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20.-The Scottish Church.
The discussions connected with the subjects of patronage or no patronage—of intrusion or non-intrusion must, we think, be speedily brought to a close. The Assembly have, by a majority of 87, voted the non-reception of Lord Aberdeen's bill, which many had hoped would remove the existing differences in the Kirk. We are rejoiced to find that there are found men in the country who boldly contend for the spiritual independence of the Church;-they are now, if not before, according to Bishop Philpotts, a Protestant Church ; they protest now as they did when Rome or England would have placed the yoke ecclesiastio-political on their shoulders, and say with one of olden time, “We want Christ's yoke and none else will we have.”. It may lead to the secession of many, but it will lead to nobler consequences; it will shew the sternness and independency of religious principle; the power of truth over present selfish interest, and that there are a few men in Sardis in this age of trimming and timeserving who are worthy of the name and cause of Christ. Lord Aberdeen's bill we look upon as a sop to Cerberus; it leaves the evil it would cure untouched and will not be accepted, we venture to predict, by the majority of the people of Scotland any more than it has been by the majority of her Clergy.
21.--THE WEST INDIEs—The Mission ARIEs—the PLANTERs—THE NEGRoes, AND SIR CHARLEs METCALFE.
Accounts from the West Indies are very conflicting ; they yet nevertheless inform us of one fact, that the Negroes as a body are willing to labor for fair remunerative wages, but that the proprietors will not—they say they cannot—afford the wages required of them by the Negroes, the consequence is, refusal to labour for inadequate remuneration on the one hand, and attempts at coercion in the form of legislation on the other.— The labour party without they be exterminated by the sword, must triumph, for the British legislature never can sanction a cooly trade; hence the proprietors will be forced to comply with the demands of the negro labourers, or give up their plantations in mortification and despair. If their lands will only enrich them by oppressing the labourer and by giving him inadequate support, there must be something radically wrong in the constitution of things; for that land, or rather that which is produced from it, must be a curse both to proprietor and labourer, which cannot remunerate both the one and the other for their outlay of money and strength. Sir Charles Metcalfe is, we fear, in a fair way to tarnish his good name in his West Indian administration. He has forwarded a despatch to the home authorities in which he certainly blows hot and cold in the same breath.-He says that the Negroes are, on the testimony of the Stipendiary Magistrates—“ orderly and irreproachable” “—the general tranquil state of the country without any police is a strong proof of the peaceable desposition of the inhabitants; their freedom has given them more the spirit of independence than that of submission to the will of others.” And why not *. This is the race that were represented years ago as the connecting link between the human and brute species. “They are generally,” he adds “ or as far as I can see, cheerful and merry. They are generally in this neighbourhood with smiling faces and civil tongues and seem pleased with being noticed. In some instances the labourers have purchased small lots of land; others become prosperous.” This is the character drawn of the Negroes by Sir Charles Metcalfe both from what he has heard from stipendiary magistrates and from what he has seen himself. Surely a people o civil, industrious and thoughtful such as he has described cannot be bad subjects, nor bad servants. The fact
i* simply this, that the proprietors wish these poor creatures to lahour for the esculents which was the mode of slave remuneration. "The practice of $rr:inting ground to the labourers from which they derived the means of subsistence in esculents for themselves and families," &c. This was the old regime and this privilege of granting esculents, &c. Sir Charles tells us, frave the Negro great advantage at the time of his emancipation in enabling him to hold out for wages. Surely Sir Charles must he indulging in his old propensity of punning and playing of a practical joke here. The proprietors also who now wish their labourers to live upon esculents and who will not provide them with any thing besides, complain that they should spare time even for their cultivation; for the despatch says, " The labourers in some parts of the country work only four days in the week, requiring Friday and Saturday for the cultivation of their own grounds;" and wonderful to relate, we find " that as the best season for cultivation will often be the same for their own grounds as for those of their emplovers, exercising their right to work or not to work, and not choosing to bind themselves by any contract, it would be matter of surprise if they did not prefer their own interests to that of their employers!!" Certain. Jy !—especially when they remember how tenderly their employers have cared for them and theirs, and still do care for them. In the Coffee plantations, Sir Charles says, that "free labour is cheaper than slave labour ;" and why ?—because it does not involve such an awful waste of life ; it is ordinary labour and hence these cheerful, merry.faced people are sagacious and contented enough to labour for rational wages.—But we must desist—our space will not permit us to travel through the whole despatch; it is convincing to us that the Negroes are a willing, active, light-hearted, easily-satisfied people, who have to deal with a band of men desperate from present and still more desperate from prospective dis. nsters, and who would, were it in their power, refasten the chain on every African to-morrow. That the Negro population will not violate the Sabbath is evident from the fact that they will not labour but four days in the week and the two which they select for themselves are Friday and Saturday—a fact this which adds to their other recommendatory characteristics that of reverence for God's day, which it were well did many more enlightened observe.
Sir Charles next proceeds to charge the Baptist Missionaries particularly with being especially political, and the chief causes of the irritation which subsists between the Negroes and their Masters—serious charges could they be proved, but we know they cannot. A Missionary never can nor does he ever become political save in the defence of the civil rights of his people. So has Dr. Philip been stigmatized political for his defence of the rights of the injured Africans at the Cape, and so have our Baptist brethren been stigmatized as political in the West In. dies. On them it has fallen and they have borne the heat and burden of the day; and it is no compliment paid by Sir Charles to other Missionaries when he relieves them of all such odium as that which has been heaped upon Burchell and Knibb. They ought to have equally deserved it with them. But what is the head and front of their offending. Listen to Sir Charles. He says, " The Baptist Missionaries have made themselves peculiarly obnoxious to the proprietors by the advice and aid which they are supposed to have given to the laborers." We think it very likely, for he further remarks, " and it may be that without the advice and support of their ministers the emancipated population might have fared worse in their dealings with their former masters, or from disappointment have followed desperate courses;" and again, " Considering what might have happened without the influence of the ministers over their flocks, it is easy to estimate the full value of the operations of the Missionaries of all denominations." But he proceeds to state, notwithstanding he looks upon the Baptist Missionaries as strongly tinctured with a political bias, that it is an evil which admits of no present remedy ; " and that if the good and evil done by them were weighed against each other the good I conceive would preponderate ; the benefit of religious instruction and its moral consequence seems sufficient to warrant that conclusion." This is Sir Charles's proof of the politically of the Baptists. But what is the cause of this complaint and this charge? What?—Hear the despatch again. "By the great interest they have taken in the welfare of the slave population they have caused themselves to be regarded as hostile to the proprietary interests," and "they have, it may be pretumed, greater influence than any other sect in the country." This is the cause of complaint—they have been the friends of the poor in their distresses—they have rejoiced with them in their joys, and sorrowed with them in their griefs, and now they have their reward in possessing an influence paramount even to that of the proprietors who crushed and oppressed the slave, hoping that he would never be free. Veasuch is their influence—an influence, remember, not obtained by craft, but by honest, upright and manly conduct—" that they can influence the elections on the dissolution of the Assembly when such of the emancipated population as may be duly qualified will become entitled to vote." In one part of his despatch Sir Charles has hit upon the cure for all the ills when he says, "If justice be fairly administered to all parties they will, it may be hoped, come to a right understanding amongst themselves." This is all that the Missionaries ask, and when this is granted all will be well. We think Sir Charles has well answered himself and shewn that in the state of things whatever is evil is the fruit of oppression, and that whatever good exists is attributable to Missionary labour—that the free colored people know who are their friends and cleave to them, and that if justice be done to all, peace will follow. May it soon appear.
22.—Sir Charles Forbes And His Admirers. Sir Charles Forbes has replied to the flattering address forwarded to him by the calumniated natives of India. The address of course thanked him for his prompt, able and effectual vindication of the charges cast upon them by the Bishop of London. Sir Charles in reply states that so deeply was he impressed with the purity and integrity of his native friends, and that after a residence of twenty-two years amongst thera, he only wishes his children may ever be as highly-favored as he has been, and be as prompt to express that which .they feel. Now really, leaving all compliment and badinage out of the question, there is such shameful trifling with practical truth in all this that we are ashamed for human nature's sake. First, we are ashamed that human nature should be sunk so low as to demand of every historian who would be faithful to his task to say that the Hindus as a nation, are but too fitly described by the Apostle of the Gentiles in his first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. This is distressing enough because it is but too painfully true with a few, very very few, exceptions; but it is still more distressing to find a Christian man and one too whose sympathies and energies flow generally in a benevolent channel, and a man too whose word has much influence both at home and here, equally deluding the natives and the community of Britain by the estimate he has formed of the native character. His conduct is beyond our comprehension, and we believe that of every man who is not wilfully blind to the actual state of things around us. Would that it could be proved to us that we have been in a dream and that Sir Charles was right—happy indeed should we be to find our
selves dreaming in the matter. The Hindus must find themselves placed in a strange position by such an eulogium, and all must be staggered, not so much that Sir Charles Forbes should say it, on whose path services of plate, statues and the like have been showered by native hands, but that several European gentlemen should agree to sign a document in which are set forth the virtues and uprightness of the natives of India,
23.—Madras Temperance Society. The Report of the above Society has been forwarded to us. It con. tains many striking facts in reference to the use of ardent spirits, enough to inake any spirit-drinker pause and examine ere he life the disputed cup to his lips again. The Society at Madras has progressed a little during the past year. We sincerely wish the Advocates of Temperance Societies would take a word of advice which we have often tendered them in vain, and be temperate in the application of principles really good in themselves, and beneficial in their application when temperately applied, but which by the very violence with which they are enforced often repel or deter those who might be willing to come under their influence.
24.—The Second Annual Report Op The Agra Souool-book Society has just reached us. The Society is evidently in a prosperous condition. The Governor General has become patron of the institution; the Government grant 200 Rs, per mensem towards its funds. Several of the friends of education in the Upper Provinces have contributed to the Society both by educational works and pecuniary assistance. Besides the other already printed books circulated by the Committee, they have reprinted others and made provision for the future and increasing wants of the Upper Provinces by setting on foot the preparation of other useful works. Upon the whole the Society has great cause for thankfulness.
25.—The May Meetings.
We have just received part of our files of London papers containing an account of the London May Meetings, from which we learn that upon the whole the spirit and temper of the Church in reference to every work and specially to Mission work is not on the wane: it continues as vigorous and practical as ever. The Bible and London Missionary Society's Meet, ings especially indicate a prosperous state of things. The friends of the former have rallied nobly round its standard; its distribution of Scriptures and increase of funds are materially in excess over the distribution and funds of any former year, while the income of the latter had amounted to nearly ten lakhs of rupees. The Rev. VV. Knibb was in London for the purpose of representing the actual state of things in Jamaica. A large special meeting was to be convened on the eve of the departure of our letters, to receive him and his brother deputies from Jamaica. Mr. Knibb is urging upon his brethren in England the propriety of entreating their American Baptist friends to wash their hands of slavery. We hope not only that the English Baptists will obey his call, but that it will be done in a manner which shall ensure (under God's blessing) success. We hope to give a tolerably full account of the anniversaries of the most important Societies in an early number.
Vol. i. 3 s
26.-STATE of Missions 1N ChiNA.
SiRs Macao, January 1st, 1840. The past year has been a period of unprecedented interest to the foreign community in China. To the Merchant, its exciting events have been auspicious of such political changes as shall advance him to a more honorable and advantageous position for the prosecution of his plans. The missionary has deduced from them the animating hope that what “the mouth of the Lord hath spoken,” his providence and Spirit would speedily perform—that “every valley would soon be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low ; the crooked be made straight, and the rough places plain, and that the glory of the Lord would be revealed. As far as we can predetermine effects from their ordinary causes, we are disposed to believe that Great Britain will prefer demands upon China, which the latter will probably treat with her wonted disdain ; and that the consequence will be a hostile collision between the two countries. At no former period of commercial intercourse between England and China, have there been so many causes, which appeared to tend with as little divergence to the disruption of all previous relationship, and the suspension of all trade, until these nations become better acquainted with each other, and each is willing to concede to the other, the honors and rights of equals. Already has an edict been issued by the commissioner, and formally sanctioned by the emperor, forbidding to England, henceforth and for ever, the advantages of commerce with China. Within the last few months, there has been nothing to heal but much to widen the breach which existed before. One naval engagement has taken place between a small English frigate and sloop-of-war, and a fleet of Chinese war-junks, in which three of the latter were destroyed and many lives lost. Had not mercy triumphed in the breasts of the conquerors, the whole fleet would have been annihilated. Aggravating circumstances are of such frequent occurrence, that the hand of God has been almost visible in preventing other and more deadly encounters. The British community are in expectation of soon hearing from home, or of receiving a visit from the admiral, with such instructions as shall enable him to act for the crisis. Months, however, may elapse before anything definite is heard or done, Thus situated, we earnestly look to our Christian friends to “strive with us in their prayers to God for us,” and for this people. We think there has never been a time when intercession for China was so urgently demanded as at present. We would not limit the wisdom and power of “the Holy One of Israel.” We reject the opinion that war is necessary. The resources of Jehovah are infinite. Through his interposition, existing difficulties may be adjusted without the bloodshed and wretchedness which usually mark the path of war. Happy and thankful shall we be if a panic prevent hostilities, or a timely wisdom come in to avert them. Still, in either alternative, our only refuge is “the holy of holies ;” our most urgent business with him who fills the mercy-seat. Should England not feel herself called upon to demand explanations for past grievances, we fear that the authorities will become still more overbearing and exclusive. This would naturally diminish the few privileges we now enjoy. Alas! our hearts sink at the bare possibility of such a result. We deprecate war. Its ravages in such a country as this would be desolating in the extreme. While we pray therefore, that if consistent with God's holy purposes, it may not be inflicted, ought we not plead with even still greater importunity, that if Great Britain pursues a peaceful policy, the pride and prejudice of this people may not swell into still higher barriers, than they already oppose to our influence *