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are placed to harden. The total distance walked by me that night was not less than fourteen miles, seven miles of which I traversed with eleven pounds' weight of clay in my arms, besides lifting the unmade clay and carrying it some distance to the maker. The total quantity of clay thus carried by me was five and a half tons. For all this labour I received sixpence!!
When very young, he was sent to the Wesleyan Sunday-school at Tunstall, where, he says, 'my teachers and Sunday-school companions were the means of leading me to Christ and God.' For some years he spent two nights a week attending to the kilns, and for this extra labour he received one shilling. Sixpence he spent on books, and sixpence was paid for attendance at a nightschool. When about eighteen years of age, he became a member of the Methodist Society, and a teacher in the Sunday-school at Tunstall. Here he fell in love with and married Mary Mayfield, who was a member of the same Class and a teacher in the same school. She died seventeen years ago, 'full of faith and the love of God.'
From Tunstall Mr. Smith removed successively to Reopsmoor, Staffordshire; Humberstone, near Leicester; and Coalville, in each o which places he devoted himself earnestly and successfully to Sundayschool work. A few years after his removal to Coalville he joined the Primitive Methodists, by whom he was honoured, as he so well deserved to be, by election to almost all the offices open to him in that Church. He resides at Welton, near Daventry. Like many another earnest man, Mr. Smith has found that his religious opinions have sometimes stood in the way of his work. In 1875, having been invited to read a paper on Our Canal Population,' at the Church Congress at Stoke-on-Trent, he was afterwards informed that he could not be allowed to do so as he was a 'Dissenter.' There is something almost amusing as well as sadly amazing, that in the nineteenth century after Christ a Christian man, who had already distinguished himself by his self-denying philanthropy, should be forbidden to plead the cause of the outcast little ones, wandering lambs of the Good Shepherd's fold, because he followeth not with’a particular section of the Church militant.
But to return to Mr. Smith's history. He steadily advanced in temporal as well as spiritual things. He became the manager of various large brick and tile factories, and might readily have won a comfortable position for himself and his children, but he could never forget the slavery of his childhood, and the miseries endured by thousands of children in various parts of the country. The last seven years have been entirely devoted to the cause of the brick-yard, canal boat and gipsy children, and for fourteen earlier years all his fpare time was given to the same great cause.
The brick-yard children were, naturally, Mr. Smith's first clients. He obtained permission to read a paper at the Social Science Congress at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1870, and startled the nation by his disclosure of the iniquities practised upon little children. At the Congress he produced a lump of clay weighing forty-three pounds, which he had taken a few days before from the head of a child nine years of age, who had daily to walk a distance of twelve and a half miles, half that distance being traversed while carrying this heavy burden.' Early in 1871 Mr. Smith published his pathetic Cry of the Children,' which still further aroused the national conscience. The facts disclosed in it are simply horrible. Children of less than four
age were sent to the brick-yards, and kept to the work till cruelty, excessive toil, cursing and immorality had ruined them body and soul. Boys and girls worked together for fourteen or even sixteen hours a day, and in very many cases spent also one, two, or even three nights at the kilns. Such hideous cruelty and its terrible results, moral and physical, needed only to be made thoroughly known to be ended. Yet the task was not without its difficulties ; and Mr. Smith was assailed with unmitigated virulence by some who were opposed to any alleviation of the children's slavery, lest it should interfere with their profits.
More than once he was threatened with personal violence, and his effigy was burnt at Coalville. But in spite of all opposition, George Smith won the day, and on August 21st, 1871, the Brick-yard Bill' received the Royal assent.
Mr. Smith immediately turned his attention to our Canal Population, and was soon able to show that the case of the children in Canal boats
was, if anything, worse than that of the little brick-yard slaves. There are more than one hundred thousand souls, including probably forty thousand children, who form the floating population of our canals and navigable rivers. Of these not more than two per cent. can read or write, and not more than five per cent. attend a place of worship. The cabins in which whole families herd together—as one bargeman says 'like pigs,'-are so small and close that it is no marvel that fevers and small-pox are often conveyed from one place to another as the boats go on their way. 'In one boat,' Mr. Smith says, 'in the cabin of which there were only two hundred and two cubic feet of space, there were living 'a man his wife and six children, one of the girls being sixteen years of age. The barge life is terribly demoralizing; and the filth, ignorance and immorality in the midst of which the children are born and bred, are as bad as can be imagined. Religion is hardly known, though there are three boatmen, it seems, distinguished amongst their mates by the title of the three holy boatmen,' because they believe and trust in a God Who made and redeemed them. Some idea of the ignorance of the bargees may be gathered from the answer made by one of them when asked if he had ever heard of Jesus: “Yes; only once, and that was when I was passing under Bow Bridge. A man whose name was Jesus was preaching upon the bridge. Mr. Smith asked some boat children the same question, and one of them answered with unconscious, but heart-rending pathos, ‘No, He has never been along this cut : what sort of a chap is He?'
In 1877 Mr. Smith succeeded in getting the Canal Boats Act passed; but we find from his last work Canal Adventures by Moonlight, that it is to a large extent practically a dead letter. He is now making persistent efforts, which we trust may be speedily successful, to obtain its amendment.
Every one who reads such stories as those related above, will feel that the Christian Church must put an end to this state of worse than heathen ignorance. It is to our lasting shame that the little bargechildren say that Jesus has never been along the cuts. Shall this be said much longer ? or shall loving hearts and voices tell to these poor outcasts the story of the Cross ? Mr. Smith wisely says that the evangelization of the canal population will be far better effected by the efforts of Christian people in the districts through which the canals pass, than by a central Committee or Metropolitan Society. Why should not his suggestion be carried out in every place where the barges are tied up' for loading or unloading, or for Sunday's rest ?-viz., that a few good folks should go out to the bargees and their families to sing some of the simple and touching songs of Zion, and to tell them of the love of Jesus. Already, in more than one place, river-side missions are doing good work, but the fields are white to harvest, and the labourers are few. There are many indications that goodness, tenderness and gratitude are not altogether wanting amongst these Water gipsies. It is as pleasing as it is touching to read that when some of the children are in infirmaries or hospitals, others will gather daisies and other flowers and send them, with oranges, fruits, etc., by the hands of those who are allowed to minister to their wants, with many enquiries as to how they are getting on,
as, • Tell Sal that you have see'd “Buttons," of the boat Wasp, and he has been enquirin' about her, and gi'e my love to her.'
Mr. Smith was once the means of procuring the Queen's bounty, for a poor woman whose family of three children was doubled by the arrival of three more at one birth. The following is an exact reprint of the letter in which she acknowledged his kindness. It will give some idea of the educational attainments of one of the few bargewomen who can read and write :
'JOHN GARNER, "Sir Master smith I am very much a blige to you sir fer beeing so kind to us sir, i did not have your Letter till 15 Janury 1878. Sir mister simith so have have Lost to 2 of our Babeyes the to Boyes sir. I send my Best respects to you sir.
JANE GARNER. • We bered one 16 Janoury. •I think we shall I Rayer one sir. Sir smith we was gone up to Paddington when your kind Letter did Came to Braunstone.
*I thank your sir Smith.' One incident in connection with the Canal Boats Act we cannot but relate. When the Bill was passed in the House of Commons, Mr. Smith sat in the Speaker's gallery without a sixpence in his pocket, and was compelled to go without his dinner! So after all that cynics say, there is still something better than cheap philanthropy' in the world. Mr. Smith has sacrificed everything to the cause he has so nobly advocated. Some idea of the pecuniary sacrifices he has made may be gathered from the fact that he has spent more than three hundred pounds upon postage stamps alone, and that the passing of the Brick-yard and Canal Boats Acts has cost him between two thousand and three thousand pounds. To meet these demands, he has been compelled to sell land purchased with the hard-earned savings of former years, and has again and again brought himself and his children to the verge of starvation. Take one instance from among many: 'On August 13th, 1878,' he writes, all our money was gone again to the last twopence halfpenny; with this amount we bought three Yarmouth bloaters, and these lasted for tea and supper, and we went to bed with thankful hearts.' At another time his dinner 'for several days' consisted only of a cup of cocoa and a bun.
Most men would have been satisfied with fighting the battle of the Brick-yard and Canal Children, but our indefatigable philanthropist, though he is past middle life and prematurely aged by exposure and excessive toil, has now taken up the cause of the Gipsies. We have not space to say much with regard to this part of his work, but would advise our friends to read for themselves Mr. Smith's most interesting volume on Gipsy Life, and the papers on the same subject which he is contributing to the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. Even the canal-boat children are hardly worse off than some of the little gipsies. It is true that there are a few honest and Christian gipsies. We remember attending a gipsies' Prayer-meeting about eight years ago with our good friend Mr, Edward Pope, of Loughton, Essex; but the majority are terribly depraved, and according to the testimony of several of their number, it is only the public ignorance concerning their mode of life which suffers them to continue their iniquitous practices. The better sort are most anxious that something should be done for them ; and one poor old woman, finding that Mr. Smith had taken up their cause, pressed him to accept all the money she had in the world—a penny and two farthings—to help in the work.
Surely the good sense and conscience of Christian England will not long delay to hear this appeal for these wanderers whose case earlier philanthropists have left to George Smith, of Coalville. Thank God that he has taken it up! May his efforts be crowned with speedy and abundant success; so shall better, purer life be at least possible for the little ones of the camp, the van, and the canal-boat. As we said at the beginning of this brief sketch, Mr. Smith has received scarcely any practical acknowledgment for his services. Had the Government been wise enough to commit to his management the carrying out of the Canal Boats Act, congenial and fairly remunerative employment would have been found for him, and the Act woulu not have been so nearly a complete failure. On two occasions Mr. Smith's friends have presented him with sums of money in token of appreciation of his labours; but these have not covered his postage and travelling expenses. Surely such a man deserves at least a Civil List Pension to enable him to continue his labour of love without the hard pinch of poverty at home. Still he plods on bravely, looking for the better and more enduring inheritance ; for firm faith in God has sustained him through all, and one day surely great shall be his reward in heaven; and even on earth his name shall find a worthy place in the roll of true lovers of mankind, and be spoken of as not unworthy of association with the names of John Howard, Elizabeth Fry, Jonas Hanway, and William Wilberforce.
A NEW-YEAR'S HOMILY.
I will give you rest.'--MATT. XI. 28.
both of nations and individuals. Nations are upheaving ; empires are shaken as if some evil genius had lashed them into storm. Humanity everywhere feels it has not reached its goal, its highest destiny. Hearts are aching. Souls, intellects, consciences are voyaging on troubled seas, yearning for some great master of storms to come and calm the turbulence.
is this? What is the cause of all this unrest? Alienation from God. “My people have been lost sheep: they have turned them away on the mountains : they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.' God alone is the true rest of souls. Severed from Him, man becomes like a feather gyrating in