I considered next, that it was impossible for a great cause like this to be forwarded without large pecuniary funds. I questioned whether some thousand pounds would not be necessary, and from whence was such a sum to come? In answer to this, I persuaded myself that generous people would be found, who would unite with me in contributing their mite towards the undertaking, and I seemed confident that, as the Quakers had taken up the cause as a religious body, they would not be behind-hand in supporting it.
I considered lastly, that, if I took up the question, I must devote myself wholly to it. I was sensible that a little labour now and then would be inadequate to the purpose, or that, where the interests of so many thousand persons were likely to be affected, constant exertion would be necessary. I felt certain that, if ever the matter were to be taken up, there could be no hope of success, except it should be taken up by some one, who would make it an object or business of his life. I thought too that a man’s life might not be more than adequate to the accomplishment of the end. But I knew of no one who could devote such a portion of time to it. Sir Charles Middleton, though he was so warm and zealous, was greatly occupied in the discharge of his office. Mr. Langton spent a great portion of his time in the education of his children. Dr. Baker had a great deal to do in the performance of his parochial duty. The Quakers were almost all of them in trade. I could look therefore to no person but myself; and the question was, whether I was prepared to make the sacrifice. In favour of the undertaking I urged to myself, that never was any cause, which had been taken up by man in any country or in any age, so great and important; that never was there one in which so much misery was heard to cry for redress; that never was there one, in which so much good could be done; never one, in which the duty of Christian charity could be so extensively exercised; never one, more worthy of the devotion of a whole life towards it; and that, if a man thought properly, he ought to rejoice to have been called into existence, if he were only permitted to become an instrument in forwarding it in any part of its progress. Against these sentiments on the other hand I had to urge, that I had been designed for the church; that I had already advanced as far as deacon’s orders in it; that my prospects there on account of my connections were then brilliant: that, by appearing to desert my profession, my family would be dissatisfied, if not unhappy. These thoughts pressed upon me, and rendered the conflict difficult. But the sacrifice of my prospects staggered me, I own, the most. When the other objections, which I have related, occurred to me, my enthusiasm instantly, like a flash of lightning, consumed them: but this stuck to me, and troubled me. I had ambition. I had a thirst after worldly interest and honours, and I could not extinguish it at once.