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Historical Records of New Zealand

Navy Office, 19th June, 1818

Navy Office, 19th June, 1818.


We duly received Mr. Barrow’s letter of the 18th ultimo, accompanied by copies of the letters from Mr. Goulburn and Governor Macquarie, and of a memorial from Mr. Robert Williams, a ropemaker at Sydney, on the subject of manufacturing the New Zealand flax or hemp into cordage and sail cloth for exportation to this country, together with specimens of the cordage and flax in question.

In consequence of the directions of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, contained in Mr. Barrow’s letter, we sent the papers and specimens to Commissioner Mr. Robert Barlow, and desired him to cause experiments to be made on the strength of the articles compared with cordage of the same sizes manufactured in the rope yard at Chatham, and report his opinion of the character and quality of the New Zealand hemp; and the Commissioner having, with his letter of the 13th instant, transmitted a report from the Rope Yard Offices containing a table which shews the results of the experiments which he has caused to be made (and at most of which he was present) on the actual and comparative strength of the New Zealand flax or hemp and of Riga and Chili hemp, we transmit to you herewith, to lay before the Lordships, a copy of the report, by which it will be seen that the New Zealand article is weaker than the Riga and Chili hemp nearly in the proportion of one third.

The Commissioner has stated that he agrees with the officers in their observations on its quality and character.

We are, &c.

J. Tucker.

E. Bouverie.

E. Stewart.