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Jessie Campbell’s Journal

The text of Jessie Campbell’s journal set out here is based on a typescript held at the Alexander Turnbull Library (qMS-0370). Spelling and punctuation are as in the typescript; gaps in the typescript are marked by […], with probable typos also square-bracketed.


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Journal Kept on Board the Ship “Blenheim”
by
Jessie Campbell, 25 August 1840


August 25th
Embarked this day on board the Blenheim at Greenock, had a bad commencement to our voyage by getting drenched with rain while waiting for a steam-boat to take us alongside the ship. I was agreeably surprised at our good accommodation. Parted with my dear Ewen with the hope of meeting him next year; took neither dinner nor tea; Children and I slept in our own cabin the whole evening. J.B.S., very attentive in coming to ask if she could do anything for us, put the five children to sleep in the berth in the cabin and had a bed made for Captain Campbell and myself on the floor. Cabin in great confusion, put up with it very good humoured with the hope of being more comfortable the following night. The children very good altho they had nothing to eat but part of a loaf we brought on board with us. On first coming on board we thought we had lost a gallon of oil and tin flaggon of milk, they had been left on the steam-boat and were sent to us by the small boat which took Captains Brask, Brown and Ewen on shore. A steam-boat came at 11 o’clock at night to tow us out twenty miles, a beautiful calm night. Children slept pretty well Capt. C. and I slept wonderfully well considering the uncomfortable bed we had. Sailors astonished the children in the evening by the noise they made heaving up the anchor.

August 26th
Awoke this morning about six, got up about seven and assisted Mary to dress the children. Capt. C. got up and dressed before this. The twins very cross from hunger, steward told Captain C. nothing for the children’s breakfast but coffee without milk and biscuit and a little bread, he did not know how to make the stirabout and had no oatmeal, reflected on Capt. C. for not taking a small quantity of meal and molasses for the children. While feeding the two little ones with sops made of our own bread Capt. C. announced breakfast, could not go to it and feed the bairns at the same time, took a cup of coffee when the children were at their breakfast, wee bodies complaining of the hardness and toughness of the biscuit. Hold open and got the old scritoire hoisted up and put into the cabin, on enquiring for the boy’s cabin found Drimintoran had taken possession of it for his servant and youngest child and the only place left for us was small and had no door, very loud in my indignation at this and reflected on Capt. C. for being so simple as to allow it. He bore my reproaches with great calmness. Very little motion in the vessel all day, wind against us. Saw Capt. Gray at distance for the first time, very dull, suppose from parting from his wife, thought I should like to know him, sat next him at dinner, Dr. Campbell on the opposite side, J.B.S. next to me, Capt. C. next to her; got very squeamish in the evening and very low spirited. Lay on the bed, Colin and Tibbie with me and very sick, Susan on deck and quite well, John sick for half an hour, Louisa fell asleep on the floor but quite well. J.B.S. and most of her children very sick in bed. Mary Cameron fortunately continued pretty well and very active. Their maid got sick in my cabin and vomited on the floor, very angry at her and sent her to the water-closet till she was able to go to the steerage, passed another miserable night, all serene in the cabin, would not take off my clothes.

August 27th
Got up this morning about half past six very little refreshed, sent Mary to the steward for our allowance of water, did not get the proper quantity, told Capt. C. we must have redress. Twins very cross till they got sops. Went to breakfast for the first time, children had their breakfast immediately after ours, very vexed to see them at the hard biscuit and black coffee, rejoiced at having a private stock for the twins, Tibbie and Susan both took a good drink of the black coffee; put in good humour by Capt, C. coming to tell me that Drimintoran had given up the cabin to us and was to clear it out whenever the carpenters put a door to the other place; went up on deck with all the children. Mary gave a good cleaning out to the cabin, made it very comfortable; the weather so calm, ship laying like a log in the water, passed a good while putting my drawers in order and putting packages and portmanteaus out of the way, presided at the children’s dinner, they seemed to enjoy it very much, had very good soup and boiled beef, potatoes and biscuit, all of them quite free of sickness. Drimintoran interfering with the steward desiring him to keep the wine left, D, wished to save the stores as much as possible, he thought if there was an overplus on arriving at New Zealand it would be divided amongst the passengers. Capt. Gray very angry and threw up all charge of the mess. Capt. C., and Dr. Campbell with some difficulty pacified him by representing it proceeded entirely from Drimintoran’s ignorance. D. has not interfered in the least since. Had the carpenter after dinner putting up brass hooks for twins’ cot and small ones for hanging looking-glass and I gave him a dram of Portobello whiskey. Went all to bed at nine and twins quite happy in their cot.

August 28th
Awoke at the usual hour after passing a most comfortable night. Twins never awoke the whole night, Tibbie peeping out in the morning and laughing to Papa. Capt. C. always rises first to make room in the cabin. Twins breakfasted heartily upon sago and in very good humour all the morning; fine day, with a light wind in our favour. Heard that Capt. Gray intended sending a boat ashore at Holyhead, went to my cabin immediately after breakfast to write letters to my dear friends at home, wrote such a long letter to my dear sister Isabella, one each to Margaret and Mrs Gray that I was occupied until three in the afternoon; went on deck a few minutes before dinner and heard to my great disappointment from the calm weather there was no chance of our passing Holyhead till during the night; one of the steerage women fainted today from sea-sickness, her husband, by the doctor’s order laid her on her back on the dining cabin floor, she soon recovered, she had been in delicate health for some time. Capt. Gray told us at dinner he had only been a month in Britain (including the time he was coming down from London to Greenock and while at anchor there) since returning from his last voyage, he said he was not so ill off as his mate who had only been six weeks with his wife for five years. Drimintoran asked if the mate had any children which caused a great laugh. J.B.S. was much shocked at her husband’s question; dined at the usual hour between 3 and 4 and drank tea at seven, went to my cabin after the children had tea to assist Mary in putting them to bed. Skye woman of no use, always sick. Swinging of the cot sets the twins asleep immediately after they are put into it. Capt. C. lighted a taper in the lamp to burn all night in case of either of the wee bodies wakening and working their way out of the cot.

Saturday 29th
Fine weather, light breeze, but unfavourable. Cause of thankfulness that we are all in such good health. J.B.S. very often squeamish and laying in bed, some of her children very sick and Catherine in bed constantly when off the Bay of Dublin. Saw a pilot boat and made signal to her; she took our letters written the day before on shore, all spoke much of the delight of our friends at their astonishment at receiving them with the Dublin post-mark. Got the proper quantity of water from the steward, viz. a pint for each; Capt. promised to give meal and treacle out for porridge to the children.

Sunday 30th
Beautiful day, wind favourable. Ship going along at a good rate, got up about seven or so, long dressing, too late for breakfast, had to take it with the children. Capt. C. dressed in his long great coat wished me to make myself fine, continued to wear my Saxony, put on my black cap with roses; after breakfast John read a chapter in the bible and I read several chapters and one of Milner’s sermons, went on deck and remained for a long time. Chatted a good deal with Dr. Sutherland, he improves on acquaintance. Several vessels in sight, admired the beauty of one large ship with all sails up. Catherine much better today and sat on deck. J.B.S. busy at her devotions in her own cabin; Capt. Gray and all the gentlemen dressed better for dinner. Tibbie very unwell with a bowel complaint, took the Dr. into my cabin to see her, gave a dose of calomel and ordered her into a warm bath.

Monday 31st
Crossing the Bay of Biscay, strong breeze in our favour, vessel rolling so much everything knocking about, obliged to keep our cups in our hands at breakfast. Capt. C. spilt his coffee, Capt. Gray not pleased at dirtying his table-cloth. Quite astonished that I am neither sick nor afraid, children all kept in the cabin, but no the least sick complaint; capital pudding for the children’s dinner to which they all did great justice; steward took it for granted they were all sick and had only one duck for their dinner. […] much better today; preserved soup for our dinner today. Everyone pronounced it excellent, and a capital baked and oiled pudding; sand puddings on the table to keep the dished steady, notwithstanding which thought several times everything on the table would roll off; Capt. Gray in good humour from our getting on so quickly; observed the blueness of the water today; heard that the Capt. had given out meal for the children, sent Mary to get their allowance of water after having it boiled and putting salt into it; steward refused to give meal, very angry, got sago made for twins, big children crying from hunger so long of getting any supper found that no tea was prepared for them from the water being used. J.B.S. very violent; I said to Capt. C. knew this would be the way on board an emigrant ship; Capt. Gray spoken to and steward obliged to give out meal instantly and well lectured for his conduct. Louisa and John made a tremendous supper on the porridge and treacle. Skye woman still ill, she is so stupid and heavy she makes herself worse than she really is, wonder Mrs Mac could recommend such a person even if she is a good cook.

Tuesday, 1st September
Still in the Bay of Biscay, fine day with a light breeze in our favour. Went up on deck immediately after breakfast, spoke the Bois Arcadia from Trinidad for Liverpool who promised to report us all well. Capt. Gray and I fell on the deck from the vessel giving a sudden lurch, towards 3 o’clock fell so calm vessel making no way but rolling dreadfully, sitting at dinner compared it to dining on a swing. J.B.S. so light difficulty in keeping steady, her husband quite astonished that we was not sick and felt so comfortable on board ship. Steward much improved by the Capt. speaking to him, most attentive now to the children, giving them excellent dinners every day, good soup, boiled meat or fowls, a pudding very often, they are much pleased with the porridge and treacle. Drimintoran always takes charge of Louisa, says it is a pleasure to see her do justice to what she gets. Tibbie not very well today, neither she nor Susy have good appetites, will not take the preserved milk, but take a little of the treacle with their porridge and like sago or rice very much, very thankful I have such a good stock of both. Skye woman still laid up. A great many porpoises about the vessel, Capt. Gray speared two but they got off. Dr. Campbell complaining very much of the emigrant’s want of energy, had to put pins in them to get them out of bed, begged of him to put the Skye woman out on deck; Capt. Gray said he never saw much a hulk of a woman, if I put jacket and trousers on her she would do better for a sailor than a nurse. Go to my own cabin always to see the children put to bed, after they are snug take a while of journal. Drimintoran brings me a glass of porter every night, afraid of getting a bad habit; wonderful how soundly and comfortably I sleep every night. Found from Capt. Gray today that the New Zealand Company only gave £45 for each cabin passage instead of £60. Capt. Gray would have taken in hand the victualling himself if allowed £60; could not think of doing it for £45. One passenger taken on board at Greenock only pays £45 for his passage, while we pay £60 to the Company, think the Directors know nothing of this swindling trick, think it is all done by the committee of management.

Wednesday, 2nd September
Blowing very hard, at first not favourable, still crossing the Bay of Biscay, ship rolling and tossing a good deal. J.B.S. very sick for a short time; often thought of Ewen’s account of the Bay of Biscay, in tacking some of the rigging gave way, not frightened in the least. Gray astonished at our not being sick. Tibbie not very well yet, Susan quite well. Had the best sherry at dinner I ever tasted. While sitting at dinner part of a wave broke in upon the deck which made me nervous for a little while. I saw the Capt. and all looking so unconcerned; great lamentations among the bachelors about their beds getting wet from the sea getting in at the portholes. Dr. Sutherland says he is better than any of them. Mary Cameron so frightened at the rolling of the vessel burst into our cabin at four in the morning; during the afternoon the wind was favourable going along at a great rate. Have asked so often when we will be free of the Bay of Biscay, ashamed to ask it again. After the children were in bed wrote awhile to bring up my journal intend to carry it on regularly after this. Had my drink of porter as usual and went to bed.

Thursday, 3rd September
Passed a very uncomfortable night, vessel rolling and pitching so much could not sleep, sometimes thought when she went to the side she would not rise again. Laughed at by Capt. C. Fine day, light breeze but favourable. First thing we heard in the morning that Mrs Fraser the smith’s wife from Ardgour had been brought to bed of a fine stout boy, both doing well as possible. Capt. Gray said she much have had a rolling time of it. Child gets no other name than Blenheim. Like Capt. Gray more every day, find him so obliging, he saw that the children’s cot was not properly made, set his sailmaker to alter it all day yesterday and gave surveys himself. J.B.S. has never touched upon religion with me, but once talking of revivals and Mr. Whyte’s doctrine, of which she does not approve. One of the sailors was complained of for the 4th time to the Capt. for being lousy and eating the lice. Capt. put him in irons on the poop, the rascal struck the capt. On the face, he still wears the mark, one of the emigrants impertinently interfered and wished to rescue the sailor. Capt. Gray was going to punish the emigrant likewise until he begged his pardon and acknowledged his error. J.B.S. quite nervous at the idea of the crew being mutinous. Tibbie much better today made a good dinner on sago and all the children on deck the whole day. In the afternoon observed a vessel in sight, made her out to be a barque, thought she was going to the mediterranean from the way she steered. Capt. Gray got all the people out of bed by telling them land was in sight. My Skye woman made her appearance in wretched plight, think she is not so ill as she says, told her father I must engage another, have got Mary’s sister who was taking care of Angusina for some time with Margaret. Beautiful evening, a great change in the warmth of the climate. One of our sheep broke its leg on Wednesday last, had to be killed, had part of it at dinner today, capital mutton, everything for dinner so well dressed, our cook understands his business remarkably well. Pipers began to play in the evening. Capt. Gray set all the people to dance, he got hold of my Skye woman and forced her up, could not get her to continue dancing, he obliged an old wife to get up to our great amusement, instead of accepting of the partner [he] gave her she got hold of Capt. Gray, and forced him to dance the reel with her which he did very goodhumouredly. Children and all so happy, could not help saying how much I would give that my beloved mother and sister could get a peep at us. John a great favourite with Capt. Gray, says it does him good to shake hands with him, he has such a paw, teaching Jack, as he calls him, to climb up the ropes; John so delighted with the ship, says he would rather be here than on shore. Louisa the wonder of everybody being so well and her appetite so good. Got clear of the Bay of Biscay half past six tonight.

Friday, 4th September
A beautiful morning with a light favourable breeze. The barque we saw yesterday afternoon close to us, Capt. Made signals found she was the “Tam O Shanter” from Liverpool for Port Jackson with a general cargo, a smaller vessel than ours; we saw a lady on board we guessed to be the Captain’s wife; kept us company the whole day, beat her at sailing. Stayed a long time on deck, children so well and happy, Tibbie recovering her appetite and looks, had no idea I should like shipboard life so well, my constant wish is that my mother and sister could know how well off we are, often fancy what they will be saying of us; came down below and worked till dinner time making pin holes in the children’s cot to lash them better in; they had such a nice dinner today, excellent preserved soup and a mutton pie. D. took charge of Louisa as usual much amused at her appetite being so faithful, all did ample justice to their good fare. Twins took a good mess of boiled rice; we had for dinner the best pea-soup I ever tasted, two mutton pies a piece of corned beef and roasted mutton; sat for a good while after dinner all chatting together, Gray, though not a well educated man very agreeable and pleasant and [acquites] himself at the head of the table very like a gentleman. Forgot to mention there have been great many deaths among the ducks and hens. Capt. Gray says they are too crowded and has been killing a good many. Dr. Sutherland and Dr. Campbell not well today with a bowel complain, both looking miserable, joined the porridge and treacle mess to the children’s great amusement tonight. Twins quite reconciled to the treacle with their porridge. Become very calm tonight, vessel rolling very much. Tibbie very tired did not sleep all day and never off the deck. Went with Catherine to see little Blenheim and his mother, both doing wonderfully well, a fine thriving child, their accommodation better than could be expected, tho the poor mother complains very much of the heat and noise. Capt. Gray has been twice to see her and nursed Blenheim for a good while. Got the children all to bed and sat down to write my journal. John read the story of the 40 thieves tonight for a good while. We were, this afternoon in Lat. 41, longitude 12-52, two hundred miles from the nearest land which is Spain. We have two wooden swinging trays on which all the glasses and tumblers and bottles are kept during dinner. Drimintoran in taking a wine bottle off during dinner today brought it too much to the side, all the glasses and tumblers fell off on the table and broke. Admired Dr. Sutherland’s agility in saving a wine bottle.

Saturday, 5th September
Very calm all night, vessel rolling so much Capt. C. could not sleep. Boys and Louisa in the other cabin very noisy, had to thrash Colin for striking Louisa. Mary so long of rising had to put on my dressing gown and go to put her up, all this put me out of temper. Twins always very good in the morning generally get a bit of biscuit sent them. Sat as usual on deck, washed Louisa and Susan’s heads before breakfast, made a hearty breakfast of fried pork, rice and pickled cabbage, take this every day, coffee had a bad taste. J.B.S. and I could not take it. After breakfast cut all Tibbie’s hair off by the Capt’s recommendation, gave a clipping and washing to them all, was occupied about them and putting my cabin in order till one o’clock, went up on deck with the children set Mary to clean our cabins with a scrubbing brush. Saw several vessels in sight two of them Russians. Capt. Gray never saw so many vessels as at this time. Weather very warm, a delightful breeze sprung up in our favour, delighted at it, dislike the heavy rolling of the ship when calm very much. Quite astonished that I never feel afraid and sleep so sound. Tam O Shanter not in sight today. J.B.S. very nervous at night, frightened when she hears the sailors run which they always do when doing anything about the ship, she tries to conquer this but cannot, complains of her want of faith, her husband complains she does not allow him to sleep. Children all made an excellent dinner on preserved soup and lobster, twins recovered their appetite and looking well. Capt. Gray nursed Tibbie in his arms for a good while, astonished at the luxuriance of her hair. He takes great trouble in making the emigrants come on deck and cleaning out their places below, complains of the indolence and filthy habits of the Highlanders, the few Paisley emigrants keep themselves cleaner and are more easily managed, he says Dr. Campbell is a great deal too easy with them. Had a long conversation with J.B.S. about Dr. Chriton, complained of his high charges said his accounts against F K and MacGregor were so enormous. I defended him and said his accounts must be expected to come to a large sum where he was constantly employed and so long of being settled with. Capt. Campbell considered his charges very moderate indeed. Just as we were sitting to dinner felt a bad smell from J.B.S.’s cabin, strange they will not use our convenient closet. John lost one of my tin cans for keeping water overboard while taking up salt water in it with a rope tied to it out of the cabin window, very angry with him but thankful he did not follow it, confined his for two hours to the cabin as punishment. Got sketches of married life from Catherine MacDonald and read it the whole evening, Capt, C. reflecting on me for not writing my journal instead of reading. [Lat.] this day at noon 40-16 North; Long. 13-52 W.

Sunday, 6th September
A beautiful morning with a fine breeze in our favour, rather late of rising, angry at Mary for being so long of coming with the water, dressed in one of gingham gowns, Capt. in his best suit very much admired, boys in drill surtouts and trousers, slippers the 3 girls in light frocks, all the gentlemen dress better on Sunday. Capt. Gray in white trousers puts on a long coat to dinner Capt. C., does the same. Soon after breakfast went on deck, cabin so warm enjoyed the fine breeze, wonder how J.B.S. can stay so much in her cabin. Capt. Gray pointed out a shoal of flying fish, saw Mother Carey’s chickens yesterday. Heard today that we had nearly got on sand banks off the Irish coast from the stupidity of the man steering, he mistook the light from Wexford lighthouse for the light of a steamboat, fortunately they sent down to ask of Capt. Gray if there should be any lighthouse in sight, he sprung out of bed and found ten minutes more would put us on a sand bank. Capt. G., said our lives might have been spared but the vessel would have been lost, glad I did not know till we were so far from land. Could not have believed I would be so comfortable on board ship. Six gallons of water stolen last night from the poop, water in consequence very scarce today, so little given out for porridge children had not enough, had to give them biscuit and gingerbread. Capt. Gray and the doctors breakfasted on porridge today. Saw one vessel today a great way off, could not make out what she was. Emigrants had prayers and a portion of the bible read to them in Gaelic, we had the same in English by a very respectable steerage passenger of the name of Sinclair from Stirling. Children had a good dinner today, preserved soup, roast duck and a delightful suet baked pudding afterwards; I can assure you they did ample justice to it. Smith’s wife and Blenheim getting on very well, she never had so good a recovery. A child very ill a few days ago, with congestion of the blood vessels of the brain. Dr. C. says he is so much better today thinks he will recover. We had for dinner today roast ducks, boiled fowls and curried fowl and pea soup and pickled pork, this is the first day we have been without beautiful cabbage for dinner since leaving Greenock, the potatoes are still very good, our having such a good cook adds much to our comfort; all the steerage passengers got flour, suet and raisins served out to them yesterday to make puddings for their dinners today, most of them did not know how to use the ingredients, they eat the raisins their children going about with them in handfuls, made scones of the flour. I do not know what they did with the suet, they likewise got pickled cabbage, a good many cannot be prevailed on to eat it and were caught throwing it overboard. John an immense favourite of Capt. Gray heard him complain of thirst tonight, sent for him to his own cabin and gave him a drink of raspberry vinegar and water. My Skye maid made her appearance on deck today in better health. J.B.S. dressed in an old black silk today and a cap trimmed with pink ribbon. Catherine in an ugly dark check, her boys in [m…..] D. in light trousers and a blue jacket. Sat a long time on deck and thought how little you would think of a voyage if it was so pleasant as we have had it yet. Lat. at noon this day 38-21 N. Long. 15-17 W.

Monday, 7th September
A fine morning with a delightful steady breeze in our favour, weather very warm indeed, much afraid the heat will be very oppressive by and by, we feel it so much already. After breakfast got the cabin cleaned out, sent the two little bodies on deck. Catherine took the other children into my cabin to give them their lessons. Colin took one of his obstinate fits for which he got well whipped. Catherine had Susan at the window and allowed her to throw the lid of the tin pan overboard in which we keep the fresh water, very vexed about it, blamed Mary’s sister for not hanging up the pan where she got it. Mary defended her sister very impertinently, told her to hold her tongue I did not want to hear her opinion about it, Mary continued to answer very impertinently, said a letter would reach Dr. Macleod yet to tell how she was used, told her instantly to walk out of my cabin that Dr. Macleod forgot his duty when he did not teach her the respect due to a Mistress, that I would oblige her to make out the time she was engaged with me after that she might go about her business. Had preserved soup, roast ducks and fowls for dinner. Capt. said if the breeze continued we would be in the latitude of [Madiera] tomorrow, did not think we would see land. Lat. at noon 36-5 N. Long. 16-46 W.

Tuesday, 8th September
Fine breeze, vessel continuing, think we have got into the trade winds. Colin not very well today, complaining of headache and vomiting, put him to bed, got a dose from the doctor, his skin hot and pulse quick. A Grampus seen close to the ship and a shoal of flying fish. Skye maid recovered and in attendance today. Could not go on deck attending Colin. Told J.B.S. if the weather continued as it was at present did not care if I was on board six months. Was horror-struck to hear that a man was ill on board with what the doctor thought was small-pox, he has been 3 weeks on board the ship, all astonished that the infection would remain so long about him before showing itself, only complained of being ill Saturday last, the rash came out today, he has been put into hospital and quite separated from all the others. It is fearful prospect a disease of this kind breaking out in such a crowded ship and when just coming into the hot latitude. May the Almighty protect us all. Capt. Gray in great dismay at this, neither he or a young boy his brother have had small pox, would rather lose his own child than anything happen to his brother, it would kill his mother, came to sea at this time against her wish. I trust in God it may yet turn out not to be small pox. Colin rather better tonight. Susy’s stomach rather out of order, vomiting a little purged. John eat so much pudding at dinner could take no supper. Tibbie and Louise in perfect health. J.B.S. complaining that John being such a favourite with the Capt. he tyrannises over the older children, never said pro or con. I am sitting at the scritoire writing this with my clothes off down to my waist and the cabin windows open; passed [Madiera] today, did not see land, ship going very fast and not so much motion as you would expect; have just drunk off my tumbler of porter and am going to bed. Lat. at noon 33-41 N, Long. 18-4 W. Made sops of rusks for the children’s dinner today and meal, the twins delighted with it, intend to keep a cup of tea for them from my own breakfast and tea water is so bad and scarce.

Wednesday, 9th September
A beautiful breeze blowing, weather very warm. Children all very good, Colin much better, discovered that Tibbie had cut a back tooth and another nearly through; went on deck after breakfast and sat a long time because so listless from thirst and heat could neither work nor read, took a drink of porter in the afternoon which gave me a headache and made me feel very unwell. Capt. C., on deck the whole day reading, angry at him for not giving himself more trouble about the children, got much better after dinner, a delightful cool breeze coming in my cabin windows which induced J.B.S. to sit till tea time with me, she makes herself very pleasant poor body. Capt. Gray looked so cool today in a complete white suit. A sheep killed last night part of which we had for dinner and very good it was, kidneys quite covered. A ship in sight at a great distance, the man who is ill is pronounced a decided case of small-pox but very favourable, I trust it may not spread the vessel has been sprinkled with Chloride of Lime. Expect to be off Teneriffe early tomorrow morning, Capt. talks of sending ashore for vegetables and refreshments. Tibbie such a favourite with all the gentlemen. Capt. G would not allow her to go to bed until he had nursed for a while. Poor cook is scarcely looked at. 1st and 2nd mates had a dreadful quarrel tonight, Capt. Gray was called out to pacify them. Lat. at noon 30-53 N Long 19 W.

Thursday, 10th September
Not much wind today but very hot, an awning put up on the poop which makes the deck delightful, sat a long time under it, children playing about. Saw a large shoal of flying fish. Colin very unwell during the night, quick pulse and skin hot, complaining of headache, in a great fright that it may turn out small-pox, he is much better today and able to come on deck. Dr. says he is bilious. Discovered today that Tibbie has been cutting 4 back teeth since coming on board. I think her bowels being so loose has prevented her suffering so much as she did in PortoBello, she is as lively as ever and very little reduced, she is a great favourite with our gentlemen passengers. Capt. Gray never passes by her without stopping to speak to her, he often nurses her, she claps his face a kisses him which delights him. Got sago made for Colin about 10 o’clock, put a little wine in it which he relished very much. Capt. Gray very busy today from his mates being under arrest, he blames the 1st Mate most, he struck the 2nd Mate and followed him from side to side of the deck striking him altho he knew he dare not return the blows if he had he would have been put in irons, it seems to require all Capt. Grays firmness to keep his crew in order, what a blessing to us he is so determined, he did not go to bed last night. Mary Cameron has been very submissive since we had the quarrel. Nothing like keeping her in good order. Colin is much better this evening his appetite has returned. I am so frightened for the small-pox that I got Dr. Campbell to vaccinate my arm today, he was not half the time that Chrichton used to be. We have much merry-making on the deck this evening, the Capt. set a party to dance to the sound of the bagpipes, on the other side a party played at leap-frog. My husband, Drimintoran and Mr Macfarlane were the only males that did not join in either pastime. Capt. Gray was a most active hand at leap-frog, I enjoyed looking at the fun from the poop exceedingly. It is a glorious evening, bright moonlight, a soft balmy breeze, it requires a more eloquent pen than mine to describe such an evening, the ship looks so majestic with all her sails set. Capt. Gray complains woefully of the indolence of the emigrants, he has such a work every day hunting them out of their beds and keeping them on deck, particularly towards evening that their berths may cool before they go down to sleep.

Friday, 11th September
A fine morning with rather less wind than we could wish. Capt. C. as usual got up first and went for our washing water, he got better measure than Mary gets if English pints is our allowance viz. a pint for each, we are obliged to be very careful of it as this is all we get during the day except a little drink when we ask it from the steward; any water we require for sago etc; I must take from our washing allowance. After I was dressed got the twins porridge, make and fed one of them, they take the treacle very well, and will not taste the preserved milk, I tried every plan to get them to take it in vain when they taste it they put on such a face and both call out “dirty meal”. The milk has a peculiar sickly taste which I must say is not very pleasant. When I went in to breakfast found the Capt. all of sorts, in the first place his watch had stopped from violent exercise he had taken at leap–frog, two of the sheep were found in a dying state, one of them was so well bled that the mutton is very good, the other was not so well killed and was given to the emigrants, it was very fat likewise the Captains vexation was the cook spoiling two dishes of rice for breakfast one after the other, we had mutton chops for breakfast, I took my old fare of salt pork, rice and red pickled cabbage with it, I finish off with some of the hard biscuit and a cup of coffee. J.B.S. complains of the biscuit, she cannot eat rice. Went up on deck after breakfast, sat a long time. Capt. Gray joined us, gave us the history of one of his sailors, a handsome lad called John Miller, his father is the Capt. of a Revenue Cutter, he has six sisters, the eldest of them was married after a few days courtship to a sick man the Capt. of a Merchant Man, after she had one child she became notorious character her husband divorced her, her conduct had been the ruin of the rest of the family. Colin quite well. The spots on the small-pox man beginning to dry up Dr says there is no fear of him now. Children made a hearty dinner on boiled mutton and broth. We still have potatoes. I am astonished how long they have kept. I give a small bit of butcher meat to the twins which they enjoy very much; we had the best pancakes at our dinner I ever tasted they were of course, made without eggs. The twins at 4 o’çlock took a good mess of boiled whole rice and sugar. We had the dancing and leap-frog tonight and the same beautiful, cloudless moonlight. Lat. at noon 26-15 N, Long 10-38 W. One of the sailors quite drunk this afternoon, he would not confess where he got the spirits, the emigrants are suspected of giving it to him, he is to remain in the poop night and day and to be fed on bread and water until he confesses from whom he got the spirits. Little Blenheim and his mother were on deck today.

Saturday, 12th September
A fine morning with a very light breeze. I have great cause of gratitude to the Almighty that the children are in perfect health they are quite reconciled to the treacle with their porridge, they get some of little John’s bread about 12 o’clock and we never open the box without thinking and speaking of Grandmamma. The sheep have all been clipped today, instead of pouring water down their throats from a bottle Drimintoran prevailed on them to try if the sheep would take it off their own accord, the poor brutes drank it all greedily with the exception of two. I hope they will now thrive better. The sailor is still obdurate and will not confess from whom he got the spirits. Saw a suspicious looking vessel close to us counterpart of the Midge. Capt. Gray said if he had only is own crew on board he would be rather uneasy from the direction she took, suppose she is bound for the West Indies. Capt. Gray baths every morning at least has pails of salt water thrown over him on deck. Today he put John up and threw 2 pails of water over him. John stood it manfully forsooth he would not go without trousers. One of the flying fish fell on board, had no idea it was so small. Capt. Gray and the doctor complaining woefully of the filth of the Highland emigrants, they say they could not have believed it possible for human beings to be so dirty in their habits, only fancy their using the dishes they have for their food for certain other purposes at night, the Dr. seems much afraid of fever breaking out among them, this would be a judgment on us, poor as I am no consideration on earth would tempt me to trust my little family in a ship with Highland emigrants if still had the voyage before me. Lat. at noon 24-34 N. Long 20 W. Gave 3 old cotton stockings for coolers for the wine bottles. Capt. Gray has got the loan of John’s watch, Capt. G presented him with the remaining bottle of Portobello whisky. Wine pronounced much improved by the stockings.

Sunday, 13th September
A strong breeze, sun very bright, thermometer up at 78, ship going greater part of the day 8 knots an hour. Another death reported among the sheep, one of those that would only drink out of the bottles a great loss so many dying. Sat on deck a good while after breakfast. J.B.S joined us, very pleasant under the awning, came down to hear prayers and a portion of scripture read by the man who read last Sunday. The emigrants had the same in Gaelic afterwards heard John read, say his question and hymn. During dinner felt the heat very much. J.B.S. and I find it a great relief adjourning to my cabin, it is so cool from so much air coming in at the window. Sailor confessed at last he got the whisky from the emigrants. 1st mate allowed to do duty for the first time yesterday. Young Macdonald scratched Louisa’s face, she came to tell me she had knocked him down, everyone astonished at her size and enjoying good health since coming on board. Lat. 22-22 N. Long. 21-14 W.

Monday, 14th September
Very very warm, twins nothing on but a slip and a blue striped pinafore, Louisa the same. John had 4 pails of salt water thrown over him by the Capt. this morning. A strong breeze last night, ship rolling a great deal. While at breakfast word came of a ship in sight, from her colours found she was a Spanish one. While the gentlemen were at their grog this forenoon Mr Macfarlane treated them to ginger-bread. Capt. Gray kept this and gave it to Tibbie, then he sat watching her till she eat it up, poor Susy looking on without getting a bit. Capt. Gray has just called that the ship seen in the morning has come alongside, she is an Austrian of [Triese] from Marseilles bound for Rio de Janeiro name Prince Rohares. Young men prevailed on Capt. Gray to send a boat to her to get cigars or wine. Capt. Gray prepared himself for going board of her, the tackling of the boat as they were lowering it at one end gave way, fortunately the boat was touching the water at this time, if the rope had given way sooner the Capt. and his crew would have been thrown into the sea. On their return from the Prince Rohares as they were hoisting the boat up with one man in her the rope at the other end gave way so she hung with her stern up, the sailor saved himself by catching hold of a rope. J.B.S. and I got a dreadful fright, we thought some of the men were in the boat when she fell. Capt. got 17 large melons, 3 dozen cigars and a bottle of delicious wine all of which fell out of the boat. Capt. Gray immediately lowered the boat again and went to recover his oars and melons. He picked up six of the melons after rowing a good way from the ship, the wine and the cigars were irrevocably gone, it was frightful to us to see such a little speck as the boat out on the ocean high was, we were above it we could not see it even when it went down between the waves. We had one of the melons for dessert, it was very cool and refreshing. John eat such a quantity he got sick this evening even the two little ones enjoyed it; felt so oppressed with the heat this forenoon that I sat a long time without my stays on. Had dancing to the pipes as usual tonight. I enjoy the deck very much after the sun sets it becomes so cool. J.B.S. and I produced our marmalade this evening at tea, it was very much enjoyed.

Tuesday, 15th September
All felt the heat very much during the night, this morning got a large tub filled with salt water and bathed the children. John as usual had buckets of salt water poured over him. Capt.C has commenced having a bath in the same way. When Capt. Gray observed Tibbie in the tub he went himself to bathe her. Capt. Campbell dressed today in his french shirt, it is very much admired as a suitable dress. Capt. G says he will provide himself with a good many next voyage. Louisa is today in a blue frock with only her chemises on under, not even her stays, twins in blue striped frocks and their chemises. Last night it became so calm we were terrified the trades were going to fail us, already to our great joy today a breeze has sprung up, it defies me to do any work, the heat makes me so languid. I have got the Water Witch from John Galgarry, even with the reading I get slowly on, I would be so thankful if I could go without my stays or shoes. Two vessels in sight today, one of them our friend the Austrian polacca, the other we are making signals to. Capt. Gray never saw so many vessels as at this time. J.B.S. and I are put into a great state of excitement tonight. I will tell you how Drimintorian complained to Capt. Gray that the emigrants were not getting their proper quantity of water, that he must insist on the proper measure being given them. Capt. Gray said as he was so sharp he would be equally sharp with him, he brought up his instructions and showed him that tho he was allowing the full quantity of water for every child in the cabin they were only entitled to a quart and half a day, that is under 14 years of age, so that the ten children under that age in the cabin were only to have the allowance of four grown people among them. You may imagine my distress at this, they had little enough before, I did not see how it was possible for them to do with so small a quantity in such hot weather. I gave orders to the steward instead of making coffee in the morning or tea in the evening for me that I would prefer getting the water instead that I might give it to the children, that Capt. C was entitled to 2 cups and I would get one of them. I told Capt. Gray it was much against my wish going in a emigrant ship and I saw I would have cause to repent it, he said he hoped not, I then went to consult the Doctor, he said his orders and Capt. Gray’s agreed in saying a quart and a half was all the children were allowed, which he thought was too little but could not help it. Capt. C advised me to keep quiet for that he was certain Capt. Gray did not mean to enforce this regulation further than to show Drimintorian what he had the power of doing, so I just went to my cabin and cried very bitterly and reflected on my husband for allowing himself to be cheated by that villainous company. I do not blame the Capt. in the least he has nothing to do with it further than to follow the instructions given him. You would scarcely believe how much I enjoy my drink of porter which is regularly brought to me by Drimintorian. Notwithstanding the scrapes he gets into I must say both he and his wife are more obliging and attentive. I repay her by giving her free entrance into my cabin during the forenoon, her own cabin has so little air coming in it becomes like an oven. The twins are never off the deck except at meal times and when asleep, they are kept under the awning and run about a great deal; have I not got cause to be thankful that the five are in excellent health and looking so well. Tibbie astonishes me getting 4 back teeth without seeming to suffer in the least further than her bowels continuing loose, you would laugh at me if I told you what a work is made about her by all the gentlemen and Susy taken no notice of. Drimintoran’s youngest had his face and body all broken out in large blotches from tubbing with the exception of Catherine Adam and Tommy they are all vulgar, stupid-looking children. Lat. 18-34, Long. 23-29 One sheep dead and one sickly this morning.

Wednesday, 16th September, 1840
A delightful strong breeze sending us on 9 knots an hour. Found to our great delight the usual quantity of water was given out this morning and my coffee prepared as usual at breakfast, Capt. C. reflecting on me for the I misery caused myself unnecessarily last night. Two vessels in sight all day one of them is still the Austrian polacca, we spoke of the other, she is the vesper Brig from Liverpool for Port Philip with 150 emigrants on board, we found she was the same brig we passed in the Channel on the 29th August, she is smaller than us. Capt. Campbell very bilious today, felt so unwell could not join us at dinner, has taken a dose of Calomel tonight and to take salts in the morning. John and Alistair Macdonald have been repeatedly found fault with for tying a long string to a piece of wood and drawing it in the sea over the stern of the ship, tonight they commenced it again. Capt. Gray found fault with John he deigned having anything to do with it; for telling a falsehood Capt. G has forbid him to come to the poop for 4 days. John feels his disgrace deeply. The sickly sheep dead today. J.B.S. busy making a breach shirt for Tommy, my work has been making pillow cases. Lat. 16-51 N. Long. 15-38 W.

Thursday, 17th September
Heat most oppressive, the exertion of dressing myself put me in a profuse perspiration. The instant the children are dressed always send them on deck till porridge, they are all in excellent health. Tibbie in such high spirits, Susy begins to make advances to Capt. Gray, he attended the bathing of both in the tub this morning and sent them in with a huge piece of ginger bread. The trade winds have failed us today, this is earlier than usual, we are now in what they call the variable wind so much against us that the ship cannot keep her course, she is pitching so much we have great difficulty in keeping our feet, everything falling about in beautiful confusion. J.B.S. and Catherine so sea-sick could not come to breakfast. Capt. Gray and two Drs not very well. Capt. C not quite recovered from yesterday’s fit of bile, John sick today and Colin not very well, very much astonished at myself for eating my breakfast as usual. Occasional showers of rain which makes the deck very disagreeable. Two vessels in sight one is the vesper we spoke last night, the other Capt. Gray is almost sure is the Tam o Shanter again. The Blenheim is likely to beat them both. So languid from heat quite unable for the slightest exertion. Capt. C never off the poop reading. Vessel pitching so much children not allowed to go to the poop. A very red sky this evening. J.B.S. and I took it into our wise heads it predicted a storm, a good deal alarmed asking everyone their opinion of the sight, all said it looked squally they would not mind that if the wind was favourable. Another sheep dead today and six hens, a great loss this to us.

Friday, 18th September
Notwithstanding my fears of last night slept comfortably; squalls of wind and rain this morning. Spoke a French vessel homeward bound, could not make them hear us, Capt. thinks most of them were asleep, they had scarcely any sail up although the wind was as favourable for them as it could blow. Capt. G harpooned a porpoise and some of the emigrants thought it very good eating. It cleared up in the afternoon, a good many dolphins about the ship. Capt. G harpooned one of them but it got off.

Saturday, 19th September
Very calm and heat very great; as only my face and head perspire, suffer very much from it, my hands and feet have such a burning dry feel. This morning while dressing Capt. C observed a shark under the stern of the vessel, he gave warning, I sat in my cabin window in my night-gown and saw it swallow the bait and noose put about it and hoisted up; it was grand sport for the children. The children are getting a good deal tanned with the sun. Louisa takes a seam occasionally at the pocket handkerchief. Heard after breakfast that a ship in sight, supposed to be homeward bound. After writing a long letter (which from the heat was no small undertaking) found out that the ship was going the same course as ourselves. This is John’s birthday, kept it by giving the children after dinner a glass of ginger wine and a piece of ginger bread. Capt. Gray came down to drink his health. Children have never tasted salt meat at dinner with the exception of a bit of pork to eat with fowl occasionally. Another sailor found tipsy tonight, the Capt. in a great rage about it, obliged the emigrants to throw all their brandy overboard, all of them in a state of excitement.

Sunday, 20th September
Very little wind, vessel scarcely moving, very great heat. Had prayers as usual. John read, said his questions and hymn, read a story to him afterwards. Mutton so much tainted at dinner could not eat it, made up for it on pudding. A great deal of sheet lightening, very beautiful, this evening. Two ships in sight all day, one of them came close, would not answer our signals. Such a violent squall came on about 11 o’clock, one of the largest sails was rent from top to bottom; although the night was very dark it was replaced in half an hour. The Smith’s infant who was very ill considered out of danger, no apprehension of small-pox spreading, the man who has been ill with it still confined to hospital.

Monday, 21st September
Fine morning,all well. Dispute between our servants and the steward about the quantity of water for the children, said he had orders from the Capt. to give them the reduced quantity, told him that the jug he had for measuring the water was not the proper size, on getting the proper pint measure from the hold found that even on the reduced quantity we get as much water as formerly. This caused an unpleasant feeling between Capt. C and Capt. Gray, the latter in very bad humour but continues to be very polite to Mrs Macdonald and company. He is short tempered forgets it soon but does not like to acknowledge he is wrong.

Tuesday, 22nd September
Rather a stormy morning the ship not quite on her course, very hot, all well 12 o’clock cleared up the wind a little more favourable. Capt.C and Capt. Gray good friends again. Capt. C reasoned with him, shewed him where he was wrong, this is the best way of treating hot tempered men. Capt. Brown must have been aware of Capt. Gray’s temper as he begged of Capt. Campbell as an old acquaintance to use his influence to keep amity and peace on board. Capt. C told Capt. Gray this, he acknowledged Capt. C told Capt. Gray this, he acknowledged Capt. Brown was aware of his quick temper.

Wednesday, 23 September
It has been a rather stormy night but all well. Wind still unfavourable but the ship always making some way. 12 o’clock a schooner near us going the same course. 2 o’clock she is up to us and spoke to us, she proves to be the Naiad from London bound to South Australia, out 30 days appeared to be only about 120 tons. 8 o’clock retiring in good spirits after a good deal of Gaelic singing and dancing among the emigrants.

Thursday, 24th September
A fine morning, all well, a little progress last night, all occupied this day on getting up the luggage on deck and getting a fresh supply of clothes. Twins birthday, drank their health after dinner. A beautiful day, making very little progress. A great threatening of toothache, creosote has lost its effect.

Friday, 25th September
Wind changed at 6 o’clock in our favour, there is yet but little of it. Very ill all night with toothache, got Dr. Campbell as he had no leeches to scarify my gum, did not give me the relief I expected, in the evening took a good dose of medicine and put laudanum in the tooth.

Saturday, 26th September
All well, a good deal of wind and favourable all night. 12 o’clock incessant rain since 8 o’clock, all the emigrants below except some that are collecting rain water for washing. The Dr. and Capt. insist on the emigrants keeping below, getting wet in the tropical rain being very bad for them. Awoke this morning quite free of toothache. Saved a large tub full of rain water intend to have a washing on Monday, washed all the children’s heads. The Tam O Shanter abreast of us 8 o’clock, ship on her course and a good breeze.

Sunday, 27th September
All well, the wind changed ahead through the night and is now right ahead. The ship has made little progress for the last five days. Public worship as usual. The schooner Naiad close by us, 8 o’clock wind still ahead. John said his questions etc. as usual.

Monday, 28th September
Fine morning, all well; head wind, supposed to be losing rather than gaining on account of the strong currents against us, the weather unusually cool to be so near the line.

Tuesday, 29th September
All well, beautiful morning, wind changed favourably. Never saw the children look better, the twins so lively and healthy. Susan is much stouter and Tibbie tho not stout has such a nice healthy colour, everyone remarks the change on Colin he is much stouter has more colour and a most faithful appetite, the warm climate seems to agree with them all. We have very nice hot rolls every morning for breakfast and the children get the same for their tea, for supper they enjoy them very much.

Wednesday, 30th September
All well, head wind. A niece of my Skye maid very ill, threatened with water in the head, she was sickly when she came on board, she is about [30][3] years old. Forgot to say got a good many things things washed on Monday, today one of my domestics is ironing them. A long time on deck with the children.

Thursday, 1st October
All well, beautiful morning, wind ahead. Macquarries’s child rather better. Colin’s straw hat thrown overboard by Alistair Macdonald, very angry about it, gave him the one I brought in Greenock, the Macdonalds very much spoiled by both father and mother. Capt. Gray and J.B.S. have some hot arguments, she shews a great deal of temper occasionally. I sit between them and never let on I hear them, she says very rude things sometimes.

Friday, 2nd October
Beautiful morning, wind ahead. My little darling Tibbie is very unwell today, she has a bowel complaint, is very feverish, scarcely raised her head all day, her gums are inflamed, her eye teeth must be the cause of her illness, the Dr. has ordered a warm bath for her and a dose of Calomel in the morning with Senna leaves to work it off.

Saturday, 3rd October
Fine morning, wind ahead. Poor little Tibbie still very unwell, medicine operated well, Capt. C very anxious about her, I saw her so ill at Portobello that I hope for the best, her appetite is quite gone, got arrowroot from the Dr. made it thin for a drink; 6 o’clock Tibbie is lighter this evening, she is playing with my work-box. The Macquarrie child better.

Sunday, 4th October
Fine morning, ship keeping her course better. Tibbie still far from well but rather better. Dr. scarified her gums, I hope this may relieve, the fever has left her almost entirely but she is very weak and reduced, she took a little sago and arrowroot today, she sleeps very well at night, seems to have no pain, a little of the bowel complaint still continues but not so much as to account for her being so weakened and reduced, her hair cut as close as possible, does not vomit.

Monday, 5th October
Fine Morning. Tibbie rather better, Dr. hopes she has got the worst over. Capt. Gray takes such an interest in her, got the cook to make a sweet cake for her and told the Dr. and her father anything in the ship was at her service; she gets a little wine in her sago or arrowroot, she takes but little at a time and takes it often. The ship made considerable progress since yesterday. Capt. Gray expects to cross the line tomorrow.

Tuesday, 6th October
The Macquarrie child has just expired, her complaint general debility and latterly water in the head. Tibbie still continuing better, I trust she may continue. The body of the Macquarrie child committed to the deep, Capt. Gray read prayers over it. Crossed the line at 2 o’clock. Passed the schooner Naiad which we had not seen for several days. Ship going at a good rate. Discovered a baker from Paisley stealing soap in the hold, he is confined to the poop.

Wednesday, 7th October
Ship made good progress last night. My little darling not quite so well today. I begin to feel very anxious, her father is very desponding, God grant his fears not be realised, she has no pain but continues very weak and reduced, her appetite gone again. Dr Campbell unremitting in his attention to her, a great comfort she has everything she could have on shore except milk which she would not be allowed to take in her present state.

Thursday, 8th October
Fine morning, ship making great progress. Tibbie much the same. John and Louisa not well, took no breakfast, suspect John has put his stomach wrong by going down to the hold with Capt. Gray’s brother (who has charge of everything out of the provisions) and eating a quantity of raisins and sugar. Louisa was found in the steerage yesterday and confessed she had been eating raisins and flour scones there; a [doze] of medicine will put both to rights. Lat. 4-55 S. Long. 27-14 W.

Friday, 9th October
Long 28-58 Lat. 6-38 S. Fine morning, John and Louisa quite well. My little darling worse, Dr. dreads conjestion of the brain. At 12 o’clock directly under the sun. Poor little Tibbie’s head shaven and blistered tonight.

Saturday, 10th October
Fine morning, ship made great progress. Isabella slept well, the blister did not seem to pain her, I understand it never does in a warm climate, it rose very well. Dr. thinks her much better, her eye has quite its natural look which it had not yesterday, she is livelier than she has been for some days, took some chicken soup for her dinner and chewed the bone of a fowl. Capt. Gray nursed her for a long time, she allowed him to look into her mouth when he discovered she had cut a tooth, she has very little fever and her pulse is generally from 86 to 96. No chance of calling at Rio Janeiro. Lat. 9-1 S. Long. 30-36.

Sunday, 11th October
Fine morning, ship continues to make good progress. My little pet continues rather better but dreadfully reduced and very weak; she took chicken soup and picked a small bone, Dr. says her illness proceeds entirely from cutting her eye teeth that on shore she would perhaps suffer more, the climate here is so much in her favour. Lat. 11-50 S. Long. 31-43 W.

Monday, 12th October
Dear little Isabella much worse, I can see the Dr. has little hope of her. I never despaired of her until today. I trust I may be strengthened to bear this severe trial which I fear awaits me. Capt. Gray came into my cabin to see her; ill and weak as my little darling was she stretched out her hands to him, her nursed her for a long time, she has a little bowel complaint, what she passes very green and bilious. Fine morning, strong breeze. Spoke a Brig from Rio Janeiro to Trieste. Capt. Gray boarded her and we all wrote letters he refused to take them as he would be obliged to ride quarantine 14 days if he carried them. No observation.

Tuesday, 13th October
Isabella still the same, continues free from pain, sleeps a great deal, the pupil of her eye contracts so naturally Dr. does not think her head affected, her evacuations not frequent but very green and bilious, think her digestive organs so weakened they do not digest her food, her appetite quite gone but drinks a great deal, takes arrowroot for a drink as thick as she can […] (beautiful morning) drinks it with a very little white wine in it, pulse about 90, skin quite cool. A son of Frazer the smiths ill of the jaundice. Lat. 16-39 S. Long. 32-9 W.

Wednesday, 14th October
Isabella much the same, her pulse rather stronger, still continues to drink the arrowroot; her father deeply distressed, gentleman very considerate in keeping the deck quiet above our cabin, Dr. prevented the piper playing in the evening. Capt. Gray told the Dr. that in the case of my little darling recovering he would keep 8 or 9 fowls for her own use. I never can forget his consideration and kindness, she was such a dear engaging pet, she was a pet of everyone’s, when thirsty her cry is a “drink of water” Mrs Macdonald is most attentive comes in even at night to see how she is Capt. C. has gone to sleep in the boys’ cabin and Tibbie sleeps with me, with one of the servants night about on a mattress beside us, it is now McMillan; tapers are of use by keeping the drink in a tin for five minutes over the lamp makes it quite warm. Smith’s son better. A woman delivered of a daughter today, both doing well. The man that had the small-pox allowed to come on deck for the first time, his bedding thrown overboard and his clothes towed after the ship for several days. Lat. 18-44 S. Long 32-5 W.

Thursday, 15th October
Isabella rather better, her pulse a little stronger, still very little hope of her recovery, still drinking a good deal, gets thin chicken soup occasionally; for a change she did not sleep well last night but did not seem to have any pain. Dear little lamb she likes to much have me beside her in bed, even during the day she gives me her little hand to hold or sometimes puts it across my neck; she does not vomit, altho she does not eat she takes a good deal of nourishment in drinks, nothing seems to put her bowels to right, she still passes very green stuff but has no stool oftener than twice in the 24 hours. Beautiful morning, ship going at a great rate at 12 o’clock. Lat.20-8 no observation for Long. A cry of land turns out to be Trinidada, an uninhabitated island in Lat. 20-20 S. Long. 29 W. seen at the very time Capt. Gray expected which is very gratifying as it shews how very correct he is in his calculations. It seems to bea complete mass of broken rocks, puts me in mind of a large fortification.

Friday 16th October 1840
Isabella seems very uneasy and cross today, she wanted out to the cuy she was quieter there for awhile, towards evening she became easier, still I cannot say she is any better, she will not suffer anyone to look at her gums but often works with her mouth as if she has pain in them. The schooner Naiad abreast of us today again. Beautiful day. Lat. 21-46 Long. 27-42 W.

Saturday, 17th October
Isabella much easier than yesterday, but I think weaker, she sleeps a good deal. She vomited while Capt. Gray was nursing her and would not leave him to get shifted; he got her clean night gown and dried and shifted her, it was curious sight to see the rough sailor handling her as well and gently as I could do. ½ past 2 o’clock spoke the Naiad. Capt. Gray wanted a particular chart from him which the Capt. had not; if she calls to the Cape is to report us. Fine day, met another schooner, but did not speak her. Lat. 22-45 S. Long. 26-6 W.

Sunday, 18th October
Isabella much the same, I think her rather livelier, she vomited a great quantity of green bilious stuff, Dr. ordered her a dose of calomel and senna leaves after it, her stools are still greenish. Today when I was at dinner she asked for a bone of fowl she seemed to like working at it in her mouth, if she took any of the meat off she spat it out. Since Monday I have not left her for a moment. Capt. C brings my meals from the […], do not feel at all well today, Dr insisted on my going on deck this evening. Mrs Macdonald sat with my little lamb; while I was out found myself so weak could not walk for any time. Tibbie still drinks arrowroot or rusks made as smooth as gruel; her father pounds them to powder in the mortar of the medicine chest; her pulse seldom exceeds 90 and her skin not feverish, she is more restless at night than at first. Beautiful day fair wind but little of it. We are now out of the tropics. Naiad in company. Lat. 23-26. Long. 25-1.

Monday, 19th October
Poor Isabella much weaker, she passed a very uncomfortable night, she vomited a good deal and the medicine operated what she passed at first was green; as usual towards morning she had one or two stools which the doctor thought much more natural; she drinks a great deal today and vomits occasionally. How often we think and speak of what you would feel if you saw your little pet so reduced and changed in appearance. I think if I had her on shore I would not be half so distressed, altho she has every comfort here she could have anywhere. A beautiful day, the little wind that is not quite so favourable. Lat. 24-15 S, Long. 23-24 W.

Tuesday, 20th October
Isabella thought a little better but very weak; the last stool she had Dr. said was quite natural in consistence and colour. I cannot help having slight hopes of her still. 3 o’clock my little darling not so well, the vomiting has begun again, all she drinks seems to turn to bile in her stomach, she has a great thirst, I think she asks for the drink from an idea it will take away the uneasiness she feels, her pulse about 90 today but feeble, a fowl was boiled down to make jelly for her, this will shew you that nothing that is thought good for her is spared upon her. Capt. C and I think that Dr. Campbell assisted by Dr. Sutherland (with whom she was a great pet) have done everything for her that could be done, yet what would I have given that Chrichton could have seen her. Beautiful day complaining of too little wind, only came 20 miles the last 24 hours. Lat. 24-33 S. Long. 23-18 W.

Wednesday, 21st October
My dear little lamb very weak today, she has not strength to speak, she tried to say Mamma but could only articulate “Mum Mum”, her bowels seem quite natural, the vomiting still torments her occasionally but not as much as yesterday, she is quite sensible, seems free of all pain for which I am very thankful; she cannot last long in the weak state she is in, her father feels the trial of parting with her as much as I can do, she became so very engaging. One of the emigrants knocked down by a boom falling on his head, it cut him but not severely. Fine morning fair wind and all sails set, in the evening a squall rose, caused all the sails to be taken in. Lat. 25-40 S. Long. 26-48 W.

Thursday, 22nd October
Dear little Isabella alive and that is all; she was taken very ill last night with violent pain, we thought in her bowels. Capt. C put the Dr. up, he gave her an injection which gave her immediate relief, he said the pain was caused by flatulence, she slept soundly till near morning, her hands have a slight convulsive movement today, she is laying quite quiet seemingly in a state of torpor; twice I thought she knew me, her eyes certainly followed me, her breathing quite regular, she still swallows a teaspoonful of drink at a time. This is a very wet, cold, windy day.

Friday, 23 October
My dear little lamb lingered in the same state all night, she expired this morning at 8 o’clock; she resigned her breath as quietly as if she were going to sleep without the slightest struggle. What would I give to be on shore with her dear little body, the idea of committing it to the deep distresses me very much, she has made a happy change from the cares and miseries of this world, it is hard to say what misfortunes may await us from which she has escaped. The Doctors did not seem to understand what her complaint was, both agreed it had been brought about by teething and that she would have had the same on shore. She will make me a sad blank for a long time 12 o’clock […] My little darling’s body has just been committed to the deep. Capt. C tells me Capt. Gray was so much affected, he could scarcely read the funeral service; he made such a work about her, she was very fond of him, could hold his face between her little hands and kiss him. John seems to feel her death a good deal, the others did not mind it. Her father feels this sad bereavement very much.

Saturday, 24th October
Fine morning, dry and little wind not favourable. Often speaking of your distress and my mother’s when you hear and sad blank in our family, as I have scarcely been out bed today have nothing to remark. Louisa’s stomach out of order for two day, quite well today. Lat. 30-23 S. Long. 25-48 W

Sunday, 25th October
Lat. 31-25 S. Long. 19-14 W. Fine morning, wind the same as yesterday went into the cuddy for the first time for a fortnight to attend divine worship and went on deck afterwards; find myself much the better of fresh air; day so cold, put on my tartan cloak; have got a blanket put on each of the beds, put on my flannel petticoat this morning. Boys have got their old tartan surtouts on, girls have got their flannel petticoats. Susan missing her dear little sister very much, searched the bed for her, was like to break my heart hearing her calling “where’s poor Tibbie?” Wind more favourable, ship going 7 knots an hour. Attended the meals in the cuddy for the first time.

Monday, 26th October
Soft morning, all well. Occupied in getting up the luggage and changing the dirty for clean clothing, very glad to get my saxony gown out of the hold and worsted stockings. Weather very cold. Mary Cameron in great distress at getting a black silk gown and red merino stained by the sea; rejoicing mine being so secure. Mrs. Macdonald , who thinks herself wiser than any other body would not be convinced in Greenock of the necessity of getting a tin box for her silks, should not be surprised if she suffered for it. The needles I am using in my workbox getting rusty.

Tuesday, 27th October
Fine morning, weather getting colder, wind not quite for us but ship keeping her course. Some of the gentlemen amusing themselves shooting at birds of which we saw a number. An addition made to our number by the birth of a daughter to MacLachlan from Portobello, it is the poor woman’s first child, both doing well. Drimintoran Macfarlane (who is very stout) and Dr. Sutherland climbed up the main mast, Mr Macdonald went up near the main top, the other two did not venture nearly so far; the sailors got a hint and lashed them all fast to the mast until they agreed to pay a fine. Mrs Macdonald instead of being proud of her husband’s dexterity made such an attack on her husband at tea for making such a fool of himself that astonished the gentlemen, not that she was violent as so very sarcastic, they admired how good-naturedly he took it. Capt. Gray spoke to Capt. C afterwards of her temper, I was not there. Lat. 32-50 S. Long. 12-53 W.

Wednesday, 28th October
Very cold morning, good breeze of wind but not quite so favourable as we could wish. A Paisley woman delivered of a daughter, the women do not seem to suffer as much as at home. Lat. 33-9 S. Long 9-59 W.

Thursday, 29th October
Fine this morning but quite calm, the gentlemen firing at birds etc. Capt. Gray killed an albatross with a hook and line a bird with a body about the size of a goose, between the tips of the wings it measured 9½ feet. Row between the mate and one of his sailors, the sailor put in irons. Mrs. Macdonald discharged one of her servants for insolence, she is sister to my Mary Cameron, they are a forward, pert set. My maid has been quite spoiled, she has been tolerably obedient and submissive since she and I had a row soon after coming on board; I will not keep her after her six months are out. My Skye maid has improved very much, she is so careful and interested in the children.

Friday, 30th October
Fine morning, all well, fair wind, ship going 8 or 9 knots an hour. The sailor in irons attempted another row but failed in it. 8 o’clock, a stern sail torn, wind becoming a gale, a good many sails taken down, always frightened at the sound the sailors make particularly when blowing hard. Susan still missing her sister, said today “poor little Tibbie [alway] to Balla”…odd how long she recollects you, she speaks a great deal and very plain, her dear little sister did the same.

Saturday, 31st October
Gale continued all night, did not sleep, the vessel rolling and pitching so much, every light thing in the cabin rolling about; a portmanteau in which I had a bottle of ginger wine and a bottle of raspberry vinegar I got from Capt. Gray rolled about so much that the bottle broke and I lost the contents, fortunately nothing in the portmanteau suffered. While the children were at dinner all their soup plates rolled to one end of the table, they got great praise for saving the plates and their contents by their exertions. How Colin’s would have gone had I not been beside him. Mr Macdonald always presides at the young people’s dinner. We have only three sails up and two of them reefed. 2 o’clock wind changed against us. 8 o’clock wind more favourable, still blowing very hard, ship keeping her course. Children amusing themselves wonderfully well confined to the cabin all day, altho we are still 400 miles west of the cape they call this a Cape gale; a much heavier swell in the Sth. Atlantic than north of the line. Lat. 35-44. Long. 2-25.

Sunday, 1st November
Stormy but all well. Alarmed last night by a call for Capt. Gray who with his usual dexterity was immediately on deck; it seems a heavy squall came on which laid the ship over till they took in most of the sails; it relieved one very much to hear Capt. Gray return to his cabin whistling. A dreadful smash at breakfast all the cups and saucers and plates on one side of the table took a rapid journey to the other and several were broken and Capt. Gray nearly scalded by the quantity of hot coffee that came upon him; three of the gents followed their cups till the side of the cabin brought them up together; it was a very laughable scare particularly for me who sit so snug. Gale did not abate till evening, no public worship today, children and I passed most of the day sitting in bed telling stories on part of the Bible to the 3 big ones. Capt. C took a good sleep in the boy’s cabin. We got very little rest last night. Lat. 25-12. Long. 43 W.

Monday, 2nd November
Passed a comfortable night, a fine morning, wind not favourable. Mr Macdonald had a long conversation with the culprit in irons, advised him to ask the Capt.’s forgiveness, said he was told it would be in vain to do so, said he could read but had no Bible, would be very glad to read one if he had it. Mr Macdonald gave him one and a prayer book; poor wretch he is to be pitied, he is brought off the poop to the cuddy every night, it is melancholy to hear his irons clanking every movement he gives. I am busy mending Capt.C’s stocking in the heel; have a washing of the children’s things today. The mate saved rain water for us on Saturday on the condition of washing a few shirts for himself. Lat. 35-10. Long. 28 East

Tuesday, 3rd November
Fine morning wind ahead, all well; alleged that my better half and Dr Campbell are the greatest gamblers when the wind does not answer. The prisoner has been released I am glad to say. Colin is making progress at school as the lessons are given in my cabin I always hear how they are coming on. Catherine has a very good method with young children. Louisa has commenced hemming her papa’s coloured neck-cloths, she is nearly as far with her lessons as Colin. Lat. 34-40.

Wednesday, 4th November
Little wind and not favourable, fine bright day, all say this weather is very unusual so near the Cape. Forgot to mention the first pig killed Saturday last, children had a roast of it on Sunday with which they were delighted, no one more than Susan, it was as delicate as lamb, so different from the pork on shore. The children were tiring of preserved meat which they were getting from some time. We are to have a sheep and pig killed every week, the pigs are very small; we have good soup every day and the children the same and fresh meat every day preserved beef; our potatoes are done , except a few we get when there is any fish on the table; we have a curious dish for breakfast once a week, a fish pudding, the day we have that we get no rolls. Lat. 36-6. Long. 2-29.

Thursday, 5th November
Fine morning, all well, quite a calm. A barque in sight going the same course with us, the first we have seen for many days. Capt. Gray always at Mrs Macdonald and I to go on deck, I sometimes walk when I get the support of my husband’s arm. Nothing to remark. Lat. 36-41 Long. 3-9.

Friday, 6th November
Beautiful morning, all well, a calm all night. 8 a.m. light breeze not quite favourable, ship is making a little way on her course, ship we saw yesterday making for us but not so near as to speak her. You would scarcely believe how much Susan speaks of her dear little sister, always asking where she is, to me it is heart-rending to hear her. Capt. C, has brought from Capt. Gray a wooden water pail, with a lid on it of good size. Ee manage to save a little of our allowance of water every day by keeping it in the pail we have as much at the end of the week as washes a few things, so that tho I did not get my washing at Rio Janeiro we can keep ourselves quite clean, till the end of the voyage. Louisa since the cold weather began wears her dark silk with a pinafore and the nainsock Sunday. The boys in their old surtouts.

Saturday, 7th November
Beautiful morning, light breeze for us. Mrs Macdonald and I went down to steerage and women and girls berths for the first time. Quite delighted with the cleanliness of them. Capt. Gray takes a great deal of trouble in obliging the emigrants to keep their places in order, he drives them to deck in good weather with a small cane calling “[…]” the only Gaelic word he can say. The ship in company for two days is the Isabella Stewart from London to Sydney out 35 days. The wind is now fair all sails set, we have such a great many large whales today some of them quite close to the ship; saw also the little Blenheim today in the steerage, firm, stout, thriving babies none of the mothers ever had a […].

Sunday, 8th November
Beautiful morning, all well, fair wind and all sails set. Isabella Stewart is behind us. Public worship as usual. 6 o’clock wind changed against us. Heard John his questions, hymn, and as usual told him the story of Jacob and his brother as reward for saying them well. Lat. 38-19. Long. 7
.
Monday, 9th November
Beautiful morning, all well, a calm. Capt. C as usual desponding at the long voyage we are likely to have. Have got Cook’s Travels from Dr Sutherland, very much interested in his account of New Zealand, as I can depend on his having written the truth.

Tuesday, 10th November
Fine morning after a wet night, the ship keeping her course and going 6 knots an hour. Walked on deck for an hour and ten minutes with Capt. C’s arm. Susan running from one end of the poop to the other humouring the motion of the vessel much better than I can. John is quite a sailor, knows the name of every rope and stick on board; the other day his father went on deck and was horror-struck to see him near the top of the main mast he was afraid to scold him till he got on deck.

Wednesday, 11th November
Fine morning, all well, and continuing to go at a great rate. Never saw such coarse, rude boys as the Macdonalds you would never suppose them to be a gentleman’s children. Catherine has been a good deal spoiled, she has been taught to consider herself very well informed from never being in any society and a difficulty she has in expressing herself from a wish to use dictionary words, she is very prosy and tiresome.

Thursday, 12th November
Fine morning, ship going at a tremendous rate, 9 miles an hour all night rather too high a wind to my taste. Capt. Gray calls it a glorious breeze. 12 o’clock off the Cape of Good Hope farther south than 300 miles. The gentlemen form two card parties every night in the cuddy, as I have more light to read or write in my cabin I always go there at 8 o’clock. Mrs. Macdonald comes to me with a bit of biscuit and cheese and a glass of porter or ale; if I do not pick up it will not be for want of good things, I am now as strong as ever again. Mr. Macdonald never tastes spirits and instead of the brandy and water the others take at meals he divides a bottle of malt between himself, his wife and I; the water for drinking is all filtered and most excellent, I never would desire to take better, the Thames water always improves after a while, during the hot weather it was rather warm, now it is quite cold. I do not feel so comfortable tonight as it has the appearance of being rather stormy. Lat. 39-45. Long. 18-33.

Friday, 13th November
Rather a stormy morning but much more moderate than it was during the night. The mate put under arrest last night for insolence to the Capt. when found fault with for not taking in the mainsail during the heavy squall that nearly tore it to pieces. I was very much alarmed that something was wrong about the ship when I heard the noise on deck. Capt. C complains today that I do not allow him to sleep when it blows hard. Got a severe fall in my cabin today, fell against the scritoire and struck my hip-bone to the edge, so painful could not sleep on that side. Wonderful how the children escape. Steward taken ill today. Mr. Macfarlane absent from breakfast for the first time, made his appearance at dinner and got so ill had to leave the table; he is a great, vulgar, harmless beast of a man. The breeze moderate and continuing favourable. Lat. 39-21. Long. 22-56.

Saturday, 14th November
Lat. 39-38. Long. 26-8. Fine morning, moderate breeze in our favour, all well except the steward who is still confined. The mate restored to his duty. Busy giving a good cleaning out to my cabin. The weather warmer than last week, was several times last week obliged to get a bottle of hot water for my feet. Capt. C walks a great deal on deck sometimes for hours at a time, he enjoys excellent health.

Sunday, 15th November
Beautiful morning. Louisa coughed a good deal last night; a good many complaining of cold. Dr Campbell has a […] on. Ship going 8 miles an hour. Public worship as usual. Steward still confined, his complaint is erysipelas in his arm, he is getting better. 8 o’clock breeze still continuing. Heard John his questions etc. as usual and read memoirs of Mr. Vense, author of the whole duty of man, got it from J.B.S. Lat. 40-2 Long: 29-10.

Monday, 16th November
Fine morning. Louisa coughing much less; bathed her legs last night in hot salt water and gave her a warm drink in bed which has done her much good. The steward at his duty again. The breeze continued all night and the ship has made great progress. 11 o’clock a very large ship in sight. 2 o’clock spoke her, she is the Vernon from London to Calcutta, left 17th Sept. she has a steam engine and seemed about 1000 tons, she is a splendid looking ship, saw 8 or 9 ladies on board so gaily dressed; when they left London the Egyptian Question had created a sensation likely to end in a rupture with France; the Capt. promised to report us from Calcutta overland. All day on deck, much warmer. Lat. 40-25. Long. 33-12.

Tuesday, 17th November
Stormy morning, sea running very high, ship going at a great rate can carry very few sails. Capt. Gray still calls it a glorious breeze. Another added to our number by the birth of a daughter to a man from [Risley]. Mother and child doing well, this is the 5th birth on board all doing well. 8 o’clock the gale increasing shockingly, the Capt. anticipates a stormy night, does not intend going to bed for some time. I expect a very sleepless, uneasy night. John, on my asking him about the wind was forsooth amused at my being frightened and told me that the sailors thought nothing of this breeze. Lat. 40-23. Long. 37-29.

Wednesday, 18th November
Stormy morning. Louisa’s cough quite gone. The night was very stormy I could not sleep I was so frightened; I often thought when the vessel went to the one side she would never rise again; a great deal of vivid lightning; the children slept quite soundly, even if I were not alarmed it would be impossible to sleep the sailors made such a noise shortening sail etc. add to that the tremendous noise of the rushing of water at the stern and the noise of the wind. The ship has been going at the rate of 8 or 9 miles an hr. To my great delight the gale is lessening. 8 o’clock fine evening with a light breeze in our favour. Capt. Gray told Capt. C today that he knew all Mr Macdonald’s history, that he had failed for £10,000 and of his intemperate habits. Mr Macdonald told Capt. C that he has hopes of getting a situation from the Company as he had letters from some of the Directors to Col. Wakefield; he says it will be useless for him to go to his land as he has no subject to stock it or improve it. (Of course we are very doubtful however time will soon shew). His wife and daughter are to keep school he says in Port Nicholson. Catherine is fit to teach none but mere beginners, what her mother means to teach I cannot fancy. I forgot to mention that we nearly lost one mate last night the vessel gave such a tremendous lurch to one side he was thrown with so much force that he went completely out of her into the boat at the side, if he had fallen a little further up or lower down he must have gone overboard. Mr Macfarlane absent again today. I hear his illness is occasioned by his being quite drunk in his cabin last night; he must have got it from the steward or have a private store, yet he is a great protege of J.B.S., he pays her great deference. From this date back to the 1st of October has been written from the […] within the last week, the principal events copied from Mr Macdonald’s journal, the rest supplied by my own memory.

Thursday, 19th November
Fine morning with a light breeze in our favour. Had such a comfortable night’s rest last night, went on deck and had a good walk, air very chill. Children all running so healthy, we have from 50 to 60 children on board under fourteen; there is a great change for the better in the appearance of most of them. Read a good deal while Wilson’s Tales of the Boarder, they are very stupid. Still mending stockings in the heel, work gets on slowly on board ship. At noon out lat. was 40-35. Long 44-34 East. Breeze freshening, ship going about 8 knots an hour, this is what I call a comfortable breeze. I forgot to mention that when a sheep is killed my Skye maid is employed to make the haggis, and very good she makes it.

Friday, 20th November
A wet morning with a very stormy breeze in our favour. Ship going from 8 to 9 knots an hour, so high a wind during the night that several sails had to be taken in. 10 o’clock day cleared up; just finished patching John’s surtout. Breeze rather increasing at noon, our lat. was 40-28 S. Long. 40-8 E. Had a black pudding for breakfast today and some small ones of pigs blood garnished with fried pork; a strange dish you will say, however it seemed to very much relished; one of our pigs met with a strange death yesterday it was choked in a small cask of yeast the cook had prepared for baking bread. Catherine confined to her cabin for some days from a chilblain bursting on one of her toes, she has been obliged to poultice it. The woman who was confined the other day very ill, threatened with inflammation of the womb. Capt. Gray has hopes of being in New Zealand by Christmas Day. 6 o’clock blowing a strong gale, Capt. Gray busy making the ship what he calls snug for the night. I anticipate a sleepless, night, Capt. Gray advising me if I ever came to sea again to take a cot in preference to a berth; he sleeps in one himself. Mr. Macfarlane obliged to go to bed before dinner again, his mind they say is not quite right. Dr Campbell says it is a slight attack of [delerium] tremens; a long discussion about him in the cuddy, no one spoke more of drinking than Mr. Macdonald, he has little idea his own character is so well known, we are often much amused to hear him talking with such coolness of drunkenness to hear him you would think he had never exceeded in his life. Capt. Gray told Capt. C he heard Mrs. Macdonald’s temper was the cause of her husband’s drinking.

Saturday, 21st November
A strong breeze in our favour last night, was very stormy tho not much afraid: I could not sleep neither could Capt.C from the noise. The children fortunately are never disturbed. We have had a good run since yesterday, upwards of 200 miles, if I had my wish I would prefer quieter sailing tho not quite so fast. The woman who was ill is much better today. The children and I have been all day in our cabin. I have been time about at the stockings and reading the Border tales. The weather very cold, Capt. Gray is in great glee at our getting on so fast. At noon we were lat. 40-30. Long. 53-27 East. Capt. Gray has very kindly made out a note from his own log book for me of the lat. and long. for each day during the time I gave up my journal. Mr. Macdonald does not understand lat. or long. and does not put it down in his journal; now you will be able to trace our progress every day on the way. 6 o’clock wind increasing, in daylight I am quite ashamed of the nervous fears I have at night. I sometimes fancy that the man at the helm is falling asleep and not steering, then that we have too much sail up and a squall will lay her on her beam ends, next I begin to smell fire. Every vessel I have ever heard of lost at sea comes to my recollection. I was not in this state when I came first away, my mind I know is weakened, but thank God my bodily health is now quite good. 8 o’clock busy looking out clean things for the children and giving them a Saturday washing. Wind has fallen considerably. Capt. Gray very angry at my Skye woman for refusing to make haggis on Sunday. I did not interfere. A great quantity of sea weed passed the ship, Capt. says it has come from Desolation Island. Lat. […]

Sunday, 22nd November
Desolation Island. Passed a very comfortable night. Wind still fair and blowing a stiff breeze, threatening rain and altogether a very cold, comfortless day; passed most of the day in my own cabin; John learnt his questions etc very well. Had public worship as usual. A very large whale seen quite close to the ship. Catherine has come to the cuddy for the first time for several days. 2 o’clock so cloudy could not take an observation; just been superintending the children at dinner and a capital one they had; pea soup capital roast pork and rice and baked plum pudding, I fear they will miss the good fare they have when they get on shore. Colin is the only one of mine that take the preserved milk with his porridge he likes it very much. Immense numbers of birds about the ship.

Monday, 23rd November
We have today what I call a very comfortable breeze sending us on from 6 to 7 knots an hour; so cloudy could not take an observation. Miserable Macfarlane quite deranged, he took Capt. Gray to his cabin and begged of him to take charge of his land orders and some other papers as he knew they were to be stolen from him. Capt. Gray got Capt. C to put his seal upon them and made him witness the sealing of them; unfortunate wretch he is to be pitied altho he has brought it on himself, he did not come to dinner. I forgot to mention it was only last week that Little John’s biscuit and gingerbread were done. I have a few rusks still. Susan would not look at them while the ginger-bread lasted, she is now very glad to take them. You could be amused if you heard how J.B.S. wishes to shew off occasionally last night she said she was so astonished when she first came to the Highlands at the barley bread and the quantity of eatables put down to breakfast, in her country (of course England) nothing was put down but toast, butter and tea, altho they had plenty of eggs they never thought of having them for breakfast. I asked how they used them, she said puddings for dinner. I asked if she never saw a boiled egg till she came to the Highlands, she said her father and mother occasionally took one.

Tuesday, 24th November
A light breeze not quite so favourable as we could wish. Very cold, had not courage to go on deck. Capt. C has had his usual walk. Macfarlane very ill today, Dr. has taken him in hand; he awoke the Capt. out of a sound sleep very early this morning to complain to him that all the passengers were leagued against him, that John Cameron had stolen his shoes and that Dr Campbell his shirts and a great deal more nonsense. At noon we were at lat. 40-4. Long. 64-17 E.

Wednesday, 25th November
Beautiful morning, much warmer than usual. Very little wind but favourable. Superintended a complete cleaning of my cabin, sewed Louisa’s bonnet for the 20th time, had a long walk on deck. J.B.S. and I had a hot argument, at least it was warm on her side, about Dr Johnston’s tour through the Highlands; I got Dr Campbell to join me, she said Dr Johnston was quite correct in all he said of the Highlands, we said he was not, and gave as our instance of it what he says about the want of wood; she was very ill pleased at me for saying she could not judge from her own observation as she had only seen one poor small corner of the country, she certainly improves less on intimate acquaintance than any person I ever met with, she has such a disagreeable temper, and like many weak people such an opinion of herself. Saw a shoal of about 20 small whales called the Bottle Nosed whales, some of them came close under my cabin window, they average from 12 to 15 ft in length. Macfarlane much better today. Capt. Gray is determined to keep everything in the drinking way out of his reach. Dr. Campbell told me today he thought he was athirst and that it was a great effect on on his mind, he is always worse at night and cannot bear to be in the dark. 6 o’clock breeze freshening sending us along 4 knots an hour; at sea 13 weeks today and three calendar months. So cloudy could make no observation.

Thursday, 26th November
A fine morning with a strong breeze in our favour, sending the ship along at a great rate. We had a good breeze all night. Poor Macfarlane very ill, his head has been shaved and blistered; he has taken umbrage at me and was telling Capt. Gray the most unaccountable things of me, he says my John has been mocking him all day, this of course, is all nonsense. Luckily he stands in great awe of the Capt. I was a good while on deck, Dr. Campbell and I were discussing our New Zealand prospects. We expected to pass in sight of 2 islands called St. Paul’s and Amsterdam. If the weather permitted Capt. Gray intended to send a boat’s crew to fish; immense quantities of firm fish are got close to them. The wind we have at present has sent us to far south that they will not even see them, this is rather a disappointment. At noon we were in Lat. 40-55. Long. 70-23 E.

Friday, 27th November
Blowing rather hard in our favour with a heavy swell; a very strong wind during the night, ship going at a great rate. At 3 o’clock this morning the wind changed so suddenly from one side of the vessel to the other that she was in danger of being taken aback the man at the helm was thrown completely over the wheel. Capt. Gray was on deck immediately to save his masts (it was blowing strong and a good deal of sail up) he put the the ship as quickly as possible round to the wind, until they shifted the sails. I was very much frightened at the extraordinary rolling of the vessel and the noise on deck. Mr. Macfarlane is quieter today but still far from the right, he has not made his appearance in the cuddy. I did not venture on deck the wind was so high. I was reading during the forenoon Colbourne’s Magazine extracts in it from Mrs Trollope’s amusing novel the “Widow Married”. At noon we were in Lat. 41-9. Long. 75 E. 6 o’clock glad to hear from Capt. Gray that the glass is rising; a strong favourable breeze still continuing.

Saturday, 28th November
A fine morning. wind not so strong but favourable. Sea much smoother, ship making good progress. Got a fall in my cabin which hurt me a good deal; I had Susan on my knee, saving her made my fall worse. Sat on deck a good while, this is the clearest day we have had for some time. Wind very sharp and cold especially in the morning and evening. A capital sheep killed last night, had no idea such fat mutton could be had on board ship. Discovered today that Susan is cutting the last of her teeth, she is in perfect health but complains of a sore mouth. At noon we were in Lat. 44-3 S. Long. 70-10 E. In 16 days we have run 2,800 miles from the Cape, this will show you what strong favourable winds we have had. Macfarlane made his appearance after dinner in the cuddy, he seemed quite and more collected, his eye had a rather restless look I did not like, he came from one end of the cabin to the other and sat close to me which I did not altogether like. I forgot to mention a sensation John caused Thursday night about 9 p.m. I sent Mary to bring him to bed, as she was passing through the cuddy John came to into my cabin without being observed by her or anyone; Mary of course could not find him anywhere, she then alarmed his father, the Capt. and all the gents searched every corner of the ship, at last they were almost sure he had gone overboard and were so sure of his not being in my cabin that they would not look in as they knew it would alarm me so much. I thought they had all gone crazy on hearing the cry from one to another that John Campbell was found when he was seen coming out of my cabin to got to bed; he and I were quite unconscious of the hubbub about him. Capt. C was some time before he recovered from his fright.

Sunday, 29th November
A gloomy morning and cold, a strong favourable breeze ship going at a great rate. Public worship s usual; put their best tartan surtouts on the boys, very smart they looked. Alexander and Campbell MacDonald have had a fight; their father would not allow them to get any dinner, this is a dreadful punishment as this is a pudding day and they dislike porridge so much, they take very little breakfast; what I consider much greater faults are often overlooked. Mr. Macfarlane continues better, he still has some symptoms I do not like, he is so restless, never sits in one place five minutes. All beginning to talk now a great deal about our arrival, our destination and discussing our future plans. Capt. C bought from Capt. Gray two larger stone butter jars for 4/-each, we have had the best salt butter I ever tasted on board. At noon we were in Lat. 41-19 S. Long. 83-29 E.

Monday, 30th November
A gloomy morning, strong favourable breeze; ship rolled such a lot during the night Capt. C got no sleep; she still continues to roll very much. In my own cabin all day running children’s stockings in the heel. Astonishing how quickly the time passes, there is so much sameness. So cloudy no observation could be taken today. Capt. Gray expects a hard gale tonight, the glass has fallen very low. 6 o’clock wind has increased very much, every prospect of a stormy night, sea running very high; Capt. Gray making or rather getting things snug for the night. I feel rather nervous consulting my oracle (as I call him) John Cameron very often as to his opinion of the weather, he is such a sailor that he knows everything about a ship, he is a very nice lad and has been well educated he is very fond of children. Susan calls him Shon. Macfarlane is today as ill as ever, I fear there is no hope of his recovery. Dr. Sutherland very ill with ear-ache did not rise till dinner time.

Tuesday, 1st December
Such a night as we passed, the wind was high till 12 o’clock, when it shifted a little and blew very hard indeed. I would call it a storm if I was allowed. About daylight it modified a little. Capt. C never closed an eye from the rolling of the vessel and the noise of the sea and wind. Fright made me pass a sleepless night; a cask of empty bottles on the deck was thrown down and rolled on the deck, it made a tremendous crash. One old religious man of the emigrants said he was sure we would all go to the bottom as a judgment on the Capt. for ordering a pig to be killed on Sunday. Children slept quite soundly through it all. John does not mind blow high or low. Colin does not like a hard breeze for fear the ship ‘cosses”. [Lucy] does not suffer any inconvenience except when she finds difficulty in keeping her feet. Susan keeps her feet better than any of them, when it defies her to stand she sets herself sitting on the floor. The morning is still blowing stormy and a very heavy swell, the sun is bright. We were in Lat. 42-23, Long 91-59. Dr. Sutherland has made his appearance, he suffered all night from pain in his ear, Macfarlane is a little better today, he is restless as ever; the black handkerchief on his head gives him such a odd look. 6 o’clock every prospect of getting a good night’s rest, a quite favourable breeze blowing, the sea has gone down very much.

Wednesday, 2nd December
Wind high but favourable, very cold showers of hail: glass continues low. A woman been very ill for some days with a falling of her womb and stoppage of her water. Dr. complaining of her husband not attending to her. She is a low country woman, married to a Cameron, she was of dissipated habits the whole frame is relaxed, her youngest child is 18 months old. Macfarlane is rather better, he said to Capt. C he was afraid he might have done or said anything to him or I to offend us was so foolish at times he did not know what he said or did, poor wretch he is much to be pitied. Capt. Gray is most attentive to him. Dr. has not much of his recovery. Dr Sutherland has not made his appearance today he still complains of earache. Mr. Macdonald has a cold. My better half never enjoyed better health, he never has any of his old ailments, headache, heartburn or rheumatism, during the hot weather he felt a little bilious. Not one in the ship except Capt. Gray takes so much exercise. 12 o’clock blowing heavy squalls with showers of hail bitterly cold, our lat. 42-36. long. 95-15 E. J.B.S. is very courageous now, she and Capt. Gray amused me very much with an argument about the killing of the pig on a Sunday and baking hot rolls, she had a good mind not to eat them unless they were baked Saturday. Capt. G said he could not help it, there were many things on board ship they would not think of doing on shore. I am amused of Capt. C when he speaks of her says “that poor silly creature she is not worth minding.”

Thursday, 3rd December
A strong favourable breeze, it is 3 weeks today since we passed the Cape, in that time we have run 3,800 miles. Capt. Gray never had such a run except once coming round Cape Horn in winter. I must confess I would rather prefer quieter sailing even if it was a little slower; the reason given for such constant high wind is our being so far south. So much motion cannot venture on deck; children contrive to run about the low deck. 6 o’clock glad to hear the glass is tending upwards, wind moderating. 8 o’clock prospect of a sound sleep tonight. This morning Colin looking out of window announced a shoal of bottle nosed whales. Lat. 42-32. Long. 100-60.

Friday, 4th December
Blowing very hard with heavy showers of rain. This has really been a very stormy week. 12 o’clock blowing a gale, one of our sails torn, some of the sails taken in. Could get no observation. I am getting so accustomed to high wind that I have got very much over my fright. Not so cold from the wind having a good deal of North. Busy reading another number of Colbourne’s magazine. J.B.S. keeps entirely in her own cabin from having only one servant she is obliged to nurse a good deal: she and I are good friends but seldom meet except at meal times. She goes off to her own cabin very soon after dinner; I like to sit with the gentlemen particularly in the evening, when it blows hard it gives me the courage seeing them so unconcerned. Susan often visits Capt. Gray in his cabin, he gives her raisins; tonight she came to me in very bad humour and calling half crying “bad Capt. Gay”. She had been with him and did not get any raisins; she has a very interesting gab, I never had any at her age that spoke so much or so plainly; she still speaks occasionally of her little sister, odd how long she misses her. 5 o’clock heard a tremendous fall on deck, John immediately called out that was either Mr. Macdonald or the hen-coops. Capt. Gray came convulsed with laughter to tell us it was Mr. MacDonald, he was not hurt. lucky for Capt. G the little wife did not see him laughing at her husband. Pleasant prospect for night wind increasing, glass falling, very little sail up, the little there is reefed.

Saturday, 5th December
Blowing hard still with a high sea, we had a harder gale last night than we have ever had yet. Capt. Gray is my authority for this, fortunately it was favourable; the emigrants were very much alarmed, the vessel shipped a good many seas, some of the water found its way down the hatchway which made people think she was sinking. They are like me easily alarmed; we are most uncomfortable today from the rolling of the vessel, I am obliged to sit in bed as the steadiest place a write this. Lat. 43-36. Long. 108-35. The last week has accustomed me so much to high wind that I was not frightened last night and even slept a good deal. Capt. C never can sleep when the vessel rolls. What an awful place this must be in winter, if you ever cross the seas you must leave Britain in August or September so as to be in the high southern latitude with summer weather; we never have had good weather for more than 2 or 3 days at a time; in winter there are often weeks of it. Macfarlane has been more composed for some days, he is still far from right. J.B.S. takes a great interest in him, she says from their being (with the exception of Capt. G) the only lowlanders. In the cabin she complained to me how little trouble the gents took to amuse him etc., now you must know he never was intimate or a favourite with any of them: was it not ridiculous? to suppose that young men would give themselves trouble about a great vulgar fellow who brought on his own complaint by intemperance. Capt. Gray takes more trouble with him than I could expect. 6 o’clock a beautiful evening, wind and sea gone down, all our reefs shaken out and more sail put up.

Sunday, 6th December
A beautiful morning, very little wind, ship only going about a mile an hour, warmer than it has been for a long time. Our lat. 43-28. Long. 111-24 E. For the last 26 days we have run 4,531 miles of long. beside some degrees of latitude. Poor Macfarlane consulting Capt. Gray what he could advise him to do on arriving in New Zealand; thought himself his best plan would be to marry some decent well-behaved woman that would take care of him, he was afraid he could have no choice but to take on one of the emigrants, a great deal of laughing and joking about this after dinner today. Public worship as usual and heard John his questions etc. Have been wearing your mousseline de laine shawl for some time to keep me warm. Today so warm glad to put it off. A great change, so quiet at dinner without the sandbags or puddings as they are called. 5 o’clock breeze freshening, going 4 miles an hour, children all enjoying themselves so much on deck. Susan has a very sore thumb, a small splinter of wood ran into it close to the nail, it was not observed until it had festered under the nail. Dr. C cut it open today, she stood the operation wonderfully well and went immediately to tell Capt. G what had been done to her.

Monday, 7th December
A delightful breeze carrying us along 7 miles an hour, went up on deck and had a short walk; still working at children’s stockings they will keep me busy till we arrive at our destination. Flora Macdonald not well, confined to bed with a slight bilious attack. Macfarlane has taken a melancholy turn, never speaks and only sits in the cuddy at meals; the moment he swallowed his dinner went off to his own cabin. Sinclair who reads and prays to on Sundays knew Macfarlane before, he is constantly with Macfarlane and as the latter has been reading his Bible several times we think he has taken a religious turn. J.B.S is delighted at this I should doubt his mind being in a fit state to receive proper views of religion. 6 o’clock Susan brought into my cabin crying bitterly, complained of one of her arms and would not allow it ro be touched; on stripping her found it very much inflamed and swollen about the elbow. Mary Cameron denied firmly that Susan has got a fall or that there was any cause for it. I was alarmed until the Dr. examined it and found a blue mark which shewed she must have got a fall; he bandaged it and rubbed it with [soal] linament. Lat. 43-35 S. Long. 114-45 E.

Tuesday, 8th December
Blowing hard, still favourable, was awoke at 4 this morning by the noise on deck in consequence of a violent squall of wind coming on so suddenly that Capt. Gray came on deck almost naked. One sail was torn completely and two very much injured. The emigrants so frightened most of themen ran on deck. J.B.S. came out of her cabin to collect the information from the steward. Capt. Grays’s cheek festering it gives him great pain, brought on by cold; he was not able to breakfast with us this morning; he is very hoarse from additional cold caught this morning. Susan’s arm quite well. 10 o’clock wind increased blowing strong gale, our lat. 43-44 S. Long. 118-55 E. 5 o’clock sitting in the cuddy looking at Mr. Macdonald and Capt. C playing drafts, all of a sudden it became very dark, we were startled by a loud peal of thunder and a vivid flash of forked lightning followed by the heaviest shower of rain I ever saw; we had none so heavy even between the tropics; after this the wind got rather lower and it cleared a fine evening. 8 o’clock wind freshing. Daylight till 8 o’clock. At 8 o’clock in the morning with you it is the afternoon with us.

Wednesday, 9th December
A strong favourable breeze. You could have laughed if you had seen me dressing this morning; I had a basin of water on the locker washing myself, another large basin of water beside me Capt. C was going to use, he was leaning against the scritoire strapping his razor, the vessel gave a tremendous roll, in attempting to save both basins I lost both and my own footing, to the bargain, basins, water and I were thrown against the side of the cabin with such force that Capt. Gray thought some of us were going to pay him a visit. Before I could recover my feet the next roll drove my accompaniments and I with equal force against the other side. I think I hear you say where was Capt. C all this time, just looking on laughing heartily, his excuse for not assisting he could not risk spoiling his good razor by throwing it down. In the hurry fortunately I escaped all but the water. I often think of Mary’s weakness in her limbs, if she was here she would be obliged to find strength in them. Our Lat. 43-48 S. Long. 122-54. 12 o’clock bright sunshine, had thought of going on deck till I heard it was very cold. Capt. Gray killed a large porpoise before dinner, the liver of it was very nicely dressed and put down on the table. I tasted a small bit from curiosity and would not know it from sheep’s liver. The sailors consider a porpoise a great treat they say it eats like beef steak but drier and coarser. A sheep killed today so good it would not disgrace any market. My Skye maid is to make the haggis tomorrow, she equals Lezy Taylor at them. Macfarlane still in a melancholy mood, he complained to Capt. Gray that J.B.S. was making a game of him, the little woman was so astonished she would scarcely believe he would say so of her.

Thursday, 10th December
The same strong favourable breeze continuing, ship going at an average from 8 to 9, miles an hour; all night very cloudy threatening rain, the thermometer up to 60; this is higher than we have had it for three weeks. The carpenter when pumping the ship this morning brought up some sand from the bottom of the vessel, one of the emigrants who saw it said it was easily seen we were drawing near land when the sand was coming into the ship with the water, we could not see that two weeks ago. Capt. Gray says it is time to look about us if the ocean has become so shallow. When we were at our wine after dinner today Flora Kennedy would be rising with you by candlelight to clear out the dining room. How often we speak and think all you are about; I have no doubt you are often employed in the same way about us little thinking I daresay of our sad bereavement; dear little lamb if she had her teething well over I have little doubt she would be alive and well now. The other children are all so stout and healthy. Susan seeming to have forgot the taste of good milk, she takes her porridge with the preserved milk for some time as well as ever she did at home; she sits down every evening with the big bairns to her tea and roll, for dinner she takes soup, rice and sauce and occasionally a bit of meat, she is stout and rosy. Lat. 43-40 S. Long. 127-12 E.

Friday, 11th December
Beautiful bright day blowing a hard but favourable gale. About 8 o’clock this morning, squall with a heavy shower of rain which obliged them to furl one of the sails. We have had a fine run since yesterday. At 12 noon to 12 today 204 miles, we are in lat. 43-51 S. Long. 131-56 E. Some of the emigrants are much afraid we have passed New Zealand, we are so long of arriving, their remarks are very amusing, one old 79 pensioner from […] who was 20 years in the regiment is quite an oracle among them, he certainly shews he has doubled the Cape more than once. I am giving the last mending to John’s surtout that it will bear. Colin quite whole as he has worn it as much as his brother; it is too cold for their french shirts. Louisa has fairly worn out her dark silk, she is wearing her crimson velvet, it looks well with a clean pinafore; she has still two of her prints clean; my saxony is my constant wear it is most useful and black cap equally so. J.B.S. being to be rather ill off for caps, she envies me my black one, she wears an old black merino and a shawl handkerchief, on Sundays, she puts on an old black silk. A collar keeps a long time clean here, I wear mine a fortnight without being at all dirty. Macfarlane still the same. Capt. Gray to oblige him to come up to the cuddy refused to send his meals down below to him, he comes to dinner but prefers wanting his breakfast to coming up for it. A tremendous row tonight again between the 1st mate and Mr. Macdonald’s culprit (I mean the sailor to whom he gave the Bible) the rascal got hold of the mate because he had found fault with him when both were up in the rigging and threatened to throw him overboard. The Capt. gave him a sound drubbing with a stick and hung him for an hour by a rope round his waist over the ship’s side to clean the chain plates near the waters edge. Then he was pardoned.

Saturday, 12th December
A very strong breeze in our favour with occasional showers of heavy rain. Emigrants say we are so long of getting to Van Dieman’s land they are afraid Capt. Gray has passed it by and may miss New Zealand in the same way. We are today Lat. 43-58 S. Long. 135-32 E. I forgot to mention that we have a Venetian and Russian on board as sailors, the former is the cleanest and best behaved sailor in the ship, the latter is the dirtiest, both speaking a little English. Busy in the evenings giving the children their Saturday washing and looking out clean clothes for tomorrow. Curious how reconciled the children are to the ship, they never ask when they are to see land except Colin. I am certain John will regret leaving the Blenheim. It is a great blessing they’re all so stout and healthy. Capt. Gray expects it to blow rather hard tonight.

Sunday, 13th December
Rather a gloomy morning, it cleared up about 10 o’clock. A beautiful breeze as fair as it can blow, a firm strong breeze last night carrying us along 9 miles an hour. The sea was more luminous last night than I have seen it yet. I sat a long time at my cabin window, I never saw anything more beautiful, you would fancy the sea was covered with large balls of fire. Had public worship as usual, heard John his questions etc. sat a long time on the poop, too much motion to walk, we expect to be only another Sunday on board. Our lat. 44-8. Long. 148-11. Macfarlane is much better, for two days he has attended all his meals in the cuddy. We expect to see Van Dieman’s land tomorrow evening. Capt. Gray expects to pass within 5 miles of the land. I do not think that I mentioned that J.B.S. work is knitting worsted stockings, last week she turned a tartan frock for Duncan; her daughters are very idle particularly Catherine she does nothing but read except while giving lessons to the children and occasionally some slow worsted work, she fiddles at. It is alleged by other young men that Dr Sutherland is looking sweet at her; they have a great deal of joking among themselves about it. Dr Sutherland is the smallest man, except Jimmy Macdonald, I ever saw and very plain looking; he is generally in very high or low spirits, speaks very like Christian Tait, he has been well educated but not by any means I should think a clever youth; he is much more of the gentleman than Dr Campbell, his father was a respectable proprietor in Caithness but was obliged to sell his property; he has two brothers in the Company’s service in India. So much for for Catherine’s beau. His fortune is between £400 and £500 and 100 acres of land. Dr Campbell may be a good doctor but you never would think so from his manner, he speaks with such a Highland accent and expresses himself so ill, you would think he had not spoken English till he was at least twenty. I must say he is most attentive to his duties and most obliging; we have always found him particularly so at all events we have not a very polished party, we have what is better a very merry and social one. I forgot to say Dr Campbell tho not so little as Dr S is very small likewise and plain looking. John Cameron looks a giant beside them, he is both tall and stout and very wise in every respect.

Monday, 14th December
A fine fair morning but cold, a favourable breeze carrying us on about 7 miles an hour, everyone on the qui vive expecting to see land, a constant lookout from the mast head. Capt. Gray on making up his reckoning at noon found he was further south than he had expected, consequently we will only see land from a great distance. About ½ past 12 there was a cry from the mast head of land in sight, shortly afterwards those with sharp eyes could see it from the deck; you cannot fancy what a sensation this caused amongst the people who for 16 weeks have seen nothing but sky and water except the desert island of Trinidada. As we were about 30 miles distant I only saw the land like a dark cloud, it was the south part of Van Dieman’s Land. Capt. Gray says we would be in Hobart Town last night if that had been our destination. While off the land in the evening we had heavy showers of rain and the smoothest sea since wwe left the tropics. We were delighted to find Capt. Gray was quite correct in his reckoning. 6 o’clock the land more distinctly seen, some of the gents saying it was like the port of Ardnamurchan. We have only been 32 days from the Cape to Van Dieman’s land an unprecedented quick passage; we have not been 34 days without an adverse wind, this is looked on as quite extraordinary.

Tuesday, 15th December
A beautiful morning, much warmer, the favourable breeze still continuing tho not so strong as we have become accustomed to, still we are progressing 5 or 6 miles an hour. A woman delivered of a son last night, this makes the sixth child born on board and all very fine, thriving children; this woman with all her former confinements had long and difficult labours, yesterday evening she did not feel herself very well, the Dr. desired her to go into the hospital, she thought they would have plenty of time to remove after she was taken ill, however matters came so quick upon her that the child was born before she could be removed; Dr. C was very angry at her and no wonder, think how unpleasant for him going about her before so many women and married men who sleep in the same place; to crown all not one stitch had she prepared for the child, it was rolled in an old petticoat of the mother’s. She is a carpenter’s wife from Skye. All the other women had their baby things so neat and tidy, particularly the low country woman; they come up on Sundays so clean and dressed some of them in white frocks and nice little hoods. Macfarlane is much better, he has been seen to smile once or t\twice at table does not now trouble capt. Gary with his confidential commentations. Today our lat. is 43-23 Long. 149-18. Went up on deck at 2 o’clock beautiful warm day, very little wind, ship making very little way I am sorry to say, beginning to think of our packing, hope to be in New Zealand on the 22nd. 6 o’clock very little wind almost a calm. After tea the Capt. killed with a hook and line 6 large albatrosses, one or tow of them measured 10 ft 8 inches between the tips of the wings, some of them, almost pure white were beautiful birds they are very valuable on account of the quantity of down on them. We have had the most glorious sunset this evening I have yet seen, as I cannot do do it justice in the description I will not attempt it. Bye the bye I mat well mention that it is as well J.B.S. and I are to separate soon, I do not think that she would continue long good friends, when she is in bad humour she is so rude in contradicting me in any opinion I offer as if she must know better than anyone; I never came in contact with so ill-tempered a woman; I really pity her husband, I have heard him at times say sharper things to her than I could think him capable of, she can make herself pleasant enough when she chooses and did so for a long time after she came on board.

Wednesday, 16th December
A beautiful bright morning, there is a light breeze not quite fair; in the morning at 12 o’clock it became more favourable; for 35 days we have had a fair wind till today, the fishing for birds commenced early, 3 monomoths were caught before breakfast, this is a bird very like the albatross but smaller; one beautiful large albatross was caught likewise. Capt. Gray has some of the emigrant women busy plucking the birds on deck. I have been ransacking my repositories for some duds of clothes for the little stranger that made his appearance the other day; it has been in the mother’s coarse petticoat. Our Lat. 43-33 Long 151-57. J.B.S. in very good humour she wishes evidently to be very agreeable to me to make up for some very disagreeable words we had last night; you will laugh when you hear one of the arguments we had was about the roasting of mutton, she said she never had mutton roasted without plenty of butter rubbed into it, I said I never used it unless the mutton was poor and dry from from being long kept, she said mutton must be dry without butter that old Mrs. Macdonald who was such a good housekeeper always used it; she appealed to John Cameron if his mother did not use butter to baste the mutton, he said he was not sure, he thought she did not; I said I knew his Aunt did not, that she had superintended the roasting of a good many joints with me not long since without using a bit of butter certainly not […] was busy with us both during our dispute the gents were all present and highly amused at us. So warm put on one of my ginghams.

Thursday, 17th December
Fine morning, tho not bright, a light breeze not quite favourable making some way notwithstanding. A very fine sheep killed yesterday just as fat as our Highland mutton but of course will not have the same flavour; one still remaining which is promised to Mr. Macdonald if we arrive in New Zealand in time to spare its life; he will pay at least £3 for it, this does not look like a want of funds. The children at their plum pudding today were calculating they would only have one other on board the Blenheim and that will be on Sunday, 2 days of pancakes, Saturday and Tuesday. The lat at noon 43—32, Long. 154-28 E.

Friday, 18th December
Beautiful bright day, sea as smooth as the Clyde a light breeze favourable, for some days the crew have been employed scraping the masts before giving them a new coat of paint, discovered this morning the fore mast was very much decayed and sprung under the top, the carpenter is putting a piece of wood in where the decayed part was dug out, it will help to strengthen it; this will oblige Capt. Gray to remain a month in New Zealand to get a new mast put up; most extraordinary it did not give way with the strong winds we had and the press of sail we sometimes carried. Capt. Gray is sure we will have our Christmas dinner on board, he says if we are only making the land on that day he will be so anxious and constantly on the poop he will not enjoy himself. I have been occupied a great part of the day making out a list of every article we have on board, it is a tolerable long list. Lat. 43-3. Long. 157-12. This morning about 2 o’clock I was startled out of a doze by a mouse that was scrambling about the bed, falling on my shoulder, it then got under my night-gown; I nearly went distracted when I felt it creeping on my body, I jumped out of the berth and it required some persuasion to get me into it again; I gave myself great credit for not screaming. You would be amused to see my Skye woman and Capt. C hunting the mouse in the cabin this evening, they got hold of it after a hard chase.

Saturday, 19th December
Beautiful weather still continuing, neither too hot nor too cold. Thermometer at 8 o’clock this morning was up to 65, a light but favourable breeze all night and still continues; ship as still as if it were at anchor. Our cannons, which amount to 4 were taken out of the hold today (except one which is always on deck) to get them in readiness to fire a salute on casting anchor at Wellington. Capt. Gray applying to J.B.S. and I for old flannel petticoats to make cartridges; I told him mine were too good to use for such a purpose; it is so warm we are sitting with all our cabin windows open. Lat. 42-35 Long. 161-12. J.B.S. very busy packing all day. I proposed beginning on Monday, on saying something about it Capt. Gray said none was allowed to pack till just about to cast anchor, that packing early was sure to bring on a foul wind. J.B.S. proposing taking her things down again for fear of reflections. Great preparation in steerage of bonnets, caps, gowns etc for landing. Our party will not give the New Zealanders a high opinion of Highland beauty; I never saw so many very plain looking.

Sunday, 20th December
A beautiful morning and warmer than yesterday or since we left the tropics; a light favourable breeze. You cannot fancy what a change to us the ship going as quietly as if she was at anchor from the tossing we were accustomed too all the way from the Cape till we sighted Van Diemans land. Public worship as usual. John busy at his questions. Lat. at noon 41-59 S. Long. 164-26. Constant betting and calculations when we shall see the first peep of New Zealand. My better half busy calculating our distance etc. every day even Mr. Macdonald begins to understand and take an interest in lat. and long.

Monday, 21st December
A beautiful bright day, breeze very light but favourable; so warm, thermometer up to 66 in the Capt’s cabin with the windows open. If the climate of New Zealand is at equal to this it must be delightful; of course the land is much warmer than we have at sea. Both my domestics busy today cleaning out my cabin, washing down the paint on the sides and roof, determined to deliver it up in good order. I got, by Capt. Gray’s orders, 3 gallons of water for this purpose; intend to have the boys’ cabin scrubbed tomorrow. Forgot to mention some time ago, looking over old papers in the scritoire discovered a contract of marriage between Duncan Campbell, Capt. C’s great grandfather and an ancestor of Miss Nellys and Florence Cameron either a daughter or widow of John Cameron younger of Calcutta. It is written in such an old curious style I could not make more of it out; the date is 1739. If you ever see Miss Nelly tell her of this. 6 o’clock almost a calm, ship only going 2 miles an hour. Lat. at noon 41-26. Long. 167-11.

Tuesday 22nd December 1840
A beautiful day, Capt. Gray complaining of the want of wind, afraid the change of Moon on Wednesday may bring a gale. We expect by that time to be in Cook Straits where it will be anything but pleasant to encounter bad weather.This forenoon a great many whales in sight, some of them came so close to the vessel I could have tossed a biscuit on their backs, even I, blind as I am, saw their mouths and the air holes through which they blow the water quite distinctly; they were sperm whales, Capt. Gray said some of them must have been at least 80 feet long; the children were astonished beyond measure at their size and the noise they made spouting up the water; even Susan called out there was “Jemmy Ducks”, this is a Bogie they tell her lives in the sea. At dinner, quizzing Mr. Macdonald at the figure he would cut driving his sheep and four hens he has bought from the Capt. into Wellington. Capt.C saying he would have plenty of shepherds for his stock. Louisa in deep distress at having lost a purse given to her by the carpenter for a kiss; it was made of the skin of the foot of an albatross; by Colin’s advice she tied a line to it and towed it out the cabin window and of course lost it. J.B.S. getting her cabins cleaned out today. The emigrants are to be roused at 4 o’clock tomorrow morning to clean out their places; there has been much scraping of the ship decks for two days. Lat. at noon 40-2. Long. 169. 8 o’clock breeze freshened so much that the ship is going 8 to 9 knots an hour, expect to see land early tomorrow. Boys for some days in their french shirts, very angry with John came in with the knees of his trousers covered with tar, he got off one of the boats. Would not allow him to go on the poop all day. Colin is always so neat and tidy.

Wednesday, 23 December
A beautiful morning, rather cloudy, a delightful favourable breeze carrying us along from 7 to 8 knots an hour; the ship made great progress during the night. Capt. Gray turned all hands up in the steerage at 4 o’clock to commence the scrubbing, such a chattering and noise as the women made. The largest shoal of porpoises about the ship Capt. Gray ever saw; the 2nd Mate killed one, Capt. Gray speared another; the line broke and carried off the harpoon sticking in its back, it must have died immediately. This is the second harpoon lost in the same way. A cry of land at about ½ past 10 o’clock, everyone in such a state of excitement so anxious to get the first peep of land of our adoption. It was Cape Farewell on the north of the South Island; it appeared to be very high land. we soon lost sight of it. Cooks Straits are 80 miles broad at the entrance. We have fairly entered them. The sea is quite green in colour. Capt. Gray hopes top anchor in Port Nicholson tomorrow afternoon if the breeze continues as it is at present. The land we saw today was so far off that we could only see the outline. Lat. 40-18. Long. 172-24. Capt. C had his straw hat blown overboard tonight.

Thursday, 24th December
During the night we had a strong favourable breeze. 11 o’clock the ship lay too still, 3 o’clock in the morning when the day begins to dawn, Capt. Gray took this precaution because he had never been here before and the Straits are so narrow in some parts that the navigation is rather intricate. Just when the moon changed last night a very sudden squall came on, it was violent while it lasted. Fortunately it didn’t continue long from the ship laying too, we felt it more I confess I felt very anxious and often wished myself out in the blue water again. Capt. Gray sat up all night, he seemed very anxious, this place is so subject to sudden gales of wind. This morning almost calm, great fears spring that we will not cast anchor today. About 11 o’clock a smart breeze sprung up to our great disappointment right ahead of us; we have been tacking all day and making no progress. Capt. Gray says with this wind it will take us 4 days to make out Port Nicholson, a fair wind would bring us there in 6 hours; this is very tantalising, we are about 60 miles from our destination, we have had land in sight on both sides all day; about 7 this evening we came within about 8 miles of the North Island; it is very high land and very precipitous. Near the coast we could see large trees on the tops of the hills altho there were none on the side next to the sea. A large butterfly (of course a New Zealand one) was seen on board the ship; we smelt the land quite distinctly this evening and saw fire on shore. I have been busy packing all day. Capt. Gray quite disconcerted that we will not be able to enjoy his Christmas dinner from not being at anchor. 8 o’clock the breeze has died away completely, it is a complete calm.

Friday, 25th December
A beautiful bright sunny day, so warm cannot bring myself to think this is Christmas Day. A very light breeze sprung up about 11 o’clock against us. Capt C saying we may be a week of anchoring. All very merry at dinner; a favorable breeze came on about 6 o’clock which, with a good allowance of wine, put the gents in famous spirits. A lovely evening, went up on deck to look at the emigrants dancing, they got some grog to keep their Christmas. Capt. Gray expects to anchor tomorrow at breakfast time. Sat up til 11 o’clock at which time the vessel had just got through the narrows and lay to for the night.

Saturday, 26th December
When we went to bed last night it was blowing a light breeze, a beautiful starry night; judge of our astonishment on awakening this morning to find it blowing very hard gale right against us. Capt. Gray mistook another bay for Port Nicholson; instead of anchoring as we expected at 9 this morning we were obliged to pass Port Nicholson and were drived out 30 miles from the land; it was quite one of those storms Pollock describes as so frequent in the straits; altho blowing so hard not a cloud was to be seen in the sky and the sun shining so bright. I was dreadfully alarmed, if we had been in the open sea I would not have minded it. I dreaded one of the sudden shifts of wind that Pollock describes, likewise which might drive us on the shore; my fears got so much the better of me I believe I afforded great amusement to the gentlemen. The gale commenced at 2 o’clock this morning. Capt Gray thinks it will moderate about that time.

Sunday, 27th December
A beautiful mild morning, just as Capt. Gray expected. The wind went down and changed in our favour about 2 this morning. The Capt. is in rather a dilemma about finding out the harbour; there is not proper chart of it published; he is not sure which of the bays it may be. Very stupid of the Company not to have some signal put up to show the proper entrance. Went up on deck after breakfast, we were off the bay thought most likely to be the proper entrance. To make sure the Capt. lowered a boat with six hands, they were to make a signal if they found we were in the right place; besides this we had five cannon fired with the hope of bringing a pilot to our assistance. Before the boat had gone any distance from the ship Somes Island and Wards Island were discovered from the masthead which made the Capt. so sure he had at last found the proper place that he made sail into the bay. You may fancy the state of excitement we were all in, the children calling out everything they saw or imagined they saw; Louisa even the length of saying she heard the New Zealanders speaking. At length a ship was seen at anchor which was the first symptom we had of being near Wellington The town consists of a number of small houses some wooden and some thatched, both on the sea beach and a few on an elevated plain behind. We were much disappointed at the wild appearance the country presented. The Bay is so very extensive t would contain the British navy and more, and surrounded on every side by hills wooded to the top. The climate would be delightful but for the high winds that prevail. I am told a very short way inland the weather is much milder that you would scarcely feel a breath of air when blowing a hard gale in the harbour. We counted 12 ships of all sizes at anchor before the Town. The moment our anchor was out a number of boats came off from the shore to us. Some of the gentlemen were very superior in appearance and manner to what I expected to see. We were much disappointed to find that the Surveying Department had been slow in its operations there was no chance of getting our sections for some time, even those who came in the [Royal] Merchant have not been provided with theirs. Our land will be 80 miles from Wellington at Wanganui. To make up for this we are told by all who have seen that part of the country that the land is more level and much easier cleared. Indeed the fine harbour at Port Nicholson is all it has to recommend it. Up the river Hutt about 8 miles from Wellington there is very fine land but heavily timbered and of course a great expense, the clearing of it from being so near the chief town where there is always a demand for everything it will pay the expense well. Some of the natives came on board dressed in European clothes. As I have brought the ship to an anchor I will now close my journal. Our proceedings from the 27th I will give you in a letter which I will dispatch by the first ship which sails and that I hope you will receive long before this comes to hand, as I intend sending my journal home by Capt. Gray and he returns by Manilla and China. I hope it will afford you some amusement,I have been very particular in putting down everything, as I knew nothing would be too trifling to interest you. I have enclosed for your amusement an invitation card I got to a Ball. Now that the voyage is over I must say I thought very little of it, and were it not for the severe trial we met with I think I would have even enjoyed it; to be sure we were most fortunate in weather, ship and Commander; to give you an idea how attentive Capt. Gray is, from the Tuesday we entered Cooks Straits till we anchored in Port Nicholson on Sunday he never went to bed; he is rather blunt in his manner, I always liked him and found his most attentive and kind, were it nothing more than the love he had for the dear little lamb who is no more I would always feel a deep interest in his welfare. Sometimes he and Mrs. Macdonald were rather sharp to each other, she always brought it on herself, I have heard her say very rude things about him; I never saw a woman with less common sense or less command of her temper. I will give you an instance of her rudeness. We had very fine English ham for dinner so there would not be enough to go over all the cabin passengers at breakfast; next morning there were only a few slices put down for the ladies. Donald, who is very fond of good things no sooner spied the ham than he asked for some; Capt. Gray said there was none for him, his wife called out “ O yes Donald there was some ham but I suppose Capt. Gray wishes to keep it for himself, so from my sitting next Capt. Gray I had an opportunity of seeing that he would be the last man to do anything of the kind. I have seen him help about soup and not keep a drop for himself.

And now my dear Mother and Sister I will bid you goodbye and may God bless you.
Your most affectionate
Jessie Campbell

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Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters

Thanks to Jessie Campbell’s journal we know a great deal about the voyage of the Blenheim, and from her letters we also learn about the conditions of life in New Zealand in the 1840s.   We also learn a lot about Jessie Campbell herself, and about the people around her.

These pages provide some background on Jessie Campbell and her family, and it is planned to include some elaboration of the people, places and events she refers to.

For the text of the journal, go to Jessie Campbell’s Journal.

For the text of the letters go to Jessie Campbell’s Letters.

For the history of the Blenheim go to About the Blenheim.


Jessie Campbell

Jessie Cameron was the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel John Cameron of Achnasaul and Louisa Campbell of Glenure. She was born around 1807 in Kilmallie.

Jessie’s father, John Cameron of Achnasaul, was a lieutenant-colonel who fought in the American War of Independence, and afterwards became Governor of Fort William. John Cameron was a member of the family of MacSorlie-Camerons of Glen Nevis, and was the second son of Alexander Cameron, 12th of Glen Nevis, and Mary Cameron of Dungallon, a grand-daughter of Sir Ewen Dubh Cameron of Locheil. Alexander Cameron was imprisoned more than once for his support of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and subsequent dealings with Jacobites in exile.

John Cameron of Achnasaul married Louisa Campbell of Glenure in 1800, and they had several children:

  • Margaret Cameron, born c 1802, died c 1851-54, married Thomas MacDonald, writer (lawyer), Fort William, in 1818, probably sixteen children.
  • Isabella Cameron, born c 1805, died in 1847, married James MacGregor, writer (lawyer) and bank agent at Fort William, one son, James Cameron Macgregor, born in 1845.
  • Jessie Cameron, born c 1807, died in 1885, married Moses Campbell in 1827, and went to New Zealand in 1840; see Captain Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron.
  • Ewen Cameron, born in 1810, died in 1883, a Captain in the 79th Cameron Highlanders, married Catherine Bridson, from the Isle of Man, in 1841 and settled there as a farmer and magistrate, and had probably seven children.
  • Colin Cameron, born c 1812, died in 1870, married Henrietta Stewart Whelan in 1846, at least three children; served in Her Majesty’s Customs, Liverpool and Glasgow.
  • Alexander Cameron, born in 1814, died in 1858, married Emily Ashworth, daughter of General Ashworth, had two sons who served in the Royal Engineers, and a daughter; served as a lieutenant-colonel in the 42nd Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) from 1855 to 1858, commanded a regiment at the Relief of Lucknow in 1857-58, was wounded at Bareilly, and died in August 1858.

In 1827 Jessie married Captain Moses Campbell, when he was around 40 and she was 19.

Moses Campbell was born around 1787, the son of John Campbell of Inverliver and Susan Cameron of Breadalbane. He served in the 72nd Regiment, the Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders, being promoted to Captain of Infantry in 1828.

Moses Campbell had a sister, Jane Butler Campbell, born around 1800, who married Lieutenant James Wright of the 24th Regiment of Foot on February 6 1821 at Cawnpore, India.  Jane and James had twin sons Robert and George, born at Glenrolach House in South Knapdale, Scotland, on 7 July 1823.  They appear to have had at least one other child, a daughter Wilhelmina, born around 1827. Jane Butler (Campbell) Wright died in 1876 in Edinburgh.

On the death of his father, Moses Campbell left the Army on half-pay and seems to have lived in Glasgow while he tried to sell the estate of Inverliver, on Loch Awe in Argyll. After advertising it for a number of years, Moses Campbell sold the Inverliver Estate in 1836 having already moved to Achindale, near Fort William and the home of Jessie’s family. By 1839, the family had decided to emigrate to New Zealand. In that year Moses was allotted two one-hundred-acre sections in Wanganui by the New Zealand Company and retired from his half-pay post with the army, by the sale of his commission.

By the time of the Blenheim’s voyage in 1840, Moses and Jessie had five children – John Cameron Campbell 8, Colin Macmillan Campbell 6, Louisa Margaret Campbell 4, and 1-year old twins Isabella Eliza Campbell (died at sea) and Susan Ann Campbell. One child, born in 1830, had died before the voyage, and they went on to have a further six children in New Zealand – William Patrick Campbell (1841), Ewen Alexander Campbell (1843), Isabella Elizabeth Campbell (1845), Helen Ann Campbell (1847), Robert Andrew Campbell (1850), and Mary Susan Campbell (1852).

Jessie Campbell’s Letters

The letters of Jessie Campbell to her family, from Greenock, Petone and Wanganui.

The texts are taken from the typescript (Ref: qMS-0369) held at the Alexander Turnbull Library.  The punctuation and spelling follow the typescript, and may differ slightly from other versions of these letters.


Back to Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters.


  • 25 August 1840: from Jessie Campbell on the Blenheim to Isabella Cameron:

The “Blenheim” 4.30 p.m.
My dear Isabella
Here we are at last and I am glad to say the accommodation is even better than I expected, our cabin, when put in order will be very comfortable. I am in better spirits today strange to say, than I have been since I saw you. The children are very good and have had a comfortable sleep.

Ewen came on board with us and is still here, he is to put this into the P.O. for you. I.B.S. is quite brisk, when I came on board she came to ask me what she could do for me. We came alongside in a Helenburgh steamer and got drenched with rain, there was terrible confusion with baggage & our scritoire and No.9 came on board and was put into the hold on Saturday last, we cannot get them out till tomorrow night, tonight we do the best we can. Tibby never looked better than she does and is so merry. The emigrants have all been mustered today, I have not been out of my cabin as yet not even to see the Capt. Gray I mean. They say if the wind is fair, they will sail at daylight.

I am quite ashamed of dear Ewen’s making presents to us, he has given me the writing portable box which I know he valued and Grandfather’s tales for John. Ewen is off — I must have done —
Your much attached sister
J. Campbell

  • 25 August 1840: from Ewen Cameron at Greenock to Isabella Cameron:

Tuesday evening
8 o’clock
My dear Isabella,
I have just ascertained that the Blenheim will certainly sail this night at 11 o’clock — a steamer being engaged at that time as a tug. Jessie & the Capt. I left at about 6 o’clock in wonderful spirits, they seem hquite pleased with their cabin and I have not the least doubt that will be very comfortable……The wind is really fair at present.
With best regards to all at Viewforth — in haste
Your affect. Brother
E. Cameron

  • 29 August 1840: from Jessie Campbell on the Blenheim to Isabella Cameron:

29th August 1840
My dearest Isabella
I have opened my letter to tell you that we have been becalmed since yesterday and have not yet made out Holyhead, the packet from that place is just seen approaching, our Capt. has signalled for it to come alongside, I hope to get my despatches all landed today. We are all in the best of health, you never saw Tibbie looking better. Capt. C. was just wishing this morning you could see her peeping out of her cot like a little mouse and laughing at her Papa, she is a greater pet with the passengers than poor Cocky. The ship is going rather better at present but still very slowly, it is very tiresome. The more I know Capt. Grey the more I like him, my husband seems a favourite with him, he is so obliging to him and his whole conversation is almost entirely addressed to him. Drimintoran’s business about the wine had put him out of favour.

I have not time to write more as the packet is close at hand.

My dearest Isabella, Your most affectionate sister —
J Campbell

We are busy today putting our cabin in order and sorting the scritoire and screwing nails in to hang things up. Some of the gentlement have nice books, the time as yet never hangs heavy. We get our allowance of water every morning, & English pints for washing and everything. We find it quite sufficient with management, the children drink the black coffee and tea very well when made sweet for them

Just off Dublin Bay.

I must beg of you to write to Mrs. W. Campbell give her my love and say I would write but their movements are so uncertain. I do not know where to address. I see the Jane Goudi arrived safely at Sydney. I have not heard from Charles yet.

  • For details of the voyage, see Jessie Campbell’s Journal.
  • 8 November 1841: from Jessie Campbell at Petone to Isabella Cameron:

Petone, 8th Nov. 1841
My dearest Isabella,
This will the 4th letter besides my journal which have written to you, my last was written in June and announced the birth of William Patrick on 13th May exactly a week after Capt. C. sailed for Sydney. In case my letter may not have come to hand, I may as well mention that I never suffered so little or had so good a recovery. My medical attendant Dr. Stokes, was very attentive and skilful. I had no midwife, my servant and Mrs. Butler were the only attendants, how much I would have given to have had my old friends Crighton and Coley.  Miss Beals arrived a few hours after Baby was born and very kindly remained until I was by the fire-side. It was a great trial having to part from my husband at such a time, you may fancy what his anxiety must have been for the ten weeks of absence, he did not get any of my letters, he did not know of the birth of his son, not whether we were dead or alive until his return to Wellington.

Willie is now almost 6 months old, he is very like John, is hardly ever heard to cry and he has never tasted medicine. My mother will be surprised to hear he had not the least of the yellow gum.

The other children are all in rude health, John is a tremendous fellow in size & strength, he is already of great use. We have had no man for almost 3 months, John brings the cow home regularly from the bush. When his Father is from home, he goes to the Pah to buy potatoes from the natives and makes as good bargain as I can. He has great confidence in himself, in some respects he is the better of this, his greatest fault is being very obstinate. When he takes a thing in his head, it is no easy matter to convince him of being wrong.

Colin is taller for his age than John, he is quite healthy and much stronger and more active than when you saw him. We think he shows symptoms of being wormy which makes him thinner than he was some time ago. If he had advantages, I think he would be a tolerable scholar, his judgment is very much improved, he learns by heart much quicker than John. He is the only one who takes a pleasure in keeping himself neat & tidy. A rent in his clothes distresses him beyond measure.

Louisa is a sad romp, from being so much with the boys, she is very hoydenish. She is growing very tall and is thinner which has rather improved her appearance. Her abilities are better than her brothers, she has an immense mop of hair.

Susan Anne, I am sure you would think a dear little pet, she has dark blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and small regular features. She talks continuously and is not the least shy, which makes her very engaging to strangers.

I am delighted to say that altho’ the Capt. continues thin he is in excellent health, he takes so much exercise it keeps him down in flesh, he never has heartburn and much less rheumatism.
I am not quite so stout as I was, my health is excellent, the only thing I complain of is having too keen an appetite. The children are ravenous, it is quite delightful to see how they enjoy their food.

Now that I have satisfied you as to our health, I will begin with all that has happened since the month of June which was when I wrote you last.

Mr. Butler died on the 18th of that month, we miss him very much. On the 15th of July Capt. C. returned from Sydney he returned a month sooner than I expected. I got quite hysterical between joy and suspense when in the dusk of the evening he popped in among us, he brought with him a good deal of livestock, viz. 3 cows, one died on the voyage, 2 mares, 2 goats, 5 turkeys, 5 geese, 6 ducks, 6 hens & a cock.

The vessel went into a harbour in the S.Island and waited for a favourable wind, the Capt. while there got two large pigs for a small blanket each. He got a present of 2 sheep laid in for stock on the vessel from one of the owners, so that we have been living in clover for some time.

I shall send you a newspaper so you may see the prices of things in Wgton. Altho’ we have 5 cows, we have only one giving milk, she has enough for the children and rears a very nice calf besides. Last week I got 8/9 for ½ lb of butter and expect the same this week. The eggs I have sold have more than paid the original cost of the hens. We are fortunate in having our milk cow very quiet which is a rare thing to be met with in this country. Some of the other cows will calve in a few months. The Capt. sold one his mares and a cart for which he got £75, he had a handsome profit by them. Our two goats are heavy in kid. The Capt. has also 4 bullocks and a dray and a yearling ox, he has likewise bargained with an agent here, to give him 20 young heifers which are to be imported from a superior herd in N.S.Wales. A ship load of the same kind came to the Colony some time ago. Unfortunately Capt.C. was absent at Wanganui, they were immediately snatched up by others, 40 head were bought by Mr.Macdonald for which he paid £480, he has six months in which to pay this, has got people to back his bills in the meantime. He expects to sell them at a good profit before his bills became due.

We were astonished at his making so large a purchase, the Capt. took some trouble to find out all about it. Mr.M. is trying to turn over every penny just as he did at home, I have no doubt if he avoided his besetting sin he would do well. I think he is more drunken here than ever he was at home, for the last fortnight he has scarcely been a day sober. On first coming here he was so steady and clever and so pushing that he was very much respected, he is fast losing his respectability. Many people have cut out his acquaintance, many people thought we were related to him. I take every opportunity of denying all relationship. I should feel it now assuredly a most disgraceful connection. His favourite is the blacksmith from [–] in fact he does not care who he drinks with.

I feel deeply for his miserable wife, the eldest son is very fond of his glass and every penny he gets is spent on gin. I wrote you before that he was deprived of his situation for being drunk — and was re-instated. Everyone is astonished that his situation has not been again taken from him.

It is thought Col. Wakefield is not aware of how he is carrying on. I likewise wrote you that Catherine had an offer of marriage, her parents were very anxious for the match but she was determined in her refusal. I have since seen her admirer, he is very vulgar in manner and appearance. He is an agent here for one of the wealthiest houses in Sydney. He offended I.B.S. beyond measure by whistling a valse on Sunday. I said to her some allowance should be made for the poor man’s state of mind.

What will Brodie say when he hears our manservant left because he did not consider £30 a year, bed, board and washing, sufficient wages. The Capt. is so active that with assistance of John, we do very well without a man. My Skye servant has got married, she was so plain looking I thought I was sure to have her for some time. Her husband is a smart good looking young man who came out in the Blenheim from Skye. Likewise I gave her at the rate of £15 a year.

The Capt. got his grant of land in N.S.W. in the government township of Ulladulla on the coast. If he is spared 2 years he will require to go back to Sydney to get his title deeds. He hopes to be allowed to dispose of his grant. He met with great attention from Macpherson Grant, Ballindalloch, he & a brother officer had gone into partnership and bought a station with sheep, cattle, enclosures etc. of which they got a good bargain from some unlucky homo who was in great need of ready money. Mcpherson was in Sydney when the Capt. was there preparing.

  • 8 May 1842: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Ewen Cameron:

Wanganui May 8. 1842
My dearest Brother
I have just heard the dear expeditious Brougham is to return to London direct. I am so glad to have an opportunity of writing Home at last. No vessel has left the settlement direct for London since the Bailey sailed last November.

With what delight I received your letter about the end of February and both Isabella’s marked Nos.1 & 2. When I last wrote I was busy preparing for our removal to this place. I shall begin with an account of all our adventure since that time.

We embarked on board the Clydeside on 24th Nov., with all our luggage, poultry, 3 goats, 2 kids, 2 cows, the rest of our cattle were to follow by land, and an arduous undertaking it was to pack up with only one stupid woman servant to assist.

We narrowly escaped shipwreck at the entrance of the river, the Clydeside was too large a vessel to be easily managed in so narrow a space. The pilot from nervousness put her on a reef called the North Spit among the breakers — For a short time we had no hope that all our lives would be saved, even now it makes me nervous to write about it. One gentleman who had a life preserver and had taken a fancy to Susan said he would take charge of her. I was the only one on board with children.

While we were sitting awaiting our fate, they were getting the boats out to try and get the women ashore.

The vessel gave a tremendous bump and we slid into the proper channel. In a short time we were safe at anchor inside the bar. Oh, how thankful I was. Capt. C. was so composed he gave their liberty to a pup and a cat we had on board shut up in a box.

To add to our distress poor John was very ill altho’ his complaint must have been coming on for some time, we did not observe it until on board the Clydeside.

Immediately on our arrival, he was put under the care of Dr. Wilson, his complaint was a very rare one, viz. St. Vitus dance. It was distressing to see at times, quite worn out with the involuntary motion of his muscles. For many weeks he was as helpless as a baby, could not walk or even feed himself. His speech became very imperfect and for some time left him so entirely he could not ask for his wants. He spoke so like his Grandmother, nothing that Dr. Wilson could say would convince me that it was not a paralytic stroke altho’ the convulsive motions were so different from paralysis.

When John took the turn his recovery was very rapid, he is long ago as well and strong as ever. His illness was caused by worms and an accumulation of bile. He has grown very big and strong.

We are so fortunate to have them all at school here and making very good progress, they are taught by Miss King an Irish lady who came here with her brother. She is an old maid and very capable of doing them justice. Her method is excellent, she is so kind and at the same time determined. They have books called the judgment books in which she gives an account of how each task was said and of their conduct. This is brought home every night and has a most excellent effect. Our treatment of them is of course regulated by this account. Colin who used to be so backward is doing wonders, he generally brings home the best character, he has quite a craze for writing — from Aunt Isabella he must have taken this turn — certainly not from Papa!

Miss King encourages them to write letters to her, Colin’s and Louisa’s productions are very amusing. Miss King takes great pains to give them a taste for reading, lends them story books. She has three pupils besides my three, unfortunately for poor Louisa they all boys. Two of them are English, the sons of Mr. Dawson our police magistrate, they are about John’s and Colin’s ages and very nice gentlemanlike boys. I consider it a great advantage for my children having such companions, the third is a son of Dr. Wilson, a little fellow half Spanish half English about Louisa’s age. She gave him such a thrashing the other day that he had to go home. My children will speak a queer lingo half English, half Scotch, half Irish.

Miss King says Louisa has better abilities than the boys. I think Susan will be the cleverest of them all, she is very smart and promises to be very good looking.

Willie is a great stout fellow with a quantity of fair curly hair, he is very good tempered and has never had an ailment since he was born.

Capt. C. is in excellent health and spirits, he is still very thin. I suppose he will never be stout again. He finds himself more able to take exercise than when he was stout. I do not think you would know him, his thinness and the dress he wears have changed his appearance so much, he wears a broad blue bonnet and a round blue jacket and occasionally the French shirt which proves a most suitable dress in the summer. He is delighted with the climate, it is so temperate, there no country in the world where the thermometer ranges so little.

We like this place much better than Petone. We occupy at present the best house in the place, it belonged to a Missionary. Living is very cheap so far as pork and potatoes go, which are the principle produce of the country. We buy everything from the natives by barter, will get a basket of potatoes weighing 20 lbs for a fig of tobacco or a tobacco and pipe. I have bought a basket for a needle and small quantity of sewing thread. They will give a good pig for a single English blanket which costs in Wellington 11/-.

The natives are very inferior to those at Petone and such thieves that we never admit them.

I am glad to hear such good accounts of my dear Mother’s health. How often we speak of you all and wonder what you are all about. You cannot write too often, the postage is trifling, it is too bad of Colin to forget me completely.

And now my dear Brother, it is time to bring this long scroll to a conclusion.

Capt. C. joins me in love to you.

Believe me your most affectionate sister,
Jessie Campbell.

It is 2 o’clock in the morning, John Cameron is busy beside me scribbling home.

Will my mother believe that all summer 6 o’clock never caught my better half nor me in bed.

We had this evening to tea, McLeod of McLeod’s only brother, he and Mr. Brodie came down here to look at the place and are so pleased they intend to settle. Brodie has often been at Fort William markets and knows McDonald.

  • 4 December 1842: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella Cameron:

Wanganui Dec. 4, 1842
My dearest Isabella,
I fear I shall be obliged to make this a shorter letter than usual. When I tell you my reason you will not complain, for the last fortnight I may say I have had no servts., the damsel I’ve had since coming here chose to get a beau and left me at 10 minutes notice to prepare for her marriage. I cannot get her place supplied here, the only help I have is from a smart little girl about 12 years old who comes in every evening. You may believe I have very little time – I have tried to write at night when all were gone to rest but felt so sleepy and tired I was obliged to give it up. I wrote some time ago to Wgton. I hope Mrs. MacDonald has succeeded in getting a servant for me, the one I had was a most useless, ill tempered gypsy and after all she is to be married to an excellent steady tradesman, a blacksmith who came out in the Blenheim. I often think what a host of admirers Flora Kennedy would have here — where such drabs get good husbands.

I received all your letters by Capt. Gray on the 17th.Nov. and the box in perfect order. My gown did not suffer the least damage — and most extraordinary all the shoes fitted as well as possible. How can I sufficiently thank you and my dear Mother for all your kindness. My gown is most suitable and will make a very pretty winter dress. I wish you could have seen the children on Sunday when they got on their Edinburgh shoes, Maggie might well say of them “So proud as you are”. They said everyone noticed their shoes — the truth was, they obliged everyone to notice. I can assure you the Capt. thought much of his present, the sitting room is the only place he will honour with the slippers on, the shoes are a perfect godsend to him, his stock was getting very low — he says it would be long before any of his own friends would remember his necessities. The purse is very pretty and carefully put up in the scritoire and only gets the air to be shown to strangers. I can assure you all our friends here give you great credit for the judicious contents of your box, I only regret the expense of so many things.

John is beside me perspiring at the letter to his Grandmother, I do not know what he is saying but it seems hard work to judge from his face. Colin and Louisa were most anxious to write to thank Grandmama but as they would require my assistance, I have persuaded them to put it off to another opportunity. Your little notes gave great satisfaction.

I wrote a long letter to my mother in Octer., very little has occurred since, worth mentioning. The Capt. has had a few attacks of his old enemy rheumatism, he thought it was caused by the unusual wetness of Winter and Spring. Since the Summer set in he is as brisk as ever before. Up at 5 o’clock every morning.

John Cameron has gone to Wellington on business of his own also to purchase cattle for the section, if he can get any to his mind. We miss him very much, he makes himself very useful, he sleeps on a sofa in the sitting room, makes his bed every evening and in the morning clears everything away and often even sweeps the room. I often tell him, what would his friends at home say if they could see him with a scrubbing brush cleaning his canvas trousers or in the evening mending them, he can patch as neatly as I can. One evening the Capt. asked to our great amazement for a needle and thread and set to work putting strings in a night shirt which I had long forgot to do, he finished the job tolerably but has never been induced to follow John’s example in that respect since.

The boys make their own beds and Louisa dresses Susan – this is the country for making young people of use.

I wrote to my mother our reasons for building in the town section. John drew the plan of the house, the walls are of clay which makes the warmest house, the natives will thatch the roof, the sitting room and our own room will be boarded, off our room will be two small ones for the children, a room for John and a store room will be the whole concern with a kitchen outside.

The Capt. often takes a stroll to see his country sections and each time seems more pleased with them. The chief to whom they belong made us a present lately of a dish of eels from our own lake, which had a superior relish coming from our own property. John Cameron shot a brace of wild duck the last time he was at the lakes, which we all thought superior to anything we had ever tasted.

Col. Wakefield has not returned from Auckland, he is daily expected accompanied by Shortland who is doing all he can to make himself popular during his short reign, he has done much good already and it is to be hoped will do still more by getting us settled on our land. The Chief, to whom our place belongs, says when he gets the price of the land he is quite willing to give it.

I wrote to my mother about Drimantoran having lost his situation, alas miserable man, the accounts we had a few days ago are still more wretched, he is a ruined man. Everything he had was seized for debt. His son Adam saved him from being sent to jail by giving up the little pittance he had saved. God help his poor wife I feel deeply for her, with all her faults she is well principled. He, poor wretch, is lying dangerously ill, scarcely expected to recover, I think his death would be a happy release to his family, he has brought such disgrace upon them. Adam is very steady and a sensible lad. Donald’s death was a blessing, he was as drunken as his father without his abilities when sober. Catherine’s intended has not returned from Auckland, all this blow up has occurred during his absence. I wonder what he will feel about it when he hears of Macdonald’s disgrace. The Capt. and John Cameron were thankful to be at such a distance from him, they would not like to have intercourse with a man spoken of as he is.

I cannot tell you how vexed I was to think Capt. Grey and the old Blenheim were so near – and yet not to see them, he was off for Taranaki before we even heard of his arrival. I would have given a great deal to see him and the old ship again.

It was so kind and considerate to apprise you of his coming here, I would have written to him if I had known of his arrival.

8th Dec.
We were much astounded and I must say not altogether pleased to receive a letter from George Wright dated Port Nicholson, he had taken out his passage to come here so that we expect him daily. What he is to do here unless he commences saving — I am sure I cannot tell, he cannot be a burden upon his uncle I am determined I will work hard for my own family but for no other person, I can assure you the prospect of a grown man being added to our family is not a pleasant look out for me who have so much to do. Precious little trouble his mother would take for me or mine, she would have taken her brother’s last farthing from him if she could.

The salaries given in Wellington to clerks are so small in proportion to the expense of living that without a home he can scarcely support himself.

Cattle are the only thing that pay here, but it requires judgment, experience and money. Of all this John Cameron is possessed, so that instead of being a burden upon us as George would be, he is a very acquisition. He was busy making oars for the boat when he went away, he intends making some of the doors for our new house, in short he can put his hand to anything, even to the nursing of Willie who is an immense pet of his, besides he is well enough informed to support his own side of an argument rather stiffly which makes him a pleasant companion for the Capt. he is quite au fait in all farming matters and gardening.

The Capt. and his brother Justices are in a great fix at present, trying to get rid of Mr. Dawson, our Police Magistrate. All the inhabitants with very few exceptions have petitioned against him. It is too long and uninteresting a story to tell you all the reasons for this, besides the faults found with him in his Magisterial character, he was accused, before his marriage of a crime too horrible to mention, at first few believed it, but although frequently requested to clear himself, he has never taken the least trouble to do so, which leads everyone to believe the horrible accusation to be true.

My husband has not for months, sat on the Bench with him. I pity his poor wife, she is a pretty ladylike creature. I had a note from her yesterday in deep distress at the ill feeling manifested against her husband she naturally considers him very ill used. He has two very fine boys by a former marriage.

  • 9 March 1843: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella Cameron:

Wanganui, 9th March, 1843
My dearest Isabella,
Your 8th letter I received yesterday, I cannot tell you how grateful we all feel for your regularity in writing, every letter has come safely generally five months after being despatched. I feel truly vexed that you have been so long in hearing from us. I know how my dear mother and you would be fretting from anxiety about us. There is direct communication from Port Nicholson to England so seldom that our letters take a much longer time and for some time after coming here, John’s dreadful illness prevented my writing. This is my 6th letter since the Bailey sailed, my last was dated the beginning of December. I trust you have received some of these long ere this.

We are all in our usual busy state and enjoyment of good health, the Capt. as thin as ever but in excellent spirits. His old enemy rheumatism has troubled him more this year than usual. We hope when we get into our own house, which will be very comfortable, that he will not be so subject to it.

I expect an addition to the family the end of May, I feel so light and active I am tolerably sure of having but one. Fortunately Willie is a stout strong little fellow except for feeding him and putting on his clothes he is independent of all nursing. Certainly children mature earlier here. Willie is not so good looking as he was when the warm weather commenced I was obliged to deprive him of his beautiful curls, the loss of them has disfigured him very much.

Susan still promises to be very good looking, she is fair complexioned with good features and dark blue eyes, an old fashioned little body, she sits beside me at dinner if I forget to enquire for the other children’s character book she is sure to remind me by asking “Well children, what kind of characters have you got today?”

John is growing very fast and carries breadth along with his height, he is a sensible boy, notwithstanding that we complain of his carelessness at school, he is making tolerable progress. Miss King takes great pains with all of them. John’s great fault is obstinacy from having too much confidence in himself. I sometimes think he is a little inclined to indolence but this will soon be worked out of him. I cannot say he shows a decided taste for reading, he does sometimes take up a book, he is a great trifler in learning his lessons, when he does attend he learns them very quickly and has a capital memory, he has quite a craze for gardening and is forever collecting seeds and plants for his own little plot. The other day he came to tell me he had such a prize, this turned out to be a present from Mrs. Wilson, of some very nice seeds.

I hardly know how to describe Colin, he is very tall and thin, much better made than John and if he can possibly manage it, always neat and tidy. He is very thoughtless and passionate, is rather a favourite of Miss King’s who says he is easily managed, kindness or rather — will make him do anything, he can learn his lessons well, but very often will not. Altho’ smart enough in some things his judgment is not so sound as John’s.

His constitution seems to have changed completely, he never knows an ailment and has a never failing appetite. He has a great deal of spirit nothing will daunt him, to give you an instance of this lately. On a dark night a pig got into our henhouse, on being desired to find out what it was, John hung back. Colin immediately marched out armed with a stick as big as himself, and strutted back in a little to laugh at John for being so frightened of a pig!

Louisa has better abilities than either of her brothers, her greatest failing is a violent temper. I often wish she were near you to manage her, she is very affectionate and has a decided taste for reading, she continues very big for her age, I think she has improved in looks, her figure promising to be good. She and Colin have commenced Geography and very proud they are. They all write from dictation every day which is a capital plan.

I hope I have not tired you with this long account of my little ones, I have tried to give you an impartial account of them.

We had, about 2 months ago, a very unwelcome addition to our family circle, in the shape of George Wright, his mother is certainly a most extraordinary creature, I may call her a most imprudent woman, only think of her sending him off here with only £5 in his pocket? The consequence was he arrived here perfectly penniless, had not even what would pay his passage from Wgton. My better half had to lend him £3 on his arrival a sum small as it may appear he could ill afford to pay, between what he has paid for a lot of cattle lately and the expense of this house building ready cash is rather scarce. It was a great hardship to pay out of the little hoard I make by my milk and butter etc. besides this where there is but one servant and such a family, a grown man makes a great addition to my toil. Even his ships linen was done here, formerly my own servant was able to do all our washing but now I have occasionally to hire a woman at 3/- a day. There is not the slightest chance of his getting a situation here and if he got one in Wgton. — if he is fit to keep it, he is the very essence of ignorance and stupidity and so vulgar that I am ashamed to hear him speak. He is totally unaware of his own deficiencies, on the contrary he has a great opinion of himself. His uncle says “If that lad would hold his tongue and not show his ignorance by his silly remarks and questions”.

His mother has much to answer for — a creature who has been more neglected in every respect — I have never met with.

Mrs. Wright of all her father’s family had the least claim upon her brother and I look upon it as a particular hardship upon me to have to toil for her son.

My own friends, whatever assistance they may have been to us, have certainly never been a burden upon my husband and I am determined that here George shall not remain. I have strongly recommended his uncle to make him work his passage Home again. I should enjoy his mother having him back after she thought of herself so nicely rid of him, she did not even write a line by him. Mrs. Gray wrote to me that she thought he would be very useful to her brother.

The broad Scotch sounds so horrid where most of our own society is English and all speak so well. Instead of […] George says always he is […] the other day he said he had been paddling the canoe. You can read all I have said of him to his aunt Grace I know I have written warmly on this subject but I cannot help it. People have a most mistaken idea at Home that the Colony is the fittest place for a man who is too stupid to do well in own country. On the contrary it requires greater energy of mind and ability to succeed here. Situations are not so easily got at Wgton. as when we first arrived, more young men have come out than supply the demand of them, and certainly neither George’s manner, appearance nor education are likely to procure him a place. John Cameron is still an inmate of our house, and a valuable acquisition he is. He provides so much for the house, such as tea, flour etc. that his living with us is a great assistance besides his own labour which he does not spare. He is the person to do well here, he has so much prudence, good sense, energy of mind and activity of body. My better half was most fortunate to get him for a partner.

He has worked as hard at that new house of ours as if it were his own, I hope it will be his house until he gets a wife.

John made a good purchase of cattle when in Wgton. and we now rent a section of land about a mile from the town for £5 a year — which has excellent grazing for the cattle.

Our new house has a shingle roof and clay walls it will be very comfortable, we expect to be in it in 4 weeks, we will have a garden and a small plot for flowers in front. Capt. C. was determined to build a good house as he will be sure to let or sell it when he goes to the country.

The missionary of whom I wrote as being so troublesome was drowned a few months ago crossing a river on horseback. Since his death the natives are more favourable to the whites, and there is no doubt when the long looked for Mr. Spain makes his appearance and finds what is to be paid for the land, that all disputes will be settled. We heard yesterday that Mr. Spain was at length actually on his way here.

I hope in my next to be able to tell you that we have at length got possession of our land. Capt. C. says he would be quite happy if he was settled on it.

We like this country more and more, the climate is so fine, every animal and vegetable seems to thrive. The soil about the town is poor and sandy but even that produces wonderfully. We have quantities of vegetables in our present garden. My better half never relished vegetables because they are the produce of his own and John’s toil. We have great quantities of Cape Gooseberries. I have made some jam of them which is very good.

I have so much milk that I have actually made some small cheeses, the rennet made from pig’s stomach, which does very well. We have pumpkins not yet at their full growth which already measure 4 ft. in circumference.

For the last week we have had a most pleasant comet visible every night. Capt. C. says the famous one of 1811 was not nearly as brilliant.

Our summer is now drawing to a close, we still have splendid weather. When the mornings were longer, Capt. C. was up every morning at 5 o’clock, is not this a change? I never dreamt he would ever be so active — and better than all he is so much respected, he and Dr. Wilson are bosom friends, it is quite an extraordinary event if they are two days without seeing each other! and such arguments as they have! The Chess players have not met for some time, when the evenings are longer they will have their usual meetings.

One of our visitors, Dr. Allison, came out in the same vessel as Maclachlan, Miss Mackenzie Gramy and husband, he says Mac bore parting with his wife very coolly. I doubt she is not likely to see him again.

Dr. Allison is a very pleasant sensible young man, he must have a good deal of credit as he and his brother have 6 sections the brother is quite a lad.

I am sorry to hear they are likely to have such bad times in the Highlands, last year Capt. C. congratulated himself on being out of the country. I may say I have greater ease of mind here, than I have had since my marriage, the reason is nothing is done unknown to me, and I know exactly what expenses we have and how we are getting on. In every respect this is a great comfort.

The last time I wrote I was very much harassed, being without a servant for two months, I did the whole work of the home except the washing. I have now one I that had for a short time at Petone, she is from Skye and came out in the Blenheim, she is a strong able woman and milks the cows, she travelled from Port Nicholson here by land with John Cameron and the cattle, her brother also. She is the second white woman to travel that route. I hope to have her for some time, as she does not speak good English there is not so much chance of her getting a husband.

I mentioned in my last letter that Drimantoran had gone all wrong, everything he had has been seized by his creditors his subject (capital) it is thought may pay 12/- in the £’, God knows what his family will do, his dissipation has destroyed his mind so completely that he will be quite a burden to the family, his memory is quite gone, only think of his asking John Cameron what ship he came out by. It is quite deplorable to see him such a wreck, the Almighty bestowed talents on him that should have made him a credit instead of a disgrace to his country. Catherine’s intended is still in Auckland, he is highly spoken of as a most respectable man. My servant says he is from Lochaber but left it when just a boy and his parentage is not genteel. Adam is very steady, he is the sole support of his mother.

I had a note from Catherine lately mentioning they had letters from the Bank and that Margaret had written to me her letter has never come to hand, all yours arrive safely! It is laughable if a letter Margaret has taken two years to consider should have miscarried. You and my dear brother Alexdr. are the only members of our family who seem to recollect they have a sister in this part of the globe. I trust to hear that Margaret has got safely over her confinement. What a heavy charge she has with such a large family.
I must now bring this long and illegible scrawl to a close, and hope you will be able to read it. Now my dearest Isabella, I must have done, my husband joins me in kindest love to you and my mother.
Believe me your most affect. sister,
Jessie Campbell.

As I know you feel an interest in everything regarding the children, I may as well tell how careful they were when I was without a servant. Louisa every morning dressed Susan and Willie, Colin swept the room and set breakfast. John boiled the rice and infused the tea, by the time I came from the cows all was ready for me, John and Colin always work the churn for me.

  • 27 June 1843: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Louisa (Campbell) Cameron:

Wanganui, 27th June 1843
My dearest Mother,
A lady has offered to enclose a letter in a small parcel she is sending to her friends in Yorkshire, she assures me of its safe transmission. I am delighted at having so early an opportunity of announcing to you the birth of another grandson on the 27th May. I was safely delivered of a fine stout little fellow, and have only to repeat the tale of most women in this country that I suffered nothing in comparison to what I would have at home.

Dr. Wilson was my medical attendant (midwives are not known here) my kind friend Mrs. Wilson did everything for me that you could have done, she came every day to dress the baby until I was strong, in short as I often told her, she was both mother and sister to me. I will give you an instance of her care of me. I had a slight threatening of my old pains two days after the baby’s birth and had recource to my old remedy — bottles of hot water — one of them broke in the bed. Mrs. Wilson heard of it late in the evening she guessed, as was really the case that I would not be at the trouble to get my bed so thoroughly changed as I should, she immediately came up and made everything dry and comfortable, except our own family, I have no relation of whom I have such regard.

When the baby is strong enough to be taken to church, he is to be named Ewen Alexander, he is very like Susan Anne.

We got comfortably settled in our new house 3 weeks before my confinement. I was saying the other day, if you could have a peep at us, how pleased you would be to see us so very comfortable, the house is an excellent one for the country, commodious and well planned. Many a hot argument the Capt. and John Cameron had while planning it, the walls are of clay with a roof of shingle, all the partitions inside are of wood, the walls outside are whitewashed which gives it the look of a clean English cottage. The accommodation consists of a sitting room on one side as you enter from the outer door — opposite is our own bedroom — opening from our room are two smaller rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. On the end of the passage is a small place to be used as a laundry or pantry opening from it is a small store room. John Cameron has a very neat room, the first place he has had he could call his own since he came to N.Z. The rooms are very warm, a capital brick fireplace in the sitting room and what is more in this country it does not smoke in the least.

Capt. Campbell enjoys excellent health, his appearance is improved by being thin, he suffers nothing from rheumatism. Since we came to this comfortable house he is in excellent spirits, he has just the life he likes, he works hard during the day, and during the long winter evenings we very often have some friends in to play Backgammon or chess or perhaps Dr. Wilson pops in to have an argument, we can always have a pleasant society whenever we wish for it. The class of settler is very respectable in general and their numbers are gradually increasing. I am always so busy I have less time than inclination to be sociable.

I wrote to you some time ago that our troublesome missionary was drowned. The Bishop has supplied his place by sending Mr. Taylor, a clergyman educated at one of the English universities and different from his predecessor in every way, he has a very ladylike wife and four children so neatly dressed.

Mr. Taylor brought a letter of introduction from Mr. Busby to Capt. Campbell it is a blessed change for this place to have a clergyman officiating every Sunday. Mr. Taylor preaches pretty well and reads the service beautifully. It is now time for me to give an account of the all important subject, the land question. I rejoice to say that after all our disappointments and delays, we have at last a certain prospect of getting our land very shortly.

Mr. Spain and Mr. Stafford were down here last April and after passing a month, the natives agreed to give up the land for so much additional payment, the only delay arises from Col. Wakefield declining to make this additional payment without referring to the Company. If they decline to pay (which is very unlikely) Government will take the whole matter into their own hands. The natives are very anxious to have the white people settled among them, they cannot live now without tobacco, blankets etc. all of which the Pakehas or White people provide them with. Our old native here, came yesterday with a present of a fine eel. He told the Capt. he was anxious to give him the land, but could not do it until they got more payment.

The settlers would at once advance the required payment but fear if they do so, the Company may refuse to repay them.

We are all delighted with Mr. Spain, he spared no exertion in settling the question, he is a most pleasant gentlemanlike man. All the good people here paid him great attention, there was such a slaughtering of poultry, giving him dinners. Capt. C. supplied the market with good beef. He sold a fat cow to a butcher, the only one that has been killed in the place. A regular invited dinner party is such an event in this part of the world that very few are provided with the necessaries for a dinner table. My things were in constant requisition and so the Capt. followed his spoons etc. and got his own share of the good things that were going. My dinner party consisted of 8 and their fare of fish, beef, chickens and ham, brown soup, cape gooseberry jam and dried peaches. Mr. Spain’s mother in law, an old lady of 78, came to N.Z. with his wife and family. She stood the voyage well until one stormy night she was tossed out of her berth and broke her collar bone. She recovered from it much sooner than could be expected.

Mr. Spain’s residence is in Auckland. He walked with Capt. C. to see our country sections and was delighted with them. On getting to one spot from which there is splendid view he exclaimed he had seen nothing like it in this country. The Capt. and he became such friends after this!!

I will now give you an account of my domestic concerns. Since January, I have had a Skye girl who came out on the Blenheim. I am counted fortunate in having her, she is honest and sober, milks the cows, is strong and not likely to marry in a hurry as she does not speak good English. Her wages are £16 a year.

Some purchases made last summer have increased our cattle to 40 head. I still get 3/- per lb. for fresh butter and 2/6 for Salt. 3d per pint for milk. I made a good deal by my dairy during the Summer and Autumn. We get nothing from our own land except the comfort of growing our own wheat and potatoes. As for raising crops for sale, it is not half so profitable as cattle.

Labourers’ wages have lessened very much the men we had working at this house got 15/- per week, a year ago they would not have worked under £1 and rations.

The natives have a very large crop of Indian corn and potatoes this year which we get for very little from them, the meal of the Indian corn makes very good porridge and cakes and very good puddings, we have had no oatmeal for a long time, the children’s breakfast in general is mashed potatoes or rice and milk, bread and milk for supper. They thrive well on their fare, as they are all so strong and healthy. John carries breadth and well as height he is a very sensible boy of his age, he is very useful to his Father, he is doing pretty well at school. Miss King takes great pains to give them general information and to give them a taste for reading. I hope by the time John is ready to begin higher branches we may have a good schoolmaster to send him to. In cyphering he is in the rule of three. Colin is a tall fishing rod but perfectly strong and healthy he has not the sound judgement of John nor the same confidence in himself. He puts me very much in mind of Donald McDonald, he can apply but is so very thoughtless, yet he is a favourite of Miss King. I consider it an advantage for both boys to have the example of such a steady well principled young man as John Cameron.

Your grand-daughter is the cleverest of them, she promises to be as greater reader as Papa, every spare moment she has is devoted to her books, her memory is excellent. From the growth of her body and her mind, you forget she is only 7 years old. She is a great romp too and a famous hand at destroying her clothes.

Susan has not yet gone to school, I have no time to give her lessons. Willie is a strong rambling fellow, gives no trouble except to find him and put on his clothes, he runs about all day and goes to bed at 6 in the evening. We intend to send Susan to school when she is 5 years old. Miss King is now our nearest neighbour, I like her very much, she is a sociable, well educated person, a younger sister who was in the […] for some time, has […] here, she draws very well and was engaged by a naturalist to make drawings of the plants he collected. Their brother has been very unfortunate, a vessel in which he had valuable property coming from Port Nicholson here was wrecked and lost all. He has an excellent library of which the Capt. takes advantage occasionally.

By the bye I must not forget to mention how grateful he feels for the newspapers sent him. Our Stirling friends are most mindful of his newspaper reading propensities, and my dear brother, Alexdr. has not been behindhand.

We still have George Wright as an inmate, there is not the slightest chance of his getting a situation, his education has been so neglected I doubt if he would be able to keep a situation, it was cruel of his friends to send him. It is very hard upon us with our limited means and large family to be burdened with him. He found out his uncle’s agent in Wellington and drew upon his for £3, and £3 12/- paid for his passage, makes £6 12/-. Capt. C. paid on his […] His clothes are beginning to wear out and Capt. C. proposes to advance him a sum to keep him a week in Wellington, and if he does not succeed there, let him work his passage home. It would be long before his Mother would think of sending me as much as a pair of shoes for one of our children, not even the scrape of a pen by him she seems to have expected as a matter of course that his uncle would provide for him, he is so stupid, does not seem sensible of the wretched position he is in. I expect when Mrs. W. gets tired of her younger son he will be sent here likewise, she provides easily for her sons by paying their passage and £5 to boot! I consider George a bad companion for my boys, and keep them separate as much as possible, his association seems to have been very low indeed.

I wrote you some time ago of the miserable state of the Drimantorans, their son Adam, is the sole support of the family. The father will never do any good and his memory is completely gone, with very little hope of recovery. Alexdr. is likely to turn out a ne’er do well, has gone as cowherd to Angus McMaster their old servant, this seals his fate!

His poor wife, God help her, though much troubled with a stomach complaint, is obliged to do everything as they cannot afford to keep a servant.

Flora is very useful to her mother, but my servant, who was with them for some time, says Catherine was quite the fine lady, did nothing to assist her mother. Her intended has not yet returned from Auckland, she hears from him regularly. From a reduction of the surveying staff he lost his situation, he has been wanting the acting Governor to fulfil his promise of giving him another place, by the last accounts he was on the eve of being appointed Protector of the Aborigines either here or at Kafia, a place further down the coast. I do not know what his salary will be, probably £200 a year. Catherine has been very fortunate. Mr. Campbell has been highly spoken of by all. Mr. Spain told me he was a most honourable well principled young man.

Since commencing the above, I rejoice to inform you that the natives have agreed to allow the whites to take immediate possession of their land and trust to being paid afterwards. My gentlemen propose getting the natives to build a small hut on our land and when the season is far enough advanced, they will go there and begin operations, they hope to have some land under cultivation this year, yet they promise not to disturb me from my present abode until they have a good house for me. Our house on the town section will repay us, will let or sell well. I trust you will be able to read my scrawl, if they are not very legible, you must either suppose me writing with a great disturbance about me, or so sleepy I hardly see my pen!

We attribute the favourable disposition of the natives to Mr. Taylor’s influence, what it is to have a good man and a man of education as missionary.

Say to Isabella with my kindest love how grateful I feel for her frequent and long letters. I trust you have received some of my missing letters long ago, my last was dated Feby. or March. I feel grieved that your anxiety about us, is not more frequently relieved, almost all the settlers here have their friends at home complaining of not receiving letters. It is thought there is some mismanagement at Wellington.

My friends at [Spout Hall?] seem determined that we shall forget them and they are in a fair way of having their wish gratified, the last letter I received from them was dated 2½ years ago.

I am anxious to hear of poor Marget’s safety, I trust this will be her last.

When you write Ewen give him my congratulations on the birth of his son. I intend to devote my first spare time to Alexdr. he and Isabella are all of our own family who seem to remember me.

Will you offer Mrs. H. Campbell our kindest regards, her long letter was most interesting, I hope she will believe it is not the want of inclination that prevents me answering it at present.

The boys desire me to tell Grandmama that they are still wearing their shoes. Colin says he recollects the day he and Louisa attacked you, he says “ I was a senseless little boy then”.

You and all our friends will rejoice to hear that we still continue to like the country, our only disappointment has arisen from not getting the land, altho’ we have often had our hopes swamped I trust I may now write with certainty of our getting possession.

John Cameron is of great assistance, he is so active and can put his hand to anything, he is likewise very prudent and will not consent to any money being laid out that can be avoided.

The greatest complaint we have is one that is I dare say rather general everywhere viz. want of cash, if could only manage to export there would not be such a drain of money from the Colony, there is talk of flax, if it could be turned to account, it would be a great matter.

I hope you have received a letter from John, tell Isabella my dark gown has been most useful to me now, my own gowns were too thin for winter and I have not time to make up materials I have in the house, my work at present is making tartan surtouts for the boys. Now my dearest Mother, my paper warns me to have done with scribbling. Capt. Campbell joins me in kind regards to all inquiring friends, and our best love to you and Isabella.

I remain, your most affectionate daughter,
Jessie Campbell.

P.S. Kind love to our Stirling friends, tell Margaret she must not think I forget her if I do not answer her letter for some time. With a young baby and one servant, you may think how my time is occupied – besides I have to make and mend for the household. I have received all Isabella’s letters up to 2nd. November.

  • 2 August 1843: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella Cameron.

[the beginning of the letter is not included in the typescript]

…I would be considered quite a Goth if I put on anything but white frocks, until he is shortcoated, which will be very soon. Mrs. Wilson presented him with such a pretty hood trimmed with white satin and a tiny pair of Barbery slippers ornamented with gold thread they are of yellow morocco. I hope Louisa will soon be of assistance to me, she sews very well for her age, she is making pinafores for Baby. She is clever at most things, it is a pity she has such a bold passionate temper. Susan is a mild gentle little body, easily offended but not passionate, she continues good looking, but I do not think she will have her sister’s ability. My paper warns me to bring this letter to a close.

I am glad to hear that a vessel is to be despatched direct to London this month. Offer my best love to our Stirling friends I wish I had time to write to my aunt, though I am sure she will understand it is the power I want and not the will. John threatens to send another epistle to his Grandmama, I tell him that for a few years his letters are not worth paying postage for.

And now my dear Isabella, I must say goodbye, the Capt. joins me in kindest love to my dear mother. God bless you my dearest sister —
Your most affecate.
Jessie Campbell.

I think I mentioned in a former letter that one of Drimentorans sons had gone to be herdboy with his own old servt. Angus McMaster is not this terrible? Catherine hears frequently from her intended, he bears a high character. The natives have had a glorious feast lately, a large whale was cast ashore a short distance from this, the blubber has been such a feast to them, they brought us a quantity of oil for sale it was most disgusting to see them licking their fingers and the bottles. We burn nothing else than oil. I see by the days paper that Catherine’s intended has been appointed Protector of the Aborigines for the districts of Taranaki and Mokau, his salary I suppose will be from £150 to £200 a year. I suppose he is in Wellington by this time.

Will you believe it is nearly a week since I commenced this scrawl it is quite amusing to see the number of unfinished letter my desk contains. I see one for Aunt dated April and one for Jessie S- dated Nov. last. My baby takes up my time constantly, even my evenings I cannot reckon my own as I used to do, if I make my appearance to visitors, he must do the same, If I go out to call, I must take him likewise.

Petre
Aug.2 1843

  • 17 October 1843: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella Cameron.

Wanganui, 17 Oct. 1843
My dearest Isabella,
Your letter of May 8th I received last week, and much pleased we were to have such recent news of you and so grateful to you for writing so regularly. Believe me, my dear sister, if I do not write quite so often as you wish, it is not from want of inclination, scarcely a day passes that you are not in my thoughts and in my conversation occasionally. I plead guilty to the charge of remissness for being months before writing to you after our arrival here, but ever since I have written regularly every two months. I am grieved and astonished some of my letters were not received, this will be the […] I have dispatched since April last (I mean April 1842). We have now a mail established once a fortnight between this and Wellington which is a great boon.

Your letters by the bye, lay 6 weeks in Wellington.

We were much pleased to hear such good accounts of my dear mother’s health.

I fancy you now returning from your summer tour and very glad I daresay to be back in your own comfortable house.

Poor Margaret has really a heavy charge, especially in a country where it so difficult to get daughters well disposed of. Pity some of them would not come here. We have only one young lady here in Wanganui, and she is engaged to be married on her 15th birthday (in March) to Dr.Allison, he is Scotch, has a good deal of money, and altho’ not very polished is very steady and well principled. The young lady is a tall, awkward, long faced tabby. And so stupid, I cannot fancy how the man can be so stupid as to fancy her. She is the daughter of Mr. Gilfillan who brought me a letter from Miss Picken. This marriage is a godsend to them, they are in wretched circumstances, perhaps Grace may know something of them, I wish you would ask her. Mr. G. talks as if he were a very clever artist and says he made £500 a year at home, [is] that was the case, his coming out here is a mystery! He says he lost all by the failure of a London Bank. He has presented me with 2 very pretty sketches but Miss Martha King says they are only copies.

His wife was confined lately. I took compassion on her and was her nurse for which they are very grateful. He has promised to give me a sketch of our lake section when he has more leisure.

The children are all well and growing fast. John is a happy boy today, he has on a jacket for the first time, he has become too big for my tailoring, he looks very tall in his new dress. He is much occupied with his garden at present. Last night he was boasting to his Father that he had strawberries in blossom altho’ only transplanted […] months ago. I am glad to say he begins to show a liking for reading, I am so anxious he should develop a love of reading, if books are properly selected is half an education. Miss King thinks the same and does all in her power to develop this taste. She is very well informed and very able to direct their choice.

Their Father and I make it a principle never to allow them to be idle, this we can manage better by having them so constantly with us.

Susan has gone to school, Henry Harrison, a smart boy of her own age, he calls her his little wife and Susan smiles and smiles. Ewen Alexander is a thriving little fellow, he has been short coated and had no caps since he was three months old, he is so good-tempered that he gives little trouble — a blessing for me.

Willie is a great pet of Papa’s who generally finds him when his breakfast is ready, he bawls all over the place for his Papa, he has a great deal of chat.

John desires his love and thanks for your intention of sending him books, he hopes by the time they arrive to be old enough to understand and enjoy them.

I envy anyone who has the pleasure before them of reading Sir Walter Scott’s novels for the first time. I wish John may yet have it in his power to show his gratitude to you and to my Mother for your remembrance of him and all of us.

George Wright has left us, and in such an extraordinary way that I must you give the whole account of his conduct tho’ it is rather a long story.

I wrote to you before that he came here perfectly penniless and indebted to his uncle £6 12/- for his passage and money he got on Capt. C’s account from Capt. Rhodes in Wellington. There was nothing for him to do here, so Capt. C. employed him herding the milk cows, which was his employment till then — and is now again.

He looked on this as most degrading employment, and complained to everyone who would listen what a shame it was (this we did not hear till latterly) and that he had nothing for it. He is a most unprincipled fellow and made use of such horrid language to the servant girl that she would not remain in the house — and came to tell me only think of him abusing me to my son John? We are now done with him, and happy riddance he is. His uncle does all the slavery he complained of, we could not afford to give wages to a person we could do well without.

He told John that Louisa had heard me say something against his mother but she would not tell him what it was so he had written to his mother about this. On questioning Louisa, all she had heard me say was, how foolish of his mother to send George Wright out here, he paid his mother a poor compliment to suppose I had anything bad to say of her.

I would not have taken up so much of my paper with so unworthy a subject, but I know he has been writing home a parcel of fibs and I wanted you to know the truth, as to his mother believing him or not, I am indifferent, his baggage is still here, I suppose he will send for it.

The land question is in the same state as when I last wrote, nothing further will be done until the arrival of the new Governor. We have a warm advocate in Mr. Spain, he has exerted himself very much on behalf of the Wanganui settlers particularly. Papers in their own language have been circulated among the natives assuring them that they may depend upon the Government seeing them paid for their land and all their claims settled altho’ it may take a little time.

In the meantime our cattle are increasing very rapidly. Next year the herd will be so large that a good many may be sold, and if the land question was only settled, Wanganui is in such good repute that we are likely to have an increase to our settlers, which would of course, cause a brisk demand for cattle.

I wish they could get as good prices for produce and cattle in the Highlands. Capt. C. sold a bull calf lately for £6, it was only six months old, the first cow he had here after getting two calves from her he sold to the butchers for £16 10/-, her first calf is now a fine bullock worth £17 or £18.

Even if we got our land I would be very unwilling to move from this on account of the children’s education. Capt. C.’s heart is set on getting to his lake section, it is such a pretty place. The section we have got possession of is John Cameron’s, it is only1½ hours walk from this, we expect to have good crops off it next year.

It is quite amusing how ignorant some of the ladies here are of the knowledge most necessary for settlers’ wives, a lady told me the other day that she could not make butter, the cream she kept for it always became so sour! She could hardly be persuaded that my butter was made from sour cream.

I think I mentioned to you that our Police Magistrate, Mr. Savory, was dismissed from his situation for various misdemeanours. My heart bleeds for his young and pretty wife, altho’ she cannot see any fault in him and thinks he has been very ill-used by those who were instrumental in getting him dismissed. They have nothing but his half pay of a naval Lieutenant. His successor is not resident here, he is what is called an Itinerant Magistrate — his name is Macdonough, he paid his first visit about a month ago, he is about 30 years of age, very polished in manner, was born in Edinburgh. The Capt. knew his father, he was educated in Germany and was a Lieutenant in the […] Regiment, he is very handsome, a pity we have no young ladies to be captivated, he has much small interesting chat for the ladies. However we are all much obliged to him for establishing a mail once a fortnight to Port Nicholson, and reducing the rate of postage from 1/- the oz. to.4d.

We have had weather unusually warm for the spring during the last fortnight, today it has broken up by a thunder storm, but not severe. I have never heard louder thunder here than at home, we still have an occasional earthquake but nothing compared to the one on 8th July, I am certain no house of two stories could have stood it. At Wgton. it was scarcely felt.

Capt. C. desires me to give you his love and thanks for the newspapers how gay Fort William has become, 3 balls in the season, what a change 4 years have made in that country. I would find myself quite a stranger there, the few friends who remain seem to have forgotten us. My last letter from Sporthale was dated 1840. Dr. Crichton notwithstanding his many professions of friendship, has never answered Capt. C.’s letter, he will never be troubled again.

Jessie Strone and her mother, I flatter myself still remember us with affection. I know Jessie will excuse my not answering her letter, I have so little time.

I am glad to hear the heir of the [R..] is still thriving, I daresay he will be a spoilt boy.

I almost forgot to mention that the “King William” has not yet arrived, I look forward with impatience to your letters by her — I feel half ashamed to send this epistle, so full of blunders.

My old acquaintance Miss Butler is married to a Mr. Barton from Sutherlandshire. I suppose Catherine Macdonald is married by this time, Campbell is at Wgton. [His] father continues in the same state, his memory quite gone. McDonough knows Campbell intimately and spoke very highly of him, she has been very fortunate.

Capt. C. and the children join in love to you and my mother.

Believe me my dearest Isabella
Your most affectionate sister
Jessie Campbell.

Offer our united love to Grace and Juliet, be sure to ask Grace about Gilfillan, he was Professor of painting at the Andersonian Institute and boasts of living in great style at home, I do not believe it. Kindest regards to Capt. William and Mrs. Campbell, old Aunty and all enquiring friends.

I must give you an account of the accouchement of a native woman which I heard the other day, I think it will astonish some of the good folks at home. She was delivered without going to bed — on the floor! And an hour afterwards went down to the river to wash herself and the child. Both are quite well.

  • 17 March 1845: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella Cameron.

Wanganui, 17th March, 1845
My dearest Isabella,
I had the pleasure of receiving your letter dated 17th Sept., about a fortnight ago, it made the Capt. and me very glad to hear you are so comfortable and happy. When I first heard of your intended marriage, I certainly felt some selfish regret at the prospect at being for ever separated from you, but I have your welfare too much at heart to grieve long at a change conducive to your happiness and comfort. My mother will miss you very much, at her time of life it is not agreeable to be placed among strangers with whom she can have no feelings in common.

I think it is very probable that this letter may find her with you. I am glad to hear she enjoys good health. Flora Kennedy must be everything to her, I should like to hear some of Flora’s funny remarks on all the wonders she seen in her travels.

The Capt. and my little flock are well and I have likewise the good news to give you that the natives in this part of the settlement have agreed to give up the land to the settlers. We have had a small hut built on our lake section and two men have been employed for some time clearing the land.

John Cameron expects to go over next week to plough it up.

We owe this favourable disposition of the natives to the unremitting exertions of the Rev. Mr. Taylor our Missionary, he is a bright exception to most of his brethren. As to the final settlement of the to us all important land question, so much seems to depend on the authorities at Home, that I take it for granted that you know more about it than we do.

We have had undisturbed possession of John C’s section for upwards of a year and a half, he spends most of his time there, returns to us on Saturday, going back on Monday with his little “valet” an English boy about 14 years of age, have got all the crops secured, the stacks thatched and they “took it coolly”, there is not much danger of anyone disturbing them at this season.

I must now give you an account of some stirring events that have occurred here lately. About the beginning of January, some 200 natives came down the river from the Taupo country (about 150 miles from here) with the intention of fighting a tribe who live 20 miles from the coast and who had killed and eaten some of their relatives 8 or 9 years ago. The Taupo natives on arriving here, heard accounts of their enemies mustering so strongly that dared not attack them and here they remained to our great annoyance. Their Chiefs were very friendly to the Whites, particularly the principal leader, grey haired fine looking old man, but they could not control their men who took every opportunity of robbing the Europeans, they broke a pane of glass in our boys’ room and hooked out all their blankets and sheets, one of the chiefs recovered most of the things but poor John lost a new pair of boots.

They at last became so audacious as to break into some house at night and ten of the inhabitants were forced to take it in turn to watch.

Our Magistrate became so alarmed that some collision might take place and wrote to the Superintendent in Wgton. how we were situated. He immediately came down in the Hazard sloop of war, at present commanded by Mr. Robertson, youngest son of Col. Robertson, he and the Lieutenant Governor or Superintendent, Major Richmond, had there been occasion for it, would have landed 50 men from the vessel. Major Richmond was determined to use forcible means to make the natives leave the place.

Fortunately the sight of the vessel outside the bar was quite sufficient to frighten them into promising to go away — they did so 2 or 3 days later.

In case of an attack Major Richmond desired the Magistrate to swear in 40 or 50 of the inhabitants as special constables to arm as best he could, each Magistrate was to have 10 men under him and Capt. C. was to command the whole.

Such a rummaging there was for fire-arms of all kinds, John Cameron casting bullets with as much glee as if he were going deer stalking. The Commander in chief you may believe was very busy he says he could compare his regiment to nothing else than Falstaff’s ragged […] some of them did not know how to load a gun. I must confess I placed my whole dependence for our defence on the Blue Jackets.

It was arranged that on the firing of an alarm gun, all the women and children were to take refuge in a large wooden house and an hotel, they were to be guarded by 100 of our own natives headed by our Bishop Dr. Selwyn and some of his black coats who were here they came not to look after the whites but it happened to be visiting time. Not withstanding these formidable preparations, I cannot say I felt much alarm. We often have hearty laughs now at all our war-like arrangements.

The natives on leaving this went up the coast, they came back about a fortnight ago on their return to their own country but only stayed two nights, their old chief Te Heu Heu sent word that he was so much ashamed of the thefts committed by his people, that he would not come to visit the whites, and did not allow his natives to cross to this side of the river. Major Richmond […] in the Hazard. He is Scotch from Ayrshire the Capt. as usual knew some of his friends. I was delighted to see Capt. Robertson he is smart little fellow and very frank. The Bishop wished to have the policy of landing the men and asked Capt. R. to try the effect. Capt. R. very properly said “No, if I have the trouble of landing my men, it will not be for show but for mischief”.

We had the honour of a call from the Bishop, he is handsome and so fascinating that while he was here I forgot my prejudice against him on account of his Puseyite doctrines and […] towards other sects. He is very zealous certainly in his exertions among the Maoris but like most of our authorities he has too exalted an opinion of them, and seems to forget that tho’ intelligent they are but savages.

Among the visitors we had during these stirring times, the Protector of Aborigines, stationed at Taranaki, he is a Maclean from […] he attended Melfont school, North Ayrshire and knew the Glenmores. We could not find out who he was, except that he had a Grandmother and that the Grandfather was Minister of the Island of [Firee]. Although rough in his manner and appearance, he is a very shrewd and sensible person. I have every cause to speak well of him for he made a very kind offer to us. He wished us very much to send John to live with him that he might attend a school kept by an English clergyman in Taranaki and after returning home he wrote to Capt. Campbell and sent the school terms. We would have accepted of his kind offer but as Miss King has arranged with Mr. Taylor to give two hours every day to our two boys, we preferred sending John to her. Mr. Taylor’s eldest boy aged 13 is under her charge and his father is so satisfied of her ability to carry on his education that he brought him home from the Bishop’s school.

We are very well satisfied with the progress of the girls under Miss Martha King, they have both better abilities than the boys. Louisa’s taste has matured her judgment. I am glad to see that Susan begins to show symptoms of the same taste. John is delighted with the books you sent him, he is ready with a good many of them, is busy with “ Old Mortality” at present.

I have filled my paper with so much of my own concerns that it is high time I should tell you, how gratified we felt at yours and my dear Mother’s affectionate remembrance of us, every article sent was what we stood most in need of. I cannot describe to you the pleasure the opening of the box gave to us all, the children are constantly writing letters of thanks to you and Grandmama, even Susan scribbles her gratitude and comes to ask me if it is sense she has written. The girls were so glad to have the nice shoes for their holiday parties.

The two little New Zealanders are very stout little fellows, they play together and give no trouble to anyone, they are such friends. Ewen is a very lively child, he attempts every word he hears. Willie is exactly what John was at his age. I am glad to say I have no prospect at any addition which is a great blessing with all I have to do.

The Capt. says Margaret’s good qualities are quite thrown away in Britain where there is an excess of population, she would be an invaluable colonist.

You will, I daresay, see a good deal in the papers about our Governor and Government. Capt. Hobson was called King Log but most assuredly we have King Stork now. He never seems to know his own mind, makes laws one month and changes them next. Mr. Martin was a strenuous advocate for the settlers’ interests until the Govt. bought him over by confirming his claim to a large tract of land. Because of the natives’ complaints of prices of tobacco etc. etc. Capt. Fitzroy took off all the duties on every article and to raise a revenue taxed the unfortunate settlers.

To favour Gov. officials, who are the only people with yearly incomes, anyone with £100 a year only pays the same as one whose whole capital amounts to £100, can anything be more unjust? He finds there is so little capital in the country that this does not raise sufficient revenue and he intends raising it. Our only hope is that a report we have heard of his being recalled may be confirmed. By his conduct to the natives and want of firmness he has caused them to lose the exalted opinion they had of the English. They say we are not strong, it is all talk with us that we are afraid to punish them. The report here is that he really is a coward, and the horse whipping he got at home confirms this opinion.

I wrote a long letter to my dear…

[Typescript breaks off]

  • 9 September 1845: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella (Cameron) Macgregor.

Sept.9. 1845. Wanganui
My dearest Isabella,
All your letters have arrived safely up to 7th Feby. last received about a month ago, we rejoiced very much to see by that how happy you were, you have so much to congratulate yourself on the important step you have taken.

A longer interval than usual has lapsed since I wrote last to you. I trust that you rest assured my silence does not proceed from decreasing affection. As my excuses would only be a repetition of those I have already given, I shall not take up my paper by repeating them. My last letter I am ashamed to say was dated in March, I wrote to end of April. Since then many stirring events have occurred in this Island. As I have no doubt you will see the whole account in the papers, it will be unnecessary for me to say much about them. Our prospects are glowing enough at present, we owe all our misfortunes to the present Governor who has inflicted upon us a man without principle or honour and upon whose word not the least reliance can be placed and to crown all, firmly believed to be an arrant coward. His conduct has been one continued tissue of absurdities and mischief even if he acknowledgd it now, it would take years to remedy the evil he has been the cause of. It is said he is entirely governed by and advised by an old rascal missionary of the name of C— once a blacksmith, whose advice he has publicly declared to the Council, he preferred to any of his officials.

His conduct to the W. settlers has been most infamous, as indeed it has been to all the Company’s settlements. About a year since he sent one of his Police Magistrates from Auckland such a report of this settlement – on receiving a favourable account from Mr. Symonds the magistrate, he, Capt. Fitzroy, wrote promising to settle the land question as soon as possible and wrote to the natives to the same effect, who were anxious to receive payment for their land. Some of the settlers offered to advance half the sum necessary with Government security. A short time later settlers and natives wrote the Governor imploring him to fulfil his promise, his answer was a flat refusal to do anything for us, desiring us to leave the place or if we insisted on remaining to make the best bargain we could with the natives. His reply to the natives was equivalent to telling them they could turn off the whites. Fortunately for us this malicious hint had no effect upon them, they said the Governor was foolish, but he would go back to England by and bye they said the Settlers were welcome to settle on their land, they would wait for their payment until a new Governor came. No reason can be assigned for Capt. Fitzroy’s conduct except the malicious desire to destroy the Company’s settlements as much as lay in his power. My “better half” says we shall never be right until we get a military man for Governor, those navy people are generally unfitted for a shore command, witness Capt. Bligh and several other instances. The settlers are so dispirited that many of them are leaving […] an instance of the depreciation of land. I may mention that Capt. Campbell, 2 years ago was offered £200 for one of his sections, which he very foolishly refused, now I am certain he would not get £10 for it. Capt. Fitzroy’s imbecility has been the means of starting a war in the North which will not easily be quashed, he has learned what his cowardly undecided measures with the natives would lead to – the result has proved the warnings were given in vain. Fortunately for us the seat of war is near 500 miles from us. There has been already much waste of valuable lives and property, of course you will have the whole account of this in the papers.

Our little countryman Capt. Robertson has gone Home some time ago carrying with him the good wishes of every settler in the Colony. I was quite proud to claim him as my countryman, I trust long ere he joins his family he will be quite recovered from his severe wound.

We have just heard a rumour that Capt. Fitzroy is in such a desperate fright that he has sent his family off to Sydney, and sleeps himself on board the […] sloop.

Although settlers here have now possession of their land from the natives, the payment of Mr. Spains award to them is so uncertain now and our being allowed to continue living on the land depends so much on that, the settlers are afraid to be at any expense improving their sections while affairs are so unsettled — indeed many are without the means.

We have got a tolerable road made over to our sections at the Lakes and several acres sown with wheat this autumn, we expect to have more than enough to supply us with flour. Cattle still fetch good prices in Wellington, the consumption of the troops helps to cause this. Down here we have no market for them and so few have a sufficient number to make it worthwhile to drive them to Wellington till next year it keeps us rather pinched, in Summer we hope to have a good lot of young animals to dispose of.

Money is now so scarce in this quarter that a great deal is done by barter. The two boys we have in our service have their wages partly paid in cattle, our pork we get by the same means, by disposing of a calf six months old we get pork to the value of £6. I do not get much money now for my dairy produce, but it helps to pay a good deal – for instance the shoemaker and tailor take it and my washerwoman is partly paid in this way. The Capt. says that Wanganui is the only place [heever]

I had a long letter lately from my kind Aunt McMillan of a later date than yours. I regretted to learn from it that Margaret, our sister, was laid up with […]. I trust the attack was not a severe one, her life is so valuable that any serious ailment must alarm her family. Donald’s death must have been a great trial. Although prepared for the melancholy event by your account of his illness, I was shocked to see his death notice in a paper which came to hand several weeks before […] letter, I trust his poor mother’s grief has been ameliorated long ere this and that He who never lifts a rod but in wisdom and for the good of his creatures […] and do indeed sympathise with her on the blank and aching void caused in the heart by such a bereavement.

John must be a great comfort to his parents, I have no doubt the world will cure him of a great many of the foibles which made him such a disagreeable boy. I at one time thought of writing to Margaret, but her neglect and indifference to me has been so marked that I doubted on second thoughts if my letter would be welcome. I was very much amused to read in my aunt’s letter that the Macdonald’s gave as a reason for not coming to live in the house they built down here, the threatening aspect the natives assumed now. It is our boast that in no part of N.Z. are the natives so well affected to the whites, they seem quite aware of the benefits they derive from being among them. It is very laughable the wish some of them have to imitate the Europeans in their dress, particularly the baptised natives. A party of them have purchased among them a blue surtout, trousers and cap, shoes and a silk handkerchief. This dress is worn in turn every Sunday the affected air they assume and the flourishing of the silk handkerchief is truly ludicrous. One poor fellow could only get manage to a shirt (fortunately a long one!) and a bk. silk stock, he made his appearance in church one Sunday. This was his first and last appearance, I think Mr. Taylor must have interfered.

The Taupo invasion is the only cause we have had for alarm here. We were more frightened than there was occasion for. Mr. Maclean, the Protector, visited the Taupo country last April, he came down the river on his return journey to Taranaki and stayed a week with us, he gave a most interesting account of his travels. Nothing could equal the kindness and hospitality with which he was entertained. The old chief of the Hau Haus lives in a large house with three fire places — has also about 40 of his natives, children and dependents under the same roof and no one dares approach the old man except his principal wife — except by invitation.

Immediately Mr. Maclean arrived a pig was killed and part of it very quickly cooked by the steam from a hole in the ground close to one of their hot springs. The old chief spoke in most friendly terms of the settlers. He has requested that a missionary be sent to live among them and has built a house.

The true reason for the Macdonalds not coming here was Catherine’s marriage, her mother could not bear to leave her, the old man was likewise averse to leaving his Cronies. I heard from Mrs. Macdonald lately, her son Alexdr. had met with a bad accident going to the wreck of the [Ty…]. He is recovering his health. Her husband’s constitution, she says, is completely broken up, he has lost his appetite and become so thin, she says, I would not know him. His death would be no loss to the family, he is quite useless to them. […] goes on briskly again, I have heard on good authority that if he made £4 a week, he would spend £6. Catherine seems quite wrapped up in her baby and Grandmama not less so.

My little flock is quite well, the two girls are going to school at Miss Martha King’s. They are both very well advanced with their education, Louisa’s temper, I am glad to say, is much improved, she promises to be a great comfort to me. She does a good deal to assist, she darns stockings very neatly, she is at present making new collars for her Papa’s and brothers’ shirts, she is the most determined reader of her age I ever saw, no book comes amiss to her hand, History, Biography, Chamber’s Journal is a never failing source.

The young man who gave lessons to the boys became such a bad character, we were obliged to give him up. John crosses the river to attend Miss King’s, when weather permits, and Colin does the best he can with home lessons.

The two New Zealanders are boisterous little fellows, Willie has begun his letters. John is his master. Ewen has a great deal to say and speaks very distinctly.

I am sorry to hear such bad accounts of Susan Glenmore’s health, it will destroy her poor mother if anything happens to her.

Offer my affectionate regards to the Strone family, say to Maggie that Mrs. M. sent a bit of her heather and heartease to John Cameron. Capt. Fitzroy is more likely to deprive him of his heartease than the young ladies at present. I prize the heather very much — the children had so much curiosity to see it.

I regret to tell you that I expect to be confined in November. I trust this will be the last occasion for I am heartily sick of the business.

If Ewen goes on as prosperously as he has commenced, my Mother is likely to have a goodly number of grandchildren. I regret that my kind brother Alexdr. does not get my letters I wrote him last March to say we could not invest his money for him in the present unsettled state of the country, I regret his losing interest all this time. Mr. Millar (Sydney) will not take any more at the rate of interest he gave the Capt. I think perhaps the best plan would be to invest at home. Capt. C. means to write to him shortly about it. I shall write next to my dear mother. I wish I had time to write to Mrs. Wm. Campbell, but at present I fear it is impossible. I regret to hear of Capt. William’s illness. I should not like to see him so changed in appearance.

[the typescript for this letter ends here]

  • Date unknown: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to unknown.

[the typescript for this letter does not include the beginning]

………within the house shortly after coming here, we had 2 iron pots and a grindstone stolen, by the interference of the chief to whom Capt. C. made a present, they were returned, the grindstone was taken 40 miles up river.

We get quantities of pumpkins, the children are so fond of pumpkin pudding.

We are not so troubled with high winds as at Port Nicholson, the climate is warmer as we are nearly 2 degrees further north. We have frequent earthquakes but in general they are slight. The river has no wood on the banks near here, I am told that up a little way there is plenty, it is a pretty sight on a fine evening to see it covered with canoes, skimming up and down or with one small white sail.

The missionaries seem to have thought it quite sufficient religion for the natives to sing psalms, morning and night and a most discordant noise they make, as we have 3 pahs in our neighbourhood we often feel inclined to stuff our ears.

You will be glad to hear that Capt. C. has at length got 2 sections but owing to some dispute with the natives he has not been able to settle on it yet, the dispute is between the natives and the Company, the former say they are not receiving sufficient payment for the land. We are every day looking for the arrival of a vessel with a quantity of blankets on board to satisfy their claims, they feel the benefit of having the Pakeha (white people) among them and would regret above everything to see them leave the country, so we are quite certain of getting our land as soon as their claims are satisfied. At present we do not regret it so much as nothing can be done till Spring and we are certain of having possession before that time. Capt. C. is reckoned fortunate in his choice, the sections are situated between two lakes which almost surround them and plenty firewood also wood for other purposes. The house is to be built so as to have the shelter of the wood and close to one of the lakes about 3 miles from Wanganui, the lakes are covered with wild ducks. The only kind of fish in them are eels but every bit of the 200 acres is available for the plough and the soil is said by a good judge to be as good as any in N.Z. Another advantage is that our cattle will have a range of 2 miles between us and the sea which is not to be surveyed – this enables him to dispose of his other two sections, he sent word to a gentleman in Wgton. who was inquiring about them, there has not been time for a reply yet. The town has been surveyed and the selection for it and for the rest of the country land, takes place in a few weeks.

The only drawbacks our sections have is that of being difficult of access, a few days labour will enable bullocks and a dray to get to them.

Dr. Wilson will be our near neighbour, his sections border on ours. I rejoice at this as Mrs. Wilson is my greatest friend, she is such a sensible well informed person, it is quite a treat to meet with such a woman. Unfortunately we are both so busy we cannot have as much of each other’s company as we would wish.

Dr. Wilson and Capt.Thomas, our principal surveyor, are Capt. C’s. cronies, the latter has been a great traveller and very well educated. By the bye he is a Sandhurst bird, I pitched upon him as such a suitable husband for Isabella, unfortunately he leaves here soon, we shall miss him very much.

John Cameron is still on the surveying staff, he and Capt. C. have entered into a partnership, this will be an advantage for both parties. John finds he has no chance of advancing in his present employment and means to give it up. He will live with us and manage the active part of the business. Labour is so expensive at present that agricultural pursuits will not pay for some time, they will only cultivate for the house consumption.

They mean to confine themselves entirely to cattle as the expense is small and they pay remarkably well.

John is a good judge of cattle and so very steady, he sleeps here except when surveying too far away to return here at night and always spends Saturday and Sunday with us. Capt. C. would make such an active settler, he is constantly working at something or other.

We have at present 5 cows. 4 of them are giving milk and have calves. We had a little Irishman as a servant for a short time who would have been an acquisition if he had not been too fond of gin, he milked the cows made the churn, baked the bread, in short if he had continued steady, I would have been independent of a woman servt. Every second week Dan or Dam as Susan called him, was sure to be absent without leave for 3 or 4 days. Capt. C. discharged him and now trudges for the cattle himself. Servants are a great curse here, I have a young girl from Arbroath whom I brought down here with me, altho’ inexperienced I thought she would be obedient, once here she found out her own value. I can assure you I have enough to do with her, she neither can nor will work, the best I can say of her is that she is kind to the children. Necessity has compelled me to engage her for the next 6 months. She has two qualifications not often met with here, sobriety and honesty.

Capt. C. sold both his mares he brought from Sydney, he intended keeping the better one but the sight of £70 ready cash was irresistible especially as he did not think she was in foal, and there was no gentleman of that species down here.

He has 4 beautiful bullocks that are well broken in.

We brought several kinds of goods down which have been sold to advantage. Besides rearing their calves I make about £1 per week from my dairy I get 3d. per pint for skim milk, 3/- per lb for fresh butter and living being so cheap we are much more comfortable than at Petone. I may venture to say with certainty that if we were once settled on our own land —–

[typescript ends here]

  • Date Unknown: from Jessie Campbell in Wanganui to Isabella (Cameron) MacGregor.

[the typescript for this letter does not include the beginning]

………And what strangers to each other, and how uncivilised mine will be in appearance compared to them, to give an idea of Susan’s primitive ideas — she said, the other day, “What a fine lady the Queen must be, I daresay she never makes her own bed”.

I am glad to hear that Margaret is recovering her spirits, poor Donald’s death must indeed have been a sad trial. I recollect he was a great favourite of his mother’s. Their friends at Kaiwarra are sadly used that they write so seldom to them, it is a shame when there are so many women that some of them do not write to such near relations. I am almost ashamed to send you this illegible scrawl, I am half asleep. I have often begged of my husband to write, but as he himself says, it is useless to do so. I will not ask you to continue to write so regularly as you have done hitherto. You cannot imagine what a luxury your letters are, I enjoy the Lochaber gossip as much as ever and above all it gives my husband and me the greatest pleasure to hear of your comfort and happiness.

When you write to Ewen, tell with my best love that I shall expect to hear from him occasionally, I know writing is a trouble to my mother and I can hear from him all about her.

I almost forgot to tell you that excellent prices are given for cattle in Wellington, this is good news for us as they are our main dependence. Wheat sells at 5/- the bushel, our harvest is begun, we expect to have fully as much wheat as we will require for our own use. We are using our own flour at present, every Friday I bake the whole weeks bread for the section and all are thundering loaves. Some of them weigh 7 lbs. I have got so into the way of baking and making yeast that my bread never fails and gives no more trouble than a batch of oaten cakes used to do at home! I often think what a desirable place this would be for a half-pay officer, everything except clothing so cheap. Pork 2d per lb. and much cheaper if bought by barter. Excellent bk. tea we got lately 2/8 per pound, green tea for 1/6 to 2/-. Good brown sugar 3d. Spirits are dear from the high duty, that does not signify to us, for the last year we have only used 2 gals. Spanish Wine is 1/- the bottle and good sherry 2/-.

My washerwoman only gets 1/6 per day. I get a woman in to sew for the same, she will make a pair of trousers for a boy in a day, so you see if the Capt. could have managed to be on half pay, he would have been quite a man of fortune!

I think notwithstanding my hurry I have managed to make my letter a tolerable length. When I sit down to write I forget I am not chatting to you.

Capt. Campbell joins me in kindest regards to Mr. Macgregor and with love to you.

Believe me, my dearest Isabella,
Your most affectionate sister
Jessie Campbell

Kind regards to Miss Nelly I am sorry to hear she is failing so much, she will leave a great blank. My affecate. regards to the Stroves, I hope Jessie forgives me for not writing to her. You may think how tired I am at night when I tell you I fell asleep the other night reading Martin Chuzzlewit!

  • c June 1846: from Jessie Campbell to Isabella (Cameron) Macgregor.

[the typescript for this letter does not include the beginning]

…………Broke off the treaty with the natives , sent the money on board ship by stealth, and departed himself at a few hours notice, his only excuse was, some of the inferior chiefs claiming land which a little patience and interference of the better natives would at once have made them give up. Mr. Symonds did not even take the trouble to explain his conduct to any of the chiefs who had settled everything with him. The disappointment to the natives was so great that we were rather alarmed for the consequences, however their conduct has been beyond all praise. They have sent a letter to the Governor offering to give the land for nothing, they say they do not mind the loss of the money so much as the loss of the white people. The unlucky man who claimed the land has been put in Coventry, they have begged of the whites to punish him by buying nothing from him or his people, notwithstanding that we have been here so long we dread that Mr. Symond’s report to the Gov. will be the means of removing us, so much is the opinion of some of the settlers who had their land ploughed, they do not intend putting down any crop.

We are going on as usual, John Cameron is going to live at the lakes and is having a small wooden house put up, if this settlement is broken up, we intend giving a filly foal for those sections to secure a run for the cattle that we may not remove them at a sacrifice, the land can be chosen where the others go and we can move at our convenience. I cannot tell you how it grieves me to leave this place. I have no dread of the natives. Some of the old wives had such a cry or tangi over me the day Symonds left, that I had nearly joined them. The Capt. is an immense favourite, they all say he is a Rangitira (that is a great gentleman) he is very kind to them but never familiar and never loses his patience, from his deafness he has picked up very little of their language. I never attempt to bargain with the natives, they have no idea of the value of time and I lose patience, John is employed as interpreter for us all.

The Capt. is so broken hearted at leaving this place, that he intends going to Wgton. to see the Governor who is expected there soon, to try what can be done. Immediately on his return I shall write to let you know our fate. One of the reasons Mr. Symonds makes for breaking faith with the natives was the dread of giving so much money to the natives in the present unsettled state of the country as they might buy arms and ammunition, they never thought of such a thing, what they thought principally of buying was cattle and horses, one of Capt. Grey’s wisest acts has been making anyone selling arms or ammunition to the natives liable to a fine of £500. Fitzroy never thought of any prohibition of this kind. Capt. Grey is a very young man to hold such a high position, he looks about 30, he cannot be much more, he got his commission in Sandhurst in ’32 so he must have been there with Alexdr. he regretted that his stay was so short, it prevented him from making the acquaintance of the ladies of the place. His wife is very young, pretty and very clever, she was much pleased with the gaiety of Wgton., they gave a grand ball in honour of the Governor’s visit. One of our richest and oldest settlers Mr. Crawford went home some time ago, returning last January, bringing with him a young wife very bright and very stylish, but stone blind. She was in that state two years before her marriage. She attended the ball given the Governor and danced the Polka, to see her move through the dance with so much grace, I am told no one would suppose she had lost her sight. Her eyes have not the glazed look that the blind usually have, still I think it must have been a humiliating sight to see a blind woman dance.

The Military are very much disliked in Wgton. I believe the principle reason is that they do not associate with the townspeople very much. Those storekeepers and auctioneers they consider in the same light they are looked upon at Home.

Although at such we have benefited by the Military from their consumption of beef. John Cameron went to Wgton. some time ago with 6 fat head and got £12 each for them.

The last time I heard from Mrs. Macdonald, Mrs. […] was so ill with rheumatism she was preparing to go to Sydney in hopes of the warm climate benefiting her, her baby is a very fine child, Catherine is so thin and haggard John C, says I would hardly know her.

Campbell Macdonald has determined on going to sea and is bound apprentice to Capt. Dawson of the Skiro Castle when her contract with the Government expires, she is to go Home and will be at least 5 months at Home. Campbell is to spend that time with his friends in the Highlands, he is at present with the ship in Auckland he is a very steady boy.

I have been as usual half asleep over this, I fear you will not be able to read it. I have much rejoiced to hear of dear Alexdr’s return, I would like so much to see his journal, how fortunate his money was not invested here. I regret his losing the interest but it is better as it is in the present state of matters.

The Capt. is just ready to embark on board the little craft for Wgton. so I must have done, he joins me in kindest regards to Mr. Macgregor – With our kindest love to yourself –

Believe me my dearest Isabella
Your most affectionate sister
Jessie Campbell.

If you are not too much occupied, may I ask you to write to those friends most interested in us, there are some that I wish much to write to, but really and truly I am so slow at the pen that I have not time. If you write to my dear mother, tell her with my best love what a luxury the canister of arrowroot was for John during his illness.

John Cameron of Marangai

John Cameron was a cabin passenger on the Blenheim, so was not included on the list of assisted passengers.  Newspaper accounts of the departure and arrival of the Blenheim note that John Cameron was one of the cabin passengers.


Return to The Blenheim People.


John Cameron was a member of the family of Camerons of Callart. According to Somerled MacMillan in Bygone Lochaber, he was born at Lochmaddy, North Uist, on 7 October 1817, the son of Allan Cameron and Mary Campbell, daughter of Duncan Campbell of Ardgour House.

Callart lies on the northern shore of Loch Leven, directly opposite Glencoe, but was forfeited to the Crown because of the participation in the 1745 rising by Allan Cameron, 9th of Callart.  His son John Cameron, 10th of Callart, recovered the estate by payment of a fine, but he then sold Callart to Ewen Cameron of Fassiefern, and was succeeded, as representative of the family, by his brother James.  James’ second son Allan succeeded him as representative of the family, and after serving as Captain and Paymaster of the Lochaber Fencibles, Allan Cameron was factor for Lord MacDonald in North Uist for a period of 27 years and resided at Lochmaddy, where John Cameron was born.

In their history of the Wanganui County, From Sand to Papa, Rex H Voelkerling and Kevin L Stewart devote a chapter to John Cameron as a case study of an early settler in the district.  In this book it is noted, “John initially took up medicine as a career but decided that he was unsuited to this work and studied surveying instead.  Hearing the persuasive propoganda put out by the New Zealand Company and being attracted to the idea of starting afresh in a new country, Cameron travelled to London and purchased a land order.”

John Cameron’s grandmother, Mary Cameron, wife of James Cameron and daughter of Alexander MacSorlie-Cameron, 12th of Glenevis, was the aunt of Jessie Cameron, who married Moses Campbell, making John Cameron and Jessie Campbell first cousins, once-removed. John Cameron and the Campbells were fellow-passenger on the Blenheim, and neighbours and business partners in Wanganui, New Zealand.  Jessie Campbell made no overt reference to the family relationship in her Journal or letters, although she was full of praise for his character and hard work.

In Wanganui John Cameron lived with the Campbells for a period. In a letter of 4 December 1842, Jessie Campbell wrote, “John Cameron has gone to Wellington on business of his own, also to purchase cattle for the section, if he can get any to his mind. We miss him very much, he makes himself very useful, he sleeps on a sofa in the sitting room, makes his bed every evening and in the morning clears everything away and even sweeps the room. I often tell him, what would his friends at home say if they could see him with a scrubbing brush cleaning his canvas trousers or in the evening mending them, he can patch as neatly as I can,” and “Cattle are the only thing that pay here, but it requires judgment, experience and money. Of all this John Cameron is possessed, so that instead of being a burden upon us as George would be, he is a very acquisition. He was busy making oars for the boat when he went away, he intends making some of the doors for our new house, in short he can put his hand to anything, even to the nursing of Willie who is an immense pet of his, besides he is well enough informed to support his own side of an argument rather stiffly which makes him a pleasant companion for the Capt. he is quite au fait in all farming matters and gardening.” In March 1843 she wrote,”John Cameron is still an inmate of our house, and a valuable acquisition he is. He provides so much for the house, such as tea, flour etc. that his living with us is a great assistance besides his own labour which he does not spare. He is the person to do well here, he has so much prudence, good sense, energy of mind and of activity of body. My better half was most fortunate to get him for a partner. He has worked as hard at that new house of ours as if it were his own, I hope it will be his house until he gets a wife.”

Survey work and the allocation of sections of land in Wanganui took longer than expected because of the failure of the New Zealand Company to finalise purchase arrangements in Wanganui with the Maori tribes concerned.  It took until 1848 before Governor Gray brokered a solution and Donald McLean negotiated the details of the purchase.  Up until then John Cameron and Moses Campbell had been working on the land they had selected, although troubles with Maori in 1847 meant that their cattle had to be moved to Waitotara.  Once the land purchase was settled, the Campbells built a house at Wiritoa and John Cameron lived with them and supervised the running of both that property and his adjoining section of Marangai.

In 1853 the partnership with Moses Campbell was terminated, and John Cameron built his own house at Marangai.  In 1863 problems with the Maoris re-emerged.  John Cameron raised a troop of volunteer cavalry from the local area and a blockhouse was constructed.

John Cameron of Marangai
John Cameron of Marangai

In 1863 John Cameron had employed a housekeeper and eventually he married her.  John Cameron and Annie Sutherland were married on 6 June 1865 at Marangai. Annie Sutherland was born in Nova Scotia on 22 October 1832 to Hector Sutherland and Jessie Ferguson.  The family moved to Australia and then to the New Zealand settlement of Waipu, in Northland, in December 1852. Annie (Sutherland) Cameron died on 20 August 1884. The Wanganui Chronicle of 21 August 1884 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On the 20th instant, at Marangai, Annie, the beloved wife of John Cameron.”

John Cameron died on 6 November 1892, aged 75. The Wanganui Herald carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – At Marangai, Wanganui, on November 6th, John Cameron, aged 76.” The Wanganui Chronicle of 7 November 1892 published the following obituary:

It was with deep regret that we heard yesterday of the death of Captain John Cameron, of Marangai. None of our readers, we are sure, will read of his death without concern, for a kinder heart was not known in the district nor one more entitled to the respect of either rich or poor. Mr Cameron was one of our oldest settlers, and at such a juncture one cannot avoid the thought that the sturdy race of pioneers who have been the very backbone of the country are surely and swiftly passing away from amongst us. Mr Cameron arrived in New Zealand in 1840, over half a century ago, and we believe that at least 50 years of that time have been spent in Wanganui. In the early days of his colonial life the deceased was in partnership with the late Captain Campbell, and the two estates of Marangai and Weretoa were held between them. In the time of the wars Captain Cameron did good service as captain of the Wanganui Cavalry, but for many years before his death he had ceased to take any active interest in Volunteering. He was President of the Wanganui Jockey Club, and a successful horse breeder, although he never ran any of his horses at the races. In character he was quiet and unassuming, and he preferred the quietude of private life to the stir of public business. He was a kind and hospitable friend, and his family of four sons and one daughter will in their bereavement have the sympathy of all with whom he was ever brought into contact. The funeral takes place to-morrow afternoon, leaving Marangai at 1 o’clock.

John and Annie had five children:

  • Allan Cameron, born in 1865, died in 1950, married Maude Mary Ralston in 1892.
  • John Cameron, born in 1867, died in 1915 (WW1, also served in Boer War).
  • Hector Sutherland Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1944, married Eleanor Grierson Robertson in 1906.
  • Mary Cameron, born in 1871, died in 1954, married Henry William Wilson in 1897.
  • James Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1916 (WW1, Australian Forces).

Sources:

Photograph:

  • Mr Cameron. Harding, William James, 1826-1899 : Negatives of Wanganui district. Ref: 1/4-008083-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23503123

Donald McDonald and Anne Cummings

The Caledonian Mercury of 29 August 1840, in reporting on the departure of the Blenheim, noted, “The ship is commanded by Captain Gray, and the emigrants amount to betwixt 150 and 200. They are all from Lochaber, Morvern and Skye, with a few Lowlanders. The families consist of the parents, and from six to ten children each, and they are all under the kindly and fatherly care of Mr M’Donald of Drimintoran, a genuine and highly respectable Highlander, who, to prove his confidence in the benefits to be derived from emigration, and the trust that might be put in his sincerity, goes out along with his family and friends to the land of hope, which we understand, is Wellington, Port Nicholson.”

Because they were cabin passengers the family was not on the passenger lists of those receiving free passage. From newspaper reports the family included:

  • Donald MacDonald, Esq., 51
  • Mrs MacDonald,
  • Catherine MacDonald, 17
  • Donald MacDonald, 16
  • Adam MacDonald, 15
  • Flora MacDonald, 13
  • Alexander MacDonald, 12
  • Campbell MacDonald, 10
  • Thomas MacDonald, 5
  • Duncan MacDonald, 18 mths

Spelling:  The variations used in documents and other sources include “MacDonald”, “Macdonald”, “M’Donald”, and McDonald”.  In this post “McDonald” has been used unless the source indicated otherwise.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Donald McDonald and Anne Cummings

Donald McDonald was described in the New Zealand Journal of Saturday August 29 1840 as “a large landholder in the colony, and nearly the whole body of emigrants by the Blenheim was composed of his own and the neighbouring clans, near Fort William, in Inverness-shire.”

Alexander McDonald wrote a memoir which included some of the history of his family. He noted that he had documentary evidence sufficiently conclusive to himself, that he belonged to the Glencoe branch of the MacDonald Clan.

Alexander’s grandfather’s name was Donald MacDonald, and while he was too young to join the clan in the rising of 1745, he ran after and overtook the Glencoe men and marched with them to Culloden. After Cullodon, this Donald McDonald escaped with others to France, but returned to Scotland while he was still a young man and took to farming. His son Donald (Alexander’s father) followed in the same pursuit, and was presented with a silver cup in 1829 by the Highland Agricultural Society in testimony of the best managed farm in the West Highlands (this cup, and another awarded to the senior Donald MacDonald, have been recovered by descendants of Alexander MacDonald and are their treasured possessions). Donald MacDonald was in the Commission of the Peace, and Deputy Lieutenant of Argyleshire for 22 years. The cup was not the only recognition received by Donald McDonald. The Caledonian Mercury of 31 January 1828, in its publication of premiums adjudged by the Highland Society of Scotland, reported that Mr Donald MacDonald, Tenant in Drimintoran, Sunart, received five Sovereigns for the best two Quays [heifers] of two years old in the District of Morvern, Ardnamurchan etc, and in 1833 the Caledonian Mercury of 31 January reported that he received eight sovereigns for the best bull exhibited at the Competition held in Strontian in August 1832.

Donald McDonald was born around 1781.

Donald McDonald had an early marriage to Jane Kennedy, who died a few years after the marriage.  It seems unlikely that there were any children.  The Caledonian Mercury of 19 February 1814 carried the Marriage Notice: “At Keppoch, on the 3rd current, Donald McDonald, Esq., of Drimintoran, to Miss Jane Kennedy, only daughter of the late Rev. Mr John Kennedy, of Auchterer.”

A few years later, Donald McDonald married Anne Cummings.  The Old Parish Register for Coldstream in the county of Berwick recorded that Donald McDonald of the parish of Ardnamurchan, and Ann Cummings of this parish, were registered for proclamation on the 23rd September and married the 9th October 1820.

The New Zealand Company employed Donald MacDonald to arrange with a number of Scottish families to emigrate to New Zealand, and a large number from the West Highlands agreed to make the trip. There were some late withdrawals and the ship could take more, so several families of Paisley weavers were also enlisted for the voyage.

Jessie Campbell’s Journal includes many references to the McDonald family, given that they lived cheek by jowl for several months on the voyage to New Zealand.  Not all of the remarks were charitable.

In talking of the McDonald’s plans, Jessie wrote, “Capt. Gray told Capt. C today that he knew all Mr Macdonald’s history, that he had failed for £10,000 and of his intemperate habits. Mr Macdonald told Capt. C that he has hopes of getting a situation from the company as he had letters from some of the Directors to Col. Wakefield; he says it will be useless for him to go to his land as he has no subject to stock it or improve it. (Of course we are very doubtful however time will soon shew). His wife and daughter are to keep school he says in Port Nicholson. Catherine is fit to teach none but mere beginners, what her mother means to teach I cannot fancy. ”

Before leaving Scotland Donald McDonald, and others, had bought land at Wanganui from the New Zealand Company, but remained in Wellington at Kaiwarra where he had charge of the road-making from Wellington to Petone, Porirua and Karori. The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 3 March 1841 noted, “We walked out on the Porirua road a few days since, and were much gratified with the rapid progress which had been made. About three miles of the road are now as good as need be for the present. Mr. M’Donald has shown great judgment in the management of this important undertaking, and the colonists may consider themselves fortunate in having among them a gentleman so evidently well qualified to perform the task he has in hand.”

Jessie Campbell’s letters home included much gossip about the McDonalds, including Donald McDonald’s reversion to intemperence and the effect it had on his health.  In a letter of 4 December 1842, she wrote, “I wrote to my mother about Drimantoran having lost his situation, alas miserable man, the accounts we had a few days ago are still more wretched, he is a ruined man. Everything he has was seized for debt. His son Adam, saved him from being sent to jail by giving up the little pittance he had saved. God help his poor wife, I feel deeply for her, with all her faults she is well principled. He, poor wretch, is lying dangerously ill, scarcely expected to recover, I think his death would be a happy release to his family, he has brought such disgrace upon them. Adam is very steady and a sensible lad. Donald’s death was blessing, he was as drunken as his father without his abilities when sober. Catherine’s intended has not returned from Auckland, all this blow up has occurred during his absence. I wonder what he will feel about it when he hears of McDonald’s disgrace. The Capt. and John Cameron were thankful to be at such a distance from him, they would not like to have intercourse with a man spoken of as he is.”

As outlined by Alexander McDonald in his memoir, his father, once a first-class farmer and magistrate, fell “victim to the intemperate use of intoxicants,” which broke him down but not irretrievably before leaving Scotland, but after a year or two in New Zealand he gave way to the habit.

Donald McDonald died on 26 July 1849. The Wellington Independent of 28 July 1849 carried the Death Notice: “At Glengower near Wellington, on Thursday Evening the 26th inst., Donald M’Donald, Esq., late of Drimintoran, Argyleshire, and Deputy Lieutenant of the same County, Aged 68 years.”

Anne (Cummings) McDonald died on 7 April 1870 at Christchurch under the name of Agnes McDonald.  The death registration noted that she was 70 years old and died of “general vital failure consequent on old age”, with the informant being Llewellyn Powell MD, Christchurch, but with no other information.  It is likely that she was living with her daughter Catherine at the time.   The Press of 8 April 1870 carried the Death Notice: “McDonald—At Christchurch, on the 7th April, Agnes, widow of the late Donald McDonald, Esq. Drinintoran, Argyleshire, and of Wellington, N Z, aged 74.”

Catherine McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records the baptism on 27 October 1823 of Catherine, daughter to Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings.

Catherine was 16 when she boarded the Blenheim in August 1840. She appears to have given lessons to the younger children, occasioning Jessie Campbell to remark that she had a very good method with young children.

In a letter of 27 June 1843 Jessie Campbell wrote, “…but my servant, who was with them for some time, says Catherine was quite the fine lady, did nothing to assist her mother. Her intended has not yet returned from Auckland, she hears from him regularly. From a reduction of the surveying staff he lost his situation, he has been wanting the acting Governor to fulfil his promise of giving him another place, by the last accounts he was on the eve of being appointed Protector of the Aborigines either here or at Kafia, a place further down the coast. I do not know what his salary will be, probably 200 pounds a year. Catherine has been very fortunate. Mr. Campbell has been highly spoken of by all. Mr. Spain told me he was a most honourable well principled young man.”

The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator for 14 October 1843 carried the following Marriage Notice: “At ‘Kai Wara Wara, on the 10th October, by the Rev. J. Macfarlane, first minister of the Scotch Church, N.Z., John Campbell, Esq., formerly of Edinburgh, now Protector of Aborigines at Taranaki, to Catherine, daughter of D. M’Donald, Esq., formerly of Druim-an-Soran, Argyleshire, N.B.”

However, the New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 15 November 1843 reported:

Died. At Wellington, on the 2nd instant, John Campbell, Esq., formerly of Edinburgh, aged 29. Mr. Campbell was originally bred to the profession of the Law, but having emigrated to New Zealand, he was employed as a Surveyor by the Local Government, for which his scientific acquirements particularly fitted him. Subsequently he was appointed Protector of the Aborigines at Taranaki, and it is much to be regretted that the liberal and enlightened views which he entertained as to the relative position of the European’s and Natives, and his anxious wish to promote the interest of both, have been frustrated by his premature death. He was much respected by all who knew him his funeral was attended by most of the officials connected with the Government and the New Zealand Company, and upwards of a hundred Natives.

Catherine (McDonald) Campbell remarried, to Robert Waitt on 5 June 1844.

Jessie Campbell wrote on 9 September 1845, “Catherine seems quite wrapped up in her baby and Grandmama not less so.” and in another letter, “The last time I heard from Mrs. Macdonald, Mrs. [Waitt] was so ill with rheumatism she was preparing to go to Sydney in hopes of the warm climate benefiting her, her baby is a very fine child, Catherine is so thin and haggard John C, says I would hardly know her.”

The family moved to Christchurch in 1854 where Robert Waitt carried on business as a merchant in Lyttelton and leased a sheep station at Double Corner at Motunau. By 1857 he had purchased the Casterton Estate in the Heathcote Valley.

Robert Waitt died on 14 September 1866. The Lyttelton Times carried the Death Notice: “Waitt – Sept. 14, at Opawa, Robert Waitt, aged 50 years.”

Catherine (McDonald) Waitt died on 23 December 1877. The Press carried the Death Notice: “Waitt – On the 23rd December, Catherine, widow of the late Robert Waitt, Esq., aged fifty-four years.”

Catherine and Robert had at least five children:

  • Mary Douglas Waitt, born in 1845, died in 1865, married Llewelyn Price Traherne in 1863.
  • Robert McDonald Waitt, born in 1847, died in 1879, married Janie Emerald White in 1876.
  • Agnes Isabella Waitt, born in 1850, died in 1882, married Andrew Jameson in 1869.
  • Flora Margaret Waitt, born in 1851, died in 1885, married Thomas Dyke Acland in 1874.
  • George Caverhill Waitt, born in 1855, died in 1867.
Donald McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Donald, son of Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born the 26th September was baptized the 1st October 1824.

Donald McDonald was 16 when he travelled to New Zealand in 1840.

It appears from Jessie Campbell’s letters that Donald McDonald died before December 1842, but details have not been found.

Adam Cummings McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Alexander, son of Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born 27th March, baptized the 5th April 1829.

Adam Cummings McDonald and Margaret Wallace were married in Wellington on 10 June 1852.

Adam Cummings McDonald died in Wellington on 20 September 1858 at the age of 35.

In his memoirs, Alexander McDonald wrote that after his father’s death:

His place was nobly filled by my elder brother, Adam Cummings McDonald, who at the time of my father’s death was a valued clerk in the Union Bank of Australia.  It pleased God however, that he should also be taken from us.  He died very suddenly in 1858, leaving a widow and two sons, and two daughters.  He was then Manager of the Wellington Branch of the Union Bank of Australia.  On his sudden death the directors of the Bank wrote a letter of sympathy to his widow, enclosing also a whole year’s salary £400 of their late Manager in testimony of their appreciation of his worth.  The Directors also expressed a wish that the two boys of their late Manager would be kept at school, with a view to commercial life, and that a place would always be open to them in their Bank when of suitable age.  In due time the eldest boy Adam was taken into the Bank, and the youngest, George, went into the office of Messrs. Turnbull.
Let me say here to you young people that there never was in this world two young men who gave greater promise of a beautiful, useful, Christian life.  And yet it pleased God to take both these fine young men before they reached the prime of life.  They both died of typhoid fever within a fortnight of each other.  It had been found impossible to prevent the younger from nursing the elder brother, who was first taken ill, and the former caught the infection and they were both taken.  The youngest sister Amelia, without exception the most delightful child I ever saw in my life, also caught the infection and died within a few weeks of her brothers.

[The reference to the date of Amelia’s death is not consistent with BDM information.]

Adam and Margaret McDonald had four children:

  • Adam Campbell McDonald, born in 1853, died in 1879.
  • George Robertson McDonald, born in 1854, died in 1879.
  • Agnes Jane McDonald, born in 1856, died in 1924.
  • Amelia Jessie McDonald, born in 1858, died in 1875
Flora McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Flory, daughter of Donald McDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born the 6th and baptized the 17th day of March 1828.

Flora McDonald was 13 when she emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

Flora McDonald married Thomas Kebbell on 8 November 1848. The couple moved to the Manawatu district, where Thomas Kebbell and his brother John built the first steam sawmill. After returning to Wellington following the 1855 earthquake, Thomas Kebbell carried out duties as a J.P. and was active in business.

Thomas Kebbell died in 1890 by drowning during a yacht race on Wellington Harbour. The incident was reported by the Feilding Star of 23 January 1890:

Terrible Drowning Accidents
It is with deep regret that we record the death by drowning of Mr Thomas Kebbell, a well known citizen, which occurred during the progress of the First Class Yacht Race at the Regatta yesterday. Mr Kebbell, who has taken great interest in yachting for many years, was engaged in sailing the Florence, whicb was owned by him, when the accident occurred. The yacht, which was leading, had completed her second journey round the course, and shortly after passing the flagship Mr Kebbell took the tiller from Dr Fell, who formed one of the party, remarking, strangely enough, “that this would be the last race he would ever sail.” He was sitting on the weather gunwale of the boat holding on to the tiller lines, when he was observed by the doctor to suddenly fall backwards into the water. The yacht, which was travelling at a great rate, was put about as speedily as possible, and in the meantime Mr Cecil Kebbell jumped overboard with the intention of assisting his father. A small rowing boat, manned by two boys, which had been cruising about, had been brought up alongside Mr Kebbell, and the lads succeeded in holding his head above water until the Florence was brought up alongside. The unfortunate gentleman was then hauled into the boat as speedily as possible. Mr Kebbell had evidently been dead some time before he was taken out of the water.
The deceased gentleman was 71 years of age, arrived in New Zealand by the ship Mandarin in 1841. In co-operation with his brother he built a steam sawmill (afterward a flour mill) in the Manawatu, from which place he was driven by the earthquake of 1855, which destroyed the mill. He leaves a widow and six children. Three sons are living in the Wairarapa. and the three daughters are Mesdames H. P. Higginson, A. de B. Brandon, and Tilley (Wanganui). Inspector Thomson received the following telegram from Otaki last night Catherine Mary and Dora Ann Kebbell, 10 and 8 years respectively daughters of Mr J. Kebbell, J.P., Ohau, were drowned while bathing in the Ohau river at 11 a.m. to-day.” Mr J. Kebbell, father of the two children who have thus met with a terrible death, is a nephew of Mr T. Kebbell who was drowned yesterday. We feel sure that the people of Wellington generally will sympathise with the members of a highly esteemed family in their severe bereavement.

Flora (McDonald) Kebbell died on 20 December 1919, aged 91. The Dominion of 22 December 1919 carried the Death Notice: “Kebbell – On December 20, 1919, at her residence, No [..] Hobson Street, Flora, widow of the late Thomas Kebbell, Esq., in her 92nd year.” The Wairarapa Age of 24 December 1919 noted:

Many people will regret to hear of the death of Mrs. Flora Kebbell, widow of the late Mr. Thomas Kebbell, both being much respected and popular pioneer residents of Wellington, Mrs. Kebbell passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday morning early, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Tilly, of Hobson Street. She was in her 92nd year, and had enjoyed wonderfully good health, considering her advanced age. Mrs. Kebbell leaves three daughters, Mrs. Higginson, who is resident in England, Mrs. A. de B. Brandon, and Mrs. Tilly, both of Wellington. Her sons are Messrs William, Richard, and Cecil Kebbell.

The Dominion of 24 December 1919 published the following obituary:

AN INTERESTING MEMOIR
THE LATE MRS. THOMAS KEBBELL. On January 22 next it will be 80 years since the pioneers of the New Zealand Company landed at Petone, and laid the foundation of the settlement of New Zealand. Ship after ship followed in succession’ laden with immigrants and stores, and among them was the Blenheim, which cast anchor in Port Nicholson on December 27, 1840, welcomed by bright sunshine. Among her passengers was a girl twelve years of age accompanying her father, mother, brothers, and sister, who had left the home of their ancestors to found a new home in a new land, M’Donalds of Druimantorran, in Scotland, they sought a favourable turn of fortune’s wheel in New Zealand. The people of to-day cannot really form any conception of travel as it was in those days. The Blenheim was a ship of 378 tons burthen, and on that voyage carried 197 passengers, besides officers and crew. Salt meat and biscuits were the staple food, and the voyage lasted four months.
The excitement of the child on waking one morning and finding the, ship at anchor may be imagined, and her joy at seeing the beautiful harbour of Port Nicholson surrounded by hills, bush-clad to the water’s edge and alive with singing birds, created an impression which lasted her lifetime. For eight years she saw forest disappear to give place to dwellings and pasture during the infancy of the city of Wellington. Towards the end of 1848 she married Mr. Thomas Kebbell, who was then a pioneer settler on the banks of the Manawatu River, but in the meantime she had experienced the awful earthquake of that year. That convulsion so disturbed the peace of mind of some of the settlers that they chartered a schooner to take themselves and their goods and chattels to Sydney. They set sail at the earliest moment, and among them was one of three men prominent in the call for constitutional government, and who were known as “The Three F’s.” The wreck of the schooner at the heads put an end to the desire of Dr. William Fitzherbert to cast the dust of New Zealand from off his feet, and he subsequently did great service to the colony in helping to adjust the differences between Downing Street and its distant protege, ending in the launching of the “self-reliant” policy which quickly brought an end to the Native troubles that hitherto, under the Imperial control had seemed interminable.
The bride accompanied her husband to the Manawatu, making the journey on horseback, which at that time was the only alternative to walking. Riding along the Old Porirua Road, and passing the Porirua Harbour on the west side, they swam their horses across the entrance to the harbour at the ferry east of where Plimmerton now stands. Following the Maori track through the bush over the Pukerua hill and down to the seashore, they rode along the coast to the Manawatu River, and thence to their home.
Few nowadays know of the difficulties which then beset travellers on that coast – high spring tides, the rivers Waikanae, Otaki, Manakau, and Ohau each liable to flood, and each with a deep channel running back into sandhills. Many a traveller had been compelled to wait for hours or even days until the flood had subsided or the tide had ebbed sufficiently to allow of a passage in comparatively shallow water near the line of the breaking waves; or in the case of the Otaki the traveller might have made a laboured journey inland and sought, the assistance of a friendly Maori who would take him across the river in canoe and tow the horse behind. In those days the beach was the main road northward from Paekakariki as far as Scott’s Ferry on the Rangitikei River.
The earthquake of 1856 and unprecedented floods in the river ended the Manawatu venture, and the bride of ’48, with three children out of four (one having met the “New Zealand death” — drowned in the river) were brought to Wellington, where she saw further great changes in the development of the city. She had already seen forest removed for dwellings and pastures: later she saw shops and stores replace dwellings, and still later she saw dwellings displace horses and cows.
Nurtured in times when “woman rights” were motherhood and home management, home life was the life of the late Mrs. Kebbell. With all her faculties clear to within a few hours of death, she lived loved by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. With her death it might almost be said that the foundation of this Dominion has now passed from the ken of the eye-witness into the domain of tradition.

Flora and Thomas Kebbell had at least seven children:

  • William McDonald Kebbell, born in 1850, died in 1933, married (1) Charlotte Ellen Willock in 1882, (2) Annie Hassell Liddle in 1902.
  • Ann Kebbell, born in 1852, died in 1854 (drowned in the Manawatu River).
  • Florence Kebbell, born in 1853, married Harry Pasley Higginson in 1874.
  • Louisa Kebbell, born in 1858, died in 1941, married Alfred de Bathe Brandon jun. in 1879.
  • Edith Kebbell, born in 1861, died in 1929, married Henry Johnston Robinson Tilly in 1883.
  • Cecil Kebbell, born in 1866, died in 1938, married Mary Christina Cameron in 1896.
  • Richard Cummings Kebbell, born in 1868, died in 1940.
Alexander McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Alexander, son of Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born 27th March baptized on the 5th April 1829.

In a letter of 2 August 1843, Jessie Campbell wrote, “I think I mentioned in former letter that one of Drimantoran’s sons had gone to be herdboy with his old servant, Angus McMaster, is not this terrible?”

In his memoir, Alexander MacDonald wrote:

In some respects I was a precocious boy, in other respects I was extremely slow in assimilating wisdom, of which I fear I have not a very large stock even now. As an example of my best qualities I will mention that coming out on the “Blenheim” I made the acquaintance of a Highland lassie of about my own age. We forthwith became sweethearts and agreed that when our respective parents would permit, or we became of age to act for ourselves, we certainly would marry. Well through thick and thin we stuck to that agreement, until I was a little over 22 years of age, and then my little sweetheart was foolish enough to become my wife. This is the only act of my life in which I showed absolutely just discrimination.

Alexander MacDonald and Annie Cameron were married on 13 January 1852. Annie was the daughter of Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson, sister of Jane (see Dugald McLachlan and Jane Cameron), and Mary (see Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron).

In Poyntzfield, Eliza McKenzie’s memories of the wedding day are recorded:

Though this was Mr Hogg’s first there, it was not the first Turakina marriage, because our beloved ‘Little Annie’ and Alick had gone to Wanganui before Mr Hogg had arrived. I think it was by ‘Missionary Taylor’ so well known and liked – but it might have been Mr Nicholl. I remember her coming to our house, accompanied by Mysie who introduced her as ‘Mrs MacDonald’ at which everyone laughed, and Annie blushed, looking lovelier than ever. Both ladies were bewildering in the beauty of their attire, culminating in the wreath of ‘orange blossom’ round the vivacious face of the bride, and some sprays on the outside of the bonnet mixed with ‘blond’ lace. Annie carried a nice little kit in her hand from which she presently took a parcel of wedding cake saying to Mother “This is something for you, somebody gave it to me and I have a bit for Mrs McGregor” with which they went on to ‘Annbank’, a vision of brightness to us.

Alexander McDonald’s memoirs provide an informed assessment of the issues arising in first few decades of settlement in New Zealand, and in particular his views and engagement in issues relating to Maori land purchases and the relationship with Maori. The memoir also provided a history of the various places he lived in and the people there, and was quoted extensively by his friend Sir James Wilson in his book Early Rangitikei.

It was as a result of his support for the rights of some Maori in relation to purchases that Alexander McDonald was imprisoned after shooting a horse pulling a mail coach to prevent it crossing Ngatikauwhata land. The iwi supported Alexander and his family with land and money during his imprisonment.

Ann Christian (Cameron) McDonald died on 26 February 1898. The Feilding Star of 1 March 1898 carried the following obituary:

Mrs A Macdonald: On Saturday night, at Shannon, there died one of the best-natured and truest-hearted women it is the lot of human beings to meet, Mrs Macdonald, wife of Alexander Macdonald, at the age of 69. Few women have had a more stirring life, and few have retained their natural kindness and love for their fellow-creatures to the same extent as Mrs Macdonald. As Miss Cameron, she came to the colony when quite a child, in the ’40’s, and both before and after marrying Mr Macdonald lived at Kaiwarra. From thence they went to the Wanganui district, subsequently removing to Turakina, Bulls, Kopani, Awahuri and Shannon. Coming to the bush districts years in advance of settlement, Mrs Macdonald had every opportunity of displaying that hospitality for which she was so well known, and very many can testify to her kindness even to those who had not the slightest claim to consideration. Her death leaves a good wife, a loving mother, and a kind friend the less in the world, and her relatives have our heartfelt sympathy in their loss. Mrs Macdonald had five married daughters (Mesdames Dundas, Scott, Lyons, Macintyre, and Nethercliffe), one single daughter, two sons (Adam and Donald), and a number of grandchildren. The funeral took place yesterday and was very largely attended.

Alexander McDonald died on 25 March 1905 at Shannon, aged 76.

The Manawatu Standard of 27 March 1905, contained the Death Notice: “McDonald – At his late residence, Shannon, Alexander McDonald, late of Rangitikei and Turakina, aged 76 years.”  The newspaper also included the following obituary:

On Saturday last at Shannon, Mr Alexander McDonald, one of the best known settlers on this coast, died at the age of 76 years. Mr McDonald, who descended from the McDonalds of Glencoe, of historic fame, was born at Drimmentoran, in Argyleshire, in 1829. He came to the colony in the early forties, and after his marriage with Mrs McDonald (nee Miss Cameron), who predeceased him eight years ago, lived at Kaiwarra. From there he removed to Turakina and, subsequently, at different stages of his life, lived at Bulls, Kopani, Awahuri and Shannon. From his earliest days Mr McDonald was an authority in all native matters. He was created a chieftain by the Awahuri natives and dowered with a large acreage of land just adjacent to the township. Mr McDonald lived there for several years but, subsequently, owing to legal informalities at the time of the gift from the natives, had to re-transfer the property to the natives. He then removed to Shannon, where he has resided for the past ten years. There was, probably, no better Maori linguist in the colony, and for years the deceased gentleman acted as Native Assessor for the Government and Maori Interpreter. In the latter capacity he was engaged in several of the most important subdivisions of native property that have taken place on this coast. He was a keen friend of the natives, and possessed their confidence in a high degree. His life in the early days of the colony, during war time, was particularly adventurous, much more so than the average colonist of that time, and many a stirring tale the deceased gentleman could tell of the trials, tribulations and adventures of those historic days. As stated, his wife predeceased him eight years ago, but he is survived by five married daughters, Mesdames Dundas, Scott, Macintire, Lyons, and Nethercliffe, one unmarried daughter and two sons, Adam and Donald. Deceased was a man of splendid physique and bore his years remarkably well up to the last twelve months, when he aged considerably, and showed signs of failure of the heart. On Saturday he complained of feeling unwell and went to lie down. His son going to his room a few minutes later was just in time to be with him in the closing moment. The funeral will take place to-morrow, the 76th anniversary of his birth.

Annie and Alexander had eight children [details require confirmation and completion]:

  • Mary McDonald, born in 1854, died in 1939, married Alexander Dundas in 1878.
  • Annie McDonald, born in 1855, married (1) Henry Seegers Palmerson, (2) George Latta Rodaway Scott in 1891.
  • Donald McDonald, born in 1857.
  • Adam Alexander McDonald, born in 1860, died in 1940, married Mary Helen Sarah Dundas in 1898.
  • Ada McDonald, born in 1863, married John Henry Lee Macintyre in 1887.
  • Catherine McDonald.
  • Georgina McDonald, born in 1866, died in 1945, married Alfred Richard Lyons in 1889.
  • Margaret McDonald, born in 1869, died in 1924, married Edward Cyril Morley Netherclift in 1897.
Campbell Riddell McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Campbell Riddell, son of Mr Donald MacDonald of Drimintoran, was born 22nd July and baptized 30th ditto 1830.

Campbell McDonald was 10 years old when he embarked on the Blenheim.

In 1845 Jessie Campbell wrote in a letter, “Campbell Macdonald has determined on going to sea and is bound apprentice to Capt. Dawson of the Skiro Castle when his contract with the Government expires, she is to go home and will be at least 5 months at Home. Campbell is to spend that time with his friends in the Highlands, he is at present with the ship in Auckland, he is a very steady boy.”

Campbell Riddell MacDonald died on 11 January 1853 aged 22.  The Wellington Independent of 12 January 1853 carried the Death Notice: “On Tuesday, the 11th instant, at Wellington, Mr Campbell Riddell McDonald, aged 22 years.”

Thomas McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian recorded that Thomas, son of Donald MacDonald and Anne Cumming, was born September 9th 1835.

Thomas McDonald was 5 years old on the voyage of the Blenheim.

Thomas McDonald moved to North Canterbury and worked on a number of farms before moving to Waikuku. He was active in community affairs, especially the Waikuku School Committee.

Thomas McDonald married Annie Ford, formerly Adams, in 1864.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], 1903, carried the following entry:

McDonald, Thomas, Woolscourer and Farmer, Waikuku Woolworks, Waikuku. These works were established in 1869, by Mr. W. Bailey, the present proprietor having acquired them in 1872. Mr. McDonald was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, in 1835, and arrived in Wellington with his parents in 1840, by the ship “Blenheim.” As soon as he was old enough he became a cadet on a station. Having qualified as a manager, Mr. McDonald was in charge of Horsley Downs estate for about eighteen years, and settled at Waikuku in 1872. He has for many years served on the Waikuku school committee, and for a long period held the position of chairman. Mr. McDonald is a member of the committee of the Northern Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He was married, in 1864, to the widow of the late Mr. T. K. Adams, and has four sons and four daughters.

Thomas McDonald died on 2 August 1907. The Press of 3 August 1907 published the following obituary:

DEATH OF AN OLD COLONIST
MR T. McDONALD,
The many friends of Mr T. McDonald, of Waikuku, will learn with regret of his death, which occurred at an early hour yesterday morning. He had been ill three weeks, and a few days ago underwent a serious operation, which afforded temporary relief. Mr McDonald was a native of Argyleshire, Scotland, and arrived, with his parents by the ship Blenheim, at Wellington, in 1840. Shortly afterwards Mr McDonald came to Canterbury, and, as a cadet, was well known. For some years he was at Motonau, and took charge of Cheviot when that country was first taken up by Mr J. S. Caverhill. He became manager for Messrs J. W. Mallock and J. D. Lance at Horsley Downs, on which large run he remained for about eighteen years. About 1872 Mr McDonald took over the Waikuku wool scouring works, which had been started by Mr Joseph Bailey, of Christchurch. Mr McDonald was chairman of the Waikuku School Committee and manifested a very keen interest in the education of the children of his district for twenty-five years. He likewise held a position as a warden of the Woodend Church, and was foremost in matters intended for the benefit of the district. He was a most valuable supporter of the local Agricultural Show, and one of the earliest members of the North Canterbury Racing Club, being an admirer of good honest sport. He was a gentleman of thoroughly genial and open-hearted disposition, and through life won the highest respect and loyalty from all whom he employed. His business transactions were characterised by irreproachable methods in conducting the same. He married in the early sixties, and leaves a widow, four sons, and four daughters. His sons are: – Messrs H. McDonald (Pyne and Co.), J. McDonald (North Canterbury Stores), R. McDonald (Waikuku), and G. McDonald (Hawarden). Flags were flown at half-mast in Rangiora yesterday, and at the horse fair general regret was expressed on all sides on hearing of Mr McDonald’s death.

Thomas and Annie had nine children:

  • Flora Agnes McDonald, born in 1865, died in 1950.
  • Harry Donald McDonald, born in 1867, died in 1924, married Mary Agnes Buss in 1895.
  • John Glencoe McDonald, born in [1868, died in 1938, married Edith Nora Steele in 1902].
  • Thomas Campbell McDonald, born in 1870, died in 1877.
  • Catherine Annie McDonald, born in 1872, died in 1934, married John Pratt Andrews in 1902.
  • Constance May McDonald, born in 1873, died in 1946, married Joshua Henshaw in 1897.
  • Ronald McDonald, born in 1875, married Alexandrina Agnes Palmerson in 1903.
  • Isabel Margaret McDonald, born in 1876, married William Charles Frank Lukis in 1906.
  • Duncan George McDonald, born in 1878, died in 1953, married Elsie Annie Archer in 1903.
Duncan Campbell McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour recorded that Duncan Campbell, son of Donald McDonald Esq., and Ann Cumming, Calchenna, was born 3rd July 1839 and baptized on 9 August 1838.

The electoral roll for Kaiapoi in 1890 listed Duncan Campbell McDonald, Waikuku, accountant.

The Feilding Star of 20 July 1900 carried the following Death Notice: “McDonald — On July 16th, at Waikuku, Canterbury, at the residence of his brother, Duncan Campbell McDonald, youngest son of the late Donald McDonald of Druimintorran, Argyleshire, Scotland aged 60 years.”


Sources:

Captain Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron

Captain Moses Campbell and his family travelled as cabin passengers on the Blenheim.  Being cabin passengers they were not included in the passenger lists of those receiving free passage. The family included:

  • Captain Moses Campbell, 51
  • Jessie Campbell, 31
  • John Campbell, 8
  • Colin Campbell, 6
  • Louisa Margaret Campbell, 5
  • Susan Campbell, 1
  • Isabella Campbell, 1 (died at sea)

Jessie Campbell kept a detailed journal of the voyage of the Blenheim, and also wrote many letters to family and friends back in Scotland.  This material provides a fascinating view of life on the Blenheim, and in early colonial New Zealand, from Jessie’s perspective (see Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters).


Return to The Blenheim People.


Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron

Moses Campbell was born around 1787, the son of John Campbell of Inverliver and Susan Cameron of Breadalbane.

Moses Campbell served in the  72nd Regiment, the Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders.  In February 1811 Ensign Moses Campbell was promoted to be Lieutenant without purchase, and in 1828 Lieutenant Moses Campbell from the 72nd Foot was promoted to be Captain of Infantry.  On the death of his father, Moses Campbell left the Army on half-pay and seems to have lived in Glasgow while he tried to sell the estate of Inverliver, on Loch Awe in Argyll.

Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron were married in 1827, when he was around 40 and she was 19.

Jessie Cameron was the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel John Cameron of Achnasaul and Louisa Campbell of Glenure.  She was born around 1807 in Kilmallie.

After advertising it for a number of years, Moses Campbell sold the Inverliver Estate in 1836 having already moved to Achindale, near Fort William and the home of Jessie’s family.

Captain Moses Campbell
Captain Moses Campbell
Jessie (Cameron) Campbell
Jessie (Cameron) Campbell

By 1839, the family had decided to emigrate to New Zealand. In that year Moses was allotted two one-hundred-acre sections in Wanganui by the New Zealand Company.  The Morning Post of 4 July 1840 carried the notification from the London Gazette that “Capt. Moses Campbell, upon half-pay Unattached, has been allowed to retire from the army, by the sale of his commission, he being about to become a settler in New South Wales.”

Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron had at least one child who died before they left for New Zealand in 1840:

  • Susan Ann Campbell, born on 24 October 1830 to Capt. Moses Campbell 72nd, Achandell, and Jessy Cameron, baptized  13 November (OPR, Kilmonivaig).

As cabin passengers and with servants to help with the chores and children, and with additional private food supplies, the Campbells were more comfortable than their fellow-travellers in steerage. Jessie’s Journal provides a valuable record of the voyage and her perception of the experience.  On arrival in Wellington she noted, “The climate would be delightful but for the high winds that prevail.”

On arriving in Wellington it was found that titles to the land in Wanganui were delayed, and in 1841 Captain Campbell sailed to Sydney with a deputation to the Governor.  Although the titles remained unsettled, the family moved to Wanganui in November 1841, travelling on the Clydeside, which was nearly wrecked on the North Spit at the entrance to the Wanganui River.  Moses Campbell formed a partnership with John Cameron, who had also travelled on the Blenheim as a cabin passenger, and while waiting to take possession of their land built a town house.  They also leased land at Putiki and later grazed stock at Kaitoke.

Jessie’s letters home to her family give us some insights into the life they led and the problems they faced, including the continuing issue of finding and keeping servants, not to mention the gossip about her friends and neighbours.

In 1847, the settlement at Wanganui was attacked by Maori and Captain Campbell took his family to Taranaki, where they lived for a several years, returning in 1851 when peace was achieved.  In 1853 Moses Campbell completed the first house at his property “Wiritoa”, which also served as a blockhouse.  The property bordered Lake Wiritoa which was about three miles from Wanganui.  In 1857 the partnership with John Cameron was dissolved.

In 1841, Moses Campbell had been appointed as a magistrate in Wellington Province, and represented Wanganui and Rangitikei in the Wellington Provincial Council from 1857 to 1861.  He was also an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Wanganui.

Moses Campbell died on 20 September 1862, aged 75.

Jessie Campbell died on 18 October 1885, aged 78.  The Wanganui Chronicle of 20 October 1885 carried the following obituary:

On Sunday afternoon Mrs Campbell (widow of the late Captain Campbell), one of Wanganui’s oldest and most respected residents, passed peacefully away to her rest. The deceased lady, who was in her 78th year, succumbed to an attack of bronchitis, which an enfeebled system was too weak to resist. Though she had been ailing for about a fortnight, she was only confined to her room for four or five days, and retained perfect possession of her mental faculties to the last. Mrs Campbell, with her husband, arrived in the Colony in the year 1840, landing at Port Nicholson, and soon after coming on to Wanganui, where the family have resided ever since. Among the surviving passengers by the vessel which brought Mr and Mrs Campbell from the Old Country may be mentioned Mr John Cameron, of Marangai, and Mrs Gregor McGregor, of Wilson street, old settlers who have borne the heat and burden of the day. The deceased lady and her husband experienced all the vicissitudes common to the early settlers. On one occasion, during the early Maori troubles, they were obliged by the military to quickly abandon the house in which they were living, at what is now the corner of Wilson and Ridgway-streets, as it was considered a dangerous outpost and likely to invite attack from the natives who were hovering round. The place was therefore vacated, the occupants retiring to the town stockade, which stood on the spot now occupied by the Ship Hotel. The deserted house was partially destroyed by the troops, but the ruins were subsequently taken possession of by the Maoris. These were the days of stirring scenes, numberless stories concerning which have been told by the old residents, whose ranks are now so rapidly thinning. The lady who was the subject of our present notice was much loved and respected for her kindly nature and charitable disposition, evidences of which were abundant in the days gone by. She leaves to mourn her loss four sons and three daughters, all grown up.

Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron also had six more children after they arrived in New Zealand:

  • William Patrick Campbell, born in 1841, died in 1925, married Annie Edith Powell in 1881.
  • Ewen Alexander Campbell, born in 1843, died in 1934, married (1) Helen Barbara McDonald in 1873, (2) Alice Jane Stedman in 1878.
  • Isabella Elizabeth Campbell, born in 1845, died in 1931, married John Tyleston Wicksteed jnr in 1866.
  • Helen Ann Campbell, born in 1847, died in 1932, married Samuel Roland Garrett in 1873.
  • Robert Andrew Campbell, born in 1850, died in 1904, married Sarah Annie (Daisy) Stedman in 1880.
  • Mary Susan Campbell, born in 1852, died in 1940, married Andrew Cunningham Bruce in 1888.
John Cameron Campbell

The Old Parish Register for Kilmonivaig recorded that John Cameron, son of Capt. Moses Campbell, Achandall, and of Jessy Cameron, was born on 18 September 1832, and baptised on 22 October 1832.

John Cameron Campbell died in 1887, aged 56.  The Wanganui Herald of 24 August 1887 carried the Death Notice: “Campbell.— On the 24th instant, at Wilson Street, John Cameron Campbell, oldest son of the late Captain Campbell, of Wiritoa, aged 66 years. Friends are informed that the Funeral will leave the residence of Mr Robt. A. Campbell, Wilson Street, to morrow (Thursday) afternoon, at 2 30 o’clock.”

Colin Macmillan Campbell

The Old Parish Register for Kilmonivaig recorded that Colin Macmillan, son of Capt. Moses Campbell of 72nd, Achandell and Jessy Cameron, was born on 3 July and baptized on 14 July 1834.

Colin McMillan Campbell died in 1879.

Louisa Margaret Campbell
Louisa Margaret (Campbell) Sheild
Louisa Margaret (Campbell) Sheild

The Old Parish Register for Kilmonivaig recorded that Louisa Margaret, lawful daughter of Captain Moses Campbell and Jessie Cameron, Achnadall, was born on March 19th and baptized on 12 April 1836.

Louisa Margaret Campbell married Richard Thomas Sheild in 1864.

In 1877, Louisa was drowned on 11 September 1877 in the wreck of the Avalanche in the English Channel. Over 100 lives were lost, including many New Zealanders returning from Great Britain. A detailed report was carried in The Times of 13 September 1877, and also later published in the Wanganui Herald of 6 November 1877. In summary:

FULL PARTICULARS OF THE WRECK OF THE AVALANCHE. (special to the post.)
A collision, resulting in the loss of over 100 souls, occurred on the night of the 11th Sept., about 15 miles off Portland, between the Avalanche, of London, bound for Wellington, New Zealand, and the Forest, of Windsor, Nova Scotia. The Avalanche sank almost immediately, only three out of the 94 souls on board being saved. The Forest sank shortly afterwards, and many of her crew were drowned. The collision occurred at 9.15 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 miles south-west from Portland, the Avalanche being on the port tack, and the Forest on the starboard tack. The latter struck the Avalanche amidships, then rebounded and struck her twice further aft, causing her to founder in about three minutes from first striking her. There was no time to launch the boats.

The Times article included the passenger list noting that first cabin passengers included Mrs Sheild, formerly Miss Campbell, on her voyage to Wanganui.

Louisa and Richard had at least four children:

  • Marmaduke Campbell Sheild, born in 1867, died in 1868.
  • Caroline Isabel Sheild, born in 1869, died in 1942. married (1) William Dabbs in 1893, (2) Hugh Stewart in 1899.
  • Rosamunda Louisa Sheild, born in 1874, died in 1969, married Robert Lilburn in 1898 (their youngest child was Douglas Lilburn, composer).
  • Helen Barbara Sheild, born in 1876, died in 1877.
Isabella Eliza Campbell and Susan Ann Campbell

The Old Parish Register for Kilmonivaig recorded that Isabella Eliza and Susan Ann, twin daughters of Capt, Moses Campbell of the 72nd foot, Achnadell, and of Jessy Cameron, were born 24th September 1838 and recorded on 23 October 1838.

Isabella died on board the Blenheim, while Susan died in Wanganui in 1847, apparently of whooping cough.


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Dr Neil Campbell

Dr Neil Campbell was the Surgeon Superintendent on the Blenheim and was not an emigrant passenger as were the others.  The Glasgow Herald of 28 August 1840 noted that Dr Campbell, the surgeon of the ship, from Mull, was a cabin passenger departing on the Blenheim, while the New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 9 January 1841 reported that Dr Campbell was an arriving passenger.

The surgeon-superintendents on New Zealand Company ships were responsible for the emigrants’ health on the voyage, and with the master of the ship were responsible for discipline. The surgeon had free cabin passage and was paid 8s per head for each emigrant, with a limit of £60, and 20s for each child born alive on the journey. The surgeon-superintendent would choose an assistant from among the passengers.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Dr Neil Campbell

In her Journal entry for 13 December 1840 Jessie Campbell wrote:

Dr Campbell may be a good doctor, but you never would think so from his manner, he speaks with such a highland accent and expresses himself so ill, you would think he had not spoken English till he was at least twenty. I must say he is most attentive to his duties and most obliging: we have always found him particularly so at all events we have not a very polished party, we have what is better a very merry and social one. I forgot to say Dr Campbell tho not so little as Dr D [S?] is very small likewise and plain looking.

However, it appears that Dr Campbell may not have stayed long in Wellington.  A number of colonists, possibly including Dr Sinclair Sutherland and several others from the Blenheim, departed for Tasmania on the Lord Sidmouth, within a few weeks of their arrival in New Zealand.

The Colonial Times (Hobart),  reported on 23 February 1841:

FEB. 19.-Arrived the barque Lord Sidmouth, Marr master, from Port Nicholson 4th inst. Passengers – Mr. Hind, Mr. W. Blyth, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Sutherland, Miss M. Rankin, H. Goodwin, wife, .and 6 children, G. Boonger and wife, G. Murray and ‘wife, J. Blyth and wife, C. Morris, wife, and 6 children, P. Shields, S. Wilson, J. Gordon, M. Briton, R. Whitewood, J. Cromworth, – Walker and wife, T. Bonnie, J. Stephens and wife, – Kilgrove, wife, and 5 children, H. M’Kinnon, J M’Kinnon, J. Hichman, wife, and child, J. Lockwood, J. Simmons, J. Chisom, M. M’Eachan, – Eago, P. Lanachar, and Mrs. O’Brien.

Information on Dr Neil Campbell’s subsequent movements has not been found.


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