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ether.

covery" of the luminiferous And here we come to a veritable Wonderland. We touch the basis of matter, the substratum of energy, without the possibility of divining their mutual relations. One is as inexplicable as the other. Dr. Lodge, who is deeper than most in the inwardness of things. sketches as follows what he has been able to make out in the dim twilight of nature's penetralia: "One continuous Edinburgh Review.

substance filling all space; which can vibrate as light; which can be sheared into positive and negative electricity, which in whirls constitutes matter; and which transmits by continuity, and not by impact, every action and reaction of which matter is capable. This is the modern view of the ether and its functions.""

He that runs may read; but how much does he understand?

11 "Modern Views of Electricity," p. 416.

TAKE CARE OF THE BOYS.

The appearance last year of Mr. Douglas Morrison's comprehensive and suggestive book on Juvenile Offenders is one more sign that the public conscience is at last awakening in earnest to the necessity of drastic reform in our methods of dealing with actual and potential crime. He tells us, and not for the first time, that we have been living in a fool's paradise, fancying that crime is diminishing when it is not, trusting as we did to statistics that were misleading because incomplete. He points out that the real danger to society is not occasional, but habitual, crime, that habitual crime is increasing, and that, as a rule, the habitual criminal is one who begins early. This is his summary:

The juvenile offender is the result of the adverse individual and social conditions under which he has to live. As far as adverse individual conditions are concerned, it is found, for example, in a very considerable proportion of cases, that the juvenile who comes within the arm of the law is both mentally and physically, as well as morally. below the average of the general youthful population of the same age and sex. And, as far as social conditions are concerned, it is likewise found that the parental and economic circumstances of the juvenile delin

quent are, in the majority of cases, exceedingly defective and abnormal. In short, the final outcome of our inquiry has been to bring home the conviction that juvenile crime is the necessary outcome of the miserable individual and social circumstances of the juvenile offender. It follows from what has been said respecting the genesis of juvenile delinquency, that the only effective method of dealing with it so as to diminish its proportions is to remove the conditions from which it originates, as far as they are removable.

In other words, the only way of getting rid of the juvenile offender is to lay hold of the juvenile before he has begun to offend. Reformatory work is good; preventive work is better; more prudent, more economical, more hopeful.

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training on those who are likely to fall.

This pregnant observation is susceptible of a still wider application, which I shall now endeavor to indicate. It is the object of this paper to try and suggest a simple and practical way of reaching and saving the very class of boys from whom the ranks of juvenile crime are so largely recruited.

I.

First of all, however, for a reason that will soon appear, let us consider for a moment the current methods of reformatory work. In our English prisons the reformatory element is conspicuous by its absence. Mr. Horsely has pointed out, that, in what may almost be called an official work, by Sir E. Du Cane, on the prevention and punishment of crime, the subject of reformation is dismissed in two lines of platitude. Even our reformatories leave much to be desired in the very element on which their name seems to give us assurance. The mental and manual training in many of the reformatories and industrial schools are both painfully inadequate.1 And, perhaps, the worst blot of all upon our system is the utter absence of corrective institutions for young and first offenders over the age of sixteen.

In the United States matters are quite curiously reversed. 'The ordinary or state prisons and penitentiaries are probably considerably below the English type in construction and sanitation, but, with regard to reformatory work, America is far ahead of us. How far, only those can fully appreciate who have studied the reports of those great industries, of which the Elmira (New York State)

1 In one school, where there are seventy-Ove boys, it appeared from the Report that about nine were learning a trade which would eventu

Reformatory is the oldest and best known.

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It is not the object of the present article to explain the system adopted in such institutions, but I may state that, in the case of Elmira, the cost of the building was, in round numbers, £400,000, the net annual cost of maintenance is about £35,000, while the number of inmates in September, 1895, was 1,257. What is still more germane to my present purpose is to note the ingenuity with which almost every conceivable resource is utilized to improve and reform the inmates. Education, thorough, careful, systematic; free access to all the best books, including fiction; industrial training in what is one of the largest and finest technological schools in the world; physical training in military drill, and all kinds of gymnastics; constant association (the exact reverse of our prison system) and the endeavor to cultivate corporate life and develop the social instincts; these are only some of the ways in which the task of rehabilitation and reformation is seriously and successfully attempted.

Of course, there have been the usual outcries about pampering criminals, bringing them into competition with the honest workman, and the like, but in face of the almost phenomenal results obtained, and of the fact that the judges now send every case they possibly can to Elmira, or similar institutions, these outcries are not likely to have any practical effect.

II.

Now I certainly have not the least sympathy with that virtuous thrift which grudges the price of reformation, and cloaks its parsimony with an ostentatious but inexpensive solici

ally be productive of a livelihood.-Tuckwell, "The State and its Children,” p. 21.

tude for the interests of the poor and honest. As a matter of fact, Elmira is cheaper than English prisons, but were it twice as costly, I, for one, should think the money well spent.

And yet the outlay of so much, not money only, but thought, ingenuity and devotion to the service of those who have crossed the Rubicon that separates vice from crime does give food for reflection. And the more we reflect, the more certainly shall we be driven to the conclusion that the true explanation and solution of the difficult problems of criminology lie, not in the taking less thought for the reformation of the criminal, but in taking more for the preservation of the innocent.

For, besides the audacious or unlucky youngsters who cross the stream, there are a vast number who, as the old hymn has it, "linger, shivering on the brink." A very slight impetus will push them from the bank, and then from the further side we bring into operation our cumbrous and costly rescue apparatus. But what precautions do we take in the way of wall or fence?

For some years I have spent a considerable part of my life in close association with working-class boys. Not of the poorest, indeed, have been my boy-friends, but even so I have seen and observed enough to understand how fatally easy the conditions of their life make the road to the police court for the errand-boys of the great city.

Of course there are many lads with strong wills and high moral instincts who are able to meet and resist the temptations that assail them, but the average boy, like the average man, has need to walk warily, and to remember the prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." And the average boy of the working-classes has special need to take heed to his steps.

It sounds a bold demand if I ask the readers of the Fortnightly Review to try and realize the position of a small board-school boy who has just passed the sixth standard, and has started at his first place. Let us assume that he is an average city-bred lad of fourteen, not a hero, or a genius, or a "degenerate," but just an ordinary, dirty, jolly little rascal. Let us make his circumstances match thousands of boys earning their eight or nine shillings a week in this London of ours to-day. His father is a "fitter," and makes-when he is in regular workabout thirty shillings a week. But as he occasionally lapses into "indulgin'," and works for small men, he every now and again has long spells of idleness. On these occasions the mother has to go out charing, and the eldest girl at home-a "half-timer"looks after the four little ones when they come in from school. They live in two rooms and a cupboard-a third room, they call it-for which they pay six shillings a week. For months, perhaps for years, our lad has been looking forward to the time when he will be free to give up the routine of school, and will cease to be a mere "nipper." Not that he hates lessons qua lessons, though there are sure to be some that he dislikes, but independence and pocket-money, these are the dangling baits that make the daily attendance at school almost intolerable. At last the hour arrives and the place. Probably it will be as junior errand-boy with some grocer, or stationer, or the like, and he will begin at seven shillings a week and his tea, with perhaps his supper on Saturdays. At first, at any rate, almost all he earns will go to his mother, nominally for clothes, really, when work is slack, to keep things going. Perhaps sixpence or ninepence will be his share for pocket-money, and think what that means to a lad who has

hitherto been tantalized by occasional half-pence! He soon begins to see the other side of the shield. His hours may be from seven or half-past in the morning to eight in the evening on the first four nights of the week, nine on Fridays and eleven on Saturdays, with an hour for dinner. He has heavy baskets to carry or a beavy truck to push. He is exposed to all weathers with no better protection against the wet than a piece of sacking. It is no extraordinary experience for him to be wet to the skin two or three times in the week. As for chaps and broken chilblains, he learns in time to accept them, like the temper of the "boss," as one of the necessary ills of life. Then, unless he is exceptionally fortunate, he finds himself thrown into the company of older boys, some of whom are not very desirable models. They smoke, as a matter of course, they very likely think it manly to drain the pewter, and probably one at least will be the proud possessor of a greasy pack of cards.

But he has his evenings-five out of seven, at any rate-free, and what will he do with them? There are three alternatives. He may go home and stay there. He may go to a continuation school, or he may spend them on the streets, with an оссаsional visit to a cheap music-hall. The first of these alternatives may be summarily dismissed. In such a home as we are thinking of there is not likely to be much to attract a lad of fourteen. And even if there were, with a number of children about, his presence would certainly not be desired. Moreover, the relations between a boy of that age and his father are, unfortunately, as a rule, not very cordial, while the mother has no time, even if she had the inclination, to lay herself out to make the home attractive. Then there is the night school. But

the average boy will just be rejoicing in his emancipation from the necessity of self-improvement. Moreover,

the desire to be a man and leave behind him childish things is strong in him, and lessons are not only a badge of discipline, but of "kiddishness" as well. Still further, he cannot see "what good" lessons will do him now. Before, they were a disagreeable necessity, but now what difference will it make to him though he know all about foreign countries or can read a French book? England and English are enough for him. Finally, he is tired, and craves more than ever for a little amusement, and the continuation schools are not very strong on the recreative side.

So it comes to pass that the third alternative is generally embraced by the average boy, and his evenings are spent with such companions as he may chance to meet in such pleasures as the streets and public-house corners afford. How many and how great are the temptations of such a life it is surely unnecessary to point out. At the best it trains the boy to be a loafer, at the worst it heads him straight for the dock.

Besides, think of the terrible waste of money and energy involved in this sudden and total abandonment of mental culture. With an admirable and highly effective system that sends a boy out of the sixth or seventh standard with a really good primary education, three or four years on the streets leave him the intellectual equipment of a child of eight or nine. Over and over again have I heard big lads of sixteen and seventeen excuse, without a blush, their inferiority to some little chap years their junior, by saying, "Oh, of course he's better than me, he's only just left school." So that even if a boy gets a chance of learning some trade, and at seventeen or eighteen enters a Polytechnic, he

or

finds himself in an utterly different position from that which he would have occupied had he continued even preserved his school education. Of course the errand boy is not on the lowest rung of the social ladder. But the strange thing is this-that while the young criminal is cared for -after a fashion-in the Reformatory, while the little homeless vagabonds of the streets are trained in the Industrial Schools and in half a dozen philanthropic institutions, of which Dr. Barnardo's Homes may be taken as the type-the tens of thousands of boys who are poor without being absolutely destitute, and tempted without having actually fallen, are left unnoticed and uncared for. By the time they are seventeen or eighteen they find themselves without a trade or the opportunity of learning one, three-fourths of what they learned forgotten, and scores of younger boys anxious to do their work at a lower wage. Under such circumstances many and many a young fellow has felt himself shut up to a choice between dishonesty and enlisting. The army then is the last honest resort of tradeless boys who have been left to learn their manners and their morals in the streets of our great cities during their most impressionable years.

We have quite recently been horrified by statistics, apparently authentic, which show that our army is simply honeycombed with degrading immorality. This is not the place to discuss the merits of the remedy which experts recommend, but from which not merely the Noncomformist, but even the Parliamentary conscience, has revolted. Whatever opinion we may hold as to this, it must surely be admitted that the remedy proposed does not go to the root of the matter. The corruption of the army means the corruption of its individual members, and

the seeds of that corruption were sown, in many, if not in most cases, long before the first uniform was donned. The folly (it is worse than folly) that takes no thought for the boy, finds its Nemesis in the barracks as well as in the prison.

If, with facts like these in our minds, we turn our eyes upon the various philanthropic and religious efforts which have as their objective "the lapsed masses," is not the first and most obvious reflection this-that they are twenty or thirty years too late? They struggle and agonize to save the men, and who are these men? Are they not the very boys whom just so many years ago it would have been a comparatively easy task to reach and help? The churches-in spite of annual Sunday-school sermons and Education Act controversies-still regard work among boys and girls more or less in the nature of a nice little appendix to real work-they so regard it, and they pay the appropriate penalty, and that which touches them most keenly, in an army of hostile critics and in long rows of empty pews.

Perhaps this may sound an ungenerous criticism, though I believe it to be absolutely just. At the same time it would be very unfair to ignore the fact that practically every church and chapel does make some attempt, by means of the Sunday school, to discharge its duty to the young.

I will not attempt to criticize in detail our Sunday-school system. It is enough here just to note that in Nonconformist circles, at any rate, there has been, within the last year or two, an emphatic protest against the deplorable inefficiency of Sunday-school teaching, an inefficiency which has become more glaring by comparison with the excellence of the teaching in our great primary schools.

But whatever improvement may be

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