1874 - Carleton, H. The Life of Henry Williams, [Vol. I. ] - [Pages 5-50]

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1874 - Carleton, H. The Life of Henry Williams, [Vol. I. ] - [Pages 5-50]
Previous section | Next section      

[Pages 5-50]

[Image of page 5]


IN compliance with a request that may not be gainsaid by me, I have undertaken to write the life of Henry Williams, forty-four years a Missionary in New Zealand.

Not without hesitation; being conscious of my own inability to do justice to the task,--to describe, as he ought to be shewn forth, one who is entitled to take rank among the great men of his age, and who is only not known as such by the accident of his work having been done beyond the pale of the civilized world.

But I have felt it a duty, having leisure, and personal knowledge of a most difficult period of his career, to offer my own humble tribute to the memory of a man who was looked up to by his own family with a feeling akin to veneration; by his intimates with admiration absolutely unqualified, and by that portion of the public which happens to know the real history of a country which he has served so well, with a respect and gratitude that year by year is striking deeper root.

Would that the pen could here be laid aside. But there is more, and of another character, to tell. Upon him, prominent as a man of mark, were concentered the assaults of those to whom mission work was a hindrance, of those whom he refused to follow in a tortuous path, and, above all, of those self-seekers who thought to profit by affecting sympathy for the native race. Though living to a ripe old age, he did not live down calumny, any more than did his predecessor, the unselfish and brave-hearted Marsden. Some, to whose lives his own was a reproach,--some, to whom the very nobleness of his character was an affront,--

[Image of page 6]

some, who were worsted in their attacks upon him during life, are busy even still, working, like moles, beneath the earth, but ever and anon rising to the surface, each to throw up his own little hillock of dirt. Few in number, to what they were, and of little note. Of no name, it might be said, being one and all anonymous. For it must be admitted, in justice to the leaders of that great persecution by which he was at one time well nigh overwhelmed, that they, at least, have grounded arms.

The character of his mind was of that stamp, which, in active public life, is only too sure to bring down the enmity of those who have irregular ends to serve. For no man would he turn one step aside, to the right or to the left. Go his own way he would, when once assured that it was the right way. Gifted with a resoluteness which refused to perceive the sufficiency of any obstacle to bar his course upon the straight and narrow way, coupled with a singleness of purpose which defied every attempt to lure him aside, he was deemed "impracticable" by every schemer whose road he crossed. Add to this an inborn love of truth, for the sake of truth itself, which rendered him not only averse to compliment, but likewise incapable of disguising his scorn for all that is mean, tricky, or evasive,--and then, to anyone who knows the world as it is, sufficient cause will have been shewn for the virulence of animosity that has been displayed against him.

Courage was, perhaps, his most prominent characteristic. Courage, both physical and moral; and, in truth, he came to have urgent need of both. Physical courage, backed as it was by great personal strength, which when compelled to put it forth he was not slow to use effectively, brought him through many a rough encounter, ensuring him the respect of a people the god of whose idolatry is "Force." Moral courage that never counted odds, but for which he must have succumbed when borne down with obloquy, buffeted by every wind that blew, though coming clear at last through all, putting his trust in God and a righteous cause. It remains to be told how he stood at bay against the combined assault of Bishop, of Governor, of

[Image of page 7]

Secretary of State, and of Church Missionary Society (the bitterest trial of all to him), never yielding one inch of the ground he first took up, nor advancing one step beyond; how he maintained, from first to last, his one condition,-- "substantiation or full and honourable retractation" of the charges brought against him; how each assailant in turn retired, without having ventured within arm's length, leaving Henry Williams, together with those others whose battle he had fought, in undisturbed possession of the field.

As the physical courage was made effective by muscular strength, so was the moral courage supported by a most logically constituted mind, the consciousness of which was a strengthener to conviction, A false conclusion, to a man at once so single-minded and so keen in apprehension, was impossible. Of the vigour of his faculties in this respect, his overthrowing in long-continued argument such an adept in mental gymnastics as the Bishop of New Zealand will be proof sufficient.

Among those who could not see below the surface, Henry Williams was thought to be "a stern man." Yet, where duty was not in question, he was soft-hearted, almost to a fault; of a winning and easy courtesy of manner that is reached by few; of a delicacy of feeling that none but kindred spirits could understand, or even perceive. The attribution of sternness was an error; yet not altogether a groundless one. The appearance, at least, was upon occasion there. When duty was once in question, he would not--perhaps could not--see or think of anything beyond that duty. Born with an instinct of order, which manifested itself in the smallest details of domestic life, and which was developed, through that noblest school of training--the British navy, into the most punctilious regard for discipline, he troubled himself as little about the inclinations of others as he did about his own, where once "The Service" was concerned. He had entered into a new service--a higher one; but carried into it the impressions graven by the old one. From his own great Commander above he took his orders, and in carrying them out he exacted that obedience which he so rigidly compelled himself to pay.

[Image of page 8]

It shall be moreover admitted, that the seeming "sternness" was carried a step further than even this. Courteous as he was, he never carried courtesy up to the point of feigning what he did not feel. To loose-livers, or to persons in any way objectionable, intruding themselves on his notice, he was able to put on a look that would effectually check any approach to familiarity. It was only to be expected that such as had supposed their dignity to be aggrieved would relieve their minds in the approved colonial fashion,--by reckless and unblushing abuse.

Wilful offence, indeed, he never gave to anyone,--that alone excepted which follows upon fearless proclamation of the truth. And even that need not have followed; for his natural high breeding was such, that his plainest utterance was free from the slightest tinge of rudeness. What he said was in the instinct of command: but rudeness pre-supposes equality.

Of "that deformed idol, Public Opinion," he took no note whatever. To borrow his own words, he steered always by his own compass. For what, indeed, was public opinion to him? He had come forth from home with his own special commission, --to serve and to elevate the Maori race,--"the people," as the old Missionaries, borrowing a Scriptural term, made a rule of calling them throughout; and with that charge he suffered none to interfere. Not out of any feeling of sentimentality towards the race; he carried too much ballast for that,--his practical hard-headedness was incompatible with flights of fancy,--but because it was his appointed work. None was more severe in reproof than he, when they swerved from their allegiance; none more unflinching in maintenance of Maori rights when those rights were unlawfully invaded.

His deep-rooted loyalty to the Crown he imported from the old into the new career; but gave no heed to "opinion," where the interests of the colonists were deemed to be in conflict with those of their native fellow-subjects. Deemed, I say; for, in truth, they never were in conflict, as we are slowly beginning to perceive. There are but few left who are now unwilling to admit that our native policy, with a few occasional gleams of

[Image of page 9]

light, has lowered like a thunder-cloud over the Colony from first to last; or that Henry Williams was arraigned upon two charges, foolishly incompatible,--treason to the Crown, and treachery to "the suffering and complaining natives." 1

With characteristics such as these, Henry Williams was not a man to achieve popularity. Nor would it have been to his credit if he had. For, in a colony, "a man must stoop to rise." A base-born maxim, 2 and a discredit to its author; for he said it, not in scorn, but in sympathy: un-English, but with more truth than Englishmen are willing to admit. And these rough-hewn characteristics, be it remembered, were prominent, obtruding themselves upon the sight of all. But the more finely-moulded ones were kept in the back-ground. Nor indeed were they of a nature, under any surroundings, to have been recognised by the many. It is unlikely that his utter unselfishness--his deadness to temporal interest should be appreciated, or even believed in, among those who nearly all came into the Colony for the sole purpose of bettering themselves in the world. His delicacy of feeling was not likely to win upon those who affect coarseness of demeanour as a virtue, or his deep-rooted loyalty to be held in honour among those who keep to their own allegiance only for the sake of the substantial advantages it confers. I speak of popular estimation only; for there were those in the country who understood him well,--who knew that a paltry or ungenerous thought could not so much as cross his mind. Among these he earned for himself the highest title of honour that can be conferred on earth,--that of A Christian Gentleman.

A few words may be permitted in regard to the execution of the work to which I have been appointed. An opportunity is afforded to compile a memoir of much interest to the general reader. The materials, at all events, are there. A subject as yet unhackneyed, if not absolutely new; much of the old history of the country, now rapidly fading out of sight, to be preserved;

[Image of page 10]

stirring events to be narrated, with fuller knowledge than when they were described before, and the story of a hard-fought battle, waged against him by some of the most able and influential in the Colony, supported by their allies in the mother-country, a contest from which Archdeacon Williams finally came out a victor. And, indeed, it had at first been intended to write for the general reader, confining the record to matters of a public character, excluding all topics of merely domestic interest. For many reasons, however, but for two especially, the plan has been changed. The direct descendants of Archdeacon Henry Williams are sixty-nine in number. The collateral branch, in New Zealand, is twenty-seven strong; and this without taking into account alliances by marriage. To these must be added the English relatives, who are not a few. It is for The Family that this work has been taken in hand, as a memorial, to themselves, of one who was inexpressibly dear to them. Therefore, in selecting from the large body of materials at disposal, preference will be given to such matter as is likely to be of special interest to the family itself, even though it should involve more of domestic detail than is suitable to biography in its most elevated style.

Moreover, it has been deemed expedient not to revive old griefs more than is absolutely necessary to preserve the continuity of the story. To pass over, without mention, the events which led to the dissolution of the Archdeacon's connection with the Church Missionary Society, and to his subsequent restoration, would be faithlessness to the subject, even to the memory of the deceased. But to give unnecessary pain, by severity of comment, to those who took a prominent part in these unhappy transactions, which, I believe, they now most heartily repent, is as far from the intention, as it is from the wish of the compiler. Certainly, there were some rough passages of arms in that memorable conflict; but seeing that the Archdeacon was not the smiter, but the smitten,--not the aggressor, but the victim for awhile, the first consideration must be--what measure of comment is in fairness owed to him? Due regard being paid to his fair fame; care being

[Image of page 11]

taken that nothing absolutely essential to his vindication shall be pretermitted, the endeavour shall be to confine the narrative as much as possible to his "Missionary" life,--to dwell upon that, while touching with a lighter hand those political complications, in which, despite of all his care, he became entangled.

Now this could not be done, with full justice to himself, were it not that the stormy period of his career has already been most thoroughly and publicly examined, in a book entituled "A Page from the History of New Zealand";--a book which has dealt unsparingly with his detractors, and of which no one has yet ventured to call in question one single line. I shall therefore now be able to write, with tacit reference to that work throughout; to presume that the reader of the "Memoir" has already read the "Page," and thus to avoid laborious disproof of much that is no longer believed. It will be at all events possible to give a simple recital of the facts of the case, without descending to the intricacies of controversy.

The desire has been to make him, so far as possible, his own biographer. By help of his own journals, supplemented by those of his wife, and by his private correspondence, this may be done. His letters shall be freely used, my own care being mainly to supply connecting links. There is but one objection to this,-- namely, that he does scant justice to himself; that he becomes a loser through his habit of keeping himself in the back-ground, of minishing the value of his own labours, and the many perils that beset him. His very work was as quiet as his account of it. It makes no display: one might almost wonder where it was. It is simply marked by a series of unostentatious success; success achieved not by flashy exploits, but seemingly without effort, though the fine tact shewn in hitting the right time, place, and manner, supported by that innate stubbornness, which refused to take one backward step, but made good the ground, inch by inch, as it was gained.

Because of the great numbers of these letters, a comparatively small selection only can be made. My own strong opinion is, that the whole series ought to be printed, without reserve, as a

[Image of page 12]

separate publication. The whole, because I have not seen one line that I could wish suppressed--not even of those which were written by him when suffering under the most galling imputations that could be brought against an honourable man. The whole, because they would shew his perfect consistency of thought and mind, from first to last, and the farsightedness of his judgment as to coming events. Not an instance can be found where forethought was wanting, or a prediction unfulfilled. How few could bear, as he can bear, to have every line written during a long, a harassed, and eventful life, brought up into noon-day light. I would print the whole, were it only as a hand-book for the guidance of all who shall hereafter labour in such a field.

Henry Williams was born in 1792. His father, Thomas Williams, of good Welsh family, came to Nottingham, where he remained until his death in 1804. Henry, the third son, was from early boyhood bent upon entering the Navy, to which profession his grandfather and three maternal uncles had belonged. This predilection, which tinged the whole of his career--his very phraseology when under the influence of feeling, seemed almost instinctive. When a child, with no guide but the Encyclopedia, he framed the model of a man of war, with rigging and sails complete. From the time that he was able to think for himself, he had made up his mind that he would be a sailor, and nothing else. Another final career was ordained for him, which was nevertheless affected throughout by the predilection of boyhood.

The sea-going associations did not stand alone. There were better still, indelibly impressed upon his mind by his mother, which, never quite lost sight of during the impulsive period of youth, rose up again in his mind with redoubled force before that period had passed. The mother was a Marsh, a highly accomplished woman, at a time when accomplishments were not so rife as now. The religious instruction, early imparted by her, was followed by abundant fruit. The son has often being heard to say (and he had no severer critic than himself), that among all the follies and weaknesses of youth, his mother's teaching had never been forgotten. The one leading thought did not exclude the other; for

[Image of page 13]

both combined in shaping out his future course of life. And in this wise--events are purposely anticipated--was it brought about. He had indulged himself with one single periodical--the "Naval Chronicle." On or about his wedding day, his brother-in-law, Edward Garrard Marsh, 3 of whom there will be much future mention in these pages, made him promise that he would take in the "Missionary Register" likewise. From this he learned how the Tahitians had burned their idols, and had become converted to the knowledge of the one true God. His seafaring instincts were strong upon him still; he resolved to embark in the service of Christ, and consecrate the rest of his days to those wild and dangerous islands which, now vulgarized by familiarity, were then the subjects of romance, of curiosity, and of dread.

To return to the chronicle of events.

A brief reference to the earlier incidents of his career shall suffice, stirring and adventurous though they be. For it is with the second period of his service that we are concerned. He entered the Navy in 1806, at the age of fourteen, serving under Sir Joseph Yorke, a friend of the family, first in the "Barfleur," afterwards in the "Christian VII"; in the "Maida," under Captain Lindsay; in the "Galatea," under Captain Losac; in the "Race Horse," under Captain De Repe; in the "Saturn," under Captain Nash, and in the "Endymion," under Captain, afterwards Admiral Hope. He was one of the volunteers who joined Captain, afterwards Sir Charles Napier, to co-operate with the army under the command of Lord Wellington; and after that expedition had been countermanded, though about to sail, he joined the "Thames," under Captain Walpole, and continued in her until the peace. At Copenhagen, in 1807, he served both afloat and ashore, working at the land batteries, and was told off to a forlorn hope on the eve of the capitulation. He was in the engagement of February 13, 1810, when the boats of the "Christian VII" attacked nine French gun boats in Basque roads. In the "Galatea," he took part in the engagement off Tamateve, May 20, 1811, between three English

[Image of page 14]

frigates, under the command of Captain Schomberg, and three French vessels of superior force; receiving a wound from the effects of which he never entirely recovered. For this service a war medal was given. It was sent out to him in New Zealand by the Admiralty in 1848, and is now an heir-loom in the family. He saw further service at the Cape, the Mauritius, Madras, and Calcutta. The last engagement in which he took part was the last naval engagement of the war--namely, that between the "Endymion" and the United States frigate "President." This is more specially referred to, as being a turning point in his life. It happened that Mr. Williams was one of the prize crew sent on board to carry the "President" to Bermuda. When taken possession of she had already six feet of water in the hold, and was only kept afloat by exhausting labour at the pumps. It blew a gale; in addition to that, the prisoners rose, and attempted to retake the ship. The attempt was repressed, but the situation was one of the extremest peril, without the sustaining excitement of battle. Had the gale commenced twelve hours sooner, all on board must have perished.

This it was that first awakened him to serious reflections, the first upward step towards a changed career.

On the conclusion of peace, he retired on half-pay, which he drew until 1827; when he was removed by an Admiralty order that all officers in holy orders should be struck off the half-pay lists.

Mention must here be made of one of the many calumnies to which he was subjected in after life, corroboration of which was sought in the fact of this very removal. It was put about in New Zealand, with assiduity of malice, that Lieutenant Williams had been dismissed the Navy in disgrace; 4 the half-pay list, where his name, for the reason given, was no longer found, being appealed to in proof of the charge. A written apology, under threat of prosecution, was demanded, and obtained. At the desire of Bishop Selwyn, publication of the apology was not exacted. The advice was well meant, but ill-judged, the Bishop being as yet but young in the Colony,--not yet made aware of the persistency of

[Image of page 15]

vulgar malice. The result has been, that the retractation is forgotten, and that the calumny is yet alive. But more remains to be said about this same half-pay. In order not to burden the funds of the Church Missionary Society, by drawing a stipend, --in order that the work to which he had devoted himself should be a free offering, not only of the rest of his life, but of all his worldly means, Lieutenant Williams resolved to maintain himself and his family upon his own half-pay, eked out by a few small bequests from relatives. He accepted a passage; also the rations which were served from the common store to the whole Mission, but drew no salary from the Society until the half-pay was stopped.

All papers connected with the retirement of Lieutenant Williams from the Navy are to be found in the Appendix to this volume annexed. 5 It is indeed a marvel that in this Colony, disproof of anything reflecting on his unblemished integrity should be still required.

In 1818, he took Marianne Coldham to wife; for fifty years, within a few months, his untiring fellow-worker, and comforter in his many troubles.

Mention has already been made of his brother-in-law, the Reverend Edward Garrard Marsh. 6 With him, Henry Williams maintained an uninterrupted correspondence, which will be largely drawn upon in the course of this work.

Mr. Marsh was a member of the Church Missionary Society. Through him, the attention of Lieutenant Williams was drawn within the circle of their work; the result of which was, a craving to serve on that scene of Mission labour which then appeared to present the greatest difficulty,--namely, the Islands of New Zealand. A beginning had indeed been made; but the Mission could not be said to be more than half established; and the difficulties were such, that withdrawal from it altogether had been contemplated.

[Image of page 16]

It was wisely ordered that Lieutenant Williams should have the counsel and guidance of so able an adviser as Edward Marsh. To him did he pour out his whole mind from the first; knowing well that the sober guidance of such a monitor would detect and check in him any excess of zeal or of ill-regulated enthusiasm, and prevent his being carried away by his own fervent temper, or by the hasty impulse of the moment. His adviser set forth, deliberately and temperately, all the difficulties of the undertaking; foretelling, again and again, as if by prevision, what actually came to pass in after times. Fiery zeal the younger had, and more than enough; but he felt and knew that he had not the maturer judgment of his elder brother.

His first intended step towards the new career was baulked, for a while. The disappointment was great, but the event proved that all was for the best. Having been informed that the Church Missionary Society were about to equip a vessel for their New Zealand station, he offered to take command. Their intention had been already relinquished; but he was told that he could be received as a missionary. He closed with the proposal, expecting to be employed as a layman, and addressed himself forthwith to preparation for the work. Final arrangements had been carried through, when disastrous news arrived from New Zealand. The Society itself was undecided, seemingly dispirited through the small success of the efforts already made. The violence of the natives seemed indomitable, their rapacity unquenchable. The house of one of their Mission had been plundered; himself driven out of it, and his wife's arm broken. Intelligence was daily expected in England that the Society's pioneers had been expelled the country, and that the Mission would have to be altogether abandoned. But Lieutenant Williams was not to be deterred; he steadfastly adhered to his intention, though his impatient spirit chafed under the repeated disappointment of delay. The time was not lost; he occupied it in training assiduously for his future duties. He turned his attention to surgery and medicine, for the practice of which, especially of the former, he found much occasion during his after career. In this he was assisted by Mr. Tuckwell, of Oxford, and

[Image of page 17]

by Mr. Fernandez, of London. He also strove to acquire general knowledge of all such arts as were likely to be of practical use in an uncivilized country.

The following observations, addressed to him by his brother-in-law, are prophetic in warning.

Reverend E. G. Marsh to Henry Williams.
Nuneham, June 7, 1819.

I have heard from Mr. Pratt and answered his letter, so that I suppose your affairs are now in progress. The arts you mention are likely to be of the greatest importance, though I doubt if in one of them, namely boat building, the New Zealanders may not already excel you. But before I converse with you any further upon this project, it seems high time that I should admonish you to count the cost. In the other hemisphere you will be cut off from all intercourse of a direct, though not intimate kind, from those with whom you have been most familiar. Many of those practices of civilized life, which impart to it much of its charm, but which are so common as to be little thought of, will appear greater objects of desire, when they are no longer to be had. Your companions will be ignorant, may be perverse, or may even misinterpret or reject what you most design for their good. Even those who ought to co-operate with you, may often disappoint you, and indeed there have been disagreements between the settlers and missionaries, which must impede the good work which the Society has begun. In every case of this kind you must bear in mind that you will have no retreat, few persons to consult, and no other pursuit to draw off your attention from the occasions which offend. If you can contemplate all this and yet find it in your heart to persevere, if, knowing that you must not look back, you will yet put your hand to the plough, then I have nothing more to do, but to wish you good success in the name of the Lord; but it is expedient for you to enter upon the service with a mind fully made up for all encounters and hazards.

I have but one thing more to say to you upon this subject. It is possible you may find a difficulty of maintaining yourselves upon your own means. Let me advise you therefore to stipulate for help, if there should be need for it, though of course every one in such a situation must refrain from pressing upon finances which he knows are designed to advance not his comforts, but his Work. . .

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh,
Cheltenham, October 7, 1819.

I thank you for your very cheering letter, which under present circumstances was received most gratefully. We now conclude it

[Image of page 18]

is the will of God that our departure should not take place this year. I had been preparing my mind for this from the first; and whilst I bow in submission to His will, I rejoice that He has called me out of darkness into His marvellous light, and from the pursuit of war, to an earnest desire to lend my feeble efforts to convey the Gospel of peace to a far distant nation.

For the sake of closer intercourse with his friend and chief adviser, Lieutenant Williams removed, in 1820, to Balden, where, with his wife and two children, he remained until September, 1821; when he followed Mr. Marsh to Hampstead. While at Balden, he was directed by the Society to remain at least two years longer in England, and to study for ordination. This was not in accordance with his original intention; but his old habits of discipline had trained him to obedience without demur. This was a wise and fortunate proceeding on the part of the Society, as in due time was amply proved.

He was ordained Deacon, June 2, 1822, by the Bishop of London; and Priest, June 16, 1822, by the Bishop of Lincoln.

After his ordination, further intelligence, of a disheartening character, was received by the Society.

Very unpleasant news from New Zealand. The visit of the chiefs to England has been productive of great evil. All the presents Hongi received were changed in New South Wales for muskets; he is supposed to have a thousand stand of arms. Mr. Kendal is implicated: those Missionaries who steadily obey the instructions of the Society and refuse to sell muskets are despised by the natives, and two are thinking of returning.

The Society offered to change Mr. Williams' scene of labour; but he induced them to permit him to carry out his original intention.

Our story is of New Zealand, and of New Zealand only. With a view to making a beginning, incidents of early life are passed with as brief mention as will content those for whom alone this "Memoir" is compiled. Let us therefore proceed at once to the eve of his departure from England, setting out his reply to the final instructions of the Committee of the Church Missionary Society.

[Image of page 19]

Henry Williams to the, Committee of the Church Missionary Society.
August 6, 1822.


I hope you will not measure my zeal in this Holy cause by the fewness of the words which I may this day address to you. But while I have the opportunity I would desire to express my gratitude to Almighty God for suffering one, who had long trod the path of sin, now to go forth as a Minister of His Word among the Heathen. And to yourselves, Gentlemen, I would return thanks for that great kindness which I have received at your hands, from my first connection with you. While this kindness serves to increase my affection towards you, I hope it will free me from all anxieties for the future; trusting in that gracious promise of our Lord, that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all things necessary shall be added unto us. I have long felt the deplorable state of the Heathen, and especially of that people among whom I hope to live and die: for it is my desire, even to the end of my days, to spend and be spent in the service of my God, in bringing these people to the knowledge of His ways. I am not ignorant of your great anxiety in reference to this Mission; I feel anxiety myself; and it shall be my main object to endeavour to repair those breaches which the Enemy has made in our small body, by promoting brotherly affection and union; without which, I am sensible, we cannot expect the blessing of God.

In the observance of the orders and wishes which you may from time to time send to me, I shall ever consider it, I do assure you, as a most sacred duty, to regard them as rigidly as ever I did those of my Senior Officer while I was in His Majesty's Service. I look to you for direction, as the Stewards of the Lord's Vineyard; and shall at all times, I hope, be thankful for your advice. Nay, more: if reproof shall be thought needful, I trust to be enabled to be thankful for reproof also; for I ought to be aware that I have many infirmities, and you may soon have occasion to discover them yourselves; but I do hope and intreat that, when any part of my conduct does not meet your approbation, you will not fail to tell me with all possible plainness.

With regard to Mrs. Williams, I beg to say that she does not accompany me merely as my wife, but as a fellow-helper in the work; and though it will be, for some time, her chief care to watch over those tender plants which are committed to her immediate charge, yet she will, I trust, be performing therein no inconsiderable duty to the Mission. They have been dedicated to the Lord; and we hope that you will consider them as part of your Missionary Household; and that when we shall be laid in the grave, they may be raised up to carry on the work of the Lord.

Mr. Williams left England September 17, 1822, on board the "Lord Sidmouth," with his wife and three children.

[Image of page 20]

The "Lord Sidmouth" was a convict ship, carrying out female criminals, two hundred and seventy in all, including one hundred free women going out to join their convict husbands and children, at Hobarton and Sydney. This mode of conveyance, which few would have adopted unless by extreme necessity, was deliberately chosen by him, that not a day's work of duty might be lost.

So soon as quiet was established on board, he took his work in hand. Ill received at first, as might be expected with such a congregation, he won his way by degrees, and succeeded at last in obtaining at least an attentive and respectful hearing. In a letter to Mr. Marsh, he says:--

Every part of the ship below was so offensive that I was always glad to keep the deck. Marianne was the first who ventured into the prisons for the purpose of reading the Scriptures; I could not accompany her, feeling quite unable at that time to do so. But on the week after our departure, being Sunday, we had service below. I delivered to them my commission from Ezekiel iii, 17, 18, 19. . . . I have been proceeding step by step until last Sunday, when I endeavoured, as our brother Peter had done before us, to shew them the disposition, activity and power of that great enemy of God and man, the Devil, who "as a roaring lion goeth about"; 7 also how he was to be resisted by faith in Jesus Christ, as the Captain of our salvation. Very many of the turbulent and baser sort used to meet together, some before, some behind, some on one side, others on the other; some killing cockroaches close to us, talking, laughing, coughing, &c, till I was obliged to call in the more 8 forcible

[Image of page 21]

arguments of the surgeon. I did not fail to impress upon them that the offence was not against me, but against their Maker, that knowing the terror of the Lord I would not desist from persuading them, it being for their benefit and not mine. I have always observed that this method has the desired effect with those who listen to me. But the Doctor's battery was to bear upon those out of reach of my guns. They are kept in great awe by him: a single word or look is sufficient, and, though he does not like,--I may almost say, hates "Methodists," he always attends to this point. ...

While at Rio, Mr. Williams and his family received much attention from Mr. Bernie, Surgeon to H.M.S. "Conway," who volunteered to be their cicerone and interpreter on shore. There they were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Crabtree, a young married couple, whose invitation to remain with them at their country house until the "Lord Sidmouth" should sail was so cordially given that it was perforce accepted. The unremitting kindness shewn by these worthy people, and by Mr. McCrae, Mrs. Crabtree's brother, is not yet forgotten.

On the voyage, Mr. Williams turned to account what time he could spare by cultivating the acquaintance of the ship's carpenter, in the hope of gaining a step towards a project he had never lost sight of,--that of building a Mission vessel in New Zealand, and so turning his professional knowledge to account. With the assistance of that functionary, he planned a schooner of 100 tons; burthen, breadth, depth of hold, size of timbers, &c., being all set down with precision. As usual, he looked ahead, and when the time came, reaped advantage of the forethought that had been bestowed. Shipbuilding will presently become a stirring episode in the tale.

The "Lord Sidmouth" reached Van Diemen's Land (so Tasmania was then called) February 10, 1823. At Hobarton, Henry Williams met Samuel Marsden, for the first time. Kindred spirits; resolute alike, uncompromising and enterprising; appointed to work in concert for many years; the succession, in the course of nature, remaining to the younger. Mr. Marsden, being on public duty, was unable to accompany the Missionary party to Sydney; but directed them to proceed thence to Parramatta, the

[Image of page 22]

place of his abode, there to await his return, and to prepare to be stationed, in New Zealand, at Whangaroa, the scene of the massacre of the "Boyd."

They sailed from Van Diemen's Land on the 14th, and arrived in Port Jackson on the 27th February.

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh.

Parramatta, April 9, 1823.

For the particulars of our voyage I believe I must refer you to my letter to Mr. Pratt, and to Marianne's, as she kept a most minute journal of all transactions with regard to my ministerial duty, on board. I fear it was not attended with much benefit, beyond that of distinguishing the Sabbath day from the remainder of the week; there was not one individual in whom I thought there was a conviction of sin, a desire of living a new life, and walking in the fear of the Lord; yet I hope I discharged my duty towards them. We seldom had service twice on the Sunday, but I always assembled as many as thought proper every evening, as soon as their beds were sent below. By these means a considerable check was maintained over the passions of the most abandoned, and great order was preserved during the passage. On February 27, we entered the Heads of Port Jackson, where the change of scene is very striking, when contrasted with the barren appearance of the coast, for that is sufficient to strike the beholder with horror; but directly upon opening the harbour, it is most beautiful. Several islands are scattered about, covered with shrubs, and the water instantly loses its roughness. I had been up nearly all night, having too much on my mind to allow of my sleeping; and it was with very considerable happiness that we came to an anchor by eight o'clock. After breakfast, I waited on the Rev. Mr. Hill, a friend of Mr. Marsden's, with whom I was greatly pleased. Having delivered Mr. Marsden's commands for our proceeding to Parramatta, he invited us to his house for the night, it being settled that in the morning early we should leave for Parramatta. This arranged, and calling upon a few of Mr. Hill's friends, we returned on board, for the purpose of apprising Marianne of our intentions and to prepare the convict girl for landing with us. We had here much to attend to, and it was with great difficulty I joined the family at Mr. Hill's by sunset, packing and depositing the baggage in store. I found great relief in going with all the party across the road to an old church to the weekly evening lecture. Mr. and Mrs. Clarke are at the Native Institution, not thirteen miles from this, quite in the bush. They are very highly spoken of, and there is quite a contest to keep them from the New Zealand Mission. ... I cannot but admire Mr.

[Image of page 23]

Marsden, both for his activity, his zeal, and Christian forbearance. He has had very much to try him; but I believe few people regard less than himself what the world thinks of him. He is in great spirits at present about the Mission, and I hope he may live to see some fruit of all his labours.

Much delay was experienced in obtaining a passage to their ultimate destination; but the time was improved by cultivating the acquaintance of two young New Zealanders--Te Puhi and Whatu, and studying the language with them. Mr. Williams also took whatever duty was committed to his charge.

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh.

Parramatta, April 22, 1823.

My ministerial duties' are very irregular. The Rev. Thomas Hassall, Mr. Marsden's son-in-law, assists him generally; therefore, on the Sunday morning, I mount my horse and go to some of the gangs at the out-posts where we assemble, usually from thirty to sixty persons of the baser sort. Nevertheless, I occasionally assist Mr. Marsden, and Mr. Hassall takes to the bush. Mr. Marsden preaches in the morning, as the Governor is always present at that service. In the afternoon, either Mr. Hassall or myself take the whole duty. Upon one occasion, I was required to address the Governor and Council, &c, Mr. Hassall being absent, and considering the remarkably slight manner in which the Sabbath is observed, I took for my text, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

He left Sydney July 21, 1823, on board the "Brampton," a fine roomy ship, in company with Mr. Marsden, the leader of the party. With them were Mr. and Mrs. Fairburn, in the service of the Church Missionary Society; also Mr. and Mrs. Turner and Mr. Hobbs, Wesleyans. On August 3, they came to anchor in the Bay of Islands, 9 off the mouth of the Kerikeri river. There they learned that Whangaroa had been pre-occupied by Mr. Leigh, a Wesleyan. It was consequently determined that Mr. Williams should be stationed at Paihia, a few miles further up the harbour.

It now becomes necessary to interrupt the narrative.

Let it be for once observed that this is not a history of the Mission, but of the life of one member of that Mission.

[Image of page 24]

Consequently, let it not be thought that the work of one man is brought into undue prominence, to the disadvantage or neglect of his fellow-labourers. One among them, having been gathered to his rest--Richard Davis--has already found his own biographer. To others, it may be assumed, the like tribute of memory will be paid, in due course; but it is to be hoped, for each, that the day which shall entitle to posthumous honour may not be very near at hand.

It will however be necessary, for the due understanding of correspondence which assumes complete acquaintance with the subject, and for the avoidance of multiplied explanations, to give a compressed statement of the condition of the Mission, when it was joined by Henry Williams; this to be followed, in due place, by corresponding statements, at the epochs of the arrival of Bishop Selwyn, and of Mr. Williams' decease.

The story of Ruatara 10 has been often told; how, impelled by restless curiosity and a craving for progress, he went forth from home, like Peter of Russia, bent upon mending the condition of his people by bringing back such fragments of civilization as he might gather in his wanderings; how he shipped before the mast,-- the only means of attaining his end; how he maintained his purpose, undeterred by ill-usage, privation, and repeated defraudment of his hard-earned wage; how he fell in with Samuel Marsden, and became, with him, the joint main agent in the christianizing of a barbarous land. For to Ruatara, as much as to Marsden himself, is the honour due. Each was necessary to the other; each furnished means without which the labour of his associate must have been thrown away. But for the determined support which Ruatara, as a high chief, was able to afford, Marsden could never have gained a footing in the land; and without the sustained labour of the civilized European, the work of the Maori innovator, too much in advance of the time, would have withered, like Jonah's gourd, and have come to an end with Ruatara's own premature decease.

[Image of page 25]

Marsden, however, before falling in with his native ally, had already conceived the idea of bringing New Zealand within the pale of Christianity. In the years 1808 and 1809, he brought that country under the notice of the Church Missionary Society, and obtained a promise of co-operation.

The Church Missionary Society resolved upon sending out, as pioneers, men who had been trained to the practice of useful arts, and would therefore be capable of teaching these to a quick-witted race as pioneers. Mr. William Hall, a ship-carpenter, and Mr. John King, who was expected to be able to effect improvement in the dressing of the phormium tenax [New Zealand hemp], through which Mr. Marsden had hoped to defray a portion of the expense of a Mission vessel, were the first chosen. They accompanied Mr. Marsden to Australia, in 1809, in the "Ann,"--the ship on board of which he fell in with Ruatara, working his way back to his native land.

But delay was still to intervene. Intelligence had been received of the massacre of the crew and passengers of the "Boyd," in Whangaroa harbour, in revenge, as was generally understood, for the flogging of a chief [Te Puhi, of Ngatiuru, commonly called George,] on board during the voyage. 11 Also of certain reprisals, as they were called, by the crew of a Sydney whaler--misled, it is alleged, by false information (possibly by resemblance of name-- Pahi, to Puhi), upon the Hikutu, a tribe that was entirely guiltless, killing men, women, and children, and severely wounding their chief, Te Pahi, who saved himself by swimming, but did not long survive. Now Ruatara was Te Pahi's near relative, and the inheritor of his influence.

[Image of page 26]

For some while, it was deemed unwise to allow the pioneers to proceed. Another volunteer, however, Mr. Thomas Kendall, having arrived from England, he and Mr. Hall were directed, in 1814, to proceed to the Bay of Islands, in the "Active," a vessel purchased by Mr. Marsden for the service of the Mission, there to re-open communication with Ruatara. They carried out their instructions with success, returning to Sydney, accompanied not only by Ruatara, but by Ruatara's uncle, the renowned Hongi, and five other chiefs of mark. 12

Success had now become at least a possibility. On November 19, 1814, the party re-embarked for New Zealand, this time accompanied by Mr. Marsden, as leader. It should be mentioned that Mr. Kendall had been gazetted by Governor Macquarrie into the commission of the peace.

On December 20, they anchored near Whangaroa harbour, between the Cavalles and the main land, off Te Ngaere. George himself, and about a hundred of the Whangaroa warriors, were encamped in view. War was raging at the time, and Mr. Marsden resolved to offer himself as mediator for peace. With this intent, he not only went on shore, but accompanied only by his friend, Mr. Liddiard Nicholas, passed the night, without misgiving, among savages whose hands might be said to be still reeking with English blood. It is enough to say that his object was attained.

On December 22, the "Active" anchored off Rangihoua, Ruatara's own place of residence, 13 a few miles within the northern head of the Bay of Islands, destined shortly to become the first established Mission Station in New Zealand.

To give the Mission a stable position,--to render them no longer interlopers, dependent upon caprice, but settlers, with a stake in the country of their adoption, it was necessary to secure for them a piece of land which they could call their own.

[Image of page 27]

Mr. Marsden succeeded in obtaining from the chiefs at Rangihoua a conveyance of two hundred acres to the Church Missionary Society, and, at a later period, thirteen thousand more, from Hongi, 14 at the Kerikeri, for a payment of forty-eight axes.

In February, 1815, he returned to New South Wales, leaving Mr. Kendall, Mr. King, and Mr. Hall, in New Zealand. Mr. Hanson, the master of the "Active," left his family there, and subsequently joined them himself. The total number of Europeans at Rangihoua, including a blacksmith, sawyers, and their families, was twenty-five.

Such was the germ of the New Zealand mission, destined in after time to cover with its branches the whole of the Northern Island.

In 1816, Mr. Carlisle and his brother-in-law. joined the Mission, from New South Wales. Of them we hear little more.

In 1819, Mr. Marsden paid his second visit to New Zealand, bringing with him the Rev. John Butler; Mr. Francis Hall, 15 who, however, did not long remain, and Mr. James Kemp, as lay settlers. Mr. William Puckey came from Sydney to assist in putting up the buildings at the new station, which was being formed at the Kerikeri, and finally settled in the country. The Kerikeri was taken charge of by Mr. Butler and Mr. Kemp.

In 1820, Mr. Marsden paid his third visit, in H.M.S. "Dromedary," bringing with him another lay settler, Mr. James Shepherd; also stores and cattle for the settlements. In the same year, Mr. Kendall, accompanied by Hongi, and Hongi's brother-in-law, Waikato, 16 visited England. There Mr. Kendall was ordained; and Hongi received many valuable gifts, by exchange of which at Sydney he succeeded in laying in a store of arms and ammunition, enabling him to enter on that career

[Image of page 28]

of havoc and wide-spread destruction which constitutes an epoch in the history of old New Zealand. 17

In 1823, Mr. Marsden paid his fourth visit, bringing with him the Rev. Henry Williams and Mr. William Fairburn, who had before been at New Zealand, in the Society's service. At this time, Mr. Butler and Mr. Kendall were no longer connected with the Mission.

This bare outline of early proceedings is little more than a key to names which must be presently brought in. It is needless to enlarge, the story having been already told by the Bishop of Waiapu, in his faithful book entituled "Christianity Among the New Zealanders."

Up to this time, not very much had been accomplished; nevertheless, the work of these few men had been not altogether without success. All suspicion of the objects of the Mission had been lulled; the natives had become satisfied that peace and good-will, however strange those terms might be to the existing state of things, was all they asked; and more,--that they had something to say for themselves, full of wonder at the least, even perhaps of truth. But two practical hindrances had yet to be got rid of; one, the inexorable operation of Maori law, which, though unwritten, was clear-cut and well defined; the other was, the determination of the natives to starve them out, unless they consented to barter arms and ammunition for food. It was of the first necessity that Mission land should be considered as privileged ground, like the precincts of an ambassador's residence in Europe; that the stations should become cities of refuge, and that taua or muru (of both of which we shall hear more anon) should lose force therein. The demand for arms had been resisted, not always with success; but, from this time forward, was never yielded to again. 18

[Image of page 29]

Mr. Williams at once addressed himself to the establishment of a new station at Paihia, making preparation with a view to removing his wife and family from the Kerikeri, where they had been left until their own house, or rather hut, should be built. Meanwhile the "Brampton" was wrecked, in working out of the harbour, on the reef of rocks to which she has given her unlucky name.

Mr. Williams, with Mr. Fairburn, hastened to give what assistance they could. From his account, mismanagement seems to have been the cause of the disaster.

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh.
October, 1823.

I took my leave of Mr. Marsden on Saturday, September 6. On the following day, the captain, a most profane man, determined to sail. The wind had been blowing into the Bay, and increased in the morning; he, however, got under weigh, and attempted to work out. He stood on too close to a reef; the ship missed stays; orders were given to let go the anchor, but from the great confusion, and from the horrid curses and oaths, the anchor was not let go till she was amongst the breakers. If was too late; the cable parted, and she ran upon the rocks, where she will remain a reproach and a beacon to all captains who so strangely prefer the day of sacred rest for their toiling and extra working days. The captain and crew were enabled to clear the ship of every thing, and took up their station on an island [Moturoa], about six miles from Paihia.

The necessary preparations having been made at Paihia, Mrs. Williams gives an account of her first landing there.

September 15. I accompanied my husband down in his boat to our new home: the day was beautiful, the only fine day in the midst of a fortnight's storm and rain. After rowing down the Kerikeri river, we called at the island of Moturoa, and saw the hut in which Mr. Marsden, Mr. and Mrs. Leigh, passed two nights and days. Near to this, the captain had now landed his stores, and erected a tent. We then sailed to the wreck,--a melancholy spectacle, remaining quite upright with her masts all gone, the

[Image of page 30]

natives all around her, the captain on board waiting only the return of his boat to leave her. He had been allowed by the natives to keep possession until he had landed all his goods. Thence we sailed to our new settlement. The beach was crowded with natives, who drew me up while sitting in the boat with great apparent glee, exclaiming, "Te wahine" ("The wife,") and holding out their hands, saying, "Tena ra ko koe," and "Homai te ringaringa" ("How do you do," "Give me your hand.") I cannot describe my feelings; I trembled and cried, but joy was the predominent feeling. The cultivated land, on which was springing up our crops of oats and barley, extended close down to the fine flat beach, bounded on either side by a projecting point of rock, overhung by clumps of the noble pohutukawa tree. Within an enclosure of paling stood our raupo hut, which had, except in shape, the appearance of a beehive. By the side stood the store, and scattered about were the cart, timber carriage, goats, fowls, and horse, and near the beach were the saw-pits. Behind was a large garden, 19 already partially green with numerous rows of peas and beans. The entrance to the house was dark, and within were two rooms with no floors, and boards nailed up where sash-lights are to be placed. Mr. Fairburn and my husband laid me a boarded floor in the bed-room before night; and I never reposed more comfortably. On Sunday, Mr. Williams opened another raupo hut for a chapel. The day was fine. The bell was rung for a quarter of an hour, and sounded sweetly as the congregation walked along the beach. The natives carried the chairs and planks for benches. The Union Jack was hoisted in front of the settlement as a signal to the natives that it was the sacred day. The whole scene was delightful.

No difficulty was found in obtaining permission to found a Missionary settlement. On the contrary, the chiefs competed with each other for preference; not indeed, at that time, for the sake of the teaching, but for the sake of the iron tools and other European valuables, which all white men were deemed able to distribute in abundance. The main consideration for the new-comers in making choice of a site, was the selection of a chief powerful enough to afford continued protection.

Here are some domestic details from Mrs. Williams' journal.

The Missionary's wife must, for the sake of cleanliness and preservation from multitudes of fleas, wash and dress her children, make her own bed, her children's and her visitors'. She must be house-

[Image of page 31]

maid and chamber-maid, and nursery-maid, and must superintend the cooking; for the best of the native girls would, if she were not watched, strain the milk with the duster, wash the tea things with the house-cloth, or wipe the tables with the flannel for scouring the floor. The very best of them also will on a hot day take herself off, just when you may be longing for some one to hold the baby, and swim; after which she will go to sleep for two or three hours.

The superstition of the natives is great indeed; so is their cruelty. Let all holders forth of the innocence of savage ignorance come and live among savages. The more I see, the more I feel the truth of the doctrine of grace. We daily behold the natural man. Yet, they have some pleasing traits to bring into higher relief the ruin which sin has made.

Mr. King told me that a female cookey [slave] had been killed and eaten at Rangihoua for stealing potatoes. Mr. Turner witnessed the horrid sight of a cookey stretched out and partly roasted; he begged the body, and buried it. Patu, the girl who washed for me while at the Kerikeri, has since had an infant, which she destroyed. One morning, at breakfast, soon after we came, Te Koki 20 having drank a large basin of tea, desired that his cookey [servant to Mrs. Fairburn] might never be suffered to drink from that bowl. Mr. Fairburn told us that if Te Koki heard of its being allowed, and that he were afterwards taken ill, he would kill the girl.

. . . . . . . . . .

The chiefs say that they will bring us no pigs, unless we sell muskets. Not long ago we heard that thirty pigs were brought down the river to exchange for muskets. The captain had so much pork that he refused to buy, and they were all taken back again. We had lived upon salt beef from Sydney for three weeks, and fish, when time could be spared to catch it.

The first object of the Missionaries, with a view to obtaining freedom of action, was to obtain release from the trammels of native law; a law which, pharisaically strict in matters of observance, harassing to the extreme in trifles, maintaining a continuous supply of small offence, was wonderfully elastic where high-handed robbery was intended. A pretext for punishment,--of course in seeming accordance with law, was never wanting; and punishment would for the most part result in profit to the minister of the law. Not

[Image of page 32]

without difficulty, the Missionaries did succeed in getting themselves placed beyond the pale; but the accomplishment of this took many years to bring about.

The next object was the acquisition of the language; not in the slovenly style in which it may be learned by conversation, but in a scholar-like fashion, ascertaining the rules by which it is governed, compiling a dictionary, and fitting themselves to undertake a translation of the Holy Scriptures. For this purpose regular meetings were organised, at which notes and suggestions were exchanged, and formal rules of construction deduced. This, also, was the work of time.

Not only the language, but the men who spoke it had to be made matter of patient study. The Missionaries had to make themselves acquainted with the idiosyncracies of a race whose motives of action differ essentially from our own,--whose ideas of wrong and right in no wise tally with our own, and who are tenacious of time-honoured custom to an extent that the sturdiest of English Tories would scarcely understand. They had to set to work to learn; to fit themselves for the situation; and this, unfortunately, is what their successors in native management, the Colonial Government, forgot, or were too proud to do.

In 1823, day-schools were established, and Sunday-schools for the children. Visiting the natives round about, for religious instruction, was not neglected, though preaching, for want of more perfect knowledge of the language, was as yet impossible. It was moreover clearly seen, that any attempt to take the stronghold of the enemy by storm would be futile. The one fair chance was to proceed by sap, slowly and surely, making good every step in advance as it was won.

All privations, save one, were borne as though they did not exist. This one thing lacking was a Church for congregational service; and the want induced a craving which household service could not entirely allay. This feeling--perhaps remotely akin to nostalgia, is not unknown even to the rougher sort in strange lands. Denizens of an old country, thickly populated, know not what it means. They can suppose it, but cannot feel

[Image of page 33]

it, for the Church bell is always within hearing to them. They are free to attend, even though choosing perhaps to stay away.

But Mr. Williams aspired to more than a Church; he must needs have an organ within it; and prepared to endow the Church, when it should be built, with as good an instrument as his means would allow. He was saved this expense, by the gift of an organ from his maternal uncle, the father of the Rev. E. G. Marsh. Mr. Williams' passionate love of music, hereditary in his mother's family, followed him through life. Of all the fine arts, indeed, he had the most refined appreciation, and was himself no mean proficient in the use of the pencil.

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh.

Since we have been here we have greatly missed the Sanctuary, and the assembling with the congregation; for I cannot but view the progress of each as buoying up each other's spirits. But here some two or three retiring to a shed, or to one of the rooms of the dwelling, with seven little children to attend to, deadens the spirituality at which a Christian aims. Those in England who absent themselves willingly from attending the means of grace, so constantly within their reach, little prize their privileges. Experience is a noble school. Our intention is to have a building consecrated for the express purpose of worship; we have the frame prepared, and ready for going up. An organ I will have for it as soon as I can lay by the money. We have established daily prayers in the native language; our native boys and girls all join in the religious exercises of the day. We sing a hymn in their own language, and conclude with a native prayer. They appear to enter with pleasure into these things, and are always the first to assemble.

The state of the natives at this time he thus describes:--

Our visits amongst the people are frequent, but they are sadly dark. They are by no means averse to our conversation, but they are dead as stones;--they want the power from above. Before this world was created out of chaos, the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters--was brooding over that which was, at the command of God, to spring up into life and beauty. This, I feel, is the only fountain from whence all success must flow. A new creation must here be wrought before the seed of Divine knowledge will spring up in the land. Our prayer meetings,

[Image of page 34]

I hope, will increase our delight in this work, and strengthen our faith in the Lord, that He will be with us, to direct and to bless us.

The following letter may serve as a specimen, among many, giving a picture of every-day life at Paihia; also of trouble with the natives. Its homeliness and quiet good sense, the absence of any attempt at display, is characteristic.

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh
Marsden Vale, January 27, 1824.

Up to the departure of our good kind friend, whose name I have attached to my place of residence, I forwarded the outline of our proceedings.

The period of Mr. Marsden's departure was a critical one; for, upon the eve of it, it was reported that the house just left by Mr. Butler was about to be given to the flames, from the rage of some of the chiefs in consequence of Mr. Butler sending some turkeys to the Wesleyan settlement, which they said had been promised to them. Though we were at a considerable distance from the scene of this disturbance, it was necessary to send and prevent such a step, if words could do it. Accordingly, Mr. Fairburn took my boat, though late, to the Kerikeri, and returned by break of day: the vessel about to sail. He reported the house to be standing, but that the natives were very troublesome. One of the chiefs, a man of sad character, had broken into the house, and stolen several things; and Mr. Shepherd, who was sleeping there, coming into the room at the time, and disturbing him on his exalted perch on one of the beams, he threw a quantity of harness and other things down, hoping thereby to entangle Mr, Shepherd. He then sprang from the beam; but Mr. Shepherd, being active, escaped through the window. A scuffle ensued, but no material damage. The chief told Mrs. Shepherd that he would certainly kill her husband. He then returned to the den from which he had just issued, and resumed his plundering. He carried off several things, and so that affair ended.

February 4. Affairs are generally improving. Schools have been opened at Rangihoua and the Kerikeri; as yet very unsettled, neither the children or parents knowing yet the view they ought to take of it. Our domestic concerns are as agreeable as circumstances will permit. In the course of two months we shall have double the room we have at present, as Mr. Fairburn is living in our rush mansion; by that time he will obtain one for himself. Our permanent dwelling we think to build of mud, setting a new fashion. It will be more expeditious, much cheaper, warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and not so liable to catch fire . . .

[Image of page 35]

It is very singular to see how observing the natives are in every thing. They took a fancy to some of my books, before I had any idea that they cared for such things,--two volumes of "Milner's Church History" and some others. These are to assist them in the wars by furnishing them with paper for cartridges. Indeed, it is very necessary to keep the most vigilant look-out. Some turkeys we had have fallen a sacrifice; and also some fowls. But I think they meet with as little encouragement from us in this way as anywhere, so few things being out. For whatever may be out of sight even for a minute, is gone. Yesterday, ten bottles of lime juice were taken out of a case which stood under the window; it was bad, otherwise it would not have stood there. I was outside for a moment; one of them contrived to take the girl's bonnet and several other things from her box; but it was recovered. The only means we have of punishing these people is to forbid them entrance, and to tuhituhi them,--that is, to note them down in writing. To turn these people out of the yard, is not always practicable. We can show our displeasure by not speaking to them, which they feel very much. A circumstance of this nature took place a short time since. The chief [Tohitapu] 21 who has so lately had a fight with us, as they term it, came into the yard, and, after some time asked for an axe, as we had twelve logs of timber belonging to him, which had been stolen. We referred him to the thief for satisfaction, but he would not take that as an excuse. 22 He thereupon took up an adze belonging to Mr. Fairburn, and soon after walked out of the yard with the adze. We told him that rangatiras [gentlemen] do not steal. He said it was not stealing; only taking away. We therefore tuhituhi'd,--that is, took note of the circumstance. Ten days after he came again. We took no notice of him; he wanted to shake hands, but we turned away. Several days after he came again, and tried to shake hands; but we would not, in consequence of his having stolen the adze. At last he came in company with our chief [Te Koki], and they together hoped to obtain an axe or adze in return for the one he had taken. They asked the question, but it was refused; and, while we were at breakfast, an old chief brought the adze to us; but we would not receive it from him, as the chief who stole it must return it. Our chief therefore took it back, and the one who had first taken it came and laid it down at our feet. We then shook hands, and were good friends. The account of this man's last fight with us, I have written to Mr. Pratt. He is a sad,

[Image of page 36]

troublesome fellow, and a very great man. All the chiefs in our immediate neighbourhood are exceedingly friendly; but we must expect a troublesome visitor occasionally. It requires a good deal of patience and prudence at those times; but notwithstanding all uncomfortable circumstances, we lie down in peace every night without thought of molestation, our windows not secured, and in a rush box, which would burn to the ground in less than ten minutes. We are sometimes visited by numbers, under the name of a fight; but they always give warning, and this generally terminates with something being stolen. But I hope they will soon come to a conclusion, as I have told the people in our neighbourhood that if they offer any violence I shall move to some other place, and they have been considerably better-behaved for some days. This morning [February 9], at break of day, the yard was filled with natives, and our girl came and told me with apparent fear. I arose immediately, and looking out of the window found it even so; for the yard was surrounded by them, and as yet I knew not whether they were friends or foes. But they were quiet, and upon going out I discovered that they were all friends,--an old gentleman, who had for some time being absent, among them. I was glad to see him: he told me that Matohea, a neighbouring chief--a great rogue,--was coming to set the house on fire. I told him that I did not know, but I thought that he knew much better; that it was of little consequence to us. I asked, what was the cause of the man's intended visit; he said, we had accused him of stealing several things. Certainly, I answered, it was known by all that he was a thief, and a very bad man. After some time my old chief asked me if we would not give the people a fish-hook each. This I considered very bad policy; but as he repeated the question, I said that perhaps we might give them ten, as one was so small a gift. This is the way I am obliged to excuse myself from giving to several who are continually asking for things. I made the old gentleman a present of a turkey, the only remaining one; the others had been stolen. He was much delighted; he afterward took breakfast with us, and asked several questions,--whether we thought of going to Port Jackson, or to any other part of the Bay of Islands. He said that he had heard that we were going to the place of Tommy Tui. I told him that, if the people behaved ill, we should be obliged to remove; but that if they did not, we should remain. One of his relations replied that if Te Koki (our chief) made a fight with us, we should go; but if they were strangers who came to destroy us and to steal, we ought not to go, as they would fight them. This was not bad reasoning; therefore I told him that we would remain. Strong inducements were held out by the chiefs to part with muskets and powder. They tell us, did we let them have such things, they would kill everybody who should come near us; that bye and bye the natives from the South would come and kill us all; that if we

[Image of page 37]

do not part with them, they will take all their pigs and potatoes to the ships. This they certainly do; for we seldom see a pig, while hundreds are taken to the vessels. Also the potatoes; few we receive, though the ships are loaded with them. This must make a considerable alteration in the supplies to these stations, as Mr. Marsden had calculated greatly upon the potatoes for the support of the schools. We have been driven to the last basket frequently, and left unable to feed the natives at work for us.

Great advancement in the language is made by Mr. Shepherd, and we are all paying particular attention to it. We met on Tuesday week to examine some words, and on Monday next we assemble again, for two days at least. We, in Council, have condemned the book called "The Grammar." I cannot tell what share Professor Lee may have had in the composition thereof, but it certainly appears far from simplicity. I therefore, in my last letter to Mr. Pratt, made a request for a small printing press, with which we may prepare small books, &c, &c, and make what alteration we from time to time may think proper.

February 11. We have just returned from fishing with the line, and have had tolerably good sport, having caught near ninety fish, some of which weigh nine and ten pounds. This is a great relief from salt beef, and will serve for two or three days for everybody. We might almost live upon fish; but it takes some time to catch them. On our return, one of the natives in the boat heard that Motoki, 23 a chief of noted bad character, and our present enemy, living a mile and a half away, had killed a slave not belonging to him. A few months since, there was a disturbance on the other side of us, and all the natives collected together for a fight, in consequence of one of Motoki's slaves being killed, as he was detected in a theft. Motoki was afraid to make a disturbance then, as his antagonist was strong; but it appears he has adopted this mode of revenge by slaying one of their slaves. To-morrow, therefore, we may expect a fight on our other side. These fights are seldom bloody. They have great talking and storming, and sometimes burn their houses, take away their potatoes or pigs. But this man, Motoki, is greatly disliked by all, and it will be a good thing if they touch him up, and turn him out of this place to some other part of the island. We have nothing to do with these little matters, but frequently speak on the impropriety of them. You would have much satisfaction in spending six months among them. They are a surprising people, and notwithstanding their utmost wildness, and their national propensity to thieving, still they are evidently restrained from committing any flagrant act. If they steal from us, it generally is from our own carelessness. But if these are bad, our own country people are worse. For I cannot think it possible

[Image of page 38]

for persons, as we are, having property in charge with this people--property of considerable amount, to be placed among the inhabitants of England with no stronger law to protect them, without meeting with much worse fare. We lie down at night in perfect security, though a stick would penetrate any part of our dwelling, and a spark of fire would consume us. And in all their vexatious humours, I do not see but that the English and others are the same, under the same circumstances. It was said, this morning, "the natives have spat in the faces of the Missionaries, and they must stand and swallow it." I said, "the English will do the same"; and certainly about London many will be found, and others would do it but for the law which keeps them within due bounds. Here there is no law; not even natural law for us. I am told it is very well for me to talk, not having experienced these things, but bye and bye I shall tell a different tale.

Upon the whole, the Missionaries were not ill-used. What they had chiefly to apprehend, was the chance of being "stripped" at any moment; not, indeed, recklessly or wantonly, but according to the strict letter of Maori law, for some offence unwittingly committed--possibly against etiquette,--which they did not at first even know to be an offence. For ignorance is no excuse in Maoridom, any more than in England, where every man is presumed to be acquainted with the law. Possibly, such offence might have been committed by a retainer, over whom control was only nominal. Yet, this also is not strange to England, where the master is answerable for the act of his servant. Sometimes, however, the angry passions of a chief would excite him to set law at defiance, and to follow the impulse of his own unbridled will. On such occasions, life was really in danger. Defence, of course, was out of the question. There was nothing for it but to shew a firm front, and manoeuvre for time. The following episode may serve as an example.

Tohitapu was of the Koroa, a great chief, tapued an inch thick, and a still greater tohunga [priest], largely endowed with the power of makutu [bewitchment]. This power, whatever it may be, is real in effect; as real as the Obeah of the African negro. That the victims of makutu waste away, and die, is an undoubted fact. Whether from fear, or from any mesmeric influence, must remain a question; but it is not without significance that Tohitapu, after

[Image of page 39]

exerting his power upon Mr. Williams in vain, lost it altogether from that time forward. While the karakia [incantation] was going on, the house servants were trembling with fear, expecting Mr. Williams to turn black in the face and fall from his seat. When failure became evident, the bystanders came to the conclusion that the white man's atua [divinity] had overpowered that of the Maori; and when Tohitapu died, which however was not until 1830, the idea prevailed that Mr. Williams had been strong enough to take up the curses, and to send them back. Some time after that, when strychnine came to be heard of, it was put about that Mr. Williams had administered a dose.

At the massacre, in 1772, of French sailors belonging to the squadron of Commodore Dufresne Marion, the body of the captain fell to Tohitapu's share, and was eaten by him accordingly. He was a man of unusual ferocity, even for a Maori of those days. But, after having been fairly worsted in the struggle, he became a staunch friend. A Maori seldom bears malice; he respects you, and likes you better for having beaten him. Revenge is with him, not so much a matter of feeling, as of duty.

Mrs. Williams must give the account of Tohitapu's behaviour at the Mission station in her own words.

On Sunday we had a fine day. At our morning service no natives were present, except those of our own household. After service, the native girls, who have the London fashion of keeping the Sunday, went, some with and some without leave, off to their friends, so that I had not a moment to sit down and read till I had cleared the tea things away, washed the children, and all, except our eldest boy, were asleep, and it was time for our evening service. After dinner, Mr. Williams had gone out as usual to visit the natives of the neighbouring village, and had some interesting conversation with them. Our service was closed with the hymn for Sunday evening, when we always think of our Hampstead friends. This is a season I always much enjoy, for I never through the week sit still so long together. Monday morning, Riu was unusually long in preparing to wash the clothes. Just as she was beginning her. work at her old spot in the yard, a boat from one of the ships came to look for men, eleven of their crew having left them. This event unsettled our whole establishment. The moment a boat arrives, down scamper all the natives, servants, men, boys, and girls, to the beach. If there is anything to be seen, or anything extraordinary occurs in New

[Image of page 40]

Zealand, the mistress must do the work while the servants gaze abroad. She must not scold them, for if they are rangatiras [of noble birth] they will run away in a pet, and tell her "she has too much of the mouth." Having been forewarned of this, I wait and work till they choose to come back, which they generally do at meal times. After dinner, a most troublesome chief, named Tohitapu, who lives about a mile from us, put us all in confusion. Mr. Fairburn saw him coming, and called to some one to fasten the gate. Instead of knocking in the usual manner for admittance, Tohi sprang over the fence. Mr. Fairburn told him he was a bad man for coming in like a thief, and not like a gentleman. He immediately began to stamp and caper about like a madman, attracting all around by his vociferous gabble, and flourishing his mere [greenstone weapon], which every chief carries concealed under his mat; then, brandishing his spear, he would spring like a cat, and point it at Mr. Fairburn, apparently in earnest. Mr. Williams, upon joining them, told him his conduct was very bad, and refused to shake hands with him. The savage, for so in truth he now appeared, stripped for fighting, keeping on only a plain mat, similar to those worn by the girls. Mr. Williams and Mr. Fairburn beheld his capers with great appearance of indifference. At length they left him, and he sat down to take breath, and upon their going to the beach he went out. Engaged with the children indoors, I did not hear all that passed; you will therefore have only part of the scene. When Mr. Williams returned he saw some mats, apparently thrown down in haste, which he imagined to belong to Tohitapu, and putting them outside, shut the door, and went to the back of the house. Shortly after, the furious man returned from the beach, and, snatching up a long pole, made a stroke at the door, but it not yielding to his violence, he sprang over the fence, resumed all his old antics, and when Mr. Williams appeared, he couched and aimed his spear at him. Mr. Williams advanced towards him, not heeding his threats, but, though Tohi trembled with rage, he did not throw the spear. He said he had hurt his foot in jumping over the fence, and demanded payment for it, saying a great deal more, which we did not understand. Mr Williams said, it was well for him to hurt his foot when he came in that manner, and that he should have no payment. He then walked towards the store, and having snatched up an old iron pot in which pitch had been boiled, was springing towards the fence, but, retarded by his unwieldy burden, was making for the door, when Mr. Williams darted upon him, snatched the pot out of his hands, and set his own back against the door to stop his retreat; he then called to some one to take away the pot, which Tohi made several attempts to seize, at the same time brandishing his spear over Mr. Williams' head with furious gestures, while the latter, folding his arms with a look of determined and cool opposition, resisted his attack upon the contested iron pot, occasionally

[Image of page 41]

exclaiming, "Kati, emara, heoi ano!" ["Gently, sir, that is enough!"] As I looked through the window with no little feeling of trepidation, the scene reminded me of a man attacked by a furious bull, who steadily eyes the monster, and keeps him at bay. The blacksmith now came forward, and shoved his shoulder against Tohi, who seemed to relax a little, though he still flourished about in a way which I can scarcely describe. The agility of this huge man astonished me. He ran to and fro with his spear in his hand, something like a boy playing at cricket, except that the New Zealander dances sideways, slapping his sides, and stamping with a measured face and horrid gestures, every now and then squatting down and panting, as if trying to excite his own rage to the utmost before he made a fatal spring. Tohi continued to demand his payment, and said he should stay here to-day and to-morrow, and five days more, and make a great fight; and to-morrow ten and ten and ten men, holding up his fingers as he spoke, would come and set fire to the house. During prayers he was more quiet, and seated himself at the fire, at the back of the house. His wife and some natives, who came with him, were looking in at the window, and one or two chiefs sat in the room. When prayers were over, he came to the window, and, without any ceremony, put his leg in, pointing to his foot, and demanded payment for the blood which was spilt. Mr. Williams told him to go away, and come again to-morrow like a gentleman, and knock at the gate, as Te Koki did, and then he would say, "How do you do, Mr. Tohitapu," and invite him to breakfast with us. He answered, his foot was so bad, he could not walk; repeated his intention of staying here many days, and burning the house; and, after talking some time, again worked himself into a terrific passion, and stripped for fighting. It was now about eleven o'clock at night. Tohi had thrown off his garments, and by the imperfect light looked like some wild animal, running to and fro in furious rage. I sat down to attempt to write. Our friends looking in at the window, one and another called to me, "Mother, you see a great fire in the house. Oh yes, children dead, all dead, a great fight, a great many men, plenty of muskets." Mr. Williams now came in, and desired me to go to bed, and left Toru with strict orders to keep watch, and give the alarm immediately in case of any outrage being committed. The friendly chiefs wrapped themselves in their shaggy mats, and went to sleep upon the ground, while we were preparing for rest. Tohitapu, who is a great priest, now began to chant a horrible ditty, which Mr. Fairburn told us was for the purpose of bewitching us. This poor victim of superstition, the slave of Satan, imagined he could by these means secure our death. The natives said he had "karakia'd" us, a term they apply to our religious worship, and said he had killed a man on board the "Active," schooner, in this way. We were awakened early in the morning by the noise of Tohi and others, who were

[Image of page 42]

continually arriving, until our premises were surrounded. At breakfast, I made some tea for several of our friends, and having the curiosity to see how Tohi would act upon it, we sent a pint pot full to him outside the gate, where he was sitting on the ground in sullen majesty, surrounded by a number of his followers. We saw him through the paling drink his tea, and I hoped it might have proved a quieting draught; but, before long, he was again prancing about inside the yard with many of his followers, all hideous figures, armed with spears and hatchets, and some few with muskets. They looked more formidable to me, as I caught occasionally a glimpse, feeling that my husband was in the midst of them. Our native girls were all out, and I had to remain close prisoner with my children, the windows being blocked up the whole day by ranges of native heads looking in. The poor children began to pine for air and liberty, and at about five o'clock, Mr. Williams came to the window, and said that things were more tranquil now, and the natives dispersing. I then put out the children through the window, but scarcely had the feet of our little girl touched the ground, when a sudden noise was heard of loud strokes, apparently against the store, and it seemed as if they were making a breach through the wooden walls for the purpose of forcing an entrance. Mr. Williams put back the children head foremost through the window, and ran to the spot. The noise and clamour now became very great. A chief brought our little boy in his arms, screaming and looking pale. I asked where he was hurt. The poor child exclaimed, "No, mamma, I am not hurt, but they are going to kill papa. We shall all be burnt, and they will kill poor papa; I saw the men, I saw the guns." As I sat in the centre of the bed-room, the baby in arms, and the three others clinging around me, I saw, through the little back window, the mob rushing past, and a man pointing his gun at the house, and immediately Mr. Williams stepped in between. My feelings were now excited to the utmost, yet I felt an elevation of soul it is worth much suffering to possess, even for a few moments. Oh, that we did not so soon drop down to earth again! The dear children, sobbing and crying, fell on their knees, and repeated after me a prayer prompted by what was passing. The noise continued. They repeatedly shook our slight walls, but the house remained unbroken, and the children grew more calm. The younger ones soon began to be troublesome, trying to get to the windows to look out. The women outside kept coming to the window, exclaiming, "Emata, tena ra ko koe?" ["Mother, how do you do?"] Po at length put up her good-natured face, telling me in her own language that there would be no more fight to-day, and that all the men were gone away, and that she had been making a great fight for us, for women fight in New Zealand. I gladly unbolted the door for my husband to enter. He told me all was over, and that the second disturbance

[Image of page 43]

was quite distinct from the first. Tohitapu had remained quiet during the whole affray, and was rather inclined to take our part: in compliance with the request of the friendly chiefs, the iron pot had been given to him, with which he had departed. It seems that in the course of the day, the son of one of the chiefs who came as our friend, had stolen a blanket from Mr. Fairburn. Some of our people charged him with it unknown to us, and this second disturbance was made by him, because he was annoyed at the exposure of his conduct.

For the most part, coolness and self-possession sufficed to bring Mr. Williams quietly through these native rows. But, occasionally, he was compelled to exert that personal strength which he possessed in a remarkable degree. Of this, one instance shall suffice. He had bought and paid for a basket of kohutuhutu [fuchsia berries]. A plan was laid to extort further payment. The seller thrust himself in Mr. Williams' way, barring the road; hoping apparently to be struck. 24 Disappointed in this, he seized Mr. Williams in wrestling form, striving to throw him, the confederates abiding their time. In this also, though the natives are expert wrestlers, he failed. Mr. Williams called out to the rest, "If you do not take this fellow away, I shall give him something." No notice was taken. Happening to have the key of his study in his hand, with his thumb in the ring, he dealt his assailant such a tap on the temple, with closed fist and key, that the man dropped as if shot. Mr. Williams, though not feeling easy about the result of his work, which seemed more serious than he had intended, put a good face upon it, saying,--"See now; I told you what I would do." The fellow recovered after a while, when the whole party skulked away. But it was well for Mr. Williams that he did not get the worst of the encounter. He was subsequently spoken of as "the man with the iron thumb."

Commissariat difficulties were becoming serious. Native supplies were still withheld, in the hope of starving the Missionaries into bartering gunpowder and muskets for food. The main dependance

[Image of page 44]

was upon the chance arrival of stores from New South Wales,-- "the Colony," as it was then termed in New Zealand. But this source of supply was so uncertain that, at times, much privation had to be endured. Mr. Marsden agreed that Mr. Williams' long cherished project,--the building of a vessel,--must be carried out; not only to free the Mission from material cares, but also to enable them to visit the Southern tribes.

Henry Williams to the Reverend E. G. Marsh.
July 13, 1824.

In the course of a week, the keel of a small vessel is to be laid. It will perhaps engage the carpenters four months. She has been ordered by Mr. Marsden, and will prove exceedingly useful. We shall be enabled by her to obtain food, which has been very scarce of late, both for ourselves and the natives about us. We shall this day cook our last potatoes, and have been out of pork for some length of time. Indeed, the provisions for all the settlements are short; and should not a vessel arrive in a little time, we shall be driven to fern-root.

The hope of her completion in four months was over sanguine.

The calculation had been in accordance with English ideas. A series of hindrances, no longer worth recounting, arose. Everything had to be superintended by Mr. Williams and a few coadjutors. Felling timber at the Kawakawa, rolling the logs into the river, rafting them down to Paihia, the management of the sawyers, mainly natives, as well as of the carpenters, some of whom were very troublesome--no easy task in a new colony, where it is commonly said that "Jack is as good as his master, and a great deal better too,"--all this presented difficulties undreamed of by those accustomed to the old country style of work. Often had they to labour at the vessel themselves with adze and auger, for the sake of encouragement and example. But patience and quiet determination were rewarded at last. After a lapse of twenty months, the vessel was launched, January 24, 1826, and was named "The Herald."

The following narrative, extracted from Mrs. Williams' journal, shall serve as a specimen of the many troubles which beset the work.

My husband was sent for to the ship-carpenter. The old chief, Te Koki, had entered the outer store, where the Englishmen mess, and sat down upon the carpenter's chest, which he upset. The

[Image of page 45]

carpenter, a surly old man, gave vent to an oath, and the chief was angry. Te Koki would not accept of my husband's invitation to come into the house and talk the matter over, but went away, though apparently pacified, and in the course of the morning, he and his son sat as usual looking at the men who were building the vessel. The day was fine, and the girls hanging out the wash. The cloth was laid for dinner, and the men had all come in from their work, when there was a cry, "here comes the taua;" at first we paid no regard to it, till the cry became general, and, looking out of the door, I saw a number of naked armed savages rushing towards the fence. The girls cried out, "Mother, shut your door!" The uproar that ensued I can faintly describe, the girls were crying, the boys shouting. My husband ran through the workshop to stop their entrance; but numbers sprang over the fence, and sprang back again with the linen off the lines, and anything they could grasp; a general scuffle ensued, the boys and girls each seized something for us, one brought in a frying-pan, another a bucket, another a saucepan--the sitting-room was strewed with linen, boys' clothes, men's trowsers, anything that could be recovered from the enemy. Of this I knew but little till all was over. Nor of Jacky Whatu's rescuing a pot with the girls' peas in, and burning himself as he threw it back again; nor how, meeting a party who were going to smash the bed-room windows, he threatened to spear the first man who advanced. My children were out on the beach, my husband outside amidst all the uproar, and my feelings were tried more than they had ever been since I left England. The girls continued sobbing and crying, as they sat upon the roof; now it was said Mr. Williams was knocked down, now Mr. Fairburn was struck; the children were immediately brought in, but we were inexpressibly shocked as we stood at the door (the scene being entirely shut out by the high fence), by beholding an Englishman assisted in by Mr. Puckey, the blood streaming from a frightful gash in the back of his leg, just above the heel: he exclaimed he was done for, and Mr. Williams would be killed; his foot was severely chopped with a hatchet; the poor man was very faint, he was set down on the steps of the door: Mr. Puckey stanched the blood with a bandage, and we gave him something to revive him: he said he was lifting Mr. Fairburn up, who was down amongst them, when a savage came behind him and inflicted the wound. During this time the cries of the girls announced that Mr. Williams was down again; the sight of blood had so magnified our fears, that the worst was dreaded, and I screamed out, "Will nobody tell me if he is killed?" but nobody heard my cries, till some one called out, "All is over, no more fight." Mr. Williams gladdened us by his appearance; his concern was very great for the wounded man; he had no idea the wound had been so serious. Presently, the boys sang out, a boat was coming from the ships; it was the

[Image of page 46]

doctor, our boat had met them half way over, and hearing there were two doctors in her, returned; they were coming on shore to call, merely for the sake of taking a walk. The man's wound was soon dressed, a bed made for him, and he seated comfortably upon it. We then learnt the cause of this violence and bloodshed. Upon being demanded by Mr. Williams the meaning of their attack, Moka and Hepatahi, two Waitangi chiefs, and the leaders of the mob, replied that "the carpenter swore at Te Koki." Mr. Williams replied, "What is that to me; have I ever sworn at anybody?" "No," they replied, "but the carpenter had nothing to be taken, and you had." Mr. Williams replied, "Had you come in a quiet manner, I would have obliged him to make restitution. I am as angry with the carpenter as any one, but your coming in this violent and cowardly manner to those who are sitting in peace, and without a moment's notice, I shall not overlook. I shall take down all the particulars and forward them to Port Jackson, and I will not make peace till all the stolen property is returned, and utu made for this attack, and the wounded man." Orders were immediately given that all work should stop, and no one proceed with the vessel. That which grieved us most was the fact of our old chiefs coming up after all was over, and sitting down with the other chiefs, without expressing any disapproval of their conduct. In the afternoon, the men began to take down the fence of the dockyard, which appeared greatly to affect Te Koki and Rangituke, who begged and entreated that they would not destroy the vessel. They were told that Mr. Williams certainly intended to go away, unless peace was made. Mr. Williams was full of concern, said little, and seemed in very low spirits all the rest of the day. Towards evening, while he was out, Rangituke, who had been out and in several times, without any one speaking to him, was sitting in the room, and I was folding some linen, when something came thump against my chest; I looked up, and saw the old chief had thrown two mats at me; 25 he said, "ou kakahu" ["your mats"], and disappeared. This is their way of presenting a gift. Two of his slaves then brought each a kit of potatoes. Rangituke looked anxiously and expressively at me, and asked if it was very good; I told him that women could give no answer, he must wait till Mr. Williams came in. He then went to sit with the wounded man till my husband came. When he asked him if Te Koki might come and shake hands; he replied he did not wish to see him till peace was made, and that the other chiefs must also bring a payment; that he was going to Kerikeri on Monday, to consult the other Missionaries, and that on Wednesday they should all come down, and that Te Koki, Moka,

[Image of page 47]

Hepatahi, and Kahiwai must come and meet them, and talk over the business; that they must either make peace in a proper manner, or he should go away to some other place. Rangituke was admitted as a visitor in the character of a peace-maker, but no other. We slept but little this night, but we placed our reliance upon the Lord of the Vineyard, that He would incline the hearts of this people towards us, or if we were indeed compelled to leave, that He would make good come out of evil in a way that we could not foresee.

Tuesday, October 5. Before I was dressed David called at the door, "is there anything I can fetch in for you, ma'am? there is a great talk of another fight." This, also, proved a false alarm; but the repetition of these affects the constitution with a nervousness that tries the strongest of us. Blood has now been shed for the first time since the foundation of the Mission; we have lost much of our confidence: may we increase in confiding faith and trust in Him, who alone can restrain even the savage in his fury. Hiamoe, a relative of Te Koki's, ran into the room and rubbed his nose against mine, before I was aware of what was coming. He said he was come down from Kawakawa to make peace, and to tell us not to leave; that he was at Taiamai when he heard his pakehas were whati [removing], and he had come directly to take care of them. To-day, the carpenter repaired boxes and packing-cases, in the event of our having to leave.

Wednesday, October 6. The carpenter came for the glass, to look at the brig at anchor; he was certain it was from Port Jackson. The boat went over immediately; and, to my unspeakable joy, Tom returned with a handful of letters. He was going at once to Kerikeri, for Mr. Williams. I kept a part of the letters, and sent him a part, and became absorbed at once in their contents. Meanwhile, I had to make preparation for my expected guests, to dress my patients, &c, &c About tea-time, the long-looked-for boat arrived, bringing Mr. Hall, Mr. Davis, Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Puckey, and my husband. It was with difficulty I could gain a few moments to glance over the remaining letters. Rangituke and Hiamoe were admitted as visitors. The natives in the family crowded around to gather any word which might fall from the white people, by which they might gather our intentions.

Thursday, October 7. Much conversation respecting late events. All were of opinion that if the natives do not come forward to make satisfaction, it would be necessary--as establishing a precedent, for the good of the Mission, that we should move. The prospect of toiling another twelve-month in the bush, and being no forwarder than we were at present, seemed very formidable to me. Tautari, Te Koki's brother, an immense giant-like man, came in as one of our friendly peace-makers. Going to the kitchen, I found Hoia, who said he had eaten nothing for two days, because we were going away. A committee was assembled outside, chairs, table, paper,

[Image of page 48]

pens and ink being carried out, and arranged in due form. The two principal chiefs concerned in the attack were, it was said, at Kororareka, and it was too rough to come over in a canoe. Our natives asked for the boat to fetch them, which was granted. The chiefs arrived in the afternoon. The assembly formed quite a picture. They were made to declare the cause of the attack, &c, which was all taken down in writing, and were then told that the decision of the white people was, that if within three days they did not bring a payment, which was specified, and cause the stolen property to be returned, we must leave the place. Moka and Hepatahi seemed disposed to be indifferent and insolent. After the meeting was over, Tohitapu, the High Priest, who has been our stanch friend ever since his formidable rencontre, flourished about, and made them a long harangue in favour of the white people.

Friday, October 8. All the Missionaries returned this morning. At noon, Moka and Hepatahi arrived; they sat quietly outside, waiting for my husband, who went to them. After some time, while we were anxiously waiting the result, the natives, inside and out, set up a great shout,--Mr. Williams had shaken hands and rubbed noses with Moka and Hepatahi, and peace was made. A large mess of flour and sugar was ordered for the chiefs, and the pigs and potatoes brought in. The carpenters went to work again at the vessel, and our spirits were revived. I, in particular, felt an especial call for gratitude in being spared new trials and fatigues, which I felt quite unable, and yet desirous to encounter, had the natives made no reconciliation. We had only to be grateful to Him who causeth all things to work together for good.

This firmness had the desired effect. The utu was brought in due form; and consisted of two pigs, five mats, and twelve large baskets of potatoes. The chiefs who had made the attack were after this on the best terms with the Missionaries; but a distinct understanding was come to that the station should be broken up, should any attempt to strip the Missionaries, under any pretext, ever again be made.

This was a more serious row than Tohitapu's. Tohitapu was wrong, according to Maori law, and he knew it. He had no take,--no real cause of offence. And it is not often that a Maori will proceed to extremity without a take. True, he will seek to compound with his conscience, as others will do elsewhere; he will twist and distort in the endeavour to prove to himself that he has a grievance--a just cause for revenge; but where he fails in this--where he is glaringly in the wrong, he

[Image of page 49]

will content himself with what is termed, in colonial parlance, "bounce." This is a style of proceeding, the whole merits of which he perfectly understands, and practises to perfection: may I be pardoned for observing, that one of the great errors of our Colonial Government has been, practising an art against the Maori, in which the Maori is immeasurably superior to his white cousin.

In this case, there really was a take--root, or cause, sufficient in native estimation, though not, perhaps, in ours. An imprecation had been uttered by a white man; and an oath, with a Maori, is equivalent to a curse,--a kanga, which has, of course, to be avenged. For, like most other uncivilized people (and not the uncivilized alone), they believe a malediction to be really effective. They believe it, as the Arabs and Italians to this day believe in the Evil Eye.

The launch of the "Herald" was to the natives a sensational event. Due notice had been given; a fleet of boats and canoes had assembled; numbers had come from inland, partly from curiosity, partly in hope of payment: upon a rough estimate, from three to four thousand persons were present. Mr. Williams had been out the night before, inspecting the ways, and taking every precaution against any risk of failure. The natives, who had supposed that the vessel was to be moved off in Maori style, by main force, had passed their time in calculating the amount of payment they were to receive, and in devising pretexts for extortion. As was the difference in size between a canoe and a fifty-ton vessel, so was to be the difference of payment for service. They declared that they would not move a hand till their terms should have been complied with, enforcing the demand by divers weighty and ingenious reasons, in reply to each of which they got nothing but a quiet nod of the head. They were already engaged, by anticipation, in apportioning the payment among themselves, when Mr. Williams announced that all was ready. But, instead of going among the mob, to clench a bargain, he walked up to the vessel and named her. This was the signal for the start. The dogshores were knocked away; the ship glided gently down the ways into the water, to the utter amazement of the natives, who

[Image of page 50]

rose as one man with a roar of "ana na, ana na-a-a-a." The young men rushing after her into the water, throwing their spears at her as she glided along, swam off and clambered up her sides; others, crouching at their knees on the water's edge, made hideous faces, thrusting out their tongues and rolling their eyes as they would to the enemy before battle. The Europeans gave out three hearty cheers; the natives on shore broke into a furious war dance, which was answered by those on board, to the no small risk of upsetting the light craft, as she lay, unballasted, high out of the water.

As the vessel was getting into deep water, she touched upon a sand bank, and stuck fast for a few minutes. A line was carried out to moorings which had been laid for the purpose, the end being brought on shore to haul upon. No demur, no talk of payment now; the natives rushed down with one accord, bent on to the line, and easily had her over the bank. All seemed delighted, Europeans and Maories vieing with each other in congratulation at the success of the launch. The natives were intensely gratified and amazed, deeming themselves amply rewarded by having witnessed the wonderful genius of the pakeha, who, by only knocking away a wedge, could launch such a huge canoe; and calculating how many fat hogs and kits of potatoes would have been consumed over a Maori toanga waka. 26 The wives of the Missionaries, who had witnessed the proceedings from a stage which had been erected for them, while sharing the gratification of their husbands, could not suppress a feeling of tremor at the sight of so huge a mass of wild and excited savages, considering how feeble and powerless they were, at the mercy of such a host.

Before Henry Williams left England, it had been agreed 27 that his younger brother William should follow; and the time was now at hand when he might be expected to arrive.

1   "Suffering and complaining natives":--an expression used by Governor Grey, in a Despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
2   Attributed to Benjamin Franklin.
3   Vicar of Aylesford, and Canon of Southwell.
4   "Dismissed" from a ship that he never was in. The names of the ships in which he did serve have been mentioned.
5   Appendix A.
6   Cousin also; Mr. Williams' mother having been sister to Mr. Marsh's father.
7   Preaching from this text, which was with him a favourite, some years after, brought him into trouble. Heke's war was raging in the North, and Archdeacon Williams was charged with having traitorously preached against the soldiers--i.e.--against the British Lion!
8   How true to nature is the prison scene in "The Vicar of Wakefield," where Dr. Primrose endeavours to make an impression on his fellow prisoners.

"Thus saying, I left them, and descended to the common prison, where I found the prisoners very merry, expecting my arrival, and each prepared with some gaol-trick to play upon the doctor. Thus, as I was going to begin, one turned my wig awry, as if by accident, and asked my pardon. A second, who stood at some distance, had a knack of spitting through his teeth, which fell in showers upon my book. A third would cry 'Amen!' in such an affected tone as gave the rest great delight. A fourth had slily picked my pocket of my spectacles. However, I took no account of all this mischievous little group of beings could do, but went on, perfectly sensible that what was ridiculous in my attempt would excite mirth only the first or second time, while what was serious would be permanent, My design succeeded, and in less than six days some Were penitent, and all attentive."
9   Takirau,--more properly Take Rau, the hundred rocks.
10   The Lizard. In the old books he is called Duaterra. Ruatara was of the Hikutu tribe, of Tepuna. Throughout this "Memoir," when the name of any of the old chiefs of note is brought in, his tribe and usual place of abode will be mentioned.
11   This is the received account; but the Bishop of Waiapu, a careful enquirer, was otherwise informed. In a narrative of an excursion to Whangaroa, he says:--

"I learned to-day [at Pupuke, Ururoa's place,] that the "Boyd" was cut off, not, as has been stated, on account of ill-treatment from the Captain to the chief George; but because that chief, on his return from Port Jackson, found his parents dead through sickness, which was attributed to the influence of Europeans."-- "Church Missionary Record," November, 1833.

But old natives of whom enquiry has just now been made, are emphatic in assertion that the instigator of the massacre was not George, but Pipikoitareke, of Ngatiuru. This may be taken as a sample of the difficulty of verifying Maori history, if of early date.
12   Their names were Korokoro, otherwise called Mauhikitea, of the Parupuwha hapu: place of abode, Paroa. Tenana, Ngapuhi: place of abode, Waimate. Tuaea (known as Tommy Tui), Te Parupuwha: place of abode, Paroa. Mowhi, and another whose name has not been recovered.
13   Rangihoua adjoins Tepuna. For practical purposes they may be considered as one, the names, in common parlance, being used interchangeably.
14   Of Hongi Hika, more anon.
15   Mr. Francis Hall left for Sydney, in the belief that the Mission was to be abandoned, shortly before the arrival of Mr. Williams in New Zealand. Such, indeed, had been at one time the intention of the Church Missionary Society. Mr. Williams brought out for him a request from the Society that he should remain; but he was already gone.

Mr. William Hall left in ill-health in 1824.
16   Waikato was a Hikutu, and brother to Ruatara.
17   The effect of firearms among savages is often misapprehended. When possessed by one side only, they increase the amount of slaughter, by causing panic that enables the tomahawk and club to be effectively used. When possessed by both sides, they diminish slaughter, by enabling all alike to "play at long bowls." I have heard Fiji-men say that war has become much less bloody since the introduction of the musket.
18   "The natives," writes Mr. Butler, "have an insatiable thirst after muskets and powder, and the whalers barter with nothing else; they, therefore, get most of the pork and potatoes. This will eventually drain the resources of the settlement, and reduce it to great distress."

"A canoe," writes Mr. Hall, "came to our settlement, with a few natives; and I being down at the saw-pits, one of them, an inferior chief, came to me and demanded a musket; and because I could not comply with his request, he pulled and struck me, and abused me very much, without any provocation. He then ran up to my house in a furious manner; and threatened to break into it, if I did not give him one. He got over my fence, and beat the door with a large stick in a violent manner, until some of my neighbours came to my assistance, and we forcibly dragged him out of the yard twice. He then went to fetch fire to burn our houses; but we prevented him, and, at last, drove him entirely off."
19   Premature toil, and a waste of good seed. Within a short time, all trampled down and destroyed. Comfort was attained, at last, but was many years distant yet.
20   Te Koki was of the Uriongonga, and matua [patron] to the Paihia Missionaries. His wife, Hamu, was a very great lady, and proprietress of Paihia in her own right. Her son had died at Parramatta, a pupil in Mr. Marsden's institution. Mr. Marsden consoled her grief by promising her a Missionary, and kept his word.
21   Of Tohitapu we shall hear more. He was of the Roroa, and lived at the Haumi.
22   The demand was not so extravagant as it may seem. It is one of the principles of Maori law, that satisfaction must be had. If not obtainable from the offender, then from some third person, or perhaps, tribe.
23   Motoki, of Urikapana.
24   This man was one of a band who prided themselves on their feats of strength, challenging all comers, bullying wherever they dared, with the object of setting up a system of terrorism. The bystanders on this occasion were brethren of the band.
25   A gift, in the old times, would be flung down by the donor, as if worthless, and taken up by the receiver with an air of contempt. This was Maori etiquette.
26   Launch of a canoe.
27   Agreed, provided that the Church Missionary Society should resolve to send him. The question of his being sent to India had been mooted, it being supposed that a University education would be thrown away in New Zealand.

Previous section | Next section