From Marist Studies
Jump to: navigation, search

21 October 1841 – (Extract from the) Letter of Henry Williams to the Church Missionary Society, Paihia

Records of the Church Missionary Society (as filmed by the AJCP)/Series CN/019-101/Subseries CN/094/File 1/Letters – National Library of Australia

Transcribed from the digitized document by Merv Duffy September 2022 Click to view the Trove website for the first page

Rec’d June 25/42

Paihia October 21/41

My Dear Sir
I shall now proceed to give you a few [so called?] remarks upon the Report sent by you taken before the Com[mitte]e of the House of Commons. They are brief and I think will convey generally what may be necessary as far as we are concerned which I presume is all you desire from us.

[That is from image 512 – omitting the rest of that page and jumping to image 522 (ten pages later)]

I mentioned in my last communication with you that the Popish Priests had given me a challenge to Public dispute in the Native language upon the points between us for the edification of the natives. Called upon thus to stand forth, I was obliged to comply and we met at Kororarek on the 26 Ulte. [1] Tuesday and continue our contest until Wednesday afternoon. I was determined not to be carried off scriptural ground. Our [Sundry needs?] evidently betrayed much weakness in argument, which they appeared to feel they denied every thing they could possibly do. But we had their Douay Bible with some of their mass books which they were obliged to admit.
The first subject for consideration was the correctness or incorrectness of admitting image in our worship, of offering prayers to the Virgin Mary, the Apostles and other Saints.
The Second – what is the sign of the True Church of Christ.
Mr Colenso and I were the only speakers on our side, there were only two of the Priests who took part in the debate. The meeting on the whole was orderly considering who was there, and I was surprised to observe interest amongst the Europeans generally. I am sorry we could not obtain a reporter of proceedings it would have been interesting to have seen the different lines of argument. The natives could not understand their setting aside the Second commandment even as it appears in their own Bible. We could not get the Priests even to read it out of the Douay version. They dare not look at it. At the close of the meeting they introduced a [poster?] representing a tree the ends of the branches all cut off and falling into Hell. We did not find much difficulty in upsetting this foolish affair in a few minutes tho the natives had had it well impressed upon their minds that we and all our followers were the persons in the Flames. I could not get to say all I desired upon this [horrible picture?] as my time for speaking was expired. But I will continue to affirm that these Priests of Belial[2] little expected what they caused[?] and that they will be more careful in future. They were amongst the most ill looking fellows I ever beheld I have since rec’d an apology for them having called me a “Liar” direct.

[The letter continues until Image 526]

Henry Williams


  1. 26th of last month – 26 October 1841 was a Tuesday. The opening date of this letter is 21 October 1841, it presumably was still being added to into November.
  2. Belial – used of the devil in the KJV.