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shepherds." But surely these are the only men, and theirs the only religion on earth, that would not blush and be ashamed to own them. Nor can we as men and Christians, having hearts to feel, see them groping in thickest darkness—even starving and withering in our streets, without making an effort to save them. But, with some happy exceptions, these efforts have never been very productive, and are likely to be prosecuted with greater difficulty in future through the desperate opposition of increasing swarms of priests and Jesuits. Still, the work though difficult is not impossible! Our weapon (the Bible) is the oldest, the most dreaded, because the deadliest enemy of Popery, and shall yet become its destroyer. It may be, as of old, that from among these very victims some noble spirits shall yet arise, and, free in the liberty of Christ, be found foremost in the coming conflict with the kingdom of darkness-for such a conflict is, doubtless, drawing nigh.
The moral effect of so large an admixture of these unfortunate creatures among our indigenous poor is decidedly pernicious. It is like the importation, in many respects, of a different species of immorality into neighbourhoods already overflowing with pollution. The "whisky-shops,"-those burning hotbeds of iniquity, that are turning the inhabitants of many of our lanes and courts into Saturday-night demons, were originated, we believe, by the Irish population, and by them chiefly are perpetuated, despite of all the exertions of the officers of excise. And yet, not only Papists, but some self-styled Protestants, will heap upon us all the anathemas they consider due to sectarianism, bigotry, and intolerance, if we try to reform these people or their children, unless we can do it without the Bible! As well might we try to wash them without water, feed them without food, or heal them without medicine. The common enemy of them and of scriptural truth has driven them here, groping in their blindness; and surely the sympathy we express cannot be sincere, if we withhold from them that very light by which alone they can see. We pretend, in our ragged work, to go to the root of the evils we seek to remove; but the root of Irish degradation and misery is Popery, and no weapon but "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," will ever be capable of wounding it. During several years' experience of Ragged School work in London, and among the poor generally, we have scarcely ever met with a ragged Irish child who belonged to Protestant parents. Why is this? Why is it that almost the entire importations of Irish misery are from the spiritual dominions of the Santissimo Padre? Let Mr. Creagh, a Roman Catholic magistrate of the county of Clare, give the answer. Why is it," he asked, "that the province of Ulster, with an inferior climate, with worse and poorer land-why is it that the people of that province have continued, even during the past years of famine, comparatively independent and prosperous, while the people of this and the neighbouring province are steeped in ignorance, and suffer under privations and poverty? It is because that in Ulster the principle of self-reliance has been engrafted into the minds of the people. I would place it (the Bible) in the hands of every man, woman, and child in Ireland; because it is from that book the people of Ulster have learned the great principle and law of Providence, that man must earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.' I say it is this knowledge that has spread both self-reliance and individual exertion among the people of Ulster, and has led them to pursue habits of industry. Is it not the reverse with the people of this part of the country? Here they depend, not on their own exertions, but on the exertions of others. They rely on dragging from the farmer and landowner all their substance, to be scattered in the shape of in-door and out-door relief among them. But their instructors have not inculcated habits of self-reliance among them; nor have they taken care to instruct them in the words of the apostle, that if any man does not work neither should he eat.' And yet that is the very book which the "spiritual guides of Ireland are burning, amid oaths and imprecations, in her fields.
Strange that even educated Romanists will not, or dare not, believe in a truth so palpable. We trust that Connamara will very soon become another
living testimony to the truth of the same apostle's words, that, "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
It is gratifying to see that Protestants in many parts of Ireland are beginning to manifest increased activity and life, which is being developed in schemes of evangelistic labour. From the report of a Ragged School meeting lately held in Cork, we learn that several schools have been established there, and are well attended by adults and children, chiefly Roman Catholics. The principal day school is efficiently conducted by a teacher, who was formerly a City Missionary, and actively engaged among the Ragged Schools in London. He was led to Cork by a singular Providence, we trust to do a great and important work. His health gave way when here, which rendered his removal indispensable; and accordingly, in August last, he proceeded with his family to Liverpool, where he embarked for America. When about five hundred miles off the coast of Ireland, they were overtaken by a terrific storm, from which the vessel was so much injured that they had difficulty in reaching land. So greatly was the health of his wife impaired, that he was obliged to seek employment in Cork, and abandon the voyage altogether. He was shortly afterwards engaged as master of one of the Ragged Schools, where, with the assistance of his wife, he now labours successfully. They have not only had to encounter the difficulties connected with ignorance and wretchedness in their lowest forms, but also priestly opposition in its native fierceness. Reference to these attacks were made by several speakers at the public meeting to which we have alluded, and which called forth the following rejoinder from the Cork Examiner. Our readers will at once see that the mode of attack is similar to that made upon Dr. Guthrie and his schools by the priests and their emissaries in Edinburgh :
"What an unhappy country is not this of ours, where the cloven foot of bigotry shows itself under the garb of benevolence, and intolerance affects to conceal its revolting aspect under the mask of charity! A Ragged School has been established in Cork, ostensibly for the reformation of a class deserving the best sympathy of society; for they are at once the victims of its neglect, and the sacrifices to its progress. A nobler task could not be undertaken than that of reaching a helping hand to those poor and miserable children, whose utter destitution has exposed them to the corrupting influence of the streets, and the contagion of evil association. To educate and reform those young creatures would be charity in its most exalted sense, such as men and angels would applaud. But is this the object of the Ragged School which has been recently established in this city? We shall, as our best reply, direct the attention of the reader to the sketch which our reporter has given of the proceedings of the last evening's meeting, and to the pervading tone of the addresses delivered on the occasion. They might have been as fittingly delivered in Exeter Hall, in London, as in the ball-room of the Imperial, in Cork. Why not, we ask, be honest, and declare your intention at once? Why not proclaim it openly and fearlessly? The intention is to proselytise, through the agency of this school, and under the hypocritical affectation of charity. Oh! such charity is a hideous mockery in the sight of Heaven. If the object were not to entice young children to the school, for the purpose of inducing them to become Protestants, or anything but Catholics, why refuse to admit the Catholic clergymen of the parish within the walls of the school? We declare, on the part of those clergymen, their readiness to aid those gentlemen, who, by the way, were so badly supported on last evening, if their object be to act in the spirit of charity, and not in a spirit of sectarian hostility. They will not only subscribe, out of their own scanty resources, for the support of that school, but they will aid it by every influence which they can command, provided that they are met fairly and honestly, as becomes men professing principles of humanity and feelings of true compassion. All they ask is this, that they shall have the right to enter the school, to superintend the religious training of the Catholic children, and thereby assure themselves that there is no unworthy attempt to tamper with their faith. As a matter of course, they will gladly leave the control of the Protestant children, if any such there be, to the clergyman of that persuasion. Now we appeal to our Protestant readers, and ask, is not this as fair an offer as can be made?—and must not its refusal prove this much-that
the object is not to relieve the physical wants of those children, and to train them in the paths of virtue, but to make Protestants of them? We said, if there be any Protestant children in the school. The fact, we believe, is, that out of thirty children, twenty-five are Roman Catholic. Surely it is the duty of the Catholic clergymen of the parish to visit every school in which there are children belonging to their flock; and if the promoters of this school were really inclined to do good, they would invite the co-operation of those gentlemen, and solicit their influence in aid of a work of mercy. But the door of the school is shut in their faces, and they are indignantly denied admittance. We ask those Protestant clergymen of this city, who are respected for qualities which equally distinguish the true Christian and the true gentleman-do they approve of this cowardly and hypocritical scheme? We almost insult them by the question.
"We believe it is scarcely necessary to say, that the assertion made by one of the speakers, that the clergymen 'cursed' the school, etc., is one of those graceful fictions which pre-eminently belong to such occasions, and which produce so sublime an effect in Exeter Hall and minor theatres for this species of drama. Even now, these clergymen will assist the school, by their contributions, their influence, and their constant supervision, provided that the promoters act as Christian gentlemen should act, and not as the arrantest of Pharisees and hypocrites."
We cannot withhold from our readers the able and spirited reply of Mr. Farrington, which contains what we have long considered the best argument against the common charge of proselytising children. As well may they speak of proselytising the Kaffirs. We rejoice to see the Cork Ragged Schools having so able and temperate defenders, men who can fearlessly maintain their position in the true spirit of their Master:
"SIR-I was grieved to read in your paper of the 19th inst., an article on the recently established Cork Central Ragged School.' Allow me to say, that the assertion with which you set out, 'That bigotry shows itself under the garb of benevolence, and intolerance under the mask of charity,' appeared to me utterly unsustained by the arguments which follow. Having well defined the true object of such institutions, viz. :-'to reach a helping hand to those poor and miserable children, whose utter destitution has exposed them to the corrupting influence of the streets and the contagion of evil association,' you proceed to assert that the object of the schools above named is not to do this, but to 'proselytise, through the agency of this school, and under the hypocritical affectation of charity.'
"On reading a statement like this, one naturally asks, Where is the proof? The answer is to the effect that the 'Catholic clergymen' cannot do as they please with regard to the school. And what is this? ONLY to enter the school, and superintend the religious training of all who may be called Catholic children. Now, Sir, if the children were forced to enter the school against their own will and that of their parents, there might be some plausibility in this demand. But the act, on the part of both, is voluntary, and so completely their own as to be persisted in, in spite of threats and violence. These juvenile vagrants and thieves, with no more to tempt them than a practically useful and a Scriptural, but unsectarian education, with barely so much food as shall make their dishonest trade unnecessary, heroically brave a storm of opposition to go where Christian charity is waiting to receive them.
"Your paper, Sir, has contained much in defence of religious liberty. Let me put a case suppose a few gentlemen, moved by the outcast condition of the class you have so well described, and withal most deeply convinced that the word of God (I do not speak of any particular version)—that the word of God is the divinelyappointed source of true moral instruction-suppose I say, these gentlemen resolved on seeking to educate and reform those young creatures,' for whose education and reformation no others seem to care—have they not a right to do so, provided they use legal and peaceable means alone, and employ no force, and raise no mobs, and utter no abuse against those who do not approve of their plan? And if they were plainly given to understand, that certain persons would wish to exclude that very work which they had made the basis of all reformatory instruction, would they not be insane, or worse, to surrender to these persons the control of their proceedings?
"But the argument may be put on broader ground. What is it to proselytise? The customary application of the word defines it as to gain over from one religious party to another. Far be it from the promoters of the Cork Central Ragged School to make
their effort a mere stepping-stone to such an object! But what if they did ?—To what religion do these juvenile profligates belong? I am accustomed, sir, to consider religion as the unfailing source of pure morality, and an individual morally reckless is to me a person of no religion. Of what religion is a pickpocket? Of what religion is a drunkard? To what faith and order do the abandoned of the streets belong? I read in the Apocalypse of the 'synagogue of Satan,' but I know of no religion which can reckon the characters described among his disciples. We wish to proselytise' the thief from thievery to honesty-the incipient drunkard to habits of sobriety-the unclean to holiness and the fear of God.
"And for my own part, it would concern me but little to know by what name they afterwards chose to call themselves, if but the fear of God and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ had veritably been planted in their hearts. For these realities of Christian character I care much,-for names and parties, in comparison, not a straw.
"There would be little to gain in finding fault with your estimate of Tuesday's meeting, though there were more than 120 where your reporter saw but 60. But this allusion defeats its own end. If the movement is so feeble as you wish to represent, what cause, Mr. Editor, have you and your friends for such alarm? Neither would it be desirable to spend time about wire-drawn distinctions between 'cursing the school' and denouncing all belonging to it-or on the question of the phraseology in which such words as 'heresy, hell, and damnation' must be set, to constitute a malediction. Whether such things are 'pleasant' as 'fictions' or not, in connection with facts they are painful and disgraceful enough.
"To those who may consider themselves the only representatives of the apostles in the present age, I beg to suggest that when the apostles themselves complained, 'Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbad him; '-Jesus replied, 'Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me.' We lay no claim to miraculous powers, but we are content that our efforts to do good should be judged by their fruits. Those fruits, thanks be to God, are already beginning to appear in the encouraging improvement of those hitherto neglected children, and until they be further developed let me entreat all to whom it may apply to ponder the advice of an eminent character in sacred history, 'Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.'
"I am, Sir, faithfully yours,
"BENJ. FARRINGTON." Sincerely do we hope that the Irish Ragged Schools may increase and prosper; for, through such efforts chiefly do we expect that our over supply of ragged, starving immigrants will be diminished. When the Bible is found in the hands of every man, woman, and child in Ireland," the manacles of spiritual tyranny will soon be broken, the withered shamrock will become green as the thistle, and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose.
PAUPERISM versus RAGGED SCHOOLS.
"Ir is a trite argument now, that the reformation of one child, while it is far less hopeless than the reclamation of one old offender, is many degrees cheaper than the punishment of that one. Less hopeless experience proves by the annals of such institutes as this, which show scarcely a single case out of thousands where the incipient disease of vice has not yielded to the ameliorating treatment of kindness, and the removal of the cause-poverty. Cheaper; because directly diminishing pauperism, it, in the first place, reduces the amount we, as a community, pay for its support; cheaper, because trying, confining, or transporting one criminal, runs away, in some cases, with an amount equal to the whole annual expense required to feed, clothe, and instruct a schoolful of those who are to be prevented, by a simple process, from becoming criminals; and cheaper, in this far higher sense, that the reformation of one individual infinitely more than counterbalances the expense of attempts, even where ineffectual, at reforming many.
'These are Pleas' so obvious, that less than the eloquence of a Guthrie
might enforce them; but the best argument, after all, for our Ragged School, is to carry the ingenious sceptic, who has doubts about its usefulness, to the School itself, whether it be on the Castle-hill of Edinburgh, or at our own New Bridge-end. He is introduced, in the latter case, through a play-yard, where half-a-dozen little fellows, not very perfect, though quite decent in their attire, are amusing themselves with tops and boys' gear, and, if noise is a test of comfort, they are very happy. Ascending an outside stair, he turns into a somewhat spacious apartment; the roof indeed is not lathed and plastered, but there is all the more ventilation; everywhere, although things are homely enough, there is an air of perfect cleanness; two or three excellent maps hanging across, divide the apartment, in one end of which are the boys, in the other the girls. Let him look at either class, and what a strange study for the physiognomist or phrenologist are the faces and foreheads of the pupils. Some are countenances on which the traces of very early hard life are still visible; the lines of misery are scarcely yet effaced. There are others, free, good brows, which give unmistakeable evidence of shrewdness and talent; but on every face there is contentment. The teachers in both divisions are busy at the usual lessons; but, at the stranger's visit, the classes are united, and an exercise is gone through by individuals of either sex, chosen promiscuously. In the back seat there starts up a little fellow about twelve years and a half, who, caught half-naked, begging through the streets some fifteen months ago, can read his Bible like the best of us; another reads a verse or two of poetry; a third small youth, whose only occupation, till within a year or so, was selling matches through the streets, is proved, after trial, to be far the best speller in the place, where there are not a few very good; and so on. The procedure is as orderly, and the advancement in secular and Christian knowledge, of these once outcast and forsaken children -now clothed and in their right mind—as in the schools; and seems to have been at least as rapid as among the children of what are called the respectable classes of society. And now a hymn is sung by all united, and, as they sit and sing, with folded arms and serious looks, there is enough, whether in the whole scene, or in the music so touchingly chanted, to send something like a tear into the corner of the eye. This over, the ranks are marshalled, and, as each passes us, we have a graceful salute, made, though, we see, more in the spirit of familiar fondness to the amiable teacher, who stands by our side, than to us. Then down to the room below, where dinner waits; and, standing silently over the homely but substantial fare, a sign is made, when every eye is closed, and grace is said aloud. Enjoying themselves over their broth we leave them, earnestly recommending a visit to such a scene, and inviting public attention to the principles on which these poor children are made what they are. The leading and moving principle is that of kindness and lovethe endeavouring by all means to win them back to trust and confidence in the kindness and love of teachers and friends; and, looking at the interests at stake, surely we may say that these are endeavours which a Christian public is bound to second, especially when the seconding costs so little, and is attended, as we have seen, with so great results.”—Ayr Observer, Sheffield.
SPEAK TO HIM KINDLY.
OH! speak to him kindly—the boy has a heart,
Would you wonder to find him a rogue or a fool,
With Distress for his master-the street for his school?—