« PreviousContinue »
times than in the moral character of the illustrious individual. It is easy now to look back
that certain measures were ill-advised, and certain misfortunes might have been avoided by wiser councils. Man is wise in after-thought; and who is there that can look back on a life of half the period of the late reign, and not see how much better he might have acted?
Those events, however, most calamitous to our country, when viewed upon a larger scale assume a different aspect;
and the misfortunes of a country may be blessings to the world. The American war, for instance, which deprived Great Britain of so many colonies, laid the foundation of a republic, which, in some future period at least, may rank among the mightiest empires of the globe : and our losses in the new world, perhaps, kindļed a spirit of enterprise which led to the great extension of our eastern territories, and thus prepared the way to the propagation of Christianity among the many millions of India and of China; while at the same time the discovery of the
South Sea Islands, and our acquisitions in Africa and elsewhere, have led to its establishment in nations the most remote from civilized life and manners.
The foundation of national Education in this reign, and the establishment of Bible and Missionary Societies, are events of far more importance than they are generally considered. These institutions form a machinery that can move the world. It is by such exertions alone that the moral aspect of Society can be improved, and the golden age of the Christian Millennium introduced. The author has in the following pages noticed the interest which George III. took in the religious education of the poor, and the benevolent wish which he expressed for its extension throughout his empire; and though he knew the Bible and Missionary Societies only in their infancy, his cordial approbation of them appears in the well-attested fact, that when the first Bengalee New Testament sent to this country, (the work of the Serampore Missionaries) was respectfully presented to his Majesty, he not
only received it with thanks, but offered to Heaven his hearty prayer for a blessing on the undertaking !
The abolition of the Slave Trade, though yet but partially accomplished, forms another bright point in this illustrious reign, and we have reason to think will, in connexion with the spread of Christian knowledge, contribute greatly to the melioration of mankind. The contemplated establishment of colonies of liberated slaves in the heart of Africa may lay the foundation of a mightier power than that of Carthage, and eventually heal the curse of Ham.
Such are the foundations of happiness laid in a reign of much turbulence, and deeply tinged with the blood of war. It is pleasing to observe also, that under the auspices of our late venerable Sovereign, literature and science, the elegant and the useful arts, have all advanced with great rapidity, and will, doubtless, be borne on the wings of missions through the world; for missionaries already understand the importance of carrying
with them among the Heathen those attainments and accomplishments which both raise their character and promote their usefulness.
It is pleasing to add, that while Christian and Scientific knowledge are thus progressing round the globe, no Institutions which can promote the health, comfort and happiness of mankind, especially in the lower classes, are by any means neglected; and it is much to the honour of our late Sovereign and his benevolent Sons, that there is no Royal Family, we believe, in Europe, that can vie with them in the patronage afforded to “every good word and work."
Proclamation against Vice-Bishop Sherlock's Letter