29 DECEMBER 1855, Page 13



Sou= has a sin to expiate. It is now in the act of converting well-disposed boys into profligates, vagrants, and criminals. When we say "society," we do not mean only that vague inde- finite thing the million, but those who legislate and administer for the million; most especially, Lord Palmerston, Sir George Grey, Sir John Pakington, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and such as have the initiative and high consultative position near or in the Government. They convert well-disposed boys into profligates, vagrants, and criminals ; and now, during this present Christmas, they are continuing that bad conversion. We do not say it meta- phorically—it is sober fact. When Lord Sidmouth showed Robert Owen a prison-boy undergoing some kind of rough discipline, and asked the Socialist what he thought, Robert Owen replied, "I think, my Lord, you and the boy ought to change places." And the enthusiast was very near the truth, as enthusiasts sometimes are. At the Sussex meeting, the other day, Mr. Sydney Turner told the results of the statistics at Redhill, discarding the last two years, as the sincerity of the reformed within that period has not been sufficiently tested by time. He finds that seven-tenths of the boys are effectually reformed—prove, in fact, to be good boys by nature, and well-conducted when they are taught how to be so. Thus, in their previous condition, the boys have been artificially taught to be bad boys, and have been consigned to destruction. " Qui holt per alium, facit per se": he who lets wrong be done which he might prevent, does it himself; and in this case there is a direct responsibility. Lord Palmerston, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chief Justice Campbell, and Sir John Pakington—some of the principal heads of our governing system—are directly respon- sible, because if they were to say that the thing shall be done, and were to put their shoulders together to the wheel, it would be done. It is their duty, as administrators and legislators, to protect the innocent against the guilty ; but they leave the innocent children at the mercy of wicked parents and associates. Any one who attempts even honestly to seduce into lawful wedlock one of the Lord Chan- cellor's wealthy wards, shall be "in contempt," and shall sustain no end of punishment ; but one who shall seduce no matter how many of Secretary Sir George Grey's penniless wards to courses of stealing, shall be let alone, and Secretary Sir Dogberry Verges will only thank God that he is "quit of such vagrom men." This cannot be suffered to go on. We now know that of the total num- ber of criminal boys, seven in ten at least are so because they have been made so through causes which Lord Palmerston, the Arch- bishop of Canterbury, Sir George Grey, Chief Justice Campbell, and Sir John Pakington, could prevent. The working of the cause is easily traced. A. B. is a boy under ten or twelve years of age. He has seen his parents thieve, live in filth, go into prison and out again. He thinks it is the doom of his class. He is hungry, and can satisfy his hunger at once by running off with that handkerchief and taking it to the marine- store-dealer's. He has seen Charley Bates do it scores of times ; and Charley is really a good fellow—kind-hearted, cheerful, sharp, clever, and plucky—quite a respectable friend. So, little Oliver prigs what isn't his'n, and does not go to prison. If he does, he can't help it He would probably get a situation, if he only knew how. But who will take Charley Bates's friend ? He could not even get a post as doctor's boy. There are no dinners handy. He has not the slightest acquaintance with statistics. He does not know that he could get half-a-crown a week as scavenger in a cotton-mill ; or if he did, how to get there; or if he could get there, how to economize half-a-crown to make it stretch over the week, paying for its due proportions of rent, food, clothing, &c. Nobody has told him the least iota of these things. Charley Bates is his real friend ; his father only "teaches by example "—but he is not old enough yet to vie with that model. He follows in the steps of Bates. We, by and with the aid of Lord Palmerston, the Arch- bishop of Canterbury, Secretary Sir George Grey, Lord Chief Jus- tice Campbell, and Sir John Pakington, could easily .prevent the lad's following that sad leader ; but we leave Charley Bates alone in his school, the good boy is made bad, and we are answerable. That is why we are bound to interfere. But how to rescue the Oliver Twists from the Charley Bateses of life ? They show us how at Redhill, at Hardwieke Lodge, at Mettray. Not only theoretically how, but practically. There is not only one mode, though all modes have something in common. At Mettray, it is complete military discipline and the ptinoiple of honour; at B.edhill, it is spade industry and the principle of duty ; at Ilardwicke Lodge, it is gradual training into the consciousness of being trusted, and useful employment. And they succeed. Not only the Oliver Twists, but the confirmed Charley Bateses are rescued. They are taught how tshagomai live without fol- lowing the habits and fashions of n Hill; how to get a dinner independently of the marine-store-dealer,—no mean lesson for them. Sydney Turner, Lloyd Baker, and Deraetz, fasten the responsibility on Sir George Grey and his colleagues in the de- bauching of boys by proxy. For Grey and his accomplices will not even leave the boys alone, to be, what they would then be, wild boys, lawless, fierce, predacious, with redeeming qualities of bravery, pride, and instinctive manly rivalry. No; the boys must live a civil life elaborately built up around them, and en- closed within a wall, in the midst of which, they, poor boys, live the unwholesome life of stewed Arabs, whence they know no rescue. There they are taught to find their pride in prigging best, their manliness in braving the beak; taught by the proxies whom Grey and his accomplices leave in possession, although Sydney Turner and his coadjutors show how easily justice may be done by defending those innocent boys against their guilty and their unguilty seducers. And when? Why, now. There is not at this day the slightest necessity to show that it costs less to train up Oliver Twist to be an intelligent, industrious, independent man, adding to our wealth, than to be an ignorant, predacious animal, destroying the wealth of those who really maintain him in prison and out of it. If Grey and his accomplices could only wake to a sense of their own wicked ways by omission, if they could but see how unchristian they have been, and if they should desire at this most fitting season to mend. , their ways and make some expiatory sacrifice,—they could not do better than to resolve that forthwith they will do their duty, and begin at once—namely, in this session next ensuing—to rescue the lost boys without waiting to have the boys brought to them by the criminal judge.