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the anxious attention paid, and the valuable time employed in the superintendance of our national institutions, by the learned, the rich, the honourable, and the noble of this country, induce us to entertain a hope, that there is much Christian piety and charity remaining in this happy land; that there are still many righteous amongst us, for whose sake this country will yet be spared; and that true Christian piety and charity will never be separated from the British character, till time shall be no more.
The indigent clergy and their families were the particular objects of Mr. Stevens's charities, and, therefore, when in the time of Archbishop Cornwallis, he was elected the treasurer of Queen Anne's bounty, it gave him peculiar satisfaction, as it was an office, for which he was well qualified, in every respect suiting his temper and turn of mind; as it gave him the opportunity of mixing much with the clergy, to whom he had long been attached, both from principle, and the course of his studies ; of frequently meeting and conversing with the bishops of the church; of enquiring into the wants and distresses of that most useful body of men, the clergy; of relieving them from his own purse, when the funds of the charity were not applicable to their case, and of treating all with tenderness and respect. He had twice served the office of
steward to the feast of the Sons of the Clergy, once in 1762, Dr. Horne being the preacher upon that occasion; and again in 1787. To the Corporation of the Widows of the Clergy, and to the Clergy Orphan School, particularly to the latter, he had long been a liberal, nay, a large benefactor: for that school being supposed to be in want of means to hold out relief to as many as required its aid, Mr. Stevens, for many years before his death, contributed £50 per annum, over and above his ordinary subscription. He was a member of the Corporation for propagating the Gospel in foreign Parts; of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge at Home ; a governor of Christ's Hospital of Bridewell and Bethlem Hospitals--of the Magdalen Charity, of which, for many years, he had been one of the committee; and of a variety of other charities, which I only do not name, because the reader would be fatigued with the enumeration. The truth was, Providence had blessed his industry with great success; he was a bachelor; he had no vices to gratify; and he was anxious upon all occasions, by the most ample relief to the poor and needy of every description, to prove himself a wise, faithful, and liberal steward of those bounties, entrusted, by Heaven, to his care. I have it in a letter now lying before me from Mrs. Horne, the widow of the Bishop; and he has also said it to
myself many times, that he never gave his name to a fashionable public subscription; for the fashion would make it fill: but that he kept his money for those who wanted it more, because they had nobody to bring their cause into public notice. He took occasions also to be charitable and to do good wherever he saw the occasion called for it, without solicitation. Thus a clergyman, of the deepest learning, and most exalted piety, the utility of whose life to society the writer of this account is well able to appreciate, and whom he rejoices to be allowed to call his friend, having the misfortune to have a blind son, and several other children; the late Peter Waldo, Esq. (a man whom I believe to have been such another, as the subject of this Memoir, for learning, charity, and piety,) and himself determined, unknown to the father, to make a provision for this youth, whom it had pleased Providence so sorely to visit. Accordingly these two benevolent men purchased £40 per annum in the Long Annuities, in the name of the writer of this life, and the father of the young man, as trustees for his future use. This act of liberality, and some others, which I am about to mention, will prove, that the donations and charities of Mr. Stevens, were not confined to small sums; but extended, as in the instance just related to
hundreds, and in what I am going to mention, to thousands.
A lady and her daughter, who were distant relations, were reduced to considerable distress; and, for several years, he allowed them £100 per
Upon the death of the mother, the young lady wrote to inform him of the event, and expressing her doubts whether she could look forward to a continuation of his bounty. With his usual kindness, and true Christian speed—and with his wonted playfulness, he, by return of post, answered, “ that he did not mean to continue the “ allowance of £100 a year: but, as he did not “ think she was old enough to despair, he meant " to settle a fortune immediately upon her, and " that she might share it with any good man she " thought proper; that he had bought, in her
name, £4000 in the Three per Cents. pro“ ducing an income of £120 sterling; and that “ he had sent her a power of attorney to execute, empowering him to receive the dividends, for
What a noble and disinterested act of charity : how valuable the gift-how delightful and inimitable the mode of conferring it! But, alas ! his bounty was frustrated, and his immense gift was directed into another channel: for, in a letter to Mrs. Gunning, of the 10th March, 1804,
- her use.'
he writes thus, “ There is no knowing what a
day may bring forth. My cousin "who has been spending some months at Otham, " was to have returned to town next Monday, in “ order to go to Ewell; but this morning came a " letter from Mr. Horne, (the Rev. William
Horne, rector of Otham, brother of the late bishop Horne,) to say, that on Thursday even
ing, she dropt down dead suddenly, and expired “ without a groan, or a struggle.”
Many persons are disposed to be charitable, and to do good; but it is not every one who understands the true and proper mode of doing it. This art was never better understood, nor more extensively practised, than by Mr. Stevens; and, therefore, it is, that I am more diffuse in these narrations than I otherwise would be; entertaining the hope, that all, who have the desire to do good, will, from him, learn the happy mode of doing it; and that those, who have the power, not having hitherto exerted it, may be led by the lustre of his bright example, to shew themselves deserving of the blessings, which a gracious Providence has showered upon them: and that all may emulate this good, this excellent, this charitable man-and go and do as he did.
A respectable and exemplary clergyman, residing in a very distant part of the kingdom, having had