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:
|E. M. Curtis||$5.00|
|O. C. Ormsby||$5.00|
|M. W. Merrill||2.00|
|J. E. Hyde||1.00|
|J. B. Thatcher||1.00|
|James A. Leichman||1.00|
|C. B. Robbins||2.00|
|Butch. in Co-op||1.00|
|A. L. Skankey||.50|