Friday, August 9, 2013

Advice for Future Emigrants

From: Our Voyage to New Zealand Per the Tornado (by a Glasgow Emigrant) Glasgow Herald December 19, 1859 

I have given all the particulars of our voyage at all interesting, though very probably they may appear very tame to you; but before concluding, shall make a few remarks which may be useful to other parties coming out; and as the greatest inconvenience, at least as experienced by me, arose from the badness of the water. I shall speak of it first. Parties who had been to sea before said it was not bad considering, but to me it was quite unpalatable, its taste being very bad, and its smell altogether overpowering. We mixed it with lime juice, with spirits, and all we could think of, but whilst we were in the tropics it grew daily worse. During the last three weeks of our voyage, however, we got water which was very good, although much older than what was served out to us at first. Having previously made the voyage between Liverpool and Melbourne and back, but being in iron tanks, it was in a very good state of preservation, and had a fine flavour. It would certainly add much to the comfort of passengers should similar tanks be adopted in all vessels, and if they are not suitable for wooden ships, the chemist who could invent some ingredient to freshen stale water would deserve the heartfelt thanks of all emigrants to the Antipodes. As it was, we felt thirst much, and as ale and porter were one shilling a bottle, those who gratified their appetites with these beverages did so at considerable expense. I would, therefore, advise emigrants to take on board with them a few dozens of ale or porter bottled for export, or table beer, which would be preferable could it be made to keep long enough and stand the heat. Effervescing powders, too, highly flavoured with ginger or other strong aromatics, are of great advantage.

The most of emigrants take with them some money, generally in the shape of a bank order; but one of our fellow passengers told me he had lodged what money he was possessed of with the Oriental Banking Company, who have a branch in Edinburgh, and they allow him 4 per cent on it from the date it was lodged in Edinburgh, until such time as he may wish to lift it in Auckland. This I therefore consider to be the best way of bringing out money, as interest at 4 per cent during a three month voyage comes to something; at all events I would advise all intending emigrants to make inquiry about it. I made all the inquires I could think of in Glasgow as to the best mode, but unfortunately heard nothing of this plan.

There are now three regular lines of ships to New Zealand - two from London and one from Liverpool (the White Star line of Messrs. Wilson and Chambers, by whom the Tornado was sent out), and it is most convenient for parties from the west of Scotland to go from Liverpool; and I must in justice admit that the provisions served out to us were of excellent quality, though the style in which they were cooked was certainly not what it should be, it being often just a destruction of food; and the steward's attendance, also, was far from what might be expected. However, if a little improvement was effected in these particulars, I do not think that emigrants could do better than come by this line; but they should make themselves certain that their passage is secured on terms as favourable at any rate as those obtained by other parties, as I have ascertained that some of the other passengers have got out for £20 (and some for even less it is said), whilst they received the same accommodation and provisions as we did who paid £25 each - so let those who are coming out look sharp in making their bargain. Our family (four in number) came out in the second cabin, and were the purser or mate to sit at the head of the table in the second cabin, and see that things were made as they should be; it might be made a very comfortable place for a family wishing to come out in a moderate way. But were I coming alone, or only with a party of young men, I would certainly go in the steerage, and lay out a little money in buying cheese, ham, a box of Nova Scotia herrings, and I would make myself equally comfortable almost, as well as be a good deal cheaper in the end.

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