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GEMS FROM THE “ANNIE JANE."
No. I.-" THE BOYS THAT READ THE BOOK."
With the Ragged Boys that read the Book, and many thousands more!
Notices of Meetings, etc.
The meeting, which was numerously attended,
The Report, which was read by the Secretary, gave a summary of the rise and progress of the Institution, from which it appeared that, in the first instance, a Sabbath Evening School only was opened; but, subsequently, have been
added to the operations, Week Evening Schools, for boys and girls; two Industrial Classes; an Infant Day School; an Emigration Fund; a Clothing Fund; a Library, and Savings' Bank; all of wbich had been found effective in conferring their collateral benefits and advantages on the poor children of the neighbourhood. Many cases of individual good, resulting from the training afforded by the institution, were detailed, and statements made as to general improvement of the scholars.
The funds, too, were reported to be in a prosperous condition.
The balance, of £43. 78. 11d., due to the Treasurer at last meeting, had been cleared off, and the current expendi. ture met also. The receipts for the year had amounted to £272. 38. 7}d., being the result of increased contributions; a Sermon, by the Rev. W. Brock; and special grants from the Ragged School Union.
now a balance in hand of £80. Still the reliable income was below the current expenditure.
The Report being disposed of, the 14 prize children came on to the platform, and received from the hands of the Chairman the prizes, which consisted of bundles of wearing apparel, of the value of 108. each. Much interest and sympathy was manifested in the meeting by the orderly and happy appearance of the children, who withdrew after the Chairman had addressed to them a few appropriate remarks.
Joseph Payne, Esq., moved the second Resolution, and prefaced his speech with a rhyming finish to the Chairman's address to the children, The Resolution, which acknowledged with gratitude the blessings of God on the operations of the schools, was, seconded by Wm. Locke, Esq., the Hon. Secretary of the Ragged School Union. Mr. Locke mentioned some interesting cases of the success which had attended Ragged School scholars, who had emigrated, and of their kind care of parents and relations left behind, and gratitude to their teachers.
T. Abraham, Esq., having moved, and Metcalf Hopgood, Esq., seconded, and John Green, Esq., supported, the third Resolution,
strong appeal was made to the subscribers and friends of the schools, which was warmly responded to by the meeting, to support the generous offer of the Ladies' Com. mittee by prompt and increased subscriptions. After a vote of thanks had been passed to the Chairman, the meeting, which had been largely and respectably attended, separated.
JOHN STREET, MINT. The Thirteenth Annual Meeting of this School was held at the school-room, John Street, Great Suffolk Street, Borough, on Friday evening, March 24th, 1854. About 100 friends, and from 60 to 70 present and former scholars, partook of tea; after which a Public Meeting was held, the Rev. James Sherman presiding, supported by the Revs. Messrs. Spurgeon and Pizer, Joseph Payne, Esq., and other friends.
The Meeting having been opened with prayer, the children repeated various portions of Scripture, and very sweetly sang some appropriate hymns; after which they were suitably addressed by the Chairman, and rewards distributed to thein.
Joseph Payne, Esq., then addressed them, and treated them to a new edition of “Cheer Boys, Cheer,” to which they responded most enthusiastically; and at the close of his address, the learned gentleman dismissed the scholars, each with a large slice of good plum-cake.
The Chairman then called upon the Secretary to read the Annual Report of the School, which was read accordingly, and appeared to afford much satisfaction.
The Chairman next addressed the teachers and visitors, expressing his sympathy with those employed in the Ragged School work; his surprise at hearing this
was the thirteenth annual meeting; his pleasure at hearing the children repeat their portions of Scripture, and at hearing such delightful harmony in their singing. Was much gratified with the Report, especially with respect to former scholars, about fifty of whom were occupying respectable situations, and also with respect to the Southwark Penny Bank; and concluded with an earnest appeal for an increase of teachers, and an interest in the prayers of all present.
FOSTER STREET, BISHOPSGATE STREET. The Annual Meeting of the above School was held at the London Tavern on the evening of Friday, the 31st of March. The chair was taken by Wm. James Maxwell, Esq. A letter was read from the Right Hon. Sir John Pakington, Bart., M.P., expressing his regret that, owing to the important nature of the business in the House of Commons that evening, he was obliged to abandon his intention of being present at the meeting.
Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Wire moved the adoption of the Report, which was seconded by Henry Bateman, Esq.
The Report stated that the schools were never in a state of greater efficiency than at the present time, and that upwards of 200 children were receiving daily instruction. The attendance at the Sunday School was about 200, which continued to be under the able superintendence of John Green, Esq., and a band of 25 voluntary teachers. Of the 144 prizes distributed by the Ragged School Union to scholars who had remained one year in a situation with satisfaction to their employers, 14 were awarded to scholars who had been instructed in these schools.
The funds were in a prosperous state. The grant of £242 from the bequest of Miss Hardwick, had liquidated the balance owing to the Sub-Treasurer of the Institution, and there was
NELSON STREET, CAMBERWELL. A PUBLIC Meeting of the friends and sup. porters of the Nelson Street Ragged Schools, Wyndhamı Road, Camberwell, was held on April 12th, at Camberwell Hall, Grove Lane, his Grace the Duke of Argyll in the Chair.
The noble Chairman, in opening the proceed. ings, alluded to the progress of Ragged Schools in England and Scotland, and observed that, in the latter country, it was the practice of ladies and gentlemen to take especial interest in one or more children while in school, and endea. vour to forward them in after life. His Grace, in conclusion, recommended the promoters of the Nelson Street Schools (particularly the ladies) to adopt a similar plan. The noble Duke added, that he regretted being compelled to leave thus early, and retired amidst loud cheering. Mr. F. C. Hills, the Treasurer, then succeeded to the Chair.
Mr. Travers Buxton, Hon. Secretary, then read the Report, which was unanimously adopted, and after describing the locality of the schools, it stated that in the school established for children aged from two to eight, there had been admitted 149, now on the books 89, !eft 60, average attendance 70. The Girls' Evening School, held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, had an average attendance of 45 in the winter, and 20 in the summer, and 60 were now on the books. A Needlework Class had been established for girls with good effect. The Boys' Evening School, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, had an average attendance of from 30 to 70. There had been most favourable reports of boys who had been sent abroad, and to situations at home.
About 250 children attended the schools on Sunday evenings, when there was also an Adult School, chiefly attended by women. The Report concluded by stating that the whole had proceeded satisfactorily, but adding that, although the expenses were less than £180 per annum, yet the annual subscriptions did not exceed €110.
Papers, Origital and selected.
MIDDLESEX INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.-PROPOSED
LEGISLATION. It is known to most of our readers that Lord Shaftesbury, last year, introduced to Parliament a measure for the prevention of juvenile crime, and that Mr. Adderley afterwards brought forward a Bill for the reformation of juvenile offenders. Neither of these measures, although their principles were generally recognised, and their importance on all hands acknowledged, received the sanction of the Legislature; and up to this hour the two great problems of prevention and cure, as connected with a Scriptural and industrial system of education, remain unsolved. At the time when these Bills were withdrawn, we espressed our conviction, that in all probability they would either be brought forward again, during the present Session, by their original promoters, or that Her Majesty's Government would incorporate the leading provisions of both in one legislative enactment. Hitherto we have not seen any movement made in this direction. The abnormal state of public affairs, arising from the fact that we are at war with a powerful empire, has interfered with legislation on other subjects, and may possibly account for the silence of the Government on the important questions to which we have referred. We still hope, however, that ere the present session of Parliament comes to a close, we may have the satisfaction of finding that, amid the excitement and anxiety produced by a great crisis in the world's affairs, a subject so closely allied with our national strength and virtue, as well as with our social advancement, has not been forgotten. And this hope is strengthened by the knowledge we have that the necessity of establishing Industrial Schools is more and more felt every day; and that not only eminent individuals, but that a wide-spread and healthy public opinion, as it has found utterance in many ways, and especially in the great Conference held last year at Birmingham, have demanded that decisive action shall at once be taken by the British Parliainent.
Of the strong feelings which prevail on this question, we have a fresh and striking illustration in "A Bill (as amended in Committee) for the Provision, Regulation, and Maintenance of County Industrial Schools in Middlesex,
a copy of which lies before us. It is “brought in by Lord Robert Grosvenor, Viscount Chelsea, and Mr. Tuffnell.” Whether it is likely to receive the sanction of Parliament, or to be adopted by the Government, we have no means of ascertaining. But we believe the subject to be of such importance, and the continued discussion of it so likely to accelerate the consummation which so many earnestly desire, that we think it our duty to lay the leading provisions of Lord Grosvenor's Bill before our readers.
As already intimated, nothing of this kind has been established by Act of Parliament.
But it is also to be remembered, that efforts of a more private nature have been made. - Several of these, however, have failed. Such was the fate of Captain Brenton's Institution at Hackney
NO. LXVI. ---TOL. VI.
Wick, which was written down by the Times, the same journal which now gives such powerful support to the cause of Ragged Reformatory Schools. Again, we find that the Hoxton Refuge for Males was closed for want of funds, the Government, in one of those fits of economy which sometimes sweep away the supports of useful institutions, having withdrawn the annual grant. Stretton-on-Dunsmore was also closed for want of funds. The “ Philanthropic Society” would in all probability have shared the same fate, ħad it not wisely, and in time, reviewed its position and plans, and so modified its operations, as to secure for itself increasing usefulness and enlarged prosperity. An Industrial School has been recently established at Saltley, near Birmingham, under favourable auspices, and, like the Reform School at Red Hill, is chiefly of an agricultural character. In this respect it enjoys advantages which are not possessed by the Reformatory Institution in Westminster.
The preamble of Lord Grosvenor's Bill affirms that "it is expedient to make provision for the care, reformation, and education of juvenile offenders, in the county of Middlesex; that this object cannot be effected without the authority of Parliament.” The “county of Middlesex is truly the field for an experimental and tentative effort;" embracing as it does within its limits probably three-fourths of the population of the metropolis itself. The “juvenile offenders ” within its boundaries are, alas ! very numerous, and that “provision” needs to be made for their “
care, reformation, and education,” cannot for a moment be denied. Some there are who may on principle object to education of any kind being undertaken by the State and at the public expense ; but the majority, we believe, agree with the Birmingham Conference, that in the circumstances of the case, the “provision” which is needful must at least, in part, be effected by " the authority of Parliament.” The “preamble” then of the Bill may well be considered as “proved.” Let us now see what are the chief of the enactments proposed. One of the most important is that which defines the meaning of the words “juvenile offender:".
“ The words “juvenile offender'shall mean any person whose age (in the opinion of any judge, justice or justices, or police magistrate or magistrates, before whom such person shall be charged, or of any Committee of visitors elected as hereinafter mentioned) is above seven years and under fourteen years, and who shall be convicted before any judge, justice or justices, or police magistrate or magistrates, of any offence committed in the county of Middlesex, and punishable on summary or other conviotion; and also any person, who having, when under the age of fourteen years, been so convicted as aforesaid, shall for the time being be an inmate of any Industrial School provided under this Act, notwithstanding he or she may be of the age of fourteen years or upwards." The term “juvenile offender" is thus applicable to two classes ; first
, to young persons between the ages of seven and fourteen years, who have been convicted summarily, or otherwise; and, secondly, to those who had been convicted previous to the passing of this Act, who having been admitted into an Industrial School, were still continued there after the age of fourteen years. As we understand this last clause, it is designed to give power to retain beyond the ordinary limit such offenders as may seem to require a fuller course of moral restraint and training than others. That such cases will present themselves we can
not doubt, and we believe that it will be desirable to give considerable latitude in this respect in any legislative Act which may be passed. Many there are who might be committed to such penal and yet industrial schools but a short period before they had reached the age of fourteen years. Their education would thus have scarcely begun ere the stringency of the law would arrest it, and thus the benevolent design of the Bill and its promoters would be frustrated. Besides, who shall
say that, in very many instances, juvenile criminals, however long under previous training, have formed at fourteen years of age habits of virtue so confirmed, that they could be safely, or without imminent risk of shipwreck and ruin, launched into the world ?
As is usual in the carrying out of laws of this kind, public notice having been given, the justices of the peace in any locality are to appoint a Committee, whose business it shall be to superintend the providing of an Industrial School. And further, these schools are not only to be provided for males, but the magistrates "may appoint a separate Committee for erecting, or providing and managing, a county Industrial Female School.” It has hitherto been a matter of great regret, that our “Refuges," both in the metropolis and elsewhere, have been provided chiefly for males. We have hitherto acted as if female "juvenile offenders were beyond hope and remedy—or because the difficulties in the way of their reform, and their restoration when fallen, seemed to be and probably are more formidable. In any legislation, therefore, on the subject, the institution of Industrial and Reformatory Schools for Females, ought to be courageously carried out. Failure here would be better than either inertness or despair; and the samé agencies which, accompanied by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, have already purified and transformed the hardened youth, can bring the wayward vicious girl to come for pardon to Him whose prerogative it is to bestow it, and for grace to Him in whom "all fulness” dwells.
Power is also to be given by this Bill for the increase of Industrial Schools, when those already existing “are inadequate or unfit for the proper accommodation of the juvenile offenders of the said county.” Separate Committees may be appointed for the erection of such schools, and the Justices, moreover, are empowered to “ direct the Committee or visitors of any existing Industrial Schools, to enlarge or improve the same, and to provide accommodation for so many juvenile offenders as such Secretary of State may think fit to direct.' Should the improved ideas now current, as to the effectiveness of moral and industrial training, be recognised by the Legislature; and, instead of the terrors of purely penal enactments, should this influence of truth and kindness be brought to bear on the conscience and the heart of the criminal, it is very clear that when the experiment is made, the number of Reformatory Institutions must be rapidly multiplied. If, moreover, existing Industrial Refuges (now supported by voluntary subscriptions or now languishing from inadequate means) shall be brought under Government control and receive national aid, there will be abundant facilities “ to enlarge, alter, or improve the same," so as to provide “increased accommodation” within their walls.
It will be easily perceived that much inconvenience might arise if the Act, which professedly makes provision only for “ the county of