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Historical Records of New Zealand

Proposed Trading Settlement at Norfolk Island

Proposed Trading Settlement at Norfolk Island.

London, May 24, 1788.

To the Right Honourable Lord Sydney, one of his Majestie’s Principal Secretarys of State, &c., &c.

The petition of Sir George Young, Knt., and John Call, Esquire, in behalf of themselves and others,—

That your petitioners have it in contemplation to form a settlement on a small uninhabited island, first discovered by Captain Cook, and by him named Norfolk Island,* lying in the latitude of 29° 2′ south, and longitude 168° 16′ east from Green wich, in the Pacific Ocean, in order to promote the cultivation of the New Zealand flax-plant, and the growth of pine timber for masts, being persuaded that if they are fortunate enough to succeed in their undertaking it will be attended with great national utility, by furnishing a future supply of those valuable articles of cordage and masts for his Majestie’s ships-of-war in India, which have hitherto been obtained at an enormous expence, owing to the difficulty of conveying them thither, and from their scarcity have often reduced the maritime force employ’d in the East Indies to great inconvenience and even distress.

page 73

Your petitioners, therefore, considering the great expence and risque they must necessarily incur in prosecuting an enterprise in which if they succeed the nation cannot fail in being benefited, humbly solicit from his Majesty a grant to them and their heirs for ever of the said island, to be held of the Crown as of the Manor of East Greenwich.

Geo. Young.

Jno. Call.

* The petitioners were ignorant of the fact that this island had been taken possession of by Lieutenant King, and a settlement planted there, three months before the date of their application.