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The Rev. Mr. Hearne, Rector of the united Parishes of St. Alphage, and St. Mary North-gate, Canterbury, to the Rev.
George Horne, Deau of Canterbury. You desire, Sir, as minute an account as possible of my schools. After consulting a person who knew much of the poor here, I went round my united parishes to learn who were willing to send their children to be taught, and found my people very ready to accept my offer; at the same time I left a Christian Monitor at every house. About 120 children were collected. As both my parishes abound with poor, North-gate especially, which is poverty itself, I told my parishioners, when I declared my intention of erecting these schools, that I asked nothing from thein on this occasion but their countenance and influence. I directly provided books, and three men and one woman to take care of and teach these children. The pay of these teachers, as also of the clerk, who has since been engaged, is Is. each for the day. They receive other civilities. The principal silk manufacturer gave 2s.6d. to each of these five persons. The children appeared at St. Alphage church, on Sunday, Jan. 23, 1785, very ragyed and very disorderly. You will not be surprised at this when you are told, that some of them, perhaps, were never in a church since they were baptized; but usually spent their Sabbath in playing, cursing and swearing, in pilfering, or in some other inischief. These schools were at first kept at three different places, and have all been visited by me on every Sunday (except one, wlien I was at Eseter,) from the beginning of them to this time. I have now all the children together in the chapel of St. John's hospital, under my own eye; for I find by experience, that unless one or more persons constantly superintend these schools, no good is to be expected from them. For some considerable time I have been at the chapel ex actly at nine o'clock, the time when the school begins, and have continued there till eleven, the time when we go to church together. In the morning, while the teachers are instructing the little ones, I take 30 or 40 of the most forward into the chapel chancel,and hear them read the Psalms, Collects, the Epistle and Gospel, and second lesson for the day: and, if we have time, other chapters. Whatever occurs in our reading that is remarkable, or tends to their edification, is taken notice of, and explained to thein. At half an hour after one we meet at school again, and continue there till half past two, the time for church. At this time
the little ones are taught and repeat their Catechism, or the questions in the end of their spelling-books, for the instruce tion of the children, &c. We read the New Testainent, as before, till the clerk comes to sing a psalm or two with them. After church we all return to school. The little ones are employed, as in the morning, in spelling or reading, or repeating prayers or hymus. At this time I examine the most forward, and explain to them the Catechism, and the use of the Common Prayer Book. I exercise them in repeating after me the Lord's Prayer, and the Creeds, and all the responses. All this they do in a very decent and proper manner. We have gone through likewise Fox on Public IVorship, and his Introduction, &c. and also Crossman's Introduction, &c. The Church Catechism broken into short Questions, and Mann's Catechism. The books in common use are The Child's first Book, 1st and 2d parts, Fisher or Dixon's Spelling-book, the Catechisms before mentioned, particularly Mann's, Divine Songs of the pious and excellent Dr. Watts; and every child is furnished with a Common Prayer-Book and Testament to carry to church, when they can use them. Fifty of Unwin's Sin and Danger, and 50 of Stonehouse's Religious Instructions, are given to 100 children, who, after a time, exchange with each other. Thus 50 tracts will serve 100 children. They have likewise Stonehouse's Prayers. I take children of all ages, from 5 or 6 to 16 or 17. It is best to begin with them early. Some time since two lads, the one iny parishioner, the other of the next parish, were condemned to death for house-breaking. The melancholy event was taken notice of by me on the Sunday following, and the children sang The Lamentation of a Sinner. This performance of children, some of whom, if no care had been taken of them, might have been in the same dreadful situation, had a wonderful effect upon every one who heard them. This accident led me to think, that as much psalmody as was necessary for divine worship, would be useful and pleasing both to the children and the congregation ; I therefore engaged the clerk, who is a sober serious man, to give these children a little instruciion, which he does on one or two evenings in a week. Mr. Flacton, whose name is well known as a teacher and composer of music, is a benefactor to these children, and likewise condescends to give them some assistance; he has set to music some of Dr. Watts's Songs, Addison on Providence, &c. which they perform so well as to be heard with pleasure. About 100 of these children are sent to school every day for one or two hours, as they can be spared from spinning wool, or winding silk, at
one penny per head per week, the usual pay for such instruction. This is of great service to them. I have picked out four little girls to learn to work, and pay for them with money that has been entrusted with me for such purposes. I have gone through the Book of Psalms with some of the elder girls, and am going through it a second time at my house, where they, for one hour every day, are instructed. Some few boys from other schools attend my Sunday school. Such are the advantages my children have enjoyed, and they have profited by thein as much as could be expected. They are greatly civilized as to their behaviour,and gave satisfaction when they were examined in the church. The little ones repeated prayers, hymns, &c. the great ones gave proper answers to questions which contained the substance of the Church Catechism, but not just in the words of the Catechism. The little ones in general come on very well. One little fellow, who is only six years and four months old, read to me with justness and propriety, Fox's Introduction, a book he had never seen before. This child has had no instruction but from this school, and from his parents at home, who are poor people. Parents, if they have any goodness in them, will be induced to do all they can for their own children, when they find so much done for them by others. I think myself bound in duty to mention some circumstances, that shew the reputation of the school, and reflect great honour upon the persons I shall mention. A stranger, who was at this church, was so well pleased with the institution, that he gave a guinea for me to apply as I should think proper. A neighbour, who is a Quaker, offered to subscribe, if the schools had been supported by contribution. Another parishioner, who is a dissenting teacher, gave me money for the use of the children. A charitable Jady, who lives a few miles from Canterbury, sent me a noble present of five guineas; and some other ladies and gentlemen, both in and out of the parish, have been very Jiberal to these children, and to their parents, who wanted relief. Many of these children, who were almost naked, have been clothed by some benevolent persons. My friend, the Rev. Mr. Byrche, (who has done much on the occasion,) with two other worthy gentlemen, the principal supporters of the weekly school, have been of great service to me, noť only by their money, but by their constant visits to the schools. One of these gentlemen, who was a surgeon and apothecary, is ready to assist any of them in the way of his profession, as well as by any other act of kindness. My third colleague, who is a captain of a man-of-war, has been
a great benefactor to these children, and to some of their families. One very great advantage of Sunday schools is, that they afford every minister an opportunity of giving to the children of the poor instructions in the plain and important principles of religion ; of bringing them to church, where they are under his eye, and under the eyes of their benefactors, who may take proper notice of their good or bad behaviour. My children are very narrowly watched ; and no instance of improper behaviour is passed over without a solemn and severe rebuke. If they are disorderly, they partake of no benefaction intended for good children; and if this treatment will not reclaim then, they are expelled. When I find any of thein guilty of lying, the whole school is called together, and I read to them a little book, called An Exercise against Lying, concluding with the prayer at the end. Such are the regulations that have been observed in my schools ; which gentlemen may adopt or vary, according to their particular local circumstances. It is very evident to multitudes by facts (which are better than a thousand arguments,) that this institution has been attended with many beneficial effects. I have heard of persons, no friends to religion, who have supported these schools, and they are, in my opinion, no bad politicians; for our lives and fortunes will not be less safe because our servants, and the lower people in general, have been instructed in a religion that commands them, under the severest penalty, to hurt nobody by word or deed. I suppose every magistrate, when a young offender is brought before him for theft, &c. gives hin some good advice. Would not good advice given hinn by his minister, before he became hardened, be more likely to prove effectual? If ever a reformation be brought about in this kingdom, it will be by the labours and diligence of the parochial clergy, each in his parish. If our law-makers would endeavour, by these schools, and hy setting a better example themselves, to reform men, they would shew more wisdom, than by any mode of panishment they can inflict on them for being wicked. I sincerely wish, that, by the blessing of God, this institution of Mr. Raikes (a name that every clergyman, especially those of his own city and neighbourhood, should highly reverence) may universally prevail, and produce the best efects.
LII. Dr. Timothy Neve to the Rev. Littleton Brown, at Bishop's
Peterboro', July 23, 1741. MR. PENNINGTON, the registrar of this diocese, called upon me the other day, and gave me the pleasure of hearing that you were well, and were so obliging as to inquire after my health, and to send me your compliments; for which, as a brother virtuoso and antiquary, I take the li. berty of writing to you, and should be glad of the favour of your learned correspondence. Since I came to settle in this place, I have instituted a Society of gentlemen, most of University education, who meet every Wednesday evening, whereof the dean is president, and myself secretary. We are near 20 regular members, and about 100 honorary. Each member is obliged, upon his admission, to present us with some book to the value of a guinea, by which we have raised already a considerable library. Earl Fitzwilliam, one of our representatives in parliament, and lately elected a member, proposes to give us Rymer's Fædera, which will greatly add to the number as well as value of our collection. We have also a pretty large specimen of curiosities, natural and artificial, such as shells, minerals, petrifuctions, prints, medals, &c. &c. &c. which now and then amuse us a little, and give us the appearance of meeting to do something else than to smoke a pipe and drink a bottle. What we stand most in need of, is a correspondence with gentlemen in distant parts of the kingdom, or the world; but as yet we are too inconsiderable to have an intercourse of that sort settled amongst us. .Gentlemen that are able to undertake it, choose rather to throw in theirs to the great stock of the Royal Society, of which I perceive you are a member. But we should be glad only of a few of your gleanings, who have a fund sufficient to oblige us both. Dr. Mortimer, my brother secretary, now and then favours me with a letter*; in return, I transmit to him an extract of our minutes, whenever any thing occurs to us worthy of his notice.
I will trouble you with a short specimen of our Transactions, from Jan. This present year :
Jan. 7, 1740-1. Communicated a letter from the Rev. Mr. Saul, rector of Harleston, in Lincolnshire, concerning the nature and production of fossils, with a specimen of 20