New South Wales Society for affording Protection to the Natives of the South Sea Islands, and promoting their Civilization.
[Image of page 459]
SOUTH SEA ISLANDS.
New South Wales Society for affording Protection to the Natives of the South Sea Islands, and promoting their Civilization.
At a meeting of the inhabitants of the Colony of New South Wales, held at Sydney, Dec. 20, 1813, pursuant to requisition,
WILLIAM GORE, ESQ. PROVOST MARSHALL, in the Chair;
the Rev. Samuel Marsden stated the necessity and the objects of such a Society; the establishment of which was unanimously voted. Suitable Laws were adopted and officers appointed.
The following Regulations will explain the intention of the founders of this Benevolent Institution, which has an important aspect on the efforts of Missionary Societies in those Seas.
"The Object of this Society shall be, to afford Protection and Relief to the Natives of the South Sea Islands who may be brought to Port Jackson, and to defend their just Claims on the Masters and Owners of the Vessels who bring them, and to see justice done to their persons and property; and also, to instruct them in the principles of Christianity, and in the different branches of Agriculture; and in such other simple arts as may best lead to their civilization and general improvement.
"No Native of the South Sea Islands shall reside with any person in this settlement, without the consent of the General Committee, when once received under the protection of this Society.
"A Committee of three Members, chosen annually
[Image of page 460]
from the General Body, shall be appointed to hear all the complaints of the South Sea Islanders, against the Owners, Masters, or Crews of Vessels: and to bring such Owners, Masters, or Crews before a Court of Justice, whenever it may be deemed necessary so to do."
This Institution owes its existence to the deep interest which Mr. Marsden has long felt in the civilization and conversion of the Islanders of the South Seas.
The following Extract of a Letter from him to the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, dated Parramatta, March 15, 1814, will fully illustrate his view in the unwearied exertions which he is making in behalf of these numerous tribes.
"I have long wished for an opportunity to bring forward some of the Masters of Vessels, who visit the Islands in the South Seas, for their wanton cruelties, robberies, and murders of the Natives; in order to put a stop, as far as possible, to these acts of violence.
"A few months ago, I received information that the master of a vessel from Port Jackson had treated a New Zealander very ill, by beating him cruelly, stripping him naked, and taking from him what little property he had acquired by acting as a sailor on board. These acts took place in the Bay of Islands. I wrote an Official Letter to the Governor, (a copy of which I herewith transmit,) when the Master of the Vessel arrived, requesting that his Excellency would cause an inquiry to be made, which was done. I immediately brought forward another Master of a Vessel upon a similar charge. The facts which I circumstantiated, induced his Excellency to issue a Proclamation for the protection of the Natives of the South Sea Islands; and to require all Masters of Vessels, who clear out of this Port, or enter into a
[Image of page 461]
bond, that they will not commit any of those acts of fraud and violence upon the natives. In this case I obtained the utmost of my wishes.
"My next step was to try if I could not get a Society formed for the Protection of the Natives of the South Sea Islands who may come to Port Jackson. In this I also succeeded far better than I expected. I have no doubt but this Society will greatly aid the Missions to New Zealand, and to the other Inlands. I consider this institution to be of vast importance to the Common Cause. For the governing of the Society, as well as for constituting it, I copied your Rules as nearly as I could: these were approved. I shall transmit to you the proceedings as far as we have gone. The Church Missionary Society will see, from all these circumstances, that Divine Goodness is preparing a way for these poor Heathens to receive the glad tidings of the Gospel.
"I think much has been done here in clearing away the difficulties. From the Depositions which I shall transmit for the information of the Society, you will see what just cause the Natives of different Islands have to redress their own wrongs upon the Europeans.
"Governor Macquarrie has always very readily met my wishes, and interposed bis authority whenever requested so to do.
"I see the footsteps of Divine Providence strongly marked in many circumstances, that have happened in these parts of the world: all tending to make way for the blessing of the Gospel. The attention of those in authority would not have been awakened to the sufferings of the Natives of the South Sea Islands, unless some great crimes had been committed. Those crimes will produce the effect. His Excellency assured me, that he would write both to the Governor-General of India, and also to his Majesty's Ministers, to request that they will not allow any vessel to sail, either from England or India, to these Seas, till
[Image of page 462]
the Masters had entered into the necessary bonds for their good conduct toward the Natives. From this you will see that the Missionaries will be more secure from the hand of violence, than they could otherwise have been."
The Governor accepted the office of Patron, and the Lieutenant-Governor that of President: the Deputy Commissary-General was appointed Treasurer, and the Rev. S. Marsden, Secretary. Benefactions to the amount of about 200l. were contributed, and Annual Subscriptions of about 50l. All the more distant Settlements were invited to support this Philanthropic Society.
The Governor has engaged to promote the benevolent views of the Institution, both in his public and private character; and to recommend it to the favour of Government.
Extracts of Letters from the Rev. Samuel Marsden to the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, dated Parramatta, June 18 and 23, 1813, are printed in the Fourteenth Report of the Society. The prospect of success to its endeavours to benefit the New Zealanders which those letters opened, induced the Committee to assign the sum of 500l. per annum to Mr. Marsden and, his friends, for the promotion of the Society's views, and to suggest to them the expediency of forming an Auxiliary Society in New South Wales, with a view of assisting the Church Missionary Society in carrying on its designs in those quarters; and of promoting its funds, so far as may be found practicable, in the colony.
The following extract of a subsequent letter of Mr. Marsden confirms the hopes excited by his former.
[Image of page 463]
"Parramatta, New South Wales,
August 16, 1813.
"I am happy (o inform you, that I have received very late accounts from Duaterra, and that he is going on well. All the vessels which have touched there since his return, have been safe, and were supplied with every thing that the country could afford.
"Two young men, sons of two Chiefs, have arrived in the last vessel from Zealand. I expect one of them in a few days, to live with me for a time.
"The way seems gradually opening for a Mission to New Zealand. The natives are getting on with their cultivation, and have now plenty of maize and pigs; with potatoes and other vegetables. The wheat which I sent a few months since, is growing very well. Duaterra has a perfect knowledge of the cultivation of maize and wheat: bread will be a wonderful advantage to these poor Islanders, and be a means of preventing their civil wars.
"I should have endeavoured to begin the Mission before now, had not the unfortunate business of the Boyd occurred. I was afraid that if any thing serious should happen to the Missionaries, I might have been blamed. I have no doubt but the way will be made plain and clear; and that we shall have the most friendly intercourse with the Natives.
"Had there been a vessel that could have been employed in the Mission, much might have been done before this time. I am in expectation of removing this difficulty, either by purchasing part of a vessel myself, or of being able to hire one.
"I have an intention to instruct the two young Chiefs, now with me, in agriculture; and to teach them to make an axe or a hoe. Agriculture will make the way clear for the Missionaries: it will find employment for the Natives, and furnish them with the means of support. If they are once instructed in this useful knowledge, New Zealand will become a great country.
[Image of page 464]
"I wish the Society would send me out for them a few axes, hoes, spades, saws, common knives, fishhooks, needles, and such useful articles, as soon as they can; and, at the same time, a few tin pots and iron pots; and a hand-wheat-mill, for them to grind their wheat. These things will he of incalculable value to them, and will have the best effect. They will now give a large hog for a small axe, and a bag of potatoes for a small bit of iron hoop, that they can fasten into the end of a rod to work with.
"I think the natural flax of New Zealand would be a valuable article of commerce. Any quantity of it may be procured.
"I am looking out for Mr. Kendall, whom you mentioned in your last. I wish he were here now: he should begin his work immediately with the two New Zealanders who are here, till a farther opening should be made.
"All the Masters of Vessels I have seen and conversed with, who have been at New Zealand, are of opinion, that the Missionaries will be perfectly safe amongst the Natives. I am convinced much has been done already, toward the Mission, by that friendly intercourse which is now opened, and by Duaterra, and by one of the Priests living in my house. They have acquired a certain degree of knowledge by joining in family worship, attending constantly on public worship, and by conversing with me upon Divine Subjects.
"I have enclosed a few threads of the flax which were sent me a few days ago. Ship-loads of this flax may be got at New Zealand, should it be valuable. Will you have the goodness to request some Gentlemen of the Society to ascertain its value? I have sent it, as I received it. I think it could be turned to some good account, and might also find employment for the Natives to collect it.
"I present my respectful compliments to the Society, wishing that all their labours may be blessed. I am, &c. &c."
[Image of page 465]
More recent intelligence has just been received by the Church Missionary Society-- Mr. Marsden had purchased the brig Active, of 110 tons; and Mr. Kendall and Mr. Hall had proceeded in her to New Zealand, on a voyage of investigation. Letters have arrived from them, dated June 15, 1814, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. The substance of these communications will be given in the next Number.
In the mean time, we shall lay before our readers some Official Documents, which will serve to rescue the characters of the New Zealanders from unmerited opprobrium.
Official Letter of Rev. Samuel Marsden to his Excellency Governor Macquarrie, on the criminal Conduct of many Masters of Vessels toward the New Zealanders.
Nov 1, 1813.
May it please your Excellency--
The wanton violence and cruelties exercised upon the natives of New Zealand, the frauds and robberies committed upon their little property, by the masters and crews of the different vessels which touch there for refreshments, have, long before your Excellency had the honour to command these parts of his Majesty's dominions, called upon the Executive Authority of this Colony for redress. Not only the motives of common humanity and public justice to the much-injured New Zealanders, require that some measures should be adopted to prevent, as far as may be, a repetition of those acts of oppression, rapine, and murder, which they from time to time suffered from our people, to the eternal disgrace of our name and nation; but also the lives and property of his Majesty's subjects, which may be exposed to the most imminent dangers, from the injured and exasperated natives, when vessels are compelled to put into their harbour for refreshments or by any other cause, claims your Excellency's most mature consideration The natives of New Zealand have no means of obtaining justice but the law of retaliation; and to this law, like all other uncivilized nations,
[Image of page 466]
they will resort, whenever they feel themselves injured or oppressed. The fatal loss of the Boyd and the Parramatta, and the murders of their captains and crews, and of several crews belonging to boats of different vessels, were occasioned by the unprovoked cruelties of the Europeans. It rarely happens that an opportunity offers, in this colony, of bringing the guilty to punishment: the ships that visit New Zealand, when they have completed their cargo, very frequently proceeding direct to Europe or America, without touching at Port Jackson. On this account, those who have injured the natives of that Island have either been cut off, in the moment of personal revenge, by the enraged party, or else have escaped with impunity.
Some months ago, I received information that Mr. Lasco Jones, master of the King George, had acted with great injustice and cruelty to one of the New Zealanders on board the said vessel, whom he took with him from this port, previous to his landing him at the Bay of Islands. As Mr. Lasco Jones is now arrived in this port, I humbly solicit your Excellency to cause an investigation to be made into the conduct of Mr. Jones, previous to his sailing from this harbour; and to allow me to produce such Evidences against him, as may tend to circumstantiate the information which has been communicated to me.
I am fully persuaded your Excellency has every wish to protect the innocent and punish the guilty; and that the natives of New Zealand will find you ready to afford them all the relief in your power, and to protect, as far as possible, their persons from insult and violence, and their little property from rapine and plunder. Though these people may not possess much, yet their little is their all. Europeans have no right to land on their Island to destroy their plantations of potatoes and other vegetables, strip them naked of their garments, and ill-treat and murder them if they dare to resist such lawless oppression. In addition to the charge which I wish to exhibit against Mr. Lasco Jones, I shall be happy to bring forward two or three respectable Witnesses, who have been at New Zealand, and are acquainted with the situation of the natives, to state, for your Excellency's information what they know of the treatment which the New Zealanders, have received from the masters and
[Image of page 467]
crews of vessels. When these Informations, or Affidavits, are submitted to your Excellency's consideration, your Excellency will then judge what restraints may be deemed necessary to lay upon such masters of vessels as leave this port tor New Zealand, and what instructions to give them in future.
Should the natives of New Zealand be treated with justice and humanity by the Europeans, and their persons and property protected from the hand of fraud and violence, I am persuaded that all hostilities and murder would cease on their part, and a friendly intercourse would soon be open between them and the settlement, which will greatly benefit this colony. They are a noble race of men, and capable of every mental improvement. They would soon learn our simple arts and form habits of industry. This I am fully convinced of from the knowledge I have of their character and endowments.
I trust your Excellency will see the propriety and importance of instituting some judicial inquiry against Mr. Jones, in order that he may not pass with impunity, if the charge alleged against him be clearly proved.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Much having been said, in disparagement of the New Zealanders, respecting the massacre by them of the crews of the Boyd and Parramatta, we shall insert, in order that the case may be fully understood,
Two Depositions respecting the cutting off by the New Zealanders of the Crews of the Boyd and Parramatta.
Court House, Parramatta, Wednesday, Nov. 10th, 1813.
The Deposition of John Besent, relative to the loss of the Boyd.
Being duly sworn, deposes--That he arrived in the King George (a ship belonging to Port Jackson) at the Bay of Islands in March 1812: That in consequence of the Master treating some of the New Zealanders ill, he, the Deponent, was apprehensive the ship would be cut off, and the crew murdered and, judging it safer to go on shore and live with the natives, he left the ship, and remained on the island twelve months. During his resi-
[Image of page 468]
dence among the natives, he received the following account of the loss of the Boyd, from one of the Chiefs' Sons, who spoke the English Language very well, having been on board the Star, Captain Wilkinson, two voyages. The Star sailed from London for the South Seas. When the Star sailed from Port Jackson for England, Captain Wilkinson got Captain Thompson, Master of the Boyd, to take the Chief and his Companion on board the Boyd, under a promise of landing them at New Zealand, as he was bound there for spars.
That the Chief informed the Deponent, that Captain Wilkinson, previous to his sailing for England, had paid him his lay of oil and skins that had been procured, with which he purchased clothing, &c. and that he also received presents from gentlemen and others at Port Jackson, and a musket from Captain Wilkinson. He also informed Deponent, that Captain Thompson had tied him up in the rigging, and flogged him, and kept all his things. After the Boyd had arrived in the Port of New Zealand, the Young Chief was flogged in the harbour, and sent ashore immediately. The Natives had procured a considerable part of the cargo of spars before the Chief was flogged, which spars this Deponent saw, when he was at New Zealand, with the wreck of the Boyd. 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, Peipphoohee, a principal Chief of Warygohroo, 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 further informed this Deponent, that Teippoohee, the then Chief of the Bay of Islands, and his people, were not concerned in the destruction of the Boyd.
Court House, Parramatta, Wednesday, Nov. 10th, 1813.
The Deposition of John Besent, relative to the loss of the Parramatta Schooner.
Being duly sworn, deposes--That he arrived in March 1812 at the Bay of Islands, in the King George (a ship
[Image of page 469]
belonging to Port Jackson); that he resided on the Island twelve months; and during his residence there he received the following account of 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 provision 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 wanted to be paid for them. The people belonging to the Schooner threw the Natives overboard, and fired at them, and immediately weighed anchor. The 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 Brit and Terra's District, where the remains of the wreck laid when the Deponent was at New Zealand last March. 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.