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Encyclopedia > Samuel Marsden
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The Reverend Samuel Marsden (born in Farsley in Yorkshire 25 June 1765, died Windsor, New South Wales 12 May 1838) was a prominent member of the Church Missionary Society, credited with bringing Christianity to New Zealand. He was a prominent figure in early New South Wales history, not only for his ecclesiastical offices, but also for his employment of convicts for farming and role as a judge, both of which have attracted contemporary criticism. Farsley is a district of Leeds, ((West Yorkshire]], 6 miles to the west of the city centre, and 4 miles east of Bradford. ... Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England. ... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1765 (MDCCLXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... Windsor is a town in New South Wales, Australia. ... is the 132nd day of the year (133rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... | Jöns Jakob Berzelius, discoverer of protein 1838 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The Church Mission Society (formerly the Church Missionary Society) is a voluntary society working with the Anglican Church and other Protestant Christians around the world. ... NSW redirects here. ...


Early Life

Marsden was 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 minister. 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 Rev. 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 folowing 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 set up house in Parramatta, 15 miles outside the main Port Jackson settlement. William Wilberforce (24 August 1759–29 July 1833) was a British politician and philanthropist. ...

In Australia

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 3000 acres. Successful farming ventures provided him with a secure financial base, although attracting criticism for his becoming over involved in non-church affairs.

He was appointed to the Bench of Magistrates at Parramatta, a role which attracted criticism within his own life. 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. This has been attributed to a dislike of Roman Catholics and the Irish. The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ...

Joseph Holt, an Irish priest and activist, left an account of a flogging ordered by Marsden:

"The place they flogged them their arms pulled around a large tree and their breasts squeezed against the trunk so the men had no power to cringe ... There was two floggers, Richard Rice and John Johnson the Hangman from Sydney. Rice was left-handed man and Johnson was right-handed, so they stood at each side, and I never saw two threshers in a barn move their strokes more handier than those two man-killers did. [...] I [Holt] was to the leeward of the floggers ... I was two perches from them. The flesh and skin blew in my face as it shook off the cats. Fitzgerald received his 300 lashes. Doctor Mason - I will never forget him - he used to go feel his pulse, and he smiled, and said: "This man will tire you before he will fail - Go on." ... During this time Fitzgerald was getting his punishment he never gave so much as a word - only one, and that was saying, "Don't strike me on the neck, flog me fair." When he was let loose, two of the constables went and took hold of him by the arms to keep him in the cart. I was standing by. [H]e said to them, "Let me go." He struck both of them with his elbows in the pit of the stomach and knocked them both down, and then stepped in the cart. I heard Dr Mason say that man had enough strength to bear 200 more. Next was tied up Paddy Galvin, a young boy about 16 years of age. He was ordered to get 300 lashes. He got one hundred on the back, and you could see his backbone between his shoulder blades. Then the Doctor ordered him to get another hundred on his bottom. He got it, and then his haunches were in such a jelly that the Doctor ordered him to be flogged on the calves of his legs. He got one hundred there and as much as a whimper he never gave. They asked him if he would tell where the pikes were hid. He said he did not know, and would not tell. "You may as well hang me now," he said, "for you never will get any music from me so." They put him in the cart and sent him 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 Paramatta 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. Year 1809 (MDCCCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ...

The Anglican Mission to New Zealand

Marsden was a member of the Church Missionary Society and its New South Wales agent. New Zealand had been discovered in the 1640s but by the early 19th century, there had still been little contact between Māori and European, except through whalers and sealers. A small "outlaw" community of Europeans had formed in the Bay of Islands and Marsden was concerned they were corrupting the Māori, and became determined to found a mission station in New Zealand. The Church Mission Society (formerly the Church Missionary Society) is a voluntary society working with the Anglican Church and other Protestant Christians around the world. ... This article is about the Māori people of New Zealand. ... Russell, Bay of Islands. ...

Marsen 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 March 1814 that Marsden took his schooner, the “Active”, on an exploratory journey to the Bay of Islands with Kendall and Hall, during which time he claimed to have conducted the first Christian service on New Zealand soil. He met Māori Rangatira, or chiefs from the iwi or tribe Ngapuhi, who controlled the region around the Bay of Islands, including a junior war leader of the Ngapuhi, 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. Thomas Kendall (1778–1832) was a New Zealand schoolmaster, lapsed missionary, recorder of the Maori language, arms dealer, and Pakeha Maori. ... is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1814 (MDCCCXIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Russell, Bay of Islands. ... Rangatira( pronounced Rung-uh-tee-rah) are the hereditary Māori chieftains descended from the chieftain/s of a Waka which were the first Māori settlers who were men of great leadership and wisdom and each commanded their own retinue of Maori Toa or Toa and were the holders... Iwi (pronounced ee-wee) are the largest everyday social units in Māori society. ... Ngapuhi form one of the major and (with over 100,000 members) the single most numerous of the Maori tribes or iwi in New Zealand, occupying much the Northland Peninsula, also known as Tai Tokerau, north of the city of Auckland. ... Hongi Hika (1772?–1828) was a New Zealand Maori rangatira (chief) and war leader of the Ngapuhi iwi (tribe). ... is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

At the end of the year Kendall Hall and King returned to start a mission to the Ngapuhi under 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 Weslyan 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 Ngapuhi. 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. 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. Kerikeri, the largest town in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, is a popular tourist destination about three hours drive north of Auckland, and 80 kilometres north of Whangarei. ... Kerikeri is a popular tourist destination in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, about three hours drive north of Auckland, and 60 kilometres north of Whangarei. ... Kerikeri is a popular tourist destination in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, about three hours drive north of Auckland, and 60 kilometres north of Whangarei. ... The Waimate Mission established one of the earliest settlements in New Zealand, at Waimate North in the Bay of Islands George Clarkes house At the instigation of Samuel Marsden, a model farming village for Māori was constructed at Te Waimate by the Church Missionary Society. ... Detail from the carved ridgepole of a house, Ngāti Awa, circa 1840. ...

At Kendall's instigation, Hongi Hika visited England, met King George IV and armed with the sometimes reluctant assistance of CMS missionaries, rampaged across a large area of the North Island during the Musket Wars. George IV redirects here. ... The Musket Wars were a series of battles fought between various tribal groups of Maori in the early 1800s, primarily on the North Island in New Zealand. ...

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 was named after Marsden. A house at Corran School for Girls (Marsden) is also named after him. Samuel Marsden Collegiate School is located in the Wellington suburb of Karori in New Zealand. ... City-end Karori from Wrights Hill Karori is a suburb located at the western edge of the urban area of Wellington, New Zealand, some four km from the city centre. ... For the first Duke of Wellington, see Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. ...

In 1819 Samuel Marsden introduced winegrowing to New Zealand with the planting of over 100 different varieties of vine in Kerikeri, Northland.

"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"

he wrote. Nearly two hundred years later, the New Zealand wine industry is at an all time high, and is especially praised for it's Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Later life

Marsden died on 12 May 1838. He is buried beside his old church at Parramatta.

In Fiction

A portrait of Marsden based on Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore appears in Patrick O'Brian's book The Nutmeg of Consolation. Robert Studley Forrest Hughes AO, (born July 28, 1938), who is usually known as Robert Hughes, is an art critic, writer and television documentary maker. ... The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, published 1987, is a history of Britains settlement of Australia as a penal colony. ... Patrick OBrian (12 December 1914 – 2 January 2000; born as Richard Patrick Russ) was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centered on the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish... The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick OBrian (published 1991) is the fourteenth novel in the Aubrey–Maturin series. ...


An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966. Entry on MARSDEN, Samuel

  Results from FactBites:
Samuel Marsden Missionary New South Wales - Giants of the Missionary Trail by Eugene M. Harrison (4521 words)
It was well for Samuel Marsden, and for those to whom he was to minister, that he carried the true gospel, that he had abounding confidence in its power and that he kept before him the miraculous success of Brainerd among the idolatrous, besotted Indians of the Susquehanna.
Marsden was grieved at the forlorn condition of the female convicts who were thrust into frightful immoralities by the current standards of the colony and by the necessity of finding lodging wherever they could.
Marsden was at first inclined to believe that the savages had to be somewhat civilized before they would be able to receive the gospel.
MARSDEN, Samuel - 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (2181 words)
Samuel Marsden was born on 25 June 1765 at Farsley in the parish of Calverley, Yorkshire, where his father, Thomas Marsden, was a flsmith and small farmer.
Marsden's relationships with many of the influential official and private personages of New South Wales were frequently stormy, and he suffered a number of calumnies which were proved to be untrue.
Marsden himself was not sympathetic to much of the Maori culture, thinking, under the influence of his stern evangelical creed, that many elements in it were of the Devil.
  More results at FactBites »



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