Surely it would be a libel upon Indian philanthropy and generosity to ask for less, in launching a scheme, which has received the hearty support of multitudes of persons so well able to form a judgment as to its feasibility and soundness, and this too after having been submitted to the most searching criticisms that human ingenuity could suggest! At any rate this we can promise, that whatever may be given will be laid out carefully to the best possible advantage. A special annual balance sheet will show how the money entrusted to our care has been expended, and if the success of the work be not sufficient to justify its existence, it will always be easy for the public to withhold those supplies on which we must continue to depend for the prosecution of our enterprise.
Looking at the future however in the light of the past history of the Salvation Army, both in India, and especially in those other parts of the world, where its organization has had more time to develop and fewer obstacles to contend with, we are confident that the results will be such as to repay a hundred fold every effort made and every rupee laid out in promoting the welfare of India. And even supposing that comparative failure should result, we should have the satisfaction of knowing that
“’Tis better to have tried
Than never to have tried at all!”
The anathemas of posterity will alight upon the heads, not of those who have made a brave effort to better the evils that surround them, but of those who by their supineness helped to ensure such failure, or by their active opposition paralysed the efforts and discouraged the hearts of those who, but for them, might either have wholely succeeded in accomplishing what all admit to be so desirable, or might at least have been far nearer reaching their goal than was possible owing to the dog-in-the-manger obstructions of those who had neither the heart to help, nor the brains to devise, nor the courage to execute, what others might have dared and done!
A PRACTICAL CONCLUSION.
In proposing at once to deal with the problem of lifting out of the jaws of starvation India’s poorest and darkest however impossible it may look to some, we have the immense advantage and encouragement which arises from the fact that General Booth’s scheme (which I have followed as closely as the widely differing conditions of Indian society would admit) has already received the all but universal approval of the best and ablest in Europe from the Queen downwards. It has in fact so commended itself to the general public that men of all shades of religious belief, men of no belief at all, men of every political party, and from every rank of society have not only heartily approved but contributed already L100,000 for the carrying out of the project. Moreover, some of its most important details have already had applied to them both in England and Australia the valuable test of experience.