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Historical Records of New Zealand

Captain Hammont To Secretary Campbell

Captain Hammont To Secretary Campbell.

Sydney, Oct. 4th, 1816.


Agreeable to your commands, and to the best of my believe, I have subjoined a statement of the unpleasant circumstances attending my leaving this port.

I sail’d from Sydney Cove on the 9th Feby.; wind N.E. After being at sea some distance I discovered that two men nam’d James Sullivan and William Jones, who had previously entered (but not having a clearance from the Indjin Office from the having detainers against them) were secreted on board the vessel. I experienced much surprise, and on questioning them as to the reasons for secreting themselves, their answer was they where determined on going the voyage although they would not obtain a clearance.

At 10 same evening another man nam’d Patrick Conway was discovered stow’d away among the firewood; on his coming on deck I questioned him as to his motive in having in such a clandestine manner; he said he was a runaway sailor from the Nancy, Captn. Wallis. I now thought it proper to call my officers and ask them their opinion as to the measures to be pursued, being a stranger in the colony, and unacquainted with the motives that could induce men to such conduct. Their opinion was that, being able to make Port Jackson, to bear for New Zealand, and deliver them to the Resident Magistrate there.

On the 11, being in latde. 36 53 S., I discovered another man nam’d Phillip Hollogan Drogheder. On my calling him aft he produced a certificate of freedom which answered his appearance. page 409 He said his reason for leaving the colony was his embarrassed circumstances.

On 16, at 11 p.m., discovered another man nam’d Morris Fitzgerald stowed away amongst the firewood; on his appearing on deck he produced a certificate of a free pardon from His Excellency Governor McQuarie, dat’d 3 Novr., 1812.

On 4th March arrived at New Zealand. Reported to the Magistrate my haveing five runaways on board, and my wish to deliver them into his charge. His answer was he could not receive them unless I would leave six months’ provisions for them, but not having such quantity on board to spare without distressing my crew I could not comply with his wishes; he therefore desired me to return them to Port Jackson.

On 6 March I sail’d from New Zealand with the intent of bringing these men to this port, but from contrary winds I again held a consultation of my officers, who where of opinion it was necessary to have many for the preservation of the ship, in consequence of a heavy gale from W. by N. I continued on till I made the Island of Dominick, one of the Marquesas Islands.

On 9 May, at 5 a.m., sail’d from Dominick; the five runaways made their escape during the preceding night.

At 7 a.m. hove to; sent the boat with two trinkets and other trade as a present to the chief, hoping to induce him to find the men and deliver them into my care, but having run for the woods could not be found.…

I have, &c.,

Thos. Hammont.

To John Thomas Campbell, Secry.