« PreviousContinue »
was fully aware, and acknowledged how much this contributed to the preservation of the interior discipline of the prison, and to the diminution of his labour : no prisoner can suffer from the negligence or malice of an under goaler, no favour, nor any tyranny can be secretly practised. The rules of temperance are there necessarily observed : those great clamours of which I had been told, have taken place sometimes when the prisoners perceived that they were not seen, but as soon as the inspector returned to his station, order and silence were restored. The labour of the women is spinning; that of men picking of oakum : the occupation is a comfort to thein, and they do not refuse it; many even knowing that they are observed, and that their merit will not be lost, work with much diligence. The building is as healthy as could be wished ; those who have come in sick, have gone out well; two months of temperance and regularity, in general, perfectly re-establishes their health. The mode of construction renders it very easy to furnish every part of the prison with a good supply of water ; it is equally favourable to warmth and cleanliness-a central stove serves for the whole, and thus a degree of comfort is afforded to the prisoners of which they are deprived in the greater part of prisons. I have stated that the average number is about 60-the total expense is 6501. per annum. The women are entitled to a bounty of one penny per day upon their work, and the men sixpence per day for the picking of oakum ; but this employment often fails. The cultivation of the garden is performed by the prisoners. The economy of this house is such as to constitute a proof of the merit of the Directors; but these results could never have been obtained, without the particular form of the building, imperfect as it is in this instance.
I will say no more at present upon the subject; the facts which I have stated may suffice to give you an idea of the objections which some are disposed to raise against Mr.Bentham's plan,* from the example of the bridewell at Edinburghi but even here it is plain that, imperfect as the execution has been, it is still very superior to all existing prisons, and has a decided superiority on the very important points of economy, discipline, salubrity and security, without even reckoning upon what ought to be deemed of great consequence in a free state, the facility which it affords to every magistrate, and to
* One of the grand principles in Mr. Bentham's plan, is, that while the prisoners cannot see each other, they can all be seen at once at a single turn of the body by the inspector,
every individual, to sec at one glance, all that is transacting in the prison : if I should suffer myself to dilate upon all the good effects of this publicity, I should write a volume ; but, to you it would be a useless one.
Progress of the Plan for the General Education of the
our last we expressed the hope of laying before the public in this number, a plan for training school mistresses, and also an account of the schools formed on the Lancastrian system, under the distinct heads of the different counties in which they are situated; but although considerable progress is made in both these objects, yet we are under the necessity of deferring those reports to a future opportunity. In the present number we shall present some pleasing details cone cerning the progress of this plan.
RUMENTAL SCHOOLS. ABOUT twelve months ago, His Royal Highness the Duke of kint visited the Royal Free School in the Borough Road, and during a stay of about two hours, examined minutely inio every part of the system of education; he noticed with much commendation the attainments of the children in different parts of their learning, and was pleased to express his approbation, by saying, that he never before saw so complete a piece of machinery,
The inspection of this school filled bis Royal Highness with an anxious wish, that the benefits of the system should generally be made applicable to the children of soldiers. After having duly weighed all the advantages and bearings of giving practical effect to this wish, the Duke resolved to attach a school to his own regiment, the Royals, in which he completely succeeded; a young man from the regiment was selected as school-master, who was trained at the Borough Road, and the school was instituted at Malden in Essex, where the regiment was then quartered. Great credit is due to the attention of Lieutenant-colonel M‘Leod and the other officers of the regiment, who co-operated with their Royal
Commander in his benevolent design. The school consists of 220 boys belonging to the privates. When the regiment removed its quarters, the desks and all the apparatus of the school were packed up as part of the baggage, and the school is now carried on at Dunbar; it was visited by Joseph Lancaster on his late journey to Scotland, who found it in an excellent state of order.
This example of His Royal lighness, it is hoped will speedily be followed by all the regiments of the line, as the education of soldier's children cannot fail to produce a great moral improvement in the habits or the army in general. On joining the Duke's regiment, if a recruit is found incapable of reading, he is sent to the school, and as a powerful stimulus to exertion, those who make good proficiency in learning, are put down a, duplicate non-commissioned officers.
We are happy to be able to state, that the commanding officers at several of the military depots are now making preparation for the establishment of schools for the children of soldiers.
In the latter end of September the Duke of Kent again visited the Royal Free School, in the Borough Road, in company with his royal brother the Duke of Cambridge; they staid a considerable time contemplating with delight the interesting spectacle of twelve hundred children, instructing each other, while at the same time a number of young schoolmasters were learning tbe plan.
The attention they paid to the children was characteristic of benevolent feelings and true urbinity of manners. Well deserving of imitation is this conduct of their Royal Highnesses, it has the most powerful effect on the children, exciting them to renewed diligence, and tends to create a bond of affcc. tion and loyalty in those in inferior stations, which in future time may render them proof against all seditious influence.
A SUBSCRIPTION has lately been opened in the city of Bristol to erect a suitable building for the Lancasterian school which has been established there. The liberality displayed upon this occasion, raises high expectation of a great and striking example to the rest of the country.
MANCHESTER. The inhabitants of this populous town subscribed near 15001. on the late Jubilee, for the purpose of building a Royal Jubilee School, on the Lancasterian system. The ground is taken, and the building will be commenced in the spring. In the interim, a school has been opened for 400 boys, which was lately visited by Sir Sydney Smith, who expressed the highest approbation of the order and profici. ency of the children.
BIRMINGHAM. The school in this town may be noticed as one of the most perfect specimens of the British system ; it is conducted by a young man, who was a pupil of J. Lancaster. This young man has so thoroughly entered into the spirit of the system, that his school may be contemplated with the same delight and astonishment as one is accustomed to feel at visiting the great manufactories in that town. It ought to be considered as a grand intellectual factory, and we hope, from the lively interest taken in it by the most distinguished of the inhabi. tants, that it will shortly be extended to at least double the present number of 400, or even to 1000, there being plenty of children eager to obtain admission. On visiting this school, one is instantly reminded of the exclamation of the Rev. S. Smith, in a lecture at the Royal Institution ; when speaking of the school in the Borough Road, he said, “ it exhibited a sight to the eye most delightful, and to the heart most gratifying, of any thing that had ever fallen to his lot to witness in the whole course of his existence.”
FENNY STRATFORD, BEDFORDSHIRE, The town, or rather village of Fenny Stratford, is situated about forty miles from London, in the road to Coventry. The establishment of a school in this place, is so remarkable an instance of public spirit, that it deserves to be recorded for general imitation. The number of inhabitants scarcely exceeds four hundred, but their benevolent exertions would have done honour to a town of very considerable magnitude.
The Lancasterian school at Woburn, established by his Grace the Duke of Bedford, had attracted the attention of a few individuals residing at Fenny Stratford; having visited
this school and witnessed its benefits, they were so impressed with the value and importance of the system, as to determine upon the establishment of one for the youth of their own neighbourhood. But these worthy men were not rich ; no suitable place for a school-room was to be found, and they could not expect to raise sufficient funds by way of gift, equal to the expense of building a school-room. This difficulty was obviated and subscriptions were raised by way of loau, in shares of 101. each, to receive interest for their money as the rent of the place. The shares are transferable, and may be paid off as the committee may be enabled by expected donations, but the building is never to be appropriated to any other purpose than the original one. On this plan they raised money enough to purchase a piece of freehold land, on which they have erected a very commodious school-room; it is situated on the side of the high road, and forins an interesting object to the traveller.
This plan of raising funds for the building of school-rooms, is recommended to adoption in places where it is not convenient to raise the sum by gift; and if it were followed in every small town in the kingdom, many thousands of children would speedily be put in train of education.
The spirited conduct of these few individuals, soon attracted the notice of the neighbouring gentry and clergy, several of whom have given donations and annual subscriptions to a considerable amount, and the institution now bids fair to meet with success equal to its merit. The committee elected a young man of excellent abilities for their school-master ; he was properly trained to the system, and the school was organized by one of Joseph Lancaster's young assistants.
This school, which contains above 100 children, was visited by the Mayor of Northampton ; and the pleasing impression on his mind was such, that on his return home he made honourable mention of this school, at a public meeting, and seconded a proposal for establishing a similar one.
NORTHAMPTON. Joseph LANCASTER, in his late tour through the midland counties, delivered two lectures at Northampton, which were received with the attention due to the importance of the subject. A requisition to the Mayor for a town's meeting was signed by a number of the most respectable inbabitants, which being held, resolutions were passed for the establishment of a school; a subscription immediately com