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

The Cathcart

page 182

The Cathcart.

A remarkable passage was made by the fine iron clipper Cathcart to Lyttelton in 1874. A ship of 1,387 tons, built four years previously by Robert Steel, of Greenock, she sailed from London with 481 Government immigrants on the 11th June, and from the Downs three days later, making the passage in 70 days 12 hours to the Snares, and arriving at Lyttelton on the 29th August, 76 days from the Downs to port. The equator was crossed on the 21st day out. On the 28th July she made a run of 304 miles, and the following day 293.

Four of the crew of the Cathcart having during the voyage broken into the fore-hold, broached cargo and secured drink; one of them was brought aft and placed in irons; another, having attempted to rescue him, was also taken in charge, but while being secured the first prisoner escaped to the forecastle. Captain Crawford and the officers going forward to recapture him, were prevented from doing so by several of the crew, who made use of threatening language. The captain, finding that the mutineers would not listen to reason, returned to his cabin, and after deliberation with his officers, armed himself and went forward the second time. Finding the doors of the forecastle closed, he demanded admission. Previous to this, part of the crew had left the mutineers. Those within refused to open the doors, threatened the Captain, and said that they meant shortly to be masters of the ship. Argument was useless, and the door on the starboard side of the forecastle was, in spite of much resistance, partly forced open with hand spikes, and the Captain, again warning the mutineers, fired three times amongst them, three of them being wounded. An entrance was effected and the mutiny quelled, the ringleaders and others being placed in irons. On the arrival of the ship at Lyttelton the men were brought before a magistrate and charged with endeavouring to make a revolt. Four were sentenced to twelve weeks' imprisonment with hard labour, and two to one month additional for assaulting the Captain.