21

The Diary of
Frederick William Hurst

1875
November 19th. We were all stirring at early dawn, found to our sorrow and disappointment all the cargo, 150 tons, discharged, and most of the rock for ballast on the wharf, and hastily stored away by the indefatigueable Kanakas, strongly suggestive of an early departure.

We made the most of our time, but dare not go far away for fear we would be left behind. We did not see any of our Brethren from Laie, and some were upon the other Islands. I did not see the first person that I had formerly had acquaintance with, either white or dark.

We started again at 10 o'clock and from noon yesterday till noon today made 118 miles. We laid in a stock of Oranges and bananas and coconuts, etc. I bought an alpaca black coat, my Salt Lake home made clothing being too warm and heavy. At any rate we had daylight to leave and we heartily enjoyed the beautiful scenery in and around Honolulu. Owing to recent rains everything looked fresh and charming to the eye.

November 20th. Ran 263 miles with the wind much more favorable, coming from the East.

November 21st, Sunday. Attended Divine Services again. Ran 269 miles. Very little to relieve the monotony; everyone looking forward with fond anticipation to our field of labor. Charles is still very sick.

November 22nd. Made 261 miles, had several showers of rain. It has been very cloudy all day and lightning in the evening.

November 23rd. Ran 255 miles. Had a very heavy wind during the night with heavy rains. Wind still blowing from the East, the clouds have cleared away and the weather is naturally warm.

November 24th. Almost a calm. Run 255 miles. Dreamed I saw our dear departed little Nora. She ran to my arms, her face radiant with smiles and inexpressible joy. She looked beautiful and very happy.

November 25th. Drew a sketch of the Colima. Run 277 miles, the wind on our starboard quarter. Charley getting worse every day, though he says his cough is better. I draw a little every day so that I don't have much idle time. I study the Maori Language every morning, I begin to read quite fluently already in the Testament.

November 26th. Run 254 miles. About 10:00 a.m., alas the crank that worked the propeller broke, and here we are, becalmed. The machinery all stopped and everybody discouraged.

We have seen a great number of sharks today, caught four of the monsters; they were killed and thrown over again, but were speedily devoured by their friends.

Brothers McLachlan, John Rice and I anointed and administered to Charley, he being much worse. Said he spit up a large teacup full of blood, etc. We rebuked the sickness and disease and commanded it to depart from him in the name of Jesus Christ. He commenced getting better right away; said he felt like getting up and crying "Halleluiah".

A light breeze sprang up in the evening. They happened to have a spare crank on board, so they are trying to rig up again.

November 27th. Made 40 Miles. We have a nice light breeze from the East but this vessel is no sailor.

November 28th, Sunday. Run 86 miles, machinery not fixed yet although they are working night and day. Had an interesting time reading The Acts of The Apostles, Isaiah.

November 29th. Run 79 miles. Raining all day. Got the steam up again at about 11:00 a.m. much to our joy, and the satisfaction of all on board.

November 30th. Made 237 miles. As there was some talk of meeting a steamer I wrote to my wife. Cloudy; quite a breeze from the Eastward.

December 1st, Run 242 miles. Wind quite fresh. Saw three sails, two were a great distance off, one a Brig. apparently bound to the navigation as a Frigate. She came within about three miles of us, crossed our track astern.

December 2nd, Run 227 miles. Wind quite stiff and dead ahead.

At 5:30 p.m., while at dinner, the crank they labored so hard to put in a few days ago broke, and immediately there was such a terrific noise and commotion with the machinery as if the whole inside of the vessel was being wrenched and torn to pieces, and we were all to be instantly blown to destruction. Every heart was appalled, and every face deathly pale. There was an almost simultaneous rush made for the upper deck. By that time the noise had ceased, for thank God, the second engineer ran and turned off the steam, thereby stopping the machinery, barely in time to save the vessel and all our lives.

We learned afterward, if the piston had made one more revolution it would have torn a hole through the bottom of the steamer.

One lady fainted entirely away and it took a great deal of exertion bringing her to again. As the people rushed for the stairs, I arose from my place too, but the thought instantly flashed through my mind: "The vessel will not blow up for you have all (the Brethren) been promised a safe voyage." I then resumed my seat.

Some of the Brethren assured me that they had not been scared in the least. One thing I have to say in their favor, they looked uncommon pale, and it was truly astonishing to see how quickly they arose and rushed to the stairway and joined in the general panic. For my part, I felt my cheeks grow pale, for the noise was so sudden and unexpected and so indescribably fearful that it appalled the stoutest hearts and I can truly say, some of the ship's officers were the palest of the pale, afterward stating that they realized the danger more than the passengers.

December 3rd, Run 90 miles. Very calm all day, the steamer drifting about perfectly uncontrollable.

December 4th. Heavy rain in the morning. Made 38 miles. The engineers are trying to patch up the crank by dovetailing and banding it so that we expect in a few days to start again with steam. I forgot to state that one of the cylinders partly burst and doubled, so when we start again they can only run one cylinder and will not try to make more than four or five miles an hour.

December 5th, Sunday. Almost a calm, only made 33 miles. At 10:30 a.m., as usual attended Divine Services in the Cabin. Oh, what a treat it would be to have meeting of our own. I can't help thinking that we might have got permission from the Captain to hold meeting in the afternoon, so we didn't interfere. There are eleven of us, and providing nobody else attended there still would be enough. I think it would have a good effect; it appears to me that ever since we left home we have carried our light under a bushel. I have several times broached the subject, realizing that my desires were good, but have been told I was too religious, the party saying they were not dying to preach or particularly desirous of making themselves conspicuous. Besides, our mission was not on board ship but to the Colonies.

Again I have unwittingly got my foot in it when hinting that I thought an Elder was lowering himself by associating with the outsiders, such as playing cards, etc. I dared to think (and that too loud) that it was not the way to create an influence that was calculated for good, in fact, I do not see that doing such things that it is the way to keep unspotted from the world, or letting our light shine. I understand that one of our lady passengers told Brother Groo he ought to talk to the young men and persuade them to quit playing cards. I just mention this to prove my assertion that it had a bad effect.

I was told yesterday that I was looked upon in a very unenviable light by my Brethren in the course that I had taken, not only in relation to cards, meetings, etc., but had ventured to mention the impropriety of smoking, and that it would be better to begin to obey the Word of Wisdom in view of the Sacred Covenants we had made by rebaptism. I really think that something more is required of us, because if we have truly and sincerely repented, how are we going to make it manifest except by our works; and as to being too religious, I think if we had a little more of the religion of Jesus Christ, we would be more united than we are at the present time. We would enjoy more of the spirit of our missions; we would have more power to disseminate the principles of truth and administer in the ordinances of the Gospel.

I would not have it understood that our company is anything but good men, at the same time I think there is plenty room for improvement, and I do not think we want to put off this and that little duty till we reach our various fields of labor and then become perfect all at once. I must confess I do not look at it in that light.

December 6th. Run 80 miles. We are blessed with a fine breeze from the Eastward.

What I wrote yesterday, if I know my own heart, I did not do with the slightest idea of finding fault with my brethren, but I trust, in the true spirit of charity.

December 7th, Run 97 miles. We had a splendid breeze on our starboard quarter.

In the evening we had quite a discussion with a Catholic gentleman and lady (cabin passengers) on the subject of religion, for several hours. But they were so full of Bigotry and superstition they would not receive of or even acknowledge a word of truth. In fact, he went so far as to say if an angel came down from Heaven and told him Catholicism was not true and that Joseph was, he would not believe it. He argued that the Roman Catholic Church was immaculate. I felt that I was casting precious pearls before swine, and it was utterly useless to talk to them. We can not very well do less than defend the truth seeing they came and attacked us in our own quarters. I told them we were not sent to argue with or force the principles of truth on the people; that we simply offered them in simplicity and plainness and it remained with the people to either reject or receive. Of course, if they rejected them they did it to their own hurt; if they received them with an honest heart, they would obtain salvation in the Kingdom of God.

December 8th. Made the very remarkable run of 148 miles with the aid of steam, and we still are blessed with a fair wind (Northeast). Got the machine started again at 8:20 p.m. The thoughts of the last catastrophe made some of the passengers feel nervous. I heard some of the passengers express a hope they would not try the propeller again. One of the cylinders is ruined; on that side there is a crack from five to six feet long near the center of which is another that reaches to the rim, entirely burst thru' altho the iron is 1 inches thick and more at the rim, then clear across the center top the upper half is entirely lifted off. To judge from what we could see and learn the engineers have done a good substantial job of the crank, and by using one cylinder, consider it perfectly safe; so far it has worked well.

At four o'clock p.m. we crossed the 180 parallel, consequently losing one day, Thursday, December 9th, is lost to us, so we jump from Wednesday to Friday. As near as I can understand it, if we cross the 180 parallel at noon, at Greenwich, it would be midnight, or twelve hours ahead of us, and as a day is considered 24 hours we drop a day instead of twelve hours; and then as we keep sailing further West, by observation of the sun, we gain so many minutes and seconds, depending on the latitude and longitude, so that the difference in time is gradually made up.

December 10th. Our fair wind has gradually died away but the propeller comes to our aid, we made 151 miles. Hopes are entertained, if all goes well, that we will see land on Monday next, and perhaps get into port, or Auckland.

December 11th, made about 150 miles. The sky is overcast with rain clouds and a cold Southeaster is blowing quite strong.

December 12th, Sunday. The passengers presented Mr. Forsyth, the Chief Engineer, with a testimonial, accompanied with a purse containing 22 some odd shillings. Quite a number made speeches in honor of the occasion.

December 13th. Very foggy, and altho very near the land we could scarcely see it until about 9:00 a.m. when it began to clear a little.

About 11:00 a.m. we entered the heads and soon after passing the lighthouse we began to see a succession of very beautiful landscapes. The general appearance of this port is very low, and very low hills; but of such a variety of shapes and forms that it is very pleasing to the eye. As we neared the North Shore the scenery was very lovely (Davenport) and then as far as the eye can reach there are nice cozy homesteads nestling among groves of trees. As we turn the point, Auckland comes into view, built upon a succession of low picturesque hills. It really looks magnificent from the harbor, and forms one of the prettiest sights I have seen of late.

December 14th. Went on shore, took a final departure from the Colima, hired a room at the Auckland House, and boarded ourselves.

Spent a good part of the day sketching. In the evening we took a stroll out into the suburbs. We felt very lonely here, for we are strangers in a strange land, among a people full of bigotry and prejudice.

The papers greeted us with a dose of billings-gate, and a rehash from the San Francisco Chronicle, stating also that they hoped we would get as cordial a reception as an Elder had experienced in Wellington some time ago when he was saluted with sundry dead cats and other odorous accompaniments. The press actually countenancing and advocating MOB LAW. So much for prejudice and blind bigotry.

I tried my best to comfort myself by comforting my brethren. We began to realize that of our own selves we could do nothing, and altho things looked dark and discouraging we look to the Lord to open up our way so we can get to the hearts of the people that we may be able to bear a faithful testimony to them.

Had a chance to talk to the individuals, and told them the motive of our mission, and inquired if there were any Mormons in all this large town or city, but could not hear of any. I was so full or downcast I could hardly refrain from shedding tears, in fact we all felt alike in that respect. When I retired to my room, I did not pay much attention to form in my prayer to our Heavenly Father, I felt comforted and enjoyed one of the most peaceful sleeps that fall to the lot of man.

December 15th. At 9:30 a.m. we took the cars for Onohunga; then on board the Steamer Haurea (a beautiful compact boat, built on the Clyde, 900 tons) bound for the City of Wellington. Charles and I went to Wellington, and Brothers McLachlan and John Rich went to Littleton, Middle Island. It was quite refreshing to see her skim over the water. We started about 11:00 a.m., smooth sea, close to the land. We were shown the Bar, where the Ship of War was totally wrecked and a great number (several hundred) lives were lost. We stopped several hours, and the sailors caught a large quantity of beautiful fish called snappers. One weighed 15 lbs. Had considerable rain in the afternoon and a fresh breeze.

December 16th. Daylight found us opposite Sugar Loaf Rock, Taranaki, quite a strong wind and heavy sea. We rolled and pitched pretty lively, very much to the disgust of those suffering from seasickness. We laid off and on till a large boat came bringing more passengers and goods. We also delivered both freight and passengers and then coasted along, but it was rainy and foggy and I was very disappointed at not getting a good clear view of Mount Egmont, for I wanted to sketch it. We soon left the west coast of the North Island and struck across Cook's Straits, 140 miles to Nelson. The Wind was very strong and we experienced a heavy sea, frequently breaking clear over our steamer.

Another steamer crossed our track ahead, seemingly bound for Wellington. Nearly all hands on board were seasick and miserable and we were very glad when we got to leeward of Cape Farewell and into the Blind Bay where the waters were comparatively smooth.

We arrived off Nelson in the evening at 7:30 and had to lay over till 9:30 p.m. for the tide rises and falls thirty feet and when we arrived the tide was out and it was impossible to cross the bar till flood tide set in.

McCross, the Pilot, informed us that he had landed there in 1841 and, except two years at Auckland, had been there all the time.

We found it a very curious place as well as dangerous to get into the wharf. We all went ashore for a short time, Charles stayed ashore all night.

I might add that I had no bedding or mattress, pulled my coat off and used it for a pillow, and had my overcoat to lay on. As Charles stayed ashore I luxuriated in his bed as he was fortunate enough to have one. In fact they all three had one but me, but if I don't have any worse than that I shall consider I got off pretty easy.

December 17th. Got up early and went on shore, and was charmed with the beauty of Nelson. The main town is about one mile from the landing and occupies a large flat or valley with charming little nooks running into the hills; containing neat little cottages, many of them nearly hid from view among the trees.

Their Hospital, built on a very pretty grass knoll, situated at the back of the town, is a magnificent place and reflects credit to the Architect. I took a sketch of it and the surrounding landscape. I also took a bird's eye view of Nelson.

While walking around a little I could not help thinking there must be a lot of good folks here that would embrace the truth when opportunity offered. I regretted that we could not stay longer, but we sailed again at 11:00 a.m.

Steamed close along the coast down Cook's Strait; passed thru a very dangerous narrow place called The French Pass. It is impossible to pass through with a steamer against the tide. The water rushed and eddied along like a mighty river pent up in a narrow space. It was truly a grand night. Next we passed a dangerous point where a steamer quite recently struck a sunken rock and immediately sunk. The passengers were all saved, and picked up by a little coaster.

Now we enter Queen Charlotte's Land; passed ships; came where Captain Cook lay by five months to repair the Endevare and recruit himself some men. There are quite a number of small islands in the sound.

It was very amusing to watch the Porpoises, of which there were a great many sporting about, some of them would jump clear out of the water.

At 7:30 p.m. we arrived at Picton, a very pretty little town situated very near the end of the sound. We took a pleasant walk for over a mile, and were surprised to see so many nice buildings in such an out of the way place.

December 18th. When I got up and went on deck I discovered we had left Picton in the night and we were then inside Wellington Heads. We arrived at the Queen's Wharf in a very short time after, but although twenty-two years had elapsed since I was here, the entrance to the Harbor, Tames Island, Evans Bay, Kaiwar and Hutt Valley looked natural.

But the hills back of town were bare instead of covered with trees, and as to the city, we felt like we were utter strangers in a strange land.

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Pages 118 - 125 in the 1961 edition of the Diary of Frederick William Hurst