« НазадПродовжити »
respect must be lost, to be replaced only by a recklessness of demeanor, which necessarily results from vitiated minds.” Of the males who are married in France and England, one-third make their marks when signing the parish register—the proportion in each being almost precisely the same. — Of the females, rather less than half in England, and more than half in France, do the same—the advantage, in this case, being on the side of the former. The question here, however, as every where, is not of actual condition, but of progress, and in this France takes the lead—the number of her day scholars having almost quadrupled in 18 years, while in England it had not even doubled.* Of the extent to which infanticide is carried, we have spoken in a former chapter, but of that other species of child-murder which consists in the hiring out, by parents or guardians, of children ranging from 6 to 8, 10, and 12 years, it is proper here to speak. The persons to whom these poor creatures are transferred, and by whom they are tortured, says a recent English writer, “employ two sorts of machinery in their business: one being made of flesh, the other of wood and iron. If a wheel or strap becomes entangled,” as she continues, “it is set to rights by the proper workman; if so injured as not to allow of speedy repairing, it is thrown by, and a new one substituted, to avoid any delay. Just so it is with the human department. Why should any difference be made? Why should not a child be worked as long as it can be compelled to go on, with a little occasional quick patching, and when it cannot, be thrown into the street, just as a broken wheel is thrown into the lumber-room, to fall to pieces 2 It is not to be expected that the master's profits of a few hundreds, or thousands, per annum, should be decreased to the amount, now and then, of one and sixpence, by allowing a little creature, that has worked itself ill in his service, to lie by for a week without forfeiting its eighteen pence; or to retain its claim to re-admission on recovery. But add to this the fact, that what the child earns is not at its own disposal, going to remunerate the person who has charge of it, for such food and such clothing as it gets, we may believe the little laborer to be in the position of a shuttlecock, struck alternately from one battledore to the other, until, escaping a stroke, it falls to the ground, and is trampled into kindred dust.” + That the facts are so, and that helpless little beings are thus treated as mere machines, is proved by thousands of facts that have, at various times, been brought to light by parliamentary and other investigations. No one who has studied the subject, can hesitate about agreeing with this writer, in her expression of the opinion, that “the misery, the wretchedness, the sufferings, the degradation of young English girls, far exceed those of the little heathen abroad; nor is the foulest system of pagan demoralization, cruelty, and crime, second in atrocity to that which varnishes itself over with the name of Christianity, and seizes for its victims the free-born children of Britain, baptized into a faith of which they live and die in soul-destroying ignorance.” Strikingly in contrast with this, is the fact, “that all the children between the ages of six and fifteen, in the German and Swiss towns, and nearly all the children in the French, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian towns, spend every day in airy, roomy, clean, and well-furnished class-rooms, or in dry exercise grounds, and often in the company of children of the middle-classes, and in the society of men who are fit to be the teachers of the children of the rich.” Differing in all else — climate, soil, habits, manners, and religion—the people of the countries last above referred to, are alike in the fact, that they “live, move, and have their being” under the system for which the world is indebted to Colbert—that system which looks to the promotion of the habit of association and combination, and the development of the latent powers of land and man. As a consequence, the family relation tends to become more cheering from day to day—the feeling of responsibility for the proper direction of the infant mind, becoming more intense from year to year.—Differing in all else, the various countries that follow in the lead of England, unite with England herself in rejecting Adam Smith, and adopting the principles of the RicardoMalthusian school—the result being seen in this, that in each and all of them may be found a great treasury of facts to be used in support of the theory of over-population—the helpless child there becoming more and more a mere instrument to be used by trade. Of all communities, past and present, there is, and has been, none so highly favored as England, in respect to the power placed at its command, by a beneficent Providence, to be used for promoting the happiness and prosperity of mankind at large. Of all, there is none by which the power granted has been so unscrupulously used for the destruction of happiness, morals, and life, at home and abroad; and hence it is, that it has been necessary to establish a natural discord — with a view to proving, that an omniscient Deity had erred in adjusting the supply of food to a growing population.
* Number of English day scholars in 1818 ...... 674,883, or 1 in 17-25. * * 44 4 4. 1833 ...... 1,548,890, “ 1 in 11-27.
44 - 4 4. 1851 ...... 2,407,409, “ 1 in 8:36. In 1833, the Sunday scholars were as 1 to 9-28. In 1851, 44 44 44 1 to 7:45.
The fact, however, is exhibited, says Mr. Tremenheere, in his report, that “the great bulk of the children leave the elementary schools before they are ten years old”—that their attendance is very irregular, and that the little they may have learned, “is all nearly lost after a few years.” The general ignorance of those who have passed through the English schools, is thus exhibited by Mr. Wood, Chairman of the Institute of Mining Engineers:
“At the annual bindings, there is scarcely a single man or boy who signs his own name to the bond; and yet these men and boys have gone through the schools, and we suppose that they have learned to read and write, but they have left school at so early an age that they lose what little they have learned, and you find them incapable of writing their own names.”
“In the course of a recent investigation by a Committee of the British Parliament, Coroner Wakley testified that there was a lamentable deficiency of education among the people; and, as an evidence of it, mentioned that a jury which he empanneled in the western division of Middlesex County, had eleven out of thirty members who could not sign their names. He added his belief, that an examination of his receipts for expenses would show that not one-half of his jurymen generally could write. One foreman of a jury, who was stated to be worth from $100,000 to $150,000, could not write.”
“Wherever we turn, ignorance, not always allied to poverty, stares us in the face. If we look in the Gazette, at the list of partnerships dissolved, not a month passes but some unhappy man, rolling perhaps in wealth, but wallowing in ignorance, is put to the experimentum crucis of “his mark.” The number of petty jurors, in rural districts especially, who can only sign with a cross, is enormous. It is not unusual to see parish documents, of great local importance, defaced with the same humiliating symbol, by persons whose office not only shows them to be “men of mark,' but men of substance.” —DickeNs: Household Words.
§ 4. Here, as every where, America is a land of contrasts— one portion of the Union prohibiting, by the most stringent laws, the education of its laboring population, while the other recognizes fully the right of all to receive instruction, and the duty of property to aid in seeing that it be obtained.*—In the one, teachers are imprisoned for violation of the anti-education laws, while in the other, few persons are more respected than those who most have labored to bring the means of education within the reach of all—the orphan and the criminal, the very poor, as well as the very rich.
* The appropriations of the city of Boston, with a population of 150,000, for the purposes of education, in the year 1856–7, were $335,000, and were appropriated to the maintenance of one high, one latin, one normal, seventeen grammar, and 204 primary schools. The number of scholars was 23,749, and the average cost of education, $14.41. —The cost of public worship in the same year, is given at $240,000.
The political system of the Union being based upon the idea of decentralization, local centres of action tend, necessarily, towards the general dissemination of educational institutions of every kind, from the school library and the house of refuge for juvenile delinquents, to the high school and the college. Federal centralization, however, tends to produce a reverse effect — annihilating, as it does, the local markets for the products of the earth, and thus compelling the abandonment of the land of the older States. The rural population, as a necessary consequence, declines, with steady diminution in the power to maintain the village schools.” Great cities, meanwhile, grow, to be the nursing mothers of ignorance, vice, and crime — the tendency in that direction, being here, as everywhere, in the direct ratio of the exhaustion of the soil, and the expulsion of its occupants. Each and every stage of this downward progress, is marked by a growing tendency towards the exercise of the power of appropriation, as a substitute for honest labor. As a consequence of this it is, that American cities are rapidly sinking, in this respect, to a level with the worst of those of Europe.f
* See ante, p. 338.
+ “Of the higher grades of felony, four-fifths of the complaints examined have been against minors, and full two-thirds of all the complaints for crime acted on during the term have been against persons between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one.”—Presentment of the Grand Jury, New York, 1852.
“Out of 16,000 criminals committed to the Tombs, New York, this last year, over 4000 were under twenty-one years of age ' And of these, about 800 were between the ages of nine and fifteen 1 Of the 2400 thieves confined there, 1100 were under twenty-one, and some 600 under fifteen.
“During the last two years, the writer of this has had some considerable opportunity of observing the degradation of Europe, and to him it is sadly ominous of evil, that our future society rests on such a basis of guilt and wretchedness. There is nothing in Europe worse than the black side of New York. The lanes of Liverpool, Westminster, and St. Giles — the faubourgs of the Seine—the suburbs of Vienna—do not any of them present an aspect of such unmingled poverty and unchecked vice as our lowest Wards.”— REv. C. L. BRACE.
§ 5. Books have been written with the intent to prove that crime and education go together—that is, that the greater the power of the man to command the services of his own faculties, the greater is his tendency to interfere with the rights of others. Were this so, it would be better to close the schools. That it is not, the reader may feel well assured. Why it sometimes so appears, is, as we think, easily explained.
That the development of human faculties may be beneficial to man, it is indispensable that there be a market for the faculties developed — the rankest weeds coming always from the richest soil, neglected by its owner. That the market may exist, there must be diversity in the modes of employment — producing competition for the purchase of human effort of each and every kind. Centralization tends to prevent the growth of this competition, while promoting competition for its sale — the man who needs to sell his efforts becoming, thus, the slave of him who has means with which to purchase. The greater the tendency in this direction, the more does society tend to become divided into two great classes, the very poor and the very rich—leaving no place for the proprietors of small amounts of either material or mental capital. The class of middlemen, occupying themselves as soldiers, sailors, traders, lawyers, and otherwise as non-producers, grows necessarily— the societary motion becoming slower at every stage of growth, and rendering it more difficult to obtain an honest livelihood. Crime, therefore, grows — doing this, as a direct consequence of that slight excitement of human faculty, produced at school, which needs the activity of social life for its full development. Under such circumstances, education does little more than sharpen the human faculties for enabling man more readily to prey upon his fellow-man—that being the present tendency in England, and in all the countries which follow in her train.”
* On a recent occasion, Lord Campbell addressed the following language to the Grand Jury of the county of Chester, in reference to the state of public morals in that locality:
“The calendar before him was quite appalling. It was only three or four months since the last assizes were held and the jail was delivered, and now there was another list of crimes, tremendous in their magnitude and alarming in their number. Not only were the cases very numerous, but they included cases of a very deep dye. There they lay before him, in groups and in alphabetical order, under most of the heads there being a considerable number of cases, and consisting of bigamy, burglary, damaging machinery, housebreaking, manslaughter, murder, rape, and other crimes, some of which