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In this letter was enclosed the following Memorial:
Plan of a Settlement in the Sandwich Islands. The voyages which have hitherto been made for discoveries in the Pacific Ocean, though conducted with the greatest nautical skill and success, do not appear to have been instituted so much on motives of political advantage, as from a philosophical curiosity, which, though very laudable, ought, perhaps, to be in such expeditions, but a secondary motive. The recent discovery of the Sandwich Isles, from their singularly fortunate situation, for several purposes hereafter mentioned, has, at length, however, opened an extensive prospect of public benefit.
The Sandwich Isles lie in the latitude of 21° 30' N. and in the longitude of about 200° E.; the climate nearly resembling that of our West India Islands, lying under the same parallel ; the soil, in general, uncommonly fruitful, well stocked with hogs, well watered and wooded, and adapted, as appears from experiment, to some, at least, of the modes of European culture; the harbors are numerous and excellent, the natives warlike and bold, and, notwithstanding the unhappy difference which terminated in the death of Cook, singularly attached to the English. The last words of that great navigator, are, 6. The Sandwich Isles, from their situation and productions, "bid fairer for becoming an object of consequence in the sys“tem of European navigation, than any other discovery in “the South Sea." Thus much being premised, the following considerations are humbly submitted:
First. In the first place, in every war with Spain, since the days of Queen Elizabeth, excepting the single instance of Anson, we appear to have totally overlooked her South American possessions, and this, perhaps, principally from the difficulty of maintaining, in health and condition, a force sufficient for her material annoyance in those seas. The weakness of Spain in South America, appears abundantly, from her extreme caution in excluding strangers from any information, but still more from the uniform success of every paltry privateer, or pirate, half armed, half manned, and half starved, in their various attempts on Lima, Panama, Guayaquil, Payta, &c. the last of which was twice taken and sacked, and ransomed by two different crews
of seventy disorderly seamen, each time in the presence of nearly 1,000 Spaniards. From the latitude of about 14° N. to 45° S. a space of above 3,500 miles, the coast of America is rich, populous, superstitious, and unwarlike; in particular, the wealth collected in the various churches, is almost beyond calculation; and from the cowardice of the natives, and the impossibility of effectually guarding a coast of such extent, a considerable part of those treasures must unavoidably fall a prey to the first bold invader. Now, by the discovery of the Sandwich Isles, a safe, healthy, and plentiful station is provided for any squadron which his Majesty may be pleased to order into the Pacific Ocean, a circumstance, in itself, of very great importance, which yet, it is presumed, may, by the mode hereafter mentioned, be considerably improved.
In the second place, which is, perhaps, a branch of the former, the Sandwich Isles lie almost directly in the track of the galleons from the Philippine Isles to America, in the very latitude of the first cape which they make, a circumstance too obvious to need enforcement or explanation.
Thirdly. The very lucrative trade for furs, between the North Western Coast of America and China, cannot be carried on with such facility and success from any other station. From the Sandwich Isles to Nootka Sound, is a month's run; from thence to China, about three, and a lot of furs purchased in the former place for a dozen glass beads, has been sold at the latter for £ 120. · Fourthly. There is a high probability that every profitable article of West Indian produce, as cotton, indigo, &c. may be successfully cultivated; the climate and temperature of both countries being nearly similar, and the latitude the same. The sugar cane, we know, grows there indigenous, with a strong degree of vegetation.
With these great advantages, whether viewed in a commercial or a political light, it is apprehended that a settlement may be formed in the Sandwich Isles, on a plan somewhat differing from, and with a success very far exceeding that of any colony hitherto attempted, and this at an expense, perhaps, little greater than that of a cruising voyage for a few ships of the line in the channel.
It is proposed that 500 men, under the age of thirty, be selected from the different marching regiments, (and ten times that number would voluntarily embark in such a plan ;) that they be chosen of such trades as may appear most necessary in an infant colony; that the corps be properly officered, and that of the officers, three or more be able engineers; that there be sent out a small train of light field-pieces, such garrison guns as may be necessary, and, at least 2,500 stand of spare arms; that they be landed at the island of Woahoo, as being the most fruitful, best wooded and watered, with a good harbor; that a sufficient quantity of land be obtained from the natives by purchase, for the crection of a fort and other necessary buildings, and, if possible, for the raising of corn, vegetables, &c. for the use of the garrison; that the pay of both officers and soldiers should, being most for their advantage, be sent out principally in necessaries; by which means the greater part of the money would be circulated in England; that the officer commanding the expedition, should labor most strenuously to gain the friendship of the natives, and, in process of time, should try the experiment of training a few battalions, like our Seapoys in India; that, at the end of seven years, the soldiers should be allowed their discharge, with the option to return to England or stay in the country ; that, to such as chose to remain, be given a certain quantity of land ; that, to the officers be given immediately, land, in proportion to the rank of cach; that there be constantly one or two sloops of war stationed at the settlement; and, lastly, that, until the colony could subsist itself, which, it is hoped, might soon happen, it be supplied by an annual storeship from England.
It remains to show the peculiar advantages of the plan proposed. In case of a war with Spain, if his Majesty should think proper to order a light squadron of three or four frigates of thirty-two guns, into the Pacific Ocean, they might be cleaned, victualled, and recruited, at the settlement; the natives, who are born mariners, would serve to fill the places of such seamen who might fall by disease or the enemy. Its contiguity to the track of the galleons has already been spoken of; in addition to this, his Majesty would have, in those seas, ready for immediate service, a force of 500 regular Europeans, seasoned to the climate, and eventually, perhaps, as many thousand
brave native troops, if, as appears highly probable, they should be found capable of order and discipline; a force which might defy the power of Spain, and, though inadequate to the task of permanent conquest, abundantly suflicient for a predatory and incursive war. A few hundred of these taken on board, would carry alarm and devastation along the coast of the enemy, of which they are within a month's sure sail, enrich themselves and so their country by plunder, cut the very sinews of the Spanish commerce in the Southern Ocean, and thus render a service to England very much more than sufficient to compensate for the expense of their first establishment.
It may be objected that Spain is too strong in South America for such an expedition to succeed. To this can be opposed the concurrent testimonies of all writers of voyages, to the cowardice and ill discipline of the natives, and the uniform experience that every attack which has there been made, however feeble and contemptible, has succeeded, But, granting that, under the apprehension of such an attack, the Spaniards were to send and keep a force in those seas sufficient to render such a mode of carrying on the war impracticable, still the consequences, though less lucrative to the colonists, would be, perhaps, no less advantageous to Great Britain, by compelling the enemy to maintain an enormous force by sea and land, for the ruinously chargeable defence of a coast 3,500 miles long, and even so, their trade must still be severely harassed and interrupted by a few light corsairs, who would always find a safe and healthy station at the Sandwich Isles. The advantages which would result from a division of the naval force of Spain, it is unnecessary to suggest. What else was the use of Gibraltar in the last war?
To the plan proposed, there occur two objections ; the views of Spain, and the expense attending its execution. To the first, the equipment of a squadron for the recovery of that miserable rock, Falkland's Island, loaded with every disadvantage of infertility and intemperature, is a sufficient answer. If a timid, unpopular, and distracted Administration thought a port near the South Seas of such consequence as to venture almost a war, for a dubious right to it, much more may the nation expect now, with a firm Government, supported by the people, where the question of right is incontestable, and the convenience superior beyond all comparison. But, perhaps, so far from leading to a
quarrel with Spain, the system proposed may directly conduce to the preservation of peace. The most infrangible tie between nations is mutual interest, and with a hardy, an enterprising, and a poor neighbor, posted immediately on her most vulnerable part, it is hardly to be thought that Spain would ever commence a quarrel.
As to the expense, it would little, if at all, exceed that of an expedition to Botany Bay with the convicts, the advantages of which, it is presumed, will not be thought to equal those which have, with all deference, been submitted.
The experiment of a colony purely military has not, perhaps, been tried since the days of ancient Rome. For, a situation so remote as the one now proposed, it appears to be the only mode, as it may at first be necessary to coerce the colonists a little for their own future good, which cannot so well be done on any other plan. In a word, the idea is to construct a settlement on somewhat of feudal principles, to reward military attendance and exertion by donative lands, to train the rising generation to arms and danger, to create a small but impenetrable nation of soldiers, where every man should have a property, and arms and spirit to defend it, to temper the ferocity of the natives by the arts of European culture, and to call forth from the tomb, where for a century it has slept, the invincible daring of the old bucaniers, uncontaminated by their disgraceful debaucheries in peace, or their still more infamous barbarities in war.
This letter and memorial his Grace was pleased to acknowledge the receipt of as follows:
“ SEPTEMBER, 24th, 1790. “ SIR: I have just received your letter of the 20th inst. from “Dublin, enclosing a plan for a settlement at the Sandwich “ Isles, I cannot give too much commendation to the perspicuous “ and compendious manner in which you have stated your pro"ject; but, as the carrying into execution plans of this sort de“pend entirely upon the Secretary of State for the Home De*partment, you should address yourself to Mr. Grenville in“stead of to me. If you are disposed so to do, and wish me to " send him your letter to me, with the plan it enclosed, I will “readily do so.—I am, sir, &c.
« RICHMOND." This letter I immediately answered by the following: