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Letter from William White to John Gare Butler, August 4th, 1823

August 4th, 1823.

Revd. and Dear Sir,

It is with no small degree of pleasure I take up my pen to acknowledge your kind, affectionate, and very encouraging epistle by favour of Mr. Shepherd. Had it not been seen that you possessed no degree page 290 of the attribute of foreknowledge, I should have concluded that you were aware of what was going to take place. But is it not a striking proof of our heavenly Father's watchful care over His children, that He should so frequently direct epistolatory correspondence, so as to afford the very help and advice which is needful? As Mr. Shepherd will write you by this conveyance, he will furnish you with the substance of what has transpired since his return from the Kiddee Kiddee—and as I purpose writing four letters besides this, you will excuse me entering into details, and I only add on this subject that we have already proved the New Zealanders to be all that is said of them by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, Chap. 1st. Perhaps you may think that the picture is drawn in too dark colours, but when we are “without God in the world,” what are they but incarnate devils? No principle of honour, virtue or truth dwells in the New Zealander, but this, even this, is enough to discourage a person who seriously and fully believes his Bible, and trusts in his God. And we have, indeed, my dear brother and friend, been forced to feel that Jehovah alone was our safeguard and our tower. We have abundant reason to bless God, that we are now more at rest than we have been.

The storm which succeeded Mr. Shepherd's return from the Bay of Islands has now subsided, but still we daily prove that we are amongst thieves, who will rob us and then insult us. Must not a man be left unprotected in New Zealand before he can come at the real character of the people! I am sorry to inform you that brother Leigh is so unwell that he is not able to write. He and Mrs. L. desire their kindest love to you and your family.

Mrs. Shepherd was safely delivered of a fine boy on Saturday, the 26th July. She and the child are very well. Mr. Shepherd and I went out this morning to shoot some pigeons for our friends in the Bay of Islands—I shot twenty-four and other three lesser birds. Mr. S. shot ten pigeons. The reception of half a dozen kukupar will at once convince you that we have not forgotten you, neither are we starving for lack of food. You have an interest (if it is an interest) in our daily and united prayers at the throne of grace, and hope you will not cease to pray for us. We need all that we can get from God directly; and from our brethren as channels indirectly. Does not God serve man by man? And may He not serve the New Zealanders by the combined efforts of His servants?

But I must draw to a conclusion by assuring you that you, and your family, have a place in the upper room of my esteem and affection.

My kind love to Mrs. B. and your dear little daughter, who I hope is recovered from her misfortune. Praying that the presence of “Him Who dwelt in the bush” may be with you, and give you rest and peace and eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Yours affectionately,

(Signed) W. White.

The Rev. John Butler.