means of providing the requisite funds, by A petition from Dr. Bryce of Calcutta appointing an extraordinary collection, as bearing upon the subject was read, it rewell as by opening a public subscription, lated to India ; to this was appended an atfor the accomplishmeut of that pious and testation from the celebrated Ramahoun benevolent object.”


triumphs of Christianity, which civilizes whilst it converts—which makes men wise for this world, whilst it makes them wise unto salvation. The Christian convert overleaps the common progress of society -rises at once from infancy to manhood, and makes the advance of centuries at a single step. This was no dream of a heated imagination, but an undoubted historical fact, confirmed not merely by the suspected testimony of missionaries, but by the uniform and concurring declarations of all who have lately visited these interesting islands. Who then, with these facts staring him in the face, would now venture to assert that men must first be civilized before they can be Christianized ? Or rather who did not perceive that there was no other process by which the savage could be so speedily and so effectually raised to the dignity of a rational and intellectual being, as by the teaching of the gospel? Who did not perceive, in short, that this plan of the reverend mover, in order to be effectual, must be reversed, and the heathen world must be Christianized that they may be civilized? The missionary might appeal, not merely to the religious, but to the benevolent feelings of the public; and if there could be supposed to exist within these walls a mind so unhappily perverted as to resist the evidence of revealed religion, and to regard the Gospel as "a cunningly devised fable," he might yet confidently address himself to the humanity of that individual, and say if your philanthropy be not a mere pretence, you will send to the heathen the Bible, for be it true or be it false, it is the only efficient means within your reach of breaking their yoke of ignorance, superstition, and tyranny; of raising them to the dignity of moral beings, of enlarging and invigorating their intellectual pow. ers, and of making them at once free, and enlightened, and happy. Send them then the Bible; and be not deluded by the false opinion that its salutary operation can only be felt by the learned, and that the higher ranks of a comparatively enlightened land can alone feel its influence. I ask you not to neglect this field of usefulness, but I earnestly entreat you to remember that in the history of religion, from its first commencement to the present hour, the flood of reformation has seldom flowed from the higher regions of society downward upon the lower; but taking its beginning in a contrary direction, has poured its tide with a gradual swell from the depths of poverty and ignorance, till rising higher and higher it at last reached and overwhelmed the high places of the earth in its resistless course.

Such was the order of things adopted by divine wisdom from the earliest times. The gospel was originally preached to the poor and ignorant.-Learning was a precious gift, but it might be, and it too often was, abused. There was a pride in philosophy which perverted the understanding, and while spiritual truths were hid from the wise and prudent, they were often revealed to babes." He could not, therefore, avoid entertaining doubts of the success of a scheme which was founded on unsound principles, and was supported by assumptions, the truth of which experience had falsified. But there was another circumstance which greatly increased his jealousy of this measure; he meant the attestation appended to Dr. Bryce's memorial by a learned Hindoo,

The Assembly next took up the overture Paul Fraser, Dr. Nicol, and Dr. Chalmers on the subject of Education in Scotland. took a part, the following resolution was And after some discussion, in which Mr. unanimously adopted M.Leod of Campbelton, * Dr. Baird, Dr. “ That after hearing the wants of the

(Ramahoun Roy,) who was said to be converted to the Christian faith. He held in his hand a book written by that extraordinary character, by which it appeared that whatever bis religious opinions might be, they were altogether at variance with the creed of the Church of Scotland. [Here the speaker read some titles of chapters from the index of R. Roy's book, by which it appeared that he was a rank Unitarian.] That Dr. Bryce had such an associate in his work of conversion, appeared to him (Dr. D.) an ominous circumstance, and confirmed him in his conviction that it would be quite improper for ministers to go to their congregations with a proposal for a collection in aid of the Rev. mover's scheme, till the particulars of that scheme should be fully developed. Warmly, therefore, and zealously as he was interested in the success of Missions, he was, on that very account, most anxious to act with caution, and would vote for the motion which delayed the collection till after next Assembly, when the proposed Committee were to give in their report.

We have great pleasure in laying before our readers the speech delivered on this occasion by Mr. M.Leod.

I feel assured that your indulgence will find an apology for me in the interesting nature of the subject, considering that to me and my Highland brethren now present, it is in a great measure a personal cause. We are come from that land to which the benevolent intentions of so many in this house are now directed, and, acquainted as we must be, with the peculiarities of the country and the wants of our own people, I feel assured that even if we were unable to furnish any additional information to what you are already in possession of, you will, nevertheless, not be displeased at hearing us tell our own case in our own way, and give our opinion frankly, and as honest men, on the measures now suggested for ameliorating the state of the Highlands and Isles, by the appointment of additional missionaries, schools, and Catechists.

The peculiar disadvantages under which the Highlands and Isles of Scotland lie as to the means of religious and moral improvement, have been placed in a very clear point of view. To the unfavourable localities of that portion of the country arising from the immense extent of parishes,

- from the intersection of parishes, by arms of the sea stretching far into the country, by mountains which are covered for months by the snow, by rivers without bridges, few if any in this venerable House can now be strangers.

These circumstances of late years have been so frequently brought before the public, that it may appear perhaps unnecessary to dwell on them

- for certainly the momentous fact has been established that there are at this moment in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and within the pale of the Church of Scotland, multitudes who are excluded from all means of religious instruction, and moral improvement, and to whom the word of God is still a sealed book.

To persons unacquainted with the peculiarities and the history of that portion of the country this may appear an extraordinary fact-but many causes combine to occasion and to perpetuate the evil.

The Reformation, which proved the greatest blessing to the country in

inhabitants of the Highlands and Islands of their approbation to the object proposed in Scotland, and their claims upon the bene- the overtures, and unanimously appointed ficence of the public most ably and feeling. a Committee to inquire and report to the ly stated, the Assembly most cordially gave Assembly as to an advisable plan for the


general, was longer of penetrating into the Highlands and Isles of Scotland, than any other portion of the kingdom. It was only felt there for a long period by circumstances unfavourable to improvement, by the suppression of churches-by the appropriation of the revenues of the church to the nobles of the land—and by the consequent degradation of the clergy, who were left to languish in poverty with the pastoral care of whole districts which formerly enjoyed the services of eminent clergy

To the pluralities, if I may venture to use the phrase, and to the great exile which have arisen from such pluralities, I am no stranger. In the parish of which I am clergyman, four parishes, equal each of them to any of your low country parishes in extent, in population, and almost in value, have been united into one, four churches have been suppressed, and with a population of about 10,000 souls, and a real rental of upwards of £20,000, it receives considerable aid from Government to raise it to a minimum stipend.

The clergy in the Highlands of Scotland are thereby scattered over an immense surface of rugged country,--their parishes, as you have this day heard, more resemble shires or provinces, than that which you generally recognise under the name of a parish. Till a very late period there was no school in the Highlands, and in the few schools that were, English alone was taught, so that the benefits of education extended to a very small proportion of the population. But above all there was no Bibleit seems to have been the policy of the British Government, after the unfortunate rebellions in the Highlands to discourage the cultivation of the native language, and this may account for a fact, otherwise an extraordinary one, that, although the Highlands and Isles of Scotland contain a population of between 300 and 400,000 persons who can receive religious instruction only through the medium of the Gaelic language, they had it not in their power to procure a copy of the Bible in the vernacular tongue till within the last 22 years,-forming a very extraordinary contrast to the advantages enjoyed in the principality of Wales, by a people speaking a dialect of the same language, who have been favoured with the Scriptures in their vernacular tongue, and have had thousands of their poor taught at the public expense to read them, and that 200 years and upwards before the Highlander had seen one page of the Gaelic New Testa


But even after the Bible was translated and printed for the use of the Highlanders, it continued, and continues to this day in many places, as a fountain sealed. The people could not read, and still cannot read one word of it in some of the remote districts. What then, I would ask you, Sir, was to be expected in such circumstances as these, but that state of intellectual darkness which has long brooded over that land ? Secluded from the more enlightened parts of the world by their seas and their mountains, having no access to those stores of knowledge which can enlighten the soul, without an opportunity of hearing the word of God preached above twice or four times in the year,—without schools,-without Bibles, - without any one religious observance to mark the Sabbath. day from all other days of the week,-what, I ask, could have been exchurch to adopt for increasing the means of needed, but particularly in the Highlands education and religious instruction through- and Islands, and in large and populous ciout Scotland in general, where it may be ties and towns, and take what proper and

pected, under such circumstances ? Some degree of religious knowledge the people undoubtedly had ; oral tradition had transmitted from gene. ration to generation some of the most important lessons, and most interesting narratives of the Bible. They passed from the father to the child,

—but all was intrusted to treacherous memory,—all preserved by tradition,—and how imperfect must their knowledge of revealed religion, under such circumstances, have been! Alas, Sir, as to a knowledge of the peculiar doctrines of revealed religion, multitudes, even at this day, continue in a state of gross ignorance.

Sir, do me the justice of believing that I state these facts as in no way detracting from the valuable services of that venerable Society for pro. pagating Christian knowledge, who, upwards of a hundred years ago, formed a noble plan for the good of the Highlands, and who have laboured since then with unwearied patience in the great work. The services of that Society have the very highest claims upon the gratitude of every Highlander, for truly they were services without which the ferocity of our forefathers would have come down to us unsoftened and unsubdued. Had the members of that Society never done more for the Highlands than translate and publish the holy Scriptures in the Gaelic language, they deserve to be ranked among the most efficient benefactors of the human species-in as much as they have been the means of bringing forward to a great extent those blessed fruits of righteousness, which, sooner or later, will even be matured in every country where the Bible has circulation in the vernacular tongue. But they were also the means of drawing the attention of the public to the state of the Highlands. Their annual reports, and the rousing appeals which were made to the public from year to year, and the sermons preached before them, attracted much attention to the wants and privations of the Highlanders, and most largely and liberally has the Christian sympathy of the public responded to the loud call on their piety and benevolence. The Gaelic School Society, with its admirable auxiliaries, was formed,-a society whose labours are, in every point of view, adapted to the peculiarities of the country and the wants of the people.

But, Sir, it is not for the purpose of eulogising either of these societies that I now obtrude myself upon the notice of the venerable Assembly; but with the knowledge which I had of the operations of those institutions, I could not deny myself the peculiar satisfaction which this public opportunity afforded me of bearing my tribute to their merit, and expressing the wish I entertain for their prosperity. It may however be considered an extraordinary circumstance, that after all the good which these institutions have undoubtedly effected, that so much still remains to be done, that the object of this noble combination of Christian love and zeal and liberality should still, alas, be far, very far from being accomplished. But so stands the fact, that although infinite good has been done, the momentous fact stands still established, that extensive districts in the Highlands and Isles still labour under the greatest spiritual privation, and that the impressive consideration is not for a moment to be lost sight of, that there are thousands within the pale of this church emigrating

prudent measures may be in their power, Friday, May 20.-The Assembly have for the information and direction of next ing been constituted by prayer, called for Assembly.”

the report of the Directors of the Society The Assembly then adjourned till to- for Propagating Christian Knowledge in morrow at eleven o'clock.

Scotland to the Committee of the General

from the Highlands to the deep and dark solitudes of America, or a consideration more awful still, passing into eternity, who have never yet possessed a portion of the sacred volume, and to whom that blessed Book is, to all intents and purposes, as a fountain sealed.

In the views hinted at by the very Reverend Principal as to the most effective mode of removing these evils, I most heartily concur. Our first, our greatest want, is an additional number of preachers for the Highlands. Much good is no doubt expected from the operations of that act now in progress through Parliament for giving additional churches and preachers to the Highlands and Isles. Into the merits of that bill I conceive that it would be very presumptuous in me to enter on any detail. No doubt wiser heads than those of Highland Clergy were concerned in framing it. The government who have given so large and liberal an allowance amidst all the clamour for retrenchment, deserve well of their country, and those honourable gentlemen connected with gov. ernment in this part of the country, who have given their influence in procuring this valuable boon, are entitled to our very warmest gratitude. But I trust you will pardon me for giving it as my humble opinion, that one half of the sum laid out, without any reference to churches and manses, and placed along with the annual royal donation, under the management of a committee of the house, would effect much greater good, and be more generally felt over all the Highlands. I understand the sum proposed for additional churches will give us about fifty additional churches and clergymen. The same sum, laid out as I have suggested, will give us a hundred clergymen of a more useful description, a hundred schools, and a hundred catechists. That we want churches in the Highlands is true, and no reasonable sum which public munificence may ever be expected to give will furnish us with a church in every glen, and on every island, when the labours of a preacher are required. Our great want is an additional number of preachers. Give us these, and we will be content with our barns and our woods, and the shelter of our rocks. I never knew the services of a preacher less useful in that country for want of a church and a stated place of worship. Our present missionaries on the royal bounty scheme are a most deserving and meritorious body of clergy. At that period of life whien the mind delights in action, knowing that their success in life depends in a great measure upon their exertions in their present situations, admirably calculated from their time of life to combat those difficulties with which they are called on to struggle, they constitute, perhaps of their number, the most useful and laborious clergymen within the pale of our church.

Allow me also to add, that in their present rank as probationers or ca. dets of the church, if I may so call them, they maintain with their too limited income, a respectability suited to their future views in life. But change that character, give them a different status, a permanent establishment, a something resembling a parish, and what follows ? Why, the wife! a great blessing no doubt, and afterwards, probably, a nume.

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