This is May 21st and I am really ashamed to confess, through a variety of circumstances I have neglected to post up my journal. Sometimes I have thought lately that my experiences were scarcely worth recording.
On Monday, April 17th (Easter Monday) I returned to this place, Oharia. Next day concluded to go and see Mr. Darby, the Chairman of the School committee, as all applications for the schoolhouse have to be made in writing. I addressed the following to Mr. Darby: "I respectfully solicit the use of the schoolhouse to deliver a lecture on 'Utah and the Faith and Practices of the Latter-day Saints.' Very respectfully, F. W. Hurst, Mormon Elder."
I found him more curious than when I conversed with him. In reply to my request, he said he would lay the matter before the committee and send me word. I lent him a tract entitled, "The Only Way to be saved", which he promised to read.
One old lady (his mother) said: "There is, my dear sir, only one way to be saved."
I replied: "Yes, Madam! Jesus Christ, and He says, 'He that climbeth up any other way is a thief and a robber'."
In a few days I received the following note: "Mr. Hurst, you can have the schoolhouse to deliver your lecture on 'Utah' next Tuesday evening, April 25th. E. F. Darby, Chairman of the Committee."
Sunday, April 23rd. Spent Sunday as usual. Had my meeting alone. Spent the afternoon reading and writing. We are having a great deal of rain, Rain day after day. Tuesday evening the weather was very impropitious, however, I think there was nearly forty present.
I had in secret earnestly besought the Lord to strengthen and aid me with His spirit, and He did I can truly say. I felt the power and influence of the Holy Ghost to a remarkable degree for which I truly feel thankful. I was calm and perfectly collected, and was astonished when I found that I had spoken for one hour and twenty minutes.
I applied for the Hall again to deliver a series of lectures on the First Principles of the Gospel. A man by the name of Best disturbed the meeting in the midst of my remarks by calling out: "I want to ask a question."
I told him if he had the politeness to wait till I got through I would then listen to what he had to say. He got very much excited and as he talked he advanced up the hall. I quietly told the people when Mr. Best got through I would resume the subject. Mr. Best appealed first to the chairman and then the congregation, but they all sided with me. Things had taken a different turn than he had expected and after standing looking the fool, he retired to the lower end of the hall very much disgusted.
At the close he wanted to know if I would answer his question. I told him I declined doing so now but if he or anybody else wanted to converse with me on the Principles of the Gospel of Salvation they could come and see me anytime, that my message was life eternal to the people and not to hold public discussions.
"Oh!" he said indignantly, "my question is of public nature and if there is going to be secrets about it I shall not have anything to do with you," and he immediately seized his hat and rushed out.
Robert Wiley was kind enough to go and get the key and help light up, and the old folks wanted to know if I was going to take up a collection. I told them, no, the Gospel was free. And that reminds me that I got the hall free too, although Mr. Darby had previously informed me I would have to pay five shillings and furnish my own candles. Old Mr. and Mrs. Wiley gave me one shilling to buy candles, God bless them for the act. The old Gentleman accompanied me to meeting.
On our return home we had a novel kind of lantern, the bottom knocked out of a common glass bottle and the candle lighted and dropped into the neck. It gives an excellent light.
May 1st. Just six months ago today since we left home and I could not help recalling the agonizing sorrow of parting with the loved ones at home. May heaven continue to bless them and preserve them.
May 3rd. I walked to Wellington. Received letters from my wife, Willie, and Brother Paul Cardon. The letters were long and full on interest. They were having very deep snow in Utah. All my family, thank the Lord, are well. The Sunday School is prospering, the children appear to think I am a very long time away.
I slept at the Watson's, and went down to Mother's Thursday, and answered all the letters. Bought another number of the "Sketcher and Harold"; and also sent four Numbers of "The Day of Rest" well filled with ferns and leaves, all my first collection making the largest and most important mail I have yet sent off, and I earnestly hope and trust they will go safe, especially on account of the ferns.
I received a letter from Charley, advising me to stay here for a while. It commenced to rain very suddenly Thursday noon just as I was about to start to Oharia, I just ran up to Mrs. Stratford's to deliver a message and there I stayed until after breakfast the next morning. They told me that whenever I came to town I was welcome to a bed.
I stayed with Mother until noon, mailed my letters, had to borrow two shillings of Mrs. Stratford to help pay postage. Returned to Oharia in the evening. Alfred had taken my overcoat to the Hutt. I left word for him to have the kindness to return it.
I got the hall again on Wednesday, May 17th, twenty-six persons present. Did not feel quite so free as on the former occasion, but still felt blessed. Spoke principally on "Prophesy Fulfilled". Bore a strong testimony of Brother Joseph Smith's divine mission, and President Brigham Young, his successor. Some few paid marked attention. I don't know yet whether I can get the hall again or not.
I forgot to state, on my return from Wellington I received a letter from Brother McLachlan advising me to remain here and do what I could and to use my own judgment about going among the Maoris. The way does not seem to open up in regard to that people yet, but I shall try and post myself in their language as much as possible.
I talk with folks whenever I can possibly get a chance, about Utah and our people, but prejudice is very strong, and I can truly add Bigotry is a general thing. People don't want to hear the truth.
I realize that St. Paul prophesied aright when he said, speaking of the latter days, "They would be lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God." and that they could not endure sound doctrine.
Sunday, May 21st. Had a bath in the river; had my meeting; spent the afternoon writing up my journal; took tea with old Mrs. Wiley, who is very kind to me. Spent a very agreeable evening with them, and I feel like saying, "God bless them for their kindness to me, His humble servant." This had been a beautiful day, clear and sunshiny.
May 27th. Have cut nine cords of wood in the hopes I could send Charley some money. I judge from a letter I have just received from him, and one from Brother McLachlan, that they are in need of money, at least 20 shillings was all he could spare and I wanted at least 30 shillings for paints and brushes. However, I could do no better and as the mail from San Francisco was in I took a shortcut over the hills.
It was a beautiful Morning, and when I reached the summit of the divide I was charmed with the beautiful scenery and extensive prospect before me. I should say all around me. To the West and South lay Cook's Straits, apparently at my feet. Cape Farewell stretching far away seaward, then Blind Bay, Pelorus, and Queen Charlotte's Sounds, backed up by the snowcapped Kaikara's, forcibly reminded me of, "Our Mountain Home."
I sat on a log to rest for a few minutes, felt to pray for strength and wisdom, also for the loved ones far away in Zion, including all God's people. I thought of those words, they certainly express my feelings:
O glorious day! O blessed hope!
My soul leaps forward at the thought;
When in that happy, happy land
We'll take the loved ones by the hand
In love and union hail our friends
When this far off mission has an end.
But thoughts of news from home hurried me along. I did not finish my description of the scenery.
Far away below to South and East lay the Te Aro, or South Part of the Wellington port of the harbor shipping; far away beyond the deep blue sea, the entrance to the harbor, Same's Island, Hutt Valley, and to the Northward, Panirua, Papanai, etc.
I called at Mrs. Law's, had dinner with them and then hurried off to get my mail
I received letters from my wife and one from Brother Curtis. My wife's contained a likeness of our dear little Riego, four years old the 29th of this last March.
Brother Curtis's letter contained a draft on the Union Bank of London to the amount of £5.6.0. or about thirty dollars. To use Brother Curtis's words, he says:
"Brother Fred, I felt like you needed some money and I took the responsibility on myself to get up a subscription list and went around to a few of the Brethren and very soon raised $36.00, six of which we left with Sister Hurst. The following names are those who subscribed so liberally:
May the God of Heaven bless these Brethren for their great kindness and liberality to us, His Servants, and especially Brother Curtis and family.
I soon made up my mind what to do with it. I concluded, as soon as I could get it cashed, to send Charley £2 (two pounds), and one pound to Brother McLachlan and let the balance go toward a good black broadcloth suit of clothes.
Just after we landed I bought a suit of dark stuff and the pants and vest turned out to be nothing but shoddy, and I was afraid the coat was no better. I had put it away in a trunk, not particularly needing it in the summer as I had a good Alpaca coat. I took it back to Mr. Lowe, where I bought it nearly six months ago. Looked at a black frock or dress coat, price 2.19.6. To my surprise and pleasure he changed it, but objected to take the draft.
Said he: "Take the coat along and when you get the draft cashed you can pay me the difference, 27 shillings." I felt like the Lord had softened his heart toward me, and feel to thank him with all my heart.
May 29th. Through the kindness of Mr. George Stratford speaking to Mr. Roxbury, in charge of Mr. Nathan's business (Mr. Nathan has recently gone to England). Now one trouble was, the bank was in London, and another thing was the draft was not even dated, not even the year being filled in, but thus: April 187-. I dated the year but not knowing the day of the month had to let it go.
Mr. Roxbury took the trouble to inquire concerning the Union Bank, and said he found it to be perfectly reliable, and made inquiries of me to see how I came by it. I told him from Utah, and showed him Brother Curtis's letter in relation to it.
He wanted to know how long I intended staying in New Zealand. I told him that was uncertain, perhaps several years, but in case I moved away Mr. Stratford would be posted.
He wanted to know my business. I told him I was on a mission.
He said: "Well, Mr. Hurst, I'll keep this and give you a check on the National Bank so that you can get the cash without further trouble." He accordingly sat down and wrote me one to the full amount and handed it to me.
I looked at it and said: "Sir, you have not deducted any percentage for your trouble."
He replied: "No Sir, I am not doing this as a matter of business, but am glad to have it in my power to accommodate a stranger."
I heartily thanked him, also Mr. Stratford, for the kindly interest he had manifest.
I walked over to the National Bank, received the money; went to Mr. Charles Law's, paid the difference on my coat (27 shillings), picked out a vest and pants to match (black cloth) and then hurried off to Mother's and wrote a letter to Charley. Enclosed a 2 pound note and one for Brother McLachlan and barely had time to mail them in time for the steamer. What a load was taken off my mind; nothing has caused me more joy and satisfaction for some time than to have the privilege to send this money to these brethren.
I suffer terribly with a neuralgic tooth, and could get no sleep.
May 30. Wrote to my wife, and also to Brother Curtis. Bought some very handsome shells, 2 P's for Clement, a birthday present.
May 31st. Spent the evening at Mr. Law's. Mailed my letters, sent two sketchers home, and returned to Ohario.
Sunday, June 4th. Robert Wiley and I took a walk up Prospect Hill; had a splendid view. To the Southeast lay Te Aro, part of Wellington; the deep blue sea in the distance, two vessels in sight. Southwest, Cook's Straits, and the snow capped Rairara's, formed a picturesque background. Casting our eyes eastward and Northward, we could see in succession Mount Victoria, Evan's and Lyle's Bay. All the East side of the Bay, or Harbour, backed with a succession of mountains ranging North and South rising one after another until at last dimmed by distance, almost mingling with the color of the sky. Then came Wainui Omata, Hutt Valley, and the Wairarapa in the great distance. North and West clouds obstructed the view to some extent, still we could see all out over Porirua and the Islands of Mana, and Rapiti, and again a long line of Blue sea showing a sail near the distant Horizon.
It does not often fall to the lot of man to see such a succession and variety of views that apparently lay at our feet in every direction. After cutting our names in rocks, which are of a soft nature, and reading a while, the exceedingly cold wind made us glad to retreat homeward where I finished up the day writing.
On Wednesday, June the 14th, I received a short note from Charley telling me he would meet me in Wellington, Thursday the 15th. Next morning I was up before the stars had disappeared and ran around and rented a house, for altho' I was truly delighted at the idea of having a company, I had no place to fetch him, and to tell the truth I did not sleep much for I was trying to study up what would be the best course to pursue, and I could see no other alternative than to hire a house to live in and keep batch.
I took a shortcut over the hills and through the bush and arrived at Wellington soon after 11:00 a.m.; went down to the wharf but could not find Charley there and concluded he must have gone to Mother's, where as soon as I arrived I saw his overcoat hanging up behind the door, and after the usual greeting I asked her where Clement was.
She replied she had not seen him. I said he has been here for there hangs his coat.
She says, "Well, how forgetful I am. I took out your coat to air and forgot to put it away again."
However, soon after Charley came in looking a great deal better than he had done for years, and I cannot describe how truly joyful was our meeting after such a long absence from each other. The past seemed like a horrid dream.
Having a great deal to talk about, we took a stroll around toward Evan's Bay, took tea at George Stratford's, and spent the balance of the evening at Mr. Watson's, and calculated to start very early next morning up to the upper Hutt in the Cars. I wanted to get my overcoat Alfred had borrowed and always forgot to return. Besides we wanted to see if there was any chance for work up there. However, just as we were up and ready to start it began to rain furiously, consequently we stayed to breakfast and as it cleared up a little we took the half past eleven car and had a pleasant ride together, tho' when we got to the lower Hutt it rained again and was raining very heavy when we got to the Upper Hutt.
We found Alfred in a small house which was unfinished, sharpening a saw. The wet and cold seemed to have affected his nature for our reception was as cold as the weather. He introduced us to his boss as two men wanting work, but the old man did not want to hire.
We were hungry and cold but received no invitation to dinner, consequently we went over to a little store and bought some bread and cheese.
We got my overcoat for which I was thankful. Charley borrowed a pound off Alfred. He seemed very glad to bid us goodbye.
We took the train as far as Nauranga and then walked to this place. As we came through John's Town we bought six loaves of bread to commence housekeeping.
We met with a very kind reception from old Mr. and Mr. Wiley. We stayed there all night and next morning walked down to our future abode for a short time, cleaned it out, and found a kind of rough lounge, a couple of shelves, a very commodious fireplace, an old bench, a kind of arrangement we didn't know any name for, a side table. Prisilla Wiley lent us a table, also an old skillet, two cups and saucers, two plates, and gave us some tea and sugar. Mother lent us a pillow and blankets, etc., in fact did the best she could, for which may the Lord bless her. Old Mrs. Wiley lent us 2 blankets, tick, and coverlet or bed spread, 2 teaspoons, salt cellar, 2 knives and forks, and a small billy (or tin kettle) and gave us a pound of fresh butter and several quarts of buttermilk. I don't know what we would have done if they hadn't of been so kind to us. God bless them.
Taking it all around we are pretty comfortably fixed especially after my experience, and my heart of thanks and gratitude to Almighty God for all His blessings.
|Pages 146 - 153 in the 1961 edition of the Diary of Frederick William Hurst|