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children educated, towards that end, is quite sufficient, if it be well laid out to give them an excellent education, and a very small portion of the money, which is thrown away upon pleasures-to say the least of them, not leading to good-would be amply sufficient, to provide the humanizing and delightful recreation, which a reading room could be made to afford.
By excellent education is meant the following things:-1st. The acquiring the most efficient means of gaining useful knowledge, viz. the art of reading and writing, and a knowledge of the elements of numbers; 2nd, a knowledge of the scientific principles of the trade or handicraft to which the child may be destined; 3rd, the creation of that frame or habit of mind, which makes the acquirement of knowledge a pleasure, that habit which induces the pupil not to throw aside all study upon quitting his school, but which leads him to pursue, as a pleasure, that which he had hitherto been pursuing as a duty; which leads him in fact, not only to love knowledge, but also the labour of acquiring it; 4th and lastly, excellent education is meant to include a knowledge of our religious and moral duties, and also the formation of that temper which ensures the fulfilment of them.
Hitherto it has been, but too generally believed, that the time and money which the working man could afford, for the education of his children, were only sufficient to enable them very imperfectly to acquire the means of knowledge mentioned above, viz. reading, writing, and some little arithmetic. The promoters of the education society, feel assured that they can prove this belief erroneous; conceiving that by careful and well-directed arrangements, every working man may be enabled to provide his children with an education, which shall include almost all that is needful, to the right and efficient training of their moral and intellectual faculties. Of late years much practical knowledge has been acquired, respecting the nature of the human mind; new and more efficient modes of imparting knowledge have thus been discovered: as in the physical world, by searching, inquiring, and analyzing, we have gained a more extensive, and accurate knowledge of the various properties of different substances, and are able to supply them in many new ways, practically to our service; so by careful search, and steady and laborious inquiry, we have learned the many various properties of our mental and moral nature; and have been enabled by means of this more accurate and extensive knowledge, to frame more rapid and efficient modes of imparting instruction, and better directed plans for the formation of the temper and habits. The promoters of the education society, desire to bring these new and improved plans of instruction into use. They hope to collect from various quarters improved methods of teaching; and by means of good arrangements, not merely to give a good education for the present moment, but to improve with the time; and as each succeeding day brings something new and better, to be so formed as to adopt what is good as soon as it is discovered. They wish however to raise no exaggerated hopes: education must at all times be a slow and gradual process. The business of a good education, is not to make the child a prodigy; but to prepare him for being an instructed man in his calling, as well as generally with well-regulated habits, and a temper under the control of his kind affections and his reason. If the education of the school do this, it will do all that can be expected, and more than has yet been accomplished. But this is a work of time.
On the benefits of a reading room, there is no reason to enlarge: all that need be done on this point, is to shew that one can be established, and to point out the mode in which it will aid the school.
EMIGRATION OF LABourers.
It will be recollected, that some time since complaints were made to the poor-law commissioners by the paupers of Bledlow; and it appears that in
consequence of communications from different individuals, a new system of emigration has been commenced, which is likely to prove highly beneficial to overstocked agricultural parishes. The plan consists in conveying the surplus poor from the agricultural parishes to the great manufacturing towns of Lancashire, &c., where they can obtain good wages, and where the scarcity of hands has long been felt. The Manchester Guardian, in referring to the Bledlow paupers, says, "Four or five who expressed a willingness to remove into Lancashire, were forwarded by a boat to this town, and were met here by the overseer, Mr. Clarke, jun., a very judicious and intelligent man: after some consideration, he placed the paupers with Messrs. Greig, at Mary Bank, near Winslow, where they are now in employment, very highly satisfied with the change in their condition, as their employers are also with them. They consist, we believe, of twenty-four individuals in all, the greater part of whom are females. Several of them had been previously employed in the manufacture of thread lace, and, consequently, were very familiarized with the species of labour required in a cotton factory. Another family were shortly afterwards sent over to Messrs. H. and E. Ashworth, at Egerton, and we have obtained some details respecting them, which may not be uninteresting to our readers. The father of the family, Joseph Stephens, when in employment, which was very uncertain, received 7s. a week, the highest rate of wages given to labourers in the parish of Bledlow. His family consists of a wife and eight children, four sons and four daughters. The four boys occasionally earned a trifle by picking stones from the fields for repairing the roads; and in harvest, or at any other busy times, one of them could earn 3s. or 3s. 6d. per week; but when working for the parish, which was their usual resource, they had only 1s. 6d. per week each. At the best of times, the joint earnings of the whole family did not exceed 15s. per week, and they were, generally, about 12s. or 13s.; such was the condition before the removal. Now the father has been engaged for three years, as a labourer, at 10s. a week for the first year, 11s. for the second, and 12s. for the third. Four of the children, who are of sufficient age to be employed, have been engaged for the same term, at 20s. per week for the first year, 24s. for the second, and 28s. for the third; so that at the outset the income of the family has been raised from 12s. or 15s. per week, with a prospective increase of 5s. per week in each of the two succeeding years; in which time, two of the younger children, who are now sent to school, will become of age to earn their own living. Hitherto, we believe, they have given very great satisfaction to their employers, and are exceedingly well satisfied with their situation. No jealousy is felt by the work-people in the neighbourhood, as, in fact, the introduction of fresh hands for the common department of work, increases their earnings. Since the arrival of these families, many more manufacturers, some in Manchester, but more in the surrounding country, where the scarcity of inferiors in the factories is very severely felt, have written to the commissioners, to say that they shall be very glad to receive and give employment to any number of persons of the same description; and we believe that arrangements are now in progress in several parts of the south and west of England, for sending hitherwards a number of families now a burthen to the parishes, but who will readily procure profitable employment in this neighbourhood. At Stockport the want of hands is also very great; and the Stockport Advertiser says, 'Such is the scarcity of hands in the power loom manufactories of this town, that 500 additional hands could be put to work immediately if they could be obtained. Indeed, from all parts of the cotton manufacturing district, the statements are to the same effect, and it is tolerably clear that, without some extraordinary supply, many of the new factories cannot be worked. The agricultural districts of Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire, which have heretofore afforded considerable numbers of hands, appear to have been entirely cleared of their superabundant population."
Mr. Sheriff, in his new work on America, appears inclined to give some parts of the States the preference; but it is not from prejudice he does so. He mentions, that Canada labours under the great misfortune of bad local management. The Preservers of Lands for the Crown and clergy, and the unsold tracts of the Company, as well as of large monopolists, greatly injure the provinces. They are a barrier to improvement, and scatter instead of concentrating the population. There are also great difficulties in getting local functionaries to sell lands when wanted. "I met with individuals," he observes, "who had travelled more than 100 miles from York, to examine lands in the west, and returned again to petition and make interest with the authorities to get certain lots put up for sale. Sometimes applications to have lands put up for sale are frustrated; and rather than suffer delay, and dance attendance on people of influence, many have passed into the United States, where a person can go to a Land office of the district, and fix upon any land that pleases him. There cash is the only interest that can be employed, and its nonpayment the only delay to settlement." The results which follow the purchase of land in Canada are described as most deplorable. The system of selling land on credit, and contracting debt at Stores, has proved ruinous of late years to settlers without capital, who have no other means of extricating themselves, than by selling their property. In almost every district people are found anxious to sell land; and small farms may be bought on cheap terms, the land belonging to the Crown, Canada Company, or large proprietors, more especially if cash be paid. Indeed, the necessities of many people are so urgent and credit so general, that an individual with cash in his pocket may drive a good bargain at all times. The system of monopolizing, and raising the prices of land in Canada, now going on, he says, not only renders the prospect of labourers becoming landholders more distant, but also lowers wages through competition, by tending to confine them to their professions. Wages are generally higher in the United States than in Canada."
These are valuable hints, and should not be lost sight of. It is seen that emigrants cannot be too careful in guarding from being imposed upon by the specious statements put forth by companies, and land monopolists, and dealers of every description; and we advise those who find any difficulty in making a purchase in Canada-of course no body with a grain of sense will think of settling in the Lower province-to push at once across the lakes, and make a selection of lands within the limits of the United States; in which there is, on all sides, boundless scope for human industry unhampered by official misarrangements. As the season is approaching for the embarkation of emigrants, we beg to remind them that the best route to Upper Canada is by the way of New York. Every year's experience proves this to be the case; a large portion of the mercantile navy of Great Britain, from the infamous system of registration and underwriting, is unfit to encounter heavy seas and strong weather, especially the dangers of the gulf of St. Lawrence. On this subject, a writer on emigration, in the Liberal Glasgow newspaper, observes: if you regard comfort, expedition, economy, and safety, do not come by way of Quebec ; for, independent of the passage averaging 12 or 14 days more, than by the passage of New York, let the yearly shipwrecks in the Gulph and river of St. Lawrence speak for the wretched state of the timber-ships, and think on the hardships to which women and children are exposed, in coming up the dangerous St. Lawrence, when you can avoid all this by coming by New York, altogether cheaper and quicker, and with more safety and comfort: many come, and will continue, in the face of common sense, to come by Quebec, as the passage is something cheaper, than by New York; but they ought to reflect on the value of time wasted, and the chance of their lives.
It has been suggested that the establishment of Colleges for young men intended for Agriculturists, might be attended with great benefit; as, by a scientific arrangement, an experimental emulation would be created on the part of students leaving such Colleges, and by attempting various theories on their own fathers' farms, the fertility of Great Britain might be considerably improved, and a decided as well as general impetus given to cultivation throughout the country; for, until the operations of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms are more thoroughly explored by farmers, there is little chance of any extensive augmentation in the produce of the country. Investigating the natures of the soils, and using various manures to create or destroy components, that may be beneficial or detrimental in forwarding vegetation, is an essential knowledge and study on the part of the farmer. In many countries certain manures and systems are adopted from ancient prejudice or ignorance; the fact of the seed germinating and yielding a return being thought a sufficient proof of the efficacy of the favoured mode of tillage; and it would be quite unavailing to attempt any alteration or experiment deviating from the antiquated system; whereas, by a more judicious treatment of the land, and an improved method of agriculture, the farmer applying studiously to ascertain the manures most conducive to different soils, the earth might be forced to increase its produce several-fold. The principle is at present for the most part theoretical; for allowing the embryo power of extra fertility in the lands, yet the number of agriculturists in England will be found exceedingly limited, who would be inclined to enter into an experimental system of agriculture. Instances of course can be produced of education surmounting prejudice, but the present race of small farmers, whose parents have reared their crops by specified plans of agriculture, are as scrupulously followed by their sons; and until, by a different mode of education, you can conceive the cultivation of the efficacy of a new system, the reasoning faculties must be more enlarged and enlightened than can be expected in the present generation, though the institution of Agricultural Colleges would afford the readiest and most effectual means of promoting so desirable a result. What, may it be asked, has caused the Scotch farmer to become an experimentalist, and to make the advances and improvements in agriculture, but that he has the general diffusion of an improved education.
By the criminal returns stating the number of persons taken into custody by the metropolitan police, and the result of the charges in the year 1834, which has been recently printed, it appears that 64,269 persons were taken into custody, of whom 34,479 were discharged by the magistrates, 26,362 were summarily convicted or held to bail, 3,468 were committed for trial, 2,565 were convicted and sentenced, 551 acquitted, 329 not prosecuted (bills not found), and 23 whose cases have not been ascertained. The criminal charge under which the greatest number appears, is that of uttering base coin, 929 having been taken into custody under that charge, of whom however, 819 were discharged by the magistrates, and 98 convicted and sentenced. The charges of murder have been 26, but only 11 prosecutions upon them have been instituted, and 9 convictions obtained, of which 8 were declared manslaughter, so that only one execution followed. Not less than 19,779 have been taken into custody for drunkenness, of whom 10,944 obtained their discharge without fine, and 8,835 summarily convicted. A comparative statement of these returns with those published the three previous years, shows that from 1831 to the end of 1834, there is a decrease of the number of persons taken into custody of 8,555; an increase, during the corresponding year, of 315 committals for trial, and of 4,459 convictions by magistrates.
The pecuniary losses which must ever be the certain result of play, great as are the embarrassments they lead to, are least of the evils it entails. Gaming creates a moral torpedo, which palsies every noble and generous feeling in the heart of him who yields to it; renders him reckless of his own future happiness, and callous with regard to that of those who depend on him for theirs. He who wins or loses thousands, becomes careless of hundreds because he believes, with the credulity that ever appertains to the votaries of fortune, that she changes her smiles too frequently not to visit him occasionally the more he loses, the more he calculates on a re-action, that will repay his losses; and his expenses are incurred with reference to his possible losses; hence, heavy debts are added to the list of his troubles. If he wins, he continues to play, because it would be a folly to abandon fortune when she is favourable: and, if he loses, which by some unaccountable fatality, (as he calls it) occurs much more frequently, he equally continues to gamble, because he has lost too much to leave off without trying to recover some part; and so plays until fortune and honour have left him for ever; and, as it is continued at night, he loses his health, and it drives him almost to despair.
GENERAL PENITENTIARY, MILLBANK.
From a return, we perceive that the number of prisoners confined was 614 (486 males, 128 females), on the 31st of December, 1833; and 662 (516 males, 106 females), on the 31st of December last. Of those discharged in 1833 (83 males, 53 females), 31 males and 20 females have received gratuities for good conduct since their liberation, and others are going on well; but 9 males and 5 females have returned to their evil courses. Solitary confinement is much resorted to; and when the prisoners meet, silence is enforced, and they are not allowed to approach each other. The first class are permitted to see or write to their friends once in six months, and the second class once in three months; and letters are allowed to be received once a month, being first read by the governor and chaplain. The total expense of the establishment in 1834 amounted to £19,012..17..5, and the earnings to £3,016..1..2.
Two Reports from Mr. Capper, to the 29th of January, 1835, are printed, relative to convicts confined in the Hulks at Portsmouth, Gosport, Chatham, Woolwich, and Bermuda. The convicts have been healthy. Since the transportation of the elder boys, considerable improvement has taken place among the younger ones, and the convicts at Bermuda have continued orderly. On the 1st of January, 1834, there were 3060 prisoners on board the Hulks in England; since which, there have been received 4374-of these 4032 have been transported to New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land, 702 discharged, 142 have died, 2 have escaped, and 2556 remained in the Hulks on the 1st of January last. The total expense of the Hulks in England last year amounted to £44,257, and the value of the labour to £33,123..12..6; and at Bermuda the expense amounted to £23,929..18..6, and the value of the work to £30,160..14..0.
In 1750 there were but seven newspapers in the United States; in 1810 there were 359, including 25 published daily, which circulated 20,200,000 copies annually; in 1833 they had increased in number to 538, and are now about 540, and the extent of copies circulated in the year exceeds thirty-three millions. In the British Isles in 1821, with 20 millions of inhabitants, the number of newspapers circulated was ascertained to be 234, and the copies published in a year, 23 millions. The whole of continental Europe, containing 160 millions of inhabitants, does not support half the number of newspapers now in existence in the United States.