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Historical Records of New Zealand

From India Government Officials to Governor King. — (King Papers.)

From India Government Officials to Governor King.
(King Papers.)

Fort William, 18th December, 1800.

Hon’ble Sir,—

The most noble the Governor-General in Council had the honor to address His Excellency the late Governor of New page 222 South Wales, on the 3rd of July last, and to communicate His Lordship’s sentiments respecting the resort to India of persons transported as convicts from the British dominions in Europe to New South Wales. His Lordship at the same time advized His Excellency of the measures which this Government had judged it necessary to adopt for preventing such persons from establishing themselves in any part of the British possessions in India.

2. The Governor-General in Council has since had the honor to receive a letter dated the 15th March last, from His Excellency the late Governor, in reply to the letter addressed to him by His Lordship in Council, under date the 11th November, 1799.

3. Although your Excellency is precluded by your instructions from detaining convicts after the expiration of the term of their transportation, the Governor-General in Council is persuaded that important advantages would result from the adoption of the measures which His Lordship in Council has suggested of requiring the commanders of ships authorized to proceed from New South Wales to India (previous to their being permitted to receive on board of their ships in any capacity persons who have been convicts) to enter into penalty bonds not to permit any such persons to land in any part of India. The Governor-General in Council therefore begs to repeat his request that your Excellency will be pleased to require the suggested engagement from the commanders of the ships in question, untill the resort of convicts to India shall be effectually prevented by the interposition of the authority of the Legislature.

4. Besides the persons from Botany Bay who had clandestinely established themselves in India, as specified in the list transmitted to the late Governor, twenty-two persons who had been convicts, transported to New South Wales for a certain term of years, and a convict of the name of Elliott who had been transported for life, were lately landed at Fort William from the ship Hunter, commanded by William Hingston.

5. William Hingston not appearing to possess any authority from the Hon’ble the Court of Directors for repairing with his ship to India, the Governor-General in Council deemed it proper to direct the person of William Hingston and the ship Hunter to be seized, and to order the necessary legal proceedings to be instituted for the purpose of having the ship condemned and adjudged to the Company, and of obtaining a decree for the penalties prescribed by the Act of Parliament in cases of ships and persons engaged in an illicit trade to India in violation of the chartered rights of the Hon’ble East India Company.

6. The Governor-General in Council judged it to be indispensably necessary to adopt these measures with a view to pre- page 223 vent in future any ships, not licensed by the Company or by their Governments, from repairing from New South Wales to any of the British possessions in India, and we request that your Excellency will not permit any ships to proceed from New South Wales to India excepting such as shall have been so licensed. To permit a free intercourse between India and New South Wales would be productive of the most dangerous consequences to the interests of the Company and of the British nation in India, by affording the means of introducing into India a succession of Europeans who might gradually establish themselves, and colonize these possessions under circumstances destructive of the fundamental policy of which the Legislature has established the whole system of our empire in Asia.

7. Subsequently to the institution of the proceedings against him, William Hingston represented that he proceeded to Bengal, not only with the sanction of His Excellency, the late Governor of New South Wales, but with his immediate approbation, for the purpose of conveying to New South Wales articles required for the use of the colony. The Governor-General in Council therefore directed the proceedings against William Hingston to be discontinued, and His Lordship has permitted him to return to New South Wales with any such articles the exportation of which from Bengal shall not have been prohibited.

It is not the intention of the Governor-General in Council, by restricting the intercourse between India and New South Wales, to preclude that colony from being furnished with any supplies which it may require from India. His Lordship in Council will be happy to concert with your Excellency the best means of furnishing the colony with those supplies in any manner that may appear most expedient consistently with the necessary precautions for preventing persons who have been convicts at [New] South Wales from resorting to India.

We have, &c.,


Alured Clarke.

P. Speke.