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given. He sailed for England on the 20th of August, 1796, having accumulated, according to his own carefully drawn account, £25,935 168. 5d., a tolerable reward for nine years' clerical service in India, and a convincing proof that he had not sought in vain for 'encouragement in the line of the church.' After this it seems scarcely necessary to parade his disinterestedness in declining a passage home at the expense of the charity.
On his arrival in London, Dr. Bell lost no time in communicating with the India House, but began at once to take measures for securing a retiring allowance from the East India Company, He first of all consulted Mr. David Scott, the chairman, and wrote to his early friend, Mr. Dempster, to request his interest. Mr. Dempster's reply does him great credit. I have,' he ' as little interest as you with Mr. Scott. The very little I have I would rather reserve to help the helpless, than expend in adding more rupees to the enormous heap you have brought home with you.' • Nothing daunted by this rebuff,' says his biographer," he proceeded to draw up a memorial, addressed to the Court of Directors,' in which he set forth, in strong colours, the extraordinary success which had attended his labours in the asylum, ascribing it entirely (on the authority of the Madras government) to his new system, and to the disinterested conduct he had shown in refusing, while so employed, to accept any salary. After a few months effort, he succeeded in obtaining a pension of £200 per annum.
He now (1797) printed a report of the asylum, which he entitled, “An Experiment in Education made at the male asylum at Madras, suggesting a system by which a School or Family may teach itself under the superintendence of a Master or Parent. This pamphlet he recommended by letter to the attention of David Dale at Lanark; he sent copies to many influential persons in different parts of the kingdom: he attempted to introduce his plan into various schools both in England and Scotland, and in one of his letters to the printer, he says: You will mark me for an enthusiast, but if you and I live a thousand years, we shall see this system of education spread over the world.'
On the 3rd of November, 1800, he married Miss Agnes Barclay, eldest daughter of the Rev. Dr. Barclay, of Middleton; and, in 1801, he received and accepted the offer of the rectory of Swanage, in Dorset, from the patron, Mr. Calcraft, with whom he had not been previously acquainted.' With his wife he appears to have received £7,500; the value of his living, including the patronage of the parish of Worth, was at least £800 per annum; his pension from the East India Company was £200 per annum; and his Indian spoil was £25,935. Early in December (1801), he took possession of his preferment, and preached his first sermon on Christmas Day; having by this time, one would think, reason to be abundantly satisfied with the encouragement he had met with in the line of the church.'
Leaving for awhile the good Doctor thus comfortably provided for, we turn to contemplate another and very different character, whose name, now first noised abroad, was destined, strangely enough, to descend to posterity, side by side, with that of Dr. Bell.
Joseph LANCASTER was born in Kent Street, Southwark, on the 27th of November, 1778. His father was a Chelsea pensioner, who had served in the British army during the American war. To the pious example and early instruction of his parents he always attributed, under the divine blessing, any acquaintance he possessed with the power of religion. My first impressions, he says, ' of the beauty of the christian religion were received from their instructions. There is a touching beauty in his own account of himself as a little child, retiring to a corner, repeating the name of Jesus, and as often reverently bowing to it. 'I seemed to feel,' he says, ' that it was the name of one I loved, and to whom my heart performed reverence. I departed from my retirement well satisfied with what I had been doing, and I never remembered it but with delight. This little incident was an epitome of the man, and, inconsistent as it may seem to be with his future religious profession as a member of the Society of Friends, it truly shadowed forth the enthusiastic, not to say passionate feeling, which through life so eminently characterized him.
At the early age of eight years he was pondering the Gospels in secret retirement and delight, his heart · filled with love and devotion to God,' with breathings of good-will to the human race,' and with desires to devote his life to the service of God.'
At fourteen, Clarkson's Essay on the Slave Trade came in his way, and alone, and without taking counsel of any one, he determined to go to Jamaica, to teach the poor blacks to read the word of God. Mr. Corston's narrative of this adventure is so brief and simple that it scarcely admits of condensation :
• With a view to accomplish his purpose, he left home for Bristol, without the knowledge of his parents, having only a bible, Pilgrim's Progress, and a few shillings in his pocket. The first night he slept under a hedge, and the next under a hay-stack. On his journey, he fell in with a mechanic who was likewise going to Bristol. They
walked together; and as Joseph's money was all expended, his companion sustained him. On arriving at his destination, he was pennyless, and almost shoeless. He entered himself as a volunteer: and was sent to Milford Haven the next morning.
On board he was at first the object of much ridicule, and was contemptuously styled parson. The captain being absent one day, the officers asked him if he would preach them a sermon. He replied, 'Yes ; if you will give me leave to go below for half an hour to read my bible. They said, 'O certainly, an hour if you choose. When he came up, there was a cask placed upon deck, and the ship's company were all assembled. Having placed him upon the cask he proceeded to lecture them upon their habits of profane swearing, drunkenness, &c., at first much to their mirth and amusement; but after a little they began to droop their heads, when he told them if they would leave off these wretched practices, repent, and turn to the Lord, they might still be bappy here and happy hereafter. After this sermon, be was treated kindly—no one was suffered to laugh at him, or use him ill, during the three weeks he remained on board.
· His return home to his parents was occasioned as follows :—a dissenting minister at Clapham, happening to call in at his mother's shop, found her weeping, and in great distress. On his kindly asking the cause, she informed him that her child had left home, and she knew not what was become of him. He endeavoured to pacify and comfort her with the hope that the Lord would restore him to her; and then enquired where she thought he was gone. She replied,— Why we think to the West Indies. He has felt much and talked much about the poor Blacks lately, from having read Mr. Clarkson's book about them.' 'O come, my good woman,' he rejoined, ' take comfort. I am intimate with the captain of the Port Admiral's ship, at Plymouth. I live at Clapham. Should you hear of your son, let me know. In about three weeks, a letter was received from Joseph-his parents informed the minister-he wrote to the captain-and Joseph was soon sent home with a new suit of clothes, money in his pocket, and his carriage paid by coach.-pp. 2, 3.
Between this period, and that of his attaining the age of eighteen, he seems to have been an assistant at two schools, one a boarding, the other a day school; and thus, as he afterwards states in a letter to Dr. Bell
, he became acquainted with all the defects attendant on the old system of tuition in both kinds of schools. At eighteen he commenced teaching on his own account in his father's house, and the following description of the undertaking, extracted from an old report of the Borough Road School, is from his own pen. It refers to the year 1798.
• The undertaking was begun under the hospitable roof of an affectionate parent: my father gave the school-room rent free, and, after fitting up the forms and desks myself, I had the pleasure, before I was eighteen, of having near ninety children under instruction, many of whom I educated free of expense. As the number of scholars continued to increase I soon had occasion to rent larger premises.
A season of scarcity brought the wants of poor families closely under
notice : at this time a number of very liberal persons enabled me to feed the hungry children. In the course of this happy exertion, I became intimately acquainted with the state of many industrious poor families, whose necessities had prevented the payment of the small price of their children's tuition, some of whom had accumulated arrears for many weeks. In every such case I remitted the arrears and continued the children's instruction free of expense.
• The state of the poor, combined with the feelings of my mind, had now blended the pay school with a free school. Two benevolent private friends had been in the habit of paying for five or six poor children at the low price I had fixed as the assize of education or mental bread for my neighbourhood. I easily induced these friends to place the money they gave, as pay, in the form of a subscription.'—pp. 6, 7.
On the outside of his school-room he placed the following printed notice:-'All that will, may send their children and have them educated freely; and those that do not wish to have education for nothing, may pay for it if they please. This filled his school; but, as might have been expected, left his income scarcely adequate to his own board and comforts.
As the number of his pupils increased, a new school-room became necessary. It was provided, chiefly through the benevolent aid of the late Duke of Bedford and Lord Somerville, 'who,' says Lancaster, 'appeared to be sent by Providence to open wide before me the portals of usefulness for the good of the poor:' "The children,' he adds, now came in for education like flocks of sheep; and the number so greatly increased, as to place me in that state which is the mother of invention. The old plan of education, in which I had been hitherto conversant, was daily proved inadequate to the purposes of instruction on a large scale. In every respect I had to explore a new and untrodden path. My continual endeavours have been happily crowned with success.'
The question now arises, and it is an important one, in reference to character,—did Lancaster believe at this time, that he was, 'in deed and in truth,' exploring a new and untrodden path; or, was he well aware that he was only walking in the footsteps of another? The fact is undoubted, that he was now managing a thousand children, aided only by boys acting as monitors. The point in dispute is, whether he was doing this by methods of his own devising, or, whether, as Mr. Southey harshly expresses it, deriving from Dr. Bell his knowledge of
the system, he claimed for himself with consummate effrontery, the honour of the invention ?' We can only say for ourselves that, after carefully perusing all the evidence that has been offered in support of this frequently repeated charge, we see no reason whatever to believe, that Lancaster was guilty of acting the base and unprincipled part attributed to him; and believing this, we cannot but severely blame those who have accused him so harshly and so rashly.
The truth is, so far as we have been able to ascertain it, that both Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster were, to a certain extent, inventors, and both, to a much larger extent, adopters and improvers of existing plans. Pressed by the same difficulties as Dr. Bell, and like him, familiar with military tactics, Lancaster appears, without being conscious of it, to have resorted to the same expedient. Inspired by equal, if not superior energy, he seems to have produced the same result. Excited by similar success, and perhaps inflamed by like vanity, he imitated his predecessor in magnifying the importance of his method, and in claiming an amount of merit as a discoverer which, to say the least of it, was preposterous and absurd. But that he was fraudulent,' dishonest,' 'tricky,' and 'immoral,' or, as Coleridge expresses it, that he was a wretched quack, a liar," "an ignorant, vulgar, arrogant charlatan,' we do not for a moment believe. Whatever were the faults of his maturer years, his early life was that of a sincere, humble, and disinterested christian.
Lancaster's own account of the matter, given in a letter to Dr. Bell, dated Nov. 21st, 1804, carries with it all the appearance of truthfulness and integrity; and as at that time he was corresponding with the doctor as a friend, was proposing to visit him at Swanage, was asking his advice, and soliciting his aid, there seems no reason for supposing that he would do otherwise than express himself with straightforwardness and simplicity. He thus writes :
'I began a day school in 1798). The methods I pursued soon became popular, and people sent their children in crowds. This plunged me into a dilemma; the common modes of tuition did not apply; and in puzzling myself what to do, I stumbled upon a plan similar to thine ; not, however, meeting with thy book till 1800 I have since succeeded wonderfully, yet not equal to my desire. If thou wilt favour me with any original reports of the asylum at Madras, for nothing is more essential than minutiæ, I should be much obliged.'
Now let it be borne in mind, that at this time Mr. Lancaster's pretensions were not concealed; that for some years he had been claiming through the press, to be the inventor of his 'improvements in education,' that in doing this, he had referred