Page images

into detail, and requesting that any Lady who may be desirous of further particulars, will have the goodness to refer to the original correspondence laid on the table by the Secretary.

With respect to the first of the before mentioned objects, the Sub-Committee have used every means in their power to circulate the Queries, not only among their own immediate acquaintance, but among as many other persons as they could with propriety address, and whom they had any reason to believe favourably disposed to the objects of the Society.

The number of printed copies thus dispersed has been above 500 which were addressed to about 150 persons, and they have already received answers from near 60, besides many valuable communications in a less regular form. It would be highly important to the future proceedings of the Ladies Committee, that as soon as such a number of answers shall have been received as to furnish, with tolerable accuracy, any general ideas of the condition and employment of the female poor, a regular abstract should be prepared of the information which they contain; but the Sub-Committee

[ocr errors]

cannot think those already received nearly so numerous as to warrant any general conclusions, and therefore can only at present most earnestly recommend to all the members of the Committee, to exert themselves to the utmost in promoting the general distribution of those Queries, conceiving that if the advantages to be derived from the establishment were to extend no further than the collection of such a mass of information, it would deserve to be considered as having rendered no inconsiderable service to the public.

They think it necessary, however, to observe, that the imperfect materials they are now possessed of, tend strongly to establish the advantages of the formation of such an institution as that of the Ladies Society, and the probable benefits to be derived from it.

With regard to the second object, the SubCommittee have found by an extensive correspondence, as general a sense entertained of the value of the institution, and as strong a disposition to support it, as could reasonably be hoped for, considering the shortness of the time since its formation, and the limited means of correspondence which they possessed.

The number of subscriptions offered before the end of the year 1804 amounts to about 200, which, though not yet very considerable as a pecuniary fund, will be sufficient to insure the circulation of any publications the Committee may resolve on, to a very considerable number of places situated in different parts of the kingdom, and (with such additions as may reasonably be expected) to commence the execution of some of the plans of improvement they have in view. And the Sub-Committee have the satisfaction to observe, that in the short period which has already elapsed of the present year, the subscriptions have continued to increase as fast as could reasonably be expected. Under this head they feel it incumbent upon them to notice two prevailing misconceptions, which have occasioned considerable prejudices against the Society, and which (though it is to be hoped the Address of the Committee may in a great degree have counteracted them) it is highly important that every Lady should exert herself to remove.-The one, that it was intended by the Society to interfere with the parochial and other local superintendance of the poor; the other, that they proposed to take the management of different charitable funds and contri.

butions into their own hands. These misconceptions have been frequently represented to the Sub-Committee, and seem in several places to have materially obstructed the assistance which the Society might otherwise have obtained.

With regard to the third head, that of the establishment of District Committees, the SubCommittee have reason to believe that mistakes of such a nature as have been mentioned, and which appear to have originated in some misunderstanding of the original plan of such Committees, seem particularly to have been detrimental. The Sub-Committee have, however, the pleasure to inform the Society, that the formation either of regular District Committees, or of other associations, which though not assuming the name, seem calculated to produce the same beneficial effect, has already made some progress, and there appears great reason to hope that the footing on which the last regulations have placed the District Committees, will remove the difficulties which have hitherto opposed their increase: and the SubCommittee have in fact received information, that measures have been taken with a view to the establishment of several others,

In conclusion, the Sub-Committee beg leave to state, that while their hopes of the ultimate benefits to be derived from the institution have been confirmed by the attention which, in conformity with the directions they received. from the Committee, they have paid during the last summer to its general concerns, they feel a strong and increasing conviction that success can only be obtained by the unremitted exertions of the individuals composing the general body. The very nature of their plan makes it entirely dependant on personal activity. The enquiries and attention of every Lady will set in motion a certain number of of her acquaintance, and those again exciting others, the circle of activity will be perpetually extending itself.

The benefit, indeed, derived from their exertions is by no means to be measured by their visible and public effects, or by the communications received by the Committee, and several most satisfactory instances have come to the knowledge of the Sub-Committee, in which the establishment of schools, or other beneficial institutions, has been the consequence of their correspondence, without any direct recommendation. It may be reasonably

« PreviousContinue »