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to their minds, and when they are exposed to temptations, guard them against the evil.
Are children fond of poetic pieces?—Very much so indeed; and they are very useful, because they so soon come to their nunds; we also aim to imbue their minds with the scriptures as much as we possibly can.
If any general plan of education for the poor throughout London could be adopted in the respective parishes, do you imagine it would produce a change for the better in the character of the poor?—Very much so indeed.
Have you observed this in the schools to which you belong?—Yes,I have frequently observed the children very much improved in their moral character as well as in their condition.
Have you had much intercourse with their parents?—( very frequently visit the parents of the Sunday school children at their own habitations; they are very grateful for the instruction their children receive, and for the visits of the teachers, from which they often likewise derive many benefits Do you think parish officers might more strongly recommend the education of poor children to their parents who apply for relief?—Yes, if they did it without any partiality or preference of religious sect or party, leaving it to the parents to choose which they thought preferable.
Would not poor children be greatly benefitted by being kept out of the streets, and sent to da}' schools?—Exceedingly so; the morals of children derive a vast deal of harm from their playing with idle and depraved children in the streets, and especially upon a Sunday, when children very often herd together, and initiate each other into the commission of crimes, it being a day of leisure.
Do you think the employment of children in schools produces habits of industry ?—Very much so.
Has it the effect of fitting them for useful employments ?— I have known many cases of great improvement in that respect. 1 happened to meet two or three children, coming here this morning; one was the first child admitted into the Sunday school with which I am connected; she made a courtesy; 1 have learned she lives in a creditable situation, us housemaid in a respectable family in the city; and I met one or two others, who are likewise filling creditable situations with their fathers.
Would children be more likely to meet with employment, in your opinion, if they were better educated?—It is one of the first inquiries we make, when we want servants in trade, how they have been educated; and they are very frequently incapaciated from filling many situations, because they have
Do you know whether shopkeepers and wholesale houses, in the city, prefer youths from the country, to those born and educated in London F—Very frequently so
Do they prefer youths in the various capacities of porters, warehousemen, and clerks, and in short, in all the departments of trade?—In most cases they certainly do prefer lads from the country.
Are they also preferred as domestic servants?—In general, so far as my experience extends.
For what reason are they preferred?—Because their character is better known, their morals more frequently uncontaminated; and I think the education of those who are sent off to town has been much better attended to than those persons born in London.
Have you any idea how many young men come up to London annually to seek for situations, both domestic and in trade?—It is impossible to speak with any accuracy; but I have heard many intelligent men, who have had long experience on the subject, calculate that nearly 10,000 come up annually.
Including footmen, porters, and clerks?—All descriptions of servants.
Are you acquainted with any of the principals of the trading and commercial houses of the city of London?—Yes, many of them
Do you know whether they originally came from the country, or were born in London?—I should think the majority came from the country.
Is it not a remarkable fact, and well known,that the large proportion of the housekeepers in the city of London came from the country ?—.-Yes, I conceive so.
And generally without property r—Most of them, I think.
They have generally risen by their own merit?—Yes, from clerks, or even many of them from inferior situations; they have risen from their attention to business, and good education. Several of our lord mayors have risen from clerk's situations.
Have they chiefly risen by their own merit, and having had the advantages of a useful education?—Yes, 1 conceive so, and a steadiness and perseverance in their conduct.
|f parochial schools in London were better attended to, might not masters and mistresses be mote disposed to receive servants from among the children brought up in those schools I—Yes, if the procuring of suitable situations for the children when they left the school were made an object of importance by the governors of the school. I fear it is too often. neglected: the children are left entirely to themselves when Aey leave parochial schools. In Sunday schools we often obtain situations for the children, either in our own businesses or among our acquaintance.
Do the teachers generally feel an interest for the welfare of the children under their care?*—When we see a steady attentive boy, we generally recommend him to some situation where he is likely to be well attended to and prosper. Many of them have succeeded remarkably well, and have become teachers themselves; and many of them, from the lowest state of society, have become respectable characters, and till useful situations, if not very high ones.
Do you think it. of importance to convey moral instruction while communicating knowledge to the children ?—Yes, it is of the highest importance; for knowledge^ unaccompanied by virtue, very frequently only capacitates for increasing mischief, in spciety.
Is there much difference between the moral character of the Scotch and Irish i»>.No one, who has been accustomed to visit them at their own habitations, can have failed to observe a marked and deeiderl distinction.
Whence does this distinction arise?—The Scotch are constantlyMaught, when young, to read their bibles, and accustomed to moral and religious instruction.
From your knowledge of the trading world, and of the children of the poor, do you think a more extensive plan of education would be a public benefit?—I think it would be one of the greatest public benefits.
Would it. in your opinion, lessen public crimes?—I have no doubt of it; for the most guilty criminal characters are commonly the most ignorant; in fact we cannot get them to stay in our schools; we have sometimes gathered them from the highways, and brought them into our schools, but we could never keep them long together.
From your knowledge of the benefits of education, is. it your opinion that a more extended plan would greatly promote the public benefit?—I think it would exceedingly so; in Wales, owing to the general establishment of Sunday schools there, in one or two of the counties the prison-doors have been thrown open, and I attribute it to education, because nearly every individual throughout those counties attended the schools.
Are you acquainted whether maid-servants in London generally come from the country ?—1 know it is often the case that they are preferred from the country, unless their character can be well ascertained by a respectable and well-known person with whom they have lived before.
Are they not, in a general way, preferred to London servants?—They are in general very much preferred; they have not such connexions, and are in general more steady.
Are they not in general of a better moral character?—■ Decidedly so.
Does not this partly arise from having a better education? —I think so.
Mr. Edward Wentwokth called in and examined.
ARE you master of a Sunday School?—I superintend one gratuitously, with 60 teachers, who also give their labours gratuitously.
How many children do you educate?—From 850 to 1000. Of all religious persuasions?—Yes. How long have you been so occupied?—Nearly fourteen years.
How long does n child of ordinary capacity take to learn to read r^—About three years.
Do you observe any improvement in the children after they come to the School, in their manners or their morals?—Particularly so; I do not know of any institution better calculated to improve their morals.
Do you adopt the new method of instruction ?—It is not adapted for Sunday school instruction.
How so?—As it precludes a number of respectable persons from becoming teachers, which is a great obstruction to the improvement of the children. Sunday school instruction is very much wanted in the parish of Bethnal-green: our school is not sufficient to hold half the number of children that would apply. The Lancnsterian institution is not half tilled, because the children in that parish are employed at a very early age in the silk manufacturing business, as early as the age of five or six years, and the funds of that institution arc inadequate to its support.
Thomas Babington, Esq. a Member of the Committee,
HAVE yon been engaged in the superintendence of Sundav school*?—1 hare attended for more than 30 years at a Sunday school in my own parish in the country, at Rothley in Leic«-*ternhire, whenever 1 have been in that quarter. I have found that to induce the children to come and to continue in the srhool, and to attend to their business with advantage, it was absolutely necessary to interest their minds, and that tiis was best done by communicating to them knowledge by suitable explanations of the Scriptures. Till lately, I never had a master who was qualified for attending to this subject, and in consequence I always found the attendance in the school slack, and a considerable disposition in the boys to leave the school, in my absence during the sitting of Parliament; since I have obtained a better master, I find these evils have much diminished. My experience has shewn me, that an endeavour to open the minds of the children, and to make them enter into what they read, that is, enter both into its sense and its object, secures their attention, and produces a willingness to continue much longerat the school as scholars, than was the case before this was done to the same extent as at present. It is unnecessary to say how much this method of exciting an interest, and so obtaining good attention from the children, coincides with the great and leading object of their education, namely, to inform and regulate the mind and impress the heart. I think I can say from my experience, that where the sort of explanation of which I have been speaking is practised, with due attention to the state of information, intellect, and feeling, in the children, that it will tend to produce a great effect on their manners and habits; they will contract deference and respect for those who instruct them, and a desire of information; and on leaving the school their gratitude will be very apparent, for years, towards those who have taken such pains with them, and their characters will appear to have undergone a very important change. My object has been to lead, and enable the children to read, not mechanically, but with their understanding, and to interest them in the subject-matter of what they were reading, so that after leaving the school they might not only be improved in their general character and in their knowledge, but might be qualified and disposed to take up the Bible in after-life with satisfaction and profit. Those who have not had experience in schools for the poor, would scarcely conceive in how great a degree young children read without understanding, or making any effort to understand, what they read. This habit, very early contracted, is apt to continue with most in a very high degree during the whole of their school education; and they leave the school very able indeed to read, but little disposed to do so, because the reading is not interesting to their minds; and therefore the benefits of education are attained very imperfectly. The explanations have been given to the children in a series of easy and familiar iviva voce questions, and with comparatively little in the way of address, which has been chiefly employed when it was desired to impress the importance of truths, apA