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

The Ann Wilson

The Ann Wilson.

Some appalling revelations followed the arrival in Wellington on March 29, 1857, of the ship Ann Wilson, owned by R. and J. Wilson, and chartered by Messrs. James Baines and Co. to bring out emigrants. Soon after the vessel dropped anchor it was rumoured that great sufferings had been undergone by the passengers, and investigation proved the rumour to be only too true, eighteen deaths having occurred. Several of the passengers were landed in a deplorable condition, and one died soon after arrival. A bitter complaint against the quantity of food and water issued during the voyage was then made by the other passengers. At the inquest on the body of the passenger who had died at Wellington, some dreadful facts were brought to light. It was stated that the Ann Wilson left Liverpool on November 30, having on board 222 emigrants, 7 saloon passengers, and a crew of 21. Although the vessel experienced average weather and made a fair passage of 120 days, it was apparent that she was overcrowded. Towards the end of the voyage the passengers were limited to one pint of water per day. The doctor's evidence showed that the medicines and medical comforts were lamentably deficient. The sufferings, which were shared by both saloon and steerage passengers alike, were said to have been caused by poor ventilation, lack of medical comforts, and insufficient and badly cooked food. At the conclusion of the inquest the jury strongly censured the charterers of the Ann Wilson, the emigration officer at Liverpool, and the ship's captain. The captain was specially blamed for not putting in to the Cape for fresh water and other provisions. In explaining his position, the cook said that the cooking apparatus was only sufficient to cook for sixty persons. The ship arrived at Wellington on March 29th, 1857, in command of Captain Rutherford.