The million-peopled city
Ragged Schools in an especial manner free from the Difficulties of Difference of Creed and Interference with the Duties of Parents.
There are two main difficulties in the way of schools in general, from which are particularly free. One arises from the differences of religious sects, and which has so continually presented itself, that it has stood in the way, perhaps more than any other cause, of educational progress among the lower classes. But this really has no existence in the matter of . When, there- fore, the was asked, in his recent examination before a with reference to the extension of , " Do you think that the differences which have existed upon religious matters in various classes of the community would create additional difficulty ?" he gave the pertinent reply:-
" The only difficulty I apprehend exists among those who, like yourself and your class of society, are discussing it. With regard to these poor creatures themselves, they have scarcely any religious differences; and I rather think, that if inquiry were made among the governors and chaplains of gaols, the Committee would find the provision for calling in the aid of other denominations than that of the Church of England very rarely indeed put in action. The truth is, that the class from which criminals are drawn have no religion at all. They are not divisible into Roman Catholics and Protestants. They are for the most part practically heathens."
Efforts have been made occasionally to establish , and, as is generally the case in
|such exclusive movements, with High Church patronage; but as might be expected, the efforts have been almost invariably miserable failures. It is only to be regretted that they should ever have been made. Certainly the credit of the has not been promoted thereby.|
A second objection, sometimes made against schools, is, that the training of the children is taken out of the parents' hands, on whom it devolves by the law of nature. Even to the present day this is strongly felt, so far as the conducting them to public worship is concerned, by the Scotch, than whom no part of our population are more sensible of the value of education. But in the case of Ragged Schools, at all events, this objection has little force. For the children almost invariably either cannot tell who are their parents, or their parents are utterly unfitted to teach them what is good, being themselves the victims of vice and iniquity.