+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

on all things earthly. Yet "a thing of beauty
is a joy for ever." We have a compensating
faculty, which gives immortality to the mortal
in the cells of memory; the joys of which
Time has robbed us still live on in perennial
youth. Nay, more, they live unmarred by
the sorrows that in actual life grow up
along with them. As the colours of fancy
fade from the Present, they gather in brighter
radiance around the Past. We conserve the
roses of Summerlet us embalm the memories
of Youth.


A GRIM Lion obstructs the paths of ardent
Benevolence in its desire to lessen the monster
evils of society, and constantly roars "Impossible!
Impossible!" Well-disposed Affluence
surveys the encroaching waves of destitution
and crime as they roll onwards, spreading their
dark waters over the face of society, and
folds its hands in powerless despair,—a despair
created by a false notion of the inefficacy of
individual or limited action. "Who can stem
such a tide?" it exclaims; "we must have
some great comprehensive system. Without
that, single efforts are useless."

Upon this untrue and timid premise many
a purse is closed, many a generous impulse
checked. It is never remembered that all
great facts, for evil or for good, are an aggregate
of small details, and must be grappled
with in detail. Every one who hath and to
spare, has it in his power to do some good and
to check some evil; and if all those to whom
the ability is given were to do their part, the
great "Comprehensive System" which is so
much prayed for would arrange itself. The
hand of Charity is nowhere so open as in this
country; but is often paralysed for the want
of being well directed.

Of what individual energy can accomplish
in a very limited sphere, we can now afford a
practical instance. What a single individual
in energetic earnest has effected in the "Devil's
Acre," described in a former number,* can be
done by any other single individual in any
other sink of vice and iniquity, in every other
part of the globe.

*At page 297.

In the spring of 1848 the attention of
Mr. Walker, the Westminster Missionary of
the City Mission, was called to the necessity
of applying some remedy to the alarming vice
and destitution that prevailed amongst a
large section of a densely peopled community,
whose future prospects seemed to be totally
neglected. A vast mass of convicted felons,
and vagrants, who had given themselves up
as entirely lost to human society, and whose
ambition was solely how they could attain the
skill of being the most accomplished burglars,
congregate upon the "Devil's Acre." Most
of these degraded youths were strangers to all
religious and moral impressionsdestitute of
any ostensible means of obtaining an honest
livelihood, and having no provision made for
them when sent from prison. They had no
alternative but again resorting to begging or
stealing for a miserable existence; and not
only they themselves being exposed to all the
contaminating influences of bad example, and
literally perishing for lack of knowledge, but
also leading others astraysuch as boys from
nine to twelve years of age, whom, in a short
time, they would train as clever in vice as
themselves, and make them useful in their
daily avocations.

Nearly ten years' experience in visiting their
haunts of misery and crime, and entering into
friendly conversation with them, taught Mr.
Walker that punishment acted with but little
effect as a check upon criminal offenders; and
it was thought more worthy of the Christian,
philanthropists to set on foot a system of
improvement, which should change the habits
and elevate the character of this degraded
part of our population,—a system which should
rescue them from the haunts of infamy, instil
into their minds the principles of religion and
morality, and train them to honest and
industrious occupations. With these great objects
in view, a scheme of training was commenced
which has since flourished. One lad was
selected from the Ragged School, fed, and
lodged, as an experiment. The boy had been
a thief and vagrant for several years, was
driven from his home through the ill-usage
of a step-grandfather: the only clothing he
possessed was an old tattered coat, and part
of a pair of trousers, and these one complete
mass of filth. After five months' training,
through the kindness of Lord Ashley, he
was accepted as an emigrant to Australia.
Finding he was successful, his joy and gratitude
were imbounded. A short time before
he embarked, he said, "If ever I should be
possessed of a farm, it shall be called Lord
Ashley's Farm. I shall never forget the
Ragged Schools; for if it had not been for
it, instead of going to Australia with a good
character, I should have been sent to some
other colony loaded with chains." He has
since been heard of as being in a respectable
situation, conducting himself with the strictest

Being successful in reclaiming one, Mr.
Walker was encouraged to select six more from
the same Ragged School, varying from the age
of fifteen to nineteen years; although at the
time it was not known where a shilling could
be obtained towards their support, he was
encouraged to persevere. A small room was
taken at two shillings per week; a truss of
straw was purchased, and a poor woman was
kind enough to give two old rugs, which was
the only covering for the six. They were
content to live on a small portion of bread and
dripping per day, and attend the Ragged
School; at last an old sack was bought for
the straw, and a piece of carpet, in addition to
the two rugs, to cover them. One of them