dream" aloud to Lady Forbes and Miss Marsh.  The evening the band played all staid on deck until a late hour enjoying the cool of the evening.


7th October 1838, Sunday

Almost a calm. Morning service was performed by the Captain but five of the emigrants present, there being a great illwill between them. Read much aloud to Miss Marsh the "Portraiture of a Christian Gentleman" and like it very much, although I find occasionally words of a new coinage and for which I think more simple words would have suited. I like the general style and plan of the work much. The heat is increasing rapidly. Took a shower bath ½ past 5 in the morning and enjoyed it much.

12 o'clock Latitude 16.17 Longitude 19.24

Thermometer in cuddy with awning over it 82

Distance sailed, as per Log 159 miles.

The afternoon spent in reading and conversation. The little boy whom I had requested to learn for me the 139th Psalm said it to me without missing a single word, I therefore gave him double the promised reward viz. 1/-. At night there was a grand disturbance, the weather being so hot the emigrant women would not go to their berths at 10 o'clock,  the men were ordered away from their hatchway, they would not go, one man struck  the Captain, he was secured immediately, the Captain and officers got angry, armed  themselves with swords and bayonets, all the cabin passengers on deck also; the riot was only quelled,  by securing 4 of the  emigrants putting them in the  "between-decks" with irons on their feet and  keeping them there  the  whole  night, in the morning they were brought up, released and  reprimanded by the Captain.

The heat during the night was insufferable being 84 in the cabin and not a breath of wind.


8th October 1838, Monday

Up by 6 o'clock and on deck in complete dishabille and without shoes or socks enjoyed the shower bath of half a dozen buckets much. The heat increased and we are half melted, a perfect calm. Amused by catching 2 large sharks, the one 7 feet long, 18 inches broad and 4 feet 2 inches girth.

12 o'clock Latitude 14.23, Longitude 19.30

Thermometer in cuddy with awning over 85 ½

Ditto on deck in shade 88.

Distance as per Log 116 miles.

Passed a most idle day, the heat preventing exercise and disinclination to read or write.

Expected another disturbance amongst the emigrants in the evening and  were  all  well prepared but the women went to their berths  at 10 o'clock very quietly.


9th October 1838, Tuesday

Up at 6 and enjoyed the shower bath much.

Occupied the morning in writing Journal and preparing letters. The heat not quite so oppressive. 

12 o'clock Latitude 13. 44.  Longitude 19. 48.

Thermometer in cuddy 84.

Distance as per Log 30 miles!

The sea disagreeable calm and not a breath of wind.

The afternoon spent in conversation and reading aloud several papers from the Ramble. The evening the Captain wishing me to join the whist table, I did so and lost ten shillings; what an unprofitable way of disposing of one's money.

I have felt the heat more this day than I did yesterday.


10th October 1838, Wednesday

Shower bath at ½ to 6 and enjoyed it much with a cup of good coffee afterwards.

Reading Locke on the Understanding and Watts on Mind during the  morning, mounted to the main top yard arms and read there for a couple of hours, out of the way of noise and having more  air than on deck.

12 o'clock Latitude 12. 54, Longitude 19. 42.

Thermometer 84½. Distance per Log 50 ½ miles.

I felt the heat very oppressive read old letters and several good papers from the Rambler, especially a criticism on epistolary correspondence. Sat on deck until past 10 o'clock conversing with Mrs Campbell, Miss Marsh and Mr Talbot.

Total distance run as per Log Book to this day 2861 ½ miles


11th October 1838, Thursday

Bathed at 6 o'clock and took my usual cup of coffee. The heat still very great and moving but slowly. Occupied until dinner time walking on the deck, reading Locke on the Understanding, and making a chart for Miss Marsh on a small scale.

12 o'clock Latitude 11. 46, Longitude 19. 52

Thermometer 84, Log distance 81 ½ 

Read aloud several papers from the "Rambler" and spent  the evening in conversation.


12th October 1838, Friday

Bathed at 6 o'clock. A calm day and without any particular thing to mark it, heat excessive and causes great disinclination to do anything.

12 o'clock Latitude 11. 2. Longitude 19. 51

Thermometer 84 1/2, distance per Log 50 miles.

The afternoon read aloud the "Rambler" and found some interesting papers; Dr Johnson worked harder to produce these papers than he ever did for any of his other publications, he began the work with a prayer and an address to his God to bless his undertaking both to himself and to others.

Notwithstanding the heat there was dancing in the evening.


13th October 1838, Saturday

Up at 6 and took a shower bath as usual. Had a long discussion with Mr Talbot about charts on the principle of Mercator, and why he should increase the degrees of Latitude the further he gets from the equator, although at the same time each degree is the same namely 60 miles; being unable to understand it, we puzzled over it and at length after drawing a globe upon Mercator's principle, we saw that he must so arrange the latitude in consequence of his plan of making every degree of longitude of the same value. The rest of the morning I engaged myself in correctly drawing a map of the world.

12 o'clock Latitude 10.15, Longitude [blank]

Thermometer 87 1/2. Distance per Log 86 miles.

In the afternoon at 4 o'clock came on very suddenly a slight tornado of wind and rain with thunder and lightning, it came on so suddenly from a dead calm that the sails were not got down in time, so that to do so with the greater ease, the ship was steered round and run to the North East right before the storm, it lasted about ¾ of an hour and then again a dead calm all night.


14th October 1838, Sunday

No shower bath this morning, being too lazily inclined to move. 

Another violent storm of rain and wind came on at 8 o'clock, but we were better prepared than yesterday, so that we kept on our course of S.S.W. This storm prevented the service on deck, the Captain read it therefore only to the cuddy passengers in the cuddy. The day was most unsettled with constant heavy showers of rain.

12 o'clock Latitude 9.57, Longitude 19.58

Thermometer 84, distance per Log 52 miles.

Until dinner occupied in writing journal and reading. Finished the "Portraiture of a Christian Gentleman" and am much pleased with it in toto. Saw a large butterfly about the ship during the day.

Evening spent in conversation


15th October 1838, Monday

Bath at 6 o'clock. The morning occupied in reading "Locke on the Understanding" and drawing a correct map of the Earth which I finished.

12 o'clock Latitude 9. 17. Longitude 20. 16.

Thermometer 82. Distance per Log 76.

Afternoon reading aloud the Rambler. Much rain and very violent especially in the evening.


16th October 1838, Tuesday

Very little wind and making no  way, a ship in sight astern of us, much rain and storms during the whole day, experienced a  slight tornado, and in the distance several waterspouts were visible and presented a very curious appearance. The appearance of an inverted trumpet.

Latitude 8.22. Longitude 19.38.

Thermometer 78½. Log distance 90 miles.

The evening was fine and dry, but very cloudy.


17th October 1838, Wednesday

Bath at  6 o'clock. Another child died, this is the 4th that has died, the third mate and several other of he emigrants on board are very ill with fevers caused by the heat of the sun. Calm the whole day. Three ships in sight, one came near us in the afternoon the "Marion" bound to the Cape and Bengal, we had a long conversation with her by signal flags, she was bout 2 or 3 miles distant. Wrote a letter to Edward, hoping to have sent it by this ship but was disappointed. This little occurrence caused much excitement and amusement. Spent two hours at the mast head reading "Life of Scott."

A very fine bright evening but not a breath of wind.

12 o'clock Latitude 8.13. Longitude 19. 28.

Thermometer 80. Distance per Log 32 miles.


18th October 1838, Thursday

Bath at ½ 6. The third mate is, I am glad to say, much better. I went to see him, he has been delirious during the night.

Passed the morning in reading aloud the latter  part of Corinne, till I became  quite cross  at the character of Lord Nelvil, his infidelity to Corinne, etc, nor  do I like the character given to her.  No wind, the three ships still in sight, a very warm day with the sun almost perpendicular.

12 o'clock Latitude 8. 4. Longitude 19.

Thermometer 81½. In the sun at 4 o'clock 98. Log distance 19.

A very warm afternoon. Read the life of Walter Scott for 1 ½ hours I never witnessed a more magnificent sunset, the sun set in liquid gold whilst other clouds presented the most various colours and hues which continually were changing; nothing in painting could possibly imitate this most spending sky. Several sharks swimming round the ship at night, the sailors very superstitious at this circumstance. Enjoyed the cool evening much.


19th October 1838, Friday

As yesterday, a dead oiley calm, but it is some consolation to see three other ships in the like predicament with ourselves. A poor woman died of fever at 8 o'clock this morning. I understand she is an Irish Catholic.

The morning occupied in journalizing, trying to catch 2 dolphins that were round the ship, and helping Miss Marsh to draw a map.

12 o'clock Latitude 8. 22. Longitude 18. 46.

Thermometer in cuddy 83 ½ Log distance [blank] we have retrograded 18 miles since yesterday.

Reading  Life of Scott and with which I am much interested, not only on account of the interesting details of his own life, but fort the account given of many men, who have since  become so  celebrated, as  Hogg, Burns, Wordsworth, Campbell, Erskin, [sic] Miss Seward and  many others; as yet I have only read the first volume. Read the Rambler aloud in the afternoon, fine sunset but not so grand as last night. The sea presented a most luminous appearance and very beautiful.


20th October 1838, Saturday

Shower bath at 6 and very refreshing it is to rise from a vapour bed and have half a dozen buckets of water poured on the head. Morning occupied in reading Watts on the Mind and Life of Scott. Two large sharks were shot, the first one received a ball through his body but did not seem to feel it, and followed the ship for some time; till he came to the top of the water and was shot in the head he turned over on his back and splashed about for at least 5 minutes and then sank, a short time after was seen another shark with a good portion of the former in his capacious mouth.

12 o'clock Latitude 8. 19. Longitude 18. 17. 

Thermometer 82. Log distance 33.

Read aloud the Rambler in the afternoon having before dinner read the life of Scott to myself for a couple of hours. The closing event of this day was most fearful and awful. Poor Mr Clerk, the third Mate, who has been ill with severe fever for a whole week and has at times been delirious, gradually became worse, this day and about 9 o'clock his reason left him, he was in a complete delirium, his cries and the dreadful imprecations which he uttered whilst in this fearful state, struck the mind with horror; his voice, naturally strong, lost none of its vigour, he called  much after his dear father and his  sister,  then he would imitate the barking of a dog, and scream. He next fancied he had killed the Captain and once in his phrenzy he very nearly strangled himself, four of the sailors could with difficulty keep him on his couch, he had a straight waistcoat put on him. At 12 ½ he suddenly stopped gave one deep sigh and died. Never, I trust, may I again be within hearing of a man dying in such a state of madness, the spectacle of his death must have been too appalling. I dared not approach it.


21st October 1838, Sunday

Shower bath at 6 o'clock. The corpse of poor Clark was laid upon the deck and already at 8 o'clock has decomposition rapidly taken place; he was a man generally liked, and although his death was marked in a most terrible manner, yet he was remarked as a man of gentle and mild manners rather than otherwise. At 10 o'clock, all hands were ordered on deck, every passenger put on black as a degree of respect,  and the Captain read the burial service in a more impressive and feeling manner than usual, several of the men and officers were much affected, especially the first mate, Mr Tapley, who is himself unwell.

Morning service was read shortly after the funeral, but during the whole day, there was a silent feeling of awe caused by the occurrence of last evening and the solemnity of the morning, which also was much increased by the continued calm which has not lasted a week, having made only about 90 miles to the south since last Sunday!

12 o'clock Latitude 8. 19. Not move an inch since yesterday. Longitude 18. 52.

Thermometer 84½ distance per Log 13 miles.

I spent a most idle donothing day, I scarcely read a page, and felt in a most idle humour, which I lay to the account of the heat; at all events this forms a very good excuse.



22nd October 1838, Monday

Shower bath at 6 and cup of coffee as usual at ½ past ditto.

The whole morning was occupied in making arrangements in my cabin and in idle wanderings on the deck.

12 o'clock Latitude 8. 13. Longitude 17. 44.

Thermometer 84. Distance per Log 14 miles.

A rainy afternoon, remained on deck, got some soap and scoured myself all over, that is to say, I scoured my coat and trousers, like some others just for the fun of it, the rain soon washed the soap off and of course I got a complete ducking, prudently changed my clothes and instead of reading, I idly laid on my bed and went to sleep.

Read Washington Irvine's Sketch Book in the evening, and am much pleased with his style and beautiful language and also his impartial descriptions. 


23rd October 1838, Tuesday

Shower bath at 6. Several squalls have arisen during the night and have sent us forward out of the calms. Rain all the morning which I occupied in a reperusal of "Watts on the Mind" at the same time making an abridgement of it for myself, by way of impressing it more upon my mind.

12 o'clock Latitude 7. 14. Longitude 17. 28

Thermometer 76½ Log distance 45 miles

Journalized and read Lockarts's [sic] life of Scott until dinner time 3 o'clock

Rained in the afternoon spent my time I know not how, excepting in the evening when I played Backgammon and read W. Irving's Sketch book with whom I am  much pleased his style of  writing is so both amusing and very good.


24th October 1838, Wednesday

No shower bath, but finished reading before breakfast the "Lay of the Last Minstrel" and which I the more enjoy from having so lately read the account and critics upon it in Lockart's life of Scott. Spent the morning profitably in reading Watts with attention and making notes upon it, I am now reperusing it and abridging it as I proceed, engaged from 10 to 12 this manner

12 o'clock Latitude 7. 31. Longitude 16. 44.

Thermometer 81. Log distance 99½.

Until dinner mounted to the mast head and read the Life of Scott. After dinner reading the Spectator aloud and the evening spent also in a profitable manner either in conversation or reading.


25th October 1838, Thursday

Shower bath at 6 and read for an hour before breakfast a part of "Marmion." Until 12 occupied in Watts with notes as before and transcribing the same into a book.

12 o'clock Latitude 7. 7. Longitude 16. 19.

Thermometer 82. Log 73 miles.

Spoke a ship this day the "Lady Rowena" from Liverpool Sept 19 bound to Bombay, the speaking by signals is very amusing. read Life of  Scott for 2 hours  at the mast head before  dinner, what little  wind there is, can only be got at the mast head, besides that such a romantic spot is well suited for quiet reading. The moon has again returned to us and we took advantage of it by remaining on deck to a late hour. The ladies also had a quadrille, I joined them. The Captain also danced a reel, and it being the first time he had shewn himself  guilty of such a frolic, every person stood around surprised and pleased and we all  most loudly clapped him when he had finished. The steerage passengers and sailors also had a lark of their own in dressing out two or three men joined or lashed together and they formed a very good imitation of a donkey with panniers, this produced much merriment and fun.


26th October 1838, Friday

Shower bath at 6 and reading "Marmion" until breakfast. We have a pretty good breeze although obliged to steer close to the wind. A most delightful cool day. The morning fair. Copying notes on Watts on the Mind with an hour ½ reading of life of Scott at the mast head, and again reading aloud the Rambler in the afternoon. Evening played Backgammon and read Washington Irving's Sketch Book. A wet evening with only occasional glimpses of the moon, thought of the beautiful simile of "Patient virtue to the moon" in Woodstock just about the middle of the book.

12 o'clock Latitude 6. 22. Longitude 16. 19.

Thermometer 82. Log distance 62 miles.


27th October 1838, Saturday

No shower bath. It has rained much and very hard during the night and the whole morning was cloudy and wet, with distant claps of thunder. Not inclined for Watts and the morning passed in walking, talking, and reading "Marmion" but which does not strike me so much as good or interesting as the "Lay of the Last Minstrel."

12 o'clock Latitude 4. 56. Longitude 14. 26.

Thermometer 77½ Distance per Log 99 miles.

Had for dinner fresh salmon and a hare caught, it was said, at the mast head.  An afternoon full of fun, dancing in the evening, after which every one being in cuddy the Captain proposed that each should give a song, and those who did not should follow his example of taking off a dose of saltwater. I, being no nightingale or sweet songster of the vale, forthwith [sic] took this wholesome dose on being called on to sing, taking it to the health of the Ladies and Gent. Others followed the order and one or two suffered from the nauseous dose, whilst the others sang out most lustily and most inharmoniously, thus, at all events, the evening was passed in the greatest good temper and hilarity.


28th October 1838, Sunday

Shower bath at 6 and before breakfast read one of Robert's sermons. Service was performed at 11. Between lunch and dinner I read aloud the last part of Christian Gentleman to Miss Marsh. After dinner the time principally occupied in conversation and during a beautiful evening.

12 o'clock Latitude 4. 43. Longitude 13. 45.

Thermometer 80. Log distance 100.


29th October 1838, Monday

On the deck at  6  but did not feel  inclined for a shower bath having a bit of a head-ache, occupied the morning reading and making notes on Watts.

12 o'clock Latitude 4. Longitude 12. 1.

Thermometer 78. Distance per Log 105.

Two more children died; this being the 8th child and 10th funeral. Reading occupied the afternoon and fun and frolic the evening, a fine moonlight night and plenty of high spirits at every thing excepting the perverse way which the wind blows sending us forward but a few miles.


30th October 1838, Tuesday

Shower bath at 6. Instead of a death I have this day to record the account of a birth of a little boy. Morning occupied in reading Watts and writing notes thereon. Also Walter Scott's life and the Spectator in the afternoon with an evening passed in conversation and walking on deck. Still the wind is perverse, obliging us to keep so close to the coast and even now we are running directly into the Gulf of Benin.

12 o'clock, Latitude 3. 40. Longitude 10. 30.

Thermometer 79 ½ Log distance 93 miles.


31st October 1838, Wednesday

Shower bath at 6 ½. Reading and noting on Watts from 10 to 12. Until 3 much interested in Scott's journal of a voyage to the Orkneys and Shetlands in 1812. Experienced a squall of rain which we hoped would have changed the wind but alas, no.

12 o'clock Latitude 3. 16, Longitude 8. 56.

Thermometer 80. Log distance 88½ .


1st November 1838, Thursday

No shower bath but took a walk on deck at 6 o'clock. All the boxes were taken up toady and most amusing sight it was to see the people in the steerage turn over their boxes and observe the wry faces that some of them showed on examining the contents to see the mildew had spoilt some of their clothes or the odd piece of china which had been carefully packed, but alas! They were found in a shattered condition, and so the morning passed in observation!

12 o'clock Latitude 2. 40. Longitude 7. 46.

Thermometer 79½ Log distance 111½. 

Read for an hour until dinner life of Scott and after ditto, several papers of the Spectator. The evening walked talked, played Backgammon and read the "Sketch Book" and closed the events of the day by a famous hunt after a cockroach which I killed at last.


2nd November 1838, Friday

Too a salt water shower bath at ½6 in the midst of a shower bath or rain. Read the first Canto of "Lady of a Lake" until breakfast after which examined most scrupulously with a microscope the head of a cockroach, saw in his jaws what appeared to be teeth in two or three rows, very sharp and set close like those of a shark. [if I may compare small things with great]. Made notes on Watts for 1 ½ hour and as usual read life of Scott at my seat at the mast head for a couple of hours until dinner. A poor child died yesterday and was buried.  9th child and 11th funeral.

12 o'clock Latitude 2. 24, Longitude 9. 22.

Thermometer 78½ Log distance 99 miles

We move but slowly to the South each day, but we enjoy fine weather and I enjoy, thank God, most excellent health and better spirits, I am the life of the party often and at all times ready for fun and frolic. What a different life is this to what I have spent 4 months ago.


3rd November 1838, Saturday

No shower bath but took a walk on deck at ½ past 6. Morning occupied in taking notes on Watts until 12 o'clock.

12 o'clock Latitude 1. 42N. Longitude 6. 28W.

Thermometer 79. Log distance 115 miles.

Read at the mast head the Life of Scott. The afternoon and evening spent in conversation and agreeably. The weather still remains very fair and the sailing is very agreeable excepting that we are not going the way that we wish and are obliged to keep too close to the coast of Africa. In the evening at 7 o'clock the man from the fore-top called out a sail in sight and we were boarded by Neptune's Messenger. The first mate took his speaking trumpet and parleyed with him, the Messenger asked many questions about the ship where bound to, the name of the Captain, etc. He then came on the Poop most  fantastically dressed,  demanded to see the Captain and presented to him a folded newspaper printed in Neptune's Kingdom and his letter of credentials  dated Green Sea Saloon and intimating that as the Ship Alfred was approaching the seat of his dominions, he should on the following Monday, accompanied by his wife, pay us a visit for the "purpose of admitting the numerous strangers on board to the freedom and  other liberties belonging to his subjects," this letter was signed "Neptune God of the Seas." The messenger having delivered his credentials went to the fore part of the ship and at the same instead a barrel of tar was set alight and floated off from the ship, this being  supposed to be the vessel or boat in which Neptune's Messenger came to us. It was a very pretty sight to watch the lighted tar barrel swimming over the waves and although we were only going about 2 knots the hour, the barrel kept alight till it was beyond our sight. The light was very brilliant. Many were the jokes played off and many stories relating to Neptune were related most gravely. All in expectation of they know not what is to happen on Monday.


4th November 1838, Sunday

Shower bath at 6 and enjoyed it much. At ½ past 10 the Captain as usual read the morning service. 

12 o'clock Latitude 1. 23N. Longitude 5. 29W.

Thermometer 80. Distance per Log 62 miles.

Until dinner writing part of a letter to my valued friend Rosa Roberts and in the afternoon and evening not being readily inclined, spent in conversation and pensively walking the deck thinking of my home, the day was fine I miss the happy English Sunday spent at Wimbledon. My thoughts recurred  much to my friends  the Roberts , and the manner of their spending this day, and I regretted being unable as well to follow the motions of my own family from not knowing where they are at this present time, whether in London, the Island or at Rushmills, most  probably my dearest mother is  at the latter place.


5th November 1838, Monday

Up at 6 and took a shower bath. The Grand Flotilla of King Neptune God of the seas was reported to be in sight and by ½ past 9 every thing was in readiness for his reception. The Ladies were all on the poop where was also congregated all the females and children of the steerage, the Gentlemen were all en dishabille prepared for the fun and the shaving, those who  could provided themselves with buckets, I was a fortunate one, having stolen one of the firebuckets for the occasion. A large main sail was swung on the lea side of the Quarter Deck about 4 feet from the ground which was filled with water. A Barber's Pole was hung out with an inscription of Mons: Tonsor - Peruquier de Paris. On the lea side of the deck was also abundance of water pumped there for future use. At ½ 9, the trumpet sounded, there came our usual band from the forecastle of the ship playing a grand march followed by Neptune and his train. First came the Chief Constable holding his mace, then two other Constables with staves immediately followed by Neptune's car drawn by 5 of his horses [being 5 sailors] all properly caparisoned and with rough sheepskin dresses over them, their faces covered over and  besmeared with black and red paint, the car made for the occasion being a gun-carriage and on wheels, in it, was seated King Neptune, with a crown on his head and scepter in his hand with a fish stuck at the top of it, by his side sat  Amphitrite his wife [a sailor] gaily dressed in a new gown with a  cap and pink ribbons in abundance, the face so besmeared with tar and paint that it  could not be recognized, the child  of this  worthy pair sat between them, and right well he matched the ugliness of his parents. The car was followed by many attendants, one with a long red nose, and a large pocket in his dress filled with flour or some other white substance which he threw around him. A most portly and dignified looking Doctor was also in the train looking as solemn as the Doctor of King Neptune  should look, his servant by his  side carried the box of medicines composed principally of compositions of tar and saltwater and other good things of like medicinal qualities. One attendant bore the huge pair of razors [of wood] and a jug of tar-lather. At the last came the bear on all fours chained and led by his keeper who continually laid a whip across his back; all were of course much disguised and dressed in the most outrageously grotesque fashions it were possible to conceive, the cavalcade stopped at the cuddy door where the Captain waited to receive them all in due style. Neptune made a bit of a speech, said there were only a few fish to be obtained at the present time, the Captain gave to all including both the bear and the horses, as also to pretty Mrs Neptune [who looked coy! And bashful!] a class of rum apiece [sic], after which the cavalcade proceeded in due state and order and with solemn march to the shaving place and as they passed along buckets full of water were thrown over them; the bear and his keeper jumped into the pond of water formed in the sail; Neptune, his barber and lather-holder got upon the stool, whilst the Doctor and medicine-holder stood by their side. All was prepared for action, Mr Muir was the first person called, he being duly shaved, I was next called; the constables were ordered to bring me forward they first tied a dirty napkin over my eyes and thus blindfolded led me to the shaving stool, as I passed along, I was drenched with water thrown at my face; I was then seated, the barber took me by the chin, lathered it over an then took his enormous wooden razors and shaved it off. Suddenly they took me by the legs, at the same moment the bandage was taken off and I was tossed backwards into the pool of water where the bear and his keeper caught hold of me and ducked me right well, and as I was getting out of the pond, some powder or flour was thrown over my wet hair; in returning, showers of buckets of water came on me. It now came my turn and having got a bucket, I returned with good interest the water thrown at me. All the cuddy passengers were served in the same way, [it having been previously agreed amongst us that we would be shaved] there followed as many of the steerage emigrants as could be caught on deck, some cowards remained below the whole time and even one of the cuddy passengers, namely Robinson whom nobody likes. This fun lasted for an hour and a half, every person on the quarter deck being freely allowed to play any trick he pleased upon another, to give and receive jokes, as well as to give and receive with good temper buckets full of water dashed in the face, no accident occurred and no person lost their temper, every person enjoyed the fun and I not amongst the least of them. The bank struck up at 11, the cavalcade again formed as before, only there were rather in a different plight, returned to the cuddy door, wished the Captain a pleasant voyage drank to his health, and to that of Neptune's new subjects just now admitted to the liberty of his kingdom and returned to the fore part of the ship. We all immediately change dour wet clothes and passed the remainder of the day in talking over the fun; for myself, being very tired and my eyes very red form the dirty salt water dashed so  unmercifully into them, I laid  down and slept for two hours before dinner. The band played all the afternoon and the sailors danced, the day was warm and in every way most propitious. A messenger came towards the poop in the afternoon dressed "en Bourgeois" addressed himself to the passengers, said that he had a letter from Neptune which he read aloud admitting to the full privileges and liberties of subjects all  those who had that day been shaved. In the evening there was another pageant of Guy Fawkes with his matches and dark lantern, also two sailors dressed up [and on all fours, the two tied together formed a good donkey. Also a sailor as an old woman who sold biscuits and fruit etc and told fortunes, told Miss Marsh that she would be married to the King of Tuscany. The poor old woman was sadly pushed about, the evening passed away in a most jovial manner, much dancing, plenty of music, and practical jokes played off by everybody, no mischief occurred form all this and indeed there was only one sailor who was drunk. Doubt not my friends that I slept most soundly after such a hard day's work.

Latitude 0. 58N. Longitude 4. 3W

Thermometer 78½ Log distance 91 miles.


6th November 1838, Tuesday

Found myself none the worse for the amusements of yesterday, save and except that I had slightly strained the left arm but I shall soon get over that; my eyes have also lost their pretty pink colour. Neither read or wrote this day but passed it in idle conversation, the events of yesterday the principal topic.

12 o'clock Latitude 0. 13N. Longitude 5. 19W.

Thermometer 78. Log distance 92½ miles. 

We passed the line about 8 o'clock in the evening, and I beg here to contradict the opinion that the Equator is a bright brass bar, it is rather an iron one, as we saw it plainly reflected in the water, it was of a blackish colour, as we crossed over it the ship received a most violent shock!! It gave such a bump! Oh! What a bumper!! This is a crammer.

Another child was buried this day, the 10th that has died since leaving England.


7th November 1838, Wednesday

No shower bath but took a walk on deck at ¼ to 7 and drank my coffee as usual. Read aloud to Miss Marsh during the morning a part of the tragedy of King Lear.

12 o'clock Latitude -. 37. South, Longitude 7. 10W.

Thermometer 77. Log 97 miles.

The afternoon walking talked and danced, and played back-gammon in the evening.

This being the first day in the Southern Hemisphere, I reperused all my farewell letters, thought much of my dear parents, family and friends in England and I was led to moralize much on the past and to anticipate the future. I read with an increased and new pleasure my last most excellent letter from Fanny, Miss Bacon, and Rose Roberts. Also when shall I see these friends again and shall I meet with such friends as these in Sydney?


8th November 1838, Thursday

Shower bath at 6 ½. A fine day with good wind. Spent a good portion of the morning in transcribing notes on Watts and two hours at the mast-head in reading life of Scott, and finished King Lear after dinner. Band as usual in the evening, the Ladies danced and played back gammon in the evening.

12 o'clock Latitude 1. 52 3. Longitude 8. 54W.

Thermometer 77, Log 113½ miles.


9th November 1838, Friday

Walked on the deck at 6 and took my coffee.

Until 12 o'clock engaged in journalizing, reading old letters and muddling the morning away in such like trifles. 

12 o'clock Latitude 3.S. Longitude 10. 22.

Thermometer 78 ½ Log distance 85.

Began reading aloud Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. Another child was born, the second boy. A beautiful evening, danced and played Backgammon.


10th November 1838, Saturday

Shower bath at ½ past 6. Intended to have read Watts, but have lost the book in which I had made so many notes relating thereto, some person must have stolen it, much good may the perusal of my notes do to them, for the loss of them does no good to me. Wrote a letter to Ann Wise.

12 o'clock Latitude 4.39S. Longitude 11. 46West

Thermometer 78½ Log distance 123½ .

The afternoon spent, I know not how, and the evening to [sic] in amusement.


11th November 1838, Sunday

Shower bath and cup of coffee at 6. The Captain read Divine service. From 12 to 3 occupied in writing letters to my mother to Rosa Roberts, to Edward and to Ann Wise to each letter I added what I had before written hoping for an opportunity tomorrow being  so near to the Island of Ascension.

12 o'clock Latitude 6. 54, Longitude 13. 28.

Thermometer 75½. Log 148½.

Read with much pleasure in the afternoon two of Gerard Noel's sermons. We passed within three miles of the Island of Ascension at 11 o'clock at night it was a dark night and I did not think it worth while to rise from my bed.


12th November 1838, Monday

Walked on deck at ½ past 6. The morning spent in talking and mapping.

12 o'clock Latitude 9. 6. Longitude 15. 3.

Thermometer 78½, Log distance 153½. 

The afternoon, after reading 2 hours Life of Scott was spent in doing nothing, and the evening in dancing and backgammon.


13th November 1838, Tuesday

Shower bath at ½ past 6. all the passengers anxiously looking for some ship to take  our letters but in vain and I fear that now we shall see none. The little baby that was born on Friday died and was buried, the Captain had previously christened it.

12 o'clock Latitude 10. 41. Longitude 15. 49.

Thermometer 74 ½. Log distance 103 miles.

Finished reading aloud to Miss Marsh Julius Caesar.  The tragedy is not so touching to the heart as King Lear but I prefer the former to the latter, the fine bursts of eloquence of Brutus and Cassius and above all of Mark Antony etc etc.

A most splendid sunset, so fiery red with the adjacent clouds apparently covered with burning Larva [sic] "With Disk like battle-target red,"

"He rushes to his burning bed:"


14th November 1838, Wednesday

Walked on deck, but no shower bath. The  morning occupied in writing, as  copying extracts from books and which I wish to retain, and reading Life of Scott at the mast head for 1 ½ hour.

12 o'clock Latitude 13. 27. Longitude 17. 19.

Thermometer 75½ Log 181 miles.

The afternoon spent variously and the evening played Backgammon, it is somewhat of a stupid game, but I play to please [blank] others and to escape playing whist and losing my money.


15th November 1838, Thursday

Shower bath at ½ past 6. Determined this day upon doing nothing [Query if by way of relaxation from study] and so kept my resolution until after dinner when I read aloud the three first acts of "Taming a Shrew." Petruccio sets the right way about the business but for myself I would rather have the "Shrew" tamed for me than tame her myself.

12 o'clock Latitude 16. 4. Longitude 17. 50.

Thermometer 73, Log 150 miles.

Another baby, born about 10 days ago, died. 12th child and 14th funeral.


16th November 1838, Friday

Up before 6 and took a shower bath, the water is much colder only 72. Finished reading the "Lady of the Lake" and which I prefer both to Marmion and the Lay of the last Minstel [sic].

The morning occupied principally in journalizing. 

12 o'clock Latitude 18. 42. Longitude 18. 44.

Thermometer 74½. Log distance 166 ½.

In the afternoon finished reading aloud the "Taming of the Shrew." Dancing and backgammon closed the day.


17th November 1838, Saturday

Up at ½ past 5. A poor woman died of fever last night, I talked much and tried to console her husband this morning,  as he was watching the corpse, but he also poor man is in very ill health. The morning occupied variously but well and the afternoon in conversation the evening walked on deck and talked much with Miss Marsh pour passer le temps.

12 o'clock Latitude 20. 56. Longitude 19. 54

Thermometer 75½ Log distance 145 miles.


18th November 1838, Sunday

Up at 6 and took my accustomed shower bath. Another child died during the night and was buried in the morning, and again another in the course of the morning is now, at this present moment about to be consigned to the Deep. These most frequent deaths on board are indeed lessons to us, who are in good health and spirits, of the shortness and uncertainty of life. There is a very bad fever on board and which is very fatal amongst the children, of whom 14 have died and besides three grown up persons, 17 in all, and there  are still others who are very ill, dangerously so; I have to be most thankful for my own superlatively good health.

12 o'clock Latitude 23. 11. Longitude 20. 9

Thermometer 72½, Log distance 156 miles.

Fromm 12 to dinner read part of 1st Vol. of Genie du Christianisme but not with so much benefit or pleasure to  myself as I afterwards perused three chapters of  "Persuasives to  early Piety" and which I  like much. In the afternoon walked on the deck and talked etc etc. another most brilliant sunset to which succeeded a bright twilight night. I examined and studied the stars till the abominably disagreeable and ill tempered Captain ordered me away from the light at the binnacle declaring "take my word for it, the man cannot steer if you are near." I attempted to talk him into reason, but this is beyond the power of man, woman might perchance accomplish this Herculanean task, perhaps his wife does.


19th November 1838, Monday

Up at 5½ and first took a bath and then walked the deck until 7 reading Hervey's "Contemplation on the Starry Heavens." Morning occupied * in being most particularly disagreeable to a most delightful young lady. Endeavoured to do my maps but made mistakes. By way of excuse to leave it, took my thermometer on deck - determined to pass the evening more profitably than the morning and to cultivate a most amiable disposition.* I made an attempt to embroider something for the "Delightful Dancer" by putting gold beads upon the work, but the young lady being discontented I cut off the beads and cut off the work as well, and then fled for my life, fearing that the Lady might scratch my eyes out!! * False!* it b'ant a Crammer.

Latitude 24. 22. Longitude 19. 36.

Thermometer 78½, Log distance 87.

It being a fine afternoon and a calm the Captain allowed us to take the two cutters for a row, I took one oar and here we were on the wide and extensive ocean in small boats. We enjoyed the row for above and hour and then returned to the ship. I, of course, obtained three or four blisters on my fingers for the pleasure of rowing.

*_ _ _ _* Entries in different hand.


20th November 1838, Tuesday

Up at ½ past 5 but not inclined for a shower bath. The morning spent in little Nothings, and the afternoon in "busy idleness," excepting always a two hours quiet read of Life of Scott. I feel that a life on board ship makes one very idle.

12 o'clock Latitude 25. 12. Longitude 19. 27

Thermometer 74, Log distance 29

A very clear quiet day, no waves on the sea and yet a good breeze to carry us through the water at 7 and 8 knots the hour.


21st November 1838, Wednesday

Up at 5 ½ and enjoyed a shower bath. The morning spent in talking, walking reading Bracebridge Hall and writing I know not what. Also got on well with Life of Scott. I am much vexed at having lost my note book on Watts on the Mind a week ago, it has dispirited me, and I do not feel inclined to begin another.

12 o'clock Latitude 27. 1. Longitude 17. 48

Thermometer 72. Log 146 ¾ 

Began reading aloud "Hamlet" after dinner, and spent the evening dancing and playing Backgammon.


22nd November 1838, Thursday

On the deck at ¾ past 6 but no shower bath. Still do we enjoy very fine weather. The morning occupied writing and reading either "Bracebridge Hall" or Life of Sir Walter Scott.

12 o'clock Latitude 28.7. Longitude 15. 48.

Thermometer 72, Log 150½ miles

Read aloud to Miss Marsh two acts of  "Hamlet"  and not thinking her very attentive I  read the whole of a long speech missing every other line and then reading backwards; on my asking her with the utmost gravity if she thought that a fine speech, she answered as gravely, "Yes it was." I of course told her of the trick and she was becomingly angry with me. A bright, glowing, fiery, clear, brilliant sunset.

*No one but Mr. Wise would have thought of doing or dared to do such a thing.* Miss Marsh writing across as above this acknowledges the whole affair, but pray my friends and the public into who hands this, my journal may fall, do not read any part of this: *

* _ _ _* different entry hand

;* end of sentence deleted.


23rd November 1838, Friday

Up at 6 and took a shower bath, felt it much colder. The morning occupied with my desk and writing in my diary also reading Life of Scott.

12 o'clock Latitude 28. 59. Longitude 14. 8.

Thermometer 70½ Log 102 miles.

A very fine day and sailing before a light breeze at about 6 knots, no motion in the ship; my friends will scarcely believe that we can go along at the rate of 6 and 7 knots or  miles the  hour and yet fell little or no motion in the ship.

Finished reading aloud Hamlet, the last act of which is the only one that I most fully enter into and am pleased with, there is too much madness in the preceding acts, and an apparent lengthening out of the speeches, in the fifth act we have the principal part of course, and some fine speeches, but too much killing. It is by no means an agreeable play to read aloud especially because of the many speeches unmeaningly made by Hamlet to prove his madness.


24th November 1838, Saturday*

*Done nothing yet - 12 o'clock* such is the opinion of a fair lady but not a true one, since I have been able to shorten the otherwise tedious morning to her, [and which she confesses] I have also passed the morning pleasantly to myself notwithstanding the dismal rainy morning. Read also Life of Scott which I have almost finished, and time that I should indeed.

12 o'clock Latitude 29. 55. Longitude 12. 5W.

A wet afternoon, played a game of chess, read a little and backgammon in the evening. The N.W. wind rose towards evening and drove us along in our direct course at 8 and 9 knots the hour.

Another child died in the night. 15th child and 18th burial.

*Entries in different hand.


25th November 1838, Sunday

Up at ½ past 6 and took a shower bath, although it was somewhat cold, thermometer at 65. The Captain read the Service, from which time until 3 o'clock occupied my time in reading "Saturday Evening."

12 o'clock Latitude 31. 1.  Longitude 9. 46.

Thermometer 68. Log 157.

Read several chapters of "Saturday Evening." The evening was wet, and which I occupied in diarizing [not journalizing] for the last fortnight.  I also perused several old letters from my dearest parents, and with renewed pain and equal pleasure, also the last one received from my dearest cousin Fanny who begged me to think of her on Sunday September 25, she mistook the date for September 23. curious that I should reperuse this letter on the same day 2 months and by which accidental circumstance you have, my cousin led me again to think of you more especially, for I often think of you in an ordinary way this evening it was an extraordinary way.


26th November 1838, Monday

On deck at 5 ½ but it being a wet disagreeable morning, I merely took a few turns and then turned down again to my cabin and read before breakfast two chapters of "Saturday Evening" and which book I mean to peruse at these hours snatched from sleep, indeed I have half resolved always to rise early at Sydney, and make it a rule to read an hour or two before breakfast. Why do you not quite resolve to do so, George? The morning spent with "Bracebrigde Hall" and three good games of chess, I beat 2 games, also read some of "Life of Scott." It was a rainy morning and I did not go on deck.

12 o'clock Latitude 32. 36. Longitude 6. 17.

Thermometer 67. Log 201 miles.

A chit-chat afternoon and to oblige the Captain spent the evening in playing Whist.


27th November 1838, Tuesday

Rose at 5 ½ and shower bath, the thermometer at 64. Spent the morning reading, walking and talking.

12 o'clock Latitude 33. 55. Longitude 3. 15.

Thermometer 68. Log 197 miles.

A wet afternoon and so did nothing. A young lad of 12 years old died of consumption. 16th child and 19th burial.

Whist in the evening and won 3/-.


28th November 1838, Wednesday

On deck  at 5 ½ but no shower bath being a disagreeable kind of morning which was only the precursor of as disagreeable  a day, as  far as our being on deck is concerned, otherwise as the wind is high, we are galloping through the water at 10 knots the hour and still without much movement.

Many birds accompany us, as Albatross and Cape Hens. Slept badly during the night and which I note as being a most extraordinary circumstance.

12 o'clock Latitude 35. Longitude 0.4.  East.

Thermometer 68. Log 176.


29th November 1838, Thursday

Did not go on deck this  morning as it was wet, still our wind  lasts good and is carrying us forward at a most rapid rate, the weather is much colder today, occupied the morning a la do-nothing excepting reading life of Scott.

12 o'clock Latitude 36. 8 Longitude 4. 3

Thermometer 61. Log 204.


30th November, Friday, 1st Dec Saturday, 2nd Dec Sunday, 3rd Dec Monday.

During these four days the wind has been blowing such a gale that I found it impossible to write from the rolling of the vessel, and equally has it been spent on deck watching the fine rolling sea, and trying to catch with a line and hook, some of those fine birds, the Albatross which fly over our heads with the utmost apparent ease, regardless of the wind, our efforts to hook these birds have hitherto proved fruitless. Notwithstanding that the time has been thus idly spent, yet has it not appeared tedious, I have walked and talked more than usual, and at night, I, being as I suppose, something of a soporific disposition have managed to sleep right well, regardless as to whether my heels or my head were uppermost, for in the rolling of the vessel, each extremity of my body took it by turns to take the upper hand, this in consequence of having my couch placed athwart-ships. Memo: the next time I go to Sydney, I will have a cot and swing it fore and aft.

I have finished the "Life of Sir Walter Scott" and which has much interested me on the whole, had I read it whilst on shore, and with less leisure at my command, I doubt whether I should not have felt inclined to have missed many parts, I think I will attempt a sketch of what I remember of his life. We have now passed the Cape of Good Hope and can begin to count with tolerable certainty on our arrival in Sydney. May I hope to see you, Dearest Emily in health and happiness about the 10th January. I now, more than ever, feel  that  I have left my home in England, perhaps never to return: but I am by no means of a desponding disposition and good health being granted to  me, I look with confidence to my return in the course of a few years.


Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Friday 36.54 8.3 58 212

Saturday 37.22 11.49 59½ 204

Sunday 37.43 16.12 64 217

Monday 38,8 20.39 64½ 229


4th December 1838, Tuesday

The gale has much diminished since yesterday and the swell of the waves is much less, still we have a good fresh breeze of 9 knots the hour with reefed topsails and main Gallant sail. The morning was occupied in journalizing and diarizing for the past days.

12 o'clock Latitude 38.25, Longitude 24.32.

Thermometer 62 ½ Log 220.

A few flying fish were seen yesterday, which I understand to be a rather extraordinary circumstance in this low latitude.


5th December 1838, Wednesday

The wind very high during the whole day and rose much at night. An Albatross caught by the beak with a hook, it is a fine bird measuring 11 feet from the tip of one wing to that of the other, and soars in the skys [sic] and swims over the surface of the waves most  majestically. A Cape Hen was also caught measuring 6 ½ feet across the wings.

12 o'clock Latitude 38. 15. Longitude 29. 11.

Thermometer 60 ½ Log 214

Two of the sailors were put in irons in the evening, their misdemenour [sic], impertinence to the Captain.


6th December 1838, Thursday

A very strong breeze all night and the ship rolled about so much that I was  prevented sleeping, and now can scarcely write, nevertheless I  am  happy to say we are proceeding on our course well and most rapidly.

The morning occupied in reading aloud Shakespeare's play of "Much ado about nothing" and most highly amused.

12 o'clock Latitude 38.24, Longitude 33. 19.

Thermometer 65½ Log 227.


7th December 1838, Friday

Slept most soundly last night having had none the previous night. Writing notes on "Watts" in a book occupied the morning, having found my note book that was lost. Many Albatross and Cape Pigeon about the ship. A fine breeze from the N.E. sending us forward at 10 and 11 knots the hour and without any rolling motion, such we have experienced the few days last past. Began reading Mitchell's account of Australia and also read aloud part of Richard 3 in the afternoon.

12 o'clock Latitude 38. 34. Longitude 35. 13.

Thermometer 68. Log 151½. 


8th December 1838, Saturday

A fine morning but the wind has very much lessened. An Albatross was hooked and brought on board, measuring 10 feet across the wings.

The morning until dinner occupied in writing notes and reading Mitchells tour of discovery into Australia.

12 o'clock Latitude 38. 29. Longitude 39. 26.

Thermometer 66. Log 174½.

The afternoon spent in quarrelling with the Ladies, because that I had requested their likeness to be put into a drawing, and the draftsman made them most ugly figures, so the Ladies rated me most finely, I bore all well and most patiently.


9th December 1838, Sunday

A disagreeable, hazey, wet day. Service read in the cuddy, during which a Dutch ship bound to Batavia with soldiers came up to us, and we sailed in company within 100 yards of each other for several hours, till our old Captained shortened sail, the Dutchman went ahead of us and bid us good bye; it was a very pleasing sight to watch her swimming the waves, we being otherwise almost unconscious of the rate at which we were sailing, although the log gave us at that time 11 knots the hour.

12 o'clock Latitude 39. 22. Longitude 41. 3.

Thermometer 68. Log 156½ miles.

We spoke the ship by trumpet, she said that they had been only 66 days from Amsterdam whilst we have been 83 from Plymouth.

In the evening read several chapters of Saturday Evening.

Our portholes being open in the afternoon when the vessel  gave a roll, we  shipped a sea and our cabin was afloat, a nice pickle we were in, we have been more fortunate than others this being our first mishap in that way.


10th December 1838, Monday

This being a calm steady day, that is a calm sea with a steady N.W. wind sending us at the rate of 9 knots the hour, I occupied the morning in making a new map of the world and of our track upon an improved plan, I suppose I shall be perfect in mapping at last.

12 o'clock Latitude 39.21, Longitude 45. 11.

Thermometer 67. Log 213.

In the afternoon read aloud part of Richard 3rd. what a detestable, hypocritical character Shakespeare has drawn of him, it is to be hoped that he was overdrawn Richard's real character.


11th December 1838, Tuesday

Occupied well the morning in making notes and abridgment of Watts on the mind and in reading Mitchell's tour in Australia. The N.W.  wind still continues, much dampness in the air, almost amounting to rain in the afternoon, yet a tolerably clear horizon.

12 o'clock Latitude 39. 25. Longitude 49. 19.

Thermometer 65 ½, Log 192.

The afternoon and evening divided in dancing, walking on deck, reading Moores travels in France and Germany which, bye the bye, is a very amusing account, he was a clever shrewd man and perfectly understood the character of the French Nation, it is also most interesting as giving the manners of the French previous to the Revolution in 1789, and he makes many remarks which have from events become most curious. He seems to have visited France some few years prior to the event, and when Louis 16th and poor Marie Antoinette were still enjoying themselves at Versailles.

I hope I may not be mistaken in calling this the anniversary of the marriage day of my dear parents, whose health and happiness I drank at dinner in a bumper.


12th December 1838, Wednesday

Another brilliant day with a continued fair wind and a strong one going 11 knots the hour. Finished reading aloud King Richard 3, and journalizing for a few last days occupied the morning.

12 o'clock Latitude 39. 45. Longitude 54. 31.

Thermometer 71. Log 231½.

Reading Mitchells tour in Australia and doing nothing occupied the afternoon and dancing and conversation filled up the evening.


13th December 1838, Thursday

Another poor woman died two days ago, Mrs Grant who last a sweet baby, the one that I  nurses some few weeks ago, this is the 20th burial of which 16 were children.

The morning occupied in writing notes on Watts and in reading Mitchell's tour. 

12 o'clock Latitude 39. 26. Longitude 58. 33.

Thermometer 62½ Log 218.


14th December 1838, Friday

What an agreeable occupation it is at sea to open your boxes, it if be merely to look at the contents, turn them over and again pack them up and send your trunk again into the hold. Such has been my morning's occupation, I have opened my splendid desk, taken out all my valuable letters and intend to peruse them. I read aloud to Lady Forbes several old letters that my own sister Emily wrote me some years ago, and have perused them with great pleasure.

12 o'clock Latitude 39. 20. Longitude 63. 17.

Thermometer 58, Log 205.

A fine breeze all day. We had a fine sea washed through the skuttles into our cabin and again set up afloat, we bailed the water out and slept as sound as ever.  Such are the only petty and pretty incidents worth recording in our journals but I hope for no more seas in my cabin. In the evening by way of a freak, I dressed myself as a Lady in Mrs Campbell's garments, and in that costume, with the addition of a pair of spectacles on nose, by way of addition to my beautiful person, I danced a quadrille and afterwards waltzed. Many of the passengers at first did not know who I was. The Ladies said I was not sufficiently Ladylike and quiet in my manners.


15th December 1838, Saturday

Surely I cannot be said to have misspent [sic] this day, although I have done nothing in the way of actual knowledge-getting, excepting by reading about 50 pages of Mitchell's tour in Australia. I have been engaged in impressing upon the minds of others, and in enlivening in my own recollections, a good opinion of my dearest sister Emily. I have spent the morning reading aloud to Lady Forbes and to Miss Marsh many of my dear sister's own letters addressed tome many years ago, by this correspondence they are enabled to form some idea of her amiable and excellent character, and as the picture of herself as it were so recently laid before me in reading her letters it will be with the more true pleasure that I shall meet her, in the course of a few weeks. I hope to meet her well and happy. There was a most extraordinary and beautiful sunset. The sky was cloudless, as the sun set upon the horizon a long streak of white light, of nearly the same circumference as the sun, shot from it in a perpendicular line and extending considerable distance in the heavens, as if the whole rays of the sun were concentrated in one line, the sun thus resembled a comet with its tail. After the sun was sunk below the horizon this appearance still continued excepting that it then changed to a deep read colour and so it remained for 30 minutes by the watch, when it gradually sunk.  No person on board ever remembers the like extraordinary and beautiful sight. Some said it was a chimney fire!! It exactly resembled a candle with a long blaze of light. The best simile for the remarkable sunset was, that it was likened to the pillar of fire which guided the Israelites in the wilderness, and indeed it was a pillar of fire.


16th December 1838, Sunday

The ship rolled about during the last night so much that I could not get a wink of sleep and so spent the night talking to Talbot. The Captain read service in the cuddy. Before Church I read several more letters of my sister's and father's and read Genie du Christianisme, also journalized and  diarized until dinner at 3 o'clock.

Read in the evening a very good chapter in Saturday Evening entitled, "Conscience and Charity." One of the passengers read aloud a sermon for the good of the public.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Saturday 39. 68. 8 64 224½

Sunday 39.02 70.51 64 154½ 


17th December 1838, Monday

After a valetudinarian walk on deck after breakfast, not before, for I have now but little sleep from the rolling of the vessel at night and therefore never am up before 8 o'clock, the breakfast hour, I spent the whole morning and until 3 o'clock in making a very perfect map which I gave to Mrs Campbell. The afternoon I read aloud part of a play of Shakespeare and in the evening, perused many of my old letters with renewed pleasure, those from Ann, Fanny, the Miss Roberts etc.


17th December 1838, Tuesday

A fine day as usual, but a boisterous day, a high sea and a good stout breeze, so that the4 rolling of the ship prevented all serious occupation. Read, walked and talked and so the day passed. A large shoal of Whales came near the ship, we saw them spouting forth water, and one came close to the ship. Began reading 2nd Volume of Mitchell and am much interested with the account of his tour to the interior of Australia.


18th December 1838, Wednesday

Another very fine day as to a strong and fair wind,  but many heavy showers to rain and some hail. Still a fine rolling sea but with the exception of not being able to sit still, and not being able to sleep, it is not disagreeable!! Read part of Mitchell also read aloud the first act of "Merchant of Venice." Played whist in the evening and won 4/-.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Monday 39.47 74.32 63 200

Tuesday 39.48 78.44 63 220

Wednesday 39.33 83.32 60½ 229

Journalizing not being so much in vogue, I forget how my time is exactly occupied, besides that approaching so fast to Sydney, I am impatient to be there, so that my previous occupation of writing notes on "Watts" is not now pursued, besides that I am obliged to keep my port-hole closed, which prevents me writing in my cabin with any degree of comfort, and the cuddy Is now always full of persons, the weather being rather cold to sit on deck. I am reading Mitchell's tour of discovery, and have began [sic] reading aloud "Vicar of Wakefield' to Miss M_ _ pour passer le temps on deck and faute de conversation. One must be doing something and so I amuse myself. I have also reperused many of my old letters, that old and almost forgotten incidents may be refreshed in my mind. We are sailing most comfortably and rapidly, but the weather is rather cold.


23rd December 1838, Sunday

The Captain read Divine Service in the cuddy, and until dinner I walked and talked, read aloud some of Hervey's Meditations and also some of "Saturday Evening." Begin to look forward to arrival at Sydney and hope certainly to be there in less than three weeks, indeed in less, if the present fine breeze continues. Retired to my cabin early that I might read the more quietly.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Thursday 39.12 87.38 54 ½ 200½ 

Friday 38.38 91.40 58 204

Saturday 38.25 95.38 55 208

Sunday 38.14 100.16 58 217


24th December 1838, Monday

After reading aloud on deck the Vicar of Wakefield and walking and talking with Lady Forbes and Miss Marsh read Mitchells Australia. The afternoon spent in idleness and ditto, ditto the evening, dancing and making merry, being Christmas Eve. We drank to the health of those we love in a bowl of punch.


25th December 1838, Monday, Christmas Day

For so  it  is called, but I have nothing to remind me of the day, the weather is  warm, not cold, I am away from my parents and all those I hold most dear, and I find  that from the long continued absence, am quite destitute of all news, being quite ignorant as to where my family are upon this day, together with the great difference of time; [about 7 hours] all this is much against my thoughts turning with the same degree of pleasure homewards, but I shall and do look forward to receiving my first home letters at Sydney by the Andromache with much anxiety. The Captain read divine service in the cuddy. I spent the day I know not how, it  came and it went without any thing worth recording to mark  it, certain it is,  that during the day I neither read or wrote, and doubtless this lassitude prevented the flow of my thoughts in the evening when I retired early to my cabin and began a letter to my mother, and also one to my friend Miss Bacon, but never was I at such a loss for words and ideas, I got into a passion with myself and so put on my nightcap and went to bed.

One cannot gain ideas on board ship, one day only differs from another when the winds are fair or otherwise, and so I shall desist from letter-writing until my arrival at Sydney. I had forgotten to mention that the band struck up some merry tunes last night at midnight, awaking all from sleep, they called these the Waits. It was certainly very amusing and I cared not being awoke from sleep for the sake of novelty.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Dec 24 38.35 104.50 60 225½

Dec 25 38.25 109.29 59 222


26th December 1838, Wednesday

The breeze has suddenly left us and it is today a perfect calm so that I occupied the morning in again mapping, but this is a map for myself, having given two maps away. I also read Mitchell and finished reading aloud the Vicar of Wakefield.

Backgammon closed the evening.


27th December 1838, Thursday

A calm day but the breeze sprung up towards evening. I finished reading Mitchell's tour in Australia, and most interesting have I found these volumes throughout; Major Mitchell is certainly a clever man and has apparently been most accurate in his surveys of the country, he conducted his small  discovery-party with great caution and skill  through the unknown regions he explored, and several times he evinced great bravery and cool judgement in defending himself from the natives, some of whom were in great numbers, above 400, and very warlike, but with his small party of only about 20 he succeeded in preventing them from opposing his progress, without at any time using unnecessary violence, firearms and the superior intellect of the white-man was their protection.

Played backgammon and journalized in the evening.


28th December 1838, Friday

Finished reading Dr Moore's "Manners and Customs in France and Germany." I have found this a most amusing book, the author was a clever and shrewd man and gives a lively account of all that he saw in the different German Courts. I  much regret that I left behind me in England, his travels into Italy and which I recommend to the perusal of Edward if he wants light  reading and afterwards hope he will sent it on to me at Sydney.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Wednesday 37.59 112.30 62 145½ 

Thursday 38.30 113.8 62 63

Friday 39.30 116.26 63 ½ 172


29th December 1838, Saturday

A very fine warm day, I only find fault with the wind which is far too sparing of its favours, so that we do not make sufficient progress to satisfy my impatience. Another little child died making the [blank] child and the [blank] funeral.

Reading Goldsmith's Essays and finishing another map of our progress were the occupations of the day. A very bright moonlight night.


30th December 1838, Sunday

A good breeze this morning and a fine warm day. Captain read Divine Service. I read the last two chapters of "Saturday Evening" and journalized.

I also read with much interest a little book called the "Retrospect" written by a Naval officer who after spending a life of forgetfulness and much wickedness and after being most providentially preserved in many instances, he was converted to Christ, afterwards left the  sea and entered the Church. This "Retrospect" is a plain unvarnished statement of his feelings at different periods of his life.


31st December 1838, Monday

Our good breeze still continues and the weather is becoming very warm. I began reading "Knickerbocker's" Account of New York" and never did I laugh so merrily or so much over a book. All the Gentlemen in this evening dressed themselves up on some grotesque figure, I was in tight knee breeches and silk stockings, and for all the world looked and felt like a footman. In these figures we danced away the evening. Between 10 and 12 I made an attempt to write a letter to Annie and Louisa but the noise and singing in the next cabin, where were collected all the passengers, was too great, and I therefore joined them, at midnight we all went on deck and danced the New Year in, the Captain also joined us, this night was fine and the noise and hubbub that was kicked up was to some purpose. We drank to the health of the Ladies and to the Captain's health in Cherry Brandy, this noise and fun was kept up for about half an hour, when the bank played off. I still remained on deck for some time, thinking of those I have left behind me in England.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Saturday 39.27 118.56 63½ 137

Sunday 39.25 121.40 68½ 144

Monday 39.1 125.55 64 216


1st January 1839, Tuesday

I hope to spend many a new year happier and more to my taste than the present one, there is no person on board with whom I can in heart fully sympathise with, although Lady Forbes, Miss Marsh and Talbot are those whom I most like. The compliments of the season went round and we drank to the health of our absent friends in champagne at dinner. The day was spent much in the usual manner, and being a fine calm evening the Ladies danced, I had the pleasure of leading of Miss M_ _.


2nd January 1839, Wednesday

A cam day, delightful weather but making very little progress towards Sydney, although I do hope that we may be in Sydney this day week. Reading Knickerbocker's Account of New York and most highly amused. Dancing in the evening. Before I went to bed I finished reading the "Retrospect" and with which I am much pleased, as giving the author's private feelings and depicting in simple truth the religious state of his mind.


3rd January 1839, Thursday

Occupied the morning in walking on deck, talking and journalizing. Reading Knickerbocker's New York in the afternoon read aloud a part of the tragedy of the Merchant of Venice. Much dancing in the evening.

A pink and purple sunset.  The wind in the night veered round more easterly, and so diminished our early prospect of arrival in Sydney.

  Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Tuesday 39.1 130. 60 189

Wednesday 38.46 132. 60 91

Thursday 38.43 134.1 61 ½ 124


4th January 1839, Friday

Oh the wind, the wind, why dost thou blow so contrary and oblige us to make a northerly course with our head direct for Port Adelaide, the Captain has a mind to go about and go round Van Diemans Land and so down to the 45th degree of Latitude if this wind blows but a few hours longer, we shall in that case suffer from cold, especially since we have not been so far to the south yet during the voyage. This will also materially increase the length of the voyage.

Reading the account of New York walking and talking and writing occupied my time until dinner. The weather is most particularly fine and we all enjoy the deck much. Read aloud the "Merchant of Venice" in the afternoon and as usual dancing in the evening.


5th January 1839, Saturday

A fine breeze sprang up in the afternoon and wafted us onward. A most glorious sunset and I could not too long regard it, it had the effect of introducing a good conversation between myself and Miss M_ _ on many subjects. I happened to be in a very talkative humour, and so we walked and talked for above and hour in the evening.

In the morning I finished reading aloud the "Merchant of Venice." I also finished Knickerbocker's New York. Late in the evening I walked and talked much with Talbot.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

January 4 37.40 136.38 63 ½ 157

January 5 38.10 136.15 66 ½ 111


6th January 1839, Sunday

As per dictation.

"Miss Marsh informs me that on this day I got up in the morning and eat my breakfast and then strolled by yourself and walked on deck with me till prayer-time, read prayers, read to me something or another, Bacon's Essays, I think you did or Goldsmith, dined, after dinner  had a long confab with me then had tea, then walked after tea till lights came then came  out and lost your Bacon's essays at which you got very cross, made up the quarrel and you promised not to forget the day and shall not, provided you d'ont [sic], nothing more to say, on this queer day."


7th January 1839, Monday

At 8 o'clock this morning saw Cape Otway, the first land of New Holland, that we have made and of course much excitement prevailed on board, all eyes anxiously turned to the land of our destination, each one of us has his own peculiar thoughts and feelings, for myself, mine are principally occupied in hopes and wishes that I may within a few days find my dearest Emily and her babe in health and happiness. We have a good breeze and are holding our course towards Bass Strait.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Sunday 38.35 139.8 67 151½ 

Monday 38.53 142.50 59½ 226


8th January 1839, Tuesday

A day of much excitement to all rapidly going through the straits, and the various rocky islands claim our attention the whole day, we did not see King's Island, but had a good view of the high Rock called Devil's Tower, also Judgement Rocks, Sir W Curtis Islands and Kent's group. We passed the latter about 5 o'clock in the afternoon it has been a very fine warm day. As usual we had dancing in the evening. A subscription was made amongst the passengers for the band. I subscribed 5/- each man received 16/-.


9th January 1839, Wednesday

Having fairly gone through the Straits yesterday we bend our course to the N.E. direct for Ram head, but the wind failing us we had to remain almost in a calm and study to satisfy our impatience which is of course very great, towards night a breeze sprang up, so that we went to bed in better spirits.


10th January 1839, Thursday

We had but a very light breeze the whole day and that not quite fair, the day itself was delightful but rather warm. About 12 o'clock we made Ram Head and afterwards Cape Howe, during the afternoon and evening we clearly saw the "land of our hopes" and could in several places distinctly see clouds of smoke rising, most probably from the woods being on fire which is often the case in summer. The sunset was a most glorious sight far beyond any that I have seen in England from the greater contrast of the clouds and the more vivid hue through all around.

In preparation I have this day packed up most of my things, but unless the breeze freshens we shall yet be several days, I hope we shall not enter the Harbour on Sunday

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Tuesday 39.36 146.51 57½ 201

Wednesday 38.54 149.20 62½ 144

Thursday 37.49 150.38 67½ 130½ 


11th January 1839, Friday

The anniversary of Ann Wise's birthday. Many happy returns of the day, my dear Cousin, I drank your health at dinner. We have made but little progress up to 12 o'clock but a breeze sprang up in the afternoon wafting us along at 6 knots, so that our expectations are high and we feel pretty confident that we shall be at Sydney tomorrow, and Oh! That I may be happy enough to meet my dearest Emily in health. We were in sight of land during the whole day, but at some distance. Went tot bed in good and cheerful spirits for the morrow, but also with many little anxieties for the welfare of those I love and whom I hope to see tomorrow, baby and all.

Danced this evening both with Mrs Campbell and with Miss Marsh.


12th January 1839, Saturday

Was Job ever within a few miles of a port where he expected to see a beloved sister and not shew impatience; true we have had all night a fair breeze although a light one and by the calculations of the log we ought now to be within 20 miles of Sydney, but at 12 o'clock we discover that we are above 60 miles off! So that there must consequently be a current drifting to the southward nearly at the rate of 2 miles the hour and so have we been retarded, our expectation is now to arrive during the night or early in the morning.

Danced away our disappointment but with confident hopes of arriving in the course of tomorrow.

Latitude Longitude Thermometer Log

Friday 36.30 151.05 65½ 29.90 [sic]

Saturday 35.6 - 68½ 29.73 [sic]


13th January 1839, Sunday 

Instead of finding ourselves at anchor this morning we found that during the night the light but favorable wind had directly changed to a strong contrary wind so that the whole day was occupied in tacking to and fro from the land and nearly the whole time within sight of Sydney light house! The light of which we could see at night, when we fairly turned or backs and stood out to sea in the hopes of a fair wind during the night. It was doubtless this anxious state of suspense that prevented the Captain reading the morning service, and there was nothing to remind one of the Sunday, it is the most disagreeable and unprofitable one that we have all spent during the voyage. The evening was fair, and we all remained on deck until late, a very heavy dew fell during the evening.


14th January 1839, Monday

Being most anxious to know our position as to Sydney, I was up on deck ¼ before 5 o'clock and found that during the night we had left Sydney astern directing our course towards New Zealand; this is indeed most discouraging and trys [sic] our patience pretty considerably. The sun rose a little before 5 most brightly. At 8 o'clock we tacked round again to land and at 12 o'clock we found ourselves in the same spot that we were yesterday at the same hour and here we had the further annoyance of seeing a vessel that was much closer to the shore making a direct course for Sydney, and we ourselves scarcely more than thirty miles distant. Continued to tack about during the afternoon and in the evening once more bore off from the coast, the wind blowing fresh and directly against us.

I went to bed early to sleep away my disappointment and vexation.


15th January 1839, Tuesday

On going on deck this morning found ourselves far out of sight of land and three ships in sight evidently retarded as we are by contrary winds. We tacked round and again bore towards the short, at 11 o'clock we had a taste of the hot winds from off the shore the thermometer rose on deck in the wind to 92, it was like the draft [sic] from a furnace; this rather changed the wind and although at 12 o'clock we found that we had only advanced 12 miles to the Northward the wind turned fair and is now rapidly advancing us towards Sydney, where we hope to signalize our arrival before dinner; all parties in better spirits nor need I add that mine are the most elated at the prospect of so  soon meeting those whom I love and who love me, God grant that I may above all  meet my dearest Emily and her child in good health.

Made Sydney heads about 7 o'clock just as we witnessed one of the most brilliant sunsets during the whole voyage, the whole heavens was one rich glow the sun set over the land to  us, a sight quite new to us, who had been at sea for four months; the Captain was afraid to enter the heads at dark, and  after fixing off many guns and burning a blue light and waiting anxiously for about an hour, a pilot came alongside, before boarding us, he  inquired as to the health of those on board; the Captain answered None Ill,  neither were there any ill of fever, the next question was, whether the last death took place within a period of thirty days. The Captain without hesitation answered no and then turned to the Doctor to inquire if any death had occurred within the prescribed time, but in the mean while the Pilot had boarded us and had already taken the command of the ship, we had been in much fear of quarantine but now wee were  safe. It was a dark night and we came to an anchor at 11 o'clock about half way from the heads of the Harbour to Sydney. Every person was on deck until a late hour congratulating each other upon the safe and happy termination of the voyage.


16th January 1839, Wednesday

Every person was on deck by five o'clock when we weighted anchor and bore up to Sydney, drifted by the tide there being no wind. All were highly pleased and delighted with the beautiful scenery of the harbour, being very extensive and continued promontories  jutting out, forming very pretty bays between them, there only wanted some fine English trees and green foliage, the little that there  is, is brown, burnt up by the sun, and the land is very arid and barren. Montague came off in a boat at 7 o'clock, I at once went on shore to breakfast at Ultimo, and once again to embrace my dearest Emily whom I found well and too pleased to see me.




Form Betty Harrison Archives

Transcribed Michael Heath-Caldwell, Brisbane 2009

(Home)  (Francis Lucy Wise nee Marsh)