Historical Records of New Zealand
R. Torrens to Downing Street
R. Torrens to Downing Street.
My dear Sir,—
I enclose a copy of my letter on the subject of New Zealand, with one verbal alteration. Instead of asking for the direction of the force in the character of Commandant or Military Commissioner resident in England, I simply apply for the command of any detachment which may be ordered to New Zealand. I did not contemplate being placed at the head of a committee or commission for the colonization of New Zealand; but the shipowners having sent in a strong memorial for a protecting force in that quarter, I was desirous, in the event of the prayer of the memorial being granted, to have the selection and command of this force, because I conceived it would enable me to make preliminary arrangements which would facilitate the future colonization of these islands upon sound economical principles.
In my former letter I did not sufficiently explain why in sending protection to New Zealand, marines should be preferred: 1st, they are by far the cheapest description of force, a fact which a reference to the public accounts will immediately establish; 2nd, when off military duty they could, from their habits be much more serviceable to the shipping than other soldiers: 3rd, as there are several thousands of them at Plymouth. Portsmouth, page 662 Chatham, and Woolwich, they afford a far more extensive range than any single regiment of the line for the selection of sober and industrious men, capable of supplying that skilled labour which is of so much value and importance in a new country.
In conclusion, I wish to be understood as having applied to be made commanding officer of any force which may be ordered to New Zealand. My situation and duties would be in no respect different from those of whatever other officer might hold the command, with the exception of my having rather more power conferred on me in selecting the officers and men; of my endeavouring, under the sanction and approval of the Colonial Office, to suggest regulations which, if it should hereafter be deemed expedient, might tend to promote an extensive colonization of New Zealand without entailing expence upon the Government; and of my remaining in England until the accomplishment of these objects, when I should resign my temporary command, abundantly rewarded in having obtained an opportunity of giving practical application to principles of colonization long ardently cherished, and recently, by my intercourse with you, brought under my consideration in a state matured and extended far beyond any previous conception of my own.
I am, &c.,
R. W. Horton, Esq., M.P. R. Torrens.