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address without again expressing, in the most emphatic terms, the conviction and earnest hope of all who have already attached themselves as members of this institution, that the measures to be adopted by them for the suppression of the traffic in slaves—for securing the peace and tranquillity of Africa—for the encouragement of agriculture and commerce—will facilitate the propagation and triumph of that faith, which one and all feel to be indispensable for the happiness of the inhabitants of that Continent. Howsoever the extension of the Christian religion may be attempted, it is far more likely to take root and flourish where peace prevails, and crime is diminished, than where murder and bloodshed, and the violation of every righteous principle, continue to pollute the land.”
Sir Thomas, the publication of such sentiments as these by a body largely composed of the nobles, the first gentlemen, the philosophers, the legislators, and literary men of England, is no light matter, and no ordinary occurrence. It marks a great era in the history of public opinion. How opposed is the spirit of the present age to that of Hume, Bolingbroke, and Shaftesbury! How has the proud crest of infidel philosophy fallen! With what power and glory has Christianity burst forth! In England, and throughout the earth, she is everywhere her own witness. The calm voice of academic dialecticians, in her defence, was scarcely heard amidst the tempestuous and blasphemous boastings of a former age. Works on the evidences were multiplied; but such works, instead of quenching the fires that were raging among all ranks, only added fuel to the flame, which, combined with that of war, went on blazing and spreading till it enveloped England, Europe, America, and both the Indies. At length the power of God broke forth in the ministrations of Whitefield, Wesley, and others, in whose hands the doctrine of the cross became to multitudes the power of God unto salvation. Missions to many lands were established; the experiment was made upon men of divers climes, tongues, and stages of civilization, and every where the result was the same. The case for the gospel, as the great restorer of lost happiness to man, is now closed, and judgment has been pronounced by a competent tribunal, from which there can be no appeal.
Yours, Sir Thomas, has been a career of glory infinitely surpassing that of the conquerors of mankind. Your conflicts have been in behalf of humanity; your weapons have been those of truth, love, and reason; your laurels have not been the growth of tears and blood. Generations yet unborn, will pronounce your illustrious name—not forgetting the names of your great compeers—with the most profound and grateful veneration. But you need not be reminded that, although you have achieved much, the work is only begun. Your volume, already referred to, shows that you are fully and painfully apprized of this fact; and it also shows that the discovery has excited and awakened your spirit to the uttermost. The leisure resulting from your retirement from the labours of legislation, which multitudes deeply regretted, has been both laboriously and laudably employed in devising a remedy for the woes of Africa. That retirement, no Christian will doubt, was an event in providence for the accomplishment of wise, gracious, and all-important purposes of humanity. It has secured for you the intellectual vacation indispensable to profound inquiry and elaborate discussion. “ Deus tibi hæc otia fecit." Persevere, Sir Thomas, in your glorious undertaking. There is a heart in the bosom of at least a million of England's best people, that will respond to your call. May the Father of mercies, and the friend of the oppressed, preserve your health, prolong your days, and prosper the work of your hands, as leader of the hosts of British philanthropy and friend of Africa.
The question of African slavery has now assumed a fearful shape. It has proved itself a deadly evil of all but omnipotent might, which defies the power of diplomacy. It laughs the assaults of legislation to utter scorn. It spurns the checks of naval armaments; and still maintains, and even enlarges the boundaries, of its vast and terrible empire. Under this great defeat, nevertheless, there is much to console the bleeding heart of an English philanthropist. Since the year 1807, England has wrought wonders. She has induced all the great powers of Europe to unite in expressing their abhorrence of this infernal system; and with all of them she has made treaties for its extinction. She has expended, in bounties alone, nearly a million sterling; and, in upholding courts established for adjudicating upon the case of captured slaves, nearly 350,0001., besides the annual expense of supporting a considerable force of cruisers, in various waters, to intercept and destroy the abominable traffic. These, as matters of finance, have been no light thing. This expenditure, together with payments made to foreign courts, in furtherance of the object for the relief of liberated Africans, and other incidental expenses, has amounted to upwards of 15,000,0001. sterling! Shall we add to this the 20,000,0001. paid to the West Indian planters,
and all the outlay connected with working out the freedom of their slaves ? Such has been the cost of these mighty movements of British mercy. What has been the result? It has been great, great even beyond the price paid to realize it. The Christian humanity of England has obtained an unparalleled triumph ; a triumph compared with which all her martial victories shrink into deeds of littleness and of doubtful praise. “She," the queen of nations, “ has done what she could.” But has the slave market been closed ? Has the accursed traffic ceased ? No! Sir Thomas. Let the Christians of England learn, from your invaluable book, that the export trade in human beings, from the shores of Africa, is doubled as compared with 1807 ; that the destruction of life, with all its consequent guilt and misery, is augmented from seventeen to twenty-five per cent.
Such is the present state of this awful question. What are its prospects? What can England do by diplomacy and legislation, that she has not done? By efforts unparalleled, incredible, and above all praise, she has laboured to dry up the fountain of this foulest disgrace of our times; but her stupendous and imperial exertions have hardly sufficed to arrest a few of its smaller currents, and that only to turn them aside into other channels; the main streams roll on swollen by internal tributaries, as they proceed in their rapid progress, while some dark and fathomless abyss, in the centre of Africa, by which they must be principally fed, has not yet been even seen by the white man's eye, much less reached by the healing hand of Christian benevolence. What then is to be done ? Parliaments and cabinets stand aghast, and mere philosophic philan
thropy is mute. To this question there is only one correct answer. Let the churches of Christ go and erect the cross in the midst of the carnage. Let them point the nations of Africa to the Lamb of God. Let God's own remedy be applied to stanch the wounds of that bleeding country. Let the wisdom of the world give place to the revelations of mercy, and let the saints of Europe rally to a new and holier crusade. They are now summoned to the loftiest evangelical enterprise that has yet engaged their hearts or filled their hands. As an auxiliary establishment, it is difficult, Sir Thomas, to speak of your society in terms of extravagant commendation. It is, undoubtedly, every way very much adapted to facilitate missionary operation, and accelerate the triumphs which certainly await our African missions. That society, in my opinion, deserves the most cordial and munificent support of all the friends of missions and of mankind. In support of the claims which I set up for missions, and which you so frankly and feelingly concede, and in addition to the illustrations of your work, I will now detail a series of appropriate facts which have been supplied by the Martyr of Erromanga.
Government is the ordinance of God for the good of man. It may exist under a variety of forms, and these forms may all be bad. Such was the fact in the South Seas. At Tongatabu, the chiefs were elected, and their power was limited; in the surrounding isles, they were hereditary and despotic. In the Samoa group government presented a very fragmentary character; every settlement, even, was an independent state, governed by its own rulers, whose authority, in the view of Mr. Williams, was not extensive. In some groups the