תמונות בעמוד


a great city one of testifying its appreciation of it, such as the inundation of the Loire afforded last year.

Twice over, however, they have belped to extinguish fires which broke forth in the neighbourhood, but in neither instance did any. thing occur worth recording, nor, happily, any accident to deplore. On a former similar occasion one of our colons perished, the victim to zeal and self-devotion, of which one of our Magistrates has been pleased publicly to express his admiration.

The past year has slipped tranquilly away. Thus we must depend on the interest you feel in our children, when we narrate facts which, to persons less favourably inclined, would appear not worth the trouble of relating ; but we are aware that nothing connected with Mettray can be indifferent to you.

At the very moment of writing these words, one of our lads has died in consequence of a kick from a horse, received while in the service of the farmer with whom we had placed him. He was quite aware of his danger, and knowing that the Colony is always open to her children when in need of aid, he begged that he might be laid on a mattress in a cart, and so be conveyed to our Infirmary. The journey was not accomplished without the poor fellow suffering acutely from the jolting of the vehicle. Nevertheless, he said to the driver,

Pray drive faster, or I never shall get there in time." The inan did not fully understand what these words implied, but the Colony was no sooner reached than their meaning was made plain. The poor lad immediately asked for the chaplain with whom he had always kept up intercourse, and made his confession. The wound was mortal. Two days had scarcely elapsed when our poor colon breathed his last sigh, surrounded by his school-fellows, who were deeply impressed by his fervour and resignation. He said to us, “ I have given you a great deal of trouble, but I could not die among strangers, "--words which revealed the position which Mettray holds in the bearts of her children.

If our colons appreciate the debt they owe to Mettray, their parents do not appear less impressed by it. For instance, a poor woman, whose only means of subistence is her labour, offered to the Minister of the Interior to take upon herself the expense of the maintenance and education of her son, then confined in a gaoi where he cost her nothing, solely on condition that he should be received at Mettray. An engagement such as this, contracted at the price of the severest privation, imposes a heavy responsibility upon us, rendering it our duty to return to such a mother a son who, by his good conduct, shall indemnify her for all her sacrifices.

To this very touching proof of confidence we may add a striking mark of approbation emanating from one of the great departments of the State.

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• The Town Council of Tours has been pleased to cause a medal to be struck bearing this legend :-“A la Colonie de Mettray, la ville de Tours reconnaissante." [Some of these medals were exhibited in Birmingham, at the Bazaar held in 1856, in aid of the Adderley Park Fund.— 7 rans.]

In the report on the budget for 1858 occurs the following words :

“ The Colony of Mettray has especially excited our interest, and we recommend it to the favourable attention of the Minister of Agriculture. We are of opinion that a permanent and liberal grant would be justifiable to an institution deserving of praise under three sever al aspects-moral, agricultural, and penitential. It benefits our own country, and affords a model to foreign lands."

Such praise is flattering indeed. We venture, however, to accept it, for we believe it to be deserved ; and we trust that the Minister will share the favourable opinion of the Commission on the Budget, and will do his utmost in future to render his grant com. mensurate with the importance of your services, for we have had much difficulty in meeting our expenses lutterly, through the great rise in the price of provisions.

Through the kind attention of a very kind reverend friend we lately had the pleasure and advantage of a long conversation with the Rev. Father Caccia, Rector of the Catholic Reformatory School near Market-Weighton, Yorkshire. We found him a disciple of M. Demetz, and one of the most accomplished and thorough scholars, in every point connected with the Reformatory System, it has been our good fortune to meet. We beg attention to the following documents supplied us by Father Caccia :Annual Report of the Yorkshire Catholic Reformatory School, read al

the Meeting held at Leeds, on the 18th of November, 1857. The Bishop of Beverley having taken the Chair, and addressed the Meeting in support of the Institution which he had lately visited, the following Report was read by the Rev. Father Caccia.

The task, which it is my duty to perform, is doubtless a difficult one, either if you consider the delicate nature of the Report you expect, concerning our work in a field, previously ploughed and sown by other hands; or, the necessity of speaking of results, which, although the effect of Divine assistance, are generally attributed to human exertion.

In order to free myself as much as possible from these difficulties, I formed the resolution of submitting to your consideration, a few extracts, taken from our Diary, which containing all the occurrences of our School, and being destined only for private use, will prove a faithful witness of the results already attained, as well as a pledge of the most sanguine hopes for the future.

• In the first instance we received as a grant from the Minister of Agriculture the sum of 12,000 francs, (£480..) which has been reduced to 4,000 francs. Small though the amount be, our gratitude is not the less due for this proof of sympathy from his Excellency, who has been so good as to express his regret that he cannot do more.




Before beginning, I beg you will favour me with your indulgence for my imperfect elocution.

As soon as the agreement, which entrusted your Reformatory School to the care of the Institute of Charity was signed, I being appointed to the work, perceived at a glance its importance since the education of youth had been my principal occupation for twenty years, in my native country: Consequently, I sought and obtained for my

staff of brothers, those whom I knew to be the best suited for the work; went to St. Bernard's with the two principal brothers, the Prefect, and the Schoolmaster, where they remained for three weeks, in order to become acquainted with the practical details of a school conducted on a large scale : afterwards, I went with the first mentioned brother, to Blythe House, Hammersmith, to compare the working of the different systems ; and commenced on 1st June, the charge entrusted to us.

I shall never forget the trials we had to endure at the beginning ! The boys shewed most unmistakeable signs of insubordination ; arrangements were made amongst them for running away; mocking and looks of defiance were seen at every turn ; grumbling and discontent were the order of the day; all which, as we afterwards learnt, had been previously planned, in order to try our strength and patience.

One morning it rained, and the boys, on being set to make mats, began to grumble, and even refused to perform this prison-like work. One of the bigger boys, in particular, showed a most determined obstinacy, and arming himself with a stick, he excited others to imitate him. As it was absolutely necessary to quell these disorderly proceedings, Br. Prefect considered it his duty to make an example of the ringleader. Whilst chastising him, another of the boys, reputed the strongest and the leader of the worst, undertook to defend his companion, and attempted to strike the Brother, who, however, aware of the importance of the issue of the affair, with great presence of mind, seized his assailant by the collar, fung him fat to the ground several times, and to the great amazement of the rest, walked him off to the dark cell, in which place he remained till dinner time.

The boy, afterwards, acknowledged to me, that, he was fully aware of his fault, and confessed his readiness to perform whatever penance I should impose upon him, which readiness was confirmed by his asking pardon publicly, on his knees.

Another source of anxiety, was the appearance, near, and upon our premises, of men, recognized by some of the boys, as belonging to notorious gangs in this town, (Leeds.) They had the audacity to speak to some of the boys, in order to pursuade them to run away, and even to set fire to the house. In the mean time, having ac. quired a sufficient knowledge of the peculiar nature of our work, I proceeded to put in practice my own plan of direction. My first step was to fit up a more suitable altar for the preserving of the Blessed Sacrament, and to adorp the house with such pictures as are calculated to convey a religious ion to the minds of the boys. At the same time I began a course of daily catechetical instructions,


intermixed with moral reflections and striking practical consequences, whilst endeavouring, also, to win their hearts by kindness and marks of affection, without, however, allowing any breach of discipline to pass unnoticed.

The simple notice of my readiness to speak with them in private, concerning their spiritual necessities, induced them all, without exception, to profit by the opportunity, although I did not entoree it upon them, as an obligation. By this means I sounded the depth of their religious knowledge, which, I found to be rery superficial, if anything at all ; and moreover I succeeded in gaining their confidence, by appealing to their better feelings.

The clear, simple, and practical preaching on the Gospel every Sunday morning, and, on the Eternal Truths in the afternoon, with reflections upon the same, after the service in a conference of the Brothers with the boys, I have found to produce excellent fruits.

Towards the end of the first month, an occurrence took place, which, though painful in itself, has been in the hands of Divine Providence, the cause of a great moral improvement. A henious moral fault, calling for a severe and public chastisement, was committed. The offender was lodged in the dark cell, where he remained all day with bread and water for his meals. Before evening prayers, having been previously prepared to submit to punishment for bis guilt, he was brought into the presence of all the boys and the superiors, with the exception of myself, and severely chastised: all being exorted to take warning by this example. The sensation produced was so great, that the majority of the boys mingled their tears with those of the culprit, and evidently appreciated the rigour of the chastisement. The lesson proved effectual, as from that time no great moral fault has ever been detected ; on the contrary, the boys have since amended so much, that I had the consolation of not only re-admitting to Holy Communion eight of them, but also of choosing eight others for First Communion.

Another cause, and the last of general disturbance, was the running away at the end of the same first month of one of the boys who wi very cunning, and received only just previous to our coming, and consequently always seeking an opportunity to escape. Only s fortnight before he had attempted to put his project in practice, having also enticed another boy to accompany him. His plan of proceeding was this :-he purloined a suit of old clothes belonging to another boy, secreted them in an empty cask, and made up luis mind to jump from his window during the night. The detection of the clothes discovered his plan; he was but slightly punished, this being his first offence. On the 27th June, having been punished for telling a lie, he about mid-day concealed himself in the ditch pear the house without his coat and cap, and made off as soon as he perceived that no particular attempt was made to find him. The boys were surprised at seeing no bustling or any apparent trouble being taken respecting the fugitive, and were at a loss what to think when we told them to pray for him, and that in a few days he would again be amongst them. Indeed things went on as usual ; letters, however, descriptive of the boy were written to the police inspeclurs


of the neighbouring towns, and only two days after, we received the notice that he was apprehended in this very town, (Leeds.) The surprise of the boys on his appearing amongst them so soon, can scarcely be expressed. He was threatened with the exemplary punishment of a month's imprisonment in a public gaol, but owing to the visit of the Fr. General of the Institute, the punishment was commuted to a few days' confinement in the dark cell, upon bread and water diet.

Until the beginning of July, our efforts were chiefly directed to enforce discipline, and we found many of the bigger boys had begun to lead quite a different life, showing a great affection for us, and a consoling spirit of docility, with the determination of becoming good. The daily instructions were listened to with attention and an evident desire of learning. The teaching of music, and the singing of pious hymns in the chapel, accompanied with the harmonium, a precious

gift of Capt. Stapleton, co-operated much to move their hearts and - make them exceedingly pleased with their new system of life. At

this period, we found it necessary to cause the best boys to co. operate with us in subduing their still stubborn companions. The boys were consequently divided into three classes, according to their size. In each class the better boys were chosen as sergeants or corporals charged with the observance of discipline, whilst military drill contributed also to enforce the spirit of order in every thing. To carry out hetter this family system, we resolved to take our meals in the same room with the boys, and arranged the horary and occupations in such a manner as to have the boys always within sight. The following is the winter horary. At half-past five o'clock, rise, wash, and clean themselves ; six, Morning Prayers and Mass ; halfpast six, school; half-past seven, breakfast; eight, work as follows, three boys with the cook, for kitchen and housework ; three with the shoemaker; five with the tailor; two with the carpenter; two as stable boys; and twenty in the fields, with the Prefect of field labour. I always feel moved when, at the beginning of work, from the different shops and the fields, I hear the boys singing their simple prayer in these few, but touching words, repeated thrice, “ My Jesus, I do this for the love of Thee.” At a quarter to twelve, work is discontinued and all prepare for dinner ; twelve, Angelus and dinner. At all the meals, one of the boys reads some instructive book; after dinner, a visit to the B. Sacrament, and recreation ; half past one, work as before ; five, school; six, supper and recreation; half-past seven, school again ; half.past eight, Evening Prayers, Hymn, and retire to rest. The greater part of the evening recreation is spent by some, in learning vocal music, and by others, in practising the tife and drum; whilst the remaining boys listen, with pleasure, to the reading of some amusing and instructive book, by one of the brothers.

As regards their improvement in elementary knowledge, you will easily understand the difficulty of teaching such boys, if you reflect that the stages of their education are almost as numerous as are the boys themselves, which, of course, renders it difficult to organise them in classes. Nevertheless the patience and zeal of the school

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