From Tasman To Marsden.
Chapter XIII. — Marsden Establishes the Mission, 1814 and 1815
Marsden Establishes the Mission, 1814 and 1815.
TheActive had no sooner returned from New Zealand with satisfactory reports by Kendall and Hall, and with a cabin full of influential chiefs all eager to have a Settlement of Europeans among them, than Marsden waited upon Governor Macquarie for the redemption of the promise to grant leave of absence for him to proceed to New Zealand if the information available on the return of the Active warranted it. Leave was granted, and the preparations for departure were at once put under way.
It is usual to regard Marsden's visit to New Zealand as purely a visit in the interests of the Mission he had so much to heart, but, though such in its origin, it assumed greater proportions before the Active sailed. The directions in which its functions were extended were two: Marsden was instructed to present an Official Report of his Voyage to the Governor on his return, and Kendall was appointed a Justice of the Peace, to administer, with Ruatara, Hongi, and Korokoro, Orders which the Governor promulgated at the same time.
Marsden's commission was contained in the following communication:—
Secretary's Office, Sydney,
Nov. 17, 1814.
Being now on the eve of your departure for the Islands of New Zealand; and his Excellency the Governor, being anxious to promote the interests of the Crown, conjointly with those of the Christian Religion, on this occasion, wishes to avail himself of your superior activity, zeal, and intelligence.page 169
For this purpose his Excellency desires that you will explore as much of the Sea Coasts and the interior of those Islands, as your limited time, a due regard to your personal safety, and that of your associates, and the other circumstances of your Mission will reasonably admit.
By these means you will be enabled to form a correct judgment of the nature and quality of the soil, its various productions and its general capabilities; and your observations with regard to the Coasts will furnish you with means of appreciating the relative advantages of the Harbours as connected with the productions of the interior. Those Harbours which possess plentiful supplies of fresh water with safe anchorage for shipping, will necessarily claim your particular attention.
Should a satisfactory report be made to his Excellency, on the foregoing particulars, he will feel it his duty to represent to his Majesty's Government, which may probably be thereby induced to form a permanent establishment on those Islands; and, under these considerations, his Excellency desires your particular attention to the foregoing circumstances, and that, on your return hither, you will make him a full report in writing of your progress and observations, together with the success which may attend your Mission.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient humble Servant,
J. T. Campbell, Sec.
Rev. S. Marsden,
Principal Chaplain in New South Wales.
Duties such as those specified might be thought to be rather inappropriately placed on the shoulders of a chaplain, but Marsden was at once Principal Chaplain, Principal Magis- page 170 trate, and Principal Agriculturist in New South Wales, and, removed from the greed of gain in trade, was absolutely the best man Macquarie could have looked to for a Report.
We now come to the second direction in which the duties of the Active's passengers were to be enlarged. Mr. Thomas Kendall was en route to New Zealand to be the first schoolmaster in the country; before he sailed Macquarie appointed him the first J.P. in the land of his adoption. His quaint Oath, wherein he swears to “do equal right to the poor and to the rich after my cunning wit and power," and his strange Declaration against Transubstantiation, dated 16th November 1814, are now in the Supreme Court, Sydney, and were recently published in fac simile with other important Australian papers, by Dr. Watson of Sydney, under direction of the Federal Government.
Contemporaneous with the appointment of Mr. Kendall a Government Order was published creating two classes of offences in New Zealand; the first was masters or seamen of British ships removing Natives from New Zealand without obtaining the permission of the chiefs, which permission was to be certified to by Mr. Kendall; and the second was for the same parties landing or discharging sailors or others without the like consent. Provision was made for the punishment of offenders against this Order, either in Sydney or in England, and Ruatara, Hongi, and Korokoro, were invested with powers to give the permission which had to be certified to by Mr. Kendall. The powers conferred, practically on the Mission, for the control of trade in New Zealand, were very great, but it was an easy task to collect evidence, from the treatment of the Natives by visiting masters and seamen, to justify them.
Four months was the extent of leave granted to the Chaplain, and the Rev. Benjamin Vale, Assistant Chaplain, was ordered to proceed to Parramatta and perform the clerical duties there until Mr. Marsden's return.
When the Active sailed from Sydney Cove, on Saturday 19th November 1814, there were on board the following:—page 171
Rev. S. Marsden to see the Mission established.
John Liddiard Nicholas, taking the trip as a friend of Marsden.
William Hall, with Mrs. Hall and her son William.
John King, with Mrs. King, and her son Philip.
Mrs. Hansen, and her son Thomas.
Walter Hall, Henry aliasPatrick Shaffery, and Richard Stockwell, convicts to whom permission had been given to leave Australia for three years, the first two on the security of Marsden, the third of Kendall.
Captain Hansen and a crew of eight, including two New Zealanders.
Three chiefs and five other New Zealanders returning home.
Of live stock, there was on board one entire horse and two mares, one bull and two cows sent by Governor Macquarie from the Crown herd in Sydney, a few sheep, and some turkeys, geese, and other poultry.
Although the Active left the Cove on 19th November, it was not until the twenty-eighth that an E.S.E. gale then raging permitted her to get clear of the Heads. The intervening week was spent in Watson's Bay, and during that period an incident happened which very nearly prevented the setting out of the Expedition to New Zealand. Ruatara suddenly became gloomy, sullen, and reserved, and, though not quite so noticeable, the other chiefs showed signs of being similarly affected. Marsden was not long in detecting that things were going wrong, and ascertained from Ruatara that someone in Sydney had told them that the missionaries now going out to New Zealand would be followed by others, and that they would soon become so powerful that they would possess New Zealand and reduce her people to slavery, as they had done the Australian black. The man's name he refused to give. On learning this, and knowing at the same time that without the confidence of the chiefs a New Zealand Mission Settlement was an impossibility, Marsden gave a remark- page 172 able exhibition of generalship. He first of all gave Ruatara every personal assurance that he was actuated by no other motive than the happiness of the New Zealanders, and, having done that, gave orders for the Active to return to Sydney and disembark her passengers and cargo. The effect was instantaneous, and Ruatara pleaded with Marsden to go on to New Zealand and there put the Mission under his care and protection. Marsden at once agreed, Ruatara's doubts were removed, and the voyage proceeded.
Clearing Sydney Heads on 28th November the Three Kings were sighted on the morning of 16th December, and early next morning the Active was off the North Cape, where advantage was taken of the proximity of land to send a boat ashore and obtain grass for the cattle. In this boat went Ruatara, Hongi, and Korokoro. While the chiefs were ashore the Active was visited by a number of Native canoes, and one chief who had come on board sent back his canoe for supplies of pigs and potatoes for the ship. Later on a war canoe came alongside, and Marsden was astonished to see in it a Tahitian who had once been in the employment of Macarthur in Sydney, and had often visited Marsden in his home at Parramatta. He was now settled in New Zealand and had married the daughter of a prominent chief near the North Cape. To him, after greetings had been exchanged, Marsden explained his scheme.
Amongst other things “Tahitian Jem," as he was known by the name of, cleared up the charge made by Captain Barnes of the Jefferson that the New Zealanders had tried to cut off two boats belonging to his ship and the King George. Jem's version was as follows:—The masters of the two vessels had agreed to pay one musket for 150 baskets of potatoes and 8 hogs, but when the goods had been delivered and payment asked for, the musket was handed over, but further potatoes and hogs were demanded, and the chief who accompanied Jem on board the King George was detained until Jem should go and get them. The head chief refused to give more, and when Jem went to tell Captain Jones he also was detained on board. In a few days Jem and the chief were page 173 put on board the Jefferson and finally ransomed for 170 baskets of potatoes and 5 hogs. Two boats were sent ashore with the ransomed men, and when these were landed, the Natives, who were present in great numbers, fired on the boats and would have massacred their crews had they been able to—exactly what European sailors did twenty years afterwards in the case of the Harriett at Taranaki. Marsden was quite satisfied of Jem's accuracy, and promised that Governor Macquarie should be informed of the facts.
From the North Cape the Active proceeded to the Cavalle Islands, where friends of Korokoro resided, and there Marsden had an opportunity of witnessing the welcome of tears given by the New Zealanders to their returned friends. While at the Islands Marsden learned that the Whangaroan Natives were encamped on the mainland opposite, attending the funeral of a warrior. The Whangaroans were at war with Ruatara's tribe as a sequel to the massacre of the Boyd. After Te Pahi's tribe was attacked by the whalers the former declared war against the Whangaroans, and, in the campaign, Te Pahi was killed. The death of the chief meant further hostilities, and the relations between the Bay of Island Natives and those of Whangaroa was one of the chief sources of anxiety among the chiefs with Marsden, and the latter had set his heart upon having this feud ended and peace restored. Here was his chance, and Marsden decided to visit their camp and use his personal influence there in the interests of reconciliation and peace.
The party which went ashore to visit the Whangaroan Natives consisted of the three chiefs, and Messrs. Marsden, Nicholas, Kendall, King, and Captain Hansen, and, under Ruatara's direction, they were not long in getting into touch with the people they were in search of, and received a very hearty welcome. After the inevitable presents Marsden brought forward the question of the Boyd, and the version of that variously described incident which he got was as follows: Two of their number had been put on board the Boyd by Mr. Lord of Sydney. On the road across Tara was taken ill and rendered unfit for the work of a seaman which he had to page 174 perform, with the result that he was punished by the captain and suffered indignities from which a chief is considered exempt, his claim to be a chief was ridiculed, and he was abused as only one sailor could be by another. As soon as Tara landed he showed the marks of his punishment to his tribe, and the rest of the story was what might be expected—the stupid landing of Captain Thompson, leaving his ship unprotected, the skulls of the whole party being cracked immediately on landing, the dressing up of the murderers in the clothes of the murdered, the return to the ship, the general massacre, the cannibal feast. Their version of Te Pahi's connection with it exonerated that chief, who, they said, did all he could to save those who had escaped into the rigging.
To accomplish his scheme of restoring peace, Marsden decided to spend the night with Tara and his warriors. Before doing so, however, he went down to a neighbouring village of Hongi's and there partook of some refreshment, after which he and Nicholas returned to the Whangaroan camp. Round the fire that night the Natives promised Marsden that if he came to Whangaroa he could have any part of the wreck he cared to take away, and Marsden himself took advantage of the occasion to point out the advantages to be derived from the cultivation of the soil and the adoption of the arts of civilisation, rather than their present method of everlasting warfare. An hour before midnight Marsden retired to rest by simply wrapping his great coat round him and lying on the ground near Tara, a bright starry sky his only covering, and his only companions the murderers of his countrymen lying around like sheep upon the bare ground. About three in the morning Marsden took a stroll through the sleeping camp, and by sunrise everyone was up. A boat arrived from the ship to take Marsden and Nicholas to breakfast, and, at the former's invitation, the chiefs accompanied them without manifesting the slightest hesitation. The night Marsden spent amongst the murderers of the Boyd's crew was the night of the 20th December 1814.
After breakfast presents were got out in the cabin of the Active, and, under the direction of Ruatara, were given page 175 to the chiefs in solemn form, first to Te Puhi as the elder, then to Tara as the younger, and the missionaries were introduced and their various duties explained, Kendall to teach, Hall to build, King to make lines, and Hansen to command the ship. The onlookers were ranged around the cabin, and punctuated the ceremony at appropriate spots with rounds of cheers. This unique gathering was brought to a close by a lengthy harangue from Ruatara, addressed to Tara, desscribing the beauties of a peaceful life, and at the same time telling him what he might expect if he declined to follow it. All shook hands, and Marsden had the pleasure of seeing his efforts to secure peace between the contending parties entirely successful.
During the afternoon of 21st December the Active set sail for the Bay of Islands, and at the mouth of the Bay was met by a war canoe belonging to Korokoro, into which the chief went and made for the shore, leaving his son on the Active. Ruatara piloted the ship to an anchorage at Rangihoua, some seven miles inside the Heads, and which was to be the home of the Mission. The next day (Friday, 23rd December) the horses and cattle were landed and the site of the residences fixed. Naturally the arrival of horses and cattle caused intense excitement. Nicholas gives us a desscription of the event in the following words:—
“On the arrival of the boats with the cattle, they appeared perfectly bewildered with amazement, not knowing what to conclude respecting such extraordinary looking animals. Cows or horses they had never seen before, and diverted now from everything else, they regarded them as stupendous prodigies. However, their astonishment was soon turned into alarm and confusion; for one of the cows that was wild and unmanageable, being impatient of restraint, rushed in among them, and caused such violent terror through the whole assemblage, that imagining some preternatural monster had been let loose to destroy them, they all immediately betook themselves to flight."page 176
But when Marsden mounted a horse, and rode up and down the beach, he was, by common consent, given a status of more than mortal.
On Saturday morning Korokoro paid a visit in state to the Active, bringing with him ten canoes full of warriors and some women and children, and was received with a discharge of thirteen small arms. On this occasion presents were made by Korokoro to Marsden and Nicholas. It had been arranged between Ruatara and Korokoro that the ceremony was to conclude with a sham fight, and the former now left the Active to prepare the defending forces. The members of the Mission got into Korokoro's canoe and accompanied the landing forces. As they advanced towards the shore they saw one of Ruatara's chiefs, quite naked, rushing up and down the beach defying the landing party to come ashore. The latter, roused in time by their war songs, jumped out of their canoes and pursued the insulting challenger, who fled to his friends, and the attackers, in their headlong flight, were met unexpectedly by Ruatara's warriors and the fight became general. After various charges and retreats the forces combined in a dance and war song of victory. Women as well as men took part in the fray.
In the afternoon Ruatara made preparation for divine service the following day. Half-an-acre was cleared and enclosed with a fence, and in the centre of this space was erected a pulpit six feet from the ground, and a reading desk three feet high, both covered with black native cloth, or duck from Port Jackson, and bottoms of old canoes were used as seats for the Europeans. Into this primitive church Ruatara, Hongi, and Korokoro, with swords by their sides and switches in their hands, next day marched their people, and took up their positions, Korokoro on the preacher's right and behind the Europeans, Ruatara on the left of the inhabitants of the village, and the other chiefs in a circle round the whole. Korokoro acted as a master of ceremonies, signalling to the Natives with a switch when to stand and when to sit, and tapping on the head any who talked. Marsden preached to this strange audience from the tenth verse of the second page 177 chapter of Luke, “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy." Ruatara interpreted what was intended for the Natives, and, when they interrupted him with awkward questions of detail in his theology, wisely replied that they would be made fully acquainted with these things in due time. After the service the Natives, to the number of three or four hundred, danced a war dance around Marsden. Thus was the first sermon preached in New Zealand on 25th December 1814.
There being no timber at Rangihoua steps had to be taken to procure some from Kawakawa, and on Monday the iron was placed under Ruatara's control, the poultry put on shore, and the sawyers and smith, with Hansen jr., left the Active to commence the work of building a hut 60 x 16 for the settlers and their families, and on Tuesday the Active sailed to Kororareka. Tara, the old chief who had control over the timber country, met Marsden with the greatest friendliness and granted permission for timber to be taken from the Kawakawa. He had been given seeds and poultry from the Active during her last visit, and now showed Marsden the success of his agricultural experiments. The wheat was in ear, the peas in full bloom, and a young peach tree was growing from the stone; in regard to a cock and hen which had been left with him, the former had offended the superstitious feelings of the Natives by roosting on a sacred building which was tapu, and had been banished, while the poor hen had incurred the same punishment because she had deserted her eggs when hatching, owing to every Native in the place coming and disturbing her while she was sitting.
The Active came to an anchor at the mouth of the Kawakawa, and the following day two runaway convicts surrendered to Marsden. They had been on board the James Hay when that vessel was at the Bay with the Active during her former visit, and had been handed over to the missionaries but had made their escape and joined the Natives. They found their lot so unfortunate, however, that they were only too glad to surrender themselves, in the most miserable plight conceivable, to Marsden. By a strange coincidence Kendall knew the father of one of them, and Nicholas had seen him farewelling his convict son at Spithead.page 178
Arrived at the mouth of the Kawakawa Marsden ascended the river for about ten miles, and made arrangements with a chief named Tekokee, who resided near a forest of very fine timber, to cut what was required for the vessel.
While the cargo was being got ready a visit was paid, on 29th December, to Waraki, a chief of Waitangi, to whose tribe one of the sailors on board the Active belonged. Though the chief was not at home a very friendly welcome was extended to the missionaries, and the surroundings seemed so favourable for establishing a station that they expressed a desire to settle there rather than at Rangihoua, but Marsden very wisely put his veto on the proposal to leave the protecting influence of Ruatara. Marsden was particularly struck by the possibilities of the “falls" at the head of the bay, which he stated would be a certain fortune to the possessor were they at Port Jackson. Pomare also was met and one of his villages visited, after which he accompanied the party to the head of the cove, to a village called Waikare.
A short spell of bad weather now interrupted Marsden's activity, but on 2nd January Korokoro called and invited him to come over to his possessions. Marsden straight away stepped into his canoe, and with Nicholas was landed at the head of a cove about five miles from the Active's anchorage, from whence he was taken across a narrow neck of land to the other side, which commanded a view of the main Bay. Owing to the weather Korokoro's canoe did not venture out to meet the visitors, who thereupon accepted an invitation from Benee, an uncle of Korokoro, to partake of the hospitality of his pa at Paroa. On their road thither they traversed ground which Cook had visited when at the Bay in 1769, and Benee, who remembered Cook well, pointed out where the Endeavour had anchored and where Cook's men had cut what timber they required. After spending a most uncomfortable night the travellers were next morning taken back to the Active in the Natives' canoes.
The remainder of Marsden's stay at Kawakawa, waiting for the loading of his vessel to be completed, was taken up with receiving visits from various Native potentates. Rua- page 179 tara, fearing the supplies would run short, came from Rangihoua with several baskets of potatoes. On the fifth came one of the Bream Bay tribes, at the suggestion of Hongi with whom they were on very friendly terms, and these had only just gone when a number of Natives from Waimate, and about the Kawakawa, came and traded with the ship's company. On the morning of the seventh the anchor was weighed, and after four hours' sailing the Active reached Rangihoua, where it was found that a great deal of work had been accomplished, and that the big building was almost completed.
Awaiting the completion of the house Marsden accepted an invitation to Hongi's pa at Waimate. The road was by water to the head of the Kerikeri Inlet and from there on foot to Waimate. While on the road Marsden was told of some looting of the potato grounds by sailors of the New Zealander, when a chief killed three of them after they had killed two men and a woman. Arrived at Waimate Marsden was struck most by the extraordinary and effective defences which everywhere surrounded the village; but apart from that everyone appeared to be employed, making baskets for potatoes, dressing flax, or making mats; none were idle. Hongi showed a field of forty acres fenced to keep out the pigs, and planted with common and sweet turnips; he had also a considerable quantity of wheat nearly ripe, and some very well grown imported flax. On the return journey Ruatara was met bringing provisions, fearing that their supplies were exhausted; he was only in time, however, to meet the returning boats and challenge Hongi to a race to the ship, which after a most exciting contest he won comfortably. By the time of Marsden's return the building was finished, and Kendall and Hall, with their families, were fairly comfortably provided for.
It was Marsden's intention to visit other parts of the coastline, and now, with that view, he arranged with Ruatara and Korokoro to accompany him with a force sufficiently strong to ensure the safety of the brig. This they did, and when the crew of the Active was paraded no less than page 180 twenty-eight out of the whole thirty-five were Natives. On the thirteenth the brig sailed for the Cavalles en route to Whangaroa, but the wind being against her Marsden ordered a course to be steered for the Thames.
At various places in this southern journey canoes came off to meet the Active, and Ruatara, who had command of the “forces," insisted on giving all visitors a reception that would, to use a colloquial expression, “put the fear of death into them." His modus operandi has been thus put on record by Nicholas:
“Just as the old man was ascending the side of the vessel with youthful agility, Duaterra [Ruatara] and all his people, who were lying concealed, rushed forward with furious impetuosity, and setting up their horrid yells… presented the points of about a dozen spears at his breast, besides a great number of pistols and muskets; which so alarmed the poor man, that, unable to retain his hold, he fell back in his canoe, and very nearly upset it. In this posture he remained, staring wildly at our warriors, and hardly conscious whether he was dead or alive, till Korra-korra [Korokoro], who knew him well, bade him dismiss his fears and come on board, which he did, after some hesitation, but in such a state of trembling terror, that he shook from head to foot; and it was with much difficulty I could persuade him to come and speak to Mr. Marsden in the cabin."
This “initiation" ceremony all visitors to Marsden during his southern trip had to undergo. Marsden seems to have made a protest against it, but Ruatara was firm, and where the New Zealanders were twenty-eight to the Europeans seven, Ruatara had four times the best of the argument, and Marsden had simply to endure it.
About midday on 16th January the Active was well into the Firth of Thames, and opposite the residence of Te Houpa, the leading chief of that part of New Zealand, when two canoes approached, in one of which was Te Houpa. It was some time before his suspicions were allayed sufficiently to come on board, as his experiences of the last ship he had been page 181 on had not inclined him to accept invitations too readily, but when he did come on board he commanded the unbounded admiration of Marsden and of Nicholas for his fine presence and his sterling qualities. Marsden promised to call at his village on his return journey, but bad weather compelled him to return sooner than he had expected, and the same cause prevented ready communication between the village and the ship. It was not until the eighteenth that Pethi, a nephew of Te Houpa, came on board and took Marsden ashore.
Arrived at the village it was found deserted by the young men, all of whom had gone off to the war, but the women gave the visitors the heartiest of receptions, and the trading which straight away took place gave the village the appearance of a fair. From here Te Houpa's pa was visited, and in the absence of the chief at the war the honours were done by his wife. Marsden tried unsuccessfully to purchase hogs for the insatiable hunger of his New Zealand crew, but none were available. Orere is supposed to be where Te Houpa's pa was. Pethi's village was then visited and the party returned to the ship. As Marsden was sitting down to dinner in his cabin, two canoes of chiefs and their wives appeared on the scene and readily accepted an invitation to share the evening meal. After dinner came the usual bargaining, then the visitors gave a dance, which had to be returned by Ruatara, and this was repeated until Marsden began to despair of getting rid of them; even when he got them into their canoes they lay upon their paddles and watched the Natives on the quarter-deck, after which they took it up in their canoes, and this alternating system of entertainment continued until the Active was some considerable distance away.
Te Houpa, who so favourably impressed Marsden, was the chief who was captured by the Venus, and who plunged into the sea and was picked up by his own canoe. He had good reason, therefore, to be cautious. One of the sailors on board the Active had been with Captain Dell on board the Fancy when she visited the Thames for a cargo of timber in 1795, and he stated that the Natives then behaved in the most friendly manner, assisting in getting the cargo, and page 182 furnishing whatever supplies they could. The Thames Natives appeared, therefore, to be of a very friendly disposition, though Ruatara gave them a very bad name.
The Active arrived at Bream Bay the following day, but no Natives being visible and the hoped-for supplies not forthcoming, a plentiful supply of fish was taken on board. Next morning the chief appeared, and with him Mohanga whom Dr. Savage had taken to England in 1805, and invited Marsden to land, which he did the following day, and was piloted to the chief's residence by Mohanga. Food was promised for the next day, but a change in the wind resulted in the sudden recall of Marsden to the ship. Difficult as had been the landing the embarking was much worse, and for some time it appeared to Marsden and Nicholas that the difficulties were going to prove too much for the Natives, but, with directions from those ashore, they proved equal to the emergency and landed all hands safely on board the Active at ten o'clock at night, much to the delight of Ruatara, who feared they had fallen victims to Native treachery.
The following afternoon the Expedition reached Rangihoua, where Marsden found all his missionaries in good health and spirits, the mechanics fully occupied, and Mr. Kendall with two scholars under his care.
To help to defray the expenses of the trip Marsden decided to load up what cargo he could get that would meet with a ready sale in Sydney, and, as fish were plentiful, he decided to cure some and try the market with them. As a fishing place he selected Korokoro's residence near Cape Brett, and crossed over with the chief, taking a cask of salt and an empty cask. Favoured by fine weather the fifteen miles to Porro was accomplished in two and a half hours. The whole of next day was spent in the preparation of the fish, the men caught and brought them, the women and girls cleaned them, and Marsden and Nicholas salted and cured them. By the following day the casks were full and Korokoro took them home.
Timber constituted the cargo which Marsden relied on mainly for the expenses of his vessel, so the carpenter was page 183 set to cut two draught holes in the bows of the Active for loading purposes, and on 28th January she sailed to Kawakawa to load up with timber purchased from the chiefs in the vicinity. They had only been there a few days when Nicholas had to return to Rangihoua for more axes to pay for spars, and he was on the ground when messengers came and informed Ruatara that his cow had calved, and when the first cattle owner in New Zealand went to view his herd he found a fine black bull calf following its mother into the stockyard. While the Active lay at Kawakawa the Native chiefs came and went on board as if they owned the vessel, and their methods were such as to encourage the Europeans to give them a wide berth. Marsden alone appeared unmoved. Nicholas says:
“He could sit among them in the cabin, inhaling their intolerable stench, and beholding their filthy habits, with as much composure as if he had been in the midst of the most elegant circle in Europe; and though I doubt not but his olfactory nerves were quite as acute as mine, still, on these occasions, it would seem that they were utterly incapable of executing their office."
On Sunday, 12th February, the Jefferson, commanded by the notorious Barnes, came into the Bay and cast anchor at Kororareka. Four days later Jones, the mate, called upon Ruatara, who was then very ill, and meeting Nicholas invited him on board his vessel. Nicholas found her a vessel of 250 tons, owned by Mr. Roche of Milford Haven; he spent a night on her, and the following morning Tupe came on board but took umbrage at something and left suddenly. That day the boats' crews were refused wood, and when Nicholas went to patch up the trouble he found that the sailors had declined to pay for what they had already obtained, and that Tara had had his life threatened by one of the sailors. Jones admitted that on a former visit Barnes and the captain of the King George, in their drunken carousals, had acted very brutally towards Tara and his wife.
The story of the threat to shoot the old chief reached the ears of Marsden, who straightway went to Tara, and induced page 184 him and Tupe, by the gift of an axe, to come on board the Jefferson with him and point out the culprit. Tara did as desired and indicated to Marsden who the offender was. The two parties on thus being brought face to face came to an understanding so satisfactory in its nature that the incident was forgotten. Marsden remained on board the Jefferson that night, and while he was there fresh trouble broke out between Tupe and a young man belonging to the ship, who had struck Tupe's wife with a sword and had several times stabbed at Tupe himself. When Marsden appeared Tupe in a very excited state was telling his countrymen to hang the offender from the masthead, and the offender, instead of realising that he was endangering the lives of every man on board, would give nothing but insolence to any who spoke to him, pour out foul language before everyone, and refuse to be reconciled to the injured chief. As a last resort the services of Mr. Kendall, J.P., were called into requisition, a formal examination held, and the evidence taken down for the Sydney Authorities—a course of conduct that satisfied the Natives and averted trouble.
This is the most valuable record we have of what sort of encounters sometimes took place between Europeans and Natives, because Marsden was present and recounts the incident himself; had it not been for that, the Europeans would have said nothing, in fact they might have been like the Parramatta men, unable to say anything because they had been eaten, and, beyond the burnt remains of the Jefferson, we would only have heard stray scraps of stories told by different chiefs, not one of which would probably be correct. Terrible as was the punishment inflicted by the New Zealanders for wrongs done them, it seemed to have little or no effect on the crews of visiting ships, and this, the author thinks, was due to the fact that, terrible as it was, it was no more severe than the civilised Australian laws of the same date. The feature of both was the death penalty, in which the New Zealanders substituted the mere for the rope, and the oven for the grave—sentimentally repulsive no doubt, but purely matters of detail.page 185
From the Jefferson Marsden returned to Rangihoua to find Ruatara far gone with sickness, and evidently beyond human aid. It was thought that the illness was brought on by over exertion, and the superstitious treatment of the sick by the Natives only hastened the inevitable end. During the short period that the sickness was running its course everything that the missionaries could do or give him was done or was given him without arresting in any way the malady. The approach of the termination of the leave granted to Marsden prevented him waiting the few days necessary to witness the death of his friend, and he was compelled to leave just when it was hourly expected.
On Friday 24th February, a conveyance of the land required for the Mission was signed by two chiefs who owned the ground. The Deeds had been prepared in Sydney, and Hongi drew upon the document a complete representation of the markings on the vendor's countenance, and to this strange seal the vendor put his mark. The ground was estimated to contain 200 acres, was put in the name of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East, and was purchased for twelve axes. After this document had been executed, Marsden baptised the son of Mr. and Mrs. King, born there on 21st February—the first European child born in New Zealand. On Saturday the Active sailed with ten Natives on board, and accompanied almost to the Heads with canoes full of weeping friends, New Zealanders and Europeans alike.
By Monday morning the Active was under the west side of the North Cape, ready to receive some flax which had been promised by Jem when Marsden had called in before. The Tahitian, who was ashore, was at once sent for to bring the flax on board. Later on Marsden himself went on shore and remained until late in the evening, when the Natives took him out to the Active in one of their canoes. The following morning Jem came out to the Active, but Marsden would not again go ashore, so he returned and brought some three hundred-weight of flax and a quantity of potatoes. With him came the chief's son desirous of going to Sydney, so Marsden added the page 186 Tahitian and the young New Zealander to his already large family—now twelve all told—and bore away for Sydney.
After a very troublesome passage a party from the Active went ashore on 21st March, at Port Stephens, where they met some of the Australian aboriginals who were dreadfully alarmed at the sight of the fierce New Zealanders, while the miserable condition of the former only excited the latter's pity and contempt. Two days later Marsden landed at the South Head, and reported himself to His Excellency, after an absence of four months as provided by his Leave.
The value of the cargo on board the Active was thus calculated:
|4848ft. timber at 2s. 6d.||£606||0||0|
|Less Duty, Is. per ft.||242||0||0|
|1344 lbs. flax at 1s.||67||4||0|
|Fish and pork||20||0||0|