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There is a decrease of crime, on the whole, this year, as compared with last and several former years; but does not the above table forcibly show that the proportion of adult criminals, or at least of committals, above 20 years of age, is actually increasing, while that of juvenile criminals is decreasing? This fact is clearly demonstrated (inferentially) by the following table-the last with which we shall, at present, trouble the reader-comparing the year 1843 with that of 1850, in the increase of commitals for the first time and above:
-We have placed the totals of 1850, derived from adding the two under lines, above instead of below these, in order to bring them into juxtaposition with those of 1843. The results are very marked, especially in committals for five times and upwards, and prove that neither prison discipline nor any other influence deters those who have commenced a career of crime; while the former results indubitably prove that an effective force is operating in preventing the young from entering on such a career. It is, therefore, an eminently wise arrangement to seek "prevention" before " and to direct benevolent energies specially on the young. If the gratifying results, so conspicuously and unanswerably demonstrated by the above statistics, shall have the effect of inducing a continued and increasing measure of support to be given to our admirable Industrial School system, we shall consider that our labour in arranging them has been amply repaid.-From Aberdeen Journal, of July 23, 1851.
THE following anecdotes are explanatory of some sad scenes which passed before my own eyes, long before those glorious institutions called Ragged Schools were known in Edinburgh. They are truly sketches from life;" the remembrance of some of them has often haunted me like early sorrow, and fallen like dark clouds over my brightest hours.
The morning to which I wish to draw the attention of the reader was a mild one in the dead of winter; the east wind, armed with cutting hail, rushed furiously from the steep narrow closes, or wynds, leading down from the hill-side-looking street called the Cannongate. The drift was whirling wildly around, covering up the faint lights that trembled in the dreary lamps, and heaping snow-hills in a circular piece of ground which formed the entrance to the Cannongate churchyard. This space, in the sunny hours of summer, was used as a play-ground for the children of the Burgh School; in winter, the servant-girls used this break from the street for beating their carpets, etc. Wheeling round to avoid one of the many blinding blasts of snow, I saw on the low wall of the churchyard what I supposed to be a bundle of carpets, which the gossiping maids had forgot to take home with them on the preceding evening. Curiosity led me to the spot. Think, kind reader, of my surprise, when, on lifting the corner of an old tattered shawl, I beheld, locked in each other's arms, two children fast asleep, the one a boy about eight, the other a girl about five years of age. The boy was in rags; his naked limbs were bitten nearly black with the frost; his feet were actually bleeding. The little girl, who had burile shoes. d in the bosom of her brother, sat trembling convulsively watchman, who fortunately passed at
up, and carried them to the watch-house. We were glad to find a large blazing fire in the grate, forming a bright contrast to the storm that raged without. The kind old watchman laid the children on a form before the fire, and began to rub their frost-bitten limbs. This worthy person was well known in the Cannongate,-a great favourite with the children, and of enorbulk; his portly dimensions, however, were not composed of solid flesh and bone; the truth was, that in his younger days he was successful in capturing a few well-known house-breakers, and as he grew old, and naturally more weak in mind, he was in constant terror of assassination! and as a shield to protect him from the arms of his enemies, he had clothed himself with coats, shirts, waistcoats, etc., ten times more than was necessary for the comfort of the inner man. I felt something like the "joy of grief" glowing within me when I saw the kind-hearted man, like the grave-digger in Hamlet, divesting himself of four or five waistcoats, and covering the bodies of the poor little tremblers before him. The following is the substance of the poor boy's story:-His father had worked in an iron-foundry at the back of the Cannongate. A break had taken place while the workmen were casting. Four or five were dreadfully scorched. The boy's father died in the Infirmary a few weeks after the accident, leaving the poor helpless orphans, their mother having been only three weeks buried. They were left in charge of an old aunt, but she being unable to pay the house-rent, the door was locked against them by the hard-hearted landlord. The boy's story of last night's adventure ran thus :-"When we found the door locked, sir, we sat down on the cold door-step. Wee Jeenie grat (cried) sair, sair, sir, crying, Oh! whar's my mother, whar's my mother, she's lang, lang a comin; tak' me, tak' me to my mother! We never told her that her mother was dead. We just said, sir, that she was away in the country, or sic like; but last night I told her that my mother was in the Cannongate kirk-yard; but she aye grat the mair, sir; so to please her, I carried her to the kirk-yard gate, where she sat on my knee, aye crying for her mother until she fell asleep, and so did I. I dinna mind ony mair, sir, till I found myself at the watch-house fire." These poor things were taken to the Orphan Hospital, and I record with much pleasure the kind-hearted conduct of the Cannongate watchmen, hoping that their brethren of the present day will take an example from them, to be kind to the poor naked outcasts they too often find sleeping in the streets. Maclagan.
THE SONG OF THE SHOE-BLACK,
I was born-I was bred-in the midst of the dirt,
My "lullaby baby" was swearing and din;
To pick up a living, I'm turn'd on the street.
I'm hungry, and often in want of a meal:
I meet with companions,-there's PENTONVILLE BOB
Says he "There's the pawnbroker's, over the way;
I do as he bids me; he tells me with joy,
So he takes me at once to a kind-hearted gent,
The game I continue,-with this thing and that;
The game it goes on, every day after day;
The lessons they teach me, I try and repeat,
So they give me a box, and of brushes a set,
And often my memory carries me back,
I think how the dirt might have stuck to me still,
So, honour to those who are on the alert
To raise up poor fellows like us from the dirt,
And cause all the rubbings through which we have past
There is nothing so black, but if pains we bestow,
Plans and Progress.
LIVERPOOL RAGGED SCHOOLS.
NEWS from our provincial fellow-workers must be at all times welcome to those who labour at head-quarters in London, both as intelligence of the working of our system amongst other communities, and as sometimes supplyhints for its more effectual application in our own city.
There are twenty-six Ragged Schools in Liverpool, but I have as yet visited only four of them, as the rest are not open during the day. The attendance on the average at each school appears to be much below that in London, but the class of children is essentially that of the outcast and helpless rather than of the criminal.
The endeavours of those who manage these schools are more preventative than curative, but reasoning from the latest statistics relating to juvenile crime in that town, there is no place in Britain in greater need of provision for the pauper delinquents.
The school in Soho Street is well-conducted and deservedly a model refuge, a pattern for the Day Ragged Schools of Liverpool, and in some particulars meriting serious attention from those who manage similar establishments in London.
The children are fed at a small expenditure, the premises are far more spacious than could be hoped for in the metropolis, the pupils are not submitted to the contaminating intercourse of criminal playmates, and there is altogether an air of cheerfulness which I cannot help thinking peculiar to the place.
I observed with great interest the active, though wholly voluntary exertions of about twenty boys, employed in making paper bags for the use of bakers, confectioners, and grocers. This occupation appears remarkably well adapted for those schools where the industrial classes are but feebly supported, because it admits of considerable division of labour, and the several processes range from the most simple to those which call forth skill and neatness of hand.
The customers supply their own paper. It is then cut by the master according to pattern, and the boys in various detachments fold, paste, dry, and finally paint it with the name of the shop where it is to be used, and when permitted, add a line informing the public where and by whom the paper bag was made and printed.
There is considerable demand for these articles in Liverpool, and feeling assured that there is a very large field in London of grocers and pastry cooks unexplored, I hope soon to introduce the employment into the schools of the Union, and yet I fear that we can scarcely expect in London the same spirit of unpaid industry which prompts these Liverpool boys to work so hard for nothing.
Those who have visited our own Field Lane School on a summer's day must remember the unsavoury blasts of noisome effluvia which the neighbouring offal-factory emits. Now all attempts have failed to enforce the abatement of this nuisance; but I think that if the Field Lane boys could start a brass band similar to that of the Soho Street School in Liverpool, they might soon dictate terms to the proprietors of other nuisances who would not listen to reason.
Before dinner hour, about one o'clock, the boys and girls of Soho Street are assembled in their separate though adjoining playgrounds, and with some allowable pomposity the band steps forward, composed of four fifers, a little fellow with a cornopean, two with triangles, and one with a drum. The music thus produced is creditable to the band, and, as affording both relaxation,
encouragement to exercise, and opportunity for the cultivation of musical talent, it cannot be otherwise than an important element in promoting that vivacity which I before mentioned.
But far more powerful than this must be the healthy tone of Christian kindness which pervades the teaching at Liverpool, and which is (as it will ever be) reflected in the grateful, intelligent, and happy faces of those who learn. At another industrial school I found shoemaking, tailoring, net-making, and carpenter's work, but these not being to me such novelties, I confess that my mind reverted to the paper bags and the brass band.
The unaided bounty of a lady sustains a refuge for girls, which may be termed a Ragged School. But owing to the low rent of houses in Liverpool and other causes, we find this establishment housed in a large roomy mansion, on a breezy hill, with flock-paper on the dining-room walls and marble chimney-pieces in the dormitory. Oh for such a place in Spitalfields!
The two annual reports of the Liverpool Ragged Schools already published, although very interesting to read, are incomplete in their account of the large number of schools now comprised in the Liverpool Union, and I would suggest to the Secretary the propriety of enlightening the Liverpool public as to the rise, increase, and progress, as well as prospects of the Union; and this most succinctly, with that business-like accuracy which commends such a pamphlet to the attention of mercantile men.
I cannot help noticing with surprise and dissatisfaction one very important want in these Liverpool Ragged Schools. It appears that there are scarcely any voluntary teachers who attend on Sundays. To say that the friends of these friendless children are all so over-worked during the week as to be unfitted for Sunday School teaching, will not be sufficient to excuse the many thousands in Liverpool who are not so employed. In London we have a larger number of voluntary teachers (and indeed of children) on Sundays than on week-days, notwithstanding that most of them are at least as busily engaged as our friends in Liverpool can be, and are also generally found besides to be teachers in the regular Sunday Schools.
It is not less for the teachers than for the children that I anxiously hope for an immediate supply of voluntary teachers from the upper classes of Liverpool. Men who read, pray, and praise with ragged children on Sundays are sure to remember them during the week, and yet I must say that everything connected with the schools which I visited in Liverpool indicates constant attention on the parts of the several committees, excellent arrangements, efficient superintendence, and above all, that the salvation of immortal souls has been the primary object of those who are entrusted with the manageLet them take courage and go forward-we, too, receiving fresh energy as we witness the toils which are undergone by others whom the love of Christ constraineth.
THE RAGGED SCHOOL SHOE-BLACK;
OR, WHO KNOWS WHAT HE MAY COME TO YET?
I HAD been to the bullion office of the Bank of England to examine some packages of coin and brilliants that had just arrived per Indus, via Southampton, and was slowly crossing the area in front of the Royal Exchange, noticing as I walked the innumerable and ever varying countenances of the crowd which streams along from Cheapside through Cornhill and Lombard Street, when just as I stepped upon the pavement which forms the noble esplanade, my attention was drawn to a group of persons standing by the railings directly under the Duke of Wellington's statue. It was some minutes ere I could discover the object that interested them; it was not the heroic figure of the old warrior, nor the noble war horse he bestrode, neither