Governor Hobson's Letter of Instruction to Captain Stanley

Government House, Russell        
Bay of Islands
22nd, July 1840
Sir, - It being of the utmost importance that the authority of Her Majesty should be most unequivocally exercised throughout the remote parts of the colony, and more particularly in the Southern and Middles Islands, where, I understand, foreign influence and even interference is to be apprehended, I have the honour to request you to proceed immediately in H M sloop under your command to those islands. On the subject of this commission I have therefore to request the most inviolable secrecy from all except your immediate superior officers, to whom it may be your duty to report your proceedings. The ostensible purpose of your cruise may appear to be the conveying of two magistrates to Port Nicholson, to whom I will elsewhere more particularly refer. The real object to which I wish particularly to call your attention is to defeat the movements of any foreign ship of war that may be engaged in establishing a settlement in any part of the coast of New Zealand. There are various rumours current that Captain Lavaud, of the French corvette L'Aube, now at anchor in this port, is employed in the furtherance of designs such as I have before mentioned. From some observations that fell from him, I discovered that his intention was to proceed to the southern islands, being under the impression that the land about Akaroa and Banks Peninsula, in that Middle Island of New Zealand, is the property of a French subject. These circumstances, combined with the tone in which Captain Lavaud alluded to Akaroa and Banks Peninsula, excited in my mind, a strong presumption that he is charged with some mission in that quarter incompatible with the Sovereign rights of her Britannic Majesty, and which, as I have before observed, it will be your study by every means to frustrate. If my suspicions prove correct, L'Aube will no doubt proceed direct to Akaroa and Banks Peninsula, for which place I have earnestly to request that you will at once depart with the utmost expedition, as it would be a point of the utmost consideration that, on his arrival at that port, he may find you in occupation, so that it will be out of his power to dislodge you without committing some direct act of hostility. Captain Lavaud, may, however, anticipate you at Akaroa or (should he be defeated in his movements) may endeavour to establish himself at some other point. In the event of either contingency occurring, I have to request you to remonstrate and protest in the most decided manner against such proceeding, and impress upon him that such interference must be considered as an act of decided hostile invasion. You will perceive by the enclosed copy of Major Bunbury's declaration that dependent of the assumption of the sovereignty of the Middle and Southern Islands, as announced by my proclamation of the 21st May last (a copy of which is also enclosed) the principle chiefs have ceded their rights to Her Majesty through that officer, who was fully authorised to treat with them for that purpose; it will not, therefore, be necessary for you to adopt any further proceedings. It will, however, be advisable that some act of civil authority should be exercised on the islands, and for that purpose the magistrates who accompany you will be instructed to hold a court on their arrival at each port, and to have a record of their proceedings registered and transmitted to me. You will by every opportunity which may offer forward intelligence of the French squadron's movements, and should you deem it necessary, to the Secretary of State for the Colonies through the Admiralty and to His Excellency Sir George Gipps, Governor of New South Wales. Mr Murphey and Mr Robinson, the magistrates who accompany you, will receive a memorandum of instructions for their future guidance, which you will be pleased to hand to them when you arrive at your destination. As your presence in these islands will be of the utmost importance to keep in check any aggression on the part of the foreign powers, I have earnestly to request that should you require any further supply of provisions the same may be procured, if possible, at Port Nicholson, or any other ports on the coast without returning to Sydney.

                                             I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, W HOBSON