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New Guinea.

Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney,

July 27, 1874.

Minute for His Excellency the Governor.

ON the subject of New Guinea, to which you made reference in our conversation a few days ago, I desire to make some observations in which my colleagues concur.

The attention of this colony has been on several occasions directed to New Guinea by persons who have been much impressed by its natural fertility and rich resources. About seven years ago an effort was made to form an association in Sydney for voluntary settlement on the eastern shores of the island, and again, in 1870 or 1871, a number of young men, mostly natives of this colony, and some of them the sons of respectable and well-known residents, banded themselves together and chartered a vessel for the purpose of forming a settlement there. This vessel, the brig Maria, sailed from Sydney, it is said under very improvident preparation for the voyage, and she struck on a reef and foundered off the northern coast of Queensland. Some of the adventurers were lost, others escaped to the shore and suffered severely in an uninhabited part of the northern colony. The interest in New Guinea, and the belief in its future importance, which have been felt very generally in this colony for some years, have received fresh strength from Captain Moresby's discoveries and from the increasing trade of vessels from this port to Torres Straits.

There probably is no country in the world, which offers so fair and certain a field for successful colonisation as this great island, as there certainly is none so rich and attractive, and, at the same time, so close to British rule.

It is understood that the objection of English statesmen to extend the colonies of Great Britain is based upon the impolicy

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of throwing the cost of founding new settlements upon the English taxpayer. If this be so, and is held to be an insuperable objection, might not an Imperial charter be granted to an Australian company to colonise the eastern side of New Guinea, England reserving to herself the appointment of Governor, and authority in other matters deemed of first importance? I feel very confident that many men of high character and large wealth in these colonies would at once engage in an enterprise so tempting and honourable, if they had the opportunity of doing so under British authority, and that a colony might be successfully founded without costing Great Britain a single shilling beyond the support of her ships of war.

The importance of New Guinea to the English empire now rapidly forming in this part of the world cannot be over-estimated. Its close proximity to the Australian coast, its territorial extent, the valuable character of its lands, its known mineral wealth, the pearl fisheries in the neighbouring seas, give to it a prominence in the progress of these colonies which will go on increasing every year. Its colonisation by a foreign Power could not fail of giving rise to many embarrassments. Its colonisation by Great Britain would be hailed with universal approbation throughout Australasia.