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Emily Bathurst; or, at Home and Abroad

Chapter III

page 51

Chapter III.

Emily impatiently expected her uncle's next visit, and it was with no slight feeling of disappointment that she heard him announce to her mother that business called him into the country, and that he should probably be absent ten days or a fortnight. "However," added he, turning to Emily, "I would not go till I had fulfilled my promise to you. I hope to spend the morning with you, and to start by the express train at three o'clock." "And then uncle," said Emily, "you will not arrive till late; you will be exposed to the night air, and catch a cold which may fall upon your lungs, and all for the sake of obliging me!" "Do not forebode misfortunes, Emily," replied Mr. Munro, "I do not feel at all consumptive31 to-day, but quite fit to use my lungs in reading to you, and then to expose myself to the east wind, even without a great coat."

page 52 E.

I do not like parting with you at all.

Mr. M.

I am in good hands, my dear child. There is One to whose care and guidance you may cheerfully commit me. But now for our work. Sit down quietly, and make the most of the morning. "No, Emily," added he, seeing her take up her worsted32 work, "I will not read to you, if you are to be counting stitches and sorting colours all the time."

"Do not be afraid, uncle," replied Emily, "my work is very straightforward, I need not look at the pattern, and my worsteds are so arranged, that I cannot fail to find the colour I want."

Mr. M.

The preceding account was principally extracted from the journal of a Mr. Nicholas, who accompanied Mr. Marsden in his first visit to New Zealand, in order to arrange plans for ameliorating the condition of the people. Mr. Marsden's own duties as Chaplain, kept him in New South Wales, nevertheless he was able to pay several visits to the neighbouring page 53islands, and was unwearied in his exertions for their benefit. Part of the success which attended these exertions will appear from the following account, drawn from "The Recollections" of an officer high in the British service in India, who spent some weeks in New Zealand in 1833, not twenty years after Mr. Nicholas's visit:—

"On approaching Paihia33, which is situated in the Bay of Islands, Major Jacob was first struck with the sight of several good houses standing on the beach; some belonging to English clergymen, one to a native chief, who had built it without any assistance, in imitation of theirs. One of these houses was used as a church, and fitted up for Divine Service. Seated on the grass before this building, was an aged chief, who had just travelled fifty miles in order to be present at the services of the following day, which happened to be Sunday. At eight in the morning service commenced. A bell summoned the congregation to church. A small but fine-toned organ raised its notes, but was scarcely heard when the whole con-page 54gregation arose and joined in singing a hymn in their native language, at the commencement of the service. The Liturgy of our Church had been translated, and the whole congregation joined with one voice in the responses, in a way which English worshippers would do well to imitate. The only change made in the Liturgy was, that in one place the King and Royal Family were prayed for, whereas, in another place, the words 'the Chiefs of the Land,' were substituted. A sermon was preached by Mr. Williams, with remarkable facility and fluency, in the native language, and riveted the attention of his hearers. An English sermon from another clergyman followed, for the benefit of the English part of the congregation. Soon after twelve o'clock, after an early dinner, the two clergymen, accompanied by their guest, took a boat to the opposite side of the bay, to a place called Kororarika34, where a congregation of seventy persons attended service with as much attention and devotion as had been exhibited by the morning congregation at page 55Paihia. A painful scene was exhibited at the same time by the crews of some European whalers which were at anchor in the bay. They were rioting in a disgraceful state of intoxication, whilst those whom they probably despised as barbarians, were honouring the command of Him whose servants they professed to be. Sad is the effect of ordinary European intercourse upon most savage nations. In many parts the only English words known and used amongst foreigners, are oaths and curses. It will, perhaps, be scarcely believed that English captains have occasionally incited The New Zealanders to mortal conflicts, and furnished them with arms and ammunition to attack their foes; besides permitting their crews to commit every kind of iniquity unchecked and unpunished. It may be noticed, to the honour of the Americans, that their crews are more correct in their conduct than those of any other nation.

"All at Kororarika did not wish to hear what the English clergyman had to say. One old chief, named Taxia, who was said to have a page 56short time previously killed and eaten one of his wives, desired them not to attend at his place on Sundays, for it was the devil's place; that he had found the devil's service good, and therefore did not wish to be disturbed; that by this service he had lately obtained a present of a cask of oil from a whaler; and as he had resolved on continuing the service of the devil, the missionaries might go elsewhere and preach.' Accordingly it was in the part of Kororarika which belonged to a chief named Rewa, that the service was held, Rewa himself attending with several members of his family. There was an English service at Paihia in the afternoon, and a native one in the evening, which latter was conducted by Mr. Fairburn, a catechist35, who had spent the middle of the day at the village of a chief named Kopidi, who, though not a Christian, assembled his people, and attended the service himself.

"Major Jacob was much interested in watching the daily proceedings at Paihia. At five in the morning the prayers of our page 57Church were read by a baptized convert to the assembled inhabitants of the settlement. Afterwards, the weather being fine, the classes were formed in the open air, and young and old, rich and poor, the master and the slave, stood side by side learning to read, write, and cipher36. Not only friends thus learn together, but instances have been known of the sons of contending chiefs coming to the same school to learn, even while their respective tribes were engaged in hostilities. Let it be borne in mind, in considering this picture, that a few years before, The New Zealanders had no written language, nor any conception of such a mode of communicating ideas. At eight o'clock the male school closed, and the female commenced. These scholars, some of whom were mothers with children at their backs, were instructed in reading, writing, and needlework. Several daughters of chiefs have considered it no degradation to become servants in the settlement of Paihia; and they have attained considerable proficiency in the above-mentioned page 58female accomplishments. An infant school, consisting when all were assembled of twenty-eight scholars, was also carried on.

"The houses of the missionaries were built by themselves, assisted in the carpenter's work by some natives, who learn readily the use of carpenter's tools. And seeing the English employed in manual labour, the natives cease to consider such employments degrading.

"Major Jacob next visited Waimate37, which is some miles in the interior, and whose rich soil and abundant population induced Mr. Marsden to consider it the most desirable place for the formation of an agricultural establishment, in order to render the resident English independent of foreign supplies, and as a means of advancing the civilization of the natives. This settlement presented to view a row of comfortable houses, each surrounded by well cultivated gardens, and the whole enclosed by a neat palisade. Barley, wheat, Indian corn, and potatoes, were flourishing in land which had been for the first time page 59submitted to the harrow38 and the plough, and which was recently covered with fern roots. There was every prospect of an abundant harvest.

"The workmanship of the buildings was superior to that displayed in the buildings of Van Diemen's Land39 and New South Wales. The natives, instructed by the missionaries, seemed to handle their tools with the facility of European workmen. 350,000 feet of timber had been sawn at Waimate, and 40,000 bricks made and burnt in the preceding year. The natives were learning the trades of wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and the occupations of farmers and dairymen. At an examination held in 1832, prizes were awarded to the best specimens of artificer's work, and needlework, produced by the natives. Upwards of 800 natives from various parts of the island, attended as spectators. A gate was one of the articles which received a prize; and much of the needlework produced by females, who a few years before were brutal cannibals, would have been page 60considered above par as the production of the children belonging to some of the charitable institutions in our own country.

"The day at" Waimate was spent much in the same manner as at Paihia. 120 males and females were educated in the schools, and their progress was in every respect encouraging. The New Zealand language is simple, and enabled those who fixed it to dispense with several letters used in English, thereby reducing them to fourteen, including the dipthong, N G. The Liturgy, Gospels, and other portions of Scripture had been translated; the demand for books was increasing. The people gladly paid for them in potatoes, or even in labour, not considering a month or six weeks of labour too much, if they received a book at the end of the time as payment. The New Zealanders learn with facility, and some in three months could read with tolerable fluency. Many would spend this time in the schools, and then return to their own homes, carrying with them the Liturgy, and portions of Scripture, and page 61spread amongst their neighbours the knowledge they had acquired. One of the clergy had been obliged to go to New South Wales to carry through the press several portions of the Bible, and the greater part of the Common Prayer-book. He was assisted by a baptized convert named Edward Parry Hongi. He received the Christian names from his godfather, the distinguished navigator and officer, for whom he entertained high respect. In appearance, dress, and manner, this young man fully sustained the character of the English gentleman, and as a Christian, his conduct was most exemplary. The absence of one of the few resident clergy from his post was severely felt, and the natives ardently longed for his return. In order to obviate the necessity of such absences, a native press was a great desideratum40, and a benefit which has since been bestowed upon New Zealand.

"Not only was there daily service at the principal stations, but also at a village about two miles from Waimate, Major Jacob observed page 62the iron part of a hatchet suspended from the roof of a large hut. This being struck with a mallet, called the villagers to morning and evening prayer. For this purpose they had built a room themselves, they conducted the service themselves, and without European superintendence they carried on a school. The sabbath, also, was scrupulously observed as a day of rest.

"Broughton Ripi, a baptized chief, occupied himself in making a road on purpose to facilitate the missionaries' visits to his district. This man exerted himself with great boldness in speaking to his fellow-countrymen on the subject of Christianity. They had expected that his potato crop would fail, because he planted them without tapuing, but the following season proved the most productive they had had for some time. Ripi formerly had three wives; but on his conversion he married one, and sent away the other two. One of these was afterwards married to a respectable native in Mr. Davis's service, according to the rites of the English Church, and with all the pre-page 63viousvious formality of publishing banns41. At weddings, the missionaries usually give the friends of the parties a feast of potatoes, hasty pudding, and sometimes a roast pig. Ripi's whole character and conduct were changed by the influence of Christianity. He used his wife kindly, whereas his former conduct had been marked with unkindness; he refused to go to war, and would even have parted with his muskets, had he not been recommended to keep them as means of defence.

"Considering that a few years previously the natives subsisted principally on fern root and potatoes, that mats were their only clothing, and that they were so ignorant as to sow both gunpowder and biscuit by way of increasing their stock, and considered a man and horse one animal when first they saw a man on horseback, the change produced in the different places before mentioned, does indeed appear surprising. Of course many tribes were still barbarous; dreadful wars, with its attendant cruelties, were still carried page 64on in many parts, but even the partial civilization and education of a small number of the people in so short a space of time, must surely be considered one of the most remarkable triumphs of Christian philanthropy."


Indeed, uncle, I quite agree with your last remark. I thank you much for this detail; but I am still anxious to trace the steps by which this change was effected. It is plain that association with English seamen neither tended to civilize nor improve The New Zealanders. A very different spirit must have been at work.

Mr. M.

Certainly our vices were all the people gained from our seamen. Occasionally they received firearms, ammunition, blankets, iron implements, and spirits, in exchange for potatoes and flax; but these presents rather injured than benefitted them. It has also been proved that a temporary introduction into civilized society, is not of itself by any means sufficient to soften the native barbarity of the savage. Hongi's case is an illustration of this observation. He was an uncle of page 65Duaterra's, and a man of warm affections towards his own kindred, his manners mild when amongst his friends, and possessed of considerable talent and sagacity. He visited England in the year 1820, accompanied by a young chief named Waikato. He remained in this country about four months, was introduced to the king, and excited considerable attention. Whilst amongst refined and polished persons, he accommodated himself without difficulty to their habits and manners, and showed nothing of his real character and intentions. His ruling passion was love of war. On his return to Port Jackson42, he exchanged many of the valuable presents he had received in England for arms and ammunition, and when he reached his native shores, he threatened the missionaries, abused all who had not given him guns and warlike stores, and instead of sending his children to school as he had promised, declared he wanted them to learn to fight and not to read. His only object now seemed to be war and conquest. On one of his expeditions he boasted page 66that he had killed at one place, 1,500 of his enemies, and fearful were the scenes of cannibalism which succeeded his victories. Year after year he continued his ravages, until he died from the effects of a wound in March, 1828. Had it not been for his turbulent ambition to shine as a warrior and conqueror, this man, by means of his talents, station, and natural qualifications, might have done much for the civilization of his country-men. As it was he respected and protected the English resident in the island, and his last moments were employed in requesting his survivors to treat the missionaries kindly, and on no account to allow them to leave the island.


Did the English Government or Church send those good men to civilize The New Zealanders?

Mr. M.

The primary agent was Mr. Marsden, whom I have before mentioned as the staunch and indefatigable friend of New Zealand. He laid their case before the Committee of the Church Missionary Society43, page 67and induced them to send and support a Mission in this beautiful but degraded island.


Uncle, you are trying to make me feel my ignorance. I never heard of the Church Missionary Society, and do not know what or where it is.

Mr. M.

Well, dear Emily, I am sorry I have no more time to give you now. I can only tell you that it is an English and a Church Society, established with a special view to the conversion of the heathen. Its affairs are managed by a Committee, which must consist of Churchmen, two Clerical, and a Church of England Lay-Secretary. Its origin and proceedings I must leave you to find out. I shall have to tell you of many more improvements among The New Zealanders, as what I have described was related by a gentleman who visited the country in the year 1833, but I must delay any further details till my return from Warwickshire44. Farewell.

31 Affected with a wasting disease, especially pulmonary tuberculosis.

32 a high-quality type of wool yarn, the fabric made from this yarn or a yarn weight category.

33 A town in the Bay of Islands located near Russell (Kororareka).

34 Today known as Russell, the first permanent European settlement and seaport in New Zealand, situated in the Bay of Islands.

35 A teacher of the principles of Christian religion.

36 A secret or disguised way of writing; a code.

37 A town in Canterbury on the Eastern Coast of the South Island.

38 An instrument that is dragged over ploughed land to break up clods, remove weeds and cover seed.

39 The original name for Tasmania.

40 Something that is needed or wanted.

41 The public announcement in a Christian parish church or in the town council of an impending marriage. The tradition is associated with the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

42 The natural harbour of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

43 A British mission society founded in 1799 to promote the conversion of the heathen. The CMS founded a mission station in New Zealand in 1814.

44 A county in the West Midlands region of England.