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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. J. Pratt

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. J. Pratt.

Sydney, New South Wales, November 18, 1814.

Dear Sir,—

I am now embarked on board the Active for New Zealand, together with Messrs. Kendall, Hall, and King. I have deemed it necessary to take a few select mechanics to assist the settlers, for the present, to form their establishment. The chiefs and their attendants return with me, excepting one young man who remains with my family at Parramatta, in order that he may improve his mind in useful knowledge. He is a very fine young man.

The chiefs have been much gratified with their visit to this colony, and the inhabitants in general have treated them with kindness and respect. His Excellency Governor Macquarrie has been very kind and attentive to them, and has given them three cows and a bull, one cow to each chief. I shall take a horse and two mares for the future benefit of the settlement. The Governor has also given to each of the chiefs a suit of military officer’s clothing, which has been very acceptable to them. They all seem very grateful.

At my request His Excellency the Governor has appointed Mr. Kendall to act as Magistrate, which will be a check upon some of the masters and owners of vessels and their crews, who visit New Zealand. The General Order relative to this subject I herewith transmit for the information of the Society. The Governor has directed the colonial seal to be put to all the copies of these Orders, which I have to give to the chiefs, in order to shew more particularly what is the wish of the Executive authority in this colony.

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As far as human foresight can conjecture, there is a fair prospect for establishing the mission at New Zealand. I have had many difficulties to contend with, but they seem now to be in a great measure removed. The Society must be aware that the expenses attending this undertaking must be very considerable at the first.

Nothing will tend so much to civilize the natives of New Zealand as a constant intercourse with this colony. I intend the Active to be always employed in this service, for the safety and comfort of the settlers. I think the natural productions of the island will nearly pay the expenses from this time. When I arrive at New Zealand I shall be a better judge of this matter, and shall then communicate my ideas to the Society.

I leave my family under the Divine protection. If I should be spared to return to them I shall be able to provide for all their wants; but if Providence should otherwise determine, I recommend them to the kind consideration of the Society, as much of my capital is expended in the work, and my partner has been afflicted for more than three years. Whatever sacrifices I may make at present, I feel it my imperious duty to visit New Zealand. How far I am a judge of my own spirit I cannot tell. I shall commit all my affairs into His hands, and follow where the Lord leads, so far as I know. I shall give the Society a more particular account the first opportunity. You will excuse my haste and confusion, as the vessel is now under weigh.

I have, &c.,

Samuel Marsden.

P.S.—The settlers are all well.