Categories: South America

Records of the South American Missionary Society

These records were compiled by the wife of the founder of the South American Missionary Society, Captain Allen Gardiner. They cover the first 50 years of the Society’s work.

My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this public domain book for digitisation.

Elizabeth Lydia (Marsh) Gardiner, Records of the South American Missionary Society or Fifty Years’ Work in South America (British Guiana Excepted). London: South American Missionary Society, [1896?]. Hbk. pp.101. [Click here to visit the download page]


  • Preface to the Fourth Edition
  • Story of the Four Boys, Threeboys, Uroopa, Sesoi and Jack
  • Opening of Ushuaia Station by Mr Stirling
  • Consecration of the Rev. W.H. Stirling to be the First Bishop of the Falkland Islands
  • Baptism of Thirty-Six Natives
  • The Christian Village of Ushuaia
  • A New Station
  • The Argentine Colony
  • The Amazon Mission
  • The Paraquay Mission (The Gran Chaco)
  • Araucania
  • The Chaplaincies
  • Argentine Republic—Rosario
  • Uruguay—Salto
  • San Paulo and Santos
  • Chanaral
  • Quino
  • The Welsh Colony—River Chuput
  • Straits of Magellan
  • Missions to Seamen
  • Panama


More than fifty years have now passed since the formation of this Society, and more than forty since the death of the Founder.

In once more reviewing its history, our first feeling is one of deep regret for our failures, and of profound sorrow for the feebleness of our efforts, and the little progress yet made in bringing the light of the glorious gospel of God to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. Nevertheless, we have cause to render hearty thanks to the God of our mercies, in that He has given us. some fruit of our labour, and has permitted us to rejoice over many Christian lives and many happy deaths in the once savage country of Tierra del Fuego; also for the brightening prospects of the missions to the Paraguayan Chaco, and to the Indians of Araucania.

To go back, we must remind our readers that as long ago as 1830, fourteen years before this Society was formed, four natives of Tierra del Fuego were brought to England by the late Admiral FitzRoy, then captain of H.M.S. Beagle. He with the greatest kindness fed, clothed, and partially educated them; finally restoring them to their own land with many presents. They were accompanied by a young man who had volunteered his services as missionary; but the people proved to be so wild and rough that he was discouraged, and the attempt was abandoned. Nevertheless, one at least of these four benefited sufficiently by the training he received to become, at a later period, of great use to the mission afterwards formed.

Again, after many preliminary journeys made by Commander Gardiner in various countries of South America, at least three distinct but futile efforts were made to form a missionary station. The first in 1844, in Patagonia; next in that part of the Chaco which adjoins Bolivia, in 1846; then in Tierra del Fuego in 1848. After this last followed’ the attempt which came to so tragical an end in 1851. Then it was that the conscience of England was awakened to a long-neglected duty, for, as one of the weekly papers expressed it, “They buried themselves on the desert shore, but the whole people of England attends their funeral.”

Yet still a period of darkness and painful effort had to be passed through before any fruit was seen, reminding us of those words of St. Paul, ” We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselve~, but in God which raiseth the dead.”

Pages 5-6.

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