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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to the Church Missionary Society

Rev. S. Marsden to the Church Missionary Society.

Parramatta, May 2, 1817.

The “Active “sailed from Port Jackson on the 18th of last month, with Messrs. Carlisle and Gordon, and their families. Six page 414 New Zealanders, some of whom had been at Parramatta nearly a year and a half, accompanied them. I sent six head of horned cattle at the same time, as the introduction of cattle among the natives will be a great object to that country, and should any number of Europeans, at any future period, live among the native inhabitants, they will find them of the first importance.

A cow in this colony would have sold, since I resided in it, for one hundred pounds. Government have been at a very heavy expense in bringing cattle from India, the Cape, and even from England, to this colony. I was so fully sensible of the incalculable advantages that cattle would be of to New Zealand that I determined to send some for breeding; and I shall, therefore, from time to time send a few oven, till there be a sufficient quantity to breed from. Milk, butter, beef, and labour these cattle will soon produce to the inhabitants; and if the number of settlers should be increased, they will greatly promote their support and comfort.

I hope and pray that this object may succeed, and that New Zealand may soon become a civilized nation. I see no difficulties in the way, so far as the heathen themselves are concerned. If those who are employed in the work will only do their duty honestly and faithfully, the work must prosper, whatever opposition may be raised against it. The greatest enemies of the Gospel must acknowledge that the natives of New Zealand are prepared for any instruction which the civilized world will bestow upon them, as they possees both talent and inclination for improvement.

I believe that the time is now come for these nations to be called into the outward church, at least. The way is clear; and Divine Goodness will provide the means for their instruction. I admit that many difficulties will be met with on all untried ground; and that the wisest men will sometimes mistake in their views of accomplishing their objects with respect to a nation which has had no intercourse with the civilized world: yet these difficulties will be overcome, under the blessing of God, by constant perseverance; and I have no doubt but that this will be the case in the present instance with regard to New Zealand. Time will make this matter more easy. The work is now begun: the foundation is now laid: and I hope we shall soon see the structure rise.

I have directed Mr. Gordon to apply himself wholly to agriculture till the settlement is independent of this colony for bread; and till they have it in their power to give a little bread to a hungry native, and to feed the children in the school. When the chiefs come to understand the value of wheat, which they will soon do, the inhabitants will then turn from the habits of war to the pursuits of agriculture; which will supply all their wants, page 415 and will check that warlike spirit which they now possess. Those who have been at Parramatta, and have seen the advantage of bread, often tell me what they will do when they return to their home. I shall greatly rejoice to hear that they have turned their attention to agriculture. They have taken over with them fruittrees of various kinds; and have already got peaches in perfection. I think vines would do well, from the nature of the soil and climate. I shall, from time to time, send over different plants, as they may be useful at some future day.