1849 February: Ragged School Union Magazine; The Ragged School Teacher’s Appeal to all Classes

Guild with the bloodless check,

Poor wanderer pale and weak,

Whose heart has never learn’d to share

The kindness of a mother’s care—

Come to the Ragged School.


Victim of woe and want,

Whose clothes and food are scant,

Whose talents are perverted skill,

Whose parents teach thee nought but ill—

Come to the Ragged School.


There, hear the friendly word;

There, have good feelings stirr’d ;

There, learn thy passions to control;

And find thy body has a soul

Priz’d in the Ragged School.


Ye wise and learned men,

Who, taught by tongue and pen,

In college halls much learning found—

Think of the ignorant around :

Teach in the Ragged School.


Ye merchants of our isle,

Enrich’d by prosperous toil,

Feel for the half-clad shivering race,

Whose heads oft find no resting-place:

Give to the Ragged School.


Ye lords of noble line,

Whose names and talents shine,

Be ye rich capitals to grace

These columns of our rising race,

Shap’d in the Ragged School.


Ye fair and gentle dames,

Whose beauty influence claims,

Extend that influence around,

Friends of these wretched ones be found,

Speak for the Ragged School.


” Lord of all power and might,”

Who, in Thy followers’ sight,

Young children in Thine arms didst take,

And bless them—for Thy mercy’s sake,

Smile on the Ragged School.


The above is a reproduction of the poem ‘The Ragged School Teacher’s Appeal to all Classes’ found in the 1849 February publication of the Ragged School Union Magazine.


Some history around the period includes:

Bribery at Elections Bill in Britain

“He was aware of the difficulty of dealing with the question of bribery at elections; but, after the notorious corruption which had taken place at the general elections of 1841 and 1847, the subject assumed a new degree of most pressing importance. He introduced this measure with great deference to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whose attention had been specially devoted to the subject, and who had given it the most praiseworthy attention. Few men understood it so well as the noble Lord; and it was with no intention of depreciating or lowering the value of his exertions in the cause, that he (Sir J. Pakington) proposed his present measure. Neither did he mean to undervalue the two Acts upon the subject of which the noble Lord was the author in the years 1841 and 1842. But he should express his decided opinion that the existing laws were altogether insufficient for the prevention of bribery at elections. He did not mean to say that the present laws against bribery were not sufficiently severe; they were stringent enough in their provisions; but what he was about to prove was, that the existing law was, to a great degree, inoperative, for the reason that under it all chance of detection and of punishment of bribery at elections was dependent entirely upon the presentation Toggle showing location of Column 1042of election petitions; Whereas he was prepared to prove that wherever corruption exists there was a combination of the most powerful motives, which had the effect of deterring, and did deter, persons from presenting petitions to Parliament. That was the argument which he sought to establish. He would not detain the House by adverting, at any length, to the details of existing Acts of Parliament, but he must request permission of the House briefly to call their attention to what were the existing laws against bribery and corruption at elections. From the time that our constitution gradually assumed its present shape, and it became an object of ambition to men of birth and station to acquire seats in the House of Commons, from that time must we date the commencement of that system of corruption of which we had to deplore the enormous increase. The first attempt was made to check bribery at elections towards the end of the reign of Charles II., and during the reign of James II.; but those attempts were vain. At length, in the seventh year of Will. III., the Act was passed which was known as the Treating Act: and it was upon that Act that the present system of Parliamentary constituency was founded. The next Act of importance was the 2nd Geo. II., which was so well known as the Bribery Act. By that Act the bribery oath was provided, which might be put to electors before they were permitted to give their votes. But the principal provision of that Act was the 500l. penalty connected with deprivation of seat, and of privilege to be re-elected, imposed upon those who should be convicted of bribery in a court of law. But the Act had become virtually a dead letter. He had intended to have moved for a return of all the convictions obtained, and the prosecutions instituted under that Act, But upon consideration, and after inquiry, he found that the prosecutions were so very few, and the convictions still so more rare, that it was not worth while to move for the returns, and it was evident that, for all practical purposes, the Act was a dead letter. Yet it was to these two Acts, the Treating Act and the Bribery Act, that they had trusted, until, in 1841, the noble Lord at the head of the Government directed his attention to the subject, and brought in the first of the two Acts to which he (Sir. T. Pakington) had referred. In that Act, the very important power was given to Parliamentary Committees to receive proofs of acts of bribery before the agency of the parties was approved. It was a most valuable Act; but its defect was, its requiring the previous presentation of a petition. If no petition were presented, there was no possibility of proceeding.”

Info drawn from Hansard Parliamentary Record


Industrialisation of German Society

“Despite the continued vitality of guilds in some areas and certain trades, it seems clear enough that the guilds, like the autonomous urban communities of which they were once so important a part, steadily lost ground to the regulatory power of the state, the relentless pressure of demographic expansion, and the competitive force of industrial production. One clear sign of this decline, apparent almost everywhere, was the growing difficulty apprentices faced in becoming masters. Between 1816 and 1849 the number of masters in Prussia grew by 65 per cent, while the number of journeymen and apprentices increased by 124 percent.”

Page 492, Sheehan, J. J. (2008). German history 1770-1866. Oxford: Clarendon press.


German Constitution and Centralisation of Power

“In its final form, the constitution of 1849 gathered the various German states into a constitutional monarchy with a potentially powerful and democratically based representative institution. Theoretically, the constitution was a formidable achievement, which reflected many of the liberals’ most important aspirations. But the constitution also reflected German liberalism’s uncertainties and divisions—about the proper balance of freedom and restraint, central power and state autonomy, monarchical authority and parliamentary control. Furthermore, the constitution was full of unresolved questions: What changes would a new law on citizenship and a new industrial ordinance have made in the definition of basic rights? Flow would the Reich have coexisted with the states? What did it mean for the executive to be ‘responsible’? ”

Page 690, Sheehan, J. J. (2008). German history 1770-1866. Oxford: Clarendon press.


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