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Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved. Software By Serif. Web design by Michael Browne
Captain Allen Gardiner to the Chiefs of the Toba Nation
Banner Cove, Tierra del Fuego 1851
THIS letter comes to you with our greetings.
Our country, which is called Great Britain, lies far, very far from yours; a great sea of three moons divides us. We cannot come to you to speak face to face, but we send one of our people to tell you what is in our hearts. Our God, whom we serve has made us great and happy, and we desire to see all nations as great and happy as we are. This God, who has done such great things for us, is the only true God. He made the Heavens and the earth, and the sea, and all things in them, and He has given us a Book in which we are taught all that He would have us do, and where our spirits will go where we die, for the spirit that is in us lives for ever.
We have sent this Book to many other nations, and all who have received it have been made happy, and wished that they had known it sooner. Why should the Toba nations be the last to receive this Book? It grieves us to think that you are still ignorant of it; we therefore now offer it to you as the best present we can send you. The Tobas are a brave people, and we doubt not they will prove themselves as wise as they are brave by accepting this proof of our goodwill and friendship towards them. We pray you not to think lightly of the offer which we now make, for when once you have heard the words of that precious Book, you will value it as we do. We would not part with it for all the riches of the world.
We were once without this Book, as you are now, and then all things went ill with us, but since we have known the good and comfortable words which it contains we have been made happy; and, besides this, we are bound to send it to you, for it is commanded in that Book, that those who have it should send it out to all the nations of the world, until they are all provided with it.
This then, O Chiefs, is our message to you. Let two of our people visit you, let them dwell with you securely until they have learned to speak to you in your own language. They will then be able to read the good words of God's Book in your ears and make you glad. They will come cheerfully, without fear, for why should they be afraid? We do not think so ill of the brave Toba nations as to suppose that they will do any harm to our messengers who come with words of peace. No, we feel assured that they will take care of them. One of them will be a medical man, well informed in all that is necessary, in order to cure or alleviate all kinds of diseases.
Every six moons we will send some little present to your great captain, in order that you may not forget your distant friends, as they never can pass to your country.
Again we say to you, chiefs, and to all the Toba nations, our hearts are towards you. We are your friends although you know it not; and, though we cannot speak together, we can listen to the words of the same Book, which tell us to love all men, to call them our brethren, and to do good to them as we have opportunity. We will continue to pray to our God to bless you, to incline your hearts to receive His Word, and that you may continue to live in peace on the land of your fathers, no man disturbing you in your possessions.
Farewell, captains, and all the Toba nations. May you be forever happy.
YOUR FOREIGN FRIENDS
How the Gospel reached the Tobas:
Allen Gardiner’s letter