THE VOYAGE AND FIRST YEAR. 1855-1856.
When the See of New Zealand was first formed, Archbishop Howley committed to the care of the first Bishop the multitudinous islands scattered in the South Pacific. The technical bounds of the diocese were not defined; but matters were to a certain degree simplified by Bishop Selwyn's resolution only to deal with totally heathen isles, and whatever superiority the authorised chief pastor might rightfully claim, not to confuse the minds of the heathen by the sight of variations among Christians, and thus never to preach in any place already occupied by Missions, a resolution from which he only once departed, in the case of a group apparently relinquished by its first teachers. This cut off all the properly called Polynesian isles, whose inhabitants are of the Malay type, and had been the objects of care to the London Mission, ever since the time of John Williams; also the Fiji Islands; and a few which had been taken in hand by a Scottish Presbyterian Mission; but the groups which seem to form the third fringe round the north-eastern curve of Australia, the New Hebrides, Banks Islands, and Solomon Isles, were almost entirely open ground, with their population called Melanesian or Black Islanders, from their having much of the Negro in their composition and complexion. These were regarded as less quick but more steady than the Polynesian race, with somewhat the same difference of character as there is between the Teuton and the Kelt. The reputation of cannibalism hung about many of the islands, and there was no doubt of boats' crews having been lost among them, but in most cases there had been outrage to provoke reprisals.
These islands had as yet been little visited, except by Captain Cook, their first discoverer, and isolated Spanish exploring expeditions; but of late whalers and sandal wood traders, both English and American, had been finding their way among them, and too often acting as irresponsible adventurous men of a low class are apt to do towards those whom they regard as an inferior race.
Mission work had hardly reached this region. It was in attempting it that John Williams had met his death at Erromango, one of the New Hebrides; but one of his best institutions had been a school in one of the Samoan or Navigators' Islands, in which were educated young men of the native races to be sent to the isles to prepare the way for white men. Very nobly had these Samoan pupils carried out his intentions, braving dislike, disease and death in the islands to which they were appointed, and having the more to endure because they came without the prestige of a white man. Moreover, the language was no easier to them than to him, as their native speech is entirely different from the Melanesian; which is besides broken into such an extraordinary number of different dialects, varying from one village to another in an island not twenty miles long, that a missionary declared that the people must have come straight from the Tower of Babel, and gone on dividing their speech ever since. Just at the time of the formation of the See of New Zealand, the excitement caused at home by Williams's death had subsided, and the London Mission's funds were at so low an ebb that, so far from extending their work, they had been obliged to let some of it fall into abeyance.
All this came to the knowledge of the Bishop of New Zealand while he was occupied with the cares of his first seven years in his more immediate diocese, and in 1848, he made a voyage of inspection in H.M.S. 'Dido.' He then perceived that to attempt the conversion of this host of isles of tropical climate through a resident English clergyman in each, would be impossible, besides which he knew that no Church takes root without native clergy, and he therefore intended bringing boys to New Zealand, and there educating them to become teachers to their countrymen. He had lately established, near Auckland, for the sons of the colonists, St. John's College, which in 1850 was placed under the Reverend Charles John Abraham, the former Eton master, who had joined the Bishop to act as Archdeacon and assist in the scheme of education; and here it was planned that the young Melanesians should be trained.
The Bishop possessed a little schooner of twenty-two tons, the 'Undine,' in which he was accustomed to make his expeditions along the coast; and in August 1849, he set forth in her, with a crew of four, without a weapon of any sort, to 'launch out into the deep, and let down his nets for a draught.' Captain Erskine of H.M.S. 'Havannah' readily undertook to afford him any assistance practicable, and they were to cruise in company, the 'Undine' serving as a pilot boat or tender on coasts where the only guide was 'a few rough sketches collected from small trading vessels.'
They met near Tanna, but not before the Bishop had been in Dillon's Bay, on the island of Erromango, the scene of Williams's murder, and had allowed some of the natives to come on board his vessel as a first step towards friendly intercourse. The plan agreed on by the Bishop and the Captain was to go as far north as Vate, and return by way of the Loyalty Isles, which fringe the east coast of New Caledonia, to touch at that large island, and then visit the Island of Pines, at its extreme south point, and there enquire into a massacre said to have taken place. This was effected, and in each place the natives showed themselves friendly. From New Caledonia the Bishop brought away a pupil named Dallup, and at two of the Loyalty Islands, Nengone or Mare, and Lifu, where Samoan teachers had excited a great desire for farther instruction, boys eagerly begged to go with him, and two were taken from each, in especial Siapo, a young Nengone chief eighteen or nineteen years old, of very pleasing aspect, and with those dignified princely manners which rank is almost sure to give. The first thing done with such lads when they came on board was to make clothes for them, and when they saw the needle employed in their service, they were almost sure to beg to be taught the art, and most of them soon became wonderfully dexterous in it.
On the Island of Pines, so called from the tower-like masses of the Norfolk pine on the shores, was at that time the French Bishop of New Caledonia, the Oul, as the natives called him and his countrymen, for whom they had little love. After an interview between the two bishops, the 'Undine' returned to New Zealand, where the native boys were brought to St. John's College. The system of education there combined agricultural labour and printing with study, and the authorities and the boys shared according to their strength in both, for there was nothing more prominent in the Bishop's plan than that the coloured man was not to be treated as a mere hewer of wood and drawer of water, but, as a Maori once expressed the idea: 'Gentleman- gentleman thought nothing that ought to be done at all too mean for him; pig-gentleman never worked.' The whole community, including the ladies and their guests, dined together in hall.
The five boys behaved well, Siapo being a leader in all that was good, and made advances in Christian knowledge; but it was one of the Bishop's principles that none of them should be baptized till he had proved whether his faith were strong enough to resist the trial of a return to his native home and heathen friends. The climate of New Zealand is far too chilly for these inhabitants of tropical regions, and it was absolutely necessary to return them to their homes during the winter quarter from June to August. The scheme therefore was to touch at their islands, drop them there, proceed then further on the voyage, and then, returning the same way, resume them, if they were willing to come under instruction for baptism and return to the college. In the lack of a common language, Bishop Selwyn hoped to make them all learn English, and only communicate with one another in that.
The 'Undine,' not being large enough for the purpose, was exchanged for the 'Border Maid;' and in the course of the next three years an annual voyage was made, and boys to the number of from twelve to fourteen brought home. Siapo of Nengone was by far the most promising scholar. He was a strong influence, when at home, on behalf of the Samoan teachers, and assisted in the building of a round chapel, smoothly floored, and plastered with coral lime. In 1852 he was baptized, together with three of his friends, in this chapel, in his own island, by the Bishop, in the presence of a thousand persons, and received the name of George. When the 'Border Maid' returned, though he was convalescent from a severe illness, he not only begged that he might come back, but that the young girl to whom he was betrothed might be taken to New Zealand to be trained in Christian ways. Ready consent was given, and the little Wabisane, and her companion Wasitutru (Little Chattering Bird), were brought on board, and arrayed in petticoats fashioned by the Bishop's own hands, from his own counterpane, with white skirts above, embellished with a bow of scarlet ribbon, the only piece of finery to be found in the 'Border Maid.' The Rev. William Nihill had spent the period of this trip at Nengone, and had become deeply interested in the people. The island was then thought likely to become a centre whence to work on adjacent places; but to the grief and disappointment of all, George Siapo did not live through the summer at St. John's. He had never recovered his illness at home, and rapidly declined; but his faith burnt brighter as his frame became weaker, and his heart was set on the conversion of his native country. He warmly begged Mr. Nihill to return thither, and recommended him to the protection of his friends, and he wished his own brother to become scholar at St. John's. His whole demeanour was that of a devoted Christian, and when he died, in the January of the year 1853, he might be regarded as the firstfruits of the Melanesian Church. Since Mr. Nihill was about to return to Nengone, and there was a certain leaven of Christianity in the place, the girls were not subjected to the probation of a return before baptism, but were christened Caroline and Sarah, after Mrs. Abraham and Mrs. Selwyn.
Another very satisfactory pupil was little Umao. An English sailor in a dreadful state of disease had been left behind by a whaler at Erromango, where the little Umao, a mere boy, had attached himself to him, and waited on him with the utmost care and patience, though meeting with no return but blows and rough words. The man moved to Tanna, where there are mineral springs highly esteemed by the natives, and when the 'Border Maid' touched there, in 1851, he was found in a terrible condition, but with the little fellow faithfully attending him. The Englishman was carried to Sydney, and left in the hospital there; but Umao begged not to be sent home, for he said his parents cruelly ill-used him and his brothers, and set them to watch the fire all night to keep off evil spirits; so, when New Zealand became too cold for him, he was sent to winter at the London Society's station in Anaiteum. His sweet friendly nature expanded under Christian training, but his health failed, and in the course of the voyage of 1853 he became so ill that his baptism was hastened, and he shortly after died in the Bishop's arms.
Two more boys, cousins, from Lifu, also died. There never was any suspicion or displeasure shown among the relatives of these youths. Their own habits were frightfully unhealthy; they were not a long- lived people, and there was often great mortality among them, and though they were grieved at the loss of their sons, they never seemed distrustful or ungrateful. But it was evident that, even in the summer months, the climate of New Zealand was trying to these tropical constitutions, and as it was just then determined that Norfolk Island should no longer be the penal abode of the doubly convicted felons of Botany Bay, but should instead become the home of the descendants of the mutineers of the 'Bounty' who had outgrown Pitcairn's Island, the Bishop cast his eyes upon it as the place most likely to agree alike with English and Melanesian constitutions, and therefore eminently fitted for the place of instruction.
The expenses of the voyages in the 'Border Maid' had been met partly by the Eton Association, and partly by another association at Sydney, where a warm interest in these attempts had been excited and maintained by the yearly visits of Bishop Selwyn, who usually visited Australia while the lads were wintering at their homes. But the 'Border Maid' was superannuated, nor had she ever been perfectly fitted for the purpose; and when, in 1853, the Bishop was obliged to come to England to take measures for dividing his diocese, he also hoped to obtain permission to establish a Melanesian school on Norfolk Island, and to obtain the means of building a schooner yacht, small enough to be navigated in the narrow, shallow creeks separating the clustered islets, and yet capacious enough for the numerous passengers. In the meantime Mr. Nihill went to Nengone with his wife and child. His lungs were much affected, but he hoped that the climate would prolong his power of working among the Christian community, who heartily loved and trusted him.
Other fellow-labourers the Bishop hoped to obtain at home, though it was his principle never to solicit men to come with him, only to take those who offered themselves; but all the particulars of the above narration had been known to Coley Patteson through the Bishop's correspondence with Mr. Edward Coleridge, as well as by the yearly report put forth by the Eton Association, and this no doubt served to keep up in his heart the flame that had burnt unseen for so many years, and to determine its direction, though he put himself unreservedly at the Bishop's disposal, to work wherever he might be sent.
The means for the mission ship 'Southern Cross' were raised. She was built at Blackwall by Messrs. Wigram, and, after all the delays, sailed on the very same day as the 'Duke of Portland.'
Meantime here are a few extracts from Patteson's journal-letter during the voyage. Sea-sickness was very slightly disabling with him; he was up and about in a short time, and on the 8th of April was writing:--
'What a day this has been to me, the twenty-eighth anniversary of my baptism to begin with, and then Easter Day spent at sea!
'April 20th, lat, 4° N., long. 25° W.--Rather hot. It is very fine to see all the stars of the heavens almost rise and pass overhead and set--Great Bear and Southern Cross shining as in rivalry of each other, and both hemispheres showing forth all their glory. Only the Polar Star, that shines straight above you, is gone below our horizon; and One alone knows how much toil, and perhaps sorrow, there may be in store for me before I see it again. But there is and will be much happiness and comfort also, for indeed I have great peace of mind, and a firm conviction that I am doing what is right; a feeling that God is directing and ordering the course of my life, and whenever I take the only true view of the business of life, I am happy and cheerful.
'May 10.--It is, I find, quite settled, and was indeed always, that I am to go always with the Bishop, roving about the Melanesian department, so that for some years, if I live, I shall be generally six months at sea. And not little to my delight, I find that the six winter months (i.e. your summer months) are the ones that we shall spend in sailing about the islands within or near the tropics, so that I shall have little more shivering limbs or blue hands, though I may feel in the long run the effect of a migratory swallow-like life. But the sea itself is a perpetual tonic, and when I am thoroughly accustomed to a sea life, I think I shall be better almost on board ship.'
This seems the place for Bishop Selwyn's impression, as written to a friend at this very time. 'Coley Patteson is a treasure which I humbly set down as a Divine recompense for our own boys*. He is a good fellow, and the tone of his mind is one which I can thoroughly enjoy, content with the 'to aei' present, yet always aiming at a brighter and better future.'
*(Footnote: Left at home for education.)
'June 18.--You must think of us at 8 P.M. on Sundays--just at 8.20 A.M. before you come down to prayers. The Bishop has a service in the College chapel; then, after all the "runners" (clergy who have district chapels) have returned, chanting Psalms, and reading collects, which bear especially on the subject of unity, introducing the special Communion thanksgiving for Whitsunday, and the Sanctus, and the Prayer for Unity in the Accession Service. I feel that it must be an impressive and very happy way of ending the Sunday, and you will be at Sunday prayers at the other end of the world praying with us.
'July 3.--Still at sea. As soon as we rounded the North Cape on Friday, June 29, a contrary wind sprang up, and we have been beating about, tacking between North Cape and Cape Brett ever since. Fine sunny weather and light winds, but always from the south. To me it is a matter of entire indifference; I am quite ready to go ashore, but do not mind a few more days at sea. The climate is delightful, thermometer on deck 55° to 60°, and such glorious sunsets! There is really something peculiar in the delicacy of the colours here--faint pink and blue, and such an idea of distance is given by the great transparency of the air. It is full moon too now, and I walk the deck from eleven to twelve every night with no great-coat, thinking about you all and my future work. Last night the Bishop was with me, and told me definitely about my occupation for the time to come. All day we have been slowly, very slowly, passing along from the north headland of the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett, and along the land south of it. A fine coast it is, full of fine harbours and creeks, the bay itself like a large Torbay, only bolder. Due south of us is the Bream headland, then the Barrier Islands. We are only about a mile from the shore, and refreshing it is to look at it; but as yet we have seen no beach; the rock runs right into the sea. Such bustle and excitement on board! emigrants getting their things ready, carpenters making the old "Duke" look smart, sailors scrubbing, but no painting going on, to our extreme delight. It is so calm, quite as smooth as a small lake; indeed there is less perceptible motion than I have felt on the Lake of Como. No backs, no bones aching, though here I speak for others more than for myself, for the Bishop began his talk last night by saying, "One great point is decided, that you are a good sailor. So far you are qualified for Melanesia."'
To this may be added that Patteson had been farther preparing for this work by a diligent study of the Maori language, and likewise of navigation; and what an instructor he had in the knowledge of the coasts may be gathered from the fact that an old sea captain living at Kohimarama sent a note to St. John's College stating that he was sure that the Bishop had come, for he knew every vessel that had ever come into Auckland harbour, and was sure this barque had never been there before; yet she had come in the night through all the intricate passages, and was rounding the heads without a pilot on board. He therefore concluded that the Bishop must be on board, as there was no other man that could have taken command of her at such a time, and brought her into that harbour.
The Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn went on shore as soon as possible; Patteson waited till the next day. Indeed he wrote on July 5 that he was in no hurry to land, since he knew no one in the whole neighbourhood but Archdeacon Abraham. Then he describes the aspect of Auckland from the sea:--
'It looks much like a small sea-side town, but not so substantially built, nor does it convey the same idea of comfort and wealth; rude warehouses, &c., being mixed up with private houses on the beach. The town already extends to a distance of perhaps half a mile on each side of this cove, on which the principal part of it is built. Just in the centre of the cove stands the Wesleyan chapel. On the rising ground on the east of the cove is the Roman Catholic chapel, and on the west side is St. Paul's Church, an Early English stone building, looking really ecclesiastical and homelike. The College, at a distance of about five miles from the town, on some higher ground, northwest of it, is reached from the harbour by a boat ascending a creek to within a mile of the buildings, so that we shall not go into the town at all when we land. By water too will be our shortest, at all events our quickest way from the college to the town.
'July 9, St. John's College.--Though we reached harbour on July 5, and landed the next day, I have scarcely found a minute to write a line. Imagine my feelings as I touched land and jumped ashore at a creek under Judge Martin's house, in the presence of Rota Waitoa, the only native clergyman in the diocese; Levi, who is perhaps to be ordained, and four or five other natives. Tena ra fa koe e ho a? "How are you, my friends?" (the common New Zealand greeting), said I as I shook hands with them one by one. We walked up from the beach to the house. Roses in full flower, and mimosa with a delicate golden flower, and various other shrubs and flowers in full bloom. Midwinter, recollect. The fragrance of the air, the singing of the birds, the fresh smell (it was raining a little and the grass was steaming) were delicious, as you may suppose. Here I was, all at once, carrying up baggage, Maoris before and behind, and everything new and strange, and yet I felt as if it were all right and natural. The Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn had landed the day before, and we were heartily welcomed. Mr. Martin took me into his study. "I am thankful to see you as a fresh labourer among us here; a man of your name needs no introduction to a lawyer." Nothing could exceed his kindness. He began talking of at once.
'We dined at about 12.30. Clean mutton chops, potatoes and pumpkin (very good indeed), jam pudding, bread, and plenty of water (beer I refused). It did taste so good, I am quite ashamed of thinking about it. About two o'clock I started with the Bishop for the College, nearly six miles from Auckland.
'The Bishop is at a kind of collegiate establishment on the outskirts of Auckland, where Mr. Kissling, a clergyman, is the resident, and thither I go on Wednesday, to live till October 1, when we start, please God, in the "Southern Cross" for the cruise around New Zealand. Here, at Mr. Kissling's, I shall have work with Maoris, learning each day, I trust, to speak more correctly and fluently. Young men for teachers, and it may be for clergymen, will form at once my companions and my pupils, a good proportion of them being nearly or quite of my own age. I am to be constantly at the Judge's, running in and out, working on Sundays anywhere as I may be sent. So much for myself.
'The College is really all that is necessary for a thoroughly good and complete place of education; the hall all lined with kauri pine wood, a large handsome room, collegiate, capable of holding two hundred persons; the school-room, eighty feet long, with admirable arrangements for holding classes separately. There are two very cosy rooms, which belong to the Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn respectively, in one of which I am now sitting.... On the walls are hanging about certain tokens of Melanesia in the shape of gourds, calabashes, &c., such as I shall send you one day; a spade on one side, just as a common horse halter hanging from Abraham's bookshelf, betokens colonial life. Our rooms are quite large enough, bigger than my room at Feniton, but no furniture, of course, beyond a bedstead, a table for writing, and an old bookcase; but it is never cold enough to care about furniture... I clean, of course, my room in part, make my bed, help to clear away things after meals, &c., and am quite accustomed to do without servants for anything but cooking. There is a weaving room, which used to be well worked, a printing press (from C. M. S.) which has done some good work, and is now at work again--English, Maori, Greek and Hebrew types. Separate groups of buildings, which once were filled with lads from different Melanesian isles--farm buildings, barns, &c. Last of all, the little chapel of kauri wood, stained desk, like the inside of a really good ecclesiastical building in England, porch S.W. angle, a semicircular apse at the west, containing a large handsome stone font, open seats of course. The east end very simple, semicircular apse, small windows all full of stained glass, raised one step, no rails, the Bishop's chair on the north side, bench on the south. Here my eye and my mind rested contentedly and peacefully. The little chapel, holding about seventy persons, is already dear to me. I preached in it last night at the seven o'clock service. We chanted the Unity Psalms CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, and CL, heartily, all joining to a dear old double chant in parts. I felt my heart very full as I spoke to them of the blessedness of prayer and spiritual communion. I was at Tamaki in the morning, where I read prayers, the Archdeacon preaching. A little stone church, very rude and simple, but singing again good, and congregation of fifty-one, attentive. At Panmure, about three miles off, in the afternoon, a tiny wooden church--where Abraham took all the duty. In the evening, in the chapel, he read prayers, and I preached to about thirty-five or forty people. We left the chapel just as you were getting ready for breakfast, and so passed my first Sunday in New Zealand. To-day I have had hard work; I walked with Abraham to Auckland--six miles of rough work, I promise you, except the two last.
I believe it was in the course of this walk that Patteson experimented on his Maori, a native whom they visited, and who presently turned upon the Archdeacon, and demanded, 'Why do you not speak like Te Pattihana?' Such a compliment has seldom been paid on so early an attempt at colloquialism in a new language. Journal continues:--
'Lugged down boxes, big empty ones, from the Judge's house to the beach. Went with the Bishop to the old ship, packed up books, brought away all our things almost, helped to pack them in a cart and drag, and then walked back to the College, which I reached in the dark at 7.30. It is delightful to see the delight of the natives when they see the Bishop. "E--h te Pikopa!" and then they all come round him like children, laughing and talking. Two common men we met on Friday from Rotoma, 150 miles off, who said that their tribe had heard that the Queen of England had taken away his salary, and they had been having subscriptions for him every Sunday. They are of various shades of colour, some light brown, some nearly black, and some so tattooed all over that you can't tell what colour they are. I was talking to-day to the best of my power with a native teacher upon whose face I could not see one spot as big as a shilling that was not tattooed, beautifully done in a regular pattern, one side corresponding to the other. Each tribe, as it is said (I know not how truly), has a pattern of its own; so they wear their coats-of- arms on their faces, that is all. The young Christian natives are not tattooed at all, and I have been to-day with Sydney, whose father was the great fighting man of Honghi (miscalled Shanghi) who was presented to George IV. This young man's father helped to exterminate a whole tribe who lived on a part of the College property (as it is now), and he is said to be perhaps the first New Zealander who was baptized as an infant. I find it hard to understand them; they speak very indistinctly--not fast, but their voices are thick in general. I hope to learn a good deal before October. My first letter from the ends of the world tells of my peace of mind, of one sound and hearty in body, and, I thank God, happy, calm, and cheerful in spirit.'
'July 11, 1855; St. John's College, Auckland.
'My dear Fan,--I do not doubt that I am where I ought to be; I do think and trust that God has given me this work to do; but I need earnest prayers for strength that I may do it. It is no light work to be suddenly transplanted from a quiet little country district, where every one knew me, and the prestige of dear Father's life and your active usefulness among the people made everything smooth for me, to a work exceeding in magnitude anything that falls to the lot of an ordinary parish priest in England--in a strange land, among a strange race of men, in a newly forming and worldly society, with no old familiar notions and customs to keep the machine moving; and then to be made acquainted with such a mass of information respecting Church government and discipline, educational schemes, conduct of clergy and teachers, etc., etc. It is well that I am hearty and sound in health, or I should be regularly overwhelmed with it. Two texts I think of constantly: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." "Sufficient for the day," etc. I hardly dare look forward to what my work may be on earth; I cannot see my way; but I feel sure that He is ordering it all, and I try to look on beyond the earth, when at length, by God's mercy, we may all find rest.
'That I have been so well in body and so cheerful in mind ever since I left home--I mean cheerful on the whole, not without seasons of sadness, but so mercifully strengthened at all times--must, I think, without any foolish enthusiasm, be remembered by me as a special act of God's goodness and mercy. I was not the least weary of the sea. Another month or two would have made very little difference to me, I think. I am very fond of it, and I think of my voyages to come without any degree of dread from that cause, and I have no reason to expect any great discomfort from any other. I have my whole stock of lemon syrup and lime juice, so that the salt meat on the "Southern Cross" will be counteracted in that way; and going round those islands we shall be ashore every few days. But what most surprises me is this: that when I am alone, as here at night in a great (for it is large) cheerless, lonely room, as I should have thought it once; though I can't help thinking of my own comforts at home, and all dear faces around me, though I feel my whole heart swelling with love to you all, still I am not at all sad or gloomy, or cast down. This does surprise me: I did not think it would or could be so. I have indeed prayed for it, but I had not faith to believe that my prayer would be so granted. The fact itself is most certain. I have at Alfington, when alone of an evening, experienced a greater sense of loneliness than I have once done out here. Of this hitherto I feel no doubt: it may be otherwise any day of course; and to what else can I attribute this fact, in all soberness of mind, but to the mercy of God in strengthening me for my work? Much of it may be the effect of a splendid climate upon my physique, that is true; for indeed to find flowers in full blossom, green meadows, hot suns, birds singing, etc., in midwinter, with a cool, steady breeze from the sea invigorating me all the while, is no doubt just what I require; but to-day we have a north-easter, which answers to your south-west wind, with pouring rain, and yet my spirits are not going down with the barometer. All the same, the said barometer will probably soon recover himself; for I believe these heavy storms seldom last long. There is no fire in the room where I sit, which is the Bishop's room when he is here; no fire-place indeed, as it opens into Mrs. Selwyn's room. The thermometer is 58°, and it is midwinter.'
To Miss Neill, on the same day, after repeating his conviction that he was in the right place, he says:--
'I have written to them at home what I ought not perhaps to have said of myself, but that it will give them comfort--that from all sides my being here as the Bishop's companion is hailed as likely to produce very beneficial results. But I must assure you that I fully know how your love for me and much too high opinion of me makes you fancy that I could be of use at home. But we must not, even taking this view, send our refuse men to the colonies. Newly forming societies must be moulded by men of energy, and power, and high character; in fact, churches must be organised, the Gospel must be preached by men of earnest zeal for God's glory in the salvation of souls. To lower the standard of Christian life by exhibiting a feeble faint glimmering instead of a burning shining light is to stamp upon the native mind a false impression, it may be for ever.
'Remember, we have no ancient customs nor time-hallowed usages to make up for personal indifference and apathy; we have no momentum to carry on the machine. We have to start it, and give it the first impulse, under the guidance of the Spirit of God; and oh! if it takes a wrong direction at first, who can calculate the evil that must follow? It is easy to steer a vessel in smooth water, with a fair breeze; but how are you to keep her head straight in a rolling sea with no way on her?'
This letter, with two or three more, went by the first mail after his arrival. From that time he generally kept a journal-letter, and addressed it to one or other of his innermost home circle; while the arrival of each post from home produced a whole sheaf of answers, and comments on what was told, by each correspondent, of family, political or Church matters. Sometimes the letter is so full of the subject of immediate interest as absolutely to leave no room for personal details of his own actual life, and this became more the case as the residence in New Zealand or Norfolk Island lost its novelty, while it never absorbed him so as to narrow his interests. He never missed a mail in writing to his father and sisters, and a letter to his brother was equally regular, but these latter were generally too much concerned with James's own individual life to be as fully given as the other letters, which were in fact a diary of facts, thoughts, and impressions.
'July 12, St. Stephen's, Mr. Kissling's School-house.--You know I am to live here when not on the "Southern Cross," or journeying in the Bush; so I must describe, first, the place itself, then my room in it. The house is a large one-storied building of wood, no staircase in it, but only a succession of rooms.... There are at present fourteen or sixteen girls in the school, boarding here, besides Rota, who is a native deacon, spending a month here; Levi, who is preparing for ordination, and three other men. The house stands on table-land about four hundred yards from the sea, commanding glorious views of the harbour, sea, and islands, which form groups close round the coast. It is Church property all round, and the site of a future cathedral is within a stone's throw of it.... Now for my room. Plenty large enough to begin with, not less than sixteen feet long by twelve wide, and at least eleven high, all wood, not papered or painted, which I like much, as the kauri is a darkish grained wood; no carpet of course, but I am writing now at 10 P.M., with no fire, and quite warm. The east side of the room is one great window, latticed, in a wooden frame; outside it a verandah, and such a beautiful view of the harbour and bay beyond. I will tell you exactly what I have done to-day since two o'clock, as a sample of my life.
'2 P.M., dinner, roast mutton; my seat between the Bishop and Eota. Fancy the long table with its double row of Maoris. After dinner, away with the Bishop to the hospital, a plain wooden building a mile off, capable of taking in about forty patients in all. I am to visit it regularly when here, taking that work off the parish clergyman's shoulders, and a great comfort it will be. I went through it to-day, and had a long talk with the physician and surgeon, and saw the male patients, two of them natives. One of them is dying, and so I am to be now talking as well as I can, but at all events reading and praying, with this poor fellow, and a great happiness it is to have such a privilege and so on. Came back to tea, very pleasant. After tea made Eota, and Sydney, a young-man who knows English pretty well, sit in my room (N.B., there is but one chair, in which I placed Eota), and then I made them read Maori to me, and read a good deal myself, and then we talked as well as we could. At 6.15, prayers, the whole party of Maoris assembled. Mr. Kissling read the first verse of the chapter (Joshua vi.), and we each read one verse in turn, and then he questioned them for perhaps fifteen minutes. They were very intelligent and answered well, and it was striking to see grown-up men and young women sitting so patiently to be taught. Then the evening service prayers; and so I knelt with these good simple people and prayed with them for the first time. Very much I enjoyed all this. Soon after came supper, a little talking, and now here am I writing to you.
'I wish you could see the tree-ferns; some are quite twenty feet high in the trunk, for trunk it is, and the great broad frond waves over it in a way that would make that child Pena clap her hands with delight. Then the geraniums and roses in blossom, the yellow mimosa flower, the wild moncha, with a white flower, growing everywhere, and the great variety of evergreen trees (none that I have seen being deciduous) make the country very pretty. The great bare volcanic hills, each with its well-defined crater, stand up from among the woodlands, and now from among pastures grazing hundreds of oxen; and this, with the grand sea views, and shipping in the harbour, make a very fine sight.
'July 14.--I write to-night because you will like a line from me on the day when first I have in any way ministered to a native of the country. I was in the hospital to-day, talked a little, and read St. Luke xv. to one, and prayed with another Maori. The latter is dying. He was baptized by the Wesleyans, but is not visited by them, so I do not scruple to go to him. Rota, the native deacon, was with me, and be talked a long while with the poor fellow. It is a great comfort to me to have made a beginning. I did little more than read a few prayers from the Visitation Service, but the man understood me well, so I may be of use, I hope. He has never received the Lord's Supper; but if there is time to prepare him, the Bishop wishes me to administer it to him.
'July 20.--Yesterday in sailed the "Southern Cross" with not a spar carried away or sail lost, perfectly sound, and in a fit state to be off again at once. She left England on the same day that we did, and arrived just a fortnight after us, and this is attributable to her having kept in low latitudes, not going higher than 39°; whereas we were in 51° 30', which diminished the distance and brought us in the way of more favourable winds. I saw from my windows about 9 A.M. a schooner in the distance, and told the Bishop I thought it might be the "Southern Cross" (she has no figure-head and a very straight bow). Through the day, which was very rainy, we kept looking from time to time through our glasses. At 3 P.M. the Bishop came in: "Come along, Coley; I do believe it is the 'Southern Cross.'" So I hurried on waterproofs, knowing that we were in for some mudlarking. Off we went, lugged down a borrowed boat to the water, tide being out. I took one oar, a Maori another, and off we went, Bishop steering. After twenty minutes' pull, or thereabouts, we met her, jumped on board, and then such a broadside of questions and answers. They had a capital passage. Two men who were invalided when they started died on the voyage--one of dysentery, I think--all the rest flourishing, the three women respectable and tidy-looking individuals, and two children very well. After a while the Bishop and I went off to shore, in one of his boats, pulled by two of the crew, Lowestoft fishermen, fine young fellows as you ever saw. Then we bought fresh meat, onions, bread, etc., for them, and so home by 7 P.M. "Mudlarking" very slight on this occasion, only walking over the flat swamp of low-water marsh for a quarter of a mile; but on Tuesday we had a rich scene. Bishop and I went to the "Duke of Portland" and brought off the rest of our things; but it was low- water, so the boats could not come within a long way of the beach, and the custom is for carts to go over the muddy sand, which is tolerably hard, as far into the water as they can, perhaps two and a half or three feet deep when it is quite calm, as it was on Tuesday. Well, in went our cart, which had come from the College, with three valuable horses, while the Bishop and I stood on the edge of the water. Presently one of the horses lost his footing, and then all at once all three slipped up, and the danger was of their struggling violently and hurting themselves. One of those in the shafts had his head under water, too, for a time. Instanter Bishop and I had our coats off, my trousers were rolled over my knees, and in we rushed to the horses. Such a plunging and splashing! but they were all got up safe. This was about 4 P.M., and I was busy about the packages and getting them into the carts, unloading at Mr. Kissling's till past 8; but I did not catch cold. Imagine an English Bishop with attending parson cutting into the water up to their knees to disentangle their cart-horses from the harness in full view of every person on the beach. "This is your first lesson in mudlarking, Coley," was the remark of the Bishop as we laughed over our respective appearance.
'July 21.--I was finishing my sermon for the soldiers to-morrow at 11.30, when Mr. Kissling came in to say that the schooner just come into the harbour was the vessel which had been sent to bring Mr. and Mrs. Nihill from Nengone or Mare Island. He was in very bad health when he went there, and great doubts were entertained as to his coming back. I was deputed to go and see. I ran a good part of the way to the town on to the pier, and there heard that Mr. Nihill was dead. An old acquaintance of Mrs. Nihill was on the pier, so I thought I should be in the way, and came back, told Mrs. Kissling, and went on to the Judge's, and told Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Selwyn. Whilst there we saw a boat land a young lady and child on the beach just below the house, and they sent me down. Pouring with rain here on the beach, taking shelter in a boat-house with her brother, I found this poor young widow; and so, leaning on my arm, she walked up to the house. I just waited to see Mrs. Selwyn throw her arms round her neck, and then walked straight off, feeling that the furious rain and wind chimed in with a violent struggle which was just going on in my own mind. I go through such scenes firmly enough at the time, but when my part is over I feel just like a child, and I found the tears in my eyes; for the universal sympathy which has been expressed by everyone here for the lonely situation of the Nihills at Nengone made me feel almost a personal interest in them. He was a good linguist, and his loss will be severely felt by the Bishop.
'August 14.--I marked out to-day some pretty places for the two wooden houses for the "Southern Cross" sailors at Kohimarama (Focus of Light), a quiet retired spot, with a beautiful sparkling beach, the schooner lying just outside the little bay a third of a mile off. Forty or fifty acres of flat pasturage, but only sixteen properly cleared, and then an amphitheatre of low hills, covered with New Zealand vegetation. I passed fine ferns to-day quite thirty feet in the stem, with great spreading-fronds, like branches of the Norfolk Island pine almost.
'On the 17th of August came the welcome mail from home. "Oh what a delight it is to see your dear handwriting again!" is the cry in the reply. "Father's I opened first, and read his letter, stopping often with tears of thankfulness in my eyes to thank God for enabling him not to be over-anxious about me, and for the blessing of knowing that he was as well as usual, and also because his work, so distasteful to him, was drawing to a close. Then I read Fan's, for I had a secret feeling that I should hear most from her about Alfington.'
On the evening of that day he wrote to Fanny. In answer to the expression of the pain, of separation, he says:--
'There is One above who knows what a trial it is to you. For myself, hard as it is, and almost too hard sometimes, yet I have relief in the variety and unceasing-multiplicity of my occupations. Not a moment of any day can I be said to be idle. Literally, I have not yet had a minute to untie my "Guardians;" but for you, with more time for meditating, with no change of scene, with every object that meets you at home and in your daily walks reminding you of me, it must indeed be such a trial as angels love to look upon when it is borne patiently, and with a perfect assurance that God is ordering all things for our good; and so let us struggle on to the end. All good powers are on our side, and we shall meet by the infinite mercy one day when there shall be no separation for ever.
'I read on in your letter till I came to "Dear Coley, it is very hard to live without you,"--and I broke down and cried like a child. I was quite alone out in the fields on a glorious bright day, and it was the relief I had longed for. The few simple words told me the whole story, and I prayed with my whole heart that you might find strength in the hour of sadness. Do (as you say you do) let your natural feelings work; do not force yourself to appear calm, do not get excited if you can help it; but if your mind is oppressed with the thought of my absence, do not try to drive it away by talking about something else, or taking up a book, etc.; follow it out, see what it ends in, trace out the spiritual help and comfort which have already, it may be, resulted from it, the growth of dependence upon God above; meditate upon the real idea of separation, and think of Mamma and Uncle Frank.'
'August 26, 1855, 10.40 P.M.: S. Stephen's, Auckland. 'My dear Arthur,--I am tired with my Sunday work, which is heavy in a colony, but I just begin my note on the anniversary of your dear, dear father's death. How vividly I remember all the circumstances of the last ten days--the peaceful, holy, happy close of a pure and well- spent life! I do so think of him, not a day passing without my mind dwelling on him; I love to find myself calling up the image of his dear face, and my heart is very full when I recollect all his love for me, and the many, many tokens of affection which he used to pour out from his warm, generous, loving heart. I can hardly tell you what an indescribable comfort it is to me now I think of these things, cut off from the society and sympathy of friends and the associations of home; the memory is very active in recalling such scenes, and I almost live in them again. I have very little time for indulging in fancies of any kind now; I begin to get an idea of what work is; but in my walks or at night (if I am awake), I think of dear Mamma and your dear father, and others who are gone before, with unmixed joy and comfort. You may be quite sure that I am not likely to forget anybody or anything connected with home. How I do watch and follow them through the hours of the day or night when we are both awake and at our work! I turn out at 6.45, and think of them at dinner or tea; at 10, I think of them at evening prayers; and by my own bed-time they are in morning church or busied about their different occupations, and I fancy I can almost see them.
'So it goes on, and still I am calm and happy and very well; and I think I am in my place and hope to be made of some use some day. I like the natives in this school very much. The regular wild untamed fellow is not so pleasant at first--dirty, unclothed, always smoking, a mass of blankets, his wigwam sort of place filthy; his food ditto; but then he is probably intelligent, hospitable, and not insensible to the advantage of hearing about religion. It only wants a little practice to overcome one's English feelings about dress, civilisation, etc., and that will soon come.
'But here the men are nice fellows, and the women and girls make capital servants; and so whereas many of the clergy and gentry do not keep a servant (wages being enormous), and ladies like your sisters and mine do the whole work of the housemaid, nursery-maid, and cook (which I have seen and chatted about with them), I, on the contrary, by Miss Maria (a wondrous curly-headed, black-eyed Maori damsel, arrayed in a "smock," weiter nichts), have my room swept, bed made, tub--yes, even in New Zealand--daily filled and emptied, and indeed all the establishment will do anything for me. I did not care about it, as I did all for myself aboard ship; but still I take it with a very good grace.
'In about six weeks I expect we shall sail all round the English settlement of New Zealand, and go to Chatham Island. This will occupy about three months, and the voyage will be about 4,000 miles. Then we start at once, upon our return, for four months in the Bush, among the native villages, on foot. Then, once again taking ship, away for Melanesia. So that, once off, I shall be roving about for nearly a year, and shall, if all goes well, begin the really missionary life.
'It is late, and the post goes to morrow. Good-bye, my dear Arthur; write when you can.
'Ever your affectionate
'J. C. PATTESON.'
'August 27.--I have just been interrupted by Mrs. Kissling, who came to ask me to baptize privately the young son of poor Eota, the native deacon, and his wife Terena. Poor fellow! This child was born two or three days after he left this place for Taranaki with the Bishop, so he has not seen his son as yet. He has one boy about four, and has lost three or four others; and now this little one, about three weeks old, seems to be dying. I was almost glad that the first time I baptized a native child, using the native language, should be on Fan's birthday. It was striking to see the unaffected sympathy of the natives here. The poor mother came with the child in her arms to the large room. A table with a white cloth in the centre, and nearly the whole establishment assembled. I doubt if you would have seen in England grown-up men and women more thoroughly in earnest. It was the most comforting private baptism I ever witnessed.
'Henri has been for an hour or more this morning asking me questions which you would seldom hear from farmers or tradesmen at home, showing a real acquaintance with the Bible, and such a desire, hunger and thirst, for knowledge. What was the manna in the wilderness? he began. He thought it was food that angels actually lived upon, and quoted the verse in the Psalm readily, "So man did eat angel's food." So I took him into the whole question of the spiritual body; the various passages, "meats for the belly," etc., our Lord's answer to the Sadducees, and so on to 1 Cor. xv. Very interesting to watch the earnestness of the man and his real pleasure in assenting to the general conclusion expressed in 1 John iii. 2 concerning our ignorance of what we shall be, not implying want of power on God's part to explain, but His divine will in not withdrawing the veil wholly from so great a mystery. "E marama ana," (I see it clearly now): "He mea ngaro!" (a mystery). His mind had wholly passed from the carnal material view of life in heaven, and the idea of food for the support of the spiritual body, and the capacity for receiving the higher truths (as it were) of Christianity showed itself more clearly in the young New Zealander than you would find perhaps in the whole extent of a country parish. I think that when I know the language well enough to catechize freely, it will be far more interesting, and I shall have a far more intelligent set of catechumens, than in England. They seem especially fond of it, ask questions constantly, and will get to the bottom of the thing, and when the catechist is up to the mark and quick and wily in both question and illustration, they get so eager and animated, all answering together, quoting texts, etc. I think that their knowledge of the Bible is in some sense attributable to its being almost the only book printed that they care much about.'
The 11th of September produced another long letter full of home feeling, drawn forth in response to his sister. Here are some extracts:--
'Sometimes I cannot help wishing that I could say all this, but not often. There is One who understands, and in really great trials even, it is well to lean only on Him. But I must write freely. You will not think me moody and downhearted, because I show you that I do miss you, and often feel lonely and shut up in myself. This is exactly what I experience, and I think if I was ill, as you often are, I should break down under it; but God is very merciful to me in keeping me in very good health, so that I am always actively engaged every day, and when night comes I am weary in body, and sleep sound almost always, so that the time passes very rapidly indeed, and I am living in a kind of dream, hardly realizing the fact of my being at half the world's distance from you, but borne on from day to day, I scarcely know how. Indeed, when I do look back upon the past six months, I have abundant cause to be thankful. I never perhaps shall know fully how it is, but somehow, as a matter of fact, I am on the whole cheerful, and always busy and calm in mind. I don't have tumultuous bursts of feeling and overwhelming floods of recollection that sweep right away all composure. Your first letters upset me more than once as I re-read them, but I think of you all habitually with real joy and peace of mind. And I am really happy, not in the sense that happiness presents itself always, or exactly in the way that I used to feel it when with you all, or as I should feel it if I were walking up to the lodge with my whole heart swelling within me. It is much more quiet and subdued, and does not perhaps come and go quite as much; but yet in the midst of all, I half doubt sometimes whether everything about and within me is real. I just move on like a man in a dream, but this again does not make me idle. I don't suppose I ever worked harder, on the whole, than I do now, and I have much anxious work at the Hospital. Such cases, Fan! Only two hours ago, I left a poor sailor, by whose side I had been kneeling near three-quarters of an hour, holding his sinking head and moistening his mouth with wine, the dews of death on his forehead, and his poor emaciated frame heaving like one great pulse at each breath. For four days that he has been there (brought in a dying state from the Merchantman) I have been with him, and yesterday I administered to him the Holy Communion. He had spoken earnestly of his real desire to testify the sincerity of his repentance and faith and love. I have been there daily for nine days, but I cannot always manage it, as it is nearly two miles off. The responsibility is great of dealing with such cases, but I trust that God will pardon all my sad mistakes. I cannot withhold the Bread of Life when I see indications of real sorrow for sin, and the simple readiness to obey the command of Christ, even though there is great ignorance and but little time to train a soul for heaven. I cannot, as you may suppose, prepare for my Sunday work as I ought to do, from want of time. Last Sunday I had three whole services, besides reading the Communion Service and preaching at 11 A.M., and reading Prayers at 5 P.M. I should have preached five times but that I left my sermon at Mr. T.'s, thinking to go back for it.... Mrs. K. gave me an old "Woolmer" the other day, which gladdened my eyes. Little bits of comfort come in, you see, in these ways. Nothing can be kinder than the people here, I mean in Auckland and its neighbourhood--real, simple, hearty kindness. Perhaps the work at Kohimarama is most irksome to me. It is no joke to keep sailors in good humour ashore, and I fear that our presence on board was much needed during the passage out.'
With reference to his sister's reading, he continues:--'Take care of Maurice, Fan; I do not think it too much to say that he is simply and plainly "unsound" on the doctrine of the Atonement; I don't charge him with heresy from his stand-point, but remember that you have not been brought into contact with Quakers, Socinians, &c., and that he may conceive of a way of reconciling metaphysically difficulties which a far inferior but less inquisitive and vorsehender geist pronounces for itself simply contrary to the word of God. There are two Greek prepositions which contain the gist of the whole matter, huper, in behalf of, and anti, instead of, in the place of. Maurice's doctrine goes far to do away with the truth of the last, as applied to the Sacrifice of Christ. I have an exceedingly high regard for him, and respect for his goodness no less than his ability. His position has exposed him to very great difficulties, and therefore, if he is decidedly wrong, it is not for us to judge him. Read his "Kingdom of Christ," and his early books; but he is on very slippery and dangerous ground now. It is indeed a great and noble task to propose to oneself, viz.--to teach that God is our Father, and to expose the false and most unhappy idea that has at times prevailed of representing God as actuated by strong indignation, resentment, &c., against the human race, so that men turned from Him as from some fearful avenging power. This is the worst form of Anthropomorphism, but this is not the Scriptural idea of a just God. We cannot, perhaps, conceive of absolute justice; certainly we are no judges of God's own revealed scheme of reconciling Justice with Law, and so I call Maurice's, to a certain extent, human teaching, more philosophy than religion, more metaphysics than revelation.'
On the 22nd the Ordination took place, and the second Maori deacon was ordained, Levi (or according to Maori pronunciation, Eivata) Ahea, a man of about thirty-eight, whose character had long been tested. Immediately after, the Bishop, Mrs. Selwyn, Mr. Patteson, and the new deacon, set forth on a coasting expedition in the new vessel.
The language of the journal becomes nautical, and strong in praise of the conduct of the little ship, which took the party first to Nelson, where Sunday, the 7th of October, was spent, the Bishop going ashore while Patteson held a service for the sailors on board, first going round to the vessels anchored in the harbour to invite the men's attendance, but without much success. On the 10th he wrote:--
'Already I feel to a certain extent naturalized. I do not think I should despair of qualifying myself in three months for the charge of a native parish. I don't mean that I know the niceties of the language so as to speak it always correctly, but I should be able to communicate with them on ordinary subjects, and to preach and catechize. But, after all, Melanesia is becoming more and more a substantial reality.'
The history of Bishop Selwyn's visitation hardly belongs to Patteson's life; but after one Sunday morning's ministration at Queen Charlotte's Sound, Patteson was thus entreated: 'At 2.30 I was on shore again, and soon surrounded by some thirty or forty natives, with whom I talked a long while about the prospect of a clergyman being settled among them. "We want you! You speak so plainly, we can understand you!"
'"No, I am going to the islands, to the blacks there." (N.B. The Maoris speak of the Blacks with a little touch of contempt.)
'"You are wanted here! Never mind the blacks!"
'"Ought not the Gospel to be preached to them, too? They have no teacher. Is it not right they should be taught as you have been?"
'"Ke rae tika ana. Yes, yes, that is right!"'
The settlements, then new, of Canterbury and Dunedin were visited, and then, the Bishop remaining on shore on other work, the 'Southern Cross' started for the Chatham Isles, gaining high commendation for all the good qualities of which a schooner could be supposed capable.
'It was pretty to see the little, vessel running away from the great broad-backed rollers which rolled over the shore far above. Every now and then she shipped a sea, and once her deck was quite full of water, up to the gunwale nearly.' And as for her future skipper, he says, 'I had plenty of work at navigation. It really is very puzzling at first; so much to remember--currents, compass, variation, sun's declination, equation of time, lee way, &c. But I think I have done my work pretty well up to now, and of course it is a great pleasure as well as a considerable advantage to be able to give out the true and magnetic course of the ship, and to be able from day to day to give out her position.'
The Chatham Islands are dependencies of New Zealand, inhabited by Maoris, and as it has fallen to the lot of few to visit them, here is this extract concerning them:--
'I buried a man there, a retired sea captain who had spent some twenty years of his life in China, and his widow was a Chinese woman, a little dot of a thing, rather nice-looking. She spoke a little English and more Maori. We walked through the Pa to the burial- ground, some twenty natives all dressed in black, i.e. something black about them, and many in a good suit, attending the funeral. Levi had spent the day before (Sunday) with them and had told them about me. As I approached the Pa before the funeral they all raised the native cry of welcome, the "Tangi." I advanced, speaking to them collectively, and then went through the ceremony of shaking hands with each one in order as they stood in a row, saying something, if I could think of it, to each. After the funeral they all (according to native custom) sat down in the open air, round a large cloth on the ground, on which were spread tins of potatoes, fish, pork, &c. The leader came to me and said, "This is the Maori fashion. Come, my friend, and sit with us," and deposited three bottles of beer at my feet, while provisions enough for Dan Lambert were stored around--a sort of Homeric way of honouring me, and perhaps they made a Benjamin of me. However, I had already eaten a mouldy biscuit and had a glass of beer at the house of the Chinawoman, so I only said grace for them, and after talking a little while, I shook hands all round and went off. Their hands, being used as knives and forks, were not a little greasy; but of course one does not think of that.
As I passed the end of the Pa I heard a cry, and saw a very old man with a perfectly white beard, too old to come to the feast, who had crawled out of his hut to see me. He had nothing on but a blanket, and I was sorry I had not known of his being there, that I might have gone to the old gentleman, so we talked and shook hands, and I set off for my eight miles walk back. The whole island is one vast peat field, in many places below in a state of ignition; then the earth crumbles away below and pits are formed, rank with vegetation, splendid soil for potatoes.'
Christmas-day was spent at Wellington, in services on shore, the Christmas dinner eaten on board, but the evening spent at the Governor's in blind man's buff and other games with the children, then evening prayers on board for the crew. The stay at Wellington was altogether enjoyable, and it ended by Mr. Patteson taking the command of the vessel, and returning with Mrs. Selwyn to Auckland, while the Bishop pursued his journey by land, no small proof of the confidence inspired by so recent a mariner. He was sorry to lose the sight of the further visitation, and in his New Year's letter of 1856, written soon after receiving a budget from home, there is one little touch of home sickness:--
'Really it is a fine land, with wonderful facilities for large manufacturing, commercial, and agricultural interests; worth visiting, too, merely for the scenery, but somehow enjoying scenery depends a good deal upon having one's own friends to enjoy it with. One thing I do enjoy thoroughly, and that is the splendid sunsets. I don't remember anywhere to have seen such fine soft golden sunsets; and they are not wanting in variety, for occasionally he goes to bed among red and crimson and purple clouds, with wild scuds flying above, which suggest to me the propriety of turning up my bed and looking out for a good roll in the night. But there is certainly a peculiar transparency in the air which makes the distances look distant indeed.'
This trip, so cheerfully described, was rather a pull on the frame which had yet to become seasoned to the heat of the southern midsummer, and there was a languor about the outward man, the last remnant of the original sluggishness, which, if ever a doubt arose of the fitness of the instrument for the work, awoke it during the voyage. There was depression likewise, in part, no doubt, from the spending the first Christmas away from home and friends, and partly from a secret disappointment at the arrangement which made him for a time acting-master, not to say steward, of the ship, so that he had to live on board of her, and make himself useful on Sundays, according to need, in the churches on shore, a desultory life very trying to him, but which he bore with his usual quiet determination to do obediently and faithfully the duty laid on him, without picking or choosing.
The journal-letters continue on the 17th of January: 'Wrote a Maori sermon this morning, not feeling able yet to preach extempore in the native language, though it is much better to do so as soon as I can. Now I must stick to the vessel again. I have been quite frisky, really, for two days past, and have actually slept on shore, the fourth time since September 24. The sensation is exceedingly pleasant of firm ground underneath and clean water, a basin, &c., to wash in. And yet I almost like coming back to my ship home: it is really very comfortable, and you know I always liked being a good deal alone. I am reading, for lightish reading, the first part of the third volume of Neander's Church History, which is all about Missions. It is the fifth volume in the way his works are usually bound up, and came out in this box the other day. It is very interesting, especially to me now, and it is curious to observe how much the great men insisted upon the necessity of attending to the more secular part of missionary work,--agriculture, fishing, and other means of humanizing the social condition of the heathen among whom they lived. Columbanus and Boniface, and his pupil Gregory, and others (all the German Missionaries, almost) just went on the plan the Bishop wants to work out here.
'2. P.M. I am off to Otaki to see my native parishioners. What different work from calling in at S. W.'s and other good Alfingtonians! The walk will be pleasant, especially as I have been grinding away at navigation all the morning. My stupid head gets puzzled at that kind of work; and yet it is very good for me, just because it requires accuracy.
'29th. Just as I am beginning to get some hold of the Maori, so as to make real use of it, the Island languages are beginning to come into work. I have a curious collection here now--some given by the Judge, who is a great philologist, others belonging to the Bishop--a MS. grammar here, one chapter of St. Mark in another language, four Gospels in a third, a few chapters of Kings with the Lord's Prayer in a fourth, besides Marsden's Malay grammar and lexicon. Mrs. Nihill has given me some few sheets of the Nengone language, and also lent me her husband's MS. grammar. One letter, written «;, but pronounced a sort of rg in the throat, yet not like an ordinary guttural, she declares took two years to learn. You may fancy I have enough to do, and then all my housekeeping affairs take up a deal of time, for I not only have to order things, but to weigh them out, help to cut out and weigh the meat, &c., and am quite learned in the mysteries of the store-room, which to be sure is a curious place on board ship. I hope you are well suited with a housekeeper: if I were at home I could fearlessly advertise for such a situation. I have passed through the preliminary steps of housemaid and scullerymaid, and now, having taken to serving out stores, am quite qualified for the post, especially after my last performance of making bread, and even a cake.'
This seems to be the right place for the description which the wife of Chief Justice Martin gives of Mr. Patteson at this period. The first meeting, she says, 'was the beginning of an intimate friendship, which has been one of the great blessings of our lives. After a short stay at St. John's College, he came into residence at St. Stephen's native institution, of which Archdeacon Kissling was then the Principal. He learned rapidly to read and speak Maori, and won all hearts there by his gentle unassuming manners. My husband was at that time a great invalid, and as our dear friend was living within five minutes' walk of our house he came in whenever he had a spare half-hour. He used to bring Archer Butler's sermons to read with us, and I well remember the pleasant talks that ensued. The two minds were drawn together by common tasks and habits of thought. Both had great facility in acquiring languages, and interest in all questions of philology. Both were also readers of German writers on Church history and of critical interpretation of the New Testament, and I think it was a help to the younger man to be able to discuss these and kindred subjects with an older and more trained mind. I had heard much of our dear friend before he arrived, and I remember feeling a little disappointed at first, though much drawn to him by his gentle affectionate thoughtfulness and goodness. He said little about his future work. He had come obedient to the call and was quietly waiting to do whatever should be set him to do. As my husband a few months later told Sir John Patteson, there was no sudden flame of enthusiasm which would die down, but a steady fire which would go on burning. To me he talked much of his home. He used to walk beside my pony, and tell me about "his dear father"--how lovingly his voice used to linger over those words!--of the struggle it had been to leave him, of the dreariness of the day of embarkation. Years after he could hardly bear to recall it to mind. I remember his bright look the first day it became certain that we must visit England. "Why, then you will see my dear father, and tell him all about me!" I knew all his people quite well before, and when I went to visit his little parish of Alfington I seemed to recognise each cottage and its humble inmates, so faithfully had he described his old people and haunts.
'One thing that specially impressed me was his reverent appreciation of the good he had gained from older friends. He certainly had not imbibed any of the indifference to the opinion of elders ascribed to the youth of this generation. "Dear old tutor," his uncles, Sir John Coleridge and Dr. Coleridge, to whom he looked up with almost filial reverence, the beloved Uncle Frank, whose holy life and death he dwelt on with a sort of awe, how gratefully and humbly he spoke of the help he had got from them! He was full of enthusiasm about music, painting, and art in general. He would flow on to willing listeners of Mendelssohn and other great composers, and when he found that we hoped to visit Italy he was just as eager about pictures. He owned that both at Dresden and at Rome he had weakened his eyes by constant study of his favourite masters.
'Altogether he gave me the impression of having had a very happy youth and having enjoyed it thoroughly. His Eton and Oxford life, the society of men of thought at his father's house, home interests, foreign travel, art, happy days with his brother Jem in the Tyrol, were all entertained as pleasant memories, and yet he was able without conscious effort or struggle to put them all aside for his work's sake.
'The Bishop kindly gave us a passage to Wellington in the "Southern Cross," and Mr. Patteson went with us in charge of the vessel. We were five days at sea. I used to lie on the deck, and watch with amused interest the struggle going on between his student habits and his practical duties, which were peculiarly distasteful to him. He was never quite well at sea, but was headachy and uncomfortable. He was scrupulously neat and clean, and the dirt and stiffness displeased him--how much we never knew, till he spoke out one day when very ill at our house in 1870. He was not apt at teaching, but he used conscientiously to hear a young lad spell and read daily. He would come up with some book of thought in his hand, and seemed buried in it, till he suddenly would remember he ought to be directing or overlooking in some way. This would happen half a dozen times in an afternoon.
'He shrank at this time from finding fault. It was a positive distress to him. At Wellington we parted. He seemed a little depressed, I remember, as to what use he would be. I said: "Why, you will be the son Timothy! This was after some years of partially failing health, when these feelings had become habitual. I do not think they existed in his earlier voyages so long waited for." His face brightened up at the thought. "Yes, if I can release the Bishop of some of his anxieties, that will be enough."'
No doubt he was depressed at parting with the Chief Justice and Mrs. Martin, who were thoroughly home-like friends, and whose return was then uncertain. His success as a sea-captain however encouraged him, and he wrote as follows on his return:--
'Kohimarama: March 6, 1856.
'My dear Miss Neill,--How kind of you to write to me, and such a nice long letter. It cost you a great effort, I am sure, and much pain, I fear; but I know it was a comfort to you that it was written, and indeed it was a great happiness to me to read it. Oh, these letters! The intense enjoyment of hearing about you all at home, I know no pleasure like it now. Fond as I always was of reading letters and papers, the real happiness of a mail from England now is quite beyond the conception of any but a wanderer in foreign parts. Our mail went out yesterday at 2 P.M., rather unluckily for me, as I only returned from a very rapid and prosperous voyage to Wellington yesterday morning.
'I took the Chief Justice and Mrs. Martin (such dear, excellent people) to Wellington to meet the "Seringa-patam," homeward bound from that port; and I brought back from Wellington the Governor's sick wife and suite. Only absent a fortnight for a voyage of 1,100 miles, including three days' stay at Wellington. The coast of New Zealand is so uncertain, and the corners so many in coasting from Auckland to Wellington, that the usual passage occupies seven or eight days; and when the "Southern Cross " appeared yesterday morning in harbour, I was told by several of the officers and other residents that they feared we had put back from foul weather, or because the Judge could not bear the motion of the vessel. They scarcely thought we could actually have been to Wellington and returned.
'Most thankful am I for such a fine passage, for I had two sets of invalids, the Judge being only now (as we trust) recovering from a severe illness, and Mrs. Martin very weakly; and I felt the responsibility of having the charge of them very much. This was my second trip as "Commodore," the Bishop still being on his land journey; but we expect him in Auckland at the end of the month. As you may suppose, I am getting on with my navigation, take sights, of course, and work out errors of watches, place of ship, &c.; it is pretty and interesting work, and though you know well enough that I have no turn for mathematics, yet this kind of thing is rendered so easy nowadays by the tables that are constructed for nautical purposes, that I do not think I should feel afraid of navigating a ship at all. The "seamanship" is another thing, and that the master of the ship is responsible for.... You ask me, dear Miss Neill, where I am settled. Why, settled, I suppose I am never to be: I am a missionary, you know, not a "stationary." But, however, my home is the "Southern Cross," where I live always in harbour as well as at sea, highly compassionated by all my good friends here, from the Governor downwards, and highly contented myself with the sole possession of a cosy little cabin nicely furnished with table, lots of books, and my dear father's photograph, which is an invaluable treasure and comfort to me. In harbour I live in the cabin. It is hung round with barometers (aneroids), sympie-someters, fixed chest for chronometers, charts, &c. Of course, wherever the "Southern Cross" goes I go too, and I am a most complete skipper. I feel as natural with my quadrant in my hand as of old with a cricket bat. Then I do rather have good salt-water baths, and see glorious sunsets and sunrises, and star-light nights, and the great many-voiced ocean, the winds and waves chiming all night with a solemn sound, lapping against my ear as I lie in my canvas bed, six feet by two and a half, and fall sound asleep and dream of home. Oh! there is much that is really enjoyable in this kind of life; and if the cares of the vessel, management of men, &c., do harass me sometimes, it is very good for me; security from such troubles having been anxiously and selfishly pursued by me at home.
'If it please God to give success to our mission work, I may some day be "settled" (if I live) on some one of the countless islands of the South Pacific, looking after a kind of Protestant Propaganda College for the education of teachers and missionaries from among the islanders, but this is all uncertain.
'Now good-bye, my dear Miss Neill. I never doubt that in all your sufferings God does administer abundant sources of consolation to you. Even my life, so painless and easy, is teaching me that we judge of these things by a relative standard only, and I can conceive of one duly trained and prepared for heaven that many most blessed anticipations of future rest may be vouchsafed in the midst of extreme bodily pain. It is in fact a kind of martyrdom, and truly so when borne patiently for the love of Christ.
'Always, my dear Miss Neill,
'Your very affectionate,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
The Sundays were days of little rest. Clergy were too scarce for one with no fixed cure not to be made available to the utmost, and the undeveloped state of the buildings and of all appliances of devotion fell heavily and coldly on one trained to beauty, both of architecture and music, though perhaps the variety of employment was the chief trial. His Good Friday and Easter Sunday's journal show the sort of work that came on him:--
'Taurarua, Good Friday.--I am tired, for walking about in a hot sun, with a Melanesian kit, as we call them, slung round the neck, with clothes and books, is really fatiguing. Yesterday and to-day are just samples of colonial work. Thursday, 7.30, prayers in chapel; 10.30, Communion service in chapel. Walked two miles to see a parishioner of the Archdeacon's. 1.30, dinner; 2.30, walked to Taurarua, five and a half miles, in a burning sun; walked on to Mr. T.'s and back again, three miles and a half more. 7, tea, wrote a sermon and went to bed. To-day, service and sermon, for 600 soldiers at 9; Communion service and preached at 11. Back to Taurarua after three miles' walk, on to the College, and read prayers at 7. Not much work, it is true, but disjointed, and therefore more fatiguing. I do sometimes long almost for the rest of English life, the quiet evening after the busy day; but I must look on to a peaceful rest by and by; meanwhile work away, and to be sure I have a grand example in the Bishop.
'Easter Day.--I was at Tamaki chapel, a cold, bare, barn-like building of scoria, all this country being of volcanic origin. Fifty persons present perhaps: two or three faint female voices, two or three rough most discordant male voices, all the attempt at singing. No instrument of any kind. The burthen of trying to raise the tone of the whole service to a really rejoicing thankful character wholly, I suppose, upon myself, and I so unequal to it. But the happy blessed services themselves, they gradually absorbed the mind, and withdrew it from all relative and comparative ideas of externals of worship. "What a training it is here for the appreciation of the wondrous beauty of our Church services, calming all feeling of excitement and irreverent passionate zeal, and enabling one to give full scope to the joy and glory of one's heart, without, I hope, forgetting to rejoice with reverence and moderation. Here, at Tamaki, you have nothing but the help the services themselves give, and I suppose that is very good for one in reality, though at the time it makes one feel as if something was wanting in the hearty sympathy and support of earnest fellow-worshippers. The College chapel nicely decorated.
'1st Sunday after Easter: Taurarua.--I walked in from the College yesterday afternoon, took the soldiers' service at 9.15 A.M., Communion service and sermon at St. Matthew's at 11, Hospital at 2.30. Preached at St. Paul's at 6 P.M., reminding me of my Sunday's work when I was living at St. Stephen's. It is a comfort to have a Sunday in Auckland occasionally--more like a Sunday, with a real church, and people responding and singing.'
So passed that first year, which many an intending missionary before Patteson has found a crucial test which he has not taken into his calculations. The soreness of the wrench from home is still fresh, and there is no settled or regular work to occupy the mind, while the hardships are exactly of the kind that have not been anticipated, and are most harassing, though unsatisfying to the imagination, and all this when the health is adapting itself to a new climate, and the spirits are least in time, so that the temper is in the most likely condition to feel and resent any apparent slight or unexpected employment. No one knows how many high hopes have sunk, how many intended workers have been turned aside, by this ordeal of the first year.
Patteson, however, was accepting whatever was distasteful as wholesome training in the endurance of hardships, and soon felt the benefit he reaped from it. The fastidiousness of his nature was being conquered, his reluctance to rebuke forced out of being a hindrance, and no doubt the long-sought grace of humility was rendered far more attainable by the obedient fulfilment of these lowly tasks.