v. Oct-Dec 1838
[note] Rec’d Oct 7/39[?]
including the months of October, November, & December, 1838.
by James Gunther Missionary at Wellington Valley
Instead of a regular journal, I can only give an outline of my proceedings during this quarter, & and admit* to the circumstances which caused the deficiency. The few days of which I noted down our daily proceedings, that is, at the commencement of October, contain so little of interest that it is not worth while to communicate it for instance:
[1 October 1838]
October 1st. After an absence of 10 days, our Young men returned again today viz: George, Jemmy Buckley, Lowrey, Dan & Harry. Also a number of elderly Natives made their appearance, and encamped on the Mission premises.
It is remarkable how often we have the appearance of rain, and yet are disappointed, so it was today, but as usual, a change wind blew it off. A judgement of the Almighty appears to rest on the Colony. Every thing is drying up.
[2 October 1838]
October 2d. Was glad to be able to resume my reading lessons this morning with the Native youths. I discovered, however, that they had not been reading for some time.
[3 October 1838]
October 3d. Was again engaged in teaching the Young men to read.
[7 October 1838]
Octbr 7th. I had a very small congregation to day. Mrs W. being poorly & Mr Watson obliged to stay with her, they neither sent the Children. I gave an extemporaneous discourse to my few hearers, from I John.3:1 & George, Cochrane, & Bungary read to Mr Porter in the afternoon.
[8 October 1838]
Octbr 8th. Had a short reading exercise with our Young Native men. I was interested in Cochrane today as he put several questions which show that he is thinking about religious subjects. Indeed, he is more inquisitive than any; he asked a few days since several questions about heaven, among others, whether we should eat there. Being rather in a curious humour today, he called out to me: Mr Gunther, come, I will fight. When I told him that I did never fight, he replied, “Well, what you mean, when you say at Church: “Good soldiers of the cross.” [ILLEGIBLE] ... when I explained to him [ILLEGIBLE] ... something of it.
Octbr. 12th. I received today a Subpoena from the Supreme Court in Sydney, to appear as a witness against an Aboriginal Native, called Franky, indicted for murder. He belongs to one of the tribes of the Wellington district and was at Court here when taken a few months since. I was present at the time. Being conscious that I could not be required as a witness, I guessed, that I was called for with the view to interpret. I resolved, therefore, to make close applications to the Native dialect during the few weeks I have remaining before I was to proceed to Sydney. I paid little attention to anything else, being aware of my deficiency in the Nat: language. Nor could it prove otherwise but gain to me as it regards my missionary qualifications. I was happy to find the young men - I had many an hour the one or the other with me - rather more willing than usual to communicate their language to me. Of course it is only to a certain extent that they can teach us & it requires all kinds of schemes to dig out the rest, like the miner does precious metals. But I made some advancement, gained a number of words, of which these rude Barbarians have a greater store than one should expect. There is likewise a good deal of grammar in their language with the leading features of which I made my self acquainted. On the 1st of November I left for Sydney, and rode on horseback that day about 36 miles, as far as Molong, an estate belonging to the late Revd. Mr Marsden’s family. Half an hour after my arrival there, I had the pleasure, quite unexpected; to salute not only Mr Betts, Mr Marsden’s Son in law, but also my Friend & Brother the Revd. R. Taylor, who arrived from the lower country; the latter with the intention of paying us a farewell visit at Wellington Valley, before his departure to New Zealand. The following day the 2d being the General Fast day & as appointed by His Excellency, the Governor in consequence of the drought we had Service at Molong & I delighted to spend that day together with my Friends. But Mr Taylor (who intended the following day to proceed to Wellington) pressed on me to leave in the afternoon & to hasten on to Bathurst, in order to officiate at the Church of that town the following Sunday. The 4th, the Minister of that place being absent from home, I was through God’s help able to accomplish the journey & to perform Service at Bathurst. There I was detained for several days, as well as on the road, further on, by the mismanagement of the Mail conveyance, and arrived only at Sydney on Sunday morning, the 11th of Novbr, the 12th being the day when I had to appear at the Court. In consequence of the Principal witnesses not arriving the case for which I was subpoenaed did not …
[LAST LINE OF THIS PAGE ILLEGIBLE ON AJCP]
in Gaol and was able to discuss with him to a certain extent. Partly through the Court & partly through my business with the Corresponding Committee, I was detained a considerable time in Sydney. In the meantime I found leisure to pay several visits to various friends in the neighbourhood of Sydney & to officiate at several places. On my return I was again detained by the bad management of the Mail & had a most uncomfortable journey, as far as Bathurst; whence I travelled to Wellington on horse back, a Native Boy having brought the horse to meet me. We accomplished the journey from B. to W. about 100 miles, in two days. It was on the fifteenth of December I arrived at home having been absent upwards of six weeks, longer than I expected. On my arrival at Wellington, I was much distressed to see the parched state of the country. In the Lower country, & even on the Blue Mountains, there was a considerable fall of rain, as if an immediate answer to the progress of the people, offered up on the General Fast day; and every thing began to look fresh & green. But Wellington had not been visited by the Almighty’s favour and the effects of the drought were becoming exceedingly severe. This is indeed the Lord’s afflicting hand that lays upon us. May we acknowledge his just punishment & humble ourselves before him. The Lord has just cause to afflict his strokes upon this people, upon our heathenised Christians, and upon his Servants also who have to deplore[?] many shortcomings etc etc etc. Oh may the Lord mercifully grant us grace to approve ourselves worthy of our high & holy calling!
During my stay in the Lower country a heavy affliction prevailed everywhere, a disease, generally called the influenza, or catarrh, assumed a very serious character, not a single house or family seemed to escape the visitation. In many houses the greater number of inmates were laid up. In Sydney, more particularly, a great number of children died of the complaint, also, some elderly persons in various places. I had myself an attack, but, thank God, it became not very serious. But this complaint extended soon over the whole Colony, and reached Wellington a few days before my arrival. The few Natives that were about the Mission Kitchen, and all the Children living in the house, were, I believe with no exception, severely suffering and required medical & other attention. Indeed the Blacks all over the district suffered much, generally more than the White population, of course partly through their carelessness, though of the latter very few were exempted. Mr Watson also suffered much; our Child [?] was afflicted with it, so that, while I had little to do, as it regards teaching the Natives, my domestic engagements were increased. This accounts for my keeping no regular Diary during the remainder of this month I had to spend at the Mission. Another year was thus closed, a year of various trials & discouragements as [?] their [?], to exercise faith & patience. But we would still take
courage from the promises of the Divine word, and believe that all must work together for our own individual good, and end in the glory of God. He whose wisdom knows to overrule all things for good & for whose power no obstacle is too great, will assuredly accomplish his great & glorious purposes in his own appointed time. Oh, that all may tend to the purifying of the sons of Levi & to the strengthening of their hearts and hands, so that we may not grow weary in the work of the Lord, but prove more & more faithful & diligent, even unto the end!