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v. 31 December 1832

Letter 5 : Watson to Coates, 31 December 1832, p.1.
Class Mark: C N/O 92/5
MS page no: 2-017

Mission House, Wellington Valley,
Decr 31st 1832.

Dear Sir
I am sure you will unite with us in praising our God for bringing us in peace & safety to the conclusion of this one first Quarter’s residence & labours among the very ignorant & deeply degraded inhabitants of New Holland. You will, I trust, from the Report form some general idea of my proceedings.[31] If there is any point in which I have been deficient in giving any necessary or desirable information, I assure you that circumstance arises from my ignorance or oversight. For I would that the Committee of the Parent Society, (as well as the Committee of correspondence in N.S.W.) had as full and perfect a view of our situation and proceedings as pen and ink are capable of delineating. Since my arrival here I have had a very great number of applications for medical assistance from the white part of the population. (as well of as the black). Many severe and important cases have come under my treatment of meddling with which I was exceedingly diffident. But what could I do situated at a distance of one hundred miles from a Medical Practitioner. I felt myself bound in the name and by the help of God to do what I could for my suffering creatures. To this end I have been under the necessity of studying medicine when otherwise I ought to have been sleeping. And I have abundant cause for thankfulness to God, that He has directed me to the use of proper means, and blessed my endeavours so that not any one case has failed. Rogers,[32] to whom reference is made in the report, has been restored to perfect health and has recovered the use of his arm. Several other important cases I could mention but they would take up too much room on this sheet. The medicines disposed to such persons will be paid for, and so the Society will not lose by them, and I would hope and pray that the church of God will be benefited by these afflictive [sic] dispensations of providence, for persons are thus brought within the compass of religious warnings &c who have been living for years never hearing the name of God but when it was profaned or blasphemed. And making no difference between the Lord’s day and common days. I must acknowledge the advantage I have derived from the notes I took when studying under Mr Fernandez and from several numbers of the "Lancet" [33] which I brought with [me]. The Blacks here are inflicted with the venereal in a dreadful manner, children and even infants have it very commonly. It is a remarkable circumstance that Dr Fernandez said I should have nothing to do with this disease, and behold it is so common to man women & child

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson | Rogers, Dennis

Letter 5 : Watson to Coates, 31 December 1832, p.2.
Class Mark: C N/O 92/5
MS page no: 2-018


that I might almost term it "Epidemic". I have invariably treated them with Calomel &c and such treatment has succeeded in every case. [34] One man, Oxley, had been ill for 4 years and his cure surprised everyone that was acquainted with him. One reason why the venereal is so common among them I believe arises in a great measure from the awful prostitution of their gins. When a Black fellow goes into the bush accompanied by his gin, it is ten to one but he will lend her all round to every Black fellow who may desire her. This disease is rather different in some respects as to the places affected by it than that among Europeans. But almost every white fellow in the neighbourhood has been at "death’s door" by having imbibed the poison by commerce with the gins. It will readily be perceived that I am in want of more Medicine, and it may be thought desirable that I should put down a list of such as I want and the quantities. But as I suppose Medicines are often sent out to the Rev. Dr Williams [35] at New Zealand, I think it more judicious to leave that at the disposal of the Committee at home. Bearing in mind that Medicines in general are 3 times the price in Sydney that they are in England. Epsom Salts may indeed be purchased in Sydney for 10d per lb.
Some of the difficulties with which we have to contend arise from the following circumstances (as well as from others unnamed) viz
1. From the common connexion of the Black gins with white men who, as Stock Keepers &c are scattered round the district. By this means they are Kept about the huts of such persons, disease is extended, their minds poisoned and prejudiced against the motives, persons and labours of Xtn missionaries, and the fruit of such connexion is invariably murdered, for the Stock Keepers want no children to keep and the Blacks will not have such a spurious race to live among them. The infants then, as soon as born, are destroyed by the mother, and in some cases (perhaps very many) by the help of, if not entirely by, the white man who is the father. In one instance the cry of such a one new born infant arising from the pain of the fire into which it had been cast by its mother who sat by and heard it unmoved, brought a white man from a distance to know what was the matter. This was the 3rd infant this unnatural female had borne to white men, and all of which she had murdered. It will be seen in the report that a Stock Keeper not far from here murdered an infant which Rachael had to him (for that murder is now well established on the authority of the Blacks) and the next day beat an old Black woman till her life was almost despaired of.
2. There is a law among the Blacks prohibiting any young man coming within a certain distance of a gin. So that if we have a gin at school or at church no young man dare enter, and vice versa.
3. Their vagrant habits. They will scarcely stop a week in one place so that opportunities of conversing with them are only occasional.
4. Their remarkable aversion to labour. We may occasionally

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson

Letter 5 : Watson to Coates, 31 December 1832, p.3.
Class Mark: C N/O 92/5
MS page no: 2-019


prevail with them to do trifling work (and this I consider important as it may ultimately produce a habit of industry) but any labour they abhor.
5. Another circumstance that makes against us at present is having all our provisions to purchase. Previously to our arrival the Superintendents here were authorised by the Government to be very liberal with provisions towards the blacks.[36] When I came here and found that I had to purchase beef at 2d per lb and to send for flour on a journey of 200 miles, and knowing the pecuniary state of the mission as it regards the Parent Society, I was bound to act on a difficult plan, and the Blacks attribute the loss of this privilege to my coming and had rather that I had stopt away. Two things seem absolutely necessary in order to put the mission on a fair ground of trial. The raising of our own grain, and having a good herd of cattle. If we are spared to compass these points we shall then have it in our power to encourage all the Black fellows to stop with us. And though they may even then occasionally go into the bush, knowing that they will be well treated here will make them generally [t]end to this point. As to the raising wheat &c I turned my attention to that in the very first instance. Although we arrived here too late in the season to get wheat seed into the ground, we succeeded in planting rather more than an acre of Indian corn. I laboured to get the garden into a state of cultivation as early as possible, but being so late, its being so long unattended to and this summer having been so very dry, have united to disappoint my hopes. We have had a few vegetables, but our tobacco seed never came up, and though we procured and planted about 400 tobacco plants they all perished. I am afraid it will be some time before we can procure a good herd, on account of money coming so slowly and hardly from the Government. I am sure that the ultimate advantage to the Mission in every respect would be greatly promoted by the purchasing of stock at present.
6th Another difficulty which at present impedes our progress is the falsehoods which the white stockmen have instilled into the minds of the Blacks. They told them that we should take the children and either put them into prison or send them down to Sydney, and the fear of this as well as of many other things is far from being removed at present. I know that not only the religious world are looking forward to the result of our labors [sic], but many both here and in England are carefully watching for occasions to deprecate the measure and exclaim against such a waste of public monies. This circumstance cannot fail to make my situation a very anxious one over and above that anxious and painful solicitude which every Xn

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson

Letter 5 : Watson to Coates, 31 December 1832, p.4.
Class Mark: C N/O 92/5
MS page no: 2-020


feels in reference to the souls committed to his care. I think that we ought to have 150 or 200 Blankets sent out as they are the means of inducing the Blacks to work a little. 40 were left here at my disposal by the late superintendent. I divided each one into 2 parts and thus made 80. By the promise of one of those each the Blacks were induced to labour at the hoe in the field for sometime or cut me a large quantity of Bark to cover outhouses, Verandahs &c. In no instance have I given one away except I have received some advantage as the price of it. I should be thankful for some more books on Divinity as I have very few of that kind and I am placed in a circle of white persons to whom I have to preach once or twice every Sunday, and expound the scriptures daily in family worship where we have generally a dozen or more white persons. I know it may be said if God has appointed a person to a work he will qualify him for it. But it is well known that the Bee that collected its honey from various quarters is more useful than the Spider which spins its web out of its own bowels. A large Book (I forget the title) you promised me (written by Baxter)[37] I should very gladly receive, as also Horn on the Psalms,[38] Dwights Theology[39] and such as you may please to recommend and forward. And now, Dr sir, I must take my leave of you for the present, earnestly soliciting an interest in your prayers and in the prayers of the Committee and Society that we may have grace and wisdom from above to enable us always to adopt such means as are in accordance with the Divine will, and such as the Lord will bless to the promotion of his own Glory. The moral difficulties, trials and anxieties connected with our Mission are known only to God and ourselves. O never forget us then when you approach the throne of him who is the covenant head of his church and who will most assuredly sooner or later bring forward his chosen out of every nation and people and tongue (however savage or barbarous now) to embrace the gospel of peace. He will blessed be his holy name (this is our comfort and encouragement in the dark and cloudy day, when with weeping eyes and overwhelmed hearts we groan and mourn over the moral devastation around us) he will make the Wilderness to bud and blossom as the rose, and all flesh shall see the salvation of our God.

I remain, Dr Sir
Yours and the Committee’s Sincere,
Affectionate and Hbl Servt W. Watson

[Address] To Dann Coates Esqr
Sectr to Ch: Missy Socty
[Noted in red] Wellington Valley, Dec. 31/32
Rev. Wm Watson

People in WellPro Directory: Coates, Dandeson