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They were not particularly orderly
and some showed a quaint, pantomimic, half-
witted disposition to be funny, which pained
rather than amused the spectator. Most of
them were the sons and daughters of thieves.
The small beginning which gave rise to the
general idea of Ragged Dormitories took rise
in an event for which I can vouch.

The missionary who had formed this school
was standing one day, in 1846, at its door,
when two adult thieves appealed to him in
behalf of a wretched boy who had, they said,
been cruelly maltreated and kicked out of
doors by his mother, because his day's prowl
for the purpose of thieving had been
unsuccessful. "Why do you not take pity on him
yourselves?"—asked the missionary. "Why!"
one of them answered,—"why, if you knew
what a thief's life is as well as we do; you
would not train a dog to thieving." It must
have been, thought the missionary, a desperate
case which could have so forcibly excited the
sympathies of two hardened depredators; and
he determined to see into it. He soon found the
boy; and his condition was too debased for
any description which would not excite loathing.
Having made the lad decent, he took
him to the model lodging-house in Great
Peter Street, benevolently commenced and
mainly supported by Lord Kinnaird. The
boy was kept there for four months;
supported three out of the four solely out of the
missionary's slender private funds.

This circumstance forced on his attention
the necessity of providing shelter for such
juvenile outcasts, and he drew up an appeal
to certain benevolent persons to that effect.
The secretary of the Ragged School Union
immediately promised that if the missionary
would find house room, he would find funds.
A house was taken in Old Pye Street, which
was soon afterwards opened as the
Westminster Juvenile Refuge and School of
Industry. This establishment was afterwards
removed to Duck Lane, where it now flourishes,
under a roof which formerly covered a Thieves'
public-house. The transformation is thus
described by the gentleman who made it, in a
pamphlet now before me:—

"Indulge me for a moment," he says, "with
a glance at the old public-house, (now The
Refuge!) Let us look in at the upper room
—(now the girls' school). Here were fifty
youths met around their master (as able a one
in his calling as England could produce),
listening with undivided attention to his
instructions on the 'map,'—(a pair of trowsers
suspended from the ceiling)—on the
subject of 'fob-ology,' or pocket-picking. After
this course of tuition, the next was the
mock trialan imitation of the Old Bailey
Court, with a fac-simile of its functionaries
and ordeal, done with very great taste, and
calculated to make the young rascal not only
expert in extracting from the fob or pocket,
but clever in defence. To train the young
novice in his first essay, he was supplied with
a glass, below in the tap—(now the dining-
room of the children). If successful, then he
returned for the purpose of reporting his
success, and having a game at skittles in the
skittle ground—(now the boys' school-room.)"

A concise calculation of the respective
expenses entailed on the country, in the same
house, under its former and present destiny,
may here be made. When it was a finishing-
school for thieves, each, on conviction and
transportation, cost the community not less
than one hundred and fifty pounds.
Comparing fifty thieves in the upper room with
the fifty pupils now in the lower room, we find
that, for the first fifty the cost was five
thousand five hundred pounds; for the present
fifty, two hundred and fifty pounds. Had the
five thousand five hundred pounds been used
for the preventing instead of the punishing of
crime, what would not have been
accomplished for these neglected mortals? It would
have educated eleven hundred youths, many
of whom would not only have been rescued
from vice and crime, but have become a
blessing instead of a curse to society.

What I have described, then, is the true
origin of the class of institutions to which
that founded by Mr. Nash belongs.

The Duck Lane Ragged School and
Dormitory averages at present a daily attendance
of two hundred and twenty children of both
sexes, forty have no fathers, twenty-eight
have no mothers, eighteen are orphans, six of
the fathers have been transported. Provision
is made for ten who are totally destitute;
they are fed and lodged on the premises;
twenty-four thieves and vagrants have been
admitted during the year, and many more
refused for want of support; eleven have
emigrated, three have been provided with
situations in this country; some of those have
spent three, five, seven, and ten years in a
course of crime; who have gone forth from
this Institution after a moral and an
industrial training, and are now doing well.

Three of the emigrants have given an
account of themselves in the following joint
epistle to Mr. Walker, their benefactor. It
is so characteristic that we print it almost
literally:—

"B——, July 18th, 1850.

"Mr. Walker,

Dear Sir,—You may wonder how it is that
you have not heard from us before, but as they
that came from Mr. Nash, was going to write,
they promised Mr. Cain that they would acquaint
you of our safe arrival. We left Gravesend on the
Sunday morning, and sailed out for the great
depths of the Atlantic, which gave us some great
shakes before we got to our journey's end. The
vessel proved to be in but a sorry condition for
passengers, there being hardly any dry berths on
board, and ours the worst of the whole lot, Mr.
Cain and Churn got another berth aft, and Fred
and me had to take to the sails room aft where
we stopt during the remainder of the voyage. We
had four deaths on board, two babies, one old
lady, and one of the poor sailors who fell from
the fore top across the windlass, which killed him

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