25 February 1905
Corporal punishment in schools
Sir – The arguments advanced by your correspondent in defence of corporal punishment in schools are not at all satisfactory. It is well known that in many of our schools corporal punishment is a regular part of the curriculum, and the very ominous and able letter of an assistant schoolmaster which appeared recently in your columns is a striking exposure of the still prevalent brutality, the only excuse for which may be either apathy or ignorance of the better methods of discipline on the part of those entrusted with the training of the young.
He says that in the school in which he is teaching – and it is typical of the great majority – 'Each male teacher is allowed to use a cane, and it is employed in the most outrageous manner,' and that every 'trivial offence is punished by caning, dealt with all the power of the teacher's arm,' also that 'every morning Christ's exhortations to gentleness are imbued into the children at the point of the cane'. Well may he ask – 'Was there ever such a confusion of principles?' Discipline, we are told, could not be kept without it. It never harmed me
, say its advocates, and this argument is supposed to be a clincher.
In the home, there is reason to believe, the practice has been largely abolished amongst the intelligent classes. But we are still a long way behind other civilised nations in this matter. Almost in every other country corporal punishment in schools has been abolished. In the schools of Japan it is not allowed, and has there ever been in history a nobler example of heroism than the recent capture of Port Arthur?
It should be remembered what Socrates said to the friend who complained of being dissatisfied with the salute of a man known to both: – 'It is an odd thing that if you had met a man ill-conditioned in body you would not have been angry, but to have met a man rudely disposed in mind provokes you'. If such a reproof was necessary in the case of a man, how much more applicable is it in the case of a child? We do not force the physical growth of the child by causing it to undergo a process of physical pain known as spanking, slapping, caning, etc. Neither is such foolish treatment necessary for his moral growth. W.B.
Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser
1 March 1862
A day's ploughing
On Friday last, a large number of the friends and wellwishers of Mr James Davie, of Anderston farm, Parish of Bothwell, late of Kirkshaw, Old Monkland, turned out to favour him with a day's ploughing upon entering on his farm. There were 94 ploughs on the field, including 16 four-horse ploughs and four three-horse ploughs. The liberal supply of 'creature comforts' dealt out tended much to keep up the hilarity of the occasion.
1 March 1901
Scarcity of houses
Dear Sir – I crave a short space in your valuable paper to ventilate that ever-increasing and vexatious question of scarcity in houses in Motherwell. It is disgusting to see so many respectable ratepayers looking for houses, and everywhere the answer is the same – no houses – and even grossly insulted; and the natural question arises: Can nothing be done to put a stop to this ever-increasing evil; have all these ratepayers to be put to the street or driven from the town with their families through not being able to get a house?
What do our commissioners intend to do with the powers they have got, they have the power now, do they intend to do anything? If not, it is the ratepayers' duty to take this up, and it must be done at all cost; but it seems useless to ask our house-owner commissioners to do anything in this direction. It is like cutting your nose off to spite your face, and it is equally useless to expect our working-men commissioners to do anything, for a little promotion seems to gag them, therefore it is for the ratepayers themselves to take it in hand.
I think Mr Editor, it was the most ridiculous action ever done, to spend £20,000 on the electric lighting scheme and the town in such a disgraceful condition for want of house accommodation. We are not long in getting up indignation meetings against a public house being placed alongside another 40, yet these same men can wink the other eye at seeing respectable men banished from the town for want of dwelling houses.
The sooner the public get up indignation meetings and banish them from the false position they hold, the sooner this gigantic evil will be remedied. Only at the recent election we were continually reminded of a great Bill to be brought in to prevent employers from evicting their employees from their houses before reasonable notice, and I make bold to say that if the same party had any houses of his own, we never would have heard a word about it. Some people are better adapted for looking into other people's business than attending to their own duty. – A Ratepayer.