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Historical Records of New Zealand

Loss Of The Ship Boyd

Loss Of The Ship Boyd.

Sydney, 12th March, 1810.

In presence of Mr. Robert Campbell, Naval Officer and Magistrate, who was directed by His Excellency Governor Macquarie to investigate the information received of the loss of the ship Boyd on the coast of New Zealand, Samuel Rodman Chace, master of the ship’ King George, of this port, declares: That on the 19th day of February last (by log) he fell in with the ships Ann and Albion, whalers, off Cape Brett on the coast of New Zealand, and that he went on board of the Ann about 8 o’clock in the evening, when Cap’n Gwynn informed him that both ships had left the Bay of Islands the day before, where the natives informed him that the ship Boyd was taken at a port about 30 miles to the northward called Wangarowe, and that every person page 299 belonging to the ship (except two women and a child*) where massacred. That when this happened there was two boats ashore from the ship procuring spars, and those of the ship’s company who were on board were at the time busily employed in overhauling and repairing the rigging.

There had been no previous disturbance with the natives, who appeared very friendly, but at the time they rushed on board the Boyd their war weapons were concealed under their mats, and that after killing all the men on deck they ordered those who had gone aloft to cut the sails from the yards, and that those men were afterwards carried on shore, where, after cutting off their legs and arms, they were roasted.

That Capt’n Gwynn likewise informed the said Samuel Rodman Chace that Prince Mattarra, who had lately arrived from England, was the principal leader, with another chief; that Tippo-hee, when the attack was made on the ship, was in his canoe at some distance; but after the ship was taken he went on board to take possession, when, after plundering her, she was set fire to and sunk, the tops then remaining above water; that all which he has declared was read to him by Capt’n Gwynn from a written paper, and that he, the said Chace, was prevented from taking a copy of it from being anxious to get back to his ship, the night being dark.

That when he fell in with the above ships it was his intention to go into the Bay of Islands; but, being afraid of the consequences, he gave the natives who came on board the ship in a canoe off the East Cape a whaleboat to go on shore with another New Zealander, who had been in the King George for near three years, to whom he gave a letter addressed to the master of any ship that might arrive, giving the above intelligence and apprising him of the danger; and he thinks this native could be depended on for delivering it.

Capt’n Gwynn also informed him of the ship Mary, Capt’n Simmons, having foundered off the East Cape, but that the crew was saved by the other ships in company.

S. R. Chace.

* The actual number saved were one woman, a lad of about fifteen years of age, and two infants.