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Relating principally to the FOREIGN MISSIONS carried on under the direction of the METHODIST CONFERENCE.
THE Rev. John Bumby's journal of his voyage round the southern extremity of the northern island of New-Zealand, which has just come to hand, is calculated to awaken such a feeling of interest, that we deem it right to communicate it, without delay, to the friends and supporters of the Society. It will be seen, that, in the month of May, last year, Messrs. Bumby and Hobbs embarked at the Bay of Islands, with about twenty youths, chiefly natives of the south, who had been taken prisoners in war, and who, during their residence at Mangungu, had experienced the saving efficacy of the Gospel. On their voyage along the eastern coast, they were exposed to a severe storm, and were afterwards detained a week by contrary winds at the East-Cape, where they found some native Teachers, belonging to the Church Missionary Society, "usefully employed" in instructing their benighted fellow-countrymen. They then proceeded to Port-Nicholson. From thence they crossed Cook's-Straits to Cloudy-Bay, and QueenCharlotte's Sound, in the southern island. Then, directing their course northward, they visited Kapiti, or Entry-Island, and Taranaki ; and, having reached Kawia, they quitted the vessel, and travelled by land from that place, by way of Waingaroa and Kaipara, to Mangungu; which they reached "exceedingly exhausted and fatigued," but grateful to Almighty God for the protection and support which had been vouchsafed to them in the various dangers and hardships to which they had been exposed.
Two general conclusions have been fully established in this long and interesting tour. First, it is painfully obvious, that the state of the heathen natives is truly deplorable. The miseries resulting from their internal wars appeal most powerfully to Christian sympathy. In one place, a besieged party were reduced to such extremities, that they exchanged their children with each other, in order that they might be spared the pain of eating their own offspring. But, secondly, there exists a general desire for Christian instruction. "I know of nothing," Mr. Bumby remarks, "that more satisfactorily and delightfully indicates the commencement of brighter and better days for New-Zealand, than the earnest desire which is everywhere manifested, among all classes of the people, for the possession of books and Missionaries." Even a ferocious and cannibal Chief-who sometimes lays his hand upon his stomach, and exclaims, "I am hungry for a man go and kill such a slave for me"-said, "If he might have a Missionary, he would give over fighting, and, with all his people, would begin to serve God."
That part of the journal which calls for more particular attention, relates to the proceedings of Mr. Bumby and Mr. Hobbs at PortVOL. XIX. Third Series, August, 1840.
Nicholson. On landing at that place, some of the native youths, whom they had brought with them from Mangungu, immediately recognised, amongst the crowd collected upon the beach, their own relatives and friends. The scene which took place was most affecting. After the excitement had, in some measure, subsided, the Missionaries received a most cordial welcome. On the Sabbath, the entire population of the place, with the exception of a few sick persons, assembled by the water-side; and such was their eagerness to hear the glad tidings of salvation, which Mr. Hobbs proclaimed to them in their own language, that they remained unmoved in the midst of a storm of wind and rain, which came on during the service. Warepouri, the principal Chief, expressed an earnest desire to have the Gospel; and promised, that, if the two Missionaries would return and settle amongst them, every thing should be done to facilitate their benevolent designs; and as the other Chiefs and people generally manifested a similar disposition, Mr. Bumby and Mr. Hobbs concluded that Port-Nicholson would be a very suitable station for two of the new Missionaries, who had been sent out by the Committee, in order to meet some, at least, of the pressing applications which had been made from the tribes of the south. They accordingly selected a site for Mission-premises; and, on their departure, left some of the native Christian youths to carry on the work, until two English Missionaries could be sent from the principal station at Mangungu.
It is with the deepest feeling of regret that we have to announce, that the fair prospects of this contemplated new Mission have since been overcast by a threatening cloud. From the recently-published Journal of Colonel Wakefield, it would appear, that the land selected by Messrs. Bumby and Hobbs, not for themselves, but solely for Missionary purposes, has been re-purchased for the New-Zealand Land-Company, although it had been tapued, and an earnest had been paid for it; which thus secured to the Wesleyan Missionary Society, according to New-Zealand law and usage, the right of perpetual possession, on the payment, at the stipulated time, of the remainder of the price; that the land, with the Missionary-buildings already erected upon it, has been taken possession of, in the name of the New-Zealand Land-Company, and was to form part of the site of the first town proposed to be built by their agents;-and that systematic endeavours had been made to defeat the object of the Mission, by destroying the influence which the Missionaries had exerted upon the minds of the natives. Into the particulars of this painful business we will not now further enter; but the Committee are preparing to take those steps which the emergency of the case demands, for the purpose of resisting the adoption of a principle which, if once sanctioned, threatens with ruin all the Missions of the Society in New-Zealand.
We have judged that it would be acceptable to our readers thus briefly to describe the general contents of Mr. Bumby's journal, and to call especial attention to a few of the leading facts which it communicates; but the entire document will be found to be exceedingly interesting; and, with these preliminary remarks and explanations, we now insert it at full length.
Communication from the Rev. J. H. Bumby, dated Mangungu,
August 20th, 1839,
CONTAINING THE ACCOUNT OF A RECENT TOUR IN NEW-ZEALAND.
My letters, under the dates of April 10th and May 4th, would inform you, that it was the opinion of the brethren here, that, as such a vigorous effort had been made by the Committee, in sending out so many additional Missionaries, something should immediately be attempted to meet the wants and wishes of the numerous tribes of the south of the island; and also, that we had been unsuccessful in our endeavours to obtain a suitable vessel for the conveyance of our families, as well as unable to induce natives to accompany us on a tour of observation and inquiry over-land. Soon
after my last communication, the "Hokianga," a small vessel which has sometimes been employed for Missionary purposes, came into the bay; and we were informed by the proprietors, that she was about to proceed to Kawia for a - cargo, but might be at our service for a few weeks. On the reception of this intelligence, it was proposed that I and Mr. Hobbs should avail ourselves of the opportunity of going round by the east coast, through Cook's-Straits and Taranaki, to Kawia; from which place, it was suggested, we might manage to travel over-land to Mangungu. I hesitated some time, in consequence of the time which would be occupied, and the expense which would be incurred, by such an excursion: but, remembering the instructions of the Committee, directing me to obtain all possible information as to the state of the island; and considering the necessity which rests upon us, to extend our evangelical operations to the regions beyond, where nothing has hitherto been attempted; together with the importance of seeing the country, in order to the selection of the most suitable locality for a new station; I ultimately determined, in company with Mr. Hobbs, to undertake the expedition. Mr. Turner, though exceedingly anxious to remove to the colony, kindly engaged to remain at Mangungu till our return.
On Monday morning, May 11th, having resigned our families, and committed ourselves, to the protection and care of our heavenly Father, we left Mangungu for the Bay of Islands. Our retinue was composed of about twenty youths, chiefly southern natives, taken in war. Many of them had lived for years with the Missionaries, and, having experienced the grace of God in truth, had long wished and prayed for an
opportunity to return to their brethren and friends, to tell them how great things the Lord had done for them, and that he had had mercy upon them. We were detained several days in the bay, by rough weather and contrary winds. Soon after the commencement of the voyage, having a heavy head-sea to contend with, all became sick. The New-Zealanders are ill fitted to endure affliction: they generally abandon themselves to despondency and inactivity, like persons for whom there is no help and no hope. We passed Wakari, or White-Island. It is volcanic, and abounds with fine sulphur. Tradition says of this island, that when Mawe, the principal god of the country, first saw fire, he incautiously took it up in his hands, which so severely scorched him, that, in his agony, he plunged into the sea, and there immediately appeared this island. The aspect of the country is rocky; and woody hills of different shapes and elevations rise, ridge behind ridge, till their broken summits appear to mingle with the clouds of the sky. After being about a week at sea, we encountered a tremendous gale of wind from the south-west. Without any previous intimation, except a tedious calm, the heavens looked angry and threatening. Dark masses of contending clouds cast portentous shadows upon the surrounding ocean, which began to heave and toss as if the springs and fountains which are concealed in the heart of the earth had been agitated and disturbed. Most faces gathered paleness; and, with the exception of the fearful war of the elements, no sound was heard, but an occasional mandate from the Captain to the men. As the little vessel rose up to the heavens, and went down again to the depths, it was impossible not to think, that any moment she might go to pieces, and leave us a helpless wreck on the extended and unsheltered waters. But, by the good providence of our God, who holds the winds in his fist, and the waters in the hollow of his hand, we were preserved in safety, and devoutly offered up our praises to Him that maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still, for his mercy endureth for ever."
At the East-Cape, we were detained a week by adverse winds; Wari Kahika, or Hick's-Bay, was our place of shelter. We met with comparatively few natives; war, the curse and scourge of New
Zealand, having swept away, as with the besom of destruction, the once numerous population of this part of the country. When the Napui tribes first got fire-arms and ammunition, they came to try their skill upon the unarmed and unfortunate people of this neighbourhood. Many were captured, and multitudes killed, and cooked, and eaten. Some years ago there was a large pa on the summit of one of the hills which overlooks the bay. It is said, the place was besieged till the inhabitants were compelled to feed upon each other; that families exchanged children, that they might not eat their own offspring; and that about three thousand persons were cut off.
The Church Missionaries have some native Teachers usefully employed in this part of the island. The natives we saw, amounting to two or three hundred, were particularly anxious for religious books. I know nothing that more satisfactorily and delightfully indicates the commencement of brighter and better days for NewZealand, than the earnest desire which is every where manifested, among all classes of the people, for the possession of books and Missionaries.
Upon arriving at Wanganuiatera, or Port-Nicholson, we went on shore, near a kainga, or "village ;" and were met on the beach by a grotesque party of natives, some bedaubed with red-ochre and oil, and others disfigured about the cheeks and eye-brows with congealed blood. They, however, were delighted to see us, and gave us a hearty welcome. Here some of our lads met with their relatives and friends, whom they had not seen for ten or twelve years. It was truly affecting to witness their mutual joy, though expressed after the manner of sorrow, according to the favourite tangi of the country. After the excitement had a little subsided, we erected our tents, and partook of some refreshment: potatoes and Indian corn were the best viands the village afforded. Some of our lads having drunk water from a tapued stream, one of the Chiefs came to us, and demanded satisfaction. After a little korero, or "conversation," he agreed to remove the tapu, and listen to the Gospel. In the evening we held public service, on which occasion many speeches were delivered, both by our own lads and the natives; the former briefly stating their history since their separation from their friends, together with some particulars connected with their conversion to Christianity; and the latter asserting their ignorance, and great desire to be
taught the truth as it is in Jesus. The people, either from what they have heard of Missionary operations in other parts of the island, or a special influence from God, are evidently prepared for the reception of the Gospel. I trust the time is not far distant when New-Zealand, beautiful for situation, salubrious in climate, and exuberant in soil, having a population fearing God and working righteousness, will become an eternal excellency, the joy of many generations. Port-Nicholson is about twenty miles
to the north-west of Cape-Palliser. There is about ten fathoms' water at the entrance, and room to beat in and out with any wind. The harbour is extensive, and affords excellent anchorageground, and safe shelter for shipping. It is surrounded by a chain of beautiful hills, rising gradually from the edge of the water, partly covered with timber, and sending forth numerous streams of fresh water. We could find no river answering to the description given in the book published by the Committee of the Association for the Colonization of NewZealand. They say, (pages 111, 112,) on the authority of Nayti, a young Chier who was in London some time ago, that "the river Heritaoua is as broad and deep as the Thames at London-bridge; and that it is eighty miles long." We found a narrow stream, called Heretanga, the only one at all like a river, which divides into four branches, and extends from four to ten miles into the country; but it is so shallow at the entrance, that we were almost wrecked in the whaleboat. At this place we met with a white man, the only one in the Port. He was building a boat; but, having to manufacture nails from an iron hoop, with a wood fire, proceeded but slowly with his work. The shore is skirted with numerous settlements or villages, of different dimensions, and variously fortified. The people are of milder aspect, and gentler carriage, than the natives of the north of the island.
On the Sabbath, we converted the seabeach, opposite to one of the principal settlements, into a sanctuary; erected the boat-sail as a break-wind to shelter the Preacher; and collected the entire population of the place, with the exception of a few sick people, as a congregation. Mr. Hobbs had not proceeded far in the service before the rain came down in sufficient torrents to have dispersed any English audience; but the poor NewZealanders, unmoved by the pelting of the pitiless shower, seemed only intent upon hearing the word of truth, the
Gospel of our salvation. We met with Warepouri, a superior Chief. His person is tall and majestic; and, having his hair tastefully tied on the top of his head, and falling back all round, like a diadem, and decorated with feathers, he had a savage and commanding appearance. He expressed himself as very anxious to have a Missionary, and was delighted to accept a copy of the New Testament. Wherever we went, the people said, if we would only come and settle among them, the land should be ours; and they would carry wood and water, and do all in their power, for us. Thinking the place suitable for a new station, and presuming that the Committee would sanction such a step, we tapued a piece of land of the proprietors, two respectable Chiefs, for some blankets and fish-hooks. The tapu secures to us the privilege of purchase, if we should fix upon the place for a Missionary settlement. Having spent a week among these interesting barbarians, and furnished the lads we were about to leave as Teachers with books, slates, pencils, &c., &c., for schools, we prepared to take our departure. The people showed us great kindness, bringing abundance of pigs and potatoes, as a mark of their respect and gratitude. One of the Chiefs of whom we tapued the land was anxious to rub noses; and I was obliged, with as much grace as possible, to submit to the disagreeable ceremony. Such was the love of the lads to their Missionaries, that they were almost broken-hearted at parting. They appear to be sincerely pious, and exceedingly anxious to be useful to their heathen relatives and friends. I trust they will be as lights shining in a dark place, and as showers that water the earth.
After tossing about, amidst light winds and cross seas, for thirty hours, we came to anchor in Cloudy-Bay. The appearance of the Southern Island is particularly barren and repulsive. The outer rocks rise abruptly from the sea, and are bounded by stupendous mountains covered with perpetual snow. Cloudy-Bay is extensive, and abounds with small indentations and coves, with good anchorage and shelter for shipping. The natives are not numerous. We saw about one hundred and fifty, with whom we held service. They were most importunate for books of hymns and prayers. The Europeans, belonging to the several whaling establishments of the place, are numerous; many of these, of course, have no wish for the light of the Gospel, lest the hidden things of darkness, in which
they revel and delight, should be revealed, and they should be ashamed. I am persuaded, if Missionary operations were commenced here, there would be more opposition from civilized Europeans, than from the untutored barbarians.
We next directed our course to Queen Charlotte's Sound, and had a pleasant run by moonlight. The noise of the breakers upon the rocks at the Heads is tremendous; like the sound of thunder, or the report of an earthquake. The scenery of the Sound is decidedly romantic, as rocky and craggy, and rude and sterile, as can well be conceived. There is no land available for agricultural purposes, except a few acres in the immediate vicinity of the native settlements. There are a few patches of cultivation, gardens of potatoes and kumeras, on the sides of the precipitous and almost perpendicular mountains; but they are small and insignificant. Fish, which is abundantly plentiful, is the principal food of the natives. The place may be attractive to the whalers, but will never be the favourite locality of the farmer. There may be about fifty Europeans connected with the whaling establishments of this place; some of whom present specimens of human nature in its worst estate. Dwelling in the region of the valley of the shadow of death, they practise every species of iniquity without restraint and without concealment. The very sense of decency and propriety seems to be extinct. The very soil is polluted. The very atmosphere is tainted. A few expressed themselves as wishful to have a Missionary, that their children, by native females, might be educated; but others spoke of the New-Zealanders as being little better than the beasts that perish, and almost ridiculed the idea of their becoming Christians. One man told the natives, that if they listened to the Missionaries, they would be ruined, as they would get no more muskets and tobacco. It is, however, a pleasing circumstance, that notwithstanding the evil influence of the European population, the natives, in general, have turned, as they term it, to the Missionary religion. Here, as at Port-Nicholson and Cloudy-Bay, the true light has shone, teaching the people to observe the Sabbath and worship God; which they do, according to the best of their ability, twice a day. The place of bells is supplied by old musket-barrels, suspended by cords, and struck with stones. A few of the young people can read, and all are anxious to learn. As we left one place, numbers followed the boat up to their