Tuesday, November 5, 2013


The Euterpe Times recorded that a testimonial, and an engraved silver cup (pictured), were presented to Captain Phillips on 4th December by a deputation. They wished to thank him for the care and attention he had shown for the welfare of all which, they assured him, was “beyond all praise.” The testimonial had been “very beautifully illuminated” by diarist Joshua Charlesworth and read as follows:

“To Captain Phillips: We passengers of the Euterpe wish to testify to the kind and considerate manner in which you have discharged your duties and the readiness you have displayed to make our voyage to New Zealand as pleasant as possible. Now that we are close to port we beg to tender you our hearty thanks for your kind and obliging conduct and our good wishes for you and yours in the future.” 

Captain Phillips received the deputation in his quarters, apparently without enough warning to make himself presentable because he apologised, saying, “I am only sorry I was not on deck to receive it. If I had known, I should not have been in the deshabille in which you see me.” He was, however, accustomed to the ceremony because he went on: “It is very gratifying indeed to me to receive the testimonial at the end of a somewhat long passage … It will add one more to the many testimonials which I have received since the year 1864 as since then I have taken nearly 2000 passengers to New Zealand.  Many who have gone out there to settle permanently make it their business to come down to port when they know I have arrived.”

He had some advice: “I hope you will all succeed in whatever you undertake and will never regret, for I do not think anyone will have cause to regret if he is only willing to work and able to do so.” He thanked them for their good wishes and hoped they had enjoyed their long journey: “Sea life at the best is very different to shore experience.  We have been favoured with fine weather in this part of the world, for it is not always that we have such a run of fine weather & such good winds as we have been favoured with lately.” He spoke too soon. They thought they were close to the end of their journey but they still had twenty days of frustrated sailing ahead because of blustery headwinds.

Mr Duff spoke on behalf of the deputation. He hoped his own family would come out to New Zealand under Captain Phillips’ care and that he would “always sail under the great Captain of our Salvation”.  He added that he hoped the captain’s son, Master Aleck (then aged 14 and on board for this voyage) would follow the example of his father*. The captain replied, “I hope he will not!” to laughter from the company. According to Joshua Charlesworth, the evening ended with eating, drinking, merry-making and fine conversation.

*Master Aleck – my great-uncle – did not grow up to be a master mariner but certainly went into the shipping business and, like his father, travelled the world.

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