WILLIAM MILES
Sailing on the "William Miles".


From PapersPast online.
Emigration from Bristol.       Sailing on the "William Miles"
Otago Witness Saturday August 25, 1860 page 6


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    Saturday morning being fixed for this ship to leave Cumberland Basin for New Zealand, there was, at an early hour - six o'clock - a large gathering of spectators to witness the event.   The weather was favourable, though cold - the wind being E.N.E. - and the early risers and friends of emigrants assembled round the ship in crowds and lined the road by the river-side.   The tide was at 6.48, but it was deemed advisable to sail ere the ebb tide had begun and at 6.15 the tugs were placed, fore and aft, and slowly towed the ship out of the Basin.   Hearty cheering and waving of handkerchiefs accompanied the movement.   The noble ship was directed by two pilots, John Thomas and William Poole, superintended by Captain Smith, who took charge of her to Kingroad.   The sight, as she left the basin, was imposing.   Numbers of people followed along the footpath for a considerable distance, or stationed themselves at St. Vincent's Rocks and the Sea Wall, to encourage by their voice and presence the stirring enterprise. The vessel herself answered the highest expectations, yielding easily and smoothly to every turn of the helm, and showing remarkable steadiness and balance.   She drew 17 feet of water, and was taken down to Kingroad, where she anchored, in about an hour and forty minutes.
    A number of the friends of the emigrants and others accompanied her to the anchorage.   The Rev. A.H. Ward, of St. Raphael's (the Sailor's Church), was on board, making arrangements for religious observances during the voyage, along with the Rev. S.A. Walker, of Maryleport Church, and an appropriate farewell service was conducted on deck by these gentlemen.   Mr Walker also distributed several publications, which the emigrants received with gratitude.
    They are as promising a company of men and women as ever left England; numbering 332, divided in the following order;
Saloon, 10 for Canterbury and 10 for Otago.
Second Cabin, 10 for Canterbury and 2 for Otago.
Third Cabin, 30 for Canterbury and 20 for Otago.
Steerage, 200 for Canterbury and 50 for Otago.
No fewer than 56 are single women, and there is also a large proportion of young children among the family groups.   Some are from Ireland and Scotland, a few from Bristol, and they are chiefly Englishmen, in a condition to benefit themselves and the country of their adoption.   One of them paid upwards of 400 for passage and freight before embarking.   The natural preferences were seen in the choice of Otago by the Scotch [sic], and Canterbury by the English.
    The William Miles carries a full and valuable cargo, including such miscellaneous articles as wines and spirits, silver-plate, haberdashery, general ironmongery, and a large quantity of agricultural implements.   The commander, Captain W. Lilley, is an experienced seaman, in whom complete confidence is reposed.   He joined the ship at Kingroad on Saturday morning, and it is expected he will make the voyage in ninety days.   Everything has been done to promote the comfort and safety of the passengers. The saloon is furnished with a piano and an extensive collection of books and periodicals.   Mr Fitzgerald, agent of the Canterbury Government, and Captain Lean, R.N., emigration agent from London, both expressed their entire satisfaction with the condition of the ship, and the manner in which she had been provisioned and arranged.
    There were, as usual on such occasions, painful partings between friends, but no boisterous or extravagant exhibitions of grief.   The emigrants spoke hopefully of their prospects, and seemed anxious to promote each other's comfort and convenience during the long voyage before them. It were expected the ship would have sailed from Kingroad on Saturday morning.   The wind was favourable for a fine run down the Channel, but she was detained to take on board a number of passengers from Glasgow.   There arrived by the Oscar steamer, which went alongside and shipped them and their luggage.   The ship was visited by P.S. Miles and E. Miles, Esqrs., and a party of friends, who remained on board several hours, embarking and landing by the new slip recently erected at the entrance of the river.   On Sunday morning the ship sailed at six o'clock, with a fine breeze from the E.S.E., which continued all the day.
    We need hardly add that, in Bristol, this sailing of the first emigrant ship from the port is regarded with great interest and admiration.   It marks an era in the returning fortunes of the ancient city.   We trust another ship may soon follow, and that the citizens will be more familiar with such events in their future experiences and fortunes.   Ardent wishes for the safety and success of the William Miles follow her along the mighty deep she travels.
Yet not alone; on Ocean's breast
Though no green islet glows,
No sweet refreshing spot of rest
Where fancy may repose,
Nor rock nor hill, nor tower nor sea.
Breaks the blank solitude of sea.

No! not alone;- her beauteous shade
Attends her noiseless way,
As some sweet memory, undecayed,
Clings to the heart for aye,
And haunts it whereso'er we go,
Through every scene of joy and woe.

And not alone; for day and night
Escort her o'er the deep,
And round her solitary flight
The stars their vigils keep;
Above, below, are circling skies,
And heaven around her pathway lies.
Otago Witness August 25 1860.
    The William Miles, the pioneer ship of the line from Bristol to New Zealand, sailed from her former port on May 5, with a valuable cargo and 300 passengers for Canterbury and Otago.   This ship, belonging to the eminent firm of Messrs.   Miles Brothers and Co., of Bristol, was loaded by them in conjunction with Messrs. Shaw, Savill, and Co., of London.   Her register tonnage is 1220 tons, and she is essentially and in all respects a modern clipper ship with great advantages for passengers.   About 200 of the passengers on board consisted of emigrants selected by Mr. J.E. Fitz-Gerald, the representative of the Government of Canterbury, and despatched under a contract between the Government and Messrs. Miles Brothers and Co.
There was a fair sprinkling of persons from each of the three kingdoms, stout stalwart men, with blooming wives and healthy children; and if good and hearty health and physical strength are wanted in New Zealand emigrants, there was a really good supply on board the William Miles.   We wish success to this new line.
  The following were chief cabin passengers;-
Mr and Mrs Noble,
Mrs Foster
Capt. W. Baldwin
Mr G. Ensor
Mr E.H. Ensor
Capt. G. Harrison
Capt. F. Cox
Mrs Bridge and family (5)
Mr and Mrs Slater and family (4).
We understand that the next ship will sail in July.
- New Zealand (London) Examiner.



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