White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885
A vessel of 912 tons, built at Sunderland in 1861, the India was chartered in 1875 for a voyage to Auckland. She sailed from London on November 26, 1874, under Captain McPhail, with 163 passengers, 15 of whom were for the settlement of Katikati, Bay of Plenty, and made a good run of 97 days port to port, arriving on the 3rd March, 1875. When running down her easting she passed very close to several large icebergs, and for two days Captain McPhail and the officers had an anxious time. Two deaths and three births occurred during the voyage.
On Christmas Day three of the sailors were found drunk, very abusive, and quite out of hand. The Captain found it necessary to place them in irons in the sail-room. Later, some of their matespage 187 released them, but they were recaptured by the ship's officers and confined in the hospital. On arrival at Auckland they were brought before the Magistrate, and each sentenced to twelve weeks' imprisonment with hard labour, the value of the cargo broached being deducted from their wages.
Another most unusual incident is worth recording. On the 10th March a week after the ship's arrival, Captain Alexander McPhail was charged at the Police Court with a breach of the Marine Act, 1867, by using abusive and insulting language towards Captain Burgess, the harbour pilot. The evidence showed that immediately the pilot took charge of the vessel, Captain McPhail interfered with him, and nearly caused the wreck of the ship. When in Court, Captain McPhail apologised and the charge was withdrawn. To the further charge of wilful interference with the pilot, the Captain pleaded guilty, and was fined £5 and costs, the Bench remarking upon the importance of captains of vessels realising that the pilots had absolute control over ships while in their charge.