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II.—The Essays are not to exceed in length one hundred and fifty printed octavo pages;
are to be delivered, carriage free, at the office of the Ragged School Union, 1, Exeter Hall, Strand, London, addressed to the Secretary, on or before the 31st day of March, 1854; a motto, or word, is to be affixed to each Essay, and is also to be endorsed on a sealed envelope accompanying it, and enclosing the name and address of the writer.
III.—The adjudicators are to be such Members of the Visiting and Managing Committees of the Ragged School Union as the Managing Committee may appoint.
IV.–The successful Essay and the copyright in it are to belong wholly to the Managing Committee of the Ragged School Union.
V.-The unsuccessful Essays are to be returned to the respective writers with the accompanying envelopes unopened, if claimed within one calendar month after the announcement of the adjudication in the “Ragged School Union Magazine.” Any Essay not so claimed is (with its accompanying envelope) to be dealt with as the Managing Committee may think fit.
VI.—The Managing Committee is to be at liberty to withhold the prize if the adjudicators are of opinion that no one of the Essays is deserving of it.
VII.—The object of the Managing Committee in offering the prize is to stimulate inquiry into the present condition and working of Ragged Schools and their Auxiliary Institutions, and to encourage the consideration and suggestion of practical measures for promoting their efficiency and extending their operations.
With this view the Managing Committee mention the following particulars connected with the Ragged School system, as comprising a class of topics in their opinion more or less desirable to be treated of; but it is clearly to be understood that no restriction as to the subjects or the mode of treating them is to be imposed upon the writers :-The Scholars ; right class as to poverty, age, etc. ; how to be obtained; how regularity of attendance to be secured.--Locality of School— Books and Materials-Religious character of the workImportance and modes of forming moral habits-Nature and extent of secular teaching-Infant Classes-Adult Classes – Monitors-Rewards and Punishments-Addresses and Lectures—Evils of association in school to be guarded against-Home influence-Domiciliary visitation-Good or evil effects of gratuitous instruction on poor in the neighbourhood and on other schools— Libraries—Penny Banks-Clothing Funds ; gratuitous distribution of food or clothing-Refuges ; their general management; connexion with particular Ragged Schools; their locality; ages of inmates-Night Refuges- Industrial training for boys and girls; the best kinds ; disposal of produce--Grants from Committee of Privy Council on Education–Obtaining situations for boys and girls–Apprenticeship; results ; keeping up communication with old scholars -Removal of improved scholars to paying schools—Emigration ; results ; keeping up communication
--The Teachers ; paid ; their qualifications ; duties ; remuneration—Voluntary ; their qualifications ; duties; regularity of attendance-Meetings of Teachers-Modes of raising Funds-Public Meetings.
* Similar to the pages of this Magazine.
THE PAVEMENT CHALKER. CURLED up
under the shelter of one of the numerous dead walls to be met with in the line of the New Road, from Paddington to King's Cross, there is to be occasionally seen a lump of unwashed and unkempt shivering juvenility and tattered raggedness. A coarse canvass suit, which would not fetch two. pence at the rag shop, and which is full of holes and rents, does not more than half cover the naked limbs; the bare skin, “ goose-fleshed" with the wintry blast of February, looks pallidly through a dozen patchwork apertures. The owner of the miserable garments, which barely serve the purposes of decency, can boast of neither shirt, nor stockings, nor shoes. He has huddled himself up almost to the form of a crouching cur that shrinks from the assaults of the storm, and he half hides his face in his hands as he cowers ruefully from the cold. On the shin of one leg, too, a little above the ankle, there is a bad, unsightly wound. On a smooth pavement stone at his side, first industriously cleaned and polished with the palm of his hand, he has written in white chalk, shaded with a black Italian crayon, and in characters to the beauty and flourishing fluency of which the italics we are compelled to make use of have no pretensions, tlie following expressive appeal:
“ I will not steal-
Will you allow me to starve ?" A crowd of gaping boys and compassionating females have gathered round him. The boys are unanimous and loud in their praise of the marvellous writing, which in a measure justifies their assertion that it is “better than copper-plate ;” the women, with sundry ejaculations of pity and condolence, mingled with violent indignation against the world of wealth for not stepping forth in a body to the rescue, are searching in their pockets for an alms for the suffering creature. Now and then a passing pedestrian throws him a coin and hurries on; and
poor women, having succeeded in extracting a few half-pence from the recesses of their pockets and clubbed them together, one of them stoops down tenderly, and with a sigh and a blessing, confers upon the starving wretch their united contribution. The grateful creature turns a tearful eye to the clouds, and impressed with a burden of thankfulness, invokes a thousand benedictions upon their charitable hearts. Sober citizens, not altogether free from suspicion, walk past quietly, and take no notice of the appeal to their sympathies ; while the man of the world, conversant with the whole economy of the proceeding, hurls him an admonition or a reproach, instead of a coin, by which proceeding the deplorable object in all probability profits more than he would have done by their pence, through the generosity of the ignorant and the charitable, which is always stimulated by the appearance of inhumanity or oppression.
This unfortunate outcast crouches all day in the eye of the public; and if his wants be still unsatisfied, he lights a candle so soon as it is dark, and then presents quite a picturesque object. By the light of his guttering tallow, those who pass may read his lithographic performance; and he will remain at his post till seven o'clock at least, to catch the commercial gentlemen on their return home after the labours of the counting-house. So soon as that daily current has subsided, considering his business done for the day, he rises from his lair, and, treading out his ornamental inscription with his foot, limps away with the gait of a confirmed and incurable cripple from the scene of his labours—if labours they are to be called.
The subject whom we have been rapidly contemplating is well known in certain localities as an arrant impostor. We have seen him in the exercise of his daily profession, or we should say one of his professions--that of "The Deplorable Object,” in the pursuit of which he enjoys a reputation, and a profit too, equal to those of any of his tribe. It may be as well, perhaps, to look at
MR. HILL'S PLAN FOR CLEARING THE STREETS OF THIEVES. 193
the other side of the picture, and see how he indemnifies hintself at night for his couch of cold stones during eight or nine hours of the day. Let us follow him home. He has blown out his candle, and hidden it in a hole in the wall above his head, where he will find it again whenever it may be convenient to repeat his performance. He hobbles on painfully for a few hundred yards, when turning suddenly southwards, he sets his face towards Westminster, and breaks into a strapping pace, which will carry him thither in five-andthirty minutes. He stops, after a smart walk of a few hundred yards, under the shadow of a door-way, and putting his wounded foot upon the step, carefully detaches the wound-for it is merely an artificial one-from his leg, and as it cost him three-and-sixpence, he folds it up for future use. resumes his pace, nor stops again till, after threading numberless windings and short cuts, he pulls up at a favourite wine-vault in Seven Dials. Here he compensates himself for the hardships of his peculiar craft, with libations of some favourite beverage, and afterwards dines as luxuriously as a lord, and at the same hour-as he is wont to boast-at some ken,” as it is called, in the immediate neighbourhood, in the company of a congenial crew of impostors who, like himself, make a living by preying on the misdirected sympathies of the humane.
What he does with himself after dinner depends entirely upon the state of trade during the day. On this occasion he has been rather successful, and having six or seven shillings in his pocket after his dinner is paid for, he resolves upon a little relaxation. He walks leisurely home to his lodgings, not a very great distance from the Broadway at Westminster, where, doffing his professional garb, he dons one of good serviceable fustian, and, having given a peremptory order for supper at twelve o'clock, makes one in a party for some low theatre in the neighbourhood, where he makes amends for the taciturnity of his performance in the day-time, by the volubility of his criticisms. After the performance is over, he and his companions resort to the populous beggars’ lodging-house where they all reside, to a midnight supper, made up of the most heterogeneous materials—from charity crusts and potatoes for those who can pay for nothing better, to roast beef, or fowls, or rump steaks and oyster sauce, for those who during the day have reaped the favours of fortune. Supper over, the weary and the penniless slink off to bed, and the rest prolong the repast, in which our hero cuts a conspicuous figure, from the excellence of his voice, the vigour of his lungs, and the comic humour he brings into play, when he favours the company with a specimen of the peculiar class of minstrelsy in which they delight. The doors are closed, and no intrusive policeman presumes to interrupt their harmony, which generally endures so long as anything remains to be spent. If half of the wretched objects finish by disgusting intoxication, they are but so much the more fitted for business next day, seeing that the tremor and pallor superinduced by debauch may be looked upon as the legitimate qualifications for their line of occupation.
The subject of our notice is really a clever fellow, and his boast, that he "knows a thing or two,” is by no means void of truth ; but there is one thing which he does not know, and of which at present it would be very difficult to convince him—and that is, that of all the victims of his imposture, he is himself the one most deplorably deluded.—Leisure Hour.
MR. HILL'S PLAN FOR CLEARING THE STREETS OF THIEVES. The indefatigable and philanthropic Recorder of Birmingham has, on several occasions, given forth to the world some novel and striking opinions upon crime, and the way to lessen it in our land. Without pretending to decide whether such a scheme is politic or practicable, we do think it well
. worth serious consideration; and, as the public mind is at this time very
194 MR. HILL'S PLAN FOR CLEARING THE STREETS OF THIEVES.
much alive to this subject, we now give an abstract from a paper from his pen just sent us:
“ It is notorious to all the world, that a numerous class exists amongst us known individually to the officers of justice as persons who follow crime as a calling, and who have no other means of subsistence than the remuneration which belongs to their nefarious course of life. For a time, not unfrequently extending over several years, they follow this calling in safety, because no opportunity has been found to bring home to them any particular act of crime. That they must, of necessity, commit offences daily, is just as well known to the police as it is known to us that the passengers whom we meet in the streets must daily eat and drink, although we do not follow them to their homes, and are not able to aver that they have taken food of any particular kind, or at any particular moment.
“ The question for consideration is, whether the period has not arrived when the knowledge thus possessed by the officers of justice, may be made available to the breaking-up of these gangs which hold us in a state of constant alarm, and which, by the example of their impunity, obtain recruits, and spread abroad a moral pestilence. The question is one which for years has engaged no small portion of my thoughts. That bands of enemies, to whom even the laws of war are unknown, or by whom they are disregarded, should be permitted to march from village to village, and from town to town, making no secret of their contempt for justice and its guardians, braving the opprobrium of their calling, and only refraining from the most appalling violence when they can secure their plunder without its aid, and that all the while such bands are individually and collectively as well known to the police as to each other, is a state of things which would disgrace an age of barbarism, and which nothing but long familiarity could enable us to contemplate without horror and astonishment. Too frequently has it challenged my attention, in common with that of all others engaged in the administration of criminal justice, to leave the question of a remedy a new subject for consideration; and long before this present season I had reduced to writing the conclusions to which my mind had arrived.
“What I would propose is, that when, by the evidence of two or more credible witnesses, a jury has been satisfied that there is good ground for believing, and that the witnesses do actually believe, that the accused party is addicted to robbery or theft, so as to deserve the appellation of robber or thief, he shall be called upon in defence to prove himself in possession of means of subsistence, lawfully obtained, either from his property, his labour, or from the assistance of his friends. On the failure of such proof, let him be adjudged a reputed thief, and put under high recog: nizances to be of good conduct for some limited period, or in default of responsible bail let him suffer imprisonment for the same term. And as in matters of such moment it is always advisable to proceed with great caution, I would, until the experiment has been tried and found successful, confine the operation of the law to persons who have already been convicted of a felony, or of such a misdemeanour as necessarily implies dishonesty in the guilty party, as, for instance, obtaining money or goods under false pretences.
" As the testimony against the accused would only amount to a presumption of guilt, so it should seem but reasonable that such testimony might be met by a counter presumption, arising out of the fact, that his wants did not place him under any overwhelming temptation to commit the crimes in which he was supposed to be engaged. By this course of proceeding, he would be relieved from the danger of undue embarrassment in his defence. A party in the enjoyment of an honest means of subsistence can have little difficulty in proving the fact. Doubtless a law so framed would still leave some thieves still at large, because it would be too much to assume that none are in the habit of stealing who have other sources of maintenance, yet it would argue very little knowludge of the predatory class not to see that such a provision would enable the ministers of justice to withdraw from society nine-tenths of the malefactors who now roam the country unmolested."*
* The pamphlet, froin which the above is extracted, is published by Mr. Evans, Clare Street, Bristol, price 2d.
REFORMATORY SCHOOL AT SALTLEY,
We have already laid before our readers various details of the interesting experiment in reforming juvenile criminals, which has for some time past been in progress in this town, under the auspices of Mr. Joseph Sturge ; C. B. Adderley, Esq., M.P., and other philanthropic individuals. The institution was commenced in a very humble manner, but with a thorougbly practical aim, in a house in the Ryland Road, and was for several months most satisfactorily carried on there. It has since been removed to baltley, where Mr. Adderley has erected a suitable house for the inmates, and generously appropriated five acres of valuable land for their training in agricultural pursuits. A visit was recently paid to the establishment; and if, in stating to the public the circumstances of the institution, we can communicate to them only a portion of our own interest in its success, the trouble will be amply repaid.
The object of the school is by this time probably well known, but it may be useful to re-state it. Boys and youths who have been unmistakeably thieves, and whose vicious propensities have more than once led to their becoming inmates of a prison, and even exposed them to the extreme punishment of transportation, are taken direct, either from jail, or from the lowest and worst dens of wickedness, and placed under the superintendence of a master, whose duty it is to see that they are employed in useful honest labour, and that by degrees the principles of virtue are imparted to their minds, not by any mental or moral forcing process, but by a gradual progression of labour, and by a strict discipline, administered with firmness, and tempered by a kind and manly feeling. The first thing is to teach these boys that they are really thinking and responsible beings, bound by the same natural and conventional laws as others, and also that they are entitled to receive the same sympathy, and to demand the same kindness as their more favoured fellow beings. This knowledge can only be imparted by the intuition of kindness; but when it is once acquired, new feelings develop themselves, principles arise where none existed before, the unfortunate creatures awake to a knowledge of what they have been and what they may be ; and the work of reformation is half done. When supplemented by the schoolmaster and the clergyman, it is completed so far as human labour can extend; the rest must be left to a higher and all-wise Power. This course is imperative, for these boys cannot be dealt with in the ordinary manner; turned direct into a school they would corrupt the whole of their associates, and they must be taught to think before they can be made to feel. These, then, are the objects of the Reformatory School, and that they can be fully accomplished there is very little doubt.
The school now consists of twenty-one pupils, whose ages range from ten to nineteen years. Of these, fifteen reside in the house at Saltley, and six remain for the present in Ryland Road, three of them working as shoemakers, two as tailors, and one employed in the town and supporting himself. The boys at Saltley are at present exclusively engaged in agriculture, but it is intended at once to commence the erection of workshops for tailors, shoemakers, and carpenters, that they may be instructed in those trades, and, when these erections are complete, the whole will be removed to Saltley. All the boys, it should be mentioned, with the exception of one who came from Bristol, have been received into the institution from the Birmingham Borough Jail. The Ryland Road House has hitherto been retained as a "rough house, in which the boys are placed before being permanently located in the chief establishment. The building at Saltley, which presents the appearance of a substantial farm-house, is durably constructed of red brick in the plainer Tudor style, and comprises a dining-room, about forty feet by twelve, with a dormitory above of the same dimensions; and has also a master's parlour bed-room for the matron, and the customary out-offices. The furniture is of