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Historical Records of New Zealand

Governor Macquarie to Earl Bathurst

Governor Macquarie to Earl Bathurst.

Government House, Sydney, N. S. Wales, 1st April, 1817.

My Lord,—

Herewith I take the liberty of transmitting for Your Lordship’s perusal and favourable consideration a memorial addressed to me by a very ingenious man named Robert Willams, rope-maker, in Sydney, on the subject of manufacturing the New Zealand flax or hemp into cordage and sail cloth for exportation to England and the other British dominions from this colony.

From my knowledge of the character of Robert Williams, and observation of the several specimens of this manufacture he has frequently produced at Sydney, I entertain not the least doubt of the statement made by him in his memorial being perfectly page 410 correct, and that he is competent—if he had the required assistance—to fulfil all the promises held out by him in his memorial; but to enable him to do so, and to carry this branch of manufacture on with a certain prospect of success, it would be necessary to afford him sufficient protection from the eventual hostility of the natives of New Zealand, by the establishment of a British settlement there, with a small detachment of troops. How far Your Lordship would deem this good policy it is not for me to say; but I do not at present see that it would be attended with any bad consequences, except in regard to the expence of maintaining such a settlement, tho’ I am inclined to think, if this manufacture proved successful, the advantages to be derived from it to the Mother Country would more than counterbalance any expence the establishment of a small British settlement in New Zealand would cost the Crown. I therefore take the liberty of submitting this measure to Your Lordship’s most favourable consideration.

I do myself the honor to send Your Lordship, by this same conveyance, a box addressed to Your Lordship, containing several specimens of the New Zealand flax or hemp, prepared and manufactured in Sydney by Robert Williams—and alluded to in his memorial—from viewing and examining which Your Lordship will be able to form a tolerable good judgment of his art, and of the utility he attaches to this branch of manufacture.

I have, &c.,

L. Macquarie.

The Right Honorable Earl Bathurst, Downing Street, London.