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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

Drink Leads To Irons

Drink Leads To Irons.

After telling about some more bird-snaring and rough weather the diary goes on to record what might have had a more serious ending:—

"Thursday, September 1.—Some of the passengers were dancing until half past ten, when the person that is tattooed after the Maori style came amongst them for the purpose of annoying them. He was ordered off by the mate but came back and spoke abusively, and even lifted his hand to strike the mate. The mate instantly knocked down "the New Zealander," as he is generally called. The man called out in a voice like thunder, 'A — mutiny on the — ship!' This made the women and children run seeking for a place of refuge. The captain was soon on the spot and saw that 'the New Zealander' was evidently tipsy. The man was ordered below and threatened with irons if he quarrelled again on that ship. He went below, but in a few minutes came back again, and the mate and two of the constables put him below again by force. He threatened to take the mate's life, set the ship on fire, etc. The captain then ordered him to be put in irons, and he lay quiet the whole night.

"Some of the crew swore vengeance against the second mate. They came up on deck and one of them with his knife open said he would take the second mate's life. Before morning he rushed to the mate's cabin, but did not succeed in getting in. He made another effort and got into the cabin with his open knife in his hand and pierced in through the bedclothes into the bed, but fortunately the second mate was not in the cabin. The first mate went in after this man and got him to the floor, when another sailor took the knife away, but only after he had got a cut on the palm of his hand.

"The captain sent for his cutlasses and ordered the riotous sailor to the other end of the ship. The captain said if the fellow came near him he would knock him down with the cutlass. Had the man come up to the captain I have no doubt the latter would have carried out his threat. It was frightful to hear the threats of the sailor and his mates. The hatches were put on as soon as the trouble began, to keep the passengers out of the way.

"Hearing the noise the passengers were in a desperate state to know what was happening, thinking a mutiny had broken out. By degrees the noise gradually got lees, and the men went away to their own quarters, but still swearing vengeance.

page 43

"The mates got cutlasses each and loaded a pistol each in case of any disturbance during the night. However, all was quiet. It turned out that the four sailors had got grog as well as 'the New Zealander.'