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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to brother George October 8, 1844

To brother George.

I am happy to be able to say that I am feeling very much better now than when I wrote before. I have gained strength considerably and am feeling much less pain than I did then. I have lately had Mr. Taylor (Mr. Mason's successor at Wanganui) staying with me for a few days. He is exceedingly kind and anxious about me.

I am afraid from some late communications that the Church Missionary Society Committee are still ill-informed concerning the real state of religion in this country. Perhaps nothing is more difficult than to convey adequate ideas of the actual religious feelings and knowledge of a newly converted barbarous people to those who have no experimental knowledge of a people of this description. The Committee talk of introducing the parochial system under a native ministry into this country: and have written for advice and opinions upon the subject. The scheme at present is impracticable; and there is no such progressive advance in religious and moral knowledge as would lead the most acute discerner of future probable events to calculate with any likelihood of being correct what would be the difference in this respect 5, 10, or 15 years hence. Besides, the uncertainty of the present system of colonisation, whether it will be carried on with more vigour or be relaxed, and the effect of this upon the natives, renders it, at present, perfectly preposterous at this time to entertain the idea seriously. There is uneasiness and anxiety about the natives relative to the acts of government and the probable results to which they may tend as influencing their interests which is far from satisfactory: and I am perfectly convinced that without the aid and assistance of the present missionaries in allaying the fears and apprehensions of the natives upon many of these subjects, the government would find it very difficult to carry on its business amicably for any length of time. In fact, for the C.M.S. to withdraw their support from N.Z. at the present time would be to undo all that has been done, that is, as respects the present generation.