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Captain Stanley's report to Governor Hobson

Captain Stanley's report to Governor Hobson concerning the events surrounding his visit to Akaroa and his dealings with the French settlers was written at sea on September 17th 1840. The following is a transcript of that report:-
         
Sir, - I have the honour to inform your Excellency that I proceeded in her Majesty's sloop under my command to the port of Akaroa, in Banks Peninsula, where I arrived on August 10th, after a very stormy passage, during which the stern boat was washed away and one of the quarter boats stove. The French frigate, L'Aube, had not arrived when I anchored, nor had any French settlers been landed. August 11th I landed, accompanied by Messrs Murphy and Robinson, police magistrates, and visited the only two parts of the bay where there were houses; at both places the flag was hoisted, and a court, of which notice had been given the day before, held by the Magistrates. Having received information that there were three whaling stations on the southern side of the Peninsula, the exposed positions of which afforded no anchorage for the Britomart, I sent Messrs Murphy and Robinson to visit them in a whale boat. At each station the flag was hoisted and a court held. On August 15th the French frigate, L'Aube arrived, having been four days off the point. On August 16th, the French whaler, Comte de Paris, having on board 57 settlers arrived. M Bellingny, from the Jardin des Plantes has been sent to look after the settlers, and he is a good botanist and mineralogist. The settlers include carpenters, gardeners, stone-masons, labourers, a banker, a miner, in all 20 men, 11 women, and the rest children. Captain Lavaud, on arrival of the French settlers, assured me on his word of honour that he would observe strict neutrality between English residents and the settlers, and should any difference arise he would settle matters impartially. Captain Lavaud also informed me that as the Comte de Paris has to proceed to sea, whaling, he would cause the settlers to be landed on some unoccupied part of the bay, where he pledged himself that they would do nothing which would be considered hostile to the Government, ands that until fresh instructions were received from our respective Governments the settlers would merely build themselves houses or shelter and clear away what little land they might require for gardens. Upon visiting the Comte de Paris I found she had on board besides agricultural tools for the settlers, six long 24-pounders mounted on field carriages. I immediately called on Captain Lavaud to protest against the guns being landed. Captain Lavaud assured me that he had been much surprised at finding guns had been sent out on the Comte de Paris, but that he had already given the most positive orders that they must not be landed. On the 19th August, the French settlers having landed in a sheltered, well-chosen part of the bay, where they could not interfere with anyone, I handed over to Messrs Murphy and Robinson the instruction entrusted to me by Your Excellency to meet such a contingency. Mr Robinson, finding that he could engage three or four English-men as constables, and having been enabled through the kindness of Captain Lavaud to purchase a boat from the French whaler, decided on remaining. Captain Lavaud expressed much satisfaction when I informed him Mr Robinson was to remain, and immediately offered him the use of his cabin and table so long as the L'Aube remained in Akaroa. Mr Robinson accepted Captain Lavaud's offer until he could establish himself on shore. On the 29th August I sailed from Akaroa for Pigeon Bay, where, finding no inhabitants, I merely remained long enough to survey the harbour, which though narrow and exposed to the westward is well sheltered from every other wind, and is much frequented by whalers, who procure a great number of pigeons. From Pigeon Bay I went to Port Cooper (Lyttelton), where Mr Murphy held a court. Several chiefs were present and seemed to understand and appreciate Mr Murphy's proceedings in one or two cases that came before him. Between Port Cooper and Cloudy Bay I could hear of no anchorage whatever from the whalers who frequent the coast. I arrived at Port Nicholson (Wellington) on 2nd September, embarked Messrs Shortland and Smart, and sailed for the Bay of Islands on the 16th September. I have the honour to enclose herewith such information as I was enable to procure during my stay at Banks Peninsula, and also plans of the harbours.
                                                            I have, etc., Will Stanley, Commander R N