British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

number of persons, two or three hundred at least; their escape would be very difficult, as the country was distant from any part of the globe inhabited by Europeans. And being asked, whether he conceived the mother country was likely to reap any benefit from a colony established in Botany Bay? he replied, if the people formed among themselves a Civil Government, they would necessarily increase, and find occasion for many European commodities; and it was not to be doubted, that a tract of land such as New Holland, which was larger than the whole of Europe, would furnish matter of advantageous return.


22
JAMES MARIA MATRA: A PROPOSAL FOR ESTAB­ LISHING A SETTLEMENT IN NEW SOUTH WALES 23 August 17831

I am going to offer an object to the consideration of our Government [that] may in time atone for the loss of our American colonies.

By the discoveries and enterprise of our officers, many new countries have been found which know no sovereign, and that hold out the most enticing allurements to European adventurers. None are more inviting than New South Wales. . . .

[He refers to Captain Cook's exploration of the east coast and emphasizes the fertility of its soil for sugar, cotton, tobacco, &c.]

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 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. . . .

This country may afford an asylum to those unfortunate American Loyalists to whom Great Britain is bound by every tie of honour and gratitude to protect and support, where they may repair their broken fortunes, and again enjoy their former domestic felicity. . . . Sir Joseph

____________________
1
Hist. Records of N.S.W., vol. i, pt. ii, pp. 1-6. J. M. Matra, a native of New York, had been a midshipman on H.M.S. Endeavour with Cook and Banks. He was Consul in Teneriffe in 1772, and had tried for many years to claim a share of the grants to Loyalists on consideration of his lands in New York Colony. He made this suggestion for a Loyalist colony at Botany Bay to the Fox-North administration.

-428-

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