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To the Editor of THE PHILANTHROPIST. Sir, It gives me great pleasure to observe, that, among the many be. nevolent plans and valuable suggestions which occupy the pages of your excellent publication, all of them tending in some way or other to improve the moral character, to lessen the pressure of misfortune, and to prevent or alleviate the distresses of extreme poverty, cruelty to animals has not escaped your attention.
It is indeed a strange method of showing our thankfulness to the supreme Ruler of the Universe, whose unmerited goodness has placed the human race at the head of this lower world, who has given to man dominion over the fish of the
and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth," to exercise this power in acts of cruelty and oppression ;-to occasion or protract the sufferings of creatures who, for any thing we know to the contrary, may be capable, like ourselves, of rising hereafter in the scale of existence. The surprising proofs of intellect which many animals exhibit, and which I doubt not will be more and more discovered, in proportion as they are more carefully observed and better known, together with the hardships to which some of them are subjected, and especially towards the close of life, seem ta favour this idea. But be that as it máy, these discoveries prove most decisively that they must have great sensibility to every kind of suffering, extending in some instances even to a sense of disgrace, and have therefore the strongest claim to our kindness, and to generous treatment.
Among our domestic animals, the Dog and the Horse have long been celebrated for their sagacity, and even for many moral qualities : such as fidelity, gratitude, and an invincible attachment to their benefactors : witness the anecdote related in Number X., page 186, of your valuable miscellany. Permit me, in my turn, to relate a striking proof of intellect in another of our domestic animals, whose character, however, does not stand so high as many others in the records of fame.
A young Cat, who sometimes has the indulgence of taking her place in the domestic circle upon the carpet before the fire in the parlour, coming in one day a few weeks ago, when one of the party was spinning upon a line wheel which she had never seen before, she seemed extremely alarmed by its appearance and motion, and couched down in an attitude of fear, and of investigation, and yet at such a distance as would admit of a speedy retreat, if it should prove to be alive, and an enemy.-She crept slowly all round the wheel, with her eyes steadily fixed upon it, and with
a very singular expression of countenance, which clearly indicated what was passing in her mind ; till at length, not being able to satisfy herself, she retreated towards the door, impatiently waiting to make her escape; which she did the moment it was in her power, with great precipitation.
The next morning when she came into the room, the wheel being standing still, she advanced courageously towards it, and after an apparently careful examination' walking all round, ventured upon the further experiment of endeavouring to ascertain with her paw, touching it in various places, whether there was really anything to be apprehended from it; and still not finding any motion, our philosopher of the Newtonian school, satisfied with this complete investigation that she had nothing to fear, seated herself quietly by the fire; and the next time she saw it in motion, sprung gaily forward and enjoyed her triumph by playing with the object of her former terror.
Now, sir, I would seriously ask, What must not be the agony of a creature like this, when wantonly tormented to make sport for the thoughtless and unfeeling?
A friend of mine, a daughter of the late very eminent Dr. Cullen, has lately written a novel entitled Mornton, one object of which is, to deprecate every species of cruelty towards suffering creatures who cannot plead their own cause; and she has given various striking instances in all the three volumes of which the novel consists. But as they are merely introduced on the authority of the persons of the drama, I am afraid they will fail of producing the desired effect, although the author has signified in a note, that she has taken them from facts which have fallen within her own knowledge. I mention this, in the hope that it may eventually be serviceable to the interests of humanity ; that' its cause should be advocated in works of imagination, as well as in others of a more serious complexion,
With my most sincere good wishes for the increasing success of all your benevolent undertakings, I remain, Mr. Editor,
Your faithful friend,
C.C. York, Feb. 18, 1815.
First Report on the invested Sulscriptions to discharge the
Debts of, and create a Capital for, Tlie British and Foreign School Society.
our last number we promised to stiate the progress made in raising the subscription for The British and Foreign School Society. Many of our readers will, we believe, be glad to be informed that it is going on successfully; and as the first Report of the Committee places the nature and objects of the Society in a clear point of view, we trust that we shall be excused for inserting it.
London, the 28th of February, 1815. “The grounds upon which the Committee of this Society (formerly called the Lancasterian) solicit the support of the friends of religious liberty, and the advocates for universal education upon liberal principles, consist in the nature and objects of the plan, what it has accomplished in the last seven years, and what may be reasonably ex. pected from it in the future.
“ The object of the plan is, by the general diffusion of education, to raise the moral character of the great mass of the people, to train them in habits of attention, subordination, and virtue, and thereby to con. uibute to the safety of the state, and the happiness of every individual in the community at large.
“The British and Foreign System of Education has fully proved itself competent to this important task. By teaching from the Holy Scriptures in the authorised version, it inculcates the grand principles of the christian religion, and the sublimest morality, while it offers a point of union for christians of all derjominations, and, by not admitting of any peculiar catechism, it excludes none from the blessings of education, so that schools upon this plan may be emphatically called schools for all.
" When instruction is to be thus widely diffused, economy and efficiency are objects of the first consideration, and here our system stands unrivalled. One master is sufficient for 500 or 1000 children
; one book will serve a whole school, however large; and by the use of slates, the expense
is reduced to a niere trifle. The school is divided into eight classes ; and out of each class the best qualified lad is selected as monitor ; he has printed rules for his direction, and is responsible for the conduct of his class : under him are assistant monitors, chosen from lads who have made the greatest proficiency : by taking precedence, and a judicious system of rewards, learning becomes a delight instead of a drudgery to the children, and a spirit of activity and attention is constantly maintained. In this way it is found that children will learn more in one year than in the old method in three, and at less than a fifth part of the expense. The
business of the master resembles that of the general of an army : success will mainly depend upon selecting proper monitors in the first instance, and afterwards in seeing that each performs his duty.
“ The expense of a school on this plan consists in the salary of the master, the rent of the school-room, the outfit of lessons and slates, and in a trifling annual expense in keeping up the stock, also for fuel for warming the school in winter*.
“ The Reports of the Society annually published will show that when the Committee undertook the charge of the concern in 1808, it was greatly embarrassed, and but for the prompt and liberal assistance of individuals who duly appretiated its value, the institution and the plan itself must have been in a great measure lost.
“The ballance against the concern, though the premises were valued at far more than they would have sold for, was 3,485l. ; in that
year the donations and subscriptions were principally confined to those of the King and Royal Family, who, with a firmness which will for ever demand the gratitudeand admiration of the country, were proof against all misrepresentations and prejudice, and have uniformly continued to countenance and support this most important work.
“Since the year 1808, notwithstanding heavy expenses which the Committee could not adequately control, and notwithstanding many considerable subscriptions had been received and kept back from the Committee, they have been enabled by the generosity of the public, and particularly by the anonymous contributions of some benevolent characters, in sums of from 100l. to 500 guineas, to carry on the work to the present time : and it is only justice to those generous and public-spirited contributors to state, that without the seasonable and providential aid thus afforded, the Committee must have sunk under the weight of their burdens : they have had to struggle with much opposition, and with difficulties of a very peculiar nature. During this period, however, the plan has made rapid progress through this country, and has also extended itself to places in every quarter of the globe ; many thousand children who would in all probability have grown up in ignorance and vice, have received the blessings of edu
* Lessons, &c. for the outfit of
A School of 500 Children. £.s. d. a School of 100 Children.
1 Set of Lessons, &c... 3 8 2 1 Set of Lessons, Badges, £.s. d.
500 Slates, about *10 00 Medals, &c. 3 8 2
13 3 2 100 Slates, about 2 0 0
5 8 2 For a School of 1000 Children. For a School of 300 Children.
1 Set of Lessons, &c... 3 8 2 1 Set of Lessons, Badges,
1000 Slates, about 20 OO Medals; &c.
3 8 2 · 300 Slates, about боо
9 8 2 These articles may all be had either by personal application, or by letters (post paid) directed to Jolin Pickton, Superintendant at the Royal Free School, Borough Road,
cation, and have been taught their duties to God and their neighbour from the page of divine inspiration. The reports which the Committee has received of the moral effects produced in places where schools have been established, are gratifying in the highest degree, and a source of strong consolation and encouragement. During this period also a powerful party has been excited to strenuous exertions for the education of children of their own sect, and they have raised a fund amounting to 60,0001. And though the Committee cannot but regret the limits those persons have prescribed to themselves by their exclu. sive plans, they nevertheless rejoice in this collateral assistance in the prosecution of their main object, which is, not TO LEAVE A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY WITHOUT THE MEANS OF
" Much as has been already accomplished, much remains yet to be done : by the best information from different parts of the kingdom, and estimates of the population as given in to parliament, it appears that hundreds of thousands of children are at this moment growing up in ignorance, and preparing as an easy prey to temptation and vice. In vain shall we enact laws, in vain shall we establish penitentiaries and houses of reform, in vain shall we build prisons and erect gibbets, if we do not attend to the root of the evil. Among the discouraging circumstances with which the Committee have bad to contend, is the want of enlarged views" in some who are undoubtedly friends to the cause it has so happened in a few instances, that in places where the plan has been adopted and successfully practised, and even in cases where the Parent Institution, at no small expense, aided in the first instance in the establishment of the school, the Committee has been disappointed where they had naturally enough hoped for cordial support. The parties, having attended to the wants of their own town or neighbourhood, seemed to, consider the business as done for the country, or brought to that state in which it would go on of itself. Much would the Commiitee rejoice if this were the fact, and most gladly would they cease from their labours with all the sacrifices they have made : but they know too well that they are only at the beginving of a great work, that in the metropolis alone tens of thousands are yet to be provided for, as the examination from house to house in some of the poorer districts has fully proved.
“ The Committee of the Parent Society, established in the metropolis, is a point of support for the plan throughout the kingdom. It receives Reports from the Local Committees relative to all improve. ments : it gives advice and assistance to those who wish to promote the education of the poor : it supplies masters and mistresses well qualified in the system, and furnishes lessons, slates, and all school requi. sites. It also maintains schools for both sexes, by way of model, which are open for the inspection of foreigners and natives ; and in which teachers are trained : and, lastly, it gives every facili'y to the introduction of the system into foreign parts. These are the objects of the Parent Committee, and for which it claims the support of the friends of the cause.