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2-132 (Raw)

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addressee,male author,male,Watson, William,un
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Watson, 1842
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To the Rev W Jowitt 
Mission House, Wellington Valley, 21 May 1835.
I received several letters from you full of X'n sympathy and advice for which I return you my most cordial thanks. It comforts our souls in this moral wild to receive such evidences of X'n affection. As our Diaries contain all the information we have generally to communicate, I have not thought it necessary to trouble you with any letters. But I am unwilling that you should deem me guilty of ingratitude, therefore I just write a line by a friend who is going to Sydney. It will afford you comfort to learn that through Divine goodness we are preserved in health and not weary of our appointment. We are far from being destitute of hope that the glorious Redeemer will gather home to himself some of these so long neglected and so deeply degraded natives. We have no conversions to the faith of our Immanuel to record, but I rejoice to say we have many instances of moral feeling among them when we are speaking of the great things of God. Our children frequently shed tears while receiving religious instruction and more elderly natives have voluntarily acknowledged that they were very wicked. Hitherto we have had but little prospect of being useful to them, being able to address them only through the medium of a broken and mixed up language. I admire the maxim of the Greenland missionaries, not to speak on the subject of religion before they could address the natives in the vernacular tongue, but I confess that however plausible the theory I have found it impracticable. To see them sunk in moral wretchedness and be silent I felt impossible, though it is very probable no real good has been done under such circumstances. Now our way seems opening as we advance in the knowledge of the language we shall have reason to hope for brighter scenes. Not indeed that we imagine the word of God will then act as a charm, but because we trust that the Lord according to His promise will bless it to the conversion of some. May it be of multitudes. We have lately had 70 natives here, now only about 20. I preach to them every Sabbath in their own language as well as teaching them morning and evening prayers. And it would cheer your mind to see as I have done 40 or 50 (nearly naked) savages running up at the sound of the bell that summoned them to worship. Last Sabbath I preached in the morning to the natives here and after the English service rode 20 miles and preached to another company of about 20. The idea of my going so far to preach to them seemed to affect them. Our girls continue to improve in religious knowledge but as yet have not given sufficient evidence of [NN] of heart to authorise me to baptise them. One of them is particularly fond of reading and indeed they all are much interested in hearing us read to them. Missionary records and accounts of pious children &c are very useful to us. I have forwarded several portions of the aboriginal language for the consideration of the Corr. Comm. in Sydney as to the propriety of publishing in a small book. I feel very much the want of a book in the native language in which to teach my children, and I think their reading such a publication would facilitate our attainment of the language. Moreover, I fancy some elderly natives might then be induced to learn. But they have no desire to learn English reading. Mr Threlkeld's Grammar has just appeared. Rev R Hill has kindly [sent] two copies to Mr Handt and myself. I think it will be very useful as I cannot say that it will serve as a model, but as far as I have been able to proceed with my grammar the principle of both seems to be the same. I am exceedingly obliged by the books and medicines sent out by the Committee. And yet I am bold to ask for more. I should esteem it a great kindness to be favoured with a copy of Dwights Theology and I think Reece's Family Medical Book. The liquor Ammonia Fortiss that I brought out with me has under providence wrought almost miraculous cures amongst both Europeans and natives, especially among the latter who are very much afflicted with pains in the joints and bones. Under such circumstances they are sure to ask me for oils to rub themselves with. My stock, however, is nearly exhausted, and I use it trembling, not knowing what I shall do when I have none left. I have generally several sick here.
I do not know how the accounts of the mission stand, but I fear that we are behind, although the most rigid economy has been observed in the management of the mission. We have at least 140 head of cattle and 250 sheep and as we have no overseer but I have everything to attend to my time is very much taken up with secular matters, for our servants being prisoners they are always on the alert to pilfer anything they can. I have been very anxious to have a catechist, such a person as Mr Chapman of New Zealand, who would take the whole management of secular affairs and leave me at liberty to itinerate, but I think it did not meet with the approbation of the Corr. Comm. in Sydney. They were probably afraid of increasing the expenditure of the mission. I have been desirous of collecting a herd of cattle and of having a flock of sheep which have not been effected. For (but O the dead weight of debt on the mission at [NN] prevents me from soaring) I have always looked on this station as [NN] kind of depot, I have ever contemplated the establishment of [NN] missionary stations amongst these natives. And the cattle and the sheep which we now have will in process of time under the Divine blessing stock several stations, and in favourable seasons sufficient wheat may be raised here to supply them. Last year I laboured hard (sometimes ploughing, sometimes driving bullocks or harrowing) to cultivate 16 acres for wheat, from which we reaped I suppose 700 bushels. This year we are likely to have no season, we have had but very little rain for 8 months but we have a 2 years supply. So that in time we may expect to go on more smoothly. I am afraid you cannot afford to forgive us our debt. O that would be joyful news to us as we should then labour prospectively calculating on an enlargement of the mission. But though it is just and right to pay our debts we cannot but say if you can do anything have compassion upon us and help us. Natives are dying, souls are perishing, Satan is leading thousands of these untaught heathen to eternal ruin. I must leave it with you and our Divine Master who is the God of missions and the Father of all the families of the earth. I trust he will guide you in all your consultations, and enable you to send forth men whom He has chosen, and may you see [NN] waving in every part of the field to His honour and glory. I am sorry to say Mr Handt is poorly, otherwise the members of the mission are well. I am sure you will excuse this [NN] with all its mistakes when you know that it is now one O'Clock AM.
Believe me to be 
My Dear Sir 
Yours faithfully
W Watson.
(received 31 Oct 1835)