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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to Church Missionary Society

Rev. S. Marsden to Church Missionary Society.

Parramatta, March 15, 1814.

I was very much gratified with the arrival of Mr. Kendall and his family, as it determined me, at once, to attempt the mission. I waited upon the Governor, and informed His Excellency what was the ultimate object which the Society had in view in sending out Mr. Kendall. When they arrived we were building two school-houses, neither of which was ready, or Mr. Kendall would have had one of them. It will be some time before they are completed. In consequence of this, Mr. Kendall has an opportunity of visiting New Zealand before he enters on any work in this colony. When I sent the Active I did not think it prudent for any of the families to go, but only Messrs. Kendall and Hall. Mr. King remains at page 320 Parramatta (as his going would not have been attended with any advantage) till they all go, should Providence open a way for them.

I have directed Mr. Kendall to bring over with him a chief in order that we may make some arrangement with him for the future establishment of the settlers, and that the Government here may explain to him what are our views.

I applied to the Governor for his permission to accompany Messrs. Kendall and Hall. He promised that I should go with the missionaries, should it be finally determined for them to settle at New Zealand, and see them properly fixed. I should have been glad to go now, as I could then have been better qualified to furnish the Society with every necessary information.

Messrs. Kendall and Hall were in very good spirits. They have very good accommodations, and I trust will do well. I think Mr. Kendall will soon acquire a knowledge of their language. A very fine young man, about seventeen years old, the son of a chief, has been living for some time with Mr. Kendall. They were very much attached to each other. He is gone along with him. I wrote to Duaterra, and informed him for what purpose Mr. Kendall and Mr. Hall were coming to New Zealand. Before Duaterra left Parramatta he was very urgent with me to send him a man to teach his boys and girls to read and write. I told him then I would send for Mr. Kendall, and he should come.

I have sent a variety of presents to the chiefs, and hope that the missionaries will be treated with kindness and attention by the chiefs and natives. The young chief, who is Mr. Kendall’s companion, will be able to explain to his countrymen the object of the voyage. He assured me that he would return with Mr. Kendall.

I think Mr. Kendall will prove himself a valuable man for the work. His heart is engaged in the cause. He is very mild in his manners, kind, tender, and affectionate, and well qualified to treat with an ignorant heathen. He applied to learn the language from Toohe, the young chief, and made some progress. On board he will have nothing else to attend to. From a combination of circumstances, I trust that Divine Providence has opened the way very clearly now, so as to warrant our attempt.

No missionaries could go out under more favourable circumstances than Messrs. Kendall and Hall do at present; and I trust they will give a good account when they return. Mrs. Kendall and Mrs. Hall, with their children, are living near me at Parramatta. I shall study to make them as comfortable as I can. They are all well. Both the master and the mate of the Active have been at the Bay of Islands, and are acquainted with the natives of New Zealand, which will prove of great advantage to them.

page 321

It is singular that the ship’s company should consist of the following nations: Two natives of Otaheite, one of Owhyhee, one of New Zealand, one European native of New Holland, one American, one from Sweden, one from Norway, one from Prussia, and English and Irish!

I gave particular instructions to the master for Mr. Kendall to read the service of the Church every Sabbath Day; and, when at New Zealand, that the Sabbath should be observed with the greatest solemnity. I shall be very anxious for their return, and trust that the Divine blessing will attend them, and preserve them from all evil.

I have, &c.,

Samuel Marsden.