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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Burns's Colonization Plan

Burns's Colonization Plan

After putting forward a plea, on behalf of Burns, that missionaries should be sent to Uawa, Morgan proceeds:

“A small colony of steady tradesmen and artisans, particularly carpenters, would meet with employment and great encouragement under Burns's protection, wanting only their tools and a few trifling articles to ensure them a competency, and they would soon alter the face of this fine country and the conditions and manners of the inhabitants. Agricultural implements might also be sent out with great advantage, as there is plenty of good land to bring into cultivation, and the natives themselves would soon learn to use them, by which means the beautiful and fruitful soil of New Zealand would shortly produce, almost spontaneously, wheat and all other corn, pulse and vegetables cultivated in England, so as soon to vie with, if not excel, those of the Mother Country…. Burns has a well-wooded district under his control, and has only to raise a hand to have thousands of loads of the finest timber cut and transported to the coast for the use of H.M. Navy, or for any other purposes for which it might be required…. He is, for a time, engaged in assisting an agent on the Isle of Wight, who is translating the Scriptures, or part of them, into the language of New Zealand, after which he will be happy to have the honour of waiting upon H.M.'s Secretary for State for the Colonies….”

The High Commissioner for New Zealand (Mr. W. J. Jordan) kindly had the Public Records Office files searched, on behalf of the writer, to ascertain, if possible, the Home Government's attitude concerning Burns's proposal that an English colony should be established at Tolaga Bay. No trace of a reply was found in the Colonial Office files for 1836 or in either of the two succeeding years. On Morgan's letter, there was a minute (20/4/1836): “Acknowledge the receipt and express Lord Glenelg's thanks to the writer for this statement.” Mr. Jordan added: “Actually, page 114 such a minute indicates, I think, that His Lordship was unlikely to concern himself deeply about the suggestion, and certainly did not intend to state his views on the question either to Burns or to Morgan.” New Zealand was, of course, not then a Crown possession.