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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden To Rev. J. Pratt

Rev. S. Marsden To Rev. J. Pratt.

Parramatta, Feby. 21st, 1824.

Revd. And Dear Sir,—

I have taken the liberty to forward to you a plan of the seminary I propose to build at Parramatta for the instruction of the New Zealand youths and the missionaries’ children. When I wrote to you I mentioned in a former letter that I purposed to purchase a piece of land in the interior, and to erect a seminary upon it. Since that time I have considered the subject more maturely, which has induced me to alter my views. I have no person at present to take charge of the institution in, page 623 whom I can place confidence. For that reason the seminary would be too far from my observation. The children could not attend upon the public ordinance of religion on the Sabbath. In time of sickness there would be no medical aid near. The Governor was kind enough, when I spoke to His Excellency on the subject, to offer me an acre of ground near my own house to build upon. I thought that might answer, but upon further consideration there were serious objections to this situation. The land was bad, there was no water near, and some other objections. I have fixed upon a situation where the land is good, water in great plenty, and other local advantages. I purchased this land some years ago; it is in sight of my own house, a little distance from the town. When the seminary is built, if it is found to answer I will make over to the Society as many acres as may be deemed necessary, so that the whole may become the property of the Society should the Committee approve of it hereafter. I have little doubt but it will answer. I purpose to have the New Zealand youths taught shoe-making, tayloring, weaving, flax-dressing, and spinning, with gardening and farming, &c., &c. The buildings will be of free stone. I have not planed large and extensive buildings: these will be sufficient to make a trial with. Should any unforeseen circumstances prevent the accomplishment of the object in view, the loss to the Society will not be much. The buildings will be valuable, and the land will always be worth what it is now, and the Society need not pay for it until the institution is finally established. If the chiefs’ sons are educated in this seminary along with the children of the missionaries they will form attachments, and the work of the mission will be much promoted thereby. I have not got the estimate of the expense of these buildings; but I should apprehend £400 will go very far towards completing them, tho’ labour is high in the colony. I shall consider myself responsible for all expenses until approved by the Committee. I hope to have the whole completed before I hear again from you upon this subject. The workmen are now at work, and will continue until it is finished. I have six New Zealanders with me now who are much rejoiced to see the foundation marked out. They are all young men of family. The Revd. J. Butler has the charge of them, under my directions.

I remain, &.,

Samuel Marsden

Revd. J. Pratt.