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Historical Records of New Zealand

(No. 9.)

(No. 9.)

From an attested copy of proceedings held before the Bench of Magistrates on 20 December, 1815, and continued by adjournment until 6 January, 1816, it appears that Mr. John Martin, master of the Queen Charlotte, brig, stood charged by the Revd. Saml. Marsden, as agent for the London and Church Missionary Societies, with various acts of cruelty and oppression towards the chiefs and other natives of the Island of Santa Christiana on a late voyage thither.

These charges were—First, with ordering, on or about the 28th July, 1815, some war-canoes to be brought off by force page 427 from the Island of Santa Christiana, and afterwards taking them away and selling them at other islands. Secondly, for ordering several chiefs to be confined in the hold of the Queen Charlotte on the above mentioned period, and placing over them an armed guard, by which act of violence they were deprived of their liberty, and put in bodily fear. Thirdly, for compelling, with loaded muskets, a number of natives who had been brought off in the war-canoes to leap into the sea, and struggle for life in the best manner they were able, after the war-canoes were fastened to the stern of the Queen Charlotte.

Witnesses having been examined in support of these charges, Captain Martin was called upon for his defence, which he delivered in writing, and supported the same by his witnesses; and, after questioning the power and competency of the Court, and protesting against Revd. Mr. Marsden’s authority to bring these charges, he not having exhibited his authority from the societies which he professes to represent, or proved those societies were incorporated bodies, calls upon the Bench of Magistrates to acquit him upon the evidence before them.

Their decision is as follows:—

Bench of Magistrates, Sydney, 6 Jany., 1816.

“The Magistrates, having now to deliver their opinion on the charges preferred by the Revd. Samuel Marsden against Mr. John Martin, master of the Queen Charlotte, do adjudge the whole to be fully substantiated, and they feel it their duty to recommend that His Excellency the Governor will be pleased to take into his consideration the expediency of some measures being adopted that may prevent a recurrence of similar acts of fraud and violence.

“Certified to be correct—

D. Wentworth.