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KING EDWARD RAGGED SCHOOL. A RAGGED SCHOOL EXCURSION. - A rather novel excursion took place lately, in connexion with King Edward Ragged School, Spitalfields, to Upton Park, the seat of Henry Edmund Gurney, Esq., at whose express invitation and expense it was undertaken. The children generaly appeared very clean, some being provided with new garments for the occasion. No fewer than 420, under the superintendence of the indefatigable honorary secretary, Mr. H. R. Williams, and twenty or thirty teachers, proceeded by railway train to Stratford, whence they walked to Upton Park, where they were regaled by a plentiful supply of bread and beef, and at a subsequent part of the day, with currant loaves and plum-cake, milk, etc. Arrangements had been made by their benevolent entertainer for their amusement, and facilities were afforded for various healthful games. Mr. and Mrs. Gurney were in the grounds nearly the whole of the afternoon, and several of the surrounding gentry came to witness the unusual scene, at which they expressed both astonishment and gratification. The party returned in the evening in good order, and no accident or unpleasant incident occurred to mar the enjoyments of the day-a day unparalleled in the history of these children of poverty and wretchedness. Indeed, so well satisfied was Mr. Gurney with the conduct of the children, that he promised them a similar treat next year. Could the most sceptical as to the beneficial results of Ragged Schools have witnessed the proceedings of this day, his doubts must have been entirely removed. Five years ago it would have been considered almost as practicable to have conducted in safety and in order 400 criminals just liberated from the cells of our prisons, as the same number from this school; for at that time the teachers were often in jeopardy of bodily injury, and were received with every mark of annoyance; but notwithstanding the difficulties they have had to contend with, particularly in not having a suitable building to carry on their operations, by kindness, united with firmness and perseverance, they have not only reduced them to a considerable degree of order, but have imparted much valuable instruction; and not a few of those once degraded outcasts have been elevated to situations of comfort and respectability, and give promise of becoming valuable members of society.
ing, September 16th, at Union Hall, Artillery Street, Spitalfields, and was most numerously attended.
The Rev. H. ALLEN presided; and said that the great movement of Ragged schools was des. tined to have a long day, because its merits were admitted; and, unfortunately, the necessity for that movement was likely to exist for some time. Every Ragged School that was established gave rise to other kindred schools in various localities. It was an important adjunct to the missionary, as it was the means of developing
the necessity that existed for his exertions. He would not attempt to refute objections that had been made to this Christian effort to extend and give permanence to the truth and the practice of morality and religion. They might rest assured that the Ragged school movement had effected an amount of good beyond what some of the most favourably inclined towards it ever anticipated. He asserted, from personal knowledge, that there were few ministers in their respective spheres who effected so much good with a limited agency as that movement had accomplished. He was happy to say that there was amongst all sects of religion in promoting the movement and disseminating the fundamental truths of Christianity, without reference to particular dogmata.
Mr. JACKSON (City missionary) then addressed the meeting, and from his personal experience, ex officio, bore testimony to the necessity for, and the utility of, these institutions.
From a document distributed at the meeting, it appeared that the institution was established in 1845, and in addition to imparting instruction, it had endeavoured, and with success, to carry out industrial training, and to minister to physical requirements. For the last three years 14,000 meals were given to the children frequenting these schools. At the free day schools 180 attended daily, and received a dinner twice a week in winter and once a week in summer. The average attendance at the free evening schools was 100 children and adults of both sexes, The Sunday School was open to all, and clothing was lent to 70 who attended public worship twice on each sabbath. The free dormi. tories and the house of refuge had been of considerable advantage to the locality, by rescuing from the lowest depths of depravity some of the degraded population of the district, and providing them with situations by which they were enabled to support themselves by industry. Several authenticated cases in support of these statements were cited.
The meeting was addressed by several speakers, who urged the claims of the institution in eloquent terms, and the proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to the chairman.
DOLPHIN COURT RAGGED SCHOOLS, DOR
MITORIES, AND HOUSE OF REFUGE. The usual quarterly meeting of the supporters of this institution, which is one of the earliest of the Ragged Schools, was held on Tuesday even
RAGGED VISIT TO THE GREAT EXHIBITION. ABOUT a month after the opening of the Crystal Palace, we received the following suggestion from a devoted friend of the Ragged School movement:-“The Great Exhibition is now the subject of conversation among all classes, and thousands daily crowd to see its wonders. The children in our Ragged Schools cannot pay to go. But is it not possible, should a day be set apart for them to see it, that
who would gather there, there might be some minds which would be greatly benefited by the visit? It might be, in some cases, as putting a match to the tinder, and in future days such would date their success and prosperity to the ambition which fired their spirits in the Crystal Palace?" Similar suggestions were afterwards received from other friends and teachers of the ragged ftocks, and, for a time, some fondly hoped that if application was made to the Commissioners, they might relax their rules for once, and allow the ragged regiments to go in “scot free.” Application was made accordingly, and great disappointment felt when the proposition was negatived. The Shoe-Blacks went in a body, paid for their admission, and were highly gratified; but to defray the expense of even the most deserving from so many schools, seemed all but hopeless. At length the Noble Chairman of the Union suggested that a small fund should be raised, sufficient to reward about five hundred of the most exemplary pupils, who should be selected from the schools according to merit, and in proportion to the average numbers. The proposal was announced by an advertisement in the Times, and in a few days an amount was received sufficient to send six hundred and fifty scholars and eighty-two teachers. The latter, of course, accompanied the children in order to insure propriety of conduct. It is not often that inconvenience is experienced in Ragged Schools from an oversupply of meritorious pupils, but in several instances the prizemen so far exceeded the number of prizes, that, in order to prevent discouragement, and evil arising from intended good, the local friends, at their own expense, gave a free passage” to nearly an equal number. Great preparations were made for the occasion.
There were no purchasers of new garments, nor much money expended on the outfits ; but some articles were begged, others borrowed, and every available means adopted for improving the outward appearance, and attaining a degree of respectability. Not a few clothes were washed for the first time, and hands and faces bore striking marks of an unusual measure of sanitary care. In some cases they were assembled at school before seven in the morning, where they met with their teachers and guides, who commended them to God in prayer before commencing the journey. Neither accidents nor offences occurred to mar the enjoyment or stain the character of the juvenile visitors. Each countenance seemed to be lighted up with a joyous gratitude. An unusual degree of selfrespect was manifested, as if they felt themselves to be somebody, and not the mere disjointed, driven-away units which they once were. Of the beneficial effects of the visit we cannot speak, for, like the general
NO. XXXV.-VOL. III.
RAGGED VISIT TO THE GREAT EXHIBITION.
results of the Exhibition upon society at large, they are yet future. Doubtless, the recollection of that “ day of days” will linger in many a memory, and in some may germinate, grow, and ripen, where least expected. Be this as it may, there is one result on which we can reckon with certainty, and which, to our mind, is of the highest import
Increased feelings of gratitude have been fostered among the poor, and a new proof afforded them that many of their richer neighbours are their truest friends. A thousand children, on their return, telling of the wonders they had seen, could not be forgetful of the kindness of those through whose bounty they were there ; nor will the good effect be lost upon themselves and parents for many days to
The Exhibition is closed, and we are grateful, for peace is still within our borders, and prosperity within our palaces. We are still free from the dreaded evils of famine, war, and pestilence. Thousands of visitors have reached our shores from other lands-only to admire and to bless
Amazed at the prosperity with which our God has favoured us, their language has in substance been, “Surely he hath not dealt so with any nation.' To Him alone do we owe our mercies, for “unless the Lord keep the city, the watchmen watch in vain.
We are sensible of this-we are thankful; but how is this gratitude to be shown ? It must not-cannot evaporate in mere sentiment. Is it not meet that it assume a practical form, and that the feelings of our hearts should be manifested in renewed deeds of mercy ? Might not an Exhibition thankoffering be raised, amounting, at least, to one day's receipts at the Crystal Palace, and devoted to the erection of a spacious refuge for the outcast juvenile poor? What more acceptable offering than this to Him who is ever ready to hear the cry of the needy, and stretch out a hand to help them? How fitting a time for achieving a most desirable object, which has become almost indispensable to the success of the ragged movement in London, and which, by a little system, a little effort, and a very moderate stretch of liberality, might easily be accomplished !
Suppose the sum required for the erection of a plain and commodious building was £3,000 ; why, the whole amount might be placed in the hands of the treasurer during the Christmas holidays. The children of our Sabbath Schools have done much for the heathen abroad, but they have scarcely been taught even to sympathise with their perishing outcast neighbours at home. Might not this be a fitting opportunity for drawing their attention to the subject? If three thousand seven hundred collecting cards were issued, and put immediately into use by children and our other friends from this time to the second week of January, a return, something like the following, might at least be expected :100 Cards returned, containing
£5 Os. Od. each. 300
2 0 0 500
1 0 0 500
0 15 0 300
0 10 0 1,000
0 5 0 1,000
0 2 6 This, with the addition of a few larger donations, would complete the amount, and a work would be done which would give a greater impetus
to the Ragged School movement in London-by erecting a central refuge for the local Institutions—than the majority of our readers are prepared to imagine. In Edinburgh, a similar institution for its hundreds of juvenile outcasts—is maintained upon a scale, extensive and efficient-worthy of its large-hearted projector, and of the enterprising intelligence of “ Modern Athens ;” surely we are not unreasonable in asking for one of equal magnitude for the thousands that are perishing in the metropolis of England.
Having laid before our readers a scheme, simple and manageable, we trust they will view it in a proper light, AND IMMEDIATELY SUBMIT IT
TO A PRACTICAL TEST.
PUBLIC NURSERIES. The scenes of squalor and wretchedness so common in large towns, present not a more painful feature than the miserable condition of the poor helpless infants. They are a class of sufferers unable, in the usual way, to plead their own cause, or make one successful effort for deliverance. With the first moments of their existence they commence a struggle for life, which, in many cases, is of short duration. The coveted blessings of “ health and happiness" belong not to them, for everything around them threatens disease and death. The air they breathe, the food they eat, the hovels in which they live, all threaten their speedy extermination. Scarcely can we enter a court or alley without observing some such feeble victim sitting, dull and listless, on a wretched door-step, its clothes and skin coated with filth, and its features painfully expressive of debility and suffering. Now and then it utters a fretful cry, but, as if fully conscious of the vain endeavour, it speedily settles itself down again into a dozing stupor. The girl who has charge of it, if such there be, is romping in an adjoining court, and perhaps her absence is to be preferred to the rough handling and cruel treatment to which she subjects the sickly sufferer. Its mother left home in the morning, either to sell things in the streets, or labour for the scanty measure of comfort it receives, and will not return until evening. Therefore the poor, diseased, neglected creature, must pine away the weary hours, unsoothed by sympathy, bereft of every blessing, and especially that which, to childhood, is " sovereign balm for
wound -a mother's tenderness and love. It may not long survive the conflict, and few will mourn at its death, for even its unfortunate mother will feel happily relieved from those parental duties which she could not perform.
Such is the fate of thousands of these helpless creatures in this wide metropolis, and certainly they claim a larger share of our humane consideration than they have yet received. They have broken no human law, they have stolen no man's goods, they have entailed no expense upon the country or the state, and from their very innocence might we not form for them a stronger plea? But in the above remarks we have not stated the worst features of the case. From a small work*_we believe from the pen of: Mr. Hobhouse-it appears that the amount of suffering and mortality inflicted upon our infant population by artificial
* Public Nurseries : Parker, West Strand.
means is fearful to contemplate. Speaking of infant mortality among the children of the
says: “From a table, drawn up by Mr. Clay, showing the comparative mortality of the different classes in Preston, it is found that of every 100 children born among the gentry, 91 reach their first year ; of every 100 children born among tradespeople, 80; whilst among the operatives, only 68 survive so long. To exhibit the same contrast in another point of view, the same gentleman made a careful analysis of the deaths occurring in Preston during a period of six years. The different proportions that deaths under five years of
age bear to deaths above that age, among the various classes of society, is shown in the subjoined table :
So that, Mr. Clay calculated, if the infant population of the working class could have been reared amid the advantages of food, air, attention, etc., which are afforded to the offspring of the upper class, during the last six years, 3,034 children would have reached five years of age, who, as it is, have been prematurely swept away by disease. Neither does this statement of the deaths adequately represent the amount of evil awaiting the children of the poor. It is a lamentably well attested fact, which cannot easily be reduced to a tabular statement, that of those who survive infancy many become rickety and deformed, many idiotic, and very many are stunted in their growth, and have their constitutions permanently enfeebled by disease.”
On the system of drugging adopted by hired nurses, we meet with the following startling facts :
“ One of the chief evils produced by the children being left under the care of hired nurses, is the temptation which it sets before those nurses of dosing the children with some narcotic, in order to perform their task with as much ease to themselves as possible. The nurses are very frequently laundresses or superannuated old women, who, from occupation or indolence, are induced to secure as mueh leisure as possible to themselves, at whatever cost to the children. Many of the druggists show great reluctance in admitting that the practice prevails to any extent, although, while they deny the fact, their shop-windows are crowded with announcements of the medicine under various names, such as Godfrey's Cordial, Mother's Quietness, Soothing Syrup, etc. Many, however, give evidence as to the very large quantities constantly sold. In Ashton, fifteen druggists sold on an average about six gallons per week of these preparations. In Preston, twenty-one druggists sold in one week sixtyeight pounds of narcotics, of which but a very small quantity is stated to have been for the use of adults ; indeed, it appears a mistake to suppose that laudanum is frequently used as a stimulant instead of spirits by older persons in manufacturing districts, for medical men say they know little or nothing of such a practice. A calculation of the quantity of Godfrey sold in Preston
* Health of Towns, First Report. 8vo. p. 174.