Historical Records of New Zealand
Rev. S. Marsden To Rev. J. Pratt
Rev. S. Marsden To Rev. J. Pratt.
Reverend And Dear Sir,—
A whaler has just arrived from the Bay of Islands. The master informs me there were seventeen whalers on the coast. As they all barter with muskets and powder they will buy up all the animal food from the natives, and greatly distress the settlement for provisions for a time. It may seem strange that I have never been able from the first to convince the missionary settlers of the value of cattle. A moment’s reflection ought to be sufficient to convince the most ignorant of the vast importance of cattle in a new country, for labour, milk, butter, animal food, &c. Had the missionaries only attended to the cattle that have been imported they would not now be in want of animal food. …At one time I sent over six heifers—very fine ones. They informed me they wanted a bull. I then sent over two very fine English bulls. They neglected to put these to the heifers, so that they never bred. When I returned in the Dromedary I took more cattle over with me. On my arrival I found the Revd. Mr. Butler had shot three of my heifers and two bulls, and also one cow in calf. When I asked him his reason for doing so he said he wanted to get them into the settlement, and finding he could not he shot five of them and Shunghee shot one. I was much hurt at this circumstance, as it was defeating my intention towards New Zealand. Mr. Butler had no right to kill my cattle: it was a wanton thoughtless act. The cattle could not have been worth much less than £100 in New South Wales. They had cost me considerable trouble and expense to get them into the country. Their beef was very fat. Had they acted properly from the first they would have had plenty of milk and butter, and a considerable quantity of beef by this time, and would not have been so dependent upon page 521 the natives. If the Society could meet with a pious farmer, or if a few families were settled upon the Society’s land, this would be an excellent thing. I think there is little doubt but they might soon maintain themselves if they were industrious. Some measure must be adopted to render the missionaries independent of the natives, and there is none but agriculture that can furnish them with supplies. The whalers are likely to ruin the whole country by importing such quantities of fire arms and gun powder. How this evil can be remedied I know not. It is a very great one.…
I remain, &c.,
Samuel Marsden. Revd. J. Pratt, &c., &c.