Billeder på siden

service, with a sermon, is said in English ; and, when these are ended, the ministers, accompanied by some of the better instructed among their converts, proceed to different settlements, within a short distance, where attentive congregations are generally found awaiting their arrival.

While they are thus employed, the schools are open for the children of both sexes, who are catechised by the missionaries' wives, aided by baptized youths, selected for this office on account of their piety and acquirements. At three o'clock, divine service, exclusively in English, is performed ; and at six the evening prayers are offered up in the dialect of the islands. The attention shown on these occasions by the indigenous inhabitants is an abundant encouragement to the prosecution of the great work; and many of them, from time to time, are added to the church.*

But hitherto the stations may be said to have reference to the convenience of the Europeans occasionally resident near the Bay of Islands, rather than to the direct improvement of the general population. The missionaries had been hovering, as it were, on the skirts of the country; and with all the efforts made by them no permanent footing was yet established beyond these outposts. They had been watching the workings of the native mind, and looking for the openings of Providence to indicate the path which they ought to pursue. Still they felt assured that no great work would be accomplished till they could form a regular establishment in the interior of the country, in a more populous and improved district than they had yet been permitted to occupy. The principal persons had refused, during nearly fifteen years, to allow any one to reside near their larger villages in the cultivated portion of the island; and had always rejected the proposals, from time to time made to them, for the furtherance of the gospel in the vicinity where they themselves resided. But towards the close of 1829 a great change became manifest in their opinions on this important subject, and the most pressing invitations were now given by individuals, who, a short time before, would not listen to any terms of negotiation. Experience had convinced the New Zealand chiefs that the objects of the missionaries were truly benevolent; pointing not only to the eternal welfare of the ignorant people, but also to their temporal comfort through the medium of letters and a knowledge of the useful arts. Yielding to the solicitations repeatedly addressed to them, the local committee resolved to select a place on the Waimate, which should at the same time possess the advantage of proximity to the greatest number of natives, and a portion of good ground for the purposes of agriculture. A spot was marked out, presenting in a high degree both these recommendations. The people expressed their willingness to part with it, and the land was forthwith conveyed in proper form to the agents of the Society.*

* Yate's New Zealand, p. 176, where the

account of operations” is quoted from the records of the Church Missionary Society. It is added, that “ a large addition has of late been made by purchase to the Society's land on either side of the settlement, by which a good supply of timber for fuel has been secured. The land is generally barren, consisting for the most part of hills; the patches of low ground are available for cultivation, and afford also pasturage for the cattle. During the year, fourteen hundred bushels of potatoes have been raised towards the maintenance of the schools.” “ Imperfect,” says the Report, as is the sketch of this station which has thus been traced, it contains enough to show that the missionaries have abundant reason to view the past and the present with thankfulness, and the future with hope."

The improvement which usually attends the progress of Christianity soon became apparent at this new station. To all the native residences in connexion with the district, stretching about thirty-five miles to the south-west,

Yate's New Zealand, p. 190. “ The parent committee," says the author,“ have ever recommended the growth of wheat for our own subsistence, and have lent most substantial aid in furthering so very desirable an object. They thought, and justly too, that if the natives saw somewhat of the blessings of civilisation, and the effects of industry, they would themselves become both civilized and industrious.”—P. 189.

roads were immediately cut by the people, to facilitate the visits of the missionaries. The villages are very numerous, and the inhabitants scattered over an extensive tract of country; but in all places, where the population was so large as to require them, chapels were erected on the native plan, and dedicated to the service of the Redeemer. Some of these structures were spacious enough to contain two hundred persons; and the service of the English church was regularly performed whenever the weather did not prevent the necessary travelling. At every station schools were opened, under the sanction of the chiefs, for all ages and classes of the people.

Waimate could soon boast of an infant seminary, where the children were at once taught to read, and to acquire habits of industry. A school for youths was established, in which the usual lessons are given from six till eight in summer, and from seven till nine during the winter months. The remaining portion of the day is devoted to the work of the settlement, all of which is done by natives, under the superintendence of the lay members of the mission; for, excepting a millwright to erect a mill, and a blacksmith to prepare the iron implements, no European has been employed in manual labour. Upwards of fifty thousand bricks were burnt, most of which were used in building chimneys; while more than seven hundred thousand feet of timber were felled and sawn up into planks, boards, and scantlings. “Three substantial weather-board dwelling-houses, forty feet by twenty, with skilling at the back and returned at the ends, have been erected; likewise stables for the accommodation of twelve or fourteen horses, stores, carpenters' shops, blacksmiths' shops, outhouses, eight or ten weather-board cottages, twenty feet by fifteen ; and a spacious chapel, capable of holding from three to four hundred persons. The mission-houses are fenced in with paling, and surrounded by more than thirty acres of cultivated land."*

Such, we are told, was the state of Waimate early in

* Yate's New Zealand, p. 197.


1834, the commencement of its fourth year. The whole of the ground within the fences was broken up, part of it laid down with clover and part with grass. Other portions were appropriated to orchards, well stocked with fruit-trees, or to vegetable gardens, as well for the use of the missionaries as for the families of the married natives. In the more open land, or what might be properly called the farm, there were nearly fifty acres sown with wheat, barley, oats, maize, and lucerne. Justly is it remarked by Mr Yate, that a prospect more pleasing could not meet the eye of a philanthropist than the sight of the British plough breaking up the deserts of New Zealand, under the direction of indigenous labourers. The introduction of ploughs and harrows, all of which were made at Waimate, did, without doubt, constitute a momentous era in the history of that country. Till these implements were brought into use, the people little knew what their land was capable of producing, as only small portions had been brought into cultivation, owing to the great difficulty of working it with the hoe and the

spade. *

Similar advantages followed the introduction of the gospel in other respects, the sanctifying and enlightening

* Yate, p. 198. The author adds, that besides making carts, wagons, drays, ploughs, harrows, the natives had dug three wells upwards of fifty feet deep; erected a dam, and cut out a race for the mill; and that the whole was accomplished by forty youths and forty adults, who had never before been accustomed to labour. But of all the triumphs of civilisation, there is nothing so gratifying as the progress of the people in letters and religious principle. They have aided in the translation of the liturgy into their own language, and, accordingly,

can worship God in the public assembly, in a form of words used by the most enlightened nation in the world. “ The church at this time,” says he, “is crowded to excess by an attentive and devout congregation; and I have seen hundreds pressing for admittance, for whom room could not be obtained." How many happy Sabbaths have I spent at the Waimate ! and how my inmost soul rejoiced as I have seen the once-deluded people of this land listening with delight to the sound of the church-going bell

, and hastening with willing feet to the house of the Lord. There is something peculiarly pleasing in the sound of the bell amidst the wilds of New Zealand.”

power of which is not diminished in these latter days. Effects hardly less astonishing than those which marked its progress in the days of the apostles have manifested themselves among the heathen of New Zealand ; turning their hearts from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the service of the living God. Next to the blessings of a more spiritual nature may be stated the thirst for knowledge which has been very generally excited; some professing the utmost readiness to contribute part of their slender income towards the purchase of books, slates, and other school-materials. The inhabitants, we are assured, are an inquiring people, and the knowledge thus obtained is communicated from one district to another; sometimes it is conveyed to tribes at a great distance, who were thought to be in total ignorance. Persons who were made prisoners of war, and reduced to slavery at the Bay of Islands, have been educated in the mission-schools; and these, after procuring their freedom by favour or purchase, have carried with them among their relations the little stock of information they had acquired, and even commenced the work of instruction. This step once taken, the result has, in most cases, proved very gratifying. Their rude neighbours listened with wonder to all the strange things which they had to tell, and hence became more inclined to receive from their lips the elements of the pure faith which had also been revealed by the white men. When they found that the returned captives had at the same time learned the arts of the blacksmith, carpenter, and brickmaker, and could thereby render essential aid in building houses, and in otherwise adding to their comforts, they lent a more respectful ear to their spiritual admonitions, as coming from a source which, on other accounts, they were disposed to venerate.

In such circumstances it is scarcely necessary to add that the domestic character is much improved. Children are now more carefully brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Polygamy is almost every where abolished, and the inhuman practices which so

« ForrigeFortsæt »