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- Life of John Coleridge Patteson - 90/144 -

From Sydney the Bishop went to Adelaide and Melbourne, and these five weeks in Australia obtained about 800 pounds for the Mission; the Bishop of Sydney had hoped to raise more, but there had been two years of terrible drought and destruction of cattle, and money was not abundant. The plan of sending Australian blacks to be educated with the Melanesians was still entertained; but he had not much hope of this being useful to the tribes, though it might be to the individuals, and none of them ever were sent to him.

But what had a more important effect on the Mission was a conference between Sir William Wiseman and Sir John Young, the Governor of New South Wales, resulting in an offer from the latter of a grant of land on Norfolk Island for the Mission, for the sake of the benefit to the Pitcairners; at the same time the Commodore offered him a passage in the 'Curacoa' back to Auckland, touching at Norfolk Island by the way. The plan was carried out, and brought him home in time for Christmas, to find all and prosperous under Mr. Pritt at St. Andrew's. His mind was nearly made up on the expedience of a change to a place which was likely to suit both English and tropical constitutions alike, and he hoped to make the experiment the ensuing winter with Mr. Palmer and a small body of scholars.


The removal of his much-loved correspondent did not long withhold the outpouring of Bishop Patteson's heart to his family; while his work was going on at the College, according to his own definition of education which was given about this time in a speech at St. John's: 'Education consists in teaching people to bear responsibilities, and laying the responsibilities on them as they are able to bear them.'

Meanwhile, he wrote as follows to Miss Mackenzie, on receiving the book she had promised to send him as a relic of her brother:--

'January 1, 1866.

'My dear Miss Mackenzie,--I have this evening received your brother's Thomas a Kempis, and your letter. I valued the letter much, as a true faithful record of one whom may God grant that I may know hereafter, if, indeed, I may be enabled to follow him as he followed Christ. And as for the former, what can I say but I hope that the thought of your dear brother may help me to read that holy book in something of the spirit in which he read and meditated on it.

'It seems to bring me very near to him in thought. Send me one of his autographs to paste into it. I don't like to cut out the one I have in the long letter to the Scottish Episcopal Church, which you kindly sent me.

'I found, too, in one of Mr. Codrington's boxes, a small sextant for me, which, being packed with the Thomas a Kempis, I think may have been your brother's. Do you really mean this for me too? If so, I shall value it scarcely less than the book. Indeed, I think that, divided as I am from all relations and home influences and affections, I cling all the more to such means as I may still enjoy of keeping up associations. I like to have my father's watch-chain in use, and to write on his old desk. I remember my inkstand in our drawing-room in London. So I value much these memorials of the first Missionary Bishop of the Church of England, in modern days at all events, and night by night as I read a few lines in his book, and think of him, it brings me, I hope, nearer in spirit to him and to others, who, like him, have done their duty well and now rest in Christ.

'We are pretty well now (Jan. 20), but one very promising lad sank last week in low fever; a good truthful lad he was, and as I baptized him at midnight shortly before he died, I felt the great blessing of being able with a very clear conscience to minister to him that holy sacrament; and so he passed away, to dwell, I trust, with his Lord.

'What a revelation to that spirit in its escape from the body! But I must not write on. With many thanks once again for these highly- valued memorials of your brother,

'I remain, my dear Miss Mackenzie,

'Very truly yours,


The sandal-wood referred to in the following letter was the brother's gift to a church, All Saints, Babbicombe, in which his sisters were deeply interested, and of which their little nephew laid the first stone:--

'St. Matthias' Day.

'My dearest Sisters,--You are thinking of me to-day, I know, but you hardly know that in an hour or two I hope the Primate will ride down and baptize nine of our Melanesian scholars.

'The last few weeks have been a happy, though of course an anxious time, and now to-day the great event of their lives is to take place. May God grant that the rest of their lives may be like this beginning!

'We avoid all fuss. I don't like anyone being here but the Primate and Mrs. Selwyn, yet I think some dozen more may come, though I don't like it. I need not say that making a scene on such occasions is to my mind very objectionable. I could much prefer being quite alone. I have translated some appropriate Psalms, but the 2nd and 57th they hardly know as yet quite well; so our service will be Psalms 96, 97, 114; 1st lesson 2 Kings, v. 9--15, Magnificat; 2nd lesson Acts viii. 5-12, and the Baptismal Service. Henry Tagalana reads the first, and George Sarawia the second lesson. Then will come my quiet evening, as, I trust, a close of an eventful day. I have your English letters of December, with the news of Johnny laying the stone. I am thankful that that good work is begun. Sir John Young writes to me that I can have a gift of 100 acres at Norfolk Island, with permission to buy more. I think that, all being well, I shall certainly try it with a small party next summer, the main body of scholars being still brought to Kohimarama.

'The sandal-wood is not yet gone! But, my dear Joan, the altar of sandal-wood! If it is to be solid and not veneered, why, 50 would not buy it at Erromango. It sells in Sydney for about 70 a ton, and it is very heavy wood. However, I will send some of the largest planks I ever saw of the wood, and it is now well seasoned. It cost me 14 merely to work it into a very simple lectern, so hard is the grain.

'What has become of the old Eton stamp of men? Have you any in England? I must not run the risk of the Mission being swamped, by well-intentioned, but untaught men. We must have gentlemen of white colour, or else I must rely wholly, as I always meant to do chiefly, on my black gentlemen; and many of them are thorough gentlemen in feeling and conduct, albeit they don't wear shoes.

'It was a most impressive service. The dear Primate looking worn and somewhat aged, very full of feeling; the two most advanced, George and Henry, in their surplices, reading the Lessons; the nine candidates looking so reverent and grave, yet not without self- possession.

'As he signed each one with the sign of the Cross, his left hand resting on the head of each, the history of the Mission rushed into my mind, the fruit of the little seed be sowed when, eight years ago, he thought it wisest not to go ashore at Mota, and now more than twenty Christians of the Banks Islands serve God with prayers night and day.

'What would you have thought, if you could have been there? Our little chapel looked nice with the red hangings and sandal-wood lectern.

'Then we had a quiet cup of tea, and the old and new baptized party had a quiet talk with me till 8.30, when I sent them away.

'And then after an hour I was alone. That I should have been already five years a Bishop, and how much to think of and grieve over, something too to be thankful for. Perhaps after all, dear Edwin and Fisher stand out most clearly from all the many scenes and circumstances.

'And now what is to come? This move to Norfolk Island? Or what?" Something," you say; "perhaps in time showing the Governor that the Melanesians are not so very wild." But it is another Governor; and so far from the Melanesians being wild, it is expressly on the ground that the example of the school will be beneficial that I am asked to go!

'Tell all who may care to know it about our St. Matthias' Day, I must give myself the pleasure of writing one line to Mr. Keble. I won't write many lest I weary him, dear good man. I like to look at his picture, and have stuck the photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Keble which Charlotte Yonge sent me into the side of it. How I value his prayers and thoughts for us all!

'Your loving brother,

'J. C. P.

'P.S.--No terms of full communion between the Home and the Colonial Church can be matter of Parliamentary legislation. It is the "One Faith, One Lord," that binds us together; and as for regulating the question of colonially ordained clergy ministering in English dioceses, you had better equalise your own Church law first for dealing with an Incumbent and a Curate.'

'Auckland: Tuesday in Holy Week.

'My dear Uncle,--I have long owed you a letter, but I have not written because I have had an unusual time of distraction. Now, all my things being on board the " Southern Cross," I am detained by a foul wind. We can do nothing till it changes; and I am not sorry to have a few quiet hours, though the thought of a more than usually serious separation from the dear Primate and Mrs. Selwyn, Sir William and Lady Martin, hangs over my head rather gloomily. Still I am convinced, as far as I can be of such matters, that this move to Norfolk Island is good for the Mission on the whole. It has its

Life of John Coleridge Patteson - 90/144

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