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Foundling Hospital---Mr. Hewlet--Mr. More--English preachers-
A sermon of twelve minutes—Singing at the Foundling-Two blind singers—The Foundlings—Hogarth-Captain CoramSt. Stephen's.
August 18.-I have frequently attended divine service at the chapel of the Foundling Hospital. I was there again this morning, and heard an excellent sermon from Mr. Hewlet. It was levelled against some fashionable irregularities, particularly the breach of the Sabbath, for purposes of recreation.
There is another gentleman, whom I have repeatedly heard in this chapel, with great pleasure; I allude to Mr. More. His discourses are finished compositions, nervous, glowing, and impressive, while they are chaste, and free from verbosity and false ornament. He has, in his manner of speaking, many of the graces of an orator, and his performances are always interesting, because he seems really in earnest, and deeply impressed himself with those truths which he is endeavouring to enforce on others. In the indiscriminate way in which I have attended the churches of this country, usually without any previous knowledge either of the place or preacher, I have too often been unfortunate in not finding decisive indications either of great talents, learning, or piety, and I have no doubt that, in a majority of instances, I have fallen upon preachers who were far below the general standard of the country. I make no general deductions unfavourable to England, while I merely state these facts. I was, a few Sabbaths since, in a church, in which, from its being very near my residence, I have attended more than once, where a young man concluded a very loose declamation, in the form of a sermon, in precisely twelve minutes. He seemed to be one of those
- things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
This gentleman, however, had the advantage of Cowper's divine, by just three minutes of time, and, I presume, from his countenance, that he was really the author of the composition which he read.
The singing at the chapel of the Foundling Hospital is very fine, and forms one of those attractions, which, coinciding with the interesting nature of the institution, pro
duce a great resort of genteel people to this place. I al·lude particularly to the singing of the Foundlings themselves, which is soft, melodious, and natural ; but there is a couple of blind leaders, who, from its being their profession to sing, and because they obtain their bread by it, must needs introduce so many trills, shakes, and guttural echoes, that they turn sacred music into a theatrical exhibition, and lead one almost to wish that, if it were proper to make an election among the judgments of heaven, that theirs had been to be dumb instead of blind.
I was in company to-day with a gentleman, who after morning service, took me into the dining hall of the female foundlings, where we saw a very interesting spectacle. Nearly two hundred of these little beings, apparent
ly very healthy and cheerful, and neatly dressed, were partaking of a wholesome and abundant dinner. Before they began, at a signal given, they all stood in an attiude of reverence, while one of their number, a little thing of six years of age, with her hands clasped, asked a blessing in a perfectly proper manner, while the whole number, with one voice pronounced-Amen.
The dining hall is adorned with the portraits of the benefactors of the institution, and among these, that of Captain Coram, who spent seventeen years of his life in assiduous exertions to found this charity, occupies, as it certainly ought to do, the most distinguished place.
Coram was a private and obscure individual, a captain in the American trade, and his history will long be remembered, as affording a striking illustration of the force of benevolent affections and the success of benevolent exertions. The precise object of this institution is expressed in the following words; “For preventing the frequent murders of poor miserable infants at their birth, and for suppressing the inhuman custom of exposing newborn infants to perish in the streets."
The admission of foundlings is not however indiscriminate; it proceeds upon a principle of selection; those objects are preferred which have the strongest claims. It is needless to say that such an institution, in such a place as London, is always full; at present there are more than five hundred foundlings of both sexes, and it is impossible to look at these little friendless unacknowledged beings, who are ignorant of their natural protectors, and of the ties which connect them to the rest of the species, without strong emotions of pity.
We went next into the dining-rooin of the boys, who are equally numerous as the girls; the same decorum prevailed there, and one of them asked a blessing in the same
Hogarth was a benefactor of the Foundling Hospital, and some of his best pictures are suspended here, particularly his master-piece, The march to Finchley ; this, on account of some rather too faithful copies which it contains of traits of real life, will form a more proper topic of oral than of written description. Several other pieces, some of them by great masters, and relating principally to scripture history, are to be seen in the committee-room.
In the afternoon, I attended at St. Stephen's, Walbrook. After St. Paul's, this church is the most magnificent in London, and is reckoned one of Sir Christopher Wren's master-pieces. It is indeed a grand and beautiful structure. The preacher gave us a very good discourse, but, his task is a very discouraging one, for, in this magnificent church, the whole audience, including the clerk, the organist, and twenty charity children, who are obliged to attend, did not amount to fifty persons.
St. Luke's Hospital-An Asylum for lunatics—A distressing sight
-Different forms and varieties of madness Particular individuals.
ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL.
August 23.—This morning, in consequence of an arrangement which Mr. Ogilvy, an English friend of mine,
was so good as to make for me, I went with one of the managers of St. Luke's Hospital, to visit that institution, It is situated in Old-street, near Finsbury-square. The structure is extensive, being between four and five hundred feet long, and, although it is plain in its appearance, it is by no means destitute of elegance.
This is a charitable institution, for the reception, and, as far as possible, for the cure of those unfortunate beings, who are visited with the most dreadful of all the judgments of heaven, madness. My conductor, who, as a manager of the hospital, was now on a tour of duty, to inspect every part of it, took me with him and obligingly explained the whole system.
The building is wonderfully neat, clean, airy and convenient. Here, it was my fortune to see, nearly three hundred of my fellow creatures, deprived of the due exercise of their understandings, and blotted out from the intellectual creation.
We first visited the women, whose apartments are, of course, by themselves. Their cells are arranged, on both sides of several long galleries or halls, with their doors opening into this common passage.
There are also wings to the building which contain cells arranged in a similar
At night, each patient is shut up in a solitary cell, but, in the day, they are suffered to walk at large, through the halls, which are spacious and airy. From this indulgence, those lunatics who are dangerous are exempted; they are confined with more or less rigor, as the case may require.
We walked around among the maniacs, and my coulductor, who was a respectable Jew, and possessed of much mildness and humanity, was immediately recognised by most of those we met, who seemed to welcome him as a