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Otago Witness September 17th 1859

Sept. 11 — The Alpine anchored inside the Heads at 5 p.m.

Otago Witness September 17th 1859

The "Alpine," in attempting to get under weigh to proceed from the lower anchorage up to Port Chalmers, grounded on one of the sand banks. She was, however, got off by the next tide, and has, we are happy to learn, sustained no injury. The "Geelong" proceeded on Wednesday afternoon to the lower harbour for the purpose of towing her to Port Chalmers. After one attempt, in which it was shown that her great length rendered it difficult for her to turn with sufficient rapidity, the design was given up, and she will consequently discharge at the lower harbour, from wheuce her cargo will have to be lightered up


Caution - We are requested to direct the attention of parties newly arrived to the notice in our advertising columns regarding squatting on the Town Belt and the other Reserves of Dunedin, as it is understood that several of the warries on these Reserves have been offered for sale, if not actually sold, to passengers per "Alpine."


Ship Alpine. - We learn that the master of this ship has been charged by our Immigration Officer with breaches of sections 22, 25, 26, 29, 35, 3G, 39, 43, 62, and 73 of  "The Passengers Act, 1855." The case is to be heard in Court on Tuesday next at 11 o'clock. 22. Single men to be berthed in a separate compartment. As to number and sexes in one berth. - 25. Construction of privies - 26. Light and ventilation. - 29. Certain articles prohibited as cargo and ballast, and stowage of cargo. - 35. Water and provisions. -  36. Size of messes, and issuing and cooking provisions. - 39. Passenger cook and cooking apparatus. - 43. Medicine and medical comforts. - 62. Sale of spirits. - 73. Summary remedy for breach of contract.

Otago Witness September 17th 1859

This vessel, which is one of the finest that has ever anchored in our harbour, arrived here on Sunday the 11th instant with immigrants. She left the Clyde on the 10th June with upwards of 500 souls on board, and passed Eagle Island the following day. Light winds and fine weather were experienced for the first six weeks of the passage, and the Equator was crossed on the 24th of July. The meridian of the Cape was passed on the 7th of August. On the 24th the iron reefing gear of the main topsail yard was carried away, which prevented any sail being set on the main yards for three days, during which the accident was repaired. Off the coast of New Zealand spoke the "Matoaka," for Auckland. Made the Snares on the 10th instant, and on the next day anchored at Otago, after a fair passage of 93 days from land to land, during which no very heavy weather was experienced, nor anything calling for more special remark.

The cabin passengers by the "Alpine," previous to their arrival in harbour, presented the following address to Captain Crawford :- Ship "Alpine," 10th September 1859. Robert Crawford, Esq., Commander of Ship "Alpine." Dear Sir - Our long voyage being now nearly terminated, we cannot part company with you without taking this opportunity, as cabin passengers, of expressing our entire satisfaction with your kindness, urbanity of manner, and attention to our individual comforts, joined with the most exemplary moral conduct - so conducive to the happiness of all on board - as well as with the close and unremitting attention you have given to the duties of the ship, which, as an instrument in the hands of an Almighty Providence, you have conducted in safety to her destined port.

We cannot close this without at the sametime acknowledging the civility and good conduct of the Officers of the ship, and also the uniform attention and kindness of the Doctor of the ship to all the sick on board.

With our united kind wishes, and sincerely hoping you will make & speedy and safe voyage home. We remain, dear Sir, most truly yours, Ja. Rolland, J. H Sutter, Charles J. Taylor, G. H. Binning Munro, William A. Yule, W. Hall, Adam Rolland, James H. Rolland, W. S. Rolland, W. H. Davidson, A. W. Ramage Davidson, William Hussey, M. R. Rolland, C. Sutter, E. H. Hall. R. M. Rolland.

Ship " Alpine," I lth September 1859
To the Cabin Passengers of the ship "Alpine." Ladies and Gentlemcn - I have much pleasure in acknowledging receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, and I assure you that I feel highly gratified by the very kind manner in which you have been pleased to express your satisfaction of my conduct and that of my officers. Accept my warmest thanks for your kind wishes, and trusting that your fondest expectations may be realized in your adopted country, and with my best wishes for your health and happiness. Believe me to remain, Ladies,and Gentlemen, Yours very sincerely,

Robt. Crawford.

Otago Witness September 17th 1859

We, the undersigned passengers on board the ship Alpine, considering the attention and kindness shown to us during the voyage by the Petty Officers and Crew of the ship, contribute the sums appended to our names (amounting to 4) for the purpose of giving a tangible proof of our gratitude to them, along with our sincere wishes for their future welfare and prosperity.

(Signed by 55 Heads of families in the Intermediate and Steerage.) Ship Alpine, 12th Sept. 1859.

Otago Witness September 17th 1859

The stream of immigration has again set in with the arrival of the Alpine from Greenock, with 460 immigrants on board, including 18 cabin passengers. Of the steerage passengers, the majority are immigrants under the Otago Regulations; the rest paying their own passages. As usual, there are some complaints against the management on board; but whether those complaints are sufficiently well founded to call for public censure upon the officers of the vessel, it is not easy to determine. As, however, a variety of charges of breach of the Passenger Act have been laid against the captain, we presume we shall have an opportunity of judging when the cases come on for hearing. In the meantime we may remark that a long sea-voyage is a season of trial - especially in an immigrant ship - to both passengers and officers, and we should say that unless the causes of complaint be of a serious nature, it would be better to let "bygones be bygones." The Passenger Act is a very stringent one, and it is almost impossible in so long a voyage to avoid giving ground for a prosecution by captious individuals, who are anxious to maintain the strict letter of the law even in trifles.

The addition to our numbers by the Alpine is the largest which has ever taken place by any one vessel; and judging from the passenger list, the supply of labour has been well selected, and arrives at a most suitable time, when the spring operations are commencing. The demand for labour is fully equal to the supply by this vessel, and already, we learn, a very considerable number of the newly-landed immigrants have found situations, at wages varying from 45 to 50 and upwards, with rations. Female servants, although a goodly number have arrived, seem to be short of the demand: this may, however, arise from the fact that considerable numbers of the domestic servants have friends in the colony, or are members of families arrived by the Alpine, and are therefore not anxious to engage at once. The supply of female immigration is a most difficult matter for our agents to manage satisfactorily; but it would be well to bear in mind that, as immigration has always a tendency to produce a preponderance of men, it is desirable to promote female immigration to the fullest extent. Last year we had rather an excessive supply of domestic servants; but, as we predicted at the time, it would not be long before so many were married that the excess in less than twelve months would be changed to a dearth. Our prediction has proved correct; and notwithstanding the number of young persons growing up in the colony, a very much greater number of female domestic servants would be employed if they could be obtained. It is not our province to interfere in any way to settle the rate of wages between employers and the employed, but we think those who have lately arrived amongst us have a right to some advice from us on the matter. No doubt the bustle which has ensued upon the arrival of so many immigrants in a small community, and the demands made for hands by persons anxious to engage assistance, will give the idea that labour is very scarce, and consequently tend to produce a hanging back, and demand for high rates of wages. Under these circumstances, we shall give a little advice, which may or may not be followed: and that is, that we would recommend no one to refuse a good offer of a situation in hopes of obtaining a better. From 45 to 50 have been the rates ruling here for some time past, and seem to be what by general consent employers consider they can afford to pay. Both higher and lower rates are given, but under circumstances which affect the bargain. High rates are often given to persons who are required to go perhaps 100 miles into the interior, and these rates must not be mistaken for the average wages. Again, any person engaging a new hand must take him on his own estimate of his skill and efficiency, and many make a mistake  therefore a known hand, who has been in the colony any length of time, will command a higher rate, or will more readily find employment, than a newly landed immigrant; but men skilful in their respective employments, will find that in a short time their qualifications will become known, and they will be able to obtain the fullest rates given.

Otago Witness September 24th 1859

Monson vs Crawford
Robert Crawford, captain of the ship "Alpine," from Glasgow with Immigrants, was charged by J. R. Monson, Immigration Officer, with breaches of the following sections of the Passengers Act, 1855, viz., - Sec. 22, Single men to be berthed in a separate compartment. The construction of the berths, and number and sexes in each. - 25. The unserviceable condition of the water-closets during the voyage.- 26. The insufficiency of the hatches. -29. Stowage of cargo, &c - 35. Water and provisions   - 36. Serving and cooking provisions, 39. Passengers' cooks and cooking apparatus. - 43, Issuing medical comforts. - 62. The sale of spirits. The case excited considerable interest, chiefly among the "Alpine" passengers, and the Court-house was crowded.

Mr. T. B. Gillies conducted the prosecution. Messrs. Howorth and Kenyon appeared for the Defendant.

Mr. Gillies, in opening the case, stated that he had had very little time allowed him to prepare his case before the meeting of the Court. Mr. Howorth, who was the Crown Prosecutor, had been applied to conduct the prosecution, and for that purpose had been put in possession of all the papers connected with the case, which he had an opportunity of examining. But Mr. Howorth, after retaining the documents till within a short time of the hearing of the case, declined to conduct the same for the prosecution; upon which he (Mr Gillies) was requested by the prosecutor to take up the case; thus allowing him little time to inform himself thoroughly of all the facts and circumstances in connection with it. He then proceeded to remark that there had been an attempt on the part of the press, and otherwise, to characterize the proceedings against Capt. Crawford for breaches of the Passengers' Act as of a frivolous nature, and got up in a vindictive spirit by a number of the steerage passengers. Such was not the case: the information for breaches of the Act was laid by the Immigration Officer, and it was as much with the view of putting a stop to such conduct and mismanagement by captains of immigrant vessels, as anything else, that the prosecutor had brought the case into Court; and he (Mr. Gillies) would show, from the evidence which he would adduce, that there had been gross mismanagement on board the "Alpine." To confirm this statement, he would mention that a memorial, signed by some 130 heads of families, representing upwards of 200 individuals, had been drawn up, embodying their grievances. As far as regarded the cabin passengers there was no complaint, as the captain had attended to their wants; but his treatment of the intermediate and steerage passengers was very different. If the charges made against the captain were substantiated, he would be liable to very heavy penalties, seeing the number of individuals he had committed to his care throughout a long voyage. Mr Gillies then detailed the nature of the various breaches of the Act with which the defendant was charged, and called upon the first witness.

Robert McGillvray, passenger by the "Alpine," being sworn, stated that, by his contract ticket, he was entitled to an enclosed berth, but which had only a few boards in front and an open space at each side of about a foot. In this enclosure there were three married couples and three children berthed. With reference to the water closets, there were 8 on deck, which were at the outset of the voyage cleaned out every morning by the crew, but latterly the passengers had to clean them, yet they were frequently in a filthy and unserviceable state - nearly all the doors of them, at one time and another, were off, and some of them continued off for a week. Witness' berth was frequently wet, especially in bad weather, from the want of a proper covering to the main and booby hatches, which permitted the rain and spray to enter 'tween decks, so that witness had several times some four inches of water under his berth. The ladders leading to 'tween decks were at various times removed, to the inconvenience of the passengers; and on one occasion the ladder was away for two hours, to admit of the hold being got into; but access could have been had to the hold in another way, as was afterwards seen. The permission of about a dozen of pigs to run about on deck was also complained of, and it was not till the middle of July that they were removed into the long-boat, situate above the intermediate cabin. The shortness of provisions was much complained of. Witness, although head man of his mess, had seldom, during the voyage, got their proper quantities of provisions weighed out to them. He received no oatmeal for ten days after the voyage commenced, and was considerably short of rice, flour, and potatoes. Up till the middle of July his mess had no dry tea, rice, or peas served out to them. Half the quantity of oatmeal was given to the cook for porridge to the passengers and the other half to the mess. They never had enough to eat until the steerage passengers appointed two of their number to cook, after which they had much more provisions than before; and in the item of oatmeal, there was, after making the porridge for the passengers, a surplus of 72 lbs., and on the second occasion, a surplus of 54 lbs. Witness' mess, consisting of seven persons, was served with two gallons of water per day during the first half of the voyage, and three gallons during the other half. The water was sometimes brackish, from its being pumped up from the casks through the same hose that was used for drawing sea water. Dinner was seldom ready at 2 o'clock; it was frequently 3; occasioned chiefly by the tipsiness of the cook, who would seldom do anything without being paid for it, or receiving a glass of spirits. Witness purchased three bottles of whisky from the steward, one at a time, for which he paid 3s. each. He was ordered at one time by the doctor to get wine for his wife to take with quinine; he purchased a bottle from the steward and paid 4s. for it.

Cross examined. - He went on board on the 8th June, and inspected his berth, of the insufficiency of which he complained to Mr. Greig, the agent for the ship in Glasgow, who said he would make it all right, and then went away. He expected an enclosed berth for himself and wife, for which he had paid 40. Sometimes, in stormy weather, the privies were not cleaned out; but they were generally in a most filthy state. A booby hatch, in the opinion of witness, was like a house on deck; but if the covering over the main hatch had been a proper one, his berth would not have been so often wet.

By the Bench. - I will swear that I did not receive the quantities of provisions according to the contract ticket.

Edward Todd deposed that the bulk-head separating the married from the single men was so wide from the deck that articles could be handed over through the space to each other. The steerage passengers complained of not getting their quantities of provisions; and about the middle of July he and a young man were appointed to assist the cook in the galley. He generally fetched the provisions from the purser to the cook. On the first day the rice was weighed, and nothing else; after that the purser gave out to them the quantities he thought proper. On one occasion, after the passengers had complained that they did not get enough to eat, the cook, on the peas being brought to him, burnt as much of them as would have made a copperful more soup. The purser served out the oatmeal as he chose, without ever weighing it; and refused to give any more. A portion of the oatmeal was baked into cakes by the cook, who sold them to Mr. Marshall, a steerage passenger. The cook also made and sold porridge to several adult passengers on certain mornings; and the sailors had also porridge from the oatmeal belonging to the passengers, who frequently complained to the captain, but without obtaining any redress. Witness' wife having met with an accident he applied to the doctor for more nourishing food for her. Next day he wanted a little spirits to make some toddy to his wife, and received an order from the doctor to the steward for a bottle of whisky, for which witness paid 3s. He got another bottle after wards and two pint bottles of porter.

The cross-examination of this witness elicited nothing contradictory to his statement in evidence. John McFarlane, intermediate passenger, deposed to the generally filthy and unserviceable condition of the water-closets. With respect to the hatches, very little trouble, in his opinion, would have made them perfectly secure and watertight, so as to have prevented the water from getting down to the berths below, to the discomfort of the passengers. On the 5th July the ladder was placed perpendicular for several hours, so that no one but a sailor could get up or down the main hatch. As to the pigs, he remembered seeing four running about the deck, but, after making complaint, they were put into the long boat , but the boat had no plug in it, in consequence of which the rain, and filth of the pigs came through the hole in the boat on to the deck, through an aperture in which it dropped down into his berth. He had three berths, and for the reason stated had to abandon one of them, while two of his friends had to give up theirs also for the same nuisance. Witness also complained of the shortness of the provisions, and the system adopted by the purser of serving them out by guess instead of regularly weighing them as provided by the Act. Previous to the 19th June they had no provisions weighed out, and after that had them weighed for one week. After the 19th August they had their provisions weighed out, and had a considerable surplus. When they wanted water to drink they had to apply to the steward for it; but could got no fresh water to wash with, as it was required for other purposes - so they were told by the steward - witness used salt water to wash with. Up to 30th July he had only got 36 instead of 48 lbs preserved meat.

Cross-examined.— Judging from the experience of the past three weeks, witness would swear that the passengers could not have received their quantities according to the contract ticket.

Donald McMillan stated that 60 gallons of water were allowed for 26 persons for three days for cooking and drinking; but the cook could get more water from other casks if he liked.

Peter Stewart deposed to the provisions being generally given out during the voyage without being weighed.

James Mclndoe's evidence was similar in part to McFarlane's evidence, given above. He also stated that he had purchased spirits from the steward. Martin Campbell, on order from the dootor, purchased a bottle of porter from the steward for his wife, who was badly. 

Robert Aitken deposed to having purchased 7 bottles of whisky at several times from the steward, for which he paid 3s. each.

Adam Bell stated that the provisions, on the first part of the voyage were not weighed out. The pea-soup was often unfit for use, and the tea was boiled and bitter. He had several times to go without food to let his family get as much as possible; but after the young men saw the provisions weighed out and cooked, they had much more than before.

John Hunter also deposed to the shortness of provisions during the first part of the voyage, and the very considerable surplus of provisions to each mess after they were properly weighed out towards the close of the voyage.

Andrew Lees stated that the tea they got from the galley was boiled and unfit for use. His mess consisted of 10 persons, who were served with 2 gallons of water a day in the warm weather, and 3 gallons in the cold. He complained to the captain about the shortness of the provisions but got no satisfactory answer.

This closed the case for the prosecution.

Mr. Howarth said he appeared on behalf of his client, Captain Crawford, a gentleman of undoubted respectability, and of many years seafaring experience, as also on behalf of Mr. Macandrew, the immigration contractor, by whose political sagacity and enterpise a system of immigration so beneficial to the province was being carried out. It was evident to him that the case had been got up not to afford protection to immigrants, but for a vindictive purpose. It was natural to many who had enjoyed their comforts at home to manifest their discontent on board a vessel throughout a long and irksome voyage; but any one who takes such a voyage must make up their mind to exerperience many inconveniences; and surely for the small sum of 16, every luxury and comfort could not be expected throughout a voyage of several months. The Act had been framed for the purpose of protecting the lives and health of the passengers, and securing the safety of the ship; but although it was stringent in all its provisions, it was never intended to make captains of immigrant vessels do impossibilities, such as causing the cooking to be done at a particular hour, which on many occasions the state of the weather would not admit of. With reference to the case for the prosecution, he would explain that, as Crown Prosecutor, he had at first undertaken to conduct the case for complainants, but on reconsideration, he found that he could not take it up, as it sought to involve Mr. Macandrew the contractor, from whom he held a general retainer. The learned gentleman then proceeded to comment upon the various charges and the evidence adduced in their support and contended generally that no substantial ground for complaint had been proved against his client. He then called Captain Crawford, and would confidently leave the matter to the Bench.

Captain Crawford produced the ship's articles, in which it was proved that a seaman had been rated as passengers' cook by the immigration officer in Britain. On two occasions the bulk head was removed to get at the luggage and water, and which could not be got at otherwise. The crew cleaned the water-closets daily; but some arrangement was entered into by the passengers to keep them clean during the day. The immigration officer before the vessel left Glasgow, certified his approval of the hatchways. As to the victuals, some of the rice was a little singed, but not more so than that which sometimes appeared on his own table. He frequently visited the galley, and found everything apparently going on well. The water was examined, and found to be perfectly pure. This was his first voyage with immigrants, and has been 35 years at sea.

On cross-examination, he stated that the hatchways had not been altered; the booby hatch had been displaced by a sea, but was shortly after properly secured.

Mr. Gillies wished to reply in order to dispel the aspersions of his learned friend opposite as to the case being got up for a vindictive purpose; but it was overruled by the Bench, and the Court adjourned for half an hour to consider their decision.

In about an hour after, the Court was reopened, and the Resident Magistrate stated that the Bench, had found that the bulkhead complained of was insufficient, and inflicted the lowest penalty of 5; the other charge under the 22nd clause, as also the charges respecting the water-closets and hatchways, were dismissed. The charge as to the pigs was held to be proved, and a fine of 5 was inflicted. For short and irregular supply of provisions to the passengers, the full penalty of 50 was imposed. The other charges were dismissed.

A second information against Captain Crawford for breach of contract, in which compensation was claimed for insufficient supply of provisions, was adjourned for consideration till the following day.


The cases against the Captain of the "Alpine," under the 73rd Section, was called on, and, after hearing evidence, which was much of the same character as that of the preceding day, the Bench awarded damages at the rate of 5s. per adult. The one case was allowed to rule the decision of the others.