iii. April-July 1833
[note] rec July 10/35
Handt's Diary from the 4th of April to the 4th of July 1833
[5 April 1833]
Good Friday, April 5. Had divine service which was tolerably well attended. The Blacks are as indifferent to spiritual things as they were before. Every thing we can say to them, seems to have but a momentary effect.
[7 April 1833]
Sunday, 7. Easterday. Had divine service, a good number attended. There are very few Blacks here at present.
[14 April 1833]
Sunday, 14. A few Blacks came this afternoon, but they soon went away again. I am a little discouraged with regard to them; but we must persevere till it pleases the Lord to produce a change in their disposition by the power of his Holy Spirit.
[15 April 1833]
Monday, 15. Intended to go into the country among the Blacks, but having been informed that the horse was required at home, I was obliged to relinquish my design. I went therefore to Cobolyen only where I met with a few Blacks, with whom I sat down and talked, learning at the same time a few words from them.
[17 April 1833]
Wednesday, 17. Went with Mrs Handt and Mrs Watson to Cobolyen. I found some Blacks there who had not been frequently in these parts.
[18 April 1833]
Thursday, 18. There are now several Blacks here, a few of whom came from Cobolyen to-day. It is a great hindrance not to be able to speak freely to them in their own language
but I hope these mountains of difficulties will be gradually moved, so that they will hear in their own tongue "the wonderful works of God", wrought in the redemption of mankind through his only begotten Son.
[21 April 1833]
Sunday, 21. The services as usual, were regularly performed. A blind black man called Boby came this evening to us with his family in order to stay for a while. The Blacks have been more numerous last week than usual, and I hope that the time will soon arrive when they will receive instruction and believe the blessed Gospel of the Saviour.
[23 April 1833]
Tuesday, 23. The black man who came here with his family last Sunday seems to be superior to his countrymen in intellect. He asked me more questions about God and religion than all the Blacks have done with whom I ever conversed. O may the Lord begin his work of grace in this poor man's heart. Received a letter this day from one of my X'n friends in Sydney, which greatly refreshed my mind.
[25 April 1833]
Thursday, 25. Conversed with the black man Boby. He asked me, whether God lived in a house in heaven, and whether he did eat bread. I endeavoured to give him a short description of God as far as I was able in his own language. He asked me also, whether God had made "War-gan" (large canoe or boat.) I told him that white men made it, but that God made the trees grow, which they cut down for that purpose. The idea of a large canoe he had probably received from white men, or from a boat which was formerly on the Settlement previous to the losing of his eye-sight. Their own
canoes, called Gum-bi-lan, consist of a mere sheet of bark tied together on both ends with a string so that the ends are above the water.
[26 April 1833]
Friday, 26. The black man Wesley, mentioned under date the 26th of March, has been treacherously speared by one of his countrymen, and has since died in consequence of the wound.
[28 April 1833]
Sunday, 28. The wife of the black man who came here last Sunday was found last night in the bush about to kill the child she had just brought forth. She had already given it a kick, with her foot, and thrust it towards the fire, so that its back was burnt by it. Just before her delivery she had gone a short distance into the bush in order to be unnoticed, that she might conceal her atrocious act. It is a halfcast child, and that was probably the chief reason why she intended to kill it. I spoke this morning with the blind husband and reproved him for having prostituted his wife. He replied that white men should know that it was wrong, and not have asked her of him as they know about God etc. A just reply indeed. They who should endeavour to teach them good things, render them by their conduct and conversation worse than they were before. O how long shall the name of our Lord be thus profaned by those who bear it!
[1 May 1833]
Wednesday, May 1. A young black man came to-day, one of the most intelligent I ever have seen among them. He gave satisfactory answers to the questions I put to him (considering their incomparable degraded state;) and made several inquiries, which they do, in general, but seldom. We should like him to have stayed with us, but he went back again with the white man he had accompanied here, who had come on some business. If they could
be persuaded to stay at one place there would be more hope of doing good among them, but their wandering and roving disposition, and their indifference to the comforts of a civilised life, is the great barrier in the way of their improvement. Nor are they prevented by a want of food from so doing, for this they can procure every where.
[4 May 1833]
Saturday, 4. An old black man called Billy came fighting to-day with another Black, and had his left leg speared through. The other had killed his dog yesterday, which gave rise to the quarrel. The blind man is yet here with his family, and I find him profitable to me with regard to the language.
[10 May 1833]
Friday, 10. Have conversed with the Blacks several times about God and their future state. May the gracious Saviour bless and own my feeble endeavours. The blind man Boby went away to-day with his wife but will soon return.
[13 May 1833]
Monday, 13. This morning at 8 o'clock my wife was safely delivered of a son.  We had felt some anxiety respecting this event, as we are so far from medical help in cases of this kind. But our God has been gracious to us in hearing our prayers and preserving both the root and the branch. Praise to his name! May our dear boy be a child of God, and an heir of glory! Whether he lives or dies, may he be the Lord's.
[27 May 1833]
Monday, 27. Some Blacks brought us the intelligence to-day that the black man who killed Wesley, mentioned under date April the 26th, has been killed in return by some of the deceased’s friends. We learnt however afterwards, that they had not been able to
accomplish their design, that man being so strong for them. Should they succeed in putting their design into execution, this act would probably occasion more mischief, as it would enrage the friends of this person, so that there might be no end of retaliating. May they soon be taught divine grace to obey the excellent precept of the Gospel, not to render evil for evil.
Mrs Handt has been unwell for the last fortnight from taking cold soon after her confinement, and has consequently required much attention and care. The child also has been ill.
[29 May 1833]
Wednesday, 29. Some of the Blacks came to-day, most of whom were infected with the venereal disorder. They are certainly most pitiful objects both with regard to their temporal and eternal condition. Here they lay around their little fires in the open air exposed to cold and wet; and frequently too lazy to get up and fetch their victuals, when already prepared for them. As to what regards their souls, they are in reality as dry bones.
[31 May 1833]
Friday, 31. Three of the Blacks who are sometimes staying here for a few days had been hunting to-day and returned with two Oppossums, which served for their supper.
[2 June 1833]
Sunday, June 2. A rainy day. Very few persons attended divine service.
[10 June 1833]
Monday, 10. There have not been many Blacks here of late, and their numbers altogether appear but small.
[14 June 1833]
F riday, 14. When I was in the garden to-day, two Blacks came up to me, one called Billy Sixfoot and another whose name is Neddy. The latter asked me for a turnip, which, when
received, he gave to his comrade, and then asked another for himself. In complying with his requests, I tried to direct their minds to Him who causes the turnips to grow.
[15 June 1833]
Saturday, 15. Was sawing some wood to-day, and as I, at length, found it too fatiguing, I requested two Blacks, who had come this morning to Wellington to assist me; but neither of them would do so, as they were too idle, and as they had just before received plenty of meat. Food is their only inducement to do anything, and on that account they remained unmoved by all my persuasions.
[17 June 1833]
Monday, 17. Succeeded to-day in getting one of the Blacks to assist me in sawing wood, in return of which I gave him some bread and meat. If they could be induced to stay, and to do every day a little work; a great point would by this means be gained, as it would afford us more opportunity to instruct them. But as this is not the case, we labour under many disadvantages, and must confine ourselves to speak with them about God, just as we every now and then meet with them; when their minds are apparently not at all in a proper state to receive any impression. May God hear our prayer for them in opening their hearts to receive the truth of the Gospel.
[23 June 1833]
Sunday, 23. One of the black girls who are staying here when standing near the fire this morning, met with a dreadful accident. Her clothes suddenly took fire, and very soon was all in a blaze. Nobody was with her at the moment, but some children, who were frightened, and could render her no assistance. She, struck with terror, ran out of doors, where by reason of the wind the fire became more dreadful; and before
she received assistance, her back, shoulders and several other parts of her body were severely burned. She is now in exquisite pain.
[30 June 1833]
Sunday, 30. The girl who burnt herself last Sunday has been very bad, but is more in a state of recovery. The Blacks are according to all appearance very few in number. I have never seen more together than about 50. The females are particularly few compared with the men. The cause of their being so small in number may be chiefly ascribed to their barbarous practice of destroying not very unfrequently their offspring. Of late it was reported, that a mother had killed her new-born infant in the bush. First she had broken its neck, and then burnt it. This is horrid and unnatural. It is however but too true that they not unfrequently commit such atrocities. They stand indeed in great need of a Saviour to deliver them from their barbarity as well as from their wretchedness, both temporal and spiritual. And we want new courage and strength; for as yet there has been very little appearance of their paying attention to what they hear, or of inducing them to practice the rudiments of civilisation. May the Lord change them in their disposition, inclinations and habits, otherwise nothing good can be done to them; for vain is the help of man.
[4 July 1833]
July, 4. Many of the Blacks have left these parts, at present, and gone in search of the mi-al (strange) Black, mentioned under date, May 27, who killed Wesley, that they may retalliate by killing him in return. May divine grace
soon teach and enable them, not to avenge themselves, but to bless their enemies, and to do them good for the evil received!
[signed] J.C.S. Handt