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ARRIVAL OF THE MARGARET GALBRAITH
Otago Daily Times Monday January 11th 1876

The well-known ship Margaret Galbraith; of Messrs Patrick Henderson and Co's., line which trades between this Province and the old country, was signalled at the heads on Saturday afternoon. The name of the new comer having been made known, the welcome notification of "all well" followed. The steamer Geelong, with the Woodville in tow, went out for her, and having given the former a good offing, made fast to the "home ship" and brought her in on the of the flood, Pilot Kelly being in charge. The ship was brought up to good anchorage off Carey's bay, and there the first anchor was dropped. Immediately previous to that the Government steam launch, with Captain Thomson, health officer, Mr Monson, Emigration Officer, and Dr Drysdale, on behalf of the Board of Health, went alongside. The usual interrogatories touching the sanitary condition of the immigrants followed, and at the first the replies appeared to be most satisfactory, only one death, that of an infant with mesenteric disease having occurred, whilst, excepting one case of scarlatina, no disease of serious character had appeared during the passage. The case of scarlatina appeared on the 17th November, and having run its course, was convalescent on the 27th November.The child that had been afflicted by it - a fine little girl - was, at the request of the officials, brought to the gangway and exhibited, and certainly looked the picture of health. Dr Batchelor, surgeon superintendent of the immigrants on board the Margaret Galbraith, stated that no other case of the kind had appeared, and that all the passengers were exceedingly healthy. Sundry interrogatories and replies passed between those in the steamer and Dr Batchelor and Captain Peebles, whom we were pleased to see still in charge of the ship and looking well. Dr Drysdale seemed to hesitate about passing her, especially when Dr Batchelor remarked to the effect that unless the infection had been imported by the clothes of a family on board which had had scarlatina nine months previously, he was at a loss to account for the case in question seeing that it was six weeks after the ship left home before the case appeared. Dr Drysdale still hesitated, and rejoined that the illness might be imported nine months hence; at any rate if the ship was passed, and scarlatina subsequently broke out on shore, he would be blamed for it, and accordingly he refused to pass her until he had communicated with the Board of Health. The decision appeared to excite a great deal of surprise amongst those on board the ship, especially when it was followed by the order to hoist the yellow flag, and take the ship down to the Quarantine ground. Many months had elapsed since that detestable piece of bunting had been hoisted as a quarantine signal at the Port, and we were scarcely less sorry to see it at the main of the Margaret Galbraith than were those on board her. In due-course, the ship was removed to the Quarantine ground, and will remain there until the Board of Health, which meets this morning, pronounces a decision upon he case. We were certainly surprised at the exceeding precautions adopted with the Margaret Galbraith, such a course of procedure being altogether unprecedented at this port. If it had been otherwise Pilot Kelly would not have brought the ship so far up. Still we are very far from inclining to take exception to it, providing that the rule which has been to all intents and purposes established by the action of Dr Drysdale is rigidly carried out in the case of every home ship coming to this Port. Precautions may be excessive, it is true; but, at the same time, it is better to be on the safe side, especially at this time of the year, when the "fall" (the most unhealthy period) is approaching inconsistency must, however, be guarded against. Fish is not to be made of one and flesh of another; and, therefore, for the future, if only one case of disease of a serious character appears on board a ship the pilot in charge will do well to anchor at the Quarantine Ground, and there wait the inspection of the health Officer. The decision come to respecting the Margaret Galbraith was, however, regarded by those from whom it emanated as being on the extreme side. Hence it was decided to lay the matter before His Honour, the Superintendent and suggest the immediate removal to the Quarantine Island of the family in which the case of scarlatina had appeared, and there admit the ship to pratique. In conformity with the resolution, Captain Thomson, Mr Monson, and Dr Drysdale, with Mr Orbell, Mr Colin Allan, the Emigration Officer's clerk proceeded to "Macandrews" in the steam launch, and laid the matter before His Honour. The opinion of Mr Turnbull, the Provincial Treasure, was also taken, and it was resolved that, as Dr Drysdale would not pass the ship on his personal responsibility, neither did the Superintendent and Mr Turnbull consider themselves justified in acting independent of the Board of Health. Moreover, as His Honour remarked, the fact of the ship being in quarantine made but little difference to those on board, seeing that out of the 120 statute adults comprising her passengers, 100 were nominated immigrants bound to either Oamaru or Invercargill, and would be taken direct from the ship to their destination. As our stay alongside the Margaret Galbraith was of the briefest, the launch leaving as soon as she was ordered into quarantine, we obtained only a brief account of the ship's passage from home, hurriedly supplied by Captain Peebles out of his private log. She left the Downs on the 4th October, and was jammed in the Channel eight days by strong head winds, the land not being cleared until the 12th, when a last departure was taken from the Wolf. Moderate variable weather was experienced to the Trade, which was found in 25 degrees N and lost 8.30 degrees N. It proved a poor Trade, 188 miles being the last day's run made in it. Four days of doldrums followed and the SE Trade was met with in 5 north. The Equator was crossed on the 10th November, in long 30 W, and the SE Trade, which blew a good wholesome breeze, was lost in 21 degrees S. Variable winds from north to SW, by the west, were experienced to 35 degrees S, on the 24th November a short spell of SE set in. The westerlies set in on the 29th, in lat 40 degrees S long 6.28 degrees W, but only lasted until the 4th December, the ship then being in 16 degrees E long. Variable winds set in for a while, and prevailed until she crossed the meridian of the Cape on December 8th. After that the westerlies blew up again, and stuck to the ship light and moderate whilst she ran her easting down on the 47th parallel. The Snares were made at 7:30am on Friday last, and the same evening she was off the Ocean Beach, and fetched the Heads on Saturday.

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