Free Online Bible Library | Samuel Marsden

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Samuel Marsden

1764-1838. Anglican chaplain to the convict colony of New South Wales. He was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, but at the suggestion of William Wilberforce* left for Australia without taking his degree. He arrived in Sydney in 1794 and was stationed at Parramatta, where he remained until his death. On the departure of Richard Johnson* in 1800 he was the only chaplain in the colony, and in 1810 he became senior chaplain after a visit to England to recruit others. Marsden's activities have been the subject of much controversy. Like most officials in the colony, he took up farming, and his very success occasioned comment. On appointment as a magistrate he gained a reputation for severity scarcely excused by the character of the colony. There is no evidence that he neglected parish duties and church affairs. He is famous as the founder of the mission to the Maoris of New Zealand under the Church Missionary Society. He preached the first sermon in New Zealand in 1814 and made seven journeys in support of the infant mission, often at his own expense. He did much too to establish the Evangelical character of the Church of England in Sydney.

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