23

The Diary of
Frederick William Hurst

1876
January 11th. Spent most of the day writing to the brethren at Lyttleton and home. The weather is getting warm and pleasant.

January 12th. Wrote to Brother E. M. Curtis. In the evening visited at Mr. Stratford's. Had a social chat, more so than usual. Mr. Fawcett and I took a walk, and he promised me to go and sit with me and back me up, in fact they all promised to go to meeting, saying they believed I had taken the wisest course commencing right in Wellington instead of some out of the way place.

January 13th. I was writing home most of the day, and in the evening went down to meeting according to previous arrangements. There were very few present when I opened the meeting, several ladies came and found so few there, hastily retired. However, I soon had a crowded hall. Several reporters present. I found it very hard work indeed to speak, the words seemed to rebound, the influence was so strong against me. I spoke in brief about my sojourn in Utah for 18 years, the state of society there, etc., and the principles of Faith and Repentance and baptism, laying on of hands. Bore my testimony of the truth. Once in a while one or two would get up and leave, some would laugh and make fun. At the close of the meeting I distributed some tracts. They crowded around me and wanted to know about Polygamy, that is what they wanted to hear and not baptism. When I returned to mother's I felt completely tired out, my throat was parched and sore as though I had attended several meetings and had occupied all the time myself.

January 14th. Rain again. Sent off my letters and papers. The press, as I fully expected, were all up in arms and did not spare their abuse and misrepresentation. The Evening Post was the mildest, but the Times and ________ were fearfully rabid and insulting, trying their best to raise their influence against the truth, and they found a great many believers for as a general thing, here as elsewhere, a lie is far preferable to truth. The best of the joke is I'm represented as a sickly Saint from Utah. Well that is about as true as the rest of their diatribe.

January 15th. Quit raining, but cold and cloudy. Secured the Hall for tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock. Spent the evening pleasantly at Mr. Stratford's. Mrs. kindly offered to do some washing for me.

Sunday, January 16th. Mr. Fawcett and I went down to meeting but he refused to take any part in it but sat with me. I don't think there was over forty present, but I felt free and spoke on the subject of the Kingdom of God being established in the last days, from Daniel and others of the Prophets.

Several requested the privilege to ask questions, and I said: "With pleasure." The subject of polygamy was immediately brought up after a short discussion on the falling away from the truth after the Apostles were all slain, etc. I read a part of one of Orson Pratt's discourses on that subject, and referred them to the Ancients, and also to its being a divine command to His, the Lord's, people in these the last days.

One man wanted me to perform some great miracle to prove the truth of my mission, saying: "If you want to cast out devils, go to the lunatic asylum, or the Cemetery to raise the dead, or to the Hospital to heal the sick."

I said: "Miracles are not performed to make people believe the truth." and referred to the scriptures where Jesus says that man would have power to cause fire to come down from heaven, and if it were possible would deceive the very seekers. I told him the proof would be in him humbling himself, and sincerely repenting of his sins and through baptism to have them remitted and receive the Holy Ghost, and that would be proof. He got very rabid and was called to order by several present.

A Mr. Grey then arose and invited me to attend their meeting in the evening. As it was getting very late I thanked him, and after tea I prayed earnestly for the rabid man, and he dried up. For after a few ineffectual attempts at abuse and slurs, I arose and said I was an invited guest, but if there was any ladies or gentlemen present that wished to ask any question within reason I would try to give a satisfactory answer. He was silent all the rest of the evening.

The whole proceeding as a complete farce. They professed they did not belong to any religious sect, but they were searching after truth, but they agreed they had all that was necessary to salvation without any more revelation than contained in the Bible, and quoted: "Though an angel," etc. I arose and told them that we believed that scripture and also that Paul told the truth when he said: "That he neither was taught by man, nor received by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ." There was no reply made to this and the meeting dismissed.

A Mr. Herd gave me a shilling and talked very seriously of a change of heart, and wanted to know if I had ever experienced religion.

I thank the Lord I have had a good chance to bear my testimony today. I lent three "Voice of Warning" and distributed nearly all my tracts. Now what is in the future the Lord knoweth. I seem like I have come to the end of another stopping place.

January 17th. The EVENING POST of today states that I addressed a large congregation on Sunday afternoon and was invited by the Evangelist to a public discussion, and that Elder Hurst the Mormon Prophet and all his absurdities were entirely disposed of. The boot should be put on the other foot, the principle subject discussed was New Revelation and I brought forward an abundance of Scripture to prove my assertions. I felt like I had got the Spirit of it and was perfectly free, realizing the truth of the Savior's words and that says forcibly it shall be given you in that same hour, what ye shall speak of and that there were more for me than against me.

January 18, 1876. Studied and also went down to secure the Hall but cannot get a satisfactory answer till Friday. Took a stroll to Mount Victoria. Took a sketch of Leile Bay, and took the "Voice of Warning" and Hymn Book with me and stayed away all the afternoon.

January 19. Studying and drawing all day. Threatens rain, in fact did rain a little.

January 20. Took a very long walk away out to Ferewiti -- saw what was left of two shipwrecks. The way they were smashed up was fearful. Some Maoris were constructing a large raft to go out and get up an anchor. The coast all round is very rocky and dangerous.

I found plenty of shells. It was dark when I returned. I made a day of it. I found a large cave and sat in it and read unmolested by any human being. Being far away, I must say I enjoyed myself very much considering I am, or was, alone.

January 21. Engaged the Hall again for Sunday, after running back and forth. Took tea at Mr. Stratford's and spent the evening.

January 22. Stayed in the house all day studying the Scriptures and hunting up all the passages to prove the necessity of New revelation. This has been a great holiday, being, I think, the 36th anniversary of the arrival and landing of the first settlers in Wellington.

Sunday, January 23. Being previously invited, I went to Mr. Stratford's to dinner. They did not seem so cordial as common--said they were all invited out to dinner, consequently would not go to meeting and even Mr. Fawcett refused to accompany me, and I began to feel very awkward for they had promised to pay for the Hall and I judged the reason they acted so cold was they were sorry and seemed in hopes I would not get a congregation. This does seem uncharitable, but if I'm mistaken I'll take it all back. However, I went down with a heavy heart, and sat in the Hall reading till I got tired waiting, then strolled down on the wharf. Not finding anybody to speak to, returned to Mother's in the evening.

I took a walk up on Mount Victoria. To tell the truth, I feel awful lonely and now I don't really know what course to pursue for the best. I heartily wish Brother McLachlan was here with me, or someone of the Brethren. The general appearance seems to be more for pleasure than meetings.

January 24th. As Mr. Duff and family went out to join in the general holiday, I stayed at home with Mother to take care of the house. I found a curious oyster shell out at Terewidi the other day and what time I had apart from studying I carved a lady's bust out of it for my wife as it will be quite a curiosity.

January 25th. A strong Southly wind and threatened rain, but cleared off the after part of the day.

Finished my bust; Mother is delighted with it. Now that it is finished it looks like ivory, and takes a beautiful polish.

I forgot to state that last week Mrs. Stratford washed me a shirt and a pair of garments, and offered to do more for me at any time. Mrs. Duff also washed some for me and refused to take pay last week.

I received a letter from my brother, C. C. Hurst, stating that he, Brother McLachlan, and Brother John Rich had moved to Christ Church, hired a room and set up housekeeping. I wish I was there to keep them company. Next time I write I think I'll offer my services as cook and will be glad to hire out for my board.

January 26th. Walked out to Karari, went up in the hills back of our old place, a Camden Vale, took a sketch of it and the little old Chapel, also a bird's eye view of Lower Karari.

I had a good ramble through the thick bush and supple jack and all around where our cows used to run when I was a boy. I wish that I could write my thoughts, but I can't, however, I felt to heartily thank God for the knowledge of the gospel, realizing the great contrast; then the future all dark and full of doubt and uncertainty, and what did I know about God or the truth of His kingdom. I felt like saying: "Oh, my Father, may I always appreciate the great blessings and privileges that I enjoy, and live faithful and humble to the end. Behold I have been blessed above many of my fellows who are groveling in the darkness, and entirely wrapped up in Priestcraft, Bigotry , and Superstition."

January 27th. I helped with the hay. To my astonishment we had to climb very steep hills and with ropes tie the hay in large bundles and roll and pull it to where they could get a horse and primitive kind of sled. It was very hard laborious work, but to me very novel as well. I told them I calculated making a sketch of our work and send it to Utah.

In the evening Mr. Lewis paid me eight shillings for my work, for which I felt very thankful as I'm in need of money; indeed if I had enough I would buy me a pair of blankets, for I sleep very cold sometimes with just a sheet and a counterpane, although it is summer.

I was afraid Mother would be anxious about me and another thing, after working in the hot sun I chilled so and shook almost like the ague. I was glad to walk to get warm. It was sometime after dark when I got to Mother's. She was very glad to have me back, saying she was so lonely when I was away.

January 28th. Received a letter from Clement. He had a good time in Kaiapoi last Sunday. Preached three times. I almost envied him. I'm truly glad he feels and writes as well as he does. He and Elders McLachlan and John Rich are distributing tracts, but can't succeed in getting a place to preach in. He assures me I am always remembered in their prayers, I'm sure they are in mine.

January 29th. The weather is warm. Studied most of the day.

January 30th, Sunday. For the information of my children I shall write a little on New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND

Consists of a group of Islands, the largest amongst the numerous groups which together form Polynesia. It comprehends two large islands, North Island and South Island, together with a third called Steward Island of much smaller size, and several adjacent Islets. The whole are within the South Temperate Zone. Area about 100,000 English square miles, or about the size of Great Britain, to which New Zealand is nearly antipodal in position.

The North and South Island are divided by Cook's Straits, South and Steward Islands by Foveaux Straits.

In Government, New Zealand is a British Colony. It is divided into the following Provinces: North Island, Wellington, Auckland, Taranaki, Hawk's Bay, South Island, Nelson, Marlbrough, Canterbury, Otago, Westland.

The colony of New Zealand includes, besides the Island of New Zealand, the group of the Chatham Islands to the Eastward, Bounty Islets and Antipades Islets to the Southeast, the Auckland Islands and Camphill Islands in the direction of South.

Population, March 1st, 1874, was 299,542. Chiefly British settlers about 299,542 in number with a Native race, known as the Maori, numbering about 36,000. The Maoris are nearly confined to the North Island.

Towns: The town of Wellington in the Province of that name is the Political Capitol of New Zealand, but both Dunedin and Auckland are of larger size. The principal towns in the respective Provinces are: Wellington Province, Wellington, Whanganui; Auckland Province, Parnell, Newton, Thortland; Taranaki Province, New Plymouth; Hawkes Bay Province, Napier; Nelson Province, Nelson; Marlborough Province, Blenheim, Picton; Canterbury Province, Christchurch, Lyttelton, Timaru; Westland Province, Hokitika, Greymouth; Otago Province, Dunedin, Port Chalmers, Oamaru, and Invercargill.

Mount Egmont (8,270 ft. high) is the highest mountain on the North Island. On the South Island, Mount Cook is the highest, also the highest mountain in New Zealand, being 13,200 feet high or two and a half miles.

Wellington is the first settlement in New Zealand and was founded in 1840 by the New Zealand Company, an association formed in London, England for the purpose of carrying on colonizing operations in this Colony. The first Emigrant Ship (the Aurora) anchored in Port Nicholson on the 27th of January of that year.

Wellington Province contains an area of 7,200,000 acres; its Southern Coastline extending from Sinclair Head to Cape Palliser Bay and the Harbor of Port Nicholson; stretching from the shores of which is the fertile valley of the Hutt, divided by mountain ranges from the Open Country of the west Coast on one side and the Wairarapa Plains on the other. The city itself contains many fine buildings and is progressing rapidly in size and general appearance. The buildings are mostly constructed of timber on account of earthquakes.


January 31st. Wrote letters to Brother Isaac Groo, C.C. Hurst, and W. McLachlan. I believe this is the warmest day we have had yet and remarkably calm. Also bought two numbers of the Australian Sketcher to send home. I sent three per last mail.

February 7th. Very little transpired all last week worthy of note. Thursday and Friday were wet and also Saturday morning, but it cleared off and I took a walk round Evans Bay and back over Victoria Mount. Took sketches of what is called "The Ship" at Evans Bay (for overhauling and repairing vessels of all sizes).

Alfred visited us in the evening, came again yesterday afternoon, and again this morning. He took Mother and I round to the Wilkinson's Tea Gardens, also a young woman, a stranger to me. We had a good time, found a choice and beautiful garden, glass houses with grape vines loaded with fruit, but scarcely ripe yet. In two weeks they'll be plenty ripe. Mother enjoyed the out although I had quite a job to persuade her to go.

Received letters from Elders C. C. Hurst and McLachlan, which were full of kindness and encouragement. They have hired the Temperance Hall for three months, and were to have commenced last evening. Alfred talks like he would like me to go to Manawatu with him. Was very disappointed in not getting a mail from home last week per S. S. City of San Francisco.

February 11th. Had a good time visiting the S. S. City of San Francisco. She is the finest vessel I ever saw, far surpassing the Calima. The Social Hall, Saloon, etc., are all fitted up like a Palace and excited the admiration of all beholders. She was perfectly thronged from early morn till 3 o'clock p.m. when she sailed. I went all over her from stern to -------. The machinery is truly wonderful and with everything else comprises all the new inventions and facilities of the day. Everything in every department appeared so very perfect and beautiful on a very lavish and grand scale. There was also a very grand reception given to T. Julius Vogel the night before (the 10th) Torchlight procession, fireworks.

Sunday, February 13th. Retired among the hills alone and had meeting to myself. That is, I took a Hymn book, Voice of Warning, etc., and read part of it for a sermon. Had a good time and returned refreshed. Oh what a blessing it will be to have the privilege to go to meeting again.

February 14th. Walked to Oharia, was received very kindly by old Mr. and Mrs. Wily. Took dinner with them after which he accompanied me to show me around the valley. Took tea at their son's, Mr. Charles Wily. He isn't in the Church but treated me kindly and made me welcome (His wife, Pricilla Fawcett, daughter of old Brother William Fawcett was real glad to see me). I felt quite at home.

Tuesday I accompanied Charles Wily to his work, whip sawing. After staying a while I took a stroll over into Makara Valley -- no regular road but a very indistinct trail up steep hills, down steep declinities. It really was most tiresome, weary, dreary traveling. I don't know when I ever got into such a lonely place before.

I wanted to get to the Open Sea, but when I got (as I afterwards learned) within about 3/4 of a mile of it I met with a large wide swamp or marsh and could not find any way to cross. Consequently gave up the idea. Well I did for I was tired enough long before I reached Mr. Wily quite late in the afternoon the next day.

February 16. I took a job to cut a card of firewood, two foot lengths, for 10 and sixpence. I worked hard all day and succeeded in blistering my hands in a fearful manner. It was a misery to even wash them. However, I cut about 3/4 of a card and before dinner I had filled my contract. I shall not attempt to describe how I suffered with my hands and my side felt like I had been kicked by a horse.

However, Charles Wily paid me and that afternoon I returned to Wellington. I arrived just before dark and found Mother as usual, glad to see me. She was shocked next morning when I showed her my hands. I paid Mr. Duff five shillings out of my hard earnings.

February 18. I truly rejoiced to get a letter from my wife, and also one from my Brother, Charles. The children had a good time Christmas. Mrs. Curtis sent her a basket of things -- candy, nuts, material for a plum pudding, etc. The Seventies, $6.50, Brother Moses Thatcher $10.00 with the compliments of the Z.C.M.I., Dogan Branch, the Brethren had also sent three good loads of wood.

Willie had met with quite a severe accident while sawing scrollwork with the machine. The board slipped and cut his thumb and three large fingers. No bones hurt and it is healing up good.

I must say that I feel thankful to my Brethren and Sisters and ask God to bless them for their many kindnesses to my family. My wife adds that the twins are doing fine and all the rest are well. Thank the Lord.

Charley feels well on his mission. They had about 70 in number to hear them preach in the Temperance Hall, and had a good time. Some few are inquiring after the Truth.

For my part I don't appear to be doing much to advantage, though I have done considerable talking in private or fireside preaching, and feel uncommon well and free when I do. Everything appearing as plain as the sun in the morning.

A week ago yesterday I had dinner with Mr. George Stratford's and had a long talk with them. In the evening I talked with Thomas Watson, who has been a member of the Church. He could not see the necessity of gathering. I told him it would not be very long before the most skeptical would realize the necessity of fleeing to the mountains for safety. He was much more sociable before I left, and invited me to call again.

Sunday, February 20th. A most fearful Northwest Wind or gale all day and very heavy rain last night. Went away up Pollhill Gully for several hours, took a Deseret News with me (I got 3 numbers last mail). Read the history of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum, also a sermon from Elder Joseph F. Smith. My eyes are quite sore, so that it hurts me to read much at a time. I am trying to translate a little from the Maori. "Te hahi o Ihu Karaiti. O nya hunga tapa, o nga ra Whakamutunga." "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

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Pages 132 - 140 in the 1961 edition of the Diary of Frederick William Hurst