Church Missionary Society, Northern District, [and death of Hone Heke].
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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
THE Rev. R. Davis, the Missionary in charge of this Station, has forwarded the following
Report for the Year ending Dec. 1850.
Through the forbearing mercy of God we have been enabled, during the year 1850, to pursue our usual routine of Missionary duties and engagements. Although just about to enter on my sixty-second year, I scarcely feel any abatement of my natural strength, but am able to go through my day's journey as well as I could twenty years ago, with this exception--I cannot go over the ground quite so quickly. My dear wife is in a debilitated state of health, but, through the goodness of God in preserving to me my affectionate daughters, every deficiency under the head of Missionary Duty is made up.
Our encouragements to proceed are derived, not so much from what we witness of the progress of the Lord's work, as from His promises, which are founded in faithfulness and truth. Not that we have had to witness any declensions of a serious nature in the members of our stated congregations, or any falling off in the School Department, beyond what may be generally expected; but there is too much deadness of soul, and ignorance of spiritual things, too much of a selfish and worldly spirit manifested, to enable us to rejoice, except with trembling, over those who principally form our Congregations. Not but that there are some who are ready to confess with tears the ignorance and hardness of their hearts, nor can we doubt that such are in a state of salvation; yet they appear to be too indolent in seeking that peaceful knowledge of salvation promised to the faithful. In their lives they are generally quiet and inoffensive, and in their Sabbath and other duties strict and attentive; yet, excepting a very few, their want of pro-
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gress in religious experience is often a source of anxiety and grief.
At Kaikohi, during the year, two adults have been admitted to baptism. They had long been Candidates, their lives were consistent, and their desire to be delivered from the power of sin, and to be made new creatures in Christ, on whom they appeared to rely alone for salvation, rendered it a duty that they should be received into the visible Church. Others are progressing. These Candidates are met every Tuesday Morning.
The Communicants, and all others who like to attend, assemble for catechetical instruction on Monday Mornings. These meetings appear essential, both for Missionary and people: the Missionary is thereby made acquainted with the state of his people, and the people made sensible of their ignorance and necessities. But in order to render such meetings more useful, we have found it desirable to vary the manner of conveying instruction. For instance, when any thing has happened among us glaringly sinful, the instruction is confined chiefly to prayer and exhortation. Sometimes the mode of instruction is wholly conversational, and sometimes the people are examined on their knowledge of the sermons of the previous day; but principally the catechetical instructions are based on the Church Catechism.
The School continues to give satisfaction, in the ability of the children to learn, and, with very few exceptions, in their docile habits and ready attention, and strong attachment to their Teachers and School. One lamentable circumstance has taken place during the year, occasioned by a disagreement about the marriage of one of the grown-up girls. In this country the custom is, that the uncles and aunts have frequently as much right to dispose of their nephews and nieces in marriage as the parents. In this case, the uncle wished the girl to marry a man possessing some property, and to whom she was professedly attached; but the father was determined that she should not marry him, but a person of his choice; and, in opposition to the uncle, he went to two respective parties to offer his daughter in marriage. At the latter place the offer was accepted, and she was taken from Kaikohi under cover of the night, as the uncle's party had assembled to force their claim, to the place where the young man, the person of her father's choice, resided, and was ultimately married. This caused a breach in the family, which has not yet been made up, and was the occasion of our losing six of our scholars, as some of the parties engaged in the transaction were obliged to leave Kaikohi, with their children. The girl herself had been brought up in the School, was always very quiet, apparently free from vice, generally at the head of the Testament Class, and, from her general consistent conduct, had been admitted to the Sacrament. But the distressing part of the circumstance was, when the case came to be examined she was found to have been guilty of equivocation and falsehood. This circumstance laid many of our fond hopes of our Schoolchildren in the dust, and was the cause of much pain of mind. The other children continue to behave well. The presents of clothing received from the kind ladies of England were not only conducive to the personal comfort of the poor children, but were a great stimulus to the School.
At Hikurangi, the principal residence of the late Chief Heke, our Native Teachers have been prohibited from visiting, although the Chief, whose death was not without hope, strictly enjoined them on his dying-bed to turn from their evil ways: the reason they gave me for the prohibition was, that they could read the Scriptures as well as the Teachers who visited them, but, at the same time, they confessed that they were not so well acquainted with their spiritual meaning.
To the people of Otaua we have still access, but, alas! our prospects do not brighten. At Matarawa all is nearly dead and lifeless.
At Mangakahia our prospects retain their usual brightness, and we cannot doubt that the Lord has a people amongst them; but here, as at Kaikohi, there is not that godly jealousy manifested, nor that watchfulness against sin, which are necessary to form the bright Christian Character; nor is there that growth in grace we wish to witness, especially among those who have been so long professors of the Gospel. In the minds of two of the Chiefs, when I was lately there, there appeared to be a movement toward better things--something like a renewing influence of the Spirit on their minds. Amongst those who have been brought more recently into the Church, there appear to be more life and activity; and when we were there in November, nine adults were added by baptism to their number.
In carefully considering the state of the Natives in this district, and the disposition manifested by them toward the
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Gospel, in connection with the promises of God, this conclusion certainly may be fairly drawn--that all which is required to make this sickly desert to blossom as the rose is an earnest, devoted, and prayerful ministry.
To this we add extracts from Mr. Davis's Journals, comprehending various points of interest and information respecting the present aspect of the work at Kaikohi.
Jan. 16, 1850 --Yesterday we were in the woods offcutting trees, and preparing to saw the remainder of the timber necessary for our new Church. The party with me, twenty-five in number, were joyful and happy, and did their hard work with cheerfulness. After my return home in the evening one of the party came to me and said, "I have something on my mind with which I wish you to be acquainted, that I may have your counsel. Some time ago my relatives living with you lost one of my ear ornaments, for which I was sorry, and spoke sharply. Yesterday Rehua brought me four shillings as a payment, which I declined to accept: he, however, pressed it on me in consequence of my former anger; and, merely to satisfy him, I took one shilling, which has depressed my spirits all day, as I am fearful I did wrong in taking the money, lest it may bring a disgrace on religion. While we were at work to day these thoughts filled my mind, and I withdrew into the wood at mid-day to seek direction from God in private prayer; and the subsequent impression on my mind is that I ought to return the shilling. I have therefore brought it to you to return to Rehua, that you may explain to him my reasons for so doing, so that his feelings toward me may be only good. Tell him that there is no anger in my heart in thus returning the money, no fear of man, no desire to curry favour, but only to do what is just and right in the sight of God and man." This circumstance refreshed my spirits This man was in a gracious state at Waimate when the little awakening took place at Kaikohi in 1844. 1 After the fall of Kororarika he joined Heke, and acted as their Christian leader; but his heart soon became hard and forgetful, and in that state he remained for some time subsequent to the war.
For a considerable time previous he had manifested marks of repentance, and at our last Sacrament he returned into the bosom of the Church, and is now a hopeful character.
Conversations with Communicants, Candidates, &c.
Jan. 21, 1850 --To-day one of our Candidates for Baptism said that he often felt his heart hard and careless, but both the hardness and carelessness were always removed when he retired for private prayer, and the love. which he felt in his heart caused his tears to flow. I told him God was faithful, and always fulfilled His promises. "But," he observed, "I am so often tempted to neglect private prayer. Something in my mind says, By and by; and thus it is put off from one time to another, and ultimately neglected, and my heart again becomes hard and careless." One of the Communicants, in the course of our conversation, said, "My heart is often filled with a sense of the love of God, and I long to depart and be with Christ." Instances of this kind have been for some time frequent among us, but they are confined to a few.
Jan. 29 --The meeting yesterday was not well attended: many of the people were at their harvest work. This morning two of the Communicants came. One of them, Charles Taurua, said, "You said, on Sunday, God was faithful, and that if we asked for blessings we should have them. Yesterday I found this true. I set out to come to the meeting with a hard heart; but, as I was on the road, God answered my prayers, and took from me my hard heart, and so filled my soul with love that I fell down in the fern before Him. During the meeting my heart was like that of a child, causing me frequently to shed tears for my God. On our way home I shewed Sarah the place where I fell down. She said, 'I saw you were affected.' We visited several people before we returned home." The other person spoke of a continued sense of the love of God in her soul, and said that she longed to depart, to be with Christ. But I find the people thus blessed have to endure much conflict with the enemy, and much opposition from their own evil natures. Yesterday I observed a person looking very serious and in tears, and said, "What is the matter with you?" "Oh, my heart is so hard and wicked that my mind is so pained that I
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feel my health affected." -- "Where were you yesterday? You should never neglect the assemblies of God's people." "My heart was in such a state that my body was ill from it, and it was sometime before the Lord sent me deliverance; but when deliverance came I was restored." An endeavour was made to give her suitable instruction.
Advancement in Civilization.
Jan. 22, 1850 --The Natives have furnished themselves with steel mills, for which they paid in choice wheat to the amount of 5l. for each mill. They have among them ten or twelve of these mills, each of which cost 25 bushels of wheat. Each mill, at a bushel per back-load, cost 25 journeys, of 24 miles each journey, it being 12 miles from here to Waimate, which makes 600 miles travelling over and above the payment for each mill. But they accomplished their object cheerfully. They united together, and first procured a mill for one and then for another, until they were all supplied, or rather until each party was supplied: those who had pigs sold them, to lighten the labour.
April 2 --I visited Heke. He asked, "Have you brought me no medicine?" "No, I did not know you were ill." -- "Look, then, at the symptoms." I did, and they certainly indicated rapid consumption. In the evening medicine was administered, and daily attention was afterward paid him.
April 7: Lord's Day --I spoke to Heke, and a friend he had with him, on religion; but they both, especially his friend, spoke in such a way of the things of God, that I left them, to visit those of a more congenial character.
April 9 --To-day Heke appeared worse, and I requested his people to keep him quiet. In the afternoon, however, I heard a noise at his place, which is but about a hundred yards from our house, and went out and found him in high displeasure, and surrounded by his people, who had been to take a girl from the Mawe party living at Kaikohi, but had been unsuccessful. The language the poor sick man used filled me with horror. I told him he must be quiet, when he threw himself on his side, and his people left him, and I made my exit as soon as I decently could
April 10 --As I was examining Candidates for the Lord's Supper, I observed the party again in motion. After they had left, I went into Heke's place, and to my astonishment found that he had gone with his people, and that he had sent his horse round behind in order that I might not try to hinder him from going. After sometime, a person came from where Heke and his party were, not more than a mile distant, and told us that they had taken up a position on some cultivated land, close to the place where the girl was; that they were pulling up the fences, with which they were building a pa; and that blood was likely to be shed. This information quite unnerved me, and I could not go on with the examination: we could only cry to God in behalf of the poor girl, who is, I hope, a Christian, and in behalf of the oppressed people. The afternoon was spent in fearful suspense; and in the evening, at our usual Prayer-meeting, a large number of my people assembled. Just as the bell rung a person came and informed us that the Mawe people had given up the girl quietly. As they had no idea of such an attack being likely to be made upon them by their own family friends, they were defenceless, and altogether unprepared to repulse the arbitrary measures resorted to by Heke. The people are all unusually disgusted with these proceedings.
April 12 --Heke and his party returned yesterday, and I dragged myself out to see him. He was quiet in mind, but worse in body. This may be his last act of violence. To-day I visited the Mawe party, who had been so badly treated: they were very sore. I endeavoured to cheer them, and to point to the never-failing source of security and peace.
April 15 --Yesterday, the Archdeacon being here, the Sacrament was administered to 83 Communicants. During his stay he visited Heke several times. This morning we saw him together, but he was repulsive. After the Archdeacon had left I visited him again, when he observed of the Archdeacon and myself, "You are a couple of ignorant old men: you do not understand me." -- "Do you mean to say that we do not understand your meaning?" "Yes: you hear me speak against religion, and think I mean it; but I mean the reverse. I do not dislike religion. I have no objection to prayer." He was taken at his word. I said, "Let us pray," and prayer was offered up. This evening I went in again, and read a chapter, and engaged in prayer, without inquiring whether I should do so or not.
April 22 --I have had Morning and
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Evening Service at Heke's house ever since, and have ventured to speak a word now and then as opportunity offered. Today there is evidently an increased attention to prayer.
April 24, 1850 --I have felt a little cheered with Heke's behaviour. He bears speaking to better, and acknowledges his sinfulness. He also lamented the backwardness of his people in attending prayer. This evening, late, he sent to inform me that he should remove in the night out of the way, as a party was coming to see him on worldly business, which he did not like to enter into, and a second party was coming as a taua (fight).
June 20 --According to the above, Heke removed into a quiet place about a mile from us, where he still remains. He is in a weak state, but quietness, medicine, and nourishing food, have done much for him. He has put away priests and priestesses from him, and again attends to religion. He considers, himself, that he has again begun to seek God. O that it may be in sincerity and truth! but I am fearful, as I have seen him much more earnest than he is now. He is, however, always civil, and sometimes affectionate. Of course I see him very often, and pay him all necessary attention. He has been, and still is, often applied to to settle differences amongst the people, which he appears to do with a great deal of wisdom, as he is well acquainted with the laws and customs of his country.
July 27 --Heke is much worse. He told me that he felt a change had taken place in his system. He appeared low-spirited and thoughtful. His mind was directed to Christ, but he said nothing.
July 29 --Yesterday Heke was very ill. He appeared affectionate. He was visited by several members of the Church, when addresses were given, and much prayer offered up; but I fear his heart is not deeply affected, and this distresses me. This morning he appeared better, and told me that he had been thinking about receiving the Sacrament. I requested him to think seriously on that subject, and as soon as his mind was made up to let me know, when I would communicate with the Archdeacon. He replied, "Ah! it may be that there may not be time."
Aug. 1 --I visited Heke, who has been removed about five miles toward his own place. His people are now gathering around him, as it is evident to all that he is sinking into the arms of death. Several having assembled in the house in which the Chief was lying, and others outside, they were addressed from Matt. xxii. 1-11, and pressed and invited to come to Christ.
Aug. 5 --I visited Heke yesterday. He is near death. He grasped my hand, and held it for a long time. His eyes beamed with affection; and they were fixed upon me during almost the whole of the address. When I left him, he appeared to wander. I told him his mind must be solely fixed upon Christ. He replied, "It is on Him my mind is fixed." He then gave me a farewell token with his nose, 2 but said no more. His people were all very respectful.
Aug. 6 --A messenger came to inform me that Heke had expressed a wish to be removed to his own place, and that they had removed him accordingly, and thought he would not last more than about four days.
Aug. 7 --This morning, while engaged in the School, a messenger came to inform me that Heke had died this morning. Poor man! he has now gone to his final account He was always, I believe, in his heart a friend to the Missionaries; but, alas! he was not always a friend to their cause. But here the curtain must drop. He had numerous faults. His determination to go to war with the Government was to us a deep, severe, sore trial. Every argument was used, and every means resorted to, to divert him from his purpose; but he was inflexible. From the manner in which he conducted the war, however, it was evident that his mind was neither under the influence of hatred nor revenge.
Aug. 8 --I went to Heke's place, to put in a claim for the body for Christian Burial. I knew it was his wish not to be tapued after death, but to have Christian Burial; but he doubted whether we should be able to attain the object, against a strong party which would raise objections thereto. On my arrival I found the body tapued, dressed, and laid in state, and all done with considerable taste. They had removed the front of the house, so as to throw it open, and from the part removed a covered entrance to the body was formed, into which the people should enter to take a last farewell of their Chief. The body was placed in one corner of the house, in a sitting
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position, The head was dressed with feathers. At the back was a large red silk handkerchief fastened to the wall. Over head was a white cloth, which formed a canopy. The body was covered up to the upper lip with a scarlet cloth, fringed round the border. Before him was laid his green stone mere. 3 At his right hand were his Prayer-book and his double-barrelled gun; while at his left hand stood a native war-weapon called a paraua, made of whalebone. 4 On the outside stood a flag-staff, with his flag, a piece of red print, hoisted half-mast high. There was a large assemblage of Natives. A party arrived when I was there, and immediately walked quietly up to the appointed place to view the dead Chief and cry over him. In their crying--or rather howling--they chanted forth his patriotism, his noble deeds, and daring exploits; and lamented, as far as I could understand, that they had not joined him therein. After visiting and consulting with the principal people, I found it would be in vain to say any more on the subject of burying the body; but I requested the people to assemble in the presence of their dead Chief, and I took my stand in front. I told them that Heke did not die in the belief of their superstitions, but in the belief of the Gospel; that it was his wish not to be tapued after death, but to receive Christian Burial; that the last word he spoke to me were to let me know that his mind was fixed on Christ; that, as they had expressed their opinion that there would be danger of a serious quarrel should we attempt to give him Christian Burial, I of course should be guided by their opinion; but nevertheless, as the Chief had died a professed member of the Church, I should read the Service over him, and leave them to do as they pleased with the body, knowing that, whatever that might be, it could not affect him in his eternal state, as it was not Heke, but his body only, which was now present before us. The Service was then read, and the people addressed from John xi. 25, 26. They were attentive and respectful. Heke's widow looks miserable and wretched. She was a daughter of the late Chief Hongi Ika, and was brought up in Mr. Kemp's family; but, alas! I fear she is a stranger to the consolations of the Gospel.
Aug. 12, 1850 --I visited the people assembled at Heke's place. We found the Christian Party holding Service in front of the house which contained the body of the departed Chief. Poor man! I have now paid him my last visit. His body was put away last night, and we shall not meet again until this mortal shall have put on immortality. I hope he has found mercy; but it is but a hope--a ray of hope grounded on his apparent sincere wish to be visited regularly, in order that prayer and reading the Scriptures should be a daily exercise. I very seldom visited him less than three times a week, when prayer was made, the Scriptures read, and a short exhortation given. He also wished to keep a Christian Native always with him, night and day, as he was fearful lest the native priests should again endeavour to entangle his mind. Many attempts were made by them to accomplish this object, but in all they apparently failed. The last attempt of the kind was made when they thought him dying, a day or two before he died; but he interrupted the man, and said, "Cease to destroy me."