According to The Times in 1850, ‘It is the truest honour of our novel writers that they have been the pioneers in many instances of important social changes — the finger-posts, as it were, of useful discovery.’ 1 But this was as true for the LCM, RSU, and SICLC as it was for Dickens and Mrs Gaskell; and the same might be said for the individual contributions of many evangelical and nonevangelical philanthropists alike who laboured incessantly to focus attention on social ills. Yet it is evident that evangelicals were especially zealous in promoting social and religious work in slums, and that evangelical efforts played a particularly important role in bringing about a greater awareness of slum problems. The RSU, for example, was indisputably successful as a propagandist body — a point made clear by the editor of the Morning Chronicle in 1850. The founders of ragged schools, a leading article stated, ‘may take to themselves the credit of having given the first impetus to the endeavour to raise the moral condition of the poor … We fear, with too much cause, that no Government would ever originate any such scheme; it must be forced upon our rulers by a pressure from without, before they will entertain it. To Lord Ashley and his coadjutors belong much praise and honour for all they have endeavoured to effect.’2
KeywordsMoral Condition Final Compliment Religious Work Household Word Industrial School
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.