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what we know to-day as schools, sometimes not in houses at all, but under arches or in cowsheds or stables. Such efforts were crude and sporadic. The very insistence of the need simply compelled those individual efforts at giving Gospel teaching with a smattering of education, and where possible some betterment of material conditions.

This primitive Ragged School phase of philanthropy was going on in the youth of Lord Shaftesbury. By the time he had grown to manhood, one or two of the schools had become considerable centres of activity on behalf of the poor child, so that in the magnitude of their work they possessed ground for an appeal to the public. They branched out into departments which justified them in taking the description of Institutions.

From interest in one Ragged School, Lord Shaftesbury devoted his attention to others. He became a powerful link between these detached efforts. His interest and help were a stimulus to the humble workers in their difficult and thankless task. Through him a desire for union and organization matured ; and in time a meeting of four superintendents resulted in the formation of the Ragged School Union, with twenty schools under its auspices and a first annual income of the impressive sum of £60 or 67o. Better than the amount of the income, however, was the fact that Lord Shaftesbury accepted the Presidency of this insignificant organization. He was not too great 10 take that office; he had such an instinct for discovering the needed reform and the right method of relieving want, that perhaps he foresaw something of the manner in which the new movement would develop.

It is impossible to give, in the space of a short lecture, any adequate account of the growth of the Ragged School Union. My main purpose is to present a picture of this great philanthropic and religious work as the outcome of a great man's perception of a great need. Of all the works for child-life which Lord Shaftesbury wrought, none has been so far-reaching, so comprehensive, so adaptable to changing times and demands, as this Society. As Lady St. Helier has well expressed it : “ The history of the Ragged School C'nion is the story of his life. He laboured in all its interests and ideals unceasingly, and never missed an anniversary. The Shaftesbury Society still flourishes-an abiding monument to his memory--but a larger and wider expansion of his work exists in the thousands of brave and good men and women, the children and descendants of the waifs and strays of humanity whom he helped to save from the evil and helplessness of their surroundings. Many a boy and girl well on the road to destruction, lived, through his efforts and those of his workers, to grow up to be among the builders of this great Empire, and on their ransomed lives and those of their children its foundations have become great, wide, and strong.”

As time has passed, changes have become inevitable. The work of elementary education was taken over by the State in 1870, freeing our workers and buildings for other activities. We branched out into industrial training. Then again a change in the industrial systemthe decline of the apprenticeship method, for instance-affected the work. We were pioneers in emigration ; but after a time our activity had to be modified, though not abandoned, by new conditions. We were perhaps the first to attend to the feeding and clothing of school children. Here again other organizations and the State have made this form of benevolence of less urgency, though the Society still does much useful work. It was Lord Shaftesbury's influence and inspiration, operating through this favourite Society of his, that showed the way to so many younger men. He certainly prepared the way for Quintin Hogg and his thrice blessed Polytechnic; for Dr. Barnardo and his Ever Open Door; for Mr. Fegan with his Homes for Working Lads; for Dr. Stephenson with his National Homes; for Prebendary Rudolf and the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society, and for Benjamin Waugh with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. These devoted men were Ragged School workers, coming directly under the spell of Lord Shaftesbury and of his visions and labours for the saving of the children of disadvantage. And with them was a noble company of women, Miss Macpherson, Miss Rye, Mrs. Barker Harrison, Mrs. Hepburn Starey, Mrs. Bavly, A.L.O.E., and many more, less known to fame, but in their own spheres just as devoted and sucessful in their self-denying labours. The list of efforts of which the Ragged School was the precursor might be greatly multiplied. We who are engaged in the work are privileged indeed; with others we are blazing a trail to-day, which shall guide the children of the people into “the promised land.”

The Ragged School Union's career has not been one of unbroken progress or uninterrupted felicity. Lord Shaftesbury wrought for his ideals in the face of bitter and cynical criticism. With all the power of his position and natural gifts, he had no easy task in advocating the cause of the poor and the oppressed. He was a much misunderstood man. In respect, for instance, of the Education Bill of 1870,

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his strong emphasis upon the value of religious instruction and his love of voluntary methods led him to be regarded as an opponent of popular education. Yet at the annual meeting of the Union that year, referring to "this great measure," he said : "That Bill has been introduced by an admirable and excellent man, Mr. Forster, in the very best possible spirit, and with great ability and earnestness, and I trust you will exert all your energies to support that good and true man in the work he has commenced.” A year later he said: “I am not going to speak in critical disparagement of the new system, for I believe that in the present divided state of opinion in England it would have been impossible to enact any law providing more minutely and definitely for the instruction (?) of children in the Christian life.”

I joined the Ragged School Union in 1867, at perhaps the darkest period of its history; I have a very vivid recollection of the delicate handling which certain situations required; and I had some share in the anxiety for the future of the movement which these disturbances and distractions caused. Through it all, however, the greatness of Lord Shaftesbury was apparent. He struck the right path, though it was sometimes only after prayerful heart-searching, and difficult opposition from without. He hesitated because he was honest; he stayed until the light shone clearly for him. He took his own way, but only after it had been revealed to him that the way he chose for his own was the right way. God was guiding him as he led on the Ragged School movement.

Needless to add that the raison d'être of our widespread mission remains. In recent years we have added the great and varied work among the cripple children. Its vast organization is a wonderful evidence of the Union's adaptability to meet social changes in child life. Lord Shaftesbury knew something of the beginnings of this work; in its larger conception and scope to-day it would have appealed strongly to the tender sympathies of one who was acutely touched by all forms of child suffering. He saw something also of the beginning of our Country Holiday activities, which since his time have multiplied, and which I believe commend themselves to him as he looks down upon us from the spirit world. I have no hesitation in ascribing to Lord Shaftesbury's will and wisdom the fact that we are to-day able to fill so large a place in the fight against all the evil forces in our social organization that would destroy the children.

It may be well to take stock of the present situation. It will be necessary to recall pre-war conditions, as well as to note the disturbing influences of the present dislocation in our communal and national life. Much progress has been made during the past fifty years, as I myself can testify, and there is a temptation to paint a picture which would disguise, or even hide, the still urgent need for further developments. So much has been well begun, but, as it seems, only half done.

It is gratifying to think that the absolutely homeless, destitute children, as a class, have become extinct. It would be foolish to pretend that in our great centres of population, north and south, no stray unit is to be found; but I contend that it is happily impossible to discover a number of homeless little children hidden away in empty factories, railway arches, or carts, as was the case within the recollection of many still living. Dr. Barnardo was wont, and not so many years ago, to gather some 3,000 or more boys and girls each Christmas-tide from the lodging-houses and by-ways of London; and of this motley gathering he would select a hundred or more homeless children to be admitted, after investigation, into his Homes.

It is a matter for great thankfulness that illiteracy has been for the most part wiped out, through the operation of the Education Acts of 1870, and of later dates. The child of to-day who cannot read is a rarity. This great advance is receiving constant momentum from the fact, amongst other things, that the parents of the present day are gaining a higher conception of the value of education. Special schools for the deformed and disabled have likewise wrought untold good, as the happier and more hopeful state of the deaf and dumb, the blind, and the mentally and physically deficient, abundantly testifies. A great proportion of the wretched discomfort arising from ragged clothing or bootless feet has been removed, as will be apparent to anyone who will take the trouble to stroll about mean streets. Children now are cleaner and better fed and clothed than ever before, and the impetus in this direction has been maintained ever since the outbreak of war, the result largely of the receipt of wages undreamt of three years ago.

I attribute a good deal of importance to the not always obvious transformation of the policeman from a position of the feared to that of the friend of the children. Think, too, of the growth of the Country Holiday movement. I do not forget the question addressed to me by our good King George, the Patron of our Society, who with His Royal Consort, is keenly interested in child welfare. “Is it true, said he, 'that many town children have never seen the country?” I was glad to be able to answer in the negative, knowing as I did what ad been done for long years past to take the town-tied child from

the man-made town for a spell in the God-given country, in the fresh air' under the open sky, and by the wide sea. Through the agency of the many Holiday funds, and including Pearson's well-known Fresh Air Fund, lovers of children have, in my judgment, been able to give practically every needy child a change, be it only for one joy-giving day, and the far more satisfactory week or fortnight's stay to tens of thousands each summer. The multiplication of parks, open spaces, and school playgrounds, have done something-but not nearly enough --to give room for play and pleasure to the little denizens of the slums. Street beggars—dismal creatures, often with hired babies, droning out miserably some fragment of a hymn and begging for coppers—are a thing of the past. Those hideous specimens of deformity in past days, which still live in the memory, have been swept off the streets, and it is hoped the time will soon come when even the blind beggar will find better means of subsistence. The wonderful work of Sir Arthur Pearson has not only made the name of St. Dunstan's famous, but the effect of his enthusiastic initiative for the blinded soldiers will be seen in the whole community of the blind being raised to a higher social level and to a richer enjoyment of life, and the same must be done for other victims of misfortune.

The operations of the Children's Court do much at present, and will do still more, to take the child out of criminal surroundings and associations. The closing of the public-house door is yet another indication that the atmosphere of the pot-house is not conducive to the physical and moral well-being of the children. It is a great joy to me also to note the improvement in the dress of the little ones. Kate Greenaway and many others have helped by artistic fashions; and the cheap production of pretty garments has done the rest. The Cinema has done much to widen the outlook of the slum child, to add a touch of romance to his drab life and to introduce him to new and hitherto unheard-of wonders and pleasures. Very much credit is due to the devoted Day School teachers, who with an imperfect system and under cramped conditions have done their honest best to go not only the one mile of duty, but to go the second mile of self-denying service in the interests of the poor and needy children. In these and many other directions I speak that I do know and testify that I have seen. l'ictor Hugo's old term, “ The great disinherited,” is certainly inapplicable to-day. They have come partly into their own, and it is up to us to do all we can to secure for them their full heritage.

Why is there so much dissatisfaction with the present outlook ?"

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