The New Zealand Evangelist
To the Editor of the New Zealand Evangelist
The New Zealand Company, as a body, have been justly accused of indiscriminate hostility to the Missionary establishments of these Islands, on account, no doubt, of the opposition which their members, for the most part, gave to the Company's scheme of buying up the land, to carry out their colonization schemes. In the heat of this opposition they accused the Missionaries, indiscriminately, of grasping at as much land as they could for themselves: calling them Land sharks: and thus doing all they could to lower them in public estimation. A change, however, has come over the spirit page 220 of one (at least) of that body, whose individual hostility was formerly most prominent. Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, in his recently published work on Colonization, has drawn such a picture of the state of religious provision for our Colonies, that it deserves the perusal and consideration of all classes. However we may differ from the writer on other parts of his work, we must in this, award to him much praise; praise qualified only by our regret, that he should, (with his usual adroitness,) turn the supineness of the Established Church, into an offensive weapon against the Colonial Office, between which we cannot see there is any fair connection.
As Mr. Wakefield's book is not likely to fall into the hands, but of very few of your subscribers, I have sent you the whole of what he has written on the subject. All that he has said regarding the Wesleyan Missionaries is fully borne out by the results that have attended their labours, not only in New Zealand, but in the different groups in the Pacific Islands; where, next to the agents of the London Missionary Society, they have been the fearless Pioneers of Christianity.* But I think he has not done justice to the labours of the ministers of the Episcopal Church; at least in the New Zealand Islands. To say that here the clergymen of the Establishment are “men of inferior order as respects accomplishments and wisdom” would be an insult, for it is notoriausly otherwise; and although they have been justly chargeable with trafficking in land, some years ago, such practices have long caused.
I remain &c.,