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Letter from John Gare Butler to Josiah Pratt, 8th November, 1819

Rev. J. Butler to Rev. J. Pratt. (Original in the “Hocken” Collection).
Nov. 8th, 1819.

Revd. and Dear Sir,

As it will be some time before we can possibly have a school built at our new settlement, I have sent my son back again to New South Wales, along with some of the principal chiefs' sons, by and with the advice of the Revd. Samuel Marsden, in order that he may, in the meantime, take charge of the Seminary at Parramatta.

From what I have seen of those who have been there, I am persuaded it is a matter of first importance always to have some of the chiefs' children at that place, as they will not only have an opportunity of seeing, but of being initiated in the customs and manners of civil life.

Those who have been at Parramatta any length of time do not appear like the same persons; when they return back their natural ferocity seems very much softenend, their minds enlightened, and themselves more than ever attached to the white people, and especially to our missionaries.

They also relate to their own people all the things which they see and hear. This will have a great tendency to make favourable impressions on their minds, and of opening their eyes to see our real intention of coming among them, viz., to do them good, both in body and soul. Samuel, also, will have an opportunity of improving himself in the New Zealand language, while he is teaching the natives the page 49 English in Dr. Bell's system. These are five fine, sharp boys as I ever saw, and I have no doubt they will make rapid progress. They also will be hostages for our security, and their tribes led to deal more kindly with us on their behalf, and it cannot fail of having the most salutary effect upon the minds of these young chiefs when the government is laid upon their shoulders.

When we are ready for opening the school at Kidee Kidee, Samuel can be recalled immediately for that purpose, if such a measure is deemed advisable. The “Active,” I expect, will sail for Port Jackson this day. May God in His mercy give them a safe and speedy passage, and so bring them into the haven where they would be.

Dear Sir,
I remain, ever faithfully,
Your obedt. and humble sevt.,


To the Rev. Josiah Pratt,
Church Missionary House.