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MEETING OF DELEGATES
The advantages of these occupations are not to be estimated by money. The largest pecuniary profits would be valueless unless moral effects were produced ; but we may hope for a suitable combination of both descriptions of benefits, and perhaps those who manage the industrial classes in our schools may learn useful lessons from the results of each others’ labours, now presented to them at one view.
But all the foregoing observations might apply to a merely worldly workshop. Kind hands might feed the bodies, and yet starve the souls of the children. Benevolence might clean and clothe them, without any fervent prayers for their sins to be washed away, and their souls to be robed with righteous.
Not so, thank God, is it with our schools. Human learning is sought after and valued, but Divine teaching infinitely more. Indolence may become industry, confusion be changed into order, and dull ignorance and vice replaced by knowledge and virtue ; but there is a far deeper work watched by the anxious teacher, and for the advancement of which he pours forth his most earnest supplications at the Throne of Grace. He can aid this work by his advice and example; the industrial class can aid it also, and the ordinary lessons of the school; but the Holy Spirit must begin, continue, and complete this work, or all other agencies will be in vain. A heart thoroughly convinced of its own wickedness is what is hoped for; a simple faith in the crucified Saviour ; and a reformation, not in manners, language, conduct, dress, or habits only, but a radical upturning of the inmost heart, abhorrence of self and sin, peace and joy in believing, zeal in obedience, and that dawn of life in the soul, which shall brighten at length into an unclouded eternal day. Temple.
MEETING OF DELEGATES FROM THE RAGGED SCHOOLS. A MEETING of Delegates from the Metropolitan Ragged Schools was held on Wednesday evening, December 3rd, in Field Lane Ragged Schools, the EARL OF SHAFTESBURY in the Chair. Seven subjects were proposed for discussion, with a view to the further improvement and more effectual working of Ragged Schools; but only four could be considered, the remaining three being deferred till the next meeting.
Prayer having been offered by the Rev. Mr. Prescott, the noble Chairman called upon J. MACGREGOR, Esq., to introduce the first subject, namely, “ Are there many scholars in the schools not of the destitute and neglected class? If so, what are the causes and effects ? And what remedy should be adopted ?"
J. Macgregor, Esq., observed : That in the schools there were some not of the right class. He was anxious that the causes of this should be ascertained, and some remedy suggested. He considered one cause to be, The natural reluctance there is for teachers to part with children to whom they have become attached! He, Mr. M., would suggest that more Sabbath School teachers be sought to assist in the Evening Schools ; so that, as the children became acquainted with them, they might be easily passed from the Ragged to the Sunday Schools.
He greatly objected to the admission or the retaining of children of a superior class in the schools, because they would become mixed up with children of a lower class, and the consequences must be of a very pernicious character. He would suggest, as a remedy, that if the removal of such a class were not practicable, the children should be classified. He, Mr. M., feared that there was too much anxiety manifested towards individuals than to a class—a proneness to confine efforts to children inside the school, and to overlook the needy without. It was his opinion that if a lower school were found necessary, then the present Ragged Schools were losing their distinctive character.
The subject was then fully discussed, and various sentiments expressed, and many
FROM THE RAGGED SCHOOLS.
useful suggestions made by some ministers, members of the Committee of the Union, and the delegates. It was generally admitted, that, from various causes, in many of the schools, and particularly those which had been in existence some time, there were many who might be called an improved class. The force of edụcation, and the benevolence of ladies, had greatly altered their appearance. Such things might be considered proofs of success. To turn such out would be only undoing what had been done. It was, however, suggested that great care should be taken in the first instance that only the right class be admitted. It was also suggested that City Missionari es, Scripture Readers, and District Visitors, should, in their various localities, when they meet with really deserving cases, give a note of recommendation to the superintendent of the Ragged School; but that the children's homes should be visited as often as possible by the teachers.
Lord Shaftesbury then rose, and said : Whenever children are found in our schools who are not of the right class, I mean children whose parents can pay, such children ought to be removed. I would not recommend the removal of any other s. Circumspection should be exercised before children are admitted. It is needful, in efforts like ours, that our station be kept. The moment we get out of the mire and the gutter, that moment we get out of our sphere. There is a great tendency in efforts of this kind to rise above our work. When this work was first commenced, I anticipated uproar, and felt that much forbearance, discrimination, and persevera nce were necessary. I found it so in Broad Wall, with my late friend, Mr. Miller. We had many there, who would neither “budge” nor learn, and they annoyed us exceedingly. The external appearance of the children is not, however, always to be taken as an index of distinction. We must not admit great numbers at one time. We should strive to have in our schools a continual succession, so that we could take a visitor to one part of the school, and say—These were once destitute and ignorant, but now improved; but those are now of the lowest class. Our attention must be directed to the ragged class exclusively. Lord Shaftesbury then called on Dr. Aldis to introduce the next subject, namely, “ The sanitary condition of Ragged Schools, and their moral influence-Diet in Refuges-Available medical aid, to check and eradicate cutaneous and other diseases that may occasionally exist among the scholars."
Dr. Aldis said : That some of the schools were surrounded by unhealthy influences, and particularly referred to some in Westminster. Thought that a play-ground should be attached to the schools, and considered the admission of females of a certain class into the schools, which had been done in some instances, highly improper, having, as it must, a demoralizing tendency. Dr. Aldis then stated, that he was of opinion, that where they professed to feed the children, solid meat should be given at least three times a week. Dr. Aldis was not aware of the existence of any “cutaneous diseases" at present in any of the schools, but considered that no guarantee that such should not be. He, Dr. Aldis, thought, in the present state of things, there was a great exposure to such a calamity. Suppose, for example, a boy should be taken ill with fever in any of the schools, he must be sent to the Refuge till the hospital could take him in. Some say Refuges should not be made hospitals ; so said he, but he considered the present state of things was likely to make them so.
Lord Shaftesbury observed, that there could be but one opinion upon the subject, and as time was rapidly advancing, he should call on Mr. W. FERRY to introduce the next subject, namely, “ The system of instruction best adapted for Ragged Day and Evening Schools; and the means available for teachers to improve their qualifications."
Mr. Ferry confined his observations to the work of paid teachers, and said : That in order to do any kind of work well, it was important that both those who labour and those who superintend that labour, be thoroughly acquainted with the best ways and means for its completion. The Ragged School system is peculiar to itself. It is a system
MEETING OF DELEGATES FROM THE RAGGED SCHOOLS.
instituted for the edncation of a class of children which other schools, according to their constitution, cannot reach. The importance of bringing such a class under an effective course of religious, intellectual, and moral training, is self-evident. The systems of education adopted in the present day might be classed under three heads. First, The Individual, as in private Day and Boarding Schools. Secondly, The Monitorial, as in National and British Schools. Thirdly, The Collectite, as in Infant Schools. The system best adapted for infants would be unsuitable for juveniles, and that best adapted for juveniles would be unsuitable for infants. The purely monitorial, or purely collective, would prove a failure. To succeed, therefore, there must be a blending of the two. Mr. Ferry having then made some general remarks on the importance of paid teachers possessing natural qualifications, and necessary mental qualifications being secured to them, stated that the Committees of the Borough Road Schools, and the Home and Colonial School Society, Gray's Inn Road, would kindly permit any paid teacher appointed to a Ragged School to attend the lessons given there daily, or on the evenings of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, free of all charge—the only conditions required being an official letter to the secretary of either of those institutions, countersigned by the secretary of the Ragged Sehool Union.
This subject was briefly discussed. It was suggested as desirable that all paid teachers, before entering upon their work, should attend the training classes at the Normal Schools, and that paid teachers should have more association among themselves than hitherto.
Lord Shaftesbury then called on Mr. W. Locke to speak upon the next subject, , namely, “ Are not social meetings better adapted for advancing the interests of Ragged
Schools than those of a more public and expensive character ? If public meetings be essential, would not one be sufficient for the schools in the same locality ?"
Mr. W. Locke observed : That he had been led to introduce this subject for consideration of the delegates, because of the various difficulties which he had experienced. One great obstacle had been, the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient supply of good speakers. And in such cases, gentlemen who knew and did the word were unwilling to appear on the platform, because they could not speak as well as some of the reverend gentlemen and others who might be present. He (Mr. Locke) had often thought that statements from practical men did much good, and such men would be willing to speak at a social meeting, while at public meetings they would not say a word. Another objection he had to so many annual meetings was, that frequently they did not pay their expenses. He thought it would be more effectual if meetings of a more social character were held, and those meetings held in the locality of the schools ; then persons living in the neighbourhood might be induced to subscribe, they having an opportunity of seeing what good is doing. He would suggest that if public meetings must be held, that instead of being held every year, they be held once in every two or three years.
Lord Shaftesbury then rose, and said: “I have as much right to speak on this subject as any one. It has been common for me to take the chair at as many as twentyfive public meetings in one year. I at first thought it my duty to do it. But I must say, that now I very much agree with the remarks of Mr. Locke. I think it most desirable that meetings should be held in the locality of the school, and, if practicable, in the school-rooms themselves. An interest in the neighbourhood will best secure the efficient working of the school. There are, however, some important schools that should have annual meetings of a more public character. But I must confess that I have seen but little good resulting from meetings being held in the Hanover Square Rooms, or Music Hall, Store Street, except for schools in the locality. Many come only from curiosity, and the expenses in many instances are not covered. But, notwithstanding, such meetings must not be entirely suppressed.
The Doxology was then sung, and the Benediction having been pronounced, the meeting separated.
CONFERENCE AT BIRMINGHAM, Dec. 10, 1851, ON PREVENTIVE
AND REFORMATORY SCHOOLS.
JOHN ADAMS, Sergeant-at-Law, etc.
GEORGE BELL, M.D., Secretary of the Original Edinburgh Ragged Schools. * FRANCIS BISHOP, Minister of the Liverpool Domestic Mission Society. * CHARLES HOLTE BRACEBRIDGE, on the Committee of the Warwick County Asylum. * THOMAS CARTER, M.A., Chaplain of the Liverpool Gaol.
ALEXANDER MCNEEL CAIRD, Procurator Fiscal of Wigtonshire. * EDWIN CHAPMAN, Hon. Sec. of the Bristol Free Day and Evening Ragged School. * John CLAY, M.A., Chaplain of Preston Gaol.
GEORGE DUNCAN, Treasurer of the Original Edinburgh Ragged Schools. * John FIELD, M.A., Chaplain of the Berkshire Gaol, Reading.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE, Treasurer of the Philanthropic Farm School, Reigate.
EDWARD HERFORD, Coroner of Manchester. * M. D. HILL, Q.C., Recorder of Birmingham.
LEONARD HORNER, one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Factories. * Joseph HUBBACK, Hon. Sec. of the Liverpool Industrial Ragged Schools.
JOSEPH KINGSMILL, M.A., Chaplain of Pentonville Prison. * WILLIAM LOCKE, Hon. Sec. of the London Ragged School Union.
John SHANK MORE, Professor of the Law of Scotland in the University of Edinburgh. * JOHN W. Nutt, Hon. Sec. of the York Ragged School. * W. C. OSBORN, M.A., Chaplain of the Bath Gaol.
CHARLES PEARSON, Solicitor to the City of London.
DAVID T. PERRY, Hon. Sec. of the Glasgow Industrial Schools. * David POWER, Recorder of Ipswich. * H. TOWNSEND POWELL, M.A., Hon. Sec. and Chaplain of the Warwick County
Asylum for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents. RALPH RICARDO. EDWARD RICE, D.D., Head Master of Christ's Hospital. JOHN SMITH, Governor of the Edinburgh Gaol. HENRY STEPHEN, Sergeant-at-Law, etc., Treasurer of the Industrial Branch of the
Bristol Ragged Schools. JAMES STEWART, Barrister, and Treasurer of the Law Amendment Society. * JELINGER C. SYMONS, B.A., Barrister-at-Law, etc. * JOHN TAYLOR, Hon. Sec. of the Manchester Juvenile Refuge and School of Industry. * ALEXANDER THOMPSON, Chairman of the Aberdeen County Prisons' Board.
E. CARLETON TUFNELL. * SYDNEY TURNER, M.A., Chaplain of the Philanthropic Farm School.
RICHARD WALLIS, Editor of the “Hull Packet,” and Sec. of the Hull Ragged School. WILLIAM WATSON, W.s., Sheriff-Substitute of Aberdeenshire.
JOHN WIGHAM, Jun., eleven years a Director of the Prisons of Scotland. * WILLIAM WOLRYCHE WHITMORE, Dudmaston Hall, Bridgenorth.
Those gentlemen marked * attended and took part in the Conference ; and also the following: - M. MILNES, Esq., M.P., J. MACGREGOR, Esq., of London, C. B. ADDERLEY, Esq., M.P., C. JENNER, Esq., of Edinburgh, and several others : as well as the Hon. Miss MURRAY, Miss CARPENTER, and Mrs. JAMESON.
Letters were read from Lord BROUGHAM, Lord LYTTELTON, The Earl of HARROWBY, The Bishop of MANCHESTER, The Dean of SALISBURY, Capt. CLIFFORD, M.P., W. SCHOLEFIELD, Esq., M.P., Rev. J. A. JAMES, Rev. Dr. McCRIE, Rev. Dr. GUTHRIE, Rev. Dr. CANDLISH, and others, approving of the objects of the Conference, and regretting their absence. This important Conference was attended by Mr. WILLIAM LOCKE and JOHN MACGREGOR, Esq., as a deputation from the Ragged School Union. Nearly fourteen hours were spent in earnest exchange of ideas and details of facts--the result of 16
CONFERENCE AT BIRMINGHAM.
experience derived by men who had long laboured among our neglected and criminal population in different parts of Britain.
We are compelled to be very brief in our summary of the proceedings, which were of a preliminary character, but may possibly lead to most important results, very materially affecting Ragged Schools, not only in the metropolis, but throughout the country. A few points were brought prominently forward, on which entire unanimity prevailed, and we must content ourselves for the present with stating these, without committing ourselves to decided opinions on the subject, till it is further canvassed and developed. We are glad to see that our Union is represented upon the Committee entrusted with the further prosecution of this important work; and we pray that He who ordereth all things after the counsel of his own will, may guide our friends in so noble a cause to a successful issue, to the increase of his own glory, and of the happiness of our fellow-creatures. The points upon which all seemed agreed were chiefly as follows:
That though Ragged Schools and similar institutions were doing a vast amount of good to the neglected class, yet in most localities they were cramped and hindered from want of funds, and that all the agencies yet at work were totally inadequate to check the increase of juvenile crime.
That voluntary agency was not equal to the work, and that support was needed from some regular and adequate source.
That where parents neglected or perverted their offspring, the public should interfere and see justice done ; but that parents who could pay should not be permitted to escape doing so.
That there were large numbers of children in our large towns, of the vagrant class, who needed food and some industrial training, (to fit them for future life,) as well as moral and religious teaching.
That for such children book-learning should be secondary to moral training and instruction in some trade or handicraft.
That no great good would ever be done to this class until some power were given to the police or parish officers to enforce attendance at a school of some kind, and until street-begging should be effectually put down.
That it is a great mistake to treat juvenile delinquents, especially those under twelve years, in the same manner as hardened criminals; and that Čorrectional or Reformatory Schools were needed for such classes rather than prisons.
That the present treatment of this class, through means of prisons, etc., was radically bad, and in every case doing more harm than good, tending to increase and perpetuate crime, rather than to repress or diminish it—the re-commitments being in most cases 40 or 50 per cent., and in some 70 per cent. on the commitments.
That Reformatories (the few that exist) were doing much good; the reformations being 40 and 50, and in one case 80 per cent. of the admissions.
That prisons were far more expensive than Ragged Schools, Industrial Schools, or Reformatories, merely considering the current annual expense;
and That in every respect Prevention was better than Cure. In accordance with these views, the following Resolutions were unanimously adopted, and confirmed by a Public Meeting held the same evening :
“1st.—That the present condition and treatment of the 'perishing and dangerous classes' of Children and Juvenile Offenders deserve the consideration of every member of a Christian community.
“2nd. - That the means at present available for the Reformation of those Children have been totally inadequate to check the spread of Juvenile Delinquency; partly owing to the want of proper Industrial, Correctional, and Reformatory Schools; and partly to the want of authority in Magistrates to compel attendance at such Schools.
“ 3rd.—That the adoption of a somewhat altered and extended course of proceeding, on the part of the Committee of Privy Council, is earnestly to be desired for those Children who have not yet made themselves amenable to the law, but who, by reason of the vice, neglect, or extreme poverty of their parents, are not admitted into the existing Day Schools.
* 4th.—That for those Children who are not attending any School, and have subjected themselves to police interference
, by vagrancy, mendicancy, or petty infringements of the law, legislative enactments are urgently required, in order to aid or establish Industrial Feeding Schools, at which the attendance of such Children shall be enforced by Magistrates, and payment made for their maintenance, in the first