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The Children's Galleriz
Reader, did you ever share your breakONE Sabbath morning last winter, the fast with a hungry brother; or, rather, wind blew cold and stormy, and the boys did you ever go without one so that you and girls, as they hastened into the Ragged might be able to give to those who had School, were right glad that for the next none? Learn a lesson from the conduct two hours, at least, they would have the of this kind-hearted boy ; it will teach comfort of a warm fire. Some held their you the meaning of the word “self-denial" breakfasts in their hands, and others were better than any dictionary. We do not crumping up the remaining crust of their know what you may think of it, but if share of the bread and dripping. A poor you read the first three verses of the wretched-looking boy, whose filthy rags forty-first Psalm, you will see how pleasing scarcely covered him, came into the school it is in the sight of God, and how richly for the first time. His sleepy looks, and he has promised to reward it. the starts he now and then gave, shivering and pale, caused the master to put a few EGYPTIAN RAGGED SCHOOL. questions to him before the other boys YES, dear children, what do you think of and girls. He said that he had lain under that? The school has been opened only a butcher's stall all night, but could not a few months, and when I visited it, there sleep for the cold. He had got no break- were about twenty boys and girls learning fast, nor any food for many hours before. to read, write, and sew. They were dressed The master pitied him very much, but he in curious red caps, with long blue tassels, had no means of getting food for him and the girls wore pink trowsers and until the school was closed; so he opened yellow jackets. Some of them were little the school by reading a chapter from the black children, but Jesus loves every boy Bible. A nice, clean, happy little boy had and girl of every colour in the whole taken his place in the class next to the world, and he is willing to make all their stranger; he came away with his breakfast bad hearts clean and white as snow. in his hand-a thick slice of bread-and The town where I saw this Ragged as the wind was so cold out of doors, he School is called Sioot, and when Jesus resolved to eat it in the school. All he was a little baby he lived there a long had would have made but a small break- time with his mother. The master of the fast for himself, for there was neither school is a young Egyptian, who was butter nor dripping on it. But while the taught by a good missionary to love Jesus lesson was going on, he looked very and to wish to live in heaven ; so now he pitifully at his naked hungry neighbour, is teaching others to love God, and to and at last he slipped the whole slice into pray to him that he would save them his hand, thinking that he had more need from sin and make their hearts holy. If of it than himself. We need not say how you know the way to heaven, try to bring greedily the astonished wanderer devoured other little boys and girls there too, and the crust, nor how thankful he felt for the ask God to bless the Ragged School on kindness of his little friend.
PORTLAND TOWN AND ST. JOHN'S WOOD
RAGGED AND INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS. The Annual Meeting of this School was held on Monday, July 21st, 1851, J. Silk Buckingham, Esq., presiding. The meeting having been opened
Mr. Buckingham said, he felt proud at having the honour conferred upon him of presiding upon the present occasion. He had but recently become an inhabitant of Portland Town, which must account for the small apparent interest he had taken in the charities of the locality; and of all the institutions needing the support, countenance, and co-operation of the philanthropic, he felt persuaded there were none like that of Ragged Schools. He felt convinced that there was no better means of employing our almsgiving than by devoting it to the object which they had met this night to promote ; and what was the object, To train up the lowest of the low, to lead
them into the paths of rectitude. We had children growing up in vice, neglected, forsaken--and God and man complained. They were left, the particulars of how, he need not enter into--suffice it to say they were left, and being so left, became the creatures of circumstances; for if they were not educated, they would educate themselves, and what was the education they educated themselves with ? That which made them daring, impudent, and bold. He considered that children were as a plant, the branches of which might be trained into any position its owner desired, and illustrated his point in the case of twin children, one being educated and the other neglected. The responsibility (continued the worthy Chairman) of the training of the children, or rather of the neglect in the training of the children, was not chargeable upon the Almighty. He regarded the duty of rightly training every child as an act of justice, which every child had a right to claim at our hands; he felt convinced that every child
might be made a productive member of society, , adapted for the purpose, and erected at an ex. and become an instrument of good. All children pense of more than £200. Ninety-three boys have capacities, and it is our duty to educate and forty-one girls have been admitted; of them; and if such duties were fully carried out these, nineteen, that is, fourteen boys and five as they ought to be by the State, then should we girls, had not previously attended any school, need no police-for he felt that the enormous although twelve of them were above fifteen years rate to maintain a police force was mainly of age. Forty-two boys and twenty-one girls chargeable upon our neglect of children--then were unable to read; of the remainder the followed the prisons, the hulks, and the penal majority could read but little, and only nineteen colonies. We taxed ourselves more than we with any degree of correctness; more than one could be aware of, only through our neglect of half of the scholars being above thirteen years children. Of the benefit resulting from the edu- of age. The number at present on the school cation of children he might mention a circum- books is about one hundred and twenty; the stance of which he was himself acquainted. The attendance through the winter months being city of Aberdeen is well known for the large usually much better than during the summer, number of children that are there, and the major from the circumstance that in the latter season part of whom were neglected, in consequence of many obtain occasional, and some regular emthe parents being compelled to leave home early ployment. Upon the whole, the progress of the in the morning to procure the bread which pe. schools may be regarded as very gratifying, in risheth. Some years ago, Mr. Sheriff Watson
respect of both moral and religious considera. conceived a plan of establishing a School, and of tions. The Committee have felt that they would providing the children with one meal a day; he not be justified in incurring greater expenses in submitted his plan, but it met with no approval ; the present straitened condition of their finances, every one to whom he communicated his plan, or an effort might have been made to establish opposed and ridiculed it; but he was not to be an Industrial Section, or Working Classes; but daunted; he took upon himself the responsibility as many friends of the charity have kept up a of taking a house, had it fitted up, and opened liberal supply of clothing, etc., this part of the two schools, one for boys and another for girls ; plan has been postponed until the funds will and the system has worked so well, that now allow it to be carried out in a more extended there is scarcely a ragged or neglected child to be and efficient manner. The Committee cannot seen about, and the extent of the expense of thus adequately express their gratitude to those real maintaining them in the school, taking into ac- friends of the schools, the thirty voluntary count the amount received for the materials they teachers, who have so kindly and perseveringly made, did not amount to £5 per child annually. afforded their assistance. The public generally Now it costs this country upwards of £50 per can be but little aware of the trials and the selfyear to maintain every criminal, that is, taking denial which teachers in such schools must of into account our court expense, etc.; surely it necessity undergo; theirs, however, is a reward would be better to pay £20 to educate them than far above the mere thankoffering of mortals; £50 to punish them for doing that which, through and it is, therefore, in deep humility that this our neglect of them, they have been driven to. recognition of their services is tendered. He then urged upon every one to use his utmost The Report then concluded with a statement endeavours to promote the welfare of the school, of the Accounts, showing that there was a and assured the Committee that they might at balance against the school of £25. 18. 8d. any and all times rely upon his services, and he The meeting was afterwards addressed by A. would do what he could to promote the circula- F. Ridgway, Esq., Mr. Anderson, of the Ragged tion of the Magazine, which he had read with deep School Union, J. Sandell, Esq., Mr. G. Burns, interest-even with tears in his eyes. Who could Mr. Swallow, and Mr. W. Blake. read the account from the emigrants in the July Number without feeling that a blessing has de
YORK RAGGED SCHOOL. scended upon Ragged Schools and upon ragged scholars, which had the children been left to A SOMEWHAT novel, yet interesting Tea Meeting themselves instead of being enabled to do as they
was held on Wednesday, the 16th of July last, have done, they would have become a curse to
by the teachers engaged in the school on the themselves, to their neighbours, and to the world
Sabbath and their friends. at large.
After tea, J. W. Nutt, Esq., took the chair, The Treasurer then read the Report, which
and having opened the meeting with singing and after referring to the establishment of the School prayer, expressed the gratification he felt in to meet one of the most pressing wants of the
meeting so many friends of the school, who again locality, show how amidst many discourage
had come forward to assist their funds. He ments its establishment had been attended with
hoped that they would still continue to lend their success-that the number of children upon the
assistance and use their influence on behalf of the books was 150, and the average attendance from
ragged and destitute, until their object was 40 to 70. That the children were taught as fol
attained by the reformation of this neglected lows :-Boys-reading, writing, aritlimetic, etc.;
class of the community.
The chairman then and on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Fri
called upon the Secretary to read the Report day evenings from half-past seven until nine, and
which had been prepared, and embraced an on Monday and Wednesday evenings, shoemaking history of the rise, progress, and effects of the and tailoring from half-past six until nine. The
school. It traced the school from the time it Girls-reading, writing, arithmetic, and needle
was talked of through all its varied positions to work, on Tuesday and Friday evenings from
the present time, and concluded by citing cases half.past five until balf-past seven. That the
of benefit, and giving the history of one scholar children had made several useful articles, such as
who is now so far changed, both temporally sboes, trousers, frock, pinafore, etc., which had
and spiritually, as to be intrusted with the care been sold to them at less than the cost price for
of a class. the materials, and by which means many who
The meeting was then addressed by Messrs. before were ragged had apparently become re
Snow and Harris, ,(superintendents,) Messrs. spectable.
Burdekin, Lyth, and Holroyd, all of whom, with CROYDON RAGGED SCHOOL.
much ability, enforced the claims of this institu. From the Annual Report of the Committee,
tion upon the public, and the meeting was con
cluded with the doxology about half past nine. lately issued, we extract the following state- There is reason to believe much good is following
this meeting, which proved also beneficial to the “In the month of October, 1850, a new School. funds of the school. room was opened in Hill Street, Old Town, well
WM, CAMIDGE, Secretary.
REFORMATION OF JUVENILE THIEVES. A NEW and important feature in our Ragged School work has begun to develope itself within the last two years. It seems to be the result of an increasing faith in the power of religious influence, when rightly directed, for the reclamation of young men who have fallen into a course of dishonesty and crime. Governors and chaplains of prisons have repeatedly expressed their conviction as to the impossibility of reforming the common thief, after a few years' exposure to the hardening influences of a vagrant and abandoned life. Such opinions were strongly confirmed by their own experience of the inoperative nature of religious teaching within the walls of a prison. The preaching of the Gospel produced little or no effect, and the instructions of the prison school seemed only to increase their powers for villany and mischief. The youth who showed signs of penitence when first convicted, had, by the third or fourth time, given unmistakeable evidence of being a hardened profligate. Hence the very natural conclusions to which many were brought, and their unwillingness to believe in the possibility of reclaiming a confirmed thief after he had reached the years of manhood. The experiment, however, has been tried, and found successful. Stubborn and corrupted natures have been softened and subdued ; and some who had followed a course of villany for more than half their lifetime, and on their latest emancipation from prison returned worse than at first, have, after six months' attendance at a Ragged Refuge, given evidence of genuine reformation. In the following extracts from the Report of the Duck Lane and Pear Street Ragged School and Dormitory, the reader will find recorded a few examples of the good that has been effected—such as will rarely, if ever, be found in the Reports of our penitentiaries or prisons. A number of the lads attending that dormitory have been sent from the City prisons, and the expenses partly defrayed from the “Sheriff's Fund.” The first extracts we give refer to the children attending the day school connected with the same institution :
“ A man and his wife, of the lowest class, who were wont to get their living by singing hymns in the street, and who, in order to excite the sympathies of the generous, generally went out, the woman without a gown, and the man without a coat, and who, moreover, took their three girls (from eight to twelve years of age) with them, by which means they generally obtained as much money as enabled them to get drunk every night, and become a pest to the neighbourhood, especially on Sabbath—while pursuing this course had their better feelings appealed to by the Missionary of the district, through whose instrumentality
NO. XXXIV.-VOL. III.
REFORMATION OF JUVENILE THIEVES.
these schools have been established, and shown that they were training up their children only to become curses to themselves and society. They were prevailed upon to send them to the Sabbath School. After a little time they consented to their going to the week-day school also. They made rapid progress, and were soon enabled to read the Bible, a copy of which was then given to each of them; these they were wont to read at home to their parents, and frequently urged them to come to the Missionary's meetings. They at length succeeded, and ere long the Word of God was made quick and powerful in the father's heart. He now became ashamed of his former evil and deceitful ways, and at once renounced them, sought and obtained honest employment, working with his hands for the support of his family; he having been well educated in his youth, made advances step by step, and now occupies a respectable position as clerk in a business office. He has also become a member of an Independent Chapel.
"A little girl, seven years of age, who had a drunken father and a careless mother, but who had for two years attended both the weekday and Sabbath Schools, was brought down to the gates of death; she requested an elder sister to bring the Missionary to see her. He spoke to her of death, which seemed to be approaching. She said she was going to Jesus, and the ground on which she came to this conclusion was, that though she was a great sinner, yet Jesus had died to save sinners, and, therefore, to save her. He had said he would not cast out.' She believed his promise, and was sure it would be fulfilled. She quoted many appropriate passages of Scripture to prove that what she said was true. While the Missionary was still with her, she called her father and mother to her bedside, and made them promise to seek, through the blood of Jesus, to meet her in heaven; and, lest they should forget their promise,' she requested that none of her sisters should wear her clothes, but that they should be kept to keep them in remembrance of her dying words. She died shortly after, and her parents give some evidence that they have not forgotten her.
“Such cases as these are some evidence that they that sow in tears shall reap in joy; and it is pleasing to be enabled also to state that upwards of twenty girls have during the year gone to situations, and are doing well; and but for such an institution these would, in all probability, have been found walking in the paths of the destroyer.
“In addition to the foregoing, there might be noticed not a few cases of usefulness arising out of the instructions imparted in the Boys' day school, but space will permit a reference to only one or two.
“ A boy, who had no mother and a very drunken father, after being taught to read the Bible, taught his dissipated father to do so also, induced him to come to the Missionary's meetings, and thereafter to purchase a Bible and Prayer Book (which the Missionary procured for him.) The boy has since been apprenticed, and the father continues a sober man.
“ Another boy, whose parents are Papists, but so bigoted against Protestantism that he was not allowed to come to the Sabbath School lest he should be taught religion; but for his industry in learning to read the Bible in the week-day school he was rewarded with one, which he took home; but there was no home for his Bible, his parents determining that if he did not return it they would commit it to the flames; he
REFORMATION OF JUVENILE THIEVES.
found a refuge for it in the house of one of his school companions, where he keeps it, and where he goes and reads it.
“Having said thus much concerning the doings in the Day Schools, attention may now be turned toward another equally important department of this institution, viz., the Industrial Class and Dormitory, which was originated and is kept up for the purpose of affording a certain class of male criminals an opportunity of retrieving their lost characters, and with a view (by industrial and moral training) to qualify them for earning their livelihood in an honest way. This class is made up only of thieves, with whom we have for some years been acquainted, or who are recommended by the chaplains of prisons, as those who manifest a desire to forsake their former evil habits.
“During the past year, 42 of the above class—from 16 years of age and upwards—have been received into this Institution; of these 7 have been restored to their friends, 25 have been enabled to emigrate, 3 have left before the time of probation (one month) was expired, and the remaining 7 are yet in the institution, enjoying the benefits it affords.
“Before adverting to any of the results of our efforts among this class during the past year, it may be proper to remark, that we would not feel justified in making any specific statement relative to the amount or property stolen by them, while following after their former vocations, for fourteen years' experience has taught us that these confessions can very rarely be relied on-one class seeming to feel that the greater the exaggerations they make the greater will be the sympathy extended towards them; while another, ashamed of their former dark deeds, and wishing to bury the past, relate only the most favourable parts of their history. We now refer to the cases of one or two of those who have been restored to their friends.
“W. E., a young man who was for some years a thief in the neighbourhood, was, on the day after being liberated from prison, whither he had been for some months, met in Duck Lane by the Missionary; all the clothes he had on were a flannel jacket and a pair of trousers. He was asked what he intended to do? He replied, he had no choice but just to go again among his former associates, but expressed an earnest desire to quit his sinful habits if he but knew how. He was received into the institution, where he continued nearly five months, conducted himself with becoming propriety, and was taught to read and write. One day, while out for recreation, he was met by his sister, who had not seen nor heard of him for four years, (for his father and family having moved from their former dwelling, he had been unable to find them out,)-the meeting may be more easily imagined than described. She asked him home to see their father, who was lying on a sick bed; he went, and the gladened father received him as one from the dead. He was asked to continue with them, and he forthwith returned to the institution to ask permission to leave, with a message from his father, that 'if anything was to
for the clothes he had on, he would willingly pay it. He shortly after returned to the bosom of his family, and is now the means of their support, by carrying on the father's business, which continued illness prevents him doing.
“ J. P., who had been deserted by his parents when young, and who had supported himself for many years by begging and stealing, was met with under circumstances similar to the above, and was received into the