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Historical Records of New Zealand

Lieutenant-Governor King to The Duke of Portland

page 203

Lieutenant-Governor King to The Duke of Portland.

Norfolk Island, 19th January, 1796.

My Lord,—

The enclosure will inform your Grace by what opportunity I have the honor of forwarding this despatch.

The distressed state of the master and people belonging to those vessels has induced me to comply with his request in the manner stated in the enclosure, which I hope will meet your Grace’s approbation.

I have the honor to transmit copies of such official communications as have taken place between Governor Hunter and myself.* From the very short stay of those vessels, and my present ill state of health, I hope this will appear the most satisfactory information respecting the present state of this island, as no material change has taken place since the date of my last letter to Governor Hunter.

It being found necessary to purchase two hundred and thirty-two bushels of wheat from settlers, &c., to issue during the late harvest, I directed the Deputy Commissary to receive the same; and as this is the first wheat purchased on this island, I have been guided in the price (i.e., 10s. the bushel) by what is given at Port Jackson, payment for which has been made agreeably to Governor Hunter’s directions to me on that behalf, proper vouchers for which (and some orders that I have deemed it necessary to give respecting the receipt of, and authenticating the payment for, such grain and animal food as it may be necessary to purchase from individuals to issue to those victualled from his Majesty’s stores), addressed to the Secretarys of his Majesty’s Treasury, I have the honor to enclose, and have left it open for your Grace’s inspection.

As no salt meat has been lately issued to those victualled from his Majesty’s stores, I have directed the Deputy Commissary to state on the back of the enclosure the quantity of fresh pork received from settlers, &c., at 6d. the pound, and that furnished by Government, since the last payment, to issue in lieu of the salt ration reserved in the stores, payment for which will be made on the arrival of his Majesty’s armed vessel Reliance, which I expect to see every hour.

I have the honor to enclose lists of persons of different descriptions landed here from the Fancy, snow, and Providence, schooner. They are real objects of pity, being so debilitated from extreme hunger that it will be some time before any labour can be got from them.

* These letters principally refer to matters of routine, and to the projected departure of King for England.

The enclosure is not among the transcripts received from London.

page 204

Mr. Bampton informs me that at Dusky Bay he left a schooner of sixty tons almost built, which may be expected here with the remainder of the people belonging to the Endeavour in about three weeks, a list of whom is added to the enclosure.

It may be necessary to inform your Grace that the loss of that ship was occasioned by stress of weather, which compelled the master and officers to run her ashore in Facile Harbour, Dusky Bay, New Zealand, where she lies bilged. Such stores belonging to the wreck as could not be taken away by the three small vessels are left at Dusky Bay in storehouses, under the care of four men, who are to remain there until a vessel can be sent from India to take them off.*

I have the honor of enclosing a list of such wants as we are most in need of on this island, a copy of which was sent to Governor Hunter; and I am assured that such of those articles as are at Port Jackson, and can be spared, will be sent hither by the Reliance. But as I have no information respecting a clergyman, I presume circumstances will not admit of either of the two chaplains at Port Jackson being sent hither. I am induced therefore to submit to your Grace’s consideration the necessity of a chaplain’s being appointed to do duty on this island, which appears the more necessary since the establishment of a Court of Criminal Judicature.

I have, &c.,

Philip Gidley King.

* These men were relieved by the captain of the Mercury in the winter of 1797. Thirty-five in number were landed on Norfolk Island.—Post, p. 219.