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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to sister Octavia November 13, 1843

To sister Octavia.

The last letter I wrote was on the 1st of September to my mother, and since that I have delayed writing, though I fear there have been ships going direct, because I was out of humour at not receiving any letters from any of you. I have received letters from Salisbury dated late May, six weeks ago, and nothing from any of you since Feb.—so much grumbling, now let me think of something else.

I have had so much to do lately with our minor political matters that I fear I am become quite worldly. Since an unfortunate affair which I alluded to before, (Wairau), there has been a bad feeling existing between settlers and natives, and it has required the exercise of all the little wisdom which I possess to keep matters quiet. I believe I have been the chief instrument in doing this hitherto, and have had acknowledgements to this effect from government officers; but still it is not my proper work, and in that I would rather be occupied entirely. I am afraid I have witnessed a little luke-warmness among the natives lately; this however I must expect; but still I have seen nothing of the kind among my own favourites. I do not so much blame the natives for much that appears blameable in them, as I do ourselves. Ere long there will be considerable confusion in the Christianity of these people. Our hope is in the Lord, would that I ever rested upon that source of help simply and entirely.

I feel inclined to go to China. I wonder whether I could learn the language! I found no difficulty in the language of this country—but Chinese, I suppose, would put one's ability for languages to the trial. Nothing I regret more than not having studied languages. I sometimes feel a little angry with some of you at home, who always used to tell me when a boy that I was conceited and thereby discouraged me. I took a dislike when a boy to Latin and Greek, and was stupid enough with those languages. Since I left England I have only studied New Zealand and Hebrew, and have found no kind of difficulty with these. I fear nevertheless that Chinese would puzzle me.

I had the pleasure a few days ago of having the Chief Justice at my house for a day. He takes great interest in the language and in the natives of this country. I am expecting the Bishop in about a month. My friend Mr. St. Hill is gone to meet him in the centre of the Island and will accompany him back.

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