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From Tasman To Marsden.

2. The Hunter, 1798 to 1800

2. The Hunter, 1798 to 1800.

On 10th June 1798, a Java-built snow of 300 tons called the Hunter reached Port Jackson from Bengal, and on 20th September sailed for New Zealand to secure a cargo of spars for the China market. Captain James Fearn made for the page 90 Waihou River, where he procured a cargo which he transported to the water's edge with the assistance of the Natives, and sailed for China about the middle of October.

Returning from Calcutta the following year, the Hunter sailed again from Sydney on 20th October. Her destination was Calcutta, and her Articles gave her captain permission to call at New Zealand, but as she was back to Sydney by 14th February 1800, it is more than probable that she did not visit this country.

The Hunter sailed on her third trip on 14th April, under instructions to her captain to call at New Zealand and take a cargo of masts to Bengal, where he was to sell them and then dispose of the ship. Hingston, who commanded her, had, unfortunately, taken away no less than twenty-two time-expired convicts, and one man who was serving a life sentence. To punish him for this the officers of the East India Company took advantage of the fact that he had no authority from the Company to trade with India, and seized the vessel and took Hingston into custody, to obtain the condemnation of the former and the penalties incurred by the latter. Hingston pleaded that he had the sanction of the Governor of New South Wales for his enterprise, and had come to India to procure articles required for the use of the young Colony. On these representations the Hunter was allowed to continue her voyage, and she returned to Sydney.

On learning what had taken place, King, the new Governor, summoned the proprietor of the Hunter, who stated that Hingston's representations that he had the permission of the Governor to return with a cargo were framed to suit his own purpose.