CXLVII-Endowed and Miscellaneous Charities.
The bustle of the streets of London, where man jostles another in the eagerness of his own engrossing pursuit, hurries along even those who have no particular impulse to quicken their steps; but he who time to look around him, and time for reflection also, will see much that is calculated to raise him above the thronging scene by which he is surrounded. His eye catches a glimpse of institutions devoted to religion, to education, or charity, which, besides having a claim upon his respect, show. that something has been saved from the general scramble of selfishness, for human solace and the promotion of men's best interests. The church, the school, the almshouse, are evidences of the piety and worth of those who have gone before us, shining with mild lustre apart from the glare of temporary aid passing interests. The contemplation of their good works is soothing to the spirits, and the oldest parts of London abound with proofs of the bountiful and liberal hearts of many of its former citizens. Their benevolence was as varied in its objects as the individual character of men's minds; but the result is that posterity is indebted to them to an extent not generally understood. Saved, as we have remarked, from the general scramble after individual ownership, and set apart for public purposes, there is now an annual income of in London alone. The income of the royal hospitals amounts to . a-year; that of the City companies to ; and the parochial charities amount to The endowments for the purposes of education exceed , or more than - of the total sum applicable to this object in the whole of England and Wales. For grammar-schools the endowments in London (included in the above sum) amount to a-year; for schools not
| classical, to ; besides upwards of a-year devoted to the general promotion of education. If be included, we find endowments for general purposes of the value of a-year, of which about are for education. If Middlesex (exclusive of London and ) be added, there is a further sum of /. a-year, of which there is for grammar-schools; and above for schools not. classical. Altogether there is a total of upwards of of the annual income arising from property in the metropolitan county which is devoted to purposes of charity and education. The bountiful disposition of the citizens of London is also further attested by the numerous endowments which they have founded in every county in England. After having acquired a fortune in London, they remembered with affection the place of their nativity. They endowed a grammar-school or an almshouse, not unfrequently both the and the other; or they bequeathed a find to provide bread or clothing for the poor, or perhaps for the erection of a bridge or the repair of the roads. In this way the foundation was laid for establishments for liberal education, which have attained an importance of which they had not the faintest conception. When Lawrence Sheriff, grocer and citizen of London, left the part of a field of acres, in the parish of , for the endowment of a grammar-school at Rugby, it produced only a-year. This field was called the Conduit close, and was nearly half a mile from any house. It is now covered with buildings, and the rental exceeds a-year. In the same way, and about the same time, Sir Andrew Judd founded the grammarschool at Tunbridge, endowing it with property in the City, and also with his |
and then valued at . This property is situated on each side of the , and now forms a part of Judd Place and . It was let in on a lease for years, at /. a-year. The property in Gracechurch, which in produced only a-year, was let in for Other property, in , the rental of which was a-year in , was let in for ; at which time the yearly rents of the property bequeathed by Sir Andrew amounted to By the advance of the country in wealth, the charities of the citizens of Londonhave become in many instances truly splendid and munificent. Sir Andrew Judd's school now, enjoys exhibitions of each, payable out of the founder's endowment, and tenable at any collegeout of either University.
Passing by the endowments for churches and monasteries, and gifts for their repair, to which the citizens of London were liberal contributors, we turn to an interesting class of foundations of which there were a great number in London before the Reformation. These were the chantries, established for the purpose of keeping up a perpetual succession of prayers for the prosperity of some particular family while living, and the repose of the souls of those members of it who were deceased, but especially of the founder and other persons specifically named by him in the instrument of foundation. They were usually founded in churches already existing, as all that was wanted was an altar with a little area before it and space for the officiating priest, and a few appendages. After the close of the century, when the disposition to found monasteries declined, the same
| object--was secured by the endowment of a chantry. Most of the old churches of London had or of these chantries, and the number in old was or ; and nearly all the gifts and devises to the City companies in Catholic times were charged with annual payments for supporting chantries for the souls of the respective donors. Where a chantry was not founded, the testator bequeathed property for the celebration of his obit. This observance owed its origin to the opinion which prevailed in Catholic times of the efficacy of prayer in respect of the dead as well as the living. At the celebration of these obits it was customary to distribute alms, and frequently refreshment was provided for those who attended. Mr. Herbert remarks, in his |
that a great part of the beadle's duties before the Reformation, and almost wholly those of the almsfolk of the Goldsmiths' Company, were connected with the keeping of the Company's obits. The chantry services maintained by the Merchant Tailors' Company were also numerous, and were performed at various churches. A single notice of of the bequests for securing the services of the church for the donor after his decease, will be sufficiently explanatory of the general character of the rest. Sir John Percival, late Lord Mayor, had left property in trust to be applied for the good of his soul, and his widow, who died years afterwards, left messuages, the rents of which were to be expended as follows :--To augment the salaries of either of the chantry priests singing for her deceased husband in the church of St. Mary Wolnoth; to the conductor for keeping the anthem; for maintaining the beam light; to the sexton for ringing the bells and helping the mass priest; to the Lady-mass priest at the obit; to the churchwardens for various services, as dealing out the coals ordered for the poor by Sir John Percival; for providing great wax-tapers for the sepulture; and she ordered also that fivepence be given to poor people every Sunday throughout the year, to have her soul, her husband's soul, and divers other souls in remembrance. In the celebration of every of the obits returned by the Company the poor were remembered. In several instances the obit was only to be observed for a certain number of years, varying from to a : in others a certain sum was to be paid to the members of the Company who were present at the celebration of the obit. Herbert says that the custom in keeping most of the obits of the Drapers' Company was for those who attended to have bread and ale in the church where the service took place; in some instances, however, they adjourned to the nearest public-house. At Sir William Herriott's anniversary, who had been Lord Mayor
in , the entry of charge |
was only fourpence. At William Galley's obit, who died in , the sisters of Elsing Spitall were to receive for their attendance, and for their potation. The wardens and others of the Drapers' Company present were to
The parson of the church where the obit took place and the churchwardens were bound to the Company for its due performance.
An ordinance made by the Goldsmiths' Company in states that the wardens had yearly held and kept obits, at divers parish churches, and went to the said obits times, to their great hindrance and trouble and that of the livery; whereupon they resolved, for the time to come, to keep yearly obits, upon day, at several churches, on which occasions they would cause to be spent upon a potation, at each of the same obits holden in day, and sixpence. By an Act passed in the estates out of which these observances were maintained were directed to be given up to the king; but they do not seem to have been finally extinguished until the year of Edward VI., when they, as well as all payments by corporations, mysteries, or crafts for priests' obits and lamps, were irrevocably vested in the crown.
Scarcely any of the property of the Companies was exempt from obligations which had now come to be considered as superstitious; and, according to Strype, the re-purchasing of the lands cost the Companies ,
After the time of Edward VI. the endowments of the City Companies were generally applied, as described by themselves, to the following objects:--
The principal ancient foundations for education in the City of London have been already noticed in various parts of the present work.
The ordinary parochial charities of the City consist chiefly of the following items: gifts in money, bread, clothing and fuel; loans with and without interest to young men beginning business; marriage portions; apprenticeship fees; payments for sermons on particular days; and there is the endowed school of the parish, where the children are gratuitously educated and, in many instances, also clothed, and in a few entirely maintained. In Sir John Cass's school, St. Botolph, , which has an income of above a-year, children are educated, clothed, and fed.
The number of almshouses in London is probably not far short of . We can scarcely enumerate even the principal ones, which are chiefly maintained out of endowments left in trust to the City Companies. A brief notice of or of these institutions will give an idea of the general character of the rest; but, , we must notice an establishment which is really an almshouse, though it scarcely assumes the character of such an institution. _The
| Royal Hospital of St. Katherine was founded in by Queen Matilda, wife of King Stephen. The master has an income of a-year and an elegant mansion in the , situated in the midst of its own pleasure-grounds. The brethren have each a-year, and the sisters each The real alms-people are non-resident, and or years ago of the sisters were non-resident also, and let their residence in the hospital at a rent of a-year each. Queen Matilda's endowment was for a master, brothers chaplains, sisters, and poor scholars, reserving to herself and her successors, the future queens of England, the nomination of the master upon every vacancy; but she granted the perpetual custody of the hospital to the monastery of the Holy Trinity, or , which was then in high repute. The ground on which the hospital was built was on the east side of the , on the north bank of the river. The site is now occupied by St. Katherine's Docks. In Queen Eleanor brought a suit against the monks, and acquired the custody of the hospital and its entire revenues. After the king's death she refounded it for a master, brothers, sisters, poor women called bedeswomen, and poor scholars. Her charter is dated the . Had not the original hospital been dissolved, St. Katherine's Hospital would now have been the most ancient ecclesiastical community in the kingdom; and it is still the in point of antiquity, coming after Peter House, Cambridge, and Merton and Balliol Colleges, Oxford. The queens of England are by law the perpetual patronesses, it being considered, say the lawyers, as part of their dower. They nominate the master, brethren, and sisters, and may increase or diminish their number, and alter the statutes for the government of the institution. |
In Queen Eleanor's charter the object of her foundation is stated to be
of the priests was daily required
She ordained that every day throughout the year until the , which was the deposition of Edmund, the Archbishop and Confessor, there should be given, at the ordering of the master and his successors, to poor men, for the aforesaid souls, ; and on the said day of St. Edmund the Confessor, namely, the day of the death of her husband, King Henry, there should be bestowed, in form aforesaid, upon poor men to each a half-penny.
In privileges of a most remarkable kind were granted to St. Katherine's, which, we may feel assured, never wanted
while there was a queen consort. The master had reported that the revenues of the hospital were insufficient for its maintenance, on which the king, Henry VI., granted a charter constituting a certain district in the neighbourhood of the hospital a precinct exempt with all its inhabitants from all ecclesiastical and secular jurisdiction, except that of the Lord Chancellor and the master of the hospital. This charter further granted to the hospital a fair to be held on within the precinct every year, for days after St. James's Day; also the assize and
|assize of bread, wine, beer, and other victuals, custody of weights and measures, civil and criminal jurisdiction; exemption from payment of tenths or other quota granted by the clergy; also exemption from subsidies imposed by the Commons; and they were to have as many writs as they pleased out of the king's courts without fee of sealing. The hospital held this precinct as its own property and demesne, its revenues being increased by fines on renewal of leases and by groundrents of the houses which it contained. It is said, and with much probability, that the intercession of Anne Boleyn with Henry VIII. saved the hospital from dissolution. The revenues at that time appear from a survey to have amounted to The master appointed by Queen Elizabeth sold the privilege of holding the fair to the City for ; and he was suspected of other peculations not very creditable to the newly reformed religion. In Lord Chancellor Somers, as visitor, removed the master, and drew up rules and orders for the better government of the hospital. In a school was established for the children of the precinct at the charge of the hospital, and after they left school they were apprenticed and placed at service.|
Early in some of the principal merchants in the City obtained the sanction of Government to apply for an Act of Parliament to construct wet-docks between the Tower and the , a space which would include the site of the chapel, hospital, and entire precinct of St. Katherine; and when the act was obtained, the new Dock Company made compensation to the hospital, under the direction of Lord Chancellor Eldon, to the following amount, namely, as the value of the precinct estate; for building a new hospital; for the purchase of a site; and several smaller sums, as compensation to certain officers and members of the hospital, whose interests would be affected by removal to another situation. The precinct possessed at this time both a spiritual and temporal court. The spiritual court was a royal jurisdiction for all ecclesiastical causes within the precincts, probates of wills, &c.; and appeals from it could be made to the Lord Chancellor only. The officers of this court were a registrar, proctors, and an apparitor. In the temporal court the high-steward of the jurisdiction of St. Katherine's presided, and heard and determined all disputes arising within the precinct. A high-bailiff, a prothonotary, and a prison were appendages of the court. In the number of houses within the precinct was ; in there were ; and the number successively diminished to in , and in , which were inhabited by families.
A site having been granted on the east side of the by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, the new hospital buildings were erected there. The centre consists of a chapel, with chapter-house; and on each side of the chapel are houses, those on side being for the brothers, and the others for the sisters, with requisite offices and outbuildings, including a coach-house; and at each end, by the Park side, there is a lodge. The residence of the master, on the opposite side of the carriage-road, is situated in about acres of land laid out in ornamental grounds and shrubberies. The ancient and interesting monuments were transported at the expense of the Dock Company to the new chapel, where they have been restored at an enormous expense. The cost of setting up and restoring the monument of John Holland, Duke of Exeter, who died in , which constituted the most remarkable feature of the old hospital,
|amounted to nearly a ; and no expense was spared which could add to the embellishment of the edifice. Large sums were expended for stained glass, and for the iron railings and walls round the premises. The well and an ornamental pump cost many , and, after all, the water proved totally unfit for use. The site is so bad, from the nature of the soil, as to have required a very large sum for the repair of the foundations.|
The affairs of the hospital are managed by the chapter, which consists of the master, the brothers, and the sisters. The brothers are in holy orders, but are not restrained from marriage; and the sisters are usually unmarried, though instances have occurred of widows being appointed. All important business must be transacted in the chapter-house, and by a majority of the chapter present, as voting by proxy is not allowed. The master, brethren, and sisters have each a vote, and the requisite majority of must include of each; that is, the master, brother, and sisters, or the master, sisters, and brother. brother is required to be in residence constantly, in order to conduct the service in the chapel. He is assisted by a reader, who is paid a-year from the funds of the hospital. The sisters, as before stated, do not always reside. The original number of bedeswomen has been increased to , and an addition made of bedesmen. They are non-resident, and receive a-year for life, but have no duties to perform. The appointment of bedesmen and bedeswomen rests solely with the master, and they are usually decayed small tradespeople, old servants of good character, or other aged people. The school is on a small scale, and contains boys and girls, who are clothed during their continuance, and dine at the hospital every Sunday. At a suitable age the boys are apprenticed, with a premium; and on the girls going to service they receive an outfit, and a sum is deposited for them in a savings' bank. If they conduct themselves well, both enjoy some subsequent pecuniary benefit. The income of the hospital in was , and the expenditure The sum paid to the master, brothers, sisters, and bedesmen and bedeswomen, amounts to a-year. The fines on the renewal of leases are distributed into parts; of which goes to the master, to the brethren and sisters conjointly, and - for repair of buildings.
The principal almshouses, properly so called, which are intended as an asylum for the aged and infirm, are those under the management of the City Companies, which have been benefited and brought to their present state by successive endowments. They are intended for the liverymen and freemen of each fraternity or their widows, and are elected by the courts of assistants. The Drapers' Almshouses are amongst the earliest foundations of this kind, having originated in . The Merchant Tailors erected almshouses for poor widows in , on ; in , accommodation was provided for more; and in , in consequence of the dilapidated state of the old buildings, and their confined situation, the Company erected new almshouses at Lee, in Kent, at a cost of ; and the number of almswomen is now increased to . The almshouses of the Fishmongers' Company, called Hospital, are situated at , opposite the Elephant and Castle, and are occupied by poor men and women free of the Company, or widows of freemen.[n.342.1] The married
|people received a-week, the single or , and , according to their age and infirmities; and those who require a nurse enjoy a-week more, or altogether. The almspeople also receive various gifts in money and clothing in the course of the year. Service is performed daily in the chapel, and the chaplain visits the almspeople when ill. A medical man is paid by the Company for attending to their health. The hospital consists of courts, with gardens behind; and there is a dining-hall. The expenditure is about a-year. Most of the almshouses of the Companies are of the same character, and it is unnecessary to describe them further.|
Whittington's College, called
by his executors, is a superior institution, founded il by Sir Richard Whittington, an Alderman of London,
It is now under the management of the Mercers' Company. The principal is a person in holy orders, called the tutor, whose duty it is to perform service in the chapel, and
Each poor person admitted is to be
The inmates must be single persons above , not having freehold property to the amount of , or other property to the amount of a-year. They receive from the funds of the college a yearly stipend of , besides enjoying some money gifts, and the advantages of medical attendance and the.assistance of nurses. There are out-pensioners, who receive a-year. The present college, situated near Highgate Archway, was erected in , at an expense of , and is handsomely built of stone in the collegiate style. The annual income is nearly
Morden College, though not situated within the limits of the metropolis, is chiefly designed for its
of the age of at least, and
It was founded by Sir John Morden, in , and is situated in the parish of Charlton, near Blackheath. The building consists of a quadrangle with wings, the north wing containing a common hall and a common cellar under it. There is a chapel, vestry, and burial-ground; a common kitchen, laundry, and brew-house; thirtynine dwellings for the apartments of the inmates, each comprising a sitting-room and bed-room, with a cellar; and those on the upper story have a small room in addition. The chaplain and treasurer have each a garden and small close, and the senior fellows have each small garden plots. A common table is kept, and a cook, butler, and other servants are maintained out of the funds of the college. In the number of inmates was only , but there are at present . Their income was raised to a-year each in . The Turkey Company selected the inmates as long as it was in existence, but they are now appointed by the East India Company. The total income of the college is about a-year. The chaplain has a stipend of a-year, l. being derived from an estate left for his especial benefit.
There are many institutions of a charitable nature which are at present chiefly dependent upon voluntary contributions, but are gradually advancing to the position of endowed establishments.
|THE number and magnitude of the miscellaneous charities of the metropolis have been so often dwelt on and illustrated, that it may not be unadvisable to look at them from a somewhat different point of aspect; let us, then, see if their comprehensiveness and completeness be not equally remarkable. And as the multitude of facts with which we may have to deal will, if marshalled in all their native simplicity, be more valuable than interesting, more weighty than attractive, suppose we endeavour to give them relief and buoyancy by the aid of a little fiction, as to the form of the narration.|
There was a family, originally of some respectability, but gradually reduced by various causes to indigence, the head of which, having a great admiration for our London charities, determined to show his admiration by making the most of them. And he turned over with curious eyes the pages of his
to see what he could do for himself.
And no doubt he would have done so with his accustomed zeal and industry, for no man ever worked harder than he to avoid work, but that unexpectedly he died; characteristically observing in his last moments that at all events his death would leave his dear children orphans, and reminding his wife of the number of the Orphan Societies.
Were any of our readers ever eye-witnesses of the way in which orphan cases are got up? The rummaging through the printed Lists of Subscribers, to see if there be any names there of persons with whom 's cousin's cousin's acquaintance has at some time or other spoken; then the canvassing of all such persons, to obtain their votes; then as the election time approaches, if you find your orphan has no chance for the present, lending all those votes to some other orphan who has, to be repaid in kind, and often with interest, at another election? Well, our deceased lover of charities had taught his family his own tastes and habits; so, after due examination of the respective merits of the London Orphan, the Female Orphan, the British Orphan, the Infant Orphan, and the Orphan Working, and passing over as unsuitable the Sailors' Female Orphan, the Merchant Sailors' Orphan, the Incorporated Clergy Orphan, the Army Medical Officers' Orphan, the indefatigable widow got of her children at last into the London; and among the whole which that excellent institution justly boasts at the present moment to have sheltered and trained during its years of usefulness, no better specimen of the latter has been sent forth to the world. She entered into domestic service. The National Guardian Institution, whose business it is to protect the London public from servants with false characters, have in that capacity nothing to do with her, though no doubt her name is on their books in another; with the instinct of the family, be sure she trusts to them in the event of sickness or destitution, that she looks to them also for that permanent provision for her old age which the society promises to meritorious servants. Nay, it is most likely that she is already availing herself of the annual rewards for being good
|given by the London Society for the Improvement and Encouragement of Female Servants; and that the Provisional Protection Society are accustomed to her visits when she is out of place; for, as she used to observe during those intervals, if so many kind ladies and gentlemen desired to pay the expenses of her board and lodging, why shouldn't they?|
The widow's eldest boy was unusually afflicted; he was at once deaf, dumb, and blind. The widow was a kind of optimist; how could she help perceiving the double chance those very calamities gave her of getting him provided for, either at the School for the Indigent Blind near the Obelisk, or at the in the ? The which? was a knotty question. She had heard that persons often learnt in the , in the course of a few years, to earn from to per week, in the manufacture of thread, lines, baskets, and mats; whilst at the other reading and writing, nay, even ciphering and grammar, were successfully taught, as well as those useful arts, by which the pupils might subsequently be able to earn their own livelihood. The boy's genuine misfortunes obtained him ready admittance to the latter; and the widow is already teaching him, young as he is, to look forward to the time when he shall be , and qualified to become of the recipients of the -pound yearly annuity granted by Hetherington's Charity Looking over the
the widow was astonished and delighted at the number of the Naval Charities: another son was at once picked out to be a sailor. She saw there was the Marine Society, which benevolent Jonas Hanway and the keen-sighted Justice Fielding helped to establish, ready to receive, prepare him for, and send him out to sea; that there was the Royal National Institution, to watch over and preserve his life from shipwreck; the Sailors' Home to receive him when he returned, if, laden with prize-money, he was in danger of the land-sharks; or the Distressed Sailors' Asylum, or the Destitute Sailors' Asylum, if he were in want; or the Seamen's Hospital Society if he were sick; and, in short, half a dozen other societies ready to meet any contingency of naval life. Yes, certainly, she would have son a sailor. And again she was, in course of time, successful. But the widow began to find all this very slow, tedious, and harassing work, and that, what with her difficulty to struggle on, whilst her time and strength were so occupied, what with her increasing years, that she must now rest as contented as she could, and trust to manage with her remaining children, by availing herself to the utmost of such societies as the Charitable Sisters', who gave relief to poor aged widows and others; and the Widows' Friend Society, the principle of which is to help those only who are endeavouring to help themselves; and so, leaving her children to shift as they might for all but food and lodging, she got along, as she thought, tolerably well. But the principle is as dangerous in private as we are beginning to perceive it to be in public life; the widow's remaining children have turned out but badly. went into business in some little way, and the last she heard of him was that he had been thrown into prison for a trifling debt, and released, months afterwards, by the Society for the Discharge of persons in his position. Another boy she heard of also from the same melancholy kind of place, but under infinitely worse circumstances; he had been a convicted felon. The shock over, the widow fell back with a sense of comfort once more upon
|the charities. The Prison Discipline Society in had failed, in her boy's case, in of its objects, that of preventing crime by inspiring a dread of punishment; but might it not succeed in another, that of inducing the criminal to abandon vicious pursuits for the future? Then there was the Sheriff's Fund, established for the very purpose of assisting such persons in a pecuniary way. Come, matters were not so bad after all. Nay, if even nothing resulted from an application in those quarters, there was the Refuge for the Destitute at Hackney, formed to make provision for criminal youth of both sexes, and thus enable them to retrieve lost characters and positions, or to obtain good ones for the time; there was the Philanthropic in the , also prepared to reform criminal boys, as well as the children of criminals. There was much enthusiasm about the widow whenever charities were concerned: she already saw her boy safe in the walls of the latter institution, and learning some of the numerous trades there taught, printing-letter-press and copper,--bookbinding, shoemaking, tailoring, &c. &c.; unfortunately, when she applied, the numbers were full. And before she could run the round of the others, a new and more appalling event to a mother's mind occurred-her favourite daughter's absence and fall. The poor widow! even then charities-Charities alone in her mind, alone suggested where she should seek the runaway. So, half-distracted, she ran from society to another of those who make it their, care to tempt the unhappy wanderers back to the paths of virtue from which they have strayed; she ran from the Asylum in to the Guardian Society in East, from the London Female Penitentiary at to the Magdalen in the , and from that again to the Maritime Penitent Female Refuge. It is to be hoped the poor widow was only too early in her applications, and that she will yet find her daughter within of these admirable institutions. In the mean time she is growing reconciled to her troubles,--the charities again are luring her on,--she has got a strange fancy for a pension from of the societies, the General Annuity, the East London Pension, or the City of London; and in order to have still another string to her bow, was busy, when we last heard of her, inquiring about the National Benevolent Institution in ; which, as it relieved distressed persons of the middle classes without regard to sex, country, or persuasion, must have an opening for her, she thought.|
But if in tracing the views and lives of such a charity-seeking family (whose prototypes, however, in a somewhat less concentrated shape, surround us on all sides) we have borrowed pretty largely from the general list of London charities, we have by no means exhausted the list; which, in its sphere of operations, embraces extensive division of charities to which we have not yet even alluded, those whose operations are based upon a local principle, such as the county or country of the subjects of relief; neither have we yet referred to another division of charities designed for the assistance of the most wretched of all classes of our poor, the homeless, bankrupts alike in heart and hope, in health and fortune. As to the former we have Yorkshire Society Schools, the Cumberland Benevolent Institution for indigent natives and their widows and children, Herefordshire, Somersetshire, and Wiltshire. societies for apprenticing poor children of natives of those shires. From these we pass to the countries of Great Britain. For Scotland we have the Highland Society to relieve distressed highlanders, and establish Gaelic
|schools among their native hills, the Caledonian Asylum in Copenhagen Fields, to support and educate children of indigent Scotchmen, and the Scottish Hospital, originally founded by Charles II. For Ireland there is the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick, educating, clothing, and apprenticing children born in London of poor Irish parents; and the Irish Charitable Society for relieving the parents themselves, or, at least, distressed natives of the country. For Wales there is the Welsh school, which maintains as well as educates the children of poor natives born in or near the metropolis. The circle still widening, our charities now include the Society of Friends of Foreigners in distress, the Polish Society, thebut no, strange to say, our list is nearly exhausted in that division; so turn we now to the other. There have been several associations in existence for a considerable period aiming either to relieve the lowest class of social unfortunates, or to divide from that class the impostors who merely profess to belong to it; or, as in the Mendicity Society's instance, undertaking both those duties. The affairs of this institution, by far the most important of its kind in London, are of great magnitude. In the year just closed it has received and answered no less than applications, many of them from large families; it has given to mendicants under urgent circumstances, without setting them to work, above ; it has given meals (each consisting of ounces of bread and pint of good soup, or a quarter of a pound of cheese), at a cost of above ; it has employed at its own mill, or in the oakum-rooms, or at the stone-yard, men and women, at a cost of nearly Then, further, it has investigated begging-letter cases, and reported thereon to the respective subscribers concerned, in consequence of which, in deserving cases, considerable sums have been given by the latter. Lastly, it has apprehended vagrants, of whom have been committed to prison, and the remainder discharged with an admonitibn from the magistrates. might almost think such an institution was able to cope successfully with the destitution and mendicancy of the metropolis; but if so, the half-dozen yards we walk in the streets is quite sufficient to disabuse the mind of such mistakes; there, on the contrary,/ would suppose, but for actual knowledge to the contrary, that there were neither mendicity nor any other charitable societies existing for the relief of the poor within miles, such is the truly awful amount of misery exhibited in them to those who can venture to look out of their comfortable capes and coats these wintry days with an observing eye upon the realities that surround them. Seldom, perhaps, has such a story been heard of in any country, savage or civilized, as that which shocked all persons, even the most selfish, a short time ago, when it was publicly made known, but so accidentally that, for aught we can tell, there may be many such stories yet unrevealed, that on an average there were persons, men, women, and children, in the last stages of hunger, nakedness, and disease, sleeping in the parks the whole year round! The parks, with their palaces, range after range! with their warm luxurious drawing-rooms and chambers! their soft beds of down, their well-furnished tables, the very remnants of which, to those poor shivering creatures a few yards distant, were a luxury, too high even to be dreamt of! The recent or rather present movement suggested by the disclosure of this appalling fact, is, of course, familiar to most of our readers, the result seems to be a strengthening of the capacities and|
| increasing the number of the former houses of Nightly Relief for the Poor, and the formation of an entirely new association. The former comprise, under management, the central asylum, in , ; the eastern asylum, ; and a western asylum, just about to be opened, in ; there is also the West-End Nightly Institution in the Edgeware Road, which appears to be a private speculation, and which boasts in its advertisements to have relieved nearly poor within years. The new institution referred to seems to be partly founded on the idea of the Strangers' Friend Society, founded so long back as , for the express purpose of finding out the distressed poor, by visiting them at their habitations, instead of assisting as usual the more obtrusive and clamorous, and leaving the sensitive and retiring to their fate. The new society, however, is established under the sole auspices of the Bishop of London and the clergy of the Established Church, and sets out with the object of improving the condition of the poor by means of parochial and district visiting; and as the objects of relief are not to be selected according to their creed, why perhaps it is as well that the cordiality ensured by men of kindred views working together should be obtained by such divisions of the labourers in the broad field before them. We presume that the clergy and religious of all denominations will follow the example set them, and be no less active and liberal in the charitable than in the educational rivalry now going on. Glorious rivalry! happy may be its results! It is of the essential features of the pursuit of the good in anything, that with whatever motives we commence it, we can hardly end without loving it at last simply for itself. The press occasionally gives us some pleasant peeps into the operations of our other charitable societies: here is :-- |
This shows us of the objects of the Society, namely, to honour those who have exerted themselves in the cause of humanity; but it also holds out pecuniary reward to those who are more sensible to that kind of inducement for exertion in saving the lives of apparently drowned persons. The Society itself has no less than eighteen receiving-houses in the metropolis, all properly supplied with apparatus; and at of these, the principal station, by the side of the , a medical attendant is always at hand during the bathing and the skating seasons; and an immense number of persons have been saved on that single piece of water in consequence. To be sure, if the Park authorities should ever happen to perceive that the part in question might be drained, the bottom levelled, and the whole depth afterwards kept at something like or feet, all the expense, and anxiety, and loss of life that does now occur would be obviated, and the Humane Society's exertions happily rendered unnecessary there: but authorities don't generally perceive these abstruse truths; and, besides, it would be a bad precedent; there's no saying how many of our London and all other charities might not be got rid of entirely, if we once begin the dangerous process of tracing evils to their source, once commit ourselves to those presumptuous attempts at prevention for
|the future to which such processes are sure to lead. As a slight notion of the valuable character of the Humane Society's labours, we may mention that during the past year cases of recovery from drowning came under the committee's notice; and that it distributed rewards among persons. Its total receipts for the year exceeded With a notice of other societies we may conclude miscellaneous charities of the metropolis.|
At of the annual dinners of the Literary Fund-we believe it was that of -when the Duke of York was in the chair, and an unusually brilliant assemblage present, among them Canning, and the French Ambassador, Chateaubriand, an incident occurred which strongly marked the valuable nature of this charity. The ambassador in question, who had looked with deep interest on the proceedings of the day, subsequently addressed the audience, and in the course of his speech related the following story. During the time of Napoleon's supremacy, while so many French emigrants were in England, of them, connected with literature, suffered great distress, in consequence of the pressure of a small debt. The case was represented to the Literary Fund by a friend (understood to be Peltier, whom Napoleon unsuccessfully prosecuted in our law courts) and the result was his obtaining the relief he desired, which completely saved him from ruin. At the restoration he returned to his native country; he was employed by the state, rose from office to office, at last he came back to the very country where he had been thus assisted, as ambassador,
It is of the most valuable features of the society that it preserves the greatest possible secrecy as regards the recipients of its bounty. But let us glance, as far as we are permitted, at the operations of a single year, the ending . In that year cases were relieved, in of which grants of each were made; in , grants of ; in, grants of ; in , grants of ; in , grants of ; in , grants of ; whilst in no less than there were grants of each assigned. Of these grants, were to female authors, to widows of authors (amounting to ), and to or for the orphans of authors. The classes of authors included history and, biography, cases; theology and biblical literature, ; topography, ; medicine, ; classical learning and education, ; science and art, ; poetry, ; drama, ; fiction, ; miscellaneous literature, . The rooms of the society, at the corner of and , contain small glass cases not undeserving mention. In are kept the daggers used by Blood and Parrot, at the time of their daring attempt on the crown deposited in the Tower, and which were bequeathed by Mr. Newton, a great benefactor to the society, who believed himself (erroneously, we understand) to be the last descendant of Sir Isaac Newton, and in consequence thought it only fitting that the Literary Fund should be the recipient of his bounty. The other glass case contains a part of an original MS. of Milton's
in the Icelandic tongue. Our readers will recollect Byron's lines-
in which he refers to the poetical addresses with which the gentleman in question used frequently to regale the Literary Fund members, according to the custom
| then in-use ;--and some of the Literary Fund Festival Odes, by the way, have been by men of mark; there was by Crabbe, another by Allan Cunningham. This Fitzgerald, as he himself takes care to tell us in a note to an Ode, introduced the case of the author of the Icelandic MS. to the Literary Fund as that of a clergyman, whose entire income amounted to about yearly, and who in the midst of great privation had had the spirit to undertake, and the ability to accomplish, a translation of the great Englishman's greatest work. The Fund immediately sent him a sum of money, and the poor poet-minister in his gratitude sent back this MS. as the most appropriate acknowledgment that it was in his power to offer. We understand that the translation is really a noble performance, Miltonic in its spirit and tone. There is a very meritorious society allowed to meet in the rooms of the Literary Fund--the Society of Schoolmasters. If the following letter (never before we believe correctly transcribed from the books of the Society), should but be the means of aiding the Society ever so slightly, we are sure none would rejoice more heartily than the writer of it, the present King of the French: |
[n.342.1] A view of this Hospital is given in vol. i. p. 244
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|CHAPTER CXXVI: Education in London. No. 1, Ancient|
|CHAPTER CXXVII: Education in London. No. 2, Modern|
|CHAPTER CXXVIII: The Old Jewry|
|CHAPTER CXXIX: Old Trading Companies|
|CHAPTER CXXX: Public Statues|
|CHAPTER CXXXI: College of Arms|
|CHAPTER CXXXII: Houses of the Old Nobility|
|CHAPTER CXXXIII: Buchingham and Old Westminster Palaces|
|CHAPTER CXXXIV: Westminster hall and the New Houses of Parliament|
|CHAPTER CXXXV: The Lord Mayor's Show|
|CHAPTER CXXXVI: The British Museum|
|CHAPTER CXXXVII: Music|
|CHAPTER CXXXVIII: The Squares of London|
|CHAPTER CXXXIX: The Stationers' Company|
|CHAPTER CXL: Bills of Mortality|
|CHAPTER CXLI: The National gallery and Soane Museum|
|CHAPTER CXLII: The Metropolitan Boroughs|
|CHAPTER CXLIII: Exhibitions of Art|
|CHAPTER CXLIV: The Stock Exchange|
|CHAPTER CXLV: Railway Termini|
|CHAPTER CXLVI: Military London|
|CHAPTER CXLVII: Endowed and Miscellaneous Charities|
|CHAPTER CXLVIII: Tattersall's|
|CHAPTER CXLIX: Learned Societies|
|CHAPTER CL: Courts of Law|