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shortly after the establishment of the Colony to send to the Cape of Good Hope, Batavia, and India for provisions, and amongst the papers will be found letters from the Home Office to the Governor-General of India, as well as correspondence between the Home Office and the contractors. Correspondence also passed between Phillip and the Indian authorities on the subject, and between Phillip and the contractors.
Towards the close of 1791 and in the early part of 1792 the Home Office was in communication with John Sutton, a Quaker, who made proposals for sending fifteen Quaker families to Sydney. The correspondence shows that the proposals were accepted with modifications, but owing to delays and other circumstances not clearly stated in the despatches, the persons who had been nominated did not embark, and the first effort to place emigrants from England as free settlers on the soil of New South Wales came to nothing * According to Judge-Advocate Collins, the Quakers had "engaged to take their passages in the Bellona," which arrived at Sydney 16th January, 1793, “but it was said they had been diverted from their purpose by some misrepresentations which had been made to them respecting this country.”
A considerable portion of the correspondence relates to Norfolk Island and its affairs. A few weeks after the landing of the expedition at Sydney Cove, Phillip despatched Lieutenant King to the island with a batch of convicts; and for a number of years intimate relations existed between the two settlements. During Phillip's term of office the Government at Norfolk Island underwent several changes. King was replaced by Major Ross as Commandant in March, 1790, and in November, 1791, Ross was superseded by King, who had been sent to England with despatches, and returned as Lieutenant-Governor of the island. During King's first command he corresponded with Phillip, from whom his authority was derived, and from whom he received his commission and instructions. Ross held office under similar conditions, and he also corresponded with Phillip. King as LieutenantGovernor sent despatches both to Phillip and the Home Office,
See note, post, p. 581.
but so far as this collection.of papers goes the despatches are to Phillip only. The information received at Sydney from Norfolk Island was forwarded to the Home Office as opportunity arose. Sometimes Phillip contented himself with giving in his own despatches summaries of the reports he had received from the Commandant or Lieutenant-Governor; at other times he sent extracts from the Norfolk Island despatches, or the despatches themselves. The more important of the public orders and proclamations made at Norfolk Island were sent to England as enclosures, and are printed with Phillip's despatches. Both Ross and King wrote descriptions of the place they had been called upon to govern, in which they offered their opinion of its capabilities as a settlement, and gave information regarding its climate, soil, and products. These reports form part of the records now published.
As indicated in the Preface, the Records contained in these pages are not to be regarded as absolutely complete. There are blanks in the correspondence, and some of the enclosures which accompanied the despatches are absent. The omissions may perhaps be made good when the manuscripts in the Record Office and the Departments of State in London have been thoroughly exhausted, but all the papers that were procurable when this collection was prepared for the press have been printed. Unexpected discoveries were made while the transcriptions were in progress, and early manuscripts, not now in the possession of the Government, may yet be brought to light. In the meantime, the best use has been made of the material at command.
To prevent any misconception, it should be stated that the marginal notes do not form part of the manuscripts, but have been written as a guide to their contents. The object of the foot notes is to explain points not made clear in the text, and to assist the reader in finding papers having relation to the same subject but printed in chronological order in different parts of the volume.
The Indes contains lists of the despatches, together with full information on the subjects to which they relate.
NEW SOUTH WALES.
JAMES MARIA MATRA'S PROPOSAL.*
1783 A PROPOSAL FOR ESTABLISHING A SETTLEMENT IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
23 Aug. I am going to offer an object to the consideration of our Government what [that] may in time atone for the loss of our American Loss of
By the discoveries and enterprise of our officers, many new countries have been found which know no sovereign, and that New fields of
Colonisation hold out the most enticing allurements to European adventurers. None are more inviting than New South Wales.
Capt. Cook first coasted and surveyed the eastern side of that fine country, from the 38th degree of south latitude 'down to the Cook's 10th, where he found everything to induce him to give the most New South favourable account of it. In this immense tract of more than Wales. 2,000 miles there was every variety of soil, and great parts of it were extremely fertile, peopled only by a few black inhabitants, who, in the rudest state of society, knew no other arts than such as were necessary to their mere animal existence, and which was almost entirely sustained by catching fish.
The climate and soil are so happily adapted to produce every various and valuable production of Europe, and of both the Indies, Climate
. that with good management, and a few settlers, in twenty or thirty years they might cause a revolution in the whole system of European commerce, and secure to England a monopoly of some part of it, and a very large share in the whole. • Mr. Matra and his proposal are noticed in the Introduction, ante pp. xxiv-xxvi.
1783 Part of it lies in a climate parallel to the Spice Islands, and is 23 Aug. fitted for the production of that valuable commodity, as well as Tropical
the sugar-cane, tea, coffee, silk, cotton, indigo, tobacco, and the products. other articles of commerce that have been so advantageous to the
maritime powers of Europe.
I must not omit the mention of a very important article, which may
be obtained in any quantity, if this settlement be made the proper use of, which would be of very considerable consequence, both among the necessaries and conveniences of life. I mean the New Zealand hemp or flax-plant, an object equally of curiosity and utility. By proper operations it would serve the various purposes of hemp, flax, and silk, and it is more easily manufactured than any one of them. In naval equipments it would be of the greatest importance; a cable of the circumference of ten inches
would be equal in strength to one of eighteen inches made of Its capabili. European hemp. Our manufacturers are of opinion that canvas
made of it would be superior in strength and beauty to any canvas of our own country. The threads or filaments of this plant are formed by nature with the most exquisite delicacy, and they may be so minutely divided as to be small enough to make the finest cambrick ; in color and gloss it resembles silk. After my true, though imperfect description of this plant, I need not enlarge on it, as a very singular acquisition, both to the arts of convenience and luxury.
This country may afford an asylum to those unfortunate
American loyalists to whom Great Britain is bound by every tie loyalists.
of honour and gratitude to protect and support, where they may repair their broken fortunes, and again enjoy their former domestic felicity.
That the Government may run no risque nor be left to act in a business of this kind without sufficient information, it is proposed that one ship of the peace establishment (to incur the
least possible expence) be directly sent to that country, for the ship to investigate. discovery and allotment of a proper district, for the intended
settlement; that one or two gentlemen of capacity and knowledge, as well in soil and situation, as in every other requisite, be sent in her, that there may be no imposition on the Government, nor upon the Americans, who, with their families, shall adventure there.
If the Government be disposed to extend this plan, two vessels may be sent with two companies of marines, selected from among
such of that corps as best understand husbandry, or manuOr two ships facturies, and about twenty artificers, who are all the emigration marines and required from the parent State; these last to be chiefly such as
are taken on board ships of war for carpenters' and armourers' crews, with a few potters and gardeners.