"...It was the Lord who put into my mind - I could feel His hand upon me the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me... There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvellous illumination from the Holy Scriptures... For the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfilment of what Isaiah had prophesied... No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His Holy service... the fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time - this is what convinces me". ("Book of Prophecies", Christopher Columbus).
Columbus' voyage ultimately led to the first permanent Engish settlement in America, at Jamestown. They placed a cross at Cape Henry (now Virginia Beach) on April 29, 1607, claiming America for God as his vehicle for spreading the gospel to every nation.
Even though a confirmed rogue, Dampier in his preface to "A VOYAGE TO NEW HOLLAND', an English Voyage of Discovery to the South Seas in 1699, could state:
But this Satisfaction I am sure of having, that the Things themselves in the Discovery of which I have been imployed, are most worthy of our diligentest Search and Inquiry; being the various and wonderful Works of God in different Parts of the World: And however unfit a Person I may be in other respects to have undertaken this Task, yet at least I have given a faithful Account, and have found some Things undiscovered by any before, and which may at least be some Assistance and Direction to better qualified Persons who shall come after me.
I returned to England in the Canterbury East-India-Ship. For which wonderful Deliverance from so many and great Dangers, I think my self bound to return continual Thanks to Almighty God; whose Divine Providence if it shall please to bring me safe again to my Native Country from my present intended Voyage; I hope to publish a particular Account of all the material Things I observed in the several Places which I have now but barely mentioned.
It was William Dampier who left Alexander Selkirk on Juan Ferdandez Island. While in his isolation Selkirk became a Christian. It was this man's story that inspired Daniel Defoe to write "ROBINSON CRUSOE" that in turn inspired Matthew Flinders to become a sea farer, away from the family tradition of Medicine.
Captain Cook was baptised in the Anglican Parish Church of Martin-in-Cleveland on the third of November, 1728. Whilst only a nominal Anglican he was above reproach morally, he encouraged his men to wear clean clothes on Sundays, he never cursed and wouldn't allow profanity on board. His wife gave him a prayer book out of which a number of places discovered on significant days were named such as the Whitsundays, Trinity Bay and the Pentecost Islands.
Cook's son Hugh was about to enter the ministry the year of his death as a young adult.
It was "Captain Cook's Voyages" that William Carey read as a young man. This inspired him to take the gospel to unevangelised nations. Cook's voyages made Englishment aware of lands scarcely known before and in 1784 nonconformists began praying for one hour each month to spread the gospel throughout the globe. Because of this concern the greatest period of missionary endeavour occurred since apostolic times.
14th May, 1769 Banks' records in his Journal bringing the Otahite natives to a service conducted by Cook.
"It being Sunday, Captain Cook proposed that divine service should be celebrated, but before the time most of our Indian friends had gone home to eat. I was resolved, however, that some should be present that they might see our behaviour, and we might if possible explain to them (in some degree at least) the reasons of it. I went, therefore, over the river, and brought back Tubourai and Tamio, and having seated them in the tent, placed myself between them. During the whole service they imitated my motions, standing, sitting, or kneeling as they saw me do; and so much understood that we were about something very serious, that they called to the Indians without the fort to be silent."
When questioned about sailing on the sabbath replied "The Stars still shine on the Sabbath. How could we keep it better (John) than in telling the glory of Creation." "My Love Must Wait" page 169, Ernestine Hill. Angus and Robertson.
My leading object had hitherto been to make so accurate an investigation of the shores of Terra Australis that no future voyage to this country should be necessary; and with this always in view, I had ever endeavoured to follow the land so closely that the washing of the surf upon it should be visible, and no opening, nor anything of interest, escape notice. Such a degree of promixity is what navigators have usually thought either necessary nor safe to pursue, nor was it always persevered in by us; sometimes because the direction of the wind or shallowness of the water made it impracticable, and at other times because the loss of the ship would have been the probable consequence of approaching so near to a lee shore. But when circumstances were favourable, such was the plan I pursued and, with the blessing of God, nothing of importance should have been left for future discoverers upon any part of these extensive coasts, (page 272 Prof. Sir E. Scott. "The Life of Matthew Flinders" 1902)
It is from a long and ardent wish that the minds of the rising generation of this Colony may be duly thus impressed with such moral and religious sentiment, that the following Plan has been adopted, & Rules & regulations have been made, which I hope every Parent as well as others concerned in bringing up children will see it to be their duty & interest to promote.
Mutual complaints having been often made between Parents & Masters, of one that his Children make little or no improvement, & the other that Parents do not send their children regularly to school, it has been proposed to and agreed by His Excellency the Govr that the different schoolmasters shall have the use of the Church during the week & thus to unite in their endeavours for the better Improvement of their Scholars. It is likewise my Intention, so far as my time & health will permit to visit the School and to watch the Improvement wh the Children make. But, aware that certain articles are necessary to prevent any disputes or differences arising & that the school may be carried on with any success, such articles have been drawn up & laid before the Govr, it is to be considered that those, & those only, who submit or agree to these Articles or Rules here laid down & are intended to reap the Benefit which it is hoped will be derived from the school.
1. That this School is to be considered for the Benefit of Children of all Descriptions of Persons, whether Soldiers, Settlers or Convicts, provided they comply with the Rules here laid down.
2. Any Parent, &c, as intends to send a Child to School is to give a week's notice to the Revd. Mr. Johnson, that the Child's name, together with that of its parents may be registered in a book, which Mr. Johnson will keep for that purpose.
3. No child is to be admitted, till he or she shall arrive at the age of three years.
4. The School hours to be from nine to twelve o'clock in the morning & from two to five in the afternoon. No School on Saturday afternoon.
5. Every fresh scholar to pay sixpence at first entrance. Such children as are learning to read, to pay four pence pr week; those learning to write, or arithmetic, six pence.
6. Such payments to be made once a Quarter, & if paid in articles, then to be charged reasonable.
7. Such Parents or others, as refuse, or with hold such payments, (except those included in the next article) to be deprived of ye privilege of sending their children to this School.
8. Persons incapable of paying for their children will not be required to do so, Who those persons are will be principally left to the Judgment & Humanity of the Schoolmasters.
9. Any child or children guilty of swearing, lying, stealing, or any other idle or wicked Habit at School are to undergo such Punishment as the Masters (first acquainting Mr. Johnson with the Crime & having his concurrence) shall think proper to inflict; if after frequent correction no reformation be effected,that child to be turned from school.
10. All children belonging to this School, are regularly to attend public worship on the Sabbath Day, (except upon necessary and proper occasions they may be prevented) and to appear clean and decent; the different Masters (two at least) likewise to attend, to mark those that are absent, & to report the same to Mr. Johnson on Monday morning.
11. The children to be catechized, & to sing one of Dr. Watt's Hymns for Children every Sunday forenoon, & to be catechized at Church at such times as Mr. Johnson or the clergyman officiating may find convenient. Such parents as neglect or refuse to send their children to be thus instructed, to be deprived of the Privilege of the School.
12. A Form of Prayer to be read by one of the School Masters, & one of Dr. Watt's Hymns to be sung morning & evening. And it is strongly recommended that Parents will send their Children early to School to pray, as they are able, for a Blessing to attend the Instruction given them.
13. The Church Bell to ring a quarter before Nine in the morning, as a warning for the Children to prepare immediately to School.
14. Those Parents as make a practice of keeping their Children for several days together from School upon frivolous occasions, (by wh means their children make little or no improvement in their learning, whilst the blame is laid upon the Master) are first to be warned of such neglect, & if they still persist, they are to be deprived of the Benefit of sending their Child to this School.
15. As books of learning are at present very scarce in the Colony, the children are to give up their Books to the Master every noon & evening, except on Saturday, when they may be allowed to take them Home, that the Parents on Sundays, during the Interval of Divine Service may hear their Lessons, & thereby see the Improvement they have made during the week...
17. The persons thus appointed are William Richardson, Isaac Nelson, and Thomas Tabor, who are to receive & enjoy the above mentioned Benefits, untill some good & sufficient Reason be given for their removal or, shd more assistance be required, as the scholars increase in numbers, in that case, observation to be had of the 16th article.
18. These different Rules may be hereafter allowed to be altered, enlarged or curtailed as may be deemed necessary to be read publicly in Church once a quarter; & a copy of them to be kept in the Vestry Room, that no Person may be able to plead ignorance of their Contents or Meaning.
Sydney, New S. Wales,
August 29th, 1798.
Though I wrote to you lately I embrace the earliest opportunity to inform you I have received your letter by the "Sylph" and also Mrs. Marsden one. We feel ourselves greatly indebted to you for your kind remembrance of us in this distant port. News from old England come from whom it may is welcome and much more if it comes from a lover of Jesus. We have many things to struggle with here which have a natural tendency to deaden our affections and stupify our souls. Happy should I be to see God reviving his work of grace in New South Wales. Our land brings forth plentifully neither does he suffer our cattle to decrease the bounties of Providence are bestowed on us with a liberal hand, no poverty or want is experienced by any have plenty of bread and to spare notwithstanding we are very ungrateful. We are unmindful of the God who gives us all these things richly to enjoy. It is an unspeakable happiness to see the kind hand of Providencesuperintending all our ways. He both can and does make the barren wilderness smile. His goodness and mercy hath followed me all the days of my life and I humbly hope dear Madam to dwell in his house for ever. I am so greatly blessed that was I to murmur or complain against any of his dispensations towards me it would almost be an unpardonable sin.
You mention in your letter you would be glad if I would collect you some seeds and plants from Norfolk Island. I was there better than a year ago, but I do not know when I shall go again. I will write to an acquaintance who lives there and endeavour to obtain some for you. Anything that this country affords and that I can obtain shall be very happy to send you. I think it probable I shall be able to collect you some seeds such as you never have yet received as I sometimes visit different parts of the settlement at the distance of forty or fifty miles from Sydney. Such as I can obtain you shall have though I do not profess any great botanical knowledge myself.
I have much to occupy my time and a great variety of duties to perform. I am a Gardener a Farmer a Magistrate & Minister so that when one duty does not call me another always does. In this infant colony there is plenty of manual labor for every body. I conceive it a duty for all to take an active part. He who will not work must not eat. Now is our Harvest-time. Yesterday I was in the field assisting in getting my wheat. Today I have been sitting in the civil court hearing the complaints of the People. Tomorrow if well must ascend the pulpit and preach to my people. In this manner I chiefly spend my time. It may appear strange but it is necessary situated as we are. You can form no idea Madam of our state. I wish to be found faithful to act like a Christian Minister. I can say this that I do not eat the bread of idleness. It is my opinion that God will ere long visit New South Wales with his heavenly grace. Out of these stones he will raise up children unto Abraham. There has not been any shaking yet among the dry bones, but the Son of Man is commanded to prophecy and I hope by and by the Lord will command the wind to blow. Stir up thy strength 0 God & come amongst us.
My little family are all well. Mrs. Mr. has not time to write by this conveyance she enjoys her health well. I take more care of her probably than you are aware of. I beg my kindest respects to Mr. Stokes. Inform him our crops are immensely great - we have the greatest abundance of wheat now. Could maintain some thousands more people if we had them in dry provisions. We could also make plenty of wine if we had persons who understood the operation properly. Would be very. thankful if you could by any means send me out a few Hop-cuttings. I think they would grow if they were packed properly with a little mould in a case and nailed down. And also a little Hop-seed. Let it be put into a bottle and seal it with a little seal wax. A few hop cuttings might also be put up without mould and sealed at each end. This might be a means to preserve them. Should it not be too much trouble for you to do this I shall be greatly indebted to you. Hops would be a general good to this Colony. Mrs. M. joins me in every kind respect to you and Mr. Stokes.
In haste I am Dear Madam,
Yours &c &c
Parramatta December 3rd 1796
By the Admiral Gambier I have sent to England 4,000 to 5,000 Ibs of wool. This will be the beginning of the commerce of this new world. Many think nothing of these things now. They cannot see any advantage to be derived to them, their children, or this settlement by improving the fleeces of our Sheep. But I anticipate immense National wealth to spring from this source of Commerce in time. The ant though it is a small creature, yet we see their numbers uniting together raising large Hillocks, particularly here. The Bee can carry but little honey, but in time the Hive is Filed. When I consider we have not much less than 50,000 Sheep in the settlement, and that these 50,000 Sheep will produce while I sleep or wake as many fleeces ofwool. It is a National object to attend to them. Should their fleeces be worth no more than as many dollars, yet the slave condemned to the mines must sweat and toil and dig for a long time before he can drag from the bowels of the earth so much wealth.
I have produced fleeces of very fine wool this year weighing y/i & 4 Ib. each. What can be done in one instance in this respect may in 10,000. The wars on the Continent of Europe must eventually open New Channels of Commerce. Spain may never recover her former greatness with respect to her wool. She may never be able to replenish her flocks and to bring them into the productive state that they were before the present war. What may be the state of their flocks at the close of the present contest we cannot tell. It is our duty to leave future events to the wisdom of Him who knows all things from the beginning and to act for the present moment. My views may be too extended when they anticipate the greatness and wealth of this Country in future, the civilization of the surrounding savage Nations and the cultivation of their Islands . Everything must have a beginning, the foundation must be laid before the house can be built. I think you will hear of wheat and other kinds of grain being grown in New Zealand before two years are over. My friend one of the chiefs who has lived with me and acquired a knowledge of agriculture will introduce cultivation among his countrymen. This will add greatly to their civilization and comfort and prepare the way for greater blessings. I may be too fond perhaps of the garden, the field and the fleece. These would be the first object of my attention was I placed among a savage nation. The man who introduced the potato into Ireland and England merited more from those nations than any General who may have slain thousands of their enemies.
If indeed, I have been an instrument, in the hands of Providence, in bringing about the speedier establishment of the province of South Australia, I am thankful that I have been permitted to witness the happiness of thousands whose prosperity I have unconsciously promoted. Wherever I may go, to whatever part of the world my destinies may lead me, I shall yet hope one day to return to my adopted home, and make it my resting-place between this world and the next. When I went into the interior I left the province with stormclouds overhanging it, and sunk in adversity. When I returned the sun of prosperity was shining on it, and every heart was glad. Providencehad rewarded a people who had borne their reverses with singular firmness and magnanimity. Their harvest fields were bowed down by the weight of grain; their pastoral pursuits were prosperous; the hills were yielding forth their mineral wealth, and peace and prosperity prevailed over the land. May the inhabitants of South Australia continue to deserve and to receive the protection of that Almighty power, on whose will the existence of nations as well as that of individuals depends!