In their combats with each other, firearms are used with dreadful effect. The whole soul of a New Zealander seems absorbed in the thoughts of war; every action of his life is influenced by it; and to possess weapons which give him such a decided superiority over those who have only their native implements of offence, he will sacrifice everything. The value attached by them to muskets, and their ceaseless desire to possess them, will prove a sufficient security to foreigners who enter their harbours, or remain on their coasts; as I know, from experience, that the New Zealanders will rather put up with injuries than run the risk of offending those who manufacture and barter with them such inestimable commodities.
A MISSION SETTLEMENT.
A few days after my arrival in the Bay, I crossed to the opposite side, to visit the Church missionary settlement, and to deliver a letter of introduction I had to one of the members. Here, on a beautiful bank, with a delightful beach in front, and the entrance of the bay open to them, the clear and blue expanse of water speckled over with fertile islands, reside these comfortable teachers of the Gospel. The name they have given this spot is “Marsden Vale.” They very soon gave us to understand they did not wish for our acquaintance, and their coldness and inhospitality (I must acknowledge) created in my mind a thorough dislike to them. The object of the mission, as it was first planned, might have been attained, and might have proved highly beneficial to the New Zealanders; but as it is now conducted, no good result can be expected from it. Any man of common sense must agree with me, that a savage can receive but little benefit from having the abstruse points of the Gospel preached to him, if his mind is not prepared to receive them. This is the plan adopted here; and nothing will convince these enthusiasts that it is wrong, or induce them to change it for one more agreeable to the dictates of reason.
Upon inquiring who and what these men were, I found that the greater part of them were hardy mechanics (not well-educated clergymen), whom the benevolent and well-intentioned people of England had sent out in order to teach the natives the importance of different trades—a most judicious arrangement, and which ought to be the foundation of all missions. What could be a more gratifying sight than groups of these athletic savages, toiling at the anvil or the saw; erecting for themselves substantial dwellings; thus leading them by degrees to know and to appreciate the comforts resulting from peaceful, laborious, and useful occupations? Then, while they felt sincere gratitude for services rendered them, at their leisure hours, and on certain days, these missionaries should attempt to expound to them, in as simple a manner as possible, the nature of revealed religion!