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fourth month from the time at which the Report of the Inspector as aforesaid shall bear date, and shall be chargeable upon the counties from which Young Offenders shall have been sent to such Reformatory, and shall, at the Assizes next ensuing, be Presented for by the Grand Juries of the respective counties from which such Young Offenders shall have been sent to such Reformatory, and the Superintendent of such Institution shall cause lists to be kept of the names and numbers of the Young Offenders committed to such Reformatory, with the dates of the Committals, and a proportional part of the said monies to be annually repaid to the Consolidated Fund as aforesaid, shall be charged against the rates of said County, whence such young Offenders shall have been committed to said Reformatory, and same shall be presented for by the Grand Jury of said County at the Assizes next ensuing, and the amount shall be paid to said Superintendent as aforesaid."
It will be perceived, that by this first section, all hope of the success of the voluntary principle in Ireland, in supporting Reformatories, is abandoned; and we think wisely; for if rich England permits the closure of Stretton-on-Dunsmore, after its thirty years of admitted usefulness; if it permits the all but bankruptcy of Mr. Nash's Institution; if it throws Saltley and Hardwicke for their main support upon the private fortune of Mr. Adderley and Mr. Baker, surely poor Ireland cannot be considered capable of keeping open, by means of voluntary contribution, the number of Reformatories. capable of receiving our Juvenile Criminals.
The provisions of this section are founded upon the third and fourth sections of the first and second, G. IV. c. 33., known as the Irish Lunatic Asylums Act, but all the provisions of this section are so intimately bound up with those of the fourth, that we defer further observations upon them, until we shall discuss those of the latter section.
We now proceed to the second section, which is as follows:"II. The Reformatories shall be set apart for the exclusive reception of the Professors of the Protestant or of the Roman Catholic Religions respectively; and all Offenders committed to a Reformatory shall be considered as belonging to the same religious persuasion as that professed by their parents; and in all cases in which the religion of the parent is unknown, the young person committed shall be considered as belonging to that religious persuasion of which he professes himself a follower."
The provisions of this section, it must be admitted by all who know the state of religious feeling in Ireland, are strictly requisite in any such Bill as that before us, if it be intended to secure public confidence for the measure. But indeed the
authority of Mettray is in favor of the principle herein contained. Roman Catholics form as large a proportion of the great body of criminals, compared with Protestants, in Ireland as in France, for the simple reason, that those of the former religion are most exposed to temptation, and are the vast majority of the population. Besides, if further proof of the necessity for this rule and of its good sense were needed, it is furnished by our esteemed friend, Mr. Recorder Hall, who, in his admirable Lecture on Mettray, informs us-"all the colonists at Mettray are Roman Catholics, but this is only to avoid the inconvenience of mixing children of different persuasions. M. le Comte de Gasparin, the president of the Society, is himself a Protestant; children of that faith are sent to a Protestant colony at Sainte Foy."
It may be objected to this section, that it is in direct controversion of the principles of the Irish System of National Education: none admire that system more earnestly than ourselves, and did we consider the objection founded in truth, we would at once oppose the section as being a check upon the progression and full developement of the greatest legislative boon ever conferred upon Ireland. But it is not opposed to it. By the National System religion is made the companion of literature and science; it is combined with the system, so that those who have never fallen into crime may learn that the avoidance of crime and the love of virtue are the greatest duties of life; but in the Reformatory School all have fallen into crime, and most require to be taught what virtue is. In the National School the knowledge, and the acceptance of God's law, are taken as admitted rules of conduct; in the Reformatory School the ignorance of this law, or knowledge of it warped from its true position, as the rule of duty, must be considered as the great difficulty to be encountered; yet in this same school religion must be made the be all and the end all of every hope of reformation,-it must be the lever to raise the "Home Heathen" to the knowledge of his merciful, omnipotent Father.
As to the absurdity of objecting that this section would encourage and acknowledge the teaching of what some wellmeaning but thoughtless people call "Popery," the objection is simply ridiculous. Ireland is, in numbers, a Roman Catholic country; the vast mass of its criminal population must of necessity be of that religion, or they must have learned just so much of it as to make them totally incapable of being
reformed through the medium of any other faith. It should also be borne in mind, that for a long series of years paid Roman Catholic Chaplains have been appointed to all our Prisons, and in the justice of this arrangement for Ireland, our good friend and fellow countryman, the Rev. Henry Kingsmill, the excellent Chaplain of Pentonville Prison, agrees, even whilst contending most vigorously, in his letter addressed, on the appointment of a Roman Catholic Chaplain to Pentonville Prison, to Lord Palmerston, against the adoption of the same principle in England.
Other considerations may be urged in support of this section. First, if young offenders of different creeds are sent to the same Reformatory, the system will entail a double set of Chaplains, possibly a double staff of officers for each Institution. Second, by combining the two religions in Protestant and Catholic families" within the same Reformatory, we shall expose the Institution to all those disheartening, embarrassing, and unseemly sectarian squabbles, which at present disgrace the administration of our Poor Houses. Third, the combination of religions will lead to frequent distubance of arrangements upon Roman Catholic holidays and fasting days. Fourth, the combination will produce distrust amongst the people in Ireland, who are but too apt to consider that all combination in such Institutions as Prisons and Reformatories is designed for the purpose of affording facilities for proselytism. Fifth, and most important of all, if it be admitted, as it must be, that religion is the great means of Juvenile Reformation, it becomes at once evident that owing to the great, wide, and important differences, between the externals of the two religions, the professors of them never can be placed together in Reformatories, if the peculiar means of Reformation afforded by each faith are to be employed effectively, and, at the same time inoffensively, to those of the opposite creed.
We are not unsupported, in these opinions here expressed upon this second section, by the perfect judgement of those in England who are best able to write with authority and weight of knowledge upon this important topic. Referring to the system of separation, as contemplated by the second section, one of the oldest, most able, and most clear-judging advocates of the Reformatory principle in England thus writes to us, replying to a query addressed by us to him, in requesting his opinion of the section:
"I do not look upon the arrangement, as a boon to the professors of either creed, but as a boon to the state. The state is expending money to reform young offenders-the religion of those offenders may be made a potent engine for advancing the object. On the other hand, a religion which they have been taught to fear and hate, and the more contact with which will disunite them from those of their own communion, will retard the reformatory progress, instead of aiding it, and will prove an evil instead of a blessing.
I perfectly agree with you that the two modes of faith are so dissimilar and repugnant to each other in their eternal demonstrations that they ought to be kept widely apart. In the great Prison of the Murate at Florence, I observed an arrangement of altars by which the prisoners could at all times of the day see the various emblems of their worship before them, and I have no doubt that it had been found, by experience, an effect was produced on the minds of the prisoners by this religious apparatus. But all that is opposed to the feelings of Protestants, and would assuredly produce no salutary effect on prisoners of that faith.
Why then should the Protestant be subjected to the constant sight of what would be likely to give him a scoffing turn, the most pernicious direction in which his mind could move; or on the other hand, why should the Roman Catholic be deprived of that which may be a source of consolation to him in his misery."
The Third Section of the Bill is as follows:
"III. Whenever, after the passing of this Act, any person under the Age of Fourteen years shall be convicted of any Larceny, or any other more serious Offence than Larceny, either upon an Indictment, or on Summary Conviction before any Judge, or any Police Magistrate of Dublin, or other Stipendiary Magistrate, or before Two or more Justices of the Peace, then and in every such case it shall be lawful for any Judge, Police Magistrate of Dublin, Stipendiary Magistrate, or any Two or more Justices of the Peace, before whom such Offender shall be convicted, in addition to the Sentence, (if any) then and there passed as a punishment for his Offence, to direct such Offender to be sent, at the Expiration of his Sentence, (if any) to a Reformatory and to be there detained for a period not less than two years, and not exceeding five years; but the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland may, at any time, order such Offender to be discharged.
Provided always, that in all cases in which any Young Offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment previous to committal to a Reformatory, such imprisonment shall be passed in Separate confinement, in cells which shall have been duly certified by the InspectorGeneral of prisons, according to the provisions and requirements of the 3rd and 4th Vic., Cap. 44."
The provisions of this section are, in great part, formed upon the second section of the 17th and 18th Vic. c. 86. (The English Juveniles Offenders' Act.) It was, however, thought necessary, considering the vast number of committals, that some minimum offence should be specified, otherwise the Reformatories would be swamped and overwhelmed by vagrants (not that the advocates of the Bill are ignorant of the fact, that vagrancy is incipient crime, but they felt that until a well-designed and stringent vagrant law shall be enforced in Ireland, vagrants must be excluded from the Reformatories.) The maximum age of the young offenders, it will be perceived, is fixed at fourteen years, this we presume was adopted as being in conformity with the English Act: but being anxious to learn the precise number of young offenders of the class contemplated, in Prison on a certain day, that thus some data might be counted upon in estimating the probable accommodation which might be required, we endeavour to procure the necessary returns, and through the attention of Captain Harvey, one of the Inspectors-General of Prisons in Ireland, we obtained the following important and valuable table :-. Juveniles in Gaols in Ireland, for Larceny and higher Crimes, on 21st of April.
From this table it will be perceived that if at this moment Reformatories were opened in Ireland, we should only require accommodation for 165 young offenders, this being the number of males, fourteen years of age and under, confined for larceny