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with heathens and Christians, and endeavouring to further the objects of the society. After their return they shall relate to the committee what they have seen and done.
“The inaugural public meeting was held last Wednesday (4th August). It was held in the middle of the day, when all work ceases in native villages, and was attended by about 600 persons, who had come in from every part of the district, Considering both the nature and the object for which the meeting was held, and the manner in which it was conducted, it was beyond comparison the most interesting native meeting I ever attended. After prayer, and the singing of that fine Tamil hymn, “Go forth, thou mighty word of God," I explained at length the objects for which the society had been established. I pointed out the neglected condition of the people in the west, up to the foot of the Ghauts ; showed that the obligation of endeavouring to enlighten those people devolved especially upon the Christians of this district, their nearest neighbours (aduttaran, in Tamil, means not only “a neighbour,” but “one to whom duty belongs "); and then reminded them that the reward which European Christians were expecting to receive for all that they had done for them was to see them exerting themselves for the benefit of their fellow-countrymen ; that the time had now come when they should endeavour not only to stand alone, but also to propagate the gospel to all around; and finally, that they should only give freely what they had received freely, but should give in the proportion in which they had received.
* Then commenced the most interesting part of the meeting. The native committee had determined that no catechist, no person receiving a salary for teaching or preaching, should speak at the meeting, but that the speaking should be confined to members of the congregations, or “laymen,” as we should call them in England, in the belief that this was the best plan to awaken the sympathies of the mass of the people; accordingly, six members of the congregations (small farmers, small traders, &c.), who had been appointed for the purpose by the committee, now stood up in succession, and addressed the meeting. As they spoke I jotted down the principal ideas contained in each address, and now present them in an English shape. Without exception, they spoke good Tamil as well as good sense; it would therefore be unfair to render their good Tamil into ungrammatical “ nigger” English.
* The first speaker was Gnánakan, of East Taruvey, a young man who had some educational advantages. Amongst other things he said, "The funds of the English society by which Christianity has been introduced and fostered amongst us are furnished not by the Queen or by the East India Company, but by private persons like ourselves, some of them rich, many of them very poor, who voluntarily give their money for the spread of the gospel. Those persons will not give less for missionary purposes because of the establishment of this native Missionary Society. They will be glad to hear of its establishment, only because it will set them in some small degree free to extend the blessings of Christianity in other directions. It is not sufficient to give our money to this society. The object it has in view is the conversion of heathens, but we cannot convert heathens by money. It is necessary to make known the gospel to them, and to convince them of the infinite advantages we have derived from being Christians, and of the infinite mischiefs they endure from being heathens. It is also necessary that we should adorn the gospel by our example. Our Christian example will exert a greater influence in the world than our contributions. The publican did more for the advancement of the kingdom of God by his humble penitence than the Pharisee by the 'tithes of all he possessed.””
• The next speaker was Christadian of Kodavily, a young man who earns his daily food by his daily labour as a palmyra-climber. He was converted to Christianity about five years ago, shortly before I left the district for England, and has proved himself a consistent, zealous Christian ever since. Though he had enjoyed fewer advantages than any of the other speakers, and was the poorest in worldly circumstances, his address was the most fluent and lively of all.
· Amongst the things he said, I noted down the following:-"Though I was brought up as a heathen, I have the honour of being able to read. I learned to read in the Mission-school, established in a village near mine. One of the great excellences of Christianity is, that it brings with it education and knowledge, wherever it comes. It is the true light. Let us endeavour to spread amongst our neighbours what has enlightened ourselves. Freely we have received the gospel; let us freely teach it. The more you draw water out of a well, the more copiously it will flow, and the better the water will be; but if you cease to draw, the water will corrupt, and the well will dry up. Heathens give largely for vain, idolatrous, and sinful objects (of which he mentioned several local instances); let us give still more largely for the best object of all; the spread of the Gospel-Good should not show itself less zealous than evil.”
• The next speaker was Daniel of West Taruvey, the youngest of the speakers, the only son of a most excellent Christian man, who died during my absence. It was a great pleasure to every one to see this young man following in the footsteps of his worthy father, who had once spoken at one of our meetings. I noted down the following remarks:—“Formerly all the good we did, or attempted to do, was through the instigation of the missionary; henceforth we must endeavour to do good of ourselves. The Gospel is a remedy for all sin and for all sorrow; it is a remedy for every sort of want and distress; and, therefore, in spreading the gospel around, we adopt the most effectual plan for removing misery and promoting happiness. We were sinners, and God had pity upon us: we should, therefore, have pity upon our brother sinners.”
• Daniel of Aneikoody spoke next, the only one of the speakers that had ever addressed a meeting before. Amongst other things, he said:-"We should heartily accept and enter into this great plan of extending the Christian religion in our own neighbourhood. When we were heathens, Christians in England combined together for our help, though we were at such a great distance from them, and sent us missionaries to preach the gospel to us : should we not then feel it our duty to combine together for the help of those who are so near at hand? Christians in England will be delighted to hear that we have commenced to follow their example; we have yet much to learn. Our fellow-countrymen who are Romanists are certainly very heathenish in their practices, yet they have learned to give much more liberally than we do to ecclesiastical objects. We must determine to bear no longer the shame of being behind them. It is not only for heathens that we should be anxious; we should care also for the spiritaal welfare of our fellow-Christians, especially for those of them who have shown themselves so little worthy of the
Christian name that they have neither attended this meeting nor contributed to the Society's funds."
‘Arumeinayagum, one of the headmen of the village of Edeyenkoody, and a sort of churchwarden, now followed, and spoke with much ease and at considerable length. He said:—"God will have respect to the offerings we make this day; for the object for which we give our money, the object which this society has in view, is one which is precious in his sight. If heathens are converted, the glory will accrue to God alone, for the conversion of a soul is God's work.
““If we spend our money on an earthly object, however good and charitable that object may be—though, for instance, it were for the building of a choultry (a resthouse for travellers)-yet our money will be lost at last; for, sooner or later, the object for which we have given it will perish; but the money we spend in spreading the gospel of Christ will never perish, but will abide and be profitable for ever Our other money will disappear, but this will become part of our treasure in heaven. What an honour it will be to us if we are the means of converting ten souls! God said to Cornelius, 'Thy prayers are heard, and thine alms have come up for a memorial before me:' if so, we may be sure that what we give for the spread of the gospel, and what we do to spread it, will come up before him for a memorial, and bring down a blessing upon ourselves."
• The last speaker was my domestic servant, Zacharias, who has been in my employment ever since I baptized him, thirteen years ago, and who had now been appointed to speak, like the rest, by the native committee. He said:—"Christians in Europe have set us an excellent example by caring not for their own souls only, but for ours. They care not only for us, but for all the world; and they have their reward, for the world has been given to them as their inheritance. It is high time we should imitate their example. We were once children, incapable of doing anything without help, but we are now men, and we ought to show that we are men by thinking, forecasting, and acting for ourselves. This society having now been establisded, we should take an anxious interest in its progress. Just as people in England are always inquiring what has been done with their money, and what fruit it has borne, so we should not merely give our money to this society, but should follow up our gifts with our inquiries and our prayers.
'I must confess I was very agreeably surprised at the character of the speeches. The novelty of hearing a series of addresses delivered by private members of congregations doubtless contributed something to the effect produced; but the speeches themselves contained so much sound sense, and were delivered with so much freedom and power, that, instead of making people feel nervous, as had been expected, it was a pleasure to listen to them.
• The collection followed, when the head men of every congregation, the head boy of every school, the chosen representatives of every class of the people, came up to the table in succession, and deposited the sums which had already been collected in the various villages, and which had now only to be made over to my care as treasurer. The sums realized in ready cash, including a few stray items paid in il few days afterwards, amounted to 308 rupees, which, when multiplied by 7 (to give the comparative value of money in Tinnevelly, as estimated by the price of grain), will be found to be equivalent to a collection of 215l. made in England ! Considering the failure of the usual supply of rain for several years past (only
twenty-four inches of rain fell here during the last two years!) and the famine prices which now prevail all over the Presidency, I could not but thank God, and take courage at the realization of so handsome a sum.
• The Madras Diocesan Committee has promised the new society an annual grant in aid, so that, with what it raises on the spot and what it will receive from Madras, it will have the means of vigorously commencing work at once.
I cannot but regard it as a circumstance well worthy of remark, and as a strik. ing illustration of the benefits accruing to ourselves from the efforts we make for the good of others, that whilst the eastern congregations were getting up a society and making a collection for the spread of the gospel in the west, an unexpected movement towards Christianity commenced amongst the heathens around their own doors. In almost every village where there is a congregation there is also a considerable proportion of heathens, and, in most instances, those who remain in heathcnism are more wealthy, as well as more numerous, than the Christians.
'In eight of such villages, during the past three weeks, we have had the pleasure of receiving accessions from heathenism, and the movement appears to be extending.
The first effect of Mr. Bright's speeches having passed away, we can now examine them, and weigh their influence with a cool and dispassionate judgment. On the majority of reformers, and we dare say on the majority of the readers of this journal, their immediate effect, apart from an exciting sense of the nerve and strength of the speaker's eloquence, was to add intense feeling to already active thought. We had, most of us, long ago, arrived at the conviction to which Mr. Bright gave so forcible an expression; our judgments had concurred, with those of the most sincere reformers, as to the point at which it was desirable to stop, in our present demands upon the Legislature; there was an understanding that the judiciously drawn, and admirably expressed programme adopted at the Guildhall conference, was to be taken by Mr. Bright as the measure of the reform which he would propose, but none, or very few of us, had got further than this intellectual conviction. We had thought, and thought the matter over, had passed through all the processes of argument on either side that was necessary to strengthen our conclusions, but here we feel that we must stop. We had a country to re-conquer, we had made up our minds as to the limits of the territory which we should obtain, but we had neither the martial spirit to fight, nor a commander to lead. The effect of Mr. Bright's speeches at Birmingham has been to rouse the dormant spirit of reform. We have now got past the first stage of agitation. We are not only convinced that it is desirable there should be some change in the legislative power of this country, but we have been wrought to the determination to have the change. We are thoroughly, openly, and earnestly committed to an agitation, which we know must a successful one, because we do not intend to relinquish it until our end is gained. We owe this to Mr. Bright, and owing it we say, he has done such service to the cause of good government, as all statesmen and patriots should be eager to recognise.
For, we do not hesitate ourselves to confess that we have a sense of great, although not immediate or early danger to the Government, and ultimately to the liberty of this country, from the low opinion that has long been entertained of the morality, honesty, and capabilty of those who have for the last hundred and fifty years wielded the executive power. The extravagance, waste, and recklessness; the shifting of duty and responsibility; the off-hand official contempt with which inquiries have umiformly been met; the obstinate resistance to every improvement; the accumulating revelations of official delinquencies; have induced a deep, although it may be an exaggerated feeling, that the country would be the better without the influence of the upper classes. It does not matter, any more than it mattered before the French Revolution broke out, whether the general conclusion to which this feeling would point be false or true; the feeling is there. And so well did Mr. Bright know of its existence, and so admirably did he express it, that the phrase by which he characterised one of its aspects' a gigantic system of out-door relief for the aristocracy' -was ringing through all Englahd for days after it was uttered, and will ring for months, both within and without Parliament, before it is dropped. Unhappily it has been accepted as by no means an exaggerated description -unhappily, because we think the opinion is now, on the whole, strong enough; and that, without a much more decided expression of it, we may hope to see a giving way of the late exclusive system of government. It happens, however, that the prejudices of a people commonly last beyond the time which gave occasion to them, and long after a reform we shall doubtless see a degree of class prejudice exhibited which will prevent any harmonious feelings. But should there be a blind opposition to necessary and judicious changes the country will have to thank Mr. Bright for the strength of sentiment and feeling which may enable the people immediately to overcome it. Unless they can do this, and if the feeling be allowed to fester, a wound will probably, be given to the country such as,