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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

The Colenso Journals

The Colenso Journals.

The Hocken Library at Dunedin contains three volumes of Colenso manuscripts. The first contains the letters written by Mr Colenso to the Church Missionary Society from 1834 to 1853, from the time he left Loudon to the time at which his connection which the society ceased. The others contain the journal kept by Mr Colenso at Waitangi from 1844 to 1853, and forwarded by him from time to time to the society In addition, they contain the accounts of two journeys, one to the villages of the East Coast in 1841, the other to the South sports of the North Island in 1812-3. The earlier journey of 1838 is not recorded, but is referred to in his printed Jubilee Paper, (Note K p.43). These two volumes contain 1200 closely-written pages of foolscap. It seems that Dr. Hocken was allowed to ransack the cellars of the Church Missionary Society, and select the records bearing on the early history of New Zealand. He found these in danger of destruction by damp and rats, and ultimately persuaded the society to sell them to him. It is fortunate they are now in safe keeping.

It is clear that the journals were copies made by Mr Colenso from his diaries or rough note-books. Whether the latter contained matter not included in the manuscript I do not know—nor whether Mr Colenso kept any similar record for the years prior to 1844 and subsequent to 1853. All attempts page 6 Sydney. The voyage tasted seventeen weeks. On November 1st in a letter written to Mr Danderson Coates, secretary to the Church Missionary Society he announces his arrival at Sydney. The voyage apparently had not been very comfortable, but lie says that "Captain Aitken. I firmly believe, as a captain is a worthy man," which leads one to suspect that in other relations lie was not found so satisfactory. Mr Colenso in this letter asks for some Greek books, no doubt for the purpose of continuing his studies, and also that £5 should be paid halt" yearly out of his salary to his Father in Cornwall. Mr Colenso was obliged to stay eight or nine weeks in Sydney before he could continue his journey. At last on December 10th a small schooner, the Blackbird, of 07 tons was got ready, and he started for the Bay of Islands. In the letter to Mr Coates (January 16th, 1835) he says: "For three weeks were we beat about by contrary winds in the South Pacific in our little boat which was not only very dirty and crammed with cargo, but very leaky. Her leaks gained on her considerably. She drew at last seven inches an hour and kept a hand almost constantly pumping. Hut He who holdeth the winds in his list and ruleth the raging of the seas kept us by His mighty power from any harm, and on Tuesday. December 30th, allowed us to land on the shores of New Zealand." On Saturday, 3rd January 1835—"a memorable epoch in the annals of New Zealand, I succeeded in getting the printing press landed."