David Harris.

A plea for industrial brigades, as adjuncts to ragged schools (Volume Talbot Collection of British Pamphlets) online

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deal of harm. The result of such inquiry as I have been able to
make has been to satisfy me that the Home was fully deserving of
your support; and I shall try, in very few and very plain words, to
tell yoii why I think so. You must not expect from me anything
that is very new, even if I had not been anticipated in the substance
of much that I have to say by the report you have just heard.
Novelties, where you ha\e to deal with \'ery old and very simple



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subjects, are generally paradoxes; and all I hope or intend to do is
to put before you a few plain focts about which there is no dispute,
and to ask you to draw from them one or two inferences about
which I think you will feel no difficulty. This Home was opened
about three years ago. It occupies what were formerly four houses,
which have been permanently secured for the use of the charity, and
thrown together; and you have heard that the total number of lads
who ha\-e come under the care of the Institution is something
between 130 and 140; that 75 of them are inmates at the present
time; and that the number of those inmates might be considerably
increased if the accommodation was equal to it. I have been this
morning on a visit to the premises, and I can bear witness that,
although there is not one particle of superfluous ornament ; although
everything is for use and nothing for show ; and although I must
fairly admit that our inmates are packed a little more closely than
we might perhaps think desirable if our means were altogether
unlimited, still there is everywhere, above and below, perfect and
scrupulous cleanliness — (hear); — there is plenty of fresh air— at
least, of air as fresh as you are ever likely to get in a great manu-
facturing town — ("hear" and laughter); and there is plenty of good
and wholesome food. The first c^uestion one naturally asks is. Do
the objects of this charity require such help as you are trying to give
them ? Do they require it in this form ? And is there any agency
already existing which would deal with such cases as these are ? On
that last point I can ansAver with confidence. There is none. Re-
formatory Schools, as we all know, are only for those lads who have
brought themselves under the law ; they may be — generally they are
— very little to blame ; the fault is generally much more that of their
elders than their own. Still the discipline of those schools is
intended only for such lads as have shown by their conduct that
they are on the way, if not removed from actual influences, to be-
come members of what we call the criminal classes. Industrial
Schools again are doing a useful and valuable work. They provide,
taking England and Scotland together, for above 9000 children ;
but, as many of you know, they are limited by law as regards the
ages of the boys whom they receive, and for tJie class 7vith whom
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Online LibraryDavid HarrisA plea for industrial brigades, as adjuncts to ragged schools (Volume Talbot Collection of British Pamphlets) → online text (page 3 of 6)