« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Birmingham, although it went not by the name of Ragged School, but “The Good Samaritan School.” It was started in Summer Street, by Mr. Deakin, for the instruction of sweeps, shoeless boys, etc. Afterwards the school was joined by a man named Powell, and such was the success of the school that many of the boys with thievish propensities imbibed a strong desire for improvement, and afterwards obtained good situations, and one of them was now a leading man in the Cannon Street congregation.
Mr.J.S. Wright also supported the Resolution, and showed the necessity of the adult members of the Christian churches coming forward to carry out such institutions. Thanks were voted to the Chairman, who advocated the propriety of urging total abstinence for the adoption of the children, and the business concluded.
The Meeting was also addressed by Messrs. Dawson, Potter, Pritchard, and Yewen.
NORWICH RAGGED SCHOOLS.
The Annual Public Meeting of the Norwich Ragged Schools was held in the Assembly Rooms on Tuesday, the 3rd of February, 1852; the Mayor of Norwich in the Chair. The report read by Mr. B. T. Sharpe, the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, showed an average attendance of ninety boys and sixty girls on the Sabbath, and of twenty-five children of each sex on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appropriate resolutions were brought before the meeting by the Rev. J. Alexander, J. W. Dawson, Esq., the Revs, J. J. Topham, J. W. Cobb, (Chaplain of the Jail,) and T. A. Wheeler, and Joseph Massingham, Esq. The Committee intend to extend their labours, if the means are furnished them.
teaching, to make them wise unto salvation. The average attendance on the Sabbath day during the winter months has been 62 boys and 65 girls; the attendance at the Girls' Industrial Class, held on Monday evenings, has been 52, and they have been employed making for them. selves or their relatives 157 new articles of clothing, towards the purchase of which they have contributed £3. 58. 8d. ; besides repairing cast-off apparel kindly sent by friends of the school, and afterwards given to the most destitute or deserving; such presents are ever most thank. fully received; and your Committee desire very earnestly to press this subject upon you, as one deserving especial support, as by it they are enabled to instil habits of careful thrift and industry, which must tell upon their future life.
“On Tuesday evenings the boys receive secular instruction, the average attendance being 56, when, through the generosity of an estimable lady, they partake of a supper of bread and butter and coffee. On Wednesday evenings the girls are treated in the same manner, their average attendance being 60.
“A Writing and Arithmetic Class is open the elder lads on Friday night; the attendance at first was very irregular and limited, but it has latterly improved; and those who have had the pleasure of teaching them have been encouraged by their orderly behaviour and desire for im. provement.
“During the last two winters a Sabbath Evening Class has been conducted for the benefit of the elder scholars and their parents, who, it was hoped, would not allow their want of clothing to prevent them coming to a place so humble, as it is well known this excuse is frequently given for non-attendance at the sanctuary. It was begun, and is carried on, in the expectation that it may prove a portal to the church, and that many may pass from the form to the pew-a hope which has been realized in four or five instances, in the case of parents, within the knowledge of the Committee. Some of the boys have been taken both morning and evening to St. Paul's Church, and, through the kindness of one of its members, hymn books have been provided for their use. A greater number of the girls, at their own re.) quest, meet their teachers on the Sabbath morn. ing, and accompany them to Trinity Church, where accommodation is kindly provided for them. Thus a few children are
NOTTINGHAM RAGGED SCHOOL. The Sixth Annual Meeting of the above school was held in Trinity Church school-room. There was a numerous attendance of friends and subscribers, and upwards of 400 parents and children partook of tea, plumcake, etc., provided by the friends of the institution.
The Mayor of Nottingham presided, and several useful practical addresses were delivered by the Rev. G. Cuthbert, Rev. M. Macdonald, Mr. Harrison, and Mr. S. R. Starey.
The following is an extract from the Report presented on this occasion :
“ The Committee take this opportunity of laying before you a short statement of the progress of the school since their last report; and it is with deep thankfulness that they can record a gradual and decided improvement—not so much by an increase of numbers, which has been purposely restricted, for want of greater accommodation, as by a more regular attendance of the scholars themselves ; by greater subordination; by a more tractable spirit; and, among the elder scholars, by a manifest desire for improvement, and a much greater acquaintance with that Word which is able, by the Spirit's
Not forbidden To tread with naked feet the sacred floor Of those high temples, where the Spirit moves Of Him who ever pleads and ever loves.'
“ The expense for the past year has been £44. 88. 10d., being more than double the amount of the annual subscriptions; and, as they am likely to be materially increased by being compelled to remove, or possibly build, suital' premises, it is earnestly hoped that the friends of the outcast poor will come forward, and endeavour to carry out this great work in the spirit it deserves.”
THEIR LOCALITY-OPERATIONS-CONDITION-AND RESULTS.
HOXTON. Hoxton is situated between Kingsland Road, East; New North Road, West; the Canal, North; and old Street Road, South. Lambert, in his History of London, states that Hoxton is denominated in the Conqueror's survey Hochestone, a prebend to St. Paul's Cathedral, and was anciently a village, situated at a considerable distance from London. In this neighbourhood the magnificent mansion of the celebrated Oliver Cromwell once stood, the last remains of which were removed only a few years since. The lovely fields and spacious meadows of this locality were so enchanting, that the illustrious Queen Elizabeth delighted to spend here many of her leisure and solitary hours. The stately residence, for many years used as a private lunatic asylum, known by the name of Warburton's, marks the spot of her favourite retreat. Hoxton is also rendered memorable by the fact, that here, in 1835, that philanthropic Christian, David Nasmith, with two other gentlemen, after deliþeration and devout prayer, formed that excellent institution, the London City Mission.
The once lovely scenery of this locality, like a dissolving view, has passed away. The airy roads and pleasant walks around and across the green fields, interlined with stately trees, the abodes of the winged tribes, whose sweet chirp and well-toned notes delight the ear, have gradually disappeared; and houses, with a dense population, now cover the area.
The squire, the tradesman, and the industrious mechanic, occupy dwellings suited to their varied stations in life; but in the back streets, a great number of the exceedingly depraved are grouped together.
A low theatre has found among these a fertile soil for the extension or its demoralizing influence. It is appalling to witness so many youths crowding around the doors, long before they are thrown open. Upwards of one hundred, who have attended the Ragged School, and participated more or less in the benefits of the instruction imparted, date their ruin from their first attendance at this theatre.
The Rosemary Branch Tavern, with its polluting entertainments, must be reckoned among other sources of evil. Here youths of both sexes are congregated together; the already deluded become confirmed, and others ensnared in habits of Sabbath desecration, intemperance, lasciviousness, and improbity. Besides, there are several low coffee-houses, where this class of persons are harboured, and their vitiated passions pandered.
In the year 1846, a respectable pious tradesman, residing in the neighbourhood, had often observed on the Sabbath-day a group of youths and young men gambling and drinking in a secluded spot. He, unlike the priest who saw the evil, but passed it unnoticed; and still less like the Levite, who, the more he knew of the extent of the calamity, the
NO. XL.VOL. IV.
RAGGED SCHOOLS—THEIR LOCALITY,
less he did to alleviate its sorrows; but in imitation of the good Samaritan, having discovered his neighbour's need, at once brings to bear upon it all the remedial agencies he has within his power. This was not done, however, without some degree of self-denial and sacrifice of time, causing much anxiety and responsibility; but in suffering the one and incurring the other, he only obeyed the bidding of his Master, who says to others in his vineyard, “ Go and do likewise.”
Our friend, desiring to benefit these needy ones, spoke to them, and discovering their extreme ignorance, offered to instruct them. After considerable parley, they expressed themselves willing to be taught, but the difficulty was, where he could take such a company of depraved and wretched beings. But there was no time to lose, souls were perishing, and in all probability these sinking ones might drag others with them into the vortex of ruin, down which they themselves were falling. The use of a poor man's garden was at once obtained, a few odd seats borrowed, and thirteen of these youths, whose mouths were full of bitterness and cursing in the afternoon, were prevailed upon to attend in the evening. This was a day of small things, but God despised it not.
The character of this assembly is painfully interesting. It was subsequently ascertained that of the thirteen present, eleven had been in prison; eight frequently, one eight times, and two twelve times. It was by no means an easy task to bring these, their companions, and others of the same class, under a course of religious instruction and moral training. The teachers had to “go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them,” by earnest entreaties, “ to come in;" and not unfrequently did they make diligent search in the brick-fields, arousing some from their slumbers among the straw, and disturbing others while planning robberies, and exhorted them for their good. The result was, many were collected here every Sabbath evening, until the approach of winter prevented their meeting in the open air any longer. An old building, in a most dilapidated condition, was then rented, and constituted the first school-room. Here the teachers, with about fifty scholars, assembled for some time, notwithstanding the inconveniences to which they were subjected in inclement weather.
Gratitude might have been expected in return for such labours of love; but the reverse was the case for a long time. Often in the midst of teaching the lights would be put out, which was regarded as a signal for confusion and uproar, and acts of violence were perpetrated; stones and sundry sorts of filthy substances were hurled about, inflicting severe bruises. In one instance, a teacher was actually taken up in the arms of these ruffians, who endeavoured to throw him over the banisters; in this they did not succeed, but in the scuffle his nose was actually broken.
But at length, after much forbearance and perseverance, these desperate ones were subdued by kindness; the violent became calm, the unteachable docile, the obdurate softened and grateful, and some who, when first met with, were classed among those “who stole," resolved " to steal no more. These successes, however, only introduced new difficulties and dangers. One man threatened to lie in wait, and take the life of one of the teachers at the earliest opportunity, because his two sons, whom he had trained up to thieve, had become reformed, and refused to steal, thereby cutting off his ordinary means of subsistence.
OPERATIONS, CONDITION, AND RESULTS.
But even this man subsequently became a penitent, expressed great contrition, begged the teacher’s pardon, and earnestly sought forgiveness and acceptance of God through Christ Jesus, and eventually the teachers had hope in his death.
The importance of this school being made known to a benevolent lady, she at once contributed £25 per annum to
ondon City Mission towards the support of an agent, that he might labour in this locality, and give special attention to the school. This appointment has resulted in great benefit to parents and children, as they themselves testify.
The room had now become too strait, and as suitable premises could not be obtained, it became expedient to build. Efforts were made, and with large success. A wealthy and benevolent friend of the poor gave a plot of ground, and contributions were promptly paid in response to appeals made; so that the Committee felt warranted to erect a neat commodious building in the Tudor style, capable of accommodating five hundred of both sexes, at a cost of £800. The Right Hon. Lord Ashley, M.P., laid the foundation stone, December 11th, 1849; and the Rev. Alexander Fletcher, D.D., opened the School-rooms, by an impressive service, on April 16th, 1850.
The operations carried on in this new building consist of a Sunday School, at which, on the average, 260 children receive instruction. An Infant Day School, the average attendance being 120. A Week Evening School is held four evenings in the week, the average attendance being, girls 190, and boys 200, in the summer months; and girls 200, and boys 350, in the winter months. Every Sabbath evening an address is given to parents and children. There is, in connection with these schools, à Penny Savings' Bank; also a Dorcas Society, of about 50 ladies, who make clothes and sell them to the children at half the cost of the materials, by which the appearance of many of the children has been much improved.
The annual expenditure is about £105, including day and evening instruction, school requisites, and emigration. The building fund is deficient only £180, towards which the Committee of the Ragged School Union have promised £50, but which sum is payable only on condition that the remainder be first raised.
That most excellent institution, the Refuge for the Destitute, was, during its existence in Hoxton, a great boon to the neighbourhood, and a valuable auxiliary to Ragged School efforts. Many, when induced to forsake their evil habits, found shelter there, until provision could be made by which they might earn their bread by honest industry. The breaking up of this institution, in consequence of the withdrawal of Government support, is much to be regretted, and renders the extension of Ragged School operations more imperative and important.
The general results of these operations are most gratifying. The youths of 1852 could scarcely be recognised as the youths of 1846. Gangs of thieves, to which some of them belonged, have since been entirely disbanded. About fifty youths and young men, who, when prevailed
upon to attend, were professed thieves, have been reclaimed ; eight placed in refuges; twenty-one sent out as emigrants to Australia and America; and three females have been rescued from a life of infamy; one has died, leaving a testimony behind sufficient to afford hope that
HOW SHALL THE PRISON BE MADE EMPTY ?
she had experienced a change of heart; and two are now in asylums, and promise to do well. Many who were infectious members of society, leading others astray, are now filling useful and honourable stations in life. The police testify that a great amount of good has been effected by these schools in this neighbourhood—where three policemen were formerly required, one is sufficient now.
Individual results are also very pleasing. Eighteen lads have been sent out from this school to Australia, and three to America, who, when first met with, were classed among the worst of the human family, sunk in vice and infamy, fearing neither God nor man, and understanding little else but the dexterous manoeuvres of the burglar, shoplifter, and the petty pilferer.
One of the youths sent out by the Ragged School Union from this school writes from Port Philip the following :-“This is a healthy and fruitful country, and there is plenty of work for all who will do it. I am doing shepherd's work at £20 per annum and my board and lodging. I have ten pounds of flour, twelve of meat, two of sugar, and four ounces of tea per week. I am twelve miles from a place of worship, but I have
my Bible, and that is a great comfort to me. Another states that he has engaged himself for three years, at 58. per week, with board and lodging, for the first year, 10s. for the second, and 20s. for the third.
One young man, who was captain of a gang of thieves, and a terror to the neighbourhood, was induced to attend the school. After a lapse of time he resolved to give up his evil habits, became an inmate of the Refuge, and subsequently obtained employment, when he again attended the school, and became a teacher. He is now filling a respectable situation at the West End, and there is reason to hope that he has experienced a change of heart. He now seeks to benefit others, and has been the means of snatching from a life of sin a sister, who is now married to a respectable mechanic. Thus two in one family have become the joy of an aged father, instead of bringing his "grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.”
The foregoing cannot fail to excite gratitude to God for the establishment of, and the success that has attended the efforts of these schools. We trust the history of the past will prove a stimulus to increased exertions for the future, on the part of contributors and labourers, and that God will not fail to bless them in this work of faith and labour of love. Then the subscriber, the teacher, and the taught, shall rejoice together, and “sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things.”
HOW SHALL THE PRISON BE MADE EMPTY
It is a question frequently discussed by the benevolent, “Does education tend to the prevention of crime ” It was the advice of a murderer, in a letter to his children, to avoid poverty, as it was poverty that produced every calamity. “If I had been rich,” said Greenacre, “I should not have come to this disgraceful end. Therefore, strive to be rich.” The murderer who
gave advice, had cut off the head of his wife on the anniversary of their wedding. day, in order to secure her property, and at the same time get rid of her ; and' he denied his guilt to the last. It seems, therefore, to an impartial