« 上一頁繼續 »
directed to the Rauhe Haus, near Hamburg, a private establishment for the education of vicious children, of which we will speak more particularly presently, conducted on the principle of giving to its inmates that which they had never before enjoyed-the benignant influence and comforts of home; a purpose which it was sought to effect by breaking up the total number into families of twelve, under a superintendent discharging the duties and actuated by the feelings of a parent, with a distinct institution of brothers in training, who were engaged in constant assistance and supervision. Here M. De Metz believed that he had discovered an exemplification of the practical operation of the principle embodied in the Article of the Penal Code already cited. He accordingly resolved to apply the principle to young persons of that class to which the Article refers. An old school-fellow of his, M. le Vicomte de Brétignèrs de Courteilles, a retired soldier, a man of acute intellect and of singular benevolence, joined him in the project, and devoted a considerable estate, and the remainder of his life, to the prosecution of it. Hence originated the Reformatory School of Mettray.
proachable, after a lapse in many cases of ten years; 58 only were half reformed; and only 103, or less than oue-ninth, (about 11 per cent.) have relapsed into crime. There were, at the date of the last report, 550 inmates. The institution receives a trifling subsidy of 40,000 francs from Government; the other funds needful for its support are supplied partly by the liberality of the original founder and his friends; partly by the labour, chiefly agricultural, of the establishment. Munificent contributions have been made by the cities of Orleans, Limoges, Tours, Poitiers, and Paris: and among the individual contributors, honourable and grateful mention is made of M. le Comte Leon d'Ourches, who, by a generous and opportune donation of 160,000 francs, has entitled himself to be regarded as the third founder of the colony. The first thing that strikes the visitor, as he approaches this institution, is the total absence of boundary walls, or of any material contrivances for preventing the escape of the inmates, who are free to come and free to go; the only key is, as is expressed in a well known French idiom, "the key of the open fields." Let it be understood, however, that though the young people have always the opportunity to decamp, any attempt to do so is regarded as a grave offence, from the commission of which it is considered as a point of honour to abstain. From the first moment of his arrival the young "colonist" is treated as one who can be trusted not to make the attempt. The system is such, that the absence of an individual is immediately observed; and the missing party is forthwith pursued. The attempts at evasion are extremely rare, and we have heard of only one that has been successful. We may add, that there is the same liberty as regards communications from without; the visits of relatives and correspondence with them is both permitted and encouraged; unless the moral character of such relatives renders it expedient to inhibit all intercourse with them. Each family of forty, which has its own separate dwelling, is governed by two young men specially educated and trained for the purpose, assisted by two boys elected quarterly, by ballot, by their comrades, with the denomination of "elder brothers." This plan is adopted for the
In 1839 they commenced their undertaking; and in five months they succeeded in constructing five dwellings, which in ten months were ready for the reception of 120 children. Five other dwellings, a chapel, a place for punishment, several granges, and a complete farming establishment, have been successively added. With a view to make their ground sure as they advanced, M. De Metz and his coadjutor commenced with a staff of assistants twice as numerous as the first consignment of children. The first nine "colonists," (a convenient euphemism!) were received on the 22nd January, 1840; and during the earlier years the whole number was employed in levelling the yards and fitting up their habitations; an occupation which was found to have a powerful tendency to create in them. an attachment to the place of their new abode. The latest account we have been able to procure brings down the narrative of the proceedings at Mettray to January, 1854. It had then educated and liberated 953 boys, of whom 774 have remained irre
purpose of bringing the procedure as near as possible to a resemblance of the family system, of conferring an honourable recompense upon those who are selected, and of giving a proof of confidence in the judgment and fairness of the young electors, of whose spirit the directors have thus a valua able index. This institution of "elder brothers" is justly regarded as the mainspring of the system; it gives the body of colonists living together in the same dwelling that habit of acting together for the common comfort of their domestic relations, which is a considerable step towards the creation of the esprit de famille. There is hung up a quarterly list of the names of such colonists as, during the preceding three months, had, by the blamelessness of their conduct, given no occasion for punishment. This is found to be attended with good effect; as is also another regulation-a weekly list for each family, which is hung up in the family room. Much of this will doubtless excite a smile; but we have brought it forward for the purpose of shewing how earnestly the founders of the institution are penetrated with the persuasion that its success depends upon the degree to which they are able to imbue the children with the family feeling, teach them that they are dwelling in the family home, under the domestic roof, around the paternal hearth. The spirit of the domestic discipline at Mettray is well set forth in the following anecdote, which is narrated by M. Cochin, in his Notice sur Mettray, p. 28:-"The abbé Fissiaux, who is at the head of the colony of Marseilles, while on a visit at Mettray, desired the colonists to point out to him the three best boys. The eyes of the rest instantly turned to three of the children whose good behaviour was most marked. The worthy abbé tried a more delicate test. Point out to me,' said he, the worst boy.' The children all remained motionless. One of them came forward by himself, with an air of distress, and said in a very low voice, "Tis 1. My friend,' said the abbó, embracing him, your conduct satisfies me that you are mistaken, and I will not believe you, though you tell me so." "Thenceforward," says the narrator, "that little boy has behaved very well, and is already beaucoup comparative
ment au passé." Doubtless. And if ever the simple-hearted abbé pays another visit to Mettray, he will find le plus mauvais sujet there in high feather with the hope of having his self-condemnation so authoritatively set aside. The whole story is charac teristically French, and reminds us of the acute and piquant remark of Voltaire, that "the same
which would work a French audience into the highest pitch of devotion would set an English audience a laughing." In the case of this poor child we see the working and the fostering of that sense of honor, which, in the absence of a spirit of religion, prevades the whole of society in France, and which led an eminent statesman of that country to address one of our Inspectors of Prisons in these terms" You, in England, have one potent instrument for the refor mation of prisoners, which we have not got here: you have religion: we have none." In truth the system in operation at Mettray is a jumble of sound and unsound principles, and may be fitly represented by an arch, one end of which stands upon a rock, while the other rests upon a quicksand. We do not for a moment question the potency of the principle known as "the sense of honour." He must be a heedless observer, or an uncandid witness, who affirms that it has but little force. The truth is, its force is wonderful. But we wish
to see the neglected and demoralized youth of these kingdoms brought under the influence of a principle whose force is more wondrous still; which has a code of morals that is perfect, and motives to obey it that are designed to be universal, immutable, and irresistible. We have pointed out several good regulations that are in force at Mettray. Though agriculture is the chief, it is not the sole industrial occupation of the children. The ground floor, in the different dwelling houses, is used for workshops, in which agricultural implements are made or repaired, the young people working in absolute silence, under the instructions of a chef d'atelier, or superintendent,well skilled in the business. Other occupations, as tailoring, rope-making, and washing, are carried on under proper instructors; care being taken to assign the children to such employments as are
suited to their inclinations or capacities, or to the mode of life to which they are likely to addict themselves, when the term of their schooling has expired. The whole proceedings of every individual, from the moment he enters the establishment till he leaves it, are registered. An accurate account is kept of his conduct and of his misdemeanours, more or less slight of the rewards he has received; and of the punishments, extremely slight and well-contrived, to which he has been subjected. And on his leaving the establishment a watch is continued to be kept on the place where he is hired with the farmers and gardeners in the neighbourhood; so that the returns year after year tell precisely the whole effect of the system of discipline. We confess that we regard this last as one of its best features. No penal or reformatory discipline can be effective, unless the discharged prisoner is made to understand and feel that, whether his future conduct be good, or bad, or indifferent, it is closely watched. The bearing in mind of this postprison surveillance, acting as a subsidiary element of the discipline, must produce the best effects. It is true that the number of trades in which the inmates at Mettray are instructed is rather scanty-but this arises from a desire on the part of the directors to detach the children as much as possible from a city life, which presents numerous and peculiar temptations, and to give them a taste for the more healthful and secure occupations of husbandry. Hence the manufactures in which they are employed are chiefly such as are connected with agriculture, so that they see the practical utility of the handicraft operations they perform. At the instance of the Minister of Marine, a ship's mast and tackle have been set up in the play ground, and a veteran seaman has been engaged to teach the lads who had a taste for such occupation, so much seamanship as could be learnt with the aid of this apparatus. The success of the experiment has exceeded every anticipation. It has been found that lads thus trained can soon make themselves useful on board ship, and they are consequently in demand for the navy. Enlistment in the army is also studiously. promoted; and, it is said,
with the best effect. In these employments nothing is made for the general market; the colony consumes all that it makes, and, as far as possi ble, makes all that it consumes. The period of detention is three years; at the expiration of which term they are, as we have already mentioned, hired by the neighbouring farmers and tradesmen, from whom there are more applications than can be satis fied. When a boy is thus placed out, a patron" is obtained for him, that is, some gentleman in the vici nity who will interest himself in his conduct and welfare. Reports from these patrons are received every six months, from which a list is made out. If the lad behaves well, he is presented, on his arriving at his twentieth year, with a ring engraved with an appropriate device. If he turns out ill, while under twenty years of age, he is either received back for a further trial, or is sent to the House of Correction from which he came, and there remains until the expiration of his sentence. There is a normal school attached to the institution, in which there are from twelve to eighteen pupils, to replace such of the masters as are sent of to similar establishments that are forming in various parts of France.
We cannot withhold the following anecdote from our readers. Not long since there was too much reason to believe that certain pecuniary support would be withdrawn from the institution, to such an extent that the establishment must be wound up, and the further prosecution of it abandoned; whereupon the different employés, a body of young men from twenty-one to thirty-five years of age-men of tried ability and vigour, who could at any time command remunerative employment elsewhere, waited on M. De Metz, and offered to continue their services at half their salaries! So fully were their hearts devoted to the work in which they were engaged. We must not omit to notice that Mettray has in its whole constitution one peculiar feature,— military organization. Each family is taught to consider itself a company of the regiment which is made up of the whole establishment; the monitors to each house are, so to speak, its corporals; the superintendent its lieutenant and captain; the Director
of the Colony, its colonel. Military discipline is assiduously, though not harshly or unkindly, enforced and practised; the boys march to their work, thir exercise, their school, their play ground; a band of nilitary music, selected from the boys themselves, assists in familiarizing and ins illing the military notion and feeling; an exact obedience on the one hand, and a constant superintendence on the other, are thus at once enforced. Such is Mettray; an institution which, whether for good or for evil, has exercised, and will continue to exercise, over the minds of the founders of similar establishments through the globe, an influence so powerful and diffusive as to justify all the minuteness with which we have described its structure and operation. There are in France and Algeria forty-one institutions of this description, but the results are far from being either uniform or encouraging. Of these, 18 are directed by laymen, 15 by ecclesiastics or religious bodies, and 8 under a mixed direction, lay and clerical. Three are specially devoted to Protestant children; and, of these, that at Strasbourg is the most intersting and the best known.
Immediately after Mettray, in point of interest and importance, though prior to it in point of origin, con.es the universally known Rauhe Haus, at the village of Horn, about three mil s from Hamburg, and founded, in 1833, by M. Wichern, for the reception and training of poor friendless outcasts of the adjacent city. was not designed for those who had fallen into crime, but for those whose circumstances and associates were likely to lead them into it. The benevolent founder's view was this," that a prison school will only train culprits; it will not develop the feelings or morals: that can alone be done by placing the child, as far as possible, in h position in which the heavenly Father would have him placed, in a well-ordered family, where his best faculties and disposition should be educed and expanded ; an institution which shall not send forth branded convicts, (los; to all self-respect), but moral patients restored to health, who henceforth should mingle unmarked with those around them." The usual designation,
"House of Rescue." was dropped, and the new institution took its name from that belonging to the old, rough, thahed cot.age first inhabited, Rauhe Haus. Let the child feel," says M. Wichern, "that when his foot passes over the threshold of h's new abode, his conduct is changed! He begins a new life. His past misbehaviour is forgiven and fogotten." The number of inmates at the commencement was only four or five, whom M. Wichern had induced by gene remonstrance and calm rasoning, suited to the capacity of the poor children, to come into their new dwelling; being determined
By winning wor ls to conquer willing hearts, And make persuasion do the work of fear:
and he was immediately rewarded with answerable success. With the aid of his young converts, he soon brought their humble tenement into a habitable condition; and when all was ready, he inaugurated his un lertaking with a simple but most impressive religious solemuity, which those who were present could not e sily have forgotten; and we consecrated our es ab.ishment," says he,
on -, in the mids: of such a bright sunshine, that only God's own love could shine more brightly." The whole proceeding was eminently affec.ing. The following prayer, offered up on this occasion, as it cam from the speaker's heart, will surely find its way to that of the reader :"Deign, O thou God of mercy, to enter this lowly dwelling as its guardian and defence; dwell therein, as its Lord and owner;--supply therein with bodily and spiritual food;-a vaken therein the longing for that far bester and etera! abode of pa c, which thou in yonder mansions hast prepared for them that love thy appearing, and paintly look for thy salvation." There are no bars, bolts, or boundary wall; "the s rongest and moз3 unscaleable wall," says the founder, "is, we find, to have no wall at all." We have not space to go into the details of the mauag ment of this most in er st ng establishment; su lice it to say that, as a Reformatory, its success has been as signal as that of Mettray, while the lading pr.nciple on which it is conducted--the failily feelin—is the
same. The amount of compulsion exercised is slight, and rarely needed. Kindness, vigilance, the effect of example, and, above all, the moral influences, wholly new to the wretched children sent thither, which are brought to bear upon them, rarely fail to work the desired effects. The boys are all taught some branch of industry; and, as fast as they shew themselves qualified and deserving, are placed out in various honest callings. The whole number is grouped into families of twelve, over each of which superintendents are appointed.
În Belgium there are two reformatory schools one at Ruysselede, modelled upon that at Mettray, and superintended by the well-known reformer of prisons, M. Ducpétiaux; and the other at Beernem, exclusively for girls, and conducted by Sisters of Charity. It must be observed, however, that only about one half of the inmates are of the criminal class; the rest are pauper children sent by the parishes, or by benevolent societies: a fact which ought to be borne in mind when contrasting results. For example, when Mr. Robert Hall, Recorder of Doncaster, visited, in 1854, the establishment of Petit Bourg, near Corbeil, in France, for the treatment of precisely the same class of offenders with that received at Mettray, he applied his usual test,— the searching question, "Do you succeed in gaining the affections of your young people?" The answer was, "Never!" The children were described as being at once selfish and ungrateful; sometimes well-behaved out of policy, but never evincing the slightest kindly feeling for the most sedulous care. At Ruysselede he asked the same question. "Yes," was the reply; "we should do little good if we did not gain the hearts of the great majority,--almost of all those who remain any length of time with us; but the parishes remove some of them before any good can be hoped for." We pray our readers to mark that; we shail have to recur to it by-and-by. At Mettray the children say their prayers aloud; at Ruysselede all pray in silence. "How do you know that your children pray at all?" asks a superintendent of the former establishment of the director of the latter. "How do you know,"
retorts the director, "whether yours pray with the heart? For if they don't, they had better not pray at all." This is a very pretty controversy as it stands; we leave the
rival litigants to decide it at their leisure.
In contrasting the Belgic system with that of France, or, indeed, with that of any other State, it is proper to bear in mind that the reformatory schools of that kingdom have been instituted by virtue of a law which applies to the whole nation, and admits to a participation in its benefits every mendicant, vagrant, pauper, or morally neglected child found in certain defined circumstances. The design is not merely to come to the rescue of some children only, of a given class or locality, but to compass the reformation of the whole of the youthful population heretofore condemned, by the extreme misery, the vices, the negligence, or the thriftlessness of their parents, to be swallowed up and lost in the depots of mendicity and the prisons. short, it is boldly attempted to extinguish pauperism in Belgium, by the education and apprenticeship of all its mendicant, vagrant, and pauper children; and in the course of this endeavour the highest refinements of discipline and economy have been brought into practical use.
There is at Kopf, near Berlin, a reformatory establishment, and another at Dusselthal Abbey, near Dusseldorf, founded, in 1816, by Count Von der Recke. Switzerland, too, as is well known, boasts of her reform schools at Neuhof and Hofwyl, besides that at Bachtelen, near Berne, and the renowned normal school of Kreutlingen, near Constance, founded by Werhli, the disciple and follower of Pestalozzi and Fellenberg. Nor have the United States been behind Europe in this useful and benevolent career. The carliest Reformatory was established in New York in 1824; this was followed by one at Philadelphia, in 1825; in 1835 an excellent one was founded; and it reports the most encouraging results. There are others of more recent date in Massachusetts and Maryland. The latest we have heard of is the Baltimore House of Refuge, established in 1852. These reckon their inmates by thousands ;