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I will still love the Society, because it has generously endeavored to extend its manifold blessings to the Southern States, not only so far as the South enabled them to do so, but by employing suitable laborers wherever they could be found, and expending whatever amount could be advantageously used. And while in 1856 the number of Colporteurs in the Southern and South-western States was 221, besides students, and while in the agency covering South-Carolina and Georgia during the past four years, up to June, 1857, the outlay was $11,279.61 beyond the income, and since then in a much greater ratio, yet the Society has desired to increase and to extend its labors.
And I will love the Society still, because were it broken up, or the South broken off from it, we could not hope to form a Southern Evangelical Tract Society, but would have denominational and rival Societies. This result has been considered unavoidable by many in different denominations, and has already been developed in Virginia, where one denomination now employs more Colporteurs in the circulation of its publications, than the American Tract Society had in the field last year.
"I will therefore love the Tract enterprise, because (to use the words of Rev. Dr. Peck of the Methodist Episcopal Church,) it is a cause in which evangelical christians can unite. I hail as an omen of good the establishment of any institution which will bring together christians of different denominations. Bring them into contact; let them become acquainted with each other; let them mingle their prayers and sympathies; and their prejudices will give way, and they will find that they have the same religion."
7. And now in conclusion, I would say to my readers, that since to use once more the closing language of the Report and Resolutions of the South Carolina Branch, "all the Colporteurs now in the field in South-Carolina and the adjacent States, are under the superintendence of the highly esteemed officers connected with the South-Carolina Branch of the American Tract Society; as these Colporteurs are themselves Southern men; as no works or tracts are circulated, which do not pass through our Depository, and as it is evident from the foregoing Report, that no interference with the subject of Slavery will be permitted through any agency of the American Tract Society, we indulge the reasonable hope that the operations of the SouthCarolina Branch (and all other Southern Branches of the American Tract Society, will receive undiminished and even increasing support, confidence and co-operation at their hands.*
*Next to the Middle States, says the New-York Evangelist, the most liberal contributor to the general Treasury is—not New England—but the Southern States. In these is included the Southwest, as in the Western States we include the Northwest. The territory thus embraced is immensely larger than New England, the population is greater, and therefore the amount given in proportion less. But the aggregate for the same year (1856) was greater, amounting to $27,754.
New England is third on the list, having given during the last fiscal year $25,580.
Fourth in the enumeration is the Western and Northwestern States, which gave the same year $21,458.
These facts show that the American Tract Society is truly what it claims to be—a National institution. It represents our whole country. It is sustained by the contributions of all the States, and labors for the welfare of all.
The American Tract Society
ON DR. WAYLAND'S LETTER
The Rev. THOMAS SMYTH, D. D.
Published in the New York Observer