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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, August 29 (1840)

210

The Missionaries.
To The Editor Of The New Zealand Journal.

Halifax, August 26, 1840.
Sir,—Having observed in the public prints a statement, that it is in contemplation to have a bishop appointed to reside at Wellington, New Zealand; and that a quantity of land has been obtained for his support, part of it purchased of the New Zealand Company, and part given by them for that purpose—it has struck me that there was no occasion for this, as the land purchased at various times by the missionaries must be amply sufficient, not only for the support of the bishop, but of the clergy also. As a regular government is now to be established there, we shall, of course, have a regular body of clergy, and consequently shall have no need of missionaries; and as the land purchased by the latter has been paid for, if at all, out of funds subscribed for the use of the church, I cannot see why such an appropriation of them should not be made. I cannot help thinking, Sir, that you might employ your excellent Journal very usefully in calling the attention of the proper parties to this subject. I remain, Sir, yours, very obediently,
A Constant Reader.
[If means could be pointed out to render the lands obtained of the natives, by the missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, available for religious purposes, our correspondent would be quite right in saying that there would be no occasion for the endowment above alluded to
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but the grasping missionaries are not likely to part with their land, even to gain heaven. What is called land-sharking,* has prevailed to an immense extent among the church missionaries. It has been exposed by members of their own body, but the society has taken no efficient steps to check it. The practice was denied by Mr. Dandeson Coates, the lay secretary of the Society, before the Committee of the House of Lords, in 1838, at the very, moment that the society possessed evidence of the practice. In short, the whole course of the missionaries, with respect to the acquisition of land, has been disgraceful in the extreme. It is a dark spot in the history of New Zealand. The appointment of a bishop will, we trust, completely check the practice and the plan of the company of reserving one-tenth of all the lands for the use of the natives, will prevent those frightful evils which usually spring from the total deprivation of their land. One of the first acts of the head of the church in New Zealand will, we trust, be to institute an inquiry into the conduct of the missionaries in their land bargains—a duty which the Church Missionary Society has culpably neglected.]

*

See Colonel Wakefield's Journal.

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