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The baker who had brought the bread, and who leaned against a pillar while the singing was in progress, meditating in his way, whatever his way was, now shouldered his basket and retired. The two half-starved attendants (rewarded with a double portion for their pains) heaped the six-ounce loaves into other baskets, and made ready to distribute them. The night-officer arrived, mounted to his meat-safe, unlocked it, hung up his hat, and prepared to spend the evening. I found him to be a very respectable-looking person, in black, with a wife and family; engaged in an office all day, and passing his spare time here, from half-past nine every night to six every morning, for a pound a week. He had carried the post against two hundred competitors. The door was now opened, and the men and boys who were to pass that night in the dormitory, in number 167, (including a man for whom there was no trough, but who was allowed to rest in the seat by the stove, once occupied by the night-officer before the meat-safe was,) came in. They passed to their different sleeping-places, quietly and in good order. Every one sat down in his own crib, where he became presented in a curiously foreshortened manner; and those who had shoes took them off, and placed them in the adjoining path. There were in the assembly thieves, cadgers, trampers, vagrants, common outcasts of all sorts. In casual wards and many other refuges, they would have been very difficult to deal with; but they were restrained here by the law of kindness, and had long since arrived at the knowledge that those who gave them that shelter could have no possible inducement save to do them good. Neighbours spoke little together they were almost as uncompanionable as mad people-but everybody took his small loaf when the baskets went round, with a thankfulness more or less cheerful, and immediately ate it up.
There was some excitement in consequence of one man being missing; "the lame old man.' Everybody had seen the lame old man up-stairs, asleep, but he had unaccountably disappeared. What he had been doing with himself was a mystery, but when the inquiry was at its height he came shuffling and tumbling in, with his palsied head hanging on his breast—an emaciated drunkard, once a compositor, dying of starvation and decay. He was so near death, that he could not be kept there, lest he should die in the night; and while it was under deliberation what to do with him, and while his dull lips tried to shape out answers to what was said to him, he was held up by two men. Beside this wreck, but all unconnected with it and with the whole world, was an orphan boy with burning cheeks and great gaunt eager eyes, who was in pressing peril of death too, and who had no possession under the broad sky but a bottle of physic and a scrap of writing. He brought both from the house-surgeon of a hospital that was too full to admit him, and stood, giddily staggering in one of the little pathways, while the Chief Samaritan read, in hasty characters underlined, how momentous his necessities were. He held the bottle of physic in his claw of a hand, and stood, apparently unconscious of it, staggering, and staring with his bright glazed eyes; a creature, surely, as forlorn and desolate as Mother Earth can have supported on her breast that night. He was gently taken away, along with the dying man, to the workhouse; and he passed into the darkness with his physic-bottle as if he were going into his grave.
The bread eaten to the last crumb; and some drinking of water and washing in water having taken place, with very little stir or noise indeed, preparations were made for passing the night. Some took off their rags of smock frocks; some their rags of coats or jackets, and spread them out within their narrow bounds for beds, designing to lie upon them, and use their rugs as a covering. Some sat up, pondering on the edges of their troughs; others, who were very tired, rested their unkempt heads upon their hands, and their elbows on their knees, and dozed. When there were no more who desired to drink or wash, and all were in their places, the night-officer, standing below the meat-safe, read a short evening service and a portion of a chapter
from the New Testament. Then they all sang the Evening Hymn, and then they all lay down to sleep.
It was an awful thing, looking round upon those 167 representatives of many thousands, to reflect that a Government, unable, with the least regard to truth, to plead ignorance of the existence of such a place, should proceed as if the sleepers never were to wake again. I do not hesitate to say-why should I, for I know it to be true ?-that an annual sum of money, contemptible in amount as compared with any charges upon any list, freely granted in behalf of these schools, and shackled with no preposterous red tape conditions, would relieve the prisons, diminish county rates, clear loads of shame and guilt out of the streets, recruit the army and navy, waft to new countries fleets full of useful labour, for which their inhabitants would be thankful and beholden to us. It is no depreciation of the devoted people whom I found presiding here, to add, that with such assistance as a trained knowledge of the business of instruction, and a sound system adjusted to the peculiar difficulties and conditions of this sphere of action, their usefulness could be increased fifty-fold in a few months.-Extracted from Dickens's Household Words.
THE EMIGRATION MOVEMENT.
TESTIMONY OF CAPTAIN STANLEY CARR.
"How do the Ragged School boys get on in Australia ?" is a question very frequently asked; but of late, in consequence of the gold-digging mania, the inquiries have been more numerous than ever. We set a high value on any information upon which we can rely, and therefore read with great pleasure, in the Times of the 2nd ult., the subjoined letter from Captain Stanley Carr, referring to the state and prospects of the emigration movement in connection with the Australian gold fields:
"Sir,-On reading one of The Times' articles of the 23rd inst., I reproached myself for not having hitherto borne my testimony to the good conduct of the 'Ragged School boys,' sent to Port Philip during my residence there by the Earl of Shaftesbury; and in proof that those objects of deep commiseration would, if judiciously selected, be willingly employed by the settlers there, I enclose a letter of the 1st of August last, from a respectable magistrate of the Portland Bay district, requesting your attention to the following passage:—' I should be obliged if you would procure me some of Lord Ashley's lads, apprenticed for three or four years, not under 15 years of age; I will give them £10 the first year, £14 the second, and current rates afterwards.' I should have sent them away some weeks since, but found with regret that they were not eligible for a free passage, under the stringent regulations of the Emigration Commissioners, prescribed, I presume, by the Colonial Government under very different circumstances. The opportunity for doing good in two ways would have been lost had I not heard from a valued friend that he had also been disappointed in the same official quarter respecting boys he wished to send to Australia from the Bristol Ragged Schools; which disappointment, however, affords me now the pleasure of forwarding them to Portland Bay at his expense. There are surely others, equally distinguished by high station and munificent generosity, who could unite in practically extending the valuable principle, (originated by the philanthropic Mrs. Chisholm,) so frequently and so ably advocated by you; and who also think with us, that every human being who draws his first breath within the bounds of this glorious empire, while he cannot be born a slave, neither should he be
allowed by the State to be born a beggar. The destitute of both sexes, whose only crime is poverty, have just claims to be aided in their removal from districts of Her Majesty's dominions, where food and employment are difficult to be obtained, to those other regions where both are never wanting, and where they might soon repay all the cost that had been incurred for them.
"This Committee, and their friends in the Colonies, whose interests they have undertaken to promote, would gladly place their advice, assistance, and experience at the disposal of such an association; and to whom we think we could suggest modes of proceeding which would prevent loss of the principal or interest of the necessary advances.
"We feel bound to express the opinion, that any amount of emigration which has lately taken place, with the view of supplying the demand for labour in Australia, is utterly inadequate to its purpose; as we believe that 20,000 men are now at the diggings in Victoria, 15,000 of whom have been diverted from their ordinary industrial occupations, the remainder being from South Australia and Van Diemen's Land. To replace those by emigration, in conformity with the regulations of the Government Commissioners, (who very properly equalize the sexes,) would require at least 100,000 'statute adults,' which would only put matters in the state in which they were last year, leaving the subsequent demand wholly unprovided for. Most of the men arriving at Melbourne and Geelong, for some time to come, will doubtless go at once to the almost boundless gold-fields within two days' walk of those towns, leaving the agricultural and pastoral districts, which should supply food for the miners and the unusually increased population, as destitute as before.
"From the apparent apathy in some quarters, the importance of this subject in a national point of view can scarcely be appreciated. We apprehend, however, that if emigration to the Australian settlements be not speedily taken up in some efficient manner, so as to maintain the preponderance there in the hands of the British and German population, (now second to none in loyalty,) those magnificent territories may be overrun by a ruffian rabble from the coasts and islands of the Pacific, who, supplying themselves with the sinews of war without limit in the granite ranges of the country, could give more trouble than anything ever experienced at the Cape, and ultimately relieve the mother country from all interest in affairs which appear to be at present too far off to attract the attention they demand,
"I remain, etc.,
"J. STANLEY CARR, Chairman.
"Committee of the Australian Colonists,
11, Poultry, March 27."
EXTRACTS FROM AN EMIGRANT'S LETTERS.
THE following is an extract from a letter sent by one of these youths to the superintendent of the school in which he had been instructed, and from which he has been sent out :
"May 16th, 1851.
"Dear Sir, I have great reason to be thankful that I ever came to this colony, both as regards my temporal and spiritual prosperity. I am happy to inform you that I have found peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . I am now a Primitive Methodist. The people of this connection are very numerous here, and have many little chapels throughout the colony. Dear sir, I am glad to tell you that we have class meetings and prayer meetings. I feel that I have been a very unfaithful and unprofitable servant, but, thank God, Christ died to save us. I have also to
inform you that the Society intend putting me on the plan as a local teacher. Oh!
"I remain, your unworthy brother in Christ,
This letter contained one directed to his mother, with a request that it might be forwarded to her; in which he states that he is in possession of a piece of land in the township of Woodridge, that he is apprenticed to a wheelwright, and has made great progress in that business; and that, as far as he can ascertain, all the boys who went out with him are doing well. He then, with much filial fidelity and affection, addresses his family on spiritual subjects, and says:
"I have not forgotten my poor old grandmother's kindness to me. May the God of peace whom she serves give her grace to run with patience the remainder of her days. I hope you are all preparing to 'meet your God,' for if we die unreconciled to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot go to heaven. . . . Give my love to uncle and aunt, and my cousin, and tell them I hope to meet them at the right hand
"I remain, your affectionate brother,
This youth when first met with belonged to a distressed family. The mother was a poor widow with four children-three sons and a daughter. One of the sons, about 13 years of age, is an idiot, a cripple, and dumb. The mother was dependent on her needle, by which she obtained a precarious subsistence. The two lads spent their time chiefly on the water with fishermen, dredgermen, and bargemen, in which occupation they were exposed to many temptations, by which they were overcome, and as a result were frequently sent to prison.
The last letter was taken to the mother, and read to her by a City Missionary, who found the family in a room without furniture, the only article being an old chair without a bottom, which, with a piece of wood laid across, formed a table, off which she was taking her tea, herself sitting on a tub turned upside down. A few rags in one corner of the room constituted the bed. It was dark, and they had no light to read the letter by, nor a halfpenny to purchase a candle with, until he gave it them. The whole family have subsequently been removed to the workhouse-which, if not worse, would most probably have been Henry's position if he had remained in England.
DEPARTURE OF MORE EMIGRANTS.
WE are happy to state that another batch of emigrants from the Ragged Schools sailed from Liverpool in the " 'Fanny," a fine ship of 1,500 tons' burden, commanded by Capt. Forrest, one of the owners, for Port Adelaide, on April 12th. As the ship sailed, they were cheerful and happy, and their hearts seemed to burn with grateful feelings towards their numerous kind friends. They were connected with the following schools:-Grotto Passage
School, 4; Field Lane, 2; Ipswich, 2; Westminster Refuge, 2; Union Mews, 1; Paddington, 1; and London Female Dormitory, 2;-total 14. 16 were to have gone, but one has been taken ill, and one died suddenly.
The following condensed outline of the painful history of some of these lads will show that the benefit of emigration has been well dispensed:
CASE I.-Aged 16 years; was born in Ireland. Father was a gardener, and died four and a half years ago in Ireland; mother died three months afterwards; has two brothers in America, but knows not what part; has two sisters, one married to a soldier, but knows not where she is; the other married to a soldier, but he has left her in Ireland. At his mother's death, a brother kept him for one year, and then left him to do for himself. He travelled to one of his sisters in Wales, and lived with her until she could no longer keep him. He went on the tramp, and walked to Cordington, Hereford, Gloucester, Somerset, Salisbury, Bath, and from thence to London. He was on the tramp for about twelve months, lived by begging; was in London eight months, and then got admission into the Refuge.
CASE II.-Was born in Cripplegate. Father a surgical instrument maker, lias been dead six years; mother died two years afterwards. Was employed for a short time at a cabinet-maker's, but left, not being strong enough; went to sea, left his ship, and worked his passage home. He was subsequently got into Grotto Passage Refuge, and remained eleven months; when admitted was in a state of the utmost destitution and wretchedness, both of body and mind. In a few months a very salutary change took place in him, he could hardly be recognised as the same lad. At first he was morose and sullen, but he became gentle and respectful. He made considerable progress in learning, and now possesses a considerable amount of intelligence. And now that he is restored to society, and removed (to a great extent) from temptation's way, there is every reason to hope that he will become a useful member of society.
CASE III.-Age 19; was born in Clerkenwell. Father died seventeen and a half years ago; mother three years; has no relations of any degree. Six years ago was in Coldbath Fields Prison three months, for a petty theft. Got into the Philanthropic Institution for eighteen months, and was turned out at the time of the alterations. Was for some time in the streets without work or home; and subsequently was among the costermongers of Golden Lane for about four or five months; attended the Ragged School, and was by the Secretary of the School got into Grotto Passage Refuge. Had been an inmate of the Refuge for twelve months, and where there is reason to hope his mind became favourably impressed. His conduct in the Refuge on the whole was satisfactory, very seldom in disgrace, but always very willing and obedient. But from a life of vagrancy and destitution he had imbued many sly, crafty, and dishonest habits, which were, however, successfully eradicated by kindness. His intellect is below mediocrity, but he possesses a good knowledge of Scripture, and of his duty towards God and man; and from his conduct for months passed, it may be fairly inferred that he is thoroughly reclaimed, and a hope is entertained that his heart is under the influence of Divine grace.
CASE IV. He is 19 years of age; was born in Dublin. Father was a plumber; mother died thirteen years ago; father died nine years ago; has no relations living. He worked for an uncle for three or four years until he died; could not get work in Ireland; came to London, and was four months without work; commenced stealing for a living, and was six times in prison-twice in Kirkdale, once in Dover, twice in Giltspur Street, and once in Coldbath Fields, and at length took refuge in Field Lane Ragged School.
CASE V.-Born in St. Giles's. Father was a stonemason, but has been dead four mother three years; years. He got a situation as a plasterer's boy, which he kept for