NEW ZEALAND Published in a Private Letter, 16 Nov 1859 Provided and Transcribed by Geoff Lilleker
New Zealand Auckland November 16th 1859 Dear Friend, With pleasure I wish to say that through mercy we have arrived safely here. Many have been the trials and perplexities of the voyage but thank God we have been enabled to overcome them. As regards the passage many have been the rollings experienced. Whilst on the great deep we have seen it roll as if to engulf us, but we knew in whom we had believed, and that many prayers was being offered for our well being. Whilst the sea was being lashed into a tempest, while the wind was blowing furiously and howling in the rigging; perhaps a sail or two was carried away, or the Gibboom unshipped. Sometimes we was in a beautifull valley bespangled with white spray, and had an enormous hill rolling Fore, and Aft, And the latter rolling after us as if to swamp the stem of our noble ship, but which rose gracefully before it. This is a grand sight and wonderfully showed the work of our God. I think sometimes I should like to witness it again. But still it is a gloomy one when the heavens pour blackness and the rain descends in torrents, and when our ship was running at the rate of perhaps 15 or 16 knots per hour (I understand one night especially she ran at seventeen knots per hour) and rolling as if the yarn would touch the water. But it was not always like this, sometimes we had a little respite, when the sea surface was like a country lake and a surface like glass, and scarsely an air of wind; but the worst of this was, we was making no headway towards our destination. I believe in general Sundays as been our roughest days. Our travels have been near at an end two or three times, but the God of Isreal saved us. On Friday night the 15th of July about half past eleven the alarm was given Breakers ahead, all hands on deck, this was a strange sight to see men, women, and children, in their night clothes, running in confusion and looking at one another with a wild stare. My Father was one who was on deck like this to see what was the matter. We was sailing sweetly by moonlight with a steady breeze when the breakers was seen ahead glittering in the moonlight. But praise God with his blessing our ship was put about smartly (when to appearance only a stone throw off,) with the active and energettic proceedings of the crew assisted by the passengers for it was now life and death, this they did without the aid of a command ever. This was another signal interposition of that providence which never slumbers nor sleeps, and which was always at hand and turned the scales in our favour when any emergency was at hand. Early one morning two or three days after crossing the line a squall accurred which was of short duration, but did our ship much damage and greatly impeded our progress. It carried away Fore-Top-Gallant mast, Fore-top-sail yard, Gibboom etc and split several sails, and moved the fore main sail yard out of its place. The fore rigging was in a confused state blocks, and spars swaying about, and the Gibboom floating in the water, while ropes and stayes nearly covered the foredeck. A day or two after when the decks was like a carpenters shop (Greenfeild found ready employment with another of the trade in helping the ship carpenter to make the best of it.) a noble ship gracefully passed us on the larboard bows which was anything but pleasing to see her pass us, but this would not have been the case had we had all our trimmings on we should have rather passed her. Thus greatly hindered we came into port short of some things that was carried away. It was not all of this furore we had frequent rests, we was not always being tossed and rolled about. It was pleasant and easy when the sunbeam glittered on the placid blue waters, whilst the sails flapped against the masts, the scene around us was pleasant, but it afforded no prospects of a speedy debarcation which was desired. We sighted land three or four times before reaching New Zealand. We sighted the coast of South America twice and it was Cape St Roque on the Brazillian coast which we so narrowly escaped. On the 4th August about 4 o’clock in the afternoon we sighted Martin Vas Rocks off the Island of Trinadada on the starboard bow. The Captain told the saloon passengers that we should sight it on the larboard bows when this was not the case, Mr Carmicheal being at the table and hearing him afterward went to him and asked him for an explanation. The Captain said that he was rong in his calculations. And he had previously for 12 days kept back from the mate Mr C. the sight and the Chronometer time. What therefore might have been the consequence had we passed them in the night, the mate in conversation said that it might have been terrible. He being 50 miles rong in his reconing being 25 miles on the one side and expecting to be that on the other. The Captain lost entirely all command over passengers and crew. The crew used to speak shamefully to him. He altogether lost the confidence which is placed in a captain. It was generally asked before going to bed whose watch it was if it was Mr Carmicheals we went to bed comfortably. One night when we expected to pass between a rock and Van Diemans land, during the captains watch the mate was searched. This shows that he could not be trusted with the ship. It is nearly every thing to have a good and competent commander, it makes things much more comfortable and safer. He several times got drunk and was one of the worst specimens of depraved nature. And he was not at all friendly to our meetings we had strong to does with him on the subject. But thank God we weathered the storm and dropped anchor at a quarter to seven in the evening of Saturday the 24th of November but we was not then up to Auckland for the wind was light and unfavourable, and therefore weighed anchor during the forenoon of Sunday, and dropped again at a quarter to one p.m. in the front of the city of Auckland New Zealand. Being about 107 days at sea. You may guess we was anxious to set our foot upon solid ground. I and two others of our party stepped on shore about 4 pm and had a look round and found the P.M. Chapel and heard Mr Say preach. Our noble ship took its departure for Calleo, South America on the second of November, as we saw her disappear we felt a little affected was almost in tears, we felt some respect for the Tornadoes and had she had a competent commander we should have made a splendid passage and a quick one too, which would have been greatly to our advantage had we got in before some that preceeded us. At present there is not that prospect which was holdin out to emigrants, the place seems overstocked, with the sudden influx which it has experienced. But we hope that by and by things will be more settled, and we shall be able to get into our proven place. As regards spiritual things, they are very feeble and low, the prayer meetings are carried on, on the Independent principle. Mr Say calls upon them he wishes to pray; and there is not an amen to be heard, all is lifeless. My father has told Mr Say that he shall not submit to that. This is really a “rally of dry bones”. Drunkenness and profaneness abounds, and all the churches appear to be asleep. There is none like us here, one person after being at a prayer meeting, we use for the first time buckled in (at the prayer meeting) said she should go no more we was like the old ranters at home, and like them we intend to be. Mr Say meets a class of a very few on Sunday evenings after the preaching instead of having a good prayer meeting. T Booth as got a class of Thursday nights and if we was to stay here we should strive to alter a few things. There is no P. Methodism in New Zealand. There is more exertions made at home for the missions than there is in them, (here.) He says processioning will not take here but we are likely to try it, and a camp-meeting too. We oft times think of the meeting we had at home and the blessed seasons we enjoyed there, but there needs somebody out here “The harvest truly is great but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore that he would send forth labourers unto his vineyard.” We are in first rate health and spirits considering our situation, but we have not the comforts of such a home as we left. This could not be expected. We join in love and hope that this will find you well in body and mind. Remember us kindly to all who are concerned in our welfare. To Mr W. Boddy. Doncaster Yours in Christ George Manners
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