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encourage any very sanguine hopes that the regimen would suit her. I remember Southampton well, having spent much time there ; but, though I was young, and had no objections on the score of conscience either to dancing or cards, I never was in the assembly-room in my life. I never was fond of company, and especially disliked it in the country. A walk to Netley Abbey, or to Freemantle, or to Redbridge, or a book by the fire-side, had always more charms for me than any other amusement that the place afforded. I was also a sailor, and, being of Sir Thomas Hesketh's party, who was himself born one, was often pressed into the service. But, though I gave myself an air and wore trowsers, I had no genuine right to that honour, disliking much to be occupied in great waters, unless in the finest weather. How they continue to elude the wearisomeness that attends a sea life, who take long voyages, you know better than I; but, for my own part, I seldom have sailed so far as from Hampton river to Portsmouth without feeling the confinement irksome, and sometimes to a degree that was almost insupportable. There is a certain perverseness, of which I believe all men have a share, but of which no man has a larger share than I—I mean that temper, or humour, or whatever it is to be called, that indisposes us to a situation, though not unpleasant in itself, merely because we cannot get out of it. I could not endure the room in which I now write, were I conscious that the door were locked. In less than five minutes I should feel myself a prisoner, though I can spend hours in it under an assurance
that I may leave it when I please without experiencing any
tedium at all. It was for this reason, I suppose, that the yacht was always disagreeable to me. Could I have stepped out of it into a cornfield or a garden, I should have liked it well enough, but, being surrounded with water, I was as much confined in it as if I had been surrounded by fire, and did not find that it made me any adequate compensation for such an abridgement of my liberty. I make little doubt but Noah was glad when he was enlarged from the ark; and we are sure that Jonah was, when he came out of the fish; and so was I to escape from the good sloop the Harriet.
In my last, I wrote you word that Mr. Perry was given over by his friends, and pronounced a dead man by his physician. Just when I had reached the end of the foregoing paragraph, he came in. His errand hither was to bring two letters, which I enclose ; one is to yourself, in which he will give you, I doubt not, such an account both of his body and mind, as will make all that I might say upon those subjects superfluous. The only consequences of his illness seem to be that he looks a little pale, and that, though always a most excellent man, he is still more angelic than he was. Illness sanctified is better than health. But I know a man who has been a sufferer by a worse illness than his, almost these fourteen years, and who at present is only the worse for it.
Mr. Scott called upon us yesterday; he is much inclined to set up a Sunday school, if he can raise a fund for the purpose. Mr. Jones has had one some time at Clifton, and Mr. Unwin writes me word that he has been thinking of nothing else, day and night, for a fortnight. It is a wholesome measure that seems to bid fair to be pretty generally adopted, and, for the good effects that it promises, deserves well to be so. I know not, indeed, while the spread of the gospel continues so limited as it is, how a reformation of manners in the lower class of mankind can be brought to pass; or by what other means the utter abolition of all principle among them, moral as well as religious, can possibly be prevented. Heathenish parents can only bring up heathenish children; an assertion nowhere oftener or more clearly illustrated than at Olney; where children, seven years
infest the streets every evening with curses and with songs, to which it would be unseemly to give their proper epithet. Such urchins as these could not be so diabolically accomplished, unless by the connivance of their parents. It is well indeed if, in some instances, their parents be not themselves their instructors. Judging by their proficiency, one can hardly suppose any other. It is therefore doubtless an act of the greatest charity to snatch them out of such hands, before the inveteracy of the evil shall have made it desperate. Mr. Teedon, I should imagine, will be employed as a teacher, should this expedient be carried into effect. I know not at least that we have any other person among us so well qualified for the service. He is indisputably a Christian man, and miserably poor, whose revenues need improvement, as much as any children in the world can possibly need instruction.
Believe me, my dear friend,
The first establishment of Sunday schools in England, which commenced about this time, is too important an era to be passed over in silence. The founder of this system, so beneficial in its consequences to the rising generation, was Robert Raikes, Esq., of Gloucester, and from whose lips the writer once received the history of their first institution. He had observed, in going to divine worship on the Sabbath, that the streets were generally filled with groups of idle and ragged children, playing and blaspheming in a manner that showed their utter unconsciousness of the sacred obligations of that day. The thought suggested itself, that, if these children could be collected together, and the time so misapplied be devoted to instruction and attendance at the house of God, a happy change might be effected in their life and conduct. He consulted the clergyman of the parish, who encouraged the attempt. A respectable and pious female was immediately selected, and twelve children, who were shortly afterwards decently clothed, were placed under her care. Rules and regulations were formed, and the school opened and closed with prayer. The ignorant were taught to read, the word of God was introduced, and the children walked in orderly procession to church. The visible improvement in their moral habits, and their proficiency in learning, led to an extension of the plan. The principal inhabitants of the town became interested in its success, and in a short time the former noisy inmates of the streets were found uniting in the accents of prayer and praise in the temple of Jehovah. The example manifested by the city of Gloucester soon attracted public attention. The queen of George the Third requested to be furnished with the history and particulars of the undertaking, and was so impressed with its importance as to distinguish it by her sanction. The result is well known. Sunday schools are now universally established, and have been adopted in Europe, in America, and wherever the traces of civilisation are to be discerned. Their sound has
forth into all lands, and, so long as knowledge is necessary to piety, and both constitute the grace and ornament of the young and the safeguard of society, the venerable name of Raikes will be enrolled with gratitude among
the friends and benefactors of mankind. *
The editor, once conversing with the late Rev. Andrew Fuller, the well-known secretary of the Serampore Missionary Society, on the subject of Sunday schools in connexion with that noble institution, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the latter observed, “ Yes: if the Bible Society had commenced its operations earlier, its usefulness would have been comparatively limited, because the faculty of reading would not have been so generally acquired. Each institution is in the order of Providence:-God first raised up Sunday schools, and children were thereby taught to read; afterwards, when this faculty was obtained, in order that it might not be per