תמונות בעמוד



MEMORANDUM of a Conversation I held to-day with Rev. Mr. M.Callum,the Chaplain and Master of the Boys' Refuge, Glasgow.

Glasgow, Good Friday, April 2nd, 1858. I called to-day on Mr. M'Callum at the Refuge. On entering I saw a boy standing about in the hall.

Mr. M.Callum received me very cordially, and I had an interesting and valuable conversation with him.

Decrease of Crime in Glasgow.- Mr. M.Calluin mentioned that he is bringing out a report (now in the press) which shows that since the Reformatory system has been introduced here, there has been a great diminution of the number of inmates in the City Bridewell. Seven years ago the number of prisoners was 700 odd. Now, though the population of the city has much increased, the numbers of prisoners is only 300 odd ; this Mr. M'C. attributes to the combined action of the Refuges and the Industrial School, but he thinks the Refuges have been the most important causes of the diminution as they are much larger than the industrial Schools.

Runaways.—Mr. M.C. says he was sometime ago much plagued by boys escaping. They used to be recommitted to prison as a punish

This, however, did more harm than good. The boys would say on their return that they were better off in gaul than in the Refuge, in that they rose at 1 o'clock instead of 6, that their food was better, &c. &c. Mr. MC. thinks the present gaol treatinent far too mild. Mr. M.C. has given over having the boys re-committed to prison and punishes them bimself by the" towse" and by separation from their fellows for a considerable time. There has been no escape for six months past, though the boys go out. They went to the panorama a little while ago (at least 300 of them) and one hundred go each Sunday to Church, 100 one Sunday, another 100 another Sunday, and so on. Some also go to the land which is cul. tivated. The school play grounds, workshops, &c. are encompassed by a wall, and the door is locked, so that they may be said to be usually in a state of confinement.

Admission. I asked Mr. M.C. what he did with a boy when first adınitted, whether he placed him at once with the others. Mr. M.C. said, certainly not. The boy whom I saw in the hall was a new

Mr. M.C. keeps each new comer thus for some days, talks to him, and endeavours to bring him to a sense of his condition. When Mr. M.C. thinks a good effect has been produced, he places the boy under the care of a very good boy, directing the former to speak only to the latter, and this is continued until Mr. M.C. thinks the new comer may be safely trusted to mix with his fellows generally. Formerly much mischief was done by new comers talking of their misdeeds to their companions. The above system tends to prevent the practice, which is also forbidden under severe punishment.

Trades.--Mr. M.C. thinks it desirable to have a multiplicity of employments, as he finds that a boy does much better at what he chooses bimself

. A certain proportion of his boys choose agriculture, but the major part do not like it; when the school is placed in pos.



session of a farm which will be soon, in additiod to their present ground, he intends to employ about a hundred in husbandry, which is about as many as he expects will prefer that occupation. The whole number in the school is more than 400, most of whom are town boys, who do not generally like husbandry though some of them do.

Mr. M.C. is about to bave a large smithy erected, where he will be able to employ many boys as smiths. "Many prefer this trade which is in much request both in Glasgow and the colonies.

Marks.—A bad mark is placed against a boy's name, and three bad marks disqualifies a boy for the next treat, such as going to any sight to which the boys are taken sometimes or joining the excursion to the sea side which is taken annually by steamboat.

Miscelluneous.—Sixteen boys have just left the Refuge, being sent to Montreal consigned to a benevolent gentleman there who undertakes to get them employment.

Mr. M-C. does not agree with Mr. Baker of Hardwicke, that boys should not be committed to Reformatories on their first convictions, He thinks that each case should be dealt with on its individual merits, and where a boy is likely to become a regular offender he should be sent to a Reformatory, on his first conviction. He showed me the history which the boy I saw in the hall, who was convicted for the first time, had given of himself, which clearly shewed that be would in all probability have become a thief had he not been sent to a Reformatory. (Signed)

ALFRED HILL. We are indebted to Mr. Alfred Hill, for his kindness in supplying these notes; and we are very happy to find that the Glasgow House of Refuge is making that progress in useful. ness predicted for it by the Recorder of Birmingham, and our worthy friend, the Rev., Dr. Craik. How long are we to be without such institutions in Ireland, how long are we to be astounded by such police reports as the following, taken from The Limerick Reporter of April 13th?

“SHOPLIFTING. -John Hanly, a juvenile, who is within the statutable

age of whipping, 14 years, was brought up for the thirty-sixth time by Constable Nash, who charged him with stealing 3lbs. of tea off the counter in Mr. Quinn's shop and walking off with it, but was detected in the street; and, this fact being established, the magis. trates sentenced him to be imprisoned for three months with hard labour and two whippings."

When Peachum sings, in The Beggar's Opera, "I wonder any man alive would ever rear a daughter!" we all laugh, but really it appears to us that sons are generally more troublesume, and we have, under our system, no means of checking their evil

propensities if the youths stop short of the committal of that which is actual crime in the contemplation of the law. It is otherwise in France, and in this phase of Juvenile Reformation (more especially as regards the sons of persons in affluent circumstances,) M. Deinetz is as successful in his efforts as in these cases coming more fully within the scope of Mettray. Froin the Midland Counties Herald of April 8th we take the following, from the pen of one to whom the country and all interested in the Reformatory Question owe the deepest debts of gratitude :

Our readers will perhaps recollect that a translation of the Report for 1856 of the Reformatory at Mettiav, appeared in the Midland Counties Herold towards the close of that year. We have now the pleasure to present to them the Report for 1857; and in doing so we desire to draw their attention to a new feature in that important institution.

We must premise that in France a power, entitled Correction Paternelle, is lodged in the hands of parents to procure, by application before an appointed tribunal, the imprisonment for short periods of their unruly offspring; By virtue of articles 375 and 376 of the Cude civil, children under sixteen years of age may be thus impri. soned for one month, while those between sixteen and twenty-one years of age are liable to six month's confinement.

In a late edition of his pamphlet upon Mettray, M. Cochin, quoting from its annual reports, states that formerly there existed in Paris alone any institution suited to the reception of children of the upper classes who had rendered themselves liable to Correction Pater. nelle. Elswhere the gaol was the only place in which the sentence of the Court upon them could be carried into execution, and the dread of exposing them to the contaminating influences of promiscuous imprisonment naturally deterred parents froin resorting to such means of repression. Those who could afford to do so preferred to send their unmanageable sons abroad, in the hope of thus removing them from pernicious associates, and breaking their bad habits. But by this course they often only substi“uted one form of dissipation for another, and by interupting the youths' studies, and placing thein beyond their control, not unfrequently aggravated the evil they sought to cure. Detention in agricultural colonies similar to that which ordinary young offenders undergo would be found un. suited to the class now under consideration. The system pursued in these establishments is not calculated to effect a cure within so li. mited a time as that for which alone such youths can by law be imprisoned ; and they would, moreover, be liable to form intimacies among their companions which would be most injurious in after life. By placing them, however, in separate confinement while there every objection is obviated. " Its effects must have been witnessed,


* Notice sur Mettray, par Augustin Cochin.


M. Demetz, "for the happy influence it exercises on the moral being of the youth to be justly appreciated. A thorough change takes place in him. With no amusements or diversion to distract his attention, there is nothing which can drive from his mind the exhor. tation and advice he receives. Meditation brings his past life constantly before him. In solitude his pride and self-love vanish. His thoughts necessarily are turned inward. He is no longer ashamed to listen to the whispers of conscience, which have been most justly called, • The voice of God. By degrees he becomes open to religious impressions. Work is welcome, first, as affording him something to do, while very soon he comes to regard it as a pleasure. He eagerly applies bimself to it, and what until then he had looked upon as an irksome task, he learns to consider a source of consolation, and even so great a necessary that the heaviest punishment it is possible to inflict upon him is to deprive him of all occupation. The short duration of his imprisonment must remove every apprehension from the minds of those who might be disposed to dread the ill effects of separate confinement."

Three years ago, it would appear, M. Demetz began to receive under his care the sons of wealthy parents, whose unruly conduct rendered them unmanageable at home or in ordinary schools. The maintenance and education of these pupils is, of course, paid for by their friends. This extension of his enterprise has been attended, we are informed in the present report, with such happy results that M. Demetz contemplates enlarging the accommodation devoted to these youths, in order to receive more than the very limited number he has hitherto been able to admit. As it is a part of his system to separate pupils of this class completely from each other, and indeed to keep the fact of their presence in the institution a secret from all but the officers and their own families, while at the same time ample provision is made for preserving their health, and conducting their education in a manner befitting their position in society, it is ob. vious that the buildings appropriated to their use must be elaborate, and consequently costly. Hitherto the few pupils belonging to the upper classes that have yet been received at Mettray have not been lodged, we believe, in a house specially built for them, but M. Demetz is now desirous that one should be forthwith prepared. We have seen the design for the edifice herontemplates erecting, Each youth will have a distinct dwelling, consisting of three rooms, with a sinall garden attached for the purposes of exercise aud recreation. Though these dwellings are so arranged as to render communication between the inhabitants impossible, they are yet conpletely under the surveillance of the officers. Professors and a chaplain will reside at the establishment, while each boy will, we understand, he under the care of a separate tutor. M. Demetz him. self will watch over all.

We gather from the report before us that the need for such an institution is more strongly felt in France than we should hope it is

* Rapport sur les Colouies Agricoles; lu a la Réunion Internati. onale de Charité, par M. Demetz.-1855

in England. We cannot but fear, however, that numerous instances may be met with even in our own country in which such discipline as that of Mettray would afford the only hope of reclaiming the lad whom natural infirmities of character, over-indulgence, or other untoward circumstances have rendered the bane of his family, to become at a later period a curse to society. It is this conviction which has elicited our remarks. We have been informed that M. Demetz would willingly admit English youths, and should their friends desire to conceal the fact of their being in a Reformatory it would not be difficult to do so, for as the custom already prevails amongst us of sending our sons abroad for education, there would be pothing to attract attention in thus placing a lad at school in France, supposing the name of the school were suppressed. Mettray is a Roman Catholic Institution, and a boy of that creed would doubt. less feel more at home there than a Protestant. The religious education of the latter, however, would of course invariably be entrusted to a minister of his own faith ; an arrangement for which the prox. imity of Tours, where not only a large number of English reside, but, we believe, a clergyman of the Anglican establishment officiates, affords probably peculiar facilities. That any attempt to proselytise would be permitted in an institution of which M. Demetz is at the head, no one acquainted with his character would for a moment believe.

Director of the Agricultural Colony of Mettray,

To the Société Paternelle.-1857. Gentlemen,- After eighteen years of existence, and, we may add, of success, we might be excused from again coming before the public, in order to set forth the results obtained at Mettray; the more so that our institution, from the very day of its commencement, has always been open to those most competent to judge of it, with a view to its advantages being fairly appreciated.

Still, when the object of the enterprise under consideration is to throw light on one of the most complex problems of social economy -the improvement of the human race; when the most efficacious means of preparing a happier future for our country are being sought in arresting the progress of demoralisation, the last word can never be uttered. Scarcely is one evil obviated than another is discovered, to which a remedy must be applied. Thus it is that after devoting your attention to tiie poor and criminal children you found sunk in misery, you have resolutely undertaken the case-according to the plan indicated by the law, which decrees the establishment of Penitentiary Colonies *-_of those young persons belonging

• See the Law of August 5th, 1850, and the very remarkable Report of M. Corne which precedes it. This may be considered the most important document which has been published relating to young detenus, whose precise position is not fully understood by the public.

[In the law here alluded to, besides the above and various other

« הקודםהמשך »