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Letter from the Dunedin Immigration Officer advising the Wellington Immigration Officer
of a complaint against Captain Frank Kohler of the ship Terpsichore

 

Mr Elliott     

Immigration Office
Dunedin 15th January 1877

         Herewith I enclose a letter received from Mr Fredricksen who is now a resident in this city of this city, regarding the abduction of his daughter by the Captain of the Immigrant ship "Terpsichore" which arrived in your port in March last. It seems to me a hard case and one which ought to be enquired into. The owners of the ship in Hamburg should be informed of the matter through the Agent General with a view to the punishment of the captain by dismissal or otherwise. As the circumstances are already known to you as far as the parties referred to are concerned, I need not add any more.

                                                                                        Colin Allan
                                                                                                      Immigration Officer

The actual letter received complaining of improper conduct by Captain Frank Kohler
of the ship Terpsichore
Transcribed exactly as written

Dunedin 15th January 1877
Mr Colin Allan
                    Immigration Officer
                                             Dunedin   

With your permission I write this letter to you as you kindly this forenoon promised to assist me through our Government to get my daughter out of the hands and power of Frank Kohler, Master of the ship Terpsichore of Hamburg in Germany. We left Hamburg in the above named ship Terpsichore on the fifteenth of November 1875 and arrived in Wellington on the eighteenth of March 1876. I had my Wife and six children onboard and we had free passage of the New Zealand Government. I was in Hamburg appointed as First Constable onboard, and Mr Elliott, then Immigration Officer , Wellington known (after Certificate from the Doctor) that I did my duty onboard. After we had been to sea about a fourth night, the Captain commenced to ensnare my oldest daughter Mathilde Fredricksen, and I could not in spite of all me Vigilance Night and Day keep my daughter away from him. In consequence of my watching over her, the Captain insulted me grossly twice onboard and would prohibit my coming aft on the quarterdeck, although I was the First Constable, if it had not been for the Doctor. I ordered my daughter to be down of the Quarter Deck at eight o'klok, but the Captain gave her, and other girls, permission to remain on Deck so long she liked, and I several times so my daughter come down of the Quarter Deck 11 and 12 o'klok in the night from the Captains society. She was also several times in the Captains Cabin with him alone, I gave her warnings both good and sever, but to no help. She has always been a good and obedient child, but after she came in that Captains hands, I lost all command over her. I forgave her all this, and took her yet in my own Lodging in Wellington, but one evening, the Captain came in to my house there just before I left for Dunedin, but came quickker out than in, and shortly afterwards my daughter went out, and I have never sinse seen or heard from her before this forenoon. I received a letter from my Wifes Sister in Wellington as also come in the same ship, that the Captain has taken my Daughter with him in the ship to Calleo. I with my family left Wellington in the Taupo April the 21st 1876 and the ship Terpsichore left the same day, we past her on Cook Strait. My Wifes Sister was a very good friend the the First Mate on board, so I gues she has received Letter from him when she says the ship had 42 days passage from here to Calleo, and should lay there 10 months waiting for Cargo, and she says, she will write to her to come back to her parents and how wrong she has done. This my Wifes Sister, I suppose, can give every particular information of my Daughter, and testify the truth of this letter. There is also several of the immigrants in Wellington as can do the same. She also wrote that the Captain had brought my Daughter to a German Carpenter in Wellington (one of his friends living there) so he must know everything about it, but I suppose he will tell nothing before he is forced to attend in Court. This is a hard event for parents, especially as this Captain Kohler is a married man, with Wife and two Children in Hamburg, and a robbery from the New Zealand Government, as paid our passage out, and then this prussian Calanje (rogue) shal be allowed to take or steal the same Immigrants with him bake in the same Ship he brought them out in, and have received the money far, of the Government, and I have the strangest reason to believe he has taken her with him after the letter from my Wifes Sister & all. My Daughter is now about 20 years of age and I am sure she has kost me in that time more one tausen pound sterling 1000, when I always has keept her in the best Schools in Norway and given her the best education. Now all is done for nothing and the worst is the great sorrow for my Wife. I therefore beg you, Mr Allan kindly to inquire in to this, and if it is true (as I never doubt) that the Captain has taken my Daughter with him to Calleo, that he must be punished severally, and I get some compensation for all my loss through her so manny year and that the Captain sends her back here to New Zealand again possibly here yet could be some safety for her soul yet her earthly happiness is last - this ought to be done same before he leaves Calleo, for I am almost certain or think he will trow her off and leave her there perhaps as a prostitute when he goes away.

The address of my Wifes Sister in Wellington is:
                                                Miss Lina Christensen
                                               care of Mr Jorgensen, Tailor
                                               working at Mr Poulsen
                                                                     Lambton Quay

Hoping you kindly forward this, I remain your most obedient servant
                                                                                              G Fredriksen
                                                                                              Master Mariner

Excuse my writing in English as I am a Norwegian, but I hope you will understand the meaning of it.
The owners of the Ship Terpsichore name is, I believe, Wencke Johne in Hamburg and the Immigration Agents name is C A Mathei

Reply from the Wellington Immigration Officer

Immigration

Immigration Office

Memorandum No.29 Dunedin 15th Jan , 1877 

77/81

26 Wellington 19 January 1877

For Immigration Officer

Dunedin

In reply to your memo of the 17th instant forwarding letter from G Fredriksen an immigrant by the Terpsichore complaining that the Captain of the vessel had taken his daughter to Calleo. I have to inform you that from what I know of the circumstances of the case I think the Department is not called upon to take any action in the matter. If Fredriksen has any complaint to make he should make it either direct to the owners of the vessel in Hamburg or through the German Consul.

National Archives Reference IM/5/4/21 no. 229