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Historical Records of New Zealand



(No. 1.)

Extract of a Letter from Revd. S. Marsden to Revd. Josiah Pratt, Secretary to the Church Missionary Society, dated Parra matta, 25th Oct., 1810.

I have three New Zealanders now living with me, one of whom was at New Zealand when the loss of the Boyd took place. According to this man’s statement, the captain of the Boyd took four New Zealanders from Port Jackson, one of whom was the son of a chief of that part of the island to which the Boyd went for spars; that he flogged them all on the passage. When they arrived the son of the chief (who was very ill used) complained to his father of the cruelties that had been exercised on him and his companions. The old chief and one of his sons named Tipphoohee determined immediately on revenging the injuries that had been done to his son and subjects by taking the ship and murdering all the crew, which they effected. Our friend Tippahee happened to arrive with a cargo of fish (which he owed to the chief of that part) just at the time that the business had taken place. Five men had run up into the rigging to save themselves. Tippahee told them to come down and come to his canoe, and he would save them. The sailors did so, and he took them on shore immediately, but was followed by the enraged party, and overpowered, and all the men murdered. Tippahee did all he could to save our countrymen, but was afterwards shot thro’ the neck, and many of his subjects killed, by parties from the whalers, and the whole of the houses on his island destroyed.

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.

his X mark

Sworn before Saml. Marsden, Justice of Peace, Novr. 10, 1813.

(No. 2.)
The Deposition of Mr. James Elder.

James Elder, being first duly sworn before the Revd. Saml. Marsden, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, deposes: That in the year 1807 the ship General Wellesley, Captain Dalrymple, touched at Otaheita, in which island this deponent was then resident, when Capn. Dalrymple requested deponent to go with him as interpreter in a cruise to the Palazeers and other islands, to ascertain what quantity of beech le mar and pearl shells could be obtained. To this requisition deponent gave his consent, and went with Capn. Dalrymple accordingly. page 423 Was six weeks among the islands, and minutely explored nineof them, and was finally leaving them and coming past the end of one of them, called the Prince of Wales’s Island, about sunset, with a light breeze and the vessel under sail; four or five hundred of the natives, composed of men, women, and children, came down on the beach to look at the ship as she passed; the captain, wantonly, barbarously, and without the least provocation whatever (as we had no communication with this island or the natives), fired five or six large guns amongst them, laden with grape shot. The deponent remonstrated with the captain before he fired the gun, and endeavoured to persuade him from such a wanton act of cruelty and inhumanity, but he paid no attention to his remonstrance, but observed it was necessary to strike terror into the minds of these natives, and to convince them what power we possessed. Perhaps he would have fired more guns than the number already stated had not one of his sailors, while loading a gun which had not been spunged, had his arm blown off near the shoulder, which occasioned his death. The captain showed no inclination to cease firing till the sailor had lost his arm. Some months after some of the natives visited Otaheita, and informed the deponent that several of the natives were killed and several wounded at the time Captain Dalrymple fired so wantonly on them.

(No. 3.)
The Deposition of James Besent, relative to the Loss of the Parramatta, Schooner.

Being duly sworn before Revd. Saml. Marsden, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, deposes: That he arrived in March, 1812, at the Bay of Islands, in the King George (a ship belonging to Port Jackson); that he resided on the island twelve months, and that during his residence there he received the following account relative to the loss of the Parramatta, schooner: That the Parramatta, schooner, after leaving Port Jackson, put into the Bay of Islands in distress for want of provisions and water. The natives supplied them with pork, fish, and potatoes, as many as the vessel could stow. After the schooner had received her refreshments the natives waited to be paid for them. The people belonging to the schooner threw the natives overboard, and fired at them, and immediately weighed anchor. Deponent saw three of the natives who had been wounded with small shot by the crew of the Parramatta, schooner. A heavy gale of wind coming on immediately, which set into the harbour, blew the vessel on shore between Cape Brett and Terras district, where the remains of the wreck page 424 laid when the deponent was at New Zealand. After the vessel was wrecked the natives revenged themselves on the crew for firing at them and defrauding them of their provisions, and cut them all off.

(No. 4.)
The Deposition of Abraham Hendricke (confirmed by the Depositions of John Jones, Thomas French, and John Randall).

All duly sworn before Revd. Saml. Marsden, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, deposes: That he, Abraham Hendricke, was, together with the other above named deponents, on board the brig Daphne (Michael Flodyer, master), and sailed from Port Jackson in September, 1812; that when they made an island called Reematerra three very small canoes came off to the ship, and eighteen natives; the canoes were so small that the natives were obliged to swim alongside them; they brought some fruit, bananas, yams, and plaintains. The captain invited them on board. They quitted their canoes, let them adrift, and came on board. These natives appeared as if they never before had seen white people; they addressed the Europeans with the greatest reverence; fell down; clasped and kissed their feet. They got a small bit of iron hoop and a pearl shell each for the fruits. Their canoes were swamp’d alongside. The brig was standing out to sea; it blew fresh; the land was about seven miles distant. The captain ordered the mate to turn these islanders out of the ship, which was done in a very cruel manner; they were beat with a rope’s end, turned over the side, and while hanging to the ship their hands were beaten. They then swam to their canoes, which were already swamp’d, and fourteen out of eighteen were drowned at a short distance from the vessel. And this deponent remonstrated with the captain, saying these men would be drowned unless they were assisted; and upon a tack being made towards where the canoes were, it was too late, they having been drowned.

(No. 5.)
Extract of a Letter from Revd. S. Marsden to Revd. Josh. Pratt, Secretary, dated November 6, 1815.

I am sorry to inform you that the colonial vessels, as well as some of the whalers, treat the natives exceedingly ill, and may greatly endanger the lives of the settlers at the Bay of Islands. From the best information that I am able to obtain, it appears that the last colonial vessel must have committed the most dreadful crimes on the coast of New Zealand. Five men belonging to the vessel were killed in the quarrels they had with the natives, and page 425 from their own account not less than one hundred of the natives. This happened not far from the River Thames, an account of which had reached the settlers in the Bay of Islands, and has greatly distressed and alarmed them. After this affair the vessel touched at the Bay of Islands, on her return to Port Jackson. and it is more than probable would have been cut off there, for the crimes they had committed, had not the Active been lying in the harbour, and the settlers there. The natives of the Bay of Islands were much offended with the Europeans who had murdered so many of their countrymen. But it is in vain for me to attempt to bring any of these men to justice; nothing can be done, except the British Parliament will take into consideration the unprotected state of both the missionaries and natives in all the islands in these seas. The Europeans may, and at present do, commit every crime with impunity, and there is no law either to restrain or punish them. The natives have no means but to repel force by force.

(No. 6.)

(See Nos. 7 and 8, end of Appendix, for General Orders.)

The Government and General Orders, under dates of 1st December, 1813, and 9th November, 1814, will shew that the masters and crews of vessels trading on the coast of New Zealand were guilty of gross frauds and violence in their traffick with the natives. To which may be added the following extract from the journal of Revd. Samuel Marsden: “I told them (some of the principal chiefs) that Mr. Barnes, master of the Jefferson, whaler, when at Port Jackson had informed me that they had acted treacherously towards him, in attempting to cut off two boats belonging to the Jefferson when she was last at the North Cape, in company with the King George. I told them I was much concerned to hear these reports, as that if they continued to act in this manner no European vessel would visit them. In reply to this they stated that the masters of the Jefferson and King George had in the first instance behaved ill to them. They had agreed to give 150 baskets of potatoes and eight hogs for a musket. The potatoes and hogs were delivered, and divided between the two vessels, after which the Otaheitan and one of the chiefs went on board the King George for the musket, which was delivered; at the same time the master of the King George demanded more potatoes and hogs. The chief was detained on board, and the Otaheitan was sent on shore for more potatoes and hogs. The head chief said he had fulfilled the agreement for the musket by the 150 baskets of potatoes and eight hogs, and he would give no more. The chief that was detained on board page 426 the King George was the head chief’s brother, and was at this time on board the Active. The Otaheitan was sent on board the King George to tell the master that no more potatoes and hogs would be given, and to request him to release the chief whom he had unjustly detained. This the master refused to do, and kept the Otaheitan a prisoner also. In two or three days they were both put on board the Jefferson. There they remained three or four days, till they were ransomed at 170 baskets of potatoes and five hogs. The people on shore were greatly enraged, and alarmed for the safety of their chief, as the vessels were out of sight some time. After the potatoes and hogs were delivered two boats were sent on shore, with the Otaheitan and the chief. Great numbers of the natives assembled on the shore to receive them. They were no sooner landed than the natives fired upon the boats; and I have no doubt but they would have massacred the people at the moment if they could, for their fraud and cruelty. The Otaheitan told me it was impossible to restrain the people from firing upon the boats. The chief spoke with great warmth and indignation at the treatment he had received. I assured them that both King George and Governor Macquarie would punish any act of fraud and cruelty committed by the Europeans, whenever they were informed of them.“

Jacob Williams states upon oath before Revd. Saml. Marsden, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, 19 November, 1813: That he was a seaman on board the Mercury, schooner, and was ordered by Capn. Walker, master of the Mercury (together with Mr. Dillon and another sailor), to go on shore at the Bay of Islands to steal potatoes from the potatoe grounds belonging to the natives; that they did land after dark, and Capn. Walker with them; that they went into the potatoe ground and tore them up—they were quite young and not fit to gather; that they pulled up a great many roots, but got very few potatoes.

(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.

Government and General Orders.

Government House, Sydney, N. South Wales, 9th November, 1814.

It having been represented to His Excellency the Governor that the commanders and seamen of vessels touching at or trading with the Islands of New Zealand, and more especially that part of them commonly called “The Bay of Islands,“ having been in the habit of offering gross insult and injury to the natives of those places, by violently seizing on and carrying off several page 428 of them. both males and females, and treating them in other respects with injudicious and unwarrantable severity, to the great prejudice of the fair intercourses of trade, which might be otherwise productive of mutual advantages, and His Excellency being equally solicitous to protect the natives of New Zealand and the Bay of Islands in all their just rights and privileges as those of every other dependency of the territory of New South Wales, hereby orders and directs that no master or seamen of any ship or vessel belonging to any British port, or to any of the colonies of Great Britain resorting to the said Islands of New Zealand shall in future remove or carry there-from any of the natives without first obtaining the permission of the chief or chiefs of the districts in which the natives so to be embarked may happen to reside, which permission is to be certified in writing, under the hand of Mr. Thomas Kendall, the Resident Magistrate in the Bay of Islands, or of the Magistrate for the time being in such districts.

It is also ordered and directed by the authority aforesaid that no master of any ship or vessel belonging to Great Britain, or any of her colonies, shall land or discharge any sailor or sailors within any of the bays or harbours of New Zealand without having first obtained the permission of the chief or chiefs of the place, confirmed by the certificate of the Resident Magistrate, in like manner as in the foregoing case.

Any neglect or disobedience of these Orders by the masters or seamen belonging to ships or vessels trading from hence to or having any intercourse with New Zealand or the adjacent isles will subject the offenders to be proceeded against with the utmost rigour of the law on their return hither; and those who shall return to England without resorting to this place will be reported to His Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Colonies, and such documents transmitted as will warrant them being equally proceeded against and punished there as if they had arrived within this territory.

And with a view to carry these Orders into due effect, His Excellency is pleased to direct that the following chiefs of New Zealand—viz., Dewaterra, Shungie, and Korra Korra—be and are hereby invested with power and authority for that purpose, and are to receive due obedience from all persons to whom these Orders have reference, so far as they relate to their obtaining permission to remove or carry away any of the natives of New Zealand or the adjacent isles, or to land or discharge any sailors or other persons thereon.

By command of His Excellency the Governor.

John Thomas Campbell,

page 429

Government And General Orders.

1st December. 1813.

No ship or vessel shall clear out from any port within the territory for New Zealand, or any other island in the South Pacific, unless the master if of British or Indian, or the master and owners if of plantation registry, shall enter into bonds with the Naval Officer, under £1,000 penalty, that themselves and crew shall properly demean themselves towards the natives, and not commit acts of trespass on their gardens, lands, habitations, burial-grounds, tombs, or properties, and not make war, or interfere in their quarrels, or excite any arimosities amongst them, but leave them to the free enjoyment of their rites and ceremonies; and not take from the island any male native without his own, his chief’s, and parents’ consent, and shall not take from thence any female native without the like consent, and without having first obtained the consent of His Excellency the Governor, or his Secretary, in writing; or in case of shipping any male natives as mariners, divers, &c., then, at their own request at any time to discharge them, first paying them all wages, &c., due to them. And the natives of all the said islands being under His Majesty’s protection, all acts of rapine, plunder, piracy, murders, or other outrages against their persons or property will, upon conviction, be severely punished.