Excerpt from Robert Raikes, 1881: Journalist and Philanthropist, a History of the Origin of Sunday-Schools
Religion was at a low ebb. The Church seemed asleep. John and Charles Wesley had not begun their evangelizing labours, and Whitefield was known in his native city of Gloucester only as a dirty little rascal who robbed his mothers till and tried to quiet his conscience by giving part of the plunder to the poor. Wholesale executions for comparatively venial offences were the panacea of the Government for all crimes; and these same executions, with bull-baiting and cockfighting, formed the favourite entertainments of the mob. Sunday-schools there were none, and poor schools were only just being thought of. All over the kingdom popular ignorance and prevalent vice went hand in hand. Gloucester, with all its badness, was no whit worse than the rest of the country. "Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people."
Yet as early as 1722 a gleam of light began to show itself in Gloucester. On the 9th April in that year appeared the first number of the Gloucester Journal, ninth in order of time among provincial papers, and in size scarcely larger than a sheet of foolscap.
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