Copy of Letter

Scope and Content

Extract of a letter from Griffith Jones in Llandowrer to an unnamed correspondent [probably William Seward]. He is endeavouring with all his power to ensure that the schools do not suffer because of his poor health, although most of the schools are now far away and therefore his visits to them occasion greater expense. However, thanks be to God that they are prospering. Some schools are now setting up within the borders of North Wales, namely in Radnor and Montgomeryshire, and although there are many people who seem to prefer darkness to light and therefore oppose the schools, yet providence brings in financial support and opens up areas of opportunity for the establishment of the work.

It is the peculiar fortune of these schools that there can be no rational objection to them, even the concern that is sometimes raised groundlessly against the English charity schools, namely that they foolishly lead the lower orders into the ambition that they can be more than labourers and menial servants, for as accounts and other business matters are conducted in English, the Welsh schools’ medium of instruction in reading the bible is Welsh. There can therefore be no temptation to try to rise to a higher station than was previously enjoyed. Indeed, it is Jones’ experience that people are better servants after attending the schools, and similarly with the labourers, despite the fact that some of them are so poor that the schools have to provide them with bread during their time at the schools.

The concerns of some clergymen were relieved when they discovered that some of their flock returned after five or six weeks at the schools, able to say the catechism by heart in Welsh. Many of them previously had been unable to say the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. They were also able to answer questions posed by the minister which they had not been able to before, for they are taught not just to read, but are also instructed in 'all the principles and practical duties of our holy religion.'

The schools now have some very zealous and capable masters, all of whom are day labourers when not thus employed, but there is not enough of this best sort to supply all the schools, so that others have to be employed who are not so well qualified although many are quite zealous.

Jones is eager to 'lay out with the greatest expedition all the supplies which God provides' knowing that a poor sickly creature like himself, cannot be long for this world. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail, with particular regard to the importance of religious education among the 'inferior people'. Numerous conversions have been made through the work of the schools. Reference is made to the support of the worthy society [probably the SPCK] and other benefactors.