Historical Records of New Zealand
Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. J. Pratt
Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. J. Pratt.
Revd. and dr. Sir,—
By the Surry I informed you of my intention to visit New Zealand with the Revd. J. Butler and his colleagues, which I did. I herewith forward you my journal for the information of the Society. I have not had time since my return to examine it, or make any corrections. You will make allowances for any errors or want of method, as I wrote my observations where I happened to be at the moment, often surrounded with natives, in the midst of noise and confusion. When I was with them in the different districts they let me have little rest, either night or day, as they would be continually talking upon various subjects. I hope the Christian world will now be convinced from positive facts that the New Zealanders are prepared for the Gospel, and ready for any instruction they can get. God has wonderfully blessed the feeble means that have been used for their good in spite of all the enemy could do.
The only thing I regret is the expense, but I hope the Head of the Church will move the hearts of those who love Him to contribute their portion for His cause and interest. I pray to Lord Jesus that, in proportion as the Christian world becomes acquainted with the miseries of these poor heathens, they will willingly lend their aid to relieve them. I hope the observations I now send will be the means in some degree of increasing the Society’s funds. I can only say that all has been done that I could possibly do to lessen the expenses. All new colonies are attended with heavy expenses at the first; and I now hope they will not in future be so much as they have been. I am now preparing to visit the settlers again in His Majesty’s ship the Dromedary, agreeable to your wishes. The Honourable Commissioner of Enquiry wished me to go, as well as the captain of the Dromedary. I have put the Commissioner in full possession of all the affairs of the mission. He has seen the New Zealanders who are with me, and is much pleased with them, 25 in number. Some of them will accompany me in the Dromedary. I hope a good understanding will now be established between the chiefs and the page 481 British Government. If the spars are found to answer, New Zealand will be of great national importance, and there can be little doubt of this. The nation may derive all the advantages they may wish for from New Zealand, without the expenses of forming a colony, and what Government will do will relieve the Society of part of the expense, and at the same time forward your views. Duaterra had often informed me of a fine river which run into the sea on the west side of the island. I had not time to visit it again with an officer of experience in the Dromedary, in order to settle this important point. What spars the Active has brought formerly are much approved of, and the gentleman whom Government have sent out to examine the timber gives it as his opinion that none can be better. Should Government succeed in their views, New Zealand will soon become a very great country. The Society will be aware what difficulties have opposed their labours, and will learn the real state of this colony from the examination before the Committee of the House of Commons, and from the reports of the Commissioner of Enquiry. Should you see a document published in the Sydney Gazette relative to the human heads brought from New Zealand, you will not, I trust, give credit to such a statement. It appeared about six weeks ago. It came from the old quarter. I have the fullest conviction, when the Honourable Commissioner returns, the Society will have the satisfaction to know that their labours have not been in vain, and that they may hope for every countenance from the British nation in the great work they are engaged in. Mr. Bigge is a man of great judgment and honor, and will clearly see into the spirit of the times. From the moment I learned that the affairs of the colony were to come under the consideration of a Committee of the House of Commons my mind was relieved. I was comforted with the prospect that some relief would be provided for the public evils, of which I had so long complained, and the private wrongs I had suffered. I am very thankful to my friends for their kind support. The lies and falshoods of every kind which were spread would never have obtained a confutation without a public enquiry. The truth will now rise from under the rubbish under which it has long been buried. When the Dromedary returns you will have then a full account of what may be looked forward to. I have had no communication with Governor Macquarie, excepting by letter, since my return; we have never spoke upon any subject. He will struggle hard, but the day of retribution will come. His superiors may aid him, but he cannot justify his measures; it is impossible. I have stood my ground hitherto, but with the greatest difficulty; and now I hope to stand. I shall not return page 482 at present to Europe; as the Commissioner is come out my business may be settled without that. I could not have remained had there been no check put upon the enemy.
I remain, &c.,
Rev. J. Pratt. Samuel Marsden.