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It appears from a subsequent letter (February 26, 1880), that the 900 children here referred to are those described in a 'Report on the Orphan and Deserted Children boarded-out by the City Parish of Glasgow,' which was published in 1872. Mr. Tufnell might surely have gathered from the title of the Report that it included the deserted as well as the orphan children (yet he says: 'these 900 are all orphans!'); and he would have found on referring to the body of the Report that he had considerably overrated the proportion of failures, which was as nearly as possible at the rate of four per cent.
It may be well to point out that, in such a controversy, any available statistics of 'results' must necessarily fail to do complete or even approximate justice to the system which we support. What we contend for is, that a finer and manlier type of character-a character not only more wholesome in itself, but better adapted to take its share in the actual work of the world-will be produced by a system which enables the child from its earliest years to lead a healthy and natural life. The children who, looking back on their childhood, can say, as in the old Scotch ballad,
We twa hae paidlt in the burn,
will, we fancy, make better citizens and happier men than the children who have been secluded from infancy in vast institutions, where a monotonous discipline is enforced, where the domestic affections have no outlet, where the natural gaiety of infancy is discouraged, where the sense that handles daily life and keeps us all in order more or less is never called into exercise. But the science of statistics takes no note of such nice distinctions: until a man relapses into pauperism or becomes actively criminal, he must be tabulated as a 'success.' So that the answers which the statistician furnishes cannot have any close relevancy to such an inquiry; it is an inquiry in the conduct of which common sense and common experience are the best guides.
At the same time, with this qualification, it may be admitted that we are naturally enough anxious to ascertain what in point of fact has become of the children who during the last quarter of a century have been brought up by the Scotch Poor Law Boards. Through the courtesy of the inspectors of the more populous parishes, I have lately obtained a good deal of information on this point, sufficiently specific for every practical purpose, and undoubtedly interesting and instructive. The facts have been mainly gathered from the parochial records; but in some cases where the children (or, to speak more accurately, the grown-up men and women who had been boarded-out in childhood) had not been lately heard of, fresh inquiry has been made for the purpose of bringing the information as far as possible up to date. The returns which I received embraced the following parti-I. The number of children who had been boarded-out during the last twenty years. 2. The number still on the roll whose educa
tion is unfinished. 3. The number who died before relief was withdrawn. 4. Information as to the subsequent career of the children who had gone out into the world;—with reference to (a) the number of cases in which the results had been satisfactory; (b) the number of cases in which the results had been unsatisfactory; (c) the number in which there was no sufficient information. And 5. The trades and avocations in which the majority of the children were employed.
It must be remembered, in estimating the results, that the men and women who have been trained in this manner are rapidly absorbed into the general population, and so pass away from the inspector's eye and knowledge. Of the subsequent career of a considerable percentage no information, it appears, is obtainable from the parochial books; and an exhaustive inquiry would involve much fruitless labour and needless expense. We may conclude upon the whole, however, that in such cases no news is good news.' If they had gone to swell the ranks of the criminal class, or if they had relapsed into the pauperism from which they were rescued, the inspectors would almost certainly have heard of their misdoings; whereas, on the other hand, when all goes well with them they are not again likely to come into voluntary contact with the parochial authorities. This is the experience of the Edinburgh inspector, who recently caused a special inquiry to be made among those who had acted as guardians in past years, with reference to the after career of children who had been lost sight of by the Board. It was found in nearly every case that they were doing well-prosperous tradesmen and industrious artisans, who continued to maintain friendly relations with the old people in whose homes their early years had been spent.7
Then, as regards the number who are tabulated as 'unsatisfactory,' certain deductions and qualifications need to be made. It is not maintained by anyone that the system is universally applicable— there are unruly and turbulent spirits, for whom a far stricter discipline is necessary. The inspectors explain that under the head of unsatisfactory' they have included the cases where (the system, after a longer or shorter period of trial, having been found unsuitable) the children had been removed and placed in Industrial or Reformatory Schools. So that if the numbers under this head had been confined to the cases in which the failure occurred after the process of education was completed, the percentage of failure would have been considerably reduced.
Yet, looked at in any light, I cannot help thinking that the return is eminently encouraging. It must now be admitted, I should
The special inquiry recently made by the Parochial Board of Edinburgh has been so thorough, that out of 1,026 children boarded-out there are only forty-nine about whose subsequent career no sufficient information has been obtained.
I find, for instance, that of the twenty-four tabulated as unsatisfactory' by the Inspector of Old Machar no less than eight (one-third) had been removed from their guardians and sent to reformatory schools.
fancy, even by sound economists,' that in Scotland at least the system has worked well. The best education that can be given to our wealthiest and most favoured class is not, when tested by its results, a uniform success: what proportion of men who have been at Eton or Harrow, at Oxford or Cambridge, at Edinburgh or Glasgow, fail in after life, are unsuccessful in their professions, or indifferently honest in their business, we have no means of ascertaining; but the experience of each of us is that such cases are far from rare -are unfortunately too common to occasion any surprise.
The inspectors of about fifty of the parishes where the boardingout system has been most largely introduced have favoured me with an answer to the inquiries addressed to them. During the past twenty years fourteen thousand children have been boarded-out by them. 771 died before relief was withdrawn, and the education of 2,880 is not yet completed. The percentage of deaths is considerable; but, seeing that many of the children are weak and sickly when taken in hand, easily accounted for. The great parishes forming the City of Glasgow (with the exception of Govan) have been unable unfortunately to furnish me with specific details which admit of being tabulated as to the subsequent career of the children: the inspector of the City parish estimating the failures among the 2,202 children who have been boarded-out by him at about 4 per cent., and the inspector of Barony (from which 1,838 have been sent) explaining that though no reliable figures can be given, it is highly exceptional to find them relapsing into pauperism.' Excluding the Glasgow parishes and one or two others, from which the information is not yet in a form to be made available, there remain about 9,500 children to whom the figures in the table which I have prepared, and which is printed on the next page, apply. Of these, 530 died before relief was withdrawn, and 1,974 are still on the roll. Of the balance, it is within the knowledge of the inspectors that 5,260 have done well, and that 260 only have proved unsatisfactory,' either during the period of education or in after life. There remain 1,460 with regard to whom no sufficiently reliable information has been procured. In other words, the proportion of failures to the total number boarded-out is at the rate of 2 per cent.10
In fact, no less than 281 of the deaths occurred among the children chargeable to the three Glasgow parishes.
10 The education of pauper children (whether living in family with their parents or boarded out with strangers) has been always strictly attended to by the parochial boards. In many cases, indeed, the cost of schooling' is taken into account when fixing the amount of relief given to the parent; but when the fees for education are paid direct to the teacher by the inspector, there is greater security that the money is properly and legitimately expended. Last year the expenditure on education by parochial boards amounted to upwards of 20,000l. ;-15,000l. being paid on behalf of pauper children, and 5,000l. on behalf of poor persons unable to pay for the schooling of their children in terms of section 69 of the Education Act.
Showing the Results of the Boarding-out System in Forty-four Parishes in Scotland during the past Twenty Years.
I have said already, that the children on ceasing to be chargeable are very rapidly absorbed into the general population. The girls, when not adopted by their guardians, generally go to domestic service; but the boys are to be found in all manner of remunerative and ingenious handicrafts. I give in a foot-note a tabulated statement of the various trades in which the persons who had been boarded-out as children by the Parochial Board of Greenock are now employed:" and though it looks rather dull reading to an outsider, yet when I think of what those children might and probably would have become but for the courageous disregard of sound economical laws' by the parochial authorities, I read it, I confess, with an interest which the very best novel of the year (Mary Anerley,' shall I say?) occasionally fails to excite.
I have only to add that according to the latest returns there were on May 14 of this year 5,053 children boarded-out in Scotland. The total number of orphan and deserted children chargeable to Parochial Boards was at the same date last year 6,249, of whom 4,116 were orphans and 2,133 deserted.