South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
June 15th, 1891
Auckland, New Zealand
My Beloved Angee,
Your welcome letter of April 23rd with enclosure from dear Arundel is to hand and once more brings comfort and joy to my heart for the gracious care and tender mercy of God over you all. I fear you will have had to miss a letter for one week or two perhaps two since I have been in N.Z. owing to the different service of mail – there have been two mails to England during the past week but neither of them are delivered in London sooner than this will be even when posted on the 20th. The weather here has been wet, cold and very stormy but through mercy I have been preserved through it all by land and by sea. My stay at Christchurch was a very pleasant one in every way and was sorry to leave it and the many loving hearts I was privileged to have fellowship with. At Wellington too I had a good time – my business greatly prospered and happy meetings nearly every night. Dear Mr & Mrs Lowe and their family were exceedingly kind – a few of the brethren not with Mr Lowe also called and were glad to see me. My poor heart did quake and fear the night we left Wellington by a small coasting steamer taking the East Coast route to New Plymouth and Auckland. It was blowing a gale and the glass still falling but felt the path of duty was the path of safety and committing myself to God I embarked at 5 – dear Mr Lowe accompanying me to the ship for about one hour we were inside a beautiful land locked harbour, so the sea was fairly smooth, but on getting outside the "heads" our little ship was tossed about in an extraordinary fashion for about 2 hours and there was but one thing for any of us to do and that was to hold on. After that we made a fair wind of it and did not feel the motion so much so Edward got on his legs again and enquired if there was any apple pie on board. The steward soon brought me a good plate full, some biscuits and a cup of cocoa which I thoroughly enjoyed and then turned in my little bunk for the night and through mercy had a real refreshing night's rest. The next morning at 10 we were off New Plymouth – a beautiful looking spot with a fine snow-capped mountain about eight thousand feet high overlooking it. We had to anchor for 2 hours to wait for tide to reach the pier. The sea was like a mill pond. Mr Pridham is the master of the High School of this place and had sent me a kind invitation to visit them but being too small for any business operations I did not feel free to make a halt. Both Mr & Mrs Pridham came down to meet me and a Miss Duval a governess who has been living with young Mr Mackrow of Bombay where I have known him for a year or two. They pressed me very much to stay a few days but felt I could not. Mr Pridham used to live in Bristol and remembered James on his marriage to Miss Beauscombe. He also has a brother in Devon & Cornwall Bank at Plymouth, so that I had no difficulty in recognising him from his likeness to his brother. Dr Glenny stayed with them for three weeks some two months ago and it was mainly through what they heard from him that they were led to see the evil of Mr Raven's teaching and are now very decided in refusing it. We spent about one hour and a half together and our little boat steamed away again for Oreinga[?], the port on the East coast for Auckland and connected with a line of rail. Our voyage up was exceedingly fine and we were tied up alongside the wharf at 3 on Sunday morning, but the passengers all slept on until 7. The scenery around the harbour was simply magnificent and although their mid-winter and very cold, there was a peculiar charm and beauty about the scene it would be difficult to describe.
My friend Mr Whitehead the singing evangelist has voyaged with me by every steamer from Melbourne here, so that we have got very friendly and it was a mutual pleasure to meet each other again on board the "Takapuna" at Wellington, but there was not much song in either one of us for a few hours in the gale. After breakfast on board I found a man with a waggonette on the wharf who offered to take me up to Auckland with all my baggage for 7/6 and considering that if I went by train I should have the trouble of getting it from the station to the hotel I engaged him and did very much enjoy the drive to Auckland reaching here about 10.30 am. I found fresh people in the hotel which was greatly improved and better furnished than on my previous stay and here I was as comfortably quartered as I possibly could be outside my own home. The people keeping it are from Camborne called Pearce and you can understand all the rest. I am occupying Mr Arundel's sitting room and bedroom who is well known and a great favourite and is due here from Sydney the day I leave for it so that there is just a chance of my seeing him. One of the officers on board the "Takapuna" noticed my name on the boxes brought to the steamer at Wellington last Friday and during the voyage to this port came up and spoke to me – I could remember his face very well but where I had forgotten – however he soon reminded me that it was on board the "memuir"[?] from Sydney to Singapore on my first trip around the world. From him I heard that one of the young men called Kemp (there were two brothers) who landed at Port Dawson had a year or so ago shot himself – poor fellow, if he had listened to the warning and beseeching voice of a Saviour God he might have been spared such an end here as well as for eternity. I well remember his laying on the table one evening in the cabin listening to a few simple words of the gospel from my lips.
P.F.&Co. letter arriving with yours today hopes I may be able to revisit South Africa again this year and if I could fly across from Sydney I would. They are getting some good business from here I am glad to hear. Am glad to hear that Arundel has got hold of some good orders and hope it may turn out well and lead to a steady business. I forgot to mention that during my stay at Christchurch I went up to Kangiora about 20 miles and spent the evening with a married daughter of Mrs Spencer (called Daniells) with whom I drank tea once at Martha's during her stay in England. Mrs Spencer is a Ravenite, but her daughter refuses the doctrines. She was very kind and we had quite a nice company in for a reading. Here at Auckland I have just called on all the merchants and was remembered by them and received a kindly greeting. You may remember my telling of meeting a brother and his wife on board the Arana from Cape Town to Hobart – who were coming here – I have received a few letters from him and yesterday (Lord's day) I called upon them and after tea walked some distance to see others where we had a nice time together over the word, so that you see I do not want a friend with whom can have happy fellowship wherever I may go – this fruit of the Lord's mercy my heart cheerfully and thankfully acknowledges.
During a conversation with one of my customers yesterday I was introduced to person called Tucker I remember calling at Kingsbridges and Plymouth where he carried on a wholesale grocery business – he remembered me too very well. It appears he came out here with his wife and children some years ago but things did not prosper with him. First he lost his wife, then nearly all his money in some land speculations and ultimately took a situation as a tea taster with a large wholesale house where he now is. He has been intimately acquainted with the Mead family and our Mr Mead and they were baptised at the same time. When Mr Tucker left England one of his daughters had left one acquaintance she thought much of in the shape of a young gentleman she supposed entertained kindred feelings toward herself, so she thought it may be worth a visit to England to ascertain his present mind on this deeply momentous subject and off she started and on arrival in England soon after I left it, she became the guest of Mr Joseph R. Mead – she soon discovered that the few years' absence had removed the esteem and love from the heart of the one she had been thinking about and while all these hopes and fears where alternating in her mind, Lo! Mr Mead's son who was with his father at Ilfracombe last June, fell in love with her and shortly after were married. He has sold the business he had in South Carolina and has come out here with his new wife and intends resting quietly for a year or two. So the young lady's courage was rewarded. I heard a little of this romance from her father yesterday but Mr Mead called upon me this morning and from him I heard the rest. On Thursday evening I go down to their house, a few miles in the country and spend the night with them.
I spent a very pleasant evening yesterday with Mr Mead and his wife and a few other friends all from Devonshire. Mrs M is head and shoulders taller than Mr Mead and a pure Devon, but very hearty and kind and should say a stirling gold woman. I told Mr M that and congratulated him on his choice, but thought he had merited a special congratulation for his courage which they all seemed to enjoy. The country around Auckland is very fine and interesting and the weather for a week or two has been exceedingly fine, but nights and mornings are very cold.
So far I can now see my path homewards from Sydney will lay across the Southern Ocean so as just to call at a few ports at the Cape again. As soon as this is decided I shall cable my next address which P.F. will send on to you. I fear there will not be much prospect of my getting home in time for much of the English summer but in the great goodness and mercy of God my face will soon be turned toward home and it will not delay me much longer by calling for a few weeks at the Cape.
So far as the business is concerned I should think that I have done as much business since leaving England last July as the three previous years together, certainly two of them. For this I am thankful and do trust it may be of permanent benefit to the firm.
My old friend Captain Morse with his ship Alameda came in from San Francisco yesterday and I went down to see him – the interval between our very happy voyage nearly 4 ½ years has left its mark upon both of our faces, but he was very glad to see me and D.V. I hope to spend an evening with him at Sydney next week or on the following – the poor fellow suffered very severely from an attack of Influenza some year or so ago and has never properly recovered
Well I must now close my letter which goes via America and is due in England on July 22. God graciously continue all His mercy to you all and sustain your confidence in Himself – much love to dear Harry and Emma and the children (I have written to Arundel) all dear friends and double portion for yourself and believe me my beloved Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband
May 20 – all well –Psalm XCIV.19