Thomas Macky to John Macky23rd September, 1850
My dear John
I wrote about a week since to Kitty and enclosed it to Rebecca, and in it I mentioned just a word or two about you coming out and had hopes of being able to write a long letter to yourself but with the vessel sailing a day before I expected, I was not able to write.
Thanks be to God I am well and happy, as are all my friends here. I have been here about a month since my return from California and have quite recovered from the effects of its beneficial climate.
The principal subject that I write about now is your coming out to minister in this place. Mr Panton, unfortunately, has not acted right in some things, but I will explain all to you. I may say before entering upon this subject, and very briefly, that everything here is as well and prosperous as I can wish. James is still prospering and thanks be to God, I trust improving in every way-- with a fresh increase to his family of another son which makes the half dozen.
I need not yell you anything about California as I wrote everything interesting concerning it in my letter to Kitty. Suffice it, I like not the place but rather hate it in my heart. As a place to do business in and be quickly off again I think it will benefit New Zealand. I trust I shall, and will, if I am living, visit it again about March next with some things to sell which will pay for my trouble, and if God pleases I will be once more among you about May or June. I can go home from San Francisco in about seven weeks.
Well, now for my present subject: When I left Auckland in November last, everything in the church was going on well, the elders and deacons had just been chosen and other church officers, and I must say the elders were those whom, if we are to judge from action, were worthy of office. Mr Forsaith, our Sabbath school superintendent, Mr Shepherd, the colonial secretary, and (as I know from personal experience) a most Christian man, Mr Whytlaw, the greatest promoter of the church at first, and Mr Gorrie, a man who had been for years an elder of the church at home-- and another, Mr Nisbett, fellow Sabbath school teacher and whom I know intimately.
Well, when I left, as the church was not completed, we met in the court house. Mr Panton was not a very eloquent preacher, indeed nothing approaching to it. He had been teacher in Herriott's Hospital, Edinburgh, but I thought he was a man that had the cause at heart and did his utmost. However, in place of acting with his elders he rather tried to oppose them in all things, and you know a house that is divided against itself cannot stand. As there was no minister here connected with the Presbyterian church, and as Mr Panton had got the name among other classes of being illiberal, it was proposed by one of the elders that a minister of some other denomination would be asked to assist in opening the church-- just to let people see that we had no wish to be at difference with other Christian ministers. Mr Panton agreed to it and accordingly the Episcopalian and Methodist ministers were asked. The former refused by the latter willingly acquiesced and two of their ministers assisted in opening the church. All passed off very well and as a good finale Mr Forsaith, in walking home with Mr Panton, suggested that we should have a monthly prayer meeting in conjunction with the Wesleyans-- to which Mr Panton willingly (at that time) assented-- but at the next meeting of session he intimated that in accordance with the laws of the Free church of Scotland he could not associate in that way with the people of another denomination. Mr Forsaith said that he did not think it would injure the cause of God to associate with another denomination differing but little from one's class in prayer for the propagation of the gospel in this place-- to which Mr Panton replied that if this were the policy entertained by the session, he could no longer remain their moderator. This he said rather in a laughing mood.
However, then all passed over and a short time after a Mr Inglis, a minister connected with the Cameronian of Scotland, arrived here, partly by Mr Panton's invitation, from Wellington. He preached once or twice in Auckland and also at the Tamaki, a settlement about eight miles out, where there are a great many Presbyterian settlers. He was very much liked by the people whom he visited from his kind and attentive manner, and the people of the Tamaki sent a deputation to him to entreat him to remain with them. They would build a church and a house for himself and give him £100 per annum and supply him with all his requirements in the way of food.
However, as Mr Panton did not seem to acquiesce, he did not choose to stay but went on to his original destination in the New Hebrides. On his going away, as a token of respect, the Presbyterians of Auckland presented him with £40 in a purse and an address praying for his future welfare, which happened to be published-- and at which Mr Panton took direful umbrage. He called a meeting of the congregation to tell them upon what terms alone he would minister to them and on the Sabbath day made use of very harsh language. This was the first intimation anyone had of his displeasure. His best friends tried to persuade him from having the meeting as it would only tend to injure the cause. He promised to them, when they went to his own house, that he would not but in half an hour after they left he changed his mind and said that Mrs Panton advised him to do what bearded men shrunk from. The consequence was that at the meeting many things were said, and the end was Mr Panton took upon himself to suspend the elders, and in consequence the whole congregation was cast adrift. This was the state of things when I arrived here. Since then we have had several meetings, one of them most fearful, in the church. However, the end of it is as the only means left to restore peace in the church is that Mr Panton go home-- which he is about to do-- and what is now to be formed is the Presbyterian church of Auckland without connection with Free or any other at home. It was very unfortunate for the church here that the Free church sent out an inexperienced preacher.
Mr Panton has by no means a pleasing manner and has not the trick of managing people in a peaceful way-- which, after all, I think does more good than scolding. But it is quite impossible for one man to attend to the congregation. The number of people is very large and very much scattered and there are many people connected with the congregation which Mr Panton has never visited yet. In the meantime, we are to send to Sydney for a supply until another arrives from home. We have now a first rate church built of scoria and a good manse close to it. The minister gets £300 per annum and his free house, and here you can live very cheaply with the exception of servants.
Now my dear John, if you can bring your mind to come out and labour amongst us here I think with the blessing of God you will not have reason to regret coming-- there is a fine field for labour here now, plenty of room for two or three. You will like this country. It is the finest in the world. I know none so healthy and would not now change it for anywhere. I hope and trust to see all my dear friends out here before many months. If you think of coming, come at once, do not hesitate. And I would not come under commission with any particular body of Presbyterians but just come, if possible, with the sanction of both the Presbyterian church of Ireland and the Free church of Scotland.
I will, please God, be home as mentioned about June next. If you think of coming be ready as my stay will be short. I hope and trust that my father and mother will all come together. If you were all out here I would never think of home but would rejoice that I had left it. I like the place and the people the more I know of them and I am sure you would be happy amongst them. I would have given a good deal to have had you with me at first but I thought the Lord had ordered it otherwise and that there was no use thinking about it. Now there is an opening, and hesitate not but embrace the opportunity.
I have been very guilty in not writing home from San Francisco but I had nothing worth to write about and I felt a little the disappointment of not going home as I first anticipated-- however you must all forgive me and I trust I will make it up again. I have been fearfully busy since I came back and have to write this while others are sleeping.
I had a long letter from John Cochrane from Port Philip. He writes in good spirits and is well pleased with the place and he is teaching school there, both he and Mrs C. Each of them gets £40 per annum and a house and three acres of ground free. Port Philip is a fine, flourishing place and bids fair to come up with Sydney in a few years but New Zealand must be the granary of all the Australian colonies-- and perhaps a much wider field. I will keep up a regular correspondence with John. I am glad he is so well and I think he will have no reason to regret having married Miss T.
My Aunt Mary Anne, I was not a little surprised to see out here, and married to Mr Baird. They all promise to write for the first time by the vessel they came out in which is about to return to London. Mr Baird likes the country well. They have now bought two farms of about 160 acres about seven miles from Auckland. He is busy getting a house built upon it and has commenced clearing and fencing. He is to write to my father all about it and encourage him to come out.
I send this by way of Sydney by a vessel which sails tomorrow. I will write to my father and mother by the Fairy Queen for London direct. I think both letters should arrive at about the same time. I must now conclude and will write by every opportunity for the future, and if God wills I trust we shall have a joyful meeting about eight months hence.
Remember me to my dear father, mother, William and Dorcas. If Kitty be with you kiss her a dozen of times for me-- and dear Rebecca-- and all the children. Oh my dear John, believe me none of you are ever absent from my thoughts, and may God abundantly bless you all-- and grant that I may see you all soon in safety and in peace is the prayer of
Your ever affectionate brother,