Historical Records of New Zealand
(See Nos. 7 and 8, end of Appendix, for General Orders.)
The Government and General Orders, under dates of 1st December, 1813, and 9th November, 1814, will shew that the masters and crews of vessels trading on the coast of New Zealand were guilty of gross frauds and violence in their traffick with the natives. To which may be added the following extract from the journal of Revd. Samuel Marsden: “I told them (some of the principal chiefs) that Mr. Barnes, master of the Jefferson, whaler, when at Port Jackson had informed me that they had acted treacherously towards him, in attempting to cut off two boats belonging to the Jefferson when she was last at the North Cape, in company with the King George. I told them I was much concerned to hear these reports, as that if they continued to act in this manner no European vessel would visit them. In reply to this they stated that the masters of the Jefferson and King George had in the first instance behaved ill to them. They had agreed to give 150 baskets of potatoes and eight hogs for a musket. The potatoes and hogs were delivered, and divided between the two vessels, after which the Otaheitan and one of the chiefs went on board the King George for the musket, which was delivered; at the same time the master of the King George demanded more potatoes and hogs. The chief was detained on board, and the Otaheitan was sent on shore for more potatoes and hogs. The head chief said he had fulfilled the agreement for the musket by the 150 baskets of potatoes and eight hogs, and he would give no more. The chief that was detained on board page 426 the King George was the head chief’s brother, and was at this time on board the Active. The Otaheitan was sent on board the King George to tell the master that no more potatoes and hogs would be given, and to request him to release the chief whom he had unjustly detained. This the master refused to do, and kept the Otaheitan a prisoner also. In two or three days they were both put on board the Jefferson. There they remained three or four days, till they were ransomed at 170 baskets of potatoes and five hogs. The people on shore were greatly enraged, and alarmed for the safety of their chief, as the vessels were out of sight some time. After the potatoes and hogs were delivered two boats were sent on shore, with the Otaheitan and the chief. Great numbers of the natives assembled on the shore to receive them. They were no sooner landed than the natives fired upon the boats; and I have no doubt but they would have massacred the people at the moment if they could, for their fraud and cruelty. The Otaheitan told me it was impossible to restrain the people from firing upon the boats. The chief spoke with great warmth and indignation at the treatment he had received. I assured them that both King George and Governor Macquarie would punish any act of fraud and cruelty committed by the Europeans, whenever they were informed of them.“
Jacob Williams states upon oath before Revd. Saml. Marsden, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, 19 November, 1813: That he was a seaman on board the Mercury, schooner, and was ordered by Capn. Walker, master of the Mercury (together with Mr. Dillon and another sailor), to go on shore at the Bay of Islands to steal potatoes from the potatoe grounds belonging to the natives; that they did land after dark, and Capn. Walker with them; that they went into the potatoe ground and tore them up—they were quite young and not fit to gather; that they pulled up a great many roots, but got very few potatoes.