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the turbulence of a world, which distracted him by its excitement, injured him by its praise, and finally cast him off, for faults of which itself had been the parent.
He was now rapidly becoming an object of public attention. His school-room was visited by foreign princes, ambassadors, peers, commoners, ladies of distinction, bishops and archbishops; his publications were passing rapidly through editions, each larger than its predecessor: his school, ably and zealously conducted by youths trained under his own eye, and imbued with his own enthusiastic spirit, was forsaken for lectures in all the principal towns of the kingdom, in every part of which he was received with the most marked and flattering attentions from all classes; even the monarch did not disdain to admit him, uncovered to his presence, but sustained, encouraged and applauded him. The interview which took place at Weymouth in 1805, is described by Mr. Corston, and is too characteristic to be omitted.
On entering the royal presence, the king said :— Lancaster, I have sent for you to give me an account of your System of Education, which I hear has met with opposition. One master teach five hundred children at the same time! How do you keep them in order, Lancaster ?' Lancaster replied, “ Please thy majesty, by the same principle thy majesty's army is kept in order-by the word of command.' His majesty replied, 'Good, good; it does not require an aged general to give the command-one of youngeryears can do it.' Lancaster observed, that in his schools, the teaching branch was performed by youths who acted as young monitors. The king assented, and said, “Good.' Lancaster then described his system; and he informed me, that they all paid great attention, and were highly delighted, and as soon as he had finished, his majesty said :• Lancaster, I highly approve of your system, and it is my wish that every poor child in my dominions should be taught to read the bible ; I will do any thing you wish to promote this object.' Please thy majesty,' said Lancaster; if the system meets thy majesty's approbation, I can go through the country and lecture on the system, and have no doubt, but in a few months, I shall be able to give thy majesty an account where ten thousand poor children are being educated, and some of my youths instructing them.' His majesty immediately replied :— Lancaster, I will subscribe £100 annually; and,' addressing the queen, you shall subscribe £50, Charlotte ; and the princesses, £25 each; and then added, “Lancaster, you may have the money directly. Lancaster observed :— Please thy majesty, that will be setting thy nobles a good example. The royal party appeared to smile at this observation ; but the Queen observed to his majesty – How cruel it is that enemies should be found who endeavour to hinder his progress in so good a work. To which the king replied : Charlotte, a good man seeks his reward in the world to come.' Joseph then withdrew.
At this time money appeared to him to be flowing in, in a perpetual stream. Unaccustomed to its management, and ignorant of its value, he expended it with thoughtless profusion, if not with sinful extravagance. He was, in fact, at this period in so high a state of excitement as to be totally unfit to manage his pecuniary affairs. "The day after to-morrow,' he writes from the country to a friend, 'is my birth-day. I am nine and twenty. I wish all my children to have a plumb-pudding and roast beef; do order it for them, and spend a happy hour in the evening with them, as thou didst this time last year, in my absence in Ireland ; furnish them with money, and when the good Samari. tan comes again he will repay thee.' And so he went on. Yet, as might be expected, not without many severe trials and struggles. A faithful and valued friend, still living, who never forsook him either in evil report or good report, and to whom he was largely indebted through life for pecuniary aid, has related to us his own singular introduction to him, which took place about this time. Having heard of Lancaster and his system, he says :- I called at his school to inquire about the training of a teacher, and after some conversation relating to the necessary arrangements for the man's attendance, I slipped a ten-pound note into his hand as an acknowledgment of my obligations. What was my astonishment to see this quiet man, with whom I had a moment before been calmly conversing, at once turn pale, tremble, stand fixed as a statue, and then, flinging himself upon my shoulder, burst into a flood of tears, exclaiming, ‘Friend, thou knewest it not, but God hath sent thee to keep me from a gaol, and to preserve my system from ruin !
And this was the state in which he lived for years,-excited, enthusiastic, the creature of impulse and passion, -his zeal
eating him up,' his judgment weak and oftentimes perverted. His letters to his friend Corston, without doubt, faithfully reveal the inner man,' and they are always excited, imaginative, and passionate, sometimes enlivened by a tinge of humour oddly contrasting with depression and melancholy. The alternations of hope and fear in his mind are here seen to be rapid and powerful. Yesterday, 'bile, fatigue and grief overwhelm' him ; to day, he has 'the valley of Achor for a door of hope. At one time, the iron hand of affliction and sorrow is upon him, and he is throwing himself at the footstool of his Saviour and his God, pleading his promises, pleading his fulness, pleading his wants, and there resolving to succeed or perish. At another time, he is exalted,' telling the high and mighty ones that the decree of heaven hath gone forth, that the poor youth of these nations shall be educated, and it is out of the power of man to
day, he is ledo and tooss as the path, th
reverse it. One day, he is peaceful and resigned,' feeling that he is sent into the world to do and to suffer the will of God,' and welcoming 'sufferings and the cross as the path the Saviour trod. The next, he is shouting 'victory, victory, the enemies are amazed and confounded; the stout-hearted are spoiled ; they have slept their sleep; none of the men of might have found their hands; the Lord hath cast the horse and his rider into a deep sleep.'
To his enthusiastic and imaginative temperament things innumerable present themselves as ' signal interferences. He'wonders at Providence' every step he takes. His friends will see 'wonders next spring. The invisible power of God goes through him ' far more sensibly than the circulation of blood through his veins. He is at Dover, and after attending two public meetings on education, holds a private conference with a select party ; serious conversation takes place; 'a solemn covering' comes over them,-' it seemed a power almost apostolic. After standing an hour amongst them, he closes with solemn prayer, 'going boldly to the throne of grace in the sacred and powerful name of Jesus. He carries the same spirit into the world with him, and applies it, without discrimination, to his pecuniary circumstances. He is pressed for money, but he cannot believe that, if the Almighty has designed the education of the poor of London, a few poor pitiless creditors can prevent it;' only let the eyes of his friends be opened, and they will see the mountain full of horses of fire, and of chariots of fire, round about Elijah.' He is in watch and ward' arrested for debt, and in a spunging-house; he has been there three days, and no one has been to see him ; but he is as happy as Joseph was in the king's prison in Egypt.' Corston visits him, and stays an hour or two with him. After my departure,' he says :
He rang for the sheriff's officer, to take him to the Bench; but obtained leave to call at home on their way tbither. When he got home, his wife and child, and all his young monitors, were assembled, overwhelmed with grief because he was going to prison. After being with them a little, he opened the parlour door, and said to the man, · Friend, when I am at home, I read the scriptures to my family, hast thou any objection to come in ?' He replied, “No, sir,' and went in. After he had read a chapter or two, he went to prayer. The man soon became deeply affected, and joined the common grief. After prayer the man returned into the other room, and Joseph in a few minutes said to him, “Now, friend, I am ready for thee.' They had not gone many paces from the door, when the man said, 'Sir, have you got no friend to be bound for you for this debt ? Joseph replied, "No, I have tried them all.' 'Well,' replied the man, then I'll be bound for you myself, for you are an
honest man, I know' He surrendered him at the King's Bench and they took his security for the debt. About ten o'clock the next morning, he came jumping into my warehouse, Ludgate Hill, saying, “ Ah, friend William, did I not tell thee that thou wast not to assist me this time ?’-pp. 35, 36.
This arrest brought matters to a crisis. A friendly docket was struck against him, and his creditors were called together. The result was, that in 1808 his affairs were transferred to trustees,-a fixed sum was allowed for his private expenses—a correct account of all receipts and expenditure was for the first time kept; and shortly after an association was formed, originally entitled 'the Royal Lancasterian Institution for promoting the Education of the Children of the Poor,' and subsequently, for the sake of greater simplicity, comprehension, and brevity,—the BRITISH AND FOREIGN School Society.
We now revert for a few moments to Dr. Bell. During the period to which we have been referring, the Doctor was by no means an idle or unconcerned spectator. In November 1805, Mrs. Trimmer had published her pamphlet entitled 'A comparative View of the new Plan of Education promulgated by Mr. Joseph Lancaster, and of the System of Christian Education founded by our pious Forefathers. In this work she considers, that a national system of education ought to be built on the Church Catechism ;' and expresses her opinion although without, or rather in spite of evidence, that under the name of the leading principles of christianity, Mr. Lancaster builds on the basis of morality alone. She regards the first as “teaching duties, the latter as creating habits:' the one, (the Church Catechism) as 'calculated-we are at a loss to conceive how'to regulate the passions and subdue the evil propensities of the youthful heart; the other,' (the leading principles of christianity,) 'in some things cherishing and indulging the passions beyond due bounds. The more she looks into Lancaster's works, 'the worse opinion' she has ' of his views and intentions. It is 'a great satisfaction' to her 'to find that he is attacked from another quarter. Her 'fear' is, that 'the methodists will make great advantage by the plan.' She is told by a lady who visited the school last summer that there were thirteen of the principal methodist preachers of London there that day;' with much more in the same strain. Dr. Bell writes to her, observ. ing very sensibly, that there was but one way in which Lancaster's efforts could be effectually checked, and that was by doing something themselves. Every letter from Mrs. Trimmer now brings him some new information, and he urges her to write constantly and unreservedly to him. She responds, by rejoicing, that' through the well-directed zeal of an excellent friend,' the 'arrogant quaker' has been disappointed in his attempt to set up a school at Windsor, and she has every reason to think that all which he included under the term royal patronage will be in future discontinued.' The' dignitaries of the church also,' she informs him, even the highest, are fully convinced of the danger of the plan of forming the children of the lower orders into one organized body, and have consulted together concerning the measures which it may be proper to employ to prevent its taking effect.
Dr. Bell now turned his thoughts towards leaving Swanage, and accordingly wrote to Mr. Calcraft, ' requesting his influence in favour of his either exchanging Swanage for some preferment more eligibly situated, or of some other arrangement whereby he might be enabled to render his services more available to the cause of education. He also addressed a circular to certain members of the government, stating his wish to have some
official post,' whence he might be enabled to 'rear in Europe the fabric' of which he had laid the foundation in India.' " It was my official situation of minister of St. Mary's, at Madras, and chaplain of Fort St. George, &c.,' he says, that gave weight and influence to my gratuitous services in the organization and superintendence of the male asylum; and I now make a tender of my gratuitous services in favour of any public institution where government may deem them useful.'
No notice appears to have been taken of this application, and from this time till the year 1811 the work dragged heavily. In vain did Dr. Bell write,—' it cannot be dissembled that thousands, in various parts of the kingdom, are drawn off from the church by the superior attention paid to education out of the church,'—in vain did he visit bishops and archbishops, giving on one occasion 2,000 copies of his . Experiment on Education' to the Archbishop of Canterbury for distribution among his clergy ;-—with the exception of being called upon to re-organize the Royal Military Asylum at Chelsea, and to introduce his system into a few other schools, nothing effectual was done. Prevailing distrust, if not absolute dread of education, paralyzed every effort, and effectually checked any well-organized movement in its favour. Southey boldly asserts, that the heads of the church did their duty at last, not because they were persuaded to it, but because they were frightened and shamed into it by the Dragon.'*
The extent to which this feeling prevailed, may be surmised from the fact, that Dr. Bell so far yielded to it, as to insert in the third edition of his ' experiment,' the following paragraph :
• Lancaster. An educational caricature was at this time exhibiting, called 'Bel and the Dragon.'