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haps a feeble- listlessness, perhaps an headstrong profli. gateness of mind; certainly an indisposition to proper application as they grow up, and an aversion afterwards not only to the restraints of religion, but to those which any particular calling, and even the nature of society require. Whereas children kept to stated orders, and who many hours of the day are in employment, are hy this means habituated both to submit to those who are placed over them and to govern themselves ; and they are also by this means prepared for industry in any way of life in which they may be placed. And all this holds abstracted from the consideration of their being taught to read; without which, however, it will be impracticable to employ their time; not to repeat the unanswerable reasons for it before-mentioned. Now several poor people cannot, others will not, be at the expense of sending their children to school. And let me add, that such as can and are willing, yet if it be very inconvenient to them, ought to be eased of it, and the burden of children made as light as may be to their poor parents.
Consider next the manner in which the children of the poor who have vicious parents are brought up in comparison of other children, whose parents are of the same character. The children of dissolute men of fortune may have the happiness of not seeing much of their parents. And this, even though they are educated at home, is often the case, by means of a customary distance between them, which cannot be kept amongst
Nor is it impossible that a rich man of this character, desiring to have his children better than himself, may provide them such an education as may make them so, without his having restraint or trouble in the matter. And the education which children of better
rank must have for their improvement in the common accomplishments belonging to it is of course, as yet, for the most part attended with some sort of religious education. But the poor, as they cannot provide persons to educate their children, so, from the way in which they live together in poor families, a child must be an eye and ear witness of the worst part of his parents' talk and behaviour. And it cannot but be expected that his own will be formed upon it. For as example in general has very great influence upon all persons, especially children, the example of their parents is an authority with them when there is nothing to balance it on the other side. Now take in the supposition that these parents are dissolute, profligate people; then over and above giving their children no sort of good instruction, and a very bad example, there are more crimes than one in which it is to be feared they will directly instruct and encourage them; besides letting them ramble abroad wherever they will, by which, of course, they learn the very same principles and manners they do at home. And from all these things together such poor children will have their characters formed to vice by those whose business it is to restrain them from it. They will be disciplined and trained up in it. This surely is a case which ought to have some public provision made for it. If it cannot have an adequate one, yet such an one as it can ; unless it be thought so rare as not to de
our attention. But in reality, though there should be no more parents of this character amongst the poor, in proportion, than amongst the rich, the case which I have been putting will be far from being uncommon. Now, notwithstanding the danger to which the children of such wretched parents cannot but be
exposed, from what they see at home; yet by instilling into them the principles of virtue and religion at school, and placing them soon out in sober families, there is ground to hope they may avoid those ill courses, and escape that ruin, into which, without this care, they would almost certainly run. I need not add how much greater ground there is to expect that those of the children who have religious parents will do well. For such parents, besides setting their children a good example, will likewise repeat and enforce upon them at home the good instructions they receive at school.
After all, we find the world continues very corrupt; and it would be miraculous indeed if charity schools alone should make it otherwise; or if they should make even all who are brought up in them proof against its corruptions. The truth is, every method that can be made use of to prevent or reform the bad manners of the age will appear to be of less effect in proportion to the greater occasion there is for it: as cultivation, though the most proper that can be, will produce less fruit, or of a worse sort, in a bad climate than in a good
And thus the character of the common people, with whom those children are to live in the ordinary intercourse of business and company, when they come out into the world, may more or less defeat the effects of their education. And so likewise may the character of men of rank, under whose influence they are to live. But whatever danger may be apprehended from either or both of these, it can be no reason why we should not endeavour by the likeliest methods we can, to better the world, or keep it from growing worse. The good tendency of the method before us is unquestionable. And I think myself obliged to add, that upon a comparison
of parishes where charity schools have been for a considerable time established with neighbouring ones in like situations which have had none, the good effects of them, as I am very credibly informed, are most manifest. Notwithstanding, I freely own that it is extremely difficult to make the necessary comparisons in this case, and form a judgment upon them. And a multitude of circumstances must come in, to determine, from appearances only, concerning the positive good which is produced by this charity, and the evil which is prevented by it; which last is full as material as the former, and can scarce be estimated at all. But surely there can be no doubt whether it be useful or not to educate children in order, virtue, and religion.
However, suppose, which is yet far from being the case, but suppose it should seem, that this undertaking did not answer the expense and trouble of it, in the civil or political way of considering things, what is this to persons who profess to be engaged in it, not only upon mere civil views, but upon moral and Christian ones? We are to do our endeavours to promote virtue and religion amongst all men, and leave the success to God. The designs of his Providence are answered by these endeavours: “ whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear;" i. e. whatever be the success of them; and the least success, in such cases, is a great and valuable effect.
From these foregoing observations, duly considered, it will
appear that the objections which have been made against charity schools are to be regarded in the same light with those which are made against any other necessary things; for instance, against providing for the sick and the aged poor. Objections in this latter case
could be considered no otherwise than merely as warnings of some inconvenience which might accompany such charity, and might, more or less, be guarded against, the charity itself being still kept up; or as proposals for placing it upon some better foot. For though, amidst the disorder and imperfection in all human things, these objections were not obviated, they could not however possibly be understood as reasons for discontinuing such charity; because, thus understood, they would be reasons for leaving necessitous people to perish. Well-disposed persons therefore will take care that they be not deluded with objections against this before us, any more than against other necessary charities, as though such objections
reasons for suppressing them, or not contributing to their support, unless we can procure an alteration of that to which we object. There can be no possible reasons for leaving poor children in that imminent danger of ruin in which many of these must be left, were it not for this charity. Therefore objections against it cannot, from the nature of the case, amount to more than reasons for endeavouring, whether with or without success, to put it upon a right and unexceptionable foot in the particular respects objected against. And if this be the intention of the objectors, the managers of it have shown themselves remarkably ready to second them; for they have shown even a docility in receiving admonitions of anything thought amiss in it, and proposals for rendering it more complete. And, under the influence of this good spirit the management of it is really improving ; particularly in greater endeavours to introduce manufactures into these schools, and in more particular care to place the children ont to employments