from the book "A Quota of Qualtrough" Pages 31-40

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Diary of James Qualtrough, written of board the "MERMAID" which sailed from Liverpool UK, on 11 July 1859 and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on 19 October 1859.

For the Mermaid Passenger List Click Here

For the Map of the Voyage Click Here

We left the Mersey on 11 July 1859 about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, tugged by the tug boat RATTLER belonging to the tug company.

She did not leave until Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock, when the MERMAID set sail and made her own way at about 8 knots and hour. In the afternoon most of the passengers became very sick. On Thursday the 14th we had something like a hospital on board. The worst of us were James and Ellen Martin. I have been very sick myself but I have never lost my spirits. I have been able to join in our prayer meeting with a measure of delight.

Friday 15th: Today when I write, the children are playing about in good spirits. My dear wife and Betsy are beginning to knit and to sew. James and Ellen Martin are a good deal better. We have all day long an hubbub, something like a fair with 400 on board

Saturday 16th: Nothing particular has happened but it is rather calm. The ship is only able to make her own course at about 2 knots an hour. It is announced that Divine Service is to be kept on board at 10.30 tomorrow morning.

Sunday 17th: Just before Mr. Caley began divine service a young son of his fell off the poop stairs and hurt his head badly, but before night was going about smart again. About 11, service began when Mr Caley preached from "God so loved the world…etc". By the Captain’s order, service was kept again at 6 in the evening. Many of the officers and sailors were present and all behaved very well.

Monday 18th: Last night we had very heavy showers of rain. This morning a good fair breeze, which drives the MERMAID at about 11 knots an hour. James is rather bad. A great many of the passengers are sick again. The rest of us as a family are well. Thank God. He is better to us than all our best expectations. Yesterday the ship had sailed in all 635 miles and was in North latitude 44.59. It is not much warmer than it was in the Isle of Man when we left.

Tuesday 19th: Last night we had some very heavy showers of rain and flashes of lightning. The sailors called it a gloomy night. This morning some small birds flew after the ship a long way which the sailors said was a sign of wind. About 9 o’clock the wind blew fresh from the W. by S.

The ship sailed at about 11 knots an hour. A great many of the passengers were again sick. My own stomach is rather bad, Ellen is doing nothing, not eating, just nothing. James also is very ill. Willie is not so bad. All the rest of up keep very well.

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