Address by John Gare Butler to a Large Assembly in England, [n.d., after 1830]
In an address given to some large assembly in England, Butler states:
“Our venerable president has informed me that the two New Zealand chiefs, Tooi and Teeteeree, once attended a bible meeting in this place— a circumstance remembered, I think, by many present, and perhaps it would afford a moment's gratification to hear of their subsequent life.
“I and my colleagues sailed with them from London, England, in the ship “Baring,” on December 15th, 1818. Our ship ran aground on the break-sand off the north foreland, and we were obliged to put back to Chatham for to repair the injuries sustained; we were there a fortnight, during which time Tooi was very ill, and manifested signs of true repentance.
“When we arrived in New Zealand, we were obliged to go and reside with a tribe much more powerful than Tooi's or Teeteeree's people; otherwise we should have endangered their safety, and exposed them to immediate peril, to the immediate effects of a dreadful war. This circumstance prevented them from living with us, but we visited them as often as we had opportunity.page 400
“They often spake with much feeling of the many kindnesses conferred upon them by the good people in England, and with respect to Tooi especially, I think that those impressions were never wholly effaced, but continued in a measure until he died. Tooi has been dead some time.
“The last time I saw Teeteeree, he was clad in his native costume, and working ground for potatoes. We entered into conversation, and he wept while we were talking over what he had seen and heard and received during his residence in your country. I believe he is still living.
“With regard to the spot on which we fixed in order to commence our operations, I shall only observe that it was covered with brushwood, fern, etc., which we had to remove and clear away. There were no wells dug, no vineyards planted, no habitations erected, and the labour and difficulty of forming a new settlement, and erecting necessary buildings and habitations by a handful of missionaries in a heathen land, among savages and cannibals, can scarcely be conceived by them who know nothing of these things but by hearing of the ear.
To assist us in this arduous undertaking, we engaged as many native servants as we could supply with food, and during the whole of my residence among them, I seldom had less than fourteen, and generally more, who were clothed and fed, and instructed, and employed in felling timber, and sawing, fencing, agriculture, etc. But while they were thus employed, we had the most favourable opportunities of conveying the most important truths to their minds. And I am happy to learn, that some of them are still in the service of the Mission; but that which is gratifying beyond all is, several of them have embraced the Gospel, have been baptised into the Xtian faith, and are leading a Xtian and godly life.
“Thus the seed sown in tears, is now growing up for the harvest.
“While I was with them, we both prayed and sang hymns in the native language; this work has gone on seriatim, and I now hold in my hand a little book containing part chapters of the Old and New Testament, part of the Xtian Service, and Catechism, and some hymns, in New Zealand; so that now they may read in their own tongue the wonderful works of God.”
Butler finally winds up an excellent discourse: “These works of faith, and labour, and love, shall give a fragrance to page 401 your character, and like the rose send forth a sweet perfume, long after your bodies are laid in the dust.”
In another very long peroration occurs: “I frankly acknowledge that I never learned the blessings of civilized life, and civilized society, but by their loss, till I was cooped up in a heathen land, and shut out from the ordinance of God.” And again: “Having myself lived among savages and cannibals, it has been my lot to mark destruction painting her steps with gore, and slavery clanking her chains. I have heard the horrid yell of the war-whoop, and seen human beings sally forth, more fierce than the lion from his den, to slaughter each other, and to drink the blood while reeking from the heart of a fellow-creature, and afterwards to feed upon the flesh with a savage sanguinary delight.” Again further on, “If you will permit, I shall now make a remark or two relative to the conduct and success of several of your missionaries abroad, with whom I have the happiness to be acquainted, viz.: Mr. Erskine, Mr. Leigh, Carvasso, Turner, White, Hutchinson, and others. I feel a sacred pleasure in bearing humble testimony to the piety, talent and industry and integrity of these servants of God, both in Van Dieman's Land, N.S. Wales and New Zealand; they have been indefatigable in their exertions, and rendered eminently useful work. They have sought the scattered flock in the woods of New Holland, and been as far as human penetration can go.”