Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

II. REFORMATORY EDUCATION.

[ocr errors]

RAUHE HAUS, NEAR HAMBURGH. To the full account we have given in another place* of the Rauhe Haus (Rough-House] or “ Institution of Rescue," established and conducted by T. H. Wichern, at Horn, near Hamburgh, we add extracts from the Annual Reports and published journals of that eminently successful philanthropist, as we find them in Miss Carpenter's Reformatory Schools. His experience will be most valuable to all who are desirous of conducting similar institutions; it will encourage them under failures, warn them against unreasonable expectations, and at the same time prove to them that in due time we shall reap if we faint not.

“On the 8th of October, 1832, on a Monday, at the house of the schoolmaster, Mr. B., where the members of the male Visiting Society had assembled, the question was raised: If the kingdom of Christ is again to be firnıly established in our city, it is necessary, among other things, to found a house for the sole object of rescuing the children from sin and disbelief!'

“ The assembly consisted almost entirely of men limited in means, and unaccustomed to conduct public undertakings. The next meeting was appointed for November.

“ In the meantime it occurred, that as a member of our society, was one day sitting at his desk, engaged in his business, a man nearly unknown to him, and wholly unacquainted with our plan, caine up to him, with 300 dollars in his hand, and said, .This shall be yours for the benefit of the poor; but I wish that, if possible, this sum should be expenied in a religious institution, and in preference upon a newly founded one.' This happened on the 25th of October.

" It now became necessary, before our November meeting, publicly to acknowledge the receipt of this sum, We were obliged 10 seek some man of sufficient importance and influence, who might give assurance for ils fitting employment. With one voice we proposed Mr. S. H., who acceded to our request, and publicly acknowledged, with us, ihe receipt of the money, and for the first time the name, · House of Rescue,' was publicly announced ; a riddle to all.

"Nor was this all, A. W. Gehren, of our city, had for some years back been moved to leave by will considerable suns for religious purposes, for example, the erection of a church, ihe endowment of a ship-preacher, the foundation of a religious lending. library, and lastly a sum of some thousands for a House of Rescue ; and Mr. S. H. was appointed executor. He therefore, on joining us, offered us 17,500 dollars for our object. We thus hoped, in the following year, to hire a house and receive some children.

" In January, 1833, several of our friends resolved to issue a popular periodical for the benefit of the House. On the first Saturday in January, when we issued the first number, a female friend, long inaternally inclined toward us, was moved to present 100 dollars for the proposed house; and in the following weeks we learned that some maid-servants had joined together to contribute their mite. A poor shoemaker's workman brought to me the whole of his little savings. Many similar gifts followed.

“ By July, 1833, after many difficulties and anxieties, we found ourselves in secure possession of the · Rauhe Haus.' It was the property of Mr. S. H., and was just at This period most unexpectedly vacated by the previous tenants. Under its thatched roof, were several apartments; by it ran a deep brook, shadowed by the finest chestnut tree in the neighborhood; beside it lay a large garden, with a fish pond. On September 12th, we ventured to call a larger assembly of friends together; when more than a hundred joined hearts and hands, and we might consider the House of Rescue founded, On the 1st of November, I and my mother entered on the occupation of it, and imme. diately received the three first boys."

We learn from M. Wichern's speech at the public meeting held in Hamburgh, for the foundation of an “Institution of Rescue,” September 12th, 1833, two facts of great significance, which, he says, “ attest among many others, that here, also, we need some such institution. First, a distinct prison-school for juvenile criminals has, within

Barnard's National Education in Europe, p. 48.

the last five years, been found necessary in Hamburgh. This institution, opened with 19 children, has, up to this time received more than 200; and many have been refused for want of room. It now contains more than 150. Secondly, no one interested in such matters can deny the increasing depravation of a certain class of our population. How largely the juvenile poor have participated in this general demoralization, is evidenced by the fact, that a special Penal School has been obliged to be appended to the poor school."

We find thus existing in Hamburgh, at the very time when M. Wichern enforced the necessity of this “House of Rescue," a public pauper school, which however, was so unsuccessful in its training of the children committed to its care, as to require the addition of a special “penal school ;” and a “prison school," in which were at that time 50 children, no inconsiderable number for one town. Why did these not answer the desired object, the prevention and correction of juvenile crime? And why was their very existence regarded as a proof of the necessity of the establishment of another kind of institution? The reason will be obvious to those who have become acquainted with the real condition of delinquent children. A public pauper school, as such, will never raise above pauperism and vice; it can only do so when elements are thrown into it which can be supplied only by voluntary effort ; no “prison school” can ever enlist the child in the work of its own reformation, and without this it is next to hope. less. M. Wichern felt, then that a new principle was to be developed ; that was to be the restoration of the child to a healthy moral condition, by placing him as far as possible, in the position in which the Heavenly Father would have him placed, a well-ordered family, where his best faculties and dispositions should be developed, and where be should be prepared to be a useful self-supporting member of society.

This institution was not to send forth branded convicts, but moral patients, restored to health, and who henceforth should mingle unmarked with those around them. The appropriated designation, “ House of Rescue," was therefore dropped, and the new institution took its name from that belonging to the old rough cottage first employed, the “ Rauhe Haus.” “I particularly recommend,” says M. Wicher, “ the founders of similar institutions to select some indefinite name, such as Rauhe Haus, the name by which the building had previously been known. "Orphan,' vagabond,' &c., are not desirable or appropriate appellations.” The child is, on admission, at once made to understand that he is now to begin a new life ; his former sins will not be remembered against him; there is to be no punishment inflicted on him for former transgressions; he comes as a returning prodigal to a father's house. “A full forgiveness of all past is announced to them immediately upon crossing the threshold of the Rauhe Haus." The introduction of a number of new scholars at once into the school at times proved so injurious to the discipline of the whole, that M. Wichern regrets that they had not a separate probationary department, which would probably in many cases be a desirable addition to such a school, sor he remarks, "every one does not submit at once to discipline. But those longer established, generally make common cause with the masters, and are the most influential means of reconciling the new comers The children are received at the request of the magistrates, not sent as a punishment,-at the desire of the parents,-or on the application of the children themselves; but in no case are they retained without the permission of the parents. When the character of the school was established by ten years trial, even respectable parents were glad to obtain admission for unruly children. “From May 13th, 1843, to May 13th, 1844,” says the report, “73 cases have been announced to us, nearly all suitable. In a great number of these cases, the children were brought to us by excellent parents, entreating their admission, and as much from the better as from the lower classes.” A list is given of these parents ; in all cases the children had been unruly and more or less vicious; some were described by the parents was good in general, except an inveterate habit of lying, stealing, and the like ;” in various instances as perfectly brutal, some almost demon-like, both boys and girls. Very few of them had come under the notice of the police.

In order to carry out as much as possible the family system, the children are divided into groups of twelve, each independent of the rest in special training and instruction,

a

[ocr errors]

* One

assembling only on particular occasions. The girls and boys are in separate houses. Each group or family is under the management of an assistant master or “ Brother," the whole being under the general superintendence of M. Wichern, who appears to breathe his spirit into the entire establishment. These Brothers, at first selected and appointed especially with a view to this institution only, now form a society which supplies missionaries and teachers to various parts of Germany, from which they are sent here to receive a most admirable preparation for future usefulness.

“ The assistants of the institutions,” says the report, "called by the children Brothers, receive no salary, but in its stead such instruction from the superintendent as may enable them hereafter to take the management of similar institutions. They are young men acquainted with some manual trade or with agriculture, or able in other ways to make themselves practically useful, and who are willing, from Christian love, to devote themselves to these destitute children."

M. Wichern's guiding principle in this institution is thus stated by him. great cause of demoralization of the lowest class, is the pressure of shameless, selfabandoned poverty. We therefore establish as a principle that the way of life in our institution shall not tend to make the children forget that they belong to this class of the poor; the children on the other hand, shall be trained to feel that poverty in itself is not an evil, but depends upon the spirit in which it is borne. According to this princi. ple will be regulated the clothing, and the food, which must be wholesome, but as simple as possible, also the instruction, which will be limited to reading, writing, arithmetic, and singing. The children shall indeed learn to implore their daily bread from their Father in Heaven ; but at the same time to earn it from their fellow men honestly and unrepiningly, in the sweat of their brow; and the whole course of life and occupation will have for its aim to prepare them for obtaining by their own energies, those comforts and necessaries which some procure with great expense from the labor of others."

Let us now then trace M. Wichern's experience by extracting passages from his annual reports, occupying a period from April, 1835, to the present time. his own simple details.

“1834. It has often been asked, how these boys, almost all accustomed to theft, behave in this respect. Every occasional visitor may see, that with regard to our own property we employ no precautions, and suffer no loss. Nor have we had complaints on this points from without, though from the first I have daily sent out many of the children into the town, or for miles into the country around. From the commencement, however, we have expressly excluded them from the kitchen. Their lingering propensity to theft principally takes the form of gluttony, which in some is its only manifestation. Single instances, however, may show the prevailing spirit. Last summer, three boys had plucked three gooseberries in the garden; the others learned it, and would not be satisfied till the three came to me and confessed their fault. Once, after some serious conversatior., one, among several others, came to tell me of his having gathered the pease of another, and his regret for the vexation and disappointment which he had caused.

“ 1835. Lying, and a spirit of disorder and indecorum, are the dark side of the pic. ture which we have to present, and often tax severely the most enduring patience. At one period, in consequence of repeated acts of pillering, &c., I ordered the morning and evening family-worship to be for a time suspended. This produced a powerful effect on the minds of all. . And after our regular services had been resumed, I learnt, for the first time, that during their suspension many little associations had been formed among the children, for reading and explaining the Word of God among themselves. One evening, as I was passing through the garden, I heard singing, and found seven or eight boys, who had assembled to hear one of their companions read the Scriptures.

A party of boys planned and completed a hut similar to that built by D. But they discovered in the timber-work a piece of wood, which one of their number had abstracted without permission from the larger building. This discovery excited them all against G.; and a boy of 12 years, a favorite for his obliging disposition, ran eagerly to fetch an axe, with which, in presence of the offender, he struck so lustily on the laboriously-erocied edifice, that the whole was soon a heap of ruins. None of the before delighted builders ever took any farther account of it.

• 1837. For a year and a half no child has run away. It has been again proved that for an institution which is pervaded by the right spirit, no wall is precisely the strongest wall, and thus such an institution scems enabled to spread an attracting influence, like a net, around it, beyond its local limits. With regard to the children who

We give

have left us, all are in the service of artizans, except one, who is an errand boy. One girl is in service. Hitherto we have not had any instances of relapse into evil habits; on the contrary, those who have left us persevere in the way of life to which they have been trained. To this their employers bear witness. One master having had a boy from the institution a year in his service, has asked for and engaged a second in addition.”

“ The progress made by the children in their education is on the whole satisfactory. All the boys, except one, will soon be able to read fluently; this one, 18 years old, will probably never do so. In winter, about three hours daily are given to instruction; in sunumer about 2 1-2. The remaining time, excepting holidays, and prayer-hours, are devoted to labor We still require a more advanced practical training and employment for those boys whose superior faculties demand further development. I have however always avoided merely mechanical trades. Our object is to call all the powe ers into exercise, in combination with moral aims. The four assistants who have entered since the beginning of 1836, were previously artizans, or practical men in some department.

“Some lads, on visiting their parents, and finding the house unswept, have taken up a broom, and performed voluntarily that to which no compulsion could force them. And when the parents have wished the children to remain with them for the night, the reply has been: That will not do ; not one of us can be spared, we are all wanted to help each other.'

Last year 11 or 12 pieces of money were taken from a grown up member of the family; suspicion could of course fall only upon the boys; but our search was una. vailing. After more than six weeks, some of us heard several of the boys, in conversing together, make great use of the work eleven. I accordingly sent for these boys, without letting them know for what purpose, or allowing them to speak to each other. There were five of them. From the first, whom I spoke to in my room, nothing could be extracted ; and it was afterwards discovered ihat he had really not been concerned the affair. The rest were called in, one by one, and all persisted that they had only been talking of 11 nails. All agreed in referring to an incident that had occurred that day to which the 11 nails bore reference. Nearly half a year afterwards it was discovered that they had really been speaking of the Il pieces of money, which one of them had stolen ; and had been much perplexed at finding themselves overheard. But, while prevented by the presence of an overlooker from speaking, one of them had stealthily pointed to his hand, then touched with one finger a nail in a bench; the other three understood the sign, and all accordingly agreed in one tale.

“I have allowed certain boys, who have proved themselves trustworthy, and who are old onough, to take a share in superintending the others, under the name of PeaceBoys. They have no positive authority, either to command or even to reprove ; but are only to influence and remind. They are chosen every month, in the family gatherings on Saturday evening; any one who proves himself wholly unworthy, being excluded.

“Any one acquainted with the daily outbreaks among us of rudeness and coarse. ness, of obstinacy, audacity, and shameless lying, will easily believe that corporal chastisement is sometimes necessary. For serious offences also, I have found special oversight, combined with silence, extremely effectual. A boy under sentence of silence may not speak to any but the grown up residents; he is closely watched both in work and in leisure hours, to maintain this isolation. Against the incredibly numerous in. stances of destructiveness, we have long contended in vain ; no oversight, nor even corporal punishment, avails to check them. All is however altered, since I have assigned regular pocket-money to each boy, and deducted, from the fund so applied, part at leasi in payment of dainages. All destructible articles seem suddenly to have acquired at least a negative worth for all.

“The state of health has been satisfactory. During the 4 1-2 years since the foun. dation of the institution, we have had, thank God! no death, among children or elders The scrofulous tendency, with which most on their entrance are infested, remains our greatest evil. Accidents occupy the next place.

“ 1838. A change of assistants has caused much difficulty. The superintendent of the girls' house had left, and her place was not immediately supplied. The old sin quickly reappeared among them with a few consolatory exceptions. All our regulations, and the efforts of three plain tradesmen's wives, selected one after the other to superintend them, proved unavailing. The utmost that could be attained was superficial decorum, which might have partially deceived ine, had I not lived so entirely among the children. The girls' department was like a garden from which the care of the gardener had been withdrawn. Among other bad symptoms were the gradual cessation of the songs, before so frequent; and the extinction of all interest in God's Word.

“ Among the boys the evil took a different form. We need only hint at the disor. ders resulting among them from the irregularities of the girls. Hypocricy, and mutual accusations are other features of the picture, which became daily more gloomy.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »