Containing the Dioceses of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Waiapu, Wellington, and Melanesia. By Henry Jacobs London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1887.
Chapter III. A New Era--Trials--Slow Progress--Schools and Classes--Building of The Herald--The Rev. W. Williams--His Preparation and Ordination--His arrival at Paihia--Progress in the Language--Troubles in 1827--Marsden's Fifth Visit--Hongi dies--Signs of Improve-ment--Peace-making--First Baptism--First Public Baptism of Infants--Battle of Kororareka--Marsden's Sixth Visit--Reconciliation--Progress of Translation--Fresh Labourers--A New Mission Vessel--Perilous Voyage--Eagerness of the Natives to learn--New Station at Waimate--A Successful Effort--Darkness before the Dawn--Admission to Holy Communion--Beginning of Native Agency--New Station at Kaitaia--Further Advance in Translation--Improvement in 1833
And now a new era commenced for the Bay of Islands Mission. The labourers were few in number, but the roll had been purged, and all were now of one heart and one soul, animated by the same spirit of single-minded devotedness. [Footnote: The missionary party distributed among the three stations at this time consisted of the following:--The Rev. H. Williams and Mrs. Williams: Mr. and Mrs. Kemp; Mr. and Mrs. Fairburn; Mr. Davis; Mr. and Mrs. Puckey; Mr. and Mrs. Clarke; Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd; in addition to the original settlers, W. Hall, J. King, and their families. The Rev. J. Butler left the station at Keri-Keri shortly before Mr. Williams was settled at Paihia. Kendall started for Sydney with Mr. Marsden in the Brampton, but after the wreck refused to leave New Zealand; and this is the last we hear of him, except that there was some threatening of trouble in consequence of an attempt made by Hongi to put him in possession of the house vacated by Butler.]
Troubles, [37/38] dangers, discouragements abounded as before, and were often well-nigh past bearing, insomuch that they more than once threatened to abandon their stations; but, when matters came to this pass, they were invari-ably entreated by the natives to remain. Open rob-bery, threatening insults, and actual violence, were events of frequent occurrence; not less trying were the thousand petty inconveniences and roughnesses of daily life, passed under such conditions as theirs was, which are so apt to deaden spiritual-mindedness, and disenchant missionary work of its high romance. But trials, great and small alike, were encountered with unwavering faith, inflexible resolution, and a marvel-lous elasticity of temper. Mr. Williams especially,--Te Wiremu, as the Maories soon learned to call him,--who was leader of the party by nature as well as position, by his cool intrepidity, self-possession, and fertility of resource, and, when it became absolutely necessary, by the exertion of his great physical strength, soon acquired a commanding influence over the native mind. The moral effects of the example and teaching of the missionaries were gradually, yet surely, leavening the people, though no direct spiritual results were for a long time visible. "Our visits among the people," writes Mr. Williams at this early period, "are frequent. But they are sadly dark. They are by no means averse to our conversation, but they are as dead as stones; they want the power from above."
 After the departure of Mr. Marsden no time was lost in setting to work. Schools were opened at Rangihoua and Keri-Keri, as well as at Paihia, and at the last-named place a separate building was erected and set apart for worship; above all, a daily service, with prayers and hymns in the native language, was instituted, and into this the native boys and girls em-ployed at the station, wild and undisciplined as they were at first, entered with lively interest and enjoy-ment. At the same time the language was being studied diligently and systematically. In this work Mr. Shepherd showed special proficiency; he began about this time a translation of the Gospels, besides composing several hymns, and a simple tract on the Creation, Fall, and Redemption of Man in the native tongue.
Mr. Williams himself, before he had been resident a full year at Paihia, set himself to carry out a long-cherished plan, which had been agreed upon between Mr. Marsden and himself, the building of a small vessel, a work for which his former profession in a measure qualified him. The purpose was two-fold. It was of the utmost importance, as we have seen, to make the mission stations independent of the natives in respect of provisions; but, besides this, a mission vessel was needed to carry out an object which Henry Williams had very deeply at heart from the first, the spread of the Gospel to other parts of the island. Accordingly the keel of a vessel of about fifty-five tons was laid before the close of July, 1824; William Hall, one of the first settlers, whose original trade had been that of ship-building, rendered most [39/40] valuable assistance; Mr. Williams superintended the sawyers and carpenters, partly native, partly European, but often, for the sake of urging them on, was obliged to take adze and saw in hand himself. After many delays the work, which was expected to have occupied four months, was finished in eighteen, and to his great joy the schooner, which he named The Herald, was launched on the 24th January, 1826, amidst a throng of excited and admiring natives assembled from all quarters. The harbour was alive with canoes and boats, of which not less than fifty gathered round to celebrate the event. In three weeks from this time she set sail on her first voyage to Sydney, Mr. Williams himself taking the command, in the hope of meeting his brother there, and returning with him. It was with this hope, not to say with this understand-ing, that his younger brother, William, would follow him, that he had left England. There was some fear now, lest they should pass one another on the ocean; but what was his joy, on reaching Sydney, to meet his brother coming in from Paramatta with Mr. Mars-den! Without loss of time the two--par nobile fratrum--embarked for New Zealand in the Sir George Osborne, with Mrs. William Williams, and reached Paihia on the 26th March, 1826.
The arrival of this admirable man, afterwards first Bishop of Waiapu, forms another epoch in the history of the Church of New Zealand. Born at Nottingham on July 18th, 1800, and having received his early education at the Grammar School at Southwell, he was destined for the medical profession, and articled to a surgeon of that town; but, when he heard that [40/41] his brother Henry had been accepted by the C.M.S., and was preparing for ordination with the view of being engaged in the New Zealand Mission, his plan of life was altered; he resolved to fit himself for Holy Orders, and follow his brother. He was not able, however, for some time to carry out his intention, and the interval was well spent in acquiring a further knowledge of medicine and surgery, which he found extremely valuable in his subsequent career. He matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, early in 1822, graduated in 1824, and was admitted to both deacon's and priest's orders in the September and December respectively of the same year. After his ordination he spent some time in London, walking the hospitals; was married in July, 1825; and subsequently took pas-sage with his wife for New Zealand, via Sydney, in the ship Sir George Osborne. In his company came also Mr. Hamlin, a catechist. Arriving at Port Jackson a week before Christmas, they were hospitably enter-tained by Mr. Marsden, until the ship proceeded on her voyage in the following March, and the brothers arrived together at Paihia, as before related.
Mr. William Williams immediately began that suc-cessful study of the Maori tongue, for which he soon became distinguished. His brother, writing on July 12th, 1826, that is, a little more than three months after his arrival, says: "He makes rapid progress in the language; appears not to learn it, but it seems to flow naturally from him, and he can even now hold a tolerable conversation with the natives." He re-mained with his brother, Henry, at Paihia for about nine years, and his constant residence at the station [41/42] enabled his brother to visit distant parts, and so carry out the desire he cherished warmly from the first, to extend the work of the mission far and wide. Those who enjoyed the privilege of the friendship of Bishop Williams in the days of his episcopate, know well what a lovable man he was, and at the same time how admirable; what zeal, yet what soberness of judg-ment he ever manifested; what fervour, yet what calmness; what firmness, yet what kindness of heart, and tolerance of those who differed from him. His wife, who still survives in an honoured old age, was in all respects "an helpmeet for him." The Society, though unfortunate in some instances in the early objects of their choice, had at this time, and after-wards, as Mr. Marsden once remarked, some of "the excellent of the earth," among their labourers in New Zealand. The lives of the brothers Williams, and their families, so worthily illustrating their teaching, and adorning their profession, must ever be regarded as among the most effectual of those agencies which, under the sovereign influence of the Holy Spirit, suc-ceeded in gradually softening the hearts of a fine race of men, and redeeming them from their gloomy superstitions and savage cruelties. [Footnote: This may be the fitting place to mention, that Bishop Williams, in the year 1867, published a book entitled "Chris-tianity among the New Zealanders" (Seeleys, 54, Fleet-street, London), containing the history of the New Zealand mission from the commencement to the Hauhau outbreak, and the murder of the Rev. Mr. Volkner in 1865. It need hardly be said that this book, to which the writer of the present work desires here to acknowledge his indebtedness, is an extremely interesting one.]
 The new mission schooner, The Herald, proved a great acquisition, and fully answered both the pur-poses for which she was built. She made three trips to Sydney for provisions, and two to Hokianga, a small port on the north-east coast of New Zealand, for the same purpose, but was wrecked at the latter place in May, 1828. Before this, however, Mr. Williams had made good use of her for missionary purposes, having made four voyages to Tauranga, and other parts of the Bay of Plenty, visiting the tribes in that neighbourhood, and bringing back with him several sons of chiefs for instruction in the mission schools.
But we are slightly anticipating the course of our narrative. We must go back to the beginning of the year 1827, a time of very serious trouble to the mission. The whole of this and the following year indeed was a period of almost unceasing agitation and alarm, due directly or indirectly to the turbulent Hongi, whose latter end was in keeping with all his previous career. As a rule, he had befriended the missionaries, and now, at the beginning of the year 1827, when he was bent on making war on some pretext upon the natives of Whangaroa, he gave strict orders that the Wesleyan station should not be injured. But a straggling party of his followers started off without his knowledge, fell upon the quiet settlement, drove out the inmates, pillaged it of all they cared to take away, and burnt the buildings to the ground. The Rev. H. Williams and Mr. Davis, on the first intimation of trouble, set out from Paihia and met the fugitives, amongst whom were Mrs. Turner and three children, half way on the [43/44] road between Whangaroa and Keri-Keri. The natives of the latter place, through fear of the probable con-sequences to themselves and to the missionaries under their protection, declined to give them shelter, and they were glad to accept an invitation to take refuge at Paihia. The Rev. Mr. Turner, with his wife and children, left shortly after for Sydney in a vessel named, The Sisters, and the Wesleyan mission was for the time completely broken up. The consequent alarm and suspense at the Church stations, as may well be imagined, were intense. Would their capri-cious neighbours, having broken loose from the only restraint they had previously acknowledged, and having once, so to speak, "tasted blood," be satisfied with what they had done? But this was not the only cause for alarm. Hongi, hotly engaged in pursuit of his enemies, received a gun-shot wound through his lungs, which ultimately cost him his life. Had he died at once, there can be no doubt that the station at Keri-Keri, which was under his protection, would have been plundered. For of all the extraordinary customs, formerly prevalent among this strange people, this was perhaps the most extraordinary, that a chief, or his representatives, were liable to be plundered by way of compliment. If a chief, for example, were hurt by any accident, as Hongi himself was on one occa-sion, by the fall of a tree, he was visited by a taua, that is, a plundering party, who seized and carried off all they could lay their hands upon; and, if all were done according to rule, the victim, though he might be perfectly able to protect his own, would quietly submit to be stripped of his possessions, and regard [44/45] it as a mark of respect. If a chief were killed, his whole hapu, [Footnote: Subdivision of a tribe under the rule of a minor chief.]or the whole tribe, according to his rank, would be visited, and similarly dealt with, by a com-plimentary taua on a large scale. [Footnote: In that extremely clever and entertaining book, before referred to, Mr. Hugh Carleton's "Life of Henry Williams," the writer, in a learned and ingenious note (vol. i. p. 58), attempts to trace this strange custom to its origin. In the text he makes this apposite remark A Maori, when thus despoiled, con-soles himself with the prospect of indemnifying himself, so soon as occasion may arise, by stripping some one else; but this, though quite permissible, was a fashion of recouping which the missionaries could not permit themselves to adopt."] The state of affairs at this crisis cannot be better or more briefly described than in the following account given by Archdeacon Leonard Williams: [Footnote: In a brief memoir of his father, the Bishop of Waiapu, pub-lished in the New Zealand Church News, in the year 1878. The archdeacon himself, as we shall presently see, was not quite an eye-witness of the scenes he describes.] "It seemed as though the whole mission might at any moment be utterly broken up, and the missionaries be com-pelled to seek safety in flight. They determined, nevertheless, to hold their ground until they should be compelled to move; but, as a precautionary measure, they packed up their most valuable posses-sions, and placed them on board the ship Sisters, which was then lying in harbour, and about to sail for New South Wales. Keri-Keri would have been the first place attacked; and there a boat was kept in readiness night and day, and in a room in Mr. Kemp's house, which was close to the river, were placed a [45/46] number of small bundles of clothing, with as many paddles as could be used in the boat, so that on the first alarm their faithful natives might snatch up all that could be carried in addition to the young chil-dren, and carry them in the boat to a place of safety." But they had no intention of leaving until the last extremity. "When the natives are in our houses, carrying away our property," wrote Mr. W. Williams, when the crisis was at its worst, "it will then be time for us to take refuge in our boats." To encourage them in their hour of need, their constant friend, Mr. Marsden, came over for the fifth time from Sydney, arriving in the Bay in H.M.S. Rainbow on the 5th April, 1827. But by this time the worst was over; and, having given spiritual counsel to the missionaries, and reasoned with the natives on the folly of the late war, he left again on his return voyage in five days.
A succession of false alarms of Hongi's death kept the settlements in a state of ferment for the remainder of the year; still those labourers kept steadily to their work, and, when the dreaded event actually took place, which was not till the l0th March, 1828, his long residence at Whangaroa had so broken his connection with Keri-Keri, and expectations of impending war so engrossed the minds of the natives, that the fears of the missionaryparty were after all not realised. Hongi's state of mind at the time of his death was typical of that of his countrymen in general. He was certainly not a Christian, he had not repented of his crimes; his conduct, however, gave proof that he had become ashamed of some of the worst cruelties, and most de-based superstitions of his race, and justified the [46/47] hope that the long undisturbed reign of the kingdom of darkness was passing away. He urged his fol-lowers, among his last directions, to protect the missionaries, and strictly enjoined that no slaves, according to the usual custom, should be put to death on his account. Nor was this the only visible fruit of their labour at this time. A serious blood feud had arisen, and threatened to lead to a disastrous war between the Hokianga natives and those of the Bay, who were nearly related to one another; but, to the surprise and joy of the missionaries, the way was un-expectedly opened to them to do the work of peace-makers. Some leading chiefs of the Bay having sought their mediation, Henry Williams and three others set off without hesitation for the scene of con-flict at Hokianga. The attempt was by no means without peril to themselves; for it was uncertain how they would be received. On their arrival, they had to take up their position midway between the op-posing armies, and raise the white flag on the neutral ground: it was certain that all were not desirous of peace, and a stray shot, fired whether by accident or design, might at any moment have brought on a general engagement. But by the blessing of God their efforts were crowned with success, and a complete reconciliation was effected, which not only prevented an incalculable amount of bloodshed, but established an invaluable precedent, and tended greatly to in-crease the influence of the mission for good. This settlement was brought about on the 24th March, 1828, just a fortnight after the death of Hongi; and it might well seem like the opening of a new era, [47/48] when the same month which saw the departure of that man of blood, witnessed the conclusion of what deserves to be termed in the history of New Zealand, " The Peace of Hokianga."
If we were to estimate the progress of the mission by the number of baptized converts at this time, it would appear limited indeed. But the smallness of the number may have been owing in part to the ex-cessive caution of the missionaries in admitting can-didates to holy baptism. Without, however, entering into the question, whether they may not have required the previous attainment of a higher standard of faith and repentance than was deemed necessary in apos-tolic times, and confining ourselves strictly within the province of the historian, it is our business to relate that the first christening of a native convert was that of an old man, a chief of some note, named Rangi, baptized on his deathbed by the name of Christian, after searching enquiry into the state of his mind and heart, by the Rev. Henry Williams in the month of September, 1825. Christian Rangi was thus the first of the Maori race who was admitted to the member-ship of Christ's Holy Catholic Church. This was a private baptism; the first public celebration of the sacrament did not take place till nearly four years later, when the four children of a far-famed warrior, named Taiwhanga, a follower of Hongi, who had come to live at Paihia, and had for a long time dili-gently attended to the instructions of the missionaries, were at his earnest request publicly baptized, and, together with them, the infant son of the Rev. W. Williams. That son is now the Venerable Archdeacon [48/49] William Leonard Williams, whose praise is in the Church of both races, native and European. The service was in Maori, and was most solemn and im-pressive, all the missionaries at the station acting as sponsors. This event took place in the month of August, 1829, and, six months afterwards, Taiwhanga himself, having given proof of his sincerity under many trials, was baptized by the name of Rawiri (David).
The hopes of the missionaries now rose high, but were as quickly cast down. A feud, which had its origin in the licentious conduct of a whaling cap-tain, and the jealousy of two native women, suddenly broke out between the inhabitants of the northern and those of the southern pas [Footnote: A pa is a native village enclosed by a stockade.] of the Bay, and all the efforts of the missionaries, who again put their lives in their hands to bring about peace, were ineffec-tual for the purpose until much blood had been shed. A pitched battle took place at Kororareka, [Footnote: Now called " Russell."] two miles from Paihia, when the two parties, numbering 600 and 800 respectively, fired at one another at a distance of about twenty yards, and there was a great slaughter. After this, both sides began at heart to wish for peace, but neither knew how to make the first approach, when, two days after the battle, a sail came in sight; God had sent them a mediator in the person of that devoted friend of their race, Mr. Mars-den, whose sixth visit to New Zealand was thus most opportunely timed. The combatants had by this [49/50] time removed to a distance of several miles from one another, and Mr. Marsden and Mr. H. Williams went from camp to camp on their errand of peace. At length, on the 18th March, 1830, a reconciliation was effected, greatly to the relief of both parties. Again the influence of the missionaries rose high, and Mars-den returned once more to New South Wales, full of consolation and hope.
In the midst of troubles and distractions such as these the mission schools were carried on with all possible steadiness and regularity, and the business of translation was being gradually proceeded with under the able superintendence of the Rev. W. Williams. At the very time when the petty war we have just referred to was raging in the Bay of Islands, a second small volume was passing through the press at Sydney, containing the first three chapters of Genesis, portions of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, a part of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and parts of the Prayer Book and Catechism. Copies of this little book were eagerly caught up by the religiously disposed among the natives, and were instrumental in the conversion of many.
We must not omit to mention that at about this period new labourers were sent out by the Society to join the mission. The Rev. Alfred Nesbitt Brown, afterwards archdeacon, had arrived before the battle of Kororareka, having been sent out specially to superintend the school at Paihia. Mr. Thomas Chapman, afterwards ordained by Bishop Selwyn, arrived in July, 1830. [Footnote: The Rev. W. Yate was also a member of the mission staff from 1827 to 1834, but very little is recorded of him. He was for some time in charge of the inland station at Waimate, of which mention will he made further on and he was absent on two occasions in Sydney, being sent thither to superintend the printing of the books of translations referred to in the text--a work which does not appear to have been very carefully managed. His connexion with the Society was dissolved in 1834 upon a charge brought against him of a very serious nature, which, though denied by him, appears never to have been disproved. Amongst old and rare books on New Zealand is the following:-" An Account of New Zealand and of the formation of the Church Missionary Society Mission," by the Rev. W. Yate. (Seeley, London.)] It should also be explained [50/51] that the general direction of the mission, subject, of course, to the home authorities, was vested in a local committee; but, before the arrival of the bishop, their virtual head was the Rev. Henry Williams. Now the spirit of this large-hearted and adventurous man had long chafed at the concentration of the mission within the narrow limits of the Bay of Islands. As soon therefore as an opportunity occurred of dispersing the labourers more widely, he eagerly seized it. Pango, a chief of Rotorua (the well known " Hot Lakes" district), who had been rescued from the hands of his enemies by Mr. Williams, when he was on a visit to the north some time before, sent a pressing message to him in 1831, entreating him to send a missionary to Rotorua. Some months before the message reached him, he had built another small mission vessel to take the place of the lost Herald--a tiny schooner this of only thirty feet keel, which he named Te Karere (the Messenger). In this frail bark he set sail for Maketu, [51/52] the nearest point on the coast to Rotorua, on a re-connoitring expedition. Mr. Chapman volunteered to accompany him, and David Taiwhanga was also of the party. Their voyage, and journey overland to Ohinemutu, were successful beyond their expecta-tions, and their reception by the natives, who flocked together from all quarters to see and hear them, was most encouraging. The wondering throngs listened with eagerness to the simple message of the Gospel, and manifested the keenest desire for instruction. A site was selected for a school at Ohinemutu, and the way prepared for the permanent settlement of a branch of the mission at that place. Returning thence to Maketu, they set sail on their homeward voyage, which proved long and perilous in the ex-treme. They had run down the coast in two days, but the return voyage occupied sixteen, and most painful was the anxiety of those who watched for their arrival. They were almost given up for lost, and the Active, which happened to be lying in harbour at Paihia, had been got ready to go in quest of them the day following, when on the 18th November they arrived, to the intense relief of all, having been absent a full month. This expedition, the particulars of which, as given in very full detail in Mr. Williams' own journal, are related in his Life by his son-in-law, Mr. Carleton, must be taken as a specimen of many others of a like description, which the necessary limits of our space forbid us to notice even in the barest outline. For the same reason we can do no more than give a single extract from Mr. Williams' journal of this tour, as one example [52/53] out of many of the extreme eagerness for instruc-tion, manifested by this interesting people generally, and in all parts alike, at the period at which we have now arrived:--"October 29. . . . We returned to our quarters at Ohinemutu about noon. After a little rest the natives came round to talk. One young man began to ask the meaning of letters; I wrote them down for him, and in half an hour he knew them all, and was teaching several outside. Numbers of others came, until I had no paper left of any description, on which to write a copy. At length they brought small pieces to have the letters written for them, and about two hundred, old and young, were soon em-ployed teaching and learning the letters with the greatest possible interest. At three o'clock, about one hundred and fifty, male and female, were assembled to learn the Catechism; amongst them were several old women. They afterwards returned to their letters, and continued till the time of evening prayer, when I took the opportunity of speaking on the service of the morrow (Sunday), and on the necessity of keeping the Lord's Day holy. This has been, I trust, a day of great importance, truly gratifying, and of great encouragement to us. Every-thing far exceeds our utmost expectations. I have neither seen nor heard anything to equal it in the land. Both young and old appear to possess an interest altogether new, and I do trust the Lord will appear in their behalf to give deliverance." On the 1st November, the day on which they set off to cross Lake Rotorua on their return, he says:--" The [53/54] children came for fresh lessons to the last, even after we had taken our seats in the canoe."
We must not omit to mention that, early in this year, 1831, a new station was formed at Waimate, on a spot selected by Mr. Marsden in the course of his last brief visit. This place was situated twelve miles inland from Kerikeri, and, before it could be occupied, it was necessary that a cart road should be cut through the rough country intervening, and bridges built over the Waitangi and another river. But, these works having been zealously accomplished, and sufficient shelter erected, Mr. Clarke, Mr. R. Davis, and Mr. Hamlin proceeded to take up their abode there with their families. One reason why this inland spot was chosen for a station was, that it was removed from the demoralising influence of the seafaring men who frequented the bay.
The beginning of the succeeding year, 1832, was distinguished by another noble effort to avert a threatened war. The Bay of Islands chiefs, most of them friends of the mission, had long been brooding over injuries inflicted on some of their tribesmen by natives of Tauranga to the south. The clouds gathered blackness every day, and at length they resolved to seek utu--as their familiar expression was, that is, satisfaction--from their enemies. The missionaries, finding all their efforts unavailing to turn them from their purpose, offered to accompany the expedition. This was agreed to, and on the 3rd January, 1832, the Rev. H. Williams, with Mr. Kemp and Mr. Fairburn, set sail in a small vessel for. Tauranga, in company with the war canoes. They [54/55] came back once quite hopeless of success, but re-turned again, dissatisfied with themselves for their lack of perseverance, and impelled by a renewed desire to avert bloodshed and misery. In this second attempt, although they failed to effect a reconcilia-tion, they were able to soften the fierceness of the combatants and to break, if they could not quell, the storm. The final result was that, after some months' desultory fighting, the expedition returned, the leaders acknowledging that it had been a failure. "The God of the missionaries," they said, "had been too strong for them. Their hearts, instead of swelling with bravery, turned round, jumped up, and sank down with fear." [Footnote: Mr. Carleton tells us that " Ngapuhi "--the collective name for the Bay of Islands tribe--" complained that the words of Te Wiremu lay heavy on them, and that their guns would not shoot."]
The foregoing narrative again must be regarded as typical: other expeditions of a similar kind and with the same purpose were undertaken about this period, the circumstances of which varied, but the general result was the same. That is to say, whether im-mediate success was obtained or not, the steadily-directed efforts of the missionaries were gradually, but surely, changing the character of the people. It was the period of that thickest darkness which precedes the dawn; wholesale massacre and horrible cannibalism seemed more than ever rife; yet, in the midst of all this, many souls were longing for peace and order. They were entangled in the net of their own vile cus-toms and superstitions, but the better sort were [55/56] panting for deliverance; the land was sick with the misery of its own pollution. In the journal of Henry Williams at this period we find many such entries as this: "March 19th, 1832:--Felt very weary in body, amid much distress of mind at the present state of things in this land. All is dark, dreary, and dire confusion." Such was the outlook to those toilers then, though they were often cheered by gleams of light; looking back upon that time by the light of subsequent history, we can see that the fields were even then whitening to the harvest,
At this time the number of baptized converts did not exceed fifty, and all these were resident at or near the stations in the Bay of Islands. Many others, however, were being prepared for baptism, and about this time a few of the baptized, after very careful pre-paration, were admitted for the first time to the Holy Communion. At this period also the eyes of the missionaries began to be more opened to the extreme value of native agency in spreading the knowledge of the Gospel, and in persuading their countrymen to abandon their heathenish practices. It is remarked by Bishop Williams, in his "Christianity among the New Zealanders," that, "as in primitive times, the slaves were active agents in the propagation of the Gospel." Many of those especially, who were brought back by Hongi after his desolating raids in the Thames and other districts to the south, were allowed to work at the mission stations for pay received by their con-querors; and of these some returned, sooner or later, to their native parts, and were actively instrumental [56/57] in the wide diffusion of Christian knowledge and Christian observances.
Such efforts as had hitherto been made in the way of Church extension had been directed towards the south; in the month of November, 1832, the Rev. William Williams, accompanied by Messrs. Baker, Hamlin, Puckey, and Matthews, set out on an over-land tour in the opposite direction, and visited all the country to the northernmost extremity of the island. They were well received, and fixed on Kaitaia as the site of a new station; and two of the party, Messrs. Puckey and Matthews, were afterwards placed there. In the early part of the year following another great advance was made in the work of translation: an edition of 1800 copies of a book containing about one-half of the New Testament and a large portion of the Prayer Book, the work mainly of the Rev. William Williams, was printed at Sydney. [Footnote: A portion of this issue was made over to the Wesleyan Mission, which was now revived, and carrying on a good work on the banks of the river Hokianga.] Though marred by numberless typographical blunders, this book proved of the greatest possible service, being caught up and read with a surprising avidity by the natives, whose quickness in learning to read, and thirst for knowledge were most extraordinary. A marked change in the character and conduct of many, clearly traceable to this fresh supply of the means of grace, was perceptible at this time. "'There was a striking difference," writes Mr. W. Williams, "in their general bearing from what it had been a short time before;" so [57/58] much so that, although the warlike spirit still actuated many, "there was a great number of those, who had gone to Tauranga the preceding year, who would on no account have undertaken a similar expedition" the year after.