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This would set aside many of those perplexing difficulties, disappointments, &c. which country people, in these cases, almost uniformly meet with. The establishment of Sunday Schools would be greatly promoted, the burdens would be eased, the teachers would go on more delightfully in the work, the children would make a more rapid progress, and I think I may say, the thanksgivings of many would redound to the glory of God. Yours, &c.
A COUNTRYMAN *.
ADULT SCHOOL SOCIETY in BERKS, BUCKS, and Oxon.
WE have received an account of a meeting held in the Town Hall, Great Marlow, for the formation of a society for the institution of schools for adults, in the district, "comprehended within a circle round the town of Great Marlow, of which the towns of Maidenhead, Henley, Wycombe, Beaconsfield, and Bornham may be regarded as the circumference." From the perusal of the statement, and circular letter previously issued, and the marked distinction therein made between clergymen of the Church of England, and the ministers in other religious denominations, clergymen being necessarily members of the committee, and dissenting ministers not, the clergyman of each parish, having a vote on the appointment of any teacher, notwithstanding his election by the committee of which that clergyman was himself a member, the inhabitants being requested to visit the schools when instituted, and to make their reports, not to the committee, to the clergyman. We had anticipated that jealousies would arise, and that there would not be that mutual respect and confidence which we have seen so happily prevail in other societies, and which would insure the co-operation of all denominations; we are not, therefore, surprized at hearing that the dissenters in general, residing within that district, have not cordially united. We trust, however, that they will shew that, though differing as to mode, they agree in the object,
The editor, many years ago, divided the bible and testament into parts. To explain the plan more fully, he divided the testament into 12 parts, each part containing 16 lessons. Ist part, Matthew, containing 1071 verses; 2d, Mark, 677; 3d, Luke, 1151; 4th, John, 879; 5th, Acts, 1007; 6th, Romans, 433; 7th, 1st and 2d Corinthians, 694; 8th, Galatians to Colossians, 503; 9th, 1st Thessalonians to 2d Timothy, 332: 10th, Titus to Hebrews, 374; 11th, James to Jude, 432; 12th, Revelations, 404. The chief objections to this plan are the great expence of binding the several parts, and the facility with which the whole of the Bible and Testament may now be procured by the poor.
and are not indisposed to bear their part in carrying it into complete effect. We believe that there is not a dissenting place of worship within the district which has not connected with it one or more Sunday Schools, and we hope ere long to hear that they have shewn an equal zeal in the institution of schools for adults.
Another part of the plan avowed by the preliminary address, and passed into resolution, which excited our most serious regret, was the proposed employment of paid masters and mistresses, and even of the elder children, in charity schools. From the observations of our late venerable friend, the Rev. T. Charles, (to be found in No. 3 of this work) which have been confirmed by experience, it is apparent that the successful instruction of adults requires that degree of patience, of perseverance, of kindness, and of attention to the feelings, and even to the prejudices of the scholars, which cannot be expected to arise from any other motive but an earnest desire to promote their best interests.
If the schools are rendered interesting, we feel no doubt that they will be well attended; but we believe that will never be accomplished by merely teaching the alphabet and reading lessons; we know that the schools under a society of considerable extent, in which all denominations are engaged, are always commenced with prayer, and that no objection has been made, or we believe felt, to that which has raised so much dispute in the meeting above referred to, namely, answering those questions. which the scholars propose on the scriptures they are reading; and in the infancy of the institution of adult schools, we had rather see one school in a district well conducted by those who feel a real interest in the work, than a school in every parish conducted by hired teachers, or the elder children in Charity Schools-the latter, we fear, would throw a discredit upon the institution, while we feel assured that the former would recommend itself to general adoption, and that the whole of the district proposed would in a very short time be covered with schools, interesting and benefitting the population, at an expence bearing but a very small proportion to that stated at the meeting at Great Marlow, viz. £800!
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE
BATH SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.
THE committee of the Bath Sunday School Union feel highly gratified in reporting the favourable progress of its labours at this
first annual meeting; and although the nature of Sunday Schools may be now pretty generally understood, and the beneficial effects produced by the establishment of them rightly appreciated, it is presumed that some allusion to the nature and design of Sunday School Unions may not be altogether unnecessary on the present occasion. The committee would therefore beg permission to observe, that a Sunday School Union is the friendly association and cordial co-operation of the managers and teachers of various Sunday Schools belonging to different denominations of Christians, for the purpose of opening, organizing, and maintaining Sunday Schools in surrounding country villages where none had been before established, and thereby imparting to the uninstructed children of the neighbouring poor that kind of religious knowledge and instruction which the poor children of this and many other cities and large towns have been favoured with, more or less, for many years past. It may be further premised, that a Sunday School has for its grand object the realizing the pious wish of the venerable and truly patriotic monarch of this highly favoured country, whose benevolent and paternal feelings prompted him to say it was the warm desire of his royal heart that every poor man's child throughout his extensive dominions should be able to read the Bible. And if one individual school can so far attain this pleasing object as to impart such necessary instruction to some hundreds of poor children, what may not be done when the active managers and zealous teachers of several schools shall draw their energies into one common focus, and, regardless of all trifling differences and party distinctions, unite together for the holy purpose of benefiting their fellow-creatures?
Immediately after the formation of this Union the committee commenced its labours: upwards of seventy volunteer teachers were soon enrolled by the secretaries, who began their career of usefulness, agreeably to the original plan of the society, by the formation of schools, and extending the blessings of gratuitous and religious instruction to the poor children of neighbouring villages. How far the managers and teachers of the Bath Sunday School Union have succeeded in their humble attempt to do good, and how far the success which has accompanied their endeavours may have been commensurate with the nature and designs of the institution, let a statement of facts determine.
The following eighteen new schools have been opened under the auspices of the Union, in nearly the order in which they are arranged:
Bishop-Sutton (including 16 adults) ·
Bitton (including 3 adults).
Ford, near Castle-Comb......
N. B. These are the numbers at present belonging to the schools, but some hundreds more have been taught in them since their formation by the Bath Sunday School Union.
The schools at Twerton and Batheaston, which were previously established, have also been assisted and increased by the Union: although that at Batheaston has lately been subject to unfavourable fluctuations in consequence of the removal to a distant dis trict of an active and zealous individual, and the indisposition of a young friend of his who co-operated with the teachers of the Union. The number of scholars is now.
but the number of scholars at Twerton has been more than trebled, and the school is now in a very prosperous state, consisting of•••••
Number of children belonging to the four Sunday
with the Union •
The committee having thus reported, cannot, consistent with the duty imposed on them, omit this opportunity of reminding their country friends, in whose villages Sunday Schools have been or may be established, under the auspices of the Union, of the absolute necessity of rendering assistance and co-operating with its visiting teachers, in order to insure prosperity; and to give, under the Divine blessing, permanence and stability to such institutions, And it may not be unwise to remark in this place, that by the active zeal and co-operation of the friends at Bishop Sutton, CastleComb, Radstock, and Monkton-Comb, the several schools in those places soon became numerously attended, and exhibited a state of
prosperity which some other schools, opened at an earlier period, have not yet attained: the consequence of which has been, that the duty of the schools at three of the last mentioned places was performed in a very short time after their formation without assistance from Bath; whereby the teachers of the Union, who kindly visited them, were enabled to attend to the organization of new schools in other villages. This fact speaks more than a volume to country friends, and more than this it may be presumed would be unnecessary to say in behalf of zealous co-operation on their part.
The committee have not abandoned the idea of establishing schools for adults. Many grown-up persons have been taught to read in the country schools belonging to the Union, and the good work has been begun in Bath; much cannot however be done unless people become more inclined to learn, and until a sufficient number of persons shall come forward for the purpose of benefitting with instruction those who may be willing to receive it. The committee therefore embrace this opportunity of inviting the friends of both sexes to engage in this good work, and most earnestly recommend a careful perusal of Dr. Pole's "History of the Origin and Progress of Adult Schools," which contains much useful and necessary information.
The committee, however, feel considerable pleasure in having to congratulate the friends of the Bath Sunday School Union on the good that has been done, and on the number of schools which have been opened since the commencement of its labours, whereby upwards of fifteen hundred poor children have been favoured with religious instruction; and whereby several thousands of catechisms, hymn-books, and religious publications have been put into circulation; and by which means, in consequence of subscriptions opened for that purpose, more than eleven hundred bibles and testaments have been distributed among poor people in Bath and in the country villages, many of whom might never have been put in possession of the sacred oracles, had it not been for the exertions of the managers, and the activity of the teachers, belonging to this benevolent society. And it may be further remarked, that the secretaries and teachers of the Bath Sunday School Union have performed the part of active agents in forwarding the designs of the Bath Auxiliary British and Foreign Bible Society, by supplying many hundreds of poor families with the holy scriptures who would not have applied to the office in Bath for them.
The committee would feel considerable reluctance in closing its report without expressing the warmest approbation of the praiseworthy conduct of the young friends belonging to the several different religious denominations in this city, who so nobly volunteered their services as teachers in the Bath Sunday School Union, and who have so cheerfully devoted their time and their talents to the honourable employment of instructing the ignorant, and of imparting some knowledge of Jesus Christ and his great salvation to