A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 eBook

Augustus Earle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 169 pages of information about A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827.

In New Zealand, the “mechanic” missionary only carries on his trade till he has every comfort around him—­his house finished, his garden fenced, and a strong stockade enclosing all, to keep off the “pagan” savages.  This done, then commences the easy task of preaching.  They collect a few ragged urchins of natives, whom they teach to read and write their own language—­the English tongue being forbidden; and when these children return to their families, they are despised by them, as being effeminate and useless.

I once saw a sturdy blacksmith in the prime of life, sitting in the midst of a group of savages, attempting to expound to them the mysteries of our holy redemption—­perplexing his own brains, as well as those of his auditors, with the most incomprehensible and absurd opinions.  How much better would he have been employed in teaching them how to weld a piece of iron, or to make a nail!

What causes much disapprobation here, is the contemptuous manner in which they treat their own countrymen, as they receive most of them on the outside of their stockade fence.

On our return from Marsden Vale, our savage friends laughed heartily at us.  They had warned us of the reception we should meet with; and their delight at seeing us again formed a strange contrast to that of their Christian teachers, whose inhospitable dwellings we determined never to reenter.

CHAPTER XV.

A visit from Hongi.

A few days after my visit to the missionaries, while we were busily employed in constructing our huts, assisted by about fifty natives, on a sudden a great commotion took place amongst them.  Each left his work and ran to his hut, and immediately returned armed with both musket and cartouch box:  apparently all the arms in the village were mustered, and all seemed ready for immediate use.  On inquiring into the cause of all these war-like preparations, I was informed that Hongi and his chief men were crossing the bay in several large war canoes; and though he was considered as a friend and ally, yet, as he was a man of such desperate ambition, and consummate cunning, it was considered necessary to receive him under arms, which he might take either as a compliment, or as a proof of how well they were aware of the guest they were receiving.

This man, Hongi, was a most extraordinary character, and a person I had long had a great curiosity to see, his daring and savage deeds having often been the subject of conversation in New South Wales.  In his own country he was looked upon as invulnerable and invincible.  In the year 1821 he had visited England, during which he had been honoured by having a personal interview with George the Fourth, and had received from His Majesty several valuable presents; amongst others, were a superb suit of chain armour, and a splendid double-barrelled gun.  From possessing these arms, so far superior to any of his neighbours,

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A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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