Mr. Kettle, the owner of the schooner Vanguard, has received from the Colonial Secretary the following copy of a letter from Captain Maxwell, R.N., replying to the Governor's request that he would send a vessel of war to enquire into the particulars of the supposed murder of the Vanguard's crew:
Her Majesty's ship Dido,
Auckland, New Zealand,
6th December, 1947.
Sir.- I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter of the 12th ultimo, enclosing a copy of a letter which had been addressed to you by the owners of the schooner Vanguard, and an extract detailing the circumstances under which the master, mate, and six seamen, belonging to that vessel, had been decoyed on shore at New Caledonia, on the 19th of October last, where it was feared they had been murdered by the natives ; and requesting that, should it be in my power, I would despatch one of her Majesty's ships under my orders to, ascertain the fate of these unfortunate men.
I regret that the exigencies of the service, and the small naval force on this station, will not admit of my immediately complying with your Excellency's request ; but in the event, as is probable, of one of her Majesty's ships at New Zealand soon proceeding to China, and should no previous opportunity have offered, I will direct the commander to call at Port St. Vincent, on the south-west coast of New Caledonia, and to transmit to your Excellency, by the first opportunity, whatever intelligence he may gain respecting the fate of the above-mentioned unfortunate men.
The distressing circumstance is said to have taken place on the west side of Now Caledonia ; but neither the name of place, nor the latitude and longitude, are stated in the account. Port St. Vincent is the only accessible port in that part of the coast, which is bounded by extensive coral reefs.
I am, &c.
(Signed) J. B. Maxwell,
Captain and Senior Officer at New Zealand.
His Excellency Sir Charles Fitz Roy, Knight, &c.,
Governor-in-Chief New South Wales.
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