The New Zealand Evangelist
The publication of Earl Grey's dispatch respecting the introduction of convicts into this colony in the still more objectionable form of “Exiles,” has justly excited the greatest alarm in the minds of all classes of the community, both in this and the sister settlements. Parents tremble for the future welfare of their children, merchants for the safety of their stores, and Christians and Christian missionaries of all denominations regard the proposed measure as fraught with the most disastrous consequences to the spiritual welfare of both the European and the Maori. Perhaps there is no country into which the introduc-page 260tion of these ticket-of-leave men would be such an unmitigated evil. The Natives scattered through the interior, and the numerous whaling parties on the coast, offer the greatest possible facilities for the idle and ill-disposed to locate themselves, and from these places as from centres, a moral contagion would spread like a pestilence, acting and re-acting with fearful force upon the present, and all future generations. Most fervently do we pray that the Sovereign Disposer of all events may avert the threatened evil, and we earnestly press upon all our fellow colonists, that they should, by the urgency of their protests against the measure, at least exonerate themselves from its guilt.
First Impressions of a Stranger.
After coming on shore for good, I went to the “Depot” for a night. The Depot is far superior to the “Barracks” either at Wellington or at Dunedin. It is a building occupying three sides of a square, and it is divided into rooms of an uniform size, each room having a separate entry and window. The walls are of brick and nicely white-washed. In the centre of the square are buildings for the luggage.
Next morning early I went out to see the place and to look about for a home. Was much pleased with the picturesque appearance of the country, but was equally distressed at the receding probability of my finding a resting place. Oh, sir! It is a distressing feeling that oecupies the mind when one feels that he has no home. Who can say in how many instances the Evil One has succeeded in drawing into unsteady habits—from which there may be afterwards no escape—those whom he has hindered in finding a home!
After breakfast went down to the Custom House to see if my things were safe, and found that they page 261 were likely to continue so (in the boat) for that day; nearly all the people being mad after the Horseraces, at the conclusion of which, as usual, one man found that he had broke his leg, which was perfectly sound when he set out that morning. Was glad to hear that the Wesleyans had convened a “Camp-Meeting” as an opposition.
There is a Roman Catholic Chapel here—not often opened I believe—an Episcopalian Chapel; a substantial, English looking Wesleyan do.; and a Presbyterian Chapel has been lately begun to be erected. The latter, as far as I can see, promises to be a good sized place. A very good congregation assembles of a Sunday at a school-room which is used as a temporary Scotch Church on that day.— In all these places (the first excepted) as far as I have heard, the Gospel is preached far more efficiently than in many a village or town in England. So that Nelson seems to be highly favoured (the like Capernaum was.) I was much disappointed at the harbour—the climate is very pleasant, and there is, I am told, a large extent of fertile land some distance from the town; but here, as almost every-where in this country, there are plenty of steep hills—some of which I should think must be quite useless.
Notices of the New Zealanders.
In your January Evangelist you express a wish that your Correspondents would send some information about the natives. Perhaps the following will be acceptable, out of my Note Book:—
A New Zealander's Idea Of Numbers.—One day I was travelling down the coast with a chief when I told him that I had lately received intelligence of the death of my father. He asked, “How old was he?” I replied 75. He was struck as he thought, with his great age, exclaiming, “What an old man! There's a million of years I suppose in them?”
A New Zealander's Exaggeration.—On Sunday morning March 11, 1840, my youngest daughter, five years old, was proceeding from one side of the room to the other, and upset the kettle of boiling water upon her leg, which was sadly scalded. Our Native servant had just set it down, and witnessed the accident. We page 262 went inland afterwards to service. She was so excited in describing the accident that she said the child was destroyed by the scald! By using the proper means she is doing well.
Mortality Among The New Zealanders.—Since my residence in the Waimate Circuit, I have baptized upwards of 120 children. Out of this number more than a third have been cut off by disease.
New Zealand Custom.—On the death of a person, for instance the young man above, who left a widow, the people from the surrounding settlements assemble to weep with her. For several days, one after another, male and female, close face to face, set up the most dismal howl, so that when all have had a “tangi,” i. e., weeping, the poor woman is almost exhausted.
A New Place Of Worship.—A new Chapel was opened last Tuesday, March 11, at Katotauru, in the Waimate Circuit, which was filled with attentive hearers. This Chapel is free from debt.
March 14, 1849.
The Trial And Execution Of Maroro The Murderer.
The trial of this unhappy man took place on the 13th and 14th ult., before his Honor Judge Chapman. The evidence was wholly circumstantial, and consisted chiefly of the following facts:—Maroro was seen asking the way to Branks’ house on the day before the murder—on the morning of the murder, at or before the time it was discovered, Maroro told a native in Wellington that a white man and three children were murdered on the Porirua-road —Maroro had in his possession the watch and other property belonging to Branks—and his own clothes were stained with blood. The Jury returned a verdict of guilty, and he was sentenced to death; he was executed on the morning of the 17th, in front of the Gaol. The natives attended the execution in great numbers; they all appeared to concur heartily in the punishment, and to feel that a serious aspersion had been wiped away from their character,
After his sentence he fully confessed his guilt—said that he had no accomplices—that he had no previous ill-will to Branks, but was actuated by a desire to revenge his four months imprisonment, and to obtain the watch and other property. If this confession, as to the motives, be true—although, from the way in which the prisoner all along falsified and prevaricated, we frankly confess we have little faith in his statements—it originates a grave question for the Government. How are natives to be dealt with after being released from imprisonment? If every, or any native, be disposed to carry out the old native practice of exacting utu or payment from any one in the tribe which they suppose has injured them, no white man's life is safe. It will always be the worst class of natives, generally the most ignorant, and those most attached to their old vindictive customs, that will be exposed to the punishment of imprisonment, and consequently the most dangerous when again released. There is certainly a peculiarity in the case, requiring page 263 the special attention of the authorities. Might it not be safe to require the chiefs of the tribe to which any prisoner may belong, to become sureties for his future good behaviour? No prudent precautions ought to be omitted. We are, however, no alarmists; we have had ample opportunities of observing the marked and steady improvement in religion and civilization that is going on among the natives, and their friendly feeling towards the colonists. The quarterly returns show the very small proportion of native prisoners—often none at all. We have the utmost confidence in the divine protection—“He that keepeth Israel neither slumbereth nor sleepeth.” “All things work together for good to them that love God.” If we are found in the path of duty, if we are found in Christ, no real evil can overtake us; even death, in its most revolting aspect, will be only the messenger of peace to call us home to heaven. We have great confidence in the moral effect upon the natives of the just administration of the laws; and the kind, friendly, and conciliating spirit that has been uniformly displayed toward them by the settlers. Strict justice, mingled with kindness, will command the confidence and respect of savage as well as civilized men. Our earnest prayer is, that this fearful example of extreme justice may be rendered effectual by God, for striking terror into the heart of every vindictive man, whether native or European—that God may effectually restrain the wicked passions of the ungodly—and that every one may learn to repress the first motions of vindictive feeling; for “when evil desire hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Opening Of Thorndon Chapel.—
The Chapel on Thorndon Flat formerly occupied by the Congregationalists, has been purchased and repaired by the Wesleyans at an expense of about £70. It was opened on Sabbath the 8th nit. It is to be used, both as a Chapel and a School-room. Mr. Tomlin will occupy it as formerly with his week-day and Sabbath Classes. We should have regretted much if this building had been devoted to any other purpose than that for which it was originally erected, religion and education. God says “In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.” We regard it as a token for good to any locality when public worship is set up and regularly observed in it—when God's Word is publicly read and preached, his praises celebrated, and prayers and supplications presented before his throne—when all classes can enjoy the means of Grace, and when the elements of a Scriptural and general education can be obtained by the young. “They shall prosper that love Zion”
The Licensing Day.—
The licenses for the sale of intoxicating drinks were granted on the 17th ult. With mere secular politics, general or party, we never intermeddle, but on every act magisterial or not, that affects the public morals, we consider ourselves at liberty to express our opinion. We have been congratulating the inhabitants of Thorndon Flat on the re-opening among them of a house where God is to be worshipped, and general instruction communicated. Some time ago, we congratulated the page 264 inhabitants of Te Aro on the opening of a new Church there. We have now to lament that under the sanction of the law, and the paternal care of the Government, a house is to be opened among them for a very different purpose. An old divine has said, “Wherever God has a Church, Satan will there have a Synagogue,” and an old poet has rendered the sentiment in verse thus:-
“Wherever God erects a House of prayer,
The Devil always builds a Chapel there;
And ‘twill be found upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.”
Sacrificing the good of the many to the interests of the few,— acceding to the importunity of self-interest and private gain, but indifferent to the publicly expressed protest of some two-thirds of those residing or holding property in the neighbourhood,—a majority of our worshipful Justices, in the exercise of their collective wisdom, have given their solemn sanction, that for the next twelve months, that House in Abel Smith-street, formerly occupied by the Rev. S. Ironside, and latterly by Mr. James Smith, may not only be occasionally haunted, but constantly occupied by “evil Spirits,” and be employed Sabbath and Saturday as a manufactory of drunkards (we speak plain English, and call things by their proper names,)—that as many of the Queen's troops on Mount Cook, and the simple, unsuspecting lieges on Te Aro, as can be legally caught by the improved patent man-traps, may be subjected to the process of intoxication, (which literally means poisoning, but being clothed in high sounding Greek, the idea is stripped of its vulgarity and becomes classical,*) that when thoroughly metamorphosed into drunkards, they may be turned loose at all hours of the day, and as many of the night as can be done conveniently, to annoy the peaceable and well-doing of her Majesty's subjects; so that—if history teaches any lessons, if the same causes, under the same circumstances, will always produce the same effects—from being a quiet and respectable neighbourhood, it will become low, noisy, and disreputable; the better class of tenants will be driven away, property will be depreciated, the moral atmosphere will become tainted, crime will be fostered, ignorance and ungodliness will be encouraged, and the blessings of religion and education will, to a great extent, be neutralized. Paul tells us that we are not to be afraid of the Power, that he is the Minister of God for good, “Do that which is good,” he says, “and thou shalt have praise of the same.” “They are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” But, our Guardians of the Peace seem, in the present instance, to have acted as if it had been their bounden duly to prove themselves to be a “Praise to evil-doers, and a terror 10 them that do well.”Printed at the Office of the "Wellington Independent," corner of Willis Street and Lambton-quay.
* The word intoxicate, is derived from the Latin word toxicum, poison, and that from the Greek word toxon, a bow, as the Ancients often used poisoned arrows. Intoxicate is an expressive and appropriate word when its etymology is kept in view.