Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Unhappy Passenger

As will be obvious from reading the posts on this blog, many passengers were unhappy on board. According to an article in the Daily Southern Cross, problems may have continued once they arrived in Auckland (this article was useful to put names to some of the Tornado's crew):

Captain Aitken, of the "Tornado" appeared to answer the charge of George Anderson, a passenger, for a breach of the stipulations contained in his contract ticket, by neglecting to supply him with provisions, etc, as per said contract ticket.

George Anderson, sworn— l was a passenger by the "Tornado," from Liverpool to Auckland; but I am bound to Wellington; that is the contract ticket; it is in the same condition as when I received it. On Saturday, 24th September, we arrived in Auckland. I still occupy my berth on board. On the following Wednesday, about 2 o'clock, we were served with a tin of preserved meat and some potatoes, for 61/2 adults. On Thursday, we received nothing from the ship but a piece of raw pork. My family consists of myself and wife and two children. On the Friday we had the same piece of pork, and on Saturday we had nothing served out. We had neither peas nor rice during the week. We had flour, which should have been served out on Monday, but was not served out till Saturday. There were several things not supplied to us. I complained to the Captain, who told me that he himself had difficulty in getting his own provisions. The Captain was sober. I was obliged on several occasions to purchase provisions on shore. I spent at least one pound.

Cross-examined by Mr. Russell I understood the Captain to say he could not get his provisions cooked or uncooked. I was told the Cook was drunk but I did not see him. The word Wellington was inserted in the contract -ticket before it was signed. The bulk of my luggage is marked passenger for Wellington.

Thomas White Young deposed— l am a passenger by the "Tornado," about to proceed to Wellington. On Wednesday, there was nothing served out at the proper hour but a little after we had some preserved meat given to us. On Thursday we had a piece of uncooked pork brought down. On Friday the same piece of pork cooked, and on Saturday the remains of Friday's pork.

For the defence Samuel Smythe, Purser of the "-Tornado." Last week I sent for the steerage passengers to get their provisions. Complainant said the steward ought to buy them. Up to last Monday week, Mr. Anderson was in the habit of coming for his provisions. He was offered a passage from Manukau to Wellington in the steamer but he refused, because we would not give him a saloon passage. The reason the provisions were not served out in time was, because up to the last I was negotiating with complainants for their passage to Wellington. The pork was not cooked on Friday, because the cook was drunk. The first irregularity as to the issue of the provisions arose from the idea that the passengers were all going to Wellington by the steamer.

Cross-examined by Mr. Wynn The first Monday after we arrived in Auckland, fresh beef was issued to the Cook, and I suppose the passengers received it, as I heard no complaint. No bread was issued, nor flour, nor oatmeal. On Wednesday I was present, when Mr. Anderson came to the storeroom. He took some of the provisions away, viz., flour, butter, tea, and sugar. I don't know what was issued on Friday. During the voyage the stores were generally served out on Monday's and Tuesday's. During the week in question, salt meat was offered to complainant, and refused - he wanted fresh. This week the provisions were issued altogether. I did not tell complainant the contract ticket was a forgery. I won't swear that I did not make use of the word forgery but I swear that he told me himself that he had nothing to complain of, except the cooking. My duty in the ship is to see that the passengers have their provisions, and are fairly treated. If the cooking is bad, the passengers complain to me and I see it rectified during the week in question. They obtained more of some of the articles than they were entitled to, and during that time Mr. Anderson made no complaint, except as to the cooking.

Alfred Smith Fulljames said— He was assistant purser and passenger on board. It was his duty to attend to the issue of stores. Last week complainant had all the provisions mentioned in the contract ticket, exceept beef, and for that he took pork. The steward for the second cabin obtained salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar, rice, and sometimes preserved potatoes, and delivered them out daily. Last Friday the cook got drunk.

Cross-examined He has been drunk several times. There has not been much drunkenness on board. She is a sober ship compared with others. Complainant preferred pork to beef.

Robert Askew was assistant steward for the second cabin Last week the provisions were served out as usual. Complainant refused the salt meat - he wanted fresh. They had fresh beef on Monday, and had it cold on Tuesday. I gave it to them myself. On Wednesday, a tin of preserved meat was issued. On Thursday they had pork, but the cook was drunk.

Cross examined— There were 25lbs of pork issued that week, and three pieces were boiled on the Friday. The pork was issued on the Thursday morning - that was not the proper day to issue meat but there were some pieces left from the last week. I don't know how much pork the passengers are entitled to. I have cooked meat for the passengers that was brought from the shore by them. I can't swear that Mr. Anderson gave me any to cook for him.

By the Court— l know there were 25 lbs. of pork issued that week, because the purser told me so.

His Worship said that no difficulty would have occurred had the law been complied with, that provisions should be issued daily, and issued cooked. The contract ticket was not in accordance with the law, but that was not the fault of the Captain. The evidence was most contradictory, had it not been so, and a conviction had taken place, he wished it to be distictly understood that the penalty would not have been a light one. Case dismissed.

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