William Fox original letter to Raikes
London, June 15, 1785.
SIR-The liberality and goodness of heart manifested in your benevolent plan of Sunday Schools, I trust, render unnecessary any apology though from a stranger, when it is considered that his only view in writing is that he may be enabled to copy after so worthy an example.
You must know, sir, long before your excellent letter appeared in the papers, I had a compassion, and entertained sentiments for the indigent and ignorant poor extremely similar to your own. This led me to set up a school in one of our villages, (Clapton, near Bourton-on-the-water,) but as it is a daily one, and therefore attended with far greater expense, and perhaps with less utility than yours, it will very much oblige me, and probably greatly promote the design I have in view, if you will please to favor me with a further account of your plan, if any alteration, and what particular advantages have resulted from it since the publication of your letter. I have been apprehensive, and shall be extremely glad to find myself mistaken, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to teach children to read by their attendance on schools only one day in seven. This is very material for me to know; and if they can, it will also be as desirable to ascertain the average time it takes for such instruction, together with the age at which they are taken, the mode pursued by the teachers, and the expense attending the same. The reason I am thus particular is because a society is forming in town, to which I belong, for carrying a plan of this sort into general use. The design, I dare say, will appear to you laudable, but at the same time difficult. Its success depends on the concurrence and aid of well-disposed Christians throughout the kingdom. Great events, however, having frequently taken their rise from small, and, to human appearance, trifling beginnings. We wish to make a trial; and as the committee for drawing up a plan meet on the 23rd instant, I beg the favor of your reply prior to that time, that we may have the benefit of an experienced work, in order to assist in our deliberation.
I remain, Sir,
~ W. Fox.
Labels: William Fox