Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

shirts, and inciting them to tear each other. Seeing that the force I had with me would be insufficient to cope with such a number of determined characters, I sent out one of the constables to procure more assistance, when the prisoner Field advanced towards me in a threatening manner with a poker in his hand, and whirling it about over my head, exclaimed, 'If you don't instantly get out of it I'll smash your head for you.' I told him I was a police sergeant, and that if he did so it would be the worse for him; but I retreated to the door, and after he had again twirled the poker about over me in a very menacing manner, got into the street, where I found a reinforcement of officers coming up. I then returned to the house and tried to get in, but found the door securely fastened, and therefore forced my way in through the window into the parlour, where I was confronted by the female prisoner Smith, who exclaimed, 'Oh! you have come here again, have you?” and immediately called out to a ferocious bull-dog, which was fastened by a chain to a bedstead, to seize me. The dog did instantly as it was ordered, and grasped me by the leg, below the knee, with such ferocity, that it not only bit out a mouthful of my trousers and stocking, but also tore away a piece of the flesh. I struck at the dog several times with my staff, but it got under the bed unharmed, and while I was trying to get a blow at it, Field rushed into the room, and dealt me such a severe blow over the hand with some heavy weapon, that my knuckles were broken. There were a great many dogs in the house and yard, the latter all chained, and, upon our getting the prisoners out into the street, the police were assailed by a shower of stones and brickbats, hurled at them by the mob, who had collected in great numbers.

"One of the officers here pulled the dead body of a bull-dog from a sack, and lifted up two other live dogs for the magistrate's inspection, both of which were frightfully torn about the eyes, nose, and upper part of the head, the skin being torn completely off the fore-leg of one of them, and both of which had apparently the greatest difficulty in dragging their hind-quarters after them.''

Such are some of the brutalizing scenes in which many find their chief pleasure. A few days after the “Grand Show” at the Public-house, one of the principal actors, described in the above extract, was seized, not again by the police, but by an awful pestilence, and in a few hours appeared at the tribunal of that Judge who rendereth to every man according to his works !

THE RAGGED CHURL AND THE ROYAL TEACHER. An eminent salesman and butcher in the royal town of Windsor, who, in the palmy days of good King George 111., was a great favourite with his Majesty, took delight in relating a number of traits characteristic of the goodness and familiarity displayed by that amiable monarch. His Majesty loved greatly to talk with him on the subject of breeding and feeding cattle; the King himself being an excellent judge of the qualities and value of animals, and was allowed to be the best practical farmer in the county of Berks. Although his Majesty was not particularly easy of access to persons in high life, and seldom admitted any person, however distinguished for birth or talents, in a familiar manner to his table, he was extremely fond of entering into conversation with the lower and middle ranks of society, and few individuals of this description resided long in the neighbourhood of Windsor, without having at some time or other held discourse with King George III. Among other anecdotes related by the late Mr. B-, was the following:

“Some years ago,” said Mr. B-, “there was a boy in my employment in the capacity of a shepherd; he was a thick-set, sunburnt, sturdy fellow, about ten years old, with coarse features, and a bristly red head of hair, and each particular hair did stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porcupine.' One sultry summer's day, while he was seated on a bank near the road-side, watching his flock with a book in his hand, the King happened to be walking that day unattended, wKich was frequently the case at that period. His Majesty marched up to the boy, and thus accosted him. What, what-what book is that P' The little red-headed urchin gruffly replied, "A spelling-book.'

I can.

[ocr errors]

Aye, Dyche, Dyche, Dyche, a good author. Can you spell?' A little. · Let's hear you try,' said the King, as he took the book from the boy. (It must have been curious to see the monarch of a great empire assuming the character of a Ragged School teacher, with a spelling-book in his hand, and hearing the ragged churl his lesson.) Can you spell two syllables P' Yes

, • Come, then, let us see, let us see,-ABBOT !--A-ab, bot, bot, ABBOT.' “Good boy, good boy !--CRIMSON !! C-r-i-m, crim, s-0-n, son, CRIMSON.' Aye, that will do, that will do. Can you read as well as you can spell? Do you go to school? Can you read the Bible?'

My mother is too poor to send me to school, and she has got only a piece of a Bible, which is so torn, and the leaves so dirty and dog's-eared, that we can't make it out at all.'

That’s pity, pity, pity! What’s her name? Where does she live ?' Her name is Hannah Potts, and she lives in Dirty Foot Lane.' “The King took out a pencil

, and wrote down the name and address, and departed, to the great disappointment of the

rude and surly young shepherd

, who, with the cunning peculiar to some in low life, pretended to be ignorant of the King's person, when at the same time he knew very well to whom he was talking

“On his Majesty's return to the Castle, he called for the gentleman who then acted as his private and confidential secretary, and said," There is a great want of education amongst the poor people in our neighbourhood: this ought not to be. This packet must be delivered according to the direction, and the woman must be expressly told that the book is a gift from ourselves, as a reward for her perseverance in teaching her son to read. Her circumstances must also be inquired into, and her children sent to school, The monarch put a five-pound note into a common printed Bible, and wrote with his own hand upon the title-page, THE GIFT OF GEORGE R. TO HANNAH Potts,' adding the day of the month and the date of the year. The King then delivered it to tħe gentleman with these words, Let this be sent immediately, for it is our wish that every subject in these realms should be able to read the Bible.'

• This poor woman,” continued the narrator, “has been offered, at various times, since his Majesty's decease, considerable sums of money for this precious volume, but which she as constantly refuses to sell, declaring, She will never part from it while she lives, and that, if it please God, she will die with it under her pillow.'

66

Since the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society, the words of the King have been reiterated from platform to platform throughout the length and breadth of the land ; but few persons, perhaps, of the present day, are acquainted with the interesting facts, which elicited from that revered and beloved Sovereign those memorable words, “IT IS OUR WISH, THAT EVERY SUBJECT IN THESE REALMS SHOULD BE ABLE TO READ THE BIBLE.”

in the history of our country, when acquaintance with the principles of the national faith

was indispensable to the most moderate reputation for intelligence and enlightenment–when the Catechism and the Bible were the first books put into the hands of our youth-when the elements of religious truth and science were always taught

together—when all the higher branches of human learning, like the daily food we partake of, had to be * sanctified by the word of God and by prayer." This, our good old national habit, is undergoing a change, and education now, as proposed, is not to cure prehend necessarily any degree of religious attainment. We fear" perilous times have come, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." 2 Tim.i. An educational institution has recently been established, from which the Bible is positively excluded. It is distinctly understood, that religion shall not be taught there ; and if religion be banished from schools, it will soon be banished from homes also ; and that the pretending that children may

Time was,

taught religion by their parents at home, is something like an equivalent to hope that they may not be taught religion at all; for such we are bold to say must be the inevitable effect of any extended system of national education, of which the Bible is not made the chief and fundamental feature of instruction. *

CONFERENCE AT BIRMINGHAM ON THE REFORMATION OF

JUVENILE DELINQUENTS. In our volume for 1852, page 15, we gave a brief notice of a Conference held at Birmingham upon the subject of PREVENTIVE AND REFORMATORY Schools. One of the results of that Conference was the appointment of a Select Committee of the House of Commons fully to consider the question and to report.

Two Bills were brought under the notice of Parliament, one by the Earl of Shaftesbury in the House of Lords, the other by Mr. Adderley in the House of Commons ; particulars of which we have already laid before our readers. In consequence of the last Session being far advanced when these Bills were introduced, it was found impracticable to give them that careful deliberation the subject demanded. They, therefore, stard over for the consideration of the Legislature next Session.

With a view to collect the opinions of the friends interested in the movement, and to adopt measures for securing the co-operation and sanction of the Legislature in establishing reformatory institutions throughout the kingdom, a second Conference was held at Dee's Hotel, Birmingham, on the 20th of December, which was very numerously attended by noblemen, ministers, and gentlemen from nearly every part of the United Kingdom'; among whom was a deputation from the Ragged School Union.

The Right Hon. Sir John Pakington, M.P., presided.

The proceedings having been opened by prayer by the Rev. Mr. Miller, communications were read from the Bishop of Worcester, Mr. Joseph Hume, M.P., Right Hon. Mr. Baines, M.P., Lord Stanley, Mr. Fitzroy, M.P., the Lord Mayor of London, Lord Radnor, the Bishop of Oxford, Lord Barrington, M.P., Lord Norreys, Mr. Walter, M.P., Lord Henry Cholmondeley, Lord Brougham ; also from the Speaker of the House of Commons, in which the right hon. gentleman, addressing Mr. Adderley, said :

“I wish you all possible success at your meeting on the 20th. If we can arrive at the establishment of well-conducted reformatories for juvenile delinquents, we shall do more towards the suppression of crime than by the best system of prison discipline for adults that has ever been yet devised.”

The Chairman said, that after having Government of the country were bound, heard the impressions of their absent at least, to do something to rescue this friends, they would now proceed with the land from the discredit which attached discussion, which was connected not only to it for having so long neglected the with one of the greatest, but one of the great social duty of reforming juvenilo most pressing social questions of the pre- offenders. As the Conference had done sent day. He need scarcely remind the him the honour of electing him to presido meeting that they were assembled, not to on the present occasion, (an honour whiclı consider whether the mode of treatment ho assured them he greatly valued and of juvenile criine and temptation hitherto appreciated,) he thought he would be conpursued lad been manifestly unsatis- sulting for the best if he were now to factory and discreditable to this great enter into some explanation of the precountry—for that was decided at the Con- sent position of the question. He would, ference held in 1851—but they were met however, confine himself to the statement to decide whether the time had not of that explanation, and he would not arrived when the Legislature and the enter into any arguments to prove that

* “Evils of Popular Ignorance."--The Pulpit, June 30th, 1853.

which he hoped they were already con Chairman. That Committee obtained vinced of, namely, that the time had come very valuable and instructive evidence ; when some national effort ought to be but, in consequence of beginning the inmade on this great question. He, there quiry so late in the session, they were fore, thought he would best discharge his not able to close the inquiry; but, at the duty if he were to begin by tracing the commencement of the present year, the progress that had been made during the Committee was again appointed, and last two years, so as to place the meeting during the whole of the last session it in possession of the circumstances which prosecuted the investigation, and evenhad occurred since last they had met, and tually agreed to its Report. The labours thus to enable them to judge of the par of the Committee concluded with twenty. ticular position, for the future, in which five Resolutions, which were reported to these circumstances had placed them. the House of Commons. Having said They would remember that, at the close thus much, he would advert for a moment of the year 1851, a large meeting of those to the Conference of 1851. At that con. who had long, to their great honour, de ference five important Resolutions were voted time and attention to this interest

passed. They were to the effect that the ing subject, assembled in that room, and present treatment of juvenile crimes was entered into a series of practical resolu- unsatisfactory; that Reformatory Schools tions on the subject, laying down the should be formed; that the action of the course which ought to be taken. He had | Privy Council for Industrial Schools long felt that the manner in which this be extended, and that legislative enactquestion was dealt with was a stain upon ments were required for the reformation the reputation of this country. He had of juvenile criminals. The result of the conferred with those who felt with him

inquiry prosecuted by the Committee of on the subject, and they were unanimously the House of Commons was to the same of opinion that it was not at that time effect, but they touched upon one or two widely and generally understood, and points to which the Resolutions of the that, as yet, public feeling was hardly Conference of 1851' did not refer. One ripe for legislation. They felt at that of these, and perhaps the most important, time that to introduce any measure in was that it was not intended by those Parliament, or to call on the Government who promoted legislation on the subject to interfere, would be premature; and to relieve parents from their fair parental that the best thing would be to enlarge liability. (Hear, hear.) The great evil public information,

and to put the country which it was sought to remedy arose from in a better position by means of inquiry, the profligacy of the parents of the chilconducted through the agency of a Select dren, and no policy could be more unwise Committee of the House of Commons. or more unsound than to hold that, beA very few weeks after the Conference

cause children were rescued by the State was held, towards the close of 1851, he from a life of sin and destitution, their gave a public notice in the House of parents were necessarily relieved from Commons, that, upon a certain day to be liability in their regard. Another Resonamed, he would move for a Parlia lution of the House of Commons pointed mentary inquiry, and state the exact terms to the immense benefits and importance of of the motion which it was his intention

the system of Ragged Industrial Schools. to propose.

It so happened, however, He spoke in the presence of a noble and that, before the day arrived, political distinguished friend of his, whom he was changes took place, which imposed other delighted to see in the room sanctioning duties upon him, and he was unable to the proceedings, and who had done more persevere with his motion.

In conse

in the promotion of these useful instituquence of this circumstance considerable tions than any other man in the kingdom. delay took place, and the motion was not His worthy friend, Mr. Adderley, had, taken up by any other Member ; but to during last session, brought in a bill — wards the latter part of the session, his which he had, at the request of his hon. hon. and excellent friend, Mr. Adderley— friend, endorsed-embodying all the prina gentleman whose liberality and benevo cipal objects recommended in the Report lent feelings and conduct it was quite un of the Committee of the House. It was necessary for him to dilate upon-took not hoped that this Bill, brought in at up the motion which he had given notice the close of the session, would become of, and moved for a Committee of Inquiry, the law of the land, but to force the of which Mr. Baines, the President of the attention of the Government to the subPoor Law Board, was appointed the ject; and he was happy to say they had

elicited from the Government a promise | adoption of the opinion of the Select to devote their attention to it. That Committee of the House of Commons :Bill, he was happy to say, was not the * That it appears to this Committee to be only means taken to effect this object, established by the evidence, that a large for his noble friend, Lord Shaftesbury, proportion of the present aggregate of (applause,) had brought in a similar mea- crime might be prevented, and thousands sure in the House of Lords. Their great of miserable human beings, who have object to-day was, to ask those present before them, under our present system, to aid them in bringing this great question nothing but a hopeless career of wickedto a practical result, by impressing on ness and vice, might be converted into Parliament and the Government that the virtuous, honest, and industrious citizens, time for action had arrived. Successive if due care were taken to rescue destitute, Parliaments and successive Governments neglected, and criminal children from the had been sluggish on this question, and dangers and temptations incident to their they were now asked to urge them on. position.”Statesmen and legislators had devoted "That properly to effect the great their wisdom to devising an improved object contemplated in the preceding mode of punishing criminals, but it had Resolution, this Conference is of opinion not struck them that the wiser and the that the country requires legislation for better—and, to take the lowest ground, the encouragement of reformatory schools the cheaper course—would be to train the for children convicted of crime or habitual child to virtue, rather than punish him vagrancy; and that such schools shall be for infringing those laws of which he had founded and supported in the manner never heard, and of violating those duties pointed out by the Resolution of the which he had never been taught. They Committee of the House of Commonswanted the force of public opinion to be namely, partially by local rates, partially brought to bear on this great, this mo- by contributions from the State." mentous question, and he was convinced “That in the opinion of this conthat in no way could that be more effec- ference every encouragement should be tually done than through the agency of a given to Reformatory Schools, supported meeting such as he had the pleasure to by voluntary contributions, for the benefit see assembled—a meeting composed of

of destitute and criminal children, and enlightened men from all parts of the that power should be given to Governkingdom, uniting in impressing on their ment, and to counties and boroughs, to fellow-countrymen that the time had come contract with the managers of such instito adopt the reformatory system, and to tutions for the education and maintenance tell the Government that, for the welfare, of criminal children therein ; such instituthe credit, and the honour of England, tions to be under Government inspecwe should no longer delay following the

tion.” glorious examples held out by the rest "That power should be created for of Europe and by America.

sending children, convicted of crime or The Right Hon. Gentleman concluded habitual vagrancy, to reformatory estahis address amidst loud and long-con- blishments for sufficient time for their tinued applause, which having subsided, reformation and industrial training, or he again rose, and stated that the course until satisfactory sureties be found for he would suggest should be adopted at their future good conduct.” that Meeting was, that the Town Clerk “That, as a check to any possible encoushould read the Resolutions, which he ragement offered to parental negligence, a would then put seriatim. As the Resolu- portion of every child's cost of maintetions would be moved and seconded in the nance at a Reformatory School, should usual manner at the evening Meeting, he

be recoverable from the parents." would suggest that they should be simply “That powers should be conferred, in received or negatived. He would be, how- certain cases, to apprentice boys on their ever, liappy to hear any observations which leaving Reformatory Schools, or to adopt any gentlemen might desire to offer. other measures, at the public cost, for

Mr. Morgan, the Town Clerk, then enabling them to commence a course of read the following Resolutions :

honest industry.” “That before proceeding to the con- On the first resolution being put from sideration of legislative amendment re- the chair, quired in the treatment of morally desti- The Earl of Shaftesbury said, that tute and criminal children, this Conference having been invited to the Conference, he takes the opportunity to express its cordial was unwilling to pass over the Resolution

B

« AnteriorContinuar »