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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to sister Amelia May 2, 1845

page 186

To sister Amelia.

I am still confined to my bed, where I have been during the last four or five months. I am able however to sit up occasionally without much inconvenience or pain for a short time, which affords me relief. Had I expected to have lived till the present time, I should probably have endeavoured to reach home in order to have spent my last days with you, but as it was impossible to look into futurity, and as it is uncertain what effect on me a voyage round Cape Horn would have had, it is useless to regret not having made the attempt to do so.

The Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn have been during the last five weeks at Waikanae and Otaki. He has written to me several times to let me know what he is doing among my dear people. He seems very much interested in their welfare. He cannot remain much longer with them and feels at a loss how to supply them with a pastor.

Before this reaches you, the account of the disturbances of Kororareka and the general excitement in the country will have appeared in the public papers, and you will doubtless be feeling some alarm concerning us all in this distant colony. I think the general tenor of my letters, as far as I have lately alluded to political affairs, must have led you to believe that neither the general management of ecclesiastical matters, nor the proceedings of government were in my opinion calculated to promote rapidly either the spiritual or temporal welfare of the natives. It is a difficult thing to think calmly and with moderation while reflecting on the manner in which England always has mismanaged her colonies. I am no Radical; but if ever any radical change was requisite, such a change is necessary in these proceedings of the Colonial Office. In truth, when one reflects on the boasted civilisation and advancement in political science which the present generation arrogates to itself, one is lost in astonishment at the vast discrepancy between the theory and the practice, between the high-sounding professions and the deplorable facts—one would suppose that, now in the middle of the 19th century, N.Z. had been selected by political charlatans as a platform whereon to see who could best play the fool. The Governor is a cleverish, well-disposed man, but there is a vast deal of difference between wit and wisdom; and it is never more visible than when a man is thrown upon his own resources in a responsible situation, and to be well-disposed without discretion is no qualification for governing however amiable it may be in itself.