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severance under difficulties, rather than their wisdom, their genius, or their modesty.
The diversities of character in the two men were many and striking. Lancaster, through his whole course, is the religious enthusiast; Bell, from youth to age, is distinguished by worldlyminded prudence. While the one is burning with desire to teach the blacks to read the bible; the other is quietly earning a reputation for sobriety and circumspection. When Lancaster is 'frequenting the meetings of Friends, and sacrificing worldly prospects to obtain inward peace,' Bell, is fighting a duel, and preparing to take orders in the church. While the unworldly quaker is exclaiming, 'I don't want a stock of money, I only want a stock of faith ;' the disinterested' churchman is insatiate in his lust after place and preferment. While the one, generous to a fault and benevolent to a weakness, is complaining that his soul succumbs under the burden when he sees hearts breaking under distress' and he 'cannot or dare not help them ;' the other, careful, and a little covetous withal, is pinching the ' brethren,' and bringing upon himself a visitation from the bishop. Both are proud ; but with this difference,-Lancaster is arrogant, Bell, vain. Both are self-worshippers, “the eye' of each is ever on himself,' but the result is not the same: in the one, self-complacency destroys love ; in the other, it produces something like insanity. Under its influence, Lancaster, always generous and fervid, becomes habitually wasteful and flighty; Bell, with a natural tendency to be hard and grasping, becomes as habitually selfish and morose, – of the earth, and earthy.
In contemplating Dr. Bell as a beneficed clergyman, the mind is painfully affected in discovering no evidence whatever of spirituality of heart. He is always high and dry.' He has evidently more faith in natural philosophy, than in the gospel as a means of evangelizing India. Principal M'Cormick writes expressing distrust of the well-meaning but ill-judging patrons of plans for the conversion of Gentoos, and ridicules the idea of attempting to teach christianity to the natives of Bengal by • preaching its doctrines slap-dash;' and faithless Dr. Bell, instead of rebuking his scepticism, replies, that without the power of working miracles 'none can ever throw down the barriers which enclose their sacred shrines, or gain any converts whom a rational divine or pious christian, who sets any value on a good life, would not blush to own.'
His theology, too, is more than questionable. He understands by our Saviour's declaration, that we must become little children' in order to enter the kingdom of heaven,' that, 'among children, and from them, and by becoming as one of them, we are to learn those simple doctrines of nature and truth, innate in them, or which readily occur to their minds, as yet unbiassed by authority, prejudice, or custom. And he calls this the 'school of nature and truth pointed out by the Son of God. We are by no means disposed to make any man an offender for a word, but we cannot help observing, that if Lancaster had expressed himself so incautiously, the friends of Dr. Bell would have eagerly seized upon the passage as conclusive evidence of a socinianized mind.
Lancaster had his theological heresies, but they are of a totally different complexion. His perversions of scripture are all mystical, and it is curious to observe how they blend with his burning temperament. He is an "Elijah,' a'chosen vessel,' a David before Goliath—a Joshua before Jericho. Imaginative and excitable, he is always on fire; Bell, very rarely, except when defending ‘his system. The former often manifests heat without light; but the latter, as a christian, never warms—all is cold as death. Coleridge, in one of his letters to Bell, unconsciously reads his friend a lesson when he observes, 'A man who has nothing better than prudence is fit for no world to come;' he might have had poor Lancaster in his eye when he added, and he who does not possess it in full activity is as unfit for the present world. Both might have profited by his conclusion. What then shall we say? Have both prudence and the moral sense, but subordinate the former to the latter ; and so possess the flexibility and address of the serpent, to glide through the brakes and jungles of this life, with the wings of a dove to carry us upward to a better.'
Lancaster's lack of prudence was happily supplied by a little band of men, now all gone to their reward, who, at great personal sacrifice, nobly came forward in the hour of need, and saved the schools he had established from utter and irremediable ruin. On two or three of these departed worthies we must bestow a passing notice.
WILLIAM CORston, the simple-minded author of the 'Brief Sketch,' to which we have been so largely indebted, was once well known as the party who introduced into this country the manufacture of British Leghorn. Having shown that instead of being imported as heretofore from Italy and France, it might be manufactured by our own poor, he opened a warehouse for its sale on Ludgate Hill. The discovery attracted much notice. The 'Society of Arts' pronounced the invention a national benefit, and rewarded the inventor with a gold medal. The "Society for bettering the Condition of the Poor,' also noticed
this valuable branch of manufacture in their reports. After many vicissitudes, some of which obliged him more than once, to compound with his creditors, he eventually succeeded in his undertaking, and after a long and laborious life, retired on a small property to his native village of Fincham in Norfolk, where, at a very early period of his career he had established a school for poor children. It is due to this good and honourable man to state, that after emerging from pecuniary difficulties he called his creditors together, and with rare probity paid every debt in full.
William Corston was a Moravian by religious profession, a man of tender spirit and of warm affections. We have often heard him relate with brimming eyes the circumstance which first led him to take so deep an interest in the education of poor children. 'I was going,' he used to say, 'when I was about twenty years of age through Butt Lane, Deptford, when I heard voices singing, and looking up, saw a board on which was inscribed, “To the glory of God and the benefit of poor children. This school was erected by Dean Stanhope.' I stood looking and musing upon it, when the voices of the children so affected me that tears flowed down my cheeks, and the prayer immediately arose in my heart, O! that it may please God that I may have it in my power one day to build a school like this for poor children !'* He accomplished his object, and the school still stands, bearing the same inscription—To the glory of God and the benefit of poor children.'
Lancaster never had a more attached friend than this good Samaritan. In all his trials we find him pouring his sorrows into the sympathizing bosom of the man whom he delights to call his 'friend,' his fellow labourer,' his brother,' his 'best beloved and faithful one,'—and he never appeals in vain. In later years, Mr. Corston spent most of his time at Fincham, where he died on the 25th of May, 1843, in the 84th year of his age.
Joseph Fox, to whom Lancaster was introduced in 1807, was a medical man, not less eminent for his professional skill, than for his extensive and diversified benevolence. He was, like Corston, a man of quick feelings and of sensitive nature. In religious sentiment he was either an independent or a baptist, we are not sure which. Fox, while at Dover, was taken by the late Sir John Jackson, with whom he was residing, to hear Lancaster lecture, and such was the effect produced upon him by the fervid oratory of the speaker, that at the conclusion of the lecture he
* By some unaccountable mistake Mr. Southey has attributed this incident to Lancaster, and made him the straw-plait manufacturer.
rose, and with the greatest emotion and solemnity exclaimed, 'Were I to hold my peace, after what I have now heard and experienced, the stones might cry out against me. His heart and hand were from this moment truly devoted to the work.
On his return to London, it was agreed that he should meet Lancaster to dinner at Ludgate Hill, and Mr. Corston thus describes the interview.
"After dinner, our first subject was the debt. Well, Joseph,' said Mr. Fox, 'what do you owe now? Do you owe a thousand pounds ?' He only replied, Yes!' After a little time, he asked, • Do you owe two thousand pounds ?' A significant pause ensued. Joseph again replied · Yes. The third time he inquired, with increased earnestness, affectionately tapping him on the shoulder, Do you owe three thousand pounds?' Joseph burst into tears. You must ask William Corston,' said he. He knows better what I owe, than I do myself.' Mr. Fox then rising from his seat, and addresing me solemnly, said, 'Sir, I am come to London to see the devil in his worst shape; tell me what he owes.' Why, sir,' I replied, 'It is nearer four thousand than three.' He returned to his chair, and seemed for some time to be absorbed in prayer—not a word passed from either of us. Mr. Fox at length rose, and addressing me, said,
Sir, I can do it with your assistance.' I replied, 'I know, sir, that God has sent you to help us; and all that I can do is at your command. He rejoined, I can only at present, lay my hand upon two thousand pounds. Will you accept all the bills I draw upon you ? and every one shall have twenty shillings in the pound, and interest if they require it.' I replied, "I will. We then all instantly rose, and embraced each other like children, shedding tears of affection and joy. The cause is saved !' exclaimed Mr. Fox. I replied, • Yes; and a threefold cord is not easily broke. Thus, through the gracious and almighty hand of Him, who prospers his own cause, and makes it to triumph over all its enemies and obstacles; thus was the foundation laid for the maintenance of an institution, which was destined to confer' the blessing of christian education upon millions and millions of mankind.
• We immediately, and with renewed energy, proceeded with the work. Two days after, the bills, forty-four in number, were drawn, accepted, and given to the creditors; and, with gratitude to the Divine goodness, it may be added, that they were all honoured as they became due.
'Soon after this, we were joined by several valuable friends, and on March 1, 1808, a committee was formed, consisting of the following persons :
*(Their names are given in the order in which they engaged in the work.)
"THOMAS STURGE WILLIAM ALLEN
“From this time the accounts were properly kept, the trustees holding themselves responsible to the public. Nevertheless, they were further called upon to advance large sums, from time to time; and for nine years, cheerfully sustained the burden of a debt of £8000.
“At length, Mr. Whitbread, who attended the committee, observed that it was a shame that a benevolent public should let six gentlemen be so far in advance for so long a time; and proposed that a hundred friends should be sought for, who would undertake to subscribe or collect £100 each for the work. In three years this plan proved successful, and in that time was raised £11,040, by which a new school was built, and the establishment greatly enlarged. And in the year 1817 the trustees were exonerated.’—pp. 54–57.
Mr. Fox devoted himself with characteristic energy to the work he had undertaken, and on the formation of the British and Foreign School Society in 1808, he became its secretary; an office which he rendered honourable by his gratuitous but unceasing and unabated labours. He died on the 11th of April, 1816, at the early age of forty years.
The last survivor of this little band was WILLIAM ALLEN, whose recent departure in a good old age, has been noticed in most of the leading periodicals of the day. A few words regarding this venerable philanthropist, must complete the hasty and imperfect sketches on which we have, perhaps, too rashly ventured. WILLIAM ALLEN, at the period to which we have been refering, was a chemist, carrying on an extensive and lucrative business in Plough Court, Lombard Street, and at the same time delivering a course of lectures at the Royal Institution. Here he had formed friendships with Sir Humphrey Davy and other eminent persons, which ended only with their lives. In the year 1805 he visited Lancaster's school in the Borough Road for the first time. He was much struck by what he witmessed, became a subscriber to the school, and availed himself of every opportunity for drawing attention to its merits. In 1808 he joined Lancaster's other friends in undertaking the responsibility of his debts, and was for upwards of five and thirty years treasurer to the institution which arose out of his movements. His life was eminently active and useful. In the year 1818, being then a minister among the Society of Friends, he visited Norway, and from thence proceeded through Stockholm and Finland to St. Petersburgh. Here, in conjunction with two other friends he compiled the excellent volume of scripture selections which, in connection with the entire scriptures, has ever