1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.] - 1815 - New Zealand--Church Missionary Society, p 263-269

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.] - 1815 - New Zealand--Church Missionary Society, p 263-269
Previous section | Next section      

New Zealand--Church Missionary Society.

[Image of page 263]



The Necessity and Advantages of a Vessel under the Society's Controul.

WE have already said much on this subject, in the present Number, as it applies to Western Africa, Our readers have been apprized that Mr. Marsden has purchased the Active Brig, for the maintenance of the same kind of regular and commodious intercourse between Port Jackson and New Zealand, as we have before spoken of between this country and Western Africa; and they will find that Mr. Marsden states much the same reasons for the step which he has taken, as those which we have already urged.

We shall first extract from the Eleventh Report of the Society, a part of a letter written by Mr. Marsden to the Secretary, so far back as the close of 1810, on the more extensive scheme of freighting a ship from England, to establish an intercourse among all the South-Sea Islands.

Nothing can be effectually done with the natives of the South-Sea Islands, without the means of keeping up a constant communication with them from Port Jackson. The Missionaries can neither be safe nor comfortable without this. A communication cannot he maintained without a ship. One vessel of about 150 or 200 tons would visit all the islands in these seas, be a protection to the Missionaries, and bring such natives to and from Port Jackson, as may from time to time wish to go in her. The produce of the islands, brought to Port Jack-

[Image of page 264]

son, and sold, would pay all expenses. If I had the means within my own power, I would not hesitate one moment on this plan. It is what I have recommended for the last ten years. I wish some of the merchants in London would undertake to fit out a vessel for this service; not on the account of any public society, but on their own private account. This would be doing more toward promoting the instruction of the natives in these Seas, than can be otherwise effected by all the money which they may throw into any public purse. We will readily, in this Colony, second any plan of this nature, so far as our exertions and means will extend. I can answer for myself and friends here, to the amount of 1500l. The Missionaries would then he safe in the islands. There would be something to call forth their industry, and that of the natives: viz. the collecting the natural productions of the islands, and sending them to market. They would be able to supply all their own wants, independently of the Societies to which they belonged. The most friendly intercourse would be kept up between Port Jackson and all the natives of the different islands. The South-Sea Whalers would also be safe, when they wanted supplies from New Zealand.

I wish some gentlemen would turn this subject over in their minds. Be assured, it is of vast importance to the cause of Missions. I think the risk and the expense comparatively nothing to the benefits which may be expected to result from it.

This suggestion of Mr. Marsden was recommended by the Committee to the attention of mercantile men. A proposal which afterwards came before them, attended with most liberal offers of support, to establish a vessel to visit the South Seas direct from this country, was fully discussed, and the proper inquiries were entered into; but so many difficulties arose, in respect of the union of different Christian Societies in the object, and the risk of managing such distant and complicated concerns by public bodies, that the plan was not brought to maturity.

It is, however, matter of surprise, that some opulent Merchants, of whom there are not a few who

[Image of page 265]

devote themselves and their wealth to the glory of God, have not felt this subject with the glowing zeal of Dr. Buchanan, or viewed it with the enlightened and practical mind of Mr. Marsden. With the means of economical management of such concerns possessed by mercantile men, the employment of Missionary Ships between this country and the South Seas, and among the islands and upon the coasts of the Asiatic Continent, would be a noble use of the new liberty of access to the countless population of these latter countries, and would probably more than repay the expenditure; but, if a few thousand pounds were sacrificed annually to so great an object, it would be an application of their abundance most perfectly in character, and likely to bring down from Heaven an especial blessing on ail their enterprises. We cannot relinquish the hope of seeing such a dedication of wealth and intelligence to the greatest cause which can occupy the mind of man.

Both the Society and Mr. Marsden, despairing of the accomplishment at present, of the more extensive scheme, the brig Active was purchased for the more limited purpose of maintaining a regular intercourse between Port Jackson and New Zealand, For this step, the following extracts from letters of Mr. Marsden to the Secretary assign conclusive reasons:--

Rev. Samuel Marsden to Rev. Josiah Pratt.

Dear Sir-- Parramatta, Sept. 22d, 1314.

I beg leave to submit a few observations to the Society, relative to the maintaining of a vessel in New South Wales, for the sole purpose of promoting the good of the Mission to be established in New Zealand.

1. The comfort and safety of the Missionaries will, at least for some time, require a vessel to visit them, en-

[Image of page 266]

-tirely under the direction of the Society's. agent, or of some Christian Friends.

2. Nothing could contribute so much to the civilization and improvement of the New Zealanders in all useful knowledge, as a free and open communication with Port Jackson. Men from report can form little idea of the comforts of civil life: these comforts are so far out of their reach, that, when they are told of them, they can give no credit to the relation.

3. The wanton acts of oppression, robberies, and murders committed on the persons and properties of the natives of New Zealand, have completely destroyed all confidence in Europeans. They manifest every wish to cultivate our friendship; but woeful experience has taught them not to trust us too much. Nothing but a practical knowledge of the English Christian's character can remove their prejudices and jealousies. If the Society had a vessel wholly under its own direction, in which the natives could freely pass from New Zealand to Port Jackson, and back again to their own country, and be kindly treated while on their voyage, and cordially received on their arrival, a most favourable impression would soon be made upon them, as they are naturally a very superior race of men, of very quick and comprehensive minds. If such arrangements could be made, every reasonable hope might be entertained, that the greatest success, under the Divine Blessing, would attend the Mission. If no measure of this kind is adopted, the Mission may still succeed; yet, according to human estimation, the prospect of success will not be so promising

The expense, I admit will be very considerable, where provisions, naval stores, and seamen's wages are very high. The annual expense of the Active, I estimate at 1500l., as near as I can form an idea. I have no doubt but that the timber and other productions which the Active will bring to Port Jackson, will make a return of 1000l. per annum, and probably more: she may even clear her own expenses. After I have visited New Zealand, and examined its natural productions, I shall be a better judge.

The object is, however, of incalculable importance. The whole inhabitants of that great, and populous island are literally sitting in darkness and in the region and shadow of death. Should its natives, through the

[Image of page 267]

blessing of God, be subdued by the sword of the Spirit to the obedience of faith, all the neighbouring islands will be likely to fall under the same Almighty Influence, as they are inhabited by a race of men who speak the same or a similar language.

New Zealand must be always considered as the great emporium of the South Seas, from its local situation, its safe harbours; its navigable rivers, its fine timber for ship-building, its rosin, native flax, &c. &c, specimens of which I intend sending to the Society by this conveyance. I trust the Society will not be discouraged on account of the weighty expenses that will necessarily and unavoidably attend the first establishment of the Mission.

I have no doubt but the Great Head of the Church will provide; for the gold and silver are his, and so are the cattle upon a thousand hills. I shall feel it my duty, as well as pleasure, to give every support to the Mission, so far as my personal exertions, my pecuniary means, and my influence in this Colony may extend.

The owners of South-Sea Whalers will, I think, readily contribute their aid to the Society in this undertaking, as their ships on the coast of New Zealand may safely put into the Bay of Islands, and obtain such refreshments as they may require, when once the Missionaries become resident there, without any apprehensions of their crews being cut off: whereas, at present, they are in considerable danger.

I need not point out to the owners of South-Sea Whalers, how much it is, in general, against their interest for any of their ships to put into the harbour of Port Jackson for refreshments. Their captains and crews are almost certain to be ruined, from the dangerous connections which they there form. It would, therefore, be greatly to the pecuniary advantage of all those concerned in the Sperm Fishery, to give every support to the Mission at New Zealand.

His Majesty's Ministers, I should think, will also take the Mission into their favourable consideration, from the official communication which his Excellency, Governor Macquarrie, has made to them on the subject. His Excellency is fully satisfied, that much may be done for the improvement of the natives of that island; and has given me his full sanction to visit the island with the Missionaries and the Chiefs, who are at present living

[Image of page 268]

with me. His Excellency has been kind enough to victual the Chiefs, and their Attendants, from his Majesty's stores, during their stay in this Settlement, which is the highest testimony of his approbation, and will very considerably lessen the expense of their support. His Excellency hath further manifested his good will, by promising, on the natives' return, to present each of the Chiefs with a new suit of clothes; their coats to be made of scarlet cloth: and each of them with a cow from his Majesty's herds. From what has taken place, and from present appearances, I trust, the Society will be fully satisfied, that there is now a fair opening at New Zealand for the introduction of the everlasting Gospel of our blessed Lord, and I most ardently pray that the attempt may not fail for want of pecuniary assistance; and am confident it will not.

With my most respectful compliments to the Society, I beg to subscribe myself, Rev. Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,

I have had (says Mr. Marsden, in a subsequent letter) the most ardent wish, for some years past, to see these islands receive the blessings of civilization and the Gospel; and now, I trust, the time is come when the great work will be entered on. Had the Active returned without obtaining the object of her voyage, it was my intention to sell her immediately; and not to call on the Society for any money on her account, but the object of the voyage has been more than answered. When I purchased the vessel, she was then bound to the Derwent on government account, which made the voyage, altogether, ten weeks longer than it otherwise would have been, and consequently increased the expenses. She had a larger complement of men the last voyage, than she will ever want again; as I did not think it prudent to send the vessel without a sufficient number of men to protect her, in case any unforeseen circumstances had taken place. She will now be navigated in a great measure by the natives of New Zealand, and her expenses, on that account, not so great.

It will be seen from this letter, that the Society's intercourse between Port Jackson and New Zealand is on the same footing as that of the United Bre~

[Image of page 269]

thren with Labrador--the exchange with the Natives of articles of convenience to them, for the productions of their soil or industry. This system was as necessary in the one case as in the other. With Western Africa the Society is enabled to pursue a different course, for reasons which have been assigned. In both cases, and in all others as they arise, pursuing those plans which Wisdom sanctions, and Faith authorises, the Divine Blessing, which alone can give success, may be confidently expected to rest on these and similar designs.

Previous section | Next section