toe raising their eyes over the bar and meeting the gaze of the pitying spectators with an indifference revoltiig at any age.” These children, it was shown, are very numerous.

Lord Ashley computed that there were 30,000 in London; wandering over the whole country or in gaols and workhouses it is supposed there are not less than 100,000. They have been called—the perishing and dangerous Classes—the Arabs of the streets—the Outcasts of society. It is this class which is the “raw material" of the mass of the criminal population. They live on plunder and injudicious charities. They are neglected and untaught-left without the least moral edueation in the seed-plot of temptation, and mostly without one kind word spoken to them, or one distinct effort made to keep them out of sin. They are trained by their street-associates in theft and vice, and often, when they have homes, by their parents. They will not enter the national schools; but it is well known that they corrupt in the streets the better class of children who attend them. Their cost to the country is immense; the Chaplain of the Bath Gaol watched the career of ninety-eight of these childreen who were sent there in one year; fifty-five of these were first committals, and yet within six years they appeared 216 times within the prison, and their cost to the public for that period was estimated at £6,063. And after all, these poor children leave the prison-walls of the State worse and more hardened than when they entered them, and sink deeper into wretchedness and ruin.

It is surely time to take a better course. - These are the criminal classes," said one speaker to this Birmingham Conference, “but we are the culpable classes.” How shall we dare to punish crime when we use no means to prevent it; or to send the criminal back into his old haunts and associations without one real effort to reclaim him? Will not the arm of Justice fall powerless when she looks into the vacant face of the neglected outcast at her bar?

We have built prisons for these nomades of the streets; let us try schools. It is admitted on all hands that the gaol is not the proper place for them; and that the gaol and school cannot be combined. How can we educate moral power within these children or foster the growth of self-respect and honest industrial habits when they are still within the prison-walls? It is also evident that our national schools will not reach them; these educate another class. It is then imperative that the laws which strike at crime shall penetrate into its causes. Let them insist that there shall be distinct schools for this portion of the population. If we must still wait for a wider and better national education for the more respectable class of children, let not the State postpone its duties towards these.

These children have been arranged into three classes. First, those who have not yet exposed themselves to the penalties of the law, but will be ultimately absorbed into the criminal class and are growing up without any education. Secondly, those who have been subject to police interference, on petty charges, as vagrancy and mendicancy. Thirdly, those who have been convicted of felony. And it is proposed to provide for these three classes respectively, Free Day Schools ; Industrial Feeding Schools, with compulsory attendance; and Penal Re formatory Schools. It is hoped that the grants of the Education Committee will be made available for the first Schools; some exceptional enactment might surely be made in their behalf. Authority, it is proposed, shall be given to Magistrates to enforce attendance on the Industrial and Reformatory Schools; their support will devolve on the parish in which the child resides; and the parish officer will be empowered to obtain the outlay, except in cases of inability, from the parent.

We earnestly wish success to this movement of the Birmingham Conference. Our present treatment of these children is neither wise, nor humane, nor Christian. It is time for statesmen to ask whether we shall continue to incur our immense criminal expenditure, and to sow crime broadcast over the colonies. And it is possible to reclaim these ignorant wretched outcasts and to train them into honest men. At Mettray, near Tours, the amount of reformation has been 85 per cent. The following extract, which is taken from the speech of the Recorder of Ipswich, at Birmingham, and which gives an account of an Industrial School and its Master, will show what might be done with this neglected class :

“On November 7, 1848; in a school, which is near the New Road, a meeting of this Industrial Class took place. The fifteen boys were assembled, and the master, Mr. Ellis, a shoemaker in Albany Street, Regent's Park, after giving them a brief sketch of his own life, encouraged them to speak freely what they felt and thought on the subject which he had brought before them. Henry 8

was the first to rise and speak. He said that he was truly grateful that he was where he was that night. After relating his past history, he said he was now determined to lead an honest life, although he had met an old companion and he knowed—that was his word-of a “plant that night of £50. But added he, my lads, we can't lie down happy at night-you know it as well as I do when we go on so.

Let us all, like one, stick together and do the thing that's,

right.' Another lad then got up, saying—'I mean to have my Christmas dinner at home this year; I have had it in prison the last three years; and here is a little stone which me and Jack Daly picked up outside the prison walls, when we thought how often we had been inside, and we made up our minds that when we was going to do wrong, we would look at the little stone, and remember what we said outside the prison walls.' I can give an account of these fifteen boys more satisfactory even than the results at Stretton or Mettray. Not one of them has gone back to his evil courses... Let me add that the treatment to which these lads were subjected under Mr. Ellis, was simply an undeviating practice of the law of kindness. He is himself a Christian upon conviction, and by his teaching and example they heard what Christianity was, and what were its fruits. Hearing and seeing, they learnt to believe and practise their belief.”

These results are better than those which our prisons supply. They show us what masses of mental and moral power are imbedded in our streets and are there lost. Will not this nation proclaim with one voice in the halls of its Legislature that it is unjust and cruel to prosecute, imprison, and drive these poor children into a miserable exile, when all the time we use no instrumentalities to guide and reclaim them in their native land?

Education; its Proniure and Instrumeuts. The future history of Education seems full of hope. On the one hand our Schools are being rescued from the inefficient control of the old dame, or the ignorant empiric; and a large portion of them will soon be placed under the care of instructed and well trained Teachers. On the other hand attention is being awakened to what really constitutes Education. The present is a period of transition. Old views are not yet relinquished, though they have lost much of their influence. The prospect becomes brighter, but some mists are still abroad. What constitutes Education is not fairly defined, even in the minds of the majority of Teachers; and if these have no clear insight into the scope of their vocation, it is not to be expected that the public, even the most enlightened portion of it, will make a just estimate of its nature and importance.

What is Education? The question has been answered a thousand times; let us see that we thoroughly understand our reply. Visit many of our Schools; you find the Master, harassed by care and by pressure from without,—the Teacher of his School, but not the Educator. Ask him what he proposes to himself as the result of his labours ? Is it Education? He may call it so; but the real thing never enters his mind. To stand well with the parents as one who pushes on the children in reading, writing and arithmetie, 80 that he may have a full school; or to have his children in military discipline and unnatural quietude, no matter by what means these are secured, so that the Inspector may report well of him ;-these too frequently constitute the sum of his aims, though dignified by him as Education. When each of our Teachers is an Arnold, and each of our Schools a Rugby, we shall have a different answer to the question.

Fellow labourers, we wish to press the question more closely on your attention. We wish to excite your most earnest consideration of this subject. We want you to be no longer mere Masters and Teachers, but Educators. The destinies of your country, and through its wide influence, of the world; the interests of immortal souls, taking their first features and habits, and their earliest impressions of life and human duty within our Schools ;—these are entrusted to your hands, and we would have you awake to the infinite responsibilities of your position.

The only being capable of Education is man. In the inferior animals, when certain stages of physical development have been accomplished, the animal can perform all the functions of its kind, and no more. There is no progress, nor improvement. It is not So with man. He is possessed of powers and faculties, which indeed need development, but which are capable of endless improvement. He can avail himself of the experience of his fellows, and of the accumulated experience of past ages, and advance towards perfection.

To develop his powers, to place within his reach all that others have accomplished, to rouse him to vigorous and continued effort in behalf of his own personal improvement, to aid him to form habits which will render him a valuable member of society, and to excite him to employ his energies in behalf of social progress and national welfare; this and much more than this, lies within the province of Education. In the child there is a Temple in ruins, which it is the aim of Education to remodel in all its pristine beauty. In his mind there is the image of Deity defaced; and Education, as an instrument, is to be employed to restore it in all its lineaments and fair proportions. Education aims to bring out and train up, in due time and at their proper seasons, all that constitutes man. In its most comprehensive scope it embraces both time and eternity. But as it relates to the school-room, it chiefly includes development of powers, formation of habits, and fitness for the discharge of social, relative and national duties.

Education includes development. Man is a being of varions powers and faculties, physical and mental. The Man is allied to a physical nature, through which he receives all his impressions of the external world, and through which alone he acts in his relations with his fellow men. Again, the mind receiving all its first impressions through the senses, is passive, but it has active as perception, conception and judgment, though these powers in the infant are latent, and need to be developed. Again, man has

powers, such

relations to man and to God, and certain duties arising out of those relations; he also possesses the power of discerning the nature of these duties; in other words, he has a moral nature. Here again, time and circumstances are necessary for these relations to be recognised, and for these duties to be performed. Hence again there must be development. Where the physical nature is not defective, the development of some of these mental powers begins at the very dawn of existence. Sensations are produced on the mind by external objects, through the senses, and in a little while the mind begins to associate these sensations with the objects, and then there is perception. And here development is the result of circumstances; but it is not solely attributable to external causes; much of it is owing to the mind's own energy. Yet circumstances have largely to do with the development of the powers and faculties. As far as this development is concerned, we should define Education as the art of placing the child in such circumstances, of employing such agencies, and of giving him such exercises as are best adapted to develop his physical, mental and moral powers.

Education includes Instruction. It is a common error to confound these. But the one is essentially distinct from the other. If a man make known to me some fact that has come under his observation, he is giving me information; if he make plain to me some proposition in science or art, he is giving me Instruction; but if he employ the latter skilfully for the purpose of exercising my own faculties, then he is educating me. Instruction is the art of making things plain to the understanding. It is that which throws light over an object, and renders it visible to the eye of the mind. It has the same relation to the mental faculties and the objects of mental culture, that the sun has to the eye and the external world. As the eye could never revel' amongst the beauties of nature, without the presence of light, so the mind could never enjoy the creations of the past without Instruction.

Instruction should be employed solely as an instrument of Education. We thus claim for it a higher sphere than that of making man acquainted with the discoveries of Science, and the progress of Art, or even of fitting him for the discharge of certain employments, which his wants or his social position require at his hands. We ask the Educator never to give Instruction with these things as his aim. He sho never employ Instruction for its own sake. We would not have him leave them entirely out of his calculations, but he should hold them in a very subordinate position. We would have the Educator never to forget that the child is a being of high powers and destiny,—of powers capable of boundless improvement, and with a career of progress that knows no termination.

Instruction is never to be employed but as an instrument. Are

« ForrigeFortsett »