Sidor som bilder

tude should be living on the resources of the community is not a very satis factory fact for the political economist to digest. The moralist and the Christian will regard it with a still sadder heart." To these remarks it is only necessary to add that the number of these poor sinners which is assumed by the editor, is far too low; it might be more than double, and yet be too low a figure. We might justly indulge in reflections upon those miserable men by whose wicked devices so many "criminals are added to the general mass of profligate transgressors whose ways are hard," and whose " wages is death." But we forbear. There is a painful, a retributive reaction, however, on the male sex, for it is written, " by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.” We could specify many examples of this infallible declaration were it necessary

for us to do so.

[ocr errors]

Some of the most painful scenes which are witnessed in a chaplain's room are in conversations with some of this class. When sometimes a young woman who was once happy at home with tender parents, but who has been led astray by some foe of virtue and of God, is brought in to speak with the chaplain, and at first manifests all that callousness of feeling and indifference to virtue for which the class is remarkable after a year or two of profligacy. Oh! in such cases could the individual who was himself the cause of this cause of crime, and this occasion of stumbling to others, witness the effects of his wickedness it might cause a thrill of horror to pass through his soul. To see an interesting young person reduced to a personification of vice and despair, whose very motive to persevere in her evil ways is derived from the recollection of what she was before she met with him, of whom she can now only speak with detestation and cursing-could such a man stand by when it has been attempted to win some poor girl from the evil into which she has fallen, and lead her to a way of escape; and when for this purpose an attempt is made to subdue the apparent hardness of her heart by a reference to bygone days, when the cheerfulness of a home was enjoyed, and the voice of a Sunday School teacher, or the tender accents of a now departed parent were listened to with attention -oh! what would be the feelings of such a man as he beheld the stern face of his victim relax, and the eye which just before shot forth indignant fire now drop its bitter and fast-flowing tears as scenes like these were recalled to memory; and then again suddenly recovering her calm indifference, to hear her exclaim," It's no use-all men are liars," and rejecting with contempt the advice and offer to enter some temporary shelter in which she might regain a character, turning once more to that course of which it is written, "her house is the way to hell, going down to the chamber of death." Such a scene is indeed painful. But there are some happy exceptions to those cases by which the gloomy and discouraging scenes in the chaplain's room are not unfre quently relieved, and which illustrate the power of the Gospel to subdue the sinner's heart when the persuasion of man fails to do so. With one such hopeful case we conclude this paper.

E. A., alias E. Fr, was decoyed from her home by a young man of respectable connexions, who, through a dissipated mode of life, lost his character and friends, and afterwards became a member of the swell mob of London. She was induced to leave her home before she was seventeen years of age, and lived with him for two years, when, on her return from market one evening, she found him in company with another young woman, whom in a fit of passion she assaulted, and was given in charge, and sent to prison for a short period. A spirit of jealousy now seized her, and she was more than once sent to prison for a similar offence to that just related. It was on the 17th December, 1850, when she was first brought to the "chaplain's room the prison to which she was sent on that occasion. Her term of imprisonment had just expired in another prison, but just as she was leaving, she lost her temper with one of the officers, struck her, and was re-committed for two months. The attention of the chaplain was first called to this young woman


by an officer, who observed that the young woman seemed very unhappy.' On being introduced to the room, he beheld a very fine and prepossessing young woman as to external appearance. She was, however, in a very peculiar state of mind, struggling between convictions of sin and inclinations to sin. The first private memorandum in the chaplain's journal about her is briefly as follows:

[ocr errors]

“E. A., aged 19. Third conviction for assault.-The girl who has felt so anxious about her state, said she tried to pray, but it was as if some one whispered in her ears when on her knees, all liars shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.' She entered into her past history, from which it appeared that she had on some occasions been impressed with an undefinable sort of fear, when some remarkable circumstances occurred; for example, the father of the young man with whom she lived fell off a coach in the street of Luton, in Bedfordshire, and was killed on the spot. This produced a sort of passing awe that soon disappeared like the morning dew before the rising sun."

She subsequently told the chaplain her own mother was living in a state of sin with a man to whom she was not married. Altogether it appeared no marvel that with such examples and temptations as she had been exposed to she should have gone astray on the dark mountain of vice and sin. Now, however, it seemed as if the good shepherd had left the ninety and nine and gone after that which was lost, it being evident as far as the chaplain could judge, that she desired to arise and go to her father. But still there was indistinctness in the views she had of her sin, and a struggle, a leaning towards the young man with whom she had cohabited, and a longing to see her child which was a year old when she was committed to prison. It was at this interview she disclosed the character of the young man the father of her child, who had also been in prison repeatedly; but as he had neither sent nor inquired after her during the four months she was in prison, she was urged to resolve on a separation from one who obviously cared nothing for her, and to return to whom would soon extinguish the spirit of prayer, and drive her further from peace and happiness than she then was. A home in an asylum was offered her, but the fact of having a child precluded her from being admitted, unless the child was otherwise provided for. After a lengthened interview with the chaplain, he lent her the tract "Come to Jesus," which is written after the manner of "The Sinner's Friend," and desired her to see him again in a few days. On the 21st of the same month, or four days afterward, she came again, with the appointed female officer, to see the chaplain, who was glad to find she had resolved on separating from the young man beforementioned, and supporting herself and child by such honest means as she might be able to procure.

At length the time for leaving prison arrived, when she expressed her full determination to lead a virtuous life. She was invited to return to see the chaplain at any time for advice and counsel should she be surrounded, as was expected, with temptations and difficulties. "The way of life was pointed out to her, and she seemed anxious to go in thereat. In the evening of the same day on which she left the prison, as the schoolmistress was going home after her duties, she found this girl outside the walls waiting to see her. Poor E. A- ran to her, and grasping her hand in a convulsive manner, exclaimed, "Oh! she's dead, she's dead!" Her child was no more. It had been dead some weeks.

She gave the following account of the day's proceedings. On leaving in the morning, she found two of her old companions, girls of ill fame, waiting for her, who invited her to drink, but she refused. She hastened on to the lodging she used to occupy with the young man before she went to prison, where she found him with the same young woman for assaulting whom she had been punished. On entering the room, he asked her what she wanted. To which she calmly replied, "My child." "Oh!" said he, "if you want her

you must go under the turf for her." Her feelings overcame her, and she cried bitterly; but the only consolation offered her was some brandy and water by the young woman. The man arose, opened the door, and said, "That's the road for you.' She left immediately, and when in the street remembered that the schoolmistress had put a note into her hand on leaving the prison; and on opening it now she found it contained an earnest advice to return to the prison if she found herself in difficulties. Without going through various remarkable and interesting details in the previous and subsequent history of this poor girl, it will be enough to say that a lodging was taken for her, where she remained improving herself in writing and doing such work as could be supplied her, only leaving it to inquire more particu larly into the circumstances and certainty of her child's death. Having satisfied her mind fully on this point by an interview with the parish doctor who attended the child in its illness, she was recommended for admission to an asylum, where she conducted herself with the greatest decorum, and to the perfect satisfaction of those kind and Christian ladies who superintend its management. Before she had been two months in this institution, her good conduct caused her to be selected, with one other inmate, for emigration to Australia. In due time she embarked for that country, and intelligence was received after the vessel left Gravesend that her conduct on board was most correct and exemplary, forming a contrast to that of others who sailed with her. The following letter, out of several written to the chaplain and other friends after she left the prison, will show the state of mind of poor E. Aand will supply that information as to her moral and religious feelings which is omitted above for sake of brevity.

"Feb. 12th, 1851.

"Reverend Sir,-I hope you will forgive me for the liberty I have taken in addressing these few lines to you, but I think it my duty to thank you for your kindness to me. I am very happy to inform you that the ladies have very kindly promised to send me to South Australia; the name of the vessel is the City of Manchester, and it belongs to Mr. Gurney Fry. It will sail on the 25th of this month. I sincerely hope that the good instructions I have so often heard from you may be of great service to me when I am far from here, and I hope by reading and studying the Word of God I may at least become a sincere Christian; but wherever I may go I shall always remember who it was that first led me to turn from my evil ways. I should very much like to have a letter from you if you do not think I am taking too great a liberty. I return my sincere and grateful thanks to you, sir, for all your kindness to me, and believe me to remain,

"Your obedient and humble servant,

"E. A."

Should any be disposed to doubt the genuineness of the sentiment of this letter, they are reminded of the words of Him who spake as never man spake, namely, “The publicans and harlots enter the kingdom before the Pharisee," and are further assured we believe this to be an instance of "one sinner that repenteth,” and of whom there is ground for hope that she will 66 go and sin no more." And now, before quitting the chaplain's room-in which he converses with not fewer than 1,500 or 2,000 of these fallen females annually-may we not very properly take a glance at the cause of this cause of crime? In order to give a prominence to the subject, let us present it to the reader in the form of a Table. We select 82 cases, and add the following analysis of their history, as given by themselves after admission to asylums:

28 of this number had been in prison.

54 not.

Total $2

As to their liability to fall before the pressure of temptation we may reasonably infer from the following facts.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Hence we derive an additional confirmation of the truth and importance of what has been advanced respecting the necessity of an educational preventive service, and of requiring the natural guardians of the young to avail themselves of it. Out of the 82 cases, 71 had not been to school at all, and 11 to Ragged Schools only-and that after their fall. Again, 42 were orphans, and 76 had been servants. So that it appears that want of protectors, absence of education, and servitude in families where, most probably, no man cared for their souls, rendered them the victims of evil and designing men, who creep into houses and lead captive weak and uncared-for young women. Surely there is a remedy for this state of things-one of a preventive character? Had the 71, who never attended school, been duly cared-for and taught, their condition might have been very different. Had the 76 who had been servants fallen into the hands of employers or masters who would give unto their servants that which is just and equal," they might have escaped the temptations to which they were accessible through being left to themselves, provided a certain amount of work was performed by them.



With facts like these before us, in which ignorance and idleness form the leading characteristics of nearly nine-tenths of the inmates of every prison, who can entertain a doubt either as to the causes of crime, or the most likely means to lessen its general amount? This can never be effected by merely reformatory measures applied to criminals: not that such measures are to be discouraged, on the contrary, they are most important and successful when judiciously carried on. But that which the state of crime shows to be most necessary is prevention, in other words acting upon the divine command to bring up" the rising generation in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord.' In order to this, the moral obligations and duties of the various relations of life must be more distinctly understood and more strictly enforced. Parental and filial obligations must be seen and felt to be mutually dependent on each other, and that if on the one hand the child would not "bring his parent to shame," neither on the other should the parent "leave his child to himself." The child must be qualified for employment, in order to be employed. There must be not only the capacities for fulfilling the end of the Creator in making man, but since man has fallen, and is fallen by nature, his capacities require to be educated, trained, directed aright. For this purpose means are indispensable, and it is equally indispensable to a consistent life that they should be used and applied, otherwise the ignorant must remain so, and the idle be confirmed in idleness, and so go on to irreclaimable criminality. Indeed the criminal disclosures so often made in the chaplain's room, and the condition of those who make them almost lead one to the conclusion that if the inmates of our prisons are not altogether irresponsible for their actions, at least that the responsibility must be largely shared with those who ought to have afforded them seasonable training in the good and the right way. "Such most certainly are the convictions of

A- C- N.


SEVERAL gentlemen of this town, interested in the cause of Ragged Schools, have, during this year, been endeavouring to encourage some of the boys attending Evening Schools to earn a livelihood for themselves by some laborious but casual employment during the day, on a plan similar to that which had been successfully practised in London. They have found, however, that their efforts to effect a permament amelioration in the condition of these youths have been continually thwarted by evil associations and bad companionship in their wretched abodes, and to counteract this they have formed a plan for establishing a Dormitory to be called "The Friendless Boys' Home."

They have succeeded in obtaining the offer of premises well-adapted for the purpose. The current expense attendant on their plans, when estimated on the most economical scale, will, they calculate, be from £180 to £200 per annum, independently of an immediate outlay in adapting the premises, of from £80 to £100. In strong confidence, however of practical good which may be effected by this means, amongst a most helpless and abject class of their fellow-creatures, who, otherwise, in all likelihood, may pass onwards to utter ruin, the society now appeals to the benevolence of the public to enable them to carry out their wishes, and have appointed the following gentlemen to receive subscriptions and donations:-Mr. John E. Leyland, Hon. Secretary, 27, Seymour Street, Liverpool, and by Mr. Gent, 1, Exeter Hall, London.



EMIGRATION-Britons, say,
Shall it flourish, or decay?
Shall the young ones Pity meets,
Foodless, friendless, in our streets,
Starve or steal, or shall they sail?
Outward, with a favouring gale?
Here, their cheeks are wan with care;
Here, they breathe unwholesome air ;-
Here, howe'er they strive and strain,
Right employ they cannot gain :-
There, the pale face would disclose,
All the freshness of the rose;
There, the feeble lungs respire,
And the labourer gain his hire!—
EMIGRATION-Statesmen, say,
Shall it flourish, or decay?
Shall the thousands wrung, with pain,
From the honest trader's gain,
Go, our prisons to increase?
Go, to swell our paid police?
When, as many hundreds, spent,
By the men on mercy bent,
Would a glorious saving be
To the whole community?
If at shillings, pounds, and pence,
Ye but look'd, with common sense,
Ye would boast of emigration,
As the wisdom of the nation!-
Temple, September 13th, 1852.

EMIGRATION-Merchants, say,
Shall it flourish, or decay?
Shall the wealth ye toil to win,
Tempt our ragged ones to sin?
Shall it not be rather found,
Scattering all the ills around?
Lend your ships to those who strive,
To preserve the soul alive;
And convey the body where
It can breath refreshing air :-
Captains, bid your colours float;
Sailors, pipe the cheerful note;
Let the rescued freely ride,
Joyful, o'er the ocean tide!—
EMIGRATION-Christians, say,
Shall it flourish, or decay?

Shall "the Prince of Darkness" hold
Thousands in his gloomy fold;
When on Scripture's page we see,
"Suffer them to come to me!"-
Will they come, while nurs'd within
Foul abodes of filth and sin?
And, from childhood's early time,
Train'd to lies, or forc'd to crime?
Tear them from these fearful ties,
Strive to make their spirits wise;
Then their lips will shout to share
Brighter skies, and purer air!-

J. P.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »