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gers of these schools to place out some children apprentices to manufacturers. Many of them are orphaus, without father or mother, and they have no friends to provide business for them: Others have parents who cannot provide any employment for them: Now some children in the country, and multitudes who are born and bred up in London, would not know whither to go, or how to employ themselves, nor where to offer themselves for servants at eleven, or twelve, or thirteen years old: What family will take them in when they are capable of doing so little of the business of a footman? But at that age they may be employed in several of the manufactures of the land, if they are carefully and prudently placed in such a station.
VI. If these children are turned out of these schools to shift in the wide world too early, or to spend their time at random, many of them will forget their learning, and lose the benefits they had obtained by being taught in schools. Some of them would not only forget the good lessons of religion and morality, but even the knowledge of letters and syllables, till they cannot read their bibles, and run wild again in the world: But when they are placed by the managers of these schools in sober families, they engage their masters to see that they keep their learning in some good measure and make use of it.
VII. I add in the last place, that if neither parents nor friends of any kind take care to fix children in some particular business, nor place them in sober families, where they may be under due government, they will be in danger of growing idle and slothful, they will wander about the streets and lanes, and lie exposed to all manner of iniquity. Sometimes the wicked propensities of nature, and sometimes the necessities of nature will tempt them to cheating, stealing, robbing, &c. And they will be in danger of falling into shameless intemperance of every kind. The remains of their younger education, may be some check upon them indeed and lay their consciences under some restraint; yet at best in this great city, even children who are well instructed in their younger years; are too much exposed to wicked company and mischief, if there be no care taken to provide any fixed employment for them. But on the other hand, as it is well expressed in Mr. Neal's charity sermon, page 19. "If you give them learning, and put them to a trade, you give them a lasting inheritance; for understanding even in this sense, is a well-spring of life to him that hath it: It is a treasure that can never be taken from them; and therefore this must be the best way of shewing compassion to the children of the poor."
Objection X. But why must these children of the poor be clothed as well as taught? Why must they have a suit of new apparel given them yearly? This clothing makes the young crcatures value themselves too highly, especially while their
raiment is new: They are ready to think better of themselves than becomes them; and while they have it given them once a year, they are tempted to rank themselves with children of better fashion; their little souls are puffed up with pride, and their spirits are raised above their circumstances.
To this, I answer in general. There are very few schools of charity among dissenters, where the contributions arise high enough to provide clothing for the scholars: Nor is it necessary nor proper, that it should be done where the money may be better expended in their instruction, or in training them up to such employments whereby they may support themselves, or where any inconveniences arising from it are greater than the good done by it. Yet where the liberality of benefactors will reach so far, in great towns, and especially in the chief city, there may several things offered in the defence of it.
I. The covering of the poor and naked, in general, is a work of liberality approved in scripture recommended to christians, and joined with that of feeding the hungry, and giving drink to those that are athirst? and it has a blessing pronounced upon it: Why then may not these poor children be sometimes the objects of such liberality, who have scarce any garments to cover them? Indeed, many of them are so miserable in their own nastiness and their tatters, that they are hardly fit to come into a society that is well ordered, and to meet together in a school in order to their education, without some more convenient apparel than what their parents can provide them. This is an act of clarity and bounty to the poor parents themselves, who are not capable to provide the necessaries of life for their offspring. Besides,
II. Let it be considered, that the clothes which are bestowed upon them once in a year or two, are of the coarsest kind, and of the plainest form, and thus they are sufficiently distinguished from children of better rank, and they ought always to be so distinguished. I grant if their clothing were the same with that of other children of higher circumstances, the temptation might be strong, and the objection might have some force. But there is no ground for these charity children to grow vain and proud of their raiment, when it is but a sort of livery, that publicly declares those who wear it, to be educated by charity.
Let me add also, in the third place, that there are so great numbers of these charity-schools erected by the members of the established church, not only in London, but in many other places too, where the children of the poor are taught and clothed, and put out apprentices to useful trades, that many of the poor among us, would be laid under great temptations to send their children to these schools to be educated in those forms of worship,
which they disapprove, and in religious sentiments different from their parents.
Objection XI. I know it will be smartly replied here, "And where is the hurt of all this?" What if they are educated in all the forms of the church of England? Surely, thre difference between the dissenters and the church, is not so great and formidable, but that the poor should be willing to accept of such an education for their children, since they are not able to bring them up without the charity of others.
To this, I answer, first, That it is readily granted, that religion itself, in substance of it, is the same, which is professed and practised by both parties. God forbid, that I should suppose that a good education of youth in the established church, should prevent their usefulness here on earth, or their arrival at heaven. I hope, and believe, there are thousands of holy souls in the ehurch of England, which are beloved of God, and shall be for ever happy in his presence. I love them heartily, and rejoice in the success of their ministers, and beg of God their labours may be more abundantly blessed to the honour of God, and the eternal happiness of a great multitude of souls.
Yet I beg leave humbly to mention, what every body knows, that there are some forms and ceremonies, which were invented by men, and which Christ never appointed, that are yet imposed on the ministers and the people in that church; not to mention some other disadvantages which the protestant dissenters have many times complained of. Now the poor have consciences as well as the rich; and the poor are concerned as well as the rich to have their children trained up in that way of worship which they think most agreeable to the will of God: And why should they be put under such temptations to resign up their children to a different education, if there may be another provision made for them, by a very small exercise of liberality among their own richer friends, who have the same religious sentiments with themselves.
Since our governors have been so just and kind to us, as to abolish those cruel, and unrighteous laws which forbid us to worship God according to our consciences, or to train up children in our own schools, why should not the poor among us be partakers of this privilege, as well as the rich? And why should not the rich among us be a little solicitous, that through their bounty and charity, their poor brethren might enjoy the advantage of bringing up their offspring in their own way of worship, which the law of the land indulges, and which they themselves rejoice in? Besides, it should be added here, that in all our dissenting schools, they are only taught the Assembly's Catechism, and in some, they are brought ouce a day to attend the public worship in our congregations, without any private influences to set them
against the church of England, or to make them bigots to any sect or party. As we refuse no children of the members of the established church, so we teach them nothing that I know of inconsistent with their continuance in that church.
In the second place, I answer, that though some few of these charity-schools in the established church, may perhaps indulge moderate principles, and have some favourable opinion of the protestant dissenters; yet it has been sufficiently evident, that too great a part of them have trained up children in a furious and blind opposition to all who separate from the church of England.
And if parents, who know not these things, should be tempted for the sake of clothes and apprenticeship, to permit their children to learn a different way of worship, which they do not so well approve of, yet it is hard, to think that they should be almost constrained to send them to such schools, as may not only fill their heads with party notions*, but also tincture their hearts with a bitter party zeal; such schools as may not only give them a set of different principles, but might indulge them to mock and deride the religious sentiments of their parents. And yet this might be the case in many places, where the protestant dissenters are very poor; they would fain have their children taught to read and write, yet perhaps there is no other charity-school near them, but such as hates the name of a dissenter.
And after all, I must intreat leave to observe, that this is not the worst of the case. The children in many of these public schools, would not be only brought up with an aversion to the religious sentiments and practices of their parents, but would be also in great danger of learning to hate the present government under his most excellent majesty King George, and to rail at the establishment in the protestant succession, which is the glory of Great Britain, the defence of the reformed religion, and the securest guard of the liberties of Europe. This is not spoken at random, for I shall produce a most unquestionable authority for it, who declares it to have been lately so notorious, as that it is not possible to be denied. Now the education of youth in such schools, would not only prove the highest inconvenience and mischief to the children themselves, but a very great injury to the whole nation, and to mankind; and this would be the evident and unhappy effect, unless these schools are vastly reformed from these hateful practices, and freed from the dishonourable character, which most of them bore, and which many of them merited in years past.
The right reverend the lord bishop of London, whose words
See Mr. Chandler's sermon for the benefit of a charity-school, Jan. 1, 1727-8. page 34 35.
I cited a little before, is a very great friend to these schools of charity; but he does not deny but that there has been too just ground for complaint some years ago, that in many of them the children have been trained up to a disaffection to our present government. His words are these: "This is a very heavy objection indeed, viz. that in many of the charity-schools, the children are trained up to disaffection to the government, and it is a point that the government is nearly concerned to look after, since it is to little purpose to subdue and conquer the present ill humours, if a succession of disaffected persons is to be perpetually nursing up in our schools. And it is as little to be expected that any persons who are well-affected to the government, should contribute to the maintenance of such schools, as long as the opinion of this disaffection continues."
After that, his lordship hopes and believes," that there is not at present the like ground to complain of disaffection in our charity-schools, as there was some years ago;" yet he acknowledges, that "while the protestant succession remained doubtful, and no stone was left unturned to defeat it, some persons who had their views a different way, that is, jacobites, endeavoured to get the management of these schools into their hands, and to make them instrumental in nourishing and spreading an aversion to the protestant settlement. Which says he, was so notorious, as well as from some particular recommendations of masters and mistresses, as from the behaviour of too many of the children themselves, that the fact as to that time, cannot possibly be denied.” His lordship indeed concludes, "that there is great reason to believe that much of this leaven is worked out;" and he is willing to hope, that since things are better, true and loyal subjects will begin to think more favourably of them.
It must be confessed his lordship, who is a most sincere and hearty friend to the protestant succession in the house of Hanover, hath employed his zeal and influence to recover the charity-schools of the established church from this bad character: But things are not changed all of a sudden; and his lordship gives us but very low and doubtful indications of any universal change for the better when he only tells us, "there is not the like ground to complain of disaffection, as there was some years ago, and there is great reason to believe much of this leaven is worked out." Though perhaps there may be too much of it still remaining. And what a dismal thing would it be, if a great part of the poor among the protestant dissenters, whose zeal for the present government, is their known and constant glory, if these very persons by the temptation of clothing and trades to be provided for their children, should be allured to place them under such sorts of masters and mistresses as the