« PreviousContinue »
to build a house in the city of Dublin, near the sea, capable of receiving two hundred children and upS. S. wards, 'when their funds should admit of it.
translations, the sooner will they be come conversant with the grand object of their studies.
For the Belfast Monthly Magazine.
TENTH REPORT FROM THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, IN IRELAND.
To his Grace Charles Duke of Richmond and Lenox, &c. Lord Lientenant general, and general gover◄ nor of Ireland.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,
E the undersigned Commissioners, appointed for enquiring into the several funds and revenues granted for the purposes of Education, and into the state and condition of all schools upon public or charitable foundations, in Ireland, in pursuance of the powers vested in us, beg leave to lay before your Grace, our report upon the HIBERNIAN MARINE School in Dublin, for maintaining, educating, and apprenticing the orphans and children of decayed seamen in the royal navy and merchants' service.
The Hibernian Marine Society was incorporated by a charter of his present Majesty, in the year 1775, on the petition of the lord mayor, archbishop of Dublin, and other noblemen and gentlemen of the city of Dublin, members of a marine society associated for the support, education, and fitting for sea the orphans and children of seafaring men only-setting forth, that the said Society had, by voluntary subscriptions and benefactions, been enabled to establish a nursery and school for the maintainance and instruction of the children of seamen, who had perished or been disabled in his Majesty's or the merchants' service; and that they had been further enabled by the bounty of parliament
The charter of the society (a copy of which, with the bye-laws, is herewith submitted to your grace) directs that the corporation shall be intituled, "The Hibernian Marine Society in Dublin, for maintaining, educating, and apprenticeing the orphans and children of decayed seamen in the royal navy and merchants' service;" and that the lord lieutenant, the lord-primate, the Jord-chancellor, the archbishop of Dublin, and other officers of church and state for the time being, and certain noblemen and gentlemen by name, with others to be elected from time to time, shall be members of the said society, which it empowers to purchase and hold lands to the value of two thousand pounds per annum, and to erect nurseries and schools in other parts of Ireland.It directs four general quarterly meetings to be held yearly, at one of which a president, seven vicepresidents, two secretaries, a treasurer, register, and other necessary officers, shall be annually elected from the members of the society, and sworn into office by the president, one of the vice-presidents, or two other members; and also a committee of fifteen for carrying into execution the rules and orders of the corporation, who shall meet on the first monday in every month, or ofetner if necessary. It further directs, that none but children of deceased, reduced, or decayed seamen in the royal or merchants' service, or that had been so, shall be received into any nursery or school of the corporation. By the bye-laws of the society (which they are empowered to make by the charter) none of the members of the corporation
And 4thly, in parliamentary grants.
These last have varied according to the exigencies of the society from seven hundred and fifty to two thousand pounds, till the last year, when in consequence of alterations and improvements then executing in the house, the sum of two thousand eight hundred and ninety-six pounds was granted, and this year the grant has been enlarged to three thousand five hundred and twenty-three pounds nett. According to the return of the register, the expenditure last year was five thousand eight hundred and thirty-two pounds, nine shillings, and eleven pence halfpenny. The total income stated by the
register was three thousand nine hundred and eighty-one pounds fifteen shillings and seven pence halfpenny; and the excess of expenditure,one thou sand eight hundred and fifty pounds, fourteen shillings, and four pence.
This was partly provided for by the sale of government securities to the amount of four thousand three hundred and fifty pounds (on which there is stated to have been a loss of thirty nine pounds, sixteen shillings, and five pence), and to which the governors were induced for the purpose of increasing their bank stock, which, on the grant of a new charter to the bank, they were allowed as original subscribers to purchase at one hundred and twenty-five per cent. The last instalment of their additional subscription was due on the 24th June last, and has been paid out of the parliamentary grant of this year. The funds are in some years assisted by a benefaction from the Ousel Galley of twenty guincas, and by a bonus on bank stock, which in the year 1807 amounted to one hundred and seven pounds, ten shillings. In future, however the latter is not expected, but in lieu of it an increase of the annual dividend.
The house is situated on Rogerstreet by a court-yard, with a wall son's-quay, and is separated from the and iron gate.
It is a plain substantial building, seventy-two feet by forty-six, with two wings, each thirty feet in front by sixty feet in depth, whose fronts range with the rear wall of the house, and which include, therefore an area to the rear of seventy feet by sixty. The part of this area next the house is on the level of the street, and forms a handsome terrace, from which there is a descent by a flight of steps to the other part, which is on the level of the basement story and play-ground. The house contains apartments for the chaplain
(who is allowed the use of the board room), the master, usher, and house. keeper, two dormitories of about forty-eight feet by eighteen, two of about twenty-five by twenty-two, and one of twenty-five by seven and a half, with an infirmary twenty-five by twenty-two.
It is stated in the petition for the charter, to be capable of accommodating two hundred boys. In that statement, probably the infirmary, and perhaps one or two rooms now occupied by the officers, were considered as dormitories. Those used as such at present, would not contain more than about one hundred and sixty, and for this purpose the beds must be (as in fact they are) quite close to each other. But many at present are unoccupied, as there are only one hundred and ten boys in the house. The infirmary is inconveniently situated, in the very center of the house, though there is an access to it by a stair case, which does not communicate with the dormitories, but being confined on three sides it cannot be aired or ventilated as it ought, particularly for convalescents, for whom therefore the governors have lately taken a small house in the country, near two miles distant, to which the boys are removed from the infirmary, as soon as they are sufficiently recovered to be capable of it. The situation of the house itself, near the river on low ground, and (in winter at least) in a damp and foggy atmosphere, rendered this measure still more necessary. It has been some time in the contemplation of the governors to ercct an Infirmary at the east end of the house in front of the east wing; and a building corresponding to it at the other end, for an apartment for the usher, which would enlarge the accommodations of the house to the full establishment of two hundred boys; this, though a very desirable
measure, and for which there can be little doubt of parliamentary aid being obtained, we are sorry to observe is not likely to be carried into execution, partly from a disagreement among the acting governors, and partly from the want of sufficient energy and activity. The wings of the building contain the chapel and school-room, each fifty-one feet by twenty-six. The chapel is neatly fitted up, and has a large fire-place at one end, under it are the laundry and other offices, and under the school-room is the ordinary messroom, of the same dimensions with it.
The whole of the buildings are in good repair, and the dormitories and other rooms in the house appear be kept clean and well aired. The play ground is an area behind the house of about seventy yards square. It appears to be insufficiently inclosed, the wall on the south side being too low; and there is reason to believe, that many of the elopements which have taken place, were effected by the boys escaping over it.
By a bye-law of the governors no boys are to be admitted under the age of nine years, unless from their or strength they are deemed proper at eight; they are previously examined and certified by the surgeon to be of sound health and constitution. Security of ten pounds is given by some friend of each boy betore admission for his conduct and demeanour, and of late the condition of not eloping has been introduced into it. This was occasioned by the great number of elopements in the last ten or twelve years; the average for that period has been twelve in a year, and in one year they amounted to thirty; in the two last years above forty have cloped; the practice is facilitated partly by the circumstance just mentioned of the insufficient inclosure of the play ground, and
partly by one of the boys being stationed at the gate as Porter, who has therefore the opportunity either of eloping himself or permitting and assisting others. If detected in the latter, he is severely punished, but this is not found sufficient to deter them, and it is still less to be expected that, even where there is no disposition to it, a boy eleven or twelve years old will be so vigilant in attending to his post, as not to afford eccasions to others to escape. On this subject, we cannot help saying, there appears to have been great want of attention in the governors, who might, we think, and ought long since to have adopted effectual measures for putting a stop to this most injurious aud disgraceful practice. It was stated to us by the chaplain, that twenty eloped at one time, in consequence of a lieutenant of the navy having come to the school the day before to inspect the boys and select such as were fit to serve on board a man of war; other occasions of elopements are stated to be the intercourse allowed between the boys and their friends, and their being frequently sent out with summonses and on other messages. We have thought it our duty to make a representation to the governors on this and another subject, which will be noticed hereafter in this report.
Applications for admission made by printed certificates, signed by masters of ships and housekeepers of the parish in which the boys reside, one of whom attends to swear, if required, that they are the sons of seamen. They are cloth ed on their admission in a new dress, resembling that of the profession to which they are destined; the course of instruction is reading, writing, arithmetic, and navigation; at a proper age they are apprenticed usually to masters of merchants' vesvessels, who take them without any
fee; some are occasionally sent on board the navy; in the last ten years only forty-six have been thus disposed of; in the same period one hundred and fifty-eight have been apprenticed, and the admissions in that time have been four hundred and twenty-eight. There are at present, as we have stated, one hundred and ten boys in the school, a smaller number than has been for the last three or four years; and in the present state of the school, with respect to instruction, it is not desirable that more should be admitted. There is no master at present, nor has been since January last, when the late master was dismissed, as was stated to us by the chaplain, for misconduct in suffering boys to be sent on board the navy before they were properly qualified; his son, who was the usher, was dismissed at the same time on the same account. A person was appointed to succeed the latter in the following month, under whose single care the instruction of the boys in reading, writing, and cyphering has since continued; he is stated by the chaplain to be a well-behaved man but not to understand navigation ; on our further and personal examination, it appears that he had never been employed in teaching before. He pays, however, the clo sest attention to his duty, which he discharges to the best of his ability, and is in many respects a most useful officer; he keeps the boys in the greatest order, and of late the number of elopements has decreased, in consequence, as we believe, of his extreme vigilance and attention ; but in the article of instruction the school is in a most deplorable state.
the user were ever so well qua lified he could not singly teach so great a number, even in reading alone, especially as the practice of employing monitors has not been
introduced, nor indeed are any of the boys, as far as we can learn, capable of acting in that capacity. The delay in the appointment of a master seems very inexcusable; after some time, indeed, an advertisement was inserted in the papers announc ing the vacancy and inviting applications, and a day was at last fixed for holding the election, viz. Saturday the 26th August; a number of candidates accordingly appeared on that day, and seventeen governors attended the board, but it was then discovered, that in consequence of some omission in point of form, the election could not take place, and was therefore adjourned 'till the first Monday in November, the school will then have been ten months without a master. It had been resolved it seems at a former meeting, that the appointments of the master should henceforth be increased in the article of salary to one hundred pounds per annum, from thirty-five pounds, and to withdraw certain allowances he had formerly enjoyed, and this resolution was required by the bye-laws to be proposed at one quarterly meeting previously to its being finally adopta subsequent one; this had been omitted before the last quarterly meeting in August, and the measure could not therefore take place till the next day in November; but it seems obvious that the election might have been made notwithstanding, and the master given to understand that his appoint ment, though not then regularly sanctioned would be so at the next meeting, and should commence from the day of his election. Several candidates have come to Dublin from different quarters, and it is much to be apprehended that from disgust at their disappointment they may not offer themselves a second time, and thus the advantage of selection
may be in a great measure forfeited: we have reason to believe that much ditierence of opinion among the governors prevailed on this as on other occasions, and we are sorry to be obliged to state, that partly from this circumstance and partly from the small number of acting governors who had usually attended to the concerns of the institution, and who, though men of unimpeached integrity and sincerely attached to its interests, appear not to have possessed sufficient energy or vigour for its proper management and direction, the government of the Society appears for some time to have been in many instances defective and inefficient: it has been stated to us that on some occasions of late the monthly meetings of the committee of fifteen have been adjourned for want of a sufficient number to make a board, though the state of the school during the vacancy of the mastership required a cioser attention and more frequent inspection than ordinary; it does not appear that in that period the chaplain has been called on to give any assistance to the usher in the instruction of the boys, or any other attendance in the school than his general duty required at other times. Indeed the duties of another kind imposed on the chaplain appear to be wholly incompatible with the due discharge of those which properly belong to his office, and this we consider as another instance of injudicious management in the governors; exclusive of his care of the chapel and the performance of divine service on Sundays, he is very properly required to give attendance at the opening of the school in the morning, to instruct the boys in reading the morning prayers, psalms, and lessons of the day, to cause them to perform in trus the evening service, and to attend the school