Life Onboard an Emigrant Ship: Being a Diary of a Voyage to Australia.

The Rev. Mereweather of the Anglican Church saw it as his unpaid duty to provide moral leadership to the “poorer classes” being conveyed to Australia. Proceeds from its sale would go to the Female Emigrant Society for that purpose.

p. 23, March 10th (Sunday) [1850]: I had morning service on deck for the first time. A reading desk, covered with the union jack, was rigged out for me on the poop, so that I faced the emigrants, who were sitting beneath me on the deck. The Captain, officers, and crew sat behind me on the poop. Read the morning prayers and preached a sermon. The Litany was omitted. The service, altogether, lasted an hour. Nearly all the emigrants, excepting a few depraved young men, who sat on the forecastle smoking, were present, and behaved with great decorum. Soon after service the emigrants dined, and after dinner they sat in groups round the deck, some few conversing quietly, but most reading books of a religious nature.

p. 46, April 13th: In my cabin all the morning reading an article of Chambers on the History of the Bible. There is much useful information in it…. In fact, he is an unphilosophical unbeliever. If I wished to bring up a number of young people entirely voice of fixed principles on religious subjects, I would put into their hands Chambers’s works.

June 13th: To-day I examined all the children. Find that they have made much progress, during the voyage, in spelling reading, and Scripture knowledge, but not much in writing. In fact, now every child who is of an age to read, can read; and all, except the very little ones, can answer easy questions on religious subjects.