« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
SUNDERLAND RAGGED SCHOOL.
regard. It is so with the ragged child. The poor boy, therefore, must have food. He awakes in the morning, and how can you expect him to come to school to mend his manners, and improve his morals, without his breakfast ? He is hungry, and he must go and beg or steal to supply his urgent wants. Hence the institutors of Ragged Schools early saw that to get at the minds of those who had not food for their bodies they must provide it, and feed them. And an inferential proof that the Sunderland Committee are doing no more than what necessity requires in this respect is furnished by this other extract from the master's report, giving some idea of the material condition of the children under his charge. Of the children in the school during the past year, there were
27 with fathers, and no mothers.
14 utterly homeless. “It is also worthy of remark, that the punishment and discipline of a jail are utterly useless as reforming influences — nay worse than useless, positively and fearfully pernicious. Hear Mr. Hamilton of Durham on this point :- From the age of twelve to twenty, young persons easily receive impressions for good or evil; and in this prison I observe a curiosity in the boys to know all about the crimes of their fellow-prisoners, and soon they learn to look upon the man who has been oftenest in jail as the greatest hero. Thus the young are taught the vices of their elders, and many who enter the prison bold boys, it is to be feared, leave it accomplished thieves.' "The system of sending lads under twelve years of age to a jail for fourteen days or one month has decidedly a bad effect; they leave prison neither frightened nor amended, but rather hardened and corrupted. The uselessness and inefficiency of prisons as a means of reform and moral training is further strikingly illustrated by the fact, that of the 1,886 committed to Durham Prison last year, 746 had been there before.
..... the second time. 120..
.the third. 74......
the fourth. 42.
..the fifth. 14.
the sixth. 18..
.the seventh. 10..
.the eighth. 36..
unknown. From these facts, then, it seems but fair to deduce the following important conclusions :
“First.—The Ragged School Society's Committee are busy with the right class of the community—the vagrant, delinquent, destitute, and lost.
“Second.—No other agencies are efficiently at work for their recovery.
“Third.—The Committee are employing appropriate means for the accomplishment of their great ends.
“Fourth.—These ends are attainable, and have already been partially attained. So much for the past; and now a word or two in reference to the future.
“Much remains to be accomplished in Sunderland. From the 1st of January to the 16th of September, of the present year, (1850,) the Sunderland police had in custody 138 youths, of fifteen years of age and under. Of these
5 were utterly destitute. .24 were thieves.
SUNDERLAND RAGGED SCHOOL.
41 were reputed thieves.
24 vagrants. Making a total of ninety-four, every one of whom ought to be brought into the Ragged School. Besides, in going up and down the river one day last month, the police counted no fewer than thirteen known as 'mud-larks'—that is, boys and girls who subsist by crawling up and down the river-side, knee-deep in mud, in such a state of filth, destitution, suffering, and wretchedness, that our credulity is strained to believe that human beings can endure such fearful privations and live. It is computed that there are nearly fifty in Sunderland * living in this wretched condition, picking up whatever is left by the tide, and stealing besides enough to eke out a most miserable subsistence. All these, and many more, probably not less than three hundred, ought to be in the Ragged School. But how are they to be got there? is an important question.
“To this we answer, by the united and twofold agency of the magistrate and the general public. The committee attach especial importance to the power of the magistrate for filling the Ragged School, and thus far abating and finally obliterating juvenile vagrancy and crime, with all their inherent and resulting evils. Their experience during the past year tends to convince them that, without the magistrate’s aid, not one-half the good can be done which, with it, may be easily accomplished. The habits propelling the bulk of vagrant children to their vagrant courses are generally so inveterate, the influences—often parental example, command, and severe chastisement for disobedience or failure-pushing them forward and downward are so irresistible, that any power weaker than the civil is inadequate to break the one and check the other. The magistrate, therefore, by directing the police to arrest and bring before him every begging child, and, on investigation, by sending it to the Ragged School, whenever, consistently with his sacred duty, he can possibly do so, would essentially aid this noble effort to reclaim these poor outcast wanderers, who, otherwise, are irreclaimable, and for ever lost. The Committee have great pleasure in knowing that this view has spontaneously, without any representations from them, presented itself to our worthy, enlightened, and humane bench of magistrates; and that, during the past year, an investigation into twenty-two cases has, as before stated, resulted in the little culprits being saved from prison and sent to the Ragged School, with the happiest results.
“The general public, too, can easily render valuable aid in filling the Ragged School. How ? By simply and constantly refusing to give alms. The Committee find that children will not come to the school, and parents will not let them, just because they can make more by begging. By serving begging children in present circumstances, notwithstanding the very best intentions, the benevolent are opposing every effort for their permanent welfare. Your off-handed benefactions may prove their heavy curse. Instead of giving them bread or money, tell them wbere they can freely and cheerfully get both, and something better. Advise them kindly to go to the Ragged School, or, better still, see that they are taken thither. Go with the poor object yourself: there is no way in which you can serve him so effectually. But, for very pity's sake, give them neither meat nor money. The alms you annually give to such, give through the Ragged School.
“In the Ragged School they can be fed, educated, reformed, have everything provided requisite to make the body healthy, the mind strong, and the morals pure, at the small cost of £5 each per annum. This the Committee are attempting to do. To the people of Sunderland they look for the means. They have good hope, and take leave to say, in the words of the eloquent and noble-hearted Guthrie, "When, for a sum of money,
* How many in London ?
IPSWICH RAGGED DORMITORY.
to many—inured to comforts and spending more in a single dress or feast-so small, a poor outcast may be saved from misery, saved for society, and for the Church of God, one would think multitudes would be found out of their own abundance to give, or by the help of others to raise this sum. And God pity the poor, if, amid all the comforts, wealth, and luxuries of our enlightened land, the only doors left open to these outcast children shall be the dreary portals of the police-office and prison.””
IPSWICH RAGGED DORMITORY. Our readers will have observed from previous notices that a Ragged School has been established in Ipswich for the last two years. A Ragged Dormitory has lately been added to it, and from the following statement it will be seen that some interesting facts have already occurred in connexion with its operations. We ought also to state that the Recorder of Ipswich, (David Power, Esq.,) has been an active and warm supporter of the schools from their commencement :
This institution is established for the purpose of receiving a limited number of “the perishing and dangerous classes” of the community, from the age of 14 to 20 years ; also of juvenile offenders who are anxious to reform, but being destitute of friends or a home, and having no provision made for them when sent from prison, would be otherwise obliged (although reluctantly) again to resort to begging or stealing for a miserable subsistence; and to provide a temporary refuge for females who have deviated from the paths of virtue, and are anxious to reform.
The number of inmates at the present time consists of 4 boys and 1 girl, who are fed, clothed, and lodged ; are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and learn from the life and precepts taught by our Lord Jesus Christ their duty towards God and
For manual employment the males are taught shoemaking, tailoring, matmaking, carpentering, fancy cabinet making, French polishing, and working on the land.
The females are taught to make household linen of all sorts, shirts, to knit stockings, to make and mend all their clothes, and all such domestic offices as qualify them for service.
The following brief account of the inmates is taken from the master's journal :
J. S., aged 16 years, an orphan, four years a vagrant, three times before the magis. trates for begging, has slept in empty carts and barns, entered the dormitory on the 17th day of June, has conducted himself well, and is now fitted for and anxious to emigrate.
W. B., aged 19 years, an orphan, had been five voyages to sea. The ship arrived in London; he took up his abode in a brothel, was robbed of £18 and his certificate, could not get another ship, was obliged to sell his clothes for money to live upon ; finding himself destitute of friends, clothes, and money, resorted to begging, was taken up and sent to the Ipswich borough jail, when he came into this institution. This lad, through the kindness of Mr. Ross, obtained another ticket, and left the institution for South Shields, it is believed, a reformed character.
W. S., aged 14 years, an orphan and a poor Union boy, has conducted himself well in the institution, and is a candidate for emigration.
W.G., aged 16 years, an orphan, at an early age was turned out of doors at 9 o'clock at night by his relatives to get his living the best way he could ; slept in empty houses and under straw stacks for several months; was convicted by the magistrates of this borough jail for picking the pocket of a lady of her purse and 18s., and sentenced to three months' imprisonment. He had previously, for the last six months, obtained his living by picking pockets and other acts of stealing. He is now in the institution and doing well.
Ann M., aged 14 years, mother dead, father living with another woman, did not want her at home. She obtained a situation, got into bad company, robbed her employers, was sent to jail, where I visited her; has been living a profligate life. She is an inmate of the institution, and doing well.
The following is a list of articles made by the lads, with the assistance of the master :
12 forms, 3 bedsteads, 2 tables, 22 reading boards, 8 banner poles, 4 blind-rollers and laths, 1 shoemaker's seat and stool, 1 desk, 1 chair, 1 black board and washing stool, 1 copper and dust-hole lid, 8 pointers, and 1 nail box. Cabinet-making : 1 work
VISIT TO THE CRYSTAL PALACE.
box, 1 money box, 1 watch case. Shoemaking: 17 pairs of boots and shoes repaired, 14 ditto soled and heeled; making 1 pair of woman's boots, ditto 1 pair of men's slippers, remaking 1 pair ditto. Tailoring: repairing 7 pairs of trousers and 4 waistcoats, remaking 2 pairs of trousers, and stitching sundry pieces of cloth and button holes.
EXPENDITURE. £. $. d.
£. $. d. To Donations 48 0 0 By rent.
5 2 0 Work done by lads 1 16 6 Food for Inmates
10 10 0 Bedding, Clothing, and Materials
for Industrial Classes 10 16 7 Coals, Wood, Soap, Candles, etc. 2 5 4. Master's Salary, 16 weeks. 14 8 0 Furniture and sundries
4 17 111
Besides the inmates of the establishment and a number of ragged and destitute children who attend the Day School, which is open five days in the week from 9 to 12, the average number of whom amount to 30, from the age of 4 to 17 years, many of these have derived benefits from the lessons taught, and in the teaching of them the inmates of the house act as monitors.
VISIT TO THE CRYSTAL PALACE. On the morning of the 8th of October, long before seven o'clock, about two dozen boys and girls were to be seen waiting at the corner of Goldsmith's Place, Hackney Road, and eagerly looking in the direction of Shoreditch. Soon after seven o'clock, the superintendent and about six teachers made their appearance; the children entered the school, and after singing and prayer, a short address was delivered, pointing out the lessons of instruction that might be learned from a careful observance of the wonders of the Great Exhibition. Soon after eight o'clock an omnibus made its appearance, and the girls filled the inside, and the boys, with their teachers, occupied the outside. The party arrived in safety soon after the gates were opened, and for about one hour and a half the whole party enjoyed the pleasure of viewing many of the wonders of the Crystal Palace without the inconvenience of a great crowd. A place of meeting was appointed in case of separation, and towards eleven o'clock the concourse of people was so great that some fears were entertained that we should be unable to keep together. The writer of this was appointed leader and spokesman. Two stout lads clung to the leader's coat, and each succeeding couple held to those immediately before them, and thus we formed an invincible advancing column, something like the Roman legion of old, and penetrated to whatever point of interest we wished to inspect. Several gentlemen attempted to break our rank, but were defeated. The greater the pressure of the crowd the greater was the fun, and the more the lads seemed to enjoy it. Many of the observations of the boys proved that their minds were at work. “See,” says one, "what fine company we keep; what fine silk dresses and gold watches." “O yes,” replied another, we are all ladies and gentlemen to-day. Did we not come in our own carriage and pair, and shan't we go home in the same style!” One youth said, “Well, I feel a little humbled to-day. I had always thought that all foreigners were but half barbarians, compared to the English, and see what splendid works they have produced! In paintings,
sculpture, and finery, they outshine us.” Yes,” replied another, “but the English and the Americans are the best in ship models, bridge models, railway models, and agricultural and manufacturing engines." Aye, aye,” says another, the English for the useful, the foreigner for the ornamental.” “And then shan't we copy all the inventions, and make improvements,” said a sharp little lad. As we rested ourselves in the end gallery, and took a survey of the moving mass below, we thought and talked about that great gathering when all the people that have ever lived upon the earth shall stand before our Saviour's judgment bar. The boys and girls were quite delighted with their treat, and when we emerged from the crowded palace we took a walk by the side of the Serpentine. Here was a man selling linnets for a halfpenny a piece. Some of the boys purchased a number of the birds, and when their teacher inquired what they meant to do with them, seeing that they had no cage to put them in—"Oh!” says one, “ we'll take them to the river to drink your health.” They ran and dipped the beaks of the birds in the water, and then gave them their liberty, saying, “ if God had intended birds to have lived in cages he would not have made them with such legs and wings as they possess. I know what it is to be caged, and I don't like to see a pretty bird confined. See, there is one of them in that tree, and he is saying, Thank you, thank you, for sweet liberty."" The children were permitted to ramble about and enjoy themselves until the appointed time for the omnibus to arrive. Then they were told not to shout and make a noise as we returned home; and although the singular-looking group outside and inside our vehicle elicited many hurrahs from the boys in the streets through which we passed, yet the direction of the teacher, as to silence, was strictly observed. The day being beautifully fine added very much to the interest of the treat.
For several Tuesday and Thursday evenings afterwards the children called for an address respecting the Great Exhibition. The writer of this requests the assistance of any benevolent gentleman who could make it convenient to attend from seven till nine o'clock, Tuesdays and Thursdays, to aid in the great work of tuition, as the attendance of pupils is rapidly increasing, so that sometimes one teacher has forty boys. The children are taught in the Adelphi Sunday School, in Goldsmith's Place, Hackney Road.
Nottingham, 11th Nov., 1851. SIR,--Since I wrote you last, it is reported, and I believe with truth, that the Papists of this town intend converting the building in which they formerly worshipped before the new cathedral was built, into a Ragged School. I hope in God's hand it may be a means of stirring up the Protestants to do something more than attend to lectures, and that their zeal for the truth may not all be spent in their groans for the Pope. The conversion work going on in Ireland causes many to think that God is hiding his face from us in England, and magnifying his great grace where we should not have looked for it-if it be so, why is he hiding his face ?- Is it not because we have left undone the things we ought to have done? Is it not because we have despised the poor? Is it not because we have not told them that God is love, and that he so loved the world as to give his only Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life?—We have not told them this-we have not told them that we had God's love in our hearts, and that prompted us to come to them with bread for the hungry, clothing for the naked, lodging for the outcast, and instruction for the ignorant-and so they disbelieved God's message--and what have they got in lieu thereof?—They have Mormonism,