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Samuel Marsden: Missionary

Samuel MarsdenSamuel Marsden: Church of England; born at Horsforth (5 miles northwest of Leeds) July 28, 1764; died at Windsor (30 miles northwest of Sydney), New South Wales, May 12, 1838. He was educated at the grammar-school in Hull, and then assisted his father in his shop in Leeds. He was converted and joined at first the Methodist Church, but afterward united himself to the Church of England, and entered St. John's College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1793, and in 1794 sailed to Australia as chaplain to the penal colony at Paramatta, near Sydney. He established a farm there which eventually became one of the finest in Australia, and endeavored to train the convicts to habits of industry.

In 1807 he returned to England to make a report on the condition of the colony, and tried to interest the Church Missionary Society in the Maoris of New Zealand, but in vain. He succeeded, however, in inducing W. Hall and J. King, two laymen, to return to Australia with him, and in 1814, after he had fitted out a small vessel at his own expense, he and his two assistants sailed to New Zealand. The natives welcomed him gladly and he labored among them at intervals until his death, making in all seven visits to the islands, the last in 1837. He believed that civilization should precede the Gospel, and therefore his chief efforts were in that direction. In New South Wales also he was very influential in the cause of civilization, establishing schools and a seminary.

Bibliography: J. B. Marsden, Memoirs of the Life and Labours of ... Samuel Marsden, London, 1858 J. L. Nicholas, Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand...in...1814-15...with Rev. S. Marsden, ib. 1817; DNB, xxxvi, 205-206.

From The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge... New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1910.

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