Object #1016585 from MS-Papers-0032-0634

4 pages written 18 Aug 1856 by John Whiteley in New Plymouth District to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Rev John Whiteley, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0634 (64 digitised items). 57 letters written from Taranaki, Kawhia and Auckland, 1844-1861. Includes McLean to Whitely, 7 Feb 1846 & 6 Mar 1854; 2 letters to Whitely from Colonial Secretary's Office, 1847 & 1853. Piece-level inventory of letters accessioned pre-1969.

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)

Private. New Plymouth
18 August 1856.

Dear freinds,

Your letter of August 1st. has come to hand enclosing one from the Governor which of course you saw. As it is marked "Confidential" and sent open under cover of your letter I enclose my answer to you, if this is not the proper order please correct me, seal my letter to the Governor and forward it.

By the last mail I informed you of the return of Ngatiruanui. Nothing new has occurred only that the Ikamoana folks are going on with the completion of their Pa and urge that Katatore should go away, while he on the other hand insists that they should abandon their Pa and leave the land to him. I am of course onthe constant look out for any chance that may offer to bring matters to some sort of aminable conclusion.

The other subjects of your letter is one of vast importance to me and my family and you will not wonder that I ask time to ponder the matter over in my own mind before +1 come to a hasty conclusion. Let me freely state to you as a friend a few of my whakaaro.

There is a growing feeling at Home both in our Society and in the Church society that New Zealand has nearly had its share of missionary money, and that considering the claims of of other panos of the world the Annual Grant for this Mission must be reduced every year until it can be dispensed with altogether. Our British Conference has handed over these Missions with those of Polynesia to the management of the new Conference in Australia, and the Missionary Society there, being of the same minds as the Home Committee, require us to do with an increasingly reduced grant, saying the natives are now able and willing to contribute, and allowing us the option of sending away some of our men to the other Colonies or to England if we find the Grant is not sufficient --- urging at the same time that the Tonga mission has become self-supporting.

Kawhia and Aotea for instance was required to be united and of course I put in my claim as having a right to a change in precedence of Mr. Smales. Mr. Lawry has returned to Sydney. Mr. Hobbs has become superannuated, and Mr. Woon also. Mr. Watkins has gone to Sydney, and Mr. Creed to Me lbourne. Mr. Turton they have given permission to return to England while Mr. Smales has requested to retire for a while at ldast on account of his health. Our Mission Staff thus virtually loses seven of its number and has received one from Hobart Town Mr. Innis at Wellington who of course knows nothing of the language and is I fear too old to learn it, and another on trial, Mr. Gittoes at Kaipara.

Perhaps in one point of view our Mission is right in thus withdrawing its support. Many thousands of pounds have been expended on New Zealand; the Gospel has been sent to the people and widely spread, the Natives are now able to do something for the support of their own ministers, and the object of the Missionary Society is, not to prepare the natives for becoming British subjects exactly but simply to make them Christians. That object being secured, the funds are now fairly due to other parts of the world where the Gospel has not been sent.

Nevertheless I am decidedly of the opinion that there never was a time in the history of the New Zealand Mission when the labours and influence of the Missionary were more loudly called for or more imperatively required than the present. And yet if I may speak for the rest, there never was a time when I was more financially crippled and restricted. I am sent here on a reduced salary with many extra expenses on the expectation that my people would make up the deficience but in the present protracted state of warfare not a penny can I expect to obtain, while in other places as wellas here, the failure of the produce market makes it impossible for the natives to give for they have nothing.

Under these circumstances it becomes a very serious enquiry. Ought not the Missionary men to be retained in the country and how shall they be supported? whin, for instance, should Mr. Turton go to England? He has done well at New Plymouth and though in every particular he may not have seen eye to eye with the Government on the subject of the Native quarrels yet I am persuaded, in native matters he has been and is still an invaluable man.

If I were to take the situation you refer to I should relieve our Society of the burden of my Salary while at the same time my services would still be secured to the native cause. And while it was the legitimate calling of the Missionary Society to bear the expense of introducing Christianity among the Natives, it seems to me to belong to a Christian Government to bear the expense of training them in Christian Civilization. And as I should have opportunities in the situation you refer to of instructing the Natives in matters relating to their present and external welfare the objects of my mission to New Zealand would still be promoted.

But there are some serious considerations to be looked at before I could decide on such a step.

1. It would involve a separation from the Miss. Society and besides the moral and ecclesiastical view of the matter there would be some sacrifice of prospective financial advantages. We have a legalised fund to which all our Ministers annually subscribe and from which on their retiring from active duty on account of sickness or age they receive an annuity, and on their death the surviving widows receive a yearly allowance. The amount of this yearly benefit is regulated by the number of years a Minister may have been in the ministry. If I retire from the society I thereby sacrifice my interest in this fund for the future together will all the subscriptions I have paid to it for the last 24 years. Would the permanency and salary of the office to which you refer be likely to compensate for such a sacrifice? in a question I must look at. The yearly subscription is six guineas and my claim upon the fund would perhaps now be £70 a year if sickness or infirmity required me to retire from active duty. If I continue in the work 30 years that is six years longer, then perhaps the yearly allowance would be £80 but I am not quite certain about the scale, and the news Conference is contemplating some alterations more favourable to the debilitated or superannuated Minister.

2. I have a wife and three daughter whose comforts I must consider. After 24 years of New Zealand toil Mrs. W. is not prepared for much more of the rough of the Maori bush and I certainly should not like to take them again from European society to a community of Natives. As for myself they tell me here I am made of wire, and I can just tumble and knock about as well as ever only I must have my family comfortably provided for

3. My studies and engagements for the past 24 years (together with my age) have not been of a character to qualify me for the performance of such duties as belong to offices in which you would in your friendliness perhaps wish to see me placed. May I therefore ask you to inform me what is the office to which you refer and what are its duties?

4. My connexion with the Society could not be honourable terminated until the end of the present year, and under any circumstance I should of course repudiate the idea of leaving the Mission in a dishonourable manner. It might perhaps be though that in being engaged under Government for the good of the Natives there would be no necessity for a dissolution of my connexion with the Society. Glad should I be if it could be so arranged but I fear If I accepted office under Government the rules of our Society would require me to retire. Perhaps however a complete separation would be better. I shall be in Auckland at the District Meeting in November when we can talk about all these matters at our leisure. I have written this in great haste.

And now my time is gone and the Mail is off. Will you as a friend give me your whakaaro on the above. Write me by the return mail and let me have the benefit of your advice. I shall pray for Divine direction and whether I take the office or not I shall ever thank you for your kindness.

Mrs. W. joins me in thanks and respects

I am Dr. friend,
Yours truly,
John Whiteley.

Part of:
Inward letters - Rev John Whiteley, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0634 (64 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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