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THE CHARITIES OF LONDON IN 1850.
public authorities; they express governmental Socialism, grand in its proportions-grand in its powers ! These give to a nation its liberal, moral, religious standing in history; these will outweigh in the eyes of posterity the manifold errors of our—perhaps too selfish and too isolated-policy; they are pleasing to Heaven-they are refreshing to earth; pardons and Divine succours are, I doubt not, attached to such deeds in behalf of the governments by whom they have been performed! But I would but speak to you, at this moment, of those obscure, daily, almost individual efforts that we are making, through our forces of private association and voluntary subscription, to preclude amongst us the causes of civil strife. Listen to me as we walk, and follow my explanations, while I shall myself pursue through this volume the catalogue of beneficence which
unfolds to my view.' Well, then,' said I, ‘read on, and he read :[It may facilitate the comprehension, and likewise the condensation of the remainder of our article, to state that the volume so frequently referred to, and which, indeed, appears to have inspired Lamartine with the idea of his Essay, is - The Charities of London, by Sampson Low, jun.” Its cost is half a guinea, and it is certainly a book which ought to be in the library of every Englishman who can afford the purchase.] When
may the labouring man be considered to suffer the most in his care-fraught existence! It is when sickness deprives him even of his labour itself, and leaves him without needful appliances, without fire, without medicine, and frequently without bread, surrounded by his wife and his little ones crying in want! It is, therefore, to this condition of the poor in sickness that we have, in the first instance, directed our attention ; we have in the hospitals of London-some established and endowed by royal foundation ; others, more numerous, by individual foundation--three hundred and thirty thousand places of reception to give by turns to sufferers who cannot receive needful attention in their own families. The list of human infirmities, to the treatment of which special establishments are dedicated, is as infinite as are those miseries of our frame. Fevers, wounds, incurable ailments, accidents, immediate succour in all cases of urgency without need of previous recommendation; cancers, and other internal complaints ; disorders of a contagious character, and therefore hazardous in a family; arrangements for providing change of air at the charge of the hospital; temporary infirmaries in various quarters, and for various professions, specially designated in the plan of their foundation ; for soldiers, for sailors, for artizans ; lying-in hospitals, training institutions for nurses, hospitals for consumptions and diseases of the chest, establishments for convalescents ; hospitals for foreigners-French, Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese ; establishments on the coast for gratuitous sea-bathing; maternity charities, innumerable asylums for orphan children, establishments for the supply of linen and necessaries to poor families overtaken by sickness, places where the gratuitous advice of physicians may be obtained, and places in all quarters for the gratuitous distribution of the remedies ordered by these physicians to the indigent; places for the reception during sickness of domestic servants without homes in London ; establishments exclusively devoted to the cure of the diseases of women, others for the diseases of children ; vaccine, small-pox, and opthalmic hospitals ; special infirmaries for disorders of the eye, the ear, of all the senses ; institutions for spinal complaints, for skin diseases ; establishments partially free for females of small means, who can only afford to pay the half or the quarter of the cost of their maintenance; asylums for idiotcy and for lunatics ; twelve pages devoted solely to the nomenclature of the numberless dispensaries opened in all the principal streets to furnish the people, free of cost, with recipes and remedies for all the necessities of sickness. The Romans gave gratuitously to their people bread and the amusements of the circus; we give gratuitously to ours, advice, alleviation,
health, life. « Pass we to another chapter. It is that which relates to societies
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THE MOTHERS ?
originated by humane, religious, and moral principle, to obviate vice, indigence, and illness amongst the people. I shall confine myself simply to mentioning their names; you will be able to judge from this mere enumeration of the titles of these pious associations, what infinite details of practical solicitude, what a mass of physical and moral succour, our voluntary associations of London have it for their object to provide! All these institutions date from the present century, and particularly from these its latter yearsyears fertile in lessons and in prudence. The sum of their voluntary contributions, in money, alone, without speaking of acts, amounts to more than fifty millions per annum.
(Then follows the list of societies so described ; they are those included in Chapter iv. of “The Charities of London,” and comprise some of the most valuable we possess, as “The Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes"-"The Society for the Preservation of Lives from Shipwreck”-the “ Baths and Washhouses” The Humane Society”-“The Sanitary Associations”—“The Society for the Suppression of Vice," etc., etc. In addition to which, Lamartine transfers from their place in Chapter viii
. of the volume, the Colonization Societies,” which he thus justly delineates :)—
Lastly, societies to promote the emigration of families from the humbler classes to our colonies, and principally to Australia. Scarcely eight days have passed since one of these convoys of voluntary exports from our superfluous working population set sail in a number of vessels, amid the acclamations of a great part of London, assembled to witness their departure. These convoys no longer bear, as in former times, the condemned, the proscribed, the vagabond, the criminal, sent forth at hazard, to sow the rascality, the vice, and the bane of Europe upon other shores--but they carry a complete framework of society, a portion of England herself, so to speak, with her trades, her arts, her forms of religious worship, her legislation, her political institutions, her clergy, her lawyers, her mechanics, aye, and her aristocracy, for cadet branches from some of the noblest families in Great Britain have embarked with their capitals and their dependents in these floating frameworks of English society, and have gone forth to make to themselves a second country upon an abounding soil, where England, on disembarking, will behold once more her own proper image reflected to her view. This is Socialism, is it not ? Socialism on a grand scale-Socialism wide as the globe itself; for these colonizations will take some portions of our society, cramped for space upon British soil, and transplant them to societies exulting at large upon the fertile plains of antipodal New Zealand !
* Never, since those colonizing expeditions of the antique world, driven out by the sword of conquest, has there been a similar spectacle of social migrations, led forth by the genius of associated nationality.' * I stood astounded. My guide re-opened his book.”
(To be concluded in next Number.)
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THE MOTHERS ? We have often asked this question when passing through the lanes and alleys of our great city. What can be done for these poor, dirty, (in many cases, drunken, neglected, ignorant mothers ? “How shall we put them among the children”-how can we secure their co-operation in seeking the reformation of their young ones and the elevation of themselves ? This solemn question MUST be answered. What a dreadful harvest every one of these wretched beings is sowing, of crime, misery, degradation, and shame! What an awful legacy are they leaving to our country and kindred, which, if not prevented, must in after years be reaped in bitterness! We have often wished to invite the serious attention of our readers, especially the ladies, to this most important subject, and, therefore, it gives us no ordinary pleasure to do so on the present occasion, in a communication from one of themselves.
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THE MOTHERS ?
An American lady, whose husband and herself are well-known on both sides of the Atlantic for their evangelistic labours, so unwearied and persevering, has, during her stay amongst us, frequently visited the poor in the lanes and alleys of our great city: Her large heart has often been overwhelmed by the scenes of degradation and misery she has there witnessed. Again and again the question has arisen, What can be done for these poor mothers? The suggestions she makes deserve mos serious consideration, and if acted upon with prudence and perseverance, would, in many cases, be attended with the very
best results : "I have wished in some way to call the attention and enlist the sympathies of the educated, enlightened, intelligent ladies of England, in behalf of the uneducated, ignorant, debased mothers, so often found in all our large cities and towns. Many of them, brought up in the very hot-bed of vice, have no just ideas of right to govern their own conduct, nor can they know how to train the immortal beings committed to their care. How can this state of things be met ?—these evils arrested ? How can we prevent this ignorance, stupidity, and vice, from being perpetuated ? It is a well-known fact, that wicked mothers will send forth wicked children to curse the world.
“Maternal associations as yet only aid the enlightened and better class of the poor. What can be done for the others ? The missionary cannot fully meet this necessity of the nation. The fact that he receives some compensation for his services leads this class to look upon him with distrust-Oh! he is paid for telling us these things—is the excuse for not receiving his instructions. Even if this were not the case, he could not reach a mother's heart as can a mother—nor does he know the secret spring by which a woman's heart can be made to speak and act.
“If the intelligent ladies of each congregation would form themselves into an association, and those of them who have time, and, above all, a heart for the work,' select some lane or alley, collect the poor women of that location into the most cleanly of these dwellings of the poor, spend an hour each week in teaching them how to govern their children, the necessity and advantages of education, the neatness, order, and the various things a mother ought to know and practise, great good would result from such efforts. These poor, ignorant mothers will not avail themselves of the schools provided for their children. The street is the only school-room for such children, their wicked companions and wicked parents their only teachers, and what can be expected of them but that early they will fill the jails, prisons, penitentiaries, and poor-houses, or be left to prey upon society? What can prevent these evils from being perpetuated, but the united, patient, persevering efforts of the ladies of our land to instruct and elevate these poor degraded mothers ? Here is a place where woman may work, and receive the support and countenance and hearty God-speed of every philanthropist of the land. The visitor, missionary, and tract distributor, will gladly aid in this “labour of love. Do not let us shrink from the efforts, or self-denial such a work may cost. Christ left the glory of heaven, linked himself in sympathy and suffering with our lost race-and shall woman, so greatly blessed, so greatly elevated by the Gospel dispensation, shrink from the self-denial or be unwilling to make the necessary
effort to raise the fallen of her own sex, instruct the ignorant, and, if possible, arrest the present evils of society? Who can calculate from such an united effort the amount of immediate and future good to this nation ? As our transgression brought death into the world with all its woe,' let us consecrate ourselves willingly to the work of reclaiming the wandering, instructing the ignorant, and winning back the rebellious to God.
“I have observed with much pleasure the interest many of the nobility have taken in the Ragged Schools ; will not the ladies of the nobility give their influence and personal efforts to this cause ? will they not here stand side by side with their noble husbands in their efforts to do good to the poor, and thus elevate themselves still higher, by elevating their country, of whose prosperity they are so justly proud "
MANCHESTER JUVENILE REFUGE.
(Communicated by the Master.) SEPTEMBER, 1846, saw the commencement of the Manchester Juvenile Refuge and School of Industry, and being the first and only institution of the kind in Manchester, it were no matter of surprise that it should become an object of interest to the surrounding neighbourhood, wherein poverty, degradation, and crime, were the fosterparents of a large proportion of the offspring of the poorest classes. For these no institution had hitherto existed wherein attempt was made to prevent crime rather than punish it; it had been long argued that such would be the most natural course to pursue, but until the establishment of the school in question, no definite steps were taken to demonstrate the truth of the proposition. Now, however, we can speak of the experiment as one, the efficacy of which has been fully tested in a four years' experience
, and that a most satisfactory one. We have now, we humbly think, positive proof
, that in this locality at least incalculable good will be derived from an extension of the principles acted upon in the institution of which we now speak. Facts are stubborn things; to facts, then, we will refer for evidence of the successful working of one such school in Manchester. We have already stated the school has just completed its fourth year of existence, and during that period there have been admitted 263 boys and 148 girls, of which number 83 are in daily attendance; but the following table, as copied from an analysis of former reports, will show more clearly, and at a glance, the real position the institution occupies with respect to those who are or have been inmates of it.
Here we see no less than 411 admissions to the advantages of the institution, of whom only 36 have returned to their former occupations, which fact speaks volumes when we consider the temptations to vagrancy offered to a class of wretched and lawless beings, whom we may denominate master beggars, whose sole employment it is to engage at so much per day, and train up in the arts of craftiness and deception, these young immortals, whose plastic minds are easily pressed into a mould, the form of which has so close a resemblance to former habits, and to whom such practices have the pleasing appearance of unfettered freedom and independence. Perhaps the most gratifying feature in the above table is that wherein 144 are given as having found employment, and of those many were recommended to situations which they fill with honour to themselves and satisfaction to their employers.
It would be an easy matter to enumerate many instances of gratitude for instruction received, of the reward of industry, of reclaimed characters, and of the beneficial effects of the religious impressions derived from the system of instruction pursued in the school, but one or two must suffice.
One little fellow, by his earnestness, and attention to religious instruction, had become a general favourite ; when entering the school one morning at a late hour, he made his way up to the mistress, with tears in his eyes, and with faltering accents exclaimed, “Mother's dead.” What could be more forlorn than the condition of this poor boy? His father, a depraved character, transported to a foreign land; his only brother imprisoned for theft. A child, eight years of age, left thus alone in the world, without a single friend out of the school, he naturally clung to it as his only refuge, and a refuge it truly became to him so long as Divine providence permitted him to be an inhabitant of this lower world. A few months passed away, during which time he was clothed, fed, and his lodgings paid for, until sickness seized upon him, and his head was laid upon the pillow from which he never rose ; but when visited by the mistress, he smilingly told her he was going to leave his school-fellows and go to Jesus, of whom master had often spoken, and he knew Jesus would have him, because he had said, “Suffer little children to come unto me." His brother, being liberated from prison, came to the house, but such was the child's detestation of the crimes he
ABSTRACT OF THE WESTMINSTER JUVENILE REFUGE REPORT.
had committed, that he refused to see him. He then broke out singing, as loud as his feeble voice would admit, “Oh! that will be joyful,” and shortly after breathed his last, having previously requested that master would tell his school-fellows they must be obedient and good, and try to meet him in heaven.
Another boy, in whom a kind lady, who frequently visits the school, and in a variety of ways bestows her bounty upon the children, had taken great interest, was sold by his own sister, he being an orphan, to a chimney-sweeper, residing in Leeds; the amount received for this traffic in her own flesh and blood is said to be twenty shillings. At the request of the above-named lady, I went to Leeds by rail after the boy, and, with the assistance of the police, found him in the garb of a sweep, and brought him back, since which time he has been placed in the Swinton Industrial Schools, where it is hoped their excellent system of instruction, aided by constant supervision, will be the means of preserving to society a useful member.
Several girls are now occupied as house-servants with respectable people in the neighbourhood, who have frequently expressed their satisfaction with the manner in which they have conducted themselves in their service. These you will say are pleasing traits in the character of our institution, and whilst we have much to contend with in the arch roguery of some, and the disposition to lie, steal, and cheat in others, still such instances as the above give us encouragement to “hope all things.”
The reports of the institution for past years show that, in addition to providing an education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, the children are required to spend a certain proportion of each day in some occupation whereby they become assistants in raising a fund for their own support, derived from the following sources, viz., bristlesorting, netting, bag-making, making shoes, clogs, soap and knife boxes, etc. It must be remembered, in reading the above, that a great proportion of the children are very young, there being, out of 411, not less than 216 under 10
age. At the present time, (September, 1850,) there are 55 boys and 38 girls in the school, of which number, 8 are orphans, 44 have no father, and 12 no mother.
ABSTRACT OF THE FOURTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE WEST
MINSTER JUVENILE REFUGE. DURING the past year, 170 candidates for admission have been examined by the Visiting Committee; 32 of that number were considered ineligible; others did not avail themselves of the opportunity. The remaining 127 have entered the institution, very many of whom were in such extreme destitution, that it was found necessary to provide lodgings for them in addition to their food and instruction. They had no place of shelter but such as they procured by their own ingenuity, such as the inside of a water-cart, a steam-engine boiler, a cab, an outhouse, or a dry arch. In some cases the luxury of a bed had not been enjoyed for six, or even eight months prior to their admission.
It is pleasing to state, that the whole of the apprentices so favourably referred to in last Report are still giving satisfaction, and are likely to become good workmen ; one, however, has been deprived of his master by death. During the year, 12 boys and 4 girls belonging to the institution have emigrated : 6 have gone to Adelaide, 6 to Port Philip, 2 girls to Adelaide, 1 to New Zealand, and 1 to the Cape of Good Hope.
Without encroaching upon the time set apart for educational purposes, the following employments have been added to the boys' industrial department, namely, leather gilding, pine working, turnery, and French polishing. This has been done with the view of making the lads more generally useful, and thereby increasing their facility for obtaining employment. The following among other articles have been made in this department :-86 pocket books, 48 money boxes, 11 knitting cases, 2 portable desks, 64 ladies' reticules, 24 blotting cases, 10 Bible cases, and 2 picture frames.
These have been readily sold at retail prices to visitors ; there has consequently been a profit on this work of about £15.
In the girls' department a change of teachers has taken place during the year; the Committee are happy to state, that the children are making very great and perceptible improvement under the present mistress. They have been encouraged to provide themselves with additional clothing, by the Committee offering them articles of dress at half the cost price of the materials. This plan has induced nearly all of them to place in the hands of their teacher the small sums they may earn or have given to them. In six months £2. 10s. has in this way been saved and turned to a useful account ; and the children have received 144 articles of clothing ; they have made 225 garments,