CHAPTER II. THE NEW COUNTRY
[Introductory material on page 12 is omitted as it is in copyright]
[Introductory material on page 13 is omitted as it is in copyright]
Concerning this early period of Morgan's marriage, extracts from a letter written in December, 1854, to his brother Luther in England are of interest.
".... Never was I grieved that I took Jane for a partner," Morgan wrote. "My wife has proved loving, industrious, faithful and, in truth, all I could wish for. And I sometimes wonder how it came to pass that I had the good fortune to get such a wife. They say, 'marriages are made in heaven.' I don't altogether know the meaning of the expression, but surely mine is as made there...
"I had notions before I was married, how I would spend my time, how settled I should then be -- how I would read to my wife, and talk to her -- and how she would read and talk to me -- how I would endeavour to instruct her in matters with which I was conversant and she was not -- how we would take evening strolls together and attend evening meetings. But I have found most of these things knocked on the head. Not that we are unhappy and discontented. The reverse. But the thing is, there is no time for these things. Jane has had gowns to make, and baby's frocks, and shirts, and napkins to make, and many other domestic affairs to attend to. And I have had my garden to dig, potatoes and beans and peas to plant, and other matters to do. And as for reading at night, I cannot do it, for I find that my business is just about as much as I am able to manage as regards the use of my eyes.....
"Another year is about to depart and to be numbered with the things that were. It has not been unimportant to me or without its mercies. I have had better health. My wife has been preserved to me. In the most trying of hours was she spared by our God. A child has been given to us -- a strong child, perfect, healthy -- a merry little chap who laughs, and plays, and would seemingly wish to talk with us even at his early age.
"We are now in the height of summer here. Beautiful weather, clear blue sky, burning sun. But generally a delicious wind blowing. I think that I could not live in England again, that is, I could not settle. It would be too cold.
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At this time, also, Morgan often used to walk out to Onehunga to take services. On 11 December, 1857, he wrote in his Journal, "I have had some thoughts on commencing to learn the Maori language. I think at some time it might be of service to me. Could I learn to speak it, it would give me an opportunity of preaching to the Natives. It is decided to commence an evening service at Onehunga, and in that I shall have to take a turn. In some respects I am glad of this, as it will afford me an opportunity of being useful, and of bringing into exercise what talent I may possess. I feel almost determined to try extemporaneous preaching. It is a great shame to fetter myself with a manuscript, and I'm sure such preaching is not likely to be so useful.
"In the afternoon," he wrote a few days later, "walked out to Onehunga, where in the evening I preached to a tolerable attendance, though bad weather. I got through the service pretty well and did without the manuscript, using only notes. In coming home got a regular soaking."
"A great day among the Baptists," he wrote on 28th February, 1858, " --an epoch in their history. Today the new chapel was opened, and surely such a thing is worthy of record. Sometimes it seems like a dream -- a thing of imagination -- that the Baptists for so long a time divided, dispersed, meeting with other sects -- that the Baptists should have a chapel of their own -- a place wherein, according to their own conscience, they can worship God and attend to his ordinances. It is a matter, therefore, for thankfulness and joy, and, it is to be hoped, is a commencement of better things..... "
A month later a Baptist Sunday School was opened with William Morgan as superintendent. There were 27 children present.
During these years Morgan frequently refers to his poor eyesight and longs for a change of occupation. "My eyes," he wrote in January, 1858, "are the same as for a long time past. Indeed, I may expect no improvement in them so
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long as I remain a printer. Two nights' work in the week, I am persuaded, do them no good, but much harm -- not only through the general health being impaired in some degree, but also through the glare of lights, and so on, which try the sight much, and indirectly act upon the nerves to the injury of the eyes. How are these things to be altered, and how is this evil of night work to be avoided? Only by a change of business, I suppose. I would that the way was open to commence the business of tilling the soil, which, I feel, would be the very thing for me....."
It is not surprising, therefore, to read this entry in the Journal for April 6th, 1858:-- "Today, decided upon securing a piece of land for a farm -- all bush, but good land. The anticipation of being a farmer is somewhat pleasant. I have a good many day dreams as to various things -- as to where to build our domiciles -- as to the clearing of the land -- as to felling huge and ponderous trees, and so on. But these day dreams will, I hope, sometime give place to realities. I feel that this sort of thing will be the life for me. There will, at all events, be no night work as at present. I must save, so as to commence as soon as possible. What a consummation to turn farmer at last."
This land was at Pukekohe East. A letter from the Commissioner of Crown lands, Auckland, dated 15th June, 1961, states that:-- "On 16th April, 1858, all allotment 26, Parish of Pukekohe, containing 220 acres, was disposed of by William Aitken to Joshua Robinson, carpenter, William Morgan, compositor, and James Hamilton, baker, all of Auckland, as tenants in common.... The consideration was £221."
In January, 1859, William Morgan recorded these words in his Journal, "The morning before Christmas three of us started off, by conveyance, for Papakura, bound for our farm, and after a pleasant ride and an agreeable walk we got to Mr. R's 1 -- a mile or two from the farm -- where we stopped the night. Next morning we sallied forth to see what has been so much the object of our thoughts, our plans, and our conversation -- our farm. Not to enlarge upon the difficulties, we had to encounter -- the myriads of mosquitos by which we were attacked, and so forth, I must just state that on the whole I was well pleased with the place, and so were we all. We walked to Auckland on the Sunday, and got home about 12 o'clock at night.
"I was agreeably surprised to find two letters waiting for me -- one from Annie and the other from Uncle Edward, the latter with a cheque of £50 -- my share of grandfather's estate..."
"In regard to farming, things have not come to that point yet, the point of departure. It requires time to bring all thing to a given point sometimes, and so in our case. Yet one is looking forward to it with something like joyous anticipation. We are expecting a life -- not of course free from toil -- far from that, as witness those big trees we saw, not of course free from care and so on, yet still a life so very different from our present one in every respect that the very change, the newness of the thing, will make it. somewhat agreeable."
On February 25th, 1859, the Journal states, "This week our land has been divided, so that now I am in possession of my individual lot. I am about to have 5 acres cleared, so that I may burn it off as early next season as possible."
Sunday, April 3rd, 1859, a Journal entry reads, "On Thursday
morning, 31st March, at a quarter past nine, we had a little daughter 2 born. This is, of course, a fact worthy of record, and something which calls for grateful emotions. That life has been given and life spared -- that another object of care, sympathy and love has been granted -- that one has been born, who if properly trained, may prove a blessing to ourselves and others; how deep a call to thankfulness,. My family is thus yearly increasing. Six years ago I was somewhat differently placed. At that time, I little thought that in the course of so short a time I should have a wife and four children."
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Extracts from the Journal now follow:--
April 14th, 1860.
At the beginning of last October, all things being ripe for the change. I suppose, I bade adieu to printing, and took upon myself the character of a bushman, a clodhopper, or whatever else you choose to call it. Having got needful things, in the shape of provisions, tools etc., Mr. R., 3 Ellen, 4 and I started for Pukekohe (Oct. 6th) and arrived at Mr. R's 5 the same evening. Next morning made our way through the bush, chose a site, and pitched our tent. In the course of 7 weeks, we cleared a piece of land, dug it, put in some potatoes, built two houses, and did many other things, working of course very hard as our families were very anxious to leave town for the country.
Started for Auckland at the expiration of 7 weeks to fetch my family and provisions. Dec., 1st, started off for the bush, having my family in a Crimean waggon, and my goods in a dray. We arrived safely and staying for the night at a good neighbour's house -- a boisterous night it was -- came up to our farm the next day. The children were all unwell in town, but in the course of a few weeks got quite hearty, and have been well, I think, ever since. A fortnight after our arrival was spent in carrying up our things from the place where we left them, 6 and hard work it was; but having no road it could not be avoided. Right glad we were when the last loads were on our backs.
When in town Mr. R. and I purchased H's 7 share of the farm, and then divided the farm in two, so that we have now 110 acres each and a frontage to the road.
I spent New Year's Day in town; in fact, while I was there I made a week of it, passing my time at one place and another. At the beginning of February I was in town, and stayed for a day or two.
In February commenced an afternoon service at a neighbour's, Mr. D's 8 which has since been continued. We have an average of 20 there.
At the commencement of March went to town for our winter's stock, and got them safely up.
On the night of April 4th, we were roused out of our peaceful slumbers by two persons, who came to inform us that the Maories were about to rise, and that it was unsafe to stop in the bush. At their urgent request, we started off there and then, at midnight, and a precious journey we had. We went 5 or 6 miles, 9 came to a place of rendezvous, had a consultation with the folks there, made enquiries as to the truth of the report, found it humbug, and resolved to start off home at daylight. Reached home in the afternoon and found everything all right.
Have of late been fencing in a garden.
Tonight a strong wind blowing which I trust will end in rain. The past summer had been a most remarkable one -- the driest for a great number of years. In fact, there has hardly been any rain at all.
Yesterday planted some cabbage, lettuce, and cauliflowers into beds, and sowed some lettuce and cabbage seed.
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Finished fencing on Wednesday, and since then have been busy at the occupation of "logging up."
This morning a white frost; consequently very cold.
I have felt very well this week, and nothing has seemed to disagree with the digestive functions. I can now eat bacon fat and other things which once gave me most uneasiness. This shows how much more healthy my present occupation is, and how much better is fresh air than a heated and poisoned atmosphere.
Tuesday, May 1st, 1860.
Sunday before last preached from......etc.
One or two showers in the middle of last week. Yesterday and today a strong northerly breeze has been blowing, but as yet very little rain. This wind makes our fires burn well.
Put in some more cabbage and lettuce last week, and yesterday some lupins, c. gooseberries and other seeds.
On Saturday last Mother 10 and E. returned from town.
Friday 4th May, 1860.
Heavy rain nearly the whole of the week. Put in oats on Wednesday, and yesterday sowed 7 bushels of grass seed; also a few carrots and parsnips.
Spent last evening in reading home magazines and found much interesting matter. It appears the revival is still going forward in Ireland and other parts.
Lord's Day, May 6th, 1860.
At home all day in consequence of the weather which has been very squally both yesterday and today. We had strong gusts of winds, thunder and lightning, rain and hail. This evening appears somewhat better.
Winter in the bush has at last really come, and it is a mercy to have shelter from the weather and abundance of firewood. The glow of a good fire is exceedingly cheerful and pleasant these cold and stormy days. What the dwellers upon fern farms do, who have some difficulty often in procuring firewood, I am at a loss to conceive. It must be truly unpleasant and miserable.
Tuesday, May 15th, 1860.
Finished sowing grass seed on Saturday. Our ground now begins to assume a green appearance, the oats and grass coming up well.
On Sunday preached from "The Cross of Christ" etc. About 26 present.
Friday, May 25th, 1860.
Yesterday was the anniversary of my landing in Auckland. Seven years have I now passed in the country of New Zealand. During that time many important events have transpired in my history. I think in every point of view I am the better
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for being here. When I contrast myself, and my condition with what I was seven years ago, may I not say that goodness and mercy have followed me, and the good hand of Providence has led me in a way that I little aniticipated. In regard to temporal affairs, am I not much better than I was in 1853? I have not lived without some observation, and have therefore gained experience in many important matters. I feel that I have much more spiritual light -- that I have more decision of character. It is true that in goodly measure I have been influenced by circumstances but who, more or less, is not? Probably I might have seized hold of certain circumstances and events which have transpired, and have made better use of them, of this, in fact, there is hardly any doubt. But naturally reluctant to push myself forward, in order that I may appear somebody, I have kept in the shade when perhaps I ought not, and have retired into the background when I ought to have been in the front ranks. Nevertheless, I trust I have not altogether lived in vain. What the next seven years may bring forth, ah, who can tell.
So yesterday being an anniversary, we made a sort of holiday of it by going to Mr. H's 11 for potatoes, and calling to see some of our neighbours. Altogether it was an agreeable day and a pleasant journey. And how much one may learn by observing what this, that or the other one does. There seem to me a good many trying experiments in regard to various matters in agriculture. Some sow very little grass seed, and others a good quantity to the acre. Some prefer one kind of a fence, and others something quite different. By keeping one's eyes open, I should imagine that a good deal of experience ought to be gained in these matters.
To about 11 acres of land we sowed 16 bushels of rye grass, more than a bushel of coxfoot, 2 lbs of white, 2 lbs of red clover, 2 lbs of trefoil, 2 lbs Timothy. This morning found an increase in my family in the shape of four young pigs.
Thursday, June 7th, 1860.
Raining more or less all the week. A good deal last Saturday.
Down at Hawke's, last Saturday. On Sunday preached. from "The Christian Grace". Nearly 30 present.
Been gardening this week. Have got in potatoes, broad beans, cabbages, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and other seeds.
Saturday, June 9th, 1860.
Yesterday heard Mr. Crump. 12 After the service a collection made in aid of his support. Dark before we reached home. Awful work travelling through the bush in the dark.
Lord's Day, June 17th, 1860.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday felling bush for a fence; Thursday at Drury; Friday gardening. Put in more potatoes and carrots. Saturday sowed oats, barley and clover.
Wednesday, June 20th, 1860.
Yesterday and today sowed wheat - 2 bushels to the acre, after
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pickling it for 24 hours. Used about 1 1/2 lbs of blue stone to 6 bushels.
Saturday, June 23rd, 1860.
Yesterday morning put in 100 more cabbage plants from Mr. R. Also sowed some lucerne seed and broad beans. Have now got in about 10 rows of potatoes, 6 of beans, besides a goodly assortment of other things.
Yesterday and today felling bush.
Have finished reading "Pilgrim Fathers" -- a very interesting tale.
Lord's Day, July 15th, 1860.
Today heard Mr. Norrie 13 who is coming up to preach monthly. Last evening finished a sermon on "The Light is With You."
Friday, August 3rd, 1860.
Sunday before last preached from "The Light is With You". Monday started for town, walked as far as Papakura, found the roads bad enough, arrived in Auckland at dusk. While in town the weather very favourable. Tuesday at Newmarket. Wednesday at various friends in town. Thursday at Newmarket. Bought two cows, one after the sale and one next day off Job. C. One £7-5., the other £9. Friday morning started for home at a little alter 10 o'clock, arrived at Drury at half past six. Stayed all night, and commenced our journey at 8 o'clock next morning, and got home in good time. The cattle behaved well.
Lord's Day preached from "If you loved Me, you Would rejoice" etc.
Tuesday at Drury. Wednesday carrying up.
Frosty weather of late, except today when it has rained.
My potatoes, of which I have more than 100 showing are all frost bitten, which teaches me that it is no use planting so early. Cabbages and broad beans seem to be doing pretty well; but other things do but poorly. Today put in three rows of peas and some radish.
Having got cows we have at length got that much to be desired article, milk, of which we have some three or four quarts daily. I had an impression that my stomach would not stand a milk diet, but it seems to agree very well. In fact, my health is very good, and has been of late, and nothing hardly seems to upset my stomach. For this I have cause to be thankful.
Children all thriving and looking very well.
Monday, August, 27th, 1860.
On Saturday, while felling bush, natives came with pigs and peach trees. I bought ten trees and a good fat pig for £3. They stayed over Sunday. What a good thing if one could converse with them in their own tongue.
Put in some onions today, having killed a porker in the morning. To my agreeable astonishment the potatoes I thought frost bitten to death, are growing nicely, though I had been told they would be no good; so much for what people say. But I must not be too sanguine, or perhaps they'll get bitten again.
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Last Sunday preached from "Angelic Joy". Monday digging. Tuesday carrying up. Wednesday planting. Thursday went to sale at Papakura. On the way saw Mr. K. 14 who had written to me from England. At the sale cows went reasonable; young stock rather high. For want of money, bought nothing. Came on to rain. Got to Luke's by dark, stopped all night. Slept by the fire. Started home at daylight.
Saturday, September 29th, 1860.
Today finished planting potatoes, of which I have got in about 400 lbs. and at which I have been hard at work. Put in also a few marrows.
The weather has been fine all the week with cold nights and beautiful days.
Tuesday, October 16th, 1860.
Monday, October 1, started for town to purchase provisions. A fine day. Arrived there safely. Attended prayer meeting in the evening. During the week visited many friends. A good deal of rain. Returned on Saturday evening. Sunday heard Mr. Brown preach. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday carrying. Thursday, Friday and Saturday gardening. Put in plants, maize, melons etc.
Lord's Day, October 28th, 1860.
We are living in great suspense and some degree of fear. Truly we know not what a day may bright forth. Whether we shall have to leave for town, whether all our work shall be labour lost, and others reap what we have sown, the future alone can tell. Some of our neighbours have left their farms. Others seem to have little fear. Yesterday some seven natives paid us a visit, for what purpose we know not. We knew them, and they told us there was going to be fighting next week. But what dependence can be placed upon their statements? They departed peaceably. Suspense bring anxiety, and of course more or less affects the nervous system; there are consequently somewhat disturbed nights, and the ear is on the alert to listen for any unusual noises during the night. Then what little heart is there for work. What would we not give now to penetrate into the future, -- to know what is to take place. But we must only wait and see. We seem to appreciate peace and security very little as a general rule; the same with many other blessings. But, oh, when these blessings begin to depart, how we desire them -- would give almost anything for their return.
Is there, however, no God in Heaven, one who rules among the inhabitants of the earth? Is He not a help in time of trouble? Let me put my trust in Him, and be assured that all things shall work together for good to them that love God.
Saturday, December 1st, 1860.
Another small blank appears in my journal, and for good reason. It has been stowed away in the bush for about three weeks. Yes, the past month has been one that I should not at all like to see a repetition of.
On Tuesday night, Oct. 30, 15 we received news that it was dangerous
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to remain in the bush, and that the women and children especially should be removed to town. We were up, therefore, all night preparing for off first thing in the morning, burying things in the garden and so on. At daylight we started off for Drury, and a sore job we had to get there, the roads being very bad. However, we arrived there safely, and Mr. Robinson and family, and Jane and the children, all started for town. I returned not caring to leave the place without somebody about.
The next day stowed away all the boxes in the bush, and slept that night at D's. Most of our neighbours went away likewise, which of course, with others going to town from other districts caused quite a stir. In fact, there was almost a panic, so much so that the Governor had to issue a notice for "The settlers to return to their homes". I am happy to say that though there was serious cause for alarm, yet the natives whom we had to fear returned to their homes without doing any mischief.
Sunday we had a Bible Class. Monday Mr. R. returned. Next five days cutting bush. Sunday a prayer meeting. Four days cutting bush. Thursday Jane and children returned, and I was glad to see them, getting tired of bachelor life. Friday and Saturday busy putting things to right. Sunday preached from "Work out your own salvation" etc.
This week cutting bush. Today got a letter from Annie. 16
We have had a good deal of wet this last month. It has been fine growing weather.
Today pulled some green peas, have had cabbage and lettuce in abundance.
Up to the present time I have been about 40 days felling bush.
Thursday, 6th December, 1860.
Sunday Mr. Norrie preached.
Monday very wet. Sowed turnips. Hitherto nearly all my turnips have been a failure, owing, I presume, to its being the wrong time of the year.
And now our friends, or rather our foes, the mosquitoes are all active -- buzzing and biting in first rate style. I am sorry that I have not finished my bush felling, for they are a terrible nuisance in the bush. However, I must do the best I can and submit to them with patience.
Have lately read four excellent "Teetotal Tales".
Thursday, December 13th, 1860.
Since I wrote last have been still bush felling. No rain this week though the wind has been from the rainy quarter.
Monday, hens brought out nineteen chickens.
Health good and I seem to stand bush life pretty well. Intellectually, I am doing nothing. One is really so tired after a hard day's work, that it becomes a good apology for doing nothing.
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A shower last night. How true the words of the Psalmist, "He watereth the earth". Rain, too, on Friday morning when I planted out tomatoes and c. gooseberries.
Mosquitoes are being so annoying that I think I shall have to knock off bush felling.
Christmas Day, 1860.
The seventh I have spent in this country. We have kept it as a sort of holiday, and have had one or two visitors. It has been exceedingly warm, and this evening, being inclined for rain, the air is full of mosquitoes. Holidays occasionally are beneficial, and to have a few innocent games is all to the good. We dined off lamb, green peas, potatoes, turnips, carrots, and Christmas pudding. The peas were excellent.
Our garden looks very dry, and a shower would be acceptable. I am afraid our potato crop won't be first rate, the ground being mere rubbish. Pumpkins and marrows are growing well, and I expect a good many off them. Cabbage is of a poor sort, and it is a difficult matter to get good seed.
Lord's Day, December 30th, 1860.
During the week have put up a stock yard, and yesterday was thrashing grass.
No rain yet. Things very dry.
Just finished a letter to Mary Ann 17 and one to Uncle David.
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[Map on page 26 is omitted as it is in copyright]