Page images
PDF
EPUB

receive instruction; and it is recommended to the parents of such, not to refuse this salutary aid, "but to receive it with a willing mind, and with thankfulness to the great Author of all good."

When the boys have received their necessary learning, they are usually put out as apprentices to husbandry, or trade. Domestic service is generally considered by the parents as unmanly, and as a nursery for idleness. Boys too, who can read and write, ought to expect, with the accustomed diligence and sobriety of Quakers, to arrive at a better situation in life. The girls, however, are destined in general for service; for it must be obvious, whatever their education may be, that the same number of employments is not open to women as to men.Every Quaker-boy or girl, who comes into the world, must, however poor, if the discipline of the Society be kept up, receive an education. All, therefore, who are born in the Society, must be able to read and write. Thus the keys of knowledge are put into

[ocr errors]

system, and in the reduction of our poorrates, it must be by measures similar to those which Mr. Clarkson has here detailed, and which have been so eminently successful among the Quakers. It must be by melioration of character, originating in vital religion, and by education, the basis and foundation of all civil improvement. To the reasons which I have offered in favour of such a system, in the beginning of this volume, I beg leave to add the foregoing statement by Mr. Clarkson, as a practical commentary.

We are considerably indebted to the Quakers, in point of finance. We receive tithes and church-rates from them, while they support their own religious establishments and places of worship: we levy the poor'srate upon them, while they maintain and educate their own poor; and they pay taxes, at the same time that they renounce all claim to every species of official or public emolument. Such, however, is the irresistible power of industry and prudence, and

such the advantage of a general system of education, that they thrive and prosper under all these disadvantages.

To the Quakers, however, we owe a still greater obligation, for having afforded a practical example of the wisest and most benevolent system, which can be adopted with regard to the poor. If ever we should have the good sense and virtue to follow it, if we should ever be able effectually to carry a similar plan into execution throughout the British dominions, it will do more for the happiness and stability of the country, than if we had added millions to our domestic wealth, and new and unexplored regions to our foreign dominions.

12th Nov. 1806.

system, and in the reduction of our poorrates, it must be by measures similar to those which Mr. Clarkson has here detailed, and which have been so eminently successful among the Quakers. It must be by melioration of character, originating in vital religion, and by education, the basis and foundation of all civil improvement. To the reasons which I have offered in favour of such a system, in the beginning of this volume, I beg leave to add the foregoing statement by Mr. Clarkson, as a practical commentary.

We are considerably indebted to the Quakers, in point of finance. We receive tithes and church-rates from them, while they support their own religious establishments and places of worship: we levy the poor'srate upon them, while they maintain and educate their own poor; and they pay taxes, at the same time that they renounce all claim to every species of official or public emolument. Such, however, is the irresistible power of industry and prudence, and

such the advantage of a general system of education, that they thrive and prosper under all these disadvantages.

To the Quakers, however, we owe a still greater obligation, for having afforded a practical example of the wisest and most benevolent system, which can be adopted with regard to the poor. If ever we should have the good sense and virtue to follow it, if we should ever be able effectually to carry a similar plan into execution throughout the British dominions, it will do more for the happiness and stability of the country, than if we had added millions to our domestic wealth, and new and unexplored regions to our foreign dominions.

12th Nov. 1806.

« PreviousContinue »