תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

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 cooperate 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 fife 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. master had a witness in the satisfaction wbich Mr. Morrell expressed at bis official visit, on the last of July. Perhaps, if I were to inform you, that now, many of the boys are able to sing in Latin the Psalms for Vespers, and one of Webbe's Masses, you might form some idea of their improvement. In addition to a sense of duty, they are encouraged to study from the persuasion, that in after life, theirs will be a very poor condition, if dependent upon others in the management of their business, from a want of eleinentary knowledge.

Since July, the boys have shewn such a gradually increasing good conduct, as to encourage us to establish a Section of Honour, for those who had not only not given any trouble by misconduct, but who on all occasions had conducted themselves in a satisfactory manner: the Feast of St. Charles, (Nov. 4th,) was chosen for the inauguration of it. On the morning of the Feast, the flags were hoisted, the boys were attired in new tunics, those who had been chosen unanimously by the Brothers, were distinguished by stripes of red braid upon their collar, and the Tablet of Honour upon which their names, eight in number, were written, was placed in a conspicuous part of the house. The Hon. Chas. Langdale having kindly consented to honour the boys by his presence, arrived in time for High Mass. After Vespers, all the boys and Superiors, together with other friends come for the occasion, assembled in the school-room, and the Section of Honour was presented to the Hon. Gentleman, who kindly addressed them at some length in a very exhortative manner. The im. pression made by the solemnity of the day will no doubt produce good fruits by emulation, and encourage others to strive for the same honour on a future occasion.

With these happy results, you may be tempted to think that we never more find it necessary to have recourse to punishment. No, our boys are far from being angels. Punishment is inflicted, but never at the moment of the fault, except in very rare and particular occasions, and this in order to be assisted by reflection, and to give time for repentance, so that, when the punishment is inflicted, the culprit is fully aware beforehand, that it is deserved, and its justice is, of course, acknowledged.

Each Brother keeps an account of all the offences, as well as the good deeds of the boys under his charge. Every Sunday morning, both Superiors and boys meet together, when each brother gives an account of each of his boys, whose good conduct or misbehaviour is commended or reprehended as deserved. If it be found necessary to inflict chastisement for the repetition of a fault, it is administered during the course of the following week. Bread and water diet for one or more days ; silence, solitude, or work, during recreation ; taking meals apart, or some strokes on the hand, are the ordinary punishments; the dark cell, since the beginning of July, has only once been occupied. At the Sunday's Report, after the communion of the 16 boys, not a fault was laid to the charge of any of the boys, and in general, punishment at the present time is reserved for the little boys, upon whom religion and mental persuasion have too little influence to dispense them from sensible warnings.

Up to the present date we have received eight new boys, making a total of thirty-five, leaving only four vacancies in the present building. Our plan is to keep the new boys apart for a few days under the tuition of a boy with the rank of sergeant, during which time, their character and natural inclinations are studied by us, whilst they themselves learn the duties of external discipline, in order that when they join the class assigned them, they may naturally fall into the general good behaviour of the others, who, by their cheerfulness and affection to the Superiors, point out for their encouragement, a source of real happiness never before tasted.

I expect to see a great moral improvement in the school, as twentynine boys received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday last. I, with great pleasure, take this opportunity of mentioning that we are indebted to our venerable Chairman, for the foundation of a Reformatory School in this country. He, for this purpose, generously appropriated a beautiful building, together with 70 acres of land; well knowing, that if the education of children, next to the conversion of sinners, was the principal object of our Redeemer's love, both these objects are obtained in a Reformatory School for juvenile delinquents. The interest he has taken, and the encouragement he has given us, in our work of reforming this precious, but unfortunate portion of his flock, increased with the good conduct of the boys, and as soon as they were prepared, he kindly condescended to visit them, and administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Hon. C. Langdale, having, with truly paternal affection, constantly inquired about their progress and wants, and frequently visited them, kindly accepted the duties of godfather, thus acquiring a new title to their reverence and affection.

A continual watchfulness over the moral development of the boys, in order to ascertain if it be the effect of a good disposition, rather than hypocrisy; a rigorous prohibition to speak to each other of their past lives ; the enforcing of silence during work and in the ranks; readiness to attend to their wants, and to assist them in overcoming their temptations; the encouragement to confidence in the good dispositions of their superiors, and the example of paternal care and sacrifice for their sake: these are the means most calculated to win every heart, to check every bad habit, and to enforce every religious or social virtue.

The moral improvement of our boys is such, at present, that we may greatly increase their numbers, not only without danger to them, but with the advantage of making them the standard and promoters of the reformation of the new comers, who, being admitted at different periods, and singly, cannot but follow the general discipline, and be benefited by the good example of the older inmates.

This is the present condition of your Reformatory School. Thanks be to God, above all, for His evident assistance in a work, which redounds particularly to His glory, and after God, thanks be to you my Lord, Ladies, and Gentlemen, and especially to the Members of the Committee, for the kind encouragement and effectual support you bave given to our endeavours, as well as for the generous assistance I hope you will give for the enlargement of the establishment, which will be the principal object of your present deliberation,

The following Financial Report of the Committee, and Abstract of

Accounts, were read by R. J. Gainsford, Esq. On the 1st of June, 1857, the Yorkshire Catholic Reformatory School passed under the conduct of the Religious Community, with whom your Committee succeeded in effecting an arrangement for their undertaking that duty. The annexed accounts are therefore made up to that period, comprising about a year and a half since the Institution was commenced, but it will be observed, that these accounts include a payment of £237 108. Od. to the Religious Community, which may be considered to appertain less to the past than to the future.

These accounts shew that £898 6s. 6d, have been received in Donations, £173 3s. Od. in Subscriptions, for 1856, and £207 125. 6d. in Subscriptions for 1857, whilst £45 3s. Od, of the Subscriptions for the latter year are still in arrear, and will, we trust, be at once remitted to the treasurer, as it must be obvious that they are much wanted. Should the additional sum of £1100 afterwards mentioned as requisite to enlarge the Building, be promptly raised, and the Annual Subscriptions be maintained for a few years, then there seems every reason to expect that the Institution will be in a position to receive and train, during the period of detention, all the Catholic boys who may be dealt with as criminal, in Yorkshire, with little or no occasion to draw further upon the resources of Catholic Charity, for their maintenance, during the period of detention. The subsequent Annual Subscriptions might then, perhaps, be most suitably devoted to an endeavour to find suitable employment for these boys after their reformatory training had expired.

The Reformatory School is at present adapted to receive only 33 boys; it is rapidly filling; and we shall soon be under the ne. cessity of declining to receive boys suitable for admission, unless ad. ditions be at once made to the buildings, so as to increase the extent of accommodation. During the first year we have 33 boys, whose average period of detention exceeds four years, and we must therefore consider it requisite to provide accommodation for at least 132 boys for Yorkshire alone. It is estimated that a further outlay of £1100 would suffice to give increased accommodation for 70 more boys. The present body of religious, who have undertaken the superinten. dence of the school, are sufficiently numerous to manage the large as well as the smaller number, and, as Government allows at the rate of £18 58. per annum, for each boy in the school, it is obviously desirable, on the mere grourd of economy, to have as niany iomates as the staff of religious may be able to attend to. Under such cir. cumstances, an additional number of inmates would involve no additional charge upon the subscribers beyond the first cost of enlarg. ing the building, so as to be capable of receiving them. It is confidently hoped, therefore, that this explanation may lead to further Donations and Subscriptions being at once handed in, so as to enable the enlargement of the buildings to be commenced immediately, and completed in time to prevent the necessity of refusing to receive more of the poor boys, for want of room.

• Many of these arrears have been paid since this Report and abstract of accounts was prepared.

It may even be respectfully suggested, for the consideration of our Catholic Brethren, in the more Northern Counties of Durham, Cumberland, Westmorland, and Northumberland, whether they could in any other way, so advantageously provide for the reception and proper care and training of the Catholic Criminal Boys, from those Counties, as by subscribing a still further sum for the purpose of making a yet further addition to the Reformatory School, near Market Weighton, so as to make it capable of receiving the boys from those four Nortberu Counties, as well as from Yorkshire. The first cost to them of such an addition, would be far less than the cost of building a separate institution, for their own juvenile crimi. nals: and even if they could meet with another body of Religious, ready to undertake the conduct of it, the current expenditure of the two distinct, would be far greater, than if combined in one, since two Communities must be maintained, either of which would suffice to manage and attend to all the inmates in both Institutions. The advantage, we admit, would be mutual, since one result of the combination would be to diminish the average annual cost of each York. shire, as well as of each more Northern inmate. We trust, therefore, that our Catholic Brethern, in the four Northern Counties, will give this suggestion a favourable consideration, and if they concur in our views, promptly act upon it.

Mr. Gainsford also explained that the periods of Committal of the 33 boys were as follows:-12 for 5 years, 16 for 4 years, 3 for 3 years, and 2 for 2 years ; shewing an average of more than four years, and that they were committed from the following places :-Leeds 9, Sheffield 7, Bradford 5, Huddersfield 3, Scarborough 3, York 2, Hull 2, Dewsbury 1, Beverley 1.

CIRCULAR.

YORKSHIRE CATHOLIC

REFORMATORY SCHOOL.

At the Annual Meeting at Leeds, of the Subscribers of this Reformatory School, on November 18th, the proposition to enlarge the establishment for the accommodation of 70 other boys from Yorkshire, making a total of 110, was unanimously agreed to, and the raising of the necessary funds was imunediately undertaken.

In Spring, the new building will be commenced, which will be fit for habitation by the end of Summer. As we have already 37 boys, we have found it necessary to prepare temporary accommodation for those committed up to that period.

During the last two months, we have received many applications from other counties, and especially from the towns of London, Liverpool, and Birmingham, as the two Catholic Reformatories, viz. St. Bernard's Leicestershire, and Blythe House, Ha'nmersmith, London, are full, although the first has accommodation for 300 boys, and the other for 75. As no further accommodation as far as I know, is about to be prepared for Catholic juvenile delinquents, I think that some steps ought to be taken to carry on a work so successfully begun, consequently I have obtained the permission of the Bishop of this diocess, to whom our premises belong, to receive boys

« הקודםהמשך »