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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to his mother September 1, 1843

To his mother.

I have a few minutes to write in and as I hear there is a vessel going direct to England, I gladly employ them in writing to you. I have to thank George for newspapers, which are interesting. I was radier unwell when I last wrote, and have been worse since, but am now well again. I cannot do so much work now as I used some time ago; but I am not quite left to myself now, though my fellow workers know but little of the language of the natives.

The natives are going on quietly and steadily; and I lately was joined by almost all the remnant of the heathen party at Otaki and the neighbourhood. These people have resisted me in every possible way during nearly four years; and now they openly confess that their object in so doing was to induce me to leave them in disgust; but diat, having watched us, the Christian party, during so long a period, they are compelled to acknowledge that we are in possession of some principles whose tendencies are more conducive to order and good conduct—they our enemies being our judges— than any with which they were acquainted. The people at Waikanae have built a very beautiful church, which is now almost complete and which is much admired. They have been engaged nearly two years at it, and have worked well and altogether gratuitously.

I am now going to build myself a house at Waikanae, as my old mud-house is decaying fast and excessively damp, and the cause of hindering my work as it is not fit for a European residence. I have been careful not to spend more of the Society's money than is necessary; but I find a man gets no credit for it, and that if one does not take care of oneself there is nobody here to take care of one. Many who have come since I have and have never done any work are living in good houses. Economy may be carried too far, and some of my medical friends here tell me that I shall soon be able to page 181 do no work at all if I do not take care of myself. I merely mention this, because whilst I have been protesting against the extravagance of this mission I may be accused of taking care of myself as well as others taking care of themselves.

My friends here are very kind, and nobody could be more constantly kind and attentive than my dear friends the St. Hills, with whom I am now for a day or two, having money matters to attend to here. I return today to Waikanae, and as I must go about 20 miles, I must put an end to my writing.