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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to sister Amelia September 10, 1846

page 190

To sister Amelia.

Some persons' minds are so constituted that they seem unable to separate what is purely accidental from what is essential—with these it is useless to argue. Because there are evils attendant on civilisation they oppose civilisation itself; because Government appears at times to act harshly they seem to prefer what must lead only to anarchy. If man expects unmixed good in any human institutions he will find it only in Utopia. We have had war, but war inevitable from the disposition of a savage, Te Rangihaeata. I cannot say that it is ended though I think the worst is over. It has at least had the good effect of manifesting most unequivocally the good feeling that exists in the natives of this part of the country. It is highly gratifying to me to perceive that those who have been brought to appreciate Christianity through my instrumentality have stood firm in the hour of trial and have not only surpassed my most sanguine expectations, but have quite astonished the Governor and all those likewise who had previously, from ignorance, undervalued the improvement that had taken place among them.

I am afraid I have never sufficiently detailed or even represented to you the good effects which have been produced by Christianity here. But a missionary while engaged in his work always has so much to humble him, that he almost feels afraid to speak of any results of his labours in such a manner as to lead those at a distance to imagine he has done good lest he should appear to glory. There is one young man who constantly attended my instructions from my first arrival at Waikanae, his name is Riwai Te Ahu, I may have mentioned him before, he perfectly astonished all those who are able to appreciate such a character. I confess I never saw a young man of any nation who combined every good and amiable quality with so much intelligence and energy as he does—he is beloved and respected by those settlers who know him and by all the natives of this district. The Governor attended service at Waikanae, and as Mr. Govett was absent, Riwai read prayers, etc. There were about 500 natives present and he represented it as the most delightful thing he had ever seen. He saw that they had no means of regulating the hour for church service and so he took off his own watch and gave it to Riwai, he also gave him a beautiful writing desk. Afterwards, finding that they had grown more wheat than they were able to grind he sent them six good steel mills and then promised in the course of ten months to go and stay a week with them to see how he could benefit them. He has behaved in the kindest manner to me, listening to every suggestion I make and thanking me most strongly for the information and advice which my residence in this country had enabled me to give him. Moreover confessing most frankly that I had kept him from falling into errors by correcting the misrepresentations of parties here on his arrival.