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6. In WEST AFRICA the Church of England has seven Missionaries; of which six belong to to the “ Church Missionary Society,” and one to the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." The Wesleyan Methodists lately sent four Missionaries to this coast; but one of them died shortly after his arrival, and the rest, as it is understood, have been recalled.
On a view of the above lists, it will not be denied, that, not the Church of England, but other denominations of Christians, are chiefly employed in forming the religion of the natives in the new Colonies of Great Britain, and in her Asiatic Empire.
It is not our wish to impede the efforts of these Christian teachers, who labour as our substitutes. The Church of England, we will confidently say, will never acknowledge such a wish, directly or indirectly. And when the Imperial Parliament shall take a review of the good which has been already done by their means, in various parts of the British Dominions, it will, we doubt not, be rather disposed to thank them, than to contemn their services. We would not, by any exposition of ours, interrupt the labours of Missionaries in any part of the uncivilized world. No! Christianity is their debtor. And who is there, but must rejoice to behold the light of Christianity carried into the regions of darkness ! We would rather promote the designs and encourage the zeal of such labourers; for there must be some general principles of common operation for disseminating the Christian Religion, otherwise that religion would not be intended for all mankind. What Christian is there, who, if he had it in his power, would attempt to obstruct the free course of the word of salvation, that it may run and be glorified in the earth! For the system of preaching the Gospel as far excels the preaching it not, as the light of knowledge, pure morals, and the certain favour of Heaven, excel the darkness of ignorance, a state of vice, and consequent uncertainty and despair.-But the object of this appeal is, to endeavour, by some delineation of the efforts now making on every side, to extend Christianity in our possessions abroad,“ to provoke to emulation” the Established Church, and to shew to the Imperial Parliament the importance of giving the British Constitution to British Colonies.
The greatest blessing, certainly, which the Nation could impart to her children throughout the world, would be, to give them a simple Ecclesiastical Establishment, with full toleration to all who dissent from it. While such a constitution would be replete with advantages to ourselves, it would give to the religion of denominations differing from us, a degree of order and stability, which, at present, they do not possess. Indeed, they are at this moment in circumstances synonimous with a state of persecution.
When we speak of extending Christianity among the nations of the earth, we do not mean that our Church should visit other nations, before she has acknowledged the subjects of the British Empire. The two great branches of that Empire, in foreign climes, are the West Indies, and the East Indies. Of these, our native subjects in the West Indies stand in a closer relation to us than those in the East, and claim a prior regard. Let us examine their claim.
Great Britain has abolished the Slave Trade; and, so far, has done her duty to Africa and to humanity. But she has not yet discharged her obligations to the Africans in the West Indies. By successive importations of that race of people during the last century, and by our recent conquests, we have accumulated a population of Slaves, which is supposed to amount now to nearly one million of souls. Our native subjects in Hindostan remain on their native soil; but these our African subjects are in different circumstances. We have dragged) them by force from their native country, and appropriated their bodily services to our use. Justice, therefore, requires that we should afford them some cultivation of mind, and faithfully acquit ourselves of every moral obligation toward them.
Although the subject of the Slave Trade was so long before the nation, it does not appear that the moral and religious state of the Negroes OCcupied much of our attention. The minds of men were so much engrossed with the simple question, Whether it were lawful to make Slaves at all? that they seemed to overlook the no less important inquiry, What is our duty to the Slaves which we have made?
This latter interrogatory is now to be the subject of our consideration. At that time, we beheld the poor African in a chain, kneeling for freedom. We now behold him supplicating for a higher boon, “The Word of Life.”
It would be proper to exhibit to the view of the Legislature the actual state of our African subjects, in religion and morals, at this time ; for the nation, in general, seems to have a very imperfect idea of the kind of religion which they profess, of the sensuality in which they are immers