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Frank Leward: Memorials

Frank to Mr. Leward

Frank to Mr. Leward.

Wellington, June 1843.

My dear Father I have just returned here and received your welcome letter and your generous enclosure. You cannot tell how useful it will be to me. I cannot thank you enough for it. Our whaling was very successful we came upon a school of sperm whales South of the Society-Islands and the makings of the voyage will be the largest got for years. My share will be over £300 I expect. Our lays are divided according to the rank we hold. You may say indeed it is a life of hardship I didnt think it was possible for anything to be so bad and brutal. Its an idle lazy life. The ways of the men and even the officers are disgusting. At one time we were nearly having a mutiny. After we had got the whales and were boiling down the blubber a beastly business the men wanted to get back to spend the money they would get. The Captain wanted to stay to try for some more and the men threatened to seize the ship. We knew that meant the murder of us and all who wouldnt side with them. So while they were down below holding a sort of meeting the Captain said page 97hed stand no more nonsense and battened them down. We then got all the guns and things and powder we could get and loaded. We had only the Captain firstmate one boson boat steerer and the six Maoris they were twenty with harpoons hatchets knives and one or two pistols. When they found themselves battened down they got furious and we could hear them trying to break through the bulk heads, thats the partitions that divide their part from the other parts of the ship. Of course if they got through the bulk heads they would be able to get to the afthatch they could take us in the rear while we were looking after their hatch in front which we had battened down. Or else they might get at the ships stores and spirits if they did that they were safe to get drunk and pretty sure to set the ship on fire. So the Captain to frighten them fired at their hatch and it so happened as luck would have it one of them had climbed up to the top of the hatch inside and was looking through a small hole to see what we were doing just as the Captain fired, the bullet went through his heart and he fell down dead amongst the others below. This frightened them so they holloed out a man was killed and said they would give in. So we let them out one by one and they went to work but we had to keep a sharp look-out afterwards. The poor fellow who was killed was the youngest of the lot and I liked him the best we did all we could for him but it was too late so we buried him or at least put him overboard I read the service and all the others took off their hats. The Captain is to be tried for it here but of course he will page 98get off if he hadnt done what he did I dont suppose we should have got back alive. As it was he thought we had better get back at once and secure what we had taken.

I met a man named Johnson here more than a year and a half ago he is a very respectable sort of man and has done pretty well on some land he took from the New Zealand Co, while we were away, he has just sold out of that because of the way the government have treated the Company. The government at home and the government here seems perfectly idiotic they listen to no one but the missionaries who are doing their best to spoil this splendid country. Johnson has offered to let me become partners with him and both of us to buy a much larger lot of land further up the country and stock it properly with sheep and cattle. It seems a good offer and I expect we shall take up about 10,000 acres from the government almost directly. Its quite in a new part where hardly any white people have been. I will write again when we have decided.

Please remember me to all and tell my dear Mother I am getting on well. Your affectionate Son

F. Leward,