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Historical Records of New Zealand

Mr. Marsden’s Queries to the Settlers of the Bay of Islands

Mr. Marsden’s Queries to the Settlers of the Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands, Nov. 5, 1819.
Queries. Answers.
1. How far, in your opinion, has a regular communication between New Zealand and Port Jackson thro’ the medium of the Active contributed to your security and comfort 1. Our security and comfort have been greatly promoted by a regular communication between New Zealand and Port Jackson through the medium of the Active during ourpage 439
during your residence in the island? residence in the island. The constant attention that has been paid to us by our powerful friends at a distance has made a favourable impression on the minds of the natives in our behalf, and our temporal wants have been also regularly supplied, which could not have been done without a regular intercourse with Port Jackson.
2. How far has the same communication contributed to the general improvement of the natives who have had an opportunity to visit Port Jackson and to see and taste of the comforts of civil life? 2. The natives of New Zealand are men of strong intellects, and in general possess a spirit of enterprise and enquiry. Those who have visited Port Jackson have at all times expressed themselves highly gratified with what they have seen and heard in the colony, and with their various employments there. When they return to this island they will spend many hours and sometimes whole nights in telling their countrymen what the customs of Englishmen are, and what are their various occupations in civil life.
3. Have the respective reports of those natives who have returned to their friends added to your influence and respectability amongst the inhabitants? 3. They have.
4. How far would it be prudent and even practicable from the spirit of enterprize and turn for commerce which the New Zealanders possess from their national character to prevent them from visiting Port Jackson in any vessel which may be employed in the mission to dispose of their matts, &c.? 4. The natives consider the missionaries on shore, the owner of the vessel, the captain and ship’s company as members of one body. They know also that the vessel is navigated chiefly of their friends the missionaries, and feel themselves more interested in the missionary vessel, than they would in any other. It would not therefore be prudent or even practicable to prevent the New Zealanders from visiting Port Jackson in a vessel employed in the mission. That spirit of enterprize and thirst for commerce which they possess would be checked by such a measure; and they would be dissatisfied with the missionaries who lived in the land.
5. What number of natives and under what regulations, so as to give the most general satisfaction 5. Generally speaking, two or three of the most intelligent youths might be permitted to visit Port Jacksonpage 440
to the chiefs, should be permitted to visit Port Jackson, if it should be deem’d necessary for any to go? and remain there for some time, for the purpose of being instructed in reading, writing, or the arts. Also a chief or two might be permitted to pay a short visit. Should a greater number of natives be very importunate to embark at any one time it would be right to yield to their wishes as much as possible, if no other means could be adopted to pacify them.
6. How far have the industry of the natives, the cultivation of the land, and other comforts of life increas’d since your residence amongst them? 6. Their industry and the cultivation of their land have increased in proportion to the means which have been put from time to time into their hands, and have far exceeded our expectations. They have enlarged their field, as they have procured implements of husbandry, and the comforts of life have increased accordingly.
7. Have the deaths of the natives for the last three years been in the same proportion to the two first years you liv’d amongst them? 7. They have not. During the first year in particular there was a great mortality among the natives, but we now seldom hear of the death of a native. The natives live better. Many of them were formerly very much afflicted with boils, but since they have lived upon more wholesome food they are free from them, and at present appear healthy and well.
8. How far are their outward circumstances and general appearance improv’d since your arrival in this island? 8. Their outward circumstances and general appearance are greatly improved.
9. Do they manifest a less thirst for war, and a greater desire to promote agriculture and commerce than formerly? 9. They are still very fond of war, but manifest a greater desire to promote agriculture. The means now afforded to them to purchase hogs, potatoes, corn, matts, fish, lines, &c., with axes, hoes and other European articles has awaken’d their native industry exceedingly.
10. Have they in any degree laid aside their ferocious habits, such as shouting, dancing naked, and sham fighting to inflame their passions, and to kindle their warlike ardor? 10. The surrounding natives are not so much addicted to these habits as formerly. We seldom hear their shouting, &c., except at a time when they are visited by parties from a distant part of the country.
11. With respect to their religion, do you consider them particularly attentive to their own ceremonies? 11. They are particularly attentive to their own ceremonies, chiefly, as we conceive from the fear of death.page 441
12. How far do you conceive their superstitions may tend to obstruct the introduction of the Gospel amongst them? 12. There appear to be no particular impediments to the introduction of the Gospel any further than the powerful effect of traditionary superstitions—principles implanted in their minds by their ancestors, and which we have no doubt will yield to the superior light of the Gospel, as soon as the missionaries shall be enabled under the Divine blessing and guidance to lay before them the solemn and important truths of Christianity.
13. Have they shewn any disrespect for, and aversion to, the forms of the Christian religion and Sabbaths? 13. They have not; but on the contrary, have on many occasions paid great respect to both.
14. Do you consider them as fully prepared for the reception of the Gospel as any other uncivilized nation? 14. We consider them much more so than any other uncivilized nation which we have heard of.
15. Have you had any apprehensions for your personal safety while living amongst them? 15. We have not all been free from apprehensions of this, but we are now under none whatever.
16. Can public schools be established for the rising generations? 16. We believe they can.

Willm. Hall.

Thos. Kendall.John King.

To the Revd. Saml. Marsden, &c., &c.