APPENDIX III

PETITION

From the Inhabitants of
Tristan da Cunha
respecting Letter and Parcel
Mails to the Island

to
The Rt. Hon. The Secretary of State for the Colonies

SIR,

We, the undersigned inhabitants of Tristan da Cunha, beg to call your attention and that of H.M. Government to the difficulty that this British Colony is placed in by the extreme infrequency of letter mails to this island. It is now two years since we received any mail and above twelve months since we were able to despatch any letters or parcels.

The obvious reason of the mail difficulty is that the island lies off the main trade routes so that few or no vessels can be induced to call in at the island. As this is the case, we are thrown upon our own very slender resources, and while the island produces sufficient food to maintain life, yet our health suffers from the impossibility of obtaining a variety of food such as flour, rice, tea, or sugar.

We look to get all our stores from passing vessels or more usually such as bring us the mail, and in the absence of such we suffer great hardships which press most heavily upon the women and children and more particularly upon sick persons here.

We feel most chiefly the difficulty of obtaining flour for bread‑making, soap for washing, medical supplies, clothing, all of which must come to us by mail ; also paint and canvas to maintain our fishing boats. We can get none of these to us vital necessities without a regular mail.

We beg that when it is not possible for the Postmaster-General to fix an annual mail with some steamship company he may try and arrange that by favour of the Lords of the Admiralty a warship from the Cape Station or elsewhere may bring us our mail.

We beg that you will direct our petition to the proper quarter, and grant us the favour of an acknowledgment.

We desire to again assert our loyal affection to H.M. the King and to H.M. Government, and are

Most respectfully yours,

  H. MARTYN CHESELDEN ROGERS (Missionary at Tristan 1922-25)
  W. S. SWAIN (his mark) CHARLES HENRY GREEN
  R. F. LAVARELLO ROBERT F. GLASS
  THOMAS ROGERS ANDREW W. SWAIN
  FRED SWAIN WILLIAM LAVARELLO
  ARTHUR HENRY ROGERS GEORGE GLASS
  JOHN EDWARD GREEN PERCY LAVARELLO
  HARRY ANDREW SWAIN BILL ROGERS
  JACK ROGERS JOHNAVARELLO
  ROBERT GLASS ARTHUR E. REPETTO
  WILLIAM PETER REPETTO EDWARD T. GREEN
  S. T. SWAIN ALFRED GREEN
  JAMES S. SWAIN WILLIAM THOMAS ROGERS
  JOSEPH GORDON GLASS GAETANO LAVARELLO
  WILLIAM GREEN C. GREEN
  DAVID JAMES HAGAN JOHN GLASS
  BEN SWAIN RICHARD SWAIN
  TOM SWAIN GEORGE SWAIN
  DONALD GLASS ROBERT GREEN
  JOE GLASS ANDREW HAGAN
  WILLIAM GORDON GLASS JOSEPH ANDREW DUDLEY REPETTO
  HENRY GREEN  

  Copy. DOWNING STREET,
23rd March, 1925
 

SIR,

1. I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant, enclosing a petition from the adult male inhabitants of Tristan da Cunha respecting letter and parcel mails to the island.

2..The Secretary of State will lay before His Majesty the King the expression of loyalty to His Majesty conveyed in the petition, and a letter will be sent to the islanders when an opportunity occurs.

3. His Majesty's Government have, of course, every sympathy with the desire of the petitioners to obtain an annual mail, and the question of the possibility of providing more regular and frequent communication with the island has recently been under careful consideration. It is feared, however, that, having regard to the considerable expense and other difficulties involved, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty cannot undertake to arrange for a yearly visit of one of His Majesty's ships to the island, though it is hoped that such a visit can be made every three or four years. It does not therefore seem possible to promise any extra facilities at present, but every opportunity will be taken to make use of such means of communication with the island as may present themselves. The Secretary of State is in hope that it may be possible for the Discovery to visit the island at some time in the course of its work, though it cannot yet be said with certainty whether this will be found practicable.

I am, Sir,                
Your obedient servant,      
(Sgd.) E. J. HARDING   

D. M. GANE, Esq.


Appendix 4