Letter from John Gare Butler to Basil Woodd, February 2nd, 1825
No. 61, SNOW HILL,
February 2nd, 1825.
Dear Father Woodd.
In ruminating on all things that have passed in New Zealand and Port Jackson, I am led (like Job) to complain in bitterness of soul; I know it often happens that those are the best people whose characters have been most injured by slanders; as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit that the birds have been pecking at. Besides what I have stated in my other letters, I could yet go a great length in detailing my grievances, but I will not. I do from my heart forgive everyone, where I have sustained an injury, and pray to be forgiven, where I have done any.
Here I would just observe that I have carefully read over the Society's Rules for their New Zealand Mission, which are both the law and the testimony of the missionary, and I cannot find that I have broken them in any one instance; but on the contrary I have closely page 398 and attentively followed them. It has been the grief of my heart that the Society's Rules should be so little attended to, and their concerns managed in the manner they have been. If the agent of the Society had acted according to the instructions given to us in London, when we were about to embark for New Zealand, things would have been better and their Mission much more prosperous than it has been. I read in the instructions given us at our departure, “The Committee invite you to lay before them without hesitation your difficulties, sorrows, your hopes and your joy.
“They wish to maintain toward you the character of parents, and faithful friends. Be slow to listen to any accusations against your brethren; nor form your opinion of them, from those who are not influenced by religious principle. You know how often all manner of evil is spoken falsely against you; falsely for His Name's sake; and therefore should not act as if this were a new thing. Believe not talebearers; the words of tale-bearers are as wounds; a whisper separateth chief friends; remember our Lord's admonition: ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’”
Not doubting but that your Committee will assuredly act toward my family according to those heavenly maxims, I do anticipate a very favourable result from their deliberations. If I might be permitted, I could easily call to their recollection that it was not from any worldly motive, but from a sincere, longing desire for the salvation of the heathen, that I entered into the service of the Society; neither was it a mean situation which I left for this purpose; and which I filled for eight years with credit to myself, and satisfaction to my employers; and am now (blessed be God) as high in their estimation as at any former period.
After all, I wish it to be clearly understood, I do not wish to be continued in the service of the Society, without the assent, and the full consent of the Committee; yet I trust I may humbly presume, that the Committee will pay my passage home, and in their united wisdom and goodness, make some provision for my family, until an opportunity offers for me to obtain a competency in the sacred work unto which I have been set apart.
And now, dear Sir, what can I say more on this subject? I must leave it in your hands, and in the hands of our heavenly Father; praying that all things may work together for good, and unto His holy Name be assigned eternal praise and glory.
Mrs. Butler and our little daughter are quite ill with colds; the little New Zealand boy is quite healthy; they join with me in sincere regards to you and your dear family.
Revd. and dear Sir,
Very affectionately yours,