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No capital in the world can vie with our own metropolis in the number, the ample funds, or excellent regulations of its charitable establishments; yet the stream of London Benevolence flows in a channel, which, though deep and mighty, is noiseless, and frequently unobserved ; nor are its resources always obvious or readily accessible to the sick, the poor, and the friendless. Nothing certainly can be farther removed from the genuine spirit of Charity, than an ostentatious display of its exertions in the cause of suffering humanity ; but the laudable objects it has in view can only be completely attained, by giving sufficient publicity to the nature and extent of the various means of relief it pos
The object of this little work is therefore, not merely to furnish memoranda to persons engaged as active patrons in the cause of charity, but also to serve as a guide to those whose welfare is the object of those exertions; and it is hoped that, by the notoriety which it aims at giving to various charitable institutions and societies in London, it may be the means of providing against much unnecessary trouble, and of saving many useless inquiries to both the parties concerned.
The Pietas Londinensis" of Mr. Highmore abounds with useful information on the subject of many of these charities; but its cumbrous size (being swelled to two thick octavo volumes) makes it incapable of answering the purpose for which the present work is designed. Leaving to him the province of encomiast and historian, it has been the intention here to collect together, in a short compass, practical notices more iminediately useful to those who are engaged in the promotion of charity, or who are in the habit of attending public meetings in general. The date of each society has been given, when it was to be ascertained, after which follow in succession the objects of its institution, the qualifications and subscription of members and governors, the general times of anniversaries and quarterlymeetings, dinners, sermons, &c., together with a general account of its progress and pecuniary resources, as well as the extent and sphere of its activity. It has been attempted also to give, as nearly as possible, the occurrences of the late year.
The general Almanack of Metropolitan Benevolence, which is prefixed, will be found useful to all public men who are in the habit of attending the meetings of these several societies; and contribute, it is to be hoped, beneficially to the general disposal of their time.
As to the publicity which this work may give to these societies, it is to be remarked, that in many instances it is that of which the want has long been felt. The advertisement of an anniversary in
the newspapers, or notices of matters concerning the
It is something, too, to be able to bring forward to the world at large, and in a forma easily attainable to all, so rich a catalogue of mercy and benevolence as the British metropolis is entitled to display; which is, indeed, so great in its extent, that when its several items are collected together in one point of view, they will not fail to create surprise in the minds even of those who may have been in the habit of making a
large estimate of the good feelings of their fellowcountrymen.
With such as are high in official rank, the charitable subscriptions (which they feel in an especial manner called upon to support) consume a very large portion of their regular income. Those, also, who are looked up to by the people, as holding the largest stake in the possessions of the country, whether as land proprietors or as commercial men, enter their names cheerfully and eagerly on every call that is made, and with a liberality of mind that truly corresponds with the greatness of their means. Many might be mentioned, both private individuals and official personages, who make a constant provision in their expenditure, for laying out from one to two thousand pounds per annum in charitable subscriptions.
Nor, at a period when ideas subversive of all social order are so eagerly and industriously circulated by the dissolute and disaffected, is it unwillingly that the Editor performs a duty to the public, in exhibiting, in its true colours, the conduct of those persons who now constitute the wealthier classes of society, and in bearing testimony to the generous warmth that actuates their piety and real patriotism. They, whom the inevitable conditions of humanity have destined to a harder lot in this world, ought to know and see how great an interest is taken in their welfare by their happier brethren; they ought to become acquainted, and even made familiar, with names that deserve to be enrolled in the annals of benevolence, if not for their