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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
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 witnessed,-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 since been used in the schools of the society. This volume was immediately translated and printed in Russia for the use of the schools in that great empire.
After leaving Petersburgh, he proceeded through some of the large towns of Russia to the German colonies on the banks of the Dnieper; and thence to Constantinople, Smyrna, Greece, and the Ionian Islands. After a detention at Zante in consequence of serious and protracted illness, he returned home through Italy, Switzerland, and France. In 1822 he again visited the continent of Europe, and at Vienna and Verona among the ministers of the different courts of Europe then assembled, proclaimed the iniquities of the African slave trade, and pleaded the cause of the oppressed Greeks, and of the persecuted Waldenses of Piedmont. For the former he obtained some important privileges, and for the latter he secured increased liberty of conscience.
At home he was well known as an ardent and untiring philanthropist ;-in character, unspotted, -in charity, abundant,in manners, a courtier,-in purity of life, a saint. His latter years were chiefly passed at Lindfield, in Sussex, where he had established schools of industry, and here he died on the 30th of December 1843, in the seventy-third year of his age. His last thoughts were on the love of Christ and on the true unity of a redeemed people; his mind dwelling with lingering affection on the words of Jesus, 'that they may be with me where I am.' 'I in them, and thou in me, that they all may be one in us.' In the near approach of dissolution a heavenly serenity settled on his countenance : his hands were raised in the attitude of prayer, and then tranquilly rested on his bosom, as the redeemed spirit was gently released from its earthly tenement.
Should his life ever be written,-and it would be an instructive one-the great lesson to be gathered from it would be, the practicability of combining through a long life, the obligations of trade, the pursuits of science, the enjoyments of philanthropy, and the duties of a gospel ministry. We can conceive of nothing better calculated to correct early and ill-directed ambition, to check youthful pride, or to cure unreasonable disgusts, than the observation of so healthful an example, as that of a man whose varied honours were but successive developments of growing character, each appearing in its appropriate season, and each bringing with it its suitable reward.
Of the remaining three early friends of Lancaster, only one was known to the writer of this article—Joseph Foster, an upright and honourable man--generous, hospitable, sincere, incapable of meanness, and indignant at wrong. He too has gone to his rest, the only one who has left his name and place in the society occupied by a son.
Of the political founders of the institution few now remain. The Dukes of Kent and Sussex, the Duke of Bedford and Lord Somerville, Mr. Whitbread, Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Horner, Sir James Macintosh, and many others who might be named, are all gone. And Rowland Hill, whose cheerful voice used so often to ring through the committee room, as he led in his retiring but noble-hearted friend John Broadley Wilson, who usually accompanied him from his Friday morning service; and Wilberforce, in a somewhat equivocal position, as an annual subscriber, a vice-president, an eloquent advocate, and yet, according to his sons, a disapprover of the society; and humbler names, a sacramental host, who did good service to the cause in their day and generation, have gone too, leaving the principles they espoused, and the society they established, to be defended, sustained, and preserved for succeeding generations by those who cherish their memory, and occupy their places.
In looking back over the ground we have now traversed, and retracing step by step the progress of popular education, it is melancholy to observe how identical are the accusations brought against the friends of Scriptural and comprehensive education now, with those that were made thirty years ago; and how inevitable is the conclusion-forced upon the mind in spite of efforts to the contrary—that faction, party, secular interests, and sectarianism, have had far more to do with the educational strife of the last half century than any love for Christ's holy gospel,' or righteous jealousy for the honour of his word. As far back as 1811 we find Mr. Fox vindicating the institution from the still undying calumny of being favourable to Unitarianism. This ridiculous charge was originated, it appears, by Dr. Marsh, in consequence of one of the speakers at a public dinner of the Unitarian Fund having observed, that he looked on the endeavours of Mr. Lancaster in the most favourable point of view, because his enthusiasm was merely directed to education. In the 'vindication,' Mr. Fox indignantly denies any
such tendency, and startles us by stating, that Mr. Lancaster, in order to prove his orthodoxy and fair dealing, had actually printed an edition of the church catechism on three large sheets of paper, that it might become a school lesson, and that as such, it was then used in his schools at Canterbury, Cambridge, Lynn, Ipswich, and other places. That such a compromise of principle failed to placate the bigots who opposed him, is certainly by no means to be regretted. Lancaster saw his error, and fell back upon the great protestant doctrine of the sixth article of the church of England, which declares, that ' Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not found therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.'
By the teaching of 'leading and uncontroverted doctrines,' as opposed to 'peculiar religious tenets, which were to be excluded, Mr. Fox boldly asserts was meant, 'those principles which are received and acknowledged by every class of christians, considered as such, who do not think it idolatry to address worship to Jesus Christ.' This is plain language—it excludes Unitarianism altogether. It does more; it proves that from the very first, the principle of the British and Foreign School Society has been, in accordance with its universal practice, not only not to exclude, but positively to introduce, and, as much as possible, to teach in scripture language, those great truths which Unitarians deny, but which have ever been the consolation and joy of all real christians. And yet-such is the power of prejudice, when sectarian purposes have to be subserved that even within the last twelve months we have heard it asserted in public, by one who ought to have known better, that if evangelical religion be now taught in British Schools it is by a side wind, by a sort of pious fraud, and in opposition to its original constitution! while others, affecting a liberality which they do not feel, lift up sanctimonious eyes, and still timidly express doubts as to the bible being used, or as to religious principle being regarded in the selection of teachers. Pharisees,'hypocrites,' our Lord would have said to such,-'first take beams out of your own eyes, and then shall ye see clearly to take motes out of your brother's eyes. Let the young and ardent take warning in time. Let them beware, ere it be too late, of the immoralities of the religious. Let them know that deep as is the guilt involved in the indulgence of dispositions so opposed to the 'gracious image of the Son of Man,' as detraction and slander, these are but the every day enormities of those who stoop to lead sects, and to contend for party. Let them learn early to dread the influences of vulgar praise and conscious power. Let them be assured that the victories even of truth are too dearly purchased, if they are obtained by the loss of candour or at the cost of charity.
Poor Lancaster, who had often occasion to join with the Psalmist and pray- Deliver my soul, O. Lord, from lying lips, and a deceitful tongue,' being charged with Deism, once published his 'belief,' and if words have any meaning, it is abundantly satisfactory. We quote it as a curious and almost solitary