|The Reverend Samuel Marsden|
28 July 1764|
|Died||12 May 1838
Windsor, New South Wales
|Education||Magdalene College, Cambridge|
|Church||Church of England|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2010)|
Samuel Marsden (28 June 1764 – 12 May 1838) was an English born Anglican cleric and a prominent member of the Church Missionary Society, believed to have introduced Christianity to New Zealand. He was a prominent figure in early New South Wales history in Australia, not only for his ecclesiastical offices, but also for his employment of convicts for farming and his role as a judge, both of which have attracted contemporary criticism.
Marsden was born in Farsley, near Pudsey, Yorkshire in England, the son of a Wesleyan blacksmith turned farmer. After attending the village school, he spent some years assisting his father on the farm. In his early twenties, he won a scholarship from the Elland Clerical Society to train as an Anglican priest. After two years at free grammar school he attended Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was associated with the reformist William Wilberforce. While still studying, Marsden was offered the position of second chaplain to the Reverend Richard Johnson's ministry to the British colony of New South Wales on 1 January 1793. He married Elizabeth Fristan on 21 April 1793 and the following month was ordained by the Bishop of Exeter (having abandoned his degree). He travelled by convict ship to Australia, his eldest child Anne being born en route. Shortly after arrival in 1794 he set up house in Parramatta, 15 miles (24 km) outside the main Port Jackson settlement.
In 1800 he succeeded Johnson and remained the senior Anglican minister in New South Wales until his death.
Marsden was given grants of land by the colonial government and bought more of his own, which were worked, as was customary in Australia in the period, with convict labour. By 1807 he owned 3,000 acres (12 km2). Successful farming ventures provided him with a secure financial base, although attracting criticism for his becoming over involved in non-church affairs. During his time at Parramatta Marsden befriended many Maori visitors and sailors from New Zealand and cared for them at on his farm providing accommodation, food, drink, work and an education for up to 3 years. He gave one Maori chief some land on which he could grow his own crops. He taught Maori to read and write English and he learnt Maori, beginning an English-Maori translation sheet of common words and expressions.
Marsden was appointed to the Bench of Magistrates at Parramatta, a role which attracted criticism within his own lifetime. History has remembered Marsden as the "Flogging Parson" because, even by the standards of his day, he inflicted severe punishments. This view is disputed in some circles as part of an anti-clerical writing of history, in turn attributed to a dislike of Roman Catholics and the Irish.
1798 United Irish Rebellion General Joseph Holt, left an account of a flogging purportedly ordered by Marsden. In fact, Holt never explicitly links Marsden to the flogging, and a careful reading of his memoirs shows the flogging of Fitzgerald was ordered in Sydney by the Judge Advocate, though later carried out in Parramatta:
The unfortunate man had his arms extended round a tree, his two wrists tied with cords, and his breast pressed closely to the tree, so that flinching from the blow was out of the question, for it was impossible for him to stir. Father Harold was ordered to put his hand against the tree by the hands of the prisoner, and two men were appointed to flog, namely, Richard Rice, a left-handed man, and John Johnson, the hangman from Sydney, who was right-handed. They stood on each side of Fitzgerald; and I never saw two threshers in a barn move their flails with more regularity than these two man-killers did, unmoved by pity, and rather enjoying their horrid employment than otherwise. The very first blows made the blood spout out from Fitzgerald's shoulders; and I felt so disgusted and horrified, that I turned my face away from the cruel sight. ...
I have witnessed many horrible scenes; but this was the most appalling sight I had ever seen. The day was windy, and I protest, that although I was at least fifteen yards to leeward, from the sufferers, the blood, skin, and flesh blew in my face as the executioners shook it off from their cats. Fitzgerald received his whole three hundred lashes, during which Doctor Mason used to go up to him occasionally to feel his pulse, it being contrary to law to flog a man beyond fifty lashes without having a doctor present. I never shall forget this humane doctor, as he smiled and said, “Go on; this man will tire you both before he fails !” During the time Fitzgerald was receiving the punishment he never uttered a groan; the only words he said were, “Flog me fair; do not strike me on the neck !” When it was over, two constables took him by the arms to help him into the cart. He said to them,” Let my arms go,” and struck each of them in the pit of the stomach with his elbows, and knocked them both down; he then stepped into the cart unassisted as if he had not received a blow. The doctor remarked, “That man has strength enough to bear two hundred more.”
The next prisoner who was tied up was Paddy Galvin, a young lad about twenty years of age; he was also sentenced to receive three hundred lashes. The first hundred were given on his shoulders, and he was cut to the bone between the shoulder-blades, which were both bare. The doctor then directed the next hundred to be inflicted lower down, which reduced his flesh to such a jelly that the doctor ordered him to have the remaining hundred on the calves of his legs. During the whole time Galvin never even whimpered or flinched, if, indeed, it had been possible for him to have done so. He was asked, “where the pikes were hid ?” Galvin answered, that he did not know, and that if he did he would not tell. “You may hang me,” said he, “if you like; but shall have no music out of my mouth to others dance upon nothing.” He was put the cart and sent to the hospital.
According to Holt, two days later Marsden sent orders to the hospital that "Gavin is to be sent immediately to work at the cyane pepper mill."
In 1822 Marsden along with several other magistrates at Parramatta, was dismissed for exceeding his jurisdiction.
Early in 1804, Marsden christened the one year old George Lilly in Sydney's St. John's Parramatta church. Lilly later became the noted pioneer of Melbourne, Portland and Auckland.
In 1809, he was the first to ship wool to England from Australia, and is believed to have introduced sheep to New Zealand where he has a gentler reputation.
Mission to New Zealand
Marsden was a member of the Church Missionary Society and remained based in New South Wales. Europeans had known of New Zealand since the 1640s and by the early 19th century there had been increasing contact between Māori and Europeans, mainly by the many whalers and sealers around the coast of New Zealand and especially in the Bay of Islands. A small community of Europeans had formed in the Bay of Islands made up of explorers, flax traders, timber merchants, seamen, ex convicts who had served their sentence and some escaped convicts. Marsden was concerned that they were corrupting the Māori way of life and became determined to find a mission station in New Zealand.
Marsden lobbied the Church Missionary Society successfully to send a mission to New Zealand. Lay missionaries John King, William Hall and Thomas Kendall were chosen in 1809, but it was not until 14 November 1814  that Marsden took his schooner, the "Active" (captained by Thomas Hansen), on an exploratory journey to the Bay of Islands with Kendall and Hall, during which time he conducted the first Christian service on New Zealand soil on Christmas Day 1814 in English which was translated by Ruatara to the 400 strong congregation. He met Māori Rangatira, or chiefs from the Ngāpuhi iwi or tribe, who controlled the region around the Bay of Islands, including the chief Ruatarawho had lived with him in Australia, and a junior war leader, Hongi Hika, who had helped pioneer the introduction of the musket to Māori warfare in the previous decade. Hongi Hika returned with them to Australia on 22 August.
At the end of the year Kendall, Hall and King returned to start a mission to the Ngāpuhi under Ruatara's (and, later, Hongi Hika's) protection in the Bay of Islands. Hongi Hika returned with them, bringing a large number of firearms from Australia for his warriors.
A mission station was founded with a base at Rangihoua Bay, later moved to Kerikeri, (where the mission house and stone store can still be seen), and ultimately a model farming village at Te Waimate. The mission would struggle on for a decade before attracting converts, in competition with Wesleyan and Catholic missions. Thomas Kendall abandoned his wife for the daughter of a Māori tohunga or priest, also flirted with Māori religion as well as funding the mission in part through helping to arm Hongi Hika's Ngāpuhi.
The Rev. Marsden was in the Bay of Islands in May 1820 when HMS Coromandel under the command of Captain Downie, arrived at the Bay of Islands from England for the purpose of procuring a cargo of timber in the Firth of Thames. When Coromandel sailed for the Thames a few days later, Reverend Marsden accompanied them on their voyage. Captain Downie of HMS Coromandel reported that while at the Bay of Islands whalers were in the practice of trading muskets and ammunition for pork and potatoes.
In 1820 Hongi Hika and Thomas Kendall travelled to England on the whaling ship the New Zealander. Hongi Hika met King George IV. When Hongi Hika passed through Sydney on his return to New Zealand, he acquired muskets. In the Bay of Islands the Ngāpuhi demanded the CMS Missionaries trade muskets for food. However the Rev. Marsden wanted to end this trade because of the impact of the Musket Wars, which is the name given to inter-tribal fighting in which the Māori used the muskets.
For refusing to stop trading arms, Kendall was dismissed by the Church Missionary Society in 1822. Marsden, who knew of Kendall's affair, returned to New Zealand in August 1823 to sack him in person. When Marsden and Kendall sailed from the Bay of Islands, their ship the Brampton was wrecked. Marsden later went to some trouble talking to all Australian printers to prevent Kendall from publishing a Māori grammar book, apparently largely out of spite.
Despite this, Marsden is generally remembered favourably in New Zealand, which he visited seven times. The Anglican school, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Karori, Wellington and also (more recently) in Whitby, Porirua were named after Marsden. A house at King's College (Marsden House) is named after him. Also, a house at Corran School for Girls (Marsden) is also named after him.
In 1819 Samuel Marsden introduced winegrowing to New Zealand with the planting of over 100 different varieties of vine in Kerikeri, Northland. He wrote:
"New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine as far as I can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate"
Altogether Marsden made seven visits to New Zealand over many years - the longest trip being seven months.
Marsden is buried beside his old church at Parramatta, St John's.
In fiction and popular culture
In the 1978 Australian television series Against the Wind, Marsden was portrayed by David Ravenswood.
- Marsden, Samuel in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
- Yarwood, A. T. (1967). "Marsden, Samuel (1765 - 1838)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Serle, Percival. "Marsden, Samuel (1764 - 1838)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Quinn, Richard . Samuel Marsden: Altar Ego. Dunmore Publishing, Wellington, September, 2008
- Marsden, Rev. J. B. (Ed.). Memoirs of the Life and Labours of the Rev. Samuel Marsden of Parramatta. The Religious Tract Society, London, 1858.
- Reed, A. H. Samuel Marsden; Greatheart of Maoriland, Pickering and Inglis, London, 1939 (Children's book)
- "Marsden, Samuel (MRSN790S)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- He Korero. A Jones and K Jenkins. Huia .2011.
- Joseph Holt, Thomas Crofton Croker (ed.), Memoirs of Joseph Holt: General of the Irish Rebels, in 1798 (London: H. Colburn, 1838), vol II, at pp. 119-122.
- Source: J.R. Elder, ed., The Letters and Journals of Samuel Marsden 1765-1838, Dunedin: Coulls Somerville Wilkie, 1932, pp.93-94.>
- "HMS Coromandel". Early shipping in New Zealand waters. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "New Zealander". Early shipping in New Zealand waters. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Brampton". Early shipping in New Zealand waters. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- A T Yarwood, Samuel Marsden: the great survivor, CarIton 1977, 279
- - Vesper-Song of the Reverend Samuel Marsden allpoetry.com
- 1814 - Reggae runnings in Aotearoa, New Zealand niceup.org.nz