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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS.

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christian benevolence, which MEMOIR OF MR. ROBERT RAIKES.

To every want, and every woe, (From the Monthly Repository.)

To guilt itself when in distress,
The balm of pity will impart;

And all relief that bounty can bestow. A MONG those who have greatly benefitted mankind, by wisely

According to the European Magaoccupying the leisure of a privaie zine for 1788, (xiv. 315.) station, too many are known to pos “The first object which demanded his terity only by ihe extending influ. notice was the miserable state of the counerice of their benevolent projects: ty Bridewell, within the city of Glouces

ter, which, being part of the county gaol, the minute circumstances of personal

the persons committed by the magistrate history, which contribute so largely out of sessions for petty offences associated, to the formation of character, were through necessity, with felons of the worst seldom related beyond their imme- description, with little or no means of subdiate connexions. Such, for all that sistence from labour ; with little, if any, has yet appeared, will be the case

allowance from the county: without either

meat, drink, or clothing; dependent chiefrespecting that ornament of our age ly, on the precarious charity of such as via and country, a moral Archimedes, sited the prison, whether brought thither if

be allowed the expres- by business, curiosity or compassion. sion, the inventor of the Sunday “ To relieve these miserable and forlorn school.

wretches, and to render their situation

supportable at least, Mr. Raikes employed Robert Rikes was born in 1735, both his pen, his influence and his propera in the city of Gloucester, where his ty, to procure them the necessaries of life : father was a printer, and publisher and finding that ignorance was generally of the Gloucester Journal.' To his the principal cause of those enormities

which brought them to become objects of business the son succeeded, and is his notice, he determined, if possible, to said to have acquired a competent procure them some mural and religious inproperty. Respecting the educa- struction. In this he succeeded, by means tion of our philanthropist, or the of bounties and encouragement given to events of his earlier years, we have such of the prisoners who were able to read; no information. Yet the wise and books, improved both themselves and their

and these by being directed to proper generous occupations of his man

fellow prisoners, and afforded great encouhood may satisfy us that his youth ragement to persevere in the benevolent was neither idly nor ill employed. design. He then procured for them a

supply of work, to preclude every excuse At a period of life when success and temptation to idleness." rarely inspires moderation in the

Mr. Raikes couid not pursue his pursuits of fortune, Mr. Raikes remembered the great law of his Chris- forn outcasts from civilized.life, with

generous purpose towards these for. tian profession, that no man liveth to

out many serious reflec:ions. His himself. He looked around for oc

mind must have been peculiarly casions of disinterested, yet not un- affected with the sad consequences productive exertion, and found them arising from the neglect, or rather near at hand. Prevention of crimes the total absence, of oppor:!?!?t's by instruction or reproof, and com- for early instruction among the pour. passion for even justly suffering cri. He was thus prepared to indulge a minals, were united in his idea of second project, the success of which

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he lived to see extending probably To these I applied, and made an agreenient beyond his most sanguine expecta

with them, to receive as many children as tions. The circumstances which led I should send upon the Sunday, whom they to the invention of the Sunday-school

were to instruct in reading, and in the

church catechism. For this I engaged to and the just and liberal views of the pay them each a shilling for their day's em. inventor, cannot be described so well ployment. The women seemed p eased as by himself. Tbe following let- with the proposal. I then waited on the ter from Mr. Raikes was addressed clergyman before mentioned, and impartto an inquirer in the North of Eng, fied with the idea, that he engaged to lend

ed to him my plan. He was so much satisland, and by him communicated his assistance, by going round to the schools to the Gentleman's Magazine, for

on a Sunday afternoon, to examine the 1804.-(v. 54, p. 410.)

progress that was made, and to enforce

order and decorum among such a set of lite “ Gloucester, Nov. 25, 1783,

tle heathens.

“ This, Sir, was the commencement of “My friend, the Mayor, has just the plan. It is now about three years since communicated to me the letter which you we began, and I could wish you were here have honoured him with, inquiring into to make inquiry into the effect. A woman the nature of the Sunday Schools. The who lives in a lane where I had fixed a beginning of this scheme was entirely ow- school, told me some time ago, that the ing to accident. Some business leading me place was quite a heaven upon Sundays, one morning into the suburbs of the city, compared to what it used to be. The nume where the lowest of the people who are bers who have learned to read and say principally employed in the pin-manufac- their catechism are so great that I am astory chiefly reside, I was struck with con- tonished at it. Upon the Sunday afternoon, cern at secing a group of children, wretch- the mistresses take their scholars to cburch, edly ragged, at play in the street. I a place into which neither they nor their asked an inhabitant whether those children ancestors ever entered, with a view to the belonged to that part of the town, and la- glory of God. But what is yet more exmented their misery and idleness. Ah! traordinary, within this month, these little Sir, said the woman to whom I was speak ragamuffins have in great numbers taken ing, could you take a view of this part of it into their heads so frequent the early the town on a Sunday, you would be shock- morning prayers, which are held every ed indeed; for then the street is filled with morning at ihe cathedral at seven o'clock. multitudes of these wretches, who, releas. I believe there were near fifty this morning. ed on that day from employment, spend They assenible at the house of one of the their time in noise and riot, playing at mistresses, and walk before her to church, chuck, and cursing and swearing in a man- two and two, in as much order as a come ner so horrid, as to convey to any serious pany of soldiers. I am generally at church, mind an idea of hell rather than any other and after service they all come round me place. We have a worthy clergyman, said to make their bow: aud if any animosities she, curate of our parish, who has put have arisen, to make their complaint. some of them to school; but upon the The great principle 1 inculcate, is, to be sabbath, they are all given up to follow kind and good-natured to each other, not their inclinations without restraint, as to provoke one another; to be dutiful to their parents, iotally abandoned themselves, their parents; not to offend God by cure have no idea of instilling into the minds of sing and swearing; and such little plain their children principles to which they precepts as all may comprehend. As my themselves are entire strangers.

profession is that of a printer, I have prinis “ This conversation suggesied to me, that

ed a little book which I give amongst it would be at least a harınless attempt, if them, and some friends of mine, subscriit were productive of no good, should some bers to the Society for promoting Chris. little plan be formed to check this deplora- tian Knowledge, sometimes make me a ble profanation of the sabbath. I then in- present of a parcel of Bibles, Testaments, quired of the woman, if there were any

&c. which I distribute as rewards to the decent well disposed women in the neigh- deserving: The success that has attend, bourhood, who kept schools for teaching ed this scheme, has induced one or two of to read. I presently was directed to four, my friends to adopt the plan, and set up

Sunday-schools in other parts of the city, wiser, and all are pressing to learn. I and now a whole parish has taken up the have had the good luck to procure places object; so that I hatter myself in time the for some that were deserving, which has good effects will appear so conspicious as beon of great use.

You will anderstand to become generally adopted. The num- that these children are from six years old ber of children at present thus engaged to 12 or 14. Boys and girls above this on the Sabbath, are between two and three aye, who have been totally undisciplined, hundred, and they are increasing every are generally too refractory for this goweek, as the benefit is universally scen. vernment. A reformation in society seems I have endeavoured to engage the clergy to me only practicable by establishing noof my acquaintance that reside in their pa- tices of duty, and practical habits of order rishes. One has entered into the scheme and decoruin at an early stage. But whewith great fervour; and it was in order to ther am I running? I am ashamed to see excite others to follow the example, that I

how much I have trespissed on your pa. inserted in my paper the paragraph which tience; but I thought the most complete I suppose you saw copied into the London idea of Sunday Schouls, was to be conveypapers. I cannot express to you the plea- ed to you by telling what first suggested sure I often receive in discovering genius the thought. The same sentiments would and innate good dispositions, among this have arisen in your mind had they haplittle multitude. It is botanizing in human pened to have been called forth, as they

I have often, too, the satisfaction were suggested to me, of receiving thanks from parents, for the “I have no doubt that you will find reformation they perceive in their chil- great improvement to be made on this plan. dren. Often I have given them kind ad- The minds of men have taken great hold monitions, which I always do in the mild- on that prejudice, that we are to do noest and gentlest manner. The going a- thing on the Sabbath-day, which may be mong them, doing them little kindnesses, deemed labour, and therefore we are io be distributing trifling rewards, and ingra- excused from all application of mind as tiating myself with them, I hear, have well as body. The rooting out this pregiven me an ascendancy, greater than I judice is the point I aim at as my favourever could have imagined; for I am told ite object. Our Saviour takes particular by their mistresses that they are very much pains to manifest that whatever tended to afraid of my displeasure. If you ever pass promote the health and happiness of our through Gloucester, I shall be happy to fellow crcatures, were sacrifices peculiarly pay my respects to you, and to show you acceptable on that day. the effects of this effort at civilization,' If “I do not think i have written so long the glory of God be promoted in any, a letter for some years. But you will exeven the smallest degree, society must reap cuse me, my heart is warm in the cause. some benefit. If good seed be sown in the I think this is the kind of reformation most mind, at an early period of human life, requisite in this kingdom. Let our pathough it shows itself not again for many triots employ themselves in rescuing their years, it may please God, at some future countrymen from that despotism, which period, to cause it to spring up, and to tyrannical passions and vicious inclinations bring forth a plenteous harvest.

nature.

exercise over them, and they will find “ With regard to the rules adopted, I that true liberty and national welfare are only require that they come to the school more essentially promoted, than by any on Sunday as clean as possible. Many reform in parliament. were at first deterred because they wanted “ As often as I have attempted to condecent clothing, but I could not undertake clude, some new idea has arisen. This to supply this defect. I argue, therefore, if 'is strange, as I am writing to a person you can loiter about without shoes, and in a whom I never have, and perhaps never ragged coat, you may as well come to may sce; but I have felt that we think school, and learn what may tend to your alike. I shall therefore only add my argood in that garb. I reject none on that dent wishes, that your views of promoting footing. All that I require, are clean the happiness of society may be attended hands, clean face, and the hair combed ; with every possible success, conscious that if you have no clean shirt, come in that your own interval enjoyment will thereby which you have on. The want of de be considerably advanced. cent apparel, at first, kept great numbers “ I have the honour to be, Sir, yours, &c. at a distance, but they now begin to grow

R. RAIKES."

Mr. Raikes had very soon occasion Sunday-schools, they have seemed anxious to answer another mquiry

" from

to show that they are not the ignorant, Bradford, in Yorkshire.” His letter, short, I never conceived that a reformation

illiterate creatures they were before. In wbich is dated, Gloucester, June

so singular could have been effected among 5, 1784,” will be found in the New the set of untutored beings I employed." Annual Register for 1785, (212) and agrees, in substance, with the fore- It appears, froin the first letter of going. Yet the following passages

Mr. Raikes, that the Sunday School may serve to complete the interesting the schools gradually extended in

originated in 1780. For three years information, upon the subject of the Sunday School, the last which we

his neighbourhood, io which they can receive from the inventor him. appear then to have been confined, self.

and where several clergymen, be

sides the curate mentioned by Mr. « I went round to the parents to remonstrate with them on the melancholy the success of the scheme, by their per.

Raikes, very laudably contribuied to consequences that must ensue from so fatal a neglect of their children's morals. They sonal attentions. The report of that alleged, that their poverty rendered them success, in and about Gloucester, incapable of cleaning and clothing their could not fail to draw attention from children fit to appear either at school or other parts of England. In 1784, at church; but this objection was obviated the plan was adopted in Yorkshire by a remark, that if they were clad in a garb fit to appear in the streets, I should by several manufacturing lowus. In not think it improper for a school calcula- Leeds, 1800 children were speedily ted to admit the poorest and most 'ne

collected. glected. Many children began to show

In 1785, was established in Lon. ialents for learning, and a desire to be don, a “Society for ihe support and taught. Little rewards were distributed among the most diligent; this excited an encouragement of Sunday Schools," emulation. Certain boys who are dise by donations of suitable books, or tinguished by their decent behaviour, are rendering them of easy purchase, appointed to superintend the conduct of also hy remunerating teachers in the rest, and make report of those that districts too poor to reward them. swear, call names, or interrupt the com

This institution was zealously supo fort of the other boys in their neighbour ported by members of the establishhood. aggressor is compelled to ask pardon, and ed church, and Nonconformists of the offended is enjoined to forgive. The every denomination. Sunday Schools happiness that must arise to all, from a were opened under the patronage kind, good-natured behaviour, is often of the Society, in the environs of inculcated. “ This mode of treatment has produced

London, at the close of this year, a wonderful change in the manners of these (1785), at Kemington, superialittle savages. I cannot give a more stric tended by the Rev. Mr. Swame; king instance than I received the other and at Stoke Newington, by Nr. day from Mr. Church, a considerable ma- Hoare, (G. Mag. 55, 1036); the nufacturer of hemp and fax, who employs first-named genileman a clergyus

. great numbers of these children. I asked

of the Church of lwgland. the other him whether he perceived any alteration in the poor children he employed.—Sir,'

one of the society of Quakers. says be, the change could not have been Clergymen of rank now did them. more extraordinary in my opinion, had sulves honour by advocating this they been transformed from the shape of

cause. Among tbese, the Rev. Dr, wolves and tygers to that of men. In temper, disposition, and manners, they could Kaye, Dean of Lincoln, was dishardly be said to differ from the brute tiognished, by a Cbarge delivered creation. But since the establishment of to the Clergy of the Archdeacoury

of Nortingham.” This charge en

among the indigent population of tered so justly into the design and that place. A very gratifying actendency of the institution, that we count of his success was given by make 16 apology for the following him in a letter addressed to the Dean quotation.

of Canterbury, Dr. Horne, after“ The divine goodness seems to have

wards Bishop of Norwich, who in. pointed out to the present age a measure

terested himself in this cause The $0 peculiarly comprehensive in the ad- letter is preserved in the Gentle nan'; vantages which it holds out to society, that

Magazine for 1786 (V. 50, p. 257), it appears formed to counteract the evil propensities of these days, and to prevent

and also given in the Sclecrons troin them from being injurious to succeeding

that Magazine, just published, (V. generations; which folds, my brethren,

iii. 115), and is well worthy of pewithin its benevolent arms, every sect of

rusal. Mr. H. candiilly states his christianity, every description of mankind. constant use of Dr. Wati's Songs in The measure which appears to me to pose the Schools, and the countenance be sess this invaluable antidote to the poison- received froin a Dissenter," and a ous manners of this depraved age, is the establishment of Sunday Schools.

« Quaker.” About this time, it was

The power and efficacy of these institutions,

estimated that no less than 250,000 reach to such extent of situation and of children, in different parts of Engnumbers, as no other mode of improvement land, were under instruction by Sun. can possibly equal. Having anxiously day Schools. watched their infancy, and attended to their progress, I have thought their prin- The late Bishop Porters, then ciples the most unequivocal, and their in- Bishop of Chester, recommended fluence the most extensive, that can be

the formation of Sunday Schools in employed in the cause of general refor

bis extensive diocese. This prelate mation. Nor will the benefit be confined to the children ;-it will importantly af

had early conceived a very favourfect the manners of the families, and even able opinion of the plan, as we are of the neighbourhood to which they be- informed in his life, just published, long.

and in several instances privately en. In the larger towns, the obligation of couraged it. these establishments is more strongly marked; but I am persuaded that there

“ But, as an act of prudence, he deterare few parishes where there will not be found children to be benefitted by these

mined not to give it the sanction of his institutions. And in manufacturing es.

public approbation, 'till,' as he observes, tablishments, they who profit by the la

time and experience, and more accurate bour of such poor children, will, we trust,

inquiry, had enabled him to form a more universally recompence them with this

decided judgment of its real value, and its

probable effects.' When, however, rehumane return; since the children they employ on the days of labour are thereby peated information from various quarters, deprived of the advantage of every other

and particularly from some of the largest improvement. This object, my reverend

manufacturing towns in his diocese, had

convinced him that such institutions, brethren, I own to you, is nearest my heart, in my present communication with

wherever the experiments had been fairly

tried, had produced, and could not fail to you. You cannot employ your influence in more humanity to individuals, and more

produce, if discreetly regulated, essential

beuefit, he no longer hesitated in promopatriotism to your country, than by giv ting them generally throughout his diocese. ing it every assistance and protection in

With this view, as the wisest and most your power.”

effectual nude of giving publicity to his G. Mag. 1786, vol. Ivi. 257.

sentiments, he addressed to his clergy a At the saine lime, the Rev. Mr. very excellent letter, containing, in a short Hearne, one of the Rectors of Can- compass, a plain, temperate, and judicious terbury, exorted himself zealously

exposition of the advantages of Sunday BELFAST MAG. NO. XLI.

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