A bold and daring expedition has been planned into this dark social forest, with its dismal swamps, its pestilential vapours, its seemingly endless night, to rescue and bring to the light of hope, to green industrial pastures and healthy heavenly breezes, its imprisoned victims. May we not then, since men can be found to do and dare in such a godlike enterprise, confidently claim the enthusiastic interest and the practical help of all good men, no matter when or how they worship the great Eternal Father of the human race!
If any one should object that is an impossible enterprise, we answer, who can tell? Why indeed impossible, seeing that millions of acres wait to be tilled and to yield their treasures to the unfed mouths of workless labourers? Why impossible, since hundreds of thousands are saying, it is not charity, we crave, but the privilege to work and earn our bread? Why impossible, when willing hearts and hands are ready to spring forward and at any cost dive into this dark forest and bring the hungry mouths into the fostering care of the fruitful earth? Why impossible, when a mass of unproductive wealth waits to serve some useful purpose and bless its holder, bringing back to him a hundred per cent, if he will but lend it to his God by giving it to the poor?
We have portrayed with studied moderation the dark regions of woe. We have laid before you with careful explicitness the scheme or remedy. We have endeavoured to anticipate and answer all objections. And now it is for you to make this great enterprise possible by uniting to subscribe the sum we ask for, as necessary to float the scheme.
We have built our deliverance ship in the dockyard of loving design, we have wrought her plates, riveted her bolts, fixed her masts, put in her boilers and engines, fitted her and supplied her with gear. It is your privilege to launch her—to draw the silver bolt and permit her to leave the stocks and glide down into the dark deep sea of misery and land on heavenly shores the drowning submerged millions.
We believe that your response will be worthy of you. Coming generations will thank you, and the blessings of them that were ready to perish will rest upon you, and the God of the fatherless and the widow will remember you for good.
The Poor Whites and Eurasians.
It will doubtless be noticed that I have excluded the consideration of this question from the foregoing pages. This has been decided on, though with considerable hesitation, for the following reasons:—
1. Numerically they are much fewer than the submerged India of which we have been speaking.
2. Influential charitable agencies already exist, whose special duty it is to care for them; any effort on our part to apply General Booth’s scheme to them would probably be regarded by those societies as a work of supererogation, and would be likely to be received by them with a considerable measure of opposition.