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RAGGED SCHOOL UNION
DESTITUTION AND CRIME,
WITH SOME OF THEIR CAUSES, AND A REMEDY SUGGESTED. It is universally admitted that "prevention is better than cure." That destitution is the fruitful source of crime, and, in most cases, the unhappy fruit of improvidence and intemperance, daily observation and experience afford too much proof to admit of the possibility of a doubt. An inquiry, therefore, into some of the causes of those habits of the working classes, which result in destitution and delinquency, must be of importance. It can hardly be considered probable that men would voluntarily plunge themselves and their families into such extreme misery, unless there were some powerful inducements to influence them to such steps, which human nature is not able to resist.
That such inducements exist there is abundant proof. It is to these, which may be regarded as the root of much of the existing evils, that we are desirous to wield the axe, trusting, by the Divine blessing, great good will be the result. For example:
One man, a calker, who was earning on an average £3 a week, seldom took home, towards the support of himself, wife, and five or six small children, more than 9s., or at most 15s. He rarely returned home sober. This man has now left his wife and family, and gone to
The poor woman is left to do the best she can for herself and her six small children. Thus, those who were once respectable, and ought to be so now, are reduced to extreme necessity. Three of the children have to thank the Ragged Schools for the education they have and are receiving.
It has often occasioned much surprise, that the homes of labouring men and mechanics, who have been in constant work, and in the regular receipt of good wages, should be so wretchedly furnished; their wives and children, as well as themselves, so sadly clad, and so scantily fed; so that, in multitudes of instances, the children are literally driven into