There is one question which may start up in the mind of the reader and that is, granted that the scheme is sure to prove successful in England, is it not still probable that, owing to the complex arrangements of caste and religion in India any such scheme would meet with failure. To this I answer in the first place, that all will be helped, irrespective of their creed, and any change of opinions on their part will be purely voluntary, since no compulsion, beyond that of love and moral suasion, is intended to be used. Moreover, drowning men are not too particular as to the means available for their rescue. They would rather be dragged out of the water by the hair of their heads than left to drown, or would rather be lifted out feet foremost than left to be devoured by alligators. If it be true that starving men are driven by hunger to commit theft solely that they may be sent to jail where at least they will get food and be saved for a time from the hunger-wolf, how can we doubt but that thousands will hail with gladness a deliverance which is not only a deliverance from want and starvation, but the opening out of a brighter path for their whole future.
The blessed example set by hundreds of men and women in our ranks who have given up friends, parents, home, prospects and everything they possess to walk barefooted beneath India’s burning sun in order to seek the weal of its people cannot fail I believe to stir up the rich and well-to-do, nay all but those too poor to help,—to make some sacrifice to heal the unutterable woes, and to sweeten the hard and bitter lot of those who, often through no fault of their own, have fallen in the battle of life, and who have been all but crushed and cursed out of existence by misfortunes which are to some extent at least within our power to remedy.
True lovers of India (and nothing is more encouraging than the splendid manner in which the intelligence of this country is arousing itself to thoughtful active effort for the weal of the nation, putting aside all differences of race and religion, that it may unite to seek the common good,) true lovers of India, we say, will never allow differences in race and religion to hinder them in a question affecting the well-being of some 26,000,000 of people who are already a drag and a hindrance to the rising prosperity of the nation, and who are sure if neglected to become a danger. No one asks about the religion of Stanley. His heroic march through the terrible forest, his rescue of Emin Pasha, his successful achievement of that which to most men would have been impossible, have made him to be admired and praised in every land.
Here we are proposing to rescue, not one Pasha and a handful of his followers, but almost as many people as the entire population of Great Britain. We stand at the edge of this forest. We know something of it before we enter. We are not dismayed. We only ask you to meet the cost of the expedition. Great armies of beggars and workless, and drunkards and opium-eaters and harlots and criminals are going to be dragged out of these morasses, to bless the land which gave them birth with the wealth of their labor and to build new Indian Empires across the sea.