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sought the advancement of the most degraded class, by giving them a sound education. The best interests of the country were largely affected by the standard of education and moral improvement to which the population attained. It was evidently their duty, then, as well as their highest interest, to spread knowledge to the utmost extent in their power, and in doing so, to be careful that no class was neglected, not even the most wretched or out of the way. By such efforts, masses who were living in ignorance of a proper sense of duty towards themselves and their neighbours, might be taught to respect themselves, and to have respect for others. And he felt that, as chief magistrate of the city of London, he could not better perform his duty than by aiding to the utmost of his power those engaged in this good work. It was impossible to go through London streets, and not see the miserable state of the neglected, destitute, and degraded class for whose benefit these schools were established. He trusted, however, that the efforts now being made would be effectual to diminish the evil, and that the success which, from what he had heard and read, he was convinced had attended on such exertions hitherto, would be continued and extended yet more widely.
The Report gave a very gratifying account of the improvement effected in the character and conduct of those who had attended the schools. The attendance at the different schools had occasionally reached at Thomas Place Infant School, 150; Sabbath School, 190; Evening School,
100. Cumberland Place, Sabbath Afternoon School, 20; Evening School, 60. Pleasant Place, Morning and Afternoon School, 45; Evening School, 110; Day School, 50.
A Fancy Sale, held last spring, had realized for the school fund £54. 38. 3d. The income during the year was £238. 88. 2d., and the expenditure £272. 58. 11d., leaving a balance due to the Treasurer of £33. 178. 9d. At present 150 children were packed into a school-room not capable of containing, in comfort, more than half that number; but the Committee hoped that before another year should have passed away, they would be enabled to remedy this evil, by the erection of a more suitable building.
The meeting was afterwards addressed by Rev. Dr. Hewlett, Rev. Mr. Galloway, Joseph Payne, Esq., Dr. King, Messrs. J. S. Wilams, Maynard, and A. Anderson.
ST. GILES'S AND ST. GEORGE'S RAGGED SCHOOLS, BLOOMSBURY.
THE Fourth Public Meeting of the friends of hese schools was held on Tuesday evening, January 14th, at the Music Hall, Store Street. The Hon. and Rev. H. M. Villiers presided, and opened the proceedings by expressing the pleasure he felt in taking part in a meeting having for ts object the support of the Ragged Schools of this neighbourhood, and to acknowledge how much was due to the subscribers who had sent money through his hands for their maintenance.
He felt that the times in which they lived were of such a character as specially to call on them to make increasing exertions for this as well as every other kindred work. No one who reflected on the state of the world at the present time but must see that strange things were threatening them on every side, and they ought to labour to the utmost of their power in order that those whose souls they were responsible for should not eventually take part in evil, but should be placed among those whom the Lord loved. When they considered the whole mass of people in London, and how few of those were really Christians, they would see the necessity of all denominations working in and out of season to bring back those who were living in darkness into the light which the gospel alone could give to the human heart. He considered one of the great advantages of the institution was, that, unlike most others, it did not require that the objects of its charity should be first degraded by crime, but took young children, and protected them from sin by training them up in the paths of righteousness. He then drew attention to the great temptations for boys and girls in London, and particularly to the demoralizing influence of the penny theatres, when, independent of what the children learned there, it was known they actually stole to pay for their admittance. They had not to deal in London with what had been called "agricultural" minds, but with those of a most acute nature, as they had to work with children who were living on their wits ever since they could crawl; and this made it the more essential to direct their talents in the right way. The Secretary read the Report, which detailed the successes of the different schools in the two parishes, and from which it appeared that they were progressing favourably, and the average number attending them increased. There had been two sent out to Port Philip since the last Report, making altogether, 20 since the establishment of the schools-18 boys and 2 girls. The Committee had fixed on a freehold property near Church Lane for the new school. The purchase money of this would be £1,800, and fitting-up £600; making altogether £2,400. £800 was in the hands of the Committee for this purpose, and in addition the following donations were given :-Mrs. L., £150; Mr. S. Peto, M.P., £100; Rev. H. Shepherd, £50; leaving £1,300 still to be raised. The Rev. J. Nolan, Mr. W. Rogers, Rev. W. Brock, Joseph Payne, Esq., J. Macgregor, Esq., M.A., and other gentlemen, then addressed the meeting.
UNION MEWS RAGGED SCHOOL. THE Eighth Annual Meeting of this Institution was held on Tuesday evening, January 13th, at the school-rooms, in accordance with the plan suggested at the late Delegates' Meeting. W. J. Maxwell, Esq., presided. The meeting was addressed by John Green, Esq., Rev. R. Redpath, M.A., Dr. Pope, Messrs. Haselden, Hepburn, Short, Priestley, and Mr. Gent of the Ragged School Union.
"ARE WE DOING ANY GOOD?"
I HAD made up our little balance-sheet for the current year, and found, with much misgiving of heart, that we had created a debt of some £15 or £16-a great sum where the annual expenditure is only about £60; but still more important in the eye of an anxious Secretary, when the Committee's whole income has only amounted to £45. I was seriously thinking over in what items we could retrench, or in what particulars we had been extravagant, when the question contained in the brief sentence prefixed to this paper presented itself to my mind-" Are we doing any good," thought I, in this Ragged School of ours? It is a very difficult matter to realize this income, insufficient as it is; it will never do to go on at this rate; there must be a special appeal to our friends to help and keep us out of debt, for "out of debt out of danger,” as the proverb goes. Before this appeal is made, I must make a day's visit (a thing I have rarely the opportunity of doing) to the school. I should like to look in broad daylight at our educational hive, and make, in as specific and yet general a manner as I can, the inquiry, “Are we doing any good?"
I set off one morning in January, and arrived at the locality about eleven o'clock. My visit was unexpected, and I found the teacher and children at their usual work. When I last visited the school it was a sort of examination day, and greatly gratified I then was at the children's ready and pertinent answers in Bible and Testament history, and other branches of useful knowledge. But that was the gala day of the school. There were ladies and gentlemen present, and the tables at the end of the school-room were piled with cake, nice bread and butter, etc., for a feast at the close of the examination. Now they were in their every-day condition, yet there was the same order, rather more I thought, for they had certainly improved in the six months that had intervened. One portion of them were having a gallery lesson; and as I went in softly, it was some moments ere the teacher saw me. At the further end from this gallery about a dozen were writing, very quietly and intently; while in the wing of the building, just on one side of the teacher, but immediately under the care of a monitor, sat the last detachment from the lanes and alleys of the neighbourhood.
It has been often remarked, what a difference a few weeks' domestication establishes in the appearance of these "Arabs of the City." I had an opportunity of testing the truth of this observation. Many of the lads on the gallery, though it was a wet and dirty day, had on no clothing save a shirt and old pair of trousers and shoes; still, for the most part, there was a look of comfort about them compared with this class of new comers. One especially I singled out at a glance; shoeless, ragged, and filthy, except his face and hands, in the extreme. His very look bespoke the veriest ignorance and destitution; he had been a few days only in the school. I did not interfere with this class, but moved on to the writers, and was pleasingly surprised to see the progress they
had made. After looking over a few of their books, and praising their cleanliness and accuracy, I turned again to the gallery, and listened to the lesson. I soon found my friend of recent introduction was in disgrace; asking the teacher the reason, was informed that he made fun of the monitor, and interfered with the discipline of the class—that twice already he had been made to stand out, and that there was rather an indisposition to trust him again. Seating myself by his side, I asked a few questions about his age, his habits, his brothers and sisters, and then said that I was sorry to hear that he was more disposed for larking than learning, but if he promised me not to offend again I would intercede for his re-admittance to the class; this he readily did, then took his place, and for the remainder of the morning everything went on steadily.
I found upon inquiry that this boy was the son of a brickmaker's labourer. There were six children, and all reared in ignorance. The father a drunkard, and their home a sty of filth and wretchedness. There was another lad, tall and lively, who had been admitted that morning. Father out of work; sickness and poverty at home; two brothers at work in the fields; not one of the family able to read. This lad, a big boy of some ten years of age, did not know his letters.
At half-past two o'clock I was again near the school, and observed a few wild ragged lads playing at pitch and toss at the door; spoke to them of their being an annoyance to the school, and upon entering, found that a comrade of this very party had recently broken down the ventilators of the school, and torn out the holdings, leaving the apertures free to the wind and rain.
A lady of the Committee was seated in a corner of the school-room, with a large class of girls stitching away with admirable precision. In a few minutes a "City Missionary came in and joined me. conversation was long and interesting, referring chiefly to matters connected with the school, the condition of the children, their parents, their habits, improvement, etc. I found the majority were from the families of costermongers, widows with large families, drunkards, and a few Roman Catholic Irish. In respect to these last-mentioned characters, an incident occurred which shows how necessary it is to combine promptness with vigilance. In endeavouring to carry out the recommendations of the last Delegates' Meeting, by preventing the admission of persons not of the especial class for whom Ragged Schools were designed, the Committee had given orders that in future no child should be admitted until the homes of the parents, if there were any, had been visited. In the beginning of the week, a poor woman brought her child, and found that this regulation prevented his entrance, and in a spirit of offended dignity, at once set off to a "Roman Catholic Ragged School," which the priest had recently set up in the immediate neighbourhood. The missionary seemed much grieved at this, and it was arranged that henceforth a note from him, signifying that the applicant was a proper object of the charity, should entitle the bearer to admittance, at the same time determining that this need not preclude the visitation afterwards.
"Ah!" said he, as we again reverted to this matter of the Roman Catholic School, "I never think of this place, as I go my round of duties among the poor and degraded, without a feeling of gratitude. If
I find their children are ever so poor, or ragged, or wretched, I can say with confidence, I know where they can be sent to be taught to read the Word of God and the way to heaven; and then you have many proofs of the truth of this here already. No one can rightly estimate the good you are slowly, but surely, doing in the neighbourhood. The other day I called upon a poor woman in the district; she had been very ill, and after talking and praying with her, I was about to leave, when she said, ‘Would you be so kind as to speak to my little boy? He is very weak and ailing, but he has been begging me that I would ask you when you again called upon us to pray with him; he is in bed now.' I returned immediately, and found the little fellow, full of expectancy. I said, 'Well, my dear, I have come, why do you wish to see me?' 'Oh! sir,' he said, 'when you come to the school sometimes, you tell us about Jesus and heaven, and I thought when you came to see mother again, as I could not come to hear you at the school, perhaps you would pray with me here.' And after I had asked him two or three simple questions, to see if his childish heart understood that he was a sinner, and that Christ was a Saviour just fitted for him, I knelt down, and shall never forget how he raised himself on his knees on the bed, clasped his little hands, and, as I tried to pray in simple child-like accents, such as he could understand, I have no doubt his heart was engaged in imploring a blessing from his Father and God. He is much better now, and has returned for a time at least to the school; but his life cannot be a lengthened one; a rapid consumption is wasting his body, but I hope the seeds of immortality and eternal life are in his soul." This is one proof, thought I, upon whom this recital had produced emotions I will not weaken by attempting to describe-at least there is one proof that we are not labouring in vain in the Lord. The question with which I set out is a tale of events answered in one blessed instance.
As this little narrative was closed, I looked round for the rude rough lad who had been admitted so recently. His hard animalized features were towards me. There he stood, shoeless and ragged, as very a picture of wickedness and brutality as I had ever seen. What a contrast to the picture the good missionary had drawn! My eyes filled as I gazed upon him, poor fellow. I almost said, Who knows but he, ere long, may feel the kindling and softening influences of prayer and love? We must go on, I reasoned; we are in the way of duty and usefulness. I had forgotten the debt and the difficulty as I mused
Love can bow down the stubborn neck,
The stone to flesh convert;
Soften, subdue, and melt, and break,
And here are from sixty to seventy, ofttimes a hundred such. We have only just broken up the ground. As yet it is full of wild weeds and rough unhewn materials. Work, clearing, and cultivating, and by God's blessing, it may yet bloom and grow to be a little garden, which shall gladden in His smile.
D. H. H.
THE ROUGH HOUSE, HAMBURG.*
ABOUT three miles from Hamburg there is an institution called the Rauhe Haus, (the Rough House,) which consists in substance of certain detached huts and buildings, prettily scattered among trees and flower-pots, all tenanted by men and boys. Once upon a time-and that no very distant time-there was here but a single cottage, which, having no resemblance to a marble hall, was styled the Rauhe Haus. There dwelt in it, with his mother, a certain Pastor Wichern, who, having nothing like a marble heart, received into his home three outcast boys, that he might train and save them. The energy of goodness made this first act of benevolence a living seed. The Rauhe Haus is now a famous institution, which includes, upon its small domain of thirty acres, Pastor Wichern and his wife, seven young clergymen not yet in orders, thirty-five artisans or "Brothers," and some master workmen; five deaconesses, and a hundred children; about seventy of these being boys, and thirty girls.
The children are of a class somewhat similar to that which forms the congregation at our Ragged Schools. Quite similar, we cannot say, because anything quite like, or nearly like, the misery of English pauper children, does not exist in any other Protestant community in the whole round of the world. Children are not often taken to the Rauhe Haus out of a prison, though they are sent thither when convicted of small offences, instead of being sent to jail. The object at the Rauhe Haus is not only, by a pure and Christian discipline, to save these outcast children, and create them into ministers of good, but also to provide Protestant missionaries-[not for Timbuctoo, but for the fallen or the falling souls in Fatherland.]
The brothers at the Rauhe Haus receive nothing notable as pay; they have board, lodging, clothing, and pocket-money to the extent of about three shillings a month. This they receive not as their hire, but as the supply of necessaries while they labour for the love of God to educate the little children. These brothers are at liberty to leave the institution when they please, upon a quarter's notice; and for their admission no conditions are necessary, except that they have knowledge of some trade, a healthy mind and body; that they be twenty years old, unmarried and unbetrothed. They have also to pass through a certain probation for the purpose of ascertaining whether they have sufficient self-denial for the due fulfilment of their duties. At the Rauhe Haus, the brothers have, beside the sense that they are labouring for good, other inducements to remain. They teach trades to the children, and in turn receive instruction from the young clergymen who await ordination at the Rauhe Haus after having concluded their university career. By these young ministers, the brothers are instructed in theology, philosophy, geography, grammar, etc., so that they are prepared for their future labours as home missionaries. What do these higher teachers learn? Is there no one from whom they also receive instruction? Certainly there is. Aristotle and Euclid are not the only preparation for a Christian ministry; and these young Germans, who spend years at the Rauhe Haus before their ordination without any salary, have there a prison, a hospital, and a school, where they may learn among the helpless and the sick and the imprisoned to discharge the duties of their future calling. We should here state that the Rauhe Haus has not only grown itself, but has sent up from its vigorous roots many an offshoot. Among others, there is at Duisburg a similar institution, of which the director is a minister, who studied, unordained, under the good Pastor Wichern.
* We have much pleasure in extracting the above account, trusting that the great and only permanent source of good is not lost sight of Salvation through a crucified Redeemer.-ED.