• The Marquis of Stafford Sails

    by  • 29 July 2008 • Emigration, History • 0 Comments

    A further entry from the 1851 Diary of John Munro Mackenzie, enumerating his difficulties in getting the emigrants away.  They sailed first for Troon, and thence for Quebec.  It seems the Marquis of Stafford that took them to Canada was a steamer, unless the reference here refers to another boat that transfered them to Troon first (although when she first arrived in Loch Roag, Mackenzie records being on board the Marquis.)

    Tuesday 20 May

    Arrived at the Port of Ness at 3am having had rather a disagreeable passage from Loch Roag, there being a heavy swell, which brought on Sea Sickness among the women & children and the appearance in the morning of the decks and fore hold were anything but agreeable.

    Landed at Port immediately on arrival and walked about for some tiem before any of the Emigrants appeared — Had considerable difficulty in getting the fishermen to get their boats to put the Emigrants on board the Steamer, but after losing much time & using entreaty & force by turns got the Emigrants will their luggage all in boats, but observed the first boat sent to the Steamer returning with her cargo without getting it on board — On proceeding on board the Steamer found that the Uig people had rebelled against allowing any of the Ness people on board saying that there were quite enough on board — that there being fever and smallpox at Ness they would not allow a man on board at this place — I remonstrated with them but to no effect, and the Ness men having taken fright returned to the Shore.

    Seeing that no good could be done here, ordered the Captain to proceed on his voyage — after we left the port of Ness, called the leading men among the Emigrants one by one & explained to them their position — Told them that if we had not the compliment for the two ships [the other being the Wolfeville], they would be detained at Troom till the Steamer could return from Lewis with anothe rcargo, and if they did not object we would call at Tolsta and take on board the Emigrants there, which was done without the least trouble, making up the number on board to 450 full Statute Passengers.

    After leaving Tolsta went to the Captain and told him that I did no wish to come to an anchor in Stornoway but if he did it must be far out for a short time — The Captain replied that he had to take his family on board and that it would not answer to put his wife & children into a small boat, but I did not think he would persevere in this opinion till on nearing the harbour of Stornoway Mr Munro came to me and said I should go and speak to the Captain for he was determined to go direct to the Quay — I immediately went to the Bridge and told him I wanted the Steamer to come to anchor at Gloomaig Bay, which he refused to comply with saying that he would go direct to the Quay and land every passenger in order to get the vessel cleaned — I tried to shew him the danger of this as we could not get them all on board again, besides that there was no necessity for it as he could clean one end of the vessel by moving the Emigrants to the other and vizi versa — But in answer to this I got nothing but an out & out refusal coupled with much insolent talk.  I repeated my request in presence of witnesses but met with the same answer saying that I was under his control as well as all on board and that he would do as he pleased — That he was reponsible for the lives of all on board and he would go to sea till he had landed every passenger, washed & fumigated the vessel which would take till next morning — I admitted that he was responsible for the passengers that if he insisted on landing then he might land them on Arnish till he had washed out the vessel, but that I saw no difficulty in doing all the washing required without any of the passengers landing.

    Notwithstanding all my entreaties he proceeded into the harbour and was making of the Quay till prevented by the number of fishing boats at anchor between him and the Quay — Immediately on letting go the anchor at 1pm he proceeded on shore, remained there for a considerable time, and was engaged thereafter with all the sea men till 6pm taking on board his furniture and family, mever having looked after the passengers, the cleaning of the ship which he thought so important, and prevented the men from doing so having them all employed at his domestic arrangements — Thus detaining nearly 500 Emigrants for 5 hours under heavy rain.  I was during this time on board writing letters to Sir James, Mr Davidson, etc etc & making several arrangements with the Emigrants — Sent for the Doctors and had them all inspected of whom they reported favourably — Landed from the Steamer at 6pm when she sailed, but the Engineer not understanding the Engine allowed the Condensers to get hot, so that at half past eight the steamer was not much past Arnish Point, but about that time she got away –

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