ARRIVAL OF THE JAMES NICOL FLEMING
From the Otago Daily Times, Monday May 25, 1874
Our old acquaintance, the ship James Nicol Fleming , put in a welcome appearance yesterday fore-noon, after a passage of 85 days from the East India Docks. She was sighted off the Ocean Beach on Saturday afternoon, and had the breeze favoured her, would have shown up last night. As it happened however she lay becalmed, or next to it during the night and fortunately, falling in with the steamer Wanganui off Cape Saunders obtained a friendly pluck along from this vessel and so reached the heads before noon yesterday, and was there delivered over to the tug Geelong, which had gone out to meet her and soon towed her to the anchorage off Port Chalmers. This proceeding was of course consequent upon the gratifying condition of the large number of free and nominated emigrants it brings out.
Not one case of serious sickness occurred during the passage which happy exception from the most dreaded of the contingencies that beset the path of emigrants is in a great measure to be attributed to the care exercised in keeping the ship clean, and in preserving good order amongst her passengers. The Fleming was towed right through the shipping and anchored off the end of the Railway Pier and is to be berthed at the Pier the first thing this morning, preparatory to landing the immigrants. But before she had reached so far she was boarded by Mr Monson, the General Government Emigration Officer, and by Capt. Thomson on behalf of the Board of Health. the report presented to those gentlemen was on the highest degree satisfactory and was substantiated by the appearance of the immigrants and by the condition of several compartments. They were creditably clean and neat, the single women's especially so. The ventilation was also good, but the 'tween decks were badly lighted, the ship not being placed for those essential requisites in an emigrant ship - side scuttles. This was all could we could see to find fault with, excepting this as usual wretched herding of the married people. And the bunks, too were very badly arranged for a London ship, there being no side alleys. However the immigrants have arrived in good health, and appeared to be rather above the average. They were well spoken of by the captain, doctor, and matron. The latter gave the 36 single women who were in her charge, very good characters, and in reply to a pointed interrogatory from our reporter was quite positive there was not a disreputable character amongst them. In reply to the interrogatives of Mr Monson the immigrants expressed themselves satisfied with the treatment they had received. some of the single men grumbled it is true, about not having received full allowance of water, and also complained of the quality of the tea served out. One of them also made a specific charge against the chief officer in writing and delivered the same to Mr Monson. It will of course receive investigation. But that there was nothing serious to complain of was abundantly manifested in the healthy, happy looking faces to be seen on all sides.
Grave charges were brought against the Surgeon Superintendent, Dr Freeman, by the passengers. A Petition signed by nearly 60 of the married men was presented to the Captain on March 23rd, its parport being a request that the Captain would take control of the immigrants, the Doctor being neglectful, and also given to drunkeness. The single men also made a written complaint to the Captain about the condition of one of their number names Huntly Burke, who had been lying ill for some time, and yet the Doctor has refused to put him in hospital. We readily give publication to these matters, deeming it to be of the utmost importance to the cause of immigration that only the most capable and thoroughly respectable medical men should be appointed to take charge of the emigrants. The weight of the responsibility that devolves upon them is enormous and is not to be borne by any but the strong shoulders of clever men of good administrative capacity, and earnest in the work they consent to undertake.
With regard to the complaints made about the quality of the tea served out, we may observe that we have a sample of the article by us, and so far as may be judged of its appearance and aroms it is not such a very bad sample after all.
The J. N. Fleming was fitted up in the usual manner. There were hospitals and the dispensary, a commodious galley, and a Chapman's condenser that was reported to have worked well, and was capable of producing 500 gallons of fresh water per diem.
We have to thank Captain Peacock for the courtesy and responded to our enquires concerning the ship, her living freight, and the passage out.
Mr Moffatt's log book supplied particulars about the run, and from it we gleaned that the ship left Deal on East India Docks of Feb 18th and landed the pilot at Deal on the 22nd. She worked down the Channel again westerly winds and took a last departure from the Start on the 25th. The wind was N. W. but next day it hauled to S. W. and blew a hard gale for a couple of days, the ship weathering it under lower topsails. She took a deal of water on board. After the gale the wind favoured her until the 4th March and them hauled to the east S. E., and kept there until she fell in with the N. E. trade, on the 12th in lat. 24.12. The trade proved moderate and steady, and lost on the 18th in lat 3.14 N., and on the same day the S. E. trade met the ship. The equator was crossed on the 19th in long. 26.47, and the E. E. trade was lost in lat. 21.31 on the 28th of March. During the next few days variable winds from the north to east prevailed, and on the 3rd of April gave place to the first instalment of the westerlies. The meridian of Greenwich was passed on the 10th of April in lat. 37.18.S. and the meridian of the Cape on the 13th of April. Next day the breeze failed and hauled to the S. E. and on the 16th blew a strong gale that was attended by a very low glass - the mercury having fallen to 28.70. The gale continued until the 18th, and during its height Mrs Tinson, one of the emigrants, gave birth to a stillborn child. After the gale the wind veered to the westward and held there until the 25th, when it went into S. E. again and blew up another gale, during which the ship head reached under the three topsails. Another birth also happened - Mrs Bragg being confined of a daughter, and both did well. This gale was succeeded by the steady westerlies, and the ship commenced to knock off her casting in good style, and ran down in about the 45th parallel. On the 14th March a second sea-born youngster made her appearance - the wife of Mr Halliday being safely delivered of a fine little girl. On the 8th May the ship crossed the meridian of the Leuwin, and experienced a change of wind of short duration to S. E. The breeze then backed to west and freshed to a severe gale, before which the Fleming ran under lower fore and main topsails. A heavy sea got up and the glass felt to 28.20. It was during this gale that the only mishap to the ship occurred. She was bowling along at eleven knot speed, and rolled heavily at times and shortly after midnight of the 8th - which makes the date the 9th of May - she gave a tremendous lurch to starboard and at the same time struck some-thing with a force that produced a startly concussion fore and aft. It was at first supposed she had run into a piece of floe ice, but Captain Peacock afterward concluded that it was a piece of wreck. But whatever it was, the ship suffered considerably. She received the blow on the fore part of the starboard fore rigging. Two of the plates and one part of the main bulkwarts were stove in, 20 feet of the mainrail was split and 15 feet of the top-gallant bulwark carried away. A couple of sheets of her copper were also torn off, and one of the diagonal plates supporting the deck-house was bent. The ship passed on without striking a second time, and hence it is inferred that it was wreckage which she encountered. The gale broke at daylight and thence the Snares were sighted on the 19th May, moderate westerly weather prevailed. Light north-easterly weather then set in and continued until she reached the Heads, Chasland's Mistake being passed on the 21st and the Nuggest's on the 23rd. The Fleming arrives in splendid trim and is flying light.
OTHER SHIPPING AND ODDS AND ENDS FROM THE SAME PAPER
Wellington s.s. 263
tons, Carey from Lyttelton and Northern ports. Passengers: Mr
and Mrs Tacher, Mr and Mrs Smith, Mesdames Firton, Neilson, Miss Mills, Hon
G. Richardson, Messrs Townsend, Hooper, Kirk, Donald, Fitzherbert,
Robinson, Petchill, White, Maples and 12 steerage.
Wanganui s.s. 175 tons, Fraser from the Bluff. Passengers: Mr and Mrs Musson, Misses Fish, Mayo, Grey, Denninston (2). Messrs Chandler, Knight, Gunn, Sibbald, Macauley, Brown and 10 steerage.
Claud Hamilton s.s. 570 tons, Bawden for Melbourne, via Bluff. Passengers: Saloon Governor Du Cane and Suite, Mr and Mrs McFee, Mr Byrne and 22 steerage. For Bluff Mr smith and 2 steerage.
Otago s.s. 460 tons, John McLean, for Melbourne via Coastal Ports. Passengers: Saloon for Lyttleton Messrs Robertson, Fielding, Ostler. for Wellington Hon Mr Holmes. Messrs Tolmie, Murray. For Melbourne Mesdames Farr, Forlong. Messers Swanston, Handyside and 4 steerage.
On the 22nd May, at her residence, The Anchorage, York Place, the wife of Mr Andrew Thomson of a son.
On the 11th May at Melbourne, Frederick Jones Esq, of Woodeaton, Upper Green Island, aged 54 years.