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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

A Brush with Pirates

page 33

A Brush with Pirates.

In the month of October 1843 I volunteered to go with my boat's crew and an officer and some soldiers of the 80th Regiment to look for a brigantine which had been stolen from a harbour in the "Chatham Islands" by some desperadoes, who, knowing that there was no ship of war on the coast, had boldly come to a small harbour of an island about 60 miles from Auckland, and were getting ready for a piratical cruise. Mr W. S. Grahame, an Auckland merchant, lent us the use of a schooner. Wind and other circumstances favoured us, so that by a little management we were alongside the abducted vessel early one morning before the intended pirates had any suspicion of our coming, and she was taken without bloodshed. I brought the brigantine to Aucklaud, the leader and his crew were severely punished, and the vessel was after a time given up to the agents of an Insurance Company, to which her owners had abandoned her. This check to lawless practices in those early days of the colony was very satisfactory to the Government, and brought me very pleasing public acknowledgments of our success, without claim for salvage. After 15 years'service at Auckland I was appointed head of Her Majesty's Customs at the very pleasant settlement of Nelson, in the Middle Island, and altogether I spent more than 30 years and served under page 34 five successive Governors with apparent success in the flourishing colony of New Zealand until I obtained my retiring pension in the year 1868.