1874 - Carleton, H. The Life of Henry Williams, [Vol. I. ] - APPENDIX TO VOL I.

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  1874 - Carleton, H. The Life of Henry Williams, [Vol. I. ] - APPENDIX TO VOL I.
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A.--Page 14.

NOT from any desire to make much of the earlier career of Henry Williams, but for the pleasure of the grandchildren, mainly for whom the "Memoir" is compiled, room is found for the original account of the last naval action in which he was engaged.

"It is with great satisfaction we have to announce the capture of the 'President,' by the 'Endymion.' The following are the particulars. The 'President,' Commodore Decateur, made her escape from New York, and was fallen in with and chased by our squadron cruising off and near that port; but she outsailed the whole of them, except the 'Endymion,' Captain Hope, who continued the chase with the greatest anxiety, came up with, and brought her to action, which was fought with great fury for more than two hours, when the Yankee hauled down his colors, on the 'Pomone' appearing in sight. The loss on our side is about eleven killed and fourteen wounded; that of the Americans, upwards of ninety killed or wounded. We rejoice that none of the officers of the 'Endymion' were killed or wounded. The 'Endymion' is a beautiful forty-gun frigate (mounting about forty-six), a very fine sailor, and had a complement of about three hundred and forty men and boys. This is her complement; but from her loss in the attack on the 'Prince of Neufchatel' privateer, by her boats, her number is presumed not to be complete, independent of losing many of her best hands. She carries twenty-four-pounders on her maindeck, and thirty-two-pounder carronades on her poop and forecastle. The 'President' has nearly sixty guns, and her complement, before the action, about five hundred picked seamen. She carries long twenty-four-pounders on her maindeck, and forty-two-pounder carronades on her spardeck, and was generally considered in battle nearly as efficient as a seventy-two. This will set every idea of superiority at rest. A more glorious action was never fought, and it binds unfading laurels around the brow of so young an officer as Captain Hope. After the action, Captain Hope took his prize for Bermuda, where both ships arrived in perfect safety. The weight of the 'President's' broadside is 1,682 pounds, tonnage 1,600 tons. That of the 'Endymion' 1,324 pounds, and 1,277 tons,"

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B.--Page. 15.

An opinion,--one entitled to the highest respect, has been expressed, that the charge of dismissal from the Navy ought not to be considered, even by way of disproof, as being too painfully wicked, and, moreover, in the nature of an admission that disproof could be needed. That opinion was expressed in England, and is in conformity with English tone of thought. But it is necessary, in the colonies, from time to time to conform to another tone of thought, no matter with what reluctance. That which would be harmless in England, is capable of working out its mischief here. The charge was made, and is being privately repeated still; adhered to with such pertinacity, that on one occasion, when refuted by mention of the Admiralty papers subjoined hereto, the answer was, "very likely; but how are we to know that they are genuine?" It is with instinctive aversion that the subject is approached, but all who have been advised with in New Zealand are agreed that there is no option but to crush the charge, once and for ever.

The following papers contain the formal proofs of the circumstances under which Henry Williams left His Majesty's service; also apologies, which, in deference to the mistaken, though well-meant advice of a superior, were not made public at the time.

"I, John Alexander Radcliffe, of No. 8, Delapay Street, in the Liberty of Westminster, in the County of Middlesex, do solemnly and sincerely declare that I am one of the Attorneys of Her Majesty's Court of Queen's Bench, in England, and that on or about the thirteenth day of May, instant, I applied to the Secretary of the Board of Admiralty, at Whitehall, in the said County of Middlesex, on behalf of the Reverend Henry Williams, formerly a Lieutenant in the Royal British Navy, but now residing in New Zealand, for a certificate of the date when the said Henry Williams quitted His British Majesty's ship "Thames," together with a certificate of the date of the removal of the name of the said Henry Williams from the List of Lieutenants in the Royal British Navy, and also the reason or cause assigned for such removal. That on or about the seventeenth day of May, instant, I received from the hands of Benjamin Moore, Esquire, the Chief Clerk in Her Majesty's Navy Pay Office, at Somerset House, in the County of Middlesex, aforesaid, a certificate, which is hereunto annexed, marked "A," whereby he, the said Benjamin Moore, certified that the said Henry Williams was discharged His Majesty's ship "Thames" on the twenty-ninth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and fifteen, in consequence of his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant, and that he, the said Henry Williams, was removed from the List of Lieutenants by an order issued by the then Lords of the Admiralty, dated eleventh day of April, one thousand eight

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hundred and twenty-seven, in consequence of his entering into Holy Orders. [What follows is only technical.]

"Declared at the Mansion House, London, the twenty-sixth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven.

"Before me--
"P. CARROLL, Mayor."


"To all to whom these presents shall come: I, Sir George Carroll, Knight, Lord Mayor of the City of London, do hereby certify that, on the day of the date hereof, personally came and appeared before me, John Alexander Radcliffe, named in the declaration hereunto annexed, being a person well known, and worthy of good credit, and who did, before me, solemnly and sincerely declare to be true the several matters and things mentioned and contained in the said annexed declaration, pursuant to an Act of Parliament passed in the sixth year of the reign of King William the fourth. In faith and testimony whereof, I, the said Lord Mayor, have caused the Seal of the Office of Mayoralty of the said City of London to be hereunto put and affixed, and the certificate mentioned and referred to in and by the said declaration to be hereunto also annexed.

"Dated in London the twenty-sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven.



"Department of the Accountant-General of the Navy.
"Admiralty, 17th May, 1847.

A. "I hereby certify that Lieutenant Henry Williams is borne on the books of H.M.S. 'Thames,' and on the Half Pay List of the Navy, as follows, viz.:

"Entered, 10th May, 1815, Midshipman; discharged, 29th August, 1815, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

"Entered, 30th August, 1815, and removed from the List by their Lordships' order of 11th April, 1827, in consequence of his entering into Holy Orders.

"B. MOORE, Wages Office."

"This is the certificate referred to in the annexed declaration of John Alexander Radcliffe, the 26th of May, 1847.

"G, CARROLL, Mayor,"

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"Admiralty Office, 26th July, 1822.


"In reference to your letter of the -- inst, I have to acquaint you that a letter, in the usual form, granting you two years' leave of absence, to go abroad, is ready to be delivered by the Chief Clerk of this Office on payment of the public fee, to which it is subject. And I am also to acquaint you that unless such letter, containing instructions for your guidance, be taken up by you previous to your going abroad, your half-pay will be stopped so long as you may remain out of the country.

"I am, Sir,
"Your very humble servant,
"Lieutenant Henry Williams."


"Auckland, 3rd August, 1846.

"I, George Augustus, by Divine permission, Bishop of New Zealand, do hereby certify that Henry Williams, Clerk Archdeacon of the District of the Waimate, in this Diocese, appeared personally before me, in the month of July, in the year of our Lord 1846, to answer to an imputation of having left the Navy under dishonourable circumstances. And that I, having called upon the author of the imputation to prove his assertion, obtained from him an acknowledgment that he had received it upon hearsay, and that I, having further examined the documents submitted to me by Archdeacon Williams, consisting of public certificates from the Admiralty, and private letters from the Rev. Mr. Marsh, his agent in England at the time of his leaving the Navy, am convinced, and do hereby certify, under my hand and seal, that in my judgment, the above imputation is entirely unfounded.

"Witness my hand.


"Auckland, 3rd August, 1846.

"My dear Archdeacon,

"Your enclosure has made me quite happy, and I thank God that the same cause will send you back to your duties with your mind more at ease.

"If you are delayed, we shall be happy to see you again at the College whenever it is convenient to you.

"I remain,
"My dear Archdeacon,
"Your affectionate friend and brother,
"The Venerable Archdeacon
Henry Williams."

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"Auckland, August 1st, 1846.


"You are doubtless aware of the existence of a correspondence between the Lord Bishop of this Colony and myself, relative to a certain conversation which took place some time in January last.

"Permit me, Sir, to express my regret that I did on that occasion cast any reflection on the manner in which you left Her Majesty's Service, which I am now convinced took place under the most honourable circumstances.

"I have, &c,
"The Venerable Archdeacon
Henry Williams."

"A true copy.
Russell, 14th August, 1846.
"JAMES CLENDON, Police Magistrate."


"Extract of a letter from Thos. McDonnell, Esquire, R.N., additional Resident at New Zealand, to James Busby, Esquire, British Resident, dated Houraki, 12th March, 1836.

'I have only to observe that all doubts on my mind regarding Mr. Williams were removed, and I left the Bay of Islands with the best impression of his character, and with this conviction, that he was an injured man.'

"A true extract.
"Formerly British Resident at New Zealand."


C.--Page 58.

While this volume was going through the press, the question raised in the note to page 58 was submitted by Sir William Martin to Wiremu Hikairo, a most intelligent Assessor of the Native Lands Court. He does not seem to have quite apprehended the object of enquiry, but his observations on this curious custom are interesting, and, in the main, support the exposition given in the text. It will be noted, however, that he assigns an additional reason in support of the custom,--namely, that the chiefs find it to their interest, notwithstanding the occasional inconvenience, to maintain it. For "the object of such muru is to caution the men of the tribe to take care of the chiefs."

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"Ko te Muru Whakanui koia tenei. Me he mea ka pangia tetahi Rangatira e tetahi aitua--aitua ranei ki tona tinana tonu ake, aitua ranei ki ana tamariki, aitua ranei ki tona wahine, aitua ranei ki ona taonga--i muri iho i te aituatanga ka tae te rongo ki etahi o nga Hapu o taua Rangatira, katahi ka whakatika mai aua Hapu ki te muru i nga taonga o taua Rangatira i pangia ra e te aitua ratou ko tetahi o ona hapu, ara, ko te hapu i noho ai ia i te wa i pangia ia e te Aitua--ka murua katoatia. Ko taua tu Muru he mea mahi whakakite tonu i te tirohanga atu ano a taua Rangatira ra ratou ko tona hapu. Heoi, kaore e aha atu, nana ka muru i nga taonga, nana ka kotikoti i nga whenua--hei aha hoki? Heoti ano ta taua Rangatira ra ratou ko tona hapu e tiaki ko o ratou tinana anake kei pangia e te patu. He mea ano, kotahi tonu te ra i puta mai ai nga hapu o taua Rangatira ra ki te muru. He mea ano, ko etahi hapu no etahi ra--ko etahi, no tetahi ra. Tae rawa mai, kua poto katoa nga taonga, whenua ranei, te muru e o mua ope. Engari, ko te mea hei whakangawari mo era ope, ma nga Rangatira o nga hapu i tae wawe mai ki te muru, ara, o nga hapu i whiwhi, ma ratou e tuku atu i etahi o nga taonga, whenua ranei, i riro ra i a ratou. Kia rupeke ra ano nga hapu o taua Rangatira i aitua ra te puta mai, katahi ano ka ta to ratou manawa ko tona hapu. Na, ko nga taonga, whenua ranei, i murua ra, ekore e hoki kau mai ki taua Rangatira ra ratou ko tona hapu. Engari ko te wa e ea mai ai aua taonga, whenua, i murua. Ko te wa e pangia ai hoki tetahi rangatira e te Aitua. Ko reira hoki te Rangatira i murua ai pera ai hoki te mahi me nga mea kua korerotia i runga ake nei.

"Na ko taua tu Muru he whakanui mo te Rangatira. Me he mea hoki kaore e peneitia te mahi, ka whakataukitia. 'E! to te kuri tona mate te ai he ahatanga.' No reira hoki te take o tenei kupu whakaiti, 'Kowai hai aha mai hei i tou mate?'

"Tetahi tikanga o taua Muru he whakatupato ki nga tangata o te hapu kia pai ta ratou atawhai i te Rangatira.

"Tetahi he mea kei heke te tupu o te Rangatira.

"Ko te take tena i mau tonu ai te aroha me te wehi o nga hapu ki o ratou Rangatira. He whakaaro kei tunuhuruhurutia ratou e etahi atu hapu.

"Ko te kii hoki a era wa. Ko nga aitua katoa e pa ana ki nga Rangatira he whakaarokore mo nga tangata o te hapu.

"Engari ko taua tu Muru i korerotia i runga ake nei --ekore e tupu te whakaaro i nga tangata noa iho o te Iwi, engari kei nga rangatira tonu.

"Ko nga tangata hei muru ko nga tangata i raro i tona mana. Ekore ra e poka noa te tangata ke ki te muru.

"I mea ai te ngakau o Hongi ki te tua i tona waerenga he mohiotanga nona, ki te noho noa iho ia, ekore tona iwi e haere ki

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te mahi, a ki te kore e haere ki te mahi, tera ia e mate i te te kai. Tona haerenga ki te tua, wahi iti kua hinga mai ki runga ki a ia te rakau a kua mate ia."


The Muru Whakanui [stripping to exalt], or complimentary taua, is as follows.

If some aitua or evil omen should happen to any chief--to his own person, or children, or wife, or goods--as soon as intelligence thereof should reach the tribes related to, or under the mana or influence of such chief, those tribes would rise and strip the chief, and also the tribe with whom he was residing, of all their goods and possessions; and this stripping would be done under the eyes of the chief and tribe, and they would raise no objection, even if they should deprive them of all their goods and landed possessions, and distribute them among themselves; all that the chief and his tribe would protect, would be their own persons from blows. It would happen sometimes, that all the tribes of such chief would come on the same day to strip; at other times it would happen that some tribes would come one day, and some another, when the last arrivals would find that all the goods and landed possessions were gone to the first tauas; in that case the chiefs of the first tauas would have to appease them, by giving them a share of the plunder taken by them; and not until all the tribes in connection with such chief unto whom the aitua had befallen had put in an appearance, would such chief and his tribe have any peace, after that they might breathe freely.

The goods and lands of such chief and his tribe would not be restored to them, but he must wait until some aitua should happen to some other chief of his nation, when he and his tribe would rise and recover all they had lost by the same process.

The effect of such muru or stripping would be to exalt or advance the importance of the chief; if he was not served this way, people would apply to him the proverb,--"Alas, the death of a dog, no notice need be taken of it;" hence also is the root of this contempt, "who would notice or avenge your death."

Another object of such muru is to caution the men of the tribe to take proper care of the chief.

Another object is that the influence of the chief shall not decline. Hence the constant love and jealous care of the tribes for their chiefs, fearing lest they themselves shall be done violence to by their friends and connections of other hapus, as it was the rule in those days that if any aitua befel a chief it was through neglect on the part of his tribe. Such muru aforesaid would not be applied to common people, but only to chiefs. The men entitled to muru, or strip, would be those living under the mana, influence, or protection of the chief. No one not connected with the tribe would take part in a muru. An instance of aitua:---Hongi Hika made up his mind to cut down some bush for a cultivation, considering that if he

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sat still his tribe would not go to work, and if they did not work he would be hard up for something to eat. In felling the bush, he had a narrow escape from a tree falling on the top of him, which would have killed him.

Pretexts in plenty could be found for robbing an European; but he would not be held liable to "complimentary" taua unless held in exceptionally high esteem. In 1850, Mr. Henry Williams, junior, was superintending the sawing of timber for the Pakaraka church. The men were rolling the logs to the pit; he himself was in the pit, giving directions; one of the logs slipped, and Mr. Henry Williams was so nearly killed that it was reported that he was killed.

The old chief, Kanawa, said that his teina [younger brother] was killed; that he should therefore make a taua on Pakaraka, and drive away the cattle, for utu. This, to the family, was a patent of nobility.


D.--Page 138.

I take occasion to offer what has not yet been made known, unless by disjointed mention,--the history of the Maori version of the Holy Scriptures, from the commencement of the work of translation to its completion. It is hoped that this account, necessarily condensed, may be the precursor of another more complete, giving details which can be supplied only by the translators themselves, and,--a matter of especial interest--the principles on which they worked. The care and the patient labour bestowed upon it, not only by persons to whom the Maori tongue was familiar as their own, but also by persons conversant with the science of language, was unintermittent for many years; the result of which, aided by the unlooked-for copiousness and plasticity of the medium upon which they worked, has been a monument, aere perennius, of pure and idiomatic Maori speech; which, moreover, at a period when the language was rapidly undergoing the invariable process of degradation, the Bible rendering has seemed to fix. Sir William Martin, the most critical judge perhaps in the southern hemisphere, considers it to be the best translation extant in any of the Polynesian languages. Bishop Selwyn also bears his own testimony in these words:--

"In New Zealand, this danger has been happily avoided, by the extreme industry and accuracy of our chief translators, [he is speaking of Archdeacon William Williams and of the Rev. P obert Maunsell], who have laboured with great success to ascertain the

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exact meaning and power of the idioms of the native language, and to introduce into their version the best and most expressive words that could be found. The proof of this is often seen in the vivid delight with which a native convert brings his book to his teacher, to point out some of those peculiarly happy translations, saying, 'Now, this is sweet; now, that word is thoroughly clear.' It will need no argument to prove the superiority of a translation which thus speaks to the hearts and feelings of a native people, over one which brings down the word of God to vague and tame generalities."

Nor let the fact be overlooked, that to the existence of this work, already in the hands of the New Zealand natives, the comparative failure of the Roman Catholic mission is to be attributed,--a mission whose teaching had many attractions for the native mind, which were not diminished by the worldly liberality displayed. One of their converts is reported to have said to Bishop Selwyn,--(se non e vero, e ben trovato), --"Your blankets are too thin." The phrase is pregnant with meaning. But no persuasion,--moral or material, was able to countervail, among a hard-headed, inquisitive, and suspicious people, the suppression of The Book. Why anything should be kept back from them, they were unable to understand; why there should be secrecy and mystery on the one hand, and none whatever on the other. The reasoning by which such procedure is commonly defended is too fine-drawn to take effect upon the Maori mind. Moreover, the extraordinary acquisitiveness of the native character would hardly brook the taking away of that which had been once enjoyed.

So many of those who took part in this work have been called away from the scene of their labours, that for the earlier steps we must be content occasionally to rely on the somewhat meagre notices in the "Church Mission Record." In regard to later, and indeed more important proceedings, ample information is extant still.

The first attempt to reduce the Maori language to form, was made by Professor Lee, at Cambridge. From materials furnished by Mr. Kendall, supplemented by converse with the chiefs who were then on a visit to England, he compiled a grammar and a vocabulary.

The next advance was made in New Zealand. A Translating Committee was organized at Paihia, which pursued the work without intermission for many years. In a letter from Mr. Richard Davis to his friend Mr. Coleman, in England, written in 1824, the following passage occurs:--

"Mr. Shepherd has a good knowledge of the Maori language, and has translated the Gospel of St. John, which we hope soon to have printed. 1

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In 1826, the Rev. William Williams, 2 an Oxford man, and a fine scholar, began the translation of Genesis.

In 1832, the Rev. A. N. Brown informs the Society that--"The work of translation has hitherto proceeded but slowly, owing, in great measure, to pressure of the secular occupation which falls to the share of the Missionaries in New Zealand. Up to June, 1832, there have been translated, at this station, three chapters of Genesis, the Gospel of St. Matthew, and the Acts of the Apostles; the church catechism, and one other catechism [Watt's]; part of the liturgy, the baptismal, sacramental, and burial services, and part of the marriage service."

In the same year, the Rev. William Williams informs the Society that--"It has been concluded that Mr. Yate shall again visit Sydney, for the purpose of superintending the press. We hope to send two Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistle to the Romans, and the first to the Corinthians, together with a considerable portion of the Book of Common Prayer."

Mr. Yate proceeded accordingly to Sydney, and thus reports progress.

"March 2, 1833. I have completed the liturgy, catechisms, and hymns; and if all goes on as it is now proceeding, I shall complete all that is translated of the Scriptures: 1,800 copies of each are struck off, which, with the binding, paper, &c, will come to nearly £500, a large sum, but much cheaper than the last edition: inasmuch as we had only 550 volumes of the last for £90, we have how 3,300 volumes for £500. Out of this must be deducted about £90, the Wesleyan Mission's share; as they are to have a portion of the work, having made application to that effect; and £70 which the Auxiliary Bible Society here gave us; besides some paper, which we shall have when it arrives, and about £120 from collections, which would most assuredly not have been made, had I not have come up to new South Wales. Thus, £280 must be deducted from the sum total; which will make the actual cost to the Society, for 3,000 volumes, about £220."

In a letter, dated May 21, he writes--"I am happy to say I have at last finished printing." By the ship which brought this letter, he forwarded two copies of the works printed, bound in volumes: --Morning and evening prayers; sacramental service. Services: infant and adult baptism; marriage and burial; churching of women. Four catechisms; twenty-seven hymns; first nine chapters of Genesis; Gospel by St. Matthew; Gospel by St. John; Acts; Epistle to the Romans; first Epistle to the Corinthians.

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It must be confessed, however, that the carrying through the press was but imperfectly done. The language was strange to the compositors; Mr. Yate himself not a professional reader. Beyond doubt, he did his utmost; but those who are practically acquainted with the operations of the press will see at once that much error, under the circumstances, was to be expected.

The Rev. William Williams then took in hand the Gospel of St. Luke.

In 1834, the Society sent a printing press to New Zealand, Mr. William Colenso in charge.

In 1835, the Rev. Robert Maunsell, 3 another ripe and trained scholar, came out in the service of the Society. Time being allowed for the acquisition of the language, he ultimately became the other great leader in the work.

In 1836, Mr. Maunsell began a translation of Exodus, in conjunction with Mr. Hamlin, one of the Society's catechists, who, without any pretence to the niceties of scholarship, was deemed by the natives to be the most perfect speaker of their language in New Zealand. The two proceeded as far as chapter xxii.; after which Mr. Maunsell had to work alone. He then translated six chapters of Isaiah,--from the forty-ninth to the fifty-fifth, which he printed in pamphlet form. The first twenty chapters (I believe) of Exodus were also printed. In the meantime, Mr. William Williams completed the remaining portions of the New Testament, revising, also, those which had been already printed in New South Wales; the New Testament was then printed as a whole at the Society's press at Paihia, and this was soon after followed by the Maori prayer book.

In 1844, Messrs. William Williams, Maunsell, and Puckey, were appointed a committee, at the request of Bishop Selwyn, to revise the Maori prayer book, which was considered to be still defective. The revision of the psalms amounted to a new translation. Mr. Maunsell had then made some progress in the Old Testament, but in July, 1843, his house was destroyed by fire, and in it were consumed his MSS., his dictionary, and his notes for the revision of 1844. He had to begin de novo, even before his hands had become healed from the scorches: friends in England contributed £200, which set him up again in books.

The Pentateuch, as prepared by him, was printed; then the other books,in succession, as far as the psalms, at the expense of the Church Mission Society. Their press, however, was then given up, and as Mr. Maunsell had no press wherewith to print the remainder, he appealed to the Auckland public. The appeal was liberally responded to, the subscription amounting to £500. Revision copies to the end of Malachi were then printed.

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The next step was the formation of a committee of revision, consisting of Archdeacon William Williams, Mr. Maunsell, and Mr. Kissling, with Messrs. Hobbs and Buddle, Wesleyans. They revised the translation of the Prophets, and the Old Testament was thus complete.

In 1847, the New Testament was revised, a part by Archdeacon William Williams, Mr. Maunsell, and Mr. Puckey; the remainder by the two first named.

Never contented with what had been accomplished, striving onward still towards perfection--for, in truth, scientific knowledge of the language was continually on the advance, the translators girded themselves up again to the work. A committee was appointed for the further revision of the whole of the Old Testament, namely, Archdeacon William Williams, Mr. Maunsell, and Mr. Leonard Williams (an Oxonian), son to the Archdeacon, described by Mr. Maunsell as the best Maori critic he ever had to deal with. Messrs. Hobbs and Reid, Wesleyans, were conjoined; Mr. Whiteley sent some notes.

The Old Testament was carried through the press, in England, by the Rev. George Maunsell (son of Archdeacon Maunsell), the Rev. W. T. Mellor (since deceased), and Mrs. Colenso, daughter of Mr. Fairburn, the catechist, a very able and intelligent Maori scholar.

In 1867, another committee was appointed,--William Williams, Maunsell, and Leonard Williams, for the revision of the New Testament. This third and last revision was prepared for the press by Mrs. Colenso, writing in the corrections on a printed copy, herself suggesting several, which were adopted. It was carried through the press in England in 1867, by Bishop Selwyn. Thus the Maori Bible came out as it is, and as it is likely to remain,--"a monument," to borrow the words of Bishop Broughton, "of laborious and well-directed piety."

Even the translators of the Bible were not allowed to pursue their work in peace. They were often attacked, but seldom made reply. Fault-finding from those who are themselves at work can be listened to with respect, for they invite a fair comparison. But the do-nothing assailants attack in comparative safety, by affording no opportunity for retort. Sometimes the Mission did defend themselves; and, as in the following letter from the Rev. George Kissling to a local newspaper, not without effect.

To the Editor of "The New Zealander"


Your correspondent "A.B.," in Saturday's number, labours under a mistake when he charges the Missionaries with delinquency in not giving the whole Word of God to the native race in their own language. As the accusation is one of a serious nature, I think it right to make a few remarks in vindication of their labours.

Firstly: I would observe that in the early history of this Mission, its agents were unsettled, and even in danger of life for a number of years, from the wild customs and habits of the natives, and a protracted warfare between their various

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tribes. But as soon as the Missionaries could, with any degree of safety, enter upon their duties, they undertook the necessary and laborious task of rendering to writing a crude, oral language of several dialects, and they performed this work on principles which have stood the test of criticism, conferring a great boon on the country at large.

Secondly: The translation of the New Testament engaged their primary attention. In the year 1837, a beautiful edition was carried through the Mission press, by the Missionaries themselves. Besides this, they published a number of elementary, religious, and historical books in the Maori language, which have been the means of bringing the great bulk of the native race to read and write, and of diffusing among them much salutary and useful knowledge.

Thirdly: The translation of the Old Testament was never neglected. Portions of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy appeared in print in 1840. These portions were considerably enlarged, together with some of the most interesting chapters from the Prophets, during the years 1844 and '45. Soon after, a more complete translation of the Pentateuch and the book of Joshua was forwarded to the British and Foreign Bible Society,--by whose liberality 5,000 copies were printed in the year 1848, for the use of the natives of New Zealand. These copies, in addition to more than 50,000 Maori New Testaments, have been circulated among the native converts, or used in their schools; a small portion only remaining on hand.

Fourthly: The Maori New Testament, the Psalms, and the book of common prayer have been carefully revised, and a new edition, stereotyped, is now expected from home.

Fifthly: The remaining portions of the Old Testament have received the careful and anxious attention of the Missionaries; their hands have not been idle, nor has the press been standing still. Little more than the minor Prophets are wanting, I believe, to render the Bible in Maori complete, so far as translation from the original text is concerned. The protraction and difficulties arising from printing in a colony circumstanced and situated like this cannot be fairly charged on the Missionaries of New Zealand.

Sixthly: The Word of God requires a true and faithful translation, which, considering the poverty of language at the translators' disposal, must naturally occupy a considerable time. By the way, has your correspondent ever heard of the loss which a Missionary at Waikato sustained from the destruction by fire of valuable manuscript? He might have borne this in mind when he brought his charge of delinquency against the Missionaries. Furthermore, is your correspondent aware of the peculiar difficulty attending the press from the nature of the Maori language, where an omission, or addition, or substitution of one single letter by a mistake of the printer, not only alters the sense of a whole passage, but often endangers the doctrine of Scripture itself to a very great extent? In short, does your correspondent know that to make a faithful translation of the Bible is, in fact, forming the standard and genius of a language for the nation? And has he ever calculated the time it occupied the translators of the English Bible before they produced a true and faithful version for the public use?

I trust that "A.B.," when he considers these points, and many others which may easily suggest themselves to his mind, will from a sense of justice withdraw his imputation of neglect against the Missionaries of New Zealand.

I am, &c,
Auckland, October 18, 1852.

It is true that a question might be raised, whether the whole of the Old Testament ought to be placed at once before a savage race. Ulphilas, in his own translation, omitted [I write from memory] what were then called the four Books of Kings, for fear of exciting the warlike propensities of his Goths. But, as a matter of fact, this question did not arise in New Zealand. The translators gave the whole.

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I have before me the first prayer book and the first New Testament printed, to which are prefixed the first eight chapters of the book of Genesis, and give the titles:--"Ko te Pukapuka Inoinga, me nga Karakia Hakarameta, me era ritenga hoki o te Hahi o Ingarani. Hirini: kua oti te ta e te Tipene raua ko te Toki, 1833."

The next in date is the New Testament of 1837, printed at the Missionary press, Paihia. The title page bears the additional notice:

"He mea wakamaori i te Reo Kariki." " Translated from the Greek": literally, a word maorified from the Greek tongue.

The next is:--"Ko tetahi wahi o Te Kawenata Tawhito, he mea wakamaori mai no te Reo Hiperu. No Ranana, na te Komiti ta Paipera, 1848."

Parts of the Old Testament, translated from the Hebrew. London. For the Bible Society.

The next is the New Zealand Testament of 1852, carried through the press in London, by Archdeacon William Williams. The title is the same, with the addition of the letter h after one variety of the w,--Whakaora, whakamaori; a refinement in spelling which had now become established. At the foot of the page we read:--

"Ranana. He mea ta i te Perehi o T. R. Harihona raua ka tana Tama, ma te Huihuinga ta Paipera mo Ingarani, mo te Ao katoa, ko tetahi wahi o te Kawenata Hou o Ihu Karaiti te Ariki, to tatou kai wakaora, me nga upoko e waru o te pukapuka o Kenehi.

"Ka oti nei te whakamaori ki te Reo o Nu Tireni. Hirini: kua oti te ta e te Tipene raua ko te Toki."

These are bibligraphical curiosities, now very scarce. The[se?] pages are given in full, for the benefit of that colonial Dibdin [??] may yet arise.

1   Mr. Shepherd was one of the first in the field. His translation, however, did not go through the press, the work having been taken up anew by the Committee. Mr. William Puckey was also engaged upon the Gospel of St. John, beginning at the middle of the fourteenth chapter; the Psalms, and the Athanasian Creed. His work likewise was superseded by that of the Committee.
2   Now Bishop of Waiapu.
3   Now Archdeacon Maunsell.

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