HL Deb 30 May 1881 vol 261 cc1586-603

in rising to move the following Resolutions:— 1. That it is desirable to consolidate the several laws relating to reformatory and industrial education of children who have been convicted of crime or are, without any competent guardianship, in criminal ways of life; 2. That punishment for crime should be a treatment separate from general education; and 3. That all publicly aided schools should be under the Education Department; said, he asked attention to an important branch of their National Education—the reformatory and industrial schools. He believed the Government wisely contemplated a revision and consolidation of the Acts on the subject; and if that belief were well-founded, now was the time to ask their Lordships' attention to it. He certainly thought that experimental legislation in connection with education extending over 30 years called for some settlement on definite principle. Concurrent legislation had much altered the case meanwhile. Those schools were begun by private charity, following Lord Shaftesbury's Ragged Schools; and when reformatories were first commenced, convicted children were sent under conditional pardon. In 1854 an Act made it a legal committal to a reformatory after 10 days' imprisonment. Industrial schools for vagrant children followed, at first connected with the Education Department; but a Consolidating Act, in 1866, placed both under the prison authorities. They thus became State institutions, though under voluntary management; £500,000 was now spent annually on them—nearly 90 per cent of the cost being borne by the Treasury and rates, 3 per cent only being taken from parents, leaving 7 per cent to private subscription. The State taking up those schools, naturally gave them a police aspect. They went to the Home Office. In the same way Houses of Correction, similarly started, became prisons. But a penal school was an impossibility in practice, and a mischief in idea. A child's whole education could not consist of correctional treatment, nor be all under continued disgrace. Correctional discipline could not be maintained, even if desirable, for five years. It was clear, then, that the penal part of a criminal child's treatment must be one thing, and school another. There could be no use calling a thing what it was not really, and in that case there was much harm. A mischievous misnomer laid, in a sentence, to any sort of education as the punishment for crime. As punishment, the school course was disconnected with the crime, and therefore not directly deterrent from it; as education, the protracted penal stigma defeated the object, which was to train from criminal to respectable character. To awaken self-respect was the chief purpose of a school for degraded children; but the spirit of school fellowship in a school connected with crime must be an esprit de corps criminel, a bastard sort of self-respect of the Robin Hood kind. Penal training, though only in name, trained up children as criminals, just as workhouse schools trained up children as paupers. Besides, being specially industrial training, it frustrated itself, for it barred from employment in the industries it trained for, oven the State refusing to take into its service those it trained. The parents, moreover, resenting the penal treatment, turned their children, on discharge, to other employment. The advocates of penal training went so far as to insist on children for ever stating truly, to anyone offering them employment, that they were early criminals, and had been brought up in criminal schools. Why, even lepers were not made to shout out "unclean" after they were cured. But all this, in his opinion, betrayed a supposition that reformatories did not reform, or a desire to preserve pet criminals as such. There, was further mischief in sentencing to school as part of a term of punishment, that it tended to keep children of the lowest working class too long at school. At a reformatory school, children admitted at 16, if kept until their sentences had expired, would be 21 before they left. Those children ought to be got to work as soon as possible; long before that age, if they were really retrieved for ordinary life. Special provision had consequently often to be found for these artificial products of long penal training. Emigration became the privilege of long-neglected childhood. It was true that reformatories very soon broke up the old nurseries of habitual young criminals in towns; but any care taken of wholly-abandoned children was sure of this success. It was a success, however, in spite of, not in consequence of, the penal character of the remedy, which was a great drawback to the good clone, both in the failure to open a perfectly fair field in life, and in a false favouritism of crime. The best proof that a school could not be practically treated as a place of punishment, nor be distinguished by greater severity of discipline in the education of criminal children, was the failure of all attempted distinction between the treatment of children in reformatory and industrial schools. The two had, in practice, assimilated, and were indiscriminately used by magistrates, convicting or not according to which of the two schools in the neighbourhood they preferred for the case. In the following particulars the two were, not only in practice, but in institution identical:—Both were refuges for children run wild, under voluntary management, supported by voluntary subscriptions largely subsidized by public money. Both were subject to Government rules and inspection. The inmates of both were legally detained by order of a Court of Justice, against their own and their parents' will, and discharged by order of a Secretary of State. So far, the two were identical in institution; but in practice they were no less so. Reformatories now admitted many not of the criminal class, and industrial schools took many children practically the same as reformatories, and presumably as guilty. Many were sent to the one who, if there were any real difference, should go to the other. The only practical distinction between such schools that might be usefully made would be of age. This would reduce the chances of contamination, which were great under the present nominal distinction. At present, reformatories, designated fur the worst, could not all be filled by the old stagers, and had their complement made up by the younger ones. There would be less chance of contamination by keeping a few schools for the older children only. But oven the schools kept for older admissions should not assume a penal character, nor would they more than any school attendance under compulsory order was penal. Neither would they be thought to do so. They would not be part of a criminal sentence, but a substitute for the education which such children ought to have had at home. Punishment in the case was over; and the worse the child, the less was it desirable to continue ticketing him as a bad one, or to flaunt education in his face as a continued correctional infliction during the rest of his childhood. In his right hon. Friend's (Sir Stafford Northcote's) words, "punishment should be got over and out of the way before the reformatory training begins." The first thing that was to be done then with these schools, if his arguments were admitted, was to take them out of the control of the Home Office. If they differed only in the age, or precocity—which was anticipated age—of their inmates, and all were alike un-penal, or post-penal, places of education, surely they could not be matters of police. What had the Home Office to do with schools, or schools with the Prison Department? Industrial schools were at first certified and inspected by the Council Office, and only got lugged in, by bad company with reformatories, to the Home Office. Day industrial schools, instituted under the Education Act of 1876, all allowed should be under the Education Department. By the same Act, school boards were obliged to send truant children to industrial schools; and one of the offences qualifying for them was a breach of an order for attendance at school. Clearly, then, in the eye of the law, industrial schools were part of our educational system. Industrial schools should, requiting evil with good, rescue reformatories to the true Department of their common school character. But the Council Office disliked these schools, and the schools disliked that Office. The Education Minister said the cost of boarding was foreign to his Votes; but such an official objection should not weight against public interest, and the public would prefer having all the costs of National Education submitted to Parliament together, and boarding school children was not more foreign to one official Estimate than another. The objection, so far as it had any weight, would suggest the Local Government Office which had pauper boarding schools under it, as the proper authority to deal with them, but certainly not the Home Office. All publicly-aided schools should be under the School Department of State, with one Education Minister over all. The managers of these schools, on the other hand, thought the standard of the Education Office too high for their purpose, and not industrial enough. He (Lord Norton) heard one of them ask what had criminals to do with reading and writing? Possibly, industrial training was more suited to them than the 4th Schedule; but surely it would be wiser to adapt the Office to all its various work, than to put its work into another Office which. had nothing to do with it, and connection with which was prejudicial to it. Another evil was increasing rapidly under the present system. Numbers were sent to both these schools who ought to go to neither. Such was the opinion of the Inspectors. The only justification for giving, at the public expense, an industrial education to neglected children more useful and costly than careful parents could give, was the public necessity to avoid a pest of otherwise uneducated children; but going one step beyond that public necessity was a public injustice and mischief, a premium on negligence and vice. The recent law of compulsory attendance at school had greatly narrowed this necessity, for it was harder now for a child to escape education than it was formerly to find education for all. There could be no excuse now for needless multiplication of schools outside the Education Department, with philanthropy pulling the string and the Treasury bound to answer every call; yet they saw a strong tendency to multiply still more varieties of private fancy schooling at the public expense. What he proposed was, that the schools in question should be taken from the control of the Home Secretary, who had announced his readiness to bring in a Bill to effect separately his part of the treatment of criminal children—their punishment in suitable way and place. The magistrate would then sentence a young convict to condign punishment, and annex an order that on discharge ho must go to school; and if he had no capable guardianship to be remitted to, that he must go to one of these public schools. Seine criminal children had decent and fit homes to be sent back to, and from which they should not be needlessly separated, and which should not be needlessly relieved of them. In connection with this point, there was a very excellent provision in the first Scotch Industrial Schools Act, which he should like to see more generally carried out. It was that no child should be admitted into any of these industrial schools, if security could be taken from the parents for the good behaviour of the child. He hoped, when these Act, were revised, these schools would no longer be open to any children who had fallen under criminal sentences beyond the necessity of finding education for such as would otherwise remain uneducated. There would, in that view, be no fixed terms of detention at these schools. When they were so recognized for their educational purpose, the order of attendance at them would run only till the master gave a certificate of the child's readiness and ability to find work approved by the magistrate. Probably, however, it would take longer to fit some children to go out to work than others. The removal of all penal idea in the education would accelerate their fitness and facilitate their finding work. He hoped his Resolutions would be met by Government undertaking to legislate accordingly; if not, he most ask leave to submit a Bill embracing the views hem had expressed. He begged to move the three Resolutions of which he had given Notice.

Moved, to resolve— 1. That it is desirable to consolidate the several laws relating to reformatory and industrial education of children who have been convicted of crime or are, without any competent guardianship, in criminal ways of life: 2. That punishment for crime should be a treatment separate from general education: and 3. That all publicly aided schools should be under the Education bepartment."—(The Lord Norton.)


said, it was painful to him to find himself differing in any degree front his noble Friend (Lord Norton), with whom he had co-operated so long in a work which had not only been so benevolent, but, he was thankful to say, so successful; but he could not help thinking that very e1uate grounds had been assigned for adopting the Resolutions then brought under the notice of the House. He (Lord Houghton) was the first to introduce the present system before Parliament; but his efforts met with so little favour that he was almost inclined to abandon the subject altogether. Sir George Grey, than whom there could not have, been a better Home Secretary, entirely discouraged his advances in the matter, while Mr. Henley thought it was one of the most foolish projects ever presented to Parliament. It was difficult for him to see by what induction his noble Friend had come to the conclusion at which he had arrived. Was the amount of juvenile crime a sufficient ground for asking their Lordships to make the alteration proposed? If the amount of juvenile crime had remained the same, there would have been some grounds for asking their Lordships to make the alteration in the law; but such evidence could not be given. On the contrary, from the very beginning, when he (Lord Houghton) first directed attention to the importance of instituting these schools, this movement had been most successful, the large bands of criminal children that invested the Metropolis had been broken up, and a better spirit of legislation had been induced. A few years ago the distinction in the treatment of juvenile and adult criminals was but little marked; but a great change had lately taken place in public opinion, as evidenced by the Bill dealing with the matter which the present Home Secretary was about to introduce. Beyond that, they saw that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was shocked even by the occasional appearance of criminal children in the dock. There were probably reforms which might be advantageously introduced into the present system, and he would be happy to cooperate with the Home Secretary in the introduction and carrying out of such reforms; but he believed the present system had, on the whole, worked effectually, and, at all events, he did nut think that reform lay in the direction pointed out by the Resolutions of Ins noble Friend. It was not quite easy for him to see the standpoint of the noble Lord. As far as he could understand it, his noble Friend would separate punishment entirely from education. But if the penal idea was to be altogether removed from the reformatory, it would be necessary for the satisfaction of justice and public opinion that the previous punishment should often be of a very severe character; and this was just that which public feeling revolted The true remedy, he thought, was to be found in the retention of the present system of punishment with education combined. Let them take the instance of a boy who threw a brickbat at a railway train. That child ought to be punished with great severity. But if they tried by education alone to eliminate criminal folly from the mind of the child, they would not succeed. The present system worked most efficiently in changing the character of the children, who, under the influences of the country and of employment, seemed to lay aside the evil in their nature. At no time had more than 12 per cent of these children fallen back into crime, which was good proof of the success attending this beneficent scheme. There was still, however, a residuum of criminal children, who must be taken out of the family, or, at any rate, removed from the influence of their old evil associations. Great reforms had, indeed, taken place in the treatment of criminal children, especially in the industrial schools, where they were taught agricultural labour in the open air. He would also call their Lordships' attention to the great extent of the aid the institution of these schools had given to emigration, and to the satisfactory reports which had been received from Canada and other places as to the conduct of the children sent out in after life; and it might be observed with regard to them that the percentage of those who returned was very small. He could not see what advantage would be gained by transferring the control of reformatory schools from the Home Office to the Education Department, because the children in those schools could not be subjected to the same processes as the children in the ordinary schools, the regulations, standards, and arrangements being quite inapplicable; and, besides, the control of the Home Office was mainly of a benevolent character, and amounted to little more than mere inspection. On the other hand, he had never heard any complaint as to the extent or character of the present supervision, and he did not believe it would be wise for their Lordships to assent to the Resolutions. If his noble Friend was so convinced of the correctness of his views, let him embody them in a Bill, and submit it to their Lordships.


said, it was with reluctance and pain he opposed the Motion of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Norton). When they sat together in the House of Commons the noble Lord had expressed his opinions in favour of removing the schools from the Home Office to the Education Department; but he never brought his proposition to the test of a vote, and he was opposed by eminent authorities, including Sir George Grey, who had given earnest attention to the question. No doubt, there was a general feeling in favour of measures of consolidation when they could be carried out consistently with other objects. He agreed with the noble Lord that the condition of the juvenile criminal classes was very different now from what it was when legislation was first introduced. Mr. Sidney Turner, in one of his last Reports, called attention to the fact that the later criminals were of a less obstinate character than those with whom we had to deal originally; and Mr. Barwick Baker, who was so honourably connected with the administration of justice in Gloucestershire, had made the same remark. It might be that magistrates did not always discharge their duties with equal discretion, in sending to reformatories or industrial schools children who were supposed to be not vicious or refractory enough for committal thereto. Every now and then a case of doubtful discretion was brought before the public, and the public were apt to consider that such cases were fair examples of all; but they were not, and, on the whole, magistrates performed their duty with good sense and discretion. If, however, some arrangement could be made for revising or re-considering the sentences, it would be a useful measure. A detention of five years, a very common sentence, was too long; and, in his opinion, in determining the length of detention regard should be had to the nature of the crime, the child's previous history, and the success of the efforts to bring him to a proper frame of mind. But, on the other hand, the managers had the power, after 18 months' detention, to send children out on licence; and, out of the 7,000 children committed to reformatories, nearly 1,000 were out on licence. It was in the power of anyone interested in a particular child to bring his history and the facts connected with the case before the Secretary of State at any time. As to the age of admission, no child could be admitted into a reformatory under the age of 12, or into an industrial school under the age of eight years; but, as a matter of fact, the majority of admissions were between the ages of 14 and 16. By that age many of them were more or less hardened in crime, and a lengthy sentence was absolutely necessary to break down their vicious habits. Now, the question between his noble Friend and those who supported the contrary opinion was, what should be done with the large number of children over 14 years of age? He could well understand that younger children should be sentenced to a short term of detention, and then sent to school; but it was a different matter when you came to deal with those between the ages of 14 and 16. People were not willing to prosecute, unless they were satisfied that the accused were hardened offenders; and if they were, a long sentence of detention was absolutely necessary. Their Lordships would remember that there was an inquiry into the general question of secondary punishment, and that the conclusion come to was that sentences of three and four years' penal servitude were insufficient for their purpose, and did not effect any lasting change in the habits of the criminals. Therefore, the sentences were increased. At present, the shortest sentence of penal servitude was five years, and the majority of sentences were seven years. You could not deal effectually with children of 14 to 16, unless you had power to detain them sufficiently long. and to subject them to industrial training. The noble Lord had spoken as if the reformatory and industrial school system had been a failure, and said that the treatment was neither penal nor educational. That was not his (Lord Aberdare's) opinion, for it was not penal in time sense of inflicting corporal punishment, but it was as regarded forcible detention; and during the detention a certain amount of elementary education was given, and also a large amount of industrial training. He (Lord Aberdare) had immense faith in physical work, as it changed the child's vicious habits, and on his return to home life it was of time greatest possible importance. The question arose whether it was wise to make so large a change as that proposed in a system which it could be demonstrated had performed such extraordinary and admirable work. It was difficult to get anyone not intimately acquainted with the subject to understand fully the extraordinary change that had been effected in the criminal habits of our population since the establishment of these institutions. A striking proof of it was furnished by the last Report of the Director of Convict Prisons. In the period from 1865 to 1869 the average population was 24,680,000, and the number of sentences of penal servitude was 10,741, or an average of 2,148 a-year. From 1870 to 1874 the population numbered 26,240,000, and the sentences decreased to 9,051, or an average of 1,810 a-year. In the next five years the population was 27,530,000, and the sentences were 8,977, or an average of 1,791 a-year. There was thus a positive decrease of about 350 sentences a-year, while the population had increased by about 3,000,000. Moreover, the increase of population occurred in the largo towns, where it was most difficult to overlook the criminal population, and where the greatest temptation existed. Statistics had shown that crime increased with the increase of the larger populations, and a town population of 400,000 would produce several times more crime than an equal rural population. The City and District of Dublin, with a population of 350,000, produced more criminal offences than all the rest of Ireland, with a population of 5,000,000. But crime had not continued to increase with the increase of population in the large towns, and with that increase of population there was a decrease in the number of sentences of penal servitude. The explanation was, that there had been drafted into these institutions a largo number of children who were on the eve of becoming members of the criminal classes; they had been treated in a manner which, on the whole, was conducive to their reformation; the result was the supply of criminals had been cut off, and hence this astonishing decrease in the crime of the country. Anyone listening to the noble Lord would infer that the children discharged from these institutions must necessarily return to the criminal population; but was that inference consistent with the fact? The truth was the general statistics showed that four out of five of those discharged from these institutions were absorbed into the respectable part of the population, and Mr. Barwick Baker said that he succeeded in so distributing them with the fullest declaration as to their past history. With regard to the question of expense, he was aware that the sum required was very considerable; but a great part of it was not borne by the State. There were 64 reformatories that had been built without the help of a single penny from the rates, and 129 industrial schools, of which only 14 had been built by the prison authorities. He thought, however, that it was impossible for the State to lay out money more profitably than in building schools and reformatories; and if the Home Secretary, after duo consideration, acted upon the Report of the Inspectors, he would probably receive the support of both sides of the House.


said, that the first proposal of his noble Friend (Lord Norton), that the laws relating to reformatories and industrial schools should be consolidated, was evidently both expedient and reasonable. Indeed, he might go further than his noble Friend, and point out that, notwithstanding the arguments advanced on the other side of the House, the particular stage at which their experience of the industrial method had arrived constituted a juncture which made it proper, at all events, to consider how far the law admitted of modification. He fully admitted that the great success of the reformatory system was in itself a forcible argument against change; but there were other reasons which made it necessary to re-consider the question. In the first place, reformatories were being outgrown and overtopped by what he might call the second growth of industrial schools; and in the second, through the lapse of time reformatory and industrial school treatment had come very closely together—so much so, that it was difficult to distinguish one school from another. On looking at some recent statistics, he had been very much struck at the change which the money part of the question had undergone during the last few years. Those statistics proved the very significant, but not very agreeable fact that the question of expense had wholly altered of late years, and that a very much larger sum was now contributed by rates than used to be contributed, and a very much smaller sum by voluntary subscription. In 1860 the rates contributed £2,500 to reformatories; but in 1879, no less than £24,500. In the same way voluntary subscriptions had fallen from £24,000 in 1860 to £7,000 in 1879. Among other matters that seemed to require re-consideration was the question of the treatment of juvenile offenders. He had no doubt that, under the present system, boys were sent to reformatories much too young and kept much too late. It was, he thought, unwise in ordinary circumstances to keep lads nearly 20 in a reformatory, as was done in several cases, and the time had come when they ought not any longer to continue such a system. The morality of reformatories had not improved; and with regard to those elder inmates who poisoned the minds of the younger ones, instead of allowing them to be scattered and distributed among the schools generally, they ought to be collected into one or two separate schools, where they might be treated with discipline more than ordinarily severe. In that way they would be able to protect from contamination as far as possible those who were still inexperienced in crime. He approved of the suggestion to separate education from punishment, from crime, thinking that punishment should in the first instance be short and sharp, and then that education should follow; but he should require to consider the matter further before he could approve of the transfer of reformatory and industrial schools from the Home Secretary to the Education Department, as he entertained some doubt whether the Education Office did not already find its hands too full to undertake any fresh work; and in whatever change was effected, the penal element must not be allowed to drop out altogether. The other suggestions of his noble Friend required very close examination. His noble Friend might congratulate himself on the views he had elicited on this subject; and if it were his intention to bring forward a Bill dealing with the matter, he would do it with greater advantage after such an expression of opinion, as it would be a help to him in the framing of such a measure.


in reply, said, that his noble Friend opposite (Lord Norton) had devoted so many years of labour and study to the consideration of that question, that he (the Earl of Dalhousie) felt some embarrassment in stating that, though it might have been possible for the Government to accept his Resolutions in the abstract, and with certain modifications, yet, as explained and interpreted by his speech, it was impossible for the Government to concur in them. His noble Friend had come to different conclusions from those at which the authorities at the Home Office had arrived. His noble Friend in his writings on this subject, as well as in the speech which he had just made, assumed that the criminal class of boys was not merely diminished in numbers, but had entirely disappeared. Now, he (the Earl of Dalhousie) regretted to say that this assumption was erroneous. He had asked the Inspector of Industrial Schools the other day what ground there was for supposing that the criminal class of boys had become extinct, and that gentleman replied that the only ground was that the managers of reformatories had in recent years been receiving younger boys than they had had before, as well as boys of a less criminal stamp, and that while he had no reason to suppose that the juvenile criminal class was extinct, for there were still many boys of a thoroughly criminal and vicious character to deal with, that class was no longer so large as it was, and fewer reformatories were now required than formerly. No doubt, reformatories had done a great deal in the way of reducing the numbers of juvenile criminals; but the Government were unable to take the same sanguine view as his noble Friend, and to say that the juvenile criminal class had practically disappeared. If the present system had produced the good results which were admitted, why, he should like to know, ought it to be abandoned? The system was not perfect, and the Government contemplated amending it considerably, but not in the direction indicated by his noble Friend. As to what his noble Friend had stated as to the effect of the Government having taken over reformatory and industrial schools, that it had imparted to them a penal character, he was not aware that in taking the schools over the Government in any way altered their character. It became necessary for the Government to take over these schools, but that did not involve or imply any alteration is their character. His noble Friend also complained of the correctional character of the discipline of these schools; but he did not think that there was any just ground for this complaint. If he only meant that the boys were detained against their will, that was perfectly true; but the boys were well kept, and were made as happy as possible. They were encouraged to respect themselves and to render them- selves worthy of trust. There was a difference between reformatory and industrial schools, on which he (the Earl of Dalhousie) thought sufficient emphasis had not been laid. His noble Friend said the two classes of schools had become practically assimilated to each other. That was true in some respects to a certain extent. It was not, however, a part of the system that they should be assimilated to each other. On the contrary, as far as the two classes of schools had been assimilated to each other the system had been abused. It was perfectly true that there were many boys sent to both schools who ought never to be there at all. Many were sent too young, others for too trifling an offence, and others were kept too long; but that was not part of the system. These were mistakes, and in any amendment of the law the Government would endeavour to provide so that these abuses might be as few as possible. The essential difference between a reformatory and an industrial school was this—that a reformatory school in theory, and eventually it would be so in practice, was intended for criminal children, and for criminal children only. There was no way of entering a reformatory except through a prison. An industrial school, on the other hand, was primarily intended for those children who had no homes of their own to which they could go. He was told by the Inspectors of both the industrial and reformatory schools that, although the routine in both was much. the same, there was in reality a great practical difference between the two establishments. There was, for instance, much stricter superintendence and discipline in the reformatory than in the industrial schools, and that difference between them would be far more marked if the law were more strictly carried out. His noble Friend had complained very much that the reformatory schools should be under the control of the Home Office; but there were several reasons why the control of these schools should not be taken from that Office and given to the Education Department. The children were sentenced by the magistrate for a specified length of time, and they could only leave these institutions by expiration of the sentence, or by Order of Council. It would, therefore, be a serious step to take the schools out of the control of the Home Secretary, in whom alone resided the power of remitting sentences and correcting mistakes which might, and sometimes did, inflict great hardships on young children. Further, he could not see in what respect these schools would be differently managed if they were transferred to the Education Department. He fully admitted that there were many points connected with these schools with which the Government were by no means satisfied, and which, in their opinion, were capable of amendment. One of those points was the cost of these schools; and when the law on the subject was reconsidered an inquiry would be made into the mode of meeting this large expenditure with the view to ascertain whether the contributions from the local authorities could not be increased in order that the amount of the Government grant might be decreased. There were several other changes that were desirable; but as it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government at an early period to introduce an amendment of the law concerning juvenile offenders, any change in the method of regulating industrial and reformatory schools would follow, if it did not accompany, such amendment of the law. He was, however, bound to say that the Government had no intention of departing from the principles of the present system. In spite of mistakes in carrying those principles into effect—mistakes which had marred, in some degree, the working of the reformatory and industrial school systems—the Government were convinced that the principles themselves were sound, and they intended to abide by them. They hoped that the number of reformatory schools would be diminished; and, in fact, during the last year two of these schools had been discontinued, and another would be discontinued during this year. The Government would endeavour to provide for a stricter classification of the children and young persons sent to reformatory and industrial schools; for he quite agreed with his noble Friend that nothing could be worse than to endeavour to make up the numbers in reformatory schools by sending into them a number of children who were not criminals, and who were only made so by being forced to associate with those who were. Only the older and morn distinctly criminal children should be sent to the reformatory schools, while children whose only fault was that they had no home and no one to take of them should be sent to the industrial schools. These were the principles which had hitherto been embodied in the Act of Parliament, and the Government had no other desire than to adhere to them, and make proper provision for their being effectually carried out. In conclusion, he would say that, while he could not hold out any hope to the noble Lord that the principles he had advocated would be adopted by the Government, he thanked him in the name of the Government for having called the attention of the House to the subject.


said, he thought the subject one of great importance, and was glad to hear that it was engaging the attention of Her Majesty's Government. He agreed that it was very unfortunate that children should be kept for years and trained to consider themselves as criminals. It was, moreover, a great evil to mix up innocent with criminal children, although, undoubtedly, he had seen much good result from bringing criminal into contact with respectable children. If, however, it could be arranged that the punishment of a child would condone its offence, that difficulty might be removed. Moreover, these children should not be turned adrift after their period of education was over; but they should be placed in a postion that would enable them to make a start in life, as they often broke down in beginning the struggle for a living. The stain attaching to the children brought up in these schools was one of the first difficulties they had to get over in starting in life, and every endeavour should be made to insure its removal.


said, that after what had fallen from the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Dalhousie) he would withdraw the Resolutions; but, in doing so, he wished to point out how small the change was that he proposed, being, in effect, simply a transfer from the Home Office to the Privy Council.


expressed a hope that the Government would remove the restriction which, in consequence of the existing Regulations, prevented the most promising of the lads brought up in these schools from entering Her Majesty's Navy. Formerly, no Admiralty Regulations on the subject existing, lads duly recommended were admitted at the discretion of commanding officers, who, of course, were not under the necessity of publishing their previous history. Everyone's experience could tell him how often it happened that the intelligent, restless, high-mettled youngsters, whose misfortune it had been to be born and bred in scenes of vice, were the first to fall under the clutches of the law, whilst the heavy, stupid, quiet lads rubbed through without much notice. The former, however, as could easily be demonstrated from well-known examples, often contained the true stuff, under dexterous management, to make a sailor; and those were now lost to the Public Service in consequence of the somewhat puritanical exclusiveness that existed in the Regulations.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.