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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to his mother 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 £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.

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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.