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A HOME FOR THE WIDOWS AND DAUGHTERS OF CLERGYMEN,

AND COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF HER MAJESTY'S NAVY.

God discovers a special regard for widows and fatherless children, and frequently recommends to his people, to be very careful in affording relief to the widow and orphan. “A Father of the fatherless and a Judge of the widow, is God in his holy habitation.”—Psalm lxviii. 5. “Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child, if thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your

wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.”—Exodus xxii. 22–24. "Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”—Isaiah i. 17. “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me." _Jeremiah xlix. 11. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”_James i. 27. St. Paul would have us to honour widows, that are widows indeed, and desolate; that is, having neither husbands nor children to help and relieve them. See 1 Timothy, v. 3—5.

For the reception of the respectable aged and infirm poor from amongst the labouring classes, arrangements have been made in some cottages near Norfolk House, where eighteen persons may find a quiet and comfortable home.

Poverty and distress are not, however, confined to the widows and fatherless from amongst the labouring classes. There are many widows amongst the higher classes, who having been much reduced, and having neither husbands nor children to help and relieve them, have a claim to our sympathy and charitable consideration. For these, the widows and also the daughters of clergymen and naval officers, it is proposed to provide a home at Norfolk House, which shall be so regulated and conducted that comfort and respectability shall be equally considered with the economic arrangements of the establishment; so that Gentlewomen born and brought up and habituated to all the associations of the higher classes of society, may find most of the comforts to which they have been accustomed, and at the same time be enabled to maintain their own rank in society.

Norfolk House has proved a most comfortable home for the Rev. Herbert Smith and his family, when some of the trials and difficulties of life united to make it most acceptable. He, having experienced some of the troubles as well as many of the comforts of this our earthly pilgrimage, is desirous of making those arrangements for some of his fellow travellers, especially of the weaker sex, who have been less abundantly provided for, that in seasons of sorrow and distress, when bereaved of a husband or a father, they may feel they have a quiet and comfortable home amongst those of their own rank, where, undisturbed, they may serve the God of the fatherless and widow, and at the same time occupy a sphere of usefulness, according as their varied powers and the circumstances of life may direct.

As the establishment will be arranged for the accommodation of persons of very limited incomes, its domestic economy will be such, that whilst the essential comfort of all will be considered, every one will be expected to be moderate in their requirements, and contented with that which will be provided.

The expences will be rent of rooms, allowance for servants, firing, and a dinner at a common table, or if preferred, ladies might have dinner sent to them in their own rooms.

Norfolk House will accommodate about twenty ladies, who shall elect one of themselves to superintend the conducting of the establishment, and she may select two other of the ladies to assist her. Each of these, it is intended, shall receive a proper acknowledgment for their trouble.

All communications, for further information, are requested to be addressed to The Rev. Herbert Smith, Norfolk House, Shirley, Southampton.

Norfolk House, May 19, 1847.

TUCKER, PRINTER, SOUTHAMPTON.

FROM NOVEMBER, 1846, TO MAY, 1847.

A SHORT statement of the plan of conducting this school formed part of an advertisement in the last edition of the “ Southampton Post Office Directory.” It commenced last autumn with some of the boys from the Shirley National School; to these elder boys were added, elderly men, and young and able-bodied men, during the severe weather of winter or short periods, when they could not obtain any other work. The boys have been thus trained in the cultivation of the soil, by spade labour, &c., and in cutting wood and making it into bundles for lighting fires. The numbers thus employed have varied from six to twenty. More than £40 has been expended (beneficially it is hoped) in labour. A piece of waste land of Shirley Common has been dug, trenched, and brought into cultivation, which, should it please God to bless the land with increase, will add to the quantity of food in this season of scarcity, and set an example to others to “ go and do likewise.” More. over, many families have expressed their gratitude for the aid thus providentially extended to them in seasons of distress, when the additional supply thus afforded to them, helped to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The ultimate object of these exertions will be to obtain such an influence amongst the poor of the neighbourhood, as may tend to their moral and religious improvement.

The industrial system was advocated in sermons preached last year, in behalf of National Schools, at the Priory Church, Christchurch, Hants; at Bransgore Church, in the same parish; and also at St. Mary's, Southampton, from which the following extracts are subjoined. The plan is similar to that which is now recommended by the Council on Education.

One of the greatest defects, perhaps, in our modern system of education, as respects the children of the labouring classes, is that they are not sufficiently trained in habits of useful employment. They attend our National Schools, where they are confined to a school room for six hours, five days in the week, sitting or standing with their book, slate, or pen in their hand, with little beyond mental exercise, which generally speaking, is far from being the only instruction requisite for the largest number, to make them useful in future life ; since most of them are destined to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and by hard work to make themselves independent and respectable members of society. Amongst the Jews, their children were always trained to some handicraft employment.

We read that St. Paul was of the same craft with Aquilla and his wife Priscilla, for by their occupation they were tent makers.

“The system of education adopted by the Children's Friend Society was excellent. Here were children brought from the most neglected homes, in order to rescue them from the haunts of wickedness and vice, and to give them the benefit of good training and religious instruction. The school consisted of about 120 boys, who were well taught in reading, writing, and accounts, and most carefully instructed in religion. Their conduct was most orderly and respectful. Connected with the establishment were ten acres of land, there the boys were instructed in the elements of farming and gardening. They were further instructed in the use of the forge, to work in iron or tin; then others were employed as carpenters, tailors, and shoemakers.

“ It is to be hoped that ere long some such addition may very generally be made to our National Schools in towns and large villages."

“Norfolk House, Shirley, May 12, 1847."

The Rev. Herbert Smith to this paper subjoins the following explanation.

Many have erroneously imagined that, because indisposition of more than three years continuance checked my proceedings, therefore my plans have failed, and some have lamented such imagined failure. But such, I thank God, has not been the case ; the success which has encouraged me to persevere, has been sufficient for my own comfort and support, through no ordinary exertions and difficulties.

Still I remain the staunch advocate of those principles, which both Scripture and the science of Political Economy unite in recording are ordained of God for a nation's welfare. I never relax in advocating the cause of the poor amongst all classes of society. As the chaplain of the New Forest Union Workhouse, I raised my voice against the Poor Law Commissioners, their assistants, and the Board of Guardians for their inconsiderate and inhuman ad. ministration of the New Poor Law. I maintain that the poor and labouring classes have a claim to the kind con. sideration of the affluent and influential classes of society, and that did the State duly attend to the condition of the able-bodied, and the Church take care of the impotent, the one would not be destitute of the fruits of their industry, nor the other of the offerings of charity.

The Rev. Herbert Smith sincerely thanks those friends and neighbours who have kindly contributed towards the Shirley Industrial School, and he begs to assure others that further contributions will be thankfully received by him.

Norfolk House, Shirley, May 13, 1847.

FOR

THE AGED AND INFIRM POOR AT BRANSGORE,

IN THE PARISH OF CHRISTCHURCH, HANTS.

On Friday Evening, September 4th, 1846, a Thanksgiving Sermon was preached at Bransgore Church, as a grateful acknowledgement to Almighty God for his mercy on the completion of the in-gathering of the Harvest, and a collection was made after the Sermon, to commence a fund for the erection of Alms Houses within the Ministerial District of Bransgore.

There is a piece of land adjoining the Church Yard in all respects the most desirable for the purpose. Mr. John Holloway, the Architect of Christchurch, and No. 5, Bloomsbury Square, London, has drawn a very neat design for Alms houses, in which sixteen aged persons might be most comfortably accommodated. The design includes an iron pallisade extending 300 feet, which by bringing out to view some beautiful oaks near the Church, would, with the Parsonage House and the School Houses on the other side of the road, make a most complete and beautiful village establishment, well calculated to become a pattern of what ought to be in every village in Great Britain and Ireland. Every exertion will be made by the Rev. Herbert Smith for the accomplishment of this object. He will feel much indebted to those benevolent individuals, who as the best friends of the Poor, will aid him in his endeavours.

Norfolk House, Shirley, Southampton, February 12, 1847.

From the OXFORD UNIVERSITY HERALD, February 26th, 1842.

"Tøe Poor.-Our attention has been called to an institution established at Shirley, near Southampton, for the virtuous aged and infirm poor, the object of which is to provide an asylum, distinct from the Union Workhouses, for those persons who, known to be respectable and of good character and conduct, may require assistance, and who may this institution retire to a quiet and comfortable abode, where living rent free, and under the superintendance of the clergyman and committee, they may receive the attention and aid of the benevolent. We cannot but regard this as a most desirable plan, one which, if carried out extensively through the country, would materially increase the comforts of the deserving, whilst it would do away with much that is harsh and reprehensible in the Union Workhouses, and tend generally to abate the hostility shown to a system which, if more judiciously and humanely carried out, has still much in it that is good. The public are indebted to the Rev. Herbert Smith, the Curate of Stratton, for the idea of the Shirley Asylum. That gentleman has printed several cheap pamphlets developing his plan, and urging the propriety and necessity of adopting some measure of this description; and we are bound to own that his suggestions appear to us not only to be of great national importance, but generally practicable, and highly deserving the attention of the public. It appears that the Asylum at Shirley has worked well, and fully answered the purpose for which it was designed. During the last year sixteen persons, whose ages vary from 55 to 77, have been domesticated in this peaceful retreat, and eight others are about to take up their residence there ; and it is most satisfactory to find, from the testimony of Mr. Smith, that a general kind feeling has existed among the inmates towards each other, whilst a spirit of contentment, gratitude and cheerfulness has generally prevailed, which, as he says, may be regarded as the best indication of the real comfort and benefit enjoyed in the Asylum. Give us, in the agricultural districts, a liberal supply of poor allotments and such institutions as the Shirley Asylum, and the labouring population of Old England will once again become a happy and contented people. Only prove to the poor that if they are deterving, they shall be taken care of; not, as at present, thrust into a prison with the profligate and idle ; prove that you have a regard to their conduct, and that their future comfort depends upon their conduct, and you will not find them ungrateful, nor your own benevolent exertions thrown away."

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