[Joseph Lancaster, Quaker educationalist.] Printed ephemera: Handbill titled ‘ROYAL BENEVOLENCE.’, appealing for subscription to ‘a Fund to enable Schools in the country, for TEN THOUSAND POOR CHILDREN’.

Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838), pioneering Quaker educationalist who advocated the monitorial system
Publication details: 
‘Free School, Borough Road, Southwark. / 19th of 3d Month, 1806.’
SKU: 25893

A scarce and fragile item: the only copy traced on WorldCat and Jisc is held by the Society Friends (Quakers). Lancaster’s entry in the Oxford DNB, which sums up his achievements: ‘his name was to survive in English educational history as one of the foremost pioneers of mass schooling and effective teacher training in the early industrial era’. The handbill is printed on one side of a 15 x 19.5 cm leaf of thin wove paper. A fragile survival: lightly aged and worn, with a small hole and closed tear, but text clear and entire. The first paragraph (of three) reads: ‘RESPECTED FRIEND, / PERMIT me to submit to thy benevolent notice an ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION, began [sic] by the KING, QUEEN, and ROYAL FAMILY, to raise a Fund to enable Schools in the country, for TEN THOUSAND POOR CHILDREN. It is designed to instruct them in Reading, Writing, and the Elements of Arithmetic: to take a guarded care of their morals: to form them to habits of industry, sobriety, and virtue: to imbue their tender minds with the knowledge of Christianity, as contained in the Language of Scripture, without comment, or an thing like sectarian inferences; [last six words emphasized] Wherever Schools may be instituted, the children of Members of the Establishment and Dissenters who may participate in the benefit of them, will be left, as to RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION, under the care of their own Clergy and religious friends.’ The following paragraphs are shorter, with the second appealing for a subscription, and the third referring to the ‘first School’, at ‘MAIDEN BRADLEY, WILTS. the seat of the Duke of Somerset’. Ends: ‘THE FAVOR OF AN ANSWER IS REQUESTED BY / Thy respectful friend, / JOSEPH LANCASTER.’ See Image.