Friday, July 7, 2017

Emily's Long, Long Voyage: More About the Ship Osprey and Her Captain

I was searching around in Trove, a wonderful online resource of the National Library of Australia, and came across three old letters of interest. 

You will recall that our Emily Stanbury (see last post) and her family traveled from England to Victoria, Australia aboard the ship Osprey, 1848-49. The first letter would seem to be from a fellow passenger on that voyage, remembering his trip as a two year old "kiddy."

First letter:

Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), Saturday 17 February 1934, page 6The Ship Osprey.TO THE EDITOR OF THE AGE.

Sir, I have read with interest, the history of pioneer ships and pioneer men connected with Australian life and trade, but saw no mention of the ship Osprey that came from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1849. My parents come out in her, and brought me with them, a kiddy of two years. We started from Liverpool in September, 1848, and landed at Melbourne in March, 1849.

I think the captain's name was Merriman [CZ note: It was Honeyman]. Could any of your correspondents tell me anything of the history and fate of that ship? I would like to hear from any passengers who sailed in the Osprey in 1848. and may be alive to-day. I am in my 88th year. If alive next month will be a colonist of 85 years, having spent only one day out of Victoria during that time. There will be few, if any, of my shipmates living, but I would like to know the fate ot those that brought me here. 

Yours,W. C. WILLIAMS. Cheltenham, 6th February. 

With regard to a later voyage in 1850, I found a letter to the ship's Captain from his grateful passengers at the end of the voyage, and his response to them. 

The first was published in the newspaper on June 8, 1850 and the Captain's reply appeared a few days later on June 11. The June 8th letter was republished 74 years later, in one of those "look how far we've all come" retrospectives that newspapers like to share with us. 

From the passengers:

Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW: 1888 - 1950), Tuesday 2 December 1924, page 4[Published] 74 Years Ago 

The Ship Osprey, Circular Wharf, Sydney, 8th, June, 1850. To Captain Honeyman, Commander of the Osprey, Liverpool. 

Dear Sir, Being now in the providence of God, arrived in the land of our destination, a land which, so far as we can see and learn, offers the reward due to industry and enterprise, we, the passengers by your ship, before finally leaving for our new residences; beg to express our feelings of gratitude called forth by your very great kindness and urbanity of manners on all occasions, since we left the port of Liverpool. 

Our remarkably quick passage of 101 days speaks for your abilities, watchfulness, and attention, for we too had some severe gales to contend with. We regret exceedingly that we have it not in our power to give you more tangible proof of our high esteem and regard, but trust you will accept our sincere wishes for your future health, happiness, and success. 

We commend you to the care of Almighty God, and may he protect you in your [hollesearde?] and all other voyages, ad eventually brlng you to that haven of eternal bliss. It is the sincere prayer and heartfelt wish for you Dear Sir, Yours very faithfully, 

(Signed in the hand and on behalf of the passengers).,, Messrs. Stokes and Atkinson

The Captain's response:

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Thursday 13 June 1850, page 2
Circular Wharf, June 11, 1850.

It affords me a great degree of pleasure to reply to your very feeling letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald of this date.

l am happy to think that my conduct during the voyage was such as to meet your approbation. Now that you are safe in this your adopted land, I sincerely wish you every happiness that it can afford.

And believe me to be,
Your sincere friend,
To Messrs. Stokes and Atkinson, and passengers per Osprey, from Liverpool.

1 comment:

  1. They're all so articulate and well-spoken! I miss the art of writing that's increasingly lost to us in these days of tweets, facebook posts and texts - short bursts of abbreviated language that seem to mock the art of written communication!


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