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Historical Records of New Zealand

Instructions to Vancouver

Instructions to Vancouver.

Lieutenant Hergest, commanding the Dædalus transport, (by whom you will receive this), being directed to put himself under your command, and to follow your orders for his further proceedings; you are hereby required and directed to take him, and the said transport, under your command accordingly; receiving from her the provisions and stores intended for the use of the sloop you command, and the Chatham armed tender, or page 134 such part thereof as the said ship and tender shall be able to stow.

And whereas you will receive herewith a duplicate of a letter from Count Florida Blanca, to the Spanish officer commanding at Nootka (together with a translation thereof), signifying His Catholic Majesty’s orders to cause such officer as may be appointed on the part of His Britannic Majesty, to be put in possession of the buildings, and districts, or parcels of lands therein described, which were occupied by His Majesty’s subjects in the month of April, 1789, agreeable to the first article of the late convention, (a copy of which has been sent to you) and to deliver up any persons in the service of British subjects who may have been detained in those parts; in case, therefore, you shall receive this at Nootka, you are to deliver to the Spanish officer, commanding at that port, the above-mentioned letter from Count Florida Blanca, and to receive from him, comformably thereto, on the part of His Britannic Majesty, possession of the buildings and districts, and parcels of land, of which His Majesty’s subjects were possessed at the above-mentioned period.

In case, however, this shall not find you at Nootka, when Lieutenant Hergest arrives there, but be delivered to you at the Sandwich Islands, or elsewhere, and the said lieutenant shall not have then carried into execution the service above-mentioned, (which in the event of his not falling in with you he is directed to do) you are immediately to proceed to Nootka, and to carry that service into execution as above directed, taking the said lieutenant and transport with you if you shall judge it necessary. But as they are intended afterwards to proceed to New South Wales, to be employed there, under the orders of commodore Phillip, you are not to detain them at Nootka, the Sandwich Islands, or elsewhere, longer than may be absolutely necessary, but to direct Lieutenant Hergest to repair with the said transport to Port Jackson, with such live stock, and other refreshments, as may be likely to be of use in the settlements there; and to touch at New Zealand on his way, from whence he is to use his best endeavours to take with him one or two flax-dressers, in order that the new settlers at port Jackson may, if possible, be properly in the management of that valuable plant.

Previous, however, to your despatching him to port Jackson, you are to consider whether, in case of your not being able to take on board the whole of the transport’s cargo, any future supply of the articles of which it is composed, will be necessary to enable you to continue your intended survey; and, if so, you are to be careful to send notice thereof to Commodore Phillip, who will have directions, on the receipt of your application, to re-dispatch the transport, or to send such other vessel to page 135 you with the remainder of those supplies (as well as any others he may be able to furnish) to such rendezvous as you shall appoint.

And whereas Mr. Dundas has transmitted to us a sketch of the coast of North America, extending from Nootka down to the latitude of 47° 30 ″, including the inlet or gulf of Juan de Fuca; and as from the declarations which have lately been made, there appears to be the strongest disposition on the part of the Spanish court, that every assistance and information should be given to his Britannic Majesty’s officers employed on that coast, with a view to the enabling them to carry their orders into execution; we send you the said sketch herewith, for your information and use, and do hereby require and direct you to do everything in your power to cultivate a good understanding with the officers and subjects of his Catholic Majesty who may fall in your way, in order that you may reap the good effects of that disposition of the Spanish court.

You are to take the utmost care in your power, on no account whatever, to touch at any port on the continent of America to the southward of the latitude of 30° north, nor to the north of that part of South America, where, on your return home, you are directed to commence your intended survey; unless, from any accident, you shall find it absolutely necessary, for your immediate safety, to take shelter there: and, in case of such an event, to continue there no longer than your necessities require, in order that any complaint on the part of Spain on this point may, if possible, be prevented.

If, during your continuance on the American coast, you should meet with any of the Chinese who were employed by Mr. Meares and his associates, or any of his Majesty’s subjects, who may have been in captivity, you are to receive them on board the sloop you command, and to accomodate them in the best manner you may be able, until such time as opportunities may be found of sending them to the different places to which they may be desirous of being conveyed; victualling them during their continuance on board, in the same manner as the other persons on board the said sloop are victualled.

Given under our hands the 20th of August, 1791.

Chatham.J. T. Townshend.A. Gardner.

To George Vancouver, Esq., Commander of his Majesty’s Sloop the Discovery.

By command of their Lordships.

Ph. Stephens.