The diary of Reverend David Cargill – Part 3

David Cargill’s trip to Tonga was delayed for about four months. While waiting he continued with his work of preaching the Gospel.

This is the account of the late Reverend Cargill from the book The Diaries and Correspondence of David Cargill, 1832-1843, edited by Albert J Schutz and published by the Australian National University.

In the Land Down Under

Thursday, June 20, 1833

This day I have lived twenty-four years. My life has been hitherto a life of many mercies. I feel condemned for my ingratitude and the small progress I have made in divine things. I have indeed been a cumberer of the ground. O Lord, revive thy work in my heart! Enable me to make an unreserved dedication of the members of my body and the faculties of my soul to thy service. Most of the inhabitants of this colony are sunk very low in the mire of iniquity. And even the piety of professing Christians is very superficial. The profligacy of the wicked, and the lukewarmness of professors, call loudly for divine vengeance. There are but few encouragements for the labourer in this part of the vineyard. To use the expression of the venerable and respected Mr McAllum, preaching to the majority of the inhabitants, is like “plowing among rocks”. But although the society do not appear to consider one another to provoke one another to love and good works, it is nevertheless to be expected that some of the seeds of grace are sown in good ground. There are a few who possess a leaven of piety and love. But their ardour is so damped by the prevailing lukewarmness that they are entirely thrown into the background. May the happy day soon dawn when the inhabitants of this Colony shall have been raised from their moral degradation! I am engaged in attending to Mr Orton’s appointments during his absence: And have frequently to preach five or six times in Sydney during the week. The Lord has been pleased so far to honour me as to make my services useful in the conviction and conversion of two or three persons who it is hoped, will be living stones in the temple of God. My time is chiefly occupied in preparing for the pulpit and visiting the people, so that I have had but little time to improve my stock of general knowledge.

Monday, July 11, 833

Parted with my dear wife, who, for the sake of change of air has gone to spend a few weeks with Mr Simpson at Windsor.

Monday, July 29, 1833

The Hibernia was bound for Port Jackson, and had on board upward of 200 immigrants. A bucket of spirits was ignited by a spark which accidentally fell from a candle. Strenuous efforts were made to arrest the progress of the flames, but without effect. Having no hope of saving the vessel, the commander ordered the boats to be lowered, and as many as could crowded into them. The sufferings of the passengers, both in the ships and boats, were indescribable. Three young ladies sisters remained on deck until the flames were seizing them, and preferring drowning to burning, twined their arms round each other’s necks and plunged into the sea. Mothers saw their children enveloped in flames, husbands their wives and wives their husbands. Sixteen of the survivors have arrived in Sydney the rest have settled at Hobart Town.

Friday, August 5, 1833

Preached yesterday in the Windsor Circuit, and rode 26 miles through the bush. Most of the inhabitants seem to have no regard for religion. The services are thinly attended. There cannot possibly be a more discouraging field of missionary enterprise; in a place where the people call themselves Xians and do not carry on open hostilities against the few who attend to the one thing needful.

Sunday, September 4, 1833

Rode about 26 miles through “the bush” in company with Mr Orton to visit the people residing in the vicinity of Botany Bay. Some of them are in a deplorable and wretched condition; we fell in with a small village on the beach, inhabited by fishermen, who not only neglect and violate the Christian Sabbath by pursuing their usual employment, but seem destitute of even the form of godliness, and we have reason to suspect, are living in concubine with aboriginal women. One of the women, however, expressed a desire to learn to read and there was an air of cleanliness about the huts.

Thursday, September 12, 1833

Rode yesterday to Liverpool, and preached in a dirty school room in an upper storey. And though I did not observe an Eutychus present, yet the congregation did not consist of above 9 adults and a few children. It was rather disheartening, after riding 21 miles on a road infested with bush-rangers.

Saturday, October 1,9 1833

This afternoon (Saturday) my dear Maggie presented me with a fine little girl, after a very severe illness upwards of twelve hours. But by the blessing of a kind Providence, the child was brought into the world after 4pm. Until nearly a quarter of an hour after the birth of the child, the medical attendant did not know whether it was dead or alive. But when she was presented to me, she appeared in a healthy thriving condition. I now feel myself placed in a very responsible situation, having an immortal being committed to my care. May I have grace to train her up for heaven.

Sunday, October 20, 1833

Mrs Cargill exhibited symptoms of inflammation whichi induced Dr Bland to draw a considerable quantity of blood from her; the disagreeable symptoms were removed and she experienced great relief. Baby is doing well.

Sunday, November 10, 1833

This morning at the end of three weeks, Mrs Cargill was enabled to attend the house of God. She felt very weak; but by the kindness of her heavenly father suffered no injury.

To be continued…

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