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to clearer views and decisive measures. In the year 1815, a memorial was presented to the Earl of Liverpool, framed by Mr. Bowdler, and signed by about 120 laymen, who from their rank in society, their weight either as members of parliament or leading characters in the city of London, their approved worth, and their known attachment to our constitution in church and state, were likely to fix the attention of his Lordship, and afford a just representation of the general feeling upon this subject.
"To The Earl Of Liverpool,
"May it please your Lordship,
"We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, beg permission to state to your Lordship our extreme alarm at the danger to which the constitution of this country, both in church and state, is exposed, from the want of places of public worship, particularly for persons of the middle and lower classes, in many parts of the United Kingdom, and especially in the metropolis and its neighbourhood.
"We believe it will be admitted by all reflecting men, that no nation can prosper unless its morals be preserved, and that this can only be effected by religious principles.
"We acknowledge, with gratitude, that by the laudable exertions of many, both of the clergy and laity, a noble effort has been made to instil such principles into the rising generation, by erecting national schools throughout the country; but we submit to your Lordship, that the benefit of those schools must in a great measure be lost, and the object of them remain unobtained, if places for public worship be not provided for the children therein educated, both during the period of their instruction and after they shall have quitted the schools.
"That places sufficient to answer the end proposed do not exist either in the great parishes which surround the city of London, or in many other populous cities and towns of this kingdom, is notorious. We believe we are correct when we state, that in fifty parishes, in or near the capital, there are more than a million of inhabitants; and that all the places of public worship in those parishes, belonging to the establishment, are not capable of containing one-tenth part of that multitude, and even those places are chiefly calculated for the higher classes of society.
"To cure this dreadful evil, by providing churches or chapels adequate to the wants of the inhabitants, is beyond the power of private or parochial contribution. Parliament alone can do it; and we conceive it to be one of its chief duties to provide places of worship for the members of the established religion.
"We have, [therefore, presumed to call your Lordship's attention to the subject, and anxiously hope that you will be pleased to give it your most serious consideration. "With sentiments of the highest respect,
"We have the honour to subscribe ourselves,
His Majesty's government, under the heavy task of the burthens occasioned by the late war, and the general cry for a remission of taxation, felt themselves compelled to postpone an application to parliament, and no consequences seemed likely to arise from the above memorial, to satisfy the wishes. of those with whom it originated. Their thoughts were continually upon the subject, and they had projected the formation of a society for promoting the building of churches and chapels, but with little hope of success. In the spring of 1817, however, Mr. Bowdler was roused by a letter from his friend and coadjutor, Mr. Davis, whose zeal was never damped by untoward or unpropitious circumstances. He states his anxiety to do his duty, and the wish which he and others had entertained to pursue a simple but secure course; namely, that whatever should be done, in that early stage of the business, should spring from a meeting of those sound and tried friends to the church who had signed the memorial. He proposes, therefore, that they should summon a meeting of the subscribers, previous to which, many of their particular friends might be prepared to expect something more than a dry report, and then good morning. "If," said he, "such a man as Mr. Cotton was called to the chair, at that, or even at a subsequent meeting of the same parties, I think it would not only give respectable countenance, but secure in the outset the most liberal subscriptions; for where are we to look for much money but among the opulent and patriotic merchants of London? and where are they to be found but in his society and connection? It was such a connection that, on Wednesday last, after a dinner at the London Tavern, raised 1500/. for the London Hospital." After some further observations, Mr. Davis concludes with his wonted energy. "You see, my dear Sir, we can do nothing without you; let us set this glorious cause afloat; if we begin but with 100Z. it must accumulate, and it will be next to impossible to misapply it . Under the blessing of Providence we shall then be as near perfection as human affairs can be expected to arrive at; the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, securing the doctrine and discipline of the church, by printing and spreading the Scriptures and Liturgy; the National Society bringing up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and the society we now project affording places where the former can be read, and where the latter can be freely received." A little spark often kindles a great fire, and the zeal of one or two individuals awakens thousands. This letter may be said to have been the immediate occasion of the society which had been for some time contemplated. The proposed meeting was called, Mr. Cotton was placed in the chair, and Mr. Bowdler there explained in detail the circumstances which had led to the presenting of the memorial, and those which had since occurred; the issue of which was, that they had learned from Lord Liverpool's private secretary, that it had reached his Lordship's hands, and formed part of a more extended scheme then in his contemplation. After much discussion, a committee was appointed to prepare such resolutions as they might deem proper to be submitted to another general meeting; and the subscribers being again called together on the 7th of June, it was agreed to form a society for promoting public worship, by giving assistance towards providing additional churchroom, more especially for the lower orders. A deputation was also appointed to wait upon Lord Liverpool, with the resolutions agreed to at this meeting, with authority, if they should find his Lordship not unfavourable to their views, to communicate on the subject with such other high characters in church and state, as they should judge proper. The answer of Lord Liverpool expressed not only his willingness to countenance the society, provided it should receive the sanction of the heads of the church, but his opinion, that if properly constituted, it would further the views of the government upon this subject, and prepare the way for the measures which they had at heart, but had been compelled to defer until the situation of the country would allow of their being carried into effect. By his Lordship's recommendation, the deputation applied to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, each of whom expressed strongly his readiness to concur in aiding the proposed society; the former adding his opinion, that without something being effected on this important subject, much of what was doing by