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‘Seminarys of Faction and Rebellion’: Jacobites, Whigs and the London Charity Schools, 1716–1724*

  • Craig Rose (a1)

Extract

During Queen Anne's reign it was thought noteworthy that, in an age otherwise disfigured by party rancour, the charity school movement had won general acclaim. ‘No colourable Objection has been made against it’, declared the high churchman Andrew Snape in 1711, ‘nor indeed can it meet with Opposition from any, but those who are unwilling that the Empire of the Devil should be weaken'd, that Vice and Immorality should lose any Ground, and who are the declar'd Enemies of God and Goodness’. Charity schools were viewed as a force for unity in a politically divided society. Writing to Robert Harley in August 1710, John Hooke expressed his hope that Harley would lead a non-party ‘Coalition of Honest Men’, and noted universal praise for the charity schools as a sign of optimism for the future. At the 1709 anniversary service of the London charity schools, Samuel Bradford, a whig divine, bemoaned divisions in the body politic, but happily remarked that ‘The design which we are here pursuing has a natural tendency to unite the serious and pious of different persuasions amongst us’ Bradford's joy, though, was tempered with a warning. Just as there was ‘nothing more likely to unite us, than the zealous Prosecution of such a design’, so there was ‘nothing could so effectually defeat our endeavours in this case, as the espousing or promoting any particular Party or Faction’. The Reverend Lord Willoughby de Broke also feared that the charity schools would be dragged into the arena of party conflict. The charity would flourish, he commented in 1712, “if our political Discords do not withhold the Mercy of God from prospering this good work”.

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1 Snape, Andrew, A sermon preach'd in the parish-church of St Sepulchre … at the anniversary meeting of the children educated in the charity-schools in and about the cities of London and Westminster (London, 1711), p. 28.

2 John Hooke to Robert Harley, 12 Aug. 1710, London, British Library (B.L.), Loan 29/147.

3 Bradford, Samuel, Unanimity and charity (London, 1709), p. 28.

4 Verney, George, de Broke, Lord Willoughby, The blessedness of doing good (London, 1712), p. 10.

5 Rose, C. M., ‘Politics, religion and charity in Augustan London c. 1680–c. 1720’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cambridge, 1989), pp. 98–9.

6 Jones, M. G., The charity school movement: a study of eighteenth century puritanism in action (Cambridge, 1938), pp. 34, 110–13. For a similar interpretation, see Cowie, L. W., Henry Newman: an American in London 1708–43 (London, 1956), p. 84.

7 Jones, , Charity school movement, p. 113.

8 In the meantime, see Rose, ‘Politics, religion and charity’, ch. v.

9 Ibid. pp. 67–8, 80; draft biographies of Colchester, Philipps and Maynard, History of Parliament Trust. I am grateful to Dr Eveline Cruickshanks for permitting me to use these biographies.

10 Charter of the Grey Coat Hospital (London, 1857), p. 6.

11 Steele, Richard, Spectator, 6 02 1712; Addison, Joseph, Guardian, 11 07 1713.

12 Secretan, C. F., Memoirs of the life and times of the pious Robert Nelson (London, 1860), p. 123; minus of the Society of Trustees for Charity Schools, London, National Society (hereafter Nat. Soc), SP/1/1, 29 Mar. 1711 for Nelson's appointment as chairman of the Trustees.

13 Day, E. S., An old Westminster endowment (London, 1902), p. 46; Nat. Soc. SP/1/1, 20 Apr.1709.

14 London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.), Society minutes, 25 Jan. 1700. For Wheeler's life see Dictionary of national biography.

15 Rose, , ‘Politics, religion and charity’, pp. 99, 100, 114–15 for Joye's school. For Joye's politics, see Woodhead, J. R., The rulers of London 1660–89 (London, 1967), p. 100.

16 Rose, , ‘Politics, religion and charity’, p. 114.

17 B. L., Add. MS 45511, fos. 139–40.

18 Atterbury, Francis, A representation of the present state of religion (London, 1711), p. 9.

19 Post Boy, 24/27 Feb. 1711, no. 2464.

20 Newman to Bishop Gibson of Lincoln, 21 May 1716 (erased draft), S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1715–16, fo. 78.

21 SirDawes, William, The excellency of the charity of charity-schools (London, 1713), pp. 1820.

22 Newman to John Chamberlayne, 6 July 1716, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1716–17, fos. 12–13.

23 Flying Post, 23/26 April 1715, no. 3636.

24 The diary of Dudley Ryder 1715–16, ed. Matthews, William (London, 1939), p. 165.

25 Nelson, Robert, The whole duty of a Christian (Edinburgh, 1711), pp. 64–5. See S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 2 Nov. 1709, for the Society's purchase of 200 copies of an earlier edition of this book. These were presumably distributed to charity schools.

26 The whole duty of man (London, 1659), pp. 279–81.

27 Leslie, Charles, Rehearsal, 23 11 1706.

28 Lambe, Charles, An account of a charity school lately call'd the school of St Katherine Cree-Church (London, 1718), p. 4. For a defence of the society, see , M. P., A Vindication of the Society Lately call'd, St Katherine Cree-Church (London, 1718). See also Christ Church Library, Oxford (hereafter C.C.L.) Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 194.

29 Minutes of the St James Westminster charity school (hereafter S.J.), 11, fos. 14, 16, 18. These records are in the possession of Mrs Beatrice Crowne of Ruislip.

30 Nat. Soc. SR17/1/1/1, 15 and 29 Nov. 1716.

31 Newman to John Chamberlayne, 22 Dec. 1714, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1714, fos. 79–80; Nat. Soc, SP/1/1, 3 Oct. 1716.

32 Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 29 June and 10 Aug. 1716.

33 Ibid. 3 Oct. 1716.

34 Ibid. 31 Oct. 1716; S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 25 Oct. 1716.

35 Mary Blanchard to William Wake, 4 May 1716, Oxford, Christ Church Library (hereafter C.C.L.), Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 214.

36 Ibid. fos. 208–9. See also London, Public Record Office (P.R.O.), SP35/12, fo. 169. These allegations were made as part of a long-running dispute between Mills and Croydon dissenters.

37 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 402.

38 London, Guildhall Library (G.L.), MS 1775, fos. 31–7, quotation at 32.

39 Ibid. fos. 12–17, quotation at 13.

40 Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 10 Aug. 1716.

41 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 402.

42 Ibid. fo. 381.

43 Holmes, Geoffrey, British politics in the age of Anne (London, 1987 edn), pp. 105–8, gives a useful account of whig religious opinions.

44 Bennett, G. V., The tory crisis in church and state 1688–1730: the career of Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester (Oxford, 1975), pp. 213–14.

45 Ibid. pp. 219–20; Townend, G. M., ‘Religious radicalism and conservatism in the whig party under George I: the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts’, Parliamentary History, VII (1988), 2444.

46 See Bishop Smalridge to Arthur Charlett, 17 May 1716, Oxford, Bodleian Library (Bod.), MS Ballard 7, fo. 22.

47 Sykes, Norman, William Wake, archbishop of Canterbury 1657–1737 (2 vols., Cambridge, 1957), II, 115–29.

48 C[ommons] J[ournals], XVIII, 392–6. For a more detailed account of the background to the Select Vestries Bill, see Rose, , ‘Politics, religion and charity’, pp. 5960.

49 Sedgwick, Romney, ed., The House of Commons, 1715–54 (2 vols., London, 1970), II, 263.

50 Ibid. 1, 570–1, and II, 367–8, 260.

51 Bishop Gibson to Archbishop Wake, 26 May 1716, C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 405. Gibson reported that some clergymen had moderated their opposition to the Bill after being approached by the ‘B. of N.’ For Trimnell's close relationship with the earl of Sunderland, see Townend, G. M., ‘The political career of Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, 1695–1722’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Edinburgh, 1984), p. 218.

52 The text of the Bill can be found in H[isorical] M[anuscripts] C[ommission] House of Lords 1714–18, ns XII, 293–301. Sidney, and Webb, Beatrice, English local government from the revolution to the Municipal Corporations Act: the parish and the county (London, 1906), pp. 252–6, provides the only detailed discussion of the Bill prior to my own. The Webbs recognized the anti-clerical dimension of the Bill, but failed to examine it fully.

53 According to the whig historian John Oldmixon ‘there was a very great Complaint against the corrupt and base Management of the select Vestries within the cities of London and Westminster, and particularly of their Disaffection to the Government’. See Oldmixon, , The history of England during the reigns of King William and Queen Mary, Queen Anne, King George I (1735), p. 633.

54 H.M.C. House of Lords 1714–18, pp. 293–4. The property qualifications were originally set at £500 for the electors and £1500 for the vestrymen, but were reduced by an amendment on the third reading in the Commons. See C.J., XVIII, 449.

55 For post-1714 whig support for narrow franchises, see De Krey, G. S., A fractured society: the politics of London in the first age of party 1688–1715 (Oxford, 1985), pp. 267–8; Plumb, J. H., The growth of political stability in England 1675–1725 (London, 1967), p. 185.

56 H.M.C. House of Lords 1714–18, p. 294.

57 Ibid. pp. 296–7; C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 408.

58 A printed copy of the first draft of the Bill can be found in C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fos. 413–17.

59 H.M.C. House of Lords 1714–18, p. 296. The clause had been added on 9 May; see C.J., XVIII, 439.

60 Henry Newman to William Wake, 11 June 1716, C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 441.

61 Petition of the Society of Trustees against the Select Vestries Bill, London, House of Lords Record Office (hereafter H.L.R.O.), LP207/11. The Trustees also argued that the City ward schools could not come under the jurisdiction of any single parish, and would thus face an even greater threat of extinction.

62 Ryder, , Diary, p. 344.

63 Newman to Bishop Gibson, 21 May 1716 (erased drafts), S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1715–16, fos. 77–8.

64 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 10 May 1716.

65 C.J., XVIII, 445; H.M.C. House of Lords 1714–18, pp. 300–1.

66 Newman to Sir Robert Marsham, 16 May 1716, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1715–16, fo. 76.

67 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 17 May 1716.

68 C.J., XVIII, 449.

69 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 24 May 1716.

70 Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 30 May 1716. For their petition, see ibid. 31 May 1716; H.L.R.O., LP207/11.

71 This account of the clergy's meeting is based upon Bishop Gibson to Archbishop Wake, 26 May 1716, C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 405. Butler and Waddington respectively represented the Cripplegate Within and Dowgate ward schools at the Society of Trustees; see ibid. fo. 466.

72 Ibid. fos. 410, 411, for Archbishop Wake's complaints on this issue.

73 H.M.C. House of Lords 1714–18, p. 298.

74 Petition of sixty London clergymen against the Select Vestries Bill, H.L.R.O., LP207/10; C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 410.

75 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 410.

76 H.M.C. House of Lords 1714–18, p. 295.

77 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 409.

78 H.L.R.O., LP207/10.

79 Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 31 May 1716.

80 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 405.

81 London, Lambeth Palace Library (hereafter L.P.L.), MS 1770, fo. 175.

82 Calamy, Edmund, An historical account of my own life, ed. Rutt, J. T. (2 vols., London, 1830), 1, 352–3. Wake's extensive speech notes, upon which the rest of this paragraph is based, can be found in C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fos. 407–11. For a useful discussion of Wake and the Vestries Bill, see Sykes, , William Wake, 11, 112–14.

83 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 410.

84 Bishop Nicolson to Wake, 18 June 1716, C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 7, fo. 127.

85 Calamy, , Historical account, 11, 352–3. See also Lords Journals, XX, 392. According to Oldmixon, , History of England, p. 633, all the bishops voted against the Bill. It is also possible that the administration, anxious to avoid a breach with the archbishop, instructed whig peers not to support the Vestries Bill.

86 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 7 June 1716.

87 Philip Stubbs to Wake, 6 June 1716, C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fo. 421.

88 L.P.L., MS 1770, fo. 175. See also Wake to Arthur Charlett, 27 June 1716, Bod., MS Ballard 3, fo. 124.

89 Wake to John Chamberlayne, 7 Nov. 1716, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1716–17, no. 4978. See also Wake's sermon at the 1715 anniversary service, The excellency and benefits of a religious education (London, 1715), pp. 38–9.

90 Wake to the Society of Trustees, 6 June 1716, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1716–17, no. 4920.

91 Nat. Soc, SP/1/1, 30–31 May 1716.

92 Ibid. 8, 15 June 1716; S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 14 June 1716.

93 John Chamberlayne to S.P.C.K., 5 Sept. 1716, quoting a letter of 1 Sept. from Wake to Chamberlayne, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1716–17, no. 4890.

94 Newman to Wake, 2 Oct. 1716, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1716–17, fo. 5. Some of the Trustees, prickly about threats to their independence and suspicious of the S.P.C.K.'s low church members, resented the Society's role in the affair; see Newman to John Chamberlayne, 6 July 1716, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1716–17, fos. 12–13; Newman to Bishop Gibson, 20 July 1723, Newman Society letters, May-November 1723, fo. 27. Their anxiety was presumably eased by Jennings, tory M.P. for East Looe, 1713–15.

95 Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 3 Oct. 1716.

96 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 25 Oct. 1716, 17 Jan. 1717; Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 31 Oct. 1716; Nat. Soc., SR17/1/1/1, 29 Nov. 1716. By 1724 Wild had been restored to his post; see Newman to Bishop Gibson, 10 July 1724, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1723–4, fos. 74–5.

97 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 4 Oct. 1716; Wake to John Chamberlayne, 7 Nov. 1716, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1716–17, no. 4978.

98 Nat. Soc. SP/1/1, 31 Oct. 1716.

99 Jones, , Charily school movement, p. 117. Sykes, , William Wake, 11, 220–2, generally accepts Jones's account of the ineffectiveness of the purge.

100 Newman to Gibson, 20 July 1723, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, May–November 1723, fos. 26–7.

101 Newman to Mr Wheeler, 11 Apr. 1717, S.P.C.K., special letters, 1708–32, fo. 151. Newman candidly accepted that ‘some Masters & Mistresses Wth their Children have given too great Occasion for such Jealousies’.

102 Newman to Francis Fox, 5 Dec. 1717, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1716–17, fo. 86.

103 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 5 June 1718.

104 Ibid. 22 May, 5 June 1718. Jones, , Charity school movement, p. 119, gives the impression that a memorandum complaining of continuing Jacobite influence in the schools prompted Wake to take this action. But this anonymous memorandum (C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 15, fos. 379–86), probably written by Thomas Bray, is undated, and there is no evidence to suggest a 1718 dating. Instead, the author's frenzied tones would indicate a date in the second half of 1716 or early 1717.

105 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 29 May 1718. See also Wake to Newman, 2 June 1718, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1717–18, no. 5610.

106 Contrast also Wake's compliant attitude to the schools in 1718 with his deep suspicion of Jacobitism in the religious societies; see Wake to the stewards of the religious societies, 3 Apr. 1718, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1717–18, no. 5581.

107 Wake to Newman, 2 June 1718, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1717–18, no. 5610. The Trustees did not act upon this suggestion, but the S.P.C.K. recommended the idea to its Correspondents. See S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 12 June 1718; Circular Letter of the S.P.C.K. (London, 1718), in C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 27, fo. 161.

108 C.C.L., Arch.W.Epist. 27, fo. 229. This report of events by the rector of Chislehurst, George Wilson, was printed in full by the Post Boy, 18/20 Sept. 1718, no. 4548.

109 Post Boy, 30 Oct./1 Nov. 1718, no. 4566; Defoe, Daniel, Charity still a Christian virtue (London, 1719), pp. 66–7.

110 Howell, T. B., ed., A complete collection of state trials (33 vols., London, 18091826), XV, cols. 1415–19.

111 Ibid. col. 1419. Powys had been criticised by local whig partisans for imposing too light a punishment. He justified his leniency by arguing that his decision was a new opinion in point of law, and that a more severe punishment would have aroused public sympathy for the defendants.

112 Defoe, , Charity still a Christian virtue, pp. 35–6.

113 Ibid. p. 68.

114 Ibid. p. 59.

115 Post Boy, 30 Oct./1 Nov. 1718, no. 4566.

116 Ibid. 18/20 Sept. 1718, no. 4548.

117 G.L., MS 1775, fos. 1–4.

118 Ibid. fo. 5.

119 Ibid. fos. 12–17, 31–7.

120 Ibid. fo. 16.

121 Ibid. fo. 18.

122 Ibid. fo. 19.

123 Ibid. fo. 20.

124 Ibid. fos. 57–64.

125 Ibid. fo. 84.

126 Clark, J. C. D., English society 1688–1832: ideology, social structure and political practice during the ancien regime (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 137–8; Townend, , ‘Religious radicalism and conservatism’, p. 40.

127 British Journal, 15 June 1723, no. 39, upon which the following passage is based.

128 Philotheus, , A defence of the charity-schools in answer to the many uncharitable and false aspersions, contain'd in Cato's letter in the British Journal of the 15th of June, 1723, in a letter to a friend (London, 1723), p. 6, in Bod., MS Rawlinson D839, fos. 107–9.

129 Weekly Journal, or Saturday's Post, 20 July 1723, no. 227; B.L., Add. MS 27980, fo. 95.

130 Evening Post, 9/11 July 1723, no. 2177.

131 London Journal, 10 Aug. 1723, no. 211. Speck, W. A., ‘Bernard Mandeville and the Middlesex grand jury’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, XI (19771978), 362–74, has suggested that the tory grand jury presented the pro-government Mandeville in order to patch up relations with the opposition whigs, which had been damaged by its earlier action against the British Journal. Professor Speck's argument is intriguing, but it rests upon the dubious assumption of strong links between the tones and the opposition whigs. I see no reason to doubt the validity of Mandeville's own judgement.

132 Mandeville, Bernard, The Fable of the Bees or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits (London, 1723), pp. 341–7, 357. ‘Cato’ also deployed this argument against the schools, and in such similar terms that he probably lifted it straight from Mandeville's ‘Essay’.

133 Mandeville, , Fable, p. 313.

134 Ibid. p. 325.

135 Ibid. pp. 318–19.

136 Ibid. p. 354. As a ministerial supporter, Mandeville also claimed that anti-clerical opposition whigs supported the schools as a means to undermine clerical influence over the laity. It may well have been this ludicrous charge which stung ‘Cato’ into launching his bitter invective against the schools.

137 Mandeville, , Fable, p. 355. For Mandeville's defence, see London Journal, 10 Aug. 1723, no. 211.

138 Speck, , ‘Bernard Mandeville’, p. 365, for the composition of the grand jury. For tory attacks upon ‘Cato’ and Mandeville, see Saturday's Post, 27 July 1723, no. 228; Law, William, Remarks upon a late book, entituled The Fable of the Bees (London, 1724), pp. 97–8; Hendley, WilliamA defence of the charity-schools (London, 1725). Hendley had been one of the defendants in the Chislehurst case.

139 London Journal, 20 July 1723, no. 208. This letter was written by Henry Newman; see Newman to Bishop Gibson, 1 July 1723, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, May–November 1723, fo. 21.

140 London Journal, 27 July 1723, no. 209.

141 Weekly Journal, or British Gazeteer, 29 June 1723.

142 Daily Courant, 16 Nov. 1724, no. 7203. See also B.L., Add. MS 47078, fo. 199.

143 Jones, , Charity school movement, pp. 126–30; Sykes, , William Wake, 11, 221–2.

144 Newman to Gibson, 21 June 1723, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, May–November 1723, fos. 13–14; S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 2 July 1723.

145 Newman to Gibson, 20 July 1723, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, May–November 1723, fos. 26–7.

146 Gibson to S.P.C.K., 30 June 1724, S.P.C.K., abstract letter books, 1723–5, no. 7906. See also Newman to Gibson, 10 July 1724, S.P.C.K., Newman Society letters, 1723–4, fos. 74–5.

147 Sykes, Norman, Edmund Gibson, bishop of London 1669–1748: a study in politics and religion in the eighteenth century (Oxford, 1926), pp. 202–3.

148 Daily Courant, 16 Nov. 1724.

149 Quoted in Sykes, , Gibson, pp. 202–3.

150 Daily Courant, 16 Nov. 1724.

151 Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver's travels (Harmondsworth, 1967 edn), p. 171.

152 Daily Courant, 16 Nov. 1724.

153 S.P.C.K., Society minutes, 17 Nov. 1724.

154 Nat. Soc, SP/1/1, 1 Dec. 1724.

155 S.P.C.K., Society minutes 8 Dec. 1724; Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 1 Dec. 1724.

156 Watts, Isaac, An essay towards the encouragement of charity schools (London, 1728), pp. 44–6. Jones, , Charity school movement, p. 129, completely misunderstands the meaning of this passage.

157 Rogers, John, A sermon preach'd in the parish-church of St Sepulchre … at the anniversary meeting of the children educated in the charity-schools in and about the cities of London and Westminster (London, 1729), pp. 1213.

158 Edward Harley was chairman of the Trustees from 1725 until his death ten years later; Benjamin Hoare from 1737 to 1743; and Alderman Sir Richard Hoare from 1747 to 1749. Benjamin was the brother, and Sir Richard the son, of the pious Henry Hoare.

159 Colley, Linda, In defiance of oligarchy: the tory party 1714–60 (Cambridge, 1982), p. 109; Taylor, Stephen, ‘Sir Robert Walpole, the Church of England, and the Quaker Tithes Bill of 1736’, Historical Journal, XXVIII (1985), 5177, at 56. For the hostility of the Trustees towards the Mortmain Act, see Nat. Soc., SP/1/1, 1, 6, 21 April, 6 May 1736.

* I am grateful to Mark Goldie and John Morrill for their comments on earlier drafts of this essay. I would also like to thank Gordon Heulin of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Ian Pearson of the National Society, and Beatrice Crowne for their assistance during the research for this article.

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‘Seminarys of Faction and Rebellion’: Jacobites, Whigs and the London Charity Schools, 1716–1724*

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