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to crime; and that it is great also of those, who, with the best education, have become paupers and criminals; I admit the facts. But they form exceptions, and not a rule. There is a very great difference in the natural dispositions and propensities of the young; and, therefore, in their liableness, if I may so express myself, to moral infection. Some are uncontaminated, even after having lived long in the worst possible moral atmosphere; and some have even been made more resolutely virtuous by the daily spectacle of vicious example, Some, also, while surrounded by none but good influences, are hardly to be restrained from evil; and some, possessing the finest intellectual powers ever given to man, and reared with every possible outward advantage for their happy development, have debased those powers to the service of the lowest and most guilty'passions of our nature; and have exhibited the spectacle of a ruin, as much more painfully affecting than that of the most time hallowed and once most magnificent temple, of mere dead matter, as the immortal spirit, destined for endless progress in knowledge and happiness, is a greater work than a temple made by the hands of man. But these also are exceptions, and do not form a rule.
In looking at the questions, how far is a school education a security from pauperism and crime? and, how far is a neglect of this education a cause of pauperism and crime? I would observe, first, that while this neglect is a very important circumstance in the production of these evils, and a circumstance which must not be lost sight of, it yet never acts alone in regard to them. The child under fourteen years old, who goes to no school, is not probably in any useful employment ; and he is,
probably, with associates as idle as himself. If his parents are very poor, he will probably be sent out as a beggar; and every child who is a beggar, almost without exception, will become a vagrant, and probably a thief. Young as he is, he wants social excitement, and he must have it; and if that be not given to him by which he may be profited, he will probably seek and enjoy that by which he will be injured. The causes which lead to the neglect of his intellectual, in almost all cases, will lead also to the neglect of his moral education. It is indeed very seldom found, in regard to parents or the guardians of children, that they disregard the intellectual faculties of the young who are in their charge, while the moral nature is an object of any strong solicitude. Nor is this all. The children who are left by their parents to grow up in ignorance, are often made to minister to the idleness and intemperance of these parents; and they learn by the same means to procure' their own vicious gratifications. These poor children, also, are seldom taken to any church; and Sunday, to many of them, is the most corrupting day of the week. On the other hand, the children who are in school, are generally attaining there some moral, as well as intellectual good. They are also far better taught at home, than are those who are not in any school. They generally go to church with their parents; and probably, likewise, receive the instructions of a Sun. day school. They associate, too, with lads of their own age, who are of a far higher order of character than the ignorant and the idle. And as long as they are at school, they have in view, as the others have not, an apprenticeship at some useful occupation, by which they
may honorably provide for their own wants, and perhaps be the support of the age of their parents. Bring together these considerations, and they give no small importance to a school education, as a means of saving from pauperism and crime.
And in reply to those, who would leave a certain number uneducated, that they may thus be fitted and disposed for the lowest offices of life, I could observe, secondly, that if every child in our country, and in the world, between the ages of four and fourteen, were in a school; and if every child living, and to be born, should be kept from four to fourteen years of age, in as good schools as could be established, and should receive as much instruction as could be given to them, it would be found, that in the diversity God has made of human capacities, and in the wondersully diversified dispositions of human nature, there is an ample provision for the whole number which is wanted for every service, however laborious, or even however revolting to others it might be, which is required for the comfort, or the order, or the ornament of social life. Educate the young as extensively and as perfectly as you can, and you can no more produce an equality of intellectual power, or of a spirit of enterprise which tends to an equality of wealth, than you can, by education, produce a condition of the human system, in which it shall not need food for its support. Here, then, I rest the claims of a school education, and the question of its influence in preventing poverty and crime.
I. The second of these circumstances is, the want of regular and useful employment from the age of four
teen or fifteen, to that of twentyone years. This, I have said, is an evil which extends to many, who have received all the advantages for instruction which our schools could give them.
In the first place, however, let us look at the children who have not been in any school, and at the truants from our schools who have been struck from the list of the masters. They have now passed the age of fourteen years; and they are not only disqualified for the employments, in which a knowledge of reading, writing, and the 'first rules of arithmetic is required, but they are even more indisposed to any employment, which will abridge their liberty, or restrain them from their accustomed pursuits and indulgences. They wish still to live, as they have hitherto lived. They revolt from the thought of the authority of a master.
And they are as closely bound to each other by a union of tastes, and objects, and gratifications, and habits, as they are widely separated in these respects from the most virtuous of their age. Some of them are the children of parents who have no sensibility to the evil of their condition; who have themselves hardly known a better condition; and whose example alone might have corrupted children, who were even strongly inclined to obedience and virtue. Others are the children of better, but of inefficient parents; of parents who do not, and think they cannot, control the waywardness which refuses submission to rule. And others, having lost their parents, have either fallen into the charge of those who have cared little for them, or have been left wholly to their own guidance. I suppose that we have as small a number of children of this class among us, as are to
VOL. V. -NO. LIV.
be found in any city of the world with an equal population. But we have a sufficient number to produce a considerable amount of abject pauperism and crime. And, I ask, can it be otherwise, than that a large proportion of the children who are brought up to twentyone years of age, ignorant, or almost wholly ignorant, of letters; free from all moral influence at home, or habitually and successfully resisting all moral influence there; who are daily associating for idle or vicious communion with each other; for the attainment of some vicious pleasure, or the accomplishment of some vicious purpose ; who shrink from any labor, beyond that which is demanded to obtain the means for some personal and perhaps vicious end; who have learned, within the first twelve years of life, to love ardent spirits, though, perhaps, before that time they may not have been accustomed to drink them; who, even before that age, have acquired some skill in petty thieving, and are proficients in profaneness and deception; is it in the nature of things that children, thus living, or at least that far the greater number of them, should not, when they are men, become paupers, and criminals ? I have not mentioned the female children of this class. But their exposures to moral ruin are scarcely less than those of boys. Let the number, then, of these children in our cities, in our large towns, and our villages, be correctly ascertained, and something will be done in the work of accounting for the extent of pauperism and crime. And let an inquisition be made of the numbers who have passed from this class of children to our prisons and almshouses, and the necessity will be wholly superseded of a long argument, either respecting the exposures of these children, or the true interest