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Letter from John Gare Butler to Captain R. Skinner, April 11th, 1820

In Bay of Islands,
New Zealand,
April 11th, 1820.


In July of last year the brig “General Gates,” Captain Briggs, master, being in the Harbour of Port Jackson, the agent of the Church Missionary Society, the Revd. Samuel Marsden, took her up to convey me and my colleagues to the Bay of Islands, in New Zealand, the place of our destination.

We sailed from Port Jackson July 29/19, and shortly after we had got to sea, several felons were discovered to be on board (I believe five) belonging to the colony of New South Wales.

On my arrival at the Bay of Islands, August 12th/19, there being no British ships in the harbour, nor any jail to confine these convicts in, I made no official demand on Captain Briggs to deliver them up, and the “General Gates” sailed from the Bay of Islands on or about the 15th of September, having these convicts on board. She has returned and is now lying in the harbour. I therefore feel it my duty, as Resident Magistrate, to communicate to you the above circumstances in order that necessary steps may be taken to secure and return them to the colony and Government of New South Wales, for whom

I am, etc.,


Resident Magistrate, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Capt. R. Skinner, H.M.S. “Dromedary,” Bay of Islands.