Earliest New Zealand
And as he passes turn,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
In discussing with friends the possibility of public interest in the ensuing narrative, an occasional remark has been made: What does it matter? let the dead past bury its dead! Had this been observed by delving historians concerning the earlier period of New Zealand's history, portion of the material in this publication might have been deleted.
It has lately been suggested that sentiment is only worth what you are prepared to pay for it, and that sentiment, therefore, lies no deeper than one's pocket; surely the spirit of kinsmanship entails something of a more exacting nature than a mere reduction to a £:s:d basis? Statements which reflect upon the character of a progenitor should not, and cannot, be lightly waft aside with the query, “What does it matter?” I therefore make no apology for a compilation which is a labour of love, a theme of duty, and a debt due to the memory of an English gentleman.
The character of the Rev. John Butler has been repeatedly slighted, unintentionally and unwittingly, I would hasten to add, but, nevertheless, in such a manner that his descendents cannot permit the imputations to be promulgated without a protest. The publishing of denials is unconvincive and inadequate. A clear enumeration of the circumstances of his disagreement with Mr. Marsden, from authentic sources, that the reading and thinking community may contemplate the whole with lucid vision, appears to be the only efficacious method of removing the aspersions and exposing the injustice.page break
The design of the compiler is to, throughout the Journal, avoid more comment than is absolutely necessary; to narrate the diurnal occurrences in their sequence, interpolating the correspondence as closely as it is practicable, in accordance with the date thereon, and, where comment or reference is essential, to merely place the material points before the reader.
The spelling of Maori names has been left in accordance with the original phonetics as interpreted by Butler.
In some words, gradual evolution towards the present orthography can be discerned.