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to contemplate the condition of a class of persons for whom parliament was imperatively called on to legislate, and who more than any other needed and had a claim to its interference to lift them out of the filth, the corruption, the moral, intellectual, and physical degradation in which they were deeply sunk. Dr. Letheby had been appointed to inquire into their condition; and the report that he gave revealed a state of things on which we may congratulate ourselves that, if not entirely removed, it has at least been greatly ameliorated. The doctor visited 2208 rooms in the eastern district of the city of London, inhabited by beggars, vagrants, thieves, prostitutes, persons unable to obtain work, or doing work that was miserably remunerated. Of these rooms, 219 were uninhabited at the time of his inspection of them; the remaining 1989 contained 5791 inmates, belonging to 1576 families. In many instances Dr. Letheby found adults of both sexes belonging to different families lodged in the same room, 'regardless,' as he forcibly puts it,
of all the common decencies of life ; and where from three to five adults, men and women, besides a train of children, are accustomed to herd together like brute beasts or sav. ages ; where all the offices of nature are performed in the most public and offensive manner, and where every human instinct of propriety and decency is smothered. Like my predecessor, I have seen grown persons of both sexes sleeping in common with their parents; brothers and sisters and cousins, and even the casual acquaintance of a day's tramp, occupying the same bed of filthy rags or straw; a woman suffering in travail in the midst of males and females of different families that tenant the same room—where birth and death go hand in hand—where the child but newly born, the patient cast down with fever, and the corpse waiting for interment, have no separation from each other and from the rest of the inmates. These horrors Dr. Letheby declared not to be at all exceptional. He cited other instances of the dreadful state of degradation which his examinations revealed. In Rose-alley, near Houndsditch, he found a row of houses, all in a shockingly dirty and ruinous condition, in which were seventy-six rooms, letting for sums varying from fifteen pence to twenty-one pence each, and inhabited by sixty-three families, consisting of two hundred and fiftytwo persons. In one room there were a man, two women,
DR. LETHEBY'S REPORT.
two children, and the corpse of a girl who, having died in childbirth a few days before his visit, was still lying on the bare ground without shroud or coffin. Of course it was a hotbed of every kind of loathsome and infectious disease. Only a short time before Dr. Letheby paid his visit to Rose-alleg a fever had passed from room to room, attacking almost every one of the adult males who occupied these pestiferous dens. Dr. Letheby states that he found the air so close and infectious that he endeavoured to ascertain, by chemical analysis, whether it did not contain some peculiar product of decomposition, that imparted to it its foul odour and its rare power of engendering disease. He found that it was not only deficient in oxygen, but contained three times the usual proportion of carbonic acid, besides a quantity of aqueous vapoar charged with alkaline matter, that stank abominably, the product of putrefaction, and of various fetid and stagnant exhalations.
Dr. Letheby pointed out that the horrors which his researches had brought to light were pregnant not only with terrible physical, but with terrible moral retribution to the society in which they were permitted to flourish. He spoke in eloquent terms of the deadlier moral pestilence that stalks side by side with the physical pestilence, blighting the existence of a rising population, rendering their hearts hopeless, their acts ruffianly and incestuous, and causing them to scatter the seeds of crime, turbulence, and panperism.
The remedies that Dr. Letheby suggested for these evils were to enforce the registration of common lodging-houses, and to control, through officers of health, the number and condition of their inmates. Another suggestion was that of bringing the metropolis under the control of a single municipality, elected by the ratepayers of the varions districts. The state of things which Dr. Letheby brought to light was by no means peculiar to London. Similar dens of filth and iniquity were to be found in many parts of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, and indeed in most of the large, as well as in many of the smaller towns of the British empire. There can be no doubt, too, that the attention which was drawn to the subject at this time by Dr. Letheby's reports has produced a considerable improvement, and that many of these human sties have
been removed or improved. Lord Palmerston devoted to the work of cleansing this Augean stable the same vigour and energy that he had displayed in carrying on the war; and if such scenes as Dr. Letheby describes have become almost exceptional in our day we owe it in great measure to the firmness and resolution with which Lord Palmerston took up the question, and for which, more perhaps than for anything else he ever did, he deserved the gratitude of posterity. A great work was done by him : but though he removed the more glaring evils, much remains to be done, and is being done, not only through direct legislation on this subject-thongh by that much has been effected-but by the extension to all classes of the community of an education which will instigate and enable them to rise out of degradation similar to that which Dr. Letheby so vividly depicted to his horrified countrymen.
On Thursday, April the 30th, the new parliament assembled, and Mr. Evelyn Denison, the nominee of the govern. ment, was chosen without opposition to be the speaker of the House of Commons. The formal opening of the legis. lature took place on the Thursday following, by commission, the interval having, as usual, been spent in swearing-in the members and other preliminary formalities. During that interval the Art-Treasures Exhibition in Manchester had been publicly opened. The scope and object of the exhibition is sufficiently indicated by its name. The building which contained the treasures intended for exhibition was constructed on a plan suggested by the Crystal Palace; and, considering the difference in size of the two buildings, was not unworthy of its great model. Prince Albert had promised to preside at the opening ceremony; but the death of the Duchess of Gloucester, one of the Queen's aunts, which happened a day or two before the ceremony, would, according to the usual rules of court etiquette, have prevented him from fulfilling the engagement into which he had entered. Nevertheless he did fulfil it; and in doing so stated his conviction that in attending he was acting in accordance with what he was sure would have been the wish of the deceased lady herself. This sensible conduct prevented a great disappointment, which would have damped an undertaking eminently deserving of royal patronage and encouragement, and the great humanising
MANCHESTER ART EXHIBITION.
objects of which no one more cordially appreciated or more zealously promoted than the prince himself.
The articles exhibited were arranged in seven principal sections: 1. Paintings by ancient masters. 2. Paintings by modern masters. 3. British portrait-gallery. 4. Sculpture. 5. Museum of ornamental art. 6. Water-colour drawings. 7. Historical miniatures. This artistic, scien. tisc, and historical arrangement shows the immense progress that Manchester had made in culture and civilisation since the period at which this work commences. That progress also extended to the numerous and populous towns and districts which were intimately connected with Manchester by the trade they carried on with and through the emporium of the manufacturing districts, and which had recently been brought into more rapid and frequent communication with it by the network of railways -converging from all quarters on the great manufacturing metropolis. The exhibition conduced in no slight degree to carry forward that civilising advance of which it was a conspicuous evidence.
The part taken by Prince Albert in the opening ceremony of the Manchester Exhibition was by no means the only proof given by him about this time of a deep interest in everything calculated to raise and elevate the nation. His desire to do this was also manifested by the part he took in an educational conference held at Willis's Rooms, over the deliberations of which he presided, and by doing so obtained for the important subject which the conference assembled to discuss a degree of attention that it would not otherwise bave secured. It was a sign of the times to see a prince taking part in a meeting held for such a purpose ; and assuredly Prince Albert showed on this, as on 50 many other occasions, a delicate appreciation of the lature and duties of his position as consort of the Queen, not only in what he did and said, but also in what he abstained from doing and saying. His introductory speech was val
ble not only on account of the sanction it gave o the inquiry that the conference had assembled to nake, but also on account of the enlightened views it ontained.
We find,' said the prince, on the one hand the wish to see secular and religious instruction separated, and the former recognised as an intimate and inherent right to which each member of society has a claim, and which ought not to be denied to him if he refuses to take along with it the inculcation of a particular dogma, to which he objects as unsound ; while we see on the other hand the doctrine asserted that no education can be sound which does not rest on religious instruction, and that religious truth is too sound to be modified and tampered with, even in its minutest deductions, for the sake of procuring a general agreement.' A burst of loud assenting cheers here showed that the latter part of this statement expressed the views and opinions of the great majority of those present.
Gentlemen, proceeded the prince, if these differences were to have been discussed here to-day, I should not have been able to respond to your invitation to take the chair, as I should have thought it inconsistent with the position which I occupy, and with the duty I owe to the Queen and
Ι the country at large. I see those here before me who have taken a leading part in these important discussions ; and I am happy to meet them on a neutral ground, happy to find that there is a neutral ground on which their varied talents and abilities can be brought to bear in communion upon the common object, and proud and grateful to them that they should have allowed me to preside over them, for the purpose of working together in the common vineyard. I feel that the greatest benefit must arise to the cause we have all so much at heart by the mere free exchange of your thoughts and various experience. You may well be proud, gentlemen, of the results achieved by your rival efforts, and may point to the fact that since the beginning of the century, while the population has doubled itself, the number of schools, both public and private, has been multiplied fourteen times. In 1801 there were in England and Wales of public schools 2876; of private schools 487; total, 3363. In 1851, the year of the census, there were in England and Wales of public schools 15,518; of private schools 30,524; total, 46,042: giving instruction in all to 2,144,378 scholars, of whom 1,422,982 belong to public schools. The rate of progress is farther illustrated by statistics, which show that in 1818 the proportion of day-scholars to the population was one in seventeen; in 1833 one in eleven; and in 1851 one in eight.