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Presented by 

Dr. Robert Partin 



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This book was written and first printed in London. 
In Great Britain only are ragged schools known, 
as such. 

There are many ragged children in the United 
States of America ; but it is a cause of thankfulness 
that their number is not great in proportion to that 
of the children who have good clothing, together 
with food and other blessings in abundance. 

We hope that the favored and happy children of 
our country will remember who hath caused them 
to differ from the poor ragged children of England, 
about whom they will read in this book. 

Keaders should also be reminded of the excel- 
lence of the Sabbath-school institution in being 
capable of doing good in the midst of so much evil. 

We desire that the characters of the good and self- 
denying men who have established and sustained 
ragged schools should be admired and imitated. 

In order that our readers may have a better 
knowledge of the enterprise of ragged-school in- 
struction, we have considerably enlarged the ori- 
ginal dimensions of this volume, by adding matter 
from other reliable sources. 

iVew?-For^, 1850. 



Sunday-schools — T. Cranfield — John Pounds 
— City Mission — Ragged Schools Page 7 


A Ragged School in Westminster — School of 
Industry for Poor Children 28 

Ragged-school Children — The Benefits they 


SELLER — Happy James : or, the Death-bed of a 
Ragged-school Boy — We are all wrong. .. 41 


Ragged-school Memorials — Old Stable — Or- 
ganization OF THE School — Death of James S.— 
Three Children reformed — Conclusion.. 76 

Ragged-School Boy — The Ragged-School.. . 101 



Sunday-schools — Thomas Cranfield — John 
PoTJNDS — The City Mission — Ragged Schools. 

I HAVE some true stories to tell of 
children who went to a ragged 
school : but I wish to tell these sto- 
ries in my own way; and I must 
first write about other persons and 

It was a good day when Sunday- 
schools were first thought of Since 
then, large numbers of children, who 
else would have grown up ignorant 


of God, have been taught to read his 
holy word ; and many have believed 
and obeyed the gospel, and been 
saved from the wrath to come. 

Yet it should be known that though 
there are, in our country, so many 
Sunday-schools, there are also tens 
of thousands of poor children who 
are in danger of growing up to be as 
ignorant, as wretched, and as wicked 
as heathens. How can this be ? 

Ah, young reader, if you were to 
pass through some parts of London, 
and other large towns, you would 
soon understand this. You would 
see multitudes of men, and women, 
and children, living in narrow lanes 
and close courts, amidst filth which 
it is painful to witness, and in the 
practice of sin which it is shocking 
to think of The houses in which 


they dwell are mostly very old ; and 
in them the people are crowded to- 
gether, without any of the comforts 
of life. In a single room are often 
two or three famihes ; and in many 
of the houses may sometimes be seen 
fifty or sixty persons who have no 
home besides these miserable places. 
When they rest at night, they lie hud- 
dled together on rags and straw; 
and they pass most of their days in 
drunkenness, gambling, quarreling, 
and almost every kind of wicked- 

Do you ask how such people ob- 
tain a Uving? Indeed it would be 
hard to say. It is to be feared that 
most of them are thieves, and bring 
up their children to be thieves also. 
Many are beggars, ballad-singers, 
and fortune-tellers, as they call 


themselves. Some are coiners of 
base money, which they sell to oth- 
ers as sinful as themselves, to pass 
for good money. Very few indeed 
of them are really honest and indus- 
trious; for we maybe sure that hon- 
est and industrious persons, though 
poor, would not willingly live where 
there is so much dirt, discomfort, 
and roguery. 

Now you may suppose that the 
children who are brought up amidst 
such scenes are sadly neglected, and 
greatly to be pitied. They are early 
taught to curse and swear, and He 
and steal ; but they are kept in ig- 
norance of all that is good. They 
know nothing of the Bible ; they pay 
no regard to the Sabbath ; they feel 
no shame in being known as dishon- 
est : if found out, and sent to prison 


for stealing, as hundreds of them are 
every year, they only become more 
hardened, and boast of their crimes. 
Poor children ! it is not uncommon 
for them to be driven from their 
wretched homes by their cruel par- 
ents, to obtain their daily bread by 
dishonesty ; and they are punished 
when they return, if they have not 
stolen enough. 

It is sad even to see these chil- 
dren as they roam the streets, they 
are generally so ragged and filthy; 
and it is distressing to hear them 
speak, their language is so indecent 
and profane: — they are altogether 
like little savages, such as we might 
expect to find in heathen lands ; but 
who are a disgrace to a country 
which is called Christian. It is plain 
that such children as these are not 


often to be found in Sunday- 

And yet, ignorant and vicious as 
they are, they have souls, you know^, 
as well as others — souls that must 
either be saved or lost ! They have 
minds capable of receiving instruc- 
tion, and of being turned from the 
love and practice of sin to usefulness 
and holiness. 

I am happy to say that, at differ- 
ent times, and in different ways, the 
gospel has been made known to 
some of these poor children and their 
parents, and that not a few have 
been brought out of the darkness of 
vice and misery. There once hved 
a good man, whose name was Tho- 
mas Cranfield, who delighted in this 
holy employment. He hved in Lon- 
don, and was grieved to see around 


him so many going in the broad 
road to destruction. He was not a 
rich and great man ; but he had to 
work hard for the support of his 
family : yet this did not prevent him 
from trying to be useful to others. 
Among many other plans which the 
dear Saviour whom he loved put 
into his heart to undertake, was that 
of Sunday-schools for the very worst 
and the most neglected children he 
could find. 

There was one part of London 
with which Cranfield became ac- 
quainted, which was inhabited by 
just such people as I have spoken 
of Thieves, beggars, gipsies, and 
poor, degraded, sinful women, were 
to be met with in almost every 
house. In the same room were 
often found living together, men, 


women, children, pigs, dogs, and 
even asses ; while in every part of 
the wretched place were to be 
heard most awful blasphemies. The 
poor children were in a sad condi- 
tion. Many of them had scarcely 
enough rags to cover them; and 
their matted hair and dirty faces 
and hands proved that they were 
very seldom either combed or 

It was in this place that Thomas 
Cranfield determined to have a 
Sunday-school. He hired a room, 
and Toci^fie it known that he was 
willing to teach any children who 
would come to him. Many chil- 
dren went to this school; and 
though at first they were very rude, 
and the kind teacher was greatly 
persecuted by the wicked people 


of the place, much good was done. 
The children, after awhile, became 
more teachable, more cleanly, and 
more modest, and, what is still 
better, some of them learned the 
way of salvation through the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and lived and died 
in the faith of the gospel. Other 
persons too, besides children, were 
converted and made holy, by the 
blessing of God upon the teaching 
of Thomas Cranfield; so that he 
had great reason to be thankful 
that it had been put into his mind 
to visit and teach such ragged, 
dirty, and vicious children. 

Thomas Cranfield and his friends 
afterwards opened Sunday-schools 
in other parts of London, which 
were crowded with poor, igno- 
rant, and very degraded scholars; 


and the success which attended their 
labours showed that there is a lovely 
power in the gospel, accompanied 
by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to 
soften the hardest heart, and to bring 
the most daring rebel to obey the 

'•' This remedy did wisdom find 
To heal diseases of the mind : 
This sovereign balm, whose virtues can 
Restore the ruin'd creatm-e, man. 

" Where Satan reign'd in shades of night 
The gospel strikes a heavenly light ; 
Our lusts its wondrous power controls, 
And calms the rage of angry souls. 

" Lions atd beasts of savage name 
Put on the nature of the lamb ; 
Whilst the wide world esteem it strange. 
Gaze, and admire, and hate the change." 

While Thomas Cranfield, and oth- 
ers like him, whose hearts God had 
touched to pity and try to save poor 


little heathens at home, were thus 
employed in London, the same kind 
of work was being done and carried 
on elsewhere. And before we come to 
our ragged-school children, I must tell 
you a little about a poor man who lived 
at Portsmouth. The name of this poor 
man was John Pounds. By trade he 
was a cobbler, or a mender of shoes ; 
and he lived in a small wooden house 
in one of the mean streets of that large 
town. John Pounds was a cripple, 
and had nothing to depend upon 
but his own hard labor ; yet he was 
very cheerful and very kind. He 
was fond of animals, which he reared 
in his little shop, where he might 
often be seen hard at work, with a 
canary bird on one shoulder and a 
cat on the other : for he had quite " a 
happy family " around him. 


But John Pounds did not bestow 
all his affection upon beasts and 
birds. He was very partial to chil- 
dren. He had a little nephew, who, 
like himself, was a cripple, whom he 
took great care of, and in every way 
treated with much kindness. 

When this little boy was old 
enough to begin learning to read, 
his kind uncle undertook to teach 
him ; and thinking that he might as 
well have two scholars as one, and 
that perhaps a companion would be 
helpful and pleasant to his nephew, 
John Pounds invited the child of a 
very poor woman, who lived near, 
to come to his shop, and learn his 
letters. Then he got another and 
another to come, until, after a time, 
he had around him every day a 
school of thirty or forty poor, dirty, 


ragged children, who, but for kind 
John Pounds, would never have 
gone to any school, but must have 
grown up ignorant, and, most likely, 
very wicked. 

John Pounds was not paid for 
teaching these ragged, neglected 
children, except by the pleasure he 
took in the work. Indeed, it cost 
him something sometimes to get a 
scholar ; for he more than once fol- 
lowed a Uttle, unwiUing, hungry fel- 
low down the street, and tempted 
him to return with him to his school, 
by the promise of food. And so this 
poor, but useful man went on, work- 
ing hard at his trade and teaching 
his scholars, both boys and girls, in 
the small shed which served him for 
a shop. And he was happier than 
many rich men who know not what 


to do with their time or their money. 
He had found out the secret of true 
pleasure, — he was doing good. His 
pupils were happy too; for John 
Pounds had such kind and merry 
ways of teaching them, that they 
quite enjoyed being at his school. 
He might have had many more 
scholars ; but his workshop was al- 
ways well filled. When he had 
room for more, he made it a practice 
to choose the worst and the poorest 
children he could find, in hopes of 
doing the most good ; and it was re- 
ally extraordinary how he gained 
their affections, and got them to 
mind what he said. 

John Pounds took pains to teach 
other things than mere spelling and 
reading. He brought his ragged, and 
ignorant, and vicious scholars to un- 


derstand the value of honesty and 
industry. He taught them to do 
much for themselves which would 
be helpful to them as they grew 
older. Besides this, when they were 
sick, he kindly nursed them; and 
when they were not at their books, 
he played with them. This kind 
treatment, which the poor children 
were not used to receive at their 
miserable homes, softened their 
hearts; and many whom he thus, 
through several years, generously 
cared for and taught, grew up to be 
sober, honest, and industrious, when, 
but for his help, and the blessing of 
God upon it, they would have been 
all their hves ignorant and wicked, 
and very likely have come to a sad 
and shameful end. 
Poor John Pounds died in the be- 


ginning of the year 1839. He was 
then an old man ; but he had kept 
on his school almost to the last day 
of his life, for he died suddenly. 
The poor children wept and grieved 
when their kind instructor was gone. 
And well they might, for though 
there were thousands of people in 
that large town who were much 
richer in money than the old cob- 
bler, there was not one to whom 
these children could look with such 
confidence and love as to their hum- 
ble but generous benefactor. 

Well, John Pounds was dead, and 
Thomas Cranfield died about a year 
before him; but before this time, 
many other persons had taken an 
interest in the instruction and wel- 
fare of the neglected children of 
such ignorant and wicked parents 


as you have here been reading about 
— yes, and of those parents too. In 
the year 1835, some good, zealous 
Christians met together to think of 
what could be done for the benefit 
of great numbers of the people who 
were living like heathens and sava- 
ges, though in Christian Britain. 
They plainly saw that churches and 
chapels were useless to those who 
would not enter them; and that 
none of the means then made use of 
for spreading abroad the knowledge 
of God and his word, were just those 
that were needed for the conversion 
of such heathens at home. They 
remembered that it is asked in the 
Bible, " How shall they call on him 
in whom they have not believed? 
and how shall they believe in him 
of whom they have not heard ? and 


how shall they hear without a 
preacher? and how shall they preach 
except they be sent?" Rom. x, 14, 15. 
And they believed that the blessing 
of God would rest upon their prayers 
and labors if they were to send 
preachers, or missionaries, or Scrip- 
ture readers, to these dark and dreary 
parts of large cities, to talk to the 
people in their own houses, and to 
read to them the word of God. They 
therefore formed a society, which is 
caUed " The City Mission," for this 
very purpose; and you will be 
pleased to be told that nearly two 
hundred pious missionaries are em- 
ployed in London and its neighbor- 
hood alone, in visiting from house 
to house, and making known the 
gospel to nearly half a milHon of 
people, most of whom, it is to be 


feared, were what the Bible calls 
"ignorant" and " out of the way," 
Heb. V, 2. There are also many 
Scripture readers, district visitors, 
and tract distributers engaged in the 
same good work. There is not room 
here to tell you how much these 
good men have had to endure of 
persecution and suffering in their 
holy employment; nor how much 
pleasure they have had in seeing 
poor, guilty, hardened sinners be- 
come penitent, and in hearing them 
ask, "What must we do to be saved?" 
Many delightful histories might be 
told of such persons, and the good 
done through the mighty power and 
grace of Christ. We must pass on, 
however, to other matters. 

While something has been done 
to save the souls of parents and 


grown-up people in these miserably 
wicked and filthy parts of London, 
the children have not been forgotten. 
Sunday-schools and evening schools 
have been opened, to which the dir- 
tiest and most neglected and de- 
praved children are invited. They 
go to these schools notwithstanding 
their rags and filth, and with all the 
open, boastful sinfulness which from 
day. to day they learn from those 
about them. Little cunning beggar- 
boys and girls — young thieves — chil- 
dren who could not be suffered to 
mix for an hour with the children of 
honest, industrious, sober, decent 
parents — these are the kind of scho- 
lars who, for the most part, attend 
the schools called ragged schools. I 
am sure it is not needful to say why 
they are called by this name. 


It is pleasant to think that, in this 
way, many hundreds of children are 
taught in these ragged schools what 
perhaps they would never have 
learned anywhere else, — the value 
of a good character, the duty of hon- 
esty, sobriety, and industry, the ad- 
vantage of knowledge, and, above all, 
the way of pardon, peace, and eter- 
nal safety, through the Lord Jesus 



A Ragged School in Westminster— School of 
Industry for Poor Children, 

You have heard of Westminster, 
have you not ? It is a city in itself, 
though it forms now a part of Lon- 
don. At one time London and 
Westminster were a mile or two 
apart, and between them were fields ; 
but this was a great while ago. A 
long street, called the Strand, has 
taken the place of what was a plea- 
sant country road ; and on each side 
are other streets which cover the 
ground once divided by hedge-rows 
into green meadows. 

There are many fine large build- 
ings in Westminster. There are 
Westminster Abbey, and Westmin- 
ster Hall, the Queen's Palace, and 


the Houses of Parliament, besides 
very many large and stately houses be- 
longing to the nobility of the country, 
and whole streets of large shops 
filled with rich goods of almost all 
kinds. In Westminster, too, are 
beautiful parks and grand squares ; 
and scarcely any luxury is wanting 
in this city that money can purchase, 
for there is no city in England in 
which so many of the rich and the 
great live. 

But other scenes may be wit- 
nessed in Westminster; for in no 
city in England can be found greater 
poverty, wretchedness, and vice. 
Behind the spacious streets, and 
around the noble buildings, are 
lanes, and rows, and courts, where 
dwell hundreds and hundreds of 
miserable creatures, in fearful igno- 


ranee and open sin, without God, 
without hope in the world, and with- 
out shame. It is not poverty, dear 
young reader, that makes any person 
either despicable or really pitiable. 
O no ! there are many very poor 
people in the world, who are " rich 
in faith, and heirs of the kingdom 
which God hath promised to them 
that love him," James ii, 5. But 
often, sin first causes poverty, and 
then poverty leads to fresh crime. 
When this is the case with a single 
person or family, living apart from 
others, it is very sad : but when al- 
most a whole street or neighbor- 
hood is filled with crowds of the 
poor, the profane, and the hardened, 
who care neither for the laws of God 
nor of man — think how dreadful 
must be its condition ! 


It was in such a neighborhood as 
this, in the city of Westminster, that 
a kind missionary was sent to teach 
the ignorant and reclaim the wicked ; 
and his labors were made useful to 
many. But he well knew that if 
the young continued to be neglected, 
there could be but little hope of last- 
ing improvement. For this reason, 
though his time was much taken 
up in visiting the parents in their 
miserable apartments, reading to 
them the Scriptures, and talking to 
them about the great truths of the 
gospel, he determined to attempt the 
instruction of the children also, and 
to gain their attention, respect, and 
love. So he hired a room, and 
made known that he would, every 
Sunday afternoon, teach any children 

who would come to him. 


On the first day, more than forty- 
ragged boys and girls came to the 
room. Very likely many of them 
went only to make sport of the kind 
missionary; and perhaps few of 
them had any real desire to learn 
what was good. It was well, how- 
ever, that they were willing to put 
themselves in the way of instruction. 

It was mournful, as these poor chil- 
dren flocked to the room until it was 
well filled, to observe their neglected 
condition. Some seemed to be half 
starved ; others were suffering from 
disease, their faces care-worn and 
sorrowful. Many had scarcely any 
garments to cover their shivering 
bodies; and few of them had on 
anything better than filthy rags. 
Their skin was almost hidden by 
dirt, and the hair of their headis was 


matted together through neglect. It 
was more mournful still to see and 
hear how ignorant and wicked they 
were. They could not read; they 
knew nothing of God, of his word, 
and his salvation. They had never 
been taught to lift their hearts and 
voices to their Maker and Redeemer 
in praise and prayer. Their lan- 
guage was full of cursing ; and their 
manners were rough and rude. It 
needed great patience, and great 
love too, to begin the work of teach- 
ing such children as these; and much 
perseverance for carrying it on. 

After a time, so many children 
came to be taught, that it was need- 
ful to have a larger place for teach- 
ing. The teacher wished also to 
have his ragged scholars on week- 
days, as well as on Sundays. An 


old stable was therefore obtained, 
which, when repaired and fitted up, 
made a good school-room ; and the 
children were permitted to come 
every evening for instruction. And 
they were not taught in vain. You 
will read, in the next chapter, of a 
few children who learned there what 
they would never have been taught 
at home, or in the streets and lanes 
of London; and many more were 
rescued from wretchedness and ruin. 
As year after year passed away, it 
"Vfas seen how great a blessing the 
ragged school had been made to the 
neighborhood. The scholars in- 
creased in number, and began to 
look more cleanly and neat, though 
still in poverty and rags. They be- 
came, too, more decent in their be- 
havior, and more honest in their 


conduct Formerly, hundreds of 
children were to be seen in the 
streets, employing their hands in 
mischief, and their tongues in swear- 
ing, and taking the name of God in 
vain. Now, they might often be 
found in harmless groups, singing 
the hymns which they had learned 
at the ragged school. 

At the end of ten years, many 
hundreds of poor children had thus 
been cared for ; and great numbers 
of them had gone into situations, 
had behaved well, and become good 
andiiseful members of society, when 
but for the ragged school they would, 
almost certainly, have been rogues 
and vagabonds. O yes, and many, 
too, had in those ten years listened, 
with gUstening eyes and full hearts, 
to the story of Chrisf s love to poor 


sinners; and given themselves to 
him as his wiUing servants forever. 
Surely, then, ragged schools are good 
things, and worth reading about. 

Well, at the end of ten years, three 
hundred children were receiving 
daily instruction in this school ; and 
though it was yet a ragged school, 
and the children were ragged chil- 
dren, it was a different sight from 
what it at first had been; it was 
now a pleasure to observe how ea- 
ger the children were to learn, and 
what a great improvement had taken 
place in their behavior. 

It was a great grief to all who 
were interested in the Westminster 
ragged school, that the poor children 
who were taught there had no happy 
homes, but were in great danger of for- 
getting what they had learned that 


was good, and of being drawn into 
the same course of wickedness which 
had brought ruin and misery to all 
around them. They knew, too, that 
many of the poor children had really 
no homes, but were orphans, with- 
out friends to care for them, or those 
whose parents were likely quite to 
desert them. Some of the children 
had parents who had been sent out 
of the country for breaking the laws. 
It was, therefore, sad to think what 
would become of the children as 
they grew older. In order to save 
such as these from temptation, and 
destruction of body and soul, a refuge 
was provided for fifty boys and fifty 
girls, where they are trained for re- 
spectable service, for being useful in 
the world, instead of injurious, and 
for eternal happiness in the world to 


come, instead of everlasting woe and 

In this house of refuge, which is 
also a school of industry, the children 
are stripped of their old rags, and 
neatly clothed in garments which 
they are taught to make for them- 
selves. They are made every day to 
wash in a large bath ; so that they are al- 
ways clean, and cleanhness promotes 
good health. They have sufficient 
plain food given to them ; and they 
are, every day, taken to walk in the 
park, which is near ; and this also is 
good, both for the body and the mind. 
Then, one part of the day they re- 
ceive instruction in reading, writing, 
and arithmetic; and at another part 
of it they are taught useful trades, to 
prepare them for a life of honest in- 
dustry. Besides all this, the children's 


souls are cared for. The great and 
glorious truths of the Bible are made 
known and explained to them ; and 
they learn that "the grace of God 
which bringeth salvation hath ap- 
peared to all men ; teaching us, that 
denying ungodliness and worldly 
lusts, we should live soberly, right- 
eously, and godly, in this present 
world ; looking for that blessed hope, 
and the glorious appearing of the 
great God and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ ; who gave himself for us, that 
he might redeem us from all iniquity, 
and purify unto himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works," 
Titus ii, 11-14. 

"When we think of \vhat these 
poor cliildren would have been, had 
no one cared for their souls; how 
much evil they might have done; 


how much misery they would have 
suffered, — we may well rejoice that 
so much has been done for them. 
We may also be glad that many such 
plans are now going on, which, with 
the blessing of God, will do more 
good than can well be imagined. 
Would it not be better, young reader, 
that the very neglected, ignorant, 
and depraved children of every town 
should receive good instruction and 
training, than that they should go on 
from bad to worse, doing mischief to 
all around them, be punished again 
and again by being sent to prison, 
and at last end their days in disgrace 
and sorrow, without hope of a better 



Eagged-school Childeen — The Benefits thet 
received and imparted. 


A LITTLE boy, whom we will call 
Henry, had been for some time a 
scholar in the ragged school. He 
had a sad, wretched home. His pa- 
rents were drunkards ; almost all the 
money they could obtain was spent 
upon themselves in the gin-shop; 
and their poor children had scarcely 
even rags to cover them, and often 
were obliged to pass a whole day 
without food. It is terrible to think 
how much those children must have 
suffered, and how cruelly they had 
been driven to sly pilfering, or daring 
thievery, by the wicked neglect of 
their besotted father and mother. 


When Henry was admitted into the 
school, one of his brothers had been 
transported as a thief, and another, 
younger than himself, was in prison 
for having stolen to keep himself 
from starvation. 

I have said that Henry's home 
was a wretched one ; let me describe 
it : — There was but one room for the 
whole family, which had to serve as 
a sleeping-room at night, as well as 
a living-room by day. In one cor- 
ner of the divty, unswept floor, was 
a scanty heap of shavings for a bed, 
upon which they all huddled them- 
selves together for rest, without 
blanket, rug, or even rags to cover 
them from the cold air. On the 
mantel-shelf were two cups; and by 
the fire-grate, in which was seldom 
to be seen a handful of burning 


coals, was an old tin kettle, without 
a lid. Chairs there were none, nor 
a table, nor cupboard for food. Alas ! 
seldom would such a convenience 
have been of use, for even a day's 
supply of dry bread alone was sel- 
dom there. 

Sin caused this want. Sometimes 
the Almighty sees fit, in his provi- 
dence, to afflict the industrious, and 
sober, and godly with deep poverty. 
Sickness may bring them low ; or 
inability to obtain employment may 
reduce them to great distress; or 
dearness of provisions may, at times, 
severely try their patience and their 
faith. But in any such case, those 
whom God has blessed with plenty, 
may pity without blaming the suffer- 
ers, and relieve withoutfear of causing 
sin to be added to sin. And when the 


children of God are thus stricken with 
poverty, they know that their heaven- 
ly Father is still watching over and 
caring for them; and that he will 
not lay upon them more than he 
will give strength to bear, if they 
seek his help. They know, too, that 
" allthings work together for good to 
them that love God," and that the 
"light affliction" of the Christian, 
"which is but for a moment," is 
made ta work for him " a far more 
exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory," Rom. viii, 28; 2 Cor. iv, 17. 
But there was no such consolation 
and hope for the parents of little 
Henry. They brought upon them- 
selves and their children all the 
sufferings they endured from hun- 
ger, cold, nakedness, and abject 


Though Henry had such a home, 
and such depraved parents, he was 
far from being a dull, stupid, obsti- 
nate, discontented, or badly disposed 
child. He seemed to have been 
preserved, in a great measure, from 
the contagion of wickedness by 
which he was surrounded; and 
after he had been a httle time at the 
ragged school, none of his school- 
fellows were more cheerful, diligent, 
and well-behaved; while, out of 
school, he was the delight of his 
playmates, on account of his good- 
tempered and happy disposition. It 
would have been a sad thing if such 
a boy had been driven by want and 
cruelty to the commission of crime. 
Surely it was the sovereign mercy 
of God that led him to the ragged 
school, and there provided him with 


friends who were better to him than 
his own neglectful parents. 

It was a pleasure to see Uttle 
Henry enter the school every day 
with a cheerful step, and clean face 
and hands. It was a good trait of 
his character that he cared at all about 
cleanUness; for we may be sure 
he did not learn it of a mother who 
cared for Httle else besides her own 
wicked indulgence, and who was 
far more fond of the gin-shop than 
of her own room. Indeed, it was 
not without some trouble that Henry 
could keep himself clean; for he 
had neither soap, towel, nor bowl to 
use. But where there is a will, there 
is generally a way ; and after rising 
from his bed of shavings, the boy 
used to take an old rag into the back 
yard of the house, and well wash 


himself with water from a cask 
which stood in the corner. After 
all, however, poor Henry was a pitia- 
ble object. His clothes were deplo- 
rably old and ragged, and he had 
neither shoes nor stockings to his 

Henry's cheerfulness and perse- 
verance gained the good-will of his 
teachers, who gave him, as a re- 
ward for his conduct, a pair of shoes 
and stockings — the first he ever re- 
membered to have had. It was 
very cold weather; the snow lay 
thick on the ground ; and the poor 
boy was overjoyed with the present. 
The next day, however, he came to 
school barefoot as usual, carrying the 
shoes and stockings in his hand. 
"How is this?" said his teacher. 

" O, sir," he replied, " you see my 


feet are all over chilblains ; I could 
not bear the shoes on, they hurt me 
so much. But I would not leave 
them at home ; for if I had, I should 
not have seen them again. My 
mother would part with them to get 
money for drink. You know, sir, 
my mother would have drunk me 
before now if she could." 

The teacher knew this to be true ; 
and all he could do, at that time, 
was to pity him and pray for him, 
and give him good advice. 

Amidst such discouragements, 
which would have broken down the 
spirits of many a stout man, Henry 
still continued his diligent attention 
to learning. No one knew, perhaps 
his teacher could only guess, how 
often he entered the school faint 
with hunger from the neglect of his 




unnatural parents, and how much 
ill usage besides he had to bear from 
them in their drunken anger. At 
last, the poor httle fellow ventured 
to ask his teacher if he would lend 
him threepence. 

"And what would you do with 
the money, Henry?" The boy re- 
plied that he wished to earn his own 
living; and he thought if he had 
threepence to begin with he could 
do it, and attend school too. He 
should be sorry, he said, to do as his 
poor brothers had done ; and he 
wished to get his Uving honestly. 

The threepence was lent to him ; 
and with this small sum, the honest, 
enterprising, and industrious boy be- 
gan to trade directly. He bought a 
dozen boxes of lucifer matches, and 
offered them for sale. Ah, little did 


the passers by, to whom Henry of- 
fered his trifling merchandise, know 
what mighty struggles between hope 
and fear were going on in the mind 
of the ardent lad ! Little did they 
who hstened favorably to his en- 
treaties, and laid out a penny toward 
diminishing his stock of goods, think 
how beneficially they employed that 
money, and how they were further- 
ing the kind designs of His provi- 
dence without whose permission not 
even a sparrow falls to the ground, 
who clothes the fields with verdure, 
and takes care of all who trust in 

The matches were sold, and 
Henry had gained threepence by his 
adventure. Hungry as he was, he 
did not waste it in luxuries; he 
bought more matches, and continued 


his trade. From time to time he 
sold a fresh dozen of boxes, and 
with the profit he made by them he 
got food for his support, and was 
sometimes enabled to feed a poor 
hungry sister, who also went to the 
ragged school, and who suffered 
equally with himself from the neg- 
lect and ill treatment of their pa- 

For nearly two years did Henry 
support himself, all the while regu- 
larly attending the school, and yet 
disposing of his matches. - "You 
know," he said, when asked how he 
contrived to live, "I can always 
manage to make threepence, and 
sometimes more. I spend one pen- 
ny for breakfast, another for dinner, 
and the same sum for supper : that 
is better than my brothers did ; and 


by and by, when I can read and 
write well, I will get a situation." 

Young reader, think of Henry and 
his first threepence, and his penny- 
worths of bread for breakfast, dinner, 
and supper, when you are tempted 
to spend pence on luxuries. Think, 
and be thankful for your mercies, 
and at the same time ask yourself, 
" Can I not make a better use of 
this money ?" 

After a time, Henry could read 
and write well, and he left off* match- 
sellingHo seek a situation. During 
the time he had been at the ragged 
school, though surrounded by bad 
examples, and perhaps often tempted 
to steal, he had maintained the same 
character for honesty which first in- 
duced his teacher to lend him the 
threepence. This character was 


now of service to him ; and his per- 
severance overcame many difficul- 
ties w^hich lay in his path. He 
became the errand-boy of a fish- 

Years passed away, and* the Httle 
match-selling boy became a young 
man. His home was no longer in a 
miserable, unfurnished, dirty room, 
but in a comfortable, well-furnished 
house. His ragged clothing had 
long ago given place to the respect- 
able garb of a young tradesman. 
His character had become still fur- 
ther improved. By the grace of God 
he had been kept from the sins 
which, practiced by hi§ parents, had 
embittered the days^f his childhood, 
and brought guilt, sorrow, and ruin 
into his family. As he advanced in 
age and knowledge, he became more 


and more useful to his employer, 
who treated him with respect, ad- 
vanced his wages, and made him 
his confidential servant. 

" The wages of sin is death." 
Henry's mother died a victim to in- 
temperance ; and for a time the wid- 
owed husband seemed roused by 
this event from his course of dissi- 
pation. It was but for a time, how- 
ever. Like " the dog to his vomit," 
and "the sow that was washed to 
her wallowing in the mire," 2 Pet. 
ii, 22 ; so the unhappy man returned 
to his habits of self-indulgence and 
drunkenness, and cruelly turned his 
only daughter into the streets. 

It was well for this poor girl that 
she had received good instruction in 
a ragged school, and that those in- 
structions had been kept and fol- 


lowed, as well as received. It was 
weU, also, that she had a friend in 
her brother Henry. It was not like- 
ly that he who, when a ragged- ^ 
school boy, had often shared his 
penny breakfast or dinner with his 
hungry sister, would suffer her to 
perish when God had blessed him 
with prosperity. No; he received 
the poor outcast with affection, and 
paid for her lodgings until she ob- 
tained the means for her own sup- 
port? which, by honest industry, she 
was soon enabled to do. From 
that time, the brother and sister 
might be seen every Sunday walk- 
ing together to the house of God, 
with thankful hearts that they had 
been rescued from the depth of 
wretchedness and vice, placed in 
worldly comfort, and taught the way 



of everlasting life, by the instru- 
mentality of a ragged school. 


In the corner of a room, such a 
one as we described as the home of 
httle Henry, and lying on a bundle 
of straw, was a poor child who had 
been for some time at the ragged 
school. His school days, however, 
were over. Nakedness and neglect 
had been too much for his tender 
frame ; a bad cough had settled on 
his lungs; he had become weaker 
and weaker, till no hope was left 
that his hfe would much longer be 
continued. Happy boy! he had 
heard, at the ragged school, of the 
love and power of the compassionate 


Saviour; he had given himself to 
him ; and he was not afraid to die. 

His teacher called to see him. 
Everything about him was truly mis- 
erable. EQs mother, like the mother 
of the young match-seller, was igno- 
rant and wicked, addicted to drunk- 
enness, and careless of her family. 
His father was also a sadly profli- 
gate man. Had these parents been 
mindful of their duty to God, to their 
children, and to themselves, their 
circumstances might have been far 
different; so true is it that '^godh- 
ness is profitable unto all things, 
having promise of the life that now 
is, and of that which is to come," 
1 Tim. iv, 8. But they cared about 
little besides the indulgence of their 
own sinful inclinations. No wonder, 
then, that they were wretched ; that 


the mother was ragged and dirty, 
and the poor dying boy's worldly 
comforts very few. 

He was very glad to see his teach- 
er. He said that he felt himself to be 
dying; but he was happy, for he 
was going to Jesus. He asked to 
have the Bible once more read to 
him, that he might hear about the 

He had a brother and sister who 
knew nothing of the pleasures of 
youthful piety — who were ignorant 
of God and his word. He called 
them to him, and begged of them to 
go to the school which had been 
made such a blessing to himself, 
and where they would learn about 
€hrist, and the way to heaven. He 
earnestly implored them to pray for 
a new heart, which is the gift of 


God's Holy Spirit, through the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

^ The father and mother of the 
dying boy were standing by. Their 
hearts were touched: for they seemed 
to be hearing his voice almost for 
the last time ; and it must indeed be 
a hard-hearted parent, who can look 
on the death-bed of a child without 
feehng. The little fellow turned his 
eyes toward them with strong affec- 
tion. — "Mother," he said, and his 
voice was very weak and broken ; 
yet how great was its power to 
awaken the mother's sleeping con- 
science ! — " Mother, will you give up 
drinking, and go to the house of God, 
and pray for a new heart ? Mother, 
I want to meet you in heaven." 

After a Httle while, he again turned 
to his parents, — ^ 


" Father, I shall soon leave you, 
but I am going to my heavenly Fa- 
ther. Will you give up swearing, 
father; and read the Bible, and go 
to a place of worship* on Sunday, 
and seek a new heart ? Then I 
shall meet you in heaven. Do, fa- 

Ah! what a scene that was — a 
dying child exhorting his careless 
parents to prepare for following him, 
and for meeting him in heaven ! The 
father could not answer the child; 
but stood wiping away the falling 
tears with the sleeve of his tattered 
jacket. The mother's heart, too, 
was full of grief; but with sobs and 
tears she promised for herself and 
her husband that they would attend 
to their dying son's request 

There lav in the next room a little 


girl who had been the school com- 
panion of poor James — that was the 
name of the dying boy. She also 
was very ill. He wished to see her 
once more ; and asked his mother to 
carry him to her. This was done, 
and he affectionately bade her fare- 

When he was brought back to his 
bed of straw, he bethought himself 
of a message to send to his grand- 
mother, who had been kind to him, 
but who was not then present. 

" Tell grandmother," he said to his 
teacher, " to give up buying things 
on Sunday, and to read the big Tes- 
tament you gave her." 

In a few short hours, the soul of 
little James had left its frail body, 
which was soon afterward placed 
in the grave : but his dying requests 


were not forgotten. From that time 
the conduct of his parents became 
greatly altered ; and it may be hoped 
that, though young when called 
away from earth, the ragged-school 
boy had not hved in vain. 

" Happy the children who are gone 
To live with Jesus Christ in peace ; 
Who stand around his glorious throne, 
Bedeem'd by blood, and saved by grace ! 

" The Saviour whom they loved below, 
Hath kindly wiped their tears away ; 
No sin, no sorrow, there they know, 
But dwell in one eternal day." 


One day a little boy came to the 
ragged school, to have his name put 
down as a scholar. His dress was a 
very old coat, which had been made, 
most hkely, many years before, for a 
man ; and now, when worn by the 

ANU l{A(li)lCl» SOTIOLAHS. 07 

hoy, its skirts dni<*'j»'etl nloi\«»' tlie 
grouiul as he walktul. \\c luul no 
slurt, no slices, no stookinj»s; ancl 
instond oftrowsovH, an old divt\ a])ron 
Avay lied roimd liiiu, outside tlioeoat. 
The poor little fellow was covered 
witli dirt iViuu head to ti»oi, plainly 
sho^vi^^»»* that his home was one of 
grtMit ne«»i(*et and diseon\lovt, as well 
as ol' poverty. 

The parents of this poor hoy were 
not 8'enerally reekoned dishonest 
people; hut they were wt^ll known 
as luMn»»' very (*arelt\ss ahont their 
lannly, and very prt»lli»>ate. Their 
oeenpation was that of selln\«;' ve^'e- 
tables and frnit in the streets; nnd 
tla*y nvi«»ht luive obtained a eondort- 
able livino- in this way. hnt tor thtMr 
sad habits of drunkenness. As it 
was, ahnost all they earned, they 


spent at the public-house, leaving 
their children to wander in the 
streets, and to obtain food for them- 
selves as they could. 

You may think what a wretched 
home they had. A few shavings 
served for a bed; an old basket, 
turned bottom upwards, was the 
only table, and two old saucepans 
were the only seats that the room 
contained. The parents themselves 
were always dressed in tatters, and 
covered with filth; and the neigh- 
bors around them — though, alas! 
many of them were very ignorant 
and debased^^looked upon this fa- 
mily with pity and contempt. 

it was hard work, no doubt, to 
make the son of such parents pay 
any regard to cleanUness, and to 
take any real pleasure in learning. 


After a time, however, he was more 
decent in appearance, and, in a few 
months, was able to read. His 
teacher then gave him, as a reward 
and an encouragement, a New Tes- 
tament ; and he was told to take it 
home, and to read it to his parents, if 
they would hke to listen to him. He 
was to read to them the third chapter 
of John. 

The boy had soon an opportunity 
of doing this; for, degraded as his 
parents were, they were proud of the 
success of their son, and pleased 
with the gift he had brought from 
school. They sat and listened, and 
the child read : — 

'' There was a man of the Phari- 
sees named Nicodemus, a ruler of 
the Jews : the same came to Jesus 
by night, and said unto him. Rabbi, 


we know that thou art a teacher 
come from God ; for no man can do 
these miracles that thou doest, ex- 
cept God be with him. Jesus an- 
swered and said unto him, Verily, 
verily, I say unto thee, Except a 
man be born again, he cannot see 
the kingdom of God." 

Neither the father nor mother of 
the boy could read ; and most likely 
they had never before heard this 
chapter read to them. If they had, 
they certainly had not listened to it 
as they did at this time ; for, as soon 
as the boy had read the third verse, 
his father stopped him, and cried out, 
"You are surely reading wrong. 
* Except a man be born again !' — ^you 
must have read it wrong." The lit- 
tle reader was sure that those were 
the very words ; but this did not sat- 


isfy the father, who said that the 
teacher must come to tell him 
whether or not his son was right. 

The teacher was glad to go to that 
miserable abode on such an errand ; 
and when he got there, he took the 
Testament, and, beginning to read 
at the same place, soon came to the 
words, "Except a man be born 

Weil, this was just the same as his 
son had read ; and the man could no 
longer doubt that the exact words 
were in the boclk; but this only in- 
creased his difficulty. " How can a 
man be born again ?" he asked. 

The teacher then told him that the 
new birth spoken of there meant a 
changed heart ; that a person who 
had passed through such a change 
would no lonprer live for his own 


sinful pleasures, but for the glory of 
God. He said that, instead of the 
love of sin, new desires and affec- 
tions would spring up in the heart ; 
that there would be a love of holi- 
ness, and a constant fear to <lo what 
is forbidden by God. He said, also, 
that this change of heart and affec- 
tion would produce a change of con- 
duct; that the man thus changed 
would forsake the sins which he had 
before loved, and become sober, hon- 
est, industrious, and frugal, and 
also in all things would adorn the 
doctrine of God his Saviour. He 
told him, lastly, that such a change 
could only be wrought by the Holy 
Spirit of God, through the mercy 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and on 
account of what he had done and 


These words made a great impres- 
sion on the mind of this poor sinful 
and ignorant man. He exclaimed, 
" We are all wrong !" The truth of 
the gospel had touched his heart 
with power ; and caused him to feel 
what a wretch he had lived through 
the whole of his life. 

He looked around him, and saw 
everything to convince him that his 
own sins had brought him to ruin 
and desolation even in this world ; 
and he felt that they were hurrying 
him on to eternal destruction. Like 
the jailer whom we read of in the 
Acts of the Apostles, his thought was, 
"What must I do?" No doubt af- 
ter this, he was shown the way of 
salvation more clearly ; and his con- 
duct gave great hope that he knew 
by experience what it was to be 


born again. After several years, it 
was found that the sins he had once 
loved and followed had been forsa- 
ken ; and that the word of God was 
the rule of his life. His wife, too, 
became an altered woman; no 
longer neglectful of her children, and 
caring for nothing but her own sin- 
ful gratification, but desirous of learn- 
ing the will of her Maker and Saviour, 
and of doing it. 

You may be sure that such a 
change as this made a difference in 
many other respects. The money 
that they earned^ and which once 
would have been squandered in sin, 
was employed in making home de- 
cent and happy. The children, as 
well as themselves, were comfortably 
clothed and fed; by degrees, their 
abode was furnished with table and 


chairs, bed and bedstead; while 
cleanliness gave additional value to 
every new comfort they enjoyed. 
They were no longer " all wrong ;" 
but had reason to hope, and others 
had reason to hope for them, that 
the gospel, which had brought such 
a change to their dwelling, had also 
been the power of God unto salva- 
tion, because it was beheved and 
obeyed. Do you not think, then, 
that these persons were proof of 
God's mercy; and that they had 
great reason to be thankful for the 
instructions received by their son at 
the ragged school ? 






It is upwards of ten years since we 
first visited the back streets and 
courts which He immediately behind 
Westminster Abbey. Our object 
was to make known the message of 
God's mercy and love to the degraded 
inhabitants of that neighborhood. 
After taking a survey of the old brick 
buildings, some of which seemed 
nodding to their fall, we entered the 
wretched dwellings. This, however, 
required no small degree of moral 
courage. While passing from house 
to house, and room to room, we 
found everything in keeping with 


windows long since broken, and 
street-doors wrenched from their 
hinges. The filthy, dilapidated dwell- 
ings sadly harmonized with the ruf- 
fianly and besotted aspect of the 
inhabitants, among whom employ- 
ment too frequently means crime, and 
amusement — debauchery and out- 
rage. ' No one could go within the 
precincts of such a place, without 
perceiving that he had entered into a 
colony of thieves and pickpockets. 
Under the shadow of St. Stephens, 
the seat of British Legislation^ were 
these masses of the human family to 
be found, who knew no rehgion, and 
hterally owned no laws. At the 
doors and windows of the houses, 
and also at the ends of narrow courts, 
were seen loitering groups of half- 
dressed men and women, smoking, 


swearing, and occasionally fighting. 
The swarms of filthy, neglected 
children, squatted in the mud, were 
screaming forth language as profane 
and obscene as that of their elders. 
These were being trained, as their 
fathers and mothers had been before 
them, in that system of education of 
which Newgate and Botany Bay are 
the almost inevitable results. 

One fine Sabbath afternoon, in 
the month of April, when the streets 
were unusually crowded, after hav- 
ing provided a large room, we went 
forth in company with a poor tinker, 
(the only person in the neighborhood 
who would render us any assist- 
ance,) to gather together these poor 
neglected and outcast children of the 

After no small effort, forty were 


taken to the room, all of whom looked 
as wild as the deer taken from the 
mountain, and penned up within the 
hurdles, when approached by men ; 
the matted hair, the mud-covered 
face, hands, and feet, the ragged and 
tattered clothes, that served as an 
apology to cover their nakedness, 
gave the group a very grotesque ap- 
pearance, and would have been a 
fine subject for the painter's pencil. 

Little was done that afternoon be- 
sides taking the names, and even in 
this we had to encounter difficulties. 
Beginning with the first bench, a boy 
was asked, "What is your name?" 
He answered, " They calls me Billy." 
" Where do you five ?" " I lives in 
that yer street down the way, at 
Mother M— — 's rag-shop ; I have a 

tother brother, but L am older thau 


he." The next boy was ten years 
of age ; he said his name was Dick. 
".Any other name besides Dick?" 
"No, they calls me Dick; I sells 
matches in the streets, and live in 
that tother street next room to 
Jimmy that sells oranges." Such is 
a specimen of the answers given to 
questions respecting names, age, and 
residence ! 

Some interesting stories were told 
them from the Scriptures, and at the 
close of the afternoon each child had 
a small card given him, containing a 
short prayer. Attached to it was a 
piece of pink tape, that it might be 
hung over the mantel-shelf 

This appeared to them more valu- 
able than if it had been gold. Ac- 
companied with the reward was an 
invitation to c<5me again next Sab- 


bath, which was heartily responded 
to by each child. Next Sabbath a 
large addition to our former num- 
bers was congregated at the school- 
room. The work of teaching was 
commenced, amid difficulties only 
known to those who engaged in it, 
but by patience and perseverance 
they were eventually overcome. For 
the first time in the history of these 
neglected outcasts, they found out 
that some one loved them ; they had 
hearts to feel it, and in return they 
gave their best gifts — regular attend- 
ance and orderly attention. 

Though the room gave comfort- 
able accommodation to eighty chil- 
dren, it soon became "too strait." 
A larger one was sought ; and, as a 
substitute for a better, an old stable 
was fitted up for the purpose. 


It was soon found that the children 
lost much of what they gained on 
the Sabbath, by having no other em- 
ployment or amusement but that 
afforded by vice and crime during 
the other six days of the week. To 
remedy this evil, when the old stable 
was ready, the school was opened 
every day. It was soon filled to 
overflowing, for every child was 
made welcome, however ragged or 

The first summer's instruction 
had closed ; dark December had ar- 
rived, with its cold nipping frosts, 
which told powerfully on the half- 
naked bodies and unshod feet of the 
children. Their ankles and feet 
were very often chapped and bleed- 
ing; yet suffering as they did, 
nothing would* keep them from the 



school. Why ? Because the teacher 
was kind, and the hand of kindness 
was held out by all who met them 

Our hearts were often grieved to 
witness them shivering in the cold, 
and especially as we could render 
them no assistance, for it was with 
great difficulty that sufficient funds 
were raised to carry on the school. 
"We have seen many of the children 
taken ill and die, through exposure 
to the inclemency of the weather. 

Poor James S ! We shall never 

forget his death-bed scene. Cold 
settled on his lungs, which ended in 
rapid consumption. When we first 
visited him, he was lying in the cor- 
ner of a cheerless room, on a pallet 
of dirty straw. The mother provided 
a chair, the only one in the room, 


and it was broken. A large deal box 
stood in the middle of the floor, 
which served as a table. The mo- 
ther was both dirty and ragged. 
James said he w^s dying, and that he 
was going to Jesus. He requested 
us to read the Bible to him, that he 
might learn more about the Saviour. 
The next day that we visited the 
little sufferer we found him much 
worse. He had a brother and sister, 
for whose welfare he showed much 
anxiety. He first said to his brother, 
" You must pray for a new heart ;" 
and told his sister to go to school, 
where she would learn about Christ 
and the way to heaven. Then, fix- 
ing his glazed eyes upon his father 
and mother — for they were both in 
the room, looking on their dying boy, 
for the last time— poor Jamf53 isaid. 


with a faltering voice, " O ! mother, 
will you give up drinking, and go to 
chapel, and pray for a new heart ? I 
want to meet you in heaven; do, 
mother." The mother's heart was 
full — tears ran down her squalid 
cheeks. We had often made the 
same request to her, but our words 
fell upon her ears like rain-drops on 
the adamantine rock. But the voice 
that now spoke broke open the well- 
springs of her heart; like a voice 
from the grave, it came from the Hps 
of her own boy, which were soon to 
be closed in death. The accusations 
of a guilty conscience added force to 
the request of the dying child, for 
she knew that his disease "was the 
effect of her own neglect, through 
intemperate habits; and that, througl\ 
his short and sharp existence, from 


her he had experienced more of a 
parent's negligence than a mother's 

When he had a Httle recovered — 
for he was very feeble, and could 
scarcely articulate— he told his father 
he v^ould soon leave him, but he 
was going to his heavenly Father. 
Looking wistfully at him, he contin- 
ued, " Will you give up swearing 
and bad words, father, and read the 
Bible, and go to a place of worship, 
and pray to God to give you a new 
heart, and I shall meet you in hea- 
ven ?" The father could not answer 
the child, but stood wiping away the 
tears with the sleeve of his tattered 
flannel jacket; but the mother an- 
swered for him, and, kissing the 
child, she said, " He will, James — 
yes, he will !" 


Poor little James knew that Mary, 
in the next room, who had been his 
school companion, was very ill of 
the same complaint. He requested 
his mother to cany him to see her, 
for the last time. On seeing the 
nttle girl, whom he kissed with 
much tenderness, he said that Jesus 
loved her, and then bade her farewell. 

He was brought back, and laid on 
his pallet of straw, but his work was 
not yet done. He had a grandmo- 
ther, who had treated him kindly 
when in health, but was not then 
present to hear, from his own lips, 
his dying counsel, but we were re- 
quested to convey to her the follow- 
ing message : " Tell grandmother to 
give up buying things on Sunday, 
and read the big Testament you gave 
her, and go to chapel." 


We closed this affecting scene by 
offering up prayer to God in behalf of 
the little sufferer. In one short hour 
afterwards, the Saviour took home to 
himself this — ^the first ripe fruit ga- 
thered from our labors in the Old 


Before the Old Stable was opened, 
we were in one of the lowest lodging- 
houses in Westminster, sitting by the 
bed-side of one who had spent some 
years in a course of iniquity, point- 
ing her dying eyes to Him who is 
ready to receive all that come unto 
Him that they may have life. While 
the silent tear was stealing down the 
palUd cheek of this dying, but we 


trust repenting prodigal, the solemn 
scene was interrupted by the sudden 
entrance of four pohcemen ; two of 
them kept the door, while the others 
made a strict search under all the 
beds that were in the room, six in 
number; neither the chimney nor 
cupboard escaped their scrutiny. 
Having failed in the object of their 
pursuit, we inquired the cause of 
their visit; they informed us that a 
man and woman, notorious for 
begging-letter writing, had followed 
up, that morning, one of these 
epistles with so much importunity, 
as to succeed in obtaining five pounds 
from a gentleman, under the plea of 
burying the apphcant's wife; unfor- 
tunately, the pretended deceased 
wife made her appearance — she was 
seen by a servant of the gentleman 


leaving a public-house with a bottle 
of rum. Information was given to 
the poUce, and they were now in 
close pursuit. This woman, who for 
years had carried on a system of im- 
position on the benevolent public, was 
a widow, and a mother of two boys, 
at that time of the respective ages of 
seven and ten years. The man with 
whom she lived had been a lawyer's 
clerk; his love of strong drink, and 
frequent visits to the same public- 
house, had brought them together; 
the man's former profession gave him 
qualifications, of which few in his 
position could boast, for the work of 
imposition; his abilities raised him 
to the highest dignity, for he was 
styled by the fraternity king of the 
beggars. We felt a deep solicitude 
in the welfare of the boys, for they 


were the very objects for whom the 
Old Stable was opened. The worth- 
less mother was spoken to ; she ad- 
mitted that education was a good 
thing, for whatever station in Hfe one 
filled, it was very useful to be able to 
read and write. It was at once 
agreed that the boys should be sent to 
school "However," said she, "it 
is but right to let you know that if 
Jack and myself should be sent to 
the ^ downs'^ for a month, the boys 
must go to the workhouse, She also 
made an apology for their clothes, as 
well she might, for the coat of the 
eldest boy appeared as though it had 
done faithful service to a man of no 
ordinary stature before it came into 
his possession. One sleeve had en- 
tirely disappeared. We hinted that 

* Tothill Fields Prison. 


buttons would look a little more re- 
spectable than having the coat and 
trowsers tied up with strings. "Bless 
you," she exclaimed, " you know the 
boys are so fond of tossing for but- 
tons, that were I to put on wooden 
ones they would cut them off." They 
had not been long at school, before 
it was found necessary to use some 
means to secure their more regular 
attendance ; the master complained 
that after all his attempts he could 
seldom see them in their places; 
he had sent after them, but to little 
purpose ; for if he had them in the 
morning, he seldom saw them in 
the afternoon. He once locked them 
in the school during the dinner hour, 
but on his return he found they had 
made their escape through the roof 
by removing some tiles. ^But what 


could be expected of the poor boys ? 
they had often to provide their own 
food ; this they had no other means 
of doing than by mud-larking, that 
is, picking up coals by the river-side, 
and disposing of them for a few 
pence. About this time, Jack, the 
pretended husband of the mother, by 
a life of dissipation had brought on 
a disease, which was fast hurrying 
him to a premature grave. We vis- 
ited him during his illness, until his 
death. After the death of this man, 
the mother of the boys commenced 
a new mode of hving ; she opened a 
wardrobe of widow's weeds, for the 
purpose of lending them on hire for 
the day, to those who preferred go- 
ing out on begging excursions ; she 
was also agent for the poor of the 
neighborhood, and supphed children 


at ninepence a head to the professed 
widows, who found it would answer 
their purpose to take one or more 
children, to excite the sympathies of 
passers-by in the street. In this way 
the mother of our young friends now 
supported herself. We held out pro- 
mises of rewards to such children as 
were most regular in their attendance 
at school, in the shape of clothing, 
etc. This had the desired effect of 
securing the attendance of these too- 
much neglected youths ; the mother, 
too, was now in a profession that 
rendered her less liable to be sent to 
the " downs," or the boys being re- 
moved to the work-house ; which 
gave them the opportunity of conti- 
nuing at their classes, until they were 
capable of going out into the world 
to do something for their own sup- 


port. They are now steady young 
men; the eldest is a plasterer, and 
the youngest a paper-stainer; both 
contribute to the support of their 
mother, whose habits of life are en- 
tirely changed. She told us, with 
much feehng, that her boys had 
agreed together to give her what 
support they could, on condition of 
her becoming a member of a tem- 
perance society. This she at once 
agreed to do, and still continues a 





You have now read a little about 
ragged schools and ragged-school 
children. It is only a small part of 
what might be written : for there are 
now many such schools ; and every 
day furnishes new proofs of their 
need and of their usefulness. But 
enough has been written here to 
make it plain that there is much ig- 
norance and sin, as well as poverty, 
even in our own land of gospel light 
and knowledge. 

And now, young reader, we think 
there are two or three lessons that 
you may learn from this little book. 

You may see what reason you 
have to be thankful. Do you not 
remember the words of David, " The 
lines are fallen to me in pleasant 


places; yea, I have a goodly heri- 
tage ?" Psa. xvi, 6. So may yon say. 
How much fairer your lot, and great- 
er your advantages, than if you had 
been brought up in ignorance of 
God, and of his great salvation ; and 
had no better home than such as 
have here been described to you! 
Think who it is that has made you 
thus to differ, and be thankful. 

Have you no reason to be humble? 
Do you prize your advantages quite 
as much as you ought to do, or profit 
by them quite so largely as you 
might do? Think of the ragged- 
school children, many of them with 
cruel, neglectful parents, surrounded 
with bad examples, exposed to 
temptation; and yet, surmounting all 
these things, learning with gratitude 
and profit, and, at length, breaking 


away from bad influences, and be- 
coming good and useful, sober and 
industrious. Think of this, not with 
conceit of your superior advantages, 
but with humility that they have not 
always been improved. 

Do you remember what the Lord 
Jesus said about the cities where 
many of his mighty works had been 
done ? — " Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! 
woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the 
mighty works which were done iri 
you had been done in Tyre and 
Sidon, they would have repented 
long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 
But I say unto you. It shall be more 
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the 
day of judgment, than for you." 
Matt, xi, 21, 22. Now, will you ask 
yourself, young friend, whether or 
not these words apply to you? Sup- 



pose, after all, you should be found 
among the neglecters and despisers 
of the blessed Saviour ; do you not 
think that at the day of judgment it 
will be more tolerable for the igno- 
rant children of whom you have 
read, whose ears'the sounds of mercy 
never reached, and who perished in 
their sins — than for you ? Lay this 
question, I pray you, to heart, and 
think upon it with deep seriousness 
and attention. 

Then, think how mighty is the 
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
the power of the Holy Spirit, to sub- 
due the iniquities of men, and to 
save their souls. Is it not a delight- 
ful truth that Christ " is able to save 
them to the uttermost that come 
unto God by him?" Remember, too, 
dear young reader, that if you would 


be forever happy, it must be by the 
same salvation w^hich is common to 
all. Except you repent, you must 
perish; and, Except you be born 
again, you cannot see the kingdom 
of God, Luke xiii^3 ; John iii, 3. 






^T "WAS a night in December ; a drizzling rain 

Had been dropping all day, was still dropping amaiii. 

I pass'd by an alley : there shiver'd a child, 

His clothes all in tatters, his features all wild, 

His hair was bematted, his feet were unshod. 

As cold and as wet as the pavement he trod. 

He look'd in my face — such a look of despair ! 

The picture of sorrow, the victim of care. 

No father, no mother, no home had the boy, 

An outcast, a lost one, a stranger to joy ; 

His bed was the alley, the cellar, the lane. 

His pillow the door-step in cold and in rain ; 

Untaught and uncared-for, unclothed and tinktiown, 

Poor lost little fellow ! "will none the child own ? 


Yes, come to tlie " Ragged Scliool," open the door, 
Look round : there 's a face we have met with hefore : 
'Tis the same little fellow we saw yesternight, 
His cheek is yet pale, but his young eye is bright, 
His hair is unmatted, it curls on his brow ; 
His arms, do they hang down in listlessness now ? 
Just w^atch him a moment, there 's joy in his eyes, 
As his hand, all unskill'd, at such new work he tries. 
He is found — do not leave him an outcast again, 
But give him a shelter from cold and from rain ; 
Instruct him, and clothe him, and feed him awhile ; 
He '11 pay you, o'erpay you, in gratitude's smile. 
Point, point him to Jesus, the Friend of the poor, 
And Jesus will bless both your basket and store. 



Hark ! heard ye liot that loud and startling shriek ?- 

From yonder gallery's crowded rows it came ; — 
'Twas long — 'twas fearful — and it seem'd to speak 

A mother's anguish at her offspring's shame : 
" Left to himself,"* to herd with folly's band, 

'the child at home was taught no useful rule. 
And no kind Christian took him by the hand, 

To guide his footsteps to the " Ragge!d School." 

* Proverbs xxix, 15. 


Had he been there, he might have leam'd to bend 

The knee in prayer— to shun the haunts of crime, 
And gain the favor of that heavenly Eriend 

Who reigns enthroned above the spheres sublime : — 
Such might have been his lot ; for grace can change 

The heart from folly's sway to wisdom's rule : 
But some, perchance, may deem this doctrine strange. 

And wondering ask, — What is a " Eagged School ?" 

Neglected youths together brought to meet. 

With tatter'd garments and " unwashen hands," 
Fresh from the mud of river-bank or street, 

Eude as the heathen of benighted lands — 
These all, in order, taught to go and come. 

To prove obedient to their teacher's rule, 
Speak when they 're told, and, when they're not, be 
dumb, — 

This is the pictm-e of a " Eagged School." 
Where noble hearts, and honorable minds, 

The lowest depths of infant misery readi-7- 
Where beauty's form its purest pleasure finds, 

The long-neglected little ones to teach — 
Where kindness ever works, and seldom fails, 

(E'en though the child be stubborn as a mule) — 
Where patient love o'er waywardness prevails — 

There go, and ye shall find a " Eagged School." 

To curb the passions, and to mold the will ; 

To guide the wandering, and bring back the lost ; 
With Scripture truth the memory's stores to fill ; 

And seek the soul to save, at any cost : 


To heal the youth that haunt oiir public ways, 
Foul as the crowds that throng'd Bethesda's pool; — 

This is the effort of our modem days — 
This is the glory of the "Eagged School." 

The band of laborers now, though scant and small, 

To see the first fruits, with delight begin ; 
A time will come, when, in the sight of all, 

The glorious harvest shall be gather'd in : 
And thousands then, in heaven's unclouded calm, 

ShaU bow to Him who doth all nations rule, 
Strike the sweet harp, and wave the victor's palm. 

And bless the Saviour for the " Eagged School." 

Christians of Britain, if ye love your land, 

Your land of freedom, by the Truth made free, 
Give of your substance, that each youthful band 

That truth may leam, and God's salvation see ; 
Cleanse not the ^'■outside of the cup'"* alone; 

Who does, is but a Pharisaic fool ; — 
But, that its inward brightness may be shown, 

Pray for a blessing on the " Eagged School." 

* Matthew xitiii, 25. 




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