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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. N. Turner to Secretaries, Wesleyan Mission

page 670

Rev. N. Turner to Secretaries, Wesleyan Mission.

Parramatta, March 8th, 1827.

Dear Fathers and Brethren,—

It is with no small degree of diffidence I proceed to address you on a subject which to me is of the greatest importance.

After three years and six months’ residence amongst the e heathen of New Zealand I am fully satisfied that I shall never acquire their language, and the principle reason is because I have little or no natural talent for such an undertaking. The same opinion is entertained by my two brethren who have lived and laboured with me ever since I went down to New Zealand. This they have publicly given as their opinion in the presence of our brethren labouring in Sydney, who, I expect, will write you on the subject. The same sentiment is entertained by some of my most sincere friends of the church establishment in the Bay of Islands, who assured me before I left for the colony it was their opinion that it would be wrong for me to return again amongst the heathen, for the reason above stated.

It is therefore my sincere wish and fervent prayer that you would allow and appoint me to labour as an English preacher in some part of the New South Wales District.

There is another reason which is to me of some importance, though I feel some reluctance in mentioning it, viz., the enfeebled constitution of my wife. The various exercises, trials, and labours through which she has had to pass have so reduced her frame and enervated her system that I have too good reason to believe she will never be able to endure that which will unavoida bly be her portion if we are again appointed to labour amongst the heathen. It is indeed a great consolation to me to be blessed with a partner who possesses a truly missionary spirit and who would willingly live and die amongst the heathen, yet, if I may be allowed to judge from past experience, I am satisfied that her life amongst savages will be but little better than a lingering death.

I trust that you will not consider my wish to be appointed to labour in the colonies as an English preacher as the effects of our late calamities. No. It has long been a growing conviction with me that I should never be an efficient missionary amongst the heathen. Previous to our late distresses I had intended, after the arrival of Bro. White, to write you on the same subject, and to request the same favour from you.

As a secular man I might be of considerable service in New Zealand or any such station, but I am satisfied my fathers and brethren do not wish me to labour amongst the heathen in such page 671 a capacity, nor could I be contented so to do, for I should ever have the conviction I was not doing the work appointed me of Heaven.

Hitherto I hope I have endeavoured to prove myself worthy the confidence you placed in me, and by the grace of God I still intend so to do, and shall, I believe, be willing to go back to New Zealand, or to any other heathen station which you may think well to appoint me unto. Still, I must say, that with my present views and feelings, I shall go to such a station with a full conviction that I am not going according to the will of Heaven.

Dear fathers and brethren, hoping and believing that you will favourably regard my request, I shall patiently wait an answer from you,

And remain, &c.,

Nathaniel Turner.

To the Secretaries of the Wesleyan Missionary Society.