Emily Bathurst; or, at Home and Abroad
Emily was delighted to see her uncle again, and speedily made him acquainted with the information she had gathered during his absence. She did not fail also to claim his promise of telling her how civilization had increased in New Zealand since the year 1833.Mr. M.
Of course I gave you but a contracted view of the island at that time. The labourers were few, and their influence was not apparent much beyond their respective neighbourhoods. Still much was going on unseen and unsuspected. As I told you, persons came from distant parts to learn to read at the schools established by the missionaries, and having accomplished this, carried back to their own homes such parts of the Bible and Prayer-book as had been translated; some knowledge of European arts, and at least a lively conviction of the page 120advantages which they would derive in a temporal64 point of view, from intercourse with such Europeans as the missionaries. They felt that the mode of living, the dress, the knowledge of those of their countrymen who had embraced Christianity were superior to their own. At this time the regular attendants on public worship numbered only a few hundreds. In the same year, 1833, James Busby, Esq.65, was sent as consul to protect The New Zealanders from the outrages to which they had been exposed from British subjects. Some had settled on the island, and rested unchecked in all kinds of wickedness. The chiefs chose a flag, which was thenceforth recognised as their national colours.
In 1838, the attendants on public worship had increased to four thousand. In the December of that year, at the request of the Committee of the Church Missionary Society, the Bishop of Australia visited the infant Church, which was so soon to increase with such rapidity as to need a Bishop of its own.page 121
"Then the Church Missionary Society does think Episcopal66 superintendence desirable?" said Emily, smiling.Mr. M.
Did you ever doubt it?E.
I did not; but I believe some do.Mr. M.
So desirable do they consider Episcopal superintendence, that besides the active part which they took in the establishment of a Bishopric in New Zealand, they have endeavoured to promote the appointment of Bishops both at Sierra Leone and in North West America, but the difficulties in the way are very great.E.
Why should this be?Mr. M.
Though the Church Missionary Society might pay a yearly salary for the support of a Bishop, they have no means of procuring an endowment to form a permanent and independent income. It is desirable that at least a small endowment should be secured before any district over which our Queen's rule extends, should be erected into an Episcopal See67. A Society has page 122been some time in operation, for procuring endowments for Colonial Bishoprics; and many additional Bishops have been sent out by its means within the last few years, and new Sees are still in the course of erection.E.
But a Bishop abroad does not need an income as large as a Bishop at home.Mr. M.
Certainly not. The income of a missionary Bishop should be somewhat larger than that of an ordinary missionary, in order to enable him to travel over his diocese68; to exercise hospitality towards his clergy, and to aid liberally the various schemes of benevolence and usefulness established and placed under his superintendence; but nothing beyond this would be at all desirable. The American Episcopal Church does send out Bishops to its missionary stations. Thus the education of young men who would be anxious to enter the ministry, can be efficiently superintended, and they can be ordained on the spot, whereas promising page 123converts at the various Church missionary stations are often compelled to take long voyages before they can receive ordination, and the expense of this prevents many a deserving man from becoming a minister of the Gospel, though he might possess qualifications in some respects superior to those possessed by some of the English clergy. Moreover, an Episcopal Church without a Bishop at its head cannot be said to be complete. A missionary Bishop, but one should always be selected who knows something of missionary work, would in every way assist and support his clergy. Without a Bishop, also, Confirmation, which is a most important rite, especially to those who were baptized in infancy, must be neglected.E.
I suppose it is easier to decide that Bishops ought to be sent than to provide the means of sending them. Meanwhile, can you tell me anything about the Bishop of Australia's visit to New Zealand?Mr. M.
He appears to have been much delighted with all he saw there. Unfortu-page 124nately, at the time he landed the influenza was raging, and this disease affected the New Zealand even more fatally than the European constitution; still in spite of this destructive epidemic he was much pleased with the attendance on public worship. He admitted Mr. Hadfield to priest's orders; confirmed many young persons, both New Zealanders and Europeans; he appointed two of the clergy to act as surrogates for granting marriage licenses; and consecrated burial grounds both at Paihia and Kowrarika69.E.
What a remarkable thing to have all the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England performed in an island till now considered barbarous!Mr. M.
And whose inhabitants had no idea of the nature of true religion little more than twenty years before. "What hath God wrought?" might indeed be asked with astonishment and praise. The Bishop bears a high testimony to the character and conduct of the excellent and devoted missionaries page 125who had been the honoured instruments of effecting such a work; and was perfectly satisfied with the scrupulous care and attention they had exercised in the translations they had undertaken. The knowledge displayed by the native scholars whom he examined delighted him much. He observed, however, with regret, the remains still, of native habits, even among those who lived in the missionary settlement. Indolence, duplicity, and covetousness, were by no means eradicated, and the habits of many were still dirty and lounging. He noticed, with considerable concern, the diminution in the numbers of the native race. Though infanticide was nearly abolished, though wars were less frequent, and certainly, since the introduction of fire-arms, less bloody, and though cannibalism was almost extinct, the natives were diminishing in number. Thinking, perhaps, that the want of good food and clothing had something to do with this, he raised a subscription to relieve some of those who had suffered from influenza. He strongly felt the need of more page 126clergymen, and pressed the great importance of providing the islands with a Bishop of their own.E.
With regard to the still remaining effects of heathenism on the manners of the people, I suppose we ought not to be surprised.Mr. M.
Certainly not; remembering the force of early habits in ourselves, we must rather wonder more at what was done than at what was left undone. As Mr. King, after twenty-two years' labour there, justly remarked, after noticing the difficulties which men in our own land find in leading a Christian and consistent life, though brought up under the sound of the Gospel, and under the laws of a civilized country, which forbid to steal, &c., on pain of death, banishment, or confinement, he adds: "What must be the case of a New Zealander, who has been from his childhood encouraged in every sin by his friends and neighbours; when he begins to discern a little light in the midst of darkness, and even page 127when he is brought to know a little of divine things, how low must be his ideas of truth, honesty, and industry, I leave you to judge."E.
I quite see the justice of these remarks.Mr. M.
Good old Mr. Marsden paid his fifth visit to New Zealand in 1837. He was seventy-two years of age. The love manifested for him by all classes of New Zealanders shewed how grateful they felt for the unspeakable blessings he had been the means of introducing among them. Wherever he went they crowded around him, and some followed him for miles to see and converse with him. When one of them was requested to go away, he said, "We wish to have a very long stedfast look at the old man, because he cannot live long enough to visit us again."E.
It must have been a touching sight to see him standing like an aged apostle to bid farewell for ever on earth to those who were in the best sense of the word, his children.Mr. M.
Though weak in health and page 128feeble from the weight of years, his affections were as strong as ever, and his countenance beamed with all the brightness of immortality, when he preached with all the fervour of youth, on the theme which had been his support and delight during his lengthened life, the love of God in Christ Jesus. In private, with the missionaries, he spoke of the good men in England, the friends of his early youth, who had preceded him to the eternal world, and touchingly alluded to his late wife, to whom he had been married more than forty years, saying he felt the separation the more severely as the months rolled on. Some one remarked that their separation would be but for a short period longer. "God grant it," was his reply, and then lifting his eyes towards the moon, which was peacefully shedding her beams over the sails of the vessel on whose deck he was standing, he exclaimed with intense feeling—
Prepare me, Lord, for thy right hand,
Then come the joyful day!
Good old man! How I should like to have seen him.Mr. M.
It was his last visit to the isles he had loved so well and so unweariedly, and he left them with a heart overflowing with thankfulness, from the consideration of the wonderful change produced there. In the Waimate district, for miles, neither riots, drunkenness, swearing, nor quarrels were heard. Chiefs gave up war, and began to live as Christians. Knowledge had spread rapidly, and even in tribes where Christianity was not professed, heathen customs had received their death blow. On the death of Titore, a powerful heathen chief, which occurred during Mr. Marsden's visit, the women gave up their usual bloody marks of sorrow; the tapu was not regarded, nor any slaves killed in honour of him.E.
I shall ever remember Mr. Marsden's name with special honour.Mr. M.
I remember the time when Charles XII70. was your favourite hero; what were his or Alexander's71 victories to those gained by page 130means of this aged man over the kingdom of Satan, and the powers of evil? They sought their own glory, and had their reward.
Many besides those immediately interested, have borne testimony to the favourable change in New Zealand; but I will only now mention that of Mr. Williamson, a New South Wales Chaplain, who visited the island under the impression that the improvement had been exaggerated, and gave testimony before a Committee of the House of Lords, as to its being much greater than has been represented, and that not only in the immediate neighbourhood of the stations. He mentioned remaining a night at the house of a native in the woods, who received him hospitably, gave him plenty of fern and a clean blanket for a bed, with a supper of potatoes. After supper a Testament was produced, a chapter was read, and prayer offered up by the assembled family. The day began as the evening had closed. Yet none of this family were baptized Christians. I met an interesting anecdote page 131which shows the power of religion in restraining the once fiery temperament of a New Zealander. A native entering a carpenter's shop to talk about payment for some work he had been engaged to do, one of the carpenters, a cross surly tempered man, said to the native, "Get you out of the shop, we want none of you fellows here." The native replied, "Don't be angry, I am come to talk with Benjamin." The fellow said, "I shall be angry," and after a few words, began to ill-use the native in a most barbarous manner, kicking him in the side because he would not get up. The native made no resistance till the man left off, when he jumped up, took the fellow by the throat, held him with one hand as a man would a child, and drew out a plane-iron tied, on the top of a stick so as to form a little adze72: "Now," said the native, while he held it over his head, "you see your life is in my hands; you owe your life to the preaching of the Gospel; you see my arm is quite strong enough to kill you, and my page 132arm is willing, but my heart is not, because I have heard the missionaries preach the Gospel. If my heart were as dark as it was before I heard them preach, I should strike off your head." He did not return the blows, but made him pay a blanket for the insult.Mr. M.
Delightful. What a lesson to the cross carpenter!Mr. M.
Another instance of the increase of influence may be traced in the earnest petition of Raupuraha73, a noted chief, resident at Kapiti74, 500 miles from the Bay of Islands, imploring teachers for his district. Some time after he sent two of his sons to urge his request. To his astonishment the missionary found that both these men could read; that in many of their villages Sunday was observed, public worship regularly held, and great numbers anxious for instruction. All this was the result of the labours of one man, named Matahau, who had formerly lived with Mr. Williams at Paihia. Mr. Hadfield proceeded to Kapiti in November, 1839, page 133and two more clergymen joined him in the following year. In June, 1841, thirteen chapels were built in the district, and others were in the course of erection, and 900 attended at the schools.E.
The spread of religion seems to have been wonderfully rapid.Mr. M.
From this time it advanced in a still increasing ratio. In 1841, the number of attendants on public worship exceeded 27,000! The entreaties for a resident Bishop were granted. The Church Missionary Committee contributed largely towards his salary; and on May 29, 1842, Bishop Selwyn75 arrived at Auckland76, which may be called the metropolis of New Zealand, and is the head quarters of the English Governor.E.
Were his first impressions favourable?Mr. M.
He said that his experience of the native character in its highest sense, more than equalled his expectations. Perhaps I cannot conclude this lengthened detail better than by giving you a table of the population page 134of the Northern Island of New Zealand, the number of attendants on public worship, and of communicants, as compared with those of two districts in England,—St. Bride's, Fleet-street, with its five contiguous77 parochial78 divisions, and Islington79. In both these latter districts many active and efficient clergymen are labouring.
|District in City of London.||Islington.||New Zealand.|
|Attendants on Public Worship||5,670||15,500||40,000|
|Proportion between the whole Population and the Attendants on Public Worship||1 in 5||1 in 4||1 in 3¾|
|Ditto, and Communicants||1 in 28||1 in 29||1 in 27|
Is it possible that the attendance on public worship is greater in New Zealand in proportion to the population, than in these two districts in England?Mr. M.
It is even so; and the number of communicants also, although it must be borne in mind that the most rigid discipline page 135is exercised in New Zealand, especially with respect to those who are admitted to approach the Lord's Table there. Remember, also, that in the city of London district there is one clergyman to 2,636 souls. In Islington, one to 3,500; whereas in New Zealand there is only one clergyman or catechist to 3,600.E.
But then there are so many Dissenters in England.Mr. M.
Not more in proportion than in New Zealand. The Wesleyans80 have large establishments in that country, and their labours have been very successful; thus it is evident that a very large proportion of the people is under Christian instruction.E.
I earnestly hope that soon not one will remain a heathen.Mr. M.
Whenever a great work like this of which we have been speaking is accomplished, the great enemy of God and man is sure to use every effort to mar the good and produce evil; so we must expect many page 136and increasing difficulties. The Roman Catholics have not been idle, and they by no means confine their endeavours to the heathen, but seek to draw aside Christian converts from the truth of the Gospel, though, I rejoice to say, with but little success. It is astonishing how these lately ignorant heathen are enabled to answer the Romish subtleties, by their intimate acquaintance with the Word of God. It is a fact to be noticed, that the same vessel which carried the first Romish missionaries to New Zealand, carried also a large grant of Bibles from the Bible Society, in the native language.E.
Bane and antidote together.Mr. M.
True. The efforts made at the present time by the Church of Rome are surprising. North, south, east, and west, her missionaries are sent forth. Few places, however remote, escape their efforts. While our Church Society sent two missionaries to China, it is said that one vessel conveyed to its shores sixty-two Romish priests.page 137 E.
What evils do you apprehend to New Zealand?Mr. M.
The altered state of the country has induced many English to settle there, whose influence is not exercised for good, and in the neighbourhood of such settlements English vices spread rapidly. War has usually an injurious effect, and daring the late war many additional soldiers were sent into the country, and it is well known, even in England, how baleful is the influence of barracks on the morals of a neighbourhood. Again, many prejudices are afloat against missionary work in general, and false statements respecting missionaries are greedily received and circulated. Many men of cultivated minds and distinguished talent are not sorry to hear anything to the prejudice of those whose consistency in Christian practice is a constant reproof to their own lax morality; and some men even of highly moral character, dislike the spiritual requirements of the Gospel, and strive to underrate its effects. The late Governor, Captain page 138Fitzroy, has borne very valuable and interesting testimony to the character of missionaries in general, and the effect of their labours in New Zealand.E.
What different accounts officers and civilians from India give of the missionary work there.Mr. M.
Yes. It has even been asserted that all the efforts made in India have been failures, and that there never has been an instance of real conversion in an adult Hindoo; whereas the Bishop of Madras writes, that any English clergyman proceeding now to Tinnevelly81, might calculate on gathering at least 1,400 or 1,500 heathens into the Christian Church. A clergyman who had been labouring for some years in Benares82 as a missionary, was speaking, in another part of India, of what was doing there in the way of schools for the heathen, when a gentleman at the table exclaimed, "There are no missionaries at Benares, I have been there for three years, and am therefore sure of the fact;" and it was some page 139time before another individual present, who was well acquainted with the localities, could persuade him that certain buildings which he knew by sight, but the uses of which he had never inquired, were the abodes of missionaries, and the seat of flourishing native schools; moreover, that the missionary frequently officiated at the church, which was regularly attended by the troops with whom the objector was connected.E.
I should like to hear more about the recent war in New Zealand.Mr. M.
At some future time I shall hope to gratify you, but I have an appointment at two o'clock, and must say farewell. Stay, I will first read you part of a letter which seems to give a sensible view of the state of The New Zealanders, and to point out the true cause of the contradictory statements which sometimes appear concerning them.
"There are two distinct points from which the character of The New Zealanders must be viewed. One is through the medium of their former cruel, savage, warlike, blood-page 140thirsty disposition, contrasted with their present softened, teachable, quiet, and industrious state of mind. In this point of view the conduct of The New Zealanders is indeed a matter of astonishment and praise, and the exclamation is forced upon us, What has not the Lord of glory wrought in these men ! On the other hand, if you compare their lives and general conduct with the lofty standard and discipline which the Saviour raised for his people, born anew through his Spirit, there are many blemishes and deficiencies which cause your missionaries to mourn and pray. Hence it comes that conflicting and even contradictory accounts are presented to the public at home concerning the New Zealand Mission. One individual looks on the natives from this point, and complains of inconsistencies and defects; another sees them from the other point, and exults and rejoices. But to me it appears that the proper way of estimating the success of the Mission in New Zealand is to bring both points together, and thence take our page 141view, that is, to remember the savage state of these people a few years ago, to regard their position at the present day, and to compare their existing infancy to a perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Thus we obtain a fair picture of his Church in these interesting islands, a Church over which we rejoice, but with trembling. Perhaps we expect too much at once; we look for fruit while the tree is yet tender, when it has but commenced to shoot forth its branches."
64 Relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual affairs.
65 A consular representative in New Zealand from 1833. He helped draft the Treaty of Waitangi.
66 Of or relating to a bishop.
67 The area of a bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
68 The ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop.
69 Kororareka, now known as Russell.
70 King of Sweden from 1697 to 1718, famous for his military victories.
71 Alexander III of Macedon, known as Alexander the Great, ruled from 376 - 323 BC. Famous for creating one of the largest empires of the ancient world.
72 A tool similar to an axe, used for cutting or shaping large pieces of wood.
73 Te Rauparaha, early nineteenth century war chief of the Māori tribe Ngāti Toa, from the lower North Island.
74 The Kapiti Coast, the south-western coast of the North Island opposite Kapiti Island.
75 George Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New Zealand, presiding from 1841-1869.
76 The most populous city in New Zealand, located in the North Island. Founded in 1840 and the capital of New Zealand from 1841-1865.
77 Sharing a common border; touching.
78 Relating to a Church parish
79 A district in Greater London, England.
80 Members of the Wesleyan Church, an evangelical Protestant denomination based on the Methodist theology of John Wesley.
81 Tirunelveli, known as Tinnevelly during British rule, is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
82 Varanasi, also known as Benares, is a city on the banks of the river Ganga in India.