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Historical Records of New Zealand

Captain Vancouver To Governor Phillip

Captain Vancouver To Governor Phillip.

Discovery, at sea, 15th Oct’r, 1792.


Agreable to the order and directions transmitted to me from my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, I herewith dispatch the Dædalus, hired transport, under the command of Lieutenant James Hanson, by whom your Excellency will receive this, and who is directed to put himself under your command, and to follow your orders for his farther proceedings.

You will also herewith receive a list of the remaining part of the said transport’s cargo, which his Majesty’s ship Discovery and armed tender the Chatham, under my command, have not in the present instance been able to take on board; as likewise a list of such part of the said cargo as under the present circumstances I do not deem essential to me in putting into execution his Majesty’s commands entrusted to my care. The remaining part is, however, absolutely necessary for that purpose, and, agreable to their Lordships’ directions, I am to request your Excellency will cause the same to be forwarded to my address, and to arrive at the port of Nootka about the month of August following, where, on my return from pursuing my examination of the coast of N.W. America, I shall call in order to take the said stores and provisions on board. We are now on our passage to some of the Spanish ports on the south part of the coast of New Albion, where I intend putting on board the Dædalus, for the use of his Majesty’s colony under your Excellency’s government, so many breeding cattle and sheep as she can conveniently take, which page 155 breed, inur’d to countries but slightly cultivated, have at Nootka succeeded to a very high degree with scarce the smallest care and attention. I therefore trust they will be found useful in New South Wales. Lieutenant Hanson, as you will observe by his orders, has likewise directions to pay attention to lose no opportunity of procuring such live stock and refreshments as may be useful at Port Jackson, from the different places he may fall in with during his passage across the Pacific Ocean.

And as there is a probability on my arrival with the store-ship at some of the Spanish ports aforesaid I may find it convenient to take on board some further supply of provisions, I beg leave to inform your Excellency that in that case it will be necessary for the deficiency so occasioned to be made up, as likewise any that may be caused by leakage, decay, or other unforeseen accidents, that quantity being absolutely necessary to enable me to perform that part of my orders which still remain unexecuted.

Lieutenant Hanson will, I trust, be able to satisfy your Excellency’s curiosity respecting the general proceedings of our voyage, so far as it is at present extended; under which circumstances I shall not intrude on your leisure further than observing that we fell in with the coast of New Albion on the 17th of April, and passed Cape Mendocino in lat. 40° 28½′ N. and 235° 50′ E. longitude; from whence we traced the shores at the distance of one, two, or three leagues, circumstances so concerning, without finding any port or opening in the land until we reached, on the 29th of April, the south entrance of De Fuca’s Straits, situate in 48° 23′ N. lat. and 235° 38′ E. long., which inlet we pursued up several arms of the sea, determining the extent of each, and keeping the continental shore always in boats, as far east as the long. 238° 0′ 2 ″, in the lat. of 48° 0′ 0″ N., from which station we coasted the continent in an irregular N.-westerly direction to the lat. of 51° 45′ N. and 232° 0′ 4″ E. long., whence it again winds to the eastward to the long. of 235° 0′ 5 ″, in the lat. of 52° 15′ N., which station ended our present northern campaign, on the 18th of August, and where we shall recommence an examination in the ensuing spring. The direction of the continent here pointed out leaves the land in which Nootka is situated, an island, or rather a cluster of islands, of considerable extent, caused by the junction of Queen Charlotte’s Sound and De Fuca’s entrance, not very badly delineated in Arrowsmith’s charts, leaving a very disagreeable and intricate navigation between them and the continent.

On my passage into this ocean I visited a small part of the S.W. coast of New Holland, and there discovered one very excellent port, which I have honored with the name of King George the page 156 Third’s Sound. As I think from its situation, the fertility of the country, with Oyster Bay Harbour, seas, &c., it may be worthy some further attention, I have sent you my survey thereof with the adjacent coast, and some views of the surrounding country, which, though not executed with any degree of neatness, the positions of the different harbours, &c., as also the different headlands, &c., as also their appearance [are given], without, I believe, any material error. We likewise, made two other discoveries, which, belonging to your neighbourhood, I shall beg leave to communicate, the first being a very dangerous cluster of barren rocks, being seven in number, extending in a direction about N. 70′ E. and S. 70′ W. true, occupying the space of about 3 leagues, which, from their situation, I have called the Snares; the largest, which is the N.-easternmost, and about a league in circumference, is in the lat. 48° 03′ S. and 166° 20′ E. longitude, bearing from S. Cape of New Zealand S. 40′ W. true, 19 leagues distant, and from the southermost part of the Traps S. 62½′ W. true, 20 leagues distant; the largest, which is the highest, may be seen in clear weather about 8 or 9 leagues, the other is an island discovered by the Chatham, after being separated from us the morning we discovered the Snares, by a very violent storm, and which, in honor of His Lordship who presides at the Admiralty Board, obtained the name of Chatham Island; along the N. side of which he sailed about 12 leagues; it is situated in lat. 43° 48′ S. and 183° 02′ E. long., its inhabitants much resembling the indians of New Zealand, who were found on the N. side, which was the only part they saw, and where they anchored and took possession; they, however, discovered no port.

Knowing of no other information that can be worthy your present attention, I beg leave to assure you I have the honor to be with best wishes for your welfare, and that of his Majesty’s colony under your Excellency’s government.

Yours, &c.,

Geo. Vancouver.