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There never was a single new thing proposed that some old Tory could not see great objection to; and the arguments of old women are, that the reformatory institutions hold out incentives to vice. They say that we say "Bring up your children dishonestly and then we will educate and provide for them." Are you acquainted with any parents who would calmly and deliberately bring up their children to vice and crime, to be spurned and scouted in this world, with no hope of another? Is anybody prepared to do so for the hope of having the advantages of a reformatory education held out to them? Is there any mother in England who is prepared to go before a judgeI am speaking now of the criminal classes-and say, when offering her offspring, "Take that child, place it in a reformatory," where the first lesson it will learn will be this-that she has not done her duty to it; that she has forfeited her right to it; that henceforth the state will be its guardian, the superintendent its father; that a veil will be dropped over its old life with her, and she will be behind the curtain which separates the good from the evil of its life? There is not even in the criminal classes many mothers who will separate themselves for ever from their children. There do exist, however, mothers who will send their sons to a reformatory, not because they will not, but because they cannot govern them and bring them up, and to such mothers should a helping hand be ever stretched out.
And what is our future? Our hope is that, in a few years, we shall be able to say that the Word of God is taught throughout the land, that all will have learned the lesson, that they have each a place in the world to fill, and at their peril must they neglect filling that place honestly. Don't go away with the idea that crime will cease to exist, for such an idea as that is the last that I should wish to convey. Be assured crime will continue to exist, even when crime springing from ignorance has been put a stop to.
It is well not to look too forward. The instruments and methods we employ may appear rude and imperfect to a more advanced generation, our mistakes may be numerous, but of this I am sure, that no individual can devote himself heartily and unselfishly to the improvement of his fellow-creatures without at the same time improving his own character. So the efforts now being made by the upper classes of this country, to raise the condition of the lowest and most friendless of their fellow-countrymen, not so much from selfish policy, as for the sake of God and their duty-if they fail, which I believe impossible, in the objects proposed, cannot fail in creating a deep and earnest character in those ranks themselves. And if history tells us truly that the fall of powerful empires is preceded by selfish luxury in the upper, pinching misery in the lower classes, and a total want of sympathy between them-may we not hope that England is but now advancing to her full strength, that her people are now becoming truly united, and that her high position was never more impregnable in the van of the nations?
You cannot conceive with what feelings I noticed the contrast, as I came towards Dukinfield to-day, between this district and the one I dwell in. As I came along I hardly saw a single child running about the silent streets. At each house a mother was nursing her infant child, and preparing the dinner for her hard-working husband. In the great cities, the streets and alleys are seen full of idle children, teazing one another, or busy, stealing from the cotton bags, or in other similar acts. Here, your children are obliged to work, obliged to learn, and improve their minds. It is a great privilege that, in years to come, these children will grow up intelligent and thoughtful The manufacturing districts are the great centres of intelligence, and in that lies the secret of the power of the Manchester school, for were it not for the vigour of thought and the political knowledge
of the people, the influence of its representatives would be nothing. And it is the daily occupation, combined with good instruction in reading, writing, and the other elements of education, that places you so much higher in the scale of civilization than your less fortunate fellow-men of the large cities. When my friend, the chairman, introduced me to the police inspector of your town to have a few words with him, I asked him the proportion of vagrant and criminal children, of the class I have been dilating upon, which the town is troubled with, adding that there should be 200, as that is the proportion of those who don't do anything but steal, according to other towns. "Well, sir," says he, "I don't think we have got one." Such are the privileges that you enjoy-that there is not one amongst you whose occupation is simply theft. Such is the way in which God has answered the prayer of the children of the manufacturing districts, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
The curse of poverty and no work to do, of idle children unemployed and untaught, is not upon you, and by your privileges will your responsibility be measured. The Liverpool cotton porter, with his irregular pay, and unemployed children tempted from school into streets swarming with criminal population, will have their misdeeds to answer for; but to him little has been given, and from him little will be required. It is not so with you, regular and large wages, which include your families as well as your selves, compulsory education for your children and an absence of many of the temptations to which others yield, such is your happy lot. "To whom much is given from them will much be required."
THE POST OFFICE.
Editor of the "Gateshead Observer," and Author of the "History of Printing" in the "POPULAR LECTURER" for 1856.
[Read before the Gateshead Institute.]
If it should ever occur to England, as to Greece and Rome, to fall from her greatness; if the war of principles, now begun in Europe, should end in the overthrow of free institutions, and our civilization be destroyed; some antiquary, of a nation not our own, may one day visit the site of the Central Railway Station in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and explore its ruins; and when his eye shall fall upon the "pillar-post" now standing there, he may say to his companion-"Here, as the busy Englishman passed to and from his railway train, he 'posted his letters,' which for a single penny were despatched to the farthest ends of the British Isles; and at higher (but still moderate) rates, were sent, with certainty almost unerring, to the remotest corners of the earth. Truly, with their wars and conquests, their strife and corruption, their lust of power and feverish passion for wealth, the English, with their fleets and armies, their network of railways, and postal routes on land and sea, were an active, an ingenious, and a mighty people."
And verily, the pillar post now placed in our busy thoroughfares, and committed with undoubting trust to the protection of the community, is one of the
most remarkable monuments of our modern civilization; and the few moments assigned to me in this evening's entertainment, may be well spent in tracing the progress of the POST OFFICE, from its rise to the erection of these latest memorials of its triumph.
To travel post, we must have good roads; and good roads there were none in England prior to the invasion of the Romans, eighteen hundred years ago. It was during the Roman occupation of Britain that roads, other than mere surface tracks, were constructed in our island, and connected sea with sea. were the work of a conquering people, and were mainly designed for military possession of a subjugated country. Long centuries passed away before the peaceful pursuits of commerce called into existence highways and byways capable of being used in all weathers, and serving the purposes of daily national intercourse.
The Normans had been hundreds of years in the land, and still there was no conveyance of letters by other than private hand. It is in the reign of King John that we first find special messengers (nuncii) employed by the monarch and the more powerful nobles, for purposes of state; and in the reign of his son and successor, Henry the Third, we meet with these messengers wearing the royal livery. Private enterprise, in the reign of Edward the Second, established horse-posts, by which messengers might travel by relays; and Edward the Fourth, in whose reign commenced the Wars of the Roses, is said to have organized a system of relays, by which, with post stations twenty miles apart, despatches were conveyed 200 miles in three days.
At this period of our history, journeys appear to have been made usually on horseback; and written communications were sent either by special messenger, or entrusted to persons about to travel,-letters being then immediately written, in haste, to such acquaintances or friends as might chance to reside