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Historical Records of New Zealand

Lieut.-Governor Grose to The Right Hon. Henry Dundas

Lieut.-Governor Grose to The Right Hon. Henry Dundas.

Sydney, New South Wales, 3rd September, 1793.


I have the honour to inform you that the Bodding-tons, transport, with 124 male and 20 female convicts, from Ireland, arrived here on the 7th ultimo. The stores she brings are in good condition, and the prisoners, according to their own. account, have been exceedingly well treated; they are in much better health than any I have ever seen Ianded here, and have had but one death on their passage.

In my former letters I have already stated that our accidental supplies have saved us from some difficulties, but you will still observe by the Commissary’s return, which I inclose you, that we are not in such abundance as to render precaution unnecessary. In your last dispatches, an intimation to try the Bengal market being signified, I have sent to Lord Cornwallis a ship called the Britannia, belonging to Mr. St. Barbe, which came out last year to this country with provisions. Though she is well calculated for the purpose, I should have preferred sending the Boddingtons, because, as she had already been agreed with by the Navy Board, any bargaining on my part would have been avoided; but as she could not be ready sooner than in six weeks, was not coppered, and was more expensive than the other, I felt it my duty to take up the Britannia, she being compleatly ready for sea, and offered at a shilling per ton less than the Boddingtons had engaged for. A copy of the charter-party is inclosed, together with an account of the provisions I have now sent for.

page 167

I hoped to have received by the Boddingtons as many sup-plies as would have rendered our situation more independent, for although in the event of my purchasing provisions, or taking up ships, no want ever has or is likely to occur, I cannot but be alarmed at all I purchase, and everything I do, being unac-customed to business, and fearful of acting so much from my own discretion.

The vessel sent in frame by the Pitt has at length been put into the water. I have placed in her as the master the late boatswain * of the Discovery. He had been sent here by Capt. Vancouver, for the purpose of returning to England as an invalid, but having recovered from his complaint, and being willing to take the command of the sloop for forty pounds a year, I thought it expedient to employ him, having manned the vessel with some seamen left here by other ships. She will sail for Dusky Bay in New Zealand immediately, in order to ascertain how far that plac, which, I understand, possesses all the advantages of Norfolk Island, with the addition of a safe harbour and seal-fishery, may tend to the benefit of his Majesty’s service, as connected with these settlements.

The Dædalus left Port Jackson on the first of July, having obtained here nearly everything Capt. Vancouver had applied for.

It being desired in Mr. King’s letter, received by the Boddingtons, that the Governor’s opinion respecting the provisions procured from Bengal might be communicated, I shall not hesi-tate to say, although not a single article was received by the Atlantic which in any other part of the world would have been served as a ration, that I yet have not a doubt but the colony may be supplied, for everything brought by another ship (the Shah Hormuzear) was of excellent quality, excepting the salted meat, and this, although inferior to Irish-cured provisions, was not so bad but it might be eaten; and to what cause the colony was indebted for the trash brought by the Atlantic I never could discover.

The frequent disappointments we have met with in the colony make me rather unwilling to say much of our wheat, but unless some untoward accident does befal it, we may from appearances reckon very largely on the ensuing crop.

The officers are daily clearing ground to a considerable extent, and although the Indian corn grown on account of Govern-ment turned out very badly, the settlers from convicts have supplied the stores with some considerable quantity from their page 168 farms, the which I have instructed may always be taken from them at five shillings per bushel, it being at the same time a cheap purchase for Government, and an accommodating market for the settler.

The ill state of Captain Nepean’s health having rendered his return to England necessary, I have directed him to take his passage in the Britannia; and to this officer, who has been some time in the colony, I beg to refer you for any particulars concerning it.

I have, &c.,

Frans. Grose.

Not available.

* William House.

See Captain Raven’s letter of 2nd November, 1793, post, p. 177.