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Historical Records of New Zealand

Captain Vancouver To Governor Phillip

Captain Vancouver To Governor Phillip.

Discovery, Monterrey, 29th Dec’r, 1792.


Since writing my letter, dated 15th Oct’r,* which accompanies this, we have experienced a very tempestuous and boisterous passage to this place, which we reached about a month ago; and, agreable to my intentions as stated in that letter, I have taken on board the Discovery and Chatham a very page 157 considerable quantity of the stores and provisions which remained in the Daedalus on our departure from Nootka; the whole of which I had requested should be returned to me; that, however, in consequence of having made a material alteration in my engagement since that period, is by no means sufficient for the purpose of executing the remaining part of his Majesty’s service entrusted to my care. I have, therefore, in addition to the above-mentioned remaining stores and provisions, sent your Excellency a list of such as will be necessary to complete our stock for the time I conceive we must yet be employed in prosecuting that part of my order which still remains unexecuted.

The lateness of my despatching the Dádalus, occasioned by adverse winds, &c., will, I fear, prevent the returning those stores and provisions, as I have before requested, by the month of August following; it may, however, so happen that I may not quit Nootka before September or probably late in that month; it will, therefore, be proper that the vessel so charged should be despatched so soon as possible for the purpose of meeting me at that place; but should I sail from Nootka before that should happen, I shall leave sufficient instructions for the guidance of the officer commanding such vessel, and in case there is a probability of his arriving very late on the coast, it would be necessary he should call at the Sandwich Islands, where, though we should not meet, there is yet a great probability of gaining some information respecting us. The other object of the Daedalus accompanying me to this port, I have likewise been able to accomplish to my satisfaction by putting on board 12 cows and 6 bulls, with an equal number of male and female sheep; these are at present in good condition, in which state, I trust, they will arrive safe, and prove highly serviceable to his Majesty’s colony under your Excellency’s government.

The Dædalus, from accident and desertion, being short of complement, Sr. Quadra has made a promise of using his efforts to prevail on some of the people under his command to undertake this voyage in the Dædalus, on my promise that they should be returned to Nootka by that vessel or such other as may be charged with the before-mentioned stores and provisions for the use of his Majesty’s vessels under my command, to which conditions I have acceded and taken the liberty of asserting that your Excellency would cause the same to be put into execution, and by complying with this further request, should such a circumstance take place, you will highly oblige him who has the honor, with the most sincere wishes for the welfare of yourself and his Majesty’s colony under your Excellency’s government,

Yours, &c.,

Geo. Vancouver.

page 158

P.S.—I have been under the necessity, much against my wishes and inclinations, of discharging Mr. Willm. House, late boatswain of the Discovery, who, whilst in that situation, so far as his abilities enabled him to act, conducted himself as a sober, diligent officer, having been afflicted with a violent rheumatic complaint which rendered him incapable of performing that service for many months past. I therefore beg leave to recommend him to your Excellency’s notice, together with the three valuable seamen and one marine whom I have been under the very disagreeable necessity of parting with for similar reasons, who equally deserve every clemency and attention the nature of his Majesty’s service will admit of. These people I have thus discharged, because we have not the power of affording them relief, and the service we have yet to perform being of a long and arduous nature. I am in hopes of its being shortly in your Excellency’s power of providing them a passage to England, in which case I trust they will find relief from the severe maladies under which they at present labor.

Geo. Vancouver.

* Ante, pp. 154–156.