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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to Major Goulburn

Rev. S. Marsden to Major Goulburn.

Sydney, July 22nd, 1821.


On the arrival of His Majesty’s ship the Coromandel from New Zealand I found four New Zealand chiefs on board from the River Thames. These chiefs embarked, I believe, with an intention to proceed to England. On meeting with Shunghee and Whyketo they persuaded them not to go to Europe on account of the length of the voyage and the severity of the climate, telling them they would be likely to die, and never return. From what Shunghee said to them they were induced to leave the Coromandel, and afterwards they informed me that they would not proceed to England, but would return to their country. Finding that this was their fixed determination, I procured them a passage in the Westmoreland. When the Westmoreland was ready for sea they objected to go on board unless the captain would engage to land them in the Thames, alledging if they were landed in the Bay of Islands they would be cut off by the inhabitants there, as they were at war with their tribes at the Thames. I then promised when the Active returned from the Derwent I would send them in her to the River Thames. They therefore informed Shunghee that they would return home in the Active; and he was to communicate their intentions to their friends.

I have felt it my duty to state the above circumstances, as I have been informed the chiefs, are now on board the Coromandel, Whether Captain Downie intends landing them at New Zealand or to take them on with him to England I cannot say. If he takes them to Europe against their inclinations, and any of them die, it will be unfortunate, as they are men of great influence in their own country. In consequence of the deaths of some of the New Zealanders who have gone to England, and the sore afflictions that all have suffered from the effects of the climate, independent page 563 of the immense expense and trouble that attended them while in Europe, I have been directed by the Church Missionary Society not to allow any more to go Home on their account without some very urgent cause.

I have deemed it necessary to make this official communication for my own justification. As Captain Downie takes these chiefs upon his own responsibility should they proceed to England, I have no further observations to make, but only to request you will have the goodness to lay my letter before His Excellency the Governor for his consideration.

I have, &c.,

Samuel Marsden.

Major F. Goulburn, Esq., &c., &c.