« הקודםהמשך »
much lighter than had been known in prosperous times. Mr. Kynnersley concluded, amist loud applause, by commending the working of the Institution, observing that all the Reports he received as to the influence of such establishments on the future of young criminals strengthened his conviction to their usefulness and in the propriety of greatly extending their operations.-C Shaw, Esq., seconded the resolution. He said that after nearly fifty years' experience amongst working people, he had no hesitation in commending the Saltley Institution as a most valuable agency for cultivating an honest spirit of independence in the minds of youths who had unfortunately been led into crime. He concurred in the suggestion of Mr. Bracebridge as to the advantages of emigration to Canada. In none of our Colonies was there a greater demand for agricultural labour. On the general question he thought that the removal of the persons trained in these Schools to one of our Colonies was the best means of securing their ultimate and permanent reformation. The resolution was carried by acclamation.
The Rev. I. Spooner moved a vote of thanks to the Committee for their services during the past year. Mr. Spooner urged that while a mild system should be adopted in Reformatories, the penal element should not be lost sight of. The boys should be made to feel that they were sent there for crime.—The Rev. A.A. Ellis seconded it, and in doing so urged that while preserving the p-nal aspect of Reformatories, the feeling of self-respect should be encouraged, and indiscriminate punishments avoided.
On the motion of Dr. Melson, seconded by the Rev. F. WilLIAMS, thanks were voted to Messrs Charles Ratcliff and W. Morgan, the Honorary Secretaries.
The Rev. Dr. Miller moved a vote of thanks to the Honorary Chaplain, the Rev. F. Williams, and in doing so urged the importance of founding reformatory training on the basis of religion, and contended that it was necessary to maintain the penal element, and to train the children to hard work and plain food. The child must know that he had done wrong, and that to a certain extent he was suffering for that wrong. But it was not to be expected, however efficient these institutions might be, that the results would be palpable and immediate ; they must not yield to the inorbid desire for immediate results. In order to be thoroughly effective the movement must be gradual. Let it be remembered, too, that al. though there were but fifty boys in the Saltley Reformatory, each lad was a centre of crime, and therefore it was not improbable that 500 lads were represented by them—(hear, hear.)— Mr BAGNALL se. conded the resolution, which was carried.
Thanks were then voted to Mr. Tarleton, the Honorary Surgeon, on the motion of Mr. W. R. Lloyd, seconded by the Rev. J. T. Burt. The first named gentlemen urged that greater attention should be paid to the education of children in the workhouse, many of whom, owing to early neglect there, afterwards became in. mates of the gaol and the Reformatory.
The Earl of LiTCHFIELD proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Charles Ratcliff, for his able and unwearied services as Treasurer of the Institution—(cheers). The noble Earl passed a very warm eulogium upon Mr. Ratcliff a hom, he said, he had always found ready to work with the utmost zeal and energy for the benefit of the College. He (Lord Litchfield) bad inspected the accounts, which Mr. Ratcliff had made his especial care, and he must say that the admirable state in which he found them proved to his mind that their Treasurer took a strong interest in the College, and desired by every means in his power to advance its interests and prosperity--(applause). The accounts continually received of the career of former inmates of Reformatories amply proved the necessity for extending their good influences. He would suggest that the Committee should in their future Reports include some particulars of the career of the boys after leaving Saltley. Such facts would be not only deeply interesting but of the highest importance, as showing the real value of the Institution. The movement, he thought, stood pre-eminent for its practical utility in lessening crime and elevating the moral tone of the lowest class of the community, but whether they were in the right track to work it out fully it was not for him to say. He felt convinced, however, that great good would result from the system at present adopted, and he hoped therefore that in bis own county, Staffordshire, one or two Institutions, similar to the one at Saltley, would ere long be established.- Mr. BRACEBRIDGE seconded the proposition, and warmly eulogised the unwearied devotion of Mr. Ratcliff to the interests of the College. The resolution was carried by acclamation.
The Rev. S. Gedge next proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Har. wood and the Teachers of the School, which was seconded by Mr. Morgan, and carried unaniuously.
The Earl of LITCHFIELD having taken the chair, Mr. Charles Ratcliff moved, and C. Suaw Esq., seconded, a vote of thanks to Lord Littelton for presiding:- His Lordship briefly acknowledged the vote, and the proceedings then terminated.
REPORT. The Committee of the Birmingham Reformatory Institution have great pleasure in presenting to their subscribers and friends the Fifth Annual Report of their proceedings.
Their work was formerly divided into two branches, namely, the Reformatory for Boys, at Šaltley, and the Reformatory for Girls, in Camden-street ; but the latter Institution has been transferred to the management of a separate Society, and is now carried on at the Coppice, at Smethwick. Your Committee have therefore been enabled to devote their whole attention to the School, at Saltley, which they are happy to report as being in a higher state of efficiency than at any previous period.
The experience of another year has, however, still further shown that the work is surrounded by difficulty, and that what has been called," the extirpation of regular juvenile crime," is a social problem of no easy solution.
Reformatory Institutions are contributing to work out the pro
blem, but many other agencies are required. Among these your Committee would earnestly press upon the consideration of all local authorities, employers of labour, and shopkeepers, particularly in a town like Birmingham, the duty of removing temptations to crime out of the way, while on the other hand the seeds of virtue and industry are sedulously cultivated, so that under God's blessing a reputable character may be attained by multitudes of those who now belong to the "perishing and dangerous class.
In their last Report your Committee referred to the inadequacy of the buildings at Saltley, which have been enlarged to furnish accommodation for fifty boys, thus enabling the Institution not only to provide for cases furnished by the town of Birmingham and elsewhere, but also to carry out the contract which had been made with the Staffordshire Magistrates to receive twenty boys committed from that county in preference to other applicants.
This enlargement of the institution has been now fully completed, and the buildings have been made as perfect as possible. Mr. Adderley kindly lent the sum of £500 towards defraying the cost of the erection, for which loan the Committee pay interest at the rate of £5 per cent. per anuum.
There is also a balance of £204 12s. due to the contractor. The Committee respectfully solicit contributions towards the discharge of these debts.
The enlargement has materially contributed to the efficiency of the Institution, not only by enabling the Committee to receive an increased number of inmates, but also by providing accomodation on the premises for a gardiner and a resident schoolmaster, neither of whoin formerly lived at the school.
The officers of the school are the superintendent and Matron, two domestic Servants, the Schoolmaster, Gardiner, Shoemaker, and Tailor.
With the increase of the number of inmates has arisen a necessity for more land on which they may be employed. This want has been supplied by the Committee becoming yearly tenants of two and a half acres of the garden land adjoining the School at the same annual rent as the other land in the neighbourhood, so that the boys have seven acres and a half of land now under cultivation. Your Committee are satisfied that agricultural labour is the best of all employments, when used as a means for the moral discipline of lads committed to a Reformatory; and they anticipate that ere long a still further extension of the boundaries of the Institution must be sought. They are therefore glad to be able to state that they have secured the option of taking additional land at Michael. mas next.
There are at the present time 50 boys in the School, and in refer. ence to the principles in which they are trained, and general de. tails of management, the Committee have much plersure in submitting to the subscribers the following extracts from the Report by Mr. Humphreys, the Superintendent.
On the subject of discipline Mr. Huinphreys says
“It will be readily conceded, I think, that in a place where a number of the worst boys, taken from the most degraded class of
society, are collected together, discipline is of the first importance. I don't mean the mere soldier's discipline of enforcing unquestioning obedience to all commands however trivial, though even that would of itself be in many instances a great mroad upon the disorderly habits to which such boys have been accustomed. By discipline I mean all those influences, mental and physical, arising from. position, teaching in School, regular work, wholesome and sufficient diet, cleanliness of rooms, persons, and clothing, &c., and the constant inculcation of the principle that it is more the practice of what is right which is desired, than the mere knowledge of it. Knowledge—what is often called religious knowledge-many of them are not so devoid of as some people imagine, but they are without the feeling which would constrain them to use that knor. ledge as a guide for their daily life. Conscience has been stified in them instead of being cultivated. They can steal and lie without remorse-without that horribly miserable feeling which even the suggestion of crime brings to the heart of a being properly educated.
“I by no means say that reformatory discipline is all that is necescessary to work an enduring change in their dispositions. Unques. tionably all our efforts depend for success upon a higher power and a holier influence than any belonging to this world. Still we must not expect success without the efforts, nor without the boy's own will being to some extent enlisted in the attempt to free him fron the moral trammels in which vice has entangled him. I have heard it disputed whether Reformatories should not be to some extent penal in character. A little thought would have shown that such a question is not open to discussion. In one feature they are undoubt. edly penal—they are places of detention. In every other respect they are purely and simply schools, industrial or trade schools, where every one must work. There is nothing penal in that.
“ However much it may suit the purpose of some people to sneer and call them places of reward for criminals,' the recipients of the so called reward think otherwise. Some of them would rather be in prison, where they would have nothing to do. Some are con. tented and thankful for the care taken of them and the kindness shown them. Generally scarcely one in ten would remain in the School voluntarily. Even those who have a real desire for a reformation of life, still desire liberty under the idea that they shall be able henceforth to resist temptation ; and I do not think that, after a reasonable period of probation, this feeling ought to be dis. couraged. Certainly our Schools ought not to be conducted so that boys could attach to them the feeling or notion of a permanent home; nor on the other hand ought they purposely be uncomfort. ably homely, for in that case any boy of the cuteness pertaining to the class would quickly exercise his privilege of choosing his residence in one of our country prisons, where he would be in that delightful (to him) state of having nothing to do.'
“ A dislike of regular work, either in school or shop, arising from the want of early training in habits of usefulness, is a leading feature in juvenile criminals, only equalled by their dislike of plain food. Thay would rather bave one stuffing of dainties than three good plain meals.
" Many of them are the children of parents who live on the fat of the land, or who feast one day and starve the next. In short, there are three things in Reformatories which will effectually prevent their being looked upon as rewards by young thieves, namely, restraint of liberty, hard work, and plain living.'"- The Committee would adopt these views, only pointing out that though it is true that, abstractedly considered, there is nothing penal in an industrial school regularly conducted; still the remarks of the Superintendent show that in the estimation of the class on which the Reformatory Institution is intended to operate the School does present a penal aspect. Speaking in reference to the opinions of the working classes about the Reformatory, Mr. Humphreys says.
“I never yet heard an honest working man speak of our boys as objects of his envy, but I have again and again heard mothers and fathers caution their children against crime, when they have seen our lads hard at work on the land, or walking two and two to Church. I have often heard such expressions as the following : They look well off enough, but I should not like my lad to go there.' And again— Eh! poor children, what sort of fathers and mothers must they have had?' Not one word or louk of envy."
As to the most suitable employment for the inmates, Mr. Humphreys reports as follows :
“ I have good reason to be of opinion that land work is the natural antidote to town-poison: that it is in every respect, whether of discipline, moral regeneration, or tinancially, the most advantageous of all occupations—provided always that there be proper superintendeuce, a fair proportion of land to the number of hands, and a con. stant inarket for produce. It is this last advantage which makes the trades in large Reformatories so much more Hourishing than in small ones. They are their own customers. The large numbers find work the one for the other in shoeing, clothing, feeding, &c. A boy with a trade in his fingers will at the expiration of his term of detention almost to a certainty seek employment in town. He will have to live in a neighbourhood densely populated and abounding in gin-palaces, beer-houses, and other houses which I need not mention, and marine store shops. Is there, can there be a reasonable hope that a youth of seventeen or eighteen years of age would stand against the temptations of such circumstances ? Country or colonial life is unquestionably the most suitable for some years at least after leaving the Reformatory. It gives opportunity for good resolutions to strengthen, and industrious habits to be confirmed. With a view to these results I wish we had more land : what we have has been worked into capital condition for the current year, so that we hope to make up a little for the sinall return of the past. The gardener's wages fall heavily upon so small a quantity of land as the tive acres now under cultivation. If we could have the next two fields we should have about eleven acres altogether, to be managed as a garden, not as a farm."
In reference to the instruction of the boys in the trades of tailor and shoemaker now carried on at Sultley, Mr. Humphreys says-