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Historical Records of New Zealand

The Deposition of John Besant relative to the Loss of the Boyd

The Deposition of John Besant relative to the Loss of the Boyd.

Being duly sworn, deposes: That he arrived in the King George at the Bay of Islands in March, 1812. That in consequence of the master treating some of the New Zealanders ill, page 422 he, the deponent, was apprehensive the ship would be cut off: and, judging it safer to go on shore and live with the natives, he left the ship, and remained on the place twelve months during his residence among the natives. He received the following account of the loss of the Boyd from one of the chief’s sons, who spoke English very well, having been on board the Star, Capt. Wilkinson, two voyages: When the Star sailed from Port Jackson to England, Capt. Wilkinson got Capt. Thompson, master of the Boyd, to take the chief and his companions on board the Boyd, under a promise of landing them at New Zealand, as he was bound there for spars; that the chief’s son informed deponent that Captain Thompson had tied him up in the rigging, and flogged him, and kept all his things; that after the Boyd had arrived in the port of New Zealand he was flogged in the harbour, and sent on shore immediately; that the natives had procured a considerable part of the cargo of spars before the chief was flogged (which spars the deponent saw with the wreck of the Boyd when he was at New Zealand); after Captain Thompson had flogged the chief and taken his things, the natives would render no further assistance in procuring the spars, nor go near the ship; that Captain Thompson landed the ship’s company to get the spars themselves, leaving only two men on board besides the passengers; on his landing, Tipphookee, a principal chief of Marygohroo, went up to Captain Thompson, told him that he had flogged his son, and that he would kill him, and immediately knocked him on the head with an axe, and the rest of the crew were immediately murdered. He farther informed this deponent that Tippahee, the then chief of the Bay of Islands, and his people were not concerned in the destruction of the Boyd.

John Besant.

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