Letter from John Gare Butler to Josiah Pratt, March 2nd, 1822
Revd. and Dear Sir,
I have to inform you that the “Westmorland” weighed her anchor in Sydney Cove on Sunday morning, Feb. 3rd, 1822, and we set sail for New Zealand, and after a fine passage of ten days, we came to anchor in the Bay of Islands. I immediately set off for Kiddee Kiddee, and when I arrived at home I found my family in good health, blessed be the Lord for His mercy. On my arrival, Shunghee, Wykato and all the other chiefs, with their people, had returned from the slaughter of the natives at the River Thames, having depopulated several very large districts, amongst whom is the interesting district of Mogoea, together with the great chief Enaekee and his family; his sister is brought here alive, as a wife to one of the chiefs, and Enaekee's head is in possession of another chief of the Bay of Islands. Shunghee's brother was slain in the fight, and Shunghee himself was struck twice by musket shots, but having on his coat of mail, which was given him in England, and the balls (I suppose x x by spirits) they did not perforate.
The moment they landed at Kiddee Kiddee they killed in a most brutal manner many slaves, as a satisfaction to the “manes” of their dead warriors. The slaves thus slaughtered were afterwards eaten as common food. My brethren inform me the scene was most shocking.
The natives have again united their forces, and called in the tribe from the North Cape, to assist in the general massacre, and they departed from Te Kiddee Kiddee this morning, (I should think a thousand strong), to be reinforced at every village as they pass, until the numbers will page 217 become very formidable indeed, and with a full determination to sweep the whole of the River Thames and all the country round for some hundred miles, with the besom of destruction. These are trying seasons, indeed, especially when it is considered that before they started, they would come into our dwellings and demand what they thought proper, and we durst not refuse them, nor scarcely expostulate with them. Mrs. Butler was treated very roughly by some of the chiefs during my absence, but the Lord was her help. Mr. Marsden did not furnish me with any slops at Port Jackson, and on account of which, several chiefs who expected a suit each on my return home, have been very cross with me. Neither did he supply me with any national school books, or cards which I applied for.
I beg leave to enclose copies of two “bills” which I have drawn on the Society, for goods and passages, as stated therein, to and from New Zealand, which you will have the goodness to honour when presented.
During my absence, my son and the natives have gathered in an excellent harvest, which will be a great relief. I have at this time twelve natives at work in general business, and am happy to have a good wheaten loaf to feed them. Also I do hope and pray that the Lord will enable me to keep my ground among them, and finally, of His goodness and mercy, bless the course we have in hand, and make these habitations of cruelty the great and peaceable dwellings of harmony and love.
Mrs. Butler and family join with me in best respects and sincere wishes to yourself and family, Mr. and Mrs. Bickersteth, the Committee, and all our dear friends, and believe me to be,
Yours very affectionately,
By the “Ann,” Capt. Lawrie, March 2nd, 1822.