Article accompanying “Towing Out” in the Illustrated London News, April 13, 1844:
It will no doubt be in the recollection of our readers that a Government grant was made to assist families and single men, agricultural labourers, shepherds, carpenters, smiths, wheelwrights, bricklayers, and masons, being of good character, to emigrate to Australia, limiting the number, we believe to five thousand. Amongst these were to be included a certain portion of single women and girls, between eighteen and thirty years of age, who had been in domestic or farm service. Her Majesty’s Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners entrusted that important undertaking to Messrs. Carter and Bonus, of Leadenhall-street, who have been engaged for several years in the management of emigration to Australia, Canada, &c., and from what we have witnessed, it could not well be in better hands. The trust is certainly most onerous as it respects the selection of individuals to be sent out, for it must be obvious to every one that the future well-being and respectability of the colony mainly depends upon the good conduct of the working classes. There is, perhaps, something extremely melancholy at the idea of quitting our native land — perhaps for ever; the ties of kindred, the bonds of locality, cling round the heart, and true it is that absence only serves to strengthen the links that unite us to Home; for in whatever part of the world an Englishman may be, he still looks with ardent affection and longing desire to the spot of his nativity. But with all these feelings, dear and precious as they are on second consideration, there is not so much to excite painful sensation in emigration as at first there seems to be. A large field is opened for skill and industry; there is a prospect of gaining a competency which promises a “welcome return”; and unhappily there exists in England so much real distress, that anything [in the shape of improving the condition must be grateful to the feelings. Several emigrant ships, under the direction of Messrs. Carter and Bonus, and superintended on the part of the Commissioners by Lieutenant Lean, of the Royal Navy, have already sailed—some for Sydney and others for Port Phillip—and very recently one hundred and sixty-five souls, men, women and children, embarked from the depot at Deptford, on board the St. Vincent, Captain John Young, of 628 tons (registered), and sailing the following day for Plymouth, where they received all who were assembled there from the western part of England. From thence she proceeded to Cork, to take in emigrants from Ireland, and quitted that port about the 16th April, 1844, for Sydney.The ships are expressly fitted out for the purpose in the London Docks, where an active and intelligent agent is in constant attendance, and persons desirous of obtaining the advantage of a free passage must address a letter to Messrs. Carter and Bonus, stating their name, age and calling; whether married or single; and if married, the number of children. The name and address of the clergyman of the parish must also be forwarded; the period on which they will be ready to embark, and to what port of the two they are desirous of going. An answer is returned as to the eligibility of the applicants, and if they are not accepted under the bounty, a statement of terms of passage are given. Printed forms of application and testimonials are forwarded by the agents, which must be sent back for approval, together with a deposit of , one Pound for each adult, and 10 Shillings for each child between one and fourteen years of age, in payment for bedding (comprising a new mattress, bolsters, blankets, and coverlids), a small box, fifteen inches square for clothes, a knife and fork, two spoons, a metal plate, and a drinking-mug — all of which becomes the property of the emigrant on their arrival at the colony. They have also the free use of water-casks, and many necessary culinary articles. In the event of the passage not being granted the deposit is returned.
On being accepted, every male must provide himself with two suits of outside clothes, two pairs of strong boots or shoes, eight shirts, six pairs of worsted stockings, three towels etc.; and each female, besides outward garments, must possess a cloak and a bonnet. Those who desire comfort will also supply themselves with sheets and many little articles for essential use. The between decks of the St. Vincent are 124 feet in length, the breadth at the main hatchway twenty-five feet three inches, the height from the deck that is walked upon to the deck overhead is six feet four inches. From the stern of the ship, right away to the stern on the larboard side, and back again to the stern on the starboard side, the space is entirely occupied by a double tier (one above the other) of standing bed places &c. according to the annexed plan. On the day before the departure of the St. Vincent from London Dock, between one and two o’clock, we witnessed the spectacle of the emigrants taking their first meal on board (good mutton, beef, potatoes, and soup), and it certainly was a most interesting scene. The married people were very decently attired, though not so much as the single, for in several instances, among the latter, both male and female, there were indications of gentility in dress and manners that caused surprise. Many had travelled long distances and, most had never before seen a ship; yet there was a display of cheerfulness that was remarkable – as if their minds were made up for whatever might betide, or that the novelty of their situations had produced an excitement, which cheered them in the hour of parting from their home, shores, and the friends they loved. Mothers were sitting giving nourishment to their infants—all were cheerful—and perhaps a more healthy and robust set of boys and girls could not well be found. The principal portion of the youths and single men were also fine athletic fellows. Among the unmarried females were several really handsome countenances and good figures. If there is any gallantry at Sydney, where, it is stated, there are 15,000 males, and not more than between 3,000 and 4,000 females, many we beheld cannot be long after they arrived without husbands. There was not the remotest indication of want or pauperism amongst the whole. One married woman, extremely handsome, was rather elegantly arrayed; she was tall and graceful, and her fashionable apparel set off her figure to great advantage. Her husband, a quiet, inoffensive-looking man, habited as a mechanic, but very neat and clean, glanced at his wife with solicitude and anxiety. Here was ample scope for the speculative mind; but what was their former history, there was not time to enquire.
We give the following statement of weekly allowance made to each adult during the voyage, the children being on half allowance. (The provisions, of course, are served out daily).
4 ¾ lbs of bread, 1lb rib beef, 1 ½ lb flour, ½ lb raisins, 6 oz suet, 1 pint of peas, ½ lb of rice, ½ lb of preserved potatoes, 1 oz tea, 1 ½ oz roasted coffee, ¾ lb sugar, 6 oz butter, 5 gallons and 1 quart of water, a gill pickled cabbage, ½ gill of vinegar, 2 oz salt.
This taken singly, is adequate food, but when united in messes (say of ten) where appetites are not equal, is certainly not bad living, and we have not heard of any complaints. After the emigrants have arrived in the colony, they are allowed ten days free access to the ship, with all its advantages, should they not be hired or obtain employ at once. The number of emigrants the St. Vincent will convey is about 240, and from the general characteristic of those we saw on board, they will prove a valuable acquisition to the colony.
The St. Vincent appeared to be a fine vessel, well found and may the Almighty prosper her voyage!]
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