1849 February: Ragged School Union Magazine; The Power of Pence

In the December number of the “Children’s Missionary Record of the Free Church of Scotland,” it was suggested that, during the holidays, a special collection might be made by the children in behalf of the Mission Schemes of the Church. Beyond this simple proposal, no other influence was used. Every Christian heart will rejoice to hear that the zeal and willinghood manifested by these children has been almost beyond a parallel.


The sums received up to the middle of January amounted to no less than £488. 16s. 5d. The enormous number of applications the devoted children had made may be inferred from the fact, that, to one amount of £2. 0s 5 1/2d., the names of 191 individuals were given as contributors.


“When in this way,” says the Record, “one hundred and twenty thousand pennies were collected—more than a quarter of a million of half-pence —a mass of copper amounting to about three tons in weight, and which it would require three strong horses to move—we have surely a striking illustration of what has been called ‘ the mighty power of littles.’ ”


Were such an effort made once a year by a twentieth portion of the healthy, happy, well-fed children in London, an amount, might be collected more than sufficient to support a Juvenile Refuge large enough to hold two hundred poor, destitute children, and supply them with clothing, food, and education. And surely the benefactors themselves would not be the least blest, if, instead of spending their money on trifles—too often to their own hurt—they were thus taught habits of economy and benevolence, and to show a love and a sympathy for their less fortunate brothers and sisters, many of whom are shivering in the midnight winds, with the wet door-step for a pillow, when they are secure within, sleeping sweetly on their warm beds.


The above is a reproduction of the article ‘The Power of Pence’ found in the 1849 February publication of the Ragged School Union Magazine.


Some history around the period includes:

31st January Corn Laws are abolished in the United Kingdom pursuant to legislation in 1846.

14th February In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

29th March The United Kingdom annexes the Punjab region called Punjab

3rd May The May Uprising in Dresden begins the last of the The Revolutions of 1848 in the German states named German revolutions of 1848

15th May Troops of the Two Sicilies take Palermo and crush the republican government of Sicily

3rd July The French enter Rome in order to restore Pope Pius IX to power. This would prove a major obstacle to Italian unification

22nd August The first airstrike known as air raid in history. Austria launches pilotless balloons against the city of Venice.

28th August After a month-long siege, Venice, which had declared itself independent as the Republic of San Marco, surrenders to Austria

17th September American Abolitionism in the United States e.g abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery

16th November A Russian court sentences writer Fyodor Dostoevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group; his sentence is later commuted to hard labor.

Info drawn from: www.eventshistory.com/date/1949


February–May — Shareholder enquiries into the conduct of railway financier George Hudson begin his downfall

Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley (published as by Currer Bell).

Thomas De Quincey’s essay The English Mail-Coach (in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, October–December).

Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield begins serialisation (May).

J. A. Froude’s controversial novel of religious doubt The Nemesis of Faith.

John Ruskin’s essay The Seven Lamps of Architecture (May).

Notes and Queries first published (November).

Who’s Who first published.

Henry David Thoreau – Resistance to Civil Government

Drawn from Wikipedia


“…the Motion which he had to bring forward on this occasion with regard to the conduct of the East India Company, in connexion with Sattara and the family of the late Rajah, was one more intimately connected with the principle of religious liberty than perhaps any which the House had had to deal with during the present Session, and in bringing it forward he had very great difficulties to deal with. On the 1st of March last he had moved for papers connected with the subject of this robbery and violation of religious liberty; but though they might easily have been furnished in twenty-four hours, they had not yet been laid on the table of the House. He also felt the disadvantage of not having much chance of an audience on this occasion. He wished to protest against the downright robbery inflicted by the East India Company in this case, without entering at all into the injustice with which they had treated the late Rajah. Her Majesty’s President of the Board of Control had again and again declared that due attention should be paid to the rights of the heirs of the late Rajah; and it was because he thought that justice required this to be done, and because he had a strong feeling with regard to the injury which the character of the East India Company would receive by joining with robbers Toggle showing location of Column 1150 and plunderers, that he now asked the House to agree to the resolutions of which he had given notice. It was a source of deep regret to him to see the East India Company influenced by such a downright greed for the acquisition of now territory. The hon. Member read an extract from a letter of Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone, stating that he had never given it as his opinion that the treaty with the late Rajah had lapsed, or that his heir had no just claim, and that he attached the ordinary meaning to the word “perpetuity” in the treaty that was held in all Indian treaties. But there had been also a violation of the religious rights of the natives in this case. They had such another interference with the Budhist worship in Ceylon lately which had led to the destruction of human life, of which the House would hear more next Session; and this interference was the more to be regretted, as in past times the East India Company had always carefully abstained from interfering with the religious worship of the natives. He was now merely putting the question in a train for the next Session. He was putting the Government in possession of the ground upon which he meant, at an early period of the next Session of Parliament, to move for an inquiry. He should, therefore, not go into the question at any length, nor lay before the House the proofs that he had prepared. He should merely say briefly that he had then a copy of a minute signed by an hon. director who was a Member of that House, and by nine other directors, which stated that there was no collateral heir to the property of the late Rajah, and that, therefore, the Company was entitled to assume the property. But the fact was that there were family heirs to the number of thirty in existence. And what did Mr. Frere, who was the Resident at Sattara when the late Rajah died, say? Why that he knew of no heirs but by adoption. And he added, that the Hindoo law was, that an heir by adoption, an heir adopted by a dying Rajah, caused all collateral heirs to be set aside. That was a religious custom of the Hindoos, and to set it aside was an infringement upon their religious liberty.[Sir J. C. HOBHOUSE: NO, no!] Yes; he repeated it was. But there were hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in that House who would say anything, or deny anything, to serve their ends. There was the evidence of Mr. Tucker, the most experienced of any of the officers. He said that the words of the treaty made by Mr. Mountstuart Toggle showing location of Column 1151 Elphinstone confirmed the property and sovereignty of Sattara to the regent and his offspring or heirs, so that to assume the sovereignty and property whilst there were living heirs, was a breach of the treaty, and a violation of the law. Mr. Shepherd took the same view. Yet the very last mail brought, he believed, papers that announced the proclamation, declaring the sovereignty annexed to the East India government—a proclamation which damned for ever the Court of East India Directors. It was an act worthy only of the barbarians of the north…”

Info drawn from Hansard Parliamentary Record