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The New Zealander August 20th 1859

The ship Joseph Fletcher arrived in harbour about 2 a.m. last Thursday.  She was signalled throughout the greater part of the previous afternoon and was generally supposed to be the British Queen which sailed from Plymouth on 11 April and has not yet arrived, although now 130 days out.  The supposition was further strengthened that the approaching ship was a stranger to the port, in consequence of her firing guns and throwing up rockets, which were presumed to be demands for the services of a pilot.  The passage of the Joseph Fletcher has been – as the passages of that favourite and regular trader all along has been – a remarkably pleasant one, accomplished in the fair average passage of 101 days.  As an example of the gaiety and good feeling throughout the passage we have been furnished with the following particulars, accompanied with a request that they may obtain publicity.  “There has been no death on board nor a single case of serious illness.  The only occupant of our hospital was Mrs IRVINE, a second cabin passenger who on 23 May gave birth to a daughter.  The mother and child have both done well.  There has been great good feeling and good order among the passengers and we may congratulate the Province of Auckland on so large an accession to the elements of her moral and material prosperity.  The voyage has been attended with an unusual continuance of fine weather and but few incidents have occurred to vary its progress or to deserve recording.  The monotony of the scene on board has been enlivened however by the musical tastes and capacities of the emigrants.  Three concerts were given, all highly creditable to the conductors and performers.  The event that crowned the whole came off on 28 July.  The second cabin was gracefully canopied with the ship’s flats, the Joseph Fletcher’s private signal, that achievement now well known in Auckland, a lion rampant holding a scallop shell, argent, on a field, gules, forming the curtain.   The tables had been cleared away and seats arranged for the occasion and the space was filled with an applauding audience.  We may particularise the efficiency with which some favourite glees and ballads, set as quartets, were sustained – “Hail! Smiling morn”, “Hark! The lark”, “Glorious Appolo”, “Ye banks and braes”, “Blue bells of Scotland” and “Home, sweet home”.  Two rounds or catches were rendered in character and rapturously received.  “Old chairs to mend” and “Would you know my Celia’s charms”.  We will not attempt to describe the mysteries of the toilet to which the fictitious lady was subjected but will only say that the effect was irresistible; nor must we forget to mention some truly comic songs for which we are indebted to the ship’s facetious sailmaker.  The most daring feature of the entertainment perhaps was the representation of a scene from King Henry the VIII.  The wonder is that costumes to appropriate could have been extemporized and the success of the delivery amply rewarded the diligence of the study with which all had prepared themselves for their task.   We believe we re not wrong in asserting that seldom has a voyage from England to NZ been accomplished with so little evidence of danger or experience or expression of discomfort.”   The Joseph Fletcher brings us 27 general labourers; 14 farmers; 10 female servants; 4 blacksmith; 3 carpenters; 3 cabinetmakers; 3 butchers; 2 millers; 1 surveyor; 1 clerk; 1 printer; 1  shipwright; 1 joiner; 1 governess and 1 yeoman, with their several wives, families and relatives.  The Joseph Fletcher we presume will follow the example of the other English and Colonial ships and haul alongside the Wharf to discharge.