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Historical Records of New Zealand

A New Zealand Company

A New Zealand Company.

To His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie, Esquire, Captain General, Governor, and Commander in Chief, in and over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales, and its Dependencies, &c., &c., &c. Sydney, Oct. 3rd, 1814.

The memorial of the undersign’d, merchants, traders, and others, residing in the said territory, respectfully sets forth,—

That one of Your Excellency’s memorialists—namely, Simeon Lord, of Sydney, merchant—being desirous of procuring some staple commodities for exports and return cargoes from this colony and New Zealand to England, the Cape of Good Hope, and other parts, did, so long back as in the year 1809, charter the ship Boyd, for the purpose of proceeding from hence to England with coals, cedar, and timber, touching at New Zealand for spars and other commodities, which the said Simeon Lord thought might be disposed of to advantage at the Cape of Good Hope and England; with which, and 30,000 seal skins, that ship sail’d in the month of October, 1809, and arrived in November at a port called Wangaroo, a little to the northward of the Bay of Islands, on the east coast of New Zealand, where she was unfortunately cut off by the natives, and that design was frustrated.

Yet the said Simeon Lord, still having great reason to believe that the timber, hemp, flax, and other commodities procurable at New Zealand would be of the greatest importance, both for the consumption of this colony, and as exports, he, in the year 1810, in conjunction with Francis Williams and the late Andrew Thompson, Esquire, made another attempt to form a settlement and factories under Your Excellency’s sanction and recommendation to His Majesty’s Ministers to encourage and protect their endeavours, as well as to grant certain in- page 324 dulgencies expressed in the prayer of a memorial they had the honor to address to Your Excellency on that subject, and to which Your Excellency was pleased to inform memorialist, Simeon Lord, was sanctioned, under certain restrictions; and in pursuance of which, two vessels were equipt, with men, provisions, and proper materials, &c., sent under the management of one William Leith, whose misconduct frustrated their intentions after the parties concerned had sunk upwards of £2,000 on that occasion, exclusive of the incalculable injury the said Simeon Lord had individually suffered in the loss of the said ship Boyd, on board of which he had upwards of £12,000 real property, of which not one penny had been insured by reason of the failure of Messrs. Jacobs, of London, merchants, who had been appointed Mr. Lord’s agents, and instructed to make insurance accordingly. From these losses, and other pecuniary embarrassments which the said Simeon Lord had to contend with, the object then (and still) intended to be carried into effect lay dormant untill May last, when the said Simeon Lord, desirous again to make a further attempt was inform’d that several other merchants and respectable inhabitants of this colony were solicitous to enter into a speculation of that nature, which induced the said Simeon Lord and Garnham Blaxcell, another of your memorialists, to make a public business of it, by advertizing for all persons who were inclined, to come forward and incorporate themselves into a stock company, dividing it into shares of £50, so that every person might participate in the benefits of the enterprize who would advance and risk that sum; and having obtained Your Excellency’s permission to advertize and convene a meeting for that purpose, and with a view to establish such settlements and factories at New Zealand as might be thought advisable, or likely to answer the intended purpose of procuring and preparing the New Zealand hemp and flax plants suitable for this, or any other markets, together with timber, or any other articles the natural productions of that island, and which was to be called and known by the name of “The New South Wales New Zealand Company“ constituted or incorporated by a certain charter or license from Your Excellency as Governor in Chief of this colony, authorizing them to incorporate themselves into a company, and to frame such laws and regulations as might be found requisite and necessary from time to time, first submitting them to Your Excellency’s consideration and approval, so as to enable the company, by just and salutary rules and regulations, to proceed in and effectually to carry on their intended speculation, which memorialists, presuming on Your Excellency’s gracious support and encouragement so far as may be reasonable and within Your Excellency’s province, page 325 and trusting that Your Excellency, in consideration of the heavy expences and hazards of such an undertaking, from the large sums already sunk by former attempts, would deign, under proper rules, regulations, and management, to afford them your support and protection, under the reasonable and well-grounded expectation that a most valuable exportation of hemp, flax, and other commodities might be acquired, and the natives in time civilized, made a usefull race of people, and taught to appreciate the value of a friendly intercourse between us.

And here memorialists respectfully beg leave to submit to Your Excellency the outlines of their first proposed plans and intentions, looking up to you as the father and patron of your people for support and protection, and pledging themselves to observe such restrictions and regulations as in Your Excellency’s wisdom may seem meet and desirable to prescribe.

First, that memorialists propose to be incorporated into a stock company by a proper deed or charter. The concern to consist of two hundred £50 shares, which shares may be sold, divided, or disposed of as the proprietors and holders may think proper.

That the concerns of the company shall be carried on and managed by two or more directors, to be elected from the general body of proprietors by ballot once every year, at which time the accounts of the year shall be made up and open to the inspection of the proprietors, the profits ascertained, and appropriated to the general benefit, in like manner as stock companies in England are generally guided, but governed by their own laws and regulations under Your Excellency’s approbation, to whom all new rules and regulations shall from time to time be submitted.

The first object is to employ the capital so subscribed in shares in purchasing two small vessels, one from 80 to 100 tons, the other 50 or 60 tons burthen, with about 50 men, including the vessels’ crews, forming the first establishment at Fort William, on the south end of New Zealand, and fetch across Foveauxs Straits in the smaller vessel the raw materials and such of the natives as may chuse to assist the men so established, in procuring, preparing, and packing the hemp and flax, and, if found convenient, make cordage and canvas, thus by degrees extending their undertaking so as to make other settlements and factories on such other parts as may be discovered, or found likely to answer the objects in view, after carefully surveying the whole of the harbours and places on the island, to which service it is intended to appropriate the larger vessel, at the same time endeavouring to form, and preserve by every mode of conciliation and page 326 kindness, a friendly intercourse with the natives, by bartering with and encouraging them to procure and prepare the hemp and flax, by shewing them the best way of dressing those articles by hand, and which memorialists trust by a strict and honourable adherence on their part, and those who may act under them, to one principle—namely, that of treating the natives courteously and kindly—may in time produce confidence and mutual friendship, making them first usefull, and then leading them on to progressive civilization, by allowing and inviting such of them as may be so disposed to proceed to the establishment, where they may learn our tongue, and be taught to assist in the various processes attached to the arts before them, to facilitate which there will be a kind of dock yard, where blacksmiths, ship-wrights, carpenters, and sawyers will be employed; and as the manager or person in charge and command at the factory will be one of the proprietors, holding not less than ten shares, besides his salary from the company and his instructions from Your Excellency, or the Governor for the time being, whose interest it will be, exclusive of such instructions, to be carefull and cautious that no improper treatment is given to the natives; and as it is probable there will be many speculators glad to profit by the company’s experiments if successfull, memorialists submit that as they have advertized, and not only offered, but solicited the inhabitants of this colony to join them, and as the shares may at all times be divided and extended according to the supposed value of the speculation, in its progress, memorialists hope that Your Excellency will be pleased to prevent any infringement or interference by others from this colony without first obtaining a similar permission and authority from England through Your Excellency’s recommendation, or the Governor for the time being; so as they may not avail themselves of memorialists’ experience by attempting to form a similar establishment, or send vessels to barter with the natives, to the prejudice and injury of memorialists, who being the first to hazard their property in the speculation, and having carried it on under Your Excellency’s gracious patronage and protection, trust they may be at liberty to prosecute their views without any such interruption or opposition.

May it therefore please Your Excellency to grant memorialists a charter, licence, or such other authority as will enable them to incorporate themselves into a stock company, with such other documents and authority as will enable them to establish and form settlements and factories on such parts and places on New Zealand as may, after strictly surveying, be found likely to answer their purpose, and that memorialists may be permitted to import and export part or all such commodities as may be page 327 procured, to and from this colony, duty free, and that Your Excellency will be pleased to appoint the person in charge a Justice of the Peace, with such instructions and regulations as to Your Excellency’s wisdom may seem meet, with such other encouragement and indulgencies as the nature and magnitude of the undertaking merit.

And memorialists will ever pray, &c.

S. Lord.G. Blaxcell.Richard Brooks.W. H. Hovell.E. S. Hall.