Historical Records of New Zealand
Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. E. Bickersteth
Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. E. Bickersteth.
Revd. and dear Sir,—
My colleague the Revd. R. Hill will transmit to you the several documents relative to the concerns of the mission. With respect to Mr. Lisk, he has not been able to remove from Sydney, on account of the indisposition of Mrs. Lisk. She was obliged to remain there for medical assistance; and I fear she will never recover her health, so that we are at a loss to know what to do with Mr. Lisk. We must wait a little longer, and see whether Mrs. Lisk can remove or not. Mr. Norman informs me he is much better. He is in a very important station, and a prudent pious man. Mrs. Norman has had a cancer in her breast, and has undergone an operation for it, and is doing well. I trust the Society will approve of our sending Mr. and Mrs. Norman to Van Diemen’s Land. We considered the weak state of Mrs. Norman did not warrant us in sending him to New Zealand. We have had a communication with the page 680 Colonial Government relative to the 10,000 acres of land for the aborigines. According to the instruction transmitted from the Colonial Office this land was to be located under similar conditions that 10,000 acres had been promised to the London Missy. Society. I beg to remark that there is one clause in the grant to the London M. S. which clause I severely object to its being put into the grant to the C. M. Society. I told the Colonial Secretary if the same clause was put into the intended grant it would not be worth acceptance. The clause to which I allude prevents the Society from allowing any individuals to feed their cattle and sheep on this land, or to make any use of it but for the natives. Instead of this clause the trustees should be authorised to rent any part of it for grazing, or any other purposes of agriculture, to raise a fund for clothing and victualling the aborigines, and to support a missionary and his family. Unless Government grant it upon this just and liberal principle it will be of no benefit. In this opinion the Colonial Secretary, Mr. McLeay, fully agreed. I have not seen the Governor since upon this point. We all fully agree with your Committee that the trustees of the land should be in England, for many reasons which I need not explain; but they should have power to rent it, so long as the produce of the land, whether from feeding cattle or sheep, &c., is applied to the sole benefit of the aborigines. It can be of no advantage to possess land, unless it can be made use of. I think the Governor will see the propriety of omitting the clause objected to, when he makes the grant.
There is another circumstance which I wish to mention. The Revd. Mr. Threkeld, missionary from the London M. S., has lately left Lake Macquarie, that station which had been fixed upon by the late deputation from that Society to establish a mission for the aborigines, and where the 10,000 acres were selected for their grant. That mission has been attended with more expense than the directors approve. I think it is more than probable that this mission will be relinquished. You are already acquainted with the wishes of some of the New Zealand chiefs to emigrate with their families to N. S. Wales. Should the London Missionary Society relinquish Lake Macquarie and the chiefs of New Zealand come over to this colony, this lake would probably be a suitable station for their settlement, as the lake abounds with fish, and has a communication with the sea. I have not seen the land, and therefore cannot judge of its quality, but as the New Zealanders live much upon fish, in that respect it would be a very desirable spot. I merely mention the subject to you, and have mentioned it to Mr. Hankey in a postscript of my letter to him. The directors have authorised the disposal of the improvements made upon the land; but they can give page 681 no title, and therefore the property cannot be sold, unless an establishment is formed there.…
I am happy to say we go on here very quietly now. Some of my bitter enemies have sunk into great contempt. Divine Providence is requiting their works upon their own heads.…From falsehood, misrepresentation, and powerful interest exerted against me to save individuals from public disgrace Lord Bathurst was so far imposed upon as to write a stray letter to General Darling expressive of his high disapprobation of my conduct. Had I been guilty of what His Lordship had been led to believe I should have merited his censure; but as I was not, and this is well known to the present Govt., it has produced no effect to my prejudice. The Archdeacon and I have been upon very friendly terms: he has been much annoyed and complained of at the Colonial Office from the same influence that I suffered from. I am much mistaken if Mr. James Stephen, in the Colonial Office, has not been deceived by some of my calumniators.
I remain, &c.,
Saml. Marsden.Rev. Ed. Bickersteth.