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when we see them fall under such trying circumstances. Nor is it surprising that they should in some sort rush to ruin. While some in their weakened state are besieged and fall, others, when the hated wheel of labour stops at last, yearn for some pleasure to fill the little pause, some excitement to stimulate the sinking pulse, some mirth and cheerfulness to brighten the scanty leisure of this dreary, drudging life. This love of pleasure, at all times natural in the young, is of course apt to take a morbid turn when all the frame, bodily and spiritual, is in a morbid state; and we may be sure that excess of toil will always have a reaction in excess of pleasure; the one extreme is the parent of the other; the string of the bow, stretched too tightly, breaks at last; the mind and body, strained beyond their due mark, become disordered and unstrung. Hence, the fevered lip is tempted to quaff the cup of guilty pleasure, which, in its cooler hour, it would have spurned for guileless relaxation.
Having seen, then, another form of temptation which besets the females of the lower ranks of life, we will pass from the fruits of over-work to still another cause of ruin that prevails in our manufacturing towns,-the mixture of sexes in factories. In factories certainly great improvement is taking place; but improvement is a comparative term, and effects the most frightful follow the combination of girls and youths, as it is at present managed. The evils of this combination are indeed aggravated by one of the causes of sin just discussed,- -we mean, over-work <; there comes an inordinate love of pleasure, especially of sensual pleasure, where the true law of labour has been transgressed. We were lately told by one before whom the painful fact had been brought, that, out of a large number of factory girls, confirmed last year in one of the largest manufacturing towns of the north, not one had kept her purity. All had fallen; all came as penitents to that holy rite. A large portion of this mischief was laid to the mixture of sexes at time of work, or to the congregating of the young when work ceased. We must remember also, as bearing upon this particular point, that the promiscuous living of the poor in their own homes paves the way to ruin, by loosening true notions of purity and decency in early life: the principle of modesty has been diluted at home, and thus, when the girl grows up, and is thrown with companions of the opposite sex, she has not, so to speak, a fair start; she does not come properly armed for the attack; her modesty has already been lowered, and the bloom of natural feeling has been rubbed off. The dwellings of the poor, whether in town or country, lay the foundation of much sin; and we hail the erection of model lodging-houses as one of the greatest and most practical instruments for the improvement
of the morals and modesty of the poor. Mr. Talbot, the secretary of "The London Society for the Protection of Young Females," gives us some fearful facts relative to the condition of the dwellings of the poor. We will furnish our readers with a single sample of these facts. "From a paper read by C. Bowles Fripp, Esq., at the statistical section of the meeting of the British Association, it appears that in Bristol there were in 1839,
556 families, each occupying part of a room.
4,752 children above seven years old sleeping in the same room with their parents."
We need not indeed multiply facts of this kind, as even in the best country parishes it is hard to find cottages sufficiently large, or so well arranged, as to accommodate the inmates with due regard to proper separation of sexes. Neither will we speak at large upon the defects of education, the want of schools, the hurried preparation for confirmation, the example of parents, the fascination of attentions from persons of higher rank than themselves; all of which are to be considered when we pass judgment on the fallen daughters of the Church. Enough, we trust, has been shown to dissipate the idea, strongly fixed in many minds, that the mass of erring women go astray out of mere wantonness and love of pleasure; and to prove that there is a host of palliating circumstances that greatly lessen the wilfulness of their sin. We think, too, that what we have said is enough to show there is urgent need for considering and for improving the condition of the whole race of women in the lower ranks of life. There must be some great defects in the social system, where vice can fairly claim for itself so large a number of palliating circumstances; and while we freely confess the need of an expanded ecclesiastical system, to give educational and other direct religious advantages to the poor, yet over-work and over-labour come rather within the scope of civil jurisdiction, guided by a Christian spirit.
Now we must not sit down in the bewildered inactivity of despair, as though all these social evils breaking out into so much vice were beyond a remedy. Many remedies may be required, and many may be difficult to procure; but still the improvement of the female population is, at least, to be attempted, even though there may seem small prospects of any considerable success. For ourselves, looking to these two great tempters, poverty and overwork, whether acting alone or in concert, we cannot but be convinced that a vigorous, well-directed, and well-managed system of female emigration, stands out at once as the most effectual means
of checking these strong enticements to sin. To drain off to some degree the surplus female population, is the work that at once presents itself to our thoughts. We may increase schools, multiply churches, but these will not raise wages nor buy bread. They may help the besieged to hold out longer in time of siege, but this is all; thirteen or fourteen hours of work in a close room cannot be borne without hurt both to soul and body; and we little know the power of hunger in loosening principle, where principle has taken root. We must reduce the number, to reduce the temptations of women; and if we treat them as so many "hands," the business-like and mechanical view of the sex, we find, that while we have an excess at home, there is a great demand for these living implements of industry abroad. colonies ask for female immigration. The last of the colonization circulars issued by Government, furnishes us with the most authentic accounts of the want of women, while so many thousands are pining in England for the very scantiest subsistence. In New Brunswick we are told that "labour, such as the business of the country requires, is both scarce and dear; and that 1000 good and healthy labourers (with their families, equal to 5000 souls) would find employment." Of South Australia it is said, that "young unmarried females, who emigrate to South Australia without friends or relations on board, are, on arriving in the colony, at once removed from the vessel, bringing them to a house in Adelaide, where every necessary comfort is in readiness for their reception. They are placed under the immediate control of a matron; and a committee of ladies have benevolently undertaken to assist them in finding suitable employment:" this is proof enough of the demand. In New Zealand we read that dairy women and respectable female servants were much wanted." When we come to wages, we have evidence of the want, not of needlewomen, but of servants. In New South Wales, a plain cook's wages vary from 247. to 287. per annum; dairymaids, from 177. to 257.; housemaids, from 187. to 287. In Van Diemen's Land the same class of servants varies from 107. to 257. per annum; and needlewomen in that colony can obtain 207. to 307. a year. To a well-governed system of female emigration we therefore look, as the means of raising the price of female labour here to such a height as to supply at least the necessaries of life, and to prevent the exhaustion of the frame by over-work.
As regards the female population that remains at home, many measures for its improvement present themselves. Increased provision in the dwellings of the poor, better arrangement and sub-division of rooms, are points deeply to be considered by all
owners of such property. The matter should be more looked into; country Squires may profitably traverse their estates, and inspect the accommodation which their cottages afford. In such an inspection they will find much to shock them; and, doubtless, many will be moved to lessen the evils which, for want of inquiry, they little suspect to exist. In large towns, so great is the number of friendless and orphan girls who live by the needle, and are condemned to hide themselves in wretched comfortless attics, that we feel, if more cheerful and comfortable houses could be provided for them after their work, many would be saved from the ways of sin. of sin. A model-lodging for needlewomen would, we conceive, be a great boon; and if there were a common hall for breakfast and tea, they might, by their combined resources, have sufficient nourishment as well as fellowship. Such a house placed under rule, and conducted on good principles, might save many a lonely girl from seeking for false excitement, and hurrying from her silent dreary garret to gay scenes of dissipation. We will not venture to do more than allude to the more religious preventives that are now urgently required: more schools, increased pastoral visitation and watchfulness, plainer speaking in our pulpits on the lusts of the flesh, according to Apostolic examples, warmer religious instruction in the schools we raise, longer and more careful preparation for confirmation-these are points which press themselves into our minds, but on which we will not trust ourselves to speak at length.
While we are thus hopefully busying ourselves with fair schemes for the prevention of female vice, we feel ourselves drawn back to the consideration of their state who have already fallen. Preventive measures may benefit the children that are growing up in the perilous atmosphere of the lower walks of life, but there are thousands already sick in soul, already under the power of sin, already leprous and unclean. What is to be done for that large mass of women, young in years, yet deeply steeped in sin? We have considered the palliating circumstances under which so many fall; we have required that these circumstances should be fairly weighed in the measurement of their guilt, under the full impression that the just and candid consideration of their case would rouse pity and deep compassion; we are sure that these feelings of pitifulness will rise in those who have hitherto too hastily condemned or left the fallen to lie in the pit, as though it were a wilful and self-chosen fall. But if there is cause for compassion, then surely it is not enough for us to sigh over our fallen sisters, at the thought of all the wasted beauty, and youth, and health yielded to purposes most vile and draggled in the dirt. It is not enough to have aching hearts, as amid our own safe
houses, with all the privileges of our holy faith, our thoughts turn to those perishing multitudes who have been beaten down by temptations we have never known. Surely Christian pity is not to end in sighs or bitter thoughts; surely, with all this sin and wretchedness, these beginnings of hell in the midst of us, we need vigorous, energetic, self-denying compassion; we need some great and active endeavours to lift up them that are fallen, in the Name of Him" Who receiveth sinners," to search out with all earnest love the stray sheep caught in the thickets of this evil world and almost dead. The Church must be up and doing in this cause; the members of the Church must hasten to give holy shelter to those who can be fetched back. All that we can see of practical compassion is here and there some dismal house at the out-skirts of a town, entitled "a Penitentiary," and calculated to receive but a scanty fellowship of penitents. If we put all these Penitentiaries together, we find them utterly unequal in magnitude to the evil with which they cope, ill-supported, scraping on from year to year with a sort of consumptive life, and attracting little sympathy or interest. An increase of penitentiaries is loudly called for, as the first step of practical pity. The sentence of utter, final excommunication passed by the world on fallen women, must not be allowed any longer to violate the plain terms of the Covenant of Grace; mercy must practically be shown, and places of refuge, houses of mercy, supplied for those who are moved to rise up and confess their sins. The Church cannot without peril shrink from taking this cause in hand. It has been pushed aside too long. The subject is not to be dropped by common consent; souls are perishing; a great burden of neglect is on us. A plain duty is plainly put before us.
But not only do we want an increase of penitentiaries, we want the true preaching of the true doctrine of evangelical repentance, We know that this doctrine is not every where taught in this divided land, in all its fulness of severity or of hope; easier and smoother roads have been devised for the feet of those who have sinned; the house that has been laid low by sin is often run up in rash haste, and plastered over with untempered mortar. And, alas! the imperfect views of repentance now abroad have found their way into the greater part of the few penitentiaries that exist; most of these institutions are in the hands of mistaken religionists; and while we give them all praise for sincerity, for zeal, for pure intention, for the conscientious infusion of their own principles, we cannot hide from ourselves the imperfection of their views on the subject of repentance. Hence we see the need for the sound part of the Church taking up this neglected cause, that sounder doctrine may be brought to bear on those who desire