18 SEPTEMBER 1880, Page 18



SIR,—In your review of the work done by the present House of Commons, you have omitted to notice one important Act, to which, if you will permit me, I will draw attention. It is very short, and the discussion occupied but little time ; its effect, however, may be very great on the well-being of the community. It is an Act to amend the Industrial Schools Act, of 1866 and 1868. It extends the benefits of those acts to any child under fourteen years of age, who lodges or resides in a house of ill-fame, or that frequents the company of prostitutes. It is calculated that there are about 10,000 children living in these houses in London alone, who are being literally trained in vice. By this Act these children can be rescued from corrup- tion, and trained as useful members of society. To carry out the Act it will be necessary that increased accommodation should be provided for the industrial training of girls. At present the proportion of girls to boys in our London schools is 200 girls to 1,300 boys.

The plea of expense may possibly be raised against the vigorous working of the Act, but surely it is better to spend money in training children in virtuous habits, than to provide prisons and workhouses for them, when they have become vicious or destitute. Much work is done for the rescue and reform of fallen women, and there is room for further efforts in that field of labour ; but if greater efforts were made to prevent the whole- sale corruption of our young children, there would be less need for the weary efforts to reclaim the vicious. Common-sense seems to suggest that it would be best to strike at the root of the evil.—I am, Sir, &C.,