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[218] state. They are also authorized to apprentice the boys, at their discretion, to inhabitants of the Commonwealth. And whenever any boy shall be discharged, either as reformed or as having reached the age of twenty-one years, his discharge is a full release from his sentence.

It is made the duty of the trustees to cause the boys to be instructed in piety and morality, and in branches of useful knowledge, in some regular course of labor, mechanical, agricultural, or horticultural, and such other trades and arts as may be best adapted to secure the amendment, reformation, and future benefit of the boys. The class of offenders for whom this act provides are generally the offspring of parents depraved by crime or suffering from poverty and want,—the victims often of circumstances of evil which almost constitute a necessity,—issuing from homes polluted and miserable, from the sight and hearing of loathsome impurities and hideous discords, to avenge upon society the ignorance, and destitution, and neglect with which it is too often justly chargeable. In 1846 three hundred of these youthful violators of law were sentenced to jails and other places of punishment in Massachusetts, where they incurred the fearful liability of being still more thoroughly corrupted by contact with older criminals, familiar with atrocity, and rolling their loathsome vices ‘as a sweet morsel under the tongue.’ In view of this state of things the Reform School has been established, twenty-two thousand dollars having been contributed to the state for that purpose by an unknown benefactor of his race. The school is

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