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bear my trials;' or she would say, 'I long for your coming as the hart for the water-brooks ;' and she hardly ever failed to express her admiration of the service and love of the evening hymn with which we always ended, saying it reminded her of former times. I hardly ever left without her expressing a hope that I should go again in the course of the week, which often I was not able to do. She had the truest comfort and support from her religion. At every opportunity she partook of the Holy Communion, and spoke of her joy in doing so. But it often grieved my heart to think of what she endured from the conversation and conduct of some of the ungodly around her. Ah ! here is the real trial of the workhouse wards, and one that can never be remedied till some Christian women who are respected are found to be more constantly in them, so as to maintain an influence which will check the language and conduct of those who, amongst such numbers and such various characters, we must expect to meet with there.
“ Often and often has she told me of wranglings, quarrellings, and language which grieved her very soul, and marred the peace which either our services, or the weekly readings of the chaplain, or the celebration of the Holy Communion, had imparted to her. There was no one whom I so earnestly longed to take away to some place where she could more fully enjoy the religious privileges she so valued and longed for. But her wish and mine are now fulfilled, far better than they could have been here on earth. She felt the cold greatly, but she never went near the fire. I never saw her elsewhere than sitting under the window, and her storehouse was in her turned-up bedstead. She never complained, but was
most grateful for any little gifts of tea or lozenges, or for trifling articles, such as cuffs made of list, or mittens. Oh, how my heart used to ache for her and many others when I went out for, or came home from, a country holiday in the summer! I used to fear to tell her I was going, and to her anxious inquiries if I should be gone a fortnight, have to tell her perhaps of a three months' absence. I only mention this to show that there is affection and friendship to be met with in a workhouse.
“She had been very poorly from the cold of this winter, and often said her strength was failing. One Sunday she told me she had been looking out the Psalms she would like me to read to her when she was dying, and I then begged that if she were worse she would send for me at any time. She delighted in the reading of the prayers in the ward, night and morning, by the nurse, a plan introduced when the present master and matron came ; and once when it was interrupted, on the nurse being changed, said she could not live without them now. The last Sunday I saw her she greeted me with, 'Well, dearly beloved in the Lord, you come as the messenger of peace.' I little thought it was the last time I should be such to her. She looked ill, and said she had been sadly, keeping her bed, but she joined as usual in all the service. Before the next Sunday her place was empty.
I heard in the course of the week that she was worse, and was moved into another smaller ward ; but it was a week of unusual occupation, and I could not spare an hour to go to see her till Thursday, and then I found she had been dead some hours. I deeply regretted that I had not been to her before, but she had been read to by many persons in the house, who all loved and respected her, and I heard I that as long as consciousness remained she was happy and
resigned, and, indeed, glad to go. I miss her sadly now on Sundays, for I feel that there is no one left in our little assembly who so heartily and earnestly values and joins in our weekly services.”
It was very
The following extract is from a letter, dated May, 1858, from Mrs. May, the authoress of “The Plan,” referred to. It seems that it was the joint production of herself and Mrs. Archer, of Swindon, who also wrote “The Scheme for Befriending Orphan Pauper Children," in 1861. See Appendix VII.
“Your note greatly pleased and interested us both, and more than that, for it has quite revived our zeal for the workhouses, which had a little died away. kind of you to mention that our little pamphlet had assisted in turning your attention to the workhouses; that it should have done so in any degree is a very great and unexpected pleasure to us. I may mention to you that the late Mr. Lockhart, the editor of the Quarterly, much approved of the ‘Plan,' and said it was calculated to lighten the national horizon. It is, however, much easier to write a plan, and make suggestions for lightening our, in some respects, dark horizon, than to carry them out; but you are doing both, and must, I am sure, feel great satisfaction in your weekly labours and Sunday reading. Since reading your pamphlet, it occurred to me that I might be of use by giving some books to the workhouse. Mr. A- and a neighbouring clergyman mean also to lend or give books, and we hope this will be the beginning of a workhouse library. The chairman has also ordered a Bible and Prayer book to be placed in each ward."
It is somewhat singular that the following extract relates to sume reforms, begun one hundred years ago, in the workhouse belonging to the same parish in which my first visits and investigations were made.
“Jonas Hanway, born in 1712, was a man eminent in his own day for his integrity as a merchant, and his public spirit as a patriot and philanthropist, though his name is now all but unknown. He was one of the many patient, persevering men who have made England what it is, content simply to do with energy the work they have been appointed to do, and to go to their rest thankfully when it is done-
'Leaving no memorial but a world, made better by their lives.'
“ His most laborious and persevering efforts were in behalf of the infant parish poor. The subsequent labours of Howard in behalf of prisoners were not more honourable him than were those of Hanway in behalf of th helpless and innocent offspring of the unfortunate. The misery and neglect amidst which the children of the parish poor then grew up, and the mortality which prevailed amongst them, were positively frightful ; but there was no fashionable movement on foot to remedy the evil, as in the case of the foundling. So Jonas Hanway summoned his individual energies to the task. Alone and unassisted he first endeavoured to ascertain, by personal inquiry, the extent of the evil. He explored the miserable and unhealthy dwellings of the poorest classes in London, and visited the poorhouse sick wards, by which he carefully ascertained the management in detail of every workhouse in and near the metropolis. In order then to ascertain in what manner the legislators of foreign countries had dealt with a similar evil, he made a journey into France, through Holland, visiting all the public houses for the reception of the poor on his way, and noting whatever he thought might be adopted at home with advantage. He was thus employed for five years, and on his return to England, at intervals, he published the result of his observations ; but his account was so melancholy that he was generally disbelieved, and he made many enemies in consequence of having ventured to publish the names of every parish officer, of whatever rank in life, under whose hands any infants had died of neglect. It appeared that in one workhouse, in St. Clement Danes, one nurse had twenty-three poor children committed to her care in the year 1765, of whom eighteen had died, two were discharged, and only three remained alive. Of seventyfour children received into the workhouse of St. Andrew's and St. George, Holborn, sixty-four had died during the same year. In some populous parishes, not a single child was found alive at the end of twelve months-all