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TEACHERS, LOOK THRICE!
Guided by its golden rules ;
Teachers of our Ragged Schools !
make the work your care ;
See if love to God be there.
When no more in misery bound,
By their Saviour to be crown'd.
Strength the warfare to maintain ;
And the palms of victory gain.
As the pearly gates ye win ;
Welcome, welcome, enter in !
Plans and Progress.
BIRMINGHAM REFORMATORY SCHOOL. On the 27th of January, a Public Meeting was held in Birmingham for the purpose of receiving a Report from the Committee nominated at a preliminary meeting held on the 23rd of December; and also for the purpose of forming & Society for promoting the industrial education of criminal children ana destitute juveniles. The chair was occupied by the Rt. Hon. Lord Calthorp. The following is an abstract of the Report:
“The Committee of Inspection, which was appointed on the 23rd of December last, at a meeting convened by circular, held at Dee's Royal Hotel, Birmingham, have great satisfaction in reporting the result of their inquiries into the practical working of the Reformatory Institution for Juvenile Delinquents, in the Ryland Road, which was set on foot last summer by Mr. Sturge, and under the superintendence of Mr. Ellis. The Committee found that the Institution consisted, in fact, of a family group of twenty persons, of whom Mr. Ellis is the head, residing in three cottages in the Ryland Road. All the inmates have been of the criminal class, except Mr. Ellis and his son, the matron, and the field labourer. There are thus sixteen persons in the family who have been criminals. Their ages vary from twelve to twenty, with the exception of one child of only six and a-half, and one young man of twenty-two years of age. They are occupied in various ways according to their capacity; and the Committee found that Mr. Ellis has thoroughly carried out amongst them the principles which he announced in the following words, in June last, to the Parliamentary Committee on the reformation of criminal children, in his evidence respecting a similar establishment formerly under his care in London :-'I recognised them as my children ; they looked upon me as their father; and the latent power of their souls being brought into existence, there was every feeling that I could expect from a child towards me; I have seen that all that they did was to strive to know my will, and that will was their law.
I endeavoured to convince those lads that honesty was the best policy, in my conversation with them whilst I was at work, and that they were responsible beings; that they had immortal souls, and that God, being the Ruler of the universe, would know all that they had done and all that they had said. So that those boys now, every one of them, move about, although in my absence, thinking that there is an eye over them. My principal object always was with those lads to put in their power the means of getting a living by teaching them a business. With regard to their morals, I thought I could not do better than set before them a good example ; and I ate with them, and drank with them, and slept with them, and I associated with them in every way; and as far as religion goes, I showed them the law of the Gospel as well as I could. I am not much of a scholar myself, and therefore I could not cultivate their intellects much. The Committee have satisfied themselves that the method of treatment adopted by Mr. Ellis may be relied upon for producing a considerable amount of success. Three principles appear to be uniformly kept in view, all of which are essential to the attainment of the desired reformation of the youthful criminal. His affections must be acted upon, and the moral faculties strengthened by voluntary exertion, which must be directed towards right objects; he must be habituated to labour, and his intellect must be cultivated. The Committee feel assured that the neglect of any one of these principles would be sufficient to destroy all reasonable hope of reformation, and they are disposed to rely very much upon the vigour and skill with which Mr. Ellis constantly applies them in the manage ment of his present school. The encouragement which the Committee have received to attempt the establishment of a Reformatory School does not, however, depend wholly on the success of the Ryland Road experiment. The Philanthropic Society has for years had the care of a number of juvenile criminals, of whom about seventyfive per cent. are permanently reformed, and support themselves subsequently by honest industry. At Mettray, in France, where the boys are very criminal, but the management extraordinarily vigorous and skilful, eighty-five per cent. turn out irreproachable. The Rauhe Haus, at Hamburgh, is an institution of the highest order of merit. It is appropriated to children of the most unpromising character. Yet only nine per cent. give any cause of complaint, and apprentices from that establishment are actually preferred to ordinary boys. There are institutions in Wurtemberg where more than half the children turn out well. An old-established institution, called the House of Refuge, at New York, reclaims seventy-five per cent. of its inmates ; and boys who have been sent to the State Reform School of Massachusetts are trusted to collect money and pay bills, and this confidence has never been abused. The duty and practicability of reclaiming criminal children is considered a settled question in the United States, and reformatory institutions are springing up all over that country. The Committee feel quite unable to resist this testimony, and they unanimously recommend the establishment of a Reformatory School in the vicinity of Birmingham. The Committee estimate that twenty boys will cost, one year with another, (at the rate of 4s. a head per week,) a total annual sum of 2001. ; but it is proposed that the candidates shall be received into the Institution gradually, and therefore the full weekly cost will not accrue for the first nine months. This being the case, 1501. may be a fair estimate for the expenses of food, clothing, washing, and all domestic current outlay for the first year. The joint salaries of matron and field superintendent may be put at 1l. per week, or 521. for the year. The first cost of furniture, hammocks for the dormitories, kitchen utensils, and a few tools and materials, will not exceed 1001. These figures added together give 3021. as the entire estimate for the cost of twenty boys for the first year, irrespective of house-rent and taxes, and of charges for head superintendence. In reference to the cost of a suitable dwellinghouse, the Committee have had under their consideration the proposal made by Mr. Adderley, at the meeting in December, to the effect that he would build, at Saltley, & house, with workshops and dormitories, for twenty boys, and attach to it five acres of land, with space reserved for future additions. The Committee recommend that the Society, which they trust will be formed this day, should accept the offer made by Mr. Adderley, and that, as soon as the house is ready, such Society should place Mr. John Ellis at the head of the establishment. The Committee consider that this Meeting will not be justified in undertaking this experiment unless they are satisfied that the funds be secured to carry it on for three years. They suggest that the admission of candidates into the school shall be subject to the following conditions :-1. That the eligibility of each candidate be judged by the sub-committee of visitors. 2. That if
DORCHESTER PLACE REFUGE FOR GIRLS.
sanctioned by the visitors, any boy shall be received in the Institution, on payment by an individual contributor, or group of contributors, of 301. or of 401. per annum, or 48. per week for three years, a satisfactory engagement in writing being entered into in each case for the continuance of such payments. 3. That, in case of the death of any boy, or if he should leave the school, a fair proportion of the sum paid in advance should be returned. The Committee are of opinion that, under this arrangement, the Institution will be warmly supported by those who may feel personally interested in particular cases ; but they also appeal to the philanth inhabitants of Birmingham and its neighbourhood for a general subscription list to meet the first cost of furniture and tools, and to give an opportunity for occasionally introducing applicants who may be unable to obtain nominations. With this view the Committee recommend, that whenever the state of the Institution will permit, a ballot shall take place amongst subscribers for the right of nomination, subject to the approval of the Committee as before.”
The following Resolutions were unanimously adopted :
1. Moved by Captain Tindal, R.N., " That the Report now read be received, and that this Meeting offers its grateful acknowledgments to the Noblemen and Gentlemen who formed the Committee of Inspection, for the attention they have devoted to the subject of the proposed Reformatory Institution ; and for their delineation of its principles, and of the means by which it is shown to be practicable.”
2. Moved by Rt. Hon. Lord Lyttleton, “ That in the opinion of this Meeting, some effort ought to be made to reclaim youthful criminals, and that in order to their rescue from demoralizing influences, it is desirable to provide for them a home, to afford them the benefits of education, and to train them to habits of regular industry, thus giving them the means and opportunity of reformation."
3. Moved by William Scholefield, Esq., M.P., “That in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee, a Society be now formed to establish an industrial institution for the care, employment, and education, of criminal boys, to be called the Birmingham Reformatory School.”
DORCHESTER PLACE REFUGE FOR GIRLS. The Third Annual Report of the “ Training Refuge for Orphans and Destitute Girls from Ragged Schools, 5, Dorchester Place, Blandford Square,” has been received, and is encouraging as to this branch of our work. The need for such institutions is obvious to all who are acquainted with the destitute condition of the “ragged girls ;” but the expensive nature of the experiment has been objected, as girls take longer than boys to tame if they have once run wild! and the outlets for employing them are more scarce. Although these considerations made the ladies who conduct this Institution aware of the arduous nature of their undertaking, they did not appear sufficient to induce them to give up the attempt to prevent so large a portion of their sex from growing up as pests to society. It is justly observed in the article in our January Magazine, “On Juvenile Delinquency in Newcastle,” that “Female crime is even more dangerous, inasmuch as it is more corrupting, than male crime. There is no doubt that demoralization begins earlier, and is more destructive in its consequences, in females than in males; that in them vice precedes crime, and both terminate in misery. ... We have no hesitation in saying some remedial measures are most urgently required with regard to outcast and neglected female children.”
Most heartily responding to the above sentiment, we hail any such "remedial measure,” on however small a scale, and only wish we could rouse the public to the urgency of the demand, that such institutions may be increased manifold.
The girls received are those destitute of any means of earning an honest livelihood, and whose attention at the Ragged Schools give promise of improvement if they had the opportunity—the ages from eleven to eighteen. The ladies have found their difficulties not over-stated, either as regards the length of time required to tame their charge, or the difficulty of disposing of
them afterwards. Still they persevere, hoping, when the subject is more known to the public, they will be more generally assisted. Their friends as yet have been few, but generous. The cleaning of door-steps has been very useful in giving the girls the first feeling of being able to earn something by their own honest labour, and their delight in their own earned pennies is make the Refuge "self-supporting has been found impossible. They have encouraging, as tending to a feeling of self-respect utterly new to them, To everything to learn, and a little needlework to help is the most that can be accomplished. One other suggestion, often made, we wish to notice. It is asked Why not send them to the workhouse? We answer, They would be supported there, or passed on to their parishes, but not trained or reclaimed. Those who have read in our Magazine the histories of some of this outcast population, know how some of them live by going from union to union, and how little they are thus fitted to be useful or even harmless members of society. We conclude our notice of this Report in the words of a gentleman who addressed a meeting in its behalf, “Think of all that is implied in the words. destitute girls!'
To the Editor of the Ragged School Union Magazine.
“One-half of the world does not know what the other half suffers." WHILE the scene is vividly before me, and the words almost ringing in my ears, I would tell your readers what I heard and saw a few nights since in a visit to one of my Ragged Schools.
The master and mistress of an excellent endowed school, with which I am officially connected, have been endeavouring to impress the children of that school with the sense of their own many blessings, and the state of poverty, neglect, and filth in which so many poor little ones of their own age are living—if living it may be called—in this great city. They have persuaded many of these dear children to contribute, not indeed out of their abundance, but out of their small means, a farthing a week each, With these small subscriptions they have bought materials, and cut out garments and made them for their poor ragged brothers and sisters. Some of these they wished to be given to the children of our Ragged Schools; and to impress their minds with the contrast between their own condition and that of the dear children for whom they have saved their money and given their time and work so cheerfully, their kind teachers wished that a deputation (to use a very favourite modern word) of the children should visit the Ragged Schools, which they accordingly did last Friday evening. At one of the schools which they first called on, 140 little ones were having a treat of tea and cake. At the next, they reached the school as the children were singing their opening hymn, and in time to join with them in the opening prayer. When this was over, I walked to the other end of the school, and singling out three boys requested them to come up to me, while the little group of nicely dressed girls, with their fresh, clean, straw bonnets, and white aprons, and nice respectable frocks, and the boys in English blue gathered round us.
The first of the three boys to whom I spoke was a little black-eyed fellow, with a thick, shock head of hair, on the top of which could be clearly seen the marks of the prison scissors. His clothes were literally a bundle of rags, fastened together by sundry strings and knots ; for when once in them they would probably never be taken off till they dropped off. The poor child had a bright, quick, intelligent look, that gave me the idea that, with all the crushing and pressing power of poverty and want,
there was still a large amount of spring in his spirit. “How long, my boy, is it since you have been in a bed ?" “Oh! sir, more than a year.” “Where did you sleep last night?” “In a sugar-tub.” One of those large hogsheads, in which the raw sugar is brought to our great sugar houses to be refined, and which are then rolled outside the house, on the pavement, in one of the side streets. “Where do you generally sleep?” In a sugar tub, or in a cupboard.” “How in a cupboard ?” “They put a mattress there, sir, inside the cupboard, and let me sleep there. Sometimes, sir, they fire little guns at me in the morning, and throw water over me.” “What did you do last night?” His drunken mother had come to the school, taken him away with her, dragged him to London Bridge, then told him that she meant to throw him over and drown him. She tried to do this more than once, but the boy got from her, and running to Whitechapel, at last took refuge in a sugar-tub.
“Well, my boy,” said I to the next, “what is your father?” “I have none-he is dead.” “Where is your mother ? ” “She is dead, too." “Have you any brothers or sisters ?” “I have one brother, but he went to sea, and I have never seen him since.” This boy was a rather fine lad of fifteen, his features were cast in a superior mould, delicately formed, and their outline decided, and yet almost refined. But the pale face had a dragged look, and the dark circle under the eye as he looked down, told of nights of cold, broken, unrefreshing sleep, and days of fatigue and hunger. Where did you sleep last night, my poor boy ?” “I slept in a sugar-tub, sir, till a man came and turned me out, and then I walked the streets the rest of the night.” "I found him, sir," said the man who lives on the school premises, " hanging about our door early in the morning ; he looked starved and cold. I took him in, and gave him some bread and butter and a cup of tea.” “What were your parents when alive ?” "They were respectable people, sir; they sold vegetables in
but when they died all went.”
“ And how have you lived since ?” “ As I could, sir.” And how can a poor child live who is thus circumstanced. He is almost too young to workperhaps he has never been taught to work—perhaps he does not know how or where to get work; and then what does he do? He either begs, and is put in prison for it, as the first of these two poor boys, for it was for cadging, as he said, (begging,) that he had been in prison—his hair bore the prison marks—or else he steals to satisfy his craving hunger.
What a history would the lives of ragged children make if put together, when even the brief sketch of two poor children, drawn out by a few questions, presents a picture of so much want and suffering!
My little visitors listened to all this with open ears, surprised looks, and, I trust, with pitying hearts for their little suffering brethren, and grateful hearts for their own mercies, so vividly and strongly brought out by contrast. I hope that when they stepped into their warm bed, and drew the clothes over them, they thought of their ragged brother's hard, cold, uncomfortable, and not undisturbed bed and bed-room, an empty sugar-tub. When they put on their nice clean, warm clothing I hope they thought of his bundle of rags. When they took their comfortable breakfast, they thought of their poor, pale, weary, foot-worn brother, walking the cold London streets at dawn, hungry, and without food; and that the feeling of the Christian poet was in their hearts, if the words were not on their lips :
“ Are these Thy mercies day by day,
To me above the rest ?
W. W. CHAMPNEYS. An effort will be made to provide a small dormitory, with a rug for each poor child, and a penny roll in the morning and evening, just to keep them from starving.