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Historical Records of New Zealand

Secretary, Navy Board, to Secretary Hay

Secretary, Navy Board, to Secretary Hay.

Navy Office, June 19th, 1827.

My dear Sir,—

I have read the letter addressed to you by Colonel Torrens, dated the 14th instant, and reconsidered every point adverted to in our official report, and the more I think of the plan the more I am convinced that persons of a less sanguine disposition than the Colonel will at once see that our objections are reasonable and well founded, and, indeed, I should say unanswerable except as answered by Colonel Torrens—namely, that “the grounds which the report of the N. Board assigns for not recommending this plan are precisely those which would go to shew that the plan would prove more decidedly beneficial than even its calculations have set forth.“ I make no comment upon this, but simply assure you that I would readily and heartily assist the zeal and good intentions of Colonel Torrens if I could do so with propriety and fairness to the public service, but as page 679 the facts stand I must entreat that the stinted grants for naval purposes may not be subject in any degree to so speculative and unsound a proposition.

Colonel Torrens certainly contrives, for a time, to get rid of the objection to the confinement of the emigrants to the ship during her stay at New Zealand by proposing to employ them on shore in collecting and cleaning the hemp, but he does not state, even supposing the successful efforts of these unsheltered labourers on a savage island, how, after loading the ship with hemp and spars, any space is to be found for 500 persons on the ship’s voyage to N. S. Wales on her return to England.

Colonel Torrens thinks the easy employment assigned to the emigrants during their stay at New Zealand would tend to refresh them, and enable them to reach their destination in a better condition than if they had made a direct voyage to N. S. Wales, particularly as he says the climate is the most salubrious in the world; but a person now at my elbow who was there a whole year declares he never was in any climate where the rain was so heavy and so frequent.

I am, &c.,

T. B. Martin.

P.S.—I need scarcely call to yr. recollection that there will be a large proportion of women and children to be landed at N. Zealand, and I should think their condition would be truly pitiable.