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1121
Memoir of Mr. William Fox.

1122 “ Long," he observes, in reference i to

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“ŞIR, -The liberality and goodness of Sunday schools, “ before their establish- heart manifested in your benevolent plan of ment, I had formed the design of ani- Sunday schools, will, I trust, render unneversal schools, though by a different mode. cessary any apology, though from a stranThis design I had year after year men ger, when it is considered, his only view tioned to most of my friends, both clergy in writing is, that he may be enabled to and laity; but with little success, as they copy after so worthy an example. were alarmed at the magnitude of the * You must know, Sir, long before your undertaking.". Thus things continued excellent letter appeared in the papers, I until May 1785, when, finding that no had felt a compassion, and entertained person would take the lead in a measure sentiments for the indigent and ignorant which all sanctioned by their approbation, poor, extremely similar to your own. This Mr. Fox, at a public meeting held at the led me to set up a school in one of your King's Head in the Poultry for another villages, (Clapton, near Bourton-on-thebenevolent purpose, took an occasion to Water;) but as it is a daily one, and, introduce the subject to the notice of all therefore attended with far greater expense, present, in a neat, impressive, and eloquent and perhaps less utility, than yours, it speech. In this he pleaded the cause of will very much oblige me, and probably the indigent poor with so much success, greatly promote the design I have in view, that the gentlemen present became willing if you will please to favour me with a to forward his views. For this purpose, further account of your plan, (if any alterit was proposed to call a public meeting ation,) and what particular advantages at the same place, on the 16th of August have arisen from it since the publication following.

of your letter. I have been apprehensive Mr. Fox'at this time had no specific (and shall be extremely glad to find myself plan in view. He was satisfied that some mistaken) that it would be difficult, if not thing should be done, but this he rather impossible, to teach children to read, by left to the wisdom of others, or perhaps their attendance on schools only one day to the decision of the meeting that was in seven. This is very material for me to about to take place. Full of expectations, know: and, if they can, it will also be as and anxious to secure every measure that desirable to ascertain the average time it would promise success, he published, takes for such instruction, together with during the interim, an address, which he the age at which they are taken, the mode sent around to the clergy and principal pursued by the teachers, and the expense inhabitants, whom the thought likely to attending the same. The reason I am cooperate in his designs, under the fol- thus : particular is, because a society is lowing title, “To 'the Benevolent and forming in town, to which I belong, for Humane, in favour of the Illiterate Poor." carrying a plan of this sort - into general In this address he stated the design of use. The design, I dare say, will appear the approaching meeting in August, soli to you laudable, but at the same time difcited their attendance, and prepared him- ficult: its success depends on the con. self for the important crisis, when, before currence and aid of well-disposed Christhe assembly purposely convened, he should tians throughout the kingdom. Great advocate the cause of the uninstructed poor. events, however, having frequently taken ? It was somewhat prior to this time, their rise from small, and, to human apthat Mr. Raikes, having laid in Gloucester pearance, trifling beginnings, we wish to the foundation of the first Sunday school make a trial; and, as the committee for that was ever established, published of his drawing up a plan, meet on the 23rd own proceedings a paragraph in his paper. instant, I beg the favour of your reply This produced from a Colonel Townley prior to that time, that we may have the a letter of inquiry ; to which Mr. Raikes benefit of an experienced work, in order gave a reply, that was printed in the to assist our deliberations. Gentleman's Magazine some time in 1784.

“I remain, Sir, To this letter, and the plan adopted by “ Your obedient humble Servant, Mr. Raikes, the attention of Mr. Fox was

« WM. Fox." directed by one of his friends, as con To this letter the reply of Mr. Rajkes taining the rudiments of a system that was such as might have been expected. might probably coincide with his own It was full of encouragement, of offers to benevolent: intentions. Under this im- | render Mr. Fox all the assistance in his pression, he wrote to Mr. Raikes the fol- power, and breathed an ardent solicitude lowing letter, which is dated London, for the welfare of the infant but hercuJune 15, 1785.

lean undertaking." 108.-VOL. IX.

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At length the eventful 16th of August, objects proposed by the promoters of this

, Institution the king's Head in tine Poultry, according to effect these great, these noble to appointment.

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was respectably ends, they hope to form a Society, which attended, and Mr. Thomas Hunt was will be enabled to establish Sunday called to the chair ; but as neither he nor Schools upon a plan so extensive as to any of the gentlemen present were dis- reach the remotest parts of this island; posed to speak, Mr. Fox was again under and they flatter themselves they shall the necessity of stating his thoughts on the receive the support, assistance, and benevolent object which he had in view. tronage of persons of every rank and In his statement they most happily con- description. curred, and having thus received light “ Private advantage and party zeal are from his remarks on a topic, which many entirely disclaimed by the friends and propresent had never contemplated before, moters of this laudable institution. Howhe was desired to embody the substance ever men may be divided into political of what he had delivered, in an address, parties, or however Christians may unhapthat, despatched to individuals of influ- pily separate from each other on account ence and benevolence, might secure their of difference of sentiment, here they are co-operation at a more general meeting, all invited to join in the common cause, which it announced would take

-the glory of God--the good of their the 30th of the same month, August, 1785. country--and the happiness of their fellowOf this circular, wbich may be considered creatures, as embodying the fundamental principles “ Permit me to request the favour of of the Sunday-school society, the following your attendance at the proposed meeting.

is a copy:

“I am, Sir, by order of the Committee, “Sir, “Encouraged by the promising success

Your humble Servant, of the Sunday Schools established in some Friday, Aug. 26, 1785. “Wm. Fox." towns and villages of this kingdom, several gentlemen met on Tuesday evening, But while copies of the above letter the 16th instant, at the King's Head Ta were in private circulation, byly some vern, in the Poultry, to consider of the strange oversight, both Mr. Fox and his utility of forming A Society for the friends had quite forgotten to announce Establishment and Support of Sunday the approaching meeting by public adSchools, throughout the Kingdom of Great vertisement, When the 30th of August Britain.

arrived, the justly celebrated Jonas Han. “At this meeting it was agreed to form way took the chair; --but their error in such a Society; and a Committee of four- omitting the advertisement was soon dis. teen gentlemen was chosen to draw up a covered, by the description of persons who code of laws for the government of the attended, in consequence of which, the said Society, and a set of proper rules for business was adjourned to Wednesday, the regulation of the Schools.

September 7th, after the following reso“ The. Committee having met, and lution had been passed, “That great drawn up a plan of the intended Society, benefit would accrue to the community and the laws and rules necessary, for it at large, from the adoption of such a and the Schools, they propose to submit measure, and that a society be formed for their plan to the consideration of all such carrying the same into immediate effect.” gentlemen as shall attend a public meet- During the few intervening days, several ing, to be holden on Tuesday next, the interesting letters passed between Mr. Fox 30th instant, at the Paul's Head Tavern, and Mr. Raikes, relative to the important Cateaton-street, at four o'clock in the business on which their hopes were immuafternoon.

tably fixed; but our limits, prevent their “To prevent vice-to encourage indus- insertion. On the 7th, of September, try and virtueto dispel the darkness of 1785, the meeting took place according ignorance-to diffuse the light of know. to adjournment and advertisement, at the ledge-to bring men cheerfully to submit Paul's Head Tavern, Cateaton - street, to their stations--to obey the laws of God when Henry Thornton, esq. was called to and their country—to make that useful the chair. part of the community, the country poor, At this auspicious meeting, the rules happy to lead them in the pleasant paths already laid down in the circular letter of of religion here—and to endeavour to pre- Mr. Fox, dated August 26th, and inserted pare them for a glorious eternity, are the in a preceding page, were submitted to

1125 7
Memoir of Mr. William Fox.

1126 the gentlemen assembled, and unani- | distributed at your discretion, and an mously adopted, and the Society for the early intimation of the result of your prosupport and encouragement of Sunday ceedings will be highly acceptable to them, schools was formed. This was imme “It is the intention of this Society, on diately succeeded by the following letter, application being made to the committee signed by the worthy chairman, and from any place, to assist in establishing a addressed to the benevolent and humane school or schools therein, until the good of all denominations.

consequences shall be so apparent to the “Sir,

London, inhabitants, as to encourage an exertion, * The deplorable ignorance of the chil which may render any further assistance dren of the poor, in many parts of this from the Society unnecessary. kingdom, and the corruption of morals .“ In forming the plan of this Society, frequently-flowing from "that source, have the most liberal and catholic principles long been matter of deep concern to all have been adopted, in hopes that persons who are solicitous for the welfare of their of all denominations of the protestant country

faith, will be induced to unite in carrying “ In manufacturing towns, where chil it into execution with greater energy. The dren from their infancy are necessarily em- committee, therefore, beg leave to recomployed the whole week, 'no opportunity mend to every minister of a congregation occurs for their receiving the least degree where these schools may be established, of education. To remedy this evil, some to make it known to the people of their gentlemen, actuated by the most benevo- respective charges, and to preach a collent motives, have established, in some of lection sermon for the support of such these towns, Sunday Schools, where chil- schools as often as occasion may require. dren and others are taught to read, and “If any further argument in favour of are instructed in the knowledge of their these schools was necessary, a striking one duty as rational and accountable beings. presents itself in the contemplation of

• The Sunday, too often spent by the our crowded prisons, and frequent exechildren of the poor in idleness and play, cutions, which shock the feelings of humaor in contracting habits of vice and dissi- nity, and disgrace our country. The sad pation, is, by the children of these schools, history of these "wretched victims to their employed in learning to read the bible, crimes and to the laws, too plainly evinces and in attending the public worship of that to the want of an early introduction God, by which means they are trained into the paths of virtue and religion, to up in habits of virtue and piety, as well which this institution would lead, may be as indastry, and a foundation is laid for attributed, in a great degree, their unhappy their becoming useful members of the end. "In this point of view then, this community.

institution may be considered a political, “ The numerous benefits arising from as well as a religious one, claiming the Sunday Schools, of which the most indu- attention even of those, who, if not parbitable testimonies have been 'given," and ticularly zealous in the cause of Christianity, the great importance of extending their cannot be insensible to the advantages that salutary effects, have induced a number of would accrue to society from the presergentlemen, stimulated by the successful vation of good order, and the security of attempts, to establish a Society' in London, persons and property. for the support and encouragement of “ The committee flatter themselves they Sunday Schools in the different counties shall find in you a friend to this cause, of England.

and that your exertions, in union with “The committee for conducting the theirs, will be crowned with success, in affairs of this Society, anxious to extend producing a reformation of morals in the the beneficial influence of these schools lower ranks of the rising generation. as' speedily as possible, have taken the By order of the committee, liberty of addressing you, Sir, on this

HENRY THORNTON, Chairman." occasion; and of requesting you to communicate to such of the inhabitants of This circular was followed by another

as may be disposed to from the committee, addressed to the encourage such an undertaking, the wish clergy, and ministers of all protestant of the committee to establish a Sunday congregations, and distributed chiefly in School in that

For more

London and its vicinity. From the cirparticular information they beg leave to culation of these documents, the most refer you to the printed plan,

happy effects resulted. Many of the copies of which are sent herewith to be clergy, supported by some dignitaries of

the church, entered heartily into the his death. Having buried his wife and a scheme, and Sunday schools sprang up in beloved daughter, at Lechlade, he removed rapid succession, throughout many parts to Cirencester, where, his hearing being imof the kingdom. . From these small paired, and the infirmities of age coming beginnings, it appears, from a letter written over him, he was accustomed to say, “Never by Mr. Raikes to Mr. Fox, in July, 1787, wish to be old: I am now in the 12th chapthat about two hundred and thirty-four ter of Ecclesiastes, and the grasshopper is a thousand.children were thus brought under burden to me.” Here, he ended his days instruction, in the various Sunday schools on the 1st of April, 1826, in the 91st year of that had then been established. In suc his age, and his remains were removed to ceeding years, the progression still con Lechlade for interment. Nearly his idast tinued, so that in 1825, the children in words were, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." the Sunday schools throughout the united When we contrast the serene and trankingdom, amounted to above a million, quil feelings of this man, arising from his under the instruction of ninety thousand active benevolence, with those experienced gratuitous teachers.

by the abettors of cock - fighting, bullAs one great object of the Sunday-school baiting, prize-fighting, and horse-racing, society was, to establish schools under the with men who exert their talents, spend immediate range of their own observation; their time, and lavish their fortunes, in so, another was, to render assistance to more promoting vice, and demoralizing their distant places, where the aids of benevo- fellow-creatures, we contemplate extremes lence were required, by furnishing books, which scarcely any other opposite facts and giving advice, as circumstances might can equal. Pope has immortalized Mr. demand. This could not be done with John Kyrle, under the appellation of out adequate funds, and in these no “ The Man of Ross.” Mr. Fox is equally deficiency was experienced. The report deserving of immortality, and his name, of the Society in 1786 states, that the sub- like that of Raikes, will only cease to be scriptions then already received, amounted remembered, when Sunday schools shall to £987, and that, in every quarter, their be forgotten. To the writer of this article prospects were flattering in the highest Mr. Fox was personally unknown, but he degree.

feels a pleasure in paying this tribute of From the above period down to the respect to the virtues of a genuine patriot present time, Sunday schools have conti- and philanthropist, whose name confers an nued to flourish, not only in our own honour on his country. country, but in every quarter of the globe; and the Society, of which Mr. Fox may be justly considered as the primary founder, has AMY VERNON AND HER MOTHER. diffused its benevolent influence through

By John Luscombe. innumerable channels, both at home and . abroad. Its character is, however, so well A SPLENDID apartment in the palace of known, and its unremitting exertions to do the Queen was brilliantly illuminated; and good are so public, that to pursue this a somewhat large assembly surrounded Ithe subject further, would be an unnecessary form of their sovereign, who stood at the task, especially as our object is not the upper end of the room. She was listening history of the Sunday-school Society, but attentively to the account of a young and a brief memoir of Mr. Fox, to whose bene- noble female, who had that day'submit. volence it owes its birth.

ted to the torture, rather than abjure the In the summer of 1787, Mr. Fox removed tenets of the religion, which her own heart, to a favourite spot near Colchester, where and the example of the holy martyrs who he remained about two years; but the situa- had suffered at the stake, assured her was tion not agreeing with Mrs. Fox's health, he most acceptable in the eyes of her Creator. returned to the vicinity of the metropolis, When the recital was concluded, the and resided at Islington until 1799; when, Queen cast an appealing glance on those having purchased the manor estate, formerly near her, saying “Methinks, my lords, - rented by his mother, at Clapton, his native we have allowed these most unholy and village, where two of his brothers resided, wretched heretics to remain unwatched too he felt an earnest desire to end his days near long in this our country; active measures the spot that gave him birth. The house, must be used, or the land will be overhowever, being unsuitable, he hired another spread with them. I could have bome it for a season, from which, after one year, he patiently, had they been of low degree; removed to Lechlade, where he continued but now our dungeons throng vith - illusuntil within about two years and a half of trious prisovers, who publicly avow the

1129
Amy Vernon and her Mother.

1130 cursed opinions of those, whose names beauties, nor mental 'accomplishments ;" would madden me to mention." Ex and she laughed long and loudly. hausted by the rapidity of her utterance, None dared to break the silence which she leant for a while against the marble succeeded; even the most familiar courtiers pilļars of the chamber, and the deepening feared the violent spirit of their mistress; frown on her brow told of the rage that held and until she again spoke, an unbroken dominion within. Presently she spoke stillness pervaded the room. again; “And now, most noble gentlemen, “I crave your pardon, my Lord,” said I bid ye say how we shall deal with this Mary, who cared not to offend the Cardinal; erring maiden, whose gentle birth ensures “my speech was prompted by the sudden some mercy. To your care, my Lord ebullition of my rage, nor thought I, or inPrimate," she continued, turning to Car tended, to displease you." dinal Pole, “ I consign the person of Amy “Nay, Madam,” he replied, “it is not Vernon'; see that no pains be spared in meet for me to listen to your apologies ; your endeavours to lead her from her it would ill become a servant of royalty not present evil course, and my gratitude will to bear the anger of his Sovereign--even be your due; but should thy mild counsels had he merited it."-The last words were avail nothing, let tortures of more acute uttered in a tone of reproach, and the kinds be resorted to ;" and she mechanically blood rushed forcibly to the face of the stretched and wreathed the ermine border Queen. of her mantle, as if to represent the convul “ It is idle to waste more time in hearing sions of a sufferer upon the rack. The farther particulars of Amy Vernon's unCardinal bowed his head lowly in obedience yielding obstinacy,” exclaimed Bonner, who to her commands. “Farewell, sirs," re had till now remained silent; “if it so sumed Mary; is on the morrow, at the please your Majesty, the warrant for her stated hour, we will meet again, when, execution ought presently to be signed, and my Lord Cardinal, I trust to hear of the speedily carried into effect.” success of your labours." She walked “ Your advice is both good and reasonslowly to an inner apartment, the tapes- able, my Lord,” said Mary; and she tried curtain fell over the door-way, and the beckoned to a page, who bore a small assembly instantly dispersed.

ebony table with implements of writing, to "It was now nearly two hours since the her side. She would instantly have signed yesper bell had sounded, and the same the parchment, but Cardinal Pole, whose ecclesiastics occupied the Queen's council-counsel Mary heeded and respected, interchamber, to adopt more rigorous punish posed; saying, “Would your Majesty ments to repress the heretical opinions of deign to listen to my entreaties, I humbly the venerable Cranmer, who had lately suf- would beg a short respite for this unhappy fered at the stake.

female, whose youth and inexperience en“How fares my noble friend ?” said title her to some leniency.-Could your Mary, extending her hand graciously to Majesty behold her grace, and beauty, and Cardinal Pole, as he entered the room; hear her mild reasoning, you would, indeed, MI bid thee report speedily of the state of pity her.” the damsel Amy Vernon ; she has doubtless Tush !— tush !--my Lord !” interrupted attended to thy counsels, and is willing to the Queen, impatiently; "thou dost weary accept our pardon on such terms as we us with the recital of her charms. Marry! may determine on:-is it not so, my I do believe thou hast been wounded Lord ?"

by the eyes of this Mistress Amy ;-justice, “Alas ! Madam,” he replied; “I grieve my Lord Cardinal, shall be satisfied whilst to say, she rejects all my advice, and has I possess the throne of England;" and she blindly devoted herself to martyrdom, pre- again seized the pen to sign the warrant. ferring the funeral pile to the abandonment The meek and gentle Pole, who usually of her faith : unless," he added in a low cared not to incense Mary, answered in a tone, “ your Majesty will be graciously firm tone :pleased to pardon one whose religious “I did not suppose so slight a boon opinion' is her only fault."

would have been denied me; but it would O" And does not that fault, my Lord, have been wiser had I avoided these overbalance all her other virtues ?” 'returned meetings altogether, when the advice and the Queen vehemently; “by my throne requests of those beneath him” (and he and sceptre, thou dost amuse me by calling looked angrily on Bonner) “are listened it her only fault. I think I have plainly to in preference to those of the primate of shewn by the execution of the Lady Jane England, who had far better quit the Grey, that I value not- much personal ! palace of his Queen, and retire from the

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