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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. J. Pratt

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

Sydney, January 14th, 1820.

Revd. and dear Sir,—

I just drop you a line to say that I returned from New Zealand after four mouths. I left all the settlers well and the Revd. J. Butler. As a vessel will sail direct for England, it is expected, on the 10th of Feby. next, I shall send by that conveyance all the different letters and my various reports. Nothing can be more encouraging than the prospect at New Zealand. I visited many districts. All the natives were very anxious for instruction. Mr. Butler did not expect to find them so ready for all improvements. He was very much pleased with his situation as far as respected the inhabitants. My visit to New Zealand will, I trust, be attended with all the benefits to the mission I could wish. With respect to my remaining in New South Wales I cannot say much as yet, as I am not aware how the public differences in this colony will be finally settled. If I can remain where I am with any prospect of support from the executive authority, or even living in any degree of peace, I shall not return, because I think my residence here will be of some importance to the cause of the missions and the general welfare of these settlements. I have felt the heavy hand of oppression; but have been greatly relieved in mind since the affairs of the colony are brought under the consideration of Parliament. If I should fall in the contest, the greatest public good will be produced; and this will be a great consolation to me. I am not under any apprehension for the issue, as I am conscious it has been my study and labour to promote the good of His Majesty’s service and the eternal welfare of the inhabitants of these settlements. I feel most grateful to my friends who have vindicated my character, and am truly thankful to Almighty God, who has the hearts of all men in His hands, that He has, in His superintending providence, raised me up friends to advocate my cause, in which the future welfare of this colony is involved. By the ship direct for Europe I shall give you very full information upon all matters relative to the mission. I have seen the Commissioner of Enquiry several times since my return. He will lay open the state of this colony very fully to the British Government. I have a very high opinion of the Commissioner’s character, but the generality of the inhabitants agree with Mr. Wilberforce, that two would have been better than one. However, facts must and will be stated, and I am much gratified that even one Commissioner is come out. Government will be compelled to know what they were very unwilling to acknowledge before. I have not seen the Governor since my return. page 477 We have no communication at present, and I shall be happy if I should have no more to do with him; but I expect we shall meet again in a little time upon some public grounds. I have merely sent you these few lines in case the vessel for England should be detained. I beg to return you my warmest acknowledgments for your kind attention to my interest, and hope you will in the end be satisfied that you have greatly promoted the good of these settlements and the missions to the heathens in these islands.

I am, &c.,

Samuel Marsden.