Page images
PDF
EPUB

or even a QUARTERLY RECORD OF THE PROGRESS OF RE

FORMATORY AND RAGGED SCHOOLS, AND OF 11, 'THE IMPROVEMENT OF PRISON DISCIPLINE.

In placing before the reader this second quarter's Record it is but right, towards him and towards ourselves to state, that it is merely, and simply a condensed account of the various publications upon, and the various facts connected with the

important social subjects indicated in the title, which have - been brought before us during the past three months. We

are very much gratified åt being enabled to state, that those - capable of judging our former Record, have given us the most .. isatisfactory proofs that they approve our plan of this Quarterly

Summary or Records, WO *** The most remarkable, as it was the earliest, of the publieaLions jo this quarter, bearing upon the Reformatory School Movement, was the admirable and powerful letter addressed, on the 18th of last December, by Mr. Recorder IIill to Lord Brougham. - Referring to the nature of the children to be

dealt with in these Schools, Mr. IIill writes :Leer would first 'solicit attention to what I may call the natural

'History of the order of children and youths forming the bulk of those * whose cases are most difficult of treatment. Our countrymen in Constantinople tell us how that city is infested by troops, of ownerless dogs who have to gain their livelihood by the exercise of their wits; and a very slight effort of the imagination will bring before "Thus the annoyances which must be produced by this multitude of four"footed Loutlaws. If we substitute in our minds young human beings

for these dogs we shall prepare ourselves for apprehending the characteristics of that portion of our urban population which has been majority of the class who will be found at Reformatory Schools are absolutely without friends and relatives (some would be less to be

seoinmiserated were that their condition), or that they are entirely of their own masters, Still the ownerless dog is a fair type of the species. · Like him they have received but little kindness—like him they live

more or less' by their wits-like him they are untaught-without occupation-restless-capable, from sheer necessity, of bearing hunger and cold-their instincts quick-their affections languidtheir religion a blank!"

On the nature of the instruction which it is desirable to impart to the pupils the Recorder thus remarks :

A

Arabs.

“Every successful Reformatory Institution of which I have any knowledge has made the cultivation of land a leading object of attention, and much of each day has been spent by the pupil in the garden or the field, to his great improvement in body, mind, and spirit. The handicrafts ancillary to the cultivation of the land offer themselves as an excellent variety of occupation, whether in regard to the exhilaration which attends a change of employment, or for engaging the willing industry of those to whom out-of-door labour is for any reason unfit, or to whom it is unwelcome. Every lad ought to be able to mend his clothes and his shoes, not necessarily that he may become either a tailor or a shoemaker, but that he may always be able to keep himself in a state of neatness, and thus to pre. serve under the most adverse circumstances a decent appearance.

" At the instance of the Minister of Marine, a ship's mast and tackle were erected on the play-ground at Mettray, and a veteran seaman was engaged to teach the lads, who had a taste for such gymnastics, so much of seamanship as could be learnt by the aid of this apparatus. And the success of the experiment is greater both in France and Belgium, where the example has been followed, than could have been anticipated. It is found that lads thus exercised can soon make themselves useful on board ship, and they are consequently in demand for the navy. A maritime people, like ourselves, ought to improve on this hint. Indeed, the subject has already occupied the attention of persons well qualified to form a judgment upon it, who think that the interest both of our Navy and Merchant Service demands immediate attention to this source of supply. Girls of course must be taught the operations of domestic economy, and such is the growing scarcity of good servants, as compared with the demand for them, that girls well trained to household duties will readily find admission into respectable families, quite as soon indeed as it would be proper to let them depart.”

The following observations on the importance of commencing with a few inmates only, will be found worthy of attention by all who intend to connect themselves with Reformatory Institutions :

“ However large the ultimate number of pupils is intended to be, let me urge upon the conductors the great importance of beginning with a few. The best quality of a school, or indeed of any other institution, is one which is neither visible nor tangible. Even the mind is not always quick to detect it. I refer to what may be called the tone which prevails through the whole body-the spirit which informs its members from the highest to the lowest. Now I am of course supposing that spirit to be all it should be among the governors and the teachers, but their efforts may be paralyzed by any great and sudden influx of minds in a state of perversity. At first the staff of teachers should outnumber the pupils in order to produce an overwhelming influence on their minds, and this expense must be patiently borne until it is found that the aspirations of the inmates are raised and their habits to some extent reformed. Then slowly, and with trepidation, let others be added until the intended

number is complete. But let every symptom of deterioration in the moral sentiment of the school be carefully watched and made the signal for stopping the influx until the tone is restored to its former

level."

* At the Warwickshire Epiphany Sessions, held at Warwick, on Monday, January 1st, 1855, the subject of Reformatory Schools was introduced, and the following Report of the proceedings, taken from a journal most ably and usefully, because judiciously aiding the movement -"Aris's Birmingham Gazette,” of Thursday, January 8th, is a very excellent appendix to Mr. Hill's letter just quoted :

"In the course of the business, Lord Leigu said, that as the Visitors of Warwick Gaol had alluded to the subject of Reformatory Schools, he might venture to bring before the notice of the Court the Institution at Saltley, near Birmingham. It was unnecessary for him to say one word in favour of the principle of Reformatory Schools ; their necessity Fas now generally acknowledged, and the arguments in their favour had acquired greater force since a difficulty had arsien as to sending convicts to the Colonies. It was highly important that the county of Warwick should possess a Reformatory Institution, and he would urge upon the Court the desirability of adopting the School at Saltley, as was suggested by Mr. Adderley, by adding buildings to it as was done at Mettray, in France. There were already some vacancies at Saltley, which the county might fill up at a cost of £12 per annum each; and the Birmingham Committee were also willing to receive any number of girls into their new Institution in Camden-street. The noble Lord then read, for the information of the Court, the following extracts from letters addressed to him by Mr. Adderley, M.P.:-"Saltley Reformatory, near Birmingham, has been certified by Government, and can, therefore, under the Youthful Offenders' Act of last session, have boys up to sixteen years of age committed to it, after fourteen days' confinement; the parents having the cost of maintenance, not more than five shillings a week, inflicted on them, and the Treasury bearing the surplus of cost of maintenance. The Reformatories of one-third of the kingdom now refer their vacancies to the Inspector, J. G. Perry, Esq., Home Office,' that he may be a centre of information to all Clerks of the Peace, who can ascertain from him how many vacancies, and where their Sessions may fill up by committals. I will engage to find some at Saltley for any three boys sent from these Sessions at Warwick; and any number of girls at the Girl's Reformatory just opened. But I should be glad that Mr. Perry should be informed of any vacancies so filled up. The net cost of a boy is £12 a year; and any subscriber may send a boy if he can find that sum. Subscribers form their own Committee of Management, wholly independent of Government, and visit and make rules without any control. The Institution at Saltley is in debt; the whole expense, which is very heavy at first, having been borne by a few Birmingham subscribers, excepting great assistance from Mr. Bracebridge, Lord Calthorpe, and others. If any of the gentry of the county choose to enlarge the Institution, still as a voluntary Institution, with Government aid, they have only to become subscribers, and take their share in the management, or build additional houses adjacent, as at Mettray, putting all under the same staff of officers. The best age to send boys is from eight to fourteen. At Saltley they would rather not take them after thirteen, Nothing can be done to make Saltley a County Reformatory, in the sense of an Institution supported by county rates. There are no such

[graphic]

On Friday, the 5th of January, 1955, the Second Annual Meeting of the Birmingham Reformatory Institution was held at Dee's Hotel, Birmingham, the Right Hon. Sir John Pakington, Bart. M.P. in the Chair. Of this excellent Institution the Right Hon. Lord Calthorpe is President, Mr. Recorder Hill fills the Vice-Chair, and W. Morgan, and C. Ratcliffe. Esqrs. are the Honorary Secretaries. The Committee consists of 31 members, amongst whom are that indefatigable advocate of Reformatory Schools-C. B. Adderley, Esq. M.P.; Dr. Jephson ; Lord Lyttelton; Lord Leigh ; the Rev. Chancellor Low; Joseph Sturge, Esq., and the Hon. and Rev. G. M. Yorke.

At the meeting, Subscriptions to the amount of £43 : 108., and Donations amounting to £361 were announced. Amongst the Donors were the following :-Sir John Pakington, £10; Lord Leigh, for Saltley Reformatory, £52 : 108. Lord Leigh for Girls' School, £52 : 108. Dr. Jephson, for Saltley Reformatory £50; Dr. Jephson, for Girls' Reformatory, £50. J. C. Bacchus, Esq., for Girls' Reformatory, £20; Miss Burdett Coutts, for Girls' Reformatory, £100.

It was moved by Mr. Recorder Hill, seconded by Lord Lyttelton, and supported by Mr. Adderley, that the Report, and Treasurer's account be received and adopted, and that the same be printed and circulated under the direction of the Committee. Great praise was given to the Hon. SecretaryMr. Charles Ratcliffe ; and to the Hon. Surgeon of Saltley, Mr. Tarleton, a special vote of thanks was voted, moved by R. Spooner, Esq., M.P. and seconded by Rev. W. H. Bellairs.

things as Reformatories yet in Englaud, except those supported by voluntary efforts, and under the management of subscribers. I tried in vain to get Lord Palmerston to introduce a bill to make Public Reformatories. All the Youthful Offenders' Act of last session does, is to enable Government to inspect private Reformatories, and, if approved, to give them a certificate ; after which, Magistrates, Recorders, Judges, &c., may commit any criminal boy or girl, under sixteen, to them for several years' education (after fourteen days' imprisonment); and the cost of maintaining such children is inflicted on the parents or guardians up to five shillings a week ; the rest to be paid by the Treasury. The Institution remains private, and in the hands of the subscribers, just as much as before. Saitley, for boys, and 45, Camden-street for girls, are both certified by Government, and may, therefore, be so used by any Mag.strates or Judges, with the consent of the subscribers. Money aid is much wanted; for though I gave the land-five acres—and built the house, yet a debt is incurred by increased buildings, and by the salaries of masters, tailor, shoemaker, schoolmaster, and matron."

The Report is as follows, and we insert it in this Record, uncurtailed, as it is in itself a very comprehensive, ably drawn, and useful record.

“At the close of the second year of the operations of this Society, your Committee have to lay before the subscribers the results of their efforts to redeem young children from criminal and disreputable ways of life. Mr. Ellis has had the superintendence of sixty.one boys since he came to Birmingham, of whom twenty-three are now in the Institution, seven have been sent to other Institutions for which they appeared more suitable subjects, twenty-five have left with the prospect of being respectably established in life, of whom seventeen are known to be at work, and the remaining six have returned to criminal habits of life.

The Superintendent has had the assistance of the Matron, Schoolmaster, Farm Instructor, Tailor, and Shoemaker, besides the Visitors appointed by the Committee.

Under the direction and with the co-operation of the different trade instructors, the boys have been occupied throughout the year in learning and in labour, with the following results :-The tailors have made 139 garments, of which 119 have been used by the boys, and twenty by different customers; forty-three garments have been repaired. The value of the work and materials, including the In. structor's salary, has been regularly charged, and this branch of the industrial department shows a small profit of 21. 135. ld. upon the operations of the year. The shoemakers have manufactured thirtysix pairs of boots and shoes for customers, and fifty-five pairs for the Institution, exclusive of 113 pairs of police boots for the Corporation of Birmingham. They have also mended eighty.one pairs. Total, 285. The apparent profit on this department is 271. 18s. 1d., but as the value of the stock in hand was greater at the close of 1853 than last year, the real profit is somewhat less.-401. 12s. 3d. have been expended on the land beyond the amount realised by produce, but the Committee consider that it has received such valuable permanent improvement from the labour spent upon it, that a larger result may be expected next year. There are at this time 10,000 cabbages planted out, ready for the market next spring, besides ten bags of potatoes, and six fat pigs in stock. 453 dozen of cabbages were sent to Birmingham market last year, also seventeen pots of potatoes, ten pots of beans, six bushels of wheat, and a quantity of vetches. This is exclusive of twenty-six bags of potatoes, six pots of beans, and 200 dozen of cabbages consumed on the premises.

During the year a considerable number of persons from various parts of the country have visited the Institution, and several prizes have been offered and awarded to the inmates for proficiency in reading, drawing, spelling, geography, horticulture, and writing and composition, as well as for general good conduct. From the numerous testimonies recorded on the Visitors' book your Committee extract only the following :-

(From the Recorder.) Sunday, Oct. 22, 1854.- I have this day visited the Reformatory,

« PreviousContinue »