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reception. In this agreeable retreat they found spacious and elegant apartments, kept with the most scrupulous neatness, well warmed in winter and well lighted ; a good warm dinner every day, gratis, cooked and served up with all possible attention to order and cleanliness ; materials and utensils for those who were able to work; masters, gratis, for those who required instruction ; the most generous pay, in money, for all the labor performed; and the kindest usage from every person, from the highest to the lowest, belonging to the establishment. Here, in this asylum for the indigent and unfortunate, no ill-usage, no harsh language, is permitted. During five years that the establishment has existed, not a blow has been given to any one; not even to a child by his instructor.
As the rules and regulations for the presertation of order are few, and easy to be observed, the instances of their being transgressed are rare; and as all the labor performed is paid by the piece and not by the day, and is well paid, and as those who gain the most by their work in the course of the week receive proportional rewards on the Saturday evening, these are most effectual encouragements to industry.
As by far the greater part of these poor creatures were totally un. acquainted with every kind of useful labor, it was necessary to give tliem such work at first as was very easy to be performed, and in which the raw materials were of little value; and then, by degrees, as they became more adroit, to employ them in manufacturing more valuable articles.
As hemp is a very cheap commodity, and as the spinning of hemp is easily learned, particularly when it is designed for very coarse and ordi. nary manufactures, 15,000 pounds of that article were purchased in the Palatinate and transported to Munich ; and several hundred spinningwheels, proper for spinning it, were provided ; and several good spinners as instructors were engaged, and in readiness, when this house of industry was opened for the reception of the poor.
Flax and wool were likewise provided, and some few good spinners of those articles were engaged as instructors; but by far the greater num. ber of the poor began with spinning of hemp; and so great was their awkwardness at first, that they absolutely ruined almost all the raw materials that were put into their hands. By an exact calculation of profit and loss, it was found that the manufactory actually lost more than 3,000 florins upon the articles of hemp and flax during the first three months; but we were not discouraged by these unfavorable beginnings; they were indeed easy to be foreseen, considering the sort of people we had to deal with, and how necessary it was to pay them at a very high rate for the little work they were able to perform, in order to keep up their courage, and induce them to persevere with cheerfulness in acquiring more skill and address in their labor. If the establishment
was supported at some little expense in the beginning, it afterward richly repaid these advantages.
It is easy to conceive that so great a number of unfortunate beings, of all ages and sexes, taken as it were out of their very element, and placed in a situation so perfectly new to them, could not fail to be productive of very interesting situations. Would to God I were able to do justice to this subject! but no language can describe the affecting scenes to which I was a witness upon this occasion.
The exquisite delight which a sensible mind must feel upon seeing many hundreds of wretched beings awaking from a state of misery and inactivity as from a dream, and applying themselves with cheerfulness to the employments of useful industry ;-upon seeing the first dawn of placid content break upon a countenance covered with habitual gloom, and furrowed and distorted by misery ; this is easier to be conceived than described.
During the first three or four days that these poor people were assembled, it was not possible entirely to prevent confusion : there was nothing like mutinous resistance among them; but their situation was so new to them, and they were so very awkward in it, that it was difficult to bring them into any tolerable order. At length, however, by distributing them in the different halls, and assigning to each his particular place (the places being all distinguished by numbers), they were brought into such order as to enable the inspectors and instructors to begin their operations.
Those who understood any kind of work, were placed in the apart. ments where the work they understood was carried on; and the others, being classed according to their sexes, and as much as possible according to their ages, were placed under the immediate care of the different instructors. By much the larger number were put to spinning of hemp; others, and particularly the young children from four to seven years of age, were taught to knit and to sew: and the most awkward among the men, and particularly the old, the lame, and the infirm, were put to carding of wool. Old women, whose sight was too weak to spin, or whose hands trembled with palsy, were made to spool yarn for the weavers ; and young children, who were too weak to labor, were placed upon seats erected for that purpose round the rooms where other children worked.
As it was winter, fires were kept in every part of the building from morning till night; and all the rooms were lighted up till nine o'clock in the evening. Every room and every staircase was neatly swept and cleaned twice a day; once early in the morning, before the people were assembled, and once while they were at dinner. Care was taken, by placing ventilators, and occasionally opening the windows, to keep
the air of the rooms perfectly sweet, and free from all disagreeable smells; and the rooms themselves were not only neatly whitewashed and fitted up and arranged in every respect with elegance, but care was taken to clean the windows very often; to clean the court-yard every day; and even to clear away the rubbish from the street in front of the building, to a considerable distance on every side.
Those who frequented this establishment were expected to arrive at the fixed hour in the morning, which hour varied according to the season of the year; if they came too late, they were gently reprimanded; and if they persisted in being tardy, without being able to give a sufficient excuse for not coming sooner, they were punished by being deprived of their dinner, which otherwise they received every day gratis.
At the hour of dinner a large bell was rung in the court, when those at work in the different parts of the building repaired to the dining-hall, wbere they found a wholesome and nourishing repast, consisting of about a pound and a quarter, avoirdupois weight, of a very rich soup of peas and barley, mixed with cuttings of fine white bread, and a piece of excellent rye bread, weighing seven ounces; which last they commonly put in their pockets and carried home for their supper. Children were allowed the same portion as grown persons; and a mother, who had one or more young children, was allowed a portion for each of them.
Those who from sickness or other bodily infirmities were not able to come to the workhouse, as also those who, on account of young children they had to nurse, or sick persons to take care of, found it more convenient to work at their own lodgings (and of these there were many), were not on that account deprived of their dinners. Upon representing their cases to the committee, tickets were granted them, upon which they were authorized to receive from the public kitchen, daily, the number of portions specified in the ticket; and these they might send for by a child, or by any other person they thought proper to employ; it was necessary, however, that the ticket should always be produced, otherwise the portions were not delivered. This precaution was necessary to prevent abuses on the part of the poor.
Though a very generous price was paid for labor in the different manufactures in which the poor were employed, yet that alone was not enough to interest them sufficiently in the occupations in which they were engaged. To excite their activity, and inspire them with a true spirit of persevering industry, it was necessary to fire them with emulation-to awaken in them a dormant passion whose influence they had never felt, the love of honest fame, an ardent desire to excel-the love of glory-or by what other more humble or pompous name this passion, the most noble and most beneficent that warms the human heart, can be distinguished.
To excite emulation,-praise, distinctions, rewards are necessary; and these were all employed. Those who distinguished themselves by their application, by their industry, by their address, were publicly praised and encouraged, - brought forward and placed in the most conspicuous situations, pointed out to strangers who visited the establishment, and particularly named and proposed as models for others to copy. A particular dress, a sort of uniform for the establishment, which, though very economical, as may be seen by the details which will be given of it in another place, was nevertheless elegant, was provided; and this dress, as it was given out gratis, and only bestowed upon those who particularly distinguished themselves, was soon looked upon as an honorable mark of approved merit; and served very powerfully to excite emula. tion among the competitors. I doubt whether vanity, in any instance, ever surveyed itself with more self-gratification, than did some of these poor people when they first put on their new dress.
How necessary is it to be acquainted with the secret springs of action in the human heart, to direct even the lowest and most unfeeling class of mankind! The machine is intrinsically the same in all situations ; the great secret is, first to put it in tune, before an attempt is made to play upon it. The jarring sounds of former vibrations must first be stilled, otherwise no harmony can be produced; but when the instrument is in order the notes cannot fail to answer to the touch of a skilful master.
Though everything was done that could be devised to impress the minds of all those, old and young, who frequented this establishment, with such sentiments as were necessary in order to their becoming good and useful inembers of society (and in these attempts I was certainly successful, much beyond my most sanguine expectations), yet my hopes were chiefly placed on the rising generation.
The children, therefore, of the poor, were objects of my peculiar care and attention. To induce their parents to send them to the establishment, even before they were old enough to do any kind of work, when they attended at the regular hours, they not only received their dinner gratis, but each of them was paid three kreutzers a day for doing nothing, but merely being present where others worked.
I have already mentioned that these children, who were too young to work, were placed upon seats built round the halls where other children worked. This was done in order to inspire them with a desire to do that which other children, apparently more favored, more caressed, and more praised than themselves, were permitted to do; and of which they were obliged to be idle spectators; and this had the desired effect.
As nothing is so tedious to a child as being obliged to sit still in the same place for a considerable time, and as the work which the other more favored children were engaged in was light and easy, and appeared
rather amusing than otherwise, being the spinning of hemp and flax, with small light wheels, turned with the foot, these children, who were obliged to be spectators of this busy and entertaining scene, became so uneasy in their situations, and so jealous of those who were permitted to be more active, that they frequently solicited with the greatest importunity to be permitted to work, and often cried most heartily if this favor was not instantly granted them.
How sweet these tears were to me, can easily be imagined.
The joy they showed upon being permitted to descend from their benches and mix with the working children below, was equal to the solicitude with which they had demanded that favor.
They were at first merely furnished with a wheel, which they turned for several days with the foot, without being permitted to attempt anything further. As soon as they were become dexterous in this simple operation, and habit had made it so easy and familiar to them that the foot could continue its motion mechanically, without the assistance of the head, -till they could go on with their work, ever though their attention was employed upon something else,--till they could answer questions and converse freely with those about them upon indifferent subjects, without interrupting or embarrassing the regular motion of the wheel, then—and not till then—they were furnished with hemp or flax, and were taught to spin.
When they had arrived at a certain degree of dexterity in spinning hemp and flax, they were put to the spinning of wool; and this was always represented to them, and considered by them, as an honorable promotion. Upon this occasion they commonly received some public reward, a new shirt, a pair of shoes, or perhaps the uniform of the establishment, as an encouragement to them to persevere in their industrious habits.
As constant application to any occupation for too great a length of time is apt to produce disgust, and in children might even be detrimental to health, besides the hour of dinner, an hour of relaxation from work (from eight o'clock till nine) in the forenoon, and another hour (from three o'clock till four) in the afternoon, were allowed them; and these two hours were spent in a school, which, for want of room elsewhere in the house, was kept in the dining-hall, where they were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, by a school-master engaged and paid for that purpose. Into this school, other persons who worked in the house of a more advanced age, were admitted, if they requested it; but few grown persons seemed desirous of availing themselves of this permission. As to the children, they had no choice in the matter; those who belonged to the establishment were obliged to attend the school regularly every day, morning and evening. The school-books, paper, pens and ink, were furnished at the expense of the establishment.