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Historical Records of New Zealand

Governor Macquarie To Viscount Castlereagh

Governor Macquarie To Viscount Castlereagh.

Sydney, New South Wales, 12th March, 1810.

My Lord,—

1. Since closing my dispatch of date, the 8th inst., a Colonial ship named the King George, employed in the seal-skin and oil trade, arrived here from off the coast of New Zealand, and brings the melancholy accounts of the loss and capture of the ship Boyd by the New Zealanders, under their chief, Tippahee, and the massacre of the whole of her crew and passengers, with the exception of two women and a child, who escaped from these merciless savages.

2. I do myself the honor to enclose for your Lordship’s further information the deposition and narrative of Mr. Chase, the master of the King George, detailing the circumstances of this unfortunate and melancholy event.

3. The Boyd came out here with convicts from Ireland about six or seven months ago, and was returning to England by way of New Zealand, with intention to carry Home some timber and spars from that country, having a valuable cargo of skins and oil from this colony on board besides.

4. It will be necessary that the South Sea whalers should be cautioned, previous to their sailing from England, to be very page 297 vigilant and guarded in their intercourse with the New Zealand-ers, as well as with all the natives of the South Sea Islands, who are in general a very treacherous race of people, and not to be trusted.

5. A proposal was some time since made to me by Mr. Simeon Lord, and other respectable merchants here, of forming a settlement at their own expence on the northern island of New Zealand, for the purpose of collecting the flax plant of that country, and manufacturing it into cordage and canvas for the use of this colony, and with the hope of ultimately extending their trade to the service of the British Navy; but claiming, in the event of the undertaking proving successful, and of its being approved of by the British Government at Home, the exclusive privilege of this branch of trade for fourteen years. To this proposed speculation I have given my sanction, promising to recommend it to the favorable consideration and patronage of His Majesty’s Ministers, which I now do in the strongest manner, conceiving, as I really do, that the undertaking is likely ultimately to succeed, and consequently to prove of great national benefit. I have not pledged myself to the projectors of this scheme that they are to obtain the exclusive privilege of this branch of trade for fourteen years, but only that I would submit their application to His Majesty’s Ministers. I think, however, that the privilege they solicit is in itself reasonable, and therefore beg to recommend it may be granted to them.

6. Notwithstanding the recent melancholy occurrence already adverted to, in regard to the capture of the Boyd and the massacre of the crew and passengers of that ship, the projectors of the flax speculation on New Zealand still intend to prosecute their design; and according send a superintendant with a party of men hired for this purpose, on board the brig Experiment, to New Zealand, where that vessel is to remain long enough to give them time to collect a quantity of dried flax to be sent Home for the inspection of His Majesty’s Ministers, as a specimen of the quality and of the success that may be expected to result from such an undertaking. I shall transmit the correspondence that has taken place with the projectors of this speculation to your Lordship in my next dispatch.

7. There being no other circulating medium in this colony than the notes of hand of private individuals, and this practice having already been productive of infinite frauds, abuses, and litigation, I am very apprehensive it may at some future period occasion a general bankruptcy, and prove ruinous to individuals as well as to the interests of the colony unless some remedy is speedily applied to this growing evil. I shall, therefore, in my next dispatch communicate my sentiments more fully to your page 298 Lordship, and take the liberty to suggest some plan to remedy this ruinous and alarming practice that has so long prevailed here. In the meantime I shall only take the liberty to suggest that the same plan of the Cape Colonial Bank, if adopted and approved of by His Majesty’s Ministers, would answer equally well here. I shall, therefore, in my next dispatch strongly recommend the adoption here of the same system of banking and circulating medium, as is now so successfully and beneficially pursued at the Cape of Good Hope.

8. I have the honor to acquaint your Lordship that since the date of my last dispatch the relief from Port Dalrymple has arrived here, and I hope the vessel having on board the detachment of the 102nd Regiment from Norfolk Island will very soon make her appearance also.

9. I beg leave to report to your Lordship that I have appointed John Thomas Campbell, Esqr., to be my Secretary. This gentleman I met with for the first time at the Cape of Good Hope on my way hither. He was there very strongly recommended to me by Lord Caledon and some other friends, and I have every reason to be highly pleased with his abilities, conciliating manners, and gentlemanly conduct. I also beg leave to report that I have appointed Captain H. C. Antill, of the 73rd Regiment, to be my aid-de-camp, and Cap’n T. S. Cleaveland, of the same corps, to act as Major of Brigade to the troops serving in this territory. I trust your Lordship will approve of those appointments, and authorize me to draw on the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury for their respective salaries and allowances.

I have, &c.

L. Macquarie.

See footnote, ante, p. 294, and post, p. 300.

The survivors were a woman with her infant in arms; a lad named Davies, about fifteen years of age; and the infant daughter of Mr. Commissary Broughton.