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The Congregational Delegates.

Dr Hannay and Mr Henry Leo were cordially welcomed in Great Britain on their return from Australia. At a public reception in the Memorial Hall, which was attended by many of the most influential adherents of the Congregational Union, Dr Hannay boro testimony to tho cordiality and enthusiasm with which the delegates had been received in the colonies. From Dunedin to Brisbane, from Sydney to Adelaide, their brethren had received them as if they were entertaining angels and were aware of the fact. Dr Hannay spoke in the same genial spirit about various aspects of their mission; hut he complained that “certain gentlemen in the guise of reporters ” had put into their mouths a passage of incoherent nonsense worthy of Bedlam. This remark was specially applicable to the views attributed to Mr Hannay on the subject of eternal torment. Mr Hannay advocated sending ministers, “when weary of brain and weary of heart,” to mix for a few months in colonial scenes, and believed they would return home stronger and abler men. On the subject of the attitude of the colonics towards the Mother Country he said

One point more I wish to make before I resume my scat—that the tics which bind the colonies to the Mother Country stand in need of moral strengthening. No doubt the Homo sentiment—the tender, clinging Homo sentiment which pervades the heart of all middle-aged people in these colonies, and which I am persuaded had more to do with the acceptance which Mr Lee and myself found there than with any spiritual impressiveness that may have appeared in the words wo spoke—no doubt this Home sentiment is a powerful bond, knitting the colonies to the Old Country. But there is growing up—and it is right that hero thsro should bo notice of the fact that we seemed to see many signs of the growing up—among the young Australians a certain yearning for independence and ultimate separation. I, for my part, do not much wonder at it. The young Australians have the blood of tbo English people in their veins ; they partake of the spirit and temper of their ancestry, who loved liberty, had an instinct for selfgovernment, and would stand no nonssnso from their rulers. And these young Australians have had much in their history that has tended somewhat to strengthen this temper. On no young communities, perhaps, did so strong a light of prosperity ever shine in the earlier years of their existence as has shone on the Australias during the fifty years by which their history must bo reckoned. They have built cities which for wealth, commercial activity, and architectural pretension take rank with some of the historical cities of the Old World, and which are preparing even at an early day to take rank with those cities In the matter of population. During that time they have organised order, justice, education, legislation, substantially on the lines followed in England, and with results that bring no discredit on the example which they have copied. They have forged ahead of the old land in many reasonable and salutary reforms. They have resources on the surface of tbo soil and in its depths which it staggers arithmetic to compute ; and they say that, prosperous as they have been, they have been handicapped by the stupidity, the apathy, the ignorance, the circumlocution of the Colonial Office. Occasional spasms of discontent in the face of grievances tend in these conditions to settle into a formal conviction that the great future that is natural to them will be possible only if they are set free from all trammels whatever. And though I believe, if a vote wore at present taken in Australia in regard to this matter, a heavy majority would be oast against Separation; yet, probably, there is scarcely a man who has passed middle ago—who is not a politician angling for the votes of malcontents, of men who have raised the cry of “Australia for the Australians”— who would think or speak at present of “cutting the painter." You have to calculate with the young Australian, who is energetic, hard-headed, and resolute ; while I believe has ere long to bo reckoned with the organisation of the party whose watchword is “Australia for the Australians,” and if there be not some check brought to bear upon it, it may very soon bring within the range of practical politics the question of the independence of the Australias. I would that the young Australians could be got to reflect a great deal more than they do on the extent to which they are indebted to tho strong arm and shield and generous heart of Great Britain. I wish they could be got to emancipate themselves from the fascination of their own brief history, and fairly study the great history of the people from whom they sprang; that they could expand their views beyond the lines of their own colonial life and take into consideration the mighty forces which are everywhere working in society, testing the social fabrics, searching the foundations of society, and baulking all attempts to forecast the issues to which they are pointing. I knownothing morelikely to lead them to do this than that we should send forth from our churches, from our scientific bodies, from our leading centres of commerce, from among our ablest literary men, and our most trusted statesmen, Englishmen to mix with the Australian people, to shed fresh modern English thought and English feeling into Australian society, and to enable them tte

feel the beating of England’s heart. I know no way more likely, apart from and beyond a wise and sympathetic treatment of the colonies by the Legislature, to put an end to talk about separation, and to lead the ingenuous and highly capable young men of Australia rather to seek to bring England and her colonies, or England with her colonies, and all the other Englishspeaking people of the world, more closely together in the acknowledgment of a high common providential vocation as leaders and teachers of truth and righteousness, that wo may come, if not into a vital unity, yet into a close embrace and an earnest cooperation for saving the world. (Applause.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890601.2.46.3

Bibliographic details

The Congregational Delegates., Evening Star, Issue 7922, 1 June 1889, Supplement

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1,036

The Congregational Delegates. Evening Star, Issue 7922, 1 June 1889, Supplement

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