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immense territories? That she may bear to them the Gospel of Salvation. This object begins to be realized; it is apparent already, that what was at first a curse is, through the labours of the missionary, becoming a blessing.
My Lord Duke, in carefully examining the great question of Christian missions, you will find it to involve the highest points of the policy of nations. The real purposes of Heaven, in giving to Britain so much colonial territory, will soon become obvious even to mere statesmen. The Population question will shortly be solved.
A current of distress is setting in which will try the skill of those who guide the vessel of state. Temporary expedients may be adopted, and, for a season, they may appear to succeed; but the evil will, from time to time, return with a more appalling power and a more deadly malignity. Philosophers may speculate, statesmen may debate, party may upset party, experiment may succeed experiment, and scheme follow scheme, but the affliction will continue, without any material abatement, in spite of the legislature. The province of true legislation is limited. In regard to commerce and colonies, it generally does most for their benefit when it does least, unless in the way of undoing its previous enactments. When all has been done that can be done by either of the great parties in the state, or by both, should the cry of calamity happen to unite them, still wants, vast and pressing, will remain which nothing can supply, and hardly any thing mitigate. Legislation cannot ultimately defeat the purposes of Divine Providence ; but by delay it may double the difficulties of obedience, and prolong the calamities which it is intended to alleviate. Carefully surveying the present state of the globe, with
the history of past times before me, and with the condition of our country full in view, I am reluctantly, but irresistibly, led to the conclusion, that England is on the brink of a great era—an era marked by difficulty, distraction, convulsion, and peril. But her affliction will, in the end, redound, to her honour and glory. She will be summoned to the self-denying task of sowing the seed of her people, her institutions, her arts, her sciences, and her piety, in far distant lands. The people of England must, at a day not very distant, emigrate by millions; and the process, at brief intervals, will be repeated. This, however, will, no doubt, be attended with sore, although temporary trials, to the separated parties ; but these will diminish with time, and soon be much mitigated by circumstances : while the benefits to posterity and mankind will be boundless and endless.
Taking a wide view of the whole question of civilization, of which the grand element is Christian missions, I conceive that Prophecy, Providence, the temporal welfare of England, and the general good of all nations, alike and urgently call for British emigration upon a scale which no country has ever yet attempted. This measure, wisely conducted, will be fraught with a multitude of benefits. To England it will be profitable at once in point of wealth and of morals, both of which will be increasingly and fatally affected by the perpetuity of things as they now stand. Want apart, it is not desirable to cover England with buildings, and thus to convert the whole island into one great city. Emigration, on right principles, commercially, politically, morally, religiously considered, is a measure which well merits the support of every true friend to England and to mankind. Let cities rise in the wilderness, and let the desert echo the accents of Englishmen. Let the virgin soil of fertile regions, which have lain waste since the deluge, be broken up, that they may pour their treasures into the lap of man. Let those regions be replenished with British subjects, alive to wants numerous and various, which only Britain can supply, and British canvass will still continue, with increase, to whiten every sea, and the manufactories of England be kept in busy play, teeming with well paid, intelligent, virtuous, and happy men. It sickens the very soul to see how lightly human life is estimated in England. A man is often little more accounted of than a dog! The feelings of nature, too, are shocked, and the laws of propriety are violated, in relation to the increase of mankind. Children are actually considered a “cumbrance," a great family, a great misfortune. This language is heard only in England. In America the feelings which prompt it have no place. Where such sentiments exist, and children are a hardship, there is something wrong. They ought to be viewed as Scripture represents them, in the light of a blessing. The feeling here condemned is that in which infanticide originates !
Philanthropy weeps at the aspect of English society. She is wearied by the sight of squalid misery, of workhouses, of prisons, of penitentiaries, and other instruments for the prevention or the punishment of crime. To separate will be to purify society. Let the order of nature be restored as fast and as far as practicable. This would render the police of nations a very simple affair, and cheap because simple. It is time to look at this matter in the light of economy. The annual cost to the British isles, of police and crime, is, as near as can be ascertained, about a million and a half sterling! Whence this dreadful state of society? Is it not, to a large extent, from ignorance, from poverty, and from destitution? Would not the money, thus wasted, if well laid out, go far towards rectifying the fearful disorders of the body politic?
The cause of true civilization, in other words, the cause of missions, — requires more great centres from which it might be successfully diffused throughout surrounding regions and adjacent lands. Feeble tapers, such as the Christian communities of most of our colonial establishments now are, can emit but little light. On this ground, it is of the first importance that a system of colonization should be carried out with the utmost activity by the friends of religion and humanity. To use a figure familiar to your Grace, the army is much too far from their magazines: the missionary stations are at too great a distance from the British churches to command a sufficient measure of sympathy or of succour. From England to those lands the voyages are so long, and so expensive, as to throw great impediments in the way of the missionaries. Men with families cannot be sent forth; and families, in the event of parental sickness or death, can only return at a heavy, and, therefore, a hurtful cost to the societies. Were the whole body of the supporters of the African missions resident in Africa instead of England, how it would alter the character, and augment the force of these missions! The same remark equally applies to India and other heathen countries.
England could at present spare four or five millions of her people, without in the least degree impeding the operations of either her agriculture or her commerce ;
and, consequently, the withdrawment of such a body would serve powerfully to invigorate the whole system of society, while their location on other shores would lay the foundation of new and civilized kingdoms, open for England fresh and valuable markets, and give a rightful importance, as well as impart a substantial felicity, to multitudes of immortal beings who now feel existence to be a burden, and are tempted to curse the day that they were born! On these, and other grounds, my Lord Duke, I consider Christian Protestant missions as the great and paramount work of the present age,-missions first to our colonies, and then into all the world. The establishment of the former in great power, because among great numbers, will most materially facilitate the latter. By multiplying great centres of evangelical operation, at wide distances over the earth, we shall proportionately augment power of action.
My Lord Duke, if such be the missionary enterprise, it surely follows that the missionary character is incomparably the leading character of our times. We have, indeed, at present, no other that can either command attention, or that possesses much importance. The military character, although immemorially and fatally famous, is now, I trust, nearly out of date. The people of England have now paid so much for plumes and epaulets, drums and trumpets, swords and pick-axes, muskets and cannon, and other instruments of human destruction, that, it is probable, they will feel but little disposed to make any farther purchases in that way for seven centuries to come. At the Revolution, in 1688, the National Debt was little more than half a million sterling; and the interest not forty thousand pounds. Then began our madness and our misery. The war of