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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to sister Amelia April 27, 1850

To sister Amelia.

I was much gratified by hearing that you had purposed coming out here on hearing of my recovery, not that I ever doubted of your readiness to do so, as you were quite ready to have come with me when I left England, but as being a fresh assurance of your willingness to come and reside so far off from home in order to be with me. To tell the truth however I am glad that you did not come. In the first place, I am so much away from what I call my residence that you would be left much alone under very novel circumstances, therefore without two came, I am afraid it would rather cause me anxiety about you than relieve me from any I now have. Again you would find the change of life very great, and one which with every resolution you might make not to care about it, anything but pleasant: there are certain comforts which if people have been accustomed to them during many years they find it hard to forgo. Besides, I am at present a rolling stone. And though I know you would not willingly bias my judgement, I should doubtless myself be influenced by considerations respecting you, if. you were with me, in taking any step for removing to any out-of-the-way place. I wish to be quite free to do anything—to remain as free as I have ever been. Under all circumstances I do not think I should like you to come alone. Nothing could I like better than to have you all out here, or any number down to two, but one I am afraid, would be a source of anxiety to me.

page 195

The natives are going on well at Otaki and its neighbourhood—they are making rapid improvement in their habits and mode of life generally. The original believers among them left all to follow Christ: they were neglected by their relatives and lived in comparative poverty: now they have had the satisfaction of seeing most of their relations join them, many I think sincerely, and their decency of conduct and industrious steady habits have raised their outward condition to one of comparative comfort, without being such as to be any temptation to over carefulness about worldly things. I am now making some attempts to benefit them in temporal matters in which, so far as I can yet see, I think I shall be successful. Mr. Williams is always active and ready to co-operate in anything for their good: and his industry and diligence in the discharge of his duties are very great.

I met Mr. Taylor (of Wanganui) at Otaki the day before yesterday. He is going on pretty well: his great drawback in usefulness is his ignorance of the language. I met Jerningham Wakefield this morning, who has just come out. I have seen nothing of the Bishop for some time, nor have I heard very much from him. I suppose he thinks, as I am now Archdeacon he can entrust matters down here to me! As I am on very good terms with the clergy in this part they readily attend to suggestions, so all goes smoothly.