« הקודםהמשך »
society, are collected together, discipline is of the first importance. I don't mean the mere soldier's discipline of enforcing unquestiod. ing obedience to all commands however trivial, though even that would of itself be in many instances a great inroad 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 know. ledge as a guide for their daily life. Conscience has been stilled 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 necese cessary 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 froin 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 contented 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 discouraged. Certainly our Schoois 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 resi. dence in one of our country prisons, where he would be in that de. lightful (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 tea. ture 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 as. pect. 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 look 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, inoral 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 constant market 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-
“ The great difficulty is to find an outlet for the productions of the shops. We have now a considerable stock of boots and shoes on hand, also a quantity of men's trousers. It is very desirable that all these should be sold."
Statistics. There were 39 boys in the School on the 31st of December, 1857. 20 had been convicted once, 8 twice, 5 thrice, 2 four times, i five, I sis, 1 nine, 1 ten-total, 39. 11 bad received no education at all, 8 just knew the alphabet, 9 could read a little, 10 could read and write imperfectly, I could read and write welltotal, 39. 15 had both parents living, 7 had the father only, 11 mother only, 6 neither parents--total, 39. 7 were from Lancashire, 9 from Middlesex, 10 from Staffordshire, 10 from Warwickshire, 1 from Worcestershire, I from Cheshire, I from Gloucestershiretotal, 39. “Since the 31st of December 12 more boys have been admitted, and one left to go to the Akbar Ship Reformatory, leaving us altogether 50 inmates now in the School.”
In his report Mr. Humphreys further says_“I have great pleasure in acknowledging the interest which the monthly Visitors bave manifested in everything connected with the efficiency of the lasti. tution, as also the kindness of several friends who have given us very tangible evidence of their good-will in the form of presents, namely, H. Yates, Esq., two dozen spades and two dozen garden forks ; Messrs. Mapplebeck and Lowe, a culinary digester; C. Rateliff, Esq., a hamper of fruit; Mr. W. Redding, a set of boys' shoemaking tools.
You will be glad to learn that Mr. T. J. Haworth and several students from the College continue to conduct the Sunday afternoon School, and that their efforts are of great service, and highly appreciated by the boys. No boy ever attempts to shirk the Sunday School-always the reverse. What progress is being made in that which is the main aim and object of the Institution time alone can show. It is a work requiring patience as well as faith."
To these extracts the Committee will add only a few words. Their thanks are due to the Honorary Surgeon and other officers, whose services have been cheerfully rendered during the past year, and they recommend that these gentlemen, and the Sunday School Teachers who have regularly visited the Institution, receive the best thanks of the subscribers for the zeal and interest they have displayed.
The restoration of the inmates to the world as useful members of society will complete the work which your Committee seek to accomplish. Happily the prejudices against the employment of criminals, arising from the imperfection of former systems of prison reformation, are rapidly dying out, and it is found that employment can be obtained both in England and her Colonies for young persons who have been trained in such Institutions as the one at Saltley. Your Committee are anxious to take full advantage of this favourable state of things. They are able to look with satisfaction upon many instances of boys who, on the completion of their several terms of detention at Saltley, have been placed out in eligible situations in and about Birminghain, where they are now creditably em
ployed, and of others who have emigrated with good prospects of achieving a fair start in life.
In closing their review of the past the Committee feel assured that society at large will cheerfully sympathise in the desire which all those who have worked in this cause now feel, to offer humble and hearty acknowledgments to Hiin from whoin all good comes for the measure of success which has attended their labours, and to derive encouragement to persevere in this work of love, because He has emphatically declared that His Word, the Word which this Institution constantly sets up as its standard of faith and conduct, shall not return unto Him void.
In the early part of April, a petition to parliament was circulated for signature amongst the inhabitants of Londonderry, the objects of which the following letter will explain, and it, to our mind, but half exposes the injurious results which would surely follow if the state should concede the changes prayed for by the petitioners :REFORMATORY SCHOOLS IN UNION WORKHOUSES. TO THE EDITOR OF THE FREEMAN.
1, Upper l'embroke.street,
April 6th, 1858. Sir, I trust you will permit me to offer, through the medium of your paper, a few observations upon the Derry petition to parliament, praying for the establishment of reformatory schools in union workhouses. The petition consists of four paragraphs. The first is a palpable truisin, the other three are founded upon a total mis. conception, or ignorance, of what the reformatory principle is, and of the system, on which-and on which only-reformatory agency can be successfully developed. The first paragraph tells us that no provision is made in Ireland for the Reformation of juvenile offenders, and that jail association but corrupts the more deeply. Most true in each particular. The second paragraph declares that state reformatories for juvenile offenders are expensive, and that a stigma bangs in after life about those who may have been confined in such institutions. If by a state reformatory is meant an“ overgrown young jail" the petitioners are right, but no one thinks of such an awful abuse. But, if they mean that a reformatory, founded by local self-imposed rates, or by local charity, and aided by government inspection and a state subvention, then they are wrong—as wrong as in their statements that a stigma hangs in after years around those who have been confined in reformatories. This statement is simple absurd and without the slightest proof, whilst France, Holland, Belgium, America, Scotland, and England furnish us with countless proofs that exactly the opposite is the result. By the third paragraph the legislature is told that “the existing machinery of the Irish poor-law system might be advantageously employed for the collateral reformation of juvenile offenders, the only changes required being the allocation of a ward in each union workhouse for a reformatory school, and the appointment of a schoolmaster and schoolmistress to take charge of its male and female department respectively.” It would be impossible to show in so few words a more complete ignorance of all the facts bearing on juvenile refor. mation than is exhibited in this paragraph. The family principle is ignored; individualisation is ignored ; separation of religions is ignored; all the proved wisdom of the systems advocated by Mary Carpenter, by Recorder Hill, by Frederic Hill, by Demetz, and by the Rev. John Clay, is ignored; all those beautiful teachings in which all—from Demetz to Barwick Baker—from Pol to De Gaspariofrom Mary Carpenter to the Nuns of Arno's Court agree-are ignored, and in their place is substituted a scheme as ill designed as it would be mischievous—as absurd as it would be inoperative, and which would teach neither self dependence nor self respect—not even self control-a scheme which could never arise the soul of " the city Arab, the home Heathen” to its God—which could never wake in his heart the energy and the spirit of a man. It could do none of these things, but it would leave him the poor worthless human weed-as all know the vast majority of our workhouse reared children if a boy, with no home save the workhouse and the jail—if a girl, with no home save the cruel street, and no refuge but the hospital or the asylum. You know, sir, and we all know, that these work. house children are a disgrace to any civilized nation. If you doubt it, the jail records, the hospital books, and the workhouse officers will prove it. Above all the fifty girls whom the Sisters of Mercy, in Baggot-street, are attempting to reclaim will furnish a fair sample of the inmates of the proposed allocated wards of the workhouse, where “collateral reformation" is to be carried out through the agency of “the existing machinery" of the Irish poor-law systemi
. The fourth paragraph of the petition is entirely wrong in the as. sumption that the English reformatory acts at all contemplate such a scheme as the petitioners desire to see carried out; and in praying for the extension of the English acts to Ireland they pray for that which would be unsuited to our people, and which would in no way aid the petitioners in securing the objects they desire. It is much to be regretted that 400 of the chief inhabitants of Derry should have signed this petition--a petition which must excite the most profound as. tonishment of Mr. Adderley, of Sir John Pakington,of Lord Stanley, and of the other inembers of the present government who are old, and active, and intelligent friends of the reformatory movement. Pardon this trespass on your space; but I trust you will excuse an old and continuous worker in the cause, if I thus endeavour to expose serious errors—more especially when a reformatory schools bill for Ireland, which has received the assent of all in this country and in England capable, from a knowledge of facts and principles, of giving a sound judgment, is about to be introduced to the House of Commons by Mr. Sergeant Deasy and Mr. John Bagwell.
I am, Sir,
PATRICK JOSEPH MURRAY.