Thomas Macky to John Macky(Letter to John February 1852)
January 25, 1852
The long looked for John Wesley arrived this evening (Sunday) but all my fond expectations of letters from home were speedily frustrated, and to me at least her arrival afforded nothing joyful.
But do I deserve so long silence from home? I feel that if they knew how very very much pleasure in this far distant land a letter from home gave they would not grudge a few moments spent in writing a few lines. However, they may feel the not hearing from the absent one it is much more grevious to him who is separated from all whom he holds dear on earth when vessel after vessel arrives without a letter. Many a bitter tear I have shed this day. It seems as if I were forgotten quite by those whom it would give me real pleasure to even hear of. It is now three and a half years since I left home and I have had three letters from you, viz one dated November 1848, one February 1849 and one November 1849-- a large amount certainly, and yet I am expected to write I suppose once a week and you condescend to let me hear from you once in every six or nine months.
I could well go on in a strain of invective, but I forbear. Believe me though, I am more sorry and disappointed than I can express. I think you know me well enough to know how I feel. The only hope I have is that the vessel to leave on the 10th of October may bring the persons which will be infinitely more acceptable than any letter can be. I do not know whether this may find you in Ireland. I hope not, but from what my father says in his letter I fear there is not much hope of your coming, although I think you would have been pretty certain to have been appointed to this place had you applied for it. There were no letters by the Wesley nor information of any sort whether a minister was coming out at all or not, so that the congregation so far is quite in the dark in that respect. We are still supplied by Mr Inglis, but there is an urgent call from the country and it is impossible for one man to attend to all.
Every other religious denomination here has ministers by the score when there is but one solitary Presbyterian, or rather none at all, as he is a Cameronian, but a very good and useful man. There are hundreds of Presbyterians here who attend no place of worship. They were, it is to be feared, only glad of the excuse of a break up in the church to absent themselves. I have conversed with some, brought up I am very sure in the fear and love of God, who from the views they now show are falling fast into infidelity. There is indeed great call for a pious and talented Presbyterian minister here. The people's hearts all warm to their old place of worship, and if there was a minister here whom they would consider a Presbyterian our church would be filled to overflowing on a Sabbath in place of the thin attendance which we now have.
It is no fault of Mr Inglis. He labours hard, preaches twice on the Sabbath in the church at Auckland, a lecture at the prayer meeting in the same place every Monday evening, and generally one or two sermons during the week in some part of the country. There are now in Auckland seven Protestant houses or worship, viz Wesleyans, two Independents, two Episcopalians, and one Presbyterian (though the most numerous). The second congregation of Independents is the Reverend Mr Haman who is the best preacher in the place by far. He came out abut two months since, and has a congregation entirely from his own efforts. As he had no place to preach in when he came he preaches in a large room attached to a public house and is gradually getting a good congregation just from those who went nowhere. He is supported by the voluntary contribution of those who attend his ministry. The collection in the church is different from what it is at home. The people drop it into a plate in the hall of the church as they go in, the same as on a Communion Sabbath at home. We never see any copper in the plate here.
This to me has been as happy a day if not the happiest I have spent in New Zealand. It is the anniversary of the colony and is kept as a general holiday. There are various sources of amusement. A regatta, which, in our beautiful harbour with the necessary accompaniment of beautiful boasts, sailing and rowing, is a pleasant pastime and also tend to improve the manner of building our vessels, the number of which is rapidly increasing. In every little bay we enter we find a vessel building. They are all employed in the coasting trade and are from 20 to 60 tons, the greater number owned by the natives.
But what I allude to as making the day a pleasant one to me is that it was agreed some time ago among the teachers of the various Sabbath schools in connection with the churches that on the day of the anniversary of the colony all the schools unite and meet at the Presbyterian church in the morning of that day. This they did, and I sure you it was a really beautiful sight. Five hundred and sixty Sabbath school children all assembled in one house of worship. They, with the teachers and visitors, quite filled the church. When all were seated, each class occupying its respective pew, teacher at its head, the Reverend Mr Inglis, our minister, gave out the hymn, From all that dwell below the skies, which was sung in a beautiful harmony to the tune of Old 100. After prayer an appropriate address by the Reverend McBuddle, Wesleyan Minister, and singing a hymn or two, we all walked to the Government Demesne about a half a mile from the church. It is a beautiful spot, a nice green lawn intersected with groves of trees and commanding a fine view of the harbour and shipping. We had swings erected for the little girls, and the children all were regaled with buns and milk. We spent the day more pleasantly than I ever remember spending a day. In the evening we had a soiree for the teachers and friends of Sabbath schools in the Wesleyan school room and had addresses from nearly all the ministers. There is a spirit of love and unanimity amongst all the seceding ministers here. We have often Wesleyan ministers preaching in our church and vice versa, which feeling I am very glad to see.
Thanks to the giver of all good I am as well and happy as I can wish to be. I have many good kind friends in this place. Many a longing wish I have that I had those along with me who are the most dear to me to share my enjoyments. I have received a few papers, in one I see recorded something that I was prepared from former letters to hear of but we trust he who provides for the fatherless and the widow will be their support. Poor Ann, she has had her share of trial.
Here I am writing in utter darkness as to whether this may find you. I have many things that I wish to say if I only knew that it would fall into your own hands, but from our not hearing from the Free church I have still a hope that you may come to this place. God grant it. I am sure if you would come you would meet with a hearty welcome and with God's blessing be a blessing to the place. What we want is a minister whom the people will believe is a Presbyterian. You know what a little excuse suffices for keeping many from coming to the house of God. They say "I won't go to hear him, he is no Presbyterian minister".
Besides, from the want of fellowship, our church is suffering in a financial view. There is a pretty large debt upon the house; but which with a united congregation (certainly much the wealthiest in the place) would very soon be wiped off, but from the present divided state of the congregation there is no hope of it. It is certainly a low state of religion here as regards Presbyterians. With the greater part of the town and suburbs of Auckland Scotch and Irish Presbyterians we have no Presbyterian minister. The Presbyterian missions, contrary I think to all others, seem to neglect Presbyterian emigrants, contenting themselves with sending missionaries to India and the land of the Jews. If they would only send missionaries here I am sure one year's support would be all they would require, as the people here are very willing to support the missionary. Even the natives pay a considerable amount towards their support.
This is now our harvest time. We have had rather a wet summer, the most so that I have known here, but still the crop is getting well saved. Mr Baird has a nice drop of everything and quite reminds me of home. I assure you it is a great amount of enjoyment to me having this place to go to occasionally for I do really love the country. His place is credit to him and he gets praise from all the county for what he has done in so short a time. Oh for 500 north of Ireland farmers with a very small capital (£200 will make anyone independent of anyone here in 12 months) and any quantity of farm servants will find employment here-- present price 3/- per day. I will guarantee employment for 2000 @ 2/6 per day good sober men.
Mr Baird has this year sold already 22 tons of potatoes at £3, has sold and ready for sale 800 bushels wheat price now 5/- per bushel, 200 bushels oats, price 3/6. He is really happy and comfortably situated. Many a sincere wish we all have that we could by some means open our suffering country-men's eyes to see the great advantage of leaving Ireland and coming to this place.
The climate is the most healthy in the world, the soil, nothing can surpass it, the sea so that go where you may in the interior of the country you have always the advantage of water carriage.
Mr Baird has been particularly fortunate in his selection. His farm consisting now of 170 acres, has a water frontage on the Tamaki River (flowing into the harbour of Auckland) of about one mile, the bridge across the Tamaki for the Great Southern Road in the center of his farm, a frontage of more than a mile on the Great Southern Road, and the soil nothing in this world can exceed. To give you a little idea of the value of his purchase-- for two acres adjoining the bridge he was offered nearly half the price he paid for his whole farm. Our first steamer built at Auckland, engines and all, runs up the bridge twice a week.
Before this reaches you you will have heard from Mr Baird's letters of our purchase of a farm for my father. It is situated alongside the same road that Mr Baird's is and about two miles further to the south. The soil, I cannot say half enough in favour of it, is all equal to a garden in the highest state of cultivation. We purchased it at a government sale in May last for £170 (90 acres). It is now ploughed and getting fenced and all my hope is that they may be here to occupy it. We have no rent to pay here, no taxes, no poor rates, and we get a better price by far for farm produce than we do at home.
For the land which James bought three years ago, 80 acres on the road to the Manukau, we have got regularly for the last three years (and now let for this one) £9 per month from 1st February to 1st October for pasture. It is then shut up and early in December cut down for hay which it yields annually 120 tons. Deducting the price of labour etc, it yields a net profit of £350 per annum. Its accounts are kept strictly separate so that I know exactly how it stands.
(NOTE: No ending to letter)