Special Files - Bundle 12: No.5 Licences granted to Mr Evans of Palmerston, Suwarrow and Dudosa Islands

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Special Files - Bundle 12: No.5 Licences granted to Mr Evans of Palmerston, Suwarrow and Dudosa Islands is associated with Suwarrow Island, Cook Islands, South Pacific located at these coordinates -13.269167, -163.111389


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Special Files - Bundle 12: No.5 Licences granted to Mr Evans of Palmerston, Suwarrow and Dudosa Islands To help transcribe this page, log in or register and click on the Edit with Form tab.

Record Citation: PROV VPRS 1095/P0, unit 14
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Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 01.jpg Bundle 12.

No. 5.

Respecting License granted to Mr. Evans of Palmerston Island. and Suwarrow and Dudosa Islands.

Despatches to the Secretary of State. Despatches from Secy of State

No. 96 of 7th June 1869. No 16 of 18th Feby 1869

No 140 of 13th Aug 1869. No 40 of 7 May 1869.

Page 1 - Cover page


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 02.jpg Melbourne October 1869

No 4 Orr’s Buildings

Flinders Lane West.

Your Excellency

It gives me pleasure in forwarding the inclosed documents to your Excellency to be in a position to refute the charges of neglect sworn to in the Affidavits Captain H. B. Sterndale made before H. B. M. Consul at Tahiti now 18 months ago – namely of leaving him on the island of Suwarrows “without proper and sufficient food” I only report the absence of others who would have been most willing and reliable witnesses of the utter untruth of Captain Sterndales statement, but being principally seafaring men they are all scattered probably over the four quarters of the globe –

I trust however the accompanying report will satisfy your Excellency and the Home Authorities that the real object in Captain Sterndale making these charges is to hide his own and the notorious Hayes’ peculations. I find there was left at the Suwarrows for the party

600 lbs Beef in [ ?? ] 1400 lbs rice

600 “ Pigs 1500 Cocoa Nuts

1155 “ Biscuit

2240 “ Flour

besides Pickles, Coffee, Sugar, Salad Oil and Medecines –

His Excellency Sir J. H. T. Manning Sutton K. C. B.

Governor of the Colony of Victoria

Page 2 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton - p1


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 03.jpg Many of the Cocoa Nut Trees on the Island were in full bearing and several in an advanced state of maturity –

The Lagoon which is 53 miles in circumference is filled with Fish and a Boy in two Hours could catch sufficient to supply 50 men. In the season ( that in which the party were on the Island ) Turtle come up in large numbers and are easily taken – The Islands too are visited by myriads of Birds whom deposit their Eggs in countless numbers and are excellent food. The party left were provided with Iron Tanks for storage of Rain-water which fell in such quantity that the Distillery Apparatus left with them had only to be used once – I may be permitted to state that the Natives landed at Suwarrows under Captain Sterndale have again offered their services to me and would gladly accept work with the understanding that a few hundred ( Popas ) matured Cocoa Nuts be left them for food and fishing lines for catching fish – An intimate acquaintance with the Islands since 1844 combined with a thorough knowledge of Native character in fitting out similar expeditions lead me to affirm that on no previous occasion was there ever a party landed on an Island so completely equipped and provided with the necessaries and comforts to carry out the work for which the expedition was formed – Captain Sterndale attributes the breaking out of an old sore to the want of proper food but he seems to forget the same wound laid him up here, and that whilst a patient in the Hospital in Tahiti he in more than three instances clandestinely left the Institution and got hopelessly intoxicated, a [ line? ] of conduct

Page 3 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton - p2


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 04.jpg Similar to that he followed at Rorotonga – Captain Sterndale writes about the Boats – this is replied to by Mess Spence Brothers [ ? ] Letter who testify to the quality and capacity of the principal Boat put on board the “Traveller” – We left three Boats and took two, and we did so from the fact of our Vessel having received a shaking that we did not know but that any moment she might go down, and as a proof we were warranted in so doing the “Traveller” was condemned and her passengers and crew came on to Sydney by the brig “Scotsman”

The “Traveller” was purchased by some shipwrights underwent some repairs, but is supposed to have foundered with all hands in a late gale of Wind off Newcastle N. S. W –

I do not Know that more need be written to your Excellency to expose the deep laid plans of Captain H. B. Sterndale and Captain Hayes who to prevent themselves being exposed and punished have thus in the most heartless manner stripped Suwarrow of all the materiel landed there to carry on a special work and deeply injured a Lessee of the Crown ---

I have the Honor to be

Your most obedient servant

John Lavington Evans.

Page 4 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton - p3


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 05.jpg Rd. Octr. 6. 1869.

J. H. T. MS

Own receipt state that it will be forwarded by [ ?this ] mail to the Secy. of State.

Done R W.

J. H. T. MS

Octr 7.

[ Memo? ]

I suppose that Mr. Evans has sent two copies. If not he must be reminded of the rule; and called upon to furnish a copy for transhipment to the Secy of State

Ocr 7 / 69 J. H. T. MS

Page 5 - Instructions from Governor Manners Sutton


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 06.jpg Melbourne August 11 1869

No 4 Orr’s buildings

Flinders Lane West.

Sir /

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of copies of the dispatches forwarded by your Excellency from the foreign Office in the matter of the Suwarrow’s Islands and Captain H. B. Sterndale, and for them I beg your Excellency to receive my sincere thanks. As the preparation of documentary replies will occupy me for a few days, I shall not be in a position to place them in your Excellency’s hands as early as I could have willed as all the parties to make the Affidavits are not at present in Melbourne but will be in the coming week ---

I have the honor to be

Your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

John Lavington Evans.

His Excellency

Sir J. H. T. Manners Sutton K. C. B.

Governor of Victoria

Treasury Offices ---

Page 6 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 07.jpg 22 July 1869.

Sir,

Referring to my letter of the 26th May, and to previous correspondence on the same subject, I am now directed by the Governor to inform you that, - after full inquiry [ having been made – struck out ] into questions respecting Palmerston Island, in dispute between you and Mr Brander – the License granted to you for that island has been revoked by the Secretary of State, for the reasons stated in the Notice of revocation annexed to this letter.

[ Further – struck out ] I am further

directed

Page 7 - Letter from Governor Manners Sutton to Evans - p1


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 08.jpg directed by his Excellency to inform you that accusations have been brought against you by Captain Sterndale with respect to your conduct towards him[ self – struck out ] and his party on the Suwarrow Islands, and that His Excellency has been instructed to afford you an opportunity of making any explanations which you may have to offer in respect [ of – struck out ] to those accusations of which the particulars are set forth in documents, in this Office, open to your inspection.

I have

Page 8 - Letter from Governor Manners Sutton to Evans - p2


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 09.jpg NB. Steps must be taken to ensure the proof of the delivery of this notice. to Mr. L. Evans

J. H. T. MS

Inform Mr. Lavington Evans that full enquiry having been made into the questions respecting Palmerston Island, in dispute between him + Mr. Brandon. The License granted to him for that Island has been revoked by the Secretary of State, for the reasons stated in the notice of revocation which is annexed to this letter.

Further inform Mr L. Evans that accusations have been brought against him by

Page 9 - Instructions from Governor Manners Sutton - p1


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 10.jpg Captain Sterndale with respect to his ( Mr Evan’s ) conduct towards Captain Sterndale + his Party on the Suwarrow Islands. and that I have been instructed to afford to him an opportunity of making any explanation which he may have to offer in respect of these accusations of which particulars are set forth in documents in the Private Secys Office open to his inspection.

July 20 / 69 J. H. T. MS

Page 10 - Instructions from Governor Manners Sutton - p2


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 11.jpg Sir,

I [ have the honor to inform – struck out ] beg to inform you that when my former letter of the [ ?th ] Instant was written – the fact [ ?? ]

R.S. A.

7th Aug 1869.

Sir,

In reply to the request contained in your letter of the 23rd July I have the honor by direction of H.E. the Governor to forw a copy of the Declaration of Capt H B Sterndale with respect of the settlement and abandonment of Suwarrow Island.

Page 11 - Draft letters


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 12.jpg Melbourne July 23rd 1869

No 4 Orr’s Buildings

Flinders Lane West.

Sir /

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your Excellency’s dispatch of yesterday’s date inclosing a Notice from Earl Granville Secretary of State for the Colonies to the effect that the Lease granted me by the Imperial Government of Palmerstons Island for certain reasons therein stated had been revoked – a decision that has caused me much regret ---

With respect to the other portions of your Excellency’s dispatch, the charges brought against me by Captain Sterndale are of such a character that I must claim with your Excellency’s permission copies of the Affidavits Sent from England and which your Excellency has courteously permitted me to peruse / so that they may at once be contradicted ---

I am glad to say evidence in addition to my own of their unlawfulness is at present in Melbourne and will strengthen my denial of Captain Sterndales assertions

I have the honor to be

your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

J. L. Evans

His Excellency

Sir J. H. T. Manners Sutton K. C. B.

Governor of Victoria

+--- +--- +---

Page 12 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 13.jpg Own receipt. Inform that copies will be sent when prepared

J. H. T. MS

July 26. 1869.

Done R. W. 28.7.69.

Replace copies + send them when prepared

J. H. T. MS

July 26. 1869

Page 13 - Instructions from Governor Manners Sutton


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 14.jpg Melbourne May 20th 1869

No 4 Orr’s Buildings

Little Flinders St West

Sir /

In reply to your Excellency’s dispatch under date of the 11th Inst. I shall have to claim more than the usual space allotted an ordinary Letter in explaining for the benefit of Your Excellency and the Foreign Office what has been done by me respecting the Suwarrow Islands. To fully carry out the enterprise of making these Islands I assisted by others purchased two Vessels the “Traveller” a Schooner of 117 Tons Register and the “Spray” Cutter Yacht erstwhile the property of Lord Dufferin. We cleared the Heads on the 19th August 1867 bound for the Island of Rorotonga one of the Hervey Group. My instructions were in the event of parting company to Rendezvous at the said Island but on no account to anchor ---

The “Spray” having arrived before us the Captain disobeyed my orders, attempted to bring up close to the Reef and was carried by the indraught and Tide on to the breakers whereby this fine little Vessel became a total wreck. I was consequently compelled to carry on the [ task? ] of landing a party of the natives in the “Traveller”, these I got from Rorotonga paying

Sir J. H. T. Manners Sutton K. C. B.

Governor of Victoria

+--- +--- +---

Page 14 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton - p1


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 15.jpg them a considerable sum in advance and in the presence of the authorities –

I arrived at the Suwarrows on Friday the 21st. October and on Tuesday took formal possession by hoisting the British Flag –

We landed the Stores and erected the Houses with which we had come prepared --- I landed Provisions sufficient for 20 Men for eight Months, consisting of Beef, Biscuit, Flour Molasses, Rice, Sugar, Venison Cocoa Nuts, Pigs + Fowls – The Lagoon which is 40 to 50 Miles in circumference is filled with excellent Fish and a Boy could catch sufficient in one hour to supply all [ who – struck out ] the Natives landed ( 13 ) –

Leaving the party in charge of Mr Handley Bennett Sterndale I left in the “Traveller” for the Navigators Islands, here from the unseaworthy state of the Vessel she was condemned and came on to Sydney in the Brig “Scotsman” ---

Before leaving the Navigators homeward I made arrangements with the Owner of the Schooner “Atlantic” that the Suwarrows were to be visited to see how the natives were getting on --- to this end she left in March and on her way called at Sarafe Island here she learned a Captain Hayes in the Brig “Rona” ( this man has earned the soubriquet of “notorious” in the South Seas ) had been to the Suwarrows and in collusion with Sterndale had forcibly carried off all the Beche le Mer and Pearl Shell

Page 15 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton - p2


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 16.jpg collected --- To the credit of the Natives ( the majority of whom were previously known to me ) they defended to the best of their power the property but were ultimately overcome and taken back to their Island –

Hence has arisen the delay in supplying your Excellency and the Foreign Office with the information asked ---

I may mention the articles obtained at the Suwarrows were taken by Hayes to Tahiti and there sold --- It is my intention however to visit Tahiti, thence to the Suwarrows when I trust to be able to fill up the usual report as a Lessee under the Crown ---

I take the liberty of inclosing a Photograph of the Suwarrows before visited by the “notorious” Hayes ---

I have the honor to be

your most obedient Servant

J. L. Evans.

Page 16 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton - p3


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 17.jpg Own receipt.

[ Illegible text struck out ] Inform that owing to the late period at which this letter has reached me (May 21) it will not be in my power to consider it before the departure of the outgoing Mail on the 23rd.

J. H. T. MS 21May

Let me have this letter after the Mail has been despatched

J. H. T. MS

21 May 1869

But Mr. E. should bear in mind that his title as Lessee of Palmerston Island is under consideration, and may [ not be recognized – struck out ] be disallowed by H. M. Governt on the grounds referred to in my letter of the 9th September last

J. H. T. MS

May 21 / 69

Done. Vide Letter Book

Vol. 3. P. 50.

Page 17 - Instructions from Governor Manners Sutton


Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 18.jpg Melbourne May 1st 1869

No 4 Orr’s Buildings

Flinders Lane West.

Sir /

I am in receipt of your dispatch under date of the 22nd April received by me on the 28th Inst relating to Certain Leases granted me by Her Majesty on the 24 September 1866. [ ?? ] only named Suwarrow + Dudosa – Palmerston Island by an oversight no doubt omitted.

I shall esteem it a favour if you will Kindly appoint a time in the course of next week where I can have an interview with His Excellency the Governor on the Subject matter of your dispatch the contents of which are of the greatest importance to me ---

I have the honor to be

your most obedient Servant

John Lavington Evans

H. C. Manners Sutton

Private Secretary

+--- +--- +---

Page 18 - Letter from Evans to Governor Manners Sutton


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1095 P0 14 Bundle 12 5 19.jpg Inform that I should willingly grant an interview; but that it would not advance the business, inasmuch as I have already made known to Mr E. every thing which I am authorised to state to him and that any representations from him must necessarily be communicated in writing, in order that they may be transmitted to the Secy of State

Inform that [ ?? ] letter does not refer to Palmerston Island, [ ?? ] which Island [ text obscured by ink blot ]

J. H. T. MS

Done H M S Vide Letter Bk

Page 19 - Instructions from Governor Manners Sutton



Discussion


The issue covered by these letters does not seem to have been reported in the Australian news media at the time (at least not in newspapers available on the National Library of Australia's online archive Trove.)

However there is a reference to Mr Evans first landing on Suwarrow Island in The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880) Saturday 8 February 1868:-

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/66463368?searchTerm=suwarrow island&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords|||notWords|||l-textSearchScope=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||fromdd|||frommm|||fromyyyy=1865|||todd|||tomm|||toyyyy=1869|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

There is also an interesting article about a Mr Chafe who was marooned on Suwarrow in 1871 which fleshes out Mr Evans' story, to be found in Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931) Monday 9 June 1873:-

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/107168960?searchTerm=Chafe suwarrow island&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords|||notWords|||fromdd|||frommm|||fromyyyy=1870|||todd|||tomm|||toyyyy=1874|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

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