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Historical Records of New Zealand

Extract From The Report Of The Committee Delivered To The Annual Meeting, Held May 1, 1821

Extract From The Report Of The Committee Delivered To The Annual Meeting, Held May 1, 1821.

It was stated in the last report that up to March, 1819, there had been twenty-four young New Zealanders under Mr. Marsden’s care at different periods. In July following, when he was about to embark on a second visit to New Zealand, twelve natives came over, who, with four others before in the seminary, were left by him to be employed in learning to make bricks or nails or in blacksmiths’ work or some other useful trade.

On Mr. Marsden’s return from this visit to New Zealand, in November, 1819, Mr. Samuel Butler, son of the Rev. John Butler, accompanied him, in order to act as teacher at Parramatta, until his services should be wanted in New Zealand. Five sons of chiefs went with them.

Mr. Butler writes, in reference to this seminary, “From what I have seen of these New Zealand youths who have been in that seminary, I am persuaded that it is a matter of the first importance always to have there some of the children of the principal chiefs, as they will not only have an opportunity of seeing, but of being initiated in the customs and manners of civilized life. Those who have been at Parramatta for any length of time do not appear like the same persons when they page 533 return back. Their natural ferocity seems very much softened, their minds enlightened, and themselves more than ever attached to Europeans, and especially to the missionaries. They relate also to their own people the things they see and hear, which has a great tendency to make a favourable impression on their minds, and to open their eyes to see our intention in coming among them.“

Of the influence of this seminary on the chiefs of New Zealand Mr. Marsden writes, in the early part of February of last year, “Much has been done already towards the civilization of the natives in those parts of New Zealand with which we have had any communication, and nothing has tended more to this object than the chiefs and their sons visiting New South Wales. It is very pleasing to see the sons of the rival chiefs living with me, and forming mutual attachments. I have some very fine youths with me now, who are acquiring the English language very fast. I brought Mr. Butler’s son back with me, to take the charge of these boys, and to devote his time to their instruction. By the sons of chiefs living together in civilized life, and all receiving equal attention, they will form attachments which will destroy that jealousy which has kept their tribes in continual war.“

There were at this time twenty-five New Zealanders in the seminary, some of whom returned with Mr. Marsden on a third visit which he paid to the islands.

Mr. Marsden sailed on a third visit to New Zealand in His Majesty’s Ship Dromedary, Captain Skinner, about the middle of February of last year, and arrived on the 20th of that month. The Dromedary was directed by Government to preceed from New South Wales to the Bay of Islands, and subsequently the Coromandel to the River Thames, to bring home cargoes of timber for trial in this country. In an interview which the Secretary had with Sir Byam Martin, Comptroller of the Navy, who wished information on the subject of New Zealand, Sir Byam agreed that Mr. Marsden should be requested to accompany the Dromedary, in order to facilitate the object of her visit to the islands. He gladly availed himself of this opportunity of renewing his intercourse with the settlements, and of taking out supplies.

In the supply of timber to the Dromedary Mr. W. Hall was of great service, devoting for several months the chief part of his time to this object. Mr. Marsden bears a strong testimony to him as a most industrious man, and a mechanic of great ability, exerting himself successfully for the good of the settlement.

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Mr. Marsden took with him, in the Dromedary, a young man named James Shepherd, born in New South Wales, and well acquainted with gardening; he had previously visited New Zealand by Mr. Marsden’s desire, and was anxious to devote himself to the work of the mission. His services were the more desirable as Mr. Carlisle and Mr. Gordon, who joined the mission in April, 1817, had left the Society’s service, and returned to New South Wales.