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their permanent settlement, by the recogni. no doubt that the countenance and support tion of Government, and the provision of of the Government would follow. adequate stipends. The latter contended He designated as cowardly the policy rethat the Church ought, in the first place, commended by the other speakers. to acknowledge the petitioners, and he had It was ultimately agreed to refer the me
neighbours in Ross-shire, we at least preach them with the same earnestness and the same conviction of their vital importance.
But this is not believed. We are accused of want of soundness of faith-want of cor. rectness of conduct-want of zeal and fidelity in the discharge of our duties. It is not to be denied that these prejudices exist in the minds of many excellent and good men, whose piety we venerate, whose Christian benevolence we admire, but whose prejudices we deeply regret, and I trust, most freely forgive. Yes, Moderator, such prejudices exist in the minds of those very individuals who would be the very first to institute a society for sending catechists to the Highlands; the very first to enrol their names in the list of subscribers for any institution which has for its object the best interests of society; and that being the impression of these excellent people regarding us, experience has sufficiently convinced us that any catechist sent among us from them, would come to us with all these prejudices in full operation. Hence it happens that all those preachers and catechists sent out by private societies to disseminate religious knowledge in the Highlands, are almost all of them, without exception, deeply imbued with those prejudices. They believe, (probably they may be wrong, and I hope they are,) that the greater quantum of scandal which they can collect against us, the more will they gratify their employers. They act as spies sent to view the land, and return like the spies of old, bringing a slander upon our good land. They bring back an evil report, they amuse their employers with exaggerated accounts of us, the sons of Anak -- and upon this very ground of the Highland clergy being a lazy and useless body, inattentive to the interests of religion, constant appeals are made to the public for the necessity of greater and still greater exertion for the heathen at home.
Sir, I could illustrate this remark by facts, and by reference to speeches made at some of those meetings. What was the argument used at one of the meetings of the society at Paisley, for evangelizing an extensive district of Argyle-shire, called Cowal ? And were not the circumstance which I am about to mention more calculated to amuse than to irritate, most certainly I would not introduce it. The question under discussion was the melancholy state of Cowal, and the want of religious knowledge among the people. And to what was all this attributed ? Cowal, said a Reverend member of that meeting, and a Highland clergyman also, Cowal, said he, is the region of darkness, and no wonder, for what can be expected of the people, when a pious Paisley pedlar assured me that he heard the name of Satan taken in vain in the kitchen of one of the clergymen of that district? But let none of my Cowal brethren here present feel alarmed, for the clergyman of whom this anecdote is told, is dead twenty-one years ago.
I could, Sir, adduce many more proofs, bearing perhaps more directly on the point; but I forbear trespassing on your time and patience.
Now, Sir, what we wish the Church of Scotland to do, is to look after us herself, and leave us no longer in the hands of those good and well. disposed people; to send us catechists placed under your own superin
morial to the committee on the Canada The Assembly then took into considerapetition, and the Moderator was instructed tion the petition of certain individuals in to write a friendly letter to the petitioners, Glasgow, praying for the erection of a new assuring them of the good wishes of the Gaelic chapel in Melville Street of that city. Assembly.
The petition had been laid before the last
tendence, from them I dread no danger; make them our auxiliaries, and not our rivals ; our coadjutors, and not our enemies. Bring them to act with us and under us ; to bear us and work with us; then, Sir, welcome, most heartily welcome, all the honest and zealous enthusiasts you can send to us; and without zeal and enthusiasm they will be of little sera vice. Yes, Sir, even the Missionaries sent forth by this very society, at Paisley, for evangelizing Cowal, men whose services I believe are not much valued by their colleagues, my excellent brethren of Cowal, now in my eye ;-even these very people, place them under our superintendence, send them out among us under a new character, tell then, that you send them to your friends the ministers in the Highlands, tell them how you feel for how
you love us, bid them strengthen our hands, let them approach us in this character, and most heartily will we welcome them. Greatly do we require such plain, useful operatives to place them on our out-posts, to leave them as centrepoints for our social groups in the winter evenings. We require them in our lonely Isles and deep solitudes, to which so many silly bodies from Paisley and Kilmarnock, unacquainted with our language, and without our habits, are migrating at this auspicious season of the year, to return in the winter with exaggerated accounts of all the evil they saw, as of all the good they effected during their summer jaunt.
Sorry would I be to see one intolerant measure adopted against such men, belong they to what Christian community they may. In this land of freedom and perfect toleration, and long be such freedom the glory of our land, I would grieve to see them secluded from the Highlands in any other way, than by making themselves feel that their places are occupied, and that we require not their services. I am disposed frankly to admit that some of them have done good ; that they have roused the lethargy of some of us, as Dissenters have awakened yourselves ; and that in many cases they have excited attention to the interests of religion among the mass of the people. But, Sir, we would cultivate the field ourselves, and deprive cur people of the substantial apology of following after them, by placing plain substantial operatives of our own in those stations to which they resort.
With a few such catechists and schools, in the stations to which I have alluded, I would smile at the dreaded inroads of a degrading fanaticism; and provided these people left their politics and their hatred of me at home, I care not if every steam-boat came crowded with such.
The conclusion of all this is, that the superintendence of the church, while it would impart dignity and stability to any scheme for giving us additional teachers and catechists, would prove, at the same time, a security to the public for the soundness of their principles, and for their prudent regard to the bearings of their conduct, on the various public constituted authorities of the country.
Such, Moderator, are my views on the object of that overture which I have had the honour of introducing from my Presbytery. It becomes not me to dwell before you, my reverend father and brethren,
General Assembly, and was by it remitted of the Presbytery. It was signed by 2100 to the Presbytery of Glasgow, to make cer. individuals. taiu inquiries. It now returned, accom- Mr. Cockburn appeared at the bar in bepanied by the unanimous recommendation half of the petitioners; and Mr. P. Robert
on the excellency of that object, neither need I dwell on the peculiar claims which the Highlanders have upon the benevolence, might I not say, the gratitude of the nation? Need I remind you of what you all know, and amply acknowledge, that the Highlands and Isles have been a nursery for your armies; that from these heath-covered mountains multitudes of gallant men have sprung; men who have surely taken their own share in the never-to-be-forgotten struggle that has ended in the peace of Europe ; men who, in every field and every climate, have covered themselves with glory? Look to the privations of that portion of your countrymen. Their descendants are ready when called upon, as were their fathers before them, to die for their country. Glowing ap. peals have this day been made on their behalf on the grounds of their poverty, on the score of their ignorance. Alas, all that was true: but you will pardon one who was born among them, and knows them well, while he would ground his appeal in their behalf, on the excellency of their natural characters. Say not, Sir, that they are a perverse people, that there must be something extremely bad about them, when after all the means that have been used for their good, their state is still as bad as has been this day described. They are not a perverse people, and injure them not by applying to them a term too often applied to them, but which I feel in many respects to be cruel and unjust, viz. " the heathen at home.” No, Moderator, the character of the Highlander has been at all times elevated, if not moral; and while I boldly affirm that there is not, on the face of the earth, a people more peaceable, more honest, more loyal to their king and country, I might venture further to say, that among no people is the devotional feeling more powerful, that none are more susceptible of receiving religious impressions and spiritual directions. Yes, Moderator, their very superstitions, gloomy as they may be, their tales and poetry, wild as they may be, their peculiarities and habits, despised as they may be by persons who have been educated with powerful prejudices against a form of society so different from their own, all these circumstances have given to the Highlander, as I have already said, an elevation of sentiments and morals, not to be met with in more advanced stages of national improvement. Pardon me, therefore, for making my appeal in their behalf on the ground of the excellency of their natural character ; on that ground I came forward to implore of you to give them a clearer light than the light of nature, to give a steady operation to all the good feelings of humanity for which they are distinguished. I crave your indulgence but for a few minutes, and I am done.
Permit me to draw your attention to one other respect in which the Highlands and Isles must greatly interest every benevolent heart, and to this view of my subject I would earnestly draw the attention of the friends to foreign missions, that from these countries to which I have been alluding, thousands have been emigrating yearly to our colonies in North America: men whose language and habits being distinct, will render them an admirable barrier against-American and French principles; and carrying with them their ancient and established principles of loyalty and military valour, will prove the most valuable settlers in those important colonies. The numbers who have emigrated
son, on the part of the managers of the Mr. Cockburn observed, that the periGaelic chapels in Ingram-Street, Duke. tioners last year made their application to Street, and Gorbals of Glasgow, who op- this House ; and they were now to judge posed them.
from those facts whether it would be proper
for the last forty years from the Highlands and Isles is absolutely incredible. Thousands and tens of thousands, until within the last few years, were totally uneducated, and ninety out of one hundred were unable to read the scriptures. I have in my possession at this very moment a letter from the collector of customs in a small port in the west end of the Island of Mull, in which he tells me, that during the last three years 4288 have entered in that port alone, and emigrated to our colonies in North America ; and he adds, that being from some other of the more remote islands, they were unable to read either English or Gaelic, and unacquainted, he believed, to a great extent, with the nature and design of the Christian religion. And this emigration proceeds from no temporary causes; it proceeds from peculiar circumstances connected with the country, for which no remedy can be applied. To what quarter of the world, then, I would ask, can the friends of foreign missions direct their attention with so certain a prospect of promoting that great cause which they are labouring to advance, as to the High. lands and Isles of Scotland ? Will not a few hundred pounds per annum expended in teaching these people to read their bibles before they leave the country, and instructing them in the elementary principles of Christianity, effect greater good than thousands spent in sending missionaries after them when they are scattered through those endless forests, where they have not a bible, nor the capacity of reading it? it will prove to them a moral wilderness, where all the better traits of their natural character will soon and for ever be obliterated.
Sir, I appeal to every person who hears me, whether a few such families whom you have taught to read the bible, and sent out with them this valuable light to comfort and guide them, will not prove a more valuable acquisition to that country, and have a more civilising inAuence in the districts to which they go, by spreading around them a moral and christianizing influence, than by any one missionary, however respectable, who, at ten times the expense, you could send afterwards to teach them.
But I come to my last observation. The wants of the Highlanders cannot fail to excite your sympathy upon higher grounds than those I have stated, when you view them as your brethren-part of your own flock-committed to your own charge, and whom you are called upon to feed. Far am I, Sir, from undervaluing the objects of the other overtures submitted this day to this venerable house ; far am I from undervaluing what has been done, and what is doing for the inhabitants of foreign lands. The glory of Great Britain is in nothing so conspicu. ous, in this our happy day, as in her efforts to enlighten the whole world by the bright beams of the gospel. But I maintain that it is our paramount and imperative duty, as ministers and elders of the established church of our land, to make every effort that is in our power for giving to our flocks at home the benefits of religious and moral instruction. While we act our part in the magnificent cause of making distant lands joyful with the glad tidings of salvation, let us not overlook our children at home, remembering that they are our own blood,
VOL, XXIII, NO. VII.
to sanction and legislate for the new Gaelic withdrawn from other churches or chapels. chapel. No question ever came before that Mr. Cleland, by whom the statistics of Assembly which more impressed him with Glasgow had been better illustrated than a sense of its importance than the present. those of any other city, Mr. Dewar, and When he considered it with reference to the Mr. Freeling, had made calculations of necessity of providing the amplest church the number of Highlanders in Glasgow; accommodation to the inhabitants of large and, after making every possible deduction, towns, and to the fond hereditary at- it must be allowed that the number amounts tachment of the people of Scotland towards to at least 30,000. For this large portion the national Church, it would be insulting of a large population there were only three to the House to suppose that there could chapels. He need not say more in support exist any difference of opinion among them of the petition, the real question being, are upon this subject. There might be a few three chapels sufficient ? But he would small things, some odds and ends, connect. state that such was the exuberant faith reed with this petition, which some might posed by the petitioners in the justice of this cavil about; but the great leading features, House, that they had actually built their or what he might call the bones of the case, church at an expense of £4000. If thirstmust be admitted on all sides. The ori. ing for secession, they had now an oppor. ginal number of signatures to the petition tunity of quenching their thirst; they had was 2200 ; and out of these, after the an audience, and they had a chapel ; and it strictest scrutiny, only 30 had been struck would be allowed that the secession was a off. All the petitioners were unconnected well which all might freely draw from. with any other chapel, and unaccommo- -(A laugh.) But such was the attachment dated with seats. Whether they might have of the petitioners to their mother church, had accommodation was a question which that in patience aud submission, they had he would afterwards speak to. But what waited for the sanction of this House ; let. he had stated was necessary to show, that ting out their funds, and keeping in ill-hu. the present demand of the petitioners did mour. It was singular that none of those not arise out of their having capriciously who usually object on such occasions ap
members of the same national family, brethren living and dying at our doors.
While you, therefore, Sir, go into the way of the Gentiles, and to the cities of the Samaritan, and in that work we say, God speed; and while to that work we will also give our support, we will still cry to you to look to the wandering sheep of your own Israel. Ever bearing in mind, that while Christianity has opened a wide field in which charity may range, there are in this field some peculiar spots in which we are commanded to take peculiar delight, and there are all such spots as I have been describing, such as are within the vale of your own church. The Highlanders have not yet refused your offer, and why turn to the by-paths ? They have not spitefully treated your servants. Would, Sir, that you only knew the intensity of mind with which many of these poor people apply themselves to the reading of the word of life; would that you only heard how their gratitude has been kindled at times into praise; would, Sir, that I could only place before you the hoary Highlander standing in the same class with his almost infant grandchild; the pensioned veteran stemming, as I most solemnly declare to you I have seen him do, the mountain torrent, and with the only arm left in his country's cause, holding up the book of God, with which he was proceeding to school in all the docility of a child, and all the anxiety of a man who looked to his soul; and then sure am I neither your hand nor heart could be proof against its influence.
Sir, I'make no motion. I leave my cause in the bands of the venerable assemby, with full confidence that they will do what is most befiting for alleviating those evils which we have now stated to them; and, in doing which, I fear that I have trespassed, in an unpardonable degree, on your indulgence, and on the patience of the house, for which I have only to crave your kind forgiveness.