ALLEN GARDINER, THE SAILOR MARTYR.
The biography we next have to turn to is not that of a founder, scarcely that of a pioneer, but rather of a brave guerilla, whose efforts were little availing because wanting in combination, and undirected, but who, nevertheless, has left behind him a heart-thrilling name won by unflinching self-devotion even unto death.
Allen Francis Gardiner, the fifth son of a Berkshire squire, was born in 1794. He was a born sailor, and became a midshipman before the end of the great war of the French revolution; but the only naval action in which he was engaged was against the American vessel Essex, which was captured by his ship, the Phoebe, off Valparaiso. Allen Gardiner had been carefully brought up by a good mother, but her death in his early youth cast him loose and left him without any influence to keep up serious impressions. He drifted into carelessness and godlessness, though at times some old remembrance, roused by danger or by a comrade's death, would sting him sharply. Once, feeling ashamed of having forgotten the very words of Scripture, he made up his mind to buy a Bible, and then was so full of false shame that he waited about in the street till the shop should be empty, and then only thought how odd his demand must seem to the bookseller.
Most likely this was at Portsmouth, for he had there met a lady who had been with his mother at her death, and had given him a narrative of her last days, which his father had written, but from some sense of want of sympathy had withheld from the son. The friend judged him better. The copy in his own handwriting bears the date, "Portsmouth, November 18, 1818," and therewith was a little Bible with the same date written in it. For two years, however, this produced no effect; but in 1820, when at Penang, as a lieutenant in the Dauntless, Allen received a letter of grave reproof from his father, and one of warm kindness and expostulation from the same lady, his mother's friend, together with some books. Nothing would have seemed more hopeless than the chance that a letter from a religious old lady would make an impression on a dashing young naval officer, and yet Allen Gardiner always considered this as the turning-point of his life, and connected it with his mother's prayers.
It was when his thoughts were directed to religious subjects, and his intelligence freshly excited, that he visited the coasts of South America, the region above all others where the Roman Catholic Church is seen to the most disadvantage. Two things most especially struck him, the remnants of the Inquisition at Lima, and the discovery that the poor were buried without prayer or mass. Such scenes as these gave him an extreme horror of Romanism and all that he supposed to be connected therewith, and his next station at Tahiti, in all the freshness of the newly established mission, full of devout people, filled him with strong enthusiasm for the good men who were carrying out the work. Shortly after he was invalided home, and as soon as he was fit for employment he offered himself to the London Missionary Society, begging them to send him to the neglected Indians of South America; but this did not suit their plans, and his ardour was slackened by the more common affairs of life. He fell in love and married a young lady named Julia Reade, and his only voyage was in his naval, not his missionary capacity. But his wife's health was exceedingly frail, and after eleven years of marriage she died, leaving four children, a fifth having preceded her to the grave. Beside her death-bed Allen Gardiner made a solemn dedication of himself to act as a pioneer in one or other of the most neglected parts of the earth, not so much to establish missions himself as to reconnoitre the ground and prepare the way for their establishment.
Africa was the country to which his attention was first called. His wife died in May 1834, and the 24th of August was the last Sunday he spent in England, at Calbourne, the native parish of Charles Simeon. He sailed at once for Cape Colony, where the English, who had in the course of the Revolutionary war obtained possession of the ground from the original settlers, the Dutch, were making progress in every direction, and coming into collision, not with the spiritless Hottentots of the Cape of Good Hope itself, but with that far more spirited and intellectual race, the Kaffirs--unbelievers, as the name meant--they being in fact of Arab descent, though Africanized by their transition through tropical latitudes, and not Mahometans. Such traditional religion as they possessed seemed to be vanishing, since only a few of the elders retained a curious legend of a supreme Deity who sent another Divine being to "publish the news," and divide the sexes. A message was sent to him from the Power in heaven to announce that man should not die, but this was committed to that tardy reptile the chameleon; then another message that man should die was given to the lizard, who outran the chameleon, and thus brought death into the world.
Sir Benjamin D'Urban had just been appointed Governor, and it was apprehended that a war must take place, since the settlers were continually liable to sudden attacks by these wild Kaffirs, who burnt, slew, and robbed any homestead they fell upon. Captain Gardiner thought, and justly, that it would be better to begin by proclaiming the glad tidings of peace to these wild and ignorant people rather than to meet them with the strong hand of war. The colony was lamentably deficient in clergy, and the missions that existed were chiefly to the Hottentots and Bushmen. The Moravians, whose work we have not mentioned because it is a history in itself, had some excellent establishments, but no one had yet attempted to penetrate into the home of the Kaffirs themselves, the Zulu country, to endeavour to deal with their chieftains. This was Allen Gardiner's intention, and on his outward voyage he met with a Polish refugee named Berken, who had intended to settle in Australia, but was induced to become his companion in his explorations in South Africa.
They rode together from Capetown to Grahamstown, where they obtained an interpreter named George Cyrus, and began to travel in the regular South African fashion, namely, with waggons fitted for sleeping in, and drawn by huge teams of oxen, and taking seven horses with them. Their first adventure during a halt at the Buffalo river was the loss of all their oxen, who were driven off by some natives. They applied to the chief of the tribe, named Tzatzoe, who recovered the cattle for them, but showed himself an insatiable beggar, even asking why, as Mr. Berken had two shoes, he could not spare him one of them. However, he was honest enough, when Mr. Berken chanced to leave his umbrella behind him, to send after him to ask whether he knew that he had left his house.
The next anxiety was at a spot called the Yellow-wood River, where the mid-day halt was disturbed by an assembly of natives with a hostile appearance. Captain Gardiner sent orders to collect the oxen, and in- span (i.e. harness) them as soon as possible, but without appearance of alarm, and in the meantime he tried to keep the natives occupied. To one he lent his penknife, and after the man had vainly tried to cut off his own beard with it, he offered to shave him, lathered him well, and performed the operation like a true barber, then showed him his face in a glass. His only disappointment was that the moustache had not been removed, and as by this time the razor was past work, Captain Gardiner had to pacify him by assuring him that such was the appearance of many English warriors (for these were the days when moustaches were confined to the cavalry). The amusement this excited occupied them nearly long enough, but hostile murmurs then began to be heard--"One of our chiefs has been killed by the white men, no more shall enter our country!" Fearing that an angry word would be fatal, Captain Gardiner asked for a war-song, promising some tobacco at the conclusion. Accordingly they danced madly, and shouted at the top of their voices,
"No white man shall drink our milk, No white man shall eat our children's bread. Ho-how! ho-how! ho-how!"
But this couplet often repeated seemed to work off their rage; they accepted the tobacco, and sullenly said the travellers might pass, but they were the last who should. This was in the Amakosa country, lying between the Grahamstown settlement and Port Natal, and to the present day unannexed, though even then there were traders' stations at intervals, so filthy and wretched as to be little above the huts of the natives. These Amakosa tribes were such thieves that great vigilance was needed to prevent property being stolen; but the next tribes, the Amapondas, were scrupulously honest and friendly to the English. Their chief was found by Gardiner and Berken dressed in a leopard's skin, sitting in state under a canopy of shields, trying a rain-maker, who had failed to bring showers in consequence of not having his dues of cattle delivered to him! The chief advised them not to proceed, as he said the Zulus were angry people who would kill them; but they pushed on, though finding that the journey occupied much longer than they expected, so that provisions became a difficulty.
A full month had passed since leaving Grahamstown, and Gardiner decided on pressing on upon horseback, leaving Mr. Berken to bring up the waggons, and taking with him the interpreter and two natives. The distance was 180 miles, and a terrible journey it was. A few waggon tracks had made a sort of road, but this was not always to be distinguished from hippopotamus paths, which led into horrible morasses, where the horses almost entirely disappeared, and had to be scooped out as it were by the hands; moreover, scarcely any food was to be had. In crossing one river one of the horses was so irretrievably stuck in a quicksand that humanity required it to be shot, and at the next, the Umkamas, the stream was so swollen that the Captain had to devise a canoe by sewing two cowskins together with sinews and stretching it upon branches, in which, as no one save himself had any notion of boating, he shoved off alone. The stream was too strong for him, and he had to return and obtain the help of the only good swimmer among his party. With him he crossed, but with no food save a canister of sugar! However, the native swam back and fetched a loaf of bread, while Captain Gardiner waited among the reeds, hearing the snorting and grunting of hippopotami all round. The transit of the natives was secured by the holding a sort of float made of a bundle of reeds, and in the morning, as the river was too high for the rest of the party to cross, he brought over a few necessaries, and a horse, with which the Captain was able to proceed to Port Natal, where he found English traders, and sent back supplies to those in the rear.
The Zulus, on whom his attention was fixed, inhabit a fine country to the north of the Tugela, which is considered as the boundary of the British territory. The nation is full of intelligence and spirit, and by no means incapable of improvement, and their princes have been for generations past men of considerable natural ability, and of iron will, but often savagely cruel. The first known to Englishmen was named Charka, a great warrior, who kept his armies in a rude but thorough discipline, and had made considerable conquests. About the year 1829, Charka had been murdered by his brother Dingarn, who had reigned ever since, and was the terror of the English settlers, who were beginning to immigrate into the fertile terraced country of Natal. His forays might at any time sweep away farms and homesteads; and his subjects were continually fleeing from his violence across the Tugela, and thus might bring him down as a pursuer.
Allen Gardiner's plan was to go to the fountain head and endeavour to deal with the chief himself, so as to make him a Christian instead of an enemy. With this end he set out absolutely unaccompanied, except by Cyrus the interpreter, and a Zulu servant whom he had hired named Umpondombeni, and this with the knowledge that an English officer had shortly before been treacherously murdered, and that Dingarn was a blood- stained savage.
The king had been informed of his coming, and had pronounced that he was his white man, and should make haste to Umkingoglove, his present abode. The first view of this place, with a double circular fence around it, resembled a race-course, the huts being ranged along the ring of the enclosure so as to leave the centre free for the reviews and war dances of the Kaffirs. Gardiner was very near entering by the wrong gate, in which case all his escort would have been put to death. A hut was assigned to him, a sort of beehive of grass and mud, with a hole to enter by. His own lines, strung together in his many unoccupied moments for his children's benefit, are so good a description of the Kaffir huts that form a kraal or village, as to be worth inserting:--
"I see them now, those four low props That held the haystack o'er my head, The dusky framework from their tops Like a large mouse-trap round me spread.
To stand erect I never tried, For reasons you may guess: Full fourteen feet my hut was wide, Its height was nine feet less.
My furniture, a scanty store, On saddle-bags beside me laid, A hurdle, used to close the door, Raised upon stones, my table made."
There he received a bundle of the native sugar-cane, a bowl of maize beer from Dingarn, and was invited to his palace.
This was surrounded by a fence, outside which the Captain was desired to sit down. Presently a black head and very stout pair of shoulders appeared above it, and a keen sable visage eyed the visitor fixedly for some time, in silence, which was only broken by these words, while indicating an ox, "There is the beast I give you to slaughter." His black majesty then vanished, but presently to reappear from beneath the gateway dressed in a long blue cloak, with a white collar, and devices at the back. After directing the distribution of some heaps of freshly slain oxen that lay around, he stood like a statue till a seat was brought him, and then entered into conversation. Captain Gardiner made him understand that trade was not the object of the visit; but the real purpose was quite beyond him; he seemed to regard what was proposed to him as an impossibility, and began to inquire after the presents, which, unfortunately, were still on the road.
The delay exposed the Captain to some inconvenience and danger, and two indunas, or chiefs, a sort of prime ministers, who were offended with him for not having applied to the king through them, treated him with increasing insolence. At last he persuaded them that he had better send a note to hasten the coming of the presents, and he also managed to write a letter for England, on his last half-sheet of paper, by the light of a lamp made of a rag wick floating in native butter in a calabash. From time to time he was called upon to witness the wonderful evolutions, manoeuvres, and mock fights in the camp. The men were solely soldiers; the women did all the work, planting maize, weeding corn, and herding cattle, and thus the more wives a man had the more slaves he could employ. Every wife had a value, and could only be obtained from her father for a certain price in cattle, varying according to his rank. If the full rate were not paid, she remained, as well as her children, the property of her father or the head of her family. The king, having the power to help himself, had an establishment of ninety women, who on gala- days, or when his army was going to take the field, were drawn up in a regiment, all wearing two long feathers on the top of their heads, a veil of strings of coloured beads over their faces, bead skirts, and brass rings over their throats and arms; these beads being the current coin of the traders. They approached and retreated in files, flourishing their arms like bell-ringers, while they sang:--
"Arise, vulture, Thou art the bird that eateth other birds."
These were, however, not wives, only female slaves. Either from jealousy of possible sons growing up, or from the desire not to be considered as in the ranks of the umpagati--elders or married men--neither Charka nor Dingarn would marry, and no man could take a wife without the king's permission. Dingarn wore his head closely shaven, whereas the married trained their woolly hair to fasten over a circle of reed, so as to look much as if they had an inverted saucepan on their heads. Besides this they wore nothing but a sort of apron of skin before and behind, except when gaily arrayed in beads, or ornaments of leopard's fur and teeth, for dancing or for battle. Their wealth was their cattle, and their mealie or maize grounds; their food, beef, mealies, and curdled milk; their drink, beer, made of maize; their great luxury, snuff, made of dried dacca and burnt aloes, and taken from an ivory spoon. Though sometimes acting with great cruelty, and wholly ignorant, they were by no means a dull or indolent people; they were full of courage and spirit, excellent walkers and runners, capable of learning and of thinking, and with much readiness to receive new ideas.
The presents arrived, and the red cloak, made of the long scarlet nap often used in linings, was presented, and gave infinite satisfaction; the king tried it on first himself, then judged of the effect upon the back of one of his servants, caused it to be carried flowing through the air, and finally hung it up outside his palace for the admiration of his subjects, then laid it by for the great national festival at the feast of first-fruits.
Captain Gardiner's object was to obtain a house and piece of land and protection for a Christian missionary, and with this object he remained at the kraal, trying to make some impression on Dingarn, and the two indunas, who assured him that they were the king's eyes and ears. Thus he became witness to much horrible barbarity. One of the least shocking of Dingarn's acts was the exhibiting the powers of a burning-glass that had been given him, by burning a hole in the wrist of one of his servants; and his indifference to the pain and death of others was frightful. His own brother, the next in succession, was, with his two servants, put to death through some jealousy; and, more horrible still, every living creature in thirty villages belonging to him was massacred as a matter of course.
Captain Gardiner, though often horrified and sickened by the sights he was obliged to witness, remained for a month, and then, after accompanying the king on his march, and seeing some astonishing reviews and dances of his wild warriors, made another effort; but the king referred him to the two indunas, and the indunas were positive that they did not wish to learn, either they or their people. They would never hear nor understand his book, but if he would instruct them in the use of the musket he was welcome to stay. Dingarn pronounced, "I will not overrule the decision of my indunas;" but, probably looking on the white man as a mine of presents, he politely invited Gardiner to return.
So ended his first attempt, and with no possessions remaining except his clothes, his saddle, a spoon, and a Testament, he proceeded to the Tugela, where he met his friend Berken, who had made up his mind to settle in Natal, and he set out to return to England for the purchase of stock and implements; but the vessel in which he sailed was never heard of more.
Captain Gardiner remained at Port Natal, which in 1835 consisted of a cluster of huts, all of them built Kaffir-fashion, like so many hollow haycocks, except Mr. Collis's, which was regarded as English because it had upright sides, with a good garden surrounded by reeds. About thirty English and a few Hottentots clustered around, and some three thousand Zulus, refugees from Dingarn's cruelty, who showed themselves ready and willing to work for hire, but who exposed their masters to the danger of the king coming after them with fire and assagai. Hitherto on such an alarm the whole settlement had been wont to take to the woods, but their numbers were so increasing that they were beginning to erect a stockade and think of defence.
To this little germ of a colony, Allen Gardiner brought the first recollection of Christian faith and duty. On Sunday mornings he stood under a tree, as he had been wont to do on the deck of his ship, and read the Church Service in English to such as would come round him and be reminded of their homes; in the afternoon, by the help of his interpreter, he prayed with and for the Kaffirs, and expounded the truths of the Gospel; and in the week, he kept school for such Kaffir children as he could collect, dressing them decently in printed calico. He began with very few, partly because many parents fancied he would steal and make slaves of them, and partly because he wished to train a few to be in advance and act as monitors to the rest. The English were on very good terms with him, and allotted a piece of land for a missionary settlement, which he called Berea, and began to build upon it in the fashion of the country.
Fresh threats from Dingarn led the settlers to try to come to a treaty with him, by which he was to leave them unmolested with all their Kaffirs, on their undertaking to harbour no more of his deserters. There was something hard in this, considering the horrid barbarities from which the deserters fled, and the impossibility of carrying out the agreement, as no one could undertake to watch the Tugela; but Captain Gardiner, always eager and hasty, thinking that he should thus secure safety for the colony and opportunities for the mission, undertook the embassy, and set forth in a waggon with two Zulus and Cyrus, falling in on the way with one of the grotesque parties of European hunters, who were wont to go on expeditions after the elephant, hippopotamus, and buffalo, with a hunting train of Hottentots and Kaffirs in their company. On whose aspect he remarks truly:--
"I've seen the savage in his wildest mood, And marked him reeked with human blood, But never so repulsive made. Something incongruous strikes the mind Whene'er a barbarous race we find With shreds of civil life displayed.
There's more of symmetry, however bare, In what a savage deigns to wear, In keeping with the scene. These, each deformed by what he wears, Like apes that dance at country fairs, Seemed but a link between."
Dingarn proved to be at Congella, another circular town or kraal, on the top of a hill. He gave a ready welcome to the Captain, and his presents--some looking-glasses, a pair of epaulettes, and some coloured prints, especially full-lengths of George IV. and William IV. The collection in a place such as Natal then was must have been very hard to make, but it was very successful, and still more so was the Captain's presenting himself in his uniform when he went to propose the treaty. Dingarn said he must look at it before he could do anything else, and fully appreciated the compliment when the sailor said it was his war dress, in which he appeared before King William. He agreed to the treaty, but declared that the English would be the first to break it. The Captain answered that a true Englishman never broke a treaty, and that any white man who deceived was not the right sort of Englishman; and the king responded that "now a great chief was come, to whom he could speak his heart." Captain Gardiner tried to impress on him that it was the fear of God that made himself an honourable man, and to persuade him that the knowledge of the "Book" would make him and his people still greater; and the next time of meeting set forth an outline of the morality and promises of Revelation. Dingarn was attentive, and said they were good words, and that he would hear more of them, but in the meantime Gardiner must go back to Natal and see that his people kept the treaty. It was a good deal more than he could do. A Kaffir inkosikase, or female chieftain, who, with two servants and three children, was fleeing into Natal at the time of his return, was sent back, with all her companions. The poor creatures pleaded hard that the Captain would accompany them and save them, and he returned with them, and interceded for them with all his might, but soon found they were being starved to death. "Their bonds must kill them," said Dingarn. A second great effort resulted in a little food being sent, and a kind of promise that their lives should be spared; but this was only made to get rid of him, and they all perished after his departure.
Deserters, as Gardiner called the fugitives to reconcile the surrender to his loyal English conscience, were hardly such as these: they were the only ones ever sent back, and the loose wild traders, who he ought to have known would never be bound by treaties, were at that very time enticing Kaffirs, who could be useful as herdsmen and labourers, across the frontier. This led to great indignation from Dingarn, and he declared that no Englishman save his favourite great chief should come near him.
Meantime Gardiner was assisting an assembly of traders and hunters who had decided on building a town--all shaggy, unkempt, bearded men of the woods, who decided the spot, the name, the arrangements, the spot for church and magistrate's house, by vote, on the 25th of June, 1835, the birthday of the town of Durban, so called after Sir Benjamin D'Urban, Governor of the Cape, while the Portuguese name of Natal passed to the entire territory.
The dispute with Dingarn continuing, the Captain was again sent to negotiate. This time he was received in the royal mansion, a magnified beehive, where the king was lying on a mat with his head on one of the little stools made to act as pillows, with about fifty women ranged round. As to the matter in question, Gardiner was able to declare that, in the white settlement itself, no deserters had found a home since the treaty, and that none should do so; Dingarn said he considered him the chief of the whites there, and should look to him to keep them in order. Gardiner explained that he had no authority. "You must have power," said Dingarn. "I give you all the country of the white people's ford." This was a piece of land extending from the Tugela to the Nouzincoolu, from the Snowy Mountains to the sea--in fact, the present whole colony of Natal. A smaller portion, including the district about Natal, was to be his own immediate property. Dingarn was perfectly in earnest, and thus intended to make him responsible for the conduct of every individual of the motley population of Natal, declaring that he should receive no trader who did not bring credentials from him. It was as curious a situation as ever commander in the navy was placed in. All he could do was to return to Durban, explain matters to Mr. Collis and the other traders, and then set out for the Cape to consult Sir Benjamin Durban.
His journey across the mountains was very perilous and difficult, and took much longer than his sanguine nature had reckoned; but he reached Grahamstown at last, and explained matters to the Governor, who instantly sent off a British officer to assume authority over the settlement at Natal, and try to keep the peace with Dingarn, while Captain Gardiner embarked for England to lay the state of things before Government and the Church Missionary Society, at whose disposal he placed all his own personal grant from Dingarn. When the prospects of the mission were proclaimed, the Rev. Francis Owen volunteered for it, and Captain Gardiner collected all that he thought needful for the great work he hoped to carry out. He married Miss Marsh, of Hampstead, and, with her and his three children, Mr. Owen and his wife and sister, sailed on the 24th of December, 1836; but the arrival was a sorrowful one, for his eldest child, a girl, of twelve years old, was slowly declining. She died just as they entered Durban Bay, and was buried at Berea immediately on their arrival. As soon as the Kaffirs heard of Captain Gardiner's landing, they flocked in to express their willingness to live under his authority. He chose a pleasant spot for his home, and having settled his family there, went up to see Dingarn. The presents this time were indeed ecstatically received, and especially a watch and seals, and a huge pair of gay worsted slippers. "He took my measure before he went," cried Dingarn, who had tried a pair of boots before, but could not get them on. The king was made to understand that his gift of land must be not to the Captain, but to the King of England, and with this he complied. He was also persuaded to modify his demands; as to the fugitives, Gardiner undertook not to encourage or employ them, but would not search them out or return them. Mr. Owen was also favourably received, as the umfundisi or teacher; a hut was allotted to him, and he was allowed to preach. He took up his abode at Umkingoglove, the first town where Captain Gardiner had seen the king, held services and opened a school, often holding conversations with the king. "Has God commanded kings and indunas to learn His word?" demanded Dingarn; and he actually did learn to read the words printed upon a card for the children.
Meantime Captain Gardiner was forming his settlement at a place which he had named in the Kaffir tongue, Hambanati, "Go with us," in allusion to Moses' invitation to Hobab: "Go with us, and we will do thee good." It was half-way between Durban Bay and the Tugela, on a hill-side in the midst of the beautiful undulating ground and rich wood characteristic of the country, and with a river in front. There he had raised a thatched house for himself, and around it Zulu huts were continually multiplying. The English carpenter and labourers whom he had brought out instructed the Kaffirs in various kinds of labour, for which they were quite willing; and as they wore decent garments, they were called the clothed tribe. School was kept for the children in the week; for the grown-up people on Sunday; and on every alternate morning some Scripture fact was read and explained to them, the Captain still being obliged to act as chaplain, until the arrival of Mr. Hewetson, whom the Church Missionary Society were sending out.
Never had the generous toil of a devoted man seemed likely to meet with better success, when a storm came from a most unexpected quarter. The original colonists of the Cape of Good Hope were Dutch, and the whole district was peopled with boers or farmers of that nation, stolid, prosperous, and entirely uncontrolled by public opinion. They had treated the unfortunate Hottentots as slaves, with all the cruelty of stupidity, and imported Malays and Negroes to work in the same manner; and they had shown, even when under their native state, a sort of grim turbulence that made them very hard to deal with. When in 1834 the British Government emancipated their slaves, and made cruelty penal and labour necessarily remunerative, their discontent was immense, and a great number sold their farms, and moved off into the interior to form an independent settlement on the Orange River. A large number of them, however, hearing of Dingarn's liberality to Captain Gardiner, were determined to extort a similar grant to themselves by a display of power. First came a letter, which Mr. Owen had to read and interpret to the chief, and not long after a large deputation arrived, armed and mounted on strong horses. Dingarn showed them a war-dance, and they in return said they would show how the boers danced on horseback, and exhibited a sham-fight, which did indeed alarm the savage, but, so far from daunting him, only excited his treachery and fierceness. He gave a sort of general answer, and the messengers retired. But from that time his interest in Mr. Owen's teaching flagged; he wanted fire-arms instead of religion, and preachings led to cavillings. Indications of evil intentions likewise reached Captain Gardiner, who sent to warn Mr. Owen, and to offer him a refuge at Hambanati in case of need. Still Mr. Owen could gather nothing; he was called from time to time to read the Dutchmen's letters, but was never told how they were to be dealt with. In fact, Dingarn had replied by an offer of the very district he had given Captain Gardiner, on condition that the new-comers would recover some cattle which had been carried off by a hostile tribe. This was done, and the detachment which had been employed on the service arrived at Umkingoglove, where they were welcomed with war-dances, and exhibited their own sham-fights; but in the midst of the ensuing meal they were suddenly surrounded by a huge circle of the Zulus, as if for another war- dance. The black ring came nearer and nearer still, and finally rushed in upon the unhappy boers, and slaughtered every man of them.
Mr. Owen had suspected nothing of what was passing, till he received a message from Dingarn that he need not fear; the boers had been killed for plotting, but the umfundisi should not be hurt. A time of terrible anxiety followed, during which the Owen family saw large bodies of the Kaffir army marching towards the Tugela, and in effect they fell upon the Dutch camp, and upwards of a hundred and fifty white men, women, and children were massacred. This horrible act, showing that no reliance could be placed on Dingarn's promise, made the Owens decide on leaving Umkingoglove, and they arrived at Hambanati, whence they proceeded to Durban. The Gardiner family waited for another week; but, finding the whole of the settlers infuriated, and bent on joining the Dutch in a war of extermination against Dingarn, they were obliged to retreat to the coast. First, however, Captain Gardiner assembled his Kaffirs, and promised to do his utmost to find another tract, where they might settle in peace, if they would abstain from all share in the coming war. They promised; but in his absence the promise was not easy to keep; they joined in the fight, many were killed, and the settlement entirely broken up. The cause seemed to Gardiner hopeless; and, after waiting for a short time in Algoa Bay, he decided on leaving the scene of action, where peaceful teaching could not prevail for some time to come. Whether it would not have been better to have tarried a little while, and then to have availed himself of the confidence and affection he had inspired, so as to gather the remnants of his mission again, we cannot say. At any rate, he consoled himself for the disastrous failure at Natal by setting forth on a fresh scheme of Christian knight-errantry on behalf of the Indians of South America.
Long ago, in Brazil, the Jesuits had done their best to Christianize and protect the Indians; but the Portuguese settlers had, as usual, savagely resented any interference with their cruel oppressions, broken up the Jesuit settlement, and sold their unfortunate converts as slaves. After this, the Jesuit Fathers had formed excellent establishments in the more independent country of Paraguay, lying to the south, where they had many churches, and peaceful, prosperous, happy communities of Christian Indians around them. South American Indians are essentially childish beings; and the Jesuits, when providing labour enough to occupy them wholesomely, found themselves obliged to undertake the disposal of the produce, thus not merely rendering their mission self-supporting, but so increasing the wealth of the already powerful Order as to render it a still greater object of jealousy to the European potentates; and when, in the eighteenth century, the tide of opposition set strongly against it, the unecclesiastical traffic of the settlements in Paraguay was one of the accusations. The result was, that the Jesuit Fathers were banished from South America in 1767; and whether it was that they had neglected to train the Indians in self-reliance, or whether it was impossible to do so, their departure led to an immediate collapse into barbarism; nor had anything since been done on behalf of the neglected race. Indeed, the break-up of all Spanish authority had been doubly fatal to the natives, by removing all protection, and leaving them to the self-interested violence of the petty republics, unrestrained by any loftier consideration.
In the Republic of Buenos Ayres, under the dictatorship of General Rosas, the lot of these poor creatures was specially cruel. A war of extermination was carried on against them, and eighty had at one time been shot together in the market-place of the capital. Nothing could be done towards reclaiming them while so savage a warfare lasted; but Gardiner hoped to push on to the more northerly tribes, on the borders of Chili, and he took a journey to reconnoitre across the Pampas, with many strange hardships and adventures; but he found always the same story,--the Indians regarded as wild beasts, and, acting only too much as such, falling by night on solitary ranchos, or on lonely travellers, and murdering them, and, on the other hand, being shot down wherever they were found.
With great difficulty and perseverance he made his way to the Biobio river, leaving his family at Concepcion, the nearest comparatively civilized place. Here he meant to make his way to a village of independent Indians, with whose chief, Corbalan, he had hopes of entering into relations.
To cross the rapid stream of the Biobio, he had to use a primitive raft, formed of four trunks of trees, about eighteen feet long, lashed together by hide-thongs to two poles, one at each end. A horse was fastened to it, by knotting his tail to the tow-rope, and on his back was a boy, holding on by the single lock of the mane that is allowed to remain on Chilian horses, who guided him across with much entreating, urging, and coaxing. On the other side appeared Corbalan, the Indian chief on horseback, and in a dark poncho, a sort of round cloak, with a hole to admit the head, much worn all over South America. He took Captain Gardiner to his house, an oval, with wattled side-walls, about five feet high and thirty-five long, neatly thatched with grass, with a fireplace in the centre, where a sheep was cooked for supper. Corbalan could speak Spanish, and seemed to be pleased with the visit, making an agreement that he should teach Gardiner his Indian tongue, and, in return, be instructed in the way of God and heaven. He had convened forty-five of his people, among whom were five chiefs, each of whom made the visitor the offering of a boiled chicken, while he gave them some coloured cotton handkerchiefs and some brass buttons. It was a beautiful country, and reminded the guest so much of some parts of England, that it needed a glance at the brown skin, flowing hair, and long poncho of Corbalan to dispel the illusion that he was near home. Things looked so favourable, that he had even selected a site for the mission-house, when some change of sentiment came over Corbalan, probably from the remonstrances of his fellow-chiefs: he declared that a warlike tribe near at hand would not suffer him to harbour a stranger, and that he must therefore withdraw his invitation.
So ended this attempt; and the indefatigable Captain turned his attention to the Indians to the southward, but he found that these were on good terms with the Chilian Government, and that no one could come among them without a pass from thence; and, as there was a cautious attempt at Christianizing then going on, by persuading the cacique to be baptized and to admit priests to their villages, there was both the less need and the less opening for him.
So, picking up his wife and children again at Concepcion, he sailed with them for Valdivia, where, as wandering Europeans were always supposed to be in search of objects for museums, and perhaps from some confusion about his name, he was called "El Botanico." Again he plunged among the Indians; but, wherever he came to a peaceable tribe, they were under the influence of Spanish clergy, who were, of course, determined to exclude him, while the warlike and independent Indians could not understand the difference between him and their Spanish enemies; and thus, after two years of effort, he found that no opening existed for reaching these wild people. A proposal was made to him to remain and act as an agent for the Bible and Tract Societies among the South American Roman Catholics, but this he rejected. "No," he said; "I have devoted myself to God, to seek for openings among the heathen, and I cannot go back or modify my vow."
The Malay Archipelago was his next goal. He sailed with his wife and children from Valparaiso for Sydney on the 29th of May, 1839, but the vessel got out of her course, and was forced to put in at Tahiti, where he found things sadly changed by the aggression of Louis Philippe's Government, which had claimed the protectorate. The troubles of Queen Pomare's reign were at their height, and the conflict between French and English, Roman Catholic and Protestant, prevented any efficient struggle against the corruption introduced by the crews of all nations.
The great savage island of New Guinea seemed to Captain Gardiner a field calling for labour, and, on his arrival in Australia, he found that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Sydney was trying to organize a mission. He left Australia, hoping to obtain permission from the Dutch authorities at Timor to proceed to Papua, to take steps for being beforehand with the Australian expedition. He reached the place with great difficulty, and he himself, and all his family, began to suffer severely from fever. The Dutch governor told him that he might as well try to teach the monkeys as the Papuans, and the Dutch clergy gave him very little encouragement. He remained in these strange and beautiful islands for several months, trying one Dutch governor after another, and always finding them civil but impenetrable; for, in fact, they could not believe that an officer in her Britannic Majesty's Navy could be purely actuated by missionary zeal, but thought that it concealed some political object. They were not more gracious even to clergy of other nations. He found an American missionary at Macassar, whom they had detained, and some Germans, who were vainly entreating to be allowed to proceed to Borneo; and his efforts met only with the most baffling, passive, but systematic denial. It was reserved for the enterprise and prudence of Sir James Brooke to open a way in this quarter.
The health of the Gardiner family had been much injured by their residence in those lovely but unwholesome countries, but the voyage to Capetown restored it; and immediately after they sailed again for South America, where the Captain had heard of an Indian tribe in the passes of the Cordilleras, who seemed more possible of access. Here again he was baffled in his dealings with the local government by the suspicions of the priests, and never could obtain the means of penetrating beyond the city of San Carlos, so that he decided at last to repair to the Falkland Islands, and make an endeavour thence to reach the people of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, where no hostile Church should put stumbling-blocks in his way.
A doleful region he found those Falkland Isles, covered only with their peculiar grass and short heather, and without a tree. A little wooden cottage, brought from Valparaiso, sheltered the much-enduring Mrs. Gardiner and the two children, while the Captain looked out for a vessel to take him to Patagonia; but he found that no one ever went there, and the whalers who made these dismal islands their station did not wish to go out of their course. Captain Gardiner offered 200l., the probable value of a whole whale, as the price of his passage; but the skippers told him that, though they would willingly take him anywhere for nothing, they could not go out of their course.
To seek the most hopeless and uncultivated was always this good man's object. The Falkland Isles were dreary enough, but they were a paradise compared to the desolate fag-end of the American world,--a cluster of barren rocks, intersected by arms of the sea, which divide them into numerous islets, the larger ones bearing stunted forests of beech and birch, on the skirts of hills covered with perpetual snow, and sending down blue glaciers to the water's edge. The narrower channels are very shallow; the wider, rough and storm-tossed; and scarcely anything edible grows on the islands. The Fuegians are as degraded a people as any on the face of the earth, with just intelligence enough to maintain themselves by hunting and fishing, by the help of dogs, which, it is said, they prize so much that they would rather, in time of scarcity, eat up an old mother than a dog; and they are churlishly inhospitable to strangers, although with an unusual facility for imitating their language, nor had any one ever attempted their conversion.
However, the master of the Montgomery, who had brought the Gardiners out to the Falkland Islands, hearing of the offer, undertook such a profitable expedition; but his schooner was utterly frail, had to be caulked and to borrow a sail, and, as he was losing no whales, Captain Gardiner refused to give more than 100l., a sufficiently exorbitant sum, for the passage of himself and a servant named Johnstone. While the crazy vessel was refitting a Sunday intervened, during which he offered to hold a service, but only two men attended it, the rest were all absent or intoxicated.
The poor little ship put to sea, and struggled into the Straits of Magelhaen, drifting near the Fuegian coast. Landing, the Captain lighted a fire to attract the attention of the natives, and some came down and shouted. The English did not, however, think it safe to go further from the boat, and presently the Fuegians likewise kindled their fire, whereupon Gardiner heaped more fuel on his own, and continued his signals, when two men advanced, descending to the beach. They were clad in cloaks of the skin of the guanaco, a small kind of llama, and were about five feet ten in height, with broad shoulders and chests, but lean, disproportionate legs. Each carried a bow and quiver of arrows; and they spoke loudly, making evident signs that the strangers were unwelcome. Presents were offered them; brass buttons, a clasp knife, and worsted comforter; and they sat down, but apparently with a sullen resolution not to relax their faces, nor utter another word. A small looking-glass was handed to one of them, and he was grimly putting it under his cloak when Captain Gardiner held it up to him, and he laughed at the reflection of his own face; and his friend then looked at the knife, as if expecting it to produce the same effect, but, though they seemed to appreciate it, they made no friendly sign, and appeared unmoved when spoken to either in Spanish or in the few Patagonian phrases that Captain Gardiner had managed to pick up; nor did anything seem to afford them any satisfaction except demonstrations of departure.
Nothing seemed practicable with these uncouth, distrustful beings, and the Captain therefore went on in search of a tribe of Patagonians, among which, he was told, was a Creole Spaniard named San Leon, who had acquired great influence by his reckless courage and daring, and through whom it might be possible to have some communication with them. The camp of these people on the main continent, near Cape Gregory, was discovered newly deserted, with hollow places in the ground where fires had been made, and many marks of footsteps. This extreme point of the continent was by no means so dreary as the Land of Fire; it bore thorny bushes ten feet high, wild celery and clover, and cranberry-bushes covered with red berries. Indeed, the Patagonians--so called because their big splay boots made Magelhaen conclude they walked on patas (paws), like bears--are a superior race to the Fuegians, larger in stature than most Europeans, great riders, and clever in catching guanacos by means of bolas, i.e. two round stones attached to a string. If the Fuegians are Antarctic Esquimaux, the Patagonians are Antarctic Tartars, leading a wandering life under tents made of skins of horses and guanacos, and hating all settled habits, but not so utterly inhospitable and impracticable as their neighbours beyond the Strait. In truth, the division is not clearly marked, for there are Fuegians on the continent and Patagonians in the islands. Ascending a height, the Captain took a survey of the country, and, seeing two wreaths of smoke near Oazy Harbour, sailed in, cast anchor, and in the morning was visited by the natives of their own accord, after which he returned with them to their camp, consisting of horse-hide tents, semicircular in form, and entirely open. They were full of men, women, and children, and among them San Leon, to whom it was possible to talk in Spanish, and indeed several natives, from intercourse with ships, knew a few words of English. San Leon had been with the tribe for twelve years, and said that American missionaries had visited them, but that they had gone away because the Fuegians who crossed the Strait were such thieves that they ate up their provisions and cut up their books. However, no objection was made to Gardiner's remaining, so he set up a tarred canvas tent, closed at each end with bullock-hides, and slept on shore, a good deal disturbed by the dogs, who gnawed at the bullock-hides, till a coat of tar laid over them prevented them. Not so, however, with another visitor, a huge Patagonian, who walked in with the words, "I go sleep," and leisurely coiled himself up for the purpose, unheeding Johnstone's discourse; but the Captain, pointing with his finger, and emphatically saying "Go," produced the desired effect. Then followed the erection of seventeen skin tents, all in a row, set up by the women. These Patagonians behaved well and quietly; but, in the meantime, the master of the schooner had asked San Leon to obtain some guanaco meat for the crew, and the natives who went in search of the animals insisted on being paid, though they had caught nothing. These however were Fuegians, and the Patagonians were very angry with them. Captain Gardiner even ventured to remain alone with Johnstone among this people, while San Leon went on to Port Famine in the Montgomery, which was in search of wood; but, in the meantime, he could do nothing but hold a little monosyllabic communication; and once, when he and his servant both went out at the same time, they lost their dinner, which, left to simmer over the fire, proved irresistible to the Patagonians. They, however, differed from the Fuegians in not ordinarily being thieves.
A chief named Wissale arrived with a body of his tribe with whom he had been purchasing horses on the Rio Negro, and bringing with him an American negro named Isaac, who had three years since run away from a whaler, and who spoke enough English to be a useful interpreter.
Wissale, with Isaac's help, was made to perceive Captain Gardiner's intentions sufficiently to promise to make him welcome if he should return, and to declare that he should be glad to learn good things. There seemed so favourable an opening that the Captain made up his mind to take up his abode there with his family to prepare the way for a missionary in Holy Orders, for whom he never deemed himself more than a pioneer.
After distributing presents to the friendly Patagonians, he embarked, and making a weary passage, reached the Falkland Islands, where he found the two ships Erebus and Terror anchored, in the course of their voyage of Antarctic discovery. The presence of the two captains and their officers was a great pleasure and enlivenment to the Gardiners, who received from them many comforts very needful in that inclement climate to people lately come from some of the hottest regions of the southern hemisphere.
Whalers continually put in, but not one, even though Captain Gardiner's offers rose to 300l., would undertake to go out of his course to Patagonia to convey him and his family, and he would not trust his wife and children on board that wretched craft the Montgomery, so he waited on at the Falkland Islands, doing what good he could there, and expecting the answer of a letter he had despatched to the Church Missionary Society, begging for the appointment of a clergyman to this field of labour. After six months' delay, the letter came, and proved to be unfavourable; there was a falling off in the funds of the Society, and a new and doubtful mission was thought undesirable. The Captain believed that nothing but personal representations could prevail, and therefore decided on going home to plead the cause of his Patagonians. He sailed with his family for Rio in a small vessel, and the voyage could not have been one of the least of the dangers, for the skipper was a Guacho who had been a shoemaker, and knew nothing about seafaring, and there was not a spare rope in the ship. From Rio Gardiner took a passage home, and safely arrived, after six years of brave pioneering in three different quarters of the globe.
He found, however, that the Church Missionary Society could not undertake the Patagonian Mission, and neither could the London nor Wesleyan Societies. He declared that every one grew cold when they heard of South America, and viewed it as the natural inheritance of Giants Pope and Pagan; and for this very reason he was the more bent upon doing his utmost. Failing in his attack on Pagan he made an assault on Pope, obtaining a grant of Bibles, Testaments, and tracts from the Bible Society, and in 1843 sailed for Rio to distribute them; this time, however, going alone, as his children were of an age to require an English education and an English home.
He undertook this mission, in fact, chiefly for the purpose of continuing his attempts to reach the Indian tribes. His journey was, as usual, wild and adventurous, and its principal result was an acquaintance with the English chaplains and congregations at several of the chief South American ports, from whom he received a promise of 100l., per annum for the support of a mission to Patagonia.
With this beginning he returned home, and while residing at Brighton, his earnestness so stirred people's minds that a Society was formed with an income of 500l., and Mr. Robert Hunt, giving up the mastership of an endowed school, offered himself to the Church Missionary Society. A clergyman could not immediately be found, and it was determined that these two should go first and prepare the way. In 1844, then, they landed in Oazy Harbour in Magelhaen's Straits, and set up three tents, one for stores, one for cooking, and one for sleeping. One Fuegian hut was near, where the people were inoffensive, and presently there arrived a Chilian deserter named Mariano, who said that he had run away from the fort at Port Famine with another man named Cruz, who had remained among the Patagonians. He reported that Wissale had lost much of his authority, and that San Leon was now chief of the tribe; also that there was a Padre Domingo at Port Famine, who was teaching the Patagonians to become "Catolicos."
To learn the truth as soon as possible, the Captain and Mr. Hunt locked up two of their huts, leaving the other for Mariano, and set off in search of the Patagonians; and a severe journey it was, as they had to carry the heavy clothing required to keep up warmth at night, besides their food, gun, powder, and shot. The fatigue was too much for Hunt, who was at one time obliged to lie down exhausted while the Captain went in search of water; and after four days they were obliged to return to their huts, where shortly after Wissale arrived, but with a very scanty following, only ten or twelve horses, and himself and family very hungry; but though ready to eat whatever Captain Gardiner would give him, his whole manner was changed by his disasters. He was surly and quarrelsome, and evidently under the influence of the deserter Cruz, who was resolved to set him against the new-comers, and so worked upon him that he once threatened the Captain with his dirk. Moreover, a Chilian vessel arrived, bringing Padre Mariano himself, a Spanish South American, with a real zeal for conversion, though he was very courteous to the Englishmen. An English vessel arrived about the same time, and Gardiner, thinking the cause for the present hopeless, accepted a homeward passage, writing in his journal, "We can never do wrong in casting the Gospel net on any side or in any place. During many a dark and wearisome night we may appear to have toiled in vain, but it will not be always so. If we will but wait the appointed time, the promise, though long delayed, will assuredly come to pass."
But if he was not daunted his supporters were, and nothing but his intense earnestness, and assurance that he should never abandon South America, prevented the whole cause from being dropped. His next attempt was to reach the Indians beyond Bolivia, in the company of Federigo Gonzales, a Spaniard, who had become a Protestant, and was to have gone on the Patagonian Mission. Here fever became their enemy, but after much suffering and opposition Gonzales was settled at Potosi, studying the Quichuan language, and hoping to work upon the Indians, while the unwearied Gardiner again returned to England to strain every nerve for the Fuegian Mission, which lay nearest of all to his heart.
He travelled all over England and Scotland, lecturing and making collections, speaking with the same energy whether he had few or many auditors. At one town, when asked what sort of a meeting he had had, he answered, "Not very good, but better than sometimes."
"How many were present?"
"Not one; but no meeting is better than a bad one."
He could not obtain means enough for a well-appointed expedition such as he wished for; but he urged that a small experimental one might be sent out, consisting of himself, four sailors, one carpenter, with three boats, two huts, and provisions for half a year. He hoped to establish a station on Staten Island, whence the Fuegians could be visited, and the stores kept out of their reach.
Having found the men, he embarked on board the barque Clymene, which was bound for Payta, in Peru, and was landed on Picton Island; but before the vessel had departed the Fuegians had beset the little party, and shown themselves so obstinately and mischievously thievish, that it was plainly impossible for so small a party to hold their ground among them. Before there could be a possibility of convincing them of even the temporal benefit of the white man's residence among them, they would have stripped and carried off everything from persons who would refrain from hurting them. So, once more, the Captain drew up the net which had taken nothing, decided that the only mission which would suit the Fuegians must be afloat, and went on to Payta in the Clymene.
While in Peru, he met with a Spanish lady, who asked if he knew a friend of hers who came from Genoa, and then proceeded to inquire which was the largest city, Genoa or Italy, and if Europe was not a little on this side of Spain, while a priest asked if London was a part of France. After spending a little time in distributing Bibles in Peru, he made his way home by the way of Panama, and on his arrival made an attempt to interest the Moravians in the cause so near his heart, thinking that what they had done in Greenland proved their power of dealing with that savage apathy that springs from inclemency of climate, but the mission was by them pronounced impracticable.
In the meantime, his former ground, Port Natal, was in a more hopeful state. Tremendous battles had been fought between Dingarn and the boers; but, in 1839, Panda, Dingarn's brother, finding his life threatened, went over to the enemy, carrying 4,000 men with him, and thus turned the scale. Dingarn was routed, fled, and was murdered by the tribe with whom he had taken refuge, and Panda became Zulu king, while the boers occupied Natal, and founded the city of Pieter Maritzburg as the capital of a Republic; but the disputes between them and the Zulus led to the interference of the Governor of the Cape, and finally Natal was made a British colony, with the Tugela for a boundary; and, as Panda's government was exceedingly violent and bloody, his subjects were continually flocking across the river to put themselves under British protection, and were received on condition of paying a small yearly rate for every hut in each kraal, and conforming themselves to English law, so far as regarded the suppression of violence and theft. One of the survivors of Gardiner's old pupils, meeting a gentleman who was going to England, sent him the following message: "Tell Cappan Garna he promise to come again if his hair was as white as his shirt, and we are waiting for him;" and he added a little calabash snuff-box as a token. But the Captain had made his promise to return contingent upon the Kaffirs of his settlement taking no part in the war, and they, poor things, had, with the single exception of his own personal attendant, Umpondombeni, broken this condition; so that he did not deem himself bound by it. Moreover, means were being taken for providing a mission for Natal, and Christian teachers were already there, while he regarded his own personal exertions as the only hope for the desolate natives of Cape Horn. So he only sent a letter and a present to the man, urging him to attach himself to a mission-station, and then turned again to his unwearied labour in the Patagonian and Fuegian cause. His little Society found it impossible to raise means for the purchase of a brigantine, and he therefore limited his plans to the equipment of two launches and two smaller boats. He would store in these provisions for six months, and take a crew of Cornish fishermen, used to the stormy Irish Sea. As to the funds, a lady at Cheltenham gave 700l., he himself 300l. The boats were purchased, three Cornishmen, named Pearce, Badcock, and Bryant, all of good character, volunteered from the same village; Joseph Erwin, the carpenter, who had been with him before, begged to go with him again, because, he said, "being with Captain Gardiner was like a heaven upon earth; he was such a man of prayer." One catechist was Richard Williams, a surgeon; the other John Maidment, who was pointed out by the secretary of the Young Men's Association in London; and these seven persons, with their two launches, the Pioneer and the Speedwell, were embarked on board the Ocean Queen, and sailed from Liverpool on the 7th of September, 1850. They carried with them six months' provisions, and the committee were to send the same quantity out in due time, but they failed to find a ship that would undertake to go out of its course to Picton Island, and therefore could only send the stores to the Falklands, to be thence despatched by a ship that was reported to go monthly to Tierra del Fuego for wood.
Meantime, the seven, with their boats and their provisions, were landed on Picton Island, and the Ocean Queen pursued her way. Time passed on, and no more was heard of them. The Governor of the Falklands had twice made arrangements for ships to touch at Picton Island, but the first master was wrecked, the second disobeyed him; and in great anxiety, on the discovery of this second failure, he sent, in October 1851, a vessel on purpose to search for them. At the same time, the Dido, Captain William Morshead, had been commanded by the Admiralty to touch at the isles of Cape Horn and carry relief to the missionaries.
On the 21st of October, in a lonely little bay called Spaniards' Harbour, in Picton Island, the Falkland Island vessel found the Speedwell on the beach, and near it an open grave. In the boat lay one body, near the grave another. They returned with these tidings, and in the meantime the Dido having come out, her boats explored the coast, and a mile and a half beyond the first found the other boat, beside which lay a skeleton, the dress of which showed it to be the remains of Allen Gardiner. Near at hand was a cavern, outside which were these words painted, beneath a hand:--
"My soul, wait thou still upon God, for my hope is in Him.
"He truly is my strength and my salvation; He is my defence, so that I shall not fall.
"In God is my strength and my glory; the rock of my might, and in God is my trust."
Within the cave lay another body, that of Maidment. Reverent hands collected the remains and dug a grave; the funeral service was read by one of the officers, the ship's colours were hung half-mast high, and three volleys of musketry fired over the grave--"the only tribute of respect," says Captain Morshead, "I could pay to this lofty-minded man and his devoted companions who have perished in the cause of the Gospel." There was no doubt of the cause and manner of their death, for Captain Gardiner's diary was found written up to probably the last day of his life.
It appeared that in their first voyage, on the 20th of December, they had fallen in with a heavy sea, and a great drift of seaweed, in which the anchor of the Speedwell and the two lesser boats had been hopelessly entangled and lost. It was found impossible for such small numbers to manage the launches in the stormy channels while loaded, and it was therefore resolved to lighten them by burying the stores at Banner Cove, and, while this was being done, it was discovered that all the ammunition, except one flask and a half of powder, had been left behind in the Ocean Queen; so that there was no means of obtaining either guanacos or birds. Attempts were made at establishing friendly barter with the natives, but no sooner did these perceive the smallness of the number of the strangers, than they beset them with obstinate hostility. Meantime, Gardiner's object was to reach a certain Button Island, where was a man called Jemmy Button, who had had much intercourse with English sailors, and who, he hoped, might pave the way for a better understanding with the natives.
But the Pioneer had been damaged from the first, and could not go so far. At Banner Cove the natives were hostile and troublesome, and Spaniards' Harbour was the only refuge, and even there a furious wind, on the 1st of February, drove the Pioneer ashore against the jagged root of a tree, so as to damage her past all her crew's power of mending, though they hauled her higher up on the beach, and, by the help of a tent, made a lodging for the night of the wreck close to the cave, which they called after her name.
The question then was, whether to place all the seven in the Speedwell with some of the provisions and make for Button Island, and this might probably have saved their lives; but they had already experienced the exceeding difficulty of navigating the launch in the heavy seas. Both their landing boats were lost, and they therefore decided to remain where they were until the arrival of the vessel with supplies, which they confidently expected either from home or from the Falklands. Indeed, their power of moving away was soon lost, for Williams, the surgeon, and Badcock, one of the Cornishmen, both fell ill of the scurvy. The cold was severe, and neither fresh meat nor green food was to be had, and this in February--the southern August. However, the patients improved enough to enable the party to make a last expedition to Banner Cove to recover more of the provisions buried there, and to paint notices upon the rocks to guide the hoped-for relief to Spaniards' Harbour; but this was not effected without much molestation from the Fuegians. Then passed six weary months of patient expectation and hope deferred. There was no murmuring, no insubordination, while these seven men waited--waited--waited in vain, through the dismal Antarctic winter for the relief that came too late. The journals of Williams and Gardiner breathe nothing but hopeful, resigned trust, and comfort in the heavenly-minded resolution of each of the devoted band, who may almost be said to have been the Theban legion of the nineteenth century.
For a month they were able to procure fish, and were not put on short allowance till April, when Williams and Badcock both became worse, and Bryant began to fail, though he never took to his bed. They, with Erwin, were lodged in the Speedwell at Blomfield Harbour, a sheltered inlet, about a mile and a half from the wreck of the Pioneer, where, to leave the sick more room, Captain Gardiner lodged with Maidment and Pearce.
With the months whose names spoke of English summer, storms and terrible cold began to set in. The verses that Gardiner wrote in his diary during this frightful period are inexpressibly touching in the wondrous strength of their faith and cheerfulness.
"Let that sweet word our spirits cheer Which quelled the tossed disciples' fear: 'Be not afraid!' He who could bid the tempest cease Can keep our souls in perfect peace, If on Him stayed. And we shall own 'twas good to wait: No blessing ever came too late."
This was written on the 4th of June; on the 8th their fishing-net was torn to pieces by blocks of drifting ice. On the 28th Badcock died, begging his comrades to sing a hymn to him in his last moments. In August, Gardiner, hitherto the healthiest, was obliged to take to his bed in the Pioneer, and there heard of the death of Erwin on the 23rd of August, and of Bryant on the 27th. Maidment buried them both, and came back to Captain Gardiner, who, as he lay in bed, had continued his journal, and written his farewell letters to his wife and children. Hitherto, the stores of food had been eked out by mussels and wild celery, but there was now no one to search for them. Gardiner, wishing to save Maidment the journeys to and fro, determined to try to reach the Speedwell, and Maidment cut two forked sticks to serve as crutches, but the Captain found himself too weak for the walk, and had to return. This was on the 30th of August. On Sunday, the 31st, there is no record in the diary, but the markers stand in his Prayer-book at the Psalms for the day and the Collect for the Sunday. On the 3rd of September, Maidment was so much exhausted that he could not leave his bed till noon, and Gardiner never saw him again. He must have died in the Pioneer cavern, being unable to return. The diary continues five days longer. A little peppermint-water had been left by the solitary sufferer's bed, and a little fresh water he also managed to scoop up from the sides of the boat in an india-rubber shoe. This was all the sustenance he had. On the 6th of September he wrote--"Yet a little while, and through grace we may join that blessed throng to sing the praises of Christ throughout eternity. I neither hunger nor thirst, though five days without food! Marvellous loving-kindness to me, a sinner. Your affectionate brother in CHRIST,--ALLEN F. GARDINER."
These last words were in a letter to Williams. He must afterwards have left the boat, perhaps to catch more water, and have been too weak to climb back into it, for his remains were on the beach. Williams lost the power of writing sooner, and no more is known of his end, though probably he died first, and Pearce must have been trying to prepare his grave when he, too, sank.
What words can befit this piteous history better than "This is the patience of the saints"?
The memorial to Allen Gardiner has been a mission-ship bearing his name, with her head-quarters at the Falkland Isles. We believe that these isles are to become a Bishop's See. Assuredly a branch of the Church should spring up where the seed of so patient and devoted a martyrdom has been sown.