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

was heard to say one night, while absolutely
enjoying this wretched accommodation, "Now,
are we not comfortable?—should we not be
thankful? How many poor families there are
who have not such good beds to lie on!" One
of those he addressed, aged nineteen years, had
not known the comfort of such a bed for
upwards of three years, having slept during that
time in an empty cellar. Five of those lads
are now in Australia, and the otherwho had
been the leader of a gang of thieves for several
yearsis now a consistent member and
communicant in the Church, and fills a responsible
situation in England.

When the experiment was in this condition,
a benevolent lady not only contributed largely
towards the support of the inmates, but also
recommended her friends to follow her
example. A larger room was taken; the lady
ordered beds and bedding to be immediately
purchased: the merits of the system became
more publicly known; two additional rooms
were taken, and ultimately the whole
premises converted into a public institution,
known as the Westminster Ragged Dormitory,
and particularly alluded to in the article before

Since its establishment, there have been
one hundred and sixty-three applications.
Seventy-six have been admitted from the
streets; thirteen from various prisons,
recommended by the Chaplains; twenty-three did
not complete their probation; four were
dismissed for misconduct; three absconded after
completing their probation; five were
dismissed for want of funds; two restored to their
friends; two are filling situations in England;
fifteen emigrated to Australia; five to the
United States; and thirty are at present in
the Institution.

The expense at which fifty-four young
persons were thus, between April 1848 and May
1850, rescued from perdition, has been
376l 16s. 3d., which took two years to
collect and disburse. More than double
the number of cases presented themselves
than could be admitted, and five were obliged
to be hurled back into crime and want after
admission, for want of funds. We mention
this to show what might have been done, had
Mr. Walker's efforts been seconded with
anything like liberality.

As a specimen of the sort of stuff the
promoters of this humble Institution had to
work upon, we add the "case" of a couple of
the inmates which was privately
communicated to us. We shall call the boys Borley
and Pole.

"R. Borley, 14 years of age, born in Kent
Street, Borough; never knew his father; his
mother died two years ago; she lived by
hawking. Since her death he has lived by
begging, sometimes got a parcel to carry at
the Railway Station; also got jobs to carry
baskets and hold horses at the Borough
Market; when he had money, lodged in low
lodging-houses, near the London Docks and
in the Mint in the Borough. The most money
he ever got in one day was 9d. He has been
in the habit of attending the different markets
in London. He has been weeks together
without ever being in a bed; he generally
slept about the markets, in passages, under
arches, and in carts. He had no shirt for the
last twelve months, no cap, no shoes; an old
jacket and a pair of trousers were his only
covering; sometimes two days without food,
and when he had food, seldom anything but
dry bread; sometimes in such a state of
hunger, that he has been compelled to eat
raw vegetables, this was the case when he
took the fever; he had been lying out in the
streets for some nights; he was in such a
weak state that he dropped down in the
streets. A gentleman lifted him up, took him
to a shop and gave him some bread and cheese,
afterwards took him to a magistrate, who sent
him to the workhouse, where it was found the
poor boy had fever, and was immediately sent
to the fever hospital. When brought to Pear
Street yesterday, he was not a little surprised
to find the boy Pole in the school; he would
not have known him but for his speech, so
much had he improved in appearance. Pole
had lived in the lodging-houses with him.
He said he has cause to remember Pole. On
one occasion he was Pole's bedfellow, they
were both in a most destitute state for want of
clothing; neither of them had a shirt, but of
the two, Borley had the best trousers; when
he rose in the morning Pole was off and had
put on Borley's trousers, leaving behind him a
pair that had but one leg, and that was in rags;
although yesterday was their first meeting after
this robbery, still it was a very happy one!
They congratulated each other at the good
fortune of being received into such an Institution.
Borley tells me that Pole was a dreadful
thief. He stole wherever he could; he
brought the articles he stole to the lodging-
house keepers, who bought them readily. So
notorious did Pole become, that before
morning he would have stolen the article he
had sold or anything else, and sold it to
another lodging-house keeper. Thus he went
on until he could scarce get lodgings either in
the Borough or Whitechapel. Since Pole
has been in Pear Street, he has never shown
anything but a desire to do what is right.
Borley is an interesting lad, and will do well."

May 16, 1850.

One Mr. Walker, who would begin, as he
did, with one wretched boy in each
metropolitan district, and in each town throughout
Great Britain, would do more to reduce poor's
rates, county rates, police ratesto supersede
"great penal experiments," and to diminish
enormous judicial and penal expenditure,
than all the political economists and "great
system" doctors in the world. But the main
thing is to begin at the cradle. It is many
millions of times more hopeful to prevent,
than to cure.