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Historical Records of New Zealand

Captain Vancouver’s Instructions To Lieutenant Hanson

Captain Vancouver’s Instructions To Lieutenant Hanson.

Whereas the Daedalus transport under your direction has deliver’d to his Majesty’s vessels under my command, such part of the cargo she was charged with as they can conveniently stow; you are with the remaining part of the said cargo, in pursuance of his Majesty’s pleasure, communicated to me by the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, hereby required and directed to proceed without a moment’s loss of time, taking also under your charge and particular care, the breeding cattle and sheep as per margin,* which I have caused to be put on board the said transport, for the use of his Majesty’s colony at Port Jackson, New South Wales, to which place you are immediately to make the best of your way, observing the following route:—

From this port you are to proceed to the islands that were discovered by the Dædalus, when under the command of the late Lieutenant Hergest; and in the most convenient port in those islands to cause such refitting and other necessary services to be performed as the said transport may stand in need of; and, having executed that service, you will endeavour to take from

* 6 bulls, 12 cows, 6 rams, 12 ewes.

page 159 them such live stock and other refreshments as may be likely to be useful to his Majesty’s colony at Port Jackson, for the effecting which you have my permission to appropriate such of the articles of traffic on board the Dædalus, consigned to me, as may be absolutely necessary for that purpose, taking care to note the number and contents from out of the cases, or casks, they are taken, with the quantity, and to what purpose they have been expended, to be transmitted to me on the return of those articles hereafter; and then to proceed from thence to a bay lately visited and surveyed by the French in the northern part of New Zealand, called by Captain Cook, Doubtless Bay, in which passage you are to act with the utmost caution to prevent falling in with, in the course of the night, any of the many low islands that are thickly distributed to the southward of the Marquesas, so far as the 20th or 22nd degree of S. latitude, in which navigation your keeping nearly in the parallel of the Marquesas, until you arrive in the 212th or 210th degree of E. longitude will be your safest route to the southward. Otaheite will be in that track; therefore, winds and weather permitting, it will be proper you should touch at that island, and you are hereby required and directed to do so, where, should you meet with any of the crew belonging to the ship Matilda, said to have been lost on a shoal in lat. 22° S., and 138° 30′ W. long’de, and after which accident they, in their boats, reached that island, you are to take them on board, and give them a passage to Port Jackson, they being British subjects, and wishing to return to their native country by such mode of conveyance; victualling them as the persons on board the said transport are victualled. Their numbers said to be remaining at Otaheite are twenty-one, among which is one convict that made his escape from Port Jackson in the said ship Matilda.*

At Otaheite you will endeavour to take on board such hogs, goats, fowls, &c., with provender for them, as may be likely for the purpose of being serviceable to the said colony, procuring them by the means above pointed out.

From Otaheite you will proceed to the before-mentioned Doubtless Bay, a sketch of which is herewith inclosed for your information.

I have pointed out this port as the one in that island most likely to answer the purpose for which you are required to revisit

* The Matilda transport sailed from Sydney in company with the Mary Ann for Peru, December, 1791. Collins in his Account of New South Wales, vol. i, p. 172, says: “These ships had some convicts on board, who were permitted to ship themselves with the masters.“ The convict referred to in Vancouver’s instructions to Hanson was apparently a stow-away.

page 160 New Zealand, particularly from its situation so near the north extremity of that country, round which is the most proper route you should pursue to Port Jackson; at which or any port near the north extremity of New Zealand, should necessity prevent your gaining the above-mentioned, you are from thence to use your best endeavours to take with you one or two of the natives of that country versed in the operations necessary for the manufacture of the flax-plant of which their garments are mostly made, for the purpose, if possible, of instructing the new settlers at Port Jackson in the management of that very valuable plant,* and this being a subject of no small importance you are to pay particular attention to the effecting it, in the execution whereof the native of the Sandwich Islands you have on board may be essentially serviceable from his speaking nearly the same language, you will therefore endeavour to attach him as much as possible to your interest by attention and civil treatment which conduct is essentially necessary you should, and you are likewise hereby required and directed by all possible means to pursue with all the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands you may from time to time fall in with.

You are also hereby most strictly enjoyned to treat in the most friendly manner the subjects or vessels of any power or state you may happen to meet with, and to be in every respect careful not to do anything that may interrupt that peace which now happily subsists between his Majesty and all other powers; nor are you on any account to put into any of the ports on the continent of America to the southward of the 30th degree of N. latitude, unless by accident you should find it necessary for your immediate safety to take shelter there, and in case of such urgent event to continue no longer than may be absolutely necessary.

These being the principal objects entrusted to your charge, you are hereby required and directed to proceed forthwith agreable to the foregoing instructions to Port Jackson aforesaid, and deliver the pacquet you will receive herewith to Commodore Phillip, or in his absence to the commanding officer, putting yourself under his command, and following his orders for your further proceedings.

For which this shall be your order.

Given on board his Majesty’s sloop Discovery, in Monterrey Bay, the 29th December, 1792.

Geo. Vancouver.

* This direction was carried out.