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AND FOX AT DOVER.
to build a school like this for
children ! * He accomplished his object, and the school still stands, bearing the same inscription, * To the glory of God and the benefit of poor children.'
Lancaster never had a more attached friend than this good Samaritan. In all his trials we find him pouring his sorrows into the sympathising bosom of the man whom he delights to call his friend,' his fellow-labourer,' his brother,' his best beloved and faithful one,' -and he never appeals in vain. In later years, Mr. Corston spent most of his time at Fincham, where he died on the 25th of May, 1843, in the 84th year of his age..
JOSEPH Fox, to whom Lancaster was introduced in 1807, was a medical man, not less eminent for his professional skill, than for his extensive and diversified benevolence. He was, like Corston, a man of quick feelings, and of sensitive nature. In religious sentiment he was either an Independent or a Baptist, we are not sure which. Fox, while at Dover, was taken by the late Sir John Jackson, with whom he was residing, to hear Lancaster lecture, and such was the
* By some unaccountable mistake Mr. Southey has attributed this incident to Lancaster, and made him the straw-plait manufacturer.
THE DEBT IS BOLDLY FACED,
effect produced upon him by the fervid oratory of the speaker, that at the conclusion of the lecture he rose, and with the greatest emotion and solemnity exclaimed, Were I to hold my peace, after what I have now heard and experienced, the stones might cry out against me. His heart and hand were, from this moment, truly devoted to the work.
On his return to London, it was agreed that he should meet Lancaster to dinner at Ludgate-hill, and Mr. Corston thus describes the interview:
• After dinner, our first subject was the debt. Well, Joseph,' said Mr. Fox, what do you owe now? Do you owe a thousand pounds ?' He only replied, “ Yes. After a little time, he asked, "Do you owe two thousand pounds ? A significant pause ensued. Joseph again replied, “Yes.' The third time he inquired, with increased earnestness, affectionately tapping him on the shoulder, • Do you owe three thousand pounds ?' Joseph burst into tears. “You must ask William Corston,' said he. • He knows better what I owe than I do myself.' Mr. Fox then, rising from his seat, and addressing me, solemnly said, “Sir, I am come to London to see the devil in his worst shape; tell me what he owes.' Why, Sir,' I replied, “it is nearer four thousand than three. He returned to
AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY PAID.
his chair, and seemed for some time to be absorbed in prayer; not a word passed from either of us." Mr. Fox at length rose, and, addressing me, said, “Sir, I can do it with your assistance.'
I replied, I know, Sir, that God has sent you to help us; and all that I can do is at your command.' He rejoined, • I can only at present lay my hand upon two thousand pounds. Will you accept all the bills I draw upon you ? and every one shall have twenty shillings in the pound, and interest if they require it.' I replied, I will.' We then all instantly rose, and embraced each other like children, shedding tears of affection and joy.
• The cause
is saved !! exclaimed Mr. Fox. I replied, Yes; and a threefold cord is not easily broken.' Thus, through the gracious and almighty hand of Him, who prospers his own cause, and makes it to triumph over all its enemies and obstacles,-thus was the foundation laid for the maintenance of an institution, which was destined to confer the blessing of Christian education upon millions and millions of mankind.
We immediately, and with renewed energy, proceeded with the work. Two days after, the bills, forty-four in number, were drawn, accepted, and given to the creditors ; and, with gratitude to the Divine goodness,
MR. WHITBREAD COMES IN, it may be added, that they were all honoured as they became due.
• Soon after this we were joined by several valuable friends; and on March 1, 1808, a committee was formed, consisting of the following persons :
• (Their names are given in the order in which they engaged in the work.)
" THOMAS STURGE, WILLIAM ALLEN, WILLIAM CORSTON, JOHN JACKSON, JOSEPH Fox,
JOSEPH FOSTER. - From this time the accounts were properly kept, the trustees holding themselves responsible to the public. Nevertheless, they were further called upon to advance large sums, from time to time, and for nine years cheerfully sustained the burden of a debt of £8000.
• At length, Mr. Whitbread, who attended the committee, observed that it was a shame that a benevolent public should let six gentlemen be so far in advance for so long a time; and proposed that a hundred friends should be sought for, who would undertake to subscribe or collect £100 each for the work. In three years this plan proved successful, and in that time was raised £11,040, by which a new school was built, and the establishment greatly enlarged. And in the year 1817 the trustees were exonerated.'
AND A SOCIETY IS FORMED.
Mr. Fox devoted himself with characteristic energy to the work he had undertaken, and on the formation of the British and Foreign School Society, in 1808, he became its secretary-an office which he rendered honourable by his gratuitous but unceasing and unabated labours. He died on the 11th of April, 1816, at the early age of forty years.
Of the remaining four early friends of Lancaster, (William Allen excepted,) only one was known to the writer of these sketchesJOSEPH Foster, an upright and honourable man,-generous, hospitable, sincere, incapable of meanness, and indignant at wrong. He too has gone to his rest, the only one who has left his name and place in the society occupied by a son.
Of the other founders of the institution few now remain. The Dukes of Kent and Sussex, the Duke of Bedford and Lord Somerville, Mr. Whitbread, Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Horner, Sir James Macintosh, and many others who might be named, are all gone. And Rowland Hill, whose cheerful voice used so often to ring through the committee-room, as he led in his retiring but noble-hearted friend, John Broadley Wilson, who usually accompanied him from his Friday morning service; and Wilberforce, and