« 上一頁繼續 »
and of them, three-fourths are said to be reformed. Finally, in 1848, a deputation was despatched by the Governor General of Canada, to inquire and report concerning the Reformatories in the United States; and they recommended the erection of one or two houses of refuge at Quebec or Montreal, or at Toronto or Hamilton.
Let us now see what has been done in these kingdoms for the treatment of that large and daily increasing class, our juvenile delinquents. In 1788 the earliest step seems to have been taken in this direction, by several earnest and enlightened men, whose attention had been directed to the great number of depraved and vagrant children infesting London and its vicinity, living, and trained to live, by mendicancy and theft. Thus originated the Philanthropic Society. It is worthy of notice, that not only did the Separate System of confinement for adults, now so generally adopted, commence in England, but also the subsidiary plan of providing reformatory schools for the reception of our youthful criminals had its beginning there. No earlier example is upon record of the latter class of establishments than the school of the Philanthropic Society, which may justly be regarded as the parent and model of all subsequent institutions of that sort. "A single child," says one of the earliest Reports, "was first put to nurse, to which several more were soon added; when the number amounted to twelve, a small house, at £10 per annum, was hired, in a situation where more could easily be obtained, as they might be wanted. A second house was soon hired, and presently a third and fourth; a small spot of garden ground was also taken, in which the boys should assist the gardener in their leisure hours. At the end of the second year, the school contained about fifty children of both sexes, divided into distinct families; each managed as much as possible on the footing of a HOME, and each instructed in some branch of industry likely to be useful to them in after life." This was the very system that was subsequently adopted at Mettray; but, unhappily, owing to a great increase of the number of the inmates, the desire of a less costly
management, and the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient staff of properly qualified superintendents, to train the children on the footing of small separate families, the domestic principle was broken in upon, and it was resolved to concentrate the school, and to associate the boys and girls together respectively, in greater numbers. The school was then removed to St. George's Fields, in the Borough of Southwark. Here, among other measures of internal management, those boys who were of a criminal character were separated from those who had been received on the ground of destitution, or thrown helpless and friendless on the world by their parents' misconduct. On this footing the society continued its operations till 1845, when it was resolved to discontinue the girls' school altogether, and to limit the agency of the charity as much as possible to the "Reformation of Penitent and Destitute Offenders ;" and to retain these only so long as seemed necessary for their improvement; apprenticing them out, or enabling them to emigrate after two or three years' probation, instead of keeping them in the establishment (as had previously been usual) till near the age of manhood. And now Mettray, which up to this time might be regarded as the follower of the Philanthropic Society, took, in its turn, the lead, and set to the latter the example which it has up to this time very closely followed. It was determined to remove the Philanthropic from London altogether, and transform its manufactory into a farm, where, trained in the more healthful and active operation of agricultural life, the boys would be properly prepared for emigration and, lastly, to return to the society's original system, of distributing the boys into separate families or households, where more individual superintendence, and more kindly domestic influence, might be substituted for the ordinary mechanical and formal discipline. Accordingly, in January, 1849, the committee obtained an eligible farm of one hundred and thirtythree acres, in the immediate vicinity of Redhill and Reigate Station, on the Brighton and South Eastern Railways. Here then commenced the important experiment, for the result of which the United Kingdom is
watching with the most earnest anxiety, viz:-" How far the discipline and out-door occupations of a country school, conducted on the footing of an agricultural colony, can be successfully applied to the reformation and indus rial training of such youths as such an institution seeks to rescue." The impulse is almost irresistible by which one feels impelled to place Mettray and Redhill side by side, to compare them, to contrast them, to mark the peculiar features that distinguish them, to watch the effects of the peculiar advantages by which each is benefited, or of the peculiar difficulties with which each has to contend. One great disadvan'age attaches to Redhill-the majority of the elder boys are strictly volunteers, admitted at their own application, on the expiration of their sentence, whom, therefore, the society has no legal power to detain, or to compel to return if they choose to abscond. From the opening of the ins.itution in April, 1849, up to the date of the last report, February, 1856, eight hundred and seventy-five boys had been admitted. Of the number, one hundred and seventy-five, admitted in 1855, seventy-six had lost one parent, twenty-five both, one hundred and four had not been regularly at school, fifty-three had been exposed to the evils of a vicious home and bad parental example; twenty-eight had been once before in prison; eighteen, twice; and sixty-eight, thrice and upwards. It is plain that from such a class as this the ranks of adults in crime must be plentifully recruited. But there is a question to which it is well worth our while to seek for the true answerwhat are the causes that chiefly engender this loathsome and revolting mass of premature depravity? To this inquiry we have obtained one uniform reply parental neglect. Either the parents are unable to superintend the child's early years— to educate, control, and employ him; or they set a bad example, which the child but too readily follows; or give evil counsel, which he but too readily obeys. Even if we suppose the child to be the offspring of sober and industrious parents, who send him to school, but whose occupations take them from home, what is to become of him when school hours are over? If he goes home, he finds no parent
there. If he goes into the street, he meets there with associates who tempt, corrupt, and elsaare him. It is not a mere peradventure, that the child may fall; it is a moral certainty that he will. No youth could pass unscathed through such a fearful ordeal as this. The best thing we can wish for the poor, neglected little creature is, that, if he is doomed to fall, he may fall soon, and be brought, while his disposition is more pliant and duc.ile than it ever will be at any future stage of his life, under the beneficent influence of a well ordered institution, in which he may be instructed in those duties and those doctrines which it can never be too soon to teach him. Whether such an establishment as that at Redhill be suited to his case, is a question which we will consider presently. We agree with the able and zealous chaplain of that institution in his opinion, that "reformation, except in rare and exceptional cases, ought to be a word wholly inapplicable to children of fourteen or twelve, or as many are, even of ten years of age. Itat once proclaims that obvious duties have been neglected, and the simplest responsibilities forgotten, when minds and hearts so young are found so early tainted and deformed. Did we take more pains to FORM them rightly from the first, there would be but a few, at least at su h a tender age, to be reformed." True, but not new. It is the old story over again; at least it is as old as the time of Solomon; for he, too, had a notion, that there was some hope in the early training of a child in the way he should go. We seem, however, to be disinclined to take him at his word, till we have made the experiment for ourselves; like the canny Scotchman: "Honesty, my friend, is the best policy and I ought to know, for I've tried baith."
The last Report of Redhill states, "Our discharges for the year 1855 have amounted to 108. Of these 18 deserted, or were discharged after fair probation, as calculated to do more injury to their schoolmates than benefit to themselves by the opportu nity afforded them. Of the remaining 90,65 emigrated-46 to Australia, and 19 to America. So far as we have heard of these, the large majority are likely to do well." But we are entitled to ask, of how many of those
emigrants have you had tidings? And from whom have you heard of the well-doing of those you refer to,— from themselves, or from trustworthy witnesses? We hold it to be of the last importance that a constant, watchful, and even anxious guardianship should, as far as possible, be exercised over the discharged boys; and that throughout the whole of their schooling they should be made to bear this truth in mind. This would exercise a most salutary influence over them during the period of their detention, and save the time, trouble, and cost that are expended upon them. But to fling them back into the world without a care for their future welfare would be "to throw the helve after the hatchet,"-" post omnia perdere naulum."
The total number of boys at Redhill is broken up, as at Mettray, and as at the Philanthropic at its original constitution, into separate schools, of which there are at present six, each under a master appropriate d to itself, and complete in all its arrangements and accommodations. The different masters are independent of each other, and responsible only to the chief manager, who is also the chaplain. In each school there is put up monthly a Good Conduct List, on which is inscribed the names of such of the boys as have passed through the preceding month without any complaint against them for negligence or misbehaviour. The boys who keep their names on this list for three consecutive months receive a small prize chosen by themselves. The plan appears to work well. Halfyearly examinations in general and religious knowledge are henceforth to take place.
The Report for the year 1855 well observes, "The thing to be done in this institution is, to change a lad who, unreformed, is a continual annoyance and expense to the community, into one who shall not only be harmless but useful, and, in his honest industry and labour, profitable -a producer, instead of a
spoiler, waster, and consumer of the fruits of others' toil. If this be effectually done, no ordinary rate of cost is really expensive, for he steals and consumes in his crimes and his punishment ten times more than can be spent in his reformation. Expense is
As compared with Mettray, Redhill labours under certain disadvan tages it has not the military organization and discipline which are found to be so efficacious in the former: it has no legal power to detain the greater number of its inmates, or to enforce their return if they should choose to abscond. But the difficulties of its task it seeks to overcome by employing religious influence, personal kindness, exact justice, and constant employment, accompanied by small rewards in the nature of wages.
The last Report states that out of 636 who have left the school since it was opened in 1849, 540 had stayed in it willingly, and gone out to honest employment in the colonies or in England; and that it may fairly be asserted of 70 per cent. of these, that they have been conducting themselve well.
Similar institutions have been cstablished at Stretton-on-Dunsmore, in Warwickshire (recently given up for want of funds), at Durham, at Kingswood near Bristol, at Saltley near Birmingham, at Hardwick in the county of Gloucester, at Brighton, at Westminster, and at Parkhurst in the Isle of Wight-a government institution, in which the prisoners work in association!
When it is alleged, as an objection to na ional establishments for the maintenance and training, as well as for the punishment, of young offenders, that this is holding out a premium to crime, and giving to the offspring of negligent, dishonest, and profligate parents an education and nurture that the hardworking, upright labourer or artisan is unable, with all his self-denial, to provide for his children, it is sufficient to answer, that the objection is groundless. First, because we do not give to the criminal child such an education as he ought to receive at home; and we could not do this, if we would. Parental nurture and discipline are God's own ordinance; and when they are neglected, nothing that the most enlightened and earnest philanthropy can substitute for them can be an equivalent. Secondly, neither the young delinquent himself, nor his negligent
parents or guardians have any taste for such institutions: not the young urchin himself, for he there finds his freedom restrained, his inclinations curbed, and the whole system in antagonism to his settled habits: not the parents, for they are made to smart for the misconduct of the child, by being compelled to defray the cost of his maintenance. When the objector can bring forward an instance of a young scoundrel who has been decoyed from a penny theatre by the superior attractions of a properly regulated Reformatory School, or of a worthless parent who is desirous of being mulcted in the cost of his stripling's maintenance there, or of an honest labourer who is willing to have his virtuous child made the enforced associate of young thieves who bear the ineffaccable brand of criminality upon their brow, we shall then deem the objection a just one.
But we have an objection to Reformatory Schools, as at present constituted, which we believe it will be difficult to answer. We object to them on this ground, that in undertaking, as they do, the penal treatment of young culprits, they assume a function that pertains exclusively and inalienably to the State. We hold that, among the duties incumbent by an express divine ordinance upon the Executive, one is the punishment of its criminal members; and that duty it delegates to other hands AT ITS PERIL! Its responsibility in this case cannot be shifted, cannot be shared. The treatment of all delinquents, whether adult or juvenile, belongs solely to it. They fall by law into the hands of the law; and revelation, reason, universal usage, conspire in testifying that by the law they should be dealt with. No amount of accountability, or of sound judgment, or of unimpeachable philanthropy, can entitle an association of private individuals to take upon itself an obligation which no human power can transfer to it; or to absolve the Government from an obligation which is tied to it by a bond which cannot be sundered. The moment a criminal, no matter how venial his offence may be, passes
from the grasp of the law into that of a private society, he passes into hands that are unauthorized to detain and impotent to punish him.
But it is said in reply to this:"You cannot send a mere child to gaol; it is not a fit place for him." Then we answer-Let it be made fit. Let suitable accommodation, suitable education, suitable employment, suitable exercise, be provided in every gaol in this kingdom for such inmates; and let us incur, without a murmur, any amount of cost and trouble for the due treatment of such, rather than subvert the first principles of reason and justice, by delivering them over to hands that have no right to their custody. It is alleged that, by the self-denying, sympathizing, truly Christian-minded per sons who establish and manage those "reformatories," good is done. Yes, but evil is done too. And we are bold to say that the good they do can be done as effectually, without any admixture of evil, in a properly constructed and properly managed gaol. We hold in as high estimation as any one can the priceless value of individual benevolence; but we believe that the kindly and parental influence which has been brought to operate upon the friendless objects of reformatory schools, may be much more effectually exercised by paid than by unpaid agency. "It is a
mistake to accredit effective philanthropy solely to voluntary effort, and to deny it to those who apply their hearts and devote their time and talent to the work, simply because they live by their labour, and make it their vocation. A labour of love is not necessarily unpaid, or beneficially uncontrolled."*
"But," say the advocates of 'Reformatory Schools,' "a gaol is not only unfit for young children, but they are unfit for it. They are irresponsible beings; and therefore it is at once unfeeling and irrational to subject them to a discipline which is utterly unadapted to their capacity." This is begging the question-nay, it is worse:-it is a direct arraignment of the Divine wisdom ;-it is no less than an impeachment of His skill in
On Juvenile Crime, as it affects Commerce, and the best means of repressing it. By Jelinger Symons, Esq. 1855.
the construction of that wondrous fabric, a human creature, implying that against its innate and early tendency to act wrong he has not provided a needful check; and that the masterpiece of his handiwork is sur、 passed in this respect even by the production of the human artificer. Examine the mechanism of a watch: see there the contrivance by which the greater recoiling power of the spring at its utmost tension, is compensated by a simple contrivance which renders equable the motion of the whole machine. And will any one tell us that a child is less skilfully formed than a chronometer! No, as soon as the child is able to do what is wrong he is able to hear the voice of the inward monitor rebuking him for the deed. There is no appreciable interval between the committal of the act and the warning of the the avenger: conscience applies her Scourge to the transgressor as the thunder pursues the flash. If those who maintain that a very young lad can have no adequate notion of property will only take from him his playthings-his ball or his marblesperhaps they will see reason to think differently. The truth is, that a child of seven, aye, or five years of age, has as just a notion of the doctrine of meum and tuum as any student of Grotius or Puffendorf. For surely, if he can feel an instinctive sense of injustice at the invasion of his own rights, he must at the same time have some notion of his duty with respect to the rights of others. "From a child thou hast known the Scriptures." So says St. Paul to Timothy. But Timothy must have then known his Bible to little purpose, if he did not understand the eighth commandment. Those who stick le so stoutly for the irresponsibility of young pilferers must excuse us if we believe an Apostle rather than them.
Instead, therefore, of whining and whimpering when a young culprit is brought before us, and asking with a raeful look of perplexity, "What shall we do with such a mere child as this?" let us rejoice with exceeding joy that he has fallen into our hands at so tender an age, before his heart is rendered more corrupt by the force
of evil example, and his conscience more seared by further training in the path of vice. Let us regard this as an opportunity to be embraced with thankfulness, of rescuing from after-ruin a poor neglected outcast, and of timely arresting a career which, unchecked, must end either at the gibbet or the antipodes. Bear in mind the exceeding lubricity of crime, and that the trivial theft is father to the felony. Lose not a moment; eradicate evil habits, instil good principles, which are nothing else than reasons for being good; urge moral, religious, Christian motives; and do all this with the potency, we may say with the omnipotence of Christian love; and your task will be as facile as your success will be sure. Fear not, if you begin well, that you will ever fail for want of fit agents to carry on the good work: not mere hirelings, who, having no capacity for any other occupation,think themselves well qualified for the very highest occupetion of all-the educing and fostering of those "high, capacious powers that lie folded up in man," the implanting of religious principles, the communication of religious truths, the formation of religious habits, the cultivation of religious affections, and the setting of religious examples. Only throw open a field for such labourers, and they will eagerly proffer their priceless services; services that gold cannot purchase, any more than it can recompense them. This encouraging prospect lies before us. As for France, we are persuaded that she will look in vain for another Mettray, or another De Metz. We have seen in Recorder Hall's account of Petit Bourg, that the system has signally failed there. We are prepared, from the very nature of the case, to find other failures elsewhere in that kingdom. M. De Metz possesses peculiar aptitudes, which are very rarely to be met with, and not to be transmitted. We require in a matter of this sort not only an agent that shall be fit, but an establishment that shall be lasting. Founders must die: institutions should be immortal.
Even apart from every other consideration than their intellectual nurture, these poor uncared-for children
* 'Azù ẞpédous, “from an infant." The original makes still more strongly for us.