COPY FROM THE “HOCKEN” COLLECTION, DUNEDIN
COPY FROM THE “HOCKEN” COLLECTION, DUNEDIN.
4th April, 1821.
The bearer of this letter, Chief Timarangi, has promised to provide a cargo of one hundred and twenty spars of the kourie timber fit for top-masts for His Majesty's navy, from ten to thirteen faths. long, and free from knots, if possible, but particularly so below six feet from the upper end of the spar.
The spars of sixty feet ought to be trimmed to eighteen inches; sixty-six-feet to nineteen inches; seventy-two feet to twenty-one inches, and seventy-eight feet to twenty-three inches square, but the chief can only be trusted to take off the bark. He says he will have them ready for trimming at Wangatoodu Harbour against the time a ship arrives at that harbour, sent by the Navy Board to take them in. He may afterwards provide some spars of less dimensions in case they may be wanted to fill up stowage—for one half of the number he is to be paid with muskets, and for the other half with axes.
The first two spars he lands at Wangatoodu should be well examined in every particular in dimensions, knots, and quality, as we have found numbers of them when nearly trimmed, partly decayed.
It would be doing the Government a service if you could spare Mr. Hall and Mr. Puckey, or either of them for a few days, to examine these spars, in order that they might point out to the chief any defect, either in size or in quality, and give him directions for his guidance in future.
When the chief informs you he has collected one fourth of the above number, and that you find that he can procure the rest with tolerable facility—have the goodness to acquaint the Honble. Commissioners of the Navy with it by the first conveyance direct to England, and also to write to them through the Sydney Post Office, besides acquainting the Governor in Chief at Sydney with the number of spars already provided by the chief Timarangi, and the prospect of his providing a whole cargo at Wangatoodu, and that I begged to request His Excellency would be pleased to forward your information to the Honble. Navy Board; but previous to your writing, it would be proper that the number of spars then collected should be well examined. Some of the kourie spars when felled, are from 2 ½ to 3 and 3 ½ feet thick. Off such spars the chief might be trusted to trim 2, 3, and 4 inches, which would make them swim much lighter, the outside sap being the worst and heaviest part of the timber. Mr. Hall, on seeing the spars, would be able to describe how much the chief might venture to trim off, according to their size. I feel authorised in writing so full on this subject, having been instructed by the Navy Board to ask every assistance from the missionaries, that it was in their power to afford.
I have been grieviously annoyed and retarded in procuring the timber by the aversion of the natives (on whose ground the timber grew) to work. My men are very much fagged, dragging the timber in cold, frosty rivers. We have been out of bread since 20th of March; it is likely I must go to Port Jackson for a supply of provisions. The page 122 natives will only sell pigs for muskets and powder, which I am determined they shall not get; they say, if not, we can get the muskets and powder for masts from the missionaries at the Bay of Islands. I shall begin to load about the middle of this month, and sail about the latter end of May. I hope you will insist on Timorang's (Te Morenga) exerting himself to procure the timber, otherwise tell him King George will be very angry, and that he will not get the sword and cock't hat, I had promised him. Adieu.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedt.,
To Mr. Butler,
Chief Missionary, Bay of Islands.