‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’—Matt. vii. 26.
‘Our passage lies across the brink
Of many a threatening wave;
The world expects to see us sink,
But Jesus lives to save.’
—From Green Pastures.
|I.||The Missing Boat||53-61|
|—||York Minster §||69-70|
|II||A New Home, and an English Grave||83-89|
|III.||London and Walthamstow—Introduction at Court||106-111|
|IV.||The Voyage—First Glimpses of Home||130-137|
|V.||Scenery of Fuegia—Stormy Weather—Native Superstitions||153-159|
|—||The Land of Fire||166-167|
|VI.||Jemmy Button at Home||197-204|
|VII.||Beginning of Disasters||232-239|
|VIII.||The Plot Discovered, and the Farewell||274-281|
|Conclusion||The Discovery—Jemmy Button Alive, and on board the ‘Allen Gardiner,’||?|
|A Sketch of the Patagonian Mission||?|
|I.||The Mission and the Voyage||?|
|II.||Trials, and the Triumph over Death||?|
|III.||The Mournful Intelligence||?|
Numbers in column 3 indicate pages in The Voice of Pity, 1854, and provide a link to those pages.|
? = Source not yet found
§ Text ends with a short verse in the original Voice of Pity. All other end-of-chapter verses were added by—presumably—M. C. M. Leslie. If known, the source of each verse appears in a footnote.
This little book is an account of some savages, unknown and unheard of in the days of yore, but who have of late become very interesting to many. It is extracted from the ‘Voice of Pity,’ by the very kind permission of the former honorary Secretary of the Patagonian Mission; and the chief reason for gathering these various sketches of them in one small volume, is to exhibit, in a connected view, the wonderful work of Providence, than to trace which, nothing can be more delightful, beautiful, and consoling. If any one who reads this book be led, not only to believe, but to realize, the acts of Providence more strongly, even in individual cases, it will not have been published in vain.
One of the great difficulties in undertaking the Patagonian Mission, was the unknown language of the natives; but this has been in a remarkable degree (and beyond all human calculation) removed, by the discovery of Jemmy Button,† who had not forgotten English, and had taught his family to speak it. ‘Marvellous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.’—Ps. cxxxix. 14.
† One of the savages who had been brought to England, and whose early history is related in the following pages.
May a blessing from the Highest rest on this humble work.
M. C. M. L.
Edinburgh, June 1857.
In the early part of the year 1830, as well as in the preceding years, H.M.S. Beagle, was employed in a surveying voyage on the coast of South America. The enterprise was by no means an easy one. In strange lands, travellers must expect to encounter strange vicissitudes; and so it happened to the captain and crew who manned the Beagle. Not only had they to struggle with the tempests of the ocean—the trial of long exposure to the dangers of the sea, but the coast which they were appointed to investigate was unusually perilous, and the natives who peopled it unusually barbarous.
The ship had touched at Monte Video for a while, on making her passage from England; and it was decided that her first survey should be directed to the southern coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, including the Strait of Magalhaens. It was at the conclusion of this survey that the following incident occurred.
On an unpromising morning, with respect to weather, in the month of February, a trusty deputy was sent, by order of the Commander of the Expedition, on his way to Cape Desolation, to search for a good harbour. A fine whale-boat was his conyeyance; and, as he knew well how to gnide its helm, he was considered (as far as human skill could ensure it) perfectly safe, notwithstanding the increase towards the evening of the threatened gale. During the days that elapsed from his quitting the ship, some little anxiety was felt about him, but it was quelled by the assurance of his skilful management. What, then, was the surprise and vexation of the whole party on board the Beagle, when, about nine days after, they perceived three of the whaleboat's crew paddling towards them in a clumsy canoe, made like a large basket of wicker-work, covered with pieces of canvass, and lined with clay, very leaky and difficult to manage; and to be told that the whaleboat— the firm, good whaleboat—was lost—stolen by the natives; and that the master and the rest of their companions were at a cove under Cape Desolation, where they had touched the first day!
This was by no means pleasant news for the ship's company, especially when there was added to it the fact, that all the provisions were consumed, and that the hapless inmates of the cove were in dire expectation of the return of the natives to plunder, and perhaps kill them. The Cape had indeed proved to them deserving of its name; it was Desolation!
No time was to be lost. The canoe had been more than four-and-twenty hours on its passage; and the men, worn out with fatigue and hunger (having only had one biscuit each), had been guided to the ship by means of the well-known bark of a sailor's dog, after almost despairing of reaching it. Captain Fitzroy had another boat immediately prepared, with a fortnight's provision for eleven men, to search for the wanderers and the captured boat. By God's mercy, Mr Murray (the master) and his men were discovered in safety, but there was no tidings of the boat. It appeared, on closer inspection of the island, that the natives, who must have taken her, were living in two wigwams, in a little cove about a mile from the place where she was moored, the wigwams being so hidden as to escape the observation of the boat's crew; and it is supposed that, watching their opportunity, they stole her while the sailors slept.
As soon as the strength of the party was recruited, it was determined to give chase to the thieves, in hopes of retrieving the lost property. ‘North and east,’ writes Captain Fitzroy, ‘as far as the eye could reach, lay an extensive bay, in which were many islands, great and small; and westward was a more connected map of large islands, reaching apparently to the foot of that grand chain of snowy mountains which runs eastward from the Barbara Channel, and over the midst of which Sarmiento proudly towers. I was resolved to trace the confines of the bay from the west towards the north and east, thinking it probable that the thieves would hasten to some secure cove at a distance, rather than remain upon an outlying island, where their retreat might be cut off.’
After many adventures and one serious skirmish, a device was hit upon which was deemed likely to succeed with the wily Fuegians, viz.; that of surprising a party of them, and making them prisoners; then detaining them as hostages for the return of the boat. This was accordingly done; but English sailors were outwitted by Fuegian men and women. In the course of the night they escaped from custody, and swam across to their own island, leaving only three children in English hands. This juvenile establishment by itself was rather too much to undertake at once, and two of the children were soon after returned to their own country; but the third a little girl of about eight years old, was so healthy and happy, that Captain Fitzroy determined to retain her, and try to teach her English. This young child was named Fuegia Basket in remembrance of the basket-like canoe by which they received intelligence of the loss of the boat. As soon as the little girl was cleaned and dressed, she was much improved in appearance, and quickly became a pet on the lower deck.
Soon after the introduction of Fuegia on board, some of the natives approached the Beagle in a canoe, and seemed anxious to come on board also. At first, attempts were made to drive them away; but these proving ineffectual, and it being thought that, by getting one of the men on board, there would be a chance of his learning English enough to be an interpreter, and that by his means they might obtain some clue to their missing property, the youngest was invited to come into the Beagle's boat, which he did quite unconcernedly, and sat down apparently contented and at ease. He was soon in conversation with Fuegia Basket, who told him all her story, at some parts of which he laughed heartily. The name given to this man was York Minster, which was hit upon as being the name of a rocky cliff, near which the vessel was anchored at the time, which is further described on page 14.
Our hero, on his location on board vessel, was at first sullen, yet his appetite did not fail, and whenever he got more than he could eat at a time, he stowed it away in a corner. As soon, however, as he was well cleaned and clothed, and allowed to go about where he liked, he was much more cheerful.
Not long after York Minster's arrival, the crew of the Beagle was assailed by some hostile Fuegians; and one of the party, a young man, who vainly endeavoured to swim away, was captured. By way of perpetuating the remembrance of the series of disasters connected with the stolen boat, this new-comer was named Boat Memory. He seemed frightened at first, but not low-spirited; and, after eating enormously, fell asleep.
The meeting between him and York Minster was very tame, for they hardly appeared to recognise or even speak to each other, though, as in the case of the others, a little ablution and comfortable apparel set him more at ease; and the whole party, thus singularly brought together, were in good spirits, and laughed, and tried to talk, by imitating whatever was said.
Boat Memory was remarked by Captain Fitzroy to be the best-featured Fuegian he had seen, and, being young and well-formed, a very favourable specimen of his race. York Minster was one of the stoutest he had observed among them, and as strong as any two of his men. Little Fuegia Basket was almost as broad as she was high, and soon began to learn English, and to say several things very well. She laughed and talked with her countrymen incessantly, and seemed quite pleased with her new home. On one occasion some of her countrymen came alongside in a canoe, and being told, in jest, that she had better go and live with them, she was so frightened that she burst into tears, and ran below to hide herself.
We have one other Fuegian to introduce to our readers. About two months after Boat Memory's capture, when the Beagle was taking the most direct course towards the communication between Nassau Bay and a newly discovered channel, on the crews landing for dinner and rest, they found themselves close to a wigwam, whose inmates ran away at first, but soon returned on seeing them quietly seated by the fire. From these people they bought fish for beads, buttons, etc., and obtained a very fine dog, which they were very reluctant to part with, in exchange for a knife.
On the boat's continuing its route, three canoes came up to it, filled with natives anxious for barter. After buying some fish of them on the usual terms, without any previous intention, Captain Fitzroy asked one of the boys in the canoes to come into his boat, and gave the man who was with him a large, shining mother-of-pearl button. The boy got into the boat directly, and sat down. He and his friends seemed quite contented; and thinking that this accidental occurrence might prove useful to the natives, as well as to themselves, he was taken on towards the Beagle.
The boat's crew, on account of his price, dubbed this lad Jemmy Button. The young Fuegian seemed pleased with his change, and fancied he was going to kill guanaco, as they were to be found near that place. The meeting between him and his now polished countrymen was droll enough. They laughed at him; called him Yapoo; and begged that he might have more clothes put on him directly.
It was very amusing, after a little while, to witness ‘York’ and ‘Boat’ making bargains with the ‘Yapoos,’ as they called the Fuegians of another tribe. The same men who, two months before, would themselves have sold any number of fish for a bit of glass, were seen going about the decks collecting broken crockery-ware, or any trash, to exchange for the fish brought alongside by these ‘Yapoos,’ not one word of whose language would they appear to comprehend. This was their first march towards civilization.
The promontory of York Minster is a black, irregularly-shaped rocky cliff, at the south of Tierra del Fuego, 800 feet in height, rising almost perpendicularly from the sea. From its presenting an appearance resembling a huge mass of building, surmounted by two towers, its name was given in commemoration of that majestic work of sacred art, which nature, sublime even in her craggy loneliness, had seemed to resemble. And does it not awaken hope, when we find this stem rock of Fuegia thus connected in thought with the goodly pile of sacred architecture in England? Yes! we love to think that the day may not be far distant, when the sounds which echo through York Minster at home—the sounds of prayer, and praise, and Christian instruction—may gladden the dreary neighbourhood of York Minster abroad.
Will our friends (at York especially) make a vigorous effort to hasten such a happy day, so that the name of their venerable Cathedral may prove to Fuegia the endorsement of a better privilege than mere name—as a guarantee that ‘Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,’ shall enlighten the darkness of their desert land, as it has enlightened the homes of privileged England?
‘Awake! then, brother—sister, wake!
Nor slumber at thy post;
With gold and silver speed the bark
That seeks Fuegia's coast!’
After further exploring the coast of Tierra del Fuego, cir- cnmstances decided Captain Fitzroy upon steering his course to Monte Video and Rio Janeiro; and having well considered the responsibility, he resolved to carry the Fuegians whom he had with him to England. This was not at all contemplated when they were at first taken on board; it was merely intended to detain them while cruising about their own coasts, and then to return them to their families; but, finding that they were happy and in good health, he began to think of the various advantages which might result to them, and to their countrymen, by taking them to England, educating them as far as practicable, and then bringing them back to Tierra del Fuego.
They were made to understand this intention clearly; were extremely tractable and good-humoured, even taking pains to walk properly, and get over the crouching posture of their countrymen. They helped the crew, too, whenever required; and, when taken on shore, did not appear to have a thought of escape. At Monte Video, Captain Fitzroy had them vaccinated; but the virus did not take any effect. Little Fuegia was living several days with an English family, who were extremely kind to her, and the others were on shore at different times. The apparent astonishment and curiosity excited by what they saw—extraordinary to them as the whole scene must have been—were much less than could have been anticipated; yet their conduct was interesting, and each day they became more communicative. It was here that it was first learned from them, that there existed among them the horrible practice of eating the enemies taken in war. The women, they explained, eat the arms, and the men the legs; the trunk and head were always thrown into the sea.
During the time that elapsed before reaching England, Captain Fitzroy was enabled to see mnch of the four Fuegians, and was disposed to hope favourably with regard to them. ‘Far, very far indeed,’ he writes, ‘were three of the number from deserving to be called savages, even at this early period of their residence among civilized people; though the other, York Minster, was certainly a displeasing specimen of un-civilized human nature.’
At the sea-ports which the Beagle visited on her way from Tierra del Fuego to England, animals, ships, and boats seemed to engage the notice of our copper-coloured friends far more than human beings or houses. When anything excited their attention particularly, they would appear at the time ahnost stupid and unobservant; but that they were not so in reality was shown by their eager chattering to one another at the very first subsequent opportunity, and by the sensible remarks made by them a long time afterwards, when we fancied they had altogether forgotten unimportant occurrences which took place during the first few months of their sojourn amongst us.
A large ox, with unusually long horns, excited their wonder remarkably; but in no instance was outward emotion noticed to any great degree, excepting when they saw a steam-vessel going into Falmouth harbour. What extraordinary monster it was they could not imagine. Whether it was a huge fish, a land animal, or the devil (of whom they have a notion in their country), they could not decide; neither could they understand the attempted explanations of the sailors, who tried to make them comprehend its nature. But perhaps no one who remembers standing for the first time near a railway, and witnessing the rapid approach of a steam-engine, with its attached train of carriages, as it dashed along, smoking and snorting, will be surprised at the effect which a large steam-ship, passing at full speed near the Beagle in a dark night, mnst have had on these ignorant, though rather intelligent barbarians.§
§ The above two paragraphs are taken word-for-word from FitzRoy's own Narrative.
On landing, the following were the estimated ages of the Fuegians:—
York Minster, 26; Jemmy Button, 14; Boat Memory, 20; Fuegia Basket, 9.
Captain Fitzroy communicated to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty his views relative to the subjects of his charge, and received a reply giving him full scope to carry out his benevolent intentions towards them, and promising to aid him with facilities towards maintaining and educating them in England, and giving them a passage home again.
Immediately on their arrival, the Fuegians were taken to comfortable, airy lodgings, where they were vaccinated for the second time. Two days afterwards they were removed a few miles into the country, to a quiet farm-house, where it was hoped they would enjoy more freedom and fresh air, and at the same time incur less risk of those contagious maladies which have so often proved fatal to the aboriginal inhabitants of distant countries when brought to Europe.
Scarcely, however, had a fortnight elapsed, when, despite of all precaution. Boat Memory was taken ill, and the symptoms of the disorder were like those of the small-pox. By the kind arrangements of the physicians at the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth, sanctioned by the Admiralty, he and his three companions, who, it was feared, were also affected, were admitted into that establishment, and thus received the benefit of most valuable medical skill. But skill cannot save a life which its Author recalls, and the sentence of death had gone forth. Fuegians and Britons, barbarians and civilized, young and old, all must die; and Boat Memory had come to a strange land, only to die among strangers, ere his years had numbered twenty-one. He had been vaccinated four different times; but the first three operations had failed, and the last had just taken effect when the disease showed itself. It was thought that the fatal contagion must have attacked him previously.
Of his death-bed we have no further particulars, and we fear that he died in ignorance of the blessed hope of the Gospel. Poor fellow! he was a great favourite with all who knew him. He had a good disposition, very good abilities, and, though born a savage, had a pleasing, intelligent appearance. Unlike the generality of Fuegians, he had also good features, and a well-proportioned frame. His premature death was a great grief to those who had been the means of bringing him from his own country, for they felt that they had been the unintentional instruments of shortening his existence.
Fuegia Basket, Jemmy, and York escaped the dangerous disease, the vaccination having taken full effect. While they remained in the hospital, under Dr Dickson's care, his own children had the measles; and thinking it would be a good opportunity to carry the little Fuegian girl, by God's blessing, through that illness, he prepared her for it, and then kindly took her into his own house, among his own children, where she had a very favourable attack, and recovered thoroughly.
Some of the dangers to be feared from an English life being now over, it was necessary to form a plan for providing for and educating the strangers, in order to fit them for a propitious return to their island home. How this was accomplished we shall next describe.
‘They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.’—Is. xlix. 23.
Courage, comrades, onward press,
Let not fleeting storms offend,
We must cross the wilderness,
Ere we reach the journey's end;
Before us lies the blessed shore,
Where sin and grief assail no more.
It is not in our strength we run;
Did we alone the burden bear,
The heavenly race had ne'er begun—
O'erwhelmed, we might indeed despair;
Jesus has promised to provide,
And He Himself, our shield and guide.
There is no path so rough, so drear,
No thorny wilderness so dry,
But living streams are flowing near,
And One to guide our footsteps nigh;
'Tis unbelief alone that hides
The blessings which our God provides.†
* * * * * *
By Captain Gardiner.
Pioneer Cave, June 16, 1851.
† Voice of Pity, pp. 95-97; Three of Gardiner's original seven verses.
It was not found difficult to interest those, in behalf of the strangers, who could provide for them such training as might be of use to them in their future life. Through the kindness of the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, Captain Fitzroy was introduced to the Rev. William Wilson, of Walthamstow; and he readily promised to take the three Fuegians into his parish, and arrange with the master of his school to take them into his house as boarders and pupils.
The plan seemed admirable, and arrangements were immediately made for conveying them to London. The inside of a stage-coach was taken, and, under the guidance of Mr Murray (the Beagle's late master), they arrived in Piccadilly, and were carried to Walthamstow without attracting any notice. They seemed to enjoy their journey in the coach, and were very much struck by the repeated changing of horses. Captain Fitzroy himself took them from the coach-office to Walthamstow, and found them almost bewildered by the multitude of new objects.
Passing Charing Cross, there was a start and exclamation of astonishment from ‘York.’ ‘Look!’ he said, fixing his eyes on the lion upon Northumberland House, which he certainly thought alive, and walking there. It was more sudden emotion than he showed at any other time.
When they arrived at their new home at Walthamstow, they were delighted with the rooms prepared for them; and the schoolmaster and his wife were equally pleased to find the future inmates of their house very well disposed, quiet, and cleanly, instead of being fierce and dirty savages. They remained here about ten months; and during all the time were treated with the utmost kindness, not only by the schoolmaster, but by many families in the neighbourhood, and casual visitors, who became much interested in their welfare, and from time to time gave them very valuable presents.
The attention of their instructor was directed to teaching them English, and the plainer truths of Christianity, as the first object; and the use of common tools, a slight acquaintance with husbandry, gardening, and mechanism, as the second. Considerable progress was made by Fuegia and Jemmy, but York was hard to teach even mechanically. He took interest in smith's or carpenter's work, and paid attention to what he heard and saw about animals; but he reluctantly assisted in garden work, and had a great dislike to learning to read. By degrees, a good many words of their own language were collected, and some interesting information was acquired respecting their own native habits and ideas. They gave no particular trouble; were very healthy; and the two younger ones became great favourites wherever they were known. Sometimes they were taken by Captain Fitzroy to see a friend or relation of his, who was anxious to question them, and contribute something to the increasing stock of serviceable articles with which they were to return to Tierra del Fuego. His sister was a frequent benefactress; and they often talked of going to see ‘Cappen Sisser.’
During the summer of 1881, his late Majesty expressed to Colonel Wood a wish to see the Fuegians, and they were accordingly taken to St James' Palace. His Majesty asked a great deal about their country, as well as themselves; and Captain Fitzroy expresses great pleasure at the interest shown by Royalty to his protegés. Queen Adelaide also honoured the Fuegians by her presence, and by acts of genuine kindness, which they could appreciate and never forget. She left the room in which they were for a minute, and returned with one of her own bonnets, which she put upon Fuegia's head. She then put one of her rings upon her finger, and gave her a sum of money to buy an outfit of clothes when she should leave England to return to her own country.
In October 1831, the Beagle was commissioned to carry back to Tierra del Fuego the three natives who had been a while exiled from its shores. The Admiralty considerately gave their consent that two persons from England, who, it was proposed, should accompany them, should have a free passage in the ship. It was hoped that two individuals might be found ready to go on this embassy, to attempt to carry forward the civilization which had been slightly commenced in England, and to extend it to the natives of Tierra del Fuego generally. But the time which elapsed between this arrangement and the sailing of the Beagle was so short, that the judicious design was almost wholly frustrated. Only one young man was selected by Mr Wilson among the volunteers for this difficult enterprise, and he, it appears, was rather too young, and not sufficiently qualified for the undertaking.
But the friends who were interested at that time in the welfare of the Fuegians, did the best they could under the circumstances; and the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, in unison with them, furnished the young man (whose name was Matthews) with such articles as appeared to be necessary for him; and also gave him a letter of instructions, containing valuable hints for his mode of proceeding among the savage islanders.
‘We trust,’ he writes, ‘that in entering on this undertaking, you have been influenced by a sincere desire to promote the glory of God, and the good of your fellow-creatures. These are the ends which those friends have in view who have assisted you; and these, they trust that you, by the grace of God, will ever steadily keep in view yourself. The means to be employed for the attainment of these two ends may be summed up in very few words. It is to make it your study and endeavour to do these poor creatures all the good in your power, in every practicable way. By evidencing this to them in the whole of your spirit and conduct, you will gain their confidence and obtain influence over them, without which you cannot expect to succeed. But it is not easy, steadily and consistently, to maintain a line of conduct like this. To enable you to do it, you must be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus;” and this grace must be sought by diligent prayer, and a constant reading and meditating on the Word of God. Here lies your strength, and hence, under God, must your success be derived. “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” Walk closely with Him, and His name will be glorified in you. Pursuing this course, you will be sure of enjoying His blessing, and may cheerfully leave all events in His hands.’
The party from Walthamstow arrived in a steam vessel at Plymouth in October; and not a few boats were required to transport to the ship the large cargo of clothes, tools, crockery-ware, books, and various things which kind-hearted people had given. They were, however, all stowed away, and the Beagle was ready for sea in November; but a succession of hard gales from the westward prevented her leaving England until the end of December. Twice she sailed and went a few leagues, yet was obliged to return, in order to avoid the risk of being damaged or losing a boat at the very beginning of her voyage. At last the westerly gales seemed exhausted, and on the 27th, the vessel was warped from its sheltered and picturesque retreat in Barnpool, under that beautiful place, Mount Edgcumbe; and at noon of the same day, little Fuegia, as a passenger homeward, was outside the breakwater, the Beagle bearing her towards her native isle. The voyage was likely to be very long, but it promised much that would interest and excite, and perhaps reward.
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye, fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
With blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own intrepreter,
And He will make it plain.§
From Olney Hymns, Book iii., Cowper's.
§ William Cowper's Light Shining out of Darkness [Emphasis added].
The Bay of Biscay was crossed without a gale, and the beautifal island of Madeira appeared in sight in a few days after leaving Barnpool. On the 6th of January, the snow-covered Peak of Teneriffe, glittering in the rays of the morning sun, greeted the voyagers; and on the 16th they landed at Cape Verd Islands, surveying there all that was worthy of notice. After crossing the equator, on the 16th of February, they anchored three days later in a roadstead, by the picturesque island of Fernando Noronha, and next steered for the port of Bahia. Its appearance, on the first approach, is represented as very striking. Captain Fitzroy thus describes it; ‘As we sailed in rapidly from the monotonous sea, and passed close along the steep but luxuriantly wooded north shore, we were much struck by the pleasing view. After the lighthouse was passed, those by whom the scene was unexpected were agreeably surprised by a mass of wood, clinging to a steep bank which rose abruptly from the dark-blue sea, showing every tint of green, enlivened by bright sunshine, and contrasted by deep shadow; and the general charm was heightened by turreted churches and buildings, whose white walls appeared above the waving palm trees; by numerous shipping, at anchor or under sail; by the delicate airy sails of innumerable canoes; and by the city itself, rising like an amphitheatre from the water side to the crest of the heights.’
On the 3d of May Rio de Janeiro, the metropolis of Brazil, was reached; and here, as the Beagle would be delayed for some time, Fuegia Basket was kindly received into the house of an English lady, who resided near Botafago Bay. The little girl, daring this visit, gave good proof of the advantages she had gained from her education. The children of her protectress, brought up in South America, had no remembrance of their native tongue, and Fuegia taught them English, and learned Portuguese herself.§ York and Jemmy remained on board, and the latter was a great favourite with the sailors. He was a good-natured young fellow, and was most amusingly attentive to his newly-acquired ideas of keeping up a respectable appearance. A spot upon his shoes would send him immediately to his cabin, where Day and Martin's services would be in request.§§ His collar was kept scrupulously clean. He preferred a dress-coat to the rough sou'-westers of the officers, and seldom walked on deck without a pair of gloves. York, on the contrary, was unpleasing and unpolished, and made no friends. No small jealousy existed between these two individuals on account of little Fuegia, both wishing to secure her good graces. Jemmy was evidently her favourite, but the strength and ferocity of York gained him the victory; and the officers of the ship felt constrained to throw their influence on his side, as they saw, if he were thwarted, he would murder Jemmy as soon as they were all settled again in their own country. So Fuegia Basket was betrothed to York Minster, and savagely watched by him the whole time afterwards. Her behaviour is described as most modest and interesting, and it is to be regretted that no better fate awaited her.
§ This may be an example of some “creative writing” by someone at the Church Missionary Society. FitzRoy mentions placing Fuegia with an English family, but says nothing of her teaching the children English.
§§ A 19th-century boot-blacking company.
On the 5th of July the Beagle sailed from Rio de Janeiro, and after a little delay off the coast of Cape Santa Martha and Santa Catherina, it was anchored in the river La Plata at the close of the month. Intending to make a surveying cruise from this spot to the neighbourhood, Fuegia Basket was again landed, and left at Monte Video with another English family, where she added to her stores of learning the acquisition of the Spanish tongue. Before leaving Monte Video, she could converse intelligibly in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.
It was not until December 1832 that the Beagle pursued the direct course towards Tierra del Fuego, for the purpose of restoring the Fuegians to their native places. In the passage thither, she encountered some of the stormy weather so prevalent in those regions. The sea, for many miles in extent, was remarked to be of a very much lighter colour than usual, not of a light green or muddy blue, such as one sees near land, but of a milky white tint. The cause of this is not ascertained.
On the 15th of December land was descried off Tierra del Fuego, near Cape Sebastian, and next day the vessel passed Cape Penas [sic, Peñas], and anchored off Santa Inez. A group of Indians was collected near Cape Penas, who watched it attentively. They were too far off to be distinctly observed; but it could be seen that they were tall men, on foot, nearly naked, and accompanied by several large dogs. To those who had never seen man in his savage state—one of the most painfully interesting sights to his civilized brother—even this distant glimpse of the aborigines was deeply engaging; but York Minster and Jemmy Button asked me [FitzRoy] to fire at them, saying, that they were ‘Oens-men—very bad men.’ The Fuegians seemed to be much elated at the certainty of being so near their own country, and the boy was never tired of saying how excellent his land was, how glad his friends would be to see him, and how well they would treat those who had been kind to him.
Passing Cape Santa Inez and Cape San Diego, the vessel anchored in Good Success Bay. As she sailed in thither, a Fuegian yell echoed among the woody heights, and shout after shout succeeded from a party of natives, posted on a projecting woody eminence at the north head of the bay, who were seen waving skins, and beckoning with extreme eagerness. Finding that they were not noticed, they lighted a fire, which instantly sent up a volume of thick white smoke. The rapidity with which the Fuegians produce these signal fires in their wet climate is astonishing; and it is from them that the island is named Tierra del Fuego, signifying, ‘The Land of Fire.’
A party from the ship went on land to the natives who had thus vociferously greeted their arrival, and it was strange to witness the effect produced upon their minds by this first meeting with man in his totally savage state. There were five or six stout men, half-clothed in guanaco skins, almost like the Patagonians in aspect and stature, being near six feet high, and confident in demeanour. ‘What a pity such fine fellows should be left in such a barbarous state,’ was the first earnest expression of one of the spectators. It was the natural emotion of philanthropy, which religion deepens and directs.
Disagreeable, indeed painful, as is even the mental contemplation of a savage, and unwilling as we may be to consider ourselves even remotely descended from human beings in such a state, the reflection that Cæsar found the Britons painted, and clothed in skins, like the Fuegians, cannot fail to interest us in their behalf, and excite our hopes in regard to what may be their future condition. And when, passing far beyond temporal calculations, we regard these poor barbarians as beings standing in the presence of their God, formed by Him with a living soul, as well as with an intelligent mind, then there is more than a mere chimerical prospect of better things for them, and we look up to the Creator, who has made us all of one blood, and given for us all one Sacrifice, and feel sure that these dry bones can live.
But to return to oar narrative. The natives just spoken of are described as tall and well-proportioned, not cramped and misshapen, like those Fuegians who go about in canoes. They expressed satisfaction, or good will, by rubbing or patting the bodies of those who came near them, and then their own; and were highly pleased by the antics of a man belonging to the boat's crew, who danced well, and was a good mimic. One of them was so like York Minster, that he might have passed for his brother. About his eyes were circles of white paint, and his upper lip was daubed with red ochre and oil. Another man was rubbed over with black. They were (apparently) very good-humoured, talked and played with the younger ones of the party, danced, stood up back to back with the tallest men to compare heights, and began to try their strength in wrestling; but this was stopped.
York and Jemmy would not acknowledge them as country- men, but laughed at and mocked them. It was evident, however, that they both understood much of the language in which the others talked, but they would not try to interpret, alleging that they did not know enough. York betrayed this by bursting into an immoderate fit of laughter at something the oldest man told him, which he could not resist telling afterwards, was, that the old man said he was dirty, and ought to pull out his beard. (This pulling out of the beard is a Fuegian custom.)
After inspecting some of the neighbouring heights, the party re-embarked on board the Beagle and sailed from Good Success Bay on the 21st December.
It is said that St Gregory, before his elevation to the papal chair, chanced one day to pass through the slave-market at Rome, and perceiving some children of great beauty who were set up for sale, he inquired about their country; and finding they were English pagans he is said to have cried out in the Latin language, ‘Non Angli sed angeli forent, si essent Christiani’—‘ They would not be English, but angels, had they been Christians.’—Goldsmith's England.§
§ In Pinnock's Improved Edition of Dr. Goldsmith's … History of England (p. 16)
Sow in the morn thy seed,
At eve hold not thine hand;
To doubt and fear give thou no heed,
Broad-cast it o'er the land.
Beside all waters sow,
The highway farrows stock,
Drop it where thorns and thistles grow,
Scatter it on the rock.
The good, the fruitful ground,
Expect not here nor there;
O'er hill and dale, by plots, 'tis found.
Go forth, then, everywhere.
Thou knowest not which may thrive,
The late or early sown;
Grace brings the precious germs alive,
When and wherever strewn.
And duly shall appear,
In verdure, beauty, strength,
The tender blade, the stalk, the ear,
And the full corn at length.
Thou canst not toil in vain;
Cold, heat, and moist, and dry,
Shall foster and mature the grain
For gamers in the sky.
Hence, when the glorious end,
The day of God, is come,
The angel reapers shall descend,
And Heaven cry ‘Harvest Home!’§
§ Original title: “The Field of the World.” In The Poetical Works of James Montgomery, vol. 4, pp. 278-279.
We left our Fuegian friends on the very shores of their own dark island. Abrupt, high, and woody cliffs rise from the deep water in Good Success Bay; and violent squalls, and cold, damp weather, verify the belief that the ship is very near Cape Horn. Captain Fitzroy thus describes one of these squalls;—‘At sun-set, there was a reddish appearance all over the sky. Clouds shot over the summits of the mountains in ragged, detached masses; and there was a lurid haze around, which showed a coming storm as surely as the fall of the barometer. The gale increased; and, at midnight, such furious squalls came down from the heights, that the water was swept up, and clouds of foam were driven along the sea.’
Delayed by a continuance of such weather, it was not until the 11th of January that the wild-looking height, York Minster, was seen ‘looming’ among driving clouds; but even then the sea was so tempestuous, that it was impossible to approach the land. Soon after midday on the 13th, the sea had risen to a great height, and the Commander was anxiously watching the successive waves, when three huge rollers approached, whose size and steepness at once told him that the sea-boat, good as she was, would be sorely tried. Having steerage way, the vessel met and rose over the first unharmed, but of course her way was checked; the second deadened her way completely, throwing her off the wind; and the third great sea turned her so far over, that all the lee-bulwark was two or three feet under water. For a moment the position was critical, but, like a cask, she rolled back again, though with some feet of water over the whole deck. Had another sea struck her, the little ship might have been numbered among the many of her class which have disappeared; but this, God in His gracious providence prevented. The crisis was past; she shook the sea off through her ports, and was none the worse, excepting the loss of a boat, which was dipped under water and torn away. From this time the wind abated, and the Beagle neared the land. Crossing Nassau Bay, she entered Goree Road, described as one of the most spacious, accessible, and safe anchorages in these regions. Here, to the great surprise of the officers of the Beagle, York Minster said, he would rather live with Jemmy Button in the Tekeenica country, than go to his own people. This was a complete change in his ideas, and they were very glad of it, because it might be far better for the three, York, Jemmy, and Fuegia, to settle together. It was little guessed how deep a scheme Master York had in contemplation.
The Beagle was moored in security, and four boats were made use of to convey Matthews and the Fuegians, and all the stock of useful things which had been given them in England, to that particular spot of Tierra del Fuego which Jemmy called ‘his country.’ On the first day of this cruise no natives were seen, though thirty miles of coast were passed. From the hill above Cut-finger Cove, near Cape Rees, the view is striking. Close to it is a mass of very lofty heights, shutting out the cold southerly winds, and collecting the few rays of sunshine which contrive to struggle through the frequent clouds. Opposite, beyond a deep arm of the sea, five miles wide, there appears an extensive range of mountains, whose extremes the eye cannot trace; and to the westward, an immense canal, looking like a gigantic work of art, extends between parallel ranges of mountains, of which the summits are capped with snow, though their sides are covered with endless forests. This singular canal-like passage is almost straight, and of nearly a uniform width (overlooking minute details) for 120 miles.
Several natives were seen in the next day's pull; but, as Jemmy said they were not his friends, and often made war upon his people, they were not accosted. York laughed heartily at the first he saw, calling them great monkeys; and Jemmy would not have them thought to be his people, who, he said, were ‘very good,’ and ‘very clean.’ Fuegia was shocked and ashamed; she hid herself, and would not look at them a second time.
It was interesting to observe the change which three years only had made in their ideas, and to notice how completely they had forgotten the appearance and habits of their former associates; for it turned out that Jemmy's own tribe was as inferior in every way as the worst of those whom he and York called ‘monkeys—fools—dirty—not men.’
Favoured by beautiful weather, the boats were rowed on past a tract of country where no natives were seen. Jemmy said, that it was ‘land between bad people and his friends’ (neutral ground probably). On the evening of January 22d, a cove was reached near the Murray Narrow, where a small party of Tekeenica natives gave us tidings of Jemmy's mother and brothers, but said that his father was dead. Poor Jemmy looked very grave and mysterious at this news, but showed no other symptoms of sorrow. He reminded Bennet of a dream he had about six months before, to the effect, that a man came to the side of his hammock, and whispered that his father was dead; and then went for some green branches, which he burned, watching them with a solemn look, after which he talked and laughed as usual, never once of his own accord recurring to the subject of his father's decease. He was very superstitious, and a great believer in omens and dreams; and perhaps the silence he maintained was owing to an early prejudice ingrafted in his mind in his own country. Whenever any one spoke of a dead person, he would shake his head, and gravely say, ‘No good—no good talk—my country never talk of dead man.’
The tendency to superstitious ideas was strongly marked in our three Fuegians. If anything was said or done that was wrong, in their opinion it was sure to cause bad weather. Even shooting young birds, before they were able to fly, was thought a heinous offence. On one occasion, some young ducks had been shot with the old bird, and York Minster was very angry about it, exclaiming, ‘0h! Mr Bynoe, very bad to shoot little duck—come wind—come rain—blow—very much blow.’
A great black man was supposed by them to be always wandering about the woods and mountains, who is certain of knowing every word and action (what a remarkable glimpse is this of the real omniscience which surrounds us!), who cannot be escaped, and who influences the weather according to men's conduct. York related a curious story of his own brother, who had committed a murder.
‘In woods of my country,’ said he, ‘some men go about alone—very wild men; have no belly (meaning probably that they were very thin); live by stealing from other men.’ He then went on to say that his brother had been getting birds out of a cliff, and on coming down, hid them among some long rushes, and went away. Soon afterwards he returned, and seeing feathers blown away by the wind from the spot, suspected what was going on; so, taking a large stone in his hand, he crept stealthily towards the place, and there saw one of these wild men placking a bird which he had got out of the cliff. Without saying a word, he dashed the stone at the wild man's head, and killed him on the spot. Afterwards, York's brother was very sorry for what he had done, particularly when it began to blow very hard. York said, in telling the story, ‘Rain come own [sic, down?]—snow come down—hail come down—wind blow—blow—very much blow—very bad to kill man. Big man in woods no like it—he very angry.’ At the word ‘blow,’ York imitated the sound of a strong wind; and he told the whole story in a very low tone of voice and with a mysterious manner, considering it an extremely serious affair.
Tents were erected in the cove, near the Murray Narrow, and some acquaintance made with the natives; and leaving Fuegians and British sailors in close proximity in this distant land, with the prospect of soon parting company for ever,—the one to return to ancient barbarism and ignorance; the other, to all the privileges of English civilization and knowledge.
We defer to another chapter the account of Jemmy's home, and long-anticipated meeting with his family.
† Tierra del Fuego signifies ‘The Land of Fire.’ §
§ In original Voice: The island is named Tierra del Fuego, signifying ‘The Land of Fire.’—Page 134.
Far, far away,
Over ocean's spray,
Where the billows roll,
By the icy Pole,
Lies the ‘Land of Fire!’
What strange forms appear
Flitting here and there!
Man! this is no other
Than thy heathen brother
In the ‘Land of Fire!’
What so cold is known
As man's heart of stone,
Ere one beam from heaven
Warmth and light have given,
Kindling Sacred Fire!
Though his heart be frozen,
He whom God hath chosen,
He the ice can melt—
Thousands this have felt
With His Word of Fire!
Take that blessed Word,
Speak of Christ your Lord;
His all-powerful name,
Everywhere the same.
Warms with heavenly Fire!
Not a moment burning,
Then to gloom returning;
Light that comes from Jesus,
Burns when all else freezes—
'Tis a quenchless Fire!
—From the Voice of Pity, pp. 166-167 [Six of the original eleven verses]
From the cove in Murray Narrow, where we left the sailors of the Beagle and the Fuegians recruiting for a while after their long and perilous voyage, we find the party preparing to start on the 23d of January 1833. Whilst embarking their tents and cooking utensils, several natives came running over the hills with breathless haste, and on their approach it was seen that they were bleeding profusely at the nose. This startled the Englishmen at first, and they concluded that they had been fighting, but soon discovered that it was merely caused by the exertion of running. A similar effect has been noticed among the New Hollanders, the islanders of the Pacific Ocean, the Esquimaux, and some others.
These visitors from the hills had scarcely reached the cove before canoes began to appear in every direction, in each of which was a stentor calling at the top of his voice. ‘Faint sounds of deep voices,’ writes Captain Fitzroy, ‘were heard in the distance, and around us echoes to the shouts of our nearer friends began to reverberate, and warned me to hasten away before our movements should become impeded by the number of canoes which I knew would soon throng around us. As we steered out of the cove, in which our boats had been sheltered, a striking scene opened. Beyond a lake-like expanse of deep blue water, mountains rose abruptly to a great height, and on their icy summits the sun's early rays glittered as if on a mirror. Immediately around us were mountainous eminences, and dark, cliffy precipices, which cast a very deep shadow over the still water beneath them. In the distant west, an opening appeared where no land could be seen; and to the south was a cheerful sunny woodland, sloping gradually down to the Murray Narrow, at that moment ahnost indistinguishable. As our boats became visible to the natives, who were eagerly paddling towards the cove from every direction, hoarse shouts arose, and, echoed about by the cliffs, seemed to be a continual cheer. In a very short time there were thirty or forty canoes in our train, each full of natives, each with a column of blue smoke rising from the fire amidships, and almost all the men in them shouting at the full power of their deep sonorous voices. As we pursued a winding course around the bases of high rocks, or between islets covered with wood, continued additions were made to our attendants; and the day being very fine, without a breeze to ruffle the water, it was a scene which carried one's thoughts to the South Sea Islands, but in Tierra del Fuego almost appeared like a dream.’
Such is the Captain's graphic description of the Fuegian welcome which seemed to be given to the returning exiles, even from their own dark land. A few hours' row brought them to Woollya, the home of Jemmy's tribe; and, selecting a clear space favourable for an encampment, they landed, marked a boundary line, placed sentries, and made arrangements for receiving the anticipated visits of some hundred natives.
The situation of Woollya was pleasing, and Jemmy was very proud of the praises bestowed upon his island. Rising gently from the water side, there are on it considerable spaces of clear pasture land well watered by brooks, and backed by hills of moderate height, on which are woods of the finest timber trees in the country. Near the shore was a fine plot of rich grass and beautiful flowers, which augured well for the growth of the garden seeds which had been brought from England.
At first, only a few natives appeared, who were not of Jemmy's family. The women ran away and hid themselves; but Jemmy and York contrived (with difficulty) to make the men comprehend the reason of their visit, and their awkward explanation, helped by a few presents, gradually put them at ease. They soon understood the meaning of the boundary line which they were not to pass. After putting these few on friendly terms, a much larger number had to be dealt with, and at first it was difficult to keep them back without using force; but, by good temper on the part of the sailors, by the bait of several presents, and by the broken Fuegian explanations of their dark-coloured shipmates, the natives were conciliated to order, squatted themselves outside the line, and were prevented from encroaching.
Meanwhile, many of the Beagle's crew were occupied at a distance cutting wood, digging ground for a garden, or making wigwams for Matthews, York, and Jemmy. Jemmy was busy with a bag of nails and tools, which he was distributing, and getting out of temper at the quizzing he had to endure on account of his countrymen, whom he had extolled so highly until in sight, when a deep voice was heard shouting from a canoe more than a mile distant. Jemmy started up, leaving his bag to be scrambled for, and upon a repetition of the shout, exclaimed ‘My brother!’ He then said it was his eldest brother's voice, and perched himself on a large stone to watch the canoe, which approached slowly, being loaded with several people. When it arrived, instead of an eager meeting, there was a cautious circumspection which appeared astonishing. Jemmy walked slowly to meet the party, consisting of his mother, two sisters, and four brothers. The old woman hardly looked at him before she hastened away to secure her canoe and her property, all she possessed—a basket containing tinder, fire-stove, paint, etc., and a bundle of fish. The girls ran off with her, without ever looking at Jemmy; and the brothers (a man and three boys) stood still, stared, walked up to Jemmy and all round him, without uttering a word. Animals, when they meet, show far more animation and anxiety than was displayed at this meeting. Jemmy was evidently much mortified; and, to add to his confusion and disappointment, he was unable to talk to his brothers, except by broken sentences, in which English predominated. After a few minutes had elapsed, his elder brother began to talk to him; but, although he understood what was said, he could not reply. York and Fuegia were able to understand some words, but could not or did not choose to speak.
Even in this glimpse of the low state of the social affections among savages, we may be reminded of the inestimable blessings of the Gospel, which brings peace and love among men, as well as glory to God. And, thus reminded, whilst the well of pity is opened in our hearts for these poor degraded ones (for the picture is in every detail a true sketch), let us not rest till Fuegia's sons have been gathered into that school where two blessed lessons are effectually taught—love to God, and love to our neighbour.
But to resume our narrative. Jemmy passed the evening with his mother and brothers in their wigwam, but returned to his old quarters to sleep. York also, and Fuegia, were going about among the natives at their wigwams; and the good effect of their intercourse and explanations was visible next day in the confident, familiar manner of the throng which surrounded the new-comers, while they dug ground for gardens, and cut wood for large wigwams, in which Matthews and his party were to be established. Canoes still arrived, and their owners seemed as well disposed as the rest of the natives, many of them assisting in carrying wood and bringing bundles of grass or rushes to thatch the wigwams we were raising in a pleasant sheltered spot, near a brook of excellent water. One was for Matthews, another for Jemmy, and a third for York and Fuegia.
A small spot of ground was also selected near the wigwams, and planted with potatoes, carrots, turnips, beans, peas, lettuce, onions, leeks, and cabbages. Jemmy soon clothed his mother and his brothers by the assistance of his friends. His two eldest brothers were soon known among the seamen as Tommy Button and Harry Button, and speedily became rich in old clothes, nails, and tools. So quietly did affairs proceed, that on the 25th a few of the sailors went on the hills in search of guanacoes; many were seen, but they were too wild to approach. While some of the party were washing in a stream, stripped to the waist, several natives collected around, much amused at the white skins, as well as the act of washing, an employment quite new to them. One of them ran to call others to the wonderful sight, whose hands, however, were soon so actively employed in abstracting the handkerchiefs, shoes, etc., which were laid on the bank, that a stop was necessarily put to the ablutions.
A little discontent arose among the natives about this time, in consequence of serious offence which had been taken by two or three old men, who tried to force themselves into our encampment; one of whom, when resisted by the sentry, spat in his face, and went off in a violent passion, muttering to himself, and every now and then turning round to make angry gesticulations at the man who had very quietly, but firmly, prevented his encroachment. In consequence of this incident, and other symptoms of a disposition to try their strength, having more then 300 men to face 30, Captain Fitzroy thought it advisable, to give them some idea of the weapons he had at command, to order his men to practise firing at a mark. They eagerly watched this proceeding, and talked earnestly to each other as successful shots were made at the target, which was intentionally placed so that they could see the effect of the balls. At sunset they went away as usual, but looking very grave and still talking. The next day all of them prepared to depart, every canoe was set in motion, and even Jemmy's own family quitted the place without a word of explanation.
Whether an attack was meditated, and they were removing the women and children previous to a general assembly of the men for hostile purposes, or whether they had been frightened by the report of the guns, could not be ascertained; but thinking the latter by far the most probable, Captain Fitzroy decided to take the opportunity of their departure to give Matthews his first trial of passing a night at the new wigwams.
No distance breaks the ties of blood,
Parents are parents evermore;
Nor wrong, nor wrath of deadliest mood,
That magic may o'erpower.
No distance breaks the ties of blood,|
Brothers are Brothers evermore;
Nor wrong, nor wrath of deadliest mood,
That magic may o'erpower.
Oft, ere the common source be known,
The kindred drops will claim their own,
And throbbing pulses silently
Move heart to heart by sympathy.
So is it with true Christian hearts;|
Their mutual share in Jesus' blood
An everlasting bond imparts
Of holiest brotherhood.
So is it with true Christian hearts;
Their mutual share in Jesus' blood
An everlasting bond imparts
Of holiest brotherhood.
Oh! might we all our lineage prove,|
Give and forgive, do good, and love;
By soft endearments in kind strife,
Lightening the load of human life.
Oh! might we all our lineage prove,
Give and forgive, do good, and love;
By soft endearments in kind strife,
Light'ning the load of human life.
—From Churchman's P. Magazine for June 1856.§
Then draw we nearer day by day,|
Each to his brethren, all to God;
Let the world take us as it may,
We must not leave, nor change our road.
In A Supplement to All Hymn Books. London, 1850: Adams & King; p. 41. §
§ Presumably, The Churchman's Monthly Penny Magazine.
§ The apparent original verse, from which the 1856 version at left was derived.
In the evening, Matthews and his party—Jemmy, York, and Fuegia—went to their abode in the new wigwams. In the one made for Matthews, Jemmy also took up his quarters at first. It was high and roomy for such a construction. The space overhead was divided by a floor of boards, brought from the ship; and there most of Matthews' stores were now placed; but the most valuable articles were deposited in a box, which was hid in the ground underneath the wigwam, where fire could not reach.
The absence of the natives, every one of whom had decamped at the time, gave a good opportunity for landing the larger tools belonging to Matthews, and placing them within or beneath his wigwam, without fear of their being covetously eyed; and, after all had been comfortably arranged, the Beagle left the place, and sailed some miles to the southward. It was thought desirable to leave Matthews for a few days, in order to test the practicability of his remaining on the island; and the opportunity seemed a good one, especially as York and Jemmy entertained not the slightest doubt of all the natives being inclined to treat them well.
During the four days in which the settlement had been effected, when surrounded by so many of the natives, but few thefts had been committed. One man was seen talking to Jemmy Button, while another picked his pocket of a knife, and even the wary York lost something. But from Fuegia they did not take a single article; on the contrary, their kindness to her was remarkable, and among the women she was quite a pet.
The officers of the Beagle felt exceedingly anxious about Matthews; and early the next morning the boats were again steered towards Woollya. Some of the sailors prophesied that they would not again see him alive; and, consequently, it was with no slight joy that Captain Fitzroy caught sight of him, as his boat rounded a point of land, carrying a kettle to the fire near his wigwam. He landed, and ascertained that nothing had occurred to damp his spirits, or in any way to check his inclination for a fair trial. Some natives had returned to the place— among them, one of Jemmy's brothers; but so far were they from showing the slightest ill-will, that nothing could be more friendly than their behaviour. Jemmy said, that these people who arrived at daylight were his friends; that his own family would come in the course of the day; and that the ‘bad men,’ the strangers, were all gone away to their own country.
A further trial was now determined upon. The Beagle was to explore some of the neighbouring channels, and then revisit Woollya, and either leave or remove Matthews, as after such a time it might seem desirable. The few days passed; the glaciers of Darwin Mountain were inspected; Cape Desolation seen in the distance; and then, through the icy seas, the Beagle returned to the inhabited part of the island.
The first sight of the natives awakened suspicious fears. They were observed at Shingle Point, all in full dress, being bedaubed with red and white paint, and ornamented, after their fashion, with feathers, and the down of geese. One of the women was noticed as being far from ill-looking; her features were regular, and, excepting a deficiency of hair on the eye-brow, and rather thick lips, the contour of her face was sufficiently good to have been mistaken for a handsome gipsy. She had on a loose dress, which had evidently belonged to Fuegia Basket. Many of the others were decorated with bits of ribbon and scraps of red cloth, apparently quite recently obtained; and there was an air of defiance about the whole of the party, which looked as though they knew harm had been done, and that they were ready to stand on the defensive, if any such attack as they expected were put into execution.
The suspicions aroused by these people hastened the movements of our English friends. They went on that evening as far as the light would admit, and at day-break next morning were steering towards Woollya. In the Murray Narrow, several natives were seen, who were ornamented with strips of tartan cloth or white linen, which was recognised as having been obtained from the poor new-comers. No questions were asked; but with a favouring wind and tide the boats hurried on, and at noon reached Woollya. Several canoes were on the beach; and as many natives seemed to be assembled as were there two days before the place had been quitted. All were much painted, and ornamented with rags of English clothing. As the boats touched the shore, the natives came hallooing and jumping around; and then the worst fears were relieved by the sight of Matthews, who came out dressed, and looking as usual. After him followed Jemmy and York. Fuegia, they said, was in a wigwam. Matthews was at once taken into one of the boats, in order that he might tell his story without interruption; Jemmy stepped into the other; York waited on the beach. Nearly all the Fuegians squatted down to watch proceedings, looking like a pack of hounds waiting for a fox to be unearthed.
It appeared that, three days after leaving Woollya, several canoes full of strangers had arrived there, and that from them Matthews had received very annoying and threatening treatment. Some of them were always on the look-out for an opportunity to snatch up and run away with some tool or article of clothing, and others spent the greater part of each day in his wigwam, asking for everything they saw, and often threatening him when he refused to comply with their wishes. More than one went out in a rage, and returned immediately with a large stone in his hand, making signs that he would kill him if he did not get what he wanted. Sometimes a party of them gathered round him, and, if he had nothing to give them, teased him by pulling the haur of his face, pushing him about, and making mouths at him. His only partizans were the women. Now and then he left Jemmy to guard the hut, and went to the natives' wigwams, where the women always received him kindly, making room for him by their fire, and giving him a share of whatsoever food they had without asking for anything in return. The men never took the trouble of going with him on these visits, their attention being engrossed by tools, clothes, and crockery ware. Fortunately, the most valuable part of Matthews' own things were underground in a cave, unsuspected by the natives, and other large tools were hidden overhead in the roof of his hut. York and Fuegia fared very well, they lost nothing; but Jemmy was sadly plundered even by his own family. The garden, upon which much labour had been bestowed, had been trampled over repeatedly, although Jemmy had done his best to explain its object, and prevent people from walking there. When questioned about it, he looked very sorrowful, and with a slow shake of the head said, ‘My people very bad—great fools—know nothing at all—very great fool.’
These circumstances led to the decision that Matthews could not safely remain among such a set of savages as he found the Fuegians to be. With some difficulty, his property was secured in the face of a hundred eager spectators; and, distributing among them some useful articles as presents, he bade Jemmy and York farewell, promising to see them again shortly, and departed from the wondering throng assembled on the beach. According to promise, in a few days the encampment was again visited. Jemmy was still in trouble, yhe people having stolen his things; but York and Fuegia had contrived to take care of theirs. Fuegia looked clean and tidily dressed; and by her wigwam was a canoe which York was building out of planks left for him from the ship. The garden was uninjured, and some of the vegetables had begun to sprout. Jemmy's mother came down to the boat, decently clothed by her son's care. He promised to take her and his younger brother to his wigwam; and, finding them all getting contented and happy, they were again left with rather sanguine hopes that they might be the means of effecting among their countrymen some change for the better.
More than a year elapsed after this before any further tidings could be gained of our protegés. It was not until the 5th March 1834, that the Beagle again anchored in Woollya. But few natives appeared as she sailed along; probably they were alarmed at the ship, and did not show themselves. The wigwams built for York, Jemmy, and Fuegia were found empty, though uninjured; the garden had been trampled over, but some turnips and potatoes of moderate size were pulled up and eaten—a proof that they may be grown in that region. Not a living soul was visible anywhere; the wigwams seemed to have been deserted many months; and an anxious hour or two passed, after the ship was moored, before the canoes were seen in the offing, paddling hastily from the place now called Button Island. ‘Looking through a glass,’ writes Captain Fitzroy, ‘I saw two of the natives in them were washing thdr faces, while the rest were paddling with might and main. I was then sure that some of our acquaintance were there, and in a few minutes recognised Tommy Button, Jemmy's brother. In the other canoe was a face which I knew, yet could not name. It most be some one I have seen before, said I, when his sharp eye detected me, and the sudden movement of the hand to his head (as a sailor touches his hat) at once told me it was indeed Jemmy Button—but how altered!’
Oh I faint not! does the seaman hope,
While storms and tempests rave,
Though ere the light of morning dawn
The wave may be his grave!
And thou, whose bliss is based on high,
Which will not, cannot fail,
Despond and doubt the truth of Heaven,
When foes and fears assail?
Oh! faint not, gather yet thy strength,
Press onwards for the prize;
That beacon light, the Word of God,
Shall lead thee to the skies.
Fix'd on that chart, the storm may rage,
Thy spirit braves the blast!
Firm on that rock, let sorrow come,
Thy spirit rests at last.
Poor Jemmy's miserable appearance attracted great sympathy. He was naked, like his companions, except a bit of skin about his loins; his hair was long and matted, just like theirs; he was wretchedly thin, and his eyes were affected by smoke. The sailors hurried him below, clothed him immediately, and in half an hour he was sitting at dinner with Captain Fitzroy in the cabin, using his knife and fork properly, and in every way behaving as correctly as if he had never left the ship. He spoke as much English as ever, and it was surprising to hear how all his relatives mixed broken English words in their talkng with him. Jemmy looked ill, but he said he was ‘hearty—never better;’ that he had not been ill even for a day, was happy and contented, and had no wish whatever to change his way of life. He said he got ‘plenty fruits,’ ‘plenty birdies,’ ‘ten guanaco in snow time,’ and ‘too much fish.’
Attention was soon drawn to a young woman (good-looking for a Fuegian) who remained in his canoe, and who, though he said nothing about her, was guessed to be his wife. As soon as this became known, shawls, handkerchiefs, and a gold-laced cap appeared, with which she was speedily decorated; but fears had been excited for her husband's safe return to her, and no finery could stop her crying until Jemmy showed himself on deck. While he was below, his brother Tommy called out, in a loud tone, ‘Jemmy Button, canoe come!’ After some time the three canoes went ashore laden with presents, and their owners promised to come again early the next morning.
Jemmy returned in time for breakfast, and had then an opportunity of telling Captain Fitzroy his story. It was to this effect. Not long after the departure of the Beagle in February 1883, the much-dreaded Oens-men came in numbers overland to Woollya, obliged Jemmy's tribe to escape to the small islands, and carried off every valuable which his party had not time to remove. They had doubtless heard of the houses and property left there, and hastened to seize upon it like other ‘borderers.’
Until this time York had appeared to be settled, and quite at ease, but he had been employed about a suspiciously large canoe, just finished when the inroad was made. He saved this canoe—indeed escaped in it, and aftewards induced Jemmy and his family to accompany him ‘to look at his land.’ They went together in four canoes (York's large one and three others) as far west as Devil Island, at the junction of the north-west and south-west arms of the Beagle Channel, where they met York's brother and some others of the Alikhoolip tribe; and, while Jemmy was asleep, all the Alikhoolip party stole off, taking nearly all Jemmy's things, and leaving him in his original condition. York's fine canoe was evidently not built for transporting himself alone; and it was Captain Fitzroy's opinion that the meeting with his brother was not accidental, but that, on the contrary, from the time of his changing his mind, and desiring to be placed at Woollya with Matthews and Jemmy, he meditated taking a good opportunity of possessing himself of everything; and that he thought, if he were left in his own country without Matthews, he would not have many things given to him, neither would he know where he might afterwards look for and plunder poor Jemmy. Jemmy said, ‘York too much jaw,’ ‘pick up big stones,’ ‘all men afraid.’ Fuegia, he said, seemed to be very happy, and quite contented with her lot when she decamped with York—she was dressed as usual, and looking well.
As Mr Bynoe, the Beagle's surgeon, who was a great favourite with Jemmy, was walking about on shore, Jemmy and his brother pointed out to him the places where the tents had been pitched in 1833, where the boundary line was, and where every particular occurrence had happened. He said he had watched day after day for the sprouting of the peas, beans, and other vegetables, but that his countrymen walked over them without heeding anything he said. Since the last depredations of the Oens-men he had not ventured to live any longer in Woollya, his own island—as he called his present home—affording safer refuge, and sufficient food. These Oens-men crossed over the Beagle Channel, from Eastern Tierra del Fuego, in canoes which they seized from the Yapoo Tekeenica. To avoid being separated, they fastened several canoes together, crossed over in a body, and, when once landed, travelled overland, and came upon his people by surprise from the heights behind Woollya. Jemmy asserted that he himself killed one of his enemies.
Such was the finale of poor Jemmy's history; and, as nothing more could be done for him, he was left in his own home, loaded with presents, to fight his way, without further help, through the vicissitudes of savage life. It was decided that Matthews could not be safely left on the island without some more adequate protection. Captain Fitzroy thus closes his interesting account of the Fuegian natives:—
‘It was generally remarked, that Jemmy's family were become considerably more humanized than any savages we had seen in Tierra del Fuego; that they put confidence in us; were pleased by our return; that they were ready to do what we could explain to be for their interest; and, in short, that the first step towards civilization— that of obtaining their confidence—was undoubtedly made; but an individual with limited means could not then go further. The whole scheme of establishing a missionary, with the Fuegians who were in England, among their countrymen, was on too small a scale, although so earnestly assisted by many kind friends. I cannot still help hoping that some benefit, however slight, may result from the intercourse of these people (Jemmy, York, and Fuegia) with other natives of Tierra del Fuego.
‘That Jemmy felt sincere gratitude, is, I think, proved by his having so carefully preserved two fine otter skins as presents to two members of our party; by his asking me to carry a bow and quiver full of arrows to the schoolmaster of Walthamstow, with whom he lived; by his having made two spear-heads expressly for Mr Darwin; and by the pleasure he showed at seeing us all again.’
From Captain Sullivan [sic, Sulivan] the writer gained the following sequel to Fuegia Basket's history. Not many years since, a party of English sailors landed on the coast of Tierra del Fuego. To their surprise, a woman, decently clad, accosted them with the familiar phrase, ‘How do you do?’ ‘How do you do?’ The men exclaimed, ‘What do you know about “How do you do?” ’ She then explained to them, in English, who she was; said she had seen London, etc. etc.; and discovered herself to be none other than the former ‘little Fuegia.’ No more of her has been heard; but this fact is sufficient to prove that her English education was not, after the lapse of many years, entirely forgotten, nor her friendly feeling towards Englishmen quenched; and it revives the hope that, even yet, she may be brought within the reach of further efforts for her good. Her age at the present time (December 1854), if she is still living, has not reached forty years, and Jemmy is but little her senior. It may be that the fulfilment of the Divine promise may yet be seen attending the benevolent efforts of those who planned the amelioration of these poor neglected children of the one human family. ‘Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shalt find it after many days.’§
§ Sulivan's remark—reported by Darwin in the 1845 edition of his Journal—that Fuegia “lived some days onboard” a sealing vessel is here conspicuous by its absence.
Will it not be a worthy enterprise to search for the hidden growth, and cast fresh seed upon the barren soil, in faith that the Lord will give the increase?
‘O! spread the joyful sound,
The Saviour's love proclaim,
And publish all around
Salvation through his name,
Till the whole world take up the strain,
And send the echo back again.'§
§ Fourth verse of untitled poem by James J. Cummins, 1839. Text below presumably added by Leslie.
The last chapter concludes the history of the Fuegian party; but there is added a sequel, which it is hoped may be read with interest and thankfulness. Captain Fitzroy ‘cast the bread upon the waters, which has been found after many days’ (even twenty-one years). Let none doubt the fulfilment of God's promises, however long delayed.
In October 1854, a new missionary ship, called the ‘Allen Gardiner,’ commanded by Captain Snow, sailed from England for the West Falkland Island. Many of the friends of the Patagonian Mission earnestly desired that some tidings might be obtained of Jemmy Button or of his descendants. With such a hope Captain Snow sailed to Button Island in November 1855; and the wonderful discovery of Jemmy Button, and meeting with him, are described in the following chapter, taken from Captain Snow's narrative, as published in the ‘Voice of Pity’ for March 1856.
In our last number,† when speaking of Mr Schmidt's departure (he was to act as interpreter, when he had learnt the native language), we took occasion to remind our readers of the difficulty which the first missionaries to heathen lands have always found in the want of some means of holding intelligible communication with the natives; while, at the same time, we took courage from remembering the fact, that God has hitherto cleared away these difficulties from before his servants in a striking manner. Even when we were writing those words, dispatches were on their way from Captain Snow, informing us of the wonderful fact, that the Lord, in a way which none else could have contrived, has, in a great measure, cleared away this difficulty from the path of our mission.
† See vol. iii., No. 2, 1856, of ‘The Voice of Pity’ [volume not yet located].
Some twenty-five years ago, a poor Fuegian lad, named Jemmy Button, because he was purchased for a button, was brought over to England by Captain Fitzroy, with a few other natives of Tierra del Fuego. He remained at Walthamstow for nearly two years,§ and was there partially educated, and then sent home to his native land, having acquired the English language. Who could have ventured to predict that this circumstance would be the means, five and twenty years afterwards, of greatly lessening the chief difficulty in the way of evangelizing that dark heathen land? Yet so we may safely hope it may be, as appears from the following narrative by Captain Snow, of the Allen Gardiner's visit to the Beagle Channel in November 1855:—
§ Actually, about 14 months; 14 October, 1830-27 December, 1831.
‘At 1 p.m. (November 1) we got a breeze, and having cast off the canvas, away we went, under a crowd of sail, for the entrance of that part of Beagle Channel which leads to Woollya. In a short time we had neared the Murray Rapids [sic, Narrow]; and now Button Island was quite close, and the hills over Woollya in sight. Hopes or fears were at last to be realized; and deeply grateful I felt in being permitted to get thus far.
‘As I stood by Button Island, towards Woollya, large numbers of the natives were observed on shore, and several canoes; but, at first, none ventured off. The idea, however, struck me, that if Jemmy Button still lived, he might perhaps be on this island, instead of at Woollya; and to give him, as I hoped, some knowledge of who and what we were, I had the British colours run up to the mast-head. No sooner were they displayed, and floating in the air, than I could see one or two of the canoes hastily paddling towards us, while at least some hundred natives were clustering in groups, around their large fires, upon various eminences, in a bay we were passing. I was, as may be supposed, very anxious.
Otherwise untitled frontispiece illustration, with “p. 59” referring to the page where Jemmy Button boards the Allen Gardiner.
‘I did not, however, shorten sail until one of the canoes, outstripping the others, came within hail; and even then, it was so close in shore, I only deadened the ship's way for a moment, as I stood on the raised platform aft, and sang out to the natives, “Jemmy Button, Jemmy Button.” To my infinite amazement and great joy—almost rendering me voiceless for the moment—an answer came from one of the four men in the canoe, “Yes, yes, Jam-es Button; Jam-es Button!” at the same time pointing to the second canoe, which had nearly got alongside. To down with the helm, throw the ship up in the wind, shorten sail, call all hands, who were getting their supper, and put the vessel's head in the bay towards Button Island, was but the work of an instant; and for that instant, so extraordinary did that English tongue, from a native, sound upon my ear, that I was unable to prevent a momentary confusion. My wife, Mr Phillips, and the officers, rushed on deck from their tea; and for a moment or so, I believe so utterly astonished were we ,all at such a sudden realization of our most sanguine wishes—and here instead of at Woollya, as I had expected—that there was no one on board but felt nearly struck dumb. In another second or two, Jemmy Button, the very man himself—the protegé of Captain Fitzroy—the one upon whom our mission rests so much of its hopes, was alongside well and hearty, and giving me a welcome in broken words of my own tongue! The next instant he was on board the ‘Allen Gardiner,’ shaking hands as heartily and friendly as if he had known us for years. Previous to his coming on deck, seeing that we had no accommodation ready for him to get up the ship's side, he sang out, “Where's the ladder?” “Jam-es Button, me;” and we had to throw him a rope to mount by, getting the ladder rigged immediately afterwards. The great excitement his arrival produced was shown by the crew in various ways, expressive of boundless astonishment. Yes, it was indeed most strange and fortunate; and you who feel, as we did, the Almighty's hand in it, cannot fail to acknowledge it likewise, as we did! Perhaps there may be some who say. What fuss about a Fuegian savage speaking a few words of English! But to such I would say. Not so, my friend. Pause and reflect before you utter such a remark! Think of the hopes of the Mission; ask yourself whether this may not be the grain of mustard-seed, originally sown by Captain Fitzroy, matured by kind teachers in England, and yet to be watered and cultivated by the Patagonian Missionary Society, until it becomes a goodly tree, under the branches of which many shall take shelter.
‘Directly I recovered my astonishment, I asked Jemmy where I could bring the ship to anchor; but, though he understood and answered me, saying, ‘Good place here, up there, ’ he appeared to be evidently so affected and confused, as to be unable for a while to reply to the many questions pouring in upon him. I therefore left him to himself for a minute or two, while, attended by a dozen or so of canoes filled with a crowd of gaping natives, I brought the ship to an anchor in the bay, rather too near a rocky projection, which was, however, the only place where, in the excitement created, I could find good holding ground. As soon as the ship was secured I returned to my interesting visitor. Here was the very man, who, twenty-five years ago, was received as a boy into Captain Fitzroy's boat near this spot, brought by him to England, educated at Walthamstow by the Rev. Mr Wilson, and finally returned to his native home, in the hope, as the good Captain himself expresses it, “that some benefit, however slight, may result from the intercourse of these people (Jemmy and the three others brought from another quarter to England at the same time) with other natives from Tierra del Fuego. Perhaps a shipwrecked seaman may hereafter receive help and kindness from Jemmy Button's children, prompted, as they can hardly fail to be, by the traditions they will have heard of men of other lands, and by an idea, however faint, of their duty to God as well as their neighbour.” And now this very man, after an absence of twenty-one years, is once more among the countrymen of those who had treated him so kindly! He, as well as ourselves, must necessarily have been much affected; he would call to mind many things, as it was evident he did, by his tongue as it were being loosened, and words after a moment's thought coming to his memory, expressive of what he wished to say. There was no connected talk from him, but broken remarks and short inquiries in our language, which showed he had never forgotten it; and, as it appeared, had not omitted teaching his wife and children. “Ingliss countrie; flag; yes; me know; very good; Capt. Fitzroy; Byno; Bennet; Walthamstow; Wilson; very pretty bird (a canary I had in the cabin); my wife very good looks; bright coloured (alluding to her rosy countenance); all good in Ingliss countrie; long way off; me sick in hammock; very bad; big water sea; want braces” (this when I gave him a pair of trousers to put on); and many such observations fell from his lips. Jemmy (he calls himself Jam-us Button) was easily recognised, as also his brothers, from the resemblance given of him in Captain Fitzroy's Narrative. He was, as on that gentleman's second visit in 1834, quite naked, having his hair long and matted, and his eyes affected by smoke. The same words used by Captain Fitzroy to describe him are applicable now, even to the wife, who was also (this being his second wife, and very young) “good looking,” and seemed to be much attached to her husband and children. Indeed, when Jemmy had been on board some little time, and in the cabin out of sight, Mrs Button's calls for him were loud and frequent; “Jam-us, Jam-us,” said she, at the same time rapping hard against the ship's side with a paddle. Jemmy was soon equipped in some of my own clothes, and speedily he was sitting at a table eating from a plate, and using his knife and fork as we are accustomed to use them. The opportunity was not lost by me for obtaining some information from him as to the language spoken by his people; and, by trying several words, I found that the Tekeenica column of words in the vocabulary contained in Captain Fitzroy's Appendix to his Narrative, is the correct key; and by it, therefore, so far as it goes, communication can be held with the natives in these parts, though not with the Yappo Tekeenicas at Banner Cove and neighbourhood. Another supposed difficulty, therefore, is, I may venture to say, removed to the path of the Mission; and again I may remark, that I believe there is now a great opening for letting in a flood of light upon this hitherto darkened land.
‘Jemmy Button has two brothers and an uncle, has had two wives, and a family of three children grown up, and one quite young. One of his sons is married, and his daughter, though still very young, is betrothed to a man old enough to be her father. This girl I should suppose to be about fourteen years of age; she is mild and gentle in her appearance, but, like her mother, deformed in the legs and dwarfish. Jemmy's brothers are fine-featured men; but the whole tribe seemed to me inferior in physical qualities to those in Beagle Channel and eastward. No one attempted to get up the ship's side until permission was obtained from me through Jemmy; and though such a great number of natives in their canoes were around us, yet they remained as quiet and peaceable as if we had previously obtained some power over them. Jemmy told me about Matthews, and “bad fellow” York, who, with his wife Fuegia Basket, was “gone long time to other countrie.” At Woollya, he said, “sometime plenty fight; nother [sic, other] countrymen come there; now no feels (fields) for eat, but good feels for look” (meaning, nothing growing there, but might be made grow, as the ground is good, etc. etc.) “He never live there now, only a little time; but by and by he go over to Woollya and look again.” “Spose I come, praps I find him there; I tell Bennet, Captain Fitzroy, Mr Wilson, he remember them; Ingliss countrie very good; Ingliss countrie long way; much water; make sick; plenty hammock;" and this he several times repeated. He said, “when I hoisted the Ingliss flag he knew good ship, and he come to see.” He distinctly intimated that no vessel had been there since Captain Fitzroy, but I am inclined to think he misunderstood my question. He asked my name and wife's; also the ship; wanted a book; and I therefore gave him one of the proper character, with some plain tracts, a “Voice of Pity,” mentioning something of her object, and I wrote a few other particulars. My clothes were small for him, as he is a somewhat portly, corpulent man. He would make in his appearance, if dressed, a capital, bold, manly-looking English man-of-war's man; but neither he or his people seem to like the sea. We must visit them; and this I promised to do in a few weeks' time.
‘At sunset, the whole party with Jemmy left the vessel to its own quiet, and through the night nothing disturbed the watch but the barking of the dogs. The next morning, exactly as the sun began to rise. Jemmy came off again, and was speedily followed by even a greater number of canoes than on the previous evening. My time, however, was now short; for many reasons I could no longer remain. The weather, though calm, was threatening; and it was all-important that I should, if possible, complete my cruise, and, above all things, impart the tidings that Jemmy Button was alive. I told him that I must go; and he regretted it; asked me to come back again, but would not himself accompany me, or persuade any others to do so. I therefore loaded him with presents, such as blankets, shirts, an axe, clasp-knife (these he asked for very earnestly), and several other things; and then, after another chat, an affecting farewell—kind on the part of all the natives—I saw them off, tripped my anchor, made all sail, and was towed out of Button Cove.’
Help us, dear reader, to give God thanks for this great encouragement; and pray with us that the hopes thus excited may, in His own good time, be fully realized.
‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth § for thy possession.’—Ps. ii. 8. Read to end of Psalm.
§ Acts 1:8 in King James Bible; possibly the source of Lucas Bridges' Uttermost Part of the Earth title for his book.
Oh! give, because thou lovest Him
Who died thy soul to save,
Who washed thee in His precious blood,
And All thy blessings gave!
Give all the glory unto God,
And to his glory live!
A sacrifice of love to Him
Thy soul and body give!
Then turn thee to thy fellow-man,
His wretchedness behold,
Worn down by poverty and pain,
And misery untold!
Millions of heathen crave thy help,
In the true riches poor;
While hundreds pine in want and woe,
E'en at thy very door.
Oh! give not with a niggard hand,
Nor with a grudging heart;
That which thou freely hast received,
With bounteousness impart!
Thou shalt be rich in orphan's love,
The poor shall bless thy name!
Where wilt thou find reward more sweet –
More satisfying fame?
It may be but the widow's mite,
It may be but a smile,
Yet it may ease some heavy heart,
Some sufferer's pain beguile!
Offer the prayer of faith, and thou
Shalt a rich donor be,
Blest and rewarded by the God
Who seeth secretly.
Deny thyself that thou may'st give,
So shall thy simple fare
Be sweeter to thy happy soul
Than dainties rich and rare.
Oh! may'st thou know how blest it is
For others' weal to live;
Thy pleasure in thy Saviour's smile,
Thy luxury—to give!
Oh! give to Gentile and to Jew,
To heathen and to poor;
Lay up thy treasure in that world
Where treasures shall endure!
Water, and thou shalt water'd be!
Give, and it shall he given!
Sow far and wide, that thou may'st keep
Thy harvest-home in heaven!—Humilis.§
—From Churchman's P. Magazine (June, 1856).
§ The Blessedness of Giving” reprinted in Selections in Poetry;
Lancaster: J. & J. Barwick, 1863 (pp.141-143).
The friends of this Mission will learn with pleasure, that commnnications of an important and interesting character have recently been received from the party at Keppel Island. From these it appears that the ‘ Allen Gardiner’ has just returned from her first trip to Tierra del Fuego, where she visited Spaniard Harbour, the scene of Captain Gardiner's sufferings and death; Earnest Cove, Banner Cove, Picton Island, and other places, whose names have become familiar through their association with the earlier efforts of the Mission. During the whole period the Allen Gardiner remained on the coast, the party on board maintained constant intercourse with the natives, and met from them the greatest good-will and kindness. Not the least interesting incident of the cruise was the discovery of ‘Jemmy Button.’ Jemmy was one of a party of Fuegians who were brought to this country some twenty-five years ago, by Captain Fitzroy, of H.MS. Beagle, and who were remarkable for the surprising knowledge they acquired, during the two years they were absent from their own country, of English and other languages. Though, until now, he has not been heard of for many years, Jemmy still retains his acquaintance with our language, and has taught it to all his family. Surely we may mark in this an over-ruling hand, working out, as we trust it will prove, most important results. Whether viewed in its probable results, in securing the confidence and good-will of the natives, or as affording an immediate channel of communication with them, the value of this discovery can hardly be over-estimated.
Other circumstances, too, impress us with the belief that Fuegia is ripening to the harvest. But a few years ago. Captain Nicholls, from personal acquaintance, writes, ‘A deeper depth of degradation than the state in which the unfortxmate Fuegians exist, cannot, I think, be found anywhere.’ A gentleman, who engaged in traffic with these same people so recently as the past summer, describes them as a harmless and inoffensive people, anxious for fair traffic, especiallj in the article of clothing, and more particularly of children's clothing. This same gentleman fonnd, on the opposite side of the Magellan Straits, a Patagonian speaking English, for whom search will be made whenever practicable. The present circumstances of the Mission, and the bright prospects which, through the goodness of God, appear to be opening up for it, form a happy contrast to the misfortunes and disasters of the past, and should do much to animate the hopes and excite the zealous cooperation of all its friends.—Copied from an Edinburgh Newspaper. dated 23d February 1856.
Have not our prayers been heard on high?
Have they in vain been made?
The wilderness doth not rejoice—
The desert still is sad.
Oh! shame on us! in unbelief distressed;
Behold! a small cloud rises in the west!
The cloud arises! yes! 'tis there!
But must not there remain;
Brethren! arise! join praise to prayer—
It must descend in rain.
Oh! supplicate again the Lord of Heaven,
To perfect what He has already given.
The cloud is rising! Fuegia rise!
Aroucan, lone and weary!
And Patagonia, lift thine eyes,
And see thy plains so dreary.
Burst into bloom with everlasting flowers,
And soothed with genial dews and gentle showers!
The cloud is rising! Jesus we adore!
But will be bold in faith, and ask for more.—T. A. G.
—From Voice of Pity, for August 1856.
‘Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.’
Eph. v. 8.
‘Let there be light,’ Jehovah said,—
The beam awoke, the light obey'd;
Bursting on chaos dark and wild,
Till glad earth and ocean smiled.
Formless, and void, and dark as night,
My heart remain'd, till heavenly light,
Obedient to the word divine,
On my dark soul began to shine.
Light broke upon my rayless tomb,
The day-star rose upon my gloom;
And, with its gentle new-bom ray,
Brightened my darkness into day.
Glory to Thee, by all be given;
Of light the light, in earth and heaven;
Of joys the joy; of suns the sun,—
Jesus, the Father's chosen One.—H. Bonab, D.D.
To the Friends of the Patagonian Mission this humble effort to assist the Mission is earnestly commended. May they ‘broad-cast it’ over the land.
To those who are not its friends, and who are as yet unacqaainted with the undertaking, I offer the following sketch, taken from various original sources,—hoping thereby to awaken their sympathy, prayers, and active assistance.
Patagonia! Where is Patagonia? Well, many have asked the same question. Will you, dear reader, take the map of South America, and at its most southern point you will find this benighted land; and to the south-east lies Tierra del Fuego—literally, the Land of Fire—so called, from the rapidity with which the Fuegians produce their signal fires, which in their wet climate is astonishing. It may be described as a sterile place,—inhabited by barbarians, who possess no religion, know no God, and are sunk in total ignorance. They have an idea of a bad spirit, whom they try to propitiate. The men are, for the most part, tyrants, to whom the women are as slaves; and they may be deemed cannibals. They prefer, in time of need, to eat the old women rather than their dogs, as the latter are useful for hunting, or helpful in bringing in the game.§
§ Apparently the writer had read FitzRoy's account of what Jemmy Button told him about this practice.
Such was the land, to enlighten which, a small band of dauntless men heroically devoted themselves; and to draw from darkness into marvellous light its degraded inhabitants, they encountered every danger, endeavoured to surmount every difficulty, and at last, woeful is the tale, they laid down their lives in the cause, and all appeared lost—all hope was over—and—no! the Christian desponds not #8212;even in death; is there no hope of a resurrection? And so the death of these seven brave Christian men, who died from starvation, may prove the seed of a glorious harvest, which the angels of God may gather in with joy.
Scotland has had its noble race of martyrs; and their blood, has it not hallowed the very ground of this beloved and privileged country,—so that Rutherfurd has said, that almost its every mountain had ‘been flowered with martyrs?’ Is not ‘the blood of the martyrs the seed of the Church?’ And are there not a mighty people still left among us, who show forth that they are peculiarly blessed, and kept by the power of God? Can the blood of God's elect ever be shed in vain?
Children of my loved father-land! turn not a deaf ear, or a hard heart, to the call of those who are lying in the shadow of eternal death, but aid those who are gone with their lives in their hands to help once more the cruel, degraded, and otherwise lost, barbarians of Patagonia. Surely, it is the Lord's work; and will you not deem it an honour and privilege to step forward to help the work of the Lord? In your energy, strength, zeal, and amiableness, you are ever ready to help your fellow-creatures. Will you not employ these gifts in the service of the Giver? Will you not ‘come to the help of the Lord against the mighty?’ Delay not. Time is short. The day is hastening when the silver cord must be loosed, and the golden bowl be broken, and there will be no more work done ‘beneath the circuit of the sun.’
This is the season to prove all things. Prove, then, your faith by your works. Prove that you have not only the form of godliness, but the power thereof. Oh! let that commendation rest upon you—‘She hath doth done what she could.’
‘The heathen perish; day by day,
Thousands on thousands pass away,
Oh! Christians, to their rescue fly,
Preach Jesus to them ere they die.
‘Wealth, talent, labour, freely give,
Yea! life, if they may also live.
What hath your Saviour done for you,
And what for Him should you not do?
‘Oh! Spirit of the Lord, go forth;
Call in the south, wake up the north;
Of every clime, from sun to sun,
Gather God's children into one.’
In Jemmy Button's remembrance of English for twenty-five years, an acquired language, may we not trace the hand of Providence, especially when contrasted in the remarkable instance of Dr Livingstone, having almost forgotten his native tongue, during his residence in Africa, in sixteen years? This is not, however, a solitary instance, as the writer of this can with truth affirm, that two other persons, in about the same period spent in Scotland, could no longer speak the language of their childhood.
‘The wonderful aptness to acquire the sounds of a foreign language (which the Patagonians do not possess), marks the poor despised Fuegians as instruments fitted thus far to be the future evangelists to the polyglot tribes of South America.
‘We might even venture to say that they seem under preparation for receiving the Gospel; for, when Captain Gardiner and his party landed at Banner Cove, and consecrated it as a mission station, with prayer, reading a psalm, and singing the doxology, the natives, who had been previously troublesome, became quiet, and even joined in their psalmody. Afterwards, when the natives were advancing with hostile intent against Captain Gardiner and his party of three, and beheld the missionaries on their knees praying to God for protection, they were awed, their countenances underwent an evident change, and they turned about and went back. These prepossessions in favour of the white man's religion, are, to say the least, very remarkable in people who have no object of religious worship of their own, who adore neither God nor teraphim.’
‘Captain Allen Gardiner took up the idea that the men of South America, having never been compelled to make profession of the Roman Catholic tenets, were more open than they would otherwise have been to the reception of Gospel truth; and was almost prepared to consider that they had, in the course of Providence, been preserved a distinct people, that this blessing might be bestowed upon them,—that they had been preserved from Popery, in order that they might be delivered from heathenism.’—From Hope Deferred, not Lost.
† The following is chiefly extracted from Mr Williams' Memoirs, by James Hamilton, D.D.
The late Duke of Wellington was once asked, I believe, by a Clergyman, ‘Is it not a hopeless attempt to evangelize India?’ To which the ‘iron Duke’ replied, ‘Look to your standing orders. Do you not find there the command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature?” ’ To which may be added God's promise to His blessed Son, ‘All nations shall serve Him.’
There was a Christian officer of the British navy, whose attention had been especially directed to the South American Indians, and at great personal hazard he took repeated journeys of exploration among them. His object was to discover an opening for the introduction of the Gospel; but he found them so suspicious of strangers, and on every side so hemmed in by Spanish Popery, that he came to the conclusion that little could be effected till the local governments became more tolerant, and a better understanding was established betwixt the independent Indians and their white neighbours.
However, one region appeared more practicable. This was the extreme south of the American mainland. There were no Romish priests in Patagonia, and scarcely any commencement of European settlements. The Patagonians were a race of good capacity; and, should the truth once find a lodgement amongst them, it might be thence transmitted northward, without needing to cross the barrier which Popery had thrown around the coast.
Full of this benevolent project, Captain Gardiner came to England. So intent was he on the execution of his plan, that he was willing to devote to it not only his life and property, but to take with him his wife and family, and establish his future home in Patagonia.
Meanwhile, a small committee was formed at Brighton, with Sir Thomas Bloomfield as the treasurer; and in December 1844, Captain Gardiner, accompanied by Mr Hunt, a missionary catechist, set sail for Cape Gregory; but the experiment failed. The inveterate thieving propensities of the natives, and the daily increasing risk of violence, rendered a longer sojourn on shore impossible; and, after a month of anxiety and danger, the Captain and his companion were glad to take refuge on ship-board, and return to England.
What he had experienced at Cape Gregory, convinced Captain Gardiner that it would not be safe for any missionary party to put itself entirely in the power of the natives. Therefore, he proposed that a decked boat should be provided, into which the missionaries might retreat when needful; and, as farther researches had led him to prefer Tierra del Fuego to the Patagonian mainland, in this vessel they would be able to follow, from island to island, the migrations of the restless inhabitants.
Early in 1848 a trial was made; but so imperfect were the means at the disposal of Captain Gardiner, that he found it impossible to persevere. Accordingly, he again returned to England.
But the South American Indians had seized upon the imagination and the heart of Captain Gardiner, and he would allow his friends no rest till they gave him a fair and final opportunity. Far away as Fuego was, and few as were its hungry barbarians, he could plead their relative importance. Guiana excepted, of all that mighty continent no other spot was accessible to Protestant missions. It was the Gibraltar of the South Pacific, and it was of no small consequence to our mariners to people with friendly occupants the Straits of Magellan and the coasts in the rear of Cape Horn. Above all, it was the only avenue attainable to the vast tribes of the interior—the tenants of the Andes, and the fierce nomads of the Pampas; and, as Popery had closed the main gates against the Gospel, it was of paramount urgency to seize and keep open this postern.
The representations of this heroic evangelist again produced their impression, and his own self-devotion was more affecting than any argument. He put his life into the venture; others gave their money; one lady contributed £1000; a new committee was constructed; meetings were held; circulars were issued. Two launches, twenty-six feet long, were built—the one as a floating mission-house, the other as a store-ship and magazine, with two small boats as tenders. An advertisement was inserted in the religious newspapers inviting catechists to join the expedition; and for the manning of the boats a few suitable seamen were selected.†
†A full account of these proceedings will be found in the ‘Narrative of Missionary Effort in South America,’ by the Rev. George Pakenham Despard, B.A.
To this advertisement Mr Williams was providentially directed, and he answered it in a letter addressed to Captain Gardiner; in which he writes—
‘The advertisement has struck me as presenting a singular opportunity of realizing hopes which have been long indulged—namely, of devoting my whole life and services to the cause of God. Were I to engage in such a duty (viz., as lay missionary to Tierra del Fuego), it would not be of any necessity to seek a livelihood, as I am already provided with a profession (that of a surgeon), and in the enjoyment of an income therefrom, adequate to my necessities and wishes. Indeed, if I sought for an engagement in connection with such an arduous enterprise, I should do it with a full consciousness of its requiring a sacrifice of all worldly and temporal good, sincerely reckoning all such loss to be gain; and, I hope, ready also to put even life in jeopardy, that I might serve Christ, and be in His hand an instrument, however humble, to advance His dominion.’
Mr Williams had been converted three years previously from being a sceptic and deist—he belonged to the Wesleyan Methodist communion. He had just arrived at his thirty- third year, and was single.
His letter was favourably received. The committee satisfied itself as to Mr Williams' personal worth and general qualifications; and, having passed satisfactorily an examination in theology, he was appointed, along with Mr Maidment, a catechist in the Fuegian Mission.
Such were two of the devoted men of the little band of Christians who left all to follow Christ. They sailed) in the Ocean Queen bound for San Francisco, California, on Saturday, 7th September 1850. Their party consisted of Captain Gardiner; Mr Williams and Mr Maidment, both catechists; Joseph Erwin, ship-carpenter; and three boatmen from near Penzance, viz., John Badcock, John Bryant, and John Pearce.
‘They seemed full of hope, and animated by a high and holy zeal for the great cause on which they were about to proceed; and, judging from their healthful, animated looks, they were as well adapted as any men ever were for the fatigues and privations which stared them in the face. ’ Such was Mr Ritchie's communication of their last hour at Liverpool, from whence they sailed. He was the early and ardent promoter of the mission.
From a letter written by Mr Williams to his friend Mr Jones, and dated November 5, 1850, the following is extracted:—
‘We expect to make our destination in about three weeks. On getting there, our intention is, in the first place, by the help of the crew, to dig an entrenchment around the site of our future residence, and inside of this to raise up high walls all round. This on a small islet, just big enough for the purpose, situate betwixt Picton Island and Garden Island, close to them both. The vessel, which has been rather leaky, it is intended to overhaul when we get to Picton Island; and it is probable that she will therefore stay with us a week, if not longer. As soon as she leaves, it is our intention to start also on a cruise of discovery, going for that purpose to the north-west, into Beagle Channel, and to the west of Navarin Island; and, among other places, to Woollya, the place where Jemmy Button, a Fuegian taken to England by Captain Fitzroy, was left on his return from England, after three years' absence. If we can make him out, doubtless it may prove advantageous to us. ’
The following is from Mr Williams' journal:—
‘Friday, November 29.—To-day, at half-past one a.m., we first had a sight of the mountains of Tierra del Fuego. At about half-past four Captain Gardiner awoke me, and told me the land was well in sight. I arose and went on deck. There was Tierra del Fuego sure enough; its snow-tipped mountains were looming through the vapours of the morning sky, and the land of Fuegia threw a faint, cold smile upon us. . . . We shivered, if not at the sight of it, yet with cold.
‘Saturday, November 30.—Our twelfth week at sea.
‘The following day, Sunday, was passed beating about, with the same weather (very violent squalls and a tremendous sea) prevailing; the thermometer in the cabin standing most of the day at 42° and 44° Fahr.
‘Surely Fuegia is the land of darkness, the conntry of gloom, a scene of wild desolation. Both land and climate agreed as to character—the one frowning and desolate, the other black and tempestuous. A few, and only a few, cheering smiles has the sun beamed upon us; and the cold snows on the rongh masses of Staten Island put on an unnatural appearance, and looked more and more pale under the reviving influences of the light. If such the land, and such the climate, we have reason to expect the people will not fall short of congruity with either. Well, how do I bear up under these not very flattering prospects? . . . How different is the acquaintance we get by reading, from that which we acquire by personal experience of things! In our parlours at home we do not shiver at the cold scenes we read of, but rather enjoy by contrast our present comforts. . . Have I been taken unawares? No. Have I been disappointed ? No. The hour has come; and, though I have never painted to my mind all that I should have to encounter, yet I am not any the less unprepared for the trial, because I have not to grapple with it in my own strength, nor to prepare myself for the encounter. . .
‘Wednesday, December 4.—. . . Graciously indeed has the Lord blessed me, taking away every doubt, removing every fear, confirming my hopes, and strengthening my heart. By His grace, I have been enabled cheerfully and willingly to subject myself into an entire obedience, and to yield myself up to Him, for Him to do with me whatever it pleaseth Him. I have seen clearly that all has been ordered of God, and that He will abundantly crown the work with success. Plainly have I seen that He who said, “And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come,” hath required it at our hands, to plant His Gospel in this the uttermost end of the world, . . . Now do I feel that the Lord has blessed me, and prepared me for His work, giving me the whole armour of God. Now I can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Now can I say that the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeps my heart and mind; and that
“Not a cloud doth arise
To darken my eyes.”
‘Thursday, December 5.—At eleven o'clock this morning we cast anchor in Banner Roads, having by the mercy of God arrived safe at our destination. ’
Three canoes, each with a Fuegian and his family, were observed putting off from Garden Island to meet the ‘Ocean Queen. ’ Mr Williams describes this first appearance of the Fuegians, the same date—
‘Whilst scarcely discernible with the naked eye, we heard their stentorian voices, shouting “Yammer schooner” (Give me). Amazing indeed is the power of their voice. The impression they made upon me is one that can never be effaced. It seemed incredible they could be human beings. You observed a lop-sided, strange, uncouth thing on the water, not to be called a boat, and not realizing our ideas of a canoe, but so deep that just the heads of the Fuegians could be seen in it. As these dark masses of hair, like so many mops, drew nearer, we were able to discern the features, which were indeed surprising to us. On a nearer inspection, however, I could trace in many of them—indeed, I may say in all—the lineaments of the noblest humanity, and features expressive of benevolence and generosity, though, as it were, buried deep in deplorable ignorance and abject want. . . I had taken some comfort to my mind, from the favourable aspect which the islands around as, particularly Picton and Garden Islands, presented; but now my heart swelled with emotion, full of pleasure and satisfaction, that our errand was for the purpose of imparting benefits so great and so much needed to these poor creatures. I hailed the prospect with a degree of rapture. ’
Such was the cheerful spirit with which Mr Williams surveyed the field of his destined labours. But he made its acquaintance under great advantages. Being December, it was the Antarctic mid-summer, and, like the climate, the natives wore their best faces. They wanted food and trinkets from the strangers; and as long as their visitors remained on ship-board, they were safe from tricks and violence.
‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’—1 Cor. xv. 55-57.
When ‘death is swallowed up in victory,’ then ‘Death is gain.’
‘As soon as the Ocean Queen took leave of this little Christian band, they were almost as completely imprisoned in the Fuegian islands as was Alexander Selkirk in Juan Fernandez, and to reach a Christian settlement across such turbulent seas would have been little less than a miracle. But, with a noble ardour, the leader of the expedition longed to enter on his cherished project. He knew that there were fish in the sea, and abundance of birds on the shore. He had with him provisions for six months; and, before these should be expended, he calculated on fresh supplies from England. And although none knew better the wildness of these waters, should it be found impossible to propitiate the natives, he trusted that, on some unfrequented coast, or afloat in some tranquil cove, he and his comrades might hold out till more effectual means were placed at their disposal.
‘Already, however, several elements in this calculation were annihilated. By a fearful oversight, the gunpowder was left in the ship, and it was now on its way to San Francisco; and although there were fowling-pieces and good marksmen in the party, they had less power to secure the game with which they were surrounded than the savages, who had nothing but their slings. And although they had brought with them a net,† this also they were destined to lose; so that, in a climate beyond all others requiring warm shelter and generous diet, these devoted men soon found themselves without cordials, without animal food, without dry clothing, without a single material comfort.’
† Early in June, the net, which had occasionally procured a few fishes, was carried away by the floating ice.
How they bore these sufferings—trials of various kinds, ending in sickness, famine, and death,—how they were supported, strengthened, and rejoicing in the midst of all, even unto the end,—may be fully learned by a perusal of the very interesting works, a list of which is added at the end of this volume; for the limits of this abstract oblige me to give a very shortened account of the tragic yet triumphant close.
Captain Gardiner and Mr Maidment continued to lodge at a cavern about a mile and a half from the mouth of Cook's River, where the boat containing the rest of the party was moored; and, though the distance was not great, so exhausted and weakened were they all, that they could not maintain a daily communication. But on Saturday, June 28, Captain Gardiner visited the Speedwell and in his own brief journal writes:⁸
‘Found Mr Williams and Badcock to-day very ill. Mr Williams considers the latter beyond the hope of recovery. He is most patient, leaning only upon his God. Mr Williams is certainly weaker than he has been during his long illness, and to-day spoke very incoherently. He was praying aloud, when I reached the boat, for himself and his dying companions, committing themselves to God, and rejoicing in His faithfulness and truth.’
At 11 o'clock on that same evening John Badcock died. He requested Mr Williams to join him in singing a hymn, and repeated the 202d of Wesley's collection, beginning—
‘Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice
In my behalf appears.
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.’
He sang it through with a loud voice, and a few minutes afterwards expired.
On the 4th of July, Captain Gardiner mentions, as all the provisions remaining in the cavern, ‘half a duck, about a pound of salt pork, the same of damaged tea, a pint of rice, two cakes of chocolate, and four pints of pease, to which I may add, six mice.’ From this time forward to the end of their tragic history, they had little other subsistence besides mussels and limpets, and a species of gelatinous sea-weed.
On Tuesday, July 22d, Captain Gardiner writes:—‘For six days we have had no intercourse with Cook's River, on account of the weather. . . . Mr Williams is wonderfully supported, both in body and mind. The Lord has been very gracious to him. He is exceedingly weak, but has little pain, and says that he feels even better than he has done, although now reduced to subsist on mussels. ’
On Saturday, August 23d, Joseph Erwin, the carpenter, died; and the following Tuesday terminated the sufferings of another of the boatmen, John Bryant. Captain Gardiner was now confined to bed; and the fatigue of burying his two companions so exhausted Mr Maidment, that he never rallied.
The last words of Richard Williams, as recorded in his journal, are—
‘When I left Burslem on the mission, it was with a secret confidence I should see the salvation of God. Oh! my soul hath beheld it. But the greatest trouble, some would say, is not over yet; you have but a week's provision more, even at the rate you are now living, and no certain expectation of a vessel's coming in that time. Yes, this is so; but I have a certain and sure expectation of deliverance in that time. To-day is June 22d; for I believe it is far advanced in the morning. We shall see. He that believeth shall never be confounded. Here I rest my hope; the Lord's will be done. ’
From Captain Gardiner's journal, dated Wednesday, September 3d, the following is extracted:—
‘Mr Maidment returned (from burying his two fellow-labourers, viz., Joseph Erwin and John Bryant) perfectly exhausted. The day also was bad—snow, sleet, and rain. He has never since recruited from that day's bodily and mental exertion. Wishing, if possible, to spare him the trouble of waiting upon me, and for the mutual comfort of all, I proposed, if practicable, to go to the river and take up my quarters in the boat. This was attempted on Saturday last. Feeling that, without crutches, I could not possibly effect it, Mr Maidment most kindly cut me a pair (two forked sticks); but it was no slight exertion and fatigue in his weak state. We set out together; but I soon found that I had not strength to proceed, and was obliged to return before reaching the brook on our own beach. Mr Maidment was so exhausted yesterday that he did not rise from his bed until noon, and I have not seen him since; consequently I tasted nothing yesterday. I cannot leave the place where I am, and know not whether he is in the body, or enjoying the presence of the gracious God whom he has served so faithfully. I am writing this at ten o'clock in the forenoon. Blessed be my heavenly Father for the many mercies I enjoy—a comfortable bed, no pain, nor even cravings of hunger, though excessively weak, scarcely able to turn in my bed, at least it is a very great exertion; but I am, by His abounding grace, kept in perfect peace, refreshed with a sense of my Saviour's love, and an assurance that all is wisely and mercifully appointed, and pray that I may receive the full blessing which it is doubtless designed to bestow. My care is all cast upon God, and I am only waiting His time and His good pleasure to dispose of me as He shall see fit. Whether I live or die, may it be in Him. I commend my body and soul into His care and keeping, and earnestly pray that He will mercifully take my dear wife and children under the shadow of His wings—comfort, guide, strengthen, and sanctify them wholly, that we may together, in a brighter and eternal world, praise and adore His goodness and grace in redeeming us with His precious blood. ’
Another paper, addressed to Mr Williams by Captain Gardiner, was found written in pencil, the whole being very indistinct, and some part quite obliterated, but nearly as follows:—
‘My dear Mr Williams,—The Lord has seen fit to call home another of our little company. Our dear departed brother left the boat on Tuesday afternoon, and has not since returned. Doubtless he is in the presence of his Redeemer, whom he served faithfully. Yet a little while, and though . . . . the Almighty to sing the praises . . . throne. I neither hunger nor thirst, though . . days without food. . . . . Maidment's kindness to me . . . . heaven. Your affectionate brother in . . . . . . Allen F. Gardiner. September 6, 1851.’
‘Thy soul to Him who gave it rose;
God led it to its long repose—
Its glorious rest.
And though the warrior's sun has set,
Its light shall linger round us yet,
Bright, radiant, blest. ’—Longfellow.
The first heavy tidings of this woefnl end reached the ears of the committee, and wrung their hearts, in January 1852, through a letter, addressed by Samuel Lafone, Esq., Monte Video, a short extract of which is now given:—
‘Monte Video, December 4, 1851.
‘About last January (1851), I sent a small schooner, the “Milciades,” Captain Oliver, on a voyage of discoveries, and with orders, either out or on his return, to call if possible at Picton Island; but unfortunately he gave up the voyage before he reached the Straits (of Le Maire), and ultimately the vessel was wrecked on the coast.
‘I had the chance of sending a very fast American pilot boat, “J. E. Davison,” Captain Smyley. Therefore, I gave them instructions to visit the spot, and to assist Captain Gardiner and his people in anything they might require. It is now my melancholy duty to communicate, for their friends in England, the result of the research, and I trespass upon you to convey the same in the mildest manner possible. The vessel returned here last Monday, bringing intelligence that stupified and depressed me beyond measure. I refer yon to a paper written by one of the captains.
‘This paper is an extract of Captain William H. Smyley's Journal, from Monte Video towards Picton Island and back:—
‘ “October 21.—Came to in Banner Cove, Picton Island. Saw painted on the rocks, at the entrance of the cove, ‘Gone to Spaniard's Harbour. ’ Went on shore, and found a letter written by Captain Gardiner, saying— ‘The Indians being so hostile here, we have gone to Spaniard's Harbour. ’
‘ “October 22.—Ran to Spaniard's Harbour. Blowing a severe gale. Went on shore, and found the boat on the beach, with one person dead inside, supposed to be Pearce, as we cut the name off his frock; another we found on the beach; another buried, which is John Badcock. These, we have every reason to believe, are Pearce, Williams, and Badcock. The sight was awful in the extreme. Books, papers, medicine, clothing, and tools, strewed along the beach, and on the boat's deck and cuddy. But no sign of any edge tools whatever. . . . By their journal, I find they were out of provisions on the 22d June, and almost consumed by the scurvy. . . . July 2.—I find Mr Williams delirious. He never wrote after the 22d June. . . . .
Captain Gardiner, Mr Maidment, and the other two, I am not certain whether dead or living, as these four belong to the other boat, which was lost; but no one was lost in her. (Captain Gardiner was living on shore, and was burnt out afterwards, losing his books, one chest of clothes, and some money. So it is stated in a piece of Erwin's journal.) But we had no time to find where this cove was they were living in, or to make further search for them, as the gale came on so hard. It gave us barely time to bury the corpse on the beach, and get on board. The gale continued to increase, so that it drove us from onr anchorage and out to sea. The hail and snow storms were tremendous.
‘ “Sunday 26.—Got under weigh, and beat up to New Year's Island. . . . I had to abandon the idea of making further search, and I had lost an anchor too. I found no journal of Captain Gardiner, or of Maidment. What to think of them I scarcely know. It is a mystery yet to be unravelled. The two captains who went with me in the boat cried like children at the sight. I find they had left their powder in the ‘Ocean Queen.’ We had no opportunity of burying the corpses in the boat.
‘ “The boat is in Spaniard's Harbour, in the river, at the west end of the bay. The other boat is lost close by, more to the southward, as appears from their journal; and there, I expect, will be found some news of them, if hunted for properly.
‘ “I have never found in my life such Christian fortitude—such patience and bearings in my life, as in these poor, unfortunate men. They have never murmured even; they seemed resigned. . . . They had no rest; they were drove from place to place by the Indians; always in dread and fear. Add to these, the stormy, dreary long nights, with almost perpetual ice and snow, and cooped up in a small boat, so laden that there was scarce room to move—without food, and with that terrible disease scurvy—and you can judge their situation partly. I can scarcely believe that the remainder is alive; but yet I have no evidence of their death, and it is my duty—it is every one's duty—to make a further search.
‘ “W. H. Smyley, American Schooner, J. E. Davison, New York.
‘ “To Mr S. F. Lafone.
‘ “Monte Video, December 5, 1851. ‘ “P.S.—The opinion of myself, and also of Captain Nicholls, is, that with proper management, they might have gone with safety to the Falkland Islands, Port Famine, or the coast of Patagonia. I have even done more than this in a whale-boat, at different times.” ’
Most painful as was the suspense respecting the condition of Captain Gardiner and the others, the committee knew of no means to relieve it. There were four parties engaged to search farther for traces of the missing ones—by one or other of which the truth must be ascertained, and joy on recovery, or sorrow in loss, be imparted.
Time passed on; and many were the thoughts and prayers, hopes and fears, exercising our minds respecting the relics of the brave mission band, till the 25th April, when letters from Rev. W. Armstrong, and Captain Morshead, of the ‘Dido,’ dated from Valparaiso, reached the secretary, and confirmed the worst fears.
A few extracts from these two letters, as also Admiral Moresby's note, which appeared in the ‘Times,’ will bring this mournful history to a close.
From Rev. William Abmstrong to Rev. G. P. Despard.
‘Valparaiso, February 25, 1852. ‘Rev. and Dear Sir,
* * * * * *
‘There is ample proof that each of the seven individuals who had put their hand so courageously to the work, has finished his earthly course, and we may believe attained the crown of martyrdom, though their end was not a violent one, nor brought about by the hand of man.
‘Papers and parts of journals, written by Captain Gardiner, were picked up—preserved, as it seems to me, in a most astonishing manner, from destruction, through four months' exposure to the effects of winds, rains, and tides, and to the natives; yet half sheets of paper, completely saturated with water, torn and otherwise defaced from friction against the rocks, only bearing on them the marks of Captain Gardiner's lead pencil, contain, for the most part, words as intelligible as they were when first written. All these were carefully collected by Captain Morshead, and embodied in his despatches to the Admiralty, which will, I daresay, be sent to you as soon after their receipt as possible. It is a very happy thing that the search was entrusted to so excellent a man as Captain Morshead, who seems to have been most anxious effectually to accomplish it, in the face of the greatest difficulties.
. . . . ‘Great as this blow must necessarily be to your infant society, I do not apprehend that it will be at all a fatal one. The seeds that have been thus sown, will likely prove of the most productive nature in promoting the object desired. Fresh efforts may be made, and greater means obtained, to carry out the plans of its originator; for which the sacrifice of himself may do more than he ever contemplated under the most favourable circumstances. Zeal, sound judgment, and good practical experience combined, may ere long accomplish something for the benighted Fuegians, who will yet, I hope, learn to look on Captain Gardiner as their best and greatest earthly friend, and the founder of their liberation from spiritual darkness, and temporal degradation.
‘Our dear friend's Bible has been saved, containing numberless passages throughout, interlined; and many of them, it would seem, marked during the time of his sufferings, as particularly suited to his circumstances.
‘There was notice in their papers of a day having been especially set apart for prayer, daring their affliction, which was devoutly observed.’
From Captain Morshead to Rev. G. P. Despard.
‘Valparaiso, February 26, 1852.
* * * * * *
‘As for Captain Gardiner and his party, none should grieve for them; for their sufferings are over, and they are enjoying a brighter and a happier world, in the presence of Him whom they served so faithfully.
‘I can only add, I trust neither yourself or the society will be discouraged from following up to the utmost the cause in which yon have embarked; and ultimate success is as certain as the present degraded state of the savages is evident. Their state is a perfect discredit to the age we live in—within a few hundred miles of an English colony. Many obstacles might be overcome; and the first efforts of Captain Gardiner are now the surest beacons for avoiding many of the difficulties he had to contend with.
‘Picton Island was well chosen, and Banner Cove a beautiful anchorage. Leaving the stores at the Falklands was a mistake. Captain Gardiner and the society, in all other respects, seem to have managed very well under the circumstances.’
From Rear-Admiral Morseby and Captain Morshead.
(Despatches to the Admiralty, inserted in ‘The Times,’ April 29, 1852.)
‘H. M. S. Portland, At Valparaiso, Feb. 21, 1852.
‘Sir,—Enclosed is Captain Morshead's report of the death, by starvation, of Commander A. Gardiner, and the whole of the party sent out by the Patagonian Missionary Society, in September 1850, to Picton Island, the southern extremity of America.
‘Their Lordships will deeply deplore the fate of these devoted missionaries; bnt this lesson of experience will have its effect. The earnest application of sanguine minds for the propagation of Christianity most, in a climate like Cape Horn, first consider the locality where existence can be insured. I have desired Captain Morshead to carefully pack the remnants that he has collected, and they will be forwarded to the Admiralty by the Daphne. Such as can be transmitted by the mail are sent herewith. I have, etc.
Fairfax Morseby, Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief. ‘The Secretary of the Admiralty.’
‘H. M. S. Dido, at Sea, Jan. 22, 1852, Cape Horn, west 30 miles.
‘Sir,—In compliance with orders from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated Oct. 25, 1851, directing me to ascertain the fate of Captain Gardiner and his missionary party in Tierra del Fuego, on my way to the Pacific, it is my melancholy duty to report, for their Lordships' information, that the whole party have perished by starvation. . .
‘January 19.—The wind having moderated in the night, and shifted to the northward, I weighed at four in the morning, and beat up through Goree Roads, and stood along the south-west coast of Picton Island, and, passing Cape Marie, beat up the north-east coast of the island. The wind again falling light, it was late before we could tow the ship to her berth in a cove formed by an inlet on the coast, called by Captain Gardiner “Banner Cove,” and the scene of his earthly troubles.
‘The following day, Jan. 20, was devoted to scouring the coast and the adjacent inlet; and, after many hours of fruitless search, without a sign of the party, and when on the point of giving them up, some writing was seen on a rock across a river, which we instantly made for, and found written,—“Go to Spaniard harbour.” On another rock adjoining we read,—“You will find us in Spaniard harbour.”
‘Accordingly, the next morning, Jan 21, I sailed early for Spaniard harbour, and entered it on the same evening at seven o'clock. Our notice was first attracted by a boat lying on the beach, about one mile and a half inside of Cape Kinnaird; it was blowing very fresh from the south, and the ship rode uneasily at her anchor. I instantly sent Lieutenant Pigott, and Mr Roberts, the master, to reconnoitre and return immediately, as I was anxious to get the ship to sea again in safety for the night; they returned shortly, bringing some books and papers, having discovered the bodies of Captain Gardiner and Mr Maidment unburied.
‘From the papers found, Mr Maidment was dead on the 4th September, and Captain Gardiner could not possibly have survived the 6th September 1851. On one of the papers found was written legibly, but without a date, “ If you will walk along the beach for a mile and a half, you will find us in the other boat, hauled up in the mouth of a river at the head of the harbour, on the south side. Delay not, we are starving.” At this sad intelligence, it was impossible to leave that night, although the weather looked very threatening. . . . .
‘I landed next morning, Jan. 22, and visited the spot where Captain Gardiner and his comrade were lying, and then went to the head of the harbour with Lieutenant Ganssen, Mr Roberts, and Mr Evan Evans, the surgeon. We found there the wreck of a boat, with part of her gear and stores, with quantities of clothing, with the remains of two bodies, which I conclude to be Mr Williams (surgeon) and John Pearce (Cornish fisherman), as the papers clearly show the death and burial of all the rest of the mission party.
‘The two boats were thus about a mile and a half apart. Near the one where Captain Gardiner was lying, was a large cavern, called by him “Pioneer Cavern,” where they kept their stores, and occasionally slept, and in that cavern Mr Maidment's body was found.
‘Among Captain Gardiner's papers, I extract the following;—“Mr Maidment was so exhausted yesterday, that he did not rise from his bed till noon, and I have not seen him since.” Again, on the 4th September, alluding to Mr Maidment, he writes,—“It was a merciful providence he left the boat, as I could not have removed the body.” Captain Gardiner's body was lying beside the boat, which apparently he had left; and, being too weak to climb into it again, had died by the side of it. We were directed to the cavern by a hand painted on the rocks, with Psalm lxii. 5-8 under it. Their remains were collected together, and buried close to this spot, and the funeral service read by Lieutenant Underwood. A small inscription was placed on the rock near his own tent. The colours of the boats and ships struck half-mast, and three volleys of musketry, were the only tribute of respect I could pay to this lofty-minded man and his devoted companions, who have perished in the cause of the Gospel for the want of timely supplies; and before noon the Dido was proceeding safely on her voyage
‘W. H. MORSHEAD, Captain.’
. . . The bright memories Of the holy dead,
The blessed ones departed, shine on us
Like the pure splendours of some clear large star,
Which pilgrims, travelling onward, at their back
Leave, and at every moment see not now;
Yet, whensoe'er they list, may pause and turn,
And with its glories gild their faces still;
Or, as beneath a northern sky is seen
The sunken sunset living in the west,
A tender radiance there surviving long,
Which has not faded all away, before
The flaming banners of the morn advance
Over the summits of the Orient hills.’Trench
And it was done! All had failed,—all had ended in lamentation and woe,—and a long, black night of despair has shrouded the horizon of promise and of hope.
Not so! blessed be God. Can God's children despair? It is impossible. Despair ought to be an unknown word in the Christian's vocabulary; and, in order to excite confidence in Him, ‘God has given us His word, His oath, and His only begotten Son.’
And see! another dawn has arisen, and again brings us light. It shines once more on a valiant band of Christian soldiers, prepared for the battle-field of distant Patagonia. With zeal, and in strong faith, another ship is built—is manned—is stored. The captain, catechist, surgeon, artisans, sailors—all come forward with self-devotion, and again the ship is on her way,—a missionary ship; and in honour, and as a memorial, of the first devoted missionary, the vessel is named the Allen Gardiner, Wondrous is the story, but it is no fiction.
‘On the first November 1853, a small company assembled in a ship-building yard to witness the ceremony of laying the foundation; and seeking at the very beginning the blessing of Him, in whose name this new vessel should hereafter be sent across the wide Atlantic to the southern shores of the “New World.”
‘At a signal given, the ship-wrights ranged themselves in ' a line outside the keel about to be laid . . . . At this instant, the Secretary of the Patagonian Missionary Society in clear and earnest tones, addressed the whole party, the import of which was partly as follows:—
‘ “My Friends, It may prove a cheering thought to the Christian mind, that the first ship of which we have any record, was built by the express direction of God, and for His especial service. It became an ark of mercy, bearing a chosen family in safety on the brow of earth's watery grave; and in after years was employed to typify Him, who became the True Ark, in which His people may pass safely over the waves of this troublesome world.
‘ “You, my friends, who shall be engaged in building the vessel, have never before had such a privilege. You have sent out many ships for merchandise, or for pleasure; but you have not been employed in building one which is for the simple purpose of carrying the Word of God to the distant nations who as yet know it not. I trust you will consider it an honour to do your parts in the work—that you will remember that it is for God; and, whilst you labour honestly and faithfully, seek that in your own souls the light of truth may be revealed;—that you may all experimentally know the glad tidings which this ship is to carry to others;—that you may all believe in that Saviour whom we desire to preach, as the only Refuge for sinners at home, as well as abroad.—
* * * * * *
‘ “The work was in a very peculiar manner a work of faith. With but little store of ‘this world's goods,’ the philanthropic promoters of this Mission . . . commended their cause to God; and in a very remarkable way, as the unfinished vessel approached nearer and nearer to its completion, the silver and the gold poured in in sufficient quantities, not merely to pay for the build and equipment of the vessel, but also to furnish the necessary provision for commencing and carrying forward the plan of a mission for one year. Thus goodness and mercy, which incited, followed the design; and the Lord disposed the hearts of His people to give the necessary aid. ” ’
The Allen Gardiner sailed at the end of October 1854, and safely arrived at her destination, the Falkland Islands, part of which has been ceded by Government to this missionary party as their first settlement. On their arrival at West Falkland, ‘they looked in vain on any side for the dwellings of man; not even a fisherman's hut studs the shore,—not even the tent of a wanderer is to be seen,—not an object to offer a welcome to the new settlers. It is unpeopled though there are numerous tribes of four-footed animals, viz., rabbits and pigs, who roam in large herds over an extent of several thousand miles.’
‘In this island home will be represented, under God's blessing, a miniature picture of Christian English society; and, in order to connect it in name, as well as in design, with our beloved Protestant Church of England, the settlement is to be called Cranmer.
‘We ask—who has given these solitary islands into the hands of Britain? and for what purpose are they hers?
‘The tried and valued friend, whose energies have so long been given to the cause as Honorary Secretary, was appointed to the important post of Missionary Chaplain. Sacrificing all his prospects at home, and giving up his employments, he has devoted himself to the more immediate service of His Redeemer;’ and last year witnessed his departure. And the Rev. George Pakenham Despard, in accepting this appointment, nobly surrendered himself, and all he holds dear, to testify to godless Patagonia the Gospel of the grace of God.
On the 4th June 1856, the Rev. G. Pakenham Despard, with Mrs Despard and seven children, accompanied by Allen W. Gardiner, Esq., B.A., of Oxford, and the Rev. J. F. Ogle, embarked from Plymouth.
This little family band has also reached their missionary home at the Falklands in safety and in health, and after a most prosperous voyage. Mr Gardiner is the only son of the honoured and lamented founder of the Society; and he came forward and offered himself as catechist to the Mission. Mr Ogle, a munificent benefactor to the Society, also volunteered to go forth, at his own expense, as assistant missionary.
May they all have gone forth blessed by the Lord; and may they ‘be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,’ and have many among those heathen as a crown of rejoicing. We pray that the devoted missionary may find the work of the Lord prosper in his hands, and that he may be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father;—and may His onward path be like the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day, even unto the effulgent light of heaven.
For temporal good or earthly gain, who would have been found so venturesome as to hazard or engage in another expedition of the same kind as the former tragic one? But here is a company of brave Christian men, strong in faith, casting their all, not on a peradventure, but on Him who is onmipotent to save. Here at least is one evidence, and many more might be found, to refute the too often repeated, and perhaps sometimes, alas! not undeserved observation, that missionaries are less courageous in stepping forward to expose themselves to bad climates, and trying scenes and efforts, than soldiers, sailors, lawyers, merchantmen, etc. etc. etc. Behold now some ready to go even unto death.
To some it may appear an almost hopeless work; but nothing is impossible with God. What can more strikingly express the power of His all-sufficient grace than the word of John Newton. Asked by one whether he thought that the heathen could be converted? he replied, I have never doubted that God would convert the heathen, since he converted me.
‘And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every, nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’— Rev. xiv. 6; also ver. 7. That angel seems to be at present flying. Let all be done to assist, and not oppose, the progress of evangelization.
From Missionary Farewell
‘There is no reluctance in England to maintain, on East Falkland, her thirty soldiers of the Crown; let there be none to provide for her fewer soldiers of the cross. They have been sent out in faith; they have been sent to do the work of the Lord Jesus. All who help in that blessed work shall have their reward; whilst all who stand aloof shall miss their share in the day of its triumph—for why should not triumph be near at hand? The Gospel, which has blessed Britain, is able to convert Fuegia, and gather out her children to number with the great multitude who shall stand before the throne, with white robes, and palms in their hands!’
‘Even so, grant it, Lord Jesus.’
Labourers in the vineyard of the Lord, Christian men and women, speed the work with your prayers. ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.’ Let all entreat the Lord of the harvest to command their increase. Linger not behind, press forward zealously, and stretch forth a powerful hand to aid the Patagonian Mission.
May the richest blessings of the God of Providence and of Grace be bestowed upon this noble Missionary enterprise; and may a blessing also be granted on this feeble and humble attempt to assist the interesting cause. May the reader and the writer be enabled to unite in that comprehensive prayer—
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
‘The whole creation groans,
And waits to hear that voice
That shall restore her comeliness,
And make her wastes rejoice.
Come, Lord, and wipe away
The curse, the sin, the stain,
And make this blightest world of ours
Thine own fair world again!’
Come then, Lord Jesus, come!
MEMOIR OF RICHARD WILLIAMS. By James Hamilton, D.D.
A MEMOIR OF ALLEN F. GARDINER. By John W. Marsh, M.A.
HOPE DEFERRED, NOT LOST. Edited by Rev. George Pakenham Despard, B.A.
THE MISSIONARY SHIP. Price 2d.
MISSIONARY FAREWELL. Price 2d.
THE VOICE OF PITY. A Monthly Publication of the Patagonian Missionary Society. Price 1d.
WE HAVE DONE WHAT WE COULD.
THE PATAGONIAN MISSION VINDICATED.
MAPS OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS, AND OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO.