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PHILANTHROPY IN EDUCATION
In England, during the eighteenth century, there were numerous attempts to provide education for the poor through charity schools. The most important factor in maintaining these institutions was the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.
Among other organizations, there sprang up a Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which supported schools throughout the American colonies, except Virginia. Charity schools were also maintained in America by various other agencies.
An attempt was likewise made by Raikes of Gloucester, England, to establish Sunday schools, for training the poor to read, and these institutions spread throughout the British Isles and America.
A system of instruction through monitors, developed by Lancaster and Bell, while formal and mechanical, furnished a sort of substitute for national education in England, and, spreading throughout the United States, paved the way for state support, and greatly improved the methods of teaching.
'Infant schools' for poor children also grew up during the nineteenth century in France, England, and the United States, and found a permanent place in the national systems, but they soon became formalized and mechanical.
Philanthropic education proved a first step toward universal and national education.
Reconstructive Tendencies of the Eighteenth Century. The eighteenth century cannot be regarded altogether as a period of revolution and destruction. While
such a characterization describes the prevailing tendencies, there were also social and educational forces that looked to evolution and reform rather than to a complete disintegration of society and a return to primitive living. Even in Rousseau, the arch-destroyer Even in Rousseau and the of traditions, we found many evidences of a recon- philanthropstruction along higher lines, and such a positive movement was decidedly obvious in Basedow, Salzmann, and other philanthropinists. But in England reforms were especially apparent. In the land of the Briton, progress is proverbially gradual, and sweeping victories and Waterloo defeats in affairs of society and education are alike unwonted. The French tendency to cut short the social and educational process and to substitute revolution for evolution is out of accord and especially in England. with the spirit across the English Channel.
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The Rise of Charity Schools in England. And yet conditions in England at this time might well have incited people to revolution. Wages were low, employment was irregular, and the laboring classes, who num- Wretched conbered fully one-sixth of the population, were clad in boring class. rags, lived in hovels, and often went hungry, Opportunities for elementary education were rare. The few schools that remained after the Reformation had largely lost their endowments or had been perverted into secondary institutions, and had suffered from incompetent and negligent masters and from the religious upheaval of the times. It was as a partial remedy for this situation, that, toward the close of the seventeenth century, there sprang up a succession of 'charity schools,' in which children of the poor were not only taught, but boarded and sometimes provided with clothes, and the as remedy.
boys were prepared for apprenticeship and the girls for domestic service. Probably about one thousand schools upon this general philanthropic basis had been established in England and Wales by the middle of the eighteenth century. Most of these had received substantial endowment, but numbers of them were maintained by private subscriptions.
The Schools of the S. P. C. K.-A factor that was even more important in opening charity schools was the 'Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge' (often abbreviated to S. P. C. K.). This society was founded in 1698 by Reverend Thomas Bray, D. D., and four other clergymen and philanthropists. As a rule, management, its schools were established, supported, and managed by local people, but the Society guaranteed their maintenance, and assisted them from its own treasury whenever a stringency in funds arose. The S. P. C. K. also inspected schools, and advised and encouraged the local managers, and furnished bibles, prayer books, and catechisms at the cheapest rates possible. It made stringent regulations of eligibility for its schoolmasters, requiring, in addition to the usual religious, moral, pedagogical, and age tests, that they be members of the Church of England and approved by the minister of the parish. Each master was expected to teach the children their catechism, and purge them of bad morals and manners, besides training them in reading, writing, and elementary arithmetic. The pupils were, moreover, clothed, boarded, and at times even lodged.
The number of charity schools of the S. P. C. K. grew by leaps and bounds, and by the close of the first decade there were eighty-eight within a radius of ten
miles of London. The gifts made had amounted to al- Development, most ten thousand pounds, and nearly one thousand boys and over four hundred girls had been sent out as apprentices. And before the middle of the eighteenth century the total number of these charity schools in England and Wales reached nearly two thousand, with about fifty thousand boys and girls in attendance. This increase in facilities for the education of the poor was not kindly received by many in the upper classes, who often felt that "there is no need for any learning at all for the meanest ranks of mankind: their business is to labour, not to think." But the charity schools had also opposition and many warm supporters, and Addison even believed that as a result of them there would be "few in the next generation who will not at least be able to write and read, and have not an early tincture of religion." The benefactions for these institutions continued to increase for nearly half a century, but by the middle of the eighteenth century popular interest had waned. The sub- decadence, scriptions began to fall off, the system of inspection and the teaching became less effective, and the schools ceased to expand. Nevertheless, the S. P. C. K. had succeeded. in impressing the Church of England with a sense of re- and influence. sponsibility for the establishment of a national school system upon a religious basis. Its schools were largely continued throughout the eighteenth century, and in most instances after 1811 were absorbed by the new educational organization of the English Church, the so-called 'National Society' (see p. 239).
Other British Charity Schools.-These institutions of the Church of England society may be regarded as typical of British charity schools in general. There were, how
Nonconformist ever, also a dozen well-known foundations by nonconformists, including the 'Gravel Lane School' of Southwark, London, which was started over a decade before the S. P. C. K. was organized. And an interesting type of philanthropic institution known as 'circulating schools' was founded in Wales. These schools simply aimed to teach pupils to read the Bible in Welsh, and when this had been accomplished in one neighborhood, the school was transferred to another. But a much more important organization was the offshoot of the S. P. C. K., that arose chiefly to carry on charity schools in the American colonies. This association, the 'Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foundation of Foreign Parts,' (commonly known as S. P. G.), was
the S. P. G.
founded by Dr. Bray three years after the parent society, but no schools were established for several years.
in New York City,
The Charity Schools of the S. P. G.-The first school S. P. G. school of the S. P. G. was opened in New York City in 1709 under William Huddleston, who had been conducting a school of his own there. It was intended that the new school should follow the plan of the charity schools in England, but, while free tuition and free books were granted from the beginning, it was not until many years later that the means of clothing the children gratuitously was provided. Under different masters and with varying fortunes, the school was supported by the society until 1783, when the United States had finally cut loose from the Mother Country and started on a career of its own. Meanwhile Trinity Church had come more and more to take the initiative in the endowment and support of the school, and since the withdrawal of the