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Earliest New Zealand


page 395

Copy of a letter sent to the Mission House, January 14th, 1825.

To Danl. Coates, Esq.,

My Dear Sir,

I beg to apologise for not attending to your request sooner. I have been particularly busy for several days past in looking after my things. You desired that I would state in writing the reason of my leaving Parramatta, and also to name the little boy whom we redeemed from destruction, and whom we have brought over with us, and also to state my present views as to my future proceedings.

But before I say a word on either of these points, I cannot help reflecting on all that has passed during my residence in New Zealand.

The state in which I found the Mission on my arrival; the manner in which the missionaries were living, and bartering and trading, instead of doing good to the poor natives; the almost insurmountable difficulties of putting an end to this wicked and long-established practice; the opposition I had to encounter in various ways, both from the natives and Europeans.

When I consider the toils, pains, sufferings, labours, privations, etc., which my dear wife and myself had undergone to promote the objects of the Society, and the everlasting happiness of the heathen, and when I further consider what characters some of the present instruments are, and what the conduct of others has been, ever since they have been connected with the Society, I sometimes think we have been treated unkindly; not from any member of the Committee at home, for from them I have received every attention; but from their agent abroad.

I do sincerely hope and pray that all past differences may be buried in oblivion; may we learn to forgive each other as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us.

If I have failed in doing all that the Committee have expected me to perform, or if I have offended in thought, word or deed, I earnestly crave forgiveness on the one hand, and on the other hand I beg permission to affirm that in singleness of heart and in perservering fidelity of action, both my wife and myself have done what we could.

With respect to the interesting little boy Frank, I hope the Society will immediately take him and place him in some school. Should the Lord spare his life, he may become an instrument of vast importance, under the divine blessing, to his countrymen in carrying home the glad tidings of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The epitome of this child's history lies in a few words. In the year 1821, Shungee (Hongi), and all the neighbouring tribes went to war at the River Thames, and cut off many of the people in the district to which this child belongs, among whom was the reputed father of this little boy. His mother was made a prisoner of war, and made a slave page 396 for ever. Her life was spared because she was a fine woman. The chief therefore took her to wife. The child was spared at the earnest entreaties of his mother, and brought the distance of two hundred miles, tied up in a silk handkerchief marked F.H. to Kidi Kidi (Keri Keri), and was presented to Mrs. Butler, who redeemed him for two axes, and this saved the little creature from immediate death. The natives had thirty miles further to go to their residence, and they had determined to kill the infant and eat him for supper, if the missionaries had refused to take him in.

With respect to the New Zealand Institution now erecting at Parramatta, I beg to be silent (May God Almighty prosper the undertaking), yet I am ready to answer any questions the Committee may think proper to put. The native boys which came to Port Jackson with us (all of them except one) had been under my care and living in my family a long time in New Zealand. The inhabitants of Parramatta were much pleased with them, they being so much superior to any who had heretofore come to Port Jackson, in cleanliness and manners, in civil and religious knowledge. Several of them went with me to Government House, and Sir Thos. Brisbane was much pleased with their appearance and behaviour.

During my stay among them I endeavoured to bring them forward to the utmost of my power. Several of them constantly lived with us, and sometimes the whole of them. The most promising youth, Shou (Tiu), was ill some time, and was at length given up. Doctor Cooper said it was of no use to give him any more medicine, for he would die of the complaint. But Mrs. Butler watched over him with unremitting attention night and day, and administered every little comfort she thought would do him good, and by divine blessing he was restored to perfect health. I went to work daily with the natives at the Institution, clearing the brushwood, stumping of trees, etc., etc.; we broke up sixty rods of ground, planted it with potatoes, cabbages, plants and carravances; the intention of which was to furnish the boys with vegetables, as soon as the building was tenable.

Mr. Marsden promised that I should have a man to fence, and garden, and plough, etc., and Mrs. Butler a woman to assist in cooking for the natives, but when I spoke to him about them, I found that he had altered his mind on this subject. Mr. Marsden also put this question to me, “Mr. Butler, do you not think you could learn the natives to manage a train of bullocks, that with your assistance and direction they might convey the stores from the quarry to the building?”

I answered, “Yes, sir, I think I can.” But after Mr. Marsden was gone, I thought thereupon and wept. My health also was much decayed by diarrhoea, a complaint which I am subject to in the hot weather; I felt therefore persuaded in my own mind that if I attempted to remain in so confined a situation I should not live long.

This and many other circumstances press upon me the necessity of leaving this field of action. I praise God to raise up a more able instrument in my stead. I desire to assure the Committee that the cause which they have in hand, lies nearer to my heart than any other object whatsoever, and happy indeed should I be if I might be enabled to pave only one little stone in the universal Temple of Messiah. The cause is the cause of God; your work, the work of the Lord, and rather than attempt to hurt or hinder or injure it, I would suffer my unworthy name and character to be buried under calumny, slander and darkness page 397 all the days of my life. I know “The time is short,” the judge standeth at the door, “The Lord will shortly make known the counsels of all hearts. Then shall everyone receive according to his works.”

As to my views of future usefulness, I beg to acquaint the Committee. [The foregoing letter was among Butler's papers, and incomplete; we are therefore again indebted to the “Hocken” Library, viz.:] that some of my friends advise me to obtain an interview with the Bishop of London, and endeavour to get a chaplainship in Van Dieman's Land.

I am quite sure there is great need of more means of grace. Up the country in N.S.W., I preached to an attentive congregation who had not heard a sermon for two years, [Where was Marsden, as this was in his district?] and I am told that in Van Dieman's Land the means are far less. It is my intention, therefore, in humble dependence on the Lord, to endeavour to accomplish this thing. If I succeed, well. If I do not succeed, well. I will wait the kind directing hand of my heavenly Father and say, “It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.” But should I be successful, I shall ever feel it a pleasure to exert myself in behalf of the Society's object in that ever-increasing colony; and I do think that I might be able to promote their interests, or rather the cause of God, several ways.

I do entreat the Committee, therefore, to put me in the right way of obtaining the object of my wishes.

Praying that the divine blessing may rest upon and prosper all your undertakings.

I remain,
Your faithful and devoted servant,


P.S.—I shall feel very thankful if the Committee will settle my small accounts. But I am fearful I shall not have time to write them out, as I am ordered to the London dock by nine o'clock, and it is now past one in the morning, while I am finishing this hasty letter. Please to excuse this spontaneous scrawl, as I am fatigued and very poorly.

To the Revd. Basil Woodd.
No. 61, SNOW HILL,
February 2nd, 1825.

Dear Father Woodd.

In ruminating on all things that have passed in New Zealand and Port Jackson, I am led (like Job) to complain in bitterness of soul; I know it often happens that those are the best people whose characters have been most injured by slanders; as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit that the birds have been pecking at. Besides what I have stated in my other letters, I could yet go a great length in detailing my grievances, but I will not. I do from my heart forgive everyone, where I have sustained an injury, and pray to be forgiven, where I have done any.

Here I would just observe that I have carefully read over the Society's Rules for their New Zealand Mission, which are both the law and the testimony of the missionary, and I cannot find that I have broken them in any one instance; but on the contrary I have closely page 398 and attentively followed them. It has been the grief of my heart that the Society's Rules should be so little attended to, and their concerns managed in the manner they have been. If the agent of the Society had acted according to the instructions given to us in London, when we were about to embark for New Zealand, things would have been better and their Mission much more prosperous than it has been. I read in the instructions given us at our departure, “The Committee invite you to lay before them without hesitation your difficulties, sorrows, your hopes and your joy.

“They wish to maintain toward you the character of parents, and faithful friends. Be slow to listen to any accusations against your brethren; nor form your opinion of them, from those who are not influenced by religious principle. You know how often all manner of evil is spoken falsely against you; falsely for His Name's sake; and therefore should not act as if this were a new thing. Believe not talebearers; the words of tale-bearers are as wounds; a whisper separateth chief friends; remember our Lord's admonition: ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’”

Not doubting but that your Committee will assuredly act toward my family according to those heavenly maxims, I do anticipate a very favourable result from their deliberations. If I might be permitted, I could easily call to their recollection that it was not from any worldly motive, but from a sincere, longing desire for the salvation of the heathen, that I entered into the service of the Society; neither was it a mean situation which I left for this purpose; and which I filled for eight years with credit to myself, and satisfaction to my employers; and am now (blessed be God) as high in their estimation as at any former period.

After all, I wish it to be clearly understood, I do not wish to be continued in the service of the Society, without the assent, and the full consent of the Committee; yet I trust I may humbly presume, that the Committee will pay my passage home, and in their united wisdom and goodness, make some provision for my family, until an opportunity offers for me to obtain a competency in the sacred work unto which I have been set apart.

And now, dear Sir, what can I say more on this subject? I must leave it in your hands, and in the hands of our heavenly Father; praying that all things may work together for good, and unto His holy Name be assigned eternal praise and glory.

Mrs. Butler and our little daughter are quite ill with colds; the little New Zealand boy is quite healthy; they join with me in sincere regards to you and your dear family.

Revd. and dear Sir,
Very affectionately yours,


3, Winkworth Place,
City Road,
3rd February, 1825.

Revd. Sir,

The Revd. John Butler wished me to accompany him to your page 399 place to-morrow morning, but I am sorry for his sake that my departure to-morrow for Cornwall will prevent this visit.

I have seen Mr. Butler in Port Jackson, have visited him in his field of labour at the Kiddy Kiddy in New Zealand, and I have sailed with him more than twenty thousand miles; the result of my observations upon the missionary carreer and Christian conduct of this gentleman is, that he was one of the Society's best missionaries in New Zealand; and that he is most unquestionably a godly man.

Mr. Marsden's taking this missionary away from New Zealand, and allowing to remain there a fallen brother (——), has always appeared to us most strange. It is most people's opinion in New South Wales that the N.Z. Mission can never prosper, while Mr. M. has its management. I am aware that something has been prepared for the press on Mr. M.'s proceedings in that Mission, but I hope the abuses will cease, and that the publication of it will be relinquished.

Mr. B. I am sure has been treated ill. The Revd. Mr. Lang can give you much more valuable information on this subject.

I am, Revd. Sir,
Your most obt. and humble svt.,



, Wes. Miss.
Revd. Basil Woodd.
Date, after 1830.

In an address given to some large assembly in England, Butler states:

“Our venerable president has informed me that the two New Zealand chiefs, Tooi and Teeteeree, once attended a bible meeting in this place— a circumstance remembered, I think, by many present, and perhaps it would afford a moment's gratification to hear of their subsequent life.

“I and my colleagues sailed with them from London, England, in the ship “Baring,” on December 15th, 1818. Our ship ran aground on the break-sand off the north foreland, and we were obliged to put back to Chatham for to repair the injuries sustained; we were there a fortnight, during which time Tooi was very ill, and manifested signs of true repentance.

“When we arrived in New Zealand, we were obliged to go and reside with a tribe much more powerful than Tooi's or Teeteeree's people; otherwise we should have endangered their safety, and exposed them to immediate peril, to the immediate effects of a dreadful war. This circumstance prevented them from living with us, but we visited them as often as we had opportunity.

page 400

“They often spake with much feeling of the many kindnesses conferred upon them by the good people in England, and with respect to Tooi especially, I think that those impressions were never wholly effaced, but continued in a measure until he died. Tooi has been dead some time.

“The last time I saw Teeteeree, he was clad in his native costume, and working ground for potatoes. We entered into conversation, and he wept while we were talking over what he had seen and heard and received during his residence in your country. I believe he is still living.

“With regard to the spot on which we fixed in order to commence our operations, I shall only observe that it was covered with brushwood, fern, etc., which we had to remove and clear away. There were no wells dug, no vineyards planted, no habitations erected, and the labour and difficulty of forming a new settlement, and erecting necessary buildings and habitations by a handful of missionaries in a heathen land, among savages and cannibals, can scarcely be conceived by them who know nothing of these things but by hearing of the ear.

To assist us in this arduous undertaking, we engaged as many native servants as we could supply with food, and during the whole of my residence among them, I seldom had less than fourteen, and generally more, who were clothed and fed, and instructed, and employed in felling timber, and sawing, fencing, agriculture, etc. But while they were thus employed, we had the most favourable opportunities of conveying the most important truths to their minds. And I am happy to learn, that some of them are still in the service of the Mission; but that which is gratifying beyond all is, several of them have embraced the Gospel, have been baptised into the Xtian faith, and are leading a Xtian and godly life.

“Thus the seed sown in tears, is now growing up for the harvest.

“While I was with them, we both prayed and sang hymns in the native language; this work has gone on seriatim, and I now hold in my hand a little book containing part chapters of the Old and New Testament, part of the Xtian Service, and Catechism, and some hymns, in New Zealand; so that now they may read in their own tongue the wonderful works of God.”

Butler finally winds up an excellent discourse: “These works of faith, and labour, and love, shall give a fragrance to page 401 your character, and like the rose send forth a sweet perfume, long after your bodies are laid in the dust.”

In another very long peroration occurs: “I frankly acknowledge that I never learned the blessings of civilized life, and civilized society, but by their loss, till I was cooped up in a heathen land, and shut out from the ordinance of God.” And again: “Having myself lived among savages and cannibals, it has been my lot to mark destruction painting her steps with gore, and slavery clanking her chains. I have heard the horrid yell of the war-whoop, and seen human beings sally forth, more fierce than the lion from his den, to slaughter each other, and to drink the blood while reeking from the heart of a fellow-creature, and afterwards to feed upon the flesh with a savage sanguinary delight.” Again further on, “If you will permit, I shall now make a remark or two relative to the conduct and success of several of your missionaries abroad, with whom I have the happiness to be acquainted, viz.: Mr. Erskine, Mr. Leigh, Carvasso, Turner, White, Hutchinson, and others. I feel a sacred pleasure in bearing humble testimony to the piety, talent and industry and integrity of these servants of God, both in Van Dieman's Land, N.S. Wales and New Zealand; they have been indefatigable in their exertions, and rendered eminently useful work. They have sought the scattered flock in the woods of New Holland, and been as far as human penetration can go.”

June 25th, 1830.

Daniel Coates to Revd. John Butler, enclosing £30, the half cost of Philip King's premium for indenture, and £10 9s 8d, amount laid out on his outfit, desiring Butler “to continue acting for Philip King;” stating the indentures are being forwarded, for Mr. Amis, the employer's, execution; that the boy had been to see his grandfather, and that Butler was to procure the lad's clothes, and impress upon him to look after them.

The remaining £30 is sent under cover date 31/1/1831, to be paid to Mr. Amis for apprenticeship of Philip King.

The last communication 10/10/1832, Daniel Coates to Butler, states: “You will be glad to learn that Philip King is quite well. He is at present on a visit to his grandfather in Oxfordshire, preparatory to returning to New Zealand, which page 402 the Committee have thought advisable that he should do so by the earliest eligible opportunity. I enclose a bank post bill for £25 2s 0d, being the balance of your account of money expended in Philip King's behalf, and beg you to accept our cordial thanks for all your kind service on his behalf.”

[The official records are evidently incorrect, as instead of Philip King being fifteen when he landed in New Zealand in 1814, his family state he was a baby in arms. He returned to New Zealand and took up land, and became clerk of the Court and interpreter at Waiuku. His son was William J. King, also of Waiuku (in 1901.)]

Earle, 1827, in his nine months' residence in New Zealand, writes:—

“The next day we received a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Butler, English people, who had taken up their residence here, for the purpose of trading, and we returned with them on shore, taking our female passengers with us, and leaving them in charge of Mrs. Butler.”

This was at Pakanae, up the Hokianga River, whither Samuel and his wife and children had returned to from Parramatta; and where Samuel was drowned in 1836.

1828.—About this date the Revd. John Butler published through G. R. Gittore, of Bridgenorth, a well-bound edition of Psalms and hymns, “Abridged, arranged and adapted to Public Worship, selected from the best authors.”

A few of our present day favourites appear therein.

17-11-1834. Samuel Butler writes to his father from Hokianga, New Zealand, acknowledging a letter just to hand, per the C.M. schooner, “Active.” He states that Capt. Kent has settled in New Zealand, but that owing to low prices for flax, and high costs in N.Z. of procuring means of trade, pecuniary results are unsatisfactory.

He says: “What we used to get for an axe or a hoe, will now cost a couple of blankets, or what is equivalent, especially when we have to give £2 for a pair which would cost from 7/ to 10/- in London.…… Times will not permit bread every day, and drinkables are quite out of the question.” He writes warmly of the kindness of Mr. White, Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission, now of Hokianga, erstwhile of Wan- page 403 garoa. “The natives are so lazy, and having so much trade amongst them, they cannot be induced to exert themselves.” He asks for school books for his children, as there are no schools locally, and says he went across to meet Capt. Brind at the Bay of Islands (a trip which takes from eight to nine days) to see if any had been sent out in answer to his last letter, and to his great disappointment found not even a letter.

He mentions having found Capt. Duff a cargo in four months, for a vessel two hundred tons greater than one which took nine months to fill by another agent. On arrival of the latter vessel in England, the ship and cargo were sold to cover expenses.

He records having met Messrs. King and Kemp of the Bay of Islands; that he purchased three hundred to four hundred acres on the Waima, joining the N.Z. Company's land, Herd's Point. He had also been acting as interpreter for a brig, the “Dorothy,” Capt. Newbold, from England.

18-13-35 [sic: 18-03-35]. He again writes to his father (who at that time evidently contemplated returning to the colonies). S.B. states that there are now one hundred and twenty Europeans in the Hokianga, and several of them respectable families, and that his holding is about seven hundred acres. Continuing he writes:—

“Baron De Thierry has sent an official letter to New Zealand to say that he intends to bring an armed force to invade the country, and assume the authority of king over it, and has even gone so far as to offer some of the missionaries a salary, to act as magistrates under him. He says he purchased the rights of the country from Shunghie through his agent, Mr. Kendall. You must recollect the time Mr. Kendall came out, of his speaking about purchasing land for Baron De Thierry. Report says that he is bringing an eighty gun ship from the Spanish Main, and himself has arrived at Otaheite, and is waiting there until she arrives. I have received a copy of his letter from Otaheite, sent me by Mr. Busby, our British Resident, or Consul, from the Bay, to inform us of his intention; also he has sent circulars to all the Europeans (he says in his own letter that he intends to bring an armed force, and recommends the settlers to come under his government). There has been a meeting of natives at the British Residency, in the Bay, who have sent a letters requesting him not to come, as they will fight and prevent him landing, and woe be to him if he falls into their hands, for they say that they will page 404 cat him. Mr. Busby has written to Sydney for force to assist the natives, who I suppose you know is acknowledged as a nation, and allies to the British Nation. The British have given them a national flag, which was acknowledged by the “Alligator,” man-of-war, and saluted with thirteen guns from her in the name of His Majesty, William 4th, and accepted by the natives, so now all vessels built here carry the New Zealand flag. I should be glad if you can send me the deeds of King George's farm immediately; land is getting valuable, and persons are purchasing land nearly every day; nearly all the Bay is purchased, and also the River H. If I could show the deeds to Mr. Busby, I could then claim our share. I hope you will not fail in sending them. You will recollect it was purchased between yourself and me, Mr. Hall, and Mr. Kemp. It will be of great service to my family. Samuel John is going to Sydney to my brother-in-law, who has kindly offered to teach him his trade. I am sending this letter by a friend, Mr. Sewell, who takes charge of a schooner named the “Industry.” This was a vessel which was coming down here for trade, but three or four days before she reached land, the crew deliberately threw the captain overboard. The mate brought the vessel in here merely by chance, although she was bound here, and immediately gave her up to our Assistant British Resident, or Consul, here. The men have been taken prisoners, and heavily ironed, and a prison made on board; the vessel sails this week, and Mr. Sewell has been engaged to take her up, where the men will suffer the penalty of the law, which I think they well deserve. Two settlers and a guard of natives go with them. You will see that we have an Assistant British Resident in this river, Capt. McDonnell. Samuel John has been interpreter for him these last three months.”

Mr. D. O. Guiney writes to Butler under date October 18th 1832, acknowledging receipt of tithes from the tenants, and regretting that the harvest has not been good.

At the end of 1834, Butler writes to Revd. Stephenson, remarking upon the bad harvest experienced; that Mr. Brown had sown four bags of beans, for only one waggon load of straw in return, and that he himself had planted six acres with little better success.

Under date 15–1–1835, Mr. Guiney informs Butler that he is coming down to his parish in the spring, and wishes to have his cottage, now occupied by Butler.

THE NEW ZEALAND STANDARD. Presented by the British Government on March 20th, 1834. Chosen from a selection of three, by the Bay of Islands Chiefs, the voting being 12, 10, 6. Saluted by the “H.M.S. Alligator,” and with nine cheers from the 120 Europeans thee assembled.

THE NEW ZEALAND STANDARD. Presented by the British Government on March 20th, 1834. Chosen from a selection of three, by the Bay of Islands Chiefs, the voting being 12, 10, 6. Saluted by the “H.M.S. Alligator,” and with nine cheers from the 120 Europeans thee assembled.

page 405

30-4-36. Henry Rose writes to Butler: “I have just received Mr. Guiney's answer to my letter on the subject of his curacies, as follows:—

“In reply to your letter, I can only say that your recommendation of Mr. Butler is so very satisfactory that if I were in want of further assistance, I do not think I would hesitate in closing with him. At present I have no vacancy; should one of my curates leave me, I will write to you under the possibility of Mr. Butler still being disengaged.”

3-5-1836. Butler to Ross: “I hope I may succeed with Mr. Gunning; I shall esteem it my greatest happiness, and account it my highest honour and most valued privilege (should it please the Almighty to place me in so great a population) to preach among them the unsearchable riches of Christ.… .”

Butler's only daughter at this time was dangerously ill, and the constant attention required prevented his seeking any situation.

4-5-1836. Mellor to Butler, acknowledging receipt of Butler's letter in reply to his advertisement, and asking for references, “and also a general idea as to your accustomed style of preaching. My people are mostly poor, many of them accustomed to dissent in former years.”

9–5–36. T. W. Mellor of Haddenham, “being happy to find that Butler is still disengaged,” asks him to come down and stay for a few days, per the Lynon Coach, and acquaint himself with the circumstantial details of the situation. He followed this with a further letter 14–5–36, stating that having had a reply from the Rev. Mr. Stephenson (Butler's late rector), he would be glad if B. would let him know definitely whether he would undertake his duties for three months.

27-5-36. From High Street, Hampstead, Butler writes to Mr. Henry Rose:—

As you have so kindly interested yourself in our welfare, allow me to lay before you a statement of my present plans and engagements. I am looking forward to going to Wigan to Mr. Gunning by and by, and for this reason I have not sought after any permanent situation.

In the meantime I have undertaken the whole charge of the large and prosperous parish of Haddenham, Isle of Ely, till Michaelmas next, to read and preach three times every Sunday. Mrs. and Miss Butler, who is now recovering from a severe and dangerous illness, will accompany me.

page 406

Perhaps you will be kind enough to write to Mr. Gunning, and inform him of what my plans and arrangements are.

By so doing you will confer a still more lasting obligation, for your kindness on,

Your faithful and obedient servant,



In July, Mr. Mellor writes instructions of service, viz.:— 10.30 a.m., 2.30 p.m., and 6.30 p.m.; the morning service running until 12.10 at the latest. Butler is also asked to occasionally visit and superintend the school and distribute the regular supply of tracts. To this Butler replied at length. He writes: “The people are well satisfied, and anxious for me to remain among them.” “The Sunday School is on the increase. Miss B. is actively engaged in it.” “I make it a special duty to attend the sick and afflicted. I consider this a most important branch of my office.”

Mr. Mellor acknowledged this on July 26th, and expresses appreciation of the successful ministrations. On 15th September, near the termination of Butler's engagement, Mellor again wrote offering a three months' engagement with a Revd. Simpson, of Doncaster. Terms: house, furniture, two horses, servant, coals and milk, and “some pecuniary consideration.”

17-8-36. In reply to Mr. Mellor as to how the church is faring, he states that the church is well attended, and that he has paid and terminated, as directed, the two school mistresses —one getting 5/- per week, and the other 4/- per week, for their services; school receipts for the seventeen weeks being £2 17s 9d.

On 3rd September, 1836, a petition bearing five hundred and fourteen signatures was presented to the Venerable Archdacon Brown, M.A., from the inhabitants of Haddenham.

“We, the churchwardens and other inhabitants of the above parish, beg leave to assure you how deeply we feel for the best interests of the church; and knowing your readiness, and believing how much you are concerned for our spiritual and everlasting welfare, do hereby humbly request, that we may be allowed to retain our present esteemed minister, Mr. Butler, whose labours are not only acceptable to all, but likely to be productive of the greatest good.

“He is an elderly man, and a family man, of a kind and affectionate disposition.

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“He is a faithful preacher of the Gospel, and one who has had a great deal of experience in the world, and everyway suited as a spiritual pastor to supply the wants of a population like ours, and to secure general peace and tranquillity.

“Should the Rev. Mr. Mellor resign at Michaelmas, we hope and trust that the Revd. Mr. Butler may become the object of your election.

“Miss Butler takes an active part in the Sunday School, which is a considerable acquisition.”





Number of Petitioners, 514.

The petition was presented by Professor Scholefield, of Cambridge; but the patron had promised the nomination before the requisition was put into his hands.

On December 29th, the same churchwardens again wrote:

“This is to certify that the Rev. John Butler hath, during his residence in this parish, conducted himself and performed the arduous duties of an Xtian minister in a truly praiseworthy manner, much to our satisfaction, and everyway calculated to promote the best interests of the people. We much regret his loss.”

Rev. Mellor had written on September 7th, to say he would probably be resigning the living, but that it might not be before October 11th; he therefore asked Butler to continue until that date at £2 per week.

He again writes on October 5th:—“I had a visit some few days ago from Mr. Banks, who is nominated as my successor in the living of Haddenham; and I am sorry to learn from him that you had been suffering from indisposition. He informed me, however, that you were still willing to continue your services in that place, and that he had made arrangements for you to do so, subsequently to the 11th inst., when he will become responsible for the services.”

Butler wrote to Banks agreeing to carry on, and submitting his plan of services: Aldreth on Thursday evening, Had- page 408 denham three times on Sunday, a lecture on Wednesday evening, a meeting on Psalmody on Tuesday evening.

Saml. Banks replied on 15th agreeing, and giving instructions. Butler appears to have kept this temporary appointment until Xmas.

Mr. Edwin Daniell, of Stapleford, near Cambridge, wrote to him on the 3rd and 16th January, 1937, offering the position as curate at Stapleford, at £90 per year.

In May, Butler was in London.

In July, the Upper Canada Clergy Society wrote to him, and asking for references from two clergymen; also stating that the salary of their travelling missionaries was £175 per year, and £50 for conveyance from England, and that the appointment was made by the Bishop of Montreal.

The Revd. Mr. M. Caustin stated that Butler had been in his parish for the last five months, and had assisted him.

The Rev. W. R. Stevenson wrote: “You have my best wishes for the plan you mentioned to me. I believe from your experience and habits that the station will be suited for you, and you for the station. I shall at any time testify with great pleasure to the diligence you used during ten years you were my curate at Neenton; the satisfaction I had during the connection, and the attachment of your parishioners, and I am sure Mr. Guiney will do the same for the adjoining parish.”

5-7-37. Butler was evidently contemplating formation of a carrying company, as he had been consulting with Messrs. Daniel Beacon and Sons, and estimates the initial expenses at £459 6s 0d.

The last communication is a letter offering him a temporary appointment by a Mr. Ridley, of Herts.

When Bishop Selwyn visited Wellington in 1842, he was presented with an address containing the paragraph, “that having been left so long without regular and authorised administrations and sacrament of the church… .”

Up to this date, the Rev. John McFarlane had preached the Gospel, and had baptised one hundred and fourteen children, fifty-three being of English parents, fifty of Scotch, four Irish, five natives, one German, one American. He also married page 409 seventy-four couples, of whom forty-eight were English, and thirteen Scotch.

The “Bengal Merchant” arrived at Wellington in the middle of February, 1840, with one hundred and fifty Scotch emigrants from the Clyde, and including Mr. McFarlane. This was the first resident clergyman (Rev. Mr. Bumby had selected a Presbyterian site in 1839, when at Port Nicholson, in May of that year).

On April 20th, the “Bolton” arrived, and on the 21st came to anchor, having on board the two first of the Anglican Clergy, to reside in Wellington. These ministers carried out regular services for over a year. McFarlane returned to Argylshire in 1844, at which date the Rev. James Duncan was attending to the Provincial Presbyterians 433; the Rev. Robert Cole to the 1240 Anglican; Revds. J. P. O'Reilly and M. Le Compte to the 177 Roman Catholics; Rev. Jonas Woodward to the 64 Independents; and the Revd. J. Watkin and S. Ironside to the 300 Wesleyans.

In “Wakefield's Adventure in New Zealand,” he says (201):—

“On the 21st another ship, the “Bolton,” had arrived from England, bearing among other passengers, the Rev. J. L. Churton, who had been appointed chaplain by a Church Society, in connection with the settlement, and the Rev. J. G. Butler, also a clergyman of the Established Church. The arrival of these two gentlemen had been hailed with much pleasure by the members of the Church of England.

“Previous to this time, the religious duties had been performed by the Rev. John Macfarlane, a minister of the Kirk of Scotland, who had accompanied the colonists from the Clyde in the ‘Bengal Merchant,’…… The arrival of Messrs. Churton and Butler was a great comfort to all parties.…… Mr. Butler had come to reside in Pitone, close to Col. Wakefield's house. This gentleman had been a member of the Church Mission in the Bay of Islands in former years, and thus held a commission of the peace from a former governor of New South Wales. The Company, thinking that this might prove of use in the enforcement of our young laws, had been eager to secure his services. Although this piece of parchment from an ex-governor had been of no great weight, Mr. Butler's accession to our Society soon became a very valuable acquisition, not only on account of the ministerial functions which he exercised at Pito-one, but on account of his know- page 410 ledge of the customs and language of the natives, and his praiseworthy willingness to employ it so as to win their best affection. The Butler family became quite revered by the Pito-one natives.”

Before Butler returned to New Zealand, he appears to have been in communication with the New Zealand Association, and duly drafted out his opinions as hereunder:—


It will be necessary in order to more effectually promote the objects in view, to send out to N.Z. a preliminary deputation as soon as possible.


The deputation shall be composed of ——.


The deputation must be delegated with full power to act according to their judgment, or as circumstances may require.


It shall be their chief object, after due examination, to purchase such land, or tracts of country, most eligible for carrying into full effect the plans laid down by the Society; and which seem to them to be most secure from the incursion of strange tribes, and for the security of the English and natives that may reside among them.


In order to effect this desirable object, it will be necessary that the deputation be furnished with all proper articles of barter, for the purchase of such lands, as the natives may be willing to cede into their hands.


It will be highly expedient that some part of the deputation should remain at N.Z., in order to maintain a friendly intercourse with the natives, and to assure them that their expectations of having a body of Europeans to dwell among them, with a view to their benefit and comfort, will soon be realized.


It will be of great importance to have a vessel stationed at N.Z. for the purpose of the safety and accommodation of those who may remain, and of extending their knowledge of the local situations, different tribes, and produce of N.Z.


It will be very advisable to take out two carpenters, who fully understand sawing in all its departments; whose object should principally be to teach the nat- page 411 ives to saw, etc., in order that a large quantity of scantling and boards, etc., may be prepared for the proposed establishment, whensoever that shall take place.


It is very needful that some person of respectability acquainted with the language, customs, manners, habits and dispositions of the natives, should go out with the deputation, in order to secure the final success of their mission.

Lastly. A person in the capacity of secretary and storekeeper should be sent out with the deputation, who must act on all occasions according to the instructions given him.

When the instructions from the New Zealand Land Company to Colonel Wakefield, a pamphlet of twenty-three pages printed by John W. Parker, London, were given him, the following appears to have been his reply:—

Dear Sir,

I have carefully examined the pamphlet which, you were pleased to put into my hands, and after mature consideration, it is my decided opinion that the principles laid down as the basis of the Society's operations are most equitable and just, and only require to be carefully carried into practice, their full meaning and excerpts, by wise and prudent men; and then, after a few difficulties at the commencement, which I trust will soon be surmounted, I doubt not but that the intended settlement in New Zealand will become as flourishing as any that ever belonged to any civilized body, or were added to the British Dominions.