vi. 23 April 1832
[note] Red Sept. 14/32]
New South Wales, Sydney, April 23, 1832.
Very Dear Sirs
May the Lord be with your spirits and bless you out of Zion!
I hope, or wish at least, that you may receive this letter in good health and in the enjoyment of peace and quietude with regard to the Country. The minds of the people, as we learn, being much excited. I hardly cam expect that you should be altogether at ease, however, he has said "Fear not! When thou passeth through the waters, they shall not overflow thee, and when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned."
You will, I dare say, have expected a letter from me long before this time, for it would have been my duty to write earlier to you. Indeed, I also intended several times to send you a few lines, but when I thought again that Mr Watson might perhaps come the next day or week, and thus I delayed writing from one time to another. But now I think I ought to write, although Mr Watson has not yet arrived.
The last letter which I sent you dated October 1st/31 will, I hope, have found its way to you. In this letter I appraised you with the arrival of Mr Matthews, and our living together in peace and brotherly concord. Thus we did till the 11th last month when, being Sunday, I accompanied him six o’clock in the morning, on board the “Ship Porcupine”, where I left him. He took his flight to New Zealand, and I returned alone to my solitude in Sydney, to regret the loss of his company, and to confine myself to my own thoughts. His departure was occasioned by our not being able to proceed to our Missionary work till an order from the Home Government is sent to this Governor; and by the delay of Mr Watson, with whom we might have expected full instructions, and also a final destination for Mr Matthews, whether he might perhaps be with us, or, according to his original instructions, proceed to New Zealand. If the former should be the case, he may easily return from New Zealand; and it will, then, be good for him to have seen that Mission. Mr Matt. has been of great use here in Sydney, as he taught the schoolmasters the “New System”. Besides this, he has been a truly christian companion and brother to me. May the blessing of the Almighty rest farther up on him.
I have now been waiting here in Sydney the space of nearly 10 months, am quite sick of Sydney, and almost worn out of patience. When I enjoyed the company of Mr Matt. We comforted each other, and [?] up each other’s mind, sympathizing one with the other. But whom have I now to cheer up my spirits? I may do it myself, if I please; or, rather if I can. However, I am not alone, for “there is one that sticketh closer than a brother” who never leaves me alone, and I dare say that I know him better than ever. Nevertheless, it would be expedient if missionaries sent to this country were married, or if they could find someone here to marry. How much [?] you did laugh when I first made the proposal, how severe [?] my best friend, the rev. R Greaves, was upon me when I wrote to him that I wished to go out married. I was not altogether wrong. The beloved members of the Committee made it quite equitable in telling me to go out single, and then to speak with the members of the Committee here about it, but it is a rare thing to get a good missionary wife in this Country, and I would rather not marry all my life-time than [?] an unsuitable one. The most religious females in this colony are imported from England. I have surrendered myself to the will of God with regard to this important step. May he dispose of me as he sees fit. I [?] if he gives me a partner for life, it will be a good wife. And I shall find her as a blind hen finds a grain of precious wheat. My occupation here in Sydney is the same that it was formerly.
The lives of the Aborigines are very fast wasting away, wherever the Whites get a footing. This arises from their not being able to bear well the consequences of those vices in which the European’s, with great fun, initiate them. Satan has sent his messengers first, and they have been very active indeed. I doubt whether the Apostles of Christ will be so indefatigable. Of the Botany Bay tribe there are left four only, for so one of those four told me himself. He is a civilised man, and by profession a sailor. Mr Matt. Became acquainted with him by the Revd R. Hill, whilst I was in the country. I saw him only once, where I asked him about the language of the tribe about Wellington Valley he confessed himself to be an entire stranger. I did not see him since that time, and suppose therefore that he has gone to sea again. 
There is, in this Colony, related a peculiar circumstance which is said to have occurred about [?] years ago, with a white woman of the Colony and the natives. Mr Simeon Lord, a merchant here in Sydney who is yet alive, sent one of his men, Mr Downsen, to Van Diemens Land with several articles in order to sell them there in detail. As his business would not allow him soon to return, his wife in Sydney became anxious to see him, and therefore followed him in the vessel "Trial"” The vessel got wrecked near Morton Bay, the woman by some means or other reached the shore, but fell into the hands of the Natives, who, as afterward was ascertained by the print of her feet, dragged her through the bush, one foot bare and the other shod [sic]. By tracking her, people also found her [?]. Several attempts have been made since to rescue her, but in vain; because the Natives, it is said, became always so enraged the soldiers feared to take her by force, lest the Natives might have killed her before she could be protected by the soldiers. She is said to have several Mulatto children. Nothing has ever since been heard of the crew of that vessel, but people have seen some clothes of them with the Natives. Whether they got drowned, or were killed by the Natives, nobody knows. 
On the 10th of January there was a dinner given in Parramatta to the blacks, by the Colonial Government.  I went there with regard to our future work among them, but regretted that we would go so far as Wellington Valley, for this is beyond the district which is occupied by those who were there assembled. In the forenoon I bought for a few black children some bread. A certain woman, when she saw this, came also, having a child on her arm for whom she asked me to buy some bread. I considered her to be a white woman, for she looked at least as white as an European tanned by the sun. However, I soon found to my great amazement that she belonged to the blacks. She must either a Mulatto woman, or one who was born of white parents but abandoned herself to such a wretched life and company. About one
o’clock they sat all down for dinner, where I saw several Mulattoes among them, both children and [?] people. They had more meat, bread and potatoes set before them than they could eat. What was left they were to take away, together with the table cloth of each table, also the knives and forks, with which they had awkwardly eaten, and the tin plates and dishes in which their dinner had been served up. When they had dined, each man received a present of a pair of trousers and of a jacket. Each woman got a blanket. Being thus furnished they withdrew themselves into the bush, their usual residence, to live as wretched as before.
They pronounce the English words, in general, pretty well, but are the most miserably and pitifully [sic] human beings I ever saw. They are extremely degraded both in their habits and customs, running about in the bush quite naked, and not caring for shelter or property. In Governor Macquarie’s time they got some houses or huts built, at a place called Elizabeth Town, about 3 miles from Sydney. Their houses were also furnished with some necessary utensils, but they sold both these and the bark with which their houses were built, for spirituous liquors in Sydney, preferring rather their savage customs. May God have mercy upon them that, though they are now, as it were, no people, they become his people and be called the children of the living God. And may he to this end move the hearts of many Christians to do whatever is in their ability for these extremely miserable fellow creatures, that they may share the benefits of a civilised life, be turned from ignorance to the knowledge of the saviour, from life darkness to his marvellous light, and from the power of Satan unto God to receive remission of sins, and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith, which is in Christ Jesus. If they receive the Gospel they will also become civilised, for civilisation will surely go along with religion, as the latter will make the former a duty, but that the endeavour of merely civilising them cannot induce them to alter their habits and to change their disposition has been proved by numerous instances. “Much money” says the Rev Mr Marsden “has been thrown away upon them”. But he considers them, therefore, a hopeless race of people, although he will not give his opinion as a rule, nor would he by any means be against our undertaking. The best is that the matter is in the hand of him who created the Aborigines, and who also is able to create them anew. If serious attempts were made, and patience be allowed to have her perfect work, why should there not, under the blessings of the Almighty, some good be done among them? Are they not human beings? Have they not reason? Did not Christ die for them also?
A Missionary, Mr Threlkeld, is labouring among the Natives at Hunter’s River. He was formerly sent out by the London Missionary Society for the South Sea Islands. He was there several years, but sent afterwards to New South Wales to establish a Mission among the aborigines. His Society, however, relinquished their undertaking, and he being left to himself, was taken care of by the Archdeacon of New South Wales, who is presenting his case to the Government at home, procured for him the allowance of a sufficient salary to proceed in his labours. He has translated the Gospel of St. Like, but it must be very imperfect, for he cannot yet speak so much with the Native’s as to preach to them, as he told me himself. However, he must be a laborious man, for how faulty soever his translation may be, he has done much. The language of the Native’s at Hunters River seems to be very different to that of the Natives at Wellington Valley, for Mr Threlkeld understands only few of those words which I had an opportunity of obtaining of that language from some persons who had been for a while at Wellington Valley.
Three months ago I took a journey into the Country to the Cowpastures. I kept a journal, and will therefore give you a small extract of it.
January 27/32. Went in a coach to Parramatta. My society was bad, this is, however, not a very uncommon thing in this country. Having arrived at Parramatta I went to the Rev S Marsden. They were at dinner, the Archdeacon, the Doctor of that place, and the Rev Mr Forest, who came out from England a few months ago, dining with them.  In the evening I had the opportunity of speaking with the Archdeacon about our mission. He is of the opinion that the Government at home have done whatever in their sphere to do, but that the church Missionary Society have failed in not sending out instructions, sanctioned by the Home Government.
28. Took a walk in the forenoon into the Governments Garden to see an Emu which was said to feed there. However I could not find it. Some soldiers I found, who had come out with me in the Eleanor, and had, at that time, the watch of the garden. I had a long conversation with them, and an opportunity afforded to me of speaking a word in season. The officer who came out with me has some months ago proceeded to the East Indies. In the afternoon I went with Rev T Hassell, the person who had invited me to the Cowpastures. When we came near Liverpool we saw three blacks, a man, a woman and a child. They were begging, for that is the means by which they subsist where the Europeans have taken in possession of their country. The child, a girl about 4 or 5 years of age, was quite naked but the parents were clothed with what they had received the 10th of January from Government at Parramatta. In Liverpool we paid a visit in (what is called) the Mad House.  Mr Hassall made several of the persons confined there a present of some snuff, which they eagerly received. There was also a young missionary’s wife who has been with her husband in the South Sea Islands. She immediately recognised Mr Hassell, whom being the son of a missionary of the same Islands, she had known before. She said among other nonsensical things that he looked like Charles the Martyr. Very miserable looking she was, however not [?] from vain glory, for sahe told us that she had the best singing voice in the Colony. How wretchedly deep is man fallen, who was created in the image of his Maker! Her poor husband died a lunatic in this Colony. I am very much inclined to think that their brain was injured by the heat of the sun in the South Sea Island, because those Islands where they were are in the tropics. From Liverpool we went the same day to Denbigh, the residence of Mr Hassell, which is in the Cowpastures and 40 miles from Sydney.
Sunday 29. In the forenoon I attended divine service under Mr Hassel, who has a little church on his own ground. In the afternoon I preached at a place called “Nattuoi[?] ” from the words “He was made in the likeness of men”. The people seemed to be attentive.
Monday 30. I enjoyed myself in eating peaches in Mr Hassell’s garden. There is pleanty of fruit in this country to strengthen the heart of man. There would also be plenty of spiritual fruit if it were more sought for and better cultivated. For the people in this colony do, in general, not so much care about going to hear the word of God; nor do they pay due regard to the Sabbath.
Febr.5. Being Sunday I preached in the afternoon at a place called “Macquarie Grove” on the doctrine of prayer. Had a good auditory.
Monday 6. Went on horseback to Major Antill
to pay the debt of an invitation. He is living 10 miles from Denbign at the foot of a mountain called “Razorback”.
_______ Tuesday 7. Returned in the morning. Major Hantil [sic]  was kind enough to accompany me. We had scarcely left his promises [sic] when a messenger of one of the overseers of the “Iron Gangs” who are making a newer road, brought him word that a man of the “Iron gangs” had been murdered last night. We rode on, and when we came to the place where the atrocious crime had been perpetrated, the overseer led us to the spot where the man had been killed and where he was yet lying. My feelings would hardly allow me to approach him, I went however, and saw him. He seemed to have been killed with a sharp iron tool, by one blow in the hinder part of his head. A piece of the skin of his head was cut out and the skull severely fractured. The grass around him was very little bend [sic] to the ground, whence it was concluded that he must have become insensible immediately after he had received the mortal blow, and therefore have struggled very little in his agony. Four of his companions, being suspected, had been arrested by the overseer. One of them had before struck this man, and as he had received his punishment accordingly he was the more suspected. He had also been seen on the road about 10 O’Clock the night before, that same night namely when this poor man was killed on the road, who had been keeping cattle. This poor fellow had probably lain down to sleep on the road, as it was grown over with grass, but little thought of his ever been missing again for this world. His cap, which lay near him, had also a hole which was supposed to have been made by the iron tool before it entered his head. Major Antill commanded the Overseer instantly to separate those suspected persons and then to try them, whilst he himself would be bringing me farther on my way, and on his return he also would try them. He accompanied me about 2 miles farther, and then we took heartily leave from each other. The murderer of this poor man has since been executed, according to his deserving, and ushered into the unseen world to give a farther account of his deeds. Major Antill has 3000 acres of land, a very amiable and fine lady for his wife, and six little affable children.
Wednesday 8. Went with Messrs Hassell and Kennelly on horseback to a place called “the retreat””. There I saw three natives, grown up men. Went with Mr Hassell in the afternoon to the funeral of a poor man who so unexpectedly taken out of this world. Mr Kennelly has an Aunt in [?]. She is the wife of Mr Warburton the Missionary. Formerly she was married to Mr [?] who died in Sierra Leone. She and her former husband went from England to [?] in the same vessel that I did.
_______ Preached in the afternoon on Sunday 12th, “on the preparation of the Last Supper” and had an attentive audience.
_________ Sunday 19. Mr Hassell not being at home I preached twice, in the forenoon “on the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ” and in the afternoon “on his second or last coming”. May the Lord bless my feeble services!
Wednesday 22. Returned to Sydney.
I have at several times, whilst in the Country, taken a ride toward several directions, and found that the soil in that distrct is almost everywhere very fertile, and the aspect of the country picturesque. Hills and valley, fields and pastures are varying the prospect and rendering the scenery highly delightful. The uncultivated ground is, in general, thinly timbered, thickly grown over with grass and little encumbered with underwood. I thank God for having sent me to such a good and particular [sic] healthy climate, and I thank you for having been the means of its accomplishment. From the most unhealthy climate I have been removed to the healthy! In silent woefulness I read the account of Mr Tubb’s death in Sierra Leone.
You will have learnt from reading my journal that the whole four weeks I was in the country I saw 6 blacks only, which in some measure illustrates also my former statement that the Aborigines are decreasing where the Europeans are increasing.
The people here in this Colony are rather indifferent towards religion. The reason may, perhaps, be that they live too much at ease, though this should be a motive to them of being more religious and more thankful. The labouring class of people are here living very well off because they get well paid for their labour and bread and meat and other victuals are very cheap. A pound of meat costs generally from one to three pence, and with regard to bread it is comparatively the same. Peaches are in abundance. I and Mr Matt. bought once about half a bushel for one shilling. Apples and pears [?] so plentiful; but they will perhaps be so some years hence. Many of the labouring class are [?] drunkards; and the emancipated persons ecxel [sic] the prisoners in this respect, because they [?] more money to buy liquors. A difference should, however, be made between those who are born in this Country and those who have been sent out prisoners, for the former are more sober and more blameless in their conduct. The jails are always full of criminals, and many executions are taking place.
The Rev Mr Innis arrived here about 5 months ago. He was sent by the Home Government to take the Tutorship of the “Kings School” in Sydney. The building is not yet finished, but Mr Innes is, in the meanwhile, carrying on his occupation in another Government’s [sic] building. He teaches English Grammar and Mathematics &c and the Classics. Those youths who learn the former sciences only pay £6 per annum; and those who learn both the former and the latter £10. There is, besides this institution here in Sydney, another in [a] building which belongs to the Scoth people. Doctor Lang, the head of their ministers, will have the superintendence of it. As he understands german, instruction in that language will be given. Again, another institution of that sort is set a footing in Parramatta, which is conducted by the before mentioned Revd Mr Forest. It is called “the King’s Grammar School” and is with regard to the several branches of sciences taught there, and the support from Government, on an equal footing with that under Mr Innes in Sydney. There is, however, this difference that this institution in Parramatta is at the same time a boarding school. Each youth has to pay £28 a year, washing being included. This arrangement will be well calculated for the convenience of those families that live in the country.
My kind respects to yourselves and all the beloved members of the Committee. May God give you all every temporal blessing which he sees will be suitable to you. But may he most of all pour upon you the heavenly and everlasting blessings of his son Jesus Christ. And may he by the motions of the Spirit of his son move your spirits and fill them with wisdom, grace and strength that you may be enabled to see and do always what is well pleasing to in his sight, both with regard to the mission and our own eternal happiness. The peace of God and the God of
peace be with you. Remember me before the throne of grace.
We have [?] from the Missionary Register that the Revd Mr Watson left England the 19th of October 1831; but we know nothing further of him: except that it was stated in the Sydney News papers that the Ship Sir William Wallis [sic] left England on the 19 of November, which would be a month later than your statement.
The Revd S. Marsden has been dangerously ill, but is now better again.
You may perhaps, have the pleasure of seeing the Revd Mr Cowper among you in about the space of a year; for he thinks of paying a visit in England.
I am, very dear Sirs
Your humble servant
The Revd T. Woodrooffe
D. Coates Esq.
Sydney, April 23/32
Rev. J.C.S. Handt