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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

December, 19th

December, 19th.

This morg at daylight I awoke and on going on deck missed the whale boat from the cutter, and I then found that 5 men page 566 belonging to the Eliza Scott had gone to the cutter, and evidently with the connivance of the watch on board the cutter, stolen the boat and made off. Thinking they might make for the Settlement in Preservation Bay Capt Freeman and self again started to find it; we were successful as far as getting a supply of oil &c from the party but could hear nothing of the crew. This is a serious loss but as the rest of the crew seem perfectly content and willing to try their luck I still do not despair, indeed the remaining crew seem glad these people have gone and they all say they will now be comfortable. Two of these men were certainly two of the greatest blackguards I ever had on board a ship and I had a great deal of trouble with them on the passage out; more mutinous rascals could not be, & they have, I think, seduced two of the others from their duty. As for the 3rd. he had been much in Sydney and perhaps was the ringleader of the whole. I deplore now more than ever my long passage out as I might perchance have saved them altho' I am aware it was their intention to run when they shipped, but I could not carry sail on the schooner and on unstowing the vessel here I found a sufficient reason. The ground tier of casks which should have been filled with water were perfectly empty and it becomes no longer a matter of wonder the ship would not bear her canvass, but a matter of wonder she got here at all; On enquiry into the cause of the casks being empty the mate says he thinks they were not filled in London and lays all blame on Capt Shuttleworth with what truth I know not as all this was done before I gained the schooner,* when the mate informed me that the ground tier consisted of oily casks filled with water out of the canal.

* The “Eliza Scott.”