1845 - Wakefield, E. J. Adventure in New Zealand [Vol.II.] - [APPENDICES]

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  1845 - Wakefield, E. J. Adventure in New Zealand [Vol.II.] - [APPENDICES]
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1. A Memorial by the late Captain Arthur Wakefield, R. N., to Earl Minto, First Lord of the Admiralty.

MY LORD, 28th February, 1837.

RETURNING the other day to England, after passing three years on a foreign station as Senior Lieutenant of H. M. S. "Thunderer," having spent nearly 27 years in his Majesty's service, nearly 25 years in active employment, and upwards of 20 years on foreign stations, including two years and a half on the coast of Africa, the first intelligence I received was of a coming general promotion, and the next that 25 Lieutenants, 16 of them my juniors, and 5 of the latter serving on the station which I had just quitted, have obtained the rank of Commanders, whilst I remain a Lieutenant of 16 years' standing. Since then I have been led to entertain a hope that, as has unavoidably happened before on similar occasions, my exclusion from the recent promotion may have occurred through accidental oversight; for which, however, I take blame to myself alone, because, wholly occupied by the service, I have perhaps neglected to bring my claims fully to your Lordship's notice. In truth, my Lord, during a period of active service, with which that of few officers of my age will bear comparison, I have never been in the habit of making applications to your Lordship or your predecessors, but have, as a principle or rule of conduct deliberately pursued, sought promotion by one means only, namely, fagging at the hard work of the profession, trusting always that in time a claim to notice would be established, such as could not but have effect with the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, even though unsupported by solicitations from myself or my friends.

In the hope then that, provided my only claim to advancement, services, and character, had been sufficiently expressed in due time, I should at least have been included in the recent promotion, I would now respectfully petition that the

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oversight of those claims may be remedied, by my being placed according to seniority amongst my brother-officers who have been recently thought worthy of his Majesty's favour.

In May 1810, at ten years of age, I entered his Majesty's service, on board the "Nisus" frigate, commanded by Capt. Philip Beaver, who was an old and intimate friend of my father's. I served on board the "Nisus" until May 1814; having been present at the capture of the Isle of France and Java, under Sir Albemarle Bertie and Sir Robert Stopford. At Java I was taken on shore by Capt. Beaver; and was present when the breaching batteries sustained a heavy cannonade from Fort Cornelis.

After Capt. Beaver's death, in April 1813, the "Nisus" was commanded by Capt. Charles M. Schomberg; whose good opinion I am well known to have enjoyed until his death. In May 1814, when the "Nisus" was paid off, I immediately joined the "Hebrus" frigate, Capt. Edmund Palmer; under whom I served until December 1816, when the ship was paid off. Under Capt. Palmer, I served as his aide-de-camp in the expedition which resulted in the capture of Washington, and at the affair of Bladensburg I had the good fortune to secure one of three flags taken from the enemy. I entered Washington close to Sir George Cockburn and General Ross, when the General's horse was shot under him. I had the honour to be mentioned in Sir George Cockburn's despatch, descriptive of this expedition.

Immediately after this expedition, being then 14 years of age, I was put in charge of a prize of 280 tons burden, and took her from Chesapeake Bay to Bermuda.

Having rejoined the "Hebrus," I was present in her at the bombardment of Algiers, in 1816, under Lord Exmouth, and remained in her until she was paid off in December 1816. Capt. Palmer's opinion of me is testified by various letters and certificates; and I enjoyed his warmest friendship until the day of his death.

In December 1816, I passed my examination in navigation, two years before my age enabled me to qualify for the rank of Lieutenant.

In March 1818, I joined the "Queen Charlotte," Capt.

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Thomas Briggs, bearing the flag of Sir George Campbell; and in July 1819, was removed into the "Superb," bearing the broad pendant of Sir Thomas M. Hardy, with whom I served until July 1821. During Sir Thomas Hardy's exercise of diplomatic and consular functions in South America, I had the honour to be selected to attend upon him as Flag Midshipman.

Although it was with a view to my immediate promotion that I had been removed from the "Queen Charlotte" to the "Superb," at the especial desire of Lord Melville, then First Lord of the Admiralty, expressed to Sir George Cockburn whilst holding in his hand the Gazette Extraordinary containing Sir George's despatch relative to the expedition to Washington, I was not advanced to the rank of Lieutenant until the partial promotion of February 1821. I served as Lieutenant on board the "Superb," until she was paid off in June 1822.

At this time, when his Majesty George the Fourth went to Scotland by sea, Lord St. Vincent, who honoured me with his kindest regards, was desirous that I should accompany him as his aide-de-camp, when he waited upon the King at Greenwich; and was alone prevented from fulfilling his intention by some official objection to his being so attended on board the royal yacht. Consequently, I accompanied his Lordship no further than to Greenwich.

In January 1823, I was appointed to the "Brazen," Capt. George W. Willes; under whom I served until September 1826, on the South American, Channel, and African stations. During six months of the "Brazen's" service in the Channel, 2l smugglers were taken and convicted, and smuggled goods captured to a large amount. On the coast of Africa, 900 slaves were taken; and I had the satisfaction of taking 420 of them, when in command of the ship's boats, from a Spanish vessel of four guns and 48 men, the crews of the boats amounting only to 25, and the vessel being nine miles distant from the "Brazen."

In the following month of September, the commander of the "Conflict" having invalided, Commodore Bullen was pleased to appoint me to the command of that brig; which I held till she was paid off in February 1828; having during

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this command captured two slave-ships loaded with goods (of the estimated value of 40,000l.) for the purchase of slaves, and actively engaged in the traffic. With respect to my services throughout the above five years, I hold the strongest testimonials from my commanding officers, Admiral Bullen and Captain Willes.

In June 1828, upon the application of Sir Eaton Travers. I was appointed Senior Lieutenant of the "Rose;" in which I served on the Cape of Good Hope and North American station until January 1830, when her commander was promoted and superseded by Commander J. G. Dewar, who was drowned on the coast of Labrador in August 1830. The Commander-in-chief, Sir Edward Colpoys, was then pleased to appoint me to the temporary command of the "Rose;" which I held until I had completed the execution of Commander Dewar's orders for the protection of the fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, when I was superseded by my junior officer, Commander W. Pilkington.

Sir Edward Colpoys, however, after expressing his regret at this circumstance, took me into his flag-ship, where I served a great part of the time as Senior Lieutenant, until Sir Edward's death; thus losing the prospect of that promotion which, if he had lived, the Senior Lieutenant of his flag-ship might have expected, and which, on that account, is so frequently bestowed on Senior Lieutenants of flag-ships when their friend in command happens to die on a foreign station.

After the death of Sir Edward Colpoys, I continued to serve as First Lieutenant of the "Winchester," under Captain Wellesley, until she was paid off in June 1833. With respect to my services during the above period of nearly three years, I have the honour to refer your Lordship to the enclosed testimonials from Captain Wellesley.

In October of the same year (1833), I was appointed First Lieutenant of the "Thunderer," Captain Wise; under whom I served in that ship on the Mediterranean station until the present month of February, when she was paid off. With respect to my services during the above period of more than three years, I have the honour to refer your Lordship to the enclosed testimonials from Captain Wise.

Upon three occasions I have jumped overboard after drown-

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ing men--firstly at Halifax, in February 1830, in very severe weather, when I assisted Mr. George Star, the purser of the "Rose," who had also jumped overboard, in rescuing a corporal and private of marines; and again at Halifax in 1832, when, although I picked up the man before he had been two minutes in the water, life was unfortunately extinct; and lastly, at Vourla in 1834, when I had the satisfaction of saving a life. It happened on the two former of these occasions, that I was the commanding officer at the time; and as no report was made of the circumstances, in all probability they would still have remained unknown to your Lordship, if I had not been impelled by my present feelings to overcome a natural repugnance to speaking of myself in this memorial.

The above statement is not the only proof that I can adduce of that devotion to the service, and those professional qualifications, on which alone I rest a claim to your Lordship's consideration. Besides the most constant attention to the ordinary duties of every appointment that I have filled, and having performed for a long while, as Senior Lieutenant of a large ship, those arduous and responsible duties which are held to qualify for the situation of commander of a line-of-battle ship, I can safely declare (and the fact ought to be known to your Lordship), that I have paid especial attention to the management and discipline of men: and to show with how much success, I would mention the circumstance that, in the short space of nine days, the "Winchester" was dismantled and paid off, without an accident during the dismantling, or an irregularity, or the omission of a single formality; and that, on the recent occasion of paying off the "Thunderer" at Plymouth, with a crew of 600 men, no accident or irregularity occurred, although during ten days of that disorganizing process, the ship was without marines, and had no other than blue-jacket sentries. Moreover, the few hours that I have been able to steal from the most active routine duties have still been occupied with my profession; as some proof whereof, I venture to remind your Lordship that my invention for the "imitation of shot practice" has been so far adopted by his Majesty's Government as to be in full use on board the "'Excellent,' trial gunnery ship," at Portsmouth; that Sir Josias Rowley,

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the Commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, after witnessing and approving my invention for facilitating the fishing of anchors with a double hook, officially submitted the same to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and that this improvement has been in constant use during the last two years on board the greater part of the Mediterranean squadron. Lastly, I have not made holiday even when not in actual employment; for the brief periods which I have passed on shore, amounting altogether to but little more than two years out of 27 in the service, were employed in a thorough examination of the French naval arsenals of St. Servan, L'Orient, Brest, and Cherbourg, and in acquiring, always with a view to my profession, a familiar knowledge of French and Spanish, the two foreign languages of which the use is most frequently required by a British naval officer. Indeed, my Lord, I have become a stranger to my family; I have no home but in the service; no tie, or enjoyment, or wish, or serious thought, apart from it; nor any hope consequently, except in your Lordship's justice, of that distinction which I know not how to seek, otherwise than by respectfully asking your Lordship to reconsider whether I have deserved it.
I have, &c.

2. Copy of a Letter from Captain {now Admiral) Bullen to Lieutenant Wakefield.

MY DEAR SIR, Southampton:, 10th March, 1828.
YOU have my authority to say I did put you in command of the "Conflict," and I did so from the excellence of your character given to me by your late Captain, Willes; and I have great pleasure in now assuring you, that the high character I have received of you, I afterwards found fully confirmed by the steady, zealous, and active execution of whatever orders I had occasion to give you.
Believe, &c.

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3. Copy of a Letter from Captain Palmer to Lieutenant Wakefield.

MY DEAR WAKEFIELD, Brighton, 16th June, 1837.

I HAVE written to-day to Sir James Graham, as strongly as I can, in testimony of your merits and services in the "Hebrus." I should say you would be promoted; and I need hardly say, that I hope most sincerely it may be now.

Never apologize to me for writing about your affairs; for independent of the regard I bear you, your conduct as an officer with me claims every good office I can render you.
I am, &c.
(Signed) E. PALMER.

4. Copy of a Certificate from Captain Willes.

Hythe, Southampton, February, 1837.

THESE are to certify, that Lieutenant Arthur Wakefield served on board H. M. S. "Brazen," under my command, from January 1823 to September 1826, when he was appointed by Commodore Bullen, then on the coast of Africa, to the command of the "Conflict" gun-brig; that his conduct was always that of a most zealous, enterprising officer. When on the South American station, he rendered great service in the constant communication I was obliged to have with the authorities at the different ports, from the Rio de la Plata to the Amazon, nearly all in a state of commotion or blockade, from his knowledge of the Spanish and Portuguese languages, the British merchants always claiming my interference in their behalf. While in the Channel for a few months, he was most active and successful against smugglers, away night and day in boats; and subsequently, on the coast of Africa, he behaved most gallantly by chasing and capturing with three small boats a large Spanish slave-schooner, which had outsailed the ship in a 48 hours' chace, armed with four heavy guns, and a crew of 48 men, and 420 slaves on board.

I have great satisfaction in further testifying, that the general conduct and ability of this officer frequently called

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forth the praise of my senior officers, as well as others; and I do not hesitate to declare, I consider him in any situation an honour to the service.
(Signed) G. W. WILLES, Captain.

5. Copy of a Letter from Sir George Cockburn to Lieutenant Wakefield.

DEAR SIR, Highbeach, 24th February, 1837.

In reply to your application to me, I have no hesitation in stating, that from the reports made to me respecting you by your late Captain, Palmer, my own observations of your conduct when acting under my immediate notice at the capture of Washington, the very good opinion I know my late greatly-respected friend Lord St. Vincent entertained of you, and all I have since known of your services, I consider you to be an officer of very superior merit and abilities, and fully descrying of any mark of favour and encouragement which the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty may be pleased to extend to you.
I am, &c.


6. Copy of a Letter from Sir Thomas Hardy to Lieutenant Wakefield.

MY DEAR SIR, Greenwich Hospital, 22nd February, 1837.

IN reply to your application, I beg to state, that during the time you served with me in South America, from September 1819 to February 1821, I was much pleased with your activity and strict attention to your duty; and I have every reason to believe you have given general satisfaction to all the officers under whom you have served, up to the paying off of the "Thunderer," which I believe took place in the last month.
I remain, &c.
(Signed) T. M. HARDY.

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7. Copy of a Letter from Captain Wise to the Earl of Minto, and given to Lieutenant Wakefield as a Testimonial.

MY LORD, Plymouth, 18th February, 1837.
About a month since, I took the liberty of addressing your Lordship in behalf of Lieutenant Arthur Wakefield. I learn from that officer that he is about to make a further application to your Lordship for promotion; and I feel that in justice to his merits I ought not to allow him to do so without repeating the very high opinion I entertain of him.

We met on board the "Thunderer" as perfect strangers; and we parted with the conviction, on my part, that his Majesty has not in his service a more zealous officer, or one more competent to discharge the higher duties of our profession.

If I were called on to state what are the qualifications in which Mr. Wakefield excels, I should say, in conducting the duties of a large ship, with a command of temper I have never seen equalled; a point which your Lordship will be aware is of the utmost importance, now the days of coercion are happily at an end. He has also the talent of readily acquiring a knowledge of the character and abilities of seamen, which, added to an admirable system of stationing them, and of conducting all the details of a ship, were productive of the most beneficial results.
I have, &c.
(Signed) W. F. WISE, Captain.

8. Copy of a Letter from Captain Wellesley to the Earl of Minto, and given to Lieutenant Wakefield as a Testimonial.

MY LORD, Westbrook, St. Albans, 17th February, 1837.

Having been requested by Lieutenant Wakefield to give him a testimonial of his conduct whilst under my orders, I very gladly assure your Lordship of the zeal and ability with which he executed his duties of First Lieutenant for a period of eight months, during which I commanded the "Winchester;" and I have frequently heard the late Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Colpoys, who had removed him, from a

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sense of his abilities, into his flag-ship from a smaller vessel, state the high opinion he entertained of his character and services.
I have, &c.
(Signed) W. WELLESLEY, Captain.

9. Copy of a Letter from Captain Sir Eaton Travers to Lieutenant Wakefield.

The Lodge, Ditchingham, Norfolk,
Dear WAKEFIELD, 14th February, 1837.

I have very great pleasure in expressing, in the strongest terms, my warmest approbation of your conduct during the period you served on board his Majesty's ship "Rose," under my command, as First Lieutenant; when your zeal, assiduity, and ability were most conspicuous, and tended in no small degree to draw forth from our Commander-in-chief, Sir Charles Ogle, those praises so liberally bestowed upon her efficiency as a man-of-war, and the good order preserved on board without any severity.

Believe me, your speedy promotion will be heard with sincere satisfaction and pleasure by your faithful friend,
(Signed) E. TRAVERS.


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As some statistical details may be interesting to the reader, I transcribe some of the results of the census taken recently by the Company's Agents in their settlements.

Wellington. --The total White population of Wellington and its vicinity, on the 31st August 1843, was nearly 3,800. At Petre on the Wanganui there were 192 settlers; at Manawatu, Otaki, and elsewhere on the coast, there were about 150; the number of shore-whalers at the stations dependent on Wellington, in the beginning of 1844, was 550.

A striking feature in this population was, for a young colony, the inconsiderable disproportion between the numbers of the sexes. At Wellington, the number of males was 2,090, of females 1,707. The total excess of males over females was only 383; and in the population below 2l years of age it was only 55. The number of children born since the formation of the settlement was 431; of these, 224 were females and 207 males. At Petre there were 36 married couples, 40 adult unmarried males, and 6 adult unmarried females; among the children, 40 were males and 26 females.

Of the 3,800 Wellington settlers about 200 may be regarded as belonging to the middle or (as they may there be termed) upper classes; including capitalists farming their own land, or land taken on lease, and employing labourers; lawyers, medical practitioners and clergymen; Government and Company's officers; merchants, traders, auctioneers, private surveyors, and schoolmasters.

There were 5 clergymen or priests in the settlement; 1,241 Episcopalians, 368 Scotch Presbyterians, 168 Wesleyans, 112 Independents, 96 Roman Catholics, 50 Baptists, 26 Jews, and 96 unascertained. There were 4 regular schoolmasters; 6 children attended a private school for the upper classes, 193 a mechanics' school, and 5 private schools for the poorer classes, 50 an infant-school, 100 the European

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Sunday-school, and 56 a school attached to the Mechanics' Institute.

The dwelling-houses of the settlers were estimated to have cost 76,699l.; and the detached warehouses, forges, mills, public buildings, &c, 23,335l. There were 20 vessels, of small tonnage, belonging to Wellington; and of these 19 had been built in Wellington or Cook's Strait, and 5 more were on the stocks. Since the formation of the settlements, 632 vessels, with a tonnage of 74,795, had entered Port Nicholson.

The procrastination in the Court of the Commissioners of Land Claims had prevented the colonists from settling to agriculture; they had only cleared about 822 acres of land, of which 380 were arable, 130 pasture (exclusive of the natural cattle and sheep runs), and 70 garden-ground. The settlers possessed 129 horses, 1,394 grazing cattle, 4,823 sheep, 5,060 head of poultry, pigs innumerable, and some other domestic animals. About 36 miles of road had been constructed. Since that time the lines of road have been much extended, and several bridges built. The number of acres surveyed at different parts of the settlement from Wanganui to the Upper Hutt was 193,000.

Nelson. --In the last week of October 1843, the White population of Nelson was 2,942: of these 1,805 resided in town, and 1,137 were rural settlers. There were 1,588 males and 1,354 females. The excess of males over females was, in the town 91, in the country 143--in all 234. The excess of males in the population below 2l years of age was only 49. The number of the better class (lawyers, medical practitioners, clergymen, merchants, &c.) was 105, exclusive of 83 farmers, large and small, of whom perhaps one-half might belong to this class. There were 132 storekeepers and tradesmen, 272 artisans, and 323 farm-labourers.

There were 4 clergymen or priests in the settlement, 1,315 members of the Church of England, 182 Roman Catholics, 1,200 Christians of other denominations, 3 Jews, 35 unascertained. There were 321 children at day-schools: the number receiving instruction at Sunday-schools and at home was believed to be considerable.

The dwelling-houses of the town settlers were estimated to

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have cost 19,864l., of the country settlers 4,810l. --in all 24,674l. The detached warehouses, shops, &c, in town, the barns and mills in the country, and the public buildings, were estimated at 6,505l.

As at Wellington, comparatively little has been done in the way of cultivation. In October 1843, 723 acres had been cleared; of which 540 were arable, and 133 garden-grounds. The settlers possessed 50 horses, 436 grazing cattle, 1,130 sheep, 1,152 swine, 2,202 head of poultry, with other domestic animals. Fifty miles of roads (exclusive of streets) had been made. 182,400 acres had been surveyed.

New Plymouth. --The total White population of New Plymouth, at the end of August 1843, was 1,090. Of these, 690 resided in the town, and 400 in the country. There were 616 males, and 474 females; giving an excess of 142 males. The excess of males below 2l years of age--somewhat more than half of the whole population--was only 35. Of the upper class may be reckoned, 28 capitalists cultivating their own land, 6 leasing land, 215 letting land to farmers; 3 lawyers, 3 medical practitioners, 2 clergymen, 13 persons holding office under Government or the New Zealand Company, or living on their means, 2 schoolmasters, 28 surveyors --in all, 117.

There were two ministers of religion, both Dissenters, in this community. Yet there were 401 members of the Church of England, 9 Roman Catholics, and only 185 Christians of other denominations. The report only mentions two schools; one for the children of the wealthier class, attended by 3 pupils; one for the poorer classes, attended by 25.

The cost of the dwelling-houses in town was estimated at 9,517l., in the country at 3,157l. --in all, 12,674l. The cost of other buildings was estimated at 1,360l.

When the report from which these details are taken was made, 250 acres of land were cleared and under cultivation at New Plymouth. The settlers possessed 102 grazing cattle, 849 sheep, 332 swine, 1,063 head of poultry, with other domestic animals. Twenty-four miles of roads had been constructed. 32,031 acres have been surveyed.

The White population of the northern settlements, including Auckland, the Bay of Islands, and their dependencies, was

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estimated in the end of 1842 at about 4,000; but any further details are not easily to be collected, as no regular census has been made by the Government.

I do not pretend to estimate the native population with any degree of accuracy; but I am inclined to believe that the rough estimates hitherto made have been rather above than below the actual numbers. I only know of two cases in which an exact census has been taken. Mr. Halswell took a census of the native population inhabiting Port Nicholson in 1841, and found its numbers to be 541. The Rev. Richard Taylor counted 2,200 natives on the banks of the Wanganui river as far as Pipiriki, 80 miles from its mouth.

From all the information that I can gather on the subject, I should calculate the native population inhabiting Cook's Strait and the banks of the rivers which flow into it to be about 8,000, and the total of the native population of both islands to be considerably less than 100,000.


London: Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street.

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