From Tasman To Marsden.
By the departure of the Active on 25th February, the young Settlement at Rangihoua was left to its own resources, and on 3rd March, Ruatara, to whom more than to any other Marsden looked for protection for his friends, died on a spot prepared for that sacred event by the Native priests. Before the first grief for his loss was over, Korokoro and Hongi waited upon the missionaries and promised to continue the protection they had enjoyed from the dead chief.
The first visitor from the outside world was Captain Parker on board the Phœnix, who called in for wood and water on the very day that Ruatara died, and on 4th May Captain Powell, on his road from Port Jackson to Tahiti, brought in the Endeavour to procure pork, fish, and potatoes, for her company. The Captain brought the good news that the Active would soon be in as he had left her at Port Jackson ready to take to sea. On the eighteenth she put in an appearance after a twenty-day passage, and the following day the Endeavour sailed for Tahiti. On board the Active were the wives and children of the sawyer and the blacksmith, several chiefs returning from their holiday in Sydney, and the means of trade to purchase a cargo of spars.
It will be remembered that when Marsden was at the Bay the members of the Mission took a great fancy to Waitangi as the site of the Settlement, and it was only Marsden's veto on the proceedings that prevented them, there and then, abandoning Rangihoua and selecting that place for their residence. The advantages which Waitangi possessed became more and more patent after the Settlement was established. Hall says:page 188
“Our timber being all wrought up at Tippoona, we experienced great difficulty in procuring any more, on account of the distance, and the shyness existing between the different parties of Natives. After serious deliberation, Mr. Kendall and I agreed to fix a Settlement at Waitanghee [Waitangi], about five or six miles from Tippoona, and by so much nearer the timber-ground; being, on some accounts, the most eligible place for a Settlement, in all the Bay of Islands."
On 19th May, the day after the Active's arrival, Kendall and Hall visited Waraki the Waitangi chief, and purchased from him, for the Church Missionary Society, fifty acres of land, “the most eligible spot on the Bay of Islands," Kendall described it. The purchase “money" for this “valuable freehold farm" was five axes. In answer to any criticism regarding the insufficiency of the purchase money, the author would point out that if the whole of the Bay of Islands had been held by a purely money-making syndicate, the Church Missionary Society would have been paid five thousand axes to take the land.
On 28th May the second child and first girl of European parentage was born to Mrs. Hall.
On 1st June, and while Captain Hansen was procuring his cargo, Captain Parker again brought the Phœnix into the Bay for wood and provisions. Parker was the same man who, as commander of the Diana, had helped to storm Te Pahi's stronghold after the Boyd Massacre, and the Natives, hearing of his arrival, asked Kendall to invite him to his house so that they could see him. Kendall did so, and Parker came ashore on Sunday 4th June, when he was immediately surrounded by some of the principal Natives who pointed over to Te Pahi's Island and said to the Captain in broken English, “Captain Parker, see Island! Captain Parker, see Island!" The Captain was at a loss to understand their reference, and Kendall persuaded the chiefs to postpone further reference to the incident until after Divine service. After prayers, Kendall, addressing the Natives, told them that Captain Parker and the other whaler captains had been page 189 informed that Te Pahi was the ringleader in the massacre, that they had been told falsehoods, and that Captain Parker now wished to be at peace with them. The Natives, through one of their number who could speak English,
“told him [Parker] how many men, women, and children, had been killed; how many bullets had passed through the arms and legs of others, and that seven bullets had passed through the raiment of Tippahee [Te Pahi], one of which wounded him but not mortally; and that all the rest of the inhabitants swam for their lives, and made their escape, except nine women, who, being wounded, sat on the beach and were discovered at daylight, but not killed, by the sailors."
After they had thus relieved their feelings some of them rose up and shook Captain Parker's hand as an indication that they were now at peace.
On 13th June the brig Trial, Captain Hovell, and the schooner Brothers, Captain Burnett, arrived from Sydney with some Natives on board as passengers. To understand their mission it will be necessary to explain the circumstances which led up to their departure from Port Jackson.
In the month of May 1814, Simeon Lord of Sydney conceived the idea of equipping an Expedition to New Zealand, and forthwith proceeded to enlist the support of several other merchants who were, he found, favourable to the scheme. Permission was then secured from Governor Macquarie to hold a meeting to consider the advisability of forming a joint stock company to establish a Settlement in New Zealand for the purpose of procuring flax, timber, and other products of that country. A meeting, called by advertisement, was held at the house of Mr. G. Blaxcell, George Street, on Friday 24th June, and it was there decided that a company should be formed with a capital of 400 shares of £50 each, and that a further meeting should draw up the rules and regulations. In the room 182 of the shares were taken up. Things remained at this pending the return of the Active from New Zealand.
After the arrival of the Active on 23rd August 1814, the friends of the proposal were again got together and prepara- page 190 tions continued. As a result of this renewed activity a Memorial dated 3rd October 1814 was presented to Governor Macquarie expressing the desire of the memorialists to form a joint stock company to establish settlements and factories in New Zealand to deal with flax, timber, and other commodities. The company was to be incorporated under the designation of the New South Wales New Zealand Company, and was to be divided into 200 shares of £50 each. It was intended to purchase two small vessels, and with about fifty men establish a factory on Stewart Island, but the promoters asked for the necessary power to establish their settlement wherever they pleased in New Zealand; they also asked for power to import and export what commodities were required free of duty, and to be protected from interference by other companies unless they secured similar permission and authority. In reply to their requests Governor Macquarie agreed to transmit the Memorial to London, and to recommend it to the favourable consideration of the Authorities.
Some time during the preparations for sending out vessels, the agents of the Company approached Robert Williams of Sydney, a ropemaker who was an enthusiast on New Zealand flax and who had already visited Foveaux Strait on board the Perseverance the preceding year, to put his services at their disposal, but for some reason which the author has not been able to ascertain, an agreement between the parties was never completed although its terms were formally reduced to writing.
The New South Wales New Zealand Company then proceded to charter the brig Trial and the schooner Brothers, and on 31st December 1814 Simeon Lord advertised for twenty-six men to proceed to New Zealand in the employ of the Company for any term not exceeding five years, persons with a knowledge of hemp or flax having the preference. He also asked for a carpenter, a blacksmith, and a pair of sawyers. On 25th May the Brothers, and on the following day the Trial, sailed for New Zealand.
After spending about a month at the Bay the New South Wales New Zealand Company's vessels sailed southward.page 191
On 11th July, after a period of nearly two months spent in gathering spars and flax, the Active sailed with a full cargo, and with several influential chiefs, bound for Marsden's home at Parramatta, on her passenger list. The arrival of these in Sydney on 8th August made Marsden responsible for the housing of no less than fifteen New Zealanders. Captain Hansen reported on his arrival at Sydney that the Mission had been visited by leading chiefs from Whangaroa and the Thames; that from all directions promises of protection had been given; that great progress had been made in acquiring the language; and that Mr. Kendall had sent over with him, to be printed at the office of the Sydney Gazette, the manuscript of a primer which he had prepared. Of this primer, which was printed in due course, only one copy is now known to be in existence, and that is to be found in the Auckland Museum.
Hall, after the departure of the Active, took the sawyers with him to Waitangi, and there commenced the erection of a house 40 x 15 for a residence for himself and his family.
It was one of Marsden's grievances that timber imported into Sydney from New Zealand had to pay the enormous duty of one shilling per solid foot, and he had, on his arrival from New Zealand, represented his objection to Governor Macquarie, with the result that, on 19th August 1815, a Notice was issued reducing the duty to sixpence—a figure extortionate enough although only half the former figure.
On 31st August the Trial and the Brothers both returned to the Bay, and Captain Hovell thus reported their experiences from the time they had sailed:
“They adopted a south-easterly course, trading with the Natives as they went along. Making a short stay at a harbour which did not appear to have been before frequented by Europeans, they named it Trial Harbour, and received very hospitable treatment, with a promise of having a quantity of flax provided against the return of the vessels. They went towards Cook's Straits, and after running down a considerable extent of coast, returned to Trial Harbour—which proved the scene of page 192 carnage. The Natives appeared no less friendly than before; but not having procured the flax according to their promise, Mr. Hovell and Mr. Burnett prepared for quitting the place. They designed sailing thence on Monday the 21st August; but were attacked on the noon of the preceding day, and the decks of both vessels taken possession of by an immense number of the natives. Mr. Hovell's account of the transaction states, that at half-past 12 a.m. he observed a number of canoes along-side both vessels; but that from the friendly terms he was on with the chiefs and other natives, he had no suspicion of any design against the vessels, both which were provided with boarding nets, through the interstices of which they bartered their commodities with the islanders. The Trial's people were down at dinner; Mr. Hovell was on the quarter deck, folding a mat with a friendly chief Narruroo, near to whom was another chief; the latter, on some signal supposed to have been given by the former, sprang upon Mr. Hovell with his club, and struck him on the back of the neck; he reeled, half stunned; a second blow was levelled at him, which he avoided by rushing forward, and precipitating himself down the forecastle hatchway. The assailants now crowded upon the upper deck, of which they obtained complete possession, while several who had intruded themselves between decks were opposed by the people and killed. Those above tried to ship the main hatch in order to shut the crew below; but to prevent this, two men were stationed at the hatchway, who kept them off with their muskets. Their numbers were increased; and a rush was momentarily expected. A constant fire was kept up from below, and the natives crowded aft on the quarter deck to keep clear of the firing up the hatchway. The cabin sky-light affording an opportunity of firing upon them there, the occasion was embraced, and two discharges drove them off the quarter deck. They were astonished and confounded at the unexpected attack through the skylight, which was fatal page 193 to several; they ran forward, still determined, however, to persist in their attempt of capturing the vessel. In passing forward they were again fired at from the hatchway; and at this critical moment arrived Jackey Warry, a native who had before belonged to the Trial—and by his directions to cut the cables of the two vessels, the crews were reduced to the last extremity. They soon drifted ashore; and the assailants, to avoid the firing, crowded in and about the longboat. All appeared lost; yet to avoid the horror of falling alive into the hands of the assailants, the crew came to the resolution of blowing the vessel up, and involving their enemies in their own destruction. Desperation redoubled exertion; and a steady discharge of 7 muskets at one volley drove them overboard, and thus the crew regained the deck, of which the enemy had had possession 4 hours. They now saw the Brothers within half a cable's length, also aground, with upwards of 100 natives on her deck. The Trial's swivels were now employed in aid of her musketry, and soon cleared her. Mr. Burnett, and his people regained the deck of the Brothers, from which they also had been driven, and a joint fire was kept up as long as the natives were within its reach, which did considerable execution.
“Mr. Burnett's report of the affair states, that at half past 12 he heard a shout from the Trial, and immediately his own decks were crowded with natives who had been previously alongside his vessel, that he was instantly aware of the intended assault, and seizing a musket, shot one of the most forward. Mr. John O'Neal mate of the vessel, and a native of this Colony, for some time defended Mr. Burnett against the attacks of several adversaries, with an empty musket. He was himself attacked, and fell, overpowered by numbers. Thos. Hayes was thrown wounded into a canoe, and killed on shore. Joseph Marsden, and George Halloghan, the former wounded, jumped overboard, and were protected by a chief's wife; the latter rejoined the vessel, and supposes Marsden, who did not return, to be still alive.page 194
Wm. Morgan, a boy was wounded, as was also Mr. Burnett, though not badly; and the next morning the two seamen who had been unfortunately killed on board the Brothers, were interred. On board the Trial were killed, Matthew Jackson, an European, and Tetia, a Pomatoo native; and Christopher Harper wounded."
Captain Hovell was of opinion that the Natives at Trial Harbour had no knowledge of firearms, as they expressed the utmost surprise at the effect they produced. He also believed that they came from inland, as they had no clothes, and the only European implement in their possession was an adze got from the Thames. Trial Harbour's position was given as lat. 36° 40′ S. and long. 175° 49′ E., which would appear to indicate that the encounter took place in Kennedy's Bay. The Natives stated that three ships had been cut off in that locality, one at the head of the River Thames, the second at Mercury Bay, and the third at Poverty Bay. No accounts of any of these, said the Sydney Gazette, had ever reached Port Jackson, which is quite possible when we consider the effective method the Natives had of removing incriminating evidence.
Mr. Kendall thought that the blame for this disaster lay at the door of the Europeans, and he states that before Captain Hovell sailed from the Bay of Islands he had defrauded a chief of a quantity of flax and a number of baskets of potatoes. The evidence in support of this statement is not set out in detail, and the author regrets to have to say that when reasons come to be given for these attacks of Natives on Europeans they too often appear to be supported by “hard swearing on both sides."
The Active returned from Sydney on 28th September, bringing back some of the Natives who had gone over on former trips, and the following Europeans: John Shergold, Thomas Hansen, Sarah McKenzie, and Joseph Rogers and his wife.
Six days after the arrival of the Active, the Trial sailed for Tahiti under Captain Burnett, and the Brothers for Port Jackson under Captain Hovell. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers returned page 195 to Sydney with Captain Hovell. The cargo could not have proved a very profitable one, as the advertisement of its sale described it as:
“A Small Quantity of New Zealand dressed Flax, a fishing Seine; some mats, for tables and floors; gum, or resin and 20 spars, the product of New Zealand. Just arrived in the schooner Brothers. The Articles will be knocked down at sterling prices; but Currency, with the discount of the day, will be taken. Terms, prompt payment."
The New South Wales New Zealand Company venture had proved anything but profitable so far.
While the Trial and the Brothers were lying at the Bay, Kendall, who had five Crown prisoners left by Captains Foldger, Barny, and Parker, sent two of them to Captain Hovell, who was now short of men on account of his losses against the Natives, under a promise that he would deliver them up before sailing, or take them in the Brothers to Sydney. The day Hovell sailed he reported that the two men were missing. At the same time the other men could not be found. In reporting the matter afterwards to Secretary Campbell, Kendall stated that the opinion at the Bay was that the prisoners had gone away in the Trial or the Brothers. There is little doubt that it is as Kendall says, and that Hovell shipped the escapees off in the Trial under Captain Burnett to Tahiti, while he took free men with him on board the Brothers to Sydney. Getting away as Hovell did, the news of his misdeeds would not reach Sydney until after he had left the place.
On 5th September Mr. and Mrs. Hall moved into their new residence at Waitangi, which was now ready for their reception, but things appear not to have gone on too well, as the sawyers returned to Rangihoua on the twentieth, giving as a reason that owing to disagreements with Mr. Hall they could stay there no longer.
On 31st October the Active sailed, but returned to the Bay on 5th November, leaving again on the third day afterwards. On board of her sailed the Captain's wife and his page 196 son. Although living at the Bay Mrs. Hansen did not belong to the Settlement, and, from what transpired later on, it would appear that she was returning to Sydney to be present at her son's wedding.
Two days after the Active left the Phœnix entered the Bay, and after a short stay sailed away, to return on 22nd November in company with the Cretan, Captain Moore. Captain Parker of the Phœnix applied to Mr. Kendall to leave a man named Fop at the Settlement, as, having altered his route to Peru and from there to England, he could not return him to Sydney. Kendall declined to allow this, because Fop's name had not been entered on the ship's clearance at Sydney, and also because no proper proposal for his maintenance while under Kendall's control was made. The Natives were also averse to any of Captain Parker's men being left ashore. Fop was accordingly sent back to the vessel. Irritated at this, on 13th November Captain Parker sent ashore his first mate, Thomas Hunt, with a boat's crew for some letters he had handed in to be sent to Sydney. After they had been secured Hunt relieved his feelings, at the expense of Kendall's, by such a flow of profanity and abuse that Kendall shut and bolted the door and stood behind it with a drawn sword. Hunt then ordered his men to pull down the house, which they proceeded to do by bursting open the door, but by this time the Natives, alarmed by the noise, had rushed upon the scene. In a moment Hunt and his party found themselves surrounded by a hundred armed Natives, and two or three Europeans. Caught red-handed in a crime for which the local law imposed the death penalty, with the bodies of the offenders to go as food for the offended, who here numbered one hundred, all armed and no doubt all hungry—because we have Marsden's authority for the statement that the Natives were always hungry—we can well believe that Kendall accurately described what happened when he wrote that “they were glad to repair to their boat and go quietly away." Hunt's judgment might not have been of the best, but his good luck was phenomenal. The Phœnix and the Cretan sailed that evening.