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that the subject may be investigated by your Honourable House.
And your Petitioner, as in duty bound, will ever pray,
John MINTER MORGAN.
A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE CLERGY OF THE METROPOLIS AND ITS VICINITY, CONTAINING THE FOREGOING PETITION.
May 18th, 1843. REVEREND SIR, Convinced that, with the blessing of God, it is in the power of the Clergy to terminate in a comparatively short time much of the present destitution, demoralisation, and misery prevalent among the working classes, I venture to request a perusal of the Petition in the paper enclosed, and I beg briefly, but respectfully, to explain the reasons for concluding that such important aid to suffering humanity, as I have to suggest, could be afforded with facility by the Ministers of Religion.
Under the persuasion that there was no class so well acquainted with the distresses of the people, or so anxious to relieve them, as the Clergy, the Design of the Self-supporting Institution, illustrated by a transparent painting, was, in the first instance, submitted to their inspection at the University of Oxford, the ViceChancellor allowing the painting to be exhibited in any of the colleges of the University.
At Cheltenham, by permission of the Rev. Francis Close, a public meeting was held in the large Infant
Clos At Chelices of the the painting
School-room, which was crowded to excess. The Rev. John Sharwood presided upon the occasion, and several Clergymen attended.
At Leeds, where great distress prevails, the subject was explained in the presence of the Vicar and twentyfive of the Clergy of that town and its neigbourhood.
At Sheffield, the Vicar and the Clergy devoted much time to an explanation.
A considerable number of the Clergy at these places expressed the greatest interest in the plan, and a desire that a Model Institution should be formed; while all concurred in thinking the Inquiry highly useful.
It was not to be expected that a comprehensive Design, embracing the various interests and relations of man, opposed to competition (a principle identified with the prevailing opinions and feelings, and which, though encouraged by Conventional authority, is nevertheless condemned by Religion), should be fully understood even by minds the most enlarged, without a greater degree of attention than pressing avocations will in general permit—but whenever time has been allowed for that anxious and grave investigation which the magnitude and urgent importance of the subject demand, especially amid the present degrading contentions of party, and the deplorable condition of the people, the truth of the theory, and its probable success in practice, have been unequivocally admitted.
The following instances, besides those already adverted to, may be adduced :
The plan having, on its first publication, attracted the notice of some distinguished Clergymen, a meeting was held to consider the best means of bringing it before the public. It was there suggested that, if information were obtained regarding the economy of the Moravian Settlements, as bearing some affinity to the proposed measure, its practical operation would, in some respects, be exemplified. Accordingly, those of Herrnhut and Klenwilkie, in Saxony; Neuweid, on the Rhine; and Zu Zeyst, in Holland, were visited, and thus an opportunity was afforded of submitting the plan itself to those of a religious denomination long respected for zeal and piety, and also for practical experience. After the most careful deliberation, a separate document was signed at each of the four Settlements, by the Bishops and managers, approving the principle of the plan, and recommending the speeedy establishment of a Model Institution.
At Dresden the Design underwent a lengthened investigation by Baron Lindenau, Prime Minister to the King of Saxony, who, after expressing his warmest approbation of the plan, proposed laying it before the Minister of the Interior.
At Dussenthal, near Dusseldorf, the benevolent Baron Von de Recke devoted several hours to an examination, and declared that if he had not his own establishment in hand, where 160 orphans of both sexes form a religious association, and are employed in agriculture and in various handicraft works on the lands, and in the buildings of an old monastery, nothing would be so gratifying to him as to assist in carrying the plan into execution.
If those are right, who, after bestowing adequate attention on the subject, and are in other respects peculiarly qualified to decide, have pronounced a favourable opinion, then is there nothing more required
than the same degree of attention from the intelligent in general, to secure for the people a remedy for their severe distress.
I beg, therefore, with great deference, to submit, that this object might be effected by the numerous attendance of the Clergy at a public meeting convened for Inquiry only, and at which one of the prelates, or an influential Nobleman, should preside; a resolution, recommending further investigation by society at large, passed at a meeting so highly respectable, would necessarily arouse attention throughout the empire.
Should this proposal be honoured with your approbation, I shall be much obliged by your informing me if you would sanction such a meeting with your presence. I have the honour to be, Reverend Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
John MINTER MORGAN.
As the result of the inspection of these documents, many of the Clergy, and other influential characters, to whose consideration they were submitted in the Spring of 1848, signed a paper to the following effect:
“Having been requested to give an opinion as to the expediency of a renewed circulation of these documents, we desire to express our conviction, that, at the present time of difficulty and danger and wide-spread distress, we think it of the highest importance that the subject-matter of them should engage the serious and deep attention of the public at large; and we would particularly invite the Clergy generally, and all men of influence and talent, to unite either in promoting a wide and careful examination of the Design, or in taking some decisive steps towards the realisation of a Model Institution, especially as, in the commencement, there will be more difficulties to encounter than after a successful experi
ment has once been made ; but, in order to achieve that preliminary object, it is absolutely necessary that the most adequate means for its accomplishment should be secured. We speak not merely of pecuniary means, because we are convinced that, when once a desire for such Institutions shall be created in the public mind, with every prospect of success in the Establishment, assured by a confidence in the competency and character of those composing the Board of Directors, the funds required for the undertaking will soon be forthcoming. However incompatible the prevailing Institutions may be with the principles and spirit of religion, the uncongenial feelings and habits of different classes render any sudden change altogether impracticable, but, in the proposals now submitted, we recognise solely an initiative and transition state, and even that in the first instance for a detached portion of one class only, thereby affording, without prematurely disturbing existing Institutions, greater facilities for a superior discipline and training, and more especially for the rising generation, who will thus become better qualified as constituent Members of a Christian Community of a higher order, advancing continually in the great career of general improvement and diffusive happiness.
“It must be obvious that, in the first, or Model, Institution, too much care could not be taken, that each Manager should be eminently qualified to superintend the specific employment of his department, or to discharge the duties of his particular office, and that Directors should be chosen capable of uniting all the parts in the most effective order and harmonious combination. It is also essential that the institution should be governed with special regard to a moral, intellectual, and spiritual elevation in the character of the Inhabitants.
"It is therefore indispensable that an efficient, active, and comprehensive committee, be formed, for the purpose of bringing together all the means, of whatever kind, necessary to ensure success.
“These are the considerations that induce us to make an earnest appeal to all who feel interested in the subject, as well as to those who would be most competent, from their influence, their position, their talents, and their zeal, to come forward at once to assist in an arduous undertaking, of infinite importance to the interests of humanity.”