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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

Marsden and the Home authorities were powerless to help


The

missionaries were not exposed to this awful carnage, but their position can only be described as terrible. The Mokoia expedition brought back (it was said) no less than 2,000 prisoners. Several of these were slaughtered in cold blood at the very doors of the station at Kerikeri. The Maoris were inflamed with the lust for blood; they gloated over the sufferings of their enemies. They surrounded the mission premises with poles, upon which were stuck the heads of the slain, while the remains of the cooked flesh lay rotting on the ground. The unhappy missionaries could do but little. They rescued a few children from among the prisoners, but for the rest they had to bear as best they might the intolerable humiliation of feeling that they owed their very safety to the protection of Hongi. The Kerikeri settlers were reduced to the further degradation of making cartridge boxes for the troops, while their forge was used for the manufacture of ammunition. How much is contained in these few lines from the schoolmaster's diary: "The natives have been casting balls all day in Mr. Kemp's shop. They come in when they please, and do what they please, and take away what they please, and it is vain to resist them."

Marsden and the Home authorities were powerless to help. Of course Kendall was dismissed. So was another of the settlers. Others left of their own accord, and the Society at Home thought of abandoning the mission. The one bright spot was Rangihoua or

Te Puna, where the two original catechists, King and Hall, kept quietly on, thus showing the value of Marsden's training during the years of waiting in Sydney. Their settlement was gradually improving, and at least they kept the flag flying. As for Marsden himself, there was even one more drop of bitterness to be added to his cup. Ever since the beginning of the mission he had kept up a seminary for New Zealanders at Parramatta. The chiefs were eager to send their sons to be educated under his care, and in the beginning of 1820 he had no less than twenty-five in residence. But in the following year a time of mortality set in; several of the young men died, and for a time the seminary was closed.

Marsden had inaugurated the mission in 1814 with the message of peace and goodwill to men. Now, as he thought of the charred villages and whitening bones which marked the face of the country after seven years of Gospel preaching, he must surely have felt bound to take other words as the burden of his cry: "I came not to send peace, but a sword."

CHAPTER IV.

THE NEW BEGINNING.

(1823-1830).

And he spake to me, "O Maeldune, let be this purpose of thine! Remember the words of the Lord when he told us, 'Vengeance is mine.' His fathers have slain thy fathers in war or in single strife. Thy fathers have slain his fathers, each taken a life for a life. Thy father had slain his father: how long shall the murder last? Go back to the island of Finn, and suffer the past to be past." --_Legend of Maeldune._

"When I reflect upon the evils which have crept in among the missionaries, I am astonished that the mission has not been completely annihilated. That it should continue to exist under such difficulties affords a proof, in my judgment, that God will still carry on the work." Such was Marsden's reflection in 1823--the year which saw a beginning of better things. Out of the midst of the failure and the shame this man of faith was able to gather hope for the future.


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