Allen, William (2)

Allen, William a member of the Society of Friends, and a distinguished Christian philanthropist, was born, in 1770, at Spitalfields. He founded, in 1797, with Mr. Philips, the "'Spitalfields Soup Society," exerted himself for the abolition of the slave trade, and of capital punishment in the case of minor offenses, for the improvement of primary schools and prisons, for the establishment of saving funds and other similar purposes. From 1816 to 1833 he visited four times the principal countries of Europe in behalf of his philanthropic enterprises. Many years before his death, Mr. Allen purchased an estate near Lindfield, Sussex, and withdrew from business. Here, while still zealously engaging in public schemes of usefulness and benevolence, he carried out various philanthropic plans for the improvement of his immediate dependents and poorer neighbors. He erected commodious cottages on his property, with an ample allotment of land attached to each cottage; and he established schools at Lindfield for boys, girls, and infants, with workshops, out-houses, and play-grounds. About three acres of land were cultivated on the most approved system by the boarders, who also took a part in household work. The subjects taught were land surveying, mapping, the elements of botany, the use of the barometer, rain-gauge, etc., and there was a good library with various scientific and useful apparatus. He died at his house near Lindfield, December 30, 1843. — Sherman, Life of William Allen (1857, 8vo); English Cyclopoediea, s.v.; Allibone, Dictionary of Authors, 1, 54.

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