WHEN Captain Gardiner and Mr Hunt returned from their unsuccessful attempt to commence a mission in Patagonia, great was the disappointment felt by the supporters of the mission. They were unprepared for so great a change as had taken place in the position of the tribe and character of the chief. If the missionaries had been able to remain in Patagonia, they would have supported them under every discouragement, but felt that an attempt in another part of the continent would be a doubtful experiment, possibly only an exploring journey, on which they could not venture to expend money subscribed for the preaching of the gospel.
Such was the opinion which prevailed among the members of the committee, when Captain Gardiner came forward once more, with unshaken resolution, and said:--
"Whatever course you may determine upon, I have made up my mind to go back again to South America, and leave no stone unturned, no effort untried, to establish a mission among the aboriginal tribes. They have a right to be instructed in the gospel of Christ. While God gives me strength, failure shall not daunt me. This, then, is my firm resolve: to go back, and make further researches among the natives of the interior, whether any possible opening may be found which has hitherto escaped me, through the Spanish Americans; or whether Tierra del Fuego is the only ground left us for our last attempt. This I intend to do at my own risk, whether the Society is broken up or not. I therefore beg of you to pause, fund the money which belongs to the Society, and wait to see the result of the researches now about to be made. Our Saviour has given a command to preach the gospel even to the ends of the earth. He will provide for the fulfilment of His own purpose. Let us only obey."
This suggestion was adopted, and the funds of the Society invested in safe securities.
Federico Gonzales, a young Spanish Protestant, had been engaged by the committee to go to Patagonia. As this arrangement was now given up, Captain Gardiner offered to pay the expenses of Mr Gonzales, if he were willing to accompany him on his present enterprise. To this he agreed, and the committee presented him with £50 towards the necessary outlay. They sailed from Liverpool in the Plata for Monte Video, on September 23, 1845.
The "Gran Chaco" now became the scene of their researches. It is a large tract of country, inhabited by powerful tribes, bounded on the east by the rivers Paraguay and Parana, and crossed by the Pilcomayo and the Vermijo, which have their source in the high land of Bolivia, and fall into the Paraguay before its junction with the Parana. The most direct method of entering the Chaco is to ascend the Parana to Corrientes, or the Paraguay to Asuncion; but in 1845 the province of Santa Fe was in a disturbed state, and the Parana was not open to traffic. Our friends therefore set sail again for Valparaiso in the brig Alciope, proceeding thence to Cobija, in Bolivia. They arrived at Cobija on the 5th of February, and started on the inland journey on the 7th. One month afterwards, Captain Gardiner writes from Tarija:--
"With a very few exceptions, the whole country between Cobija and this place is literally a desert. Nothing in Arabia could be more sterile than that part of the road which crosses the Atacama desert; and even after passing the Cordillera from Atacama to Rinconada, the whole route is unpeopled and desolate, without a single tree, and scarcely any herbage. From thence to Sococha, is a defile with high precipitous rocks on each side; at the base, strips of cultivation, Indian corn, figs, peaches, &e., in abundance. The road through this long and highly picturesque defile is in the bed of a water-course, which sometimes in heavy rains disputes the passage with the inhabitants, once the rocks on each side were too narrow to admit a laden mule, and consequently the trunks were taken off, and replaced on the other side. A road I can scarcely call it, nothing have I ever seen so bad, in fact, there is scarcely a road in all Bolivia, excepting that which goes to Potosi. At Rinconada we came in Cor the carnival, and were delayed five days. In all the way very kind friends have been raised up for us, especially at Calama, at Rinconada, at Sococha, and here at Tarija. At three of these places we have been lodged and boarded in the kindest manner, without charge. We are here next door to the Matriz, which was a college of the Jesuits. They had no less than twenty-two missions between Carapari and Santa Cruz de la Frontiera, all which, within about fifty years, have been suppressed.
"Carapari, April 22, 1846.--Last night only I returned from a visit of inspection among the Indians, and am now sending an express to Tarija, for medicines for Mr Gonzales, who for some days has been very ill with fever and ague. God has been very merciful to me here; I am in perfect health. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits?
"We arrived at the Pilcomayo on the 21st of March. The river was too high to be forded, and, wishing to cut the matter short, I engaged an Indian on the 23d, to swim across with me, and away we went, leaning together on a bundle of reeds. The current was full four and a half or five knots, but we gained the opposite side in good style, the Indians all aghast to see that a white man could swim as well as themselves. The country, on the opposite side, is entirely in the hands of the natives, who received me kindly; but I am sorry to say, all my efforts were unsuccessful to obtain permission to reside amongst them. There is a village, consisting of about twenty houses on this side of the river, where we might have stayed, hut for the host of flies, mosquitoes, wasps, &c. It was perfect torture; and on the very next day, the 24th, we were obliged to fly before them, and set off to return to San Louis. When we reached Carapari, Mr Gonzales was too ill to proceed further. I therefore hired a servant to attend upon him, and the mistress of the house where we are lodging being very kind, I had no hesitation in leaving him. I set out, therefore, on Thursday the 16th of April, and returned yesterday, having spent three nights among the Chenesa Indians, and visited four villages of the Matacos. The house of one of the chiefs, named Maiki, where I slept on Saturday and Sunday nights, is fifty feet long, and about thirty wide: nine cotton hammocks were hung from the roof and posts, and I slept on a sort of rude stretcher. They are quite independent, will allow you to visit them, and supply you with food, but not to build or remain among them. I was in hopes of making one of these interesting villages our headquarters, but this may not be. The Mataco chief, Marrachi, would have given me leave, but that he was hound, he said, by his relations with his neighbours, the Cheneses, to act as they did on the subject. These Matacos are a wild people. Their houses are similar to those of the Zulus, but built carelessly, and the thatch merely thrown on. They cultivate the ground, hut not to the extent that the Cheneses and the Chiriguanos do. Before I returned here, I visited some villages within the Bolivian frontier: at one of them, called Timboi, our farm is to be; we cannot occupy it at present on account of Mr Gonzales' illness, but all things are arranged for our going there as soon as it shall please God to enable us. The Cheneses and Chiriguanos both speak the Guarani language, Let this language be acquired, and we may itinerate on all sides."
While spending a Sunday alone among the Indians, he records his thoughts and prayers as follows:--
"By the goodness of my God, I am brought to another Sabbath, and am now in the midst of the Indians, to whom I desire to convey the knowledge of salvation by Jesus Christ. Here is a suitable time to pause, and seek fresh strength and guidance of my God. What mercies have attended me in all these long journeys! Why am I in health, and my companion in sickness? O Lord, graciously raise up Thy servant whom Thou has seen fit to afflict with sickness: restore him again to health, and enable him to go forward in the work to which Thou hast called him. And, Lord, vouchsafe to me the light of Thy Holy Spirit, to guide me in Thy way. Purify me from pride, engraft Thy love in my heart, and enable me to set Thee ever before my face. Graciously direct me in my present perplexing circumstances.....To Thee I thankfully commit every circumstance and event, well knowing that without Thee I can do nothing; and what I may seem to do, without Thy blessing, will assuredly come to nought. Give me faith to take courage, in the midst of apparent discouragements, to confide in Thy promise, even when all things seem to be against me. I know, O Lord, that Thy word can never return unto Thee void, and that none of Thy promises shall fail, and that to every specific duty a promise is annexed. What should I fear, disappointments, confusion of face? It cannot be that Thou, who art holy, just, and good, shouldst set Thy servants upon a work. and that on the faith of Thy specific promises, and then abandon them to the ridicule and scoffs of an ungodly world. Ah, no, Lord it cannot be: if ever I meet with shame and confusion of face in any work which Thou hast ordained, it will not be because of the failure of Thy promise, but the failure of my faith. Lord, increase my faith: I believe, help Thou mine unbelief. To Thee, O my God, I thankfully commit all, beseeching Thee to guide me in what I shall say; to influence the hearts of the chiefs to whom I purpose to apply; and, if it be Thy will, at this time to open a door in this part of the country for the entrance of Thy glorious gospel. And, Lord, should I be hindered, as Thy disciples were, both in Asia and Bithynia, may I not be cast down; but show me, as Thou didst thy servants, Paul and Silas, in some way which I cannot mistake, where Thou wouldst have me go. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to hear my supplication, and show me clearly the path of duty. Let the light of Thy truth shine on these poor blind Indians, for Jesus Christ's sake."
The sickly season had now set in at Carapari. Many persons had left in consequence. Mr Gonzales continued to have periodical attacks of fever and ague; and at length even the captain's robust frame was prostrated by a similar seizure. They decided, therefore, on retiring to San Luis. This proved a most painful journey, and is thus described:--
"I was well in the morning, but no sooner had we commenced our journey, than a strong fever came on. Several times I was obliged to lie down, unable to proceed. At last, I lay exhausted under a tree, perfectly helpless, unable either to return or to go forward. There I thought I must have perished, but providentially there was a shed near, and though nothing but water could be procured, I was thankful for such an asylum in my state of helplessness. Mr Gonzales, at my request, proceeded with the baggage, as it was necessary that he should reach the village of Sapatera, before his expected ague fit came on. Two men passed the night at the spot where I was, and kindly supplied me with water, and on the following morning I was able to mount my horse and proceed to Sapatera. But I will not go through all the circumstances of our distressing journey to San Luis: suffice it to say that though we were only fit for our beds, we traversed steep mountains, by-paths strewed with rocks, and were often obliged to walk, as it was either so slippery or so steep, that the horses could not stand, and our saddles were continually slipping forward upon their necks. Often and often we both lay down exhausted; and when I look back upon what we endured, and what, by the good hand of our God upon us, we were able to accomplish in those three most trying days, I wonder that we could ever have reached San Luis. Never was that gracious promise more fully verified, 'As thy day, so shall thy strength be.' On the day after our arrival, I was attacked with dysentery, which continued for eight days, and brought me so low that I was obliged to keep my bed for a considerable time afterwards."
"San Luis, May 29.--I now resume my journal, which I have hitherto been unable to do. The Lord has laid His chastening hand upon me, and I have been reduced to a great state of weakness. I accept it at His hand, as a token of His fatherly care over me. During my illness, the governor of the frontier, Don Sebastiano Estensoro, showed us very great kindness. Mr Gonzales has had three or four fresh attacks of ague, but has now nearly recovered, which is a great mercy. Most kind and attentive has he been to me.
"June 15.--The governor paid me a long visit; his manner was most friendly, and a conversation took place, which, by the blessing of God, may conduce to very important results. I had previously understood that it was the wish of the Government to promote the introduction of English settlers into Bolivia, and asked him what he thought would be the feeling of the Government, supposing an individual were willing to collect together some of the Indians, and instruct them in the Protestant religion, in the hope of recovering them from their present abject condition? He said he thought the Government could not but approve of such a plan; and that in all probability they would give a tract of land for the Indians to live upon. After some further conversation, I explained fully our wish to translate the Bible into the Indian language, and to teach the natives to read, and instruct them in the religion of the Bible. He recommended that a petition should be drawn up, stating our object, and requesting permission of the President to carry it into effect."
Shortly after this conversation, our friends left San Luis, and went to Tarija, where they were hospitably received by Dr Cainzo, the attorney-general.
"Tarija, July 25.--The Lord has been very gracious to me, having raised me up again from my state of weakness, so that I can walk and ride nearly as usual, and feel quite restored, being only much thinner than I was. We have every prospect of good success, and are in favour with some individuals here, who are likely to forward the work in which we are engaged. But I look above these second causes, and desire to have my eyes fixed on Him who is the Author and Giver of every good and perfect gift, and who will not permit those who trust in His name to be ashamed of their confidence. Our winter here is delightful--almost cloudless skies, no rain, and the temperature about what it is in England in June. Dr Cainzo left on the 21st, to attend a session of the Congress in Chuquisaca, taking with him a letter to the British consul, and our petition to Government. We had arranged to go into lodgings, but he most kindly offered us his house, and pressed us not to move during his absence. We are therefore comfortably housed, and cater for ourselves. We have, since leaving Cobija, travelled 1061 miles, over, perhaps, the worst roads in the world. "We cannot fly about here, as in Chili."
The consul's reply was a very friendly letter of strong remonstrance, in which he expressed his decided opinion that, though the Government was tolerably enlightened, the ignorance, intolerance, and vices of the clergy were incredible, and their influence sufficient to frustrate any attempt of so-called heretics to enlighten the Indians.
Becoming anxious about the fate of his petition, Captain Gardiner left Tarija for Chuquisaca on the 22d of September, trusting by a personal interview with the President to obviate any objections which had arisen. He was so far successful that, whereas the first petition was negatived, he was permitted to modify it, and the formal sanction of Government was given to his proposal, to endeavour to instruct the Indians who live beyond the limits of Bolivia proper in the knowledge of God. He conversed with several members of the Government, the President, and the Minister of the Interior, as well as his former friends, Dr Cainzo and Don Sebastiano, and was so well convinced of the sincerity of their support, that he considered the way was now open for missionary work among the Indians, and that it was necessary he should either remain in the country, to secure the step he had gained, or return to England, for the purpose of urging on Christian friends the importance of sending a missionary without delay to assist Mr Gonzales. He adopted the latter course, and on the 12th of October left Chuquisaea for Potosi, where he remained till he had seen Mr Gonzales comfortably settled. He was much struck with the decayed appearance of this city; deserted and ruined houses were seen in all directions. In the days of Spanish greatness it had numbered 100,000 inhabitants, now reduced to 14,000.
The Quichua, one of the aboriginal languages of the country, is spoken by the Indians within the confines of Bolivia, and to this language Mr Gonzales now devoted his attention, so as to be ready, when joined by another missionary, to proceed to the frontier* There, it was hoped, they might remain, within Bolivian territory, protected by the laws of the country, and tolerated by a liberal Government, while patiently attempting to open a friendly intercourse with the natives beyond the boundary.
Cheered by this prospect, Captain Gardiner hastened to England. Under date of Southampton, February 8, 1846 he writes:--"Having once more returned to my native land, after an absence of rather more than sixteen months, I desire to offer thanksgiving to my gracious God. In journeys, in sickness, and throughout my voyages out and home, He has mercifully watched over me for good, and preserved me from harm. Lord, give me a grateful heart for all Thy goodness; may it be to me Christ to live, and then it will be gain to die."
It will be remembered that the Society's funds were in reserve, waiting for the result of this journey of observation. Unhappily, now that the time for action was come, they were deprived of the valuable services of Sir Thomas Blomefield, who was compelled by illness to resign the office of treasurer and secretary. As the committee had also been weakened by the removal of some of its members from Brighton, the rest were unwilling to take the responsibility of a new mission, without first applying to the Church Missionary Society. Had the application been successful, the money in hand would have been transferred to the elder Society. The Church Missionary Society having again refused the undertaking, it was then deemed advisable for the committee to meet in London, thus securing the addition of several new members to their body, and the kind assistance of A. T. Ritchie, Esq., as honorary secretary.
Their first object was to send out a coadjutor to Mr Gonzales, and they were happy in meeting with another Spanish Protestant, Mr Miguel Robles, by whose aid they trusted that the preliminary work of the mission might be commenced, while time was given for increasing the Society's funds, and selecting a clergyman to follow.
But at the very time when Mr Robles was on his way to Bolivia, a revolutionary movement took place in that country, which ended in the deposition of the friendly Bolivian President. The difficulties which had been removed from the path of Gonzales and Robles were thus renewed. When the governing power was withdrawn, the influence of the priests was in the ascendant, and the society at home, not feeling able to cope with a hostile power of unknown extent, and to maintain an infant mission in the midst of the confusion which attends on civil troubles, reluctantly gave the order to their two agents to withdraw.
From the time that Captain Gardiner and Mr Hunt failed in the attempt to form a mission station in Patagonia, the former entertained the idea of an expedition to Tierra del Fuego. He knew that there, at least, he was beyond the reach of any antagonistic Papal influence, the most southern Spanish settlement being at Port Famine.
He never forgot this half-formed plan, even while engaged in his Bolivian journeys; and when his first petition to the Bolivian Government was negatived, though he modified the petition, and made every possible effort to get it passed, yet his mind reverted at once, in case of failure, to his original plan of visiting Tierra del Fuego, as if the expedition to Bolivia were but an episode between the design and execution of the projected mission. Having succeeded beyond his hopes in making an opening for usefulness in Bolivia, he pressed on the committee of the new Society for missions to Patagonia and South America the importance not only of supporting and encouraging their agents in Bolivia, but of commencing a mission to Tierra del Fuego.
If he found it difficult to urge the committee forward, they found it impossible to keep him back; nothing could stop him. He travelled over England and Scotland to make known his plans, and invite co-operation. But amidst the conflicting claims which come before all who look upon missions to the heathen as a duty, it is not surprising that the pecuniary result of all his lectures and meetings was very small; and finding that all his exertions were insufficient to procure for the Society such an income as might provide for a well-appointed expedition, he urged upon the committee to make an attempt on a smaller scale, which would at least be a step in the right direction, and would result in improved information.
He proposed to take four sailors and one ship-carpenter, with one decked boat, a dingey, a whaleboat, two wigwam huts, and supplies for six months. He hoped by God's blessing to establish a station on one of the adjacent islands, where plentiful stores might be kept, while yet the missionaries might be near enough to the mainland for the purpose of holding a cautious intercourse with the natives. Staten Island, which lies due east of the most easterly point of Tierra del Fuego was selected for the scene of the experiment. This plan was finally agreed to. The preparations were made, and the men engaged. A passage was secured in the barque Clymene, bound for Payta, in Peru, and they sailed from Cardiff on the 7th of January 1848.
A very little experience in a very short time showed that this scheme was quite inadequate to the requirements of so hazardous an enterprise in so stormy a latitude. On the 15th of March, they sighted Staten Island, and stood off Port Vancouver on the 17th; but the wind being contrary, and increasing to a gale, they found it impossible to enter the harbour, and proceeded through the straits of Le Maire to Lennox harbour, where they anchored on the 23d. The next morning, the little reconnoitring party explored the shore of Picton island in their whaleboat. Banner Cove was selected for the projected mission station, and they returned to the ship. But even this little trip was not accomplished without misadventure. Two nights and three days were spent upon it. The first night was spent comfortably on shore in their tent, and the next morning, after worship and breakfast and an exploring walk, baffling winds and squalls so obstructed their progress that night surprised them on their way back, and they were reduced to run their boat on the north shore of Lennox Island, and go supperless to rest on a sandy bed, covered by the canvas of the tent, which they were too wearied to erect. Next morning the surf was so high as to prevent them from launching their boat; and a scrambling walk by compass, over hill and dale, through forest and bog, was resorted to as the most hopeful way of getting food and shelter that day. When at last they were cheered by the sight of the Clymene, their troubles were not over; for, as they were expected by sea, and not by land, it was long before their signals attracted attention, and hours had passed, a sheltering wall had been erected, and a fire lighted, before the welcome boat's crew from the barque came to their rescue.
The boat was subsequently recovered without injury, and the Clymene sailed to Banner Cove. The storehouse was erected, and some of the goods landed; but the first visit of the natives made the fact apparent, that, without a place of security on shore, or a vessel large enough to hold their provisions and property, nothing could be preserved from the pilfering hands of their unscrupulous visitors. Reluctantly, therefore, but of necessity, the attempt to form a station on shore was abandoned, the tents were struck, and everything was re-embarked in a few hours; and on Saturday, the 1st of April 1848, the whole party sailed in the Clymene for Payta.
The considerations which led to the above decision are thus stated:--
"The few natives who are now with us, even should no more arrive, will oblige us to be constantly on the watch to prevent them from pilfering. While occupied in guarding our houses, our boats would be at their mercy; and, deprived of them, the only means of escaping from the difficulties with which we might be surrounded would be irrevocably cut off. From what I have now seen, it is my decided opinion that until the character of the natives has undergone some considerable change, a Fuegian mission must of necessity be afloat--in other words, a mission vessel, moored in the stream, must be substituted for a mission-house erected on the shore.
"A large vessel would not be required. I should recommend a ketch or brigantine of about 120 tons, with a master and seven hands. Provisions for twelve months should be taken out, but three-quarters should be deposited on the Falkland islands, when, as opportunity offered, supplies should afterwards be forwarded.
"There is no lack of wild ducks and other birds that would be good for the table; but, strange to say, they were found to be exceedingly shy, and difficult to approach. However, on the lagoon we saw many, and by going at the proper times, early and late, when the principal haunts are known, there is little doubt that any two individuals, who were tolerable shots, would bring in a sufficient supply, which, together with fish, would almost provide for the crew of a small vessel. The wastes of all these islands abound with seal, penguin, shag, loggerhead, and steamer ducks; and on the land brent ducks, upland geese, snipe, and other birds, are to be met with. One evening a man employed himself in fishing most successfully; the hook and line were scarcely down, when the bait was nibbled at, and many fish were caught in a very short time. While the crew were preparing for sea, I landed with our fellow-passenger, in Tent Cove, taking the goats, and some cuttings of raspberry, currant, and gooseberry, with a few garden bulbs, which I had brought from England. We then set to work with our spades, and, having cleared a patch of ground on the Isthmus, set the cuttings, and deposited some of the bulbs.
"The anchorage off Banner Cove was found to be far superior to that in Lennox Roads, and the cove itself affords shelter from all winds for small vessels. There is no danger in approaching Picton Island from seaward, and both wood and water are abundant,
"The only obstacle which I can anticipate to the prosecution of our missionary objects in Tierra del Fuego, is one which I am almost ashamed to mention, i.e., the expense. But 'let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.'"
In this narrative, an attempt has been made to delineate the personal history of Captain Gardiner, without intruding into the privacy of family life. Yet it is due to his memory to state that, notwithstanding his frequent absence from home, there are few persons whose individual influence has been more lastingly felt in their own household than his. He was a strict disciplinarian, and regarded God's approval of Abraham, expressed in Gen. xviii. 19, as a lesson to all parents and masters; but the exercise of authority never lost him the confidence of his children. Their first impulse, on devising any little scheme of pleasure, was to consult their father, being certain that he would enter heartily into it, and share their enjoyment. He took great pains with their religious instruction; and while travelling with them in foreign countries, adopted some ingenious expedients for adding to their little stores of knowledge in an entertaining way. At those times also, his inventive powers were unceasingly exercised for insuring the comfort of his wife and children, while encountering the petty inconveniences of travelling. . The vigour with which he followed out his convictions is worthy of remark. With a frame of iron, and nerves which never flinched from fatigue or danger, he broke, with dauntless vehemence, through every difficulty which beset his path. He was always ready to meet the attacks of friends or foes, listening and replying to opposing arguments; but he was invariably steadfast to his own purpose. He never entered on a new enterprise without very much and earnest prayer for divine guidance. When visiting any of his friends, he generally found some path in the garden, which he paced like a quarter-deck, for hours each day, in the deepest study of God's holy Word. Whatever might be the breakfast hour, he was always up an hour before, for prayer and the study of the Bible. Such a man was not likely to be turned from his point. At one time, when the obstructions to his getting at the heathen population of South America seemed insuperable, it was suggested to him that there was another large unoccupied field open to him. The Bible and the Tract Societies had not then any agent in the whole continent of South America; but they would willingly give him a grant of books, and he might act for both. The idea struck him, and he paused to consider, but his decision was soon made. "No," he said; "I have devoted myself to God for the heathen, and I cannot go back, or modify my vow." From this resolution he never swerved, and he was constant unto death. There were intervals of compelled leisure, when he could not carry on the great work to which he had given himself. At such times he took up any work of usefulness that presented itself. When in Brighton, he visited the poor regularly in one small district, where his memory was fondly cherished, and many tears shed at his death. He also made a practice of going to some of the low lodging-houses on a Sunday afternoon, to read the Scriptures to any little group that he found willing to listen.
When in South America, many were the Bibles and tracts which he scattered. At Mendoza there was no sale for them; but the books were gladly received as gifts, and eagerly sought after, and a kind letter of thanks was received from a reverend preceptor of the college of that town, for some which his pupils had applied for and received. He made a special journey into the Argentine provinces, and found a ready sale at Cordova, Tucuman, and Santiago del Estero. There was a difference of opinion among the padres, some making purchases themselves, and encouraging their flocks to do the same, while now and then a friar would be found to warn his hearers from the pulpit against the danger of buying heretical books. Still the Bible was nowhere proscribed by law. The police authorities, when appealed to, invariably favoured the sale. In Chili, also, which was generally considered a much more bigoted country than Buenos Ayres, or other eastern provinces, a formal permission was received from Santiago to admit two cases of "Bibles and religious books;" and though they were less sought after in that country than in some others, they were gladly received at San Carlos, in Chiloe. After every copy had been disposed of, there were some touching instances of people coming from a distance, and in vain offering high prices for copies of the Holy Book. The success met with by Captain Gardiner was undoubted. And it was the more to be regretted that no one since the year 1826 had been accredited to carry the Word of God to a people able to read it, and willing to receive it. The few English chaplains who were stationed at some of the seaports, were so fully occupied with the thousands who were their immediate charge, that they could not carry out such a work as this for the Spanish-speaking population on a large scale. There were no authorised agents to go into the country towns, no colporteurs, no chance travellers, as in Europe, to give their gratuitous service. Our countrymen came year by year, in increasing numbers, to the principal trading ports; but we know of no man who at that time cared to compromise himself by doing anything which might be construed into an interference with the religion of the country. Better days have now dawned. Chili has followed the example of Buenos Ayres, and passed an act of toleration; and our great merchants have shown such an interest in the religious welfare of their own countrymen in the Spanish towns, as, we trust, may result in much blessing to South America. And since the year 1856, Mr Corfield has been the active and successful agent of the Bible Society in Brazil and the Argentine republics.