[Letters written by Octavius Hadfield]
Dec. 19, 1839.
To brother Charles
The last letter I wrote was from the Bay of Islands in Oct. to dear George stating that I had altogether left the school and was about to sail to Kapiti, or Entry Island, in Cook Strait.
I landed first in Port Nicholson on the 8th of November accompanied by the Rev. H. Williams, who remained with me three weeks. I then went across to Cloudy Bay in the Middle Island and remained a day or two. . . . We left Cloudy Bay, but as the wind headed us we went again into Port Nicholson where Mr. W. and I determined to walk to the coast opposite Kapiti. . . .
The people on our arrival were in a state of warfare. The people of the Pa were attacked about 5 weeks before suddenly in the night by the natives of Otaki, a Pa about 11 miles further on the coast. There were about 35 of the latter killed, and 20 of the former. They were obliged to return leaving everything that they had with them. The people of this place have been slightly instructed in the truths of the Gospel by a native who came down a few years ago from Paihia, one of our settlements. They only acted on the defensive and contrary to precedent and native custom, instead of eating the dead bodies, buried them with all the spoil. Peace has now been established among them by Mr. W's influence and persuasion and I must now endeavour to maintain it, though the Otaki natives are by no means very much inclined to peace. . . .
The Island of Kapiti at which ships are accustomed to anchor lies about 4 or 5 miles from the coast where I am now living, which is called Waika-nae. I am at present, contrary to the preceding custom of all the missionaries, living in the Pa or fortified village. I have now been six weeks in a small tent seven feet square, moving about, but during the last week I have settled here. A tent is not very comfortable as it is cold at night and warm in the day time. It is now while I am writing very hot; the natives also all crowding about and putting their heads in at all times. I am having a house built of rushes by natives in the Pa. I brought a few blankets with me and some bricks to make a chimney before winter comes as it is rather cold in this part of N.Z. There are many disadvantages in living in a native Pa, for many reasons, and one is the excessive filth and also noise of the natives. . . . Personal inconvenience is nothing to me. . . . No missionary has either hitherto gone alone to any station, but I am living 300 miles from any other missionary. But though I am labouring under many disadvantages, and one great one, an almost entire ignorance of the language (though I have learnt more the last few weeks than I did all the time before), I never felt happier and more contented and composed in my life, or ready to endure and bear whatever the Lord may call me to. . . .
The chiefs of the Pa in which I now am are exceeding desirous of instruction and are very kind to me. I am quite amused in the morning to see the principal chief of the place, Reretawhangawhanga, learning to read and write his letters. He is an old man with a long grey beard.
April 28, 1840.
To brother Charles
I gave some account in my letter to my mother of my trip to Taranaki, a walk of about 350 miles, for 4 weeks, during which I went over land and among natives that had not seen a missionary before. I had an opportunity of preaching the glorious Gospel of my Master. I am disposed to take a different view of the natives from that generally taken by the missionaries here. I think them a most pleasing, interesting, intelligent set of people. I have some who had not looked into a book when I began school in December (especially a leading chief), who can now read and write well.
I am beginning to speak a little in native in preaching but having to learn the language without grammar, dictionary, etc., it is difficult. The natives however understand so I trust I shall shortly improve. I have many interesting enquiries concerning Jesus, but hitherto (the fault is perhaps with me) rather ignorant. One is certainly under the influence of the Spirit and I shall shortly baptise him. They are for the most part young men from the age of about 18 to 30 who are disposed to give up sin of every kind and serve Jesus. My sphere of labour from the vicinity of shipping is bad, but the Lord has brought me and I trust through prayer will bless me. I have no certain dwelling place, but two small houses at about ten miles apart.
My congregation at one place about 400, and the other 150, but numbers of others in villages all about me. It is surprising to see the attention with which they attend to the preached Gospel and their reverence for the Word of God—the Bible says so and that is enough. Port Nicholson, the new settlement, is within 30 miles of me so that I am no longer out of the world.
July 6, 1840.
To brother George.
Since my removal from the North I am quite satisfied. I have been living alone and have had many difficulties to encounter, especially from my ignorance of the language. It is now eight months since I came down here and I am now speaking the language tolerably; at least I speak it badly enough, but Mr. Williams and the natives say I speak it well so I have lately taken courage and am improving. My health is also improved—my chest is much better and except on particular occasions it feels quite well. I am stronger and can undergo a great deal of fatigue and hard work. I frequently sleep out in my tent for a fortnight together in frosty nights and am also often wet in crossing rivers, etc., but I never take cold.
My only trial at present is a want of time for reading and prayer, without which the soul cannot flourish. Now that I can speak the language my soul is indeed delighted with my work. The natives all along the coast call me their father. Yes, there is a kind of pleasure which is unutterable in the work. For instance yesterday in this place (Waikanae) to see about 500 persons who were but a short time ago buried in darkness and in sin, page 165 listening with the greatest possible attention while I was preaching from Romans 4, 6-7 and in the evening on 'I am the Good Shepherd'. Yes, on such occasions the Spirit sheds a fragrance on the soul, which leads one to forget ones Fatherland and all the troubles of this life. However I feel deeply convinced of the necessity of setting apart much time for prayer in as much as "every man's work will be tried with fire of what sort it is".
I have too much to do here and consequently can do nothing properly. I have two houses 10 miles apart and am absent from both a great deal, so that I never satisfy myself or anybody else. Some of the chiefs told me the other day that if I had not come here the war would not have ended and that many ere this belonging to both sides would have been dead. I hope now that Captain Hobson has arrived their wars will be put a stop to. I have lately had two journeys to Wanganui, one with Mr. H. Williams who went partly with the view of obtaining the signatures of the chiefs to a deed of surrender of the sovereignty of the land to the Queen. All I did was to witness them, but I would rather have nothing to do with the Government—however they are very civil to us. I went again with Mr. & Mrs. Mason who lately arrived here. They stayed in my house a week and then I took them on to their station at Wanganui—it is about 65 miles from me. I like them much, but they were exceedingly ignorant of the difficulties of travelling in this country.
near Port Nicholson
Sep. 19, 1840.
To his father.
It is a long time I think since I addressed you, but I doubt not that you all make common property of my letters, and therefore I am not very particular when I write which of you I address.
I feel thankful at least that I, and yet not I but the Gospel I preach, has been the means of stopping the war between the two tribes among whom I live. Many of the chiefs of the tribe who began the war before I came, now tell me that though they cannot understand all I tell them about a God in Christ reconciling sinners to Himself, washing away sins in His atoning blood, they have nevertheless learned to leave off fighting and working on the Lord's Day. So among this, perhaps the most obdurate of all the tribes in N.Z., there is a little done; many of the young people and a few of the chiefs however regularly attend to my instructions. The other tribe all attend to me, and in the one village in which I reside there are about 500 or 600 at service in the native chapel on the Sunday.
I do not take such a sanguine view of these things as some of our people here; it is not all gold that glitters; nevertheless there is much to encourage me even in "the day of small things"; vast numbers can now read and write well, and when I have lectures of an evening, it amuses me to see the means they resort to to get a place inside the building which will not hold above 200; they climb up on stands that they have made on the sides of their native buildings, and many come a half an hour before the bellpage 166
rings that they may get a seat, so anxious are they to hear the word of God explained. Some come about 10 miles on the Saturday for the services of the next day. It is remarkable to see gun-barrels used for bells, instruments of war turned into instruments for calling to peace.
I have too much work here, but do not misunderstand me, not that I over-exert myself, alas my indolence I fear is my chief sin, but I mean too much for one person to do, so that I can do nothing with pleasure, for while I am about one thing I leave two undone. I long for help, the fields are ripe for the harvest, and none to reap. It is a curious kind of life I lead in the midst of these people, subject to so many interruptions, and moving about as much as I do. I have not much time for reading.
This country is changing fast from the multitude of English coming here, in fact it is impossible to look forward at all, as to what the probable consequence will be as far as regards the natives. For my part, I anticipate no good for the natives, nay I look forward with grief to the state of these poor people, may the Lord disappoint my forebodings. Government at present are well disposed to the natives, but this may be partly policy, being a little afraid of them; time only will show. These people are a very wicked people, and if civilised without the influence of the Gospel to bear upon it will not be benefited in any way. The influence of the immoral English living in the land is the greatest difficulty I have to contend with as they continually object to me the lives and conduct of my own countrymen; these objections I should observe, come from those who have not yet made any profession of the Gospel. I have been abused by the Port Nicholson people in their paper, that is, accused of buying land, and trading for pigs and potatoes with books; I care little what they say about me, and if you should see any of their remarks you will know what credit to give them. Since my visit there however (it is about 30 miles from me), they have somewhat altered their tone. All connected with the Government, among others the Colonial Secretary, were very civil to me, and I lately had two very polite notes from Col. Wakefield. I never have and never intend to court the favour of men, but if, however bad, they are willing to live on friendly terms with me I shall not draw back. I met with some pleasing people among them. I do not wish to be much connected with Government as they have already appointed one Popish magistrate. They however naturally apply to us for information, etc., with respect to the natives, being ignorant of their language, manners, customs, etc.
When I came here I left as it were all comforts and everything connected with civilisation, and I felt it no hardship; I was even thought by people here rash and headstrong for coming here to the Straits alone; but I now have everything almost brought within my reach—however my wants are few. I only mean that you need no longer fancy that I am where I was twelve months ago; I have not indeed moved, but the world has moved towards me.
There is not much beauty in the scenery here, a sandy shore and flat near the sea, but the mountains at the back are fine and I have the hilly island of Kapiti, or "Entry Island," about three miles out at sea, just oppo- page 167 site me. On a very clear day I see three immense mountains, the nearest of which is about 60 miles from me, and they are always covered with snow, viz., "Taranaki", "Ruapehu" and "Tapuaenuku"; this latter on the Middle Island. I expect our vessel here in a few weeks when I intend crossing the Straits and visiting the natives on that island; many of them I know as they are the same tribe as my people here. I intended crossing in my boat, but Mr. Williams, who is an old sailor, strongly urged me not; I therefore gave it up; it is rather dangerous, being about 25 miles across, and there being very strong tide rips, but I have a great desire to go there. I have been to Cloudy Bay on that island at my first tour down here, but I then could not speak the language (and now speak it, I fear, very badly).
Oct. 22, 1840.
To a sister.
I have lately been put into good spirits by the hope that our correspondence may henceforward be more regular and expeditious, for certainly next to the pleasure of being with you hearing from you is the greatest I have. Your letter and that of dear Charles dated May reached me 3 weeks ago, being directed to me at this place. I yesterday received one from my father dated March 20. I hear of other letters, and the bearer of the one I read yesterday told me there were more, and newspapers, for me at Port Nicholson, which for some hitherto unaccountable reason have not yet been sent on, but which I suppose I shall see in due time. I am afraid my letters since I have been down here have been very dull and stupid, but living in England you can scarcely imagine the difficulty one feels here of getting a little quiet time when an opportunity presents itself of writing. I will try henceforth to be more regular in writing, and my letters must wait for a ship at Port Nicholson. I have not received a letter from Alexander since his arrival in India.
I returned about a fortnight ago from an interesting trip among some people of this tribe living on the banks of a most spendid and beautiful river, Manawatu, which empties itself into the sea about 20 miles from this (I am now writing from Otaki). I was as high up the river before, last summer, about 40 miles, but I this time came all the way down in a canoe, visiting the natives on the banks, nearly all of whom I found much improved and seeming to welcome me from their hearts. I was much interested.
I am also expecting a vessel to take me to the opposite Island, to Queen Charlotte Sound, where there are many hundreds who in dieir simple way call themselves my children; I have much love for them. A party of another tribe lately visited me for some days (Rauparaha's people), with all the nobility of the tribe. I was much pleased with some of them. There is some talk of their coming to me from all parts of the Straits in the summer, but I do not know whether it will be the case.
My mother kindly asks me whether I want anything in the way of clothes, and I think I will trouble you as everything here is very dear and bad. What I chiefly want are some books which perhaps George will be kind page 168 enough to get for me at his leisure, and besides two or three articles may ar well come at the same time. One dozen flannel waistcoats such as my mother made before for me (my native damsels do not know how to wash flannel well, and spoil mine), one dozen pairs of strong worsted socks, one dressing or reading gown of some kind of common drab cloth which any tailor can make, 3 or 4 small tablecloths, 6 small window curtains of any kind of material; my window contains 6 panes of glass. And 4 pairs of boots, well made to keep out water but not thick as I have nothing but sand to walk on and a stone is not to be found within many miles of my abode, which perhaps Charles will be kind enough to get for me; a good tight fit for him will suit me very well. A list of books I wrote on the other side that it may be plain. I send a check for what I hope will cover all; if not it must remain over until another time. I draw it on George's name as perhaps it will be more convenient. I feel quite sorry to give you so much trouble but I must not treat you as strangers. For me to get them safe they ought to be packed in tin. The box must be sent to the Church Mission House with a note just mentioning the value of the contents. They will pay insurance, freight, etc., with which I shall be charged in due time. List of books: Charnock (Stephen 1628-1680) "On the Excellence, Attributes & Providence of God". By Owan (John D.D. 1616-1683) Folio, "Of the Saints' Perseverance; "A Discourse of the Holy Spirit", Quarto; "A Display of Armenianism"; "Salus Electorum Sanguis Jesu", or the "Death of death in the death of Christ"; "Of the death of Christ", unabbreviated or corrupted. Then at any cost, if to be found, Usher on "The extent of Christ's satisfaction". Memoirs of H. Martyn; Brainerd's Life. Some books on ecclesiastical forms, regulations and relations as a guidance in the absence of advice from others; also "canons"; "Oliphant's analysis on History of the Gospels"; and 2nd edition of Leo's Hebrew Gram; Stewart's Hebrew Gr. or any others; I have Lee and Buxtorf. If my list has not exceeded the cash "Dr. Hawker's Commentary on the Bible."
Jan. 20, 1841.
To sister Octavia
Soon after I arrived here the year before last a large party from Queen Charlotte Sound arrived here to see their friends and relatives after the battle that was fought a few weeks before. These people remained here some months and constantly attended school, etc. On their return I supplied them with books, slates, etc., in order that they might carry on the same system on their return home. I occasionally heard from some of the teachers and promised, not withstanding my multiplied and daily multiplying engagements, to pay them a visit.
The windy weather being over, I started in my boat with five natives to cross the Straits, a canoe likewise accompanying me. I was detained a few days on the coast by contrary wind about 20 miles from this, where I employed my time among the natives who now in every direction pay me great respect. I started at 8 o'clock with a light breeze which soon died away—we then rowed for about three hours, the canoe left us, when a breeze page 169 sprang up and we were obliged to run for the north entrance of the Sounds, which from the ebb tide made the sea very rough. We however reached it at six o'clock in the evening when I was thankful to land safely. I passed ten days in the Sound which is surrounded by mountains with scarcely 10 acres of level to be found anywhere. I visited all the natives I could get near and was much pleased with the way they received me and attended to my instructions. I spent about a week at Okukari where there are a good many natives—there they have built a very large place of worship and are very regular and attentive at school and are well behaved. Some of them I found well informed in many of the doctrines of the Scriptures. While here a leading chief of the Ngatitoa tribe arrived from Kapiti to accompany me to Cloudy Bay. Leaving Okukari with feeling of regret at parting with these interesting people, I went to Cloudy Bay and there I found that a Wesleyan teacher, a Mr. Ironside whom I had previously seen at Waimate, had arrived the day before—at this I was not over well pleased, and I found that another was going to Port Nicholson. I remained there a few days, some of the natives join him and others continue with me and my people. I had divine service also on Christmas day with the English there and preached for the first time in English for the last fourteen months—these were very civil to me.
I returned to the Sound and spent a few more days there among some natives I had not previously seen, and then, taking leave of the Sound and its inhabitants with regret, with the purpose however if the Lord will of revisiting it, I sailed accompanied by four large canoes at two o'clock with a fine breeze and reached the Island of Mana at 7 o'clock to my comfort and satisfaction. My boat is too small—several of the white men about this area blamed me for crossing in it, but I had no alternative. I do not however purpose venturing again in it.
Peace is now fully established between the two tribes among whom I live. The sons of the leading chiefs of both sides have respectively visited the opposite party. This at least is one point I have gained—so far the Gospel has displayed its power. I yesterday added up a list of my schools in different places around me and found that about 600 (this is under the mark) meet daily to learn to read, write and also to learn the catechisms they have in use. About one half of these can read and write tolerably, but there are many hundreds who have learnt without any regular schools. In outward labours I think (though here I may err) I am not deficient as I give myself but little rest and am nearly always among these people talking of divine things. I this time of the year attend school at four o'clock in the morning daily and my evening lectures close at about nine—during all this time I am liable to be interrupted. I have also the hearts of the natives who see that I give myself a good deal of trouble on their behalf. But with all this my heart condemns me—I preach and I teach, etc., etc., but I pray but little and that in truth is the great source of ministerial usefulness. My love has grown cold and my faith weak. I will not attempt to excuse myself but oh what would I now give for one Sabbath in the midst of some holy congregation at home—you can perhaps enter into my feelings. Pray that the Lord may be with me that a precious Saviour may be daily becoming more precious and that I may live nearer to my God.page 170
April 12, 1841.
To his mother.
One word with regard to myself. Henry as well as you says much to me about taking care of my health. Now you both know that I never was very strong and neither am I now, nor do I think much about my health. I am engaged in work that does not allow me much opportunity of taking care of myself, therefore once for all let me say that you must not be anxious about me. You may hear that I am ill or even dead, but you must learn to remember that I am engaged in the Lord's work and am in His hands "Who doeth all things well".
My work is going on well among the natives—I baptised 33 the other day, all of whom I think well, some of whom I love much. Port Nicholson is a prospering place. There is some degree of spirit, etc., among the colonists which I admire, and the country has many capabilities. I hear that we have a bishop appointed for N.Z. I hope he will soon be out here. He is much wanted. I preached here on Good Friday and twice yesterday to an English congregation—somebody is much wanted here. There is here a Mr. St. Hill and his wife who are as kind to me as it is possible to be. I never met with anybody more so.
July 20, 1841.
To sister Maria.
I have been here for a few days and am now only waiting for a fine day to return home. I was sent for to Waikanae. Things here are in a bad way. There is a population of 2000 persons and no clergyman to attend to them—a layman sent down here by the Bishop has been behaving ill and must go—he has done this church much harm. We are expecting the Bishop shortly—I trust he will be able to restore matters again to order. I preached to a good congregation (considering the place of worship) on Sunday. The respectable people are very civil to me and wish me to remain here till the Bishop makes his arrival. Had I not such abundant employment among my own people I should be inclined to do so as the flock is becoming scattered and marriages, etc., are taking place in an irregular manner, and all kinds of evils are likely to ensue. Many are going away to the Wesleyans and Presbyterians so that the Bishop may probably blame me, when he comes, but I know not what to do. The inhabitants also think that I ought to be more with them under present circumstances, so that I shall probably be censured generally. There is not I fear a person who will be able to read prayers and keep a congregation together.
I was requested by a Mr. W. yesterday to call on his wife who appears to have been awakened by a sermon she heard from me when I was last here. She seems now in a pleasing state of mind though she has suffered much in mind and body. She comes from London and told me she had never seen a Bible in her youth and had never but once entered a place of worship.page 171
The Governor is expected here daily. Lt. Dawson is expected down with him, having been appointed magistrate here. I have not yet seen him. I think I mentioned in my last that I was going across the Straits. I did so and was more refreshed and delighted than I have been before since I have been in New Zealand. The seed which had been sown in the summer I found had in many instances fallen in good ground and sprung up and brought forth fruit, so that I could rejoice and give thanks for the manifestations of Jehovah's rich grace and love towards these dear people chosen in Christ to everlasting life and glory. At Okukari I found they had built me a house where I made myself very comfortable, and the kindness and attention of these dear people delighted my soul—thus though I have left father, mother, brothers, sisters, etc. I found them here. I have a congregation at that place of about 800, some of whom came from the neighbouring places. I baptised 17 persons with whose examination I was much pleased. I then proceeded to Rangitoto (Port Hardy) and there I found these people who I had visited before vastly improved and delighted to see me, and their kindness and civility was unbounded. I baptised 8 among whom was the chief of the place, a man of about forty, and three young women who, though they heard the Gospel for the first time in February, seemed to have remembered all that I said during the few days I was with them. They seemed exceedingly clear in doctrinal points, election, justification, sanctification, etc., so that I was amazed. They had built a nice place of worship according to my instructions and seemed to spend all their time and to have all their thoughts set upon spiritual and heavenly things.
I and my people are going on tolerably well on this side, but living among them I do not see so much the change, and they have many disadvantages from being so near the white people, though here at Port Nicholson, comparatively speaking, they are very orderly and quiet and well behaved to the natives. I could relate much that would interest you in a kind of diary but I have no time for it, and after all one is in danger of being very egotistic and I am afraid this is a great fault of mine, though in letter writing it is in some degree desirable. However, I like to let you know my concerns but do not wish to have them published to the world. My people at and about Otaki, one of my places, are not advancing much, those that are more immediately about me are doing well, but they have the cross to bear, as they are despised by some of their proud relatives.
This colony must prosper from the spirited way in which some of the settlers seem to act. There is some talent and propriety here. I, the day before yeterday, after marrying a party accompanied them to a dejeune where everything was done with as much elegance, etc., as it would have been in England, and the company was select. This I did not expect when I came to N.Z. and is a contrast to what I at other times have. This day fortnight I was caught in a breeze when returning in my boat from Rangitoto, and slept by the side of my boat on the rocks on an uninhabited island, without water and only a small fire during a frosty night, and nothing to eat. So much for variety, but I can rejoice evermore at the prospect of eternal rest.
Jan. 5, 1842.
To sister Octavia
It is a very long time I fear since I have addressed a letter to you, though I think I have received more from you than from anybody else. I feel thankful that I have health and strength today sufficient to enable me to write to you. The last I wrote were to Caroline and Henry, Nov. 1 and 16, and as the vessel by which they were sent went direct home I hope you will get them soon.
And now I suppose I must say something about myself, and how shall I begin; if I keep silence I shall lose your confidence and if I tell you the truth I shall perhaps give you pain; but if my letters written lately home reached you, you will have learnt that my health has not been very good within the last few months, but as I am always complaining you would not perhaps think much of it. I suffered for some weeks from pain in my left side, accompanied with very disordered bowels and great weakness, but though confined to my house some days, on others I was enabled to go through some of my duties. Feeling rather better on the 5 th of December I started in my boat to go across to Queen Charlotte Sound, but having gone down the coast about 25 miles I felt so ill that I was obliged to land, have my tent erected and go to bed. I then found myself in a violent fever which increased so rapidly that in the night about 11 o'clock I told my boat's crew, the wind being fair, to cover me well with blankets and take me back home, which we reached about the dawn of day. I was then put to bed where I lay till January 2nd.
Mr. Mason kindly came from Wanganui as soon as he heard of my illness and remained with me for a week till he thought me recovered. Mr. St. Hill, a particular friend of mine, likewise came from Port Nicholson and wished much to convey me to his house, but I thought it too far to be carried (about 40 miles). Col. Wakefield and others called and were very civil. I as usual would not have my medical man's advice, though now that I am better I perhaps shall consult somebody. One called in passing whom I had seen before and told me he thought there was an abcess forming in my left side and advised me to use calomel and blisters. I had previously taken calomel rather freely and I applied a blister which relieved me for the time, but the pain has since returned though not with violence. I think he made a great mistake about the formation of an abcess; I am not however certain as I am not well yet though I now sit up and yesterday walked a few yards from my house. I however hope, and my friends who judge by my improved looks, etc., think the same, that I am now getting well. Mr. Halswell, whose name as connected with N.Z. matters you may have seen in the papers, sent me a beautiful goat which supplied me with nice milk, and I have since lived almost entirely on arrowroot which is the only thing that has agreed with me. I have not you see been destitute of friends even here, but had them to minister to my wants and necessities. My native lad also, Coleman Davis (Te Kooro), has been very assiduous in his attentions day and night, so that I have in this respect much to be thankful for.page 173
You will probably by this time wish to know what effect this illness has had on my soul, and expect a more full account under this head than I have given concerning the body. Should such be the case I fear you will be disappointed. Never has sickness been less sanctified to the good of my soul. The powers of my mind and soul seemed proportionably weakened with those of my body and I have enjoyed but little of my God.
My dear people (the Maoris) have been much grieved at my sickness, expecting to lose me, and if there was anything which tied me to this world it was a wish to be with them (be not angry with me if I confess I had almost forgotten you), though I could feel that I had "a desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better." A report having gone abroad among some at a distance that I was dead, they were all in tears. Whether this love is to me personally, or to me as minister and ambassador of Christ, I know not; God grant that it may be the latter. I can however look upon many souls who I trust will be found precious among Jesus' jewels. I feel more and more my own incapacity bodily and more especially mentally and spiritually for the great work in which I am professidly engaged. I differ with most here concerning baptism and with regard to solemnising marriage between persons baptised and those who are not, etc.
I wish I could spend my few remaining days as a hermit, but how to proceed I know not. George says my father wants a statistical account of how I pass a day, etc., etc. The truth is I never pass two days alike and never two weeks together in the same place. I sometimes have a dinner and sometimes go without. In fact you cannot well imagine anything more irregular than the life and adventures of O.H.
January 27, 1842.
To his mother.
I wrote in the beginning of the month to Octavia, but hope this may reach you before that as the account I felt bound to give you of my state of health was not very good, and I am happy now to be able to give a more favourable report. I then stated that I had been confined to my bed for three weeks, but was recovering. Since that I have been brought by my friend Mr. St. Hill to his house here, where by the very kind and assiduous attentions of himself and Mrs. St. Hill I have been supplied with every comfort. He has the best house in the colony and they have spared no pain in making me comfortable. I have been with them now a fortnight and trust that I shall shortly be enabled to resume my old employment. I have been in the hands of Dr. Fitzgerald, who I think is a clever man. He told me that I was suffering from an affection of the pleura, which required immediate attention lest it should spread to the lungs in which case it might prove fatal. I have been cupped and have had three blisters applied to my side, etc., and am now feeling well. I would that I could feel more grateful to the Lord for His goodness in raising up friends to me in a time of need and supplying me with those means which were necessary for my recovery. "Trust ye in the Lord for ever" is a sweet sentence—oh that wepage 174
could always act upon it. I went to church on Sunday and preached to an English congregation and did not feel much fatigued through my exertions. My chest has been unusually well—I have not coughed once during my illness.
It has been rather painful to me to be unable to live among my dear people and to continue my instructions to them, but the Lord's will be done. They have appeared very anxious for my recovery and appear much attached to me. I wish I had some help, my time is much wasted in moving about from place to place. I begin also to fear that the rapid influx of whites to this country must eventually prove pernicious to the natives. This part of the country will shortly be overrun with settlers if colonisation proceeds as it has hitherto done. I cannot but fear that there will be blood-shed here before long, that a collision will take place between the settlers and the natives. Nothing I firmly believe at the present moment restrains the natives but the power of the Gospel—how long that may continue to act generally as a restraint I cannot conjecture. I see no reason why such an event should take place—the natives are very easily managed, but the impetuosity of some settlers will probably act as a firebrand to cause a general conflagration, and should such a thing happen some of the settlers (though they do not think so) must be the sufferers.
I do not think that there is fair play here—for instance on the arrival of the Lieut.-Governor it was stated that he came to make a treaty with the New Zealand chiefs. In this treaty all their lands and rights were guaranteed to the latter, who allowed the Governor to take quiet possession. This treaty which the Governor made with them, they looked upon as a bona fide act and they understood that lands which should be taken possession of by settlers were to be purchased from them. But now that a footing has been obtained here, a different ground is taken and it is broadly hinted that the treaty was not a bona fide act but a mere blind to deceive foreign powers. The Queen takes possession of the soil and the natives are looked upon as nonenities, and what the result must be requires not any extraordinary measure of foresight to determine. What opinion the unsuspecting simple New Zealander will form of settlers from this act of civilised Christian diplomacy remains to be seen—that it will not be a very favourable one I presume no one will question. This is a fine country, its capabilities have no bounds, the natives are a fine, tractable race, Christianity has its influence among them, and settlers may come here to any extent: there is plenty of room, but a strong Government, that which we read of as a matter of history (for such a thing scarcely exists in these days) is wanted, but under a weak, vacillating Government nothing can prosper.
But enough perhaps of these subjects which though they engage and occupy my thoughts may not interest you. We have nothing however to fear for ourselves, for though some of the natives look upon us missionaries as feelers sent out to prepare the way for colonisation, and the colonists on the other hand view us with suspicion, considering that we influence the natives to oppose their interests, we are nevertheless considered by both parties too useful to be dispensed with at present. I am also bound to say that personally I have met with great civility and kindness from all the leading settlers.page 175
I often wish to pay you a visit and to see you all again but I could be of no use in England and I think as soon as we cease to be useful life becomes a burden. Here, if possessed of a very moderate measure of health I might be materially useful in various ways both among natives and others, and therefore I make up my mind to live here, though I may some day pay you a visit, in which case I should probably persuade you all to accompany me back to N.Z. My father tells me that the population of Ventnor was when he wrote nearly a thousand, but the population of Wellington in which I now am is more than 3000. On my first arrival here there was not a white man here.
Continue to write very fully to me of yourselves and all my friends, etc. The lapse of time does not at all lessen the interest which I take in small particulars concerning you. I certainly am vexed that so many vessels come direct from London to this port in three or four months without bringing letters from you. I wish I could hear from Alexander. I hope when the China war is over that if he returns home he will come to me first. I should be quite happy here if I had either more time for reading, etc., or some friends with whom I could converse with profit, but I feel sometimes strongly concerning the importance of the work in which I am engaged, and my own total inability to perform it adequately, an inability arising from the sinfulness and indolence of my heart. To feed Christ's sheep and lambs is important work and "who is sufficient for these things" says Paul, and if he could feel so how ought I to feel. But Christ is sufficient for me whose "blood cleanseth from all sin." Oh how precious is the doctrine of salvation through faith in Christ.
April 22, 1842.
To his father.
I often wish to see you all and often feel how great my loss is in being removed from you to this distant part of the earth. I feel sometimes that you can scarcely sympathise with me. You have parted with one or two (dear Alex), but you still have many around you whereas I have parted with all and am a solitary being in this hemisphere. But the love and affection, those bonds and links which nature feels are so strong and firm that they cannot be dissolved, yet unite me to you and keep you fresh in my remembrance. Think not that I despair or repine at my lot, oh no. If I have made a sacrifice, if I have endured a loss, as indeed in one sense I feel that I have, it has not been done presumptiously but at the bidding of One to whose commands all earthly affections must yield and give way, and who, while He commands us to leave earthly parents, etc., for His sake says at the same time "and I will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters." This then is my cause of rejoicing, that whereas I came among these people rather more than two years and a half ago and found them engaged in wars, etc., etc. I now find myself surrounded with believers. But to what shall I ascribe this, to myself? As well might I ascribe it to the paper in which the words of the Lord are printed.page 176
I started early in March on one of my tours, and went a longer round than I had hitherto been. I went in my boat but in it I go no more for two reasons, first because in crossing the Straits I was nearly being lost in a gale of wind, breaking my rudder and being considered mad by all the seamen about the coast, and secondly because our committee at the North, taking compassion on my eccentric propensities which they find it impossible to cure, have sent down a pretty little craft which is as safe as anything of the kind can be. I went first to Queen Charlotte Sound where my people received me with much affection, having despaired of my life in my late illness.
There were about 700 or more present on Sunday at service and I baptised about 50. I then went on to Rangitoto (D'Urvilles Isd.) and was there delighted with those dear people who I think are the greatest treasures I have, especially some young women there. I then proceeded on about 50 miles into Blind Bay to the new settlement, Nelson, where Capt. Wakefield and others received me very civilly. I preached to a good congregation there but there were but few natives there. I then returned home having been absent three weeks.
I am not very comfortable with regard to the temporal interests of the natives. I fear that ere long they will suffer from the rapid influx of white men among them, and though Lord John Russell's despatch to the Governor respecting their lands, etc., is exceedingly good, I fear it will be very difficult to put his orders into practice. I am expecting to hear of the arrival of our Bishop (Selwyn) since I have seen his consecration in the papers.
Aug. 30, 1842.
To his family.
I go on much as usual here; I have however been moving about lately. I was at Wanganui (Mason's station) about five weeks ago. I saw the Dawsons there, who were quite well and very kind and civil to me. On my return from that place I went to Port Nicholson and then went about 50 miles beyond it to a place called Wairarapa, which I had never visited before. The residents there are newcomers who, having been beaten formerly in their wars had deserted their land, but who have lately returned. I did not see many of them as they were in the woods looking for food, having not yet any regular plantations. I had an uncomfortable trip as there was cold rain every day and some of the cliffs could only be passed by wading into the sea up to my waist. I passed another week at Port Nicholson. I baptised about 30 natives there with whom I was much pleased. I officiated there as usual to an English congregation to whom notice was given in the public papers. People came to hear me preach though I hear that many consider me an enthusiast. Christ's little flock however must profit. I am happy to say that I am relieved of the charge now as Mr. Cole is appointed there. The Bishop has arrived here, though I have not seen him as he was obliged to go to Nelson. I expect to see him on his return in a week or two. I do not know what he will do with me, or whether I shall remain where I am or not.page 177
The Bishop I hear is much interested in the natives and has already some knowledge of the language. Maunsell has published a grammar, which however I have not seen; he is a clever fellow, the only man we have who knows the language well. Many of our good friends here fancy that William Williams knows the language and they leave the translations for him, while they underrate Maunsell's ability which annoys me. Our N.Z. New Testament is a poor thing, which is vexatious when we have Maunsell here. The natives around me continue to give me satisfaction and give me comfort though some serve the devil and give me pain at times. I am sorry to say that they monopolise all my thoughts and the rest of the world engages but little of my attention. Such a creature am I! I would however I think, like to work among the Chinese. I am very comfortable here, everybody without exception is civil and kind to me wherever I go, and my friends, the St. Hills are particularly so. I now keep a goat and a great many fowls so that I have milk and eggs in abundance. I am able also to eat potatoes which I have not tasted for years. So you see that I take care of myself, though I be absent from you, who used to take care of me.
Sept. 17, 1842.
To his mother.
I came over here yesterday with Mr. Mason to meet the Bishop and am highly delighted with him. I breakfasted with him this morning and he was very kind saying that he had sufficient introduction to me from the Bishop of Australia who had spoken to him of me. He appears to be a man of great latent energy and activity, in fact a first rate man. I do now hope that we may expect an abundant blessing from the Lord upon our labours here.
I administered the sacrament on Sunday to more than 150 natives at Waikanae and on the Sunday previous to 65. I am much interested in my work.
Nov. 19, 1842.
To his family.
I have two clergymen now come into my part of the country, one is at Wellington, the Revd. R. Cole, the other is at Nelson, the Revd. C. L. Reay, belonging to our Society—him I have not seen, but trust that he is an active person who will do good. I am not however much relieved by them at present, as the former is still quite ignorant of the language and the latter at too great a distance from Queen Charlotte Sound to take charge of the natives there. In September while I was at Wellington with Mr. Mason the Bishop ordained him. Mr. Cole and I assisted in the service. This ordination took place before a large congregation of natives and was performed in the native language, I having translated that service into the native for the occasion. It was highly interesting to me as well as to the natives. The Bishop will admit several of the catechists to deacons orders, thus we may expect something like a church here in the wilderness.page 178
I have had much conversation with the Bishop. He is a man I think well suited for the work to which he is appointed. He is devoted to his work and is a pattern of self-denial, diligence and activity. His great talent is too manifest to be questioned by anybody. He delights in being with natives and enters into all their concerns and wants with unwearied attention and patience. The knowledge which he has already attained of the native language is surprising. He has passed through my place twice on his way to Taranaki (New Plymouth) and then again on his road to Hawke's Bay. On this latter occasion he was accompanied by the Chief Justice. Mr. Martin. I went with them about a hundred miles up the river Mana-watu, and then having procured about 30 natives to accompany them to Archdeacon Williams at Hawke's Bay I took leave of them. I was with them a week and left them with regret, thankful however that I had enjoyed the society of the two most talented men in New Zealand for so long a time. They are both attached in a most extraordinary manner to the natives and seem determined to defend the natives interests, and as they have the power to do so, being joint trustees for all native property, etc., much good will no doubt be done by them. I cannot express how delighted I have been with them both.
I felt very much interest in my English congregation at Wellington on giving them up to their new pastor. Several of them wanted to know why I could not live there. There has been this last week a very disastrous fire at Wellington, 59 houses having been destroyed and many poor creatures consequently involved in misery and want. A considerable sum of money has already been raised for the relief of the sufferers, and I was gratified to learn that a small native congregation had given £4 towards the fund, thus showing a kindly feeling towards their white brethren. The Bishop has given me more work to do, but whether I shall obey him or not I have not yet determined. He wished me and Mr. Maunsell to go through all the Native New Testament and correct all the mistakes and then to have a large quantity printed by the Christian Knowledge Society. I endeavoured in vain to persuade him and the Judge that I knew but little of the language. Nothing would do but I must give myself to the work. I know however that I am unequal to the work and therefor shall leave it for Maunsell. A little fluency in speaking with a tolerable pronunciation is mistaken for a knowledge of the language, when in truth there is no real connexion between the two.
January 20, 1843.
I have lately met with a very severe affliction in the loss of my friend and fellow labourer Mr. Mason of Wanganui. Oh, I have already written several letters upon the melancholy subject, yet the loss of one so reliable at this time to the church here cannot but be a matter of regret to all interested in our labours here. I therefore promised to give some account of it. As Mr. Mason and myself on Jan. 5 were riding on the coast on my return from Wanganui, on coming to the very dangerous river Turakina we page 179 attempted in rain to cross it in the shallow water but the quicksand would not allow us; we then proceeded to the mouth of the river and after some debate upon what was the best plan to pursue we rode into the river to endeavour to swim our horses across. Mr. Mason, to avoid getting very wet sat awkwardly upon his saddle, and though I cautioned him of it he persisted in it. Our horses had not been swimming many yards when he I think touched the bridle, the horse threw back his head and he fell into the water. Upon his horse returning mine followed it and as soon as I reached the shallow water I dismounted and seeing Mr. Mason sinking, threw off only my coat and waistcoat and swam in to him. Two natives at this time approached but being lads, and nervous, rendered me no assistance. Not more than a minute had elapsed from the time Mr. Mason fell into the water to the time when I reached him, but he was then sinking. I endeavoured first to raise his head above water, then by taking hold of his arm to drag him towards the shore, but as tide and wind were driving us further towards the deep water I was too much encumbered by my clothes to swim long; my efforts were unavailing and with regret I left him there several feet under water.
I reached the shore with great difficulty, being in a very exhausted state having swallowed a large quantity of salt water. The two natives now came to assist me and having taken off my clothes and supplied me with their blankets and kindled a fire, after a few hours, my horse being caught, I was sufficiently recovered to return to Wanganui and complete the melancholy day by detailing to Mrs. Mason the distressing fact of her husband's death. Thus while my friend is taken away I am preserved: the Lord's ways are mysterious. We were riding quietly along talking about the state of the church at home and in N.Z., and within five minutes one was taken to his rest and the other left. When however I saw the distress of the poor dear people at Wanganui on the loss of their pastor, and the anxiety which my dear people evinced on the report of my death, which they heard, I cannot but acquiesce in the divine appointment. Mason and I were the only two missionaries known to all the natives of this part of the country. Mason had acquired a fair knowledge of the language and was a diligent, active and faithful minister in my opinion. Mrs. Mason tells me he had a very great regard for me and I am sure I had the same for him, poor fellow. I shall follow him soon.
March 8, 1843.
To his father.
I have lately received a letter from Julia (dated Sep. 28) in which she sends me a message from you to desire me to write when I have an opportunity; having now a few minutes to write in I do so, as there is a vessel going almost immediately. I was happy to hear that you were pretty well at the time of Julia's writing. I wrote a long letter to Caroline about 5 or 6 weeks ago, in which I mentioned my poor friend Mason's death and my narrow escape which you will have received before this reaches you. I have page 180 lately had a pleasant visit to Queen Charlotte Sound and I find the natives there as attentive as ever and as desirous of receiving instruction. They seem to care for little else than religion and are regardless of worldly concerns, to their own detriment in some measure.
I have now more to do than ever since Mason's death, but my strength I think is as great as it ever is, and I am quite well. I am come over here for two days on some matters of business, and then return. Things are rather in a dull state in this place. I am, with some others, making some exertions to get the natives to work at the New Zealand flax, which will be much for their benefit, and it is almost essential to the welfare of this colony that they should have some export. They have always been trying to invent some machine for the preparation of the flax, but I think that I have convinced some that the natives could be an immediate benefit to this country. You need not however think that I employ my time in these matters; they are merely facts which force themselves upon the observation of those who go about with their eyes open, which all here do not.
Sep. 1, 1843.
To his mother.
I have a few minutes to write in and as I hear there is a vessel going direct to England, I gladly employ them in writing to you. I have to thank George for newspapers, which are interesting. I was radier unwell when I last wrote, and have been worse since, but am now well again. I cannot do so much work now as I used some time ago; but I am not quite left to myself now, though my fellow workers know but little of the language of the natives.
The natives are going on quietly and steadily; and I lately was joined by almost all the remnant of the heathen party at Otaki and the neighbourhood. These people have resisted me in every possible way during nearly four years; and now they openly confess that their object in so doing was to induce me to leave them in disgust; but diat, having watched us, the Christian party, during so long a period, they are compelled to acknowledge that we are in possession of some principles whose tendencies are more conducive to order and good conduct—they our enemies being our judges— than any with which they were acquainted. The people at Waikanae have built a very beautiful church, which is now almost complete and which is much admired. They have been engaged nearly two years at it, and have worked well and altogether gratuitously.
I am now going to build myself a house at Waikanae, as my old mud-house is decaying fast and excessively damp, and the cause of hindering my work as it is not fit for a European residence. I have been careful not to spend more of the Society's money than is necessary; but I find a man gets no credit for it, and that if one does not take care of oneself there is nobody here to take care of one. Many who have come since I have and have never done any work are living in good houses. Economy may be carried too far, and some of my medical friends here tell me that I shall soon be able to page 181 do no work at all if I do not take care of myself. I merely mention this, because whilst I have been protesting against the extravagance of this mission I may be accused of taking care of myself as well as others taking care of themselves.
My friends here are very kind, and nobody could be more constantly kind and attentive than my dear friends the St. Hills, with whom I am now for a day or two, having money matters to attend to here. I return today to Waikanae, and as I must go about 20 miles, I must put an end to my writing.
Nov. 13, 1843.
To sister Octavia.
The last letter I wrote was on the 1st of September to my mother, and since that I have delayed writing, though I fear there have been ships going direct, because I was out of humour at not receiving any letters from any of you. I have received letters from Salisbury dated late May, six weeks ago, and nothing from any of you since Feb.—so much grumbling, now let me think of something else.
I have had so much to do lately with our minor political matters that I fear I am become quite worldly. Since an unfortunate affair which I alluded to before, (Wairau), there has been a bad feeling existing between settlers and natives, and it has required the exercise of all the little wisdom which I possess to keep matters quiet. I believe I have been the chief instrument in doing this hitherto, and have had acknowledgements to this effect from government officers; but still it is not my proper work, and in that I would rather be occupied entirely. I am afraid I have witnessed a little luke-warmness among the natives lately; this however I must expect; but still I have seen nothing of the kind among my own favourites. I do not so much blame the natives for much that appears blameable in them, as I do ourselves. Ere long there will be considerable confusion in the Christianity of these people. Our hope is in the Lord, would that I ever rested upon that source of help simply and entirely.
I feel inclined to go to China. I wonder whether I could learn the language! I found no difficulty in the language of this country—but Chinese, I suppose, would put one's ability for languages to the trial. Nothing I regret more than not having studied languages. I sometimes feel a little angry with some of you at home, who always used to tell me when a boy that I was conceited and thereby discouraged me. I took a dislike when a boy to Latin and Greek, and was stupid enough with those languages. Since I left England I have only studied New Zealand and Hebrew, and have found no kind of difficulty with these. I fear nevertheless that Chinese would puzzle me.
I had the pleasure a few days ago of having the Chief Justice at my house for a day. He takes great interest in the language and in the natives of this country. I am expecting the Bishop in about a month. My friend Mr. St. Hill is gone to meet him in the centre of the Island and will accompany him back.
Dec. 21, 1843.
To his mother.
The Bishop has just come to visit us and I have come in here to meet him. I was with him some hours yesterday and he purposes following me to Waikanae in a few days. Mr. Cotton has been staying with me for a few days. The Bishop is a pleasing and talented man, but I hear rather inclined to Popery. I shall however have a further opportunity of seeing him shortly, and forming a more accurate and correct opinion of him and his religious views. I may have to act in opposition to him, but hope that so painful a state of things may be spared me.
Matters among the natives are going on much as usual. I think I can see, or rather foresee, that considerable difficulty will shortly exist in settling matters between the whites and the natives which will eventually lead to much evil and be very prejudicial to the cause of the Gospel. The land question here is in a most complicated state; the Company misunderstanding the Government, and the native misunderstanding both: and as a consequence considerable excitement existing.
I am called upon by all parties to give advice, and both Col. Wakefield, the Company's agent, and Major Richmond, the Chief Magistrate here wish me to make a statement of affairs to the new Governor. The truth is, it is not so much my knowledge of the state of things which recommends me to them, as the difficulty of finding a person at once acquainted with the state of affairs and not personally interested in the question.
I much fear that there will be a rapid decay shortly in the religion of the natives, in saying so I believe I am almost singular in my opinion, but I see causes working which must lead to it, if not shortly remedied. I had great confidence in the Bishop: he has plenty of ability, but now question whether he sees the question in a right point of view. We must have scriptural remedies applied and not ones of human invention. Would that I had more faith and more holy love and could watch and pray more.
Sep. 17, 1844.
To his mother.
I forget whether I mentioned in my last letter that I was unwell; if I did, you will doubtless have been anxious to hear again from me; but if I had written during that period I could not have given a very favourable account of myself, nor can I now. I have been very ill, and still am in very delicate health. I have indeed cause to be thankful, that considering how weak my constitution was when a boy, I have enjoyed so great a measure of health as I have, and have moreover been enabled to devote a few years to the work of the Lord.
But to proceed; I must give you some account of myself. In March last I was attacked with a complaint in my kidneys which confined me to my page 183 bed for some time; subsequently I recovered a moderate degree of strength and attended to my duties as usual; but having a good deal of work about Easter and some time afterwards I could not spare time to put myself under medical treatment and consequently continued till the beginning of June without taking any steps to have the pain in my back removed, which was by that time rather serious. On the 4th of June I went to Wellington having been previously visited by my friend Mr. St. Hill, and took up my abode at his house. Dr Fitzgerald, who attended me before, visited me, and having brought Dr. Featherston, another very clever man to see me, they told me it was necessary for me to put myself entirely under their directions, as my complaint ought to have been attended to long before. I continued at Wellington three months, and was visited by Dr. Fitzgerald every day, who tried various remedies—bleeding, cupping, tartar-emetic applications, but without much success. Having passed so much time at Wellington, I requested them to give me a decided opinion about my state of health, that I might be prepared to act accordingly. They give me no hopes of an ultimate recovery, though they tell me that with great care and by being very quiet, I may live tolerably free from pain. I returned home about a fortnight ago as they thought with me that change of air might do me good, especially as the air of this place is better than that of Wellington.
I am forbidden to exert myself, so I content myself with very moderate duties. I was nine Sundays without being able even to go to church, but I have preached once each of the last four Sundays without suffering much by it. I am not now in much pain but then I am daily using very strong medicines, which may be expected ere long to lose their effect. I am determined to take care of myself, and try every remedy that is in my power, believing this to be my duty, and as I am now in my new house which is very comfortable, I can do so; but to do this in N.Z. and at the same time continue in the attempt to discharge my dudes among my flock, seems impossible for any length of time. If I find myself totally unable to do anything here I may be induced to attempt a voyage to England, especially as one of my medical advisers strongly recommends it; but I should take such a step with great reluctance and consequently only mention it as a possibility.
The Bishop happened to come into Wellington for an hour while I was there and was much grieved to find I was so unwell. He spoke and acted with the greatest kindness. He told me not to be anxious about my work, that he would send me somebody to assist me, and added that though I possessed but little strength I might be still very useful, especially in superintending matters at this end of the Island which, being at so great a distance from him, he could not well attend to himself.
I do not think that the prospects of this colony are very encouraging at the present time. The greater part of the colonists are very little acquainted with the various employments which would fit them to be useful settlers, and even those who take the lead in matters here show great ignorance of the first principles of political economy: they are aware that N.Z. will not produce everything they require and yet up to this time they have thought page 184 of no export in exchange for the necessary imports; though I am convinced that the country may produce many. The consequence is that the little capital which was brought here has been drained out of the colony and many of the settlers, I think, will shortly take their leave of it. I regret this state of things as I am quite convinced that the resources of this place are various and available. Nor do I take a very cheering view of the condition of the native population. I believe they are no longer on the advance but rather the reverse; but this idea I mink I have previously expressed. The natives are not advancing in civilisation, not because they are not aware of its advantages over barbarism, but because there is no system for effecting such an object; many talk upon the subject, but none use any efforts towards accomplishing it. The introduction of Christianity, they say, will not do it alone: they therefore throw impediments in the way of the missionaries, but in the mean time do nothing themselves.
Oct. 8, 1844.
To brother George.
I am happy to be able to say that I am feeling very much better now than when I wrote before. I have gained strength considerably and am feeling much less pain than I did then. I have lately had Mr. Taylor (Mr. Mason's successor at Wanganui) staying with me for a few days. He is exceedingly kind and anxious about me.
I am afraid from some late communications that the Church Missionary Society Committee are still ill-informed concerning the real state of religion in this country. Perhaps nothing is more difficult than to convey adequate ideas of the actual religious feelings and knowledge of a newly converted barbarous people to those who have no experimental knowledge of a people of this description. The Committee talk of introducing the parochial system under a native ministry into this country: and have written for advice and opinions upon the subject. The scheme at present is impracticable; and there is no such progressive advance in religious and moral knowledge as would lead the most acute discerner of future probable events to calculate with any likelihood of being correct what would be the difference in this respect 5, 10, or 15 years hence. Besides, the uncertainty of the present system of colonisation, whether it will be carried on with more vigour or be relaxed, and the effect of this upon the natives, renders it, at present, perfectly preposterous at this time to entertain the idea seriously. There is uneasiness and anxiety about the natives relative to the acts of government and the probable results to which they may tend as influencing their interests which is far from satisfactory: and I am perfectly convinced that without the aid and assistance of the present missionaries in allaying the fears and apprehensions of the natives upon many of these subjects, the government would find it very difficult to carry on its business amicably for any length of time. In fact, for the C.M.S. to withdraw their support from N.Z. at the present time would be to undo all that has been done, that is, as respects the present generation.
Jan. 10, 1845.
To sister Octavia.
Since I last wrote from Waikanae, I have been almost wholly confined to my bed, occasionally for a few days suffering rather acutely, at other times more easy. I was removed last week to this place, my friends here not thinking it proper that I should remain alone any longer. The Rev. R. Taylor from Wanganui came to entreat me to go to his house and remain there, and my friend Mr. St. Hill came at the same time, but the latter prevailed on me to move; and I was carried by my natives on a litter through the woods and arrived here safely. I am now in my old quarter with my very kind friends.
As I have been seen by three very able medical men and their opinion is that I can do no more work I am perfectly easy on that score and do not allow myself to be anxious about my late charge. While we have health and strength we are bound to devote them to the service of God, for they are His gifts; when deprived of them, we may be easy, knowing that nothing is required of us. I have prayed for guidance lately, but do not exactly know what to do; I do not much like being burdensome to my friends here (thought I know they do not think me so), and if I remain as I am I shall move by and by into some little cottage in the neighbourhood. I have sometimes thought of trying to see you again; but when I asked the Dr. concerning the probability of my reaching England alive, I thought he rather evaded a direct answer, and I concluded that it would not be advisable to try; there will however be a ship (having a surgeon on board) sailing in about one month, and I might attempt it, though I do not think it probable that I shall. Nothing can exceed the kindness of all here towards me. I could find plenty of homes here if I needed them. I had a few days ago a very kind letter from Mrs. Selwyn asking me to go to their house at Auckland, and promising to nurse me herself. I expect also to see the Bishop in a few days, but I shall not avail myself of their kind invitation.
I can scarcely tell you the nature of my complaint, and the doctors do not tell me themselves; but I have found out from others what their opinion is: but it is very difficult to be positive. It is however, a large artery, near the heart, that is out of order and diseased, and for this I know very well that there is no remedy. I know that I may die any day very suddenly. The disease will reach a certain point and then the artery will open and life consequently will be extinct in a few minutes. When this may occur, God only knows. Now that I am doing notbing, eating very little, and almost continuously in a quiet state and in a recumbent posture, I feel but little pain and may go so for some time, and may indeed even improve a little. I hope my honesty in telling you all this will not make any of you uncomfortable about me.
May 2, 1845.
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.
Oct. 25, 1845.
To brother George.
I have frequently lamented my neglect of the many opportunities which I possessed when I had the benefit of your instructions of acquiring knowledge and learning how to use it: the little however that I did acquire I often feel grateful to you for. I meet with men here, possessed of consider- page 187 able knowledge, who seem incapable of generalisation, unable to separate that which is merely accidental from what is essential, and consequently puzzled on all occasions in new circumstances in a new country.
I suffer so much from headache now that I am not able to think much; I am however, trying to do a little towards improving the mode of acquiring this language. I contend that the literal mode of translation is bad, because corresponding words in a language of a civilised and an uncivilised people are not identical, that is, that a complex idea, represented by a word, in the one, will not be found when analysed to be composed of the same ingredients as the corresponding complex idea in the other, and consequently that a literal or verbal translation will not give a correct version of ideas: but I find only two or three persons who will care about these matters; in the meantime people are teaching religion while grossly ignorant of the language. There is another subject on which I am somewhat engaged, and that is a plan to be recommended to the Governor for making the natives understand and submit to our laws; no plan has hitherto been adopted. The Judge here, Mr. Chapman, and others approve much of its outline. We are expecting our new Governor, when I hope something will be done. Everybody seems able to find faults with the existing system, but nobody seems inclined to take the trouble to propose a better. I am afraid I shall have exhausted your patience with my prolixity; but though I am confined to bed, it being the only place where I have any ease, I should not wish you to think that I am unable to amuse myself, or altogether unable occasionally to assist others who have now more to do, but have less time to think. My complaint remains as ever. I sometimes entertain an idea of trying to visit you, if my life should be prolonged, but as even now I am subject to violent vomiting which gives me intense pain in the back, I can scarcely venture to attempt it.
I do not think I have heard from you since Feb., but as we hear an English mail has arrived at Auckland I am expecting to hear daily. The feeling and conduct of the natives generally through the island is good, and though the accounts of matters in the North which you may see in the papers may lead you to suppose the reverse, I do not think there is any material change in their religious feelings.
Feb. 6, 1846.
To a brother.
It is impossible to make a bold stand against the infidel if inferior to him in mental acquirements, if unacquainted with the past history of the world, especially since the Christian era, if unable to point out to him all the difficulties and obscurities with which physical science is still encumbered, notwithstanding his most common objection to religion is that it has so many obscurities. I make these remarks because there are several clever infidels in this part of the country, and I fear none of our clergy feel competent to encounter them. I, when in health, never shunned the contest, but still I could not help feeling that the more learned one is, the firmer and more confident tone one may take in the contest. But besides encounter- page 188 ing infidels, a missionary, to be efficient should be able to enter into the modes of thought of an uncivilised people, and this is more necessary than is generally supposed. Those who come as missionaries furnished only with a knowledge of the Bible, and with ideas formed in a civilised school, will be prone to judge harshly of a people like these, and to condemn prematurely most, if not all, of their maxims and habits; and this is a fault into which not only missionaries but those entrusted with the government of the country have followed. I have always endeavoured to investigate their language and their customs, etc., with this idea uppermost in my mind, that they belonged to the genus man, and consequently that if their language, customs, etc., were investigated according to the fundamental laws which guide thought in the human mind, these must be found to guide theirs. Our rulers have endeavoured to enforce laws without any investigation of their previous customs, endeavouring to mix what will not amalgamate, and missionaries have too frequently pronounced an unqualified condemnation of all their customs without any distinction, and I think in many cases erroneously.
April 13, 1846.
To sister Caroline.
The rebellion at the North has been quelled, but affairs there are not settled on a very firm basis in my opinion at least. Down here affairs are far from settled. Two whites were murdered by two natives here about ten days ago. The murderers are known but cannot be obtained as yet by the Government from the party who refuse to surrender them. About 200 are now in arms, but as the Government has a strong force here, and nine tenths of the natives, with Te Rauparaha at their head, are in favour of Government, I hope the question will soon be settled, though from want of a proper and systematic way of proceeding the Government sadly confuse questions. A native was lately tried for robbery and sentenced to ten years transportation. Subsequently I discovered that he was innocent and memorialised the Governor on the subject, and though the matter is not quite settled I have no doubt he will be set at liberty.
August 1, 1846.
To his father.
Till lately, when unable to control my wandering thoughts, I occasionally ventured to wonder why I was permitted to live on in apparent uselessness; but during recent troubles here, I have been unable to shut my eyes to the fact that affairs here would have taken a very serious turn had I not been able to give the Governor accurate information concerning the natives of this part of the country, and also represent the measures and motives of Government in their true light to the natives, being the only person in whom a large body of them have entire confidence. Since I last wrote several murders have been committed in this neighbourhood by a band of vagabonds page 189 —outcasts from various tribes amounting to about 150 under the notorious savage Te Rangihaeata. The indignation manifested by the natives (i.e. nine tenths of them) of this part of the country at their conduct is very satisfactory and must be regarded as a prelude to more advanced civilisation. The only evil attending it is, that the Government here being weak, many of them have volunteered their assistance to put down the rebels and have been armed for that purpose. Though they have shown the best feeling in thus coming forward to assist the settlers and Government, my fear is that a taste for war may be revived and their recent peaceful habits be interrupted. It is however a great point gained and one for which perhaps a little present good may be sacrificed, to get them to acknowledge the importance of lending their assistance to put down disturbers of the public peace and to establish law and order.
The Governor has apprehended Te Rauparaha and several others on suspicion of being favourable to die rebels. This step will produce either a very good or a very bad effect according to their guilt or innocence. I have felt some satisfaction in being able to assist the Governor with my advice as he appears a man sincerely intent upon doing what is right. He is a clever man, but fails rather in clearly seeing his object and making every step he takes tend towards it—he wants firmness and determination. He has been in this part of die country for the last month, and he comes to me almost every day that he is in Wellington to ask for my advice in some matter concerning the natives, and as he almost invariably acts upon advice I give him I feel a degree of responsibility which is rather too much for my state of health. I am thankful that hitherto I have not had to regret any advice I have given.
The Governor told me that he landed at Waikanae last Sunday and attended divine service there; he added that the impression made on his own mind by what he saw there was such as to convince him that the effect produced by Christianity and civilisation on these people was greater than any that had been produced in any part of the world within the range of his information. He was especially struck with the fact that three days after apprehending a very important chief he could go almost alone and unarmed among four or five hundred men and kneel with them in worshipping in the same house of prayer without the slightest disturbance. As he is a man of extensive reading, and who has been much among aboriginal people, his opinion is of some value, and I confess I feel somewhat gratified by it.
Some months ago I mentioned that I had been writing a few remarks upon native usages and customs in reference to land use, and also as to the best mode of civilising and governing the natives. Though these remarks were very short, the Governor was much pleased with them, and as the twoi Judges thought highly of them, he has sent diem to die Colonial Office. They were likely to correct some erroneous ideas, and to furnish some new ones, and thus to do some good; but had I expected that they would have been thought so valuable I would have worked out the subject better. I trust diat our present disturbances here will soon end, but I am by no means certain that they will.
Sep. 10, 1846.
To sister Amelia.
Some persons' minds are so constituted that they seem unable to separate what is purely accidental from what is essential—with these it is useless to argue. Because there are evils attendant on civilisation they oppose civilisation itself; because Government appears at times to act harshly they seem to prefer what must lead only to anarchy. If man expects unmixed good in any human institutions he will find it only in Utopia. We have had war, but war inevitable from the disposition of a savage, Te Rangihaeata. I cannot say that it is ended though I think the worst is over. It has at least had the good effect of manifesting most unequivocally the good feeling that exists in the natives of this part of the country. It is highly gratifying to me to perceive that those who have been brought to appreciate Christianity through my instrumentality have stood firm in the hour of trial and have not only surpassed my most sanguine expectations, but have quite astonished the Governor and all those likewise who had previously, from ignorance, undervalued the improvement that had taken place among them.
I am afraid I have never sufficiently detailed or even represented to you the good effects which have been produced by Christianity here. But a missionary while engaged in his work always has so much to humble him, that he almost feels afraid to speak of any results of his labours in such a manner as to lead those at a distance to imagine he has done good lest he should appear to glory. There is one young man who constantly attended my instructions from my first arrival at Waikanae, his name is Riwai Te Ahu, I may have mentioned him before, he perfectly astonished all those who are able to appreciate such a character. I confess I never saw a young man of any nation who combined every good and amiable quality with so much intelligence and energy as he does—he is beloved and respected by those settlers who know him and by all the natives of this district. The Governor attended service at Waikanae, and as Mr. Govett was absent, Riwai read prayers, etc. There were about 500 natives present and he represented it as the most delightful thing he had ever seen. He saw that they had no means of regulating the hour for church service and so he took off his own watch and gave it to Riwai, he also gave him a beautiful writing desk. Afterwards, finding that they had grown more wheat than they were able to grind he sent them six good steel mills and then promised in the course of ten months to go and stay a week with them to see how he could benefit them. He has behaved in the kindest manner to me, listening to every suggestion I make and thanking me most strongly for the information and advice which my residence in this country had enabled me to give him. Moreover confessing most frankly that I had kept him from falling into errors by correcting the misrepresentations of parties here on his arrival.
Dec. 18, 1846.
To brother George.
Since the passing of the late free trade measures (good as I believe them to be) it will become absolutely necessary to reconsider all colonial questions, and to establish matters on a thoroughly new basis. Very little attention has been given to ecclesiastical affairs in the colonies. While the Bishops have generally assumed high grounds they have very little real power. The common law of England extends to the colonies, but the ecclesiastical does not, nor does the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts in England extend to offences committed in the colonies. There is nothing but conscience to lead a man to obey the Bishop in matters on which they differ: and conscience is not likely to effect much in this way, when a man conscientiously conceives his own views of the subject in dispute to be the correct ones. I have a strong impression that the whole of our ecclesiastical affairs require to be thoroughly examined and reformed, and moreover I would submit our prayer book—especially the calendar—to the same process.
April 4, 1848.
To his mother.
Yesterday, after being just twelve months from the last date (which was a letter of Ap. 1847) I had the great pleasure of receiving letters from George, Sep., Octavia, Oct., and Amelia, Nov. I am very thankful for these letters, but what may have become of letters written in the interval, for I think some must have been written, I cannot conceive, as a monthly mail leaves England for Sydney, and vessels come from the latter place bringing a mail about once a fortnight.
The English papers do not give a very satisfactory account of matters there; I wonder more people do not come to the colonies: people can easily obtain 10% for their capital here, and living is very cheap. Lord Grey has done all he can do to mismanage these colonies; things would go on very well here if they were not everlastingly sending out contradictory instructions and unsettling the minds both of natives and settlers.
Nearly all the natives of Waikanae are going to a place (from which they formerly came) about 150 miles from this; this emigration has been occasioned by mismanagement here; but as they go peacefully I do not know that they will lose by the change as Mr. Govett is in their neighbourhood.
Mr. S. Williams is now at Otaki and the natives there are going on very well. They are now busily engaged in building a church which I began: it will be the best in the country. An architect who lately saw the preparations told me that at the marketable value of their labour, he conceived they had not expended less than Â£2000 worth of labour on it already, so you see they work in earnest. They will raise subscriptions among themselves for many things which they cannot make, windows, etc. Williams is quite delighted, he has not seen such energy in natives before.page 192
I still continue much as I have been for the last three years. It's curious life to lead, but I am in the hands of an all-wise God and Father. I feel that I am not quite useless, as the constant applications from natives and others for my opinion on various matters proves. I do not think there is much likelihood of my attempting to go to England, but I feel I am of less use here now as Williams is at Otaki. Still, there are very few persons who ever accustom themselves to think, especially in a new country, and yet many subjects want thought, and I am happy to say that both in the Mission and in the politics of the country some of my suggestions have been acted on and have proved useful.
April 25, 1848
To sister Octavia.
I felt quite sorry when you talked about N.Z. ferns in that some had been promised you by Mrs. Cotton and that I have been so negligegent in never sending you anything. I do not mean that I have ever had any time to collect anything like plants myself when I was well enough to do so; but I have some young friends who would have done it for me had I asked them. I have had a good many N.Z. curiosities passing through my hands, but I have always given them to the first person who asked me for them, and have been thoughtless enough not to collect them gradually and then send them to you. I shall henceforth bear it in mind, and if any opportunity presents itself I shall make a little collection.
The natives at Otaki are now busily engaged in building a church which they began in my time but which has been neglected ever since: it will be superior to our Waikanae one, which is now the best in New Zealand. Those here who take an interest in the natives say it is quite pleasing to see the village—cottages, with chimneys and windows, gardens with fruit trees and flowers, some with bee-hives introduced by Mr. Cotton, several with good barns well stocked with wheat, a large water mill in course of erection milch cows (20 or 30 of all ages) supplying them with milk, a great acquisition to the children, also butter; and all attending morning and evening service in the old church, with about 120 attending a daily school chiefly carried on by native teachers working gratuitously.
The vegetation of N.Z. is very grand, but would strike your eye as peculiar. It does not present that freshness and variety which an English wood in Spring does. But then the luxuriance of the growth surprises, and the magnificence of the trees. The beauty of some of the tree-ferns escapes all description, as does that of some of the creepers hanging in festoons from the high trees. The elegance also of the forms of some of the young forest trees growing in very sheltered places where the wind has never touched them is very splendid. Wellington is a beautiful place; as I look here upon a garden with a variety of English, Cape of Good Hope, New South Wales, etc., plants, and then upon the blue water of the harbour broken by bays backed by cliffs and hills covered with hanging woods, and with the snow-capped mountains Tararua in the distance, I constantly page 193 exclaim to myself—what a beautiful world it is! How much might not man enjoy it if he would live in the world without abusing it.
I must now tell you something of my old friends the Waikanae natives. Through a series of blunders on the part of those concerned in carrying on the subordinate arrangements of the Government, there have been some disputes about land; the result is that last week 200 men with their families left in their canoes to return to Taranaki, the place from which they originally came. I think the Government will have cause to regret it by and by. About 100 men with their families have remained, including a great many who were my greatest friends.
May 1, 1849.
To sister Caroline.
I wrote in the end of February to mother and also to Charles and Henry to say how much better I was in health and how there appeared a prospect of my health being so far improved as to enable me to go to work again. I am happy to be able to say that it has gone on improving since that time, though rather slowly; still I am much better than I was then and my medical adviser holds out to me the prospect of much greater improvement. I am in God's hands and if it be His will that I should again serve Him He can give me strength to do so. But after such a long illness as I have had it is scarcely to be expected that I should under any circumstances recover very rapidly. I am now able to do a little in various ways and see some of the natives of this place who were a part of my flock formerly when I first brought the Gospel among them. They have been sadly neglected poor creatures. Mr. Cole, the clergyman of this place, does not speak the native language and consequently can do nothing with them, and he has a large English population to attend to. The Bishop has appointed Mr. Hutton, who is a deacon, to be Mr. Cole's assistant here and he will take more interest in them. He seems also to be inclined to follow my advice in reference to the natives, etc., so that we may do something for them again. He is now absent; he has gone to be married to one of Archdeacon H. Williams' daughters, sister of Rev. S.W. who is at Otaki.
I have read prayers two or three times in the English church but the Dr. forbids me to preach; I must however try soon. The Bishop has been here lately, I saw a good deal of him. Notwithstanding my good resolutions which I mentioned in my last letter not to take upon myself any fresh duties, he made me accept the office of archdeacon. I persisted in refusing for several days but found that he was grieved at my doing so and that he had set his heart on my accepting it. I therefore was obliged much against my own wishes to comply. He said he had always intended it, that he could not appoint any other person even if he had any one in whom he placed the same confidence as in me, because, as I was the oldest clergyman in this part of the country I had always acted for him as his Commissary in his absence and both native and English would still look to me for directions and advice in spite of any appointment of his—and moreover that he wished page 194 to show the C.M.S. that though they did not feel much confidence in him he put confidence in their missionaries. He added that he did not confer these appointments for any other object than that of organising the Diocese and though I had not much strength he wanted my assistance in directing the deacons and others in this part of the country which could be done by letter without any bodily exercise.
He was very importunate also on another subject concerning which however I declined to give him any positive answer. He wishes me to take charge of his proposed new college at Porirua, about 15 miles from this. It is to be an institution for the education of English boys and native boys and likewise for teaching and training native young men as school teachers and candidates for Holy orders. He conceives that I shall not be strong enough for missionary work and therefore thinks that this will be a position of usefulness for me. He appeared very anxious to convince me on the subject, but I declined at least for the present to acquiesce. I do not think that my health would bear it or that I am qualified for the post, though he and several others consider I am.
I am certainly very well satisfied with the way in which my place is occupied at Otaki. Mr. Williams is doing more there than I could ever expect to do. The natives at Otaki and the neighbourhood are going on well. I saw several of them lately and old Te Rauparaha among the rest.
April 27, 1850.
To sister Amelia.
I was much gratified by hearing that you had purposed coming out here on hearing of my recovery, not that I ever doubted of your readiness to do so, as you were quite ready to have come with me when I left England, but as being a fresh assurance of your willingness to come and reside so far off from home in order to be with me. To tell the truth however I am glad that you did not come. In the first place, I am so much away from what I call my residence that you would be left much alone under very novel circumstances, therefore without two came, I am afraid it would rather cause me anxiety about you than relieve me from any I now have. Again you would find the change of life very great, and one which with every resolution you might make not to care about it, anything but pleasant: there are certain comforts which if people have been accustomed to them during many years they find it hard to forgo. Besides, I am at present a rolling stone. And though I know you would not willingly bias my judgement, I should doubtless myself be influenced by considerations respecting you, if. you were with me, in taking any step for removing to any out-of-the-way place. I wish to be quite free to do anything—to remain as free as I have ever been. Under all circumstances I do not think I should like you to come alone. Nothing could I like better than to have you all out here, or any number down to two, but one I am afraid, would be a source of anxiety to me.page 195
The natives are going on well at Otaki and its neighbourhood—they are making rapid improvement in their habits and mode of life generally. The original believers among them left all to follow Christ: they were neglected by their relatives and lived in comparative poverty: now they have had the satisfaction of seeing most of their relations join them, many I think sincerely, and their decency of conduct and industrious steady habits have raised their outward condition to one of comparative comfort, without being such as to be any temptation to over carefulness about worldly things. I am now making some attempts to benefit them in temporal matters in which, so far as I can yet see, I think I shall be successful. Mr. Williams is always active and ready to co-operate in anything for their good: and his industry and diligence in the discharge of his duties are very great.
I met Mr. Taylor (of Wanganui) at Otaki the day before yesterday. He is going on pretty well: his great drawback in usefulness is his ignorance of the language. I met Jerningham Wakefield this morning, who has just come out. I have seen nothing of the Bishop for some time, nor have I heard very much from him. I suppose he thinks, as I am now Archdeacon he can entrust matters down here to me! As I am on very good terms with the clergy in this part they readily attend to suggestions, so all goes smoothly.
July 2, 1853.
To sister Amelia.
Since I last wrote some changes are taking place here. Sir George Grey is going home immediately on leave, but I am quite sure he will never return: he is tired of N.Z. and no minister will compel him to return. I am not quite clear as to what effect his departure may have on the more uncivilised parts of the country: I am not certain that there may not be some attempts at war, etc. Sir G. Grey has not in my opinion exerted himself sufficiently in extending his influence among the natives during the last few years. I am sorry he is going as no Governor will be found so anxious to promote the welfare of the colony, and more especially of the natives than Sir G. Grey.
Today the Superintendent of this Province has been elected. Mr. Featherston was the person. He is in very bad health and I am afraid his new office will kill him. I asked him to go back with me to Otaki for change of air for a few days, but he is almost too ill to travel so far this cold weather. He is a tolerably clever and able man, who had devoted himself entirely to politics of late years. He and I had some differences formerly, but we are good friends now. He used to be much opposed to the natives, but is not so now.
We have the notorious Gibbon Wakefield here now interfering with everything and upsetting all he can. He will do much mischief here: there is nobody at all equal to him or able to compete with him. I believe I am to see him on Monday: his son called on me yesterday and said his fadier wished to talk with me on some matters, so I could not refuse. I am afraid of him, as I am very likely a year hence to see something stated as my page 196 opinion which may be only a perversion of something I have said. I shall be on my guard; but this is difficult, as according to my friend Mr. Godley, with the exception of the Bishop I am the most free spoken person in N. Z.
June 29, 1860.
To brother Charles.
We were amused at your objecting to ride instead of walk. I, who frequently ride 50 or 60 miles a day, prefer the four legs to the two. On my return from England Mr. St. Hill made me a present of a beautiful mare which carries me very pleasantly. In riding all depends on your horse
I presume the last accounts from this country will settle your determation to have nothing to do with us. Certainly the colonisation of this Island will be much impeded for many years. I suppose your professed habits (I won't say prejudices) will hardly allow you to sympathise with my deciced condemnation of the acts of Government in this country in reference to the origin of our little war.
I don't know whether a letter to the Duke of Newcastle, which I sent to London to be published, ever reached the Publisher, or if it did, whether a copy will reach you. If it should come in your way you will gather what my opinions are about the Government's proceedings. The General Assembly will meet in a few weeks at Auckland. I have convinced many of its leading members that my views as to the injustice of the war are correct. I am now corresponding with Henry Sewell. I cannot yet claim him as a convert, but he acquiesces in many of my views and opinion. I have no doubt that the Government has committed a great blunder and a gross act of injustice; but it goes sadly against the grain with John Bull to confess an error especially when such a confession may be distorted into anything like a charge of fear. However I have pledged myself to defend William King, the native chief—that is, his right to the land from which he has been driven—against all opponents. And I will never give it up till I see at least an acknowledgement of the injustice of the Government. I have been, as you may imagine, plentifully abused for sympathising with rebels. But I am happy to say our late Chief Justice, Mr. Martin, agrees with my views. He now wants me to write a statement in defence of W. King's rights for die use of the General Assembly. He says in writing to the Bishop—'I suppose Archd. H. is the only man capable of doing all that is needed'. It is possible I may be obliged to go to Auckland to give evidence before a Committee of the G.A., but for personal reasons I would rather avoid this if possible.
The Governor is now endeavouring to humbug the natives in various ways in the expectation of obtaining more troops from England. It is very lamentable to see such ignorance and folly in those who have the direction of affairs. I have no hope for the country so long as Col. Browne continues here. There is a very large number of excellent loyal natives, but they are now in a state of doubt and amazement at the Governor's proceedings. They page 197 have lost all confidence in him. And losing confidence is no small matter. It is easier lost than regained. What is so annoying to me is, that there is not a blunder committed that I have not pointed out beforehand as a step to be avoided.
May 10, 1865.
To sister Octavia.
Last mail I presume took the horrid account of the murder of poor Volkner. The Bishop of Waiapu (Kate's uncle) was threatened, and has left his district. I am a good deal annoyed with the proceedings of many of our missionaries. There were two or three instances in which they betrayed the interest of the natives and cringed to Gov. Browne: these things were not unnoticed by these observant people. The whole body suffers. The London C.M.S. Committee begin now to believe in me. I have not much strength for work left, but I should be sorry to be frightened away. As to the war there is no sign of an end. The Govt, is quite tired of it; the expense is so enormous, but the natives are by no means tired and they talk of a vigorous campaign in 1866. As I can do nothing I no longer trouble myself much about the war. If my advice had been followed what a different state of things there might have been.
I was in Wellington a fortnight ago and had an opportunity of seeing the Bishop of N.Z. and Mrs. Selwyn, Sir W. Martin and Lady M. and others from Auckland. They seemed pleased to meet me, and were very anxious that I should go on with them to the Synod at Christchurch, but I neither felt well enough nor could I comfortably leave this. There was some important business and they were anxious for my aid as I am supposed to be available to say the hard disagreeable things that have to be said.