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see that it is the same line of defence that has always been set up on behalf of slavery; the very same in kind that was always set up in defence of slavery in the Southern States of America. But in spite of all the plausible and eloquent defences put forth in behalf of slaveholding, the heart of Christianity has instinctively recoiled from the system, and, through good and bad report, has clung to liberty and freedom for all races.
We are Christian missionaries sent here to Christianise and civilise these natives, and we feel in duty bound to acquaint the Churches that support this Mission, and through them the Christian public, with the influences, hostile to these objects, that are come so extensively into operation. We emphatically protest against the whole system, because it is essentially a system of slavery. They may be ever so well treated where they are taken: from motives of self-interest alone, men treat their horses well. But be that as it may, in this group the system is neither more nor less than simply a system of kidnapping. Every plan, short of physical force, if not that also, is employed to get them on board. White men, natives of other islands, or natives of their own islands, are employed as agents, and sent ashore in boats, and paid so much a head for all they can bring on board. When Rangi was killed there was great lamentation in the trade--not for Rangi, but for the trade. The head of one party, when he heard of it, expressed his sorrow by saying, it would be a great loss for them, as Rangi had engaged to obtain such and such a number of natives for them. The greater number of these natives are got on board of these vessels under false pretences. They are taken away against their will, or without their knowledge, or under false impressions. The most of them have no idea either of the distance of the places to which they are going, or of the length of time they are to be kept away. Their ignorance, their credulity, their passions, and their impulsive feelings, are taken advantage of to get them under their power. If two tribes on Tanna have been at war, the people that has been conquered are told that, if they go, they will get muskets and ammunition, and then they will soon conquer their enemies. Take another case : An Eromangan is employed as an agent. He has been away himself, and can speak a few words of English. He tells his own people that they are by no means to go; but he goes to other tribes and tells them that it will be good for them to go; that the work is very little; that the food and the tobacco are plentiful, and the payments are very great. Such baits are too tempting to be resisted by a credulous, gullible people.
This is the same system-a system of pretended contracts, of pretended hired labour-which the French attempted, several years ago, to introduce into some of their colonies, but which was denounced by Lord Brougham, and the leading anti-slavery advocates in Great Britain, as being virtually a system of slavery, and a violation of the treaties entered into for the suppression of the slave trade; and led, I believe, to its being abandoned. Even if these contracts were freely entered into on the part of the natives, which I have shown they are not, what guarantee is given that they will be fulfilled. One of the leading Wesleyan Missionaries in Fiji wrote to us three years ago, inquiring about the contracts by which the natives were engaged, and saying, “ We cannot speak to them, and we have no means of knowing from themselves whether their contracts are fulfilled or not.”
We further object to this system, because, so far as it extends, it defeats the ends contemplated by our Mission. Missionary operations have been conducted on this group at a great expenditure of life, labour, and money. We have established all the ordinances of Christian worship, and the means of religious and secular education, on six islands : on two islands, the entire population are under our instruction. We have ten missionaries, and a large staff of native agents. We have had a mission vessel for eleven years. We have translated portions of the Scriptures into six languages, and in three of these they are printed. We have printed schoolbooks in all the six; and our missionary operations in all directions are steadily advancing. But in so far as the natives are taken off the islands they lose the benefit of these arrangements that have been made for their instruction, and all our efforts are rendered null and void. If the natives were emigrating of their own free will, however much we might regret it, we could not reasonably complain. But when they are taken away either against their will, or under false impressions, we consider ourselves in duty bound to use all legitimate means to protect the interests of the natives and the usefulness of the Mission.
It is strongly affirmed—so strongly and so frequently, that many intelligent people believe it,—that instead of being injured, the natives are greatly benefited by being taken away to Fiji, Queensland, and elsewhere. But we know of no religious instruction of any
kind communicated to them in Queensland. If any is attempted in Fiji—and we have no reliable information that any has been attempted, we know that the thing is impracticable. The languages spoken on this group are totally different from the language on Fiji. Had there been only one language spoken on this group, some missionary might have mastered that on Fiji and instructed them, but among the natives taken from this group there cannot be fewer than a dozen languages spoken; and the natives are so mixed up together, that several languages will generally be spoken on each plantation, and the few words of broken English which they acquire becomes the only channel between them and their employers, and also among themselves. Our experience is that, as a general rule, when they return, they evince as little desire to work as before they went away, and they are greatly more averse to Christianity.
Another important consideration is this: These islands, from their fertility, and the readiness with which all tropical productions can be reared on them, may yet be of priceless value to the Australasian colonists. But this cannot take place unless the natives are preserved and Christianised. It is now an established fact, fully recognised by the medical faculty, that colonies of the Anglo-Saxon, or
any white race, cannot be formed within the tropics, except under peculiar circumstances. They never become thoroughly acclimated; they may live and labour for one generation; but they soon, as a race, become feeble, degenerate, and die out. Now, whatever may be said of some other groups in these seas, nothing is more certain, than that the New Hebrides will never be permanently colonised by any of the white races. Even the copper-coloured Malay races appear to suffer from the climate as much as the whites, so that if the aboriginal races are allowed to be exterminated, the islands will be lost to commerce and to the colonies for ever. They cannot be re-peopled except by robbing some similar islands equally valuable. And if the present system of deportation go on for the next twenty years, as it has been going on for the last five, the population will be so reduced, in many of the islands, that it will be impossible to keep them from complete extermination. It may be a matter of no importance, in a purely commercial point of view, whether the aborigines of Australia and New Zealand perish or not, because their places will be supplied by a higher race, and the loss of their labour may not be felt. But if the natives of this group be allowed to perish, no higher race, no other race of any kind, will be found to take their place. This view of the subject has not received at all the attention which it merits. God in His providence has peopled all these isles of the sea, and the aboriginal races are all acclimated; but let any of these be destroyed, and it may be no easy task to replace them. The aboriginal inhabitants of the West Indies have long since perished. Slavery replaced them with negroes. But experience has shown that the negro is acclimated with great difficulty anywhere out of Africa, and the highest medical authorities declare that “before a century has passed, the negro race will almost have disappeared from the British colonies in the West Indies.” If the subject is looked at fairly and fully from this point of view, it is certain that the Christian intelligence of Britain and Australasia will never allow a handful of speculating, avaricious men, who are hasting to be rich, ignorant or regardless of consequences, to inflict a great, certain, and permanent injury upon the colonies for all time to come.
But if the aborigines of this group are protected, preserved, and Christianised, in due time skill and capital will find their way to the islands, and labour will be awaiting them. It is beginning already. For example, on Aneityum, which is wholly Christianised, there is a whaling establishment, which will this year send up about £1000 worth of oil to Sydney; and all the hired labour required, with the exception of some one man, has been supplied by the natives of Aneityum. And as Christianity advances similar results will follow; the resources of the islands will be developed, the raw products will find their way to the colonial markets, and manufactured goods will be sought for in return. But this natural, healthy, and durable state of things appears to be far too slow for the impetnous, restless spirit of avarice, speculation, and selfishness, that is so rampant at the present time.
There is another consideration which the Christian public should not overlook. There is scarcely any sin, except idolatry, so severely denounced in Scripture as oppression. God has taken the poor, the helpless, the oppressed, the captive, and all who cannot protect themselves, under His own special care, and punishes, as well as threatens, the oppressor, whether an individual or a community. In the late American war, God spoke terrible things in righteousness to the whole world on this very subject. President Lincoln himself, not a superstitious or weak-minded man, fully recognised the justice of God in that war, as requiring from both North and South a full retribution for the injuries inflicted on the, negro. American slavery grew out of very small beginnings. The spirit of slavery, which is just one form of the spirit of selfishness, lies deep in human nature, and, under favourable circumstances, is always easily developed.
On the other hand, scarcely any of the promises of God are more distinct than those which refer to the defending and protecting of the oppressed. And God's providence has been as clear on this subject as His promises are distinct. This holds specially true as regards communities, as they can only be punished or rewarded in the present life. The late Lord Palmerston, who was never accused of fanaticism, freely recognised this principle. Ten or twelve years ago there was a debate in the House of Commons, on a motion of Mr Hutt's to withdraw the African Squadron, on the ground that it was a worse than useless expense to the nation, as it was not repressing the slave trade. After one member of the government had shown by statistics, that in consequence of the presence of the squadron the slave trade was virtually stopped in Brazil, Lord Palmerston rose, and, among other remarks, spoke to the following effect :-"He did not know whether the honourable member did, or did not, believe in a particular Providence, watching over the affairs of nations, and rewarding them, or punishing them, according to their merits or their crimes. He knew that there were gentlemen in that house who did believe in this doctrine. They might be right, or they might be wrong, in their belief; but one thing was certain, however it might be accounted for, that since Britain had risen in her might, paid twenty millions as a compensation to the slaveholders, and abolished slavery in all her dominions, the nation has enjoyed a continued and unprecedented amount of material prosperity.”
In the light of these and other considerations that might be adduced, may we not hope that the Christian spirit in these colonies, which pronounced so unmistakably, and with such effect, against the Peruvian slavers, will be equally earnest in putting down the slave trade in the New Hebrides, whether carried on under French, American, or British colours; will be equally in earnest to prevent the slightest taint of slavery from corrupting these rising communities, and to see that the hands of no British subject shall be polluted with this crime, either in Queensland, Fiji, or elsewhereà crime characterised by the venerable John Wesley as summation of all villanies."
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Reviews and Notices. Is the “Establishment of Religion” outside of the Confession ? A
Speech delivered in the Free Presbytery of Edinburgh, on the 25th November 1868. By the Rev. A. M. Stuart, Free St Luke's, Edinburgh. 8vo. Pp. 54. Edinburgh: J. M'Laren. Mr Stuart writes with much earnestness against the proposed union of the Churches. He will find, however, few in his own Church, and fewer elsewhere, to sympathise with him in the course of argument he employs. He accepts the Westminster Confession in its entirety, pure and simple, and hence assigns to the civil magistrate full power to call Synods. The magistrate can “call a regular Synod through its own channels at any time, and for any cause.” But this is the power which we, at least, since the Revolution of 1688, have been accustomed to call Erastian, and to which our General Assembly, in 1647, in the well known Act prefixed to the Confession of Faith, expressly took exception. An interesting account of the submission of the Revolution Church of Scotland to the Erastianism of the civil power in calling, proroguing, and dissolving its General Assembly, will be found in the "Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church," pp. 158. There it will be seen, that our General Assembly, in 1647, had good reason for the exception it took to the thirty-first chapter of the Confession, since the Assembly appointed for April 1695 was actually adjourned by the civil power three times ere it was permitted to hold its meetings, and the Revolution Church was so spiritless and so opposite to our Assemblies from 1638 to 1649, as in each instance to submit.
Mr Stuart occupies the greater part of his long speech in endeavouring to show that the Confession of Faith teaches the duty. of the civil magistrate to establish the Church, because it contains the clause, “It is his duty to take order that all the ordinances of God be duly settled, administered, and observed." “Settled," he holds, must signify “established by civil sanction;" and he endeavours to support this opinion by a long array of quotations. But these quotations go for nothing, and his reasoning with them, when put alongside a clause in the Act of Assembly 1647, “ Approving the Confession of Faith," which gives the sense in which they took the word—a sense very different from that which he supposes it to
“It is further declared, That the Assembly understandeth some parts of the second article of the thirty-one chapter only of kirks not settled, or constituted in point of government."
It is very manifest that “settled” here signifies something different from “established by civil sanction;" that it is something which relates to the latter clause of the sentence introduced by the conjunction "or constituted in point of government;' that implies times of confusion, when the Church is not settled in government and order. Indeed, any other meaning makes nonsense