CHAPTER I. THE SENIOR CHAPLAIN IN NEW SOUTH WALES
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THE SENIOR CHAPLAIN IN NEW SOUTH WALES
SAMUEL MARSDEN was born, according to his own statement, on June 25th, 1765, 1 at Farsley, a village in the parish of Calverley, in Yorkshire, situated about six miles from Leeds, his father, Thomas Marsden, who lived to be ninety-three years of age, 2 being a blacksmith and small farmer. He was baptized in the parish church on July 21st of the same year. Little is known of his early years. He had at least one brother, Charles, in later life an ironmaster at Wakefield, 3 whose son Thomas ultimately became a merchant in Sydney and married his cousin Jane, Marsden's fourth daughter. It is not known whether the family included more than these two boys. The home, it is certain, in common with many others in Yorkshire in the latter part of the eighteenth century, was dominated by the spirit of piety born of the new evangelical movement originating in the work of John Wesley, and the mind of the growing boy was thus, from his earliest years, directed towards spiritual things. His parents, however, had no higher ambition
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YOUTH AND EARLY TRAINING.
for him than that he should become a serious, industrious youth following his father's occupation. Their resources, in any case, did not permit them to give him more than the ordinary elementary education of the village school before he commenced to help at the forge and on the croft and thus engaged in the hard manual labour which occupied him till he reached early manhood.
If his early training, however, lacked the learning to be obtained from books, it gave him much that proved of the greatest value to him in later life. Like James Cook, another Yorkshireman, he was accustomed from childhood to plain fare and scanty leisure, and grew up despising luxury and soft living; developing at the same time a sturdy physique which enabled him, as a man, to withstand the most rigorous conditions and to emerge scatheless from hardships that must have overwhelmed one less strong. His early experiences, further, gave Marsden a grip upon the practical side of life; he could always speak with authority upon matters connected with industry and agriculture in the youthful communities whose guide he became. The man who is distinguished as the founder of the New Zealand Mission and the first inland explorer of northern New Zealand was famed among his contemporaries as the best practical farmer in New South Wales. 4 There can be no doubt, also, that it was his own training as artisan and farmer that made him lay such insistence upon the necessity in missionary enterprise of basing the structure of religious teaching upon a preliminary training in arts, crafts, and agriculture, and that caused him to demand that a missionary "should also be naturally of an industrious turn; a man who could live in any country by dint of his own labour." 5 It may be that Marsden over-emphasised the part played in the uplifting of savage races by a training in arts and crafts, and that "the Gospel is the hope of civilization rather than civilization the hope of the Gospel." 6 He spoke, in any case, as one who, like the great Apostle to the Gentiles, was craftsman as well as teacher and preacher, and whose own life in New South Wales was an outstanding example of the value to a young community of the man who could be a leader in practical affairs as well as in religion and education.
Marsden was already about twenty years of age, a stout, muscular lad, somewhat under middle height, of open ruddy countenance, before he was given the opportunity to leave the narrow environment of his native village and devote attention to the development of his untried mental powers. He owed his chance in life to the kindness of a
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THE ELLAND CLERICAL SOCIETY
benevolent clergyman called Whitaker, a member of the Elland Clerical Society founded in 1767 by the Rev. Henry Venn, vicar of Huddersfield, for the encouragement in their spiritual life of the many pastors in the district who had become imbued with the new evangelical theology. They met at his house four times a year. The Society thus established owes its name to the fact that in 1771 when Mr. Venn resigned his charge upon his appointment to the living of Yelling in Huntingdonshire and was succeeded by a vicar of different views and temperament, its members transferred their meeting-place to the village of Elland, an ancient chapelry in the parish of Halifax. There they met in the house of the Rev. George Burnett, the perpetual curate of the living, one of the first members of the Society. The meetings continued to be held at Elland for more than seventy years throughout the incumbency of Mr. Burnett and his successors--Thomas Watson and Christopher Atkinson --until the death of the last-named in 1843. In that year one meeting was held at St. James's Parsonage, Halifax, and the Society then returned to the first and more convenient meeting-place in the Vicarage of Huddersfield, where it continues to meet, the number of members, fixed formerly at twenty-five, being now limited to thirty, elected under such safeguards as preserve the distinctive features of the Society.
From 1777 onwards the Society has included among its aims the provision of a fund for the education of young men of suitable character without the necessary means to fit themselves for the ministry of the Church. One of the earliest names upon the list of the many pensioners of a Society whose work has thus enriched the Church is that of Samuel Marsden, who never failed in after life to remember the Association with gratitude. He wrote frequent letters to the Society giving descriptions of his work in Australia and New Zealand; from 1796 onwards he was a subscribing member of the Society, and in 1828 he showed still further his feeling of indebtedness by sending the sum of £200 "in remembrance of the expenses contributed by the Society to his education." 7
A letter to the Rev. J. Pratt of the Church Missionary Society, 8 dated July 2nd, 1825, shows the spirit that animated him in this matter:--
I believe," he wrote, "that in the year 1786 I first turned my attention to the ministry, and from the year 1787 to 1793 I received pecuniary assistance, more or less, from the Elland Society, but to what amount I never knew. ... I shall be much obliged to you to learn, if you can, the amount of my expenses to the Elland Society. I have always considered that a just debt which I ought to pay. If you can send me the amount I shall be much obliged to you. I purpose to pay the amount from time to time in sums not less than £50 per annum. When I close the Society's accounts on the 31st December next I will give your Society credit for £50, and will thank you to pay the same to the Elland Society on my account. When I know the whole amount, I will then inform you how I purpose to liquidate it. Should the Elland Society not be in existence, I have to request that the Church Missionary Society will assist some pious young man with a sum per annum of not less than £50 to get into the Church as a missionary."
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MAGDALENE HALL, CAMBRIDGE
Through the good offices of Mr. Whitaker, who was attracted by Marsden's sterling qualities of character and was convinced that a young man of such innate modesty would not shrink from that association in school and college with those much younger than himself which was necessary if he were to remedy the defects in his early education, Marsden secured an appointment as a probationer of the Elland Society; and, after a course of preliminary study under the Rev. E. Storrs, Vicar of Rawdon, near Leeds, and the Rev. Miles Atkinson of St. Paul's, Leeds, was sent to Hull Grammar School, 9 whose headmaster at the time was an outstanding member of the Elland Society, the Rev. Joseph Milner, the ecclesiastical historian, a brother of Dr. Isaac Milner, Dean of Carlisle. 10
After a stay of over two years at Hull, Marsden, now a young man who lacked a day of being twenty-six years of age, entered the University of Cambridge in 1790 as a sizar of Magdalene College, then styled Magdalene Hall. The entry in the Admission Book of the College reads as follows:-- Jun. 24, 1790, Samuel Marsden, filius Thomae Marsden de Rawdon prope Leeds in comitatu Eboracensi, e schola publica de Kingston super Hull, annum agens 26, admissus est sizator. Tutoribus magistris, Gul. Farish, Henr. Jowett.
On December 7th of the same year, he was elected and admitted a scholar; the entry in the Magdalene College Register, which is in his own handwriting and duly attested by the Master and Fellows of the College, states the fact thus:--Dec. 7, 1790, Ego Samuelis Marsden electus et admissus fui discipulus hujus Collegii pro magistro Smith, P. Peckard, Praefs; T. Kerrick, Praeses; Gul. Bywater, Decs; Gul. Farish, Henr. Jowett. 11
These extracts from the registers give the only known facts regarding his career at Cambridge, where he remained for two and a half years. An earnest student, he had hoped to remain in residence until he took a degree, and his first inclination, therefore, when, in 1792, through the influence of William Wilberforce the celebrated philanthropist, he was offered the post of assistant chaplain in the recently formed settlement of New South Wales, was to decline the appointment. He thought himself too young and inexperienced to act as the spiritual adviser of convicted felons, and, in any case, had no desire to cut short his University course. It is probable also that the knowledge rankled that his nomination,
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ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE
when first made, had not been received with enthusiasm by those in authority, some of whom thought that the sturdy Yorkshireman had not yet acquired sufficient polish of manner to acquit himself with the dignity becoming his sacred office even in such society as New South Wales provided. Those who now urged his claims, however, wisely contended that the very qualities which some considered defects specially fitted him to deal with the circumstances to be found in the penal settlement. At the same time they sought to impress upon the young man himself that a University degree was not of such value as to warrant his refusal of an appointment which presented so great prospects of distinction. 12 Marsden yielded to their desire that he should accept this Government chaplaincy and was commissioned on January 1st, 1793. His ordination followed in due course. It appears from the Act Book of the Archbishop of Canterbury that on March 14th, 1793, letters dimissory were issued to the Bishop of Bristol for the ordination as Deacon of Samuel Marsden, a student of Magdalene College, 13 and that on May 24th, 1793, his Grace of Canterbury granted letters dimissory "to Samuel Marsden, student of Magdalene College, and designed for the service of the Church in the settlement of Botany Bay, to receive Priest's Orders from the Bishop of Exeter." The ordination took place on Trinity Sunday, May 26th, 1793. 14
On April 21st, 1793, a month before his ordination as priest, Marsden had married Elizabeth Fristan, the only daughter of Thomas Fristan of Hull, a great grandniece on her mother's side of the famous admiral, Sir Clowdisley Shovell. 15 The letter in which he made a proposal of
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MARSDEN'S LETTER OF PROPOSAL
marriage to this lady shows the young man in an interesting light. It is dated London, March 14th, 1793, and reads as follows:--
"I have not had an opportunity to thank you for the Scripture characters before now, since I came to London my time and thoughts being so very much engaged. I hope you will not consider this as a mark of my disrespect, but rather look upon my peculiar situation as a sufficient apology for my conduct in this thing.
"Since my lot is now, seemingly, cast, and God appears to be opening my way to carry the Gospel of His Son to distant lands, the time is come for me to lay open my thoughts to you, which have long been hid in my own breast.
"I shall venture to submit to your consideration the following important question (praying at the same time that the Lord would enable you to answer it agreeable to His own will, and in such a way as may conduce to your own happiness and mine). The question is this: Will you go along with me? If, upon considering the subject, you can answer in the affirmative and say, 'I am willing,' then my heart (as far as it is proper I should give it to the creature) and all I have are yours. I believe if it be for my good and His glory He will provide me with an helpmate, and if not He will give me a mind resigned to His will. I persuade myself I should be happy in the enjoyment of you more than any other; yet I do not wish to purchase my own peace at the expense of your comfort, but only if you think you would be happy. . . . Then I cheerfully offer you my hand and my heart whenever you please.
Yours most affectionately,
S. MARSDEN." 16
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FIRST VOYAGE TO NEW SOUTH WALES
Till her death in October, 1835, in spite of almost continuous illness throughout the last twenty years of her life, she was Marsden's most valued counsellor amid all the vicissitudes of his arduous career, his sympathetic companion in the long exile of more than forty years which brought him much open hostility and but few intimate friends among his immediate associates. The marriage was celebrated at the High Church (now Trinity Church), Hull, by the vicar, the Rev. Dr. Clarke. 17
On July 1st, 1793, less than three months after his marriage, Marsden and his wife sailed from London for New South Wales in the William (Captain William Folger), one of the transports engaged by the Government for the use of the new settlement. The William, on this occasion, did not carry the ordinary grim cargo of convicts with their complement of guards, but was laden with salt beef, barrelled pork, and agricultural implements. Few ships have reached Sydney to receive a more vociferous welcome. She arrived on March 10th, 1794, in time to save the shiftless inhabitants of the Botany Bay settlement from the horrors of starvation. Their stores were exhausted; a severe drought had destroyed the scanty crops and but "one serving of salt meat remained in the provision store," 18
The William's voyage of eight months was one long trial for Marsden and his wife who, separated from their friends for the first time, found themselves amid unfamiliar surroundings, tormented by the uncouth language and bearing of men of the low type then to be found on English merchant vessels, and without one person on board to whom to turn for sympathy. The ship, as Marsden tells in the journal 19 which he wrote during the voyage, was detained at Spithead for three weeks by contrary winds and was again held up at Cork until the warship arrived which was to conduct the convoy to the open sea, for the war with France was raging. It was thus the last day of September before the William left the shores of Ireland.
A short stay at Las Palmas and another at Rio de Janeiro broke the monotony of the voyage, although Marsden left the latter port with saddened mind, "greatly affected," as he puts it, "at seeing the poor negro slaves and the indifference to the Sabbath." In Botany Bay, however, he was soon to witness English convicts, Sunday by Sunday, give themselves up to such debauchery as would have appalled the most hardened of the poor slaves of Brazil. As if to prepare him for such scenes, he had already found it almost impossible to obtain any countenance for religious observances on the William. The captain, a coarse,
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FIRST VOYAGE TO NEW SOUTH WALES
irreligious individual, had nothing in common with the pious exponent of evangelical Christianity whose youthful zeal for the faith made him eager to bear witness against the wickedness of the ship's company and turn them from their evil ways of blasphemy and drunkenness. It was with difficulty that Marsden gained permission to hold service on Sundays, the captain remarking that he had never seen a religious sailor and that to preach to the crew would be mere waste of time. After holding a service Marsden was almost inclined to agree with the captain, writing "the sailors are the most stupid, ignorant people in the world; might preach to them for an eternity without doing them the least good." Only his faith in Divine power and his determination to perform his duty caused him to persist in spite of all discouragements.
The misery of the voyage was increased for both Marsden and his wife when the convict girl who had been assigned to them as a maid proved refractory and rebellious, and ultimately, in entire defiance, betook herself to the captain's cabin. As was to be expected, Marsden's interview with the captain upon the subject provoked only an outburst of anger. "He was exceeding angry and declared he would not bear to be spoken to," wrote the disconsolate chaplain.
To the misery of the long voyage with such unpleasant companions was added domestic anxiety. Mrs. Marsden was already enceinte when the travellers set sail, and they had taken passage on the William believing that the vessel would reach port before the expected birth took place. When off the east coast of Tasmania, however, and while yet a week's sail from Port Jackson, Mrs. Marsden, on March 2nd, gave birth to her first child, Anne. Marsden's simple narrative brings home the difficulties met by those who ventured on long sea voyages a century and a half ago.
"Sunday, March 2nd, 1794.--This hath been a day much to be remembered by me and mine. I hope a grateful sense of the Lord's mercies received this day will never be forgotten. About two o'clock in the morning Mrs. M. began to be unwell. She was in expectation of getting her bed every day, but thought the motion of the ship might affect her and she should be better in a little time. But in this she was greatly mistaken, for she found herself to grow worse. We both rose from bed some time before daybreak and laboured to pass the time as well as we could till the light returned, Mrs. M. all the while growing worse and worse. It had been my wish and prayer that she might arrive at our desired port before she got her bed, but now I saw it could not be. I therefore endeavoured to prepare my mind for the trial as well as I could, and the Lord gave me strength equal to my day. We had no assistance on board of any kind, the captain a very unnatural man, and the wind blowing exceeding hard, and also heavy rain. These circumstances taken together made our situation very unpleasant. In the midst of all I was not cast down, not doubting that God would be with us and bless us. Mrs. M. was also in better spirits than could be expected. About daybreak I informed the bad girl we had on board Mrs. M. was unwell, thinking she might be of some assistance to us, as we had nobody else. I shall not soon forget what a rough morning it was. I could not possibly stand without hold of some fixture. About half past ten in the morning Mrs. M. was brought to bed of a fine girl. She had an exceeding good time, and I believe suffered as little as if she had all the assistance in the world. The child was no sooner born than a great wave washed over the quarterdeck and forced its way into our little cabin through the porthole. Part of it fell upon the child, and also wet our linen,
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THE OLD HULL GRAMMAR SCHOOL ON SOUTH CHURCH SIDE
In this building, the school of Andrew Marvell and William Wilberforce, were educated Samuel Marsden and Richard Johnson whom he succeeded as Senior Chaplain in New South Wales.
By courtesy of "The Hullensian." the Magazine of the Hull Grammar School.
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ARRIVAL AT PORT JACKSON
etc. Having never had any fire in the great cabin from our leaving England to the present day caused our linen to be very damp. This I aired as well as I could by putting it between my shirt and skin. Mrs. M., notwithstanding the bad weather, the damp linen, the wet cabin, and no assistance but such as I could give, yet she hath had a good day, her spirits have never been down, her mind seems easy, and she appears in a very fair way to do well. Having got the child dressed and our little place put to rights, I kneeled down to return God thanks for the great deliverance He had brought to us and hope this was done in spirit and truth." 20
A week after the birth of his daughter, on March 10th, 1794, Marsden, to his intense relief, reached Port Jackson, to find that the moral and religious condition of the settlement was at such a low ebb as to render the performance of his duty as assistant chaplain an arduous task even for one of his courageous and determined temperament. The last entries in his journal of 1793-4 were made when he was beginning to realise the difficulties of his situation. From March 10th till May 27th there is a gap in the narrative since upon his arrival, as he puts it, he felt too much confused and unsettled to resume his diary. On May 27th he wrote:--
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EARLY DAYS IN NEW SOUTH WALES
"I feel my mind far from being comfortable, being in such an unsettled state-- hope when we get to an house of our own I shall have more opportunities for study and meditation than at present. My fellow minister 21 is now recovering--he hath been dangerously afflicted--was afraid he would have died, and then I should have been alone, which would have been very disagreeable in a place like this."
After an interval, he again wrote:--
"July 4th.--We left Sydney and removed into the Barracks at Parramatta. This was the first day we had been settled since we were married or could say we had got into an house of our own. I felt no small degree of pleasure in having an house of my own in which I could speak out freely without being afraid of any--may I always be thankful for every blessing and sensible of those I enjoy."
Another short interval followed when he resumed:--
"Sunday, July 13th.--I preached at Toongabby (Toongabbie) in the morning on Sabbath breaking, and in the afternoon at Parramatta. Monday, 14th, went to Sydney with Mrs. (Mac) Arthur to hear some prisoners tried for housebreaking. They were condemned to death. Whilst greatly alarmed, they had no idea of God as one of grace and mercy.
"Tuesday, 15th.--I left Sydney very uncomfortably to-day. Mr. Joh. (Johnson) and the Lieutenant-Governor 22 had begun their differences again. The Governor forbade Mr. Johnson the prisoners who were to be executed on Thursday next. This Mr. Johnson warmly resented. In consequence of their difference I could not visit them also. I did not think it my duty to remonstrate with the Lieutenant-Governor upon this affair, as I was not stationed at Sydney, and therefore the prisoners were more peculiarly the charge of Mr. Johnson than me. It gives me much uneasiness to see these differences prevail. O, that they might be brought to an end."
At this point the journal ends.
Marsden had thus reached the New South Wales settlement at a point in its history when even the most sanguine saw little hope for the future. The Colony had been founded by Captain Arthur Phillip of the Royal Navy in 1788. Worn out with his efforts to overcome the persistent indolence, insubordination, and crime of the vice-ridden, licentious felons over whom he ruled, Phillip had in December, 1792, returned to England leaving the Lieutenant-Governor, Major Francis Grose, commanding officer of the New South Wales Corps, in charge of the government.
Under Grose the moral condition of the community sank to appalling depths. 23 All Phillip's orders concerning the nefarious traffic in spirits were reversed, while the laws of sexual morality that in general mark western civilization were openly disregarded. Religion was held in contempt, and the one civil chaplain of the settlement before Marsden's arrival, the Rev. Richard Johnson, found himself unsupported, for the
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THE REV. RICHARD JOHNSON
most part, by those in high places, and derided by those in low. Phillip had shown some sympathy with the chaplain's aims but had been too much engrossed with his own troubles to give him much support. Grose was openly contemptuous of his office, caring nothing for the ordinances of religion. "The Lord's day," wrote Marsden, "was spent by the principal part of the convicts, either in cabals, or labour, or gaming, or drunkenness, or robberies." 24 No building being available for religious purposes, Johnson preached in the open air until August, 1793, when, at his own expense and in great measure as the result of his own manual work, he built a little temporary church in Sydney, which accommodated five hundred people. 25
A pious individual of somewhat sensitive temperament, constitutionally unsuited to deal with the free livers and drunken scoffers of New South Wales, Johnson resigned his office in 1800 and returned to England where he held first a small curacy in Essex and then, in 1810, the London rectory of the combined parish of St. Antholin's, Watling Street, and St. John Baptist. This latter appointment was secured for Johnson through the energy of Marsden, who, when visiting England in 1807-9, sought recognition for the services rendered the Government in New South Wales by his friend and represented his case with such energy that this living, worth about £200 a year, was presented to him.
Johnson died on March 13th, 1827, at the age of 74 and was buried in his old church. 26
Such was the character and temperament of the New South Wales chaplain who in 1794 welcomed Marsden upon his arrival. Involved in an open quarrel with the Lieutenant-Governor, who publicly threw contempt upon his sacred office and thus rendered almost hopeless the attempts of the chaplain to combat the vice and wickedness which confronted him, 27 Johnson must have been overjoyed when, in March, 1794,
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MARSDEN VISITS NORFOLK ISLAND
his strong-minded, self-reliant assistant arrived and took up his residence at Parramatta, which remained his home for the rest of his lifetime.
Marsden had scarcely had time to settle in his new surroundings when, early in 1795, he was directed by the new Lieutenant-Governor, Captain William Paterson of the New South Wales Corps, who had succeeded Grose in December, 1794, to pay an official visit to the subsidiary convict settlement at Norfolk Island, some 1,200 miles distant from Sydney, which was administered by Captain Philip Gidley King of the Royal Navy. This visit to Norfolk Island was destined to have permanent and far-reaching results, since it not only marked the beginning of Marsden's friendship with the humane and fair-minded King but aroused in his mind that interest in New Zealand and its savage inhabitants which was to develop into an abiding passion. Norfolk Island produced a luxuriant form of flax (phormium tenax), and in 1793 King, anxious that the convicts might learn to make use of this plant, had kidnapped two New Zealanders, Tuke (Toki) and Huru, 28 whom he retained on the island for six months during which they produced the most favourable impression upon their host, who treated them with the utmost kindness although they proved ignorant of the methods employed by their womenfolk in the preparation of flax. At the moment when Marsden reached Norfolk Island the memory of his Maori visitors was still fresh in King's mind, and the account of their keenness of intellect and manliness of character which he gave the enthusiastic young chaplain created a lasting impression upon his mind. The seed which was to grow into the New Zealand Mission had thus been sown. At the time, however, there seemed little prospect that Marsden would ever be able to realise his dreams of missionary enterprise and of exploration, and in September, 1795, he returned in the Fancy to the dull, depressing routine of life among the transported felons of the New South Wales settlement. 29 In the same month Captain John Hunter of the Royal Navy took up his duties as Governor. 30 Hunter had already served for three years in the settlement as Lieutenant-Governor under Phillip and was well acquainted, therefore, with the conditions prevailing there, although, during the four years of his absence in England, these had altered greatly for the worse, the chief source of trouble for the administrative officers of the colony being the military tyranny practised by the members of the New South Wales Corps, who resented any attempt at interference with their control of public affairs and resisted, in particular, all efforts to regulate their monopoly in the traffic in spirits which was for many years the curse of New South Wales. 31
Hunter upon his arrival set himself to combat the moral evils that prevailed in the colony, and found a strong supporter in Marsden who thus inevitably shared the unpopularity of the Governor with the dominant military party. In particular he was attacked for agreeing to Hunter's suggestion that he should add to his duties as chaplain those of
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MARSDEN'S DIVERSE INTERESTS
a civil magistrate and superintendent of public works at Parramatta. 32 Since he had also set himself to augment his small salary of £146 a year by utilising the labour of the five convicts assigned to him in the cultivation of the land granted him by Grose and by Hunter, and was thus actively interested in the development of the agricultural resources of the settlement, his life was one of many interests. 33 Marsden himself, indeed, had at first had misgivings as to whether he could, with propriety, combine the office of a Christian minister with that of a civil magistrate, and add to both the supervision of his assigned convict farm labourers. In his dilemma he sought the advice of his English friends of the Elland Society in two letters 34 which throw considerable light on his own position and, at the same time, give some account of the situation in the colony. Both letters were probably addressed to the Rev. Miles Atkinson of Leeds, with whom Marsden had resided for some time whilst engaged in his preliminary studies for the ministry. 35 The first letter, written at Parramatta on September 16th, 1796, is in the following terms:--
"Sir,--When I take a retrospective view of the various changes through which a kind Providence hath led me for some years past I am lost in wonder and astonishment. I am not born of noble birth, nor heir to any great inheritance, but with only the prospect of hard labour and toil before me. I cannot without being guilty of the greatest ingratitude complain of any hardship in my former humble situation. I bless God I know of no instance where I have murmured or complained against any of the Divine dispensations towards me since I left my native land. God hath highly exalted me from my low situation and rank to minister before Him in holy things. This is so great an honour and favour conferred on me, so mean and bare, as I hope will always reconcile my mind to bear patiently whatever trials I may meet with in line of my duty. I am convinced the Lord is good and gracious, and hath been particularly so to me. I am happy in my family, happy in my circumstances and connection as far as my present situation will allow. I cannot have the same happiness in the company and conversation of God's people as might be enjoyed in England, because they are not here. Ere long this disadvantage will be done away. The saints of every clime of every nation will meet to part no more. My joyful hope of that happy period makes present inconveniences and separation easy and tolerable.
"I must live and die a debtor to the Elland Society. It is to their patronage and support I owe my present situation. It has been my constant study since I was made a partaker of their bounty to render myself worthy of their esteem, and never to disgrace the honour conferred on me by that respectable Society. I was happy
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MARSDEN BECOMES A MAGISTRATE
to find they had taken into their consideration what I had mentioned to you in a former letter, and that my conduct had met their approbation in accepting of a grant of land, and proceeding to its cultivation. I have been much more satisfied in my mind of the propriety of doing what I did since I received your letter. It suggested some new ideas which had not struck my mind. There is reason to suppose if I had not accepted of a grant of ground, nor taken any active steps to raise grain and stock for the support of myself and family, the convicts, and, probably, Government also, would have said the clergyman is an idle, lazy fellow, and will do nothing towards maintaining himself and family. I am happy to say I have done all in my power towards rendering this Colony independent. My crop of wheat produced 500 bushels the last year, and promises to yield much more this. Yet I should have been ready to relinquish my farm if my conduct had been disapproved of by the Society.
"I have another question to propose, and must request you will either give me your own ideas upon it, or have the goodness to mention it to the Society. The question is this: How far is the duty of a clergyman incompatible with the duty of a civil magistrate? I have mentioned in another letter my reasons for acting in the capacity of a civil magistrate--the want of civil officers in the Colony, the general distracted state of the settlement, the opportunity this office gives me of representing to the Governor from time to time the abuses that exist and the crimes committed in the Colony, which I could not do as a minister. The Governor wished I should act as a magistrate, and I did not wish to offend him, but was rather willing to cultivate his Excellency's good opinion and to convince him that I wished as much as possible to support the measures of Government, and do everything in my power for the good of His Majesty's service. I also thought it would give me an opportunity of convincing the people particularly under my charge that I wished to promote their temporal as well as their spiritual interest. These reasons I submit to the consideration of my friends. There are more than 1,000 persons whose complaints I have to attend to as a magistrate in the different settlements I visit. Some of my friends in England, before I left it, advised me much against acting as a magistrate. If they understood the real state of the Colony probably they would change their opinion.
"From the papers I have sent respecting the state of the settlers and the Governor's General Orders you will be able to see how low we are sunk in every vice. Should any material change take place in the Government of the Colony I should decline acting any longer. While the Government of the Colony continues the same as it is at present, and the Governor willing to lend his support to what is right and proper, I do not feel much uneasiness in doing the duty of a magistrate, and shall act in this capacity till I receive your answer.
"I am fully employed in one duty or another so as to have few idle moments. I have hardly time enough for the study of Divinity. There are no religious disputations in the Colony. We are not called upon to defend any particular points of doctrine, but to declare the plain and simple Gospel. This is easy to be done where the power of godliness is felt upon the soul.
"Mankind have no temptation to propagate any new religious tenets in this settlement. They cannot make a gain of godliness. Should any attempt to oppose the Gospel by disseminating error they would find none to espouse their cause except a few convicts, from whom they would derive no advantage, no emolument, and I am convinced, not many of them, all idea of religion being so very foreign to their thoughts. We shall never be involved in this Colony in any religious disputes till men can make something of religion and promote their own private interests by it. From this, Sir, you will perceive we are not pestered at all with any nonsense about any particular point of doctrine, but simply to preach repentance toward God and
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RELIGION AND MORALS IN THE COLONY
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I am often struck with astonishment to think that the same sermons our Lord delivered in Judea should at this period be published in New South Wales.
"If the gentlemen of the Elland Society had done no more than been the means of planting the Gospel in this distant part of the known world this noble action must redound to them with eternal honour. I have the strongest conviction of this in my own breast, and have the most exalted idea of the dignity of my own situation, and think it is lawful for me to glory in the Gospel of Christ. If I see my native country again it will be well; if I do not it will be the same. It is quite enough for me to know I am where God would have me be. I have no more doubt of this than of my own existence.
"It gives me great pleasure to be informed that the Society prospers so well, and promises to send forth so great a number of labourers in God's vineyard. I shall think myself highly honoured if the Society will admit me a subscribing member, and will thank you to present my most respectful compliments to the honourable members the first meeting of the Society after you receive my letter of my wish to become a subscribing member.
"If this meet the approbation of the Society you will have the goodness to put down my name for five guineas per annum, and draw for the sum upon my agent in London. The Rev. William Shepley can furnish you with my agent's address.
"With a view of giving you as full an idea of the real state of the settlement as possible, I have transmitted to you the principal part of the General Orders which His Excellency, Governor Hunter, has thought necessary to give since his arrival here. The perusal of these, together with the state of the settlers, will enable you to form some notion how we are situated.
"I have sent you by this conveyance a plank of wood, commonly called Cedar here. It grows at the Hawkesbury Settlement. It is used for tables, building, and almost any other purpose. You will be able to judge of its quality by this specimen. I hope we shall have wine by and by."
The second letter, dated Parramatta, September 17th, 1796, gives further information with regard to the state of the Colony:--
"I shall now transmit to you," Marsden wrote, "some account of our politics, religion, and cultivation, in order that you may form some idea of the circumstances of this Colony.
"First, Politics.--Our police has been very bad for a long time. From the time Governor Phillip left Port Jackson till Governor Hunter arrived, the Colony was under military law. The civil magistrates had nothing to do in regulating the internal government of the settlement. Major Grose who had the sole command being so very bad and licentious a character, opened a door to all kinds of immorality, irreligion, and idleness. Drunkenness and profaneness prevailed not only amongst the convicts but amongst all ranks and orders. I verily thought, from the contempt of God and religion and that countenance which was shown to unreasonable and wicked men, that some severe judgment would be inflicted upon us as a body of people by Divine Providence. The only consideration that checked these fears and apprehensions was that we were but an infant colony, and that I knew of no instance, either in sacred or profane history, where God had destroyed any people on their first establishment. Since Governor Hunter's arrival there has been a great struggle between the civil and military power.
"When Governor Hunter took the command he immediately put the Colony under Civil Government, and directed the different magistrates to do their duty as
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MARSDEN'S SENSE OF PUBLIC DUTY
formerly. He saw and lamented the dreadful state of disorder, licentiousness, idleness, and dissipation in which the whole Colony was sunk; at the same time he had little prospect from the officers in general of obtaining aid and assistance from them to enable him to reduce the Colony to any kind of order and subordination, and for this obvious reason--because it would militate against their own private interest. The greatest part of these officers sold spirituous liquors, and enriched themselves at the expense of the morals of the people--the more drunkenness the more money returned into their pockets. Governor Hunter's predecessor giving the convicts full liberty to absent themselves from Divine Worship and permission to spend the Sabbath day in any manner their passions excited them, gave a mortal blow to the morality and subordination of the people belonging to this settlement.
"Governor Hunter has hitherto had a very difficult task to perform--he has struggled hard to effect some change in the sentiments and conduct of the inhabitants in general, but has made little progress; yet I am fully convinced of his good intentions and that he will use his utmost endeavours to bring about a reformation. I have heard him repeatedly declare that if he had known the situation of the Colony when in England he would never have come to govern it. Several of the officers are returned to England by this conveyance, both civil and military.
"We have some prospect of our police growing better and not worse. The Governor, I am persuaded, will adopt such vigorous measures as will restrain, if not reform, the licentious principles of the people under his command. There will now be only four acting magistrates in the Colony--the principal surgeon and the Rev. Mr. Johnson at Sydney, the Judge Advocate 36 and myself at Parramatta and Hawkesbury. We are all unanimous, and shall have a great deal of power in our own hands, and hope, by uniting together and the Governor's support, to put a stop in some measure to the abounding of sin and immorality.
"The duty of a civil magistrate and clergyman may not appear compatible one with the other, and I am not without my doubts about it. But in the peculiar situation in which I am placed I conceive it my duty to act as a magistrate. The following are some of my reasons for it:--First, there is a great want of civil magistrates in the Colony--few that can do the duty of one. My second reason is the settlement is in a general state of distraction and confusion. A magistrate has it in his power to rectify many abuses in the place where he resides when properly supported in his duty by the superior powers. In hopes of contributing a little towards bringing the inhabitants of this settlement under some proper government and subordination, I accepted the office of a magistrate. A third reason was that such abuses and grievances as I might not have it in my power to rectify I would with propriety represent them to the Governor for his consideration. My last reason was it was the Governor's wish that I should act as a magistrate, and I did not feel myself at liberty to refuse him under the above circumstances. I shall be very glad to resign this duty when the circumstances of the Colony will allow me so to do, for it is very troublesome and occupies a good deal of my time.
"I believe nothing will contribute so much towards a reformation amongst the convicts as the establishment of a good police, which I hope at some future period to see accomplished. It may appear strange to the people of England to be informed that we have to this day neither granaries for our corn, prisons for offenders, no church nor school. These public necessary buildings never have been erected. A convict
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AGRICULTURE IN NEW SOUTH WALES
hut is almost now ready for me to preach in at Parramatta, the first building of any kind that has ever been appropriated for that sacred use here since I came to the Colony. Thus much of our political state.
"With respect to religion we are almost in the same state as when I sent my last letter. Appearances are not altogether so bad. The Governor attends regularly upon Divine Worship and pays a proper respect to the Sabbath day. But the people, from having had liberty to absent themselves from church for so long a time prior to Governor Hunter's arrival, show the greatest aversion to attend public worship. They wish to spend their Sabbaths as they formerly did, in idleness and drunkenness, and all manner of wickedness, and consider it a hardship to be prevented doing this. Bad customs are easily established, but are not so easily got the better of. I think Governor Hunter is laying the foundation for some reformation of morals, and I have not much doubt but he will be able in some measure soon to accomplish his wish. He has already prohibited such a large quantity of spirits to be landed as were formerly, which is one great step towards sobriety.
"I shall now give you a little account of cultivation, and I informed you in a former letter that this Colony would soon be independent of foreign countries for dry provisions, which is now actually the case. We have now the greatest abundance of wheat and Indian corn. There is at present in His Majesty's stores about 45,000 bushels of the above grain, and our wheat harvest will be in in about two months. We have a fine prospect of having very large crops next season, much more wheat than can possibly be consumed. The ground upon the banks of Hawkesbury, as well as in many other parts, is wonderfully fertile. A good settler may raise from 90 to 100 bushels of wheat and Indian corn per acre annually, as we have two crops in the year. I have seldom seen such crops of wheat in England as are grown at the Hawkesbury settlement. The number of acres in present cultivation, taking all the settlements into the account, are about 4,000, almost the whole in wheat. From this just statement of our dry provisions you will see, Sir, that we have bread enough, and to spare, and could easily maintain 2,000 more people, and want them very much.
"I think the settlement at the Hawkesbury is the most beautiful place I ever saw. You may walk ten or twelve miles on the banks of the finest river, all through fields of wheat. In this respect, instead of complaining of our situation, we ought to be thankful for the bounties of heaven. The meanest convicts experience no want or poverty; here all have plenty of the common necessaries.
"The following is an account of our live stock as near as I could obtain it:-- Horses and mares, 60; cows, bulls, and oxen, 120; sheep and goats, 3,000; hogs, 2,000 Geese, fowls, and ducks, numbers not known. My own stock consists of 2 mares, 2 cows, 49 goats, 16 sheep, 77 hogs. The present price of fresh meat is as follows:-- Mutton, 2s. 6d. per pound; pork, 1s. 3d.; fowls, 9s. each; geese, 15s. each, and some will sell at £1 5s. From this statement you will perceive fresh provisions are very high. Grain being so plentiful will in a little time reduce the price of fresh provisions, and make everything reasonable in the Colony.
"All foreign articles are very dear, such as tea, sugar, wine, spirits, and wearing apparel. An officer's pay would not maintain his family if he had no other advantages from Government; these we have more than what we might reasonably expect. Labour of every kind is also very high. A husbandman will earn from 5s. to 8s. per day in the field. The labour of mechanics of every sort is very expensive. This arises from the want of labouring people to do the necessary work of the settlement. Many hundred more hands could be well employed.
"I have now, Sir, given you some account of our present state, which may enable you to form some faint idea of our situation.
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AN ANSWER TO CERTAIN CALUMNIES
"The last May I was directed by His Excellency Governor Hunter to examine the state of the settlers in all the principal districts of the Colony, and to report to him the state of the different farms, and the private circumstances of the settlers as far as I could learn. Though it was not possible for one to obtain a true account of their private affairs, they were so much ashamed of their licentious conduct as not to give a just account of their debts. These debts were principally contracted for spirituous liquors, which were sold to them by those whose situation and rank in the Colony ought to have made them ashamed of such a trade, and sold with a view of obtaining from the poor settler his crop of wheat and Indian corn, which corn, when thus purchased, could immediately be sold to the Government at 500 or 600 per cent. This practice tended to ruin totally the industry and circumstances of the inconsiderate settlers; the morals of the people were sacrificed to the sale of a few bottles of spirits. In short, the peace, prosperity, and happiness of His Majesty's settlement fell a victim to the avarice of a few individuals.
"His Excellency was convinced that this was the case, and, with a view to learn the true state of the Colony and to prevent such abuses in future, he directed such an examination to be made as mentioned above.
It is evident, therefore, that Marsden's friends entirely approved of his conduct. Many years later, when compelled to reply to various public attacks upon his general character and demeanour, Marsden defended himself with considerable vigour in his pamphlet published in London in 1826, An Answer to Certain Calumnies in the late Governor Macquarie's Pamphlet and the Third Edition of Mr. Wentworth's Account of Australasia. 37Answering the charge that he had neglected his spiritual duties owing to his interest in agriculture, he said:--
"General Grose was convinced that unless some vigorous measures were adopted to bring a certain portion of land into cultivation the Colony could not exist. . . . The Rev. R. Johnson, the chaplain of the regiment, and myself thought it right to accept the Governor's offer, and had each a grant of 100 acres in common with the other officers, which we immediately began to clear and bring into cultivation. . . . I did not consider myself in the same situation, in a temporal point of view, as a clergyman in England. My situation at that period would bear no such comparison. A clergyman in England lives in the very bosom of his friends; his comforts and his conveniences are all within his reach, and he has nothing to do but to feed his flock. On the contrary I entered the country when it was in a state of nature, and was obliged to plant and sow or starve. It was not from inclination that my colleague and I took the axe, the spade, and the hoe; we could not from our situation help ourselves by any other means, and we thought it no disgrace to labour. St. Paul's own hands ministered to his wants in a cultivated nation, and our hands ministered to our wants in an uncultivated one. If this is cast on me as a shame and a reproach, I cheerfully bear it, for the remembrance of it never gives me any pain or remorse. It has even been the opinion of those who have had the best means of information that if General Grose had not adopted this wise, humane, and effective measure, or if the officers had not seconded his liberal views with their best exertions, the inhabitants must have perished from want."
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A LEADER IN AGRICULTURE
The farm which Marsden thus cultivated was situated at the North Bush, about seven miles north-west of Parramatta. 38 Peron, 39 who visited the farm in 1802 and was most hospitably received by Marsden, states that this flourishing farm then consisted of 650 acres, 103 being in cultivation, and that, in addition to sheep, its stock consisted of 26 cattle and 10 horses, with 30 pigs and 10 goats. In an excellent garden grew most of the common English fruit trees. The visitor was astonished that such a short time should have sufficed to cut a flourishing farm out of the primeval eucalyptus forest and wild bush. This land was farmed with the aid of the ten convicts who were now assigned to him. 40
Progress came rapidly, and by 1804 Marsden was farming 1,720 acres and owned 1,200 sheep in addition to other stock. 41 He had already earned a reputation as a leader in agriculture, and was acknowledged to have conferred incalculable benefits upon the young community by his leadership in this direction. It was thus that, with Captain John Macarthur of the New South Wales Corps, he held place as "the Father of the Colony," and was honoured for his work in the introduction and development of the great wool-growing industry. 42 All recognised that Marsden's interest in agriculture was of the utmost value to the Colony, and Mr. John Thomas Bigge in his Report of 1823 to the British House of Commons was careful to point out that Marsden's activities in this direction had in no wise interfered with his performance of his clerical duties. They had been forced upon him, Bigge declared, by the primitive state of the Colony, and had, in any case, afforded "more occupation to his time than augmentation to his income." 43
As a civil magistrate Marsden had tasks much less congenial than those provided by the superintendence of the work of his farm. He had to administer the brutal penal code of the settlement and was stern and severe, if just, in his dispensing of punishment, a man of his times
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THE ORPHANAGE AT PARRAMATTA
in his belief in the deterrent influence of the lash, grimly courageous in his resolute determination to uphold the law, upon the maintenance of which he and those associated with him held that the safety of all in the settlement depended. Thus, when in the spring of 1800 measures were taken against the Irish political prisoners who were rumoured to be plotting an insurrection, Marsden sanctioned proceedings of the most brutally severe type, ordering the flogging of a young Irishman, Paddy Galvin, who refused to give the desired information as to where the pikes were hid which the magistrates had learned had been manufactured for the revolutionaries, and who, it is satisfactory to note, persisted in his refusal in spite of the 300 lashes he received. 44 All that can be said with regard to this and similar incidents is that Marsden followed the ordinary code of his day, and that if the punishment meted out to the suspected rebels was severe "it was certainly not more so than that which they would have experienced in any other part of the civilised world." 45 Marsden had public opinion behind him, and upon taking in 1807 his first furlough from New South Wales was presented with a public address, signed by more than three hundred persons of standing who testified to his "pious, humane, and exemplary conduct, in the various and arduous situations, in and throughout this whole Colony, as a minister of the Gospel, superintending magistrate, inspector of public orphan and charity schools, and other necessary offices." "Your sanctity, philanthropy, and disinterested character," the address concluded, "will ever remain an example to future ministers." 46
Whatever satisfaction, however, Marsden had in the knowledge that as a magistrate he had performed his duty without flinching from unpleasant tasks, he must have found much more pleasure in the duties devolving upon him in connection with the female orphanage at Parramatta, which was one of the earliest institutions founded by Captain King upon his succeeding Hunter as Governor in 1800. A man of philanthropic ideas, King was shocked at the fact that nearly 400 children in the Colony were homeless, these being, for the most part, the illegitimate offspring of dissolute and abandoned parents. The orphanage which already existed at Sydney could accommodate only one hundred children, and Marsden gladly accepted the suggestion of King that another home for two hundred children should be built at Parramatta and himself became the permanent treasurer and most active member of the governing committee. 47
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THE ASSISTANT CHAPLAINS
The orphanage, at Arthur's Hill, near Parramatta, was erected upon a block of 1,500 acres, granted by Governor King to three persons in trust for the support and education of female orphan children. Begun in September, 1815, the building was not completed until June, 1818. Marsden had been entrusted with the general supervision of the work of erection but had found himself hampered by lack of funds, difficulties in obtaining workmen, and the irregular conduct of those who were employed. In addition to the actual work of building, he had undertaken the dividing and fencing of the adjoining land and had made some attempt to have the ground cleared for cultivation, although many persons of experience thought that the land would not repay the necessary expense. Already by 1823, when Mr. John Thomas Bigge sailed for England, plans were under consideration "for the improvement and extension of the principal building, as well as the offices, which were both inconvenient and ill-constructed." 48
While his multifarious secular interests thus occupied him Marsden faithfully attended to his clerical duties, working single-handed after the departure of Johnson until he was relieved to some extent by the arrival, in 1810, as the result of his earnest representations, of two other ministers, the Revs. William Cowper and Robert Cartwright. 49
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OLD ST. JOHN'S, PARRAMATTA
Believing, as he did, that the one hope for the regeneration of the Colony lay in the religious education of the young, Marsden had always taken it that the training of youth was an essential part of his clerical duties. He was thus attracted to the Sunday School movement inaugurated at the end of the eighteenth century by Robert Raikes of Gloucester, and in 1815, upon his return from his first New Zealand voyage, opened a Sunday School at Parramatta, the first Sunday School in Australia. In this work he was assisted by the Rev. Thomas Hassall and a young man called Henry Byrnes. Success came rapidly, the value of the new organisation being quickly recognised, and when the Rev. Daniel Tyerman and Mr. George Bennet, the deputies of the London Missionary Society, inspected Marsden's Sunday School at Parramatta on December 20th, 1824, they found 110 children of both sexes under instruction and were impressed with the character-building influences which were thus being exerted upon the future citizens of the Colony. 50 Marsden's enthusiasm for this work among the young remained constant throughout his life. "The Church Sunday School," wrote the Rev. William Woolls in 1844, "was, for many years, a most useful and flourishing institution in Parramatta, and at one period it numbered no less than 150 children on its books." 51
Marsden had also the satisfaction of being the main instrument in the building at Parramatta of a church which should be worthy of a growing and populous district. The foundation stone of Old St. John's, Parramatta, the first brick church built in Australia, was laid on April 5th, 1797, although the work was not completed until April, 1803, when on Easter Sunday Marsden himself conducted the service of consecration. 52 The small church, which accommodated a congregation of some 400 persons, was visited in 1822 by Bigge, the House of Commons commissioner, who thought the congregation at Parramatta "more respectable and attentive than at the other places of worship." Marsden had evidently, with his customary energy, devoted great attention to the details of the service and Bigge found the choral parts of the service "admirably performed" by singers, some of whom were free men, others convicts. All had been taught "under the direction of Mr. Marsden." 53
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MISSIONS IN THE PACIFIC
Educational institutions of every type also found in him an enthusiastic supporter and advocate. He entered into every scheme that promised to benefit the children both of the settlers and of the aborigines, and was himself the founder in 1815 of the Seminary at Parramatta for Maoris which he so often mentions in his correspondence.
A letter dated October 25th, 1815, announced to the secretary of the Church Missionary Society the decision arrived at by Marsden and his colleagues in New South Wales, at a meeting held in the parsonage house, Parramatta, that in the interests of the New Zealand Mission the Parramatta Seminary should be established. In this letter Marsden clearly set forth the advantages which were expected to accrue from the Seminary:--
"After mature deliberation," he wrote, 54 "we are unanimously of opinion that New Zealand opens a large and promising field for missionary labours, that the inhabitants are a noble and intelligent race, and prepared to receive the blessings of civilization and the knowledge of the Christian religion; and it is also our opinion that their improvement and civilization can best be promoted by keeping up a regular communication with New Zealand, and introducing the chiefs into civil society at Port Jackson, which can only be done by maintaining a vessel for that purpose. The vessel will be necessary for the comfort of the settlers of New Zealand, and also for their protection from the natives and runaway convicts and sailors who are put on shore by the masters of whalers and other vessels. We also fully accord with the Society that the civilization and general improvement of the New Zealanders would be greatly promoted by forming a small establishment in this Colony for their instruction in some of the simple arts, such as spinning and weaving their native flax, manufacturing it into twine and cordage; and in blacksmith's work and agriculture. Such an establishment, independent of promoting the civilization of the New Zealanders, would afford a certain pledge for the safety of the settlers at New Zealand, as the natives who would be instructed under the patronage of this institution would either be the sons of chiefs or their near relations, and would also accommodate such chiefs as may from time to time visit Port Jackson in the Active, where they would be kindly treated and protected from insult during the time the vessel remains in the harbour, which will tend to enlarge their ideas, remove their prejudices, and excite in them a thirst for useful knowledge. The annual expense of such an establishment at present for the hire of the necessary buildings, tools, overseer's wages, the support of the natives, and other conveniences, we estimated at £200 per annum. Under these impressions we have resolved to form the establishment immediately on the Society's account, and to receive into it such New Zealanders as are at present in the Colony."
While upon Marsden there thus devolved duties which would have more than sufficed to occupy the whole attention of the ordinary individual, he had, almost from the date of his arrival in New South Wales, found an interest beyond the confines of the Colony in the Protestant missionary movement in the Pacific, which began with the despatch by the London Missionary Society on August 10th, 1796, of the Duff, with twenty-nine missionaries, five of whom were accompanied by their wives. These took up their residence in the Marquesas and Friendly Islands and at Tahiti. Little judgment, however, had been shown
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THE REFUGEES FROM TAHITI
by the inexperienced directors of the Society in choosing their agents, few of whom had the necessary training and education, while some lacked the moral qualities that would have enabled them to withstand the temptations to which they were subjected and none were properly supported by the Society which had sent them out. It is not astonishing, therefore, that the first efforts of this band of missionaries met with little success. The majority of those stationed at Tahiti remained only till March, 1798, when, fearing that they would perish in the course of the native wars that were raging, eleven missionaries, with four women and four children, were glad to take passage for Sydney in the Nautilus, a small trading vessel which had put into the island for repairs, only five or six electing to remain. After a perilous voyage of seven weeks the refugees, in May, 1798, reached Sydney where they received every assistance, being welcomed in particular by Governor Hunter and his two chaplains. 55
Among those who thus arrived in New South Wales was a child of four named Thomas Hassall, son of Rowland Hassall the most distinguished of the former missionaries who became settlers in the young Colony. Twenty-four years later Thomas Hassall, now a young clergyman, regarded by Marsden as "his Timothy," married Marsden's eldest daughter.
"The Rev. Mr. Hassall is well and promises to be a very faithful and useful minister of the Gospel," Marsden wrote upon this occasion, "He was married to my oldest daughter about a month ago. As they are both pious, and have for years walked in the fear of God, I hope they will be a blessing to the Colony when my labours are ended. Mr. Hassall has not got any appointment in the Colony as yet, though many situations are in want of a clergyman. He preaches in different places without reward. I want an assistant very much myself, but I fear Government will not allow me one. I have three services on the Sabbath besides surplice duties. Parramatta is a populous district, and I am now advancing in years. However, in the midst of all, good is done. A generation is rising up to serve the Lord. It is no small satisfaction to me when I see my son-in-law and my daughter ready to take my place, should I be removed. I do feel the strongest persuasion that the poor heathen nations scattered over the islands in the South Seas will receive the blessings of salvation from this Colony." 56
Almost two years later, in June, 1824, Marsden was able to tell his English correspondent, the Rev. Josiah Pratt, that Hassall had been appointed one of the chaplains of the Colony and was to be stationed at the principal penal settlement, Port Macquarie, where there were "nearly two thousand souls, the greatest part of them felons sent for recent offences from different parts of the Colony." 57
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GOVERNOR WILLIAM BLIGH
Another of the refugees from Tahiti who was destined to play an outstanding part in the mission in New Zealand whose interests Marsden so carefully tended, was a carpenter named William Puckey. He himself accompanied Marsden in some portions of his first New Zealand journeys: his son, William G. Puckey, earned distinction as a Maori scholar and translator of the Scriptures. 58
This sympathetic intercourse with the unfortunate missionaries from the South Seas was the starting point of that interest in mission work in the southern Pacific which dominated Marsden's mind throughout the rest of his life. The committee of the London Missionary Society, grateful for the assistance rendered in the hour of catastrophe and recognising the strength of his character and the practical bent of his mind, turned to him for advice with regard to future operations in the South Seas and placed their agents under his competent guidance and control. In 1801, therefore, Marsden became the recognised correspondent and adviser of the London Missionary Society in relation to its Tahitian Mission, 59 and, with entire freedom from sectarian feeling, was henceforth the guardian of the Pacific interests of a missionary body which was largely controlled by dissenters. The effect of this intercourse with the committee of the London Missionary Society and its agents had far-reaching results, since Marsden, as a natural consequence, soon conceived the desire that his own Church should play a part in missionary work in the Pacific and was led, by his increasing interest in the Maoris, to regard New Zealand as the stage on which that part should be played.
While Marsden thus became absorbed in his many interests the spiritual and political condition of the settlement remained unchanged. In August, 1806, Governor King was succeeded in office by Captain William Bligh of the Royal Navy, famed as having sailed with Captain Cook on his last voyage, as the introducer of the bread-fruit tree into the West Indies, and as the commander of the mutineers of the Bounty. His qualities of courage and determination seemed to fit him for the part of Governor in a colony where so many moral evils had to be fought, and he approached his task with the resolve that he would end the obnoxious traffic in spirits and raise the moral and religious tone of the settlement. The aim of his reforms sufficed in itself to render him obnoxious to the military chiefs of the Colony; his high-handed and uncompromising methods roused them to fury. Marsden, though a whole-hearted supporter of the principles that actuated the Governor, saw that his unyielding, tactless policy must ultimately result in a political crisis in which all who stood with him must be involved. To Marsden's mind it was evident that the situation could best be met if he or some other competent person were to journey to England and explain the position to the British Government He had lived under the most depressing circumstances for twelve years and had long desired to take a furlough, one chief aim being that he might represent his ideas with regard to a New Zealand mission to the Home authorities. It seemed to him that the psychological moment had arrived to press his case.
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MARSDEN VISITS ENGLAND
A clergyman named Fulton, an Irish political offender who had been permitted by Governor King to resume his ministerial duties and was now living at Norfolk Island, had undertaken to act as his substitute in New South Wales. 60 The Buffalo, with Governor King on board, was about to sail for England. In short, as Marsden somewhat naively puts it, all the circumstances seemed to be "a highly favourable dispensation of Providence towards myself at that time, being aware that a great political storm was fast gathering in the Colony in which, if I remained, I could not well avoid being involved; and to gratify my earnest desire of having the Gospel preached at New Zealand, as well as to secure my own quiet, I was most anxious to quit the Colony without delay, lest I should be prevented from proceeding on the design I had formed." 61
In applying for leave to the Governor, Marsden frankly stated his opinion with regard to the critical state of the Colony and met with the reply from Bligh that "he fully relied on His Majesty's commission, conceiving that such an authority would perfectly secure him from danger." Marsden, with clearer insight, perceiving "so many among the rising generation who were strangers to the fear of God, could not believe they would honour the commands of the King." Bligh, however, gave him the permission he desired and in February, 1807, Marsden, with his wife and family, set sail for England, where he arrived in the following November, to make a stay of fourteen months. 62
On January 26th, 1808, sixteen months after Bligh's assumption of office and almost a year after Marsden's departure, the storm which the latter had predicted burst with full fury, Bligh being arrested and deposed by Major George Johnston of the New South Wales Corps, who then assumed the acting-governorship. As a sequel Johnston was cashiered, while Bligh was superseded by Lieutenant-Colonel Macquarie of the 73rd Highlanders (now the Second Battalion of the Black Watch) who arrived at Port Jackson with his regiment in December, 1809. He ruled the Colony until November, 1821, when Sir Thomas Brisbane succeeded him.
Meanwhile Marsden was devoting time and attention in England to bringing before the proper authorities questions prompted by his long residence in New South Wales. Anxious, for example, that a proper asylum should be provided for the reception of women convicts, he pleaded their case with Colonial officials and the Archbishop of Canterbury. 63 Representing, again, the need for more ministers of religion in New South Wales, he succeeded in inducing the Revs. William Cowper
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and Robert Cartwright to devote themselves to the work of the Church in the Colony. 64 Marsden found in these men colleagues of the best type who eased considerably the burden he had so long borne alone.
Marsden, however, considered it the crowning achievement of his stay in England that he had succeeded in persuading the Church Missionary Society to allow him to undertake the New Zealand mission, the idea of which he had so long cherished, and that there sailed with him in the Ann for New South Wales on August 25th, 1809, two artisan missionaries, William Hall of Carlisle, a carpenter, and John King, of Nether Worton, near Bunbury, a flax dresser, twine spinner, and rope-maker, who had decided to dedicate themselves as missionaries to the Maoris and who had been given a free passage to Port Jackson "on condition of their rendering all needful help during the voyage." The Committee had been anxious that a third man, a blacksmith, should accompany the party, but was unable to find a suitable person with the desired qualification. 65
Marsden himself during his stay in England had astonished his friends by his enthusiasm for the cause of the Church in the antipodes which prompted him to sacrifice personal comfort and undertake long and tiresome journeys "on merely hearing of something which might probably be turned to the benefit of the outcasts in Botany Bay or of the rude inhabitants of New Zealand." To interview King, for example, he was compelled to travel nearly the whole distance from Hull to London on the outside of a coach, in a heavy fall of snow, since no inside place was available. But he arrived happy in having accomplished his object and secured his man, declaring that he felt no inconvenience from his journey and making light of fatigue and cold to his friend Dr. John Mason Good. 66
While working thus for the future of New Zealand Marsden had not forgotten his duty to the New South Wales settlement. He had succeeded in interesting his friends and the general public in his project of founding a lending library for the use of soldiers, free settlers, and convicts, and had received so many donations that he was able to take back with him a library of between three and four hundred pounds value. 67 A practical agriculturist and sheep farmer, he had sent wool of his own growing to Leeds and had found that, "taken in the gross, unmixed and unselected," it produced a cloth which was "at least equal, and in the opinion of the manufacturers, superior, to that of the best French looms." Men like Sir Joseph Banks were quick to perceive
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AN APPRECIATION OF MARSDEN
that the incident was full of meaning for the future of Australia and of the Empire. The King himself seized the occasion to show his interest in the promotion of the Australian woolgrowing industry and upon Marsden's departure from England in 1809 made a present to the Colony of "five Merino ewes with young," requesting Banks to have them shipped on the Ann so that they might be in the chaplain's care during the voyage. In obedience to the royal command, Sir Joseph made the journey to Portsmouth with all speed, arriving just in time to put the animals on board before the ship sailed. 68 Four of these sheep, with two lambs, safely reached their destination. 69
The variety of Marsden's interests and his zeal for everything that might advance the spiritual and material prosperity of his fellows left an abiding impression upon his English friends, and Dr. Good, at whose house in London he had been a frequent visitor, summed up his appreciation of his character and activities in words which bear witness to the enthusiasm roused by the man in the minds of those among his contemporaries who were his intimates: "At this moment, Mr. Marsden is on his passage--in humility a child, in vigour of mind and benevolence an angel, full of enterprise for the good of mankind, and especially of his native country, and full of faith and reliance on the Divine promises. . . Unborn empires are dependent on his exertions, and his name will be the theme of the new world, as long as there is a heart to feel reverence or a tongue to utter praise." 70
Marsden's New Zealand letters and journals which follow, give a full account of the genesis of the Maori Mission and of the work undertaken in New Zealand by Marsden on behalf of the Church Missionary Society. They cover a period of twenty-three years, from 1814 to 1837, during which Marsden made seven visits to New Zealand. The first memorable voyage in the Active was made in 1814 when he was already in his fiftieth year, the seventh and last in 1837 when he had reached the age of seventy-two and was in failing health. 71 His first visit was made as a pioneer of Christianity and as an explorer and observer on behalf of civilisation He was able to return to New South Wales after some two months, satisfied that the New Zealand Mission had been established and that he himself on Christmas Day, 1814, had
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THE NEW ZEALAND MISSION
been privileged to conduct, at the Bay of Islands, the first Christian Service held on New Zealand soil. Subsequent visits proved necessary when Marsden as supervisor of the Mission was compelled to investigate and correct the conduct of erring missionaries, for in its early stages the Mission was the cause of much anxiety, not because of the hostility of the natives but because of the unworthiness of some of the missionaries. 72 From each visit, in spite of all difficulties, Marsden returned refreshed and comforted, glad to have had an opportunity of supporting and encouraging both the men who stood steadfast amid temptation and the natives who appreciated the benefits conferred upon their country by the presence of those teachers of religion and civilization, and full of enthusiasm over the contributions he had succeeded in making to geographical and ethnological knowledge. The Mission superintendent and explorer displayed that same fearlessness and unflinching devotion to duty that had distinguished his conduct in New South Wales. He did not shrink from the uncongenial task of disciplining and dismissing his erring brethren when that extreme step proved necessary. As he had been the consistent antagonist in New South Wales of the private trade in spirits, so in New Zealand he set himself against the trade in powder and muskets which some of the missionaries declared to be necessary if they were to obtain provisions from the Maoris and visiting whalers and traders. As in New South Wales again, he found many, both among his missionary agents and the Maoris, who chafed against the restrictions imposed upon them by this stern disciplinarian and who resented his uncompromising methods and sturdy downrightness. He sympathised with human weakness but refused to condone the offence which must ruin the Mission. Thus Thomas Kendall, who, as teacher and lay missionary had led the pioneering expedition of 1814 73 and had been regarded as the most promising of the servants of the Society in New Zealand, was removed in 1823, along with the Rev. John Butler, the New Zealand Superintendent of the Mission. The immorality of the former and various faults in the character and temper of the latter rendered their continuance in office undesirable, in Marsden's view, if the Mission were to prosper 74 At the same time, with a British sense of justice, he moved in these matters only with the concurrence of the Committee of missionaries at the Bay of Islands who knew all the facts of the case, and, in the true spirit of Christian forbearance, befriended both Kendall and Butler, as far as they would allow him to do so, when they reached New South Wales. It is a tribute to the justice of his methods and the wisdom of his conduct that, to the end of his life, his most loyal supporter and warmest friend in New Zealand was the Rev. Henry Williams, who, as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, had learned to appreciate the necessity for discipline and obedience to orders.
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THE BURDEN OF MANY INTERESTS
In his conduct upon the New Zealand stage Marsden displayed in outstanding degree not only moral courage but physical courage. To undertake long journeys by sea in small sailing vessels, as he did repeatedly, was in itself a trial to one who was by no means a good sailor. His exploration in northern New Zealand of remote regions inhabited by warlike cannibals the majority of whom had never before seen a white man, proved him absolutely fearless, and gained for him the abiding admiration of the Maori warriors who regarded courage as the essential virtue in man.
As an explorer and observer of native customs Marsden also ranks high on account of his keenly sympathetic mind and great tolerance and breadth of view, rare in a man of his age and especially in one bred in the narrow tenets of the evangelical faith. This sympathy with the native race, further, made him almost insensibly a pioneer of Empire in New Zealand, since his desire to protect the Maoris, whom he respected and loved, from the depredations of lawless Europeans convinced him, at an early stage in his study of New Zealand conditions, that the developing situation demanded the active intervention of the British Government. 75 Marsden lived to see the appointment in New Zealand of a representative of Britain whose main support, as he ungrudgingly acknowledged, was the missionaries, the effect of whose work was seen not so much in conversions to Christianity, though these were many, as in the changing attitude of the native mind towards the old savage customs and particularly towards the devastating internecine warfare that had so long been their main interest. 76
The chiefs themselves play a distinguished part in the drama unfolded in these journals. Ruatara, Hongi, and Te Morenga, in particular, are dominating figures--Ruatara, the first protector of the New Zealand Mission, whose early death in 1815 sorely tried Marsden's faith; Hongi, the cruel, subtle warrior who preserved the Mission that he might not lose the advantages which the contact with Europeans conferred upon him; and Te Morenga, Marsden's fidus Achates, his companion in many journeys, from whose lips he learned much that he wrote with regard to Maori tradition and customs and to whom, therefore, are due in great measure the comments of Marsden upon ethnological matters that give his journals their unique value.
Marsden's interest, indeed, in the Maoris and their country was so great and his New Zealand correspondence so voluminous as almost to obscure the fact that the writer's main occupation lay in New South
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STRAINED RELATIONS WITH GOVERNOR MACQUARIE
Wales, and that the burden involved in the general supervision of the New Zealand Mission was undertaken by one who was already a prime mover in every benevolent scheme established in his own country and who, moreover, worked continually under the handicap imposed by criticism and frequent hostility from those in high places. His relations with the upright but arbitrary Governor Macquarie 77 were frequently strained. Neither man was of the type to suffer opposition with equanimity. In particular Marsden found himself at variance with the Governor when the latter attempted to break down the social prejudices against the emancipists and appointed some of them to the magistrates' bench, and matters reached the stage of open rupture when he refused to accept the Governor's order to act as one of the Commissioners of the Public Roads along with these men. 78 "It was not my objection to obey the Governor's order that gave him such infinite offence," Marsden wrote, "but my not approving of his system of policy in making persons magistrates who had been under the sentence of the law, by objecting to be associated with them in public business. The Governor considered it was my duty to do whatsoever he commanded; and I thought I was bound to respect my sacred office; and on this point we differed."
Mr. John Thomas Bigge, the British House of Commons Commissioner, was inclined to think that Marsden was fully justified in his attitude with regard to this matter. Marsden based his objection to the appointment of emancipists as magistrates not so much upon the fact that they had been convicts as upon the immorality of their private lives. "The notoriety of that fact," writes Bigge, "does appear to me to have justified Mr. Marsden's refusal to be associated with them in the management of the public roads; a duty which would necessarily bring them much together and which might have the effect of showing to the colony that Mr. Marsden associated with them from choice as well as from duty." Summing up the matter Bigge found in Macquarie's conduct an exhibition of his habitual determination of mind. The system which he refused to relinquish was "recommended more by motives of humanity than of reason and as new as it was hazardous in practice." In the language used by Marsden to the Governor, again, Bigge found "that same undaunted and inflexible spirit that he afterwards displayed whenever an attempt was made to do violence to his feelings or to wound his character." 79
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THE "PHILO FREE" LIBEL
Marsden's relations with the Governor were further embittered when, despairing of securing the interest of the New South Wales authorities in his repeated proposals that, in the interests of morality and ordinary humanity, accommodation should be found for the numerous convicts, and especially women convicts, who were at large during the night in Parramatta, 80 he sent a copy of his correspondence with the Governor on this subject to England, and secured the consideration of the matter by a select committee of the House of Commons appointed to examine into various subjects connected with gaols and transportation. 81 Macquarie resented Marsden's action. Marsden, for his part, never regretted the stand he had taken; "I am to this day satisfied," he wrote in his pamphlet of 1826, "that I did no more than my public duty, in forwarding such memorial to the executive authority, to make some provision to counteract the overwhelming influence of public crime." 82
The breach thus created between the Governor of New South Wales and his Senior Chaplain was considerably widened by the animosity towards Marsden displayed by Macquarie's secretary, John Thomas Campbell, who on January 4th, 1817, wrote and published above the pseudonym of "Philo Free" in the Sydney Gazette, the official organ of the Government, a letter which denounced "the Christian Mahomet" who, under the cloak of religion, supplied the natives of the South Seas with spirits, muskets, and powder, seeking both pecuniary profit and the glory attaching to the "evangelizing hero."
The Governor publicly, in the Gazette, disclaimed any knowledge of Campbell's proceedings in the matter but retained Campbell in his service. Marsden, taking it to be his duty to vindicate both his own character and that of the Missions which he represented, proceeded against Campbell on a charge of malicious libel. 83 After a three days' trial, from October 21st to 23rd, 1817, the Criminal Court at Sydney found Campbell "guilty of having permitted a public letter to be printed
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SAMUEL MARSDEN IN 1808
Engraved by James Fittler (1758-1835)
Associate Royal Academy
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RESIGNATION FROM THE MAGISTRACY
in the Sydney Gazette which tended to vilify the public conduct of Mr. Marsden, the prosecutor, as the agent of the Missionary Societies for propagating the Gospel in the South Seas." Dissatisfied with this verdict and with the garbled account of the trial which appeared in the Sydney Gazette of November 1st, 1817, Marsden carried the matter to the Supreme Court where, on December 1st, a verdict was given in his favour, damages being fixed at £200. 84 Marsden, however, felt little elation at his triumph, and, in view of the Governor's attitude of suspicion and hostility towards him, would willingly have left the Colony had that course been possible.
"My situation is trying in the extreme," he wrote to the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society on February 12th, 1818. "I have no inducement to remain an hour in this settlement, excepting my wish to promote the good of the natives of the South Sea Islands, and for their sakes I would willingly make great sacrifices. I should consider it one of the happiest days of my life could I leave the Colony and retire to New Zealand under the present Government. . . . Should any circumstance occur to require my leaving the Colony, I shall endeavour to make every arrangement in my power before my departure for carrying on the settlement in New Zealand. The work there will go on well, I have no doubt in my mind. I am anxious to visit them again, and have been strongly tempted to leave the Colony from the difficulties of my situation, without giving any motive, and take up my residence amongst them till times change, and I sometimes think I have Scripture warrant for this--'When ye are persecuted in one city, flee ye to another!' Time may bring relief." 85
The situation, however, changed only for the worse. Marsden aroused the displeasure of the Governor further by refusing to read his General Orders on civil affairs from the pulpit, and by declining to obey in its entirety the order to muster the convicts on Sundays, unless it were possible for them to attend Divine service. He held that their coming together in large numbers proved only an occasion for such drunkenness and license as had not been foreseen when the order was issued. After several stormy interviews he tendered his resignation from the magistracy, and in the Gazette of March 28th, 1818, the Governor announced that his services in that capacity were dispensed with. 86
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COMMISSIONER BIGGE IN NEW SOUTH WALES
Marsden explained the event to the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society in a letter dated May 1st, 1818:--
"In consequence of the many indignities I received in every possible way, I requested His Excellency to allow me to resign my office as magistrate at Parramatta. To this the Governor replied he could not allow me to resign, my services were too beneficial to the public. However, I was resolved the next insults I received from the Governor, as a magistrate, I would retire from the Bench and act no longer. An opportunity soon occurred, when I immediately sent the Governor my resignation, informing him I would act no longer. In the next Gazette the Governor published a General Order stating that he had dispensed with my services, endeavouring to impress upon the public mind that he had dismissed me, and that is the reward I have got for many a weary day and sleepless night during a period of twenty years. I merely mention this as some of my friends, on reading the Governor's order, might be induced to think I had done something for which the Governor had dismissed me from the office of the magistracy. This was wholly an act of my own. I resigned my office in order that I might be more independent of the Governor and less exposed to insult and vexation. His Excellency would not allow me to resign, but I had no idea of remaining in an office merely to be insulted and annoyed. The more retired from public affairs, and public men, the happier and safer I shall be." 87
Something of the impression produced upon Marsden by these events is reflected in a further letter written on August 12th, 1818, to the Secretary:--
"As all friendly communication between me and the Governor has been cut off for a long time," he wrote "I can hope for no indulgence from him, but on the contrary every possible annoyance. His secretary is his confidential adviser, and a greater enemy, in my opinion, never existed to the Gospel of our blessed Lord. That you will see from the libel. When he was bold enough to publish that libel in the Sydney Gazette you will easily conceive what his private conduct will be and that he will lose no means to wound and injure the servants of Jesus. The enemy has gained no point. All has yet turned out to his confusion and shame. It is true I am by the same influence kept in the Colony much against my will, and I must submit to the authority over me. Many of my friends advise me to leave the Colony in opposition to the Governor, as I am willing to give up my public situation, but this I will not do. I have committed no offence, and I will not run away but stand my ground till I am relieved, as I think this will be more becoming my sacred character and in the end tend to still the enemy." 88
Early in the following year, 1819, events occurred in England which must have done much to raise Marsden from his depression. A committee of the House of Commons was appointed to investigate the whole subject of prisons, with which the question of the situation at Botany Bay was closely connected, while a commissioner, a London barrister, J. T. Bigge, was sent out to New South Wales to enquire into all matters relating to the laws and regulations of the settlement. 89 Marsden's reputation was much enhanced by the work of this Committee.
"Be assured of this," Mr. T. F. Buxton, one of its members, wrote to him, "you have friends in the Committee who will guard your reputation as if it were their own. Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Bennett, and myself all feel that it is with us a matter of sacred
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THE DOUGLASS CASE
duty to protect you from that gross injustice to which you have hitherto been exposed. I value my situation as a member of that Committee upon many grounds, but upon none more than that it has enabled me in some small measure to befriend and to console a worthy man who has almost been weighed down by arrogant oppressors. And I do feel a degree of just indignation against those who have inflicted so much suffering upon one whose motives and conduct have been so pure and exemplary, which will forbid me to abandon your cause."
This heartening news was followed by a letter from the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, the Rev. Josiah Pratt, in which he begged Marsden not to quit his important post.
"Mr. Buxton and all your friends," he wrote, "think it would be the wisest course, independently of those considerations which might be urged on other grounds, not to notice any insults which may be offered you. These cannot be much longer continued."
Acting upon the advice of his friends, Marsden retained his position in the hope that a change of regime would soon occur, taking care, as he notes, to act in all his public conduct "with more marked attention than if no differences had ever existed." 90 The change he desired took place on November 6th, 1821, when Sir Thomas Brisbane reached New South Wales as successor to Macquarie. 91 Marsden's trials did not cease with the advent of the new Governor, although he was not inclined to blame Brisbane personally for the storms that raged around him. He considered Brisbane, indeed, one who was too much inclined to be influenced by others and who was thus scarcely strong enough for his task. "Sir Thomas," he wrote on August 5th, 1825, to the Rev. Josiah Pratt, "is a very amiable private character, but as a public man he is not equal to the important duties he has to perform as Governor, and his situation is far from being pleasant to him."
Brisbane had not been a year in the Colony before he was called upon to take action with regard to the charge against a friend of his own, Dr. H. G. Douglass, Superintendent of the Female Factory at Parramatta. Marsden had already been reappointed to the magistracy 92 and was one of the magistrates before whom Douglass was called to
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THE CASE OF JAMES RING
appear at Parramatta and who, upon his failure to do so, informed the Governor that they would no longer recognise him as a magistrate and would not act along with him. Along with his four colleagues, therefore, Marsden was removed by Brisbane from the magistracy. "As I had consented to act as a magistrate at the Governor's solicitation to meet his wishes only," was his comment to the Secretary of the Society, "it is a matter of gratification to me that I am relieved of that duty, as I wish to have nothing to do with the political state of the Colony." 93 He had thus, however, estranged the Governor and at the same time made for himself a powerful enemy in Douglass, who, early in 1825, became Clerk to the Governor's Council in New South Wales. 94
The echoes of the Douglass case had scarcely faded when Marsden, in 1823, was fined £10 2s. 6d.--2s. 6d. for every day on which the alleged offence had been committed--on a charge of having permitted his assigned servant, James Ring, to employ his spare time by conducting a small business as painter and glazier at Parramatta. 95 Marsden refused to pay this fine, alleging that he had merely followed a practice common in the Colony, and when Lawson and Douglass, the magistrates concerned, secured a warrant and seized his property to the value of the amount imposed, he took the matter to the Supreme Court, charging the magistrates with breaking and entering his house and illegally seizing his property. He claimed £250 damages and was awarded £10 2s. 6d., the judge holding that "the trespass complained of was committed under an honest mistake of the law." 96
"I never confessed that I did wrong," wrote Marsden with regard to this matter. ". . . They might with equal justice have fined me had I allowed my servant to carry a bucket of water to a neighbour in distress as to fine me for allowing him to put a pane of glass in a broken window. What my servant was allowed to do injured no one. It was a public accommodation at my private expense, and there was no law or regulation to prevent me from obliging my neighbour if no injury were thereby done to the public. . . . My servant lived in my family, 'was daily under my control, did the duty required of him, and interfered with no one. . . . Mr. Thom, Head Constable, stated that on March 26th, 1823--(when Marsden was in Van Diemen's Land)--Ring had put in some panes of glass in the National School, which school is supported by the Crown. For that one day I was fined 2s. 6d. I do not know the time and place when the award of ten pounds was given
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A COURT OF ENQUIRY
against me. On May 28th I received an order from the magistrates to attend the Bench on the 30th and to pay into Court £10 2s. 6d. This was the first intimation I had that the magistrates had fined me an additional ten pounds. I attended agreeable to the orders of the Bench, but refused to pay the amount of the two convictions, and here the matter rested until June the 9th, when an execution was put into my house." 97
Ring was not allowed to return to Marsden's service but was sent to the gaol gang at Parramatta. Rendered desperate, as Marsden puts it, "by the numerous acts of oppression and mortification he was doomed to suffer innocently," he formed the desperate resolution of making his escape from the Colony, thus rendering himself subject to the death sentence. The Calder, bound from India to Valparaiso under the command of the famous Dillon, 98 lay at the moment in Sydney Harbour With three other convicts, Ring stowed himself away in this ship and succeeded in escaping observation until she had been at sea for some days, when the Captain made with his prisoners for the Bay of Islands. Marsden had just reached New Zealand in the Brampton 99and was in the interior of the island when he received a letter from Dillon, dated August 6th, 1823, informing him that the missionary magistrates at the Bay of Islands refused to assume responsibility for his prisoners since they had "no support from the New South Wales Government, no means of victualling the convicts if they took charge of them, and no prison to confine them till an opportunity offered to return them to Sydney." Under these circumstances he had landed the convicts, placing them in charge of a native chief, "son to the late Te Pahi," who was instructed to inform Marsden of the situation. He concluded by asking Marsden to send the prisoners back to Sydney and thus render a public service "in ridding this unprotected place of such desperadoes as they are accumulating in numbers every day, and will, I have every reason to believe, seize, upon and carry off some vessel very shortly, unless their numbers are reduced by your kind interference." The Governor should also, he declared, be asked to employ a different class of person in searching ships about to sail, those engaged to perform this important duty being men "who for a trifling remuneration would allow all the convicts in New South Wales to escape." 100
Ring, however, upon hearing that Marsden was in New Zealand took to the bush, and, when some natives were commissioned to apprehend him and bring him on board the Brampton, they returned saying that the fugitive had escaped to another part of the island. While Marsden was still in New Zealand he learned that Ring had succeeded in leaving New Zealand in a whaler. "I was much concerned for his misfortunes as well as for his rash act in making his escape," writes Marsden, "as all his sufferings and distress were unmerited." 101
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MARSDEN'S CONDUCT AS A MAGISTRATE
Holding this view with regard to the case, Marsden communicated on Ring's behalf with Peel, Secretary of State for the Home Department, asking that the convict, should he be captured, might not be sentenced to death, although Ring himself made certain that the question should not be discussed by effectually covering his tracks. 102 The effect of Marsden's letter was that Lord Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, somewhat perturbed at the state of affairs which it revealed, directed that a court of enquiry should be held in New South Wales, consisting of the Governor with two assessors, the Chief Justice, and the newly appointed Archdeacon Scott. 103 This court began its sittings at Government House, Parramatta, on July 14th, 1825. 104 So far as Marsden was concerned the enquiry led to a review by the court of his whole conduct as a magistrate and to his being compelled to vindicate himself from various accusations with regard to acts of extreme cruelty towards convicts. He proved that his punishments had been awarded with strict regard for the law, and that the charges of torturing prisoners to compel confession were founded on absolute fabrication of registers and forgery. 105 At the same time the enquiry served to show that there was urgent need for reform of the methods employed by magistrates towards accused persons, and that Marsden, if adhering to legal practices himself, had been associated with others less scrupulous. It seems clear that his own declaration that he was a strict but not a severe magistrate was a fair statement of his position. Commissioner Bigge's report of 1822 bears out this judgment. "Without impeaching the moral feelings of Mr. Marsden," he wrote, "and without stating it as my opinion that he has acted with undue severity, it is in proof that his sentences are not only, in fact, more severe than those of the other magistrates, but that the general feeling of the Colony is that his character, as displayed in the administration of the present law in New South Wales, is stamped with severity. I am far from entertaining an opinion that it forms part of Mr. Marsden's natural character, but I think that it has proceeded from the habitual contemplation of the depravity of the
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MARSDEN'S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
people that were brought before him; from the sense that he gradually acquired of the inefficiency of any other punishment than that which was severely and corporally felt by them, and the limitation that was imposed by an order of Governor Macquarrie's which assigned a certain number only of delinquents for the chain gangs in each town." 106
There can be little doubt in the modern mind, however, that the strict interpretation of the brutal penal code of the early nineteenth century demanded qualities in those who administered it which are hard to reconcile with Marsden's undoubted philanthropic ideas and general benevolence of spirit. His early scruples concerning his acceptance of the offer of the magistracy were more creditable to him than his subsequent vindication of his stern exaction of the penalties prescribed by law. He acted throughout from a sense of duty and with entire regard for the principles of integrity and justice, but the chaplain, the apostle of love, who was also the judge, the exponent of law, was placed in a difficult position. It says much for the impression produced upon his contemporaries by his general conduct that, after the public enquiry had ended and all had been heard that was to be said both for and against him, the Chief Justice, Forbes, declared his respect for Marsden "as an old and zealous minister of religion." 107 It must have been a further solace to Marsden to know that his work was appreciated by the Home Government and to be informed that in consideration of his "long and useful services in the Colony of New South Wales, ..." and of his "long, laborious, and praiseworthy exertions in behalf of religion and morality" his stipend had been raised to £400 per annum. 108
At the same time, the strain of these events must have been very great upon a man who had now reached the age of sixty and who found himself compelled to vindicate his conduct throughout his long period of service in New South Wales. In this, as in all other things, Marsden found support and consolation in the religion which was the mainstay of his life. His attitude of mind is shown in a letter written on September 17th, 1825, to Mr. Dandeson Coates of the Church Missionary Society:--
"I have never passed through more severe trials," he wrote, " than what I have experienced from unreasonable and wicked men for the last three months: 'All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 109 I know the truth of St. Paul's observation by bitter experience. When our present troubles will end I can form no idea, and therefore must leave all in the hands of a good and gracious God. Few persons have more reasons to know than I have, that He governs this lower world and watches over them that fear Him, from the beginning to the end of the year. I bless and praise His name for providing a shield for me in the day of battle. Lying and slander and all manner of evil speaking I must submit to. The day is coming when the Judge of all the earth will do right. The Divine promises are my comfort. I know the Scriptures cannot be broken and God will make all things work for good to them that love Him." 110
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If one remembers that the man who for so many years was thus compelled to defend himself against all manner of calumnies was also harassed by domestic trouble--for Mrs. Marsden was an invalid from about 1812 till her death in 1835--one wonders the more at the stoutness of heart and determination of character which prompted Marsden to undertake the New Zealand Mission whose establishment was the crowning achievement of his life. The manner in which that end was accomplished, and the trials of mind and body that beset the founder of the Mission, form the subject matter of the succeeding letters and journals.
The source of his strength through all vicissitudes is well expressed by himself in a letter to his friend, the philanthropist William Wilberforce 111:--
"All things are wisely ordered for our good," he writes. "There is not a single event in our lives for which we can assign all the reasons which Infinite Wisdom may have in view. I, more than most men, have cause to be thankful for many striking interpositions of Divine Providence in my favour. God has blessed me in my basket and my store, and has given me all things richly to enjoy. I trust I shall see that I have not laboured in vain, and that in the great day of account some, even from this foreign land, will be found meet for the Kingdom of Heaven. Difficulties I must still expect, more or less; but I find now that it is not a little thing that will affect me."